UK Recap Fit for a Queen // Books Abroad

Kelly and I recently returned from our trip to the United Kingdom, and it was an amazing experience! The week went by so quickly -- and the time with Kelly just made me love her more. If you followed along on our blogs while we were gone, you may remember that we did a three-day blog event that we called UK Recs Fit for a Queen. We recommended books and movies/TV shows set in the UK, and we chatted about some of our favorite places there, too.

Now that we're home, we thought it would be fun to recap our trip with a three-day UK Recap Fit for a Queen. Yep, we basically just tweaked the name from the first event. In today's post, we've got reviews for the books we read while we were abroad. Check back in on Wednesday for photos and highlights from our trip. As a reader, choosing what books to bring on vacation is an important task. I think I spent more time debating this than I did what to wear! 

I knew I'd go book shopping while there, so I only packed one physical book and focused on having options on my Kindle. I was convinced that I'd get a decent amount of reading done since we had several long train rides ahead of us! And then I spent almost all of that time talking to Kelly instead... Haha! I finished three books total -- one during the trip and two on my flight home. I started a fourth book on the flight but didn't finish it then, so it will be in my February Quick Lit.

WHO'S THAT GIRL BY MHAIRI MCFARLANE | On my flight to London, I started and stopped several movies before deciding that re-reading a favorite book might help take my mind off my anxiety. Why was I worried? Because I got to the Atlanta airport and discovered that my passport had a typo IN MY FIRST NAME. The Delta agent gave me my boarding pass and told me she didn't think it would be an issue (though she couldn't guarantee it, of course). So, yeah, I spent most of the eight-hour flight there thinking about it. Y'all, it was not the best start to the trip.

I only read about 20% of Who's That Girl? on that flight, but it was the perfect story to distract me. McFarlane is one of my very favorite UK authors, and I noted that this one just might be my favorite of them all when I first finished it. When I started it, I was immediately invested in Edie's story.  She goes through a hard fall from grace -- but it's a revealing journey that helps her discover her worth, appreciate her true friends and recognize her missteps. I loved it even more the second time around! McFarlane is a talented writer, and I'm just such a huge fan.

I loved the relatable characters, sense of humor, personal growth and swoony romance! I read a large chunk of this book (and ultimately finished it) on the train ride from the Lake District back into London. As I read, I could feel myself smiling, giggling, tearing up and sighing over it all. There's something to be said for a book that brings you so much joy. I can't recommend this one highly enough, and I'm obviously So Obsessed With It. And I can now confirm: this is my favorite from McFarlane, but only by a slim margin because all of her books are great.
IT'S NOT ME, IT'S YOU BY MHAIRI MCFARLANE | After saying goodbye to Kelly and hopping on the Heathrow Express, I could feel myself holding back tears. We had the best week, and I was so emotional at the realization that I was saying goodbye to her! I knew I needed to distract myself, so I turned to Mhairi McFarlane once again. I knew re-reading another book from her would help cheer me up! I ended up settling on It's Not Me, It's You. This was the book that first solidified my love for McFarlane, so I was excited to revisit it a few years later.

I really love Edie's story (and majorly adore her romance), but I think I relate more to Delia. Like Edie, she has to reconsider some things in her life -- both decisions she's made and people she's trusted. There are some similarities in their stories, but what I connected to was the way Delia has let fear hold her back from trying things. She sells herself short but slowly, over the course of the novel, she starts to push herself out of her comfort zone. Despite knowing what would happen next, I still found myself completely hooked on every word.

Once again, McFarlane's sense of humor and well-developed characters shine. There's a little more action and intrigue in this plot, which made it a fun follow up to Who's That Girl? The first time I read it, I finished all 531 pages in one sitting after work. And once again, I tore through this book -- thankful that if I couldn't be with Kelly, at least I had plenty of time to spend with these characters. If you're a fan of smart, readable women's fiction that will make you happy then you need to check out Mhairi McFarlane. It's Not Me, It's You is my second favorite book from her, and I'm So Obsessed With It.
ACT LIKE IT BY LUCY PARKER | I finished It's Not Me, It's You about halfway through my flight home, and I knew I had time to finish another book if I chose wisely. I had to take advantage of the uninterrupted reading time! There were so many options on my Kindle (re-reads and new-to-me) but one book was calling my name. It was the only book I purchased with my trip in mind: Act Like It by Lucy Parker, the first book in the London Celebrities series. It seemed fitting to read a book set in the London theater scene while Kelly was back in London seeing Wicked without me!

I honestly can't remember how to book ended up on my radar. I think it kept popping up as an Amazon recommendation, and I know that I was convinced to buy it when I looked it up on Goodreads and saw high ratings from a number of people I trust. Plus, I was super intrigued by the fact that it was billed a slow-burn romance. That sounded good to me! As soon as I started, I was completely smitten! I'm a sucker for hate-to-love relationships, and this was one of the best ones I've read in recent memory. It reminded of a modern Pride and Prejudice, and that's a huge compliment from me!

It was snarky, sarcastic and totally swoony, and I was immediately drawn in by Parker's writing, the setting and the believable characters. Plus, I cannot stop raving about the fact that there was drama but it wasn't dragged out endlessly. I expected a certain storyline to go one direction and was pleasantly surprised by the fact that the characters acted like adults and communicated. Give me more of this, please! Y'all, I So Loved It. When I landed, I texted Kelly and begged her to read it too. And as soon as I got home, I bought the second book so that I could start it the next day.

Don't forget to check out what Kelly read abroad!
How do you choose what to read on vacation?


  1. I always spend more time thinking about what to read than what to wear! Packing books can be tricky — especially if you know you’ll pick up a few more while you are traveling :)

  2. I remember ordering one of McFarlane's books after you talked them up so much but I still haven't read it!

    I always bring my Kindle on vacation because it's easier than packing multiple physical books, but I always find myself throwing in one or two. I packed SO MANY when I went to Hilton Head and honestly read about 20 pages in one book the whole time we were there. I learned from that and think the Kindle is the best option ;)

  3. I'm still grateful that you put Lucy Parker on my radar, simply because I adore her London Celebrities series so much now! They're so fun, and the couples are so easy to root for. Can't wait for the 2020 release!


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