Practice Makes Perfect by Julie James
This cute chick lit book features two senior associates, Payton & J.D., who are both vying for a single partnership position. Of course, hijinks and spark fly as the two compete with each other. This novel is surprisingly funny to the point where I giggled out loud a couple of times. The best part was the dialogue, not just between the main characters but also when those characters were talking to others. It was witty and sarcastic. I also liked the character of Payton. She is a strong, independent woman who can hold her own versus J.D. Overall, romantic and fun.
Bet Me by Jennifer Crusie
Minerva Dobbs just got dumped by her boyfriend. So when she overhears her now ex-boyfriend betting serial dater Calvin Morrisey that he can’t pick her up, Min is just furious enough to let Calvin win the bet. She didn’t expect Cal to win her over with good food and even better kisses. Bet Me was amusing, romantic and witty. I especially liked the banter between Cal and Min. Ms. Crusie’s writing style is fresh and her characters were fun and believable. Overall, it is good way to spend a couple of hours.
The Avery Shaw Experiment by Kelly Oram
Avery Shaw just got her heart broken. She finally told her best friend, Aiden, that she’s in love with him and he responded by asking for space to be with his new girlfriend. Ever the scientist, Avery devises an experiment to see if the five stages of grief—denial/bargaining, guilt, anger, depression, acceptance—can help her overcome a broken heart. Avery enlists the help of Aiden’s older brother, Grayson, to be her impartial observer. She thinks he’s in it just for the extra credit but Grayson has more in mind than just science. The book seems to send the message that a shy, science-geek girl needs to be “fixed” which is another example of societal pressures to be extroverted. Yet, I couldn’t put it down. Once, I put aside my views on introvertedness, the story was so cute and captivating that I read it in one sitting. I particularly liked the main female character, Avery. Sure, she has problems and broke down into tears several times but she was also doing her best to be better and could still hold her own versus Grayson. She gave off both senses of strength and vulnerability which made her more real than some of the other female protagonists that I’ve read lately. And Grayson is just as swoon-worthy as a chick-lit main male character should be. He was genuinely caring and fun. Overall, for me this was a much-needed win in the chick-lit/light romance category.
Summer at Castle Stone by Lynn Marie Hulsman
Shayla Sheridan needs to get away. She’s just lost her job and her book deal. So what could be bad about a summer at a castle in Ireland? Shayla snaps up an opportunity to ghost write a book about Castle Stone’s reclusive chef Tom O’Grady, even if he doesn’t know she’s writing it. Summer at Castle Stone was just not very good. The main character, Shayla, became increasingly tiresome with her complaints and pining. Her character is also incredibly wishy-washy. The love interest, Tom O’Grady, is not much better. He’s rude and closed off and does not really change even after Shayla gets close to him. The chemistry between the two characters also felt off. It was missing the build up and falling in love phase. I found myself much more interested in the subplot involving Tom’s mother, who was a charming character, and the Earl of Castle Stone.
The Runaway Princess by Hester Browne
Review: The story reminded me of a British version of the movie “The Prince and Me.” I liked this book despite the fact that it moved a little too slow for my taste. It had a likable heroine and a charming hero. Despite the excess story, it was still entertaining and had a satisfying chick lit ending.
The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith
Total Reading Time: 2.5 hours
Review: This book covers one day in the life of Hadley Sullivan as she travels to and attends her estranged father’s wedding. At the airport, Hadley meets Oliver, a cute British boy who is on the same flight. As the consummate romantic, part of me wishes Ms. Smith focused more on the budding relationship between Hadley and Oliver and less on the father/daughter drama. But, I don’t want to be a Monday morning quarterback, so I’ll say that this is a sweet book about true love, second chances and family.
Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
Total Reading Time: 3.5 hours
Review: I will admit that before my current endeavor I rarely read books of “substance.” I’m glad to say that I’ve learned my lesson and will make a concerted effort to read more non-fiction books going forward. However, there’s really nothing like an easy, escapism yarn which brings me to this week’s assignment. Yes, as a consummate chick-lit book, I’m most likely right inside Ms. Perkins’ target audience (although probably toward the higher age range now but that’s a whole other discussion), yet I still found that I couldn’t put this one down. Highly enjoyable!