Book Reviews

Goodbye Kristin Billerbeck – Book Review

I just read some very sad news: Kristin Billerbeck, THE Christian chicklit author, is capping her pen!!! Or shutting down her laptop, if you prefer that expression. This is such a big deal to me because her books had a huge impact on me when I was 19 and was writing my first novel. I read ‘What a Girl Wants’ and it inspired me to write my own books. I cannot believe she is quitting writing! I mean, she is the queen of Christian Chicklit. Seriously. I am so gutted (sorry American readers if you’re not familiar with that word, it just means sad or upset).

At the moment, I work in Human Resources and I am doing a Masters on the side. My dissertation is due soon and it’s really getting on my nerves because I am sick of studying, writing exams, doing assignments, etc. I feel like I’ve been studying all my life. When will it end? I want to write. I love writing, it’s my passion, but I don’t really take myself very seriously as a writer yet. I’m like Lexi in Raw Deal at the moment. She’s a model, but not a proper model, although she wants to be. I hope to be a ‘proper writer’ one day i.e. write for a living.

Being a full time writer is my idea of heaven. Wake up, write, eat, write, listen to music and dance around the house a bit (for exercise you see), write, sleep, write, hang out with the husband and kids, write, go to church, write. You get the point. This is what Ms Billerbeck has been doing for YEARS. Why would she give it up? She says she wants an office job! Why??? It seems she is where I want to be and I am where she wants to be. I want to beg her not to do it. She can’t stop writing. What will the genre of Christian Chicklit do without her? There are others like her, but they’re not her. Ms Billerbeck is witty, and name-drops people in her books that I have no idea who they are. It makes me do research (God bless Google). I would never have heard about Hugh Jackman if not for ‘What a Girl Wants.’ (I know, I live on my own planet). So when Les Miserables came out recently I was like ‘oh yeah, Hugh Jackman, I know who that is,’ and no one knew that I knew him from a Christian book instead of from the movies.

Okay, dramatic reaction over. This news is very sobering for me because maybe life as a full-time author isn’t the bed of roses I imagine. I guess times are tough right now in every industry, and Ms Billerbeck says in her blog that she’s looking forward to a steady paycheck. Maybe it’s a good thing I’m doing this Masters. Maybe it’s better to just keep my job and keep writing on the side. So sad.

Well, to say farewell to Ms Billerbeck, I will now proceed to review the first series of hers that I read. I read the books a while ago so I don’t really remember everything about them, but I will just say a few words about each.

ImageWhat a Girl Wants

This book is funny. I had a few laugh out loud moments. I felt bad for the main character, Ashley, because she wanted Seth so badly and he is just like a brick wall. Okay, I know some guys can be clueless, but Seth is beyond clueless. And he is soo annoying. Who watches the Matrix all the time? I know it’s got special effects and all those things that guys think are ‘cool’ but c’mon. Yeah, keep watching the Matrix while everyone around you is getting married and moving on in life. Anyway, the other love interest is really nice, and looks like Hugh Jackman, and is a doctor, and all that. But not saved. I wasn’t sure which of the guys I preferred. I just wanted Ashley to be happy and she seemed to like Seth better so I was hoping Seth would switch off the Matrix long enough to notice her. (I could not stand to look at a Matrix DVD after reading this book. Seth’s instant messaging name is even matrixman…oh please!).

ImageShe’s Out of Control

This is the sequel to ‘What a Girl Wants.’ I liked this book but I got really frustrated with Seth. I wanted to shake him. It was in this book that I realised that Seth is actually supposed to be cute. Eww. Let us know when you finish watching the Matrix, Seth. Oh, actually he does stop watching the Matrix long enough to do something really annoying. I couldn’t believe he did it. Before doing this thing I thought he was just clueless. After he did this thing I just wanted him out of the book. As in, I am not wasting any eye energy reading about this man. If I see his name on the page I am just going to skip over it. He’s so mean. Although, I suppose he can’t help who he loves. I mean, if that’s God’s will for him, good for him.

ImageWith this Ring I’m Confused

So, our Ashley is finally engaged, but to which man? Seth ‘matrixman’ Greenwood, or the doctor whose name I forget right now? Ashley is planning her wedding, and her in-laws to be are really awful to her. In books 1 and 2 of this series Ashley is a strong woman, but in this book she’s this weak person that I didn’t recognize at all. I wished she would stand up to her in laws to be. Then her fiance tells her he wants them to move across the country and the way he says it leaves much to be desired. I didn’t like it because by the time I got around to reading this book it was years after I’d read the first two and I was married to someone who was born and raised in another part of the world. He only came to England to do a Masters, but aren’t I glad he came or how would we have met? We didn’t talk about what would become of ‘us’ once his time here was up because I didn’t want to think about the possibility of moving out of England (unless it was to Hawaii or Barbados or something, lol). We had to have the talk when we started talking about marriage and it was really sensitive and required both of us to be understanding and selfless. If my husband had spoken to me the way Ashley’s fiance speaks to her, I would have felt awful. So, I felt sorry for Ashley. But I also thought, ‘girl just go with him.’ Ashley really needed to get away from Silicon Valley and her workaholic lifestyle anyway.

Last Words

In summary this series is really good. I don’t think Ashley is someone to be emulated because she is a bit selfish sometimes (aren’t we all) and very materialistic, but she is funny and you do feel sorry for her. She also seemed to have a problem with Asians, which was pretty shocking, but this changed when her brother married an Asian woman. You really need to know your celebrities to read this series. I don’t so I had to keep Googling things. I got the Halle Berry joke though. Even I know who she is, lol.

Kristin Billerbeck, your writing will be missed. Thank you for inspiring this British writer who wishes she had half your wit.

God bless.