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This was the first book I''ve read from Dorothy Koomson, I was sold within the first few pages! The plot follows Amber Salpone as she develops a somewhat romantic relationship with best friend Greg Walterson. Greg Walterson, in my honest opinion is the ultimate victim of the ''friend zone'' syndrome. Swim through the plot and you''ll realise that Greg has been yearning for Amber for years. He has no trouble admitting that and will go lengths to prove it. Amber, on the other hand, has to come to terms with his newfound admiration for best friend Greg and sometimes has a hard time noticing the fact that she is falling deep, deep in love with him. The mixture of Amber, the commitment phobe and Greg, the guy who''s ready to go all in for Amber, the novel is truly an enjoyable read. I myself have read the novel 5 times over! Koomson ''styles'' Amber as essentially a good person at heart, albeit with problems when it comes to intimacy, commitment and trust. The novel is effectively a documentary of Amber''s struggle to come to terms with Greg''s admiration and love. Koomson pulls at our heart strings with passion, comedy and tears. The book brings you across the highs and lows of emotion, Amber''s reform to embrace love, supporting characters that bring much conflict and colour to the storyline. Bonus? Our two main characters engage in the cutest and hottest romantic scenes ever in this book. Call it a chick-lit, it makes me smile with each turn of the page.
After managing to (almost!) get through the pile of new books I have received over Christmas and my birthday, I finally found myself able to start on some of my "borrowed" books, that my younger sister seems to send up on a daily basis, this being one of them.
The book in question is "The chocolate run" by Dorothy Koomson.
Amber doesn't mean to keep sleeping with her best friend Greg, it just seems to happen, and with regularity too!
It's not too serious anyway, so why should they tell anyone else, I mean he's a male tart sleeping with anything that has a pulse, and she is a complete commitment-phobe!
She and Greg are part of a foursome of friends that have been "besties" since Jen and Matt (the other two in the group) got together, and even though Amber thought Greg was a slimy person upon first meeting him, she has soon become his replacement Matt, especially now since Matt and Jen have decided to move in together, much to Greg's disappointment, but for different reasons than Amber first assumed!
As Amber and Greg's affair starts to become a bit more serious and still secret, she finds that her best friend Jen is starting to slip away, to the degree that she now feels like a virtual stranger, though she has changed immeasurably, and when Jen starts losing weight it becomes apparent there might be more to it.
As Amber struggles to deal with everything that is happening she soon realises that chocolate isn't the answer to everything.........
This was a really fun and light read, though at times a little annoying, as I could see that the main characters were meant for each other, the same as I could see the so-called best friends especially Jen, was one of those destructive characters that only feels worth anything if she is the centre of attention, thus putting Amber down to gain the leverage.
I thought it was really clever how the author thought up the chocolate analogies, comparing certain people to bars of chocolate, thus determining there dependability and personalities in comparison, though out of the whole read this was the only really thoughtful part, as the book develops as you would expect it to, making it a nice chick lit read, but a no brainer!
The characters were really appealing, I really wanted Amber and Greg to get it together, and keep it together, and I disliked the other two of the group immensely, which I feel is what the author wanted.
The other support characters again were fantastically written, and I truly wanted them to succeed in what they wanted from life.
This book really didn't end any differently to what I was expecting, but I still found it an enjoyable read, recommended as a light filler book!
The RRP is £6.99, but is available for less via www.amazon.co.uk
Thanks for reading x
I should have known that I would run out of books to read on holiday - I'd taken five with me, but 1 day before we flew home I'd finished my very last one. Luckily, the hotel had a "library" of sorts where you can go and pick up/swap books that you have read whilst out there for something someone else had left. Unluckily, a lot of them were not in English or I'd either read them or had no interest in reading them.
Then I spotted this book by Dorothy Koomson. I've seen her ice-cream coloured books everywhere, and the latest of her books always seems to appear on ReadItSwapits most popular books category. Yet, I'd never been tempted. As it seemed to be a perfect holiday read - I decided to give it a try. I'm pleased to say, I was pleasantly surprised!
The story is about 30 year old commitment phobic Amber Salpone who finds herself in bed with her male best friend Greg. Amber is not only terrified she is going to ruin her relationship with the usually womanising Greg, but also that of her best friend Jen and her boyfriend, Matt (who is also Greg's best friend...did you follow that?!)
Whilst Amber and Greg take things slow and work out what's going on between them (by keeping their new relationship secret) it seems that Amber and Jen's relationship is on the slide. What is going on? This book has revelations galore...
From the off I just loved Amber who came across as a "real" woman that most readers will wish they could be like - and if they don't that probably means they can identify with her already. Aside from being a chocolate lover she does not worry about the fat content of her chocolate runs, enjoying her food and not understanding why women order halves of lager in the pub when it clearly makes sense to order a pint. On top of that, she is fun loving and extremely straight talking. Often covering her insecurities with jokes and sarcasm, I could see several of my friends in the way in which she deals with male advances, and often hides from her feelings instead of confronting them. In short, she was extremely endearing throughout the book, a woman with a big heart who didn't realise what a "catch" she actually is. Like most of my friends, I loved her, but she infuriated me with the way in which she dealt with things and especially her relationship with Jen.
The story is told from Ambers point of view, but Greg is a great secondary character. Amber has a brilliant way of describing friends, family and colleagues in terms of chocolate and this is a great way of introducing those people to the reader and the story, instantly giving them a summary that is easy to understand. Greg is one of those people, and despite the stories Amber tells of his womanising past (where she has had to rescue him from irate husbands and boyfriends, stalkers etc) the author makes Greg adorable and charming enough to still be likable. As the story progresses, he becomes just as likeable as Amber making them a great duo to read about.
What I really loved about this story was that there were some secrets between the group of friends (Amber, Greg, Matt and Jen) that were left buried. Poor Amber seemed to not know anything but these revelations were interesting and often surprising giving the story a good twist a story that could easily go the same way as most chick lit. Although as a reader I was aware that there was something else going on between this foursome I couldn't quite put my finger on what it was, and so discovering it was an added extra to an already superb story, and is a credit to Koomson as a storyteller.
I have just two criticisms of the book. First would be the overuse of chocolate in the story. At times it almost felt like Koomson had decided on the title of the book before thinking about the characters and then realised it didn't really work and so shoved in as much chocolate references as she could. As fun as it is to read about certain characters being described as chocolate bars, sometimes this would run on and on and it became too tiresome.
Secondly, it took me a while to get used to the way in which Koomson tells a story. Amber would often start telling the story in the present day and then a sentence or thought would trigger a memory of somebody and then the reader is transported back to the past to describe what happened. I found this very disconcerting as quite often, after this memory is explained, we are right back where we started and I've completely forgotten what the original present was about! I did get used to it, but I think that these jumps in times could be better introduced, maybe by separate chapters or by shortening what she wants us to find out.
Overall I am thoroughly impressed by this book. This sort of story/genre is not something I would actively seek out as I tend to find them a tad boring and repetitive, but if I saw another of her books, I would seriously consider reading again.
I've read all of Dorothy Koomson's books now, having finally got round to reading "The Chocolate Run". She's one of those authors that I didn't expect to like, initially imagining her writing would be fluffy and "chick lit" . But after finally succumbing to the hype that surrounded "Marshmallows for Breakfast", I've discovered a writer who largely creates realistic and down-to-earth stories that I find myself caught up in. I would say that "The Chocolate Run" is definitely not my favourite Dorothy Koomson novel (but definitelynot the worst), however I still found I largely enjoyed the story and always wanted to know what was going to happen next.
The story is told in first person by Amber Salphone, a thirty year old commitment phobe who has "accidentally" found herself in bed with her close friend Greg. However Amber and Greg have been friends for years, ever since their best friends, Jen and Matt, became an item, so Amber knows just what sort of a person Greg is. He is a serial womanizer, who Amber has had to rescue from various scrapes and situations over the years. However Amber now finds herself falling for him. But can she really trust him? And will she ever get over her commitment issues and give their relationship a real chance?
On face value it sounds like a naff love story. But it's so much more than that. Amber's commitment issues stem from her parent's troubled marriage, so we learn a lot about her childhood and exactly why she shies away from commitment. We also learn, over time, why Greg has been sleeping around for so long, and why he finally decides to take a chance with Amber. And as the pair of them grow close, Amber finds her relationship with Jen becoming more and more distant, and not just because Amber and Greg have chosen to keep their relationship a secret. The story eventually reaches a climax in which a lot of truths about Jen, Matt and Greg are revealed, leaving Amber horrified, and wondering just how well she really knows anyone.
Amber is a likeable and realistic character, well rounded with a believable background and with flaws that many women will identify with. The writer's chatty narrative makes it feel as if you're talking with a friend rather than reading a stranger's story. In particular, her biggest weakness is chocolate, hence the title of the book! Not only does she love chocolate but she describes people in terms of a chocolate she thinks they resemble, which gives surprisingly vivid pictures of the character in the book. Greg, for all this faults was likeable too but both him and Amber were frustrating at times as the issues from their past clearly get to them and lead to a lot of misunderstandings. And right up until the last moment I was left wondering whether they would remain together - and I know from reading Ms Koomson's other books, that a happy ending is in no way guaranteed!
Jen and Matt are in no way near as likeable as Amber and Greg, and at times I did wonder why Amber bothered with Jen. But they are important tools in the story as they play a big part in shaping Amber and Greg's relationship. Amber's work colleagues and some of her family also appear in the book, which adds a depth to Amber's story and a bit of light relief at times, as the book does deal with some heavy issues.
This is an interesting read that will keep you guessing. I did find the start a bit slow but I warmed to Amber after a couple of chapters and really wanted to know how things would work out. This book covers a lot of themes - love, friendship, family, how the past affects us, and it makes us question just how much we really know about anyone. It is well written with interesting characters, although one of my few criticisms would be that everyone is really attractive, something which crops up in a lot of Ms Koomson's books! This isn't her best book as I feel she has improved over time, as is often the case, but its still well worth a read.
If you enjoy girlie books & chocolate then you must read this!! I read this by the pool on holiday this year within 1 day! I just couldn't put it down; very amusing (I laughed out loud a couple of times & got some funny looks! Lol!) & so easy to read.
This is only the 2nd Dorothy Koomson book I've read, the other being 'My Best Friends Girl' - I have 'Marshmellows For Breakfast' so I'll let you know my thoughts when I've read it. I plan to work my way through all the Koomson books..
I have the paperback version which is 327 pages - pink background & a picture of a big piece of choc cake (yum!) & some running shoes on the cover. Pretty covers always catch my eye!! :)
The book follows the lives of Amber, Jen, Greg & Matt.
Amber & Jen have been friends for years, likewise for Greg & Matt. Jen & Matt start dating which is how Amber & Greg are introduced. Amber isnt keen on Greg at the start but they soon become good friends - later friendship involving Amber rescuing Greg from some very daft situations which will make you giggle!
It became clear Greg had feelings for Amber however due to Gregs reputation & the fact Amber hadn't thought about Greg in that way before Amber was very weary. They decide to give a relationship a go but keeping it from Jen & Matt for a while.
This book follows the highs & lows for Amber, Jen, Greg & Matt with a couple of shocks thrown in for good measure.
I love the numbered comments at the bottom of each page (very amusing) & the reference to chocolate through-out is great. :)
Give this book a go! :)
Dorothy Koomson's 'The Chocolate Run' despite being 417 pages long is a light and girly read. This is certainly not a bad thing. One of my guilty pleasures of reading 'Chick Lit' is that I find it disarming, relaxing and settling. I am able to settle down with some indulgent snack and wrap up on a cold winters night with the kind of story that I find comforting- Hot water bottle springs to mind with I think about this story.
Koomson's female protagonist is Amber Salpone. She is engaged in a cycle of soulless sex with her best friend Greg Walterson. But is it really soulless? Amber is convinced that it is because of Greg's habitual promiscuity and fear of commitment, but as the two spend more time together interlocked in a secret affair they are forced to reassess just what it is that they are doing.
I usually enjoy partaking in deep literary fictional prose but shamelessly indulge in 'Chick Lit' also as I find it uplifting and evocative of a particular 'feel good factor' which sets me at ease after a stressful day in the real world. 'The chocolate run' definitely hits the spot in this regard and the backdrop and world of Amber Salpone that Koomson has created is definitely representative of a light hearted existence where problems do arise but instantaneously are almost always resolvable in the end. Stepping into Amber's world was enjoyable. I am jealous of her job at the West Yorkshire International Film Festival which entails numerous perks! But that is where my jealousy ends.
I don't find the character of her best friend Jen to be that likeable and similarly question why she wastes her time on a womaniser like Greg, Particularly when she has the opportunity to date a more than eligible and compatible man.
Overall I enjoyed this insight into Amber's world, the backdrop of Leeds and the way it is represented in this book which is rather quaint opposed to the rowdy city it is represented as in the media. I would however have liked Amber to put her foot down a lot firmer and have had a no nonsense attitude, put herself first when others didn't and be more embracing of new opportunities when they presented themselves and be the strong woman that she had the potential to be.
I enjoyed this book but I must say not quite as good as the other two books of Dorothy Koomson I have read, although it is a good read I felt it took awhile to get going. But I did enjoy reading it, loving how she compares people to chocolate.
I was bought this book for my birthday from my friend who knows how much I love to read, I have a huge bookcase full of unread and some previously read chick lit books. As I am alone all night most nights, I find comfort in picking up a good book and having a read for an hour or two before going to sleep as I find it helps me to switch off.
This book was sat on my bookshelf for months, well since February when it was given to me...! I always skipped past it when choosing my next read as I don't know why, but I thought it was going to be an American book, I have no idea why I thought this...not a clue, but I did. And the blurb on the back of the book didn't read too well, it sounded like all the books I have read before, and I wasn't all that excited to read it. But I had taken it upstairs to bed with me and popped it in my drawer ready for the next one to pick up, thinking I had to read it at some point whether it was now or when the rest of them had run out, and I read my books in order of the ones I think I'll least enjoy up to the ones I am looking forward to, I do this for no known reason...I think I just like to keep the best 'til last.
So The Chocolate Run came to bed, I was thinking the book was going to be one of those books where chocolate was the main aspect of the protagonists life, that she would be one of the people who hated those who didn't like chocolate blah blah blah, and I must say that I was pleasantly surprised when I picked up the book and finally read the first chapter.
Amber lives in Leeds, her best friend Jen also lives there along with her boyfriend Matt and his best friend Greg. They have all been friends for three years since Jen and Matt got together. Matt and Greg were best friends since college, as were Jen and Amber, and so they have a very close connection. Greg is a womaniser, who at first Amber cannot stand, she hated his guts when she first met him and thought he was a, and I quote, "tosser", and didn't want anything to do with him. But after three years of been forced to see each other, he became her best friend, he often stopped over in her spare room, they went out to watch films and eat. But one day things go terribly wrong when Amber ends up in bed with Greg. This is where the book begins.
Amber is a commitmentphobe, she has never had a serious relationship, apart from Sean, who she got very close with, which ended very suddenly 18 months previous, since then she has been celibate, she didn't want to think about let alone have sex. Her work colleagues hate Greg for his antics (which you will read about!) and think Amber is stupid to get him out of his ahem pardon the pun, sticky situations.
But now she is at the receiving end of one of the sticky situations, and with Greg telling her he is falling for her, she doesn't know what to think, he has had a string of short relationships, he even carries his own little black book around in his pocket and has 80 booty call numbers stored on his mobile phone! But Amber gives him a go, for 6 months, she will be the owner of his little black book, and his booty call girls, after they have lasted 6 months, she can burn the book and the numbers and they can tell people about "them", if he cheats on her before that or if they don't last, well she'll burn his book anyway, but he's not to know that!!!!
Amber is actually quite a believable character, she reminds me of me in some ways, she is apprehensive to be with someone as she knows what his past has been like, she knows Greg too much to be able to fully trust him. She is a very funny character making jokes when she gets into tricky situations, and normally offending someone along the way! She's smart, unlike many of the female protagonists you find in chick lits, she actually has a bit of sense about her, she knows that what she has with Greg could go very very wrong and she is wary of that at all times.
Greg is a typical single man, he is sexy, attractive, a charmer everything a womaniser needs to be, I have known a few Greg's in my time, I have had friends who thought they could "change" a Greg like character. He sleeps around, he's shallow, he's after one thing, but he really does have feelings for Amber. But he annoys me- he thinks just because he wants her he can have her, no matter what she wants, he usually gets his own way and he is used to it by now, so he expects he'll get Amber too. But as he says, Old habits are hard to shake...!
Jen&Matt are a loved up little couple, or Jen is. When they decide to move in together, I got the impression Matt wasn't at all into it, he would rather stay in the bachelor pad he shared with Greg. But it's a cheap 30th birthday present for Jen, so he gives it her. Jen annoys the hell out of me!!!!! Before she and Matt moved in together, she and Amber set aside a day every week where they would get together at each others houses, cook, drink and gossip, this had been the arrangement since college. But when Matt moves in, she changes, no longer will she wear he combats and trainers, oh no, it's Prada shoes and short skirts now. She cancels on Amber at every opportunity, and Amber knows their close knit friendship is slipping away. Just like the rest of the characters in the book, I have also known a Jen. She dumps her friends once she is in a relationship, she stops calling stops doing anything with her friends who she has known most of her life, just to spend every waking hour with her boyfriend. But they don't realise, if they leave, if they go, the friends are the ones who support you through this, the friends are the ones who hold you up, get you back on your feet, get you through the hard times...even if it's only temporary. Oh yes, I have known a lot of Jens...!!!!
Well as I said before I was apprehensive about picking this book up, the blurb sounded boring, the story sounded predictable, and it didn't feel like a book I would enjoy. But I was proven very wrong.
The Chocolate Run has definitely been one of my favourite books this year which I have read, the characters I can relate to, which is always something of a plus in a book.
The story for me right from the first page was gripping, it had me hooked from the word go. It was nice and easy to read making it perfect bedtime reading as it allowed me to switch off easily. I like books which are eary to read, but not predictable, I like to think I know what's going to happen, then it all gets twisted up and churned around. I like a shock!!! And this book definitely gives me what I want. If you like your girly books, by authors like Jill Mansell, Marien Keyes, Belinda Jones, Caroline Matthews, you'll love this book. I am definitely thinking of buying her other books! :)
The Chocolate Run is the third book I have read by Dorothy Koomson following My Best Friend's Girl and Marshmallows for Breakfast. This book is an earlier offering and I have to admit that at first I did not think I was going to enjoy it so much - it was a bit of a slow starter for me but by about half way through I was really hooked! It's a book that's well worth sticking with!
The book is told by the main character Amber Salpone. She is a thirty something with real commitment problems mainly due to a troubled upbringing which saw her witness the disintegration of her parent's own marriage. No relationship has lasted with Amber - that is until she gets together with Greg although this relationship is not without its complications. Greg and Amber have been great mates for years mainly due to the fact that their best friends Matt and Jen are seeing each other. They have generally made up a foursome but it has taken them a while to realise the attraction they feel for each other.
This book is all about the development of their relationship which has both ups and downs. Amber probably knows too much about Greg particularly the fact that she knows he is a serial womaniser (and that's putting it politely!). I really enjoyed seeing how things developed although at times it was a frustrating read as often I just wanted to shake the two main characters and make them communicate better with each other!
Having said that though I really loved the characters of both Amber and Greg. They really were immensely likeable, much more so than their two friends who had brought them together - Matt and Jen were both very flawed characters.
Amber is the sort of character who most women can probably identify with in one way or another - I've already said that she has relationship problems but she also struggles with her confidence in general and has particular issues with her weight. She can easily be hurt, often by her tactless friend Jen, and when in crisis turns to chocolate! Oh yes - Amber is a serious chocoholic - even down to smelling the wrappers - and is often seen to be off on a 'chocolate run' - hence the title! She also views everyone she knows in terms of the chocolates they most resemble. It's often amusing to see her thought process and also makes you wonder, as you are reading, what sort of chocolate you might be!
Greg could probably be described as a likeable rogue. He has a bit of a 'love 'em and leave 'em' reputation which is a bit unfairly earned. As he grows closer to Amber and opens up to her, it soon becomes apparent that there are reasons why he is like he is and all he needs is the love of a good woman in order to change!
This is the sort of story where nothing much happens in terms of action but everything happens in terms of emotions. The characters seem to suffer almost every emotion under the sun and you really are willing them to get it together and make it work! However there are lots of hurdles to overcome and also one or two nasty revelations to come to terms with. The question is whether they can overcome these in order to feel confident and trust each other. The author keeps you wondering to the very end as to whether they can make it and there are no automatic guarantees of happy endings! I'm definitely not going to tell you either!
The story is told by Amber and written in the first person. I really enjoy this type of storytelling as it enables the reader to get inside the main character's head and to really understand why they do the things they do. By the time I had finished reading I really felt that I had gone through the last few months of Amber's life with her and at times it was quite an emotional read.
The story is quite thought provoking particularly in it's examination of different types of relationships. However it does also have its lighter and more humourous moments particularly when Amber is with her two quite extreme work colleagues working on the West Yorkshire Film Festival. There were times in the book when I actually found myself laughing out loud!
All in all this is well written and very enjoyable book. As I read it I was amused, I was moved and I was always entertained! It's definitely a book I would recommend if you enjoy reading about people and their relationships.
The book is published by Sphere and has about 420 pages. I have the paperback version which is available on Amazon for £4.42.
The Chocolate Run is the 2nd novel by Dorothy Koomson. She is best known for her novel 'My Best Friends Girl' which was listed in the Richard & Judy Summer Reading selection. The book I am reviewing was re released in February 2008 on the back of her success. I have previously read, enjoyed and reviewed 'My Best Friends Girl' which led me to read 'The Chocolate Run'.
My expectations for this book were lower, primarily because it had been released prior to 'My Best Friends Girl' and had not been as successful. Although this book lacked the emotion and deep drama of the other novel I did still find it an enjoyable read.
~ ~The Story~ ~
Amber Salpone likes to eat chocolate and so I identified with her character immediately. She also likes to categorise the people in her life as types of chocolate. Although chocolate and various references to the chocolate run are made throughout the book this is secondary to the main story. It does however provide a theme which runs right through the book.
Amber works for a film festival company in Leeds and lives alone. Her best friend is Jen. Jen goes out with Matt whom Amber dislikes but endures for the sake of her best friend. Matt's best friend is Greg. The four of them spend a lot of their time together and Amber develops a friendship with Greg. When the friendship inevitably becomes more they decide to keep it under wraps initially. The story then centres around their growing relationship, the problems they encounter and its effect on their other relationships. When eventually it becomes public it is not the only secret to be revealed. The friends find out that they actually knew very little about each other.
~ ~The Characters~ ~
As I stated earlier I identified with Ambers character immediately. However this ran much deeper than her love of chocolate. Amber is a very complicated character who finds it hard to commit and struggles with her relationships after suffering the aftermath of her parents bad marriage and separation.
Greg is a playboy and has had a string of short relationships and so Amber is very unsure of his commitment to their relationship. I liked him as a person and wanted him to be everything that she wanted and for the relationship to work out.
Jen & Matt were pretty central to the story but I didn't warm to them in any way. This made it easier to dislike them towards the end of the book when the secrets were revealed.
Ambers work colleagues as well as members of her family also feature quite heavily in the book and I liked them all, each with their own well constructed character traits.
~ ~My Opinion~ ~
This was not in the same league as 'My Best Friends Girl'. However I enjoyed this book for different reasons. It is clear it is written by the same author as the writing style is similar but this book has more humour. Although I was not gripped to every page and itching to find the time to read it continually, it was still enjoyable and at no point did I find it boring or lacking in interest. It is basically a story about relationships and how they effect you emotionally. At the end of the book is a dictionary type definition of 'The Chocolate Run' which tied together a lot of the elements of the story and finished it off perfectly.
I would definitely recommend the book and will be continuing to look out for the authors other titles.
ISBN : 978-0-7515-3968-4
Published by Sphere
Available to buy on Amazon from as little as £1.47
Amber Salpone thinks in chocolate - talk to her for three minutes and she'll tell you what kind of chocolate you'd be. In fact, most days, if she was asked to choose between chocolate and relationships, there'd be no contest. At least chocolate has never let her down. Unlike her family. Growing up in the Salpone household has taught Amber to avoid conflict - and love - at all costs. So, when she does the unthinkable and has a one-night stand with womaniser Greg Walterson, her uncomplicated, chocolate-flavoured life goes into meltdown. Especially when Greg announces she's the love of his life - and Amber finds it hard enough to decide if she wants plain or Fruit & Nut ...Meanwhile, her best friend, Jen, seems to be launching a bid to become Bitch Of The Year and Amber's family are making unreasonable demands. Amber has two choices: to deal with her past and the people around her, or to go on a chocolate run and keep on running ...