20 May 2017

Nanny Returns (Nanny, Book 2)

EMMA MCLAUGHLIN and NICOLA KRAUS

Synopsis from jacket flap: More than four million readers fell in love with Nan, the smart, spirited, and sympathetic heroine of the #1 New York Times bestseller THE NANNY DIARIES.

Now she's back. After living abroad for twelve years, she and her husband, Ryan, aka H.H., have returned to New York to make a life for themselves. In the midst of getting her new business off the ground and fixing up their fixer-upper, Ryan announces his sudden desire to start a family. His timing simply couldn't be worse.

To compound the mounting construction and marital chaos, her former charge, Grayer X, now sixteen years old, makes a drunken, late-night visit, wanting to know why she abandoned him all those years ago. But how can she explain to Grayer what she still hasn't come to terms with herself? In an attempt to assuage her guilt, yet against every instinct, Nan tries to help Grayer and his younger brother, Stilton, through their parents' brutal divorce, drawing her back into the ever-bizarre life of Mrs. X and her Upper East Side enclave of power and privilege.

After putting miles and years between herself and this world, Nan finds she's once again on the front line of the battle with the couture-clad elite for their children's well-being.

With its whip-smart dialogue and keen observations of modern life, NANNY RETURNS gives a firsthand tour of what happens when a community that chose money over love finds itself with neither. 

Stats for my copy: Hard back, Atria Books, 2009.

How acquired: Bought.

My thoughts:  My daughter recently got a job as a nanny, and I get texts from her on an almost daily basis complaining or ranting about the mother of the kids. I asked her one day if she'd read or seen the movie of THE NANNY DIARIES, because Mrs. X would make her appreciate her employer. Then I remembered I had this sequel on my shelf, so I pulled it out and started reading. It's been awhile since I read the first book (2004 I think), but I fell right into this one without feeling any need to be refreshed on the first book.

It's twelve years later, and Nan and her husband have just moved back to New York after having lived overseas. There are numerous plot points that take off from there. They buy a house that is literally falling down around them (at one point a stairway collapses and they have to use a ladder to get up and down between floors), Nan starts a consulting business and gets a job with a private school that caters to privileged kids and their pretentious parents, they contemplate having children (Ryan wants to, Nan isn't so sure), Nan reconnects with old friends and not quite friends, and then the biggest plot - Grayer X suddenly pops up, embroiling her back into his life for the sake of saving his younger brother from their warring, divorcing parents.


Despite how busy the story is, the plots all weave together seamlessly. The book is written in first person present tense POV, my least favorite tense, but it's done so very well that I didn't mind at all. In fact I actually liked it. The writing is very engaging and the story is mesmerizing. NANNY RETURNS is a fantastic follow up, with a satisfying resolution and providing closure to the first book.

13 May 2017

Can't Buy Me Love


Synopsis from Goodreads: Is it all too good to be true?

When Willow runs into her old university crush, Luke, she’s a new woman with a new look – not to mention a little bit more cash after a rather substantial inheritance. Could she be lucky enough to score a fortune and her dream man at the same time?

Then Willow meets Cal; a computer geek with a slightly odd sense of humour. They get on like a house on fire — although she soon realises that there is far more to her unassuming new friend than meets the eye …

But money doesn’t always bring happiness, and Willow finds herself struggling to know who to trust. Are the new people in her life there because they care – or is there another reason?

Previously released in the US as Reversing Over Liberace. Revised and edited by Choc Lit June 2016.

Stats for my copy: Kindle edition, Choc Lit, 2016.

How acquired: NetGalley.

First Lines: 'My grandfather's left me his nose. It's in a matchbox.'

My thoughts:  Willow and her mates, Jazz and Katie, are hanging out in their local pub one night, when they run into Luke, an old college classmate. In college Willow had a huge crush on Luke, but he never seemed to notice her existence at all. So she's pretty thrown when he's now happy to see her and promptly asks her out. Willow is a fun, self-deprecating narrator. She has lots of siblings who wander in and out of her story, all of whom (including her) seem to be at a stage in life where they are floundering slightly. At first I thought Jazz was going to be the cliche gay best friend that was all the rage for awhile, so I was relieved when that wasn't the case. Instead she has a gay brother, but he was fairly normal and not at all cliche. And then he introduces her to Cal, who she gets to know, before discovering she didn't really know him at all. He was one of my favorite characters. She often refers to him as being weird, but he was weird in a good way.

Willow, despite being in her early thirties, was a little naive in the beginning, letting Luke's attention sweep her off her feet. The plot was a little transparent, although if I hadn't read the synopsis it might've taken me longer to become suspicious. And Willow of course did not read the synopsis, so maybe I should expect it to take her longer to realize something wasn't quite right. There was a nice little, not exactly a plot twist but more a veering of the storyline that I did not see coming, which, while I'm not sure it was completely realistic it was quite satisfying.


Ms. Lovering definitely writes quirky stories. Sometimes too much quirk can come off as campy or over the top, but Ms. Lovering infuses her stories with warmth and humor and characters you'd like to be friends with. A fun read with some amusing banter and wonderful characters.