Tag Archives: Chick Lit

Coffeehouse Angel – Suzanne Selfors
Book Reviews
July 31, 2010 posted by Nikki

Coffeehouse Angel – Suzanne Selfors

From the author of Saving Juliet comes a romantic comedy that is good to the last drop. When Katrina spots a homeless guy sleeping in the alley behind her grandmother’s coffee shop, she decides to leave him a cup of coffee, a bag of chocolate-covered coffee beans, and some pastries to tide him over. Little does she know that this random act of kindness is about to turn her life upside down.  Because this adorable vagrant, Malcolm, is really a guardian angel on a break between missions. And he won’t leave until he can reward Katrina’s selflessness by fulfilling her deepest desire. Now if only she could decide what that might be . . .

Currently, life sucks for Katrina. Since Java Heaven opened up shop next to her Grandmother’s Scandinavian coffeehouse, business has pretty much come to a screeching halt. The bills are piling up, no customers are walking through the door, and yet Katrina and her grandmother must find a way to make ends meat. Katrina is sixteen years old. She should be worrying about boys, her homework, and what she’s going to do on the weekend. Instead, she gets up before school every morning to work in the coffeehouse, and promptly returns after classes have finished to do much of the same.

To make matters worse, her best male friend, Vincent, starts hanging around with Heidi Darling. Katrina thinks this is bad for many, many reasons, but mainly she’s ticked off because Heidi is Mr Darling’s daughter, and Mr Darling owns Java Heaven – the very reason Katrina and her Gran are struggling so much. Where is Vincent’s loyalty? How could he do that to Katrina?

But that’s not where the crazy ends. Katrina finds a strange boy passed out in the alley behind the coffeehouse one morning. Although she’s a bit freaked out by him, she mistakes him for a homeless person and in an act of pitying kindness, she leaves a coffee and a stale pastry for when he wakes up. But then he keeps showing up, saying that her act of kindness must not go unrewarded, and promises to fulfill her greatest desire. Katrina thinks he’s a nut job at first, but then things start happening that make her think there’s more to this strange boy than meets the eye.

Coffeehouse Angel is a super easy read and I totally dug being in Katrina’s head. When she ached, I ached. When she hurt, I hurt too. But mostly, I was impressed that I didn’t become irritated by her jealousy – and believe me, she spends a good chunk of this novel impersonating the green-eyed monster. Usually, I have little tolerance for such unrelenting self-pity, but I felt like I could empathize with her situation a little. I think all of us have had to deal with the kind of friendship problems Katrina goes through in this story. I was super happy that, at the end, she seemed to learn her lesson, though, and tucked her green-eyed monster impersonation away. I was exceptionally surprised by the outcome of the conflict that arose with Vincent, though. I thought the whole thing was going to turn out very differently. While I’d love to discuss my reasoning for this in this review, that’d be giving away the ending – and we can’t have that!

I drank way too much coffee while reading this novel. Must have been something about the constant mention of Java goodness.

Coffeehouse Angel is a lovely read. As good as red velvet cupcakes, if you ask me.

Pages: 276

Publication: 2009.

Rating:: ★★★★☆

Teaser Quote: “There’s a handy chart in here. It says the most common thing people ask for is fortune. But Katrina didn’t want that. She gave it to her friend. The second most common thing people ask for is fame.” Lars and Malcolm turned and looked at me. Yep, that’s right, I was still standing there. I don’t know why, I should have left those two idiots in the dust. “Could fame be what you most desire?” Malcolm asked.

The Naughty List – Suzanne Young
Book Reviews
February 16, 2010 posted by Nikki

The Naughty List – Suzanne Young

As if being a purrfect cheerleader isn’t enough responsibility! Tessa Crimson’s the sweet and spunky leader of the SOS (Society of Smitten Kittens), a cheer squad–turned–spy society dedicated to bringing dastardly boyfriends to justice, one cheater at a time. Boyfriend-busting wouldn’t be so bad . . . except that so far, every suspect on the Naughty List has been proven 100% guilty!

When Tessa’s own boyfriend shows up on the List, she turns her sleuthing skills on him. Is Aiden just as naughty as all the rest, or will Tessa’s sneaky ways end in catastrophe?

The Naughty List. Is your boyfriend on it?

Meet the Smitten Kittens. Sounds kind of sexy, huh? Alluring in that mysterious way. If you knew what they were doing, though, sexy wouldn’t even come into it. In fact, the Smitten Kittens are all about busting cheating boyfriends from doing the sexy with people other than their other half. The male adolescent population of Washington High is more than a little naughty, it seems.

The squad – which double as a cheer squad by day – have high tech spy equipment and have a well organized system of spying on the boys at their school. They take requests from girlfriends who suspect their boyfriends are cheating, and investigate till the allegations are either cleared, or confirmed. Unfortunately, they’ve never had the opportunity to clear anyone’s name because every single suspect has been found guilty. Every single one.

Tessa is the only girl left on the squad who actually has a boyfriend. Over time, the others all dumped theirs because they were caught cheating. Then, Tessa’s boyfriend’s name shows up on the list, and with a one hundred percent confirmed cheating rate so far, it isn’t looking good for Tessa and Aiden. But maybe he’s innocent, he seems like a nice guy, after all. Could he be the first boyfriend to ever be cleared of all charges?

Initially, I couldn’t decide exactly how I felt about this book, or for whom exactly the target audience might be. Tessa comes across as a good, wholesome character. She doesn’t curse, and always corrects those around her that do. She uses expressions like strawberry smoothie, for example, instead of actual curse words. She’s an excellent friend to her fellow squad members, a great student, and an all-round shiny, happy girl. At first I thought this was going to be a clean and wholesome novel for younger readers, but then I discovered that Tessa sleeps with her boyfriend and sneaks around in the middle of the night, lying to her parents and Aiden about what she’s doing, and spies on people till dawn. And Tessa is the only one that doesn’t curse; it seems the book is littered with swear words and over active adolescent hormonal activity. I’m not saying that’s a bad thing, either, I’m just saying that Tessa’s character confused me.

I found myself trying to decode the messages that came attached to Tessa’s character. By creating a character like Tessa, is Suzanne Young is attempting to send a message that teen sex is okay? After all, Tessa is a really nice girl that is seemingly good in every other way. Does the fact that she’s sexually active make her a bad role model for teen girls? I really couldn’t decide. I’m inclined to say no, but I felt uncomfortable making that judgement alone. What I did like about Tessa is that, especially at the beginning, she is committed to Aiden and although she is well aware of her sexual allure and uses that on Aiden a lot, she doesn’t really flounce it around in front of everyone else. She isn’t promiscuous and she obviously has a lot of self-respect, which I think is important when setting up a potential role model for teens today.

The whole book left me feeling a little uneasy, which I suppose is actually a good thing because I thought about it for hours after I finished it, trying to figure out whether I liked it, how to categorize it, what the underlying messages were. While there was obviously a formula that went into the plot, it seemed there was a lack of formula that went into creating the characters, setting, tone, etc. I found this quite refreshing and I think others will too.

I think this book would be a great jumping point for book clubs and discussion circles that wanted to talk and debate the issue of teen sex and teen relationships.

Pages: 239

Publication Date: Febraury 2010

Rating:: ★★★☆☆

Teaser Quote: Cassandra was less than thrilled to see the glossy eight by tens of Marcus and Red Heels. It nearly broke my heart, especially when I considered her recently departed virginity. All of it left me feeling, well, bummed.