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A Wedding In December
A Wedding In December
by Anita Shreve
Edition: Paperback
Price: 5.61

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Do you ever really know anyone?, 17 Sep 2006
This review is from: A Wedding In December (Paperback)
The wedding in the title reunites a group of high school friends after many years. The characters are well developed, making for an interesting cast, and as their individual stories gradually unfold, it becomes apparent that none of their lives are as they seem ... and the reader takes on the role of a fly on the wall observing the dynamics between them.

For me, this book brought on a wave of nostalgia for the friends I'd lost touch with, but also made me wonder how much I DON'T know about the people in my life today.

An absorbing read.


La Cucina (A Black Swan book)
La Cucina (A Black Swan book)
by Lily Prior
Edition: Paperback
Price: 6.24

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars delicious!, 25 July 2006
Sensual, sensuous and raunchy, La Cucina explores the connections between food and sex in a way that I'd only come across - in a `softer' version - in Isabel Allende's Aphrodite.

The story is warm, touching, and unusual and Prior's writing shows a genuine affection for both her characters and food. I'll agree that she does get quite graphic, but never crude. Can't wait to read her other books.


Too Much Temptation
Too Much Temptation
by Lori Foster
Edition: Mass Market Paperback

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Like cotton candy... sweet, but insubstantial, 24 July 2006
This is a modern-day fairy tale, with the predictable happy ending, by way of many raunchy, though not particularly sensual, bedroom scenes.

The main character, Grace can simply do no wrong - too sweet, too unselfish, too undemanding ... in fact, apart from being overweight, too damn perfect ... so perfect it was downright annoying

And it's not just Grace. EVERY character in this book is essentially and fundamentally nice, and even those characters who don't seem so at first, turn out to be simply misunderstood. Yeah, right. Get off your cloud, already!

However, it would be unfair to say I hated the book or thought it was a waste of time. Oddly enough, despite the characters, and corny dialogue, this was a fairly entertaining and thoroughly unchallenging read i.e. for a day on the beach, you could do a lot worse.


Salem Falls
Salem Falls
by Jodi Picoult
Edition: Paperback

4 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars unconvincing, 20 July 2006
This review is from: Salem Falls (Paperback)
This is my first Picoult, and I must say that expected a lot more from this book from the reviews, so maybe my disappointment was due to having such high expectations.

That's not to say it's not well written and a page-turner, because it is both, but the story gets too complicated with too many storylines running in parallel and a few twists and turns too many to be believable - I do think that suspending disbelief is crucial to really enjoying this book. While it never actually got boring, it did drag on longer than I thought necessary.


Stories We Could Tell
Stories We Could Tell
by Tony Parsons
Edition: Paperback
Price: 5.66

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Very different to his usual work, 19 July 2006
This review is from: Stories We Could Tell (Paperback)
Tony Parsons background as a music journalist on the NME certainly qualifies him to write this novel about the music scene / culture of the late 70s (1977) through the eyes of 3 young music reporters, and although it is well-written, the central characters were indifferent and almost interchangeable.

Maybe I was born a few years too late to really get into the story, but I didn't enjoy it anywhere near as I had his previous books.


The Secret Life of Bees
The Secret Life of Bees
by Sue Monk Kidd
Edition: Paperback
Price: 8.27

4 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Redefining family, 19 July 2006
A moving story of love, forgiveness, and acceptance. Beautifully written and deeply touching... I was swept up, up and away by it! Not to be missed.


The Distinguished Guest
The Distinguished Guest
by Sue Miller
Edition: Paperback

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Failed to draw me in, 13 July 2006
`The Distinguished Guest' reads more like a character study than a novel. It is the story of a proud elderly woman who goes to live with her son's family as her health is deteriorating due to Parkinson's disease, and the impact this has on them.

Miller's skill at bringing Lily's character to life is undeniable, but the end result isn't very likeable. Lily is self-centered, full of herself, and on occasion downright mean, and although the book goes some way into explaining how she got that way, I could not bring myself to feel any sympathy for her.

Remaining characters, on the other hand, have very little depth - they are almost like rough sketches of the characters they would eventually become, but haven't yet been fleshed-out enough.

I'm normally a fan of Sue Miller's work, and was really looking forward to reading this, but this book (possibly in light of higher expectations) was a bit of a disappointment.


Gentlemen & Players
Gentlemen & Players
by Joanne Harris
Edition: Paperback
Price: 5.59

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The strategy of revenge (but, what, no food?), 12 July 2006
This review is from: Gentlemen & Players (Paperback)
This is a story of a very calculated, planned out and well-executed revenge. Joanne Harris once again shows real affection for her characters - even her less likeable ones are well defended - and her storytelling is as well-paced, unexpected, and surprising as usual, with a sting in its tail. But the magic (both literally and metaphorically) of many of her previous books is missing.

What is also missing is the `foodie' twist, which is one of the things I enjoyed immensely in Harris' previous books.

In summary, not one of her best, but still a good read.


The Food Of Love
The Food Of Love
by Anthony Capella
Edition: Paperback
Price: 5.24

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars simply delicious, 2 July 2006
This review is from: The Food Of Love (Paperback)
This is a very sensual book, bringing to life the smells, sights and taste of Italy, while being held together and given flow by a romantic love story that is both touching and unusual.

Capella writes as lovingly about food as he does about his the characters and the result is sumptious, warm and very, very readable.


The Good Mother
The Good Mother
by Sue Miller
Edition: Paperback
Price: 6.83

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Truthful and hard-hitting, 25 Jun 2006
This review is from: The Good Mother (Paperback)
There are a few of the things I think are great about Sue Miller's writing:

1) She treats all her characters with compassion and respect - her characters are not diaphanous or caricatures and she doesn't make a point of letting you know which ones you should and shouldn't like... they are just like "real" people you can actually relate to

2) she is not a fan of sugar-coating

This is an honest, compelling, and hard-hitting novel which doesn't force easy solutions or a happy ending, and I think it's a much stronger and more valid novel than most for it


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