Surprise Me

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 16 Apr 2018

Member Reviews

This was a good book, and I actually enjoyed it more than other Sophie Kinsella books I have read. In the beginning, you meet Sylvie and Dan, a couple who are happily married with twin daughters. It is apparent that Sylvie has led a bit of a charmed life and has been pampered by her father. They are very close,  to the point where they start worrying that there will be no more surprises in their marriage. So, they decide to start surprising each other, which leads to some small misunderstandings. In the middle of the book, Sylvie starts to become uncomfortable with some of Dan's behavior, and as that happens I really started to not like Dan. The question becomes, "How well do you REALLY know the people in your life?" It became a little hard for me to read, but I am glad I stuck with it. Because of this section, I am not sure I would qualify it totally as a "fun" read, but it was on the lighter side. 

What ultimately happens is that Sylvie learns to truth about some of the things from her past, and starts to see the people in her life in a new light. She grows as a person, and I liked her so much better at the end of the book.
Was this review helpful?
I’ve always been a fan of Sophie Kinsella’s novels, so I was excited to get my hands on her latest novel, Surprise Me. And I definitely was surprised by what was inside!

Surprise Me has a different feel from Sophie’s other novels. Yes, it has a lot of light and funny moments, but then it takes an interesting turn that I wasn’t expecting at all. There’s an element of mystery that goes along with it. 

I enjoyed reading about Sylvie, as I felt I could relate to her a lot. Her job even reminds me of my own in some ways. She was a sympathetic character whom I found myself caring about a lot. The only thing I wish she hadn’t done was refer to her parents as “Mummy” and “Daddy.” It sounded so child-like for a 32 year-old. 

I don’t want to say too much more as to not give any of the premise away. It’s an easy book to pick up, but difficult to put down, especially once you get into the thick of it. It has Sophie’s trademark charm, with some of her Madeleine Wickham side slipping through. It’s a thoughtful book about how well we know the ones we love most.

Dream movie cast:
Sylvie: Teresa Palmer
Dan: Richard Madden
Robert: Dan Stevens
Tilda: Toni Collette
Mary: Charlotte Le Bon
Sylvie's mom: Judy Davis
Toby: Daniel Portman
Was this review helpful?
I received this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. I love Sophie Kinsella, but this is not one of my favorites. It has the snarky, sarcastic charm I expect, but the story didn't grab. Parts of the book confused me. It is enjoyable overall. I think I just had different expectations.
Was this review helpful?
“If life is like a box of chocolates, then getting married is like choosing a chocolate and saying, “That’s it, done,” and slamming the lid closed. When you make your vows, what you’re basically saying is: “That’s all I want, ever.”

Sylvie and Dan are a typical couple with a nice home and twin daughters who decide that they need surprises in their lives to help them sustain the long future of being together until death does them apart.  They question if marriage should be only one flavor in a box of chocolates FOREVER.  

As in all of Sophia Kinsella's novels, I felt as if Sylvie is sitting with me at a dinner party, speaking in her English accent, and we are laughing through out the entire story.  As her story progresses I felt I could relate to her experiences and feelings; possibly reacting as she did when she findS out that she cannot always judge people by their actions and as a result giving herself permission to find herself.  I believe her situation lead both her and Dan to see the true surprise in themselves and their marriage.

Although there are parts of the book which dragged, because I thought I was reading a typical “couple goes wrong” story, but the ending proved me wrong.  There is so much more to the story that I needed to be reminded as in Sylvie to not judge a book by it's cover, 

Thank you Netgalley for allowing me to review this book.
Was this review helpful?
Once again Sophie Kinsella brings humor and depth to a life that the reader can indemnify with.
At an annual check, Sylvie and Dan get high marks and get an estimated sixty something years together. This caused the couple to really start to look at their life What will they do with all that time? Can they stay together that long? Sylvie starts Project Surprise Me where the two will have little surprises to keep their marriage fresh. This stirs up happiness, laughter, tears and more than Sylvie could ever imagine.
I love Sylve. She has real human fears and makes human mistakes. But each moment is fresh with humor while still looing at the truth of the world. How are we s couples adapting to longer life spans? 
Surprise Me looks at the question with humor and heart. Another fun journey from the writer of the Shopaholic series.
Was this review helpful?
I received a DIGITAL Advance Reader Copy of this book from #NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  From the publisher - 														
After being together for ten years, Sylvie and Dan have all the trimmings of a happy life and marriage; they have a comfortable home, fulfilling jobs, beautiful twin girls, and communicate so seamlessly, they finish each other's sentences. However, a trip to the doctor projects they will live another 68 years together and panic sets in. They never expected "until death do us part" to mean seven decades.
In the name of marriage survival, they quickly concoct a plan to keep their relationship fresh and exciting: they will create little surprises for each other so that their (extended) years together will never become boring. But in their pursuit to execute Project Surprise Me, mishaps arise and secrets are uncovered that start to threaten the very foundation of their unshakable bond. When a scandal from the past is revealed that question some important untold truths, they begin to wonder if they ever really knew each other after all.

As a fan of the Shopaholic Series, I was delighted to see a new novel from Sophie on the #webgalley website available to review. I did question from the beginning any doctor telling them that they would be married *another* 68 years on top of the twelve that they had been married --- what kind of GP does that?  I loved the premise of the book (as a result of above-said appointment) and I did laugh out loud at times but I was baffled at all the different storylines and characters that seemed to not make any sense that they belonged in the book. Rest assured, by the end they did make sense and I did enjoy the novel immensely and will order it to add to my Sophie Kinsella bookshelf. 

If you are a fan of the Shopaholic series then I think you will like this book as well.
Was this review helpful?
This started slow, but there was a tipping point, after which I absolutely HAD to know what happened, and so I stayed up way too late finishing it. I really enjoyed it, ultimately, and I think it'll be a good recommend for our patrons.

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the digital ARC.
Was this review helpful?
I read many of Sophie Kinsellas books – and stopped a few years ago. When I read “Surprise me” I remembered why.

I was bored to death. When I read the shopaholic series it was a new funny twist – an overexcited young woman, a little bit superficial, there were these small explanations bracketed. But then there was a point when it was not funny anymore. It was unnerving. When I read a series, I expect a character developing. So I stopped.

But now for “Surprise me”.

I started reading and I was annoyed. There was this woman Sylvie – married for 7 years with Dan, with twin girls. And I should believe, that everything she was concerned about is whether she should wear a bow on her shoes or a floral printed dress? And when they were told at a doctors appointment, that – depending on the typical lifespan today – she and her husband have to expect to be married for probably 69 years this fact causes a kind of crisis. And they try to fight this crisis with expensive surprises. Hallo? How would they afford this kind of surprises for decades? And the story centers about shopping (again). And about surprises going wrong.

Normally I would not finish reading the book. Because I don’t want to waste my time.

So – the first half of “Surprise me” received just 2 stars.

I am happy that I continued reading, because the second half of the book was much more interesting, with – no – I will not spoiler – a secret from the past. Despite I cannot understand the way the hero and heroine handle everything, it was interesting to read and it shows some kind of character development. 
So the second half was entertaining and I hand out 4 stars

Totaled up I give 3 stars.
Was this review helpful?
Surprise Me is a fun jaunt through the lives of Sylvie and Dan, who have just found out that their marriage, according to statistics, will probably last 68 more years. As they purpose to surprise each other in ways that will keep their marriage fresh, Sylvie discovers a huge surprise, which makes her reevaluate her life and her marriage. This story will appeal to young, working moms who may identify with the struggle to keep love alive when "real life" hits hard. I liked it because the story is compelling and fun. It would be a great vacation or holiday read!
Was this review helpful?
I received this book as an ARC from NetGalley for an honest review.  I enjoyed this book very much. The story was interesting and humorous.  A seemingly happily married couple come to the realization that they have another 68 years of marital bliss to look forward to. They try to spice up their marriage.  Meanwhile, Sylvie, the main character has to face some disturbing information about her family. I enjoyed the plot and the main characters and didn’t want the book to end.
Was this review helpful?
Surprise Me gave me so much anxiety reading it that I started and finished it when I should have been sleeping. I needed a satisfying ending or I was going to question everything about my 12 year marriage. THAT MUCH ANXIETY. Thankfully my marriage is safe and I thoroughly enjoyed the immersive reading experience of Surprise Me.
Was this review helpful?
This book is funny. There was a couple of times that I laughed out loud at my work's break room. The surprises that the husband and wife set up for each other backfires so spectacularly. There is a great twist in the end that I was happy with because it wasn't that the husband was cheating on her. Instead it was something that made a great deal with sense.
Was this review helpful?
Some plot points were predictable. However, the message was clear and important.
Was this review helpful?
I was so excited to receive a copy of this book to read and review. I love Sophie Kinsella’s books and couldn’t wait to read this one.

In this book, Sylvie and Dan have been happily married for 10 years, have twin daughters, and are living a good life. They visit the doctor for their annual physicals and he tells them they will live a long time, they’re both so healthy. When they figure out they will be married for 68 more years, it throws them into a tailspin because it seems like forever and how on earth will they manage?

At first, they try to surprise each other to keep things interesting but ultimately this doesn’t work out and over the course of the story, Sylvie realizes that she just needs to keep being fascinated with Dan as she sees something new about him daily.

I loved Sylvie. She reminds me of the zany Becky Bloomfield of the Shopaholic series. I loved watching her shed her Princess Sylvie, daddy’s little girl persona and become her own woman, too.

This is a really fun book. I loved it and highly recommend it!
Was this review helpful?
A special thank you to NetGalley and Random House for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

I have also had the pleasure of reviewing My Not So Perfect Life and couldn't wait to read Surprise Me.  Sophie Kinsella, you've done it again!  I absolutely adore your writing and your words make me smile.  (If you haven't listened to one of Kinsella's books, I highly recommend it, especially if narrated by Jayne Entwistle.)  

This witty and at times emotional novel takes a closer look at marriage and how we can still be surprised by those we think we know best.  Sylvie and Dan have been together for ten blissful years.  They have a lovely home life complete with twin girls, fulfilling careers, and an envy worthy relationship.  A trip to the doctor predicts that they will live for another 68 years—this gives new meaning to "until death us do part" when it spans seven more decades together.

To keep the marriage alive, Project Surprise Me is born.  The couple will surprise each other to keep things fresh and exciting.  But is seems that each "surprise" exposes the flaws in their relationship and drives them apart.  

Sylvie seemingly enjoys her work at a museum even though there are some pretty archaic systems in place—the owner, Mrs. Kendrick resists technology and Sylvie chalks this up to as charming.  Mrs. Kendrick's nephew, Robert, takes an interest in the operations of the museum and questions their methods and systems.  Is he trying to close down the museum and turn it into two-bedroom condos?    

Facing changes both personally and professionally, Sylvie experiences a tremendous amount of growth.  She adored her late father and has kept up the Princess Sylvie persona he created as a way to honour him, when in actual fact, she is doing herself and her family a disservice because she is not being true to herself.        

I fell in love with the supporting cast of characters, this is really where Kinsella excels at writing.   The tender exchanges between Sylvie's neighbours John and Owen were some of the most beautiful writing in the book.  One of my favourite quotes is when John says "Love is finding one person infinitely fascinating."  

Kinsella's latest work is charming, thoughtful, and simply delightful.
Was this review helpful?
I absolutely LOVED this  book and it SO needs to be a movie!  I laughed out loud at so many parts - Sophie knocked it out of the park!
Was this review helpful?
Another cute Kinsella novel. I loved the premise of thinking about truly living forever with someone, versus just staying together for a while. How would it change who you marry if you knew the timeline? It's a really interesting question. I thought the main character was a little flighty, but I was still rooting for everything to work out, and overall I really enjoyed the story.
Was this review helpful?
I initially thought that the issue that the couple faced would be an actual affair which I would immediately have DNF'd, but thankfully that is not the case. So anyone hesitating picking up book because of this issue, you can relax. The wife does suspect that husband is cheating but he is not.  So that aside, this book is about a couple who doesn't talk or know how to communicate. So while it is well written, one of my pet peeves is that the h is almost childlike in her thinking and the H is  a clueless idiot to reminisce about an old ex to his wife so fondly, then proceed to invite her to his home and cook her dinner, confide in her in secret & hug her! While it was all innocent, if MY husband did that to me, well let's just say that a major organ of his would be missing for sure! hee hee!
Was this review helpful?
Surprise Me
By:  Sophie Kinsella

I received an e-ARC from NetGalley and Random House / Ballantine Bantam Dell in exchange for my honest review.

I am a big Sophie Kinsella fan.  Her novels are full of fun plot lines that don’t drag and witty, clever characters.  They are people I like and recognize from my own slightly befuddled life.  Her last two books (this one as well as “My Less Than Perfect Life”) are different.  She seems to be trying to explore more serious topics.  At first, as a long time fan, this was jarring.  But then I recognized that Ms. Kinsella (like the people in her books) are trying to grow.  So I support one of my favorite authors as she develops as an author.  I suspect that, over time, she will smooth out any wrinkles and just get better and better.

Plot and Characters:
Sylvie (our main protagonist) and Dan (her husband) receive great news at their insurance physicals, they are both incredibly healthy and could live to be over a hundred.  First, that is excellent news.  Secondly, no one knows when our time on earth  is really finished.  Yes, the doctor has said that they currently are both very healthy.  This does not mean that they won’t get cancer, discover they suffer from some rare disease, or step off the curb (because they are too busy whining to see the traffic) and get run over.  So, instead of being incredibly grateful for their current excellent health, they both panic at the number of years that they have left together!  Yes, you heard me right, they are making themselves unhappy at the thought of their long lives together.  Now I for one like being married to my husband.  If I didn’t, I wouldn’t be with him.  We have been married 25 years (cue the applause) and are both In excellent health.  However, and this is the important part so pay attention, we don’t know how long we have left together.  So, anyway, the premise is irritating and the characters actually make me a little angry with all of their fussing and whining.  I’m specifically looking at you Sylvie.

Now the good thing about Sophie Kinsella’s books is that her characters grow and learn from their mistakes.  In many ways, Sylvie is still very immature.  The reader can see this in Sylvie’s passive inability to communicate with those around her.  I know this was supposed to lead to misunderstanding and hilarity all around but I just found my eyes glazing over.  You guessed it, the desire kept overtaking me to skip aforementioned annoying bits.  I didn’t because I want to write a fair review but this is not an ideal reader reaction.  However, the best part of the book is when Sylvie starts looking beyond herself and experiences a paradigm shift that results in real maturing.  She is able to see negative situations and people in a new light.  All the disparate plot lines, etc. coalesce into a clever and well thought out conclusion.   

The conclusion of this book is so satisfying that I forgive the few wrinkles (annoying plot points, whiny characters).  I’m also giving an extra point (taking us to four) for charming, quirky, and scene stealing supporting players.

Of course, I will always be back for more Kinsella.  I await plots driven by a great idea that doesn’t insult the reader’s understanding.
Was this review helpful?
This book is an absolute delight! I have always been a fan of Sophie Kinsella, and she never ceases to amaze me with her novels. This one, as most, is a must read!
Was this review helpful?