Chic Lit

Lucky Boy by Shanthi Sekaran

Available Jan. 10: Lucky Boy

****4/5 starsshanthi-sekaran-luckyboy

More thoughtful than entertaining, in Lucky Boy there is no right or wrong ending – just a taste of life.

Recommended readers:

  • If you enjoy thoughtful, real life reads
  • If you like to step into someone else’s shoes via fiction

Here’s my Rankings:

  • 4/5 characters
  • 4/5 plot
  • 4/5 overall

REVIEW FROM BOOKS FOR HER:

Two people who grow up in different environments.  One a teenager who grew up in Mexico and dares to sneak across the border and start a new life in America. Another who grew up taking her own unique path, despite her strong Indian heritage. Both women find struggles and solace raising a little boy. Lucky Boy is a thoughtfully written story, making you experience a different perspective on life, motherhood and life’s harsh realities. I can’t remember another book, where I was so unsure of how I wanted it to end.

Available Jan. 10: Lucky Boy

Brown-Eyed Girl by Lisa Kleypas

Available this week: Brown-Eyed Girl by Lisa Kleypas

****3.5/5 stars- Liked it to the edge of love- a stage 1 crush.

Lisa Kleypas’s contemporary romance has everything you want: Clever characters, tough decisions, and heartbreaking moments.

Recommended readers:

  • If you’re a fan of Susan Wiggs, Jude Devereaux and Nora Roberts
  • If you like contemporary romance, this one is for you.

Here’s my Rankings:

REVIEW FROM BOOKS FOR HER:

Uber-organized and type A, Avery Crosslin’s wedding planning business is about to take off thanks to her hard work. And she meets wealthy bachelor and socialite Joe Travis at exactly the wrong time. As a super-fan of Lisa Kleypas’ historical romances for years, I HAD to read at least one of her contemporary romance novels. The result: The best experience possible (and rating) with her clever characters, tough decisions, and heartbreaking moments. I gave this the highest rating that I allow myself to give in a contemporary romance. So it’s an easy 4 or 5-star read for someone who typically loves contemporary romance.

Available on Amazon: Brown-Eyed Girl by Lisa Kleypas

Review: Sara Gruen’s Riding Lessons

Available now: Sara Gruen’s Riding Lessons

***3/5 stars- Liked it

With second chances, horses, and at least a couple of men to choose from, Riding Lessons is classic horsey chick lit.

Recommended readers:

  • Fans of that whole English equestrian thing
  • Fans of Sara Gruen (though don’t expect Water for Elephants here)

Here’s my Rankings:

  • 3/5 for characters
  • 3/5 for plot
  • 3/5 overall

REVIEW FROM BOOKS FOR HER:

Riding Lessons is classic coming of (middle) age face the past-embrace the present- redefine yourself chick lit:  Jobless and in the midst of a divorce, former olympic contender Anne Marie Zimmer heads back to the family horse ranch to confront the past, with a short fuse a teenage daughter in tow. Together, they nearly ruin everything they touch.  I don’t often like a book while simultaneously hating most of the characters.  But then I just kept reading and reading thinking, it cannot possibly get worse!  This woman!  She still has a lot to learn as a character… which is probably why there is a sequel: Flying Changes.  Can’t always be learning all our lessons in one book, now can we?142887

Riding Lessons is available now on Amazon  AND Oyster Books

Ever After by Jude Deveraux

Available June 23: Ever After: A Nantucket Brides Novel (Nantucket Brides Trilogy)

****4/5 stars– loved it!JudeDeverauxEverAfter

In true Jude Deveraux style, you’ll stay up all night enjoying the third book in the Nantucket Brides Triology.

Recommended readers:

  • If you love Jude Deveraux, Nora Roberts
  • For those looking for the perfect summer/beach read
  • And for those looking for a fun, fast all-nighter type of read

Here’s my Rankings:

  • 4/5 characters
  • 4/5 plot
  • 4/5 overall

REVIEW FROM BOOKS FOR HER:

Since she was young, Hallie has taken care of her stepsister – from postponing her college education to help her through school to sacrificing to allow her sister to pursue her Hollywood dream. So when her sister tries to steal her surprise inheritance, Hallie has had enough and takes a chance with an opportunity in Nantucket. The third book in the Nantucket Brides trilogy, Ever After is a fabulously fast and fun read – you’ll want to pull an all-nighter. With a touch of supernatural and two characters with painful pasts, you’ll love the twists and turns the story takes. So take a few trips to the beach, or curl up on your shabby-chic couch and enjoy this idyllic Nantucket setting.
Available on Amazon: Ever After: A Nantucket Brides Novel (Nantucket Brides Trilogy)

The Best Thing That Never Happened to Me

Available now: The Best Thing That Never Happened To Me

***3.5/5 stars- Liked it to the edge of love- a stage I crush.

In this novel by two dueling authors, childhood best friends Alex and Holly meet again in London:  Is it love, or is it something else?

Recommended readers:

  • If you like chic lit,
  • if you like a dialogue-driven novel,
  • and if you are a fan of Love Actually and Bridget Jones, this one is for you.

Here’s my Rankings:

  • 3.5/5 for characters
  • 3.5/5 for plot
  • 3.5/5 overall

REVIEW FROM BOOKS FOR HER:

Take the chance to explore what might have been in this fun British novel.  The Best Thing That Never Happened to Me is a refreshingly different novel written by two authors writing back and forth, allowing us to see from both character’s perspectives both as  kids and as they meet again as adults.  Clever, snappy, and fun, it’s worth picking up even if you can’t find it on Kindle!

Get it on Amazon (But only in paperback)

Nicholas Sparks Review: The Longest Ride

Available now as book or movie: The Longest Ride

***2.5/5 stars- It was ok

Two parallel love stories develop around cowboys, rodeo, World War II, and art history.

Recommended readers:

  • If you like chick lit,
  • if you you’re a fan of Nicholas Sparks,
  • and if you’d like to catch the book before the movie, this one is for you.

Here’s my Rankings:

  • 2.5/5 for characters
  • 2.5/5 for plot
  • 2.5/5 overall

REVIEW FROM BOOKS FOR HER:

I’ve read exactly one other Nicholas Sparks novel (give you one guess which) and have seen a good portion of his movies over the years, but when I saw the preview for the latest (cowboys AND art history!) I decided to pick up the book first.  While I wasn’t actually disappointed, I think the thing to say about a Nicholas Sparks novel is that it is what it is:  A chick flick in a book.  Which is why they all get turned into chick flicks.  It’s not rocket science, after all.  And if you enjoy that sort of thing, you will enjoy it.  Let’s put it it this way: while Mr. Sparks did not fully address my cowboy complex, I have a feeling that the young Mr. Eastwood will.

Get the book on Amazon and catch Scott Eastwood in the feature film

Available April 28th: Drawn to Life

Available April 28th: Drawn to Life by Elisabeth Wagner

**2/5 stars- not for me

If you’ve ever wanted to quit everything and backpack through Europe….

Recommended readers:

  • If you like chic lit,
  • if you were a European backpacker in your last life,
  • and if you like to try international writers, this one is for you.

Here’s my Rankings:

  • 2/5 for characters
  • 2/5 for plot
  • 2/5 overall

REVIEW FROM BOOKS FOR HER:

Drawn to Life begins with the best of premises: when life gives you lemons, and I do mean lemons, get out, go away, and see the world by train. Italy in particular would be best for life change, of course.  But ultimately the narrative seemed to be somewhat lost in translation, and the time lapse structure proved just too distracting for this reader. An engaging premise probably best read in its original language.

Get it on Amazon

The Beekeeper’s Daughter

Available April 14: The Beekeeper’s Daughter: A Novel

****4.5/5 stars- Loved it and probably stayed up all night reading and developing real feelings for fictional people.smontefiore-beekeeper

Another great read from Montefiore, The Beekeeper’s Daughter inspired a mix of fictional enjoyment and reflection.

Recommended readers:

  • If you like fiction with some depth
  • If you think you’re really so different from your mother
  • and if you like family drama, romance and history in one book.

Here’s my Rankings:

  • 4/5 for characters
  • 5/5 for plot
  • 4.5/5 overall

REVIEW FROM BOOKS FOR HER:

From pre-World War II England to modern-day picturesque Massachusetts, The Beekeeper’s Daughter is a fabulous spring/summer read. In typical Santa Montefiore fashion (see our 5-star review of Secrets of the Lighthouse), she weaves a dramatic, multi-generational tale that’s part flash-back and part modern-day, bringing current family drama into perspective. It’s equally fictional enjoyment and thoughtful reading … think Debbie Macomber meets Colleen McCullough.

Get it on Amazon: The Beekeeper’s Daughter: A Novel

Review: Beautiful Secret

Available today: Beautiful Secret
beautifulsecret
****3.5/5 stars Liked it to the edge of love- a stage 1 crush.

Laid back California girl meets uptight exec in this fun, fast chic lit read.

Recommended readers:

  • If you like chic lit you just can’t put down
  • If you are 35 or younger (but prove me wrong)
  • If you’re a fan of Notting Hill the movie

Here’s my Rankings:

  • 4/5 for characters
  • 3/5 for plot
  • 3.5/5 overall
  • Steaminess: 4 of 5  (see our scale here)

REVIEW FROM BOOKS FOR HER:

Think Notting Hill, only backwards, where accomplished but reserved exec Niall Stella and fresh engineering intern Ruby Miller are sent to New York for a business trip. It’s an exciting – in more ways than one – trip for the duo, and when they return to London and work, can they keep it together? A great mix of characters, with romance, sex and a dash of pride and female independence. Both characters are lovable in very different ways – and the second half of the book flies by. A book of the ‘Beautiful Series’, Beautiful Secret is interestingly written by a duo of best friends (cool!).

Available on Amazon: Beautiful Secret

Review: The Color of Secrets

Available April 14th: The Color of Secrets

***2.5/5 stars-it was ok, but something was missing

Long buried secrets have a way of finding their way to the surface in this historical novel.

Recommended readers:

  • If you like a bit of chic lit in your historical fiction,
  • And If you like that uncovering family secrets thing, this one is for you.

Here’s my Rankings:

  • 2.5/5 characters
  • 2.5/5 plot
  • 2.5/5 overall
  • 2/5 steaminess

REVIEW FROM BOOKS FOR HER:

Race, class and gender intersect in this World War II-era ebook from Lindsay Ashford: Eva lives in a state of confusion and uncertainty as she tries to negotiate a world that may or may not still include her husband and the father of her young son, presumed missing at sea.  But when she meets a Black American soldier to whom she cannot help but be drawn, life becomes irrevocably more complicated.  The ensuing turn of events may surprise readers, who are in for a tone in the dialogue that feels far more contemporary than historical, and somewhat distracts from the story.

Available on Amazon for 3.99 on April 14th