Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Book Review and Audio Giveaway: The Sweet Life

By Melissa Amster

**Giveaway is now closed**

Although I had my concerns about "Sweet Valley Confidential: 10 Years Later" (see my review from last year), I was still eager to read "The Sweet Life," as it followed the format of the "Sweet Valley High" series where one story led to the next, in smaller doses. However, it was hard to stop at just one and made me think of all the times I've had TV marathons of sitcoms I was enjoying.

Three years after the events of "Sweet Valley Confidential," we get a glimpse of what is going on in the lives of Jessica, Elizabeth, and their closest friends, now that they are all 30. Jessica has a prominent position at an environmental company, but her marriage issues start taking their toll on her professional life. Elizabeth is in love with Bruce, but something happens that makes her wonder if she can still trust him. Lila Fowler will do whatever it takes to be the center of attention on a show similar to Real Housewives. Will these women get to have their cake and eat it too, or are there bumpier roads ahead?

I was really impressed with this new e-series. I wasn't sure what to expect, but apparently Francine Pascal took my review of "Sweet Valley Confidential" to heart, as the audience was clear from the beginning. There was maybe one or two uses of "like" as a placeholder in a sentence, but that faded off quickly (or I was just too mesmerized to notice). There was a lot of fun and interesting drama to keep the story going strong throughout the entire six books. It satisfied my need for dishy fictional gossip, especially since Desperate Housewives is no longer around and I have to wait another month for 90210 to start up again. It also made me think of how lucky I am in my own relationship. I would NEVER want to go through the drama that Jessica, Elizabeth and Lila had to deal with. As I read along, I would discuss it with another book blogger who was reading the series and we'd talk about the people like they were real. I mentioned several times how Caroline Pearce is such a, how shall I say, piece of work.

Now that I've finished the whole e-series, I'm eagerly awaiting more! The final book ends abruptly, with a huge cliffhanger. Some other aspects of the story could use some wrapping up, as well. There's no way Francine can keep her fans waiting forever for answers. The only thing that really bothered me was how she potentially put babies and children in danger during various parts of the story. I know it can tug at one's heartstrings, but one thing in particular was especially cruel. I was glad when the character involved got what was coming to them as a result.

I definitely recommend "The Sweet Life" for all "Sweet Valley High" fans or anyone who wants a fun little escape from reality.

Thanks to St. Martin's Press for the e-books in exchange for an honest review. They're available for $1.99 each on Kindle.

Thanks to Macmillan Audio, we have one digital audio version of the whole series to share with a lucky reader anywhere in the world! In the meantime, listen to an audio clip. The speaker sounds like Mary Alice from Desperate Housewives.

How to win an audio version of "The Sweet Life":
Please tell us your favorite cliffhanger from a TV series. (One entry per person.) Please include your e-mail address or another way to reach you if you win.

Giveaway ends August 20th at midnight EST


StereoQueenBee said...

The cliffhanger from Gossip Girl when Chuck was shot.

Unknown said...

Love the Giveaway... hands down it has to be: Buffy the Vampire Slayer - Season 5 Episode 22; "The Gift"
Absolutely emotional/ mind-blowing episode.

Anonymous said...

Mine would be "The One with Ross's Wedding" Part 2.
Carly ( )

susieqlaw said...


sendsusanmail AT gmail DOT com

Anonymous said...

Mine would be "The One with Ross's Wedding" Part 2. Where Ross says Rachel's name and not Emily's
Carly ( )

The Book Chick said...

Fantastic review, Melissa!! I can't wait for the next one!!

Na said...

I grew up on the SVH series. I found Sweet Valley Confidental to be really surprising considering how the characters' lives turned but am curious to see these new sets of stories.

I find soap operas always have great cliffhangers.


Jeryl M. said...

I also liked when Ross said the wrong name at his wedding to Emily.

Bridget O'Neill said...

My favorite cliffhanger was the last episode of season 2 of NCIS when Kate was killed. I was completely shocked!

bn100 said...

I like the Dallas cliffhanger about who shot JR.


Twisty J said...

The end of 'Angel' was the worst for me. A terrible cliffhanger for the end of a series! Thanks for the giveaway. I remember reading 'Sweet Valley' back in the day, and I am interested to see how they are today.

Jilleen said...

556I always liked the brothers & sisters cliffhangers....but they always showed you what was going to happen on the "next week clip!"

Thanks for the great giveaway - we were just talking about this at bookclub Thursday night!

Seasidebooknook at yahoo

Unknown said...

Any of the "Lost" season finales..

Melissa said...

Thanks to everyone for participating and to Macmillan Audio for sharing the digital audio copy with our winner! has chosen Jeryl M. Congrats!