Blogger Book Nook #10: Summer Romance

If you’re new to these parts, I recently joined a Facebook book group called Blogger Book Nook. It’s a fun online book club but, rather than picking a book for everyone to read and comment on a month, it’s based around a theme/genre, so there are no arguments around titles and there’s a good chance you’ll find something you’ll like. It’s also a great way to share recommendations. Each member writes a post for the month reviewing a book around the theme and answering a few bookish questions. So, without further ado…

Celebrating World Book Day with Literary Emporium

1. Are you a fan of the classic summer romance read? Or do you tend to pick up another genre when you go on holiday?

I haven’t had a holiday since before Jenson was born and I’ve never been on a traditional summer ‘lay on the beach/by the pool and read’ kinda holiday. I’ve always got a book on the go for the commute and when I have to travel further I’m a bit pickier about what I read. I tend to save something special for these journeys, such as a new release from Jodi Picoult. As for classic summer romances, I do have a soft spot for ‘chick lit’ and would probably go for something by Sophie Kinsella, hence this month’s read.

2. Who’s your favourite romance author and what’s your favourite book written by them? Why?

I find Sophie Kinsella’s books to be a fun, easy read. I have a soft spot for ‘first time’ books, so Can You Keep a Secret is probably my favourite, although I love the Shopaholic series.

3. Love triangles… yay or nay?

I think it’s lazy writing – there are other ways to create drama and tension.

4. If you were stranded on an island, what book WOULDN’T you want to be stuck with?

Something really long and which I have avoided – the likes of War and Peace, Les Miserables, The Odyssey… I hate not finishing a book and so avoid a lot of titles in case I don’t enjoy them and feel stuck with them.

5. If you were a character in a romance novel, what would be your ideal/dream love story?

I’m not a fan of traditional ‘and they all lived happily ever after’ love stories. There’s a line in Mr and Mrs Smith where Angelina Jolie’s character says ‘happy endings are for stories that haven’t finished yet’ and, although it’s quite depressing, it’s so true. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is one of my all-time favourite films and I love it’s alternative approach. I’m still looking for a book which makes me feel the same way. The Time Traveler’s Wife is the closest.

Now for the review: Surprise Me by Sophie Kinsella.

Surprise Me by Sophie Kinsella

I have to admit, it’s not one of my favourite of her stories. It started well and I liked the premise: a couple who have been together for ten years and have a seemingly perfect life face the reality of spending their whole lives together. They know each other inside out and back to front, can predict what each other will choose when they go out for a meal and barely even have to have a whole conversation anymore. So far so realistic. Then they decide to surprise each other to bring a bit of intrigue and excitement to the relationship and it all goes tits up, especially when a secret is revealed.

It seems to me there are two primary causes of conflict in a romance: a love triangle and miscommunication. I’m not a fan of either and the miscommunication in Surprise Me drove me bonkers. I’d much rather characters just confront each other rather than assume something and go off on a wild goose chase. It’s like when you get a storyline dragged out for too long in a soap (Finn’s return to Neighbours, anyone?). I found myself more interested in the developments with the heroine’s career and neighbours rather than her own relationship, which I imagine wasn’t the intention.

What’s your favourite summmer read?

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