Still have piles of books to review, and I never seem to make much of a dent.
40 Love by Madeleine Wickham - As Sophie Kinsella, the author wrote the Shopaholic series. I liked the one Shopaholic book I read, but this wasn't quite as good. Financial adviser Patrick and his wife host a tennis weekend at their estate in the British countryside for a small group of friends. Besides tennis, the weekend includes business deals and hanky-panky.
The Red Book by Deborah Copaken Kogan - Another weekend with a group of friends, this time at a 20th Harvard reunion. There is also some hanky-panky, as well as drama, reflection, conversation, and traumatic events (I won't spoil the plot). The titular red book is the alumni anniversary report bound in crimson, eagerly awaited by Harvard graduates every 5 years. I have no personal knowledge, since Radcliffe rejected me in 1969. The characters' red book pages dot the text and by the end of the book, you feel you know these people.
Wild Bananas by Sandra Thompson - Barry and Baby are newlyweds living in Birmingham, Alabama where he goes to law school and she has a dull government job. Maybe I'm not into sleepy southern life, but this book seemed even duller than the job.
Lessons in Love (Flirt series) by A. Destiny and Catherine Hapka - I read this through PulseIt. Bailey studies hard, hopes to go to MIT and be a scientist, and works in her family's restaurant/bakery near the local university. She has no room in her life for distractions like boys. New kid in town Logan walks Into the restaurant one day, and her plans go out the window. What are these "sparks" she feels? She eagerly accepts their bio teacher's suggestion that she tutor Logan to catch him up, and shares her growing feelings only with her best friend. Meanwhile, two of her more popular friends take an interest in the new guy and go over the top with mean-girl antics, trying to get his attention. Even with this competition, could he possibly be feeling sparks for Bailey, too?
Girls Like Us by Sheila Weller - At almost 600 pages, there's no point in picking this book up without an interest in the subject. That was not a problem for me, since the subjects are 3 singers whose work provided an important sound track to my youth: Carole King, Joni Mitchell and Carly Simon. Tapestry, No Secrets, and Ladies of the Canyon (and Blue) all came out when I was in college, and Joni especially got played over and over. These artists also had men falling all over them (some famous), and there's plenty of gossip.
I finished 3 books from NetGalley:
Cinderella & the Carpetbagger: My Life as the Wife of the "World's Best-Selling Author," Harold Robbins by Grace Robbins - Although much of the gossip in this book is from the same time as Girls Like Us, it feels a little musty. I haven't read any Harold Robbins (who died in 1997), but he was a hugely best-selling novelist. Grace said it took 20 years to get her book out, so she might have missed the window of timeliness. Both Harold and Grace were married to other people when they met (she cast commercials in the Mad Men era), and they stayed together about 30 years (until she was supplanted by the new assistant/caretaker, who also later wrote a book). Theirs was a life literally in the jet set, with yachts and multiple lavish international homes. It also had its sordid side, with drugs and wild parties that became orgies. After a while, Harold asked for an open marriage and was blatant in his infidelities. Grace had her flings as well, but was much more reluctant to participate in the hedonism. The author talks about her life at this event
What Nora Knew by Linda Yellin - Nora is Nora Ephron, whose writing and movies are frequently referenced in this humorous novel. Molly is a New York-based writer for an online magazine filled with quirky co-workers. As she approaches 40, she wants more from her job (her own column) and love life. Divorced and dating dull chiropractor Russell, she keeps running into intriguing author Cameron. She breaks up with Russell, but things don't always go smoothly. This book felt too short.
Sutton Place by Louise Gaylord - I usually like books set in upper class New York, but not this one. Julia is a young psychiatrist from a wealthy family (who live in the title address), who suffered past abuse that prevents her from having healthy relationships. The abuser is back to stalk her (even after she relocates to the southwest), and he is downright creepy. Tense, violent and generally unpleasant.