10 Apr 2014



SOURCE: A win courtesy of Avon books.

What a difference a day makes…

Nell Sullivan has always been known as ‘Miss Five-Year Plan’. But when she finds herself jobless and newly single on the same day, Nell decides it is time to stop planning and start taking chances.

Nell blows her redundancy cheque on a trip of lifetime to a place where anything's possible – San Francisco. There she meets a host of colourful characters, including the intriguing and gorgeous Max Rossi. Very soon the city begins to feel like Nell’s second home.

But when it’s time to return to London, will she leave the ‘new Nell’ behind? And can the magic of San Francisco continue to sparkle thousands of miles away?
..... Outer back cover

FIRST SENTENCE {Chapter 1: The day that changed my life}: When the thing that was going to change my life arrived, it didn't look anything like I'd expected.

MEMORABLE MOMENT {Page 44}: She reached into an overhead cupboard and produced a box of English breakfast tea like it was the most precious gem in the world.

MY THOUGHTS: No matter what the 'official' definition of chick-lit (and believe me there are many) I personally always think of it as being a light read (often verging on the fluffy) that, usually with a romantic edge, is written for women about women (albeit generally about women unlike any I've ever met).

A book that ticks all the boxes and then some. Sadly Take A Look At Me Now took 'light reading' to a whole new dimension in that the story required no imagination whatsoever, every word, thought and action recited as if to a child. The characters bland, one dimensional and juvenile - considering that they were in their late twenties/thirties for the best part of the book it was like reading a teenagers diary, the word 'hun' overused and infuriating.

With themes of food pretty much in vogue at the moment, the author takes advantage of this in that in main character, Nell, we have a baker extraordinaire who dreams of running an authentic American diner serving pancakes and waffles but even this is cloyingly saccharine sweet and over done.

Perhaps a novel best left to those more into chick-lit than myself. The only positive thing I can say about it was I enjoyed the descriptions of life a la San Francisco even if all of the characters from Nell's cousin (the typical Brit living abroad), to Greek taxi driver, Apollo, and diner owner, Annie, (all of them, along with the homeless, nauseatingly cheerful and living the dream) were unimaginative stereotypes.

Copyright: Tracy Terry @ Pen and Paper. All original content on http://pettywitter.blogspot.co.uk/ is created by the website owner, including but not limited to text, design, code, images, photographs and videos are considered to be the Intellectual Property of the website owner, whether copyrighted or not, and are protected by DMCA Protection Services using the Digital Millennium Copyright Act Title 17 Chapter 512 (c)(3). Reproduction or re-publication of this content is prohibited without permission. In addition I would also urge that if you are reading this on any other page you contact the original blog owner/reviewer.


Stephanie Faris said...

I wrote romantic comedy before the chick lit boom of the 00s. Chick lit came along and wiped romantic comedy out. After the market became oversaturated, agents and editors wouldn't touch anything lighthearted with a ten-foot pole...so that's why I stopped writing romance. I'd send a chapter (even something I'd written before chick lit exists) and get back, "Chick lit doesn't sell anymore." Ugh! But YA was something I'd wanted to write in the 90s, there just wasn't a market for it. I would have probably written for the tween/teen market all along if there had been a market for it when I started out. Glad I made that brief detour through romance, though!

Melissa (Books and Things) said...

Aw... don't think this is for me. The overuse of Hun would bother me as well. Plus, I like it when they break OUT of the stereotypes.

Claudine G. said...

Guess I'll give this a miss then. Thanks for the review!

Barbara Fisher said...

Hi Tracy, Miss Five-Year plan is a great name – what a shame it was so disappointing. I don’t read much chick-lit, preferring something with a bit of an edge.

Kelly said...

I can only handle "chick-lit" in small doses and this sounds like one that could cause an overdose quite quickly! I believe I'll pass on it.

Heather said...

I admit to liking a bit of fluff every now and then, but it still must have a likeable main character that is fleshed out enough for me to form a connection with.

Melliane said...

Ah yes it's true about chick-lit. I confess I love to read some from time to time, it's light so it's always quick. But well not to often. But I confess I didn't this one.

Brian Joseph said...

Regardless of the genre, be it "Chick lit", Science Fiction, adventure, etc. I often wonder what goes through an authors mind when fashioning a book with cardboard characters and a cookie cutter plot. Even if one is very focused on financial benefit, I would think that the author would value originality and complexity just a little.

Stephanie@Fairday's Blog said...

Sorry you didn't enjoy this one more. I like the title. :)

Yvonne@fiction-books said...

Hi Tracy,

Chick-Lit definitely isn't one of my favourite genres and I will read it only occasionally, either as an author review request, or when I deliberately don't want to have to think too much about what I am reading!

I am also not too big a fan of 'foodie' fiction and hubbie hates it when I forget myself and call him 'hun'. One of the much younger girls I work with, calls her husband and girl 'friends' that all the time, however to me it does sound rather false and 'showy'

Thanks for being so brutally honest about this book, it seems like one to avoid, unless there is nothing else around to read at the time.

Better luck with your next choice and I hope that you have a good weekend,


Alexia561 said...

Sorry that this one didn't work for you, but really appreciated your honest opinion! I think the one dimensional characters would annoy me to no end! I like the title, but think I'll give this one a pass.

Literary Feline said...

Your definition of chick-lit pretty much mirrors my own. I've read some good ones, and also some not so good ones. A lot depends on my mood, I suppose. This one definitely doesn't sound like a winner, and that's too bad.