Knit Two by Kate Jacobs

knit two

Synopsis from Amazon:

Old Yarns
It is five years since the members of The Friday Night Knitting Club bonded during divorce, job loss, romance, birth – and the sudden death of their dear friend, Georgia. But the Walker and Daughter knitting store on Manhattan’s Upper West Side is still going strong.

New Patterns
Drawn together by their love for Georgia’s daughter, Dakota, and the sense of family the club provides, each knitter is struggling with new challenges: for Catherine, finding love after divorce; for Darwin, newborn twins; for Lucie, being both single mum and carer for her elderly mother, and for Anita, marriage to her sweetheart over the objections of her grown-up children.

A love letter to the power of female friendship and, of course, knitting, Knit Two is entertainment with heart.

This is the sequel to the wonderful Friday Night Knitting Club. It is five years on and there have been some big changes. Georgia died, leaving Peri in charge of Walker and Daughter – although Peri really wants to expand her pocket book business. Lucy has made a name for herself as a producer, but her daughter Ginger is a handful. KC is now working in law, but is still single. Catherine is also single, and stuck in a rut. Darwin has twins, and is struggling with how to raise them. Anita is all set to marry Marty, but her sons are adamant she mustn’t. And Dakota, Georgia’s daughter is 18 and ready to take on the world, making huge, life-changing decisions. All this combined makes for interesting Friday nights knitting together in Walker and Daughter, when Lucy gets the chance to film a music video in Rome. So half the knitting group are off to Europe. Secrets are revealed, plans are formed, and friendships are forged – all until disaster strikes back in New York…. Could this be the end of Walker and Daughter…..?

I was skeptial about how this book would turn out as Jacobs killed off the main character, however, this book was just as good. The fact Georgia is dead is addressed, and we see how friends are still grieving and what her friendship meant to them individually and as a group is very well written. This sequel allows Jacobs to explore the other characters more deeply, which I think made the book. I loved all members of the group – such an odd mix of people but still they form a strong bond together, and it was nice reading about that.

It must be noted that with the odd exception, men are not greatly portrayed in this book. Nathan, Anita’s son, is manipulative and conniving, and James is dominant and stuck in his ways. I found myself disliking both of them as I read the book – although a book that sparks a reaction, whether negative or positive is a good book in my opinion.

I do have one complaint: I felt some areas of the story were too conveniently concluded. Anita’s story for one – it was too neat, a touch unpredictable really. Other than that, I really enjoyed this book. It is not a fast read, but it is a good read.

9/10

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Can You Keep A Secret? by Sophie Kinsella

can-you-keep-a-secretSynopsis:

Emma is like every girl in the world. She has a few little secrets.

Secrets from her mother:
1.I lost my virginity in the spare bedroom to Danny Nussbaum while Mum and Dad were downstairs watching Ben Hur.

…From her boyfriend:
2. I’m a size twelve. Not a size eight, like Connor thinks.
3. I’ve always thought Connor looks a bit like Ken. As in Barbie and Ken.

…From her colleagues:
4. When Artemis really annoys me, I feed her plant orange juice. (Which is pretty much every day)
5. It was me who jammed the copier that time. In fact, all the times.

…Secrets she wouldn’t share with anyone in the world:
6. My G string is hurting me.
7. I faked my Maths GCSE grade on my CV.
8. I have no idea what NATO stands for. Or even what it is…

…until she spills them all to a stranger on a plane. At least, she thought he was a stranger…

This is another gem from Sophie Kinsella. This is pure chick-lit, a light, fun read, humorous and heart wrenching. Emma, the protagonist, is flying from Glasgow to London after a dreadful work meeting. She is a nervous flyer, who was upgraded to Business Class. When the plane hits turbulence she believes she is going to die, and that the handsome American stranger in the seat next to her is the last person she is ever going to see. So she tells him everything – all her secrets and innermost thoughts and feelings. And then they land safely and Emma thinks she will never see him again – until he turns out to be the founder of the company she works for, and he is checking out the London offices. The story follows Emma as she adjusts to having Jack around all the time, struggling with her family, facing unbearable humiliation, love, friendship and revenge.

As ever, Kinsella kept me gripped. Her writing is fluid and engaging. Her characters were similar to those in the Shopaholic Series but I still connected with them. I loved Emma and her brutal honesty on the plane, and how the poor girl had to suffer the consequences. I was willing the best for her, and felt her humiliation and pain with her. Her flat mate Lissy founded gorgeous – what a lovely person to have around. Her other flat mate, Jemima was a hilarious character, with a warped way of viewing the world, but hilarious all the same. There were some vicious characters who I didn’t like as well – which is important to a good story.

Kinsella looks at the use of secrets in relationships. Although this is predominantly a chick-lit book, we do what can happen if you keep secrets. Relationships fall apart, there is a lack of trust and people often get it wrong. Once someone has been hurt through secrets they can be tarnished forever, as was the case with Conner, who turned into a bit of a wet lettuce – insecure and paranoid. However, being a light read, most things turned out OK in the end.

I really enjoyed this book. I laughed and felt pain, I was emotionally connected to Emma and wanted the best for her, and I recommend this book if you like quick, fun reads. The only complaint I have is there was a fair amount of swearing. Apart from that, this is a good novel.

8/10

Shopaholic Abroad by Sophie Kinsella

shopaholic-abroad

This is also known as: Shopaholic Takes Manhattan

Synopsis:

Will travel broaden the mind…or just loosen the purse strings?

For Rebecca Bloomwood, life is peachy. She has a job on morning TV, her bank manager is actually being nice to her, and when it comes to spending money, her new motto is Buy Only What You Need – and she’s really (sort of) sticking to it. The icing on the brioche is that she’s been offered a chance to work in New York.

New York! The Museum of Modern Art! The Guggenheim! The Metropolitan Opera House! And Becky does mean to go to them all. Honestly. It’s just that it seems silly not to check out a few other places first. Like Saks. And Bloomingdales. And Barneys. And one of those fantastic sample sales where you can get a Prada dress for $10. Or was it $100? Is Becky too dazzled to care?

Shopaholic Abroad – for the biggest culture shop of your life.

This is the second installment of the Shopaholic Series, and just as fabulous as the first. However, it is very similar to the first book. Does that spoil the story? Not at all! Becky is taken to New York by Luke, and ends up spending a ton. She is in a whole heap of debt – and soon her secrets become known to everyone when the Daily World exposes her.

This story is full of all the usual antics – shopping, friends, Luke, embarrassment, love and debt. The storyline is similar to Confessions of a Shopaholic and how Becky spends too much shopping, and has to work her way out of debt. There is a lot of time spent in London too, which I was surprised about – in fact, most of the storyline was based in London, which is one of the downsides of this book. However, I love this series! Becky is self-obsessed and a bit irritating but I still didn’t want anything bad to happen to her and rallied behind her when horrid things happened to her. And I loved Suze – I want a flatmate like her! She is so lovely, looking out for Becky as well as pursueing her own career.

I enjoyed the story – it was fast-paced, predictible and fun. I love Kinsella’s writing, fluid and enjoyable. Yes it is chessy and very girly, but I loved it! This is an easy read – and I highly recommend it. And I love the ending! I am looking forward to the next installment!

9/10

Shopaholic and Sister by Sophie Kinsella

shopaholic-and-sister

Description from Amazon:

Becky Bloomwood is back! Becky thought being married to Luke Brandon would be one big Tiffany box of happiness. But to be honest, it’s not quite as dreamy as she’d hoped. The trouble started on honeymoon, when she told Luke the tiniest little fib, about the teeniest little purchase. Now she’s on a strict budget, she doesn’t have a job – and worst of all her beloved Suze has a new best friend. Then she receives some incredible news. She has a long-lost sister! Becky has never been more excited. Finally, a real sister! They’ll have so much in common! They can go shopping together…choose shoes together…have manicures together…Until she meets her – and gets the shock of her life. It can’t be true. Surely Becky Bloomwood’s long-lost sister can’t…hate shopping? A sister, a soulmate, a skinflint?

This was a quick, easy-to-read chick-lit book. The story follows Becky as she comes back from their honeymoon to discover she has s sister and that her bestfriend has a new bestfriend. The adventure takes her up to Cumbria and even up a mountain.

Many issues are casually looked at in this book – such as family, marriage, materialism and friendship. There was nothing insensitive about how Kinsella writes and it was interesting to see what materialism and shallowness can potentially do to relationships.

I found Becky shallow and materialist, however I was often empathising with her. I did want good things for her and some of her experiences, in regards to friends I think we can all relate too. That and we like to treat ourselves sometimes!

I wasn’t convinced by the storylines, there were a few events that I found incredibly unrealistic, however that did not spoil the story. I related to the characters, I laughed and at times could have cried. I read the majority of the book in one day. The story line took a little while to get going and I did consider putting the book down, but I can honestly say I am glad I didn’t. This is a fun, enjoyable chick-lit book.

7/10