Girls on Tour by Nicola Doherty
After exams, I wanted a book that was somewhat light-hearted and an easy read. Girls on Tour definitely fits the bill - just read the blurb:
"Four girls. One year. Five fabulous destinations.
Poppy is bound for Paris, the City of Life. Could this be her chance to end her epic dry spell?
Lily is en route to her cousin's wedding in LA, where she's willing to break a few rules to land her dream role.
Maggie can't wait for her romantic ski holiday in Meribel - until it goes seriously off-piste.
Rachel packs for a glamorous Roman holiday, but a blast from the past is about to sabotage la dolce vita.
The girls get together and fly to Manhattan. But someone's been hiding a big secret in the Big Apple..."
From what I understand, Girls on Tour is basically a few shorter e-novels put together to form a printed book.
Anyway, let's talk about the book. The plot sounded very promising and I'm a sucker for a slushy love story but I found every single character a bit wet and annoying, the stories a bit lacklustre and the writing quite juvenile. For all I know, it could've been written by a girl in their late teens - it definitely didn't read very grown up. The only reason I stuck with it is because I was sent it from Bookbridgr to review and also, because I dislike leaving books unfinished.
The characters were hard for me to relate to: they all talked like teenagers and were just very annoying.
Overall? I give Girls on Tour 5/10.
The Art of Baking Blind by Sarah Vaughan
"In 1966, Kathleen Eaden published The Art of Baking, her guide to nurturing a family by creating the most exquisite pastries, biscuits and cakes.
Now, five amateur bakers are competing to become the new Mrs Eaden. There's Jenny, facing an empty nest now her family has flown; Claire, who has sacrificed her dreams for her daughter; Mike, trying to parent his two kids after his wife's death; Vicki, who has dropped everything to be at home with her baby boy; and Karen, perfect Karen, who knows what it's like to have nothing and is determined her façade shouldn't slip.
As unlikely alliances are forged and secrets rise to the surface, making the choicest choux bun seems the least of the contestants' problems. For they will learn - as Mrs Eaden did before them - that while perfection is possible in the kitchen, it's very much harder in real life."
Okay, let me just profess my love for the Great British Bake Off (GBBO). Every year, I watch every episode religiously (sometimes even twice, especially if I've had a bad day) - it might be something to do with Mel and Sue's hilarious puns or empathising with a poor rise (no innuendo intended!) but GBBO is one television programme I look forward to watching.
The Art of Baking Blind isn't a short book - it's just over 400 pages long - but it does sound like a fictional, novel version of GBBO and this appealed to me instantly. However, I was a little bit disappointed. The judges are clearly based on Paul Hollywood and Mary Berry and I didn't really warm to any of the characters. Dan (the male judge) seemed like quite a slippery fella and I found the contestants annoying and fickle. They were all a bit 'wet', for want of a better word.
Unfortunately, this wasn't a book I found myself wanting to pick up at every free moment and although I finished it with ease, it wasn't as pleasurable a read as I anticipated. I decided to rate it 6.5/10 because I think it'll appeal to others but just not to me as, in my opinion, it was a middle of the road type read.
The Last Honeytrap by Louise Lee
"Scot 'Scat' Delaney is a world famous jazz singer. He has ample opportunity to stray and his girlfriend, Alice, needs to know she can trust him.
Introducing Florence Love, private investigator. Florence has just ten days to entrap an A-lister. Whilst sticking to her cardinal rule: 'One kiss, with tongues, five seconds - case closed.'
A master of body language, evolutionary science and nifty disguises, her approach is unconventional, her success rate excellent. But targets are rarely as beautiful as Scat. Never fall for the target. That is very bad form indeed.
The Last Honeytrap marks the energetic launch of a brilliant new series. Once you've met Florence Love, you'll see the world in glorious technicolour at last."
The blurb definitely drew me in and I was eager to start this book after it came through my letterbox. However, this is a case of 'don't judge a book by its cover'.
Florence, the main character, is thoroughly annoying. She loves herself a bit too much for my liking and I didn't really warm to any of the other characters either. If I had to choose a favourite character, I honestly wouldn't be able to.
For me, the book didn't really get exciting until the last 100 pages or so. The book is over 300 pages long so for it to only get interesting two-thirds of the way through, I can see some people putting it down well before reaching that stage. Anyway, the last third of the book was actually really quite interesting and I found myself eager to find out what would happen next. The end of the book was quite underwhelming - I know it's meant to be the first in a series but it left so many unanswered questions, I just felt really let down. And Florence isn't really a character I warmed to enough to want to read the next book just to find out some of these answers...
Overall, 6/10 (score brought up by the last one hundred pages).
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All in all, I've not had much luck with books over the last two months. However, I am currently midway through a book that has me hooked so far so fingers crossed this is the beginning of a string of good books! :)