Tag Archives: Chic lit

Bridget Jones’ Diary by Helen Fielding

Overview

Title: Bridget Jones’s Diary
Author: Helen Fielding
Series: Bridget Jones #1
Rating Out of 5: 3 (On the fence about this one)
My Bookshelves: Chic lit, Contemporary
Pace: Slow
Format: Novel
Year: 1996

Thoughts

I wanted to absolutely love this. After all, I seriously love the movie and normally if I love the movie, I love the book. But it just didn’t quite do it for me… I found this version of Bridget WAY too whiney and painful. Honestly, she is a total and utter ditz, and she spends the whole diary just rambling on about all of her whiney-ness. It was kind of hard to feel any connection to her whatsoever really. And I so, so wanted to. Maybe it was just my mood.

This is one of those books that I didn’t hate, but I did struggle with. Which means it goes back into the pile for a second try later down the track. I’m not going to get rid of it, but it’s a close call. Probably, because as I mentioned earlier, I really want to love this. I also found that the plot wasn’t quite moving fast enough for me. Again, it’s something that I need to allow myself to be in the right mental space for I think…

I did really love the style of writing in this. I could hear Bridget’s voice as I read each of her diary entries. It did help me to feel connected to a character that I would otherwise normally not connect to at all. The style of writing and great indication of a flawed character were really fun. After all, it’s kind of hard to write a flawed character when everything is from their point of view. But, Fielding manages to do it.

As much as I was a bit “eh” about this book, I did ultimately enjoy it enough to read it. Just in fits and starts I suppose. I think it would be a great book to read when I was feeling a little more self-indulgent and self-pitying. Which, at the time of this read, I really wasn’t.

<- More Helen FieldingBridget Jones: Edge of Reason ->

Image source: Amazon

A Beardy Bonus by Penny Reid

Overview
A Beardy Bonus, Bonus & deleted scenes from the Winston Brothers series by  Penny Reid | 9781942874652 | Booktopia

Title: A Beardy Bonus
Author: Penny Reid
Series: Winston Brothers Companion
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Chic lit, Contemporary, Contemporary romanceShort story collections
Dates read: 22nd October 2021
Pace: Slow
Format: Collection
Publisher: SmartyPants Romance
Year: 2020
5th sentence, 74th page: Time.

Synopsis

Beards and bonus scenes, oh my!

All the Winston Brothers bonus scenes and deleted excerpts all in one place!

Thoughts

After the emotional intensity of Beard Necessities, this was a great way to come down and just flow out of the Winston Brothers series. It’s not intense, but it is enjoyable and easy.

The short stories in this collection are just fun. There’s not anything huge or life shattering in it. And you’d be more than filled in on the Winston Brothers if you didn’t read this. But, as I mentioned, it is a bit more of a mellow finish than Beard Necessities provides. But you kind of expect that with Billy and Scarlet as leads in that.

Like the Knitting in the City collection, I didn’t love Beardy Bonus like like did the rest of the series. That’s not to say anything bad about it… I just didn’t quite NEED this in my life as much.

Overall this is a fun, easy and engaging story that had me smiling and giggling as I got to revisit some favourites.

<- Beard NecessitiesMore Penny Reid ->

Image source: Booktopia

Beard Necessities by Penny Reid

Overview
Beard Necessities (Winston Brothers, #7) by Penny Reid

Title: Beard Necessities
Author: Penny Reid
Series: Winston Brothers #7
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Chic lit, Contemporary, Contemporary romance
Dates read: 22nd October 2021
Pace: Medium
Format: Novel
Publisher: SmartyPants Romance
Year: 2019
5th sentence, 74th page: “Then why are you drunk?”

Synopsis

Beards, brothers, and bears! Oh my!

Billy Winston’s family is going to see him happy and in love if it’s the last thing they do.

No one deserves happily-ever-after quite as much as the second oldest Winston brother and his lady love, Claire McClure (aka Scarlet St. Claire). Cruelty and circumstance tore them apart almost twenty years ago. Secrecy and bitterness kept them separated.

But you know who’s tired of their separation and stubbornness? Everyone. Especially billy Winston’s family. And now they’re going to do something about it.

Well-meaning interference means the star-crossed lovers can’t stop tripping over each other in the hills of Tuscany, the catacombs of Rome, and the waterways of Venice. Billy and Claire find themselves thrown together and at the mercy of the Winston siblings’ shenanigans.

But will their forced proximity bring them together? Or push them even further apart?

Thoughts

It’s taken me a while to get to this story. I’ve been attached to the idea of Scarlet and Billy from fairly early on in my reading of this series. But, it’s taken this long to actually get to this book. Partly because I obviously read all of the other books in this series first. But, mostly because I knew that they had the most tragic of backstories. And sometimes I really struggle with the sad backstories. They’re just so… sad.

Having said that, I did get the worst of the “sadness” over during my reading through of Beard in Mind. But I was worried about how long Reid was going to prolong the pain. I mean we’re talking a love story that is decades in the making and filled with lots of tragedy. I was still feeling tentative reading this. Luckily, it was NO where near as painful as I was expecting.

In fact, Scarlet seems to jump on board with the whole plan fairly quickly. And she’s able to stick with Billy as all of the secrets of the oast unravel. Don’t get me wrong, she’s no dishrag – she most definitely gives him what for when she finds out what he’s been keeping secret. But, her willingness to finally get over her crap and finally try made the hard parts so much more pleasant.

I loved the plotting and scheming of the Winston family throughout this. Surprisingly, nothing hugely backfired on them. And it filled this story with many, many beautiful, lighthearted moments. Finally, the epilogue helped to tie in all of the Winston family’s happily ever afters. Leaving me feeling grateful and at peace. Now onto the next series in my Penny Reid pile…

<- Beard with MeA Beardy Bonus ->

Image source: Goodreads

Beard with Me by Penny Reid

Overview
Beard with Me (Winston Brothers, #6) by Penny Reid

Title: Beard with Me
Author: Penny Reid
Series: Winston Brothers #6
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Chic lit, Contemporary, Contemporary romance
Dates read: 19th – 21st October 2021
Pace: Medium
Format: Novel
Publisher: SmartyPants Romance
Year: 2019
5th sentence, 74th page: How’re we going to pay for all this stuff?

Synopsis

Beards, brothers, and bears! Oh my!

‘Beard With Me’ is the origin story of Billy Winston and Scarlet St. Claire (aka Claire McClure) and is just the beginning of their epic love story.

No one is better at surviving than Scarlet St. Claire and making the best out of circumstances beyond her control is Scarlet’s speciality. In an apocalyptic situation, she’d be the last person on earth, hermitting like a pro, singing along to her CD Walkman, and dancing like no one is watching.

Scarlet is clever, Scarlet is careful, and Scarlet is smart… except when it comes to Billy Winston.

No one is better at fighting than Billy Winston and raging against his circumstances – because nothing is beyond his control – is Billy’s speciality. In an apocalyptic situation, he’d be the first person on earth to lead others to safety, overcome catastrophe, or die trying.

Billy is fearless, Billy is disciplined, and Billy is honorable… except when it comes to Scarlet St. Claire

Thoughts

I have been putting off reading this book for ages. I knew that it was going to be sad and heartwrenching. And that it was probably going to make me cry. Turns out, it wasn’t ANYWHERE near as bad as I expected. It wasn’t happy, and I still cries. But less tears than expected.

One of the reasons I think this destroyed my heart a little less than expected was probably the fact that I had Beard Necessities ready to go. Knowing that regardless of how sad I found this, the part ending was RIGHT THERE most definitely helped. But, more than that it was Scarlet. She was able to take hold of all this horribleness and be filled with joy. And humour. I seriously loved all of her jokes.

That’s not to say that there wasn’t tragedy and Scarlet was always happy in this. She had so many battles to face. And at fourteen. Then, considering what else she faces after the conclusion of this story. Seriously tragic. Not to mention Billy. I think it was Billy’s ending that completely destroyed my self control. To love someone that truly and deeply… I’m not sure I can even fathom it.

Yes, this story was less soul destroying than I had expected. But it was still completely heart wrenching. It was the kind of story that helped me to completely invest in the couple (even though I WAS already invested). And it is obvious that it was very much needed. But wow. Make sure you have tissues handy.

<- Dr. Strange BeardBeard Necessities ->

Image source: Goodreads

Say Everything by Langley Gray

Overview
Say Everything by Langley Gray - online free at Epub

Title: Say Everything
Author: Langley Gray
Series: The Socialites #4
Rating Out of 5: 4.5 (Amazing, but not quite perfect)
My Bookshelves: Chic lit, Contemporary, Contemporary romance
Dates read: 26th May – 20th June 2021
Pace: Medium
Format: Novel
Publisher: Langley Gray
Year: 2021
5th sentence, 74th page: He’s funny, laid back, intelligent, and a great listener.

Synopsis

WILL A MISTAKEN IDENTITY LEAD TO LOVE?

Iris Mortimer, heir to a shipping empire, is a new ex-pat in Hong Kong. She agrees to a blind date only because, well, she’s bored and maybe a tiny bit lonely. When Bryan Harris arrives, she’s pleasantly surprised – he’s not the stuffy white-collar type she anticipated.

Both new to the city, the two embark on an exploration of all the best tourist spots. She’s recovering from a past relationship, he’s focused on his research, so no pressure – right?

What neither realizes is that there has been a serious mistake in identity, both were meant to meet other people with the same name. When their true selves are accidentally revealed, Bryan realizes he can’t be with Iris. But by now, she’s fallen for him.

Will their mutual love of 80’s rom coms help keep them together?

Find out as Iris Says Everything to get him back.

Thoughts

This is one of those series and authors that I only just, very recently found. And I’m completely hooked. Say Everything is a great finish to this quartet. And whilst Iris and Bryan aren’t my favourite couple of the series… they’re still completely adorable.

I love the whole fate / serendipity feeling of the Meet Cute in this novel. I mean, the likelihood of two people meeting up and accidentally mistaking them for one another… its honestly kind of ridiculous. Which made it THAT much more adorable and fun. Then off on a fun whirlwind… one that I really wasn’t expecting if I’m being honest.

I’m always a fan of a story that features a scientist in the lead… I spent years working in the field, so I feel a kind of kinship. The connection that this never fails to make for me just left me smiling harder and harder as the story unfolded. Particularly as Bryan shares his strong opinions on marine issues… my Facebook is filled with likeminded people, and it definitely helped me to connect even more.

I’m not going to lie, whilst this wasn’t my all time favourite of The Socialites novels (that honour falls to The Flyaway Bride), I did love the ending. That final ditch effort to make things work bought a tear or ten to my eye. And I had the pleasure of finishing this book with a gigantic smile on my face.

<- The Peak of LoveMore Langley Gray ->

Image source: epub.pub

Neanderthal Seeks (Extra) Yarns by Penny Reid

Overview
Neanderthal Seeks (Extra) Yarns by Penny Reid

Title: Neanderthal Seeks (Extra) Yarns
Author: Penny Reid
Series: Knitting in the City #8
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Chic lit, Contemporary, Contemporary romance
Dates read: 14th – 17th June 2021
Pace: Medium
Format: Novel
Publisher: SmartyPants Romance
Year: 2018
5th sentence, 74th page: “I just hate this.”

Synopsis

There are three things you should know about this book

1) It contains deleted scenes,
2) It contains bonus scenes,
3) Almost all the characters know how to knit.

If you find yourself missing y our favourite knitting group, this volume contains a comprehensive collection of all the bonus scenes, deleted scenes, and short stories available for the Knitting in the City series.

Janie & Quinn’s deleted (love) scene from ‘Neanderthal Seeks Human’ as well as ‘Neanderthal and Human seek Baby’ parts 1&2 are included. You can also read four deleted scenes from Elizabeth & Nico’s book, or an original, exclusive short story about Sandra & Alex. Ashley & Drew have two deleted scenes and two bonus scenes, and readers will get a chance to read never before shared content from Fiona & Greg, Marie & Matt, and Dan & Kat’s novels.

Thoughts

Surprisingly, this is the first Knitting in the City book that I wouldn’t give 5 stars. I mean, I still loved it and seriously enjoyed it. But compared to the other novels… it just didn’t hit me in the same happy place.

I think mostly this didn’t get me all spine tingly happy like the other novels is that I felt like there was amazing closure at the end of each romance. So, where I normally want to dive straight into the next one… I didn’t feel quite as strongly about getting extra closure. Particularly with the ending of Marriage of Inconvenience… that epilogue tied everything up perfectly.

There were some amazingly good standouts in this collection. Neanderthal Seeks Baby was very cute. Particularly since I read this when pregnant. So was Scenes from the Hallway with Dan and Kat… although not quite as good as Janie and Quinn expecting. But, probably my favourite of all… Sandra and Alex’s extra stories. I get so much mileage out of these characters.

Although I ranked this lower than the other books in the Knitting in the City series… I still seriously enjoyed it. And, honestly? If I need a fix of these wonderful women but don’t have the time to read the big novels… this will be a perfect go to.

<- Marriage of InconvenienceMore Penny Reid ->

Image source: Goodreads

Marriage of Inconvenience by Penny Reid

Overview
Marriage of Inconvenience by Penny Reid

Title: Marriage of Inconvenience
Author: Penny Reid
Series: Knitting in the City #7
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Chic lit, Contemporary, Contemporary romance
Dates read: 11th – 14th June 2021
Pace: Medium
Format: Novel
Publisher: SmartyPants Romance
Year: 2018
5th sentence, 74th page: Sandra’s suggestion that I do sexy research distracted me.

Synopsis

There are three things you should know about Kat Tanner

(aka Kathleen Tyson… and yes, she is that Kathleen Tyson):
1) She’s determined to make good decisions
2) She must get married ASAP, and
3) She knows how to knit.

Determined to live a quiet life, Kat Tanner changed her identity years ago and eschewed her family’s legacy. But now, Kat’s silver spoon past has finally caught up with her, and so have her youthful mistakes. To avoid imminent disaster, she must marry immediately: it is essential that the person she chooses have no romantic feelings for her whatsoever and be completely trustworthy.

Fortunately, she knows exactly who to ask. Dan O’Malley checks all the boxes. Except, what happens when Dan O’Malley isn’t as indifferent – or as trustworthy – as she thought?

Thoughts

Kat and Dan have been on the edge of the Knitting in the City stories from very early on. So it was kind of fitting that they were also the last couple to round everything out. Their story was longer than the others. Not just in the pre-book build up. But also just in general length of story. And it was most definitely fitting…

This story was a good reminder that communication is ridiculously important. I mean, most of Kat and Dan’s issues come from them making assumptions and just NOT COMMUNICATING. If they weren’t so damn cute, it’d be fracking frustrating. Luckily, they quickly realise not to be so dense and actually figure out that sharing thoughts is important to a relationship.

I love how Reid touched upon schizophrenia in this story. The fear when it’s in your family, how people perceive it. And, in the case of this story, how it can be used against a person. I felt like Penny perfectly highlighted the judgement that comes along with such a diagnosis and honestly, how terrifying it can be.

I loved everything about Kat and Dan. I also loved how the epilogue rounded out their story. Actually, not just theirs, but all of the women I’ve fallen in love with throughout this tale. It was a happily ever after. But one that highlighted that even after the happy ending… there’s still a whole lot of happy to be lived.

<- Dating-ishNeanderthal Seeks (Extra) Yarns ->

Image source: Goodreads

Dating-ish by Penny Reid

Overview
Dating-ish (Knitting in the City, #6) by Penny Reid

Title: Dating-ish
Author: Penny Reid
Series: Knitting in the City #6
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Chic lit, Contemporary, Contemporary romance
Dates read: 10th June 2021
Pace:  Medium
Format: Novel
Publisher: SmartyPants Romance
Year: 2017
5th sentence, 74th page: He was also shirtless and barefoot, wearing red loose-fitting pants that resembled a billowy sarong.

Synopsis

There are three things you should know about Marie Harris

1) She’s fed up with online dating,
2) She’s so fed up, she’s willing to forego the annoyance and consider more creative alternatives, and
3) She knows how to knit.

After the most bizarre first date in the history of dates, Marie is looking for an alternative to men. With the help of her friends, she quickly identifies a few possibilities: Need a cuddle? Use a professional cuddler. Need affirmation? Get yourself a life coach. Need an orgasm? Try orgasm meditation!

Why does she need the hassle of a romantic partner when she can meet all her needs with paid services? But then her irritating date resurfaces. And he’s not at all the person she thought he was. And he suggests a different – and crazier – solution to her dilemma…

Thoughts

I was so hoping that Matt would make an appearance in one of the romances when he was introduced in Happily Ever Ninja. There is something adorably geeky and off kilter about him that left me wishing / hoping for more. The fact that he then gets partnered with Marie? It’s enough to leave a girl grinning and dancing around like a fool.

You don’t really get much of Marie in many of the Knitting in the City stories until Happily Ever Ninja. She’s there, and she’s partly responsible for the fiasco at Janie’s hens party… but that’s about it. It, of course, made me more intrigued to meet her.

This is a great friend’s to lovers story. I love that even when trying to pinpoint their moment of falling, neither can. For some of the characters in this universe, love is an instantaneous thing. I love that for Marie and Matt it is the creation of friendship that slowly leads them to where the want and need to be. After all, some of the greatest loves are built on a foundation of friendship…

Just like every other Penny Reid book, I absolutely loved this. I sunk into the pages of this story from the beginning and couldn’t wait to see how the latest romance would blossom. It left me smiling and grinning. Plus, I had a nice note on which to end a long day… one that sent me to my dreams with a smile on my face.

<- Happily Ever NinjaMarriage of Inconvenience ->

Image source: Goodreads

Happily Ever Ninja by Penny Reid

Overview
Happily Ever Ninja (Knitting in the City, #5) by Penny Reid

Title: Happily Ever Ninja
Author: Penny Reid
Series: Knitting in the City #5
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Chic lit, Contemporary, Contemporary romance
Dates read: 8th – 10th June 2021
Pace: Fast
Format: Novel,
Publisher: SmartyPants Romance
Year: 2016
5th sentence, 74th page: Dear wife: I promise to do all I can to get you to stay.

Synopsis

There are three things you should know about Fiona Archer

I would tell you what they are, but then I’d have to kill you.

But I can tell you that Fiona’s husband, the always irrepressible and often cantankerous Greg Archer, is desperately in love with his wife. Yet as the years pass, Greg has begun to suspect that Fiona is a ninja. A ninja mom. A ninja wife. A ninja friend. After fourteen years of marriage, Greg is trying not to panic. Because Fiona’s talent for blending in is starting to resemble fading away.

But when unexpected events mean Fiona must take center stage to keep her family safe, her response stuns everyone Greg most of all. It seems like Greg’s wish has come true…

Expect… not.

Thoughts

I always love a good tale / contemporary romance about a married couple. That meet-cute / falling in love story is all well and good (and in the case of Fiona and Greg you can get that in Ninja at First Sight). But it’s the stories about the long haul and KEEPING the relationship going that I really love.

Of the Knitting in the City relationships, it’s definitely Fiona and Greg that I feel most attached to… I’ve been with my husband for 10 years and we fell in love at 18. And let me tell you, it takes WORK to keep the romance and relationship alive. Reid obviously understands that and shows just how true love can be. Even when you’re contemplating putting a chokehold on your significant other…

Ever since Fiona stabbed someone with a knitting needle in the first book, I’ve been intrigued by her ninja skills. The display of them in this novel is fantastic. And, humorous in many ways. Which, really is what I expect from Penny Reid. After all, she deals with off kilter leads, but she does it in such a light / wonderful / humorous way.

I’ve seen a lot on the Penny Reid Facebook page about Greg and Fiona. And now I completely understand all of the hype. It is very well deserved and left me with a huge grin on my face. I’m almost sad this story is over now…

<- Ninja at First SightDating-ish ->

Image source: Goodreads

Ninja at First Sight by Penny Reid

Overview
Ninja At First Sight (Knitting in the City, #4.75) by Penny Reid

Title: Ninja at First Sight
Author: Penny Reid
Series: Knitting in the City #4.75
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Chic lit, Contemporary, Contemporary romance
Dates read: 7th – 8th June 2021
Pace: Fast
Format: Novella
Publisher: SmartyPants Romance
Year: 2015
5th sentence, 74th page: He’s every girl’s wet dream.

Synopsis

He wants to be all her firsts

What do a cynical former Marine and a sheltered former Olympic contender have in common?
Nothing.
Absolutely nothing.
He has a girlfriend and she’s never been kissed.
He’s sullenly sarcastic and she’s earnestly empathetic.
He can’t stop thinking about her.
She knows she should keep her distance
Nevertheless, when opposites attract, the results may be unexpected, but they’re also undeniably magnetic.

Thoughts

This was one of those wonderful, happy and easygoing novellas. I was honestly expecting just a little bit more drama in this story. But im eternally grateful that there wasn’t. It created this wonderful, beautiful and fun story that I fell in love with. Just as you experienced the journey of Fiona falling in love with Greg.

I did expect a little of this novella to be from Greg’s point of view since that seems to be common in Penny Reid’s works. But it actually turned out better that it was all written from Fiona’s. I honestly didn’t see the ending coming. And, I always love a good surprise at the end of a story. Although, only when I have the next story ready to go right next to me…

Even though Fiona has had an extremely sheltered life and not much experience, she’s still a strong kick ass woman. I especially loved how she goes out of her way to make friendships and experiences outside of Greg. That first fall into love is a heady thing and it can be difficult to remember who you are… Fiona managed this without having a minor breakdown (personally, I had like, 10).

I’ve had a but of a hiatus from the Knitting in the City books. And now I have no idea WHY!!! They’re just amazing. This requires staying up reading Happily Ever Ninja now until I fall asleep…

<- Beauty and the MustacheHappily Ever Ninja ->

Image source: Goodreads