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Wednesday, July 17, 2013

When Girlfriends Chase Dreams by Savannah Page (Author Guest Post / Book Review / Contest Giveaway)

In association with Chick Lit Plus Blog Tours, Jersey Girl Book Reviews is pleased to host the virtual book tour event for When Girlfriends Chase Dreams by author Savannah Page!

Author Guest Post

I’ve got to say it. Chick Lit is the best genre ever! All right, in all fairness every genre is amazing in its own way. But chick lit! Oh, chick lit…you’re my favorite.

As much as I love the feminine-fab genre and while it’s the main genre I write, I do read and enjoy a very wide range of books. From a memoir or a mystery, thriller or romance, to a western or sci-fi, travelogue or how-to-become-a-better-writer, there are so many fun genres and books to read. So what makes chick lit a hands-down fave?

I love the classic happy ending and lighthearted interaction and dialogue, and the referencing of Louboutins and Prada is much-too-much fun. I also enjoy that bit of ambiguity to a story, I like to visit serious issues that women face, and sometimes there just needs to be a tear-jerking moment. I want to read and write about romance, friendship, and familial relationships. About careers, college days, the small-yet-dramatic issues, and those life-altering decisions. I want to laugh, cry, and occasionally shout, “What are you thinking?!” And, naturally, I want it to be done in a way that I, as a woman, can relate to, aspire to, and can thoroughly enjoy. Chick Lit’s just got it all!

The reason I thought I’d chat up the genre is because When Girlfriends Chase Dreams, from the cover to the wedding theme, really does deserve the frequent comments, “THIS When Girlfriends book is a chick lit!” It’s true, leading lady and blushing bride Claire Linley has the chaotic wedding to plan, the relationship that’s in need of attention, and fantastic girlfriends to see her from dress-fitting to the altar, with all the usual hilarity and endearing moments throughout.

But, as with the other novels in my When Girlfriends… collection, chick lit can also be When Girlfriends Step Up, when Robin has to figure out how she’s going to deal with a very unexpected pregnancy. Life isn’t always going to serve you what you expect, or think you can handle. Chick Lit can be When Girlfriends Make Choices, when Lara finds herself caught up in an affair with a married man. The genre can bring you ambiguity, it can tug at the heart strings, and it can ask some tough questions.

Chick Lit is everything, with a focus on women and women’s issues, and it’s filled with splashes of humor, sexiness, emotion, and the occasional fashion-this or super-girly-that. And that’s why I love writing and reading this genre. I know that no matter what I’m in the mood to read, chick lit will satisfy the appetite!

Thank you for inviting me to guest post on your blog, Kathleen. And thank you so much for being a part of the tour! It’s been fun!

Readers, don’t forget to enter the fabulous CLP When Girlfriends Chase Dreams Tour Giveaway. One lucky reader will win a 1 year subscription to the “Martha Stewart Weddings” or “Martha Stewart Living” magazine (print or digital). Details are on the CLP Tour Page.

About The Author

Savannah Page is the author of the continuing When Girlfriends… collection and her travelogue and first book, Bumped to Berlin. When she isn’t writing, Savannah enjoys a good book with a latte and jazz tunes, Pilates, and exploring her home of Berlin as an American expat.

When Girlfriends Chase Dreams by Savannah Page ~ Virtual Book Tour Page: Chick Lit Plus Blog Tours

Book Review

When Girlfriends Chase Dreams by Savannah Page
Book 4: When Girlfriends ... series
Publication: Pearls and Pages
Publication Date: March 20, 2013
Format: Paperback - 465 pages / Kindle - 559 KB / Nook - 941 KB
ISBN: 1483914690
Genre: Chick Lit / Contemporary Romance

BUY THE BOOK: When Girlfriends Chase Dreams

BUY THE SERIES: When Girlfriends ...
Book 1: When Girlfriends Break Hearts
Book 2: When Girlfriends Step Up
Book 3: When Girlfriends Make Choices
Book 4: When Girlfriends Chase Dreams
Book 5: When Girlfriends Take Chances (Published July 12, 2013)

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: 

A novel about chasing dreams, for better or worse, and living your love story.

Claire Linley is finally a bride! After nearly ten years with her college freshman sweetheart, Claire is going to become Mrs. Conner Whitley. She's got her bridal magazines, is the biggest Martha Stewart fan, and subscribes to all the major wedding blogs. She's been dreaming of this moment for years! How could planning her dream wedding be anything but perfect?

The easy-going and bubbly type, Claire will obviously have a blast planning, and with her fantastic group of girlfriends-made-bridesmaids she just can't go wrong. Whether it's wedding gown shopping, makeup trials, or cake-tasting, Claire's friends are there in a pinch.

But how big does the pinch get? All Claire wants to do is get married, but at every turn something seems to go awry and she's starting to lose it. How is a girl supposed to remain cool and collected when the pricey dream wedding planner isn't turning out to be so dreamy? When DIY projects and the perfect venue are going up in smoke? How is Claire supposed to marry Conner when the special day that's supposed to join them together, forever, is slowly tearing them apart?

This is the charming story about how sometimes the biggest events in life are defined by the smallest acts of kindness and love. It's a love story about dreaming large, loving deeply, and, in the end, truly having the happiest day of your life, no matter what happens (or doesn't). About what happens when girlfriends chase dreams.

Book Excerpt:

I can’t believe the reflection in the mirror. It almost brings tears to my eyes. I, Claire Linley, am actually wearing my wedding dress. All right, not really my wedding dress. But a wedding dress. I’m actually—really and truly!—wearing a wedding dress, inside a bridal boutique, standing on top of a pedestal in front of a massive tri-fold mirror, so I can glimpse all angles of my white and fluffy and crystal-y bridal self.

I swish from side to side, imagining that I’m on the ballroom floor. I watch about in a daze as the gorgeous pieces of material sway with my curvy body, dancing with my short movements. Even my curly hair sways in tune with the gown; and somehow the bright white shade of the material and the sparkly crystals seem to make my hair appear a type of platinum blonde. I look like a princess. I feel like a princess! Oh, this is one of the best days of my life! The woman who looks back in the mirror, the image I’ve been dreaming about pretty much from the very moment I started going out with my amazing and handsome fiancé, Conner, is almost too much to bear. This is actually happening. I’m finally engaged to be married!

Wow! Just listening to that word…fiancé. And engaged! Such sweet, sweet words… I always knew I would be over-the-moon when I’d be able to use those words in the same sentence as my name, but I didn’t think they’d sound this lyrical. I didn’t know being an engaged woman could feel so magical!

But, if I’m completely honest, it’s also a bit stressful.

Oh, but no matter. I’m engaged! I am going to become Mrs. Conner Whitley just eight months from now! Well, it could have been six, making for a clichéd dream of an outdoor, June wedding, but planning a wedding is really tough stuff. So much to coordinate! It’s not like planning a birthday party or even a baby shower, which I got to do a couple of years ago for one of my best friends, Robin Sinclair. No, planning a wedding is a huge ordeal, and it can get a little overwhelming from time to time, to say the least.

But, as I said, it’s no matter, really, since I’m standing right here, inside one of Seattle’s most glamorous bridal boutiques, wearing a breathtaking wedding dress. It may not be my dress. It may not be “the one!” that all the bridal magazines swear you’ll recognize when you see it. But it’s a wedding dress just the same, and it’s on me!

“Claire? Claire honey?”

I tear my eyes away from the almost-wedded-bliss image in the mirror to look to my mom. She’s looking up at me, holding a crystal-studded tiara in one hand and a waist-length veil in the other.

“Which one do you like best, dear?” she asks. She’s looking from left to right and smiling at me between takes, just like a game show girl who’s trying to strike up interest in the full set of Teflon cookware and the lifetime supply of canned soup—only a thousand times better. “The crystal tiara really makes your blue eyes shine.”

“Neither,” I breathe. I set my hands on my beaded waist, then quickly remove them. There are far too many beads and sequins on this wedding gown. How can a girl twist and move on the dance floor when she’s liable to scratch up her forearms and hands from such an ornate bodice? No, this dress won’t do. It’s beautiful, but not for me.

Mom makes a twisted face and brings the headpieces down to her sides. “You don’t like either one?” she asks dejectedly.

“They’re beautiful,” I quickly say. I look back at my reflection. “This dress is beautiful, too.” I turn back to Mom. “But they’re not for me. They’re not ‘the one!’ You know?”

Mom nods knowingly and hands the items back to one of the two boutique attendants who’ve been helping me for the past three hours.

“Claire?” It’s Sophie Wharton, my maid of honor. Even though I love and adore all of my girlfriends (and I seriously have the most awesome five girlfriends a woman could ask for), Sophie is the ideal BFF in the world. She’s the peanut butter to my PB&J, and I like peanut butter a lot! Sophie’s that best friend and super sister wrapped in one. And we really just, well, click. We first met when we were freshmen at the University of Washington, which feels like ages ago. We hit it off and eventually moved into a dorm together. Best friends, great roomies, and, nearly ten years later, we’re still a pretty dynamic duo, if I may say so myself.

“Claire,” Sophie says again, “maybe we’re going about this all wrong.” She gestures to the dress I’m wearing. “You’ve tried quite a few different styles just to make sure you know you want to go for the more vintage look.”

I nod enthusiastically.

“Then…why don’t we stop trying so many different styles and go vintage all the way now?” Sophie’s smiling brightly, taking charge of the situation as she often likes to do.

I sigh in a dramatic fashion and pick up the weighty pleats of the gown. This dress is beautiful but much too princess-like for my taste. I manage to twist around one-eighty on the pedestal and give a questioning look to my mom and the rest of the girls who’ve come along for the adventure today.

Robin’s making an expression that I can’t quite discern. She keeps cocking her head to one side and then another, maybe contemplating this dress for her own future wedding. I bet it would look really stunning on her. Although, I don’t think she’s really the princess and over-the-top kind of girl. And definitely not the conventional type of bride. Sometimes the girls and I (in a very loving way, of course) tease Robin and say she’s doing everything backwards. She gets pregnant, then finds a dreamy guy, then has a baby, then moves in with said dreamy guy (his name’s Bobby, by the way, and the baby, who rocks all of our worlds, is Rose), and Robin’s still saying that some day she’ll get married. “Just not too soon,” she always replies to our teasing.

I’m not sure what Robin’s thinking at the moment, but she’s not saying anything. She’s only meeting my questioning face with an equally curious gaze.

I look over at Lara. If anyone can give me strong and wise advice, surely it has to be Lara Kearns. Miss “I’ve got my career and life together.”

Okay, so the past year or so her life was a little on the rocks with this guy she was seeing from work. But that’s behind her now. She’s moving on and, as always, is more focused on her career than almost anything else.

Lara’s looking at me with a very sobering face, her arms crossed. She tightens her lips together before saying, “I think Sophie’s right. We’ve tried so many different styles. It was a good idea to get a feel for all types of cuts and designs out there—”

“Just to be sure!” Jackie cuts in.

“Yes,” Lara says, looking to Jackie. “To be sure you really want vintage. And I think now we know.”

“Pssht. Yeah,” Jackie says with a flutter of her eyelashes. She’s sitting on the plush, cream, carpeted floor, her small legs tucked underneath her. “We’ve been here foreeever, Claire. Time to change our strategy.”

“I only want to be certain,” I say. “I don’t want to miss my dress if it’s here. You know?”

“You’ve practically tried on the whole store, Claire.” Jackie’s whining now, just like a child. Although that’s Jackie’s style. She sometimes feels like the baby sister among us—always needing to be looked after, brought back down to earth, or given a talking to. She’s a soft and fragile little girl inside, mixed in with a wild and carefree kind of spirit.

“Surely there’s some dress here that you’ll love,” Jackie says with a smattering of persuasion.

“Jackie.” I plant my hands on my hips and instantly remove them after the decorative detail pokes me. “Not everyone can be so lucky to find the perfect dress in one shot and look fabulous.”

Jackie Kittredge née Anderson married her mogul boyfriend of a year-and-a-half or so only two weeks ago, on New Year’s Eve. She had a very understated courthouse wedding and an intimate celebration at their opulent townhouse downtown. It was a New Years Eve party/wedding reception. She was engaged for a month or something super short and pulled it all off without much of a hitch. I don’t know how she did it—I’ve already been engaged for six months! (I know, I know. And the question begs to be asked: What on earth have I been doing this whole time? I’m working on it.)

Anyway, Jackie pulled off a stress-free wedding ceremony and a fun reception in record time. And, as is signature Jackie, she looked A-list while doing it. Jackie’s wedding dress was a very sweet Chanel number in eggshell with jet-black accents at the cuffs and the faux pockets. It may not have been very traditional for a wedding, much less very bridal in any sense other than its off-white color, but Jackie pulled it off. A little birdcage veil and pillbox hat and Jackie looked like one of those model/wedding blog brides. Or Jackie O, even!

My mom returns to my side, this time holding up one of my many thick bridal magazines. I’m surprised that my car, which is almost on its last leg, hasn’t completely keeled over from the sheer weight of the bridal magazines that collect in the trunk and backseats. My idol, Martha Stewart, insists that a happy bride is a well-researched bride. So that means when I’m not rifling through bridal magazines, or bookmarking favorite weddings on “Style Me Pretty,” or organizing my Pinterest boards, I must carry around with me oodles of inspiration. Besides, you never know how long that line at the grocery store or the wait in that dreaded doctor’s office might take. It’s always wise to have your bridal battle kit within arm’s reach.

“What about this here?” Mom suggests. She’s pointing at a gorgeous Vera Wang that has vintage written all over it. “This is very chic.”

I take the magazine and look over the details. It is a chic vintage dress. It definitely boasts elegance and class. And I bet it’d be suitable for my body type, too. I’m a bit on the short side (almost five feet and four inches) and have womanly curves. (“Womanly curves”—the term my mother taught to call my round bottom, slightly bosomy chest, and defined waist.)

“It could work,” I say with hope in my voice. “Do you have this? Or something like this?” I ask an attendant, showing her the photo of the gorgeous dress.

“We could order it in, I’m pretty sure,” she says with confidence. “We’re always eager to have a new Vera to add to the collection.”

I look back at the girls. “Okay,” I sigh. “Let’s try one more then for today,” I point at the last dress hanging on the rack, “and then we can get some lunch.”

Emily gives a short applause and says that it sounds like a great plan. “I’m starved,” she exclaims.

Emily Saunders. I have to count my lucky stars that this girl is still here in Seattle helping out with the wedding. She is one of my bridesmaids, after all, as are all my girls. But Emily’s the unusual type. She’s a nomad. She’s the one who’s always jetting off to another country at the last minute. She’s big on exploring different places and learning about different cultures. “Widening her global perspective,” she says, or something like that. She’s even spent tons of time living in exotic locations and among tribes; she practically becomes a local wherever she goes.

Yet somehow I have managed to convince Emily to stick around, at least until August. When the wedding is over, then she has my consent to flee the scene, if she wishes. It’s not that Emily isn’t happy in Seattle or doesn’t want to be here with all us girls. She’s just a traveler at heart, and so long as she’s got her passport in one hand and her camera in the other, she’s a pretty happy camper.

“And we’re sure about the bridesmaid dresses?” Mom says. “You’re going with the same color, different styles?”

“I want to sleep on it a bit,” I say, and all of the girls suddenly look deflated. “Just to be sure.” I try to prove to them that the hunt for the ideal bridesmaid dresses won’t last much longer. They’ve been such troopers. “But I think I’m sure,” I add. “They’re such a pretty shade of green.”

I make my way back to the dressing room, more than ready to slip out of this heavy number and into the remaining dress. I’m almost certain it’s not “the one!”, but I still want to try it on anyhow. Besides, Emily’s been documenting the journey from fiancée to wife for me, constantly snapping photos of important events, like trying on dozens of wedding gowns. What’s one more to add to the album?

My Book Review:

What do best girlfriends do when one of their own is chasing the wedding planning dream?

In When Girlfriends Chase Dreams, the fourth installment of the When Girlfriends ... collection, author Savannah Page transports the reader back to Seattle for another visit with the six best girlfriends that we've come to know and love: Claire, Sophie, Robin, Lara, Jackie and Emily. This time it's Claire's turn to tell her story! After nagging longtime boyfriend Conner Whitley to get married, Conner finally proposed to Claire in When Girlfriends Make Choices, now it's time for Claire to plan her wedding in eight months <gasp!>. Claire takes the reader along for the ride on her journey to the altar with hilarious wedding plan mishaps and bridezilla moments, and in true bestie spirit, her five girlfriends are there to share in all the joy that wedded bliss will bring the bride-to-be.

There is nothing more enjoyable than reading a Chick Lit story about weddings, especially when you can relate to all the drama that the bride-to-be goes through when she is planning her special day. In When Girlfriends Chase Dreams, I found myself nodding my head, laughing and reminiscing about my own wedding as I followed Claire's journey down the wedding planning path to the altar. Every best laid plan can have snags, and Claire has her share in this entertaining story. Disagreements with her parents, picking fights with Conner, DIY snafus (and boy can I relate to these as I too did craft items for my wedding), to wedding planner and dress issues, our bridezilla sure had a hard time making final wedding plan decisions, but seriously girls... whose wedding plans have gone perfectly smooth with no hiccups?!

I really enjoyed catching up with all six girlfriends, the author does a great job of intertwining all of the latest news about each of the girls within the main storyline. She has a smooth style of integrating snippets from the previous books' storylines into the current book that makes it easy for the reader to feel like they haven't missed a thing while waiting to read the next installment in the collection. This is such a fun collection to read, the six girlfriends continue to show what true friendship is all about: through good and bad times, thick and thin, ups and downs, and every trial and tribulation that befalls them, these six lovely ladies are supportive and always there for each other. I am looking forward to reading about Emily's story in the next installment in the collection, When Girlfriends Take Chances.

If you are looking for a fast-paced, thoroughly fun and entertaining collection of Chick Lit stories that celebrates womanhood and the strong bonds of friendship, then When Girlfriends ... is a must read, you won't be disappointed!


Virtual Book Tour Contest Giveaway

Win A Year Subscription to: 

Martha Stewart "Weddings" or "Living"

iPad or Print - US Only!

Virtual Book Tour Schedule

Tour Schedule:

July 15 – Escape into a Book – Review & Guest Post
July 16 – Books Etc – Review
July 16 – eBook Addict – Review
July 17 – eBook Addict – Q&A
July 17 – Jersey Girl Book Reviews – Review, Guest Post & Excerpt 
July 18 – Books Etc – Guest Post
July 18 – Storm Goddess Book Reviews – Review
July 19 – Books Etc – Q&A
July 22- The East Village – Review
July 23 – Keep Calm and Blog On – Review
July 24 – Every Free Chance Book Reviews – Review
July 25 – Chick Lit Plus – Review
July 29 – Karma For Life Chick – Review


  1. Thank you for the awesome review and for being a part of my tour, Kathleen. Lots of love for Jersey Girl Book Reviews!

    1. Hi Savannah! I love this collection of stories, keep em coming! Thank you for the opportunity to host your virtual book tour event. :)

  2. Replies
    1. I agree, this is a fab series, so much fun to read! Thank you for the opportunity to host the virtual book tour event.