A recent trip to Cyprus meant I could kick-start my reading challenge with a whole heap of vigour. I guess that’s what chilling on a beach and hours spent travelling on a plane will do to you. This time, Jill Mansell was my focus. Being one of my most favourite authors since I was about 15, it was wonderful to get back into her writing by reading some of her books that I’d not heard of before. Ready to know what I thought? Here we go…

1. Jill Mansell’s A-Z of Happiness by Jill Mansell

“I feel sorry for people who don’t read – they’re missing out on so much joy.”

This one completes No.27 on my reading challenge: A book with a title that is a character’s name.

This was an enjoyable little read to help get me back into the swing of things. This book is essentially a long list of all of the things that make Mrs Mansell happy. From an Apple iPad to Zillah, and everything in between, she’s inspired me to have a think about my own A-Z of happiness (due to be shared with you all soon). Oh, and did I mention this was a freebie e-book on the Amazon Kindle Store? Nice, huh? A-Z of Happiness, I give you a cutesy little 3.5 stars.

2. The Unpredictable Consequences of Love by Jill Mansell

“Goodness though, he was attractive. It was actually quite fascinating to discover you could be this mad with someone yet simultaneously so hyper-aware of their looks.”

And, look at that! No.35 ticked off my list: A book set in a hotel.

Oh, oh, oh! This is exactly the kind of book Jill should be writing. It’s all about missed opportunities, mistakes made in the field of romance and happy endings – everything I love (and have missed) about Jill’s writing. I definitely could not put this down and devoured the book in just a few days. So, The Unpredictable Consequences of Love, I give you 5 stars of course.

3. You and Me, Always by Jill Mansell

“Maybe one day it would happen. Maybe one day her life would start going according to plan instead of spluttering and stalling like some clapped-out old banger.”

Woohoo! No.23 completed: A book with a red spine.

Although I love Jill Mansell’s writing, and I will always have a soft spot for her, I hate to say that this one left me wanting more. It was a little on the unbelievable side, and had so many deep parenting issues wrapped around the main character, that it became a bit of a bore. I appreciated the outcomes for the characters with all of their trials and tribulations nicely tied up with a little bow, but alas, this one was not my cup of tea. Therefore, You and Me, Always, I can only give you 2 stars.

4. How Many Wrongs Make a Mr Right? by Stella Hervey Birrell

“My name is Melissa Brown and I am terminally single.”

And to finish things up for this month, this one ticks off No.29 from my list: A book with an unreliable narrator.

I started this book many weeks ago when I was trialling out reading kindle books. Yes, I’m a fan of paperbacks and hardbacks through and through. But I’ve received so many free (and cheap) e-books over the years, that it became time to actually start working my way through them. Anyway, so I started this book a while back and managed to finish it on my latest trip. But, there’s probably a very good reason why I had such a long break from this one – it was a bit of a bore. The main character (I am sorry to say) was so incredibly fickle and immature, that I couldn’t feel any empathy towards her. Being something of a feminist, I also hated a woman being portrayed in this way! I much prefer a celebration of strong, independent, beautiful women any day. So, this one left me desiring a whole lot more to be honest. How Many Wrongs Make a Mr Right?, I give you a pitiful 1 star.

Hmm, it seems to have been a bit of a mixed bag this time around – some real gems, and some total stinkers! Maybe I’ll have better luck next time with a focus on travel books? We shall see…

Text Sources:

Jill Mansell, Jill Mansell’s A-Z of Happiness, 2014
Jill Mansell, The Unpredictable Consequences of Love, 2014
Jill Mansell, You and Me, Always, 2015
Stella Hervey Birrell, How Many Wrongs Make a Mr Right?, 2016

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