Tag: Jill Mansell

Good at Games by Jill Mansell

Good at Games by Jill MansellGood at Games by Jill Mansell
Published by Headline Review on January 4th 2001
Genres: Chick Lit
Pages: 512
Source: Borrowed: ebook
Goodreads
two-stars

Love is always just around the corner in a Jill Mansell novel - with a few surprises and a lot of humour on the way to happiness

Suzy fell for Harry the moment she showed him her husband's sperm sample. It didn't really belong to her husband, though, because she wasn't married. It wasn't a sperm sample either, it was a drinks carton containing the dregs of her milkshake. But when you're trying to get off a speeding charge you just have to improvise, don't you? And it wasn't actually love at first sight. Still, it was undeniably a healthy attack of lust...

I will have to come back and think of a pithy title for this review some other time. For now, I am just going to go with the title of the book. I honestly don’t have much to say about this book besides finding it boring as sin and also very rage inducing at times. I do love my romance reads, but from the beginning I found the whole premise of this book a bit hard to take. It made me think of a grown up Dawson’s Creek (and a truly terrible 90210) since most of the people in this book were married, divorced, or had sex with each other at certain times. You do want to say to them all don’t you know anyone else? I only talk to a handful of people I knew in high school. My circle of friends from undergrad and grad school is even smaller.

 

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“Good at Games” follows Suzy, Jaz, Fee, Rory, Lucille, Harry, and Leo. There’s Jaz’s girlfriend Celeste and Suzy and Rory’s sister Julia, but this book is overly long so don’t expect me to discuss them much.

The main character is supposedly Suzy, but honestly this book shifts perspective so much I just consider her one of many of the characters “Good at Games” follows.

Suzy works with her brother Rory in his real estate business. After Suzy uses the worst excuse ever to get out of a traffic ticket (her husband and her are running to have her impregnated with his sperm which was in a drink cup from a fast food place) Suzy daydreams about the hot cop (Harry). Suzy then runs into Harry at a party (doesn’t give him her information) and later on when she and her siblings (Rory and Julia) are getting ready to listen to their mother’s will being read. There they find out their mother had an affair and had another child, Suzy’s half sister Lucille. While that seems like a lot, it’s nothing when you factor in Suzy living next door with her ex husband’s first wife, Fee and she is still on friendly terms with her ex husband Jaz. Did you follow all of that?

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Through a ridiculous set-up Suzy eventually gets to go out on a date with Harry, but though she likes him, she wonders if that is all there is since she apparently thinks that a man who treats you okay is a terrible boyfriend to have. She wants some fire (drama). Enter Leo, Harry’s older brother who sets up Suzy and honestly shows that she is not someone that anyone should date. Of course Suzy then starts thinking about Leo cause hey when a guy treats you like dirt he is totally the one. Do not even get me started of the many times Leo accuses Suzy of cheating on Harry and practically spiting whore at her.

I honestly don’t even want to get into the other characters. The main premise of the book though is that Suzy finds herself engaged to Harry though she doesn’t want to be. And though Harry initially seemed to be the only one who was a decent character except for Fee, he quickly descends into douche-bag territory so you want Suzy to dump him.

The writing is typical Mansell, but honestly this does not have the humor of her other books. Reading about terrible people doing terrible things gets old after a while. A good part of this book could definitely have been cut.

The flow was off too. I think honestly since the book kept jumping around you honestly don’t know who is doing what to who or why you should care.

The ending though has a HEA for everyone except for two people who honestly I hoped would be eaten by sharks at this point.

two-stars

Three Amazing Things About You by Jill Mansell

Three Amazing Things About You by Jill MansellThree Amazing Things About You by Jill Mansell
Published by Sourcebooks on October 4, 2016
Genres: Chick Lit
Pages: 384
Source: Purchased: ebook
Goodreads
four-stars

Hallie has a secret...doesn't everybody?

Hallie doesn't have long to live. And to make things even more complicated, she's in love with a guy who's seriously out of bounds. She's never going to let him know, of course; she's just going to enjoy every remaining moment of her crush. She's also determined to spend her last months helping those who write into her Dear Rose column with problems of their own. Her doctors can't fix her, but maybe she can fix a few other people's dilemmas before it's too late.

All our lives are full of choices, for better or worse. The amazing thing to see is how connected we all are-in ways we don't even know. On occasion, we have the chance to see the ways we change one another's lives for the better.

Well this is the first Mansell book I have loved. I think the reason why though is that we follow three separate couples/groups and then we get to see how in the world they all connect up with each other at the end. I maybe cried a bit too when I got to certain parts. I will say that I didn’t buy the character of Flo getting along with her boyfriend’s sister towards the end of the book. She (Lena) I found to be terrible. I don’t know if I could have been so forgiving due to an accident that I still feel was Lena’s fault. Either way though, I liked how the story moved months and then months again. We definitely get a sense of time passing and people growing up.

“Three Amazing Things About You” follows Hallie, Tasha, and Flo. These three women are thinly connected and until almost the end of the book, you don’t understand why Mansell told the story the way she does.

Hallie has cystic fibrosis and knows that due to her condition that she does not have long to live. Her condition causes her to miss out on things that she yearns for like the ability to travel all over the world and just to walk without getting winded. What I really did like about Hallie though, is that she has her own blog where she gives out advice to her followers/readers. Due to Hallie’s age though, I have to say that this whole thing with a 20 year old person giving out sage advice rung hollow for me. I have to call Dawson Creek levels of shennigans here. My friends and I say that all the time to each other when we read a book or watch a movie with a character who is young and dying and is full of wisdom about everything around them. Did I get a kick out of Hallie’s column? Yes. Did I find it believable? Not a bit. I also found her responses to some readers to be harsh too.

Tasha is single and I am going to say it, picky as anything regarding what guy she will date. I am too though, so I actually cheered her for this. Out of the women we follow, I have to say that Tasha was my favorite. Tasha ends up having a fun meet-cute with a guy named Rory. She doesn’t think she will see him again, but luckily for her, Rory can’t get her out of his mind and arranges to see her again. These two quickly start throwing around the “L” word and both know they have found the one they want to be with. However, these two are complete opposites. Tasha likes to be safe and worries a lot about Rory who drives a motorcycle, rock climbs, and seems to be a total adrenaline junkie. Both Tasha and Rory’s best friends think the couple is doomed though since they don’t have a lot in common. There was a couple of moments there that I thought I knew where Mansell was going with Tasha and Rory, but glad to be proven wrong.

Flo is a carer at a retirement home. She ended up working for an elderly woman who of course lavished all of her love on her cat (yep, catlady). When the woman dies, she leaves the cat to Flo with the condition that Flo can leave in her flat as long as the cat lives. This of course ticks off the great niece and great nephew (brother and sister Zander and Lena). Flo though finds herself becoming more attracted to Zander even though Lena does her best to break them up.

There are a few secondary characters heads we get into while reading. We get to see Rory’s and Zander’s POV a few times throughout the story. I wish Mansell had included them more too since a lot comes up because of these two men. We also get Hallie’s doctor, Luke’s, POV as well. We actually get more of Luke which I thought was a shame since I think the women and men in this book all meet because of one character, and I wish we get more insight into that person.

We also get some secondary characters like Hallie’s best friend, Tasha’s best friend, etc. that don’t come off very well while I was reading. I think it was because we had whole things revealed about them that you get told about later. It would have been nice if that was included while reading instead of being told, why yes, I have been doing X this whole time.

The writing was pretty good. The plot I will leave out since it will spoil you on the ending. The flow for this one was a lot better than previous Mansell books though. I think telling this in three separate stories works for this book. Usually Mansell has a huge cast of characters you are supposed to follow who all know each other, are lying about something, or are sneaking around. It’s too much to be believed at times.

The setting of this book with the small villages and other locations (Hallie’s home, Flo’s flat, etc.) were very well done. I could picture each place perfectly in my head.

The ending really ties everything up. I was glad that Mansell actually wrote what I would consider a more mature chick-lit. You still get the romance side of things, but we also get to see something realistic and you get to see how one person’s of HEA could be someone else’s tragedy.

four-stars

Nadia Knows Best by Jill Mansell

Nadia Knows Best by Jill MansellNadia Knows Best by Jill Mansell
Published by Headline Review on August 18th 2003
Genres: Romance
Pages: 448
Source: Borrowed: ebook
Goodreads
two-stars

Love is always just around the corner in a Jill Mansell novel - with a few surprises and a lot of humour on the way to happiness

When Nadia Kinsella meets Jay Tiernan, she's tempted, of course she is. Stranded together in a remote Cotswold pub while a snowstorm rages outside... let's face it, who would ever know? But Nadia's already met The One. She and Laurie have been together for years - they're practically childhood sweethearts and she still gets butterflies in her stomach at the sight of him. Okay, so maybe she doesn't see that much of him these days, but that's not Laurie's fault. She can't betray him. Besides, when you belong to a family like the Kinsellas - bewitchingly glamorous grandmother Miriam, feckless mother Leonie, stop-at-nothing sister Clare - well, someone has to exercise a bit of self-control, don't they? I mean, you wouldn't want to do something that you might later regret...

This book was all over the place. There is cheating, bigamy, sudden deaths, pregnancy, insta-love sort of, male models, art, fathers, daughters, sort of daughters. The whole thing made my head spin. I maybe needed a flow chart by the end of this book to figure out how the hell everyone knew each other since the book was not that clear on those points which was a bit frustrating.

To keep this short and sweet, the only people I could stand in this book was Nadia, her half sister and Nadia’s father James and his love interest Annie. I pretty much loathed or felt meh about everyone else in this book.

There was way too much going on, but the central premise is that Nadia deals with being dumped by her childhood friend and now boyfriend Laurie. Because somehow Laurie lucks into being a male model and then an actor and things are too hard for him since he can’t see Nadia anymore. I would have kicked the crap out of the guy, but that’s just me. Nadia has a meet cute with a guy named Jay after meeting him when she is stranded. I also felt towards Jay cause his whole lying to Nadia thing about being gay so she share a bed/room with him was gross.

When Nadia runs into Jay months later, she ends up working for him as a landscaper and she starts to find herself interested in him again. Too bad he’s acting like a jerk for no reason. And then when she thinks maybe her and Jay can work out, Laurie reappears wanting Nadia. I really wanted Laurie boiled in oil because we get a subplot with him that shows what kind of guy he is, but there’s no freaking follow up and I thought maybe I hallucinated the whole thing until I saw other reviewers lamenting that dropped plot-line too.

The POVs shift around in this one to Nadia, Nadia’s sister Claire, Nadia’s grandmother, her half sister whose name I am totally forgetting, her dad James and also her dad’s love interest Annie. I think there was even a plot line involving another girl but I don’t want to spoil that for potential readers. There were way too many cooks in the kitchen and nothing really works. I maybe wished a lot of people to die a slow boring death in this one. Maybe. I was shocked how unlikable everyone was throughout this book.

The ending was a bit meh for me. I guess people are happy? I don’t know. I just thought a lot of things were dropped and truly outrageous/terrible characters never get their comeuppance which ticks me off.

two-stars

An Offer You Can’t Refuse by Jill Mansell

An Offer You Can’t Refuse by Jill MansellAn Offer You Can't Refuse by Jill Mansell
Published by Headline Review Genres: Romance, Chick Lit
Pages: 410
Source: Borrowed: ebook
Goodreads
three-half-stars

Lola has no intention of accepting when her boyfriend Dougie’s snobbish mother offers her £10,000 to break up with him. Then she discovers a secret that makes her think again. Dougie would probably have broken up with her in the long run, and this way she can help one of the people she loves most in the world. Ten years later, though, when Lola meets Dougie again, her feelings for him are as strong as ever. But she broke Dougie’s heart and he’s about to discover that she was paid to do it. She can never tell him the truth, so can she get him back? Well, Lola’s very attractive and very persuasive. But even she’s got her work cut out this time…

I  read two Mansell books back in the day and told myself that maybe those two books should be enough. Both a lot of her works were available via my library and I decided to try again to see if I like any of these books much better. The answer is, I did and I didn’t. What grabs me a lot about this book is that I loved every character in this book except for the main character Lola. Lola is annoying and if she had been a man everyone would have been yelling at her that her nice guy act to her ex demanding another chance was out of bounds. I hate it when female characters do things we would give male characters crap for. Readers know right away (and the synopsis spoils you) that Lola takes money from her boyfriend’s mother when she is forced to. As part of the money exchange she dumps Doug and then in my opinion was doing great in her life until she comes face to face with Dougie again and decides she must have him because everyone knows your teen love is your forever love. And yes sometimes you are, but since I saw no chemistry at all between Lola and Dougie I felt a bit baffled by these two characters.

If that’s not enough, the story switches POV many times with Lola’s long time friend and next door neighbor, Dougie’s sister, as well as Lola’s mom and someone from Lola’s mom past. I recall not being in love with the parade of characters in other books, and this one had almost too many, but somehow everything works.

We get some secondary characters here and there, like Dougie’s mother who must be evil incarnate based on everything we are shown. I wish that we had a face to face with her and Lola ever, but instead that whole thing was just Lola asking to be forgiven and wanting to move on from the whole thing.

The writing to me was typical British chick lit which I loved. There were a few laugh out loud moments I had too. Mainly when we have Lola who is a bookstore manager dealing with customers thinking she should know everything about books. Her figuring out what books people are looking for would have been a nice recurring gag. I maybe snickered when another customer is bereft that his wife’s favorite author, Jane Austen has died. And yup, he thinks she died recently.

The flow was off though in this one. I think it’s because Lola’s best friend across the way and then his situation with a live in roommate felt like they were in two different books. They really took up a good portion of the book (not complaining) because maybe even Mansell got tired of Lola and her antics.

The ending for everyone else worked perfectly, but I thought Lola’s happy ending came out of nowhere. I wish that Mansell had went another way there with another love for Lola to think about or get involved with, since her being stuck on Dougie through the whole book after she lays eyes on him made me start calling her Ted (in honor of Ted Mobsy from How I Met Your Mother).

three-half-stars

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