Review: Small Admissions by Amy Poeppel

When Kate unexpectedly gets a job in the admissions department of a Manhattan private school, she finally pulls out of a year-long slump caused by an emotional break-up. 

I loved the premise of a lost girl landing a high visibility position at a fancy prep school. The interaction between Kate and her superiors sort of reminded me of The Devil Wears Prada. For chick lit, the mood was a little gloomy for me, though. I like my rom coms light and fluffy… and this tended toward slightly dark and quite eccentric.  I liked Kate’s relationships with her besties, but not the constant worrying and correcting by her domineering older sister. I liked the idea of Kate’s academic, hippy-ish parents, but not their devil-may-care attitude toward their daughter’s welfare. 

I was totally annoyed with the italicized chapters written from Chloe’s point of view. They jarred me from the flow of the story- and I kept having to consciously tell myself whose point of view I was reading at the moment. 

I most enjoyed the interviews with prospective students and parents. Who wouldn’t like to be a fly on the wall in an admissions office?! I would have loved more of those entertaining, slice-of-adolescent-life clips that made me nod knowingly … or, astonished, bug my eyes out. 

-calliope

Buy SMALL ADMISSIONS

Advertisements

Review: Christmas Roses by Amanda Cabot

This month I’m making a nice dent in the “Christmas” folder on my kindle… and although I probably bought Christmas Roses years ago, I’ve just gotten to it this week. I’m glad I did! 

This is a Christmas story set in the 1800s. Celia is a young widow, raising her infant alone, and running a boardinghouse out west for a living. Though life isn’t easy for anyone living in the copper mining town, Celia struggles to deal with her baby’s health issues, the stress of staying financially stable, and the affections of too many men who just aren’t right for her. 

Enter Mark, a wandering carpenter looking for a lost relative. 

I loved how Mark’s presence changed everything in subtle ways, and how the Reverend compared Mark’s compassion for people and fear of the unknown to that of Mary’s husband Joseph in the story of the Nativity. 

Though slightly predictable, I also enjoyed the ending that demonstrated the importance of communication, attentiveness, and honesty. This is a quiet, traditional story that highlights the best in people, and the endless possibilities when you reach out in love. 

Celia had a very merry Christmas, as did so many of the characters, which is even better than a regular happily ever after.  

-calliope

Buy CHRISTMAS ROSES (only $3.99 today!)

Review: Crazy Days of Christmas by Jill Barry

Food and romance go together like toast and jam as far as I’m concerned; that is, perfectly! In Crazy Days of Christmas, Lucy finds herself suddenly short one chef at the restaurant she owns. Chef James happens to be looking for a short term assignment, and is glad to fill in at The Town Mouse. They both get more than they bargained for: a micromanaging restauranteur and a menu revolutionary who step on each other’s toes and push back more than expected! 
I mostly enjoyed all the restaurant talk and menu changes in this light romance. I have fun reading about food. Jill Barry also did a nice job maintaining the tension between Lucy and James without it feeling forced. I was charmed by the development of their relationship, even when Lucy and James weren’t even sure where it was going! The only negative for me was that this food-focused romance had such a Christmassy title… a little bit misleading. 

Not to fear, there was a happily ever after for Lucy AND her restaurant, and that makes this reader pretty happy. 

-calliope 

Buy CRAZY DAYS OF CHRISTMAS (it was FREE when I last checked!)

Review: Balancing Act (Chloe by Design #2) by Margaret Gurevich (illustrated by Brooke Hagel)


In Balancing Act, we follow Chloe at her New York fashion house internship that she won in Book #1 (Making the Cut). She lives in a dorm where one of her roommates gives her a hard time about not earning her way into the industry. But Chloe is so good at creating unique fashion, that her samples get chosen to be made into designs for fashion week. Her mentors even give her a gift bag at the end of her internship — and it contains a surprise that Chloe had only dreamed of. 

I really liked the full color fashion sketches in the book. When Chloe described clothing she saw, the next page would have a drawing of that item. The book illustrated many kinds of clothing, and I especially liked seeing all the different ways a simple shirt could be designed. 

I liked that the author made a few mean characters in the middle of all the happy friends, families, interns and mentors. The story seemed more realistic that way. Even though there were always those mean people trying to discourage Chloe, she focused on a good support system of people who encouraged her to go for her dreams. 

Now that Chloe is done with her internship, I’m excited to read Book Three when she is back in her California hometown. 

-calliope’s 11-year-old daughter 

Buy BALANCING ACT