Sunday, 28 April 2013

My Animals and Other Family by Clare Balding

This was a really enjoyable read. Clare's childhood was interesting, but not made to seem too idyllic. Her life surrounded by animals is full of happiness but also sadness. I loved how each chapter was the name of a particular animal and how each one's personality was really portrayed. Clare also explored the tougher times in her childhood, too, like the inherent sexism in her family and her father's lack of enthusiasm towards her. The stories really had me gripped, some of them even making me laugh out loud. The only part I didn't enjoy was some of the dates and statistics used about horse racing which I didn't fully understand, but most of it was explained well. I give this book 8/10.

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

The Accidental Husband by Jane Green

I did enjoy this book, but did not feel it was as good as 'The Patchwork Marriage' which I read recently by Jane Green. At the start of the book I got really gripped and really loved the main character, Sylvie. It was when Part Two started and the perspective shifted to Maggie that I felt the book lost it's sparkle and it just became an average read. Maggie irritated me as a character, which would have been fine had I grown to love her throughout the book. Although the events of the story drastically changed her character, I felt the transformation was too fake and she was too unrecognisable for it to be believable. The story as a whole was a very interesting one, and I read on wanting to know what would happen next. But overall, there was something missing from this book, so I give it 6/10.

Saturday, 20 April 2013

Good Husband Material by Trisha Ashley

This was a really enjoyable read, and I was gripped! I loved the story of Tish, who desperately wanted to live in her dream cottage. Nuthill sounded lovely, and was full of some really quirky and loveable characters such as Mrs Deaken, Bob and Mrs Peach. James was a suitably horrible husband and as I got to know Tish, I felt proud of her and was in awe of her bravery for finally getting rid of him! Fergal was an interesting hero, not my personal taste in the looks (I'm not a fan of long hair on men) or music taste department, but I could see what a great love interest he was by his personality and actions. The only problem I had with the book was Tish's meanness about Bess the dog before she came to love her. She seemed a bit harsh! Even though the book was long (500 pages) I felt the ending was a little rushed. But overall it was a lovely read and I give it 9/10!

Monday, 15 April 2013

A Cottage by the Sea by Carole Matthews

I have enjoyed almost all the Carole Matthews books I've ever read, but this one has to be my favourite. The setting is what clinches the deal for me as it sounds like my idea of heaven. being isolated from the world by the beautiful coast. Grace is a character that I really felt connected to and respected for choosing her marriage over having an affair. Ella, one of her best friends, was also a loveable character who showed a lot of strength throughout. Harry and Art were suitably annoying, as was Flick who often deserved a bit of a slap, I felt. Noah, the love interest, was actually perfect and it is easy to see why Grace (and I'm sure many readers) fell in love with him. Although the plot twists were entirely predictable, this gave it a sense of comfort and security as it is how I wanted to story to go. The only problem now is that I'm disappointed to have finished it and I feel that I desperately need a holiday in Cwtch Cottage! I give this book 10/10!

Thursday, 11 April 2013

The Honey Queen by Cathy Kelly

This was a really enjoyable read, perfect for this time of year. It was set in a lovely location with some diverse characters. I liked how all the characters linked together through Lillie, who had travelled over from Australia. There were some really sad, touching and lovely stories amongst the various characters, too. The only complaint I had was that at the beginning I got confused between some of the characters, especially because there seemed to be a few whose names began with M - Molly, Meredith, Miranda. And at times the story seemed to jump randomly from one character to the next. But overall it was a lovely book which I thoroughly enjoyed reading. I give this book 10/10.

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

The Loveliest Chocolate Shop in Paris by Jenny Colgan

Although this was an 'ok' read, there was something missing that made me fall in love with Colgan's other 'food' novels. The story was a lovely idea, and the addition of Claire's story was wonderful. It is actually hard to put my finger on why exactly this didn't have me totally gripped. Perhaps it was the main character, Anna, who didn't seem to have much about her, or the love interest Laurent, who I found incredibly boring, despite his potential for being a heart throb. The descriptions of Paris and the food were enjoyable, as was the shop itself. Claire's story with Thierry was nice to read and ended rather well. But the story as a whole was a little flat, and sometimes I found myself reading this book just so I could finish it and read the next one on my list. I give this book 5/10.