The Wedding Date by Jasmine Guillory

33815781._SY475_After my last book, I was very excited to dive into this series. I was listening to the JAM Session podcast last week, and Amanda Dobbins recommended Royal Holiday, which she had just finished. I immediately pulled Jasmine Guillory up in Libby and realized that Amanda’s rec was the fourth book in this series. While Amanda can read novels as a one-off, that’s not my style. This is the first book in the series, so I put it on hold ASAP.

I really loved this story of a successful Black woman who meets a hot pediatric surgeon when the elevator stalls in the Fairmont San Francisco (oh, did I mention it’s half set in the Bay Area?) and agrees to be his plus-one for an awkward wedding that weekend. It goes on from there and is just delightful. There are the usual chick lit tropes (everyone can just jet off to LA or SF every weekend, they always eat out, no one has a budget, etc), but some very real moments of racism and dealing with being the only person of color in the room, at the party, etc, that I could relate to as well.

I stayed up way too late last night to read about half the book and finished the rest after work today. The main conflict in the book is actually relatable, even if it’s another miscommunication trope. This time when they don’t talk to each other like they should, it feels real instead of manufactured. I can’t wait to get the next book in the series (though I have a feeling it’s more of an anthology, using different characters from the same universe than a direct sequel). I’d love to see a movie made out of this someday.

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.

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.

How to Sleep with a Movie Star by Kristin Harmel

9250257In preparation for an upcoming trip, I’ve started exploring ebooks from my local library. I haven’t wanted to take the plunge to buy a Kindle, but the thought of carrying multiple books for the trip seemed daunting. I started searching authors in the Libby app to find a good “starter” book to try out. It took a few tries to find a book that was actually available now, but since this book came out in 2006, there wasn’t much demand for it. I read it all in basically a day, staying up way too late last night to get through the last chapters. I liked how the Kindle app syncs with my phone and my laptop, so I could just pick up where I left off no matter where I was. I still love a real book, but I’m into this ebook thing.

As for the actual novel, I liked it a lot. After my “secret prince” trope, the “celebrity falls for a normal person” trope is my favorite! The protagonist feels very real, and most of the typical chick lit “misunderstandings” are believable. Her boyfriend sucks, and it seems pretty obvious why, but the payoff is still good. The fall out from finding out about her boyfriend and running into our celebrity hero felt like a romcom and I mean that in the best way. I could totally see this being made into a movie like Notting Hill.

The ending felt a little rushed and unearned, especially the epilogue. After all the build-up, I guess I wanted to see more about what it was like to be shoved into the public eye like that (or not cover it at all). Overall, it was a fun read and pretty much the last year when you could do this novel without iPhones, which would change EVERYTHING. So fun!

Keep Calm and Carry a Big Drink by Kim Gruenenfelder

17286727I was eager to get this sequel from the library and dove in as soon as possible. It’s a different format from the original and I think it suffers in comparison.

The main difference is that we spend the book focused on Mel. She was my least favorite of the three from the original and that feeling doesn’t change much during the course of this book. She spent the original book flying off the handle at any perceived hardship after leaving her bad relationship, and she similar things in this book.

Those who know me know that I have no room to talk when it comes to crushes on bad-for-me men, but I’ve never hooked up with any of them years later, so it’s hard to know how I would act if placed in a similar situation. She hooks up with Seema’s brother at the wedding and then takes him up on the invite to visit him in Paris. Instead of enjoying great sex and freakin’ PARIS, she spends the whole time wondering if he’s into her, if he’s hooked up with any woman he talks to (spoiler alert, he probably has), and basically ruining the trip for herself. So, she goes on a backpacking trip across Europe that we don’t get to hear about before heading to Hawaii to stay with her gay best friend who owns a bar.

There’s a whole thing about her money tree charm from another charm pull, but it feels as pointless as the charm thing from the first time. Her bestie owns a bar and she loves working there instead of being a high school math teacher. She runs into a brief encounter from the airport and falls in love in like 30 seconds. All of this would be fine if it was happening anywhere except Hawaii because it feels all very much like she decided to stay on vacay forever after like two weeks. But she gets her happily ever after, even if she never sees her best gal pals again. Changed my mind about this author now, but I’m happy I got to read the sequel nonetheless.