abuse · Blog Tour · book review · contemporary fiction · love · reading · romance

The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary {Review}

Blurb:

After a messy breakup, Tiffy needs a new place to live…and fast. In an act of desperation, she answers a strange ad from Leon, a night-shift worker, who needs some quick cash. Since he’s only in the apartment during the day and Tiffy works during the day, they won’t cross paths – they don’t even have to ever meet in person! Wacky as it is, this arrangement seems to work. The two begin to get to know each other through post-it notes, building a friendship as they move from quick reminders about trash day to deeper notes about their families and struggles with work and love. Soon both Tiffy and Leon are wondering if it is possible to fall in love with someone you’ve never met…and if so, is love a horrible idea if that person is already your roommate!

Review:

I am finding myself more and more attracted to the romance genre these days but only if they are contemporary romances. Although still a bit far from my reality, they are still relatable.

The Flatshare is a contemporary romance that has the element of rom-com while also addressing an issue that is unfortunately too familiar for many women, and sometimes men. You meet Tiffy who has just come out of a dreadful relationship and is looking to start over on her own. What you don’t realize at first is that her ex, Justin is not just your average crappy ex, he has other characteristics that leave a bitter taste in your mouth and want to wish indefinite harm on him. At the same time you have Leon, who is a hardworking man who is looking to get a better footing on the financial ground while maintaining what turns out to be a high maintenance romance with his girlfriend, Kay.

As both adults attempt to share the flat without actually meeting each other, things start falling into place for the perfect romance, but not without conflict.

With all that being said, the one thing that bothered me while reading this was the way Leon’s chapters were written. In fact, they bothered me so much that I tried reaching out to both the author and publisher to see if this style was intentional or if it was just an error in my review copy.  My fellow book nerds in the amazing book community on Instagram advised me that it is in fact a style of writing that is similar to The Bridget Jones’s Diary. I also received a response from the author and getting her insight about his chapters made me feel better and made me appreciate the style of writing more.

I still enjoyed the story itself but Leon’s chapters made for a read that was difficult for me just because it is a style that I am not used to. But that is the part of reviewing books is that you get out of your comfort zone.  If you are willing to overlook that style of writing,  this will be a great summer read. I enjoyed the amount of entertainment while also addressing serious conflict. I also appreciated the fact that both Tiffy and Leon were a more diverse pair than the typical contemporary romance pairs.

Rating:

3.5 Stars

Availability:

Available now in hardcover, ebook and audiobook

*A special thank you to Flatiron books for having me along on this blog tour and the free book in exchange for my honest opinion*

 

 

book review · Family · reading

The Dinner List by Rebecca Serle {Review}

Blurb:

When Sabrina Nielsen arrives at her thirtieth birthday dinner she finds at the table not just her best friend, but also her favorite professor from college, her father, her ex-fiance, Tobias, and Audrey Hepburn.

At one point or another, we’ve all been asked to name five people, living or dead, with whom we’d like to have dinner. Why do we choose the people we do? And what if that dinner was to actually happen? These are the questions Sabrina contends with in Rebecca Serle’s utterly captivating novel, The Dinner List, a story imbued with the same delightful magical realism as Sliding Doors, and The Rosie Project.

As the appetizers are served, wine poured, and dinner table conversation begins, it becomes clear that there’s a reason these six people have been gathered together, and as Rebecca Serle masterfully traces Sabrina’s love affair with Tobias and her coming of age in New York City, The Dinner List grapples with the definition of romance, the expectations of love, and how we navigate our way through it to happiness. Oh, and of course, wisdom from Audrey Hepburn.

Delicious but never indulgent, sweet with just the right amount of bitter, The Dinner List is a modern romance for our times. Bon appetit.

Review:

When I first started hearing about and seeing The Dinner List I will admit I was not immediately drawn to the story. It was almost close to publication date before I was finally convinced that it would be a novel that I could read and possibly find myself enjoying.

I am a mood reader so I was happy and pleasantly surprised when a copy of this novel showed up in the mail one day. I was in the mood for a “light” read. Within the first few chapters I quickly found out that this was going to be a much deeper read that what I was expecting. I should have known that when one of the blurbs I saw contained a comparison to Me Before You by Jojo Moyes. I was still not prepared for the emotional journey that I was about to endure.

This novel makes you think, it makes you feel. Several times I found myself stopping to think about who I would invite to a dinner if I had the opportunity. I made several revisions to my own personal dinner list while reading.

I don’t ever recall reading a contemporary novel with a plot twist. I was more blown away with the plot twist in this novel than I have ever been with a thriller, which always contains a plot twist. It gave my heart a serious jolt. I felt it in my soul.

There were so many quotes in this novel that stood out to me, but there was one that stayed with me and I had to put the book down for several days before picking it back up.

“When someone leaves, remembering the joy is far more

painful than thinking about the misery.” (page 37)

This book has the potential to be a “one sitting” read but I highly recommend taking your time to ingest and enjoy it.

I received this book from the publisher in promise of an honest review. I also won a copy from Booksparks along with a very cute tote bag.

Rating:

4 stars

Availability:

Available now in hardcover, ebook and audiobook

book review · Family · reading

My Ex-Life by Stephen McCauley {ARC Review}

Blurb from book:

David Hedges is having an unusual mid-life crisis. His boyfriend has left him for an older, albeit more successful, man. His job-helping the spoiled children of San Francisco’s elite get into college- is exasperating. As his life reaches new lows, his weight has reached new highs. The only good thing he has is an under-market-value apartment that has a view so stunning he is the envy of all of San Francisco. But when his Realtor and supposed best friend sells it out from under him, David hits rock bottom.

Across the country, Julie Fiske isn’t having much of a better time. The woman her second husband left her for is more likeable than her ex. The bills are piling up- so much so that she has turned her rambling home into an illegal Airbnb. Her sullen teenage daughter, Mandy, adamantly refuses to apply to college. And Julie cant seem to quit smoking weed ( she can stop anytime she chooses. Truly. She can. Right after this one last joint.).  The last thing she expects is for David, her first husband, to come back into her life.

My Review:

I received this book in the mail from Flatiron Books and I would like to provide them with an honest review.

I immediately fell in love with David and Julie’s stories that are taking place apart and fell even more in love with their stories as they came together. David is in San Francisco attempting to live his life even though it is falling apart while at the same time across the country, his ex wife, Julie is doing the same thing. They have both lost their second significant others and are dealing with trying to stay afloat. David seems to use food as his escape seeing as how he has gained weight since his boyfriend has left him. Julie is using weed as her escape.

While Julie is dealing with what is and is not going on in her life, Mandy, is trying to find herself all while being the typical teenager. She has a summer job that she hates and she doesn’t have very many friends and she tries to hide that from her mother. She knows her mom smokes and wishes that she would stop. It is Mandy who brings David back into her mother’s life after coming across some old memorabilia in all of her mother’s junk. She decides to call him after her father has given Julie an ultimatum about the house and Mandy.

When David arrives, helping Julie and Mandy is just what he needs to come out of his funk. It is also what Julie needs to get back on her feet and to literally clear her head. All while they are working on getting the house together so that Julie doesn’t lose it, Mandy is living an undercover life that she thinks no one knows about.

The story follows them on their journey of becoming comfortable in their own skins and finding their identity, once again for the adults, and the initial self discovery of the teen.

I found this story to be quirky and cute, yet thoughtful at the same time. I enjoyed the development of the story and characters, even the annoying neighbor Amira. Stephen McCauley is an excellent storyteller and this is my first novel by him. This has been a great introduction to his style of writing. I highly recommend this book for those vacation reads seeing as summer is upon us. This story may or may not make you go out to buy toss pillows(read the book to see what I am referring too, lol).

Rating: 

4 Stars

Availability:

This book will be available May 8, 2018 from Flatiron Books in hardcover, ebook and audio.

book review · books · Family · Human Trafficking

Girls Burn Brighter by Shobha Rao {Review}

Goodreads Blurb:

A searing, electrifying debut novel set in India and America, about a once-in-a-lifetime friendship between two girls who are driven apart but never stop trying to find one another again.

When Poornima first meets Savitha, she feels something she thought she lost for good when her mother died: hope. Poornima’s father hires Savitha to work one of their sari looms, and the two girls are quickly drawn to one another. Savitha is even more impoverished than Poornima, but she is full of passion and energy. She shows Poornima how to find beauty in a bolt of indigo cloth, a bowl of yogurt rice and bananas, the warmth of friendship. Suddenly their Indian village doesn’t feel quite so claustrophobic, and Poornima begins to imagine a life beyond the arranged marriage her father is desperate to lock down for her. But when a devastating act of cruelty drives Savitha away, Poornima leaves behind everything she has ever known to find her friend again. Her journey takes her into the darkest corners of India’s underworld, on a harrowing cross-continental journey, and eventually to an apartment complex in Seattle. Alternating between the girls’ perspectives as they face relentless obstacles, Girls Burn Brighter introduces two heroines who never lose the hope that burns within them.

In breathtaking prose, Shobha Rao tackles the most urgent issues facing women today: domestic abuse, human trafficking, immigration, and feminism. At once a propulsive page-turner and a heart-wrenching meditation on friendship, Rao’s debut novel is a literary tour de force.

My Review:

I have to say that this novel should definitely come with trigger warnings. I am not one to shy away from certain subjects but there was an incident in the novel that was even hard for me to get thru. When I first started this novel I did not think that I was going to finish it because it didn’t capture me right at first but once I was into the story, I was hooked! This story is set in India for most of the novel and I am so glad that I have read I Am Malala because it allowed me to be familiar with the setting. This is one of those debut novels that people are going to be hungover from after reading it because it is so intense and touches on subjects that society likes to put blinders up to, especially if it is happening in another part of the world that you are not familiar with. Drugs, abuse, sex trafficking, and even self sacrifice. The extremes that Savitha is willing to endure to get away from where she is are just horrifying and the circumstances that Poornima have to deal with are horrifying as well.  The abuse that both of these girls have to endure throughout their existence is on a level that I could not even begin to imagine. This novel is not for the faint of heart but if you want a story that is going to draw you in and show you that there is another part of life that is not all roses and laughter, then this is the novel for you. I am excited to see what others are going to think after reading it once this book becomes available.

Rating:

4.5 Stars

Availability:

Book will be published March 6, 2018 and available as ebook and hardcover.

I received a galley of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.