The Kicking the Bucket List by Cathy Hopkins – Book Review


The Kicking the Bucket List by Cathy Hopkins (Harper Collins UK)

Review copy provided by Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Genres: Drama, Women’s fiction, Family

RATING: 4/5

The Story

Three estranged sisters have a shock when they attend the reading of their mother’s will – in order to receive their inheritance, they must complete a list of tasks together, spanning a year. For sensitive Dee, being close to her sisters seems like an impossible dream. Fleur, the free spirit and Rose, the control freak, think it’s a waste of time. The feud between these women can’t be fixed in a few weekends. For the sake of their mother, they’ll give it a go, but none expect the program to succeed. What they don’t know is that the next year will change their lives and relationships forever.

The Review

The Kicking the Bucket List is a wonderfully unique concept. How many of us would kill to have such a legacy from a parent who has passed on? An entire year of activities to bring a family closer together. Some say that love cannot be controlled, but this novel shows it can, at the very least, be manipulated.

The three sisters, Dee, Fleur and Rose, are distinct, well outlined characters. At time they can be a little two-dimensional, but some elements of their different personalities are sure to resonate with most, if not all readers. The majority of the novel is written from the perspective of Dee, however Fleur and Rose do get a bit of personal narration themselves. Although I believe it’s important for the story that each sister has ‘their say’, at times I felt that Hopkins struggled to strike the correct tone or style. Whilst Dee’s narrative is just that, a first person narrative like that found in many novels, the other two were harder to pin down. Sometimes they read like a diary entry, sometimes like a prayer, sometimes like a conversation with their deceased mother. I would have preferred if each sister had their own distinct narrative style, to provide context and individuality to their thoughts and feelings.

Nevertheless, The Kicking the Bucket List is for the most part a beautifully handled tale of sisterhood, touching on themes of grief, loss, love and happiness with great tenderness and respect. There were points during this novel were I was on the verge of tears, and many more when they were free flowing! Having siblings myself, I found it so easy to relate to the struggles these sisters were experiencing. Misunderstandings can cause so many difficulties and frustrations, and oftimes during the book I was close to yelling at them “JUST EXPLAIN YOURSELF!”. If everybody was honest, at least the world would be simpler.

Dee was the main focus of the novel. An artist and single mother of a grown-up daughter, she had a peaceful life down in the countryside of Cornwall, but the death of her mother alongside the passing of her landlady threw her life into turmoil. Many would crumble under these circumstances; her mother was the only member of her family she really spoke to, and she was being evicted from the home she had rented for over 25 years. I was really intrigued to see how Dee would handle these situations, and I can’t say I was disappointed. Although I don’t usually enjoy escapades of sensitive, big-hearted characters (I find them a bit unrealistic, weak and dreary), Hopkins has written a woman with backbone and integrity which is extremely admirable. The same goes for Dee’s sisters – although they all have dislikable traits, there was also something sympathetic about all of them.

My favourite parts of the novel were definitely when the three sisters were interacting on their weekend excursions. With a host of activities including colonics, cat sanctuaries and perfume palaces, Hopkins exploited many wonderful opportunities for laughs and tender moments. Often funny, always meaningful, The Kicking the Bucket List has to be one of the more unique novels of friendship within families. It’s an issue which affects us all, and I think we could all learn something from this book. I know I did.

The Kicking the Bucket List is published TOMORROW, 9th March!

Cathy Hopkins can be contacted via her website and twitter.

 

 

A Court of Mist And Fury


17927395

PLEASE READ THIS BOOK! ….But read the first in the series first, or else it’ll all be ruined for you. Romance, drama, action, warriors, magic – it has everything.

A Court of Thorns and Roses – buy it now! Amazon

I’m having the biggest book hangover. I literally cannot get it off my mind. UNPUTDOWNABLE.

Third one doesn’t come out until May … it’s gonna be a loooong wait 😦

 

NetGalley Update


Woo! Just an update on my previous post about free books to review, I’ve already been approved to review 3!  They are sent straight to my kindle to read completely at my leisure 😀

I may never have to pay for a book again at this rate.

untitled

Feeling lucky!

Gingernut x

The Last Mortal Bond (Book 3): A Spoiler-free Recommendation of an Entralling Fantasy Series


I love reading. Love love LOVE it.

With that in mind, I have no idea why it took me so long to purchase The Last Mortal Bond,  the final book in the Chronicle of the Unhewn Throne series I started reading over a year ago. I won’t give you a synopsis as it’s the last book in a series of three, but the author is Brian Staveley, and you can check out his epic blog here to find a synopsis for all 3 novels (by the way, the blog is a fantastic resource for wanna-be fantasy authors like myself and anyone who wants to get inside the mind of such an exciting novelist).

I’m pleased to announce that I have finally started The Last Mortal Bond, and I’m kicking myself for leaving it so long. IT’S AWESOME! 

Because it’s been about a year since I read the second installment, I will admit that I couldn’t precisely remember where everybody was up to when the last book ended. Enter Mr Staveley, an author with the skill to remind me what’s been going on without relying on boring and transparent narration provided by the main character as they re-live the events of previous novels and ponder their significance – sadly this seems to be a trick used by many authors as trilogies become the norm for successful publications.

According to my Kindle I’m 27% through the book at the moment (eurgh, I know. Kindle. I’m truly a lover of physical media, and Amazon is the devil, but it was bought for me as a present and to be honest, getting any book I want at my fingertips in an instant is a little too hard to resist.) 27% through probably isn’t the best place to be when writing a review/recommendation but I have a pressing need to get people to read these books and I can’t really wait until I finish (it’s quite a long book and my job keeps getting in the way!).

Nevertheless, I’ll do my best to pique your interest.

A lot has already happened in the first third of the book; the plot has moved on significantly from page one, many of the characters are facing situations they haven’t been in before, we’re learning more and more about each character (their strengths, weaknesses and motivations) and there is an air of mystery about how the trilogy will end which is very difficult to unpick. Nothing is predictable, and yet everything that has happened so far is ultimately satisfying and seems true to the world the author has created.

I clearly can’t speak for the end of the book – for all I know Mr Staveley could ruin it all in the next few pages – but based on the previous installments, I have the sneaking suspicion that it will culminate in a brilliant finale to a series which will stick in my mind long after I’ve turned the final page. As much as I hate finishing a book, I also can’t wait for my lunch-break to get stuck in again. It’s a problem I’m happy to be burdened with.

If you fancy being in a similar predicament (and I highly recommend you try it), and you enjoy books which can be both heartbreaking and uplifting, intriguing and frustrating, fantastical and grounded and all held together by complex, real and relatable characters, I highly recommend this series.

You can purchase any and all of the books from any good retailer – I’d be really excited to hear what you think when you read them so stay in touch!

Gingernut x

The Importance of Writing


What I’ve Learned as a Writer : zenhabits – StumbleUpon

I recommend everybody reads the article I’ve linked at the top of the post; this is something I think I aspire to do.

I find that writing opens up the world for me, and gets me out of my bubble that I’m in most of the time. This happens especially when I’m writing on my blog, because I know there are people out there, like you, reading my words. People with their own lives, interests, hopes, dreams and stories to tell.

I think writing is a great tool both for communication and for therapy. It can open doors, remove barriers, initiate dialogue, explore emotions, and, importantly, facilitate the sharing of truths.

As a person with a strong interest in psychology, the power of writing really intrigues me.

I want to set you a challenge, world.

Think of somebody. It can be anybody; someone you love, someone you hate, someone you miss, someone you wish you knew.

Write them a letter. It doesn’t have to be long. A paragraph is all it takes. Tell them the truth.

See how it makes you feel. See how it makes them feel.

Let me know how it goes.

An inspired Gingernut xx