Chick Lit


From a serious book on ancient warrioresses to a quirky one on a dissatisfied wife with a magic potion…. I figured I needed a light, no-brainer for another sleepless night.  Plus, it is in my challenge lists from  Once Upon A Time IV and Spring Reading Thing 2010.

Author :  Jane Heller

Publication Date :  December 2, 2008

Publisher :  IUniverse

ISBN-10: 059553550X

ISBN-13: 978-0595535507

No. of pages :  336

The Story :

Have you been married for so long you can’t even remember why?  Meet Elizabeth Baskin, a successful high-end hotel rater and a neat freak who feels her husband had become a one-star rater with a paunch,  a bald spot, and heavens! a penchant for sprinkling crumbs on newly dust-busted counters.  She decides that the only way to save her marriage is to make him over and return him to that dashing, funny guy who rescued her from an overheated car on the freeway.

Taking  a tip from her sister, she bluffs her way as a Goldie Hawn referral into the exclusive clinic of Doctor Farkus, the new celebrity-favored “life enhancement” specialist known to have  purportedly amazing potions with secret ingredients from some exotic forest.   At her visit, she runs into Clover, a housewife with the same need:  an enhanced husband.  The two strike up a friendship and agree to keep in each other updated with the results.

After Elizabeth describes her spousal makeover need, Doctor Farkus prescribes his  potion with strict instructions on its dosage.  Elizabeth guiltily but determinedly pours the  potion into her Roger’s orange juice every morning and waits for that magic transformation.  But Elizabeth gets antsy after a few days of seeing no immediate changes and decides to up the ante by dumping the entire two packets into Roger’s morning juice.

By day’s end,  Elizabeth’s wish of a totally enhanced, romantic husband comes true.  But too good to be true?  Indeed, as her Mr. Wonderful soon turns much too marvelous for her to handle.   With Clover corroborating the fact that their super enhanced husbands are just too “hot” for them to keep up,  both friends decide that their old husbands were a much better deal.   So what to do but ask for an antidote?  Only Dr. Farkus is nowhere to be found!

So begins the chase for the antidote that drives these two Beverly Hills wives into all sorts of hilarious escapades in their desperate attempt to save their marriages.

The Review :

Intended to be a light read, The Secret Ingredient will treat you to some chuckles.  It’s really laid-back fiction, the sort you pick up on a lark when you’re tired of serious or “meaty” stuff.  This isn’t the kind of reading for you if you want a novel with more depth.  Rather, you must be in a light and easy mood to be entertained by something like this—where you don’t care how silly and  ridiculous the characters or the plot at times get to be.

With this book,  you just go with the flow to enjoy it.  After all, that’s  what you do when you settle for a fairy tale.

My Mark :    Good — Quirky but Charming!

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Author : Hester Browne
Publication Date : September 5, 2006
Publisher : Pocket
ISBN-10: 1416527265
ISBN-13: 978-1416527268
No. of pages : 416

The Story :

Organized, practical and  self-deprecating Melissa Romney-Jones gets sacked when her company goes into a merger.  She runs into a  school acquaintance and learns that her favorite highschool teacher had gone into her own business.  Desperate to pay the bills, she applies for a job.  Little does she know that the business is actually a dolled-up seedy escort service.  In disgust, she quits but gets an a-ha! moment when she thinks of the business along cleaner and respectable lines — that of providing a pretend-girlfriend service to help men get rid of unwanted girlfriends,   have access to confidence-boosting trophy companionship, get advice on wardrobe and hygiene, among other things, without the hanky-panky.

She sets herself up as the woman any man would want on his arm with a significant wardrobe change, a blonde wig, and a syrupy, girlish name of  Honey.  Honey is the more assertive, cosmopolitan, woman-of-the-world version, the complete opposite of frumpy, timid Melissa.  But when she meets the man of her dreams, she just doesn’t know:  does he want the fantasy Honey or the real-life Melissa?

The Review :

Cute, funny, and spirited, this one is a rather enjoyable read.  Although, not quite up to par with those of Sophie Kinsella,  The Little Lady Agency is quite entertaining,  written in true British style and humor.

If you are to like the book because of the lead character, then Melissa will not disappoint.  With a lot of spunk,  she does what she knows best to do and dares to do so unconventionally.    Although she can be naive, occasionally stupidly so,  some readers would love this imperfect girl ,  who like everyone else,  tries to positively face the world and not cry into her cups of tea.  She isn’t the ideal strong woman who can stand up to any situation.  A girl does need help sometimes.  Well, lots of times for most.  But she is one feisty lady with a big heart.

Pleasant and light, this is another amusing beach read…a nice companion to pass the time with.

My Mark :   Good  — Entertaining!

I wanted a short, easy no-brainer.  I got everything I wanted in this :

Author : Annette Blair

Date of  Publication : December 2006

Publisher : Berkley Sensation  (Mass Paperback)

ISBN-10: 0786296577

ISBN-13: 978-0786296576

No of pages : 389

The Story :

Vickie, a witch in denial, inherits a wardrobe and opens it to find a beautifully carved carousel unicorn inside.  Desperate to pay her grandmother’s medical and funeral expenses, she advertises its sale on TV.  Rory, a descendant of the  once respectable Mackenzie clan now turned community pariah, sees  the woman of his dreams (I mean, literally) holding the answer to restore the good name of his family.

Long ago, his ancestor, a famous carver,  broke his engagement with a beautiful witch (Vickie’s grandmother) who people said, cast a curse upon the Scottish village.  Regretful all of his life, Rory’s grandfather, before he died,  sent his beloved witch his most splendid creation — a carousel unicorn, part of a merry-go-round that brought prosperity to the village;  but one that would never run again until the curse is lifted.

So, Rory goes to find this unicorn, with a mission to take it, bring it back, rebuild the carousel, and restore the community’s prosperity and his good name.  Only thing, he has to contend with the witch and choose between love and family honor.

The Review :

As I mentioned, I just wanted a short easy read, a no-brainer after “Exile. Well, a real no-brainer is what I got!  I know, I know…the synopsis sounds cheesy and serves me right for picking this out of a sale bin again just because the title was a parody of  “The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe“.  I’m not above reading shallow, fun  lit and I thought this was a cute, little romance with some magic thrown into it.  NOT!

The characters were odd and totally without some self-respect, either.  I don’t know what Blair was trying to accomplish. For instance, I think she wanted everything for her main character, Vickie.  She wanted her sexy, yet dressed her in dowdy vintage clothes;  a bold sex siren yet a frightened virgin (technically speaking since she deflowered herself years ago with dildos all named Brock—*shudder, shudder*–but has never been with a man); bohemian, cluttered, and fun but essentially good for nothing — can’t do business, cook, clean, balance books, etc. to save her life!  So here comes the knight in shining armor, the ruggedly handsome Scot who can do everything!  Cook, clean, balance books, organize, repair anything, and make her and others’ blood  boil for want of this stud. Thankfully, he falls short of being perfect by his hermitic attitude.

With amateurish writing, a main character whose personality ridiculously morphs from one thing into another, and annoying minor characters in the mix, you just gotta be drunk to like this trash.

My Mark :  Poor — Laughable;  Don’t Bother

Author      :  Janet Evanovich and Charlotte Hughes

Copyright:   2005

Publisher :   St. Martin’s Paperbacks

Published Date :  April 5, 2005

ISBN-10: 0312934300

ISBN-13: 978-0312934309

Pages         :  344

The Story :

Annie Fortenberry’s bed and breakfast business with a bordello-inspired house is starting to be quite profitable.  That is, until a hired hand uncovers the buried remains of her husband, whose disappearance led everyone to believe that Annie was abandoned for another woman.  Annie’s life suddenly turns upside down as she becomes a murder suspect and a media curiosity.  Now, not only does Annie have to face charges, but she has to juggle preparations  for an important hush-hush wedding,  the day-to-day business management of her little B&B,  frustrations with a demented cat, and (heavens!) a poltergeist as well, and all while trying to guard her heart from ruggedly handsome Wes Bridges who unrelentingly tries to solve the mystery.

The Review :

The story can’t get any crazier than this.  Seems like two authors for one book certainly spoiled the broth.  The novel is a tacky mix of genres — murder mystery, paranormal, romance, and comedy —all expressed in chick-lit writing style.  Throw in some annoying air-headed characters like a psychic named Destiny (even the name’s so laughably cheesy); Theenie, a cowardly prude; and a senile vet named Doc (to name a few) and you come up with a weirdly concocted brew of a story which I had to swallow to its contemptible end.

There is a permeating air of nonchalance in this book,  even in its supposed serious points.  The surprise readers get on the “whodunit” issue  is just irritatingly incredulous and the motivation for murder,  downright stupid.  I mean, c’mon….

It is no wonder this book was on sale with a 50% markdown.  Serves me right for picking this up on the merits of its price tag.  But I just wanted to try a Janet  Evanovich novel.

My almost uncanny luck for picking up good books has been broken by this mistake.  A complete waste of time and immediately forgettable, this book is absolutely one for those garage sales.

My Mark :   Trash. Don’t bother.

I picked out this book  on a whim while waiting for my flight home.  And I’m not sorry I did.   It’s a zippy, enyoyable read that just made time fly by so fast.

Author       : Sophie Kinsella

Copyright : 2008

Publisher   : Bantam Dell

Publish Date: November 2008

ISBN               : 978-0-440-29691-1

No. of pages  : 430

Lexi Smart wakes up in the hospital after a nasty accident, to a fairy-tale-come-true. Last thing she remembers, she was a struggling sales rep with the occasionally skaggy underwear and bad teeth.  This was 2004.  Now she’s in 2007 with a great set of chompers, a toned body, a designer bag, and a drop-dead gorgeous husband.  Trouble is, she has no idea how she managed to suddenly  live a dream-come-true lifestyle. Amnesia has simply wiped out three years of her life.

As Lexi tries to live this seemingly marvelous life with her memories and perspectives still stuck three years ago, we see her hilarious yet valiant struggles to regain her lost years and attempts to understand how she came to be a corporate big boss with a wardrobe of designer clothes, an enviable social circle, and a Benz to boot.  To add to her confusion, in drops a nice but glamour-shunning architect who opens her eyes to the realities of her dream life.

This is a funny, bubbly book witht the right  type of levity only a few could really evoke.  Sophie Kinsella should be one of the best chick-lit authors around.  She’s got that perfect breezy, vivacious casual writing style that injects humour in just the right places.

Unlike a lot of chick-lit characters that come across as vacuous, shallow bimbos, Lexi is a smart, fun character — a woman you’d really like to get to know. Kinsella was able to balance quirkiness and fun with some depth and strength in her heroine.

Sophie Kinsella also does have some very cute romantic ideas—i.e. sunflowers. She also has some really hysterical ones.   I especially cracked up with Mont Blanc.  If you want to know what the blazes I’m talking about, dive into your favorite reading chair with your nibbles and a spend a few hours with this book.  It’ll be fun!

My Mark :  Totally Cool!

Sophie Kinsella talks about her book, “Remember Me” :

Author : Lauren Weisberger
Release Date : May 27, 2008
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
ISBN-10: 0743290119
ISBN-13: 978-0743290111
Pages: 288

Hey girls, here’s something new from that totally hip writer who gave us “The Devil Wears Prada”. Lauren Weisberger has served up another fun read for those in the mood to indulge in their occasionally bitchy, shallow selves.

Adriana, Leigh and Emmy, three staunch friends with an “approaching 30” crisis, find themselves somehow missing something in their lives. So, two of them make a pact to change their “love style”. Emmy, a monogamist, vows to get laid with as much as one guy per continent; Adrianna, an incorrigible flirt and seducer, promises to choose one man to be devotedly faithful to, with the hope of landing that elusive engagement sparkler. Leigh, having a seemingly perfect life, struggles with her discontent of it.

You’ve got to like these three—sometimes silly, vacuous, ditzy, annoying or just plain funny; but never boring. This is what I like about Weisberger. She always manages to make characters, no matter how selfish or inane, quite fun to get to know.

This may be chick-lit, queridas; but the book is not just one upbeat, funny, vacuous trip. Well….it is that; but Weisberger leaves a little meat in it and it’s this: You are who you are. You’ve just got to know you better.

The book does not come close to the “Devil Wears Prada“; but, it’s still a good one to tote around to the beach… a great chaser to that wonderfully chilled tart margarita.   Oh yeah…!

My Mark : Good — Quite Enjoyable!

Author: Katie McAlister
Release Date : Oct. 7, 2003

If you like bubbly humor, light plots, hunks, and vacuous, lovable heroines, you’ll like Men In Kilts.

Reading this book is like having that refreshing simple sorbet after a slew of gourmet courses. If you’re a chick, dig in and enjoy. Give your mind a rest and percolate in delightful shallowness for a change. Drool over hunky Scots with their sexy brogues and wonder , “Just what do they wear under those kilts?”

Oprah’s Book Club would never be caught dead with this; but, it’s the perfect garnish to that heavenly cocktail at the beach.   Ahhh….to sun, sand, and chick-lit. We do need you (secretly).