Review: Love Your Life by Sophie Kinsella

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Synopsis from Goodreads:

From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of I Owe You One, an utterly delightful novel about a woman who ditches her dating app for a writer’s retreat in Italy–only to find that real love comes with its own filters

“As close to perfect as romantic comedies get.”–Jenny Colgan, New York Times bestselling author of The Bookshop on the Corner

Call Ava romantic, but she thinks love should be found in the real world, not on apps that filter men by height, job, or astrological sign. She believes in feelings, not algorithms. So after a recent breakup and dating app debacle, she decides to put love on hold and escapes to a remote writers’ retreat in coastal Italy. She’s determined to finish writing the novel she’s been fantasizing about, even though it means leaving her close-knit group of friends and her precious dog, Harold, behind.

At the retreat, she’s not allowed to use her real name or reveal any personal information. When the neighboring martial arts retreat is canceled and a few of its attendees join their small writing community, Ava, now going by “Aria,” meets “Dutch,” a man who seems too good to be true. The two embark on a baggage-free, whirlwind love affair, cliff-jumping into gem-colored Mediterranean waters and exploring the splendor of the Italian coast. Things seem to be perfect for Aria and Dutch.

But then their real identities–Ava and Matt–must return to London. As their fantasy starts to fade, they discover just how different their personal worlds are. From food choices to annoying habits to sauna etiquette . . . are they compatible in anything? And then there’s the prickly situation with Matt’s ex-girlfriend, who isn’t too eager to let him go. As one mishap follows another, it seems while they love each other, they just can’t love each other’s lives. Can they reconcile their differences to find one life together?

I received a copy of this title via NetGalley. It does not impact my review. 

Love Your Life publishes on October 27, 2020. 

Love Your Life was pretty classic Kinsella. The story was cute with charming, if sometimes very frustrating, characters.

There was a lot that I enjoyed about this book. The cast of characters and quirky situations they found themselves in made me laugh out loud often. While they all were a little unbelievable, Ava and Matt’s group of friends were definitely my favorite part of the book. I loved the scenes when they were all together and the banter was great. I even though Matt’s awful parents provided opportunity for a lot of humor.

While the friendships were great, the romantic relationship is what I struggled with. Ava and Matt have a whirlwind romance during a one week writing retreat where they’re not allowed to use their real names or talk about their personal lives. They both form a picture of who the other person really is and declare their love by the end of the retreat. They’re thrilled to find out they both live in the same city, but they quickly find out that their real life selves are not anything like what they expected. They forge ahead into a relationship anyways, even though it’s obvious from the start that they are totally incompatible. What really drove me crazy, though, was how Ava tried to pretend like everything was fine.

Have you ever noticed that the people who yell about tolerance the loudest are often the most intolerant people? That was Ava. She came off like she was free spirited and accepting of everything and everyone, but in reality she was very judgmental about anything that differed from what she thought. She also blamed all of the relationship problems on Matt instead of admitting anything wrong on her part. Matt also didn’t help things by refusing to communicate most of the time. I honestly thought this story would end up with them not being together. I even found myself rooting for Ava to wind up with one of Matt’s roommates. However, as this is a Romance, the moral of the story is obviously going to be more about how love can help people change for the better instead of how it sometimes doesn’t work out.

Overall, I had a pretty good time reading Love Your Life, but my frustration with Ava kept me from enjoying the story as much as I wanted to. I loved the group of friends and could have gone on reading much more about them. While the romance did work out for me in the end, the journey there left me more annoyed than anything else. This wasn’t my favorite Kinsella book, but I’ll definitely still be reading more from her in the future.

Overall Rating (out of 5): 3 Stars

Reviewing the Unreviewed: September 2020

I read a lot of books that I don’t end up reviewing for whatever reason. Some because I wasn’t impressed. Some because I didn’t have the time. Some I just wasn’t feeling it on whatever particular day I finished. Reviewing the Unreviewed is my monthly post where I share my few thoughts on all the books I didn’t formally review.

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The Rural Diaries by Hilarie Burton Morgan. Read August 29 – September 1. 4 Stars.

I enjoyed this. I thought Hilarie’s journey from teen drama star to small-town farmer\occasional actress was really interesting. Though I definitely respect all of the work she and her husband have put into their relationship, I have to say it came across as pretty dysfunctional most of the time. He mostly came across as self-centered and controlling to me, following all of his hollywood dreams while she either took care of things at home or just followed him around. I did think she downplayed a lot of the acting jobs she took, though. And she seemed happy with her life, so I’ll try not to judge.

While I think the tone of the book was supposed to be kind of inspirational about how you can do anything you put your mind to, there wasn’t much said about how everything they did was possible because of how wealthy they are. Overall, though, I thought she came across as likable and relatable and this was an enjoyable read.

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Yours to Keep (Man of the Year #2) by Lauren Layne. Read September 3-6. 4 Stars. 

I am always happy when a new Lauren Layne book comes out. This was cute and bantery and fun. I really liked both Carter and Olive and loved watching as their friendship evolved into more. I also liked that it was set mostly in a cute, small town. Most of Layne’s books these days are set in NYC with super rich, polished characters and it was a nice change to see a quirky high school teacher as the lead.

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Dating Mr. Darcy (Love Manor #1) by Kate O’Keeffee. Read September 8-9. 3.5 Stars.

This was pretty cute. I liked the dating reality show concept. I liked the romance, but thought it could have been developed a little more. It felt like they only had a couple real interactions before they were “in love.” I’d be interested in reading more from this, author.

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Steal Home (The Sweet Magnolias #1) by Sherryl Woods. Read September 8-11. 3 Stars.

I wanted to read this ever since watching the Netflix show. I enjoyed it for the most part. I liked watching Maddie navigate her divorce and becoming a single parent and her new relationship with Cal. I liked the romance, even if it was a little fast. I kind of skimmed through a lot of the rest of it, though. In the show, I really liked the friendship between Maddie and her two best friends, but they kind of annoyed me here. They weren’t really given much to do besides encourage Maddie to go into business with them and pursue a relationship with Cal (though, the next couple of books in the series shifts the focus to them, so I’m sure the character development will improve).

Since I’ve already watched the show, I have to point out some of the differences. The show made Noreen a much more sympathetic character than the book did. There were several plotlines on the show with Maddie’s kids and I have to say I’m not mad that most of them didn’t exist in the book. I thought Book Cal was a lot sweeter than Show Cal, but I thought Show Maddie was more likable than Book Maddie.

I’m looking forward to watching season two, but I don’t see myself reading more of this series, even though I mostly enjoyed this one.

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Not My Romeo (The Game Changers #1) by Ilsa Madden-Mills. Read September 12-13. 3.5 Stars.

I actually enjoyed this a lot more than I thought I would. The characters were likable and I loved the small town atmosphere. I thought Jack was really sweet, if a little unbelievable. There were several more graphic scenes than I generally appreciate, but that was one of the only things that brought it down for me.

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Loathe Thy Neighbor (Roommate Romps #1) by Teagan Hunter. Read September 17-27. 2 Stars. 

This wasn’t for me. There were some funny parts, which Hunter always does well, but the story itself was pretty ‘meh’. I didn’t like the main character and I didn’t even really ship the romance.

*****Books with Future Reviews Scheduled*****

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The Invisible Girl by Lisa Jewell – 2.5 Stars

Love Your Life by Sophie Kinsella – 3 Stars

WWW Wednesday: September 30, 2020

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WWW Wednesday is hosted by Taking on a World of Words.

What did you recently finish reading?

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Love Your Life by Sophie Kinsella. This was 3 stars for me. My review will post next month.

What are you currently reading?

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The Tourist Attraction by Sarah Morgenthaler. I’m only a couple chapters in, but I’m liking this so far. It’s kind of funny.

What do you think you’ll read next?

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I have several library books right now and Don’t Look for Me by Wendy Walker is the one looking the most interesting to me right now.

What are you reading?

WWW Wednesday: September 23, 2020

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WWW Wednesday is hosted by Taking on a World of Words.

What did you recently finish reading?

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Invisible Girl by Lisa Jewell. My unpopular opinion review will be posting in a couple week. I love Lisa Jewell, but this book was not for me.

What are you currently reading?

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Love Your Life by Sophie Kinsella. This is very classic Kinsella. I’m enjoying it – even laughing out loud at times – but I am also pretty frustrated with the main character most of the time.

 Loathe Thy Neighbor (Roommate Romps #1) by Teagan Hunter. Her books usually either work for me or don’t and this one is leaning more towards “don’t” for me.

Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier. So many books I love have referenced Rebecca and it’s always been on my TBR. I saw there’s a movie coming next month, so I thought it would be a good time to finally read it. I’m only a couple chapters in, but the writing is way too flowery and descriptive for me so far.

What do you think you’ll read next?

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All of my library books seem to be coming in at one time so I may change my mind, but I think I’m going to try The Tourist Attraction by Sarah Morgenthaler next.

What are you reading?

WWW Wednesday: September 16, 2020

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WWW Wednesday is hosted by Taking on a World of Words.

What did you recently finish reading?

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Not My Romeo by Ilsa Madden-Mills. I actually enjoyed this one way more than I thought I would.

What are you currently reading?

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Invisible Girl by Lisa Jewell. I love me some Lisa Jewell, but I’m sad to admit that this one hasn’t really hooked me yet. I’m a little more than half way through and while I think the character development has been really good, I’m pretty bored and don’t love the story. Fingers crossed things pick up soon.

What do you think you’ll read next?

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I’m not sure yet, but my next ARC on the schedule is Love Your Life by Sophie Kinsella.

What are you reading?