Look guys! I am actually posting a review! Ok, it’s a mini-review. But I realized recently that I keep picking up books where the heroine gets cheated on by her boyfriend and it sets in motion a series of life-changing events. I actually put down a book after two pages when realizing it had this same conceit. Anyways, here are my reviews of two cheater-cheater-pumpkin-eater books that I have read somewhat recently.
Nine Uses for an Ex-Boyfriend by Sarra Manning
Hope Delafield has been with Jack, her childhood sweetheart, for over a decade. Their mothers are best friends who have high hopes for their relationship. Hope and Jack own a home together and Hope is certain that engagement is on the horizon for them. That is, until Hope catches Jack kissing her best friend in a more-than-friendly, definitely-not-the-first-time kind of way. Hope is crushed, but still loves Jack and believes his assertions that he loves her, too. They decide to give it another go and Hope takes her share of emotional beatings on her journey to decide what she really wants for herself.
What I liked: Sarra Manning is one of my favorite authors and this book had a lot of the elements that I have come to expect from a Sarra Manning book. Hope is flawed, insecure, and messy, but also very likeable. She is forced by circumstances to determine what she wants out of life, as she has kind of coasted by picking both the career and boy her mother wanted for her. She is also a total pushover, who has yet to grow a backbone, and she lets Jack walk all over her, giving him way more second chances than he deserves. Her eventual non-Jack love interest, Wilson, is very much a Sarra Manning hero– he’s prickly and hot. Hope could be a bit of a frustrating character, but I did like her and root for her and enjoyed seeing her grow over the course of the story.
What I felt meh about: This is an exhausting book. Absolutely exhausting with the will they-won’t they between Hope and Jack. It was appropriate for Hope’s character to not immediately end things and to keep giving Jack another chance, but it got frustrating to watch. I really wanted more of the story to focus on things with Wilson and I wish Hope had grown her backbone a little earlier on in the story.
All in all: I am glad I read this book, as I really do like Sarra Manning’s characters, but this is probably my least favorite of hers so far.
It’s Not Me, It’s You by Mhairi McFarlane
Delia Moss decides it is finally time to get the ball rolling with her boyfriend of nine years, Paul. They own a home together and a dog together and Delia is ready to get married. So she proposes to Paul. He is bewildered, but accepts and the two go to a pub to celebrate. At the pub, Delia gets a text from Paul that is clearly meant for another woman. She confronts Paul and finds he has been seeing someone else for the past few months. She isn’t ready to the end the relationship, but she also can’t stand the sight of Paul right now, especially as she finds he keeps lying to her about little things. When her boring, but safe job goes up in flames, she decides to move from Newcastle to London to stay with her best friend, Emma. In London, Delia lands a job in PR and her boss is a bit… shady, but Delia wants a new life and tries to learn what she can at this new job. That is, until she keeps running into a handsome investigative journalist who is hell-bent on ruining the reputation of Delia’s shady boss. Delia’s life is up in the air and she has to decide who she is and what she wants out of life. Does she want the relative safety of a relationship with Paul? Does she want to be someone who bends (or breaks) the rules to be successful in business? Or is she ready to take some risks and do what she knows is right?
What I liked: Delia is a very sweet and likeable character and the rest of the cast of characters (with the exceptions of Paul and shady boss, Kurt) were also fun to read about. I particularly liked that McFarlane wrote in some seriously geeky characters, like Delia’s brother and the computer genius, Peshwari Naan, who were perfectly themselves, even though that meant they didn’t really fit into the roles that Delia hopes for them. There is a lot of scheming between Delia and the cute journalist, Adam, to take down Kurt and while it definitely approaches a silly and ridiculous level of antics, I had a lot of fun with this plot line. It was a cute, original way to bring two characters onto the same side and allow them to get a little closer. Really, this book was fun and readable and had great leading characters.
What I felt meh about: I kind of got tired of the whole Paul story. He cheats, he lies, Delia tells him she wants some time off, and he will just not take no for an answer. He keeps sending her things to remind her of their relationship and begging for another chance. Delia has started moving on already, though maybe she doesn’t quite realize it, and I just got sick of seeing Paul pop back into the story. Probably, this would have bothered me less if I hadn’t read it with Nine Uses for an Ex-Boyfriend in mind, but what can you do?
All in all: I really enjoy Mhairi McFarlane’s books. They are funny and smart and just great chick lit. I had high hopes that this would top Here’s Looking at You for me. It didn’t, but it was a good book nonetheless. I will definitely be back for more Mhairi McFarlane in the future.