24 February 2011
Denial is the follow up to Coleen Nolan's fabulous debut novel Envy, which both Leah and I loved last year. I was surprised to be honest that she chose to bring back the characters, as often a sequel can disappoint if it isn't done properly but I am really pleased to say that bringing back the Girl Talk characters was absolutely the right move by Nolan, and made for a great reading experience! You can read this as a stand alone novel if you want to, as things are explained well enough for you to get the gist of Envy's storyline but it of course works better if you have read the previous novel.
21 February 2011
I will be honest and say I was initially drawn to this book by its beautiful cover. It's really different, quite old-fashioned looking but after reading it, it suits the book absolutely perfectly and makes it even more kitsch and charming! This book is author Amy Bratley's debut, and while this is a somewhat overdone subject in chicklit - girl finds out boy is cheating on her, girl struggles to move on but does so and pursues new love - but Bratley dresses this up within a desire to create a real home, and all the things that go with that. I was utterly charmed by this book, and really enjoyed every single page, I found myself not wanting to put it down, even as the clock ticked on every night.
17 February 2011
Matt Dunn has quickly become of my favourite chick-lit authors, and always offers something brilliant and funny for a male perspective, a fresh view in chick lit I have to say! Matt has written about the characters of Ed and Dan twice before, in The Ex-Boyfriend's Handbook and Ex-Girlfriend's United, both of which were hilarious and so I was thrilled to learn he was bringing them back for a (probably final!) outing. The cover has broken away from the other two which is somewhat of a shame to those who like their matching covers but I quite like the fun and carefree look of the new one, it certainly stands out with its bright blue and knitted imagery. I was just hoping that this third outing for Ed and Dan wouldn't be disappointed, and of course I was right!
10 February 2011
I haven't read anything by author Sarra Manning so far, You Don't Have To Say You Love Me is Manning's second adult novel following 'Unsticky', but she has also written a host of teen novels too. The cover of this book isn't exactly my thing - I far prefer the supermarket versions with the petals which you can see here, but of course I tried not to judge the book by its cover as we're always told not to do! I was a little unsure about the book's premise - is it right in this day and age to be writing about women changing their figures just to make men fall in love with them? Either way, I hoped Manning had a trump card up her sleeve with this book and sat down to read the 500+ page novel.
The character of Neve is our leading lady. I have to say while I liked Neve at the beginning of the book, I found myself disliking her more and more as the book progressed. She was absolutely fixated with her weight and her appearance, to the point where it became incredibly irritating to hear her harp on about it although its made clear by the narrative she is far from either of these things. I know myself that when a woman feels bad about herself, nothing is going to change her mind, even if she really did look like Claudia Schiffer, but for some reason with Neve I found myself much like Max - getting irritated and impatient with her. I think this therefore put my mind in a negative thought throughout the book - lack of sympathy for the lead character is always a problem for the likeability overall.
The other characters were much more pleasing to me. One of my favourites was Celia, Neve's younger sister. She's slightly mad, loving her funky fashion and not really having any responsibilities, but she was such a welcome change from Neve's constant diatribe that I really enjoyed everytime she popped up in a scene. Likewise Max. He was clearly written to be the boy we all love to hate, but I found myself liking him despite this. I could see his predatory side wasn't particularly good, but when he was with Neve, he was very different and I loathed Neve for how she was treating Max. I was actually wishing Max would just tell Neve to shut up sometimes, I was egging him on in my mind anyway! The final character, and one I disliked again, was William. I couldn't stand his arrogant letters to Neve, and could see how the whole thing was going to end up immediately, there was no surprise element there at all for me.
While it might sound like there was nothing I liked about the book thus far, that isn't true. I thought the book itself was well written. The narrative from Neve's perspective was easy to read, and Manning's first person narrative was enjoyable, albeit annoying at times when she is being self-deprecating. The story itself was good - I could see how it was going to end up, but I liked the journey it took to get there. I did find it a little slow at first and I found it hard to get into the book initially, but once I was around 1/3 of the way in, it did pick up and I really did start to enjoy the pace of the book and the story itself. I especially loved Manning's brief detour into the world of WAG's with Neve, this was humorous and enjoyable and a nice change from Neve's day to day life as an archivist.
Would I recommend this book? Yes, but I do have reservations about it. I did find the whole plot line of losing weight to impress a guy a bit too shallow - I certainly expect more from today's chick lit and I was a bit surprised to see Manning go down this route. I believe Neve was written to be a sympathetic character, but I just couldn't feel sorry for her at all. She was too negative all the time for me, and it grate on my nerves, to the point where I didn't want to pick the book up at times. There are a couple of other storylines in there that were very well done, especially the one with Neve and her sister-in-law Charlotte, but the one between Neve, Max and William just seemed a bit trite to me, and I wonder whether Manning missed the mark with this one. The writing is good, the plot was at times good also but my problem with the basic premise of the book still stands, as did my dislike of the main character Neve.
9 February 2011
I love Jane Moore's novels and have read everything that she has written so far, so I was pleased to find out Jane was back this year with a new book as it's been a couple of years since her last, Perfect Match. The cover of this jumped out at me immediately - it's lovely and bright and summery, certainly making a change from all of the wintery books we are seeing around at the moment, and it made me want to pick it up and devour it straight away. Jane's last book was a very serious one about a couple making a child to save the life of another, so it seemed like this book was going to be a lot more light-hearted, albeit still about a serious subject, so I sat down, eager to read more.
3 February 2011
This is author Jessica Ruston's second novel, and whilst I haven't had the oppotunity to read her first, Luxury, just yet, after thoroughly enjoying To Touch The Stars, I certainly want to read that as soon as possible because Ruston is certainly a great talent within the women's fiction genre, and it certainly makes me look forward to reading more work from this author. I was drawn to this book immediately by the beautiful cover - the shiny silver stars combined with the vivid blue imagery is beautiful and certainly complements the book itself perfectly - this is a fantastic cover, and it's great to see a publisher getting it spot on for a cover.
2 February 2011
Dorothy Koomson has quickly worked her way up to my top few chick lit authors of all time, and I eagerly await the release of any book that she brings out, simply because they have all been brilliant and Koomson hasn't let me down so far! Koomson's books always seem to have an element of mystery to her books - we know certain things about the characters and certain events, yet there is always something in the background we don't know everything about, and this is usually the crux of the story, and ends up shocking the reader, something I love about her books. Her last novel, The Ice Cream Girls, certainly didn't disappoint on this front, and now this one manages to trump even that, I was absolutely glued to this book from start to finish.