Welcome to another 2021 reading challenge update! I almost, ALMOST fell into a reading slump this month! I don’t know what’s happening at the moment, I’ve drastically cut down my screen time to allow more time for reading, but I’m still struggling to give books my full attention, which is sad because I love reading so much! I’ve seen a few people say the same thing over on Goodreads so it may be partly down to the pandemic but I also think perhaps I’m just not reading the right genre of books to pique my interest at the moment so I’m planning on switching it up a little for April. Anyways, here’s my reading challenge update for March…
This Time Next Year – Sophie Cousens
Genre: Womens Fiction/Chick-Lit/Romance/Contemporary
Down-to-earth baker Minnie Cooper knows two things with great certainty: that her New Year’s birthday has always been unlucky, and that it’s all because of Quinn Hamilton, a man she’s never met. Minnie and Quinn were born at the same hospital just after midnight on New Year’s Day thirty years before, and not only did he edge her out by mere minutes to win the cash prize for being the first baby born in London in 1990, but he stole the name she was meant to have, as well. With luck like that, it’s no wonder each of her birthdays has been more of a disaster than the one before.
When Minnie unexpectedly runs into Quinn at a New Year’s party on their mutual thirtieth birthday, she sees only more evidence that fortune has continued to favor him. The handsome, charming business owner truly seems to have it all–including the perfect girlfriend. But if Quinn and Minnie are from different worlds, why do they keep bumping into each other? And why is it that each frustrating interaction somehow seems to leave them both hoping for more?
Let me start by saying this book is very aesthetically pleasing. The cover illustration is absolutely beautiful which explains why it was all over my Instagram feed over Christmas & New Years. In terms of the content though, it left much to be desired.
I was sceptical at first having gotten 150+ pages in and feeling like not a lot had really happened, I’ll be honest, I found it really difficult to get on with the main character. Pessimistic and obsessed with the fact that her life was ‘jinxed’, Minnie Cooper (yes, that’s actually the characters name) holds a grudge over a guy she’s seemingly never met for stealing her name some 30 years ago. The majority of the story was predictable, boy meets girl, they’re both already in hopeless relationships when they fall for each other and yada yada yada, the rest is history.
From the very beginning of the book, you can tell that Minnie has completely fallen out of love with her douchebag boyfriend, Greg. He’s a completely unlikable character in my opinion and only really wanted anything to do with Minnie when it suited him on his terms. Eventually, she stands up for herself, calls it quits and dumps her piece of crap boyfriend which made me respect her so much more.
Our male protagonist, Quinn Hamilton, is an instantly likeable character. Charming from the get go and a genuinely nice guy. His life is perfect (or at least it seems) but the truth behind it all gives the storyline its much-needed depth.
One thing I did really like is how Minnie and Quinn’s paths crossed many times throughout life without them knowing. That being said, surely they would remember kissing each other as teenagers sooner? This is mentioned once at the start of the book and then weakly thrown in at the end after you’ve pretty much forgotten about it in the first place.
For me personally, ‘This Time Next Year’ just felt like the same recycled story that most women’s fiction books tell. It was predictable and somewhat cringe-worthy at times with overly cheesy moments (perhaps the cheesiest book ending I’ve ever read in my life – it made me audibly groan) and characters that just didn’t really grab my attention. Around halfway through, I contemplated not finishing the book and starting something else but I persevered and gave it the benefit of the doubt and it just never really delivered.
There were moments in the book that felt unnecessary, the whole engagement sequence for Minnie’s best friend felt pointless and messy considering her friend had no clue what all the crazy costumes were about and turned out that she had no recollection of their conversation back when they were seventeen so the whole thing ended up just being a trippy proposal.
In short, I just found it really unoriginal? As I said earlier, perhaps I just wasn’t in the right mindset for a cheesy romance, perhaps if in a few years I were to re-read, I may feel differently, but right now, it just wasn’t for me.