Fancy hooking up with a Hollywood heart-throb or sexy rock star? This is just what these characters faced in this month's Dream Theme.
Maeve Connelly believes she has rotten luck. It took her nearly eight years to graduate college and she still hasn't settled into a career. When she loses her job at the pub for running late yet again (her old banger of a car, Elsie, ran out of petrol), she decides to pack up and head across the country to Los Angeles to meet up with an old friend she reconnected with through Facebook. But her car breaks down in Unknown, Arizona, and the only mechanic for miles has just gone to try his luck in Vegas and no one knows when he'll be back. So Maeve moves into the local boarding house and gets a job in the bookstore. And so begins her fresh start at life, with a new cast of intriguing characters. A truly inspiring story that will entertain, captivate and bring on the tears. Watch out for the occasional appearance of her sister Vi, from Reichs' first novel The Best Day of Someone Else's Life.
Two women are about to be pitted against each other by a very powerful man. Madison Miller is the small-town girl who swept to victory on America's hottest talent show. She's also head-over-heels in love with the man who's masterminded her career - Beau Silverman. Jess is a runaway bride who has fled London to chase dreams of being a fashion designer in New York. But she's finding life in the Big Apple tough, until she meets a man who makes her an offer she can't refuse. When things go wrong for Madison, Jess happens to be waiting in the wings. But how far can one girl go in pretending she's something she's not?
Sarah Duncan's Kissing Mr Wrong is about children's book writer Alex who certainly doesn't want any children of her own. Then Gus blows into her life - bringing with him an ex-wife, kids and a large dog. He's absolutely not Mr Right, but as he helps Alex trace a strand of her family history, she finds herself being drawn into his chaotic but warm world. But being the wicked stepmother was never a role Alex fancied playing. Kissing Mr Wrong is out in December.
Dianne Blacklock has her sixth novel, Three's a Crowd, coming out this December. It's about four friends and how the loss of one changes the dynamic of their relationships. The synopsis says: "Without Annie (the Carrie of the group), friends Catherine, Lexie and Rachel are lost. How will they fill the void and will their friendship survive? These questions are soon overshadowed by the complexities of their own lives. Catherine is excelling in her high-flying career but struggling in her relationships, especially with her unfathomable teenage daughter. Lexie is juggling the demands of her young family and the ego of her hardworking husband, while taking the first steps to achieving her own dreams. And finally Rachel, the one who can't seem to settle down, is experiencing the heady euphoria of a new relationship. But when the truth comes out about who she has fallen in love with, fragile friendships will be put to the test all over again."
For details on some Sydney book events with Dianne Blacklock, Ber Carroll and Liane Moriarty, check out her website.
Kat Elliot is a hardcore feminist, who doesn't exactly strike the right chord with the people she meets or interviews in her role as a reporter for an iconic British music magazine. She doesn't play along with the phoney Brit-rock bands she interviews and usually tears them apart in her articles, which is eventually what leads to her dismissal from the job she's loved for years. Now jobless and with little money left, she turns to her once best friend turned arch enemy as her last hope. Lauren Anderville and Kat were best friends until one day Lauren suddenly got popular in high school and left Kat in the dust. Although she is unable to completely forgive Lauren, Kat still needs her help now. Lauren promises to make Kat's life so much easier just by showing her how to live by an age-old text called the Popularity Rules. These rules supposedly make people bow down to you and allow you to get anything you want. To Kat's surprise these rules work and although it requires a complete makeover - of not only hair and wardrobe but personality too - and a lot of hard work, Kat is happy finally. She's getting all the right people to talk to her when only a few months earlier she was a social pariah. And now she is on her way to getting her dream job and forgiving Lauren. But of course, things aren't always what they seem and Kat soon finds out that she can't exactly trust Lauren anymore than she could 10 years earlier. A great book filled with a fantasy set of rules that, if real, would make life so much simpler for everyone. (AS)
Texan author Dee Davis is about to release Set Up in SoHo, the next instalment in her Matchmaker Chronicles, in the US. She talks to Angela Smith about matchmaking, Manhattan and romantic comedies.
Laurie Brown's The Death of Bridezilla is about a wedding planner, Caroline, who agrees to help organise the wedding of her cousin, Barbara the Bridezilla. It's not long before her frustration levels with her hellish client reach breaking point. On the morning of the wedding, Caroline discovers the tangled mess of Barbara's car - and is then arrested for her murder. Now she has to work with her ex-husband Sheriff Travis Beaumont if she has any chance of proving her innocence. It's out in January.
Natalie Miller is a workaholic political aide to the senator of New York. One day her boyfriend discovers a lump in her breast and it turns out to be stage 3 breast cancer. Her boyfriend leaves her and her life is turned upside down. While recovering from her chemotherapy rounds, Natalie becomes addicted to The Price is Right and decides to start tracking down all her past loves and assessing what went wrong. This is a fantastic book that reads like a memoir. The author handles the topic of a young woman with cancer with humour and hope. (AO)
My favourite book of the year has been Airhead by Meg Cabot. Technically, it's YA and not 100 per cent chick lit but I LOVED it. Like a certain other book I've been a big fan of this year (cough, plug, cough) it's set in my favourite city, New York, mostly around Soho and the West Village and tells the story of Emerson Watts, a Plain Jane high school girl who, due to a tragic accident, has her brain transplanted into the body of a world-famous supermodel, Nikki Howard. Now yes, it does sound a tiny bit far-fetched when I put it like that, but Meg Cabot's writing and understanding of exactly how a teenage girl thinks makes it completely believable. There wasn't a single moment in the book when I thought, oh come off it Meg, you are having a larf - really? Secret brain transplants bankrolled by a shady, evil-twin of Richard Branson-style billionaire entrepreneur? Nope, I was too busy breaking my heart over Em's unrequited crush on her best friend Christopher, sobbing like a baby when she realizes she can't ever just go back to her normal life with her family, biting my lip with excitement when one of Nikki Howard's (many) conquests would show up in Em's life and, quite frankly, having just moved to New York myself, going green with jealousy over the descriptions of Nikki's amazing Centre Street apartment. It's such a fun book and everyone I've recommended it to has loved it. Meg's writing is never patronizing which lifts it right out of being a regular children's book and anyone that has ever had an unrequited crush - on a boy or New York - should read it.
Lindsey Kelk is the author of trilogy I Heart New York, I Heart Hollywood (January 2010) and I Heart Paris (July 2010). She works as a children's book editor.
'When Daneka Lawton was awakened at 6am by her radio clock and Lily Allen singing her song Smile, she was unaware that her personal nemesis had just stepped off a 747 at the Auckland airport.' Danny is an ER nurse in the North Shore with funky coloured hair and an attitude to match. After her sister's death from breast cancer six months ago, Danny is raising her niece Mia and nephew Matt on her tight budget, with no family to support her. Until, out of the blue, Danny starts to receive letters from Ross Fabello, the brother of the children's dad, who is wanting to get to know the children and introduce them to his family. Worried, that the Italian-American family will take the children away from her, she ignores his letters. Finally after a series of unfortunate events Ross ends up at the hospital where she works. For both parties, it's hate at first sight as neither wants to give up the children. Ross hires a PI to investigate Danny while she Googles him and finds out he is also the famous author RF O'Rourke. After a series of events and slanging matches including the famous apple-throwing incident at the supermarket, together they discover more about each other and in time themselves. Filled with an interesting cultural mix, this book includes New Zealanders Pakeha and Maori as well as Americans, Italians and the Irish. This is one of those books that once you start reading you won't be able to put it down. (PP)
Kathleen Tessaro's The Debutante asks whether the secrets of one woman's past can change another woman's future. Cate is a gifted artist who survives in New York by producing copies of Old Masters. She arrives in London to stay with her aunt Rachel who owns an auction house, determined to leave the pain of her past behind. Cate is sent to help value the contents of the once-grand Georgian house, Endsleigh House. Cataloguing its contents with Jack - a man with his own dark past - she comes across a hidden shoebox containing an exquisite pair of dancing shoes from the 1930s, along with a mysterious collection of objects: a photograph, a dance card and a Tiffany bracelet. Returning to London, Cate immerses herself in piecing together the clues contained in the box to uncover a story about Irene Blythe and her sister Diana - two of the most famous debutantes of their generation. Their tale leads Cate to face up to secrets of her own.
Alexandra Potter's Who's That Girl? is being released in the US early next year under a different title, The Two Lives of Miss Charlotte Merryweather. The story is about successful PR agency owner Charlotte who meets her 10-year-younger self while out driving in her VW convertible. She tries to stop 21-year-old Lottie from making all sorts of mistakes, such as smoking, suntanning and sleeping with rock singer Billy Romani.
Kelly Monsoon is leaving behind her small, cold flat she shares with her two best friends Sophie and Mandy to move in with her new boyfriend. Who just happens to be Rufus George, one of Hollywood's hottest actors. Kelly works for a British theatre company and met Rufus while he was treading the boards there. And although Kelly devours Heat every week, she still finds settling into a celebrity's life difficult. With super-critical stylist Elody overhauling her body and her look, the paparazzi capturing her every move, and Rufus back in LA spending time with a gorgeous co-star, Kelly finds she is losing touch with her old life. Don't get thrown by the cover illustration and back cover blurb - this isn't about planning a celebrity wedding at all. In fact there isn't a proposal in sight for the first 250 pages and Rufus only appears as a guest star. A sequel is in the works.
Watch out for . . . The Wedding Planner, by Melanie la'Brooy. Soapie actress Sabrina is getting married; her estranged sister Mimi returns from overseas to be bridesmaid and wedding planner to the stars Claudia is hired to pull the whole day together. It's out mid-2010.
Snapped by Pamela Klaffke is about Sara who thinks she is losing her cool. As Montreal's premier trend-spotter, she has spent the past 15 years snapping photos of fashion victims and leading trend tours for corporate executives. With her friends abandoning urban life for suburban comfort, having kids and dabbling in plastic surgery, Sara is terrified of growing old but refuses to heed the advice of her friends to give up her bad habits and grow up. With her younger competition closing in on her, Sara is afraid she's losing her touch and is sent reeling into a spiral of self-doubt. She's also plagued with guilt over the thousands of people she's mocked in print by branding them fashion don'ts, and becomes obsessed with making amends. Snapped is out in January, and a film adaptation is in development.
Brooklyn's Park Slope neighbourhood is the place to live if you are a neurotic SAHM (stay-at-home mom) continually obsessing about your child's wellbeing. From the best public education money can buy to organic baby food from the Prospect Park Food Coop, and of course, playmates with well-connected parents, Park Slope has it all ... including four dissatisfied mothers. Melora Leigh is growing increasingly frustrated with her acting career, her distant actor-writer husband, and her adopted son to the point that she does whatever she can to feel the thrill of life again. Lizzie O'Donnell, dealing with loneliness while her musician husband is on the road, finds herself continually drawn to women even though she considers herself a "hasbian" since getting married and having her son. Rebecca Rose longs for the sex life she had with her husband before having her daughter. When a flirtation with a neighbourhood dad at the Coop is taken to the next level, she must decide what she really wants out of life. Karen Bryan Shapiro is a social climber of the highest order. In an effort to obtain the perfect address so her son can attend the best school in Brooklyn, she resorts to some very unsavoury behaviour. The lives of Melora, Lizzie, Rebecca, and Karen become dizzyingly intertwined in this dishy, frank, but completely over-the-top and stereotypical look at life in Brooklyn. The book suffers from the author including too many characters who aren't developed to their potential. (LEK)
Watch out for . . . Jill Kargman's next novel Arm Candy about a nearly 40-year-old model who becomes a cougar when she trades in her older lover for the 28-year-old son of a well-connected political family. It's due out in May.
Looking for a modern fairytale with a chick lit twist? Then try I Hate Cinderella, the debut novel by Sydney-based photographer Amanda Cole, which is about how to mend a broken heart. Lucy is left shattered when her boyfriend leaves her to travel the world. Flying from Sydney to Brisbane for a work meeting her plane crashes into the sea and Lucy is rescued by a mermaid, Obelia. Together they reignite Lucy's passion for drawing and re-establish her sense of her self-worth. Cole has said that the story came to her in a dream while she was on a business flight.
Congratulations to Geraldine, of Galway, Ireland; and Maxine, of Queensland, Australia - our winners of a copy of Alice Grist's The High Heeled Guide to Enlightenment. Grist jumps stilettos first into all things spiritual as she aims to bring an understanding of alternative spirituality to a new audience. She says it's spirituality for the sexy socialite, enlightenment for the lip-gloss dependent and a crash course in serenity for the yummy mummy. "Veering between the wildly faddish and fashionable to the freakier and less familiar, the High Heeled Guide sheds a pink and intelligent spotlight upon a diverse collection of spiritual options that well suit the modern woman. An intriguing, informative and hilarious read for any woman who knows deep in her worn-down soul that there is more to life than cars, careers, kids and cocktails." Grist is a practising intuitive tarot card advisor and Reiki practitioner. She has worked as a freelance writer contributing to a number of websites and magazines.
The sudden death of Buddy brings two longtime childhood friends Oliver and Alice back to their hometown, East Coast, and also back into each others' lives. Once inseparable, they have diverged along different paths, losing themselves along the way. Oliver has settled for a stable career in law, burying his once burning passion for music. Wild child Alice, inflicted with the scars of sexual abuse, continues living her life in despair and fear. As Oliver tries to intervene, wanting to save Alice from her misery, he realises that he has more to deal with. An intense and provoking read about a complicated relationship and with its unexpected twists and turns, it got me hooked from the start until the end. (XT)
British TV presenter Fern Britton has signed a two-book deal with HarperCollins, basing her first novel on her experiences in the TV industry. Due out in 2011, the as-yet-untitled book follows Christie Lynch, a journalist and single mother who lands a high-profile television job. But as she climbs the ladder of fame, she soon realises not all of her friends nor colleagues are to be trusted.
It's getting to that time of the year again when Christmas decorations start appearing in shops and the Christmas-themed books begin popping up on shelves. One of this year's releases, Dublin author Patricia Scanlan's Coming Home, is about two very different sisters. Alison's high-flying career in the US has hit the skids because of the global financial crisis. But pride prevents her from telling her family back home just how bad things are. Envious of her sister's glamorous New York life, Olivia juggles family, career, preparations for Christmas and organising a surprise party for their mother's 70th birthday. Coming home is the last thing Alison wants to do but family ties are strong. As Alison and Olivia sort out their differences, the party and Christmas bring changes for Alison that she could never have imagined before coming home.
Is being a florist the new hip job? I have noticed a trend in the last three new releases I have read (Love Lies - Adele Parks, Rich Girl Poor Girl - Lesley Lokko and Forget Me Knot - Sue Margolis) - all of the main characters are florists. And at least two other new releases from 2009 come to mind with the same connection: Fairytale of New York by Miranda Dickinson and Molly's Millions by Victoria Connelly. While the glamour and glitz of the fashion or media world will never lose their appeal for our career-minded heroines, it appears that working with flowers is proving to have the sweet smell of success for our newest characters. Perhaps authors have decided to make our loveable leading ladies more relatable by giving them less glamorous careers? Time will only tell whether this Flower Power trend continues! (GF)
Romance writer Libby has just been dumped - by her agent, her publisher and now her fiance. So she's over the moon when she's given the opportunity to ghostwrite a novel for former Miss Ireland Lulubelle Ryan, who's filming a reality TV show about plastic surgery. Particularly as it means travelling around the world as part of Lulubelle's entourage for two months as she writes a bonkbuster set in the glitzy world of modelling. Even better, her best friend, magazine columnist Celeste, is coming along for the ride. And Lulubelle's handsome manager Leo just adds to the attraction.
Mia Saul is down on her luck. Her husband, Lloyd, left her for a woman who worked at a local nail salon, leaving Mia to raise their daughter, Eden, by herself in a Brooklyn apartment with crazy neighbours. Mia can barely even afford to pay their rent each month, working a variety of temp jobs just to stay afloat. If only she had enough money to get herself off the ground and to get Eden the things she needs and wants. Standing at an ATM one day, Mia's luck suddenly changes. Instead of giving her the correct change, the ATM gives her an extra $100. Mia is worried that eventually the bank will catch the error and ask for the money back, but in the meantime, she needs the money so she decides to use it. Returning to the same machine later, it again gives her extra money - this time she asks for $100 and gets $1000. Mia's luck gets even better when the machine gives her a very rare $10,000 bill, with a note saying to use the money wisely. Before long, Mia is taking Eden on trips to Barneys, allowing her to form a new relationship with her sometimes rebellious daughter. Eventually, people start to worry about Mia and her new-found cash flow. First her family, then the police, want to know where all this extra money is coming from. Yona McDonough creates a wonderful fantasy novel that, though sometimes gritty, shows a heartfelt and downtrodden character all rolled into one. The money gives Mia hope for her future and her daughter's, showing what a difference small monetary changes can make in a person's life. (AS)
Find out what inspired Yona Zeldis McDonough to write this novel in her interview with Angela Smith.
Evenings at the Argentine Club, by Julia Amante, is about the pressures of preserving or forsaking your cultural identity after immigrating to a different country. Victoria is torn between trying to reconcile being the perfect Argentine daughter and an independent American woman. Her parents Victor and Jaqui imagined moving to the US would bring happiness and prosperity - instead they found a world of hard work and frustration. Eric left his parents Antonio and Lucia's close-knit Argentine community years ago to pursue his dreams. When he unexpectedly shows up at the Argentine Club - the heart of the Argentine community in southern California - Eric starts a series of events that will bring these two families closer than ever.
The heroine of Shana Mahaffey's Sounds Like Crazy has Dissociative Identity Disorder, like Toni Collette's Emmy award-winning character on the United States of Tara TV show. Though she doesn't remember the trauma that caused it, Holly's personality has fractured into five different identities, together known as The Committee. They are the faceless Boy; the ancient Silent One; Sarge, the protector; Ruffles, the overweight chip eater, and Betty Jane, the attention-seeking Southern belle. And as much as they make Holly's life hell, she can't live without them. Betty Jane even lands Holly a voiceover job for an animated TV series. Meanwhile Holly's therapist, Milton, is trying to get to the bottom of her broken psyche.
I would pick Twenties Girl by Sophie Kinsella. Meet Lara Lington, typical mid-20s modern-day girl-boy troubles, career troubles and family issues engulf her. But it all gets a whole lot more complicated when Lara's 105-year-old dead great-aunty pops in (at her own funeral) to ask a favour. The belligerent yet endearing Great-Aunt Sadie returns in her 23-year-old form as a flapper from the 1920s and cannot rest until her very special dragonfly necklace is found - and of course Lara is recruited for the job. Plenty of family skeletons are unearthed, age-old mysteries solved and Lara learns a lot about herself on the journey. Kinsella's writing is as tight as many of the greats in this genre; her characters are quirky, believable, flawed and fabulous; but it's her creativity and stand-out imagination that makes this an absolute hit. It's so fab to have such an original concept star on the oft predictable chick-lit stage.
Chosen by Lisa Blundell, one half of the Cate Kendall writing team. Together with Michelle Hamer, she has written Gucci Mamas and Versace Sisters.
Fern is turning 30 and feels her life is going nowhere - stuck in a dead-end relationship and a tiny apartment, she dreams of getting so much more from life. Once upon a time her relationship with Adam was amazing but Fern wants the fairytale, the ring, and all that comes with it. Then along comes Scottie Taylor, England's sexiest pop star, who whisks her into a life with glitz, glamour and envy and includes a big ring to go with it! Will Fern fall in love with her new-found charmed life or will she discover that her happily ever after was more close to home than she originally thought? Although at times a bit slow to get to the point, this is a witty and clever chick lit novel with a twist that you'll never expect. (GF)
For those who enjoyed The Overnight Fame of Steffi McBride, A.J. Crofts has written a prequel about Steffi's estranged mother, Maggie. The Fabulous Dreams of Maggie de Beer is set in the 1970s and tells the story of 15-year-old Maggie who arrives in London determined to find fame and fortune. But there are many people just waiting to take advantage of a gorgeous young hopeful and the choices Maggie makes lead her into dangerous waters as she strives to become the next Audrey Hepburn. Then a chance encounter sets in motion a chain of events that change her fate and lead to her becoming more famous than she could ever have imagined. The book is out in February but you can read the first two chapters here.
If you fancy gliding down the red carpet in a designer gown like the one on the cover of Wendy Holden's Beautiful People, then check out the competition on her website. The winner will score a made-to-measure dress worth 3000 pounds from designer Ana Cristache, inspired by the cover illustration. (UK residents only and the competition closes at the end of October). Holden's next book - as yet untitled - about a prince whose parents forbid him from seeing his commoner girlfriend, is due out in January.
The heroine of Sydney-based author Lisa Heidke's latest release What Kate Did Next is a mother of two who heads back into the workforce while trying to juggle kids, a work-obsessed husband, lust for her son's soccer coach, and much, much more ... The synopsis says: "Her husband's a workaholic, her kids are growing up - now it's time for Kate to follow some of her own dreams. It seems like only yesterday that Kate was one of the most well-regarded photographers in town. So how, she wonders, did her life come to consist of so much drudgery, not to mention dealing with a recalcitrant, eye-rolling teenage daughter and an often-absentee husband. And why oh why did her young son have to score such a distractingly gorgeous soccer coach? Follow Kate's journey as she dips her toes back into the workforce and starts to fantasise about getting her life back, including some of the glamour and fun." What Kate Did Next is out in December. Heidke's debut novel Lucy Springer Gets Even was released at the start of the year.
Lots of popular authors make the list as Christy reveals her Top 10 All-Time Favourites.
Helena Treadwell has worked hard to get her life sorted since divorcing her control freak husband Leonard and moving to her hometown of Castleford with her son Freddie. But things start to unravel when she loses her radio presenting job, her beloved father is seriously ill and Leonard announces he's moving to town, with the other woman that Helena has never met. Helena gets the opportunity to produce a TV documentary on why Castleford produces such well-rounded individuals and finds herself drawn to its director Will. The story examines control freaks in all guises from parents, bosses and spouses, as Helena deals with why her ex still yanks her chain.
Jennifer Weiner has revealed on her latest blog update that she is just finishing the first draft of her next novel tentatively titled Home by the Sea. Due out mid-year, she says it's about "three very different women - a 54-year-old political wife, a 36-year-old married working mother and an 18-year-old teenager with a secret, who are all coping with relationships in crisis, and who find each other, in a home. By the sea. Where they learn lessons, tell jokes, discover their own strengths, and possibly commit a crime. Not telling yet! Anyhow, there is humor and heartbreak and romance and sex scenes both tender and inadvertently hilarious, plus a passage in which one of the women says that she hates the shape of her husband's head, and observes that once you hate the shape of someone's head, the relationship's in trouble."
Here is a sneak peek at the cover of Erica James' 14th novel The Queen of New Beginnings. The synopsis says: "Clayton Miller's life is a mess. His career as one of the country's best comedy scriptwriters has stalled and his long-term girlfriend has left him for his ex-best friend and ex-writing partner. Just when he thinks his life couldn't get any worse, he commits a spectacularly public fall from grace and with the press hounding him, his agent banishes him to the middle of nowhere until the dust has settled. At a remote country house he meets Alice Shoemaker, a voiceover artist who habitually goes to great lengths to avoid telling the truth. After agreeing to help out a friend, by shopping and cleaning for the unknown man staying at Cuckoo House, she soon becomes suspicious that her strange and obnoxiously rude client has something to hide. But equally so does she. When they discover the truth about each other they form an unlikely friendship, until Alice discovers Clayton has betrayed her in the worst possible way." The Queen of New Beginnings hits shelves in February.
A freak snowstorm leaves a young woman unconscious in the countryside. Coming to, she has no recollection of who she is. All she recalls is the warm arms of a passing stranger coming to her rescue and carrying her to safety. She awakes in a country cottage belonging to widower and city banker Vincent. His six-year-old daughter Jadie can hardly contain her excitement, chattering away even though she's been mute for the past two years. As she struggles with flashbacks to her past, memories come back which aren't her own, bringing with them a stream of questions. What secrets does Vincent hide? Why has Jadie being silent for so long? And will she ever discover her true identity?
Melanie Rose's first novel is about a single woman who finds herself in the body of a mother of four after being struck by lightning. First published as Being Lauren, it then became Love Struck and Could It Be Magic?. It will be released as Life as I Know It in February.
Sara Shepard, author of the young adult Pretty Little Liars series, has a new adult book out, All the Things We Didn't Say. Its synopsis says: "Tragedy came as it so often does: a teenage party, emotions running high, followed by a horrific car crash. A girl is left dead and a boy is forced to leave his home town, with a secret that he will carry with him forever! Years later, when Summer's mother disappears one summer, she is left with her father who is going slowly crazy. Obsessed with an accident from years ago, he slowly descends into mental illness. And as he becomes more disorientated, he reveals small fragments of a secret that has been hidden since his youth, a secret that changes everything. Summer eventually realises that she has to escape. She finds refuge with her great-aunt, Stella. Feisty, fun-loving, and dying of cancer, Stella holds parts of the family secret. Slowly, things fall into place for Summer - or at least so she thinks!"
When a dolled-up Izzy heads out to her two-timing ex's regular night-time haunt, she plans to saunter nonchalantly by Cian so he'll realise just what he's missing. What she actually does is scream hysterically at him and his new girlfriend Saffron - and her meltdown is captured on mobile phone and plastered all over the internet. Taking to her flat in mortification, she barely surfaces apart from going to work at a film production company. As Izzy's friends aid her recovery from heartbreak, several love interests appear - film executive Jonathan, her loyal colleague Gavin and even the love rat returns. With a loveable heroine and some laugh-out-loud comic moments, this is a promising - but alas all too predictable - start to this Irish actress' chick lit writing career.
Lauren Conrad's bestselling debut novel L.A. Candy may well be coming to a cinema near you in the not-too-distant future. The screen rights have been snapped up by Temple Hill Entertainment, the same production team that has bought the Twilight books to the big screen. Her book is about a 19-year-old who has to deal with fame in Hollywood after scoring a role on a TV reality show. The story mirrors Conrad's own as she first rose to fame on the MTV reality show Laguna Beach before moving on to The Hills. Conrad is reportedly planning to write two more books centred around her heroine Jane Roberts. With Conrad expected to act as an executive producer, who will play Jane?
From Alex Coleman, the author of The Bright Side, comes Little Black Everything. When teacher Holly Christmas' boyfriend tells her that it's over between them, he goes to some lengths to point out that the fault is entirely hers. She's heard this sort of thing from men before. What she sees as being refreshingly honest, they tend to see as shocking bluntness. Could this be the real reason why her love life is such a disaster? When the school term begins, Holly is intrigued by her new colleague, James, a relentlessly cheerful, affable people-person. In short, he's everything that Holly is not. But intrigue quickly turns to attraction. And problems ...
What is it about Julia Williams and George Michael/Wham! songs? In her novel about ballroom dancing Strictly Love, the tagline was "Guilty feet have got plenty of rhythm" (a play on a line crooned by George Michael in Careless Whispers). And this time her new novel is called Last Christmas, like the 1984 Wham! single. Last Christmas is out at the end of October in time for the festive season. Its synopsis says: "Catherine Tinsall is dreading Christmas. As the 'Happy Homemaker' she has become an online sensation but her domestic goddess persona couldn't be further from the truth. With Catherine's marriage in tatters, her children running wild and her mother increasingly forgetful, seasonal cheer is running low. Husband Noel is also hiding a secret: he's facing the axe at work. Until he chances upon the village of Hope Christmas, deep in the Shropshire countryside, which may just be the second chance he's been searching for. If he can save it from the developers that is. In Hope Christmas itself, schoolteacher Marianne Moore is trying to heal her battered heart. But Christmas is a time for families and memories of what she's lost haunt her at every turn. Meanwhile, Gabriel North faces a lonely Christmas but hides his sadness for the sake of his young son. Will his wife ever come home? Or does love lie in a different direction? All four are in need of a Christmas miracle. And it might just happen - courtesy of a mysterious guardian angel who just happens to be in the right place at the right time."
Irish author Claudia Carroll talks with Angela Smith about her books and upcoming movie.
I'm a big fan of Jane Porter's work, and I'd been looking forward to Easy on the Eyes, her July 2009 novel featuring TV anchor Tiana Tomlinson, a minor character in her two previous novels, Odd Mom Out and Mrs Perfect. The book didn't disappoint; it's even deeper and tougher than her previous books. Tiana is 38 and at the top of her game as an anchor for the Entertainment Tonight-like show America Tonight - until her boss begins hinting that she needs plastic surgery to stay looking youthful. Confused about what to do - she doesn't believe in plastic surgery but she doesn't want to lose her job - her life is further complicated when she begins to have feelings for Michael O'Sullivan, a cocky Hollywood plastic surgeon who represents everything she hates. These storylines alone would be entertaining enough, but Jane (the author of Flirting with Forty, which was made into a Lifetime movie) goes deeper - as she often does - and reveals a backstory that changes everything. Tiana's whole family was killed when she was a little girl, and the fallout from that has affected everything since then. Jane does a phenomenal job of creating a multidimensional, multilayered character in Tiana, and her fast-paced story adeptly tackles the negative sides of fame, celebrity and beauty. I particularly admired the way that Jane created a realistic, believable dynamic between Tiana and Michael. Just when I thought that storyline might get predictable, Jane throws us a curveball. The last quarter of the story, in particular, makes this novel absolutely un-put-downable!
Kristin Harmel is the author of five novels, including her most recent, Italian for Beginners. Look for her second novel for teens, After, this February. Kristin writes for People magazine and is a regular guest on television shows. She's currently ghostwriting the autobiography of rock'n'roll legend Chubby Checker. Visit www.KristinHarmel.com for more information.
Fiona Cassidy's Anyone for Seconds? is about the trials and tribulations of a couple dealing with a blended family. The synopsis says: "Meet Frankie McCormick, lone parent to Ben and Carly, PR guru and a woman who finds men who wear glasses irresistible. Enter Owen Byrne (Clark Kent minus the manky Y-fronts). He's sexy, dynamic and is everything a girl could wish for. The one fly in the ointment comes in the form of his horrendous teenage daughter, the seriously misnamed Angelica. The path of true love never runs smooth but for Frankie and Owen the road is particularly treacherous. Family crises, interfering in-laws (or is that outlaws?) and a bittersweet tragedy all culminate to test their relationship while faces from the past threaten their future as a family. Second chances don't pop up very often and when they do it's best to grab them with both hands." Anyone for Seconds? is out at the end of October.
A mysterious presence has arrived at 66 Star Street in Dublin - a presence that is able to watch the lives of the residents unfold and determine whose hearts beat in synch. Music executive Katie lives on the top floor - she's about to turn 40 and is getting fed up with her boyfriend Conall's workaholic schedule. Taxi driver Lydia shares a flat with two Polish builders who have to suffer her abrasive personality and refusal to clean the house. It seems she has more pressing matters on her mind. Phone psychic Jemima lives on the first floor with her dog but her foster son Fionn soon moves in while he's filming a new TV gardening show. And the last residents are Matt and Maeve, who met at their software company and share their deep love with the wider world through their daily Act of Kindness. But they also share a secret that is slowly devastating their world. As usual, Keyes will entice you into the lives of her intriguing characters, revealing bit by bit their layers and history. While the mystery of the presence won't last until the end, this certainly won't stop you from speed-reading your way to the conclusion.
Marian Keyes has revealed on her website that she has begun work on her next novel called Sanctuary.
The once-sleepy village of Lissamore is a whirlwind of activity as The O'Hara Affair is filmed in its picturesque surroundings. But if only real life could be like the movies. Fleur O'Farrell runs a vintage clothes business and has her very own Mr Big. But when she starts to give anonymous dating advice via the internet, Fleur's big heart leads to big trouble. Meanwhile, newly-wed Dervla Vaughn is wondering if married bliss is all it's cracked up to be. Her husband Christian is working away and she's left to care for her demanding mother-in-law.
Congratulations to our readers who have won a copy of Ruined, by Paula Morris. They are Chaitali, of Illinois; Marche, of Texas; Maria, of Florida; Holly, of Georgia; and Rose, of Oregon. Keep an eye out as we have more exciting giveaways planned for the coming months.
Ever wondered what you'd wish for if you unleashed a genie from a magic lamp? Mindy Klasky, author of the Jane Madison witch series (Girl's Guide to Witchcraft), is back with How Not to Make a Wish. Her heroine, Kira, releases a genie while polishing a dusty old lamp. But Teel, a gender-morphing, appearance-bending creature, doesn't do "big" wishes. So forget stopping world hunger or ending war. So she wishes for her dream job - stage manager at the hottest theatre in town. But she finds running Romeo and Juliet at the Landmark isn't all it's cracked up to be. With Teel impatient about her finishing up her wishes so "he" can move on, her second wish is about her appearance, which isn't exactly catching her third wish's eye. Kira is about to find out the truth in the old saying about being careful what you wish for. How Not to Make a Wish is the first in the As You Wish series. When Good Wishes Go Bad and To Wish or Not to Wish are due out in 2010. Klasky is also working on a vampire series.
In Shannon Hart's Until the End of Forever, Sarah wonders if there is a reason behind her recurring nightmares. After all, she has a perfect marriage, two beautiful children, a part-share in a business; and everything in the world she could possibly wish for. Except perhaps freedom. So she grabs the opportunity to go to Paris for a month to work with a photographer on a series of coffee table books. However, in the wake of tragedy she is called back home again.
Irish author Claire Allan's third novel, Jumping in Puddles, is centred around four single parents. Its synopsis says: "When Detta O'Neill returns to Rathinch, a village in Donegal, she is determined to make a difference. Bringing together four lone parents for a support group which has the old biddies of the village scandalised, she tries her best to build bridges and forge friendships among her charges. Niamh Quigley's dream of a perfect life in the country was cut cruelly short with the death of her husband Sean. A woman on the verge of meltdown but with a kitchen island you might just kill for she has to find her way again without the man she never thought could hurt her. Ruth Byrne was left high and dry when her husband ran off with a younger woman. But could his desertion have been a blessing in disguise for Ruth and her children? Liam Dougherty doesn't think so. His wife is the younger woman in question and he would do anything to win her back . . . or would he? Which leaves teen mum Ciara Boyle. Everyone is just dying to know who the father of her child is, but does she have a good reason for keeping her secret to herself? Apart from being parents, can the group find anything in common? Can they find happiness and confidence again? And can Detta really make the difference she wants to make?" You can read the first chapter at her blog.
Elizabeth Gilbert, the author of the bestselling memoir Eat, Pray, Love, continues the story in Committed. Having fallen in love with Brazilian Felipe in Bali, she settles with him back in America, but, as both have been burnt by divorce, decide that they will never ever get married. But then the US government detains Felipe at a border crossing, and says he must get married to stay in the country. Having been effectively sentenced to wed, Elizabeth tackles her fears by researching the old institution. Subtitled A Skeptic Makes Peace with Marriage, it's out in January. In the movie adaptation of Eat, Pray, Love currently being filmed, Elizabeth is played by Julia Roberts and Felipe by Javier Bardem.
Madison Mandelbaum is about to marry the man of her dreams, British journalist Colin Wordsworth Darcy. However, five days before the wedding Madison receives an anonymous email saying "Do you really know the man whom you're saying I do to?" Armed with her two best friends, Kat (Katrina) and Abs (Abigail), her connections and a copy of Brides Weekly, Madison must do a bit of sleuthing and preparation to make sure that her wedding day goes smoothly as possible and that the man she is marrying is really who he says he is. A fun story filled with girlfriends, love and those up-and-down obstacles we love to read about - mixed with a mystery element. (PP)
Proving a popular book club choice, The Wife's Tale, by Lori Lansens, tells the story of a morbidly obese woman who strikes out on her own when her husband doesn't come home on the eve of their 25th wedding anniversary. Normally cocooned in a small Ontario town, Mary Gooch sets out across country to track down her missing husband Jimmy, and it turns into a journey of self-discovery. Canadian Lansens is the author of Rush Home Road and The Girls, and now lives in California.
Tara Moore's family saga RSVP will be out in the new year. Ashling Morrison becomes engaged to Rossa Granville, setting in motion a chain of events that will see two wealthy, powerful Irish families clash as never before. Ashling has spent her privileged life wishing she could escape from the shadow of her beautiful stepmother, Coppelia. And Coppelia will do everything in her power to stop the wedding to her arch-enemy's grandson. For Honoria, her grandson's engagement represents the culmination of years of plotting. She announces that the family estate will pass to the first Granville to produce an heir, hoping to spur older brother Carrick into action.
What'll they think of next? . . . Author Sarah Gray has signed a deal for Wuthering Bites, a retelling of Emily Bronte's classic Wuthering Heights, with Heathcliff now a vampire. It's due out next September. Or you can look out for this reworked Jane Austen classic on shelves now - Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters, by Ben H. Winters, in which the Dashwood sisters are sent to live on an island full of savage creatures.
Sometimes I can love a book because of the book itself; sometimes I can love a book because of where it found me in my life when I read it. I love This Charming Man by Marian Keyes for both reasons. I am an enormous fan of Marian Keyes and the week that This Charming Man came out, I found myself taking an emergency trip to the USA because my grandmother was dying. When I went into the bookshop in the airport I was looking for escape from my thoughts. I snapped up This Charming Man and that book lived with me for the next few days. There were so many emotions going on in my life, but whenever I picked up the book I was instantly immersed in the story and the characters - Lola, Grace and Marnie - and their relationships with the charming and sinister Paddy de Courcy. I didn't know that the book was about domestic violence before I read it and I was shocked, gripped and deeply sympathetic. I'm in awe of how Marian Keyes can tackle very dark difficult subjects and yet keep up the pace and the tone, without sacrificing emotion. This book made me laugh and cry and think and feel and it felt like my best friend at a difficult time in my life. What more can you ask?
Julie Cohen writes funny, emotional and sometimes quite strange romantic comedy for Headline. Her latest novel with Little Black Dress, Girl from Mars, is about a female comic book artist who takes a vow (in Klingon) not to get a boyfriend.
In Getting Rid of Rosie, by Lynda Simmons, Sam's best friend Rosie ran off with her fiance, Michael, seven years ago. Since then Sam has thrown herself into managing her Silver Swan pub. Then Michael walks into the pub and back into her life with the news that he's a widower after Rosie died in a car accident. With her ex-BFF out of the picture, Sam takes the opportunity to reconcile with Michael. But Rosie isn't about to let death stop her from keeping them apart. Her ghost is hanging around her husband - but only Sam can see her.
Watch out for . . . the second novel from Romantic Novelists' Association new writers' scheme award winner Allie Spencer. The heroine of The Not-so-secret Diary of a City Girl is banking analyst Laura whose electronic diary is accidentally uploaded on to the internet. It's out around April.
Allie and Olivia were inseparable all through their school years, with Allie doing makeovers on Olivia almost every night. Then one nasty rumour ruined everything. Olivia and her mother moved away without as much as a goodbye or a chance to let Allie explain that she hadn't been the one to spread it. Since that day in 12th grade, Allie and Olivia have not spoken or kept up with each other's lives. Now, on the eve of their 20-year high school reunion, the women have to decide if they want to face their past. With the help of mutual best friend, Noah, Allie and Olivia are coaxed into going to the reunion and even more surprising than seeing each other is the big bombshell that Noah drops on them: He's dating Vickie Freedman, their worst enemy and a bonafied bitch. Neither of them can figure out why sweet, sensible Noah would date someone as vile as Vickie, especially Allie, who is secretly in love with Noah. When Noah announces that he's marrying Vickie, Allie - not knowing who else to turn to - calls Olivia. Allie will take any help she can get to stop Noah from this seemingly rash and life-changing (not to mention life-ruining) decision. Allie and Olivia are brought together once again, just like it was 20 years ago. The one question that remains unanswered is if they will let their past get in the way of their future. The story deepens with flashbacks to important points in Allie and Olivia's high school days. The flashbacks are so genuinely written that they only make the story more wonderful. Allie and Olivia are two girls who both need one thing in their life - hope - which they find in their friendship with each other. (AS)
Q. Which book first got you hooked on chick lit?
Annmarie: The first chick lit book I fell in love with was Bridget Jones's Diary by Helen Fielding. It was so easy to fall in love with Bridget's charm. It was also a wonderful change to read a book where the heroine was not a flawless, size two supermodel. I think many women can identify with Bridget and her quest to control her life. I loved the characters of Daniel Cleaver and Mark Darcy. This is one of the few novels that I have loved both the book and movie version. I also read and enjoyed the sequel, Bridget Jones The Edge of Reason.
Christy: The first book I read that was a chick lit book was Candace Bushnell's Sex and the City. It wasn't my favorite book of hers and the TV series was so much better, but I did end up reading the rest of her books. My favorite of hers were One Fifth Avenue and Lipstick Jungle. I love how she writes about career woman who are in charge and in control. Her books made me want to read more of the chick lit genre.
Gina: The first book that got me hooked on chick lit was Straight Talking by Jane Green. I was in my teens then and didn't know there was more to reading than Harry Potter and the books they make you read at school! What I loved about this book was the way Jane's characters and storylines are so easy to relate to, even now years later when I pick this book up. This book is still in my top 10 to this day along with her classic Jemima J. I have gone on to be an avid reader of Jane's books and always know when it's chick lit by Jane it will surely be a page-turner!
Karen: To be honest I can't actually remember the exact book that got me hooked on chick lit but I think it was probably either a Cathy Kelly, Jill Mansell or Carole Matthews book. I do seem to own the majority of their books, particularly the earlier ones and have done for a fair few years now, so I'm fairly certain it was one of these authors (or more than likely all three of them) that first got me started with the genre and then it spiralled on fairly quickly from there!
Leah: For me it was Jennifer Weiner's Good in Bed. This was the first book I read where I could truly relate to the main character. Cannie is an everywoman trying to figure out her place in the world amid perfect model-types who seem to have everything. After a very public humiliation by her former boyfriend, she decides to change the things she doesn't like about herself and begins her evolution into the woman she always wanted to be. It was so refreshing to have a main character who wasn't a size 8 and who had doubts about what she was doing and whether she was on the right track. And then to see that character come into her own by realizing her own talents was just so wonderful. It really inspired me to be who I am and not so worried about who I thought I should be. Since first reading Good in Bed, I have been a faithful reader of Jennifer Weiner and eagerly anticipate each new book. Incidentally, I have not yet read Certain Girls but am looking forward to the further adventures of Cannie.
Paula: The first chick lit book that I read was Can You Keep a Secret? by Sophie Kinsella, I had received a calendar that year titled Chicklit - and each page had an excerpt of chick lit books, so I decided to read the book. After that I was hooked, and I read everything by Sophie Kinsella and continued reading her right to her latest Twenties Girl. I also made a goal that year, to try to read each book that was excerpted in the calendar. I succeeded in reading the majority of them, and whatever other titles I could get my hands on. I am now a huge fan of the chick lit genre, and have read all the different sub-genres within it from hen lit to lad lit to wedding lit etc.
Steph: I can remember losing an entire day to Jackie Collins' Hollywood Wives when I was at high school. I then went through a bit of a Jilly Cooper phase. But it wasn't until picking up a Cathy Kelly novel in the early 2000s that I got turned on to the whole chick lit phenomenon. I can't for the life of me remember which title - but it had her usual ploy of being about a couple of diverse women who all find out they have something in common. From that point on, I have pretty much read chick lit exclusively.
Xiu Ting: The first book that got me hooked was Something Blue. I've never felt so connected to the characters in a book, it was as if I knew them personally. I've rarely read books which explore friendships in such a way, and especially loved the fact that the book shows how perspectives differ. It's just an amazing book. After reading that book, I started to read the other books written by Emily Giffin, and they were just as great. I'm really looking forward to her new book.
This sequel to I Heart New York sees Angela's latest magazine assignment take her to Hollywood to interview fellow Brit, actor James Jacobs. She heads west with best friend Jenny dreaming of Rodeo Drive and Malibu beach but soon discovers that celebrity life is not all glamour and gloss. A paparazzo snaps Angela and James in a compromising position and suddenly she's thrust into the spotlight for all the wrong reasons. Can she convince her boss and especially her boyfriend not to believe everything they read?
Head to Lindsey Kelk's website for a sneak look at the first chapter. The third book in the series, I Heart Paris, is due out mid-2010.
This is like The Big Chill but set in the credit crunch noughties and without the funeral. A group of friends who first met in their 20s are now approaching their 40s. TV scriptwriter Sam is feeling insecure about his professional future - and his relationship with wife Laura is suffering because he doesn't want another child. Lawyer Janey has left behind the love of her life, photographer Patrick, and instead settled down with hedge fund manager Steve. Meanwhile restaurant owner Jonathan is fast becoming the latest British food wunderkid, while his wife Hannah is happier embracing her country roots. When the friends all go away on holiday for Jonathan's 40th birthday, the deceptions and misconceptions - many of them decades old - can't stay hidden for long.
In Tamara Leigh's latest release, Leaving Carolina, Piper Wick left her hometown of Pickwick, North Carolina, 12 years ago, ditched her drawl and family name, and made a new life for herself as a public relations consultant in LA. Now "engaged to be engaged" to the picture-perfect Congressman Grant Spangler, all of Piper's hard-won happiness is threatened by a dying uncle's decision to change his will. This will reveal all the Pickwicks' secrets, including Piper's. So Piper heads to Pickwick to stop him, and meets her uncle's godson Axel. With the Lord's help, Piper is about to discover that although good PR might smooth things over, only the truth will set her free. Out in September, Leaving Carolina (aka Paying Piper) is the first in Leigh's Southern Discomfort series about three cousins, Piper, Magdalene and Bridget.
Danny King examines the class divide in Blue Collar about a London construction worker who falls for a high-flying advertising girl. Charley, a blonde stunner, is everything Terry has ever dreamed of in a woman - in fact he simply can't believe his luck. And neither do the lads on his building site. As far as they're concerned, this bird's just out for a bit of rough. Charley's friends seem just as wary as Terry's. Surely this working-class rogue is just after Charley's money. Charley and Terry's love is built on the shakiest of foundations - and all it'll take is a reality film crew to bring it crashing down.
Courting Amira, by Sydney journalist Amal Awad, is about a modern Australian-Muslim woman looking for love. Amira Assad, 27, comes from a not-quite-traditional Muslim family in Sydney. As an assistant at Bridal Bazaar magazine, she's pretty sick of all things wedding-related. Then Amira unwittingly becomes wedding gofer for her cousin and nemesis Zahra and her life begins to resemble a soap opera.
Magazine journalist Eve fell in love with widower Ian after writing an article about his wife's battle with cancer. Now as their relationship gets more serious, she must try to fit in with family life that revolves around his three children in a house that still bears the marks (and gumboots) of his late wife. Her best friend Clare, a schoolteacher and single mum to teenager Louisa, suggests that Eve talk it over with her younger sister Lily, who is also dating someone with a child. Soon their informal Stepmothers' Support Group grows to include Melanie, an American fashion web entrepreneur who is preparing to meet her boyfriend's daughter for the first time, and Mandy, who is blending together a large family. As Eve struggles to get along with Ian's teenage daughter Hannah, Clare faces up to the unwelcome return of Louisa's father. Exposing lots of relationship pitfalls, this book (written by a real life stepmother) gives an honest, open take from the not-so-wicked stepmother's point of view - and is a refreshingly different slant on the usual mum lit.
If you're waiting for news about the next Cathy Kelly novel, then you'll be glad to hear that she has a story coming out under the Quick Reads program next year. The synopsis for Flying Home says: "For Anthony and Carole, a week in a lovely Greek hotel has helped them mend the cracks in their marriage. For widowed Jessica, it's the longest she's ever gone without visiting her beloved husband's grave. However when the flight doesn't go according to plan, they are each forced to face up to the very things they have been avoiding for so long. By the time they land, they have learnt important life lessons about themselves and each other which change them forever. " It'll be released in time for World Book Day in March.
Watch out for . . . Linda Green's Things I Wish I'd Known. Recently divorced Claire takes a long, hard look at her life after finding a long-forgotten dream list she wrote at 15. It's due out mid-2010.
A title sure to grab the attention of any woman wandering past a bookstore is Amy Ferris' Marrying George Clooney. Subtitled Confessions From a Midlife Crisis, it chronicles Amy's insomniatic musings as she hits menopause. These range from fantasising about marrying George Clooney, worrying about her real husband Ken and her Jewish mother who has dementia, googling her old boyfriends and researching obscure and fatal diseases on the web. You can find out more at her blog.
Wendy Markham brings back her time-travelling character Clara in The Best Gift. When Clara wakes up on Christmas morning, next to her husband Drew, she's filled with joy because she has the perfect present: she's seven weeks pregnant with their first child. But no sooner does Clara tell Drew the news than an earthquake strikes in nearby San Francisco. The next thing Clara knows she's waking up in bed - alone - and discovers she's three years in the future. Where is her husband and what has happened to the child she was expecting? This is the sequel to Markham's If Only in My Dreams from 2006.
Italian-American Valentine Roncalli has a passion for creating exquisite handmade shoes. She works with her grandmother Teodora in their family-run Angelini Shoe Company, based in Greenwich Village. But the small company isn't making money, and her brother Alfred is trying to sell the building from under them. While juggling a relationship with ambitious chef Roman, Valentine gets the chance to design a bridal shoe for a Bergdorf window competition. And a trip to Italy to source the best materials and find artistic inspiration may well inspire Valentine in other ways. Written in memory of the author's shoemaking grandfather and the first in a trilogy, the characters are as exquisitely drawn as you imagine the shoes.
Watch out for the sequel, Encore, Valentine, which is coming in February.
According to Jane author Marilyn Brant talks to Leah Eggleston Krygowski about Jane Austen, Mr Darcy and the differences between romance and chick lit.
Hannah, Alberta (Bertie) and Philippa are about to receive a nasty surprise. Bertie lives in Bath with her record-producer partner Tony and runs a catering business. Her daughter Hannah, 23, has a great job in London and a gorgeous boyfriend, while her mother, Philippa, lives in a Hampshire village with her husband, a former government minister. When the family is caught up in a very public scandal, it becomes apparent that the lives of the three women will never be the same again. Is the family unit tight enough to survive?
Some of the most-loved chick lit classics have made Leah's All-Time Favourites (So Far!) list.
Just as the filming of the second Sex and the City movie gets underway, series creator Candace Bushnell has written a webseries The Broadroom for More magazine which focuses on women in the workplace. The four-part series, which features Jennie Garth (Beverly Hills, 90210), Jennifer Esposito (Spin City, Samantha Who?) and Talia Balsam (Mad Men) and is sponsored by Maybelline, willl run over four weeks until October 23 at the website. The five characters discuss everything from husbands and people labels to breastfeeding in conference rooms and tyrannical bosses. "The Broadroom is part of a continuum of how women's lives have changed in the last 40 years," Bushnell says. "Sex and the City was a reflection of college-educated women who went to the city to have it all. But now you meet these girls in The Broadroom - in their 40s, with different issues. They're working mothers with so much professional expertise and knowledge, and they're comfortable in their positions."
Check out the first episode Husband Hijinks here.
My book of the year is A Vintage Affair by Isabel Wolff. I'm a newcomer to Isabel Wolff's novels but I absolutely adored this book from the very first page. It's packed with brilliant characters: warm and engaging protagonist Phoebe, Dan the scruffy-yet-lovable journalist, Annie the jobbing actress and Therese, an old French lady with an intriguing past. Add to that Phoebe's passion for vintage clothes and a tragedy from her past that she must deal with, and this is one story that will captivate you from beginning to end. What I particularly loved about the book is the connection between clothes and people - the notion that somehow garments can be destined for particular customers, together with the stories behind the purchases. I love stories that teach you something new and this book is no exception. Even if you know nothing about vintage clothes (like me), you'll quickly be seduced by Phoebe's passion for them as she runs her vintage clothes shop. It's wonderfully written, beautifully constructed and the best book I've read this year by far.
Miranda Dickinson is a writer and singer-songwriter from Stourbridge in the West Midlands. Her debut novel Fairytale of New York - which was discovered on HarperCollins' site for unpublished writers, Authonomy.com - is published by Avon on November 12. Visit her website at: www.miranda-dickinson.com.
Creatives Max and Jax keep hearing rumours that their Dublin advertising agency is going to fold. So the girls come up with a plan to film a documentary based on the When Harry Met Sally couple interviews - to discover if long-term fidelity is possible. But sparks soon fly on the set as the pair have different opinions on the conclusion - American Max is the cynical one, while Jax is a hopeless romantic. But things get really interesting when their own romantic lives take centrestage - it is revealed Max has a husband Mike back in America and Jax, who has been engaged for years to Fergal who is working in Dubai, starts to fall for production man John Paul.
Three Weddings and a Bar Mitzvah is the fourth and final book in Melody Carlson's series about four flatmates, Kendall, Anna, Lelani and Megan, who live at 86 Bloomsberg Place. Wedding madness ensues when Lelani returns from Maui trying to book her wedding date in June. But Megan and Marcus have a family wedding commitment that same date. Anna and Edmond have promised to attend his younger stepbrother's bar mitzvah and pregnant Kendall has just accepted her "Maui Man's" proposal and also wants to marry that day. The other books in the series are I Heart Bloomberg, Let Them Eat Fruitcake and Spring Broke.