Recently I noticed that my book reviewing on Goodreads was getting a little... well non-existent, so I decided I should get back to it but I thought if I'm going to be writing reviews shouldn't I be putting them in my blog?? Of course I was in the middle of a series at the time and didn't feel right about reviewing it half way through, but since I just finished this lovely Chick-lit by Ali McNamara I shall give this a try!
I picked this book up originally because the title cracked me up. "From Notting Hill With Love... Actually", how many more chick-flick titles can you fit on one book cover? (Apparently more than that because there are sequels) So after reading the paragraph on the back I selected this to be my "break book". I read a lot of books that come in multiple installments, or classics, and I try my best to read non-fiction and other books with more substance. As a result sometimes you get done with a book and think "I just need something fluffy, light and maybe a little funny. These are my "break books".
This was exactly the type of book I was looking for. I had read some troubling reviews ahead of time that gave it one star but in my opinion their expectations were too high. No one watches reality TV or a Life Time movie expecting it to blow their minds and be thought provoking. They watch it to turn their brain off and just have fun. So why should books be any different. "From Notting Hill With Love... Actually" if a fun book. The main character is relate-able and easy to root for. There were a couple of spots that made me go "Really? Who does that!?" but only a couple. One was when she went to the flat of a perfect stranger to get a stain out of her shirt. It felt contrived and unrealistic, but it fit with the whole premise of the book which was to follow various movie scripts.
As someone who watches movies and quotes them regularly, I loved the ridiculous amount of references to chick-flicks! I say ridiculous because there is no other word to describe it. The main character sets out to prove a movie life is possible, and so between quoting movies or recreating scenes the references number at least 2 a page! They fit with the character & the plot so it never bothered me, and every time it came close to bothering me the author brought it right back to a reasonable place.
My biggest criticism for this book is that the end felt rushed. The author does a good job of throwing a twist in to make you doubt the hero. It really wouldn't be a chick-flick with out it :) but it was so late in the book that the explanation for why he wasn't actually being a total jerk was really fast and confusing. It felt forced and a little hard to believe. You should believe in your hero again when he is returned to grace. It's that vindication of your belief in your hero that really connects your story with readers. I found that part was lacking and I was not as satisfied at the end as I wanted to be.