23/02/2015

Chick-LOL Awards 2014: Funniest Books of 2014




 

Everyone who reads this blog knows there’s one thing I never joke with! (Sadly, it’s not punctuation) It’s humour. I love a good laugh. And these books, trust me, start the rumble of laughter way below your belly (——half of the time I do not understand my own expressions so bear with me).

The Chick-Lol Awards celebrates the funniest titles of 2014. (Check out 2013’s winner).

Book Number T



















Book Number I




















Book Number L




















Book Number K




















Book Number C




















Book Number I




















Book Number H




As you can see, a letter is missing. Because I am down to only one chick-lit title of 2014 which all the reviews said was hilarious. So I am waiting to read it and see if I could include it on this list or pick another title that fell out of the shortlist.

BUT BY FAR, The Funniest, Rib-cracking entertaining Chick-Lit of 2014, goes to Kathy Lette’s Courting Trouble.

Book Review: Saving Grace by Jane Green




MY SYNOPSIS
Imagine This: You have the perfect life. The perfect marriage with a best-selling author. The perfect daughter who’s almost engaged to the sweetest guy. A perfect assistant who makes your life looks, um, yes, perfect and seem seamlessly glamorous.

A perfect life. At least on the outside.

You might head charities. You might always be in style sections of magazines labelled ‘Most Stylish’. You might have the weight every woman your age would dream of. The face that keeps anti-ageing as Forties rear its head.

Your perfect life is being held by its perfect seams. Till your godsent assistant leaves.

No one knows the moment you get home and drop your keys on your kitchen counter, you are terrified your husband is still in a fit. No one knows you are scared shitless of your husband’s tantrums and dread the day the vases he flings against a wall might accidentally crush into your face. No one knows your husband is a complete lunatic when he doesn’t get what he wants. And no one knows you are terrified. Terrified, not only by your husband, but by the fear of becoming… JUST. LIKE. YOUR. MOTHER. Terrified by the fear of becoming severely manic.

You need a new assistant quick. Someone to hold it all, so your life seems perfect again.

Fortunately, you get one soon enough.

She’s too perfect she’s a dream come true. But this perfect stranger, wants your perfect life. And you’d bloody go through hell to a) realize, b) stop her before it’s too late and c) convince everyone your mother never passed off her genes to you.

Grace Chapman’s perfect life torn to imperfect shreds for your delight.

MY REVIEW
I loved, loved this book. So you know in my review I’d be yelling at you to go get it, don’t you?

My experience with Jane Green’s style came from Swapping Lives. A book I happily devoured… till it’s owner demanded her book back! (Apparently, it was a taboo to enjoy her book than she would WHEN SHE HAD NOT EVEN BOTHERED READING IT!)

I adore the storyline to this title. Woman is terrified of her husband. Woman’s perfect life is almost dissolved by her husband’s tantrums when their perfect assistant leaves. Woman introduces a new assistant into their home. Assistant might be bent on claiming everything Woman has. Or is Woman just being paranoid like her husband says? Love, love, love it! A star to the storyline.── ★

One thing about Jane Green’s writing, you fans already adore is her approach to the very difficult omniscient point-of-view in present tense(!) It gives this solemn quality to her titles and enhances her communication of the dense themes she seems to portray in her titles. A star.── ★★

You’d absolutely revere Grace Chapman. I do love highly composed women in their forties who exude grace under pressure and do a great job of bottling it all up so no one is privy to what goes on indoors in their homes. But how much more could you take before you finally crack? Amazing character! You would love her poise, her perfect image as society’s perfect wife. You would probably not relate to her, but you’d be enamoured of how she manages to keep it all under control without a flip switching off in her head (yet). A star to Grace.── ★★★

Other characters make this novel the literary engaging masterpiece it is. There’s Sybil, the friend who’s far from perfect, far from a size ten, far from polished and far from looking like she has it all under control like our lead (Grace). There’s also Ted, Grace’s husband who switches from complete jerk and lovely husband in a split second. There’s Clemmie, the perfect daughter who’s engaged to the perfect guy. There’s Lydia, the woman who taught Grace the number one thing that brings her joy: cooking. There’s Patrick, the adorable childhood friend who possibly still carries a torch for Grace (or has Hollywood already done his head in and made him a complete moron? but why would Grace care?). You’d also love-to-hate Beth, the assistant who at one time, Grace considers heavensent, then the next is contemplating if she’s wearing a mask over hellish features. A star to these characters.── ★★★★

Don’t you love Women’s Fiction that’s highly analytical? Women’s fiction that gives you a deeper insight into issues all you women face? Moreover, women’s fiction that offers you recipes for making meals that are sure to make your blood pressure go down a notch when you are feeling intensely worried?── ★★★★★

Suspense, check.

My rating: Five/Five stars (5/5 stars).

Saving Grace is available on amazon. Get it, and while at that, scoop all the other Jane Green titles you haven’t picked up.

I recommend this book to anyone who loves a book with a lovable, relatable, enviable heroine. I recommend this book to anyone who wants their Women’s Fiction laced with lessons they could learn and pass on to friends. Anyone who is fan of Jane Green should grab this as she doesn’t disappoint with this title. The perfect book for a group of women to sit around a brunch table and discuss.


My work not done here. Off to post my review on Goodreads

17/02/2015

Book Review: The Year of Taking Chances by Lucy Diamond




MY SYNOPSIS

Imagine This: It’s New Year’s Eve, your husband has putting down purchase on a massive property which would now be called your new home. And he’s throwing a mega-party inviting all family, friends, acquaintances, and well, everybody.

With lots of booze, canapés and laughter, the party is fun contrary to what you envisaged. There you meet in two newcomers in your tiny, country village and you three bond over fortune cookies and the shitty, crappy messages in them.

Three, two, one. Happy New Year! Resolutions made, you are about to embrace the New Year with style and much more commitment to becoming a size six (not that you have ever seen that weight on you all the forty years of your life).

But who knew the crappy messages in your fortune cookies would turn to reality? Who knew tragedy would strike and your perfect family would crumble? No one to help you restore the hope you had for the New Year, not even your mum dying her hair in Ibiza, getting a tattoo and a nose ring who only shows up when she’s broken up with another boyfriend.

If only your new friends didn’t have problems on their own. On another side of the country, it turns out their fortune cookies also weren’t lying at all.

Gemma’s, Caitlin’s and Saffron’s hellish new year summed up for your delight.

MY REVIEW
I loved, loved this book! So you know in my review I’d be urging you to make your own fortune cookies and wish your life to crumble to the barest so you could pick the pieces all up and learn valuable New Year lessons, don’t you? (Crazy, I know!).

I absolutely adore Lucy Diamond. Sadly, One Night In Italy, her previous work, had only been my introduction to her amazing-ability! Now, I have this book to add to my LUCY DIAMOND TITLES YOU CAN’T FORGET (BUT CAN YOU REALLY FORGET ANY?) shelf.

Brilliant storyline. The whole thing with the fortune cookies. The whole thing with the perfect or remotely perfect lives deteriorating to absolute nothingness. It’s amazing the way Lucy Diamond crafts her stories and star, star, star, star to the storyline(s).── ★

The three main characters are off the hook! Gemma, Caitlin and Saffron! Utterly engaging! I do say I have never read anyone who handles multiple-character third-person point-of-view like Lucy Diamond excels in it. No, this is not your kind of story where all the characters are the same except for different names and different husbands! You would love Gemma for being the take-charge mother coming to the rescue when everything else is broken down. You would love Caitlin for her humorous humour and her ability to doubt what she wants for the New Year and go for it (much like us!). You would also love Saffron the no-nonsense girl in PR who knows how to give a verbal lashing to just about anyone who’s ‘lost the plot’. A star to all the characters.── ★★

Oh, and are there absolutely fantastic supporting cast as well? Karen, Gemma’s mum who loves to put down anyone within a mile radius every time she’s back in town. You would love Spence, Gemma’s husband who’s a moron for most part of the book. There’s also the adorable Darcey, Gemma’s daughter who never fails to point out when her mum is looking and acting weird. Will, Gemma’s sulky teenage son who’s taken up smoking (but really, haven’t they all?). In Saffron’s life, you would hate Charlotte, the PR boss who always takes pride in stealing the accolades of her employees to herself and posting cheerful messages on her wall to boost employee morale {TOGETHER WE CAN MAKE IT (my arse!)}. There’s Bunty, the opinionated D-list celeb who’s always calling non-stop for someone to pick up her laundry and making talk show hosts stay fifty metres from her reach for fear of being slapped for an offensive joke. In Caitlin’s life, you would adore Harry, the hot bloke who is going by a ten-date rule and trying not to begin the New Year for almost marrying someone again (about the tenth time). Loads and loads of fab characters I do not want to lengthen my review about… BUT HELL! It’s my blog! You would love Bernie, the pub owner who’s a total hottie for celebs who’ve ‘lost the plot’.  A star!── ★★★

Humor, check.── ★★★★

Suspense, check.── ★★★★★

Tear-jerking and swoony moments, check.── ★★★★★

My rating: Most definitely a five/five star read! (5/5)!

I feared I was going deep down into the four-star title rut, but this book saved it all! Now I know it wasn’t just me finding I needed a little extra with a book. This book had more than extras!

Lucy Diamond’s fan-freaking-tabulous latest, The Year of Taking Chances is available on amazon.

I recommend this book to anyone who loves an amazing New Year title to get back their groove on! Anyone who wants to read women’s fiction packed with warmth, humour and lots of heart should also get this title! And just about anyone who’s had their lives scammed by a fortune cookie they failed to believe!


My work not done here! Off to post my review on Goodreads!

09/02/2015

Book Review: Don't Tell The Boss by Anna Bell




MY SYNOPSIS
Imagine This: You are happily married to the man of your dreams. You’ve put your act together and quit gambling. You idle at work blogging about planning weddings on a tight budget. You and your husband are trying to move up to stage six of your life plan, the baby stage. Everything in your life is running smoothly.

Until one of your blog followers pleads with you to plan her wedding. You are more than psyched. You are ecstatic. Your very first wedding. But your husband isn’t pleased. You guys are supposed to be planning for a baby and he doesn’t think you or the (yet-to-be) incoming baby could cope with the stress. Just this one wedding, you tell him.

It goes smoothly, thankfully, despite a few glitches with the music (——Beyoncé’s Single Ladies for the wedding march). A wedding guest sees your effort, and wants you to plan her wedding on a budget too for double the amount your first bride is paying you. An offer you cannot refuse. But your husband has other thoughts even though he knows he has no right to stop you from doing whatever that makes you happy.

A crazy bride who won’t stop calling you during work hours discussing a million ideas she has for her wedding, a husband-to-be you are acquainted with who entreats you to keep a secret from his fiancée despite your reluctance, mentoring a gambling teenager who would see some progress if only she ever looks up from her cell phone once in a while, and now a possible promotion at work keeping you on your feet, in competition with another co-worker and spending less time with your husband.

You are keeping a secret from the bride, you are keeping your wedding planner business from your boss, and there’s also the issue of your period showing up every month though you and your husband keep trying.

Penny Robinson’s crazy hours summed up for your delight.

MY REVIEW

I liked this title.

Despite it being a sequel to the author’s previous work, Don’t Tell The Groom, it fits as a perfect standalone with a unique storyline. So Girl is juggling between two jobs, moonlighting, and struggling not to keep secrets from her husband as he hates it. If only Girl could take a break, and spend more time with her husband, there’d be higher chances of her having a baby. If Girl could plan a wedding on a tight budget for a bride who always shows up for brunch with the season’s latest designer labels and accessories, she’d feel accomplished. A star to the storyline.── ★

Penny Robinson is a star. If she ever had a literary sister, it should be Becky Bloomwood. Funny, optimistic, has a soft spot for Vera Wang wedding dresses and Kurt Geiger shoes, utterly charming! You would love her voice, her admiration for anything quality and cheap (much like you!), her tendency for being the peacemaker in every situation, and the ever-complicated adventures she finds herself on without asking for them.── ★★

Other characters in this title made it a blast. You would love Henri, the obsessive bride who’s particular about little details like her dog being the ring bearer. You would love Beth, the teenager who’s addicted to nicking credit card details and gambling away hard-earned money promising herself she’d pay back after winnings that never come.── ★★★ 

You would also adore Gilles, the cold boss who loves assigning Penny with challenging tasks. Shelly, the competitive co-worker who loves teasing Penny with treats the former cannot resist. Louise, the friend who faintly remembers her encounter with Henri’s Husband-to-be. Baz, the army retiree who loves channelling his frustration on corporate men and women in his camp for team-building activities. There’s also a troublesome co-worker who doesn’t believe in armies and wouldn’t want to cooperate wearing army gears on team-building trips. A star to these characters.── ★★★★

Humor, check. Suspense, check.

My rating: Four/Five stars. (4/5 stars)

Do not fail to get Don’t Tell The Boss on Amazon and also check out the latest in Penny Robinson’s adventures coming out this month, Don’t Tell The Brides-To-Be.


I recommend this book to anyone who loves their chick-lit funny and Kinsella-esque. Anyone who wants tips on how to plan their weddings on a tight budget should grab this title as every chapter begins with posts from Penny’s blog with so many helpful (and——shockingly——practical) tips. Anyone who loves chick-lit that has an adorable main character they’d love to see do a comeback over and over again, should also pick this.


My work not done here. Off to post my review on Goodreads.

02/02/2015

Blog Tour: 'As Good As It Gets?' by Fiona Gibson






MY SYNOPSIS
Imagine This: You are now a mum of two. With your sometimes adorable, most times cold husband gainfully employed in your unkempt (referred as that by your neighbours) garden, planting, uprooting and mowing moodily early in the mornings. Your job as the publicist of a crisp company might not be bringing the big bucks in, but it’s sure putting food on the table, stacking your cabinets with rejected crisps and preventing you guys from taking a much-needed family holiday (thanks to the non-holiday permissible wages).

If only your hormonal teenage children would value what you offer and not stalk off right into their rooms when you ask them about their day. If only your husband would value you enough not to flinch when you touch him intimately in bed.

New neighbours come in. Your daughter’s curiosity sinks in——she wants to meet her real dad. The dad who run off right when you got pregnant and was so cowardly he let his mother write a letter to ditch you on his behalf.

You have suspicions your husband has a thing for the woman who’s just moved in with her family. An email from your ex drops in to shatter your world. But of course, your husband might be secretly nursing a crush on the new neighbour next door. And that is justification enough for you to reply your ex’s email after months of wondering what might have been. Then more emails come in.

Charlotte’s life summed up for your delight.

MY REVIEW
I was reading this book in a very public place on campus where students settle among trees, lawns and ringed benches to mostly embark on their romantic objectives for the semester. A guy walked up to my bench to start a conversation about a writing programme he was chairing ‘since he saw I was interested in books’. He said to me, “As Good As It Gets, what a funny title.” I glared daggers at him after he was done with his message. I certainly will not be going for his writing programme knowing he clearly hasn’t heard of chick-lit. (Oh, and before you judge he said it in a snobbish, deprecating way. As though he could teach me how to make better, boring titles.)

I liked this book.

The storyline isn’t fresh. But of course, penned with Fiona Gibson’s wit, intact comparisons and humour, it’s not hard for fans of Fiona to warm up to this. Girl is facing glitches in her married life. Girl is undergoing the stress of being a model mum. Girl is trying so hard to keep her family financially stable. Girl wonders if her husband might be having inappropriate thoughts about the saucy neighbour next door. Girl keeps wondering if her life would have been more perfect if her ex had stuck with her.── ★

Charlotte is a character to fall in love with. She’s what most mums out there call relatable. With her tendency to focus too much on details, her amazement at how her sex-life has petered out, her constant resolution to get out running and lose some weight, her appropriate comparisons of situations of parenting, middle-life, her lack of a sex life, to others you could nod your head to and just agree.── ★★

You would so love Ollie, Charlotte’s adorable son who loves to chat science and make light of every situation. You would love Sabrina, the saucy new neighbour who loves to give away sex tips for the middle-aged lacking a sex life. You would love Gloria, the mother-in-law always a phone away suggesting ridiculous job offers for her son.
Some ridiculous and gasping situations at work, home, and her daughter’s modelling agency, a few OMG moments, and a curiosity to find out what happens at the end, keep the reader absorbed in the tale.── ★★★

I enjoyed this book. But yet last year I wrote a glowing review of Fiona Gibson’s Take Mom Out because it was absolutely amazing (every centimetre of it!). This book falls short of the glory of her previous work. If it was pacey enough, it would have been marvellous like how Take Mom Out (which was highly pacey) had been.── ★★★★

So my rating: 3.5 stars.

Fiona Gibson’s latest could be purchased on amazon.

I recommend this book to any woman out there wondering what might have been if the love of their lives had remained or not, any woman wondering how she’d cope when her children stop doing stuff with her and turn grumpy or not, any woman who loves their chick-lit centred on relatable characters in relatable life situations. And just anybody who needs something not lacking in warmth, humour and depth.

My work not done here. Off to post my review on Goodreads.