Amanda Reads: Surprise Me

Hello, internet people! We’re almost to February already, so I’m bringing you a review of Sophie Kinsella’s forthcoming novel, Surprise Me, which comes out February 13th, 2018.

(Full disclosure: I received an eGalley of this book via NetGalley in exchange for my Surprise Me Sophie Kinsellahonest review.)

When I got the email inviting me to read a new Sophie Kinsella novel, I was ecstatic. I adore Kinsella’s writing and couldn’t wait to dig in with another book. When I opened it up and started reading, though, I was a little surprised–the book opens with the main character already married!

If I recall correctly, some of the later Shopaholic books also feature non-meet-cute plots, so this may be less surprising to more robustly read Kinsella fans than myself. But personally, I don’t often read about married couples, so I wasn’t sure I wanted to continue.

Surprise Me wasn’t quite the typical romantic comedy I’m usually looking for when I read Sophie Kinsella, but I did enjoy the story.  The main character has a nice arc and changes by the end, which was a relief because I was a bit annoyed with her at times. I was equally in-the-dark about the biggest surprise of all as Princess Sylvie herself was, so the curiosity momentum definitely kept me reading. It was nice to read a love story that didn’t have as predictable a plot, even if picking up in the middle of a marriage robbed me of my beloved meet-cute.

I suspect I’d have enjoyed this book a lot more if I was seeking stories about how married people’s love lives can still have surprises, too. As it was, I enjoyed the book but don’t know that I’d have picked it up on my own based on the synopsis. So, I recommend this book for anyone looking for a love story that isn’t boy meets girl so much as it is man and woman with kids try to keep the spark in their marriage alive and surprise one another along the way.

Amanda Reads: My Not So Perfect Life

Hello, internet people! This past week was the last week of my first semester of grad school (um, what?!), so with all my assignments completed, I was able to get a lot of reading in. I tucked myself away in Panera armed with nothing but my Kindle (and a latte, of course) and just devoured Sophie Kinsella’s My Not So Perfect Life.

(Full disclosure: I received an e-galley of this book from Netgalley in exchange for my honest review.)

my-not-so-perfect-lifeMy Not So Perfect Life reads like a romantic comedy, which isn’t surprising considering the fact that Kinsella also wrote Confessions of a Shopaholic. After my rough semester, I was definitely in need of a quick read with a little romance and a fast paced plot, and this book delivered!

At times, I was irritated with the main character’s insistence on trying to make her life look perfect in spite of the way everything was falling apart, but that was part of her journey in this book. The fact that Cat/Katie used Instagram to craft a pretend life for herself while actually struggling financially and emotionally in London provides a nice bit of commentary on social media and how it affects our perceptions of both ourselves and others, which I enjoyed.

I also liked how so much of Cat/Katie’s journey was one towards self discovery, with the love story (while present) took a back seat. This made the book into more than just a story of girl meets boy, but rather of girl discovers self and happens to find love along the way, which is a story that is much more my speed.

The plot is fairly predictable at points, but there are still enough curve balls to keep you guessing and pull you along. Plus, the characters are just delightful–the narrator, her dad, her stepmother, Demeter, and Alex are all round characters with complexity, even if some of the tertiary characters are a bit flat.

I definitely recommend this book to anyone who loves a good romantic comedy or who is a fan of Kinsella’s previous work–it’s definitely an entertaining, fast paced read that will keep you interested. The book is set to hit shelves in March of 2017, but you can pre-order it or queue up for the hold list at your local library.