Archive for the ‘Chick Lit’ Category

Review of Another Piece of My Heart, by Jane Green

Friday, August 2nd, 2013

Another Piece of My Heart

by Jane Green

Macmillan Audiobooks, 2012. 11 CDs, 13.5 hours.

Another Piece of My Heart is chick lit for grown-ups, which I suppose I should give the label “women’s fiction.” The story begins with a woman who got married late in life and is dealing with facing the fact that she’s not going to get pregnant. Add to her troubles a truly awful teenage stepdaughter, and she’s not sure if she’s going to be able to stick it out, even though she loves her husband.

The story continues with more perspectives, including the stepdaughter, and even the view of the alcoholic first wife. There are complications when Emily, the stepdaughter, gets pregnant.

This audiobook was read by the author. Since the author has a British accent but the book is set in California, that seemed a little odd — but I am never one to complain about a British accent, and listening to the author’s delightful voice kept me listening toward the beginning when I wasn’t sure I was terribly interested. (That was a brief moment toward the beginning when I was afraid the main character was going to cheat on her husband. She didn’t, and I never was tempted to quit again.)

In spots the book did go on a little longer than it might have. But overall, it was a richly layered story about what it means to be a family and about the negotiations that go into giving your heart.

Buy from Amazon.com

Find this review on Sonderbooks at: www.sonderbooks.com/Fiction/another_piece_of_my_heart.html

Disclosure: I am an Amazon Affiliate, and will earn a small percentage if you order a book on Amazon after clicking through from my site.

Source: This review is based on an Advance Listening Copy I got at an ALA conference.

Disclaimer: I am a professional librarian, but I maintain my website and blogs on my own time. The views expressed are solely my own, and in no way represent the official views of my employer or of any committee or group of which I am part.

Please use the comments if you’ve read the book and want to discuss spoilers!

Review of A Week in Winter, by Maeve Binchy

Thursday, April 11th, 2013

A Week in Winter

by Maeve Binchy

Alfred A. Knopf, New York, 2013. 326 pages.
Starred Review

Maeve Binchy died in July 2012, shortly after finishing this book. I’m so glad to read it, but so sorry to know it’s the last. Like all her books, A Week in Winter is a warm and cozy read that looks right into people’s hearts and lets us see intertwined lives touching one another.

A Week in Winter doesn’t have the punch of some of Maeve Binchy’s books, but it’s a warm and friendly way to say farewell. The book starts with Chicky who grew up in Stoneybridge, on the Irish coast, and ran off to America with a boy who came for the summer.

Chicky’s family thinks she’s a wicked fool to run away with him. So Chicky doesn’t tell them what’s really happening:

She wrote home week after week and believed in the fairy tale more and more. She started to fill a spiral notebook with details of the life she was meant to be living. She didn’t want to slip up on anything.

To console herself, she wrote to them about the wedding. She and Walter had been married in a quiet civil ceremony, she explained. They had a blessing from a Franciscan priest. It had been a wonderful occasion for them, and they knew that both families were delighted that they had made this commitment. Chicky said that Walter’s parents had been abroad at the time and not able to attend the ceremony but that everyone was happy about it.

In many ways, she managed to believe this was true. It was easier than believing that Walter was becoming restless and was going to move on.

Chicky does quite well, even after Walter leaves her. When her nieces talk about coming to visit, the kind husband of her letters suffers a tragic accident. And then, after some time, she goes back to Stoneybridge and purchases the Stone House on the water, using a “legacy” that is really her own hard-earned savings. She works with the last remaining Miss Sheedy (of the three sisters who had owned the house) to make it into a hotel.

Next, we take a look at Rigger, the son of one of Chicky’s friends. He gets into trouble, and needs to leave Dublin for awhile. He comes to work for Chicky, and meets a girl and starts settling down.

Then there’s Orla, Chicky’s niece, wanting some change after her best friend in Dublin gets married. She comes to work for Chicky, only for a year.

And then we start looking at the guests who come for opening week at Stone House. Winnie thinks she’ll book a vacation with the man she loves — and ends up taking it with the mother who has him under her thumb. There are people from all over the world — a Hollywood movie star, a Swede who’s meant to take over his father’s business but is interested in music, a husband and wife who are both doctors, and more. With each person who comes to visit, we get to look at their life leading up to this momentous week, as well as at how the week changes them.

The story is gentle and cozy. No big earth-shaking moments, but lots of rejuvenating ones and life-changing ones for the guests involved. One guest does manage to shake off the charm of the place, but most will leave the better for their vacation.

And the reader is the better for the vacation, too.

I’m so sad this is Maeve Binchy’s last book. She knew how to show her readers what’s really important.

maevebinchy.com
aaknopf.com

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Find this review on Sonderbooks at: www.sonderbooks.com/Fiction/week_in_winter.html

Disclosure: I am an Amazon Affiliate, and will earn a small percentage if you order a book on Amazon after clicking through from my site.

Source: This review is based on a library book from the Fairfax County Public Library.

Disclaimer: I am a professional librarian, but I maintain my website and blogs on my own time. The views expressed are solely my own, and in no way represent the official views of my employer or of any committee or group of which I am part.

Please use the comments if you’ve read the book and want to discuss spoilers!

Review of Austenland, by Shannon Hale

Wednesday, January 16th, 2013

Austenland

by Shannon Hale

Bloomsbury, 2007. 197 pages.
Starred Review
2007 Sonderbooks Stand-out: #2 Romance Fiction

I read Austenland when it first came out, but 2007 was a hectic year for me, what with finishing up my MLIS degree and working half-time and desperately needing a full-time job (and eventually finding one). So I didn’t get a lot of books reviewed that year, and never did post a review of this book.

This year, when Midnight in Austenland came out, it was a lovely excuse to reread Austenland and finally remedy that fault. I did not need to reread Austenland at all to enjoy Midnight in Austenland, since they involve different characters. But it did make a lovely excuse to enjoy this one again.

I am an avid and unashamed Jane Austen fan, and this book is one of my favorite take-offs on her work. The idea is simple: A theme park in England where women can pay to spend a few weeks immersed in a Jane Austen novel, to pretend they are really there.

Jane Hayes wasn’t rich enough to go there on her own steam, but her great-aunt Carolyn spots Jane’s hidden DVD of Pride and Prejudice starring Colin Firth, and Aunt Carolyn figures out Jane’s obsession. She has some wise words about figuring out what’s real.

But then Aunt Carolyn goes a little farther. In her will, she gives Jane an all-expenses-paid trip to Austenland. The trip is nonrefundable, so Jane decides to take it. She reflects:

Jane lay back down, but this time placed the throw pillow under her head. Okay, all right, she would go. It would be her last hurrah. Like her friend Becky, who’d taken an all-you-can-eat dinner cruise the night before going in for a stomach stapling. Jane was going to have one last live-it-up and then quit men entirely. She’d play out her fantasy, have a staggering good time, and then bury it all for good. No more Darcy. No more men — period. When she got home she’d become a perfectly normal woman, content to be single, happy with her own self.

She’d even throw away the DVDs.

Well, needless to say, things don’t turn out quite as Jane expects. Along the way, we’ve got all kinds of fun and of course some mistaken first impressions.

This is a light and fluffy book, and so much fun. Clearly, Shannon Hale filled it with love and respect for Jane Austen, and she pulled off an appropriate tribute that’s a wonderful book in its own right.

Now I just wish someone would really create such a place as Austenland, and that I could go!

Buy from Amazon.com

Find this review on Sonderbooks at: www.sonderbooks.com/Fiction/austenland.html

Disclosure: I am an Amazon Affiliate, and will earn a small percentage if you order a book on Amazon after clicking through from my site.

Source: This review is based on my own copy, purchased from Amazon as soon as it was published.

Disclaimer: I am a professional librarian, but I write the posts for my website and blogs entirely on my own time. The views expressed are solely my own, and in no way represent the official views of my employer or of any committee or group of which I am part.

Please use the comments if you’ve read the book and want to discuss spoilers!

Review of The Actor and the Housewife, by Shannon Hale

Thursday, January 3rd, 2013

The Actor and the Housewife

by Shannon Hale

Bloomsbury, New York, 2009. 339 pages.
Starred Review
2012 Sonderbooks Stand-out: #6 Non-fantasy Fiction

This is the one book by Shannon Hale that I don’t own, and that I didn’t read as soon as it came out. Why? Well, I knew it’s about a Mormon housewife who becomes good friends with a heart throb actor. I’ve always believed that men and women can be friends without hurting their marriages. But when this came out, I had just been burned. My own marriage had imploded. My husband claimed he was friends with a young female co-worker, and it turned out that was just a cover for something else, and our marriage didn’t survive.

But this book is not a treatise on marriage and friendship. If you want that, I highly recommend NOT “Just Friends,” by Shirley Glass. (A nice rule of thumb: Where are the windows and the walls? If the walls are around the marriage and the windows around the friendship, good. You should be able to talk with your spouse about the friendship, rather than the other way around.) This book is a story. It’s a story of a good friendship, but most of all, it’s a story about a great marriage.

Now, it’s not easy on the marriage for Becky Jack to be great friends with a handsome actor. She wrestles with what’s right. Her husband wrestles with what’s right. She even talks with her bishop about it. But let me say it again: This is a great story! These people seem real and alive and this is about a funny, poignant, and difficult situation and how it affects two families and the people around them.

As a matter of fact, I hadn’t decided which book I was going to read next when I checked it out. I brought several candidates upstairs, and thought I’d just read a few pages to decide if I wanted to read this next. . . and ended up finishing the book at 5:30 am the following morning. This was NOT what I had planned. It wasn’t remotely a good idea. But wow! What a good story!

Becky and Felix Callahan meet, by a fluke, when she is in Hollywood, looking over a contract for a screenplay she’s sold to his producer. She is hugely pregnant and not at her best. Then they end up being at the same hotel. They share a ride, have dinner. One thing leads to another, and they become friends.

The book is about a long and wonderful friendship. It covers a span of many years, with high points, hilarious moments, awkward times, and big setbacks. In the long run, the book is even more about Becky’s marriage. Becky thinks a lot about how she can be friends with this Hollywood star, yet still be fully and completely in love with her husband. It works.

Here’s a bit where Becky has just met Felix and ends up sharing a ride with him to the hotel:

Becky sneaked a glance at Felix before returning her gaze to the window. That whole exchange had felt as unaccountably familiar as Felix’s presence. She had an ah-ha moment as she thought, Augie Beuter! That’s who Felix reminded her of — well, actually, the two men looked and acted about as much alike as Margaret Thatcher and Cher. But the way she and Felix had followed each other’s lead, the way their conversation flowed together, tuned for an audience, that’s how she and Augie used to be. He’d been her assistant editor on the high school paper and partner in debate club. Their five-year best friendship ended when they both married other people. Augie Beuter — she hadn’t seen him since her wedding, and she still missed him.

I don’t have room to insert one of the many scenes of their back-and-forth banter. You can tell they are indeed friends. Their two worlds are completely different, but their story is truly a delight.

squeetus.com
bloomsburyusa.com

Buy from Amazon.com

Find this review on Sonderbooks at: www.sonderbooks.com/Fiction/actor_and_the_housewife.html

Disclosure: I am an Amazon Affiliate, and will earn a small percentage if you order a book on Amazon after clicking through from my site.

Source: This review is based on a library book from the Fairfax County Public Library.

Disclaimer: I am a professional librarian, but I write the posts for my website and blogs entirely on my own time. The views expressed are solely my own, and in no way represent the official views of my employer or of any committee or group of which I am part.

Please use the comments if you’ve read the book and want to discuss spoilers!

Review of Midnight in Austenland, by Shannon Hale

Friday, February 10th, 2012

Midnight in Austenland

by Shannon Hale

Bloomsbury, New York, 2012. 277 pages.
Starred Review

I’m interrupting my posting of my 2011 Sonderbooks Stand-outs to write a review of a book that will most definitely be a 2012 Sonderbooks Stand-out, if not my favorite book of the whole year.

Shannon Hale’s Austenland was a 2007 Sonderbooks Stand-out, though that was the year I was working on my Master’s in Library Science and didn’t get very many reviews written. The idea is a fun one, playing off all the Jane Austen frenzy that continues to happen in our time. It’s about a young woman who goes to what is essentially a Jane Austen theme park in England. Guests come to an English manor and are submerged in Regency culture and finish off their vacation with a ball. The original book parallelled Pride and Prejudice in many ways and was a fun and romantic read.

In Midnight in Austenland, Shannon Hale has surpassed herself.

Now, I should say that this book is particularly delightful to me because this time the heroine is a divorced mom whose husband cheated on her. I definitely related to her and her feelings as she worked through the divorce. She felt like a complete idiot because she hadn’t seen the clues that he was cheating, and as the book goes on, it dawns on her just how long he had lied to her. It’s very easy to see — when it’s someone else — that she should not beat herself up for believing someone who vowed to be true to her. But I completely related to all her turmoil about it.

I also loved this book because I am a Jane Austen aficionado. In college, I wrote my English Literature research paper on Jane Austen. I had more than a month to write it — so I spent the time reading ALL her novels and wrote the paper staying up all night the night before it was due.

Pride and Prejudice is definitely my favorite, but Northanger Abbey is the most light-hearted and just plain fun. Midnight in Austenland parallels Northanger Abbey in so many beautiful ways. In fact, the similarities enhanced the story. You see, Charlotte, our heroine in Midnight in Austenland is playing a “Bloody Murderer” game after the lights go out. In the dark, lit only by a flash of lightning, she is in a secret room and touches a cold hand attached to a covered dead body.

But when Charlotte goes back the next day, there is no body. Did she imagine it in the dark, in the night? In fact, is this book simply paralleling Northanger Abbey, in which silly Catherine Morland imagines a murder has taken place where there was none?

I don’t want to say too much more because I don’t want to give away any delicious details. I did like that Charlotte has been reading Agatha Christie, so there was still a tribute to novel-reading, as Catherine Morland had been reading The Mysteries of Udolfo. Again, we weren’t sure if Charlotte was drawing conclusions because she’d read too many detective novels.

I think I can stay spoiler-free if I simply comment that this book has the best heroine-escapes-from-deadly-peril scene EVER!

In short, Shannon Hale combines lots of humor with Jane Austen parallels, romance, suspense, mystery, gothic themes, and eerie atmosphere in a book that will make divorced women everywhere feel empowered.

You can read Midnight in Austenland without having read Austenland, though I do recommend reading both. The heroines and their stories are different — they are just at the same theme park with some of the same actors and the same administrator.

To get you in the mood, I’ll quote from some of the Prologue, where we’re told about Charlotte. It does echo Northanger Abbey:

“No one who knew Charlotte Constance Kinder since her youth would suppose her born to be a heroine. She was a practical girl from infancy, only fussing as much as was necessary and exhibiting no alarming opinions. Common wisdom asserts that heroines are born from calamity, and yet our Charlotte’s early life was pretty standard. Not only did her parents avoid fatal accidents, but they also never locked her up in a hidden attic room….

“We may never know what turned once-nice James away. Was it the fact that his wife was making more money than he was? (A lot more.) Or that his wife had turned out to be clever? (That can be inconvenient.) Had Charlotte changed? Had James? Was marriage just too hard to maintain in this crazy, shifting world?

“Charlotte hadn’t thought so. But then, Charlotte had been wrong before.

“She was wrong when she assumed her husband’s late nights were work-related. She was wrong when she blamed his increasingly sullen behavior on an iron deficiency. She was wrong when she believed the coldness in their bed could be fixed with flannel sheets.

“Poor Charlotte. So nice, so clever, so wrong.

“Charlotte came to believe that no single action kills a marriage. From the moment it begins to stumble, there are a thousand shots at changing course, and she had invested her whole soul in each of those second chances, which failed anyway. It was like being caught in her own personal Groundhog Day, only without the delightful Bill Murray to make her laugh. She would wake up, marvel anew at the bone-crushing weight in her chest, dress in her best clothes, as if for war, and set out with a blazing hope that today would be different. Today James would remember he loved her and come home to the family. Today she would win back her marriage, and her life.

“Eventually the time came when Charlotte sat in the messy ruins of her marriage and felt as weak as a cooked noodle. She would never be nice or clever enough. Hope had been beaten to death. She dried her eyes, shut down her heart, and plunged herself into an emotion coma. So much easier not to feel.

“Once numbness shuts down a damaged heart, a miracle is required to restart it. Things would prove rough for our heroine. Her only hope was Jane Austen.”

Buy from Amazon.com

Find this review on Sonderbooks at: www.sonderbooks.com/Fiction/midnight_in_austenland.html

Disclosure: I am an Amazon Affiliate, and will earn a small percentage if you order a book on Amazon after clicking through from my site.

Source: This review is based on my own book, which I pre-ordered via Amazon.com.

Review of Casting Spells, by Barbara Bretton

Monday, February 14th, 2011

Casting Spells

by Barbara Bretton

Berkley Books, New York, 2008. 308 pages.
Starred Review
2010 Sonderbooks Stand-out: #6 Fiction

Happy Valentine’s Day! Today I’m appropriately posting the review of a romance, but this one is a paranormal knitting mystery romance! The combination is delightfully original and a whole lot of fun.

Here’s how we meet Chloe Hobbs:

“By the way, I’m Chloe Hobbs, owner of Sticks & Strings, voted the number one knit shop in New England two years running. I don’t know exactly who did the voting, but I owe each of those wonderful knitters some quiviut and a margarita. Blog posts about the magical store in northern Vermont where your yarn never tangles, your sleeves always come out the same length, and you always, always get gauge were popping up on a daily basis, raising both my profile and my bottom line.”

Chloe’s store seems magical because it is. She’s the daughter of a sorceress who fell in love with a human. But her father died in a car crash when she was six years old, and her mother chose to leave this world to be with the man she loved. Chloe inherited several things from her mother including a basket of roving that remained full to overflowing no matter how many hours she spends spinning it into yarn. But she also inherited a responsibility to the town.

“Over three hundred years ago one of my sorcerer ancestors cast a protective charm over the town designed to shield Sugar Maple from harm for as long as one of her line walked the earth and — well, you guessed it. I’m the last descendant of Aerynn, and if you thought your family was on your case to marry and produce offspring, try having an entire town mixing potions, casting runes, and weaving spells designed to hook you up with Mr. Right.”

Unfortunately, the protective spell seems to be weakening. And there’s more than just protection from accidents and crime at stake. Because Sugar Maple “wasn’t the picture-postcard New England town our Chamber of Commerce would have you believe, but a village of vampires, werewolves, elves, faeries, and everything else your parents told you didn’t really exist.” However, Chloe’s mother really came into her powers when she fell in love, so maybe that’s all that Chloe needs.

But then a visiting beautiful stranger dies. The first tourist or nonvillager ever to die within town limits. Aerynn’s spell is definitely waning, because that’s not supposed to happen.

Sugar Maple doesn’t have any police force, since it doesn’t have any crime. So a policeman from Boston, who knew the deceased, goes up to the scene of the crime to investigate.

What follows is funny and quirky and full of surprises. Can the whole town hide the truth from him? And what will happen to the town if the spell fails? What will happen to Chloe?

I must admit, the romance is not exactly subtle. As Chloe begins to have magick, it basically throws her into the guy’s arms. But it is humorous to read about her trying to explain it!

This book is a light-hearted romp through a most imaginative situation. Definitely the best paranormal-romance-knitting-mystery I’ve ever read! And there are knitting tips at the back! How can you go wrong?

Buy from Amazon.com

Find this review on Sonderbooks at: www.sonderbooks.com/Fiction/casting_spells.html

Disclosure: I am an Amazon Affiliate, and will earn a small percentage if you order a book on Amazon after clicking through from my site.

Source: This review is based on a library book from the Fairfax County Public Library.

Review of The Plot Chickens, by Mary Jane and Herm Auch

Tuesday, August 10th, 2010

The Plot Chickens

by Mary Jane and Herm Auch

Holiday House, New York, 2009. 32 pages.

There are many books out there where writers try to tell children how to be a writer. Most fall a little flat as far as the story goes. But The Plot Chickens makes me laugh. Perhaps it’s my over-fondness for puns, but this is probably the book I’d reach for if I were trying to teach a class of elementary school students about being a writer.

Henrietta loves books and decides to write one herself. All the other hens are in on the process. I love the way they first jostle to be the main character, but then pull back when Henrietta gets to Rule Three: “Give your character a problem.”

The nice basic rules listed give lots of room for creativity. I like Henrietta’s story, The Perils of Maxine: It demonstrates that the rules do make a better book, and ends up as a story that a child could write.

But the authors are realistic about its chances of getting published. Henrietta sends it off and, “Many, many, many months later, the publisher sent a rejection letter.” Henrietta self-publishes the book.

My favorite pun is when the librarian tells her she should get a review, so Henrietta sends the book to The Corn Book Magazine. (Not that The Horn Book Magazine would review a self-published book with little merit, but I can believe that The Corn Book Magazine might.) The reviewer says “Henrietta lays an egg with her first book. We hope this is her last book. The Perils of Maxine shows why chickens shouldn’t EVER write.”

I like the way the book reveals the emotional turmoil of being a writer when Henrietta takes the reviewer’s words to heart. But the children at her local library story hour vote it the best book of the year. Sometimes critics can hate a book, but you can still reach children. (Okay, so what if the local children hate it, too? But this does make a fun story….)

This is a silly way to give children a glimpse of the writing process and the life of a writer.

Buy from Amazon.com

Find this review on Sonderbooks at: www.sonderbooks.com/Picture_Books/plot_chickens.html

Disclosure: I am an Amazon Affiliate, and will earn a small percentage if you order a book on Amazon after clicking through from my site.

Source: This review is based on a library book from the Fairfax County Public Library.

Review of The Boy Next Door, by Meg Cabot

Tuesday, May 4th, 2010

The Boy Next Door

by Meg Cabot

Avon Books (HarperCollins), 2002. 379 pages.

I’m a little embarrassed that when I was shelving books in the Romance section, I actually picked one up, checked it out, read it in one sitting, and thoroughly enjoyed it. To be fair, at least it doesn’t have a picture of anyone’s bare chest on the cover. I was in the mood for something light and fluffy and fun after reading some heavier books, and light and fluffy and fun was exactly what I got.

The story is told through e-mails, and that’s actually carried off well. Fortunately, they don’t use the annoying text message shorthand and it comes out as a fun and believable way people would talk about the madcap adventures of a slightly ditzy but good-hearted co-worker like Mel.

We first meet Mel Fuller in a series of e-mails from her co-workers wondering why she is so late to work. Especially amusing is the one from Human Resources urging counseling if she has serious personal problems causing her excessive tardiness.

It turns out that Mel was late because she found her elderly neighbor had been attacked in her apartment. So she didn’t think to call her employer. In fact, she took care of feeding her neighbor’s cats and walking her Great Dane before she came to work. Isn’t that what anyone would do?

So begins some time where caring and thoughtful Mel takes care of the enormous dog Paco while Mrs. Friedlander is in a coma. Her work does not appreciate her continued tardiness. When Mel finally manages to track down Mrs. Friedlander’s nephew, a notorious womanizer, photographer Max Friedlander, and sends him an e-mail, he’s off at an island with a celebrity model, and doesn’t want to be bothered by a little thing like his aunt’s attack. But neither does he want his aunt to cut him out of her will.

So Max e-mails an old college friend, John Trent, calls in an old favor, and asks John to go to his aunt’s apartment, pretending to be Max Friedlander. John can take care of the dog until Mrs. Friedlander gets out of the coma, and Max’s aunt will never know that her nephew couldn’t be bothered to come to her bedside.

It all might have gone well, if Mel hadn’t found “Max Friedlander” so different from what his reputation suggested. And if John hadn’t had a thing for redheads, combined with never before having known a girl who wasn’t more interested in his money than in him. But you know there’s going to be trouble with a relationship that began with lies.

Reading the flirting, the gossipy e-mails, and the funny misunderstandings is a lot of fun if you’re in the mood for fluff, and this book hit me right when that’s exactly the mood I was in. There are a couple of sex scenes, but they are also kept pretty light, and at least it doesn’t have a steamy cover! There’s even a mystery along the way: Who attacked old Mrs. Friedlander? Is their apartment building safe?

Buy from Amazon.com

Find this review on Sonderbooks at: www.sonderbooks.com/Fiction/boy_next_door.html

Disclosure: I am an Amazon Affiliate, and will earn a small percentage if you order a book on Amazon after clicking through from my site.

Source: This review is based on a library book from the Fairfax County Public Library.

Fluffy Holiday Reading

Saturday, December 5th, 2009

thanksgivingThanksgiving
by Janet Evanovich

Well, on Teaser Tuesday I posted two teasers and asked you to help me choose which to read. I got one comment on Facebook, and I went ahead and ignored that comment!

Yep, my friend Missy told me to skip the Janet Evanovich holiday book, but Wednesday night I went ahead and knocked it off. She said that she’d been disappointed in a different Evanovich holiday book. But I had wanted something light and fluffy, and something I could read in less than two hours.

Sure enough, I read Thanksgiving in about the same amount of time it would have taken to watch a chick flick, it had about that much depth and characterization (not much), was that much fun (lots), and hurt my head a lot less, because it didn’t involve any bright light. So it was exactly what I was in the mood for.

But it was light and fluffy and not highly believable or lasting literature and sexy and silly and fun and not necessarily what I want to be known for recommending. So — I thought I’d just talk about it on this blog but not post a review on the main site. But that way, you’d know how the Teaser Tuesday turned out.

And today I had another long wait at a hospital for an MRI, and read further on The Elegance of the Hedgehog. Okay, it’s quite dry reading, but I’m getting pulled in, little by little. I probably should stop reading it when I have a headache, though, I think, as it needs a little more focus than what I’m giving it.

Thanksgiving, on the other hand, did not need much powers of concentration at all! Basically a young woman with a history of being dumped has moved to Williamsburg and meets a fresh-out-of-medical-school pediatrician when his rabbit (of all things) nibbles her skirt. Then a young teen mother mistakes them for a married couple and dumps a baby on them, and Megan falls for the baby (yeah, right) and they take care of it and have a perfect Thanksgiving with their families and confront her former fiance and have a comedy of errors (of course) and go through lust and love and decide whether to live happily ever after.

Light and fluffy, completely unrealistic, but quite a bit of fun. I was a little annoyed that the rabbit hardly ever came into it after the initial scene where it engineers their meeting, but okay that wasn’t the only quibble. And it certainly didn’t have any more plot holes than a similar chick flick and would make a delightful one.

Buy from Amazon.com

Disclosure: I am an Amazon Affiliate, and will earn a small percentage if you order a book on Amazon after clicking through from my site.

Review of Perfect You, by Elizabeth Scott

Friday, June 19th, 2009

perfect_youPerfect You
by Elizabeth Scott

Simon Pulse, New York, 2008. 282 pages.

After reading The Breakup Bible one night, I read Perfect You the next night. (And, yes, both absorbed me enough that I read them well into the night.) Both are among Fairfax County Public Library’s Summer Reading Program selections. Both involve teen relationships, and both were oddly applicable and comforting to someone going through a midlife divorce.

In The Breakup Bible, a teen deals with the loss of her boyfriend and doesn’t handle it terribly well. In Perfect You, a teen deals with the loss of her long-time best friend, and also has a hard time coping.

In both, the main character had to learn to stop obsessing about the past and focus instead on good things happening without the once-loved one there. In both, they had to learn to actually live their lives now. To choose to be happy.

Meanwhile, I love the absolutely horrendous parents that Elizabeth Scott puts into her novels. If you ever thought your parents were embarrassing, listen to the opening of Perfect You:

“Vitamins had ruined my life.

“Not that there was much left to ruin, but still.

“I know blaming vitamins for my horrible life sounds strange. After all, vitamins are supposed to keep people healthy. Also, they’re inanimate objects. But thanks to them I was stuck in the Jackson Center Mall watching my father run around in a bee costume.

“I sank into the chair by our cash register as Dad walked up to two women. They looked around when he started talking, searching for a way out. They wouldn’t find one. In our section of the mall, there wasn’t much around, which was how we could afford our booth.

“I watched the women smile and step away, an almost dance I’d seen plenty over the few days I’d worked here. After they left, Dad came over to me, grinning, and said, ‘Kate, I think I made a sale! Those two women I talked to said they’d tell their husbands about the reformulated B Buzz! tablets. Isn’t that great? Now I think I’ll fly — get it? — down to the department store and see if I can give samples to people as they walk out.'”

Kate’s Sophomore year is going badly. She lost her best friend, who suddenly changed from a fat girl to one of the popular crowd. Her Dad quit his job to sell vitamins. And she finds herself attracted to a guy with a bad reputation whom she doesn’t even like. Or does she?

Perfect You is a fun and entertaining read, with a surprising amount of wisdom. I’d been missing my husband of twenty years, who was once my best friend, and reading about someone else coping with a lost best friend was surprisingly therapeutic.

As Kate says,

“But things change. Stuff happens. And you know what? Life goes on. In fact, that’s what life is. Who’d have thought Grandma would be right about anything, much less something so important?”

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