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text 2018-03-18 18:28
Fan Cast: Surprise Endings by Robin Jones Gunn

Christy Miller: Mackenzie Foy
Katie Weldon: Joey King

Todd Spencer: Charles Vandervaart
Rick Doyle: Cameron Boyce
Renee: Kara Hayward

Teri Moreno: Victoria Vida

Alissa: Peyton List

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review 2018-03-18 18:13
Surprise Endings by Robin Jones Gunn


Series: Christy Miller #4


I think my biggest issue with this book is that Christy is a pleaser and fictional pleasers make me want to hit my head against a wall.


I understand that there has to be angst and drama to keep this series going, but as I said, Christian contemporary is either a hit and when angsty, whiny teenagers are involved it's usually a miss. I'll continue with the series so I can see what happens and read all of Robin Jones Gunn's other books, so I guess we'll see how this goes. 


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review 2018-03-11 18:28
A Princess in Theory by Alyssa Cole
A Princess in Theory: Reluctant Royals - Alyssa Cole

Naledi (Ledi) Smith has been on her own for most of her life, bounced around in foster care after her parents were killed in a car crash. Now she's a grad student with multiple jobs and a supposedly upcoming epidemiology internship that she still hasn't been contacted about. The spam emails she keeps getting that say she's betrothed to a Prince Thabiso from some country called Thesolo do not amuse her.

As it turns out, the emails aren't spam. Prince Thabiso has been looking for his betrothed for years. He hopes to find her and either bring her back to Thesolo or finally convince himself that they aren't soulmates the way he'd been told as a child they were. His assistant, Likotsi, tracks her down, but their first meeting doesn't go anything like Thabiso expected it would. Ledi mistakes him for a new waiter named Jamal, and rather than clear up the misunderstanding, Thabiso decides to just go with it. He'll get to see how Ledi behaves around him when she's unaware that he's royalty, and being a waiter can't be that hard, right? (Ha!)

I pre-ordered this because both the cover and publisher's description made it look cute and fun. A contemporary romance in which an ordinary woman learns she's actually a princess sounded like it'd be right up my alley.

The setup was excellent, and the sample "spam" emails made me laugh. I loved Ledi, who was afraid to let her guard down and who worked so hard and was still worried that none of it would be enough. She relaxed her guard around Thabiso a bit more quickly than I would have expected, although that could have been due to the way he subconsciously reminded her of things from her childhood.

Plus, Thabiso had some great moments. He listened to and remembered the things she said. Because he knew she was always taking care of herself and everyone else, he tried to set up times that were solely about her and taking care of her. The bit with the grilled cheese sandwiches was cute (although the way the next chapter started made me think he'd accidentally burned the apartment down).

I winced every time he put off telling Ledi the truth, although I could usually understand his reasons for doing so. There was one scene that really bothered me, though. He arrived at Ledi's apartment, fully intending to tell her the truth, only to have her start kissing him. He wasn't so overwhelmed by her kisses that he couldn't think - he actually did slow things down enough that he could have stopped everything and told her right then. Instead, they had sex, he worried that she'd call him Jamal, and he figured he'd tell her sometime after they were done. It made it seem like he cared more about having sex than he did about Ledi.

This part upset me so much that I spent the rest of the book mentally rewriting it. I came up with a couple alternatives that would have still led to Ledi being hurt and angry enough for the rest of the book to happen, but would have made Thabiso a little less horrible. Unfortunately, the scene happened the way it happened. Cole dealt with it by having Thabiso make Ledi an offer she couldn't refuse, something that would force her to spend enough time with him that she'd eventually soften towards him and forgive him. She did, of course, and I could understand why, for the most part. Unfortunately, I never quite forgave him.

Although I was upset with Thabiso in the second half of the book, I still really loved the "royal life" scenes. Ledi's trip to the airport, in particular, was great. I loved her meetings with family members - I wonder if Nya will ever get her own book? - and I was glad that Thabiso defended Ledi whenever his mother started to act horrible.

For the most part, this was a really good book. It would have been an excellent one if it hadn't been for the last "trying (but not really) to tell her the truth" scene, which unfortunately slightly soured the rest of the book. Oh, and one little slightly spoiler-y complaint: why did Ledi, who should have known better,

keep taking pills without ever once asking (or even wondering) what was in them?

(spoiler show)

I'm going to wait and see what reviews say about the next book before deciding whether to get it. I'm iffy about Portia, Ledi's friend and the next book's heroine. Almost every time Portia was mentioned, Ledi worried about the amount she drank and whether spending time with her would mean more work and anxiety than relaxation. A Princess in Theory ended with her in therapy and hopefully drinking less, but I'm still wary. Meanwhile, I'm crossing my fingers for a future book starring Likotsi, Thabiso's well-dressed lesbian assistant.


(Original review posted on A Library Girl's Familiar Diversions.)

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review 2018-02-20 13:32
Surprise Me
Surprise Me: A Novel - Sophie Kinsella

Meh. Annoyed that I didn't just wait for this one via the library. I decided to buy this instead of the new Michael Connelly (shakes head). Surprise Me sounded interesting which is why I got it. A married couple (Sylvie and Dan) are told they have more than 60 plus years to go after their health assessment freak out since they don't know what they are going to do with all that time together. Yeah I know, I would be happy, but these two have no common sense. They decide to surprise each other so that they have something to look forward to since they know each other so well. Well, Sylvie thinks she knows Dan very well, instead she founds out she doesn't know everything. We also get a total tone shift towards the second half of the book and it did not work at all. I honestly worried at one point maybe I was misreading things.


I wish I could have liked this one better. I just didn't gel with the main character Sylvie. I think if Kinsella had told the chapters in alternate POVs with Sylvie and Dan it would have worked better. I was more intrigued by him. And I honestly think that Kinsella tried to hand wave away too much stuff that was going on with Sylvie with her blaming Dan for being overprotective.


Sylvie is in a bubble and doesn't really want to accept most things around her. She keeps her hair long cause her late father loved it long. She thinks her husband is good and all, but was totally outshone by her awesome and handsome father. I seriously rolled my eyes the many times we had to read about how great/fantastic Sylvie's father was and how people flocked to him like he was the Piped Piper. The fact she didn't even see how things were going in her marriage and kept doing things that she knew was hurting her husband (like constantly showing their wedding DVD that barely featured them and instead featured her father) just got on my last nerves.


There is some chances for levity here and there. We have Sylvie and Dan going through the whole surprise me motions and I chuckled a few times. But honestly the whole book dragged. When we get a reveal I wasn't expecting, it just made the whole book go sideways. Things got too rushed for a resolution and I honestly don't think Sylvie learned much of anything really.



Image result for lame surprise gif

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review 2018-02-12 05:36
Surprise Me
Surprise Me: A Novel - Sophie Kinsella Fast-paced, witty, and entertaining. After reading the blurb, I'll admit that I went into this one expecting more fluff than substance, but the prologue had me rethinking that assumption. Then I get to the first chapter and was worried again - Sylvie and Dan are just a bit too perfect. And then the story takes an interesting turn. As this couple is faced with what should be good news from a physician, they react differently than what most would expect. They freak completely out. They then set about on a mission to surprise each other in order to keep things interesting in their marriage, but these surprises don't turn out quite like they planned. Ranging from the simple and sweet to outright hilarious bungles, these surprises lead to some miscommunication and suspicion. That's when the story takes a more serious turn. While the last part of the book is more serious, that same sharp wit is still present to keep things from getting too heavy. All in all, the story is a bit over the top at times, but it's well written and a surprisingly entertaining and at times compelling read.
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