Book Review: Cure for the Common Breakup – Beth Kendrick

Cure for the Common Breakup cover

Title: Cure for the Common Breakup
Author: Beth Kendrick
ISBN: 9780451465856
Pages: 336
Release Date: May 6, 2014
Publisher: NAL
Genre: Chick Lit
Source: Publisher
Rating: 4 out of 5

Summary:

Summer Benson is a flight attendant who thinks she has it all: a job she loves and a relationship that isn’t too serious. But after a near-miss plane crash, Summer’s too terrified to go back to work, and for some reason, she’s devastated when the boyfriend she didn’t actually want to marry breaks up with her. On a whim, Summer travels to Black Dog Bay, a beach town in Delaware that is famous for helping people recover from breakups. As Summer begins to recover physically and emotionally from the hurts she’s suffered, she notices the handsome mayor of the town, Dutch Jansen, and wonders if it isn’t time to settle down once and for all.

Snapshot Review:

Cure for the Common Breakup is an easy, escapist novel about one woman’s search for herself. The novel has it all: a fun heroine who is deeper than the reader initially gives her credit for and a charming setting with quirky, memorable characters. Summer connects with people in Black Dog Bay and makes a home for herself without even realizing it. Finally, Summer has found a place to settle down, and a man who might just be worth settling down for—but of course, there are complications. Is the novel predictable? Yes. It’s also a little too cutesy at times, but when you’re in the mood for a breezy, fun novel that will keep you riveted, that type of thing doesn’t matter. If you’re looking for escapist fare, something you can lose yourself in for a couple of hours and come out with a smile on your face, then this just might be the book you need to pick up.

Other books by Beth Kendrick:

The Bake-Off
Second Time Around

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Book Review: Blind Submission – Debra Ginsberg

Title: Blind Submission
Author: Debra Ginsberg
ISBN: 9780307346384
Pages: 352
Release Date: September 25, 2007
Publisher: Three Rivers Press
Genre: Chick Lit
Source: Personal Copy
Rating: 4 out of 5

Summary:

Angel Robinson is in a bind.  The beloved bookstore where she works as a bookseller is closing, leaving her without a job.  But when Angel’s boyfriend hands her an ad for a publicity assistant to the acclaimed literary agent Lucy Fiamma, she decides to give it a try.  She finds a horrible working environment, completely frazzled atmosphere, and a boss that is difficult-beyond-words, but she can’t help but love her job.  That is, until Angel receives a strange anonymous submission that catches her eye, one whose story seems to mirror her life to a frightening degree.

Review:

Blind Submission is a book written for readers, especially those who have worked or want to work in the publishing industry.  It’s a fun and smart satire about working in a literary agency, with Alice as the poor assistant that is dumped on by the (more than slightly) crazy Lucy Fiamma.  While I did love the literary aspects of this novel, the relationship between Lucy and Alice, as well as Lucy’s antics, were a little too-Devil Wears Prada for me. 

Ginsberg’s writing is sharp and completely on point.  Additionally, she develops Alice well, which is good because Alice is basically the only sympathetic character in the book.  Alice is witty and it’s entertaining to read her notes on the manuscripts she receives (excerpts of which are included in the novel).  It shows (rather than tells) how good Alice is at analyzing manuscripts, as well as how perceptive of a reader she is.

The added twist of the mysterious submission is a great touch, as it gives Alice something to focus on other than her crumbling life.  Blind Submission isn’t really a mystery overall, but the question of who the anonymous author of the manuscript is will keep the reader engaged in the story.  It’s understandable why Alice is so freaked out by the story; after all, it is a thinly fictionalized version of her own life, complete with intimate details about her.

If you’re looking for a quick and light read that will keep you entertained, Blind Submission is a great choice.  It’s not a meaty read that you can dissect, but it’s fun, and I’m sure anyone who’s actually worked in a literary agency will be highly amused by it. 

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Book Review: Seeing Me Naked – Liza Palmer

Title: Seeing Me Naked
Author: Liza Palmer
ISBN: 9781615566600
Pages: 295
Release Date: January 8, 2008
Publisher: 5 Spot
Genre: Chick Lit
Source: Personal Copy
Rating: 4 out of 5

Summary:

Elizabeth Page is a pastry chef at a popular restaurant, and despite the fact that she is content professionally, she is stuck in her life.  Her ongoing relationship with her best friend, Will, is broken; despite the fact that he claims to love her, he puts his work first, leaving her behind while he travels around the world.  Elizabeth’s father disapproves of her line of work; as a Pulitzer Prize winning author, he believes his daughter should be in a more intellectual profession.  But when Elizabeth receives an exciting new work opportunity and meets a new, intriguing man who is the opposite of Will, will she have the courage to change her life, even if it’s something of which her family might not approve?

Review:

Seeing Me Naked is an enjoyable chick lit novel with a sympathetic main character.  Elizabeth is doing the best she can in life, and by all objective accounts, she’s successful – she has a boyfriend and a job at one of the best restaurants in LA.  But she’s not truly satisfied with either.  She’s tired of Will’s complete lack of regard for her feelings, even as she is always available for him when he happens to be around.  It’s understandable how Elizabeth has fallen into a rut; she has such a strict routine that she doesn’t really have time to think about how her life is unsatisfying.  But when a new man, Daniel, shows up, Elizabeth is forced to take stock of what her life has become, and she doesn’t like what she sees.

Elizabeth’s family certainly doesn’t make her life any easier.  Palmer did an excellent job portraying a completely dysfunctional family.  Elizabeth is so used to her dad’s peculiarities that she barely notices them anymore.  He’s a famous author, so he’s allowed to be rude to people and generally behave abominably.  It’s so interesting to see their dynamics, and through them it’s easy to understand why Elizabeth is so stuck.  While difficult, each member of her family is written very well; Palmer did an excellent job developing her characters.

The main theme of Seeing Me Naked is the difficulty of change.  It’s so easy to continue on a non-ideal path if it’s what you are used to.  The hardest thing can be to change something that you’re comfortable with.  It’s a great message, especially after the reader sees how rewarding change can be, how much Elizabeth alters her life for the better after taking a few risks.

While Seeing Me Naked is predictable, it’s still a fun read, especially if you are in the mood for something light and easy.  I enjoyed getting to know Elizabeth, and I look forward to reading more of Palmer’s work.

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Book Review: Always Something There to Remind Me – Beth Harbison

Title: Always Something There to Remind Me
Author: Beth Harbison
ISBN: 9780312599102
Pages: 368
Release Date: July 19, 2011
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Genre: Chick Lit
Source: Publisher
Rating: 4 out of 5

Summary:

Erin Edwards was completely in love with her high school boyfriend, Nate.  But after their bad breakup, she did her best to move on with her life.  Twenty years later, Erin has a daughter she loves and is in a relationship with a good man.  But when he proposes to her, all Erin can think of is Nate, and it takes her back to her teenage years and makes her wonder about the one that got away.

Review:

Teenage love is often dismissed as ‘”puppy love”, but Beth Harbison takes on an interesting question in Always Something There to Remind Me.  What if you met your true love in high school, but weren’t emotionally mature enough to deal with the depth of your feelings at the time?  That’s the situation Erin Edwards is in.  She’s always known that Nate is her one true love, and she’s accepted that she won’t find love like that again.

Erin’s a great main character.  She’s emotionally authentic, so I really felt like I could sympathize with her.  Even when I wanted to tell her “it’s been twenty years – MOVE ON”, I could still really understand the depth of her despair and where she was coming from.  As readers can imagine, Erin is mildly obsessive, but I appreciated that she was frank about it and realized she was being ridiculous at times. 

Always Something There to Remind Me jumps between present and past, from Erin’s current predicament to her high school relationship with Nate.  While I really appreciated Harbison’s attempt to show the reader Nate and Erin’s special relationship, instead of telling them about it, this part of the novel didn’t really work for me.  Over and over again, the reader is told how emotionally deep their connection was, and how adult their feelings were for each other, but I really didn’t see that in what Harbison showed me.  Nate and Erin were constantly fighting, and they never seemed happy in one another’s company.  The deep feelings didn’t really seem all that different from any other high school relationship, and frankly, Erin was whiny and difficult as a teenager.

That being said, I did love the idea that Nate and Erin had this real, lasting love that neither of them were emotionally mature enough for.  Because of my issues with the novel, though, I was continually asking myself if that was actually the case, or if Erin had been telling herself that for so long and glorifying Nate in her mind so much that she had fallen in love with him all over again as an adult. 

With my issues with Always Something There to Remind Me, you might think I didn’t enjoy the novel, but I actually did.  I appreciated the small twists and turns Harbison wrote into her novel (though the overall story is rather predictable) and I thought Erin was a very well written character.  I read this book after a long day when my brain was tired, and it was a perfect choice.

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Book Review: Swept Off Her Feet – Hester Browne

Title: Swept Off Her Feet Author: Hester Browne ISBN: 9781439168844 Pages: 352 Release Date: March 8, 2011 Publisher: Gallery Genre: Chick Lit Source: Publisher Rating: 4 out of 5 Summary: Evie Nicholson is an antiques appraiser who absolutely loves everything old.  She dreams of the past, of days of balls and gentlemen, and loves anything […]

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Book Review: My One and Only – Kristan Higgins

Title: My One and Only Author: Kristan Higgins ISBN: 9780373775576 Pages: 384 Release Date: March 29, 2011 Publisher: HQN Books Genre: Chick Lit Source: Publisher Rating: 4 out of 5 Summary: Harper James has decided she is going to propose to her boyfriend, Dennis.  After all, he’s good looking and he does care about her.  […]

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Book Review: Last Night at Chateau Marmont – Lauren Weisberger

Title: Last Night at Chateau Marmont Author: Lauren Weisberger ISBN: 9781439136614 Pages: 384 Release Date: August 17, 2010 Publisher: Atria Genre: Chick Lit, Women’s Fiction Source: Library Rating: 4 out of 5 Summary: Brooke Alter has been supporting her husband Jonathan for years.  He’s a musician and hasn’t quite found his big break yet.  Brooke […]

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Book Review: Goddess for Hire – Sonia Singh

Title: Goddess for Hire Author: Sonia Singh ISBN: 9780060590369 Pages: 320 Release Date: June 29, 2004 Publisher: Avon A Genre: Chick Lit, Multicultural Fiction Source: Personal Copy Rating: 4 out of 5 Summary: Maya Mehra has just turned 30 and is considered an old maid by her parents and relatives.  She still lives at home […]

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