Source: Library

Review. The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary

Posted September 16, 2020 by Holly in Reviews | 3 Comments

Review. The Flatshare by Beth O’LearyReviewer: Holly
The Flatshare by Beth O'Leary
Publisher: Flatiron Books
Publication Date: April 18, 2019
Format: eBook
Source: Library
Point-of-View: Alternating First
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 400
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Holly's 2020 Reading Challenge
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four-half-stars


Tiffy and Leon share a flat

Tiffy and Leon share a bed

Tiffy and Leon have never met…

Tiffy Moore needs a cheap flat, and fast. Leon Twomey works nights and needs cash. Their friends think they’re crazy, but it’s the perfect solution: Leon occupies the one-bed flat while Tiffy’s at work in the day, and she has the run of the place the rest of the time.

But with obsessive ex-boyfriends, demanding clients at work, wrongly imprisoned brothers and, of course, the fact that they still haven’t met yet, they’re about to discover that if you want the perfect home you need to throw the rulebook out the window…

The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary is a contemporary romance told in alternating first person and epistolary format. Rowena mentioned this book to me around the time it was released, but I completely forgot about it until I saw The Switch had come out. I requested The Switch from the library, but there was a wait, so I decided to read this one instead.

Tiffany Moore needs a cheap place to live ASAP. Her on-again/off-again boyfriend of several years has suddenly come home with a new woman, and she’s convinced him to put Tiffy out. Her options are a moldy, crumbling flat that should be condemned, or a flatshare – where two people share the same one-bedroom flat at opposite times of the day. She chooses the flatshare.

Leon Twomey is in desperate need of an extra £350 per month to help pay for her brother’s legal fees. Since he works as an overnight palliative care nurse, he figures a flatshare is the easiest way to make the extra he needs. He’ll have access to the flat from 8am-6pm, and his flatmate will have it during the evenings and weekends.

Leon and Tiffy haven’t met, but sharing a bed and a flat, not to mention daily notes, bring them together. Between his wrongfully imprisoned brother and search for a long-lost-love for a patient at work, and her crazy ex-boyfriend and work projects, they have a lot to share. Leon is an introvert who is happiest when things are quiet and he’s alone. Tiffany is an extrovert who is happiest surrounded by chaos. The two shouldn’t have anything in common, but as they come to know one another through their shared flat and notes, they realize they share more than they think.

Tiffy is dealing with the realization that the relationship she’s been in for years was very unhealthy. With the help of her friends, a therapist and Leon, she’s beginning to deal with repressed trauma over the emotional abuse she suffered while with her controlling ex. I thought that aspect of the novel was well done. We don’t always see what’s happening in the moment, and it takes some space for us to realize how bad a situation has gotten. I really liked that Tiffy’s friends were supportive and helped her realize how awful her relationship was, while also giving her space to figure things out on her own.

Leon is struggling to deal with the incarceration of his brother, Richie. He was sent to prison for 7 years for armed robbery, but Leon knows he’s innocent. He’s trying to find out information from Richie’s attorney about their appeal, and also be strong for his mam. To take his mind off his problems, and to keep him busy on the weekends when he isn’t allowed at his flat, he’s begun the search for Jonathan White, the lover one of his patients had back in WWII.

Leon and Tiffany both came alive on page. They felt like real people with real friendships. I loved how they grew and changed, together, yet separate.

I smile. The note is stuck on the fridge, which is already one layer deep in Post-its. My current favorite is a doodle Leon did, depicting the man in Flat 5 sitting on an enormous heap of bananas. (We still don’t know why he keeps so many banana crates in his parking space.)

I rest my forehead against the fridge door for a moment, then run my fingers across the layers of paper scraps and Post-its. There’s so much here. Jokes, secrets, stories, the slow unfolding of two people whose lives have been changing in parallel―or, I don’t know, in sync. Different time, same place.

There was quite a bit of humor, especially when it came to Tiffy’s co-worker, Rachel. I cracked up on more than one occasion because of her jokes and antics.

Tiffany [9:07 a.m.]: It was really weird. I literally told her the most embarrassing stuff about me within like ten minutes of meeting her.
Rachel [9:08 a.m.]: Did you tell her about when you vomited in your hair on the night bus?
Tiffany [9:10 a.m.]: Well, that didn’t actually come up.
Rachel [9:11 a.m.]: How about the time you broke that guy’s penis at university?
Tiffany [9:12 a.m.]: Didn’t come up, either.
Rachel [9:12 a.m.]: That’s what he said.

This was such a cute, uplifting story. I really loved how it was told from both points-of-view, and also through the notes they wrote to each other. I smiled my way through this book, and I can’t wait to read more from O’Leary.

Rating: 4.25 out of 5

four-half-stars


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Review: My Darling Duke by Stacy Reid

Posted August 28, 2020 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: My Darling Duke by Stacy ReidReviewer: Holly
My Darling Duke by Stacy Reid
Series: Sinful Wallflowers #1
Publisher: Entangled: Amara
Publication Date: December 31, 2019
Format: eBook
Source: Library
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 377
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Goodreads Challenge, Historical Challenge, Holly's 2020 Goodreads Challenge, Holly's 2020 Historical Challenge, New to Me Challenge
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four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

Miss Katherine Danvers is a desperate wallflower. Her family is on the brink of financial ruin, and it is up her to save her mother and sisters from a life of indignities. So she transforms herself into the incomparable Kitty Danvers, the fiancée of the enigmatic and reclusive Alexander Masters, Duke of Thornton—once dubbed the mad, bad, and dangerous catch of the Season.

Ten years ago, society and the woman Alexander Masters loved called him a monster, after a tragic accident left him scarred and confined to a wheelchair. His heart exists in cold, lonely exile, until he learns he has a fiancée—a deceptive, clever, and utterly intriguing woman he's never met. Miss Danvers will now learn the consequences of engaging herself to the beast, for Alexander is determined to make her his. Soon, they are involved in a chase, a clash of wills, and though he once vowed to never love again, he burns for the enchanting Miss Danvers. And denying his heart may cost him an exquisite love that happens only once in a lifetime.

My Darling Duke by Stacy Reid is the first book in the Sinful Wallflowers series. My friend and fellow reader Nikki recommended this to me. I’m a sucker for all things Beauty and the Beast, so I had to download it as soon as she told me the premise. I’m so glad I did.

Miss Katherine Danvers is a wallflower, a desperate one. Her father died and left them with nothing. She and her friends, other desperate wallflowers, vow to do something daring to change their circumstances. She has a very short window in which to get her sisters married, so she does something daring..she creates a new persona and claims to be the fiance of a reclusive Duke. He hasn’t been in society – or even the country – in years, so she figures she’s safe enough. Only things keep spiraling out of her control..before she knows it she’s installed in a new rental house in a better location, riding around in a hired carriage and has a new wardrobe…all courtesy of the unsuspecting Duke.

Alexander Masters, The Duke of Thornton, withdrew from society 10 years ago, after a house fire killed his parents and left him badly scarred. He knows he can never take a wife, but he’s very intrigued by this woman claiming to be his fiance. Rather than calling her a liar, he goes along with it, curious beyond measure. Kitty is nothing like he imagined her to be, and he can’t seem to stay away from her. But he can’t sire children, and he doesn’t want to take a wife when he can’t be a true husband.

This was a sweet story. The end was a little over the top cheesy, but I can’t deny I was smiling while I read it. I loved Katherine and Alexander. Their reactions to each other weren’t the expected ones, and I was here for it. I really liked the friendship between Kitty and the other wallflowers, too. They had a strong bond and I really liked how they confided in each other, and encouraged one another to be bold and brave. I also liked Alex’s relationship with his sister, and his servants. They were a family, for all that he was in charge of them.

As I said, some parts were overly cheesy, but I liked how supportive Kitty and Alex were of each other. I’m looking forward to reading more books from this author.

Rating: 3.75 out of 5

Sinful Wallflowers

four-stars


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Guest Review: The One by John Marrs

Posted August 19, 2020 by Tracy in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: The One by John MarrsReviewer: Tracy
The One by John Marrs
Publisher: Hanover Square
Publication Date: February 20, 2017
Format: eBook
Source: Library
Point-of-View: Third person
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Fiction
Pages: 412
Add It: Goodreads
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four-stars

How far would you go to find The One?

A simple DNA test is all it takes. Just a quick mouth swab and soon you’ll be matched with your perfect partner—the one you’re genetically made for.

That’s the promise made by Match Your DNA. A decade ago, the company announced that they had found the gene that pairs each of us with our soul mate. Since then, millions of people around the world have been matched. But the discovery has its downsides: test results have led to the breakup of countless relationships and upended the traditional ideas of dating, romance and love.

Now five very different people have received the notification that they’ve been “Matched.” They’re each about to meet their one true love. But “happily ever after” isn’t guaranteed for everyone. Because even soul mates have secrets. And some are more shocking than others…

Match Your DNA is a scientifically proven way to find the one person in the world that you are genetically coded to love.  When you meet that person it’s like fireworks going on inside your body and you just can’t imagine living without that person.  Sometimes it takes a couple of days to kick in, but it always happens.  There has never been a mismatch and the company prides themselves on that fact. Unfortunately while billions had found their DNA match, there have been many broken relationships when people find their perfect match.

This book follows 5 different people who have gotten their perfect match.

First we have Mandy, a 37 year old divorcee who has been matched with Richard a man who’s about 10 years younger than her.   Mandy is a romantic and can’t wait to hear from Richard.  She’s old-fashioned and wants the man to contact her.  After weeks go by and she’s not heard from him she finally sends him an email, but she gets no response.  When she finally hears something, details come to light that change her mind about what love is and what her future is going to look like.  It’s utterly different than anything she could have imagined.

Next up we have Christopher.  Christopher is a psychopath and a serial killer.  Christopher meets his match with Amy, a police officer. Christopher is in the middle of a killing spree, but is finally meeting his perfect match changing him for the better?

Twenty-something Jade has met Kevin, but unfortunately, she lives in England and he lives in Australia.  She has an average paying job and credit card debt so she can’t just jump on a plane and meet him.  They’ve been texting and talking on the phone for seven months but they’ve never been on FaceTime or Skype.  When Jade decides to take a leap of faith and surprise Kevin by showing up in Australia, Jade finds out that lies have been told – big ones.  Does she stay and make the best of things?  Does she leave and lose her perfect “one?” What does she do when she finds herself in love?

Nick is 25 and engaged to Sally, but Sally thinks it would be great if they do the DNA matching anyway, just to prove that they’re truly perfect for each other. Nick insists that he will be with Sally no matter what, but when they open their emails, they find that Sally’s results show no match. Nick’s results, however, show he’s matched to a guy named Alexander.  What?  Nick’s not gay – not even bi!  He wants no part of the results, but Sally insists that he meets the guy to see if there’s any “spark.”  How will the DNA match end up changing Nick and Sally’s lives, or does anything change at all?

Ellie is the scientist who discovered the gene that became Match Your DNA.  She put her own DNA into the system 10 years earlier so she’s shocked when she receives an email saying that she was matched with someone.  She meets Tim and while he’s so different from her, she falls in love with him anyway. While Ellie isn’t completely truthful (at first) to Tim about who she is and what she does, is Tim being truthful to Ellie about who he is?

When I first started reading this book and every chapter was another person I wasn’t sure if I was going to continue.  Did I want to use my brainpower to keep track of all of these characters?  Lol  In the end, yes, I did.  The book kind of sucked me in and I wanted to see how all of these matches turned out.  Were they going to be together forever? How was it going to change their lives? Are they truly as perfect for each other as they thought they would be when meeting their DNA match?

While I enjoyed all of the different characters in this story, I really liked Nick and Ellie’s stories the best.  I’m not exactly sure what it was about their stories that spoke to me, but I found myself looking forward to their chapters.

Mandy was fine, but she came across as a bit desperate and needy to me.  She got herself into a fine mess and had a time trying to get out of it.  It did end on a hopeful note, so that was nice.

Christopher’s story was just…strange.  I’m not a fan of being a psychopath’s head and that’s where we were.  The end of his part of the book was definitely different, and completely unexpected.  I can’t say it was all together believable, but this is fiction, right? lol

Jade’s story was sad and frustrating all at the same time.  I wasn’t surprised at the outcome of that part of the book as I saw it coming from a mile away.  Her part wasn’t bad, but was too predictable for my liking.

Nick’s story made my heart hurt.  I felt for this man who was forced into doing things he didn’t want to do, and then had to suffer the consequences.  I just wanted to crawl through the book and give him a huge hug.

Ellie and her match Tim were an interesting pair.  They were so different from each other that I suspected something not so great was going to happen and I was proven right.  The magnitude of what happened was completely unexpected, but I loved that I didn’t see it coming.

Overall, I liked the book as Marrs is a good story-teller and the DNA match thing was intriguing.  While I didn’t love the whole book, I did read it in (more or less) one sitting, so that was a plus.  This was my first book by Marrs, but I’m sure I’ll be reading more by him in the future.

Rating: 3.75 out of 5

four-stars


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Guest Review: Accidentally Compromising the Duke by Stacy Reid

Posted July 29, 2020 by Tracy in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: Accidentally Compromising the Duke by Stacy ReidReviewer: Tracy
Accidentally Compromising the Duke by Stacy Reid
Series: Wedded by Scandal #1
Publisher: Entangled Scandalous
Publication Date: May 30, 2016
Format: eBook
Source: Library
Point-of-View: Third Person
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 259
Add It: Goodreads
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four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

England, 1817.

Miss Adeline Hays is out of options. Determined to escape marriage to a repugnant earl, Adeline plans to deliberately allow herself to be caught in a compromising position at a house party with the much kinder man she’d hoped to marry. Instead, Adeline accidentally enters the wrong chamber and tumbles into the bed of the mad duke.

Edmond Rochester, the duke of Wolverton, is seeking a wife to care for his two daughters. A young lady of sensibilities, accomplishment, and most importantly, one who he is not attracted to—a complete opposite of the bewitching beauty who traps him into marriage. But despite the lust he feels for his new duchess, Edmond is resolved to never allow them intimacy, refusing to ever again suffer the tormenting loss of a loved one.

Adeline Hays was once attacked by an Earl.  When she went to her father, expecting him to be furious, he ends up promising her hand in marriage to the bastard. How could he?! She has a fondness for a man, Mr. Atwood, who will one day be a barrister.  Unfortunately her father won’t accept his suit, even though he’s asked several times.  Adel knows that she has no other choice but to take matters into her own hands. While at a house party Adel gets the keys to Mr. Atwood’s room from her best friend, and with a bit of liquid courage heads off to do some compromising.

Adel only planned to be caught in Mr. Atwood’s room, but after tripping she ends up in bed with him.  He’s much more muscular than she thought, and wow, he smells better than she remembered, too.  They end up kissing but when she realizes that she is not, in fact, kissing Mr. Atwood, she tries to get away.  Too late, they are discovered, as Adel had planned, but instead of just her best friend’s mother, it’s half of the people in the house!

The Duke of Wolverton, Edmond, thoroughly enjoyed kissing this mystery woman and though he’d had a list of women to check out to be his new bride and mother to his children, he decides to do the honorable thing and marry her. His first wife died in childbirth and while the Duke needs a mother for his children, he doesn’t want any more children.  He has no plans to consummate the marriage, nor fall in love with Adel.

Can Adel break through the hurt of Edmond’s past and make him see that she’s not his previous wife?  Can Edmond keep his distance from Adel?  You have to read the book to find out! 🙂

This was a good story.  I really like the Reid books that I’ve read so far and this one is included in that list.  In this story I really liked Adel.  She was straightforward and knew exactly what she wanted (his love) and how to get it.  She was honest (for the most part) and just a lovely person.  How could Edmond not fall for her? There was a part of the book where Adel isn’t completely honest with Edmond and I had an issue with this.  It was just so not in her character that it was hard for me to believe that any of it would have happened.  Luckily Reid did a great job of making everything right for me.

Edmond was cold at first, then very warm…hot actually, and then a right bastard.  I liked him for a portion of the book and felt his pain, but I thought he took things a little too far.  The author did a good job of making me dislike/like/hate/like him in turns. Lol

When my friend, Nikki, first told me (and our friends, while on a Zoom call) about this book I laughed at the title and didn’t plan on reading it.  Accidentally compromising?  Really?  I said, “What, they’re in a carriage that hits a bump and the heroine accidentally falls on his dick? Oopsie.” Lol  We then affectionately retitled this book Accidentally Falling on the Duke’s Dick. Of course, after Nikki shared the premise with us we were all intrigued and I ended up reading this Reid story as well as another.  I’m glad I did and definitely recommend it.  I’m looking forward to reading the next book in the series and I’m quite happy it’s already out (this one was published 4 years ago).

Rating: 3.75/4 out of 5

four-stars


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Review: Beauty and the Clockwork Beast by Nancy Campbell Allen

Posted July 20, 2020 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Beauty and the Clockwork Beast by Nancy Campbell AllenReviewer: Holly
Beauty and the Clockwork Beast by Nancy Campbell Allen
Series: Steampunk Proper Romance #1
Also in this series: Kiss of the Spindle , The Lady in the Coppergate Tower
Publisher: Shadow Mountain
Publication Date: August 2, 2016
Format: eBook
Source: Library
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Fantasy, Steampunk
Pages: 318
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Goodreads Challenge, Holly's 2020 Goodreads Challenge, Holly's 2020 New to Me Challenge, New to Me Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

Jane Eyre meets Beauty and the Beast.

When Lucy Pickett arrives at Blackwell Manor to tend to her ailing cousin, Kate, she finds more than she bargained for. A restless ghost roams the hallways, werewolves have been reported in the area, and vampires lurk across the Scottish border. Lord Miles himself is clearly hiding a secret. He is brash and inhospitable, and does not take kindly to visitors—even one as smart and attractive as Miss Pickett. He is unsettled by the mysterious deaths of his new wife, Clara, and his sister, Marie. Working together, Miles and Lucy attempt to restore peace to Blackwell Manor. But can Lucy solve the mystery of Miles? Can she love the man—beast and all?

Tracy turned me on to this author. I’ve been in the mood for Gothic romances lately and this one was just what I was looking for. This book is labeled as Steampunk, but I would call it Steampunk-lite. I easily fell into the story and didn’t want to put it down.

Lucy Pickett arrives at Blackwell Manor to visit her best friend/cousin, Kate. Kate recently married into the Blackwell family, and ever since she arrived at the manor she’s been feel poorly. Lucy is concerned something serious is wrong, and she’s determined to get to the bottom of what’s ailing her cousin. Between ghosts, werewolves and vampires, her time at the manor is anything but dull. Add the mysterious Lord Miles, Kate’s brother-in-law, to the mix, along with the mysterious deaths of his wife and her sister, and Lucy is in for a wild ride.

I really enjoyed Lucy. She’s a strong character who wasn’t afraid to stand up for herself or do what’s right. She was also very progressive and that worked well in context. I enjoyed her strength and determination, and how that pushed Miles. Their romance was well done and very enjoyable. The mystery behind her cousin’s illness and the deaths of other members of the family was easily solved, but I liked watching the characters work through everything.

Beauty and the Clockwork Beast is an odd mishmash of Gothic, Steampunk and Fantasy Romance, but it really worked. If you’re looking for something a little different, I highly recommend this series.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Steampunk Proper Romance

four-half-stars


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