Helen of Pasadena, by Lian Dolan. Nook.
I have been a fan of Lian Dolan for nearly a decade now, following her radio & podcast career, as host of Satellite Sisters and Chaos Chronicles. I have posted on these show websites, emailed & tweeted with Lian on multiple occassions, and she has even mentioned me on her show a few times -- I may be the only male listener she has!
When she announced her plans to write a novel, I was psyched for her. It came out right around the time of my birthday, at which time I received a NookColor, so this was the first book I bought for that device. I do feel bad that it took me so long to actually read it, much less review it. Sorry, Lian :0(
Like her podcast, males are not the target audience for the novel. Although it is a much more literary version of chick-lit, it still fits that category. The males exist only in relation to Helen, the main character: dead husband, son, love interest. The fact that they are all well-developed characters was a pleasnat surprise.
At the start of the novel, Helen's husband has just died in a bizarre Rose Parade accident. This happens just hours after his confession to Helen that he was in love with another woman and intended to leave her. In the course of the story, she deals with the familial and financial mess that this man left behind, returning to the worlds both of work and of dating.
I did not get all of the Pasadena and Southern California references, but I was able to figure most of it out from context, and my lack of familiarity did not take away from my enjoyment of the book.
She is planning 2 more novels in the same general universe, and when they are released, I will gladly buy and read them.