The Polo Diaries
About Single in Buenos Aires
The best part of being a blogger will always be finding a book from an author that you didn’t know you absolutely HAD to read. This is where I am here. When I saw this blog tour I basically saw horses and jumped, little did I know I’d be getting fantastic settings and en pointe romance too!!!
But, as usual, I digress. Let’s go back to the beginning, where we’re meeting Roxy, who’s telling us about Argentina, a country she’s arrived in, after a fall that’s damaged her in more ways than one.
Roxy speaks of the ways of the country, of how there’s certain phrases that are used, that for example basically mean no problem, don’t worry about it, and I was floored. The demeanour, the way of life of the Argentenians had me, their relaxed, chilled approach to, say, someone turning up at a moments notice, was something I wish we could see more of, less about etiquette and expectation, more about heart. Roxy isn’t quite in this mindframe and I learned a lot about her from the off.
I totally empathised with Roxy. I myself trained to teach horse riding, but as my instructor put it, had no glue, and after one particularly bad fall the day before the riding part of my exams, had to concede that me and horses could only do an On/Off thing. Saying that horses inject me with a light I can’t explain, and Roxy, who has a goal to get back playing polo (one of my goals in life is actually to give this game a go at least once!) has definitely had her light dimmed. Saying that this book is definitely not just for horsey people, with the politics and history of the country at times taking centre stage and the romance definitely as much at the forefront.
This post could go on all day so basically here’s how it is. Pacing wise its a slow, beautifully languid, unputdownable one, a book for those who love swoonworthy, tumultuous romance (you’ll note the blurb mentions Bridget Jones. I wouldn’t see it myself, I see the legends that are Belinda Missen and Lucy Coleman), the passion of the game of polo, so many fantastically drawn characters of the friends she makes along the way, all delivered in an unmatchable setting. Thanks so so much to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for the book in return for an honest review.
Rating: Five out of five. Fantastic!
I'll be honest: before starting this book I thought that Single In Buenos Aires would probably be too much of a chicklit romance novel for my tastes and had primarily chosen to give this novel a try because of its Romanian authorship. It's ideal for my WorldReads project. As it turned out though, I thoroughly enjoyed spending time with Roxy! Single In Buenos Aires is written in the first person so it actually feels like one is reading a memoir rather than a fictional work. Roxana Valea's own Argentinean travels do, apparently, quite closely resemble those of her alter ego Roxy so I got a strong sense of authenticity from her portrayals of people and places.
Roxy is a polo player and the sport is of ultimate importance to her, but it doesn't feature too much in this story. Games are played, obviously, but I never felt that my total ignorance of the sport held me back from understanding the storyline or any of the events which occur. Instead the focus is more on Roxy's search for potential love which is frequently very funny. Her sense of humour chimes closely with my own so Single In Buenos Aires often had me giggling. I'm also now completely in love with the city of Buenos Aires myself. If one has enough of a budget to blow, it does sound like the most amazing place!
This is a new author to me and I have really enjoyed reading this series.
This is not romance as such, more a diary of the author’s journey. However, it is an extremely enjoyable and easy read which has been utterly needed after a busy day. I can honestly say that I cannot wait to read more by this author.
This is definitely chick lit with a twist. I have liked the characters, the story and honestly I have nothing negative to say about this book. I’m excited to read more by this author.
This is definitely an authentic and enjoyable read, with a superb original story.
I've had a fascination for Argentina for as long as I remember, so jumped at the chance to read Single in Buenos Aires because I thought it was a sports romance novel. So, I was a bit surprised to find out it's written as a memoir.
Diving in, it took time to get used to the writing style as I was expecting a narrative full of romantic emotions, however, Roxy's adventures managed to keep me entertained throughout her documented time in this South American country.
Written in the style of entries of a diary, Polo games are featured, yet, there's so much more to this story which focuses on a single woman obsessed with the sport and her determination to find love. With the Argentinian backdrop and captivating culture details, Roxy's exploits are humorous and realistic. The characters feel authentic in a way, I felt transported to the city I've longed to visit.
I've always liked reading fictional books where I can learn something new. In this first instalment of Ms Valea's Polo Diaries, I've achieved that goal and look forward to where Roxy ventures to next.
Overall an enjoyable, quick read and perfect for readers who like a mix of intriguing characters within a plot set in a far off land.
An independent woman travels to Argentina, to experience everything it has to offer. A devotee of polo, she wants to recover from a sports injury to play again, whilst meeting her soulmate. She has a to-do list and sets about completing it in a forthright way, but life is never simple as she finds out. (...)
As a holiday read, and an informative guide on all things Argentinian, including their obsession and proficiency with polo, it is interesting.
Roxy is a 41 yo single Romanian living in London whose hobby is playing polo. Where else in the world can you play polo than Argentina. So she sets off and travels to Argentina with a clear focus and a checklist in mind. She gives herself three months to spend in the exotic Buenos Aires, Argentina to complete her list!
Her checklist includes 5 must do items: heal from her wrist injury, play lots of polo, watch and attend polo parties, fall in love with a handsome Argentine man while attending those polo parties and all the while also doing a full body rehab. With a list now written, her competitive spirit beckons her to check off the boxes. But in her quest, Roxy quickly learns the culture of love with her heart on the line. What is she willing to risk? Will she risk heart break in order to accomplish her goals?
The book was written in a diary style, and was also inspired by the authors’ own experiences as a polo player who also travelled to Argentina - maybe that’s why our main character is named ‘Roxy’!!
This was a quick and fun read. I loved learning the insights on the Argentine culture both in love, language, polo and friendship. I enjoyed this very much and look forward to the next installation of this series.
This series is like catnip to me: travel, adventure, horses and a dash of romance. It’s literally my dream combo. I recently reviewed the Sweetbriars pony series for kids, so this time it’s a grown up horsey treat, but I must stress, you do not need to know anything about horses or polo to enjoy this series.
The series is based on the author’s own experiences and as it’s written in the first person and reads like a travel journal, I had to keep reminding myself that it was fiction.
The Polo Diaries starts with a list. I love a list, and this one is particularly funny, especially the order of priorities.
I connected with the narrator from the opening lines. She’s very Bridget Jones (it’s always a relief when a big claim in the blurb turns out to be 100% accurate) and I’m pleased she is older (at a mere 41) than the stereotypical mid-thirties romcom character. She’s a typical horsewoman – despite repeated broken bones, she can barely wait to get back in the saddle. Given I’ve skied with my arm in plaster cast, and yesterday was debating with a 9yo who has fractured her shoulder from a fall and is banned by the doctor from riding for a month, how long she really had to take off, I can totally relate to this. NOTE – this should not be considered medical advice – you must always listen to your doctor!!
The second book follows on so I would suggest reading them in order. The feeling of “home” when she lands back in Argentina is so strongly described, I’m practically packed and on the next plane to Buenos Aires.
Now I’m looking forward to reading more books by this author. You know when people ask you which author you’d like to invite to a dinner party, I’m definitely putting Roxana Valea on my wish list. Or perhaps we could just meet for a Campari and orange …
About A Horse Called Bicycle
Oh my wordy word!! Yes, ’tis only two days since my rave on book 1 of this series and a) I’m still as certain of the calibre of the book, and b) I’m happy to inform you that I definitely recommend book 2, out later this month.
Here we see the aftermath of book 1, of the decisions she’s made as she arrives once more in the fantastic setting that is Argentina. I was very agreeable on the reason for her move, as in book 1 she had been so tunnel visioned on her intentions, but very quickly I was wincing, and telling her to get back to (to me) more important goals-those pertaining to Polo.
This book had me once again, the way of life in Argentina stole my heart, although I got to experience it to a slightly fuller degree in book 1. As well as this the everyday relationship issues were bang on, and then of course there were the horses, which conversely I felt we got to appreciate so much more here. I felt for Roxy so much, in particular when faced with calamity, and then with some home truths, and I read with, as they say, baited breath.
This book was another stunner that had me following along, tearing my hair out as to the final outcome for Roxy’s dreams and sealing me as a huge fan of Ms. Valea’s.
A year after leaving Argentina and Rodrigo, Roxy decides to give love a chance and moves back to the place she left her heart.
But moving to Argentina is just the first of many difficult steps… Is the love between her and Rodrigo the real thing? And will it survive the many differences?
This is the second installment of the series, continuing where the first left us. Roxy finally found the guts to come clean about her feelings for Rodrigo and is ready to take a leap of faith.
Also in this part, I admired Roxy, as she does what her heart tells her, even if it’s completely the opposite what her friends tell her.
Despite her fear of being all too good to be true, she sets her mind of making everything work.
Even if her friends don’t agree with her decisions, they love her unconditionally and let her make her own mistakes, ready to be there for her whenever she needs them.
And when another injury takes place, again they are ready to take care of her, without asking something in return.
For me, this series is not a story about finding your true love, but about finding your inner peace. What makes you happy? What can you live without? But what if the thing that makes you happy is also the thing that destroys you?
It shows you that wanting something so badly, isn’t always enough. You have to find the strength to say goodbye to the thing you love but hurts you.
Another absolutely gorgeous read by this author. I absolutely adore these books. They are the perfect escapism after a busy day.
This book is equally as good as the first in the series, I adore the characters and writing style used in the book. They pull the reader in to the pages and allow you to become lost.
Roxana Valea is a wonderful author and I hope there will be many more books to come. There is literally nothing negative I can say about this book.
This second installment of the Polo Diaries series, 41 year old polo player Roxy goes back to Argentina after seeking some advice from three different crystal fortune tellers who gives her three different scenarios about her love life. (...)
In this installment, I love that Roxy finds the wisdom to finally see for herself and her future - to finally take care of herself. In her introspection and sound advice from her friends who truly love her, she travels to India and Thailand to discover Ayurvedic medicine, yoga and more importantly, what she needs to truly love, herself.
I recommend this read for an inspirational story based on real life events about a strong woman in this amazing women’s fiction read.
At this point, especially taking the injuries from the first book into consideration too, the fact that Roxy has caused even more damage to her own body by pursuing her love of polo, has taken on a world of its own.
Is there some kind of subconscious self-destructive element at work there? Is the frustration about her love life not going the way she hopes making her seek excitement in the often dangerous game of polo and some of the major incidents she has been involved in.
In this second book of the Polo Diaries Roxy finally makes a more positive move towards comprehending why her search isn’t as successful as she hopes. The key to her happiness is not with others or the world in general. She holds the key, because she is the key. She must first love herself, before she can have a successful loving relationship with someone else or not, and the or not is equally important. You don’t need a romance to love yourself.
It’s a contemporary read – an exploration and discovery of self.
It is fiction, but it is also inextricably linked to the author and her experiences. It’s this visceral connection, and ability to describe both the countries and the people in her story with such precision, which makes the read. I think if the author can focus on those moments and less on the in minutiae detailed description of each thought process and encounter – there is a greater story waiting to escape and be told.
After her last trip to Argentina Roxy returns to the country, considerably more emotionally and physically damaged than on her previous trip. She wants her happily ever after, and to continue doing what she loves, but starts to question if it is the right thing for her, now?
Self-realisation is a key element of this second story, completing her to-do list on her previous visit didn’t fulfil her. Can she see that the answers to her happiness lie within? I empathised more with this damaged, yet mature woman, perhaps because I’m older and understood this Roxy more? This story is uplifting and held my interest throughout.
About Seven and a Half Minutes
My addiction to everything that Roxana Valea writes continues unabated and I’m honoured to be kicking off the blog tour for the third book in her loosely-autobiographical polo adventures. I’ve recommended these to every horse obsessed YA/ grown-up reader I know, but you don’t have to be horse-mad, or know the faintest thing about polo to enjoy them. It’s a cracking rom-com too.
As with the others, you could read it as a stand-alone, but the characters will make more sense if you’ve read the others (or at least the first one) as it starts straight into a scene. But, it’s actually a prequel, so if you want to read it first, totally go for it!
This book answers the big question I’d been pondering – how do people discover polo? (Assuming you’ve not been born into a polo-playing family, that is). She has a regular office job and a classic city lifestyle, and hasn’t ridden since she was a kid. How do you go from that to travelling across the world to play polo. It turns out the answer is by a chance encounter. Even if you’re not “horsey” take a chance on this series, and let me know what you think.
Roxy is looking for love, like everyone else. In London she reconnects with a passion she long lost, horses.
Suddenly she finds herself learning to play polo, and most important of all, she truly enjoys it!
She is training hard, trying to become the best polo player she can be, but does this give her enough space to still find love?
Having read the previous parts the series, I know what Roxy has been through.
But I was always curious about how Roxy actually found her passion for polo and how it all started.
The way Roxy felt before she found her passion for polo, is a feeling many people have. That makes it so recognizable for each and every one of us.
The way her situation is described, could be applied for everyone searching for love.
And when Roxy found polo, I was truly happy for her, as she found something what made her truly happy.
But this story is also about the struggling… it’s not that because you found something you truly love, that that is the end of it.
The trainings show that when you are truly passionate about something, you have to fight and work hard for it. Not everything is handed on a silver platter... and if you cannot find the courage to work hard, is it then a real passion, or is it only a fling?
Roxana enlightened us again more in the world of polo, the struggles and the work, and also in her world.
But also about the satisfaction in finding something that makes you happy, and that love can be found in several different aspects!
Seven and a Half Minutes, the third in the Polo Diaries, goes back to before the first novel, to explore Roxy’s story at the very beginning. She’s single in London, and (in her words) her days are filled with flat whites, trips on the tube, work, sleep, and repeat. Love seems far away, and yet she’s hopeful. We open with her at a speed dating night, feeling uneasy, but looking forward to possibility. From there, this wish for something more, and something hopeful, leads her to taking chances, and finding polo. This may be sold as a romantic sports comedy, where the girl will meet a guy and be happy, but really, this is about self-discovery. Can Roxy be comfortable in her own skin? And if someone else doesn’t come into her life, can she just love herself? It’s a lovely way to set a story, and is empowering, which I always love. I mean, from this author, I’m not sure why I didn’t expect that, but it was nice to realize.
In this clever prequal, we explore how she got into polo, and how the events of the first novel came to be possible. If you’ve read the series up to now, you know what’s to come, but knowing what came before is a real treat. I’m reminded (not through any semblance) of Borderlands, as I’ve been playing a lot of it, and they did something similar. They introduced the story, got so far into the franchise, spotted an opportunity, and snatched it. This does that, and the author has seen a swathe of story to touch on, so takes advantage. Fans will be happy. And, if you’re new to the series, nothing is spoiled. It’s the technical beginning, which means you could in theory begin the saga here, but if you wanted to read in order, you could. I love a series that’s not rigid, and can be enjoyed in whatever order feels good, so that’s a win for me. I’m totally new to the Polo Diaries, but have read the author’s nonfiction work, so moving to fiction was interesting for me, but her storytelling is lovely. She can retell a story, and as that’s exactly how this is presented, it’s written well. And to be totally upfront, it was my love for the author’s other work that brought me here, not the genre, and I was still very happy. So, that’s my very long-winded way of saying I liked this read.
Written in 1st person, with Roxy as our narrator, this novel utilizes the inner perspective, looking out, well. There’s a lot of omission at play, as when we’re thinking back, we don’t catch every tiny detail, so having a lot of thought and fixated focus makes a lot of sense. This does mean the reader needs to understand they have a bias narrator, and this isn’t necessarily a read for a lot of action, but what we get is the frame of mind of a 38 year old woman who feels having a man in her life will equal happiness. Again, that quickly becomes untrue, but it’s a journey. If you’re at a point in your life, where you feel stuck, unsure as to what you’d say if someone asked what your passions were, this is great. This explores happiness, with the purpose of leading into the rest of the series, so has a clear target – things anyone who might need help finding focus can appreciate. I can’t say I’m at that point in my life, but I can see the appeal, and the self-reflection is always welcome.
I, to digress a second time this review, was talking with friends earlier, where focus came up in conversation. It was in regards to furlough, something a lot of us are dealing with right now, and the idea the grass may be greener on the other side. Those working during this pandemic might feel jealous, and those at home might feel a lack of purpose. That springs to mind here. Roxy feels her life will be better with a man in her life, when really, she needs out of a rut. She needs purpose, direction, and to be doing something she enjoys. By wondering if the grass is greener, she’s putting blinkers on herself, and not looking within for answers. This, as with the author’s other work, spins back to the concept that we’re enough, we simply need to set the groundwork to believe that in ourselves. It’s thought provoking, and I liked that. Of course, this is also a fictional story of a woman getting into polo, and in that regard, it’s a lovely book. The plot is straight forward, the interactions are memorable, and above all, it’s surprisingly light hearted. For a quick read, one you could happily enjoy in a single day, these are all great qualities.
Did anything not work for me though? Well, it’s personal preference. I was attracted to this read, as I said, by the author, not the genre, so a lot of the sport was lost on me. This doesn’t hinder the story, but I feel any tension that could’ve built, wouldn’t have landed on my radar. I also couldn’t help wondering why this wasn’t sold as a prequel. What a weird thing to say, I hear, but I wouldn’t have sought this out as an introduction, with it labelled as the 3rd, so unless you’re reading reviews, or are recommended it, you’ll assume it’s linearly the 3rd in the series. That could lead to disappointment from steady fans too, who want a next chapter… but again, it’s literally my opinion.
Other than that, though, I liked the way this is laid out. It’s clever, but quirky, and I enjoyed Roxy’s voice. She’s a great narrator, and if you’re curious, and like sport, I highly recommend this for your TBR.
I made a plan in the beginning of 2020 to read more contemporary. It’s the one genre I kind of skipped over in the past. So, when Seven And A Half Minutes came up in my blog tour email, I said yes. I’m really glad I did!
I don’t know much about Polo, but author Roxana Valea made sure I knew enough to never be confused. I think that takes a lot of talent from an author to explain, but not over explain, keeping it entertaining.
I love the concept. This was just the kind of book I needed during this quarantine time. I recommend giving it a go!
This is the third book in The Polo Diaries series. All of the books can be read as standalone novels. This third one takes us back a little and focuses on the passion for the game and the horses.
One thing I always notice with this series is how the thrill determines the course of life. It’s more important than anything or anyone else when it comes down to it. A choice Roxy only thinks about when it’s quiet or is unable to partake in what makes her heart beat with such an intensity.
There is loneliness when the saddle is empty, but she is very much aware of the emptiness. Is it possible to find a way to have both? When her body crumbles and she is unable to live her passion will the recovery teach her something she wasn’t expecting to learn?
I have to give Valea her dues when it comes to describing polo and her love for the game, especially when it comes to describing the different types of polo players. You can clearly feel the passion, the emotional attachment, the thrill of the adrenaline rush, the love of the physical exhaustion and the skill of the game. The way she pays homage to the people who taught her, each giving her a small gift, which combined creates the entirety of her talent and skills.
Valea describes it all in a way that makes me want to join in, and it fires up my competitive spirit, which is of course a sign the author has done their job. Her own experiences are absolutely what make this read compelling because it has an authentic and realistic feel you don’t often get when the account is purely fictional.
I have read both Books 1 and 3 of the polo diaries and glad to see some background on Roxy as sort of a prequel of where this all started as a young woman in London before her adventures in South America. Love fore horses has always been a part of Roxy's life - her love and passion before anything else. Life sometimes leads us to discovering passions and for Roxy it is Polo. She soon realizes that the demands of the sport which leaves very little room for anything else.
I enjoyed reading this in an afternoon for a nice escape read and getting lost in the sport and London. It was so nice to read about Roxy again and this time, author Roxana Valea takes us to the very beginning where the polo diaries started. (...)