Finding new chick lit authors in 'Friday Night Chicas'

I'm back in the land of chick lit, happily turning the pages of books depicting lives much more fabulous than my own. I recently read "Friday Night Chicas: Sexy Stories from La Noche" (St. Martin's Griffin, $13.95), a collection of stories from four authors about girls going out and having fun.

My favorite story was Mary Castillo's "My Favorite Mistake." In this piece, Isela is an screenwriter who goes to a party in Los Angeles hoping to pitch her movie to a director. But she ends up meeting the director's brother and has an instant connection with him. The story also details Isela's relationship with her sister, who is married with children.

Even though this story was about 70 pages long, I thought it was too short. The end left me wondering what happens to Isela. I'd love to see a novel about the same character.

The book also includes Sofia Quintero's "The More Things Change," a story about old college friends who reunite for a bachelorette party in New York City. In "Hearts Are Wild" by Caridad Pineiro, Tori goes out with friends to celebrate her 30th birthday in Miami.

Atlanta author Berta Platas also has a story in the book. In her "Revenge of the Fashion Goddess," Cali goes back to her hometown for a high school reunion. There, she faces her high school enemies and sees her former crush for the first time in years.

I like chick lit collections like "Friday Night Chicas" because they're fun to read and offer an introduction to new authors. I'm looking forward to checking out other work by Mary Castillo and Berta Platas.

Celebrity life

Though "How to Sleep with a Movie Star" (5 Spot, $12.95) sounds like the perfect Hollywood book, this story by Kristen Harmel is actually set in New York City. Still, I really liked the book, which is less about hooking up with celebrities and more about life as a magazine writer.

In the story, Claire Reilly works at Mod magazine, where she is a rising star. She covers celebrity life.

When Claire interviews a hot young actor, the two are photographed together by paparazzi. After the pictures are published in the tabloids, everyone thinks they're having an affair. Then her office nemesis tampers with her article, making all the rumors seem true.

I liked the way the book mixed real-life celebrity references with its fictional movie stars and made-up magazines. Claire was a sympathetic character and I really wanted everything to work out for her.

The book also helped me realize that covering celebrity life isn't as glamorous as it seems. Still, I don't mind interviewing movie stars, musicians or other celebrities, though I might get a little more excited about talking to authors. I can't help it. I love books.

If there's a book you think I really ought to read or you have information about upcoming author appearances in the Atlanta area, please e-mail rachael.mason@gwinnettdailypost.com.