Monday, March 12, 2012

Any Dream Will Do

Any Dream Will Do
By Maria Duffy

This is the story of Jenny Breslin, who is a little dissatisfied with her life so turns to Twitter where she makes some exciting friends and decides to invite some of them to spend a weekend with her in Dublin.
She hopes they will not have a boring time but this turns out to be the least of her worries as she gets to know her Twitter friends a little better in real life...

I really warmed to Jenny's character, she is not perfect but very likable. I really looked forward to reading the book to find out what happened to her (and all the other characters!)
The book felt fresh, modern and up to date. However I felt the last chapter was not necessary, I would have preferred if it ended with the snowshower!

The real message in this book is to appreciate what you have in life and make the most of your circumstances and I must say it left me feeling quite upbeat.

Rachel's Rating: 4.5/5

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Christmas at Tiffany's

Christmas at Tiffany's
By Karen Swan

I picked this book up in early December thinking it would be a nice festive read. The cover is really pretty and the blurb on the back appealed to me. The main character is Cassie who at the start of the book discovers that her husband of 10 years has been cheating on her with her best friend. Absolutely shattered by this devastating news she flees from their quiet life in rural Scotland and decides to spend 4 months with each of her best friends in the 3 fabulous cities they live in – New York, Paris and London.
 She lives and works in each city for 4 months and with each move reinvents herself to blend in with the city in question. Of course she finds a fabulous job, meets fabulous people and has a fabulous time in each city but something is still missing & she needs to discover who is the real Cassie it and where she belongs.
This was an enjoyable book. I think it was incorrectly marketed as a Christmas story as it actually covers a whole year in Cassies life so do not let this put you off if you are looking for a nice read this February.

Rachel's Rating: 3.5/5

Friday, December 9, 2011

It Started with a Kiss

It Started with a Kiss
By Miranda Dickinson

This is the second book I have read by Miranda Dickinson. You can read my review of ‘Welcome to My World’ here.

The book starts in the run up to Christmas and follows the life of Romily Parker in her year long quest to find her one true love. Romily is a singer in a wedding band and has been harbouring a secret crush on her best friend and fellow band member Charlie for many years. When we first meet Romily she has finally plucked up the courage to inform Charlie of her feelings only to be left devastated by his uninterested response. That is until at her lowest point she meets a handsome stranger who looks into her eyes with deep affection, kisses her, tells her she is beautiful and then disappears from her sight. She feels she has known him forever but does not even know his name. And so begins her year long quest to find HIM!

Set in Birmingham (somewhere I have never been but am definitely more interested in going to now), I recognized some of the place names from Welcome to my World(e.g. Stone Yardley) which added a nice feature. The band do travel outside of Birmingham for weddings all over the UK and I think the sense of place is a real feature in this book. I actually looked up one of the wedding venues in the book to see if it was real because the description was so beautiful!

I loved the wedding theme running through the book. I got married earlier this year so I find it particularly interesting. I loved the observations on different types of weddings from the perspective of a wedding singer.

Romily is such a lovely character, not perfect (I think she could have been a bit nicer to her parents!) but very likeable for the most part. I did not feel I identified with her quite as much as I did with Harri (the main character in Welcome to my World) but that is down to my own personality rather than any flaw in the character. Two of the other charcters who really stood out for me in this book are her Auntie Mags and Uncle Dudley.

Miranda Dickinson really enagaged with social media during the process of writing and publishing this book. She gave regular updates on her YouTube videos & on her blog and this is something I really enjoyed. Also I think she really draws on experience from her own life as like Romily, Miranda is also a singer in a wedding band.

I am not sure I completely agree with the ending of the book as I was kind of hoping things would turn out differently for Romily. If you have read the book please leave a comment and let me know what you thought.

Overall however I really liked this book. I found it cheerful, upbeat, hopeful and a perfect read around Christmas Time.

Rachel's Rating: 3.5/5

Saturday, July 9, 2011

The Novel in the Viola

This novel is utterly charming. It tells the story of Elise a wealthy Austrian Jew who is forced to move to England in the late 1930s to work as a maid due to the hardship faced by Jews in Austria at this time. The real irony is that Elise is very unconcerned about religion but during this terrible period her Jewishness is what defines her. This could be a terribly depressing novel but the love, hope and resiliance of Elise shines through. There is even a little romance. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and found it a very insightful and rewarding read.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Casa Clara

I have just finished this lovely book by Kate McCabe. It tells the story of Emma Frazer who has always lived in the shadow of her beautiful and successful older sister. When she reaches a bit of a crisis point in her life she decides to flee to southern spain where she begins working in the beautiful Casa Clara Hotel.
I enjoyed this book so much that I went to Easons today and bought 'The Beach Bar' also by Kate McCabe. Casa Clara really seems like an idyllic place. This book made me want to pack my bags, hop on the plane and spend a few weeks in the spanish sunshine (in a beautiful hotel like Casa Clara of course!)