Tag Archives: Chick Lit

Blog Tour & Author Guest Post with Ali McNamara of From Notting Hill with Love…Actually

“Scarlett O’Brien, utterly addicted to romantic films, has found her leading man. She’s convinced Sean is Mr Right, but the day-to-day reality of a relationship isn’t quite like the movies. With Sean constantly away on business, Scarlett and her new best friend Oscar decide to head to New York for the holiday of a lifetime. From one famous landmark to the next, Scarlett and Oscar make many new friends during their adventure – including sailors in town for Fleet Week, a famous film star, and Jamie & Max, a TV reporter and cameraman. Scarlett finds herself strangely drawn to Jamie, they appear to have much in common: a love of films and Jamie’s search for a parent he never knew. But Scarlett has to ask herself why she is reacting like this to another man when she’s so in love with Sean . . “

I know I am not the only lover of British romantic comedies out there and even more so a lover of the books that these films often issue forth from. For instance take one of my absolute favorite films Bridget Jone’s Diary which of course was based upon the novel of the same name written by the fabulously clever Helen Fielding and stars my own personal vision of Mr. Darcy personified: the Colin Firth. It was from Jane Austen herself that Ms. Fielding found her inspiration in the ultimate classic Pride and Prejudice which just may be perhaps the very first and most beloved romantic comedy of all.

As soon as I saw the title to this book I knew I not only wanted to read it and be a part of the blog tour but I also had to know a little bit more about Ms. McNamara’s inspiration. The two films mentioned in the title are two of the most well known and loved contemporary British romantic comedies of modern times in my opinion..but what lay behind the films for this writer personally and ultimately led to the inspiration to put pen to paper? Well, who better to ask than the author herself….so without further ado:

Where did and do  your literary inspirations usually derive from Ms. McNamara?

Guest Post by Author Ali McNamara

“My inspirations come from all over. I got the idea for From Notting Hill with Love…Actually when I was watching one of the music channels on TV one day.  It was a countdown of the Top 50 best movie songs of all time. I just thought wouldn’t it be fantastic if you could feature as many of those movies as possible in one story, and the idea began to develop from there.

The idea for my second novel Breakfast at Darcy’s came when I was on a touring holiday of Ireland. My husband and myself were parked in our car one day overlooking the island of Great Blasket in County Kerry. We began to talk about how you would go about living on an island such as that, and how easy or difficult it would be. My initial spark of an idea began to turn into a plot for a fully formed novel, when we later went over and visited the island.

 My characters usually come from my own imagination, but my latest book, out in the UK in November, has a couple of characters that are based on real people I met when I was in New York doing research. Luckily they both agreed, and are quite happy about me basing two characters on them, I haven’t had to pretend or try to conceal anything!

 But I’m always thinking and never find myself stuck for inspiration, and even thought I’m currently writing my fourth book at the moment, I currently have ideas for at least 2-3 more books after that!”

~ Ali McNamara

 Thanks so much to the very stylish Ali McNamara for stopping by Stiletto Storytime today and sharing her novel that has just recently hopped over the pond to us lucky Americans. If you enjoy a good romantic comedy…especially one of British origins, then From Notting Hill with Love…Actually is perfect for you. And if we’re lucky soon the sequel From Notting Hill to New York…Actually which releases this November in Britain will also make it’s way over as well. Another of Ali’s books Breakfast at Darcy’s can be gotten through UK means as well if you become hooked…and that’s a very real possibility.

So in the spirit of the celebration of romantic comedies of both the film and literary type…what’s your favorite? Personally I will have to admit to being a “You’ve Got Mail” girl all the way. I watch it all the time and especially when I am feeling under the weather. It’s got everything…a cute, quirky heroine, a bookstore, Jane Austen references and the all important bad guy love interest turned Mr. Right. So which one is your favorite and why? I would love know…more to add to both my reading and viewing list. So enjoy and Happy Reading to All.

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Filed under Adult Books, Author Interviews & Posts, Blog Tour, Girly Books, Jane Austen, New Books

Book Birthday & Giveaway: These Girls by Sarah Pekkanen

Happy Book Birthday to These Girls by Sarah Pekkanen.

Three unique young women each stand on the brink of success in life but all carry a secret that threatens to consume them and destroy any chance they may have at the achievement of their most treasured goals including the ability to be open up and forge meaningful friendships with the women around them.

In her newest novel Sarah Pekkanen explores the bonds we create with those truly special women in our lives. The ones who help make and shape who we are and who we will become, those that will catch us when we falter and play leading parts in the moments that define our lives.  These are the women who become our deepest confidantes and true chosen sisters in life.

The ever ambitious Cate seems to have all she could dream of as she ascends to the position of Features Editor at Gloss magazine but a secret from her past threatens to expose what she views as her unworthiness for this highly coveted position. Other complications arise when her boss begins to make advances towards her which not only cause office gossip but also make Cate wonder what got her her position in the first place. Will her past catch up with her or will her constant vigilance to cover her tracks allow her to keep her dream job even at the highest of costs?

Renee is a woman on a mission to not only attain her personal weight goals for her seemingly always resistant body but to also achieve what she views as an acceptable image of a woman in the New York magazine world. As an out of this world motivation she seeks to also ascend to the newly opened position of Beauty Editor at Gloss.  While attractive with a voluptuous figure that many women would covet, Renee feels the undeniable pressure to lose weight and decides no price is too high to achieve her goals and possibly attract the man of her dreams. As the numbers on the scale begin to fall so do Renee’s ability to keep a hold of reality. Who will catch her when she literally falls?

Abby is a girl on the run from her past. Deeply distraught, confused and about to completely collapse from an emotional experience of gigantic proportions, she seeks out her journalist brother Trey whom she has always found comfort with to help make things better. However this time big brother may not be able to offer the solace or compassion Abby needs. Family secrets, a lost love and a deep depression all threaten to tear Abby apart and leave her destitute without a confidante in the world. Can she truly open up to the two women who come to her rescue or will her silence keep her locked in a prison of her own making forever?

As each women battles her own past, present and future, friendship rears it’s inspirational head and bonds are formed that may rescue all if only the women can put down their barriers and trust in one another and the support that surrounds them. Powerful, moving and inspiring These Girls offers a look into the world of true female friendships allowing readers to see the power and love that can be contained within.

Sarah Pekkanen has once again created characters that are not only relatable but real in every sense of the word. These women have faults, secrets and fears that many women may share. These women represent the average reader and allow for an absolutely intimate personal reading experience.  Cate, Renee and Abby all represent a type of woman a reader might be or one they most definitely know.

Fresh, surprising and as always innovative These Girls by Sarah Pekkanen is a novel to be shared with best friends and talked over late into the night. It is a work that can strengthen bonds already formed and encourage women to take that leap of faith and discover the undeniably sacred benefits of true friendship among women. Well though out and beautifully written it is a novel of meaning and encouragement within which each woman can find not only themselves but each other.

 Book Giveaway

In celebration of the release of These Girls Stiletto Storytime is excited to be able to offer a giveaway of one copy to one very lucky reader. This giveaway will end midnight EST April 24, 2012. US/Canada addresses only please. Winner will be contacted by e-mail.

Friendship plays such a central role in These Girls. The novel really demonstrates how another person can not only support and be there for you through thick and thin but also maybe even save you at times. To enter simply share what friendship means to you or share a special friendship that you cherish in your life. Was there a time when that one amazing person or group of friends truly changed your life like Cate, Renee and Abby? Perhaps you’re lucky enough to have a special friend who is always there, someone who not only is a support system but truly a person who holds a piece of your heart? Someone you feel maybe even makes you a better person when all is said and done.

Want extra entries? You can get an extra entry by doing any of the following:

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Be/Become a Follower of Author Sarah Pekkanen on Twitter

Tweet or Blog about this “Book Birthday” Giveaway (Please leave link in comments)

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Filed under Adult Books, Book Birthday, Chick Lit, New Books

Guest Post & Giveaway: “Where a Novel Comes From” by Beth Gutcheon

Where a Novel Comes From
By Beth Gutcheon
Author of Gossip

In my experience, a novel accrues, over time and from many sources, with ideas and aspects seeming to light up until enough of them form a cluster that can become a story. I read a lot of biographies and I love volumes of letters because they give you authentic voices, the diction and vocabulary of a period. A major plot line in my novel Leeway Cottage came from one sentence in a book of letters by Sylvia Townsend Warner. Her fiction doesn’t speak to me at all, but her letters are brilliant and wonderfully frank and full of the daily details of a life. At one point the love of Sylvia’s life left her for a younger woman who was more beautiful and far richer than Sylvia. She bore it quietly, in spite of being devastated, because she wanted her lover’s happiness even more than she wanted her own. Eventually, Valentine came back, and Sylvia wrote to a friend this incredibly simple explanation: her rival had all the advantages, except that “I was better at loving, and being loved.”

What a thing to say, what a thing to understand.

I think Gossip started with a biography of Emily Post. I’m a longtime fan of Mrs. Post, a very witty writer and brave, self-reliant and deeply considerate woman. Etiquette books in general paint a vivid picture of changing manners and mores, but Post’s are the most fun. From her 1928 edition one learns that is shocking to allow your butler or footmen to sport facial hair of any kind. Who knows, in this Downton Abby world, when that might come in handy? (As you can infer, I find a lot of research material in second hand bookstores.) Mrs. Post is brisk and confident, but a crusader against snobbery and fussiness, and I thought I might do a character based on her, but instead turned out to use Tuxedo Park, the very grand, very early gated community where she spent much of her childhood and where she is buried. It was the perfect symbol for one of the questions the book raises: what does it mean to be an insider in society? What does it mean to choose to be an outsider? A maverick, if you will? By society, I mean any group that sets the tone for a community, be it the local grange in a farming village, or Mrs. Astor’s Four Hundred.

This is real life, but it is also Edith Wharton territory, of course; so many of her New York plots are turned by the terrible power of social judgments and gossip. But in Wharton’s world, and in Mrs. Post’s, there is a recognized social standard and body of opinion. Our world is very different. The true purpose of manners, according to Emily — I think of her as Emily, since she feels to me like a friend — is to treat others with consideration and kindness and avoid making people uncomfortable. In my mother’s youth, good manners required addressing people formally unless you were truly familiars. When she insisted, though, on calling my friends “Mrs. Todd” or “Mr. West” although she was 35 years older than we and we were wearing blue jeans with our hair down to here, it didn’t seem polite, it just seemed weird, really a protest or rebuke, if not actually to us, then to the world for changing and shifting the ground beneath her feet.

So the deal with manners is not propriety, but kindness. Which reminded me of the “Iago question,” which you hear a lot about if you’re an English major. What is his motive, why is he evil? Does he even know? He does seem to be one of the few characters in literature or life who actually knows that he’s mean. So I re-read Othello, and Othello led me again to the subject of gossip, or rather to the fact that knowledge is power, and words are weapons. I began to think of a modern character who winds up doing something like what Iago does, but in such a way that we understand what she thinks she’s doing when she does it. You almost never meet with pure malice outside of a mental ward, but you certainly all the time meet with people who do casual harm to others while feeling swell about themselves, and that seemed like a proper subject for a novel.

But is that really where this particular novel came from? I think we all wonder why some things lodge in memory when we forget so much else; someone once told me we remember moments when we learned things. Here’s a moment from when I was about seven. The subject of rumor had come up, maybe in life, maybe in a book. My mother told us about the girl who went to confession because she’d said something untrue about somebody else. The priest said that as a penance, she was to go outside, cut open a feather pillow, and empty it on the breeze. Then she was to retrieve all the feathers. I remember my childhood bedroom, blue wallpaper, my sister’s horseshow ribbons on a string above the mantel, the clock on the wall in the shape of a black and white cat with eyes and tail that went back and forth as it ticked, and that story.

Beth Gutcheon, author of Gossipis the critically acclaimed author of eight previous novels: The New Girls, Still Missing, Domestic Pleasures, Saying Grace, Five Fortunes, More Than You Know, Leeway Cottage and Good-bye and Amen. She is the writer of several film scripts, including the Academy Award nominee The Children of Theatre Street. She lives in New York City.

For more information please visit her author website and follow the author on Facebook.

  Book Giveaway 

Today at Stiletto Storytime we are not only honored to have author Beth Gutcheon visiting and sharing with us but we also have a copy of Gossip available to one lucky reader. Giveaway ends midnight EST on April 14, 2012. US/Canada addresses only please. Winner will be selected by random number generator and notified by e-mail.

To enter simply comment below and share a memory, person or event that you think might be the starting place for a novel. I loved Beth’s description of her childhood memory about the girl who rips the pillow case and releases the feathers like gossip goes out into the world and can truly never be reversed just as every feather can never be replaced. It’s such a striking image in one’s mind.

Want extra entries? You can get an extra entry by doing any of the following:

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Be/Become a Follower Stiletto Storytime on Twitter

Like Author Beth Gutcheon on Facebook

Tweet or Blog about this Giveaway (Please leave link in comments)


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Blog Tour: Overbite by Meg Cabot

Meena Harper has bitten off more than she can chew . . .

Meena has a special gift, but only now does anyone appreciate it. Her ability to predict how everyone she meets will die has impressed the Palatine Guard—a powerful secret demon-hunting unit of the Vatican—and they’ve hired her to work at their new branch in Lower Manhattan. Sure, Meena’s ex-boyfriend was Lucien Antonescu, son of Dracula. But that was before he (and their relationship) went up in flames, and now she’s sworn off vampires for good—even though she firmly believes that just because they’ve lost their souls, it doesn’t mean they can’t love.

Convincing her new partner, über-demon-hunter Alaric Wulf, that vampires can be redeemed won’t be easy . . . especially when a deadly new threat arises, endangering not only the Palatine, but Meena’s friends and family as well. As she unravels the truth, Meena will find her loyalties tested, her true feelings laid bare . . . and temptations she never even imagined before nearly impossible to resist.

I fell in love with the protagonist for this work long ago in the first novel in the series: Insatiable. As I have previously gushed about her: “Meena Harper is absolutely one of Meg Cabot’s best characters to date. She’s not your conventional anything and yet she winds up being a fantastic heroine who readers will not only pull for and but also find irresistible.” Since I adored the first book in the series so very much I was naturally very excited to get to read Overbite and not only did I read it once in 2011…I read it again just for this tour.

Overbite for sure does not disappoint. It’s such as unique, quirky take on the underworld of the paranormal. Cabot really takes paranormal creatures and makes them her own and I love that about her writing. She can write about just about anything from realistic teen fiction to paranormal creatures in adult situations and her writing style is still so inventive and comedic that at times it almost seems to be a little bit of parody. No matter how you classify it, I would recommend the “Meena Harper” books for anyone looking for that fun read to just sit back and enjoy…..and sometimes we all need that. Something to make you laugh, something to take you away from the every day and into the fantastical and sometimes hilarious world of Meg Cabot. It’s a good place to be in. It was definitely an escape for me to tag along with Meena once again and watch as she held the fate of Manhattan in her relatively normal hands.

Another plus is that while I completely recommend you read Insatiable, you could read Overbite as a stand alone book as well. It has the power to stand on its own which shows how well Cabot has written her back story and characters independent of the first book in the series. Either way you choose to experience the book…Enjoy!

Want to check in with Meg? You can visit her Facebook, Blog, Twitter and Website for more information on this book or any of her other fabulous titles. In the past Stiletto Storytime has also been lucky enough to have the wonderful Meg Cabot as a guest writer and you can read about some of her favorite childhood reads and her early experiences with librarians here. Having Meg on the site has definitely been a highlight of my blog and reading her work continues to be a great experience in and of itself again and again. Overbite has been no exception.

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Filed under Adult Books, Blog Tour, Chick Lit, Meg Cabot, Paranormal

Agorafabulous! Fabulous Valentine’s Day Book Giveaway

     5 Reasons Books Make the Best Valentines

I’ve spent a fair number of Valentine’s Days with gentleman callers, and have even scored a few gifts over the years. Maybe I’m biased because my own book, Agorafabulous!: Dispatches From My Bedroom, comes out on Valentine’s Day this year, but it recently occurred to me that a book would make the best possible present for the most romantic day of the year. Here’s why.

1.)  It’s incredibly sexy. I mean, duh. Is there anything hotter than a guy who reads? How about a guy who reads Pablo Neruda’s love poems, realizes they’re the perfect aphrodisiac, purchases a volume of them, wraps it in pink and red paper and presents it to a swooning lady love?

2.)  It’s incredibly affordable. Diamonds are boring and often come from ethically suspect sources. Chocolate makes you fat and sluggish. Books have the potential to make you smarter, more interesting, fitter, richer, and better in bed! At the very least, a good read will improve your dinner party conversation.

3.)  It lasts forever. Or at least for the rest of your natural life, which is more than I can say for some stinky pile of flowers or some soon-to-be stale red velvet cake.

4.)  It won’t leave you with a headache in the morning. Reading a book is an inherently good choice, and while its content may vary, the book itself can’t make you do crazy things. A bottle of champagne, on the other hand…that’s a different (and potentially far more salacious) story.

5.)  It’ll help you weed out an unsuitable suitor. Two words: “The Fountainhead.” You’re welcome.

Now go forth and get some! (Books, that is.) And a happy, happy Valentine’s Day to you.

~Sara Benincasa

In celebration of Valentine’s Day we’re giving away a copy of Sara’s new book Agorafabulous!: Dispatches from My Bedroom to the one randomly selected commenter today at Stiletto Storytime! Happy Book Birthday Sara!

Click here to watch the book trailer.

Connect with Sarah on Facebook and Twitter.

So now just comment and possibly win your very own copy of Sara’s new book! 

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Book Birthday: Austentatious by Alyssa Goodnight

Happy Book Birthday to Austentatious by Alyssa Goodnight.

Miss Nicola James had a plan. As a no non-sense, list making and extremely practical individual she had everything in order to be where she wanted to be in life except in the ever dreaded love department. But that was okay; she was willing to wait for “Mr. Right” while she focused on her career, her new home and her 401k until a certain journal interfered and a legendary judge of character and love became her mysterious advisor.

 But really to begin to understand Austentatious one must imagine writing in a newly purchased but clearly antique journal only to find out that it would magically write back. And not only does it answer you in succinct advice giving tid-bits but it also seems to offer options and situations about your romantic future you might not have otherwise considered. Also at times it might even foretell events that you have even not experienced as of yet.  And who might be dishing out all this love making chatter? None other than the all-knowing Jane Austen herself is behind the pen shall we say?

 So what’s a girl to do? Go for the sensible crush she has been secretly harboring in the office or at the advice of Miss Austen herself take a chance on a lead singer of a slightly well known band who kisses like heaven? Nicola James would normally not indulge in any way especially with a foray into the dark side of dating or irresponsible behavior with a man without a five-year plan but Fairy Jane might have other things in mind and Miss Austen almost always gets what she wants.

 Janeites and chick lit fans alike will enjoy this wonderful romp into modern day romance with the ideal lady of match making from the past leading the way.  While saucy and humorous some readers may wish for a faster pacing at times and Austen lovers may feel a longing for a little more dear Jane between the pages of Goodnight’s debut. But all in all it’s good fun with a twist of Jane Austen herself dabbled throughout.

 In the end the real questions is: what happens when we follow the lead of Fairy Jane and throw all our plans out the window for one delicious moment in time? Author Alyssa Goodnight answers that question and many more in an ultra new age look at Jane Austen’s love advice as you have never seen it with hints of romance and of course magic.

Book Birthday Giveaway

Thanks to our Austen loving author Alyssa Goodnight one lucky reader of Stiletto Storytime will win their very own copy of Austentatious. Giveaway ends midnight EST February 12, 2011. US and Canada address only please. Winner will be chosen by random.org and notified by e-mail address. Good Luck to all and Happy Reading!

To enter simply leave a comment below letting my know what “Book Birthday” you are looking forward to in the near future. What new release are you eagerly anticipating? Any pre-order worthy books coming up for you?

Want extra entries? You can get an extra entry by doing any of the following:

Be/Become a Follower of Stiletto Storytime

Be/Become a Follower Stiletto Storytime on Twitter

Be/Become a Follower Author Alyssa Goodnight on Twitter

Tweet or Blog about this “Book Birthday” Giveaway (Please leave link in comments)

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Filed under Adult Books, Book Birthday, Chick Lit, Contests, Jane Austen, New Books, Southern Literature

Blog Tour: J’adore New York by Isabelle Lafleche

     “When Catherine Lambert, an effortlessly chic Parisian lawyer, receives an offer to transfer to the New York office of her prestigious firm, she unhesitatingly accepts. A dedicated follower of fashion and everything stylish, she is determined to conquer the high-flying world of Manhattan law — and love. Catherine’s dreams of glamour fizzle quickly, however, when she is faced with the hard realities of her profession. The pressure of billable hours, the incessant demands of her impossible bosses, the conspiracies of two malicious secretaries and the advances of the lecherous client prompt her to question her career choice. But then she meets Jeffrey Richardson, a powerful client, and her New York life takes on the romance she’d hoped it would — until an unexpected request forces Catherine to re-evaluate the exclusive world she’s chosen for herself.

With its insider’s perspective on the dirty deals and intrigue that have darkened Wall Street’s reputation, J’adore New York is a bright and funny take on the lives and laws of New York’s most powerful players.”

Fashion, New York and a dash of France…I was extremely excited to read J’adore New York. I mean look at the stunning cover- it simply screamed Stiletto Storytime (can’t you see the great pair she would be wearing with that ensemble?). However I have to admit to being a bit disappointed. The novel felt a bit disjointed at times due to the main character and her somewhat conflicting wants vs. actions. While at first I could relate to Catherine…soon she was doing things that simply did not make sense when put in line with what her priorities supposedly were. There was also a bit too much legalese for my taste. Every other page seemed to be full of legal jargon in great amounts with no real contribution to the novel. There was also a bit of predictability about the plot that while I didn’t mind it, left me feeling like I knew the ending at the beginning.

However despite these flaws I did enjoy the book. It was a good read, maybe just not the best. I loved how fashion played into the work and how Catherine and her french origins were interwoven seamlessly into the novel…perhaps I even wish there had been a bit more of that. (I would think a Paris to New York transition might be a bit more complex and not so automatic.)We are also given no details of Catherine’s past or background. We just know she is from Paris…end of story-she’s French.  I did enjoy the romances and the male lead characters…even if they were a bit predictable as I mentioned before.

In the end….if you like fashion and are a bit of a Francophile…you might enjoy J’adore New York. However it may not suit many that are drawn to the chick lit genre or seduced by what the cover seems to offer.

 J’adore New York will be released in the United States on October 4, 2011.

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Filed under Adult Books, Blog Tour, Chick Lit, Girly Books, New Books