#bookclub Feature – Rachel Smitten by SJV
This week on #bookclub we have a bunch of fabulous 5* reviews and a new A Day in the Life of… feature from Rachel who blogs over at Rachale’s Reads.
First up, The Regulars by Georgia Clark.
I was really intrigued by this book, especially after reading the chapter sampler that ‘Books and the City’ kindly gave me at the spring blogger event. It didn’t sound like anything I’d read before so it was very excited to try something new.
The book is as fascinating as it sounds. The writing style is great, it’s sharp and packs a punch, it’s a lot darker than most of the books I read and liked that about it. I’m used to very cosy and warm writing (which i equally enjoy), so it was a great contrast.
Set in New York this book is part women’s fiction and part something else. I can’t quite put my finger on what though…realistic fantasy? Obviously the Pretty potion couldn’t happen in real life, but the setting was set in the world we know. The potion was almost fairy tale or maybe fable is a better way of putting it, as there was lessons to be learned.
Obviously body image and beauty standards is one that comes into question, but also covers feminism quite heavily. It’s very topical as while in today’s society we are more socially aware, we still have publications that have numbers articles a week or month about who looks like they’ve gained a few pounds, or dared to go outside without make up.
The three characters are all flawed (as are we all), both as regular and pretty, but while I found myself wondering what the hell some of the characters were doing at times (Krista especially), I was enthralled in the story that I could barely put this down.
This book was a surprise when I first heard about it, and I’m glad I had the chance to read it. Smart, fresh and an incredibly engaging read from the beginning till end!Next, The Woman at Number 24 by Juliet Ashton.
Having read Juliet Ashton’s previous novel
I was looking forward to her next book, especially when I received and read the sampler.
It sounded quite a light read but it was much more emotional and mysterious than I expected. This only added an extra layer of depth, to what was already a pretty fantastic book. It is so easy to read and find yourself consumed by this book, so much so I stayed up till the early hours of the morning, unable to put it down. While most of the book takes place in the house and it’s gaden, because it’s converted to flats you get a nice variety of characters and story all intertwined.
The main character is Sarah and it’s from her viewpoint we read the book. At times I really liked Sarah, she was naturally kind and willing to give people a chance, like Mavis from the basement flat. However this also extended to her ex husband, Leo. She wasn’t over him, and therefore was quite naive I think, especially in the hope that helping her paint the flat proved he still loved her. She accepted that his careless, hapless nature was the way he was, and made excuses for him. At the worst times he came off really creepy, and at best he was inconsiderate as to how Sarah may feel. I was begging Sarah to have more strength in her, and at times she did, seeing Leo squirm when she told him how ridiculous the situation was, was great, but then she went back to defending him to everyone else. It was easy to dislike Leo initially, but by the end I think Sarah somehow hypnotised me. I didn’t like him as such but thought that maybe he had changed, and could see growth in a character, that for the first part of the book, I saw no hope for.
Despite her grumpy exterior, I loved Mavis. Yes she was cantankerous, but at times her light shone through and you could see she wanted to change and make amends, and become and better neighbour and more importantly, a friend to everyone.
Jane was certainly a larger then life character, she was instantly someone trustworthy and you wanted to become best friends with.
This book delivered so much more than I expected. Emotion, laughs and mystery, I simply adored every minute of reading it.
This book is set in my favourite city, New York, and Melissa Hill describes the city and it’s atmosphere perfectly in all the books she sets there, and this one is no different. Added to that is the description of Chaucer’s bookstore where Darcy works, it sounds absolutely delightful, and next time I am in NYC I shall endeavour to visit more bookstores!
Darcy was such a loveable character. Her love for books and her work was obvious and warmed you to Darcy instantly, and you felt terrible after she crashed into poor Aidan. She was so caring, I loved her determination to find out who Aidan really was, while having a few adventures on the way. Bailey, the dog Darcy starts to look after was so adorable as well!
The few chapters from Aidan’s perspective of what happened leading up to the crash, which were really nice to read, and don’t give too much away. I would have liked a few more of these chapters to show his thoughts after the crash, to voice his frustration at his memory loss, and his growing feelings towards Darcy.
Overall , I thought it was another spectacular, magical book from one of my favourite authors. As I said above, the setting in this book is described so beautifully, it’s hard to turn away from this book as you really feel like you are there with Darcy.
This book is beyond phenomenal. One of the funniest, laugh out loud books I have ever read. It is so cleverly written, I really cannot believe I waited so long!
The book is set in Barcelona, it is the perfect setting for the glamorous holiday that Imogen, Meredith and Nicola go on. City, beaches, historical landmarks and nice bars and restaurants, I’ve never been but this book has made it move swiftly near the top of my list of places I need to visit!
Imogen is the lead protagonist, and isn’t having quite the relaxing time she was hoping for. She is a workaholic and just wants to unwind, but can’t seem to catch a lucky break. Right from the airport, one disaster after another just keeps happening. While I would hate any one of these things to happen to myself, it is quite comical to read, as bad as I felt I couldn’t help cracking up time and time again. Overall Imogen is a lovely person, and I felt so sorry for her bad luck, but she held it together very well! She also found time to be supportive to her friends who each had their own issues, absolute wonderwoman!
The leading man Harry was very dashing. That’s all I can think of to say without spoiling some of the book, but needless to say he is everything you want in a man.
Her two best friends are both great friends, exactly the people you want to go on holiday. Nicola was the more sensible one I think with Meredith being the one who always seems to just want to have fun. You soon get to understand though, that Meredith is just insecure about her future. I really loved both these characters.
This book had me laughing and crying, mostly through to laughter, but it also has a few moments that really made me holding my breath, waiting for the inevitable moment that would break my heart a little. I literally could not put this books down, this is one book that is really easy to pick up and not notice the hours fly by! I need to read the rest of Jane’s books ASAP!
A Day in the Life of Rachel from Rachale’s Reads
Do you have a ‘day job’, and if so, can you tell us what you do?
My day job is Graphic and some web design for my husband-to-be’s company.
How did your journey as a book blogger begin?
By reading other blogs, I think the first I came across was ‘Rea Book Reviews’ and after following Rea’s updates, I kept finding more bloggers and thought it would be a great community to get involved with. Not many people I know in real life read books to the extent I do, and definitely not the same type of books, so it was a desire to both share my opinions to the world and talk more about what I love.
Is there such a thing as a typical day in the life of a book blogger, and if so what does it look like?
While my dream is to read a book a day, on a good day I will read at least a third of a book. I will either work on any reviews on books I’ve just read, or type ones I’ve written up (I hand write all my reviews first), and then prep them ready for them to be published on my blog.
We’re obsessed with other peoples TBR piles, how high is yours?
I’ve got a whole TBR bookcase that is just over half full (full being 2 layers on each shelf!), so pretty high, and that’s ignoring my virtual pile of ebooks waiting for me on my kindle, which is many many more.
What’s the best and worst part of being a book blogger?
Best thing is the community, and actually getting to talk to other book lovers, publishers and authors. I am definitely sooo happy to have met my favourite author multiple times, and many more authors that I adore.
Worst thing…that’s hard because I feel genuinely so happy to do this, but I guess maybe the pressure I put myself under to try and read as much as I can and the worry if I don’t put out enough content, and it is completely a first world problem, I know that I am in such a lucky position and I try not to stress myself out too much.
On average, how many books do you read in a year?
Between 60 and 80 books.
Is there an author you’d sell a limb to meet?
I’ve met Paige Toon so life goal achieved there, so I would now have to go with J. K. Rowling, though I would have NO idea what I’d say or ask her after “Hello”!
Your favourite book of 2017 and why?
Difficult choice! Paige Toon’s The Last Piece of My Heart because it was exactly what I needed as a pick me up when I was in a bit of a slump. Though ‘Behind Closed Doors’ by B. A. Paris was really creepy in the best possible way.
What book do you most recommend to others?
The Memory Book by Rowan Coleman, because I love a good cry at books sometimes and just thinking of that book can set me off at times as it has such emotion to it.
Who is your favourite Books and the City author and why?
Paige Toon, because I never think her books can get any better and they always do, and they are just pure fun to read that I can’t put down from the moment I start them.
And lastly our quick fire trivia round…
Thing you’d never leave home without? Phone
Favourite place to read? Outside in a park or on the beach
If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you live? New York
What’s the secret to success? Try your very hardest
What’s on your current reading pile? Holiday in the Hamptons by Sarah Morgan
Staying in or Going out? Staying In
What’s your Signature dish? Jambalaya
Beach break or city break? City Break
Favourite Literary Hero? Severus Snape (well, to me he’s a hero)
Famous last words? I won’t buy any books this week…