February 28, 2009 Turning Thirty by Mike Gayle
I grabbed this one from the library randomly a few weeks ago because the title caught my eye. I'm on the downward slide toward 30 myself and thought it might be interesting to read about someone else's journey. It was only after I got home that I realized the author was male. I have nothing against male authors, though my non-academic success rate with liking their books is low.

I left it till last of the books I picked up that day, putting off the inevitable as it were. Except I found the book totally delightful. The main character, though also male, is totally relateable and easy to listen to. In fact, if you just took out the name, half the time I don't think you could distinguish him from many of the female protagonists I read about. I could really understand a lot of the emotions and thoughts that Matt has as he approaches his thirtieth birthday. There does seem to be some mystique about adulthood that is universal.

It was also interesting to see how his schoolmates had changed in the 10-15 years since he had last seen them. As I approached my high school reunion, I think it will be cool to see who has done what with their lives and who has changed. I believe we all have, even if we can't recognize it in ourselves.

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February 23, 2009 Conversations with the Fat Girl by Liza Palmer
I really liked this book. Even though I've never been the "fat girl," it spoke to me because of Maggie's insecurities and "blue buckets." I have at least one friend that should definitely read this book, but unfortunately, I have no way to recommend it to her without her taking offense.

It was hard for me to understand why Maggie puts up with Olivia's constant, brazen Bridezilla behavior for much of the book. But I have a feeling that I am that doormat for some people and it must be hard for people on the outside to watch me put my feelings aside to assuage theirs. It was nice to see Maggie have such a supportive family unit, though, sticking up for her when she needed it and encouraging her to step outside the tiny box she had crammed herself into.

I really liked how Maggie finally understood that it was *her* and not the man that would make the change. Even if it was manufactured, I felt a bit empowered.

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posted by Jenn at 7:16 PM 0 comments

February 19, 2009 Mike, Mike & Me by Wendy Markham
I picked this one up because it reminded me of the two Chrises in my life when I was a teenager. Of course, those memories are better than the book, so that's probably not a good thing.

The book alternates between the present (main character married to Mike with three kids) and the past (where she's with one Mike and meets the second Mike). You spend most of the book trying to figure out which Mike she married and which Mike contacts her as her "one that got away." Except when you finally figure out which one she married and which one she didn't, you don't understand why she still wonders, still cares, still...anything about that Mike. It was a complete letdown and the rest of the book was just totally unsatisfying.

I think I may done with this author. Sigh.

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posted by Jenn at 3:53 PM 0 comments

February 14, 2009 Bundle of Joy? by Ariella Papa
I really liked this one. It was nice to have a book about what happens when your friend starts trying to have a baby, gets pregnant and then has said baby. I really enjoyed the juxtaposition of the "laugh" with the two women's ability to actually remain close friends throughout the "ordeal." It's rare that the single, childless friend can remain in the other one's life.

The romance developed pretty organically and believably, which was a nice change of pace from some of the chick lit I've read recently. The twist was not what I was expecting, but it worked fairly well. There were a lot of loose ends - big plots that just...never finished. It seemed like the book ended because the author was tired of writing instead of actually concluding.

All in all, it was a good read and I'd pick up another one by this author in the future.

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posted by Jenn at 1:12 PM 0 comments

February 10, 2009 Slightly Engaged by Wendy Markham
I wanted to like this book. I mean, the last one wasn't so bad, even if it was a little unrealistic.

But all of Tracey's annoying insecurities were not only back in this book, they brought friends. The entire plot of the book was "Is Jack going to propose? Why isn't he proposing? Shouldn't he have proposed at x time?" Seriously. There are tiny subplots about other aspects of her life, but it's all about the fact that she's not sure if her live-in boyfriend is going to propose. And instead of being an adult and discussing where their relationship is heading, she spends a ridiculous amount of time, talking about it to EVERYone else and overanalyzing anything her boyfriend says/does. Seriously, there's a moment when they are at his mother's house and he squats down to find the remote on the floor and her heart jumps in her chest because she thinks he's proposing. Then she spends the next five pages depressed because he didn't pop the question.

Seriously, if I ever act like that, smack me HARD across the face. I'm so done with this series. I can't imagine how self-absorbed and annoying she'll be planning the wedding.

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posted by Jenn at 4:17 PM 0 comments

February 07, 2009 another miss
I read about 150 pages of The Winthrop Woman by Anya Seton, but I just couldn't get into it. I respect Ms. Seton's dedication to historical accuracy, but I think she sacrificed the plot to get all the details in. Some incidents were described in excruciating detail and then there were huge glosses over events, skipping months and years ahead. But almost 1/3 of the way through the book and we were still in England. Since I was expecting a tale of early New England life for the settlers, spending that much time in England seemed entirely unnecessary. But it was obvious that there was source material for that, so it must be included.

I just couldn't take it any longer, so back to the library it went.

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posted by Jenn at 7:32 PM 2 comments

February 03, 2009 Slightly Settled by Wendy Markham
This is the second book in a series of "Slightly," so I probably shouldn't have read it first, but whatev. My library didn't have Slightly Single when I was there last, so I ended up with this one.

It was an enjoyable read. I saw a lot of myself in the main character, which was alternately funny and cringe-worthy. I guess if I'd read the first book first, I wouldn't have been rooting for Tracy to have a twist happen with one of the many men in her life, but I kinda was. The ending was a bit unrealistic, but then again, who reads chick lit for realism? A super quick read and fun too.

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posted by Jenn at 4:36 PM 0 comments

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