In One Year and Out the Other

227279This was a nice collection of short stories that have the common theme of taking place in and around New Year’s Eve. Perhaps it would have been smarter to grab this one over winter break, but I am at the mercy of the inter-library loan gods.

I found this collection because Cara Lockwood’s “name is huge on the cover,” but I did like the other stories found inside. Most were the usual suspects of chick lit, but there were a few that still stick out to me. One revolved around a woman who is dead and watching her ex move on via the 24-hour channel dedicated to his life (apparently we all have one and anyone can be watching from Heaven at anytime!). Another was about a woman who ends up at her gynecologist’s office on New Year’s Eve and how sometimes we need someone on the outside to mirror what we are saying to really understand where we are. And the last that stuck with me was about how the guy she kissed at midnight set the tone for her whole year. No spoilers as to who she kisses at this midnight, but I thought it was a nice twist.

By the time I was getting to the last few stories, I was skimming more than reading. I think I did skip the last couple, since I wanted to turn the book back in at the end of my lunch break. My apologies to those authors – I’m sure your stories were just as good as those in the beginning, but I just kinda ran out of patience with the theme after a while.

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Dixieland Sushi by Cara Lockwood

227281I actually really liked this one! It was a departure from the other books by her that I’ve read, but that’s actually a good thing. I could really relate to one of the major themes in the book – being half-“ethnic” in a time and place where seeming NOT is the way to go. Even though the character was half-Japanese and living in a small Southern town, I could totally empathize with a lot of her identity issues and struggles while dealing with the normal chick lit fodder of work, men and weddings.

The present-day plot was interwoven between 80s flashbacks to Jen’s growing up times in Dixieland, Arkansas. Though she was obviously a few years older than me, I definitely loved the 80s nostalgia and the grade/middle/high school humiliations that went with it. It was a fun read, even if some of the plot points were predictable. Definitely recommend!

It’s a Wonderful Lie: 26 Truths About Life in Your Twenties edited by Emily Franklin

521051I actually gave this book to my BFF, Anna, for Christmas after I read about it in a magazine. But she sent it to me after reading it, so I could take it with me to Korea and read on the plane, as long as I sent it back.

She had tagged some of the essays that she thought I should read, and I have to agree with her choices. It was sorta nice to know that I’m not the only one having trouble making friends after college, figuring out what to do with my life, and dealing with boys and dating. At the same time, since most of the authors I read were past this point in their lives, it was a little difficult to read the essays now that the authors have “solved” these issues – mostly just by turning 30. Sometimes the tone was a little preachy or condescending, but I hope that was just because once you get past these issues, they do seem a little silly.

So, I don’t know if it was actually “helpful,” but I could definitely relate to the issues raised. Good for skimming and knowing that you aren’t alone when you feel like you are, but not really practical for advice or ways to solve the problems.

I Did (But I Wouldn’t Now) by Cara Lockwood

227278I originally picked up this book during a book buying binge last month, but I realized that I couldn’t read this one without reading the original in case things were different from the movie I saw I on tv. As it happens, it’s really completely separate, so I needn’t have worried, but there you go.

Following Lauren’s younger sister, Lily, around London and dealing with her break up with a rock star was a little bit crazy and not as much fun as I would have liked. I guess I’m more like Lauren than Lily, so it was hard to really stay on her side and cheer for her when she was doing some really stupid stuff. I also thought that the person she ends up with was just a little too cliche for me. And Lauren was a just a little too irrational and silly for it to be really believable. The tertiary characters were kinda fun though and I did like that the author used mostly real celeb names instead of made up ones. All in all, I was kinda disappointed, but it was a quick read, so no real complaints.

I Do (But I Don’t) by Cara Lockwood

227280Well, a couple days after I posted the last entry, The Strand emailed me to say that they didn’t have this book in stock any more, but they could send it to me if they got it in the next six weeks or so. Um, yeah, no. So, after much looking, I finally found a copy at the Borders next to Penn Station last weekend when I was in NYC. Yay!

I first heard about this book when I watched the movie on Lifetime starring Dean Cain and Denise Richards. Now, normally, I don’t like Denise Richards, but she was endearing in this little TV movie. And Dean Cain plays a firefighter, so yeah, pretty good flick.

The book was really good as well. I liked the first person narrative and the main character was easy to like, right off the bat. Of course, the only problem was that the main character’s description is NOTHING like Denise Richards, so I had a bit of a hard time throwing out the mental images I already had for this book and going where the author was taking me. Nonetheless, it was a great, fast read and really enjoyable. The movie stayed pretty true to the book, which was nice, except for the setting of the end scene – and I have to say, I really liked the setting in the movie better. Is that wrong? Meh, in any case, another great, light read and I slipped one more book into January’s count!