Jackie and Maria by Gill Paul (2020)
Jackie and Maria tells the story of Jackie Kennedy and Maria Callas, a famed opera singer, and how the two women's lives intersected because of one man, Aristotle Onassis. When we first meet Jackie, she is married to JFK, who has not yet even become President. Maria is in a somewhat loveless marriage, but when she meets Onassis, she comes to love him deeply. Their long love affair, though, never results in marriage, and after JFK is assassinated, Jackie eventually marries the Greek businessman, much to most people's surprise and dismay. The Kennedys, particularly Jackie, are a subject I enjoy reading about, both in fiction and nonfiction, and it was interesting to dive into more of her life after JFK, although there is a lot of book to get through before then. Because it's been done so many times before, I kind of wish Paul had spent less time on the Jackie/JFK years. Maria's chapters were very interesting, and it was riveting to see how this one man was able to attract so many women. Although he had undeniable charm, he was also unfaithful and temperamental. 4 stars
Business or Pleasure by Rachel Lynn Solomon (2023)
Chandler is a ghostwriter who is having complicated feelings about her most recent project when she meets a cute guy at a bar. When their one-night stand turns out terribly for her, she's willing to write it off - until she learns that her lover is the subject of her newest ghostwriting project, forcing them to spend a lot of time together. It eventually comes out that Chandler was supremely unsatisfied with their night together, leading her to jokingly suggest she give Finn some pointers - which he immediately takes her up on. But will their personal relationship mess up their professional one? I wanted to love this so badly - possible ethical issues aside, I thought the premise was really cute, that these two people working together also have a no-strings attached relationship where she's the one teaching him. However, it all felt a bit off. Chandler was not super likable to me, for some reason I can't put my finger on. Also, it was a little weird that because she minored in human sexuality (?) in college, that makes her an expert in the bedroom? Her "lessons" were too clinical and yet also too personal - things that work for her might not work for the next person. Although, let's be real, there won't be a next person for Finn because he's obviously in love with her from the start. I did, however, enjoy getting to know Finn and get an insider look at the life of a minor celebrity/actor. 3.5 stars
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