Category: Chick Lit

May 10

Wedding Night by Sophie Kinsella

Chick Lit 12

Greetings Bookworms,

I’ve been a little nervous about attending BEA (which is starting tomorrow, OMG!) I often find that the best way to calm my nerves is escapist reading. A book will cure anything that ails you! Except for things that ought to be cured by antibiotics. And, um… Yeah I’m not sure where I was going with that one, but clearly it wasn’t working so if you’re sick, go to the doctor first. Then read. K? Anywho, I thought talking about a fun, light read might be just the ticket to vanquish the metaphorical butterflies in my tummy. And really, is there anyone better at the light-hearted romantic comedy than Sophie Kinsella? After reading Wedding Night, I’m quite certain she reigns supreme. Someone get this woman a tiara and a sash!

weddingnightLottie is absolutely convinced that her boyfriend is about to propose, what with his inviting her out for a “special” lunch and saying that he’s got something important to ask her. Unfortunately, having misread all his signals, the proposal Lottie receives is not one of marriage, but one of international travel. Lottie leaves the lunch not an engaged woman, but a single one. Reeling from the effects of this change in circumstance, she reunites with an old flame and decides to marry him instead. Impulsively. Immediately. Lottie’s older sister Fliss soon discovers the plan and fears that Lottie is making a terrible mistake. She makes it her personal mission to stop Lottie’s wedding, using any means necessary.

Oh. My. Word. The plot of this novel is among the most ridiculous I’ve ever read and it was all the more delightful for it. I almost want to see it made into a movie, the situations are SO ridiculous. Plus, I really want to see a small British child actor ask about “putting the sausage in the cupcake.” You’ve got to have a fairly good sense of humor about sexual innuendo to appreciate this book, but there aren’t really any steamy scenes if you’re sensitive to that sort of thing. Suspend your disbelief and indulge in the hilarious nonsense that is Wedding NightYou can thank me later. I accept gratitude in the form of vacations to Greek islands, minus meddling siblings. Also, tiaras and sashes.

Talk to me, Bookworms! What’s your favorite romantic comedy? What’s the most enjoyable yet completely ridiculous plot line you’ve ever encountered?

*If you make a purchase through a link on this site, I will receive a small commission.*

 

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Jan 06

The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend by Katarina Bivald

Chick Lit 13

Good Day, Bookworms.

It’s no secret that I’ve got something of a soft spot for books about books. Or books about readers. Or books about book clubs. What can I say? I can relate to the characters so easily if they like to spend their time with their noses in a book, you know? Of course you know. You’re a very intuitive bunch. I recently acquired a new title, The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend by Katarina Bivald, that falls into just such a category. *I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through Netgalley for review consideration. This fact in no way bought my good opinion. I’m much too cranky for that sort of thing.*
readersofbrokenwheelblueSara is a lonely Swedish gal who works in a bookshop. In Sweden. I feel like I ought to mention that, seeing as the book takes place in Iowa. She befriends an elderly American woman named Amy through an online book exchange and they become as close as any international pen pals ever could. Eventually, Sara plans a trip to visit Amy in small town, USA. The book details Sara’s adventures stateside, the dynamics of tiny Broken Wheel, Iowa, and the power of a bookshop in a community. It’s a sweet little novel with echoes of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society (review), flecks of Fannie Flagg, and dashes of Hallmark original movie. (Lacey Chabert, work on your Swedish accent and talk to the network. I smell success, here, people.)

If your goal in reading a book is to feel better about the world, this is what you ought to be reading. It’s the perfect novel to curl up with on a cloudy day and enjoy a mug full of hot beverage. Cozy mysteries are a thing, but is there such a thing as cozy lady fiction? I’m going to make it so. COZY LADY FICTION, right here, guys. Read The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend with a happy sigh and start your year off with a little ray of sunshine.

Talk to me, Bookworms. What’s your goal when reading? Escapism? Learning? Language? I’m fascinated by what makes you tick.

*If you make a purchase through a link on this site, I will receive a small commission.*

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Oct 15

The Undomestic Goddess by Sophie Kinsella

Chick Lit 4

Happy Thursday, Bookworms!

I’ve been reading, as per usual, and there is just something delicious about Sophie Kinsella. I resisted her charms for far too long and I really had no reason to do so. When I finally broke down and read I’ve Got Your Number (review) I was a goner. My Mother-in-Law actually recommended I try The Undomestic Goddess next. She’s got pretty good taste in books, so I figured it was a safe bet. Ooooh Mama Kelly. You were right. Such fun!

undomesticgoddessSamantha Sweeting is a high powered attorney working in London. She’s just turned 29 and is on the fast track for partnership in her firm. Who cares that she doesn’t know what type of vacuum bags her machine uses (or that it uses bags at all…) And sewing on buttons? That’s what dry cleaners are for! And if cooking were truly necessary, would so many delicious takeout options exist? Work is life, all the rest can be hired out.

Of course, that’s all before a single mistake derails Samantha’s entire existence. Panic sets in and Samantha flees without a plan. She soon finds herself in the countryside being mistaken for a potential housekeeper. A housekeeper. Ms. “I didn’t know vacuums had bags.” You can imagine the hijinks, can’t you?

As a rather undomestic gal myself, I found Samantha endlessly amusing. I mean, I’m not much of a cook and I certainly couldn’t pull together a fancy pants dinner, but dude. I can sew a button on, I know what kind of vacuum bags we use, and despite my dislike of household chores, I can competently complete most of them. Even though I’m kind of a mess in the kitchen, I CAN, in fact, cook more than toast. This book made me giggle and made me feel like a regular Martha Stewart. Heartwarming humor with a generous dash of romance made The Undomestic Goddess a winner in my book.

Talk to me Bookworms! What is your least favorite household chore? 

*If you make a purchase through a link on this site, I will receive a small commission.*

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Oct 06

The All-Girl Filling Station’s Last Reunion by Fannie Flagg

Chick Lit, Historical Fiction 6

Howdy Bookworms!

I’ve been reading a lot of spooky novels to get me in the mood for Halloween (I’ll tell you all about it, of course, in due time.) Because I’ve been so deep in the dark and broody I decided to lighten things up a bit by picking up The All-Girl Filling Station’s Last Reunion by Fannie Flagg. The last Fannie Flagg novel I read, I Still Dream About You (review) was kind of disappointing. It was fine, but it didn’t have enough of that “I’m happy to be alive” vibe that I’ve come to expect from her novels. I’m a glutton for the warm fuzzies. Suffice it to say that I was MORE than fulfilled by The All-Girl Filling Station’s Last Reunion.

allgirlfillingstationlastreunionMrs. Sookie Poole has finally married off the last of her three daughters and is recovering from wedding overload. Just as she and her husband prepare for some R&R, Sookie’s world is rocked by a registered letter informing her that all is not as she expected it was in her family’s past. All her life, Sookie has been failing to live up to the impossible expectations of her formidable/eccentric/overbearing mother, Lenore Krackenberry. Lenore’s fixation on Southern gentility and the family silver perplex and exhaust Sookie, but she good-naturedly puts up with her mother’s airs. When Sookie receives her surprising package, Lenore’s behaviors confuse her more than ever. Determined to learn more about her family, Sookie embarks on an unexpected journey.

Sookie’s quest to uncover her family’s secrets leads her on a cross country trek and into a time and place she’d never imagined. Namely, a large Polish family in 1940s Wisconsin. Told half in present day Alabama and half in WWII era Wisconsin, this book was an absolute treat. I’m sure a large part of my affection for this book comes from the Midwestern setting and the Polish family. Technically I grew up in Illinois and technically I’m not Polish, BUT the Chicago area (where I grew up) has a ginormous Polish population. (Fun fact: I once asked a couple of the immigrant girls I went to high school with to teach me how to swear in Polish. They demurred and taught me the names of fruit instead, assuming that even if I tried to use them in a violent fashion at worst I’d sound like a crazed woman obsessed with produce. At least I wouldn’t offend anyone who spoke the language. Probably.) With a colorful cast of characters in each time and place, the Fannie Flagg I’ve come to love was represented fabulously. Historical fiction, contemporary fiction, warm fuzzies, and polka abound. If you need a pick-me-up, you need to pick up The All-Girl Filling Station’s Last Reunion

Talk to me, Bookworms! Do any of y’all know how to polka? I don’t actually know how to, myself, but sometimes I do anyway. Evidence:

I'm dancing with my brother-in-law's mom who actually DOES know how to polka. She tolerated my nonsense beautifully.

I’m dancing with my brother-in-law’s mom who actually DOES know how to polka. She tolerated my nonsense beautifully.

*If you make a purchase through a link on this site, I will receive a small commission.*

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Jul 27

The Coincidence of Coconut Cake by Amy E. Reichert

Chick Lit 13

Bon Appetit, Bookworms!

The fact that I basically want to eat everything I read about is well documented, but it’s rare that I decide to read a book based solely on its delicious-sounding title. I had a case of the mid-afternoon snack attack when I was browsing NetGalley one day when I ran across The Coincidence of Coconut Cake by Amy E Reichert. The title reminded me of this really tasty dessert my MIL made a couple of months ago, so it seemed like a solid decision. *I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley for review consideration. This in no way affects the opinions expressed in this blog. If they’d actually sent me coconut cake, though, this disclaimer might read differently. Seriously, publishers. I can be bribed with baked goods.*

thecoincidenceofcoconutcakeIf You’ve Got Mail (Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan rom-com- you know you saw it) and Delicious! by Ruth Reichl (review) had a baby and moved to Wisconsin to raise it, the result would be The Coincidence of Coconut Cake. This utterly sweet confection of a novel is set in downtown Milwuakee, where a plucky young chef named Lou runs a little French restaurant. Things seem to be going fairly well, if a bit chaotic, when she walks in on her douchebag of a fiance in a compromising position with an intern. Al is Milwaukee’s newest and most cantankerous food critic. He’s British and takes the whole Simon Cowell thing to a new level in his reviews. OF COURSE he lands at Lou’s restaurant on the day her life falls apart and completely eviscerates her in the newspaper.

I think you can guess what happens next. A series of nearly impossible events lead Al and Lou to strike up a friendship without realizing with whom they are fraternizing. As their relationship blossoms over Milwaukee’s charm and delicacies, reality threatens to burst their cheese laden bubble.

Awww, you guys. This book is stinking adorable. Foodies will rejoice. It’s a sweet little rom-com wrapped in a love letter to Milwaukee. Actually, it made me want to visit Milwaukee. I only live a few hours from Milwaukee… Now I’m questioning the life choices that put me anywhere but in Milwaukee and eating fried cheese curds. Books set in the Midwest thrill me in the nerdiest way. You have no idea how many times I shouted “Hey! I’ve been there!” while reading American Gods by Neil Gaiman (review). Amy E Reichert included the recipe for Lou’s famous coconut cake and I really want to taste it. Of course, I’m far too lazy to make it (the fact that I suck at cooking doesn’t help either.) If you need some light, sweet foodie fun, you cannot go wrong with The Coincidence of Coconut CakeAnd if you want to bake Lou’s cake for me, I will gladly eat the whole ding dang thing.

Alright Bookworms, time to sound off. I feel like coconut is a very polarizing flavor, you either love it or hate it. Which camp are you in? Pro-Conut or Heck-No-Conut?

*If you make a purchase through a link on this site, I will receive a small commission. I will use said commission to buy things that taste like coconut and/or cake. Because obviously.*

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Jul 02

I’ve Got Your Number by Sophie Kinsella

Audio Books, Chick Lit 13

Hello Bookworms!

Sometimes I need a break from heavy reading… Or heavy-ish reading. Aw hell. Let’s be real. Sometimes I want to read a fluffy romantic comedy JUST BECAUSE. In case you’ve ever wondered if I listen to y’all when you suggest books to me, I offer today’s discussion as proof. When I admitted I hadn’t read any Sophie Kinsella books, Charleen of Cheap Thrills told me that her favorite was I’ve Got Your Number. I remembered, and I read it…finally. We’re not talking about timelines here, because that would just be embarrassing.

ivegotyournumberI listened to this book audio style, as I am wont to do, and OMG. Jane Entwistle, the narrator of the Flavia de Luce series (review) read the book to me. She is the best, I just adore her voice. The only problem I had was in the beginning when I kept expecting Flavia-isms to pop up. Once I got past expecting gleeful explanations of chemical processes, I got swept up in Poppy’s world.

Poppy Wyatt has lost her engagement ring. She was in the middle of a cocktail laden ladies’ tea when a fire alarm blares and POOF. Ring gone. Expensive family heirloom ring. GONE. Because that will impress the super intimidating academic future in-laws. While Poppy’s in the midst of panic and hovering over the hotel staff’s search, her phone is stolen. Because of course. OF COURSE. When Poppy notices an abandoned phone in a trash can, she grabs it, hoping against hope that she can use it until she can replace her own phone. She needs to have a number in case her ring turns up, right?! Unfortunately, the phone’s owner, business guru Sam Roxton, wants his phone back. Through a series of highly improbable but amusing events, Sam and Poppy’s lives become hopelessly entangled.

The premise makes absolutely no sense given the ease with which phone numbers can be ported and stolen phones can be replaced, but doggone it, this was a fun story. Really, when have romantic comedies been realistic anyway? I’m pretty shocked that I’ve Got Your Number hasn’t already been made into a movie, it has all the elements of the perfect Hollywood rom-com. Visions of Emily Blunt are dancing in my head, guys…

Let’s talk about texting, Bookworms. Are you one of those people who would rather text than talk on the phone? (Heaven knows I am!) 

*If you make a purchase through a link on this site, I will receive a small commission.*

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May 11

The Sugar Queen by Sarah Addison Allen

Audio Books, Chick Lit, Supernatural 7

Hello Bookworms!

Remember that time when I gushed all over the internet about Scribd? Well, the very first book I decided to listen to with my new subscription was a Sarah Addison Allen. Anybody surprised? You shouldn’t be. My ears devoured The Sugar Queen.

thesugarqueenJosie Cirrini’s life is in a holding pattern. Though she’s 27, she’s never moved out of her childhood home and her social life revolves around chauffering her elderly mother to her various society engagements in their small North Carolina town. Josey is so firmly under her mother’s thumb that she takes solace in snacks and sweet treats she keeps hidden in her closet. Josey’s life looks like it’ll be over before it starts when one evening she finds the rather scandalous town barfly Della Lee Baker hiding out in her closet amongst her guilty pleasures. The arrival of Della Lee sets off a series of events that changes the way Josey views her life and her family’s legacy.

Of course, as a Sarah Addison Allen, there’s a bit of magic involved (in the most whimsical and charming ways, naturally.) I’ve always said that red is my cosmic color of power, but Josey’s claim on that statement might actually be legit. And Josey’s gal pal Chloe has the BEST power/affliction. Books literally find her when she needs them. Where can I sign up for that?!

I’ve mentioned before that I have a hard time reading books where overweight and/or obese people are described by authors in an unsympathetic tone. Sarah Addison Allen is very sympathetic to Josey, who is described as “plump,” but in exploring her addiction to food and comfort eating I found myself getting downright sad. It hit a nerve, I guess. I mean, I’ll probably never truly understand what drives someone to shoot heroin, but mainlining cookies? That is something I can relate to. Ooooh the feelings. Fans of Sarah Addison Allen, whimsy, and baked goods should definitely check out The Sugar Queen

Tell me something, Bookworms. Do you ever get an unexpected punch in the feels while reading? When was the last time it happened? 

*If you make a purchase through a link on this site, I will receive a small commission.*

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Feb 23

Ruth Reichl’s Debut Novel is Delicious!

Chick Lit, Contemporary Fiction 23

Bon Appetit, Bookworms!

I’ve never considered myself a foodie, but I sure do like to eat. My aunt-in-law (is that a thing? It is now. Howdy, Barb!) recommended Delicious! to me recently and it it totally made me want to eat all the fancy cheese in the land. Because I’m not a foodie, I had no idea until after reading this book that the author, Ruth Reichl, is a noted restaurant critic and food writer. It now makes ALL THE SENSE that she’d wax philosphical about seasonal parmesan cheeses in her novel, but I digress.

deliciousBillie Breslin is at a crossroads. She’s just uprooted her life from California and moved cross country to New York City. She soon lands a job at iconic food magazine Delicious, which she owes in part to her perfect palate (which is like perfect pitch but for food.) To the entire food world’s utter consternation, though, she refuses to cook. Because REASONS. When Delicious closes its doors, Billie is forced to confront her past, her reticence toward cooking, and, you know, luuuurve.

I found Delicious! charming, if a bit predictable. I immediately knew Billie’s REASONS even though they weren’t officially revealed until midway through the novel, and it included a lot of your standard rom-com tropes. That said, it also had a host of fun colorful characters and incredible food descriptions. After reading this book, I wanted to eat my weight in fancy cheese and gingerbread. If you’re a foodie or you just like fun, give Delicious! a taste.

Yeah, I’m going to talk about cheese now. What’s your favorite cheese, Bookworms? And can you tell the difference between parmesan that’s made in the spring versus the fall?

*If you make a purchase through a link on this site, I will receive a small commission. I will use that commission to purchase fancy cheeses. I’m seriously fixated.*

 

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Dec 08

The Look of Love by Sarah Jio (Or, How Pop Culture Ruined My Life)

Chick Lit, Flowers, Romance 17

Hello Bookworms!

I think that pop culture may have ruined my life. I may have gone into Sarah Jio’s new novel, The Look of Love, tainted, simply because certain associations it aroused in my psyche…My word, I’m digressing before I’ve even started. *Before further tangents take wing, I should inform you that I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher for review consideration.This in no way hampers the honesty of the following review, as you will no doubt notice in short order.*

29 year old Jane Williams is a Seattle florist (yay flowers!) She’s lived her whole life with what she believes to be a neurological condition that causes her vision to blur at unpredictable moments. One Christmas she receives a greeting card telling her that this condition is actually a rare gift that allows her to *see* love. Unfortunately, the “gift” comes with strings, and if Jane can’t identify the six different types of love before her 30th birthday, she will have to live without romantic love in her life FOREVER.

lookoflove

I’ve read and enjoyed Sarah Jio novels before, but, to be blunt, this one just did not work for me. I have to give Jio credit though, this is the first of her novels I’ve read that breaks from the dual narrative formula, so high five for branching out. Unfortunately, the book and I had some issues, most of which I blame on popular culture and my ravenous absorption of it…

First, the song “The Look of Love” evokes creepy for me, not romance. There’s a scene in Austin Powers where the song plays, and I can’t help but associate it with skeezy 60s men of mystery. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed the Austin Powers movies (though maybe I shouldn’t admit that my sense of humor is that of a 12-year-old boy.) It’s just that I can’t think of that song as in any way romantic, so I went in with a pre-conceived expectation of cheesiness.

Second, did any of y’all watch That’s So Raven on the Disney Channel? I was WAY too old to be watching it when it was on, but I used to binge watch Disney shows to combat hangovers in college. No real rationale behind this, it just was a thing my roommate and I did. In any case, the title character Raven was psychic, and every time she’d have a vision, they’d do a weird closeup on her eye and it would be all melodramatic and crazy-like. Every time Jane’s vision went blurry, I heard the That’s So Raven theme song play in my head.

thatssoraven

Thank you, internet, for animated gifs.

Finally, I am a big cynical grump. I have a problem with insta-love. I simply cannot buy into the idea that someone could walk into my kitchen one day and I’d instantly fall for them. The first time I saw my future husband, I said to my companions once he left the room (direct quote here) “Is it just me, or is that one good-looking lab monitor?” (Yes, my husband was an audio-visual lab monitor. We are the dorkiest couple EVER!) So, I thought he was hot, sure, but even my sappy 19 year old self didn’t buy love at first sight. There were several instances of love at first sight in this book, most of which popped up despite the characters having other romantic entanglements and responsibilities (spouses, children, the odd cat.)

Love can certainly be a messy business, and I appreciated that even thought Jio had a lot of insta-love going on it wasn’t always an easy road to happily ever after. That said, I felt like she was trying to juggle SO MANY tales of love that I found it difficult to connect to any one of them in a meaningful way. It’s pretty clear that my personal associations and experiences made this book a no-go for me, but hopeless romantics who loved the movie Valentine’s Day might just discover a new favorite in The Look of Love.

 Let’s chat, Bookworms! Have your personal associations with pop culture ever ruined a book for you?

*If you make a purchase through a link on this site, I will receive a small commission.*

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Jun 02

Goodnight June by Sarah Jio

Chick Lit, Contemporary Fiction 14

Goodnight Bookworms,

I don’t have kids, but I love children’s books. Remember that whole Bookish Baby Shower my book club put together for one of our members? It was an incredible stroke of luck that “C” didn’t receive a single double copy of a book for her baby girl’s library, especially since I’ve known people to get two or three copies of Goodnight Moon in a single (non bookish) baby shower. “C” got a copy, but just the one :). But that’s the way of Goodnight Moon. It’s iconic and everyone remembers it fondly. That is part of the reason I was so intrigued when I was offered a review copy of Sarah Jio’s new novel, Goodnight June. Goodnight June imagines an origin story for Margaret Wise Brown’s quintessential nursery tale. It didn’t hurt that I enjoyed one of Sarah Jio’s other books, or that my friend just had a baby girl named June. (I’ve never met a June I didn’t like. True story. I can think of three off the top of my head and each one is a treasure, I tell you!) *I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. I promise in the name of the Junes that I’ll tell it like it is!*

goodnightjuneIn typical Sarah Jio style, Goodnight June is told in a dual narrative. More specifically, it’s told in the present (well, 2005) but employs letters written between the fictional Ruby and her good friend Margaret Wise Brown in the 1940s. Our protagonist is named June. She inherits her beloved aunt’s children’s bookstore in Seattle after she passes away. A high powered banking executive based in New York, June is accustomed to shutting down struggling businesses, not attempting to save them. June begins a journey of self discovery as she explores the history of the store, her aunt’s legacy, and the influence the bookstore had on one of the most famous children’s books of all time.

There’s a bit in Goodnight June where Margaret Wise Brown is concerned that her work as a (ridiculously successful) children’s author gets little respect from her peers. She considers writing an adult novel in order to gain some credibility. Her friend and confidant Ruby tells her that her work as a children’s author may not be as celebrated as writing novels for adult, it is no less important. I guess what I’m trying to say is that I enjoyed this book for what it was. I don’t go into a Sarah Jio novel expecting intense literary prose or to be bamboozled by plot twists. It may not have been the most artfully executed book, and it was, perhaps, a bit melodramatic. In the end, though, it was a very sweet story, and that’s all I really expected and wanted. Goodnight Junwill make you want to hug the story time reader at your local bookstore or library, I can promise you that.

Nostalgia time, Bookworms! What is your favorite children’s book?

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