Chick LIt

Fiction Literature that addresses womanhood issues: love, friendship, family, career

Book Review: The Secret Lives of Royals by Shalini Dua

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Title: The Secret Lives of Royals
Author: Shalini Dua
ISBN: 9781732077706

Synopsis:

Olivia can’t take it anymore. She’s had enough of the big city and it’s lack of fulfilling her dreams. Then, just when she’s about to give up and move home, out of the blue, she is offered her dream job. Olivia is suspicious but that could just be the New York in her. She decides not to pull at threads. Despite her best efforts to remain blissfully oblivious, the secret to her life upgrade is soon uncovered when she finds herself invited to be part of a secret society.

Olivia learns that there is a thin curtain separating our world from theirs. Just beneath the surface, an entirely different one exists. One that is controlled by those of Royal lineage. The chosen ones, the Royals, hold the fate of the world in their hands. Will Olivia be able to bear the weight of the crown?

Confessions of a Shopaholic meets The Adjustment Bureau, this contemporary fairytale is both relatable and aspirational. Taking a look at the current balance of media and power with a healthy dose of humor, fashion, food and wanderlust.

Review:

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle was only less than a month ago, the book came in a perfect time for my royal withdrawal.   I really like the concept of this book, a secret circle for the modern royalties.  It is a fun and easy read.  There is also a love triangle that might or might not involve a prophecy.   The competition is quite fair, that would make readers wonder til the end.

There are some minor con that I have to mention.  I hope the copy I got is not final version of the book.  There are many typos in the beginning.  =(  Also, the title for people in the Circle are weird.  Not everyone can be prince or princess, maybe a a lady or duke.  There are some questions that have not been answered.  Will there be a second book?

#TeamAlex

3 out of 5 stars
Received a complimentary copy from BookSparks Pop-Up Tour in exchange for an honest review.

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Book Review, Interview, and Giveaway: Paris Ever After by K.S.R. Burns

 

Paris Ever After

Paris Ever After

(women’s fiction)

Release date: May 1st, 2018
at Velvet Morning Press

ASIN: B079H32ND3
260 pages

 

SYNOPSIS:

Can Amy’s rocky start in Paris turn into a happy ever after?

Amy didn’t realize how stale her life was until she jetted off to Paris without telling a soul—not even her husband—and had the adventure of a lifetime. Now as she tries to establish herself in the City of Light, she finds that despite a fun (and quirky) group of friends and the ability to indulge in French pastries whenever she wants, reinventing her life is much harder than she imagined.

Then on Amy’s thirtieth birthday, two unexpected visitors leave her wondering if she will soon be saying au revoir to Paris and the new life she’s struggled to build. Her estranged husband, Will, shows up—but is he interested in reconciliation or separation? And a young woman who arrives on Amy’s doorstep unleashes chaos that could push Amy out into the street.

As Amy’s Parisian dream starts to fall apart, she must decide: return to the stability of Will and Phoenix (if that’s even still an option) or forge her way forward in Paris? Amid secrets and surprises, set in enchanting gardens, cozy cafés, and glittering Parisian streets, Amy must choose between two very different worlds. And each has a claim on her heart.

NB: The author’s previous book, The Paris Effect, featured here on France Book Tours, was just optioned for Film & TV!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

k-s-r-burns

K. S. R. Burns
is the author of the Amazon bestseller,
THE PARIS EFFECT, its upcoming standalone sequel PARIS EVER AFTER, and THE AMAZING ADVENTURES OF WORKING GIRL:
Real-Life Career Advice You Can Actually Use.  She has lived and worked in four countries and 22 cities, including Paris.  No longer a wanderer, Burns now resides in the Pacific Northwest, where in addition to novels she writes a weekly career advice column for she Seattle Times.

Visit her website.
Follow her on Facebook, Twitter
Subscribe to her newsletter
Buy the book: Amazon | Kobo | iTunes | Nook

Author Interview:

Why did you choose Paris as the main setting for The Paris Effect and Paris Ever After?
Well, they say write what you know—so because I lived in Paris for a number of years it seemed natural to set my books there. Also, writing about Paris is a way to “be” in Paris, even when you are somewhere else entirely!

Can you use one word to describe the places you called home: Paris, Arizona, Virginia, Washington DC, New Jersey, Wisconsin, Minnesota, California, and Washington State? 
Other than the fact that all these places are located on Planet Earth, they have very little in common, don’t you think? So I guess that one word could only be “terrestrial.”
(Sorry, I meant one word per city)

If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be? 
I’d live in Paris during the winter and Seattle during the summer. That would be the best of both worlds, weather-wise. And fun-wise.

What is your favorite under-appreciated novel?
Get ready, because this is an odd one: I LOVE In This House of Brede by Rumer Godden. She’s a fantastic writer and it’s a wonderful book.

How did you select the names of your characters?
I named my main character “Amy” because it reminds me of “aimer,” the French verb for love. I chose “William” for her husband because I wanted the contrast of a short name versus a longer name. I chose the name “Kat” because it’s a sharp sound, and this character has a sharpness about her. Margaret is named after a lovely English lady I met while hiking the Cotswold Way in southwestern England. She was charming and gracious and welcoming (and just slightly loony), like Amy’s Margaret.

What was the hardest scene to write?
In The Paris Effect, the hardest scene by far was the adventure in the illegal portion of the catacombs. It’s a scary place that I haven’t ever visited (you could not pay me to go  own there, though I have visited the tourist portion). In Paris Ever After it was, of course, the sex scene!

Do you hide any secrets in your books that only a few people will find?
A writing friend who works on screenplays introduced me to the concept of “unifying filmic devices.” Basically, this is just a repeating image. Often they’re symbols, but they don’t have to be. I liked the idea, so in Paris Ever After I sprinkled around mentions of flowers. In The Paris Effect, it was puzzles (jigsaw, crossword). No one seems to have noticed or, if they have, they haven’t told me!

When developing characters do you already know who they are before you
begin writing or do you let them develop as you go?
My characters reveal themselves slowly. Sometimes they surprise me. I may start by basing them on a person I’ve met (like Margaret), but they quickly evolve off into other directions.

Can you describe the mundane details of your writing process: Do you write every day?/ How many hours per day or section?  Do you use outline or draft?  If you do, on paper or computer?
Sadly, my life is not very organized or scheduled. I write whenever and wherever I can. My only halfway interesting quirk is that I always write my first drafts in longhand, on scrap paper. This way I’m not wasting paper with my bad first drafts. I hate to waste paper.

If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
I would say don’t waste energy trying to be “original.” There are no new stories in this old world (though there are perhaps new ways of doing old things). The only thing that’s really new is you! So give your writing something of yourself.

When you wrote The Paris Effect, did you have the sequel(s) planned out?  Is
there another one after Paris Ever After?
When I finished The Paris Effect I never had the intention of writing a sequel. I felt done. But then readers kept asking me, What happens next? So I started to wonder, and voilà, a new book was born.

What are you working on?  Can you share a little of your current work with us?
I am thinking about a new book and making notes. But it’s in that fragile, delicate stage where I’m afraid to talk about it. Stay tuned…..

My Review:

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Book Review: A Promise Given by Michelle Cox

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Title: A Promise Given
Author: Michelle Cox
Series: Henrietta and Inspector Howard #3
Publisher: She Writes Press
ISBN: 978-1-63152-373-1

Synopsis:

A delightful romp through the English countryside and back.

Anxious to be married, Henrietta and Clive push forward with their wedding plans despite their family differences, made worse now by Oldrich Exley’s attempts to control the Von Harmons. When the long-awaited wedding day arrives, there is more unfolding than just Clive and Henrietta’s vows of love. Stanley and Elsie’s relationship is sorely tested by the presence of the dashing Lieutenant Harrison Barnes-Smith and by Henrietta’s friend Rose—a situation that grows increasingly dark and confused as time goes on.

As Clive and Henrietta begin their honeymoon at Castle Linley, the Howards’ ancestral estate in England, they encounter a whole new host of characters, including the eccentric Lord and Lady Linley and Clive’s mysterious cousin, Wallace. When a man is murdered in the village on the night of a house party at the Castle, Wallace comes under suspicion—and Clive and Henrietta are reluctantly drawn into the case, despite Clive’s anxiety at involving his new bride and Henrietta’s distracting news from home.

Delicately attempting to work together for the first time, Clive and Henrietta set out to prove Wallace’s innocence, uncovering as they do so some rather shocking truths that will shake the Linley name and estate forever.

My Review:

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Book Review: Room for Two by Sydney Landon

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Synopsis:

From the New York Times bestselling author of Keeping It Hot comes the continuation of the sexy and humorous Breakfast in Bed series featuring handsome hotel moguls.

When Asher Jackson, the playboy co-owner of the Oceanix Hotel Chain, meets Dana Anders, manager of the gourmet coffee shop within the Oceanix Resort, he longs to strike up a good rapport with her. But to his surprise, his typical charm immediately fails him and he can’t help but provoke her with sarcastic remarks at every turn.

Even though Dana can give as good as she gets, she’s confused by Asher’s hostility toward her–especially when she harbors a secret attraction toward him. When she finds herself with unexpected bills to pay, Dana strikes up a deal. For a reasonable fee, the financially strapped Dana will pose as Asher’s girlfriend to drive away bitter women who are making his life miserable. Asher hasn’t engaged in a serious relationship since his heart was broken five years previously, so he thinks playing husband to a fake wife won’t be a problem. But as the relationship continues he’s no longer quite so certain. And as the line between false animosity and real attraction becomes blurred, Dana begins to realize that the one thing she wants is what she’s pretending to already have.

My Review:

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Audio Book Review: Virtually Perfect by Paige Roberts

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Title: Virtually Perfect
Author: Paige Roberts
Narrator: Marguerite Gavin
Length: 9.40 Hours (unabridged)
ISBN: 9781538438039
Publisher: Blackstone Audio

Synopsis:

Not so long ago, Lizzie Glass had a successful TV show, a cookbook deal, and a social diary crammed with parties and events. But fame doesn’t stay fresh for long. Her show fizzles, her magazine column is canceled, and Lizzie’s only option is a summer job as personal chef to the Silvesters, a wealthy and eccentric family.

Their beach house is a lavish, beautifully decorated palace on the Jersey Shore, and Lizzie gets to work catering to Kathryn and Jim Silvester’s fashionably restrictive diets. But it’s their
twentysomething daughter who presents Lizzie with her biggest challenge—professionally and personally. A self-proclaimed “wellness warrior,” Zoe Silvester has a hugely popular website and app that promotes healthy living and organic, unprocessed foods. Yet Lizzie soon realizes that the Clean Life site has a dirty little secret. In fact, Zoe’s entire online persona is based on a dangerous hoax that runs deep and will damage lives. Exposing Zoe won’t just jeopardize Lizzie’s job and a promising new relationship—it may expose the cracks in her own past.

Sharply observed, witty, and thoughtful, Paige Roberts’ debut novel is a compelling look at one woman’s journey toward reinventing herself—and seeing through the facade of others—to discover the imperfect but sometimes wonderful truth.

My Review:

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Book Review: The Heirs by Susan Rieger

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Synopsis:

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My Review:

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Audio Book Review: Small Admissions by Amy Poeppel

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Title: Small Admissions (unabridged)
Author: Amy Poeppel
Narrator: Carly Robins
Length: 9.5 Hours on 8 CDs
Publisher: HighBridge
ISBN: 978-1-6816-8375-1

Synopsis:

Despite her innate ambition and Summa Cum Laude smarts, Kate Pearson has turned into a major slacker. After being dumped by her handsome, French “almost fiance,” she abandons her grad school plans and spends her days lolling on the couch, leaving her apartment only when a dog-walking gig demands it. Her friends don’t know what to do other than pass tissues and hope for a comeback, while her practical sister, Angela, pushes every remedy she can think of, from trapeze class to therapy to job interviews. For reasons no one (least of all Kate) understands, she manages to land a job in the admissions department at the prestigious Hudson Day School. In her new position, Kate learns there’s no time for self-pity during the height of the admissions season. Meanwhile, Kate’s sister and friends find themselves keeping secrets, hiding boyfriends, dropping bombshells, and fighting each other on how to keep Kate on her feet. On top of it all, her cranky, oddly charming, and irritatingly handsome neighbor is more than he seems.

Through every dishy, page-turning twist, it seems that one person’s happiness leads to another’s misfortune, and suddenly everyone, including Kate, is looking for a way to turn rejection on its head, using any means necessary-including the truly unexpected.

My Review:

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Book Review: Paris Is Always a Good Idea by Nicolas Barreau

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Title: Paris Is Always a Good Idea
Author: Nicolas Barreau
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
ISBN: 9781250072771

Synopsis:

Rosalie Laurent is the proud owner of Luna Luna, a little post-card shop in St. Germain, and if it were up to her, far more people would write cards. Her specialty is producing “wishing cards,” but where her own wishes are concerned the quirky graphic artist is far from lucky. Every birthday Rosalie sends a card inscribed with her heart’s desire fluttering down from the Eiffel Tower – but none of her wishes has ever been fulfilled.

Then one day when an elderly gentleman trips up in her shop and knocks over a post-card stand, it seems that her wish cards are working after-all. Rosalie finds out that it is Max Marchais, famed and successful author of children’s books who’s fallen into her life. When he asks her to illustrate his new (and probably last) book, Rosalie is only too glad to accept, and the two – very different – maverick artists become friends.

Rosalie’s wishes seem to be coming true at last, until a clumsy American professor stumbles into her store with accusations of plagiarism. Rosalie is hard pressed to know whether love or trouble is blowing through her door these days, but when in doubt, she knows that Paris is Always a Good Idea when one is looking for the truth and finding love.

My Review: (more…)

Book Review: Always by Sarah Jio

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Title: Always
Author: Sarah Jio
Publisher: Ballantine Books
ISBN: 978-1-101-88502-4

Synopsis:

From the New York Times bestselling author of Blackberry Winter and The Violets of March comes a gripping, poignant novel about the kind of love that never lets go, and the heart’s capacity to remember.

While enjoying a romantic candlelit dinner with her fiance, Ryan, at one of Seattle’s chicest restaurants, Kailey Crane can’t believe her good fortune: She has a great job as a writer for the Herald and is now engaged to a guy who is perfect in nearly every way. As they leave the restaurant, Kailey spies a thin, bearded homeless man on the sidewalk. She approaches him to offer up her bag of leftovers, and is stunned when their eyes meet, then stricken to her very core: The man is the love of her life, Cade McAllister.

When Kailey met Cade ten years ago, their attraction was immediate and intense everything connected and felt “right.” But it all ended suddenly, leaving Kailey devastated. Now the poor soul on the street is a faded version of her former beloved: His weathered and weary face is as handsome as Kailey remembers, but his mind has suffered in the intervening years. Over the next few weeks, Kailey helps Cade begin to piece his life together, something she initially keeps from Ryan. As she revisits her long-ago relationship, Kailey realizes that she must decide exactly what and whom she wants.

Alternating between the past and the present, Always is a beautifully unfolding exploration of a woman faced with an impossible choice, a woman who discovers what she’s willing to save and what she will sacrifice for true love.

My Review: (more…)

Book Review: Good in Bed by Jennifer Weiner

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Title: Good in Bed
Author: Jennifer Weiner
Publisher: Atria Books
ISBN: 9780743418188

Synopsis:

#1 New York Times bestselling author Jennifer Weiner brings to life an irresistibly funny and relatable heroine in the novel The Boston Globe called “funny, fanciful, extremely poignant, and rich with insight.”

For twenty-eight years, things have been tripping along nicely for Cannie Shapiro. Sure, her mother has come charging out of the closet, and her father has long since dropped out of her world. But she loves her friends, her rat terrier, Nifkin, and her job as pop culture reporter for The Philadelphia Examiner. She’s even made a tenuous peace with her plus-size body.

But the day she opens up a national women’s magazine and sees the words “Loving a Larger Woman” above her ex-boyfriend’s byline, Cannie is plunged into misery…and the most amazing year of her life. From Philadelphia to Hollywood and back home again, she charts a new course for herself: mourning her losses, facing her past, and figuring out who she is and who she can become.

My Review: (more…)