December 25, 2011

In my bag this week 12/25-12/31

With the holidays catching up with me I have let this feature go. I am going to try to be better at that now.

Out of Oz: Gregory Maguire: Wicked Years #4 and was part of my christmas present
The Geeks Shall Inherit the Earth: Popularity, Quirk Theory and Why Outsiders Thrive After High School: Alexandra Robbins

Up for review soon:
Stay Tuned:Lauren Clark coming in January part of chick lit plus blog tour

December 18, 2011

The Secret Lives of Dresses: Erin McKean

Dora has never figured out what she really wants to do with her life. Majoring in college in vagueness, and applying to a Masters in Liberal Arts, just so she doesn't have to  make a choice. She wears what ever is most comfortable all the time and has fallen into a job at the campus coffee shop. At the coffee shop, she has a crush on her boss, and has him depending on her to run many aspects of the place. That is until her Grandmother, Mimi, who raised her has a stroke and Dora has to head home for awhile.
Dora ends up stepping in to run Mimi's Vintage clothing store. Finds herself dress from the closet that Mimi has set aside for her for years, that in the past Dora would never touch before. Discovering stories the Mimi has been selling with dresses, that are the secret lives of the dresses from before.  Now Dora finds herself stepping into roles she has never considered before. Thinking about what do about Con, the handsome young contractor that is helping her deal with Mimi's sickness. Dora has to deiced about school and how she feel about the new roles she has been stepping into.

I really flew through this book, not be able to put it down at times. I loved reading about the vintage clothes and how Dora comes to accept them as part of her and becomes part of her personality. How she grows as a person and character, that is developed through the book. There were a few moments where it seemed all a little fast with the changes, but even though it all happened in such a short time period the changes worked. With major life events happening, changes can speed up so that makes it seem a bit more believable.

Personally, I could really relate to character and I think that helped with me enjoying this plot. Though Dora changed really fast I felt I could relate to her stages. I understood the changes she made and felt I could or would make them in the same way, so that it was relatable to me.

I would suggest this book as a good read giving it, 5 stars. With the character growth and changes I would say that it is not just a chick lit book, but someone younger, aka closer to the age of Dora will relate to it the most.

December 14, 2011

After the Party: Lisa Jewell

In Jewell's earlier book Ralph's Party, Jem and Ralph found each other and fell in love. Now, eleven years later two miscarriages and two babies later. With the passage of time and children and ghosts of the past to the equation Jem and Ralph have started to lose connection with each other and themselves. They love their children, but have to remember the Love they have for each other and who they are too. And the changes they have to face are  hard and make them questions who they are, who they have become, and who they want to be and if those are compatible together as a couple.  

This book seemed really long to me a points, but at other points the length made sense with how intense the plot was. The characters were well developed and we followed them through their own self discovery and discovery of each other again, as chapters alternated between Jem and Ralph. At the end I understood the length, but I did feel like most of the action really happened at the end. There were moments earlier in the book where I had wanted to just stop reading, since nothing seemed to be happening and I didn't want to read about people just feeling bad about themselves and their situation, I can get that enough in real life. Something kept me going though and I was so glad that I did finish the book.

Finishing this book all I could do was sigh. It wrapped up nicely, yet very intense at the end. The sigh was one of those, almost holding your breath to see how things turn out, happy with the romantic ending, and a release of the emotions at the same time. It was just a satisfaction that I felt at the end of the book, that I don't get with every book and was something I could appreciate with After the Party.

Overall I would suggest this book IF you enjoyed Ralph's Party. As a standalone book, I think you can follow it since the characters are introduced again, but it is helpful knowing where Ralph and Jem came from to get to this point. I think the plot deals with some tough issues and that made it harder to read, but stand by the ending is worth getting through the rest in my opinion.

December 10, 2011

What I read in 2011

We are getting to the end of the year, with the holidays coming up how can you miss that, starting to see people ask about your best read of 2011. So, I looked over what I read this year (made so easy by goodread and it yearly reading challenge).

Looking over the list, I have read some amazing books this past year and a few that were not as good.
Some of the Highlights are:

The First Assistant and Second Assistant: by Clare Naylor and Mimi Hare: Both reviews are below
Catching Alice: Clare Naylor: Review below
The Finishing Touches and Swept Off Her Feet: Hester Browne
Hollywood Ending: Lucie Simone: Review below
The Opposite of Me and Skipping a Beat: Sarah Pekkanen Reviews at Opposite of Me and Skipping a Beat

Chick lit Blog tour lead me to some great books too:
High Heels And Slippers!: Ella Slayne: Review below
The Last Page: Lacy Camey: Review below
Dollars to Donuts and Breaking Even: Kathleen Kole: Review below and Breaking Even over at my Livejournal Blog
Just One Click: Amanda Strong: Review below

These are just some of the highlights. There are so many other great books that I was able to read this year. I am set to read 40 books this year, that I have recorded this year. As I keep growing and writing review on my reads.

What are some of your top reads from 2011?

December 8, 2011

High-Heels And Slippers!: Ella Slayne

Josie Jenkins, is a Brit living in Texas. She works in Customer Service at a high end shirt store. Where she works under her ex boyfriend Bob, who happens to be married. She has a crush on a guy at work Callum, who seems to be going through trouble of his own with his parents. Things could be going somewhere with Callum, but Josie is dealing with problems of her own. She is starting to feel homesick and she gets a facebook message from her high-school sweetheart, Tom and Josie can tell that something is not right now. Now, it is time for Josie to make some choices at work, in her love life, and her personal life.

I enjoyed this book. It was easy to read and I felt like I was learning about a friend who I could really relate too as I read. The plot developed and character change and grew in a very believable way for me. It left me wanting more, but satisfied with all that was covered too.

I guess it helped me to relate to the character in that she was a big fan or wine, tea, and baths, which I am a big fan of too. But, either way I have to say that I highly suggest to a friend or anyone who wanted to look for a fun, chick lit with great character and plot development.

This is again another Chick Lit Plus Blog tour.  Again if you comment there is a give away 

I was provided a copy of the book for review, but the summary and thoughts on the book are mine.

Guest post by Ella Slayne

Today, I am doing a review of Ella Slayne's book High-Heels and Slippers! Ella wrote a great guest post too. So, Enjoy her guest post below on writing and my review I will post this afternoon.

The Wonder of a Writing Retreat!
By  Ella Slayne

I’ve been on a couple of writing retreats and they have been so useful––in fact I would say they were irreplaceable and I would definitely jump at the opportunity to go on another one.  I have got used to writing just about anywhere: I can jot down notes in the doctor’s waiting room, tap away on my laptop in the car while my kids are doing their various after-school activities, I even work on character developments while having my teeth cleaned.  I’m not unique of course, most writers are used to cramming their writing into the most unlikely places.  But the beauty of a retreat is that it provides guaranteed uninterrupted writing time to focus on a manuscript which can be vital in helping develop plot-lines or work through sticky areas.

What makes a writing retreat successful depends on many things and I think that every writer probably has their own personal list of Writing Retreat Must Haves but are a couple of  points which for me, contribute to making a writing retreat a wonderful haven where I can truly immerse myself in my writing and let my creative juices flow!

Know your fellow retreaters – I am part of a small but challenging writing group and there are usually just four of us on a retreat.  We’ve been working together as writers for a long time and have a successful working relationship. This is vital during a retreat because we are able to leave each other to work and set our own personal writing rhythms while also arranging group critique times and breaks so that we can pool our thoughts, egg each other on or seek each other’s advice.  If  I was with a group of people I didn’t know, I think I would feel that I’d have to be polite, look presentable and get caught up in small-talk which would take away from necessary writing time.  There is something wonderful about typing away on your laptop all day wearing pyjamas and tatty old slippers!

Choose a dull venue – every time we’ve organized a retreat, we have picked a B&B which is in a relatively uninteresting, isolated area. This is so important because it vastly cuts down on distractions that could take us away from our work, like shops, cinemas or restaurants.  (The only view I need on a writing retreat is the screen of my laptop!)  We usually bring our own snacks, cereals, soups and sandwich stuff so that we always have food on hand (this saves money but also prevents us from having to pop out for supplies all the time).   Sometimes we order take-out but we tend not to shower and we always make sure there is a plentiful supply of coffee!

Set goals – I think this is really important (well for me at least) because it means I’m much more efficient with my special writing retreat time.  For each retreat, I give myself a personal goal and I try to stick to it.  Whether I actually do or not, is not necessarily important, the key is to have something to work towards so that no precious time is wasted.  The retreats I’ve been on have only lasted three days ( we all have young families so it’s hard to justify more time away) so from the time we arrive, to the time we leave, we work non-stop.  We usually write well into the night and get up early to crack on.  It is so wonderfully satisfying to drive home exhausted but knowing that we have achieved so much.

I consider the writing retreats I’ve attended to be absolute gems in my writing career so far and I hope I continue to be lucky enough to keep going on them! What about you?  Have you ever been on a writing retreat? Was it successful? Would you do it again? Have you got any writing retreat tips to share?

Ella Slayne is originally from the UK and now lives in the US with her family.  Her first novel, High-Heels And Slippers, is available as an ebook at and, and in paperback at  For more info please stop by her website: or leave a comment on her blog: She would love to hear from you!

December 4, 2011

Thoughts on Nanowrimo and it being over

November is over, we are coming to end of the first week  of time outside of November. Why is this important? Because November was Nanowrimo or national novel writing month. Where all over the world people join together to challenge themselves to write 50,000 in a month. 

This is my third year of joining that challenge and my third win. This year is different though. The first year, I was going through some stuff in my personal life and did it to show that I could do the writing. I finished on Thanksgiving and was happy with what I wrote and did some editing on it, but ended up distracted and haven't gone back to it. Last year, I wanted to do it again to show it wasn't a fluke that I had succeeded once and just wanted to write something for myself. That is what I did wrote something for myself and then was done with it. I again finished early, with my real life getting in the way, but I plan that and did the words for myself. 

This year. This year I wasn't sure I was going to even really do it till the middle of October and I really did give myself permission to fail. If I didn't get the word count in that was going to be ok with me. I had a week of vacation out of town scheduled and knew that I wouldn't be able to write everyday. And I was right, I wasn't able to write ever day, but I did get my words in. Here is the new thing that I haven't felt in the past. I really do want to edit and keep working on my Nano manuscript this year. I have gone back to it a few times already.

For some reason I just feel very ready for it this year, like I have finally written something I can share with others. It is not the next great american novel by any means and might not even be something I would print. But, it is something I may share with my friends and family and for that I am proud of. 

Nanowrimo is an amazing experience and I hope to do it again and encourage all who want to write to keep working on their writing. 

In my bag this week 12/04-12/10

Reading this week:
After the Party: Lisa Jewell
The Geeks Shall Inherit the Earth: Popularity, Quirk Theory and Why Outsiders Thrive After High School

Review this week:
High-Heels And Slippers!: Ella Slayne

December 3, 2011

The First Assistant: A Continued Tale From Behind the Hollywood Curtain: Clare Naylor and Mimi Hare

Lizzie is back. She is not Scott's second assistant any more. She is the first assistant now with more responsibility. She has hired herself a new Second Assistant, Amber. Lara her friend, and Scott's Former First Assistant, is married to Scott and they have a son. Plus, Lizzie is having trouble with her relationship is Luke. Lizzie realizes she has more to figure out in Hollywood. First, she can't trust Amber, then Scott trades Lizzie for a car so that she can go be a personal assistant to Emerald, a rising teen start that is known for testing those around her.

Lizzie works as she tries to keep her footing, figure out what she wants, and is still fiercely loyal to her friends even when those around her are doing things that she questions.

This was an extension of The Second Assistant taking place just a few months after the last one stopped. I like being able to open it and picking up my friends where I had essentially left them in the characters. It kind of like going on vacation or out of town for a few months and catching up with friends. I did some how Lizzie had grown some between the two books and kept growing through this plot.

There were moments where I was frustrated by the decisions that Lizzie was making. But, they did help with her growing. There were moments in the plot where I was frustrated by blocks that were put there for Lizzie or choices she made that you knew were going to be problems. Then they were wrapped up and just feel into place, not making Lizzie work like she had in the past that frustrated me.

Overall, when I finished this book I felt like friends I had learned were leaving me. But, I did think the ending felt a little convenient and forced. I would recommend both of these books, but read both of them close together not, just one on their own.

November 27, 2011

Chick lit Plus Challenge

LLast year I did Samantha's Chick Lit Plus Challenge on my older blog. Since, I am moving all of my reviews over here this year I am going to do the challenge here.
Below, is a link to the challenge and I will try and post it on the sidebar. Come join me in the challenge this year.

Join me in the challenge

In my bag this week 11/27-12/03

Reading this week:
The First Assistant: A Continuing Tale from Behind the Hollywood Curtain: Clare Naylor and Mimi Hare
Stay Tuned: Lauren Clark

Up for review:
High-Heels and Slipper!: Ella Slayne

November 20, 2011

In my bag this week 11/20-11/26

What I am carrying and reading this week.

The First Assistant: A Continuing Tale from Behind the Hollywood Curtain: Clare Naylor and Mimi Hare

High-Heels and Slippers!: Ella Slayne (for chick lit blog tours)

November 19, 2011

The Second Assistant: A Tale From The Bottom Of The Hollywood Ladder: Clare Naylor and Mimi Hare

Elizabeth is thankful for a new job and a new start, moving to Los Angles to be a second assistant to Scott, a young Hollywood Producer, when her job as congressional intern comes to an unexpected end. She has alot to learn in Hollywood, as there are a whole new set of priorities and social structure that Elizabeth has never heard of or considered before.  The plot follows Elizabeth through her tasks as she learns, what she has to do, what she is expected to do, and what she really wants to keep doing.  She is betrayed by friends, betrays people and really learns a whole new set of priorities. As she changes the life that she though she was going to live and comes to terms what she is living now, deciding what she really wants.

    I enjoyed the building of the character of Elizabeth and aspects of the characters that are around her. At times I felt like some of the other characters were flat or that we only learned thing about them at the moment we needed the info, though Elizabeth knew the  background or isn't surprised by the new info. It worked in that we knew primarily what our main character knows. The style that we as the outsider were just the right amount of outsider learning as Elizabeth learns. You see some of the mistakes coming, but not all of them and you see why she needs to make the ones that you see coming.

    I am excited to read the next book in this series. I want to see how Elizabeth continues to grow and I like the peek into the part of Hollywood you don't get to see everyday.

    I will do more of a review of the series when I have read the whole series, but I would say I recommend the book.

November 14, 2011

What in my bag 11/13-11/19

Vacation this week, so let hope that even with nano I get some reading done. That's the plan, with me I got:
  The Second Assistant: Mimi Hare and Clare Naylor
The First Assistant: Mimi Hare and Clare Naylor

have my kindle with me, but nothing else set to read right now. Had to return Game of Thrones to the library so, there will be  a bit before I can finish it and write my review but will eventually.
Right now, it is back to Nanowrimo for me.

November 11, 2011

Dollars to Donuts: Kathleen Kole

April, has her own newspaper column, lives with her boyfriend and all she should be worried about is her nosey neighbors. Her neighbors though takes nosey to a whole new level, with police investigations into dead squirrels and screams lead to more than one late night neighborhood meetings on the lawn. But, at least it is something in the small town to keep April busy and looking over her shoulder. More than just the takes with her sister, Jessica, who is asking questions that is making April rethink just about everything, especially her relationship with Kevin which is what brought her to town.

Kole again built beautiful characters that make you just want to keep reading and find out about the characters. What I also really enjoyed about the plot was seeing the relationship between the characters develop. The strong sister relationship was really a driving force in the book and I almost wondered at times why we were focusing on Jessica as much as we did April at times.

Overall, although at points I could tell foresee where the plot was going at points I still found the book worth reading. I give the book three stars just because it is such great character development. I would suggest any of Kole's books, the two that I have read, just for character development and growth that Kole puts into her characters.

This is again another Chick Lit Plus Blog tour. So, please check out her tour page and again if you comment there is a give away.

I was provided a copy of the book for review, but the summary and thoughts on the book are mine.

November 5, 2011

In my bag this week 11/6-11/12

Missed this last week with the start of Nanowrimo going on and life catching up with me. I am going to try and keep this up though. So, even though I am writing, I am reading also.
This week I am working my way through:

A Game of Thrones: George R. R. Marting: because after getting hooked on the HBO series I had to try the book and nowI just don't want to stop reading.

The Second Assistant: Mimi Hare and Clare Naylor: have to finish this one, close but Game of Thrones and it's library renewal date took precedence.

Then have some reading for personal growth I am doing. Next week headed on vacation to Vegas and I am hoping to do lots of reading with my free time not working.

November 2, 2011

With Just One Click: Amanda Strong

The plot of this novels three women, Chloe, Morgan, and Brynn. All have recently taken to facebook and are using it to reconnect with their past. Chloe a successful movie review joins, but on her friends advice doesn't post or comment on anything, just uses facebook to monitor her "friends" activities. She has choices to make though when her first love who just disappears one summer day. Now, she has to choose if she "friends" what that means and if she can trust him again. Morgan, is a stay at home Mom, who uses facebook to reconnect and keep track of her friends and their busy lives. What happens when she sees who is tracking her husband and jealousy and doubts start to creep in. Brynn, is also a stay at home Mom, but her kids are in their teens now and maybe her marriage isn't quiet as happy as it appears. She turns to facebook as a way to escape and is surprised by some of the connections she makes. Could these reconnections be the escape she was looking for.

All these women use facebook for the same thing to reconnect with people, but how they end up being effected by the reconnections is very different. They all seemed a little close in age, but were at very different places in their life. I think these different places in their lives come across in how they use facebook. There were moments that I could relate to each of the women in a way, though I defiantly did prefer Chloe's sections over the other two. That could be she was more around the same point in her life as I am so she was more relatable to me.

Amanda wrote a guest post on her thoughts on Facebook vs other social media networks for me (below is my the rest of my review):

"Sometimes people group Facebook and Twitter together.  Are they truly the same? Yes, they both are a form of social networking, but what are the real differences? Let's take a look at my personal experience.  I have my own Facebook account made up with friends, including ones from high school and college.  I also have a Facebook page for myself as an author, some people who "like" me are friends, and some are people I've never met who like and support my novel.  Over on Twitter, I have an account under my name, my "followers" are 98% people I've never met or know much about.  Looking at this information alone, I could surmise that Facebook is more intimate and Twitter is more casual.

When something becomes tempting and curious some people can't help themselves.  Facebook stands alone, a phenomenon all by itself. The one that has over seven hundred million users, the cause in one in five divorces as stated in many polls nowadays.  When it comes to this social network, there are no rules or regulations.  You don't have a character limit on posts, and you can share as many photos as your heart desires.  With games, polls, and surveys, as well as users posting their entire life on Facebook, this form of social networking was bound to have some hiccups.

Three years ago, I began hearing the "stories." You know, the ones you hear from friends or friends of friends.  The names would change but the scenarios or situations stayed the same.  Facebook allowed us to "stalk" our ex without them ever knowing.  We could uncover where they worked, who they married or were dating, who they liked in music and TV, and what they had to say on any given day. Of course, if their privacy settings were set properly, this investigation would have been more difficult, but many times, the ease in which you can obtain this information is what sets Facebook apart from any other social network.  As I continued to hear story after story over the years, one common thread––Facebook––kept popping up.  The social network, which gave us the opportunity to reconnect with old friends, also gave us the tools to be anyone we wanted to be. This new chance brought confusion, destroyed families, and ultimately led people to do things they never thought they would do in a million years.

If I followed an ex on Twitter, we could communicate within a restricted 140-character limit.  I could spy on their pictures one at a time, but just as the information is so quick to appear, it's just as quick to disappear.  Facebook dangles pictures and posts and gives a more complete overview of a person's entire life causing situations to occur. These very real stories are ones that are universal, the people could be your mother, sister, wife, co-worker, or friend.  Facebook is complex, it's a world by itself with no real rules or regulations.  People are policing themselves and not doing a very good job.  I wanted to focus attention on these very real stories that people are living in as their new reality.  There is no guide or handbook when it comes to behavior or your conduct on Facebook.  You are flying solo without any real direction or understanding of how powerful this social network can be. My hope was to peel back a few layers of this complex world and reveal what is happening on Facebook today in a fictional setting.

I believe if Twitter was set up differently or not limited, they would be neck and neck, but for now, Facebook is more the culprit.  The one who wants us to share our "timeline" with everyone else. What happens when you're faced with regret from your previous indiscretions? You learn the hard way. Facebook is a force to be reckoned with, the stakes are high, the consequences even higher.  I felt the dynamic of Facebook and their users was worthy of exploring without naming names. I wanted to be able to address this  timely topic in a novel where you as the reader can ultimately come to your own conclusions about social networking and Facebook."

I have to say I agree with Amanda and her thoughts on Facebook and that what she talks about comes across in her plot. I thought this was an interesting approach to a novel and not one I had seen used before. Facebook is a social media different then twitter and used in many different ways by each person so I appreciate how Strong is able to portray those in each of her different characters. In the growth of the characters and how they use Facebook effect that makes the book worth reading, even with the odd twist at the end.

The last comment I want to make about the books is that I found with this plot is that even though the title mentions just one click when I sat down to read this on my ereader it was never just one click. Once I got into reading I couldn't stop reading and didn't want to put the story down. I would keep telling myself just one more section, just one more section, and the pages would just fly by.

This is part of the chick lit plus blog tours. And There is a give away on the tour page so check that out.

I was provided a copy of the book for review, but the summary and thoughts on the book are mine.

October 23, 2011

In my bag this week 10/23-10/29

What I am carrying around this week and working on reading:

The Second Assistant: A Tale from the Bottom of the Hollywood Ladder: Mimi Hare and Clare Naylor

Also, got
The First Assistant: A Continued Tale from Behind the Hollywood Curtain: Mimi Hare and Clare Naylor (The sequel)

After the Party: Lisa Jewell (a sequel to Ralph's Party that I read earlier this year)

Edit: Pickup from the Library that came in: Game of Thrones: George R. R. Martin and Writing For Writing for Emotion Balance: Beth Jacobs 
The first in high demand so had to move up my list and the second is research for my nano, so looks like the week is devoted to those sadly enough.

I know I won't get to all of them but these are what I am working on this week and excited about.

Hollywood Ending: Lucie Simone

Trina has lived in LA for 10 years trying to live out her Hollywood dream. So, far she has gotten into debt by going to film school, teaches ESL to barely makes ends meet, and keeps striking out romantically. That is until Matiu sublets the apartment upstairs from Trina. Matiu, has come to LA to take a scenic design class, which he hopes will open doors for him when he goes home to New Zealand where more and more productions are filming.
The tension grows between Trian and Matiu as they interact yet they both keep finding ways to get pulled away from each other even when neither of them really want that. But, what is the Hollywood Ending that they really want and how are they going to choose is what it comes down to.

I enjoyed this book and just flew through it. (Is it just me or do others find they read ebooks fast that paper ones?) Both of the characters were well rounded for me, they had good qualities and bad habits or things they needed to work on and grow still, so they weren't perfect. This book truly is in my opinion a romantic comedy and the two genres are blended well. I think is what holds alot of the appeal of the plot to me. The characters and even supporting characters are well rounded with the background/backstory built up on all of them.

Overall I give this book 4 stars. It kept my attention and left me wanting to know more about the characters and keep following them. There were moments where I didn't want to stop reading, but couldn't keep reading because if I did I knew it would end sooner and I didn't want that too. I look forward to reading more of Simone's works.

October 17, 2011

Whispers from the Heart: Heather Hummel

Madison dosen't trust men and hasn't since she left her ex Rick and moved halfway across the country. But she is still looking behind her back, scared he will come back to her life. So, she keeps to herself with her one close friend, teaching her classes, and running. But, there are people appearing in her life and it may be time to let things change and trust again. While figuring herself out we also follow Madison as she teaches and her students go through a tough time. One of her students commits suicide and Madison is there for her other students as she deals with that. She has lead them in journaling before and continues to use journal to help the students deal with what they are feeling.

The plot of this book really deals with some tough issues. Madison getting over the hurt and the emotions she has left from her past relationship and the emotional abuse she is getting over. Then there is teenage suicide and how that effects not only Madison, but the teens that she mentors. The plot follows how she helps them with their emotions. I think in helping her students deal with their lose and their journals Madison learns some about herself. She starts to let down her wall through it and in that starts to deal with her own emotions and who she lets into her life.

Overall, though parts of the emotions were actually dealt with was glossed over at points, which I can understand being done to keep the plot moving, I would suggest this book to others. Heather has other books in her Journal from the Heart Series and I interested to read more of those and to see how she continues to use journals in the plots.

My review is part of the Chick Lit Plus blog tours. And if you leave a commented on the tour page you are entered to win a $10 Amazon gift card,

I was provided a copy of the book for review, but the summary and thoughts on the book are mine.

October 16, 2011

Carrying around this week 10/16-10/20

This week I am reading...

Dollars to Donuts: Kathleen Kole
For chick lit plus blog tours look for the review in November

The First Assistant: Clare Naylore and Mimi Hare
Got this from the library after finishing Catching Alice

Catching Alice: Clare Naylor

Alice has recently lost her boyfriend, her place to live, and her job. Crashing at her cousins' while he is out of town, she is spending  her time fielding his long lone of cast aside females who keep calling and dropping by. Everyone else's lives seem to be better than her. One day while out Alice runs into Tash, her former roommate from school who lives in LA now. Tash sweeps Alice off to LA and throws her into her glamours life. Alice gets a job in PR and Tash sets her up on a date. Someone has other plans for Alice though as she has a secret admirer. An admirer who some of her new friends think is a stalker and are jealous of, but Alice thinks it is just kind of romantic, at least right now.

A few places I have read said that this is a re-imagination of Alice in Wonderland. I didn't really see that, but maybe it is because I haven't read Alice in Wonderland and am only familiar with the movies, those I don't see as much in this plot.

This was really kind of a fish out of water story in my opinion. Alice is thrown in really the deep end of LA. Tasha works in film and they all end up going to dinners and on dates with others in the movie industry. Alice doesn't know the social etiquette and makes some mistakes. She makes her own way and chooses who and what she wants to do. Even when she is pulled the other way by her friends.

Personally, I enjoyed this book. I liked seeing Alice grow as a character and finally stand up for herself. It works out and comes together for her in a way that you knew it was building to something at the end that I didn't want to stop reading at the end. I would suggest this book for a classic chick lit story with out getting all lost in clich├ęs that get lost in many of the modern or the plots that were found when things were just being turned out. But, I do see how some people see it as a bit stereotypical, I just think that it looks at in a different way and I enjoyed that.

October 9, 2011

In my bag this week

Little more traveling this week going home, then sending the Husband off for two weeks. So, maybe there will be some reading done.

Catching Alice: Clare Naylor

Got a Yoga book that I am looking at (don't have it here right now, will try to update this) I may give up on it soon though. 

Besides that, got reviews for blog tours and some reading for that coming up. 

October 8, 2011

Thirtynothing: Lisa Jewell

Dig Ryan just turn thirty and wakes up once again with a young girl in his bed leaving him question where he is really headed with his life. Nursing his hangover he goes to his best-friend since school Nadine. In discussion they make a bet that they will both start looking for real relationships and the first one who succeeds wins. On the way home they run into Delilah, Dig's first love and the one who pulled Dig and Nadine apart before. Dig on a trip down memory lane causes strife in their relationship again. So, Nadine looks up her first love, Phil. But, things aren't always what they appear to be in either of their past relationships. And maybe in realizing that what they have been missing hasn't really been missing as much as they thought.

Much like with Jewell's other book that I read there were some great moments in the plot and didn't want to stop reading, but there were also moments where I didn't understand and it was hard to keep going at times. The plot covers where the characters are now and then goes back and reviews how their relationships started, grew and ended earlier in their lives. This allowed parallels between the times to come through and to show development of characters to the readers.

Overall, I would say that though there are times I felt the plot got caught up in details at times if does have great character development overall. Though I could see some of the twist coming how they all worked out was worth it to keep reading. I would suggest this book to others, but it is not a typical chick lit. If you are looking for light and fluffy this is not the book, but to see character development and detail this is worth a read.

October 3, 2011

Carrying around this week

Here is what is in my bag this week:
Thirtynothing: Lisa Jewell (should finish this week)
Head on Vacation with the Family so will grab something off the TBR physical stack on the way out the door and will have the ipad/kindle on me.
Probably going to start Hollywood Endings: Lucie Simon
Dollars to Donuts: Kathleen Kole

September 30, 2011

Musing on why I read chick lit

In my experience there has always been alot of controversy over the chick lit label given to books and the genre. It has been said for years that "chick lit is dead" and ever few months some article comes out or people get up in arms with posts on how this statement is not true again. A buzz last few a few days, we all go back to our books and writing and wait for it to happen again. I think with the fact that this subject comes up so often and from what I see there is always people disagreeing with the statement the genre will never actually be "dead". I do think in the publishing industry they may move away from calling it "chick lit" and there is rebranding that is happening. The same heart of the books and type of books are there and will continued to be published in some way. Maybe not in the same way they have been in the past or the same amount that were coming out at points. The genre/type of books will not disappear completely in my opinion, just how we look at them and find them might change.

Now, why I read books that are called "chick lit". I was first introduced to the genre by my former stepmother, who brought British chick lit into the house, think Sophie Kinsella/Marian Keyes/etc. and introduced me to some lighthearted comedic books. At the time as a college English major, these books were the kind of escape I needed during breaks. I soon went off on my own and was finding other books in the genre that appealed to me more. Discovering Jennifer Weiner, Emily Giffin, Jane Green, and more on my own. My former stepmother and I grew apart as I got older and left the house, but I will remember she started me on this genre. She never really got into the genre like I did, didn't branch out beyond some of the comedic escape, stick with more of what be romantic comedy movies, but were books. Not me though, once I started I wanted more and knew there was more out there.

I see the genre as more than just an escape, more than just fluff books. Yes, there are the fluff ones out there and those are fun to read sometimes. But, many of the books there is more to them. If you are going through something in your life and need something to relate to in my experience I can usually find a book that deals with something similar at least and gives me something to relate to. The book will most likely have a happy ending and I may not, but that is ok at least it gave me an escape from my real problems for a little while. Many of the authors deal with subject that would normally be seen as taboo, but bring them out in fictions makes them less taboo and gives readers something to think about.

These books have gotten me through some dark moments in my life and made me think and consider things I wouldn't otherwise. Not all of them have bright pink covers, or deal with the single girl in the city with an amazing job that is out drinking with her friends ever night. Yes, those books exist, but I personally don't feel that they dominate the field anymore. I do read books that are more simpler and enjoy them at times. But, if I need something more than that I know there are other things in the genre that will meet my needs and that I will enjoy.

Plus, there are many of the classics that I have not even had a chance to read yet. So, I am sure I will be busy and stay reading chick lit for a long time. For me it is an old friend that I can and do still turn to and it is defiantly not dead for me.

September 27, 2011

Many Faces of Journaling: Linda C. Senn

Another book I pickup to expand learning about journaling. This one was more of a disappointment then the last one. It did have a summary on different types of journals that someone could write and showed examples of the types of journals. The examples made up most of the book though and there was just a few sentences between the excerpts saying you could journal like this. Yes, it gave some suggestions about types of journal and in those specific sections what you could write. But, I feel like there was no writing prompts or things to help me with writing my own journal.

I guess I just wanted more from the book. I didn't feel like there was alot of substance. If you want to just read excerpts and examples or journals this would be a great book, but if you aren't looking for examples there isn't much to this book.

So, I can't recommend this book, but did read/skim it as much as I could.

September 26, 2011

The Last Page: Lacy Camey

Norah Johnson is at crossroads in her life. Her relationship has just fallen apart and the fact that he was a major league baseball player so it is being splashed across the tabloids it is not helping. Her family sends her to the beach house and sets her up with a therapist to help her move on. Her therapist assignes her to journal, but after pouring out her hear Norah get frustrated and tries to throw her journal into the sea.
She then tries to go on with her summer with the help of her Best Friend, Chloe, and sister, Maycee. She is trying to work on her line of clothes, attend therapy, and humor every ones as they each have their way to help her heal. Along the way she meets Orien, who has found a journal on the beach and has fallen in love with the girl who wrote it, now if only he can find her and convince her to trust him.

I devoured this book. All the main characters were very relatable to me. I didn't ever really feel like an outsider looking in on this world, but someone who was learning about the story and was part of the group. There was moments of elements that the reader didn't necessarily know what the group of characters was referring to, but the reader was clued in when they needed the information. I felt like this really pulled the reader into part of the group and made the reading enjoyable for me.

Personally, I would say that this was a very enjoyable book that I would recommend to others and I am looking forward to more in the series and by Camey.

This is the first book is a series of <i>Living,Loving & Laughing Again</i> and my review is part of the Chick Lit Plus blog tours. To stay updated on when more in this series come out you can follow Lacy's progress at Also, if you comment on the Chick Lit Blog tour for the page you can win a $10 Amazon giftcard, like is link to site.

I was provided a copy of the book for review, but the summary and thoughts on the book are mine.

September 25, 2011

Carrying around this week

What I am working on reading and carrying around this week.

Thirty Nothing: Lisa Jewell
With Just One Click: Amanda Strong  For Chick Lit Plus Blog tours
The Many Faces of Journaling: Topics & Techniques for Personal Journal Writing: Linda Senn

September 24, 2011

Journalution: Sandy Grason

Getting back into more journaling lately, did creative writing in August and September is my journaling month. Only missed two days so far, even if they are quick one page before I head to bed, try to put something down at least. In order to expand more in my journaling I thoughts I would read a few books about journaling.

The first I pick up is Journalution by Sandy Grason. What drew me to the book was the second part of the title; Journaling to Awaken Your Inner Voice, Heal Your Life and Manifest Your Dreams. The book is in sections that a new some one new to journaling or someone who has been journaling for years could follow. I would say I am in the middle there are a few times in my life that I have tried to take up journaling, but haven't never been able to stay committed to it. What I felt this book did was let you know what was important to do and you could learn from form journaling, but the simpleness that journaling was also. At least that is what I got out of the book.

It took you through sections on different ways journaling can be used to look at different parts of your life or bring out different emotions or understanding that you needed. In the section there was then writing prompts to try and how others had used the prompts. I didn't try to prompts as I wanted to, but I may use some of them still. I do feel like I have learned about journaling, have a better understanding of it, and am more accepting of how journaling can help me. In the past journaling has just been about the negative and getting it out for me. Now, I see there is positives and you can share the good and the bad to share and you have to accept both parts.

If someone is wanting to explore journaling more and even if they do journal, but need a jump start this is a great book to use.

September 18, 2011

Carrying around this week

This is my feature that I am going to try and do this every week. To let you know what I am working on reading. I don't usually stick to one book, but know that it does takes me a few weeks to get through books. I do foresee some reading time this week, so hope for more reviews soon.
What I am reading this week is or carrying around in my bag:
With Just One Click: Amanda Strong
Thirty Nothing: Lisa Jewell
Journalution: Sandy Grason

September 14, 2011

Not That Kind of Girl: Catherine Alliott

My first review that I posted everywhere else recently.

Henrietta, Henny, has devoted her life to raising her kids and managing the house hold. But, with the children off at boarding school, things don't need quiet as much attention around the house. So, Henny goes into town to be a PA for a famous tv
Historian. One lunch with the boss that leads to a little to much to drink and Marcus getting wrong impression find Henny in town permanently away from her home and family. As Henny tries to find  what she wants with her marriage falling apart her past comes back into Henny's life. Now Henny has some real choice to make the past that has left her before or the 15 year marriage that she thought had stood by her, but she is questioning.

This book is looong, and most of it is character development for Henny. It follows Henny with her thoughts and interactions between other characters.  Though we followed Henny and the plot did keep moving I don't feel like Henny really grew or learned much through the process of the book. She learned about a few other characters and those revelations effected how she choose to live her life, but She never seemed to make the choice for herself.
In the end she did get appreciation for what she had and that gave me a bit of appreciation for what I have. I did enjoy reading the book, but there just wasn't much substance to it in the end.

I would suggest this book and give it 3 stars, but don't expect much and for it to go deep.

September 12, 2011

What to put in reviews?

Wanted to share what I usually do in reviews.
My typical review goes:
A Summary of the book plot points, trying not to give away spoilers. Think the summary on the back of a book.
My thoughts and opinions on characters, plot etc.
I close up with if I would suggest the book and who I would suggest it too.

What would you put in a review? What do you put in your reviews?

September 11, 2011

Where to find my other reviews

I have been writing book reviews for years, and have decided to move them here as well as the other places I post them. I am on goodreads and live journal and my past reviews are over there. The best place to find my past reviews are more reviews to be coming soon.
I am still working out how I am going to be transferring over to Blogger and am not sure all that I am going to be writing about, but it shall all be growing.