Monday, 10 February 2014

Book Challenge Week 1

Don't Tell the Groom by Anna Bell &
A Year in the Merde by Stephen Clarke

What a fabulous first week for The Novel Cafe book club...two fantastic books.

Will Penny be able to keep her secret long enough to say 'I do'? 

Penny has big dreams for her wedding day. She wants an unforgettable celebration, perfect down to the last detail, and has been saving for ages to make her dream a reality. When Mark finally pops the question, it's the best moment of her life.

Until Penny checks her wedding fund and is horrified to discover that something has gone terribly wrong. There's far less money there than she'd thought... and it's all her fault. She can't tell Mark the truth about what she's done, he knows nothing about how much time she spends gambling online. Her only choice is to seek help for her addiction and get married on a drastically smaller budget.

Working under the pretense of surprising Mark with her plans on their big day, operation 'Don't Tell the Groom' rolls into action, with surprising, hilarious and moving results.

Review by Nicole

What a brilliant book, I thoroughly enjoyed it, from start to finish I was gripped. I dont judge a book by its cover either but this one really is so pretty! 

Penny's lifelong ambition is to have the wedding of her dreams and once her boyfriend proposes along with her mood boards and pinterest pins she is ready to make all those dreams come true...until she checks the wedding savings fund and realises that due to her Bingo addiction this has decreased by ten thousand pounds! The story follows Penny and her journey to planning a wedding day on a budget, without telling her finance her gambling secret, 'Dont tell the Groom'.

I dont know if its because I have just got married myself but I could really relate to this book especially trying to plan a wedding on a budget . I instantly warmed to Penny, some people may find her selfish and stupid but I really felt for her and truly believed she was just very naive, after all we all have dreams, she was just trying to help hers come true. Maybe if the book had a different ending I would have felt differently! The whole Bingo gambling issue I thought gave a great unique spin to the story. This book had me laughing out loud and gave me that warm fuzzy feeling inside.

I rate this book 10/10, A Novel Cafe Cupcake, a book I would read again and again and can't wait for a sequel!

Paul West, a young Englishman, arrives in Paris to start a new job - and finds out what the French are really like.

They do eat a lot of cheese, some of which smells like pigs' droppings. They don't wash their armpits with garlic soap. Going on strike really is the second national participation sport after pétanque. And, yes, they do use suppositories.

In his first novel, Stephen Clarke gives a laugh-out-loud account of the pleasures and perils of being a Brit in France. Less quaint than A Year in Provence, less chocolatey than Chocolat, A Year in the Merde will tell you how to get served by the grumpiest Parisian waiter; how to make perfect vinaigrette every time; how to make amour - not war; and how not to buy a house in the French countryside.

Review by Laura 

A Year In the Merde is the story of Paul West, a project manager from England who has been seconded to work with a French company to set up a chain of English tea rooms in Paris.  The story follows Paul as he attempts to navigate his way through work, food, women, and dog poop in France.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book, at many points making me laugh out loud.  It is an easy read, not particularly challenging but exactly what I needed for a rainy February!  It really highlights the hilarity of both English and French stereotypes and you can tell that Clarke clearly has experience of living in France. 

The character development is excellent and I particularly enjoyed the atypical romance story between Paul and Alexa.  The relationship between Paul and his boss, Jean-Marie, is slightly unbelievable but so funny that it doesn't matter.   And Clarke’s description of the other main characters – Élodie and Paul’s work colleagues – is excellent, really setting the scene for some hilarious mishaps.

I would rate this book 9/10 – A Novel Café Cupcake.  I would definitely read this again  and am looking forward to getting stuck into Clarke’s other ‘Merde’ books.  I would recommend it to anybody who fancies something light-hearted and fun. 

How do you rate week 1?

1 comment:

  1. I read "Don’t tell the Groom" and found it to be a very easy read. Just what you are looking for in a chick lit. I related to this book because I have just got engaged and currently arranging my wedding.

    Penelope is quite a character. She has her heart set on a particular type of wedding and this was possibly her downfall in hindsight. I really liked the start when Penelope is describing her wedding because I am gunning for a pair of white louboutins shoes for my wedding!

    I thought for a moment that she was going to run off with the hunk in the AA group, but glad she didn’t.

    It was nice that the book ended with a moral lesson and a happy ever after.

    I would rate "Don't Tell the Groom" 8 / 10