Monday, October 14, 2013

Double Feature Review: Across the pond

By Melissa Amster

Since this blog is US-based, the UK is across the pond for us. This past summer, I read two enjoyable chick lit novels written by British authors. Also, oddly enough, I could see Rebel Wilson playing the lead character if either book were made into a movie.

Kismetology by Jaimie Admans

Finding the perfect man isn't easy. Especially when it's for your mother...

Mackenzie Atkinson's mother has meddled in her love life once too often and something has to be done. Mackenzie decides to turn the tables and find love for her lonely mother.
Her lonely and very fussy mother.

Surely finding an older gentleman looking for love won't be that hard, right?


If you've ever thought that boys grow up, here's the problem: They don't. Ever. And Mackenzie is about to learn that the hard way....

Faced with a useless boyfriend, dressed up dogs, men who shouldn't be allowed out in public and men who make reptiles seem like attractive company - will she ever find the perfect man for her neurotic mother? (Synopsis adapted from Goodreads.)

Kismetology was a cute novel with a clever concept. Usually the mothers are the ones trying to set up their children on dates, but this time the tables are turned. I found myself laughing out loud at Eleanor's quirkiness and all the crazy guys Mac meets in her attempts to find her the right match. The story was interesting and I wanted to see what would happen, as there was a lot of build-up throughout. I like what Mac learned about herself along the way, as well. The only things that didn't work as well for me was some of the dialogue and Eleanor's age. There were times Mac would either argue with Eleanor or Dan (her boyfriend) and the dialogue would go in an endless loop for several pages. I also was thrown off when I found out Eleanor was just about 50. She seemed too quirky and set in her ways to be that young and also be the mother of an adult only 20 years her junior. I was expecting her to be closer to 70. Overall, Kismetology was a light and entertaining read.

Movie cast suggestions:
Mackenzie: Rebel Wilson
Eleanor (Mac's mum): Jennifer Saunders
Dan: Max Thieriot

Excess All Areas by Mandy Baggot

When the going gets tough Freya Johnson gets going!

Humiliated by her boyfriend the day she turns thirty, Freya boards a last minute flight to Corfu to visit her best friend Emma. Little does she know - this holiday will change her life forever.

Enter Hollywood film star Nicholas Kaden, whose entourage is stirring up the village of Kassiopi while filming his new movie. He’s hot, he’s unexpectedly different, but is he for real?

Caught up in a media frenzy, feeling unwelcome and uncomfortable in Nicholas’ movie world, Freya battles with the ghosts of her past and the uncertainty of her future. Can she help Emma, keep her own big secret and find out what Nicholas is hiding, before she feels the urge to run away again? (Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads.)

A while back, I read Knowing Me, Knowing You and was very impressed with Mandy's writing style. Then I read another book of hers that wasn't my cup of tea (but I heard others liked that one). However, I decided to give her writing another chance and I'm so glad I did. Excess All Areas is on the same impressiveness level as KMKY, if not better! It was cute and funny throughout. I loved Freya's candor and the way she didn't put up with people who tried to push her around. The armchair adventure aspect was also a treat, as I have never been to Greece. I still felt like I could picture it as though I'd been there 100 times, through Mandy's great use of description. The only thing that didn't work so well was Freya overreacting to Russell's humiliation in the beginning. I felt she should have just confronted him and still run off afterward. It wasn't like he thought he was doing something wrong on purpose at the time. Excess All Areas is a delightful read, especially when you are in the mood to be swept away on a vacation with a side of romance. I just found out that Public Property is the sequel, so I definitely look forward to reading that too!

Movie cast suggestions:
Freya: Rebel Wilson
Nicholas: Josh Duhamel
Russell: Jackson Rathbone
Emma: Romola Garai
Mrs. Petroholis: Lainie Kazan

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Mandy said...

Thank you so much for that wonderful review! I love all the actors you've picked for the film especially Rebel Wilson! Great choices!

Mandy :)

Sheryl Browne said...

Fab review!! Well done, Mandy! Thanks for sharing! :) xx