Evelyn Cosgrave's Can I Tell You a Secret? is about three very different sisters who each have something to hide. They head to their grandmother's house for the summer. Saphron has just broken up with her fiance but she isn't exactly telling the full story. Successful Felicity usually spends her brief holidays in exotic locations, so how come she's spending so long "just chilling out". And Marianne has really got herself in a mess this time. Cosgrave's first novel, Desperately Seeking, was published last year. Can I Tell You a Secret? is out in April.
Top chick lit writers such as Marian Keyes, Adele Parks, Monica McInerney and Sinead Moriarty have united to celebrate breasts great and small in fundraising anthology Thanks for the Mammaries (edited by Australian author Sarah Darmody). Its synopsis includes: "Explore the dark, sexy underbelly of Paris with Kate Holden, laugh at Kathy Lette's Ode to Barbie and enjoy Maggie Alderson's musings about walking a mile in another woman's bra cup." In Australia, all royalties from book sales will go to the National Breast Cancer Foundation.
Did you know? Claudia Carroll's next novel, If This is Paradise, I Want My Money Back, takes a walk on the paranormal side. Charlotte Grey is offered the chance to go back to earth as an angel - to watch over the faithless guy she just wasted five years on.
Animal Instincts, by British author Nell Dixon, sees Clodagh Martin's celebrity step-sister Imogen turning up drunk at her animal sanctuary. She's lying low after a humiliating TV appearance and is planning on staying at Rainbow's End for a while. But Clodagh already has enough problems on her plate - the business is broke and there are vandals on the loose. And property magnate Jack Thatcher has been showing a lot of interest in Clodagh lately. But is it her or her assets he's after? Dixon's last book was Blue Remembered Heels. Animal Instincts is one of Little Black Dress' March releases.
Joe needs a quiet housesitter for his rambling old place by the sea. When Tess turns up on his doorstep, he's not sure she's right for the job. Where has she come from in such a hurry? Her past is a blank and she's a bit of an enigma. But there's something about her - even though sparks fly every time they meet.
With the Confessions of a Shopaholic movie set for its US debut, how are the critics responding to it? Sounds like they're not buying it, guys . . .
Mary Monroe's 11th novel, The Company We Keep, is about LA record company exec Teri Stewart. After a string of failed romances, Teri is holding out for Mr Right. Her best friend and assistant, Nicole, is determined to find Teri a man - even though her own love life is sadly wanting. Then radio DJ Harrison Starr, a man from Teri's past, returns to reignite their romance. But Harrison may have a secret that could change everything.
If you missed it the first time around (and I certainly did), then Lori Culwell's Hollywood Car Wash is being re-released with a fresh cover soon. College student Amy is thrust into the spotlight after winning a starring role on a new TV show. But she's going to have to get the "Hollywood Car Wash" to make her more marketable - lose 20 pounds, gain whiter teeth and blonder hair, and start dating a megastar with a big secret. When Hollywood Car Wash was first released in 2007, it gained attention because it was rumoured the characters were inspired by Dawson's Creek actress Katie Holmes and her megastar husband Tom Cruise.
Just in time for the most romantic time of the year, Valentine's Day, comes a book that regales its readers with epiphanies women had about why their boyfriend was not the one. What Was I Thinking?: 58 Bad Boyfriend Stories, edited by Barbara Davilman and Liz Dubleman, is a collection of stories describing that moment in a relationship when you realise that it is time to kick him to the curb - from hearing him tell you that he thinks about other women during sex, that he's told your friends that your bum is too big, to finding out he's been stealing your stuff or acts like a soup nazi. Carrie Fisher and Sex and the City's Cindy Chupack are among the writers contributing their first-person accounts.
Chick lit authors have pushed social and cultural boundaries in this predominately Muslim country. Known as sastra wangi (fragrant literature), Indonesian chick lit's first major work appeared in 1998 (the year of Suharto's downfall) with Ayu Utami's Saman, the story of an affair between a priest-turned-activist and a married woman. Djenar Maesa Ayu followed with her collection of short stories Mereka Bilang, Saya Monyet (They Call Me a Monkey!) that explored sexual themes and taboo topics. Her latest book, Ranjang (Bed), expected to be published this year, is about an MP involved in a scandalous love affair. Magazine journalist Alberthiene Endah has written several novels about single career women living in Jakarta, such as Jodoh Monica and Selebriti. Other authors to watch out for include Clara Ng (Tiga Venus, Indiana Chronicle trilogy), Tria Barmawi (The Lunch Gossip, Topsy-Turvy Lady), Mariskova (Hair Quake), Icha Rahmanti (Cintapuccino, Beauty Case) and Ika Natassa (A Very Yuppy Wedding, Divortiare).
Jane Heller, author of numerous novels including Some Nerve and Female Intelligence, has written a memoir about her obsession with the New York Yankees baseball team. The seed for Confessions of a She-fan appeared during the 2007 season, when fed up with poor play, Heller announced in a New York Times column that she was divorcing the team - on the grounds of mental cruelty. Many branded her a traitor and fair-weather fan. So with her husband, Heller follows the team for the rest of the season, looking at the bond between fan and team.
It's not due out until June but I just love the title and premise of Mandy Hubbard's book for young adults. Prada & Prejudice is about 15-year-old Callie who buys a pair of Prada heels on a school trip to London in an attempt to impress the cool crowd. But ever the klutz, she trips, knocking her head . . . and wakes up in the year 1815. She is taken in by kind-hearted Emily, and sparks soon fly between Callie and Emily's cousin, Alex, an arrogant duke.
Mia Farlane explores what happens in a relationship when the sex has stopped in her debut novel, Footnotes to Sex. May lives in a grotty bedsit with her long-term partner Jansen. Their relationship is suffering from all the grudge-holding, competitive tiredness, imagined slights - and absolutely no sex. Can it also stand the addition of a glamorous French writer and an old flame of Jansen's? Farlane is originally from New Zealand. Footnotes to Sex is out in March.
Green fingers unite! Irish author Tara Heavey's fourth novel, Sowing the Seeds of Love, sees mother of one Aoife - newly widowed and a new arrival to Dublin - working to transform a neglected walled garden. Her call for assistants soon brings retired tailor Uri and his son Seth, student Emily and even the garden's crotchety owner, Mrs Prendergast, out to help. Their extraordinary stories show Aoife the true resilience of the human spirit. But can she trust herself to love again? It's out in March - just in time for the northern spring.
Holly McQueen's head-in-the-clouds heroine is back in this sequel, The Fabulously Fashionable Life of Isabel Bookbinder. Last time Isabel planned to be a best-selling novelist; this time she's going to be an international fashion designer. After bagging a job with fashion legend Nancy Tavistock, within days Isabel's mind is working overtime on putting the final touches to her debut collection, dreaming up perfume line Isabelissimo, and making friends with John Galliano. Yet as fabulously fashionably as her life is, it soon spirals out of her control. It's out in April.
Sisters Rio and Dervla are reunited at their father Frank's funeral, having been estranged since the death of their mother 20 years ago. Free-spirited Rio has juggled single parenthood with a career as Jack-of-all-trades, while Dervla is an ambitious estate agent. While clearing out their father's house in Ireland, the sisters come across love letters to their mother from a man named Patrick which reveal a secret that could change their lives forever.
In Here Today, Gone to Maui, by Carol Snow, human resources consultant and compulsive list maker Jane is heading to Maui with her boyfriend Jimmy. She worries about missing their flight or losing her luggage. But it never even occurs to her that she might misplace Jimmy. When he disappears, with police suspecting he has drowned, Jane thinks things can't get any worse - but her troubles have just begun. Snow is the author of Been There, Done That and Getting Warmer.
In The Armchair Bride, by Mo Fanning (the pen-name of Amsterdam-based writer Adrian Bedford), Lisa is approaching 40 and realises via the internet that the only other single girl left from her school year is about to get married. So at her New Year's Eve office party, Lisa makes a bet with her gay best friend Andy. He challenges her to find love before hitting 40, while Lisa bets him that he can't land a decent acting job within the next year. You can find out more about these characters at www.placetheirface.com (a bit like the Holly's Inbox site).
Florida author Kathy Carmichael's Hot Flash is about a 40-year-old sous chef who sets out to find a man to help pay for her son's college tuition. And after interviewing couples with her Marriage Satisfaction Survey, Jill believes the secret recipe for a successful marriage is a man who travels. After all, a travelling salesman could bring to the table each month one week of marital bliss, three weeks off plus a paycheck. Carmichael's first mystery Diary of a Confessions Queen will be published next year.
Lights Out Enterprises businesswoman Madison Banks is back in The Funeral Planner Goes to the White House. In this sequel to Lynn Isenberg's The Funeral Planner, Madison becomes the nation's Grief Czar when the White House gets her to chair a bereavement committee. She helps creates a new national holiday while personally helping the president Andrew Stone deal with his own grief after the death of the first lady and a close advisor.
Australian comedienne Wendy Harmer (Farewell My Ovaries, Love and Punishment) has written a novel about three friends who embark on a road trip to Byron Bay, on Australia's east coast. In Roadside Sisters, elegant Meredith, motherly Nina and determinedly single Annie are each facing the various trials of middle age: divorces, teenage kids, stagnant careers and unexpected bouts of tears. This trip to attend Meredith's daughter's wedding might tear them apart or it might just save their lives. Roadside Sisters is out in April.
Canadian author Robyn Harding, author of The Journal of Mortifying Moments, has just released a young adult title, My Parents Are Sex Maniacs: A High School Horror Story. Life is good for Louise as she heads into 11th grade - until her dad is caught cheating with her best friend Sienna's mum at his 40th birthday party. The fall-out sees Louise's social status taking a spectacular nosedive and her parents prove to be an ongoing source of humiliation. Harding's first nonfiction book, Mom, Will this Chicken Give Me Man Boobs?: My Confused, Guilt-Ridden and Stressful Struggle to Raise a Green Family, will be available next month.
A. Olivia Lichtenstein has a new book out this year called Naked Yoga. After her marriage of 20 years collapses, Ros embarks on a new regime to stay sane, including yoga, herbal remedies and internet dating. You could also try Katherine Stewart's The Yoga Mamas about a professor's wife who makes new friends at an elite prenatal yoga class or Debra Galant's Fear and Yoga in New Jersey about a stressed-out yoga teacher. Alexander Gray's The Yoga Teacher sees Grace quit her job as a pharmaceutical rep and instead look for enlightment via her yoga mat. Anne Cushman's Enlightment for Idiots is about Amanda, a yoga teacher and freelance writer who heads to India when her editor assigns her to a guidebook about enlightenment. And Polly Williams' The Rise and Fall of a Yummy Mummy sees the heroine contemplate a fling with her yoga instructor, while in Jennifer Weiner's Little Earthquakes, the three women meet at a pregnancy yoga class.
Just as she is about to scale Africa's tallest mountain, the British newspapers are abuzz with rumours that celebrity Cheryl Cole has landed a multi-million-dollar deal with HarperCollins to write chick lit novels. The Girls Aloud singer, X Factor judge and soccer WAG is preparing for a charity trek up Mt Kilimanjaro in Tanzania later this month. A source was reported saying Cole has been asked to emulate the style of Marian Keyes. "She hadn't previously thought of writing but she's come around to the idea," the source said.
Sometimes getting everything you want is the worst thing that can happen to you. In Heather McElhatton's Jennifer Johnson is Sick of Being Single, the heroine is sick of being single, sick of being unable to lose weight and sick of her copywriter's job at a department store. And she becomes even more desperate to find true love when it is revealed that her little sister and her ex-boyfriend are both getting married on Valentine's Day. So begins a series of humiliating dates until it looks like she's met the perfect guy in Brad, the son of the store president. The novel is out in May. McElhatton also follows up her do-over book Pretty Little Mistakes, where readers get to choose their own endings, with Million Little Mistakes, out later this year. Pretty Little Mistakes is being developed by NBC as a one-hour drama.
Lucy-Anne Holmes' 50 Ways to Find a Lover, which evolved from her blog at www.spinstersquest.com that details the London actress' real-life love woes, is being promoted as a "Bridget Jones for the 21st century". Sarah Sargeant has been single for three years and nine months - in fact it's such a drought she believes Bob Geldof would start thinking about holding a benefit concert. She has just plucked up the courage to ask out a balding man who works in her local pub. But when he tells her that he would rather stay in and watch a DVD, she vows it's the last time she will ever reach out to a member of the opposite sex. But her family and friends have other ideas. They enter her into a reality TV show, persuade her to go speed dating and encourage her to start a blog. Suddenly Sarah is on a mission - to explore 50 ways to find a lover. It's out in April and Holmes is reportedly working on a sequel, which sees Sarah head to Los Angeles.
First up some of the books that helped launch the chick lit genre. These three titles are no-brainers - it's just going to be a matter of where these fall on the list.
Watermelon was the book that launched the queen of chick lit Marian Keyes back in 1995. It also was the first title that introduced us to that madcap Irish family, the Walshes - we were later to be reacquainted with the sisters through Rachel's Holiday, Angels and Anybody Out There?. Watermelon sees Claire's husband leave her the day their daughter is born - so she returns to the family fold. It was adapted into a TV movie in 2003, with Anna Friel playing the main character but the storyline was very different.
Helen Fielding's Bridget Jones's Diary is arguably the book that launched the chick lit genre - even though it was released a year after Marian Keyes' Watermelon. The book, about a year in the life of a British singleton, evolved from a series of Fielding's newspaper columns. Women all of the globe empathised and laughed at Bridget's antics, from her weight loss and job woes, to sleeping with her boss and surviving dinner parties with Smug Marrieds. Loved for its parallels to Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice, it and its sequel Bridget Jones: Edge of Reason were made into movies in the early 2000s, starring Renee Zellweger as Bridget, Hugh Grant as Daniel Cleaver and Colin Firth as Mark Darcy. Bridget's story then continued online in 2005-06, and ended with her having a baby son with Daniel.
The release of Confessions of a Shopaholic (aka The Secret Dreamworld of a Shopaholic) in 2000 began a very successful five-book series for Sophie Kinsella, the pen-name of Madeleine Wickham. This very funny book does so much more than showcase chick lit's popular themes of shopping and shoes. Rebecca Bloomwood is a financial journalist who can't get her debt under control. The rest of the series continues her relationship with the two loves of her life - shopping and Luke Brandon. The movie, starring Isla Fisher as Becky and Hugh Dancy as Luke, hits cinemas this month.
You can make your own suggestions for the Ultimate 100 Chicklit Collection by emailing us.
Virginia Smith is bringing out the second book in her Sister-to-Sister series in February. Age Before Beauty follows on from the first release Stuck in the Middle. Desperate to stay home with her baby, Allie launches a new career in make-up. But how can she focus on business when none of her pre-baby clothes fit and her bank account is dwindling? And to make matters worse her mother-in-law has moved in and her husband's attractive co-worker suddenly needs his help all the time. Book 3, Last But Not Least, is due out in 2010.
British magazine journalist Katy Regan uses her own experience of having a baby with her best mate for her first novel, One Thing Led to Another. Magazine journalist and party girl Tess has to sober up quickly after a drunken night with best friend Jim leads to a positive pregnancy test. With both wanting to remain "just good friends", Tess faces the prospect of single motherhood amid an ever-evolving relationship with Jim. Regan's experiences were also the basis for a Marie Claire UK column, And then there were three . . . sort of. She currently writes the State She's In blog.
Red Dress Ink, the imprint launched by Harlequin in 2001 which introduced many chick lit novelists, will not be publishing any new titles. Melissa Senate's See Jane Date was the first novel released in November 2001 while its last title, Eye to Eye by Grace Carol, was released in December 2008. Other authors who have been involved with RDI include: Lauren Baratz-Logsted, Wendy Markham, Lee Nichols, Kyra Davis, Allison Rushby, Jane Sigaloff, Sarah Mylnowski and Brenda Janowitz.
The writing pair behind the 2007 novel Gucci Mamas are set to release a new novel in April. Versace Sisters, by Cate Kendall (the pen-name of Michelle Hamer and Lisa Blundell), focuses on sisters Bellarene and Serandipity who enjoyed the high life together as flight attendants. But now Sera is stretched to the limit trying to maintain the illusion of a perfect family and home. She relies on her weekly Stitch 'n' Bitch knitting group to keep her sane. Meanwhile sister Bella just wants to be free.
A British chick lit writer has become one of three authors offered book deals through talent-spotting website authonomy.com. Set up by HarperCollins last September, it offers unpublished writers the chance to show their work to an online community of readers, publishers and agents. It is like an electronic slush pile where people can read the submissions, award star ratings and make comments. The manuscripts - more than 2000 have been submitted - are categorised into different genres, including chick lit. Those that get the best reader response will make it to the desk of a HarperCollins editor. The publishing firm has just signed up three Authonomy authors, including Briton Miranda Dickinson whose chick lit book Coffee At Kowalski's is about a twenty-something British woman Rosie who works in a New York florist shop. Dickinson has been offered a three-book deal.
Australian audiences can catch Privileged, the TV series based on Zoey Dean's How To Teach Filthy Rich Girls, on Fox8 from February 19. It's about Yale graduate Megan Smith (Joanna Garcia), who takes a live-in post tutoring a pair of socialite twin teenagers, Rose (Lucy Kate Hale) and Sage (Ashley Newbrough), in Palm Beach, Florida. Series one is still airing in the US.
Did you know? Zoey Dean's next chick lit release, Hollywood Is Like High School with Money, out mid-year, is about a movie studio assistant who finds her catty colleagues are a lot like those mean girls from high school.
Sinead Moriarty's Whose Life Is It Anyway? is being released this year with a new title. Keeping It In The Family is about newspaper columnist Niamh O'Flaherty who is torn between her family and her man. Niamh's family expects her to settle down soon with a nice Irish lad. But when she meets the love of her life, Pierre, he's older and an intellectual - and couldn't be less Irish if he tried.
Lou Winter realises she needs to clear some clutter from her life. But what begins as an earnest spring clean soon spirals out of control - and she's on a mission hiring skip after skip. Husband Phil thinks clearing out cupboards has taken over her life. But for Lou, letting go of her junk is helping her deal with more emotional baggage, such as her desire for a baby, her missing best friend and her husband's affair.
Did you know? Milly Johnson is one of the seven British novelists behind the New Romantics website, to be officially launched on Valentine's Day.
One of the major milestones in a woman's life is having her first baby. For some it happens with little fanfare, for others it's a painstaking process of trying to conceive. In our Pregnant Pause theme, you'll find stories about women who are craving or facing the arrival of their bundle of joy.
Beauty expert Bella Hunter writes the most popular column in uber-chic magazine Enchante - readers just can't get enough of her beauty advice, even though she's not immune to her own styling disasters such as dying her hair orange or staining her clothes with self-tan. But Bella's lucky streak is about to end when she imbibes too much wine during a newspaper interview and reveals secrets about her bitchy industry. Snubbed by her fellow beauty colleagues, the only magazine that will touch her is Womanly World - a magazine more suited to the over-50s. And despite dating a rising model and heading off on a Paris junket, Bella just can't come up with the right ideas to impress her new publisher, James. Written by a magazine insider (who also lost her job after being exposed as a beauty blogger who revealed too much), this is classic chick lit that may just have beauty junkies rushing out to get a copy - without stopping first to apply their make-up.
Kate Lawson's back with another romantic comedy called Keeping Mum. Forty-something Cass is not impressed when her mother moves in with her - along with her sexy toyboy Rocco. Nina's uninhibited love life on display is the last thing Cass needs on top of the reappearance of old friend and drama queen Fiona, who asks her to spy on her boyfriend Andy because she suspects he's having an affair. A much-needed break in Cyprus should spell welcome relief. But not with Nita left home alone, the truth about Andy's secret liaisons emerging and Fiona deciding if you can't beat them then join them.
One of the Chicklit Club's Top 10 Books of 2008 is being released in paperback this month with a hot new cover - and a sizzling ad campaign. Tell Me Something, by Adele Parks, is about Elizabeth who hopes a move to her Italian husband's hometown will bring her the family she so desires.
Did you know? Adele Parks' next book, Love Lies, is due out in July. It's about Fern who's looking to settle down with her reluctant boyfriend Adam until a chance encounter with Scottie Taylor - the hottest British singer since Robbie.
Irish author Clodagh Murphy's first novel, The Disengagement Ring, sees Kate accept a gig cooking for rock band Walking Wounded while they record in Tuscany - even though it means being away from her fiance Brian for three months. But Kate is unaware that the job is part of a plot hatched by her disapproving mother Grace to upset her wedding plans. Or that Grace thinks her daughter is better matched to the band's manager Will, an old family friend. It's out in March.
What would happen if you discovered that your husband had not only been involved in shady business deals but had also been hiding a mistress and son? That's exactly the scenario facing Ruby Gallagher, the heroine of Bernadette Strachan's How to Lose a Husband and Gain a Life. When husband Manny is arrested for fraud and his secret family are exposed, Ruby watches her designer lifestyle being repossessed. But Ruby soon realises, with the help of some good friends and a new business venture, that she's a lot better off without her husband. Strachan, the author of Little White Lies and Handbags and Halos, is already at work on novel number six. How to Lose a Husband and Gain a Life will be released in April.