Monday, 20 May 2013

Book review - may

I been having a little "me" time for the last few days and used the time well to finish some books that I decided to review here! I get through a lot of books and been known to read  one in one sitting if I'm left to it!
I'm a self certified bibliophile...I love books!
I would happily spend the last of my riches on a book and dream of having one day, my own library!

I read a very diverse mixture of books, currently I'm crossing between a book on forensics, one of Transactional Analysis, and a rom-com...i always have a rotation of books on the go. I find I have different moods so need different books to suit it!

So, here we go!

Katie Fforde - Recipe for Love

With the recent popularity of shows like The Great British Bake-off and Masterchef, you can certainly see where Fforde has gotten her inspirations from and there is even reference to some of the celebrities that feature on these shows.
We follow Zoe Harper who has won a place on a televised cookery show. Her journey in the competition is mired by not only fellow contestant, stunningly beautiful Cher who's snooty and under-handed determination to win sabotages everything, but also the wonderfully turbulent romance with Gideon, a judge on the show!

I regularly pick up Fforde's books when I need a light hearted read that is simple in plotline but wonderful in narrative and characters. Her renown description for the wonderful British countryside is always at some point at the heart of many of her stories. I'm not the biggest fan of chick-lit but this is one of the more intelligently written series of books where the main characters are women we can actually relate to rather than waiting around willing themselves to be rescued and for love to come their way.
Recipe for Love I have to say, isn't the best piece of written work by Fforde, I was a little disappointed as I felt the premises of the story in general was wishy-washy and vague, especially around the contest itself. I know the romance is central stage but I felt maybe the tension of the show's competition could have been ramped up a little bit and maybe the nerves could have been narrated better.

I also had a problem with the morals of the leading characters Zoe and Gideon. Zoe seems such a sensible girl and to see her suddenly throw it all away kind of ruined her character a little bit...she could have resisted temptation a little more! And I'm not sure a televised judge like Gideon would have behaved like so either!

I do recommend Fforde's books to you to read if you want a nice light hearted read that leaves you smiling and cheery but give 'Recipe for Love' a miss. Try reading instead 'Stately Pursuits' or my personal favourite 'Flora's Lot'.

Sue Townsend-The Woman who went to Bed for a Year

"The day her children leave home, Eva climbs into bed and stays there. She's had enough - of her kids' carelessness, her husband's thoughtlessness and of the world's general indifference. Eva's refusal to behave like a dutiful wife and mother soon upsets everyone but she insists on staying in bed. And then the strangest things start to happen."

What if, you stayed in your bed for a year? For no apparent reason?
What would happen to you? Your life? your family around you?

This could have been an excellent story but the writing style and the way it was written to build up the characters made it so hard to relate to anyone and you remained ambivalent to them all.  You want to care but you don't. You just feel generally annoyed with them all for falling over themselves.   You eventually feel frustrated with Eva, especially when she decided to completely shut herself then, you've lost patience.   

The main reason you keep reading is to actually find out why she went to bed and stayed explained in a way that makes everything crashed down around you and you see the decades of pain this woman had to suppress

Now as someone with depression and a mental disorder as well as a disability  I can relate somewhat. In times of extreme emotional distress, you do strange things  (not as extreme as this!) And if you have enough open-mindedness, you realise that this woman in order to escape the immense pain and agony of what  happened, (i won't ruin it for you!) she basically went on to marry in a relationship that never got off the ground, had children and set up a home like a housewife should, just to forget and run from her past.  This book followed that moment when she realises in the back of her soul she couldnt run no  more and breaks down...

Either Townsend has deliberately written the book to frustrate you and make you want to grab Eva and slap her;  just to reveal why she behaved like so and leaving you feeling shamed for judging her.  If that is the case, then her clever writing style has caught us all out again! Or this time, its fallen a little flat and lost it's "oomph!"
I'm not sure so I leave it to you to read, my dear readers. 
This is an interesting book in theory but fails to deliver - put it low down on your "must read" book list!

James Bowen - A Street Cat Named Bob

With a cute title, an ever cuter picture of Bob the cat himself in his fetching little kitty scarf and the following premises..

"When James Bowen found an injured, ginger street cat curled up in the hallway of his sheltered accommodation, he had no idea just how much his life was about to change. James was living hand to mouth on the streets of London and the last thing he needed was a pet."'s a book I had to pick up!

It been on my list for a while so when I had the chance to buy it from a charity shop for a lot cheaper than the local bookshops - I took it!

Its a true story and it's set out in a lovely, soft-natured autobiography style where there is no frills, no fancy writing flourishes to hide's all about the story itself.
Bowen keeps it simple and doesn't ramble on. If he was to go off-topic slightly, then it is essential to the story and gives a little more meat and understanding as to why a reaction or an emotion was felt.
You begin to root for both Bob and James and by the end of the book, you're totally in love with the pair of them and hope to one day meet Bob himself!

At times, you really despair of human behaviour and people's reactions to both animals and people on the streets is so appalling. But there are times where that amazing human spirit shines through and you almost feel immense gratitude that they stepped forward to help in ways that they did.

My favourite bit in brief is when Bob (the cat!) is given a staff I.D card from the Tube staff as he was such a loved character. The amazing personality this little cat has is something you have to read and you feel privileged you're getting this wonderful insight. There's lots more to cats then you know!

I'm very glad to read this book as it explains a bit about homeless and drug rehabilitation issues that I wasn't aware of. And the information revealed about the Big Issue is a revelation I won't forget and I now look at Big Issue sellers in a new light. This book probably does more for the promotion of Big Issue than anything else and I'm now a lot more supportive of the cause. Sellers have to buy the magazines to sell - so in essence they are running their own business to survive.

Bob is now a world wide celebrity - he even has his own Twitter he shares with James which is worth a read so you can see what an amazing global phenomena they are! You can read it here!

This book is lovely for young teens to read and maybe younger children if you skip the bits about drugs.(passing references)  It's really is a lovely book!

Make this book a must-read!

I've deliberately kept these reviews short...i'm not a book reviewer by habit and I can ramble on at times but thought I share with you some of my life...books and all!

What books have you read of late?

Birdie Love


  1. Love book reviews. Have just finished Hush Hush. Now I'm about to start with the first book of Game Of Thrones, got obsessed with the series so just have to read the books. :)

  2. Loved reading these reviews! Great one about Street Cat Bob - one of my favourite books (but then I do have a ginger kitty myself!) Its such a lovely heart-warming story and it was interesting to learn more about the Big Issue process too.
    Funnily enough my mum is reading Recipe for Love at the moment and she was just saying this morning that she is finding it disappointing compared to Katie Fforde's previous books. I've only ready a couple of hers but I really enjoyed Going Dutch which is set on a barge!
    Looking forward to reading more of your reviews!


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