on 3 October 2011
Amber is an ambitious 31 year old, about- to- be divorcee. She is trying to start again after her husband, Dom cheated on her, but she is not moving on at any great speed. She narrates the story and pours out her feelings on her failed marriage in flashbacks, her new job and new relationship.
Once she was the newly wed and now it is her best friends who are getting married, having babies and looking forward to a settled future.
Oscar is a famous chef, embarking on his own venture in the restaurant trade after a split from his business partner. He is, as you would expect from some celeb chefs, rude and demanding and foul mouthed in the kitchen.
The cast as includes, Dom's new girlfriend, Rachel, Oscar's ex-wife and daughter and a staff of many in the busy kitchen.
This novel had a few surprises behind that innocent cover. I do love chick-lit and expected this to be the usual great chick-lit format, but this went deeper. There are some serious relationship issues between the laughter lines as Amber's best friend Marsha does point out to Amber. There are some very funny moments in the story mixed in with some worrying behaviour from Oscar as he and Amber have a fiery relationship. This story is not all romance and roses.
The blurb was a little misleading, but not a problem. I expected Amber's friends to feature in the story much more than they did.
Favourite moment... I did love the 'compliment' Amber gave Dom's new girlfriend, Rachel, when they dined at the restaurant along with the surprise she presented to him.
I thoroughly enjoyed this story, and enjoyed the shock factor I got from the stormy relationships in the novel. I willed Amber to see what was happening to her and to make the right decision.
This chick-lit/romance goes a little deeper. It does contain some swearing .
4.5 out of 5 for me!
Thank you to Little,Brown for sending me a review copy
on 29 September 2012
I was lucky enough to win this paperback book from a giveaway run by @Btweenthesheets on Twitter.
Amber had separated from her husband, Dom, and she went for a job interview at a well-known chef's new restaurant, after a not-so-great interview she was surprised to find out that she had got the job. She was completely in awe of her new boss, Oscar, and very keen to impress him. He was a stereotypically loud, angry and hot-headed chef who creates some rather unusual culinary masterpieces - lambs tongues, pigs spleens and even blood ice cream!
Amber is not fully over her ex-husband, who cheated on her, and she finds herself crushing on Oscar with his manly and controlling ways. It soon became clear that he felt the same way and so began a relationship that would threaten everything she had worked for.
Throughout the whole book I got the sense of confusion from Amber, she just didn't know what to do about her feelings for her ex and then her boss. So she threw herself into her new job so that she wouldn't have to think about that side of her life. To begin with Dom was not a favourite of mine but as the book progressed I found myself warming to him, once he had explained his version of events I looked at it in a different way.
There were a lot of funny moments that had me laughing out loud, one of the most memorable for me was the crème brûlée incident, it really got me giggling! Amber's romantic mathematics was also a fun part of the story, I've always been terrible at maths so I couldn't quite follow her reasoning though. The ups and downs of running a restaurant was another enjoyable part, working somewhere like that sounds extremely stressful but it was fascinating to read about.
Although this book was a little bit predictable at times I was quite surprised by the ending - I feel like there should be a sequel because I would love to know what happens next for a few of the characters.
This is an enjoyable and witty book, great to curl up on the sofa with.
on 22 January 2012
I struggled to get into this novel and found the main characters intensely hateful at first. I forced myself to keep reading and it did get slightly better (up from 1 star to 3). Still nowhere near as good as 'Ready or Not?' which I loved. It might be because I'm not really interested in catering, restaurants or kitchens (the book is set in the kitchen of a top restaurant). Some interesting undertones, but not enough to get over the whole slightly unlikely plotline (girl hero-worships star celebrity chef, star celebrity chef falls in love with her as soon as she walks into his kitchen, girl's best friend multi million heiress who just happens to save the restaurant when backer pulls out) and a truly DREADFUL ending. There are worse books out there, but there are definitely much better ones too...
on 13 July 2012
I listened to the Audio version as tend to commute allot, and really enjoyed this story. Probably more relevant to me as I am a female chef and have unfortunately been in the type of kitchen environment described by the author. It was a little tongue in cheek in places but captured me in the way the toe curling kitchen scenes were so familiar . The Oscar character is true to life , a Jekyll and Hyde chef as most un-excusably are.
Amber the main character was strong, passionate for her work but still craved the love of her separated husband Dom.
I think I am biased to any chef fiction,as I can relate to it only to well, some times good, mostly bad.
Well done to the author, not sure if she has ever worked in catering but she truly captured it's exploited dark side.
I have to say it took me a good while to get into the book. I didn't find the character of Amber very likeable at first, it's not that she was horrible or anything like that, I just couldn't relate to her and I just didn't like her so much. Amber is a talented chef who is working in a bit of a dead end job but desperate to get a job working for a big time chef. She's just getting divorced from her husband after she found out he was cheating on her, so she's a bit of an emotional wreck as well. When she does get a job working for Oscar Retford, she's thrilled but realises what hard work it is going to be. Soon, the inevitable happens and Amber finds herself falling for Oscar, despite not wanting to get involved with her boss. I felt it was a bit of a cliché but was willing to give it a go.
The character of Oscar was horrible, I completely disliked him from the start and couldn't understand for the life of me why understand why Amber fell for him. Moran writes him a bit like Gordon Ramsay in real life - arrogant, rude, horrible to staff but ultimately very good at what he does. However, I was kind of egging Amber on to get back in contact with her ex, I felt like things were unfinished and thought she was rushing into things with Oscar because of lust. Moran has really done her research with the cooking side of things, there is a good amount of technical detail about cooking, life in a bustling and busy kitchen and other things food related too. There were a few scenes that actually grossed me out, pigs heads being one of them, I actually was nearly sick, it was that disgusting and a bit unnecessary as well I felt. Most things are more tolerable, but I just felt that particular bit was out of place and over the top for my liking.
I've read a few things about this book, saying it's a hilarious and a gag a minute but I have to be honest and say I didn't really laugh out loud at all. I didn't think it was funny at all, if you want laugh out loud comedy I'd go for someone like Jane Costello or Jemma Forte, this certainly doesn't deliver on the laughs at all. The story was a bit of a cliché for me, things went as I predicted but I did like ending if I am honest, it seemed right to end the way it did. I didn't really like many of the characters, they weren't likeable people and I didn't like how Amber and Oscar's relationship carried on, she couldn't see him for what he really was. It was a good enough read but I can't say I was especially taken by it. The writing style was good and moved the book along at a good pace, but there was just something about it that didn't click for me personally
on 22 July 2011
I read a review for Breakfast in Bed in the Independent comparing it to Bridesmaids. High praise indeed, so I thought I'd give it a go and see if it lived up to the hype. It definitely does! It's such an intelligent read and funny in an honest way (just like Bridesmaids!), which was a welcome relief from the obvious and tired humour that seems to be in so many women's fiction novels at the moment. It's surprisingly emotional as it takes a frank look at the consequences of divorce and how you go about rebuilding your life after something like that, but it's saved from being too melancholy by the dry, intelligent sense of humour that hits you when you're least expecting it.
I'm a bit of a foodie so I loved that it was set in a restaurant/kitchen, and the celebrity chef angle was fascinating too. Come on, we've all had a crush on a bad boy at some point, which means this is so relateable. The scenes in the kitchen are written with such skill that you can feel the tension as everyone is working through the evening service. The author obviously did her research because it felt so authentic. And the recipes at the back look delicious - I'll definitely be giving those a try.
I'd recommend this book to anyone - it doesn't shy away from the pain of a break-up, but it maintains a hopefulness and wit that makes this an accomplished novel and a satisfying read. And you get to try out your own skills as a chef with the recipes at the back - what more could you want!?
on 17 September 2011
Newly-single Amber is heading for the divorce courts at the same time her best friend is planning her wedding, not only that, but Amber's job is not what she wants it to be, and she is after a big change in her life. Seizing the opportunity to take control of her life once and for all, Amber lands herself a job with the tempermental and well-known chef, Oscar Redford, who is very much painted as a Gordon Ramsey type of character throughout the course of the book.
I thought that the book started off well and I enjoyed the kitchen environment that many of the scenes took place in. I did, however, feel that as the book entered the second half of the story, it it became a little too much of the same thing and could have done with having been cut down slightly.
It wasn't as easy as it is with most chick-lit books to see which man the leading lady Amber was going to end up with, which I thought was a nice change, although, I must admit, I'm not sure whether I was satisfied with the ending or not. Also, there were quite a lot of characters, including Amber's friends and various members of kitchen staff, and I did struggle to keep up at times with remembering who was who as most of them only made fleeting appeances in the book.
Overall, I would say that I quite enjoyed this book.
on 23 May 2012
Breakfast In Bed is a complete delight from start to very near the finish although I have to agree with other reviewers in that I dislike the ending. That said the characters created in this book are delightful and are written so perfectly you experience their journey with them and feel their pain when they do. The plot is also hugely entertaining and enjoyable and provided for the perfect page turner. A perfect read for summer.
on 22 July 2011
As I was reading Breakfast In Bed I was wondering, constantly, what I'd be typing once I'd finished the book. Sometimes a review writes itself, sometimes I struggle, it all depends how much I feel for a book. Unfortunately Breakfast In Bed didn't make a particularly good impression on me. I can barely remember what I read and I only finished it half an hour ago; it's not a book that will stay with me long after it's onto my book shelf. The novel started well enough, I liked Amber immediately and I was very much taken with the fact the novel revolved around a kitchen, it's such a rare occasion for a female character in a Chick Lit novel to be a chef (and we all say sexism isn't rife in Chick Lit?). I very much enjoyed the frantic pace of the kitchen and felt Moran covered it well, and I definitely wouldn't have minded had every single scene in the novel been set in the kitchen because it was frantic and fast and it definitely kept me reading.
I would hazard a guess that part of my problem to really feel the novel is the fact that besides Oscar and perhaps Amber, the cast aren't that well fleshed out. Oscar is a Gordan Ramsay clone, but beautiful (although I did find it hard to banish imagining Oscar as Gordon) with his swearing and his fiery temper (is there no such thing as a mild mannered chef? Clearly it's an oxymoron). Oscar's ex-wife Lydia is the slim, svelte, beautiful woman Amber could never hope to live up to whereas Oscar's daughter Tallulah is a spoilt brat, desperate for her parents attention. Milly, Amber's best friend, is the rich girl with not a lot happening in her life at all. None of the characters took me by surprise, they were all conveniently placed. Dom, Amber's ex-husband is a slime-ball and no matter how much Amber tried to tell me that he was sweet once upon a time, I just couldn't believe it, because he just seemed horrible. I know it sounds like I'm balling the book out (there's worse to come, sadly) but I just found myself disappointed by the fact the character's all fit the Chick Lit check list.
Despite all of that, though, I was enjoying the novel. I liked the way Oscar and Amber's relationship was progressing, I liked the way they were hot and cold together, how Oscar called her Fish Girl. There were small issues that bugged me, but they were easy to brush away, and for the most part the book was an OK read. It didn't blow me away, nor did it set my world alight or anything, but I didn't want to stop reading it at all, it wasn't bad. Until the ending. Notoriously, it's hard to get an ending just right. My main parameter for the ending of a novel is that I believe the two characters who end up together are believable in their love. I believe in them, I believe that when I close the novel they're going to ride off into the sunset. Sadly, the ending of Breakfast In Bed ruined the rest of the book. I was peeved. I didn't like the ending, I didn't believe Amber ended up with the right person. I thought it was fifty massive steps back and I still can't believe the turnabout. Just no. Many will probably love the ending, and perhaps I can't truly see why Amber chose who she chose because I've never been in that situation, but I just couldn't see it. I didn't see them riding off into the sunset, I saw heartbreak in Amber's future.
Am I wrong to say the ending ruined the book for me? I don't think so. In a novel the beginning, the middle and the end must all work together in tandem for me. Most of the novel was OK. But the ending was horrific. To me, anyway. It felt like I had to try too hard to like the book. There's a big (supposed) rivalry between Oscar and a man named Angus with whom he used to work, but I felt the rivalry wasn't properly focused on. It was just there, and Moran could have done so much more with it, it just felt like an empty plot line hanging there. I'm quite disappointed, the bare bones for the story were there and I enjoyed the kitchen action and Amber and Oscar's relationship but I never really felt for the characters and the ending make me want to be sick because I just couldn't see it. Moran has potential, no doubt about it, but I felt disappointed once I'd finished Breakfast In Bed. I can understand the ending, a tiny little bit, but well I don't agree with it, I don't agree with it at all and it kind of ruined everything I'd read up until then, so sadly I wouldn't recommend it though I'm sure there'll be many people that love the book. I just wasn't one of them.
on 22 March 2012
I loved this book from the beginning and I really enjoyed the characters. My god what a dreadful ending though! I felt like I had been robbed. As if that would happen!! What a total waste of a book. The author must have been off her head.