Sunday 19 July 2015

Reviewed: Mistletoe Mansion by Samantha Tonge.

Mistletoe Mansion was published by Carina on November 10, 2014.

Thanks to Carina for auto-approving me for this title on Netgalley.

Mistletoe Mansion is a hard book for me to review because there were certain aspects I did like and Samantha’s style of writing was bubbly and stood out amongst a whole crop of other chick-lit reads. But mostly, everything I enjoyed was overruled by things that I found annoying which sadly increased the longer this book went on. I wasn’t expecting to have as many issues with the story as I did and I don’t want to be one of those people who look to be criticising for the sake of criticising but really, me and this book did not get along. Mistletoe Mansion introduces us to Kimmy; cupcake baker, celebrity idoliser, head in the clouds Kimmy. When Adam, Kimmy’s boyfriend, shows a distinct lack of respect towards Kimmy and her ambitions, enough is enough and they split up. As both Kimmy and her best friend Jess find themselves in need of a home, stumbling across Mistletoe Mansion is a nice twist of fate for them as it’s looking for a house sitter and with a bit of luck, would provide them with a temporary home and the chance to start rebuilding their lives. This book, to me, felt messy right from the start. It felt like quite a chaotic opening and I was just waiting for that moment where I could settle into the read but that moment never really came.

Kimmy was a very excitable, over-the-top character. She loves celebrities and the gossip that comes with them. She’s always thinking of her next Facebook status and how her life would be portrayed in the press if she was famous herself. I found some of her thoughts to be funny but at the same time, struggled to connect with her character. She seemed to see celebrities as something mighty and much bigger and more important than everything else. I just didn’t get that. Kimmy was a loyal and caring friend, always looking out for the people that mattered to her and she was happy to share her opinions and advice which I liked. What I didn’t understand was how she failed to use any common sense in her own life. I do know that most people are much better at handing out advice than taking it themselves but seriously, how was Adam still a part of this book towards the end? Kimmy should have ditched him within about two minutes of this book starting. He was rude and condescending – looking down on her because of her dreams and ambitions. There was only so much of Kimmy seeing the best in him that I could cope with. Plus, she still had his photo up on display and that just annoyed me! Why couldn’t she see how he wasn’t even worth her time? I rolled my eyes every time the name Adam was mentioned. Every single time.

To be fair to Kimmy, though, I didn’t feel like she had the greatest choice in love interest. Luke, the other guy on her radar, did not exactly win me over the way I felt he was meant to. He went hot and cold so many times it just bored me. Sure, Adam was meant to be the boring one but at least you knew to expect him to be an arse. Luke was so changeable. Actually, my favourite relationship explored in this book was between Kimmy and Melissa, who was famous for being a golf WAG and looked urgently in need of bringing down to earth if you ask me. I thought the growing friendship between Kimmy and Melissa was beneficial for both and it really brought out their better sides. The development of Melissa’s character was done really well I felt and it wasn’t so over-done to be laughable, neither was it made to be to perfect. Instead we get a more realistic edge to Melissa’s development as a person and her fall was what I hoped would be a good lesson to Kimmy – being famous is not all it’s cracked up to be.

There are lots of different elements to this book, to varying degrees of success. Kimmy has set up her own cupcake business and Samantha’s foodie descriptions are a little taste of heaven. Each time the cupcakes were mentioned I wanted to dive straight into this book and eat every last one of them. Instead of being the typical straight-forward chick lit novel, there’s also a more ghostly element to this book. Kimmy is sure she’s experiencing some pretty weird happenings at Mistletoe Mansion. There are some spooky little aspects to life there but this didn’t really work for me either. It all seemed a bit clumsy and a bit all over the place. There’s something a little spooky and then there’s something so ridiculously unbelievable, I found myself skim-reading the more supernatural parts at times. Mistletoe Mansion was only set over a couple of weeks yet Samantha did manage to pack loads of content into this story. Though it was fast-paced, it also felt like the book was set over a much longer period of time because so much was happening. Generally, this was a funny story and a book with so many mentions of cupcakes you could put on a stone just by glancing in its direction – but it wasn’t for me.

A pretty irritating storyline not even saved by all the mouth-watering cupcake descriptions

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