Friday, October 31, 2008

Review: Artichoke's Heart

Artichoke's Heart by Suzanne Supplee
4 stars

Reasons for reading: sounded good when I ordered it for the library; love the cover; Young Adult Challenge

Description: Rosemary Goode is smart and funny and loyal and the best eyebrow waxer in Spring Hill, Tennessee. But only one thing seems to matter to anyone, including Rosemary: her weight. And when your mom runs the most successful (and gossipy) beauty shop in town, it can be hard to keep a low profile. Rosemary resolves to lose the weight, but her journey turns out to be about everything but the scale.

First line: "Mother spent $700 on a treadmill 'from Santa' that I will never use."

My thoughts: I really enjoyed this book - it had sadness, humour, romance, and a Southern twang.

Above all, it rang so true, especially the beginning, with Rosemary really struggling with her weight and self-esteem. I've felt all the same things - self-disgust, frustration, anger at yourself, anger at the people trying to "help" you with suggestions like "You should exercise." and "You should stop eating so much." I was insulted about it at school (though not quite as badly as Rosemary) and I still get the odd crack from so-called adults today. While Rosie does start to conquer her problem, she takes some missteps along the way, including making herself sick with tainted mayonnaise on purpose.

The relationships in the book are well done; they're not one-dimensional. Rosie's single mother insists everything's fine, even when she's diagnosed with cancer and Rosie can't find a way to talk to her. Rosie's Aunt Mary is one of the biggest weight bullies around and her mother always seems to side with her sister over Rosie. Rosie's budding romance with sweet, sincere jock boy Kyle always seems on the verge of being sabotaged by either Rosie's self-esteem or the bitchy Bluebirds clique who have been calling her Fat Artichoke since middle school. And Rosie's new friendship with Kay-Kay, a gorgeous, athletic girl who is as much of a target for bullying as Rosie herself.

I definitely recommend this book and look forward to reading more by Suzanne Supplee.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Tis the season to be grumpy

From Shelf Awareness:

"No. 10 on the bestseller list for much of September at the Book Works, Del Mar, Calif., as reported to the San Diego Union-Tribune, was Mr. Grumpy by Roger Hargreaves. Jet Hopster, publicity manager of the Book Works, commented: "We like to think our customers found a wonderful way to express their frustrations and worries about the economic crisis. The ultimate example of the importance of art."

Ah, I loved the Mr. Men books when I was a kid. They still make me smile, even Mr. Grumpy.

Coincidentally, (sort of) last week I met Jeremy Tankard, the author of the cute picture book Grumpy Bird, about a bird who wakes up too grumpy to fly until his animal friends snap him out of it.

Sometimes I definitely feel like Little Miss Grumpy or like Grumpy Bird and apparently other folks do at the moment, too.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Review: The New Yorkers

The New Yorkers by Cathleen Schine
4 stars

Reasons for reading: saw it in Shelf Awareness and read some really good reviews of it; October is Adopt a Shelter Dog Month for the Every Month is a Holiday Challenge; Set in New York for Triple 8 Challenge

From the publisher: "On a quiet little block near Central Park, five lonely New Yorkers find one another, compelled to meet by their canine companions. Over the course of four seasons, they emerge from their apartments, in snow, rain, or glorious sunshine to make friends and sometimes fall in love."

My thoughts: I really enjoyed Schine's writing style - she created an excellent portrait of each of her characters (and their dogs).

Jody is approaching 40 and she teaches music, plays the violin, and lives in a studio apartment with her white pit bull mix, Beatrice. Jody is outwardly a cheerful spinster, but she suffers from loneliness and terrible insomnia. When she runs into Everett and his smile (see below) on the street and later takes to looking for him from her window, she starts to long for more than her dog and violin.

Polly (who stood out the most for me) is in her mid-20's and is reeling from a break-up. Despite often not feeling confident on the inside, she was born with a very commanding voice, so people tend to listen to her. This has made her rather bossy and prone to wanting to help people whether they want it or not. Polly's dog is Howdy, a beautiful golden puppy she inherited when she moved into the apartment of a dead man. (Favourite Polly moment: "Polly put a large degree of faith in fate, once she had decided exactly what it was that fate would deliver.")

George, Polly's older brother is handsome and gallant, but aimless. Despite his conviction during his childhood that he was gifted (he was just never sure at what), he drifts from job to job and girl to girl. When Polly needs a roommate, he allows himself to be bossed into moving in, but discovers that in addition to wanting to make his sister happy, he comes to love Howdy (even when he's not using the dog as a "chick magnet.")

Everett is a recently divorced 50-year-old curmudgeon. He seems to dislike just about everything except his college-aged daughter. But he has a beautiful smile that changes his whole demeanor and this is enough to attract both Polly and Jody to him. Which woman will win his heart (a heart that's in danger of being stolen by Howdy)?

Simon is an "asocial social worker" who lives for every November, when he goes to Virginia for a month to pursue his passion - fox hunting. The rest of the year he lives in a rather dreary first-floor apartment, eating his meals at the Go Go Grill. But when he starts running into Jody and her big white dog in the neighbourhood, he thinks he might have found something to replace hunting in his heart.

The Go Go, run by gay Jamie who has a rich boyfriend and a passel of children, plays a central role - George gets a bartending job there (which is the main factor in moving in with Polly) and the restaurant allows dogs, so our lovers (both dog-lovers and lovers of each other) meet there often. The villain of the piece is Doris, an orange-haired-and-faced elderly woman who declares war on the "canine violations" of the neighbourhood and can often be heard to say "What do think this is, Paris?"

The characters are all fairly ordinary - there's nothing big or sweeping to the book, it's just a year in the life of a New York city community (which is populated by many dog-owners from all walks of life). But even small stories about dogs and their owners can be entertaining if well-written, and this book is. It's perfect for dog-lovers, city dwellers, or anyone else. Plus, isn't the cover irresistable?

Review: Carpe Demon

Carpe Demon: Adventures of a Demon-Hunting Soccer Mom by Julie Kenner
3.5 stars

Reasons for reading: My husband spotted it at Barnes and Noble and thought I'd like it based on the blurb on the cover from Charlaine Harris: "Shows you what would happen if Buffy got married and kept her past a secret. It's a hoot."; New-to-Me author for the Triple 8 Challenge

From the back cover: "Lots of women put their careers aside once the kids come along. Kate Connor, for instance, hasn't hunted a demon in ages. . . That must be why she missed the one wandering through the pet-food aisle of the San Diablo Wal-Mart. Unfortunately, he managed to catch her attention an hour later - when he crashed into the Connor house, intent on killing her. Now Kate has to clean up the mess in her kitchen, dispose of a dead demon, and pull together a dinner party that will get her husband elected county attorney - all without arousing her family's suspicion. Worse yet, it seems the dead demon didn't come alone. . . It's time for Kate Connor to go back to work."

First line: "My name is Kate Connor and I used to be a Demon Hunter."

My thoughts: Being Buffy fan, I just couldn't resist the premise of this one. And it really delivered - Kate may not be as young as she once was, but she's still got what it takes to fight evil. The book mixes the supernatural battle with Kate's hard-won domestic bliss, as she struggles to parent Allie, her mall-crazy teenage daughter from her first marriage (to a fellow Hunter) and Timmy (who's a real cutie - I'm a sucker for well-done cute kids in books), her toddler with her new husband Stuart. Oh, and to be a helpmeet to her ambitious husband as he strives to get elected. There's action, secrets, surprises, holy water is flung about, and Kate learns that she alone can save San Diablo from Goramesh, the Decimator.

I'm not sure if I'll read the rest of the series - I can't decide if the novelty will hold out for more than this book, but it might. Either way, this one was definitely fun on its own.

Review: Miss Julia Throws a Wedding

Miss Julia Throws a Wedding by Ann B. Ross
4.5 stars

Reasons for reading: it's a wonderful series!; Southern book for Triple 8 Challenge

Amazon review: ". . . Miss Julia finds herself at a loss at the beginning of Miss Julia Throws a Wedding. Although her own marriage was about as uplifting as a burned pot roast, she is mortified to learn that Hazel Marie, her dead husband's mistress, proposes to move out of Miss Julia's house and into a life of sin with the perpetual bachelor J.D. Pickens. At least Deputy Sheriff Coleman Bates and attorney Binkie Enloe, longtime lovers, have finally decided to do the right thing. Now if only they would do it the right way. Intent on preserving the niceties, Miss Julia takes over the wedding for Coleman and Binkie, vetoing their plans for a quick courthouse union and struggling to pull together a tasteful formal event with one week's notice. To complicate matters, a neighborhood thief and troublemaker, Dixon Hightower, has escaped from police custody. With only her imperious nature and the force of her convictions, can Miss Julia create the wedding of her dreams for Binkie and Coleman?"

First line: "I've a good mind to sell this house."

My thoughts: Miss Julia doesn't disappoint in her 3rd adventure! I liked this one more than the previous book, Miss Julia Takes Over, because it didn't focus on Brother Vern trying to get Little Lloyd's inheritance and it focused Binkie and Coleman, whom we didn't see much of last time. Plus, I love a wedding!

Miss Julia is in her usual fine form of wanting to fix everyone's problems (whether they want them fixed or not) and wanting them fixed in a way that meets her code of propriety. But she does show some vulnerability, which helps make her more human and lovable, when she worries that everyone will go off to their own happy endings and leave her alone, which is what prompts the first grouchy line about selling the house. For all of her primness, she really does love all the young people in her life. It's particularly touching how much she's come to love Little Lloyd, the byproduct of her late husband's affair with Hazel Marie.

The wedding turns out to be a hoot and a holler. And the wedding combines with the mysteries of Dixon Hightower and why people are gathering at the new church "family life centre" (read: gymnasium) across the street to make a hilarious ending.

One review called the book "thin," which I find a bit irritating. It's not going to win the Booker Prize, but the series is fun, lighthearted and charming, and I'd much rather enjoy a thin book than endure a "worthy" thick one. Get to know Miss Julia, you'll be glad you did!

For another Miss Julia endorsement, here's Raidergirl's review of this installment in the series.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Review: Aurelia

Aurelia by Anne Osterlund
3 stars

Reasons for reading: the cover; Young Adult Challenge

Book description: "Princess Aurelia is next in line to rule the kingdom of Tyralt, but she would rather be one of the common folk, free to learn and roam and . . . not marry the next tyrannical prince that comes courting. Naturally, the king wants Aurelia to marry for political power. Aurelia wants to marry for love. And someone in the kingdom wants her . . . dead. Assigned to investigate and protect Aurelia is Robert, the son of the king’s former royal spy and one of Aurelia’s oldest friends. As Aurelia and Robert slowly uncover clues as to who is threatening her, their friendship turns to romance. With everything possible on the line—her life, her kingdom, her heart—Aurelia is forced to take matters into her own hands, no matter the cost."

First line of chapter one: "On the night of her younger sister's coming-out party, Aurelia almost died."

My thoughts: This book isn't very long, but it seemed to take me a long time to read. It's not a bad book, but it didn't set me on fire. I think part of the problem was there seemed to be a lot of description where I didn't need it - one particular passage stands out in my mind, a description of a table that a character tosses something onto - just too many little bits like that, for my taste.

Still, I liked Aurelia - a smart, independent-minded young woman who truly cares about the people of her kingdom. She even manages to save herself without Robert's help and ends up helping to save him . And Robert was smart, kind, and brave. The storyline of the assassination plot wasn't bad, either.

I have a feeling I've just read too many fairy-tale-esque YA books already this year and I've had enough for a while. And I think teens would probably enjoy it more than I did.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Review: Murder With Peacocks

Murder With Peacocks by Donna Andrews
4.5 stars

Reasons for reading:
I've read several positive reviews of the series in the book blogosphere; Mystery for Triple 8 Challenge, Agatha Award (for best first novel) for Book Awards Challenge

Book description:
"So far Meg Langslow's summer is not going swimmingly. Down in her small Virginia hometown, she's maid of honor at the nuptials of three loved ones--each of whom has dumped the planning in her capable hands. One bride is set on including a Native American herbal purification ceremony, while another wants live peacocks on the law. Only help from the town's drop-dead gorgeous hunk, disappointingly rumored to be gay, keeps Meg afloat in a sea of dotty relatives and outrageous neighbors.And, in whirl of summer parties and picnics, Souther hospitality is strained to the limit by an offenseive newcomer who hints at skeletons in the guests' closets. But it seems this lady has offended one too many when she's found dead in suspicious circumstances, followed by a string of accidents--some fatal. Soon, level-headed Meg's to-do list extends from flower arragements and bridal registries to catching a killer--before the next catered event is her own funeral..."

First line:
"I had become so used to hysterical dawn phone calls that I only muttered one halfhearted oath before answering."

My thoughts: What a fun book! Thanks to the bloggers who have been posting about the series lately, I don't think I'd have come across it otherwise. I liked everything about it, here are just a few things:
- I think it's very cool that Meg was a decorative blacksmith (the upper body strength it gives her comes in handy when people are trying to kill her!).
- The three weddings were a hoot, particularly her friend Eileen's Renaissance-themed one (I was at a Ren Fest recently, so I could really visualize everything!). I felt Meg's exasperation with the brides who were either flaky, lazy, or way too demanding.
- I liked all the crazy relatives and that the Langslows are basically related to the entire town of Yorktown. Meg's retired doctor/wannabe CSI agent is particularly funny - he doesn't care how many people don't want to hear about dead bodies at the supper table and he still loves Meg's mother dearly.
- The titular peacocks are hilarious and are featured prominently throughout the book.
- I liked the little Vietnamese ladies who work at the bridal store and are constantly around stuffing women into dresses and are either giggling or fierce if their work is questioned.
- The love interest, Michael, is hunky and sweet (that's maybe my only small qualm, that it took him the whole book to tell her he wasn't gay, although that was the point, I guess, that she was so distracted he couldn't get a word in edgewise).

I'm really looking forward to the rest of this series!

(If you've reviewed this book, leave a link in the comments!)

Monday, October 13, 2008

Review: Your Oasis on Flame Lake

Your Oasis on Flame Lake by Lorna Landvik
3 stars

Reasons for reading:
I love Lorna Landvik; it was my Minnesota-author book for our trip to Minneapolis this year

Book description (fr0m Booklist}: "In a small Minnesota town, two friends chafe at being voted "Least Changed" at their twentieth high-school reunion. Timid Devera has an affair with her night-school teacher; BiDi, known for her still-perfect figure, gets pregnant by Sergio, her second husband. Devera's husband, Dick, a car salesman who dreams of performing his joke songs in a cabaret, opens "Your Oasis" in their basement and provides a town gathering place. When opposing hockey players ambush BiDi's daughter, Franny, the hulking product of her first marriage and the town mascot for making the varsity team as a freshman and a girl, the families and town must make peace with the fragility of loved ones."

First line: "I asked my dad once if he was sorry he didn't have any sons, and after he made a face he put his hand on my forehead like he was checking for fever."

My thoughts: This isn't my favourite Landvik book, but it was still serviceable. The multiple-narrator device took some getting used to and I never really could distinguish between BiDi and Devera's chapters easily. Sergio had a very distinct voice, for example, being Mr. Macho/Sentimental and also having English as his second language.

What I liked:
- Dev's daughter Darcy - a precocious 11 year-old who talks like she's in a 40's movie and is an enthusiastic wearer of hats - "I"m what my mom calls a 'headwear connosissuer' I'm not that into fashion, but I do love hats, which give you automatic style anyway."

- The setting of White Falls, with all of its lovely surrounding lakes, including Flame Lake. It sounds like a typical Minnesota small town, complete with many "residents of Scandanavian descent" (Dev's father's appliance store has a Syttende Mai sale to honour Noway's independence day). There are some colourful local characters and Your Oasis really becomes a beloved gathering place for them.

What I didn't like:
- Both Sergio and Devera have affairs (not with each other) but only Dev's is portrayed as a negative thing. I realize that since Sergio doesn't think he's doing anything wrong (because BiDi doesn't sleep with him very often, he feels justified with sleeping with his assistant at the bakery over and over), that's how his affair is portrayed by him. His affair is never revealed tohis wife, but Devera's brief affair with a sleazy, pathetic professor is revealed to her husband by the professor and ends up causing a rift in their marriage. I suppose that's life, but it rubbed me the wrong way.

- Either BiDi or Devera. Devera is a bit more sympathetic, as she appears to be having a bit of a midlife crisis, including panic attacks. But she's definitely self-centred. And BiDi just seems mean - she admits to not liking being a mother, she harps at her daughter Franny for being too big and playing hockey, doesn't give much affection to her husband, and basically is a bitch to everyone in town.

- The plot had a few too many things going on - BiDi didn't need a prescription drug addiction in addition to her other issues, for example.

Overall, it's not a bad book at all, it's just that knowing her other work, it was a bit of a disappointment. This was Landvik's second book, so it might be a sophomore slump (I enjoyed her debut, Patty Jane's House of Curl). If you don't have a lot of reading time, I'd suggest her Angry Housewives Eating Bon-Bons and last year's wonderful The View From Mount Joy.

Also reviewed by Kate/Susan.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Weekly Geeks #19 and 20

Okay, I've been away from WG for a while, but now I'm back for a challenge to find the best books published in 2008. I didn't think I'd read that many newly-published books this year, but apparently I did read some.

Here's my top 10 (so far, I might read something else by the deadline of October 25):

1. Mudbound by Hillary Jordan

2. The Pajama Girls of Lambert Square by Rosina Lippi

3. Girls in Trucks by Katie Crouch

4. Remember Me? by Sophie Kinsella

5. Deep Dish by Mary Kay Andrews

6. The Sugar Queen by Sarah Addison Allen

7. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer & Annie Barrows

8. Suite Scarlett by Maureen Johnson

9. Lock and Key by Sarah Dessen

10. Mermaids in the Basement by Michael Lee West

Now, for WG #20 - everyone in the book blogosphere is invited to make lists to help find the Best of 2008! So please visit Weekly Geeks #19 for the details and to post your list on Mr. Linky. It can even be just one new book that you've loved. Plus, Dewey's doing a draw for a box of 11 books out of people who've signed up with their lists - bonus!

What's in a Name? Challenge Wrap-Up

Hooray, another challenge finished!

My books were:

Book with a colour in the title:
Beige by Cecil Castellucci (3.5 stars)

Book with an animal in the title:
Dear Sad Goat: a roundup of truly Canadian tales and letters
compiled by Bill Richardson (3 stars)

Book with a first name in the title:
Agnes and the Hitman by Jennifer Crusie and Bob Mayer (3.5 stars)

Book with a place in the title:
Looking for Alaska by John Green (4.5 stars)

Book with a weather event in the title:
Nights of Rain and Stars by Maeve Binchy (3.5 stars)

Book with a plant in the title:
Revenge of the Kudzu Debutantes by Cathy Holton (3.5 stars)

Favourite books:
I'd say entertainment-wise my favourite was Agnes and the Hitman - it was funny and sexy, had elements of both a thriller and a romance, and was a bit odd.

I rated Looking for Alaska the highest because it was very well-written and definitely deserved its Printz Award. It was a gripping, tragic story with just a bit of humour thrown in for balance.

I enjoyed all of the books, thankfully, so I don't have a least favourite.

Thanks to Annie/Debi for hosting - it was really fun to find books that fit the categories. Apparently there are already plans to do the challenge again next year and I'll be sure to sign up!

Review: Revenge of the Kudzu Debutantes

Revenge of the Kudzu Debutantes by Cathy Holton
3.5 stars

Reasons for reading: the title caught my eye; Southern book for Triple 8 Challenge; Plant title for What's in a Name? Challenge

Book description (edited): Eadie Boone is no shrinking violet. An artist and former beauty queen who married into one of the first families of Ithaca, Georgia, she tackles everything with gusto and flair. But tailing her wayward husband proves to be, well, an exasperating chore. If only Trevor would just see the light, dump his twenty-two-year-old hussy, and return home, Eadie’s creative energy could be put to better use. Now all she has to do is convince him.

Nita Broadwell, a good Southern girl from a good Southern family, is jolted out of complacency when she discovers condoms in her husband’s shirt pocket...Between clinging to denial and dodging her overbearing mother-in-law, Nita is also trying to break her addiction to steamy bodice-ripper novels. Only now it appears she’s authoring her own real-life romance tale with a hunky handyman thirteen years her junior.

Lavonne Zibolsky–a transplanted Yankee, bless her heart–is saddled with planning the annual Broadwell & Boone law firm party. That and her lackluster marriage have her seeking solace in the contents of her refrigerator. If she could just put down the Rocky Road ice cream and peach pie, she might get around to finding a caterer, dropping sixty pounds, and figuring out how to fall in love with her husband again. Not necessarily in that order.

Bonded by years of friendship, these three women discover what else they have in common: lying, cheating spouses. So they heed their collective betrayals as a wake-up call and band together to exact sweet revenge.

First line: "One week before the dinner party where she found out the truth about her cheating husband, Eadie Boone sat in her car outside the offices of Boone & Broadwell waiting for Trevor and his new girlfriend to appear."

My thoughts: I used to read a lot of wrong-wife revenge novels when I was younger. It's amazing I ever got married, really! :-) I hardly ever read them any more, they all got too predictable and poor-poor-pitiful-me/I-am-woman-hear-me-roar-ish. But I liked the title of this one and am always on the lookout for Southern lit, so I gave it a try. I was a bit concerned that this one was going to be more of the same, but Holton managed to rise above the usual elements by having 3 great characters, a very funny revenge plan, and having the Kudzu Ball.

I want to be a Kudzu Debutante!! The festival had a recliner race (NASCHAIR), a Betty Cracker cook-off, and culminates in a parody of the time-honoured debutante ball where any woman (or anyone who looks like a woman) can "come out" by parading across the stage in a thrift store bridesmaid dress with a name like Miss Ima Badass, jacked up on corn liquor/cough syrup-infused Kudzu Koolaid.

This book did have the totally stereotypically asshole husbands wanting to control their wives/divorce them and leave them with nothing, which is one of the things I started to find irritating about revenge novels, but it was tempered a bit by Trevor Boone being not all bad in the end. And I guess you need the villains to make the revenge sweet (and, in this case, hilarious).

Pick this one up if you're in the mood for Southern snap, feisty friends, and jerks getting what they deserve.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Celebrate the Author Challenge

Becky is hosting the Celebrate the Author Challenge again. I didn't do it in 2008 but noticed lots of people were doing it, so I'm going to be sure I get on the bandwagon this time! Visit the challenge blog for more info and to sign up, but here it is in a nutshell:

It is a twelve month challenge. January - December 2009.
The challenge is designed to “celebrate” author birthdays. Choose one author for each month of the year. Read at least one book a month. 12 authors. 12 birthdays.

Here's my starter list, I'm trying to focus on my fave authors, since they deserve celebrating for all the reading pleasure they've given me over the years!


February 1, 1967 - Meg Cabot, Pants on Fire

March 28, 1970 - Jennifer Weiner, Certain Girls

April 17, 1957 - Nick Hornby, Slam

May 28, 1940 - Maeve Binchy, Tara Road

June 28, 1971 - Maurice Sendak, Brundibar

July 3, 1947 - Dave Barry,
Dave Barry's Book of Bad Songs

August 20, 1975 - Melanie Watt, Scaredy Squirrel at Night

September 10, 1963 - Marian Keyes, This Charming Man

October 15, 1881 - PG Wodehouse, Love Among the Chickens

November 30, 1874 - LM Montgomery, Rilla of Ingleside

December 6, 1965 - Wendy Holden, Filthy Rich or School for Husbands

Monday, October 6, 2008

Review: Over Her Dead Body

Over Her Dead Body by Kate White
3 stars

Reasons for reading: I'd enjoyed other books in the series; Mystery for Triple 8 Challenge

Book description: "Talk about rapid turnover! In a matter of days Bailey Weggins has been axed from one New York magazine and hired by another. Her new job at Buzz, a weekly filled with sizzling gossip, has Bailey covering celebrity crime. Bailey doesn't have to look far for her first big story when she finds her boss, Mona Hodges, gasping her last breath after being bludgeoned with a blunt object. A raging tyrant, Mona made Buzz a top magazine but racked up an impressive list of enemies. Now it's up to Bailey to get the scoop on whodunit--even though one of her closest friends is at the top of the suspects list."

First lines: "What you see isn't always what you get. The trouble with cliches is that they're so downright tedious, you fail to pay any attention to the message they're meant to convey."

My thoughts: This is the fourth book in the Bailey Weggins series by Cosmopolitan editor Kate White. Crime reporter Bailey has been let go from the Cosmo-esque Gloss and hired by USWeekly-alike Buzz. While I can see why White thought the series needed a change, I have to say I preferred the previous Cosmo-licious settings. The reason I started reading the series was because I read Cosmo (to my shame!) and the poisoned truffles, deadly spa treatments, and dying bridesmaids of the other books mixed chick lit with murder mystery really well.

Bailey is still a great character - curious, brave, a good friend, and dedicated to finding the truth, along with a bit of cattiness when provoked and the usual single-girl-in-the-city troubles. But for me this one lacked the elements that made the other books unique. White still gets her magazine editor experience in with a peek behind the scenes at a near-tabloid (complete with some very juicy fictional-celebrity scandals) and a particularly bitchy co-worker worried that Bailey's getting too cozy with their new male editor, but I just didn't find it is as interesting or as tension-filled as the other books where Bailey was more personally involved with the crimes.

I may read the next book, Lethally Blonde, but it's not at the top of my list. But mystery/chick lit fans should definitely check out If Looks Could Kill and A Body to Die For, in particular.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

I'm back!

I know, you didn't even know I was gone. :) But we were on vacation all last week. Sadly, I didn't finish either of the two books I took with me! Too much shopping, eating and visiting. I can't believe it got to be October while I was away...hope everyone's enjoying these first days of fall.