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Poppyshake's Reading Year 2015

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It was a fab day yesterday, in fact, it was so nice to meet up with everyone, that it made going back to work today all the much easier, as I was still in such a good mood! :lol:  Can't wait until we can do it again :smile2:

Yes .. let's do it again! :D An Autumn meet up is definitely on the cards!!  :smile: 

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Lord!, I'm lolling around at the bottom of page two AGAIN!! Some of the books on my book list I can't even remember reading so the reviews of them are going to go well  :blush2: I'll just pad it with waffle .. as usual  :o  :blush2:  ;) 
 
I don't usually read chick lit .. or what I think of as chick lit but in summer I often like to read more lighthearted stories. Ideal for beach days etc (in theory .. in practice I am a terrible holiday reader .. I can't keep my mind on anything) and I particularly like the ones that have a food or beach theme. The formats are pretty similar though .. I can almost guarantee that I will love the beginning more than the ending .. that I'll lose patience halfway through and that I'll be eye rolling by page 200. I'm a bit annoyed if the characters have got (what sounds like) made up names .. what's wrong with calling them Susan for instance!! (this is why me and sci-fi/fantasy don't always see eye to eye :blush2:But what I really hate is when love rears its beautiful head. I am just too old and cynical for it (this should be one of my ratings .. TOO OLD AND CYNICAL) and nine times out of ten I don't believe in it (not love .. of course I believe in love but this paperback chick lit version of it.) I can tell who the love interest is going to be and who the villain of the piece is etc .. even when they're one and the same. I hate it how everything is so convenient and cliched. I really don't do happy ever after all that well  :blush2: 
 
That leads me to the following books ..
 
littlebeachstreet.jpg
Little Beach Street Bakery by Jenny Colgan
 
Synopsis: Polly Waterford is recovering from a toxic relationship. Unable to afford their flat, she has to move miles away from everyone, to a sleepy little seaside resort in Cornwall, where she lives alone above an abandoned shop. And so Polly takes out her frustrations on her favourite hobby: making bread. But what was previously a weekend diversion suddenly becomes far more important as she pours her emotions into kneading and pounding the dough, and each loaf becomes better and better. With nuts and seeds, olives and chorizo, with local honey (courtesy of local bee keeper, Huckle), and with reserves of determination and creativity Polly never knew she had, she bakes and bakes and bakes ...And people start to hear about it. Sometimes, bread really is life ...And Polly is about to reclaim hers.
 
Review: Loved everything that was about Polly moving to the sleepy seaside resort in Cornwall (only reachable when the tide is low) into the derelict flat above an old bakery .. could imagine being there and living this sort of back to basics type of life (which shows how fertile my imagination is as I am probably the person least likely to cope in this situation .. I'd be running around shrieking my head off at the first rustle of a discarded chip paper and nobody in their right mind would expect me to be able to take the head off a mackerel.) Loved the way Polly integrated herself into remote seaside village life .. bonding with the fishermen and even taking in a waif and stray in the form of a wounded puffin. However, the book got soppier and sillier and the list of things I couldn't believe in got longer. The pet puffin was probably my threshold :D Not sure I believed in her baking prowess .. especially given the recipes at the end .. disappointing stuff compared to the things she was supposedly baking. Most of all it was the love story (or stories) I couldn't believe in. This probably wasn't helped by the appalling accents put on by the narrator when voicing Huckle and Reuben. Her Cornish accent was better but she managed to make them all sound like dimwits. I hope I never have to hear her voice Huckle (American deep south) again (there is a sequel .. but think I'll be avoiding) but in any case .. I know I'd have been tutting away anyway. I was enjoying the struggle .. I wanted to hear more about the cottage .. how did it change from a place that no-one would give a second glance to (except the desperate .. ie: Polly) to a comfy, cosy, newly baked bread smelling, haven? How was it that I was suddenly reading about some dreadful Star Wars themed wedding? So implausible and unlikely (I know people have them .. but it didn't seem right for this particular person.)
Was annoyed that a book I was loving at one point descended into a book I couldn't wait to finish but that is mostly me .. most people are happy enough to go on the journey and enjoy the ride .. it is fiction after all. 
The narrator was excellent when just voicing Polly .. she shouldn't have attempted the American accents though :D Cringe time. Mine would be no better but I wouldn't inflict it on anyone else. Have a feeling that most other people would love this .. if they like the genre in general.
Liked it!.. but also Too old and cynical for it!   :blush2: 
 
viviens.jpg
Vivien's Heavenly Ice Cream Shop by Abby Clements
 

Synopsis: When Imogen and Anna unexpectedly inherit their grandmother Vivien's ice cream parlour, it turns both their lives upside-down. The Brighton shop is a seafront institution, but while it's big on charm it's critically low on customers. If the sisters don't turn things around quickly, their grandmother's legacy will disappear forever. With summer looming, Imogen and Anna devise a plan to return Vivien's to its former glory. Rather than sell up, they will train up, and make the parlour the newest destination on the South Coast foodie map. While Imogen watches the shop, her sister flies to Italy to attend a gourmet ice cream-making course. But as she works shoulder-to-shoulder with some of the best chefs in the industry, Anna finds that romance can bloom in the most unexpected of places.
 
Review: Again, I liked this up to a point. It didn't exasperate me half as much as the Little Beach Street Bakery but then that's probably because I wasn't loving it so much to begin with. Pleasant enough story with nice enough characters. Nothing particularly attention grabbing but nothing too irksome either. Again there are recipes at the back and again I was disappointed .. they're fairly basic recipes and not reflective of the unusual and innovative flavours that Anna had been devising for the shop. Didn't really believe in the romances .. especially the Italian one .. but as we know .. too old and cynical!! Good beach read though (I imagine :D) Imogen made the sort of dozy mistakes that I'd be likely to make if anyone got me to look after their shop for a week or two .. I found comfort in that! 
Liked it!
 
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The Tea Chest by Josephine Moon
 

Synopsis: Kate Fullerton, talented tea designer and now co-owner of The Tea Chest, could never have imagined that she'd be flying from Brisbane to London, risking her young family's future, to save the business she loves from the woman who wants to shut it down. Meanwhile, Leila Morton has just lost her job; and if Elizabeth Clancy had known today was the day she would appear on the nightly news, she might at least have put on some clothes. Both need to start again. When the three women's paths unexpectedly cross, they throw themselves into realising Kate's magical vision for London's branch of The Tea Chest. But every time success is within their grasp, increasing tensions damage their trust in each other. With the very real possibility that The Tea Chest will fail, Kate, Leila and Elizabeth must decide what's important to each of them. Are they willing to walk away or can they learn to believe in themselves? An enchanting, witty novel about the unexpected situations life throws at us, and how love and friendship help us through. Written with heart and infused with the seductive scents of bergamot, Indian spices, lemon, rose and caramel, it's a world you won't want to leave.

 

Review: This one was sent to me by the lovely Diane :hug: I am a bit of a tea addict .. though I'm not adventurous at all. I've only just started dabbling in chai latte but this is a subject that appeals .. I could be persuaded to try some different teas but first I'd have to stop thinking of scented drawer liners whenever I think of flavours like rose or lavender. I did have some lavender shortbread once and I wasn't convinced .. tasted like Yardley soap but perhaps the quantities were wrong .. subtlety is everything. Kate is the sort of genius who can make a tea blend exactly suited to each individual (I'm sure mine would be nine parts vanilla .. for anti startle! :D) .. it's a gift and one she's keen to explore but all sorts of dastardly deeds (including the London riots) intervene to make opening her London shop a bit of a nightmare. The villain of the piece was a bit too easy to spot and it did get a bit 'ticker tape' at the end but on the whole .. enjoyable. It's about women pulling together in the face of adversity .. girl power!

There are some great tips at the back for enjoying your tea but tip number one was 'inspect your dry tea' .. which would have meant dissecting all the little bags :lol: ... messy! 

Liked it!

 

I know Diane is keen for me to send this book on to a forum member so if you're interested .. let me know and I'll put it in the post to you  :smile: 

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Glad you liked both the Little Beach Street Bakery and Vivien's Heavenly Ice Cream Shop.  I enjoyed them both too, although I read them rather than listened, so Huckle was just a normal English voice in my head, despite knowing he was American! :D  I don't mind the love story aspects of them, as at least the characters have got a bit of interest about themselves and not *just* looking for Mr Right, but I'm a soppy romantic, so it's easy to please me. :lol:  I'm actually reading another Jenny Colgan at the moment … The Loveliest Chocolate Shop in Paris, and so far, it's pretty much the same sort of story, just moved to France!

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I do like Jenny's books .. my favourite of hers is still Meet Me at the Cupcake Cafe (there was romance .. quite a bit of it .. but somehow I liked it .. it was the right sort of romance :D) but for a while I thought I might prefer Little Beach Street Bakery (have you read the sequel Claire?) 

I'm not good with rom-coms either. Though I like all the Hornby's that I've seen and stuff like You've Got Mail (obviously! :D) and Serendipity (who couldn't love John Cusack? :wub:

Ooh .. chocolate and Paris :wub: That's a winning combination. Her books always make me hungry :D 

 

 

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As ever, it was lovely to see you and Al today.  :hug: Thanks for breakfast and lunch!  It's definitely my turn next time!  :)  It went by so fast!  I hope you found something suitable for your Dad.  :)

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Thanks Janet :hug: It was lovely to see you and Claire today :) I could have sat chatting all day .. time just whizzed by so fast! We're already looking forward to next time :D

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Thanks Kay, it was smashing. :) Sorry I had to dash off so quickly, but the time had flown by and my car park ticket was about to run out.  :doh: I'm looking forward to next time already too! :D

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That's fine Claire .... I had to go shopping and we were in danger of talking until the shops shut :D The time went by too quickly though .. It was four hours of bliss! I can't wait until the next time either :) xx

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thehumans.jpg
The Humans by Matt Haig
 
Synopsis:
THERE'S NO PLACE LIKE HOME. OR IS THERE?
After an 'incident' one wet Friday night where Professor Andrew Martin is found walking naked through the streets of Cambridge, he is not feeling quite himself. Food sickens him. Clothes confound him. Even his loving wife and teenage son are repulsive to him. He feels lost amongst a crazy alien species and hates everyone on the planet. Everyone, that is, except Newton, and he's a dog.
What could possibly make someone change their mind about the human race. . . ?

 
Review: Often, there are books that I claim I can't put down. Sometimes this just means that I'm eager to pick them up. That if I have to go to the shops or make dinner or go visiting then I'm anxious to get back to them. Other times it literally means that nothing else gets done .. the ironing remains un-ironed, the phone doesn't get answered and everybody in the house starves because I MUST FINISH THIS BOOK! The Humans comes into the latter category. I picked it up yesterday and didn't put it down until the wee small hours .. when I finally realised I was starving and went and made toast!! :D
 
I haven't read Matt Haig before though I do think I have another one of his somewhere (yes .. thank goodness for lists .. this is why I exhaust myself writing them every January :D .. I do indeed have The Last Family in England) so this was a bit of a revelation. He's another writer that I will add to my list of  'must read everything by ....'. I'm annoyed in a way that it's taken so long for me to realise this .. and I know a lot of you have been recommending him .. Frankie for one (and in actual fact this book was a prezzie from Claire :hug: .. though it was to Alan  :blush2: but she did say I should also read it as she thought I'd love it.) but anyway, all that is remedied now :)

 
Rather unhelpfully I don't want to say too much about the plot, my enjoyment of it was enormously helped by me not knowing anything about it at all and it all being revealed slowly. The suspense at times almost killed me but it was also delicious. The premise is slightly absurd .. but I didn't actually read any of the blurb before embarking (though I couldn't help but notice the rave endorsements all over the cover) and perhaps that's just as well as I'm not sure I'd have warmed to it. It's usually the sort of thing I have trouble with and if you add into that 'mathematics' then I'm definitely mentally walking away. But that depends on who's telling the story. I didn't for one minute have any problems in totally believing in Andrew Martin or his mission. It helps that it's both funny and sad .. because that's exactly how I like 'em. I laughed and I cried and I swore allegiance to all (or most of) the characters and didn't want to be parted from them ever! It gave me pause for thought several times .. if I hadn't wanted/needed to get on with it then I think I'd still be there pondering some of the beautiful, beautiful, sentences. 

 

It's a book full of HOPE and it's a love letter to humankind (we can't be all that bad .. because dogs love us! :D) I know I'm late to the party but if you haven't read it then give it a go or at least research it to see if it's your thing (but then it's not my thing .. only it turns out .. it is!! :D xx) Loved it!

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Glad you enjoyed it - I certainly enjoyed reading your review!  Whilst I enjoyed The Humans, I wasn't quite as enthusiastic as you (brief review at the bottom of the post here) - and certainly took a couple more bites of the cherry to finish it than you did!  I'd certainly read Matt Haig again, but can't say I'll be rushing to do so given what else is available.

Edited by willoyd

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Glad you enjoyed it - I certainly enjoyed reading your review!  Whilst I enjoyed The Humans, I wasn't quite as enthusiastic as you (brief review at the bottom of the post here) - and certainly took a couple more bites of the cherry to finish it than you did!  I'd certainly read Matt Haig again, but can't say I'll be rushing to do so given what else is available.

:D Thanks Will .. I enjoyed your review too. The story just suited me down to the ground and as always I'm not entirely sure why. It just appealed to me on all levels. It was sort of obvious (quite early on) how it would end .. but then there were some twists and turns that I wasn't expecting so it kept me interested (I found it unpredictable in its predictableness :D) I wonder if I'll like his other books as much? I'll certainly have expectations now.

Yes .. so many books .. so little time. I walked around Waterstone's the other day and was almost depressed at the amount of books that I liked the look/sound of but probably won't get around to. I know I will die not having read the book I'd like best or listened to the song I'd love most!  :D I'm doing my best to avoid such an eventuality but .. needle in a haystack!  :blush2: 

 

 

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:D  I know I will die not having read the book I'd like best or listened to the song I'd love most!  :D I'm doing my best to avoid such an eventuality but .. needle in a haystack!  :blush2: 

 

 

 

That's an interesting idea.  I'm quite content on that front: if I never read a book that i enjoy more than my current favourites, it won't bother me too much, as I like them so much - they're worthy 'bests'*.  Having said that, I do also find it a bit depressing sometimes in a big bookshop (and the Leeds Waterstones is big!): not least because it reminds me that my own collection of unread books is so large, and I keep seeing books I've already got that I've yet to read!  To such an extent that I often come out nowadays not buying anything (a good thing in reality!) simply because it can all get a bit overwhelming.

 

* Long-term favourite is JL Carr's A Month in the Country.  No. 2 is probably Sense and Sensibility, and then Bleak House.

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thehumans.jpg

The Humans by Matt Haig

 

Synopsis: THERE'S NO PLACE LIKE HOME. OR IS THERE?

After an 'incident' one wet Friday night where Professor Andrew Martin is found walking naked through the streets of Cambridge, he is not feeling quite himself. Food sickens him. Clothes confound him. Even his loving wife and teenage son are repulsive to him. He feels lost amongst a crazy alien species and hates everyone on the planet. Everyone, that is, except Newton, and he's a dog.

What could possibly make someone change their mind about the human race. . . ?

 

Review: Often, there are books that I claim I can't put down. Sometimes this just means that I'm eager to pick them up. That if I have to go to the shops or make dinner or go visiting then I'm anxious to get back to them. Other times it literally means that nothing else gets done .. the ironing remains un-ironed, the phone doesn't get answered and everybody in the house starves because I MUST FINISH THIS BOOK! The Humans comes into the latter category. I picked it up yesterday and didn't put it down until the wee small hours .. when I finally realised I was starving and went and made toast!! :D

 

I haven't read Matt Haig before though I do think I have another one of his somewhere (yes .. thank goodness for lists .. this is why I exhaust myself writing them every January :D .. I do indeed have The Last Family in England) so this was a bit of a revelation. He's another writer that I will add to my list of  'must read everything by ....'. I'm annoyed in a way that it's taken so long for me to realise this .. and I know a lot of you have been recommending him .. Frankie for one (and in actual fact this book was a prezzie from Claire :hug: .. though it was to Alan  :blush2: but she did say I should also read it as she thought I'd love it.) but anyway, all that is remedied now :)

 

Rather unhelpfully I don't want to say too much about the plot, my enjoyment of it was enormously helped by me not knowing anything about it at all and it all being revealed slowly. The suspense at times almost killed me but it was also delicious. The premise is slightly absurd .. but I didn't actually read any of the blurb before embarking (though I couldn't help but notice the rave endorsements all over the cover) and perhaps that's just as well as I'm not sure I'd have warmed to it. It's usually the sort of thing I have trouble with and if you add into that 'mathematics' then I'm definitely mentally walking away. But that depends on who's telling the story. I didn't for one minute have any problems in totally believing in Andrew Martin or his mission. It helps that it's both funny and sad .. because that's exactly how I like 'em. I laughed and I cried and I swore allegiance to all (or most of) the characters and didn't want to be parted from them ever! It gave me pause for thought several times .. if I hadn't wanted/needed to get on with it then I think I'd still be there pondering some of the beautiful, beautiful, sentences. 

 

It's a book full of HOPE and it's a love letter to humankind (we can't be all that bad .. because dogs love us! :D) I know I'm late to the party but if you haven't read it then give it a go or at least research it to see if it's your thing (but then it's not my thing .. only it turns out .. it is!! :D xx) Loved it!

 

I'm pretty sure I've got this somewhere...I'll have to try and find it. I'm a sucker for books with dogs because I am dog mad. Great review, thanks Kay x

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The Humans is another book impatiently waiting on my TBR shelves (Not that long ago I used to be able to say shelf, not shelves!) I enjoyed The Radleys and I like dogs so I really must get around to it soon! Great review, as always. :)

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Glad to hear both you and Alan enjoyed The Humans, Kay! :smile2:

 

It's a book full of HOPE and it's a love letter to humankind

 

…sums it up perfectly for me. :D

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The Humans is another book impatiently waiting on my TBR shelves (Not that long ago I used to be able to say shelf, not shelves!) I enjoyed The Radleys and I like dogs so I really must get around to it soon! Great review, as always. :)

 

Surely The Last Family in England by the same author is on your wishlist at least, then? :smile2: 

 

Great review of The Humans, poppyshake! The book's already on my wishlist, but if it hadn't been there, you would've sold it to me! :smile2:

Edited by frankie

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Great review of Humans! It's on my TBR waiting impatiently. 

 

Know exactly what you mean about the overwhelming and depressing nature of Waterstone's, Willoyd! I only have 300 odd books on my TBR, but wandering around large bookshops makes me want to read EVERYTHING in them before I die. And that's before you consider all the books they don't stock, are out of stock or yet to be published. Life is a trial at times. 

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So glad you enjoyed The Humans. :D  I bought The Radleys a couple of days ago, as it was only £0.99 on Kindle. :boogie:

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That's an interesting idea.  I'm quite content on that front: if I never read a book that i enjoy more than my current favourites, it won't bother me too much, as I like them so much - they're worthy 'bests'*.  Having said that, I do also find it a bit depressing sometimes in a big bookshop (and the Leeds Waterstones is big!): not least because it reminds me that my own collection of unread books is so large, and I keep seeing books I've already got that I've yet to read!  To such an extent that I often come out nowadays not buying anything (a good thing in reality!) simply because it can all get a bit overwhelming.

 

* Long-term favourite is JL Carr's A Month in the Country.  No. 2 is probably Sense and Sensibility, and then Bleak House.

That is true .. the books I loved best twenty years ago are still among the books I love best .. and I haven't really got an absolute favourite as I find it hard to pick from among them so there's nothing to suggest that there would be a book out there that would blow that out of the water but still .. I can't help imagining there is. I suppose my cup is of the sort that is half empty  :blush2: 

I too have felt overwhelmed by the amount of books I see in the bookstores .. in my case the sort of books I think I would like .. and I haven't bought anything for a while because there'd be no end to it .. although books have been bought for me (after some heavy hinting so I can't pretend to be too self denying :D)  

Your top three are all outstanding books!  :yes:

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I'm pretty sure I've got this somewhere...I'll have to try and find it. I'm a sucker for books with dogs because I am dog mad. Great review, thanks Kay x

I'm pretty certain you will love it Ruth! Hope so anyway :)

I'm glad you enjoyed The Humans, Kay. I really loved it too!

Thanks Gaia! :) It's a great book!

The Humans is another book impatiently waiting on my TBR shelves (Not that long ago I used to be able to say shelf, not shelves!) I enjoyed The Radleys and I like dogs so I really must get around to it soon! Great review, as always.

Thanks Hayley :) Again, I'm sure you'll love it. It's a great book to pick up when nothing is taking your fancy or when you're struggling to enjoy reading because within a few pages .. you're hooked! Doggy joy too .. I know that'll be a bonus! :D

Glad to hear both you and Alan enjoyed The Humans, Kay!

Thanks Claire :) and thanks so much for buying it for Alan :hug: Thankfully, his recommendation of it didn't stray into CBTD territory. I think that only happens when I ignore his recommendation for a few years .. somehow it becomes a battle of wills :D 

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Surely The Last Family in England by the same author is on your wishlist at least, then?

 

Great review of The Humans, poppyshake! The book's already on my wishlist, but if it hadn't been there, you would've sold it to me! :smile2:

I actually have The Last Family in England on the shelf  :blush2: .. not sure how long it's been there but I really should have started it by now!

Well .. it's definite that you will love The Humans!! No question about it! I will eat my own bonnet if you don't! :D 

Great review of Humans! It's on my TBR waiting impatiently.

Thanks Alex! :)

Know exactly what you mean about the overwhelming and depressing nature of Waterstone's, Willoyd! I only have 300 odd books on my TBR, but wandering around large bookshops makes me want to read EVERYTHING in them before I die. And that's before you consider all the books they don't stock, are out of stock or yet to be published. Life is a trial at times.

I often have a wish to be trapped in there at night :D Perhaps in summer. Hopefully I'll be able to get the hang of the Costa coffee machine .. sorted!! :D I would at least be able to read lots of first chapters and that would narrow down my choices probably .. or add to my money problems .. one of the two! :D

So glad you enjoyed The Humans. :D  I bought The Radleys a couple of days ago, as it was only £0.99 on Kindle. :boogie:

Thanks bobbs :) Ooh .. bargain!  :cows: 

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