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Beneath the Covers
A Romance Column

Halloween Treats & Exploring Chick-Lit

    October, it has always been one of my favorite months of the entire year. The trees are just beginning to show their splendid fall colors. In addition, it is the one month that takes one night to explore the paranormal. If you have children, your little goblins are probably deciding what costume they are going to wear for Halloween. Or if you are a kid at heart, you may be planning you own Halloween celebration. Below you will find some of the most intriguing web sites that offer a unique way to celebrate the holiday.

Chick-Lit: Is it A Fad that is Slowing Fading?
Column Analysis 

     What is "chick-lit," you ask? Chick-lit, sometimes called chick-fic, is fiction that represents the lives of today's twenty and thirty something women (and sometimes men). The narrator is usually looking for a better job, a new man, a bigger apartment, a better life. Although it is often about love, these novels are very different from the traditional style of romance novel. Heroines are seldom perfect beauties, men are never wealthy aristocrats, and characters have the freedom to examine issues including weight and body image, race, and materialism. 

     I just recently discovered Chick-lit through Bare Necessity by Carole Matthews and Asking for Trouble by Elizabeth Young. I must admit, I felt kind of behind the times that these were my first Chick Lit books. Chick Lit has been in existence since the early 90's. It made its splash debut with the highly popular book Bridget Jone's Diary in 1998. This best seller turned Hollywood hit, inspired a wave of similar tales, all staring imperfect career women looking for love.

    What appealed to me most, were these books contained characters that I could easily relate with, the characters were balancing demanding careers while trying to juggle personal relationships. In my personal experience, I know this is not an easy task. As I read these novels, I felt like I actually knew the characters, they seemed more real to me than what I find in my ordinary reading preference.

    According to ABC News report Heather Cabot, sexy, funny, and sharp, chick-lit is one of the fastest growing genres today. In the $23 billion publishing industry, chick lit books earned publishers more than $71 million last year, and that's just the best sellers. Several publishers, including Harlequin, Broadway and Pocket Books, have created separate imprints to distribute the specialty titles.

      In my opinion, I feel Chick-lit has earned its place in the publishing industry. Its wide success is based on its ability to adapt to the every changing environment. Unlike, other romance genes, it explores topics that are otherwise taboo for other genes. 

     I feel readers should have the opportunity to savor its creative juices. To help make this possible, I am offering a special Beneath the Covers Contest. In addition, I have searched the web to find some of the best information sites that offer Chick-lit recommends and web sites of interest. 


Bare Necessity
By Carole Matthews
Harper Collinsl - 2003
ISBN: 0060557109   - Paperback
Chick Lit / Romance

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Read an Excerpt

Reviewed by Suzie Housley, MyShelf.Com

    Everything happens for a reason . . .

     Thirty-two-year-old Emily Miller was heartbroken when she lost her boyfriend, Declan. Her heartbreak quickly turned to rage when she discovered the underhanded schemer had mortgaged their dream home, run up countless debts, and to add insult to injury had posted a racy picture of her on the internet for the world to view. This elusive picture was soon discovered by a fellow schoolteacher. He leaked this scandalous information to the local newspaper, which made it headline news. Once this secret was out, she was quickly dismissed from her position.

     Feeling as though her life was in a downward spiral, she turned to her best friend Cara for comfort. Cara was an expert in alternative medicine. She prescribed aromatherapy and yoga to help her get her system back in balance. Emily was desperate enough to try anything that might help get her life back to normal. After all, what did she have to lose?

     When things are at their worst, it is a sign that things are about to change for the better . . .

    Carole Matthews has written a very realistic fun-filled book. Her use in the healing art of aromatherapy added a unique and fascinating element that is not commonly found in a romance book. The characters she created were brought to life by the lyrical British accent of Imogen Stubbs. Ms. Stubbs painted a very vivid portrait of all the zany events that transpired throughout the book. I feel this is just the type of book women worldwide can appreciate. Its casual use of humor to deal with real-life situations is refreshing. It would make an ideal beach read or one to be savored by a crisp warm fireplace.

Asking For Trouble
By Elizabeth Young
HarperAudio - 2003
ISBN: 0060557117- Audio Book
Chick Lit / Romance

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Read an Excerpt

     The truth shall set you free . . .

     Thirty-year-old Sophy Metcalfe found herself in a dilemma: her younger sister Belinda was about to get married. To appease her mother, who was forever trying to pressure her into a relationship, she has fabricated a nonexistence boyfriend, "Dominic." She had described Dominic as the perfect mate; her lies of his great successes quickly spread like wild fire. She knew a special event such as a wedding would require an appearance from the elusive Dominic. Out of desperation, she sought out an escort service. She hired an escort to pose as Dominic and to accompany her to the wedding. Having never seen whom the agency paired her with, she is surprised when Josh Carmicheal arrives at her door. His rugged good looks and honest personality quickly have her head and heart spinning out of control. What type of impact is this man about to have on her future?

     Elizabeth Young has written an exquisite work of art. The laugh-out-loud humor she incorporates in this book makes for a delightful reading experience. Read by Jasmine Hyde, who offers her own up-beat personality and British accent, the characters seem to magically take shape and come alive in your head. I think what I like best about this book is the similarities Sophy and I share. Being 30 and single, I can fully relate to the many pressures and demands people put upon you to find that special someone. Coming from a single person's point-of-view, Elizabeth Young has captured the emotions of what it is like to be single perfectly. I look forward to discovering more of this author's fresh approach to the wild and wacky world of romance. Very highly recommended.

2003 Past Columns

Exploring Chick Lit

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