Category Archives: Chick-Lit

3 Reasons I fell in Love with Anna and the French Kiss Series

So it’s official, I went and fell in love with the Anna and the French Kiss series within approximately 5 hours, after finally (months behind everyone else) jumping on the bandwagon to read. My hands were literally glued to Anna and the French Kiss, which I kept promising myself “one more chapter before bed” and ultimately forgoing sleep to consume the whole book. I read the first two books within the space of a day, and then decided I needed to draw myself away and lasted all of around a week, before succumbing to the calling of Isla and the Happily Ever After. (Oh, and mentally slap myself every time I read Isla phonetically rather than Ey-la – I have problems with saying that name as much as I love it!).

Love-Potion

By the point I reached the end of Isla, this was me; entirely star struck. What on earth had I just undertaken, reading contemporary, fluffy young-adult literature, finding genuine meaning, love, friendship and just all around elation?

So here begins my list of reasons to love the series, rather than composing a review for a set of books most of you have probably read/heard about, and you are honest to god bored of reading another mundane review.

1. THE CHARACTERS

I would literally compare how I feel about all the main characters: Anna, St. Clair, Cricket, Lola, Josh and Isla to how I feel (very nearly) about the Harry Potter characters. They are not perfect, they do have issues and they may not honestly be everyone’s cup-of-tea, however I found them quirky, relatable, fun and most of all likeable. Stephanie Perkins makes real effort to flesh out her characters, give them all backstories and connect them all in different ways, despite the fact that many of them end up living in different cities. Beyond these 6 main stars, she also brings in a plethora of secondary characters to support each individual, add more dimension to their character and make you understand them a little more.

Hermione-Ron-Luna-Ginny-Harry-Neville-harry-potter-7785816-500-277

Just sayin’, six awesome characters here, six awesome characters there..

I can literally probably talk your ear of for a good hour about these characters, but I am going to pick one as my favourite. I have to say it has to be Isla, there was just so many times when I connected with her and understood her.

“Because I thought no one could love me.”

“And why did you think that?”

“Because I didn’t think I was worth loving.”

Hattie takes this in. And then she hits me in the stomach. I yowl in surprise, and she hits me again. “Don’t be stupid.”

Ow.”

“Everyone is worthy of love. Even a dumb sister like you.”  – Isla and the Happily Ever After

YEAH SHE MAY BE A BIT OF A DORKY, INSECURE IDIOT AND YOU WANT TO SLAP HER HERE, but that is okay, I did too and I am EXACTLY the same kind of person. Like seriously, Isla and her nerves (okay, I’m not nearly as bad, but sometimes I do stupid things and make situations awkward). Her doubt of herself, her continual pushing that things are not good enough (school nerd here), and just generally everything about her. Also her inability to handle painkillers – totally me.

“Oh, shit.” I tuck up a leg and smack my kneecap on the table. “Am I acting that loopy?” – Isla and the Happily Ever After

There were so many aspects that I loved, but the part that made me applaud Perkins more was that she made Isla realise who she was without Josh. SHE DID NOT NEED A BOY TO FIND HERSELF. WOOOO FOR FEMINISM. YES. GIRL YOU CAN DO WHAT YOU WANT, GET WHAT YOU WANT AND THEN STILL FIND THE BOY LATER.

Anybody gathering that Isla and the Happily Ever After got five stars from me on Goodreads yet? Winking smile

“The more you know who you are, and what you want, the less you let things upset you.”

And I realise…it’s okay. It’s okay if St. Clair and I never become more than friends. – Anna and the French Kiss

Although Isla is not the only book that Perkins does this in, she started it at the very beginning with Anna. SELF-REALISATION FOR THE WIN!

tumblr_mxh5sdbEjt1rs5d04o2_500

2. THE SETTING

P6261728P6261732

“looks like a fantasyland castle – wet sand dripped through fingers, both sharp and soft. Bright construction lights are everywhere, and workers are tinkering around its massive spires in dangerously tall cranes.” – Isla and the Happily Ever After

I mean, I literally visited Barcelona this summer, I saw the amazing Gaudi’s church. (My beautiful photography *laughs* – it’s just so tall and I’m so small, there is undoubtedly neck cramp here. Yes it’s also the background of my blog!). THIS IS WHERE ISLA AND JOSH WERE. I mean, I literally love the fact that I was there, and so were they (I do remember they’re fictional, okay). Barcelona has to be one of my favourite European cities, it is just so beautiful. I think this has to also be why I connected to Isla and the Happily Ever After so much more.

We’re splashing towards the heart of Barcelona. Red- and yellow- striped flags – some with the blue triangle and star of independence, some without – hang everywhere from apartment balconies, soaked with storm. The city’s appearance is distinctly Western European, but it’s also filled with colourful architecture and steep hills. Palm trees and leafy trees. Purple vines and red flowers. – Isla and the Happily Ever After

Not to mention Paris, I love Paris. It has been a long time since I visited, but I have plans to go back next year and the majority of the setting was in Paris. It is such a beautiful, romantic city. Just downright being set in Europe won me over from the start because most YA contemporary teen fiction is set in America, and I don’t mind, but occasionally, I want something different, something European.

3. THE ROMANCE

Oh, Etienne St. Clair where are you? Oh, Cricket, the boy next door and Josh the troublesome artist.

I definitely have to say I found it hard to pick between love interests. As much as I loved Isla and the Happily Ever After, I do not think Josh was my favourite love interest. And whilst I think I loved Lola and the Boy Next Door the least out of them all, I do think Cricket was my love, the nerdy boy next door who cared about Lola and only wanted the best. There was just something so geeky and loveable about him.

I know you aren’t perfect. But it’s a person’s imperfections that make them perfect for someone else.Lola and the Boy Next Door.

I mean – weeping – somebody come sweep me off that feet with such a line? Perkins just seemed to make it so effortless when she sweeps you off your feet with her beautiful way with words, and carefully crafted romantic proposals.

Perkins does not just craft an easy boy + girl = fall in love and happily ever after. She brings in the fact that people fall in love with people in a relationship and are afraid to leave them when it doesn’t work, but why? She talks about how we might be too afraid to step from our comfort zone. How we might appear to others, but is that truly us? I think despite the fact that this is contemporary romance and at times, fluffy, there are real issues that she tries to deal with subtlety and with love and attention that makes reading these books such a beautiful experience.

“Mademoiselle Oliphant. It translates to ‘Point zero of the roads of France’. In other words, it’s the point from which all other distances in France are measured.” St. Clair clears his throat. “Its the beginning of everything.”

I look back up. He’s smiling.

“Welcome to Paris, Anna. I am glad you’ve come.” – Anna and the French Kiss

There are just far too many quotes to take from all these books (I realise I have taken probably lots from Isla in comparison to Anna and Lola, but there was just something magical about that book for me. 

large

How could I resist the charms of these three guys?

Okay, I will admit this series is not perfect and it seriously has its imperfections, but there is just so much to love. So much beauty in her writing.

But I don’t want to give you this broken, empty me. I want you to have me when I’m full, when I can give something back to you. I don’t have much to give right now. – Lola and the Boy Next Door

This is me and how I am currently feeling towards any other book. This is The Absent Historian signing out on a serious book hangover, after falling in love with Anna and the French Kiss, Lola and the Boy Next Door and then having her heart confiscated by Isla and the Happily Ever After.

Now go read it if you haven’t already.

Advertisements

14 Comments

Filed under 2010 Publication, 2011 Publication, 2014 Publication, 4 Books, 4.5 Books, 5 Books, Chick-Lit, Contemporary, Dutton, E-book, Romance, Stephanie Perkins, Young Adult

Wallbanger

WallbangerWallbanger by Alice Clayton

Series: Cocktail #1

Genre: Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Chick-lit

The Plot
Wallbanger is a light, entertaining and humorous read, following the journey of Caroline who upon moving into a new apartment discovers her neighbour is quite the man! He in fact, is often found making nightly noises (I’m sure your imagination can fulfil the gap for now) with several different women that definitely hits the wall and is heard through the wall since Caroline and the mystery ‘Wallbanger’ share a bedroom wall she is also kept up nightly. The plot unravels from there following the journey of Caroline, her relationship troubles, her neighbour and the novel builds upon the premise of an unlikely relationship forming between her and the ‘Wallbanger’.
The Review
Wallbanger is one of those novels that is light, fluffy and pure entertainment! There is very little that is serious about this novel and it serves to be the perfect escape romance. However I do fear that the novel is very much based upon taste in terms of the humour which is obviously different amongst individuals. Personally I am not a massive chick-lit fan, but I engaged well with Wallbanger and although near the end I had a tendency to skim a little bit, overall I found myself immersed in the story.

Caroline had a solid character and personality that made her almost certainly a likeable character.  She likes to cook and bake, and she’s an interior designer who is proud of her job and this is evident by the hard work she puts in. However I did not really feel like she really brought this into her own home and I felt like we could have sensed more of her personality throughout the novel. There were moments where I felt she also had a tendency to fall into emotional dramatic scenes that were rather unnecessary in my opinion and did frustrate me. In addition to that, I felt like the strength of her character drained a little by the end of the novel and she was not nearly as strong as at the start. This disappointed me a little because I felt like it would have made the last part of the novel much stronger.

The ‘Wallbanger’ himself is quite the enigma and not as he first appears. He was incredibly suave, kind and caring and not at all what you first expect. I actually really liked his character and at moments he found himself floundering with Caroline who refused to give him a chance or hear him out entirely. However his persistence is certainly something that is a strong redeemable quality and maybe a very romance novel based quality!

I fear this novel could not be complete without the trusty pet, the cat, Clive. He certainly makes a strong addition to the humour and I found myself enamoured with him. I feel that novels without animals these days appear to be a little incomplete as they always tend to round character with their unexpected antics and Clive certainly is a pesky little devil, but a loveable one. In addition to this, Caroline was clearly a loveable owner and that showed throughout the novel and this affection is certainly the right way to portray pet owners, so Clayton is given both thumbs up here!

The plot, well it basically centres on the romance of the ‘Wallbanger’ and Caroline, but it does not just appear out of nowhere and that is the strong element of Wallbanger as chick-lit because it creates a friendship and emotional connection between the two that builds up over time. In addition to this, there are several plot strands to the romance that interweave and give it a little more substance.

Overall, Wallbanger is a solid addition to the chick-lit genre, and admittedly it won me over to a genre I don’t usually venture into. I can see that Wallbanger will not be everyone’s cup of tea, but I enjoyed it and I am certainly tempted by the future sequel to see where things go even for a novel that is not perfect. If you have a spare few hours, I recommend giving it a chance since you might just find you enjoy it after all!

Favourite Quotes

“No woman has ever done breakfast bread foreplay the way you do.
Ha! When you coming?
Can’t. Drive. Straight.
Can we have one conversation when you’re not twelve?
Sorry, I’ll be there in 30.
Perfect, that will give me time to frost my buns.
Pardon me?”

“The girl next door was meowing. What in the world was my neighbor packing to make that happen?
Clive, at this point, went utterly bonkers and launched himself at the wall. He was literally climbing it, trying to get where the noise was coming from, and adding his own meows to the chorus.”

Rating: 3 / 5 Stars

Goodreads ~ Amazon UK / US ~ Author’s Website

8 Comments

Filed under 2012 Publication, 3 Books, Adult, Alice Clayton, Chick-Lit, Contemporary, E-book, Omnific Publishing, Romance

Semi-Charmed Life

Semi-Charmed Life

Semi-Charmed Life by Nora Zelevansky

Genre: Chick-lit, Romance, Young-Adult, DNF

Published: July 3rd 2012 by St. Martin’s Griffin

In Nora Zelevansky’s hilarious debut, Semi-Charmed Life, an Upper West Side naïf, Beatrice Bernstein, gets swept up in the seemingly magical life of socialite Veruca Pfeffernoose, while ghost writing her blog. Veruca’s glitteringly opulent world soon seduces Beatrice away from her own insular, arty family with a promise of fancy parties, travel outside Manhattan (for once) and one desperately cute guy. But when her new glitzy lifestyle starts to take on dark undertones, Beatrice has to decide who she is—once and for all. With her own magical touch, Zelevansky deftly explores the world of rarified Manhattan in this sparkling modern fairy tale of first love, finding one’s voice and growing up

My Review:

I was stepping out of my comfort zone in picking up another ‘Chick-Lit’ novel particularly because my experiences with them have never been very good and they are not books I like. Generally I really ABHOR ‘Chick-Lit’. However, I felt that Zelevanksy’s novel deserved a chance and it could be one to make me fall in love with a genre that I do not like. I think that feat was a little too much to expect.

I want to emphasise now this book was NOT BAD at ALL. It just really wasn’t for me. It was well-written, it contained humour, even some that I could appreciate, but ultimately I found myself thinking ‘why am I reading this?’ when Beatrice started getting involved in Veruca’s high-fashion life, I couldn’t cope with the next reference to a party or a new outfit.

The start had enthralled me, when poor Beatrice had been stuffed into a basement room under the housing association at college and there were horrible, beastly bugs and a knight in shining armour to save the bugs who Beatrice thought was coming to kill her. It was all rather amusing, sadly, this novel didn’t take a direction that would gather my personal interest.

There was an element of romance developing between Beatrice and her “knight in shining armour” although I’m not sure about the direction of the romance since I didn’t finish the book, but I think it would certainly make for an interesting read. The romance wasn’t overpowering the story-line, but in this novel, I think with me I would have read more if I had seen a stronger thread of that romance. However it is there and I think a lot of people could enjoy it.

The writing style flowed well, it was really easy to read and get into and I actually read the first 20% really quickly, but the further in I got with this novel, the more I realised it wasn’t my kind of style. I’ve been putting off writing this review for a few weeks now, thinking I’d be able to try again and get into the novel since I enjoyed the writing style, but unfortunately I haven’t been able to and I’m giving it up as a bad job.

I didn’t understand the modern “fairy tale” element, however I think this will become clearer further into the book. Don’t underestimate this book, because I think Zelevanksy could have a real gem for her debut novel here. She’s also really lovely, since she contacted me and was really friendly about everything and we discussed my lack of enjoyment for the novel and she talked about how the fashion elements was meant to be humorous and whilst I saw this it wasn’t my kind of humour. I thought it was really diplomatic and nice of her and I encourage you all to give this book a chance.

This really wasn’t my cup of tea and I think I’ll be staying far away from ‘Chick-Lit’ to stop any more good authors having me hate their books because of the genre.

2 books

More stalking available here:

Let me know what you think!

11 Comments

Filed under 2 Books, 2012 Publication, Chick-Lit, DNF, E-book, Nora Zelevansky, Romance, St Martin's Griffin, Young Adult

The Book of Tomorrow

The Book of Tomorrow

The Book of Tomorrow by Cecelia Ahern

Genre: Chick-Lit, Adult

Published: 2010 by HarperCollins

This is a story about how tomorrow can change what happens today…

Tamara Goodwin has everything she ever wanted and she never has to think about tomorrow. But suddenly her world is turned upside down and she has to leave her glamorous city life for a new one in the country. However, Tamara is soon lonely and longing to return home.

Then a travelling library arrives in the village, bringing with it a mysterious leather-bound book locked with a gold clasp and padlock. What Tamara discovers within its pages takes her breath away and everything starts to change in the most unexpected of ways…

My Review:

Let’s say this was the second time I attempted to read this book and I only made it through because I was reading along with somebody else. Otherwise, I probably would have marked this book as a DNF. As it was, it got a second star only for the last 10% which had a little more, action, but still did not redeem any of the characters or the story. This is my first Cecelia Ahern book and it’s not giving me a great impression, so I believe it will also be my last.

Let’s start with the main character Tamara Goodwin. The name Goodwin is incredibly ironic because there is nothing “good” about this girl, she is spoilt, selfish, downright mean and pretty stupid at times. Whilst the story is narrated from Tamara’s perspective, she is a more changed and mature person. However because most of the time we fall into the Tamara of the present you can’t really see this “new” Tamara and even by the end connecting the narrator and Tamara herself is an impossibility. The two do not form any resemblance and Tamara shows little change as a character that makes it impossible for me to like her. Not at any point in the story did I like her, and the fact that she seemed to garner several love interests for an incredibly horrible girl is absolutely abhorrent. What is so attractive about this girl?!

“Yes, Tamara. Now that’s enough questions. You know curiosity killed the cat.’ She smiled briefly before leaving the kitchen.

‘Boredom killed the fucking cat.’ I shouted at the closed door.”

What kind of person talks to their aunt like this? She never changes and whilst her aunt was neither a likeable character or sane, it still didn’t mean she had to be treated this way. Her aunt reminded me of a Meerkat a lot, because she seemed to scurry around and she was always looking out for something. She was suspicious and she certainly wasn’t a likeable person. Along with most of the characters in the story, none of them seemed to be likeable.

There was only one who I actually liked and that was Sister Ignatius who had a more developed character than Arthur who I liked at times, but lacked any real personality or characterisation to his character.

Sister Ignatius was friendly and a little strange, but she was kind and true and she never lied. Out of all the bundle of the characters she was the only person that remotely had redeemable qualities as a person and she brought a touch of humour to the book. She probably is the reason this story even gets a rating.

“Write what’s up there,’ Sister Ignatius pointed at her temple, ‘and what’s in there,’ she pointed at her heart. ‘As a great man once called it, “a secret garden.” We’ve all got one of those.’

‘Jesus?’

‘No, Bruce Springsteen.’

Besides disliking the characters, the plot was slow and dull. We get such a focus on this book from the title and the synopsis and then really it takes very little action in the whole story. I felt that as a whole the plot would have developed from more of the book and if Ahern had taken a stronger hold of this idea and really allowed it to drive the book. This was what I was expecting and totally what I didn’t get, which really annoyed me!

Not only was the plot slow and cumbersome, but there were numerous plot holes and loops that just didn’t make sense and it became really annoying to follow and spot them out. When reading this as a read-along I think these plot holes became more obvious and only served to damper the little enjoyment I got from this book.

To me, reading this book was certainly more of a chore than an enjoyment and it was not my book. I don’t read a lot of chick-lit as it is, but this has really pushed me away from the genre. Personally, I’ll be steering clear of this book and Ahern in future and would be happy to drop this book down at the charity shop and see the back of it.

2 books

More stalking available here:

Let me know what you think!

6 Comments

Filed under 2 Books, 2010 Publication, Adult, Cecelia Ahern, Chick-Lit, HarperCollins, Paperback