The Rosie Effect is a sequel that didn't need to be written. I very much enjoyed its predecessor, The Rosie Project, when I sped through it in 2014. IThe Rosie Effect is a sequel that didn't need to be written. I very much enjoyed its predecessor, The Rosie Project, when I sped through it in 2014. In fact, immediately after finishing I hurried on to its sequel, keen to see where the next chapter of Don Tillman's story lead. But within a few pages I set it aside again, feeling perhaps overdosed on Don's foibles for now.
It was only when The Rosie Effect appeared as a book group book that I returned to it, two years later. And after finishing, frankly I rather wish I hasn't. As a sequel, The Rosie Effect is so lackluster and disappointing that it's tarnished my memories of the original.
There are a few chuckles to be had, but I felt that we were often rather cruelly set up to laugh at Don's expense - for instance in an incident where he prepares for impeding fatherhood by videoing children in a park - which ends about as well as you'd imagine.
The relationship between Don and Rosie that was originally so compelling and easy to root for decays here to the point that I could barely stand Rosie. Not only does she trick Don into getting her pregnant, she then decides that all the elements that make him so unique also make him uniquely unqualified to be a father. She displays no understanding of the man she married whatsoever. And we're meant to be hoping these crazy kids find a way to make it work? Give me a break.
If you enjoyed The Rosie Project and want to know where the story leads next, just sit in a dark room for twenty minutes and imagine it. I promise, you'll have more fun than reading this book.
After You is the sequel to Jojo Moyes' tragi-romance Me Before You. I don't read a great deal of chick lit, but the latter was a book club pick for myAfter You is the sequel to Jojo Moyes' tragi-romance Me Before You. I don't read a great deal of chick lit, but the latter was a book club pick for my reading group back in December 2012, so I dutifully read it and subsequently rated it 2 stars. I'm going to be honest, when I first heard there was a sequel out, I assumed the person telling me was joking and laughed quite a lot. Given that we're four years on from the publication of Me Before You, and there's now a film adaptation out (and that, well, it would be hard to review this book without mentioning pivotal events from the former), I think it's okay to come out and say the dude dies at the end. This is a sequel to a romance novel where the love interest is already dead. On that basis, After You isn't quite your typical chick lit.
That doesn't do an awful lot to elevate it, however. We open on our bereaved protagonist Louisa still trying to adapt to life without Will in it. While she's been left enough money to go out and make something of her life, she's instead wound up in a dead-end job, and spends most of this book trying to come to terms with her loss, deal with one last major surprise from Will, and tentatively move on to a new relationship.
In its favour, After You made for easy listening, and Anna Acton's narration was a perfectly serviceable accompaniment to household chores. But it never really stirred anything in me. There were few sparks of the old, fun Louisa, and while I enjoyed her relationship with teenager Lily, her new love interest Sam felt flat and forgettable. And so much happens to Louisa that it's just hard to take it all seriously. The only character who feels particularly real is her incredulous boss, whose reaction to her falling off a roof, being involved in a shooting and having a lost love who took himself to Dignitas, is about what you'd expect if you tried telling your own boss that. Even a side plot which involves Lou's mum finding feminism and ceasing to shave her legs feels less like character development and more like Moyes just turning her into a totally new character.
Overall, if you enjoyed Me Before You and want to see how things turned out for Lou, by all means go ahead and read this book. Just keep your expectations low, and don't hold out for too much moving realism.
I've seen and enjoyed the film version of Austenland, so after a five month slog re-reading A Song of Ice and Fire, this is where I turned for a bit oI've seen and enjoyed the film version of Austenland, so after a five month slog re-reading A Song of Ice and Fire, this is where I turned for a bit of a palate cleanser. It's certainly light reading - I was done with it within four hours - and that's mostly what kept me going after a very shaky beginning. This isn't a well-written book, and when the blurb at the end revealed that the author's previous works are all Young Adult, that made sense. But the premise is just such a fun idea, it's hard not to get swept along with it. I think this is a rare occasion where the film improved upon the book....more
This was a nice, easy holiday read. It was pure chick lit and entirely forgettable (somewhat ironic given the subject matter), but it was nice to holdThis was a nice, easy holiday read. It was pure chick lit and entirely forgettable (somewhat ironic given the subject matter), but it was nice to hold a big hefty paperback in my hands and feel the pages flying by. There's nothing taxing or especially substantial there, but I got to finish the day with a sense of accomplishment - it's been far too long since I've had the time to read a whole book in a day.
In What Alice Forgot we follow thirty-nine-year-old single mum of three Alice Love, who hits her head one day at the gym and wakes up thinking she's twenty-nine, still married and pregnant with her first child. She tries to piece together the decade she's lost and discover where her relationships with family and friends went awry. The book features frequent interjections from Alice's sister and honorary grandmother in the style of journal and blog entries, which initially felt a bit intrusive, but on the whole made for a fuller story. The side-plot following her sister's fertility struggles and depression was well-handled for what was generally a light-hearted book.
I wouldn't rush out to read more by Liane Moriarty, but then a couple of chick lit books a year is usually my limit anyway. I have a copy of The Husband's Secret knocking about somewhere from when everyone was raving about it last year, and while this isn't really the style I was expecting based on that blurb, I'm sure that'll make a decent read in time too....more
Oh boy. I read the majority of previous Shopaholic installments a few years back, over the span of a couple of months, and got to be really quite fondOh boy. I read the majority of previous Shopaholic installments a few years back, over the span of a couple of months, and got to be really quite fond of the foibles and shortcomings of Becky Bloomwood/Brandon. Granted, they were all essentially mindless, easy reads and ultimately forgettable (I got a good 50-100 pages into Mini Shopaholic on holiday last year before realising I'd already read it), but I was still looking forward to the release of Shopaholic to the Stars, catching up with Becky and family as she relocates to LA and attempts to become a celebrity stylist.
I hated this book. I really, truly detested Becky and wished only bad things for her. If it had ended with her husband leaving her and her friends and family cutting her off, it would have been deserved. The woman is a self-absorbed, self-obsessed narcissist who cheerfully blows through her husband's money while acting like a completely unreasonable human being. We're talking forgetting about her family and best friend while going on major shopping sprees purchasing clothes for a celebrity she's never even met. Hiring a round-the-clock security team after getting her face in the news once. The woman is completely disconnected from reality, and by the time she finally starts to realise this once everyone has reached the end of their tether with her, it's all too little too late. Sophie Kinsella leaves a lot open to be resolved in the next installment, and if I show even a flicker of considering reading it, I would like someone to poke some sense into me....more
This book was entirely lightweight and vacuous, but fun nonetheless. I had a month to read it for my book club, but got through it within a few days.This book was entirely lightweight and vacuous, but fun nonetheless. I had a month to read it for my book club, but got through it within a few days. It's an easy page turner, albeit one with very few likeable characters beyond the narrator. Snobs follows Edith, a fairly wealthy estate agent from London, as she marries into a minor aristocratic family. From first to last it sends up those pretentious folk whose self-worth is defined by social climbing, and does so fairly wittily. It's not a laugh-out-loud book, but it is roundly amusing, if overdone in places. My one substantial niggle was the periods of time skipped. One moment Edith and Charles had been on a single date, the next they were engaged. It made it difficult to gauge the passage of time, so when it was mentioned that they'd been married for two years, I could hardly reconcile that with what had passed and it pulled me right out of the moment. I wouldn't recommend it to anyone hoping for hilarity or an in-depth examination of England's social hierarchy, but as fluffy chick lit, I've read a heck of a lot worse....more
**spoiler alert** One Day follows Edinburgh University graduates Emma and Dexter over the course of two decades, focussing on July 15th of each year.**spoiler alert** One Day follows Edinburgh University graduates Emma and Dexter over the course of two decades, focussing on July 15th of each year. It's fairly amusing, with largely believable dialogue, and was just about entertaining enough to ensure I got all the way through it.
Sadly, that's about all it has going for it. Being believeable doesn't make the main characters in the least bit likeable. Dexter has a caddish charm about him that carries through, but Emma's soul purpose in the entire novel appears to be to moan. About herself, her appearance, her prospects, and absolutely every one and every thing else. She spends so much time belittling Dexter that it's beyond me why she means so much to him. He says that she's a good friend to him, but all we really see in these snapshot days are Emma being a moody cow. For over 400 pages.
The length does not work in the novel's favour - Nicholls just doesn't have enough interesting ideas to carry the gimmicky premise for that long, and so a great great deal of One Day is entirely mundane. There are long, long chapters where nothing really happens, yet when the protagonists finally get together, after years and years of increasingly implausible set-backs keeping them apart, it's all over and done with in a few dozen pages.
I know that this is largely the point. Nicholls isn't really writing about the romance, he's writing about the people, and how they grow and change with time. The book is a journey, in a way. Sadly, it's a journey that takes far too many long and twisting back roads and ultimately left me feeling travel sick. One Day to avoid....more
Although I'm generally far from a fan of chick-lit, this book made me smile. It follows three generations of women under one roof: the increasingly coAlthough I'm generally far from a fan of chick-lit, this book made me smile. It follows three generations of women under one roof: the increasingly confused Nan, reflecting back on her youth; middle-aged Karen, frustrated by her middle class aspirations and determined her daughter should better her lot in life; and 17-year-old Charlotte, pregnant and set on repeating all her mother's mistakes.
The book is hindered by clarity issues, especially towards the beginning, as it can be hard to discern who is narrating at any given time. Nan's thoughts are presented in a different font, whereas the more-similar-than-they-realise Karen and Charlotte are differentiated only by the occasional line-break. Charlotte's 'voice' is also somewhat suspect - sometimes a little too worldly and knowing for a plausibly frightened teenager.
Overall, though, it's an entertaining read about familial love, acceptance, and the cyclical nature of life and its many mistakes. It's also one of those rare beasts: a book I'd actually share with my own mother. Definitely worth a read, especially if you enjoyed the TV adaptation....more