8 December 2014

Book Review: From Notting Hill With Four Weddings... Actually by Ali McNamara

"Movie addict Scarlett O'Brien is finally living the jet-setting life she's dreamed of, but it all hangs by a shiny, golden thread. Flying between London and New York, running two businesses, and planning her wedding to handsome fiance Sean along with her best friends Oscar and Maddie--life couldn't be better. Then Scarlett meets paparazzi darling Gabriella Romero, and life suddenly becomes even more extravagant and glamourous. But as she begins to experience the other side of being rich and famous, it's not only Scarlett's perfect wedding that's put in jeopardy, but her whole world."

Rating: 3/5

You can buy From Notting Hill With Four Weddings... Actually as a paperback or an eBook now.

This is the third book in Ali McNamara's 'Scarlett O'Brien' series, one that has been going for a few years now. I loved the first book, and while I enjoyed the second, it wasn't quite a fun as the first which was a shame. I wasn't sure whether there would be a third book but there is, and it's called From Notting Hill With Four Weddings... Actually, again a play on the movie titles that the main character loves so much. The cover for this book is stunning, really pretty, and I was looking forward to reading more about Scarlett and her fiancé Sean again and see what they were up to this time around.

Scarlett is living the dream... jetting between London and New York to help run her successful businesses, she thought it would be everything she ever wanted. But Scarlett is finding it tiring running 2 businesses on her own, and is missing having her fiancé Sean around all the time too. She also has a wedding to plan in the meantime, and wonders where she's going to fit that into her schedule. When her American business puts her in touch with celebrity Gabriella, Scarlett thinks it's all finally coming together for her. But as life gets more and more hectic, things start to go wrong for Scarlett, but she isn't sure why. Can she figure out what's going on and save her wedding amongst other things before it all comes crumbling down around her?

As you can see, there's quite a few different things going on in the book and it took  me a while to settle into it. The book begins by reintroducing us to Scarlett and her various business ventures, as well as her fiancé Sean. However, what immediately felt different to me was the character of Scarlett. She felt incredibly different from the Scarlett we met in the first book, and even different from the second one too. Perhaps she is struggling with her many commitments, but it all felt a bit far-fetched in parts, that she went from nothing in the first book to suddenly being an international business success, so much so that she needs to frequently hop on planes and jet across the world several times a month. Also, I felt her love of films, which is what made her so fabulous in the first book, wasn't here so much in this book which was a shame. 

The other characters were great, in particular her best friend Oscar. He's hilarious and certainly made me smile with every scene that he was in. The introduction of celebrity Gabriella was interesting for the book, and I enjoyed her storyline, it was a good separate plot line for the book, and I probably enjoyed this part most out of the rest of the book. The other new character in the book was Alex, an old friend from Sean's past, but I could where this storyline was going from a mile off. It felt a bit unnecessary to have him in there really, it was a distraction from the main plotlines, and I felt he was a bit too evil to be believable which was a shame. The final nail in the coffin for this book for me was the constant name-dropping of celebrities. There were far too many in this book to be believable in any way, and I was cringing as I read it, they just felt silly and unnecessary. Realistically, Scarlett is a nobody but all these celebs suddenly wanted to be part of her life? No, sorry but I wasn't falling for it, and it really irritated me. 

I will say that I did enjoy reading this book, it was nice catching up with characters that I know well and finding out what they are up to now, but it just seemed a bit disjointed and OTT for me in parts. I really, quite deeply disliked the inclusion of the celebrities which just made me cringe, and the storyline with Alex, but other than that I enjoyed what I had read. I loved the setting of New York, always one of my favourite places to read in a book as it evokes such wonderful memories for me, and the story with Scarlett and Gabriella was fun to read, and definitely the best thing about the book for me. I am not sure I would want to read a fourth installment in this series, it's a good ending to it all in this book for me. Well written, enjoyable and light-hearted, but a few niggles for me that let it down.

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