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Notki z tagiem ‘Hodder’

A Life Without You by Katie Marsh

12 lip

 

A Life Without You

by Katie Marsh

 

 

Publisher: Hodder

Publishing Date: 14th July 2015

Source:  Copy provided by the publisher, thank you!

Number of pages: 369

Genre: Women’s Fiction, General Fiction (Adult)

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Can you ever outrun the past?

It’s Zoe’s wedding day. She’s about to marry Jamie, the love of her life. Then a phone call comes out of the blue, with the news that her mum Gina has been arrested. Zoe must make an impossible decision: should she leave her own wedding to help?

Zoe hasn’t seen Gina for years, blaming her for the secret that she’s been running from ever since she was sixteen. Now, Gina is back in her life, but she’s very different to the mum Zoe remembers. Slowly but surely, Gina is losing her memory.

As she struggles to cope with Gina’s illness, can Zoe face up to the terrible events of years ago and find her way back to the people she loves?

A Life Without You is a stirring and poignant novel about the power of the past – and the possibilities of the future.

Rating: 5/5

 

Oh guys, I’ve been waiting to read Katie Marsh’s second novel since the moment I’d finished her debut „My Everything” – it was such a beautiful, moving story that I immediately fell in love with and I couldn’t wait to see what more Ms Marsh has in store for us. Yep, that’s me, I always want more and more of good books :) And I think that it was really worth to wait over a year for „A Life Without You” – it is another great read, a gem of a novel proving that Katie Marsh is a fantastic author.

We are introduced to Zoe at her wedding’s day – she’s about to marry Jamie but in the last moment she receives a phone call that makes her flee from her own wedding. It turns out her mum was arrested – her many – years – no – see – no – speak mum, let’s add, so why did Zoe feel the need to run to her rescue? Isn’t she sure about Jamie, about the wedding? Or is it something else? Sense of guilt? Why does she feel obliged to help her mum right now, right there?
Little does Zoe know how much the visit to the police station is going to change her life. What is happening to her mum? Are they going to make up for the lost years? What has happened at all in the past that drove the mother and daughter apart? Is Jamie going to forgive Zoe for running away from the wedding?

This is a story about a very complicated, very realistic, very powerful relationship between mother and daughter. The story is told by Zoe and the chapters alternate between her narration and letters that her mother has written for Zoe’s birthdays. The letters were brilliant, as they not only gave as much deeper insight of Zoe and her mum’s relationship, into the history, into clearing and explaining what has happened, but they were also full of the deepest feelings and emotions. It was a great way of organizing the story this way and making the flashbacks into the past through these letters, but keeping the plot in the present. It also, with the way it is built, let us slowly but steadily understand why this relationship looks like this, what has happened and allow us to make our own picture, to make our own opinion.

There are so many questions but each of them is going to eventually find their answers, and believe me, the journey to find them is one of the most captivating, hooking, beautiful journeys ever. What we get from the author is a complicated but true to life story about unconditional love. We mostly get Zoe’s point of view in this story, and as much as I liked her and kept my fingers crossed for her sometimes her actions and the way she reacted appeared to be a little too immature. She was stubborn, our Zoe, but I could see when she was coming from – she felt betrayed and hurt. However, the more letters from her mother Gina we read, the more her point of view came to light and the situations and events were explained, the more I felt my heart went to her. Her actions as mother were brilliantly explained and, in my opinion, she did her best, and in perspective I can truly say that in my eyes Gina was right. I can’t explain more as I don’t want to give any spoilers, but I am sure that when you read the book you’ll understand what I mean. Nevertheless, the book shows how a little misunderstanding can destroy the very precious and short time that we have for our beloved ones and it made my heart – and eyes – swell.

„A Life Without You” has everything that I am looking for in a book. It made me sob, and it made me smile, even though the characters were facing some really difficult situations and decisions. This story has many layers and each of them made me gasp, but all of the layers have something in common, and it is love, different kind of love. And as all of us can relate to love, this makes the book even more interesting and emotional. But it is not only love that we can relate to in the book, as I am sure that all the readers will find something for themselves that will make them perceive this tale in a very special way.

You know, to be totally honest, it was a really hard review to write because how often and in how many ways can you tell how much you loved something – and I really, really, really loved the book. Katie Marsh is such a talented author, she brings all the characters and situations so effortlessly to life and what’s so important to me, the plot, the protagonists, they seem so true to life and realistic. I felt a part of the characters’ world and I went with them through each high and low, every twist and turn. Katie Marsh has in an incredibly gentle and so very realistic way written about Zoe’s mum and her disease – I, thankfully, have no experience of this disease and I truly hope it’ll stay this way, but Ms Marsh has written it in a way that it gave me shivers and I had a feeling I am through it together with Zoe. What I so adored in Katie’s previous novel, as well as in „Life Without You” is that the books make you think about your own life and how much you start to appreciate all the little things of your everyday – gorgeous, just gorgeous, beautiful and evocative novel about love, hope, forgiveness. Strongly, highly recommended!

 

 

(My Most Anticipated) November Releases

29 paź

So, and here we are again. It’s November already, and with all the Christmassy books it feels almost like Christmas already :) Also, the days are shorter, the evening are longer, and what is better than to curl up on the sofa with a great book? And the publishers are taking good care of us, releasing so many brilliant novels that we can curl up on the above mentioned sofa with. Here are my most anticipated.

The first on my list is for sure Rosie Blake with her second book How to Stuff Up Christmas . Rosie took her time to write this book, as her first book, „How to Get a (Love) Life” was published in 2014 and in a blogger life it’s AGES, but you know what, I was lucky enough to receive a review copy (YAY!!!) and I’ve read the book already, and it was worth this waiting! The blurb sounds amazing, and the book itself is fantastic, full of humour and it has the best opening scene in the history! Really! You must read it – it’s out on 5th November, published by Corvus.

There wouldn’t be Christmas without Karen Swan‚s book. Well, at least I can’t imagine it!  And this is why I am beyond excited that she’s back with Christmas on Primrose Hill – already reading the synopsis makes me feel festive! I am a big fan of Karen’s books, and she can truly bring the Christmas spirit to life, and I am so sure that we are for a real treat with this novel as well – and it has so a beautiful, wintery cover! The book is out on 5th November, published by Pan.

There is also one book very high on my November list, and it is  Boyfriend by Christmas by Jenny Stallard. It was love at the first sight – when I spotted this wonderful, festive cover I was already sold, then I’ve read the blurb and I was double sold. I had an incredibly good feeling that this book is going to be just what I’m looking for – a hilarious, romantic, funny novel, and yes, the synopsis promises this! And there are going to be bad dates – oh my word, what else do we need??? So looking forward to reading this book, that is out on 19th November, published by Penguin.

Also Fanny Blake is back in November with her brand new shiny book, House of Dreams. I loved those books by Fanny that I’ve had a pleasure to read, and so I will be starting this one very soon, with high expectations. It’s about this what I so like in the books: secrets, lies, choices made and to be made, set in Spain, so it can be a nice change to read not Christmassy book for once, ha!  Fanny Blake can write truly beautiful, engaging novels and I can’t wait to start reading „House of Dreams” – it’s out on 5th November, published by Orion.

I have already heard thousands of great things about Trust by Mike Bullen. It is a story about what happens to your relationship when there is no more trust – and  am very curious what happens then! My review copy is already at the top of my TBR pile and it will be sooner rather than later that I will be starting it with great anticipation! „Trust” is Mike Bullen’s first novel, he is better known as the creator/writer of the BAFTA award-winning series Cold Feet, about adults trying to be grown up, which is telling something already! It  is out on 5th November (what else, ha!), published by Sphere.

And guys, oh guys, the Bensons family is back, this time in A Wedding at Christmas! I  am such a big fan of this series by Chrissie Manby and each new book about this family is such a great treat for me! And this time it’s going to be a wedding at Christmas, what can you wish more? I so can’t wait for this book to hit my doorstep, you can be sure that I’m going to put everything away and start reading it IMMEDIATELY! It’s out on 19th November, published by Hodder & Stoughton. And just have a look at this gorgeous cover! I am already in love!

And oh my gosh, what a treat! Claire Sandy is also back with a Christmassy, snowy story! It’s her second novel this year and I am starting to feel overwhelmed with all the goodies from all the brilliant publishers! I love Claire Sandy and all her stories, her writing style, her dry humour and her down – to – earthness, and so I really can’t wait for  Snowed in for Christmas! Already the synopsis sounds like a winner, and then when you just look at this cover… So festive… So beautiful… Aaaah, roll on, 19th November, when the novel is out, published by Pan.

Oh gosh. There are many, many more brilliant books to come in November and I really need some free days, only for me, to be able to read them all – guys, we are for a real treat this month, no? What are your most anticipated November releases? Would love to hear about them!

 
 

My Everything by Katie Marsh / Book Review

26 sie

My Everything by Katie Marsh

 

Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton

Publishing Date: 27th August 2015

Source:  Received from publisher, thank you!

Genre: Women’s Fiction, Literature/Fiction (Adult)

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback

 

 

 

Synopsis:

A thought-provoking, emotive and page-turning debut novel: Hannah’s thirty-two-year-old husband has a stroke . . . on the day she was going to leave him.

On the day Hannah is finally going to tell her husband of five and a half years that she is leaving him, she finds him lying on the floor by their bed, terrified and unable to move. He’s suffered a stroke.

It’s unbelievable – Tom’s only 32. And now Hannah has to put all her plans on hold to care for the husband she was all but ready to give up on, only now feels she can’t. Tom can’t walk, carry out basic tasks, or go out to work, but after months of neglecting and disconnecting from his wife, the long period of rehabilitation he’s faced with does mean one thing: he has the time and fresh perspective to re-evaluate his life. He decides he must make his marriage work: Hannah is the love of his life.

But can Tom remould himself into the man Hannah first met? And can Hannah let go of what she thought she wanted – the new life she had planned – and fall in love with him again?

Rating: 5/5

 

I’m on such a good roll when it comes to debut novels lately! „My Everything” is Katie Marsh’s first book and I can’t believe it, as it so mature, perfect, compelling read. It reminds me a lot of Jessica Thompson or Jojo Moyes’s books – both in subject matter and the writing style, but no worries, Ms Marsh has already found her own way with words and her own style, and truly, I can’t wait to read more from her. And to be totally honest, I don’t know how to write this review to do this book justice, I could write I TOTALLY LOVED IT and be done.

The way this book was written has worked out incredibly well for me, and I find this idea of doing it in a full circle really good. The chapters are alternating between the present and past, telling us a lot about the characters and what happened that the situation is like it is, explaining everything, to eventually meet in the present, to do a full circle.

I fell in love with Hannah from the first time we get to know her. She was very likeable in my opinion, of course she was, but there was something special in her, something that I can’t put my finger on, but this „something” just made her a smashing, extraordinary character. I would do anything for Hannah, and would support her no matter what she were to do, as she was so exceptional. No, she was not perfect, she had her flaws, and there was more than once that I wanted to shout at her or shake her and tell her, get a grip, woman, and fight for yourself! She was not the best in confrontations and when something didn’t work out than she just left it as it is, not trying to fight to change it. And I hated how impassive she was towards her sister – in – law, Julie. But an extraordinary book character can’t be flawless, right? Hannah was full of passion for her job and I loved it. She loved travelling but she put this hobby on hold, because life got in the way. By „life” I mean her marriage to Tom – his job didn’t allow to take any free time. Hannah’s best friend accused her that there is nothing remaining from old Hannah, that she changed, but I think that Hannah herself realised this.

There were not many characters in the book, as it mostly concentrates on Hannah and Tom, Jules and Hannah’s friend Steph, but believe me, there needn’t have been more, as those were so special and unforgettable. I’ve no idea how Katie Marsh managed to write such extraordinary characters, that felt more than vivid, and telling that I had a feeling they are going to jump out of the pages would be an understatement – I had a feeling that the story is whispered to me but them, that we are sitting at the same table and they personally are telling me this story. It’s incredible feeling, I can still feel goosebumps, and I can’t remember I apprehended, appreciated characters so much.

And moreover, those were my favourite kind of characters. People, who were not staying in one place, but people who were changing, developing, maturing, people who learnt from their own mistakes, three – dimensional characters that I rooted for from the very first moment. Oh, of course, I liked some of them much more than the others, but the author made them so movable, adjustable that my opinion about them was also changing, and even the most unlikeable ones (yes, Jules, I’m talking about you) changed.

The story is so human and it tugs at all the right heart – strings. I didn’t have any problem to feel „at home” right from the very beginning to the end, as the author has this incredible talent to throw you direct into the heart of the story. Her writing style is also beautiful, and I really can’t believe that it’s debut novel, it is so self – confident, mature and everything has its place in this book – and I like when one thing results from the other, not when the things are strew around and I have a feeling the situations has nothing in common.

Usually I like the end to be closed, wrapped up, but it must be the exception here – it is left open and we can write the ending for ourselves. It really amazes me, because I truly am a fan of everything being explained and having its own place, but this time the author lets our imagination run a little, and I really like it, and it suits the story totally.

I could really go on and on about how much I loved this book. Everything there was perfect for me. I adored the way how the author coped with the difficult issues in the story, such as stroke and its consequences, growing apart, finding yourself anew. I loved the plot – it was maybe was not the most unique one, but was tackled in a way that made it feel unique and fresh. I loved the characters, that felt like real people, that behaved and spoke like real people, it all felt so honest and genuine. I loved the tone of the story – it might not have been the easiest book to read because of the storyline, but the author has made it a real joy to read, has made it easy and also light, and also a funny read, it was all brilliantly balanced. So yes, I think you can say that I really LOVED „My Everything”, and even though it’s a debut novel, the author proved she has this magic touch, and I personally can’t wait to see what Katie Marsh has in store for us next.

So really, this is a big cracker of a book, and I urge you to read it. It is incredible story about journey through life, about developing , about getting to know each other again, about following your dreams, compromises and backing down in the name of love. I really can’t praise it high enough. It is right now one of my strongest candidates for my book of the year, as it is unforgettable, beautiful story.

 

The Art of Baking Blind by Sarah Vaughan / Book Review

12 sie

The Art of Baking Blind by Sarah Vaughan

 

Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton

Publishing Date: 13th August 2015

Source:  Received from publisher, thank you!

Genre: Women’s Fiction

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback | Hardcover

 

 

 Synopsis:

‚Clever and compelling. I loved this!’ Nina Stibbe, bestselling author of Love, Nina

There are many reasons to bake: to feed; to create; to impress; to nourish; to define ourselves; and, sometimes, it has to be said, to perfect. But often we bake to fill a hunger that would be better filled by a simple gesture from a dear one. We bake to love and be loved.

In 1966, Kathleen Eaden, cookery writer and wife of a supermarket magnate, published The Art of Baking, her guide to nurturing a family by creating the most exquisite pastries, biscuits and cakes.

Now, five amateur bakers are competing to become the New Mrs Eaden. There’s Jenny, facing an empty nest now her family has flown; Claire, who has sacrificed her dreams for her daughter; Mike, trying to parent his two kids after his wife’s death; Vicki, who has dropped everything to be at home with her baby boy; and Karen, perfect Karen, who knows what it’s like to have nothing and is determined her façade shouldn’t slip.

As unlikely alliances are forged and secrets rise to the surface, making the choicest choux bun seems the least of the contestants’ problems. For they will learn – as Mrs Eaden did before them – that while perfection is possible in the kitchen, it’s very much harder in life.

Rating: 4/5

 

I was desperate to read „The Art of Baking Blind” for a long time already, and I thought that there couldn’t be a better time for it now, when it’s going to be published in paperback. I really can’t have enough books about baking, or food in general, and this one was exceptional – the descriptions of the baking were full of heart and feeling, and it just taught me how to appreciate food anew. I am also a great fan of baking, and I do this really gladly, and even though I may not follow all the rules set by Kathleen Eades, I consider myself not bad :) But maybe not good enough to take part in such competition as our characters. I like to bake. I truly like to bake. And I can bake. But those pieces of arts that our characters made have just put me full of shame in the corner with a tail between my legs.

I really liked the way the story was told, as the descriptions of the baking competition or food intertwine with the descriptions of the characters’ private lives. I didn’t have a problem to connect with the characters, maybe because their lives were not so perfect, and I didn’t feel confused at who is who. Some of the stories are more developed, some a little less, and there are many twists and turns, especially at the end, and if we are at the end already, I’d say that it felt a little too rushed for my liking, especially when we consider Jenny and Karen’s stories. I missed some kind of sum – up, some kind of closure, and would love to see what happened after the competition.
I also found there were moments in the book that were too flat and dragging on, and also I am still confused about the only male contestant in the competition – you see, I even forgot his name, I have it on the tip of my tongue, yes, Mike! – I am not sure about his role in the story to be honest, yes, of course, we may assume there was some kind of continuation with one of the other characters, but it was not so significant for my liking. I can say that his appearing in the scenes was as if he was coming and going as he wished and I didn’t see anything important to his character. He could have been there, but the book wouldn’t lost anything without him.

I can’t say that I had a favourite character. All the female participants had their own stories to tell, and all of them struggled with their lives, no matter what their demons were. They were all really great written, they had personalities and you could truly feel their struggles and problems. Jenny, a mother of three daughters that are flying the nest and a wife to a very unpleasant husband, is comfort eating and baking. Vicki, a teacher, right now at home with a 3 – year – old Alfie, working husband and a very cold and demanding mother – she wants everything to be perfect and she’s close to the meltdown when the things don’t run as smoothly as she wanted them to. Claire – a single mother to a lovely 10 – year – old Chloe, who’s struggling to make the ends meet, and whose mother enters her to the competition, because Claire herself wouldn’t dare to. Karen – the one that seems to have the perfect life, even though all members of her family live their own lives, Karen who never tastes her own creations – why? And Mike, the widower with two children – but in fact we don’t know more about him, only that he re – trained to be a teacher after his wife’s death. I liked all of them, some maybe more and some maybe less. I, of course, fell immediately for the poor Jenny, obese and comfort eating, with cold and cruel husband obsessed with healthy eating and running marathons, and I couldn’t wait for her to come to her senses and leave him. I struggled a little with Vicky, who seemed not to know what she truly wants from life: on one hand, she wanted to have more children, on the other hand she struggled with her only one Alfie and wanted to get back to work.

But also the backstage characters were truly greatly described! They didn’t enter the scenes too often but when they did, I thought, wow! What personalities they are, they feel just like real people – and I can’t not mention Jenny’s husband, Nigel, here who was one of the most unpleasant characters I’ve come across in my books. They were all fully fleshed, they were not flawless, they had their faults and this is why they felt so genuine.

Also Kathleen Eades was a significant person to the story. We may get only little clips about her, but they were enough to learn about her, her character, her dreams and her struggle. She was not only the face of her husband’s grocery – chain shops, but she has also written the ultimate baking – book „The Art of Baking”, and was also devoted mother and put her family absolutely on top of other things.

All the time when I was reading this story, I was thinking what I can bake now. Really, I think it is impossible to not to think this, as the food described is incredible, and I felt my mouth watering only at the thought of trying all those goodies. And it is not only the food, but the meticulous descriptions of the way it was prepared, of the ingredients, and the way it was served – it was all so vivid and colourful.

It was truly a beautiful novel, and Sarah’s writing is brilliant. It not only is going to send you in the kitchen direction, but it also makes you think. The author has this incredible talent to pull you into the story and you don’t want to leave this book. It’s warm and down – to – earth, and it just feels genuine and honest.

And this book is not only about baking. As I have already mentioned, all the characters had their own demons, and the author – with a lot of feelings, understanding and gentleness – deals with them. And Ms Vaughan decided to write about really many important issues, but even though they are mostly a little depressing and sad, it doesn’t make the book feeling like this. She writes about the desire to have your own family, about not being able to have it, about miscarriages, but also about eating disorders, betrayal, loosing the beloved ones, coping with reality being a single parent. I think that the variety of the characters, their different backgrounds has made this book so exceptional and unique. The author so skilfully created a book that we think is going to be about a baking competition, but in fact is a wonderful recollection of people’s lives – highly recommended.

 
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Napisane w kategorii 2015 Releases, Rating 4/5

 

The Matchmaker by Elin Hildebrand / Book Review

28 lip

The Matchmaker by Erin Hildebrand

 

Publisher: Hodder

Publishing Date: 2nd July 2015

Source:  Received from the publisher, thank you!.

Genre: Women’s Fiction, Literature/Fiction (Adult)

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback

 

 

 Synopsis:

A touching new novel from Elin Hilderbrand in which a dying woman sets out to find love for those closest to her – before it’s too late

Dabney Kimball Beech, the 48-year-old fifth generation Nantucketer, has had a lifelong gift of matchmaking (52 couples still together to her credit). But when Dabney discovers she is dying of pancreatic cancer, she sets out to find matches for a few people very close to home: her husband, celebrated economist John Boxmiller Beech; her lover journalist Clendenin Hughes; and her daughter, Agnes, who is engaged to be married to the wrong man.

As time slips away from Dabney, she is determined to find matches for those she loves most – but at what cost to her own relationships? THE MATCHMAKER is the heartbreaking new novel from Elin Hilderbrand about losing and finding love, even as you’re running out of time.

 

Rating: 3/5

 

The way the book was written and told reminded me a lot of Jane Green’s books, it was similar in tone and style to those of hers, which is a great thing.

The blurb strongly emphasized that Dabney has cancer, but it doesn’t mention that she discovers it at the end of the book. So yes, she felt ill, but she didn’t know what’s wrong with her. It also tells us that because of cancer she wants to bring order to the lives of her beloved and closest to her, so it is like this: we know she has cancer, she doesn’t know she has cancer and yet she’s trying to match people like she thinks is best for them – it looks for me like interfering and not trying to make peace with her own life. I also don’t get this raving about Dabney. What was SO special about this woman that she was so beloved and loved? For me she was more like Queen Bee who wants to know everything and everyone.

I can’t not mention the names of the characters. I mean, Dabney? Clendenin? Celerie? I’m sorry, but those are the most unusual names I have ever heard. Well, yes, you can have original names but those…? What’s wrong with a plain, good, old Jane? Each time I was reading Dabney, Clendenin, Celerie I felt my insides turning around.

As much as there was a lot happening in the book, the last 20 or so pages were packed with action, but not with action par excellence, but with emotions and feelings. It was really very touching and moving and yes, I admit, I’ve shed a tear or two. It was truly a great end to this story.

The story is mostly about long lost love and regained love. I am a little torn, as I’m not too sure what to think about it in fact. It was really hard to understand Dabney and her fear of leaving the island – yes, I know where that fear was coming from, but on the other hand, we can say she was an adult and she should know what is best for her and where her priorities are. It feels like she has tricked Box her whole life and as much as he wasn’t my favourite person in the book, he was too tense and stiff and not at all spontaneous and took all things for granted, I think that no person deserves to be the second. That’s true that he had Dabney, but he didn’t have her heart. And really, if she was so much in love with Clendenin, she had his baby, loved him her whole life, shouldn’t she revalue her life, instead of, in fact, telling lies? Yes, it is complicated and probably no answer is the right one to this, and I am not judging her, absolutely not, I just wonder, is it really worth to live in lie? And being so selfish and in cold blood continue the affair instead of choosing? Choosing would prevent all the unfairness and problems that arose because of this affair.

It is also a story about, as it often happens, focusing on other things in life, organizing life of others and not seeing that your own family’s life is not as smooth as you’d like it to be. Dabney is very good at focusing on different things in the Chamber of Commerce where she works since years, on matchmaking, seeing either pinky or green aura around the couples, letting her own family and life to skip on the second plan, and often when you spot it, it’s already too late. But is it too late for Dabney and her family?

Also, about the matchmaking skills – Dabney seemed not to care too much about other people’s feeling, and let’s be honest, if people are single, it’s OK, but breaking up relationships only to prove that you were right? Not my idea of the perfect match and beginning of a new, happy family. It really seems that the book was full of infidelities and lies, what with all the affairs, matchmaking and Dabney leaving work every day, having her best friend covering for her, only to see her lover. Just cut it, and be honest, and her it seemed that it’s a normal way of living, that it’s OK.

Maybe because of the plot I had some problems to warm to the characters (this, and the names! Sorry! They just sounded so unnatural!). They felt too dull, as if there was no life in them, and they often focus on very trivial things instead of on important ones.

But Elin Hildebrand has a great talent to describe emotions. There is everything in this book, love, hate, sadness, joy, frustration, hope and desperation, and you can feel it through the pages. I enjoyed the passages told by people that Dabney matched, those were some nice stories, and in the end they made a great present for her.

I absolutely loved the setting of the Nantucket Island – it was totally new for me, and I enjoyed the descriptions very much. Also, I adored how much the residents of the Island were in love with it and how when people once saw Nantucket, they either wanted to live there or they were coming back again and again. You could see that the place has no secrets for Elin and that she knows what she’s writing about.

So yes, I am in two minds about the book. The writing, the setting were really good, the characters and the idea of plot not my favourite. It was my first book by Elin Hildebrand but I am for sure going to read her other stories, I want to see if all of them are like this one, or maybe if they’re different. Nevertheless, I’d say, try this book for yourself and see if it is a perfect read for you.

 
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Napisane w kategorii 2015 Releases, Rating 3/5

 

A Proper Family Adventure by Chrissie Manby / Book Review

16 lip

A Proper Family Adventure by Chrissie Manby

 

Publisher: Hodder

Publishing Date: 16th July 2015

Series: Proper Family #3

Source:  Received from the publisher,  thank you!.

Genre: Women’s Fiction, Romance

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback

 

 

 

Synopsis:

The Benson family are used to eighty-six-year-old Granddad Bill repeating his catchphrase, ‚I’ve won the blooming lottery!’ but they are gobsmacked when he finally wins the actual lottery. It’s not a jackpot of millions, but even after giving each of his great-grandchildren a nice nest-egg each, there’s enough left over for Bill to take everyone on a short Mediterranean cruise.

Chelsea Benson is taking her boyfriend Adam along for the trip, but they’ve hit another rough patch. Will they make it through the cruise without splitting up?

Also on the ship is Jane Thynne, who should have been on that cruise as a honeymooner. Instead, mourning the death of her fiance, she is there with her best friend. Will taking the cruise without Greg help Jane begin to heal from her devastating loss?

Meanwhile, Jack Benson and Adam’s daughter Lily go head to head once again in the ship’s passenger talent contest and Granddad Bill causes havoc in the on-board casino.

It’s full steam ahead for a proper family adventure . . .

 

Rating: 5/5

 

It is not a secret that I am a very big fan of the Bensons family, after reading „A Proper Family Christmas”. I haven’t read „A Proper Family Holidays” yet but I promise to read it as soon as I’ll find a free moment! Of course I was incredibly excited when I’ve heard that there will be the next book in the series and I was thrilled to receive my review copy, that I started reading almost immediately. And – I couldn’t got a better news that „A Wedding At Christmas” is out in November – roll on, then, November!
Also, I must mention a cover of this novel – it is incredibly beautiful and so very summery, and only looking at it makes me feel better. It’s just gorgeous!

Reading the book was like reconnecting with old friends and I had a feeling that I’ve only finished the previous novel about them, and not few months ago. The author throws us direct into the heart of the story. There are, of course, many flashbacks to the previous times, and explanations, so the book could be read as a stand – alone without a slightest problem.

Nevertheless, I had a feeling that this book is slightly more serious in tone than the previous one (which, even though about some very serious matters, was truly light – hearted) – I’m not sure what was this all about, maybe the writing was a little more serious this time? But of course it still made a great, summery read, that I immensely enjoyed. Actually, since reading Milly Johnson’s books, I absolutely adore stories set on big ships, on a cruise, and it was not exception here – I loved the descriptions of The European Countess and the setting was beautiful, and when the characters were visiting all the places ashore I just felt as if I’m walking together with them and seeing all the things with my own eyes, such vivid, realistic and colourful the descriptions were.

The characters, as in the previous story, were just larger – then – life and absolutely adorable and relatable to. I was a little disappointed when I read that Annabel and her family won’t be going on the cruise, as I like those characters with all my heart, but no need to worry, they have also chapters devoted only to them – not many, but still they do appear in the story, and especially one of the last chapters with them and Grandpa Bill has first made me cry, to have me choking with laughter in the next second. And thank you, Chrissie, for Leander, who was much more often mentioned in this book, and he was absolutely brilliant! Labrador rules!

What was great was the fact that the two families were already friends, and even Annabel and Ronnie trusted each other so much that they were able to entrusted their children to their safekeeping – it made me truly happy that this relationship has developed and matured.

Apart of the Bensons family, Chrissie introduces us to some new characters, and especially two of them, Jane and Kirsty, are significant to the story. Although I must say that their chapters were those that I enjoyed the least. Of course I understand where Jane was coming from, and I truly fell for her and her loss, and to be honest I can’t put myself in her shoes – thank heavens for that – but on the other hand I personally think that she was mourning too much, and if I were Kirsty, I think I wouldn’t have so much patience. At the beginning I was also thinking that this sub – plot is going to end a little differently, in one big encounter for example, and I was expecting this, some coincidences, but now I think that the author has ended it in much more perfect way – I was totally happy about it.

Each chapter was told from different person’s point of view in the third person, and even Ted, the teddy bear that Jacqui bought Annabel 40 years ago, has own chapter, which I find brilliant! It was absolutely fantastic to see what all of them was thinking and how they were perceiving their trip. I didn’t have my favourite character here, I think, they were all really interesting, but I think that those were especially the Jack – chapters that added a lot of fresh breath to the story, and I truly adored his observations. It’s really true that children never lie :)

This time the subject of Adam and Chelsea engagement was the leading one in the story, and let me tell you, it isn’t at all obvious how it is going to end! Chrissie Manby doesn’t make it too easy for those two, adding some twists and turns and I really wasn’t sure till the end. I was maybe expecting a little more about the trip itself, a little more about the ship and the cruise – would love a little more action on the deck, as mostly everything happened ashore, when they were visiting some beautiful cities and places. And it wasn’t like this that the book was full to the brim with action, I’d say that it was rather steady, peaceful read with some ups and downs, some fun, some very gentle and touching moments (especially those including Sophie and Grandpa Bill), and yet it has made an incredibly lovely, hooking read – it was this kind of novel that didn’t need any extra fireworks and bombshells dropped at you at every page, no, this story was so clever and not for a single moment flat even without all those special effects. I really liked everything in this book – the characters that I already grow so fond of, the beautiful settings, the storyline, the writing… It is one of the greatest summer reads this year and I am already waiting for continuation – highly recommended!

 
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Napisane w kategorii 2015 Releases, Rating 5/5

 

A Proper Family Christmas by Chrissie Manby / Book Review

21 lis

A Proper Family Christmas by Chrissie Manby

 

Publisher: Hodder

Publishing Date: 6th November 2014

Source:  Received for review from the publisher – thank you!

Genre: Women’s Fiction, Literature (Adult)

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback

 

 Synopsis:

Annabel Buchanan has it all. A privileged life. Pots of cash. Looks and manners born of generations of fabulous breeding. At least, that’s what she likes people to think. But Annabel’s carefully created image is about to come crashing down.

With her beloved daughter Izzy in need of a kidney transplant, Annabel is desperate to find a suitable donor. That’s how she comes to admit that before Annabel Buchanan there was Daisy Benson, given up for adoption by her teenage mum and dad.

Hoping her biological family will be able to help, Annabel traces the Bensons and is horrified by the embarrassing, chavvy bunch she discovers. They’re definitely not her kind of people. And she is equally baffling to them.

But as Christmas approaches and Izzy’s situation brings the Benson and the Buchanan families closer, will Annabel discover at last that blood is thicker than water?

 

Rating: 5/5

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Chrissie Manby is such a big name in chick – lit and yet „A Proper Family Christmas” is only the second book written by her that I’ve read! I myself can’t believe in it, where were I the whole time? This book is a sequel to „A Proper Family Holidays” and I hoped that having not read this one won’t be problem, and well, it wasn’t. Apart of some small flashbacks to the holidays, which also didn’t make me confused at all, this book can absolutely be read as a stand – alone novel.

The Buchanans live in a great house and lead a life that a lot of people would like to have – no financial problems, holidays in exotic places, designer clothes… No worries at all, till one day the teenage daughter Izzy finds herself very dangerously ill. Neither Annabel, nor Richard, nor money can help in this situation, all they can do is wait or… find Annabel’s biological family, as she’s adopted. While her birth mother has left her details in every possible adoption organization, it’s not hard to track them down and so the first meeting is organized… Are the two families going to find something in common? Are they going to accept each other in their lives? And finally, can the Bensons help, do they want to help?

One could think, Annabel with her poshness, money, big mansion, Aston Martin and other things that only big money can buy would be unlikeable, arrogant and unpleasant but no, absolutely not! She was a wonderful character, and yes, she was rich, but I had a feeling that she took all this richness with a pinch of salt, she was for sure a woman having both feet on the ground. The whole book was in fact full of fantastic characters, actually one character was better than the other one, and what’s most important, they felt so realistic that it almost hurt, they behaved, spoke and reacted like normal people. Larger than life, popping out of the pages, they all felt like the best friends, and all that happened to them could happen to us too. They were complex, they were developing through the whole book, they were changing and they evoked all kind of emotions in me. They were all maturing throughout the story, but in my eyes it was Izzy who matured most, from spoiled, blasé, sophisticated teenager to wise, sound young girl appreciating health and life altogether.
I can’t say that I had my favourites, I loved them all equally, maybe more, maybe less, but LOVED them. Well, Ronnie was the most controversial one and while I could understand her fears from the beginning (and I don’t only mean Annabel’s request, but the whole situation with new sister), she still behaved as if she was the only one who knows everything, as if she has the right to judge and decide. Chelsea couldn’t be more different to Ronnie and she, although she was the only one voice of reason and having a common sense in the story, was also likeable and normal and had her own demons. All the children were brilliantly portrayed and behaved according to their age, and the little Jack, with Dr. Who obsession, was for sure a star of every scene that he entered. So lovely, understanding and empathetic boy.

And oh my, the plot of the book is incredible! I guess that when reading such books it’s impossible not to put yourself in the characters’ situations, and so I was all the time thinking, what would I do? The answer is very simple, I would do exactly the same what Annabel did. Her intentions were neither clear nor innocent, yet I haven’t condemned her in any way. And, in my eyes, both the two main sub – plots, ie. transplantation and adoption were treated with a lot of subtlety, respect and the author didn’t judge the characters, she let them made their own decisions without forcing us to take sides.

And well, I did like Annabel’s family more. I don’t know, call me prejudiced, snob, whatever, but I guess that I personally would think the same what Annabel thought about the Bensons. Maybe my feelings would be different if I read the „Holidays”, I can’t tell now, but after reading this book I really had my reservations and it really makes me wonder: would Annabel AT ALL consider contacting her biological family if she doesn’t need them so desperately or not? Would she give them a chance? Perhaps I should ask if the Bensons would give Annabel a chance but like I said, Annabel is my pet in the book.

The story flaws effortlessly, there was not a single flat moment, it’s full of twists and turns and it doesn’t slow down for a second. The chapters are very short, and while I really am for short chapters, I had a feeling that some of them were too short, that they ended before they started, and each of them was told from a different character’s point of view. It really suited the book and I personally enjoyed it immensely, I liked to know what they all think about the same situation and about themselves. As usual in such situations those are the children that behave like adults and the adults that behave like children and it was not an exception here. This book touches some really important issues, such as health, adoption and I think also the class differences, and it’s so, so easy to see one of the family as the common one and the second as the privileged, but thanks to those different point of views we get different perspectives and Chrissie Manby gives us a chance to feel for every character, to understand their views and to empathise or disagree with them. It made me laugh out loud and then cry in the next moment, the author can change between those two like a Formula 1 driver, first she makes you laugh and then she hits you straight in the face with the seriousness of the situation.

I really can’t express how much I loved this book. It tugged at all my heartstrings, it made me laugh, and it made me cry. It is a wise, heartbreaking story with a right amount of humour to it. Izzy’s health issues are a big part of the book, but brought to us with lightness and the difficult medical descriptions and told in a very approachable, clear way, and were for sure well researched. Then the adoption issues, which the author approaches with a lot of feeling and in a sensitive way, probably because she herself – as I have learnt in the acknowledgements – was adopted, so I am sure she wrote from the bottom of her heart. „A Proper Family Christmas” is absolutely one of the best reads this year. I have enjoyed every single page of this book and, you know this feeling, when finishing a book makes you both happy and sad? Happy because you’ve read a great story, and sad, because it came to an end? It was this kind of book. I urge you to read this book, and I myself am going to buy „A Proper Family Holidays” right now.

 

Seeing Other People by Mike Gayle / Book Review

21 sie

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Seeing Other People by Mike Gayle

 

Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton

Publishing Date: 28th August 2014

Source:   Received for review.

 

Amazon Summary:

From „My Legendary Girlfriend” to „Turning Forty,” Mike Gayle’s bestselling novels have taken his millions of readers through many key times for the modern man – friendship, courtship, stag weekends, marriage, work, holidays, significant birthdays – but „The Divorced Dad’s Club „is perhaps his most compelling, engaging and bittersweet novel yet. When Joe Clarke writes a feature for his newspaper on the guys called the Divorced Dads’ Club, he doesn’t think he’ll ever see this sorry bunch of losers again. Why would he? He’s happily married to Penny, his university sweetheart and he is the father of two lovely children that they both dote upon. Joe has never strayed from his marriage vows . . . until one drunken night which leaves his life in ruins, and Penny showing him the door. He is still in love with Penny and still crazy about his kids, who can’t understand why their lives have been turned upside down, but Joe knows he deserves to be cast out into the world of bedsits and baked beans. And it soon becomes clear that as far as Penny is concerned, there is no way back. Joe feels totally alone. And then he bumps into none other than Van, lead singer of West London’s most famous Van Halen tribute band and leading light of the Divorced Dads’ Club. Could this motley crew of fathers, all in some way separated from their children but determined to support each other, help Joe get back together with Penny and the kids? Not if his first meeting with Penny and her new boyfriend is anything to go by . . . Funny, heart-wrenching and totally page-turning, „The Divorced Dad’s Club” is a rollercoaster ride of emotion. By its end, Joe Clarke will be a very different person.

Rating: 5/5

 

Well, I’m not one of the biggest Mike Gayle’s fans for nothing. I have loved all of his books but to be honest I think that Seeing Other People is his best yet. It’s written in his trademark style and told from a man’s point of view, as most of his stories, and it is about problems in a relationship so somehow Mike repeats himself, but this book is like a breath of fresh air, it’s beautiful and addictive.

Seeing Other People is about Joe, thirty – something journalist, and his family: wife Penny and two kids. It’s a loving family, family enjoying each other and liking to be in their own company. But one day Joe makes a decision that is going to affect  this family’s life: one morning, after being mugged, he wakes up in a bed of an intern Bella but it’s very confusing. He was sure he was mugged the previous night but there is nothing confirming this theory. He’s also not dead sure if he really slept with Bella. And, as he loves Penny so much, and knows her views about betrayal, shall he confess to her or not?

But it’s actually not so straightforward. Joe has moments when he starts to wonder  if he was really being mugged, if this what happens is real. Seeing his ex – girlfriend, that is actually dead, who tells him he didn’t slept with the Slag Face, as she calls Bella,  doesn’t help him. Is he having hallucinations? Is he going crazy?

Well, as usually in Mike’s books, life is a bitch and it doesn’t work in a way that Joe would like it work. He loves his children and his wife desperately but now they are gone and Joe realises what he’s lost. But can he get his family back?

And I must tell that while the idea of paranormal characters in books doesn’t always work out for me, here it fitted the story perfectly and sounded also, in some ways, real. Yes, Fiona was very annoying, I hated her character and how bossy she was, and yes, she was a ghost (huh?) but for me it sounded totally realistic.

There follow a beautiful story of lost – love, of hope and friendship. Mike Gayle writes with his heart on his sleeve, the story is heart – wrenching. It’s about second chances and about appreciating what you have, and about what’s really important in life.

I loved Joe as a character. He was as real as a book character can be, and he did things as realistic as we people can do. He made mistakes, of course, but who doesn’t make them? And his sorrow for those mistakes was so honest, so true, it had just broken my heart. I felt for him, period, I wanted he gets his family back. His love for his family was really heart – wrenching, he would do anything for his wife and for his kids, and this feeling was palpable through the pages. I have cried with him, I have felt with him, it was all brilliantly written.

It is also actually so with Mike, his books and his characters that I usually fell for the male heroes. I don’t know if it is a fact that Mike is a man, probably yes, but he can describe the guys’ feelings in such a fantastic way that I usually keep my fingers crossed for the male characters, not for the females’. It was the same with this book, of course Penny had a right to feel pissed with Joe, especially after what her father did to her family, and I totally, fully understood her but there were moments that I wanted to yell at her, shake her and tell her, hey woman, look what you’re doing! Look what you’re doing to your husband, to your kids, you destroy them all, and not Joe.

Yes, I was more pissed with Penny that with Joe. That’s the power of Mike’s writing.

The characters in the story were great. I have so enjoyed reading about Joe and his friends from The Divorce Dad’s Club! They were brilliant and they loved their children so, so much! They couldn’t be more different, they couldn’t have more different life experience, but they had one thing in common: they would do anything for their kids. Anything. And their stories were both so heart – breaking and at the same time so uplifting. The way they helped Joe through the divorce and then the other things was one of the best he could have hoped for. While some minor characters at the beginning of the book, only a part of one of Joe’s feature, they grow really big and important part in Joe’s life, and they added so much to this story!

Mike can wonderfully write about feelings, he writes about family life and family connections in a factorising and disemboweling way, it’s so detailed and exact and while reading I have just felt my heart being broken.

It’s a book about second chances and how we should use them, or perhaps if there should be a second chance at all, if we should be allowed for a second chance to happen. It shows how our main character tries to come to term with a thing that yes, neither he nor we are not sure happened in the first place, but it’s a great journey through the „what ifs”: if I could live better, if I could better appreciate my life, my family, and it in fact left me thinking and asking myself the same questions, and one of the most important question is if I could do anything to make my family happier.

The book beautifully describes how important friendship is, and how it comes from places that you’re not expecting. It also shows how important family is, how much you’re bonded with your family, how much „for good, for bad” you’re with your family.

It’s the saddest book that Mike’s written, but still with his characteristic bittersweet writing style. It’s also a little different from his other novels although it has also some sure things and his regular parts of plot. It’s a hooking, touching read and I would really recommend it to you all.

 
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Napisane w kategorii 2014 Releases, Rating 5/5

 

OMG Baby! by Emma Garcia / Book Review

05 cze

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OMG Baby! by Emma Garcia

 

Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton

Publishing Date: 5th June 2014.

Source:   Received for review.

 

Amazon Summary:

This ISN’T a book about babies… It IS about two people, one unexpected pregnancy and a question…

Viv and Max were best friends for years, then they were lovers and then it all went terribly wrong. Now finally they are to be reunited.

Viv feels sick. Not just with nerves at seeing the gorgeous Max again, but because there’s a small chance she might… quite possibly… most definitely… be pregnant. It’s thrilling. But also terrifying.

At thirty-two Viv doesn’t have a job, only eats fruit when there’s nothing else, and can barely meet the needs of her foster cat. And whilst she knows that Max is the love of her life, they don’t exactly have the most stable relationship…

Then, as Viv’s long-lost mother reappears on the scene and they all end up sharing an apartment, all hell breaks loose.

HOW ON EARTH ARE THEY GOING TO COPE?

OMG Baby! is the hilarious, cringe-worthy and touching sequel to Never Google Heartbreak.

What people are saying about Emma Garcia

‘Her cracking pace and rapier wit, together with her robust and honest prose will be bound to win Emma Garcia a sackful of fans. Perfect for lovers of Bridesmaids and Caitlin Moran.’ Red Magazine.

 

Rating: 5/5

 

OMG, what a brilliant book it was! I have started to laugh on the first page and stopped only after the last one, although then I found myself still laughing, only thinking about this story. My husband looked at me very strangely a few times, when totally out of the blue I giggled, laughed, and also cried.

I would say that if you haven’t read Never Google Heartbreak before, do this now, it will be much easier to understand OMG Baby!

OMG Baby! follows a story of our two old friends that we know from Never Google Heartbreak, Viv and Max. Viv discovers that she’s pregnant and follows Max to Spain to tell him about this fact. They used to be best friends and lovers and then well, something went wrong and they split up. But now, are they going to stay together again and if so, only because of the baby or do they still have feelings for each other?

And then, out of the blue, when everything looks so promising, Viv’s missing mother enters the scene. Playing with her daughter’s feelings and conscience, she moves in with the couple, in the small flat and makes the cat to immediately move out. But, is the cat the only one who’s going to move out?

Viv and Max really have no idea what the future brings. They don’t know how they are going to provide for the baby when the money is so short and work isn’t so optimal, and with the Mother Dear at home who’s only stirring between the two of them, and with some lies and hidden facts…

 

I had no idea that it will be so great to meet Viv and Max again and I really hope that we’ll get again a chance to read about them. I would love a next part of this story, this time with a baby.

 

Viv didn’t change at all. She’s still crazy, warm, prone to the accident woman with a girl’s soul, a little lost in this world and with her feelings. You can’t not like her, doesn’t matter how often you want to punch her or shake her and tell her hey girl, open your eyes. She’s a normal, witty character who makes you laugh and doesn’t matter what she does, you sympathize with her. She loves her Nana so much, and she feels guilty that her mother left her, although she’s absolutely not to blame. She loves Max and she lies to him because she, well, loves him, but she also wants to make her mother love her. I love the way she was balancing between her job, her private life and her family. The relationship between her and her mother was so sad but written in such a witty, funny, warm way.

Max is also a brilliant character. Larger than life, loyal, wants to be responsible for Viv and the baby, and I could see that he loves Viv so much! The feeling was palpable through the pages of the book, I guess that if Max could,  he would embrace Viv and never let her go.

In this book we get to know Mummy Dear much better. Oh my, what an manipulative person she is. But the strength of Emma’s writing lies in creating a negative characters that we can also like. Because yes, apart all of her faults, she was one of the funniest characters, the things she said and she believed in, oh my gosh, you must read it for yourself:)

There were not a lot of characters in this book, and almost all of them we know from Never Google Heartbreak, all but Damon who was more than ridiculous with his obsession with Lady Di, and it was a real, real joy to see them all again. All brilliantly written, just popping out of the pages, felt like real people.

 

There were moments that I wanted to shake Viv so hard, when I saw how naive she is and that she allows her mother to play with her feelings again and that she risks her relationship with Max, but altogether I loved her. There were moments that I couldn’t believe what she’s doing, you know what I mean, when I wanted to say „no way, she didn’t do this!”, and there were moments that I nodded with understanding. She could be my new best friend and Lucy can be very thankful for having Viv in her life, especially with the crackers Viv organized for her wedding. I also loved the way Viv took to motherhood. Easy, calm but also with her characteristic dose of humour. I can guess she’s going to be a great mum and I really, really wouldn’t say no to the next book in the series (I think I have said that already. I hope the author took the hint).

 

The titles of each chapter are fabulously funny and there is also a small note at the beginning, usually dealing with something related to this particular chapter, and these had me in giggles as well. It really makes the book to stand out, as it is not as common in the books as I’d like it to be.

 

Altogether, it is a story that will have you laughing out loud, but also let all kinds of emotions free. It is wonderfully well – paced and it makes a great, fast read that I didn’t want to put down. Emma also smuggles some messages about family values in a very subtle and accessible way. Her writing style is one of the best ever, light, fluffy, easy to follow and she had me hooked to every single page of the book. It’s a brilliant read, no matter where you are – go and grab your copy, you will not regret it!

 
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Napisane w kategorii 2014 Releases, Rating 5/5

 

The Travelling Tea Shop by Belinda Jones / eBook Review

18 maj

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The Travelling Tea Shop by Belinda Jones

 

Publisher: Hodder

Publishing Date: 22nd  May 2014.

Source:   Received for review.

 

Amazon Summary:

A delectable tale of friendship, love and cake for fans of Jenny Colgan and Sophie Kinsella…

Laurie loves a challenge. Especially if it involves anything beautiful, baked and frosted. The brief is simple: With three other women, Laurie will board a London bus – kitted out as an English tea shop – on a deliciously different road trip of the USA.

Their mission: To bring home-grown classics like Battenberg, Victoria sponge and scones to the land of cupcakes, whoopie pies and gold-leafed chocolate sundaes.

And to show them how a real cup of tea is made. All of the women have their own secrets and heartaches to heal. As well as a grand appreciation of cupcakes, there’s also the chance for romance…

But will making whoopee lead to love?

All aboard for: New York – Connecticut – Rhode Island – Massachusetts – Maine – New Hampshire – Vermont.

 

Rating: 2/5

 

It’s already a long time since I’ve read my last Belinda Jones’s book and I hoped the break would do us good. I had so big hopes for The Travelling Tea Shop, the idea was simple, yet so interesting and has perspective, and the cover of this book is so brilliant, sweet, charming and eye – catching.

 

Laurie is facing a new challenge. It involves baking, cooking, travelling and a red bus. She is a part of „The Travelling Tea Shop”, is actually a logistical hub of this event and is responsible for organizing everything: travelling, hotels, meetings with the chefs etc. Her boss is a TV host, her mother and – very unexpectedly – her sulking daughter Ravenna are travelling as well. It is quickly clear that each of the woman has her own secrets and problems which makes the journey not as easy and obvious as they have hoped for.

 

For me Laurie was a character written in such a way that made it impossible for me to form an opinion about her. She has some issues with her past and with her sister, she’s very patronising, she likes baking, travelling and cupcakes and is very organised.

Her boss was a very weak kind of woman, letting other people to control her, making decisions for her, and generally not too confident. How she made it for the TV – I have no idea. Her mother Gracie was much stronger character but has irritated me and I was fed up to my back teeth with her always better knowing everything. She was not funny, she was annoying. Then we have Ravenna. I think I haven’t experienced such unpleasant character for a very long time. There was nothing in her that made me like her, and the story behind her, with her boyfriend, was not an excuse at all to behave this way. In the whole, the storyline about mother and daughter was also so simple that it made my teeth ache, and the way they interacted with each other was so plastic – like and forced. How old was Ravenna again? Nine? Sorry, the way she was behaving didn’t speak to me at all and I really couldn’t understand what is her problem. Also, the fact that  almost overnight she turned out from very bad to very lovely felt very unlikely, it was as if she had a kind of character transplantation or maybe lobotomy.

 

The characters felt  very wooden and unrealistic to me. The way they were speaking with each other was so untrue and unrealistic, it was all more like very researched speeches, for sure not the normal dialogues of real people. The way they were behaving also, it was all so false and unnatural. They were so patronising to each other.

 

 I have actually felt that I’m reading a travel – guide book cum cook book with some addiction of hotels guide and their furniture. I am really sorry but the minute and detailed descriptions of every place that they visited didn’t keep my attention, as there were just too many of them, and they were really wooden written. Then we have every single hotel room described in every single detail, from floor to ceiling,  every chair and doors. The facts about the different cakes and their history could be brilliant but they also didn’t work for me, it was just all written in a too formal way.

 

I am fully sure that the book was very thoroughly researched, you can see it in every word and every fact written in a very confident way, but perhaps this exactly was my problem: that this all reminded me more about an official travel guide and not a book that should entertain me.

 

I have really seen the potential here. Really. And this is why I am so sad that this book didn’t work for me. I wanted to like it so, so much! I have started it with a lot of optimism and hope and ended it very disappointed. The book was missing this „something”, the story itself was a little flat, the long descriptions unnecessary. I was missing more action, and the twist and turns that were waiting for me were totally predictable and solved in a very amateurish way – I would say, from an author such as Belinda we could expect much more!

 
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Napisane w kategorii 2014 Releases, Rating 2/5