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Be Careful What You Wish for - Alexandra Potter

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Author: Alexandra Potter / Genre: Fiction

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    6 Reviews
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      12.04.2011 21:16
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      A good read but nothing to put on a wish list.

      Do wishes really come true? They seem to for thirty year old wedding photographer Heather Hamilton. Slightly bored of a mundane life and struggling financially Heather decides to magic some changes in her life to spice things up. After being persuaded to buy a posey of heather from a gypsy lady, Heather (yes, how original) is warned to make sure she is careful what she wishes for. Yet, being the wishful thinker she is, she has her list planned out - lose 5 pounds, manage to get a seat on the tube, be able to park in a space outside her house, eat maltesers without putting them on her hips, meet mr perfect... Yet with stunner Gabe responding to her advert for a flatmate, her clothes starting to become loose, meeting the breathtakingly perfect neighbour James and a whole succession of other uncanny occurances, things seem to be looking up in the Hamilton household. Yet is the old chestnut 'your wish is my command' really the key to happiness? Is having all of your wildest dreams come true really the answer in life? Read on to find out if this book is all you ever wished for.

      I am a fan of Alexandra Potter's works having read several over the last couple of years. I enjoy the ease with which her words flow, her quirky take on her characters, her ability to relate scenarios to every day life and relate to the reader as a person who 'know's what life is really like'. When I found 'Be Careful What You Wish For' for only £2.99 in a gift shop, I had to buy it, however part of me wishes I hadn't. Don't get me wrong, the book is good. But that is about it. Fairly like most of Alexandra's other writing it is a clichéd romance with a fairly similar plot to the other books - desperate for a relationship career girl, ex boyfriend shows up, new guy in town, love triangle and, oh no, happily ever after ending having learnt a thing or two about life and men on the way. It really isn't something to shout about or add to a wish list.

      The book comes in paperback in 2 sizes, one being a more compact size which slips easily into a handbag. The 368 pages of girly goo are easy to read - I read it in a few hours. The chapters are very short so it is very good to read if you are on the go, however be careful you don't read the sad scene whilst on the tube as you may need a tissue!

      Overall, a good read with a few good twists and a fairly good message. Ideal to spend a few carefree days with on the beach if you have nothing better!

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      01.08.2010 16:27
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      An OK book to pass a few hours

      Heather goes through life constantly making wishes. Not 'I wish for world peace' type wishes, more 'I wish I could lose 5lbs' or 'I wish my new shoes didn't give me blisters' sort of wishes.

      Heather works as an assistant wedding photographer, but the business run by her colleague Brian is suffering. Worrying about losing her job is the last thing that she needs as she is already struggling to pay the bills after her ex-boyfriend left her for another woman and she's found herself paying the mortgage alone.

      One day as Heather makes her way home in the rain, she is cornered by a mysterious gypsy woman selling lucky heather. Her attempts to get away from the woman don't work, so reluctantly she parts with £2 just to get rid of her. As the woman hands the heather over, she tells her that it will make all of her wishes come true.

      Once home Heather forgets all about the gypsy - and the lucky heather - but then notices strange things happening to her. It seems all of a sudden that good things are happening to her - good things that she has wished for. Her and Brian suddenly get asked to do the photographs for a big society wedding, meaning the business will be saved. Her wishes for a housemate to help out with the bills come true in the form of American Gabe who answers an ad she put in the paper weeks ago but had had no replies to. And not only that, but handsome neighbour James who she has lusted after for months, suddenly asks her out.

      Could the heather really be granting all of her wishes? And if it is, our heroine should remember that old saying - be careful what you wish for - you might just get it.

      This is the first of Alexandra Potter's books I have read and the writing style flows so easily, I knew I would enjoy it from the first page. Heather is such a likeable character, and one who I think many women will identify with - she's the one who tries really hard to be sophisticated and look nice, but in reality fails to carry it of in quite the way she had hoped!

      This story is as I'm sure you can tell from the summary of the plot above, a very light and airy story. I like books with a magical element like this, and from the back I thought it might be similar to Cecelia Ahern's books. In actual fact, the 'magical' side of things with the heather wasn't really the strongest part of the plot, it seemed more a tale about Heather and her relationships with new boyfriend James, and housemate Gabe. The fact she owned what appeared to be a magical sprig of heather that would grant all her wishes seemed to take a back seat for a while and wasn't featured as much as I thought it could have been, but still I enjoyed the story nonetheless.

      Aside from Heather, the main characters to feature were James and Gabe. James, Heather's boyfriend was a character I liked at first, but then started to dislike more and more as time went on - he just seemed so eager to please, it was irritating! Gabe on the other hand was more likeable and I enjoyed reading the scenes where he featured more.

      Another thing I liked about this book is that it was very funny without trying too hard. There is one particular scene where James is folding his clothes before bed that had me in stitches.

      Towards the end of the novel I felt the story started to become quite flat and wasn't quite as good as the first half of the book, but still the author maintains a really light and easy to read style and I flew through the book.

      Overall, I did quite enjoy this. I would have liked to have seen more of the magical element in it, and whilst I don't think it was the best chick-lit offering I've ever read, it was an enjoyable way to pass a few hours, and I'll look out for more of Alexandra Potter's books in the future.

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        15.12.2009 19:32
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        Worth a read!

        Heather Hamilton wishes for a lot of things: that she could get a seat on the tube, that she could meet a great man and that she could eat a bag of Maltesers without gaining a stone in weight. Typical small wishes that we wish for every day. Her wishes never come true until one day Heather buys some heather (irony!) from a gypsy and suddenly everything Heather wishes for seems to be coming true. She gets a flatmate, she loses 5lbs, she even gets a fab boyfriend. Is it really magic?

        Be Careful What You Wish For is Alexandra Potter's fifth novel and is the first where she started using her magic elements in her books. After reading Who's That Girl?, and enjoying it, I desperately wanted to re-read Be Careful What You Wish For to see if I liked it as much the second time as I loved it the first time around. Thankfully, Be Careful What You Wish For has stood the test of time and was just as enjoyable second time around.

        The book is told entirely in the first-person and I have to say Heather's constant use of the two little words "I wish" before her wishes started coming true was incredibly irritating. It seemed overused and quite unnecessary. However, on the whole, I liked Heather. Alexandra Potter made her incredibly likeable and easy for women to relate to - who hasn't wished they could lose 5lbs? - and it makes a change to have a heroine who isn't completely perfect. The best thing about Heather though was the fact that, in the end, she had to face up to the consequences of all of her seemingly small wishes. Heather seemed to have the perfect life after making all of her little wishes but is there such a thing as too-perfect a life?

        Heather's boyfriend James should have come across as the perfect boyfriend, after all, he didn't seem to do much wrong. The thing is I found him completely unlikeable and I thought he was just too perfect. Who knew such a thing existed? I rather preferred Gabe, an American comedian, who becomes Heather's flatmate. I thought they got on incredibly well and I could see some sort of relationship forming as the book wore on. There were plenty of other characters in the book to keep it going and I really liked Brian, Heather's boss as the photography studio. I really liked Heather's dad Lionel also, he really seemed to care for his daughter and I liked their relationship. Heather's step-mother, Rosemary, isn't too likeable at the beginning of the book but as the book progressed, I found myself warming to her also.

        The magical element throughout the book was fantastic and I thought Alexandra Potter wrote the magical scenes really quite well. I loved how Heather first came across the heather, via a gypsy lady, and it's a shame we didn't see more of the strange gypsy lady. Some of Heather's wishes came true exactly how she wished them but others didn't really happen the way Heather wanted to and I liked the fact all of the wishes seemed to have to be specific in order to really come true. There's a twist towards the end of the book that caught me by complete surprise, and the book suddenly picked up the pace and I found myself rushing towards the finish. Of course, at the end there's a kind of... I don't know what to call it... The book kind of flips on itself and leaves us wondering if everything we learnt throughout the book was exactly how it seemed. Alexandra Potter has really covered the magical market for chick lit. Along with Cecelia Ahern, the pair of them rule the roost when it comes to all things magical! Be Careful What You Wish For is an incredibly easy read and perfect for sitting and reading during an afternoon when you have nothing else to do. I really enjoy Alexandra's books and can't wait for her next one due in 2010!

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          20.06.2009 15:18
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          It is definitely worth reading but don't hold your breath

          Price- I picked my copy up in a charity shop for 50p the cover price is 6.99 so that was a pretty good deal and I don't for one minute think its exclusive.

          Ease- This book is the same size and weight as many other chick lit books available. It fits nicely in your handbag and you can read it comfortably in the bath.

          Value for money: I completed it in under a week so if you take it on holiday take a second book for coming home with.

          Enjoyability- The story is entertaining and captivating from the first page. It has the perfect balance between believable fantasy and reality.

          Plot- I'm not one for spoiling plots but it involves the wonderful 30 something Heather Hamilton living her life the way so many other women do, the odd failed relationship, a mildly eccentric family with a job she hates and a boss she loves. One day her wishes begin to come true and the reader is offered a window into her life as she finds happiness.

          Reviewing thoughts- Alexandra Potter has produced a page turner with a moral behind it. The phrase "Be careful what you wish for" is one which has been used by older and wiser people for many years. We often have dreams that are out of reach and dreams that we could probably achieve. This story is a really enjoyable read where the reader can both love and hate the lead character.

          Criticisms: The best friend is underused and some of the subplots are very sub... they are resolved in approximately one chapter. Some of it is a bit too unbelievable.

          Positives: The characters are well thought out and a realistic group of characters to be involved in Heather's life. It is just the right length.

          Summary- If you're looking for your next holiday read this is a good one to take. If you're looking for your next Kinsella fix this will fill the gap. If you like me happen to come across it in a charity shop it'll be worth the donation to a good cause.

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            06.05.2009 19:05
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            a young Londoner's love life

            The young women from Birmingham, Leeds, Glasgow, to name the three largest cities in GB after the capital, to say nothing of the ones in places like Nether-Piddleton-on-the-Marshes, must have a satisfying love life. I can't call myself an expert on chick lit novels, but the ones I've read were only ever set in London. A chick lit novel without problems is unthinkable, so if chicks from other parts of the country aren't chosen as protagonists, it can only mean that they haven't got any or enough problems worth writing about. It can't be that London is more fascinating than other cities because often nothing is made of it besides it serving as an opportunity for name (of sights) dropping. "Sitting opposite him in his large corner office, which has huge glass windows with an amazing view of the London Eye (sic!)".

            I've noticed that the protagonists of chick lit novels are either women belonging to the higher strata of society incorporating a life style the average reader can only dream of or they're just like you and me created for identification. Well, not like me, I'm so not the target reader! I read, enjoy the story if possible and dissect trying to find out how the average Londoner of the female persuasion ticks. Not living in the country this is my only way of getting near this species.

            Thirty-something Heather Hamilton has been an assistant to a wedding photographer for six years. This is not the job she's dreamt of when studying photography, but somehow nothing better has come her way yet. After living with her boyfriend for three years, buying a flat with him, separating from him because he was cheating on her and living alone for a year or so she has to look for a flatmate so that she can pay off the remaining credit.

            A young American applies, he's come to the UK for the Edinburgh Festival where he wants to perform as a stand-up comedian. Bad luck for him that Heather hates stand-up comedy, good luck for him that he's the only applicant. Heather has a crush on her neighbour living on the opposite side of the street, but he doesn't seem to know that she exists.

            One day a gypsy makes her buy a sprig of white heather which will fulfil her wishes, she warns her, however, to wish wisely. Although Heather isn't superstitious, she can't help noticing that all her small, everyday wishes come true, a seat on the tube, for example, she then becomes bold and wishes her neighbour to notice her and fall in love with her.

            According to chick lit formula the woman is first without a man and then has two - which one to choose? The neighbour who turns out to be Mr Absolutely Perfect or the Californian Sunny Boy with flaws? No disappointment here, the story wavers to and fro between the two options until one of them wins. In this respect the reader isn't disappointed, she gets what she's paid for.

            What disappoints me, however, is what a silly cow this Heather is. She reads nothing, knows nothing, has no sense of humour, lives like a pig, is never able to give a reasonable answer when asked even the simplest question, conversations make her feel "nervous and awkward". She stutters, blushes, uh-huhs, the only utterances that come fluently out of her mouth are, "F***" and "Sh**". But then, what can one expect from an author who writes, "A stunned silence settles between Daniel and *I* (!) like dust after an explosion."?

            Of course, Heather needs ages until she knows what to wear. Of course, her wardrobe is full of things she never wears. Of course, she thinks she's got cellulite. Of course, she drinks too much and then gets the most terrible hangovers. Of course, her boss is gay and her best friend black (or is it the other way round?).

            So, what's new? Nothing really, I'm afraid. The only positive thing I can find in the book is the description of Heather's relationship with her step-mother, but this is of minor importance in the story. If Heather Hamilton is the prototype of the current female Londoner, I can only pity her and her sisters.

            Like many chick lit novels also Be Careful What You Wish For is too long. 368 pages may not seem exaggerated but there's superfluous padding in it. At the beginning we get an extensive list of Heather's wishes and near the end this list is repeated in a flashback. Really!

            The first person account in the Present Tense doesn't attract me, either. The breathlessness and immediacy it creates gets on my nerves and deffo doesn't draw me into the story as intended. Nah, if it has to be chick lit (and occasionally it has to be!), then there are better books on the market.

            ---

            Hodder Paperbacks
            368 pages
            RRP 6.99

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              06.03.2006 12:42
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              ***The plot***
              The main character is Heather, who works as a wedding photographer and dreams of her big break, working at a national paper. She lives in Little Venice, and feels her life is far from perfect, with her lack of money, perfect figure, and a bad relationship with her stepmother Rosemary, and is always making those little wishes that we all do when things aren’t perfect, “I wish I could lose those few pounds, I wish I could get a seat on the tube” and so on. One day she is coerced into buying some lucky heather (ooh, the coincidence) from a gypsy woman (you know the type, ‘be lucky darling!’), and suddenly, her every day wishes start coming true, as well as the big ones. She gets a new flatmate, an American stand-up comic to replace her once live-in boyfriend and to help her pay the mortgage, she finally gets to meet the perfect man, James, a neighbour she has been ogling for years, and that dream job is right within her reach at last. But then as things start going wrong, she begins to wonder, “is there such a thing as having it all too good?”

              ***Opinion***
              This book is pure unadulterated chick lit, yet again. It’s a story of a girl with a less than perfect life, who wants things to go her way for a change, well, don’t we all?! But with a bit of a magical twist to the story, it is an original tale, showing us what would happen if we really got we wanted, all of the time. The story is funny, and you can empathise with Heather, who is a fantastic heroine, not quite Bridget Jones, but
              getting there.

              I’m on a real reading fest at the moment, and so at 350-odd pages, this book took me a mere couple of nights to read, because it’s easily broken down into easy-to-swallow chapters, and it’s just a joy to read. Even when Heather’s life hits rock bottom, you want to carry on reading to see just how things work out- and she finds that things can be pretty damn good, even if she is having a bad hair day, or can’t get a seat on the tube. It’s a story of hope, and I’d recommend it to any woman, married, partnered-off, or single. Men, beware, you are more than likely not going to like this book. It is girly, but if you want an insight into a girls mind to win over that special someone, then I guess there may be a few clues here!

              ***The Author and the book specs***
              Alexandra Potter was born in Bradford in Yorkshire, England. She has lived in Los Angeles and Australia and is the author of 4 previous novels, Going La-La,What's New, Pussycat?, Do You Come Here Often, and Calling Romeo. She has also written for UK magazines including Elle, More!, OK!, and Vogue. She lives in Notting Hill, London.

              ISBN: 0340841125
              Paperback 350 pages, released Feb 15th 2006

              ***Price and availability***
              The book’s retail price is £6.99, but it is currently selling on amazon.co.uk at £3.99 new. You can also get it from the amazon marketplace at £3.05 new and £1.49 used (that’s my copy, shameless plug!) Or have a scout of charity shops and ebay and you may find it for even less. Or you could just buy my copy!

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          • Product Details

            A sassy romantic comedy to delight fans of Sophie Kinsella, Freya North and Helen Fielding. You couldn't wish for a better book! 'I wish I could get a seat on the tube...I hadn't eaten that entire bag of Maltesers...I could meet a man whose hobbies include washing up and monogamy...' Heather Hamilton is always wishing for things. Not just big stuff - like world peace or for a date with Brad Pitt - but little, everyday wishes, made without thinking. With her luck, she knows they'll never come true...Until one day she buys some heather from a gypsy. Suddenly the bad hair days stop; a handsome American answers her ad for a housemate; and she starts seeing James - The Perfect Man who sends her flowers, excels in the bedroom, and isn't afraid to say 'I love you'...But are these wishes-come-true a blessing or a curse? And is there such a thing as too much foreplay?