Friday, January 10, 2014

Book Review: Keep Calm and Carry a Big Drink

By Melissa Amster

Just before we published our 2013 chick lit favorites, I ended up switching out one of my choices for a contender that came in towards the end of the year, publishing right around holiday time! That contender is none other than Keep Calm and Carry a Big Drink by Kim Gruenenfelder.

It's been almost a year since Mel, Nic and Seema pulled their magical charms out of the cake at Nic's bridal shower (in There's Cake in My Future) and most of their happily-ever-afters seemingly came true. Seema is about to marry Scott in an elaborate three-day affair. Nic is glowingly pregnant. And Mel... well, Mel feels as if she accidentally veered off the rails of her life at some point and isn't sure how to get back on. She recently became single again, she's been threatened with a layoff from her teaching job, and she has to find her own place now that Scott is moving in with her roommate, Seema.

Nic thinks Mel just needs a new cake charm to bring her good luck. . . and decides to rig the cake pull at Seema's bridal shower. Desperate for travel, Mel asks for the passport charm. But, once again, the cake proves to have a mind of its own, and she pulls a charm she doesn't want, and can not use. Rather than be bound by the charm's prophecy, Mel realizes she, and she alone, is responsible for her destiny. A spur of the moment decision takes her to Paris and then Maui, where she finds herself on an adventure that she never could have imagined, experiencing the trials and tribulations of a life suddenly and perfectly unplanned. And, along the way, she begins to learn that, however nonsensical it may seem, the cake is never wrong... (Synopsis adapted from Amazon.)

Confession: I read There's Cake in My Future so long ago that I forgot a lot of what happened. Therefore, I'm thankful that Kim gave enough information to refresh my memory and have everything make sense and also that Keep Calm and Carry a Big Drink could have stood on its own just as easily, instead of being thought of as a sequel. While There's Cake... had the perspectives of all three women, Keep Calm... is only told from Mel's point of view. You still get to learn about what is happening with her best friends, but it flows nicer this time around. Seeing that she's the only one who hasn't had her "happy ending" yet, it makes the most sense that she should be the sole narrator. And what a great narrator she is!

As I mentioned in the 2013 favorites post, Keep Calm... has all the elements of a perfect chick lit novel. There's the armchair adventure aspect (and it was definitely nice to be sent someplace warm in the midst of a freezing winter). Then there are the friendships, where Mel has a balance of her two best girlfriends and her (awesome) gay best friend. Toss in romance (with a few mishaps along the way), fashion, and lots of delicious sounding drinks and desserts and you have the ultimate chick lit read! We mustn't forget the humor either. I laughed out loud so many times while reading Keep Calm... that my husband thought I was crazy. So if you're going to read it, be sure to remember that you might end up laughing out loud in front of other people and there are just some things you won't want to explain.

I adored Keep Calm and Carry a Big Drink from start to finish and definitely recommend it to anyone who wants a light and entertaining story with some female empowerment mixed in. (And I'm not just biased because the main character's first name is actually Melissa. Of course, that doesn't hurt! I even let my BFF call me Mel...)

And you know that when I love a chick lit novel to pieces, I have the movie version cast in my head. Kim cast the three women in our interview, but I only agreed with her choice for Mel. I totally pictured Mila Kunis and it just worked!

Nic: Taylor Schilling (As soon as I saw her the first time on Orange is the New Black, I instantly thought of her as Nic! For the record, Kim's choice of Kaley Cuoco probably would have worked too.)
Seema: Parminder Nagra (I love Mindy Kaling as much as Kim does, but I felt that Seema was too intense for fun-loving Mindy to play her. Parminder just worked better in my head.)
Jeff (Mel's gay best friend): Andrew Rannells
Jay (Seema's brother): Shahid Kapoor
Scott (Seema's fiancée): Josh Radnor or John Krasinski (both possess that sweet, guy-next-door quality and they're not afraid to be silly either.)
Ben: Justin Timberlake (Given I haven't seen Friends with Benefits, I still like seeing him and Mila together)

Thanks to St. Martin's Press for the book in exchange for an honest review.

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AiringMyLaundry said...


Sorry. Got excited.


Anyway, I know I'd like this book! I own all her others.

Elizabeth said...

THANKS for sharing.

I don't know this book.

Stopping by from Carole's Books You Loved February Edition. I am in the list as #29. My book entry is below.

Silver's Reviews
My Book Entry

If you get a chance, also stop by this giveaway: Guess Who This Baby Is