EVPL Communities: KickinLibrarian@evpl's Blog Postshttp://evpl.org/community/blogs/All of KickinLibrarian@evpl's blog posts on the EVPL Communities site.en-USCommunityServer 2008 SP1 (Build: 30619.63) <![CDATA[Recent Chick Lit Reads]]> http://evpl.org/community/blogs/books/archive/2009/10/14/recent-chick-lit-reads.aspx Wed, 14 Oct 2009 16:33:00 G10T 1902 KickinLibrarian@evpl Posted to the <a href="http://evpl.org/community/blogs/books/" target="_blank">Books Blog</a> on EVPL Communities. View the original post at http://evpl.org/community/blogs/books/archive/2009/10/14/recent-chick-lit-reads.aspx to post your comments!

Prospect Park West     Mercury in Retrograde           Twenties Girl

In the past few weeks since my last blog post, I have been on a chick-lit rampage.  I have been speed-reading through recent releases like I don't have a hundred other things to do.  Laundry piled up, kitchen didn't get cleaned, and packing for my move didn't happen.  These three books are part of the reason that I have been slacking. 

Prospect Park West by Amy Sohn takes place in Brooklyn's prosperous Park Slope neighborhood.  The lives of four women intersect as they deal with husbands, children, and playground politics.  Not earth-shattering reading, but worth a chance if you have the time.

Mercury in Retrograde by Paula Froelich has a cover strikingly similar to Prospect Park West.  Froelich's novel takes place across the bridge in Manhattan where three women who are down on their luck join forces to get their lives back in order.  The ending is pretty predictable, but it is an enjoyable read.

Going across the pond to England, Sophie Kinsella's latest book, Twenties Girl, introduces us to Sadie, a wild flapper from the 1920s and her great-niece, Lara, living in present-day London.  Sadie has passed away alone in a retirement home, but her spirit remains on Earth pushing Lara to find who stole Sadie's prized possession.  True to Kinsella form, this book is laugh out loud funny and highly recommended. 

Happy Reading! 

humor reviews fiction books chick lit London funny love women friends Sophie Kinsella Amy Sohn Paula Froelich
<![CDATA[A Tree Grows in Brooklyn]]> http://evpl.org/community/blogs/books/archive/2009/09/30/a-tree-grows-in-brooklyn.aspx Wed, 30 Sep 2009 09:04:00 G9T 1875 KickinLibrarian@evpl Posted to the <a href="http://evpl.org/community/blogs/books/" target="_blank">Books Blog</a> on EVPL Communities. View the original post at http://evpl.org/community/blogs/books/archive/2009/09/30/a-tree-grows-in-brooklyn.aspx to post your comments!

A Tree Grows in BrooklynWhen I went home a little while back, I saw a copy of A Tree Grows in Brooklyn in my little sister's room.  Feeling a bit nostalgic, I went home and started reading the battered copy on my bookshelf.  I don't know how many times I have read this book (almost as many as Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird), but I always come away feeling like I have just read it for the first time.

Betty Smith published A Tree Grows in Brooklyn in 1943 and it was an immediate success.  The story focuses around Francie Nolan, a young girl growing up in the early twentieth century with a fun-loving, but alcoholic father, realistic mother, and younger brother.  Struggling against poverty and isolation from her peers, Francie finds solace in the library where she plans to read every book in the collection.  The story continues over the next five years of Francie's life.  Her struggle to gain her mother's love, her desire to better her own life, and finding love are all issues that Francie encounters growing up in Brooklyn. 

I don't want to give away too much of the story for those of you that haven't read it because A Tree Grows in Brooklyn is a book that I believe everyone should read at least once.  Francie and her family have struggles that many people can relate to, and you can't help but wish to be the friend Francie so desperately needed.  If you are wandering around the library one day searching for something to read, remember to grab a copy of this book. 

reviews fiction books historical fiction teens families Mothers & Daughters poor World War I -- Fiction growing up love
<![CDATA[Commencement ]]> http://evpl.org/community/blogs/books/archive/2009/09/11/commencement.aspx Fri, 11 Sep 2009 12:47:00 G9T 1842 KickinLibrarian@evpl Posted to the <a href="http://evpl.org/community/blogs/books/" target="_blank">Books Blog</a> on EVPL Communities. View the original post at http://evpl.org/community/blogs/books/archive/2009/09/11/commencement.aspx to post your comments!

CommencementIt is sometimes hard to believe that I graduated from USI over five years ago.  That may seem like no time at all for some people, but sometimes I still feel like I am 21 again.  Sometimes I forget that I am a "grown-up" with a "grown-up" job and bills, house payments, etc.  Many of my favorite memories involved my roommates and friends from college walking to class, throwing a frisbee outside the apartments, and staying up late to talk about the future. 

When I read the premise behind Commencement by J. Courtney Sullivan, I knew I had to read it.  After waiting a few weeks because of all the holds (I wish librarians got priority sometime!), I stayed up late in the night reading this book.  I connected with the characters created by Sullivan because I could see a bit of myself, and my friends, in each of the four main characters.

Set in the late 1990s at Smith College, Celia, Sally, Bree, and April are put together as hall-mates.  On first glance, the four seem to have nothing in common and have no desire to befriend one another.  As they go through the early days of college, however, they learn to rely on one another and form a bond that lasts through their college years.  The differences come to head in their early twenties as the four split off to separate lives. 

At Sally's wedding a few years later, an argument occurs that leaves a rift between the four best friends.  Gradually, they all begin to realize that life isn't as easy without each other and when one of the four goes missing, they come together to search for their missing link. 

One of the best things about this book was that most of us can relate to an argument between friends.  I just happened to get this book when one of my closest friends and I seemed to be constantly at odds.  After reading Commencement, I realized that life without her wouldn't be the same and emailed her an apology.  Growing up and getting older isn't simple, but it is easier to manage with great friends.   

reviews fiction books recommended funny growing up love friends college students college
<![CDATA[The Wedding Girl]]> http://evpl.org/community/blogs/books/archive/2009/08/28/the-wedding-girl.aspx Fri, 28 Aug 2009 09:54:00 G8T 1803 KickinLibrarian@evpl Posted to the <a href="http://evpl.org/community/blogs/books/" target="_blank">Books Blog</a> on EVPL Communities. View the original post at http://evpl.org/community/blogs/books/archive/2009/08/28/the-wedding-girl.aspx to post your comments!

The Wedding GirlAre you a fan of the Shopaholic Series by Sophie Kinsella?  If so, let me introduce you to Kinsella's alter ego, Madeleine Wickham.  Both personas write about English women who have found themselves in a predicament.  Whether it be money (Shopaholic series), quitting a job and winding up in the country (Undomestic Goddess), or having a marriage from ten years ago come back and haunt her (Wickham's newest novel), women in all of the novels have an obstacle to overcome.  The difference, however, is the slapstick humor that can be found in Kinsella's books.  When she writes under the alter ego of Wickham, Sophie Kinsella approaches subjects more seriously and tackles some difficult issues.

In the newest book by Wickham, The Wedding Girl, Milly Havill is just four days from marrying the man of her dreams.  It seems, however, that Milly has a secret that she has been hiding for ten years and the secret is threatened to be revealed by her wedding photographer.  When she was 18, Milly married an American student to allow him to stay in England with his partner.  Thinking no one would ever find out, Milly continues to live her life for the next ten years.  A few days before her wedding, however, the photographer shows up to take her picture, and Milly discovers it is the same young man that snapped a shot of her first wedding on the courthouse steps. 

Milly's story is just one of the storylines in The Wedding Girl.  Each character has issues that he or she is struggling to resolve.  While there are multiple storylines occurring in this novel, Wickham manages to keep the reader invested in all the characters.  It isn't her strongest, or funniest, but for fans of Kinsella or Wickham, it will be another good read.

reviews books chick lit families Mothers & Daughters English love family secrets
<![CDATA[Bobby and Jackie: A Love Story]]> http://evpl.org/community/blogs/books/archive/2009/08/24/bobby-and-jackie-a-love-story.aspx Mon, 24 Aug 2009 15:01:00 G8T 1796 KickinLibrarian@evpl Posted to the <a href="http://evpl.org/community/blogs/books/" target="_blank">Books Blog</a> on EVPL Communities. View the original post at http://evpl.org/community/blogs/books/archive/2009/08/24/bobby-and-jackie-a-love-story.aspx to post your comments!

Bobby and JackieI can't remember a time when I wasn't fascinated with the story of America's Camelot.  My bookshelves are lined with books about the Kennedys- biographies, essays, coffee table books, even old newspaper articles my grandma has given me.  What is it about this family that intrigues so many people? 

While JFK is a unique person to read about, I always enjoyed reading more about his younger brother, Robert Kennedy.  I have the impression of a younger, smaller brother always running to catch up with his older siblings, but Robert Kennedy was an intelligent man that many Americans looked towards to change the U.S. in the 1968 election. 

C. David Heymann has written many biographies about the Kennedy family, and his newest book looks into the relationship Bobby Kennedy had with his famous sister-in-law, Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy.  With research to back up his theories, Heymann writes about how the relationship between the two grew to a more intimate one after the assassination of JFK.  The affair only ended when Bobby began to run in the presidential election. 

It is stated that the relationship between Bobby and Jackie was well-known through the family and friends of the Kennedys, and it was definitely new to this amateur Kennedy researcher.  The information and documentation backing up Heymann's claim is hard to ignore, and once again the Kennedys managed to shock me with another affair!

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<![CDATA[Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict]]> http://evpl.org/community/blogs/books/archive/2009/08/12/confessions-of-a-jane-austen-addict.aspx Wed, 12 Aug 2009 11:07:00 G8T 1756 KickinLibrarian@evpl Posted to the <a href="http://evpl.org/community/blogs/books/" target="_blank">Books Blog</a> on EVPL Communities. View the original post at http://evpl.org/community/blogs/books/archive/2009/08/12/confessions-of-a-jane-austen-addict.aspx to post your comments!

I am a bit of a Jane Austen fan. Sometimes I just need to pull Pride and Prejudice off my shelf and curl up with Mr. Darcy. It seems that I am not the only person with a fondness for Jane Austen and her fabulous stories. In the past few years there has been an influx of spin-offs, remakes, and sequels. The latest has been the introduction of zombies to Pemberley. I am not quite sure how Ms. Austen would feel about that...

Some of my favorite additions to the number of Austen fanfics being written are by Laurie Viera Rigler. Her first in the series, Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict, was published in 2007 and features modern-day Courtney Stone who wakes up in nineteenth-century England. Courtney has left behind her L.A. life of a broken engagement and lost friendship to inhabit the body and life of Jane Mansfield. Courtney has little time to figure out how she ended up two hundred years in the past before she is swept away in an Austen-like land full of dinners, balls, and beaus. One man in particular, Charles Edgeworth, seems to have interest in Jane Mansfield, but Courtney doesn’t know what the means to her. Courtney struggles has her two lives mesh together and she wonders if she will ever go back to her own life. Jane Austen even has a cameo in this addition to Austen-lit.

Rigler's latest novel, Rude Awakenings of a Jane Austen Addict, introduces us to the real Jane Mansfield from the previous novel. It seems when Courtney took over Jane's life in 1800s England, Jane had been thrown into modern-day L.A. Jane awakens one morning to a pounding headache and someone at the door. It seems Courtney (whose body Jane now inhabits) has had a bit of a rough time lately, and her friends are worried about her. Jane struggles to adapt to the 21st century while figuring out who the strangers are that keep jetting her around in fast-moving carriages, why men and women are allowed to dine together in outdoor bistros, and how the music keeps coming out of the tiny picture frame with buttons.

In both novels, Rigler takes us to the world of Jane Austen while maintaining a firm foothold in the present-day. We get to experience the daily things we take for granted while Jane humorously tries them for the first time. Both books are highly recommended.

Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict Rude Awakenings of a Jane Austen Addict

reviews books chick lit sequels jane austen Pride and Prejudice funny women
<![CDATA[Hester Browne]]> http://evpl.org/community/blogs/books/archive/2009/07/22/hester-browne.aspx Wed, 22 Jul 2009 09:03:00 G7T 1696 KickinLibrarian@evpl Posted to the <a href="http://evpl.org/community/blogs/books/" target="_blank">Books Blog</a> on EVPL Communities. View the original post at http://evpl.org/community/blogs/books/archive/2009/07/22/hester-browne.aspx to post your comments!

The Finishing TouchesIf you haven't read anything by Hester Browne, then you need to go to the nearest library and check one of her books out!  Browne has written a hilarious series that begins with The Little Lady Agency.  The story begins with Melissa Romney-Jones, a Londoner who has once again been fired from her job.  In order to find more permanent employment, Melissa looks up her old etiquette teacher who serves as a companion for older men.  A few dates into the job, however, Melissa finds out her job wasn't exactly what she thought!  Determined to help those men who are quite helpless, Melissa starts her own business- The Little Lady Agency- to help men figure out their wardrobes, how to act on dates, etc.  All is going along swimmingly until Melissa meets American Jonathan Riley.  As Melissa struggles to get her company going, she also struggles to keep her attraction to Jonathan under control.  Melissa's story continues in Little Lady, Big Apple and The Little Lady Agency and the Prince.  Now that she is off the singles market, Melissa tries to figure out how to balance her business of helping bachelors while keeping a boyfriend. 

In June 2009, Browne published a new stand-alone book.  After waiting for weeks on the hold list (even librarians have to wait for the good books), I eagerly started reading The Finishing Touches this weekend.  Browne has done it again!  Not only does the book have laugh-out-loud moments, but there is also a bit of seriousness thrown in as well.  Twenty-seven years ago a baby was left outside the Phillimore Academy for Young Ladies with a note and a small bee pendant.  Betsy grows up in the shadows of the Academy walls anticipating the day she will become one of the Phillimore girls.  Imagine her shock when her adoptive parents decide she is "not that type of girl" and send her off to university.  Twelve years later Betsy returns after the death of her adoptive mother in hopes of bringing the Academy into the modern age and finding her real parents. 

 If you're looking for a new author that will make you laugh and feel a little weepy, check out any of the Hester Browne books. 

reviews fiction books chick lit London series funny love