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Book Review: The Little Cafe in Copenhagen

Plot:

Welcome to the little cafe in Copenhagen where the smell of cinnamon fills the air and the hot chocolate is as smooth as silk.

Publicist Kate Sinclair’s life in London is everything she thought she wanted: success, glamour and a charming boyfriend. Until that boyfriend goes behind her back and snatches a much sought-after promotion from her.Heartbroken and questioning everything, Kate needs to escape.

Leaving behind rush hour and late nights in the office for a city break in beautiful Copenhagen, Kate discovers how to live life ‘the Danish way’. From candles and cosy nights in to the easy smiles of tall, gorgeous Vikings and eating your body weight in pastries (ok, that’s just her), the city offers her a new perspective.

Can the secrets of hygge and happiness lead her to her own happily-ever-after?

Review originally written in December 2018:

I found this cute book in a charity shop at the start of summer, how has it taken me this long to finally be in the mood to read it?!

This novel is so heart-warming and funny. If you do not know what Hygge (hoo-ga pronunciation apparently) is then be sure you will learn a lot about Danish life and how Hygge is an important aspect of Denmark’s culture!

Hygge to sum up encourages you to drink tea, eat chocolate, make pastries, cosy up next to a fire with a good book with lots of lamps and light type of lights, and cosy throws. 

This novel is about a London based publicist – Kate Sinclair, who is career focused and missed out on a promotion due to her at-the-time boyfriend took from under her. In order to prove herself, she is tasked with the assignment of taking five unruly journalists to Denmark to promote the opening of a new store and experience the world of Hygge. 

All of the characters are well rounded. Caplin shows us the difficulties the characters are going through even though they put on a front, and a solution with friendship being a big part of it. 

The reason this novel lost a star – being a bit repetitive and exhausting with the sight-seeing commentary; the constant historical references which made it seem I am reading a travel novel rather than a fictional story. As well as at times I felt like shaking Kate at the beginning of the novel in times with reference to Josh her ex. 

However, with that being said, there is plenty of humour and romance to keep the story entertaining. Caplin’s warm and gentle writing style makes it easy for an enjoyable read.

4/5 Stars

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Book Review: Eleanor & Park By Rainbow Rowell

Plot: 

Two misfits.

One extraordinary love.

Eleanor… Red hair, wrong clothes. Standing behind him until he turns his head. Lying beside him until he wakes up. Making everyone else seem drabber and flatter and never good enough…Eleanor.

Park… He knows she’ll love a song before he plays it for her. He laughs at her jokes before she ever gets to the punch line. There’s a place on his chest, just below his throat, that makes her want to keep promises…Park.

Set over the course of one school year, this is the story of two star-crossed sixteen-year-olds—smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try.

Review originally written in April 2014:

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell is the story of two misfits, Eleanor and Park who meet on a school bus one day. The story takes place in 1986 in Omaha, Nebraska. What was I doing in 1986? This awesome person was not yet born, anyway.

The story opens with Park on the school bus. He notices the new girl-Eleanor coming down the aisle looking for a seat. No one wants to share a seat with her, so Park reluctantly offers his seat. At first they don’t talk to each other. Eleanor refers to Park as stupid Asian kid, and Park thinks that Eleanor is weird. Eleanor has red hair, heavy set, and wears decorative men’s clothes. Eleanor is not trying to make a fashion statement or act like a boy. There is a reason for her abnormal wardrobe.-This is why I love this book, the characters aren’t perfect, they sound real.

Suddenly, Park breaks the ice by loaning his comics to Eleanor. Soon he shares his music, and before you know it they bond over comics and music. An unlikely friendship/relationship develops. Eleanor and Park are smart enough to know that first loves almost never last, but they are willing to try anyway. Eleanor & Park is far from a light and fluffy young adult romance novel where everything works out nice and neatly for them in the end.

The novel deals with abuse, poverty, and race. Eleanor’s family is poor. They only have one car, the kids including Eleanor have to share a room, and they have to buy their clothes at the thrift store. Eleanor can’t even afford a toothbrush or batteries for her walkman. To some readers, this fact alone may seem odd and unrealistic. However, as the story unfolds, readers gain a better understanding of Eleanor’s situation, and how poverty and abuse interact with each other. For Eleanor, having money is a luxury.

Park is mixed race-his mother Korean and his father is white. He is the only Asian student in the school and likely in the state of Nebraska. Park is popular but what sets him apart from the other popular kids is his taste in music and love for comics. Park is not afraid to be seen with Eleanor a.k.a. Big Red by the other students.

The novel takes you on an emotional roller coaster. They bond over comics and 80’s music. Since I love 80’s music I thought that this was so cute. I understood most of the pop culture references. Park doesn’t care that Eleanor has crazy red hair or the fact that she doesn’t look like Barbie. As their relationship develops, you would have thought that they would be together forever, but that would have been fairy tale due to the circumstances.

At some points I thought this sounds too good to be true, in ways it continued to drag to a build up of something terrible that was about to happen. I had this feeling before I got to that point (gut instincts?)

This book is heartwarming and heartbreaking all at the same time! I wasn’t expecting to care so much about these characters and their relationship but I was completely caught up in this story. I feel like I really know both Eleanor and Park, and I love them both separately but I especially love them together. It seemed like their relationship shouldn’t work, but it does, so well. I was grinning like an idiot while reading because I was just so giddy over their blooming romance. I could feel how much they cared for each other like it was oozing off the page.

So overall, I loved this book – the characters, the romance, the writing and just the way everything unfolded so beautifully and felt so real. One of the best contemporary novels I’ve read in a while! 4/5 stars.

4/5 Stars

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Book Review: Johnny Be Good

Plot:

If your boss was the hottest rock star on the planet, would you mix business with pleasure?

I’m Meg Stiles. This is my leaving party. And that song we’re making a mockery of? That’s written by one of the biggest rock stars in the world. And I’m moving in with him tomorrow.

Seriously! I am not even joking. Well, maybe I’m misleading you a little bit. You see, I haven’t actually met him yet…

No, I’m not a stalker. I’m his new PA. His Personal Assistant. And I am off to La-La Land. Los Angeles. The City of Angels—whatever you want to call it—and I can’t bloody believe it!

Celebrity PA to wild boy of rock Johnny Jefferson, Meg’s glam new life in sun-drenched LA is a whirlwind of showbiz parties and backstage passes. Cool, calm Christian, in town to write his famous friend’s biography, helps keep Meg’s feet firmly on the ground. But with Johnny’s piercing green eyes and a body Brad Pitt would kill for, how long will it be before she’s swept right off them again?

Review originally written in December 2018:

‘Normal girl’ becomes PA to a ‘Wild Bad Boy’ type celebrity. 

The main character, Meg is portrayed as naive when it comes to Johnny the wild-boy. It seems quite stereotypical. I mean, how can you fall for someone, and have sex with them multiple times when you see them basically doing it raw with a bunch of easy groupies and actually let them inside you again whilst they are doing this with them ?

Yet I am still inclined to see what happens despite these characters because parts of their characteristics are relatable. 

We usually have that one person you aren’t supposed to fall for but do because you are so attracted to them and they have a way of always drawing you in despite how many times you tell yourself no. If you know what you are getting yourself into and have your line where you do not cross that is at least the more mature action to take.

However if you are in a position where you actually see the guy always doing those actions, why would one who respects themselves put themselves through that? 

I very much disagreed with Meg’s POV that she is the one to change him. A lot of silly girls go for these guys solely due to believing they are ‘the one’ to change them. What sort of message is this to send? This indicates the novel is not maturely written as you can never think you can change anyone; at most influence. The fact Paige is trying to get across the message ‘you can be the one reason, the one person to change someone’ is not an adequate message to send out to readers. Especially the younger audiences. 

One of Johnny’s characteristics that was very annoying: making Meg believe she is very special to him, yet he is torturing her at the same time as he snogs and has sex with girls right in-front of her, then has sex with Meg again and it becomes a cycle. 

On a positive note, I really enjoyed Christian’s character. Johnny’s best friend from England who actually made the story more fun and interesting. I was sad each time he left LA ‘Please, Christian, stay so this book is actually fun!’. 

I did manage to read this book therefore it has gained 3 stars from me as I am keen to find out how their story evolves in Baby Be Mine.

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Paris & Reading

Paris is made for readers. With secret courtyards , gardens, and cafes on every corner, the city offers so many spots for a book lover to curl up with a great read. 

From my research there are 756 bookstores to explore to find your next pick, mainly based in the 5th and 6th arrondissements on the Left Bank. 

Do not fret. There are many English language bookstores. 

Berkeley Books of Paris

This quiet little bookshop is located near Odeon Theatre. This place hosts readings, art and musical performances all by independent locals on their way up the ladder. 

Phyllis, the owner is very knowledgable, welcoming and passionately committed to an ethical participation in the local arts community. 

San Francisco Book Company 

This was founded in 1997. You could happily spend an afternoon browsing the collection starting with the titles placed on the shelves outside the store’s bright red facade. 

I actually spent so much time here looking for the most perfect novel.

Shakespeare & Co

So many people!

The most touristy book shop for Americans and Asians (from my own experience). This English store contains beloved writers past and present, from Ernest Hemingway to Zadie Smith. However it is a magical place to wander around with its wooden shelves and narrow staircase. This bookshop hosts readings (usually on Monday nights) there are free for all, with a great view of the Notre Dame at night. 

It is perfect however it was jammed full of tourists during this day and you could barely move around in this pretty shop which was annoying however every time I found a book I always found a corner to sit in to read the novel! The staff are so friendly as well. Looks are deceiving as this shop contained everything.

Librairie Galignani

Librairie Galignani is refined and elegant, it has a feel as distinguished as its location on Rue de Rivoli. The staff is so polite, they have the best and most recent books in non-fiction, yes take a few minutes and your basket will fill with books you didn’t know existed! The fiction section has the classics and new best sellers. It’s very well assorted. Librairie Galignani don’t have all the books, but they have the best books. Being there feels refreshing, it’s a bastion of intelligence and decency.

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Book Review: The Orient Express

Adventure Reads

Plot:

The Orient Express. Luxury. Mystery. Romance.

For one group of passengers settling in to their seats and taking their first sips of champagne, the journey from London to Venice is more than the trip of a lifetime.

A mysterious errand; a promise made to a dying friend; an unexpected proposal; a secret reaching back a lifetime…As the train sweeps on, revelations, confessions and assignations unfold against the most romantic and infamous setting in the world.

Review:

Have you ever read a book which you crave when you’re doing something else? I had that exact feeling when I was reading A Night On The Orient Express. I stupidly went to Glasgow for the day without it and it was all I thought about.

The prologue is an unusual yet magnificent way to begin the narrative. It is the descriptive paragraphs of why you should ride the Orient Express which captivated me the most. Readers are yet to meet any of the characters but soon enough, we learn of their lives before they board the train.

This novel is split into characters. Adele, is an elderly and sophisticated lady who desperately wants a particular painting in her life again. Riley, is a well known man whose life is about to change. Archie, is looking for his perfect woman but right now, he is focusing on his friend. Imogen is celebrating a birthday whilst being disappointed by her boyfriend. She is the grandchild to Adele. Stephanie is adjusting to life as a stepmother.

When the group arrive in Venice, they all go their separate ways and I wondered whether they had all met. The ending chapter focuses on one character who I think Veronica intended to be the main character. However, I was a tiny bit disappointed because I wanted to know what had happened to everyone else.

Overall, pick up this novel for an adventure❗️ 3/5 stars from me

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Book Review: Love & Gelato

Plot:

“I made the wrong choice.”

Lina is spending the summer in Tuscany, but she isn’t in the mood for Italy’s famous sunshine and fairy-tale landscape. She’s only there because it was her mother’s dying wish that she get to know her father. But what kind of father isn’t around for sixteen years? All Lina wants to do is get back home.

But then she is given a journal that her mom had kept when she lived in Italy. Suddenly Lina’s uncovering a magical world of secret romances, art, and hidden bakeries. A world that inspires Lina, along with the ever-so-charming Ren, to follow in her mother’s footsteps and unearth a secret that has been kept for far too long. It’s a secret that will change everything she knew about her mother, her father—and even herself.

People come to Italy for love and gelato, someone tells her, but sometimes they discover much more.

Review originally written in December 2018:

This novel starts off in Seattle. The main character’s mother has an illness that takes over. This leads us to Lina having to move to Italy with her estranged father she didn’t know she had. 

Lina I found to be ungrateful at the start and a bit immature. Which made it a slow beginning as she is 16.

The author takes us through her development as she becomes more mature the more she is reading her mother’s journal that was sent for the household she was living in at the cemetery. It seems as if she was to be following in similar footsteps as her mother so I like how Jenna made it seem like that for a while because it did change. 

I enjoyed reading this novel and would recommend it to those looking for a light read about Italy whilst learning a few stories of some of the statues. 4/5 stars

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Book Review: Tremarnock Summer

Plot:

Bramble Challoner has had a very normal upbringing. She lives in a semi in the suburbs of London with her parents and works at the call centre down the road. She still goes out with the boy she met at school. At weekends they stay in and watch films on the telly and sometimes hold hands. Bramble is dying for an adventure.

So when her very grand grandfather, Lord Penrose, dies, leaving his huge, rambling house in Cornwall to her, Bramble packs her bags immediately, dragging along her best friend Katie. The sleepy village of Tremarnock had better be ready for its newest residents…

Review:

I found this novel to be too predicable. The plot and writing style was not enticing in the slightest. I thought it would be interesting and peaceful however maybe it is due to the fact this is the third book in the series? I’m not too sure as I seem to not have found any inspirational books lately including new characters as I have not enjoyed them in this novel. 

I found Bramble to be very naive as she trusts too easily and some characters where not needed. I have been kind by giving this novel 2/5 stars. 

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Book Review: Moonshine by Christina Jones

Plot:

Cleo Moon is starting life over again after a divorce. She lands a job as PA to Lady of the Manor – Mimi – having settled herself in a caravan in the sleepy little village of Lovers’ Knot. But the trouble starts when the most beautiful boy in the world – Dylan – turns up on her doorstep drunk one night.

Review:

I really enjoyed this novel. It’s light and easy to read. It involves magical influences of making wine. The way Christina set the scene throughout the book it was like I was there and didn’t want to leave. With an enjoyable ending 4/5 stars

This review was quite short – it was the first book that brought about my reading again back in November 2018. This happened when I was on holidays visiting my friend in Leicester as she gave me the book and I absolutely loved reading it. 

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Book Review: Bad Girls

Plot:

They met in rehab – but some of them had rather more therapy than they bargained for. Supermodel Amber Peters should have the world at her feet. But her secret addiction has led her down a dangerous path. Lap dancer Skye Ellwood is desperate to get out of the life she’s living, but has no idea how – until a client makes her an unusual proposition. Following an ultimatum from his fiance, A-list movie star Joe Jeffreys is finally heading to rehab to sort out his sex addiction – and save his squeaky-clean image. Spoiled daughter of a legendary rock god, Petal Gold is convinced she’s a huge star in waiting, and she’ll trample on anyone she thinks is standing in her way. Passion, jealousy, betrayal, revenge and scandal: during their tumultuous thirty days at Cascabel clinic, the lives of Amber, Skye, Joe and Petal will be transformed forever. But for one of them, the stakes could not be higher – or more dangerous.

Review:

The book starts off with Amber in a precarious situation, being held by a strange person and she’s clearly been drugged. Then the book suddenly flies to another time when Amber was modelling and dating men, which I found annoying as it wasn’t consistent. The book then alternates between who the story follows, whether it’s Amber, Joe, Petal or Skye. Some would say this is refreshing as it does alternate between completely different but similar lives. I thought the book would move to rehab quite quickly however it took around a third of the way until that happened, but I didn’t mind at all.

It gives a good background to all the characters because of the alternative chapters however I still do not feel any care towards them. I appreciate how all of the characters had their different reasons for entering rehab because that gives different point of views to the story and certainly made that part of the book more interesting. I could not quite get into this due to its writing style. Especially given the nature of this novel I felt it didn’t have enough depth.

There was another interlude in the middle about Amber’s mystery drugging that carried on the mystery element of the book which again had me thinking because of other things I had read. The book moves on a satisfactory level, there are lots of twists and turns along the way that keep you hooked on getting to the end and the pace made the consistency more confusing. *warning* for those as there are some pretty graphic sex scenes in the book, a couple of them actually so if that isn’t your thing  be warned!

2/5 stars from me.

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TBR for February

So from this month onwards hopefully I will stick to doing an end of month post where I share my reading goals for the following month and hopefully I shall stick to it! In any cases where I read more they shall be surprise posts for the month! As well as my keeping up with posting older reviews I did when I was a teenager so it all remains online. 

If you haven’t already noticed I have created an instagram specially for my blog/lifestyle @CLaVieCo 

This month I shall be aiming to read:

  • I Heart Paris by Lindsey Kelk
  • A Night on the Orient Express By Veronica Henry
  • Bad Girls By Rebecca Chance
  • Milkman by Anna Burns (BOOKCLUB READS THIS MONTH!)
  • Tremarnock Summer by Emma Burstall

New year and all that so I have decided to be more creative. As you can see below I have used a tiny jar, yes I have realised I shall need a bigger one or something to put these origami stars into. The goal is, that I wrote on post-its the titles of the novels in my current TBR which you shall see in an update on life during the following week. 

To Be Read / Read Jar

After I finish each book, to keep myself motivated into reading more so this year along with my busy schedule I will create an origami star that I used to make when I attended school. I think it is a cute way to keep motivated seeing the colourful stars in a jar of some sort grow and grow as I continue to read throughout this year.

How do you stay motivated or keep track of your reading? I would love to know how others do it. C 😊