Archive for the ‘chick lit’ Category

Review: Wedding Night – Sophie Kinsella

Wedding Night by Sophie Kinsella

Wedding Night by Sophie Kinsella
Publication date: 23 April 2013
Publisher: Dial Press
Format: Hardback
ISBN: 9780812993844
Length: 446 pages
Genre: Chick lit
Age group: Adult
Source: Won
Add it: Goodreads
Buy it: Amazon UK | The Book Depository
My rating: 3 Stars

Lottie just knows that her boyfriend is going to propose, but then his big question involves a trip abroad—not a trip down the aisle. Completely crushed, Lottie reconnects with an old flame, and they decide to take drastic action. No dates, no moving in together, they’ll just get married… right now. Her sister, Fliss, thinks Lottie is making a terrible mistake, and will do anything to stop her. But Lottie is determined to say “I do,” for better, or for worse.

I adore Sophie Kinsella. She’s one of those very few people whose work I’ve loved since my early teens and whose books go to the very top of my reading list the minute they are published. I’ve read every single one of her novels and, with the exception of one, I loved every one of them. She has a great sense of humour which is there in all of her books, and her characters always manage to grow on me. Needless to say, my expectations for this book were very high. But I didn’t love it. In fact, I was a little bit disappointed.

As I just mentioned, one of the reasons why I love her books so much is the fact that they’re unbelievably funny. And not just ‘make you smile’ funny, but ‘laugh-out-loud and silently choke to death on public transport while trying not to snort with laughter’ funny. Her main characters always remind me a little bit of Bridget Jones. Sometimes they’re a bit clumsy, in some ways we can all relate to them – and they’re all hilarious. Some of her stories are a bit far-fetched but that’s part of the package and it never really bothered me before.

But what I realised after reading one of her previous books, Remember Me? (the other one I didn’t really like) is that far-fetched stories like these can easily turn into ones that are over-the-top. I think – for me, at least – there’s a very fine line between the two and Wedding Night happened to fall into the latter category. It’s similar to how I feel about movies. You know comedies that are absolutely hilarious and make you literally cry with laughter? And then there are the ones that start out brilliantly but after a while the plot becomes a bit… forced and instead of being hilarious, the characters’ clumsiness and/or general behaviour just becomes unrealistic and off-putting? I’m pretty sure I’m not explaining this very well but that’s how I felt about this book. There’s only so much far-fetched plot you can take before you realise that a) it’s not even funny anymore and b) the reason why everything is so unrealistic and exaggerated is to make the book funnier but it’s not working.

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Review: The Wish List – Jane Costello

 The Wish List by Jane Costello

Title: The Wish List
Author: Jane Costello
Publication date: 11 April 2013
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 978-0-85720-556-8
Length: 481 pages
Genre: Chick lit
Age group: Adult
Source: Publisher
Add it: Goodreads
Buy it: Amazon UK | Amazon US | The Book Depository

Synopsis

There are six months left of Emma Reiss’s twenties. . . and she has some unfinished business.

Her career is all wrong, her love life is a desert and that penthouse apartment she pictured herself in simply never materialised. Moreover, she’s never jumped out of a plane, hasn’t met the man she’s going to marry, has never slept under the stars, or snogged anyone famous – just some of the aspirations on a list she and her friends compiled fifteen years ago.

So, as Emma hurtles towards her thirtieth birthday, she sets about addressing these issues. But, as she discovers with hilarious consequences, some of them are trickier to achieve than she’d thought…

My thoughts

The first thing that came to my mind when I read the first few chapters is why on earth have I not read any of Jane Costello’s books before? After several cringe-worthily predictable and dull chick lit books I read in the past few months, I was starting to wonder whether I’d ever find one which is genuinely entertaining and impossible to put down. Well, considering the fact that it’s been four days since I finished reading the book and some of the jokes (Mr Matt Itchypants Taylor, to name my favourite one) still make me laugh, and the fact that it was so gripping that I just had to stay up until half past one in the morning two nights in a row, I guess we can say The Wish List ticks both these boxes.

Possibly the main reasons why I loved this book so much is the main character’s personality. I just loved Emma. If I had to describe her, I would say she’s a bit like Bridget Jones or Becky Bloomwood from Sophie Kinsella’s Shopaholic series, two characters I absolutely adore, by the way. She’s just as clumsy as Bridget and just as sarcastic and funny as Becky, the combination of which makes for a brilliant and entertaining story. Another thing that makes it as good as it is is the fact that Emma’s friends are so relatable and well-written. They’re not shallow or two-dimensional at all. Quite the opposite, in fact. It’s not just about Emma either. They all have their own little sub-plots within the story and you actually do feel for them and want them to succeed and be happy. Or at least that’s how I felt, especially about Asha.

And if being hilarious and making me laugh out loud God knows how many times throughout the story wasn’t enough, I should also add what both Hannah and myself found great about the book: short chapters. Oh, how I love them. I’m quite a slow reader so long chapters always make me feel as if I’m not making any progress. Short ones, however, result in me not being able to put the book down and staying up until the crack of dawn with a stupid grin on my face, congratulating myself for reading so much. Big thumbs up for short chapters!

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Review: Meet Me Under the Mistletoe – Abby Clements

Cover of Meet Me Under the Mistletoe by Abby Clements

Title: Meet Me Under the Mistletoe
Author: Abby Clements
Publication date: October 25, 2012
Publisher: Quercus
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 978-1-78087-662-7
Length: 362 pages
Genre: Chick lit
Age group: Adult
Source: Publisher
Add it: Goodreads
Buy it: Amazon US | Amazon UK | The Book Depository

Synopsis

Childhood friends Laurie and Rachel used to be inseparable – but their lives have taken very different paths since they picked up their A-level results together. Now thirty-five, they have all but fallen out of touch; glamorous single girl Laurie is based in London and dedicated to her career in fashion; Rachel seemingly living the family idyll in Yorkshire.

But when Rachel’s mother-in-law needs urgent treatment in London, and disasters at work and in her love life mean Laurie needs to flee, a house swap falls into place. Soon gentle Rachel is far from the village bake sales, braving the city’s mean streets while trying to keep her marriage and family together; while Laurie attempts to work an Aga, befriend the wary village locals – and forget the man who seems intent on breaking her heart. Will their relationships survive this test? And will they make it home for Christmas?

My thoughts

If you’re looking for an easy and charming read for the Christmas season, look no further – Meet Me Under the Mistletoe, Abby Clements’s debut novel, will definitely put you in the Christmas spirit. It’s a light and entertaining read that would make a perfect Christmas present or a great read the week before Christmas Day. Even though it’s only October and snow, Christmas trees and fairy lights are still nowhere to be seen, Laurie and Rachel’s story made me feel like I was sitting in fire-lit living room with the lingering smell of cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg filling the air. On top of a witty storyline, the book has a festive, cheerful atmosphere which I really enjoyed.

While lots books from this genre tend to be quite predictable, I was relieved to find that Meet Me Under the Mistletoe is not one of them. There are so many chick lit books out there (usually about love triangles) where you can figure out the ending before the book has even started but Clements’s book was definitely a pleasant surprise. The plot was very well written, full of twists and turns and I seriously couldn’t predict what would happen next. The characters are likeable, the plot is original and very enjoyable and I’m not exaggerating when I say I read it in one day. Also, in addition to the fact that the book has a stunning (and very sparkly) cover which I absolutely adore, it also includes two bonus Christmas recipes that are featured in the story. How creative is that?

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Review: Mammy Walsh’s A-Z of the Walsh Family – Marian Keyes

Cover of Mammy Walsh's A-Z of the Walsh Family by Marian Keyes

Title: Mammy Walsh’s A-Z of the Walsh Family
Author: Marian Keyes
Publication date: 27 August, 2012
Publisher: Penguin Books
Format: Ebook
ASIN: B008PS0I6K
Length: 67 pages
Genre: Women’s fiction
Age group: Adult
Source: Purchased
Add it: Goodreads
Buy it: Amazon US | Amazon UK

Synopsis

For all fans eagerly awaiting Marian Keyes’ new novel The Mystery of Mercy Close – featuring Helen Walsh and out in September 2012 – here is an irresistible ebook-only guide to everyone’s favourite dysfunctional Irish family, Mammy Walsh’s A–Z of the Walshes.

My thoughts

As a huge fan of both the Walsh family and Marian herself, Mammy Walsh’s A-Z of the Walsh Family was a definite must-read for me. With The Mystery of Mercy Close‘s release day only a fortnight away, Mammy Walsh’s book is perfect for those who – just like myself – are anxiously waiting for Helen’s story.

With only 67 pages, the book is not a long read – it’s short enough for you to read in one sitting (curled up in bed, with a cup of tea in hand) after a long and exhausting day at work. It’s exactly what the synopsis says – it’s basically an A-Z list of things that are somehow relevant to the Walsh clan, including the five daughters’ relationship with alcohol, Mammy Walsh’s take on fake tan, cooking, eejit sticks (oh, how I wish they were real!), Helen’s shovel list, G-strings, real men and false goodbyes. Mammy Walsh -who, along with Mr Walsh, is one of my favourites from the previous Walsh family books – is such an entertaining character and I’m glad she finally has her own book.

It’s quite difficult to talk about it without giving too much away but trust me when I say it’s utterly hilarious. Mammy Walsh’s A-Z of the Walsh Family had me roaring with laughter and reminded me of why I fell in love with Marian’s stories and all the craziness that goes on in the Walsh household all those years ago. Fans of women’s fiction, brace yourselves. Marian is back!

Teaser

There’s this woman I know from bridge, Mona Hopkins, a lovely woman she is, even if I must admit I’m not that keen on her myself, and she said a great thing the other day. I was expecting her to say “Two no trumps,” but instead she comes out with a saying about her children. She says, “Boys wreck your house and girls wreck your head.” Isn’t that a marvellous bit of wisdom – “Boys wreck your house and girls wreck your head!” And God knows it’s the truest thing I’ve heard in a long time. I should know. I have five girls. Five daughters. And let me tell you, my head is wrecked from them.Although, now that I think of it, so is my house . . .”


Rating:
5 star rating

Review: A Message to Your Heart – Niamh Greene

Cover of A Message to Your Heart by Niamh Greene

Title: A Message to Your Heart
Author: Niamh Greene
Publication date: May 30, 2012
Publisher: Penguin Ireland
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 978-1-844-88261-8
Length: 357 pages
Genre: Chick lit
Age group: Adult
Source: Publisher
Add it: Goodreads
Buy it: Amazon US | Amazon UK | The Book Depository

Synopsis

Frankie Rowley is far too practical to believe in karma or fate…

Work-obsessed Frankie is also far too busy to spend time with her family or friends. They all reckon the strongest relationship she has is with her phone. (And why not? At least it never judges her when she cancels dinner for the millionth time.) So when she loses that precious phone on a crucial business trip to San Francisco, Frankie is beside herself – her life was on it.

Sure, Frankie can make and take calls on a hired phone, but it’s not the same. This new phone isn’t a part of her like the old one. And the last straw is when she starts getting texts meant for someone else – someone called Aimee. This Aimee seems like a lot of fun, and clearly her family loves to keep in touch, but why is Frankie getting her messages?

Bad enough that she has lost her old phone, but now Frankie is supposed to share her new one with some stranger. Frankie goes on the warpath, but she is in for some surprises when she blunders into Aimee’s life. And the biggest surprise of all is how your life can be changed for ever by losing a phone.

Frankie may not believe in karma or faith, but suddenly they seem to believe in her…

My thoughts

Even though I have a copy of the Secret Diary of a Demented Housewife – one of Niamh Greene’s earlier books – I haven’t managed to read it yet. So when I received A Message to Your Heart, I had no idea what to expect. The story itself reminded me a little bit of Sophie Kinsella’s I’ve Got Your Number but it turned out to be completely different. However, it is an entertaining and a very uplifting read – if you like this genre and you’re looking for a quick summer read then it is definitely something you must add to your reading list.

If I had to pick one thing I enjoyed the most in this book then I would say the setting and the way San Francisco is described in the story. At the end of the book the author mentions that she spent some time living in San Francisco and in this novel she tried to give a sense of what this city meant to her – and she really managed to get her message across. I’ve been fascinated by this place ever since I read Meg Donohue’s How to Eat a Cupcake and the two books are quite similar in this respect. Both of them are very atmospheric and they’re guaranteed to make you feel as if you were there, sitting on the balcony of a small Italian restaurant in the dazzling sunshine, eating pizza and sipping a glass of wine.

As for the characters, I think Frankie, with her slightly sarcastic attitude and Irish humour, makes a great narrator. Take Frankie – a workaholic and tiny bit impatient literary agent whose only hope for saving her agency is signing a book deal with a writer called Ian -, add a stubborn and eccentric writer called Ian who’s afraid to step outside his comfort zone and who’s like a big kid, and spice it up with the world’s clumsiest PA named Helen and you know you’re in for a funny adventure!

The only thing I wasn’t particularly fond of is the fact that the story can be quite predictable at times. Aimee’s story is a nice touch and I love the mystery element in the novel but as soon as it turns out who’s behind these unknown messages and why they’re texting Frankie instead of Aimee, it’s quite easy to predict where the story is going and what’s going to happen next.

Other than that, it’s a nice summer read filled with down-to-earth characters, beautiful setting and more importantly, humour – it’s definitely one of those books that you can read in your garden with a cup of tea (or a glass of wine) in hand on a bright summer day. If you’re looking for a book to take on holiday, A Message to Your Heart is a must-have.

Teaser

“In another corner there’s a playground where children are pushing each other energetically on the swings and scrambling up and down the slide. How easy everything is when you’re a kid – the worst that can happen is that your best friend can go higher on the swing than you. If only the rest of life was so straightforward.”

 

Rating:
3 star rating
*Thank you to Penguin Ireland and Niamh Greene for sending me a review copy of this book*

Review: Build a Man – Talli Roland

Cover of The Look by Sophia Bennett

Title: Build a Man (Serenity Holland #1)
Author: Talli Roland
Publication date: November 5th, 2011
Publisher: Notting Hill Press
Format: Ebook
ISBN: 9781475081961
Length: 352 pages
Genre: Chick lit
Age group: Adult
Source: Won
Add it: Goodreads
Buy it: Amazon US | Amazon UK | The Book Depository

The perfect man is out there . . . he just needs a little work.

Slave to the rich, rude and deluded, cosmetic surgery receptionist Serenity Holland longs for the day she’s a high-flying tabloid reporter. Unfortunately, every pitch she sends out disappears like her clients’ liposuctioned fat, never to be seen again. Then she meets Jeremy Ritchie — the hang-dog man determined to be Britain’s Most Eligible Bachelor by making himself over from head to toe and everything in between — giving Serenity a story no editor could resist.

With London’s biggest tabloid on board and her very own column tracking Jeremy’s progress from dud to dude, Serenity is determined to be a success, even going undercover to gain intimate access to Jeremy’s life. But when Jeremy’s surgery goes drastically wrong and Serenity is ordered to cover all the car-crash goriness, she must decide how far she really will go for her dream job.

When I won a copy of Talli Roland’s book a while ago, I just couldn’t hide my excitement. After reading her Christmas novella Miracle at the Museum of Broken Hearts, she soon became one of my soon-to-be favourites. I had really high expectations about this book and I have to say, Build a Man didn’t disappoint.

What I love about Talli’s stories -in this book in particular – is that they are incredibly optimistic. Not in a “let’s all be happy” and everything is pink and wonderful way because they are also quite emotional and touching but in terms of the ending and moving on. You just don’t feel bad when the story ends – you feel reassured that life goes on and everything will be all right.

The characterisation was great! Serenity is definitely someone who you just can’t associate yourself or sympathise with. She’s working as a receptionist at her boyfriend’s clinic but it’s obvious that she’s a, she’s over-skilled for this job and b, she’s bored out of her skull all day long. On top of that we have Peter, her boyfriend AND her boss (which always a bad combination, mind you), who’s a workaholic and cares more about his cat Smitty than his own girlfriend. And he couldn’t be any more different from Serenity’s laid-back personality. I wouldn’t like to give too much away but I can tell you, it’s going to cause a few problems.

The story itself is really fast paced which is great – believe me, there’s never a dull moment. The only thing I didn’t enjoy that much -and in fact the reason why I’m “only” giving this book 4 stars- was repetition. You see, both Serenity and Peter work at this clinic – they work together, and they live together. So there came a time in the book where all I remembered reading was “we went to the clinic…we closed up and went home.” And the same thing happens every day. They get up, they go to the clinic, they close up, go home. I know Serenity’s life was dull and due to the fact that Peter was a workaholic, they didn’t even see each other during working hours and when they got home, he was too tired to do anything but watch telly and sleep. The going to-and-fro work bit was just a bit repetitive for me, that’s all. The good news is, even if you find this work routine a bit monotonous, you’ll completely forget about it by the time you reach the second half of the novel and you get utterly absorbed in what’s going on and what’s going to happen.

All in all, I really enjoyed Build a Man – it has the right combination of humour, emotion and optimism – it will make you laugh, make you emotional and most importantly, fill you with hope. Serenity’s character really grew on me throughout the story and I’m very curious to see where her life is heading so I will definitely be adding book #2 (Construct a Couple) to my wishlist! If you like chick lit or contemporary romance, do pick it up – it’s worth it!! :)

Rating:

Review: I’ve Got Your Number – Sophie Kinsella

Cover of I've Got Your Number by Sophie Kinsella

Title: I’ve Got Your Number
Author: Sophie Kinsella
Publication date: February 14, 2012
Publisher: Bantam Press (Transworld Publishers)
Format: Ebook
ISBN: 9780385342063
Length: 448 pages
Genre: Chick lit / Romance
Age group: Adult
Source: Netgalley
Add it: Goodreads
Buy it: Amazon US | Amazon UK | The Book Depository

I’ve lost it. The only thing in the world I wasn’t supposed to lose. My engagement ring. It’s been in Magnus’s family for three generations. And now, the very same day his parents are coming, I’ve lost it. The very same day. Do not hyperventilate Poppy. Stay positive!!

Poppy Wyatt has never felt luckier. She is about to marry the ideal man, Magnus Tavish, but in one afternoon her ‘happy ever after’ begins to fall apart. Not only has she lost her engagement ring but in the panic that followed, she has now lost her phone. As she paces shakily round the hotel foyer she spots an abandoned phone in a bin. Finders keepers! Now she can leave a number for the hotel to contact her when they find her ring. Perfect! Well, perfect except the phone’s owner, businessman Sam Roxton doesn’t agree. He wants his phone back and doesn’t appreciate Poppy reading all his messages and wading into his personal life.

What ensues is a hilarious and unpredictable turn of events as Poppy and Sam increasingly upend each other’s lives through emails and text messages. As Poppy juggles wedding preparations, mysterious phone calls and hiding her left hand from Magnus and his parents… she soon realises that she is in for the biggest surprise of her life.

I had no doubts about whether I would like this book or not since Kinsella has been one of my favourite authors for many years, but she managed to WOW me once again. You think you’ve seen it all before? Well, brace yourself – you’re in for another treat!

There’s literally nothing Sophie Kinsella cannot do. I picked up I’ve Got Your Number the other night, thinking I’d read a few pages before going to bed. Three hours and 130 pages later I was still clutching my Kindle, not wanting to let go. I swear I say this every time I finish one of her books but this has to be my favourite novel of hers so far. Well, maybe it’s a tie between this one and Twenties Girl, I don’t know. All I know is, it’s unputdownable.

I’m trying not to sound like an obsessed fangirl here (and failing miserably) but it really is that good. There’s a bit of a similarity between her books in terms of characters and plot but do you know what? I don’t even care. Poppy is an entertaining protagonist who, along with Sam, makes this book as good as it is. If you’ve read Kinsella’s novels before then you know what to expect: a laugh-out-loud plot, witty and funny characters, laughter, and some tears along the way. There’s only a few authors who manage to make me smile and cry at the same time and Kinsella is one of them.

Character-wise, I would say Poppy and Sam were my two favourites. Poppy is a bit clumsy, someone who tends to feel inferior to others and rarely dares to stand up for herself and confront other people, even if she’s right. I loved how much she changed by the end of the novel. Sam is your typical businessman who has confidence, power, but at the same time, some of his comments just made me laugh out loud – and as it turns out, there’s a more vulnerable side to him as well.

As for the plot, all I’m going to say is that it’s brilliant. It’s full of twists and turns and I almost never say this but I wouldn’t mind if there was a sequel to this book. You know that feeling when you find a really good book and by the time you finish it, it’s as if you had to say goodbye to your best friends? That’s how I feel about Poppy and Sam, and Kinsella’s characters in general. I just didn’t want the story to end.

I would strongly recommend this book to anyone who’s looking for an entertaining read or a swoon-worthy romance – I guarantee you won’t be disappointed. It’s another masterpiece from the ‘Queen of Chick Lit’ – simply perfect. I just can’t praise this enough. Do pick it up and you’ll see I’m right. :)

Rating:
*Thank you to Netgalley and Random House for sending me a review copy of this book*