An exam you can’t study for

Amanda Aksel gave me an advance copy of her novel The Man Test to review. While I do read contemporary fiction, I generally stay within the realm of romance. But a change of genre is sometimes a good thing. Amanda’s book is what I would call chick lit. Think Bridget Jones, but set in urban San Francisco instead of London.

The heroine, Marin, although wronged by her boyfriend, didn’t start out as a very sympathetic character. She is self-absorbed and self-righteous. You’d much rather hang out with her friends or coworkers.

But, like any good protagonist, she embarks on a journey. In arriving at the destination, she grows and changes. For the better.

If relationships between men and women mystify you sometimes, and who among us doesn’t fit in that category, you’ll find food for thought here.

15 minutes of fame is more than enough

I absolutely loved Kate Langdon’s novel Famous. Samantha, the heroine, reminded me of a more sophisticated Bridget Jones. She and her two BFFs spend a lot of time swilling champagne and spouting British slang.

Sam’s one night stand with the wrong man causes a flock of paparazzi to make her life miserable until she escapes to the country in a plan so elaborate it puts D-Day to shame.  Each character she encounters along the way is funnier than the last. But there is something very genuine about them too.

This is chick lit at its best.