The Food of Love by Anthony Capella

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The Food of Love by Anthony Capella

Published January 1st 2004 by Plume

Genres: Adult, Romance

Pages: 320

Format: Hardback

Rating: 3/5 stars

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In Anthony Capella’s delicious debut novel, Laura, a twentysomething American, is on her first trip to Italy. She’s completely enamored of the art, beauty, and, of course, food that Rome has to offer. Soon she’s enamored of the handsome and charming Tommaso, who tells her he’s a chef at the famed Templi restaurant and begins to woo her with his gastronomic creations. But Tommaso hasen’t been entirely truthful he’s really just a waiter. The master chef behind the tantalizing meals is Tommaso’s talented but shy friend Bruno, who loves laura from afar. Thus begins a classic comedy of errors full of the culinary magic and the sensual atmosphere of Italy. The result is a romantic comedy in the tradition of Cyrano de Bergerac and Roxanne that tempts readers to devour it in one sitting. Evoking the sights, smells and flavors of Italy in sensuous prose, this lively book also features recipes for readers to create (or just dream about) Bruno’s food of amore

I really enjoyed reading this book. Although I only gave it 3 stars, I still found it really interesting and couldn’t put it down. It was so different from what I usually read, even though it was a romance novel it was like no other I have read. There was such a focus on food it was magnificent. It was like I was there experiencing the meals along with the characters. And don’t get me stated about the setting. It was just beautiful to read about Italy, the culture and the people that lived there. The descriptions were so vivid, it just brought this feeling of being on vacation, to the book, even though I was in my sitting room the entire time I was reading it. It just had this quality to it that was capable of taking me out of my world and transplanting me in Italy.

Reading from multiple POV’s wasn’t something I was expecting. I thought it would be all from Laura’s POV. I was very surprised when I started to read from the guys perspectives, and didn’t like it at first. But after a while I got used to it and was looking forward more to reading from Bruno than I was anyone else. I found myself starting to dislike Laura as the story progressed and was getting irritated at the actions that she was taking throughout the story. There wasn’t anything specific she did, but my disinterest grew as I continued reading. Bruno however was brilliant. He was such an enjoyable character to read about, with his obsession to make the perfect meal. The food that was described in this book sounded truly mouth-watering, I wouldn’t have been surprised if I’d found myself drooling at one point. I felt like Laura wasn’t worthy of him and all that he went through to make her happy.

The writing in this book was good, in the way that you didn’t notice it. By that I mean it wasn’t so terrible that it pulled you out of the story, but wasn’t amazingly beautiful either. It was the perfect in between that allowed for an intriguing story. There were moments though where things got a bit strange. Like in some of the sex scenes Laura started to make some freaky imagery about what she was doing and it was just straight up weird! From what I remember there was something about her riding a black stallion? Sometimes some of the actions that the characters took and their thoughts came across random, being thrown into the middle of such an exquisite book. But I suppose it all came together to create a true sense of Italy.

So basically what sold me on this book was the fact that it was set in Italy. Otherwise I wouldn’t have liked it as much as I did. I definitely want to read more books set in Italy, the culture and people were just so interesting to read about and were portrayed as I would imagine them to really be like. I absolutely loved reading about the food and how they cooked everything, the emotion that was connected to it all and how it made people feel differently.

I would recommend this book to food lovers with an urge to travel and experience new culture. This book is truly an experience on and of it’s own. This book is suitable for older readers.

Mr Penumbra’s 24 Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan

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Mr Penumbra’s 24 Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan

Published October 2nd 2012 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Genres: Adult, Mystery

Pages: 288

Format: Ebook

Rating: 4/5 stars

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The Great Recession has shuffled Clay Jannon away from life as a San Francisco web-design drone and into the aisles of Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore. But after a few days on the job, Clay discovers that the store is more curious than either its name or its gnomic owner might suggest. The customers are few, and they never seem to buy anything—instead, they “check out” large, obscure volumes from strange corners of the store. Suspicious, Clay engineers an analysis of the clientele’s behavior, seeking help from his variously talented friends. But when they bring their findings to Mr. Penumbra, they discover the bookstore’s secrets extend far beyond its walls. Rendered with irresistible brio and dazzling intelligence, Robin Sloan’s Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore is exactly what it sounds like: an establishment you have to enter and will never want to leave.

I can’t remember exactly how I first found out about this book, but all I can say is I’m glad that I did. The whole concept intrigued me when I first heard about it. This book wouldn’t have been the usual type I would generally pick up, but lets say I’ve been branching out lately. However this book was on my TBR for quite a few months before I finally picked it up. And that was only because it fit the category for the read-a-thon I was doing. Otherwise I’m pretty sure it wouldn’t have been read any time soon. But in saying all that, I have read it and all I can say is that it was great.

The characters were created so well, I got a very clear sense of who they were. I really enjoyed reading about the customers that came into the bookstore and how Clay got to know them with each passing night. Each character had such distinct quirks about them, which made for an interesting and entertaining read. Reading from Clay’s perspective allowed me to experience the story and the events that unfolded through his eyes. I was just as much in the dark about the mystery of the bookstore as he was. It had me wondering, was this going to turn out to be a book about magic? A book about cults? I really had no idea at some points where it was going. This was a good thing though, because it kept me on my toes, interested to see what happened.

The whole mystery that shrouded the bookstore wasn’t what I was expecting. It was an interesting twist to the story, and wasn’t really something I had ever read about before. I think my favorite part was at the end was when Clay figured everything out. I just loved that scene where he gathered everyone together and revealed the secret that they had been trying to solve for centuries.

The overall world building within the story was done quite well I thought. The setting of the bookstore was interesting. It was written in such a way that I felt as if I were there. I got a clear sense of what it was like. The severe height of the shelves, towering over you. The film of dust coating every surface. How the night crept in and shrouded everything in shadows. The descriptions were so clear I felt like I was Clay, sitting behind that desk at night. It was really fun to read about Clay’s adventures, all the different places he went. New York, Google HQ, just him living in San Francisco was really intriguing to read about, since I’ve never been to any of these places myself.

I must say that I enjoyed this book and was often surprised at the events that unfolded. There were so many elements to this book. Mystery, comedy, romance, it was fantastic. And it’s always fun to read books that are set in bookstores.

I would recommend this to people who like nerdy narrators and books that are just a little out of the norm topic wise. This book is suitable for readers of all ages.

A Long Way Down by Nick Hornby

a long way down

A Long Way Down by Nick Hornby

Published May 2nd 2006 by Riverhead Books

Genres: Adult, Contemporary

Pages: 257

Format: Paperback

Rating: 4/5 stars

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Meet Martin, JJ, Jess, and Maureen. Four people who come together on New Year’s Eve: a former TV talk show host, a musician, a teenage girl, and a mother. Three are British, one is American. They encounter one another on the roof of Topper’s House, a London destination famous as the last stop for those ready to end their lives.

In four distinct and riveting first-person voices, Nick Hornby tells a story of four individuals confronting the limits of choice, circumstance, and their own mortality. This is a tale of connections made and missed, punishing regrets, and the grace of second chances.

Intense, hilarious, provocative, and moving, A Long Way Down is a novel about suicide that is, surprisingly, full of life.”

I really enjoyed reading this book. The idea that four people can be so sure that they want to end their life, then in each other find the will to live, was a truly heartwarming concept. I found that I could understand them even though I myself have never been in that situation. Hornby’s writing captured the mindset of this group of people so well I felt as though I was experiencing everything with them. I loved all of the characters, they were each funny, crazy and completely normal all at the same time and I couldn’t get enough of them.

Soon after reading this book I saw the movie adaption for it. I would like to say that it was almost better than the book. The movie captured the characters very well and I thought the story was portrayed in a happier way than it was in the book. Because after all who wants to read a sad book, maybe that’s why I liked the movie better. However there were a few things that I didn’t think were great in the film. For example, Jess is meant to be a strong, independent character, but she was portrayed otherwise in the movie. They made her look fragile and crazy, I mean she is most certainly crazy but a good crazy. Fragile would not have been a word I would have thought of in relation to Jess. And they changed the ending as well, which made for a more cinematic effect but non the less didn’t stick to the original story and the impact that the true ending gave.

I have to say that Jess was my favorite character. She was so full of energy and really cared for the others although it may not have seemed like it. Jess wasn’t perfect, and knew that she often got on people’s nerves, but tried to be kind anyway. She said things that came across quite crass, but were never intended to be that way. She was actually a very intelligent character it seemed. Reading from her POV was so interesting and hilarious at times, without Jess the story wouldn’t have been the same.

I found the plot for this book to be intriguing, but at times it went a tad slowly and I got a bit bored. The whole concept of four people banding together agreeing to live and seeing where that takes them was really fascinating. This is an emotional subject and reading about these kinds of things always pulls at my heart strings. But at some points I found myself getting bored. I can’t really say why. Maybe it was because the characters were older than me, or there wasn’t anything happening at that point in the story. I don’t know. There were just some points where the story lulled, but there are moments like that in every book. Overall I found it a compelling read and the story was choc-a-block with humor, which helped to balance out the fact that they were going to commit suicide. The characters all seemed like normal people, but as you got to know them that seemed to change.

Nick Hornby is a truly captivating writer and I found my self enthralled with this book. In the future I will most definitely be reading more of his books. Probably About a Boy, since I saw the movie and liked it, which will give me more motivation to read it. He seems to write about touchy subjects or things that aren’t the norm, which always guarantees a unique read for me. Those types of books are the kind of thing I pick up when I’m feeling like I want to read about something real and not the silly contemporary crap I read most often(even though I still love that stuff). The individuality that springs forth from Hornby’s work is something I strive to read, and hope to learn from.

This was genuinely a great book and I would recommend that people read it. It’s won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, but if you like eccentric characters and lots of humor alongside a serious topic, then this book is for you. This book is suitable for readers 15+ due to a mature story line. (Oh and if this doesn’t sound like your kind of thing, I would still suggest to watch the movie, it was really good).

A Message To Your Heart by Niamh Greene

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A Message To Your Heart by Niamh Greene

Published by Penguin Ireland on May 30th 2012

Genres:Adult, Contemporary, Romance

Pages:356

Format:Paperback

Rating:4/5 stars

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Frankie Rowley is far too practical to believe in karma or fate … and her family and friends reckon that work-obsessed Frankie’s strongest relationship is with her phone. (And why not? At least it never judges her for cancelling dinner for the umpteenth time.)

When she loses that precious phone on a business trip to San Francisco, Frankie is forced to hire a replacement. Soon she’s getting texts meant for someone else – a woman called Aimee who seems like a lot of fun, and whose family clearly loves to keep in touch – and whose presence in her life is the last thing Frankie needs.

Frankie goes on the warpath, but she is in for some surprises when she blunders into Aimee’s world. And the biggest surprise of all is how your life can be changed forever by losing a phone. Frankie may not believe in karma or fate, but suddenly it looks like they’ve got her number .”

I’m always a little unsure when starting a book written by an Irish author. Not to sound bad or anything, but they are usually crap and even though I’m Irish I don’t go anywhere near those books. But I was happily surprised by this book, it was really nice to read and the story was great. I think the fact that it was set in San Francisco helped that it was an Irish author. I just find that it’s nicer to read books that are set in other places that I don’t know about or haven’t been to because it allows me to escape my own world.

I picked up this book completely by accident. I was in my local library and when I was looking at the books I happened to catch the eye of a kid through the shelves. Because I am a completely awkward person, I picked up the nearest book to hide behind because I didn’t want to be staring and I didn’t know quite what to do. Then I decide that since I was hiding behind this book I could at least give it the curtsy of seeing what it was about. And that is how I happened upon this book, it wouldn’t have been the type I usually pick up but chance made it so.

I liked a lot of the characters in this book, I felt like they were all really well-developed and seeing how Frankie changed throughout the story was a nice progression from the start to the end. I feel like I can’t say too much about the story than what’s outlined in the synopses because there would be a lot of spoilers. But basically Frankie goes to San Francisco to try and persuade an author to sign with her agency. The Rowley Agency hasn’t been doing to well lately and this trip is a last-ditch attempt to try to keep the agency afloat. On the plane she meets Rosie, an eccentric women full of hope and happiness. I loved reading about her, at first you think she is some crazy American who thinks she’s Irish, she doesn’t stop talking and comes across very in your face. But as the book progressed you came to LOVE her, and so did Frankie. When in San Francisco Frankie meets Aimee (sort-of), if you’ve read the book you will know what I mean, but I don’t want to give too much away. She gets to know Aimee’s family while there and discovers who she really is and through Aimee she gets the confidence to do with her life what she wants. John is Aimee’s brother and the relationship between him and Frankie is really cute and I love how it plays out in the book.

My favorite part of the book is when Frankie has come home and is with her mother. She hasn’t always had the best relationship and feels sometimes that her mom doesn’t appreciate her or believe in her. There is this great moment at the end when she is with her mum, talking to her thinking she’s asleep, telling her about all the mess’ she’s got herself into and the position of her agency. To Frankie’s surprise her mum has heard everything and tells her basically that she’s really proud of her. It was just such a sweet moment and was written really well. Overall I really enjoyed this book, which I didn’t realize till I was writing this review. The characters were all really well written with many sides to them, even some of the minor characters. There was good descriptive writing going on and I felt like I was in the story with the characters.

I would recommend this book to people who like a bit of Irish humor and a cute romance story. This book is suitable for anyone over 15 years old, but is an Adult book so would recommend for older readers.