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Book Review: Stuck With You by Trish Jensen

Book Review: Stuck With You by Trish Jensen

Format: ebook

First Published: January 1, 2012

Source: an ARC provided by netgalley

Genre: Contemporary Romance, Chick Lit

Synopsis (from Goodreads): As lawyers on opposing sides of a messy divorce case, Paige Hart and Ross Bennett ought to have kept matters purely professional, yet Paige and Ross came to loathe each other with an intensity that was strictly
personal. The bad blood between them takes on an unexpected new dimension when the infuriated pair is forced to share a hospital room, when they’re quarantined after being exposed to the rare and highly contagious Tibetan Concupiscence Virus that’s reputed to shift sensual desire into high gear. When symptoms (which a nonmedical person might mistake for pure and simple lust) start showing up way ahead of schedule, the lawyers’ objections to each other are overruled — and they enjoy every minute of it. But, after the doctors declare that the disease has run its course, Paige and Ross are still feverish with a longing for one another that they hope will never be cured. When the verdict comes in, will they be sentenced to life — in love?

Review: 

What happens when the Snake meets the Shrew? An explosion for starters. This is an extremely cute story perfect for a lazy day afternoon or a beach read. Paige Hart and Ross Bennett have intense sexual tension between each other from the beginning which only gets stronger due to a combination of being quarantined together and the possibility of contracting the Tibetan Concupiscence Virus.

This book contains many clichés and it’s characters conform to stereotypes but that doesn’t detract from the story. I admit at times I did get a little frustrated with all the legal terms and lawyer speak that Paige and Ross inserted into conversation whilst they were flirting but I still enjoyed their banter. Paige was a little too shrill and I could picture her stomping her foot when things didn’t go her way. As for Mr Bennett? He was a little too perfect in my eyes. Too handsome, too caring, too everything. I just wanted him to have some flaws. Him being as perfect as he was started to get on my nerves. He needed something to be less than perfect so that he would appeal to me a little more. However, as a match for Paige, I really liked them together.

This book also contained a love story between Paige’s brother, Nick, and her doctor, Rachel. I enjoy reading about characters who have a complicated history together and these two definitely had that. I would have liked to have seen a little more of the two of them. For me they were the more interesting relationship and they had a lot more to sort out together however they were given a lot less face time with the audience. I felt like their story was wrapped up a little too quickly and a little too neatly all things considered.

This book was first published ten years ago and with it’s re-release you can tell that some things have been updated – like Nick’s use of an iPad. There were other things that I felt should have been changed too (like Nick calling the restaurant from Rachel’s home phone instead of a cell/mobile phone). The TV shows that were referenced in the story were all rather old but I found myself liking that. I knew the exact episode of Friends they were watching!

Overall, I enjoyed reading this book and learning new sports euphemisms. It’s a book that was fairly predictable but one where it’s not the destination but rather the journey that’s important.

Rating: 

3 out of 5

Purchase book at:

Book Depository / Amazon / FishPond

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Book Review: Sisterhood Everlasting by Ann Brashares

Book Review: Sisterhood Everlasting by Ann Brashares (Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants #5)

Format: Hardcover

First Published: June 1, 2011

Genre: Young Adult, Chick Lit

Synopsis (from Goodreads): From #1 New York Times bestselling author Ann Brashares comes the welcome return of the characters whose friendship became a touchstone for a generation. Now Tibby, Lena, Carmen, and Bridget have grown up, starting their lives on their own. And though the jeans they shared are long gone, the sisterhood is everlasting.

Despite having jobs and men that they love, each knows that something is missing: the closeness that once sustained them. Carmen is a successful actress in New York, engaged to be married, but misses her friends. Lena finds solace in her art, teaching in Rhode Island, but still thinks of Kostos and the road she didn’t take. Bridget lives with her longtime boyfriend, Eric, in San Francisco, and though a part of her wants to settle down, a bigger part can’t seem to shed her old restlessness.

Then Tibby reaches out to bridge the distance, sending the others plane tickets for a reunion that they all breathlessly await. And indeed, it will change their lives forever—but in ways that none of them could ever have expected.

As moving and life-changing as an encounter with long-lost best friends, Sisterhood Everlasting is a powerful story about growing up, losing your way, and finding the courage to create a new one.

Review: 

Growing up I read the first book in this series and in many ways reading this latest instalment was like welcoming an old friend back into my life. The girls, now women, were true to how I remembered them and yet different.

This novel starts off with Carmen – the youngest of the group. Once an awkward teenager, now a glamorous TV star with a successful fiancé and a gorgeous New York City apartment, Carmen seems to have it all. Lena has embraced her artistic side and is selling her paintings and working at the art college she was attending as a student all those years ago. Bridget is still as impulsive as ever but still with Eric and now living in San Francisco. And Tibby? Well… that seems a bit of a mystery to everyone. Since she moved to Australia two years ago contact has been sporadic at best.

When Tibby gives the other three girls tickets Greece for an impromptu reunion all the women are excited. But what happens on the Grecian island is something that will change their lives forever.

I had some problems with this story. The characters were the same as I remembered and yet different in a way that felt odd to me. I connected so strongly with the girls when I was in my teens. Our struggles were somewhat similar and I could relate to them. But now, they’re facing problems that I haven’t – and hope in many ways that I won’t ever – and whilst I could imagine the things happening to them was right up their alleys, at the same time I didn’t feel the same way with regards to their relationships with me.

This story was in many ways nostalgic but I liked how whilst there were references to the events of the past books, the past wasn’t dwelt upon. The action was in the present. Whilst life hadn’t gone exactly according to plan for all of them, for the most part they weren’t trying to relive their past. I did miss the little letters and emails that prefaced chapters in some of the other books but the quotes before each chapter were fitting.

I felt like Tibby was a little out of character. The message of this book for me is one of friends forever, and as long as you have your sisterhood you’ll never be alone. And yet Tibby embarked on a whole new life without letting the other girls in. It worked in the sense of that mystery was needed to drive the novel to a fitting conclusion but it didn’t sit well for me with regards to the close-knit friendship that the four of them had.

I am a little worried about the sisterhood – Bee in particular. They seem a little too co-dependant. I like the friendship aspect but the ending message that I was left with was that for Bee, she couldn’t exist without the sisterhood and I for me… I’m so very worried about her. I spent the whole novel worrying about her and I hope that the others can help her. (I am aware these are fictional characters.)

This last installment of the Sisterhood was true to the series. In terms of structure and story it closely followed the formula set out by the others – They meet up, they have their seperate adventures and they come together at the end with lessons learnt about life and love. Throw in some overseas travel for good measure. It’s a format that has worked for the other books and worked well for this one too.

It’s an odd thing revisiting the literary friends of your youth and have them grow up without you. I am glad that Ann Brashares wrote a conclusion to the sisterhood’s story.

Rating: 

3 out of 5

Purchase book at:

Book Depository / Amazon FishPond

Book Review: Attachments by Rainbow Rowell

Book Review: Attachments by Rainbow Rowell

Format: Hardcover

First Published: April 14, 2011

Genre: Chick Lit, Contemporary Romance, Epistolary fiction

Synopsis (from Goodreads)Beth and Jennifer know their company monitors their office e-mail. But the women still spend all day sending each other messages, gossiping about their coworkers at the newspaper and baring their personal lives like an open book. Jennifer tells Beth everything she can’t seem to tell her husband about her anxieties over starting a family. And Beth tells Jennifer everything, period.

When Lincoln applied to be an Internet security officer, he hardly imagined he’d be sifting through other people’s inboxs like some sort of electronic Peeping Tom. Lincoln is supposed to turn people in for misusing company e-mail, but he can’t quite bring himself to crack down on Beth and Jennifer. He can’t help but be entertained-and captivated- by their stories.

But by the time Lincoln realizes he’s falling for Beth, it’s way too late for him to ever introduce himself. What would he say to her? “Hi, I’m the guy who reads your e-mail, and also, I love you.” After a series of close encounters and missed connections, Lincoln decides it’s time to muster the courage to follow his heart . . . even if he can’t see exactly where it’s leading him.

Written with whip-smart precision and charm, Attachments is a strikingly clever and deeply romantic debut about falling in love with the person who makes you feel like the best version of yourself. Even if it’s someone you’ve never met.

Review: 

In a story like this one, there is a very fine line between finding the main character adorable and romantic or considering him to be a creeper stalker. I spent most of the time reading this book with one foot in both camps. Lincoln has a legitimate reason to be reading Jennifer and Beth’s email conversations but somewhere in between him starting to fall for the movie reviewer and psuedo-stalking her (I mean honestly? He decided to go to her boyfriend’s shows just to catch a glimpse at the lead guitarist in action and to sort of gage if he considered Chris to be worthy of Beth) there is such thing as too far.

The format of this novel is different than any I’d read in the past. Most chick-lit books I read don’t follow the male protagonist. But for 90% of this book, the only contact we have with Beth is through the emails she sends to and receives from Jen. The rest of the book is about Lincoln and his world. I felt for him. He’s been stuck in a rut for the past ten years ever since his high school sweetheart and he broke up. He’s working a job he hates and had to keep dodging his sister’s ranting about how he needs to better himself. At least he’s eating well since he’s living with his mother and she is making sure he’s eating her gourmet cooking.

Ignoring how uncomfortable I often was with Lincoln’s behaviour regarding Beth’s privacy, I enjoyed this book. Books written in letter/email forms are a favourite of mine. In some ways the interactions between Jen and Beth reminded me a lot of Meg Cabot’s book, The Boy Next Door. They were funny and serious, heartfelt and honest.

Despite this, I was incredibly unsatisfied by the ending. It was fitting but I couldn’t get over the feeling that it was just slightly too convenient. Too easy.

I thought it was an interesting choice to have  the novel set just prior to the new millennium and have Y2K be featured. The pop-culture references from a time gone by were fantastic! Finally a book that mentions Fight Club and Quantum Leap!

I’d love to read another Rainbow Rowell book in the future. Her writing is fresh and funny and despite Lincoln’s stalkeristic tenancies, she presented the reader with loveable characters that were three dimensional.

 

Rating: 

3.5 out of 5

Purchase book at:

Book Depository / Amazon FishPond

Book Review: Handbags and Gladrags: A Novel by Maggie Alderson

Book Review: Handbags and Gladrags: A Novel by Maggie Alderson

Format: paperback

First Published: June 7th, 2005

Genres: Contemporary Romance, Chick Lit

Synopsis (from Goodreads): Cross Bridget Jones with The Devil Wears Prada and you have this engaging romantic comedy about love, sex, friendships, and relationships…with a lot of style.

Emily Pointer, stylist for Chic magazine, has a rule about fashion: never wear anything older than six months…unless it’s so old you can pass it off as vintage. And never, ever fall in love, unless it’s for a killer pair of Manolos.

With a witty and biting insider’s take on the fashion world; the crazy circuit of the New York-London-Milan-Paris designer shows, and the most humbling of all experiences, love, Maggie Alderson delivers a poignant, funny novel of success and revenge, friendship and flirtation, passion and Prada that’s as fresh and rejuvenating as an afternoon at Bliss Spa.

Review: 

The novel opens with an email from Emily’s lover in their secret code planning a rendezvous. It’s not until a few chapters later that we find out Emily is in fact married. And from there on the entire novel became extremely predictable. I don’t think there were any events from that point onwards that even slightly surprised me.

I like Alderson’s writing but there is such a thing as too much. Too much name dropping and too many referrals to designer clothing and other designer items. There’s a part about one third of the way into the novel where Emily is unpacking her suitcase and inventorying her handbag. That was nearly the point where I just couldn’t take any more designer references. Everything from the four pairs of Prada shoes she was hiding from her husband to the Chanel cover she had on her purse pack of tissues was mentioned. The novel would have been half the size if you removed all the shopping and pointless fashion shows that were written about. I understand that as a high fashion magazine stylist you needed some of it but most of it didn’t add anything to the story.

Emily felt rather spineless as a characters. She would blame everyone else  for her problems and took no responsibility for her actions and decisions. So when others made decisions for her and she followed them it was always someone else’s fault when said decision didn’t work for her. I found her extremely shallow and to be one of those people who thought the world of themselves. She was also EXTREMELY hypocritical regarding a lot of things. I can’t get into this too much without spoiling things but Emily had one set of standards for herself and another which she held everyone else to. I felt very little/no character growth for her and that disappointed me slightly. Everything that happened to her was a result of someone else pulling the strings and Emily just following along trying not to rock the boat – with the exception of her little affair with her tanned Australian surfer photographer.

All this seems rather negative. I actually enjoyed the book – more for the supporting characters of Paul and Nelly than anything else. The exotic locations and the glamorous life that Emily lead appealed to me and I enjoyed that part of the novel.

Rating: 

2 out of 5

Purchase book at:

Book Depository / Amazon / FishPond

Book Review: Fish Out of Water by MaryJanice Davidson

Book Review: Fish Out of Water by MaryJanice Davidson (Fred the Mermaid #3)

Format: paperback

First Published: November 25th, 2008

Genres: Chick Lit, Mermaids

Synopsis (from Goodreads)Fred the Mermaid has taken the bait and chosen to date Artur, Prince of the Black Sea, over human marine biologist Thomas. And just in time. The existence of the Undersea Folk is no longer a secret, and someone needs to keep them from floundering in the media spotlight. Fred has all the right skills for that job, but has a hard time when her real father surfaces and tries to overthrow Artur’s regime.

Review: 

I’d been looking forward to reading this instalment of Fred the Mermaid since finishing Swimming Without a Net a few years ago but couldn’t find a copy anywhere within my budget. Imagine how thrilled I was when I found a copy second hand for only a few dollars! I bought it immediately.

Dr Fredrika Bimm is just as sarcastic and snarky as I remember her being. She’s bad-tempered and grumpy and these are just a few of the reasons why I adore her as a character. The supporting cast as just as amusing as ever – Jonas is busy planning his wedding to Fred’s boss, Dr Barb, and Fred is busy being in the middle of a psuedo-love triangle with Artur and Thomas. Throw in an exiled absentee biological father and a pod of gorgeous mermaids (or to be more politically correct, undersea folk) and you get a rather amusing story.

It was a bit sad to realize that this is the last book in the Fred the Mermaid series. The appearance of Moon Bimm and Sam felt a little gratuitous and they didn’t add anything to the story. I felt they were included more because it was a nice way to farewell characters which had appeared in the first two books rather than adding anything plot wise.

This book was a very quick read – only 228 pages – and most of the drama that occurs happens in the last 30 or so pages. I got most of the way through the novel and realized that with the exception of Fred being grumpy, Jonas being over the top and Artur being royally dramatic, nothing had happened plot wise. But ultimately I think that this is one of those stories you read for the characters. If you’re reading this looking for a great story with plot turns and action – you won’t appreciate it. But Fish Out of Water does supply a few laughs and a happily ever after.

Rating: 

2.5 out of 5

Purchase book at:

Book Depository / Amazon / FishPond