Thursday, November 10, 2016

Book Review: Love in an Elevator: A Romantic Comedy Anthology by Whitney Dineen, Aven Ellis, et al

Love in an Elevator Cover Cute collection of romantic comedy novellas

Love in an Elevator: A Romantic Comedy Anthology by Whitney Dineen, Aven Ellis, et al

Reading Level: Adult Romance
Release Date: July 20, 2016
Pages: 359 pages
Source: Purchase
Reviewed By: Kate McMurry

This is a cute collection of romantic comedy novellas. All the stories are a fun read, but in my humble opinion, as a huge fan of romantic comedy, one story in particular is truly outstanding, and it alone is worth the very reasonable price of the book, which I bought in Kindle format:

GOING UP? by Whitney Dineen

Fiona Kitchen moves to the Big Apple to expand her spa business to a new and more prosperous location, but instead of making the contacts that lead to fulfilling her dream, she ends up running all over New York with her portable massage table offering at-home massages to grumpy customers until the day the ultimate in bad customers, a rude old lady in a ritzy apartment building, tops off her dismissive attitude toward Fiona throughout the massage by refusing to pay her. The only silver lining of that rock-bottom moment comes when she's offered a job in that same posh building as an elevator operator. The pay is good, but she's forced to wear a bizarre uniform like something out of a 1950's movie. Her life gets increasingly complicated when she begins to fall in a big way for a gorgeous handyman updating the penthouse apartment in the building, and her life may actually be in danger when a notorious mob boss makes her an offer she can't refuse--to give him a massage in a huge, dilapidated warehouse he owns on the wrong side of town.

This story is an absolutely hilarious, chick-lit type romance. I laughed out loud numerous times. I loved the heroine, got a real kick out of her quirky mother and grandmother, and the mob boss turned out to be a huge comic surprise in the plot. The hero is both sexy and adorable and a great match for the wise-cracking heroine.

I rate this story as follows:

Heroine: 5

Hero: 5

Subcharacters: 5

Romance Plot: 5

Chick Lit Plot: 5

Writing: 5

Overall: 5

Monday, October 31, 2016

Book Review: Dating on the Dork Side by Charity Tahmaseb and Darcy Vance

Dating on the Dork Side Cover Terrific YA, girl-power chick lit!

Dating on the Dork Side by Charity Tahmaseb and Darcy Vance

Reading Level: Young Adult
Release Date: November 25, 2015
Publisher: Collins Mark Books
Pages: 334 pages
Source: Library
Reviewed By: Kate McMurry

Camy Cavanaugh loved playing football as the only girl on the boys' football team until a knee injury sidelined her permanently. In the three years since then, she has attempted to fill her life with her beloved volunteer job as a peer tutor--in a classroom at her high school with a bird's eye view of the football team and the boy she had a huge crush on in middle school, quarterback Gavin Madison, who hasn't talked to her since her injury. In addition to being an excellent tutor, Camy has better than average computer skills, though not as much as her computer-genius best friend, and she uses these skills to access a secret website populated with girl-bashing members of the football team. When Camy passes on information about this website to the most popular girl in school, a cheerleader and Gavin's current girlfriend, it becomes a trigger for a battle of the sexes that Camy is reluctantly drawn into the middle of.

I'm not normally a fan of chick lit, whether adult or teen versions, but this is one of the best I've ever read, for the primary reason that it is both "girl power" and "girls united" in its major themes. Instead of a cliche "Mean Girl" cheerleader persecuting the "geeky" heroine, they become part of a team of four girls, none of which, in the normal course of events, would have ever been friends because they are very different. In fact, they are so different, it rather reminds me of the unlikely band of female friends in the popular TV series of a few years ago, "Army Wives."

Generally speaking, the central premise of YA chick lit is the exact opposite of the central premise of romance. Chick lit encourages girls to believe that romance is a barrier to making their most important life goals happen, that romance reduces you to something less than you can be. In contrast, the central ideal of romance is the idea of finding a true friend and task partner in life, a pairing that expands the possibilities of both partners and makes each far larger in character and accomplishment than would be possible if they were not together. Fascinatingly, this book takes these opposite contentions and satisfies both of them in one story in an extremely well-written and satisfying way. In fact, I'd say the book is brilliantly written.

I rate this book as follows:

Main Heroine: 4

Subcharacters (Female Cohort): 5

Main Male Romantic Interest: 4

Secondary Male Romantic Interests: 5

Chick Lit Plot: 5

Romance Subplots: 5

Writing: 5

Overall: 5