Showing posts with label chick-lit. Show all posts
Showing posts with label chick-lit. Show all posts

Saturday, April 16, 2016

[Review] Can You Keep A Secret? - Sophie Kinsella: Why You Should Never Spill Your Secrets to a Stranger

When Emma Corrigan experiences major turbulences on her flight, she's convinces she's going to die. So she confides all her secrets, things she has never told anyone, in her seat neighbor. But it turns out he isn't just a perfect stranger she'll never see again.
What intrigued me: Sophie Kinsella is my favorite author. She's the queen of chick-lit. She could write something in lipstick on a napkin and I'd pay $9,99 for it. Jokes aside, this one is apparently the best Kinsella novel according to a couple of my friends. I had to check it out.

Hilarious, But Not For Long...

Kinsella definitely has a success formula. Take a dorky heroine in a dead end relationship, her dorkiness leading to meeting the Super Serious Businessman Guy™, and then throw in some complications and hilarious secondhand embarrassing scenes before they finally get together and realize they were made for each other.

CAN YOU KEEP A SECRET? has a very similar premise to I'VE GOT YOUR NUMBER by Kinsella, but comes nowhere near the hilariousness and solid plot. Kinsella does have a way of making you laugh out loud with almost every single sentence. Her character voices are always on point. But the biggest flaw of this novel is that it starts with the premise and then just tries to keep up the narrative with tons of filler content. The secrets are spilled by page 20 and then it's just an annoying tug war between the protagonist Emma and her love interest Jack until they get together. It's still funny, but it just couldn't keep my attention and make me read this all in one go as other Kinsella books usually do.

Brilliant Character Building

What I've definitely missed with other novels by her are the side characters. In this one, the side characters are developed to perfection and it just seems effortless. She manages to introduce a new character and instantly make you sympathize with them/hate them. Usually Kinsella novels focus solely on the heroine, but in CAN YOU KEEP A SECRET? everyone gets their little story and I love that. I loved to hate Emma's cousin Kerry and to sympathize with her sweet co-worker Katie. It's just perfect character building and you feel like the people you're reading about are real.

But then again, it all feels like filler. None of the side characters get a satisfying ending to their little quests and the whole novel just seems very unstructured. The idea absolutely can't carry an entire book. It should have ended somewhere halfway in, because the rest was just a torture to read for me. I wasn't invested in Emma, merely annoyed by her over the top dorkiness and naivete.




Overall: Do I Recommend?

No, not really. The first half is brilliant, but the rest is just boring. I stand by my favorites REMEMBER ME and I'VE GOT YOUR NUMBER if you want to read a Kinsella novel.

Additional Info

Published: December 27th 2005
Pages: 218
Publisher: Dell Publishing
Genre: Adult / Chick-Lit
ISBN: 9780440241904

"Meet Emma Corrigan, a young woman with a huge heart, an irrepressible spirit, and a few little secrets: Secrets from her boyfriend: I've always thought Connor looks a bit like Ken. As in Barbie and Ken. Secrets from her mother: I lost my virginity in the spare bedroom with Danny Nussbaum while Mum and Dad were downstairs watching Ben-Hur. Secrets she wouldn't share with anyone in the world: I have no idea what NATO stands for. Or even what it is. Until she spills them all to a handsome stranger on a plane. At least, she thought he was a stranger.…Until Emma comes face-to-face with Jack Harper, the company's elusive CEO, a man who knows every single humiliating detail about her..."
(Source: Goodreads)

 Have you read a Sophie Kinsella book before?

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Friday, April 1, 2016

[Review] Lucky Me - Saba Kapur: Bodyguards, Rich Kids, and Movie Stars

In LUCKY ME, rich girl Gia is threatened by an anonymous caller, which causes her father to hire a shockingly attractive bodyguard to follow her around.

What intrigued me: I was hoping for a light Kinsella-esque read.

Great first person narration

The most striking thing and actually also my favorite thing about LUCKY ME is definitely the main character, Gia. She's incredibly funny and just comes across as a real person. You hardly encounter novels about rich kids that don't play into stereotypes, and Kapur really managed to create a likable protagonist. I loved her witty banter with love interest and bodyguard Jack, their dialogues are definitely the highlight.

As much as I enjoyed reading about Gia, the other characters remain very one-dimensional and uninteresting. Because the narration is so focused on Gia and her internal monologue, LUCKY ME lacks world establishing. Hardly anything is described, from Gia's surroundings to the looks of the people around her. I do like that Gia's voice is so strong and seamlessly can transition from background information to the present tense storyline, but I would have liked this more if I didn't have to conjure up all images on my own. 

One-dimensional love interests

The bodyguard storyline isn't very groundbreaking and didn't really get to me that much. The immediate danger of the situation is mostly defused by the fact that Gia absolutely ignores it. There isn't much urgency in the story - which would have really spiced things up a little. 

Jack is always just hovering around as the sole reminder that something is actually wrong. I didn't really connect with him, most of the time I just couldn't make sense of his personality. Is he being sarcastic? Is he just trying to come back at Gia for her sassy comments? The only info we get of him is that he's attractive, and that just makes him a very flat character to me that I didn't have any reason to care about from the start. Same with the other love interest, neither of them were really fleshed out enough to actually make me root for either of them to end up with Gia. I wish the novel had tried less to force the inevitable love triangle and had played more with the stalker sub plot.




Overall: Do I Recommend?

LUCKY ME is a sweet, fun contemporary novel. It may be very predictable, but it's without a doubt a nice pastime if you can look past the generic love interests. The narration is truly impeccable, hilarious, and absolutely unique.

Additional Info

Published: April 5th 2016
Pages: 329
Publisher: Amberjack Publishing
Genre: YA / Contemporary
ISBN: 9780692536407

"For eighteen year old Gia Winters, having a movie star for a father, a former Playboy bunny as a mother, a Hollywood mansion, and a closet stocked with Chanel is simply another day in the life.

But her world is turned upside down when her father mysteriously hires a group of bodyguards to trail the family 24/7 and threatening phone calls from a "Dr. D" start buzzing daily.

When Gia scores the coveted role of Miss Golden Globe, she is forced to strike a deal with her bodyguard, Jack, who is almost as arrogant as he is attractive. Juggling Gia's romantic failures, fashion faux pas, and celebrity obsessions, the duo investigate a series of clues with the help of a police cadet, who has a special set of skills and an even better set of dimples.

But with the Golden Globes just around the corner, danger levels rise higher than her stilettos as Gia learns that the biggest secrets might be the ones buried in her own home.

In a place where the hills have eyes, high school nemeses, bad hair days, raging parties, and stolen kisses, there can only be trouble for a girl who was just starting to consider herself lucky."(Source: Goodreads)

What's your favorite light, funny book?

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Monday, July 20, 2015

[Review] Confessions of a Shopaholic (Shopaholic #1) - Sophie Kinsella

Becky Bloomwood is addicted to shopping. While many people casually say this, with her it's actually true. She can't walk past a single shop without entering. It's not even only clothes, it's everything!

Her credit cards are all maxed out and she's on the verge of getting a visit by a bailiff. So now she has two options: Cut Back or Make More Money. 

This is actually the very first thing that got me into Sophie Kinsella.
I've watched the movie about a couple of times and absolutely loved it, so I decided to check out a novel by her and ended up loving "Remember Me" to death.

Now I finally took the plunge and read the book that the movie was based on. However, I was absolutely disappointed.

No Match for Kinsella's Other Novels

The wit that makes Kinsella without comparison my favorite chick-lit author is absolutely missing. Becky is a shallow, conceited and surprisingly childish grown woman who doesn't have anything figured out in her life. She managed to cheat her way into becoming a financial journalist and is a pathological liar. She's not funny like the protagonists of other Kinsella novels, she's downright scarily naive. 
It's intended to be funny how Becky is unable to save even a penny and ends every day with having spend a couple of hundred pounds that she doesn't even have. To me, this isn't funny, it's just sad and seriously, I wanted to shake her so that she'll finally get a grip on her life. Becky is a really frustrating character that doesn't seem to have learned anything in life and she doesn't even act like a grown woman. The novel might as well could have been about a sixteen year old teenager maxing out her mother's credit cards behind her back.

Inredibly Boring Side Characters

The supporting cast of characters is basically non-existent. They don't really seem to be of importance, except for Becky's roommate who has multiple appearances. The time Becky spends with other characters just feels like filler content and her colleagues at work all seem like the same person, just copied and pasted into another chapter.

The love interest Luke is really one of the most boring characters I've ever seen. Their fling seems like a really cheap side plot and counting by the times that Becky straight up lied to his face and embarrassed herself, you'd think that a grown, successful man like him would want nothing to do with someone like her. They're like day and night and in this case, I don't think opposites attract.

The plot is basically non-existent and every day seems to be the same. Becky starts off with saying "I'm not going to spend more than 2.50 today" and ends up with a ridiculous purchase of over 200 pounds. It's the same over and over again.
The thing with Kinsella novels is though, that you can't put them down. This novel isn't for me, it's not witty, there's no plot, no tension and I didn't even like characters. The writing, however, is just excellent. There's no other word for it. The book has nothing that appeals to me, except maybe the little hope that it might get better. It reads very, very, very easily, because it's written so lightly. That's about all I liked though.




Overall: Do I Recommend?

No. I like the movie way better, because they decided to cut out a lot of filler material that's just cluttering the novel. It was an easy read, but I didn't like it personally.

"Rebecca Bloomwood just hit rock bottom. But she's never looked better.... Becky Bloomwood has a fabulous flat in London's trendiest neighborhood, a troupe of glamorous socialite friends, and a closet brimming with the season's must-haves. The only trouble is that she can't actually afford it--not any of it. 

Her job writing at Successful Savings not only bores her to tears, it doesn't pay much at all. And lately Becky's been chased by dismal letters from Visa and the Endwich Bank--letters with large red sums she can't bear to read--and they're getting ever harder to ignore. 

She tries cutting back; she even tries making more money. But none of her efforts succeeds. Becky's only consolation is to buy herself something ... just a little something.... Finally a story arises that Becky actually cares about, and her front-page article catalyzes a chain of events that will transform her life--and the lives of those around her--forever. 

Sophie Kinsella has brilliantly tapped into our collective consumer conscience to deliver a novel of our times--and a heroine who grows stronger every time she weakens. Becky Bloomwood's hilarious schemes to pay back her debts are as endearing as they are desperate. Her "confessions" are the perfect pick-me-up when life is hanging in the (bank) balance. "
(Source: Goodreads)

The Series

Confessions of a Shopaholic (#1)
Shopaholic Takes Manhatten (#2)
Shopaholic Ties the Knot (#3)
Shopaholic on Honeymoon (#3.5)
Shopaholic and Sister (#4)
Shopaholic and Baby (#5)
Mini Shopaholic (#6)
Shopaholic to the Stars (#7)

Additional Info

Dial Press Cover, 2005.

Original Title: Confessions of a Shopaholic
Author: Sophie Kinsella
Published: December 30th 2008
Pages: 320
Medium: Paperback
Publisher: Dial Press
Cover: Dial Press, 2008.
Genre: Adult / Chick-Lit
ISBN:  9780385342353

Link on Publisher's Site 

(pictured above: Dial Press Cover, 2008.)

Have You Ever Read a Kinsella Novel? What's Your Favorite?

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Monday, April 13, 2015

[Review] The Wedding Girl - Madeleine Wickham

In WEDDING GIRL, Milly Havill gets married at age 18 to help a gay friend be able to stay in the country. After they married, she never saw him again. Ten years later, she's engaged to Simon, a wealthy heir to a Smoothie Franchise and has all forgotten about her first marriage. But when someone that has witnessed her first wedding turns up right in time to ruin her second one, she has to face her past.

This is the second novel of the author under her real name that I've read and I'm starting to realize why she decided to write under a pseudonym. Just like THE GATECRASHER, the novel is told from multiple point of views and is full of super unlikeable characters. I'm the first person that is all for adding a fresh breath of air and making your characters anti-heroes, but Wickham's protagonists are walking, unlikeable, unrealistic clichés. After you've read a fair selection of the Wickham novels, you will start to notice that she tends to recycle her characters and certain story elements. 

Poor Execution of a Great Idea

I love the idea of a marriage solely for immigration purposes and I am even more delighted to have that novel feature a gay couple. While there's absolutely nothing wrong with the premise, Wickham lacks extremely in execution. There's pages and pages of dialogue between the Havill and Pinnacle families, the respective bride's and groom's relatives, that only serve the purpose of establishing character relations- well, that's unnecessary! It's very easy to get who likes whom and who hates which character from the first pages on. She established everything perfectly within the first three chapters or something, I don't understand why there's the need for so much exposition and boring dialogue.

Highly Unrealistic & No Fun Read

It's absolutely unrealistic how Milly's first marriage is discovered in the novel. You wouldn't remember someone you met 10 years ago for five seconds, would you? No matter what kind of eccentric hair cut that person had. It feels to me like Wickham just needed a reason and didn't really think about it- there are so many way easier and believable possibilities! She could have let the former groom waltz in; she could have made an official realize that she's already married on paper; or she could have drunkenly confessed it to a friend who in turn told the groom. Everything that I love about Kinsella- the humor, the happy-go-luckiness and the relatable protagonists- is absolutely lacking in this one. 

In her early novels Wickham just wastes potential to no end. There are remarkable back stories, interesting characters, but everything is just told so slowly and boringly that you may risk falling asleep while reading this. This could have been so good, had there been more humor and more heart put into the story. There's no real protagonist that you can empathize with, Wickham just throws point-of-views around like they're confetti and gives every single character their five minutes to shine.




Overall: Do I Recommend?

I don't know if I ever want to read another Wickham novel. I love Kinsella's work, but if you've gone for "The Wedding Girl" because you like Kinsella- you've chosen the wrong book. It will always remain a mystery to me how she managed to reinvent herself so drastically and create a completely new style under her pseudonym.
While I'm complaining a lot, I have to make a fair judgement: Wickham novels are still fairly okay written and light literature, but not just as fun as I am used to being a Kinsella junkie. They are the perfect example that taste varies, I can fairly acknowledge that it's an okay read, but just not my cup of tea.

"At the age of eighteen, in that first golden Oxford summer, Milly was up for anything. Rupert and his American lover Allan were all part of her new, exciting life, and when Rupert suggested to her that she and Allan should get married, just so that Allan could stay in the country, Milly didn't hesitate, and to make it seem real she dressed up in cheap wedding finery and posed on the steps of the registry office for photographs.

Ten years later, Milly is a very different person. Engaged to Simon - who is wealthy, serious, and believes her to be perfect - she is facing the biggest and most elaborate wedding imaginable. Her mother has it planned to the finest detail, from the massive marquee to the sculpted ice swans filled with oysters. Her dreadful secret is locked away so securely she has almost persuaded herself that it doesn't exist - until, with only four days to go, her past catches up with her. Suddenly, her carefully constructed world is about to crash in ruins around her. How can she tell Simon she's already married? How can she tell her mother? But as the crisis develops, more secrets are revealed than Milly could possibly have realised...

What's Your Favorite Kinsella/Wickham Novel?

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Saturday, March 14, 2015

[Review] Wedding Night - Sophie Kinsella

When her Lottie's old flame Ben calls her and reminds her of an old pact they made when she had been only eighteen, everything changes: They promised to each other that they would get married if they're still single at thirty and now they're intending to keep that promise, to the great displeasure of Charlotte's big sister Felicity. 

There's Nothing Like the Love between Sisters

The main conflict in "Wedding Night" is that Fliss, Lottie's older sister, is convinced that it's a bad idea to marry someone that she's just seen again two weeks ago after not hearing a word from them for fifteen years. Because Fliss is so eager on trying to keep Lottie from making another grave mistake, she does everything in her power to prevent her from making them in the first place. On the one hand I'm tempted to say that Fliss is a very controlling and know-it-all kind of character. On the other, Lottie is sometimes portrayed as an extremely naive and wordly innocent woman and I salute Fliss for not losing her temper all the time. I definitely identified more with Fliss, because she's the more mature one, but I'm having a hard time playing favorites.

The tricky thing about the situation is that Kinsella shows us both sides. She shows us how desperate Lottie is to fall in love and how eager Fliss is to do everything in her power to make Lottie happy. Even if her definition of happiness differs from Lottie's.

I think it's definitely an achievement to display both sides so realistically that I felt torn and unable to decide whose approach is the best. I wasn't so sure whether I was on the wedding crasher side or the wedding enthusiast side.

Queen of the Stalling Technique

Maybe it's just me but this novel feels a lot like the movie Mamma Mia, could be only because of the Greek island vacation-y vibe. And just like in every romantic comedy movie, the pacing is bit off in WEDDING NIGHT as well. You can read Kinsella novels almost always in one sitting, because her writing is just so light and easy.
WEDDING NIGHT  has definitely issues with the pacing. It certainly could have all been wrapped up in less pages and stripped down to the essential. Five hundred pages for a chick-lit novel is definitely on the longer side, but I don't see any need for this novel to be this long, because the plot is fairly simple and not complicated at all:

Girl gets dumped. Girl is sad. Girl meets old love. Girl gets married. Sister doesn't like it. 
Sister will destroy this marriage.




Overall: Do I Recommend?

There's many, many better Kinsella novels out there. This one feels like a cheap, hastily written rip-off of other novels she's written with characters that aren't likeable at all. The writing is excellent, but there should have been more work put into the characters and the plot line.

"Lottie just knows that her boyfriend is going to propose, but then his big question involves a trip abroad—not a trip down the aisle. Completely crushed, Lottie reconnects with an old flame, and they decide to take drastic action. No dates, no moving in together, they’ll just get married . . . right now. Her sister, Fliss, thinks Lottie is making a terrible mistake, and will do anything to stop her. But Lottie is determined to say “I do,” for better, or for worse."

Have you tried anything by Kinsella?

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Thursday, February 26, 2015

[Review] The Gatecrasher - Madeleine Wickham

In THE GATECRASHER, professional gold-digger Fleur Daxeny picks up desperate billionaire widowers at their wives' funerals and tries to get as much money out of them as she can before dumping them. When she meets recently widowed Richard Favour and plans on taking all of his money, she didn't expect to grow this fond of his family.

Multiple POVs done well!?

Not many authors can successfully pull off having multiple protagonists and point-of-views in a novel without utterly confusing and annoying the reader. THE GATECRASHER alternates between Fleur, Richard, and different family members. 

Surprisingly, every single protagonist interested me. Sometimes, with different main characters I tend to get bored and pick a favorite, longing for their chapter to begin. But not this time. Wickham is excellent at creating characters and you can clearly tell that a lot of work went into building them. Everyone has their secrets, unique thoughts and desires.  She adds bits of past events so skillfully into the storyline that you don't even notice that you're being fed information. 

I expected Fleur to be the main character, but turns out she isn't really. The novel is more about Richard Favour and his family and what they're all hiding (or not).

More a character study than fun chick-lit

Aside from the main six, Wickham introduces a bunch of old golfer buddies of Emily that I was hardly able to keep up with. She throws around character relations and past events so quickly that I didn't even get who's related to whom. The whole community of Richard and Emily's golf club friends are just portrayed as a bunch of gossiping old couples that are absolutely not essential to the story. Still, it would have been nice if Wickham had bothered to make them a bit more prominent or at least give us an insight in the minds of the few that were actually close with the Favours. 

In the second half of the novel this doesn't get very important anymore, because the novel becomes an in-depth character study of the Favours and Daxenys. There's not really much to say about the plot, it completely centers around "The Maples", the Favour's family estate. Wickham doesn't need anything but the characters' backstories to fuel her story, but at times I wished for a more defined plot. I felt like the novel was going nowhere and essentially, I could have stopped at any time and picked up 50 pages later without really missing anything. 




Overall: Do I Recommend?

THE GATECRASHER has a gossip-girl feel to it. It's all about intrigues, about lying and about trying to deal with consequences. It's not as upbeat as you'd expect a chick-lit book to be and definitely unlike the Sophie Kinsella novels. 
Still, her excellent character development -and building makes you want to continue and find out everyone's secrets. Not as good as Kinsella- but still an average, quick read.

"Everything's coming up roses for Fleur Daxeny, as she goes through more rich men than she does designer hats....if that's humanly possible.  Beautiful, charming, and utterly irresistible, her success at crashing funerals to find wealthy men is remarkable.  But behind Fleur's Harvey Nichols wardrobe, is a woman with a mysterious past. 

Fleur wastes no time in seducing her latest conquest, the handsome and rich widower Richard Favour, and she swoops into his life like a designer-clad tornado.  His children are caught up in a whirlwind as their father's new girlfriend descends on the family estate leaving chaos and excitement in her perfume-scented wake. Soon, more than one family member is suspicious of Fleur's true intentions.
   Fleur is not one to wear her heart on her Chanel sleeves, but she soon finds herself embracing Richard and his lovable family. But just as Fleur contemplates jumping off the gold-digger train for good and enjoying the ride of true love, a long-buried secret from her past threatens to destroy her new family. Fleur is thrown into a race against time to prove herself to Richard before it's too late.  Can she trust her heart or will she cut ties and run away as fast as her Prada pumps can take her?"

Continue Reading...

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Recommendation: I've Got Your Number - Sophie Kinsella

In I'VE GOT YOUR NUMBER, Poppy Wyatt loses her engagement ring that's been passed down in her fiancé Magnus' family and is worth a fortune. 

Wonderful Characters

Poppy's a fantastic character. She's probably my favourite chick-lit protagonist I've read about so far. She's likeable to no ends with her hysteria, irrational fears and adorable cluelessness. I loved her. Poppy goes through massive character development throughout the novel and the process of that is illustrated so beautifully by Kinsella that as a reader, you feel like you're growing with her. Kinsella uses every single character to their potential, from Poppy's fiancé Magnus to her colleagues Annalise and Ruby. No character remains without purpose and I can only salute to that.

The other protagonist is love interest Sam Roxton them, whom I couldn't really give any sympathy points because he remains very distant. He's a serious guy that's totally engrossed in his work and whose entire life revolves around that. The fact that his and Poppy's lives only cross on that professional level just puts emphasis on him being a boring workaholic. We learn almost nothing about him, other than that he likes to keep people on a distance and thinks using smileys in business e-mails is highly inappropriate. Well. Accordingly I didn't connect to him as a character while I did understand why him and Poppy got along. This is an achievement and another point for Kinsella again- without liking the character I still saw and understood the chemistry.

Full of plot twists!

Like I already said, I have to do some hardcore tightrope walking to avoid spoilers. Same goes for the plot. Basically Poppy finds Sam's phone and from now on is a makeshift personal assistant. Well, she hires herself. Sam just wants her to forward all the emails, keeping everything professional, but Poppy decides that Sam is way too distant and rude in his emails, so she writes some herself. And there comes the chaos! 
Everything Poppy does in the novel is just so poppy. Within 400 pages I managed to get a feel for what she's like and I caught myself predicting her actions already and getting secondhand embarrassment at the thought of it. That's not necessarily a bad thing though, it just shows that the characters are developed masterfully. There are so many twists and turns in the storyline and so many hidden hints that I probably would only get when reading it the second time. 

This is what makes this novel special, that I at no point could predict the twists. There's one and then you find yourself thinking "Eh, could've guessed that" and then just when you recovered from the first one, there's a second one. I just ... ahhh. That's so rare in chick-lit and I'm so happy that I decided to buy this novel. The writing is on point, it's Kinsella, you can basically swallow this novel up in about three hours despite it being almost 500 pages. New favorite.



Overall: Do I Recommend?

 I'VE GOT YOUR NUMBER is very close to my all-time Kinsella favourite REMEMBER ME?, but not quite yet. It's a bit too long and even though I loved the whole texting passages, I would have wished they had used different fonts for Sam and Poppy, because at times it got confusing.

Especially when they sent a few messages in a row and you couldn't really figure out who sent what. I found myself hurrying through the pages just to get to the ending (which is by the way straight taken from a cheesy 80s romantic comedy). However, I enjoyed this tremendously and I can't wait to reread it which definitely makes it worthy of a recommendation.

"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."

Continue Reading...

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

[Review] Twenties Girl - Sophie Kinsella

In TWENTIES GIRL, Lara is visited by the eccentric ghost of her late grandaunt Sadie who appears to be stuck in the 20s and is desperately looking for a lost pearl necklace. Along their quest, Sadie falls in love with the perfect man - which turns out to be a problem since nobody aside from Lara can see her.

Polar opposite protagonists

This is your typical Sophie Kinsella novel with witty protagonists, a cute love story and a side plot full of intrigues. Lara is a 27-year-old headhunter who doesn't have her life together at all and is probably one of the most secondhand-embarrassing characters I have ever read about. That isn't necessarily a bad thing. It's funny.

Sadie on the other hand is refreshing and figuratively a breeze of fresh air, and one of rational thinking. Even though she appears to be the naive one, she's actually the only person in this novel who uses their head. The whole desperately-wanting-to-fall-in-love thing is just a way to hide what a truly wise and intelligent character she is, considering the fact that she's the ghost of a 105-year-old woman. I loved the little things about her, how she just wanted to spend some time dancing and looking pretty while being all about her - unlike Lara, who's constantly trying to please the men around her.


It's Kinsella. I devoured it in two days but no other author would have been able to get away with this. The whole headhunting side plot is unnecessary and Natalie, the best friend, is as well. I understand how Kinsella wants to use her as a metaphor for Lara finally breaking free and taking charge of her own life, but eh. I didn't care about the whole headhunting business.

However, I did enjoy this. Yes, it's not the real deal, Kinsella does better usually, but even at her worst she's better than 80% of the chick-lit that's on the market right now. I loved Sadie, I loved to hate Lara and even though the conclusion is obvious, obvious, obvious to no end, I wanted to read it myself and never thought even once about quitting. 




Overall: Do I Recommend?

I'm a Kinsella fangirl. Don't take advice from me. If you've never read anything by her, I suggest you start with REMEMBER ME?, which is my all-time favorite of hers.

"Lara Lington has always had an overactive imagination, but suddenly that imagination seems to be in overdrive. Normal professional twenty-something young women don’t get visited by ghosts. Or do they?
When the spirit of Lara’s great-aunt Sadie—a feisty, demanding girl with firm ideas about fashion, love, and the right way to dance—mysteriously appears, she has one request: Lara must find a missing necklace that had been in Sadie’s possession for more than seventy-five years, because Sadie cannot rest without it. 

Lara and Sadie make a hilarious sparring duo, and at first it seems as though they have nothing in common. But as the mission to find Sadie’s necklace leads to intrigue and a new romance for Lara, these very different “twenties” girls learn some surprising truths from and about each other. Written with all the irrepressible charm and humor that have made Sophie Kinsella’s books beloved by millions, Twenties Girl is also a deeply moving testament to the transcendent bonds of friendship and family."
Continue Reading...

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

[Review] Revenge Wears Prada (#2) - Lauren Weisberger

REVENGE WEARS PRADA takes place 10 years after the Hollywood movie and it's exactly the kind of cheap follow-up you'd expect it to be. 
Andy Sachs, the cute unfashionable little assistant to the devil of the fashion industry Miranda Priestly, is now a little over thirty, about to get married and you'd think she would've grown in ten years. Well, she didn't. 

Here are some top hits of Andy Sachs:
  • Husband didn't tell her he met his ex? CHEATED!
  • Feeling sick in the mornings and being bloated after having unprotected sex? Probably just an STD.

Characters: It's either no personality or flat-out oblivious to everything

I really don't have words for Andy, she's such a boring main character, shallow and also just so irrelevant, there's no way to sympathize with her. For a thirty-something she's extraordinary stupid and it makes no sense whatsoever that she and Emily (remember? the other assistant chick, who's also her best friend now), launched the #42462469 wedding magazine that the world doesn't need. Of course it's really successful and they've become filthy rich. 

Well, there is one upside to it all: at least she's not perfectly flawless, insanely beautiful and super-rich like her husband Max. Who also doesn't have a personality. Well, he likes kids and he tries to stay out of his neurotic wife's business.The fact that this novel couldn't have existed had the movie not been this successful due to Meryl Streep aka Miranda Priestly, should justify her being at least one main character of the novel, right? Well, you're wrong. She has about 14 lines total and suddenly transforms into über-mom the second she knows Andy is expecting. Continuity? Anyone? 

Cringe-worthy references

Something that really irritates me is the name-dropping throughout the novel. There are lots and lots of real-life people in it, Reese Witherspoon, Valentino, Karl Lagerfeld, Jennifer Lopez - some of them even have appearances in it. I had no motivation continuing the novel after about 260 pages, because there is nothing yet to come. There is no clear plotline, sometimes Weisbeger even skips months at once without any reason. I didn't care about her travels to obnoxious clients whose weddings were going to be featured in Andy's magazine. Also I didn't give a darn about her boyfriend in the first movie who for no reason basically left and her and for whom she still longs. After ten years, a happy marriage and a kid, ok? It's just frustrating to see what a mess Andy is and how little she is able to take control of her own life - how does she even get dressed in the mornings if she can't connect the dots that not getting your period and having unprotected sex leads to a pregnancy? Yikes.



Additional Info

Published: 2013
Pages: 420
Publisher: HarperCollins
Genre: Adult / Chick-Lit

"Almost a decade has passed since Andy Sachs quit the job “a million girls would die for” working for Miranda Priestly at Runway magazine—a dream that turned out to be a nightmare. Andy and Emily, her former nemesis and co-assistant, have since joined forces to start a highend bridal magazine. The Plunge has quickly become required reading for the young and stylish. Now they get to call all the shots: Andy writes and travels to her heart’s content; Emily plans parties and secures advertising like a seasoned pro. Even better, Andy has met the love of her life. Max Harrison, scion of a storied media family, is confident, successful, and drop-dead gorgeous. Their wedding will be splashed across all the society pages as their friends and family gather to toast the glowing couple. Andy Sachs is on top of the world. But karma’s a bitch. The morning of her wedding, Andy can’t shake the past. And when she discovers a secret letter with crushing implications, her wedding-day jitters turn to cold dread. Andy realizes that nothing—not her husband, nor her beloved career—is as it seems. She never suspected that her efforts to build a bright new life would lead her back to the darkness she barely escaped ten years ago—and directly into the path of the devil herself..."

Have you seen The Devil Wears Prada?

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Tuesday, September 2, 2014

[Review] The Life List - Lori Nelson Spielman

In THE LIFE LIST by Lori Nelson Spielman, Brett Bohlinger has to fulfill every single goal on a bucket list that she wrote at 14 if she wants to get her hands on her mother's inheritance.
What intrigued me: I love books about bucket lists!

You can simply tell it’s a debut. Each chapter begins with pseudo-eloquent descriptions of the weather and there’s a lot of inconsistency going on. The writing is mediocre at best and had this been my first chick-lit novel, I would have probably abandoned the genre altogether. 

THE LIFE LIST perfectly plays into all (negative clichees) and rumors about the genre: Cheesiness, predictability, no depth whatsoever, and shallowness.

The protagonist Brett seems to be the only character that got properly explored. Everyone else just seems like a plot device (e.g. surprisingly playing significant roles in the end) and are abandoned the second they have had their influence on Brett’s life. This doesn't only make this book extremely predictable and boring, but also very frustrating. Every single character that isn't Brett or the love interest is a plot device. How am I supposed to sympathize with anyone here?

I could have guessed the entire plot out of the blue. The epic twist in the end is pretty obvious and as a reader I felt cheated that the title-giving Life List wasn’t even further addressed. It just seemed like the editor yelled cut there and deleted four chapters to save printing costs. I felt like I wasted my time on this.




Overall: Do I Recommend?

To be honest - I’ve read better chick-lit. Brett annoyed me with her superficial, vain attitude that got miraculously transformed in the end after she met a handful of (magical plot device) POC.

I’m not a fan of using side characters for plot reasons, and the fact that Brad, Shelley and Catherine (beautifully developed characters!!) were neglected despite their potential.
Chick-lit shouldn’t leave the reader unsatisfied and feeling cheated. I want to read chick-lit that’s upbeat, maybe a bit cheesy but overall leaves me with a happy feeling. This one didn't.

Additional Info

Published: July 2nd 2013
Pages: 368
Publisher: Bantam
Genre: Adult / Chick-Lit

"Brett Bohlinger seems to have it all: a plum job, a spacious loft, an irresistibly handsome boyfriend. All in all, a charmed life. That is, until her beloved mother passes away, leaving behind a will with one big stipulation: In order to receive her inheritance, Brett must first complete the life list of goals she'd written when she was a naive girl of fourteen.
Grief-stricken, Brett can barely make sense of her mother's decision-her childhood dreams don't resemble her ambitions at age thirty-four in the slightest. Some seem impossible. How can she possibly have a relationship with a father who died seven years ago? Other goals (Be an awesome teacher!) would require her to reinvent her entire future.

As Brett reluctantly embarks on a perplexing journey in search of her adolescent dreams, one thing becomes clear. Sometimes life's sweetest gifts can be found in the most unexpected places""
(Source: Goodreads)

 Have you read THE LIFE LIST?

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