Tag Archives: Chick Lit

Mad about the Boy — Helen Fielding

24 Nov

aboutboy

 

Publisher: Knopf Canada
Released: October 15th, 2015
Genre: Contemp, chick-lit
Source: Second hand copy purchased

 

Bridget Jones is back!

Great comic writers are as rare as hen’s teeth. And Helen is one of a very select band who have created a character of whom the very thought makes you smile. Bridget Jones’ Diary charting the life of a 30-something singleton in London in the 1990s was a huge international bestseller, published in 40 countries and selling over 15 million copies worldwide. Its sequel, Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason, published soon after was also a major international bestseller. Both were made into films starring Renée Zellweger, Hugh Grant and Colin Firth.

Set in the present, the new novel will explore a different phase in Bridget’s life with an entirely new scenario. As Helen Fielding has said: “If people laugh as much reading it as I am while writing it then we’ll all be very happy.”

From Goodreads
When this book was first announced, fans such as myself were over the moon giggley about getting to have another glimpse into the Bridget Jones world. Then the publisher unleashed their marketing campaign and gave away a MAJOR spoiler that pretty much pissed off most fans. I wasn’t upset with the spoiler, but I was really upset that something was given away. So I stayed away from reading the book.

I found it recently at a yard sale or flea market or somewhere (seriously, when you buy as many books as I do you lose track of where you’ve bought them) and decided to give it a read. And I really really liked it. I think I would have liked it more if I hadn’t known about THE BIG SPOILER but it was still an enjoyable read.
This is a light read with tendrils of seriousness wrapping around the reader every once in a while. Bridget is still Bridget and it’s hilarious (and sometimes awkward) to watch her trying to survive a new period in her life. She’s still awkward and she still wears her heart on her sleeve, but she’s gone through some shit and it has changed her a bit. There’s more depth to the character and I really, really like that.
There’s one part of the plot that is so obvious from the get go that i’s a bit of a roll your eyes kind of thing. I think it’s supposed to be a twist but it so isn’t. Or maybe it’s supposed to be super clear to anyone observing, but Bridget is completely oblivious. Either way, this part of the book fell a bit flat to me. I do think fans of the first two books will enjoy this third instalment, though. It was a quick read and I’m really happy I finally gave it a go.

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The Work Boyfriend — Deanna McFadden

3 Sep

workboyfriend

 

Publisher:Farringdon Road Books
Released: December 19th, 2014
Genre: Chick-lit
Source: Purchased eBook

 

What happens when the life you have isn’t the one you want…

Kelly has a great life. The kind of life people wish for, in fact. She has an upwardly-mobile career, and a stable, loving relationship with her college boyfriend, Rob. At this very moment, anyone looking in from the outside would see her life moving in exactly the right direction.

Except, the path in front of her might not be the way for Kelly at all, and the only person who gets this is her “work boyfriend” Garrett. He’s the one who really gets how trapped she feels.

And then everything spirals out of control during the holidays, and when Kelly should be celebrating the future, she finds herself questioning what she really wants from her life . . . and who she wants in it.

From Goodreads

 

I can be very picky about my chick-lit. I’m okay with romance but it can’t be the main purpose of the book. The female lead has to be relatable. And the plot has to be engaging, not cliche. Thankfully The Work Boyfriend has all these things and then some.

What a smart, smart read! Just awesome. The writing is snappy and the dialogue just flows.  None of the characters are stereotypical and I found Kelly very relatable, even though I am nowhere near where she is in life. I think the reason for this is because her insecurities about life, and whether she should do what she’s supposed to do or what will make her happy, is something that a lot of us struggle with.

OMG the ending. I don’t want to give anything away, but the ending made me want to give the author a hug. It’s unexpected but so real and made perfect sense for the story and Kelly. It was perfect.

If you enjoy a smart story with relatable characters, then The Work Boyfriend is right up your alley. I look forward to reading more from McFadden.

Dance, Gladys, Dance – Cassie Stocks

3 Jul

Publisher: NeWest Press
Released: March 22th, 2010
Genre: adult fiction, chick-lit
Review copy from publisher

27-year-old Frieda Zweig is at an impasse. Behind her is a string of failed relationships and half-forgotten ambitions of being a painter; in front of her lies the dreary task of finding a real job and figuring out what “normal” people do with their lives. Then, a classified ad in the local paper introduces Frieda to Gladys, an elderly woman who long ago gave up on her dreams of being a dancer.

The catch? Gladys is a ghost.

From NeWest Press website

Please don’t ask me what genre this book is. I know, I know, if you look up above I’ve got it down as “chick-lit” and the even more ambiguous and confusing term “adult fiction”.  But I really just put those there because I had to have something. I could also add comedy, mystery, ghost story…… Cuz Dance, Gladys, Dance is all of those things. And they all combined to make a wonderful, heartwarming, funny, sad, touching and realistic story.

Anyone who has chosen a different life path and struggles with that decision from time to time is going to be able to identify strongly with Frieda and what she’s going through. I think there are lots of us (especially women) who struggle to design a “normal” life, only to realize it really isn’t for them. And that’s a strong theme throughout the book. The fact that society tries so hard to tell us what we should be doing as adults, what’s normal and what’s acceptable. What it all comes down to is you have to do what makes you happy and what makes you comfortable in your own skin. Some people achieve this early in life while others take a bit longer to get there.

Frieda isn’t the only one struggling to find herself and really decide what she wants in life. There are a slew of characters, all at different ages and stages of their life, who aren’t quite sure if they’re doing it right.  I really enjoyed meeting these characters and watching them evolve. I also love that someone who, at first glance, seemed like a tertiary character, ended up being essential to the plot and Frieda’s story.

I wasn’t quite sure how the ghostie angle was going to work, but I loved it. While at times it offered a bit of comedic relief, Gladys tells her life story and in doing so helps Frieda.  The ghost angle could have been weird and over-the-top, but it wasn’t. It fit in perfectly with some of the other plot lines.

The writing was quick and snappy, particularly the dialogue. In fact, some of the dialogue reminded me of the dialogue in Gilmore Girls. If you know me, you know that’s pretty much the highest praise I can give.  The dialogue made me smile a lot and I could definitely picture it on the big screen.

I think anyone who enjoys a serious story with some humour in it and characters that turn out to be perfect in their imperfection will love Dance, Gladys, Dance. I know I did.

GIVEAWAY

I have one copy of Dance, Gladys, Dance to one lucky Canadian reader. All you have to do is comment below and tell me what you’re reading now. Contest will be over July 10th, 11:59 EST.

Re-review & Giveaway – Arranged -Catherine McKenzie

15 May


Publisher:
William Morrow Paperbacks (HarperCollins)
Released: May 15th, 2012 (U.S. release)
Genre: Chick-lit, general fiction
Review copy from publisher

Anne Blythe is lucky. She’s got a brand new book contract, a great newspaper job and a steadfast best friend, and she can land just about any man she sets her sights on — and the ones that appeal are typically tall, dark and handsome.

Problem is, the men she chooses never last. Shortly after yet another relationship goes down in flames, Anne comes across a card for what she believes is a dating service, and pockets it just in case. If she’s so unlucky in love, maybe she could use a little assistance. Then her best friend announces she’s engaged, and envy gets the better of Anne. Now’s the time, she decides, to give the service a try — and she is shocked to discover that what the company specializes in are exclusive, and pricey, arranged marriages. After learning of the company’s success rate, however, she overcomes her reluctance and signs on. After all, arranged marriages are the norm for millions of women around the world, and she’s not done so well selecting a mate on her own. So why not use a professional service that claims it can produce the perfect match?

Some time later, Anne is travelling to a Mexican resort, where in one short weekend she will meet and marry Jack, the man they have chosen for her. And against all odds, it seems to be working out, until Anne learns that Jack and the company who arranged their marriage are not what they seem at all.

From HarperCollins website.

First of all, I need to say a big HAPPY U.S. BOOK BIRTHDAY!!!!! to Catherine and Arranged. I was part of the Canadian launch and I am all giggly and smiley that I get to be a part of her U.S. launch, too. If you’ve been to my blog before, then you know how much I ADORE Catherine’s books and Catherine herself. And you know how much I like to stalk, er, promote my fave authors.

As you can tell from the post title, this is a re-review. And I’m happy to say I was as taken with Arranged as I was the first time I read it.  Reading it for the second time, one thing became very clear to me: Catherine is a master of quick, snappy dialogue. And not overly clever, sappy dialogue either. No, the dialogue in Arranged, to me, rang very true. It had that quick back and forth banter that I love. And she’s not afraid to drop the F bomb. At all. And as someone who could make a sailor blush, I appreciated that.

I like how Catherine really digs into the issue of looks and attraction, and how it isn’t always the best thing in the world when it comes to relationships. Since about grade 4 I kinda had a type, a weakness for redheads. In fact, my type was so particular that in university, when I brought home a boy I was dating, my parents sat me down afterwards and held an intervention because he looked so much like my ex, they thought at first we had gotten back together. When I met my husband, we corresponded on line first for about a week before we exchanged pictures. At that point we had hit it off so much, that when I found out he was pretty much bald, I didn’t give a hoot. If we had met in a bar or supermarket first would I have taken notice of him? Hard to say. I think that a lot of us are so attached to our type that we miss a lot of great opportunities with other, just like Anne.

I once again sat down to read Arranged and didn’t stop until I was finished. And I was a bit of a sobby mess at the ending, once again. Actually I found myself tearing up a few times. This says a lot about the book, the writing and the emotional attachment that I still felt on second read.

Oh, and a bit of a spoiler, but not a huge one: there’s a Gilmore Girls reference in Arranged. You have no idea how happy this made my heart. My other obsession, besides books, is The Gilmore Girls. And the episode Catherine mentions (season 4 finale) is one of my FAVES. 🙂

So, yeah, I still stand behind my original judgement that this is one kick-ass chit-lit book. If you’ve read either of Catherine’s other books, or are a fan of the genre, I can’t see how you wouldn’t love Arranged. And if you are curious about chick-lit, this book is a great place to start.

GIVEAWAY!

So, I have a copy of Arranged to give away to one lucky US winner, courtesy of HarperCollins in the U.S.. AND, since I’m a Canuck and I love all my Canadian readers, I’m going to be giving one lucky Canadian reader a copy (ordered from book depository). I like to keep things simple, so to enter all you have to do is comment below and tell me either your favorite Gilmore Girls episode or moment, your favorite rom-com moment or if you have a “type” when it comes to dating. Also mention in your comment of you are from the U.S. or Canada. The contest will close May 22nd, 11:59EST.

Spin – Catherine McKenzie

8 Feb

Kate’s To-Do List:

Go to rehab
Befriend/spy on “It Girl”
Write killer expose
Land dream job
Piece of cake!

When Kate Sandford lands an interview at her favorite music magazine, The Line, it’s the chance of a lifetime. So Kate goes out to celebrate—and shows up still drunk to the interview the next morning. It’s no surprise that she doesn’t get the job, but her performance has convinced the editors that she’d be perfect for an undercover assignment for their gossip rag. All Kate has to do is follow “It Girl” Amber Sheppard into rehab. If she can get the inside scoop—and complete the thirty-day program—they’ll reconsider her for the position at The Line. Kate takes the assignment, but when real friendships start to develop, she has to decide if what she has to gain is worth the price she’ll have to pay.

So, if you’ve been following my blog for a while, then you know I’ve already given Spin a glowing review when it was first released in Canada two years ago. But see, yesterday was the US launch of Spin (YAY!) so I wanted to reread it to see if I loved it as much as I did the first time. And you know what? I think I might have loved it even more.

There is nothing more satisfying than rereading a book a couple of years after you first read it and discovering that yes, it’s still just as yummy and awesome as it first was.  Because that’s not always the case.  but it definitely was with Spin.

Kate is so f— up that I couldn’t help but lover her. Because despite her many, MANY shortcomings, she had a good heart and I could see this even as she was basically ruining her life.  She was just so damn believable. There were times I just wanted to hug her, but then on the next page I wanted to reach into the book and give her a good shake. I felt invested in her from page one, which is a testament to McKenzie’s writing.

The people that she meets in rehab, even the minor ones, were just as beautifully written as Kate was. I really felt like I was getting to know them as Kate was. And Amber Sheppard could have easily been written as an over the top character. And while she did over the top things, she herself was grounded in the small things that she did and how she acted in certain situations.

There’s some romance in Spin, folks. Yes, romance. If you know me, you probably think that I’m rolling my eyes. Because I am not a fan of romance in books. But, here’s the thing: when it’s done well and it isn’t the main focus of the book, I kinda love it. And I LOVED the romantic elements in Spin. I won’t ruin anything for you, but there were moments that my heart was beating nervously along with Kate’s.

Chick lit, or women’s fiction, sometimes gets a bad rap for being light and fluffy and not great literature. But, like with any genre, when it’s done right and written as beautifully as Spin, then it’s amazing. And who really gives a fig what the genre is? Damn great literature is damn great literature regardless of the label slapped on it. And Spin? It made me sigh with unbelievable happiness when I finished it. And, like a favorite movie, I immediately wanted to start back at the beginning as soon as I finished it. I loved it THAT much.

Happy US launch of Spin Q & A

7 Feb

Yay!!! Today is the official US launch of Catherine McKenzie‘s Spin, one of my favorite books. I was part of the Canadian launch two years ago and I am so happy to be part of this launch, also. Tomorrow I’ll be re-reviewing Spin, but today I want to welcome Catherine to the blog again for another Q & A.

Lavender Lines: First, let me just say I am beyond excited to be taking part in this blog tour! Okay, now for the hard-hitting questions……..Can you tell us what you’re working on now?

Catherine: My next novel is called FORGOTTEN. It’s about a woman who inherits a trip to Africa when her mother dies. She’s supposed to be gone for a month, but gets stuck in a remote village when an earthquake hits the country. When she finally returns after six months, she discovers that everyone thinks that she has been dead, and her life is – obviously – a little chaotic. It’s coming out in May in Canada and August in the US.

Lavender Lines: Spin was released a couple of years ago in Canada to rave reviews (It was one of my fave books of 2010). Is this US release more nerve-wracking or are you an old pro at it now? 🙂

Catherine: Thank you again, for that! Made my week!

It’s funny, I have been thinking about this. In some ways I am an “old pro” in the sense that I’m used to the fact that not everyone is going to love my book and that’s life. On the other hand, the US is such a big market that it is pretty nerve-wracking to be honest. Harper US has put a lot of faith in me in deciding to publish all three of my books in one year and I hope that faith pays off!

Lavender Lines: Coffee or tea?

Catherine: Tea definitely. In fact, I don’t drink coffee! I know, weird right?

Lavender Lines: How much research went into Spin?

Catherine: There was definitely some, but I didn’t attend rehab or anything to do it. Mostly I researched rehab programs to find a structure that would work. I did research into AA to figure out what the steps we always hear about are supposed to mean. I had read some memoirs from people who had been to rehab before I wrote the book. I abstained while writing it, but then read a few more afterwards as a sort of “feel” check. I also discussed certain things about therapy with psychologists I know. Essentially, what I was going for was that it would be realistic enough to be a background for the story, but not the main focus of the story.

Lavender Lines: Where did the idea to write Spin come from?

Catherine: Years ago – and of course this is still going on – there were a lot of celebrities going in and out of rehab. The Paparazzi and regular press were going nuts, and stories were coming out about behaviour in rehab from fellow patients. I believe I was watching some news show – TMZ probably – and it was a scene of just all these journalists with their lenses trained on a rehab facility trying to get a shot. I remember being a little disgusted that it was going on & asking myself sarcastically “I wonder why they don’t just follow a celebrity into rehab?” My next thought was: What a great idea for a book! And so it goes 🙂

Lavender Lines: Thanks so much for stopping by and answering a few questions Catherine. Always appreciated.

Catherine: Thank you, Colleen! You’ve been such a super supporter over the years, and I really appreciate you having me back for my US launch.

The Thirteen – Susie Moloney

11 Jan

Haven Woods is suburban heaven, a great place to raise a family. It’s close to the city, quiet, with great schools and its own hospital right up the road. Property values are climbing. The streets are clean, people keep their yards really nicely. It’s fairly pet friendly, though barking dogs are not welcomed. The crime rate is practically non-existent, unless you count the odd human sacrifice, dismemberment, animal attack, demon rape and blood atonement. When Paula Wittmore goes home to Haven Woods to care for a suddenly ailing mother, she brings her daughter and a pile of emotional baggage. She also brings the last chance for twelve of her mother’s closest frenemies, who like to keep their numbers at thirteen. And her daughter, young, innocent, is a worthy gift to the darkness.

A circle of friends will support you through bad times. A circle of witches can drag you through hell.

Ah, what a delish read!

The Thirteen is the perfect combination of mystery, horror, paranormal and chick-lit. I mean, this book was kinda like Desperate Housewives on some major  ‘shrooms.  It was fast-paced and juicy and scary and full of Holy shit moments. And it wasn’t a deep book, which is a good thing as far as I’m concerned. This is the kind of book that you can get 100% wrapped up in, enjoying it simply for what it is: a Hell of a good read.

The whole time I was reading The Thirteen, I was picturing it as a movie. Moloney’s writing really made everything very vivid and the scenes just popped off the pages. The writing was witty and campy and there was just enough ew factor to make me happy. And I loved the whole everything is not what it seems angle. Kinda makes you look at your own neighbors a bit closer. 😀

Thanks to the folks at Random House Canada for the review copy.