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After reading and quite enjoying the first book by Penny Smith I decided to give the second one a go, what a big mistake and I have to confess I was not able to finish it as it bored me to tears.
The story is about Kate who from the first book got sacked from her morning television presenter show and then finally managed to get some work for a new company. In this book we have her out of work and running out of money so when given the opportunity to appear on a reality show she jumps at the chance as she needs the money ad hopes her career may be restarted off the back of it. She goes to the small log cabin with the fellow contestants and soon finds her feet and makes a few good friends. Whilst she is appearing on the show her boyfriend and family are left behind and they are not too impressed with the way she is coming across on screen.
Will Kate win the show and get her career restarted or will she be shown in such a bad light she looses everything?
The story was a follow on from the first book with the same returning characters and a few new ones added. When reading I just felt it was all to familiar and nothing seemed original and new. The way the reality show came across with the tasks they had to do was all to similar to the of I'm a Celebrity Get me out of here and for the whole time I was reading this is what I had pictured in my head. The same plot seemed to be repeated over and over again with the tasks and I was always wishing something new and exciting would happen but nothing ever did and it was so long winded at times.
The characters were a mixed bunch, Kate was her usual loud and quite witty self but she did come across as a little obnoxious at times and dumb with the way she was behaving knowing she was being filmed 24 hours of the day, she never changed and she just seemed dull and boring for the majority of the book. We had a lot of strong characters added and I was not able to warm to them, they were backstabbing and only out for their own gain and not bothered about who they hurt along the way. I did feel like shouting at them on more than one occasion.
The story was easy to read from the style of writing but there was not much happening and it was very dull, I hate not being able to finish a book and since I have been able to read this is only the second book I have never finished. I was just not interested at all in the book and the story and due to the lack of excitement or story found it a chore to read.
We did not get enough details of the places we were in so I was not able to get a good mental picture and this did not help when I was reading as I like to be able to visualise what I am reading and what the characters and places look and feel like, there were some small details but no where near enough fro my liking.
This is the second book from Penny Smith and I do think she has a good writing style but she does need to move away from the area of television and I just hope she does not write a third book in this series as it is not one I will be buying if she does. I think she should stick to writing one off books which has different and exciting characters and stories and not ones she tries to draw out to get follow on books from.
The book has been published by Harper Collins and has a total of 393 pages. The retail price on the back cover for the paper back edition is £6.99, fortunately I did not pay this price and got the book in a offer with 3 books for £5.00.
I ma a book lover so hate not being able to recommend a book but this was lacking in originality and quality characters, there was a lot of padding which made the story dull and boring. I have given this book one star and this is mainly for the modern and good cover but I am not able to recommend this book at all.
Katie Fisher has been finding life a bit boring since she lost her presenting job on Hello Britain!. Sure, she's got new boyfriend Adam to keep her days filled, but the TV work is drying up and Katie is worried about losing public interest. When the latest celeb reality show Celebrity X-Treme comes knocking, Katie decides to take it against the advice of all around her. She thinks she'll be fine in with a Page 3 model, a comedian, and an ex-soap actor but she isn't counting on behind-the-scenes skullduggery. Will the big paycheck and recognition be worth the embarassment and ridicule Katie is bound to suffer over in Norway for her trouble? Or is "Celebrity X-Treme" the final nail in Katie's coffin?
It's not very often that I will give a book one star, I feel that rating is pretty damning and it really has to be diabolical for me to rate a book such, but Penny Smith's debut Coming Up Next was fully deserving of that rating. I only read until the end so I could review it and warn other people about it, so I'm not sure what I was thinking when I got the follow up to that book from the library, After The Break. Penny is a well-known TV personality, presenting the news and other features on breakfast TV show GMTV, and this is echoed in the book with the lead character Katie presenting her own breakfast time show. Clearly it's not an original idea and didn't need much inspiration but I was hoping that it was going to be better than the awful debut, although it wouldn't have taken much to beat that.
As I said, the character of Katie was also the lead in Penny's first book, so if you haven't read that one first, well done. Honestly, you haven't missed that much if you haven't read it and this can read as a standalone book well enough as references are made to events that happened in the first book and fill you in enough to understand what is going on. My main problem with this book was that Katie is the lead once more, because I really hated her character in the first one. She really does remind me so much of Penny that I have to wonder if she based the character on herself - she thinks she is funny when she really isn't, she's sarcastic and just quite annoying to read a whole book about. I began not to care about Katie, which is the opposite of what you should do about the lead character of a book and was quite tempted to skim read the bits about Katie at times because it seemed to drag on and not go anywhere.
The bits I enjoyed about this book was the storyline surrounding Katie's ex boyfriend Bob and her parents. This was far more enjoyable and readable than the story about Katie herself, which says something in itself really. I think the dialogue was far more enjoyable to read, with no forced "comedy" or jokes that just weren't funny being used either. They were much more realistic characters and I feel that perhaps Smith would have done better to have broken away from the setting of a TV show and choose something totally different to write about as it worked a lot better in the book that way for me anyway. The premise of the reality show was a bit of a letdown too because it didn't appear often enough and for long enough for the reader to engage with it and care about the people in it or the outcome. There was a few funny moments dotted around but not enough to make the storyline all that interesting.
It seems that a lot of celebrities are jumping on the writing bandwagon and while some have made a success of it, Penny Smith isn't one of them. Her writing style is very unsmooth and jolty, and I find reading her books quite hard work. I don't deny that there is definite improvement between her debut novel and this one, but the major faults are still there for me - unlikeable characters and uninteresting and slow-progressing storylines. I felt the plot of this book could have been made much more fun, and what actually did happen could have taken half the pages it actually took to take place. If you haven't read Penny's books yet, I wouldn't rush out to get them - if you must, get them from the library then you haven't lost anything. It's really disappointing, but a tad better than the first although that's not saying much.
ISBN: 978-0007315284. Published in June 2009 by Fourth Estate Ktd. The paperback has 328 pages and an RRP of £6.99.
Thank you for reading.
Note: This review also appears on my blog: http://chicklitreviews.wordpress.com