Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The TBR Back Burner Challenge: Round 1 Reviews

Because it can't always be about YA. So I've decided to kick off the TBR Challenge with something a little different. I've selected two Chick-Lit novels for the month of January. Truthfully, my Chick-Lit TBR pile is ridonkulously out of control. However, I have already taken the first steps in correcting this problem. Here are my reviews for I'm So Happy For You and Dixieland Sushi! 

EvilEva reviews...... I'm So Happy For You by Lucinda Rosenfeld. 
Wendy and Daphne have been besties for years. Wendy has been the stable, reliable, responsible one, having a steady job, a husband and now desperately wanting a baby to complete the picture. While Daphne has always been the melodramatic mess, bouncing from one unavailable guy to the next.
But then Daphne meets the rich and handsome Jonathan, and suddenly she gets everything that Wendy has ever wanted. A successful husband, a gorgeous townhouse and baby makes three.
Is their friendship strong enough to withstand serious jealousy, a devastating secret and the lies friends tell each other? 

I had a few issues with this book. Most of them, now that I'm recalling them for this post, seem somewhat nit-picky. But, regardless, here they are:

1. I HATE when authors name like 50 different people and their various associations with the main character within the first chapter. (Yeah, I'm looking at you, Girl With the Dragon Tattoo!) 
It feels so tedious. Why do I need to know the mailman, the yoga instructor, idiotic coworker #2 or that guy you had a crush on in the fifth grade? Answer- I DON'T! And more often than not these characters will never be heard from again, so excuse me if I could give a shit about Carol or Marcia or Lois!

2. My second gripe is REALLY nit-picky. But I feel it must be said. The author used the word "insofar" waaaaay too many times. (See what I mean? Real nit-picky.) You may be thinking "Ok, well who cares?" I do! Because who goes around saying insofar? I for one have never used it in a sentence. I mean, other than when I just wrote- who goes around saying insofar. I don't know anyone who has or would ever use insofar in normal conversation. Maybe I only know stupid people. And maybe I'm one of them. Maybe people all over the world right now are insofar-ing it up. It just really bugged me. 

3. I didn't find either Wendy or Daphne particularly likable. And I didn't really buy them as friends. I kinda felt like it was more of the author telling us how BFF-y they were as opposed to showing us. The "show" part was lacking, in my opinion. Like, outside-looking-in you wouldn't really peg these two as friends at all. Wendy resented the hell out of Daphne and at times it was as if Daphne completely forgot that she was even friends with Wendy. I don't know. It just seemed to me that they were pretty sucky friends. I mean, I know that no friendship is perfect but theirs was hugely dysfunctional. Throughout the book I kept wondering: why are these two friends and why is it so important to Wendy to make this work? As that bastion of knowledge, Kenny Rogers would say: You gotta know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em, know when to walk away and know when to run.
So, Wendy, what my good friend Kenny and I are trying to say to you is this: Run bitch run! 

4. That whole thing near the end of the book when Daphne suddenly, randomly writes a screenplay. Let me get this straight. She's basically been in Awww!Sweetie!Land since the beginning of the book and now all of a sudden she has the focus to sit down and hammer out a screenplay? Methinks not. Plus, she seems fairly stupid. I'd be surprised if she could write her own name (I mean, it is tricky with that p and h that sound so very much like an f) much less a fucking screenplay. I mean, this just seemed ludicrous to me and was completely out of nowhere and had absolutely nothing to do with the plot. 

5. The supporting characters were so one-dimensional. They came in, said their piece, left. I didn't connect with any of them on any kind of personal level. In fact, the only character I semi-liked was the unlikable Paige. She was a bitch and a shit-stirrer but I found her unintentionally funny because she so reminded me of Amy Farrah Fowler. Just totally blasé and unemotional. 

6. I expect a certain amount of sexy times from my Chick-Lit. I am a woman for God's sake! I want romance and kisses and swoony-swoon and lovemakin'. There were no sexy times to be had here. This book was like a barren sexy times wasteland. 

Wow. I just realized what a large list of gripes that is. I NEVER wanna be a complete Debbie Downer about a book. (Unless, of course, I absolutely hate it and find it lacking any redeemable qualities. Then I'll gripe until my fingers bleed!) 
There are a few good one-liners peppered throughout. And at times I felt connected enough to Wendy to feel sorry for her. (When she wasn't getting on my nerves with her incessant whining.) But those moments were too few and too far between. 
It's not like this book was horrible. It just wasn't for me.

The Scale of Judgment says......2.

EvilEva reviews...... Dixieland Sushi by Cara Lockwood. 

Jen Nakamura Taylor's life has been a series of awkward moments, growing up half Japanese and half white in the small Southern town of Dixieland. But now she's an adult on the fast track to success as a producer for a popular news show in Chicago. 
Just when Jen is flying high with the promise of a promotion, news from home sends her crashing back down to Earth. 
Jen's younger cousin, Lucy, is set to marry Kevin Peterson. This isn't too much of a big deal except for the small fact that Jen has been TRULY, MADLY, DEEPLY in LOVE with Kevin Peterson FOREVER! 
She decides to take her friend Riley as he date for the wedding, to give her moral support and maybe even elicit a little jealousy from THE Kevin Peterson. But somewhere between Chi-Town and Dixie, sparks begin to fly. Now Jen is more confused than ever.
Is Kevin Peterson her eternal flame or could it be possible that Riley is her own personal Jake Ryan?

Let it be known that I have a complete author crush on Cara Lockwood! I loved Pink Slip Party, Wuthering High, and I Do But I Don't (even though I thought Lifetime did a shitous job of casting Denise Richards as Lauren. But that's not Cara's fault.) And, as expected, I loved Dixieland Sushi. For one thing, it is LOADED with pop culture references much to the delight of any 80's baby! (Advice from Mr. Miyagi begins every chapter!) 
Plus, you know I love a good quip and quips abound in this futhermucker! There was such snappy banter between Jen and Riley, which i loved! Sometimes vocal foreplay is better than the actual thingie-thang. So while there were limited sexy times in this book, the author totally made up for it with Jen and Riley's sexually charged bantering. 
As a Southern girl (Georgia peach, what what!) with a loopy family of my own, I could most def  identify with Jen. But instead of seeing them as a bunch of ass-backward loons, I saw them as lovable eccentrics. I wanted to know more about Vivien and Grandma Saddie and Bubba and Aunt Teri. Because here in the South we don't refer to our crazies as "crazies." Oh no. They're "characters." And Vivien, Grandma Saddie, etc. seemed like some really interesting "characters." 
I also really liked the flashback to the 80's chapters. It took me back to the totally tubular days of friendship bracelets, John Hughes brilliance and L.A. Gear! *wistful sigh*

I have but one gripe for this book and really it only involves the beginning as, it seems about halfway through, Cara Lockwood righted this wrong. But anyhoo, my gripe is this: It seemed to me that the first few chapters were heavily layered with Asian/Southern/British clichés. Which, I get it, I mean, the book is called Dixieland Sushi. But I just felt like it was a little much.

Other than that one little gripe though, I enjoyed this book. And it reminded me of how much I like Cara Lockwood's writing style. So perhaps I'll review more of her books in my next TBR posts!

The Scale of Judgment says......4.

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