Book review: ‘The Anglophile’ by Laurie Gwen Shapiro

Thirty-five-year-old student Shari Diamond has a penchant for all things British. She meets fellow linguist (and super hot Brit) Christopher T. Brown — Kit, for short — by chance in Chicago, and there begins her romance and the perpetuation of her incredibly potent fetish. Kit and Shari become inseparable, making a jaunt from New York City to London in no time. But in his native land, Kit seems to have a whole lot of secrets — and Shari has a whole lot questions without answers.

I went into Laurie Gwen Shapiro’s The Anglophile with such high hopes. As someone admittedly obsessed with British culture and language and a devoted reader of chick lit, I thought this novel would marry all of my favorite things in one nice, pleasant package! I wasn’t expecting The Great Gatsby, but this was just pure rubbish.

Honestly, I pretty much hated it. For starters, Shari is selfish, spoiled and self-obsessed — and the fact that she meets Kit when she has a boyfriend and doesn’t waste any time sleeping with him immediately turned me off this story. Going on a journey that spans more than three hundred pages with a character you don’t like isn’t exactly a good time. Still, I pushed myself to finish — even though it felt like ripping my teeth out at points.

The plot is just . . . thin. And meandering. Everything relies upon chance and a complete suspension of belief at points — like the fact that Kit and Shari are suddenly in a serious relationship after knowing each other for a matter of days. Um, what? And while I did enjoy the very brief tour of London and surrounding areas in the latter half of the book, I spent most of the novel confused and overwhelmed. I mean, she’s traveling the world with this guy? And there’s some weird subplot with a childhood friend, and then we sprint ahead a year in time out of nowhere at the end of the book and Shari’s aunt has a pet skunk and there’s some strange medicine swap snafu and Kit becomes some secretive, weird guy and then they meet Ringo Starr and . . .

I know, slow down. That’s how I felt, too. None of the pieces added up to anything other than complete fluff — and it wasn’t even intelligently written fluff. I’m all for light, fun reading, but this was ridiculous.

As much as it disappoints me to say, I’d pass on this one. There are plenty of other British (and women’s fiction) books in the literary sea to waste your time on The Anglophile.

2 out of 5!

ISBN: 0373895291 ♥ Purchase from AmazonAuthor Website
Personal copy purchased by Meg

Book review: ‘Scot On The Rocks’ by Brenda Janowitz

scot_on_rocksI know I’ve been terrible about this lately, but the cover of Brenda Janowitz’s Scot On The Rocks once again enticed me into reading it the other day! The cool blue caught my eye. Plus, as I’ve got weddings on the brain lately, I figured this would be a good mid-week read.

What happens? When Brooke Miller gets an invite from her college sweetheart to attend the wedding of the season in L.A. — his own — she hardly misses a beat when announcing to Trip that she, too, is engaged — to a hot Scot named Douglas. The only trouble there? Douglas recently ended their two-year relationship and is “engaged” to another woman.

But those are minor details New York power attorney Brooke can handle — especially with good friends Vanessa and Jack there as her willing accomplices. With a bizarre plan to still have “Douglas” attend the wedding (in a kilt, no less) and keep Brooke’s “dignity ever-so-slightly” intact, what we get is a rolling ride through law offices, bars and celebrity hang-outs.

What really won me over on Janowitz’s novel was the crisp, realistic dialogue. It didn’t feel stilted and fabricated like so many “chick lit” novels. We didn’t have to hear ad nauseum about the delicious, awesome name brand clothes the characters were wearing, and yet we knew they were hip and stylish. We didn’t have to be told all about Brooke’s obsessive attempts at controlling the rapidly deteriorating situation with Douglas and Jack — we were shown all of that. In short, Janowitz did an outstanding job of what separates a “good” book from a “great” book for me — showing and not telling.

As someone who’s not terribly interested in the law reading a book about an entire set of lawyers, some of the law jargon and case information did get a bit boring for me. But I was able to breeze past that and stay in the moment of the story. Like S. Krishna, I also wish that readers were able to get a little bit more information concerning Brooke’s rocky relationship with Douglas, but it didn’t bother me too much. All in all, a well-written and fun adventure you can easily enjoy in a weekend.

4 out of 5!

ISBN: 0373895283 ♥ Purchase from AmazonAuthor Blog
Personal copy won from S. Krishna’s Books

Book review: ‘The Solomon Sisters Wise Up’ by Melissa Senate

It didn’t take me long to make my way through The Solomon Sisters Wise Up by Melissa Senate — in my opinion, this is “chick lit” at its finest! I bought Senate’s Questions to Ask Before Marrying on a whim last year and loved her writing style. I mooched this one and definitely wasn’t disappointed!

Sisters Sarah and Ally are both at turning major points in their lives — Sarah finds herself pregnant by a man she cares for but has only been dating a few months, and Ally catches her lying, cheating bastard of a husband in quite the compromising position — with her own yoga teacher. Youngest half sister Zoe, who shares Bartholomew Solomon as a father with Sarah and Ally, is the Dating Diva of Los Angeles, but struggles to iron our her own floundering love life when she discovers her own boyfriend on a blind date with a client. And there’s the tiny, insignificant little problem of Zoe’s 26-year-old former friend marrying Bart Solomon, their father twice her age. All three girls wind up in the small guest room of Bart’s New York City penthouse, sharing cots pushed together like summer camp.

The Solomon Sisters Wise Up isn’t bogged down by all this drama, though. I loved Sarah’s character the most, watching as she pours over book after book on pregnancy and struggles to get ex-boyfriend Griffen involved in their future child. Ally realizes she was caught in a loveless marriage and is able to move on once she decides she will not play the victim in this trial. Zoe begins to realize that though she’s paid two hundred plus a night to sit and tell men and women what they’re doing “wrong” on dates, some folks just aren’t compatible — and we don’t really have to change for anyone.

All the sisters do change, though — irrevocably. They become close. They all share a movie producer father who has spent his entire life, and career, being selfish — but Ally, Sarah and Zoe begin to realize that not everything is as it seems with Bart, either. Ultimately, they begin to reconcile the past with the future, grow closer together and become the support system for one another they so desperately crave — and romantic love, though desirable, isn’t the end-all, be-all.

Generally, I find Melissa Senate’s work to be a little more empowering than most chick lit, where it seems that women must find that “perfect guy” who completes them to be happy and successful. Her novel focuses on the professional struggles of the sisters as much as the personal struggles, and I found that refreshing. Senate also touches on singlehood, motherhood, parenthood and sisterhood in a way that does not feel contrived or disingenuous.

In short, I loved it! If you’re a fan of women’s fiction and need a quick read, grab up Melissa Senate right away — you won’t be disappointed.

4 out of 5!

ISBN: 037325041X ♥ Purchase from AmazonAuthor Website/Blog
Personal copy purchased by Meg