Archive

Posts Tagged ‘chick lit’

December 2017 Reads – #chicklit

January 1, 2018 1 comment
FullSizeRender (6)

For more shots check out my bookstagram

I didn’t read very much this month because we went on vacation to Las Vegas, Nevada. You’d think with that long of a plane ride (between 4 and 5 hours, depending on the tail wind) that I’d have completed a lot of reading but on the first flight I slept and on the second it was a redeye so I tried to sleep while listening to my audiobook. There’s no complaints from me, though, because the trip was amazing! We saw so much natural splendor – rode a Harley through Fire Valley, hiked the Red Rocks, saw the Grand Canyon and hiked below the rim (something I’ve read only 20% of visitors do). Sometimes reading takes a back burner, and that’s ok.

I did see some bookish things on the trip though. We seek out indie coffee shops when we travel, and one had the wonderfully eclectic book selection you can see above.(If you want to see some more pictures from the trip, check out my Instagram!) We also went to the National Atomic Testing Museum and saw their reading room of archives. Oh and I can’t forget that one of the Grand Canyon’s gift shops had a wonderful graphic novel version of Native American tales that I wanted but couldn’t fit in my luggage.

On to what I actually finished reading in December, both of which were chick lit.

First up was Little White Lies by Gemma Townley. Natalie Raglan quits her advertising job, breaks up with her loser boyfriend, and moves to London, taking over the lease on Cressida’s flat (another woman who she’s never met). Her life in London is much more boring than she thought and somehow she finds herself opening Cressida’s mail and taking on her life. This was ultimately readable and had a relatively appealing plot but I struggled with being able to really side with the protagonists. Natalie struck me as rather dumb (and not in a lovable way) and there was a particular plot point that bothered me. Natalie works in an upscale clothing boutique and the women who work there are not allowed to wear the clothes and don’t get a store discount. The latter I can sympathize with. The former they seemed to think of as their right, so much so that they borrow the clothes, wear them out for a night, and then pay to have them drycleaned and re-stock them on the floor. Natalie never does this but we’re clearly supposed to think that it’s silly she doesn’t. I’m not sure why it would ever be ok to be selling upscale pre-worn clothes at the expensive price of brand-new. Both of these issues together just made it hard for me to root for Natalie.
(3 out of 5 stars, buy it)
(source: purchased)

Next I picked up an Australian chick lit book that was recommended to me on GoodReads based on my large Liane Moriarty kick. Sex, Lies, and Bonsai by Lisa Walker follows Edie, the daughter of a famous surfer. When she gets dumped via text message, she moves home and takes on a job drawing crab larvae at the local university. When her father’s girlfriend’s much younger brother comes home to roost as well, things take an unexpected turn. This is another book whose plot sounded unique and wonderful but that had some issues that I couldn’t get past that actually bothered me more than those in the other read this month. First I was disappointed that the bonsai is played for laughs and isn’t a more interesting feature of the book. Basically, Edie had given a bonsai to her ex-boyfriend and so when he breaks up with her she takes it with her to her dad’s house but then proceeds to just let it die and throw it away. I actually love bonsai so this really bothered me. I do realize it wouldn’t bother most people, though. Second, both the new love interest and Edie herself are romanticized as tortured artists, a trope that bothers me. There’s nothing romantic about being depressed and you can make beautiful art without that too. Overall, I wouldn’t recommend it.
(2 out of 5 stars, buy it)
(source: purchased)

My total for the month of December 2017:

  • 2 books
    • 2 fiction; 0 nonfiction
    • 2 female authors; 0 male authors
    • 2 ebooks; 0 print books; 0 audiobooks
Advertisements
Categories: Book, Review Tags: , , ,

November 2017 Reads – #chicklit, #mystery, #urbanfantasy

December 31, 2017 Leave a comment
FullSizeRender (5)

For more shots check out my bookstagram

I picked up the pace a bit in November reading a total of 6 books, mostly chick lit but with a mystery and an urban fantasy tossed in there for good measure.

I started the month off with the end of my Liane Moriarty kick with her chick lit The Hypnotist’s Love Story. This book is about a practicing therapeutic hypnotist who meets the man of her dreams except for one thing…his ex-girlfriend is stalking him. This book did not at all go in the direction I was expecting and I’m still not sure the ending counts as a happy ever after (even though I’m pretty sure it was supposed to). If you’re looking for a different chick lit read, you should definitely pick this one up. The story is quite unique.
(3 out of 5 stars, buy it)
(source: purchased)

Next I decided to return to the Bridget Jones series so I returned to Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason by Helen Fielding (see the first in the series reviewed here). Written in the same diary style as the first and again covering a year, this looks at Bridget’s on again off again romance with Mark Darcy. Normally on again off agains irritate me, but it kind of works in this case, I think because the on again off agains don’t happen too terribly often and are more reflective of things each of them have to work on rather than entirely stupid misunderstandings. I also must say this was much better than the movie. The kind of loathed Thailand interlude comes across much better in the book and makes way more sense.
(4 out of 5 stars, buy it)
(source: purchased)

At the same time as I was reading this I was finishing up my audiobook, the second in the Fredrika Bergman and Alex Recht mystery series – Silenced by Kristina Ohlsson (see the first in the series reviewed here). This isn’t necessarily a series you need to read in order. It surrounds a police investigative team in Sweden and each book regards a different case. The investigator’s personal lives are present but just barely and aren’t the focus of the book. This entry in the series looks at the mysterious death of a pastor and his wife. The story is intertwined with the immigrant/refugee crisis in Europe. While I thought the audio narrator was again phenomenal, I couldn’t get as into this mystery as into the first one. I thought it verged a bit too far into preachy mode as opposed to just telling a story. But that said I’m sure I’ll return for the third entry in the series because the mystery telling is just so different from a lot of the American mysteries. It keeps me on my toes.
(4 out of 5 stars, buy it)
(source: Audible)

I jumped right back into another chick lit with the next book in the Bridget Jones series – Bridget Jones: Mad About the Boy. It is not a spoiler to tell you this as you discover it in the very first chapter: Mark Darcy dies tragically young so this book surrounds Bridget as a widow with two children. This is clearly a dichotomizing choice. Some readers are fine with it and others aren’t. I’ve never been that into Mark Darcy so I didn’t mind he was gone but I am married and I hated having the idea of losing a partner so young all unexpectedly up in my face in what was supposed to be a relaxing read. Do I think Fielding did a good job telling the story she chose to tell? Yes. Do I think widows deserve to be represented in literature and given a happy ending? Yes. Do I wish I’d known this in advance before picking it up? Absolutely.
(3 out of 5 stars, buy it)
(source: purchased)

I changed pace a bit next by picking up the next book in the Demon Slayer urban fantasy series I adore – Night of the Living Demon Slayer by Angie Fox (see the first in the series reviewed here). Lizzie gets called to go undercover in New Orleans to stop the rise of an evil voodoo church (not to be confused with good voodoo). This was a great entry in the series that delivered exactly what I’ve come to expect. Entertaining and unexpected action sequences, real peril, unique bad guys, and a strong monogamous relationship at the center of it all.
(4 out of 5 stars, buy it)
(source: purchased)

Finally I read the contemporary chick lit Skipping a Beat by Sarah Pekkanen. Julia and Michael fought hard to get out of their hardscrabble West Virginia life and now are millionaires living in D.C. But when Michael survives an unexpected heart attack his priorities start to change. Can their marriage survive his change of heart? I was expecting something very different from this book about priorities and marriage and what really matters in life. What I got was….much more fantastical than I had imagined. I could have handled that if it had just taken the final leap into truly over the top but it toed the edge so much that it landed in ho-hum.
(3 out of 5 stars, buy it)
(source: purchased)

My total for the month of November 2017:

  • 6 books
    • 6 fiction; 0 nonfiction
    • 6 female authors; 0 male authors
    • 5 ebooks; 0 print books; 1 audiobook

 

October 2017 Reads – In Which I Read Only Books by Liane Moriarty

December 30, 2017 4 comments
FullSizeRender (4)

For more shots check out my bookstagram

You’ll notice I ended September with a chick lit book by the Australian author Liane Moriarty. Well that started a singular focused reading kick the likes of which I haven’t been on since the Sookie Stackhouse books in the early 2010s. I read every single Liane Moriarty book I could get my hands on. There’s just something about them where even if I ultimately wasn’t a huge fan of everything about the book the experience of reading it was precisely the stress relief I needed. They all are set in Australia. They all do a remarkable job of looking at an aspect of women’s lives but in a jazzed up way that makes it more fun. They just work.

First I read Truly Madly Guilty about a backyard barbecue gone wrong. I thought it was going to be something entirely different from what it was, and what it wound up being was just something that worked so much better than I thought. It’s about marriage and forgiveness and accepting that others make mistakes and not judging people based on appearances, but it’s all of that without being preachy. It also features a subplot about a character’s relative who hoards that was really well-handled.
(4 out of 5 stars, buy it)
(source: purchased)

Next up was Big Little Lies which has an award-winning miniseries based on it. I haven’t seen the miniseries. I can’t bring myself to watch it since it’s not set in Australia (and the Australian setting really makes these books for me). This one at first glance is about in-fighting among the moms whose kids all go to the same school but it ends up being about so much more. I really liked this one because at first you might think it’s one of those books stereotyping women to be catty but in fact it goes much deeper and shows how society can pit women against each other but we’re much stronger when we’re together…and we’re kind of inclined to be that way anyway.
(4 out of 5 stars, buy it)
(source: purchased)

Finally I read The Husband’s Secret. My own husband kept glancing over while I was reading it asking if the husband’s secret was making me freak out yet, haha. Yes, this book revolves around a secret and no, it’s not what you might think when hearing of a book with that title. I really like that this book looks at how well can you really know someone and considers the question of can one moment really determine who you are.
(3 out of 5 stars, buy it)
(source: purchased)

My total for the month of October 2017:

  • 3 books
    • 3 fiction; 0 nonfiction
    • 3 female authors (but all the same one); 0 male authors
    • 3 ebooks; 0 print book; 0 audiobooks

September 2017 Reads – #fantasy, #nonfiction, #chicklit

December 29, 2017 4 comments
FullSizeRender (3)

For more shots check out my bookstagram

The end of September was our second wedding anniversary, and I feel like you can see my romantic mood reflected in the last two books of the month. I started out the month, though, with a fantasy and a nonfiction.

The fantasy was Kushiel’s Chosen Jacqueline Carey, the sequel to Kushiel’s Dart that I read in May. In this entry the main character is now a noblewoman instead of a bondservant but she still ends up sucked into the schemings and plottings of the those who would change the course of nations. While I overall enjoyed this entry in the series I felt that the length and action weren’t as well-balanced as in the first book. There was too little plot for the sheer length of the book.
(3 out of 5 stars, buy it)
(source: purchased)

I’ve always been interested in learning more about how to manage money so I picked up a copy of the nonfiction Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert T. Kiyosaki. This book seeks to compare and contrast the advice given by a rich mentor and a poor mentor and take the best of each world. While the initial concept is good what is lacking in the book is an ability to understand others and other life situations. There’s not one way that will work for everyone but the book presents the idea that everyone can achieve wealth in exactly the same way. And in all honesty the way presented, while it has some good ideas (such as to ensure you’re investing in assets rather than liabilities) it also relies a lot on other people not managing their money well (for instance in the case of being a lender to someone else or owning property and renting it out to others). While I’m not saying how the author achieved his money is wrong per se I will say that it’s not a way I personally would be comfortable running my own affairs from an ethical perspective. I would also say the book doesn’t necessarily age well. It reflects an ideal property investment market which we do not have currently. I did take away a few good tips from it though, such as the understanding what’s really an asset and what’s a liability tip mentioned before, so it wasn’t a total loss of time to read.
(2 out of 5 stars, buy it)
(source: library)

Next I decided it was high time I read the book one of my favorite chick lit movies is based on–Bridget Jones’s Diary by Helen Fielding. The basic plot of this is a 30-something in London keeps a diary for a year documenting both her attempts at self-improvement and her romantic exploits. I found Mark Darcy to be far more likable in the book than in the movie, and I understood Bridget’s attraction to him better. (In fact, reading the book version of him made me like him better in the movie version too. I was able to see the subtleties going on in the acting I’d missed before). I thought the plot with Bridget’s mother was much more well thought-out and a situation that made me have more empathy for Bridget than in the movie. I also liked how it’s very clear in the book that Bridget is obsessed with her weight but is actually a healthy weight and her friends will actually say something to her when she gets too thin. There was just something touching about her neuroticness in the book. As I said in my short initial review on GoodReads: v. good.
(4 out of 5 stars, buy it)
(source: purchased)

I rounded out the month with the Liane Moriarty chick lit from Australia – What Alice Forgot. Interestingly, this made it onto my wishlist long before the Big Little Lies miniseries hullabaloo. I just thought the plot sounded interesting. I didn’t even realize it was the same author until I had to wait in line for the book at the library. I decided to stick with starting with the book I was initially interested in, and I’m glad I did. It was such a hoot. Alice is 29, married/madly in love and pregnant with her first child. Then she wakes up and discovers she’s 39 and in the middle of a divorce. (Of course she has amnesia, she hasn’t actually time-traveled). What happened to make her marriage fall apart? It’s a giant mystery for her to solve. I really enjoyed this book. If you’re someone who really believes in marriage then the mystery of what happened to Alice’s really sucks you in. There’s also quite a bit in there about how you change over the course of your 30s and which of these changes are good or bad. I will say the ending was a bit meh to me. It felt kind of rushed and epiloguey and I’m just not sure how I feel about it in the long-run. It didn’t ruin my enjoyment of the experience of the read, though.
(4 out of 5 stars, buy it)
(source: library)

My total for the month of September 2017:

  • 4 books
    • 3 fiction; 1 nonfiction
    • 3 female authors; 1 male author
    • 3 ebooks; 1 print book; 0 audiobooks

June 2017 Reads – #scifi, #chicklit

December 26, 2017 5 comments
FullSizeRender (1).jpg

For more shots check out my bookstagram

In June I was back up to my average 4 reads in a month, and I had two each in scifi and chick lit.

I started the month by finishing up the audiobook version of The Chrysalids by John Wyndham. This scifi looks at a post nuclear apocalypse world that has reverted from technology into essentially a farming sans tech existence where anything veering from the norm at all is culled out (including people). It’s an interesting idea but I found it to be a bit too preachy. I don’t like it when it feels like the author is preaching at me through a character, and this happened a few too many times for my taste.
(3 out of 5 stars, buy it)
(Source: Audible)

Next I read a duo of chick lit. First up was Summer at Castle Stone by Lynn Marie Hulsman. In this a ghost-writer from New York City accidentally ends up working in the kitchen of a castle getaway in Ireland in her attempts to get an inside scoop on the chef who works there (in order to better write the copy around his new cookbook). I thought this book had a wonderful setting and while the mix-ups were expected, they were for the most part cute. I did find some of the situations to be a more serious issue than the laugh they were played for but those didn’t keep me from enjoying the escape.
(3 out of 5 stars, buy it)
(Source: purchased)

My second chick lit was The Finishing Touches by Hester Browne. I’ve read many of her books before and came into this fully expecting to enjoy it, and I did! In this, a fading finishing school gets  21st century makeover. As is typical of Hester Browne, the main plot actually involves the heroine’s career with romance being (for her) an unexpected side-plot. Delightful, but not my favorite among her works, which is why this received 4 stars. The finishing school wasn’t quite what I was expecting from the description.
(4 out of 5 stars, buy it)
(source: library)

My final read of the month was the feminist scifi classic A Door into Ocean by Joan Slonczewski. In this book there is a planet that is mostly water with a humanoid species of entirely women that live both in and out of the water. This planet is under threat from an interplanetary organization that has many political ties–essentially a corporation with a powerful lobbyist group. Two women from this planet take on a male from another planet as an apprentice in an attempt to see if the aliens trying to take them over are children or adults. (They do not determine adulthood by a numerical age but by behavior and mental state, with adulthood being awarded upon someone by a committee). The reason for this important determination is it will decide how they respond to the threat with the response being very different to a child than to an adult. I would honestly say that although this book is known as a feminist classic I perceived of it more as a pacifist classic. Femaleness and maleness come up far less in the book than I would have expected (with the exception of sex and reproduction of course). Most of the book is actually about how to respond to threats, whether violence in the face of violence changes who you are, etc… I suppose some people might view those as masculine or feminine responses but I do not and so I didn’t see this as a feminist book per se. It really delivered on the plot summary though, particularly with the world building. If this intrigues you, I recommend you pick it up.
(4 out of 5 stars, buy it)
(source: PaperBackSwap)

My total for the month of June 2017:

  • 4 books
    • 4 fiction; 0 nonfiction
    • 3 female authors; 1 male author
    • 2 ebooks; 1 print book; 1 audiobook

 

May 2017 Reads – #chicklit, #fantasy

December 25, 2017 1 comment
FullSizeRender

For more shots check out my bookstagram

I had so many of these monthly reviews piled up that I decided to just post one a day through the end of the year so I can start 2018 on track. I hope you enjoy!

May saw me finishing just two books but that’s because one was a chunkster and my longest read of the whole year.

I started the month off with a quick read, the chick lit Cocktails for Three, which I previously reviewed in haiku form here.

Then I picked up a book that had been languishing on my tbr pile for a long time with multiple recommendations from friends – Kushiel’s Dart. This is a fantasy by a female author set in an alternate universe version of Europe where France is a slightly different country built around a religion that is an offshoot of Christianity that honors and respects prostitution, essentially. I wasn’t sure what I would think of it but I did ultimately enjoy it. While I thought it started out slow and that its worldbuilding could use more creativity (all of the fake nations are basically just other versions of modern-day nations like the UK), it was still quite enjoyable. I think the most enjoyable part for me was the wonderfully creative new religion the author came up with, but I may have enjoyed that more than others might as I was a Religious Studies minor in undergrad.
(4 out of 5 stars, buy it)
(source: PaperBackSwap)

My total for the month of May 2017:

  • 2 books
    • 2 fiction; 0 nonfiction
    • 2 female authors; 0 male authors
    • 1 ebook; 1 print book; 0 audiobooks

A Trio of Disappointing Reads Reviewed in Haiku

May 16, 2017 1 comment

IMG_0321

A feature for the disappointing reads: I spent enough time reading them. The reviews shouldn’t waste more time. See all haiku reviews here.

coverrumourhastit

Rumour Has It
By:
Jill Mansell

Summary:
Newly single, Tilly Cole impulsively accepts a job offer in a small town as a “Girl Friday.” Fun job, country house, fresh start, why not? But soon she finds herself in a hotbed of gossip, intrigue, and rampant rivalry for the town’s most desirable bachelor-Jack Lucas.

Haiku Review:
What’s woman’s worst foe?
Other women. Defeat with
cancer. Stay at home.

3 out of 5 stars
Source: Library
Buy It

coverwelcomechaos

Welcome, Chaos
By: Kate Wilhelm

Summary:
When Lyle Taney took leave from her teaching job to live high in the mountains, researching the ways of eagles, she was just planning to write her next book. Lasater was an unscrupulous, skilled operative who thought he could maneuver her as he pleased. He believed women were incapable of making ethical or moral decisions. He was wrong.

Haiku Review:
So little chaos
for a book with it in the
title. One word? Meh.

3 out of 5 stars
Source: Audible
Buy It

coverexponentialapocalypse

Exponential Apocalypse
By: Eirik Gumeny

Summary:
A tale of crappy jobs, a slacker cult, an alcoholic Aztec god, reconstituted world leaders, werewolves, robots, and the shenanigans of multiple persons living after the twentieth-aught end of the world.

Haiku Review:
Listening at three
times speed did not make it go
by any faster.

2 out of 5 stars
Source: Audible
Buy It