Tag: Macmillan

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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DNF Review: If It Makes You Happy by Claire Kann

Posted June 17, 2019 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

DNF Review: If It Makes You Happy by Claire KannReviewer: Holly
If It Makes You Happy by Claire Kann
Publisher: Swoon Reads
Publication Date: June 4, 2019
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: First
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Young Adult
Pages: 288
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dnf

High school finally behind her, Winnie is all set to attend college in the fall. But first she's spending her summer days working at her granny’s diner and begins spending her midnights with Dallas—the boy she loves to hate and hates that she likes. Winnie lives in Misty Haven, a small town where secrets are impossible to keep—like when Winnie allegedly snaps on Dr. Skinner, which results in everyone feeling compelled to give her weight loss advice for her own good. Because they care that’s she’s “too fat.”

Winnie dreams of someday inheriting the diner—but it'll go away if they can't make money, and fast. Winnie has a solution—win a televised cooking competition and make bank. But Granny doesn't want her to enter—so Winnie has to find a way around her formidable grandmother. Can she come out on top?

I discovered this book while browsing NetGalley. I don’t usually read YA, but the cover caught my eye (I absolutely adore it..that girl is super cute) and the blurb was interesting, so I decided to give it a try. It started out great. I like Kann’s writing style – simple, yet beautiful. The story flowed well and I was really feeling Winnie, her family and the town.

Sadly, things went downhill around page 40. I thought I was getting a fun story about a girl trying to save her granny’s diner, but that’s not what this is. Part of the problem stems from the stream-of-consciousness writing style. The chapters don’t really seem to go anywhere. Every thought Winnie has is on paper for us to read, so the chapters feel like rambley thoughts, rather than a story that’s headed somewhere. The blurb mentions a baking contest, but aside from a slight mention, there was little of that in the first quarter of the story. Winnie is supposedly happy with who she is, but suddenly the entire focus of the story shifted to her weight. The sudden shift in focus took me by surprise and turned me off the story.

This may have worked better for me if I’d gone into with different expectations. As it is, I wasn’t invested enough in the story or the characters to continue.

Rating: DNF

dnf


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Guest Review: Ice Wolf by Jane Godman

Posted March 9, 2017 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: Ice Wolf by Jane GodmanReviewer: Tracy
Ice Wolf by Jane Godman
Series: Arctic Brotherhood #1
Publisher: Macmillan, Swerve
Publication Date: March 7th 2017
Format: eARC
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three-stars
Series Rating: three-stars

They are the Arctic Brotherhood.

They are deadly fighters, fierce protectors and loyal mates.

Elliott Wilder is a mild mannered Alaskan college professor. Wilder craves the things most people find boring. Seclusion. Monotony. Anonymity. But what Wilder craves most of all is the thing he can’t have… memory loss. Four hundred years ago, Wilder and the other members of the Arctic Brotherhood were captured and tortured by the leader of the Siberian werewolves. Wilder is still haunted by memories of that night, when he wasn’t able to protect his leader.

Now the Siberian wolf is on the loose and seeking revenge. Not only must Wilder lead the brotherhood, he must fight the attraction he feels toward its newest recruit, Jenny Piper. Jenny offers Wilder a glimpse of the life he can’t have. As the brotherhood races against time to save humanity from the horror their enemies unleashed on the world, Wilder must reach inside himself to find the leader the brotherhood needs and the mate Jenny craves.

Elliott is an Arctic werewolf.  He was part of the Brotherhood of the Midnight Sun 400 years ago but since that time he’s been by himself.  He is currently working at a university and is shocked when he meets a woman, Jenny Piper, who is an Arctic werewolf as well.  He’s attracted to her but he wants nothing to do with any werewolves or pack so tries to separate himself.  That lasts less than 24 hours as the leader of the Brotherhood, Gunnar, shows up to let him know that the evil Siberian wolf they had put in jail 400 years earlier has escaped and wants revenge.  Elliott wants to ignore it all but he can’t when the previously imprisoned wolf attacks not only him but also Jenny.

Soon Jenny, Elliott and Gunnar are off to fight the battle between good and evil but the evil runs much deeper than any of them believed and it might take a miracle for the Brotherhood to win this battle.

Ice Wolf is the first book in the Arctic Brotherhood series.  The story was fast-paced and pretty action packed from the start of the book.

I liked Elliott despite the fact that he was pretty grumpy at the beginning of the book.  He soon took his place as leader of the Brotherhood and it was just what he needed in order to deal with his PTSD resulting from being tortured 400 years before.  He was a good leader and I felt he did a good job.

Jenny was a fighter and I really liked her.  She had a sunny disposition despite her childhood horrors and I liked her positivity and strength.  She got herself into a bit of a bind during the course of the book but didn’t end up needing the hero to rescue her – she did that herself.  Go Jenny!

The story was a good one, no doubt.  I wish that we could have gotten to know the other members of the Brotherhood a little better.  I think I would be more interested in reading their stories if I had a bit more knowledge of who they are.  Yes the Brotherhood worked together in this book but it was really focused on Elliott and Jenny.  If you like Norse mythology this would be a good one to pick up.  These definitely aren’t your average werewolves, that’s for sure.

Rating: 3 out of 5 

three-stars


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Guest Review: Body Rocks by A.M. Arthur

Posted July 22, 2016 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review:  Body Rocks by A.M. ArthurReviewer: Tracy
Body Rocks (Off Beat #1) by A. M. Arthur
Series: Off Beat #1
Publisher: Macmillan, Swerve
Publication Date: June 28th 2016
Format: eARC
Genres: Contemporary Romance, M/M
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three-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

Everything is finally falling into place for Trey Cooper: his band has been accepted into one of the biggest music competitions in the country...too bad their drummer just quit to play with XYZ, their biggest rival. When Trey has a mind-blowingly hot hookup with a mysterious violinist, Trey definitely plans to see him again – just not on stage as a member of XYZ.

Dominic Bounds’ time to make his musical dreams come true is running out. If something doesn’t happen fast, he has to head home to find a real job. This competition is his last chance, and Dom needs to come out on top – but he never expected to fall for his rival. As Dom and Trey risk everything to begin a secret affair, there’s no denying their chemistry is off the charts – but could their band rivalry turn their romance into a one-hit wonder?

Trey and Dominic meet under unusual circumstances.  Dominic is at an open mic night in Trey’s hometown and he blows Trey away with his violin playing rock songs.  The crowd loves it too and asks for more but Dominic’s not prepared.  Trey, who is a band called Fading Daze is called up to play keyboards with him and the two make magical music together.  It helps that they’re incredibly attracted to each other as well and end up together in a car in the boondocks where it proves to be Trey’s first time. The two – who each normally only do hookups – decide that they really like the other and exchange phone numbers.

The next night Trey hears from his roommates and band members that the band XYZ is in town.  They were the band that stole Fading Daze’s drummer away and left them in a lurch for a huge music competition that they were part of.  The trio decides to check out XYZ and Trey’s shocked when he sees Dominic in the band on keyboard!  Luckily Trey and Dominic like each other enough to work it out between them but they keep the secret from all of their band mates except for Trey’s friend Danielle who just happens to find out about them.

Life isn’t easy trying to keep their relationship on the down low when their bands are rivals but they manage.  Dominic is out and proud but Trey, while he doesn’t exactly hide the fact he’s gay he doesn’t shout it from the mountain tops either.  He has a great rapport with Danielle on stage and while they’ve never said that they were a couple they never dissuaded anyone from believing that.  Trey’s not sure he’s ready to come out and lose fans right before the big competition, Unbound.  When XYZ gets a spot at Unbound as well Trey and Dom are happy that they’ll get to be together but they’re torn about winning.  They each want to win for their own reasons but they want the other to win as well.

When someone at the competition decides that Trey and Dom’s sex life would look good on camera and Trey denies any involvement with Dom things get rocky.  When a secret from Dom’s past comes out and Dom gets emotionally distraught, things get rocky, when a tragic accident stops one of the bands from performing in the national Unbound competition, things get rocky.  Fortunately for these two men their love is strong enough to see things through.

This was a sweet story that was pretty angst-filled. Dom had some serious issues because of something in his past, Trey had a horrible family he didn’t talk to, Dom’s friend Lincoln had been kicked out of his house for being gay, the drummer from Fading Daze was stolen away, there was an accident.  I mean, really, while it was a good m/m story, it was pretty dark as well.  I liked how the two men worked things out eventually but I wish they could have not been so quick with the anger and worked it out easier.  I guess that showed their age as they were just around 21 years old.

I have to say that I really loved the family love when it came to Dominic’s family.  They were the best.  They were kind, loving, understanding, supportive – just all around good people.  I loved that the boys had a safe place where they could be themselves and not worry about the outside world.

The issue I had with the relationship was that since it all happened so quickly there just wasn’t a lot of tension between the two and not a lot of buildup.  I liked them together but quite frankly the sexual tension wasn’t there for me.

Overall I thought it was a decent start to the series.  I am curious to see what happens next in the lives of these band members so I’ll be reading the next book when it comes out.

Rating: 3.25 out of 5

three-half-stars


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Guest Review: How To Be A Good Wife by Emma Chapman

Posted May 16, 2016 by Tina R in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: How To Be A Good Wife by Emma ChapmanReviewer: Tina
How To Be a Good Wife by Emma Chapman
Publisher: Macmillan
Publication Date: October 15th 2013
Genres: Mystery, Suspense
Pages: 288
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three-stars

How To Be a Good Wife by Emma Chapman is a haunting literary debut about a woman who begins having visions that make her question everything she knows

Marta and Hector have been married for a long time. Through the good and bad; through raising a son and sending him off to life after university. So long, in fact, that Marta finds it difficult to remember her life before Hector. He has always taken care of her, and she has always done everything she can to be a good wife—as advised by a dog-eared manual given to her by Hector's aloof mother on their wedding day.

But now, something is changing. Small things seem off. A flash of movement in the corner of her eye, elapsed moments that she can't recall. Visions of a blonde girl in the darkness that only Marta can see. Perhaps she is starting to remember—or perhaps her mind is playing tricks on her. As Marta's visions persist and her reality grows more disjointed, it's unclear if the danger lies in the world around her, or in Marta herself. The girl is growing more real every day, and she wants something.

Have you ever watched a movie and through most of it you are sitting there wondering what the hell is going on? Well, if you have, then you know the way I felt as I read How To Be A Good Wife by Emma Chapman. I spent most of the book trying to figure it out. And this doesn’t in any way mean that it is a bad book, it just that it kept me guessing through most of it.

The book is about a woman named Marta. She has been with her husband Hector for so long that she feels she can not remember a time when she was not with him. And then we have her son, Kylan, who is off at University and whom she absolutely adores. The book reveals how Marta is a housewife whose husband Hector is an overbearing pig. (In my humble opinion that is..) I could not STAND this man who treated her like she was a child and was set off by the littlest things. She is lonely for her son Kylan who is away and who is also planning to marry soon. She misses him so badly and feels totally lost without him.

We also find out that Marta supposedly has taken medicine for quite a long time and then decides that she is going to stop taking it. She throws it in the trash bin, and is always worried that Hector is going to find out. It seems to me that he is constantly pushing the medicine thing. “Did you take your medicine Marta?” “You know what happens when you don’t take your medicine.” I wanted to jump in the book and tell him to SHUT UP! ( Can you tell how much I despised this character??)

Anyway, Marta starts to have these visions of a girl in a white nightgown. The girl appears at different ages, but is always wearing the same white gown. This is when I started getting confused. Is Marta hallucinating because she isn’t taking her meds, or is something becoming clear to her now that she isn’t medicated?? Then I kept wondering if she is just dreaming…

So we get to a point where Marta finally tries to talk to her son about her visions and her thoughts behind them, but he doesn’t really show any concern. I guess he just figured since his mother had always had “issues” that it was just happening again. It is at this point that I can’t really say anymore without giving spoilers, so you really need to just read it for yourself.

Bottom line….would I recommend this book? Yeah, I think I would. It was definitely a psychological thriller, so if this is a genre you like to read, I say go for it. I have to admit that I had a hard time in the beginning with trying to stick with it as it was rather slow, but then it picks up and got to where I did want to figure out what was going to happen. I really think this was a decent read, I personally just had a bit of a challenge wrapping my head around it.

Grade: 3 out of 5

three-stars


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