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!)

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Girl in a Spin

I mentioned The Disengagement Ring by Clodagh Murphy on this blog last year. I did not do a full review but I was delighted when Clodagh herself left a little comment after my post to thank me for mentioning the book. You can find the post here.
Anyway I have just finished her latest book 'Girl in a Spin' and I have to say I enjoyed it just as much as the previous one. I found it quite addictive and finished it in just over a week. The central character is Jenny, a Dublin girl who moves to London and ends up dating the leader of one of Britains main political parties (The Moderate Party). Jenny is not your typical 'party wife' as she comes from a very different world than your average moderate party member. On the surface she is beautiful, quirky and bubbly but underneath she is quite a complicated character. Although I felt some aspects of the novel were a little unrealistic I found Jenny to be a very interesting character and the book was never boring. I truly enjoyed it and would recommend it to anyone looking for a bit of escapism.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

The Happiness Project

On a recent trip to New York I bought the Happiness Project by Gretchin Ruben. I really enjoyed the book and also love the blog & the podcasts. I found the book really inspiring and I will hopefully be taking some small steps to try to improve my overall happiness. Watch this space.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

100 Years of China Teacups

I really love china teacups and my favourites are probably Royal Doulton. At the moment they have special sets to comemerate 100 Years of Royal Albert Dinnerware. Each piece in the collection is decorated using a pattern and design representing some of the most iconic styles and colors of each decade.

This lovely boxed-set of Teacups and Saucers features some of the most notable Royal Albert patterns from 1900 to 1940.

The second set features patterns from 1950 to 1990.

These truly are beautiful collections. It is really hard to pick a favourite.


I absoutley adored this book by Emma Donoghue and I must admit I have been feeling a litle sad since I finished it last week. I really miss little Jack. I do not want to say too much about it as I do not want to give away the story. All I will say is please read it if you have not done so already. The world really will look a little different afterwords.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

The Lovely Bones

I am very late reading this book so I know most people have read it or seen the film version long ago.
However I enjoyed it so much I thought I should write a little blog post about it.
The story is narrated by 14 year old Susie Salmon  who has been murdered and is speaking from heaven. She describes life in 'her' heaven and watches over all those she left behind on earth. Susie sees how those she loved are affected by her untimely death and this is really what this book is about. It deals with the horrible subjects of murder, grief and the afterlife in such a gentle way that is not dark and depressing as you might expect.
It is very thought provoking and an original novel.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

A Place of Secrets

The central character in this book is Jude who is an auctioneer specialising  in historical books. A new work assignment takes her to Starbrough Hall in Norfolk to value a collection of astronomical manuscrips and instruments. Whilst in Norfolk Jude finds herself unravelling the mystery of Starbrough Hall & coincidentally solving a mystery which has passed down through many generations of her own family.

I really liked Judes character and felt it was a lovely engrossing read. Perhaps there were a few too many coincidences in tying up all of the loose ends but I was not disappointed with the ending.This book would appeal to anyone who likes historical dramas splashed with a little romance. Fans of Kate Morton will love this.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Hello Heartbreak

This is the first novel by Amy Huberman wife of Irish rugby star Brian O'Driscoll. I have wanted to read this for quite a while and I remember hearing an interview with Amy where she said that if Mary sitting on the top deck of the bus was reading her book and enjoying it she would be happy. Well, I read this book on the bus, in the bath, in my bed - pretty much everywhere and I have to say I really enjoyed it.

The main character is Izzy Keegan who is a bit of a loveable if slightly ditzy blonde. When we first meet Izzy she has just been dumped by her boyfriend and is heartbroken. However this is not a novel about heartbreak. It is about fun, friendship, and a little bit of fashion. It would be a great novel for anyone going through a breakup or for anyone at all looking for a bit of escapism.

The book has been described as being like 'Jane Austen on ecstacy' and 'Bridget Jones' on viagra. I loved both and I also love this.

Amy has a new book coming out in June this year called 'I wished for you'. I am looking forward to it already.