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The 'B' List. A look at the beautiful things in life. This blog is devoted to that list. Join me on the journey, why don't you?

Friday, September 2, 2011

Hope in a Jar

Well, the end of August has been quite busy, and now we're into September. Can't believe how fast the summer has flown by! Tallying up all the books I've read for my summer chick-lit challenge (ok so there are a couple in there that aren't chick lit, but I'm going to add them to the total anyway) I'm up to seventeen (this book - Hope in a Jar - included). That's pretty darn good I say! I'm glad I had this challenge to push me to read and read a lot this summer, and now I have some great recommendations for people and new favorite authors.

The last book for this summer challenge - Hope in a Jar, is another Beth Harbison novel, and I have to say, although I didn't like it as much as Thin, Rich, Pretty - it got better as the story progressed. The book centres on Allie and her (ex) best friend Olivia, and vacillates back and forth from junior high/high school to the present day (20 years later). There is a high school reunion planned, and Allie doesn't really want to go, as she is not comfortable in her skin anymore (feels older, gained weight, etc). Olivia certainly doesn't want to go, since she left that high school in the middle of her senior year under heartbreaking conditions. Allie and Olivia haven't spoken since. But, the reunion sets off a chain of events that has Allie and Olivia teaming up and finding out that friendships, even broken ones, can be repaired.

The book starts off slowly, and although the references to 80's pop culture and products are a blast, it can get a bit much at times, as though the author is just trying to add in every reference she can think of. Noah (another central character) was extremely annoying at the beginning, as I couldn't figure him out as a character, and didn't always understand his motives. But, towards the middle of the book, as Olivia and Allie get back in touch and discuss their master plans, I got into the story and wanted to see the outcome. From there on the book finished on a high note, as I wanted the two friends to become close like they once were.

So all in all, not bad. But now I do want to read Harbison's other two books - the Shoeaholic series, as I find myself to be in a similar shoe situation, and feel like this might be therapeutic. Right?

Even though September has begun, another school year is upon me, and I need to devote much more time to my dissertation proposal writing, teaching and tutoring, I hope to continue to blog about books I'm reading in my spare time, and anything else that comes up in this City Girl's life.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Sweet Valley Confidential and Big Girl

I had been meaning to take Sweet Valley Confidential out of the library for weeks now, and then, one day, I open my mailbox and it's there! No joke. Turns out I forgot I entered a contest for an advanced readers copy a couple months ago, and I guess I won, because it was sitting in the little box screaming - "Read Me!" If you grew up in the 80's like me, you must remember Sweet Valley High, Sweet Valley U and all those other associated titles. Sweet Valley Confidential just came out, and it is "the long-awaited conclusion" to the series. It starts off in New York, where Elizabeth Wakefield is living and working at a small theatre magazine. Why isn't she in Sweet Valley, California? What did her twin sister Jessica do to drive her away? It is the answer to those two questions that sets the premise for the book and the incredible heartache and twists and turns that follow.

Overall, if you're a fan of the original series, you will probably like this book as it's meant to be nostalgic and hit our generation, but there are a few discrepancies. Jessica's personality seems to have changed a bit (she speaks inordinately like a "valley girl" which can get a bit much at times). The Epilogue, which is nice as it revisits old characters sounds a bit like a roll call, and the family dinner scene at the end is definitely supposed to be explosive, but in all honestly, it comes across like a trashy episode of Jerry Springer. Not like what I remember from the series. But overall, it is a quick read and a nice revisit to Sweet Valley.

Once in awhile, I like to read a Danielle Steel. I find her books quick, lively, and surprisingly absorbing. Big Girl, which got many negative reviews from others, actually hit the mark with me. It follows the life of Victoria Dawson, who eventually moves across the country to New York to follow her dream of teaching, while getting away from her narcissistic and hurtful parents. Victoria isn't terribly "big" (she vacillates from a size 10-16) but she feels worse because her parents make her feel worthless. Her journey after leaving them also consists of struggling to find and accept herself - difficult to do when she's felt otherwise her whole life. I found this story to host a complex cast of characters and enjoyed the journey through the first 30 years of Victoria's life (this may have something to do with the fact I just turned 30 as well).

Well, the summer is 2/3 of the way gone, but I still want to get through a few more books before September comes calling and my program gets underway again and I get lost in my dissertation proposal!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

A good week, book-wise...

Well, three books this week. I've been a busy little bee. Ok, so only one of them falls under chick-lit technically, but I will explain why I chose the other two as well.

While I was at the library (apparently, my new favorite spot, especially since this is a very lean summer for me, money-wise) my eye fell on The Stepford Wives. First, it was in the general fiction section; second, I didn't know the movie was based on a book and third, I never saw the movie, but thought it was girly, you know, and fun. I didn't know it was a thriller or that it contained robot-women. However, it still was a great read, and fast, I read it all in one go.

Second was The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake. I also saw this at the library, and snapped it up, because when I was browsing a chick-lit website a few months back, they had a giveaway for this book. But it turns out it is definitely more fiction than chick-lit, and a bit existential and all that (reminded me of James Joyce with all the no quotation marks when characters speak). This follows the main character, Rose, from when she was a little girl until she is in her twenties. Rose has this uncanny ability to taste emotion in what she eats, so when her mom makes her lemon cake, she tastes sadness, and that's where the story unfolds. It was a really unique read, as the characters seemed real, but there were extraordinary things going on. If you think the food thing is neat, wait until you see what her brother can do.

And last was something I pulled on a whim from the library shelf: Got You Back, by Jane Fallon. This is the "true" chick-lit for the week, and it was something that many chick lit books touch on, but don't pick apart - infidelity. James is married to Stephanie, who lives in London, but is also dating Katie who lives in a small English town. When Stephanie and Katie find out about each other, they don't get mad (at each other, that is) they get even with James. The twists and turns show that infidelity is always riddled with complications and surprises - about oneself and others. Definitely recommended - on of the best parts is how one of the characters goes a bit off the deep end, a la Fatal Attraction.

So, lots of reading fun I had this week!

Friday, July 29, 2011

The Book of Tomorrow and Getting Over Mr. Right

I've had a productive week - 2 books read! The first, The Book of Tomorrow by Cecelia Ahern is no joke, so far the best book read all summer (well, beside Marian Keyes). It stars sixteen year old Tamara Goodwin, who lived a life of privilege until her father's untimely death - she and her mum have to go and live with her uncle and aunt in a small hamlet for the summer, and their house is right next to the famous (and ruined) Kilsaney castle. There's not much for Tamara to do around there, until a travelling library appears one day, and Tamara takes out a book, a locked, leather-bounded journal. What turns out to be in those pages will change Tamara's life, and the way she looks at life, forever.

The book was amazing - it held me captive from start to finish, and Ahern's prose is sheer poetry. She's young too - 30 I think, and she's already written like 7 books. This is a strong recommendation - and since it takes place on summer holiday, a perfect summer read. Ahern has a way of making you (seriously) laugh out loud, and on the next page, bring tears to your eyes. This book also deals a lot with grief and the death of a loved one, but not in a preachy or inaccessible way - it's like having a friend to talk with.

Second, I read Getting Over Mr. Right by Chrissy Manby. I mentioned in a previous post how much I enjoyed her other book, Kate's Wedding, and so I thought I'd read another of hers. Ashleigh and Michael have been going together for a couple years, and she thinks he is ready for the next step (maybe not marriage, but moving in together) until she finds out she has been dumped. Publicly. On Facebook. The rest of the book takes Ashleigh through the five stages of grief (denial, bargaining, anger, depression, acceptance), in utterly funny ways. Through it all, she begins to find herself again, and ultimately comes out doing just fine. A really light read - very quick and fun, and probably very good if you've just come out of a break-up yourself (I could have used this book 4 or 5 years ago!)

It's the end of July, and I'm 2/3 of the way through my summer of chick lit. So far, I'm really enjoying how much I've been able to read, and it's been a great antidote to my academic reading and writing, or times when I just need to chill out.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

A Regency break and cutbacks to libraries!

This week I branched out slightly from chick lit, and sort of went on a Regency bender. For the longest time, I've been wanted to read the book What Would Jane Austen Do? (romantic fiction), as it involved traveling back in time to the Regency. And I found it at the library with no holds so I could get it right away. At the same time, I found Lost in Austen - this was a short series on t.v. a few years ago and that came immediately from the library as well.

So on Sunday I watched Lost in Austen from start to finish (it's about 3 hours) and it was fantastic. I've always dreamt about what it would be like to go back in time through a book, and that is what happens here (Amanda Price goes through Pride and Prejudice) and it is intriguing, heartwarming and humorous - in many cases I think they hit the nail on the head when it comes to what might happen should competing centuries clash. Case in point, when Amanda lets it slip how much money she has (in 21st century terms of course), the Regency inhabitants are momentarily startled (as that money would be worth a lot more in their time), but then a rumour starts her father was a fishmonger and thus her money is worthless as she has no class (they couldn't fathom how someone who didn't come from money or who didn't have a recognizable last name could make that much). Anyway - if you like Jane Austen at all, this is a great series to watch.

Going to the book, What would Jane Austen Do? follows Eleanor Pottinger through time as she meets a pair of friendly ghosts and agrees to go back in time to help them in exchange for meeting Jane Austen. She also meets some beefcake in the form of Lord Shermont, who has some secrets of his own. But when Eleanor goes back to the present, must she leave the past behind?

Overall the book was a pretty good read, especially the depictions of country society in England at that time, and the characters were like able and well-rounded. However, the end of the book was a bit of a let down, as I felt it tied up loose ends too quickly and was a bit silly - living happily ever after and all that. But it is more of a romance so I guess I should have expected it. The part at the end that really bothered me had really nothing much to do with the story - just a footnote, how one of the main characters had "his doctoral thesis published to critical acclaim, and he had even turned his research into three successful historical novels". All in the span of two years. Now, this is probably because I am working on my doctorate, and currently trying to publish a paper, but, quite simply, it 'aint that easy. But otherwise, the story was not bad.

Before I finish this week's post, on a separate note, if you are in the Toronto area and use the Toronto Public Library (as I do), consider signing this petition to keep city council from making cuts to the library that threatens to close branches or privatize operations. As of today, there are over 12, 000 signatures, and it is one cause I think is especially important, as any library system should never suffer from cutbacks in today's day and age. http://ourpubliclibrary.to/

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Summer and the City

This book has reinforced why Candace Bushnell is one of my favorite authors. Her writing is unique and refreshing, and her characters I can just swear are real, and that I'll bump into them if I ever go back to New York. I also love how she crafts the story, but doesn't push fake dialogue or unnecessary scenes on the reader so that it rings untrue - it is just like peeking into the lives of people for a moment, in this case, Carrie Bradshaw's summer after high school in New York City.

Carrie goes to New York in the late 1980's to attend the New School - a school for writers to hone their craft. Even though she is supposed to attend Brown in the fall, she tries to plot how she can stay in New York; once there, she realizes she is home. Helped along by a colourful cast of characters (most notably Samantha and Miranda) Carrie grows and defines herself, and what she wants to be, during this Summer in the City. I've noticed that not all of the little details from the Sex and the City t.v. series are the same (e.g. when/where Carrie loses her virginity; that she can actually cook and cook well in the novel version) but it doesn't matter, as this is Bushnell's vision and interpretation and it will probably be slightly different than how it was represented in the t.v. show.

It helps to have read the previous book, The Carrie Diaries, before this one, but it isn't absolutely necessary. Either way, read together they enhance each other, but can also stand on their own. I'm actually hoping for a third installment of this series, but wherever Bushnell decides to go next, I'll probably follow her. I don't know why I don't actually buy more of her books right away; I always seem to get them out of the library first, read them, love them and then buy them for my keeper shelf. However, there ain't much room on my shelves anymore, as anyone who knows me knows I have WAY too many books, so maybe the library is still a good idea. I've already got some more books on hold there that I'll pick up this week.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

The Wedding Girl

Keeping on the wedding theme, this week's read was The Wedding Girl by Madeleine Wickham (a.k.a Sophie Kinsella). I have read almost all of Sophie Kinsella's books (except the last few Shopaholic books) and I love her humorous writing style. I knew that she wrote books previously under her real name, Madeleine Wickham, but I've only ever read Cocktails for Three (and from what I remember it was pretty good). So I thought I'd try another one of hers.

The Wedding Girl focuses on Milly, who had a quickie marriage at 18, in order to help her friend stay in the country. But now she's 28, and with her friend long forgotten, she is ready to marry the love of her life, Simon. Although, with only a few days to go to the wedding, technically, she's still married. Isn't she?

What I had to get past initially is the feeling that Sophie Kinsella would be writing the novel; I guess this is why writers sometimes use pen names - to write in different styles and voices. The book is definitely enjoyable and a page-turner, but Madeleine writes a bit darker and is not as humorous as Sophie. Also, it was at times confusing jumping to and from the point of view's of different characters, but this did help keep a bit of a mystery about the story.

Overall, I would recommend this book; I have another one of Wickham's (The Gatecrasher) on my list as well. However, that will have to wait, as my library book came in(!!!!) so I've got a three-week loan on Summer and the City (sequel to the Carrie Diaries), which I mentioned in a post from last year, and absolutely loved.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Kate's Wedding

Well, back to chick-lit. I finished Kate's Wedding yesterday; it was my first book by Chrissie Manby, and I'll tell ya, I could definitely read more from her. Witty, with that classic British humour that gets you laughing out loud when you least expect it - this book was a joy to read. I couldn't put it down and finish it fast enough. Our protagonist, Kate, has just gotten engaged and has it in her mind to have a simple wedding; but with the diagnosis of her mother having cancer, planning a big affair is just what the family needs to take their minds off of their troubles. Problem is, Kate's feeling less and less like she has any say in what is going on, not to mention the second thoughts she's having about the groom.

Contrast this to Diana. A genuine spoiled brat, used to getting her own way, she is also getting married the same day as Kate and will ensure that she gets the wedding she had always dreamed of as a child. At any cost.

Melanie is the owner of the bridal store; and as these brides come and go and prepare for their big day, she can't help but think of her own husband, though she's been widowed for thirteen years. Can she find what she is looking for, after all of this time?

Though Kate and Diana are 10 years apart and do not know each other, they each plan their wedding against the backdrop of the royal wedding (Will and Kate) which is the day before their own.

I found this book immensely entertaining, light and fun, though a bit heavy-handed with the Royal wedding references (especially Princess Diana's). However, as it was essential to the main theme of the book to include this, it did provide a good background and at times interesting comic relief. Apparently, Chrissie Manby has fifteen other books out, so I will look out for her the next time I am wandering through the bookstore shelves.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Sidetracked a bit...

I haven't started on my chick-lit book for this week; I've just gotten more and more sidetracked with day-to-day life. Proposal reference writing, choosing wedding flowers, writing thank-you cards (from the first bridal shower) and going to the gym are all competing for my time and attention. Then, one of the cats was a bit sick and had to go to the animal hospital :(

But actually I have been reading; it's just not one of the chick-lits, and it's on my Kobo (which I don't use enough) so I'm glad I'm getting some use out of it now. The book is The Jungle by Upton Sinclair (if you have a Kobo ereader, you can download it for free), and though it was published at the turn of the 20th century, it still hits home. Boy, if you thought you had a bad day, or were going through some hard times, read a bit of this book. It will put everything in perspective.

The Jungle follows the lives of working class Lithuanian immigrants in Chicago's meatpacking district in 1904. This is during a time of unions, but also rampant unemployment, corruption, crime and poverty. The class distinctions and gaps between the rich and the poor are far-reaching, and it is a time of broken dreams and ideals of what it means to live in a free country.

I'm about 70-75% through it, and it is really compelling. The sad thing is, although there has been great changes, some things have stayed the same, especially when it comes to unskilled labour. Even more weird, a book I read a few years ago - Fast food Nation - which came out in 2001, pretty much details the same working conditions when it comes to the meatpacking and fast-food industry. The parallels are uncanny (injuries, pay, the fast-pace of production, even the way the system operates). It seems like there has been little change in some respects in a century.

I'm sure I will get back to my chick lit, but this read is a nice change. And reading on the Kobo is not too bad; I'm going to have to do a post soon about ebooks v.s. paper.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Thin, Rich, Pretty

This week's book was a definite improvement over last week. Thin, Rich, Pretty by Beth Harbison is the story of three girls/women who met one year at summer camp. Two of the girls (Holly and Nicola) become good friends, and the third, Lexi, is part of the 'mean girls' group. The book goes back and forth between the present and the past (20 years before at summer camp), where these girls' insecurities are brought out - Holly thinks she's too fat; Nicola wants to be prettier, and Lexi knows that money can't buy affection from her mean stepmother. Fast forward to the present and these troubles still plague them - Holly's boyfriend wants her to lose weight before he will commit to marry her; Nicola finally decides to do something about her most hated feature, her nose, and Lexi finds herself down on her luck and broke when she is cut out of her father's will.

Eventually their lives will intersect again, but it is definitely the journey these women go through that makes for a fast and enjoyable read. The characters are likeable and relatable, and I like how Harbison writes quick dialogue to move the scenes forward. It is perfect for the summer - reading it up at a cottage - and if you've been to summer camp, this book will definitely take you back.

I have another one of Harbison's on the list this summer - Hope in a Jar, so now I am also looking forward to it. But I don't have any of her Shoe-a-holic books - anyone read them? Would you recommend them?

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Be Careful What you Wish for...

Well, I've slogged through Alexandra Potter's - Be Careful What you Wish for, and here's what I have to say - it ain't good. I was thoroughly surprised what I sat down to read it; after all, she wrote one of my favorite chick-lit books - Who's that Girl?, and I tried to like this one, honest I did, but this book just had too many downfalls to its name.

First, I should have known something was up judging by my adversity to read the book once I started it. I literally finished it because I knew I would be blogging about it, and it's tough to blog about a half-read novel. There it sat, accusing me day after day of not opening its covers, as I blithely walked by and found other things to do ("Oh, the drain is clogged? Great, I'll fix it!" Well, maybe not that, but you get what I mean). Until finally I just forced myself to read it, which is not the feeling you want when approaching a novel for pleasure reading.

Second, the characters sucked. I could not 'identify' with the main character, Heather - she had a lot of weird quirks and always mentioning that she had 'heavy thighs' made me want to slap her. Another thing that bugged me are all the characters' names; I feel like they all had the wrong names throughout. Jess (Heather's best friend) should have been the main character's name and Heather the best friend's name. Lionel (her dad) should have switched names with her brother, Ed. And the guy she ends up with, Gabe - I know he's a Californian and all, but holy stereotyping! (I'm Gabe, the tanned beach dude. Nice to meet you.)

Finally, the storyline is where it all goes wrong. Heather seems a bit spoiled - she's always wishing for things (like finding an empty seat on the tube, losing five pounds, etc) but it never comes true. Then she gets some 'lucky heather' (pardon the pun) and now all her wishes come true. But it usually ends up with negative consequences (she wishes for no traffic on the roads and ends up getting a speeding ticket). This frivolity continues until her father has a heart attack and she realizes all that wishing was stupid - it's her family and friends she cares about. A nice redeeming feature, but overall it's too late and in the meantime the reader has to put up with a lot of everyday nonsense.

This book was published in 2006, and I believe Potter has grown as an author since then, but give this book a miss in the meantime.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Books...best places to buy?

I'm still slogging through my novel for the week - Be Careful What you Wish for by Alexandra Potter, so I thought in the meantime I'd post on the purchasing process. How do you tend to buy your books - wandering through bookstores and seeing what captures your eye? Making a beeline for a specific title and running for the exit afterwards? Searching online at Amazon or another bookstore site and letting the deliveryman come to you? Or do you tend to borrow books from friends, search thrift stores or check out your local library?

I basically fall under all of these categories; first of all, I LOVE to wander through bookstores (it's kind of like therapy for me) browse through the stacks and see what pops up. Lately, I've been doing this in used bookstores just because there always seems to be a gem or two waiting for me and the prices are much more wallet-friendly. My favorite used bookstore is BMV (Annex location) - they have a great chick-lit section, and it's right across from my favorite sushi place to boot!

Then sometimes, I just don't want to be bothered, don't want to have to deal with people or crowds and just get in, get out. Let me find the book in peace and then leave me alone! This usually happens when something else in my life has gone down the toilet - my research isn't going well, a fight with my fiancé, etc. My actions in the store directly correlates to how I'm feeling at the moment.

I personally love Amazon. Their wishlist function is a godsend - every time a book title catches my eye, I put it on my wishlist for future reference. And then at a later date when I want to treat myself, I just scroll through the list and add items to the cart. Simple and painless. And a present arrives in the mail a short time later! I just love presents through the post!

A few of my friends and I like to discuss and share books; when one finishes, another gets to borrow it. This is a great way to save money and create a mini-bookclub/discussion group all at the same time. For awhile I also used to go to the library, but the downside is I can't get to keep the book if I loved it and the most popular titles always have a HUGE waitlist (right now I'm on the waitlist for Summer and the City, and it's probably going to take months).

So there you have it. Books in all their manifestations. Well, except for e-books. That will require a whole other post just to talk about their pros and cons. I'll get to that another time - now it's back to the book.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Personally, I Blame my Fairy Godmother...

I've finished one book on the list - Personally, I Blame my Fairy Godmother... by Claudia Carroll. Now, I've been a huge fan of Carroll's for several years, having read Do you want to know a Secret? and Remind me again why I need a man. Those were both fabulous books, but this one really takes the cake. Personally, I Blame my Fairy Godmother stars Jessie Woods, an Irish t.v. presenter who "has it all", but gets everything taken away from her - her job, her boyfriend, her home. Broke and with no options left, she has to move back home with her stepmother and two "evil" stepsisters, who basically make her life a living hell. Until, things take an interesting turn...

Every time I read one of Carroll's books I cannot put it down, and this was no exception. I even dreamt about the characters one night! Even though it's a twist on the Cinderella story, it still held my interest and wasn't too predictable; I also love how Carroll crafts characters that stay with you long after you finish the book. I'm not sure why she isn't more well-known in North America, but I can certainly tell you, with her and Keyes, Irish chick-lit authors are fast moving to the top of my to-be-read pile!

Out of chick lit as a whole, I tended more towards British novels, as I loved the settings (London) and the characters seemed more interesting than the North American ones. This might just be because I love everything British, but what do you think? Do you notice a major difference between North American and U.K. chick lit? If so, which do you prefer?

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Marian Keyes - This Charming Man

Even though this book technically isn't on my summer chick-lit reading list, I still wanted to say a few words about it, since it technically did kick off the 'summer', as I read it at a cottage on the May 24 long weekend, which is the unofficial start to the season - at least here in Toronto.

This Charming Man takes the reader through the world of 4 different women (well, really 3, as Alicia only has a tiny part in the narrative) who are all in some way connected to the infamous philandering politician, Paddy de Courcy. The story is presented through the eyes of each character in turn, and because of the sheer length of the story (almost 900 pages in paperback!) a backstory for each emerges quite clearly. My friend mentioned (when I told her I was reading this book) that only around page 350 the story really gets going, and takes twists and turns that make it almost impossible not to put down. I agree. So if you're on p. 200, 250 - don't fret. Noel from the Dole will surprise you!

One other thing that I think I can mention that doesn't give the plot away too much - I found it fascinating how Keyes describes how alcoholism is experienced from a first-person p.o.v. I never really thought about it that much, but when reading about just how serious it can get, I think I now view it in a totally new light - like it is a devastating, debilitating disorder to be reckoned with.

This was my first Keyes book and I enjoyed it quite a bit. I know I have more of hers on my list; the only thing I wish was that her books weren't so long! It can take weeks to get through it (and I'm trying for a book a week).

Right now I'm just finishing Personally, I blame my Fairy Godmother by Claudia Carroll (another great Irish novelist). I don't know what's in the beer in Ireland, but they sure do churn out great writers! ;)

Thursday, June 2, 2011

I'm back!!!

Ok, so I basically took, 8, or 9 was it? months off from blogging. Not that I've had a lack of things to write about, oh no, the problem for me was that there was TOO much stuff going on, mainly with school (tutoring, TA-ing, coursework, writing my dissertation proposal, that kind of general nonsense ; ) Oh, the daily grind, how it interferes with REAL life :P Also, I've noticed that no followers (that I know of) = no impetus to write. (It's not like anyone was missing anything, right? Was anyone missing it?)

Well, now I've got a purpose to bring the blog back (at least for the summer). I'm doing a chick-lit challenge, as it were; basically, read a ton of chick-lit books and blog about them. Super-fun you say? Well, thank you. Although it's not my idea - check out this link - the Booklover's blog issued the challenge and I accepted. All my books have been doing is gathering dust on my shelves, and I have so much chick lit to catch up on!

My daunting list will be up there and I will be talking about my progress here and on that blog as well. So follow along if you're out there, and join in with your own novels if you want a reading challenge this summer!