Archive for the ‘chick lit’ Category

They’re a glamorous family, the Caseys.

Johnny Casey, his two brothers Ed and Liam, their beautiful, talented wives and all their kids spend a lot of time together – birthday parties, anniversary celebrations, weekends away. And they’re a happy family. Johnny’s wife, Jessie – who has the most money – insists on it.

Under the surface, though, conditions are murkier. While some people clash, other people like each other far too much . . .

Everything stays under control until Ed’s wife Cara, gets concussion and can’t keep her thoughts to herself. One careless remark at Johnny’s birthday party, with the entire family present, starts Cara spilling out all their secrets.

In the subsequent unravelling, every one of the adults finds themselves wondering if it’s time – finally – to grow up?

Grown Ups

Marian Keyes

Michael Joseph

Supplied by Penguin Random House New Zealand

Reviewed by Jan Butterworth

The story starts with a party to mark Johnny Casey’s birthday.  His sister-in-law Cara had a head injury earlier that day and is unable to lie.  Questions get asked and secrets are about to be revealed……..

The events of six months ago are then described – the Easter trip to Kerry.    We learn about the various Casey’s and other family members and friends, and   get an idea of what is happening in their lies.  Then the events of five months ago, four months ago, three months, two months, one month, and then we come to the dinner party again.  And see things go nuclear.

Along the way we’re introduced to a Syrian refugee to Ireland and the realities of life for asylum seekers in Ireland is explained.  This is done as part of the story and feels natural, not preachy at all.    This also brings up ‘period poverty’, something that’s an issue in NZ that had been hidden as it was embarrassing to talk about.  The story highlighted this cause as an organic part of the story and not virtue signalling.

I really enjoyed getting to know the Casey’s and getting a glimpse into their lives.  My only moan about this book is it ended too soon.  I want to know how lives turned out!

Buy it; read it; you won’t regret it.

the third  wife

Maya walked into a bus after a drunken night out. Her grief stricken husband Adrian is not sure if it was a tragic accident or suicide. She had a job she enjoyed, friends she liked, his children and ex-wives adored her. They were one big, happy family. Or were they?

The book starts off with Adrian struggling to cope after Maya’s death, then becoming determined to find answers. The story is then told from Maya’s point of view of her marriage and events happening in her life. The last part of the story sees Adrian finding out truths, about Maya and about himself.

I liked this story; it dragged a bit in the middle but became interesting again by the end. The ending surprised me as I didn’t see it coming but ties in with the themes about what makes families tick and forgiveness. I was sad Maya never got a happy ending though. A sweet read that’s non-demanding, if a little depressing.


Supplied by Random House New Zealand

Reviewed by Jan


Hallie’s in love with a man perfect for her but he’s seriously off limits to her. She doesn’t have long to live though, so why bother making an effort?

Flo really likes Zander but his sister is really scary. She won’t be happy if they become friends – let alone anything more.

Tasha’s new boyfriend is an adrenaline junkie and the only thing she surfs is the internet. She’s terrified he’ll get hurt – or worse.

Then Hallie is offered a new pair of lungs. But whose?

The lives of three totally different women gradually intertwine, subtly and sometimes quite obviously. The three separate stories eventually come together and the characters are so likeable you get caught up and want a happy ending for each one. I thought I guessed the ending but I was surprised.

This story is emotional and will tug at your heartstrings, so make sure a box of tissues is nearby as you start reading.

Headline Review

Supplied by Hachette New Zealand

Reviewed by Jan

shopoholic to the stars


She moved to Hollywood with her husband Luke for him to work with a new client, actress Sage Seymour. Becky is determined to launch her career as a Hollywood stylist with Sage as her in and sets about doing what she does best – shopping. Being Becky, trouble soon follows her around.

Suze and Tarquin come to visit and Tarquin quickly falls under a new-age guru’s spell, leading to worry for Suze and tension between her and Becky as Becky is too involved in her fledgling career to help sort the mess out. Alicia Bitch Long Legs makes an unpleasant reappearance and Becky’s dad is insistent on her looking up an old friend.

Will Becky triumph in Hollywood?

Light-hearted and very funny, Shopaholic to the Stars is a good read that has plenty of laughs and stays true to the Shopaholic series. The ending is a cliff-hanger and the sequel is set in Las Vegas. I can’t wait to find out answers to questions like ‘we’re all called Becky’. A must read for fans.

Bantam Press

Supplied by Random House New Zealand

Reviewed by Jan

it started in paris

Michael proposes to his long-term girlfriend Katy atop of the Eiffel Tower. Her delighted yes will have an impact on the many lives around them.

Leila is Katy’s best friend, who leads a glamorous life promoting films but is struggling to cope after her adored husband left her. Then her beloved mother has an accident and needs help which her sister can’t give, being a busy solo mum. Leila splits her time between her hectic Dublin lifestyle and taking care of her mum in Bridgeport, a small Irish community, while battling her guilt at not being there for her for years.

Vonnie is an ex-pat American who owns THE cake store for Bridgeport weddings. Widowed with a teenage son, she has found love again with a divorced father of two girls. His ex-wife hasn’t accepted the divorce though and causes a lot of disruptions in their lives.

Grace is Michael’s mother, a caring primary school principal who is long divorced from his father but has mixed feelings about seeing her ex-husband again. A former head of Vonnie’s step-daughter, she’s worried about her.

The characters were interesting and likeable, with the story looking at the lives the wedding touches rather than yet another traditional love story. The various stories of the characters intertwine, showing how their lives overlap. The book has themes relevant to people’s lives, such as heartbreak divorce, family drama, eating disorder illness, aging, and most of all, friendship. This is a fun, enjoyable read and fans of Cathy Kelly will not be disappointed.


Supplied by Hachette New Zealand

Reviewed by Jan

bridget jones


On the mature side of 40, Bridget is now a single parent to two wonderful children, the fantastic Mark Darcy having been killed while working in Africa a few years earlier. Bridget faces the challenge of maintaining sex appeal while getting older, managing to date a younger man. She’s working on a screenplay that is an adaptation of a classic tale set in modern times. Trying out social media Bridget opens a Twitter account, quickly becoming obsessed with how many followers she has and learning the perils of tweeting when drunk.

A sweet story that catches up readers on how a beloved characters life has turned out, as well as her friends that we became acquainted with in previous books. If you liked the first two books you’ll enjoy this one too as its funny, romantic and a HEA. It is v. v. good.

Jonathan Cape

Supplied by Random House New Zealand

Reviewed by Jan

The Perfect Match

A successful real estate agent, Bella has found happiness with her boss Niall and is content with her life. Her tranquil life is rocked by the reappearance of Dominic, a man from her past who stirs up feelings and in spires a deep longing in her for something more. Growing concerned about Niall’s secretive business dealings, Bella turns to Dominic, a lawyer, for help. Soon she is confronted with the truth and needs to make some tough decisions.

Bella lives with Alice, her godmother and friend, in a charming, spacious house. The 60 year old has recently met a younger man and is having a wonderful time with him. His daughters don’t approve though, viewing Alice as a scheming gold-digger who will break their father’s heart. Can Alice win them over and follow her heart?

I liked the characters and the plot was well laid out with a happy ending.   A light-hearted book that was easy to read and a lot of fun, I recommend it if you want some escapism and a HEA.


Supplied by Random House New Zealand

Reviewed by Jan

Someone Elses Wedding

The Friedman family, Fran, Saul and their daughters Pip and Katy, have been invited to celebrate the marriage of James and Lucy.     Fran and Saul appear happily married but have been distant from each other since the loss of their surprise’ baby.  The daughters appear equally happy but one wants a man she can’t have, while the other wants to get rid of a man she has.  Their happy family image slowly unravels and secrets are revealed over the three day wedding and Fran is shown to have a creepy attachment to the groom.

This was an okay read, though I got a bit bored with the angsty thoughts of Fran.  It was well thought out, with lots of drama and is a reminder you can’t always tell what’s going on beneath the surface of a person.  I really liked the ending and the way they became closer as a family when secrets were revealed.


Supplied by Random House New Zealand

Reviewed by Jan

Beauty – Louise Mensch

Posted: January 4, 2014 in chick lit, Review

beautyRelease Date: 28th January 2014


Born into a poor, working-class family, Dina Kane’s mother resented her for both being gorgeous and existing.  Growing up second-best to her adored brother she works hard at school, determined to make a success of her life.  Kicked out of home at 17, she moves to New York City and bluffs her way into a job as a waiter.  Many are attracted to her beauty but she rebuffs them all, before falling for a rich guy.  That turns out to be a huge mistake and Dina plots to get revenge. But she’s made an enemy.  Dina continues working hard and rises to the top, determined to become a success in the competitive beauty field of makeup.  Her enemy is lurking though, ready to destroy her and all she has built.  But have they underestimated Dina…..?

The plot is fast-moving and there is a lot going on, while following the familiar storyline of chick-lit books.  Dina faces many setbacks but emerges triumphant and kicks ass, while also getting a HEA.  I really enjoyed this book and it has ensured I remain a fan of the author (formerly Louise Bagshawe).  A perfect read for a lazy day where you don’t want to expend too much effort.

Headline Press

Supplied by Hatchette New Zealand

Reviewed by Jan