Friday, 13 November 2015

Book Review - How To Stuff Up Christmas by Rosie Blake

Amazon UK
Title: How To Stuff Up Christmas
Author: Rosie Blake
Format reviewed: Paperback
Source: Publisher supplied review copy
Publisher: Corvus Books
Publication Date: 5th November 2015
Rating: 4 Stars

'Tis the season to be jolly. Unless you've found an intimate picture of another woman on your fiance's phone... 

Eve is heartbroken after discovering her fiance is cheating on her. Being surrounded by the joys of Christmas is more than Eve can bear, so she chooses to avoid the festivities by spending Christmas alone on a houseboat in Pangbourne. Eve gets gets an unexpected seasonal surprise when handsome local vet Greg comes to her rescue one day, and continues to visit Eve's boat on a mission to transform her from Kitchen Disaster Zone to Culinary Queen. 

But where does Greg keep disappearing to? What does Eve's best friend Daisy know that she isn't telling? And why is there an angry goose stalking Eve's boat? 

A hilarious and heart-warming novel about Christmas, catastrophes and cooking, containing exclusive Christmas recipes, from the talented Rosie Blake.

Enjoyable story, based around Eve who is heartbroken, and can't face another family Christmas. Especially as after last Christmas, her boyfriend had proposed to her, and she just doesn't want to deal with the memories while they are still raw. 

Having always been quite artistic, she decides the best thing for her to do is to get away for December, to avoid Christmas this year, so she enrols onto a month long pottery course in the little town of Pangbourne. And then as finding affordable accommodation, that accepts dogs (Marmite), she rents a houseboat for the month.

Local vet Greg just happens to pass the boat a few times, when things have gone a bit out of control for Eve, catching her in hilarious situations, and slowly a friendship grows between them, and he teaches her how to follow a recipe and cook. Based on having seen what a disaster Eve is in the kitchen, I was very happy Greg was helping Eve out. 

However its clear that Greg was hiding something, and although we occasionally got a chapter from his point of view, it takes a while for it to be revealed, and not what I was thinking.  I couldn't decide if I liked the Greg chapters, as often it was showing the exact incident we have just seen but from his point of view, which felt slightly repetitive but it did give a bit of insight into his thoughts, so was helpful. 

At the starts of some chapters there are recipes. Some of them are incredibly simple, such us for Pot Noodle, which made me laugh and also showed just how unaware of cooking Eve really is, to much more complicated recipes towards the end, as she grows in confidence. However my favourite recipe and one that is at the level of what I feel comfortable, is for Chocolate Biscuit Cake, and still hours after reading that bit of the book left me really wanting some!

There is an entertaining relationship between Marmite the dog, and the goose the often stalks the pathway by the houseboat. Neither being really friendly towards each other. I don't really recall a goose featuring that much in a book before but this one is very comical, and if Dickens is to be believed a seasonal animal. 

With lots of funny bits, as well as a good storyline, How To Stuff Up Christmas is a great Christmas book, without making you feel Christmassy. It feels far more like a book that just happened to be set in December, more than your marginally more typical festive read. However it is still a really enjoyable book, and one I was very happy to read. 

Thank you to Corvus Books for this review copy. This was my honest review. 

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