In accordance with FTC Guidelines for blogging and endorsements, A Chick Who Reads would like to let everyone know that books featured on this blog were either provided by the publisher or author or were purchased by A Chick Who Reads. The books received by A Chick Who Reads from publishers and authors were provided for review and no payment was received by me and did not influence my opinion of the material.
Author: Lori Wilde Title: The First Love Cookie Clue Publisher: Avon Publish Date: Oct 26, 2010 Rating: 4 Stars Book Blurb: "On Christmas Eve, if you sleep with kismet cookies under your pillow and dream of your one true love, he will be your destiny."
The townsfolk of Twilight, Texas, believe the legend, but not Sarah Collier—not since she was a pudgy teenager, running down the church aisle on Christmas Day in a jingle bell sweater and reindeer antlers, trying to stop Travis Walker from marrying someone else. She may be grown-up, slimmed-down, bestselling children's book author "Sadie Cool"now, but Sarah will never forget that day. And she'll never fall foolishly in love again!
But when a letter from a sick fan brings Sarah back to Twilight, she's shocked to discover that Travis is the little girl's father—unattached and hotter than ever. His smile still makes her melt, but Sarah knows that ship has sailed. Travis, however, might have different ideas.
Review: The title of this book doesn't begin to give you an idea of what this story is about. Sure, there is a First Love Cookie Club in Twilight, Texas, but that isn't really what the story is about. Lori's story goes far more into the legend of the kismet cookie than she does the ladies that make up the cookie club.
Sarah and Travis are at the heart of the story, because Sarah slept with the kismet cookies under her pillow and dreamt of Travis. Her crush and resolve that he was her soul mate made her embarrass herself more than humanly possible on the Christmas when she was 15.
Well 9 years later, she's back to promote her book The Magic Christmas Cookie and Travis' daughter is the reason she's there. Jazzy has severe asthma and from the looks of things, she might not make it to her teen years. Her Christmas wish is to meet her favorite author, Sadie Cool, who is Sarah.
Of all the characters in First Love Cookie Club, Jazzy has to be the best. She's a strong little girl and a fighter, and even when she gets what she wants, she's smart enough to know that what she wants may not be what's best.
The characters are really complex. Sarah's parents are famous surgeons that don't really have time for their daughter. Sarah also has some serious self esteem issues stemming from an accident during her college years. She's very much the introvert.
Then there's Travis. He was a bad boy, then he became a father. Jazzy and her illness have caused him to do a complete turnaround. He's sweet to the point where he might just be too good to be true, but that doesn't matter. Its a Christmas story, and with Christmas stories, you don't want a hero that's too flawed.
The two of them fight the attraction. Well, Sarah fights the attraction, or perhaps rather the embarrassment of still being attracted to him after 9 years, but it is inevitable that they get together, but the getting there takes some doing. In fact, there getting together feels like forever. However, when they do get together, you are cheering for them both. Actually you cheer for them and you cheer for Jazzy, who is really one of the sweetest kids written in a romance novel. You want her to get well, and there's a point at the end where it is very touch and go, but you know that it has to work out for her and when it does, you breathe a sigh of relief and wipe some tears off your cheek.
The only drawback to this story is Travis aunt. She brings them together but a part of her past causes her to want to break them up and she nearly does. This really detracts from the story. Not because of the conflict it causes, but because there was a little bit of unfinished business that gets left hanging. Lori gives us the details about his aunt's secret and the explosion with her husband when he finds out, but she neglects to resolve it. The story could have had an even happier ending if that resolution could have occurred.
This was great story for the holidays full of love and forgiveness. Well worth reading.
Author: Julie Berry Title: Secondhand Charm Publisher: Bloomsbury Publish Date: Oct 12, 2010 Rating: 5 Stars Book Blurb: In a secluded village, magic sparkles on the edges of the forest. There, a young girl named Evie possesses unusually strong powers as a healer. A gypsy's charms—no more than trinkets when worn by others—are remarkably potent when Evie ties them around her neck. Her talents, and charms, have not escaped the notice of the shy stonemason's apprentice. But Evie wants more than a quiet village and the boy next-door. When the young king's carriage arrives one day, and his footman has fallen ill, Evie might just get her chance after all . .
Review: Secondhand Charm is one of those books that you start and can't put down. It wasn't even what I was expecting but it was so good that all the expectations I had going in were just blown away.
Its very much a novel of fantasty, though it has a good dose of the medieval tossed in which makes it a little more real.
Evie was such a wonderful character and she overcomes so many obstacles as she tried to reach her goal, which was to study at the University and become a physician. (Has anyone noticed a lot of the heroines lately want to be doctors?) She has all the strength that most of us look for in adult fiction. She knew exactly what she wanted and she went for it from the beginning of the book to the end.
The fact that she's a serpentina comes as quite a surprise, just as the discovery that she has a leviathan. I loved the relationship that grew between Evie and Clair. At times the leviathan seems like a special pet, but Clair is much much more and the sea monster really is quite lovable and very protective, but in the end it wasn't the leviathan's protectiveness that helped her the most, it was her friend Aidan, who grew to be much more than a friend as the book progresses. She discovers her true self when making an appeal to one of King Leopold's men in hopes of getting into the University to study. Her letter from the king was lost at sea. It is there she meets the king's intended bride, Annalise, who is another serpentina, and who teaches her some of their ways.
The action all makes sense leading up to a climax which was not something that was not expected, which is a testiment to Ms. Berry's excellent storytelling skills. She keeps you on the edge of your seat waiting to find out what happens next.
I really love how Ms. Berry utilized characters from early in the story at the end to tie things together. This was truly a great read. Its listed as a YA book but I would recommend it to just about anyone.
Author: Nora Roberts Title: Windfall Publisher: Silhouette Publish Date: Septemeber 2009 Rating: 3 Stars Book Blurb: Impulse
For once in her life, Rebecca Malone decided to follow her impulses, jettison the familiar and head to Greece to find adventure! So when a sexy stranger began to romance her, she couldn't resist playing the sophisticated, well-traveled woman. However, falling in love with Stephen Nickodemus was not part of the plan! How on earth could she explain to the man she'd given her heart to that she wasn't the woman he'd believed her to be? And then convince him that she was still the woman he loved….
Socialite Eden Carlborough didn't expect running a girls' camp to be easy, but she never thought she'd literally be run up an apple tree by the little monsters. She was equally surprised to come crashing down into the capable arms of orchard owner Chase Elliot. While her handsome neighbor's overbearing ways were highly irritating, his touch ignited feelings she'd never known. She never imagined she'd be so very…tempted!
Review: Windfall is a sweet set of early Nora Roberts stories for Silhouette. Both Impulse and Temptation are very sweet love stories, the kind that just about anyone can read without worrying about any real "smutty" scenes.
Impulse is a scant 95 pages. It is barely enough time to get to know Stephen and Rebecca, let alone believe in their happily ever after, but that's the point of these two stories in this book. These are love at first sight books and with Impulse that's what you get.
Rebecca is that kind of heroine that can only exist in a Silhouette Romance. She's in her twenties and has sold all her possessions to travel the world because she thinks she's too dull. Ah, if only that were possible in real life. I would give anything to go to London, Paris and Athens...and meet a rich guy and fall instantly in love.
This story is just a little bit too unrealistic to be great, but it is a sweet story and a very quick read.
Temptation is the story that makes this compilation novel worth reading. It reads almost like a situation comedy at times. Eden is a rich girl, turned poor, who gave her last dollar to invest in her best friend's summer "girls" camp, which she's a riding instucture.
There's loads of fun with the girls at camp, specifically a 12 year old named Roberta, who it is impossible not to fall in love with. She stirs up all kinds of fun trouble and really is instrumental in getting Eden and Chase, the "apple man" together.
This story may not quite be love at first sight but the two get together over the summer, and nothing is easy for them. At first Eden is ready to try for a relationship and then her aunt shows up with her ex-fiance in tow. It makes for some interesting arguements and it was great to see Eden handle them like a strong woman and not some wishy washy girl out to do what might be best for her family's tattered image.
As always, there's a happily ever after that will make you smile.
Windfall was a cute set of stories by Nora Roberts and well worth reading.
I was lucky enough to be able to do a little Q & A with Vanetta Chapman, the author of A Simple Amish Christmas, which is available at Amazon now for preorder.
Tell us a little about your inspiration for A Simple Amish Christmas?
As I began researching for an original storyline, it occurred to me that Amish women must struggle with some of the same problems the rest of us do. I live in a small town now, but even when I lived in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area, I would see people move away, pursue their dreams, and then move back home. That process of returning home, of trying to fit into our community, is Annie's story. It's a journey that allows her to find God's plan for her life.
Stories about the Amish and their way of life are very popular, what do you think is the appeal?
I think it's a bit of nostalgia, but not simple nostalgia for the past. The Amish do represent the way our grandparents lived to some extent, so when we read those stories we nod and remember a trip to visit loved ones when we were children. But they also stand for a simpler lifestyle, and that's something we can all have right now--if we're willing to slow down an hour each day, or plant an herb garden in the window, or turn off the computer for a little bit each evening. Those are things I talk about on my blog (http://vannettachapman.wordpress.com/), ideas we're all discovering together. I think simplicity is the appeal of Amish stories and why they continue to be immensely popular.
Did you do a lot of research to write A Simple Amish Christmas?
Yes! I didn't know how to speak Pennsylvania Dutch before I began writing A Simple Amish Christmas, though as I began learning, so many of those words were familiar to me. My father actually grew up speaking German in his home, and he would occasionally speak in German to us . . . it was fun rediscovering the language. Then of course there were the traditions as well as the setting that I needed to research. I did a lot of reading, and I also took a week-long trip to Shipshewana, Indiana - the setting for my 3 book Amish mystery series which will release next year (Zondervan, A Shipshewana Amish Mystery).
Tell us a bit about the differences in the way the Amish celebrate Christmas from the way the "English" celebrate?
As you would expect it's simpler and more focused on the religious aspects of the holiday. Gifts tend to be handmade and most family members might receive two or three gifts total. First Christmas is celebrated on the 25th and that day is a day dedicated to worship. Then second Christmas is the day when they exchange gifts. Some things are similar though - Amish families gather together and there is a huge meal shared the same as many of us share. Some Amish communities have Christmas trees, although many do not.
Looking at how fast paced the average person's life style is, do you think maybe the Amish have it right, living so simply?
Considering that I'm now working more than two full times job (I teach full time, teach as an adjunct professor and write full time), you might be asking the wrong person! I'm kidding. Of course, as I learn more about the Amish, and more importantly, as I meet Amish folk, I do admire their perspectives and attitudes toward life. But you know, I see that same attitude in small town rural life as well, and then I've even met people in the city who know how to slow down and relax when the day calls for it. Do I think the Amish "have it right?" Yes, personally I do think we need to all unplug more often and interact with those around us, but I think we can do it wherever we are.
What is the one thing you hope readers will take away with them after reading "A Simple Amish Christmas."
I hope they will read within the pages of this Amish tale, a story of God's grace. It doesn't matter where you live, where you've been, or how long you've been away from home -- God has a plan for you. He has a hope and a future for you. That's Annie's story and I think it's God's story that has been written out for each of us.
I'm breaking away from the mold of In My Mailbox. Instead, I'm going to tell you what new books have come into my life in the past week.
For me this means, books I've purchased, tour books, and books I've swapped at the YMCA's lending library, which is crazy awesome.
I've seriously got to stay away from the YMCA's lending library! I keep finding great books to bring home. Now I have to make time to read all of them. That's not an easy thing to do, especially as I have a bazillion books on my Nook that need to be read. I need more hours in the day for reading!!!
Here's a picture of my current stash; again, some came from the Y's library, other's came from Goodwill and the Harlequin's are my Historical shipment I get once a month. There's also a book tour book in the pile for this week as well.
On My Wishlist is a fun weekly event hosted by Book Chick City and runs every Saturday. It's where I list all the books I desperately want but haven't actually bought yet. They can be old, new or forthcoming.
Here are a few of the books on my wishlist right now.
Author: Nicola Cornick Title: One Wicked Sin Publisher: HQN Publish Date: November 1, 2010 Rating: 5 Stars Book Blurb: Once the toast of the ton, Lottie Cummings is now notorious for being divorced. Shunned by society, the destitute beauty is lured to become a Covent Garden courtesan. Until a dangerous rake saves her with a scandalous offer.
The illegitimate son of a duke, Ethan Ryder rose to the ranks of Napoleon's most trusted cavalry officer—until his capture landed him in England as a prisoner of war. Now on parole, Ethan is planning his most audacious coup yet. But he needs Lottie's help to create a spectacular diversion. Yet their pact ignites a passionate bond that may scandalize even these two wicked souls….
Review: Nicola Cornick is truly a master of regency romance and with One Wicked Sin she not only creates a great story, but she does something different. Lottie Cummings isn't your ordinary heroine, she's over 30, divorced (and her husband was a homosexual) and a bit chubby, or so she describes herself early on in the novel. She's the type of character you instantly fall in love with. She's fallen on hard times but she fights to get back to where she was even if it means become the mistress to a French prisoner of war?
This book is a very sensual read. Lottie is a courtesan, though not a good one, as she admits to Ethan. She has lost her desire to be someone's lover now that she has to do it for pay. However Ethan is an exception. When those two get together things are explosive on the page.
Ethan is a very flawed hero. He's born on the wrong side of the blanket. He's technically the enemy though his father is a Duke. He feels that he's a failed father. The list goes on and on, yet he's very likable and a perfect match for Lottie.
Yet things don't go perfectly for them. Lottie is asked to spy on him by her brother to help the British side, and later both her family and Ethan's family try to convince her to give him up or get him to switch loyalties. Their love, that isn't declared is tested at every turn, and sometimes Lottie screws up. She is the queen of bad decisions. She wouldn't be in the position she's in if she weren't. That's what makes her come across so well. She's very human and very strong. She fights for herself and for those she loves, even if she's unsure if her love is returned.
This is definitely one of this year's best regency romances. Nicola Cornick has created something different with her Scandalous Women Of The Ton trilogy and One Wicked Sin is definitely a book not to be missed!
~ Ebook provided by Net Galley
This week's get to know you question is: When you write reviews, do you write them as you are reading or wait until you have read the entire book?
I don't write my reviews until I've totally finished a book. I sometimes jot something down that I want to remember when I'm writing the review, but for the most part everything is written within 24 hours of my turning the last page. If I wait any longer than that, I forget things I want to mention.
Now here are some things going on @ A Chick Who Reads
I think everyone has comfort zone when it comes to books. You know, that genre you always read, or go back to after you try something different.
With me, its romance/chicklit. I love the stuff. It is great fun for me to read and I devour it like candy, but that's not to say I don't like other types of books too. I'll jump into a great mystery or memoir if the plot or subject matter suits me. Sometimes I'll even do horror, but it really has to be a plot that grabs me. Sure I venture out of my comfort zone every now and then, but it has to be for something "good."
I don't know about you but when it comes to books outside my "zone" I seem to read them more slowly. I'm still working on John Darnton's The Experiment and its taking me forever to even get more than 20 pages into the book.
This thriller is way out of my comfort zone!
But the plot really caught my eye awhile back and I bought the book and now I'm determined to finish it.
So what is your comfort zone and how often to you read outside of it?
Author: Vanetta Chapman Title: A Simple Amish Christmas Publisher: Abingdon Press Publish Date: October 2010 Rating: 5 stars Book Blurb: Annie Weaver always planned to return home, but the 20-year old RN has lived in Philadelphia for three years now. As her time of rumschpringe is about to come to an abrupt end, bringing for Annie an overwhelming sense of loneliness. She returns home and finds herself face-to-face with a budding romance with an Amish farmer and Annie has several important choices to make.
Review: Vanetta Chapman's A Simple Amish Christmas is a wonderfully sweet tale about an Amish girl returning to the fold after her rumschpringe has ended. For those not totally aware of the Amish culture, rumschpringe is that time between childhood and adulthood, where the Amish can be a bit freer with their lives.
In A Simple Amish Christmas, Annie Weaver has spent her time with her aenti "aunt" in Philadelphia working as a nurse. She returns to her home when her father is injured in a buggy accident on the way home from Samuel Yoder's house.
The story is really just a very simple love story, of a man afraid to love again, after the loss of his first wife and child and of a girl on the brink of adulthood, trying to fit in. Vanetta shows the Amish way of life beautifully while adding just the right measure of reality so that you don't forget that these people live like this today in their communities in Ohio and Pennsylvania.
The characters were all so real and their problems were no different from those faced by any other 20 year old woman. At times during the story it was hard to believe that the setting was present day, but the Amish culture is very old-fashioned. Vannetta was really able to take you through the day to day life of these people and make you understand the culture and the faith they have, while watching Annie and Samuel discover their love.
This is definitely a Christmas story not to be missed.
Waiting On Wednesday is brought to you by Breaking The Spine. This meme spotlights upcoming releases that we are eagerly anticipating.
Here are a couple of books coming up in the next month or two that I really can't wait for!
Author: Patricia Davids Title: An Amish Christmas Why I Want It: This is the third book in the "Brides Of Amish Country" mini-series @ Love Inspired. Its also a Christmas book, which puts it up high on my list of wants, because I'm a huge sucker for holiday books!!! There's no blurb yet, but I love Patricia's books so I'm not too worried. I'm also a sucker for Amish romances! It comes from spending many of my summer vacations with my parents in Lancaster County, PA.
Author: Hope Tarr, Bettina Kahn, Jacqui D'Alessandro Title: A Harlequin Christmas Carol (Anthology) Why I Want It: 3 of my favorite Blaze authors all in one anthology! All for Christmas! I couldn't be much happier! Actually the thing that made me the most excited for this one is Hope's story. I buy all of Hope Tarr's books and I haven't been disappointed in a single one! Love her writing!! So needless to say, this anthology is going to make my Christmas!!!
I have to say, it is taking some time to get used to reading books from my Nook. I'm not sure why. Maybe I'm just an old fuddy duddy, but it does feel slightly different from holding a book in your hands.
So far in the last month or so, I've read about 6 books on my Nook. The rest were all print books. Still I think I'm getting better.
I haven't made an ebook purchase yet though. All of the books I've read are either the freebies I get from Barnes and Noble classics or the ARC Galleys from Net Galley.
I guess I'll know I'm a total convert to the Nook when I can bring myself to buy a book that isn't bound.
Does that make any sense to you?
I do know one thing, I like the Nook better than reading books on the computer. That is a royal pain in the butt!
So to those of you with eReaders, did you make the digital transition with ease or do you still feel like you are missing something by not having a bound book in your hands?
Author: Eden Bradley Title: The Lovers Publisher: Spice Publish Date: November 1, 2010 Rating: 2 stars Book Blurb: THE LOVERS was a very different kind of story for me. Not only does Bettina embark on a journey of healing and self-discovery, but she does it by exploring a part of herself previously unrecognized: her desire for another woman. This leads to a number of conflicts for her, one of which is her equally stunning attraction to Jack.
Bettina is one of my most complex characters to date, and that sort of deep psychology-who are we? Why do we do the things we do, crave the things we crave?-is absolutely fascinating to me.
Audrey, the other woman in the story, ended up with a lot more page time than I'd originally intended. But she has that sort of irresistible charm. Bettina, Audrey and Jack together are a force to be reckoned with. Their combined sensuality made for some of the hottest sex scenes I've ever written-hot for me, at least. The ensemble cast of characters and the beautiful setting on the California coast, just north of Santa Barbara, made this a very visual experience for me. I feel this is some of my best work to date, and I hope readers will agree.
Review: The Lovers was a totally different story from what I expected. Bettina is a writer with a lot of psychological issues. At the retreat she meets Audrey who she is attracted too. This is something new for her, having never had a relationship with another woman. However Audrey isn't really much of a character except when it comes to the lovemaking scenes, which Ms. Bradley wrote perfectly.
The three characters in the love triangle just didn't seem to fit. You kind of expected them to break apart, but you are never sure why they'd want to. Only Bettina seems to have any real feelings. Audrey and Jack just hint at them, just as they hint at the problems they've faced that have made them the way they are. I give Jack brownie points because he really tried towards the end to be what Bettina wanted him to be. Audrey however gets left behind by both of them. She was like a flame that burned hot and fast, but when the other two found each other no matter how hot that flame was, it faded and died.
I think that's what disappointed me the most with this story. The menage a tois didn't last. There were a few really hot scenes, that left you clamoring for a glass of water, but all to soon it was just hot sex between Bettina and Jack and her issues with Jack not wanting to try a relationship.
I would have loved to really get to know Audrey better and even Jack, both main characters that just didn't feel anything other than one dimensional. I felt closer to some of the secondary characters, especially Vivienne who I would have enjoyed getting to know more about, especially of her initial relationship with Jack. There were so many people on this writer's retreat and it would have been nice to really see them as people, just as it would have been nice to really understand why Bettina was attrached to Audrey and Jack. Being pretty and handsome doesn't really cut it.
If you are reading this book for the steam factor, it will appeal to you, but if you want more than that, sadly it doesn't deliver.
On My Wishlist is a fun weekly event hosted by Book Chick City and runs every Saturday. It's where I list all the books I desperately want but haven't actually bought yet. They can be old, new or forthcoming.
Here are a few of the books on my wishlist right now
Book Blurb: Fifteen-year-old Jason has fallen upon bad times—his mother has died and his father has succumbed to mental illness. As he tries to hold his crazy father and their crumbling home together, Jason relies on a host of imaginary friends for guidance as he stumbles along trying not to draw attention to his father’s deteriorating condition.
Both heartbreaking and funny, CRAZY lives up to the intense and compelling characters Han Nolan is praised for. As Jason himself teeters on the edge of insanity, Nolan uncovers the clever coping system he develops for himself and throws him a lifeline in the guise of friendship
Review: CRAZY is a such a powerful, moving story that I really think everyone should read it, regardless of age.
This is a young adult book that deals with a child coping not only with the loss of his mother, as a result of a stroke, but also the loss of a father, due to severe mental illness. At age 6, Jason's father tried to bury him alive! If that isn't a fine example of mental illness, I don't know what it is.
At 15, Jason is thrust into an adult world, while still trying to deal with the rigors of school and he's not succeeding. He hears voices; A Fat Bald Guy with a mustache, Sexy Lady, Crazy Glue, Aunt Bee and the Audience that's like a laugh track.
The story is written from that freaky narrative of voices and Jason, which is sometimes confusing, but once you get into the story it makes perfect sense and the voices/imaginary friends are very endearing, because they really try to help Jason.
Han really does a great job of illustrating Jason's frustrations as well as creating a group of kids in a support group that rally around him and make his life better. Their situations are all messed up and yet together they make things better for each other and in the end make the imaginary friends/voices less necessary.
If you take away one thing from the book it would have to be "Out of everything bad, something good comes."
This book will make you feel a wide range of emotions while reading it; anger, happiness, frustration, sadness, but it will also give you hope, that as long as there are people who care about you, things can get better.
I just got a membership at the YMCA in my area and I was super excited to see that they have a book swap area.
How awesome is that?
They have about 5 shelves of books to share between members.
This means, every time I go to exercise I drop off a book I've read that isn't on my keeper shelf, and usually I bring a new book home.
Saves me trips to Goodwill unless I have a huge load for donation.
I picked up Emily Giffin's Something Blue and one old Harlequin Next. I never understood why a line of books that really rocked didn't catch on. I've read several of them and I really thought that all of them were awesome, even if they didn't fit the formula of a traditional romance.
Do you have a favorite place that has a book swap?
Book Blurb: Berry Knudson had a talent for disaster, but when she climbed a tree to rescue a kitten, she wasn't prepared for the scrumptious hunk undressing in a nearby window, or her dive downward that smashed Jake Sawyer's pizza and won his heart! But was there room in her chaotic schedule for a risk-taking inventor with dreams? She took classes, delivered pizzas, and cared for three eccentric old ladies she rescued from the train station. But Jake thrived on a challenge, and he could be very inventive. Could he teach her there was time to make butterscotch pudding and let herself be loved?
Review: You can see the evolution of Plum in some of Janet's early romances that she wrote for the Loveswept line in the 80s. This one is particularly Plummy with cars getting stolen and smashed, and little old ladies running amuck! It all comes nicely packaged with the trademark Evanovich humor.
If you don't like a little or a lot of silliness in your books, you should stay away from these. There's nothing realistic about these books, just a whole lot of fun and laughter. Plus how can you not love a heroine with a name like Lidonberry Knudson? Berry for short!
Her love affair with Jake starts with a pizza delivery gone wrong and nothing really seems to go right afterward, except for the falling in love part. Her three little old lady friends that work in her pizza shop and live in her apartment kind of put a cramp to her style and when they move in with Jake after a series of unfortunate events...Jake takes matters into his own hands.
This books is all about laughing. The romance is there, but really, with an Evanovich novel, you don't pay much of attention to it. I think that's why you can still care about Ranger and Morelli after 16 books. The romance isn't that important. Its the zany antics and the cast of crazy characters that Janet creates.
Nothing is close to real life, but it is, if that makes sense. Its life exaggerated, and that's what makes her books fun. Oh and there's almost always an animal! In this book its a black cocker spaniel named Calamity Jane, who swallows a very expensive ring...and eats and poos at the drop of a hat.
This book was a real mood lifter! Definitely one for the keeper shelf, just like all of Janet's other books.