Book Review: Willow – Warpaint, the sequel

July 13th, 2023

July 13th, 2023

At the end of 2020 we heard a novel sharing our name and interests had been published, so we wasted little time in getting our hands on it.  It was the first in a trilogy, and the second installment is out now – just in time to be your holiday read.

The first book in JJ Maya’s A Makeup Artist in New York Trilogy is Warpaint. Willow, a Scottish makeup artist, moves from Glasgow to New York City after a whirlwind romance and the story follows her finding her feet in a new city with a new husband and taking her makeup know how in a different direction.  This second book, Willow, carries on where the first book ended.  Tasked with setting up three new beauty pop-up stores in London, New York and San Francisco, this follows Willow’s ups and downs in business as well as romance.


From the cover:

The beauty shop girl is back … and she’s on a new mission!

When Willow’s former boss, Mrs. G, invites her to Tallulah’s Tearoom for a chat, she can’t believe her luck. Good old Mrs. G only wants her to set up three new beauty pop-up stores in London, New York, and San Francisco! She’s come a long way since her days behind the make-up counter in Glasgow, and she knows it.

Still reeling with excitement, she returns home to tell her boyfriend Jake about Mrs. G’s generous offer. But for some reason, he’s not happy. Typical Jake! Thankfully, she’s had just about enough of men and decides to leave her disastrous love life behind. The following day she jets off to the West Coast, brimming with optimism and excitement.

Soon-to-be-divorced and Jake-free (thank goodness for that!), she knows what she must do.

Put herself first. Put her love life on the back burner. And make Mrs. G’s pop-up stores the latest talk of the beauty world. With only herself and her career to focus on, this is Willow’s chance to shine. Will she succeed? Or will Lady Luck interfere and throw another life-changing quandary in her way?

Find out in this light-hearand laugh-out-loud adventure as Willow juggles business, mishaps, make-up, ex-lovers and much, much more.

As with the first book, there are twists and turns in the plot, with Willow facing surprises in business and romance.  Moving from counter to popup shops and detouring to fashion week, it covers lots of MUA elements – and drops some brand names on the way.  JJ’s description of the places Willow visits are really evocative and will make you want to visit the western seaboard.

Willow is still stumbling around from man to man, never quite sure of the best choices.  It will have you laughing and rolling your eyes in equal measure.  It is a romp through love, life and business, and you will need to suspend disbelief in some parts, particularly as every man Willow meets seems to inexplicably fall for her, and she hasn’t developed much emotional intelligence since her first outing.  However it is a fun read and will definitely keep you turning the pages on a sun lounger, plane seat or train ride.  The third and final part of the trilogy is due out later this year, so hopefully we won’t have long to wait to find out where (and with whom) Willow ends up.

The author, J.J. Maya, was born in a beautiful remote Scottish village. At the age of 19 she went to live in London and has been living in big cities ever since. She graduated from Glasgow Caledonian University with a Masters Degree in Television Fiction Writing. Her Interiors writing has appeared in Wallpaper*Magazine, The Sunday Times Travel Magazine and I-Escape. J.J. drew upon her experience working as a flight attendant and makeup artist as the inspiration for her romantic comedy debut novel, Warpaint.


You can buy Willow on Amazon in both hard copy and Kindle formats.

Follow JJ Maya on Instagram and Twitter, and signup for updates on Willow’s further adventures here.


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Purchase our print magazine here.






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