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The Boyfriend Swap–great beach, plane, or cozy afternoon

The Boyfriend Swap

by Meredith Schorr

The Boyfriend SwapI like to vary my reading occasionally by throwing in a Chick Lit book. Meredith Schorr’s The Boyfriend Swap was a good change of pace at the the right time. The first half established characters, varying the viewpoint in clearly marked divisions between elementary school music teacher Robyn and hard driven lawyer Sidney. It is quite funny as they both have family situations coming up at Christmas where they don’t want their families to meet their respective boyfriends for various reasons.

When the boyfriend swap occurs, the book still has humorous moments, but things don’t always turn out as expected so there are some anxious times as well. Is swapping boyfriends a good idea in anyone’s mind? Will it all work out in the end for Robyn, Sidney, and their boyfriends? Come along for a fun read, but don’t model your romantic life on theirs!

I would like to extend my thanks to netgalley.com and to Henery Press for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

Rating: 5/5

Category: Women’s Fiction, Romance

Publication:   November 7, 2017—Henery Press

Memorable Lines:

How were children supposed to nurture their creative sides if schools focused entirely on academics?

Giving him a quick once-over as he absently pulled his finders through his longish hair, I was taken aback by his blatant beauty. The gods of looks certainly didn’t hold back the day Perry was born. Too bad they were so stingy with his humility.

Usually, the scent of garlic from my mom’s roasted chicken made my mouth water, but the guilt-and-anxiety cocktail I was drinking rid me of an appetite.

My Not So Perfect Life–is your life as perfect as your social media says it is?

My Not So Perfect Life

by Sophie Kinsella

my-not-so-perfect-lifeHaving read most of Sophie Kinsella’s Shopaholic series as well as several other books by this best selling author, I looked forward to a work of chick lit that is neither trite nor cliché. I was rewarded with a story that contrasts the glamour of London with the authenticity of rural Somerset.  It presents characters with depth who react to their experiences with change and growth.

The first setting is a branding/advertising agency in London where difficult work relationships take center stage, as well as survival in a very expensive city. The second is a sheep farm that reinvents itself as a glamping (glamour camping) center. The main character, known as Cat in London and Katie on the family farm, tries to survive by straddling two worlds.  Katie’s complicated home life leads her to lie about her “perfect” London life, creating unintended consequences. Complications don’t end there, however, as one already difficult boss seems to suffer from mental issues and another sets off romantic fireworks.

I know a book is good when I repeatedly succumb to the temptation of glancing at the opening paragraph of the next chapter. Once I have gotten that far, it is hard to put the book aside, and so it happens again and again. My Not So Perfect Life keeps luring the reader back just like that. As I read, I initially thought I could see a direct path to a happy ending, but Kinsella has lots of surprises in store before the tale reaches its conclusion.

I would like to extend my thanks to netgalley.com and to Random House (Dial Press) for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

Rating: 5/5

Category: Women’s Fiction, General Fiction (Adult)

Notes: moderate profanity (including some specific to British English)

Publication:   February 7, 2017–Random House (Dial Press)

Memorable Lines:

 It’s amazing how an otherwise intelligent person can become a credulous fool as soon as you mention the words “organic,” “authentic,” and “Gwyneth Paltrow.”

“Every promotion requires you to do less of the thing you originally wanted to do.”

“Whoever started the rumor that life has to be perfect is a very wicked person, if you ask me. Of course it’s not!”

From the Sideline–chick lit for football illiterates

From the SidelineFrom the Sideline.jpg

by Amy Avanzino

From the Sideline is the second book in The Wake-Up Series by Amy Avanzino. Many reviewers praised the first book, Wake-Up Call, as a very funny novel.  This is confusing because From the Sideline has humorous notes and certainly moments I can relate to, but they are more than balanced out by the difficulties, past and present, of the main character, Autumn Kovac.  In fact, the major problems in the lives of Autumn and her son Zachery are rather dark. My other point of confusion is that Wake-Up Call’s main character is Sarah Winslow, not Autumn Kovac.  While it is fine to write a series based on a theme rather than a character, there is a supporting character named Sarah (no last name given) in From the Sideline.  I guess I will have to read Wake-Up Call to find out if it is the same Sarah and to read a book with a more generous serving of humor.

From the Sideline combines a number of themes.  It focuses on an overly protective single mom, a survivor of several abusive situations, whose awkward, intelligent, and bullied son wants to play football. Autumn Kovac receives an in-depth, rapid introduction to youth football: terminology that seems like a foreign language, coaches who range from caring mentors to frustrated men trying to recapture the glory days of promising sports careers, enthusiastic football moms and dads, and pressured players who are really just kids who want to play.

Another theme is, of course, one that most people experience–the wake-up call.  Bad habits and ways of responding to others creep up on us, and Autumn learns to recognize that as well as how to disengage herself and make healthier choices.

Although circumstances vary, most women can probably identify with some parts of this story and engage with the main character who, like all of us, has some difficult choices to make.  It’s “chick lit,” and while I enjoyed this book as an entertaining read, I came away with food for thought as well.

I extend my thanks to NetGalley and the publisher Henery Press for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

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