Rumor Has It by Jill Mansell

So, it’s only taken me two months to read another book. I feel like I’ve been going through Michelle Obama’s memoir as slowly as possible, so as not to finish it, but I suppose I must at some point. As of today, I need to read nine books in the next 48 days to reach my 2019 Reading Challenge Goal. That’s finishing a book every five days or so.

7312713Anyway, I decided to check what books from my TBR list were available on Libby recently, and this was one that I could borrow straight away. I don’t recall what made me add it to the list in 2013, but it was a fun, quick read. It hits a lot of the chick lit cliches that you don’t care are cliches, while still having some original twists.

Tilly’s been left by her boyfriend and spontaneously decides to move to the small town where her college bestie lives. She takes a job as a “Girl Friday”/personal assistant to an interior designer with a 13-year-old kid. His ex-wife is an actress who runs into trouble and has to come home. And of course, he’s got a lothario best friend who will be the main love interest because everyone tells Tilly not to fall for him.

I’m not entirely sure where the title comes into play, but it’s a fun story divided into short chapters, from multiple points of view. Tilly’s BFF, Erin, is dating a recently separated guy, whose soon-to-be ex is a nightmare. It’s predictable and not, ridiculous and sad, realistic and unbelievable (don’t get me started on the stalker plotline!). But I enjoyed it all the same, continuing to love the Kindle app on my phone for on-the-go reading as I do my steps and on my commute. I’m not sure I’ll seek out another one by this author, but it did scratch my British itch, so that’s not bad.

The Summer Country by Lauren Willig

Reading two novels with racism themes running through them back-to-back was a bad idea, since I put a pin in writing this entry for two months. Oops!

42653795I’m usually a huge fan of Lauren Willig’s standalone novels, but this one was tough. Set in the Caribbean and told partly in flashbacks, it was hard to keep everyone straight – who exists in which time period, who is European and native, etc. But it’s clear that most of the characters suck, which is to be expected when it comes to white people and the exploitation of black people on sugar plantations.

I started out reading this in hardcover, but never wanted to bring the book with me anywhere, so I borrowed an ebook from the library. It was a lot easier to pick up on my Kindle app on my phone for a few pages at a time (though perhaps this contributed to my confusion about who and when things were happening. I did like a bit of the open-ended ending, but at that point, I was so confused and upset that I was mostly happy the book was over.

Love and Death Among the Cheetahs by Rhys Bowen

42919937I thought the last book was the last one in the series, but I was pleasantly surprised to see that we get to continue Georgie’s adventures now that she’s married Darcy. And now that I’ve read the book, I’m even more pleasantly surprised that Darcy remains sweet and good to Georgie, not falling to antiquated notions of what women should do now that they’re married (I’m looking at you, Mr. Carson from Downton Abbey!).

We pick up with Georgie and Darcy on honeymoon, which quickly turns from a houseboat in the Thames to a safari in British Kenya. Though accurate to the period, it was a bit rough to see the casual racism all laid out by the British colonists. And of course there’s a murder, but it doesn’t happen until about halfway through the book. Luckily, Georgie’s not the prime suspect, though people are trying to kill her (or Darcy) as per usual. She doesn’t so much solve the case as the killer confesses to her, but I was surprised as to who it was. A few other background mysteries remain, which was a nice distraction from the murder stuff.

Very impressed with the depiction of the scenery and surroundings and more impressed that Georgie really was suffering from altitude sickness, not morning sickness. I know she and Darcy want to have kids, but I’m glad she didn’t get pregnant on honeymoon all the same.

When Life Gives You Lululemons by Lauren Weisberger

37712401This is the book I got 85% of the way through before my Kindle loan expired and I was SOL for the end of the book. Turns out about 5 pages later and my rage would have made me not care about reading the ending anyway. Who knew?!

My fav from the Devil books, Emily Charlton, is back for this novel, which is divided between three points of view. Her previously unmentioned bestie, Miriam, lives in Greenwich, CT, where most of the action takes place. Miriam has a bestie, Karolina, who’s a former model turned senator’s wife, who is having a bit of a scandal problem (through no fault of her own). Karolina hires Emily, who is now a celebrity fixer, to help her deal with her issues and get custody of her son back.

There’s a lot of probably deserving lampooning of Greenwich moms (probably similar to Marina moms in SF), but not living in that world, it just feels mean-spirited and obvious. These moms get plastic surgery. The kids grow up spoiled. Everyone is cheating on everyone else. Meh.

Miranda Priestly features only briefly in a couple of scenes, which seemed unnecessary the way the books turns up, but I guess it wouldn’t be a Prada book without “the Devil.” The news Emily gets at the end just enrages me as does her reaction, so I think I’m done with the series (if there are any other books). Just UGH.

I Heart New York by Lindsey Kelk

I learned a big lesson about renting books from Libby for my Kindle app: Don’t have more than one book out on loan at a time or you’ll get almost finished with one and then poof, the loan ends! And when you re-request it, there’s an 11 week wait! Luckily, I’ve requested the actual book from the library, so I can finish the last 15% and find out how it ends.

7845184._SY475_In the meantime, I requested the first in a series of “I Heart” books by the author of my last post, Lindsey Kelk. I started it by the pool in Las Vegas yesterday morning and basically couldn’t put it down all day. I finished it after work this evening, but am disappointed to say that my local library doesn’t have any other books in the series. I guess I’m going to have to *gasp* buy the next book!

Our heroine is a typical mid-00s chick lit gal (without an iPhone), even though the book came out in 2009. She has a horrifying break up, grabs her passport and ditches London for New York. As someone who often day dreams of doing something similar I was immediately hooked. She’s immediately adopted by amazing gal pals in NYC (which seemed ridiculous, even for chick lit, but you gotta go with it) and starts spending money on an all new Angela Clark (you can picture the movie montage, can’t you?). There’s a little too much lamenting her single status at *gasp* 26, but luckily she shuts up about that once the book gets going.

I expected there to be more fallout from her decision to blog about her life, but I guess it’s a real life SATC and nothing bad happens. I also thought there must be something wrong with her Wall Street guy or the rocker guy, but the classic chick lit misunderstanding at the 3/4 mark doesn’t really happen. Angela’s lost and confused, but not because of anything that makes you scream “just talk to each other already!” The ending is clearly setting up what comes next (though the next book is called “I Heart Hollywood,” so I don’t really know how THAT happens) and does a nice time skip to eliminate all the boring “can she get a work visa nonsense?”

I’m excited to read the next book (if I can get it) since I love all the cities featured in the first few titles and I can’t wait to see how modern life catches up to Angela Clark.