- The Uninvited Guests by Sadie Jones
Much of this book (read as an advance edition supplied by Harper) is a comedy of manners and a study of class, both actual and percieved. I felt a bit thrown at times by the plot shifts and it seemed like the author jammed multiple ideas into a single novel. I enjoyed the social study aspects and watching the family interact with both the invited and uninvited guests.
I'd prefer to give it 3.5 stars but will round to 4 because I was definitely interested in the book and in the twists in the characters. I do, however, wish a sharper editorial knife had been taken to the book and that some matters...especially the random pony storyline...had been cut in favor of the class commentary.
- When in Doubt, Add Butter by Beth Harbison
Gemma Craig is a woman in her thirties who earns her living as a personal chef for several families in the D.C. region. She goes to different households each day of the week and provides her clients with homemade meals for the assigned night and ready-to-heat meals for the rest of the week. Some of her clients tax her patience while others feel like friends. She is also balancing her personal life, including a rare night out with a friend that leads to meeting a guy in what feels like fodder for a "Missed Connections" post on Craigslist.
I often feel like the label "chick lit" is both overused and can have a bit of a negative connotation. I find it useful, however, for distinguishing what I expect from a book. I don't expect chick lit to have leave me with deep, meaningful thoughts or an urge to discuss the book and read others' thoughts. I do, however, enjoy the occasional "reading candy," and this book fits in that realm for me. It was an easy read and entertained me for a few days. I didn't feel deeply involved with the characters, but I did enjoy them and a few made me smile. I'd prefer to give it 3.5 stars but will round to 4 with the caveat that I'm rating it for what it is...a bit of fun fluff and entertainment, not something I'd call "literature" but a style of book that has its place in my reading world. I can definitely see these book turned into a Romantic Comedy on Lifetime or maybe even in the movie theater.