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Rachel White is the ultimate good girl. A hardworking lawyer at a large Manhattan law firm and a diligent maid of honor to her childhood best friend Darcy, Rachel has always played by all the rules. Since high school, she has watched Darcy shine, quietly accepting the sidekick role in their lopsided friendship. But that suddenly changes the night of her thirtieth birthday when Rachel finally confesses her feelings to Darcys fiancé, and is both horrified and thrilled to discover that he feels the same way. As the wedding date draws near, events spiral out of control, and Rachel knows she must make a choice between her heart and conscience. In so doing, she discovers that the lines between right and wrong can be blurry, endings arent always neat, and sometimes you have to risk everything to be true to yourself.
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Lucy Sullivan and her co-workers go to vist Mrs Nolan, a fortune teller, and Lucy is stunned to hear that she is going to get married! She soon meets Gus, a wandering, charming but penniless musician whose views on life interest Lucy…and that’s not all she is interested in…Could Gus be the one? It soon transpires that nothing is as it seems…
This is a generally good story – I thought the way that Lucy’s depression and her father’s alcoholism were detailed was excellent. Lucy does have a tendency to be slightly overbearing and over-obsessive, especially when it comes to Gus, and a bit too willing to please everyone, which although it is connected to her personality, does come across as annoying, as is the fact it takes her to realise who she should really be with. On the whole though, Lucy is a likeable character, although it is questionable as to why she is friends with Karen (who needs enemies, eh?). Her best friend Daniel is a great character – he is the only one who is truly there for Lucy and their relationship and sparky interchanges was nice to read. Gus was a confusing character as the reader never got to learn much about him except that he was a crazy sponger. As you read on, it is hard to see the attraction of Gus, which Lucy is so blindly caught up in. It is a relief when she finally sees him what he is. The ending was happy and everything was resolved nicely. 3 stars.
Present day – Dayna is about to give birth in the maternity ward. Through the book, Dayna explains her love history and how she got to this point, about to give labour. All of her past boyfriends have been a bit, well rubbish. One of these men is the baby’s father, the only question is: who?
I found reading this a bit of a chore – none of the characters are partucluarly interesting. A book can succeed or fail on the basis of its main character and in this case, Dayna is spoilt, whiny, arrogant, selfish and unlikeable. The way in which she supposedly has this magic effect on men, managing to reform their characters, is unexplicable, managing to curb Simon’s womanising ways for example, given her personality.
For the majority of the book, Dayna moans. I didn’t find the narrative partuclary exciting and ended up skip reading sections frequently. The ending, which is the readon the reader is forced to learn about Dayna’s history, sseems abmigious. Nowhere is it explained how Simon got to be the father. Did they have a one night stand or rekindle the relationship in secret? What about Dayna’s relationship with Christian? A friend commented that Dayna, having seen Kirsty conceive using a turkey baster, may have enlisted Simon’s help to have a baby, but why Simon? It doesn’t really make sense. The last line when Simon comments on the baby looking “curly” and Dayna stating that SImon is the only boyfriend who has straight hair is confusing. Is it just a flippant remark or is she trying to imply that Simon is not the father? After muddling through the story, to be presented with this ending is frustrating.
Rubbish Boyfriends, rubbish book (original, I know). And lastly: Chris Martin and Coldplay. WHY?! 1 star.
For Evie Kennedy, holidays have always been a bit of a nightmare, whether it was caravanning in the UK with her family or a girls’ holiday/disaster in Spain. Invited on a work conference in France, perhaps this will be a chance to rectify all the bad holidays she has had, and it starts off pleasantly enough, until Evie finds herself caught up in a world which she least expected to…
Well…this is very different to other chick-lit novels that I have read. Unbelievably, it centres around espionage, spies, animal activism and the murky world of medical ethics. You have to take things with a pinch of salt (or the whole shaker) but weirdly, I was gripped by the story. The book is a bit of a mess with cardboard characters (Evie is an average character – you neither hate or love her. Lydia is your stereotypical bitch and Dr Bennet turns from nice doctor to evil doctor so quickly it is hilarious. And who knows about Tom?!) and a ludicrous plot, which feels tacked on to the traditional chick-lit story and not executed properly. The story felt incomplete with too many loose ends, and the boat storyline itself was a bit confusing. That being said, the dialogue was well written and I couldn’t help but read on to see which farfetched turn the story would take next.
A farce of a story but a good bit of escapism. 2.5 stars.
Sophie is treated as a dogsbody by the rest of her family. She is practical, resourceful and ever so helpful, perhaps too helpful. Soon, she is sent by the rest of her family to care for Uncle Eric, who they describe as a cantankerous old man, with the ulterior motive of gaining his money. Sophie finds that Uncle Eric is far from evil, and soon finds out that he is involved with oil drilling shares that could make him quite a bit of money, which sends her to New York to track down an old relative. In New York, she also meets with best friend, Millie, and an old, wealthy British woman called Matilda, whom she gets on very well with. Her grandson, Luke, is wary of Sophie’s motives for becoming Matilda’s new friend. Can she persuade him that she is a genuine person?
This is a competent read. I thought that the oil-drilling story was a bit of a drag to read about and some of Sophie’s family are very horrible. There are some nice moments between Luke and Sophie, although I thought the latter stages of the story were a bit rushed. Luke doesn’t think to question Sophie about her “boyfriend”. Having behaved so coolly after Ali told him about the text, he seems to accept Sophie’s explanation a bit too readily. Also, Sophie seems to forgive him too easily. The proposal at the end seems a bit odd given that Luke and Sophie haven’t been together for too long. The idea of it becoming a “perfect proposal” is a bit nonsensical.
It’s an ok read but not one of Fforde’s best works. 2.5 stars.
There’s a house that Leah has noticed opposite her house – it is a curious house and she wonders who lives there. An old man dying outside the house leads her to meet Toby, who lives in the house with his sitting tenants that he has allowed to live there whilst they figure out how to achieve their dreams. This chance meeting also allows Leah and Toby to fulfil their own dreams too…
This is a fantastic read. Toby is a generous and kind character, who manages to get himself into the strangest of situations, with hilarious consequences, and he makes a great pairing with Leah. Their relationship is funny, warm and bubbly. The book also focuses on this different stories of the tenants, such as Con and his relationship with a co-worker who has cystic fibrosis, which makes him question everything he once thought about life, Joanna and her tragic past and Ruby, who uses men to get what she wants. Each of these stories are interesting to read without ever deflecting attention from the main story. The reference to Indian values and cultural norms was also an interesting feature of the book, as was the use of letters and other media at the start and end of the book.
Loved 31 Dream Street although it felt like it ended too soon for me, I would have loved to carried on reading it more! 4 stars
The Girl Next Door follows a variety of characters who live in one apartment block. There is Eve and Ed, who have recently moved to New York after Ed gets transferred in his job. Eve is struggling with living in a new country and with her husband being constantly away, can she get to grips with this new life? Jason is far from happy with his life – ever since the birth of his baby, his wife Kim has shut him out. Plus, it doesn’t help that he is lusting after his beautiful and talented neighbour, Rachel. The story also follows Jackson and his attempt to woo his neighbour Emily, and other characters.
What is a massive failure in this book is that there are too many characters and stories in this book to keep track of. The book starts with a list of characters, half of whom aren’t even referred to in the story anyway. Yet there are a good deal of characters left with many stories to follow, not all of them interesting – I found the stories of Rachel, Jason and Charlotte dull, and I frequently found myself skipping the sections with Violet in. I was gripped by the storyline featuring Jackson trying to prove himself to Emily that he was a good person, and the story between Eve and Ed, which was an emotional one, especially with the premature baby storyline. This was really sad to read and made you feel for Eve and Ed.
Overall, I think Noble’s work suffers from trying to achieve too much in one novel. If she cut down the amount of characters and stories, then she may have had a great piece of literature to read, especially as some of the stories were excellent. It is an interesting and ambitious concept to focus on so many people, but something like this can be achieved such as in 31 Dream Street by Lisa Jewell, where attention is focused on 2 main characters but also the stories of the numerous supporting characters. Here Noble tries to pay equal attention to all of the characters but it doesn’t work. Charlotte’s story hits the ground before it starts running – is it necessary to include her? 2.5 stars.