Friday, August 2, 2013

Review: Big Girl Panties

Summary: A rollicking, sensuous, feel-good romantic comedy about a grieving young widow who decides to get in shape . . . and winds up getting her groove back—and a whole lot more! 

Holly didn't expect to be a widow at thirty-two. She also didn't expect to be so big. After her husband's death, food was the one thing she could always count on. Now, those extra pounds make flying coach feel like medieval torture—especially when she's squished next to Logan Montgomery. A personal trainer to famous pro athletes, her seatmate is so hot that he makes Holly sweat in all the right (and so embarrassingly wrong!) places. 

Though Holly doesn't make the grade on Logan's first-impression meter, he finds himself intrigued by her sharp wit and keen insights—a welcome change from the high-maintenance models he dates—so he impulsively offers to get her back in shape. A little skeptical but ready to make at least one positive change in her life, Holly agrees. 

To Logan's (and her own) surprise, Holly turns out to be a natural in the gym, slimming down into a bona fide looker with killer curves—and a new kind of hunger. Before either of them can stop it, the easy intimacy of their training sessions leads to even more steamy workouts away from the gym. 

Logan's best friends, professional baseball player Chase Walker and his wife, Amanda, see that this is more than a fling, even if Logan and Holly don't. But can a man whose whole life depends on looks commit himself to a woman who doesn't fit his ideal? Now that Holly's turning other men's heads, does she even need Logan anymore? Are they a couple built to last . . . or destined to fizzle? -- William Morrow

At this year's Harper Collins party during BEA, there was sure a lot of buzz about the new book BIG GIRL PANTIES by Stephanie Evanovich... and none of that buzz had to do with the author's last name (or famous aunt!) This novel was being billed as a funny and sexy summer read, and I made sure to get my hands on a copy. Who doesn't love a little romance during the summer?

Then, the buzz got even louder! I found out that there was going to be a Big Girl Panties House Party and I threw my hat in to be chosen as a hostess. Fortunately, I was selected! You can read more about my party here. And then, there was the 3 star People Magazine review and the starred Publishers Weekly review. Needless to say, I couldn't wait to read BIG GIRL PANTIES for a variety of reasons!

BIG GIRL PANTIES tells the story of Holly, a 32 year old widow who looks for comfort in food and thereby finds herself rather overweight. One day, Holly gets on an airplane and finds herself seated next to a very hot personal trainer named Logan. For some reason, Logan is drawn to Holly -- no! not that way -- and he offers to train her at a discounted price. 

Holly takes Logan up on his offer and has absolutely no idea what she's getting herself into. (It was pretty clear to me that she wasn't thinking quite straight given the hotness of Logan!) She begins some very intense workouts and has some pretty quick weight-loss results, and Holly and Logan find themselves getting a little hot from activities besides just working out... if you catch my drift! However, Holly is still insecure about her new body (which isn't stick thin like the rest of Logan's women!), and she's looking for excuses for Logan to leave her. And truth be told, Logan isn't exactly comfortable with his behavior either -- Holly definitely isn't his "type."

The big question is, "Can Holly and Logan get past their issues and find true happiness with each other?"

I actually thought BIG GIRL PANTIES was a hoot and perfect for a summer beach or pool book, and most of my friends agreed. In all honestly, I haven't read a book like it in quite some time. This might come as a surprise to some of you, but I used to be a chick lit junkie. About fifteen to twenty years ago, I read every fun girly book I could get my hands on; and then I got a little tired of the genre. BUT I also think that genre kind of faded too. It was refreshing to see that a true chick lit/romcom like BIG GIRL PANTIES is out there and doing so well!

Truly, it's kind of difficult for me to write a review on this novel because I don't have a whole heck of a lot to say. I did find it entertaining and there were definitely a few steamy scenes (and it wasn't because Holly was working up a sweat on the machines!); and it's just a sheer fun escape book. It's not exactly a literary read, but it did have some very redeeming qualities which made it a little smarter than your average chick lit novel.

One thing I really liked about the book were the characters. I don't know if I'd go so far as to say something like, "they were extremely well developed" -- it's just not that type of book, but I did like the various characters and their chemistry with each other. Of course, I loved Logan for being a man and seeing past just physical beauty -- what woman wouldn't love a guy like that? And I thought his friends were a lot of fun too.

Furthermore, I really liked the complexity of Holly. The author chose to have Holly address her issues with food and she showed just how much work it is to change your mental and physical self. Holly literally worked her butt off over the course of many months, started eating healthier, and feeling more confident. However, she didn't become super skinny. I loved, loved, loved that Holly was a "real healthy woman" and that her work and weight loss were realistic.

It probably won't surprise you that BIG GIRL PANTIES has a happy ending. Of course, there are a few bumps along the way, but personally, I was glad with how the book ended... even if I do doubt that a super hot personal trainer could fall in love with a chunky girl (but that's just me being cynical!) I guess Ms. Evanovich plans on writing more books about some of these characters, and I'm sure fans of BIG GIRL PANTIES will be thrilled to see some of these individuals and their relationships explored in more depth.

I was super excited to see that there was a reading guide for BIG GIRL PANTIES. That's not always the case with a book like this. While parts of the story aren't exactly what I'd consider typical book club fare, there is some surprising depth to this novel which makes it suitable for book clubs. And because this book is so much fun, it is a great choice for the summer months when some of your members might want a lighter read. Some of the themes you might want to explore include weight loss, self confidence, second chances, love, friendship, loss, and perception.

BIG GIRL PANTIES is most definitely a fun and sexy read! Recommended for fans of chick lit!

Thanks to the publisher for providing a copy of this novel.


Beth F said...

Your party looked like so much fun! I'm not big on chick lit, but sometimes is just right for summer.

Sandy Nawrot said...

I can't read books like this too often, but they are a nice break from the heavier stuff. That is the kind of fix I get from Stephanie Plum.

bermudaonion said...

Most of my friends have loved this book!

Kim@Time2Read said...

I'm not sure if I'll pick it up, but it does sound like a fun read.

Unknown said...

This is a great summer read - I'm so glad you had a BGP party!

Anonymous said...

Sounds like an easy read, an escape from the more intense books. Just wondering, only partly in jest: is the author insinuating that Holly would not be the hunky guy's gf if she was still chubby? :)hmmm...I know, it's not supposed to be a serious read.

Julie P. said...

Actually Rita_h that wasn't the message because, while Holly did lose a lot of weight, she still wouldn't be considered thin by today's standards. I think the message was that he was attracted to her because of her personality and dedication to getting healthy.