Talking as Fast as I Can by Lauren Graham

40411206Gilmore Girls got me through a break up in the early ’00s, and I’ve been obsessed with it ever since, even if I spent most of the later seasons screaming, “WHY ARE YOU DOING THAT?!” When it announced that the show was going to be part of the current revival craze that’s sweeping Hollywood, I was nervous because though it took a long time to get there, I felt the show was left in a good place: Luke and Lorelai presumably together, Rory off to be a reporter, and Richard and Emily doing their Hartford thing, but getting along with Lorelai for the first time ever.

However, reading Lauren Graham’s recollection of her time on set made me reconsider it. Most of her memoir feels like the normal things – how she grew up, how she struggled as an actor, how she got her big break, how things have changed for her, and now she’s filming the revival. It was a fun read and I’ve always like Lauren Graham (Northern Virginia gals gotta stick together!), but the best part was really her little diary about the revival. I really enjoyed the tiny moments where Kelly Bishop remembered Edward Herrmann and how Lauren tried to get everyone she ever met into a scene somehow (let’s be besties, Lauren – I wanna be on Gilmore Girls!) I was a little surprised how few Scott stories there were, but I guess the central relationship on this show was always Lauren and Alexis.

Anyway, at just over 200 pages, it’s a quick read with some cute stories. If you liked Lauren Graham before, this won’t change your mind (and vice versa). I’m curious to check out her fiction books to see if her manic energy is present there as well.

The English Wife by Lauren Willig

34945222I had to finish this book quickly in order to not get another late fee from the library and for once, I really wasn’t eager to do so. I think this is the first Lauren Willig book where I’ve been #TeamNobody.

There are two stories being told simultaneously – one is Janie’s as she tries to find the truth about the death of her brother Bay and his wife, Annabelle – and the other is Annabelle’s a few years earlier as she meets Bay and starts a life with him. Nothing is as it seems and things are very confusing. Is Annabelle pretending to be someone else? What’s the real truth to Annabelle’s past? And of course, who killed Bay and Annabelle (assuming she died since they never found her body)?

Everyone is both obliviously awful and maliciously awful to each other, so it’s hard to root for another. Janie’s the most likely hero, but even she is wishy-washy and ridiculous a lot of the time. Plus, we don’t get find out important things like why she doesn’t have suitors or how she got be so meek. Why is her cousin so awful to her all the time? Does her cousin really support Bay in his chosen lifestyle or does she just like fucking with people?

In the end, Janie finds “love,” the killer is discovered and there’s a small measure of justice, but there’s so much left unanswered and Bay is still dead. I still want the questions answered, but I’d had enough of all the characters to last a lifetime.

The Lure of the Moonflower by Lauren Willig

23398702Reader, I finished it!

Who knew when I picked up The Secret History of the Pink Carnation in 2008, that I’d still be reading this series 10 years later? This novel comes full circle, meeting back up with Jane, the Pink Carnation, in Portugal. She meets up with Jack, Colonel Reid‘s son, and of course, sparks fly. The mission they are on doesn’t really matter because we get some romance staples like, only one bed at the inn and road trip with your enemy, so it totally works. I wish there had been a bit more of the epilogue of Jane and Jack’s adventures after Portugal, but we left them in a good place, so I’m happy.

It’s also quite nice that Colin and Eloise FINALLY got married, even if it’s still 2005 for them. I could have done without all the meta Eloise = Lauren stuff with her writing a novel about the Pink Carnation, etc. It was also a bit weird to have such a serious kidnapping happening in like 18 hours before the wedding, but I guess it was a nice change from the usual crap that comes with planning a wedding.

In the end, everyone’s happy and I’m happy, so let’s call it a win!

On Her Majesty’s Frightfully Secret Service by Rhys Bowen

32969127I have several books to finish from interlibrary loan, so I grabbed this one next, as this series is always a quick read. I had forgotten about Georgie’s trip to Ireland, but it came back soon enough. It’s quite nice that she’s (almost) settled, though it does seem that perhaps there’s an end to this series coming.

Which may be a good thing because Georgie is becoming a little bit like Jessica Fletcher. I’m surprised that Queen Mary hasn’t noticed that every time she sends Georgie on a little spying mission, someone ends up dead and Georgie has to solve a murder. And given the short amount of time that seems to pass during and between books, she’s racking up quite a body count.

This installment takes us to Italy, where Georgie is ostensibly visiting Belinda, who is waiting to have her baby, but really she’s been “invited” to a house party to keep an eye on the Prince of Wales and Wallis Simpson. There’s intrigue, Hitler, and perhaps a preview of Georgie’s life as a Catholic wife. Oh and Georgie is almost raped – twice. But then her would-be rapist is killed, her mother is blamed and of course, the local police is useless. It would be a nice change of pace to the the local law enforcement not a group of bumbling fools, but then, I guess, Georgie wouldn’t get a save the day in her own way. Georgie’s fiancee, Darcy, is also about, spying on the meeting that’s taking place under everyone’s nose, trying to get the Prince of Wales on the side of Hitler and Il Duce. Sigh.

The whodunit is pretty well done, so I didn’t figure it out until much later than usual, which was great. There aren’t any new books listed, but fingers crossed we get at least one more, so Georgie and Darcy can finally get married!

Surprise Me by Sophie Kinsella

35411583I’ve been a fan of Sophie Kinsella’s standalone books for a long time. This one is a quick read that I didn’t love, but I didn’t hate it either.

Our heroine thinks she has the perfect marriage, but it turns out it isn’t so perfect – and not in the way she believes. The love story in this book is different than most chick lit because our main character is already married (with children). She’s got a stable job (not in publishing) and her life seems settled. When she and her husband contemplate how long they might end up married to each other, she decides they should surprise each other to keep things fresh. It starts out innocent (and ridiculous) enough, but soon there are BIG secrets being kept and Sylvie starts spiraling.

The conflict does enter that sitcom cliche territory of “JUST TALK TO EACH OTHER” a little bit, once things start coming out, you ALMOST understand how they got there. It still feels more contrived than not, so this book gets a “like,” not a “love” from me.