I have mixed feelings on this series as a whole. It starts off weak, but it starts to pick up towards the end by throwing a few different surprises. Which…really, a book series shouldn’t work that way. It should start strong and try to end strong.My biggest problem with Queen of Babble as a whole is that its bland. Generic characters, generic situations. Reading it feels like eating out at an Applebee’s—the food is good, but you’ve had it before and there’s nothing that really wows you. I will give Lizzie a point for actually being passionate about something—restoring vintage clothing—and having it play a huge role in the series. Otherwise, she’s a by-the-numbers chick lit heroine whose main goal is to get married and pop out several kids. (But not right away!) The fact that Luke is considerably well-off does not help, either. I’m really not a fan of the Cinderella concept in a lot of chick lit, wherein the love interest is financially well-off, or a big businessman or what have you. I’d like to see something where it’s two normal people falling in love and the money doesn’t play a huge role in either character’s aspirations.Luke’s “evil” girlfriend, Dominque, is another huge sticking point. She comes off as so obviously money-hungry that the only reason that she and Luke were ever together is because of her augmentation. And tangent, I’m not a fan of vapid cosmetic surgery, but can we please stop using that to label other women as bad? This is a huge problem that shows up in a lot of Meg Cabot’s books (I had a big problem with this in one of the Boy novels)—once you get down to the motives of the “bad” girls and the heroines, they’re pretty much interchangeable. We should be able to root for the heroine because she’s likeable, not because she’s plain or reads tabloid magazines or isn’t afraid to pig out once in a while (and then berate herself for twenty pages after that). Finally, the book takes place in London and the south of France, but it never feels like it. I can understand not seeing London in a larger role, as it’s only important to the first fifty pages, but the Mirac scenes are a let-down. There’s a large description of the house, but it never feels like “Hey! We’re all in France!” It’s like the book was set in a large country house staffed with Francophiles. Even the short trip to Sarlaut is lacking in description. Not only is setting a major part of any book, but especially if it’s supposed to be a travelogue. And when I can’t feel like I’m in the south of France with the characters, then the author is really failing.There are parts of the book I like. I like the main characters for the most part. There’s some funny moments. I like aspects of Lizzie’s character, particularly how she’s not ashamed to sleep with her boyfriend and have quickies at various times of the day. But the bland and the repetition of so many chick lit tropes overshadow the plot that I really can’t ignore it. I like it, and at the same time, I want more from the writing.