Friday, July 29, 2011

Star Book Review: Holly's Inbox: Scandal in the City by Holly Denham

The sequel to Holly’s Inbox: Scandal in the City was full of all the gossip, drama and “scandal” that I anticipated after reading its predecessor, Holly’s Inbox. While this book can be read on its own, it’s definitely more fun having already read the previous one. All the same characters (and a few new ones) return with more secrets, conflicts, and just life stuff to be hashed out over email.

Holly and Toby are still together and working together at DK Huerst; although with Toby’s frequent business trips to France, Holly’s feeling even lonelier than before she and Toby got together. But as always, she’s got all her besties by her side, including funny guy, Jason, diva, Aisha, and coworker, Trisha.

You won’t believe the surprises in store in this fun British chick lit novel.  Someone’s got a big secret and Holly and Toby each have something major to tell one another but will they be able to communicate with one another with the distance that has grown between them? You won’t want to put this one down! Despite the book’s intimidating physical size, the email format makes for quick and easy reading all the way through. Holly Denham is a fabulous writer and two-book series comes highly recommended from Lip Gloss and Literature. 4/5

For more fun (and a sneak peek at the original Holly’s Inbox) Log onto, where you can get a taste of all the juicy details to come.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Special Author Interview & Book Review with Lynda Renham, Author of Wedding Cake to Turin

Q. I often hear “write what you know. Was there any truth to your novel, Wedding Cake to Turin?

LR: Wedding Cake to Turin was born after a visit to Turin. We actually went to a wedding and did, in fact, escort a wedding cake. The story can be read on my humorous blog at idea for the novel was conceived after this trip, although my trip was obviously less traumatic than Charley’s.

Q. You refer to your novel as “humorous chick- lit suited for women between the ages of twenty-five and fifty-five”. How would you define the genre? What does it mean to you?

LR: I think my novel could be described as a “Romantic Comedy” and very much written tongue in cheek. The Chick-lit genre has a wide definition and I wouldn’t attempt to define it. I love an easy read and that is Wedding Cake to Turin.

Q. I read that you have been working on the craft of writing since you were 10 years old. How did you become a writer? Did you have any specific influences (people, events or other)?

LR: Yes, I have been writing from a young age. I remember being highly influenced as a young teenager by the likes of Sylvia Plath and Iris Murdoch. My novel ‘The Diary of Rector Byrnes’ which I published under the name of Mary Renham was very much influenced by Iris Murdoch. I stopped writing during a difficult period in my life and it was only after my second marriage and my husband’s persistent support that I began again. I started writing for “The Scavenger” online magazine for which I became an associate editor. I have since written many articles and several novels. It is hard to recall how I became a writer. It just feels like I have always been one.

Q. Do you have a specific routine or process to your writing and/or what does your writing space look like?

LR: I love writing in our summer house and find it very odd to write anywhere else. Usually the door is open and the cat is lazing around outside. I play lots of music, usually through my headphones. Every novel I have written has had a music connection. I type them straight onto my Netbook and Andrew (my husband) listens to the work I have done later that same evening and we discuss any changes that could be made. I usually work in the afternoons.

Q.I read that you are working on another novel to come out later this year, called Croissants and Jam”. Can you tell us a little about it?

LR: Yes, I am very excited about this novel. ‘Croissants and Jam’ is also a romantic comedy.
In the novel, the reader goes on a journey with the heroine (Bels), who is off to Rome to be married. However, she has doubts that Simon is the right man for her. A mishap on the plane means her flight gets diverted. A chance encounter with another passenger leads to nothing but trouble and Bels find herself struggling to get to her wedding rehearsal on time. He life is thrown into turmoil when she finds herself deeply attracted to the Good Samaritan who has offered to drive her to Rome. Hilarious situations arise as she tries to get to her fiancée. Does the marriage go ahead or is her heart stolen by her travelling companion? Read the book to find out. A delicious fun, cheeky read with lots of tasty food references.

Q. What are some of your other favorite books to read? Genres? Authors?

LR: I like chick-lit and adore Louise Bagshaw’s books. I also enjoy the classics and Jane Austen and the Bronte’s are particular favourites. Having lived in the Middle East for some time, I very much enjoy novels that are based there and one of my favourites is ‘Mornings in Jenin’ by Susan Abulhawa. A new author I am enjoying is Roni Cooper.

Q. I notice you have several web sites where you post information and various articles as well as several book sites where readers can buy Wedding Cake to Turin. What can you tell aspiring authors, bloggers and readers about self-publishing? Do you have any suggestions for anyone seeking to take this route?

LR: As you may already know, many writers have taken the self-publishing route, of course, John Grisham, being the most well-known. The only advice I can really give on taking this route is proof read, proof read and proof read even more. It is not an easy road and a great deal of enthusiasm is needed and of course, much self-publicizing. The important thing is to never give up and to be ruthless with your work. If it is boring, delete it. If you’re rambling, delete it but always be ruthless.

Q. What are your interests/hobbies outside of writing?

LR: I love photography, eating copious amounts of yogurt, playing with my cat and needlecraft. Once a week I crash out with Andrew on the couch for a DVD fest, which is my all-time favourite thing.

Q. What is something that most people wouldn't necessarily know about you (that you would be willing to share here, of course!)?

LR: I have twenty three loyalty cards from our local supermarket. Why? The loyalty card assistant is a Jude Law look alike. I cannot resist him. If he tells me something has double loyalty points, I want it. I once came home with several tins of dog food (triple points) and I don’t even own a dog!

Like the interview? Want to learn more about Lynda Renham and her writing? Check out her blog at and keep reading to check out my review of her novel, Wedding Cake to Turin

Wedding Cake to Turin by Lynda-Renham Cook

Self-published author Lynda Renham Cook has written an action-packed, chick lit adventure story full of stilettos and designer dresses, guns, cops, movie stars and beautiful people. And the excitement certainly does not stop there. From plane rides, to mafia men, weddings, affairs, Italy and Facebook, Wedding Cake to Turin is up with the latest trends and doesn’t leave anything uncovered.

Leading lady, Charley, works at the trendy company Our Celebs, where she is personal assistant (and girlfriend) to boss, Nigel. When Charley suspects Nigel of cheating on her with her best friend, Sam, it puts a real damper on Charley’s Christmas. As if things couldn’t get worse, Nigel announces at the company Christmas Party that Charley is to fly to Turin, Italy on Christmas Day to deliver a Wedding Cake to one of the hottest actors in the world at the moment, Marc, and his fiancĂ©.

Charley meets the most gorgeous man on her plane ride by the name of Michael who showers her with attention and gifts after mere hours of knowing her. Michael has a knack for showing up at the worst and best possible moments all at once. Is he too good to be true? Another new friend, Felicity, is sent alongside Charley as her assistant to make sure the cake gets delivered to Marc on time and in one piece; but when Felicity and Marc meet, sparks fly between them and his wedding…well…you’ll have to read to find out!

Wedding Cake to Turin brings on a whirlwind of events from page one! You’ll feel like you’re right alongside Charley during every agonizing and exciting minute of her saga. Author Linda Renham applies some of the more traditional elements of chick lit to her novel but then she mixes it up with many of her own scenarios, characters and creations. A very entertaining and fast-paced read with a gorgeous cover.

Get your own copy of Wedding Cake to Turin on Amazon in paperback or find it in their Kindle e-bookstore.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Guest Post: Research by Deborah Coonts, Author of Wanna Get Lucky?

I bet I am the only taxpayer who used a night at a male strip club as a business deduction. Well, okay, me and several politicians, but mine was legit. This writer gig has its upside, I can tell you that. Who knew research could be this much fun? I wish I could tell you that I based my novels in Las Vegas because I wanted Uncle Sam to cover some of the cost of great nights out, but I wasn't that smart. And to be honest, while digging around Sin City can be wildly amusing, it does have its downside:

As with most of life's lessons, this one was learned the hard way. And here is what I've learned: USE THE BUDDY SYSTEM!

Right out of the gate, for novel number one, WANNA GET LUCKY? I needed to experience a sex toy trade show. As with most things, I didn't really think it through. I mean, people go to these all the time, don't they? It was a trade show, for chrissake! With vendors and everything. So, picturing the Home and Garden Show I attended at some point in the past (I know! What was I thinking? Apparently I must have been channeling Donna Reed -- that's the only excuse I can come up with.) I launched off, blissfully clueless.

My head started to swim after the fourth or fifth row of battery-operated boyfriend exhibits. I'm from the South, please, we don't even discuss sex, much less have it thrust in our faces -- I thought I was made of sterner stuff, but apparently not. So, even though as a Texas girl I can ride bareback, shoot dinner on the wing, gut a deer, converse fluently in china patterns and silver place settings, identify this season's Prada from last's, and break the nose of any guy who calls me "Honey," I found myself totally out of my element. When Oprah admonishes us to challenge ourselves everyday, I don't think this is what she means. I started to hyperventilate. I needed help, and a change of plan.
After two glasses of liquid fortification at the bar, I headed into the movie theatre. Big mistake. You see, when I'm nervous, I laugh uncontrollably -- doubled-over, tears-rolling-down-my-face, gulping-lungfuls-of-air kind of laughing. And I really hadn't recovered my composure.

I discovered two things that day: porn stars take themselves very seriously, and I can outrun over-siliconed twenty-somethings . . . if they are wearing six-inch heels. As a woman of a certain age, I already knew I could outrun any guy preoccupied with his wanker, so that was no biggie.

Now, when I go off on a research expedition, I gather the posse. There is safety in numbers. At least that's what my mother used to say, but I don't think she ever envisioned the places I have to see, the sacrifices I'm called upon to make for my art. Once the girls gather, we fortify ourselves with liquid courage, check to make sure the EMTs are on speed-dial and we have the names of several reputable bail bondsmen (assuming that isn't an oxymoron), then we're off.

Our first foray into the dangerous world of research as a group was a night out at one of the few, if not the only, remaining true male strip clubs. The club occupied the second floor of a ramshackle old building in a part of town that had lost even then the faintest memory of respectability. Emaciated, disinterested young women writhed around poles on the lower floor. Like ants following a trail of pheromones, a single file of women snaked through the bar to the back staircase. We fell in as I meticulously tucked my receipt into my wallet -- business expense, you know. At the top of the stairs we were assaulted by a coven of naked young men wearing only a tiny sack over their privates. One brazen, doe-eyed, long-haired kid, started running his hands over me. "Don't." I snapped. I was in no mood to play -- as I said, this was business . . . and he was . . . not appealing. He reared back as if I'd hit him with a Tazer. "I can't touch you?" he asked, clearly incredulous. I narrowed my eyes at him and he slunk off. Smart boy.

One of my friends, who had decided to "dress slutty" in honor of our outing, attracted the most attention, as I skooched into a booth enjoying the show. And what a show it was. The music started. A guy dressed as a Marine strutted out and started doing his thing. As I watched, all I could think of was "What ever happened to the Village People?" I was clearly having trouble going with the flow.

Women beat their open palms on the stage, stuffed the Marine's tiny sack with dollar bills, while one Adonis straddled my "slutty" friend and began grinding into her chest. She looked around his perfect set of cheeks that were aimed in my direction, and raised her glass while gracing me with a huge grin. I flagged the waiter down and ordered a double.

That's about all I think I can tell you. I know truth is an absolute defense to libel, but discretion is the glue that binds female friendships. However, to this day, I wake up in a cold sweat that somewhere there is a grainy photo, hastily taken with a camera phone . . .

But, if it’s all the same to you, I'd rather take in a male strip show.

© 2011 Deborah Coonts, author of Lucky Stiff

WANNA GET LUCKY? By Deborah Coonts

A young woman plunges from a Las Vegas sightseeing helicopter, landing in the Pirate’s lagoon in front of the Treasure Island Hotel in the middle of the 8:30 Pirate Show. Almost everyone writes her off as another Vegas victim.

But Lucky O’Toole smells a rat. She’s head of Customer Relations at The Babylon, the newest, most opulent mega-casino and resort on the Strip, so she’s got a lot on her plate: the Adult Film industry’s annual awards banquet, a spouse-swapping convention, sex toy purveyors preying on the pocket-protector crowd attending ElectroniCon…. Still, Lucky can’t resist turning over a few stones.

When a former flame is one of the snakes she uncovers, Lucky’s certain she’s no longer dealing with an anonymous Sin City suicide. To top it all off, Lucky’s best friend Teddie—Las Vegas’ finest female impersonator—presses to take their relationship to the next level. Leave it to Lucky to attract a man who looks better in a dress than she does.

Lucky must manage the Babylon’s onslaught of outrageous festivities, solve a murder, and struggle to keep her life and libido from spinning out of control… not to mention keep her balance in six inch heels.

Author Bio

Deborah Coonts, author of Lucky Stiff, says her mother tells her she was born in Texas a very long time ago, though she's not totally sure -- her mother can't be trusted. But she was definitely raised in Texas on barbeque, Mexican food and beer. She currently resides in Las Vegas, where family and friends tell her she can't get into too much trouble. Silly people. Coonts has built her own business, practiced law, flown airplanes, written a humor column for a national magazine, and survived a teenager. She is the author of the Lucky O'Toole Las Vegas adventure series.

Her first book, Wanna Get Lucky?, was released in 2010.

For more information please visit, and follow the author on Facebook and Twitter

Much thanks and appreciation to FSB Media for providing copies of both Wanna Get Lucky? and Lucky Stiff and this original article, all by author Deborah Coonts.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Putting on My Lip Gloss #6 - Writing the Great American Chick Lit Novel

Two of my favorite questions to ask an author when I get a chance is 1) Do you have a specific routine or process to your writing and/or what does your writing space look like? and 2) What advice do you have for wannabe writers out there? Everyone’s writing process is different and I just love to get an idea for how each author gets their inspiration for their books and more so, once they have their idea for the “Great American Novel”, what comes next?

          The answers I’ve received and seen on other web sites’ interviews have been so varied. I’ve heard everything from “write what you know” to “my ideas for my book came to me in a vision in a dream one night”. Personally, I like to draw inspiration from other novels. One, it gives me an idea for what has b4en done and what hasn’t. Two, it gives me an idea for what sells and garners interest from the general arena of readers. Three, it allows me to justify long hours of “research” (a.k.a. reading).

          Another tactic I use is to outline. I like to write a general outline for my work in progress (WIP) before I put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard). As I’m writing, I fill in the outline with more details so that I don’t forget what has already been included in the novel so far and what’s left to be added at a later point. In a similar way, I create character sketches. I love to create consistent characters by using a specific theme, background or pattern of personality. For example, in my current WIP I have been using the Zodiac Calendar and its definitions to illustrate my main character and her two besties. Olivia (the main character) is a Leo, born in late July. Her zest for love has her constantly trying new things. She can’t live without her friends and she loves an audience. Emily, her bff from college, is driven just like the Ram, Aries. She is super independent, confident and a natural leader. Ruby, on the other hand, while she, too, is very driven by her passions, is a little more right brained than Emily, often inclined to more of the arts. She is a lover and a very loyal friend, a true Scorpio through and through. This is just one example for how you can use various resources to influence your story and its characters. You could investigate their deep-rooted fears, citing their Freudian tendencies. You could look at personality types, A, B and C. You could base your characters on their family roles (i.e. the scapegoat, the leader, the hero or the mascot. What I love about writing and fiction is that your options and resources are essentially limitless.

          Finally, another thing to consider as a writer is how to get those ideas and outlines on paper? Do you write them? Draw pictures in crayon? Do you type up a complete outline with bibliography? While the ideas and avenues for portraying your story are limitless, everyone has their favorites, including me. I found some of the cutest, trendiest, personalized supplies – cheap, cheap, cheap!  I know, for me, when it comes to keeping track of my writing, I am obsessed with office supplies. From little and big notebooks, to Pink Clic Grip Pens by Bic to sturdy and trendy Tote Bags in Black and Pink a la Amanda Brown’s Legally Blonde to carry all my supplies, I am a writing accessory junkie. Amsterdam Printing has cheap promotional pens from 33 cents to just over a dollar, in everything from The Executive Widebody, to pastel colored Eco Spririt Pens and for the kids, toy-designed pens called Attitude is Everything. It doesn’t just stop at Pens, either. From t-shirts to coffee mugs, laptop bags and water bottles, Amsterdam Printing has it all!  I imagine if Carrie Bradshaw were still televised, we would see her carrying her laptop in a chic Quilted Tote Bag, fit for a queen in a regal Gold. 
 Remember her “Carrie” earrings that she used to always wear on Sex and the City (and later it was a “Carrie” necklace?) Well, on Amsterdam Printing you can get anything and everything emblazoned with your name, intials, company logo or whatever else you would like to see printed on your pens, t-shirts, laptop bags, etc. I can just see myself drinking my cocoa java (Hot chocolate + coffee) out of a Lip Gloss and Literature mug, while writing my character sketches with my Cathy pens in my notebook emblazoned with my initials, CGH, in Aqua and Pink.
  How do you write your story? Where do you come up with your ideas? And what will you use to write that story?

Putting on My Lip Gloss is a series of blog posts that represent my personal thoughts, ideas and general ramblings related to chick lit reading and writing. Every day is an inspiration – I never know where my next post is going to come from, but when it does, I always feel like putting on my lip gloss! Thanks for reading.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Booking Through Thursday: Reading Repeats with Some My Favorite Chick Lit Authors

Wanna Join Booking Through Thursday??

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1. Copy the questions, paste them into your blog and answer them.

2. When you're done, come back here and post a quick comment or trackback letting everyone know so we can read your responses. Be sure to leave a link to your actual post! (Just type in the web-address--Wordpress will automatically turn it into a link for you.)

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This Thursday’s Question:

What’s the first book that you ever read more than once? (I’m assuming there’s at least one.)

What book have you read the most times? And–how many?

The very first book I read more than once was Summer Sisters by Judy Blume. (This was also the very first book I ever cried while reading itJ) I absolutely adored this book. It reminded me of the movie Beaches, chronicling the close friendship of two women, who reconvened each summer for fun, family and fiesta.

Summer Sisters by Judy Blume

In the summer of 1977, Victoria Leonard's world changed forever - when Caitlin Somers chose her as a friend. Dazzling, reckless Caitlin welcomed Vix into the heart of her sprawling, eccentric family, opening doors to a world of unimaginable priviledge, sweeping her away to vacations on Martha's Vineyard, a magical, wind-blown island where two friends became summer sisters...
Now, years later, Vix is working in New York City. Caitlin is getting married on the Vineyard. And the early magic of their long, complicated friendship has faded. But Caitlin has begged Vix to come to her wedding, to be her maid of honor. And Vix knows that she will go - for the friend whose casual betrayals she remembers all too well. Because Vix wants to understand what happened during that last shattering summer. And, after all these years, she needs to know why her best friend - her summer sister - still has the power to break her heart....

There have been other books that I have read twice not always purposefully but by the time I remembered I read them, I kept on reading through because I couldn’t recall the ending and they were highly enjoyable. One example of such books was one I borrowed from the library, Sushi for Beginners by Marian Keyes, last year. The characters all sounded familiar with their unique names, like Ashling Kennedy, Lisa Edwards and especially, Marcus Valentine. Sure enough, about half way through I realized that I had read it a few years prior, but I couldn’t remember the ending so I kept reading on.

Sushi for Beginners by Marian Keyes


Prada-wearing magazine editor Lisa Edwards thinks her life is over when her "fabulous" new job turns out to be a deportation to Dublin, launching Colleen magazine. No more jet-setting to the fall collections. No more fabulous parties and photographs in the society pages. The only saving grace is

that her friends aren't there to witness her downward spiral. Might her new boss, the disheveled and moody Jack Devine, save her from a fate worse than hell?

Ashling Kennedy, Colleen's assistant editor, is an award-winning worrier, increasingly aware that something fundamental is missing from her life -- apart from a boyfriend and a waistline. And then there's her closest, oldest friend Clodagh "Princess" Kelly, who is apparently living the domestic dream in a suburban castle. So why, lately, has Clodagh had a recurring urge to kiss a frog -- sleep with a frog, if truth be told?

Finally, other books I have recently decided that I want to read or listen to for a second time. Specifically, one that comes to mind includes a Sophie Kinsella novel, Remember Me, that I read in the Fall of 2009. I loved the book so much that I wanted to see how the audio version sounded as well and sure enough, it was just as scintillating and maybe even more hilarious to hear spoken aloud. I continue on this trend with another Sophie Kinsella, The Undomestic Goddess that I read many years back, and it, too, had a laugh-a-minute audio to entertain every car ride. There are many more books on my To-Be-Re-Read list.

Remember Me by Sophie Kinsella

When twenty-eight-year-old Lexi Smart wakes up in a London hospital, she’s in for a big surprise. Her teeth are perfect. Her body is toned. Her handbag is Vuitton. Having survived a car accident—in a Mercedes no less—Lexi has lost a big chunk of her memory, three years to be exact, and she’s about to find out just how much things have changed.

Somehow Lexi went from a twenty-five-year-old working girl to a corporate big shot with a sleek new loft, a personal assistant, a carb-free diet, and a set of glamorous new friends. And who is this gorgeous husband—who also happens to be a multimillionaire? With her mind still stuck three years in reverse, Lexi greets this brave new world determined to be the person she…well, seems to be. That is, until an adorably disheveled architect drops the biggest bombshell of all.

Suddenly Lexi is scrambling to catch her balance. Her new life, it turns out, comes complete with secrets, schemes, and intrigue. How on earth did all this happen? Will she ever remember? And what will happen when she does?

The Undomestic Goddess by Sophie Kinsella

High-powered attorney Samantha Sweeting has just made a mistake that could snuff out her career. In total meltdown, she abandons her office and catches the first available train out of London, winding up in the middle of nowhere. Still suffering from brain freeze, she wanders first into a large mansion and then into a job as a housekeeper. Samantha's domestic skills are in severe disarray, but somehow she blunders through sewing, ironing, cleaning, and patching together her life. A winning "undomestic" tale from the author of Shopaholic & Sister

What books will you be reading for a second time around??

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday - Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow? by Claudia Carroll

WoW Logo Provided by
Jill at Breaking The Spine

"Waiting On Wednesday"(WOW) is a weekly event, hosted by Jill from Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases eagerly anticipated. This is my third week joining the 100 plus book bloggers who participate in the weekly meme and I am very excited to be a part of it. I hope to hear from you and your own WOW so that I can add some more books to my TBR shelf.

Who wouldn’t be attracted to covers full of pastel colors and beautifully caricatured women with catchy titles like, Do You Want to Know a Secret?, He Loves Me Not... He Loves Me, Personally I Blame My Fairy Godmother and If This is Paradise, I Want My Money Back?? Claudia Carrol, a Dublin born and bred chick lit author has been penning chick lit since 2004 and hasn’t stopped yet. Her books have been high on the bestseller list and she has even had offers to make some of her books into movies and tv sitcoms.  Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow? by Claudia Carroll is no exception to the fabulous name that Ms. Carroll has established for herself, already gaining a 4.29/5.00 rating on Goodreads. This will be my first novel to read by Claudia Carroll and I hope that it “reads” up to its reviews.

Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow? by Claudia Carroll

Cover and Synopsis
via Goodreads
Absence makes the heart grow fonder…doesn’t it?

What happens when two people decide to give themselves the year off…from each other?

Annie and Dan were the perfect couple. But now the not-so-newly weds feel more like flatmates than soul mates and wonder where all the fun and fireworks went …
When Annie lands her big break in a smash-hit show that’s heading for the bright lights of Broadway, she’s over the moon. Goodbye remote Irish village of Stickens, hello fabulous Big Apple! But with their relationship already on the rocks, how will Annie and Dan survive the distance?

They’re hitting the pause button on their marriage. One year off from each other – no strings attached, except a date to meet in twelve months at the Rockefeller Centre to decide their fate.

Will they both turn up? Or is it too late for love?

Lose yourself in a fabulously entertaining and poignant love story – perfect for fans of Sophie Kinsella and Marian Keyes.
Claudia Carroll is the author of other popular chick lit novels like, Personally, I Blame My Fairy Godmother and If This is Paradise, I Want My Money Back. Visit her web site for more info at

What are you waiting on this Wednesday???

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Star Audio Book Review - If You Were Here by Jen Lancaster, Read by Jaime Heinlein

Jen Lancaster is the reining queen of chick lit comedy in my book and she’s back again, this time tackling fiction in her latest novel, If You Were Here. I love listening to Jen Lancaster’s books so much more so than reading them, and I was not disappointed with this one. Teaming up with veteran narrator of Bitter in Black, Pretty in Plaid and My Fair Lazy, Jaime Heinlein packs a punch in this audio book with the trademark bitter humor and sarcastic wit, I’ve come to expect from all of Jen Lancaster’s works.
If You Were Here reads like an HGTV special with a blast back to the 80s, specifically, in the times of John Hughes’ movie madness. Mia and Mac (Jen and Fletch?) look forward to buying a home of their own in the suburbs of Chicago. Tiresome days of house hunting seem to lead nowhere until they walk into a familiar looking home. Sure enough, the gorgeous mini-McMansion is none other than the fictional home of High School Hunk, Jake Ryan, the object of Molly Ringwald’s affection in the John Hughes hit, Sixteen Candles. Mia cannot turn down the opportunity to tell all her friends about her famous abode, and she and Mac make a substantial offer. Little do they know upon signing, however, the glamorous house requires more than a little TLC and so begins their adventures in contracts and construction.
Jake Ryan's house in the suburbs of Chicago
from the 80s John Hughes movie, Sixteen Candles

If You Were Here is one hilarious vignette after another, with crazy neighbors, colorful carpenters and laborers, a farm-ful of pets and of course, the wacky couple themselves, Mia and Mac. Listeners get a front row seat to Mia and Mac’s dreams of owning their own home. If you’ve listened to (or read) Jen Lancaster’s previous autobiographies, you may find, like I did, that it can be difficult to separate the fictional couple from that of real-world hubby and wife, Jen and Fletch; but regardless, with Jaime Heinlein’s vociferous voiceover and Jen Lancaster’s signature sarcasm, Mia’s personality and humor is difficult to separate from that of the queen of sarcasm herself but still I was kept laughing out loud all the way through.


For more Jen Lancaster, visit her hilarious blog at

If You Were Here brought up memories of the Brat Pack and 80’s movies like Sixteen Candles so I thought I’d continue reminiscing about some of my favorite 80’s flicks:

 Favorite 80s Chick Flicks

1.                  Dirty Dancing

2.                 16 Candles

3.                 The Breakfast Club

4.                 Pretty in Pink

5.                 The Princess Bride

6.                 Ferris Bueller’s Day Off

7.                 Heathers

8.                 Adventures in Babysitting

9.                 St. Elmo’s Fire

10.             Say Anything

What was your favorite 80s Chick Flick??

Friday, July 15, 2011

First Line Friday: Wedding Cake to Turin by Lynda Renham


First Lines Friday is a new bookish meme hosted by Literary Marie of Precision Reviews. The rules are simple and straightforward so play along!

·        Grab your current read (s).
·        Share the first line(s).
·        Include the title and author so that the other FLF participants can add the book to their TBR Lists.

“Don’t you just hate Christmas? Well maybe you don’t. I mean, what is it that makes people so sentimental at this time of year? There are the gruesome office parties of course, which if I am truthful I did once enjoy, well always enjoyed in fact, until this year. Actually, if I am totally truthful, I adore Christmas or at least did.”

~ Wedding Cake to Turin by Lynda Renham

When Charlotte is sent by her boss to deliver a wedding cake to Turin little does she know what she will be letting herself in for. Torn between feelings for her boyfriend and a new man that she meets at the airport, she embarks on a journey of hilarious situations, finding herself mixing with the rich and famous and the Italian Mafia. Charlotte has to decide just how much she is prepared to do for love but does the man she love truly love her? Charley's journey to find love is both hilarious and touching.

Synopsis found on Goodreads

What first lines have you been reading? Share with me below!