Monthly Archives: November 2013
I heard your close friends call you E and I would like to consider myself your friend (or at least imagine it):) These are modern times so instead of writing you a letter or an e-mail, I decided to tell you how much I care about you and your book in a review. Maybe I would’ve even written you a letter and send a Christmas card too, but I don’t have your address and asking you your address would be weird, right?
Well E, your Cate in ‘What Would Oprah Do’ has Oprah, I have you, so I’ll use the power of internet to vent a bit and at the same time show just how great writer you are. Because trust me, I totally can connect to Cate. I mean, I still have my job and a wonderful family that cares about me, but I had crappy days. Lots in fact, and this last period of my life hasn’t been great either. I have deadlines at work, lots of stress and had teeth extractions and root op, all of this crap in just a month. I know, I should be thankful it’s nothing serious and I’m healthy and young (let’s say 34 is young, ok?) and have wonderful people around me, still sometimes we feel like we’re falling apart though everything seems fine on the surface.
So at times like this, we read a book or watch TV, hang out with friends who can make us feel a bit better..or we just imagine what would it be like IF we were someone else. Or we imagine what our life would be like if we were just a but younger, smarter, richer…
Cate thinks she’d be happier if she were adopted by Oprah. I’m cool with that, though the thought of it is way too funny LOL But I get it, she needs to vent (just like I do now) so she writes all these HILARIOUS e-mails to Oprah, who’s her idol. I loved reading them and love Cate’s humor. She has all the reasons to feel down, jobless, no money except savings to get her through just a few months, a cheating ex-boyfriend who left her for his boss and no idea what to do with her life. BUT she has a great sense of humor and DREAMS! You know, I wish I am more like Cate, she falls so many times but is always promptly back on her feet. She didn’t seem like a loser to me, as lost as she appears to be. She actually seems like someone I would love to hang out with, even be BFF with.
I loved how she tries to be a better person, how she doesn’t give up despite so many things going wrong. The thing is we people sometimes give up too early and never see most of our dreams fulfill. If we could be more persistent, if we could be more like Cate, I think this world would be a better place. I truly believe this.
Maybe we need someone like Cate’s friend Vivian, that lovely and generous and oh so wise lady, to guide us? YES! We all need someone like Vivien, experienced and kind and always ready to help us. Gosh, I loved Vivien and her energy. And you know what E? I never expected this book to have spiritual elements, and I was so surprised how well they fitted the story. Once I got to them the story reminded me so much of Elizabeth Gilbert’s ‘Eat, Pray, Love’ and I loved that one too.
Dear E, I know you can’t adopt me, because first off I might be older than you and second I’m miles away. BUT your book already did enough for me. I found it not only funny and unique, but also inspirational, deep and life changing. Many would NOT expect chick lit to be life changing, but here you are, proving them all wrong.
Your novel is among the TOP 5 debuts I’ve ever read, which means that I really really enjoyed it and I hope you’ll surprise me with another novel soon.
My rating 5/5
Ok, I must confess, this book has the longest title I’ve ever seen. Though I’m strongly against stealing boyfriends (yes, even in fiction), I decided to give this book a chance and I’m so glad I did.
Ellie and Rose are sisters and share everything. Physically they don’t have much in common, but they love each other very much. Rose is the beautiful one, the type that all men are attracted to. While, Ellie is the smarter one, always cassually dressed, and mostly enjoying her evenings in front of the TV with Ben. Ben, who is not her boyfriend, as she claims.
Then one day, Rose brings home her new boyfriend Oliver, and Ellie falls head over heels for him. She loves her sister very much, and she knows that boyfriends are not supposed to come between sisters. Still she likes him so much and seems she will do anything to make Oliver realize she’s the real one for him. How is she gonna do it?
This is such a fun chick lit read, I literally devoured it in one sitting. I’m not a fan of cheating or any rivalry between family and friends, even in fiction. However, I enjoyed this book even more than I thought I will. I loved both Ellie and Rose.They are different in so many ways, yet they are sisters and love each other so much. I won’t say anymore because I am afraid I might spoilt it, but I’m just gonna say – READ IT! It’s a brilliant book, fun and funny and so easy to read. Once you start reading it, you literally won’t be able to put it down. Excellent debut, one of the best I’ve read this year.
My rating: 4/5
Let’s get something straight, Jennifer Gilby Roberts is a great chick lit author and creates uberfun chick lit stories. Few months ago I read another short story by her, ‘Wedding Hells’ and absolutely enjoyed it. I found it hilarious and think it’s definitely one of the best short stories I have ever read.
Naturally, I had high expectations for ‘Flights of Nancy’. I was immediately drawn by the cover, it’s very chic and girly, and I’m such a huge sucker for pretty covers.
The story is cute though pretty unrealistic, but I didn’t mind that really. Nancy dreams of becoming a chef and having her own restaurant. When she was younger she was predicted (by a fortune teller) she’s gonna meet Mr. Right on her very 24th birthday. So, the big day is here and somewhat strange (but cute) guy comes into her life with a very weird (but oh so cool) offer. He offers her a stay in a 5* hotel in Greece, and there’s no catch – he just needs some company. Could he be her Mr. Right? Why is it then she doesn’t feel the spark?
Ok, as I said, being offered a trip to Greece by a stranger and accepting does sound silly and unrealistic. But, I’m not gonna over analyze it because it’s obvious that this is humor and main intention is to entertain and make you laugh.
Nancy is sweet and though it’s a short read I could actually feel her energy. I do find it hard to connect with characters from short stories/novellas because I almost always feel I didn’t have the space and time to get to know them well. Of course, if there were more pages I could see more sides of her personalty, but still I saw the big picture and what I saw I definitely liked. Nancy is pretty upbeat and such a sweet girl. Bit naive too, but then again she’s only 24 and has her whole life ahead of her. I cheered for her and wanted her to have her HEA and make her dream come true (become a chef).
I did expect few more laughs, because like I said ‘Wedding Hells’ was hilarious, but still it’s fun and enjoyable. Easy and short, it will definitely cheer you up after a long and exhausting day.
Welcome to the Just Add Spice Blog Tour!
We’re taking Carol E. Wyer’s latest book to some of the world’s best book blogs for a fun ride full of reviews, guest posts and amazing giveaways. Get involved for the chance to a win something steamy for the bedroom, a signed paperback and a spot on one of KerisStainton’s writing courses . . .
What they say:
‘Escape from reality comes in patent-leather Prada kneeboots
Dawn Ellis needs to escape from her painfully dull existence. Her unemployed husband spends all day complaining about life, moping around, or fixing lawnmowers on her kitchen table. The local writing class proves to be an adequate distraction with its eccentric collection of wannabe authors and, of course, the enigmatic Jason, who soon shows a romantic interest in her.
Dawn pours her inner frustrations into her first novel about the extraordinary exploits of Cinnamon Knight, an avenging angel — a woman who doesn’t believe in following the rules. Cinnamon is ruthless and wanton, inflicting suffering on any man who warrants it. Little does Dawn realise that soon the line between reality and fiction will blur. Her own life will be transformed, and those close to her will pay the price. Find out what happens in Just Add Spice by best-selling author Carol E Wyer.
*** Spice, spice, baby ***
Guest Post by Carol E. Wyer
We all need to inject some excitement into our lives from time to time, but if you, like housewife Dawn Ellis, whose sunny facade masks a lifetime of disappointment, then what do you do to escape from your reality?
Demure Dawn Ellis, is trapped in a loveless marriage and a dull existence but is afraid to break away. She is used to her life and frightened of the unknown. Her escape comes in her writing and in the form of a character, Cinnamon Knight, a woman who does exactly as she wants and takes no nonsense from anyone. Cinnamon is an avenging angel, part Lara Croft, and part Wonder Woman. She is bold and fearless, strong and independent—created solely by Dawn’s own imagination.
Taking her writing mentor’s advice a little too seriously, Dawn works hard to create a more lifelike Cinnamon. She begins to ‘method write’ and attempts to get inside her character’s mind. However, it is clear that Cinnamon is the stronger of the two and soon she begins to take over her hapless creator. The more Dawn writes about Cinnamon, the more powerful Cinnamon becomes and soon the line between reality and fiction blurs. Cinnamon is about to break free from the pages and invade Dawn’s life, transforming it forever.
Just Add Spice is a light-hearted read but hidden beneath the humour is the stark reality that life is short, relationships are complicated and not always what they seem and most importantly, opportunities should not be wasted.
I have been very fortunate in my life to have had some wonderful ‘spicy’ adventures. (No, I’m not talking sex here!) It is important for us all to continue to inject enthusiasm into our lives and relationships, whether that be through taking up new challenges, or having a once-in-a-lifetime experience. You should attempt to spice things up every now and again. You’re not thinking about sex again, are you? Dawn does. How does she attempt to rouse her husband? Well. Let’s just say, it’ll make you gasp.
I am someone who loves playing about with words. The title, as do all my titles, serves a dual purpose. Think “sugar and spice and all things nice…” and you’ll be getting close to it. Cinnamon’s mother used the rhyme to name her daughter after a spice, but of course, life changes Cinnamon into a dark character. Obviously, Dawn desperately needs some spice in her life. Put the two together, add a sexy male love interest, read the end of the book and you will have the answer!
Carol E. Wyer is an award winning author whose humorous novels take a light-hearted look at getting older and encourage others to age disgracefully.
Her best-selling debut novel ‘Mini Skirts and Laughter Lines’ won five awards for humour.
‘Surfing in Stilettos’ which follows the further adventures of Amanda Wilson as she attempts to inject some fun into her life, was a Costa Award nominee.
Safkhet Publishing released ‘How Not to Murder Your Grumpy’ June 1st 2012, the first of three books in a ‘Grumpy’ series.
Carol has featured on numerous shows discussing ‘Irritable Male Syndrome’ and ‘Ageing Disgracefully’. She has had articles published in national magazines such as Woman’s Weekly’ and on-line magazines. She writes regularly for The Huffington Post and author website Indies Unlimited.
She is a signed author with ThornBerry Publishing and Safkhet Publishing.
Win a spot on a writing course with KerisStainton! The winner of the giveaway will have the choice of one of two fabulous online courses:
Writing for Teenagers
Want to write a novel for teenagers? This 6-week online course will help you come up with inspired ideas; create believable characters; write convincing dialogue; grab readers right from the first page and keep them hooked to the last.
Beyond The First Draft
An 4-week online course to help you move on when your first draft is done.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Giveaway closes 30th November 2013. KerisStainton reserves the right to alter the times of this giveaway at any point. Add a little spice to the bedroom with Carol’s essential kit: Pink handcuffs, I (heart) Spice Underwear and some lovely Old Spice aftershave. a Rafflecopter giveaway
Giveaway closes 30th November. UK Only.
Win a signed paperback copy of Just Add Spice and have your very own personalised copy of the book readers are saying “you can’t read quick enough.“
Giveaway closes 30th November. UK Only.
Named after Olson twin, Mary Kate is chasing her dream to work in the TV industry. But bills need to be paid, so she takes a job as an assistant to the general manager of TATS-Total Access Total Sports in hope to transfer to BH Network, and get her dream job. Stucked with making copies for the boss, she meets William Cumberland, British Media Mogul, who recenly bought a part of TATS. Now, he is her new boss, and she is his personal assistant.
Mary Kate is not looking for a relationship. The previous ones ended badly, so she tries to focus on her carrier as well. The last thing she wants to be is like her mother and sister. She loves them both very much, but there is more to life than being married and having children. A woman can have her own career too, doesn’t have to give up anything.
William stays away from relationships too. He’s had enough of women who are after him only for his money. Money that he earned by working very hard. Raised in family where parents had their two sons just to say that they have a family, he decides not to be like them, not to have a family without love. But when he meets Mary Kate, the walls he built around himself start to fall.
I loved both Mary Kate and William as characters. I loved their texts which they were sending to each other all the time, their support for each other, the way they chose gifts for each other. The romance between MK and WC (they sign their texts with initials) is so cute and innocent. They are just so adorable as a couple.
Baring in mind this is a debut, I have to say Ms. Ellis did an amazing job. She points out the differences between the Americans and the English in such a lovely way, while not offending either of the sides. Just to mention, Mary Kate is American and William is English.
I really enjoyed reading this lovely romantic story. It’s pretty much a modern version of Cinderella, handsome prince included. Ms. Ellis is definitely an author to watch out for and I’m already looking forward to her next books. Speaking of which, I wonder when is a new one coming out. Let’s hope it’ll be soon.
My rating: 4.5/5
Kelli is about to celebrate her 25-th birthday. Seems a briliant modeling career is ahead of her, and her boyfriend Grant is going to propose. Everything appears to be perfect for her. Until one day she wakes up and comes to realization she is 25 years older and even has wrinkles! Not only her appearance is changed and she seems to aged over night, but now she’s married to William and has two kids. Oh, nd she’s soon becoming a grandmother too. What a nightmare!
What a hilarious read! I laughed so much I have the feeling my face still hurts. Finding herself in the future, Kelli has to learn to live with modern technology, like e-pad and Foogle. She can’t even shower in the modern bathroom, too many buttons. She doesn’t know what happened during the last twenty five years, and has no idea how she aged over night.
The story reminded me of that movie “Thirteen to Thirty” and I loved that movie.
Kelli is a girl who appreciates only beauty, and suddenly has to live without it. Ironically, she needs to carry on living without the things she appreciates the most in life, beauty and youth. It’s pretty challenging and not very easy for her, but that’s what made this book so funny. I not only laughed but enjoyed seeing her grow and realizing there are more important things in life. Throughout series of situations and many LOL moments, Kelli is soon to discover who really loves her for who she really is. Can Kelli go back in time and change certain events or she is stuck in the future that is now her present? Life gives her a lesson, but will she learn from it? Is she ever going to be able to love and accept herself for who she really is?
If you knew the future, would you change the present? Would you make things different?
In a humorous way, Juliet Madison gives us a lesson about important things in life, apreciating the things we have and the people we care about. The story kept me awake late at night, it was that hard to put it down. I absolutely recommend this fabulous, funny and entertaining story to all chick lit and rom-com fans.
My rating: 5/5
And BOOM! Juliette does it again! Once again she made me fall in love with her characters and writing, not to mention the french hottie all of you will love.
This is not the best way to start a review? Excuse me? Have you ever read a book you thoroughly enjoyed? YES? Have you ever felt so immersed in a story you actually thought you’re one of the characters? You have? Have you felt so so sad once you’ve finished it and were craving for more? Aha! Then my friends, you completely understand me.
But then, you also understand my fears that my review is not gonna be good enough, that I won’t appear eloquent enough to express just how much I loved this book.
However, I’m gonna try, I really will try hard. So here we go..
Juliette Sobanet won my heart and became one of my favorite authors after I read her debut ‘Sleeping with Paris’ 2 years ago. It took her just one book to get on that list, and mind you, I’m not someone who gives 5* easily or uses the word ‘favorite’ that often. When I was given this book for a review, of course I was thrilled but nervous too, because I really had high expectations and I definitely wasn’t ready for a disappointment. Now, after reading it, I can only say this one is even better than her debut (and am really sorry I can’t give it more than 5 stars).
Chloe is getting married in a week, but her boss from hell tells her she needs to go to Paris on a business trip to back her up because she’s sick. Of course, Chloe feels like she doesn’t have a choice, she loves her job as an event planner and she’s absolutely sure she’s gonna be laid off if she doesn’t go to Paris. It’s just couple of days actually, and she’d still have enough time to get home in time for the wedding (and before her family and fiance strangle each other).
But all does NOT go to plan. What’s supposed to be a very brief stay and easy task turns into an international incident (well kind of). Police and agents get involved too. Lots of running, chasing, action and of course ROMANCE. Chloe thinks she only lost her passport and money in Paris, but could it be she’s also losing her mind over absolutely yummy and charming Julien?
I think I said more than enough about the plot to get your interest. It’s fast paced and I promise you won’t be bored even for a minute. I kept flipping through the pages intrigued to find out what will happen next. Is Chloe gonna ever leave Paris? Will they arrest her? Will she make it to her own wedding? Lots of action and twist and turns you won’t expect.
Chloe is such a lovable character. I could feel all her insecurities, her dilemmas, her fears. I cheered for her, I wanted her to have her HEA because she really deserved it. To be quite honest, I really can’t say if I liked Chloe or Julien more. Julien is an amazing guy, someone everyone would drool over. He’s protective (in a good way), caring, funny, gorgeous…AND FRENCH! I shall quote Juliette here “Seems that French man are a different bread!”
As much as I loved the romance part I admit I was literally blown away by the friendship between Chloe’s mother and Magali from Paris and their history. I totally didn’t expect to cry, but I did. It’s a fantastic story within a story, giving the book a completely new dimension and depth.
It really is a page turner and am wholeheartedly recommending it to anyone! You’ll love it I’m sure.
My rating: 5/5
“There’s a place in my heart that forever is free
for the person you made me, who I long to be
there is a place in my soul that forever is gold
where time has no meaning and we grow no old”
Gabriela was working in her home office. She could see the green from her window. And there on the bench there was always a couple of elderly people. Always holding their hands together. But one day they weren’t there, nor the day after. Couple of days later, Gabriela saw the woman, alone. The old man wasn’t there, they weren’t holding their hands anymore. Curiosity killed the cat, so Gabriela took two cups of hot tea and went to see the old woman, to talk to her. She wasn’t prepared for that love story that melted her heart.
Isobel and James met when they were teenagers. Soon they started dating. They were together, no matter what. They were there for each other to heal eachother’s wounds. Isobel’s father got sick and after a short period of time died. Her mother was left all alone with small children, she got a job in a different town so they had to move. The entire world crashed down for Isobel, but James was there. They were exploring the world together. They were exploring sex together. And then James started to change. He became very jellous, very angry, very nervous. He cheated. The relationship was over. Isobel left, and soon after that James was diagnosed with brain tumor. His bad attitude was a consequence of the tumor.
Did the story intrigue you?
If you think that I revealed too much, you are wrong. It is just the beginning of the story. A story of ups and downs in life, of finding true love and keeping it save from the storm. Isobel and James’ story reminded me of that beautiful love story in “Notebook”. Their love survived through years, survived many separations and reunions. It wasn’t just story about everlasting love, it was a story for living the life, enjoying every single day you have.
My only complaint would be the graphic sex. I know that teenage sex is not taboo these days, nor I dislike sex scenes in a books, but somehow I can’t help but feel they don’t actually fit this romantic story so well. At least that’s what I think.
Overall, I really enjoyed this book. I liked the author’s writing and all the characters. This is really an excellent debut, perfect for fans of Nicholas Sparks and lovely romantic (even heart-breaking) stories.
My rating: 4/5
In the spirit of giving, six chick-lit authors present a charming collection of seasonal shorts sure to inspire holiday cheer, plus love and hope throughout the year, with all proceeds donated to Rocking the Road for a Cure!
On Friday 22nd November, Merry Chick Lit, a warm, funny Christmas anthology in aid of Breast Cancer Care, will be officially released.
Every penny of the royalties is going to Breast Cancer Charity, Rocking the Road to a Cure.
Rocking the Road to a Cure is dedicated to improving the quality of life of people undergoing the often energy-depleting and emotionally draining treatments for breast cancer.
The name comes from their founder and President, Dawn Frey, a musician, who learned through personal experience that “it takes a village” to get through the diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer, and not every individual has the support network they need.
Rocking The Road For A Cure provides free, in-home housekeeping, health and wellness services to restore strength and confidence, and to rebuild spiritual, emotional and physical well-being.
So, when you settle back and relax to enjoy reading Merry Chick Lit, please know that you have helped us help a breast cancer patient to also settle back and relax…and heal.
Featured authors & stories include:
In “Santa’s Gift,” journalist Jessica thinks Santa’s just a silly myth for children, so when he asks what she most wants for Christmas she tells him the one thing she knows he can’t deliver–true love. Or can he…?
In “The Christmas Lights,” one competition pits two families against each other…who will win this war?
Pretty Izzy knows exactly what she wants for Christmas: hunky sales manager Jake Harrington wrapped up with a shiny silver bow–and nothing else. Except Santa may have other plans in “Carol of the Belles.”
Nikki Mahood In “Spinster Christmas,” Cara’s looking forward to spending Christmas alone until she learns her old–and she believes very gay–crush needs a place to stay. Though it soon becomes clear that while still hot, Ronan isn’t gay after all…
Ella’s dreams of making a better life for her and her daughter seem further away than ever in “Iced Dreams.” But as Christmas approaches, and she wishes for a fairy godmother to wave a magic wand to fix her life, things begin to change in ways she never imagined!
In “The Mermaid,” Allie’s content to spend Christmas by herself at a vacant beach house to make good on a promise made to her true love lost, Jeff. Until Jeff’s gorgeous college roommate Tim crashes in on her with his own promise to keep…
So snuggle up near the fire, drink a glass of wine or a cup of cocoa and enjoy these festive holiday shorts, knowing your purchase of this book is helping women with breast cancer.
Today we have the pleasure to welcome lovely Jennifer Gilby Roberts to This Chick Reads. She’s the author of ‘The Dr Pepper Prophecies’, ‘Wedding Hells’ (a novella which we loved and is currently FREE TO DOWNLOAD, read our review here ) and ‘Flights of Nancy’. Today she’s here to talk about Mel, the leading character in ‘The Dr Pepper Prophecies’ and how (un)like they are. The stage is all yours Jennifer:)
People tend to think that you are the character you write as. I think it’s the same phenomenon where fans think that actors are the people they portray. I hope that’s not the case, since the last character I played (I do amateur dramatics) was a sexually aggressive witch. And before that I was a mentally ill woman living on the streets and feeling up sailors. But anyway…
Mel Parker, the lead character in my first novel The Dr Pepper Prophecies, is not me. We certainly have things in common – I don’t think I could write her if we didn’t – but we are absolutely not the same person.
We share a sense of humour, certainly. Like Mel, I tend to be snarky (I just discovered this word and I love it) inside my head, but not out loud. I certainly relate to her struggles to work out what she wants in life and how to get there. To be honest, I still haven’t resolved this issue. Instead I’ve neatly sidestepped it by becoming a stay-at-home mum. My job now is to keep my toddler alive. I realise that, if you don’t have one of your own, this may not sound like a full-time job. Believe me, it is. She firmly believes herself to be indestructible and has an internal radar that directs her straight towards trouble.
Fortunately, I don’t share Mel’s terminally bad luck. That’s just in because it’s funny. Plus it’s easy to write, because I just think of a scenario and then ask myself what could go wrong. Pretty much all her trials come out of my slightly warped imagination. Except the fermented hair spray – that actually happened. Though luckily not on the way to a job interview.
I’m not as hard on men as she can be, although when I wrote the first draft I probably was. Though unlike Mel, who’s had a string of lousy boyfriends, I just knew nothing about them (I was only 20 at the time). I still don’t, since my husband cheerfully ignores everything I thought I knew about relationships. Especially the ‘attraction fades after the first couple of years’ rule. I swear that man will still be groping me on his death bed.
Where was I? Oh yes, how unalike we are. Well, I did work in an insurance office processing claims (and found it every bit as riveting as Mel does), although only as a temp. I am addicted to chocolate, though my days of still maintaining a good figure seem to be over. I’ve never tried matchmaking though. Mostly because my romantic instincts are non-existent. Unless someone comes up to me and goes ‘I fancy you’, I won’t know. I’d be utterly useless as cupid.
So, in summary, we’re totally different people. Except…
About Jennifer Gilby Roberts
Jennifer Gilby Roberts has a degree in physics and a postgraduate certificate in computing, so a career writing fiction was inevitable really. She was born and grew up in Surrey/Greater London, but now lives in Richmond, North Yorkshire with her husband, small daughter, two middle-aged cats and a lot of dust bunnies.
Taking care of her daughter is now her main job, but previously she worked many thrilling jobs in administration. In these she learned the real truth of business: that every successful executive would be lost without their PA.
She can also be found getting red-faced at zumba class, reading historical porn (as her husband calls it – Regency romance to the rest of us) and humming nursery rhymes while going round Tesco. Her current obsessions include toffee crisp bars, Costa fruit coolers and the TV show Torchwood.
JGR writes chick lit novels and short stories featuring sweet (occasionally sexy) romance, dry humour and things going tits-up. They will especially appeal to fans of Sophie Kinsella, Marian Keyes and Jane Costello.
Her first novel The Dr Pepper Prophecies is a laugh out loud romantic comedy, best described as Jane Austen’s Emma with Bridget Jones in the lead.
After Wimbledon, her second novel – about making big changes, falling in love and tennis – is due out late 2013.
She would like to thank everyone who’s reviewed her work.