chick-lit reads

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A few years ago when I first started this whole writing novels gig, I was lucky enough to stumble across a Facebook group of like-minded, mostly struggling, but incredibly fun authors of the *gasp* Chick-Lit genre.

I say *gasp* because it seems to me that Chick-lit or Rom Com novels can be some of the most underrated and stigmatized books out there. Many people don’t see them as “literature” or “real” novels, simply because they are lighthearted and often portraying predictable tropes.

Myself included.

Well…Past Me anyway.

Full Disclosure: I wasn’t always a fan of Chick-lit.

In fact, I might have even considered myself one of the nay-sayers, claiming it wasn’t real art. I thought it was mindless fluff with no real value to a reader.

Okay, I was a bit of a book snob….

But after I started writing in this genre, I realized how much fun I could have with it…while still making an impact on readers.

Chick-lit wasn’t just mindless fluff (while sometimes we really, really need mindless fluff to take our minds off the heavy stuff in our lives).

Some of the most poignant and entertaining novels that I’ve read over the past five years have been categorized as Chick-lit. And the authors that I met in this group are some of the most complex and caring individuals I’ve ever come across on the internet.

I read many, many of their books. This round-up is just a few of my favorites in the Chick-lit group. My reviews are HONEST and unbiased…I don’t sugar coat (see my review on Fifty Shades of Grey if you don’t believe me…)

(You will notice in my reviews that I often mention peeing myself or shooting water out my nose. I assure you, these things all happened. These are some hysterical ladies.)

Dear Internet: It’s Me, Avery by Jennifer Ammoscoto

When newspaper reporter Avery Fowler discovers her husband is having an affair, the online help site is where she turns to navigate this challenging stage of her life.  If the Internet is Avery’s information god, then is her Holy Grail. Its live chat option is like having a virtual life coach for the low, low price of $14.95 a month.  She’s assigned to a virtual advisor, Clementine with a British accent.  

With Clementine (virtually) in tow, our heroine tackles such tricky questions as dating after divorce, sex once nothing points north anymore, and how to cover attempted murder scenes (despite a paralyzing fear of blood) as the new and improved Avery Fowler 2.0.

I. Loved. This. Book. It made me giggle so hard I literally leaked a little from my spastic bladder. The author’s style was fresh and her dialogue so engaging, that I flew through the pages.

I adored the snarky wit of Avery and her preoccupation with the internet. She was incredibly likable and realistic I cheered her accomplishments and cringed at her mistakes.

The male characters were also very lifelike with flaws and none of them the all perfect in obtainable Mr. Right. I also found it hilarious that Avery ended up working at Burger King (past alumni here…actually where I met my husband) and relating to that certainly made me chuckle. 

It’s not easy to write a humorous AND poignant novel that keeps you laughing, engaged in the plot, and also on your toes at the same time. I thoroughly enjoyed Ms. Ammoscato’s debut, approve of her use of the Oxford comma, and am looking forward to Book 2 in the series.


The Trouble With Dying by Maggie Le Page

When Faith Carson wakes up on a hospital ceiling looking down on her body in a coma, it’s a bad start to the week. A very bad start. She has no idea who she is or how she got there or why, and the biggest mystery of all is why she married the schmuck who wants her ventilator switched off.

As if that’s not enough Faith has a dead gran haunting her, a young daughter missing her, and one devilishly delicious man making her wish she could have a second chance at life. And maybe she can, if she finds a way back into her body and wakes up by Friday. But if she doesn’t, this will be her last bad week—ever.

I read this fast paced chick-lit novel in less than 24 hours. It was the perfect combination of funny, heartwarming, and surprise. Very well done story about a woman named Faith hovering between life and death.

The choices Faith has made in her life have brought her to this point, the brink of a death that she’s not ready for. She has amnesia (even coma patients get amnesia, apparently) so she needs to work out the details of her life while floating above her body in the hospital bed with her long dead Gran at her side.

(Gran was my favorite character, by the way…a real feisty old broad with impeccable fashion sense.)

The pacing was perfect…the mystery unfolded as Faith was figuring out who everyone was in her life. I loved all the characters, even the flawed ones.

My only compliant was the shower scene. It felt a little out of place and I don’t think it was necessary to further the storyline. I actually skipped over most of that scene, but I know some people look for that sort of thing in a novel.

Otherwise, brilliant novel. Well done Maggie!


30 First Dates by Stacey Wiedower

Erin Crawford is a relationship blogger with a bucket list and a vendetta. After years of horrible luck in relationships, she decides to start a blog called “30 First Dates”. Her mission: go out with 30 men before her 30th birthday, all to find a non-jerk in 30 dates or less.

As she blogs about her sometimes humorous and sometimes laughably bad dates, she crosses off her bucket list of 30 things she wants to do before she turns 30—and kills two birds with one stone by completing the items on her dates! The only question is, as her birthday approaches and her list grows smaller, will Erin be able to find love? Or is she destined to be a first-date-only kind of girl?

This is probably the one of the best chick lit novels I’ve read to date. I started this book and saw it was about a “bucket list”. I just read a very similar book (Twenty Five), so I was disappointed it would be about the same thing.

Only it wasn’t.

It was so poignant and funny and true to life. Sure, there were unrealistic things that happened and sure, I figured out the ending, but the journey was much better than I expected.

In the first book I read the list was mostly about the character feeling inadequate for her age. Maybe I couldn’t relate because at 25 I was married with a career, a house and a baby on the way. I think I related more to the idea that thirty really is a turning point in your life. It’s the point where you say, “well now what?”

Even though I wasn’t looking for love at 30, most of what Erin went through in this book resonated with me. To me it was about finding what made you happy and being true to that. I really admire Erin for realizing even though she had a great job, it wasn’t what she was meant to do. Taking that huge step to change careers, even at a young age of 30, is a huge risk. 

I liked this book so much that I decided to make my own bucket list. At the time that I read this book, I was way too close to my 40th birthday, so I decided 50 things by 50. Some are risky, some are just about getting out of my comfort zone. But I know even if I don’t accomplish all of them, I’ll be proud of myself.


The Reinvention of Mimi Finnegan by Whitney Dineen

Thirty-four year old, Mimi Finnegan, is the third of four daughters and in her eyes, by far, the most unremarkable. She has no singular accomplishment that can stand up to any of her sisters. And if that isn’t enough, she is the only single sibling in her family.

Mimi’s sisters decide that it’s time she gets serious about husband hunting, so they begin a campaign to find Mr. Right. Considering her most recent dating encounters include a night club owner who stuffs bratwurst in his pants and a WASPy trust fund baby, living happily under his mother’s thumb, Mimi is more than ready to meet THE ONE. Enter celebrated British novelist, Elliot Fielding.

Sexual tension and anger heat up between the duo and it isn’t until Mimi discovers that Elliot is almost engaged to another that she realizes she is head-over-heels in love with him.

At several points of this novel I found myself oh so delicately shooting water out of my nose. (Yes, again. I really should get myself checked for a deviated septum.) At my daughter’s gymnastic class, a woman asked me to move because my random fits of laughter were scaring her infant.

Mimi Finnegan is a major piece of work who kept me giggling the entire time I was reading. What’s the plot, you ask. Tell me about the characters? Oh no. I’m not going to ruin it at all for you.

Go out and get this hilarious novel for yourself and make sure you’ve emptied your bladder and have no fluids in your mouth before you start reading it.


Honorable Mention…

I would be totally remiss if I did not mention another book by one of the Chick-lit Chat authors. I didn’t include it in the original list because this particular novel is not chick-lit per se. It is Women’s Fiction, but a superb novel that I highly recommend.

I’m Still Here by Kathryn R. Biel

It started out as an ordinary day for Esther Comely-Cox, if you consider simultaneously totaling your car, smashing a Ho Ho in your face and meeting a handsome doctor ordinary. Estranged from her family over her sister’s mental illness and death, Esther can’t help but feel alone. And when Esther hears the voice of her twin sister who committed suicide seven years ago, she begins to question her own sanity, leading her to wonder if anything is what it seems.

Searching for answers, Esther must confront her past while looking towards a new future—one in which she is finally accepted. Through humor and heartbreak, Esther learns that blood does not mean family, that absence does not make the heart grow fonder and that silence can speak volumes.

Wow. This book certainly was not what I was expecting. I’m not sure what I thought this book was going to do to me, but it certainly wasn’t supposed to reduce me to tears. These characters were so spot on and so fleshed out, I felt like they were people I knew personally.

And in a way, they were. I absolutely loved Esther and could see her perfectly in my mind. Some of the topics in this book were ones I have experienced in my own family and as sad as it can make you feel, it was heartwarming to realize that you’re not alone.

Beautifully done. I would highly recommend it.


You Need to Be Reading These Authors

So if you’re a book snob and don’t often read chick-lit (or never have), stop what you’re doing and pick up one of these books (links in the titles). This reformed book snob is telling you that it WILL BE WORTH IT.

And if you like Chick-lit already…well, what are you waiting for?

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