Cocktails For Three – Book Review

…by Sophie Kinsella (writing as Madeleine Wickham)

This is a story of 3 British women who are close friends. For years they have maintained the tradition of meeting at a cocktail bar on the first of every month. This bar has strengthened their friendship and given them lot of memories to cherish.

They lead happy lives till an outsider by the name of Heather comes into their lives. She enters their lives at a time when each of them is at the brink of personal crisis.

This is the story of sweet Candice, rash Roxanne and intelligent Maggie. Candice is the ‘baby’ of the lot. She is cute and generous to the extent of being fooled easily. She harbours a pest from the past. To get over her age old guilt, she invites Heather into her life with open, welcoming hands. She showers her with all the help and love she can so that she can make good what her father spoilt years ago. Heather appears friendly on the surface. Maybe, too friendly. Soon, Candice is dealing with her self-obsessed ex-boyfriend, a crooked flatmate, lots of dilemmas and above all, the dangerous distance that is developing between her and her close friends.

Roxanne is in love with an older man whom she refers to as Mr. Married with Kids. Her two best friends do not know who he is. The affair that has been lasting since 6 years doesn’t seem to be coming to a decent conclusion. Still, she is willing to live with it. But one fine day, her lover ends it all. She is devastated. And she has no one to talk to. After all, she managed to lose both her friends too.

Maggie is the editor of a magazine. She is used to being in power and being busy. But in a month’s time, she would be delivering her baby. She and her husband have moved to their palatial house in the country. After her maternity leave begins, she only as the silence of the big house, large grassy fields and anxiety of handling a baby to accompany her. Roxanne and Candice seem to be moving on with their lives without her. And once the baby comes, she is at a complete loss of control. Despite working hard and spending sleepless nights, she is unable to handle her baby well and for that, she feels pathetic about herself. Her decreasing self-esteem isn’t helped much by her mother-in-law. And there is no one who can understand her.

Three closest of friends and yet so lonely.

But bad times are never to stay forever, ain’t it? Lost friends are won back. Lost trust is regained. Loves are lost but new loves are won.

It is a beautifully written story of women you can relate to. They face the same issues that we face in our lives. This book taught me two lessons. One, do not condemn yourself for who you are not. Accept and love who you are. A successful, working woman like Maggie, for example, cannot be expected to become a perfect mother from day one. Accept the fact that you cannot be good at everything. Second, keep your friends close in times of need. When you have good friends, you never have to feel lonely.

I did not enjoy some of Madeleine Wickham books but this one is a winner for me. It is an easy, engrossing, thoughtful read. I had difficulty parting with this book. I dared to leave all my work pending for the sake of this book. In fact, I would read it again some day!

My rating: 4

Cupcakes At Carrington’s–Book Review

By Alexandra Brown

At last, a chick-lit that did not get on my nerves or put me to sleep. It caught my attention when I saw a 3.82 rating on Goodreads.

This book is centred around Georgie – A salesgirl at Carrington’s department store’s designer bag section. Georgie’s life isn’t easy. She is broke. And single. Her mother’s death and father’s bad name haunts her every day. Your heart kind of goes to her. After all, she has a heart of gold and everyone loves her.

Her boss, James, has caught her eye. And recently he has been acting flirty with her. Put in 2 adorable friends, Eddie and Sam, and you have a wonderful tale of friendship, among other things. Just when things are looking up for Sam, a threat by the name of Maxine is posted at the department store, threatening her job, friendships and love. Carrington’s is going through a make-over due to tough times which is why Maxine, a sultry, mean, man-eating woman is placed on the top. Georgie finds herself pitted against her love, James and the newest hottie, Tom for retaining her job. She desperately needs the job – she is almost bankrupt! At the same time, she loves James.

What will Georgie choose? What does Georgie get in the end? What is all the dishevelment happening suddenly at the usually peaceful department store? Who is good and who is bad here?

Georgie’s character is so adorable. She is sweet, helpful, warm and a great friend. Her friends and a host of interesting characters – evil Tina, her confused fiancé Ciaran, shrewd Malikov and kind hearted Alfie – create this sweet roller-coaster of a tale. You will fall in love with the characters!

What I liked most about the book is that it doesn’t have unnecessary bedroom romance to spice things up. It is also pretty fast paced. Though it comes across as a chick-lit, this novel has an element of whodunit weaved into it.

The tale may seem unnatural in some places but then, which fiction novel is totally realistic. And if they were so realistic, would they be fun to read??!!

I will give this book a 3 on 5.

Book Review: In Her Shoes

by Jennifer Weiner

The problem with chick lit novels is that they suck you into the lives of the characters. You think about them even when you are fighting it out in the rat race of your real life. There is enough drama, chaos and tragedy happening with them to make you forget your own. Moreover, reading about others’ problems is much easier. This is what happened when I started reading In Her Shoes on a lazy day and decided not to rest till I had reached its end.

Rose Feller is your typical chick-lit heroine. Low on self esteem. Looking for love. Goody goody. Has difficulty in saying No. Works as a decently placed corporate professional. Is more heartbroken than happy. Turns around her life after a disastrous relationship.

Her younger sister, Maggie Feller, in what a normal girl would easily call a b*tch. She is abnormally good looking and trendy, nasty, selfish and arrogant. She gets what she wants and is not afraid to play with anyone to do that.

They have nothing in common except their shoe size.

The same broken past leads the two sisters on two different paths. One is successful on the surface while the other is totally spoilt and unhealthy to everyone around her. Their togetherness only creates chaos and destruction.

Maggie gets meaner as the story progresses and though you sympathize with Rose for tolerating her sister’s malevolent ways, you want to shake her up for being such a loser. Maggie isn’t ashamed of lounging at her sister’s house, treating her possessions as her own without the least bit of shame for being unemployed. It is only when Maggie steals something really dear to Rose that the latter throws her out of her house and heart.

There is a third woman involved in this heartfelt tale – their grandmother, who is battling her own conflicting feelings of sadness and guilt.

These three women come together at one point of time and learn to come to terms with the painful past connecting them all. Their mutual relationships are knotty and tricky. But each of them transforms into a new being for their own good and makes life better for themselves and everyone around them.

The book was easy to read, was touching with being hilarious at the right places and translated the feelings of the characters well. One thing that I was not convinced with was Maggie’s transformation. The drastic transformation isn’t explained well. I see no reason why a b*tch would suddenly be so interested in poetry. Once when you begin to sense her change, she again dips to disgrace by thinking about extorting money from her grandmother. She seemed to be a character that could never be trusted. And yet, she turns into a generous bubbly girl. A happy result but a bit difficult to digest.

The book, which has also been made into a movie, is a good light entertaining read that also gives some lessons – of treating oneself well before treating others, of being a little selfish for your own good, of letting go when needed.

For chick-lit lovers, this book is a must read. I will rate is 3 / 5.

The Gatecrasher

Written by none other than my favourite author, Sophie Kinsella, The Gatecrasher is a light, involving tale of ‘the gatecrasher’ and the people she involves herself with. Written in Sophie Kinsella’s usual style, I found this book to be a can’t-put-down. The magic of SK’s books are such that even as the plot thickens slowly, the description of characters, surroundings and situations is so delightful that the reader has no time to get bored.

Beautiful, ageless Fleur is the gatecrasher. No one knows her age or where she comes from; whether she is a divorcee or widow. All they know is that you succumb to her charm without knowing it. Fleur’s profession? Gate crashing into funerals / memorial services and charming rich, heartbroken, lonely, grieving fresh widowers, winning their trust and enjoying life with their money before taking off to the next nest. Not for Fleur, but Richard Favour and his family’s life changes when Fleur enters their life with the impious intentions not known to them. Richard, mourning over a wife he barely ‘knew’, is a rich and a good human. Disposition, past, secrets, intentions and dreams of each character are revealed as the story moves ahead, not only surprising the reader, but also sucking him into the Favour family’s life. While the Favour family is savouring the changes happening within and around them, Fleur is getting more desperate to extort money or move out to a better option.

Villains are thrown out. Old painful shackles are broken. Walls are brought down. People are changed – all by Fleur’s magic. Secrets are revealed, including Fleur’s. Does she do to Richard what she did to the haughty, rough, Greek Saki? Does Richard discover her dark past and cruel intentions? Does Fleur change? What are her secrets?

The brilliance of Sophie Kinsella’s writing lies in the simplicity. Simple words woven beautifully into melodious sentences. Her simple stories involve the reader without coming across as casual, half hearted or boring. SK has the ability to etch humour into sentences with great ease (like the Shopaholic series) and does equally good at sentimental, touchy stuff (like, Remember Me?).

I was disappointed that I had finished all of Sophie Kinsella’s novels. I am glad I caught hold of The Gatecrasher. Madeline Wickham is equally charming!

I would give this book a generous rating of 3 / 5.

Almost Single

Quick Data

Author: Advaita Kala

ISBN: 978-81-7223-655-7

Price: 195 INR

Excerpt from the the back of the book as it is:

‘My name is Aisha Bhatia; I am twenty-nine years old and single. I work as a Guest Relations Manager at the Grand Orchid Hotel. I dine at luxury hotels and stay in five-stars during my travels; I can name old and new wines with great élan, and can tell my cheeses apart. I tolerate my job, hate my boss, and bond big-time with my friends, while routinely suffering from umbilical cord whiplash. I don’t really care for my vital stat at the moment, and I don’t have a cute/funny nickname either. Hence this introduction: it stinks, but it sticks. In fact, sometimes I think there should be support groups like the AA out there for people like me….’

Ironically this book didn’t reach my heart…may be because this was a wrong pick for me since I don’t usually read chick lit..or may be the book is not that great..whatever that is my rating for this book is not more than 2

Though the story goes quiet straight without much frills and zig-zags…which is a plus point I guess…the author writes well only if she could attempt writing some other stuff may be !

Two in one

I am trying to cover two books in one go.

Who’s that Girl – By Alexandra Potter

Rumour has it  – By Jill Mansell

What’s Common –

  • Light fun read. Most suitable for travel
  • Chick Lit
  • Predictable Endings

Who’s That Girl – It is story of Charolett Merryweather 31 year old girl who is successfully running her own PR firm. She thinks she has most hectic life and does not have time to take off and relax. She has forgotten to enjoy small pleasures of life. She is in a relationship which she thinks can be worked out. One fine day she meets her old self aged at 21 and she hates her own choices then. She makes a list of advices she would pass to “Lottie” as she was own then. In the process she learns what she has lost in all these years. Speaking up her mind; doing something that she loves ( like writing novel than running a PR firm) she gets all this back from meeting her own self. Not to forget Oliver. Olly the barman from young age who she never noticed then.

In the end everything falls in place with a sweet and happy ending.

Rumour Has it – Tilly Cole who just broke with her boy friend moves from London to Roxborough where her best friend is located. After moving she just realizes the small town Roxborough is hub of rumours. Tilly is much happy with her new Friday Girl job. She almost falls for Jack Lucas when she meets him. She find him irresistible but his rumoured reputation about women stops her. She never believes his genuine feelings towards her. Just before she thinks she is gonna lose him.

The other side of the story

By Marian Keyes.

My first read of Marian Keyes Books. I loved this book from start to finish. In fact it kept me hooked. I feel she is powerful writer and has way with words. She makes these characters alive and almost you can see them. Above all the way she engages the reader in the flow of the story and leaves you with one big happy feeling. Something I adore. Writing a 600+ paged story that can keep readers engaged through out ; without making it dramatically and ridiculously romantic is a skill IMO.

The Plot –

It is story of Jojo; Lily and Gemma and their entangled lives. Books connect three of them. Jojo is highly successful literary agent and at that point she falls in love with her immediate Boss.

Lilly and Gemma were best friends until Lilly snatched Anton from Gemma; as Gemma believes so. Jojo helps Lily and Gemma to get their first books published.

Three of them connected at some point yet having their individual voices and existences through out the book; all neatly woven together. Gemma’s fantasies based upon her dad walking out of her house and her mom going through the set back; eventually Gemma’s upside down life. Lilly in the success of her first book followed by the writers block; her amazing boyfriend and underlying guilt. Jojo the glamorous yet very approachable; struggling with her career ladder and love life. Finally everything falls and place and we have a happy ending.

I think the writer has been sucessful to challenge the prejudiced opinion about Chick lit. I am looking forward to read more of her work.