A 30-something's lovingly sarcastic journey through all of Sweet Valley High, and then some (with lots of swears)

Archive for the ‘The Sweet Life’ Category

NEWLY RELEASED – Alternate Ending to The Sweet Life

I want to thank reader Erin M. for bringing this to my attention, because I had no idea.

Francine Pascal has written an alternate ending to the last installment of The Sweet Life, and released it on her Facebook page as a FREE download – along with a letter of apology for the original ending to the series. (Hey, where’s my apology for Sweet Valley Confidential? lollllll)

I’m preparing to read it now, but I won’t post a review until I’ve put up my reviews of the rest of the original Sweet Life, ’cause that would get weird. That will also give my readers time to read this new ending before they get confronted by spoilers from me.

If you’ve already read it and want to discuss, please feel free to do so in the comments to this post! And stay tuned for more soon!

Get the alternate ending to The Sweet Life HERE!

The Sweet Life in hardcover

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I recently bought the complete The Sweet Life in hardcover. I did this both to add it to my permanent collection and so I could re-read the last 3 books for recap and posting. In hardcover format, it’s a much thicker book than the original Sweet Valley Confidential.

I’ve gotten a few questions on whether the paper copy contains any new material or extra goodies. Unfortunately I can now confirm that’s a no. The only thing you could possibly consider an “extra” is the fact that the back cover of the book’s dust jacket shows you bigger pictures from the stock photos originally found on the e-book serials. I’m grasping at anything here, haha.

Sweet Life recaps 4, 5, and 6 coming soon … as is my A NIGHT TO REMEMBER recap …

Sweet Valley Confidential: The Sweet Life: #3 Too Many Doubts

Cry, Elizabeth, cry!

Liz wakes up to a frantic phone call from Robin Platt, crying that the police are at her house because “Mr. Patman” tried to break in and attack her again. Liz rushes over to Robin’s place, where Robin paces, cries, and starts to say “I really need a –“ before breaking off and looking sheepishly at Liz. Oh, lord! Don’t tell me, she’s an alcoholic and because she drinks, she can’t possibly be a rape victim. Anyway, Liz brushes her suspicions aside. While Liz is at Robin’s, Bruce texts her saying he really needs her right now. Liz puts her phone away and thinks Robin has seen his message, but then Robin carries on like she hasn’t. Then the media shows up, and Robin panics. Liz tries to calm her down.

Back at jail, Bruce is sitting with his head in his hands. Ben Bookman bails him out, and Missy Le Grange shows up in her white Bentley to whisk Bruce away. Missy loudly disparages all the reporters and talks about what animals they are, and tells them they shouldn’t damage her car because they can’t afford to fix it. Damn, Missy is kind of awesome. Bruce is upset because Elizabeth won’t answer his text messages, and he really needs her. Missy makes her disapproval of Liz clear, and offers to take Bruce away to her family’s vineyard to hide out. Meanwhile, Liz finally shows up at the jail, but she’s too late. When she learns Bruce left with Missy, Liz is horribly jealous. She knows Missy has always wanted a piece of that.

Back in Missy’s car, Gavin MacKay, the private detective, calls Bruce’s cell with news about his case. He asks if he’s sitting down, then tells him it was Elizabeth Wakefield who signed the lease on the house for Robin Platt. He sends Bruce a picture of the lease to prove it. Bruce has no doubt that’s Liz’s signature. He demands Missy take him back to his mansion instead of to her plushy vineyard digs. Elizabeth shows up at the Patman manse, and Bruce asks Missy to leave, which she does after assuring him she’ll always be there for him. Liz and Bruce have a big fight about the lease. Liz says she was only trying to find out more for him. Bruce thinks maybe Liz never even loved him and that she was just using him to get back at Todd. Liz swears that’s not true. Then Liz says she thought maybe Bruce just had a seizure and didn’t remember that night with Robin, or blacked out, or had some “condition” like his mother had. Bruce throws a glass against the wall and breaks it, and then he grabs Liz and yells in her face to never talk about his mother like that. Liz flees the mansion and goes straight to Jessica’s house to hide out.

Speaking of Jessica, she’s gone out with Liam again, just for the fuck of it really (not literally). They go to a restaurant called Blu, where the paparazzi see them and snap a picture of them just as Liam leans over the table and kisses Jessica. Todd’s going to love that. Then Liam asks Jessica to go home with him again, but she says no and that she needs more time. Then Michael Wilson calls her to beg her to come back to work. Jessica agrees to at least think about it. When she tells Liam, he immediately says she shouldn’t go back to her job, then softens his tone when he realizes Jessica doesn’t like being told what to do. Oh lord, this relationship could be explosive. Liam really sounds nuts. He tells Jessica she and Jake should move in with him. Jesus, it’s only the second date! Calm down!

When Todd sees the tabloids with a picture of Jessica and Liam kissing, he is so mega-pissed that he accidentally rips the magazine. The clerk makes him pay for it, and Todd knows he’s going to go home and devour every word. Then he gets back to his house and sees Sarah with a duffel bag out front. She’s run out of money and can’t pay her rent. Todd tells her to move in with him. Bow chicka bow wow. Todd STILL thinks there’s no way Sarah could have copied Jessica’s work as much as Jessica said she did. Gee, of course not. She only got fired for one teeny tiny accidental copying, isn’t that right? Todd is so dumb. He could, you know, choose to trust the person he loved enough to marry, or he could do some investigation of his own in about two flat seconds by asking his frickin’ boss at the Tribune. But, as we know, everyone in this book is too dumb to even realize that these things are options.

Jessica and Elizabeth have a conversation in which we learn Jessica absolutely does believe in Bruce’s side of the story. Liz goes to hide out at her parents’ house – they’re on “another” one of their “endless cruises”. Must be nice. I want to retire adn live the Ned and Alice high life.

Jessica gets Bruce to agree to hire Annie Whitman as his lawyer because Ben Bookman fucking sucks and doesn’t know what the hell he’s doing. Okay, so it’s really just out of his realm of knowledge. I’m just feeling mean.

At work, Liz is in trouuuuuble. A source has revealed to Andy Marker, the main reporter assigned to Bruce’s story, that Liz signed the lease on Robin Platt’s house. Now Liz’s boss, Tim Walt, says that the managing editor, Fred, is probably going to fire Liz unless they can come up with a good reason for her doing that. She shouldn’t have gotten so involved because it was out of bounds for a reporter. Liz is real stupid. The only way Liz can keep her job is to tell Robin who she really is, and get her to agree to an interview. Liz tells Robin, who’s seriously mad for almost no time at all that she’s been completely tricked and deceived by someone posing as a therapist! She also looks “glassy-eyed.” This chick is definitely not who she says she is. Robin agrees to do the interview as long as her anonymity is completely protected. Now Liz’s intuition tells her for certain that something is up with Robin and her story, but can’t put her finger on it.

Lila hosts a wine and cheese party for the latest True Housewives filming. All of the show’s fans now think Ashley Morgan is the mega bitch of the century for stealing Ken from his pregnant wife. Ken and Ashley have been seen out and about, even kissing at one point. At the party, Lila pretends to eat peanut butter on a pickle while Marina expresses doubt that she is really pregnant because it’s too early for her to have cravings. Devone tells Marina to shut up. She’s nice and fully supports Lila. Lila pretends to be sick and runs off to the bathroom just so she won’t have to eat the peanut butter pickle. When she comes out, Ashley has arrived, and she and Devone are having a huge argument. Ashley sees Lila and screams at her about rumors Lila spread in the press, that Ashley was a stripper and a hooker in her previous life. Lila denies having anything to do with the rumors, but of course she did. Lila calls Ashley a bitch and Ashley calls Lila a stupid slut, then lunges at her. Lila grabs her stomach and yells “Don’t hurt the baby!” Just then, Ken appears and storms onto the set, yelling, “Back away from my wife!” Ken loudly announces that he wants to be with the mother of his child. He and Lila start making out on TV and then Ken carries Lila upstairs where they have sex in her bedroom, safely shut away from the cameras.

You can’t make this stuff up, folks. A perfect scene. Of course, now Lila has to figure out how she will deal with her fake pregnancy. Her current plan is to pretend to have a miscarriage later. (She doesn’t actually want children.)

In the wake of Bruce’s scandal, he hears that the federal government plans to deny Bruce’s Social Impact Group the permits they need to develop the land they won over the slimy Rick Warner and his gas company. Bruce goes to his board meeting where a board member who doesn’t like Bruce, named Don Edgewater, volunteers a vote to ask Bruce to step down. Bruce says it won’t be necessary because he already is stepping down. He says it’s because the Group needs to focus more on the work they do and on keeping that slimy Rick Warner, the gas executive, from stealing the land they’ve won, because he’ll drill all over it and pollute the groundwater and give everyone cancer. Everyone gasps and then gives Bruce a standing ovation, even Don. Bruce wishes Liz was there to see it because then she might realize he’s not such a monster.

Back to Steven and Aaron’s boring baby story. They hire a nanny named Agneta to take care of her, since Aaron is going back to work. Agneta takes baby Emma to the park. There’s a woman named Melissa there, who has befriended Agneta and Emma over the past few days. Melissa recently gave birth to a stillborn baby and is having a hard time dealing with it. Agneta and Melissa are pushing Emma on the baby swing when Agneta realizes she left her phone back on a bench. Melissa offers to watch Emma while Agneta goes and gets the phone. Agneta goes and grabs it, and when she comes back, Melissa has taken off with Emma and is nowhere to be seen. Why didn’t Agneta just freakin’ tell Melissa to get grab her phone for her if she wanted to be so helpful? The police come and everyone gathers at Steven and Aaron’s house, crying. Annie comforts Aaron while Steven paces around, being lawyer-like. The police interview Agneta in front of everyone and Steven hears a description of “Melissa” and suspects that it might be Linda Carson, Emma’s surrogate. Steven shows Agneta a picture of Linda and Agneta confirms that Linda is indeed the kidnapper. In the very next chapter, everyone hears a “strange sirenlike wail”. It’s the spoiled brat Emma – Linda has left her on their front porch with a note saying “Can’t stand that wail anymore! She’s all yours! Thank God!” Everyone laughs and skips off to the Dairi Burger. (Not really, but that would be the appropriate response.) Aaron and Steven don’t care if Linda is ever caught because now they know she’ll never come back for adorable spoiled little Emma. Thank God this story is over with. Emma sounds like a nightmare. I guess I’m supposed to think she’s hilariously cute, but really, I get a headache just thinking about it. Aaron and Steven agree the best thing to do is let Agneta go, and Steven starts a new childcare business at his office, where everyone has to have extra security to enter. Emma stays there instead. Great, can we stop hearing about her now, and Aaron throwing a fit over her “pink prison”?

At Jessica’s townhouse, Jessica is shaken when Jake yells that it’s not fair that Emma has two dads and he has none. Todd hasn’t been around for the past couple weeks because he’s busy with work or something. So Jessica gets dolled up and goes over to Todd’s house to get her husband back, and Sarah Miller opens his front door in a black see-through teddy. Wauh wauh wauuuuuuuh.

The District Attorney, Tom Colton, decides to formally charge Bruce with felony aggravated assault and attempted sexual assault. He doesn’t think he can prove the charges, but he’s afraid if he doesn’t file felonies, Rick Warner won’t throw him enough re-election fundraisers later, and he really needs them. Annie hears about the charges and thinks maybe she should get Bruce to do a plea bargain in exchange for lesser charges and a slap on the wrist – even though she also thinks there’s no way Bruce won’t beat the felony charges in court. I don’t get it, why have him do a plea deal then? Bruce, meanwhile, is considering fleeing the country to someplace without extradition treaties. Ever since he tried to break into Robin’s house, the whole country has been sure of his guilt anyway, celebrity statements be damned. It turns out Bruce’s mother’s “condition” that Liz was talking about was bipolar disorder, which is very common, but apparently automatically means that Bruce’s mother was “crazy.” Now he’s afraid he’s crazy too. You know, I know so many bipolar people, and while it’s not fun for them, and occasionally not for other people, it’s just not a huge big deal. Did Mrs. Patman refuse to take her medication or something? Anyway, Annie shows up at Bruce’s mansion to bring him the news, only to find that he has fled the country, leaving a note behind apologizing for the mess. NO BRUCE NO. Now, as Annie knows, Bruce’s guilt is as good as cemented in the minds of any judge and jury.

On the cover: Now that I’ve read this, I’m guessing that is supposed to be Liz, since she’s the one with too many doubts! Here’s a link to the full-size stock photo at Shutterstock, copyright Jason Stitt.

Other b.s.: Devone’s name goes back and forth from being spelled “Devone” to “Devon.” ANNOYING.

Marina’s name is spelled as “Eva” numerous times. I presume the author was thinking of how she’s supposed to look like Eva Longoria while writing this. The editor of these books S-U-C-K-S, SUCKS!

This book says that Bruce was always “gentle” with Annie in high school. I have a hard time seeing that one.

Coming up next: Secrets and Seductions, the first book in the series to not have a Wakefield twin on the cover. Good! More Lila and her crazy baby scheme!

Sweet Valley Confidential: The Sweet Life: #2 Lies and Omissions

Nice sunglasses

Lila and Jess are hanging out at Jessica’s house while Jake is out with Liza, the nanny. Lila is still surprised Jessica “went the kid route.” Me too, since the kid is freakin’ never around. Lila is upset with Jessica because she needs to talk about how to get Ken back, and all Jessica can talk about is her plan to save Bruce Patman. Lila thinks about how she’s never liked Bruce (except you know, that one time in college that she did a little more than just like him) and how she thinks he’s probably guilty, simply because the whole incident makes her uncomfortable by reminding her of John Pfeifer.

Since he left her, Ken has completely ignored Lila’s texts and calls. This has never happened before. When Lila asked Ken for a divorce three years ago, Ken was the one begging Lila to take him back. Lila doesn’t like it. She realizes she might almost love Ken.

Jessica ignores Liam’s numerous texts, checking up on her, and figures that as long as she doesn’t tell anyone she slept with him, Todd will never know. Jess decides her best bet for getting Todd back is to quit her job so she can be the stay-at-home mommy and wife he wants. Oh, God. Jessica calls Todd, who’s delighted to hear from her at long last after all those texts he sent, and Jessica insinuates nothing happened with Liam other than dinner. Todd is obviously relieved. They make plans to meet at “their” restaurant – Le Bouchon, where Todd proposed to Jessica – and Jessica will tell Todd about her job then. Liz comes over before Jessica’s latest fabulous VERTPLUS.NET party and thinks about how dull and boring she is next to Jessica, and how maybe she really has always been the boring twin. Well, duh. Liz is having a hard time with what Robin told her alter-ego, fake therapist “Laura Christer,” about Bruce – that he drunkenly complained to Robin his girlfriend was a horrible bore and bad lay. Liz is also having a few twinges of jealousy about Jessica and Todd, and sort of secretly hoping they don’t reunite. She’s also horrified when Jessica tells her that she’s going to quit her job for Todd, because this is a job Jessica excels at. Liz doesn’t share any of these thoughts with Jessica; she just mopes around in her flats while Jessica gets dressed in her fabulous slinky red gown. She doesn’t even tell Jessica that she knows the name of Bruce’s accuser and that she’s met with her. Instead she just says she finds herself kind of doubting Bruce’s story. Jessica assures her Bruce will be vindicated in the end.

Liz eats dinner with Bruce at his house, where she questions him about some of the things she has heard. She doesn’t let him know she’s met Robin and spoken with her. Bruce gets angry that Liz doesn’t believe him. Liz has an uncomfortable flashback to that time in Dear Sister when Bruce tried to force himself on Liz after she attempted to back out of sex with him at his parents’ beach house. Liz apparently barely remembers the full details, because she only recalls he tried to make her kiss him or something.

Liz drives over to Robin’s house again where Robin says someone keeps calling her and hanging up, and she’s sure that means somebody has discovered that she is Bruce’s accuser. Liz can’t help but feel bad for Robin, who’s afraid to leave her house and looks just awful. Liz offers to rent out a house near the church for Robin, with her own money, to keep her away from the prying eyes of the press, as well as from Bruce. Since Liz’s name will be on the lease, no one will find Robin.

Lila dresses herself up in a very skimpy mini-dress and goes to the stadium to see Ken. An intern lets Lila right into the men’s room, where Ken ignores her and walks out the back door. Lila is briefly interrupted by some cameramen asking if she and Ken are still together. Lila lies and says yes. Then she flees to the parking lot, where she finds Ken outside his Porsche – with Ashley Morgan, Lila’s sexpot True Housewives co-star, hanging all over him. Lila uses all her old tricks to get Ken to come back to her, but he coldly tells her it’s over, and he and Ashley leave together in the Porsche. Not giving up, Lila waits until the next True Housewives filming, which is a cocktail party at co-star Devone Waters’s house. Ashley isn’t there because she’s probably off banging Ken and pretending to be interested in his football career. (For the record, we learn that Lila has only been to two of Ken’s football games. Daaaamn!) Devone offers Lila wine, and she turns it down in favor of club soda. She then starts crying and tells Devone and Marina that Ken has left her for Ashley, and, even worse, Lila is pregnant. (She isn’t, of course.) Now the shit will really hit the fan! I gotta say, now this is really getting good.

Moving right along … Remember in the first Sweet Life book when Jessica made Caroline Pearce leave her house because she was mad Caroline had told her about Todd (allegedly) sleeping with Sarah Miller? Now Caroline is ready for revenge. She’s never wanted anything more than to be friends with the Wakefield twins, and Jessica has rejected her friendship for the last time. In yoga class, Caroline’s friend Amy Dent shows her a cell phone picture of Liam O’Connor at the Imagine hotel (where Amy works) with a pretty drunk blond girl, waiting for the elevator to his room. The girl is Jessica, of course, and it’s from that night. Now Caroline knows about it. Even worse, Amy then says she went by Liam’s room that night (to see if he needed anything – yeah right), and heard Liam and Jess having loud sex. Caroline goes right home and posts a blog entry about what Amy said, complete with the picture, and then sends the link to Todd.

Jessica texts Annie Whitman looking for some legal advice for Bruce. Annie thinks about how she’s always had a “soft spot” for Bruce. (That’s one way to put it, Annie.) We learn Annie divorced Charlie Markus six months ago because he was jealous of her fabulous career as a defense lawyer in San Diego. Charlie couldn’t make his books sell, so he wrote one called Easy Annie. Since Charlie is supposedly the boy who saved Annie from her reputation in high school, that didn’t go over so well with Annie. (News flash: It was NOT Charlie Markus! It was Ricky Capaldo! Annie didn’t date Charlie until later! Come on Francine, get it RIGHT.) After divorcing Charlie, Annie moved from San Diego to Sweet Valley, and they share custody of their six-year-old son. Annie looks forward to helping Bruce out. She likes Jessica now that motherhood has made her a more bearable person than she was in high school, when she tried to keep Annie off the cheerleading team. (The whole part where Annie tried to kill herself as a result is left out.)

Aaron and Steven argue over their baby daughter, Emma. Aaron is really going overboard spoiling Emma. He thinks if she sleeps in her crib instead of with her dads, she’ll turn into a sociopath. He calls the crib “the pink prison” and gives Emma a new toy every time she cries. Ugh. Steven is afraid that if Emma sleeps in the bed with them, she’ll suffocate, and that she’ll also turn into a spoiled brat like his sister. But he won’t assert himself, so Aaron keeps on acting like an idiot and giving Emma whatever she wants. I couldn’t really give any less of a crap about this storyline.

Jessica’s MEANGREEN launch party is a mega hit. Woooo. Everyone loves the body paint suits on the models. At the end of the night, Jessica tells her boss Michael Wilson that she is leaving the company. He’s upset both because she’s awesome and because the reason she gives is that she and Todd are going to work on their marriage. He really wants him some Jessica. After the party, Jessica meets Todd at the restaurant, where they reconcile and he’s delighted to hear she’s quitting her job for him. Then Jessica goes to the bathroom while Todd checks his email on his smartphone. He sees Caroline’s blog post and realizes he was right, Jessica really is a horrible scheming person. When Jessica comes back out of the bathroom, Todd has left. Jessica checks her own email. Caroline has sent the same blog post to her.

Elizabeth keeps dodging Bruce’s questions about why she is pulling away from him. She won’t go on TV with him to defend him because she knows Robin will recognize her. She continues to investigate Robin’s past, talking to her old bosses, but can’t find anything to show she isn’t trustworthy – quite the opposite, in fact. Liz also keeps going over to Robin’s new house, a bungalow by her church, to meet with her. Robin cries and says she’s considering just dropping the case because she can’t stand seeing all these celebrities, like actress Christina Black, on television with Bruce defending him. A chapter ends with a cliffhanger, with Robin begging “Laura” to tell her if she should drop the case and move back to her hometown in Kentucky, or stay and fight it, and Liz struggling to figure out what she should say.

Bruce texts Liz and begs her to come stay with him that night because he needs her, but she makes up some bullshit reason that she can’t. He knows it’s bullshit and feels more miserable than ever. Then he meets at a bar called Nevin’s Pub with a private detective, Gavin MacKay, who’s figured out the identity of Bruce’s accuser. He shows him pictures of Robin Platt outside her new home; Bruce recognizes her as the girl he talked to that night at the bar, but he doesn’t remember her being an intern. Gavin tells him he’ll be able to give Bruce the name of the person on the lease tomorrow. After Gavin leaves, Bruce gets completely wasted and GPSes his way to the house. He bangs on the door screaming at Robin and breaks her window while demanding to know why she is lying about him. The police show up and drag him away while the neighbors snap cell phone pictures of him in the squad car. OHHHH SHIT!

The cover: If I had to guess, I would say the girl is Jessica and the boy is Todd. Her expression makes her look like she’s keeping something, and he looks somewhat happy – probably because they are getting back together (or were, anyway). We could also say it’s Liz and Bruce, but I doubt it, since the girl looks too fashionable to be Liz, and the boy looks much too happy to be Bruce in this book.

By the way, I took a look at the credits and saw that the cover photos for all the Sweet Life e-books are stock photos from popular stock photo websites, like Shutterstock and Getty Images. I’m guessing the same is true of the original SVC book. I can’t post the full picture here, even with watermark, without major copyright violations, so you can follow this link to see the full photo of Jessica pulled from Shutterstock, copyrighted by Andresr: Full picture at Shutterstock

What do you think? I think this was a good one to use for Jess. The man’s image is by ZAM-Photography and comes from Getty Images, but I can’t seem to find it there. So no full look at Todd for now.

The two women shown on the cover of the first book are two separate photographs as well, by Joerg Steffens at Corbis Images. He has so many photographs of blonde women that I’m not going to bother trying to find each one, but I’m pretty sure these chicks don’t actually look anything alike, haha!

I feel like Elizabeth the hack investigator, looking this crap up. Yes, I found the images for the rest of the books too and I’ll post them with the other two reviews.

Other stuff: Lila gets mad when Jessica touches her on the shoulder and gives her a patronizing look. Has Jessica turned into Liz?

Lila thinks Jessica’s patronizing look is “the kind of look you gave losers and pathetic women whose husbands had left them for other women. Lila wasn’t going to be lumped in with them.”

Throughout this book and the last, Robin Platt keeps calling Bruce “Mr. Patman”. It’s incredibly annoying to me, although I guess it does underscore how much older they are.

Since we already have a main character in the SV series named Robin, I really wish they had come up with a different name for Bruce’s accuser. Y’all know what a nerd I am about name redundancy. IT’S GETTING TO ME.

So yeah, I thought that this book is much better than the first! Lots of scandal!

Coming up next: The promo for the next book says “the secrets are more scandalous than ever!” which is exactly what it said about Lies & Omissions. In the next book, Too Many Doubts, we’ll hear about whether Bruce and Liz, and Todd and Jess will survive. No clue about Lila’s fake baby!

Sweet Valley Confidential: The Sweet Life #1: The Sweet Life

I’m guessing the one in the front is Jess because of her trademark devious smile!

Alright, I’m up to speed with these e-books! The fourth in The Sweet Life series came out on Sunday, and I must say I’m enjoying these much more than I did Sweet Valley Confidential. That’s not to say that they are great – if they weren’t about Sweet Valley, I wouldn’t be able to get through them all. In fact, if it weren’t for this blog, I probably wouldn’t have bothered, but now I’m glad I did. So let’s get to the recaps already, starting with the very first book.

It’s been three years since the events of Sweet Valley Confidential unfolded, so let’s see where our twins are now, shall we? Jessica lives in a townhome with her two-year-old son, Jake, in Sweet Valley Heights. She and Todd are still married, but he moved out four months ago. Her married name is Jessica Wakefield-Wilkins. She’s now a vice president at that terribly-named MYFACEISGREEN marketing company, which is now called VERTPLUS.NET. Ugh, which name is worse? The company is owned by George Fowler. (They fixed his name! Remember how they put it as “Richard Fowler” in SVC?) Anyway, Jessica is known as “the Queen of Green” for her fabulous ideas that everyone loves, and has an assistant named Katy Johnson who adores her and is apparently part Watusi. Michael Wilson, the boss with a crush on Jessica in SVC, is EVP of the Sweet Valley VERTPLUS.NET office. He’s apparently also George Fowler’s nephew, or at least I guess so, since we hear his nephew is Jessica’s boss … and Michael is her boss, so … I’m confused. Was this mentioned in SVC? I’m too lazy to go back and figure it out. Jessica is also still good friends with Liz’s friend from New York, Liam O’Connor, who’s now doing movies.

Elizabeth is living in a Beverly Hills penthouse, so I guess she moved from New York, finally. She writes a local interest column and a blog for the L.A. Tribune. Todd also works there as a sports writer, but Liz doesn’t run into him much. She’s thankful for that because she still feels awkward around him, even though she doesn’t love him anymore. She spends her weekends at Bruce Patman’s mansion in ritzy Sweet Valley Hills, where she’s had a hard time getting used to his wealth and keeps making a big thing out of it. She no longer eats red meat, but she pretends she does in order to please Bruce and his French chef, Mme Yvonne Dechamps. She pushes the meat around on her plate until half of it is hidden under some other food and therefore looks half-eaten. She is described as doing this fairly often. She also lets Bruce think she is fluent in French, when she’s not, because it makes him happy. (I guess she forgot all that high school French she was so fluent in during SVH.) What a fake bitch. Yes, I never stop ragging on her. Bruce is now a near-billionaire or something in his own right and owns a bunch of boring companies that I don’t care about. Let’s get to the story.

Jessica gives a bang-up presentation at work about her new promotion campaign for Revlon, a cosmetic line she calls MEANGREEN, and the crazy body-paint costume fashion show that she will use to show it off. Jessica has her assistant, Katy, chime in during the meeting about how awesome it is, and everyone else agrees except for Jessica’s bitchy rival, an “elegant middle-aged woman” named Tracy Courtright. When Jessica tries to get home after the presentation, Michael Wilson tries to stop her for chit-chat, but she’s running late and knows Todd will be furious. She lies and says she has theatre tickets because it’s not acceptable to say you have child care obligations. When she gets home, Todd is indeed raging mad because Jessica is the mother and is supposed to act motherly and be the primary child-rearer. Todd married Jessica thinking she was delightfully floozy or something, and now that she’s more successful than Todd the sports-writer, he can’t stand it. That’s why they split up. No, really. Now Todd sends Jessica snarky text messages in ALL CAPS LIKE THIS.

After Todd leaves, Liz goes to Jessica’s townhouse to bring her the latest red meat meal she pushed around on Bruce’s fucking gold-edged china, or whatever. Jessica will eat anything. We learn that Liz and Jessica primarily bond through gossiping now, or something, so this gives us a convenient update on other characters. We learn about Steven and Aaron’s four-month-old daughter, Emma, who they conceived with the help of a surrogate mother named Linda Carson. She lives in San Diego and the twins don’t like her. Steven and Aaron don’t know who Emma’s biological father is and have promised never to do any DNA testing to find out. Next we hear that Lila Fowler is still married to Ken, apparently, because she’s trying out for a reality show. I somehow can’t see Lila doing a reality show. I could see her saying it is “gauche”, however. And finally, Liz says that Caroline Pearce calls her whenever she has juicy gossip on Liz’s ex-best-friend, Dr. Enid Rollins, Sweet Valley’s top gynecologist. Enid had an affair with the husband of one of her patients, and the patient found out when she walked in on them doing an elaborate scenario in Enid’s office involving her tied to the examining room table as a kidnapped patient. The dude’s name is Brad Jones and he’s a pool salesman. No more A.J.? Hahaha.

Liz goes home to Bruce’s mansion where he tells her he saw Todd with another Tribune reporter, a “dark-haired girl” named Sarah Miller, at the Lakers game. Liz says the office gossip is that Sarah wants Todd. Bruce and Liz drink Cristal to celebrate Bruce’s charity group winning a large land deal over Rick Warner, a shady gas company executive. Liz thinks that now a Democratic Party “mover and shaker” named Darko Crowitz (laughing my fucking ass off at that name) is going to start bugging Bruce to run for an office more than he already is. Wooo. Bruce says he isn’t interested. Then Bruce tells Liz he went ahead and volunteered her for a spot on the benefit committee for a “greyhound dinner” with someone Bruce has known all his life named Missy Le Grange. Liz hates Missy Le Grange, but agrees to do it just because Bruce wants her to. I would strangle my boyfriend if he did that to me. Instead Liz fucks him in his study. Who said she’s not still a pushover? Oh, and Liz still doesn’t know that Jessica and Todd first had sex behind her back when they were all still in college. Bruce does know this, but he’s never let on to Liz.

Lila Fowler Matthews goes to an audition for The True Housewives of Sweet Valley reality show – yes, it’s really called that – where she feels she has an edge because she’s one of just two brunettes there, and the other one isn’t as hot as she is. She decides to win the judges over by acting spoiled, bored, and snooty, and it works. They also love that she’s famous NFL quarterback Ken Matthews’ wife. I think Lila sounds mega boring in this chapter, and it kills me. Even worse, she’s mainly auditioning for the show to get the attention of her father. Old George is always going on about how great his son-in-law is, and how great his nephew is, and how great Jessica is (because of her work at VERTPLUS.NET), but he never has anything to say about Lila. These Daddy issues are getting tired.

Back to Jessica. Caroline Pearce casually drops the bomb on her that Todd was with Sarah Miller, the reporter with a crush on him, at the Lakers game. Bruce was there too, and he saw them and told Liz, but Liz didn’t bother to tell Jessica. That pisses Jess off, but only momentarily. She Googles Sarah and reads some of the articles she has written on “green” beauty. Imagine her shock when she discovers Sarah has been plagiarizing Jessica’s quotes and press releases …. Over and over and over. Jessica shows the evidence to Liz and they go back and forth about which one should turn her in to the Tribune. Finally Jessica says that she will do it. Two weeks later, Sarah is fired. Todd comes over and he and Jessica have a knock-down, drag-out fight about it. Todd sounds just like the douchebag he was in the SVH series! He goes out of his way to stand up for Sarah and act like she only plagiarized once, when it most definitely wasn’t just once. He clearly believes this dumb bitch over his own wife. (I’m reminded of so many similar fights between him and Liz, like the one in Perfect Summer with Courtney Thomas, where Courtney could do no wrong and Liz always came off like a horrible person just for stating the obvious.) He accuses Jessica of having set him up in college and all this other hurtful bullshit. Jessica calls Sarah a bitch and snottily tells Todd he can fuck her if he wants. He yells that he’ll fuck who he wants and Jessica yells back that she’ll fuck who she wants too, and that’s the end of that. Thankfully, Jake is out of the house with his nanny Liza, which seems to be the case about 80 percent of the time.

After the fight, Todd goes to Sarah’s apartment, where she starts bawling and he holds her and kisses the top of her head. They start making out and fall back on Sarah’s bed, but after Sarah pulls her clothes off, Todd freezes and just sits there. Sarah starts touching herself to warm him up, and he freaks out, apologizes, and runs out of the apartment.

Lila comes over to Jessica’s place and dances around with glee because she has won a spot on The True Housewives of Sweet Valley. Jessica can only wonder about whether or not Todd is actually having sex with Sarah Miller, or just kind-of sort-of seeing her.

Liz is about to shower and Bruce comes and tells her she’s supposed to call Missy Le Grange in an hour to talk about the greyhound fundraiser. Liz feels she has no choice but to accept Missy because the Le Granges and the Patmans have been friends for ever and ever, and Missy is never going to go away. Bruce and Liz start to have sex in the bathroom when the phone rings and Bruce goes and gets it. It’s his personal assistant Dean with some bad news. It turns out an intern at Bruce’s foundation is accusing him (through her priest) of trying to rape her at a bar called Charm Bar in downtown Sweet Valley. Bruce claims he has no clue who this person could be, and that he first heard of this just now. Liz is sure that slimy Rick Warner is behind this.

Jessica, freaking out about her fight with Todd, texts Liz to come over to her house right away. Liz does and after Jessica pours out her sob story about her awful fight with Todd, Liz explains about Bruce. Jessica runs right over to Bruce’s house to launch a PR campaign for him. Working with Bruce and his lawyer, Ben Bookman (who is apparently not used to dealing with this sort of thing. Great, just great) Jessica makes a website and videos on YouTube or some shit of all kinds of celebrities talking about what a great guy Bruce is. What the hell? Are you sure you should be encouraging people to talk about Bruce’s past, Jess? Would love to see Nicholas Morrow on there, for starters.

Bruce explains what he thinks happened. He was supposed to meet with some dude named Alan Bloom at Charm Bar the night of the alleged assault. Alan had sent him a handwritten note asking to see him, but he never showed. While Bruce was waiting for him, the bartender spilled some pink drink on Bruce. He went to the restroom to clean it, and on his way out he ran into a sobbing girl. Bruce bought her a Coke and she told him a story about how her dad had been abusing her and she’s scared to go home because he’s mad at her. At Bruce’s suggestion, the girl called a women’s shelter. Shortly afterward, Bruce got sick to his stomach. The bartender had him lie down in an empty office with a couch, where he passed out for a while, then woke up and went home. The bartender told Bruce the girl had left. Bruce never shared this version of events with Liz.

Meanwhile, Liz starts doing some investigative reporting. Jessica sends her Bruce’s version of events, and Liz calls Alan Bloom, who has zero recollection of ever trying to set up any meeting with Bruce at Charm Bar. Next Liz goes to Charm Bar to talk to the bartender who was working the night of the assault. It turns out his name is Jackson and he’s now at some place called Friday’s. (Not TGI Friday’s, I gather.) Jackson’s version of events is totally different from Bruce’s. Liz poses as a regular old reporter and doesn’t let on that she is Bruce’s girlfriend. That’s a recurring theme throughout this book – no one seems to have any clue that Liz is Bruce’s girl even though he’s kinda famous in the area, and they’ve been dating for THREE YEARS. Jackson tells her that Bruce was drinking Johnny Walker neat, which is indeed “Bruce’s drink”, and that he was hitting on a young girl sitting near him. The girl kept turning him down, and then she disappeared, so Jackson assumed she went to the bathroom, and then Bruce disappeared, and then the girl came back crying, grabbed her jacket, and fled the bar. Liz is rattled. Next she goes to All Saints, the accuser’s church, where she had her priest tell police that Bruce had assaulted her. The priest, Father Riley, refuses to talk to Liz because it’s none of her fucking business who the accuser is. (He puts it that way too … just kidding.) Liz starts interviewing interns to figure out the name of the accused. She talks to numerous interns before she figures out that the name of Bruce’s accuser is Robin Platt. To get Robin’s number and address, she calls an intern named Heather Horowitz and pretends to be Robin’s friend Diana. I know Liz is trying to protect her man, but I feel like she’s a horrible person at this point. She’s also conveniently overlooking how Bruce tried to rape HER back in the 11th grade!

Lila films her first day of True Housewives at her house, with the three other women picked for the show. There’s Devone Waters, described as African American and beautiful, Ashley Morgan, blonde and sexy, and Marina Delgardo, an “Eva Longoria spitfire type.” Ashley keeps following Ken around and hitting on him. Lila decides that in order to get the most attention on the show, she should play the “bitch” so she snaps at the other girls, tells Ashley to lay off her husband, orders Ken around in front of everybody, and goes on and on about how awful Ken is and how she treats him like shit and gets whatever she wants, and how he’ll never leave her. The other girls are horrified that this will be on camera, but Lila claims she doesn’t care. At the end of the day, the director Eric Sanders has them watch a few of the takes, which he thinks are great. Ken vanishes halfway through, and once the crew is gone, he packs his things and leaves, calling Lila a “first class bitch.” Lila tries to say she was putting on for the camera but Ken tells her that was the real her and walks out. I really don’t like Lila in this series so far. Lila has always been vain and shallow and whatnot, but she’s also cunning and hilarious. This Lila is just like any other Kim Kardashian-esque wannabe on TV.

Caroline comes over to Jessica’s house and tells her that Todd is serious about Sarah. Jessica flips out and kicks her out of the house and then decides to go out on a date with Liam O’Connor, because Todd hates him. Liz thinks this is a bad idea because Liam doesn’t just have a crush on Jess, he’s positively obsessive about her.

“Jessica felt like she was on a mission. A fuck mission.” That’s how the chapter about Jessica’s date with Liam begins. I nearly died laughing when I read that. Holy shit! That’s solid gold right there. While she is out, Todd starts texting Jess like crazy about how there’s nothing between him and Sarah Miller, and how sorry he is and he didn’t mean what he said and he’s looking to make up. Unfortunately for Todd, Jake took Jessica’s phone out of her bag and put it in his playhouse, so she doesn’t have it. Todd calls the house frantically looking for Jessica and freaks when the nanny Liza says she’s “out” because he’s sure she’s with Liam. Great ESP, Todd. Meanwhile, Jessica goes to dinner with Liam and it sounds mega boring. All he can do is babble about his new movie. Finally he says he wants to make love to Jessica because he’s in love with her. Jessica has what sounds like incredibly boring detached sex with Liam. Fuck Mission: Complete. Then she goes home, sees all of Todd’s texts, and pretty much wants to kill herself.

Liz finds Robin Platt’s house and thinks snottily to herself about how shabby it is. Fuck you, Liz. She’s also amazed that Robin, the alleged victim of sexual assault, appears to be hard and guarded as opposed to the innocent little girl Liz apparently thinks all victims of sex crimes should resemble. I still hate Liz with the fire of a thousand suns. Liz poses as a therapist named Laura Christer and says she’s from Robin’s church. Robin believes her even though she’s obviously never seen “Laura” at church before. Maybe it’s a huge church with 11 services? “Laura” claims Father Riley told her the name of the accuser (which Robin is surprisingly not angry at) and that he thinks “Laura” can help Robin. Again, Robin believes “Laura” even though Father Riley has never told Robin this himself. You’d think he would’ve warned her she was coming over if that was the case. And, Liz, wow … Impersonating a licensed therapist? Isn’t that a crime too? In order to get Robin to trust her, “Laura” claims she too was assaulted once upon a time and tells Robin a story similar to Robin’s own. Boy do I hate her. Robin tells “Laura” that Bruce kept hitting on her, and was drunkenly crying about his shitty relationship with his girlfriend. “Laura” bristles and wants to know what he said, and Robin says Bruce told her they have lousy sex and she’s very boring. When I read this I laughed so hard I nearly peed myself. Anyway, Robin says that when she came out from the bathroom, Bruce pushed her into an office and tried to rip her blouse off. Robin shoved him and he fell, but he scratched her with his ring, which left a scar on her hand. (She shows it to Liz.) Her story fits very neatly with that of Jackson the bartender’s. Even worse, when Liz casually asks Robin about her father – because Bruce had said the girl was crying about her father’s abuse – Robin says her dad has been dead for years. Robin cries to “Laura” about how she’s not sure she’s doing the right thing, and wants to know if she should just drop the whole thing. Then Robin cries to “Laura” that she is the only person she has available to help her. As you can see, Liz has gotten herself into a real mess. F. HER.

The cover: Wooo, two girls with a sweet life.

Other things you need to know: There are so many brand name drops in this book that I can’t keep up with them all. It’s pretty annoying, actually.

Bruce is the same age as the twins in this book. That annoys the hell out of me. He’s supposed to be more than a year older! (He turned 18 in the beginning of the SVH series when they were still 16.)

Todd’s hair is now “blondish brown”.

Sweet Valley “was its own world” when the twins were growing up, but is now “just a suburb of L.A.” that, “with improved roads, was only an hour away.” Okay, wasn’t it an hour away before? I don’t fucking know. I’m mad today, if you can’t tell.

Jessica once threw a “fabulous Marie Antoinette-themed, seaweed-masked ball that everyone had just loved” based on a seaweed beauty mask Jessica was promoting. Really, everyone just loved it?

Liz and Jessica now have the same taste in music.

Liz apparently liked to wear makeup in high school just as much as Jessica did. More revised history!

There’s a snotty sentence in here about how meat-eaters always think everyone else should be eating meat too. The fuck? (I am an offended meat-eater with vegan relatives)

Caroline’s dumb blog is called PEARCINGBITCHES.COM. Are you serious??

Oh, and in case you’re wondering – every text, web address, and company name is capitalized in this book. WELL I HATE THAT.

I don’t normally read e-books. Are they usually this horribly edited? This e-book is full of typos and misplaced words, and sentences that run into each other, and odd spaces. Sucks a big fat wiggling bag of dicks.

There’s no mention in this book of Jessica and Liz’s prior history with Bruce.

There’s some dumb bullshit where Liz thinks about how various people never mix up her and Jessica, unlike everyone else. Dude, EVERYONE has mixed them up at one point or another. She thinks specifically about Todd, which cracks me up.

Jessica thinks about how she lost her virginity when she was a teenager just to get it over with. Is that what happened in the Sweet Valley University series? I remember that is when she did it with Mike or whatever, but I don’t remember any of the details.

Just in case they come up again later: some of the other interns who worked with Bruce are Renada Leight, a chick named Ella, Mary Ann DiNato, and Anne Greenberg. They are all beautiful and young and Liz feels inferior to all of them. Liz feeling inferior to someone, that’s a first.

In the back of the book: Ads for the rest of the series, brief Francine bio and acknowledgements, and a partial list of Francine’s other books and series most of which are out of print, so check Amazon if you are interested)

Coming up next: Jessica tries to get Todd back, Lila tries to get Ken back, and Liz and Bruce face “his darkest hour”.

Excerpt from The Sweet Life Now Available

Woo hoo! You can now read an excerpt from The Sweet Life (the first book in the upcoming six book miniseries) on Entertainment Weekly’s books page, Shelf Life. I’ll have my thoughts up this weekend! You can read the excerpt at this link right here. You can get the full e-book on July 15, and the paper copy will be available in October.

I’ve also read In Love with a Prince and that post is almost done, so look forward to that as well … woo hoo. (It’s well past 100 outside … might as well chill in the A/C with my laptop)

The Sweet Life: The Covers

All six “covers” of the upcoming The Sweet Life e-book series have been released and are now on display on the Sweet Valley Confidential Facebook page. The first e-book is available on June 26th. You can get The Sweet Life in hardcover come October 30. I wish they would release both editions at the same time because I am a print book girl. You kids and your Kindles! Let’s take a minute to analyze these covers, shall we? (Fair warning: I’m sure most of you have read Confidential by now, but if you haven’t, there will be some spoilers in here as I speculate what these covers mean.)

The Sweet Life

There they are smirking at us and shit … woooooo, look at me and my sweet life! At least, the twin up front is smirking. The one in the back looks a little less pleased, or maybe shy. I wonder if these are the same models from the SVC cover.

Lies & Omissions

People are lying and omitting in this book, so there will be some good drama, I hope. That boy in the back looks like he’s still in high school. He’s also shirtless. And – Alicia Silverstone circa 1995, is that you? What do you think … are these people Todd and Jess, or Bruce and Liz? Or maybe … gasp! … Todd and Liz! Bruce and Jess!

Too Many Doubts

This cover and title bore me. I have the sickening feeling this is going to be about Liz doubting the depths of Bruce’s love for her or his ability to be a good husband, and/or Jessica worrying that Todd wants to pull another twin switch.

Secrets and Seductions

This title is going to drive me bonkers. You know why? Because Lies & Omissions has an ampersand in it and Secrets and Seductions does not. Consistency, people! Consistency! The cover is a breath of fresh air because it doesn’t have a twin on it. I see black hair so I assume that’s supposed to be Lila (even though she’s always had light brown hair). Good! Let this story not suck!

Cutting the Ties

Who do you think this girl is supposed to be? I would’ve said Lila but her hair is too light compared to the previous book. I don’t know. Cara, maybe? And who’s the dude?

Bittersweet

Okay, another boring twin face, that looks kinda sad and/or resigned to fate. My guess is we only see one twin here because the other one died. I predict there will be an earthquake in which Jessica is pulverized by a falling fridge. Liz is able to hold her hand as she dies and say goodbye. Then she lies and says it’s Liz that died and she assumes Jessica’s identity. She’s realized that this is best because she and Todd were really meant for each other after all and now she can have him, so she takes Jessica’s place as Todd’s wife. Only then Todd realizes the truth because Liz sucks in bed compared to Jessica and also because Liz keeps wanting to play Scrabble and watch PBS, and so he takes her on a motorcycle ride but “forgets” her helmet, and sets it up so that Crunch hits them with his van again. Only this time Todd and Liz both die, and Crunch gets off scott-free after promising to get help for his drinking. The matching lavalieres are donated to the Sweet Valley Museum, but you can only view them from a distance and no flash photography is allowed.

Where is the Steven and Aaron cover? I think Aaron should leave Steven for Tom McKay.

Thoughts on the covers and titles? I’m really digging the rainbow of shades and throwback to the old covers myself. I just find most of these photos very blah. Do you plan to read this series? PS Yes, I do have the latest SVH post almost ready to go. I’m slow lately because not only am I planning a wedding, but my job sucks and I hate it. If I somehow survive tomorrow, I plan to post it then.

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