Her Royal Spyness by Rhys Bowen

383514Earlier this fall, Katia read the latest installment in this series and it looked like a lot of fun. So I grabbed the first novel in this series and fell in love.

Our protagonist is Lady Victoria Georgiana Charlotte Eugenie, daughter to the Duke of Atholt and Rannoch, who is penniless and stuck in a drafty castle in Scotland with her miserly brother and sister-in-law in 1930s Great Britain. She decides to take things into her own hands and decamp to London. She’s got to find a way to make money and avoid Her Majesty’s plan to send her to her great aunt’s house (the last daughter of Queen Victoria) until she can work out a suitable marriage. Georgie is a plucky heroine, who is ready to roll up her sleeves, despite being 34th in line to the throne. She meets a dashing Irishman who is also titled, but down on his luck and it seems like things are looking up.

But then she comes home from her new job, airing out people’s homes to find a dead man in the bath. Though the killer is rather obvious to the reader, there’s a nice tension between Georgie and her various compatriots as she tries to figure who killed the Frenchman who was trying to take over their castle and who is trying to bump her off as well.

It’s a quick read, full of upper crust parties, boat trips and visits to Buckingham Palace. I’m requesting the next novel in the series right now!

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For Better or Worse by Carole Matthews

351708I’m 0/2 with Book Sale Impulse Buys.

Josie, our heroine, started to annoy me when she just couldn’t get over having to travel alone (since she’s divorced) to her cousin’s wedding in New York. I tried to be patient as that must be a big change, but she just kept going on about it. Then she meets Matt, a music journalist, on the plane and they have a magical afternoon in NYC. (They climb the Statue of Liberty, which they both just call “Liberty.”) Matt gets drunk at a recording session and misses meeting Josie for dinner. He spends the rest of the book trying to find her (employing stupid methods like calling every hotel in NYC looking for “Martha’s wedding” as if there’s only one person named Martha getting married that day), while sleeping with the band’s promoter. I know.
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What Goes Around by Alexandra Carew

3840980Ugh this book.

I picked up for a $1 at the SF Library Big Book Sale based on the cover and the summary on the back. They were wrong and I want my dollar back.

I kept reading thinking it had to get better, but alas no. Cat Wellsely is a crazy person, who loves horoscopes, tarot cards and obsessively fantasizing about unavailable men, while blaming the Universe for her life. The fact that she keeps failing up does not endear you to her at all either. And as the book goes on, her suicidal ideation doesn’t really help either.

Happy to give this one back to the book sale and forget it ever happened.

Recipe for Disaster by Stacey Ballis

22571603There really is nothing like a good Stacey Ballis book.

Anneke’s life implodes on her in one day and she’s left to figure out how to move forward without a steady job, her cheating boyfriend or any family to speak of. Anneke and I have very little in common considering she’s a master contractor who loves to rebuild homes for fun (turned full time work), but her struggles with money, trust, food and men were very familiar. There’s a little part about a third of the way through the book where her friend Marie says “You are running the risk of becoming a complete asshole” and it just hit me a little bit. There’s always something in one of Ballis’s books that grabs me and worms its way into my brain for later.

It was a nice change of pace that the main character isn’t a food professional, but there’s definitely some good recipes happening anyway. The romance was a little unexpected and I don’t know that it’s quite earned at the end (massive time jumps do that to me), but this time I’m happy with the nice little bow on everything. It’s been a long month and this was just what I needed.

Revenge Wears Prada: The Devil Returns by Lauren Weisberger

16130307I remember reading “The Devil Wears Prada” in 2004 on a whirlwind trip to San Francisco. I had to come up here for some orientation/advising things before starting college and I picked up the paperback at the airport. I finished the book while sitting in a hallway, waiting to talk to an advisor. Then it was turned into a movie, which I saw and was disappointed by. But that movie is on cable every weekend, so I’ve come to enjoy it as its own thing.

I don’t know how I missed that Lauren Weisberger wrote a sequel to the book, but I finally picked it up a couple weeks ago. The first thing I noticed was how different the book must be from the movie in ways I didn’t remember (like the boyfriend’s name or the Christian guy’s last name) because it was VERY hard to jump back in.

Most of it doesn’t matter because we pick up with Andy ten years later and she’s in a different place in her life, sorta. She’s about to marry the perfect guy, even though his mother doesn’t like her. And she’s back working with Emily, who is now her BFF and they’ve created the perfect wedding magazine. It gets more unbelievable from there. There’s also a ton of time skips (from one chapter to another), so things that happen have been building, but you get a bit of whiplash.

The “devil returns” when Elias-Clark wants to buy Andy and Emily’s magazine, and Miranda Priestley is now the managing editor of everything at Elias-Clark. Except Miranda’s barely in the book and it’s Andy’s own people who end up screwing her over. Maybe Meryl Streep has ruined the “devil” for me, but everyone was being unreasonable and avoiding things, which was really annoying to read about it. They are all my age now, so the immaturity and ridiculousness was a bit much.

It was a quick read, but I didn’t really need to dip back into the “Devil” book universe the way I thought.