Posts Tagged ‘chick lit’

Last Night at Chateau Marmont by Lauren Weisberger

So you’ve all read or seen the movie of “The Devil Wears Prada“, right?  If not, shame on you.  (P.S. the book, of course, was better than the movie.  I was slightly disappointed by the movie.  As usual.)  Author Lauren Weisberger just released her newest novel and I was ready – I had pre-ordered it months ago for my Kindle.

“Last Night at Chateau Marmont” is about a young New York City couple, Brooke and Julian.  Brooke works as a nutritionist at both a hospital and a private girls school in the city.  Julian is an amazing singer and pianist – that’s actually how they met.  Brooke had seen an impromptu performance of his at a local bar one night and was immediately drawn to the quiet, shy guy who always wore white t-shirts, Levi’s, and a knit cap.  She would go out weekly to see him perform, sitting alone in the corner.  One night, her blind date took her to the bar where Julian normally performed and guess what!  Her date was Julian’s cousin and they were finally introduced and they fell in love, got married, and lived happily ever after.

Well… not really.  The first two parts of that last phrase are right.  Brooke and Julian are just getting by on the salaries of Brooke’s two jobs and Julian is on the verge of being signed by Sony but is still struggling.  A rep from the Jay Leno show attends one of Julian’s shows and invites him to perform and his career just blew up from there.  He begins recording an album and performing all over the country.  Brooke is thrilled for Julian and has been supporting him the entire way, but their lives start to get shaken up when rumors start to swirl after Julian is photographed with a famous young starlet at an event.  It was completely innocent, but that’s when the public (and the gossip rags) really started to take notice of Julian Atler…. and Brooke.  More rumors start about Brooke and Julian’s marriage and this is not what Brooke signed up for.  As Julian does appearances and goes on tour, he and Brooke grow apart.  Brooke also loses BOTH of her jobs due to Julian’s hectic schedule and the [usually negative] attention that she’s getting.  Then the bomb drops –  photographs surface of Julian and a girl at the Chateau Marmont hotel in LA.  Brooke doesn’t know who to believe and where her life is going.  Can they get their lives and their relationship back on track?

I’ve loved all of Lauren Weisberger’s four books.  I was really entertained by this one and read it pretty quickly.  I could really imagine Brooke and Julian as two regular people that could be people that I know and I could totally imagine how Brooke would feel to be a “civilian” thrust into the spotlight with her newly famous husband.  I also liked that Weisberger threw in some pop culture references – current actresses/actors, singers, et cetera.  She also made up some characters (although it had me wondering if maybe they were modeled after a particular famous person – I’m still trying to guess!).  It’s a fun, easy read and you won’t want to put it down.  And if you haven’t checked out her other two novels yet, put ‘em on your list!

Fly Away Home by Jennifer Weiner

Jennifer Weiner is one of my favorite chick lit authors, not to mention one of my favorite authors, period.  I couldn’t wait to read her newest book when it came out recently!

Fly Away Home” is about a high-powered New York City family – Richard, Sylvie, and daughters Diana and Lizzie.  Richard is a State Senator who (“ripped from the headlines”!) gets caught having an affair with an intern then admits to helping her get a job.  When Sylvie, his dedicated and loyal wife of many years, finds out, she can’t bear to be with him any longer.  She realizes that she has molded herself to fit in as a politician’s wife and is sick of the act.  She flees to her family’s house by the beach where she spent so much time growing up.  She sheds the designer skirt suits, Spanx, and hair straightening to revert back to her wavy hair, comfy clothes, and no-makeup-ed face.

At this same time, Richard and Sylvie’s oldest daughter, Diana, a married mother of one and an emergency department physician, is in the middle of a heated love affair with a younger med student at the hospital.  She admits that she had “arranged” her own married and never really loved her husband but decided to marry him because he cared for her and she didn’t think he would ever hurt her and she thought she would grow to love him.  During this time, Diana’s younger sister, Lizzie, gets released from rehab for drug and alcohol use and moves in with Diana to be the nanny to her son.

When things start to go wrong for both of the girls, they also retreat to the beach house with their mother.  Sylvie, by the way, is having the time of her life being independent, learning how to cook, and doing things that she was never able to do as the wife of a prominent politician.

The story doesn’t end there, but you’ll just have to go out and buy it if you want to know what I left out!  I really really liked this book – each chapter was told in the perspective of one of the female characters, Sylvie, Diana, or Lizzie, but never Richard.  I like when an author does something interesting like that to mix it up a little bit.  I enjoyed the characters as well because they were all so different and had their ups and downs at different points in the book.

Jennifer Weiner has written six other books, all of which I own and loved.  You may recognize her one title, “In Her Shoes“, which was made into a movie a few years ago starring Cameron Diaz and Toni Collette (which by the way was not as good as the actual book – if you’ve seen the movie but not read the book yet, please go out and read it!).

Promises to Keep by Jane Green

Jane Green is one of my favorite authors and when her newest book came out a few weeks ago, I had already pre-purchased it for my Kindle and started reading as soon as it was delivered/downloaded!  This is her 12th book, by the way!

The story starts with a New York City health food chef, Steffi, who offers to dog-sit for Malcolm, a customer of the restaurant where she works.  Her wannabe rock star boyfriend hates dogs, so it’s just perfect timing that they’d be on the outs.  When Steffi decides that maybe she needs a change from the hustle and bustle of the city, she also takes Malcolm up on the offer to stay at his farmhouse in the country, which happens to be located pretty close to where Steffi’s sister lives and she thinks it would be nice to see Callie and her family more often.  Steffi LOVES living at the farmhouse and begins to make friends with the locals and starts to sell her cooked and baked goods at a local store.

She starts spending more time with her sister Callie, who is a happily married mother of two who also is a professional photographer on the side.  Soon after Callie’s family throws her a party to celebrate her birthday and the 4th anniversary of surviving breast cancer, she starts to get horrible headaches and blackouts.  After she sees her oncologist, who is also a close friend, it is determined that the cancer is back and has spread to her brain.  She knows that she does not have much time to live, so she tries to make the best of the time she has left with her family, and her friend and family rally around her to make her last days as happy and comfortable for her as possible.

This is not exactly a happy, light, fun summer read, but that shouldn’t discourage you from not reading it (even though it may have made me cry a little).  It DOES get emotional and sad in the second half of the book, but it also shows you the power of family and friends and love.  It is also inspiring to see how strong a person can be when they are facing something so difficult.  All of the characters seemed so… real, and their emotions and reactions to Callie’s diagnosis really made the story seem realistic.  The story was loosely inspired by Jane Green’s friend’s battle with cancer.

As I mentioned above, this is Jane Green’s 12th novel.  I think I’ve read almost every single one of her books and hope she keeps on writing!!

The One That I Want by Allison Winn Scotch

This book was just mentioned on the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s summer reading list and coincidentally, I just finished reading it!

The One That I Want” is about a woman named Tilly who is a guidance counselor in the same high school that she grew up in and she’s pretty satisfied with her life – married her high school sweetheart, hopefully trying for a baby on the way.  One day, she visits the town festival after work and runs into an old friend that she grew up with who is a fortune teller of sorts who does something to Tilly and tells her that she will now have clarity.  Tilly brushes her off until she all of a sudden blacks out and sees a vision, which ends up coming true.  She keeps having blackouts and visions and eventually figures out what triggers them and is able to do it on-demand.  Tilly knows that there’s nothing she can do to stop or change it because it’s obviously all happening for a reason.  While she was out living her lovely little life, things were starting to fall apart and she has no control over it.

Typically, I would go into more detail about the storyline up to a certain point, but I think that you should pick up the book and read it yourself if you want to learn more.  Telling you what the visions are and what happens would ruin all of the surprises and page-turningness (I think I just made up a new word).  This is one of those stories that makes you realize that no one is perfect and life isn’t perfect.  Sometimes things just don’t go the way you want them to, but it’s destiny and you just have to let it happen and then adjust your life from there.  The book was really easy to get into and it was hard to put down!

This is Allison Winn Scotch‘s third book; I’ve also read and blogged about her second book, “Time of My Life“, and want to read her first book someday, too.  You can also find her on Twitter and Facebook.  Personally, I like her cute and witty comments on random things and her running commentary on the TV show “The Bachelor” (or Bachelorette).  She live tweets during each episode – love it!

New Chick Lit Releases This Summer

I had a field day recently doing Kindle pre-orders of books by my favorite chick lit authors.  Here’s the list that I pre-ordered:

Those are all of the ones that were high on my radar; I hope I’m not missing any!  Looks like I’ll have a busy summer ahead of me.  Keep an eye out for these at your favorite bookstore and you can be sure I’ll be blogging about them as soon as I finish!

2012 Reading Challenge

2012 Reading Challenge
Jaci has read 1 book toward her goal of 35 books.

What I'm Reading

Jaci's favorite books »
Blogroll Center Books