It’s Blog Hop time! Are you as excited as I am? I hope so! If you’re not familiar with the rules, head over here. Otherwise, let’s get started (don’t forget to keep your eyes peeled for my italicized secret word!)
I love chick lit.
It’s always been my favorite genre to read, and it’s definitely my favorite genre to write. Any time I visit bookstores, used books sales, or garage sales, the very first thing I do is search out the chick lit. Don’t get me wrong, there are many genres that I enjoy reading. In fact, there are few things that I won’t read. But 9 times out of 10, give me a tummy-flipping romance with a slew of strong characters and a dash of humor and I’ll be a happy girl.
I think the main appeal of chick lit for me is a combination of escapism and relatability. My favorite books are those that combine relatable characters with some element that exists outside of my realm of experience. I’ve never been to rehab like Rachel Walsh in Marian Keyes’s Rachel’s Holiday, but I know what it’s like to get overwhelmed by my mistakes. I haven’t run away from my career and home like Samantha did in Sophie Kinsella’s Undomestic Goddess, but I have experienced the yearning for a fresh start. I’ve never lived in New York, the way the girls do in Candace Bushnell’s Sex in the City, but I definitely know what it feels like to create a second family with the best friends a girl could ask for.
There’s a shelf in my office here in Michigan filled with many of my favorite chick lit books.
I own many more in ebook form. Looking through these brightly colored pretty covers is like talking a walk down memory lane. I can remember where I was when I read many of these books, or what was going on in my life. I can also point to the exact element in each book that I felt a connection to, what made the book stick enough that I would want to keep it on my shelf and re-read it time and time again.
In celebration of International Chick Lit Month, I thought I would talk a little bit about five of my all time favorite chick lit books and how they relate to my own life. The books I’ve chosen are written by different authors and feature characters at different stages in their lives and careers. What do they have in common? Each is funny, romantic, and, most importantly, FUN! So let’s get started!
5. A Hopeless Romantic by Harriet Evans.
I love this book! If you haven’t read anything by Evans stop reading this and get yourself to Amazon. I have yet to read something by Harriet Evans that I don’t love. A Hopeless Romantic was actually the first Harriet Evans book that I ever read. I bought it before I traveled to England for the first time. You might notice that all the books on my list are by British authors–there’s a reason for that. I’m kind of obsessed with the UK! Obviously my first trip to London was a huge deal for me. Before I left I got my hands on as much British chick lit as I could find to get myself in the mood. I fell in love with this story about a young woman whose obsession with romance has caused numerous problems in her life. The book is set both in London and in the British country side–bonus! And to this day, every time I read it I remember the feeling of overwhelming excitement as I planned my first trip to England.
4. Can You Keep a Secret by Sophie Kinsella
You really can’t have a best-of list about chick lit without mentioning Sophie Kinsella. She really is the epitome of the genre. Can You Keep a Secret is probably my favorite Kinsella book, but it’s a close one! Can You Keep a Secret is the story of a young woman who accidentally confesses her deepest, darkest secrets to a stranger. This omission, of course, comes back to haunt her! My friends and I always talk about our “secret shames.” You know those movies or songs or TV shows that you secretly love but don’t want to admit to because they’re embarrassing? Yeah, I have A LOT of those. From Vampire Diaries to High School Musical to my all time favorite band (which will remain nameless) my list of interests are a hodge-podge of things that no self-respecting 30-year-old should ever admit to. Can I relate to Emma Corrigan? You bet I can!
3. With or Without You by Carole Matthews.
Okay, I admit that it’s kind of weird to say I can relate to a book about a woman who ditches her job and home in order to go trekking around Nepal. I’ve never been trekking anywhere, and I’ve certainly never been to the Himalayas. In fact, I’m pretty terrified of heights and I have a hard time even driving through mountains, let alone trying to climb one. But I can’t help but be drawn in to the story of a woman whose life is not going according to plan. When Lyssa’s life starts to fall apart around her, she decided to chuck it all and take off, alone, to Nepal for a month. While there she realizes she’s a much different, stronger person than she ever imagined herself to be. The world is bigger than Lyssa realized, and there’s so much more to living than she could have dreamt of.
A little more than a year ago I found myself feeling really unsatisfied with where my life was going. I was bored, lonely, and unfulfilled. I didn’t feel like my life was where I had imagined it would be on the cusp of turning thirty. After feeling bad for myself for a while, I decided to do something about it. I published my book, Three Girls and a Baby, last July and haven’t looked back since. In doing so I learned more about myself, and the life I want to live, than I ever had before. There’s a big world out there, and I’m so excited to finally be living in it to my full potential!
2. Making Mischief by Elizabeth Young.
It makes me sad that Elizabeth Young isn’t better known amongst chick lit readers. She is, by far, one of my favorite authors. I highly recommend you check out some of her stuff. You won’t regret it! I first read Making Mischief in my pre-England chick lit craze, but that’s not what I think of when I re-read it now. Making Mischief is set at a resort in the Caribbean and features white sand beaches, turquoise blue water, fruity cocktails, and, obviously, an adorable love story. Naturally, I took this book with me when my best friends and I took a cruise to the Bahamas a few years ago. When I re-read it now, I’m immediately taken back to sitting on a lounge chair, the sun shining above me, the ocean spread out around us, a drink in my hand, and my very best friends all gathered around me. Ahhh.
1. Bridget Jones’s Diary by Helen Fielding
This should be a no brainer. Bridget is kind of the Grandmother of Chick lit. There’s a good reason for that–the book is hilarious, romantic, and focuses on my personal favorite theme typical of the genre: friendship. I love this book. I love Bridget’s urban singleton family, I love her crazy parents, I love the roguish Daniel, and I love, love, love Mark Darcy. I love that my best friends and I continue to quote lines from this book in our every day conversation. I love that as I get older I relate more and more to this character, this every-girl who struggles with her weight, her career, her relationships. The first time I read this book I was in my early 20′s, positive I would be married with babies before I reached Bridget’s age. Things haven’t worked out that way. In fact, I’m much more like Bridge than I ever thought I would be. And I’m totally okay with that! And who knows, maybe, just like Bridget, I might find my own Mr. Darcy someday.
So that’s my list! What do you think? What would be on your ultimate chick lit list? Leave a comment and let me know (or maybe take a guess at my secret-shame favorite band), and you’ll automatically be entered to win a free Amazon ebook copy of my new book, In Search of a Love Story! Make sure you leave your name and your email address with your comment. I’ll be announcing the winner on May 21st. The contest is only open to those living in the United States, sorry!
That’s not all! Don’t forget about the Sephora gift card. $150! That’s not bad! Check out the details below. Good luck, and VIVA LA CHICK LIT!
For a chance to win the Chick Lit Author Blog Hop Grand Prize of a $150 Sephora gift card, simply do the following:
- Collect all 34 of the secret words (you will find a secret word in each of the blog posts on the hop.) The word will be italicized, so it will be easy to locate. ***HINT***The secret word in my blog hop post is near the picture of my bookshelf!
- Submit your list of 34 secret words toCLABlogHop@aol.com before midnight on Sunday, May 20th and you will be entered into the Grand Prize Drawing!
- The Grand Prize winner will be announced on Monday, May 21st, and the $150 Sephora gift card can be redeemed online, or at any Sephora store in the US.
- Chick Lit Author Blog Hop contests are open to residents of the United States only.
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