Biblioshelf Musings – You and Me on Vacation by Emily Henry

Hello Bibliofriends!

This week’s Biblioshelf Musings is You and Me on Vacation (People We Meet On Vacation) by Emily Henry.

I remember falling head over heels with Beach Read when it first came out. Emily’s writing style and main characters had me swept so far away on that Lake Michigan beach, that when the audiobook for You and Me on Vacation was on iBooks for £4.99 I just had to hit that download button!


Book: You and Me on Vacation by Emily Henry (Audiobook narrated by: Julia Whelan)
Genre: Fiction (Contemporary / Romance)
Publication Date: May 2021
Publisher: Penguin Audio
Pages: 368 (Audiobook: 10hr 45min)
Rating: 📚📚📚📚📚

Synopsis (from Goodreads)

Poppy and Alex. Alex and Poppy. They have nothing in common. She’s a wild child; he wears khakis. She has insatiable wanderlust; he prefers to stay home with a book. And somehow, ever since a fateful car share home from college many years ago, they are the very best of friends. For most of the year they live far apart—she’s in New York City, and he’s in their small hometown—but every summer, for a decade, they have taken one glorious week of vacation together.

Until two years ago, when they ruined everything. They haven’t spoken since.

Poppy has everything she should want, but she’s stuck in a rut. When someone asks when she was last truly happy, she knows, without a doubt, it was on that ill-fated, final trip with Alex. And so, she decides to convince her best friend to take one more vacation together—lay everything on the table, make it all right. Miraculously, he agrees.

Now she has a week to fix everything. If only she can get around the one big truth that has always stood quietly in the middle of their seemingly perfect relationship. What could possibly go wrong?

My Musings

Sometimes we all need a little respite in the form of some contemporary romance and You And Me On Vacation brought me that respite in buckets. Reader, this book ‘speaks to me’ 😉 – on so many levels!

As a girl who reads predominantly SFF, I don’t know what kind of bookish chemical equations Emily Henry conjures up but she’s fast becoming a part of the romance genre that I actually like. From the realistic characters and the wish-you-were-here locations, to the plot lines that just keep me begging for more – I ate up every single word that Alex and Poppy gave me in this audiobook.

As far as two main characters go, Poppy and Alex’s friendship was so believable. They’re the BFFs that often get mistaken for a real-life couple and that throws the usual obstacles in their way with families and prospective partners. They are so genuine together and I found both characters extremely likeable. I enjoyed the way we found out about each friend’s history from the other friend’s perspective. It really allows you to see them through each other’s eyes. They just get each other! Their nuances, quirks, likes, pet hates… they are so completely in-sync with each other’s existence whilst at the same time both appearing to be completely blind to what is right in front of them. I must admit, I did find myself wondering whether I skipped the bit of the audiobook where they initially friend-zoned each other but ultimately this didn’t really matter as the novel went on. As an English Teacher and aspiring writer, Alex reminded me slightly of Gus from Beach Read so I liked the continuity of literary-loving characters throughout Henry’s books.

The structuring of the story was quite well done. With constant flashbacks to previous summers and the trips Poppy and Alex had taken, interspersed with the up-to-date ‘this summer’ happenings – we get a breadcrumb trail of clues to try and work out what the catastrophic event that caused these two steadfast friends to go their separate ways. All the time this happened, I kept internally screaming to myself, “what the hell happened in Croatia?!” I enjoyed trying to piece together the story in my head and whilst some things were entirely predictable, the anecdotes from each summer trip were filled with little twists and comedy moments.

As a travel enthusiast whose trip to Peru was kiboshed by the pandemic, Poppy and Alex’s trips to different destinations across the world helped me to fill up that little travel void ever so slightly. This shift in setting destination was definitely an element of the story which I thoroughly enjoyed.

All in all, You and Me on Vacation gave me everything I was looking for, hence the 5* rating – for me, it’s faultless. On some small level, Poppy and Alex’s story is a little relatable to my life – their predicaments were ones I could relate to and find solace in, which is probably why it resonated with me so much. Yes, some parts of the story are predictable and at times inevitable, but the journey to the ending wasn’t a straightforward path. The resolution was uplifting and satisfying whilst remaining both practical yet realistic (compared to the usual happily ever afters you sometimes get).

If you loved Beach Read, enjoy travelling the world through literary characters, or you’re just looking for a soul-clenching, heartwarming story of true love and devotion then give You and Me on Vacation a go – it just might ‘speak to you’ too.

Why Should I Read This?

For the breadcrumb plot line of summer flashbacks.
For the chemistry and charisma between two loveable main characters.
For the Flannery O’Conner side stories! 😸

Find out more about this book here:

Amazon | Waterstones | Bookshop.org | Goodreads | Author’s Website |

Connect with me here:

Twitter | Goodreads | Book Sloth: @thebiblioshelf | Email: thebiblioshelf@gmail.com

Biblioshelf Musings – The Authenticity Project by Clare Pooley

Hello Bibliofriends!

This week’s Biblioshelf Musings is a perfectly light-hearted audiobook called The Authenticity Project by Clare Pooley which I read as part of my ‘Tis the Damn Readathon TBR. I can’t really remember the reason why I initially downloaded this, but with the return to more hectic teaching life on the horizon – this seemed the exact type of easy-going fiction I needed to latch onto and ground myself in. The narrator, Anna Cordell, did a spectacular job of voicing the different personalities and characters – it added that extra entertainment value which I don’t think I would have received from reading a physical version of the book for myself. Funny, heartwarming and unassumingly addictive I loved everything this audiobook had to offer!


Book: The Authenticity Project by Clare Pooley (Audiobook narrated by: Anna Cordell)
Genre: Fiction (Contemporary)
Publication Date: 29th December 2020
Publisher: Penguin / Transworld
Pages: 384 (Audiobook: 10hr 25min)
Rating: 📚📚📚📚

Synopsis (from Goodreads)

The story of a solitary green notebook that brings together six strangers and leads to unexpected friendship, and even love

Julian Jessop, an eccentric, lonely artist and septuagenarian believes that most people aren’t really honest with each other. But what if they were? And so he writes–in a plain, green journal–the truth about his own life and leaves it in his local café. It’s run by the incredibly tidy and efficient Monica, who furtively adds her own entry and leaves the book in the wine bar across the street. Before long, the others who find the green notebook add the truths about their own deepest selves–and soon find each other in real life at Monica’s café.

The Authenticity Project‘s cast of characters–including Hazard, the charming addict who makes a vow to get sober; Alice, the fabulous mommy Instagrammer whose real life is a lot less perfect than it looks online; and their other new friends–is by turns quirky and funny, heartbreakingly sad and painfully true-to-life. It’s a story about being brave and putting your real self forward–and finding out that it’s not as scary as it seems. In fact, it looks a lot like happiness.

The Authenticity Project is just the tonic for our times that readers are clamoring for–and one they will take to their hearts and read with unabashed pleasure.

My Musings

The Authenticity Project was a delightful book centred around a group of people who are all brought together due to ‘The Authenticity Project’. Julian, being in his senior years and struggling to cope with loneliness and a nostalgia for lost youth, writes his ‘authentic story’ in a green exercise book and leaves it in a café for someone to find and add to.
How well do you really know the people that you think you know?
The idea of the project is to confess your true self amongst its pages, rather than the half-truths or airs and graces you may put on in front of friends, family and colleagues – even those Insta followers…!

As the book winds its way through life, more and more characters get added to the narrative. I have to say this is one of the things I loved about the multi-POV story. New characters were introduced exactly when they needed to be – at the point in the story where they started to contribute something to the plot. Pooley’s way of doing this builds up the reader’s familiarity with them gradually rather than just needlessly dumping all of the characters in head-first at the start. It gave me time to get that reader/character relationship embedded and feel like I understood them – or at least as much as I could in a novel about how well we think we truly know the people around us.

I also found it quite rare that there wasn’t a single character I didn’t like!

Julian was so witty and charming. Monica went through a transformative arc which resonated with some of my own circumstances. Hazard was the roguish gentleman on a quest to turn his life around for the better. Riley added the laid-back Australian vibes encouraging others to take life as they find it. Alice added a viewpoint which would initially be seen as harsh and shockingly preposterous however also brings a refreshing realism to anyone struggling with her issues. I have to make a bonus mention for Anna Cordell’s accent for Mrs Wu – absolutely delightful and never failed to make me chuckle! All-in-all, they were a bunch of characters who could have all been plucked straight from the real-world and I grew quite fond of them throughout the whole course of the book.

For the most part, The Authenticity Project was completely predictable, albeit in a heart-warming and sentimental kind of way. Don’t get me wrong – there were a few added plot twists which took me by surprise (and one which made me gasp out loud as I was readying my classroom for the return of the children!). By the time the end came, I could have happily spent a few more chapters and hours just absorbing the general day-to-day lives that surround Monica’s café. Nevertheless, the ending itself gives the reader (and the characters) that closure they need whilst at the same time emphasising that the world doesn’t really just stop; real-life doesn’t really have a definitive ending – life goes on living from one day to the next.

With themes of friendship, love and loneliness – this novel about finding and owning your own authenticity then sharing it with the world was delightfully enjoyable. For a while, it practically transported me to the corner of a little café on the Fulham Road, where I could be a fly-on-the-wall of other people’s fictional lives. An easy-going, uplifting read with a group of loveable characters and fun-filled anecdotes. It definitely reminds you to focus on what is important in life and in this world where we can become so stressed and preoccupied with our jobs and the online/social media world, The Authenticity Project felt like an important reminder to spend some time switched off from all of that and get back to living again.

Why Should I Read This?

For a charming bunch of characters who wear their vulnerabilities on their sleeves.
For a unique concept and story which could quite easily be non-fiction rather than fiction.
For an endearing and loveably heartwarming story to lift and inspire you.

Find out more about this book here:

Amazon | Waterstones | Bookshop.org | Goodreads | Author’s Website |

Connect with me here:

Twitter | Goodreads | Book Sloth: @thebiblioshelf | Email: thebiblioshelf@gmail.com

Biblioshelf Musings – Good Omens

Yoohoo Bibliofriends,

After reading Atomic Habits by James Clear [review here] and deciding that I needed to try and listen to Audiobooks more, part of my new, determined habit-goals-self decided to listen to them each morning as I was getting ready to go to work. One of the first ones I started with was Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett.

I have been a long-time fan of Neil Gaiman and read a majority of his works but Terry Pratchett is totally new to me. As a massive fantasy fan, I know I should be trying to read more of his works as he is a large part of the genre. After listening to Good Omens, I’m definitely going to be investing more of my interest into his writing! It was so much fun!


Book: Good Omens by Neil Gaiman & Terry Pratchett (Audiobook) / Martin Jarvis (Narrator)
Genre: Fantasy
Publication Date: (First Published) May 1st 1990
Publisher: Harper Audio
Duration: 12 hours 33 minutes (approx.)
Rating: 📚📚📚📚📖

Synopsis (from Goodreads)

The world will end on Saturday. Next Saturday. Just before dinner, according to The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch, the world’s only completely accurate book of prophecies written in 1655. The armies of Good and Evil are amassing and everything appears to be going according to Divine Plan. Except that a somewhat fussy angel and a fast-living demon are not actually looking forward to the coming Rapture. And someone seems to have misplaced the Antichrist.

My Musings

Wow, wasn’t this one go the greatest audiobooks to get me back into the habit of listening to them?! First up, Martin Jarvis is an exceptional narrator. He gets so into the characters and his accents and voices were on-point! I definitely could have rated his part as 5 stars!

The in-jokes and humour that poured out of every chapter were hilarious. There were some really witty one-liners about politics or pop-culture and also some long-running jokes throughout the whole story – the Queen mix-tape and all of their equivalents was one of my favourites! In fact, I was so intrigued about all of the Queen references in the book that I did my own digging and found a new appreciation for it based on this article on Cinemablend (book spoilers if you click the link!).

I didn’t think I would really appreciate the humour in a fantasy-style book as there aren’t many books that I actually do find funny – perhaps I’m just not reading the right ones or perhaps it was the joys of this as an audiobook that made some of those jokes and quips stand out a lot more. It was definitely an interesting mix to have fantasy and comedy but I couldn’t think of two better authors who are well-equipped to bring that off.

The characters were well thought-out and created. For me Crowley and Aziraphale really steal he show as they bring the most action and quirkiness to the dialogue. Anathema Device also had a brilliant role to play in communicating the the prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch, to the reader – I’m officially adding that book to my TBR by the way! 😉

Favourite Quotes:

Just a selection as there are waaaaayyyy too many!

“DON’T THINK OF IT AS DYING,” said Death. “JUST THINK OF IT AS LEAVING EARLY TO AVOID THE RUSH.”

Aziraphale collected books. If he were totally honest with himself he would have to have admitted that his bookshop was simply somewhere to store them. He was not unusual in this. In order to maintain his cover as a typical second-hand book seller, he used every means short of actual physical violence to prevent customers from making a purchase. Unpleasant damp smells, glowering looks, erratic opening hours – he was incredibly good at it.

Hell is empty, and all the devils are here.

“It’s like you said the other day,” said Adam. “You grow up readin’ about pirates and cowboys and spacemen and stuff, and jus’ when you think the world’s full of amazin’ things, they tell you it’s really all dead whales and chopped-down forests and nucular waste hangin’ about for millions of years. ‘Snot worth growin’ up for, if you ask my opinion.” 

Why Should I Read This?

For the witty characters and their quips.
For a fresh uplift on the classic fantasy tale of angels, demons and the antichrist.
For the excellent audio skills of superb narrator, Martin Jarvis.


Have you read Good Omens? What is your favourite Neil Gaiman or Terry Pratchett book? As always, drop me a comment to chat!

T xx