Friday, September 7, 2012

Star Book Review: A Girl Like You by Gemma Burgess

In the classic chick lit story, A Girl Like You by Gemma Burgess, Abigail is having a quarter-life crisis of sorts. After finally getting up the courage to leave her boyfriend, Peter, of seven-plus years, Abigail’s biggest fear is that she’ll become the loneliest single girl in London. To avoid “catching” the LSG syndrome, she goes to her Lothario-like flatmate, Robert, for singledom advice. Abigail quickly learns that her best bet for dating is to act like a man. She compiles a best-of list based on Robert’s sage suggestions, and is determined to…
Be Cool
Be Detached
Act Brutal
Stay in Control
(Be) Bulletproof
Always Leave Them Before They Leave You
Not only do Robert’s strategies help to make Abigail a little less lonely, but it makes her adventures in dating in London a lot more entertaining. Of course, all this friendly coaching brings Robert and Abigail much closer together but now that she’s become a pro on the dating circuit, will she even be able to give Robert a chance?
A Girl Like You is full of hilarious antics and charades, giving readers the inside scoop on dating in a modern London. The description of characters made up for parts that may have been a tad predictable. Overall, well written and a fast read, I felt like I was “a girl like them”, eagerly awaiting the next page.
 4 Stars

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Star Book Review: In Office Hours by Lucy Kellaway

     In Office Hours was a great book full of juicy gossip and serious scandal. Lucy Kellaway’s writing was clad full of all the kinds of details meant for watercooler banter - quite literally, as this novel took place inside a fictional 9-5 office environment in London. IOH wove together two stories about two British women, Stella and Bella, who were on opposite ends of the corporate ladder but who found themselves walking in the same shoes, when each one embarked on a love affair with a coworker that brought nonstop drama into both their personal and work lives. Caught up in romance and debauchery, Stella and Bella rode a rollercoaster with fate and what seemed like everlasting excitement quickly turned into turmoil and disappointment.

Working Girl illustration by Bella Pilar

British author, Lucy Kellaway did a fabulous job exploring the inner thoughts of two very different women and the feelings they are left with after entering an illicit love affair. They differed in everything from their ranks in the corporate world to their roles in family life and marital status and even differed in the men they went after. However, their differences almost evaporated when both were met with a personal and public humiliation as they were outed for their forbidden relationships at the workplace and at home. Having narrated the story in first-person, by alternating between the each woman's voice, In Office Hours truly allowed the reader to hear two very separate perspectives on what it means to be and feel like "the other woman".

****4 STARS ****

This is one of the few books I sincerely hope to see a movie made of in the next few years. Stella and Bella and the scandal that surrounds them would be more than ideal for the big screen. I’m thinking a gorgeous yet believably established woman, like Kelly Rutherford-type for Stella and for young yet naive mom, Bella, a pretty Leighton Meister-type. (I’m a huge Gossip Girl fan if you couldn’t tell.)
**What book would you like to see at the movies? And who would star in it?

Friday, August 10, 2012

Chick Lit Chatter: The Latest in Chick Lit Book Blogs

I have been a little out of the Chick Lit digital scene for some time now and am only now starting to catch up. Adding a few new books to my shelf (i.e. Emily Giffin’s You Belong to Me and Jennifer Weiner’s The Next Best Thing) and perusing the latest reviews on line, I stumbled across some new, new-to-me and updated, chick lit-focused web sites! Check them out or let me know what you think of the “new” sites. What’s your favorite site? 
Chloe’s Chick Lit Reviews
Chloe is one of the latest bloggers I’ve come across to add to my elongated list of chick lit chatters. Can’t decide which chick lit book to read next? Check out Chloe’s Chick Lit Release Dates page. Chloe’s Chick Lit houses quite a complete chronology of chick lit books published by year and month. Your local library doesn’t have a copy of the latest chick lit book you want? Click on the pretty covers on Chloe’s list to link to purchase on Amazon. Reading chick lit is never more than a click away.

Chick Lit Teens
Chick Lit really encompasses a broad range of topics and so too, I feel, should the blogs that represent it. I love how Chick Lit Teens incorporates a section called “Chick Chat” (so catchy!) for just this purpose, full of Guest blogs, Interviews and all your chick lit questions and answers.

Chick Lit and Wine

Syrah and Chardonnay (love the names!) invite you to relish in all things chick lit on their site (and they even pair each review with a different glass of bubbly. (I love blogs that really set themselves apart with a different and fun aspect.)

Chick Lit Reviews and News (formerly Chick Lit Reviews)
This oldie but a goodie lands on my list as its recently changed its web address (a very brave thing to do, I might add, in the www). Chick Lit Reviews and News (as it is now called) has always been one of my fave, go-to sites for all things chick lit. One of the things that I feel has always set this site apart is its ability to keep up every day with at least two posts on its site, making sure there is a constant flow of information about chick lit; and two, its unique perspective offered from two women, representing both the US and British markets of chick lit. CLRAN really sets the bar high for bloggers everywhere as it continues to showcase chick lit around the clock and around the world!
For all new authors, check out Women’s Fiction Writers:
From soon to be published author, herself, Amy Sue Nathan, offers a place to showcase only new chick lit authors. She invites all new Women’s Fiction authors to send her an email and maybe you will be the next women’s fiction author featured on her blog! Like her motto suggests, no bs, just strictly new women’s authors and their experiences on the rise to book-dom. (and she’s not just talking about a higher pair of heels.)
 **Come back Next Friday when I explore the artists behind some of my favorite cover art. Here are some of the titles whose covers were so appealing I just couldn’t resist adding them to my own shelf:

Friday, July 20, 2012

Chick Lit According to Jersey

Have you ever seen the show Jerseylicious? It is like watching Snooki X 10. Just think: All Snooki, all the time. What really struck me on the show was how difficult it was to tell each character apart from one another. Really, they all looked so similar. The brunettes all looked like little Snooki’s or tall J-Wows and the blondes looked like little mini-Barbie dolls (of course with extra teased up hair dos and stuck in the 90s style; I think I even saw a scrunchie on one of the girls’ wrists!) Full of drama, cat fighting, glammed up hair and makeup, photo shoots complete with hair pulling (I mean extension pulling) and bad clothes proved to be just enough to keep me glued to my seat for 3 and a half episodes (If I hadn’t fallen asleep on the couch, I’d probably have made it to through to 4 full episode). My favorite characters were Michelle and Tracy.  Michelle, although not given that much air time in the episodes I saw, seemed like a character straight from a chick lit novel, full of all the perky optimism, beautiful looks and a hint of ditz; but don’t let that ditz fool you, she’s actually a pretty smart cookie. Who doesn’t like a good giggle? Tracy, a brunette with a fierce ‘tude, made it known to ‘Licious rival, Olivia, not to be tardy to her “party”. The two had a major blowout (and I’m not talking a teased up-do) on the front lawn of a few clients who they’d just left the home of after styling before a birthday party in Atlantic City. I was in awe not so much at the verbal beat down that took place, but shocked by the fact that this was all done 20 feet away from their clients! I’m sure I’ll be tuning in again, soon…
After watching my own little marathon of the salon styling girls on Jerseylicious, it got me thinking about Snooki and her own adventures in chick lit. Remember her book released in 2011, It’s a Shore Thing? I’m curious – has anyone read Snooki’s (aka Nicole Polozzi’s) book? I won’t be surprised to see a re-release or a sequel on the horizon now that there’s a mini-Snooki on the way.
It may  not have been a NY Times Bestseller, but one thing I admire about Snooki, though is she’s always true to herself. Love her or hate her, she hasn’t changed (or apologized for that matter for) who she is. Take it or leave it. Nicole “Snooki” Pollozzi is a Jersey girl through and through. To give you a taste of what I mean, here is a quote I found on the Huffington Post from her cult-novel, It’s a Shore Thing: "Gia danced around a little, shaking her peaches for show. She shook it hard. Too hard. In the middle of a shimmy, her stomach cramped. A fart slipped out. A loud one. And stinky."
There you have it. Chick Lit by Snooki. What’s your take on Jersey’s version of chick lit? Are you going to read it or have you? I want to hear all yoru thoughts?

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Star Guest Post: Wendy Wax, Author of Ocean Beach

I am so delighted to share with everyone a Guest Post from one of my favorite chick lit authors, Wendy Wax. The first novel I read by her was Ten Beach Road, which turned out to be more than just a fun beach read for me. It delved into the lives of threewomen and eventually intertwined their stories after being brought together by the same financial destruction that led them to a shared ownership in a Florida mansion hat proved to be more than just a fixer-upper. I am more than excited to read her follow up to this fabulous novel of friendship and triumph in the sequel Ocean Beach. I have always felt like Wendy Wax has a way with characters and making the reader feel like a part of their lives. The second novel I read by Wendy Wax was The Accidental Bestseller, and she once again, proved to have me tied up in the lives of another group of intriguing women, turning page by page, anxiously awaiting to read how their lives unfold.

When I was approached to post an article about Wendy Wax and how she delves into the writing process to bring her characters and stories to life, I of course, jumped at the opportunity and am thrilled to share it with all of you! Happy reading (and writing!)

Why I Write What I Write
by Wendy Wax

Last week, my new book OCEAN BEACH hit the shelves in bookstores across the country and of course in all the usual online spots.  As always, when a new book comes out, I spent the week doing launch parties and signings at some really great bookstores.

Celebrating a new release is always a fun part of the process for me, because I get to step away from my computer and meet all kinds of people who have one thing in common.  They love to read and they love books.   So right off the bat, we have something in common!  But these readers (most of whom are women) often challenge me.  They ask me what kind of books I write and why I write them.  They ask me what inspires me and where my ideas come from.  And the answer in many ways is them. 

I write books for and about women.  I do this because I’m fascinated by women’s strength. By how much we can handle and how long we can carry incredibly heavy loads. My female friends and family members lift me up and keep me going when the going gets rough, and I try to do the same for them.

In my experience, women are almost always stronger than they know and more needed and more loved than they will ever realize.  The women who come to the bookstores to chat with me certainly are. They come in with their book clubs, or with a girlfriend or two, or with their mothers or their sisters and they often share their stories with me.  I think women are the glue that holds even the most fragile things together.

Whether a group of women are related or longtime friends or meet in a time of crisis like Maddie, Nicole and Avery (who first meet when their lives are torn apart by a Bernie Madoff style Ponzi scheme in TEN BEACH ROAD), they strive to be there for each other, and they rise to the occasion.  In OCEAN BEACH, Maddie and her daughter Kyra, Avery and her mother Deirdre, and former matchmaker Nicole head to Miami’s South Beach ready to shoot the first episode of what’s supposed to be a home renovation show called Do Over.  But when they arrive at the historic Art Deco Streamline home they’re supposed to work on, they discover that the network has shifted its focus. Do Over is now a reality show and the cameras are aimed at them.  

Most reality stars seem to want nothing more than to be in the spotlight 24/7, but I found myself wondering what it would feel like to be under that kind of scrutiny if it was the last thing you wanted. The spotlight can expose all kinds of chinks in your armor and cracks in your foundation. In OCEAN BEACH the spotlight’s glare forces Maddie, Nicole, Avery, Deirdre and Kyra to stick together as a group and to support each other fiercely even as each woman deals with current and former loves, career struggles, and figuring out who they are and what they’re made of while they’re lives are shaken, stirred and served up over ice to a thirsty public.

While I know most of us won’t end up on a reality show—I certainly hope I don’t-- I do know that we often find ourselves getting by with a little help from our friends.  That’s why I write about women and their struggles and triumphs again and again.  And it’s why I knew that I had to come back to the women of TEN BEACH ROAD and continue their journey in OCEAN BEACH.  

I hope you all get a chance to go to the beach this summer with a couple of your girlfriends and a book or two of mine in your beach bag. But sand and surf aren’t required. Just put your feet up, mix yourself a cocktail and break open a bag of Cheez Doodles (Avery’s snack of choice) and settle in for a ‘virtual’ beach break as the women of TEN BEACH ROAD and OCEAN BEACH discover the women they were meant to be.


**Thank you to JOAN SCHULHAFER PUBLISHING & MEDIA CONSULTING for providing me with this Guest Post from Wendy Wax.**

Monday, March 26, 2012

Star Audio Book Review: I Heart Hollywood by Lindsey Kelk, Read by Cassandra Harwood

I heart…a lot of things and Lindsey Kelk remains at the top of my “heart” list! Teaming up with British audio queen, Cassandra Harwood whose read a few of her other books, such as The Single Girls To Do List and I Heart New York, Lindsey Kelk’s I Heart Hollywood is the second installment in her much “hearted” I Heart audio book series.

            Angela Clark is still blogging about love, life and drama on her web site and living it up in New York City all in the name of good fun when her boss and creator of magazine, The Look, offers her the chance of a lifetime to do it all, live, from Hollywood, California. Worlds away from home and on the completely opposite coast from the love of her life, boyfriend, Alex, Angela sets out to rock La-La Land…except after a few too many cocktails and a couple of unflattering photos, it looks like Angela might be the one getting rocked!

While Angela is heating up the pages of the Internet with the Hollywood scoop on fashion and entertainment, she meets gorgeous actor and fellow Brit, James Jacobs, who is supposed to be her latest interview but when the press snaps a picture of the two of them on a night out, it becomes Angela who’s heating up the pages of all the latest gossip mags to hit newsstands nationwide. It wouldn’t be all the bad, except when a second picture hits the gossip mags, and still miles apart from her boyfriend, Angela’s innocence becomes harder and harder to explain. Home couldn’t feel any further away until one day Angela stumbles on a secret that could simultaneously save her reputation and her relationship with Alex but in the same moment, might ruin James Jacob’s career as Hollywood’s favorite heartthrob.  

Cassandra Harwood does a superb job emulating the characters of Angela Clark, James Joyce and countless other British and American personalities. She keeps it fun, entertaining and light. I can’t wait for the adventures that await us as Angela ventures out to Paris, France in the third installment in the I Heart series.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

I Heart...Marriage: Part One

Welcome Back Fellow Readers and Glossers,

I have missed you and my books so so much!! Before I post my first book review since (gulp) November 2011, I just want to fill you all in on my life and what’s been going on.

I have been busy, busy, busy, and this time, not reading. (Tear L) This past February 26, 2012 I….got….married!!! Needless to say, the past few months, I have spent toiling over all the fabulous blogs, websites, magazines and journals to plan the perfect wedding. Now I know how Nicole really felt in Kim Gruenenfelder’s There’s Cake in My Future (a.k.a. Wedding Fever! In all seriousness, it was a lot of hard work, a lot of long hours and a lot of stress but it was all well worth it in the end and we both got to “put a ring on it”.

Now that the wedding is over and it’s back to reality, I am so excited to get back to doing what I love, reading, reviewing books and audio books and posting about it all on my blog. Weddings and marriage are two of the most common themes throughout chick lit-erature and I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to jump right back into things and invite anyone and everyone to nominate their favorite chick lit wedding book. Later, I’ll take all suggestions and nominations and create my very first Top Ten list of chick lit wedding books that will be posted on Lip Gloss & Literature.

The #1 chick lit wedding book will be chosen based on the highest number of nominations and I will be giving away a book or book credits (winner’s choice!) to one lucky participant in this fun game, so get those nominations coming! The winner will be randomly selected from comments section. *Chances of winning will be based on the number if nominations received.

Which book do you want to nominate for your favorite Chick Lit Wedding of all time???

Here are a few ideas from last year’s chick lit releases to get those creative juices flowing from my favorite resource and web site for everything chick lit, the Chicklit Club

What’s on your chick lit wedding bookshelf??
Hope to read with you all very soon!!