In My Mailbox: Week of June 20, 2010
Title: Fly Away Home
Author: Jennifer Weiner
Received: From Artemis Azima- Engelman & co.
Synopsis: Sometimes all you can do is fly away home . . .When Sylvie Serfer met Richard Woodruff in law school, she had wild curls, wide hips, and lots of opinions. Decades later, Sylvie has remade herself as the ideal politician’s wifeher hair dyed and straightened, her hippie-chick wardrobe replaced by tailored knit suits. At fifty-seven, she ruefully acknowledges that her job is staying twenty pounds thinner than she was in her twenties and tending to her husband, the senator.Lizzie, the Woodruffs’ younger daughter, is at twenty-four a recovering addict, whose mantra HALT (Hungry? Angry? Lonely? Tired?) helps her keep her life under control. Still, trouble always seems to find her. Her older sister, Diana, an emergency room physician, has everything Lizzie failed to achievea husband, a young son, the perfect homeand yet she’s trapped in a loveless marriage. With temptation waiting in one of the ER’s exam rooms, she finds herself craving more.After Richard’s extramarital affair makes headlines, the three women are drawn into the painful glare of the national spotlight. Once the press conference is over, each is forced to reconsider her life, who she is and who she is meant to be.Written with an irresistible blend of heartbreak and hilarity,Fly Away Homeis an unforgettable story of a mother and two daughters who after a lifetime of distance finally learn to find refuge in one another.
Title: Anyone for Seconds?
Author: Fiona Cassidy
Received: From Fiona Cassidy
Synopsis: Frankie has recently met the man of her dreams, Owen, at the college where she is temping as a public relations officer. The lecturer was abandoned by his wife Jane when their daughter Angelica was only seven. Frankie has a lot in common with her new boyfriend as her husband Tony also dumped her and then headed off to the US with his stick-insect lover. He hasn’t seen his kids Ben and Carly since. But if the path of true love never runs smooth, then the road to Frankie’s second chance at love and a united family is definitely littered with potholes. Not only does she have to deal with one very moody and insolent teenager who isn’t keen on another woman entering her dad’s life, she also has to face off against two spiteful in-laws in the form of her ex’s grandmother “Nebby Peg” and Owen’s sister-in-law Brenda. But on her side she has her sister Ella, back from Scotland for a visit with an upsetting secret, and her wild-haired friend Ruby. Frankie is a feisty character who will resonate with those who have walked in her shoes. A promising debut – I’ll be back for seconds.
Author: Tonya Plank
Received: From Tonya Plank
Synopsis: Sophie Hegel is a shy New York lawyer from small-town Florence Arizona, known not for the Renaissance but for housing a large prison. She’s just graduated from Yale Law School and landed her first job when, one evening she feels a fist-like ball form at the base of her throat. Diagnosed with the psychological condition Globus Sensate, this “fist-ball” wreaks havoc on her life, causing difficulty eating, speaking, and eventually breathing. With a cast of characters that includes a pornographer father, a sister with a knack for getting knocked up by denizens of the town pen, a tough-talking fashion maven, a painter of male nudes, an eccentric Sing Sing-residing client and a bevy of privileged Manhattan attorneys and judges, Swallow is a dark comedy about the distance that can separate fathers and daughters, and about a young woman’s struggle to survive in a world of pedigreed professionals for which she has no preparation.
I’ve been asked in the past why I read chick lit, as if it isn’t “real” fiction. I get that it isn’t the genre for everyone, but I like it. But, why do I like it? Why do any of us read what we read? I thought about it, and polled friends who read chick lit to see what they thought.
What makes you like it, I asked them? Overwhelmingly, we all said it is the heroine that draws us to the genre. When we read women’s fiction, we want to feel like we’re having coffee with a girl friend. More than that, we want someone who isn’t perfect, because we know we certainly are not perfect. But we don’t want our heroine to be an idiot. As my friend Katherine said “You like a heroine who has faults, but you don’t want one who makes the same mistakes over and over again.”
We want a heroine with gumption, who can find the happy ending but who can also get through things without relying on her man. We want clever, witty heroines who may get themselves into a mess, but also have the ability to also get themselves out of it, preferably with an appropriately acerbic comeback. We want a heroine who lives in the real world. My friend Lisa, a working mother of three, said “One of my biggest pet peeves in books is when the heroine has kids and she’s out every night, never the mention of having to get a babysitter or fix dinner – makes me think what the heck am I doing wrong?”
I like heroines who struggle with the same mundane things my girl friends and I all talk about, like wanting to lose weight, wondering if that perfect guy really exists, fearing we’re not quite a good enough mother/wife/daughter/sister/friend/employee. I look for complex characters, perhaps who are facing fallout from their unpopular or unconventional choices. Mostly, I want to root for my heroine, that whatever her happiness is, she is able to find it.
We like heroines who aren’t a cliche. Unique heroines are so much more interesting and believable. In fact, it is when we recognize so much of ourselves in our heroines that we are completely drawn in to a novel. It is what brings us to laughter or tears, what really makes us cheer for her. After all, when we like our heroine that much, we feel like we’re cheering for ourselves, too.
So who writes the heroines we like the most? Jennifer Weiner is brilliant at writing a real, identifiable character, placing her in realistic situations, and providing the right amount of drama and humor as the heroine figures out her life. Emily Giffin gives us very well drawn, complex heroines who may take an unconventional path, but still have us rooting for them. Meg Cabot and Jane Green write heroines we like to read. I also love Marian Keyes. Ireland, and Irish heroines are at the heart of most of her novels, but I adore them. The heroines are quirky yet endearing, and Keyes is great at slipping in an unexpected plot twist.
Smart Chick Lit, that’s what I think most of us are looking for, and the plucky, clever heroines written by these fabulous authors keep us coming back for more.
Guest Post by Ashley Williams from My Book Fetish. Visit her webiste here!
Jennifer Weiner’s seventh novel, Best Friends Forever, may fool readers into thinking this is some lovey-dovey over the top story about friendship, but don’t fall for that. The story begins with a possible homicide at a ten year high school reunion, when the beautiful Valerie tries seeking revenge on Dan Swansea but possibly goes too far. When Valerie realizes she may need help, she seeks out childhood best friend, Addie Downs, to bail her out of the sticky situation. Addie is shocked to find Valerie on her doorstep, especially after the major falling out the girls had in high school. It doesn’t take much for Valerie to apologize for her previous actions and rope Addie into her off the wall schemes in trying to elude the police, turning this novel into a Thelma and Louise type plot.
I did enjoy reading about how the girls were able to mend a once broken friendship, but at times it was too over the top for me. With a police officer that conveniently falls for Addie after one glance, a harebrained scheme of robbing a bank, and a religious intervention taking place at the end, I found myself shaking my head in disbelief on more than one occasion. But underneath that, the focus on ugly duckling Addie as she struggles with her weight, a slew of disastrous blind dates, and caring for her troubled brother kept me happily occupied during my reading. I think chick lit fans will appreciate the differences in these friends and the backgrounds they have come from, and of course- the underlying romantic plot between Addie and the officer. Best Friends Forever wasn’t my favorite Jennifer Weiner novel, but I still recommend it for a good beach read.
Jennifer Weiner is coming to a city near you! Weiner will be taking on a national book tour to promote the launch of her latest novel, Fly Away Home, which will be out July 13th. She will be appearing in the following cities:
- NEW YORK – July 13th
- PRINCETON – July 14th
- PHILADELPHIA – July 14th
- WASHINGTON, DC – July 15th
- ATLANTA – July 16th
- FORT LAUDERDALE – July 17th
- MIAMI – July 19th
- DALLAS – July 20th
- BOSTON – July 21st
- CHICAGO – July 25th and 26th
- DENVER – July 27th
- SAN FRANCISCO – July 28th and 29th
- CAPE COD – August 12th
On Tuesday, May 4th at 6:00pm bestselling author Jennifer Weiner will be at the Reading Terminal Market in Philadelphia to celebrate the paperback publication of her #1 New York Times bestseller Best Friends Forever. Jen will be signing paperback copies of Best Friends Forever and will read from her upcoming novel Fly Away Home, landing on bookshelves July 13th, 2010. Wine and chocolate will be served!
WHO: Best-selling author Jennifer Weiner
WHAT: Jennifer Weiner will be signing paperback copies of her #1 New York Times bestseller Best Friends Forever and reading from upcoming novel FLY AWAY HOME, landing on shelves July 13th, 2010. Wine and chocolate will be served!
WHERE: Reading Terminal Market – 51 North 12th Street – PHILADELPHIA
WHEN: Tuesday, May 4th at 6:00pm
In My Mailbox: Week of April 18th
Title: The Icing on the Cupcake
Author: Jennifer Ross
Received: From Jennifer Ross
Synopsis: In this delectable novel—complete with recipes—Jennifer Ross frosts a sweet story of a young woman fulfilling her dreams, one delicious cupcake at a time.
In Ansley Waller’s world of Southern belles and gentlemen, getting a diamond ring isn’t just important—it’s the ultimate goal. So when her fiancé, Parish, unceremoniously kicks her to the curb and cancels their upcoming wedding, Ansley is so ashamed that she decides to leave Dallas and make a fresh start. In a surprise move, she heads to New York City to live with her recently widowed grandmother, Vivian, whom she’s never met. In turn, Vivian gives Ansley a no-nonsense ultimatum: Rather than wallow in misery, either get a job or go home.
The Waller women have a tradition of baking their way out of sorrow. So Ansley mixes batch after batch of creative cupcakes—Black Bottom Heartache, Moving Blues Banana Caramel, Tres Leches Made Small. Before long, she’s opening up her own cupcake shop and even trying her hand at dating. But the ways of Manhattan’s eligible bachelors are altogether different from their Southern counterparts, and Ansley’s nearly fail-safe tactics fall flat. And worse, someone’s got a half-baked scheme to sabotage Ansley’s new life. It’ll take a cup of courage and a dash of Southern charm, plus a few secret ingredients, if Ansley hopes to pull off her recipe for success.
Title: On Folly Beach
Author: Karen White
Received: From Karen White
Synopsis: To most people, Folly Beach, South Carolina, is simply the last barrier island before the Atlantic. To some, it’s a sanctuary, which is why Janie Hamilton’s mother encourages her to buy the local book store, Folly’s Finds, hoping it will distract Janie from the loss of her husband in Afghanistan.
Janie is at first resistant, but intrigued after finding love letters and an image of a beautiful bottle tree in a box of used books from Folly’s Finds, and decides to take the plunge. The store’s seller insists on one condition: Janie must allow Lulu, the late owner’s elderly sister, to continue selling her bottle trees from its back yard. Historically, bottle trees were brought by African slaves to the American South, and Janie had grown up with one in her backyard, and it has always been a symbol of refuge to her.
Janie generally ignores Lulu as she sifts through the love letters, wanting to learn more. But the more she discovers of the letters’ authors, the closer she feels to Lulu. As details of a possible murder and a mysterious disappearance during World War II are revealed, the two women discover that circumstances beyond their control, sixty years apart, have brought them together, here on Folly Beach. And it is here that their war-ravaged hearts can find hope for a second chance…
Title: Best Friends Forever
Author: Jennifer Weiner
Received: From Jennifer Weiner
Synopsis: Some bonds can never be broken…
Addie Downs and Valerie Adler will be best friends forever. That’s what Addie believes after Valerie moves across the street when they’re both nine years old. But in the wake of betrayal during their teenage years, Val is swept into the popular crowd, while mousy, sullen Addie becomes her school’s scapegoat.
Flash-forward fifteen years. Valerie Adler has found a measure of fame and fortune working as the weathergirl at the local TV station. Addie Downs lives alone in her parents’ house in their small hometown of La Prairie, Illinois, caring for a troubled brother and trying to meet Prince Charming on the Internet. She’s just returned from Bad Date #6, when she opens her door to find her long-gone best friend standing there, with a terrified look on her face and blood on the sleeve of her coat. “Something horrible has happened,” Val tells Addie,…
*Please note that Jennifer Weiner’s NEW YORK CITY book signing event on MAY 13TH (previously scheduled at Borders Columbus Circle) has CHANGED LOCATION to BORDERS PARK AVE. (461 Park Avenue at 57th street).
Please make this location change in your calendar listings. New details are below. Thank you!!
WHO: Best-selling author Jennifer Weiner
WHAT: Jennifer Weiner will be speaking, answering questions and signing books from her New York Times #1 bestselling novel - Best Friends Forever
WHERE: BORDERS 461 Park Avenue at 57th st.
WHEN: Thursday, May 13th at 7:00PM
There is a great contest running today that you MUST check out! Debut author Sarah Pekkanen has teamed up with chick lit favorite Jennifer Weiner so you can get two books for the price of one. Head over to Amazon.com and purchase a copy of Sarah’s book- The Opposite of Me, then forward your receipt on to Jennifer Weiner, along with the title of one of Jennifer’s books that you want to receive AND how you want it inscribed! Two for one- I have already ordered my book! You can read more details on Jennifer’s website, or click the amazon link below to get yours ordered!
Sisters Rose and Maggie Feller couldn’t be more different. Rose is the “Plain Jane” responsible sister, working as a successful lawyer with a lackluster love life, while Maggie is the wild child, using her good looks and sexuality to get whatever she wants. When Maggie is evicted from her apartment and loses another job, Rose feels she has no choice but to take her little sister in- a choice she highly regrets after Maggie starts “borrowing” money and credit cards, ruining Rose’s expensive designer shoes, and sleeping with her boyfriend. Rose has had enough of Maggie’s inconsideration for other people, and kicks her out after the boyfriend incident, but after weeks of not hearing from her, begins to worry what exactly could have happened to her baby sister.
Maggie goes on the run, first finding refuge at Princeton while posing as a student, stealing money and credit cards from the other students to get by. She learns about her long-lost grandmother that is living in Miami and decides to take a trip to visit the woman she never had a relationship with. After Maggie and Rose’s mother died when they were young in what they believed to be an innocent car crash, all ties with their mother’s mother was cut off by their father and his new demanding wife. While Maggie is learning that she actually has a brain though she has been plagued with dyslexia all her life, Rose is going through her own struggles with her career. She had been dating her boss that slept with her sister, and decides to take an indefinite leave of absence from her high paying career and become- a dog sitter.
In Her Shoes, the best seller turned feature film by Jennifer Weiner takes on more than sister rivalry. I found this novel to be a wave of emotions, especially with Maggie’s case. I was furious with her because of the way she carelessly lived life, but then felt incredibly sad for her because of the curveballs that was throw her way. Some of the plot twists- Rose’s giving up her law career for a dog sitter- seemed a little unbelievable, but with Weiner’s gifted way with words, made me understand why someone would make that choice. I enjoyed following each girls’ path and being able to somewhat relate to their struggles, but In Her Shoes wasn’t a favorite for me. Still a fun read and I enjoyed the movie as well.
Jennifer Weiner was born in Louisiana on an army base, but grew up mostly in Simsbury, Connecticut. She attended Princeton University and graduated with a degree in English literature. She published her first novel, Good in Bed, in 2001, and has since published 7 more. Weiner has made many appearances on the popular TV programs The Today Show, The CBS Early Show, and The Martha Stewart Show. She has also been published in Seventeen, Salon, Redbook, Glamour, Good Housekeeping, and Elle.
Jennifer Weiner’s titles include: Good in Bed, In Her Shoes, Little Earthquakes, Goodnight Nobody, The Guy Not Taken, Certain Girls, Best Friends Forever, and her latest novel, Fly Away Home, is set to be published in July of 2010. In Her Shoes was turned into a motion picture in 2002, starring Cameron Diaz, Toni Collette and Shirley MacLaine.
Weiner currently lives in Philadelphia with her husband Adam, two daughters, Lucy and Phoebe, and their rat terrier, Wendell.