Friday, 17 July 2015

Summer Reads 2015

Always the Bridesmaid The Good Girls and Royal Wedding
Always the bridesmaid by Lindsey Kelk

Maddie's two best friends are going through some big life changes, Lauren is getting married while Sarah is going through a divorce and Maddie feels caught between the two. Lauren appoints Maddie as her unpaid wedding planner (as well as bridesmaid) and turns into bridezilla. On top of juggling wedding texts at all hours, Maddie is also consoling Sarah through late night drinking sessions as well as working for the biggest promotion in years. During her work at a wedding Maddie meets Will and Tom who compete for her attention. Each chapter begins with an entry into a bridesmaid journal, this diary format and the thoughts of the main character gave it a Bridget Jones feel. As things get worse it's used as a comic contrast from the cheerful tone of the book to how bad things actually are. I enjoyed Maddie's job as an events planner and Shona her boss, is the boss from hell but she isn't portrayed as stereotypically as she could have been which was good. The three main characters are best friends who argue a lot but ultimately they love each other like sisters. Maddie was a bit passive aggressive and although you can empathise with her, it would have been nice to actually see her saying no to people and meaning it. I did like the texts and emails towards the end of the book which acted as a nice epilogue to the story.

The Good Girls by Sara Shepard

Mackenzie, Ava, Julie, Parker and Caitlin are wanted for a murder they didn't commit. Sure, they talked about killing rich bully Nolan Hotchkiss, but it's just a coincidence that Nolan died in exactly the way they planned. Except Nolan wasn't the only one they fantasised about hurting in film class that day. Now someone seems to have found their list and is killing the people on it. Who is really behind these killings? 

This book is the sequel to The Perfectionists, but don't worry if you haven't read the first because Shepard covers everything you need to know in the prologue which serves as an excellent recap. The growing list of murders does sound a little far fetched but possible enough that it could happen, especially as the plot is based on the film And Then There Were None which is where the murder mystery began in film studies. It's very hard to talk about this book without giving away the ending, but the twist at the end makes it better than most of the books Shepard's written. It also reminds me of a Russell Crowe film. The ending ties up almost all the loose ends which is unusual for Sara Shepard The Queen of Cliff-Hangers but is much more satisfying for the reader. Another gripping read from Shepard. 5/5

Royal Wedding by Meg Cabot

Let me start by saying that I love Meg Cabot's books and was really looking forward to reading this book but ultimately I found it disappointing. It was slow, boring and a little predictable. I liked Princess Mia's character, she is kind, level headed, funny and considerate. She's also a hypochondriac, but after 100 pages of worrying and moaning and nothing else happening it became very grating and boring. We do get to see from the perspective of a royal, always needing to be on their best behaviour and that anything they do can be misconstrued by the press and just one photo could ruin their reputation. We also see how the press hound her out of her home. To deal with the stress in her life Mia's doctor tells her to write a gratitude journal recording the things she is thankful for which is why the book is written in a diary format. We also get to see text message conversations between the characters which I liked. The proposal is romantic and Mia and her fiancĂ© Michael make a great team, he handles the stress of dating a royal well and they make a sweet couple. But isn't until 40% through the book that things become more interesting when a family secret comes out, yet nothing really happened about this secret until 60% through the book. The reunion between the parents also happens off stage. I haven't read any of the princess diaries but I think if you are a long time fan that's been dying to see Mia and Michael get married or if you have fond memories of the series and grew up with Mia, you will love this book. For me the pacing was too slow and Mia moans too much. People who aren't die hard fans may not like this book. 2 or 2.5/5

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