Saturday, 14 January 2017

Book Review - Seven Steps to Happiness by Stella Newman - Back Catalogue Books

Back Catalogue Books is my new regular Saturday feature, focusing on books that are not the latest releases. There is going to be a mix of Q&As and also reviews, depending on what I have the space for. 

If you are an author wanting to take part in Back Catalogue Books then please do email on gilbster at gmail dot com and I'll whizz the questions over to you. 

I hope everyone enjoys this weekly look back at some of the slightly older books that are about but still great, and that I eventually make a dent in my TBRs as a result of it!

I've included Seven Steps to Happiness by Stella Newman on this feature, as since it was released there has been a new short story released by the author.

Amazon UK
Title: Seven Steps to Happiness
Author: Stella Newman
Format reviewed: Paperback
Source: Bookbridgr
Publisher: Headline
Publication Date: 20th October 2016
Rating: 3.5 Stars

Is there a formula for happiness?

If it's Netflix, two-for-one Malbec and the perfect toasted-cheese sandwich, Lenny has it covered. But when her friend Juliet finds herself at rock bottom, Lenny realises it's going to take more than that to fix her.

Luckily help is at hand in the form of HappyGuru: a plan which promises happiness in seven easy steps. So when Lenny is asked to research it, she puts scepticism aside and persuades Juliet they should give it a go.

The friends quickly find themselves immersed in mindfulness, juice cleanses and death-defying circus stunts. Yet as Juliet becomes increasingly buoyant, things only get more complicated for Lenny.

Can it be that happiness is only seven steps away?

Well I found the second half of the book very readable and enjoyable, and the last perhaps 100 pages to be even better, however it took me the entire first half to get properly into the story, and I just found it to be a very slow starter and hard to get into. 

My problem with the beginning and with a fair amount of the early story, was I didn't like Lenny at all, I can't necessarily put my finger on what I disliked about her character, but she took forever to grow on me. However I did quiet early on enjoy reading about Juliet, her best friend, who is having a really up and down journey in this book. 

I may just be skeptical, but I found that the suggestions proposed by the HappyGuru app, that Lenny was testing, were mainly common sense, and not all that innovative in the search for happiness. I did enjoy Lenny and Juliet trying them out though, and the trapeze class was brilliant.  

I did quite enjoy seeing how the pair's fortunes changed after attempting to use an app that promised an increase in personal happiness after following a 7 step programme. Juliet has a very positive experience as a result of it, whereas Lenny's "reward" at work for the testing of the app, was not what she was hoping or expecting. 

I loved Juliet I think because she is a fabulous cook, and lot of her chapters involved delicious sounding food descriptions, that really enticed me. I thought this in a previous book by Stella Newman, but she really can write brilliantly about food, and I felt transported to some of the kitchens. 

Seven Steps to Happiness is a good book, it's just in places it didn't feel like the right book for me at the time I was reading it. The writing on the whole is good, and there definitely are some memorable bits, and the trip to Amsterdam was a classic, but equally I'm never too keen on books that feel like they take a long time to get going. 

Thank you to Bookbridgr for this copy of the book which I have reviewed honestly and voluntarily. 

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