Category: Women’s Fiction

Review: One True Loves

One True Loves

I am finishing up dinner with my family and my fiancé when my husband calls.

When I discovered Taylor Jenkins Reid in June, after reading The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo (My review of that book HERE), I knew she would be one of my favorite authors. I regretted not having read her books sooner, but was also excited because I knew there were four other books I could look forward to reading. One True Loves (apparently I’m working backwards by publication date) is very different from Evelyn Hugo, but only in subject matter. The writing, humanity, and Reid’s ability to break my heart are all there in abundance.

Emma Blair, a 20-something free spirit, marries her high school sweetheart, Jesse. On their first anniversary, Jesse goes missing in a helicopter crash while on a filming job and is presumed dead. Devastated, Emma moves back home, takes over the family bookstore, and finds love in another high school friend, Sam. Now in her 30s, Emma is stable, in love again, and has put aside her previous free-spirited life. Until Jesse is found, alive, and determined to get Emma back after surviving for many years with the thought of returning to her. Emma must decide which of her true loves is the one for her, and which version of herself is the true one.

This is women’s fictions/chick lit/popular fiction/whatever you want to call it done so, so right. If you just read the back of the book, you might be under the impression that this is a light, fluffy read. It is most definitely not. Yes, it’s a love story, but it’s really about how people change over the years, and grow up . . . and sometimes apart. Reid isn’t afraid of putting her characters through the ringer, and in doing so she acknowledges how painful life can be sometimes, but also how beautiful it can become after difficult decisions.

The characters felt like real people to me, and I was nervous for them. I loved how they all actually talked to each other too. In so many books, no one tells anyone else how they’re feeling, they just think it so that only the reader knows. These characters are straightforward with each other, and there’s real emotion there because of it. It felt like watching a real life play out. Kind of like those episodes of Parenthood that were so real I was certain that I was spying on a real family.

If you enjoy women’s fiction with a lot of heart that makes you think Taylor Jenkins Reid is THE author to read. One True Loves isn’t just another love triangle story where a pretty girl has to choose between two guys who love her. This is much deeper, and addresses who we are in the past, present, and future, and how that affects the people closest to us. This book broke my heart in the best way, and I’m so glad I read it. I’m here for whatever story Reid wants to tell.



Review: Romancing the Throne

Romancing the Throne

As an American, I’m thoroughly obsessed with all things royal. William and Kate, Elizabeth, Diana, those castles. I love all of it. However, most of the books I read surrounding those subjects are non-fiction. I love the history of it all too! But I was ready for a light and fluffy book to break up my reading pile, and I knew it had to be Romancing the Throne by Nadine Jolie Courtney.

Two sisters, the fashion-conscious Charlotte and studious Libby, are away at separate boarding schools after their family moves up in the social world thanks to their mom’s shoe company. Charlotte’s school, Sussex Park, is prestigious, and her group of friends includes socialites and the next King of England, Prince Edward. When an administrative scandal at Libby’s school forces her to transfer to Sussex Park, Charlotte brings her into the group. By this time, Charlotte and Edward are dating, and she wants nothing more than for her boyfriend and sister to get along. But when they start getting along a little too well, friendships and relationships are broken up, and Charlotte isn’t sure if her happily ever after will ever come.

This is a fun, light book, and if you are a fan of all things royal, you’ll probably enjoy this. It’s not as good as The Royal We, but it was still a great escapist read for this category of book. (And if you haven’t read The Royal We, add that to your list immediately! It’s basically royals fan fiction, but it’s great.) The plot is predictable, but well-written, and I read it in a couple of days because I couldn’t put it down.

While this is a fun, total escapist read, the female characters are surprisingly strong and well done. Yes, they like boys (ok, a prince), and Charlotte loves clothes and makeup, but they don’t let boys dictate their decisions or their futures. Both Charlotte and Libby are strong, smart, and ambitious, and I appreciate that in any form!

If you like women’s fiction and stories about the (fictional) royal family, definitely add Romancing the Throne to your nightstand. It’s an entertaining, quick read, and a great book to curl up with on a cool Fall night!



Review: Forks, Knives, and Spoons

Forks, Knives, and Spoons

I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own!

There are three types of guys: forks, knives, and spoons.

Women’s fiction sometimes gets a bad rap. Chick lit is often used in a derogatory way; the books we aren’t supposed to like. I don’t agree with the negative stereotypes associated with it, and if you ever meet me in person I’ll give you my whole diatribe about it. There are poorly-written pieces of literary fiction and great chick lit books. I will read it all! As much as I enjoy a well-placed women’s fiction novel, I hadn’t read one in awhile. Then Leah DeCesare’s Forks, Knives, and Spoons landed on my nightstand, and I am so glad it did! This is good, fun women’s fiction, and was a surprise hit for me.

Amy York is starting her freshman year at Syracuse University in 1988. Her father, concerned about the potential college boys that will cross her path, sends her off with a lecture about how to categorize guys: forks, knives, and spoons. In addition to a degree and career, he wants Amy to find her perfect steak knife. Amy and her roommate Veronica navigate the next four years and beyond together, meeting all categories of boys and men, and finding themselves in the process. Woven into the story are all manner of 80s and 90s references, which, while blatant, are fun.

As many people have said, this book is a total nostalgia fest, and it was a lot of fun to re-visit college (in a different decade), but not why I loved Forks, Knives, and Spoons. The initial utensil labeling system (or UCS in the book-Utensil Classification System) is a little silly, but DeCesare uses it as a jumping off point for the rest of the book. It is referenced throughout, but the relationships between Amy and Veronica and the girls and their boyfriends are the main event. There is some mild-mannered romance, of course, but the female relationships are just as important to the story. That being said, I did find myself, surprisingly, drawn into the college romances and drama, as well as the friendships, as if they were my own, and once I got into it I couldn’t put the book down.

If you enjoy reading women’s fiction or watching romantic comedies like Love Actually and When Harry Met Sally, I really think you’ll love Forks, Knives, and Spoons. It fits perfectly into that romantic comedy category. The plot is predictable, but that didn’t make it any less enjoyable. This was the perfect book to end summer with, but I think it makes a great fall read too. A blanket, some hot chocolate, and this great escapist book (perhaps paired with watching Love Actually or Legally Blonde) would make for a cozy fall evening. It’s only a matter of time until Reese Witherspoon options the film rights for this one . . .