You Have to Kiss a Lot of Frogs by Laurie Graff

1807344When I was in my early 20s, I really loved the books from the Red Dress Ink imprint. I was new to chick lit as a genre and really, new to reading for pleasure that wasn’t Sweet Valley High. I made it my mission to try to read as many of the RDI books as I could. The imprint has long since closed, but I still like to pick up any RDI books I find at used bookstores and the local library book sale.

I initially liked this book because its protagonist was over 40, which is VERY rare in early 2000s chick lit. She’s an actress, sure, but she’s not a 28-year-old bemoaning how she’ll always be alone. However, most of the book is told in flashbacks (to the 1990s!) about her various shitty dates and boyfriends and reading about bad dates from 20 years ago isn’t as cute as it would have been when the book was published in 2003. It was far longer than it needed to be the ending was not at all earned, IMO.

But first book of 2019 FINALLY finished. Moving on to some inspiration women’s memoirs in March since it IS Women’s History Month.

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The Last Year of Being Single by Sarah Tucker

1280582Spoilers abound in this review, so scroll past if you don’t want to know what happens (though I would not recommend to anyone to read this book!).

First of all, the title is a total misnomer because Ms. Sarah Giles (yes, that’s right, the author named the main character after herself!) starts the book single (though coupled) and ends the book single (uncoupled).

Secondly, it seems like Ms. Tucker saw Bridget Jones’s Diary, perhaps on a airplane, where they take all the good bits out, and thought, “I could do that.” The diary format would be a nice change of pace of things weren’t totally incomprehensible a lot of the time. Our heroine switches between first person and third person when talking about an event, quite interchangeably. Also, the inclusion of text messages may have seemed novel then (2002), but now it’s just trite and does little to move the story along.

But really, my main problem with the book is that everyone sucks. The main character is terrible. She doesn’t seem to like her boyfriend of five years, except when she spends pages talking about how much she loves him and they are soul mates. Even though she hates his friends, the way he’s controlling, the fact that he won’t have sex with her since she got an abortion during the first month of them dating, etc. She starts having an affair with another guy who is also controlling and sorta creepy and lies to him too. She’s SO confused ALL of the time and doesn’t know WHAT to do. Ugh.

I spent most of the book screaming at her to just dump Paul and leave John and get her damn life together. I skimmed the last third of the book, in the hopes that she was not actually the horrid human being she was for the first two-thirds of the book, but no, even after she is told on multiple occasions by multiple people that she really doesn’t want to get married, she still dons the dress and walks down the aisle. On the next to last page, she actually says no and I think we’re supposed to be happy for her. I was just happy the book was over.

Jack With a Twist: Engaging Your Adversary and Other Things They Don’t Teach You in Law School by Brenda Janowitz

2841966I spent a lot of time angry at all the characters in the book as I read. First, I was pissed that our heroine wasn’t taking her case seriously and/or was whining she was actually having to do her job instead of planning her wedding. But then she was doing her job and everyone else is giving her shit about it. And every time I was finally get back on Team Brooke, she’d do something else ridiculous (like hiring her wedding videographer to stalk her fiance to make sure he wasn’t cheating on her with his new junior associate) and I’d want to shake her.

Everyone was behaving irrationally (I mean, serving her with motions “as a joke” and then seeming surprised she was taking them seriously? Please tell me actual lawyers don’t act like this!) and it was very frustrating. Brooke also tries to rationalize her behavior to the reader, but instead of agreeing with her, I just wanted to scream at her. The ending was even more ridiculous and took any good feeling I had toward any of the characters with it. The epilogue again felt tacked on, but so far I haven’t seen evidence that the author has made this a trilogy.

Scot On The Rocks: How I Survived My Ex-Boyfriend’s Wedding With My Dignity Ever-So Slightly Intact by Brenda Janowitz

428272I’ve set myself a challenge to read all the novels from the now-defunct Red Dress Ink imprint of Harlequin. I even made a Google Spreadsheet of titles and everything! I randomly search for Brenda Janowitz’s entries on Link+ and they both came up.

This book is typical chick lit (single girl with high-powered career in Manhattan can’t quite get her love life together), but it was a nice change from the history book I was attempting to read prior to this. I finished the first half while doing two loads of laundry at the laundromat last week and the second half while lounging in bed on this very lazy Sunday. Brooke Miller, our heroine, starts off the book as a level-headed lawyer and ends the book that way. In the middle, we suffer through her hare-brained scheme to impress her ex-boyfriend at his Hollywood wedding. Though it does take up a good chunk of the book, the less said about that, the better.

Even though I was a shaking my head at some of Brooke’s less than stellar plans and some of the weird anachronisms (it’s set in a time where Katie Holmes is with Tom Cruise, but there are also phones in the back of plane seats?), she is fundamentally a good person, good friend and normal human being. The epilogue seemed tacked on after the author found out the publisher wanted a sequel, but I’ll forgive it. Looking forward to reading the next installment, which hopefully, involves less kilts.

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.