Pearshaped by Stella Newman

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Helllllllo readers, a wonderful romantic story for you today and one that I cannot bloody wait to share with you. I’ve been on a book borrowing hype, stealing into the library to grab new books, but this one, this one I will have to buy a copy of. ‘Chick-lits,’ and me have fallen out over the years; daft females, one layer men (with a six pack obvs) who we’re supposed to swoon over and often enough tackiness to cause me to hurl the book at the nearest wall. Give me strength goddamn it. Then I read something that I fall in love with, read in one sitting and stay up till one in the morning stuck thinking about. If you want praise I waited for a bus on a Sunday evening after travelling for nearly six hours, because I knew I would have more time to read it instead of hailing a taxi. That’s book love. Seriously.

A novel about love, heartbreak and dessert.

Girl meets boy.

Girl loses boy.

Girl loses mind.

Sophie Klein walks into a bar one Friday night and her life changes. She meets James Stephens: charismatic, elusive, and with a hosiery model ex who casts a long, thin shadow over their burgeoning relationship. He’s clever, funny and shares her greatest pleasure in life – to eat and drink slightly too much and then have a little lie down. Sophie’s instinct tells her James is too good to be true – and he is. An exploration of love, heartbreak, self-image, self-deception and lots of food. Pear-Shaped is in turns smart, laugh-out-loud funny and above all, recognizable to women everywhere.

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My plan here is to sell you this book in under 800 words because I have a feeling that I could talk and talk about this tale. Stella Newman’s book Pear Shaped is the stunning tale of Sophie Klein who, in early thirties falls for someone who seems to be the perfect guy. Strongly built, a little older, and with a raucous sense of humour the two fall for one another. Well she does. As the relationship continues, Sophie’s belief that James is too good to be true starts to come true, and his often bad-mannered and undermining comments about her imaginary extra weight and his need to hold her at arm’s length causes our wonderful main character to take a tumble to rock bottom. As she struggles to come to terms with her seemingly broken relationship and her broken self-esteem we see Sophie grow and flourish will her and James kiss and make-up? Gah.

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What I adored most about this book and what didn’t expect is that the narrative really revolves around this unhealthy relationship and how it can cause such detrimental effects on young women. However, it doesn’t preach or rely on clichés, but instead takes a very human and honest look at characters flaws and the ways that people can grate when placed in such a close or here, a distant relationship. I thought the way that Newman dealt with the characters was terribly grown-up; James at no point is made to seem vile but instead what he is, the good and also what he isn’t, the bad. The story focuses almost wholly on Soph and I adored that. I’m not going to focus too much technically but the writing is flawless. Full of humorous anecdotes, wonderfully honest quips, delectable descriptions of food and real understanding of how to weave storylines; Sophie works as a ‘Pudding Queen,’ making chilled desserts for supermarkets and the interesting complex relationships of the office work place and a number of her friends including Pete and Laura (who was my second favourite character; everyone needs a friend as like her) were wonderful.

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Sophie is a stunning character; her struggle is both uplifting and also heart-breaking and as she breaks down to such a low level I felt a serious feeling of dread. She has such spirit and yet she is terribly insecure, she’s ruthless, genuine and wholesome and yet also clueless. She’s everything you want in a character and I adored her, seriously. We need more of this writing in romantic genred books. Get rid of the dusty, clichéd characters and make more Sophie’s, please I beg you. The book focuses on the importance of knowing one’s self and appreciating that person over the qualms of love and desire. The constant underlying feeling of Sophie trying to understand her feelings and her gut helps to make it feel all the more real and I know that I definitely found myself nodding along.

I’ve got forty one words left damn it; in a sentence I laughed, I cried, I teared up a little in happiness. I found such utter happiness reading this book and I think you will to. Go, get, now.

Linnnkkks

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Additionally I can fill in my first square on my Summer Reading Bingo Chart with the square ‘With food as the theme.

The Chocolate Run: Dorothy Koomson

Good afternoon readers, hope you’re all having a wonderful Thursday. The weekend is finally in sight after another busy week at work. I’ve got some exciting bits to bring you in the next few weeks and a plethora of new books spilled into my inbox yesterday so lots of reading to do. I have, however, had a little bit of a wobble with my reading in the past week. I’ve been the busiest I’ve been in months, and with my little sister having to go into A&E yesterday and today and a rather stressful evening last night I’ve had no time to think let alone read. However, I thought I would bring you today one of my all-time favourite books. It’s one I go back to time and time again and whenever I’m suffering from a book hangover or just need something to spark my interest I go back to this time. My copy is battered and bruised through the sheer number of times I’ve read it but I fancied finally giving it the review it deserves; enjoy.

 Amber Salpone doesn’t mean to keep ending up in bed with her friend Greg Walterson, but she can’t help herself. And every time it ‘just happens’ their secret affair moves closer to being a real relationship, which is a big problem when he’s a womaniser and she’s a commitment-phobe. While Amber struggles to accept her new feelings for Greg, she also realises that her closeness to Jen, her best friend, is slipping away and the two of them are becoming virtual strangers. Slowly but surely, as the stark truths of all their lives are revealed, Amber has to confront the fact that chocolate can’t cure everything and sometimes running away isn’t an option. The Chocolate Run is a delectable tale of lust, love and chocolate

 The reason I have yet to review this book is that I’m worried about not getting across how wonderful it is so I’m going to try my best. The book ultimately revolves around four characters; Jen, Matt, Amber and Greg. See, Jen and Amber have been friends since before they can remember and when Jen invites her to meet the new man in her life he brings along the rather wonderful Greg. Greg is utterly beautiful but Amber quickly works out he really knows it. They strike up a strong friendship like two peas in a pod. However they end up tumbling into bed together; Amber is hiding her commitment issues relating to her parents’ divorce as a child and Greg is a fully-certified slut. He’s a womaniser who cannot help himself. Mix in Jen who will do anything to keep the two apart and Matt who is a mysterious and quiet character it looks like it’s all going to end in tears? Or will it?

 So now that bit is done onto the good bits; I find it really difficult reviewing books I absolutely love but here I could go on for days with why I loved this story so goddamn much. The characters are wonderfully written. Amber is a regular girl. She eats chocolate for breakfast and loves binge watching films. Both sarcastic, witty and also a little insecure she’s a real character and I adore her. Greg is a flirt but he is adorably sweet and his affection for Amber comes in the bucket load. Throughout we see them grow; Amber learns to let people in whilst Greg begins to yearn to settle down. Jen and Matt are equally well described; she’s bubbly and excitable but she hides a serious jealousy complex, Matt is your typical bloke but he’s quiet and difficult to warm to.

 The story weaves well, plotting a number of different story lines including the hiding of the burgeoning relationship between Amber and Greg, the splitting of the friendship between Jen and Amber, the secrets that Greg is holding for Matt they all weave and bob along giving us more and more information until we hit the final climax of the story. The book moves with pace and dexterity so that it’s always throwing more at us. It moves forwards and backwards in time at places to allow an interesting development of Amber and Greg’s relationship. I’ve just thought I bet you’re wondering about the chocolate part of the book; well Amber loves chocolate and the theme of it is woven throughout. A lot of the book is focused on dependency and Amber, when struggling with something ultimately depends on chocolate. Throughout it plays a large part in symbolising Amber’s need to let go and allow herself to trust someone. She constantly thinks that Greg is going to up and leave and this constant toying with the idea of trusting him is written beautifully.

 In terms of writing style throughout, it is also absolutely beautiful; for example. Our friendship was getting more and more tenuous. Etheral. We weren’t even like two Twix, seperated before consumption, any more. We were more like Dairy Milk and Caramel. Two chocolates made by the same people, but so different you couldn’t put them together under any similar category. …We melted at different temperatures, we felt different, we tasted different, we were different. Now, nothing but our source linked us. Just brilliant. In one of my favourite scenes in the book she describes the four of them as different types of chocolate and as we meet more supporting this is continued. It’s a rather delightful and wonderful additional theme for the book to take.

In all honesty I adore this book and I don’t say that very often. It’s one that if you did ask me my top ten this would be the chick-lit that makes it and I haven’t read anything that comes as close. I think it’s because there is so much in there to be explored. The friendships, the secrets, the dependency on others and the constant use of chocolate there’s just something incredibly special about this book and I for one cannot wait to read it again.

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Amy and Rodger’s Epic Detour: Morgan Matson

Good evening readers, hope you are feeling wonderful this evening. I don’t know how it works around the world but the clocks went back at the weekend and having another hour in bed was desperately needed. Spending the weekend at home with my friends and family was also desperately needed and now I’m finally off the antibiotics I am hoping this week will continue to get better. I read this book in two sittings, one on the train down to Milton Keynes and then Saturday morning whilst everyone was in bed sleeping. I don’t normally read YA fiction unless it is sent to me, but when I picked up TFIOS this was also recommended and I couldn’t help myself; hope you enjoy this adorable review.

Amy Curry thinks her life sucks. Her mom decides to move from California to Connecticut to start anew–just in time for Amy’s senior year. Her dad recently died in a car accident. So Amy embarks on a road trip to escape from it all, driving cross-country from the home she’s always known toward her new life. Joining Amy on the road trip is Roger, the son of Amy’s mother’s old friend. Amy hasn’t seen him in years, and she is less than thrilled to be driving across the country with a guy she barely knows. So she’s surprised to find that she is developing a crush on him. At the same time, she’s coming to terms with her father’s death and how to put her own life back together after the accident. Told in traditional narrative as well as scraps from the road–diner napkins, motel receipts, postcards–this is the story of one girl’s journey to find herself.

Oh this book adorable and I loved it mainly because of this. I have had a real problem with chick-lits at the moment and I’ve been waiting for one to get me back into the genre that I have been struggling with so much recently. I think it’s because books with a romantic genre seem to push the limits of what is realistic and it gets tiring very quickly. However, this was written in a way that really captured my imagination; yes it’s a little cutesie and sweet, but at the time it was really what I needed to read and I will defend my love of this delightful little book. It follows Amy who has been through some serious trauma and has closed up against the world unable to share her feelings. Her brother has gone off the rails, addicted to cannabis to forget the bad memories and her mother is miles away in another state, the one that Amy and Rodger will be travelling towards. The two have secrets that they are trying to hide; Amy’s are related to the sudden death of her father whilst Rodger’s relate to a sudden ending of a relationship with a beautiful girl who he is utterly smitten with. However as the two open up they start to realise they have a lot more in common.

So onto the real logistics of the book; it is well written with a real understanding of how to get the reader interested. By mixing and matching different forms including receipts, hand written drawings, song lists, motel receipts, postcards and more this story really takes the reader on the journey with the two teens. The characters are really different in personality style which helps to grow their relationship; to start Amy is incredibly closed off which I liked because it made the beginnings of her relationship with Rodger difficult and awkward and made it feel more realistic. Her uncomfortable beginnings also allow her to grow throughout the book and she becomes a more outgoing and stronger version of herself and as the book continued I cared for her more and more as a character. Rodger I fell for immediately; he is adorable and sweet and honest but it’s written in a way that is genuine and convincing. I also loved the way he managed to get Amy out of her shell. The minor characters are all very small characters but they really packed a punch and added affectionate nuggets of wisdom that helped to bring the story to life. Leonard is particularly sweet. The road trip part of the story is wonderful; the different places they visit, the places they stop at and the food and snacks they pick up along the way, the songs they list and the silly habits they acquire. Along the journey which goes from California to Connecticut by way of Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, Tennessee and quite a few more states they finally face their worries and open up and we find out what they are both hiding from each other.

This is the cutest coming of age story I’ve read in a while. For some it may be a little over done and a little ‘cutesie’ but its wonderful. I loved the ending, but I actually didn’t want the book to end at all. I liked that it was left open ended but there is a big clue at the end that will leave the reader with a big smile on their face. I would really recommend this book; if you’re having a bad day, or just need a pick me up this is perfect and I cannot wait to read this book again!

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