Friday, July 25, 2014

What's in the mail

Melissa A:

Twisted Straight by Elizabeth E. Zerman

When You Make it Home by Claire Ashby from Red Adept (e-book)


Winter Street by Elin Hilderbrand from Hachette


It Had to Be You by Ellie Adams from Transworld

Beautiful Day by Elin Hilderbrand  from Hodder & Stoughton


When We Fall by Emily Liebert from Sarah Hall Productions

Gravel on the Side of the Road by Kris Radish from BookSparks (e-book)

Ameera Unveiled by/from Kat Varn

Book Review: Pretty in Ink

By Gail Allison

There's a shakeup going down at Hers magazine, and it's affecting everyone from the Editor in Chief right down to the mailroom guy. Readership and ad sales are down, so Louisa (the old editor-in-chief) is out and Mimi (the new) is in with a vengeance. Everyone knows that a new boss means a new staff, but no one knows how that's going to work. Will Mimi keep the well-oiled cogs that are the current staff in place or will heads begin to roll? And how will everyone react to all the changes?

Pretty In Ink by Lindsay Palmer walks us through the inner workings of a women's magazine. We get to see firsthand the tug-of-war between journalistic integrity and what headlines actually get that glossy grabbed at the grocery store. We see the quiet war waged between staff who are used to doing things the old way, and those who have embraced (whether willingly or not) the new way.

This story jumps from character to character, and from department to department in every chapters. It's a unique way to get a number of viewpoints across, and can feel a bit muddled at points (more than once I had to stop and think about who was actually narrating this chapter), but once you get into the rhythm of it, it's an interesting way to tell a story, for sure. You get to see everyone's attitude towards the new boss, and watch some people come around, see Mimi woo some people to become her new work BFF, and feel the knots of tension in your stomach when some of them get that awful call to go upstairs and see HR. Their unique personality quirks and way of narrating helps keep the characters separate for the most part, and from chapter to chapter you get to watch the same story unfold, but from a whole spectrum of viewpoints. In fact, looking back on this novel, the story kept progressing at a formidable rate. The host of voices used made it feel like nothing at all, though.

I found Pretty in Ink to be quite captivating. Ms. Palmer definitely draws on her experience in the magazine industry to provide realistic situations (and people, most likely) throughout the novel. None of the situations seemed to be too far removed from what I imagine everyday life is like at a magazine, and as soon as I got a grasp on which character was whom, I settled in and enjoyed the story as it was told through the many different characters. It might be a little optimistic to call it a "beach read" due to the sheer quantity of narrative voices used (if you accidentally took a nap mid-chapter you might have to go back and re-read to figure out whose story it was), but it's definitely an enjoyable novel that you'll have trouble putting down.

If you've ever wondered what goes on behind the gleaming smiles and glossy covers of newsstand magazines, you won't want to miss this novel!

Thanks to Kensington for the book in exchange for an honest review.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Spending summer down under with Liane a book giveaway

The weather here in Chi-town has been unusually chilly this summer.  Since I prefer cooler temps for running, this hasn't been a problem for me. However, not everyone shares my love of summertime highs in the high 60s/low 70s.

Though the US, along with other countries around the globe, is currently experiencing summertime, today's CLC guest is in the middle of a rather cold winter.  That's right, author Liane Moriarty lives in Australia, but that's not stopping her from celebrating the summertime season with us.

Liane hasn't always been a full-time writer.  She's had a variety of careers including a stint in marketing and advertising.  Liane is now a full-time author.  In addition to writing a children's series, she has written six novels.  One of those novels is the soon to be released, Big Little Lies. Thanks to Putnam (Penguin), we have FIVE copies for some lucky US readers!

So please join me in giving Liane a warm CLC welcome!

What makes summertime in Australia unique and special?
(First let me say I forgive you for making me think about summer when it’s FREEZING here in Sydney.) I decided to outsource this question, as I think only an outsider can say what’s unique about Australian summers, so I asked some expat friends from the UK. They rhapsodized for ten minutes straight about the beauty and wonder of our long Australian summers. “You Australians do everything outdoors in summer,” they said. “It’s such an outdoor lifestyle!” I felt proud as if I was personally responsible for our outdoor lifestyle (even though my husband has been known to say, “Put down that book and come outside!”). Then my friends began to chuckle at the elaborateness of our BBQs and picnics: the food, the equipment, the tablecloths, and I still felt proud but kind of embarrassed about the tablecloths.

Which book do you feel best embodies summertime?
The first book that came to mind was an Australian classic I read as a child called Ash Road by Ivan Southall. It was written in 1966, the year I was born, and it’s about a group of children who accidentally start a bushfire. I don’t remember much about the story except that it was completely gripping and terrifying and just thinking of it makes me smell summer in Australia.

The one thing I do during the summertime that I don’t do any other time of the year is:
Allow my morning-person husband to drag me and the children out of our beds early on a Sunday morning for a trip to the beach. “You’ll thank me!” he says, chirpily, annoyingly, but he’s right, it’s always worth it.

My favorite summertime guilty pleasure is:
The second almond croissant for breakfast on the beach. (I don’t feel guilty about the first one. I had to get up so early for it!)

I know it’s summertime when:
I can’t touch the steering wheel in my car because it’s so hot.

Favorite summertime food:

Thanks to Liane for visiting with us and to Putnam for sharing her book with our readers.

~Introduction and interview by Tracey Meyers.

How to win: Use Rafflecopter to enter the giveaway. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

US only. Giveaway ends July 29th at midnight EST.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Reader Spotlight: Living for "Today"

This year, we're doing "Reader Spotlight" posts on a bi-weekly basis. We want to feature readers who have been actively following CLC for a while. We're hoping you can get to know some new friends this way. One of the joys of having CLC is that readers have connected with each other, as a result. That's one of the reasons it was started up in the first bring chick lit fans together from all over the world! We've made some amazing friends because of this blog and we hope you'll get to do so too!

If you'd like to be spotlighted sometime this year, please contact us.

See our previous Reader Spotlight posts.

Note from Melissa A: Michele and I instantly hit it off when she started following CLC. She's so friendly and fun to e-mail with. We have similar tastes in chick lit novels, so it's fun to share recommendations with each other. The icing on the cake is that she recently sent me a present for my birthday, which was unexpected and very thoughtful! Michele is a great friend to have in your corner, so I hope you'll take the time to connect with her! Her wedding anniversary was earlier this week, so send some good wishes her way. She can be found on Facebook.

Name: Michele Davenport-Burdick
Age: 45
Location: Bakersfield, CA

How did you find Chick Lit Central: I discovered Chick Lit Central on Facebook, through friends and authors I was following. It's a wonderful site to discover new authors and to see who is reading what.

Top FIVE favorite Chick Lit novels:
I have numerous favorite authors who I've become pretty good friends with, so I don't want to exclude anyone.
1. Emily Giffin's Something Blue
2. Jane Porter's Brennan Sisters Trilogy- The Good Woman, The Good Daughter, and The Good Wife.
3. Laura Spinella's Beautiful Disaster and Perfect Timing. (I had to mention both here as they are equally awesome-sauce!
4. Sarah Pekkanen's The Best of Us
5. Jane Green's Tempting Fate

What do you do when you're not reading? 
Writing. I think reading and writing go hand in hand. I read a lot and write a lot. I'm in the middle of writing my first novel and I appreciate authors so much more now as writing is a very tedious, time-consuming process.

Another fun fact: In March, I was asked to appear on The Today Show LIVE with Kathie Lee and Hoda for a Google hangout with the fabulous author, Jane Green. It was like chatting with old girlfriends and an experience I will never forget.

Book Review: Your Perfect Life

Best friends since childhood, Casey and Rachel couldn’t lead more different lives. While workaholic Casey rubs elbows with celebrities daily as the host of Gossip TV and comes home nightly to an empty apartment, stay-at-home mom Rachel juggles an “oops” baby, two fiery teenagers, and a husband who barely seems the man she fell in love with two decades before. After an argument at their twentieth high school reunion, Casey and Rachel throw back shots to get the night back on track. Instead, they get a life-changing hangover.

Waking up in each other’s bodies the next morning, they must figure out how to navigate their altered realities. Rachel is forced to face the broadcasting dreams she gave up when she got pregnant in college, and Casey finally steps out of the spotlight to face the real reason why she’s alone. And they soon discover that they don’t know themselves—or their best friend—nearly as well as they thought they did. (Synopsis courtesy of Amazon.)

Amy Bromberg:

I met Liz Fenton and Lisa Steinke on Facebook through their blog Liz and Lisa (formerly Chick Lit is Not Dead). They are such colossal chick lit cheerleaders. I had the pleasure of meeting them at Book Expo America 2013 and they're just so nice. So of course when they announced that their manuscript was bought by Simon and Schuster, I was so excited for them and had to read it!

Have you ever wished you had something someone else did? Have you ever been jealous of someone else or of the things they had? Have you ever wondered what it would be like to live that person's life for just a couple of days? I know I have. No, this is definitely not a productive way of thinking, but sometimes we just can't help ourselves. Your Perfect Life reinforces the old saying "The grass is always greener on the other side."

I enjoyed both Casey and Rachel's characters. I'd love to work and be around celebrities all the time like Casey does. And how about getting to go to parties and events and having a huge walk-in-closet like Carrie in Sex and the City? What girl wouldn't like one?!? In regards to Rachel, I can't imagine juggling three kids and all that entails.

The story made me miss my best friend Emily. A few years ago she moved to Maryland and since then I haven't went down to visit her. I have to make a point to see her very soon because after all you have to do whatever it takes to make sure your friendships last.

What I took away the most from this story is that we need to be happy and grateful with what we have. Someone else's life might look grand from the outside, but you don't know what happens behind closed doors. Also cherish your friends because life isn't the same without them. Your Perfect Life is a winner, and you must pack it in your beach bag!

Melissa Amster:

I also have connected with Liz and Lisa both online and in person. I read a previous book that they had self-published a few years ago called The D Word and enjoyed it a lot. So I was more than excited to hear that they had another chick lit novel coming out and that it was surreal in nature. (I love surreal books!) I even got my hands on an advanced copy at the beginning of the year and devoured it right away. It instantly set the bar for my 2014 chick lit reads.

I loved everything about Your Perfect Life and am still raving about it. The word "perfect" sums up the entire novel. It's like Firefly Lane meets Freaky Friday. Rachel and Casey remind me of myself and my best friend. I definitely am the Rachel in our relationship and could relate to her the most. We both have three kids and sometimes wonder if we took the "safe" route in life. I'm sure it would be fun to have Casey's lifestyle, but I'd also miss my kids a lot, even though there are times that I just want some peace and quiet. I was away from them for two days and all I could think about was them.

Throughout the story, I smiled and laughed often, and even cried, which I was not expecting to happen. It even inspired me to write a fun story for my personal blog. Your Perfect Life has cemented a spot on my list of 2014 favorite chick lit novels.

Of course, this novel was just begging for a movie cast! Liz and Lisa had their own ideas, but here are mine:

Casey: Charlize Theron (she's really the only one I pictured in this role, even though I like the idea of Elizabeth Banks too.)
Rachel: Maria Dizzia (She plays Piper's best friend Polly on Orange is the New Black and I immediately pictured her when Rachel was introduced into the story.)
Charlie: Peter Sarsgaard (He just seems very cute and lovable.)
John: Patrick Wilson (He has that suburban husband appeal.)
Destiny: Xosha Roquemore (One of the nurses on The Mindy Project. I think she could give some fun energy to this part.)
Audrey: Sarah Hyland (My go-to "teen" for book casting. She plays Haley on Modern Family.)
Sophie: Abigail Breslin

Thanks to Liz and Lisa for the book in exchange for an honest review.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Down by the sea with Patti Callahan a book giveaway

We are pleased to feature Patti Callahan Henry today, as she has recently published The Stories We Tell. She's here to revel in the summer with us, and thanks to Sullivan and Partners, we have one copy to share with a lucky US reader!

Patti Callahan Henry grew up in Philadelphia and moved south with her family when she was 12 years old. With the idea that being a novelist was “unrealistic,” she set her sights on becoming a pediatric nurse, graduating from Auburn University with a degree in nursing, and from Georgia State with a Master’s degree in Child Health. She left nursing to raise her first child, and not long after having her third child she began writing down the stories that had always been in her head. When her first child was six years old, she told Patti that she wanted “to be a writer of books” when she grew up. That made Patti realize that writing was her own dream as well. She began taking writing classes at Emory University, attending weekend writers’ conferences, and educating herself about the publishing industry. Her first book, Losing the Moon, was published in 2004. She has since appeared in numerous magazines including Good Housekeeping and Southern Living. Two of her novels were Okra Picks and Coming up For Air was selected for the August 2011 Indie Next List. She is a frequent speaker at fundraisers, library events and book festivals. Patti lives in Mountain Brook, Alabama with her husband and three children, and is a full-time writer. You can find her at her website, Facebook and Twitter. (Bio adapted from Patti's website.)

Synopsis of The Stories We Tell:
Eve and Cooper Morrison are Savannah’s power couple. They’re on every artistic board and deeply involved in the community. She owns and operates a letterpress studio specializing in the handmade; he runs a digital magazine featuring all things southern gentlemen. The perfect juxtaposition of the old and the new, Eve and Cooper are the beautiful people. The lucky ones. And they have the wealth and name that comes from being part of an old Georgia family. But things may not be as good as they seem. Eve’s sister, Willa, is staying with the family until she gets "back on her feet." Their daughter, Gwen, is all adolescent rebellion. And Cooper thinks Eve works too much. Still, the Morrison marriage is strong. After twenty-one years together, Eve and Cooper know each other. They count on each other. They know what to expect. But when Cooper and Willa are involved in a car accident, the questions surrounding the event bring the family close to breaking point. Sifting between the stories—what Cooper says, what Willa remembers, what the evidence indicates—Eve has to find out what really happened. And what she’s going to do about it. (Courtesy of Goodreads.)

Favorite thing about summer:
No early alarms to get kids off to school in a frenzy.

Annual summertime tradition:
Beach! Water!

Favorite water activity:
Reading in a hammock somewhere near a river, lake or sea.

Have you been to the Renaissance Faire? If so, what was your favorite thing about it?
I've never been, BUT I must put this on my schedule!

Time to barbecue...what will you be grilling?
Fish -- usually fish that one of my boys caught.

Favorite ice cream flavor:
Caramel. Anything with caramel.

Thanks to Patti for visiting with us and to Sullivan and Partners for sharing her book with our readers.

How to win: Use Rafflecopter to enter the giveaway. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

US only. Giveaway ends July 28th at midnight EST.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Cooling off with Lindsey a book giveaway

Photo by Rachael Wright
We always enjoy having Lindsey Kelk at CLC. From her "I Heart" series to her standalone novels, she epitomizes chick lit in a fun, lighthearted, and humorous way. She's here today to talk about summer with us. Thanks to Harper Fiction (UK), we have TWO e-books of her latest novel, What a Girl Wants (sequel to About a Girl) for some lucky readers anywhere in the world! (UK winners have the option of a print version.)

You can find Lindsey at her website, Facebook, and Twitter.

Synopsis of What a Girl Wants:
Tess Brookes was the girl with a plan.

Now she’s the girl with a choice.

Should she stay in London and start her own advertising agency with her best friend and potential boyfriend Charlie? Or should she head to exciting Milan to pursue both a new career as a photographer and a new man, the enigmatic and elusive (and highly irritating) Nick?

For the first time, Tess has to choose between the life she always dreamed of and a future she never imagined possible. With her heart and her head pulling her in different directions, Tess has to make a life-changing decision about "What a Girl Wants." (Courtesy of Lindsey's website.)

Annual summertime tradition: 

Favorite summertime beverage: 

Favorite water activity: 
Does sitting in the ocean and refusing to move count? No? Sigh.

Favorite carnival game: 
Hook a Duck! I used to be pretty good.

Favorite summertime memory from when you were growing up: 
Climbing onto the top of my granddad’s shed with my brother and cousin.

Favorite chick lit novel that takes place in the summer: 
It’s not technically chick lit but Paula Danziger’s Remember Me to Harold Square will always be one of my favourite books, however old I am. It’s about a New York teen’s summer adventure in her own city and it made me fall in love with NYC years before I ever visited.

Thanks to Lindsey for visiting with us and to Harper Fiction for sharing her book with our readers.

How to win: Use Rafflecopter to enter the giveaway. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Worldwide. Giveaway ends July 27th at midnight EST.

We may be the last stop on the tour, but stop by the other blogs too!