Review: The Switch by Beth O’Leary

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Synopsis from Goodreads:

Eileen is sick of being 79.
Leena’s tired of life in her twenties.
Maybe it’s time they swapped places…

When overachiever Leena Cotton is ordered to take a two-month sabbatical after blowing a big presentation at work, she escapes to her grandmother Eileen’s house for some overdue rest. Eileen is newly single and about to turn eighty. She’d like a second chance at love, but her tiny Yorkshire village doesn’t offer many eligible gentlemen.

Once Leena learns of Eileen’s romantic predicament, she proposes a solution: a two-month swap. Eileen can live in London and look for love. Meanwhile Leena will look after everything in rural Yorkshire. But with gossiping neighbours and difficult family dynamics to navigate up north, and trendy London flatmates and online dating to contend with in the city, stepping into one another’s shoes proves more difficult than either of them expected.

Leena learns that a long-distance relationship isn’t as romantic as she hoped it would be, and then there is the annoyingly perfect – and distractingly handsome – school teacher, who keeps showing up to outdo her efforts to impress the local villagers. Back in London, Eileen is a huge hit with her new neighbours, but is her perfect match nearer home than she first thought?

Ever since reading The Flatshare, I have been anxious to see what Beth O’Leary would write next. I will admit I was a little underwhelmed with the synopsis for The Switch, but it ended up being such a sweet, enjoyable story. I’m going the list route on this one.

What I Liked

-I loved the small town where Eileen lives and Leena comes to stay. It was so cute and the quirky townspeople were the perfect cast of supporting characters. I loved them. I also loved Leena’s friends in London and how they so thoroughly accepted Eileen into their lives. All of the characters were so likable (except, of course, for the couple that aren’t supposed to be).

-I really liked that the older characters were given so much development. I think a lot of the time elderly characters in books that feature a younger generation are kind of caricatures instead of people.

-The romances weren’t quite as central as I expected them to be, but that ended up being ok. They were still very cute. I absolutely loved every single thing about Jackson. He’s a little too perfect to be realistic, but I don’t care. I also loved who Eileen ended up with.

-I really enjoyed the general atmosphere of family and community. I feel like so much of what we encounter today is rooted in hate and division and it was refreshing to see people of different walks of life come together, instead.

-As someone who often feels stuck in life, it was kind of inspiring to see both Leena and Eileen take charge of their lives and make positive changes. I thought both their character arcs were well done and I could’ve gone on reading much more about them.

What Didn’t Work for Me

-One thing that really brought the story down for me was Eileen’s relationship with Tod. She meets  him online and he basically tells her he’s not interested in a relationship, but just wants to sleep with her – non-exclusively – while she’s in London and she’s like ok, sounds fun. This isn’t a new concept or anything in Romance novels, but it’s never a plotline I like. It made me respect her a little less and it honestly didn’t add that much to the story for me. You know almost the whole time that she will end up with someone else and it was a little frustrating how long it took her to realize it.

-Leena’s boyfriend, Ethan, is barely a part of the story for most of the book. She barely even mentions him. It made her dramatics towards the end of the book seem a little out of of left field, to be honest.

-I liked that we got both Leena and Eileen’s POVs, but I didn’t think they needed to change every other chapter. Even though I liked both, I was always disappointed at the end of each chapter when it switched again. I think it would have been just as effective to give several chapters in a row to the same POV sometimes.

Overall

Overall, I really enjoyed The Switch. I loved the characters and the sense of community. I’ve been in a bit of a mood lately where I’ve had trouble finding books that keep my attention, but I found myself always looking forward to picking this story back up again. I’m definitely looking forward to whatever O’Leary writes next.

Overall Rating (out of 5): 4 Stars

WWW Wednesday: September 2, 2020

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WWW Wednesday is hosted by Taking on a World of Words.

What did you recently finish reading?

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The Switch by Beth O’Leary. I enjoyed this one. Look out for my short review next week.

What are you currently reading?

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The Nesting by C.J. Cooke. Honestly, I kind of feel like I’ve read this story so many times before. I’m not really into it and it might be DNF-ed.

The Rural Diaries by Hilarie Burton Morgan. I’m enjoying this so far. I was hoping for a little more One Tree Hill dirt, but I’m ok with the direction it’s gone instead.

What do you think you’ll read next?

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Yours to Keep (Man of the Year #2) by Lauren Layne. This just came out and it’s on KU.

What are you reading?

Reviewing the Unreviewed: August 2020

I read a lot of books that I don’t end up reviewing for whatever reason. Some because I wasn’t impressed. Some because I didn’t have the time. Some I just wasn’t feeling it on whatever particular day I finished. Reviewing the Unreviewed is my monthly post where I share my few thoughts on all the books I didn’t formally review.

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Tweet Cute by Emma Lord. Read August 1-3. 3 Stars.

This was cute, but I thought it drug on for a little too long. Right when I thought things were winding down, I realized I hadn’t even hit the halfway mark yet. I kind of hated Pepper’s mom right up until the last couple chapters when her motivation is finally explained. Even then, she just came across as petty. It also made me like Jack’s dad less, after he finally did something fatherly that I approved of. I also expected a lot more from the Twitter war. I didn’t really think most of the tweets were that funny. That said, I liked the relationship between Pepper and Jack. I thought they were sweet and this was one of the cleaner YA books I’ve read lately, which I appreciate. I’ll be interested in reading more from this author.

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The Silent Wife (Will Trent #10) by Karin Slaughter. Read August 10-13. 4 Stars.

A new Will Trent book is always amongst my most anticipated books of the year and The Silent Wife did not disappoint. I enjoyed the mystery, solid, procedural police work, and – as always – Will. The subject matter of the mystery is pretty intense and was often hard to read, but if you’ve read a Slaughter book before, you know to expect that. I enjoyed many aspects of the multiple timelines, but I have to say I wasn’t thrilled to be in Grant County. I still haven’t read that series, but there’s been several visits there during this series and I am always wary of having to deal with Lena again. This was my first look at Sarah’s former husband, Jeffrey, though. I have to say I wasn’t impressed with him. And I also wasn’t impressed with Sarah in this installment. Like, I’ve had issues with her here and there throughout the series, but I straight up disliked her until the final pages of the story. That said, I did like the ending and I’m looking forward to the next Will Trent book.

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The Trouble with Quarterbacks by R.S. Grey. Read August 10-15. 3 Stars. 

This one was just ok for me. The main character was pretty quirky. While I did like her, I also found her kind of annoying. I didn’t find Logan’s character very consistent. He vacillated between being really sweet and being alpha/controlling. I preferred when he was sweet. Definitely not my favorite book by this author.

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Varsity Tiebreaker (Varsity #2) by Ginger Scott. Read August 10-16. 3 Stars. 

Tory was my favorite thing about the previous book in this series, so I was excited to read more about him. While I still liked him, I was disappointed in him for most of the book. You would think that with how upset he was with his mother for cheating, he would do a little better than cheating with his brother’s girlfriend. I hate cheating and it really brought down my enjoyment of the book. I liked the family storylines a lot more than the romance and I wish there was more focus on that. I did like how Tory and Hayden’s relationship got back on track, though.

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Office Mate (Milford College #2) by Noelle Adams. Read August 17-18. 3 Stars. 

Ok, but not my favorite by this author. I thought the couple jumped into a physical relationship too fast. The dialogue during those scenes made me roll my eyes a lot, too. The ending was cute, though.

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Treasure (Hush Collection) by Oyinkan Braithwaite. Read August 18. 3 Stars. 

I was a big fan of My Sister, the Serial Killer, so I was excited to see that Braithwaite had another book out. The downside is that it’s not actually a full length book, but a 30 page short story. Even though I’m not really a fan of short stories/novellas, I found this interesting. I wish it had been a little longer so I could really get to know the characters better and the ending was a little too open for my liking, but no other books have been working for me lately, so maybe this is what I needed to get me out of my slump.

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Thicker Than Blood (Zoe Bentley #3) by Mike Omer. Read August 15-23. 4 Stars. 

It took me a little while to get into this, but eventually it hooked me. The mystery was interesting and it definitely took some turns I hadn’t expected, which I enjoyed. While the mystery was good, I could’ve used a little more character development with Zoe and Tatum. And there wasn’t enough Marvin. However, it broke me out of my book slump and I’ll look forward to the next book in this series.

*****Back on the TBR*****

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Once You Go This Far (Roxane Weary #3) by Kristen Lepionka. I was really looking forward to this, but I got about 10% in then didn’t pick it up again for over a week and just couldn’t get into it. It’s a physical library book and I’ve already renewed it once, so it’s going back to the library and I’ll try it again some other time.

*****DNF*****

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Rock Bottom Girl by Lucy Score. DNF @ 28%. I’ve heard such great things about this book, but it’s just not for me. I picked this up because I thought it was supposed to be a fake relationship story, but that hasn’t been mentioned at all so far. I also thought the love interest was horrible. He comes across so smug, he just makes my skin crawl. I couldn’t make myself read any more of this.

*****Books with Future Reviews Scheduled*****

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A Path to Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers and Karin Stock Buursma – 4 Stars

The Switch by Beth O’Leary – 4 Stars

WWW Wednesday: August 26, 2020

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WWW Wednesday is hosted by Taking on a World of Words.

What did you recently finish reading?

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Thicker Than Blood (Zoe Bentley #3) by Mike Omer. I FINALLY finished a book. It took me a bit to get into it, but I ended up enjoying it.

What are you currently reading?

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The Switch by Beth O’Leary. I’m not very far into this, but I’m enjoying it so far.

What do you think you’ll read next?

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The Nesting by C.J. Cooke. I need to get back to my ARCs and this one is next up.

What are you reading?

Top Ten Tuesday: Most Anticipated Book Releases for the First Half of 2020

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl, is: Most Anticipated Book Releases for the First Half of 2020.

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1. One of Us is Next (One of Us is Lying #2) by Karen M. McManus – January 7, 2020. I loved One of us is Lying and I’m hoping this is just as enjoyable.

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2. Lucky Caller by Emma Mills – January 14, 2020. Emma Mills is my favorite YA author and I’ve heard good things about this one so far.

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3. You Are Not Alone by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen – March 3, 2020. I loved The Wife Between Us, but was not super impressed with their second book. I’m hoping this one recaptures the magic of their first book.

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4. The Honey-Don’t List by Christina Lauren – March 24, 2020. I’ve enjoyed most of this author duo’s last several books and I have high hopes for this one.

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5. Little Secrets by Jennifer Hillier – April 21, 2020. I really loved Jar of Hearts and have been anxiously waiting for Hillier’s next book.

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6. The Split by Sharon Bolton – April 28, 2020. If Sharon Bolton writes it, I want to read it.

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7. He Started It by Samantha Downing – April 28, 2020.  I was so impressed with My Lovely Wife and I have been waiting for Downing’s next book! I also found out she’s coming to the area on book tour for this one and I have already registered for it!

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8. The Switch by Beth O’Leary – April 30, 2020. The Flatshare was one of my favorite books of 2019 and I’m hoping this one will be a favorite of 2020.

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9. My Calamity Jane (The Lady Janies #3) by The Lady Janies –  June 2, 2020. My Lady Jane is one of my all time favorite books, but My Plain Jane left me tremendously disappointed. I’m cautiously optimistic for the third book in the series.

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10.  The Heir Affair (The Royal We #2) by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan – June 16, 2020. The Royal We was a surprise hit for me and I was so excited to find out there was going to be a sequel.

What books are you looking forward to in the first half of 2020?

My Favorite Books of 2019

Yesterday I shared my most disappointing reads of 2019, and even though it was an overall disappointing year, I did read a few books I really loved. So, here are my favorite books of 2019.

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The Last Widow by Karin Slaughter

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In the Dark by Cara Hunter

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Dark Age by Pierce Brown

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Would Like to Meet by Rachel Winters

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Famous in a Small Town by Emma Mills

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The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary

What are some of your favorite books of 2019?

Mid-Year Book Freak Out Tag: 2019

I’ve seen this floating around lately and thought it was about time I did it, too.

Best Book You’ve Read Yet in 2019

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In the Dark (DI Adam Fawley #2) by Cara Hunter

Best Sequel You’ve Read So Far in 2019

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On Thin Ice (Juniper Falls #3) by Julie Cross

New Release You Haven’t Read Yet But Want To

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Hope and Other Punchlines by Julie Buxbaum. I actually just had this from the library, but didn’t get to it before it expired.

Most Anticipated Release for the Second Half of the Year.

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The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern.

Biggest Disappointment

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99 Percent Mine by Sally Thorne. After The Hating Game, I just expected so much more from Thorne’s next book.

Biggest Surprise

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The Mother-in-Law by Sally Hepworth. This was not at all what I thought it was going to be, but I still really enjoyed reading it.

Favorite New Author

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Beth O’Leary. I loved The Flatshare and can’t wait to read more form this author.

Newest Fictional Crush

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Tucker from Just one of the Groomsmen by Cindi Madsen.

Newest Favorite Character

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Rob from Call it What You Want by Brigid Kemmerer

Book That Made You Cry

I don’t think any book has so far.

Book That Made You Happy

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Huge Deal (21 Wall Street #3) by Lauren Layne. I wanted this story since reading the first book in the series.

Favorite Book to Film Adaptation

If I’ve seen any, I haven’t remembered them.

Favorite Post You Have Done This Year

My 2018 Recap post

Most Beautiful Book You’ve Bought This Year

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I think In the Dark is the only book I’ve bought myself this year, thus it’s the most beautiful.

What Books Do You Need to Read by the End of the Year

Basically everything on this post

Review: The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary

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Synopsis from GoodReads:

Tiffy and Leon share an apartment. Tiffy and Leon have never met.

After a bad breakup, Tiffy Moore needs a place to live. Fast. And cheap. But the apartments in her budget have her wondering if astonishingly colored mold on the walls counts as art.

Desperation makes her open minded, so she answers an ad for a flatshare. Leon, a night shift worker, will take the apartment during the day, and Tiffy can have it nights and weekends. He’ll only ever be there when she’s at the office. In fact, they’ll never even have to meet.

Tiffy and Leon start writing each other notes – first about what day is garbage day, and politely establishing what leftovers are up for grabs, and the evergreen question of whether the toilet seat should stay up or down. Even though they are opposites, they soon become friends. And then maybe more.

But falling in love with your roommate is probably a terrible idea…especially if you’ve never met.

What if your roommate is your soul mate? A joyful, quirky romantic comedy, Beth O’Leary’s The Flatshare is a feel-good novel about finding love in the most unexpected of ways.

I received a copy of this title via NetGalley. It does not impact my review.

The Flatshare will be available May 28, 2019. 

The Flatshare is a super cute and fun debut and I really enjoyed it!

I thought the odd flatshare arrangement was really unique. Since Tiffy and Leon work different shifts and Leon is always away on the weekends, their paths never need to cross – and Leon’s jealous girlfriend will make sure of it. However, they still need to communicate to each other sometimes and they start leaving each other notes. As time goes on, the notes go more from business to personal. I really enjoyed the notes and how their relationship develops. It’s several months before they do actually meet in person (in spectacularly awkward fashion) and I loved how it developed further from there, as well. Their banter was funny and quirky and I completely shipped them.

I really thought all the characters were well done. I loved Tiffy’s group of friends and the different perspectives they brought to the story. I also liked Leon’s brother who managed to still be a point of lightness in the story, even though he was going through some awful stuff. I even thought Justin, Tiffy’s abusive ex-boyfriend, was well done – though obviously I hated him. While they were sometimes a little over-the-top, all the characters came off as real and relatable and I enjoyed reading about them, even when it didn’t feel like a lot was going on at times.

The story isn’t all fun and romance, though. There are a couple of really heavy topics woven throughout the book. Leon’s brother, Richie, is in jail for a crime he claims he didn’t commit and Leon has been working tirelessly to get him an appeal. Tiffy is dealing with trying to break free of her psychologically and emotionally abuse ex-boyfriend who keeps popping back up. It seems I’ve read a lot of books lately with this particular plot line and while I’m happy that such a prevalent and important topic is being addressed more often, it is really hard for me to read. It’s hard to not get frustrated with the person being abused because it’s so obvious what has been happening and it’s hard to understand how that person doesn’t see it. I did really appreciate Tiffy’s journey, though.

There were a couple things I didn’t love, though. The chapters from Leon’s point of view had kind of a weird narrative and structure. Leon is a really quiet guy and doesn’t use any more words than absolutely necessary. Dialogue was also presented more like a script than with “he said/she said” format. It took a long time to get used to how his chapters were written.  It was a little off-putting at first, but eventually I kind of stopped noticing it. Also, while it never got super graphic, there was more focus on sex than I prefer in my books. And though it doesn’t take up much of the story at all, there are a few mentions of American politics that I didn’t love. I read fiction to get away from all the craziness of real life. And doesn’t Europe have enough of their own problems to talk about instead of bringing the US into it?

Overall, I really enjoyed The Flatshare. I loved the characters and the humor and the romance. Even though there were some heavy topics, I really enjoyed almost every moment of the book. I thought it was a very impressive debut and it’s a book I know I will read again.

Overall Rating (out of 5): 4 Stars

 

Reviewing the Unreviewed: January 2019

I read a lot of books that I don’t end up reviewing for whatever reason. Some because I wasn’t impressed. Some because I didn’t have the time. Some I just wasn’t feeling it on whatever particular day I finished. Reviewing the Unreviewed is my monthly post where I share my few thoughts on all the books I didn’t formally review.

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Slow Dance in Purgatory (Purgatory #1) by Amy Harmon. Read December 29 – January 2. 3 Stars.

This was not my favorite Harmon book. I liked the characters and the premise was interesting enough, I just couldn’t really get into it. I’ll read the next book, but I’m not in a bug hurry to do so.

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Murder on the Orient Express (Hercule Poirot #10) by Agatha Christie. Read January 3-5. 4 Stars. 

My first Agatha Christie novel and I will definitely need to read more from her. I really enjoyed the writing style. The mystery was good, the characters were fun, and I was not expecting at all how funny it was. It did drag a little bit here and there for me, but I love how all the mundane details ended up being important as everything was revealed at the end.

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Uprooted by Naomi Novik. Read January 6-10. 3 Stars. 

I think I am just not really a fan of these type of books anymore. I really enjoyed reading about the characters in this, but everything else was so “meh” for me. I didn’t really care that much about the magic or the Wood or the fighting or the ENDLESS description. I was going to give this a lower rating, but I’m bumping it up to three stars because I think this is mostly a case of “it’s me, not you.”

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Two Can Keep a Secret by Karen M. McManus. Read January 10-12. 4 Stars. 

Though I didn’t like this one quite as much as McManus’ previous book, I still really enjoyed it. I liked the characters and the small town setting. While the very first person I suspected did end up being the killer, I did suspect a couple other options throughout the story and there was one unrelated twist that I hadn’t suspected, so I liked that. This was definitely a fun book and I look forward to whatever this author writes next.

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A Killer’s Mind (Zoe Bentley Mystery #1) by Mike Omer. Read January 12-14. 4 Stars. 

I liked this. I thought it was well-plotted, had likable characters, and was sometimes funny. The writing was pretty good, but there were a few parts here and there where the dialogue felt a little off. However, I enjoyed it all enough to give this four stars and would definitely be interested in reading the next book in the series.

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House of Secrets by Lowell Cauffiel. Read January 14-19. 3 Stars.

This was definitely a hard book to read. I’ve heard mention of the Sexton family a lot over the years, as this all happened close to where I live, but I never really knew the details. It is a horrifying story of abuse, incest, murder, and paranoia. I just felt so awful for the poor kids of this family and everything they were subjected to. As for the book itself, it felt a little disjointed and a lot of the details, especially earlier on, didn’t seem necessary. I don’t actually read a lot of true crime, so I’m not sure if the way a lot of this just seemed like conjecture is normal of the genre.

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Hotshot Doc by R.S. Grey. Read January 21-22. 4 Stars.

Despite a few too graphic scenes, I really enjoyed this book. I had kind of decided this author wasn’t for me, but since I currently have Kindle Unlimited I decided to give her another try. I started one book and took a hard pass after the first chapter and decided I would just try out this one before returning them, but then I couldn’t put it down. I really liked both the main characters and how their relationship developed. I also really loved Bailey’s sister, Josie. I thought the end was a little too rushed, but overall it was cute and addictive and really fed my Contemporary craving.

*****Books with Future Reviews Scheduled*****

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On Thin Ice (Juniper Falls #3) by Julie Cross – 4 Stars

Romancing His Rival (Accidentally Yours #3) by Jennifer Shirk – 3.5 Stars

The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary – 4 Stars

Top 5 Wednesday: ARCs on the Top of My TBR

This week’s Top 5 Wednesday, hosted by the Goodreads group, is: Top of Your TBR. I’ve adapted it a little bit to ARCs on the Top of my TBR.

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1. What the Wind Knows by Amy Harmon. After trying to catch up on all of Harmon’s backlist, I’ve discovered a couple of her books are ones that I don’t really care for, so I’m just a little nervous about this since historical fiction isn’t really my thing anymore. But I do have faith that even if it’s not my favorite Harmon book, it will still be good.

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2. Fumbled (Playbook #2) by Alexa Martin. Intercepted was a surprise hit for me, so even though this book has some tropes that are not my favorite, I’m still very excited to read it.

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3. The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary. This book just very recently got on my radar and it sounds right up my alley. I love stories that involve notes/texts/e-mails.

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4. Passion on Park Avenue (Central Park Pact #1) by Lauren Layne. I am always excited to read a Lauren Layne book and I have high hopes for this one. I actually read a review that was complaining that the love scenes were not as graphic as other Layne books have been, but that’s a really big plus in my book and made me even more interested in it.

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5. The Escape Room by Megan Goldin. I’ve seen a lot of hype for this one and I’m really hoping it lives up to expectations.

What books are on the top of your TBR?