Archive for January 2010

Holly’s Inbox by Holly Denham

My friend Lindsay recommended “Holly’s Inbox” to me a few months ago and let me borrow her copy.  At first, the book seemed intimidating because the paperback version is pretty thick – I’m talking Bible-thick.  After reading a few pages, I was addicted and I couldn’t put it down!

Like the book cover says, “Ever wanted a peek at someone else’s emails?”  That’s exactly what this book is… just emails.  It’s not as boring as it sounds, I promise.  Most of the emails are very short and are almost like an instant message conversation – one liners, back and forth, back and forth.  The background info is that Holly has started a new job at a banking institution (this all takes place in England, by the way, so there is a lot of British lingo being thrown around).  At work, she has to deal with some difficult coworkers as well as a blossoming relationship with a male coworker.  On the personal side, she’s always emailing with her best friends as well as her mom, siblings, and grandmother.  It’s interesting to not have the storyline or background upfront; you have to figure it out along the way through the emails.  Some of the situations that Holly encounters are awkward and uncomfortable, others are funny and had me laughing.

This book all started from a website that she had created with her emails.  Check out the website: – the layout is really cute and looks like an actual email program!  After poking around on the website, I wonder if the entire contents of the book is on the website too; it looks like it might be.  Of course, it’s much easier to read the emails in book format rather than having to click on each one and scroll down to get the full email chain.

Apparently, there is a sequel to this book called “Holly’s Inbox: Scandal in the City“, but it looks like it’s only available in the UK (you can’t even get it on Amazon in the US).  Hmm… I wonder how I can get my hands on a copy of this!

P.S. “Holly’s Inbox” is one of the Chick Lit 100!

UPDATE: Right after I hit “publish” on this post, I was doing a little more research on the sequel and found out something interesting!  The writer of this book is actually a MAN!  You can read the full interview with author Bill Hutton Surie on  I feel kind of silly now because I thought that Holly was an actual person (and a woman!!), but apparently he only announced himself as the author fairly recently.  Maybe this will teach me to do my research about the author or book next time.  *sheepish grin*

Time of My Life by Allison Winn Scotch

I had only first heard of Allison Winn Scotch when I came across her profile on Twitter (@aswinn).  Then more recently, this book showed up on the list of 100 top chick lit novels and I knew it was a must-read for me.

Time of My Life” reminded me of that movie “The Family Man” with Nicholas Cage… but with the opposite situation.  In that movie, Nicholas Cage’s character is a career-obsessed bachelor who then wakes up one day in what his life would have been: married to his sweetheart and with a cute little daughter.  In “Time of My Life”, Jillian is a housewife who spends all of time cooking, cleaning, and tending to her young daughter and her always-traveling-for-his-career husband.  When her massage therapist unblocks her “chi” after she finds out that her ex-boyfriend is getting married, she wakes up seven years in the past, still in the relationship with that ex-boyfriend.  After she realizes that she can’t get back to the future to her husband and daughter, Jillian takes it upon herself to try to change the future and see what would happen if she does things differently.  I hate to say much more because I don’t want to ruin the story for anyone else.  I find that I enjoy a book much more when I don’t know what’s going to happen next.

This book actually made me think (and that doesn’t happen too often for me with a book!).  Even though this situation obviously couldn’t happen in real life, it makes you think about “what if” and makes you really appreciate what you have now.  How would you feel if you were sent back in time and couldn’t have it anymore?

I liked Allison Winn Scotch’s writing style – very easy to read and it was entertaining and kept my interest throughout.  She has another book currently out, “The Department of Lost and Found“, and one that is being released in June 2010, “The One That I Want“.

Exposure/Dark Pursuit by Brandilyn Collins

Two books in one post!  I started reading Brandilyn Collins recently because these two books were free on Kindle, of course.  I like reading thriller and mystery types of books as long as they aren’t too complicated; I think I have a pretty short attention span.  Both of these books were really easy to follow but definitely surprised me at the end – but I’m not saying why!!

Exposure” is is interesting because there are really two stories going on within one, each chapter alternates between storylines.  In one story, a bank manager, Martin, partners with the mafia to help pull of a bank robbery, but when the mafia guy comes back to collect the cash, Martin is murdered.  His wife and daughter are a witness to this and then need to figure out how Martin was involved .  Once his wife figures it out, she has to figure out how to keep the mafia away so she doesn’t get herself and her daughter killed, too.  In the other story, a newspaper columnist named Kaycee who writes about her own fear and paranoia.   She soon finds herself in a situation where she’s questioning her fears and wondering if they’re in her own head or if it’s really happening.  When a young girl that she is close to is kidnapped, the fear and paranoia gets worse until Kaycee is finally forced to confront her worst fears.  I’ll let you read the book and figure out the rest!

Dark Pursuit” is about a girl name Kaitlin, a recovering drug addict, who has cleaned her life up, gotten a good job, and has a great boyfriend who is a police officer.  After coming home from work one day to find a dead woman on her bed, Kaitlin knows her boyfriend is involved and is afraid for her life.  She goes to her estranged grandfather for help, who happens to be an author of crime novels.  They devise a plan to keep Kaitlin safe and to confront her boyfriend, of course, things go terribly wrong.

I liked both of these books, they kept me on my toes (is that possible when reading a book?) and I wanted to turn the page to see what happened next.  Most of the mystery/thriller books that I like happen to have a female main character; perhaps it helps me identify with them more.  Brandilyn Collins has a number of other books in this genre and most of them seem to be parts of short (three to four book) series.  If all of her other books are like these two, I’ll definitely keep reading.

Amazon Kindle = Awesomeness

I swear I’m not being paid by Amazon to talk about how much I love my Kindle (although I wish I were… free book credits maybe?  Please?).  I know that it’s still out of the price range for some people and maybe other people don’t read often enough to think that it’s “worth” it.  When I first got my Kindle, my boyfriend figured out that it would take me something like 47 books in order for the Kindle to pay itself off, taking into account the money I’d save on buying Kindle books rather than real books from a store.  I’ve already downloaded about 70 books on it since I got it in June; I’d say almost half are free, half are ones that I had to pay for.  Kindle books range from free (yay!) to $14.99 (those are the most expensive I’ve seen), but most of the books are $9.99.  The price of the Kindle 2 (what I have) went down over the past 9 months from $359 to $259 for the 6 inch screen version.  The Kindle DX is new and has a bigger 9.7 inch screen, better for reading newspapers online and probably better for people who need to make the text bigger.  I’m sure they’ll be coming out with another version sometime soon; the Kindle 2 had a lot of updates that the original Kindle didn’t have and it came out only mere months after the original version.

A fellow Pittsburgh blogger over at Carpetbaggery wrote a great blog post the other day about the Kindle; click here to take a gander.  He brings up some interesting points and really makes you think about what the future of books could be.

Why I Can’t Read Candace Bushnell

Why?  Why can’t I read Candace Bushnell books?

I own two of her books, “Lipstick Jungle” and “One Fifth Avenue“.  I am a big fan of the Sex and the City TV show and movie but heard that the original “Sex and the City” book was totally different from the show (so I’m sure I wouldn’t like that either).  I first bought “Lipstick Jungle”.  I got maybe 100 pages or less into it and couldn’t read it anymore.  It was just…. I don’t know.  I was bored.  It was dull.  I wasn’t looking forward to the next page, the next chapter.  All I got from it was this: there were three women.  One worked in fashion, one was a writer (maybe?), don’t remember the other.  One had an affair with a younger guy.  I didn’t find anything memorable about the story.  Maybe I didn’t read far enough into the book, but still, my attention should have been grabbed from the get-go.  Then I thought I’d watch the version of the “Lipstick Jungle” TV show that was on NBC….. how long did that one last again before being cancelled?

I thought that maybe that book was just a dud for me and another one of hers would be better, so I went out and bought “One Fifth Avenue” when it came out.  Same thing… I only made it 100 page or so before putting down the book and never picking it back up.  All I got from it: there are a bunch of rich people that live in an NYC apartment building.  Bor-ing.

Is it just me?  Do I have high standards when it comes to storylines and character development?  Do I have ADD and need more excitement in order for a book to keep my attention?  Am I just crazy?  I don’t have this problem with many other books/authors, usually I can pick up and read almost anything.  Does anyone totally disagree with me (or maybe you DO agree with me)?  I think I’ve given up on Ms. Bushnell.

On a related note: anyone want to swap for two Candace Bushnell books?

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