And One Last Thing… by Molly Harper
Pages : 310
Genre : Fiction, Romance
My Rating :
What it’s about :
After a confused florist accidentally delivers to Lacey the flowers that were destined to her husband’s mistress, Lacey is in shock. She can’t believe her beloved husband would cheat on her, and yet, the proofs keep piling on.
In anger, Lacey puts all her feelings in the form of a newsletter, which she then distributes via email to everyone they know : family, friends, clients are all suddenly aware of what happened, and Lacey is forced to leave her hometown to make peace with the recent events. Escaping to her grandmother’s lake house for the summer, Lacey hadn’t planned that her peace would include her gorgeous yet annoying new neighbor Monroe…
My Thoughts :
Having read and loved Molly Harper’s vampire series (which, oops, I just realized I haven’t reviewed the last book of), there was no doubt in my mind I would want to read more of her writing in the future, vampires included or not.
While And One Last Thing… flirts with the romance genre more than I usually enjoy, I found myself liking Lacey too much to give up. Lacey is easy to relate to, and her derisive tone makes the story a breeze to go through. I felt for her betrayal, but I also admired the strength she had. Despite a few mistakes (like said newsletter), she really grew through the events. Her story isn’t only about loving again, but also about learning to be hew own person, without having to depend on anyone else.
I also thought it was a wonderful summer read. I wanted to be at the lake house with Lacey, and I thought Monroe made a wonderful neighbor. He’s sexy, yes, but he’s also an incredible support for Lacey. I have to say, I enjoyed their friendly scenes way more than the couple of more physical ones they had. However, I would be a bad judge for these steamy scenes, since I usually find those more funny than anything. It wasn’t the case here, and I think Harper did a good job with them, but it’s just not my thing.
There’s also a small cast of characters, family and friends, that help Lacey without stealing her spotlight, and I thought they all brought something different, and fun, to the book. The only thing I wish was that there had been more resolution with her father, but that would probably be more of a long term thing.
Overall, I found once more Harper’s writing easy to get into and to enjoy, and I already have more of her books waiting on my “to be read” pile of books. And One Last Thing… was funny and full of warmth, a pleasant read for a sweet summer escape. 🙂
Mini Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella
Pages : 416
Genre : Chick lit
Series : Shopaholic, book 6
My Rating :
What it’s about, in my Words :
Becky’s daughter is out of control : she’s only two years old, and her favorite word is “mine”! Between taking care of her little girl, living with her husband in her parents’ house and dealing with the economic crisis (meaning, no more shopping!!!), Becky should have enough on her plate to keep her busy. Yet, she decides to organize a super birthday party for Luke : a surprise party. Will Becky be able to pull it off in time, while keeping it a secret?
I usually don’t like reviewing a book if I haven’t reviewed the first ones of the series, but I had too many thoughts on Mini Shopaholic to pass on this fantastic occasion to discuss the latest novel of Sophie Kinsella.
I wasn’t charmed by this one as I had hoped to be, and I’m not sure who’s to blame here : was the book not up to the task? Or have I just had enough of Becky Brandon (née Bloomwood) and her crazy, shopaholic, imaginative, manipulative personality? In the past, I have enjoyed most of the books in the series : while Shopaholic and Sister was a disappointment (wow that book annoyed me), Shopaholic and Baby had given me hope that Sister was only a bump on the course. Then last summer I read Twenties Girl, Kinsella’s recent stand alone novel, and it ended up on my best of 2009 list. So, alright, the expectations were a bit high.
My first thoughts were, “Wow Becky is annoying”. After six books, I think it is fair to expect her to have grown up a bit – especially since she’s now a mother. I wasn’t charmed. I wasn’t amused. I was 100 pages in and felt irritated, and had it been an other author, I probably would have given up. Out of loyalty, I stuck with the book, and around page 150, I began enjoying the story a little more.
I definitely thought the book was a bit too long and covered too many story lines. Even though most of them came together at some point, there were too many. Plus, with Luke being constantly, conveniently might I add, out of the picture, it was really hard to feel any kind of chemistry between him and Becky. Only close to the end did I felt the romance between them once more.
In the end, I have to admit that we saw some heartfelt moments with Becky, which was nice. There were some funny scenes, and Minnie seemed adorable to me, although a bit out of control (but I would blame Becky on that part). I just wish there was some progression to be seen. Becky always fixes things in the end, and “learns her lesson”, but then the next book starts and she’s back to her old self. I don’t want her to change completely – she wouldn’t be Becky anymore! – but I would love to get the sense that she’s learned a bit more from life. I want her to not be saved by the bell and have to face some consequences, then grow up!
How important is character development for you, through a series?
Series Reading Order :
- Confessions of a Shopaholic
- Shopaholic Takes Manhattan
- Shopaholic Ties the Knot
- Shopaholic and Sister
- Shopaholic and Baby
- Mini Shopaholic
Girl Stays in the Picture by Melissa de la Cruz
Pages : 432
Genre : YA, Chick lit
My Rating :
What it’s about :
Girl Stays in the Picture takes you for a summer in Saint Tropez, where gossip reigns and famous people are fighting to keep their star shining. This summer, three girls with very different backgrounds will come together and try to make the best of their time in France : Devon, the just-out-of-rehab starlet; Livia, who dropped more than half her weight in a year – but not her self esteem issues; and finally Casey, the normal girl who plays assistant for her supposedly best friend and star Summer. Between movie sets drama and a variety of romances, this summer will be hot, hot, hot!
A few years ago, long before I really got into reading young adult fiction, I went to the bookstore looking for a nice, light read with lots of sun and which wouldn’t require too much brain power. At that time, I found exactly what I wanted in Melissa de la Cruz’s Au Pairs series. With Girl Stays in the Picture, I feel like de la Cruz has created a similar world : in that stressful time that were end of terms exams, I thanked her for that!
There wasn’t much happening and the characters were a bit two-dimensional. Still, I didn’t have much expectations when I started reading it, and maybe that’s why I could appreciate it this much. I was a little slow to get into it, but once I was, I read most of the 432 pages in a day.
It was light, full of fun, and the characters were likeable enough – totally candy cotton read. I would have love to see a little less predictability in some of the characters, but Girl Stays in the Picture is what it is : a guilty pleasure with which you can relax for a short while. One of the things I really liked about the book were those short gossip columns in between the chapters, which completed the story in different ways. It was a cute and fun way to remind us that we were in a world ruled by gossips and media.
Also, the book ends on a major cliffhanger, and while I have couple ideas on where this all leads, there is nothing certain about it. The ending was good, and it does concludes most of the story lines in the book, but this last page leaves you wanting more, and I couldn’t find any information on a second book coming out. I guess I’ll have to be patient!
Just One of the Guys by Kristan Higgins
Pages : 376
Genre : Chick lit, romance
My Rating :
From the Back of the Book :
When journalist Chastity O’Neill returns to her hometown, she decides it’s time to start working on some of those feminine wiles. Two tiny problems: #1—she’s five feet eleven inches of rock-solid girl power, and #2—she’s cursed with four alpha male older brothers.
While doing a story on local heroes, she meets a hunky doctor and things start to look up. Now there’s only one problem: Trevor Meade, her first love and the one man she’s never quite gotten over—although he seems to have gotten over her just fine. Yet the more time she spends with Dr. Perfect, the better Trevor looks. But even with the in-your-face competition, the irresistible Trevor just can’t seem to see Chastity as anything more than just one of the guys….
This book confirmed my love for Higgins writing. I loved the story, I loved the characters, I loved the humor, pretty much every aspect of it!
I want to start with Chastity : she did feel different than usual characters we meet in the “chick lit” genre. Many of my friends associate “chick lit” with “whiny females collecting shoes”, and while I don’t exactly agree, I can see where that feeling comes from! Chastity is different though : not only is she taller with strong shoulders, she also has a passion for sports (running and rowing), a cute obsession with LOTR (very refreshing from the usual Jane Austen obsession, which becomes quite redundant even though I do agree with it!), and a very nice attitude in general. Chastity isn’t defined by her romantic life – or lack of. She has hobbies, a career, friends, and a huge family around her.
Like in Too Good to be True, Higgins chose not to write only about Chastity’s love interests, but also about her everyday life. Her family is an important part of that, and I enjoyed how realistic their relationships were. Sometimes a bit dysfunctional, sometimes just very normal together, they were believable. Since three of her four siblings were married with children, there were a lot of characters, but Higgins did a great job of describing them so it wouldn’t get too confusing.
As for Trevor and Dr. Perfect, they were both great guys, but it was obvious the chemistry was more present between Chastity and Trevor. I liked that Dr. Perfect wasn’t a total jerk though : the fact that he wasn’t perfect for Chastity, but still a nice guy, was true to life. I also found interesting that Chastity’s mom had a similar situation towards the end, but went a different way about it.
I had only one big issue with the book, which I don’t want to talk about too much since I don’t want to spoil it. Close to the end, Chastity poses some actions I couldn’t agree with, and she didn’t seem to think much of it. I would have love to see her reflect more on that, maybe.
As you can see though, I really enjoyed this one, and I recommend it to romance readers but also to those of you who, like me, are not necessarily romance readers but enjoy the chick lit genre (if we can call it that). Especially if you like it with a good dose of humor!
Over the Holidays by Sandra Harper
Pages : 325
Genre : Fiction, Holidays
My Rating :
From the back of the book :
It’s only December 1, and Vanessa Clayton has been dreading Christmas since she spotted tinseled trees at her local mall in September. Thankfully, she and her husband, JT, can’t afford to drag their twin boys across the country to New England for the annual celebration at her stuffy sister-in-law Patience’s home. Not that Vanessa has prepared a proper Christmas for her family in years, and she has less time than ever since she agreed to consult on the script of a local play. Her older sister, Thea, is no help — she’d rather make art and flirt with surfers than babysit her nine-year-old nephews. Then Patience drops a holiday stress bomb: Her family will come to California instead.
In between “baking” cinnamon rolls for the school potluck and overbearing Patience testing her patience, Vanessa can’t stop thinking about the difficult but charming playwright at work. Meanwhile, Patience’s teenage daughter, Libby, obsesses over a college boy she has met by the pool, and Thea searches desperately for the meaning of Christmas — for her latest installation, of course. As their holiday plans go comically awry, these four women discover the true spirit of the season is hidden in every festive surprise.
With its cast of interesting characters and a good dose of chicklit-meets-the-holidays humor, Over the Holidays was the perfect book to get into the Christmas spirit!
First, I’ll start with the negative, but I’ll be quick about it. If I had to find a fault to the book, I would say it’s the number of point of views the author chose to write from. I liked most of the characters for different reasons, but 325 is a small amount of pages to tell a story from so many different point of views : Vanessa, Patience, Thea, Libby… even one chapter from Neil’s, if I remember correctly. It felt like too many books put into one, and I think the novel could have used less p.o.v. or 50 more pages.
That being said, I did enjoy the novel and it was a great way to begin the holidays madness! It’s light and fun, while giving you a realistic enough portrait of this stressful time of the year. I thought Vanessa was easy to relate to and Thea was interesting, but I’ll admit that my favorite one was Patience. I really got how perfect she wanted her holidays to be and how important Christmas was to her! She was depicted a little as Christmas-overachiever and an annoying perfectionist, but we learn to know her and love her. And let’s not forget Libby, who was acting like a typical teenager but still likable.
I also enjoyed Harper’s writing. It flowed with lightness and simplicity from page to page, making the read quick and enjoyable. There was some language, but not too much of it for me, and even though it was a third-person narration, I felt I understood the characters.
In short, I recommend Over the Holidays to those of you looking for a simple, fun and filled with humor Christmas novel. There are many characters you can relate too, all with different views of the Holidays. Visit the author’s website to learn more about her. I have already put her previous novel, High Tea, on my TBR list! (what can I say, I can’t resist such a cute puppy face!)
Too Good to be True by Kristan Higgins
Pages : 379
Genre : Chicklit, Romance
My Rating :
From the Back of the Book :
When Grace Emerson’s ex-fiancé starts dating her younger sister, extreme measures are called for. To keep everyone from obsessing about her love life, Grace announces that she’s seeing someone. Someone wonderful. Someone handsome. Someone completely made up. Who is this Mr. Right? Someone…exactly unlike her renegade neighbor Callahan O’Shea. Well, someone with his looks, maybe. His hot body. His knife-sharp sense of humor. His smarts and big heart.
Whoa. No. Callahan O’Shea is not her perfect man! Not with his unsavory past. So why does Mr. Wrong feel so…right?
I first heard of Too Good to be True at S. Krishna’s Books, and I’m so glad I did! You know I’m usually not one to fall for pure romance novels, but Higgins’ writing felt a lot more like the chicklit I enjoy so much. It was cute, fun, sexy and perfectly entertaining, with a good portion of romance on the side for those who enjoy it!
Grace is an entertaining character, but also an interesting one. She’s a history teacher and a Civil War buff who enjoys participating in reenactments. She’s been inventing herself boyfriends from time to time through her life, so why not do it again? It sounds like a silly idea that can only turn badly, right? Well, yes; but it also turns out to be extremely fun. It’s written with humor without being completely silly. Just enough to keep things light and make you turn the pages quickly. Grace was also easy to sympathize with, and her voice was perfect for the narration.
I love that the story was more about Grace’s life than about Grace’s romance uniquely. Her family was complex, entertaining and frustrating at times. Natalie, Grace’s younger sister, was a little spoiled without being insufferable, but I really appreciated her older sister, Maragaret; I would have loved to know more about her. As for Callahan, he was sexy, yes, although a little extreme at time in his reactions. But the romance was cute and I fell for it completely.
I really enjoyed Too Good to be True, and I would definitely read more by the author – if I was able to find her books; even Amazon.ca was a dead end on this one. Fortunately, my bookstore’s website and Amazon announce reprints for the beginning of 2010. Meanwhile, you can visit the author’s website to learn more about her and her books.