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October 24, 2010 In One Year and Out the Other by various authors
This was a nice collection of short stories that have the common theme of taking place in and around New Year's Eve. Perhaps it would have been smarter to grab this one over winter break, but I am at the mercy of the inter-library loan gods.

I found this collection because Cara Lockwood's "name is huge on the cover," but I did like the other stories found inside. Most were the usual suspects of chick lit, but there were a few that still stick out to me. One revolved around a woman who is dead and watching her ex move on via the 24-hour channel dedicated to his life (apparently we all have one and anyone can be watching from Heaven at anytime!). Another was about a woman who ends up at her gynecologist's office on New Year's Eve and how sometimes we need someone on the outside to mirror what we are saying to really understand where we are. And the last that stuck with me was about how the guy she kissed at midnight set the tone for her whole year. No spoilers as to who she kisses at this midnight, but I thought it was a nice twist.

By the time I was getting to the last few stories, I was skimming more than reading. I think I did skip the last couple, since I wanted to turn the book back in at the end of my lunch break. My apologies to those authors - I'm sure your stories were just as good as those in the beginning, but I just kinda ran out of patience with the theme after a while.

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posted by Jenn at 1:46 PM 0 comments

September 20, 2010 Doomed Queens: Royal Women Who Met Bad Ends, From Cleopatra to Princess Di by Kris Waldherr
I got the rec for this book from Katie's blog and I wasn't disappointed.

Just like the title says, it's a quick synopsis of each queen's life (just two pages) with a helpful moral lesson and a quiz at the end of each chapter. There's also a quiz at the end of the book to determine whether you are a doomed queen. There's much more emphasis placed on ancient and historical queens than modern day (the last chapter goes from a queen in 1814 to Diana Spencer), but it was a quick, fluffy read that I enjoyed during my pedicure yesterday and lunch break today.

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posted by Jenn at 3:24 PM 0 comments

September 16, 2010 Questions to Ask Before Marrying by Melissa Senate
I was delighted to find another Melissa Senate book on the sale table at a local Barnes & Noble. I had thought I had read them all a few years back, so I was happy to see another one in the pile.

This one started out promisingly enough with sisters on a road trip, on a mission and a love triangle for our heroine. But in the end, the sister's story is more interesting and I'd be more inclined to see the events from her point of view. They meet some interesting characters along the way from Maine to Las Vegas, reminding me of my own cross-country trips. I was also jealous that they had time to stop and see those weird/cool roadside attractions that I never seem to have time for when I'm schlepping from one coast to the other.

The book loses steam once they get to Las Vegas and I was disappointed in the ending for our heroine. Not my favorite Senate, but I'll keep her as a favorite.

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posted by Jenn at 2:07 PM 0 comments

August 17, 2010 The Tennis Party by Madeline Wickham
I decided to take advantage of the interlibrary loan at the university where I now work and grabbed up three of Madeleine Wickham's older novels. This one appears to be her first (under this name at least) and it was a good read.

The story centers around a tennis party weekend at the country house of the main couple to which they invite two other couples and a father-daughter pair. As usually happens, drama ensues between the couples and husbands/wives themselves. Lots of family dynamics on display with many children in the mix. Each member of the couples gets a bit of voice throughout the novel, with a bit of longing for what the others have. A classic story of "the grass is always greener" set in the English countryside.

This book didn't actually seem as Brit lit as some others I've read; either I'm getting better with the slang or this was written without much. One thing I did have an issue with was the notion of a Lloyd's Name, which is referred to quite a bit in the middle of the book, but not ever explained. I suppose if you are British, you'd know what one is, but without that trusty Wikipedia article, I would have been completely lost for many chapters.

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posted by Jenn at 1:07 PM 0 comments

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