The eponymous heroine of Dalya Moon’s Smart Mouth Waitress is an 18-year-old named Perry who has been left in charge of taking care of her father and younger brother while her mom is off on a creative quest. Perry decides it’s time to find a boyfriend and lose her virginity, and her first step on this goal is to drastically change her appearance. It works: she immediately meets a guy, and then a second guy, and then she plays around with both of them for a little while, trying to figure out which one is the One. I enjoyed this book for the most part, but there’s a problem with the narrator’s voice. Since Perry is 18, I guess this is technically a YA book, and yet the voice was sometimes so much older and more mature that I felt like I was reading about a woman in her mid-20s at least, only to be startled when Perry said or did something completely ridiculous. And the men, too, are all over the place – it just didn’t seem realistic sometimes. But it was an enjoyable read – I’ll probably try another of this author’s books.
While it’s not quite a Harlequin romance novel, the fairly graphic descriptions in Perfect for You make it a bit steamier than run-of-the-mill chick lit – which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. I liked the story a lot, I cared about all the characters, and I enjoyed the various subplots. As for negatives, the sabotage got kind of ridiculous at times and there were several editing errors. I don’t think I’ll rush out and buy the other Laurel Heights books, but I’ll keep this one to read again some day.
The story of Cyrano de Bergerac’s love for Roxane has been retold and retooled umpteen times on stage, in film, and in writing, yet The Food of Love, by Anthony Capella, still manages to bring a unique spin to the well-known tale. In this case, Roxane is Laura, an American 20-something visiting Italy for the first time, and Cyrano is Bruno, a master chef who loves her from afar. He allows his friend Tommaso to take the credit (and kisses) for the sumptuous meals that Laura devours. This is a delicious, delightful book – you’ll love it!
If you’re looking for a quick, cute read, J.W. Bull’s Pickin’ Tomatoes might be just the thing. The protagonist manages to get a job writing a column about cooking, though she is neither a chef nor a writer. So of course she has to learn to do both, and fast. Some of the cooking disasters were pretty far-fetched, the book could use a good edit, and there are mistakes in most of the French phrases scattered throughout, but all in all, Pickin’ Tomatoes is a fun story about starting over while learning how to cook – and live. Recipes included.
Susie Gilmore’s Love Stuck is based on a cute idea: the protagonist can’t decide between two men, so about halfway through the book, she leaves it up to you: read only the left-hand pages for Bachelor #1, and only the right-hand pages for Bachelor #2. When I was a kid, I loved the Choose Your Own Adventure books, and combining that technique with chick lit sounded like fun. Unfortunately for Love Stuck, cute and fun don’t make up for other shortcomings, like the jarring switches between first and third person, and the fact that one of the bachelors is a complete jerk, so it makes no sense that he’s even in the running. Also SPOILERS » Keep reading
Part love story, part family drama, Stephanie Haddad’s Love Regifted doesn’t really manage to pull off either one. The story about the new love interest was fine, but the old one was absurd (see spoilers, below). And pretty much everything related to the mysterious phone call was both obvious (I knew immediately what was going on) and over the top.
SPOILERS » Keep reading
Writing negative reviews is even less fun than reading bad books, so when Janet Eve Josselyn asked me to review her novel Thin Rich Bitches, the title alone was enough to give me pause. After reading the decidedly mixed reviews on the net, I wrote back to tell the author that I had a feeling I wouldn’t like her book. She wanted me to review it anyway, so here goes. » Keep reading
I love Jenny Colgan books, and Meet Me at the Cupcake Café is even better than the usual fare because it combines two of my favorite things: sweet and funny chick lit with yummy food. When protagonist Issy Randall is made redundant (American translation: laid off), she decides to follow her dream of opening a bakery – and of course chaos immediately ensues. It’s great fun – I devoured the 450+ pages in less than two days, though I haven’t tried any of the included cupcake recipes yet. Bon appétit !
Though I love the TV show, Candace Bushnell’s book Sex and the City is very dull. I actually read it long before I ever started watching the show – in fact, that’s why I held out for so long. You know how you read a fantastic book and then are often disappointed by the book? This was just the opposite – hated the book, loved the program.
Everything that is wonderful about HBO’s Sex and the City – humor, sweetness, romance, sexiness – is missing in the book. In fact, I’m amazed the show was ever made, because the raw material of the book is utterly uninspiring.
Nick Hornby’s High Fidelity was not only the first guy lit book I ever read, it also preceded my discovery of chick lit by a couple of years. I was living in Paris in the summer of 96 and reading my way through the bookshelf of the British woman whose studio I was subletting. I was bored by most of the books, so imagine my joy at discovering the jewel that is High Fidelity: outrageously funny, clever, touching, and romantic. I loved it so much that I nearly stole the book, but instead contented myself with writing down the title and author and ordering as soon as I was back in the US.