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Coming Up Next - Penny Smith

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Genre: Fiction / Author: Penny Smith / Paperback / 256 Pages / Book is published 2008-07-21 by HarperPerennial

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      14.12.2011 17:56
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      Very diappointing piece of fiction

      ==Synopsis of the book:==

      Katie Fisher is at another crossroads in her life. Having recently been sacked from her job presenting on the Breakfast television show 'Hello Britain'. She is desperate to get another job quickly as she has a large mortgage to pay and an expensive lifestyle to maintain. But as the press search for more information about her rapid exit from the show she decides to return to Yorkshire and back to her parents home to avoid having to speak to them, while looking foe new career opportunities.


      However her plan goes badly wrong as the Press look to cover and bring the lady down further. She does not help herself by being seen with lots of bottles of booze in her bag after a shopping trip and having not put her face on that day to show the world what she usually looks like. And following meeting a single family friend she is hopeful that this could be the spark for a new exciting relationship. The only problem is now she cannot sneeze without the press photographing her. Can she keep her head down and get a new television career or is her life headed on a downward spiral?


      ==My thoughts on this book:==


      For me this was a very disappointing piece of fiction. It was the début novel by former Breakfast presenter Penny Smith and was first published in 2008. So from the perspective of writing about something you know the author had it dead right, but I do not feel it was well written as I would probably expect from a former journalist and in many respects for me it was poor.


      I must admit I approached this novel with an open mind and was immediately impressed by not only the clever tittle of the book and the interesting two paragraph summary on the books back cover. I liked the concept of this lady Katie being sacked in circumstances we where not told much about and having to deal with the consequences of it. The author was very good at creating good characters all with agenda's of their own within the media field. I thought she used her knowledge really well here and it gave a lovely flavour of this very cut throat business, in which a friend today can be an enemy tomorrow.


      It was a story that was easy to get into, I think in part it is because it is easy to like and feel for someone who is going through a bad patch. Although I kept getting confused because while Katie was the main character she also brought in what seemed like many characters and their link with her seemed quite distant especially the ones who no longer where in contact with her. I found myself wondering expecting them all to link with Katie later on in the story but this never happened and so I failed to see the relevance of them and as a result it was a bit disjointed.


      I found the story really meandered as a result of following these other characters and what was happening to them. At times it seemed ages until the story returned to Katie and it was almost as if the author wanted to share her experiences within this field regardless of the effect or lack of it on the story. It was almost as if she was filling in pages to create a longer story. It also annoyed me that all those in the story where young and attractive but having said that it is probably representative of television, but not normal everyday life. Additionally I felt the author for me had a quite simplistic view of love and lust, it just felt there was no subtlety about her scenes involving opposite sexes and anyone could have a relationship with anyone just on the spur of the moment.


      That said I did enjoy the lead character and found her an easy character to like and respect. I liked the mischief she got into and while her wit was in some respects her downfall from Breakfast television it was always interesting sometimes because it was so clever while other times it was cringe worthy and something I just shock my head at. What was particularly good however and I may be wrong but I felt there was a lot of the author in Katie Fisher and her interaction with friends and family was particularly enlightening and well thought out.


      The story ending I felt was a bit of a damp squib as I kept expecting something really exciting and different to happen to Katie that would make me feel the book had been worth while after all. Sadly this did not happen and I was pleased to put this disappointing read back on the shelf. The book was 256 pages long and for me that was much too long as the story should have just focused on Katie and not shared continuous snippets on various other characters we did not know enough about and overall where not interesting enough. As these additional characters seemed to lack personalities that you would remember and as a result I quite often got confused who they where and what there link was with Katie.


      I picked my paperback copy from Amazon and paid five pounds 49p. This I think for the quality of the story was too expensive and I know it sound mean to say I think on this performance this presenter should have stuck to what she knows best. I notice she has since this book written two subsequent stories and I can only hope these are better than this story As for a first attempt this was poor.


      ==Conclusion:==

      Despite being interesting subject matter I thought this was a poor piece of fiction and one I would not recommend. The author needed for me to focus far more on the lead character, not go off at a tangent following duller characters that had no real bearing on the story. As a result it was a disjointed read and one that I struggled to enjoy. And although rich in detail about the media business I found the author tried to use too much humour in too many different scenarios that did not add anything to the story.


      Thanks for reading my review.


      This review is published under my user name on both Ciao and Dooyoo.

      © CPTDANIELS December 2011.

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        09.06.2011 21:21
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        boring

        I had seen this as a recommendation a while ago when browsing amazon, and while thinking it looked alright I didn't think it looked good enough to buy and ended up buying something else, then the other day when browsing the selection of free kindle books I noticed for some reason it was now free so decided to buy it! It was only free for a limited amount of time though, after checking its now £4.99

        The book is written by Penny Smith who used to present GMTV. The idea behind the book is partially based on her life but that is pretty much where it stops, the rest of the story is highly exaggerated and fictional. The protagonist of the book, Katie, is a presenter on Hello Britain, a breakfast show and getting along well in life, loving her job and apartment while looking for love. However everything comes crashing down when she takes a holiday only to find that while she has been away she's been replaced by a younger model. Will Katie get her job back or will she be destined to find a new career?

        I was quite disappointed with this book, I thought that she would be a new chick lit author, and I compared it to LA Candy by Lauren Conrad which is also loosely based on her experiences in the media, this was nowhere near as good. While it was alright for a little bit of light entertainment while bored, it was nothing exciting. The plot was fairly predictable, and to be honest I felt like I'd read it all before. I wouldn't of been impressed if I'd paid £4.99 thats for sure but as I got it for free I can't really complain because I did get to the end, it wasn't so bad I had to stop reading, just not particularly good...

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          06.11.2010 16:20
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          Can Katie make it after being sacked from morning TV?

          Katie Fisher is a presenter on a morning television show called 'Hello Britain'. She loves her work and is about to set off on a much needed holiday. Unfortunately when she is on her holiday she gets a call from her agent telling her she has been sacked and replaced with a much younger woman, she is also told that her humour and jokes were another reason she had been sacked. Katie now hits rock bottom and starts to drink.

          She returns home to find her house surrounded by reporters so with the help of her friend manages to escape to her parents house. Katie turns further to drink to help with her problem but soon finds solace in her brother friend and they start a relationship. Katie is getting desperate for work as she has a large mortgage and her drinking habit is now getting rather expensive. Can Katie come back fighting and get her life back on track or will this television reporter be gone from the screen forever?

          It was by chance that I bought this book, I was on holiday and had run out of books so on visiting the local book shop came away with this and the next in the series with the hope that they would be good. I am familiar with the author as she too used to be a television presenter but has now turned her hand to writing. I am pleased to say I did find the book good and I am looking forward to reading the sequel. The storyline was good and interesting and I found I warmed straight away to Katie and followed her on her emotional rollercoaster through the story. I loved how it was not just centred around her working life but also her social one as well.

          All of the characters were very good and we got to know a lot about each of them. I found the main character of Katie to be the best and likable person, there was her brother and parents who were also very good and bought some fun to the story and also the role of Dee, Katie's best friend helped keep the story on a normal track. Along with the nice characters we also got the bad ones who were very hard nosed and only looking after themselves. The main person to take the bad role was Keera and she played the part excellently. I loved the detail we got and how she loved herself. I should not have liked her but some of the things she would do and say really did make me giggle to myself and think she was very slow and thick. There was a good amount of characters and we got to know a bit about all of them but there were not too many so we lost track of who was who and what part they played in the story.

          There was a lot going on in the story and I loved how each of the characters would have their own problems and dilemmas which did actually give the mains story some depth and reality as I think it would have got quite boring and dull if we only had the tale of Katie and her problems. I was easily able to follow all of the side stories and found they slotted very well into the main story. There is a lot of depressing times in the book but they are also made light hearted with Katie's humour and it makes it much easier to read when she gives one of her funny quotes or jokes. I loved how it took the serious edge of the book.

          The story is very easy to read and the writing style is good. There are lots of different chapters in the book which means moving from one story to the next is very easy. I never lost track of where the story was at even when it did go slightly back it time. We never moved far back in time just over played the same day or evening just with a different character, this is explained in the story so is simple to follow.

          The details which we are given about how the characters and places look is good and I was easily able to make a mental pictures of the characters and the sets which were being talked about, I also find this is a good think with a book as it means I can really get involved in the story.

          The story is the debut novel from Penny Smith and there is a sequel to it. I do have the sequel and am looking forward to reading it. The book was published by Harper Collins and the paperback edition has a retail price of £6.99. Fortunately managed to get this and 2 other books in an offer for £5. I would say the book was worth paying up to £5 for but no more.

          I am happy to recommend this book and can give it a good 4 stars. The story and characters are good and the story is not too deep or hard to follow, meaning only a small amount of brain power is needed to read it. I would say that a little more humour would have seen me giving this book the full 5 stars.

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            07.01.2010 09:30
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            Avoid unless you have nothing else!

            I obviously bought coming up next in the summer of 2008, as I discovered it a couple of weeks ago in my overnight case which I last used when I had my baby!! As a bookaholic, I always have a stash of books to read, and as I have been struggling lately to find some new authors to get into, I decided to give Penny Smith's debut novel a whirl.

            The main character of the book is thirty-something Katie Fisher, presenter on breakfast TV show Hello Britain! When Katie is replaced with the younger perkier Keera on the sofa, she rushes off to her parents to evaluate where it all went wrong, and to formulate a plan to get herself back on top.

            Penny has obviously decided to stick with what she knows and base her book around her world of business television. However, this book leaves me in serious doubt that she pays any attention to what goes on in the world around her. What I expected was an over exaggerated look at the world of breakfast TV, as the book's tagline 'Bright Lights, Cat Fights...' suggested. However none of this is transferred into the story. To be honest the plot is so thin, that I struggle to provide a synopsis of the book.

            The book is written in the third person, which is my preferred style of writing, as it normally gives better insight into the characterisation. The chapters move between Katie rebuilding her life after losing her job, what is still going on at Hello Britain!

            The characters are so weak and two dimensional that I struggled to sympathise with any of them. Katie is supposed to be this witty clever woman, but her behaviour throughout the book is laughable and not in a good way! Her nemesis Keera, is portrayed as airhead social climber with no redeeming qualities whatsoever. It is a struggle to get through a book when the two main characters are so indifferent to the reader. The only character I felt anything for throughout the book was poor luckless weathergirl Dee, and she was only a side story to the main plot.

            I think that Penny Smith has taken a write by numbers formula to chick lit but seems to just miss on every level. It is ok for the main character to be flawed, but Katie makes such ridiculous decisions that she is hard to empathise with. Keera is not a strong enough character to be a worthy foe. Even the male lead, Bob, is so wishy washy that the romantic element that every good chick lit story needs is sadly lacking.

            By the end of the book I just didn't care what happened, I just wanted it to end. The problem is the story ticks along as if nothing is going to happen, so that you don't want it to stop reading, but it never does. The ending is predictable, as is often the case with the chick lit genre, but it leaves you feeling unsatisfied. Mercifully the book is quite short and I got through it in two days, but it did feel like hard work. I won't be rushing to pick up her next novel any time soon.

            Paperback published by Harper Perennial, 327 pages.

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              22.05.2009 21:19
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              Not the best book I've ever read

              For my birthday recently I received Coming Up Next by Penny Smith. I had requested the book after seeing it on www.amazon.co.uk as one of my recommendations.

              I have obviously heard of Penny Smith from her appearances on GMTV but my most vivid memory of her is when she sang with Curtis Stigers on Just the Two of Us. I wouldn't say I am a huge fan but as it was someone I recognised and it is her first book I felt I would give it a try. The blurb on the back made the book sound interesting and a little different to the books I have been reading lately.

              I received quite a lot of books for my birthday and of all of them I chose to read Penny Smiths book first.

              The basic storyline centres around Katie Fisher an anchor woman on popular breakfast show Hello Britain! Who is unceremoniously sacked from her position and replaced with a younger perkier model. The book follows Katie's fall from grace and how it affects her life and relationships with those around her.

              I felt that with Penny's background this book could be semi autobiographical and hoped to recognise some well know people within the characters depicted. Unfortunately I was a little disappointed with the book and was left feeling let down by the whole story. I felt that the tale didn't flow very well and tented to jump about quite a bit between characters to the point where I would lose track completely. The book never really got going but I kept reading in the hope that something would happen.

              The characters in the book were instantly forgotten and I didn't feel that you ever got to know any of the characters enough to feel anything for them. There seemed to be a lot of characters in the book and I often forgot who they were and had to go back through the book to find when they were introduced and what relevance they had. I didn't like the main character Katie very much and felt that she came across as a self-obsessed lush most of the time. I felt that more could have been done with some of the characters including Bob the love interest who I felt could have been a good character to explore further. As it was I was left hoping that Katie wouldn't get her man because I didn't like her and didn't want her to live happily ever after.

              After I finished the book I just felt very disappointed and could barely remember any of the characters. The story never got going and seemed pointless, there did appear to be a bit of a twist in the book but it was made so obvious from the beginning that when it was revealed it wasn't a surprise as you knew what was going on all along.

              Maybe I am being too harsh as this is Penny's first novel, maybe there wasn't supposed to be a surprise twist and maybe the lead character was supposed to be a thoughtless old soak.

              I don't think I'll be rushing out to buy any more books by Penny Smith based on this first effort but I would possibly read another if I found it at the library.

              This book is available from www.amazon.co.uk for £4.99

              ISBN 978-0-00-726889-4

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                14.09.2008 19:10
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                Dont bother!

                AUTHOR
                Penny Smith, says the blurb on the back of the book, has been a newsreader for 15 years. You would mostly see her behind the news desk on GMTV and occasionally on the main sofa on the same show. I've never really thought much about her, until my dad commented one day that she thought she had a brilliant sense of humour. After catching her on morning TV after he said this I was torn between finding her brand of humour funny and bizarre - a smart woman, likeable with a bit of something extra that the other presenters on that show don't have. With that in mind, and seeing the sub title saying "Breakfast Just Got Bitchier" I was looking forward to a smart sassy, bitchy book about breakfast tv from a woman in the know. Not quite what I got however....

                PLOT
                Katie Fisher is a witty, intelligent anchor on a popular breakfast show when she finds herself out on her ear after the audience don't "get" her sense of humour and wit on screen. Not only this, she is replaced by a much younger, more attractive woman called Keera who it seems will do anything to get to the top of her career. This novel is about Katie's struggle to get back on to the TV career ladder whilst the press have a field day with her love life and her partying.

                CHARACTERS
                ~~Katie~~

                As you can see from the very simple plot above, this book falls into Chick Lit category. The main character, Katie, is mildly amusing, and you can see parts of Penny Smiths on screen personality shining through in this character throughout the book, as Katie's conversational repartee throughout the book is littered with puns and sexual innuendos, some obvious some rather obscure. Her character is interesting and modern, a twist on the usual main character in chick lit novels as Katie is in her forties instead of twenties. However, as the book wore on, the constant puns and the jokey character started to grate. After all, Katie's life is supposed to have been turned upside down, she is the joke on the front page of the tabloids after being sacked and she is struggling to find a job to pay her whopping mortgage. Yet her partying, drinking and constant cheerfulness and witty one liners put the character in jeopardy of being totally ridiculous. About half way through the book, Katie soon becomes so self involved that she pushes away anything good and you almost stop caring what might happen to her! Her character goes form being witty and intelligent to just plain annoying, fake and believing her own hype.
                ~~Keera ~~

                Katie's replacement on the breakfast shows sofa; young, beautiful ,and she knows what she wants and will do anything to make sure she gets it. There is nothing likeable about this character at all, she is constantly talking about how beautiful she thinks she is, she asks stupid questions to the guests and practises her poses for magazines in the mirror as much as she can. She is the only saving grace of Katie in many ways. Keera is so despicable that you almost will Katie on to succeed. Along the same lines, she is so horrible that she also becomes a ridiculously unbelievable character also.
                ~~ Mike ~~
                Mike is Katie's (and then Keera's) co-anchor on the morning show. I don't really have many opinions on this character at all, there is a sub plot running throughout the book hinting at Mikes secret life. The whole storyline around this is absurd, and didn't interest me whatsoever. I don't even have anything else to say about him, he and his story was utterly disinteresting!

                ~~ Bob ~~
                Bob is Katie's love interest in the book (because of course there had to be one!) Possibly the nicest of characters in the book, you felt like Katie didn't deserve him. Not great really is it, not siding with the main female character in this kind of genre?!
                The rest of the characters in the book aren't really worth mentioning at all - there is Dee, Katie's friend who has bad luck with men, her agent and her mum and dad. That's it.

                ~~Thoughts Overall ~~
                Very, very disappointing. Penny Smith is an intelligent and funny woman but this is just drivel. I have just finished reading "The Steep Approach to Garbadale" and I was looking forward to some light relief, but this was on the feather-light side. The characters have no development whatsoever, the story is very weak and could have been developed so much more, some stories were tied up too neatly at the end whilst the story of Keera was just left dangling. Obvious and unoriginal jokes throughout which became too much. The focus of the main story was on Katie but there were short little inserts from the characters of Mike and Keera throughout. I couldn't care less about Mike, but really wanted Keera to get her comeuppance and was very disappointed that the book seemed to just tail off into nothing. (I checked the back page to see if I'd missed anything!)

                Chick Lit wise, this is probably on par with most and I've certainly read much better. Penny's subject matter should have put her in good stead to write a really interesting book - I felt like she tried for a bit of Ben Elton type of humour on the TV front (working in TV myself, I can sympathise) but she didn't quite pull it off.
                Personally, this whole book was a waste of time, it felt like Penny had knocked up a quick book as soon as she could but got bored towards the end of the book and so wrote a quick ending. Saying that, even if there had been a better ending, it still wouldn't have improved the book in general. I wouldn't recommend this to anyone - a total disappointment from such a smart woman, I'd say don't give up your day job Penny!

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                  05.09.2008 10:10
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                  A poor debut novel - disappointing

                  I'm always on the prowl for the newest chick-lit offerings whenever I go into Waterstones or WH Smith, so when I saw that GMTV's newsreader Penny Smith had written her own novel I thought it was definitely going to be worth a read. The cover looked appealing, and soon enough my library had a new copy in so I took it home and started reading it straight away.

                  Katie Fisher is the anchorwoman for the breakfast show Wake Up Britain! and thinks she is rather good at her job. So it comes as a bit of a shock to Katie when she's suddenly sacked in favour of the younger and more attractive Keera. Katie flees to her parents to escape the paparazzi but realises she hasn't got a clue what she's going to do next. Can she rebuild her career, and is Katie ever going to find out what's Coming Up Next?

                  When I first read the plot synopsis, I was quite pleased because I thought that a book based around breakfast television by someone who worked in the industry was going to be great. I hoped that there would be lots of insight into that career and that it would be great to read. But because the main crux of the storyline is that Katie is sacked from her job, you don't actually get that much of a view into breakfast telly at all, which for me was so disappointing, I was hoping for so much more than Penny Smith gave us.

                  This was only my first problem with the book really. Another thing that I found was that despite the apparent plot line on the back of the book, I found that the book never really seemed to go anywhere at all. The storyline felt all too vague at times and just seemed to ramble on just to fill the pages, and it didn't flow very well at all. The whole book felt very disjointed, chopping and changing too quickly between characters, and I also felt that there were too many characters as well! I had to really concentrate to read this, and that is something I really don't like when I read chick-lit as I like it to be easy-going, something that I can relax with at the end of the day but this book felt like a chore!

                  The characters were okay, but nothing special at all. The main character of Katie was okay but I just myself disliking her as the book went on. She was very drippy, thought she was far cleverer than she actually was and just generally got on my nerves. Smith uses a lot of puns for Katie throughout the book, and I'm not a thick person at all, but I just didn't get half of them and I thought that was a bit silly. I spent a while puzzling over them to no avail and this really did wind me up as it made me feel stupid.

                  Other characters including the infuriatingly annoying Keera, Katie's replacement on the television show. Keera clearly thought that the sun shone out of her own backside but sadly I just hated every word that was written about her, and although she's meant to be Katie's enemy, she ended up mine as well. Mike was Katie's fellow presenter and there was this mysterious storyline going on with him throughout that was just superbly stupid, and when it got to the end I was like 'Well as if we didn't guess that right at the beginning'. Bob was Katie's love interest and possibly the only nice one in the book, even if he was a bit of a walkover. And finally was weather-girl Dee, who is sure she'll never find love but who I couldn't have cared less about really.

                  The way the book was written was okay, it was written in the third person which allowed for all the character viewpoints that Smith wanted to include, but again I was just left annoyed at this. I couldn't get into it at all, and lack of plot structure really started to get to me and I just couldn't work out where it was going. Even when it finally reached the end, I just thought 'Thank God' but sort of felt unsatisfied, that Smith had just rushed to a conclusion just to get it finished. I expected a lot more from the funny newsreader, instead I was left relieved it had finished, and a tad annoyed I'd wasted my time reading this. I definitely wouldn't recommend it, a poor novel which has no structure, poor characters and just got on my nerves.

                  ISBN: 978-0007268894. Published by HarperPerennial in July 2008. The paperback contains 256 pages and is available on Amazon for £3.00, but I really wouldn't waste your money...if you really want to read it, get it from the library for free!

                  Thank you for reading.

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