Books are food for my soul! Pull up a beach chair and stick your toes in the sand as the Jersey surf rolls in and out, now open your book and let your imagination take you away.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Life In Plan B by Jennifer Vessells (Author Guest Post / Book Review)

In association with Chick Lit Plus Blog Tours, Jersey Girl Book Reviews is pleased to host the virtual book tour event for Life In Plan B by Author Jennifer Vessells!

Author Guest Post

Why The Chick Lit Genre Is Alive

When I explain to people that my new novel, Life in Plan B, falls into the "chick lit” genre, more often than not I get looks of confusion or judgment (especially from men!). I’ve heard people claim that chick lit lacks substance and I’ve read countless articles in which people describe chick lit as ‘dumb’ or ‘predictable’ and complain that the stories in these ‘subpar’ novels are wrapped up too conveniently with a pretty little bow.

When I read or hear these things, I can only smile and shake my head. Like most forms of art, books elicit a wide range of opinions. To see a great example of this, one must simply go to Goodreads or Amazon and gloss over the reviews of my book. Since its publication in late July 2013, Life in Plan B has received raving 5-star reviews, while also sustaining an occasional scathing 1-star review. I’d like to think that it’s for those who enjoyed my book that the chick lit genre remains very much alive.

Chick lit has always called to me, not only as an aspiring author, but as an avid reader. I enjoy reading a wide range of fiction genres - from Stephen King thrillers to Harry Potter - but have always found a soft spot for chick lit. The reason this wonderful genre is alive for me is simple: real life is crazy. Although filled with good times, life can be stressful and full of heartache, disappointment, struggle, and pain. Chick lit provides, at least for me, a way to escape these harsh realities and delve into a world of lighthearted romance and fun. When I need an escape, I want to be able to sit down and read a good book that leaves me with a smile on my face and a warm feeling in my heart. I don’t want to read about death or destruction, and I certainly don’t want to end the book feeling more depressed than when I started.

Chick lit is my guilty pleasure, my de-stressor, my feel-good therapy - and it’s with this in mind that I wrote Life in Plan B. I not only want the reader to enjoy the journey, but at the end of the book, I want the reader to be happy and satisfied. As long as authors continue to write chick lit, I will continue to read it. And as long as people continue to read chick lit, I will continue to write it. Despite what the critics say, the chick lit genre continues to thrive. And in my opinion, the genre’s heartwarming and occasionally cheeky stories will always have a place in the literary world.

About The Author

After practicing law for nearly three years, Jennifer Vessells decided to leave the practice to pursue her dream of being a novelist. After an intensive year and a half of writing, Ms. Vessells is proud to finally present her debut novel to the world - a story that's been marinating since her early college days.

Passionate about women's fiction and children's chapter books, Ms. Vessells plans to enjoy a long writing career. Keep your eye out for more exciting publications from this author in the future!


Book Review

Life In Plan B by Jennifer Vessells
Publisher: Independent Self Publishing - Vessells Publishing
Publication Date: July 24, 2013
Format: Paperback - 282 pages / Kindle - 568 KB / Nook - 509 KB
ISBN: 0615852491
Genre: Chick Lit / Women's Fiction

BUY THE BOOK: Life In Plan B

Disclaimer: I received a copy of the book from the author in exchange for my honest review and participation in a virtual book tour event hosted by Chick Lit Plus Blog Tours.

Book Description:

When twenty-eight year old Haley Simpson, a sales associate for her best friend’s clothing boutique in Columbus, Ohio, begins a secret affair with the boutique’s potential New York City business partner, she digs a cavernous hole of deception that not only threatens to end her blossoming career, but to destroy a life-long friendship.

Jennifer Vessells's debut novel, LIFE IN PLAN B, encompasses everything classic chick lit should: the dynamics of friendship, the nuances of high-reaching career aspirations, and the struggles – both usual and unique – presented by romantic and familial relationships. An entertaining story at every turn, LIFE IN PLAN B is identifiable for readers of any age. In short, Ms. Vessells hits her debut novel out of the park!

Book Excerpt:

Keegan Bransford was nothing short of irresistible. I could have listened to him regale me with bits and pieces of his life story all night, watching the dimple in his cheek disappear and reappear as he spoke. “I’m not really sure how it happened,” he was saying, referring to his illustrious career, “but at some point in the last thirteen years, my role in the design world has morphed into a freelance/consulting gig. Essentially, I’m hired to help other designers find inspiration for their lines.” I shook my head in response to Keegan’s success story.

“I’m completely jealous,” I admitted, leaning back comfortably in my chair. Over the course of the evening, I’d finally managed to relax in his company, though certain movements of his lips still sent involuntary charges through me like pleasurable bursts of electricity. “I think that every artist – whether it be a painter, designer, or poet – dreams of being ‘discovered;’ having someone stumble onto their work and making them an immediate success.”

Unbelievably, that’s exactly what had happened to my gorgeous dinner companion. After graduating from high school, Keegan snagged a job at a Tribeca art studio owned by his best friend’s father and started saving money for design school. After a couple of years at the studio, Keegan’s life was forever changed when a client happened upon his personal portfolio of design sketches. Immediately impressed, the client put him in touch with some leading New York designers. The rest, Keegan told me, was like a blur, and along the way he was somehow skyrocketed into an enjoyable, lucrative, and successful career. I wished I could be so fortunate.

“I was one of the lucky ones, I guess,” he said, shrugging. I scolded him for his modesty.

“I’m sure it had nothing to do with your talent,” I said sarcastically, encouraging him to take a little credit. Keegan shrugged again.

“I felt pathetic,” he confessed, crossing his arms on the table and peering up at the lighted buildings surrounding us in the dark night. “Carrying around those sketches like I was already a designer.” He laughed. “I almost gave up on it, you know – my sketches. I can’t even remember why I had my portfolio at work that day.” I nodded slowly in response, watching as he drifted off into his thoughts. I could empathize all too well. Like Keegan had before his big break, I too carried personal design sketches with me at all times – most of them, designs of shoes, actually – hoping that one day they might become more than scribbles on recycled paper. I realized it was silly to think that someone would take to my sketches like they’d taken to Keegan’s. As exemplified by my failure to “make it” in New York City, my talent paled in comparison to his. Nevertheless, I held on desperately to this last piece of my dream. I knew my sketches weren’t good enough to share, but I felt that as long as I kept sketching and honing what little skill I possessed, I could delay the day on which I would have to admit I would never be a designer. Maybe Keegan was right. Maybe it was pathetic.

My Book Review:

What's a girl to do when her Life Plan A hopes, dreams and aspirations doesn't work out? Switch gears, pull up her big girl panties, wear fabulous clothes and shoes, and live Life In Plan B!

After unsuccessfully chasing her dream and aspiration to break into the elusive world of fashion design in New York City for two years, twenty-eight year old Haley Simpson returns to her hometown of Columbus, Ohio, to help her best friend Alex, a talented up-and-coming fashion designer who has started De Alexia, an upscale men's boutique. As the boutique's sales account representative, Haley is responsible for marketing the boutique and Alex's line of fashion designs to New York City's variety of exclusive boutiques and fashion designers. While Haley is ecstatic that Alex is living out his dream with the boutique's success, she can't help but feel like she has been riding his coattails, while her own dreams have become a forgotten thing in the past.

While on a business trip to NYC, Haley hooks up with Keegan Matthews, a talented shoe designer who Alex is courting as a prospective business partner. Mixing business with pleasure leads Haley down the slippery slope of deception and lies that could affect her life-long friendship with Alex when she keeps her affair with Keegan a secret. And if that isn't enough, she meets Nick Matthews, a nice divorced guy from Columbus on the flight home, and she finds herself in a complicated romantic bind when she is attracted to the two men simultaneously! Oh and did I mention that she also has engaged in a long-held rift with her mother since her father's unexpected passing fifteen years ago?

Whew ... so what's a girl to do when she alienates everyone she loves, and has so many struggles to overcome while living her Life In Plan B?

In her debut novel, author Jennifer Vessells weaves an entertaining tale written in the first person narrative that follows the career, family, and romantic trials and tribulations in Haley Simpson's life. This fun chick lit story covers the full gamut of real life issues that Haley faces from career aspiration struggles, bonds of friendship, to family dynamic and romance relationship drama. The reader can't help but get drawn into Haley's life, it is easy to connect with the characters (especially Nick and Haley's endearing and supportive friends Alex, Patrick and Lindsay), and relate to Haley's aspirations and disappointments in life. The story is full of drama, ups and downs, twist and turns, and richly detailed descriptions from the fashion world that easily keeps the reader turning the pages.

Life In Plan B is a poignant and lighthearted chick lit story about a young woman whose struggles in life has her learning valuable life lessons, and in the process she grows and changes as she figures out the importance of true friendship and what's really important in life.


Virtual Book Tour Schedule

Tour Schedule:

January 20 – Book Reviews and More by Kathy – Excerpt
January 21 – Chick Lit Club Connect – Guest Post
January 22 – Annabel & Alice – Review
January 23 – Chick Lit Goddess – Guest Post & Excerpt
January 24 – Jersey Girl Book Reviews – Review, Guest Post & Excerpt
January 27 – Book Mama Blog – Excerpt
January 28 – Storm Goddess Book Reviews – Review & Excerpt
January 29 – Change the Word – Guest Post & Excerpt
January 29 – Book Suburbia – Excerpt
January 30 – A Blue Million Books – Q&A
January 31 – Never Too Fond of Books – Review
January 31 – Bookshipper – Novel Spotlight


  1. Thanks for being in the tour, Happy Friday!

    1. Thank you for the opportunity to host the virtual book tour event. I really enjoyed reading Life In Plan B! :)