May 14, 2010

Charming Chick Lit

Whitney Lyles - Always the Bridesmaid

Cate Padgett is a wedding pro. Within three months, she serves as a bridesmaid to friends and family members five times. She wears every kind of bridesmaid "outfit" imagineable - from the super sexy lavender gown with a pluging neckline to an honest-to-god royal blue satin SUIT. But bad bridesmaid dresses aren't the only thing that Cate must put up with. She has to deal with bridezillas who are normally the sweetest girls in the world, the financials of paying for five weddings on a kindergarten teacher's salary, and a boyfriend who just doesn't seem that interested in committing. Always the Bridesmaid tells Cate's story as she weaves her way through these weddings only to discover what truly makes her happy.

Whitney Lyles writes in a style that is easy to read and is also very entertaining. Cate is a likebale and relateable character. I think every woman has felt similar emotions and feelings that Cate does at one point in her life. As a 20-something girl myself, I completely understand Cate's thinking about her future and her longing to take the next step. While reading, it is easy to tell that Lyles is writing from experience. That is, Lyles is Cate Padgett. Because of that, the writing and story feels honest and real. Nothing about the book feels forced or contrived. Although it's a bit predictable, there's no other way that the book should have played out. Readers who enjoy a feel-good light read will definitely like this book. It's a quick but refreshing read. Well done, Ms. Lyles!

The final verdict: Charming.

May 4, 2010

New P.C. Cast Bites (in a good way!)

P.C. Cast - Burned

I always love reading the new vampire series books. P.C. Cast's House of Night series centers on Zoey Redbird, an unusually special vampire with powerful abilities that she will only use for good and to fight evil, naturally. The series has focused on Zoey learning about her abilities and her magic, as well as how to juggle three or four boyfriends at the same time. During her boy trouble, Zoey also is faced with fighting against two seriously evil beings: one a powerful former High Priestess, the other an ancient immortal who carries the untapped power source of Darkness in his blood.

In the newest installment, Zoey's soul is shattered by Kalona, that ancient immortal mentioned above. While her body lives in the living realm, her spirit is in pieces in the Otherworld. But Zoey isn't alone there. Her recently murdered human boyfriend, Heath, is also there. He tries to help her collect her soul pieces together, but Zoey refuses. Kalona has also traveled to the spirit world to ensure that Zoey never leaves, thus making her body die. It's up to Stevie Rae (who is in love with Kalona's immortal half-bird son Rephaim), Aphrodite, Stark, and Darius to find a way to help Zoey collect her soul into one piece and return to the human realm. If they don't, Neferet (the powerful former High Priestess) and Kalona will take over the world... which isn't a good thing.

Okay, so yes, these books are horribly cheesy. But they are fun, and that's what I look for in a read. I want to be entertained, and the House of Night series definitely entertains. We can all be book snobs, but it's so much more fun not to be. And to those who have read the series and stopped because it got a little too.... "teenage-ish," this book puts the series back on track to being interesting. I think the main reason the book was so interesting was because Zoey was absent for most of the book! Readers don't have to read about her inner struggles with choosing between Stark, Erik, and Heath. Instead, Cast focuses most of her writing on Stevie Rae and Rephaim, which made for a nice change of pace.

So who should read this book? Well, House of Night readers who quit reading should rediscover the series, because this book was actually pretty decent.