Sunday, February 27, 2011

Star Audio Book Review: The Book of Tomorrow by Cecelia Ahern; Narrated by Allie Coffey

     The only other book I have read by Cecilia Ahern was Love, Rosie (aka Where Rainbows End) but I am familiar with her flair for creating worlds filled with magic and fantasy. The Book of Tomorrow is no exception, incorporating something mystical into the reality of life in Ireland for teenager, Tamara Goodwin. After her father commits suicide, Tamara's life changes drastically. Her mother is a mess, unable to even get out of bed. No longer able to afford their posh home in Dublin, Tamara and her mother are forced to move in with Tamara's Aunt Rosalyn, who is as cold as ice. Even worse, something odd is about Rosalyn and ever since they arrived, she won't even let Tamara check on her mother to see how she is doing, always chiding her to “let her be and get her rest”.

     Tamara greatly misses her friends back home and doing all the fun things she's used to – from posting funny pictures on facebook to sending each other messages via Twitter - life is so much more dull in the country. That is until one day, a traveling library comes down the road, driven by Marcus, librarian and book aficionado, but it is one book in particular that attracts Tamara even more than the handsome book conductor. The book appears to be a diary of sorts with a padlock on the cover. Determined to unveil its contents, Tamara finds a way to break the diary open but is left with quite the surprise when she finds all its pages are blank. At least today they are. Tomorrow, all of sudden, the pages are filled with HER handwriting. As if that's not odd enough, the writing isn't about what happened yesterday or even today but the date on the page is always the very next day – The diary is written about Tomorrow.

     Mostly out of curiosity to find out if its contents are real, Tamara begins consulting the diary each day to see what will happen and strangely enough, everything it writes about comes true the next day!

     All too soon, the diary begins to reveal unexpected things and not all things that Tamara likes. She begins to wonder if she might be able to have an effect on their outcome since she knows what will happen before it does but sure enough one way or another, all the vents and circumstances of the diary still come true. Is the book a blessing or a curse? Tamara begins piecing together all kinds of events and secrets that no one wanted her to ever find out. What will Tamara do now that she holds the answers to so much. So soon? Who can she tell and will anyone believe her?

     Cecelia Ahern does a good job tying the fantastical together with some real world tough lessons, as her main character, Tamara Goodwin learns what it means to grow up and start caring about tomorrow. Ali Coffey does a good job narrating this magical tale as she tells it from the perspective of seventeen going on eighteen year old, Tamara Goodwin. She shows a wide range of character, switching voices from that of sinister and malicious Aunt Rosalyn to carefree and jubilant friend, Wesley.

3 STARS

Thursday, February 24, 2011

To Be Read TBR Thursday - Borders Books & Bargains






Nothing makes a long, holiday weekend more enjoyable than a little bit…okay, a lot…of bargain shopping. As sad as I was to hear of the closing of one of the biggest bookstore retailers in the US, you can imagine my excitement at hearing the sales at the store’s closing. My plan was to only take advantage of the closeout sale at Borders to purchase books that I knew were not going to go on sale anywhere else or that I was having a difficult time finding anywhere else. I was relatively tame, I must say and wound up making just three purchases. I feel I must warn you if you are planning on shopping a Borders closeout sale near you – I waited in line for a good half an hour; no exaggeration, but it was well worth the wait! With the entire store marked down between 20 and 40% off, this was one bargain that was impossible to pass up. The girl at the register told me that the sooner they sell out of the books in their stores, the sooner they will be closing so if you have some books on your list that you know you are going to buy soon, I’d suggest checking out the Borders nearest you! For a list of all Borders closing, check out this link:

http://media.bordersstores.com/pdf/Borders_Reorganization_Closure_List.pdf .

The first of the three was a book by an author who is well known for her wit, humor and unapologetically (and very) opinionated thoughts. Anne Lamott’s book on writing, Bird by Bird has quickly become a classic in the how-to section on writing. I listened to a three-hour audio book, called Word by Word, that was a supplemental lecture to Bird by Bird and became more than convinced I had to add Lamott’s book to my collection of writing resources.

If you have ever wondered what it takes to be a writer, what it means to be a writer, what the contents of your school lunches said about what your parents were really like, this books for you. From faith, love, and grace to pain, jealousy, and fear, Lamott insists that you keep your eves open, and then shows you how to survive. And always, from the life of the artist she turns to the art of life. ~ Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott

The other book I had to have is a little more “light” to say the least. Sara Shepard began her infamous adventures inYoung Adult, Teen Chick Lit and Paranormal book circles with her blockbuster hit and now TV drama series, Pretty Little Liars. This first book in a multi-part series looks every bit as scandalous and tantalizing as the gossip behind it suggests.

Three years ago, Alison disappeared after a slumber party, not to be seen since. Her friends at the elite Pennsylvania school mourned her, but they also breathed secret sighs of relief. Each of them guarded a secret that only Alison had known. Now they have other dirty little secrets, secrets that could sink them in their gossip-hungry world. When each of them begins receiving anonymous emails and text messages, panic, sets in. Are they being betrayed by some one in their circle? Worse yet: Is Alison back? A strong launch for a suspenseful series. ~ Pretty Little Liars by Sara Shepard

Finally, in my Borders expedition, I purchased a special edition of Writer’s Digest Magazine, Write Your Novel in 30 Days.


Nothing rounds out a bargain hunting weekend like shopping at the Christmas Tree Shop, which for those of you who have never heard of it, their tagline says it all: “Don’t you just love a bargain?” For a mere dollar and change (thirty-nine cents to be exact)…no lie...For $1.39 each, I purchased some oldies, but goodies:
Friday Night Cocktails by Allison Rushby

Two best friends, one killer hangover, and a whole world of badly behaved men. Let the games begin...

Gemma Barton, here -- single girl and website creator. Okay, so I m not here to decry all men as commitment-phobes and complete dogs, but you know, sometimes they are. After one more date with Mr. Oh-I-Didn t-Tell-You-I-Was-Already-Engaged and a round of giant margaritas, my friend Sarah and I decided to make "the list": a chronicle of all the guys who ve ever lied, cheated, or tried to have a threesome with your best friend.

Well, our little revenge website seemed like a brilliant idea at the time -- and soon disgruntled women all over the world were chiming in. It was great. Suddenly Sarah and I were stars, I had a male personal assistant, and all was right with the world. Or so I thought, until big trouble started brewing on my computer. There s someone out there in cyberspace who s just made me see the error of my ways. Maybe the male of the species aren t out to get me after all. Could it be time to stop listening to my inner rage queen and start listening to my heart...?

Easy by Emma Gold
Dynamic British newcomer Emma Gold is about to take you along on a search for Mr. Right that has as many highs and lows as a roller-coaster ride and is just as much fun. The sexy, 30-ish narrator of Gold's Easy is totally up front about what she wants in a life partner -- a man she really likes, who really likes her and wants to share his life with her. Of course, she has her standards, which lead her to more specific stipulations: the right man has to be single, stimulating, English, Jewish, at least moderately well off, and someone she really fancies in bed. Unfortunately, finding such a paragon on the North London Jewish party circuit is anything but Easy and the resulting no-holds-barred husband hunt is sexy and heartbreaking, dramatic and romantic, bitchy and hilarious by turns.

Hard by Emma Gold
In Easy, Emma Gold's straight-talking heroine put a randy new spin on the sex life of the single British girl. Now she returns with the adventures of a new woman-about-London. From office politics (fending off the boss's advances; dating the co-worker's son) to bedroom diplomacy (no sleepovers past 3 a.m.; hetero lovemaking must be muffled so as not to offend gay roommate), the only sure bet is that when all the right balls are in the air (so to speak), all the wrong things will become . . . Hard.

The Ex Factor by Andrea Semple
When Martha Seymore finds out about her boyfriend's one-night-stand she doesn't know what to do. And Martha's business is relationships. She's the girl who gets paid to sympathise with the cheated and jilted, the under sexed and over attached at Gloss magazine. Realising she's just as clueless as her hapless readers, Martha finds it increasingly difficult to continue giving relationship advice whilst dealing with her own heartache. Also, there's the distinctly unattractive prospect of admitting a failed relationship not only to her colleagues, but also to her oldest friend, Desdemona, whose irritatingly perfect lifestyle would make even a saint harbour murderous tendencies. Worse, Desdemona's new fiance is Alex, Martha's first ex-boyfriend, who, contrary to all expectations, has matured into an infuriatingly sexy and talented chef. Life just isn't fair. Tired of always doing the right thing, Martha starts to wonder whether her new flatmate has the right approach to relationships after all: is the best way to get one man off your mind, at least temporarily, to get another one into your bed? A novel about sex, relationships, and other natural disasters
Finally, nothing spells bargain more clearly than F-R-E-E to me, so when I finally got off the wait list for two audio books from my library, you know I moved them to the very top of my TBR list:

Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen
The women of the Waverley family -- whether they like it or not -- are heirs to an unusual legacy, one that grows in a fenced plot behind their Queen Anne home on Pendland Street in Bascom, North Carolina. There, an apple tree bearing fruit of magical properties looms over a garden filled with herbs and edible flowers that possess the power to affect in curious ways anyone who eats them.
For nearly a decade, 34-year-old Claire Waverley, at peace with her family inheritance, has lived in the house alone, embracing the spirit of the grandmother who raised her, ruing her mother's unfortunate destiny and seemingly unconcerned about the fate of her rebellious sister, Sydney, who freed herself long ago from their small town's constraints. Using her grandmother's mystical culinary traditions, Claire has built a successful catering business -- and a carefully controlled, utterly predictable life -- upon the family's peculiar gift for making life-altering delicacies: lilac jelly to engender humility, for instance, or rose geranium wine to call up fond memories. Garden Spells reveals what happens when Sydney returns to Bascom with her young daughter, turning Claire's routine existence upside down. With Sydney's homecoming, the magic that the quiet caterer has measured into recipes to shape the thoughts and moods of others begins to influence Claire's own emotions in terrifying and delightful ways.
As the sisters reconnect and learn to support one another, each finds romance where she least expects it, while Sydney's child, Bay, discovers both the safe home she has longed for and her own surprising gifts. With the help of their elderly cousin Evanelle, endowed with her own uncanny skills, the Waverley women redeem the past, embrace the present, and take a joyful leap into the future.
Me, Myself and Why by MaryJanice Davidson

Sweet and innocent with a twist of girl-next-door, Cadence Jones is not your typical girl and certainly not your typical FBI agent. Just ask her sisters, Shiro and Adrienne. (Wait. . . best if you don’t ask Adrienne anything.) But it’s her special “talent” which makes Cadence so valuable to the FBI and it never comes in more handy than when she and her partner, George, get tagged to bring down the Threefer Killer. A serial killer who inexplicably likes to kill in threes, leave behind inexplicable newspaper clippings, and not one shred of decent forensic evidence, soon starts leaving messages that seem to be just for Cadence and her sisters. Could it be that this killer knows all about Cadence’s special “talent”?
In the meantime, love blooms in the most unexpected place when Cadence meets her best friend’s gorgeous brother who is in town visiting—and she discovers that he knows her secret too! When attraction burns hot between them, her best friend isn’t thrilled with the romantic development and this time Cadence just might agree!
Suddenly Cadence finds her unbalanced life turned even more upside down as she tries to date a baker who wants to get in her heart and in her bed, dodge a pesky psychiatrist, keep a leash on her sociopath partner, while trying to catch a serial killer who’s now fixated on her.
Some days it’s not even worth getting up in the morning.

Although not all of these books were the author’s debut (some were, including Garden Spells and Easy), they will each be the first novels I’ve ever read by of these last few authors, and I can’t wait!

 ‘Til next week….what’s on your TBR list?

Visit Book Love Blog  for more links to some great TBR reads!

***All covers and synopses found on Goodreads.com***

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Special Guest Post: Book Review by Jessica Sinn - The Girl Who Chased the Moon by Sarah Addison Allen



The Girl Who Chased the Moon by Sarah Addison Allen
Book Review by Jessica Sinn, Chick Lit Café

The Girl Who Chased the Moon is the literary equivalent of a gorgeous pink-frosted cupcake – rainbow sprinkles and all! It’s light and sweet and so much fun to gobble up in one sitting. The only hitch with cupcakes is that they leave me wanting more. That’s how I felt after I devoured the last chapter of this book.


The story begins when Emily sets foot in Mullaby, a wooded patch of a sparsely populated southern hamlet that her mother left behind. Left in the care of her eccentric 8-foot-tall grandfather, the orphaned teen is lost and alone in a town that seems to resent her. As Emily struggles to adjust to her new – and very peculiar – surroundings, she uncovers some startling secrets about her mother’s past.
Things really get strange when Emily spots the elusive “Mullaby lights” floating in the woods outside her bedroom balcony. And when she falls for a boy who can only be seen during daylight hours, she begins to wonder what kind of world she’s living in.

Just what did her mother do to upset the entire town? And why does her grandfather forbid her to chase after the Mullaby lights? Emily is determined to find out.

Enter Julia Winterson, a free-spirited pastry artist who’s back in town to make a profit off of her deceased father’s barbecue joint, sell it to the highest bidder and get the heck out of dodge. When she discovers the new girl in town is the daughter of Mullaby’s resident mean girl, she vows to keep her distance. But when she senses Emily’s sadness and isolation, she can’t help but take the fragile teen under her wing. While protecting Emily from the pitiless townsfolk, Julia learns to open her heart to an old flame and realize that perhaps she can come home again.


From magical wallpaper to mysterious lights to a reclusive giant, the world Sarah Addison creates in this book drew me inexorably in and made me feel like I was in the center of a fairytale. A wonderful novel of love, forgiveness and family, it’s imbued with the author’s enchanting prose and a vitality that reminds me how good it is to be loved and in love.
5 STARS




A big Thank You to Jessica Sinn for sharing her book views and reviews with us at Lip Gloss and Literature this week. For more reading and writing with Jessica Sinn, please visit her at the Chick Lit Cafe at http://loonachicklit.wordpress.com/

Friday, February 18, 2011

In My Mailbox - Weekend Edition #1

In My Mailbox (IMM) is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren. It originated in November 2008 as a way to share with other readers and bloggers what books were received, bought, won, etc each week and has evolved ever since. It still informs readers each Sunday of the books Kristi obtained over the course of the week only now the books are creatively shared via her web vlog.

To learn more details about IMM, its history and how to participate, please visit Kristi at The Story Siren:

     For my weekly version of In My Mailbox, I’ve decided to do a recap of all the books that have come into my home and my hands – some via snail Mail, the Internet, Book Store, Library, Raffles, Giveaways, Authors and Publishing Houses. I read paperback books; borrow hardcover novels; scroll through e-books with my ereader, The Novel, and I listen to audio books. As you can imagine, I might not get to all the books that come into my possession each week, so be on the lookout for their reviews on my blog. If there is a book you see featured that you want to learn more about, wish to read a review or learn where you can obtain your own copy or read a review for, please contact me at cgraceh at gmail dot com and I will do my best to respond to your request in a timely fashion.

This was a big week book-wise. I went to Barnes and Noble and bought 4 bargain books via a great Groupon gift certificate, I received an ebook via NetGalley and a paperback book via FSB Media (two websites that provide books for review for book bloggers) and I received an eagerly awaited audio book via my local library's Overdrive online service.

Here's a peek at what came in my “mailbox” this week.........

Just when she thought she had life and love all figured out…
Divorce attorney Harper James can’t catch a break. Bad enough that she runs into her ex-hubby, Nick, at her sister’s destination wedding, but now, by a cruel twist of fate, she’s being forced to make a cross-country road trip with him. And her almost-fiancé back at home is not likely to be sympathetic.
Harper can’t help that Nick has come blazing back into her life in all of his frustratingly appealing, gorgeous architect glory. But in Nick’s eyes, Harper’s always been the one. If they can only get it right this time, forever might be waiting—just around the bend.
My One and Only by Kristan Higgins - Due out March 29th, 2011. For more books, info and preview trailers visit the author at http://www.kristanhiggins.com.

     As a past yoga-junkie myself, I can't wait to open up this book from debut author Rain Mitchell. A story about friendship, finding oneself and meditation, Tales from the Yoga Studio was released in late 2010.

      The yoga studio is where daily cares are set aside, mats are unfurled, and physical exertion leads to well-being, renewal, and friendship. An aggressively expanding chain of Los Angeles yoga "experience centers," has Lee and her extraordinary teaching abilities in its sights. They woo her with a lucrative contract, a trademarked name for her classes, and a place for her handsome musician husband. But accepting the contract means abandoning the students at the homey studio Lee runs in L.A.'s Silver Lake district- and leaving behind four women whose friendships are suddenly more important to her than retirement benefits and a salary increase.     

Sunday night I found myself wandering the stacks at a Barnes and Noble – and I do mean wandering because I'm one of those people who can get lost in a bookstore for hours and not have a clue what's going on outside...digging through the bargain books, I happened upon four great novels... The first two I picked up have since inspired me in my own writing, reminding me, first and foremost, “to write what you know” and that usually, true happiness and love are right in front of you the whole time....

Petite Anglaise by Catherine Sanderson (2008)

     Petite Anglaise chronicles a year in Catherine’s beloved Paris when all that seemed stable—motherhood, romance, work, even her very identity—explodes. Fizzing with the candor, wit, and panache that have drawn millions to her blog and attracted the attention of publishers around the world, Petite Anglaise offers a decidedly fresh twist on the classic story of reinvention abroad: how a young woman transforms herself wielding the power of a mouse.

     She has a job in Paris, the city of her dreams, a handsome Frenchman, a beautiful bilingual toddler, and a charming apartment with breathtaking views. So why does Catherine Sanderson feel that her life is coming apart? Stuck in a relationship quickly losing its heat, overwhelmed by the burdens of motherhood, and restless in a dead-end administrative job, Catherine reads an article about starting an online diary and on a slow day at work—voilà—Petite Anglaise is born. But what begins as a lighthearted diversion, a place to muse on the fish-out-of-water challenges of ex-pat life, soon gives way to a raw forum where Catherine shares intimate details about her relationship, discontents, and most impulsive desires—a daily soap opera starring herself, her lover (Mr. Frog), and their daughter (Tadpole). 
      When a faithful reader (who happens to be an attractive, charismatic Englishman) tries to get close to the girl behind the blog, the lines between Catherine’s real and virtual personas blur, tempting her to leave Mr. Frog and the life she has worked so hard to construct, in pursuit of
l’amour fou. Propelled by her intoxicating alter ego and cheered on by thousands of readers, Catherine’s life spirals to exhilarating highs and dizzying lows as her life and her creation collide head-on and she must somehow make peace with both.

Face Value by Kathleen Baird Murray (2008)

     Kate Miller is no beauty expert. The rookie reporter from small-town England can’t walk properly in a pair of heels and doesn’t know the first thing about waxing. But then she receives an incredible phone call. Darling magazine in New York wantsher to be their new beauty editor! So what if she has no idea whether gray eyeshadow is the new black kohl? Suddenly Kate—along with her deep-discount clothes and hopelessly dated hair—is in the Big Apple, being swept away by the world of fashion. But she better find a way to put a positive spin on plastic surgery for the big yearly supplement or she’ll lose everything––including the hotshot plastic surgeon-to-the-stars who thinks Kate’s beauty is way more than skin deep.
The third book I just couldn't resist for its cover and title alone. I thought for sure I would be in for a world of fun and laughter....I'm With Stupid by Elaine Szewcyk (2008)

     A hilarious tale of girl meets boy, girl falls in lust, girl discovers boy is not playing with a full deck...
     When Kas meets William while on safari in South Africa he seems perfect-a gorgeous park ranger, both kind and brave (he saved the tour from certain death by water buffalo). Her two best friends, Max, an endlessly scheming personal trainer, and Libby, a jobless bombshell, would like to get their hands on William...but he's only interested in Kas, an editorial assistant at a struggling New York literary agency who thinks William is out of her league. The two have a fling, and Kas returns home to New York wondering if she'll hear from William again. So when he finally sends an email, she's delighted.
     Until she opens it.
     The email is not quite the love missive Kas expected. Did she misjudge William? A miscommunication ensues, triggering a rapid-fire series of comic developments that, within days, bring William to New York, now under the impression that Kas has offered him a place to live. As he unveils his big plan to take Manhattan by storm and make his fortune, Kas finally recognizes how limited William's intellectual capabilities are: He makes Kevin Federline look like Albert Einstein.

     The last book I added to my basket at B&N is one I've wanted forever. Inspiring in its own way, one, for its author's accomplishments at such a young age and two, for the risks she took to her reputation, Chloe Does Yale (2006) by author Natalie Krinsky looks every bit as scandalous and revealing as it sounds.

     Chloe Carrington is a typical Yale student, except that along with toiling through the usual grind of coursework, she pens a notorious and much-dished-over sex column for the campus newspaper. This touch of fame has wrought havoc on her social and love life, turning it literally into an open book. Chloe doesn't help matters much; she likes to share and can't resist divulging the gory details of her most recent date (or lack thereof) in her column, baring her soul for all to see.
     Like her friends, she dreams of hooking up with Mr. Right, at least for a little while but that proves even more arduous than participating in Yale's notorious "shopping" session (a two-week period in which students are encouraged to take as many classes as possible, in order to decide what courses to enroll in for that semester). As Chloe probes the campus hot spots, we get a peek at just what goes on behind the Ivy League's dormitory doors from drinking at Toad's to "Exotic Erotic" (Yale's answer to a Hugh Hefner style Playboy party, complete with coeds in skimpy bikinis).

Last but certainly not least, I have been eagerly awaiting the US release of Irish Chick Lit queen, Cecilia Ahern's latest novel, The Book of Tomorrow and to my great fortune, not only has it arrived, but I secured myself an unabridged audio book copy via my local library's Overdrive program. Can't wait to hear all the magic firsthand!

     The magical new novel from number one bestseller Cecelia Ahern. Tamara Goodwin has always got everything she's ever wanted. Born into a family of wealth, she grew up in a mansion with its own private beach, a wardrobe full of designer clothes and all that a girl could ever wish for. She's always lived in the here and now, never giving a second thought to tomorrow. But then suddenly her dad is gone and life for Tamara and her mother changes forever. Left with a mountain of debt, they have no choice but to sell everything they own and move to the country. Nestled next to Kilsaney Castle, their gatehouse is a world away from Tamara's childhood. With her mother shut away with grief, and her aunt busy tending to her, Tamara is lonely and bored and longs to return to Dublin. When a travelling library passes through Kilsaney Demesne, Tamara is intrigued. Her eyes rest on a mysterious large leather bound tome locked with a gold clasp and padlock. What she discovers within the pages takes her breath away and shakes her world to its' core.

So that's what came in at Lip Gloss and Literature. What's in Your Mailbox this week?






**All cover photos and synopses provided by Goodreads**

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday - Faking It by Charlotte Kymberley


"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.


One of my favorite web sites is Chick Lit Plus. It’s a very varied site with its articles and features on chick lit and general fiction, celebrity gossip, book reviews, fashion, fitness, writing resources and a whole lot more; and this year, the woman behind the site has even added a few services to her list, one of which is serving as Host of a 2011 Chick Lit Reading Challenge. The goal, over the course of the twelve months in 2011, is to read 12 chick lit genre books – with one exception: two MUST be by debut authors with book releases in 2011. I am grateful to be a part of this challenge, not only because it increases my personal quota of reading chick lit novels and writing reviews but because this is the first year I can remember being really focused on what the upcoming new books and authors are going to be out there in the publishing world and make it into local bookstores.  It’s really caused my TBR list to skyrocket!

This week I am featuring a book I saw featured on both the Chicklit Club as well as Chick Lit Plus (this week). Oddly enough when I looked it up on Goodreads for a synopsis it said the book was by “Charlotte Kymberley” but then I noticed the cover of the book said it was by “Lotte Daley”. Is it fair to assume Lotte is the pseudonym or shortened name for Charlotte and similarly, Daley is a shortened, play on Kymberley? I’m open to any and all ideas….

The synopsis reminds me a lot of a book I recently read by Ilana Fox called the Making of Mia, in that the leading lady undergoes a drastic makeover and becomes the paparazzi’s latest IT Girl to target – but will it help her find true love? The right career? Her own place in the world? Or even herself? It brings up the idea about whether making oneself over really serves its purpose? Is it all worth it? And at what costs? Or is it just a false disguise? I guess I’ll have to wait and find out.

'It's not you, it's me'. That's the cowardly text message that Katie receives from Jack, her actor boyfriend of three years, when he dumps her. And things go from bad to worse when photos of Jack canoodling with a famous size-zero actress are splashed across every gossip magazine and tabloid soon after. Just how much humiliation can a girl take? With the paparazzi camped out on her doorstep, Katie decides to preserve what's left of her dignity. So she agrees to become her PR colleagues' next project. They will make her over (hair, teeth, clothes, Botox, and boobs - the works) and turn her into an instant celebrity in order to win back her ex and show the world that an ordinary girl can rival a beautiful bimbo. But will a new life in the limelight be everything Katie dreamt of? Can she make it in the cut-throat world of the beautiful, rich and famous? Is Jack worth all the hassle or is there someone else out there who might love Katie just the way she is?

The above cover and synopsis were found on Amazon via the Paperback edition.

Faking It by Lotte Daley/Charlotte Kymberley will be released February 17, 2011 (Tomorrow!!)

For more debut authors coming out soon visit Chick lit Plus’ latest post at:

http://chicklitplus.com/debut-authors-novels-februarymarch-2011/

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Tackle it Tuesday #2 - Fairytale of New York By Miranda Dickinson

                Tackle it Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by Tasha at Book Obsessed at http://book-obsessed.blogspot.com/. Tackle It Tuesday is a play off of a similar meme of the same name hosted by Janice and Susan at 5 Minutes for Mom.


            At the Book Obsessed, the idea is to "tackle" books that have been sitting on your shelves collecting dust waiting to be read. Or to "tackle" those you’ve started, but yet to finish because life has gotten in the way. It’s also a way to help encourage Blogger interaction, which is always a plus.

To find more books that have been “tackled” this week, visit the Book Obsessed at

For my second edition of Tackle it Tuesday, I am featuring a novel that I had been looking at for almost an entire year before finally obtaining it for my actual “to-be-read” shelf. A while back I was perusing chick lit genre web sites for upcoming reads and favorably reviewed books when I noticed an unforgettable cover on the home page of the Chicklit Club, a very popular website based out of Australia that reaches Chick Lit readers, writers, reviewers and fans of the genre worldwide. The beautiful cover was that of a late 2009 release, that (to me, at least) looked like a woman, basking in the sparkling snow of the city; perhaps lost in her very own “winter wonderland”. As you can see from the pretty, pink, purple and very sparkly cover above, the book I’m referring to is none other than debut novel, “Fairytale of New York” by Miranda Dickinson. Later, while surfing around the internet in search of new chick lit books to add to my TBR list, I came across an author interview on Chick Lit Reviews featuring, none other than debut author, Miranda Dickinson. In fact, there is a really fascinating story behind how Miranda Dickinson got this novel published. She was one of the first authors to have her book, then titled Coffee at Kowalski’s, published via HarperCollins online review site, Authonomy. She said she “uploaded Kowalski’s ([her] own pet project) just as a test to make sure the site worked! [She] was amazed by the response [she] received on the site from other writers and even more stunned when, a couple of months later, [she] received an email from Avon (part of HarperCollins), asking for the complete manuscript.” Soon after Avon told her, “We do want to publish your novel, by the way!” and by mid November of that year (2009) her book made it to its first bookstore.

To conclude my own tale of obtaining her book, back in September, I was browsing through Kobo Books to see what e-books they were offering, and sure enough, Miranda Dickinson’s Fairytale of New York was being listed for a limited time for FREE!! I was too excited for words (to say the least) and I jumped at the first opportunity to download it. Unfortunately as life always seems to get in the way, as reading challenges specify for other novels and as more and more books accrue on my shelf, this one just kept getting pushed to the side. So here it is February 15, 2011 and I’m finally (finally) getting around to it. It’s a relatively long book, approximately 400 pages or so, and I’m only about a third of the way in. It started off kind of slow with repetitive allusions to the main character, Rosie’s, “big secret” for why she moved to the U.S. after being in England her whole life. Also, I was somewhat bogged down by frequent endings to chapters with lines like “and then everything was about to change.” But around chapter five, things actually turned around for me, and I really developed an invested interest in the novel and its wonderful characters. I can’t wait for my next opportunity to Tackle It some more!

**Cover provided by Goodreads**

Fairytale of New York is the romantic story of Rosie Duncan, orginally from England, who owns Kowalski's Flower Shop in New York. She learned all about floristy and life from her mother as well as Kowalski's original owner, Mr. K., himself, who has been a central figure and mentor to Rosie. After his death, Rosie bought out the flower shop. Between Rosie and co-designer, Ed's, fabulous floral artistry and creations, a welcome offering of robust and flavorful coffee from "Old Faithful", their trusty coffee-brewing machine, and the old-neighborhood feel and family atmosphere of their shop, the team at Kowalski's (Rosie, Ed, Celia and Marnie) have successfully atttracted and maintained a loyal customer base. When Rosie attends a book publishing party amongst some of the biggest power players in NYC, including one Mimi Sutton, she and her floral designs quickly beocme the "Next Big Thing" to have by all in the city, infuriating their competition, Phillipe Devereaux. At the party she also meets good looking and kind, Nathaniel Amie, but hurt by a past relationship, Rosie is wary to get too close to anyone again. The pain is clearly too much for Rosie to handle, as she can't even bring herself to reveal the true reason behind her move from England to Boston to New York- as Ed repeatedly points out to her. But it appears that her fears of revealing her feelings of hurt and love lost must run in the family as Rosie's brother, James, shows up with a big and troubling secret of his own. With her business prosepcts flourishing and a gorgeous man literally knocking on her door, will Rosie finally get her own happily ever after?

This was the first book by Miranda Dickinson. Her second, titled, Welcome to My World, was released in 2010.

For a review of Fairytale of New York visit: http://chicklitclub.com/titlesf.html#fairytaleofnewyork or to see the fabulous interview visit: http://chicklitreviews.com/2009/11/11/author-interview-miranda-dickinson/

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Girls Night Out! Chick Flicks – Something Borrowed by Emily Giffin, The Movie


Second Date

I thought for the second rendition of Girls Night Out! Chick Flicks I would combine a Chick Flick I have been eagerly (obsessively) anticipating for the past two years, Something Borrowed with a book review of its original text of the same title by chick lit queen, Emily Giffin.

Emily Giffin broke out into the chick lit scene one of the heights of the genre. Red Dress Ink was firmly established in the US as a popular publication house for chick lit novels only, with the UK’s Little Black Dress books right on its tales. Although Emily Giffin never published any of her books with either of these houses, she became a prominent figure in the genre of chick lit, where she remains firmly planted to this day and Something Borrowed was the book that set her career in motion. A classic tale of two rivaling best friends, Darcy and Rachel – perhaps, better known today by the term coined by tv show, Sex and the City, as “frenemies”, aptly labeled for their love-hate relationship which continually crosses that fine line between friends and enemies. As Darcy deals with the stress of planning her wedding to handsome lawyer, Dex, and Rachel deals with the stress of turning 30 and still being single, the two best friends’ lives intersect in more ways than ever before. Through all the fights and milestones, nothing has torn them apart, but Darcy and Rachel’s friendship is about to be tested in ways they never could have imagined.

In the opening scene of the novel, Something Borrowed, we find Darcy, Dex, Rachel and all their friends at a Manhattan bar, celebrating Rachel’s 30th birthday. Darcy, ever the party girl, is in her prime, drinking, dancing on tables and otherwise stealing the spotlight as she has always been so inclined to do. After her umpteenth cocktail, it’s decided that she’d be better off calling it a night, and Dex, usually the perfect gentleman and boyfriend, puts her in a cab and stays behind with Rachel and friends. By night’s end, when the last of their friends, Marcus, announces his departure, it’s only Dex and Rachel left standing – and “standing” quickly shifts into a more horizontal position as they, too, leave, together for Rachel’s apartment. Unplanned, unpredicted, but definitely not unwanted, Rachel is confused, to say the very least at what has just happened. Was it a one-night stand? Does Dex actually have feelings for Rachel? What about his engagement to Darcy? Is it over? Will he tell her? Should she tell her? When sex, best friends, fiancés, and a wedding are on the line, things can only go in one direction – down and Dex and Rachel learn how “one-night” can quickly turn from complicated to dangerous to disastrous. Who will be left standing and who will be together in the end?

Something Borrowed was an unforgettable and incredible debut from St. Martin's Press author, Emily Giffin, who has since reigned as one of the foremost queens of chick lit. She dares to broach subjects that others may feel are too taboo to write about, such as lovers, affairs, fantasies about ex-lovers, love triangles between best friends and fiancés and more scandalous plot lines to tantalize all your reading senses. I listened to the audio version, which was narrated very eloquently by Jennifer Wiltsie. She created an audible world of friendship, overcome by love, passion and betrayal, taking my imagination of the novel to new heights. This classic chick lit book will remain on my shelf for years and decades to come. A + + / 5 Stars


Warner Bros. romantic comedy, Something Borrowed, is due for release in theaters nationwide May 6, 2011. It stars Kate Hudson as Darcy, Ginnifer Goodwin as Rachel, John Krasinsky as Ethan, Steve Howey as Marcus and Colin Egglesfield as Dex.

(Bonus: Be on alert for an Emily Giffin cameo in the movie!)

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Star Product Review: NEW Hard Candy Nail Polish in Fishnet

So I was at Wal-Mart recently and I just love love love shopping their clearance aisles, especially post-holiday. Well, much to my surprise (and delight), not only did this Wal-Mart I went to have a clearance aisle but they had an entire warehouse-sized room sectioned off specifically for clearance and bargain items. As you can imagine, this shopaholic had a field day! In the midst of my shopping travels, I stumbled upon a row of brightly colored and jewelry-adorned nail polishes for less than a dollar (Regularly, $5.00 each). The nail polishes with their cute, bauble-sized plastic rings were none other than those made by 90s phenomenon-turned-brand-frenzy, Hard Candy.  Back in 1995 when Hard Candy nail polishes were first unveiled in upscale (read: expensive) department stores, such as Neiman Marcus, Fred Segal, Nordstroms and the like, as well as high quality (read: high priced) specialty beauty shops, such as Sephora. Hard Candy was the nail polish to be worn by “the stars”. In fact, Alicia Silverstone, at the time riding on the wave of her hugely successful “chick flick”, Clueless, announced on an episode of the Late Show with David Letterman that she was wearing their newest polish, Hard Candy’s “Sky”, a bright blue hue for the fingers, and the rest was a media-frenzied, brand-crazed phenomenon in the history of beauty products.

Somewhere along the line, Hard Candy’s 15 minutes were up and they fell off the proverbial marketing block; their cleverly named polishes and cutely accessorized miniature bottles were never to be seen again…..

That is until now….or until recently.

In 2009, Hard Candy partnered with Wal-Mart, the company that tells Americans everywhere to “Save money, live better” and started offering these once rather exclusive products at five bucks a pop! So you can imagine my glee when I saw the brand at a mere fraction of the cost and quickly snatched up my favorite color, a bright apple red, seductively titled “Fishnet”. But I wondered, for $5.00, would the polish live up to the fame of its 90s hype?

It sure did.

For a mere $5.00, I found myself pleasantly surprised at the quality, color, packaging, style, ease of application, and staying power. With just two coats, letting the first dry briefly between the two, my nails looked salon-fantastic or the equivalent to an OPI manicure (usually ringing in at about $8.00 or $9.00 a bottle). What was even better, after about 5 days of hand-washing, typing, texting and exposing my fingers to the arctic chill outside, my candy apple red, “Fishnet” polish was still intact, streak and chip-free and bright as ever. I was definitely a satisfied customer.

So head down to your local Wal-Mart, or order online and choose from a unique variety of polish colors with names like, Mr. Wrong, Envy, Date Night, Frenzy (the old Sky Blue), Sugar Daddy and Hypnotic (just to name a few), and I would be willing to bet (at least five dollarsJ) that you are sure to be happy with the quality, color and of course, the assorted, little fashion rings adorned around each nail polish wand.     5 STARS
                                        
 

***Hard Candy released a FULL line of cosmetics in 2009, a 261 piece set of make-up and beauty products, for your lips, nails, face, eyes and hair. ***

References:
Business Week, online magazine, http://www.businessweek.com/smallbiz/news/columns/97-09/e3516032.htm; All Lacquered Up, blog; http://www.alllacqueredup.com/2009/08/hard-candy-nail-polish-making.html; Beauty Tips Hub, blog, http://www.beautytipshub.com/cosmetics/hard-candy-cosmetics.html; Steph’s Closet, blog, http://stephscloset.com/blog/beauty/2009/10/646/hard-candy-just-nails-swatches-review/

Want More Books? Find them at Amazon!