Saturday, August 29, 2009

How to be Single by Liz Tuccillo

3.5 Star

Julie is dissatisfied with her dating life. Her friends are too. So Julie quits her job and leaves New York City to travel across the world to find out how other cultures deal with dating and love.  As she departs, her friends are left behind to deal with the dating doldrums as well as other life changes. Their communication with Julie consists mainly of emails and brief calls as she travels and they provide her with more questions and fodder for her subjects around the world.   

Lydia - 4 Star

How to be Single seemed like Sex in the City meets Eat Pray Love to me and even though I loved the former and wasn’t a fan of the latter, I found this novel fun, laugh out loud funny and thought-provoking at times. Even though I've been married for several years now I haven’t forgotten the single years and although the women in this book are in their late thirties, their stories are still relatable and downright hilarious at times.

I found this book well written and incredibly well researched with interesting tid-bits about each city and/or culture Julie ran into on her quest. I was interested in the characters and I liked them, but didn’t fall in love with any of them, which might be the only negative thing I have to say about the book. They did seem a little one dimensional at times and the way these girls comes together was unusual and I’m not too sure it was believable and at times wondered where their other friends were. .

If you loved Sex in the City, you should enjoy How to be Single, but anyone looking for serious answers about ‘How to Be Single’ could be disappointed as there are a lot of insights, but no earth shattering revelations.

4 Stars for Liz Tuccillo’s debut novel!

Kathryn - 3 Star

I enjoyed this tale of single girl lit although I’m not sure exactly if I can put my finger on what it was that I liked or disliked so we’ll see if I can come to a conclusion by the end of my review.

At first I thought that the characters were a bit loose and I was a bit frustrated that none of the main voice’s friends new each other. She had several single friends but none of them were part of the same group. I suppose that this was a good thing, in the end they do become closer, and it did mean that we weren’t immediately thrown into a typical group dynamic.

I thought that each friend was interesting as they all had completely different personalities and stories, but I think I would have liked there to be more history about her friendship with each one. I was pleased though that the author was clear about who was speaking otherwise it could have become quite confusing as the friends at home come to join the main character occasionally.

Julie, the main storyteller, decides to travel the world talking to single women about what it’s like to be single in their own country and culture which I found interesting. However, I didn’t really like that she fell for someone on her travels as I never really believed their attraction so it seemed a bit of a waste of storyline for me.

From the above it sounds as if I’m still not sure if I liked it! But as I finished it I definitely thought How to be Single was worth reading and would certainly try out Liz Tuccillo's next novel!

Connect with Liz Tuccillo:

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Chasing Harry Winston by Lauren Weisberger

3 Star

Three very different girls look to their futures and find they’re not heading in the direction they want. Two make a pact to change their lives within a year while one stands idly by. Emmy is newly single after her boyfriend ran off with his personal trainer when she thought they were close to becoming engaged.  Adriana, the drop dead daughter of a supermodel, is approaching thirty and wondering if her looks will get her what she wants much longer. Leigh is close to landing the senior editor position she covets and marrying the man of her dreams so she decides not to make a resolution, but finds she too might have everything to gain by making some changes. Will they be able to pull it off and get everything they've ever wanted?
Lydia - 3 Star

I thought Chasing Harry Winston was a delightful, light read that is the epitome of what traditional chick lit is all about. These girls are looking for love and with three different characters, there is plenty to like about this book. The pace is quick and the girls are pretty relatable. At times I found the book quite predictable though which was unfortunate.

It has been a while since I’ve read something about single girls in the big city and I wasn’t too disappointed, but nor was it the best book I’ve ever read. There wasn’t much substance to it, so wasn’t a deep read, but would make a great beach book. It made me laugh, but didn’t make me cry and I cared enough about the characters to actually want to read it to the end. Overall, I would have to say that Chasing Harry Winston is a good read if you’re interested in something light and fluffy about single girls in the Big Apple looking for love.

Kathryn - 3 Star

I loved Chasing Harry Winston. Sometimes you just need to read something that sucks you right in and you don’t want to put down! The characters were alive and engaging and I really felt as if I knew each of them. Their jobs, their families, their homes were all clearly in my mind and I wanted to find out how it would all end for each of them. Sometimes you can find books too descriptive so I’m not sure how I ended up knowing so much without feeling as if I’d waded through pages of adjectives?

There’s definitely an air of “sex in the city” but as I loved the show I would expect to enjoy this aspect and there are some quirky and hilarious bits that made me laugh out loud- note a temperamental house pet that one of the girls ended up with out of a breakup!

I think there’s some air of predictability to the story but I still wanted to read all about it and would recommend this to anyone wanting a good, fun piece of chick lit!

Connect with Lauren Weisberger here:

Thursday, August 20, 2009

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Burrows

5 Star

When Juliet Ashton receives a letter from a gentleman who discovered her name written in a used book, they develop a regular correspondence. Letters from him, as well as the neighbours he convinces to write to her, shed new light on the happy war stories she's grown tired of covering. Juliet learns how The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society started and how the tiny island of Guernsey suffered during the German Occupation, giving her writing and her life new inspiration. 

Lydia - 5 Star

I thoroughly enjoyed The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society and once I got used to the style of the story, which was told mainly through letters, and figured out the characters, I was hooked. I was fascinated by the history and found the main character Juliette interesting with her writing career and her disinterest in the usual pursuits of women at the time including the pursuit of a husband.

Once into it, I loved the style of the letters, a lost art-form in our modern world and wanted to run out and write some letters (which I then emailed…). It was interesting to see how correspondence during that time period was used and I was fascinated by how a story could be weaved from simple letters.

I also appreciated that the portrayal of the war showed the humanity of both sides. I loved all the characters and the small community feel and really want to go visit the Channel Islands now.

I feel that The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society would make a great movie. I think the story itself could be portrayed well on film, regardless of the style of prose through letters.

Kathryn - 5 Star

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society was fascinating from beginning to end and I would recommend it to everyone! It kept me wanting to know more about the history so much so that I was looking things up on the internet during the read!

We are following the journey of a writer living in London just after the end of World War II. Juliet Ashton discovers the existence of a literary society that was created (and continued) on the island of Guernsey in the Channel Islands during the war. The society was begun quite accidentally during the island’s occupation as a means hiding the fact that they were having a secret pig roast- it was continued as a way to relieve their boredom. Each member gives us an account of their personality, their lives, their hopes and dreams via letters to Juliet. Juliet falls in love with them and travels to Guernsey to meet them in person.

The story is written in letter format as well as some diary, but it doesn’t feel clunky. The narrative within each letter is very much alive and the correspondence is almost daily so you get the feel of an active conversation- as quick as email!

Although this is obviously not chick lit, and the subject matter was sometimes very hard to read, it has some really funny moments as well and the speed of storytelling that I like about the chick lit genre- so the best of both worlds really! I wish it had never ended.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Holly Would Dream by Karen Quinn

3.5 Star

Holly Ross thinks she’s just about got her life in order. She has a fabulous job at the National Museum of Fashion and wonderful fiancĂ© Allesandro, but it’s all about to come crashing down. Having started life a bit roughly and still dealing with a father who is more than a little unconventional, it’s no wonder that Holly lives her life like an Audrey Hepburn movie as much as possible.  Picking up the pieces of her life proves to become a wacky adventure- perhaps not very Audrey Hepburn, but very much Holly Ross. 

Lydia - 3.5 Star

Holly Would Dream had an interesting story once I got into it, which admittedly took a little while.  It was an easy read, chalk full of cheesiness, but Karen Quinn does a good job of making the impossible seem possible in this novel right through to the end and keeps the pace moving quickly.

It was an amusing single girl read but I found it often tried a bit too hard with it’s snappy quips and Holly’s thoughts sometimes didn’t seem to fit with my impression of the character (but that could have just been me, Kathryn didn’t seem to notice this).

The Audrey Hepburn references didn’t overwhelm or confuse me as I’m not a huge fan and have only seen a few of her movies, so this was a nice surprise because I thought I might get bogged down in a lot of detail.

Overall, Holly Would Dream was a pretty good read.  It not one of my favourites though and it probably didn’t help that I read it after Twenties Girls so my opinion might be slightly skewed.

Kathryn - 3.5 Star

At first I wasn’t sure I was going to enjoy Holly Would Dream as I found it a bit disjointed in the beginning - of course that could have just been me! There seemed to be many different characters and I was a bit overwhelmed. However, they soon sorted themselves out and I got sucked into the story.

The Audrey Hepburn theme throughout the novel was great.  I’m not a super fan so I’m sure a lot went right over my head but I did know enough to really find it fun, so if you have no clue about Audrey Hepburn this book is still worth reading!

The character of Holly is endearing in her obsession for the perfect movie ending, but she obviously doesn’t get her movie story line exactly as she expected. The story was well written and enticed you to want to continue flipping those pages until the end.  I also enjoyed the movement in the story where we were sent off around the world which kept it from being stagnant. 

Holly is hilarious, her father is even better and the cast of friends and foes was fabulously alive!

Connect with Karen Quinn:


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