I heard a crash. One of the piles of books already read and needing to be reviewed came tumbling down. So I'd better do a few. This barely makes a dent, and some of them are ebooks which weren't in the pile (but the people who send those books want to see a review). No particular theme; I just grabbed an assortment.
A Week with Fiona Wonder by Kelly Huddleston (received ebook from LibraryThing Early Reviewers) - Everything in this novel is bleak. Mercy's single, asthmatic mother works two waitress jobs, her best friend is not very nice, the town mall is dying, and no one has any hope. The only bright light on the horizon is Mercy's upcoming contest prize trip to meet a movie star. I need to read about happy people living in mansions to erase this depressing story from my mind.
One Fifth Avenue by Candace Bushnell - A venerable Manhattan apartment building is close enough to a mansion, though these residents aren't always happy. I loved watching Sex and the City (based on Bushnell's writings), even though it didn't resemble my life other than the "city" part. Here, Bushnell chronicles the fictional residents (allegedly based on real people) of a real building. Rich, famous, striving, struggling to hang on.. we meet them all. One character was particularly icky, a spoiled young manipulative recent arrival looking to hitch her wagon to a star. There's plenty of dirt and deceit, and I ate it all up.
Summer Intern by Carrie Karasyov and Jill Kargman - This is meant for teens, but I never let that stop me. It also takes place in upscale Manhattan, this time in the fashion magazine world. Kira gets a coveted summer internship at fictional magazine Skirt, and deals with mean girls, cute guys, wannabes, coworkers, and her nemesis Daphne who happens to be the owner's daughter. We called such people "nepotees" at my old job. Kira's hard work and long hours may go unrewarded, while Daphne takes long lunches and leaves early to get ready for evenings at the hottest clubs. Or will Kira triumph in the end? (Well, I know what happens, but don't want to spoil it.)
Fifty Million Reasons by Heather Wardell (received ebook from NetGalley) - Angela wins fifty million dollars in the lottery (not a spoiler, as the book would have had another title if this was supposed to be a secret). They're Canadian dollars (it takes place in Toronto), but that's still a lot of cash. Wardell explores the consequences of this win, as Angela deals with friends, neighbors, family, strangers with their hands out, even an ex who suddenly materializes (gee, wonder why). As Angela navigates new financial waters and changes her phone number repeatedly to fend off the inundation of requests for money, she learns about giving and receiving, and who her real friends are. I disagreed strongly with one of her decisions, but it was still a fascinating ride.
Skinny Bitch in Love by Kim Barnouin (received ebook from NetGalley) - Leaving the world of rich people, this is the story of LA vegan chef Clementine, who pulls her life together after a coworker sabotages her dish and causes her to lose her job and reputation. She teaches cooking classes, launches a catering business, and catches the eye of millionaire carnivorous steakhouse owner Zach (so we don't completely leave the world of rich people). The author also writes vegan cookbooks, and there was a hint of "this is the only right way to eat" but the recipes did sound delicious. It's basically a fairy tale.
The Finishing School by Gail Godwin - This is considered literary fiction, but I couldn't appreciate it. Justin (female) moves with her widowed mother to live with relatives in rural upstate New York. There she falls under the spell of their worldly neighbor Ursula and her pianist brother. The whole situation was depressing, and I was anxious to, well, finish (groan).