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Not all chick lit stars have universal appeal

In the past few weeks, I've been immersed in the world of chick lit once again. But as I've been reading, I am reminded that not all chick lit is created equal. In fact, a few authors have managed to create characters that I found somewhat irritating.

When I started reading "Singletini" by Amanda Trimble (Three Rivers Press, $13.95), I really had a hard time not hating Victoria, the book's first-person narrator. She's self-centered, painfully single and somewhat shallow. Plus, Victoria is convinced that she's almost over the hill, even though she's only been out of college a few years.

At the beginning of the book, Victoria gets fired from her office job. Desperate to find new employment, she starts working for Chicago Wingwoman. This matchmaking company helps single men meet women by sending them out to bars with "wingwomen" who introduce them to strangers.

Though Victoria is single, all of her best friends are in serious relationships. She doesn't handle that well and gets especially upset when her best friend, Gwyn, gets engaged.

Instead of being asked to be a bridesmaid, Victoria gets roped into acting as an unpaid assistant to Gwyn's team of wedding planners. I wished Victoria could have been stronger and refused tasks such as picking up 60 matching Coach purses to give as party favors and hand-delivering invitations to Gwyn's pre-wedding parties.

As the story continued, though, Victoria grew on me. She reminded me of Melissa, the main character in "The Little Lady Agency" by Hester Browne (Pocket, $23), a book I really liked.

Ultimately, I enjoyed "Singletini," especially as Victoria got less irritating. The book was also fairly funny. Mostly, though, it just made me feel extremely thankful for my low-key friends and relatives.

Christian chick lit

"Consider Lily" was another book that featured a lead character who grated on my nerves. The book was written by Anne Dayton and May Vanderbilt (Broadway Books, $11.95). The story follows Lily, who is the daughter of the owners of the nicest department store in San Francisco.

Lily isn't as interested in fashion and style as her parents would like her to be. She even starts an anti-fashion blog. The blog entries appear at the end of most chapters.

Lily is a single Christian girl hoping to meet a single Christian guy. She hasn't had a date in years, but she keeps going to singles' events at her church, hoping to meet the man of her dreams. I found the men in the church group especially irritating.

After a friend helps Lily with a fashion makeover, her confidence grows, and soon lots of men are interested in her, even an attractive new coworker. Lily likes him, but doesn't want to date him because he's not a Christian.

I like the idea of chick lit books that address religion, but in this case, I just found the continuous references to Christianity kind of tedious. Lily's beliefs are very strong and she just can't help but share them throughout the novel.

I did finish the book, but I don't think I'll be recommending this one to friends, unless they're looking for religion-based reading material.

Luckily, I have yet to exhaust the supply of new chick lit and am looking forward to finding more likable books. I think I'll start by looking for cute covers.

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.