24 March 2013

Been Away Too Long...Reviews of Sharon Owens, Kate Collins, Shappi Khorsandi, Marian Keyes

Wow...I didn't realise how long it had been since I last posted until just now, when I saw the last post was almost a year ago.  It's been busy - teaching, studying, living.  While I have managed to squeeze in a book for pleasure here and there, its mostly been a textbook world for me.  I vow to try to get back on track with reading and reviewing.

With that in mind, I have read a few books over the last year that I would like to mention.  Unfortunately, they won't get their own full-page review, but I promise they all are interesting books and worth a read.

By Sharon Owens
Published by Poolbeg Press Ltd.

Julie is a wedding planner who doesn't believe in weddings, marriage, or love.  Julie's company, Dream Weddings, is the hot wedding planning company that will plan a Gothic-style wedding for an aging rock star and a supermodel.  Mags is Julie's personal assistant who, like most personal assistants, ends up with all of the work and none of the glory.

The story really kicks off when Julie meets a young hottie and spends her time with him, instead of spending time on her business.  Mags is left running the business and trying to plan the aforementioned wedding on her own.  But Mags has her own problems, not business related but family related. 

This is a funny, easy to read book.  Even in the more dramatic moments, Owens keeps it light.  There are many chuckles along the way (particularly with the Goth wedding plans), but there is also a lovely theme throughout of friendship and family love.

By Kate Collins
First published by Obsidian, an imprint of New American Library,
a division of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.
First printing, November 2012
ARC courtesy of Kate Collins
The thirteenth installment of the Flower Shop Mysteries centres around Abby's ex-fiance, Pryce Osborne, when Abby helps him find a woman who has gone missing from the Osborne's beach house.  This brings about a cast of interesting characters as Pryce's neighbours are all considered suspects in the case.  As usual, Abby's cousin, Jillian is hilarious in her ditziness, especially now that she is pregnant but doesn't want anyone to know. 

Of course, Abby still runs the flower shop, her mother still tries to pawn off her crazy art projects there, and Marco is still the hunk of all hunks.  Abby is finding it difficult to balance all of this with planning her wedding shower which, in itself, is not an easy task as the wedding couple's mothers want to be involved, as well as the flower shop staff, and (it seems to Abby) everyone else she meets.  Really, she just wants to run everything herself.  But can she?

Another delightful book by Collins.  Her characters make me happy and the plots keep me interested.

By Shappi Khorsandi
First published in 2009 by Ebury Press,
an imprint of Ebury Publishing
Random House Group 2010

I saw Shappi Khorsandi interviewed on The Graham Norton Show and liked her immediately - she was extremely funny and interesting.  Admittedly, I had never heard of her, but I was interested in reading her book.

The book tells the story of Khorsandi's family and their transition from living in Iran to being exiled to London.  The story is written from Khorsandi's perspective as a child experiencing these changes and not necessarily understanding why things are unfolding as they are.  Her story is funny and moving, although not as well written as I would have liked it to be (she is, after all, a comedian, not a writer). 

By Marian Keyes
Published by the Penguin Group
I waited so long for a new book from Marian Keyes, and she didn't disappoint.  Helen Walsh, who has appeared in many of Keyes' other novels centering around the Walsh family, is a private investigator going through some tough times. She has lost her flat because she's not getting enough PI work and has to move back home with her parents.  Just when things are at their bleakest, an ex-boyfriend of Helen's hires her to find a missing person - the missing person being a member of a former boy band trying to make a comeback.
Keyes is back on form with her quick wit and hysterical descriptions of Walsh family life.  I found this book most compelling, however, in the way Keyes wrote of Helen's depression, how it was slowly consuming her and how she struggled daily to keep from falling back into the pit of depression despair.  While I laughed at the funny bits, I found a I had stomach pangs for Helen's challenges with depression.  This is a talent only Keyes could have - to bring one from laughter to tears in such a short time is a true writing talent.
I'm glad Marian Keyes is back and I look forward to reading anything she has to offer.

1 comment:

Jennifer said...

Great choices. Marian Keyes is always worth a read - or even a re-read!