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Wednesday, December 11, 2013

10 Great Chick Lit Novels to Curl Up with This Winter - The REAL List

I recently read an article that claimed they had a list of the 10 all-time greatest chick-lit novels to curl up with this winter. I did not agree... with most of them. 

(For the original article click here: bit.ly/IFPOs)

To be honest, I haven't read all of the books on this list. However, if I am to judge them by the ones I have read... well I'm not so sure I will be adding the other ones to my to-be-read list on Goodreads. 

Let's break it down. Obviously Marian Keyes and Helen Fielding are a must. Sophia Kinsella as well... but The Undomestic Goddess? While that was a pretty good book, it does not even come close to the gems that are Can You Keep a Secret and I've Got Your Number. Then there are How We Met (Regan), The Memory Keepers Daughter (Edwards), She's Come Undone (Lamb), The Help (Stockett), and The Lovely Bones (Sebold). All not chick lit. And don't get me started on One Day (Nicholls). 

I'm not entirely sure if the author of this article even understands what chick lit is. In my opinion, chick lit is humorous, fun, and an escape. It can have an element of whimsy and can also be a bit predictable. But most importantly, it has a happy ending. Some of these don't even have happy beginnings or middles. 

So because of this article, I feel it is my duty to post a list of 10 great chick lit novels to curl up with this winter. Are these the greatest? Of the ones I've read, they are. There are so many out there that I still need to read myself (so many books, so little time). These are some of my top favorites, though (in no certain order). Here goes. 

1. Can You Keep A Secret - Sophie Kinsella
    I loved, loved, loved this book. It has all the elements that make up true chick lit. Great premise, witty           banter. Love it.

2. Asking for Trouble - Elizabeth Young
    The movie The Wedding Date was based on this. Horrible movie, wonderful book. 

3. The Other Side of the Story - Marian Keyes
    I read this book years ago and the story still sticks with me, but in a good chick-lit-y way. 

4. Bet Me - Jennifer Cruisie
    Adorable, sexy, funny. It's been a while since I read it. I may have to read it again after I'm done with this     list. 

5. Jemima J - Jane Green
    By far, one of my favorites. Jemima's journey from ugly duckling to swan is a perfect escape book.

6. I've Got Your Number - Sophie Kinsella 
    She is practically the queen of chick lit, she needs to be on here twice. Adored this book. 

7. Bridget Jones's Diary - Helen Fielding
    Duh. 

8. You Had Me At Hello - Mhairi McFarlane
    A newer book - the story bounces back between present and past. One of my favorites for sure. 

9. Something Borrowed - Emily Griffin
    Great book - I even liked the movie (surprise, surprise).  

10. Austenland - Shannon Hale
     I did not expect to like this one, but I really really did. And if you like chick-flicks, this is also a must.

So this Winter season when you curl up to read, grab yourself a real chick lit book. Escape, enjoy, and bask in your happily-ever-after endings. There are too many not-so-happy endings in real life. Why pick fiction with the same thing? Escape my fellow chick lit readers, escape. 

Got any other books to add to the list? Post them in the comments. 

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Buttercream Frosting to Die For

In my debut novel, Thirty-Two Going On Spinster, my main character likes to bake. So today I'm sharing Julia's buttercream frosting recipe. Trust me, you're gonna want to save this one to your favorites. 

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Julia's Buttercream Frosting

1 cup of SALTED butter (softened to room temperature)
1 teaspoon REAL vanilla
4 cups of powdered sugar
Cream or milk to thin

**The key to this recipe is in the butter and the vanilla. The butter must be softened to room temperature only - no cheating with the microwave. Good vanilla and salted butter make all the difference.**

In mixer beat butter on medium until fluffy (approx 2 minutes). Add the vanilla and mix again.

Add sugar, one cup at a time, mixing in between until smooth. If desired, add food coloring at the end and mix in.

Use cream (will be very rich) or milk (not quite as rich) to thin it out to desired consistency. Do 1 tablespoon at a time as to not thin out too much

Makes 2 1/2 to 3 cups of frosting

VARIATIONS:
Almond Buttercream Frosting: Omit vanilla, add 1 teaspoon of almond extract

Lemon Buttercream Frosting: Add the juice and zest of 1 lemon (will need less milk because juice will thin it out)

Peppermint Buttercream Frosting: Omit vanilla, add 1/2 cup of finely crushed peppermint candy and 1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract

Coconut Buttercream Frosting: Omit Vanilla, add 2-3 teaspoons of coconut extract

Tip: For a thicker consistency, useful for piping designs, use 1 heaping tablespoon of Meringue powder sifted in with the powdered sugar.
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Feel free to set aside a bit of this and eat it with a spoon. I won't judge you.