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Review: Best Staged Plans

July 1, 2011

Now that their kids are grown, Sandy thinks she and her husband should downsize, which means selling their house.  You wouldn’t think that would be a problem since Sandy stages homes for a living, but she can’t get her husband motivated, and their son, who lives in their basement, doesn’t want to grow up.  They just won’t cooperate or stay on task.  Sandy is fed up and lets them know it, giving them an ultimatum before she heads to Atlanta to stage a hotel for her best friend’s boyfriend.  Since she can stay with their daughter, Sandy thinks she just might stay in Atlanta indefinitely.

Things in Atlanta don’t turn out the way she planned, though, and she finds herself staying with her new son-in-law because her daughter’s away on a business trip.  She suspects things aren’t just right with her best friend’s boyfriend either. Sandy finds herself wondering if she overreacted before she left home.

I thought Best Staged Plans by Claire Cook was just delightful!  I would call it middle aged chick lit, but that probably makes it sound rather silly, and it’s not.  It’s cute and funny, like chick lit, but it’s a little deeper than that – it also makes you think about what you value in life.  As an added bonus, its got staging and decorating tips scattered throughout.

As a reader who’s a “little more mature,” I could really relate to Sandy.  She’s been a hard worker and a motivator all of her life and she’s ready to live for herself.  She’s starting to realize that life’s too short to sweat the small stuff.  As the book progresses, Sandy comes to see what’s really important to her.

I enjoyed Sandy’s friendship with Denise, too.  They’re as different as night and day, but they balance each other and teach other a thing or two in the process.  They’ve been friends for years and accept each other they way they are.

Best Staged Plans is a light, fun read that will make you laugh and think.    It’s a fabulous way to spend an afternoon this summer – grab a copy and throw it into your beach bag!

Review copy provided by the author.  I am an Indiebound Affiliate.
38 Comments leave one →
  1. July 1, 2011 5:09 am

    I like the sound of middle age chick lit. You have evented a new genre!

  2. July 1, 2011 5:19 am

    This is the second review I’ve read on this book and both have been really positive. Going to hunt it down, fingers crossed.

  3. July 1, 2011 5:27 am

    Middle-aged chick lit! Lol
    It sounds like an entertaining read! I could do with a funny book right now.
    Thanks for the review!

  4. July 1, 2011 6:42 am

    I’m “a little more mature” and I loved this novel. Claire Cook hit the nail on the head 🙂 And I swear we must go to the same post office because that guy works at mine!!

  5. July 1, 2011 7:04 am

    I thought this one looked good – glad to hear you liked it. I think middle-aged chick lit should be an official genre – you know we read a lot!

  6. July 1, 2011 8:22 am

    Sounds like a fun summer read. I’ve only read one book by this author, but I did like it.

  7. July 1, 2011 8:36 am

    Middle age chicklit, lol, sure why not..though I might just wait until I am that age then 😉

  8. July 1, 2011 9:09 am

    It’s not my type of book, but I’m glad you enjoyed it!

  9. July 1, 2011 9:14 am

    This sounds like fun. I always like a light book to offset the heavy ones!

  10. July 1, 2011 9:18 am

    I read Must Love Dogs several years ago and thought it was a fun read. Seems as though she has another winner 🙂

  11. July 1, 2011 9:46 am

    This sounds like a nice summer read. I’m always horrified, though, at the way they stage homes on HGTV. They always take all the books off the shelves or even take out the shelves entirely!!!! People looking at the homes say, “Those shelves – what would I do with them?” They never heard of books? Jeez Louise!

  12. July 1, 2011 10:58 am

    I love the sound of this one, and if I remember correctly, I have read another book by Cook that I really liked. The plot element of staging houses and the design tips really intrigue me about this book, and I do think that it would make for a lovely beach read. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on it with us. I am adding this one to my list!

  13. July 1, 2011 11:12 am

    Will definitely be on my tbr list, sounds good.

  14. July 1, 2011 11:56 am

    You’d better bet there will be hell to pay if my kids are grown and I’m not able to downsize and move to the beach, baby! This sounds like alot of fun. I’m sure I could relate!

  15. July 1, 2011 1:05 pm

    It’s sounds like a great read! I’m adding this to my TBR list right now!

  16. July 1, 2011 1:43 pm

    This does sound like a great read. I don’t think i’ve read anything by Cook before, I’ll add this one to my wishlist. Happy reading!

  17. July 1, 2011 2:12 pm

    I like when bloggers use delightful to explain a book. I also like chick lit that is a little ‘deeper’, you have me intrigued for sure, sounds good.

  18. July 1, 2011 2:21 pm

    This sounds like a great read, especially since I’m in the process of downsizing myself right now. Will definitely add this to my to-read list!

  19. Beth Hoffman permalink
    July 1, 2011 3:10 pm

    Claire is such a sweet friend, and I think this is one of her very best novels! I’m so glad you enjoyed it too.

    Happy weekend, Kathy!

  20. July 1, 2011 3:28 pm

    Sounds so good…thanks.

  21. July 1, 2011 4:04 pm

    Loved, loved your review!!!! Am definitely putting this on my “little more mature” tbr list.

  22. July 1, 2011 5:27 pm

    I can’t wait to read this one — sounds like a great beach book!

  23. July 1, 2011 5:54 pm

    This one sounds so different from most chick lit that i’ve read! It does sound to be funny and deep. I would love to look at this one.

  24. July 1, 2011 5:55 pm

    I love Claire Cook and had a lot of fun reading her last year. This one soulnds like another good one by her.

  25. July 1, 2011 6:24 pm

    I haven’t read anything by Claire Cook and this sounds like a great read!

  26. July 1, 2011 8:12 pm

    I love Claire Cook and had a lot of fun reading her last year. This one sounds like another good one by her.

  27. July 1, 2011 8:29 pm

    I loved Mary’s review of this one and now after reading yours, this is a book I will certainly read. I downloaded one of her books for free on my Kindle because of Mary’s review 😀

  28. July 1, 2011 10:11 pm

    This is on my iPod. I’m looking forward to it when I need a change of pace/genre.

  29. stacybuckeye permalink
    July 1, 2011 11:06 pm

    Definitrly going on my wish list. Looks like fun for a girl who’s reaching a maturing age this year 🙂

  30. July 2, 2011 9:20 am

    Sounds like a good summer read.

  31. July 2, 2011 9:11 pm

    There is nothing bad about middle-aged chick lit! It’s nice to read a book about someone my age. I can relate a bit better than when it is a young character. I love Claire Cook and look forward to reading this book too.

  32. July 3, 2011 9:08 am

    I’m looking forward to this one…I just got it this week. Thanks for your review.

  33. July 3, 2011 1:40 pm

    I love Claire Cook’s writing, I think that she truly hits the nail on the head with womens issues and feelings. I can’t wait to read this book this summer! I’m glad that you enjoyed it.

  34. July 3, 2011 3:34 pm

    I enjoy Claire Cook. Her books seem to be fun and easy to read but they still try to teach a lesson and i really like that. This one sounds interesting – I bet I would love the staging and decorating tips. I’m going to be moving into my very first full size apartment soon and I’ll need all the help I can get to make it look nice!

  35. July 4, 2011 9:34 pm

    I’m ready for some middle-age chick lit! I haven’t yet read any Claire Cook, can you believe it? I’ll look for this one.

  36. July 5, 2011 10:27 am

    Thanks for this fabulous review, Kathy, and thanks for your kind comments, everybody!!

    You can read excerpts of BEST STAGED PLANS as well as my other 7 novels at

    I hope you’ll find me at and too!

    Thanks again, Kathy! I’m such a fan of your smart, beautifully written reviews!

  37. July 7, 2011 11:11 pm

    I think that like with many books I read, my opinion is going to be in the minority! I’m used to it though. I’m glad it’s one that you liked.
    2 Kids and Tired Books

  38. July 12, 2011 4:44 pm

    This sounds like a really good story..while I’m a bit younger and haven’t experienced what the main character has, the story itself still appeals to me. I know I’ll be there at some point. haha

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