Review: Nicola May – The Bow Wow Club

Nicola May - The Bow Wow ClubI was absolutely delighted when I received a tweet from Nicola May saying that she had read my review for Working it Out and she wanted to send me an advanced copy of her new book, The Bow Wow Club, which is out next month. I really enjoyed the last book, and it was so cool to know that I was reading the book before pretty much anyone else. Because it’s not out yet, I’m not going to give too much away about the plot, because it’s not fair to have that all over the internet before the book is even out.

I don’t think I’ve ever had a book make me cry within the first 10 pages, and especially not make me laugh and cry at the same time. But this did. The book is a sequel to Working it Out; we are back a couple of years later to catch up with Ruby, but her life hasn’t been going too well and she’s in a bad place. But throughout the course of the book, with the help of a great set of friends including her lovely neighbour Margaret and her nutty friend Fi (who is not exactly trouble-free in this book either), she gets herself back on track.

I found myself getting caught out in the book by predicting what was going to happen and then being proved wrong again and again by twist after twist which kept the book exciting. I found the Bow Wow Club itself a lovely place (although not what I first thought it was going to be), and each person in there had a sad tale to tell, but all ultimately helped Ruby in her journey to self re-discovery.

There wasn’t really anything I didn’t like about the book, it kept me scrolling and scrolling to get to the end, and as I had connected so much to Ruby in Working it Out, I had an instant connection with her as soon as I started reading. It took me a while to warm to Michael, at first I was suspicious of him, but it turns out that he was the only guy who didn’t really deserve suspicion.

The only thing that lessened my enjoyment of the book was that there were a few spelling and grammar mistakes which stopped the flow of the book a few times while I went back to re-read the sentence, but I’m sure that’s to be expected when you’re reading an advanced copy of a book.

To sum up: if you love chick-lit and you like a book that takes you through a whole range of emotions but ultimately makes you smile, then this book is perfect for you.

5/5

Review: Nicola May – Working it Out

nicola-may-working-it-outWell as much as I hate to confess it, this is another Kindle book, read on my iPad. After being forced into reading the Aurora Teagarden books on my iPad, I downloaded a few more books to see if I could get into it properly.

Now I’m not saying that I’m giving up my books (as much as Cameron might want me to), because that’s just not going to happen, but maybe it’s not too bad to read e-books as well. It is far more convenient for when I don’t particularly want to carry a book around with me, and it’s great for reading on my phone when I’m on the bike/treadmill at the gym – time goes much faster when you’re lost in a fictional world.

So anyway, onto this book. I downloaded it because it was free, it was near the top of the ‘free books’ chart on Amazon, and the cover caught my attention. The start of the book didn’t feel too promising, but it definitely grew on me, and by the end I was totally gripped. The book starts off with Ruby being laid off from her job. She reads this quote by Kahlil Gibran:

“Work is love made visible. And if you cannot work with love, but only with distaste, it is better that you should leave your work and sit at the gate of the temple and take alms of those who work with joy”

Somehow, and this part was lost on me, she translates this quote into a new year’s resolution to try 12 different jobs over 12 months, so she can figure out what to do for the rest of her life. None of these jobs are conventional and include working in an old people’s residential home, working in a funeral parlour, and helping to organise a huge celebrity party for the star socialite of the moment.

Written into the storyline along the way is Ruby’s disastrous attempts at a love life, the star of which is her neighbour George. Neither of them will admit they like each other, so Ruby goes through a string of failed ‘relationships’ and George ends up engaged to someone else. The book introduces you to a whole host of characters who all help Ruby on her journey through these twelve jobs to discover what she really wants from life.

Now it wouldn’t be a chick-lit book without a big dramatic ending, and this book didn’t disappoint. It was slightly predictable, but still brilliant anyway.

4-5

Review: Mitch Albom – The Five People You Meet in Heaven

mitch-albom-the-five-people-you-meet-in-heavenI’ve just finished this book and it was fantastic! It was quite a sad book, but one that definitely made you think.

The book is about 83 year old Eddie, who works on Ruby Pier, a seaside fairground. One of the rides malfunctions and comes crashing to the ground – he dies when he tries to push a young girl out of the way, and spends the whole book worrying that he hasn’t saved her.

When Eddie gets to Heaven, he realises that it’s not what he thought it would be. Instead, he meets five people who will help to explain his life and things that happened in it, as well as his death and the reason for it.

The first person he meets is someone that he doesn’t think he knows, but he recognises him to be someone from the ‘Freak show’ at the Pier when he was a child. Eddie is shocked when this man tells him that Eddie killed him. He explains that he didn’t kill him directly, but inadvertently when his ball rolls into the road, setting a chain of events going which ends up in the man dying. This man is the source of one of my favourite quotes from the book, :

Strangers, are just family you have yet to come to know

I loved this, and the meaning of the entire first part of the book, it makes you think quite closely about the effect you have on other people, and the consequences that your actions can have.

Throughout the book, Eddie also meets his Captain from when he was at war in the Philippines, a woman called Ruby (after whom the Pier was named), his wife Marguerite, and a young girl called Tala, who was killed in a fire started by Eddie when he was in the Philippines, whose eyes he thought he saw all those years ago and have haunted him since.

Out of all five people, I think the part of the book that was most touching was when he met his wife again – she died of cancer when she was 47, and Eddie lived the rest of his life alone in the house they shared together. My favourite quote from the book though comes from Ruby, when she is talking to him about his Dad:

Learn this from me. Holding anger is a poison. It eats you from inside. We think that hating is a weapon that attacks the person who harmed us. But hatred is a curved blade. And the harm we do, we do to ourselves.

That’s so true, and something that we all get wrong at times – we could all learn from this!

I really loved this book, I thought it was quite an unusual idea to start with, but it was really well written and you really start to feel for Eddie as the book goes on, to the point where you just don’t want it to end.

5-5