The Book of Awesome – Neil Pasricha

So life is dull, depressing and dark…but what about all the little things that make the world a more awesome place to live in? Neil Pasricha has taken it upon himself to document all the things that he considers to be awesome, from high-fiving a baby to the joys of bubble wrap (pop pop). It is a funny list, and it really makes you realise or reconsider all previously forgotten awesome things. For me, some of the things are less awesome than others. The book ends after a poignant tribute to Pasricha’s late friend, which contrasts to the light hearted tone of the rest of the book, before embarking on a last awesome thing: a philosophical note (thinking about all of the things that ahd to happen or not happen to put you here on earth in this time and place), which I found less awesome (I’m not really an existentialist thinker) that managing to squeeze through the gap in a doorway as the door is closing  and you don’t lay a hand on the door (it is impressive but I did this about 8 years ago, and the person behind me was not impressed). Some of the things on the list made me laugh and I recommend this as a read that will brighten up your life – awesome! 4 stars.

Read more about Pasricha and awesome things at his blog:  http://1000awesomethings.com/

 

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Mr Commitment – Mike Gayle

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Mel and Duffy have been in a blissful relationship for 4 years, but that all changes when Mel proposes to Duffy. Duffy loves Mel, but he can’t bear the idea of committing to her. Can he ever change his mindset or will he risk losing the “one” because of his refusal to marry her?
It is another well written guy-lit book from Mike Gayle, but I preferred My Legendary Girlfriend. Although Gayle tries to present Duffy as being a character that you should sympathize with, he comes across as idiotic at times, with an obsession to his bachelor-like lifestyle and his TV. I feel a bit sorry for Mel! In the end, Duffy realises his error and he reconciles with Mel, and proposes to her. It is an adequate tale but I found the story a little lagging, and the other side stories e.g. his sister’s baby, Dan’s ex getting married and Mark and Julie didn’t really add anything to the narrative. 2.5 stars.

50 Ways To Find A Lover – Lucy Anne Holmes

50 Ways to Find a Lover

Struggling actress Sarah Sargeant is cynical about love, and is put forward by her father to enter a dating reality show. Sarah misses out on a spot in the show, but soon comes up with the idea of setting up her own blog as she details her 50 ways to find love, and the results on her love life. Her blog garners widespread interest but will it do more harm than good, or can she find love through her blog and find the one?

I enjoyed reading this, the main story was very god and I like the Eamonn/Marcus twist. It was a hilarious read and the friendships between Simon, Julia and Sarah are a joy to read. They seem real and very honest. I did however feel that Holmes overdwells on sex during the novel – the narrative, Simon’s business and Sarah’s blog. It may suit some people but for me it did get a bit much at times. It was a better read than Unlike A Virgin and the ending was great: romantic with some hilarious moments. 3.5 stars


The Beach Cafe – Lucy Diamond

Evie Flynn is a bit of a black sheep in her family – the one who can be counted on to disappoint everyone – never having to manage to hold down a successful career, get married, have children nor own her own hown. Tragedy strikes when her aunt Jo dies in a car accident, and everyone is shocked when Jo leaves her cafe in Cornwall in her will. Everyone expects Evie to sell the cafe but she has fond memories of her aunt, the cafe and the beach but can she prove to her family and to the other villagers, and herself, that she can make the cafe a continued success?

This reminds me of Meet Me At Cupcake Cafe by Jenny Colgan: unfavoured child in stale relationship and career decides to be adventurous by running her own cafe, despite never having run a business before, and making new friends, overcoming big obstacles and forging new relationships in the process. However, I think that The Beach Cafe is a far better read: it is well written, emotional, romantic and funny. Evie is a likeable character and her attempts to carry on her aunt’s legacy, thus changing everyone’s opinion of her, are inspiring to read.Her burgeoning relationship with Ed was sparky and lovely to read (he hides a secret but his situation seemed to be resolved rather quickly, but it paved the way for Ed and Evie to reunite). Phoebe’s story and the way she connected with Evie was good, and Evie’s encounter with her first love Ryan is memorable – thyey say you never forget your first love but this is one she should definitely move on from!

The story is consistently engaging and the descriptions make the village an ideal place to live. A great read! 4.5 stars

 

The Perfect Audition – Kate Forster

This is a short story that serves as a sequel to The Perfect Location in which director TG is auditioning actresses for the main roles in his new movie, and we meet the three women who will play a big part in the movie and in the The Perfect Location: Rose (who similar to her role also has romantic troubles of her own), Sapphira (who longs to prove that she can be a serious actress after being stereotyped as an action star) and Calypso (who has the potential to be a fantastic actress but is stifled by the influence of her pushy mother, Leeza). There isn’t much to this apart from introducing the main characters and hence, there isn’t much to this short “story”, but it presents an adequate intro for the full novel. 2 stars.

The One You Love – Paul Pilkington

It should have been the happiest day of her life as Emma Holden is about to get married to the love of her life, Dan. However, on her hen night, she discovers at their flat that Richard, Dan’s brother, has been brutally beaten and is close to death, and Dan is nowhere to be seen. On the day that Emma should have been getting married, she is now trying to fit the pieces of her shattered life together. Is Dan really responsible for nearly killing his own brother? Is it simply that Dan didn’t want to get married and has left her? Or is there something more sinister going on?

This is a fantastic read – I was constantly gripped by the story, which was full of twists and turns that made it really hard to put the book down! Pilkington’s strengths lie in his ability to create so many complex plot strands and back stories and manages to weave them into a novel that retains its suspense throughout. It kept me guessing as to who was responsible for Richard’s attack and what happened to Dan. I think that I had suspected everyone apart from Emma by the end of the story! The ending was unexpected and once again, Pilkington manages to pepper in a few more surprises. I have a few quibbles in that the ending, although done well, seemed to end on an abrupt note (possibly because I wanted to read more as it was a great story!) and although Pilkington’s style of writing is meant to conceal the true identity and the truth, it did get a little confusing in a few places, but these are only minor problems in what was otherwise an excellent story. As a reader, one really gets involved with Emma’s plight and gets absorbed in her quest to find out the truth to the very end. 4.5 stars.

*This book is currently free on Amazon Kindle and I would recommend downloading it!

A Little Bit of Everything For Dummies

A collection of chapters from the Dummies series spanning 200 titles, this is a good sample of what the series does best. Admittedly, it won’t suit everyone as there is quite a wide range of topics included – for example, the computer stuff bored me, but I found the dating section funny and the French chapter useful. There is also a chapter on the potted history of William and Kate’s relationship for Royal fans. 2.5 stars