Book Review: The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary

The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary
Rating: ★★★★☆
Links: Amazon • TBD • Goodreads
Publication Date: April 10, 2019
Source: Borrowed

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…

I think I’ve seen about 12,000 positive reviews of The Flatshare, but it took me a while to pick it up because I just couldn’t wrap my mind around how this flatshare thing would work. I know, I know, if I’d just read the book right away, my question would have been answered. But it just seemed so weird! Strangers sharing a bed? But not meeting? What?

Well, this turned out to be a very good book. After the first couple chapters, the whole flatshare/bedshare thing seemed perfectly normal. I loved watching Tiffy and Leon’s relationship develop through little notes they left for each other. That was so cute! But this book isn’t just fluff. There’s plenty of darker content in it, which I wasn’t really expecting, but it was handled really well and felt very realistic.

Both Tiffy and Leon were really likable characters. Tiffy, a generally upbeat and quirky person, has to come to terms with the fact that her last relationship was incredibly unhealthy and emotionally abusive. Leon, a quiet, laid-back nurse, is trying to help his wrongfully imprisoned brother as much as he can. The two of them together make an unlikely pair, but the support they give each other (if only through short handwritten notes) was so heartwarming.

The book is very, very slow burn. Most of the book goes by without Tiffy and Leon ever meeting, but their eventual meeting and the development of their relationship was so worth it.

I can’t wait to get my hands on The Switch, O’Leary’s next book.

Have you read The Flatshare? What’s the last book you read that lived up to the hype?
Let’s talk in the comments!

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Mini-Reviews: Dumplin’ & Puddin’ by Julie Murphy

Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy
Rating: ★★★★☆
Links: Amazon • TBD • Goodreads
Publication Date: September 15, 2015
Source: Borrowed

Self-proclaimed fat girl Willowdean Dickson (dubbed “Dumplin’” by her former beauty queen mom) has always been at home in her own skin. Her thoughts on having the ultimate bikini body? Put a bikini on your body. With her all-American beauty best friend, Ellen, by her side, things have always worked…until Will takes a job at Harpy’s, the local fast-food joint. There she meets Private School Bo, a hot former jock. Will isn’t surprised to find herself attracted to Bo. But she is surprised when he seems to like her back.

Instead of finding new heights of self-assurance in her relationship with Bo, Will starts to doubt herself. So she sets out to take back her confidence by doing the most horrifying thing she can imagine: entering the Miss Clover City beauty pageant—along with several other unlikely candidates—to show the world that she deserves to be up there as much as any twiggy girl does. Along the way, she’ll shock the hell out of Clover City—and maybe herself most of all.

With starry Texas nights, red candy suckers, Dolly Parton songs, and a wildly unforgettable heroine—Dumplin’ is guaranteed to steal your heart.

Because of the hype, I managed to avoid Dumplin‘ for a good four years. I’m always scared when I go on Goodreads and out of 38 friend reviews, the average is four stars. But after enjoying Julie Murphy’s middle-grade novel Dear Sweet Pea, I decided to suck it up and get on with it, and I’m so glad I did. Dumplin’ ended up being so much better than I’d expected!

I think, above all else, Dumplin’ is a really inspirational novel. Willowdean knows that she’s fat, and she knows that it doesn’t make her undesirable. She’s had it with society’s ideas that she should be ashamed of her body or try to hide. But that doesn’t mean that she never gets self-conscious. I felt like, while definite inspiration, Willowdean’s feelings about her body were also really realistic.

The romance I could honestly take or leave. The majority of the book is spent in this weird love triangle that I really could have done without. Still, the end relationship was very cute and I don’t really have any complaints about it, once it’s finally settled.

I ended up liking Dumplin’ so much more than I’d expected and now I just feel like I need to watch the adaptation.

Puddin’ by Julie Murphy
Rating: ★★★★☆
Links: Amazon • TBD • Goodreads
Publication Date: May 18, 2018
Source: Borrowed

It is a companion novel to Dumplin’, which follows supporting characters from the first book in the months after Willowdean’s star turn in the Clover City pageant.

Millie Michalchuk has gone to fat camp every year since she was a girl. Not this year. This year she has new plans to chase her secret dream—and to kiss her crush. Callie Reyes is the pretty girl who is next in line for dance team captain and has the popular boyfriend. But when it comes to other girls, she’s more frenemy than friend. When circumstances bring the girls together over the course of a semester, they will surprise everyone (especially themselves) by realizing they might have more in common than they ever imagined. 

Shortly after finishing Dumplin’, I decided I might as well read its companion novel, Puddin’, which features one of Willowdean’s pageant buddies.

I was immediately skeptical of this book because of how much I disliked Callie from the beginning. She’s portrayed as a really self-centered person who feels like the rules shouldn’t apply to her. She’s brash, she’s blunt, and she’s flat-out rude a lot of the time. Luckily, the book focuses a lot on Callie’s personal growth, which made most of that awful behavior worth it. Millie, as always, was great. I really felt for her and wanted her to achieve her goals. The main conflict between Millie and Callie was a little drawn out, but that’s pretty much my only criticism with this book.

Honestly, both Dumplin‘ and Puddin‘ were unexpectedly great and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend either one.

Have you read either of these books? Are they on your TBR?
Let’s talk in the comments!

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Weekly Update

In case you missed it, here are this week’s blog posts:

I’ve been reading:

Recently acquired:

1 thing this week:

  • We got approximately three snow flurries on Thursday, so my office building had a delayed opening on Friday and several people decided they’d rather work from home. So different from anywhere else I’ve lived. (Though, honestly, if I could do my current project from home, I might have taken the excuse to stay in my pajamas and pet my cat all day.)

Song of the week:

How was your week? What’s the best thing you read or listened to? Anything interesting happening in your life? Let’s talk in the comments!

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Book Review: The Lost Hero by Rick Riordan

The Lost Hero by Rick Riordan
Series: The Heroes of Olympus #1
Rating: ★★★☆☆
Links: AmazonTBD • Goodreads
Publication Date: October 12, 2010
Source: Borrowed

Jason has a problem.
He doesn’t remember anything before waking up in a bus full of kids on a field trip. Apparently he has a girlfriend named Piper, and a best friend named Leo. They’re all students at a boarding school for “bad kids.” What did Jason do to end up here? And where is here, exactly?

Piper has a secret.
Her father has been missing for three days, ever since she had that terrifying nightmare about his being in trouble. Piper doesn’t understand her dream, or why her boyfriend suddenly doesn’t recognize her. When a freak storm hits during the school trip, unleashing strange creatures and whisking her, Jason, and Leo away to someplace called Camp Half-Blood, she has a feeling she’s going to find out.

Leo has a way with tools.
When he sees his cabin at Camp Half-Blood, filled with power tools and machine parts, he feels right at home. But there’s weird stuff, too—like the curse everyone keeps talking about, and some camper who’s gone missing. Weirdest of all, his bunkmates insist that each of them—including Leo—is related to a god. Does this have anything to do with Jason’s amnesia, or the fact that Leo keeps seeing ghosts?

I checked out The Lost Hero shortly after finishing The Lightning Thief, mostly because I’d heard this was a more interesting series that I might like a little more. And I did like it a little more, but did I love it? No.

To start, I was just confused at the beginning of this book. I knew it was a new series with new characters, but then Annabeth showed up! And she started referencing all these things that I assume are spoilers for the Percy Jackson series! Everyone’s worried about Percy and where he went! I thought this was a new series. It was a little unexpected, but I adjusted my expectations.

I think that the biggest problem I had with this book was that it’s 557 pages and hardly anything happens. Jason, Piper, and Leo run around on their quest, encountering all of these gods and characters from various myths, but I don’t really feel like I got 557 pages of plot. And that’s not to say that it’s a bad book or anything. Riordan is setting up three brand new characters, all with their own backstories and problems and goals, but yikes, I hope the rest of the series is more interesting than this book.

I really want to love Rick Riordan’s books, but I just don’t so far. I might give Son of Neptune a try, but I’m going to get through some more of my TBR first.

#mm20: winter wonderland

Have you read The Lost Hero? Is it on your TBR?
Let’s talk in the comments!

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Tag: Bob’s Burgers Book Tag

I saw Rebecca do this tag a few months ago and I had to steal it! Bob’s Burgers is one of my favorite shows and this tag looked like so much fun!

This tag was created by Anna from Unquenchable Reads and Sabrina from Slaybrina.

Bob Belcher: A book in which everything that could go wrong, goes wrong.

Save the Date is basically a comedy of errors. Anything and everything goes wrong at this wedding, and it’s great.

Linda Belcher: A book that showcases a positive outlook on life.

In The One Hundred Nights of Hero, Cherry and Hero never give up on their goal to save Cherry from her wicked husband’s games.

Tina Belcher: A book that gave you second-hand embarrassment.

I was mostly embarrassed that this book was even published.

Gene Belcher: A book you got easily distracted from reading.

It took me forever to read Wild Beauty because I kept getting distracted. The writing style was super flowery and the mystery wasn’t enough to keep me interested in the story.

Louise Belcher: A book that features crazy adventures.

The Babysitters Coven ended up being way more adventure-focused than I’d anticipated!

If you love Bob’s Burgers, I tag you! What’s a book that gave you second-hand embarrassment? What’s a book you got distracted while reading? Let’s talk in the comments?

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