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: maybe in another life by taylor jenkins reid.

You know that Gwyneth Paltrow movie Sliding Doors? The one where she is racing to make the train and the movie veers off into two different storylines – one storyline if she makes the train and one storyline if she doesn’t? Well this book is just like that movie.

Hannah Martin has just moved back to Los Angeles and is staying with her best friend Gabby and her husband. On her first night back she goes out for a welcome home party and at the end of the night, her old boyfriend offers to give her a ride home. What happens if she leaves with him? What happens if she leaves with Gabby? This book examines the two possibilities that could happen depending on which choice Hannah makes.

I thought this was a cute book. The two storylines are told alternatively, with each chapter switching off between the two realities. There’s a lot going on in this book but each storyline was easy to follow.

Maybe in Another Life is basically a “What if?” book. It made me think about how our lives are shaped by our choices and how one simple decision can change everything. It also deals with fate and the question of whether a person can have more than one soul mate.

I’m not sure which outcome I liked best. I did like that there were constants through each storyline, such as Gabby and the storyline concerning Hannah’s parents. However I felt that both endings were too perfect. I suppose the endings were appropriate but I guess I was left wanting something more.

The other thing that bothered me about this book was all the repetition of Hannah’s quirks. I get it, Hannah loves cinnamon rolls and talks about them constantly. She also always wears her hair in a high bun. I felt like I was told at least once in every chapter that Hannah likes cinnamon rolls and she’s got to get her hair in a high bun. It was a little bit of overkill. (Although truth – I totally went and got a cinnamon roll from the donut shop when I was done reading this book.)

what I’m reading: sleepless in manhattan by sarah morgan.

I started reading Sarah Morgan’s books last year and she is quickly becoming one of my go-to authors. Sleepless in Manhattan is a yummy little cupcake of a novel. It was fun and sweet and just hit the spot.

Paige, Eva, and Frankie are childhood friends who live in Manhattan and work together at the same events planning company. Paige is driven and hard-working and after all three friends are let go from their jobs on the same day, Paige comes up with the idea to start their own events planning and concierge business. Paige’s brother Matt and his best friend Jake decide to help the girls out. The issue? Paige has been in love with Jake since she was a teenager, and as the two work together to plan the perfect party for Jake’s company, they start a relationship but are forced to hide it from Matt.

This was a cute friends to lovers romance. I loved the great sibling relationship that Paige and Matt have. I also loved the friendships between the three ladies. I did have to roll my eyes at the enormous success their business had after just one event; I thought it was a little unbelievable. If only every start-up business had instant success, right?

This book is the first in the From Manhattan with Love series, so there is plenty of sequel bait. Paige has two best friends so we know each one will have their own story. Hopefully they will be just as entertaining as this one.

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.

2016 reading in review.

I’m taking a look back at my 2016 year of reading. I didn’t have any real reading goals last year or participate in any book challenges. I pretty much read whatever caught my eye and sounded interesting.

Here’s how I did in 2016:

Number of books read: 50
This averages out to .96 books read per week.

Number of pages read: 17,506
Averages out to approximately 336 pages read a week.

Longest book:
Baby, It’s Cold Outside at 534 pages.

Shortest book:
Unexpected Gifts at 136 pages.

Average Book Length:
350 pages

According to Goodreads, my average rating was 3.3 stars.

Books by genre:
Fiction – 48
Nonfiction – 2

Books by acquisition type:
35 books were borrowed from the library.

Books by format:
Paperback – 19
Hardback – 18
Ebooks – 13

First book read in 2016:
When We Were Animals

Last book read in 2016:
Marry Me at Christmas

Another great year for books!!

book heart

what I’m reading: the trouble with mistletoe by jill shalvis.

thr-touble-with-christmasIt’s December, so all month I’m reading holiday novels. What better way to get ready for Christmas?

I am a huge fan of Jill Shalvis and I know I can count on her when I am looking for a fun and entertaining book. All her books are delightful and filled with an eclectic cast of characters and this book did not disappoint.

After his great aunt drops her cat off at Keane Winters’s house, Keane is desperate to find someone to take care of it. Luckily, he stumbles across Willa Davis’s pet shop and begs the woman to help him. Willa is reluctant as Keane broke her heart so many years ago in high school. Feeling sorry for the cat, Willa agrees to take care of her as she realizes that Keane doesn’t remember who she is.

This was a funny and heartwarming book. Contrary to the book description, the main issue is not that Willa and Keane knew each other in high school and he doesn’t remember her. Rather the conflict is more about Willa and Keane dealing with commitment and learning to trust each other and themselves.

There are so many great characters in this book, especially Petunia the cat (or Pita as Keane has nicknamed her). Petunia is feisty and loving and definitely has a mind of her own. Willa has such a big heart, which is evident by the way she loves her animals, employees, and friends. Keane is very sweet as we can see when he agrees to take care of Petunia, even though he doesn’t like cats. And the supporting characters were great, including great aunt Sally who calls Keane so she can Face-Time with Petunia.

The only thing that was a bit of a bummer was that this wasn’t necessarily a holiday novel. The book takes place at Christmastime but it’s not a “Christmas book”. You could most likely pick up the plot and plop it in any month and you would have the same novel.

what I’m reading: sleigh bells in the snow by sarah morgan.

sleigh-bells-in-the-snowSomeone needs to get on the phone to the Hallmark Channel or Lifetime because this book needs to be made into a Christmas movie right now.

Kayla Green hasn’t been a fan of Christmas since she was 13 and would prefer to skip the holiday this year. When Jackson O’Neil hires Kayla to help his family’s struggling ski and spa resort, Kayla thinks she has the perfect solution – she’ll spend a week at the resort coming up with a way to bring in business and if that means she’ll have to spend the holiday in a secluded cabin surrounded by nothing, then oh well. But after spending time with Jackson and his family, Kayla finds herself right in the middle of an O’Neil family Christmas.

This book is wonderful and is the perfect way to start my Christmas reading. If you don’t know, I love Christmas, especially Christmas movies and books. This book definitely put me in the Christmas mood and I am ready with my peppermint hot chocolate and holiday songs in the background.

I loved just about everything about this book. I loved the setting – who doesn’t want to relax in a hot tub at a skiing resort in the middle of a snow covered forest and watch the stars. I loved the characters – Jackson’s brothers, mother, grandparents, and the rest of the town people. I thought that Jackson’s family really made the story come alive and every character had so many different sides to them. And it’s a holiday romance!

I would recommend this book to anyone looking for a Christmas-themed romance novel. Beware though, Jackson has 2 brothers and each brother has a book in this series. You just might find yourself reading all three of them in a long weekend!