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Reaching for the Stars Kindle Edition
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I was a bit on the fence with this book at first because it focuses on celebrity chef, Finn McDuff and the culinary world, which I know absolutely nothing about so I will admit that a lot of the terminology that was used at the beginning did go over the top of my head a bit but obviously that’s not the authors fault, entirely my own. I’m all for learning about new things and this book definitely taught me a thing or two about the culinary environment and the Golden Stars. I very much enjoyed the insight into this elegant and sophisticated world but it was very mature and I can’t see myself wanting to get involved with it in the future! Despite all of that however, I did very much enjoy this book and found myself getting reeled in to this world of lies, competition and rivalry.
Janice’s words and sentences flow nicely, they did in the voodoo series and they do in this book and that’s what makes her stories so easy to read and get stuck in to. During the first 50 pages or so, I wasn’t entirely clear on who were the main characters we were supposed to be following but that may be because there was quite a few of them all being introduced. One of the characters that was introduced, Anna, seemed to have absolutely no place or relevance to the story but eventually over time you learn more about her past and realize how she fits in – which I liked. Our main character, Finn, I assumed from the first few pages was going to be very unlikeable, rude and arrogant but I was completely wrong and ended up sympathizing massively with him. He turns out to be a great main character, rough around the edges but extremely vulnerable on the inside. Her main characters were all very lifelike and believable which is obviously one of the most important parts of any story. The aspect of the story that focuses on two journalists, Raine and Ross, fighting for the top stories on the missing chef I really enjoyed. You get a sense of how infuriating it must be for them, battling against each other for the latest scoop with their jobs and integrity at stake. I like the structure of the chapters as they alternate between Finn and the journalists. I like that you get to see both sides of what’d going on and although everyone is going mad looking for Finn, it’s somewhat amusing because we, as readers, know he’s alright and I really enjoy reading books where certain characters are left in the dark. I’m not sure whether it was intended, but at one point in the story, Finn starts suffering from social anxiety disorder (SAD) due to all the speculation about him and Janice managed to write that part in very sensitively but informingly and with a subject as taboo as mental illness, it was reassuring to know that just because you’re a celebrity, it doesn’t mean you’re immune to the effects of pressure, stress and anxiety.
There were 2 small things I picked up on, firstly some of the characters e.g. Finn’s agent, Sam, weren’t very well developed. It’s understandable because Sam, for example, doesn’t appear very often in the story but when he did it was a little flat as you don’t really know anything about him other that his name and the fact he’s Finn’s agent. The main characters were all extremely well described and developed so I think it would have been slightly better if the secondary characters were too – to match up to the standards of the others. Secondly, I felt there was a little bit of an overuse of exclamation marks and during some dialogue, there were exclamation marks where a full-stop would have sufficed. The exclamation marks made it sound like a character was a bit too over-enthusiastic about what they were saying when they didn’t really need to be.
Personally, I preferred reading Janice’s Voodoo trilogy only because I think it was much more suited for my age, personality and tastes but that’s not to say that Reaching For The Stars wasn’t a well established, informative and exciting read – because it most definitely was, but I would definitely recommend it to mature adults and especially those interested in good food and cooking (as for me, I can just about make a pot noodle without burning it). Janice is a fluent writer with many talents up her sleeve and I think she has the ability to write to appeal to a very wide audience. Her stories always have an underlying message somewhere and this one teaches you that fame and fortune aren’t necessarily the main ingredients you need to be happy and in Finn’s case, they definitely weren’t.
Find all my reviews here: [...]
Finn McDuff seems to have the world at his feet, he has just acheived his ambition of 3 Golden Stars for his restaraunt, his world comes crashing down around him when his wife decides to leave him.
Anna James returns to Edinburgh expecting to be sponsored by Chef McDuff, willing to put the past behind her in achieving her dreams.... But is Anna willing to forgive and forget. Finn let's Anna down by closing his restaraunt and doing a disappearing act with the press on his tail.
Raine and Ross were competing for the same job until Raine beats him to an exclusive interview with Chef McDuff, now they are working for different newspapers, they are on his tail for the exclusive story surrounding his disappearance.
Janice gives you a clue to the corruption that was once the press over here, this is done in a way that makes you dispise the press for their intrusion into celebrities lives.
As for Chef McDuff I couldn't help but like him, if not the typical book boyfriend, there was something sad about his story and I found myself warming to him and feeling sorry for his plight.
Anna was seeing her father through rose tinted glasses and blamed everything on Finn, I really wanted to give her a slap and tell her to wake up and smell the roses.
Raine I liked instantly she was trying to do her job with an honest integrity, even though she had to deal with her bosses demanding more and falling in love with Finn didn't help her.
Ross I really wanted to come unstuck and I laughed at the way he eventually did, a totally ingenious way of doing it from Janice.
In short the book was totally different from what I expected and would recommend it, it was a journey for so many of the characters that I found myself wanting to work out, with a great supporting cast.
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