deliabarry: (reading dalmations)
While We Were watching Downton Abbey
by Wendy Wax

When the concierge of their luxury apartment building suggests Sunday evening group watchings of the first two seasons of Downton Abbey as a way to prepare for the third, Samantha, Brooke, and Claire reluctantly join the group as a way of passing time. Little did they know that their time together would change their lives.

Despite the promise of the book's name, this is your standard chick novel, and has essentially nothing to do with the addictive British soap. We are presented with the wealthy man's wife and her tottering marriage, the discarded first wife confronted with her ex and his much younger trophy moving into the same building, and the less affluent empty nester who has abandoned the suburbs to live in the city and pursue her writing full time. There are ups and downs in each of their lives, and one major crisis involving just about every character in the novel. Needless to say, it all works out in the end.

There’s nothing wrong with this book; it’s just sort of meh. The characters are stock, the situations are ordinary, and the outcomes are predictable. It was an enjoyable read, but ultimately forgettable.
deliabarry: (girls)
The Smart One and the Pretty One
by Claire LaZebnik

Ava and Lauren Nickerson are about as different as two sisters can be. Attorney Ava is smart, level-headed, and hasn't had a date in a year. Fashion buyer Lauren is flighty, in debt up to her ears, and unemployed. When their mother has a brush with breast cancer, they find themselves living in the same city in the same apartment for the first time in years, and Lauren finds an old engagement contract that sets life-changing events in motion.

I enjoyed this book, even though there was absolutely nothing new or innovative about it. The main plot point – a workaholic career woman just needs to get laid to be happy – is obnoxious and sexist, and yet it didn't bother me at all while I was reading. I think it was because the author did a good job of making her admittedly stock characters seem like a real family of real people who genuinely love and care about each other.

In a clever bit of marketing, the author lists her five favorite groups of sisters in an endnote. Since I plan to recycle this book for its paper (it's really not a keeper), I'm going to list them here:
1. the March sisters
2. the Bouvier sisters (No, not them. The other Bouvier sisters – Marge, Patty, and Selma.)
3. the Bronte sisters
4. the Bennet sisters
5. the Gorgon sisters
deliabarry: (Jane)
Me and Mr. Darcy
by Alexandra Potter

Emily Albright is the manager of MacKenzie's bookstore in New York City. Disgusted by a string of bad dates, and anxious to avoid a singles trip to Cancun, she jumps at the chance to go on a "literary tour" to England featuring Jane Austen, her favorite author. Along the way, she meets a number of interesting women, one interesting and annoying reporter, and a handsome stranger who insists he's the real Mr. Darcy. And of course our heroine lives happily ever after.

Jane Austen has been called the inventor of chick lit, so I guess it was inevitable that a novel like this one would be written. I'm not entirely sure this book is the best possible successor to Austen, but I don't think that matters. Emily is an engaging heroine, her travails during her trip are believable, and the question of just how well a twenty-first century woman would react to the eighteenth century Fitzwilliam Darcy was dealt with beautifully. This was a fun book to read, light and entertaining, perfect for the summer.

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December 2016

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