It’s well known that I love Sophie Kinsella. All of her Shopaholic books are great as well as her stand-alone novels. I wasn’t planning to re-read The...moreIt’s well known that I love Sophie Kinsella. All of her Shopaholic books are great as well as her stand-alone novels. I wasn’t planning to re-read The Undomestic Goddess but I read the first page and found it so funny I decided to carry on reading.
It tells the story of Samantha Sweeting, a lawyer about to make partner at her firm, Carter Spink. One day, whilst tidying up her desk she realises she’s made a huge, career-altering mistake and panics. She leaves the office, finds herself in Paddington Station, takes a train and finds herself in the middle of nowhere. She stops at a house to ask for some water and is mistaken for an interviewee for a housekeeping position. She takes the job but there’s only one problem – Samantha is no Domestic Goddess…
This is the second time I’ve read The Undomestic Goddess and I found it just as funny the second time around as I did the first. That’s the one thing you can count on with Sophie’s novels – they’re going to be amusing.
It’s told in the first person so we get to know all of Samantha’s thoughts and at the beginning of the novel you can feel how fast-paced her life is and you find yourself reading quicker. The first-person view also allows you to see how Samantha’s life changes and slows down when she meets the Geigers.
I liked Samantha and I loved that she was so dedicated to her job, she had no idea how to work a toaster or the washing machine. It shows that just because someone has an IQ of 158 it doesn’t mean they can work simple appliances! Reading about Samantha’s struggles during the first few days of her job was hilarious and I could see all of the situations she got herself into. I also like how salvation came and Nathaniel’s mother showed Samantha that she could bake a cake and iron clothes. And that, when she puts her mind to it, Samantha could do whatever she liked.
I thought Nathaniel was well written and loved how amusing he found Samantha. I thought they got on well together. I found the Geigers amusing – all the demands they ask of Samantha and how impressed they were that she was English. They were completely bonkers but I loved them anyway! As I mentioned, Nathaniel’s mother, Iris, helped Samantha with her cooking skills and domestic skills. I loved the scenes between Samantha and Iris, they were sweet.
One of my favourite parts of the story – and of any story – was when Samantha pulled herself together over her error that cost her her job. I love when any heroine of any story goes out to find out the truth and realises, actually, there might be more to it than meets the eye. I loved how Samantha defended herself and tried to explain herself and, in the end, was given a chance to exonerate herself.
The Undomestic Goddess is definitely a favourite of mine. The story wasn’t really about Samantha’s job but the chance in Samantha as the novel wore on and I felt Sophie Kinsella wrote that brilliantly and realistically. Sophie is undoubtedly one of the best chick lit writers out there, because I have yet to read one of her novels I haven’t enjoyed!
Funny in places, silly in others. Like Laurie's writing style, would definitely read her other books! My absolute favourite part of the book was the c...moreFunny in places, silly in others. Like Laurie's writing style, would definitely read her other books! My absolute favourite part of the book was the chapter about Laurie's Nana when she gets call waiting and caller ID. I dare you not to cry laughing when you read it.(less)
Really funny in places, particularly the beginning of the novel where Ellen talks about writing a book. Other parts made me laugh, too, but other part...moreReally funny in places, particularly the beginning of the novel where Ellen talks about writing a book. Other parts made me laugh, too, but other parts were a bit dull. Very enjoyable nevertheless though!(less)
Gemma Townley is an author I’ve been wanting to read for ages. She’s the sister of Sophie Kinsella so I wanted to see how her writing style compared t...moreGemma Townley is an author I’ve been wanting to read for ages. She’s the sister of Sophie Kinsella so I wanted to see how her writing style compared to that of her sister. Her first few novels only came out in the USA, but more recently her Jessica Wild trilogy has been released in the UK so she does seem to be getting herself a market over here. Whether there’ll be any more UK releases from Gemma remains to be seen. With my brand new Kindle at hand, I decided to purchase When In Rome, which is one of Gemma’s earlier books and I was looking forward to reading it. Although there were points of the book that made me want to scream, overall I would definitely read another of Gemma’s novels.
When In Rome, it seems, is based on the movie Roman Holiday. Not that I’ve seen the movie, but with the many, many (!) references to how the trip to Rome is Georgie’s very own Roman Holiday, I presume she’s tried to re-create the movie of the same name. However, the novel is actually only set in Rome for about 20 pages making the synopsis just a bit mis-leading. I expected the bulk of the novel to take place in Rome, but it doesn’t. Instead most of the novel takes place in London, more particularly where Georgie works and in her flat. It did take me a bit to get into the book. It just seemed very sedate to start, as Georgie found herself wondering whether boyfriend David was the one for her or whether she should give ex Mike a second chance. I saw through Mike almost immediately, meaning that I spent the majority of the novel waiting for Georgie to catch up (which she doesn’t until the end of the novel).
But what ruined the novel for me was Georgie herself. I have never met a more annoying heroine ever. She is so arrogant, thinking Mike is back just for her, and thinking it’s OK to play two men the way she does. She’s shameful. After Mike invites her to Rome, she continually say’s that it’s “no big deal” and after she and David argue she speaks about “keeping her options open”. She really got on the wrong side of me. I’ve never met a more conceited female character. And her naivety and stupidity knows no bounds. Nobody, nobody, is as dense as Georgie. And I was continually shaking my head at how willing she was to do Mike’s bidding without knowing what she was really doing. I just can’t believe somebody would be that stupid. I figured it out no problem, and it made me so sad that Townley made her heroine such a total moron. I found Mike to be very one-dimensional (he was paper thin and I read him like a book). However I did have a bit of a soft spot for David, Georgie’s boyfriend, despite the fact he sometimes treated Georgie like a moron (whether she was one or not!)
Despite all my negative feelings toward Georgie, I did whizz through the novel, and despite how predictable it was (oh so predictable) it wasn’t the worst book I’ve ever read. In fact, I did for the most part enjoy it. Sure I’d have liked a bit less of the predictable. In fact, if I didn’t already know for sure I haven’t read the book I would assume that I had because it was so so easy to guess what Mike was up to and what David was hiding. But it was a quick, easy and taxless read and I will definitely be reading Gemma’s other novels. I just hope their titles and covers refer to the book a little bit more. For what it’s worth, the descriptions of Rome were beautiful, there just wasn’t enough for me as the book only spends a matter of pages there. I must admit, I do feel bad writing this review, as I did want to love the book but it just didn’t spark for me. It had promise and it was amusing at some points but a few aspects ruined the book just a little bit.(less)
After my non-starter earlier today, I was desperate to read something fairly quick so I could start something brand new tomorrow. Speak is a book I've...moreAfter my non-starter earlier today, I was desperate to read something fairly quick so I could start something brand new tomorrow. Speak is a book I've heard a lot about, but personally I just didn't feel it. All the right emotions were there, and it definitely sent out a powerful message, but bar that, I just wasn't feeling it. The way in which the book is written is a big part of that, because although it was well-written, it was very distant, very vague. It is definitely, however, a book worth your time!(less)
True Love (and Other Lies) tells the story of Claire, a travel writer for Sassy Seniors. She’s single and doesn’t believe in The One or Happy Ever Aft...moreTrue Love (and Other Lies) tells the story of Claire, a travel writer for Sassy Seniors. She’s single and doesn’t believe in The One or Happy Ever After.
However, on a flight to London, she meets Jack, an attractive ex-pat and they spend the three days she has in London together.
It’s all going well, until it turns out Jack was seeing someone close to Claire… someone very close to Claire.
I first read True Love (and Other Lies) a year or so ago and thoroughly enjoyed it. Seeing a fellow blogger review it I decided to re-read it and review it myself.
I found it a bit slow-going second time around so it’s probably a book you can only read once unlike some where you can read them again and again without questioning what the main characters of the book do.
However the book is still really enjoyable. At first the meeting of Claire & Jack seems fanciful and not something that would happen in real life. However all is revealed through-out the book – which is one of the reasons I loved the book. The fact that someone would go out of their way to do what they did made the book for me. Of course, what I’m saying sounds ridiculous but I can’t mention what happens otherwise it spoils the magic of the book. Let me just say it’s incredibly romantic and makes you say, “I wish that would happen to me!”
Second time around I found Claire a bit annoying. Going on and on and on and on and on about how fat you are compared to your best friend gets really annoying after a while. If, as Claire said, she was happy with her body she would not be comparing herself to Maddy or keep mentioning the fact she was Amazonian sized. However I enjoyed reading about her struggles in the office to have her column printed the way she wanted it to – sarcasm and all.
I liked Jack even when everything was revealed. Depending on your views the big reveal could make or break the book for you. I found it romantic and thus, it made the book for me. I thought he and Claire clicked and worked well together.
I liked Maddy but there were also huge dislikeable points about her. I thought she was a bit of a cow to Claire but I could also understand why she was so spiteful.
Overall it was an enjoyable novel, and a quick read at that. I love Little Black Dress books and this is one of my favourites. It’s the ultimate in romance novel and is well worth a read.
I bought Knitting Under The Influence on a bit of a whim — I was enjoying some American Chick Lit and Claire LaZebnik came to my attention as a new au...moreI bought Knitting Under The Influence on a bit of a whim — I was enjoying some American Chick Lit and Claire LaZebnik came to my attention as a new author to try. Knitting Under The Influence seemed like the best place to start – it sounded wonderful so I purchased it for myself. It’s taken me a while to read it but I finally made some time to give it a read and boy am I happy I did so. So happy in fact that I’ve already purchased another of Claire’s books because she’s such an easy writer to read!
Knitting Under The Influence tells the story of three friends: Lucy, Kathleen and Sari, who meet each week to knit and chat. Kathleen’s just quit working for her triplet sisters and is happy when her dad’s friend Sam finds her an apartment and a new job; Sari has dedicated her life to helping Austitic kids after growing up with an Austistic brother and doesn’t have time for love, especially not with Jason Smith, one of the guys who teased her brother in high school; and Lucy is happy with boyfriend James, at least she thinks she is and spends her days doing tests and things on rats in a bid to make the world a better place. There’s quite a bit going on in the book as we follow each woman in their respective lives as well as the times they meet up each week and at random times during the week. I found it incredibly easy to follow every one and thoroughly enjoyed each woman.
I thoroughly enjoyed the book, despite being over 400 pages long, it was a quick and easy read – despite the fact it took me almost a week to finish it on my Kindle. It was so easy to pick up on the story and the lives of the girls every time I put it down and picked it back up. The girls are great friends, but they also have their own separate lives. Sari probably had my favourite story, I thoroughly enjoyed the work she did to help Austitic kids to talk and interact and I loved that, despite not being a fan of Jason Smith, she helped his son Zack. I found it very interesting and absorbing as Autism is rarely touched upon in Chick Lit. Kathleen’s story was probably the most lacking, but I loved Kathleen nevertheless so I didn’t really feel it lagged the book down at all and the same goes for Lucy. I loved Lucy, despite her tendency to not eat! I thought her storyline was also very interesting – how many science people are in Chick Lit? – so it was lovely to get into the nitty gritty of science work and meet someone who isn’t a hairdresser or PA.
The characters in Knitting Under The Influence were excellent. Kathleen was my favourite character – there was something so great about the way Kathleen lived her life, the way she wasn’t necessarily bothered about bothering Sam, her neighbour, how she just let her life flow, although her speech about wanting a rich husband was crass. Sari was a brilliant character, too, I could understand why she was so protective of her brother and why she failed to forgive Jason and still held a grudge even after so long. Lucy was my least favourite – for a while I thought she was very cold, but she’s actually not so it was interested how my opinion changed of her throughout the book. I certainly misjudged her.
I really enjoyed Knitting Under The Influence. It had everything I wanted. It was warm, it was witty, the romances were excellent and everything I expected and guessed and it was a very satisfying read. Claire LaZebnik is an excellent writer and I can’t wait to dive into her other novels. I’ve already bought If You Were Here, You’d Be Home and if I like that I’ll most certainly be buying her most recent book. Knitting Under The Influence is a brilliant tale of friendship, romance and, of course, knitting – I’m not a big knitting fan myself, it always makes me think of little old ladies with clacking needles but it’s a surprisingly popular hobby for Chick Lit characters. Who knew? I’d definitely recommend the book it was a fun and quick read with some serious bits, too, and the Autism storyline is done really, really well. Definitely a good read and well worth your money!(less)
I love Caprice Crane. I do. She is one of the funniest people ever. She shouldn’t be a writer, she should be a comedian. She totally missed her callin...moreI love Caprice Crane. I do. She is one of the funniest people ever. She shouldn’t be a writer, she should be a comedian. She totally missed her calling. But, you know, I’m sorta glad she IS a writer because I love her books. I read Forget About It a while back and pre-ordered With A Little Luck as soon as I saw it online and I absolutely loved it. So with Stupid and Contagious, her debut novel on my shelf, I had to read it. Because it sounded ridiculous. In the most nicest of ways. And it was ridiculous. In the most nicest of ways.
To adequately explain Stupid and Contagious, I give you the lines from the back cover: “Heaven’s in hell. And Brady just moved in. So what happens when an outcast and an oddball get together to take on the world?” That sums up the novel perfectly. Stupid and Contagious is one of the funniest most stupid books I’ve ever read. It was perfect in its stupidity and its genius. If I thought Caprice Crane should have been knighted for her previous books then Stupid and Contagious makes it a definite because it’s awesome. It’s not a run-of-the-mill Chick Lit novel and Heaven and Brady are thisclose to possibly needing to be committed, in a mental institute, I mean. But that’s the genius of the book, because despite being slightly nuts, Heaven and Brady are the best characters ever.
Music is a big, big part of the book, huge. I mean there are so many bands name-checked, so many I’ve never heard of, and Crane really knows her music. There should seriously have been a soundtrack at the end of the book so that we could download all the awesome songs both Heaven and Brady love. Their relationship is nuts and is what pushes the book. It takes a while – almost 100 pages before Heaven and Brady actually meet (insert sad face here) but from then on it’s like the book is on fire. It just comes into its own as Brady thinks Heaven is a total nutter and Heaven likes to read Brady’s mail. And steal his money. And give her opinion on things Brady doesn’t want an opinion on. But, eventually, they do sort of come around to each other. So it’s all good and it just made the book even better because their bantering was just so fun to read.
The alternating narrative makes the book really hard to put down because you just want to read one more page – you want to see the two react to each other, you want to see what they’re going to do next and it works fantastically. Why this isn’t a film already is beyond me. Crane is a script-writer and of her four novels, the three I’ve read can all easily be movies. They should be movies, frankly. It’s a crime they’re not and Stupid and Contagious should be a movie. Or a TV show. The back-and-forth nature of the narrative was brilliant and it meant we got to see everything Brady and Heaven thought and I felt we really got to know them and I was so sad to reach the end because I loved them in the end, quirks, foibles and all.
Stupid and Contagious is rather contagious. I know that’s not a very flattering word, but once Heaven and Brady meet it’s as if there’s nothing more important than finishing the book. It’s electric and I raced through it. I adored their chemistry and loved their fights and spats and throwdowns. I loved that Heaven wasn’t bothered about reading someone else’s mail and that Brady got so frustrated by it, it was just so funny. I’d hugely recommend Stupid and Contagious, I absolutely loved it. I loved that it was different to most Chick Lit, that Caprice made her characters so weird but so loveable, too. I can’t wait to read the only other Crane book I haven’t read, A Family Affair, I am officially hopping on board the Caprice Crane fan club and you really should, too.(less)