Grace Grows is a book that I hadn't heard all that much about when I was given the opportunity to review it - I hadn't seen it around and so I hadn'tGrace Grows is a book that I hadn't heard all that much about when I was given the opportunity to review it - I hadn't seen it around and so I hadn't read any reviews. However, I did like the premise and so decided to give it a go. I am so glad that I did as it was such a fun read.
Grace Grows is an adult chick-lit book, but will definitely appeal to young adult, contemporary fans too. The plot revolves around our protagonist, Grace, and a young man she meets, musician Tyler Wilkie. Personally, I thought that the plot sounded more young-adult than adult, but that's certainly not a bad thing. The story isn't too 'young' by any means - the writing is good, it isn't overly complex and so easy to just sit back and read. I'd imagine that Grace Grows would be a perfect holiday read - it has a relaxing pace and really does manage to hold your attention. The only slight issue I had with pacing was when Grace left her fiancé - I thought that all happened a little too quickly and without much repercussion, making it less realistic. However, that certainly wasn't a huge issue - I got over it pretty quickly as I was so eager to see if and how Grace and Tyler's relationship progressed.
Grace's character was very likeable, surprisingly funny and down to earth, someone that would make a fantastic friend, the perfect word to describe her would be, simply, 'lovely' - this was obviously very important for the book to work. However, for me, Tyler just totally stole the show... Tyler is in no way perfect, but that just makes him even more loveable! I'm finding it very difficult to describe Tyler, you do have to read the book to see what he's like. If I'm being honest, I didn't love Tyler straight away and some of his actions/reactions did confuse me, but I learned that was part of who he was and as we became familiarised, I did start to love his quirky personality. I can't say that I've read a book about a boy like Tyler before and so it was refreshing, a welcome change. This is another reason why I liked reading about Grace and Tyler's relationship - it wasn't instantaneous and it wasn't as typical as most other books.
Okay, now it's time to fess up: I have to admit that I did become biased towards this book as soon as it mentioned Kate Bush. Anybody who knows me knows just how obsessed I am with Kate Bush (just check out my blog name!) and it came as a fantastic surprise to see her mentioned several times as one of Grace's favourite musicians. Tyler Wilkie, our moody fictional character sings his own version of 'Feel It' to his love interest, in front of a crowd and to say that I swooned was an understatement! So yes, I may have been won over by this, but still, as Kate would say, 'wow.'
To sum it up, Grace Grows was a fun, entertaining and charming read. I enjoyed the story from start to finish and was certainly left wanting more. Sumners is undoubtedly a talented writer and will most likely appeal to fans of authors such as Sophie Kinsella. I really hope that people pick this book up and it gets the popularity that it deserves!...more
The cover of Colin Fischer is the first thing that drew me to the book - I loved all the little hand drawn faces with the emotions written beneath theThe cover of Colin Fischer is the first thing that drew me to the book - I loved all the little hand drawn faces with the emotions written beneath them. After checking out the blurb, the cover started to make sense, making me want to pick this up and start reading straight away!
Needless to say, it didn't take me long to start this! I'm very interested in anything medical, psychological or mental-health related and the fact that this was a book that focused on Asperger's Syndrome was what made it really appeal to me. I have read a few other fictional books that focus on the subject, such as The Curious Incident of the Dog in The Night-time and Mockingbird, both of which I really loved. I'm certainly no expert on this subject and I have no experience of it, so I can't say whether this is an accurate portrayal of the syndrome, but I thought that it was portrayed in a reasonably fair manner. Colin's syndrome makes it difficult for him to interact with others and so social situations are particularly hard for him. One thing Colin is good at is logic - he is a very logical person and very intellectual, nobody could deny his intellect on a large variety of subjects.
When there is a gun shot heard in his the cafeteria of his school, Colin is the only one who stays and observes what happens - initially, he isn't fully aware of what went on around him, but he slowly pieces facts together, figuring out what happened at the school. I admit that I wasn't actually all that interested by the incident - for some reason, it just didn't grab my attention and I wasn't all that interested in the situation. The fact is, I didn't really care all that much about the people around Colin - most of them were pretty disrespectful towards Colin and just generally easy to dislike. I think that if I could connect with them as well as Colin, it may have been different. The
I connected well with Colin and I felt for him - I didn't feel sorry for him at all - I just felt accepting, which was both an important and a great thing for the authors to achieve. I really enjoyed reading his notebook entries which I thought really gave us some insight to his true thoughts, it was something that allowed us to get into his head and see what he was thinking, even if Colin wasn't outwardly open with others. For me, Colin was thankfully the best feature of this book and I'm glad that the writing and portrayal of his character worked well for me.
Overall, this was an enjoyable book but the plot itself was lacking something. Colin's character is what redeemed this book and that was fine and understandable, seeing as he is the main focus of the book. However, the plot wasn't very interesting to me, it didn't work as well as similar plots have in other novels and didn't get me hooked. I would recommend this book just on the basis of Colin's character. I think that this will appeal to a lot of people, especially middle graders or younger young-adults....more
As a self confessed geek, when I heard about the release of Geek Girl, I just had to read it - I didn't even know what it was about, but the title wasAs a self confessed geek, when I heard about the release of Geek Girl, I just had to read it - I didn't even know what it was about, but the title was enough to capture my attention! As this is Holly Smale's debut novel, I really didn't know what to expect, but thankfully the contents lived up to the bright, fun book cover.
Harriet Manners, our protagonist, is a 15 year old girl who is labelled as a geek by most of the people at her school. Harriet's best friend is Nat, a girl who has wanted to be a model her whole life - something that Harriet can't quite fathom, something that she would never think of aspiring to. However, when Nat drags Harriet along to The Clothes Show, everything goes quite unexpectedly and Harriet is 'spotted' by Wilbur who works for a top modelling agent and things completely change for her.
When Harriet is spotted by a model agency, she has a lot of decisions to make, though the question of whether she really wants to model is pretty much taken out of her hands when she discovers that she has a large bill to pay due to a clumsy mistake and when she discovers Wilbur won't take no for an answer! When Harriet's father finds out about the opportunity, he highly encourages it whereas her stepmother, Annabel is against the idea. Harriet herself is bewildered by the situation - something she didn't expect and something that was meant to happen for her best friend. Harriet comes across a few problems in this novel and it's interesting (and often quite funny!) to see how she works through them. Harriet does decide to model and along with her father, she sneaks off to Russia for the job, trying as hard as she can to try and hide everything from Annabel (which turns out to be very difficult when she gets half of her hair cut off!). The whole escapade is ridiculous, which makes it so much fun. It's
Harriet is a very likeable character and very easy to read about. She seemed to be a relatable character and someone I could empathise with. I liked seeing how she handled a job that she really didn't have much a clue about - she became very endearing as she figured things out. I really enjoyed reading about her friendship with Nat and how things changed with her decision. The relationships in this book were all typical teenage relationships and seemed realistic enough. Harriet's relationship with her 'stalker', Toby, was really great - it added such a good amount of humour to the story and I found myself both cringing and laughing at their interaction. For those who like a little bit of romance, you wont miss out - look no further than loveable Lion Boy, Nick.
It's pretty predictable what will happen in this book and the characters are quite stereotypical, but that doesn't matter - it's still enjoyable and will entertain most young adult fans, particularly young teens and those who are looking for a light read and a good giggle! Holly Smale is a very promising and gifted writer who I will look forward to seeing more from in the future....more
I never really got into Downton Abbey until the latest series, but now I am an absolutely huge fan. I'm not sure why it took me so long to get into itI never really got into Downton Abbey until the latest series, but now I am an absolutely huge fan. I'm not sure why it took me so long to get into it, but thankfully this book has been released and so now I can read up on what I've missed!
When The Chronicles of Downton Abbey arrived, like any Downton fan, I was so excited to have a copy in my hands! After just a quick flick through, I already knew that I loved this book. I couldn't wait to have a better look at it. This is the 'official companion' to all three seasons and gives us an in-depth look at the main characters who inhabit the Downton estate. This book is not a story, but a 'chronicle' of fictional characters.
There are a lot of different characters explored in this book, from both upstairs in the lavish house and downstairs in the servants' quarters. The character description goes into great depth, it seems that nothing has been left out and through learning about one character, we also get to learn about others and of the general happenings of the estate. I'm sure that even if you haven't missed an episode, there is a whole lot more to learn about the much loved characters, yet it doesn't give too much away if you haven't seen the whole series yet. There are a lot of interesting historical facts added in to this, as expected, which adds even more realism to the Downton story. The characters' factual history and emotions are both explored well.
Alongside all of the fascinating information, this book is presented beautifully. The interesting facts are illustrated with images of on-set props and gorgeous photographs from the television series - to simply look at the pictures in this is a real treat. You could easily revisit any section of this book again and again without getting bored.
As you can probably tell, I really enjoyed this book! If you know anyone who likes Downton Abbey, do buy them this for Christmas - it truly is a perfect gift for any fan. If you are interested in this period of history, this may also be for you, or even if you just want to see what all the fuss is about - I doubt you will be disappointed! ...more
Despite her huge popularity, I hadn't gotten around to picking up a book by Melissa Hill until this Christmas. Though the Charm Bracelet is the first
Despite her huge popularity, I hadn't gotten around to picking up a book by Melissa Hill until this Christmas. Though the Charm Bracelet is the first book that I have read by her, I am sure it won't be the last - it was everything that I was expecting in the most positive way.
The Charm Bracelet immediately had me sold as it based around Christmas time - I love Christmas and prefer my reads to be as seasonal as possible, so I had to give this one a go. Of course, this book also has such a fun and intriguing premise - our main character, Holly, works in a vintage clothing store and finds a charm bracelet, which someone has mistakenly sent inside a jacket pocket, to the store. Holly has a charm bracelet herself and knows how important and sentimental they can be to the owner, so she sets out to find who it belongs to.
Alongside the story of Holly, we are introduced to another main character called Greg, who is still finding himself - he has left his steady job in order to pursue his dreams, which causes some relationship problems and in turn, his whole lifestyle gets shaken up. Initially, Greg's story seems very separate from Holly's, but as the story progresses, both story lines become interlinked.
I really enjoyed learning about both Holly and Greg as well as about the owner of the bracelet. I really don't want to spoil it for anyone, so I won't go into detail, but the story behind the owner was one of the most special parts of the book for me - it was very touching. Holly works through each charm on the bracelet and tries to find out the history behind it. For anyone who has ever owned a charm bracelet, you will find yourself reminiscing.
The characters were all well written and well thought out - each had a good history which was particularly 'solid' and contributed a lot to the plot of the story which moved at a good pace and was so easy to read continuously. If you're into chick-lit, Christmas and easy, indulgent reads, this is certainly a book I would recommend. I look forward to reading more by Melissa Hill in the future....more
Dawn French is a person that almost everyone knows and a person who a lot of people love, simply for her ability to make you laugh. I've not read anytDawn French is a person that almost everyone knows and a person who a lot of people love, simply for her ability to make you laugh. I've not read anything that has been written by her before, but I have wanted to. When I read the blurb for Oh Dear Silvia, I immediately picked it up and started reading.
I love the idea behind this book - The whole book takes place in Coma Suite 5, where Silvia, a friend, lover and mother lies in a coma. The story is told through several people - her ex-husband (Ed), her sister (Jo), her daughter (Cassie), her 'lover' (Cat), her housekeeper (Tia) and her nurse (Winnie). There isn't really a progressive plot as such, but this is more of a collection of memories, wishes and thoughts have about Silvia and how she has changed each narrator's life. I find books like this very intriguing, so I was interested in seeing what each person had to say.
Though there are quite a few narrators, they were all very distinctive and even if it didn't have their names at the beginning of each chapter, you'd know who they were. I was very impressed with the authenticity of each character, as they were all so very different, though you could still sense that some of the characters were connected (Ed and his daughter). I was also impressed with the depth of each character - the character building through the chats to Silvia in the suite was very well done. We get to see many different sides to the characters as they go through various emotional stages. Interaction between the conscious characters was also fantastic, particularly towards the end. I also enjoyed the use of dialect.
As expected, there were some hilarious comedy moments from French (I particularly liked the scene with the 'healing' animals - I was laughing out loud!), which balanced out the more serious backbone of the story. Though this is written by a comedienne, it does have quite a lot of serious issues brought up which added sincerity and seriousness to the writing, which I appreciated.
To explain my rating of this book, although there was a lot of elements of this book which I enjoyed, it did take me a while to get into it. At first I was very unsure about the book. There were parts that held my attention and some parts I struggled with. At the beginning, I didn't enjoy the writing, particularly the way most of the words were underlined for emphasis. I got used to it, then different dialects were brought in which, again, made me unsure. I did find Winnie's Jamaican dialect to be charming, though I was unsure about Tia. Tia is foreign and her children taught her to use lots of swearing and incorrect words when talking - sure, it was funny at the start, but I found it to be tiresome after a while and didn't like it. Our most serious character in the book is probably Ed, who I did enjoy reading about, but sometimes, in contrast with the other characters, felt a little dull.
Overall, I was impressed with Oh Dear Silvia, and though I was unsure of it at first, I was glad that I stayed with it as it improved from the midpoint onwards. I think that this book will appeal to a lot of readers, and I would certainly be willing to read more fictional novels by Dawn French....more
I had only read one book written by Jane Green prior to this one, but it didn't stop me being very excited to pick this one up! I really enjoyed GreenI had only read one book written by Jane Green prior to this one, but it didn't stop me being very excited to pick this one up! I really enjoyed Green's fun and relaxed style of writing in Jemima J, and was even more impressed with her latest release, The Holiday. I was also impressed with the other two short stories, The Second Wife of Reilly by Jennifer Coburn and Mistletoe and Holly by Liz Ireland.
I am not usually completely taken by short stories, I prefer the depth of a longer novel, but I am happy to say that I enjoyed this book a lot. Admittedly, I enjoyed Holiday and Mistletoe and Holly substantially more than The Second Wife of Reilly, but it was always a pleasure to pick up this book for some light festive reading. This is a very unchallenging book and with it's very tame content, suitable for both young adults and adults alike.
In Holiday, our main characters are Sarah and Eddie, a couple who used to be blissfully in love, but unfortunately are struggling - both seem to have stopped caring for themselves as much as they used to, and Sarah feels as though she's become a one-parent family. When Eddie is offered a job away from home, the couple decide on a temporary break so that they can assess both their relationship and themselves. I liked the authenticity of this story - it seemed the most realistic of the three and had a good amount of substance. The relationship was really well explored and I also loved the extra element that the children added to the book. This was a really warming, festive start to the book and I couldn't wait to see what the next story brought!
The Second Wife of Reilly was the second short story in the book. In this story, we are introduced to Sarah, wife to Reilly, a nice, trustworthy man - the only problem is that she's worried that Prudence, his ex-wife might try to get back with him. Sarah, along with a friend, decides to try and find a partner for Prudence by pretending to be her on the internet. To be honest, the story was very farfetched and utterly unrealistic, yet it still managed to be readable - I found whole thing silly, yet humorous. This isn't a story that you'll enjoy if you're seriously analysing or criticising it, but as an unchallenging work of fiction, it's decent.
The final story in the book was Mistletoe and Holly. Holly and her childhood friend, Isaac, are heading home for Christmas with one difference this year - Holly is taking her new boyfriend, Jason, to meet her family. Unfortunately, Jason doesn't turn out to be as perfect as he first seems. This story is very predictable, but it is also very, very sweet which definitely outweighs the predictability! Though this story was a little more uneven, or not as solid, as Holiday, I did find this the most enjoyable story of the three. It was probably the most 'Christmassy' feeling of the three too, which meant it was a lovely ending to the book.
I would recommend this book to those who like festive reads and to anyone who likes chick-lit. It's not a perfectly written book, but it is perfectly enjoyable! I would certainly like to read more books by Jane Green in the future and I'm also interested in checking out more of Liz Ireland's work after this book. ...more
This is the second Christmas themed book I've read by Debbie Macomber, again featuring the Shirley, Goodness and Mercy, three Christmas angels who areThis is the second Christmas themed book I've read by Debbie Macomber, again featuring the Shirley, Goodness and Mercy, three Christmas angels who are also prayer ambassadors, aiming to help those on earth who take the moment to make a prayer, or need a miracle. This time, the angels have a young apprentice angel to guide...
Once again, this is a book that is typical of Macomber. It's typical comfort reading material - the type of book that you could snuggle up with and read contentedly all night. It is marketed as a Christmas themed book, but it is more than suitable to read at other times of the year - it doesn't really feel like a seasonal book. The book starts with Gabriel making his first blunder, making two strangers bump into each other on New Year's Eve. The angels watch as things unfold between the two strangers, adding even more trouble into the mix throughout. The angels added some humour and a fun to the book, but I still found the angels to be a bit childish and so a bit of a disappointment to read.
Lucie and Aren are the two people who meet on New Year's Eve and, initially, everything seems great - this chance meeting could be perfect. However, it turns out that Aren is an anonymous food critic and Lucie is a chef at one of the restaurants that he critiques. As their meeting wasn't to God's plan, of course their friendship couldn't run smoothly... thanks to the angels who once again do something mistakenly, things only get worse. We follow both Lucie and Aren through their ups and downs which are very well written. I like how Macomber really tries to get into the mind and emotions of her characters. Both characters are likeable and realistic in their thoughts and feelings. Honestly, the pace of the book was a little too quick for me - some things seemed a little glossed over and I think that the book could have benefited from some more length.
As this book is written by Macomber, it is predictable and you should expect a happy ending for everyone, however that isn't necessarily a bad thing. This is another book from Macomber that won't disappoint her fans. If you're looking for a relaxing, romance book then this would be a good quick read, whether it's Christmas or not! ...more
Once Upon a Christmas is the second book that I’ve read by Sarah Morgan, but I know it certainly won’t be the last! Last year, I read Angels in the SnOnce Upon a Christmas is the second book that I’ve read by Sarah Morgan, but I know it certainly won’t be the last! Last year, I read Angels in the Snow and really enjoyed it, so when I heard about her newest book, Once Upon a Christmas, I jumped at the chance of reviewing it and I am so happy to say that it didn’t disappoint
This book is separated into two interlinking stories, one telling the story of Bryony and Jack, the other of Helen, Bryony’s best friend and Oliver, Bryony’s sister. Though they are two separate stories, thankfully neither of them lack in depth. I did prefer Bryony’s story slightly more than that of Helen and Oliver, but both stories were really enjoyable. Though the stories were rather predictable, they were lovely to just sit back, relax and read - this really is a perfect winter book! There are lots of Christmassy references in this book, so it does really immerse you into the atmosphere and setting - however, it wouldn’t put me off reading it at other times of the year.
I really liked meeting all of the characters that we were introduced to as they all had vibrant personalities - even the secondary characters felt very real. The way that the characters interacted with each other was very lifelike and so the book felt realistic. The chemistry between Bryony and Jack was fantastic to read about - I really got drawn into their relationship and willed them on. Jack’s relationship with Bryony’s daughter was touching and I loved the family dynamic. The chemistry between Helen and Oliver was also well written, but for me, it did feel a little sudden or rushed, nevertheless, I grew to love them both as a couple. I thought that their was just the right amount of romance in this book. I thought that for the most part, the story moved on well and I enjoyed the anticipation of the next move. The romance wasn’t too sickly sweet for me, but passionate and loving. For those who enjoy more steamy scenes, there are a couple in the book that are sure to satisfy, without being too over the top.
I must admit that I was left a little disappointed about the lack of exploration of Bryony and Helen’s friendship - though Helen is Bryony’s best friend, we never really got to see them interact and if we did, I think that may have been beneficial for the connection of the two stories.
This really was a fantastic Christmas read which I’d highly recommend to anyone who is wanting an easy, festive read. It’s always nice to read something light and heartwarming at this time of year, and with lovable characters alongside a beautiful wintery setting, Once Upon a Christmas will not disappoint! ...more