The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary

The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary

 

44017619Publisher: Quercus

Publishing Date: 18th April 2019

Source:  Received from the publisher, thank you!

Number of pages: 400

Genre: General Fiction (Adult), Romance

 Buy the Book:  Kindle | Hardcover | Paperback (out on 05.03.2020)

 

Synopsis:

Tiffy Moore and Leon Twomey each have a problem and need a quick fix.

Tiffy’s been dumped by her cheating boyfriend and urgently needs a new flat. But earning minimum wage at a quirky publishing house means that her choices are limited in London.

Leon, a palliative care nurse, is more concerned with other people’s welfare than his own. Along with working night shifts looking after the terminally ill, his sole focus is on raising money to fight his brother’s unfair imprisonment.

Leon has a flat that he only uses 9 to 5. Tiffy works 9 to 5 and needs a place to sleep. The solution to their problems? To share a bed of course…

As Leon and Tiffy’s unusual arrangement becomes a reality, they start to connect through Post-It notes left for each other around the flat.

Can true love blossom even in the unlikeliest of situations?
Can true love blossom even if you never see one another?
Or does true love blossom when you are least expecting it?

Rating: five-stars

but-i-needmy-girls

 

I really wasn’t sure how it’s possible that “Tiffy and Leon share a bed. Tiffy and Leon have never met” but it turned out that yes, it is possible. They are flatmates – with a twist. Leon needs some money to pay the solicitor, Tiffy needs a flat after her final break – up with Justin. Leon is in the flat only during the day, as he works night shifts at the hospice. Tiffy is in the flat during the evening and night, as she works in publishing as an assistant book editor. So they start to share a one bedroom flat and they never have to meet! That’s it! They start to leave post – it notes for each other about bin days, leftover food etc, but slowly those notes evolve into something deeper and more intimate. They start to have a connection. And then they meet…

You know it, when you had a feeling that you’ve simply clicked with the book, right? Well, I clicked with “The Flatshare”. This was an epic, beautiful, romantic love story that had this “something” that makes a novel absolutely outstanding for you. I started reading “The Flatshare” actually not knowing what to expect but hoping that it’s going to be something particularly beautiful, and I was hooked right from the beginning.

The characters in this book were immediately likeable and believable, and not only the main characters but the group surrounding Tiffy and also Leon’s family who added so much depth and perspective to this story. I loved Tiffy from the word go. She’s quirky, she’s smart and has brilliant one – liners, and simply feels human, especially as she has to overcome her personal obstacles. She’s trying to move on from her recent relationship and slowly comes to realise, how abusive it was, and the word gaslighting comes to mind here. I have kept everything crossed for Tiffy, I wished her all the best in the world and it was a real, real joy to see her growing in confidence in some matters.
And Leon as well. He’s a bit withdrawn, on the quiet side but he has so many valuable qualities. He’s currently campaigning for the appeal of his – presumably – wrongly convicted younger brother who is now in prison. And he’s also trying to track down the long – lost love of one of his patients in hospice. At the beginning I had some problems with the chapters told from Leon’s point of view, they were specifically written, but quickly I got used to his voice and was actually happy that he had this distinctive tone.

The idea with the post – its was ingenious. For the first few months of living together Tiffy and Leon communicate via notes left around the flat. They start with the dates of the bin days and leftover food but over time they start to pick up on each other’s moods through the little cues they leave around the flat: the half – drunk cups of tea or coffee, the unwashed dish, and slowly the correspondence gathers depth and intimacy. I loved how they open up to each other in their post – it notes, how honest they are and how attentive they are, paying attention to the smallest details.

The pacing was perfect, all the time there was something happening. The build up for the characters to meet was brilliant. It took its time but it was so necessary in my opinion, and it was so enthralling, this waiting for them to actually meet in person. I was completely invested in Tiffy and Leon’s lives. Beth O’Leary’s writing style is so, so vivid, chatty and charismatic.
The book was full of so incredibly funny moments, guys, they had me chuckling to myself, and as I am currently struggling a bit with my mental health it isn’t so obvious that something funny will make me smile. Well, this book did it, so already for this it deserves a standing ovation from me. But it is also very emotional – but not too wishy – washy – and it works perfectly well with all those humorous moments, scenes and witty dialogues. And the author handles the heavier issues with a lot of understanding and gentleness.
“The Flatshare” was an uplifting, charming and comforting novel. Actually, it has everything I have expected from it and much more and I can’t believe that it’s the author’s debut. It has a brilliant, likeable and believable characters, wonderful storyline that feels so fresh and unique. I loved it totally and I can’t recommend it to you highly enough!

 

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The Book of Love by Fionnuala Kearney

The Book of Love by Fionnuala Kearney

 

Sr-QHuzS.jpg largePublisher: Harper Collins

Publishing Date: 7th February 2019

Source:  Received from the publisher via NetGalley, thank you!

Number of pages: 416

Genre: General Fiction

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback

 

 

Synopsis:

One love. Two people. Twenty Years.

From the moment they met, Erin and Dom loved each other too much, too quickly. Everyone said it wouldn’t last. But they knew differently.

A wedding present, a notebook, brings them together through the good times and the bad. On the blank pages of their love story, they write down everything they can’t always say – the secrets, the heartbreak, the highs and lows. It’s where they see the best and worst of each other.

Falling in love is easy but staying in love is where the story begins…

Rating: five-stars

but-i-needmy-girls

Erin Fitzgerald and Dominic Carter got married in 1996 – they loved each other unconditionally and they’re expecting a baby. Erin’s father gives them a leather bond book – The Book of Love – to write down what they can’t tell each other face to face. Each letter should end with a message of love. They’re sceptical at first but then the book turns out to be pivotal source for their communication, to be a significant part of their lives.

You can’t help but immediately fell for the characters, for their fates, for their feelings, emotions and unconditional love, and so, very quickly, you find yourself on incredible roller coaster ride through their lives, through the years they have to learn by themselves what life really is about. I experienced everything with them, I could feel their pain, hurt, uncertainty, love, hope and grief. The book offers us everything, through ups and downs, screw ups, struggles, heartbreaks and changes in relationships. All the characters are so well fleshed out, they’re not perfect, they’re full of flaws and secrets and they make mistakes but this only make them much more realistic and relatable. They’re simply human – and after reading tons of books in my life I’ve learnt that it doesn’t always work out for authors to create their characters this way, which only made me appreciate them even more. Each character in this book, no matter if the main or the background one, was authentic and genuine, in every detail and every gesture. The relationships between them – and there were plenty of them, not only this of marriage, but also of being a parent, sibling, friend – were real.

The story begins in 2017 and takes us back and forth through years, starting in 1996, and all those years are testimony of love. It moves smoothly between the timelines, and with ease, and there was maybe a moment or two when I shortly felt a little confused but quickly I was finding myself again on track. And I love the way it was written, as it really was full of surprises. When I was thinking that I know where I’m standing, where the story is going, then bang, and it was pushed in totally different direction.

The end made me really tearful. Such love, as this of Erin and Dom, it doesn’t happen often, I think. You can love but there was such a special bond between them, a bond that was palpable through the pages and that I envied them so much. However, this bond doesn’t mean that they didn’t have problems communicating, because they did, there were things they couldn’t tell each other face to face, and here comes The Book of Love, the gift Erin’s father gave them at their wedding. Sometimes it’s hard to speak up, to tell what’s bothering you for fear what the other half may think of you and so Erin and Dom settled to write their deepest, most intimate thoughts in the book for each other. And it turned out to be a cathartic, emotional experience for both of them, and for us, readers, as well. What makes this book so exceptional is the honesty it’s written with. Love is not only bed of roses, love can hurt, love means loss and grief and sadness, and the book mixes those moments perfectly with joy and humour and believe me, no matter how you’re going to feel at the end, how much of a snotty mess you’re going to be, it’ll be an uplifting read that will restore your faith in love and friendship.

Lately we are literally flooded with descriptions of the books that shout “that final twist!” and that usually leave you lukewarm. Probably those that don’t need such kind of advertising, that speak for themselves, are the best kind of twists – here, in this gorgeous story, I haven’t seen the final twist. It just came and hit me hard on my unexpecting head and left me a) speechless and b) in tears – and this is what I call TWIST.

Fionnuala Kearney can write in such a gorgeous way – her writing style is flawless and effortless, of high quality and so chatty that when you start reading you simply can’t put the book away. She captures all the insecurities and fears and the book is going to make you nod with understanding and agreement, to roll your eyes, laugh and cry. She, as not many out there, can describe human nature and the complexity of it with tons of sensitivity and understanding. “The Book of Love” was incredibly beautiful and brutally honest story of love, marriage and family. It has broken my heart, to mend it and to break it again. It was about forgiveness, showing how true love can knit people together in the face of disaster, tragedy but also happiness. Be prepared that you’re going to be emotionally invested from the very beginning till the end. It was powerful and moving, uplifting and heart – breaking, mesmerising and enduring and I raced through the pages, though it is this kind of book that you also don’t want to end. It was a complex and epic tale full of real people, real stories, real feelings. Deep and intelligent and so cleverly written, for sure my certain contender for the best read in 2019. And after reading it. this is what I call book – hangover. I loved it – mightily.

 

The Rest of Me by Katie Marsh

The Rest of Me by Katie Marsh

 

 

37759021Publisher: Hodder

Publishing Date: 26th July 2018

Source:  Received from the publisher, thank you!

Number of pages: 400

Genre: General Fiction (Adult)

 Buy the Book:  Kindle | Paperback

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

‘Katie Marsh writes achingly beautiful, life-affirming stories that break your heart and refuel your hope’ – Miranda Dickinson. Perfect for fans of Jojo Moyes, Lucy Dillon and Amanda Prowse.

Alex Fox knows there are lots of thing she should be. She should be the perfect wife to her chronically ill husband Sam, and the perfect mother to their two daughters. She should be excelling in her high-stress job. And she should be completing the demanding to-do lists she makes to keep herself on track.

Even if, just sometimes, she doesn’t have time to breathe.

When Sam’s condition worsens and Alex donates a kidney to save his life, her carefully scheduled existence starts to unravel. The operation leads to unexpected complications, putting a strain on Alex’s marriage and her relationship with her children – and eventually forcing her to face up to a past that she has buried for years.

As the family she has fought so hard for threatens to fall apart, can Alex finally confront her imperfections and the mistakes that have shaped her – and rediscover what is most important in life?

The Rest of Me is an emotional and uplifting story which will make you laugh, cry and hug the people you love a little bit tighter.

Rating: five-stars

 

but I needmy girls!

“The Rest of Me” is Katie Marsh’s fourth offering – I have read all of her books and from the beginning have been championing them and Katie’s writing – she delivers my favourite kind of novels, she offers much more than a simple tale, her stories are always full of emotions and feelings and they tug at your heart – strings. They also always sound so very realistic, they’re genuine and close to life, and it was the same with Katie Marsh’s newest release. I simply adored it.

In “The Rest of Me” we are introduced to Alex Fox who has just donated a kidney to her husband Sam – he would have died otherwise. Alex expected to bounce back to her life almost immediately, however it turns out that it’s her now that needs medical help. Moreover, the operation didn’t bring Alex and Sam closer together, like Alex hoped, but problems and troubles seem to unravel. Add to this problems at work and with their two daughters and you are reading a complex, beautiful family drama.

The way the author writes about Alex, Sam and their family was incredible – I felt not like a part of their family, because they were such a close – knit unit, even with all their troubles, but I felt like the proverbial fly on the wall, seeing, hearing, observing, almost touching and, above all experiencing all their troubles, problems and the little joys with them. Seeing all those troubles piling on top of each other made my heart break and I couldn’t stop thinking, oh no, please not again, and I was hoping that everything will eventually turn around and good.

This book is not full of twists and turns, but it also doesn’t need it. It slowly peels off layer after layer laying bare the real life of our characters, bringing back important events from the past, allowing us to get to know the characters and why those past events were so important and significant, how they impacted on the present. The characters are very well developed. They’re not flawless, I so often found myself disagreeing with them, I wanted to shake them and tell them to open their eyes. The story is mostly told through Alex’s point of view, and she shares all her thoughts and feelings with us. I immediately fell for her and I kept everything crossed for her. We shared the same worries and problems. She was strong and she had a backbone, she noticed all the discriminations that came with the new boss but also during her interviews, and she was not afraid to speak loud about them, questioning them.
To be absolutely honest, for a long, long time I had a huge problem with Sam. Maybe because I was rooting so much for Alex, right from the very beginning? I mean, I didn’t begrudged him this kidney but after the transplant it seemed that everything turned upside down for Alex in any case: her health, her job, her self – esteem, while Sam was enjoying his life fully and totally and it seemed to me that while he was sick, Alex just devoted herself to looking after him and forgot about her own life, and as soon as he was feeling better he forgot about it and instead of looking after Alex he just enjoyed his life. I mean, it was his right, for the love of god, of course, but for me it just was as if he got what he wanted and well, Alex, your health, your life is your problem now. It took me long to see his side of things, so long that I’ve already started to panic what’s happening here and if I’m going to warm to him at all.
But I think that the voice that shook me so much was this of the young Izzy. Her character was so very well drawn, she was not too childish, she was not too mature for her age as it often happens, she was simply perfect with her love to Arsenal and football obsession. She tried so hard to be tough and strong and brave, she experienced so much, seeing things through her eyes was, I think, even more authentic and cruel – because she told what she really felt.

This story also deals with bullying. As a mum of a six – year – old girl who’s about to start school in September, this topic is so very close to my heart. It’s probably my biggest nightmare that one day she can be bullied or that she can be the bully – I don’t know how I’m going to cope if something like this happens. The way Katie Marsh tackled this subplot in this story was absolutely perfect and realistic, and to be totally honest, it has broken my heart. I don’t want to spoil the reading for you so I’m not going to say anything more but be prepared for having your heart broken, fixed and then broken again.

This book, and especially the last part of it, made me think so much, especially about the way I am around and with my daughter, and it taught me that I can’t take our together time for granted. So I, just like Alex, am going to spend as much time with her as possible – she’s just too precious.
Katie Marsh can put into words all the feelings and emotions that we feel but can’t express – how often we just don’t have time to sit down and listen, to talk, to open up. She doesn’t make the relationships in this story bed of roses but she makes them honest and raw. Simply, she captured all those feelings so well and the way Alex felt about her past and keeping it a secret gave me goose bumps – because it sounded so real, authentic and genuine. The writing somehow feels so very authentic and personal, I’m not sure why I had this feeling but I just felt like this, and the words used by Katie Marsh, her descriptions, they touched me deeply and tugged at my heart – strings.

It was a gorgeous novel about relationships, about sisterhood, friendship, marriage and family dynamics. About secrets that shouldn’t have been kept, about things that shouldn’t have happened. It wasn’t sad – it may sound like this but it is also incredibly uplifting and affirming and it makes your heart sing again in the end. I can’t recommend it highly enough!

Why Mummy Swears by Gill Sims

Why Mummy Swears by Gill Sims

 

38746264Publisher: Harper Collins

Publishing Date: 12th July 2018

Source:  Received from the publisher in return for an honest review, thank you!

Number of pages: 368

Genre: Non – Fiction, Humour

 Buy the Book:  Kindle | Hardcover

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Why Mummy Swears is the much anticipated new novel from Gill Sims, author of the hilarious Why Mummy Drinks and online sensation Peter and Jane.

It’s every parents’ nightmare – the start of the school holidays – and instead of sitting in the sun, reading a book over a cold, crisp glass of Pinot Grigio, Mummy has two bored moppets to attend to. After frantically booking sports camps, child minder slots, not to mention time off work, Mummy is exhausted. But this is only the beginning…

After being dragged to join the school’s PTA in the new term by an annoyingly kind-spirited neighbour, Mummy is stuck with organising the Christmas Fayre and pleasing all the overly disapproving parents. In combination with getting to know her father’s surprise new glamorous (and much younger) wife, and being forced to spend more time with her narcissistic mother, life isn’t cutting her much of a break. What more could possibly happen?

Rating: five-stars

 

but I needmy girls!

“Why Mummy Swears” covers a year in Ellen and her family’s lives, starting in July and with school holidays and ending the following July. And ah feck it, guys. This is probably one of the hardest reviews to write because well, I simply loved everything in this book and about this book. Everything. So there. And now I’m going to immediately order Gill Sim’s first book “Why Mummy Drinks” because I know that I’m also fecking going to love it. If it’s only half as brilliantly funny as “Why Mummy Swears” than I’ve already won.

The best thing about this book was that it was so relatable. From the very first page I couldn’t stop but roar with laughter at all the similarities between the characters in the book and me and my husband, who also doesn’t understand that spices are only good when they’re out of date (I’m not even sure if there is the best before label on spices, as they live for ever) and that out of date doesn’t start one minute after midnight. And it is only the first thing that comes to mind, and there were tons of them. Ellen has only the balls the say what she thinks and to actually pack the kids and take them for holidays while I sit here and only fill the money – box that I’ve received with my review copy. It’s full. Almost.

The things that happen in Ellen’s life are mostly hilarious but they are also very realistic and this is brilliant – it could be easily overdone but it’s simply perfect and possible to happen. You can’t help but laugh out loud at the way the characters act and react, roll your eyes or simply nod your head in agreement. I only pray to God that my daughter won’t turn into Jane. Who was incredibly clever, by the way, probably too clever.

The writing is addictive and so easy to follow – I couldn’t, and didn’t want, to put the book away for a single moment. The way it was written – as a diary – was the best possible way in my opinion. This reminded me a little of Bridget Jones, of course, and there is absolutely room for more books to come.
This book tells how it really is in a perfect tone, not too patronizing, not too aggressive, and it gives hope, and really guys, I feel better after reading it. It turns out that I’m not the only one who can’t cope with everything, who swears under her nose, who leaves the dishes in the sink over night, whose husband goes only on holidays when there is breakfast buffet.

“Why Mummy Swears” was a hilarious, uplifting read that I easily could identify with. The fun and humour poured from every word and this is what I really needed. It was brutally honest in telling how it is to be a part of a family, to have a family. It was light, it was bright, it was refreshing and full of painful truth of being a parent. Simply, it must be one of the best books I have ever read – and it’s saying something as I’ve read many books. Many. Highly recommended!