Tag Archive: chick lit plus


It is summer time and your beach- read is not going to be some long-winded tome on butterflies, mosses, or goldfinches and the people who explore these topics.

 

Image from Chick Lit Plus

Image from Chick Lit Plus

Really, who wants to read five hundred pages when there is a wonderful breeze slipping past as the sun dances on the waves of the water? And that drink at your side might have a little extra kick in it.

 

I am ready for something light-weight and fun when Chick Lit Plus sent me a copy of Tax Cut by Michelle Lynn Seigfried.

 

This is Seigfried’s second novel featuring single-mom Chelsea Alton, a New Jersey municipal clerk who won a settlement against her former employer for unsafe working conditions. This has allowed her to stay home with her adorable 2-year-old girl. But the settlement is getting low and while being at home is great, Chelsea is starting to miss work.

 

When she gets a call from a friend alerting her to a job opening, well, she decides to jump on it. Mom and Dad are retired and willing to babysit the adorable granddaughter. Things progress at work but as Chelsea settles in, she begins to notice funny things. They are not connected until chips and pieces appear to fit  it all together with disappearing residents, ramblings of a woman with dementia, and bosses seen talking to people they shouldn’t be otherwise.

 

Then there is the subplot of the potential boyfriend. He is a single dad and a great kisser. But Chris cannot seem to make a relationship work from a perfectly willing woman who is crazy about him.

 

Image from Chick Lit Plus

Image from Chick Lit Plus

I found Tax Cut to be an interesting novel that is a perfect vacation read. Want a little time to yourself then go and hang out with Chelsea and her friend, Bonnie. Bonnie is everything a side kick needs to be; she is sassy, confident, and not without a few resources and connections. She works well with Chelsea whether it is in the office with a crude co-worker or checking out why a former employee left.

 

While the pacing could have been a little tighter, it did not stop me from enjoying the book. Plus, I am very familiar with the mom routines that show up so I felt as if I was someplace I already knew. When we finally get to the action, let me just say it goes very quick. But it is an end that satisfy, especially for those of you with a boss you hated.

 

Would I read it again? That is always my big question and the answer is yes. On those days when I am gifted with some time to myself, I am willing to hang out with Chelsea and Bonnie once more.

 

To Purchase Tax Cut (Jersey Shore Mystery Series #2):

 Amazon:  http://t.co/dZvYKmEy51

Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/tax-cut-michele-seigfried/1117789686?ean=9781494215330

To Purchase Red Tape (Jersey Shore Mystery Series #1):

Amazon:  http://t.co/asOvRiAD9J

Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/red-tape-michele-seigfried/1115098453?ean=9781482012880

Blog Tour – Love At 11 by Mari Mancusi

Today is a special day at Rumbly Cottage. Let me welcome all first time visitors and returning guests to the second stop of a Chick Lit Plus blog tour featuring Mari Mancusi, author of the new Chick Lit novel Love at 11. 

Image from Chick Lit Plus

Image from Chick Lit Plus

The story focuses on 27-year-old Maddie, a producer at a local TV station. Life is plodding along as she tries to develop a clip file that will allow her to move on to serious television news magazine.

In the meantime, she gets a little promotion and a new camera man – the ultra hunky, Jamie. They both like 80s pop culture and have the same wicked sense of humor. They would be perfect for each other if it wasn’t for his fiancée. If that isn’t bad enough, Maddie’s parents’ marriage is breaking up, and her 16-year-old sister is a bit a hellion.

Then Maddie gets a hot tip regarding tunnels on the other side of the border while shopping for fake Prada in Tijuana. Things are about to get interesting for our heroine who has been bored and plagued by bad story ideas for too long.

So that is the teaser to this fun book. Let’s take a few minutes to sit in the dining room and chat. You might be disturbed by the sounds of the violent video game my son is playing in the living room but ignore that.  This is, after all, a house that can be a bit noisy on a regular basis. Oh, and don’t worry about the dog. He only gets super friendly when he wants to steal snack food.

Instead, pay attention to the interview we have with author Mari Mancusi.  First, take a quick look at her bio.

     Mari Mancusi is a multiple Emmy award-winning television producer and

     author of novels for adults and teens, including the Blood Coven  series and

     Gamer Girl. She’s worked at television stations in New York, Boston, San

      Diego, and Orlando and is a graduate of Boston University’s College of

      Communications. When not writing or producing, she enjoys traveling,

      cooking, 80s music, and her favorite guilty pleasure—videogames. She lives

       in Austin, Texas with her husband, Jacob, and their daughter, Avalon. 

Now on to the questions and answers.

Image from Chick Lit Plus

Image from Chick Lit Plus

You have been writing Young Adult novels for some time, how hard was it to make the transition to writing a novel for adults?

I actually started my career writing chick lit time travel novels for an adult audience, so Love at 11 was a return to my roots, so to speak. And this particular book’s subject matter was so close to my heart, I guess I was just writing for me. Perhaps that’s the biggest key—to write the book your own self would want to read. When I write teen books – I consider the old high school “me” and when I write adult books, I think about the “me” now and write accordingly.

There is nothing supernatural in this book. Was that element ever in the plans for this novel? 

Nope! The story came about on a day I was assigned the “cosmetics that kill” story at my Boston station. I was so fed up and frustrated—it just came pouring out of me.

How tempting was it to make the little sister’s story the focus of this book?

Lulu’s story just kind of took on a life of its own as I was writing the book. It’s perhaps the one part of the book that’s not at least semi-autobiographical. I would love to do a spin-off about her someday. She’s troubled—very troubled—but she has a big heart.

You worked as a producer in television? Was your life goal similar to Maddy’s to work at a high profile news magazine?

Yes, I was determined at one point to work at Dateline. I thought it would be the ultimate dream job. I did end up going to work at a nationally syndicated television magazine show, but it was a morning show, so much lighter in content. Still, it was pretty great to be out and about in NYC interviewing celebs, fashion designers, chefs, etc. The problem with working for a show like Dateline, however, is you have to be willing to dedicate your entire life to your career. Now that I’m a mom I have other priorities and like the fact I can work from home as an author.

 

Besides the romance, your story focuses on a professional trying to create meaningful work at her TV station. Do you think that is a pertinent topic for 20 somethings who have been at their workplace for some years?

Absolutely. I think now, more than ever, twenty-somethings are looking for satisfaction and personal fulfillment in the workplace. They don’t just want a 9-5 that provides a paycheck. They want to make a difference or be creative or impact something. And that can be hard to do and extremely frustrating when you’re first starting out and have no power. I remember having this burning desire to do more and be pushed down by my bosses time and time again.

The lead anchor makes an interesting commentary towards the end of the book, leading Maddy to understand and respect him more. In your experience, is this true for many anchors?

Very true. In our current society, anchors like the legendary Edward R Murrow would never be hired and TV news is always looking for the next pretty face. I actually see this more in female anchors and reporters who are considered “old” once they hit thirty, but I used a male anchor in the book because I wanted to shake up the stereotype a bit. But definitely—talent takes a back seat to a svelte figure and pretty face.

You are located in Texas but the book is set in San Diego. How much research did you do to understand where Maddy and her friend might go for fun? To know where Jaime and Maddy would go to find the drug cave or to happen on the Rave?

Ha! I lived in San Diego for three years, working in TV news when I was Maddy’s age. So I knew all the cool hangouts and local culture already. (And even attended a desert rave or two.) The drug tunnels are something I plucked from the headlines—they really exist! And I spent a ton of time drinking margaritas and shopping for fake purses in Tijuana. Who knew it was all research for a book! That said, the TV station I worked for in San Diego was nothing like News 9. They were actually pretty respectable. It was more the station I worked in later, in Boston, that inspired most of the ridiculous stories mentioned in the book.

How is it that Maddy is familiar with music and movies from the 80s?

Her parents showed her Pretty in Pink when she was a kid and it all spiraled from there!

Could Jaime be any more perfect as guy? Does he have a flaw besides having ‘farewell sex’ when he breaks up with a girlfriend?

I think what Jamie most lacks is self-confidence in himself. He’s failed a lot – being a filmmaker in LA to being reduced to a videographer for the local news. Not to mention his failed sci-fi novel. And I think that’s affected how he looks at himself and the world. He also is so nice he gets himself stuck in situations he might not be happy about. He knows he and his fiancé just aren’t working—but it’s difficult for him to make the break and go after what he really wants in life.

 

Image by M. Conners

Image by M. Conners

Thanks, Mari, for stopping by and chatting with at the cottage. Don’t worry about the dishes and cups; I will clean everything up.

  
Connect with Mari!

Website: www.marimancusi.com

Blog: www.marimancusi.blogspot.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/bloodcovenvampires

Twitter: @marimancusi

Buy the Book!

Kindle: http://www.amazon.com/Love-At-11-ebook/dp/B007NN0GI8/ref=sr_1_12?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1334855810&sr=1-12

Nook: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/love-at-11-mari-mancusi/1109679094?ean=2940014264341

Kobo: http://www.kobobooks.com/ebook/Love-At-11/book-N-SW0a3HtEOeUxMR8fdN7A/page1.html?s=E99OQtfeA0qBDuNWck0Gtg&r=1

iBooks: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/love-at-11/id513453767?mt=11

Now for that favorite time of the month when I talk about the book I’ve read for the ChickLitPlus reading challenge.

Last month, I totally bailed on the reading challenge. Not that I meant to but July just passed by so fast.  I missed out on a bunch of things.

So I did what I do best. I watched a few more episodes of Ghost Adventures and rested my feet as they hurt, hurt, hurt. Then I got off my butt and started getting myself into gear.

I cleaned a few things, did some gardening, got ready for the rummage sale at church as well as the back-to-school chores. I still need to clean up the area around my bed but I have been throwing stuff out.

One of the rules for this reading challenge is to read two debut novels during the year. I have read one debut novel this year and jumped at the chance to read another that appears on one of Samantha’s blog tours.

Image from Barnesandnoble.com

So this month’s selection is Breaking The Rules by Cat Lavoie. This first novel from the Quebec province native is set in New York City and feels as if this is written by a native who knows their way around.

The story focuses on lifelong best friends, Roxanne and Ollie, who live together in a small but great apartment.

Ollie is leaving soon to take a new assignment in London as a Green architect.   Roxanne plans to stay in her position as personal assistant to a Public Relations maven. She dreams of owning her own restaurant and is a great cook.

On his last night in New York, Roxanne throws a farewell party and manages to forget to invite Ollie’s girlfriend. Roxanne’s boyfriend shows up outside but does not join the party because he does not like any of Roxanne’s friends.

The morning Ollie leaves, he has to tell Roxy she cannot come to the airport because Rachel, the girlfriend, does not want her there. So she sees him off and before Ollie gets in the cab, they share a stunning kiss that makes them re-think everything.

However, life cannot stop. Ollie gets on the plane and Roxy goes back to work. One night she comes home to find both of her sisters at her apartment. Izzy is a lawyer having a mid-life crisis. Steffi is six months pregnant and refusing to talk about the father.

Roxy also receives a slight promotion at work, helping to publicize the new restaurant of a star chef. And her fiancee, Ethan, has different ideas about their wedding than she does. Oh and there is the looming mother-in-law who uses her nose to look down at Roxy.

With all of that action, there is plenty of drama to draw on. Roxy’x bad boss, her battle-ax future-mother-in-law, rollicking best friends and a boyfriend that is a jack-ass. Why does the slightly over-weight girl always find the one guy who treats them like crap?

Author Cat Lavoie; Image from Chick Lit Plus

Anyway, once I started reading it was really difficult to stop. I stayed up way later than I should have because I enjoyed being with Roxy and her sisters. Roxy is fun, an admitted procrastinator and someone who feels stuck in life. She loves food, is a loyal friend but also lives on the river of Denial. In other words, she is a lot like most of us who has a domineering sister, a cute baby sister and parents who try to have their girls be as independent as possible.

The writing is lively and interesting. And when the twists start coming, I thought they were imaginative and real. Most characters are developed well and we understand why Roxy hangs with them. Why she is in love with Ethan is a mystery.

This was a great book to read for relaxation and I would recommend it. Cat Lavoie has a good ear for dialogue and how bad people act in various situations.

I also need to mention that this was my first time with an e-book. If Lavoie’s book had not been a good read, I would have given up on it. I am not a fan of reading from the computer with the light in the back ground and my having to sit up the whole time. I like to read in bed while lying down and this was not a good experience for me.

You are probably wondering how it all ends. Do Ollie and Roxy figure out their feelings? What is going on with Izzy and Steffi? What happens with the bad boss?   Is Ethan really involved in this relationship? Well, you know how it goes, read the book to find out.

This is Cat Lavoie’s debut novel and it can be found at Barnes and Noble in a nook version for $2.99.

Finding a book for this month’s challenge for the Chick Lit Challenge was difficult.

I am a mystery fan as well as a chick lit fan. I became an adult during the Nora Ephron era of great romantic comedy films.

That means I expect a lot from my books and movies. I want crisp dialogue, commentary on pop culture, and sincerity from the main characters.

After a recent visit to my mother’s house, I came back with a pile of books. She belongs to a mystery book club and gets three new mysteries every month. These mysteries tend to have women as the lead characters. I thought for sure I would find something in the pile. There was a book about a woman finding her husband who disappeared and a grad student who solved mysteries in between classes. And yet none of them made me excited.

Image from Harlequin.com

Then I get to the latest Biscuit McKee mystery,  Indigo As An Iris by Fran Stewart.

What I like about this series is that it feels like a small town in the way people interact with each other. I would say this town has a population of about 2,000 – 3,000 people judging by the variety of businesses it can support. Biscuit is the librarian who came to the town a few years back and married the police chief. I am not sure if she solves the mysteries as much as she is our eyes and ears, our entry into the small town in Georgia.

In this book, we learn that some one has been kidnapped. It is a woman with beautiful hair and the possible candidates start piling up – figuratively not  literally. But it takes a while to reveal the motive and the acts of bravery amidst real life happenings of dying spouses and sibling arguments. And then there is the cat who manages to tie everything and everyone together. You cannot help but begin to love Marmalade who seems to know when things are happening very far away.

That is what I love about this series.

What I do not love are some of the stupid comments made by Marmy to appear as if she is always involved or how much others comment on how it appears the cat is replying to or asking various questions. Sometimes the action is slow in a bad way of slow. The topper is Biscuit’s husband Bob always saying “woman” when he talks to her. I hate it and it sounds derogatory although it is meant differently. We are told to make allowances for Bob because he is a Vietnam vet who still gets nightmares. I try but that “woman” thing gets on my nerves.

For those looking for a book set in a small town, for those who do not mind a slow pace meant to mimic a small southern town, for those who can handle the slow burn this is the book you have been looking for.

Right about now I am looking for a quickly paced action-adventure story.

What are you reading this month?

 

It is that time of the month again to talk about books that one would classify as chick lit.

I have been doing this reading challenge set up by Chick Lit Plus and it has been a blast to make myself read some new books. Thanks to Samantha for hosting this challenge.

This month, I chose It Takes a Witch By Heather Blake. Heather is a part of the Deadly Divas, a group of mystery writers who know how to put on their boas and have fun. I get regular postcards with book covers on them. I think they make great art for my refrigerator so I will remember to go buy the books.

While this book is not by a new author, it is the first in her new Wishcraft mystery series. Heather normally write under the name of Heather Webber.

Book cover image from Barnes&Noble.com

The story takes place in Salem, Mass, home of all things wonderfully witchy. What visitors to Enchanted Village do not know is that this is one of the few places where crafters live together, knowingly.

Merriweather sisters, Darcy and Harper, have recently moved in with their Aunt Ve after learning that their mother was a crafter. It was a fact their father never wanted the girls to know. But since his recent death, Aunt Ve told the girls the truth about their mother –  and themselves. They decide to leave Ohio to live with Aunt Ve and figure out the next part of their lives.

We meet Darcy as she is to play the tooth fairy, complete with a pink tutu and glitter. But soon Darcy is on the heels of a mystery when a prickly young woman is found dead in the back alley and the mayor of the town is holding the gun. That he is also Aunt Ve’s boyfriend makes things more personal.

Darcy is slowly learning the ways of a wish crafter, making new friends, and working out clues in order to save her aunt’s beau. A complication in all of this is Nick Sawyer, a former police officer Darcy wishes she was not attracted to because she is still recovering from her divorce of two years back.

I read this book in a day and loved every moment. Ok, most moments but I wanted to read more. The characters were fun, and the witchiness was not played too cutely, although when the whole town is set up for it, how can it not?

Most mysteries give away the clues and you are left catching up to the character. But this time, I was nowhere near to close. And there is a surprise at the end that you may not have guessed at all.

Since this is the first in a series, I know I am going to pick up more of these books as I can. When the next book comes out in September of this year, I will be ready and waiting.

Have you read anything new recently?

Remember when I said I was participating in a reading Challenge from ChickLit Plus?  The rules are that I have to read a book of Chick Lit once a month and review it on the blog.

I think I picked a good one this month.

Book Cover Image from barnesandnoble.com

I went for a historical fiction romance novel called The Secret History of the Pink Carnation by Lauren Willig that I found in Paperback Reader in Kankakee. This is one of those stories that is a book within a book, a story within a story. The overlying story is about a history graduate student going to England to research a historical figure known as the Pink Carnation. This takes Eloise to London and the home of a grande dame as well as in the way of a handsome lord.

The second story is set in the Regency period during the semi-peaceful era between France and England, this book sets to tell the tale of the Purple Gentian and the Pink Carnation.

These are fictional spies in the manner of the Scarlet Pimpernel who foiled the French as they try to kill off their aristocracy. In this book, the Purple Gentian takes over for the Scarlet Pimpernel, rescuing English aristocracy accused of being spies.

That means we get cold-war type action, gothic Parisian houses and maidens looking for action. Not sexual but as spies. Our heroine, Amy, gets both but not before she before she brings in an entire family when a rescue is needed.

The hero of our story, Richard, is a complex character who is trying to remember all of his duties to God and country while his mother is trying to find him a wife. His work is as a scholar with the French government, placing him in Paris most of the time.

Amy is the daughter of an English woman and a French Duke who lost his life to Madame Guillotine. But now her brother is grown up and needs a ‘lady of the house.’ So Amy plans to find the Purple Gentian and join his group to save her beloved France from Napoleon.

While Amy can grow tiresome – I swear the girl has ADD or at least too much energy and enthusiasm – other characters spring into action to bring reason and a plan into action. That is what keeps the book interesting. The story with Eloise could be interesting but it is really a wrapper for the Purple Gentian. By not giving it enough depth, I found I was not really interested in Eloise and her battles with the lord who did not want her looking at family papers and solving the mystery.

I think I would read this book again and I am currently thinking about getting the sequel, The Masque of the Black Tulip, which I also saw at the Paperback Reader.

Do you have any Chick Lit suggestions for my challenge?