No Judgments by Meg Cabot

41088583I had to speedread through this one because my library book was due today, and I thought I’d lose access to it before I finished! Luckily, it’s a quick read with fun characters, so it was a nice way to spend the evening.

Bree, our pink-haired main character, decides to ride out a hurricane on her new home island (Little Bridge Island) in the Florida Keys. She keeps running into Drew Hartwell, who everyone warned her about because he’s apparently a womanizer. Bree’s running from her life in New Year and Drew’s a homegrown island boy. Though I appreciate Bree’s struggles (once we find out what happened to her), she’s kind of a dick to Drew for no good reason for a lot of the book.

The best part comes after the hurricane when they team up to help out the animals left behind on the island. I really wish there had been more of that and a little less “I can do it myself”-ness from Bree. Also a MAJOR plot bombshell breaks about 90% through the book and then it just…ends. I know this is the first book in the series, but that was a little ridiculous. There are some standard chick lit tropes (i.e. the first man the main character talks to is the romantic interest, no matter what anyone says), but it did break away from some of the most obnoxious ones (i.e. a big misunderstanding breaks them up even though a simple conversation would have solved everything).

I really enjoy Meg Cabot’s chick lit books, so I’m happy she’s back writing for adults again. The next book in the series comes out in August, so I’ve got it on my list for the end of summer.

Bridal Boot Camp by Meg Cabot

42282584I’ve been reading Meg Cabot books for what seems like half my life. Though I love the movie adaptations of her Princess Diaries series, I’ve never read her YA stuff. But as I’ve well-documented, her adult novels are great. It’s been a few years since she’s written any adult fiction, so I was excited to see the beginning to a new series in GoodReads.

This is actually an ebook novella (yes, I had to figure out the Kindle app on my Mac, but I didn’t hate it). I wasn’t sure what to expect, and after finishing it, I’m still not sure what’s going on since the characters in this novella aren’t the main characters in the first “real” book of the series. But okay, the main character is a fitness instructor who ends up with a cop in her “bridal boot camp” fitness class because he has anger issues. All of that seems problematic, but it’s not discussed, so I guess it’s fine. She thinks he has a female partner, but it’s actually his dog and of course, he has a heart of gold. They hook up and the end.

Since I read it as an ebook, it was hard to tell how many pages this book would have been, but everything seemed to happen really quickly. I’m no stranger to short stories, but the resolution didn’t feel earned because they met, like twice, and then that’s it. I’m hoping this couple comes back into play in the first book of the series and we see some more development. It was a SUPER quick read (I had to limit myself to one “chapter” a night, so as not to finish the whole thing in a few hours.) and made me happy to have Meg Cabot’s writing back in my life.

The Boy Is Back by Meg Cabot

28693701My first forays into chick lit when I was just out of high school were written by Meg Cabot. She hasn’t written any adult novels in a while, so when I found out that there was a third book in the “Boy” series coming out, I jumped on it.

My favorite thing about these books is how the story is told completely through non-narrative means – text messages, journal entries, product reviews, chat apps, newspaper articles and even a self-transcribing app that happens to record a conversation after a reporter tries to use it for an interview. The first two books also used things like making notes on receipts and napkins, which I briefly took up in my own journal. The book just flies by because there are no chapters, just breaks between storytelling devices. Even the longest text exchange is only a few pages, so you just want to keep reading.

Anyway, given that I haven’t read the other two books in more than ten years, I don’t think this book is actually related to the others, except in the way the story is told. Prominent citizens in a small town in Indiana are arrested after trying to pay for their meal with a postage stamp. What follows is the three adult children trying to take care of the fallout without killing their parents or each other. And the person they hire to help out used to date the youngest son in high school – and it did NOT end well. Luckily, it seems like the elder Stewarts aren’t actually in ill-health, but do need help, so it’s more funny than depressing (especially given the last couple years of my life).

I really enjoyed this book and I hope that Ms. Cabot will come back to adult fiction sooner rather than later because she’s been sorely missing on my bookshelf!

Shelf Discovery: The Teen Classics We Never Stopped Reading by Lizzie Skurnick

5644891I added this book to my TBR list after Meg Cabot mentioned her essay in it. I was a voracious reader as a child and still have fond memories of many of the books I devoured during that time. I was excited to read about those book by other people who enjoyed them as I did.

However, it turns out that with the exception of Meg Cabot’s essay and about three others, I hadn’t read any of the other “teen classics” mentioned herein. I guess my devotion to “Sweet Valley Twins,” “Sleepover Friends” and “The Fabulous Five” series limited my other reading possibilities. I really did enjoy Meg’s essay about Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret as well as the author’s essay about Little House in the Big Woods. I was happy to see the inclusion It’s Not The End of the World, but it’s “extra credit” write up left a lot to be desired.

I ended up skimming most of this book since the essays assume episodic knowledge of the book being discussed. Since I’m not a serial re-reader of anything, much less novels I read as a child, it was hard to follow most of the essays, even those about books I had read. Disappointing.

I also gave up on page 5 of Hating Valentine’s Day. Just knew it wasn’t going to be a book I would enjoy. I’m really trying to read all the Red Dress Ink books, but that one just wasn’t going to cut it for me.

Girls’ Night Out

171347I picked this one up at the Arlington County Fair a few weeks ago to support their public library. You know how I’m a sucker for libraries.

It was a solid collection of short stories, better than I remember its predecessor being. There were only one or two stories that I skipped or just didn’t finished. Many more that I wished had been continue, if not into full novels, at least taken a bit further. I was shocked to discover that that one of the stories was by a woman who used to do the Gilmore Girls recaps on TWOP. I guess I should have put that together, but I never really paid that much attention.

It also got me thinking about a few short stories I have sitting on the hard drive. Perhaps I’ll get the writing bug again this fall.