Genre: Chick Lit

Mistletoe in Manhattan by Talli Roland | Mini Book Review

Posted December 8, 2013 by Jana in Adult Fiction, Book Review / 2 Comments

Mistletoe in Manhattan by Talli Roland | Mini Book ReviewMistletoe in Manhattan by Talli Roland
Published by Notting Hill Press on November 3, 2012
Genres: Chick Lit, Contemporary Fiction, Contemporary Romance, Holiday - Christmas
Pages: 60
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Amazon Add to Goodreads
3 Stars
As Little Missington's first Christmas baby in fifty years and the daughter of 'Christmas When You Like It' party-planners, Holly West has been surrounded by the holiday spirit since birth. Trouble is, she's not exactly filled with festive cheer. In fact, Holly can't wait to ditch the tinsel and Santa suits for champagne and celebs, and become a party-planner to the stars.

When British film star Dean Layton hires her parents' company to throw his holiday bash in Manhattan, Holly jumps at the chance to help, confident she can handle a little Christmas in exchange for access to Dean's exclusive world.

But New York and Dean's over-the-top demands are more than Holly bargained for. Can Holly deck the halls and make it a party to be proud of, or will this Christmas be one she'll never forget . . . even if she wants to?

Holly works for her parents’ year-round Christmas event service. Naturally, she is pretty tired of the holiday. I would be too if I were immersed in it all year long! When she receives a call from the office of a British celebrity who has moved to New York City, she knows this is her big break. She wants to get out of the small family company and make it big on her own. She jumps at the chance to go to New York and plan a huge British Christmas party.

When she gets to New York, she begins to realize what celebrities are really like. She is being demanded to deliver extravagant things at the very last minute. She has to work with a very snooty assistant. She begins to lose sight of her family and what is really important. Enter, Alex. He is the bartender at the hotel and helps her plan the party in a strange city, and pretty much saves her butt. He also provides her with experiences that make her realize her current life is pretty good on its own.

Mistletoe in Manhattan is a very quick, sweet Christmas read. I felt like there were SO many details, that the book would have been stronger if it were longer. The romance was a very tiny part of the story, which was disappointing. I did like the underlying message and the dose of Christmas in New York City, though. Definitely read this one if you need a quick pick-me-up, and wish you were celebrating Christmas in NYC like I do!


Covet by Tracey Garvis Graves (Book Review)

Posted September 9, 2013 by Jana in Adult Fiction, Book Review / 1 Comment

Covet by Tracey Garvis Graves (Book Review)Covet by Tracey Garvis Graves
Published by Dutton Adult on September 17, 2013
Genres: Chick Lit, Contemporary Fiction, Contemporary Romance, Romance
Pages: 320
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher (Mail)
Amazon Add to Goodreads
4 Stars
What if the life you wanted, and the woman you fell in love with, belonged to someone else?

Chris and Claire Canton’s marriage is on life support. Downsized during the recession and out of work for a year, Chris copes by retreating to a dark place where no one can reach him, not even Claire. When he’s offered a position that will keep him away from home four nights a week, he dismisses Claire’s concern that time apart could be the one thing their fragile union can’t weather. Their suburban life may look idyllic on the outside, but Claire has never felt so disconnected from Chris, or so lonely.

Local police officer Daniel Rush used to have it all, but now he goes home to an empty house every night. He pulls Claire over during a routine traffic stop, and they run into each other again at the 4th of July parade. When Claire is hired to do some graphic design work for the police department, her friendship with Daniel grows, and soon they’re spending hours together.

Claire loves the way Daniel makes her feel, and the way his face lights up when she walks into the room. Daniel knows that Claire’s marital status means their relationship will never be anything other than platonic. But it doesn’t take long before Claire and Daniel are in way over their heads, and skating close to the line that Claire has sworn she’ll never cross.

Everyone who knows me at all knows how much I adore On the Island, and Tracey. When I found out she was writing a new book, I knew I had to have it. It was on my to-read list before it had a title. I didn’t even know what it was about! I just knew if she wrote it, I needed it. When I found out what Covet is about, I was scared. I typically don’t read books like this one, but I trusted my love for Tracey’s storytelling, and went with it. And again, she hit it out of the park. Finally, a women’s fiction novel I’m on board with. I loved it! As always, my main points are bolded. :)

1. Tracey has this amazing knack for tackling controversial subject matter and making it seem less controversial. And I love that she’s not scared to do it. On the Island deals with a non-conventional relationship (a rather sizable age gap), and she wrote it perfectly. It didn’t seem weird anymore. The same goes for Covet. Again, Tracey tackled a non-conventional relationship: an emotional affair. I’m not usually ok with this, but I totally understood these characters and their situations. Maybe it’s because she writes her characters in such a way that you can’t help but be on their side, or maybe she’s just perfect at putting emotions on paper. I don’t know what it is, but it’s a rare talent.

2. I was so invested in everything that was going on, and especially in the outcome. This book hurts! I felt such pain for Claire as I watched her husband neglect her day in and day out. I felt horrible for her husband, Chris, but at the same time I was SO mad at him for not pulling himself out of his funk long enough to realize what he was doing. Daniel made me swoon so much that I wanted to keep him for myself. And I felt so bad for him because he knew going in that Claire was married, but cared enough to just be her friend. Can you help who you fall in love with? These three just ripped me apart. I could not foresee an out come I would be ok with, but Tracey did it. I came out ok, and you will too!

3. The book goes back and forth between Claire, Chris, and Daniel. They each get to tell their story and share their feelings with the reader. I loved this, and I think it really contributed to my feelings of compassion and hope for all of them.

4. The friendship between Daniel and Claire is the kind that comes along once, but sometimes never, in a person’s lifetime. I really can’t even describe how I felt as I read their exchanges and their dialogue. They were there to fill the emotional voids in each other’s lives, and such an intense bond formed that I understood even though I felt like I shouldn’t.

5. Claire and Chris are also wonderful together. I loved reading about their first date and their courtship. And looking in on Chris in his office late at night, and jumping into his mind made me really pull for him. Basically, Claire is a lucky girl to have two great guys going after her!

6. Tracey’s writing is superb! I just love her style.

Overall, Covet is an amazing look into an issue that’s probably a lot more common than we think. I loved and felt for all the characters, and really enjoyed reading it! I’m still a fan of Tracey’s!


‘Twas the Night, by S. Hill, K. Holmes, & T. Jensen (Book Review)

Posted December 14, 2012 by Jana in Book Review / 0 Comments

‘Twas the Night, by S. Hill, K. Holmes, & T. Jensen (Book Review)Twas the Night by Kate Holmes, Sandra Hill, Trish Jensen
Published by Bell Bridge Books on October 18th, 2010
Genres: Chick Lit, Contemporary Fiction, Contemporary Romance, Holiday - Christmas, Romance
Pages: 251
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher (Netgalley)
Amazon Add to Goodreads
3 Stars
What do a Blue Angels pilot, a bounty hunter and an ex-NFL football player have in common? The three bad-boy bachelors of Snowdon, Maine have to make a friend's Christmas Eve wedding on time or die trying! They're willing to risk anything to make that happen-even dashing through the snow in the goofiest bus on Earth, bright red and filled with a bunch of merry, meddling senior citizens known as the Santa Brigade. All too soon, these men will have met their matches in three special women: a woman from their past, a forest ranger so hot she ought to be declared a fire hazard, and a woman on the run.

Ho, ho, OH!

While serving up holiday cheer with the Santa Brigade, the guys will discover 'tis the season for good will and folly. Wise men or not, they are well and truly caught, which means these roguish St. Nicks are willing to jingle a few bells along the way if that's what it takes to find what they truly want for Christmas nestled in their beds after the stockings are stuffed and the gifts placed under the tree.

I loved the idea of this story. Three macho men hitch a ride home on a big, shiny red bus full of senior citizens dressed as Santas. On their way home, they make stops at homeless shelters to spread Christmas cheer to those less fortunate. It’s definitely a unique storyline! It appears to be an anthology, but it’s really one story written from three different perspectives. Each author took on one character, and then they took turns writing chapters from their character’s point of view. It’s a really good idea, but it ended up causing a lot of redundancy. I kept reading the same things. I’d read it happen to one person, and then I’d read another person SEE it happen to said person. I got kind of tired of it.

I enjoyed the characters. The senior citizens are all pretty hilarious old people. They say some of the funniest things. You know how older people can be pretty blunt without really realizing it? That’s how these people are. They totally speak their minds whenever they see fit. I liked all three of the main guys, although I had a hard time telling them apart sometimes. There was not much different about each one to set them apart from the others… plus two of them had very similar names: Sam and Stan. It made it tricky! The three grew up together in a home for boys, so they have a very strong bond. I loved reading about their relationship. I also liked their love interests: a childhood sweetheart, a girl who ran away to avoid testifying against someone in court, and a girl-next-door type who was also headed to the wedding. Each one has quite a dynamic personality, and they added a lot to the story. In my opinion, they actually brought more life to the story than the men did, because these girls are all very different from each other. They come with different backgrounds and life stories. The guys are very similar, so a lot of times it didn’t really matter which one I was reading about.

At first, I was really loving the story. I enjoyed reading about what these men had to do to get to the bus. One had to parachute to it, one had to use a snowmobile to drive out to it, and one had to pay an “Amish woman” $100 to get her to take him to a local truck stop on foot. The sexual tension was definitely there with all three couples, and that was also fun to read about. As soon as they reached the bus, though, (and that happens pretty soon) the story got boring. All we hear about from then on is the lustful thoughts that everyone is having about each other, and the Santa Brigade stops at shelter after shelter. Nothing exciting or noteworthy happens at the stops, though. They make toys on the bus as they drive through major weather, and stop at shelters to deliver them and put on a show.

The men want to jump the bones of the women pretty much all the time, and vice versa. There’s no real talk of love or anything, just sex. No real talk of commitment. The only relationship that even made sense to me was the one between the two childhood sweethearts. They had a history, and they were in love and their feelings were believable. But the other two? They had known each other for, what, 2-3 days? It just seemed unrealistic and rushed to me. And all the men talked about or thought about was sex, sex appeal, sexual tension, and sexual fantasies. The story quickly went from a light-hearted, funny Christmas romance (which I loved) to a bunch of sex scenes (that can be skipped without ruining the flow of the story) and dirty thoughts strung together, which is not my thing. Some of the old people even catch the lust bug! It was just uncomfortable.

Now yes, some sweet romance happens, and a few of the characters have some “coming of age moments,” and I really liked those aspects of the story. Eventually, the story turns back to a happy, light romance. I loved the ending, and how everything was tied together. All in all, parts of this book were great, and parts of it I skipped/skimmed through. I loved the unique storyline. As far as a contemporary romance goes, it’s pretty mainstream. It follows all the usual formulas, and ends like pretty much all romances do. I love happy endings, even if they are totally predictable. :)


Santa Maybe by Aubrey Mace (Mini Book Review)

Posted December 6, 2012 by Jana in Adult Fiction, Book Review / 1 Comment

Santa Maybe by Aubrey Mace (Mini Book Review)Santa Maybe by Aubrey Mace
Published by Cedar Fort on September 8, 2009
Genres: Chick Lit, Contemporary Fiction, Contemporary Romance, Holiday - Christmas, Romance
Pages: 186
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased
Amazon Add to Goodreads
3 Stars
With a successful bakery to run, super cute nieces and nephews to spoil, and plenty of good friends to keep her company, Abbie s not about to start crying over the fact that she s doesn't have a boyfriend to spend Christmas with. But when her sister convinces her to write a note to Santa, Abbie has no idea that a little Christmas magic is about to land her the man of her dreams. Or rather, that man is about to land smack dab on the floor in front of her Christmas tree with no memory of how he got there.

Now Abbie and Ben have to figure out where he came from, who he really is, and if he's actually available.

Aubrey Mace, the award-winning author of Spare Change, has done it again! This light-hearted holiday romance is sure to please even the most cynical scrooge. Told with humor, sweetness, and Aubrey's signature wit, this is one Christmas story that will keep you smiling all year round.

Santa Maybe is a cute, quick read with lots of adorable Christmas spirit and tradition. It all starts when Abbie writes a letter to Santa, asking for a husband. She does this as a joke, not expecting anything to happen, seeing as how she has sworn off of men. Low and behold, she is awakened by a thud in her living room. Armed with a rolling pin and lots of adrenaline, she sneaks out and finds a man asleep under her tree. I swear, I need to write my letter to Santa now. I need a man for Christmas too!

I’d been wanting to read this book for a few years, and am so glad I started my Christmas reads further in advance this time. Santa Maybe is the perfect book to get you into the Christmas spirit. Abbie owns an adorable sounding bakery, and she spends a lot of time there baking goodies as the snow falls outside. I could practically smell the cookies baking in the oven. When Ben shows up, he immediately fits into her life perfectly, and is so persistent and amazing. It was fun watching the two of them try to figure out who he was!

Oh, and boy, did Abbie end up with a winner. Ben is amazingly perfect (well, except for the amnesia), and the dream man that fills up my single girl’s mind. He’s chivalrous and handsome and thoughtful, caring, etc. He’s all the good things! He and Abbie have great chemistry, but she is convinced that he has a wife and children somewhere. This really hinders the relationship, and I wish we had been given more time to see them as a couple, rather than in this stage of limbo.

Aspects of this story are pretty unrealistic. I mean, Abbie had absolutely no problems accepting a stranger into her house. I’m a bit too paranoid to be able to do that, but he is pretty handsome, so maybe I’d bend the rules for a guy like him! Ben’s face went up on the news, and women began posing as his wife so they could have him to themselves. I found that a bit far-fetched as well. And Abbie’s sister’s reaction to all of this was also rather unrealistic. If this happened to my sister, I’d be flipping out! I certainly would not immediately start shoving her into him. I’d have to interrogate him first!

All in all, though, Christmas is a time for magic. Santa Maybe is a cute, magical story chock full of family, food, and romance. I’d recommend it to anyone who loves simple little contemporary Christmas romances.

(Disclaimer: This book was written by an LDS woman, so aspects of the LDS faith are woven into the story. Nothing is pushed on the reader, though. Ben and Abbie go to church once, so the readers are given a few churchy details during that portion of the book. Other than that, there’s nothing else.)


The Carny by Brooke Moss (Book Review)

Posted October 17, 2012 by Jana in Adult Fiction, Book Review / 3 Comments

The Carny by Brooke Moss (Book Review)The Carny by Brooke Moss
Published by Inkspell Publishing on July 7, 2012
Genres: Chick Lit, Contemporary Fiction, Contemporary Romance, Romance
Pages: 416
Format: eBook
Source: Publisher (Mail)
Amazon Add to Goodreads
2.5 Stars
At a town fair on the coast of Oregon, handsome Native American carny, Vincent Youngblood, bestows an unforgettable kiss on shy, awkward teenager, Charlotte Davenport. Then disappears without another word, leaving her baffled and enamored. Ten years later, Charlotte is still living in the small fishing town of Astoria, while being trained to--reluctantly--take over for her philandering hotelier father when he retires. After all, who else will do it? Her two perfect sisters are busy being married to their flawless husbands and having cookie cutter children, while Charlotte remains single, childless, and every bit as mousy as she was a decade ago. As Charlotte struggles to climb out from underneath her judgmental parents thumb, the carnival rolls back into town, and Charlotte finds herself face to face with Vin again. He's back to run his father's carnival, walking away from a promising career in medicine he started in Chicago. Will her biased and judgmental family accept her relationship with a man who is not only a Native American, but works as a carny for a living? And what unsavory secrets bind the well-educated and seemingly superlative Vin to that ramshackle carnival? After all, you can t judge a carny by its cover.

I was quite excited for this book, because I love the idea of this serendipitous moment where two people magically collide and form a connection that spans 10 years! I remember when I was younger, there was this TV show called Providence. One of the small story lines that spanned a few episodes was when Joanie went to a masquerade ball, and was randomly kissed by a masked man in a Zorro costume, before he disappeared. It was so exciting and romantic, especially once these two found each other again. That’s what I pictured with this story. As always, my main points are bolded. :)

1. The romance factor is there, even though it was quite cheesy and predictable at times. We’ve got this sexy, swoon worthy Native American named Vin who is a complete dreamboat. He’s been thinking about Charlotte off and on since that kiss, and their reunion is pretty sweet and made me melt. Plus, the things he said to her were just precious. I’m a huge fan of Vin, and to be honest, he’s way too good for Charlotte. This brings me to my next point.

2. I can’t stand Charlotte. She has such low self esteem, that Vin has to continually reassure her that she’s pretty. She actually apologizes to him for not being pretty enough. My. Gosh. Plus, she jumps to conclusions. If she can be mad at Vin, she will be without even giving him the chance to explain! She’s hopelessly in love with this guy, but goes on pouting sprees as often as she can–ignoring him for days while she mopes. Seriously. Can anyone be good enough for her? And THEN she flips and runs into his arms sobbing. She was weak, and he was blinded by love. Seriously, Vin. Come find me.

3. I’m not a huge fan of the supporting characters either. I liked the people we briefly met at the carnival, the part of Vin’s family we met, and I liked Charlotte’s friend. But I could not stand Charlotte’s racist, annoying family. They were so horrible, that I had a hard time believing they were real. I would have enjoyed reading about Vin’s family so much more.

4. I enjoyed the small details: the carnival, the small cottage with the greenhouses, the lighthouse, the quaint town, the crisp air. I would love to visit this place. It was described wonderfully.

5. The writing was pretty awful. I’m not even sure this book was edited. Sundays does not equal Sunday’s. If you’re enjoying Sunday’s weather, you use it this way. If you’re excited about all the upcoming Sundays, there is no apostrophe. You’re adorable. That’s a good use of you’re. You’re dress is adorable is not a good use of you’re. It’s lovely outside. Yes. This is good. My cat wiggled it’s nose? No. There were more typos and broken grammar laws than I could keep track of. It really detracted from the story.

6. The deeper issues gave the book substance, and I liked that. Charlotte’s horrendous family forced her to defend herself. Vin’s unreliable family forced him to make tough decisions. They both had sad pasts, which made them real.

7. The ending was too much. You can only have so many “happily ever after” elements before it’s just too much. Every single happy thing that could happen to these two did. I mean, I was happy for them and all, but now that all is said and done I keep thinking that the bow this story was tied up in is just too pretty, especially after all the opposition they were facing throughout the entire story.

8. Regardless of my little gripes about the book, I did enjoy the story. I will always pull for a couple like this one. The more opposition they face, the more I want them to end up together. I seriously loved Vin, and I loved some of the romantic scenes these two shared. I had a hard time putting it down.

Overall, I appreciated the story and the attack on racism, because it’s still a modern problem. I loved Vin so much, and would love to read more of his back story. We briefly hear about is past, and I’d love a prequel that shows us Vin’s life before Charlotte. A strong editor could have done wonders for this book, and I’m sad that didn’t happen. I’d recommend this to people who enjoy happy romantic contemporaries with real issues, a loveable hero, and quaint coastal towns.


Somebody to Love by Kristan Higgins (Book Review)

Posted June 12, 2012 by Jana in Adult Fiction, Book Review / 5 Comments

Somebody to Love by Kristan Higgins (Book Review)Somebody to Love by Kristan Higgins
Published by HQN Books on April 24, 2012
Genres: Chick Lit, Contemporary Fiction, Contemporary Romance, Romance
Pages: 432
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher (Netgalley)
Amazon Add to Goodreads
2.5 Stars
After her father loses the family fortune in an insider-trading scheme, single mom Parker Welles is faced with some hard decisions. First order of business: go to Gideon's Cove, Maine, to sell the only thing she now owns—a decrepit house in need of some serious flipping. When her father's wingman, James Cahill, asks to go with her, she's not thrilled...even if he is fairly gorgeous and knows his way around a toolbox.

Having to fend for herself financially for the first time in her life, Parker signs on as a florist's assistant and starts to find out who she really is. Maybe James isn't the glib lawyer she always thought he was. And maybe the house isn't the only thing that needs a little TLC.

So… Thanks, Mr. Bieber, for getting this song stuck in my head. Actually, I think the song came before the book… so… yeah. Anywho… Yeah. Sadly, I know this song. Sadder, it’s an easy one to get stuck your head. Saddest, it was ALWAYS in my head. Every time I read, I was thinking of Justin and his silly little boy dance moves (yeah… I’ve seen the music video, too. *facepalm*) So basically, that’s what happened. I read the book, it had a cute story, too much mention of “lady land”, and the Biebs singing in the background. Interesting mixture, no? As always, my main points are bolded. :)

1. What a fun story idea! Any of you HGTV-watchers will agree with me that it’s really fun to watch (or in this case, read) a really ugly, crummy, decrepit house be completely flipped and turned into a really cute/gorgeous living space! That’s what’s going on in the background of the story, and I really loved picturing the changes this house went through.

2. Gideon’s Cove, Maine (the setting for this story) is darling. This place sounds like one of those quaint, hidden oceanside towns where everyone knows who you are whether you want them to or not. I really liked all the people she met while she was there, and each character added something special to the story.

3. I liked Parker, because she was not the stereotypical spoiled heiress. No offense to you if you are a spoiled heiress, but I generally don’t like them because they feel entitled and better than everyone else. Of course, there are exceptions, and Parker is one of them. I found it refreshing. Yes, she had to be taught how to change a vacuum cleaner bag, but what counts is that she was willing to learn and then do it herself. I liked that she is the author of a quirky children’s book series, but I really did not like that the characters in her books talked to her. That was weird.

4. James, a.k.a. “Thing One”, is a total babe. He’s Parker’s Dad’s lawyer, and has been hanging out in the background of Parker’s life for years. Now, he’s off to Gideon’s Cove to help Parker spruce up her house, and to crush on her a LOT. He’s had a thing for her, but it’s complicated. You know how it is. He’s got this troubled past that makes him guarded and tough, but his dreams make him completely perfect and sweet. Plus, he’s a hard worker. Phew! I really liked his character.

5. Parker’s son, Nicky, his father Ethan (who is one of her very best friends), and Ethan’s wife Lucy are pretty much Parker’s only family, since her dad screwed his life up and pushed her away. I really liked all the supporting characters, but these three were my favorites (although Malone is pretty great).

6. I liked reading about Parker’s relationship with her dad: how it used to be, how it is now (and why), and how they try to mend fences. It added a deeper feeling to the story that gave me something to root for.

7. I got really tired of hearing about how Parker’s Lady Land perked up when James smiled, or how it stirred when he ripped siding off the house. There was just so much lust! And when they finally did act on things, it was meant to be a fling and only a fling. I guess I’m more of a traditionalist, but I don’t like it when love stories begin with two characters only interested in physical encounters and nothing more than that.

8. Sometimes this book was pretty funny! Here’s my favorite part. Parker had just gotten to Gideon’s Cove, expecting a mansion, and found the little run-down shack she inherited. Of course, she ventured in to assess the situation:

“Hi,” he said, as if she wasn’t murdering her jeans against the hood. “How’s it going?”
“There was a mouse in my pants.”
He raised an eyebrow and smiled. “Lucky Mouse.”
Her breath caught. Wrong thing to say. Wrong. “It’s pretty traumatic to have a rodent in your pants, Thing One,” she snapped. “Unless you like that sort of thing.”
“Oh, hey, sorry princess,” he said, approaching the car. “Didn’t mean to make light of your tragedy.”
“There was a mouse in my pants,” she blurted.

I actually laughed. I enjoy it when that happens!

9. Sometimes I got a little bored with all the dialogue between the main characters and supporting characters that didn’t do much to add to the story. I found myself skimming through a few passages because things were just moving too slowly.

10. The ending made the entire book worth it, and I got pretty teary-eyed. I’m a sap. Haha. It was just really sweet!

While this book had its moments, and the story was appealing, it was not one of my favorite reads and I actually had a bit of a hard time finding the motivation to read it. I’m glad I stuck with it, though, because it was fun to see how everything wrapped up. I got attached to Gideon’s Cove and some of the characters, so I had to see where everyone ended up. I was pleased with how things were left. I would recommend this book to people who enjoy a fluffy summer romance, laced with a deeper lesson on family and healing. This was my first Kristan Higgins book, and I do think she’s an author I’ll consider in the future!


I’ve Got Your Number by Sophie Kinsella (Book Review)

Posted June 9, 2012 by Jana in Adult Fiction, Book Review / 11 Comments

I’ve Got Your Number by Sophie Kinsella (Book Review)I've Got Your Number by Sophie Kinsella
Published by The Dial Press on February 14, 2012
Genres: Chick Lit, Contemporary Fiction, Contemporary Romance, Romance
Pages: 433
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Amazon Add to Goodreads
4 Stars
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 her ideal man, Magnus Tavish, but in one afternoon her “happily ever after” begins to fall apart. Not only has she lost her engagement ring in a hotel fire drill but in the panic that follows, her phone is stolen. As she paces shakily around the lobby, she spots an abandoned phone in a trash can. Finders keepers! Now she can leave a number for the hotel to contact her when they find her ring. Perfect!

Well, perfect except that the phone’s owner, businessman Sam Roxton, doesn’t agree. He wants his phone back and doesn’t appreciate Poppy reading 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 realizes that she is in for the biggest surprise of her life.

Guys, this is my very first Sophie Kinsella book, and I officially love her to pieces! I really, really debated buying this book. Even on Kindle it’s over $13, and I had not read a book by her before… and I already owned Can You Keep a Secret? and the Shopaholic series, so I should probably read one of those first, right?… but I wanted this because it sounded adorable. Seriously. This inner debate went on for months. Finally, I bit the bullet and bought it before my big Europe trip, and I LOVED IT. I am SO glad I trusted my inner shopaholic and bought this book anyway. It was a great Sophie book to start out with! As always, my main points are bolded. :)

1. The humor is, hands down, my favorite part of this book. Poppy (love that name!) thinks some of the funniest things! Her ring is gone, so doomsday is here. She panics like I panic. Worst case scenario? Yes. No matter what, she worries about the worst possible thing that could happen. And the string of events that occur are priceless. She is so unlucky that it’s almost hard to believe! I laughed a lot.

2. The story is super unique, in my eyes. And the romance is too! What a way to fall in love! Find someone’s fun in a garbage can, and spend days commiserating about the woes of life, not to mention arguing over who deserves the phone. It’s a completely modern love story that totally worked for me. I really want this to be my love story!

3. Poppy is so likeable, and so much fun to read about. Magnus is a stick in the mud you love to hate. Oh, and his parents are stuck up in a hilarious kind of way. And Sam is a snarky and dreamy and incredibly sweet business man, who kind of reminds me of Mr. Darcy. The characters are amazing and dynamic. None of them are perfect (even though some of them think they are!), and their flaws made them real, believable, and memorable.

4. I didn’t like the footnotes. Yeah… there’s about 10 footnotes a chapter. Problem is, I read the Kindle version and the footnotes for each page were not on that page, but compiled in a list on the last page of the chapter. Nobody likes flipping and flipping through the “pages” on Kindle. It’s annoying, and you forget where you are and where you were. I ended up having to ignore them, or trying to remember where the footnotes happened so I could understand the footnote once I got to the end of the chapter. For this reason, most of them made no sense to me, and made me rather frustrated.

I didn’t have a ton to say about this one, did I? Haha. It’s just a wonderful book. Rather than looking for my likes and dislikes, I just read and experienced the story. I didn’t take notes, and I didn’t read critically. I just read it, and I loved it! I don’t know about all her other books, so I’m basing my love of Sophie Kinsella off of this one alone. I’m pretty convinced, though, that I will automatically buy anything she writes from now on! Read this if you love silly, inspiring, makes-you-giddy kind of sweet contemporary romances!


Me and Mr. Darcy by Alexandra Potter (Book Review)

Posted May 3, 2012 by Jana in Adult Fiction, Book Review / 3 Comments

Me and Mr. Darcy by Alexandra Potter (Book Review)Me and Mr. Darcy by Alexandra Potter
Published by Ballantine Books on June 12, 2007
Genres: Chick Lit, Contemporary Fiction, Contemporary Romance, Romance
Pages: 368
Format: Paperback
Source: Gift
Amazon Add to Goodreads
3 Stars
After a string of disastrous dates, Emily Albright decides she’s had it with modern-day love and would much rather curl up with Pride and Prejudice and spend her time with Mr. Darcy, the dashing, honorable, and passionate hero of Jane Austen’s classic. So when her best friend suggests a wild week of margaritas and men in Mexico with the girls, Emily abruptly flees to England on a guided tour of Jane Austen country instead. Far from inspiring romance, the company aboard the bus consists of a gaggle of little old ladies and one single man, Spike Hargreaves, a foul-tempered journalist writing an article on why the fictional Mr. Darcy has earned the title of Man Most Women Would Love to Date.

The last thing Emily expects to find on her excursion is a broodingly handsome man striding across a field, his damp shirt clinging to his chest. But that’s exactly what happens when she comes face-to-face with none other than Mr. Darcy himself. Suddenly, every woman’s fantasy becomes one woman’s reality. . . .

I love Jane Austen spin-offs. I think we’ve all figured this out by now. Because I love them so much, they can easily disappoint me at the same time, which is what happened here. This was on of those “meh” books, and actually the book that inspired my 3-Star rating explanation over on my sidebar. Sometimes that’s really the only word I can come up with when someone asks me how I liked a book.

1. It was a slow, basic, fluffy plot that was perfect for a leisurely day of summer reading. There was not a lot to it, and I got through it pretty quickly. This is not always a bad thing, as I enjoy having a lighter book to just enjoy every once in a while!

2. Emily’s gaggle of old lady friends were hilariously dramatic as they toured the English countryside.  Some of these women were fun to read about, and some of them bothered me a little. Some were just downright laugh-out-loud funny. They formed a pretty strong bond with Emily in the short amount of time they had, though, so I got to know and like them at about the same pace that Emily did. They were always concerned about her, and treated her like a granddaughter, which I thought was cute.

3. Mr. Darcy does make an appearance in the book a few times, but I didn’t like it very much. I’m not sure if it was a cut in the fabric of time, Emily’s mindless daydreams, or visions from a higher power, but the two of them had innocent encounters throughout the course of the book. Nobody saw him but Emily, so she was viewed as being a bit crazy whenever she mentioned seeing him. Seriously, why would you continue talking about meeting Mr. Darcy if nobody else saw him? I mean, does she want to come off as crazy?4. Mr. Darcy bugged me. He was not my Mr. Darcy, and came off as selfish and cocky. I think that’s why this book left me feeling “meh”. I love this guy, and I think the author of this book decided that people like him too much. I don’t have skewed views about men because of Mr. Darcy, but I do appreciate him and enjoy thinking about finding someone similar (thank you, BBC).  I left this book not liking Mr. Darcy, and I was not happy about that.

4. The writing was done well, and the story idea was cute. I was just not extremely fond of the execution or the characterization.

I recommend this to readers who enjoy Jane Austenesque novels, but don’t mind if Mr. Darcy is thrown under the bus a little!


Mr. Darcy Forever by Victoria Connelly (Book Review)

Posted March 19, 2012 by Jana in Adult Fiction, Book Review / 4 Comments

Mr. Darcy Forever by Victoria Connelly (Book Review)Mr. Darcy Forever by Victoria Connelly
Series: Austen Addicts #3
Also in this series: Dreaming of Mr. Darcy
Published by Sourcebooks Landmark on April 1, 2012
Genres: Chick Lit, Contemporary Fiction, Contemporary Romance, Romance
Pages: 336
Source: Publisher (Netgalley)
Amazon Add to Goodreads
3 Stars
Sisters are forever...

Sisters Sarah and Mia Castle haven't spoken for three years but they're about to meet again at the Jane Austen Festival in Bath. But what was it that drove them apart and can the magic of Jane Austen help bring them back together again?

(While this is book #3 in a series, I contacted the author and she said each novel is a standalone, and they can be read out of order.)

I love, love, love Jane Austen spin-offs. I’ve read quite a few, including book #2 in this series, Dreaming of Mr. Darcy. While it was not my favorite book, it was definitely cute and worth the read. I was excited to read this next book. And look at that darling cover! While I did not enjoy it as much as Dreaming of Mr. Darcy, and it bothered me in a few places, this book ended up leaving me with a few warm fuzzies and a smile. As always, my main points are bolded. :)

1. The story is actually kind of boring until about 60% of the way through the book, when things pick up and really get interesting. We’ve got flashbacks to when the sisters parted ways mixed in with the present day at a Jane Austen festival in Bath. Most of the present-day scenes are combinations of 2 or 3 people talking about stuff, but it all happens in different places and at different times. I felt like I was reading the same story multiple times: Sarah talking to Lloyd, Mia talking to Gabe, and Mia talking to Shelley, not to mention what is going on in Sarah and Mia’s minds.Plus, we see it all happen in the flashback as well. It was a bit overkill for me. But then at 60%, things pick up and progress is made. The characters begin to open up and move forward, whereas before it was all talk of the past. The mood gets a bit lighter, and more enjoyable… even funny in some places.

2. Sarah bothers me a bit. She has Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, which is totally fine. I have it… my sister has it. It’s fine. But seriously. There is SO much OCD talk. Sarah and her love interest bond and essentially fall in love because they both have it. Everything Sarah does is “because of OCD.” It is talked about so much, that it ends up being another character in the book. We had Sarah, Lloyd, Mia, Shelley, Gabe, and Sarah’s OCD. I got tired of hearing about it.

The matter-of-fact, and sometimes sarcastic way that OCD was discussed made me feel like the disorder was made out to be something funny and quirky, not a serious thing. This story is written as if Sarah enjoys having it. She sits and talks about it, and laughs. She’s happy she has found someone else who suffers from it too. I was really bothered by it, and got to the point where I skimmed over all mentions of OCD. Maybe I’m just extra sensitive because I have struggled with this same thing for most of my life, but it just really rubbed me the wrong way.

3. I really disliked Sarah’s sister, Mia, and Mia’s friend, Shelley, in the beginning. They were obnoxious, self-centered and immature, throwing themselves at whoever, whenever they please. If someone is married, who cares? If someone is not interested, who cares? And then if they happen to see someone they dislike, they either hide in plain sight and act completely amazed when they are spotted, or they run away through the streets crying their eyes out and mentally channeling some Jane Austen character, asking for advice. Drama. Over the top drama. However, towards the end they both seem to grow up all of a sudden. We are given insights into Mia’s past, and we get to see Shelley as a very nurturing and concerned best friend. I ended up really liking both of them by the end. And Shelley’s dog, Bingley, is hilarious. I really love that dog, and his silly mannerisms and habits.

4. I really enjoyed the descriptions of the cute town of Bath. I would love to visit someday. The author put me right there in the middle of it all.

5. The present-day romance that both sisters experience after so much pain in their past is refreshing and sweet. Both girls have been through a lot, so I enjoyed reading about them falling in love. And I really like both guys, and kind of wish I had one too!

Overall, this was a cute little contemporary, sometimes cheesy, romance that took a while to get going, but ended up warming my heart. I did not love it as much as Dreaming of Mr. Darcy, but I still enjoyed it and think it was worth the read. This book focuses on Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility, so don’t be expecting a P&P spin-off based on the title! Now I need to go read the first one, A Weekend with Mr. Darcy!


Gentlemen Prefer Nerds by Joan Kilby (Book Review)

Posted March 9, 2012 by Jana in Adult Fiction, Book Review / 6 Comments

Gentlemen Prefer Nerds by Joan Kilby (Book Review)Gentlemen Prefer Nerds by Joan Kilby
Published by Carina Press on March 12, 2012
Genres: Chick Lit, Contemporary Fiction, Contemporary Romance, Romance, Suspense
Pages: 250
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher (Netgalley)
Amazon Add to Goodreads
4 Stars
Self-professed nerd Maddie Maloney is an expert on jewels. Jewel thieves are another matter entirely! So when a mysterious Englishman warns her that a thief known as The Chameleon is after the rare pink diamond on display in her aunt's shop, she tells herself it's just a joke. Even if she can't get Mr. Tall, Dark and Handsome out of her mind...

But Fabian Montgomery doesn't give up easily. He's everywhere she goes, convinced the thief will strike. And when the diamond does go missing - and Maddie is suspected of stealing it - he whisks her away from the police and together they pursue The Chameleon.

Fabian plunges her into a glamorous world far from her humble workshop and transforms geeky Maddie into a sophisticated siren capable of espionage. Her mission: to seduce The Chameleon and steal back the diamond.

But Fabian isn't telling her everything - like who he works for, and why he's so interested in The Chameleon...

I love mysteries with a touch of suspense, and I could tell immediately from the description that I would enjoy this book. What surprised me the most, though, was the comedic element the author threw in. This book was so funny, in addition to being suspenseful and romantic. I had a lot of fun reading this, and am excited to share with you my favorite elements of the book! As always, my main points are bolded. :)

1. I love this title! I’m a total nerd, so I was immediately drawn in by the hilarious title, attractive gentleman, and the bright yellow.

2. The book surprised me by taking place in Australia! I’ve never read a book that took place there, so I really enjoyed all the descriptions of the scenery. Part of the book takes place in a resort town by the beach during the weekend of a sailboat gala. I loved reading about all the boats and the people. It sounded so quaint and romantic. I just loved it.

3. Maddie, a self-proclaimed nerd with a PhD in gemology (I believe? Or is it mineralogy?), is such a fun character. She really is the stereotypical nerd, with the eclectic non-sense of fashion and the gem smarts. Her nerdliness is interrupted by Fabian, an extremely attractive and mysterious Englishman who whisks her away to retrieve the stolen diamond, save her from jail, and protect her aunt’s reputation. Right at the beginning as they are running from the police, all she can think about is her sweet cat, and what will happen to it while she’s away. A girl after my own heart. Fabian turns her into a sexy glamazon, and she’s totally against it. She fights him every step of the way. He sends her to a day spa, and her account of the happenings there had me laughing out loud. She got burned in the sauna, almost drowned in the mineral pool, etc. The daunting task of seducing The Chameleon lies ahead of her, and she goes on and on about how impossible that will be. She even has to practice her seduction skills! Her spunk and quick wit created a really fun contrast to the serious businessman, Fabian.

4. I love it when the geeky girl nabs the attractive James Bond type. Fabian is totally the sexy, mysterious foreigner with a carefully concealed past and a lot of baggage. I love how he feels this need to put on a hardened facade, when in reality he’s laughing at Maddie and falling for her on the inside.You can tell he cares, but wishes he didn’t. She tugs at his heartstrings, and I think it’s so sweet to watch the inner turmoil he goes through as she pushes him outside his comfort zone.

5. The romance is a slow burn, and a minimal part of the story. It really was hate at first sight with these two. Fabian is a major inconvenience to Maddie, following her around, bothering her, making her do things she doesn’t want to do. Maddie is Fabian’s pain in the butt, but he needs an experienced and knowledgeable gemologist on his side in order to find and identify the diamond. As time pushes on, they begin to tolerate one another more and more, but it takes a while. No insta-love here! The romance was believable and sweet.

6. The suspense really grabs you. Fabian and Maddie are really good at getting into trouble. Running from the police… seeking out The Chameleon… intense sailboat rides… guns blazing… deserted islands… concealed identities. Luck is not on their side. This book is a major page-turner.

7. It’s the perfect blend of comedy, romance, and suspense. Plus it’s heartwarming. You’d think with all the stuff going on, you might not get a true sense of what makes the characters who they are. But you do! There are some tender moments with Maddie’s family and with Fabian’s family was well. And Maddie’s cat adds a lot, too. Maybe I’m just a softy for cats. I dunno. But I loved that amidst all the suspense and deception, we were given a sense of the moral fabric these characters possess. The emotion is there, and I liked that. It made the characters more relatable.

All in all, this book is fun and exciting, and I really enjoyed it. I would recommend it to anyone who loves a good romcom with some mystery mixed in. I’m definitely going to go and check out some more of Joan Kilby’s books. She’s got a ton of them!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...