I Heart Paris by Lindsey Kelk

After receiving a small raise last week, I immediately booked a trip to Paris.

To be fair, I’d been mulling over this trip during a break at work to visit a dear friend who is working on her master’s degree, but once I heard about the raise, it pushed me over the edge. Basically, what I’m saying is though Angela Clark annoys me at times, I kinda get her impulsiveness thing.

(Also weird – last month I went to Los Angeles (Book #2), I’m heading to Paris (Book #3) next month and then to Las Vegas (Book #4) the month after that. Not on purpose, but just coincidence. I don’t have any current plans to head to London (Book #5), but it is my favorite place, so hmmm….)

20422324Anyway, when I realized the next I Heart book was set in Paris, I pulled it up immediately. It’s a quick read and Angela is a little less annoying than usual, if only because most of the bad stuff that’s happening to her actually isn’t her fault this time. She still drinks way too much and spends way too much money on stupid stuff. (Seriously, if I hear about her stupid Marc Jacobs handbag one more time, I’m going to throw something!) Angela’s boyfriend gets invited to play a festival in Paris and invites Angela to go with. At the same time, she gets a big meeting with the head of the company who owns the magazine where she works which gets her an article in this universe’s version of Vogue. Her suitcase gets blown up at JFK (which she finds out at CDG), leaving her without her MacBook charger, borrowed clothes, make up, and research for the article.

While this would be enough to make anyone crazy, she’s more concerned that her boyfriend’s ex-girlfriend is back on the scene and now he’s being distant than her work project. I have to keep reminding myself that Angela is 27, so she’s kinda ditzy sometimes because I spent most of the book wanting to shake some sense into her. There are so many things that she’s “hopeless” at – like reading maps, working technology, doing research, stopping herself from spending money she doesn’t have on clothes she doesn’t need, telling her boyfriend the truth…it wears.

There are some actual consequences to her actions this time, which is a nice change of pace, even if everyone is telling her not worry about it. It’s a quick read and I like that I can dip my toes back into this universe every once in a while, but I definitely need a break before the next book. I’ve loaded up my TBR queue with a bunch of Paris books, so get excited!

The Nobodies by Liza Palmer

43603284When I found out there was a new Liza Palmer novel on Libby, I downloaded it immediately. It took me a little while to get into it because our heroine Joan is kinda annoying to start. Or she seems to make things harder for herself than she needs to and we never really seem to dig into why.

She’s an unemployed LA journalist who gets a job at a flashy start up full of 20somethings (and she’s closer to 40 than 30), where she doesn’t quite fit in. The bosses are dicks and the people are clique-y and tech-bro-y. She spends a little too much time feeling sorry for herself, but finally kicks it into gear before I was ready to move on.

Once the main plot gets going, the group of friends she surrounds herself with are truly delightful. I wished we got to know her other group of friends better because when they pop back up in the story, I had already forgotten their names and what their issues were.

When I got to the mystery and the intrigue of it all, I couldn’t put it down, but it was a little harder to jump in than I would have expected.

No Judgments by Meg Cabot

41088583I had to speedread through this one because my library book was due today, and I thought I’d lose access to it before I finished! Luckily, it’s a quick read with fun characters, so it was a nice way to spend the evening.

Bree, our pink-haired main character, decides to ride out a hurricane on her new home island (Little Bridge Island) in the Florida Keys. She keeps running into Drew Hartwell, who everyone warned her about because he’s apparently a womanizer. Bree’s running from her life in New Year and Drew’s a homegrown island boy. Though I appreciate Bree’s struggles (once we find out what happened to her), she’s kind of a dick to Drew for no good reason for a lot of the book.

The best part comes after the hurricane when they team up to help out the animals left behind on the island. I really wish there had been more of that and a little less “I can do it myself”-ness from Bree. Also a MAJOR plot bombshell breaks about 90% through the book and then it just…ends. I know this is the first book in the series, but that was a little ridiculous. There are some standard chick lit tropes (i.e. the first man the main character talks to is the romantic interest, no matter what anyone says), but it did break away from some of the most obnoxious ones (i.e. a big misunderstanding breaks them up even though a simple conversation would have solved everything).

I really enjoy Meg Cabot’s chick lit books, so I’m happy she’s back writing for adults again. The next book in the series comes out in August, so I’ve got it on my list for the end of summer.

1980 Project: December & January Update

As previously posted, I am hoping to donate at least $1,980 this year before I turn 40. I want to highlight a few of the charities I’ve supported along the way.

December – $195.66

  • Support Abby’s Hope
    The niece of one of my closest friends is fighting a stage four glioblastoma and her family needs support while they support her.
  • Stem from Dance
    I heard about this from Isabella Boylston’s Instagram for Giving Tuesday. Selfishly, I donated in order to receive a personalized Christmas card from one of my favorite ballerinas. But it’s a good cause nonetheless.
  • Bothell UMC
    I attended this church on Christmas Eve with my family. I know the UMC is going through some issues right now, but this was, hands down, THE MOST inclusive congregation I’ve ever been a part of. The pastor was engaging right from the jump about everyone of different sexualities, genders, races, economic status not only being welcome there, but BELONGING there. They also were raising money for a charity for high school students experiencing homelessness, but I can’t remember what it’s called right now. Top notch church!

January – $138.27 (so far)

I also plan to donate to earthquake relief in Puerto Rico, who cannot seem to catch a break, but will need to wait for my second paycheck of the month.

The Summer of Serendipity by Ali McNamara

33393989._SY475_Turns out, when you’re the driver, you don’t get a lot of time to read on vacation. However, I had plenty of time to finish up the second half of this novel on my flight home this morning. It really was the perfect holiday read, even if it’s set in the summer.

Ren (short for Serendipity) is a property seeker, visiting Ireland with her assistant Kiki (seriously!) to find the perfect retirement location for a client. She and Kiki stay at an inn across from Tara (from Breakfast at Darcy’s) and meet men during their first ten minutes there. It’s all very Hallmark Christmas movie (minus the Christmas – can you tell what I’ve been watching for the last two months?!).

There’s also a bit of Irish folklore and a mystery house in the mix, but I was much more interested in the romance. There are, of course, tragic backstories on both sides, but neither of them quite as tragic as the characters make them out to be. The ending was a little too Hallmark for me, but my flight was landing, so I was happy all the same. Score another win for Ms. McNamara!