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 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!

One Week ‘Til Christmas by Belinda Missen

47956293._SY475_I get a daily email, Bookperk, from Harper Collins that lists out discounts (from free to $2.99 usually) on ebooks for that day only. I picked this one because it looked like a Hallmark movie in book form (and it was free!), and I was basically right. It’s the perfect book to devour while waiting for a flight to your Christmas holiday plans (especially if that flight is first delayed by weather and then delayed because the captain hadn’t arrived yet!).

Isobel is an Australian travel writer whose landed in London for the week before Christmas for a quick holiday. She’s literally bowled over by a handsome man in the first two hours and then runs into him again the next day during a last minute work assignment. He’s an up-and-coming actor, who is getting famous, but not paparazzi mobbing him at an ice rink famous. At least, that’s not really one of their problems.

In fact, it’s just a fun story about two people falling in love at Christmas in London (so you know, ALL of my favorite things!) and the real misunderstanding doesn’t come until about 83% of the way through book (I love how Kindle keeps track of where you are). But not to worry, that misunderstanding lasts about ten minutes before all is forgiven, and it’s Christmas. I had basically figured out the ending, but not how they got there, so it was lovely. It was also nice to read some Aussie Chick Lit, even if the whole thing is set in London, so I think I’ll be reading this author again in the new year.

I Heart Hollywood by Lindsay Kelk

11053942It was a little difficult to jump back into Angela Clark’s world after spending so much time in WWII with Maggie Hope, but luckily, the second book in this series was a quick read. While the world has obviously changed a great deal since the Maggie Hope days, it was kinda funny to think about how much the world has changed in the 10 years since this book came out. No iPhones to start (which would have made things even more complicated), but she is futzing with a Blackberry and leaving voice mails.

Angela gets an assignment that takes her to LA to interview the top movie star in the world, even though she has literally no experience. Her BFF Jenny tags along and they stay at the LA version of the hotel where Angela stayed in the last book. (They also drop in that there are versions of this hotel all over the world, so yeah, there’s more books to come in this series!) Angela is already freaking out about her boyfriend hooking up with a groupie when she’s in LA (for a SINGLE WEEK, I might add) and not so much that she has no idea what she’s doing (or that her work visa hangs in the balance). Luckily, her interview subject is keen to keep her employed, though not for the reason she thinks.

I remember now why I needed a break from this series (though I’m sure I’ll go back from time to time). Our heroine spends more time drunk without being an alcoholic than basically anyone I’ve ever met and makes the wrong choice at basically every turn. It does get a little crazy with paparazzi and TMZ and such as any novel featuring celebrities is wont to do, but most of the issues could be avoided if she stopped drinking eleventy million drinks every night and focused on her job for more than two seconds. And while I’m happy for where Jenny ends up, the constant focus on labels of dresses is tiresome. We get it, you own a Marc Jacobs bag, next please.

Things end in a good place for Angela, so I don’t feel bad taking another break from her terrible decision-making. For a writer, she’s not very good at using her words.

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.