Chicklit Club
 

RACHEL HOLLIS

 

Smart Girl (2016)

 

Twenty-something Miko Jin has three things in her life that she loves unconditionally: her job as a designer for the event planning business she started with her best friend Landon; books (especially ones with handsome heroes and a good dose of romance); and Liam Ashton. Ever since Miko saw Liam for the first time, she just knew they were meant to end up together. But like the novels she loves so dearly, there are quite a few obstacles in the way to her own happy ever after, beginning with the fact that Liam is a player who does not want to commit to anyone. With her family, friends and job to focus on, Miko knows she can’t just put everything aside to focus on her love life. However, when things suddenly start to go in the right direction, Miko can’t help but run as fast as she can to get what she wants, not considering what she might lose on the way. Smart Girl is the final book in Rachel Hollis’ ‘Girl’ series; in the previous books of the series, Party Girl and Sweet Girl, we already met best friends Landon, Max and Miko, and this time we get to hear Miko’s story. The female characters have strong personalities and are all different, which is what makes this series so great, especially combined with Hollis’ well-paced and comfortable writing style. I did feel like this book had one storyline that was focused on and that was it. In the previous books, there was usually a main focus on a particular girl’s life, with separate storylines based on her job, family/friends, and love life. I kind of missed this in Smart Girl. I still really enjoyed the book, don’t get me wrong, but I wouldn’t have minded if there had been more to the story than just the main romance storyline. The ending was pretty fantastic, though, so that definitely made up for some of it. While Smart Girl can be read as a stand-alone, I would recommend reading the whole series so you really get to know the characters and their background stories. It’s a thoroughly entertaining, fun, light-hearted, romantic chick lit read that left me with a big smile on my face, and I honestly can’t wait to see what Rachel Hollis will have in store for us next! (JoH)


 

Sweet Girl (2015)

 

Max Jennings is a twenty-something who appears to be in a bad mood wherever she goes. Pushing people away and hiding herself from the outside world seem to be her specialty, so there are not many people who actually know the real Max. Ever since she was a little girl baking cakes with her mother in their home, Max has dreamt of becoming a pastry chef and owning her own bakery. So, when well-known chef Avis Phillips offers Max the opportunity to work in her kitchen, Max can’t shout "yes" quick enough. However, it is not easy jumping into the world of pastries and cakes without any professional experience, and soon Max finds herself trying to juggle her dream, her other job, her friends and family who are starting to get worried about her, and this new guy in her life whom she can’t seem to get out of her mind. Sweet Girl is the second part of the The Girls series following Party Girl, but can definitely also be read as a stand-alone. Max is a great but complex character; she has been through a lot which has changed her as a person and how she looks at the world. She’s a diabetic whose passion in life is baking. Max is an incredibly realistic character and together with the other characters such as Landon, Miko and Taylor, she really managed to win me over with her story and I simply couldn’t get enough of it. Rachel Hollis’ writing style is a true joy to read; it’s well-paced, easy to get into, detailed, warm and funny. It’s also clear she did some research to make sure she knew what she was writing about, such as what working as a pastry chef might be like. The book just had everything I look for in a great read: a relatable and easy-to-warm-to group of characters, a fascinating plotline, and a fantastic writing style to get lost in. (JoH)


 

Party Girl (2014)

 

Twenty-something Texas-born-and-bred Landon Brinkley is ready to finally live her dream. While growing up in a small town, she longed for nothing more than a career as a famous event planner. By working hard, she has managed to secure a position as an intern at her idol Selah Smith's event planning agency in Los Angeles. However, as soon as she sets foot in the office, she realises the LA world of event planning is ruthless and not at all what she had expected it to be. Yet, failure is not an option. She is finally given the chance to do what she wants to do, but all of a sudden she is forced to decide whether she is willing to give up absolutely everything for this dream or not. From the first few pages it already became clear that the book has a wonderful heroine at its centre: Landon is easily loveable with her infectious enthusiasm and her determination to make her dreams come true. Yet, there is also a great mix of secondary characters from quirky Miko (Landon's colleague at work), tough Max (her roommate), and the ultimate villain in the form of Selah Smith (Landon's new boss). The combination of this wonderful cast of characters, the amazing setting (I'm sure many of us readers wonder what it would be like working at an elite event planning company) and a truly entertaining storyline had me hooked from the very first page; I didn't want to put it down, but at the same time I never wanted it to end (unfortunately, it had to). Rachel Hollis has managed to turn her own real-life experiences within the world of event planning into a big city adventure that will capture the heart of any chick lit fan. Party Girl is a deliciously entertaining, vibrant, and uplifting read and undoubtedly one of my favourite reads of 2014 so far. (JoH)

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