My Saucy Stuffed Ravioli: the life of Angelica Cookson Potts by Cherry Whytock
Rating: 5 stars
This is the third book of Angel's adventures and I still love her! I want her life - living in Knightsbridge, around the corner from Harrod's, 3 best friends, always surrounded by delicious food... Of course, Angel, like me, has to constantly worry about her wobbly bits, but I have a feeling they're not as bad as she thinks.
In Ravioli, Angel, her parents, their housekeeper, Flossie, and Angel's 3 best buds are off on holiday to Italy. But Angel is pining for Sydney - he kissed her at the end of the last book, but she hasn't been able to get him to give her the time of day since, no matter how many heart-shaped cookies she leaves in his locker. And her glam, beauty-treatment-obsessed mother is acting very strangely - could she be having an affair? And Angel has to show off her aforementioned wobbly bits in a bikini on a beach full of Italian Stallions? Crumbs!
The Angel books are all quick, fun, delightful reads, accompanied by cartoony illustrations and with a yummy recipe at the end of each chapter. Super!
Dairy Queen by Catherine Gilbert Murdock
Rating: 4 stars
DJ Schwenk's family is devoted to 2 things - their rundown Wisconsin dairy farm and football. With her father laid up with a hip injury, her mother throwing herself into her new job as a school principal, and her younger brother playing baseball all summer, running the farm basically falls to DJ. (Her older brothers, both football players, haven't spoken to her dad since a fight at Christmas.) DJ doesn't think much about it, she just gets on with the milking and mucking out. That is, until the coach of a rival football team (who is a friend of the family) sends Brian, a cocky quarterback, over to work on the farm to gain some muscle and discipline. At first DJ and Brian butt heads - she thinks he's lazy, he's used to girly-girl cheerleader types, plus their schools hate each other. But over the summer, they start to train together and become friends. And that's when DJ realizes there might be more to life than cows.
I enjoyed this book. There are lots of funny details, such as the cows all being named after male football players and Mr. Schwenk's disastrous yet tasty attempts at cooking. DJ is a very real character - she gets tongue-tied, says the wrong thing, and often feels really self-conscious. Brian, a snobby jock on the surface, turns out to be a good guy. Even the Schwenks' dog, Smut, has a personality all her own. (And, I confess, with my Minnesotan Husband, I have a soft spot for the Midwest.) This book is funny, smart, and a great getting-comfortable-in-your-own-skin story. The football and farming themes also make it unique, which is nice to see when so many (not all, mind you, there are still some great ones) of the chick lit books coming across my desk all seem to basically be the same fashion/Hollywood/mean girls story.