Tag: chick lit

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.*

Divider

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.*

Divider

Mar 03

The Peach Keeper By Sarah Addison Allen

Chick Lit, Contemporary Fiction 25

How Y’all Doing, Bookworms?

I have really been digging some Southern Fried Fiction lately! I recently finished Sarah Addison Allen’s The Peach Keeper, and now I want to talk about it. (Novel concept, right? I should probably write a book blog! Oh wait…)

peachkeeprWilla Jackson lives in Walls of Water, North Carolina. Her family were once fancy folks, but after falling on hard times in the 30s, they had to sell off the fanciness and go back to being normal. Also in town is the resident perfect princess, Paxton Osgood. She’s well dressed, well mannered, and appropriately ensconced in the local women’s society club. These two gals have very little in common, until fate sees fit to push them together.

Fate and a skeleton. Yup. The site of Willa Jackson’s once proud family home was in the midst of a glorious renovation via Paxton Osgood, when a tree transplant leads to the discovery of a body. In order to attempt to solve the mystery of the dude planted under the peach tree, Willa and Paxton seek answers from their respective grandmothers, who were besties back in the day.

I had fun reading The Peach Keeper. There was a supernatural undercurrent I wasn’t expecting, but rather enjoyed (very Alice Hoffman-esque.) There was one particular scene that stuck out to me, and I can’t just not discuss it, because it involves Sarah Michelle Gellar. That’s right. She who was Buffy. Midway through this book, the ladies club has a lunch with a super swanky caterer, and the caterer seems to have some special powers. It’s a tertiary plot point, but it reminded me SO MUCH of SMG’s masterpiece of a Rom-Com Simply Irresistible. You know. The one where she became a cook and somehow the food absorbed her feelings? People would start crying and/or floating while eating dessert? No? Ah well. When you have a couple of hours to kill and you need something ridiculous, check it out.

Credit: http://whataslayeris.tumblr.com/

Credit: http://whataslayeris.tumblr.com/

Sorry for the digression there, the 90s, you know? I get distracted. In addition to the mystery, the magic, and the mayhem, there are some romantic entanglements and a whole lot of ladies realizing the value of friendship. In short, The Peach Keeper was sweet. If you are in the mood for something to pull you out of a wintery funk, this could be just the ticket.

 Because I’m constantly getting off topic, I may as well ask. Do any of you have a favorite Rom-Com from the 90s? Or some random movie you watched too often with your college roommate? 

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

Divider

Jan 02

Lost and Found by Chris Van Hakes

Chick Lit, Romance 16

Salutations Bookworms,

Most of the time when I pick up a book, the author is a faceless figure to me. I’m rarely up to speed with the goings on of the literary community, and I pick up a lot of books by authors who are new to me. Half the time I don’t even know if the author is a male or female, what with the use of initials and such. This book is a bit of an exception. Lost and Found is the first novel released by author Chris Van Hakes (the pen name of a blogger I’ve always enjoyed, Shalini of Reading and Chickens.)

Shalini and I have had a few conversations on twitter and traded comments on blogs, but I wouldn’t call us besties or anything. (Unless you want to be, Shalini. Because we have SERIOUSLY bonded over THE TWITTER. There will always be a place for you at my imaginary slumber party.) I’m telling you all of this because I’ve never known an author I’ve reviewed before, and I think you’re supposed to disclose that sort of thing… What’s also important to mention is that Shalini did NOT ask me to review her novel. I went and bought it with my own dollars because I was curious. I’m a curious sort of gal.

lostandfound Lost and Found is a sweet little piece of chick lit, and it totally satisfied my craving for a romance novel. Delaney has just moved back to her hometown of Park Glen (which is SUPPOSEDLY in a Central Illinois college town, which I obviously assumed to be based on Peoria. Because I’m self centered and Peoria is MY Central Illinois college town. We have tons of old Victorians that have been converted into apartments, many of them in dodgy neighborhoods.) Anywho, Delaney has moved back home after a breakup with her long term boyfriend/douche nozzle (term employed liberally in book) named Cliff. She ends up living across the hall from a cantankerous doctor named Oliver who is a pretty big douche nozzle himself. The key there is that he’s a douche nozzle with layers, see?

I have to admit, I never completely warmed up to Oliver- he was kind of a jerk for most of the book. Also, Delaney was sweet, but maddeningly doormat-ish. Delaney suffered from vitiligo, which is a skin condition that leads to white, discolored patches of skin. She’s super sensitive about it, though nobody else seems to notice it. Obviously, the two fall in love, and there are complications, and also pie. (Delaney likes to bake.) It’s a romance novel, so there’s nothing spectacularly groundbreaking about the subject matter, but the way it’s written is so doggone cute. The characters have pithy dialogue, the group of gal-pals is squeal-worthy, AND Delaney is a librarian. It’s certainly an impressive inaugural effort for a blogger turned author. If you enjoy romance or chick lit, I recommend giving Lost and Found a shot.

Bookworms, let’s talk about insecurities… Delaney is freaked out by her vitiligo, but she seems to be the only one who fixates on it. We’ve all got a thing. I get that way when I have a breakout. What about you?

 

Divider

Nov 11

Strange Bedpersons by Jennifer Crusie: Every Bit as Saucy as it Sounds

Chick Lit, Romance 22

Happy Monday Bookworms!

I can hear you groaning at my greeting. I know, Mondays suck. They don’t suck if you can win prizes though, which you totally CAN right now from a crap ton of literary blogs. You’ve got until Wednesday to enter- get on with it! (Here. Click it. You’ll thank me.) Now that the formalities are out of the way, let’s talk about my latest read. A while back I was turned on to the romantic stylings of Jennifer Crusie. I really enjoyed Bet Me and Getting Rid of Bradley was a great little palate cleanser for me after a run of more serious reads.

I spent October mired in zombies, vampires, and nightmare scenarios of all variety. It’s safe to say I needed a break, so I pulled up the Jennifer Crusie bundle I’d purchased for my Kindle. BTW, Amazon, I’m so onto you. Bargain-schmargain, all these books are dated re-releases of Crusie’s Harlequin titles. Ah well. Four books for $9.99 is still a deal.

strangebedpersonsStrange Bedpersons is a sweet little story about a girl raised on a hippie commune who falls for the yuppiest lawyer in all the land. Tess and Nick are our star-crossed lover. He is a straight laced pillar of the community while she is a thrift store diva who works for minimal pay tutoring underprivileged kids. The book takes place in the early 90s, a fact I can corroborate based on a handful of references. Nancy Reagan and Marilyn Quayle’s fashion sense comes up (and for anyone international and/or who doesn’t give a fig about the wives of US politicians, that means a lot of shoulder pads) and the classic Julia Roberts film Pretty Woman is alluded to on a number of occasions… Particularly the scandalous scene with the piano. Bow-chicka-bow-wow.

That sound means that this book most certainly contains some sexy-times, so if you’re offended by that sort of thing I wouldn’t recommend this book. Of course, in the grand scheme of love scenes, I found these pretty to be pretty tasteful. My eye rolling was very minimal. I am really digging Jennifer Crusie. Her heroines are always spunky and typically not damsels in distress. Her books read like rom-coms. They’ll never win Nobel prizes, but most romantic comedies aren’t Oscar contenders either. Crusie managed to bring to life one of the most God-awful awkward dinner parties I’ve ever witnessed in all its cringe-inducing glory. To that, I award her a slow clap… And I snap a jewelry box in her general direction.

Since this book was so delightfully rom-com, what are some of your faves? You KNOW you’ve a guilty pleasure movie, own up to it, Bookworms!

*If you’re interest in purchasing your own copy of Bet Me, Getting Rid of Bradleyor Strange Bedpersonsplease consider using these links. Any purchases referred to Book Depository from my blog net me an eensy weensy commission.*

 

 

Divider

Jun 11

Hot Temps and Hot Tempers: Top Ten Tuesday Beach Reads

Book Club, Chick Lit, Classics, Friendship, Top Ten Tuesday 44

Howdy Bookworms!

I hope life has been treating you well. Today is Tuesday which means it’s time to make lists! Yaaaaaay! This week’s topic via The Broke and The Bookish is Top Ten Beach reads! It sounds like an easy topic, but I’m kind of at a loss. The thing about Illinois is that it’s landlocked. I can’t just go to the beach. And lakes, even the Great Lakes, are stinky. We also have rivers, which are probably stinkier than lakes. I don’t like swimming in water with fish as a general rule, but I will break my rule when it comes to wading in the OCEAN. WADING, not swimming, mind you. I tried snorkeling when I was like 13 and had a panic attack, so I’m sticking to dry land and chlorinated pools thankyouverymuch. Occasions when I’m near an actual ocean are few and far between, so I’m breaking my “beach” reads into two pieces. Books set on beaches, and books about summertime (when the living’s easy.)

toptentuesday

Top 5 Books Set on the Beach

1. The Mermaid Chair by Sue Monk Kidd. I don’t read a whole heck of a lot of books set on beaches. At least, not a whole heck of a lot of books I actually like (cough cough The Best of Us.) I read this a long time ago, but I recall beaches and tributaries and a confused married woman having an affair with a Catholic priest. So. Scandal? Check. Sandals? Check. Beach read. Boom. Nailed it.

2. Moloka’i by Alan Brennert. This is sort of set on a beach. I mean, it’s on a Hawaiian island… That also happens to be a leper colony. It’s a pretty good book if a little depressing. Leprosy sucked, especially if you were a surfer and then had your toes fall off. Not cool, man. Not cool.

3. Fortune’s Rocks by Anita Shreve. This is my all time favorite Anita Shreve novel. She’s written an entire series of books revolving around one specific beach house. I’ve read several of them (so far) and it’s a really cool life of a house type scenario. Fortune’s Rocks is begins in 1899. In a society bound by convention and old timey bathing costumes, scandalous affairs are bound to pop up between teenaged daughters of the elite and well to do doctors. I mean, those bathing costumes were HAWT.

Try and resist this. I dare you. (Image Source)

Try and resist this. I dare you. (Image Source)

4. Sea Glass by Anita Shreve. This was my second visit to our woebegone beach house. Set in the 1930s, this tale features a newly married couple, Sexton and Honora Beecher. Honora spends her days collecting sea glass while her husband (who turns out to be a bit of a slime ball) sells typewriters. In the nearby town, textile mills have workers laboring under deplorable conditions. McDermott is a sexy Irish mill worker who catches Honora’s eye as the Beechers are drawn into a massive labor dispute. There’s some scandal and plenty of learning to be had.

5. Body Surfing by Anita Shreve. And we’re baaaaaaaaaaaack at the same beach house! Only now it’s modern-ish times and our protagonist is a 29 year old underemployed divorcee and widow named Sydney. A lot of living went into her 29 years, what can she say? Sydney decides to take a job as a private summer tutor for the 18 year old daughter of the Edwards family who summer at (you guessed it) the mythological beach house of Shreve’s imagination. Julie (the daughter in question) has two older brothers and once they arrive, Sydney is plunged into a set of circumstances bound to make her relationship history even MORE interesting. Families are crazy, especially when you pop into one already in progress.

Top 5 Books About Summertime

1. Standing in the Rainbow by Fannie Flagg. Fannie Flagg makes me happy with almost everything she writes, but her version of summertime in 1940s Elmwood Springs, Missouri is just a treat. I felt like I was part of the small town and desperately wanted to get a milkshake from the pharmacy soda fountain.

2. Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe by Fannie Flagg. Shush! I can list the same authors over and over again if I want to! Fannie Flagg knows how to do SUMMER, you guys! Ruth and Idgy’s summer before Ruth gets married? Ruth and Idgy at the cafe? The shenanigans of summertime in depression era Alabama?! Makes me want to sit on a porch swing and drink a gallon of lemonade, dang it!

3. Angry Housewives Eating Bon Bons by Lorna Landvik. So, this book centers on a neighborhood book club (which is NEARLY as cool as The Fellowship of the Worms, but not quite.) A large part of the story goes on in the summer. Every time I think of this book, it conjures up images of pools and kool-aid stands. Summertime. Charm. These are things I like.

angryhousewives

4. Summer by Edith Wharton. Awww yeah, you didn’t see THAT coming did you? I like Edith. I like her sarcastic take on society. I like Charity Royall’s air of self importance in spite of her humble origins. I like that she works at the library. Sure, she may be naive and begin a love affair with a society fellow looking to slum it for the summer… Summer fun times sometimes lead to springtime babies… So… Be careful, kids.

5. The Great Gatsby by F Scott Fitzgerald. I know, it’s a little overexposed right now, but I can’t even think about this book without feeling a little sweaty, and I don’t mean that because of the steamy affairs. I mean the blasted temperature. My word, how did anyone survive the summer before air conditioning? Heat rises and people do crazy booze fueled things… Love triangles, feuds, affairs, CHAOS. A good time was had by all… Who didn’t end up dead.

Shakespeare said it best in Romeo & Juliet, “For now, these hot days, is the mad blood stirring.” Benvolio knew what was up. Hot temps lead to hot tempers. Keep cool this summer. Leave the drama to the books! What are YOUR picks for beach reads, Bookworms? Anything awesome that’s set on a beach that I haven’t read but ought to?

Divider

Jun 10

I’ll See Your Romance Novel and Raise You a Chicken Marsala (Bet Me by Jennifer Crusie)

Chick Lit, Contemporary Fiction, Romance, Trashy Romance Novels 45

Woah! It’s Monday!

Ain’t that a kick in the teeth? It is for me, because I had last week off to staycation. It should come as no surprise that I spent many of my gloriously unencumbered hours devouring books. Oh yes. And visiting my nephew. He’s brand new and cuter than a son of a gun. Gratuitous Auntie photo!

I shall call him Squishy and he shall be mine. And he shall be my Squishy. (Seriously. I nicknamed my nephew Squishy. It's sticking.)

I shall call him Squishy and he shall be mine. And he shall be my Squishy. (Seriously. I nicknamed my nephew Squishy. It’s sticking.)

I’m not really here to write about my Squishy. I’m here to talk about a book! I’ve mentioned that I enjoy a little romance novel from time to time, right? One of my Certified Awesome compadres, Sarah of Sarah Says Read recommends Bet Me by Jennifer Crusie with a fair amount of frequency on her Top Ten Tuesday lists. Given her penchant for OutlanderI trust her taste in the romance department, so I decided to give it a shot.

Bet Me is the tale of an unlikely romance. Minerva Dobbs (who is second only to Minerva McGonagall on the list of Minervas who rock) is an actuary. She’s 33, not especially thin, and a rabid Elvis Prestley fan. One night she’s out at a bar with her girlfriends. Shortly after being dumped by her douchebag boyfriend David, she overhears David making a bet with a studly gent that he won’t be able to get the matronly Min in bed within a month.

Min may not be a fashion plate, but the girl is smart, and she’s got her pride. To spite her newly ex boyfriend, she takes Calvin (AKA the beastly dreamboat) up on his offer for dinner. Cal is successful and astonishingly good looking. Since Min knows he’s only with her to win a bet, she allows herself to let her guard down. She is honest, pithy, and has delightful taste in shoes (If you can rock a sandal with a goldfish on it? Get down with your bad self.) Calvin is not used to being so challenged by his lady loves and finds himself unexpectedly attracted to her.

betme

You guys. For a romance novel? I really liked this! I liked that it was unconventional. Yes, Minerva does get the “makeover” that’s so common in these tales. HOWEVER. Cal tells her that she dresses like she hates her body. Which is true. And I think that’s a trap a TON of curvy ladies fall into. Really, any woman who isn’t completely thrilled with her body can fall into this trap, no matter what size she wears. Confidence is what’s preached, not dieting, and that’s refreshing.

Also refreshing? This book was NOT just a series of bedroom escapades. I don’t necessarily have a problem with those sorts of books, but sometimes lingering looks and a handful of smoldering kisses are just as effective. I mean, HELLO, everyone loves Pride and Prejudice because it’s so swoony, and there’s nothing even remotely hanky panky like that goes on in Austenland. True, it is a little bit cheesy. It has some decidedly Julia Roberts movie undertones. But it’s charming enough that it makes up for the cheese factor. This would be a fabulous summer beach read! (Fair warning, you will really want chicken marsala and donuts after/during reading this. Worth it.)

So, Bookworms. Romance novels. Yay or Nay? Do you ever tread into these waters? Do you like a little romance or are you completely put off by the silliness that so often accompanies it? Do tell.

Divider

Jun 10

I'll See Your Romance Novel and Raise You a Chicken Marsala (Bet Me by Jennifer Crusie)

Chick Lit, Contemporary Fiction, Romance, Trashy Romance Novels 45

Woah! It’s Monday!

Ain’t that a kick in the teeth? It is for me, because I had last week off to staycation. It should come as no surprise that I spent many of my gloriously unencumbered hours devouring books. Oh yes. And visiting my nephew. He’s brand new and cuter than a son of a gun. Gratuitous Auntie photo!

I shall call him Squishy and he shall be mine. And he shall be my Squishy. (Seriously. I nicknamed my nephew Squishy. It's sticking.)

I shall call him Squishy and he shall be mine. And he shall be my Squishy. (Seriously. I nicknamed my nephew Squishy. It’s sticking.)

I’m not really here to write about my Squishy. I’m here to talk about a book! I’ve mentioned that I enjoy a little romance novel from time to time, right? One of my Certified Awesome compadres, Sarah of Sarah Says Read recommends Bet Me by Jennifer Crusie with a fair amount of frequency on her Top Ten Tuesday lists. Given her penchant for OutlanderI trust her taste in the romance department, so I decided to give it a shot.

Bet Me is the tale of an unlikely romance. Minerva Dobbs (who is second only to Minerva McGonagall on the list of Minervas who rock) is an actuary. She’s 33, not especially thin, and a rabid Elvis Prestley fan. One night she’s out at a bar with her girlfriends. Shortly after being dumped by her douchebag boyfriend David, she overhears David making a bet with a studly gent that he won’t be able to get the matronly Min in bed within a month.

Min may not be a fashion plate, but the girl is smart, and she’s got her pride. To spite her newly ex boyfriend, she takes Calvin (AKA the beastly dreamboat) up on his offer for dinner. Cal is successful and astonishingly good looking. Since Min knows he’s only with her to win a bet, she allows herself to let her guard down. She is honest, pithy, and has delightful taste in shoes (If you can rock a sandal with a goldfish on it? Get down with your bad self.) Calvin is not used to being so challenged by his lady loves and finds himself unexpectedly attracted to her.

betme

You guys. For a romance novel? I really liked this! I liked that it was unconventional. Yes, Minerva does get the “makeover” that’s so common in these tales. HOWEVER. Cal tells her that she dresses like she hates her body. Which is true. And I think that’s a trap a TON of curvy ladies fall into. Really, any woman who isn’t completely thrilled with her body can fall into this trap, no matter what size she wears. Confidence is what’s preached, not dieting, and that’s refreshing.

Also refreshing? This book was NOT just a series of bedroom escapades. I don’t necessarily have a problem with those sorts of books, but sometimes lingering looks and a handful of smoldering kisses are just as effective. I mean, HELLO, everyone loves Pride and Prejudice because it’s so swoony, and there’s nothing even remotely hanky panky like that goes on in Austenland. True, it is a little bit cheesy. It has some decidedly Julia Roberts movie undertones. But it’s charming enough that it makes up for the cheese factor. This would be a fabulous summer beach read! (Fair warning, you will really want chicken marsala and donuts after/during reading this. Worth it.)

So, Bookworms. Romance novels. Yay or Nay? Do you ever tread into these waters? Do you like a little romance or are you completely put off by the silliness that so often accompanies it? Do tell.

Divider

May 07

Shiny, Happy Bookworms Holding Hands (Top Ten Tuesday)

Chick Lit, Children's Fiction, Classics, Fantasy, Humor, Memoirs 50

Greetings my dear Bookworms!

The lovely ladies of The Broke and The Bookish are hosting yet another fabulous Top Ten Tuesday. This week, they’ve asked us to list books we read when we need something light and fun. I’ve compiled a list of books that satisfy my craving for literary cotton candy. Without further ado…

toptentuesday

1. The Devil Wears Prada by Lauren Weisenberger. I love a little chick lit when I’m down and out. This book helps put things in perspective, because there’s basically NO WAY any boss could be this bad in real life. It’s great for the “thank HEAVEN that isn’t me” giggle.

2. The Nanny Diaries by Emma McLaughlin. Yes, more chick lit. If you’ve ever babysat in your life (and really, who hasn’t?!) you’ll find the humor in this book. It’s funny and poignant, and it’ll turn your frown upside down. Rich people are so weird, and if you’re the 99 percent, you’ll love it. (If you’re the one percent, you need to explain to me what the deal is with lavender water…)

3. Mr. Popper’s Penguins by Richard & Florence Atwater. This shouldn’t surprise anyone. How can you not be happy when you read this? It’s joyous and delightful and full of PENGUINS! Now that I’ve met a penguin in real life, I’m concerned about the hygiene aspect of keeping non house-trainable penguins in one’s home, but I’m willing to overlook it. For the sake of FUN, obviously.

IMG_0243

4. Daisy Fay and The Miracle Man by Fannie Flagg. Fannie Flagg is the BEST at heartwarming stories with a southern twang. I will accept all kinds of cheesy if it comes from  Ms. Flagg, she’s a treat. Daisy Fay cracked me up, particularly for a silly scenario involving a beauty pageant. Having once been in a pageant scholarship program, stories like this tickle me. Anyone seen Drop Dead Gorgeous? Hilariousness.

5. Harry Potter by JK Rowling. Very few things are able to cheer me up the way Harry Potter can. Even when things are at their most dire and tragic, Rowling always finds a way to make these stories uplifting and wonderful. Escapism at its finest!

6. Bridget Jones’s Diary by Helen Fielding. True story- I loved Bridget so much, that my college roommate (Quirky Chrissy) and I named our houseplants after characters in the book. Bridget is the ultimate every woman. Wine. Chocolate. Humor. Love. Happiness!

7. Bossypants by Tina Fey. I like reading about funny actresses, and Bossypants is one of my favorites. Fey approaches her life story with humor, grace, and humility. I want her to come to my slumber party!

Even the cover is funny. Tina Fey with man hands!

Even the cover is funny. Tina Fey with man hands!

8. Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Meby Mindy Kaling. That magical slumber party where Tina Fey is in attendance? So is Mindy Kaling! I love her so much. She’s sort of Bridget Jones if she were Indian, hilarious, and had her life together. Meaning, she’s a cool funny lady who doesn’t wear a size 2 and is likely well versed in the frivolities that make life worth living. (If you’re not watching her new show, The Mindy Project, you’re missing out on some good times.)

9. The Sookie Stackhouse Series by Charlaine Harris. Sexy vampires, sexy werewolves, sexy telepaths, sexy fairies… Fun supernatural times on the bayou (actually, it’s just in Louisiana. I’m not sure that counts as on the bayou because I think that’s a geological swamp thing that probably doesn’t encompass the whole state. However. This is about crazy supernatural fun, not geology. Also, I like saying “bayou.”) New book to finish out the series is on the horizon. Anyone else looking forward to it (and looking past the fact that the last few books have been somewhat lackluster?)

10. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland & Through The Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll. I can’t help but smile while reading this. It’s the very definition of whimsy! Word play plus nostalgia plus tea equals pure delight.

IMG_5131

Hey shiny, happy Bookworms- what are your top picks for light and fluffy reads?

Divider

May 06

The Best of Us, For the Rest of Us (Not to be confused with Festivus)

Chick Lit, Family, Friendship, Romance 36

Howdy Bookworms,

It’s a Monday, and let’s face it… I’d rather be on a beach. As luck would have it, I was offered a new title to review from Netgalley that is set in Jamaica. While visions of sand, surf, and fruity cocktails dance in your head, I’ll go ahead with my full disclosure statement. I may sound like a broken record, but here it goes again. I received this book free of charge from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

The Best of Us by Sarah Pekkanen is about a group of friends from college who take a trip to Jamaica to celebrate one of their 35th birthdays. You know how every group of friends has that one internet billionaire who randomly calls his friends from 15 years ago and offers them free vacations? Oh you don’t? Yeah me neither. But. Let’s suspend disbelief for a moment and live in book land. If we can accept boy wizards and the occasional dragon, we can get down with the filthy rich.

bestofus

Dwight the billionaire and his wife Pauline decide to treat Dwight’s college buddies to a week long Jamaican vacation complete with private plane and fancy chef. Their motley crew of guests is comprised of 3 couples, or at least it’s supposed to be. First, there’s Tina, an overwhelmed stay at home mother of four young children and her overly macho husband Gio. Next we have Allie, Tina’s BFF. Allie is a social worker with two daughters and a seemingly flawless marriage to her easy going husband Ryan. Finally there’s Savannah. Savannah has recently split up from her two timing doctor husband Gary, but doesn’t want to reveal that to the group. Instead she claims Gary is working, and she prances around in very little clothing and hits on every male in the general  vicinity.

What follows during the week in tropical paradise puts all kinds of relationships to the test. Friendships, marriages, and the all important relationship between the really rich people and the help. Actually, it’s not at all about the help, but I’m still astounded by the lives of the rich and important. Who has this much money?! Seriously!

You're absolutely right. I DO have a penguin butler. I should simmer down on the wealth jealousy.

You’re absolutely right. I DO have a penguin butler. I should simmer down on the wealth jealousy. Alfred doesn’t approve of hypocrisy.

Okay guys. Honesty here. This book was not my favorite. It was a bit heavy on the melodrama for my tastes. I think part of my problem was a lack of connection with the characters, and that’s on me more than it is on the author. Of the four women in the novel, I didn’t see any representation of myself or my circumstances. I don’t  have kids, so it was difficult for me to relate to the plight of Tina, the SAHM. The way Allie chose to handle her personal demons isn’t an approach I would have taken- keeping secrets to “protect” people seems counter productive to me. Pauline was really uptight and came from old money, so she hid her feelings pretty well, which I ALSO don’t get because my heart is forever out on my sleeve. I’m a crier, okay?!  Savannah used her sexuality in a way that made me uncomfortable. I’m kind of a prude, and it bugged me that she was so open in her flirtations and was scantily clad all the time. It’s hard for me to connect with a book when I don’t empathize with the characters.

Also. Gio. I’m not sure what Pekkenan was going for, but he felt like a caricature to me. He’s Italian and super Catholic and has a breadwinner complex. Tina seems miserable as a stay at home mom, and it’s unclear to me whose decision it was that she stay home- it felt to me like Gio may have pushed that traditional ideal on her. (Don’t get me wrong- if you’re a SAHM and CHOSE that path for yourself, more power to you. I just got the feeling that Tina was kind of forced into it and that pissed me off.) He also gets competitive when faced with the massively wealthy Dwight and tries to childishly beat him at basketball and pinball. It’s hard to draw a clear line between cultural differences and flat out stereotypes, but Gio. I just don’t know about that guy. I LIKE flawed characters, but I just couldn’t get into this set of flaws.

HOWEVER. Just because I didn’t like this book, doesn’t mean you won’t. I would recommend this title to people who enjoy reading about marital strife, the complexities of friendship, drool worthy vacations and neatly packaged endings. If you’re a stay at home mom who is conflicted about her choices, you might just feel like Tina is your soul mate. Maybe you are an internet guru with an outlandish amount of money and would appreciate reading about your personal lifestyle in fictional form. I don’t know. Books are so often a matter of perspective. This didn’t suit mine, but it might just put the rum in your hurricane.

Bookworms, I must know. Do you feel the need to relate to and/or empathize with a character in order to enjoy a book, or are you able to appreciate it for its aesthetic virtues from a distance? I’m basically asking if I’m a giant jerk got not liking this book on shallow grounds. What are your thoughts?

Divider