Posts Tagged ‘familiar characters’

Lady Be Good — Susan Elizabeth Phillips

July 31, 2012

Author:  Susan Elizabeth Phillips

Title:  Lady Be Good

Genre:  Romance

Publication Date:  1999

Number of Pages:  372

Geographical Setting:  Texas (primarily Dallas and Wynette, a fictional suburb of Austin)

Time Period:  Contemporary

Series (If applicable):  Third book in the Wynette, Texas series

Plot Summary:  Lady Emma Wells-Finch—the prim, proper, and prudish headmistress of an English all-girls boarding school—is in a most unfortunate engagement to the despicable Duke of Beddington who threatens to close Emma’s beloved school if she does not agree to marry him.  Unable to turn him down, she has no other alternative but to get the Duke to call off the wedding by convincing him that he grossly misjudged her character.  Under the pretense of conducting research, Emma flies to Texas with the intention of ruining her good name through ten days of defamation and debauchery.  Only one person stands in her way: Kenny Traveler, Texas’ hottest and most (in)famous bad boy pro-golfer. Recently suspended by the PGA after his involvement in a series of scandals, Kenny is doing his darnedest to stay out of the tabloids so he can get back into the game.  So when Kenny is hired to assist Emma in her “research,” their opposing agendas—not to mention their innate attraction towards one another—puts more than a few roadblocks in their plans.  Lady Be Good is a laugh-out-loud romantic comedy that is both sensual and sentimental, and is an excellent starting point for those new to the romance genre.  Phillips’s witty prose is engaging and full of juicy descriptive details sure to please almost any romance reader looking for something light, quick, and humorous.

Subject Headings:  British in Texas; professional golfers; PGA tour; love stories; headmistresses; blackmail; chauffeurs

Appeal: character driven, descriptive, detailed setting of Texas, dialogue rich, engaging, familiar characters, fast paced, funny, recognizable characters, sensual, steamy, sympathetic characters

3 terms that best describe this book:  Romantic comedy, sensual, and descriptive

Similar Authors and Works (why are they similar?):

            3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors

1)  Bud, Sweat, and Tees: A Walk on the Wild Side of the PGA Tour by Alan Shipnuck

Alan Shipnuck provides a thoroughly detailed, no-holds-barred inside look at what really goes on during the PGA Tour, both on and off the golf course.  This title is suggested to readers especially interested in learning more about the golfing aspects of Lady Be Good.

2)  My Horizontal Life: A Collection of One-Night Stands by Chelsea Handler

The always irreverent and bawdy Chelsea Handler relates a number of funny sexual encounters from her life.  Suggested for readers who enjoyed the steamy and scandalous sections of Lady Be Goodbut are looking for something more salacious.

3)  Sex and the City by Candace Bushnell

This collection of essays from Candace Bushnell’s popular column in the New York Observer provides humorous and touching insights into the dating and sexual lifestyles of Manhattan’s upper and middle classes.  Suggested to readers who enjoyed the funny and steamy elements of Lady Be Good, but are looking for more general insights into men and women relations.

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors

1)  Bet Me by Jennifer Crusie

When Minerva Dobbs discovers that her new admirer, David Fisk, had bet his friends $10,000 that he can get her into bed within a month, she figures she can play him, use him as a date for her sister’s wedding, and dump him before the month ends.  Like Lady Be Good, Crusie’s Bet Me is a hilarious contemporary romance featuring an appealing and engaging cast of characters.

2)  Nothing but Trouble by Rachel Gibson

Former B-movie actress Chelsea Ross is in desperate need of work, so when she is offered $10,000 to be the personal assistant to former hockey star Mark Bressler, she eagerly accepts the position despite her employer’s cantankerous disposition.  Nothing but Trouble is a funny and amusing contemporary romance between a strong female character and a professional sports player that readers of Lady Be Good may enjoy.

3)  Texas Bride by Joan Johnston

A historical romance set in late 19th-century Texas, Miranda Wentworth is forced to become a mail-order bride when the Chicago orphanage where she lives kicks her and her siblings out and marries Jake Creed, a failing Texas ranch owner struggling with the memory of his late wife.  Texas Bride is suggested to readers looking for a romance novel with a heavier western theme that is more serious in tone than Lady Be Good.

Name:  Zach Musil

Dear John

April 18, 2012

Author: Nicholas Sparks

Title: Dear John

Genre: Romance, historical fiction

Publication Date: 2006

Number of pages: Audio book – 8 CDs

Geographical Setting: North Carolina, Iraq

Time Period: From late 1990s to 2007

Series (if applicable): N/A

Plot Summary: John Tyree, a rebel turned responsible army soldier, meets the girl of his dreams on a short furlough from active duty. While courting each other, John and Savannah Lynn Curtis quickly realize that they may have found the greatest love of their lives. However, their long-distance relationship puts major strains on them – more than either could have imagined. John must ultimately choose between serving his country in the aftermath of 9/11 and settling down peacefully with his newfound love. Passionate and bittersweet, this novel will have readers questioning both their personal definitions of love, and what it means to truly love another.

Subject Headings: Love – Meanings, True love, Military life, 9/11, Habitat for Humanity, Cancer, Sacrifices, Autism, Asperger’s Syndrome, Horses, North Carolina, Iraq

Appeal: Compelling, engrossing, densely written, detailed (characters), familiar (characters), intriguing secondary (characters), introspective (characters), layered, resolved ending, thought-provoking, bittersweet, contemporary, details of army life, heartwarming, nostalgic, romantic, timeless, conversational, graceful, thoughtful

3 appeal terms that best describe this book: Bittersweet, thought-provoking, romantic

Similar Authors and Works (why are they similar?):

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors:

1). Horses Never Lie About Love: A True Story by Jana Harris – This story tells of a physically and emotionally scarred horse, True Colors, who is terrified of humans, but that eventually learns to live peacefully and love both humans and a new foal in her life. Readers may be interested in this testimony to the power and meanings of love in the life of a majestic and passionate creature.

2). Surviving Iraq: Soldiers’ Stories by Elise Forbes Tripp – A collection of candid tales from 30 soldiers who have served in Iraq in recent years. Honest and bittersweet, these stories tell memories from the lips of those who have served – uncensored and in full.

3). The House That Love Built: The Story of Millard and Linda Fuller, Founders of Habitat for Humanity and the Fuller Center for Housing by Bettie B. Youngs – The story of the founders of Habitat for Humanity, the world’s largest nonprofit homebuilding organization. This text will resonate with readers who are inspired by this organization and its mission to end homelessness and substandard housing through God’s love and the love of his people.

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors:

1). A Hopeless Romantic by Harriet Evans – This is the tale of a young woman who has become disgusted and nearly given up on finding romance in her life. While on vacation in Europe, Laura Foster meets the owner of a castle estate and unknowingly embarks on a new, and perhaps forever, romance.

2). In Sunlight, in a Beautiful Garden by Kathleen Cambor – This historical fiction work tells the tale of the collapse of the Johnstown, Pennsylvania dam in 1889. Though this event actually occurred, this story is fiction. Through this book, the author tells the stories of several different characters who live during this time, and who have vastly differing points of view. A bittersweet tale of love and destruction.

3). Look Back All the Green Valley by Fred Chappell – A nostalgic look at historical life in North Carolina with a man who is struggling with the deaths of his parents, and ultimately moving on in life. Jess Kirkman is amazed when he finds secret treasures among his father’s personal items that invite him to learn so much more about the man that had raised him.

Name: Melissa

The Shack

April 11, 2012

Author: Wm. Paul Young

Title: The Shack         

Genre: Inspirational fiction

Publication Date: 2007

Number of pages: 252

Geographical Setting: Oregon

Time Period: Present day

Series (if applicable): N/A

Plot Summary: Wm. Paul Young’s The Shack is a novel that takes readers on a journey from heartache and despair through metamorphosis into acceptance and joy. Mackenzie Allen Phillips, a family man who makes his home in the state of Oregon, has a faith in God that is nearly obliterated beyond recognition because of a great and unexpected tragedy in his immediate family. However, by going into and through his worst fears, both figuratively and literally, he is able to finally find peace and an infinitely more satisfying and wonderful life than he had ever dreamed possible. His faith in God thus becomes a living, growing relationship between the Savior and the saved.

Subject Headings: God, Christianity – The Trinity, Serial murderers, Faith, Family relationships, Friendship, Oregon

Appeal: compelling, engrossing, detailed (characters), introspective (characters), well-developed characters, familiar (characters), inspirational, issue-oriented, resolved ending, thought-provoking, tragic, bittersweet, detailed setting, mystical, philosophical, suspenseful, graceful, metaphorical, thoughtful

3 appeal terms that best describe this book: inspirational, thought-provoking, bittersweet

Similar Authors and Works (why are they similar?):

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors:

1.) Christianity: the First Three Thousand Years by Diarmaid MacCulloch – MacCulloch takes a long and detailed look at Christianity from its beginnings to modern times. Includes influences that helped it to develop as well as discusses differences among today’s Christian sects or denomination.

2.) Founding Faith: the Birth of Religious Freedom in America by Steven Waldman – This text explores the beginnings of faith from the founding fathers on into early America. Waldman debunks popular myths as well as largely discussing what America is most famous for regarding religion – freedom of belief and faith.

3.) Lasso the Wind: Away to the New West by Timothy Egan – Egan takes us on a journey into the rich history of the pacific northwestern United States and carries us on into today’s struggles, adventures and possibilities for the future of the area and its inhabitants. This text is at once moving and depressing, but always realistic.

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors:

.) For One More Day by Mitch Albom – Charles Benetto, a grief-stricken alcoholic, comes to terms with himself and the loss of his mother in this moving, inspirational novel. The author takes us on a journey back into time to truly repair Benetto’s relationship with his deceased mother.

.) Mrs. Darcy and the Blue-Eyed stranger: New and Selected Stories by Lee Smith – A collection of bittersweet short stories with a distinctly southern feel, these tales are ones of love, forgiveness, adaptation, and redemption. Smith includes both new tales and old favorites here also.

.) Where No Storms Come by John F. Deane – This Christian love story is at once a poet’s delight and a thought-provoking romance. It tells the tale of two individuals who each pursue a life in religious vocations – lives filled with brutal awakenings and other eye-opening spiritual revelations.

Name: Melissa

Malice

February 22, 2012

Author: Lisa Jackson

Title: Malice

Genre: Suspense

Publication Date: March 2009

Number of Pages: 480/ Number of Compact Discs: 13 unabridged

Geographical Setting: Southern California

Time Period: Present

Series: Bentz/Montoya, New Orleans Series

Plot Summary:

Malice is a suspenseful, fast-paced story that takes a straight-shooting police officer and places him in an impossible situation. Upon awakening from a coma, Rick Bentz is haunted by sightings of his ex-wife Jennifer. The same woman whose body he identified in a fatal car crash 12 years earlier. When he receives a package with fresh pictures of Jennifer and a copy of her birth certificate with a question mark written on it, Bentz journeys back to California and a sorrowful past he left behind there. His presence sets off a string of murders, menacing phone calls, and more sightings of his dead ex-wife.

Malice is an action-oriented story that pulls the reader along thanks to Jackson’s concise writing and knack for creating intrigue. The reader is implicitly invited to try and put the pieces of the puzzle together, gaining access to other perspectives besides the main protagonist. Jackson combines multiple plot threads and threats in short, sparse chapters that keep the material from being confusing or complex. This is the sixth book in a series, and offers a more in-depth look at a popular character’s past, which in turn makes it a touch more psychological than other bestseller of the week suspense tales. It is moody and serious. The plot is sprinkled with romance as it explores both Rick’s marriage to his current wife Olivia, but the book is focused on suspense and intrigue as Rick races to solve the mystery of why he was led to southern California.

Readers who enjoy clear-cut characters and closed-endings will be happy to know characters are generally familiar and recognizable as good or bad. The ending is definitively closed and ties up all the plot threads neatly.

Subject Headings: Detectives, Serial murders, Husband and wife, Widowers, Secrets, Murder suspects, Serial murderers

Appeal: suspenseful, plot oriented, concise, familiar characters, closed ending, menacing, mysterious, puzzling, thrilling, action filled, multiple plot threads, different POVs (including serial killer), haunting, psychological

3 appeal terms that best describe this book: fast-paced, menacing, thrilling

Relevant Nonfiction Works and Authors:

Dangerous Women: why mothers, daughters, and sisters become stalkers, molesters, and murderers, by Larry A. Morris – Jennifer is a compulsive cheater who propels Rick Bentz to return to Southern California and find out if she is still alive and plotting revenge against him for her death 12 years earlier. Readers may enjoy this exploration of what causes women to behave psychotically.

Mistaken identity: two families, one survivor, unwavering hope, by Don Van Ryn – Rick spends nearly the entire book second-guessing his identification of Jennifer’s body at the scene of her car accident. Ryn’s book follows a true case of mistaken identity thanks to a car accident.

In the Still of the Night, by Ann Rule – It is revealed in the prologue that Jennifer did not kill herself but was instead being stalked by someone who may have murdered her. Rule’s true crime story follows the investigation of a death ruled as a suicide but may have been a murder.

Relevant Fiction Works and Authors:

The Drop, by Michael Connelly – Los Angeles detective Harry Bosch investigates a serial killer and deals with office politics and corruption in this fast-paced but more character-driven mystery story also set in California and focusing on a long-unsolved mystery.

Cold Vengeance, by Doug Preston and Lincoln Child – FBI agent Aloysius Pendergast tries to figure out the details of his wife’s bizarre death 12 years ago and begins to believe it may have been a part of a greater conspiracy in this plot-driven, suspenseful tale that delves into ideas of the occult. (Note: this is a part of a sequence in a larger series; readers may want to at least start with the preceding book, Fever Dream).

Stealing Shadows, by Kay Hooper – Readers who enjoy the psychic yet realistic character of Olivia Bentz may also like Hooper’s protagonist Cassie Neill. Neill is a member of the LAPD who has used her telepathic powers to try and stop serial killers in this fast-paced romantic suspense tale.

His Wicked Sins

October 24, 2011

Author: Eve Silver

Title: His Wicked Sins

Genre: Romance, Suspense

Publication Date: 2008

Number of Pages: 343

Geographical Setting: Yorkshire and London, England

Time Period: 19th century

Series (If applicable): N/A

Plot Summary:  When Elizabeth Canham accepts a teaching position at Burndale Academy in Yorkshire, in order to help out her impoverished family, she does not realize the kind of danger she will face.  A serial killer stalks the school, seeking women with curly blonde hair that he can bury alive, scalp, and eventually kill.  Two teachers before Beth have died and a third girl, a maid, is missing.  All seem to be connected to Griffin Fairfax, a charming widower with a reclusive child who Beth befriends.  As Beth gets pulled into Griffin’s seductive ways, and battles claustrophobia and a fear of the dark from a traumatic childhood experience, she begins to feel as though she is being watched.  Her survival, ultimately, depends on whether or not she can trust Griffin Fairfax to not be the man she fears seeks to kill her.

Subject Headings: Serial killers, Yorkshire, England, London, England, boarding school, claustrophobia, childhood trauma, romance

 Appeal: Seductive, atmospheric, fast-paced, romantic, suspenseful, sweet, familiar characters, multiple points of view, cinematic, plot twists, racy, sexually explicit, small-town, straightforward language

3 appeal terms that best describe this book: Seductive, atmospheric, romantic

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors

The Mammoth Book of Jack the Ripper by Maxim Jakubowski

This title includes essays about 19th century London serial killer Jack the Ripper and speculations on his real identity.  Each essay is written by a different expert with a different point of view on this hundred year old mystery.

Educating Women: Schooling and Identity in England and France, 1800-1867 by Christina de Bellaique

This scholarly volume discusses the education of girls in boarding schools in both England and France during the early 1800s, and the female school teachers who taught them.

Too Scared to Cry: Psychic Trauma in Childhood by Lenore Terr

This title discusses childhood trauma and how it affects the children who experience it.  The author discusses this in the context of a 1976 abduction of a group of children and her work with them as they continued to heal from the experience.

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

This classic novel tells the story of a young orphan girl as she becomes a governess, falls in love with her brooding, villainous employer, and discovers the secrets that exist in her new home.  Fans of His Wicked Sins may enjoy it due to the similarities between Jane Eyre and Elizabeth Canham and their love interests despite Bronte’s more literary style of writing.

Rules of Surrender by Christina Dodd

This historical romance features a governess who is hired by a woman who wants instruction for her grandchildren and training in manners for her son.  As expected, however, the son, Wynter Ruskin, has other ulterior motives for the governess.  Suggested for those who enjoy historical romances about teachers or governesses and their somewhat dangerous lovers.

A Kiss to Die For by Claudia Dain

This historical romance novel takes place in the American West and features a bounty hunter, Jack Scullard, on the trail of a serial killer targeting young women.  Anne Ross, a woman he meets while on the trail, disdains the idea of ever getting married even though she is being courted by the man that Jack believes to be his strongest suspect.  Suggested for those who enjoy romances where the female lead is being stalked by a serial killer.

Name: Christi H.

Monster

August 17, 2011

 

Author:  Frank Peretti

Title:  Monster

Genre:  Christian fiction, Horror, Suspense

Publication Date:  2005

Number of Pages:  419

Geographical Setting:  Abney, Idaho and surrounding forested area

Time Period:  Present day (not explicit)

Series (If applicable):  N/A

Plot Summary:  Reed and Rebecca (“Beck”) Shelton head to Abney, Idaho to escape the hustle and bustle of the city.  However, plans for a peaceful escape into the wilderness soon become dashed as Reed and Beck discover that the forest contains much more than your typical wildlife.  As night falls, they begin to hear strange noises, and the sound of giant steps in the surrounding forest.  They quickly realize these creatures aren’t there to make friends, and flee into the surrounding darkness.  They’re not quick enough; Beck falls and is kidnapped by one of these hairy, hulking, smelly creatures and carried off into the night.  When Reed returns to the nearby town of Abney to get help, no one believes his story involving giant, ape-like, foul-smelling, hairy beasts with unbelievable speed and agility; they assume that they’re dealing with a bear attack.  However, evidence mounts up to the contrary, and soon others begin to realize that they may be dealing with a legendary beast: Bigfoot…or are they?  Are these beasts actually man-made, the result of altering chimpanzee DNA to create a super creature?  Suspense builds in this fast-paced tale of horror that is both action-oriented and issue-oriented, centering around the discussion of man’s involvement in DNA splicing and the concept of evolution.  A quick, exciting read, even fans that hold beliefs contrary to Peretti’s won’t be able to put down this cinematic tale.

Subject Headings:  Northwest, Pacific—Fiction, Wilderness areas—Fiction, Supernatural—Fiction, DNA research, Evolutionary beliefs, missing persons investigations, supernatural

Appeal:  fast-paced, menacing atmosphere, chilling tone, dangerous, didactic, foreboding, nightmare, scary, suspenseful, uneasy, familiar characters, action-oriented storyline, cinematic, investigative, issue-oriented, linear, detailed setting, details of Pacific Northwest forests, accessible

3 terms that best describe this book:  fast-paced, suspenseful, chilling

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors:

Monkey Girl: Evolution, Education, Religion, and the Battle for America’s Soul—Edward Humes (religion and evolution, novelistic approach, accessible style)

Bushwhack: A Serial Story of Off-Trail Hiking & Camping in the Pacific Northwest Wilderness—Gerald M. Chicalo (similar setting, also about a hiking trip gone awry, suspenseful elements)

Bigfoot!: The True Story of Apes in America—Loren Coleman (supernatural element, investigative aspects, accessible style)

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors:

Prodigal Son—Dean R. Koontz (man messing with creation aspect, fast-paced, horror aspects)

Adam—Ted Dekker (fast-paced, Christian fiction/horror, suspenseful tone)

Double Helix—Sigmund Brouwer (DNA experimentation theme, Christian fiction, suspenseful tone, scary, issue-oriented)

–Jessica

Annie on My Mind

June 24, 2010

Author: Nancy Garden

Title: Annie on my Mind

Genre: GBLT Romance

Publication Date: 1982

Plot Summary: Artistic Annie Kenyon is at the Metropolitan Museum of Art singing to herself one day when Liza Winthrop followers her tune and they meet for the first time. The story includes the intimate and passionate hyper-awareness of new love and weaves the confussion of new realizations intricately into the prosaic dialogue. This is a romantic and poignant story of two girls who find themselves and each other. This is a bittersweet story because they feel the need to keep their relationship a secret and thought-provoking events evolve from this issue-oriented book. Will Liza accept her newly discovered orientation? When will she decide to live her life in the open? And what will her family, friends, and the town say? When Liza agrees to house sit her teacher’s pets one week and invites Annie, we find out. With surprising plot twists, this one big flashback to a secret love will keep you reading all night.

Subject Headings: Lesbian — fiction

Appeal:

bittersweet, character centered, compassionate, descriptive w/o overdoing it, engaging characters, episodic, familiar characters, hidden/secretive, intimate (setting), issue-oriented, poignant, prosaic, realistic characters, romantic, sensual, thought provoking, thoughtful, unembellished, well-crafted

3 words to describe book: secret, poignant, engaging

Read a likes:

Fiction

Girl Walking Backwards – Bett Williams

Just like Liza, Skye is lonely and confused until she meets another girl she falls in love with.

Oranges are Not the Only Fruit – Jeanette Winterson

A famous author that has a similar writing style to Garden, discusses being a teenage lesbian whose mother tries to train her.

The Notebook – Nicholas Sparks

A bestselling author writes about a man reading a diary to a woman he doesn’t know. The story turns out to be his story of when he was young and in love and their parents kept them apart. Similar because it’s a love story.

NF

Covering: the hidden assault on our civil rights – Kenji Yoshino

This is a memoir that brings into legal aspects of homosexual civil rights.

Love, Ellen: a mother/daughter journey – Betty DeGeneres

Ellen DeGeneres’s mother writes a memoir about her reaction when her daughter told her she was homosexual, and how their relationship changed and evolved over time.

Jocks: True stories of America’s gay male athletes – Dan Woog

A collection of true stories about athletes that come out to their athletic community, their reactions and relationships, and how coaches did and should respond.

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies

October 22, 2009

Author: Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith

Title: Pride and Prejudice and Zombies

Genre: Best Seller

Publication Date: 2009

Number of Pages: 317

Geographical Location: Hertfordshire, Kent, Derbyshire, and London, England

Time Period: early 1800s

Series: N/A

Plot Summary: Jane Austen’s beloved classic has been overrun by “unmentionables.” The Bennet sisters have been trained from an early age in the deadly arts and are the main defenders of both their home of Longbourn and the surrounding neighborhood. At a ball they are introduced to Mr. Bingley and his friend Mr. Darcy. These gentlemen have recently moved into the neighborhood after a zombie attack killed the previous tenants. There Jane Bennet begins to fall for Mr. Bingley, her sister Elizabeth is slighted by Mr. Darcy, and they still have time to display their superior fighting skills. The Bennet’s estate is entailed to a ridiculous and pompous clergyman Mr. Collins who, after being rejected by Elizabeth, marries her friend Charlotte who has been infected by the strange plague. Elizabeth goes to visit Charlotte and meets Mr. Darcy again. Mr. Darcy has fallen for Elizabeth and her zombie fighting prowess and proposes to her; she soundly rejects him in a spectacular fight scene. She meets Mr. Darcy later with her aunt and uncle, and she is surprised by both his excellent fighting skills and his pleasant manners. Elizabeth begins to see there is more to Darcy than meets the eye when an event happens that threatens to tear them apart forever. Will Darcy and Elizabeth resolve their differences, will Mr. Collins ever notice his wife is a zombie, and can the Bennet sisters single handedly stop the strange plague? Never fear Lady Catherine condescends to answer these questions and so much more!

Subject Headings: Bennet, Elizabeth (Fictitious character) — Fiction. Darcy, Fitzwilliam (Fictitious character) — Fiction. Zombies — Fiction. Young women — England — Fiction. Social classes — England — Fiction. Family — England — Fiction. Sisters — Fiction. Courtship — England — Fiction. Parodies. England — Fiction.

Appeal: eccentric and engaging characters, familiar characters, quirky, strong secondary characters, detailed, action-oriented, character-centered, domestic, violent, family-centered, plot twists, resolved ending, small-town, historical details, dangerous, darker, humorous, playful, sarcastic, romantic, accessible, classic, elegant, witty, parody

3 Terms that Best Describe this Book: parody, engaging characters, humorous

Relevant Fiction Titles:

Jane Fairfax by Joan Aikens –This book is for fans of Austen’s work who are not interested in the violent aspects of P&P&Z, and instead crave the untold stories in Austen’s novels. In this case the story of Emma is told from the point of view of a secondary character.

The Zombie Survival Guide by Max Brooks – For those readers, fearing a breakout, who are looking to brush up on their zombie fighting skills. A helpful outbreak journal is included for the recording of suspicious events by would be zombie fighters. A graphic novel version is also available for those who enjoyed the illustrations in P&P&Z.

Bridget Jones’s Diary by Helen Fielding – A contemporary take on love that plays homage to Pride and Prejudice. For readers who enjoyed the humor and love story of the original.

Relevant Non-Fiction Works:

Jane Austen: the World of her Novels by Deirdre LeFaye – A well respected Austen scholar looks at the culture of 19th century England. For readers who want to immerse themselves in the time period of the novel.

Zombies: a Field Guide to the Walking Dead by Bob Curran – This title explores the history of our fascination with the undead and is for readers who can’t get enough of the “ultraviolent zombie mayhem.”

Green Lane to Nowhere: the Life of an English Village by Byron Rogers – Looks at the history and society of life in the English countryside, for those readers looking for a Meryton of their own.

Name: Elizabeth

Swapping Lives

October 21, 2009

Author: Green, Jane

Title: Swapping Lives

Genre: Chick Lit/Audiobook

Publication Date: 2005

Geographical Setting: Highfield, Connecticut & London

Time Period: present day

Series: no

Plot Summary: Vicky Townsley is a 35-year-old editor at a popular women’s magazine in London who is convinced that her real life can only begin once she is married with children. But first she needs to find a man who is ready for commitment. Amber Winslow is a wealthy wife and mother in Connecticut with a mansion, a gardener, and a full-time nanny. She loves her husband and children but feels as though her life has become a meaningless competition. When Amber and Vicky trade lives for a month as part of a magazine contest, both women get a chance to live the life they think they want. But both women come to realize that the grass is not always greener on the other side of the fence.

This audiobook, narrated by British actress Rosalyn Landor using many different voices and accents, features plenty of dialogue, a contemporary plot that is character-centered but engaging, and an intriguing concept of switching lives. Although the two main characters seem perfect on the outside, the author relates their inner struggles in detail. Secondary characters are easily recognizable but fun: the supportive friend, the ladies man boyfriend, the catty “friends” at the fundraisers. The settings—both London and a wealthy suburb in Connecticut—provide a peek at glamorous jobs and lifestyles, with plenty of descriptions of fabulous homes and designer fashions. The dialogue and plot get a bit racy at times, with plenty of talk of “shagging” and some strong language. Despite the sometimes melodramatic introspective musings of the two main characters, this book is basically a light read, with a happy ending for all involved.

Appeal Terms: humorous, romantic, chick lit, detailed, inner dialogue, glamorous, motherhood, relationships, light read, self discovery, British customs, romance, happy ending, Connecticut, London, marital problems, fresh starts, suburban, quick read, role reversal, identity crisis, fashion-centered, familiar characters, introspective, multiple points of view, sympathetic, character-centered, domestic, multiple plot lines, racy, rich and famous, strong language, contemporary, emotionally charged, melodramatic

Subject Headings: women’s magazines (fiction), London (fiction), role reversal (fiction), housewives (fiction), Connecticut (fiction), women and dating (fiction), marriage (fiction), suburban living (fiction), motherhood (fiction), identity

Three Terms that Best Describe the Book: glamorous, identity crisis, character-centered

Three Nonfiction Titles:

The Handbag: An Illustrated History by Caroline Cox
– Examines the history of handbag design within the context of changing society and women’s roles in it

Little Black Book of London by Vesna Neskow
– This travel guide features insider recommendations and full-color neighborhood maps that pinpoint landmarks, museums, entertainment, pubs, clubs, and hotels in London

Queen Bees & Wannabees: Helping Your Daughter Survive Cliques, Gossip, Boyfriends, and Other Realities of Adolescence by Rosalind Wiseman
– The characters in Swapping Lives could learn a few things from this book about cliques and social climbing girls

Three Fiction Titles:

Sushi for Beginners by Marian Keyes
– Depicts the lives of three women in the fashion magazine industry, exploring the trials and tribulations as well as the happiness and joy of true friends in the fast-paced world of love and career.

I Don’t Know How She Does It: The Life of Kate Reddy, Working Mother by Allison Pearson
– Kate Reddy, a hedge fund manager and mother of two, struggles to juggle her professional and personal lives and to balance work and home.

Goodnight Nobody by Jennifer Weiner
– A celebrity gossip reporter turned suburban Connecticut housewife sets out to solve the mystery of a super mom found dead on the floor of kitchen in this light mystery.

The ex-Mrs. Hedgefund

June 15, 2009

Author: Kargman, Jill

Title: The ex-Mrs. Hedgefund

Genre: Women’s lives & relationships/chick lit

Publication Date: 2009

Number of Pages: 304p

Geographical Setting: New York City, NY

Time Period: 2006

Series: (if applicable) N/A

Plot Summary:

In this witty, fast-paced tale of New York City’s rich and famous, Holly Talbott becomes disenchanted with her life among the elite Upper East Side society, comprised of über-rich hedgefund managers and their wives. Holly’s situation is further complicated when she discovers her husband’s infidelity and files for divorce. Holly and her ex-sister-in-law, Kiki, set out on an adventure in search of fun and romance in New York City in this entertaining and upbeat romp.

Subject Headings:

Divorced women; rich people; extramarital relations; dating (social customs); conflict in marriage; New York City

Appeal:

Romantic, fast-paced, witty, dialogue-filled, plot-centered, easy, familiar characters, racy, rich and famous, romp, domestic, exciting, steamy, urban, contemporary, detailed New York City setting, edgy, emotionally-charged, humorous, upbeat, vivid, candid, chatty, entertaining

3 Terms that best describe this book:

New York City, upbeat, romp

Similar Fiction Authors and Works:

Lauren Weisberger, Everyone Worth Knowing and Chasing Harry Winston, are novels about young, rich women having the time of their lives in New York City. These novels are exciting, fast-paced, candid and entertaining romps for chick-lit readers.

Holly Peterson, The Manny is a novel for readers who like fast-paced, New York City based, chick-lit novels about wealthy, Park Avenue women and trends.

Plum Sykes, The Debutante Divorcee is for fans of juicy, New York City’s Upper East Side-based chick-lit novels. Fast- paced, it is about divorced women who turn into high-society husband huntresses.

Similar Non-fiction Authors and Works:

Paul Weitz, Privilege, is the story of two Upper East Side brothers and how their lives change when their father is accused of insider trading.

Pamela Keech, The Curious Shopper’s Guide to New York City: inside Manhattan’s shopping districts is a guide to the different shopping districts in Manhattan and many stores in this book are mentioned in The Ex-Mrs. Hedgefund.

Karen Covy, When Happily Ever After Ends: how to survive your divorce – emotionally, financially and legally presents divorce settlement options and strategies and dealing with a difficult ex-spouse.

Name: Natalie Ochockyj