Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Winners of "On the Island"

To find our winners, we assigned a number to each entry (from only those that included contact info) and asked Random.org to pick FIVE numbers.

Congrats to:
42-Samantha R (scr15)

Reminder: If you have won a book, you have about 48 hours to claim it by sending your contact information. (You will be e-mailed if you have won, as well.) After that time, a new winner will be picked.

Thanks to everyone for participating and telling us your favorite Elton John songs. "Your Song" and "Candle in the Wind" were very popular amongst our readers. It was nice to see some "Tiny Dancers" in the mix too.

Thanks to Tracey for chatting with us and to Penguin for sharing the books with our winners.

Check out our latest giveaways and also enter ones from other blogs and websites on our giveaways page.

Guest Blogger Book Review: Something Blue

By Miriam Plotinsky

Most women are notoriously complex creatures, much to the dismay of our male counterparts. We are, as the song says, “a little bit of everything all rolled into one.” So when a writer comes along who is adept at uncovering the nuanced layers of the female psyche rather than offering up a black-and-white portrayal of insipid shallowness, we treasure her work. Emily Giffin is such a writer. She refuses to see her characters as Disney-esque forces of good or evil. Rather, she succeeds in making them painfully human.

In "Something Blue," the follow-up to Giffin’s "Something Borrowed," we are once again faced with Darcy Rhone, a selfish and hyper-competitive shrew who is every girl’s nightmare. Those of us who identify with Rachel, Darcy’s ex-best friend and all-around good girl (who, with Giffin’s trademark line-blurring, has an affair with Darcy’s fiancé in the first book), take perverse pleasure in Darcy’s flaws. Despite her good looks, she’s highly insecure, mainly because of a self-perceived lack of intelligence. Darcy has always been the prettiest girl in any room, one who immediately judges other women based on their beauty in relation to hers. But aside from what’s on the surface, Darcy has very little confidence, and her sense of self is thrown into even greater turmoil when she realizes, early in the book, that her ex-fiancé has fallen effortlessly in love with Rachel, who is far less pretty than Darcy, but has much more going for her.

The realization that she can’t have whatever she wants coupled with a thoughtless pregnancy sends Darcy into a downward spiral that destroys her relationships with those closest to her, namely her baby’s father and her own parents. Desperate and alone, and no longer the most desirable catch on the New York dating scene thanks to a growing baby bump, Darcy runs away to London to live with her childhood friend Ethan, a man of substance who is highly wary of any involvement Darcy might have in his life. He is, among other complications, best friends with Rachel, who Darcy has treated like dirt since they were five, and he also takes pleasure in art and culture, while Darcy’s favorite form of entertainment is blowing her rapidly dwindling funds on expensive clothes at Harvey Nichols. As Ethan watches Darcy compromise her pregnancy by continuing to drink alcohol in copious amounts as she pretends that the life growing inside her is hypothetical, his disgust for her increases to such a large degree that we, too, begin to lose patience with Darcy’s disregard for her baby and herself.

However, after a beautifully written rant in which Ethan honestly yet harshly maligns Darcy’s many faults to her face, all of the good qualities that were initially scratching the surface in her character, like her loyalty to her friends or her scrappy determination to be the best version of herself, start to rise to prominence. While Darcy’s transformation is too quick and too thorough to be absolutely believable, it is appealing. All of us have a Darcy within us in the aspects of ourselves that we’re too ashamed to think about or admit to. Seeing her change is not only satisfying for the sake of the book’s plot; it also gives us hope that we, too, can strive for better and heal the wrongs we’ve done, only to emerge triumphant in the end.

Ultimately, we want to know if Darcy and Rachel will ever be friends again, a delicate question that Giffin handles with dexterity. It’s hard to ignore the fact that Rachel has committed an absolute wrong against Darcy, and as the reader becomes increasingly empathetic of Darcy’s plight, we feel both her pain and Rachel’s as they try to mend what may be a permanently broken friendship. Both that part of the plot, as well as the growing relationship between Ethan and Darcy, mark the book’s finest moments. Though the novel may appear from the outset to be about Darcy’s search for true love, it is really about friendship and what makes people stay in one another’s lives even after seemingly insurmountable betrayals occur.

After all, Giffin is an expert at exploring those gray areas. She knows that no person is all of one thing, and the fact that she can make her readers love Darcy by the book’s end is proof of her skill. Even more impressive is that even after Darcy changes, we feel a partial sense of longing for the old Darcy to come back, the one who’s obsessed with keeping her Jimmy Choos clean in the rain while forgetting herself enough to completely destroy a Chaiken sundress in another bout of rain, just to have sinful sex. It’s these realistic contradictions in her character that ultimately make Something Blue not just a riveting sequel, but a superior follow-up to its predecessor. Rachel is all of us, an everywoman, and we identify with her, but that makes her a little boring. Darcy is who we could be if we were bolder and took more risks, and in the end, she’s the one we want to read about.

Miriam Plotinsky is an English and creative writing teacher. She lives in the DC/Metro area with her husband and three kids, who occasionally give her the time she needs to write and eat sushi. She is also our runner-up from the review associate contest (a.k.a. The CLC Project), and this was her entry.

More by Emily Giffin:

Lydia Netzer is a rising star...plus a book giveaway

Photo by Katie Weeks
**Giveaway is now closed**

Today we welcome Lydia Netzer and her debut novel SHINE SHINE SHINE. Lydia was born in Detroit and was educated in the Midwest. She lives in Virginia with her two home-schooled children and mathmaking husband. When she isn't teaching, blogging, or drafting her second novel, she writes songs and plays guitar in a rock band, The Virginia Janes. Talk about fitting in with this month's theme right?!?

Thanks to St. Martin's Press, we have FIVE copies of "Shine Shine Shine" to give away to some lucky readers anywhere in the US and/or Canada.

Visit Lydia at her website, blog, Facebook and Twitter pages.

Favorite genre of music:
My favorite music is girl rock -- I love P.J. Harvey, Throwing Muses, Kirsty MacColl, and The Muffs! More recently I am enthralled by Imogen Heap, Dar Williams, Missy Higgins.

Favorite duet:
I love "Come What May," sung by Ewan MacGregor and Nicole Kidman from the movie Moulin Rouge. I love the simple transparency of the words, the mad abandon with which they sing it, and everything about it.

Song you danced to first at your wedding:
There was no dancing at my wedding! My fundamentalist parents would have had some sort of nervous breakdown. Had we danced to a song, it would have been "Noah's Dove" by 10,000 Maniacs. Because we were like in love and stuff.

Song you would sing at karaoke (even if forced):
My go-to song for karaoke is "Don't Cry For Me Argentina," Madonna's version, and I don't have to be forced.

Favorite music video (from any time period):
Best music video of all time, by far, is "Man-Size" by P.J. Harvey. Right about 1:10, she begins to school the world on how to rock.

Favorite country song:
My favorite country song is "Until Now" as performed by River Phoenix in the movie The Thing Called Love. This movie also had Samantha Mathis, Sandra Bullock, and Dermot Mulroney. Why has no one ever seen it? The version of this song that's on the soundtrack is crap. But the version in the movie, for some reason, is gorgeous.

Favorite Broadway song:
Okay, this is completely unreasonable and only connected to memories that are attached to playing pit orchestra for this musical, but I have to say it's "I'll Never Say No To You" from The Unsinkable Molly Brown. Thinking more rationally, I'd have to say "I Am The Model of a Modern Major-General" from The Pirates of Penzance. Yes, that's much the better answer.

What song are you proud to know all the lyrics to?
Well, I don't know all the lyrics to "Modern Major-General," that's for sure! Probably I'm proudest I can sing "Here and Now" by Letters to Cleo (another great karaoke choice, by the way). I also used to dress just like that in the 90s! Cut offs and black tights, boots, ponytails, the works.

Special thanks to Lydia for rocking our world and to St. Martin's Press for sharing "Shine Shine Shine" with our readers.

How to win "Shine Shine Shine":
Please comment below with your e-mail address. (Please note: Entries without an e-mail address will NOT be counted. You can use AT and DOT to avoid spam. Or provide a link to your facebook page or blog if you can receive messages there.)

Bonus entries (can be listed all in one post):
1. Please tell us: What is your favorite song from a Broadway musical?
2. Follow this blog and post a comment saying you are a follower (if you already follow, that's fine too).
3. Post this contest on Facebook or Twitter or in your blog, and leave a comment saying where you've posted it.
4. Join Chick Lit Central on Facebook. Edit settings if you don't want to receive a lot of messages at your e-mail account. Please read our posting guidelines as well. (If you're already a member, let us know that too.)
5. Add a friend to our Facebook group. (Tell us who you added.) Be sure to remind them to edit their settings.

US/Canada only. Giveaway ends August 5th at midnight EST.

Book Review: A Girl Like You

By Melissa Amster

Did you get a déjà vu feeling from the heading of this post? If you were here in the beginning of 2011, you might be asking yourself, “didn’t she review a book with this title before?” And you would be correct! So I was a bit hesitant to read another book with the same title, given that the cover art didn’t really stand out for me (I like people on covers as opposed to designs). However, when I read the summary, I just had a feeling that this would be something I’d enjoy. And I would be correct on that belief!

Emma Frazier is a journalist for a Florida lifestyle magazine and tends to second-guess her writing talents, no matter how much praise she receives. She also second guesses her appearance, and after being called the “ugly friend,” she questions whether she’ll stand a chance at potentially dating her boss, Ben Gallagher. In an impulsive move to capture his interest, she promises an exclusive interview with a NASCAR legend from her hometown, Trip Monroe. In order to connect with Trip, she takes a journey to her past by spending more time in Catfish Cove. However, getting access to him is proving to be a challenge. While she’s back home, she learns new truths about her family and love and realizes the importance of staying true to oneself.

As I started getting into Maria Geraci's latest novel, “A Girl Like You,” I couldn’t help but recommend it to my friends. I had no idea what the outcome of the story would be, but I just knew I’d love it the whole way through. Emma’s voice was so comfortable and easygoing. She felt like a close friend and I could easily see myself spending time with her. Emma was kind to her friends, family and co-workers. Did this make her a bit of a doormat? Yes, but a lovable doormat! When she did stand up for herself, well, watch out world! She had a strong sense of integrity and felt she owed it to herself and others to do the right thing. I loved watching her interact with the people in her life…her mothers with their sandwich hug approach, her two closest girlfriends, her romantic interests, and the people she worked with on a daily basis, including her crush object of a boss. The dialogue was genuine throughout the story and never became stale. There were lots of surprises and the story would go in a direction I wasn’t expecting several times, which kept me on my toes. I probably could have done without the imagery of Cow Chip Bingo, but to each their own!

“A Girl Like You” had an Ugly Betty feel to it overall. I loved that show and Maria Geraci was able to access the warm, fuzzy, “comfort food” feelings I got from watching it every week and put them into a book. I couldn’t help but make comparisons between Emma and Betty. They are both attractive, even though they don’t come off that way all the time and usually become self conscious; they both work for a magazine and want to focus on important stories instead of the fluff; they both are kind-hearted and good to everyone in their lives; they both have hot bosses and manage to snag other attractive guys, etc. I even pictured America Ferrera playing Emma in a movie version of this novel, just based on some descriptive clues.

If you’re looking for an intense drama, I hate to disappoint you, but you won’t find it in “A Girl Like You.” It’s a sweet, happy-go-lucky piece that was a pleasure to read and had me grinning from beginning to end. I definitely recommend it, especially if you want a feel-good chick lit novel to chill with during these hot summer days (or any other time of the year).

Thanks to BookSparks PR for the book in exchange for an honest review.

Maria will be visiting Chick Lit Central next week and we'll be giving away a copy of "A Girl Like You" to a lucky US reader!

More by Maria Geraci:

Monday, July 30, 2012

Winners of "Wife 22"

To find our winners, we assigned a number to each entry (from only those that included contact info) and asked Random.org to pick FIVE numbers.

Congrats to:
39-Linda Kish
78-Erica (wordywon)

Reminder: If you have won a book, you have about 48 hours to claim it by sending your contact information. (You will be e-mailed if you have won, as well.) After that time, a new winner will be picked.

Thanks to everyone for participating and telling us your favorite Disney songs. Such a wide variety of choices! (Melissa A. now has the Beauty and the Beast soundtrack playing in her head.)
Thanks to Melanie for chatting with us and to Random House for sharing the books with our winners.

Check out our latest giveaways and also enter ones from other blogs and websites on our giveaways page.

Book Review: Seven Exes are Eight Too Many

By Jami Deise

Considering that I may be the one woman in America who has never watched a complete episode of the Bachelor or the Bachelorette (even Jennifer Weiner’s live tweeting cannot convince me to tune in), “Seven Exes Are Eight Too Many” is not a book I would ordinarily be eager to download, as it centers around a similar reality TV competition. But the price was unbeatable, and I needed something to keep me company on the treadmill. Boy, did I get my money’s worth and then some. “Seven Exes Are Eight Too Many” is a delight that kept me exercising much longer than I had planned. If you’re looking for a sharp, well-written, light romantic comedy for the stationary bike or a beach read, you can’t go wrong with Heather Wardell’s novel – even if, like me, you get your reality TV fix solely from HGTV.

Wardell has created a reality TV concept so clever, I wouldn’t be surprised if Mark Burnett (creator of “Survivor” and others) buys the rights to it. Heroine Madeleine-Cora (MC) Spencer believes she’s starring in the reality show “Find Your Prince,” a Bachelorette knock-off. But instead of seven dashing would-be Prince Charmings, she’ll be stuck on an island with seven ex-boyfriends. And her eighth ex – Kent, the one-time love of her life – is also on the island with seven of his ex-girlfriends. The two camps are pitted against each other in a series of challenges. It’s “The Bachelor” meets “Survivor.” The winning camp gets a million dollars; after each challenge, MC or Kent have to dismiss an ex. Naturally, none of the participants had any idea what they were really signing up for. And having signed contracts with very expensive out clauses, the exes are all stuck there with each other.

What follows is predictable in the best sense of the word. As MC and her team fight to win the physically challenging contests, they fight amongst themselves on which guy should be with MC, their reasons for the break-ups, etc. After losing a contest, MC must put her personal feelings aside and keep the ex who is the best player, regardless of how he treats her.

And then there’s Kent, her opponent and the man who broke her heart in so many pieces, she never really recovered. How far will MC go to win the million dollars? Does she want Kent back? Or will one of her other exes win her heart? And how does Kent feel about his seven ex girlfriends?

With so many characters, Wardell does an admirable job in providing each of them with unique voices and personalities. Instead of being one of seven, each of MC’s exes stand out. Since the story is written in first person from MC’s point of view, we don’t get to know Kent’s exes as well, but even in their brief appearances, these women are all individuals as well.

MC is a heroine who is easy to root for. She works hard at the challenges, questions herself about her actions and her romantic choices, and attempts to be fair toward all her exes. My only issue is that when the reason for her break-up with Kent is finally revealed, it is so minor that it makes MC seem petty. If Wardell has spent a little more time explaining exactly why this specific event was such a trigger for MC, I might have given her the benefit of the doubt. Instead, my reaction was “Grow up!”

Overall, “Seven Exes is Eight Too Many,” is a quick, highly enjoyable read. The ride it takes you on is somewhat predictable, but so is a roller coaster. Just because you know when you’ll be going downhill doesn’t mean you won’t be screaming when it happens.

Jami Deise is our newest review associate, chosen by our team at Chick Lit Central. We are excited to have her on board and hope you will enjoy reading her reviews!

More by Heather Wardell:

Aimee Pitta and Melissa Peterman's fabulous duet...plus a book giveaway

**Giveaway is now closed**

What are the odds that we get to interview a writing team where the authors have the same first names as us? Better yet, that one of them even shares the same first name and last initial as one of us? Well, it has happened! Today, Aimee Pitta and Melissa Peterman are here to talk about music (and they have a LOT to say...and they're super funny) and share their novel, "Happily Ever Before" with our readers. In fact, they have EIGHT e-books to share with some lucky readers anywhere in the world!

"Happily Ever Before" is what would happen if the hit comedies Bridesmaids and Baby Mama had a love child. It tells the story of two sisters and the biggest, most important question anyone has ever been asked: "Would you, if I for some reason couldn’t, loan me your womb and give birth to my baby?"

Aimee Pitta is an Award winning Writer/Producer and Marketing Executive with over 20 years experience creating cutting edge theatrical marketing campaigns for almost every major studio in Hollywood. She spent her formative years at New Line Cinema as VP of Creative Advertising where she produced award winning campaigns for some popular 90s films such as The Mask and S7ven. Even after she left New Line Cinema to become a writer, she worked as a freelance producer and copywriter for some current well-known films such as The Amazing Spiderman, Crazy Stupid Love, The Devil Wears Prada and The Blind Side.

Her skills as a writer and marketer has also allowed Aimee to create a niche as one of the top film “retitlers” in the business, and she has titled such films as Mirror Mirror, It’s Complicated, Almost Heroes and the upcoming Seth Rogen and Barbara Streisand comedy, The Guilt Trip.

You can find Aimee on Facebook and Twitter.

Growing up in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Melissa Peterman first made a name for herself when she was cast in the local production of Tony and Tina's Wedding. She went on to perform in over 600 shows and became a staple on the comedy and improv scene.

Melissa is best known for her starring role playing Barbra Jean on the hit series Reba. Her first televised comedy special, Melissa Peterman: Am I The Only One?, aired on CMT, and she currently hosts CMT"s The Singing Bee. She is currently working on her first comedy album, and this past year she toured with Reba McEntire, George Strait and Lee Ann Womack. You can currently see her on Baby Daddy, which airs on ABC Family.

Melissa is committed to many charities, including Muhammad Ali's Celebrity Fight Night, Habitat for Humanity, The Red Cross and the non-profit Buzzworks Theatre Company.

She currently resides in Los Angeles with her husband and son.

You can find Melissa at her website and on Facebook and Twitter.

Favorite "One Hit Wonder":

MP: It has to be Dexys Midnight Runners: “Come on Eileen”. I don't know if it's his overalls, the beat, the slow down to the speed up in the middle of the song or the fact that it was playing the only time a guy almost got in a fight over me.

AP: The Token's "The Lion Sleeps Tonight." I have no idea why this song speaks to me, or even if it actually speaks to me and if I just really like it's whimsy and it's beat, but it always makes me smile and tap my toes and sing-a-long. Seriously, every time I hear this it puts me in a great mood and it's my go to song to get me out of a funk, like if I need to walk away from what I'm working on, this puts me in a better frame of mind and gets me back on track.

Favorite TV theme song:

MP: I love the theme song from Cheers. I would like to think it's because I have such great memories of watching it with my Aunt's and my Grandpa and not because I now enjoy hanging out in bars.

AP: Well it's a toss up between The Facts Of Life and Gilligan's Island. Now that I think about it, their themes of being lost, the whole world not living up to your dreams, and making the best out of a bad situation might speak volumes about who and I am, and well, now I must find me a therapist and dig deeper into my psyche.

If you could only play one song ever again, what would it be?

MP: Most definitely a Prince song. I am a Minneapolis girl and have worshipped Prince since I was 14 years old. The hard part is picking just one. I will go with "How Come You Don't Call Me Anymore?": It's sexy, shows his range and even though she isn't calling him anymore, it isn't a sad song.

AP: Tough one, so tough. Judy Garland's version of "Come Rain or Come Shine." But the Judy at Carnegie Hall version, it's more Jazzy. And it's just spectacular. It's a whole roller coaster ride of every emotion you can feel, it's exhilarating, it's heartbreaking, it's joyful, and that voice, oy that voice, the whole song for me is just WOW!

Last artist you saw perform live:

MP: I was lucky enough to introduce my friend Reba McEntire last month as she was inducted to The Hollywood Bowl Hall of Fame. She performed that night and was absolutely amazing. I have seen her perform live many, many times and she never fails to give me goosebumps. In my opinion there isn't a better place to see an artist perform than the Bowl. It's magical. Chaka Khan was also inducted that evening so pretty much a ridiculous night of Divas!

AP: This is sad and pathetic, but I haven't been to a concert in so long I don't remember who I last saw, it might have been Bette Milder or no, Mary Chapin Carpenter. Unless well, seeing Melissa host the Sound of Music at the Hollywood Bowl counts or for that matter going to see Prairie Home Companion at the Hollywood Bowl counts.

Song that would make for a good chick lit novel:

MP: Pick any Alanis Morrisette song.

AP: That's tough. Old school, I'd say Gloria Gaynor's "I Will Survive," new school, Kelly Clarkson's "Stronger." And because I think it actually could be a hoot to write a chick-lit novel with this title, a title I love, "Someone Left The Cake Out In The Rain!"

Song you are proud to know all the lyrics to:

MP: Arrested Development's "Mr. Wendel" My friend Eric Nelson and I wasted an entire summer trying to be the 1st one to learn all the words. Also I can Karaoke to "Baby Got Back" without looking at the screen once.

AP: Don McLean's "American Pie." This was one of my dad's favorite songs, whenever it came on the radio he'd blast it and we'd all sing along. It brings back great memories and it was such an epic song that to learn all the words was quite the feat. And dammit I'm proud of that. And I also know all the words to Tanya Tucker's "Delta Dawn," and "Leaving On A Jet Plane." Both songs used to reduce me to tears, such sad, sad songs, my four sisters used to torture me about this. I was a kid who felt things very very deeply and they therefore subjected me to cruel and unusual punishment, my only revenge was putting on too much Jean Nate right before we all had to pile into the car.

Favorite Music Video:

MP: I loved each and every Michael Jackson video made. He made mini-movies and the best example of this is "Thriller"...I mean, Come on!!! It was a horror movie, a zombie dance off and he wore red leather pants. How can you top that?!!

AP: Well "Thriller" is a masterpiece, but that seems obvious. So I'm going to with Paula Abdul's "Forever Your Girl." I love that it had a backstage feel to it and that it combined black and white and color, it was playful with all those kids and Paula looking like she's directing a movie. The video was directed by David Fincher, before he got all moody and dark and the kids were Elijah Wood and Nikki Cox, it was just fun. I loved how it came together to show you the "Movie" after all the backstage stuff.

Song that gets in your head the most:

MP: I have a six year old boy who is obsessed with "My Little Pony". He's a "Bronie." And he watches the show constantly and I dare anyone to hear that and not get it stuck in your head for weeks. Even as I type this I'm hearing "My Little Pony, Sweet Little Pony..something something blah blah Pony" I hope you're impressed that I even got through these questions!

AP: Okay right now, there are two ear worm songs that are playing Jedi tricks with my mind. Wait I lie, there are three. "Call Me Maybe," "Moves Like Jagger" and "Payphone." I could be in the middle of my bikram yoga class or swimming laps or in the middle of a meeting and one of these songs pop into my mind, I have no idea why. Obviously something I will discussing with my new therapist once we've figured out the what the whole love of the Facts of Life-Gilligan's Island theme songs say about me. Oh and occasionally, I have to be honest, sometimes Tanya Tucker's "Delta Dawn" will pop into my head and it just stays there for like weeks on end, apparently I do need extensive hard core therapy!

Special thanks to Aimee and Melissa for sharing their music interests with us, as well as their names (although Aimee spells her name like Melissa P's sister), and also sharing their book with our readers!

How to win "Happily Ever Before":
Please tell us what song you think would make for a good chick lit novel (either based on the title or the lyrics).

One entry per person. Please include your e-mail address or another way to contact you if you win.

Giveaway ends August 5th at midnight EST.

Book Review: Happy Birthday

By Gail Allison

Valerie Wyatt is the world’s leading expert on gracious living. She has an extremely popular TV show, multiple books under her belt, and is no stranger to taste and quality. She appears to have it all, and is trying to convince herself that she’s happy, but there’s still a grain of doubt that’s niggling at her, and on November 1st, no matter how many ‘touch-ups’ she’s had done, no matter who does her hair, and no matter how many times a week she sees her trainer, she’ll still turn 60. When she does, and it’s announced on the radio to all of New York City, Valerie’s flawless façade begins to crack.

April Wyatt, Valerie’s headstrong daughter, turns thirty on the same day. April has seen her biggest dream come true: she has her own (amazingly successful!) restaurant, but she too is alone, even though she always thought she’d have it all by the time she turned 30: the husband, the baby, and the career. When April sees her acupuncturist that day, she is startled by the news that Ellen (her counselor, confidante, and acupuncturist) can feel in her pulses that she’s pregnant. She picks up a home pregnancy test to quell her growing fears, and sure enough: she’s pregnant. The worst part? The father is an acerbic, hard-headed restaurant reviewer who, two months earlier, slept with her, gave her restaurant a scathing review, and never called her again.

John Adams is a football hero who has just turned fifty. He lives a life that is in no way consistent with his age. A champion who blew out his knees, John is now a highly sought after sports reporter who is hanging on to his youth through rigorous workouts, a touch of botox around the eyes, and bedding every twenty-something that comes his way. His show broadcasts out of the same building as Valerie’s, so they cross paths once in awhile. After a startling turn of events, the two of them bond through tragedy.

In "Happy Birthday," Danielle Steel weaves her usual brand of magic around highly likeable characters and places. In fact, I found myself longing for April’s restaurant. It sounded delicious!! She builds lives for her main characters that are multidimensional, and she really pays attention to the details and makes all the facets of the characters and their lives work toward the storyline. Admittedly, her stories are a little bit formulaic, but they’re still enjoyable. If you’re anything like me, there’s nothing more satisfying than a happy ending where all the loose ends tie up tidily.

I’d definitely recommend "Happy Birthday" for a quick weekend read. Tuck it in to your poolside bag (especially now that it's a mass market paperback), right next to the bottled water and your colorful towel, and get ready to get lost in someone else’s life, fictional though it may be. And don’t forget the sunscreen: if this novel could keep me up until one in the morning on a work night, it could easily keep you entranced all the way from pasty white to lobster red!

(Top left, US cover; bottom right, UK cover)

More by Danielle Steel:

Friday, July 27, 2012

Book Review: Olympic Flames

By Gail Allison

Well, it’s that time of year again. Every country will be cheering for their respective teams, and even people who aren’t normally sports fans will be glued to the television, watching athletes compete in events that (let’s be honest here) they probably won’t watch again for another four years. The Olympics tends to bring out a sense of pride in even the most hardhearted person, and has complete strangers striking up the oddest conversations (“Hey did you see that fencing match last night?”).

When the opportunity came up to review Emma Lee-Potter’s "Olympic Flames," I was so excited, and it did not let me down. This novella (60 pages on kindle...perfect for commercial breaks!) opens on the first day of the showjumping event at the London 2012 Olympic Games. Jack Stone (a fierce competitor with even fiercer blue eyes) is watching Mimi Carter jump her first round. Mimi has worked so hard to make it on to team Great Britain for this Olympic Games. Coming from a family who didn’t have much, she’s worked her way up in the jumping world, paying almost the entire way herself by mucking out stalls and doing odd jobs around the barns. Her perseverance has paid off, and Jack is boggled to see her bouncy blonde curls come tumbling out from under her hard hat when she pulls it off after her clear round. Mimi is rooming with her old friend Suzie Gregg, a world-class cyclist who also has the honor of competing for team Great Britain.

Probably one of the best parts of this book were the little asides where Mimi explained the points and rounds of showjumping to Suzie. Having read a lot (a LOT!) of Jilly Cooper, I personally am fairly comfortable with showjumping terms and technicalities, but for the first-timer, these asides will be worth their weight in (Olympic) gold.

A few more pages in, we learn that Mimi and Jack had a fling a few years back that absolutely did not work out, and left prickly feelings on both sides. And, of course, with all the press swarming Olympic village, news of their romance hits the papers the next day and leaves Mimi feeling shell-shocked. This dazed, hollow feeling follows her out to the jumping grounds the next day, and a freak accident at the last fence lands her in the hospital, sending her Olympic dreams up in smoke.

This short story is delightful. Emma Lee-Potter has absolutely outdone herself with "Olympic Flames," building a concise little novella that manages to convey not only the warm, encompassing Olympic spirit, but also a touch of romance and a dash of Olympic bravado. I’m so glad that I have this on my Kindle...it’s definitely going to be one of those stories I’ll read again and again. Short, sweet, and (at this time of year) enormously relevant, I’d wager this would be a top contender for something to do during those pesky commercials. If you like this novella, absolutely check out Ms. Lee-Potter’s other books, or take a chance on Jilly Cooper or Fiona Walker (two of my personal favorites) for some more British/horsey adventures. This novella is going on my shelf of favorites for sure. A clear round for the gold, Ms. Lee-Potter. Well done!

"Olympic Flames" is $2.99 for Kindle.

More by Emma Lee-Potter:

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Books of the Week - July 26th

Thanks for checking out our newest feature...Books of the Week! There are seven of us and we can't keep up with the many review requests we receive, even though we'd love to read everything sent our way. Therefore, we have decided to give some books their time in the spotlight and introduce you to them through this new blog feature. We will be featuring two books a week. We hope you will take the time to check these books out. (Click the titles to find them on Amazon.) If you read them and want to write a guest blogger review for us, please e-mail us and we'll be glad to work with you!

Authors: We will let you know whether or not we'll be able to review your book upon your request, and hope you'll be interested in this feature as an alternative.

"Window Dressings"
By Masada Siegel

Window Dressings is the story of one woman’s quest to follow her instincts in the world of love and career. Her compass, a Magical Maori Mood ring, helps navigate the choppy waters of being single and unemployed in New York City . The ring has the ancient New Zealand Maori spiral, a symbol of new beginnings and growth.

One minute Skye Silver is on top of the world, with a fantastic job, a solid boyfriend and an Ivy League degree. The next minute every door slams in her face and she’s reduced to a pile of tears. Skye’s ready to climb out the window and straight into the arms of her brand new hot as can be neighbor. Her voyeurism and wild imagination turns Hot Neighbor Boy into her Knight in shining “amour”. He’s always there to save the day, either when she's on scary dates or looking for work as a print journalist. In a quirky turn of fate, Skye’s writing the news turns her into the top story with the entire nation’s eyes on her, and much to her chagrin, she’s not wearing all that much. Life spirals out of control, and doors are flying open. Decisions need to be made, with a little help from her ring, Skye opens a window, discovering there’s more to life than what meets the eye.

Masada Siegel can be found on Facebook and Twitter.

"In The Shadow Of A Badge"
By Lillie Leonardi

On September 11, 2001, our country was awakened by the thunderous roar of planes flying across the sky. What the planes left in their wake, were death and destruction at the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and in a remote landfill located in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. While our nation became paralyzed from the events unfolding, emergency response personnel were making their way to the three crash sites. One of those responders was Lillie Leonardi who worked for the FBI and was deployed to the Flight 93 crash site. Upon arriving at the scene, Lillie was heartbroken as she viewed the wreckage spewed across the desolate field. The travesty of the event was incomprehensible. But, as she looked out over the field and surveyed the carnage, a light flickered. It was a light which soon demanded her full attention.

On this day, the shimmer of light began to grow and was almost blinding. I looked again and the light began to evolve into a foggy white mist. The white mist then began to take shape. It moved and swirled in patterns of spectacular white light. All at once, the mist took full shape and I saw what appeared to be angels. There were angels standing in the open area to the left of the crash site. There were hundreds of the celestial beings positioned in columns surrounding the perimeter of the site.

Lillie Leonardi can be found on Twitter.

Rocking to Rose McClelland's beat, plus a book giveaway

Introduction and interview
by Tracey Meyers

**Giveaway is now closed**

Picture it! Our main character is at a local hangout watching her frenemy getting all snuggly with her main squeeze. In the background Natalie Merchant’s song “Jealousy” plays... “Is she bright? So well-read. Are there novels by her bed?...Ooo, my jealousy.”

Ok, I can’t say for sure that actually happens in Rose McClelland’s second novel, “How to Look Like You,” but what I can say for sure is that this book does explore the topic of jealousy and what someone will do to get “the person of their dreams”. In addition to writing fiction novels, Rose has also written a short play (which was directed by Rawlife Theatre Company and performed in The Black Box Theatre, Belfast), writes book reviews for Judging Covers and writes theatre reviews and author interviews for her blog. When she isn't writing, Rose can be found engaging in reading, dancing, and attending yoga, amongst many activities. Oh, and don't forget her newest love...cooking, as well!

We’re so happy to have Rose joining us today on CLC. In honor of the occasion, Rose would like to give away TWO e-books of "How to Look Like You" to readers located anywhere in the world!

To learn more about Rose, visit her at Facebook, Twitter and her blog!

Favorite song as a teenager?
"The Only Way is Up" – Yazz

What song reminds you of Chick Lit?
"You’ve got the Love" – Florence & the Machine

What song best describes your life?
Katy Perry - "Firework"

Best concert you've ever seen:
Elbow – When they played the song "Mirrorball," they had spotlights glittering all around the ceiling. It was magical.

Favorite type of music to dance to:
I love The Black-eyed Peas. Chirpy, happy and has a fun beat to it.

A song you think is silly:
"Barbie Girl" – Aqua

Favorite movie theme song:
“I’ve had the time of my life” – Dirty Dancing – Feel-good factor galore!

In your opinion, what makes a song great?
For "fast" songs, they need to be dancey, happy and have a good beat.

For "slow" songs; beautiful, melodic, dreamy.

Special thanks to Rose for visiting with us and sharing her book with our readers.

How to win "How to Look Like You":
Please comment below with your e-mail address. (Please note: Entries without an e-mail address will NOT be counted. You can use AT and DOT to avoid spam. Or provide a link to your facebook page or blog if you can receive messages there.)

Bonus entries (can be listed all in one post):
1. Please tell us: What is the best concert you have ever seen?
2. Follow this blog and post a comment saying you are a follower (if you already follow, that's fine too).
3. Post this contest on Facebook or Twitter or in your blog, and leave a comment saying where you've posted it.
4. Join Chick Lit Central on Facebook. Edit settings if you don't want to receive a lot of messages at your e-mail account. Please read our posting guidelines as well. (If you're already a member, let us know that too.)
5. Add a friend to our Facebook group. (Tell us who you added.) Be sure to remind them to edit their settings.

Giveaway ends July 31st at midnight EST.

Book Review: Worth Lying For

By Cindy Roesel

Mary Minke is a middle-aged perimenopausal woman only a few years away from incontinence and senility. The most risky or exciting thing that happens in her "tapioca pudding" life is getting false positives on her mammograms or pap smears. But things change BIG TIME when Mary Minke pulls off the perfect crime in WORTH LYING FOR by authors Lisa Cheney and Lisa Craig, from here on end referred to as The Lisas.

An average day turns into something very different, when Mary drives into the local gas station hoping to get a cup of java and drives out with a gym bag full of cash. It was just sitting there in the back of known drug dealer Jimmy Adler’s 1968 Shelby Mustang GT 500 for anyone to see, so Mary reached in, took it and passed on the coffee. It was the perfect crime without trying.

Once she arrives--late again--at her job at the Idid-A-Rod garage, she immediately goes into the bathroom to change her uniform and she counts the cash, soon realizing she has 60 GRAND! Immediately Mary’s mind races between excited and freaked out. But the first thing she does is call her BFF, Caryn.

I love the relationship between Mary and Caryn. They are a modern day Lucy and Ethel. The Lisas know how to write really clever sassy dialogue. What I enjoy most is that Mary and Caryn are really good friends who don’t judge each other, even when you can tell one is saying something so incredibly stupid that the other wants to scream, “Listen to yourself” and maybe slap her upside her head.

Mary is one of the funniest characters I’ve read in a long time. Think about it, here’s a woman with 60 grand in her purse and all she can do is dream about a new tamale colored washer and dryer! It’s obvious she has a good heart, but just keeps getting herself into these situations with her two daughters, mother in Florida and husband who happens to be a cop. You’ll have to stick around to see what happens, but it’ll be worth the read! I look forward to Lisa Cheney and Lisa Craig’s next novel.

WORTH LYING FOR is available on Amazon in print for $12.99 and on Kindle for $2.99.

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Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Tracey Garvis Graves' island grooves...plus a book giveaway

**Giveaway is now closed**

Today we welcome Tracey Garvis Graves, author of the newly released USA Today, Wall Street Journal and New York Times bestseller, "On The Island." Tracey enjoys martinis, karaoke, 70s music and her dog Chloe. She currently lives in a suburb of Des Moines, Iowa with her husband and two children.

Thanks to Penguin we have five copies of "On The Island" to giveaway to some lucky readers anywhere in the US.

Visit Tracey at her website, Facebook and Twitter pages.

Favorite 80's song:
"Come on Eileen" or "Der Kommissar"

Favorite band:
If we're talking 70s or 80s, it's definitely The Eagles. I referenced their song "Take It Easy" in "On the Island." I'm also a huge REO Speedwagon fan. For a more current selection I would go with The Red Hot Chili Peppers or Matchbox Twenty (the lead singer of Matchbox Twenty, Rob Thomas, also has a solo album called "Cradlesong" and a few of the songs are on the playlist I created for Covet, the book I'm writing now. It's on constant repeat in my car; my kids are so tired of it!).

What song are you proud to know all the lyrics to?
Grandmaster Flash's "The Message". My best friend Stacy and I memorized the lyrics in college. We still sing them sometimes. We look ridiculous.

Have you ever written music?
No, and I'm embarrassed to say I can't read it either.

Song that gets in your head the most:
Anything by Elton John. He's one of my all-time favorite singers and my iPod is filled with his songs.

First record you bought:
Shaun Cassiday's "Born Late" (oh hi, I'm old!).

Favorite "one hit wonder:"
David & David - "Welcome to the Boomtown" because it reminds me of my sophomore year of college.

Have you ever met a famous singer (rock star, opera, Broadway, etc.)?
Never! But my husband has a picture of himself with Corey Hart, the guy who sang "Sunglasses At Night". I'm so jealous.

Special thanks to Tracey for chatting with us and to Penguin for sharing "On the Island" with our readers.

How to win "On the Island":
Please comment below with your e-mail address. (Please note: Entries without an e-mail address will NOT be counted. You can use AT and DOT to avoid spam. Or provide a link to your facebook page or blog if you can receive messages there.)

Bonus entries (can be listed all in one post):
1. Please tell us: What is your favorite song by Elton John?
2. Follow this blog and post a comment saying you are a follower (if you already follow, that's fine too).
3. Post this contest on Facebook or Twitter or in your blog, and leave a comment saying where you've posted it.
4. Join Chick Lit Central on Facebook. Edit settings if you don't want to receive a lot of messages at your e-mail account. Please read our posting guidelines as well. (If you're already a member, let us know that too.)
5. Add a friend to our Facebook group. (Tell us who you added.) Be sure to remind them to edit their settings.

US only. Giveaway ends July 30th at midnight EST.

Book Review: Southern Charm

By Gail Allison

When she was eight years old, Minty Davenport took a trip to New York with her mother. Ever since she searched the Plaza for Eloise that winter, Minty has felt a special affinity for the Big Apple, so when she graduates from college, she heads straight for the core. Her syrupy drawl, sweet manners, and brightly colored clothing instantly set her apart from the other New Yorkers her age, and she finds herself quickly (but gracefully, of course) falling into the deep end of the pool. Minty must navigate a job for a poison-tongued publicist, a potential love interest who may not be all that he seems, and of course the never-ending parade of designer fashions that seem to pave the streets in this debut novel.

As soon as I got a few chapters in to “Southern Charm” by Tinsley Mortimer, I had to stop and regroup. I was sure that I had heard this story somewhere before. Sure enough, this novel is Mortimer's quasi-autobiographical book about a Southern belle being transplanted to New York City, where she uses her charm to set herself apart from everyone else. If you (like me) enjoy a healthy dose of celebrity gossip every now and again, you’ll find this story familiar, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. It was a comfortable read, brought to life with a liberal dose of name-dropping. There were enough designer labels and trendy locations in this book to keep even the most avid celebutante addict hooked until the end.

Anyone who is familiar with Tinsley Mortimer will know the storyline already, but it’s woven together in a fun, light, sparkly way that kept me reading until the last page. It was fun and fluffy, which was exactly what I was looking for when I picked it up. Even the cover art (a sketched-in blonde in a pink dress and strappy heels against the backdrop of a big city) was perfect for this book. It never got bogged down in details, and just kept skimming along the surface of Minty’s fabulous life.

If you’re someone who is easily irritated by name-dropping, stay away from this one. It’s a fun and fluffy beach read, but the constant barrage of capitalized words can get a bit straining at times. There was even one point when I felt like saying to the main character, “Yes. You’re rich and entitled. We get it, already.” There were also a number of plot points that kind of came out of nowhere. I’m not one to question a lucky coincidence, but a series of them that has the main character’s life falling into place just because she knows the right people? Maybe. Good thing this novel was published as fiction, because I know that I sure wish my life went like that sometimes.

All in all, Southern Charm was a cute book about a rich girl trying to make good in the big city. Yes, it’s been done before, but the consistent snaps back to the reality of Mortimer’s life certainly made this book a little more interesting than other carbon copies of this format. Fast and fun…why not put this one on your summer reading list?

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Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Rockin' out with Amy and Kathryn

Since it's music month, we're asking authors all about everything music related. We're also answering some of these questions. Put on your dancing shoes and cut loose to the song choices from Amy and Kathryn!


Song that annoys you the most:
Any and all of Lady Gaga's songs.

Song you danced to first at your wedding:
"From This Moment" by Shania Twain

Favorite decade for music:
Definitely the 80s!

Favorite duet:
"Don't Go Breaking My Heart" by Elton John and Kiki Dee

First record you bought:
Michael Jackson's Thriller album

Favorite song to "get ready" to:
"Single Ladies" by Beyonce

Favorite Broadway song:
Any and all songs from the Wicked soundtrack

Favorite TV theme song:
The Golden Girls and The Facts of Life


Favorite 50's or 60's song:
Anything by Elvis Presley. My adoration for him started when I was 15. I don't know why, but I soaked up anything and everything to do with him at the time. Probably "Teddy Bear" is one of my all-time favourites.

Favorite 80's song:
"The Reflex" by Duran Duran. My brother made me almost pee my pants from laughing when he would hit his crazy reflex during the chorus.

Favorite American Idol contestant:
Kelly Clarkson. She was the first winner and is the best in my opinion. Her voice always amazes me.

What is your theme song?
I have three and these songs all just have the ability to lift me up: "Perfect" by Pink, "I Am" by Hilary Duff and "Stay the Same" by Joe McIntyre

Turn on the radio (any station). What is the first song that comes on?
"I Try" by Macy Gray (I haven't heard this song in ages!)

What is your favorite classical piece?
"Canon in D Major" by Pachelbel. We had to write a relaxation concept for grade 10 drama and my brother suggested this piece with the scene of animals in the African safari. Listen to it and tell me you don't hear elephants and giraffes. :)

Song you would want to dance to at your wedding:
A mash-up of "At Last" by Etta James and "The More I See You" by Michael Buble.

Guilty pleasure (music you love but wouldn’t readily shout about!):
"Mmmbop" by Hanson and "Nothin' My Love Can't Fix" by Joey Lawrence. I even bought Joey's first CD.

Book Review: Where We Belong

By Melissa Amster

A few years ago, I was watching the season finale of 90210 (season one), which had a Juno storyline, in that a teenage girl was pregnant and chose to give her baby up for adoption. As she’s holding the baby and bonding with her and then eventually has to hand her over to the adoptive parents, I was sitting there with tears streaming down my face. While I was reading Emily Giffin's latest novel, “Where We Belong,”  I went back to that moment and thought how Marian must have felt the way Adrianna (the teen mom on the show) was feeling. And as a mom of three, I didn’t even want to imagine ever having to be in that position.

Marian Caldwell is a successful TV writer with a modest following for the show she created. She lives in a New York City penthouse, can afford to shop at Barney's, and has an equally successful boyfriend. Kirby Rose is a senior in high school out by St. Louis. She feels awkward and alone, especially next to her sister, who is in the spotlight at all times. Soon, Kirby finds herself in front of Marian's door one spring evening and what she reveals will shake up Marian's carefully constructed life, bringing up memories she thought were long-buried. Will Marian and Kirby be able to exist comfortably in each other's lives or will they have to make some difficult choices?

While reading "Where We Belong," I thought of how surreal it must have felt for Marian to meet her daughter for the first time at age 18. It’s been 18 years since I graduated high school and so much has gone on during that time. I couldn’t even start to explain that all to my own child if we had been separated for that long. And to think of how much I would have missed out on in their life! I am sure that having them show up at my home and infiltrate themselves into the life I have currently established would shake things up a lot. However, when faced with this situation, Marian tries to connect with Kirby as if she’s a long-lost sister or friend and that it’s totally natural that she be part of her current lifestyle. They go out to her favorite breakfast café and shopping for stylish clothes like it’s just another day out and Kirby was there for vacation. There was such a huge jumble of emotions to deal with and Marian was so casual about everything, even the other big secret that went along with this new change of events. At least that’s how it felt to me. I would have liked more access into Marian’s emotions. I felt like she shut me out the way she shut out everyone in her life after she became pregnant. And when I did see her tension show through, it was from Kirby’s perspective. Marian was supposed to be my age, but something about her made her seem much older than me. I don’t expect to connect well with every character I read about and perhaps I was just seeing her through Kirby’s eyes, which made me feel that emotional distance. I felt like she was just going through the motions throughout the story. I think seeing more about how her friendship from high school dissipated and how she was first able to make such fun and interesting friends as an adult would have given me more access into her personality. I know seeing the child you gave up for adoption for the first time ever is a huge shock, but I wish I could have seen that in a more dramatic fashion. I've read other reviews where the reader was able to completely connect with Marian, so maybe this was a one-off for me. However, the story was so engaging that I wanted to keep reading, no matter how connected I felt with any of the characters.

Kirby, on the other hand, was so easy to relate to, even though I had never been in her shoes in terms of her situation. However, I do know what it feels like to not fit in and wonder why that is the case. Kirby was just so fascinating on so many levels. I loved her “voice” and how she seemed so genuine. I applauded her for having a moral backbone during a time when most teenagers behave in selfish and immature ways. I wanted to hug her during all the moments she felt alone and frustrated. I thought it was cool that she liked playing drums. I don’t know of any teenage girls (even when I was growing up) who were into having such a talent. There was just something that really spoke to me about Kirby’s story and it made me wistful to be 18 again. I could totally see myself being friends with her, had we been in school together. I also had the easiest time picturing her throughout the story. In my head, I cast Gillian Zinser (Ivy from...you guessed it, 90210) in her role, should a movie be made of this novel. (I know the actress, like most on the show, is older than the role she plays, but she really seemed to fit the description of Kirby's looks and personality! )

As for the love interests in the story, there was an interesting contrast between Conrad (Marian’s past love) and Peter (Marian’s current boyfriend). Conrad was the high school rebel and reminded me of the kind of guys I lusted after as a teenager. He sounded really hot! And the fact that he was nice and crazy about Marian made that teenager in me jealous. Peter was all about business and he seemed impersonal at times, as a result. Sure, he could be nice, but the few times I definitely felt sympathy with Marian had to do with her frustration over where their relationship was going and how he treated her at work.

Emily Giffin once again proves her talent for writing a thought provoking and heartfelt story that was impossible to put down and is still something I think about, even while I’m reading other novels. She knows how to get into a reader’s mind and show them what she’d want to see for herself. I especially enjoyed that she focused a lot on the Chicago suburbs, as I grew up in that area (not the same suburb she mentions, but I know where it is and her descriptions are accurate, even though the B96 DJs were actually Eddie and JoBo). The other thing that stuck out was her use of music throughout the story since both Conrad and Kirby were musically talented. I like how she brought me back to the 90s with some of the songs she mentioned. She even has a guest appearance from one of her previous novels, and I love when she does that! There was a small issue of time consistency, but if you don't do the math like I always tend to, you can just assume that the story takes place two years into the future instead.

I think “Where We Belong” is one of the most eagerly anticipated novels of the year and I know based on how I felt about it, and what other readers have been saying, it’s worth the wait!

Thanks to Emily for the advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.

Check her tour schedule to see if she'll be at a bookstore near you!

More by Emily Giffin:

Melodies from Melanie Gideon, plus a book giveaway

Introduction by Kathryn Hamilton

**Giveaway is now closed**

Let’s give Melanie Gideon a warm welcome as she joins us today to talk about the music close to her heart and to give away copies of her already critically acclaimed novel, "Wife 22." Chances are, you’ve already heard of Melanie Gideon. Her writing has appeared in several publications (including the New York Times and Marie Claire). She has already been on the bestseller list with her memoir "The Slippery Year: A Meditation on Happily Ever After" (which sounds like it would be a great read for chick lit lovers) and has written a trio of novels for young adults. If that’s not enough to prove that Melanie is bound for incredible success, "Wife 22" is currently in development to be made into a feature film! Let’s hope we continue to see great things happen for Melanie!

Thanks to Random House, we have five copies of "Wife 22" to give away to some lucky readers anywhere in the US.

Visit Melanie at her website, Facebook and Twitter pages.

Favorite Disney song:

"If I Never Knew You"—Pocahontas

Favorite classic rock song:

Bruce Springsteen—"Jungleland"

Favorite song from 1st decade of 21st century:
"Empire State of Mind"—Jay-Z and Alicia Keys

Line from a song that you could apply to your own life:

"Well the sun is surely sinking down, but the moon is slowly rising, and this old world must still be spinning round, and I still love you."
"You Can Close Your Eyes"—James Taylor

Music that has a chick lit feel for you:
"All My Days"—Alexi Murdoch

Favorite song from the year you were born:

"My Boyfriend’s Back"—The Angels

Song that reminds you of one of your characters:

"A Case of You"—Joni Mitchell

First record you bought:
Simon and Garfunkel—Bridge Over Troubled Water

Special thanks to Melanie for chatting with us and to Random House for sharing "Wife 22" with our readers!

How to win "Wife 22":
Please comment below with your e-mail address. (Please note: Entries without an e-mail address will NOT be counted. You can use AT and DOT to avoid spam. Or provide a link to your facebook page or blog if you can receive messages there.)

Bonus entries (can be listed all in one post):
1. Please tell us: What is your favorite Disney song?
2. Follow this blog and post a comment saying you are a follower (if you already follow, that's fine too).
3. Post this contest on Facebook or Twitter or in your blog, and leave a comment saying where you've posted it.
4. Join Chick Lit Central on Facebook. Edit settings if you don't want to receive a lot of messages at your e-mail account. Please read our posting guidelines as well. (If you're already a member, let us know that too.)
5. Add a friend to our Facebook group. (Tell us who you added.) Be sure to remind them to edit their settings.

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