Reviewed: “How to Party with an Infant” by Kaui Hart Hemmings

27276345HOW TO PARTY WITH AN INFANT is a bit of a misleading title for an otherwise fine book.

There are no infants, to begin with, and lead character Mele does not party. Mele has a child, who is old enough to be potty-trained, say some words, and walk around. She is not an infant. Mele is a single mother who spends her days at playgroups and playgrounds with a group of friends, selected by the San Francisco Mother’s Club. None of them are really ever in the mood to party.

Maybe the title is meant to be ironic… that the idea of partying with an infant is irony at it’s finest.

Still, though, no infants to be found.

The premise of the story is good. Mele, it seems but is never made totally clear, is either an aspiring amateur chef or was an actual chef before getting knocked up by her engaged-to-someone-else boyfriend. Short story, she likes to cook. So she enters a cookbook writing contest sponsored by the SFMC. The cookbooks are supposed to be inspired by other members of the SFMC so Mele focuses on the other mothers, and one father, in her playgroup and creates recipes based on stories they tell her.

None of the stories are totally happy. Everybody has problems and it is the problems that inspire the food. As it should be. Problems make life interesting.

Some of the stories are more interesting than others. Some feel more thought out and some feel sort of phoned in. The book itself reads sort of like a collection of short stories, based on the stories of Annie, Georgia, Barrett, and Henry with editorial commentary from Mele. But that’s what it’s meant to be, I think.

HOW TO PARTY WITH AN INFANT checks all the boxes for an easy chick lit summer read; single mom, cute kid, angsty romance, glossed over details, girlfriends…

The weak parts of the story are few and simple; misleading title, that I finished it two days ago and can remember the stories in general but not who belongs with what story, and that it’s sort of like reading about the troubles of the 1% and upper middle class from the perspective of Mele, who is obviously supposed to be the middle class everywoman.

All in all, I’m glad I read it and if easy chick lit is your thing you should read it too.

(I received a copy of HOW TO PARTY WITH AN INFANT from NetGalley and Simon & Schuster in exchange for an honest and original review. All thoughts are my own.)

Reviewed: “The Beginner’s Guide to the Birds & the Bees” by Sophie Hart

The Beginner's Guide to the Birds & the BeesSophie Hart’s “The Beginner’s Guide to the Birds & the Bees” is chick lit personified. And if you’ve ever said you want to read just one more chick lit novel and then quit, read this one. Now.

This is the story of Annie Hall, a sex therapist skilled at guiding couples through troubles and to happy places where they can flourish. None of her clients have any complaints about her, at least not in the end after the rough days at the start. Where Annie knows what to say and knows how to tell others what they could be doing better, she is the last person she listens to. The sex therapist has no sex life, really no personal life at all.

She learns from the group of people the story focus on that she can have shortcomings and still end up on top. With prompting from an engaged couple who’ve taken a vow of celibacy until the wedding, a thirty-something couple struggling to start a family, an older couple with grown children, and a few others, she lets herself start to be more open to the possibilities her nosy but well-meaning sister and mother have insisted she embrace.

And she realizes it doesn’t hurt as much as she thought it would.

The story is light, it is funny, it is sweet, and it is meaningful. Not many stories pull off all those things in one perfectly written novel that anyone and everyone can relate to.

“The Beginner’s Guide to the Birds & the Bees” is available for purchase now…and I suggest you buy it!

(I received a copy of “The Beginner’s Guide to the Birds & the Bees” through NetGalley in exchange for an honest & original review. My review is cross-posted on NetGalley, Goodreads, and my blog.)

Reviewed: “Batter Up” by Robin Neeley

Batter UpWho doesn’t love cupcakes?

Truth be told, I don’t. They’re alright. The frosting part, mostly.

But I do love what Robin Neeley’s done with cupcakes in BATTER UP. It’s a bit sweet, a bit witch-ish, and a bit adorable.

Emma and Abby are cousins who inherited their grandmother’s special (magical) match-making ability and it involves… cupcakes!

The twist, one I think is kind of genius, is that Emma and Abby don’t really deal with women – who you’d imagine would flock to a matchmaking bakery. They deal with men. They, or rather their batter, tell the bachelors which woman in town they should man up and date.

Buttermilk Falls, though, isn’t a place that makes national news very often so Emma and Abby are suspicious when reporters from Miami and Los Angeles show up and want to know more about their matchmaking abilities.

Cute, funny, and kind of adorable hijinks ensue as the secret is kept.

And in the end, just as you might expect, Emma and Abby get their matches.

It’s a quick, sweet, fun read I’m very glad I got to read.

BATTER UP is available now for purchase.

(I received a copy of BATTER UP through NetGalley in return for an honest and original review. All thoughts are my own. This review will be posted on NetGalley, Goodreads, and my blog.)

Reviewed: “Love, Rosie” by Cecelia Ahern

Love, RosieJust to lay things out, I will admit I decided to buy LOVE, ROSIE by Cecelia Ahern because I’ve seen teaser trailers and stills from the upcoming movie based on the book starring Lily Collins and Sam Claflin. I do that – read books because of who is going to be in the movie. I get credit for reading the book first, right?


Anyway, I bought LOVE, ROSIE. I got it on a Monday morning and finished it Wednesday afternoon. That’d be two days later, if it wasn’t clear. Normally, books that can be read that fast (especially when they’re 431 pages long) are a disappointment. It usually means there’s not much there but fluffy filler that all but makes up the plot of the thing. I usually end up wishing I hadn’t spent the money.

None of this was true for Ahern’s book.

For one thing, I bought a used copy so the money was very well spent to begin with.

For another thing, there is fluff (I think it’s probably officially-ish a chick lit book so that’s a given) but there wasn’t a page where I wasn’t rooting for the Fates to align for Rosie Dunne and Alex Stewart. I won’t say if the Fates ever do align, but you can probably guess – given the chick lit genre I’ve assigned it for the purposes of this review. I genuinely liked reading the emails and emails Rosie and Alex, and a very wide assortment of friends, sent each other along with the online chats – and if you don’t know, the entire book is correspondence based, no narrative per se. More importantly, I genuinely liked Rosie and Alex. They are every girl and boy with secret crushes on each other that time conspires against.

I spent half the time wanting to smack them for not seeing what was so obviously right there. I spent the other half time wanting to hug them and gently guide them to what was so obviously right there.

Liking the characters in a novel is always a plus and I don’t think it’d be possible to like Rosie, Alex, Katie, Ruby, and the others who play supporting roles in the romantic tragic comedy that is the relationship of the main two characters.

LOVE, ROSIE took me on a roller coaster of emotions. I laughed, cried, cheered, growled, and all the rest. I didn’t expect that from this book. I need to be less judgmental about these things. Or maybe not. Maybe it’s just as good to be so blown away by something. That’s it. I’ll just be open-minded and slightly judgmental.

In the meantime, I might read it again before the movie comes out…

Writing Entry #1: What I’m Writing

I’ve recently taken the plunge and, after much needless delay, started writing a book.

This is big. Very big.

I’ve thought about it before, but something always stopped me. Mostly, I think I tried to define what I’d write before I started writing. I was over-thinking things. I wanted to pick the perfect character names, the ideal location, and a faultless plot all before I typed the first word.

I had preconceived ideas about what it was acceptable for me to write and what I shouldn’t write. I wanted to write something on the level of Mark Twain or Jane Austen. Chick lit and Hallmark movie type stories just didn’t seem the same to me, not quite as worthy.

After much thought, I’ve scrapped those stereotypes. I’m never going to be Twain, Austen, or someone like that. Well, maybe not never. I wouldn’t protest if someone compared me to them, of course. Authors like Danielle Steel, Stephen King, JK Rowling, and Stephenie Meyer have made millions of dollars writing what’s in their minds, even if it isn’t critically acclaimed.

I can do that.

I have a story in my mind and I’m going to write it. Nothing will stop me.