Friday, January 27, 2017

My Not So Perfect Life - Sophie Kinsella

My Not So Perfect LifeMy Not So Perfect Life by Sophie Kinsella

Genre:  Fiction; Chick Lit

Pages:  400 pages

Publishing Date:  February 7, 2017

Rating:  4 out of 5 stars on Goodreads

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Katie Brenner has the perfect life: a flat in London, a glamorous job, and a super-cool Instagram feed.
Ok, so the real truth is that she rents a tiny room with no space for a wardrobe, has a hideous commute to a lowly admin job, and the life she shares on Instagram isn’t really hers.
But one day her dreams are bound to come true, aren’t they?
Until her not-so perfect life comes crashing down when her mega-successful boss Demeter gives her the sack. All Katie’s hopes are shattered. She has to move home to Somerset, where she helps her dad with his new glamping business.
Then Demeter and her family book in for a holiday, and Katie sees her chance. But should she get revenge on the woman who ruined her dreams? Or try to get her job back? Does Demeter – the woman with everything – have such an idyllic life herself? Maybe they have more in common than it seems.
And what’s wrong with not-so-perfect, anyway?

My Thoughts:

I received notice of Sophie Kinsella releasing a new book via a NetGalley email.  I have thoroughly enjoyed most of the books I’ve read by her.  This book was not one of the exceptions.

So the synopsis on the back of the book doesn’t quite give you a clear picture.  This book was so much better and more nuanced than the copy would lead you to believe. 

Katie, like most of Kinsella’s protagonists, is insanely likeable.  She is trying so hard yet so not there (achieving all she hopes)…like so many of us in real life.  Okay, maybe that’s just me.  I couldn’t help but root for her throughout the book, even as she’s a bit self-sabotaging at times.  The cast of supporting characters are great as well.  Unique and relatable in some way, each of them. 

The story moves along quickly.  This was a fun book to read.  I pretty much stayed up way too late one night to finish it.  However, one thing I found unique about this book compared to the author’s previous reads is that there is a level of depth to it.  Yes, it can still be just a fun, fluff read.  But Kinsella is saying something more about image and appearance and social media.  As a reader, I appreciated it. 

Definitely recommend it. 

4 out of 5 stars.  Would have been 5 but for the language and sexual references.

Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for an advanced copy.

Only Daughter - Anna Snoekstra

Only DaughterOnly Daughter by Anna Snoekstra
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

So this book was interesting. The main character was intriguing. Her motivations and impulses.
The story was definitely suspenseful and fast-paced. I didn't really figure it out until it was revealed. Then everything fell into place. So that's the best kind of suspense.
Some of it you had to suspend a little disbelief for, but I'm okay with that.
There is language and animal cruelty; a bit too much of each for my taste.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Because You're Mine - Colleen Coble

Because You're MineGenre:  Christian Fiction; Suspense

Pages:  336

Publishing Date:  January 10, 2017

Synopsis from Goodreads:
Alanna has been plagued by tragedy. So it should come as no surprise that in the beauty that surrounds Charleston, all is not as it seems.
When her husband is killed by a car bomb while their band is on tour in Charleston, Alanna doesn’t know where to turn. Her father-in-law is threatening to take custody of the baby she carries, but the one thing she knows for sure is that she can’t lose the last piece of Liam she has left.
Their manager offers her a marriage of convenience to gain her U.S. citizenship and allow her to escape her father-in-law’s control. It seems like the perfect solution . . . but her doubts begin almost as soon as she arrives at Barry’s family home, a decaying mansion surrounded by swamp.
To make matters worse, Liam’s best friend survived the car bomb. She’s never really liked Jesse and now she can’t seem to get away from him. When he takes Liam’s place in their band, it’s almost more than she can bear.
But then things start happening. Things that could easily cost Alanna her life—or the life of her unborn child. Are they merely coincidences? Or is there something much more sinister at work?

My Thoughts:
I received an email from the publisher inviting me to review this book via NetGalley.   I have had Colleen Coble on my radar for awhile but had yet to read any of her books.  So I took this opportunity.

I was looking forward to a good suspense book.  In that way, I was disappointed.  The book was very light on actual suspense…I knew what had really happened and whodunit pretty much from the get go.  Still, it was interesting to see how Coble got her characters to the same point. 

The dialogue took some getting used to as several characters and even some of the narrative was written in Irish brogue.  I think the characters were engaging but could have used more dimension and introspection.  They seemed to jump and react solely based on what was happening in their environments without any real thought to what else could be going on.

The book had a pretty even pace.  I was never lost nor did the story seem to drag.  I also appreciated the epilogue at the end to bring some closure. 

There are supernatural elements both of God and of banshee.  The author is not pushy in her approach.  Alanna, in particular, seems to be a lot like I can tend to be in my God relationship:  turning to Him when things are bad, and I don’t know what more to do in and of myself.  I think in that way, she was very true to life.  Or maybe just to my life and flaws. 

I read very little to offend a conservative reader.  The mentions of a banshee might turn off some; I took it more in a superstition kind of way.  Also, Jesse was a character of questionable morals at times – mentions of drinking and an assault.  However, nothing was explicit in any way.

Some of the characters and story lines were dropped mid-way.  Like Barry’s nanny.  I would have liked to hear more of her story.  And Grady’s.  But I do understand they weren’t central to the main tale. 

Again, while I didn’t find the story to be suspenseful at all, it was an interesting read.

3 stars out of 5.  It was okay.

Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for an advanced copy.