what I’m reading: meet me at beachcomber bay by jill mansell.

When Clemency sits next to Sam on an airplane, she thinks she may have just met the man of her dreams. Until Clem discovers he’s married. Three years later Clemency has moved on and is living in the seaside town of St. Carys when Sam re-enters Clemency’s life as her stepsister Belle’s boyfriend. Belle doesn’t know that Sam and Clemency have already met and Clemency soon finds herself in the midst of a love triangle.

I didn’t love this book as much as I’ve loved other Jill Mansell’s books. I felt that a couple of the storylines were a bit far-fetched and I found myself rolling my eyes at how nicely everything was wrapped up. There was also one character that I wasn’t especially fond of. I felt that her redemption happened a little too fast to be believable and that her happy ending was a little too easy.

The setting of the book, however, was excellent. The town of St. Carys contains many quirky characters who are all dealing with their own problems. Some of the topics Mansell touched on include unrequited love, adoption, cancer, and race. I did like the character of Clemency. I found her to be funny and relatable and I really enjoyed her relationship with her co-worker Ronan. They have such a genuine and close friendship which really comes across in their interactions and banter.

As with all her books, Jill Mansell has the ability to draw you into her story. Her writing is entertaining, easy to read, and I spent multiple hours engrossed in this book. St. Carys was quaint and the descriptions of the people and community made me want to visit to see more of this idyllic town. I definitely want to meet all the background characters and hear more of their stories.

Overall, this book is not a bad read; however I’ve read plenty of Jill Mansell’s books that I’ve liked better.

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what I’m reading: my not so perfect life by sophie kinsella.

This book was so fun! I’ve been a fan of Sophie Kinsella’s books since I read the first Shopholic novel. Although I got a little burnt out on the Shopholic books – I get it, she likes to shop – I really enjoy Kinsella’s stand-alone novels. This one did not disappoint.

Katie “Cat” Brenner lives in a fabulous flat in London, has wonderful adventures in the city, and works in a great job. At least, that’s what she wants you to think based on her Instagram feed. Actually, Katie spends a good chunk of her day commuting to work where she has to deal with her crazy boss, shares a tiny flat with some interesting roommates, and is often too broke to engage in any sort of social life. When she is abruptly fired from her job, Katie is forced to move home and help her family with their fledgling glamping business.

Katie is such an entertaining and fresh character. She is smart and resourceful. She made me laugh and empathize with her. Throughout the book Katie struggles to figure out who she is – the city girl who lives in London? Or the girl who lives in the country? There’s a little bit of romance, but it’s not the main focus of the book.

An enjoyable and entertaining book!

what I’m reading: then came you by jennifer weiner.

then-came-youThen Came You is the story of 4 women whose lives become connected by chance. India Bishop wants to get pregnant in order to secure her standing in her older husband’s life (and bank account). After she learns she is unable to carry a child, India decides to use a surrogate and a donated egg. Jules, a bright college senior, has sold her eggs and plans to use the money to help her father fight his addictions. Annie is a young housewife who agrees to become a surrogate to financially help her family and because she loves being a mother. Meanwhile, India’s step-daughter Bettina is convinced India is a gold-digger and sets out to unearth all her secrets.

This book was my book club’s pick from last month. I had read a couple others of Jennifer Weiner’s books so I knew what I was getting into. This book is pretty much the definition of chick-lit. Issues about modern women? Check. Issues about female friendships? Check. Humorous? Check. Romantic entanglements? Check.

All the characters were developed and had a lot of back-story. The more I read about India, the more I kept changing my opinion of her. There were a couple of reveals that I thought were a bit anti-climactic and I really couldn’t stand the Bettina character. She was unhappy and bitter and I’m not sure I bought her redemption arc at the end.

However, while the core of the story kept me entertained, I thought the ending was a little woo-woo and a bit unbelievable. I’m skeptical that all the problems could be fixed and tied up in a big bow as they were presented in the book. Most of my book club felt the same – the book was okay but the ending was unrealistic.

what I’m reading: if I could turn back time by beth harbison.

if i could turn back timeOn the eve of her 38th birthday, Ramie Phillips is partying on a boat off the coast of Florida. However, when she falls and hits her head, she finds herself waking up in her childhood bedroom in her 17-year old body. Is Ramie dreaming or has she actually traveled through time? Either way, she’s forced to muddle her way through the last days of high school without anyone realizing that a 17-year old girl has the brain of a 38-year old.

I liked this book. I thought it was funny, entertaining, and brought back so many memories of high school. It also really made me think about the past and the future and how my past decisions have influenced who I am now.

What I enjoyed most about this book was that I could relate to the main character. We’re the same age and who hasn’t imagined what they would do if they could go back in time to high school? When I think about all the things I thought were so important back then, I laugh to myself.

I thought about what I would say to people and how I would act, now that I know what I know now. Like Ramie, I also wonder if I would make any changes regarding my career or personal life. I did enjoy the tidbit in the book where Ramie had to get a printout of her class schedule – I would be the same! I can’t even remember what classes I took in high school, let alone what classroom they were in and what seat I sat in.

I would definitely recommend this book to anyone looking for a fun, “what-if”, chick-lit book.

Caution! This book may bring up nostalgic feelings from your past and/or cause you to have Cher’s “If I Could Turn Back Time” stuck in your head.

what I’m reading: neanderthal seeks human (knitting in the city book 1) by penny reid.

neanderthal seeks humanNeanderthal Seeks Human (Knitting in the City Book 1) by Penny Reid

Janie is not having a good day. Not only did she break up with her cheating boyfriend, which means she doesn’t have a place to live, but her job has been downsized and she’s stuck in a bathroom with no toilet paper. However, a chance encounter with the security officer dubbed Sir Handsome McHotpants could leave Janie with not only a new job, but possibly a new love interest.

This was a cute book, an enjoyable way to pass a lazy day. I actually read this when I was on vacation and it was easy to put down and come back to when I had some time to read.

It involves your typical main character who doesn’t know how fabulous she is and the alpha male who sweeps her off her feet. There’s a meet-cute and some mistaken identities and a knitting group!

The main character Janie, is intelligent and quirky and is a self-described Neanderthal. She’s a bit of a nerd who frequently talks too much and goes off on trivia-based tangents, and who has some self-esteem issues. She was an interesting character to read and I’m not sure I’ve read a book where the heroine was so neurotic, but it worked for this book.

Quinn, aka Handsome McHotpants, is all protective. He definitely has a thing for Janie but the main issue I have is that we know nothing about him. He seems to have this huge backstory that we learn nothing about so I never felt like I really knew who he was as a character. Plus, there are a few events that occur that relate to his backstory that just would have made more sense and would have added to the story if we knew the reasoning behind them.

I liked this book but I wasn’t in love with it. It made me smile, it made me laugh, but it left me with many questions. There are more books in this series so perhaps those questions get answered later.