How many drugs can one dog take? Apparently lots of them.
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Everything in Lainie Coates’ life is changing. Her husband receives a scholarship to a prestigious music school, so the family moves from her native Houston to Cambridge, Massachusetts. While Peter is involved with his studies, Lainie feels lost and alienated caring for her three young sons until she meets Amanda, an acquaintance from high school, at a local park. Lainie is at her frumpiest—in sweatpants, still carrying the weight from her baby—when a stranger asks when her baby is due. Mortified, she lies. How does one explain her error to gorgeous Amanda with her perfect daughter? This embarrassing incident starts Lainie on the path to her own self-discovery, that is, if she can find the time and the outlet.
Taking a position as a trainee in a posh London hair salon may not seem the ideal situation for finding Mr. Right, but this breezy, whimsical novel from best-selling British chick-lit author Mansell (An Offer You Can't Refuse) introduces just such a heroine, Miranda, to a wide range of men, from panhandler to racecar driver, on her way to true love (and true retaliation). In a series of escapades too over-the-top even for Bridget Jones, feisty but accident-prone Miranda joins forces with other unlucky-in-love ladies, including a pregnant woman abandoned by her no-good husband and an aging but still-game landlady with a terminally greedy son.
When Frank Foy, a high-living corporate accountant, goes to jail after his company's Enronesque fall, Pat, his landscape-designer wife, is pathologically unwilling to grasp the fraud's implications in this muddled novel from Carey. Pat inexplicably decides to repay a random group of the fraud's victims, first through personal checks and then, even more bizarrely, through a planned investment in wind energy. Along the way, she reunites with her former lover, Lemuel Samuel, and her onetime best friend, Ginny Howley, both mystery writers who suffered in the company's collapse. The penniless Ginny joins Pat's odyssey, while Lemuel's son keeps the Foys' teenage daughter company.
Lola, 17, is deeply in love with her boyfriend, Doug. Doug’s family is wealthy, and Doug is on his way to university, while Lola is a middle-class girl and works at a fish-and-chip shop. Doug’s mother sees miniskirt-wearing Lola as an obstacle to overcome and offers her 10,000 pounds to never see Doug again. Lola is about to refuse when her father reveals a huge gambling debt. The only way to keep him safe is for Lola to accept the money. Ten years later, she encounters Doug and his mother again, and now Doug knows Lola was bought off by his mother. Lola still has feelings for Doug, but Doug won’t have anything to do with her. Will their relationship be repaired, or is the money too much to handle?
Rumi Vasi, the teen-age daughter of Indian immigrants in Wales, lives a life of double estrangement, marked as an outsider both by her ethnicity and by her precocity. Yet her isolation is generated less by the culture surrounding her than by the pressures of family. Her mother, determined not to allow Western morals to corrupt her daughter, tells her, "Only white people have sex"; her father insists on a punitive schedule of tutoring and test-taking under strict conditions—freezing temperatures, isolation—meant to enhance learning. Sent to Oxford at fifteen to study mathematics, Rumi begins to question the course that has been determined for her, and to seek freedom at any cost.
Seattle dad and food critic Amster-Burton wants his daughter to grow up fearlessly savoring a wide range of appealing foods, something beyond untutored childhood’s bland fodder and ubiquitous processed foods persistently marketed to television-watching adolescents. He believes that developing a child’s taste for uncommon produce, meats, fish, herbs, and spices lies in early exposure to their flavors and being sure that baby sees Mom and Dad relishing a spectrum of victuals. One by one, Amster-Burton debunks widely held opinions about feeding toddlers, such as withholding salt, sushi, or spices. And he’s not averse to cooking with wine or allowing his daughter a tiny sip of beer. Recipes include a number of Mexican favorites, even highly seasoned Thai and Chinese dishes, all designed to be simply and quickly prepared. Any parent frustrated by an offspring’s dismissive “Yuck!” will find some usefully novel approaches here to patient cultivation of adventuresome palates.
Susan Rose isn’t the average protagonist: she’s scheming, promiscuous, plump, and she is also smart, funny, tender, and entirely lovable. Like many lower-class women of Victorian England, she was born into a world that offered very few opportunities for the poor and unlovely. But Susan is the kind of plucky heroine who seeks her fortune, and finds it . . . with some help from, well, her breasts. Susan, you see, is a professional wet nurse; she breast-feeds the children of wealthy women who can’t or won’t nurse their own babies.
But when her own child is sold by her father and sent to a London lady who had recently lost a baby, Susan manages to convince his new foster mother, Mrs. Norbert, to hire her as a wet nurse. Once reunited with her son, Susan discovers the Norbert home to be a much more sinister place than she’d ever expected. Dark and full of secrets, its master is in India, and the first baby who died there did so under very mysterious circumstances. Susan embarks on a terrifying journey to rescue her son before he meets the same fate.
Jordan Landau is having a bad life. At twenty-five, she is attractive, smart, funny and talented. But all that doesn't keep her mother from calling her fat, her boss from stealing her ideas, and her boyfriend from cheating on her. Day in and day out, she sits back and watches as everyone walks all over her. Then one day while riding her bike home from a particularly awful day, Jordan collides with a car door and is knocked clear off her bicycle. Coming to in the hospital, Jordan realizes she has a perfect excuse for a "do-over"; she vows to fake amnesia and reinvent herself. And it works. Finally, Jordan is able to get the credit she deserves at work, and she stands up to her family and her jerk boyfriend. She's living the life she always dreamed of--until the unthinkable happens. Suddenly Jordan must start over for real, and figure out what really makes her happy--and how to live a truly memorable life.
Tart-tongued spinster Elizabeth Philpot meets young Mary Anning after moving from London to the coastal town of Lyme Regis. The two quickly form an unlikely friendship based on their mutual interest in finding fossils, which provides the central narrative as working-class Mary emerges from childhood to become a famous fossil hunter, with her friend and protector Elizabeth to defend her against the men who try to take credit for Mary's finds. Their friendship, however, is tested when Colonel Birch comes to Lyme to ask for Mary's help in hunting fossils and the two spinsters compete for his attention.
Nan revisits 721 Park, home of the moneyed but morally bankrupt Xs, and the boy she guiltily left behind in their inept care in this smart and sassy sequel to The Nanny Diaries. And though Nan has grown up a bit, married Harvard Hottie Ryan and traveled the world, the plight of the rich and stupid continues, as does Nan's new crusade to save former charge Grayer and his younger brother Stilton, renovate a crumbling East Harlem mansion and stick it out at a soulless Manhattan private school.