December 22, 2006

Hi everyone,

Kel here. I am officially on vacation starting NOW. I think I have a random post lined up for Saturday, but that was kind of just to see if it would work. The yet un-aliased PaperbackReviewer #2 should be posting some yummy reviews for you as she gets a chance!

I will be back in action January 9th, and I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday-ish sort of season!


Chick Lit Characters

December 21, 2006

Photo by podvinak
Often I find myself hating Chick Lit characters because of their stupidity, but maybe we’re more like them then we think?
How well do you identify with characters in Chick Lit? Do you find yourself overdrawing your bank account for a new pair of shoes? Do you spend your Friday nights drinking, eating chocolate, and thinking you’re just never going to get married? Do you find yourself dating “fuckwits” that everyone around you can see are worthless but you think is the perfect date?

I’m not old enough to worry about my single status, and I manage to control my shopping urges to the money I actually have in my bank account. However, I think I’ve definitely found myself dating some guys that I knew weren’t worth it, and my friends told me over and over again to leave alone, but I just couldn’t. So next time I read about a girl throwing herself at a man who stays in her apartmentrent-free and sleeps with her friends, I should have a little sympathy…

Review: Fat Chance

December 20, 2006

Fat Chance
by Deborah Blumenthal

Grade: B+

The Synopsis: Maggie O’Leary is a successful columnist. Overweight herself, she writes an advice column for other overweight women to help them accept and love themselves. However, Maggie gets an opportunity to meet her favorite movie star, spurring her to try one last diet.

The Review: I loved this book. The story is meaningful and fairly original. The character is loveable. You even get to read some of Maggie’s advice clumns, which seem pretty well-researched on Blumenthal’s part.
The only problem is quite a bit is discontinuity. Blumenthal suddent adds a sidestory in the middle about Maggie’s assistant, who we previously know little about. Despite this, you quickly become attached to the secretary and care about her story too. The other point of discontinuity is that while Maggie is in California, a day seems to pass in her plot line, but when she speaks to her coworkers back in New York, it seems as if days have passed for them. An example of this, to make myself clearer, is that one day Maggie decides to send a gift to her secretary, and the next night when she is talking on the phone to her, the secretary has received the gift and used it over the course of several days. I think Blumenthal meant for us to feel as if days were passing in Maggie’s time too, but she would have the characters say they’d do something the next day, and so the day they did it, you’d know it was the very next day, not weeks past like you were supposed to think.
I found the discontinuity pretty easy to read around, although it is a bit distracting, which is why I did not give this book an A. The story is fun and interesting, and I definitely recommend this book! Happy reading!

I'm In No Mood For Love CoverI’m In No Mood For Love
by Rachel Gibson

Grade: C-

Synopsis: Clare Wingate walked in on her fiance and the washing machine repairman. So she deserves to go wild. The problem is who she wakes up next to in the morning: Sebastian Vaughan, a sexy blast from her past. And he’s not going away again.

The Review: Now I picked this up at the drugstore after my last final and I just wanted to read something that was as non-academic as possible. And this pretty much met my criteria. Except it wasn’t very good.

I’m not saying that there aren’t worse books out there. It’s more that there are better writers, fewer typos (which drive me crazy) and better plot-lines out there. I think this book could have been okay if someone else, who knew more of what they wanted it to accomplish, wrote it.

It was inconsistant. Half the book is Sebastian (and the names are a little out there, since the woman is Claresta) struggling with his desire for Clare, thinking he can’t have her. His father works for her mother, so it’s almost like the bosses daughter. But all of a sudden, that no longer seems to be an issue. And it never is an issue for the father, the mother or Clare.

There are subplots that are never really finished. Sebastian’s mother died, and he talks forever about selling her estate, and I’m sure he does. I just don’t know anything about it. Clare’s friends talk about their men, though none are actually characters in the story. And there is some illusion to them meeting people, but nothing (and those would have been good subplots for this, it needed other relationships badly).

Overall, if you find yourself shopping for books in the supermarket or drugstore, it’s fine. But otherwise, don’t waste your night on this.

Time Person of the Year Award

December 17, 2006

Time CoverNo, this doesn’t have to do with books, but it does have to to with the majority of the people who read this blog. Time has awarded the “Person of the Year Award” to “you.” “You” meaning innovative internet users, who add user created content to the world. They applaud that people are on the web working and inventing and adding to our knowledge base–my favorite line:

” Who are these people? Seriously, who actually sits down after a long day at work and says, I’m not going to watch Lost tonight. I’m going to turn on my computer and make a movie starring my pet iguana?”

Read it here

Two Reviewers

December 12, 2006

Hey y’all! We now, with the most recent review, officially have two reviewers represented here! Myself, Kel, will still be writing the majority of the posts, and probably replying to most of your comments. My friend, I’m not sure what monniker she’ll go by yet, will be writing reviews when she has time, and we’ll see where that takes us!

Once I figure out what name my friend would like to give, I’ll mark the entries so you always know who is writing to you!

Review: Her Sexiest Mistake

December 12, 2006

Her Sexiest Mistake CoverHer Sexiest Mistake
by Jill Shavlis

Grade: B

The Synopsis: Mia Appleby has the perfect life. That is, until her niece comes for a surprise visit, and a sexy neighbor moves into the house down the street.

The Review: This book does not have a new plot line. From the neighbor, Kevin, who shows her that she really was lonely before he came along, to the troubled niece just looking for someone to care about her while she makes their life a living hell, this is something I’ve read many times before.

The only new thing that Shalvis brings to the plot is Kevin’s brother, a committment-phobic deaf man. Of course, he also finds true love (in Mia’s best friend of all places) and learns to stand on his own two feet instead of leaning on his brother. The only problem with this is that half the book is printed in italics to indicate sign language. I have nothing against sign language, but it is very hard to tell who can understand when they are talking. Both Kevin and Mike are fluent, obviously, and I think the girlfriend, Tess, is by the end too, though it’s hard to tell. Even Mia’s neice can translate when needed, because Mia is the one who never learns. How everyone becomes perfect signers by the end of the book is a mystery to me, but hey, if that’s how it works.

The book ends a little quickly, from eveyone angry and broken up to suddenly happily ever after. Though you could do better than a Jill Shalvis, you could also do much worse. For a night of pure fun and little thinking, this will do the trick.

Review: Rockville Pike

December 9, 2006

Rockville Pike CoverRockville Pike
by Susan Coll

Grade: D

The Synopsis: Jane Kramer is in an unhappy marriage, dislikes her home, town, and pseudo-job.

The Review: This is a story about a woman who does not fit in in the suburbs, does not have any skills to leave her husband and find work, and even if she did, I doubt she would. Jane is hard to sympathize with, because she does not take any initiative to try and make her life happier. She is the type of person who never finishes anything she starts, and makes her family’s financial problems worse by shopping all the time. I wonder where she wears all those clothes, because she is never as well dressed as the other mothers, and never goes out even for coffee with anyone.
For the most part, the book is her telling you everyhing wrong with her life, but never actually showing you–you barely know what she spends her days doing, besides thinking about her son’s youth soccer days. She claims to have a close relationship with her son, but she doesnt even interact with him til the end of the book.
In the end, Jane eventually does make a move to do something about her life, but even her seemingly drastic measure seems aborted half way through. However, after she does this, her life is magically better. A relative dies leaving them money to pay off the credit cards, she stops fighting with her husband with no explanation, she suddenly discovers what she can do as a job and actually seems to stick to it this time. Either this is all too pat and easy, or she never had problems worth reading about in the first place.
This is the first book I have read by Susan Coll, and I suspect it will be the last.

Review: Being Committed

December 6, 2006

Beging Committed CoverBeing Committed
by Anna Maxted

Grade: C+

The Synopsis: Hannah Lovekin, detective, has to do a little detective work in her own life if she’s ever going to have a proper relationship.

The Review: It took me a few days to get into this book. It was so stereotypical, cliché job, cliché character, cliché psychology. I hated the main character for the first 150 pages. It took me a few days to sit down and read this properly, but once I hit page 150 today, I read straight through to the end–page 372. I was planning on giving the book a D grade before I hit that magical turning point; when I finished, I wanted to give it a B grade, but the grade has to reflect how uninteresting the beginning was. (Also, I think the cover is hideous, but I just have a strange aversion to green. There are other, more attractive, covers for this book out there.)
Hannah Lovekin is introduced as a detective (a traditional chick lit career), who has issues with intimacy related to problems with her mother. When her boyfriend proposes to her, she rejects him, decides she has made a mistake, and tries to get him back. He sets her on the path of digging up her past and resolving her issues before he will get back with her. Hannah sets off to reinvent herself, but finally she does end up uncovering her past–this is where the good bit starts!
A good read, you just need to push past the unoriginal beginning. After that, the characters have more depth, you begin to understand Hannah better, and as she grows a bit, you begin to like her. The ending was sweet (maybe too sweet? but I liked it). This book was published quite awhile ago, so you can potentially find it in your local library. Happy reading!

Who are you?

December 5, 2006

This is a bit of a cop-out, link-and-comment post, but it’s an interesting topic. Wednesday is my last day of classes before finals start, so things are a bit hectic. I’ve also finished going through my recently read books to review, and all reviews now have to come from books I read now. Although who knows, maybe books will be a wonderful way to procrastinate during finals week!

Anyway, on to the post. So I myself am a college student, as are most of the other people I know who read Chick Lit. I consider us pretty smart girls–sure, we could be reading classics, but then we wouldn’t be having much fun, now would we? Anyway, so I generally don’t run around thinking that people who read Chick Lit and romance novels have a lower intellect or anything. However, even I was suprised by the comments on Smart Bitches, Trashy Boooks, when they asked their readers to talk about themselves. Goodness, these women all seem to have PhD’s in English! (well, they occured with frequency among the comments as I skimmed them–there were a LOT of comments).

So, check out the comments over there, and maybe leave your own here about who you are, and why you read Chick Lit. I wonder if Chick Lit readers are generally similar to romance readers? I think the two genres definitely don’t always attract the same people, and given that you like one genre does not mean that you’ll like the other.