I loved Tattoos and Teacups and have been looking forward to reading this book. It tells of New Yorker Henry who is contacted by his long lost great grandmother and given the task of restoring the family pile in Somerset. Along the way he meets farmer Ryan who helps him acclimatise to British ways. I have to say, I thought this story was utterly charming but did feel a little like I wasn't the intended audience for the book. Some of it read like 'An American Guide to the West Country' with lots of scenes where Henry flounders with the local customs/people and yet wins everyone's heart with his adorable American ways. As a Brit, I didn't need to know half the information in the book but I still enjoyed reading about Henry and Ryan's slow road to love, especially the way that they were mostly very up front with each other and talked through problems. The pacing was slow and measured but that worked well for me because I could only pick this book up in snatched moments between the socialising. Grade: Very Good.
Mad About the Boy by Helen Fielding
I'm a bit of a Bridget Jones fan but also wasn't too bothered about the fact that the author has killed off Mark Darcy. This book follows 51 year old Bridget four years from Mark's death over the course of two years as she starts to move on with her life by losing weight and finding a toy boy whilst juggling school runs and writing a film script. If you liked the style of the first two books, then you'll like this as well. It had that same madcap quality where Bridget lurches from one crisis to another but still manages to keep her head above water. There were a couple of laugh out loud moments - I loved the whole twitter thing - and a lot of pathos surrounding her widowhood and starting to re-engage with the world. I also really liked the way that the book showed the ups and downs of motherhood, from sickness bugs, nits and bickering to those precious family moments when she was bursting with love for her kids. I found the end very pleasing indeed and liked that despite being her usual ditzy self, there's a maturity about Bridget that fits her age and experience. Overall a very absorbing read. Grade: Excellent.
The Douglas Fir by Anyta Sunday
I bought this because it had a few good reviews. It follows Jase as he crushes on his neighbour Noah whilst being extremely jealous of Noah's best friend, Dave. It's only short at just over 100 pages but I liked seeing Jase's attempts to do something special for Noah and also Jase's cute relationship with his younger brother. I liked that the book surprised me by going in an unexpected direction. My main niggle was that the romance was very rushed at the end and I would have liked to have seen more development and page space devoted to that. I would still recommend this book though if you are looking for something fairly light and quick with a sympathetic narrator. Grade: Good.
And that's it! Anyone read any good books over Christmas that they wish to share?