Revenge Wears Prada: The Devil Returns by Lauren Weisberger (Devil Wears Prada #2)

revenge_Wears_Prada“The sequel you’ve been waiting for: the follow-up to the sensational #1 bestseller The Devil Wears Prada.

Almost a decade has passed since Andy Sachs quit the job “a million girls would die for” working for Miranda Priestly at Runway magazine—a dream that turned out to be a nightmare. Andy and Emily, her former nemesis and co-assistant, have since joined forces to start a high-end bridal magazine. The Plunge has quickly become required reading for the young and stylish. Now they get to call all the shots: Andy writes and travels to her heart’s content; Emily plans parties and secures advertising like a seasoned pro.

Even better, Andy has met the love of her life. Max Harrison, scion of a storied media family, is confident, successful, and drop-dead gorgeous. Their wedding will be splashed across all the society pages as their friends and family gather to toast the glowing couple. Andy Sachs is on top of the world. But karma’s a bitch. The morning of her wedding, Andy can’t shake the past.

And when she discovers a secret letter with crushing implications, her wedding-day jitters turn to cold dread. Andy realizes that nothing—not her husband, nor her beloved career—is as it seems. She never suspected that her efforts to build a bright new life would lead her back to the darkness she barely escaped ten years ago—and directly into the path of the devil herself…” (GoodReads)


It’s been ten years since The Devil Wears Prada came out and I enjoyed the original AND the film version (Meryl Streep was fabulous!). This was one of those books I have been looking forward to reading, been meaning to read, since it came out in 2013. So, first off, I’m going to be upfront and say that I could not finish this book. I tried. I really wanted to like this book and it was such a gosh-awful disappointment.

I don’t normally issue low ratings below 2 stars (see my Reviews page) and I’ve debated the value of posting about this book at all but I’ve decided that it’s important to talk about the books that just didn’t work for me and discuss why.  There needs to be a balance between the sweet and the savory, the sour and the bitter.

That said, here goes… SPOILERS AHEAD!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I was really disappointed with this book. I only got 17/24 chapters in and there was just so little Miranda Priestly, it was boring.

I expected fireworks!!!

Credit: Flickr, AZTransplant/Nicki, some rights reserved

Credit: Flickr, AZTransplant/Nicki

I expected Andy to go back to working for Miranda and the bulk of the book to be like Devil Wears Prada 2. I expected it to encroach on her marriage, her mothering skills, etc. but her to come out clean, having survived with her marriage intact. I didn’t expect Emily and Max’s betrayal. I’m also a little confused about Nigel’s involvement with Miranda because in the film version he ends up leaving and starting his own magazine. I thought, but again, it’s been some years since I’ve seen the film, and just about as long as I’ve read the first book.

There’s some great interaction between Andy and her BFF, Lily, who has moved to Colorado and is now married and a mom. I thought that those talks were really well done. Max is way too perfect to be real. I honestly felt sorry for him because typically when it starts out great, the book is going to be a tragedy. I hate tragedies.

Skimming ahead, I guess the ending was inevitable the way that Weisberger writes it but I was really rooting for the wrong guy, you know? Just goes to show that you can’t reason with an author’s vision, even if you disagree.

So now that I’ve been critical, what would I have liked to see instead?

Andy should go back to work for Miranda (in some capacity) much, much earlier in the book.  That should be the story hook, not a turning point of the novel.  Miranda should be more vicious than ever.  I like the idea of catching up with Nigel but Andy needs to stand on her own feet. She’s an adult for pity’s sake.  No back-tracking!!

I love that Andy and Emily become friends.  I don’t remember how the book leaves their relationship but the film indicates that their relationship is on friendly terms.  I totally get that Emily would do the parties and clothes and Andy is the practical one.  Weisberger has them down perfectly.

I don’t like how fragile and uncertain Andy seems.  She’s spineless, paralyzed by a crucial piece of information she receives on her wedding day.  Confront the bastard. Pull yourself today, Andy. The decision to have Andy having some kind of PTSD from working for Miranda is hard for me to swallow.  She pussy-foots the decision whether to sell the magazine or not and that drives me nuts.  Make a decision!

Maybe I’m the wrong demographic for this book but I would’ve rather seen Andy in a steady relationship with (a guy) and have another option (or two…) come around and show Andy struggling with her romantic past and present and future.  Christian had too small a role in the book.  He is such an adorable jerk.

There really isn’t a whole lot that happens in the book and that was probably my biggest disappointment.  I was hoping for more of a plot, more of an engaging main character but Andy is a limp noodle.  Having read a good 2/3 of the book, I did skim through the rest to find out the resolution and I wasn’t happy about that either.

Revenge Wears Prada was not bad enough to ward me off of Weisberger’s other titles but it does make me cautious about reading them. So, did you like Revenge Wears Prada? If so, please don’t shoot me, but do shoot me a comment and tell me why you liked it.

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Angelopolis by Danielle Trussoni (Angelology #2)

trussoni_angelopolisTen years after the Times Square incident, Verlaine has become a lethal angelologist, a hunter, but is haunted by his lost love, Evangeline. A chance encounter before Evangeline is kidnapped leaves Verlaine with an exquisite clue to a mystery touching upon the Romanov Dynasty and the seeds of ancient civilization. While he pursues Evangeline’s captors, Verlaine begins to unravel a secret that could ensure the destruction of all Nephilim.

Angelopolis, the sequel to Danielle Trussoni’s New York Times bestseller, Angelology, is an exhilarating chase as modern angelologists pursue the Grigori family and a warrior class angel from the rooftops of Paris to the Trans-Siberian Railway and an island along the Black Sea. Trussoni interweaves historical figures like John Dee and Rasputin with familiar Biblical stories including the Annunciation and the Deluge.

The decade gap between books glosses over the development of Verlaine’s abilities and readers may find some of his decisions to be out of character from the academic introduced in Angelology. Where Angelology introduced readers to Trussoni’s alternate history, Angelopolis thrusts us deeper into the heart of angelic origins, the fate of the Watchers, and a final confrontation between humans and angels, which Trussoni, perhaps, might call an Angelgeddon.

This review first appeared in the August 2013 issue of Historical Novel Review. I was provided with a copy of this book for the purposes of a review.

The Typewriter Girl by Alison Atlee

This book was an interesting foray into the construction period of a pleasure resort during the Victorian Era. If you strip away the beautiful setting, you are left with the story of two people who should not, cannot, love one another.

bhaerOne thing that makes Mr. John Jones so irresistible is his accent.  John is a Welshman and there’s something yummy about the way he speaks.  It reminds me a little of Gabriel Byrne as Professor Bhaer in Little Women.

The biggest wedge to Betsey and John being together is that John is practically engaged to another woman.  He’s certainly made advances in that direction anyway and any honorable man of the time would have to honor that.  Betsey is essentially a “ruined woman”, thoroughly TOO modern for her time.  What makes this story interesting is their working relationship and the small hope that it might blossom into more.

My favorite moment is the swimming lesson in which John tries to teach Betsy “Elisabeth” in the ocean.

“Rest on the water. I have you.” Rest on the water. Hell. Still, she tried, tried to shove down the fear, tried cautious movements toward straightening her knees. But whenever his hold loosened, she jerked up, tense and uncertain about the gathering waves. “I have you,” he said. “Look you up, the stars and moon.” (p.241)

It’s a moment where Betsey’s tough exterior cracks slightly as she has to trust another man.  It’s also one of the happier moments of the book, but you’ll have to read that to find out what happens (wink).

So, when you get down to it, why does this book only deserve a 3.5 star rating? Well, mainly because of our heroine.

Betsey is not exactly a role model for young women’s behavior.  She’s got edges to her where she should be soft and embraceable.  She’s too experienced and that gives her an abrasive personality that makes her come across as unlikable.  I was torn between rooting for Betsey and Lillian Gilbey, her romantic rival. Lillian reminds me of the type of young woman Betsey MIGHT have been if circumstances had been different, if she and John had met before she was “compromised”.

I like fiction to be escapist.  I want to pretend to be the heroine.  I don’t want to be Betsey.  I think I’d most like to be one of the tourists at the pleasure resort, and that just to see what one was like during the hey-day of visiting places like Newcastle (Ireland) or Brighton and Blackpool (UK).

As a standalone book, it works. Would I read a sequel? Probably not.  We all approach reading fiction a bit differently so perhaps Betsey has some redeemable qualities I’ve missed.  What do you think?

Grab a cuppa and let’s chat. ~ Lauren

Wish Upon A Star by Olivia Goldsmith

goldsmith_wish upon a starWhat I particularly liked about this book explores the realities behind the dream decisions we wish we could make.  Who hasn’t wanted to quit their job, travel, and move to a foreign land?  Anyone?  But spur of the moment decisions always come at a cost and Claire learns that life without a work visa means you take the leavings where you can.

It’s a little odd reading about a woman who must be as old as I am coming of age in London; it sort of seems a bit like young adults, or maybe non-adults might be a better word for it, in my generation are taking longer and longer to leave home, establish careers, relationships and begin a family.  I’m not sure if Goldsmith, who published this in 2004, meant it as a critique of Gen Xers or not but it gave me pause to consider societal expectations, racial prejudices and a few other themes included in Goldsmith’s tale.

This modern-day Cinderella story (with a twist!) offers plenty of Goldsmith’s brand of humor too and is certain to guarantee a few happy hours of chick lit reading time.

Are you guilty of liking chick lit too?  Grab a cuppa and let’s chat!

A Little Night Magic by Lucy March (NodAway Falls #1)

march_nightmagicCan Olivia find the courage and self-control to harness her power to protect those she loves and maybe, just maybe, find a little of true love in her own life?

My Thoughts: 

A hero/ine (orphan) discovering their magical talents and family background may be a common trope (Harry Potter anyone?) but I did enjoy this version of the tale, set in a sleepy New York State town.

The novel focuses on the friendship Olivia shares with girlfriends, Peach, Millie and Stacy. As a female reader, it was a refreshing change to see a heroine whose friends are an active part in her life.

I also liked (and found frustrating) the almost-relationship between Tobias, the cook at the diner, and Olivia.  Olivia, we need to have a talk about not jumping into bed at the first opportunity with someone you’ve been crushing on for ages.  How can you rely on a guy like that?

You’ll find the clever creations absolutely adorable from the origami bird to the coffee mug bunny, to the mouth-watering pastries conjured by different magical characters.

This book made me begin thinking about magical powers in the everyday and I think it will for you too.

Questions For Readers:

  • Do you believe in magic?
  • If you had a magical power, what would it be?

Grab a cuppa and let’s chat about it!