#Friday56 – Beach Read

Happy FriYAY Bibliofriends!

This week’s Friday 56 comes from Beach Read by Emily Henry – It was the most perfect bookish hangover cure to drag me out of my reading slump.

Hosted by Freda’s Voice, the Friday 56 is a weekly bookish prompt. It’s quite easy to do and could cover no end of different books and genres so seems great if you’re looking for a quick snippet to discover something new!

Rules:

*Grab a book, any book.
*Turn to page 56 or 56% in your eReader (If you have to improvise, that’s ok.)
*Find any sentence, (or few, just don’t spoil it)
*Post it.
*Add your (url) post here in Linky. Add the post url, not your blog url.
*It’s that simple.


Red, White Russians, and Blue Book Club.
I, January Andrews, romance writer, and literary wunderkind Augustus Everett had stumbled into a book club trafficking primarily in spy novels. It took some effort to stifle my laughter, and even then I didn’t do an amazing job.

This book. I loved so many things about it: the homage to writers suffering from writers’ block, the witty banter and rivalry between Gus and January, the heartbreaking way the characters journey through their inner demons, many, many things. You really should read it! You can check out my full, spoiler-free review here.


Drop me a comment below or connect with me here:

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

Biblioshelf Musings – Beach Read by Emily Henry

Good morning Bibliofriends,

Beach Read was exactly the type of hangover cure I needed to get me out of my 2-week reading slump. It almost comes across as two sides of a coin – funny, yet deep; romantic, yet heartbreaking – one moment you’re wanting to put yourself in January’s shoes, the next you’re glad you don’t have to live through the bereavement she’s had to face. Then on top of all that – there’s the homage to books, writing and the added bonus of practically reading books within a book. It was an utter delight from start to finish.


Book: Beach Read by Emily Henry
Genre: Romance
Publication Date: May 18th 2020
Publisher: Penguin
Pages: 361
Rating: 📚📚📚📚

Synopsis (from Goodreads)

He doesn’t believe in happy endings.
She’s lost her faith that they exist.
But could they find one together?


January is a hopeless romantic who likes narrating her life as if she’s the heroine in a blockbuster movie.
Augustus is a serious literary type who thinks true love is a fairy-tale.
January and Augustus are not going to get on.

But they actually have more in common than you’d think:

They’re both broke.
They’ve got crippling writer’s block.
They need to write bestsellers before the end of the summer.

The result? A bet to see who can get their book published first.
The catch? They have to swap genres.
The risk? In telling each other’s stories, their worlds might be changed entirely… 

My Musings

What made me read Beach Read? I needed a break from all of the witchy, spooky fiction and folklore I had consumed myself with over the past month. That, coupled with the fact that I wanted to cling on to those last glorious rays of summer – Beach Read seemed to offer me exactly that.

This may sound odd (complete book rambling – apologies), but the first thing I had to contend with when starting ‘Beach Read’ was that I had shamefully I knowanticipated a chick-litty rom-com taking place on a far-off tropical paradise of a popular holiday destination, when actually the novel takes place around a quaint town on the shores of Lake Michigan. Having not visited anywhere outside of Disneyworld and living in a leafy, hilly area of the UK, nearby lakes and bodies of water are nowhere near the size comparison of the type of Great Lakes in the US and Canada so I had to adjust my perception of the type of beach read I’d be reading. Chick-litty, it was not… Holiday destination, it also was not… 

January starts off by not wanting to even be at the beach house but with the introduction of next-door-neighbour-also-author Gus, Pete and Maggie (Sapphic couple), owners of a café/bookshop, we gradually get let in to the life of North Bear Shores and all of the adventures that await our protagonist. I grew to love this bunch of characters; the way they look out for each other, the stories that give us deeper insight into their histories – it was almost Goldilocks style ‘just-right’ perfection. 

The plot centres, quite brilliantly, around two authors suffering from writers’ block and the bet they enter into to embark on research trips benefitting the other’s genre and writing style. This leads to some of the most memorable, funny and moving parts of the novel. The balance between what constitutes literary fiction and what makes up the romance genre gradually get explored; the lines between them becoming blurred as two authors find their inspiration from each other and learn to face their own personal demons at the same time. A book about writers writing their novels – what more could a book-loving, aspiring author want to read?!

And then there’s the romance – my heart and stomach was swooping and diving the whole way through (and it isn’t often that books like this will do that to me). I was absolutely rooting for Gus and January – every obstacle that got in the way had me screaming at them with my silent reading megaphone in my head – two battered souls helping each other heal… It was steamy, it was heartbreaking, it was tender; but what’s more, it was real, believable and so entirely relatable which is probably why my bookish soul became so entangled with it.

I wanted to live through January and put myself in her shoes – until Emily Henry skilfully brings you back to earth and plays the dysfunctional family card. It is a truth universally acknowledged, that there is no such thing as an entirely happy family. Each one has their own vices, demons and secrets which are lived through behind closed doors. January Andrews is no different and learning the truth of her father’s actions and motivations, why things were the way they were was the big mountain she was trying to face. The tentative, nostalgic way she finally confronts this towards the end of the novel, is the part which gave me tiny tears rolling down my face whilst trying to read. It’s a stark reminder that the flip-side of love is sometimes loss and on a really personal level it harkened to my greatest fear of losing the people I love the most. That balance between joyfully finding love whilst going through the devastation of bereavement was so beautifully handled, written and dealt with. I think that’s why I was so thoroughly surprised by how much I enjoyed and cherished this book.

Favourite Quotes:

Happy endings don’t matter if the getting there sucks.

It didn’t take inspiration to dredge up a list of plot points, but to find that moment – the perfect moment that defined a book, that made it come alive as something greater than the sum of its words – that required an alchemy you couldn’t fake.

No matter how much shit, there will always be wildflowers.

We can never fully know the people we love. When we lose them, there will always be more we could have seen.

The only promise you ever had in life was the one moment you were living.

Why Should I Read This?

For a swoon worthy, heart-fluttering romance.
For the tender balance between love, loss and facing our inner demons.
For the homage to writers and books which bounces off the pages.

This is a bookishly great romance novel which goes deeper than your average ‘chick-lit’ style aspects of the genre. It’s an incredibly moving story with two highly relatable characters on their quest to get their mojo back. I loved it!

Find out more about this book here:

Amazon | Penguin| Author’s Instagram | Waterstones

Connect with me here:

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

Biblioshelf Musings – The Shadows Between Us

Howdy Bibliofriends!

This was my first time reading anything by Tricia Levenseller and if it’s anything to go by then it definitely won’t be the last time I read anything by her!

I received The Shadows Between Us in the Feb 2020 FairyLoot Rulebreakers box and can definitely see how this book fitted into the brief. Neither Alessandra or the Shadow King play by the rules or conform to convention. Billed as a Slytherin Romance I was expecting lots of sneaking, cunning and trickery throughout this book – let’s just say, it did not disappoint!


Book: The Shadows Between Us by Tricia Levenseller
Genre: Fantasy, Romance (YA)
Publication Date: 25th Feb 2020
Publisher: Feiwel and Friends [FairyLoot Exclusive]
Pages: 326
Rating: 📚📚📚📚

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Alessandra is tired of being overlooked, but she has a plan to gain power:
1) Woo the Shadow King.
2) Marry him.
3) Kill him and take his kingdom for herself.
No one knows the extent of the freshly crowned Shadow King’s power. Some say he can command the shadows that swirl around him to do his bidding. Others say they speak to him, whispering the thoughts of his enemies. Regardless, Alessandra knows what she deserves, and she’s going to do everything within her power to get it.
But Alessandra’s not the only one trying to kill the king. As attempts on his life are made, she finds herself trying to keep him alive long enough for him to make her his queen—all while struggling not to lose her heart. After all, who better for a Shadow King than a cunning, villainous queen?


“They’ve never found the body of the first and only boy who broke my heart.
And they never will.
I buried Hektor Galanis in a hole so deep, even the devils of the earth couldn’t reach him.”

When your protagonist introduces the book with these lines, you know you’re going to be dealing with someone who oozes sass and feistiness. Alessandra absolutely delivered on this – imagine Downton Abbey’s Lady Mary mixed in with dash of Bellatrix Estrange and a hint of Anne Boleyn… that’s your girl!

Her determination to reach her goal was relentless and nobody was about to foil her plans no matter how powerful or what role they had at court; ‘hell hath no fury’ and all that…!

I enjoyed the change in Alessandra’s character as parts of her plan had to evolve and things didn’t necessarily go her way. She had to undergo a transformation of getting over past hurts and learning the art of compromise and teamwork. Although Alessandra’s personality comes across to the reader through narration and interactions with other characters, it also comes through in the way that she dresses.

Clothing in particular plays a huge role in this story. I love the way Levenseller picked one element of her world to focus on as the main source of description throughout. Rather than write huge chunks describing, castles, towns and kingdoms, Levenseller shows the reader the vibrancy and attitude of the Shadow King’s court through fashion. In a way, this was a brilliant move. I am a massive fan of world building and would happily read a book with an extra 150 pages just so I can get a clearer picture in my mind of the way the author wants us to view their creative universe – but to see the way in which changes at court or in people’s emotions/feelings were reflected through what they were wearing added a decadent feeling to the whole narrative. This also echoes the importance of fashion and clothing throughout history. Think back to Tudor times when certain colours and materials were only available to those with the right money for dyes and textiles; then fast-forward to the present day and think of how haute-couture is only available to those who can afford the price-tag or garner the right publicity and influence.

The plot-line was a relatively simple one to follow and with most of the narrative being dialogue, it really helped to speed up the pace of the novel and digest what was going on. In true Slytherin style, the amount of deceptions and variety of motivations from different characters helped to keep me guessing who was actually trustworthy right until the very end – but even then I didn’t think the ending would necessarily be as simple as it was.

If you like your romances with a hint of black magic, then The Shadows Between Us would probably be right up your street. This was a wickedly dark, entrancing read which had me gripped right from the first page. It is filled with secrets, court politics and a romance developed from deception. I enjoyed the way that Alessandra was a woman championing her equal rights and standing up for herself and what she believed in. She came across as a woman with ambition who was willing to work her ass off to get there, rather than stomp around pouting with a sense of entitlement. The romance between her and the Shadow King is one of my new favourite relationships from the fictional world – they are so well-suited to each other and I’m a little gutted that there isn’t a sequel just so I can see what happens next.


Have you read The Shadows Between Us? Would you recommend any other Tricia Levenseller books? What other Hogwarts House romance are you craving in your bookish lives? As always, drop me a comment to chat! 🙂

T xx

#Friday56 – The Flatshare

Happy FriYAY Bibliofriends!

This week’s Friday 56 is from The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary. A really endearing story about how love finds itself in the most unconventional of ways.

Hosted by Freda’s Voice, the Friday 56 is a weekly bookish prompt. It’s quite easy to do and could cover no end of different books and genres so seems great if you’re looking for a quick snippet to discover something new!

Rules:

*Grab a book, any book.
*Turn to page 56 or 56% in your eReader (If you have to improvise, that’s ok.)
*Find any sentence, (or few, just don’t spoil it)
*Post it.
*Add your (url) post here in Linky. Add the post url, not your blog url.
*It’s that simple.


 

IMG_1616

This book was incredibly fun and if this little sneak peek has inspired you to find out more about The Flatshare or pick up the book for yourself then feel free to check out my review of it here: Biblioshelf Musings – The Flatshare.


Have a great weekend everyone! As always, leave me your Friday 56 links or drop me a comment below to chat.

T xx

Biblioshelf Musings – The Flatshare

Hi Bibliofriends,

I recently read The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary. I kept hearing about this book across the blogging and social media world so when I came across it for 99p on iBooks, I decided to take a punt on it.

Synopsis [from Goodreads]
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…


Book: The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary
Genre: Romance, Contemporary, Fiction
Publication Date: 10th April 2019
Publisher: Quercus
Pages: 400
Rating: 📚📚📚

This read was the perfectly relaxing, light-hearted novel I needed. I really like the uniqueness of Tiffy’s and Leon’s situation – even though they share the flat (and the bed) there is a strict no-meeting clause in their arrangements as they work and use the flat at alternating times. The little notes they leave behind for each other, even though they have never met, allows the reader to discover more about each character as their stories unfold. The dual narrative also compliments this perfectly – Leon has his own way of speaking by omitting some pronouns or determiners; it really does resemble the thought processes of (some) men and their actions/reactions to events happening around them. I like how Tiffy wasn’t the standard tall, thin, beautiful heroine yet also not a token of an overweight person trying to break the mould of literature. She was real, normal and so relatable (apart from her height, she’d definitely tower over me!). Her beauty came from both inside and out, and she wasn’t afraid to show off her passion for home-altered clothing and fashion.

Beneath the heart-warming tale of two people finding each other amongst their distinctive living arrangements is the story of both the dark and light sides of love. Proving that love traverses time and generations, Leon looks after an elderly gentleman called Mr. Prior and helps him to try and track down the long-lost love of his life and fellow war comrade Johnny White. This is paralleled against Tiffy’s past relationship with ex-boyfriend Justin and the traumas that she was faced with after her perception of their relationship drastically changed and she realises what Justin was truly like.  Then there is Richie, Leon’s brother who is facing an appeal for being wrongly arrested and incriminated – he adds a humorous element to the novel and allows for the theme of justice to thread throughout the tale. Not forgetting Gerty, Mo and Rachel who all contribute and add their own fun dynamics.

Beth O’Leary created such a wonderful mix of characters which I grew to be fond of and enjoyed spending literary time with. The Flatshare brought me humour, joy and a sense that even the most painful and vulnerable memories can be overcome with the right people around you to help. It also gave me my new, perfect dieting excuse… upper arm “cake weight”, which has inspired me to also come up with forearm gin weight, upper thigh chocolate weight, lower calf Doritos weight and ankle pizza weight – albeit perhaps not the healthiest influence I’ve ever taken from a novel!


Have you read The Flatshare? Do you have the perfect dieting excuse like Tiffy’s? As always, drop me a comment to chat!

T xx