ARC Review: The Switch by Beth O’Leary

#-stars
Overall Rating: 3 Stars
Title: The Switch
Author: Beth O’Leary
Format: Audiobook provided by Netgalley in Exchange for an Honest Review

Synopsis:
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?

GOODREADS

Review

This book was much more of a Women’s Fiction book than I was expecting.

I think people who really enjoy Women’s Fiction will really like this, however, if you tend to lean more toward Romance than Women’s Fiction, you may have the same feelings I had while reading this.

The premise is cute and it’s done well, however, I do wish the romance was more prevalent because, well, I’m a romance reader at heart. Because there wasn’t a strong enough romance storyline in this to keep my attention, I found myself getting bored as I listened. I even almost DNF’d this a few times.

For fans of the Flat Share, you may still enjoy this book, however, if the thing you liked the most about The Flat Share was the romance, this may not live up to your expectations as it did for me. One of the biggest things I enjoyed about The Flat Share was the romance and while I appreciated all of the other aspects of that book, it was the romance that I liked the most.

As for the audiobook narration. I did notice some inconsistencies with the phone dialog. Sometimes the person on the other line had a filter over their voice (as if you were listening to them through a phone), but sometimes they didn’t. I think this may have just been an oversight in the ARC copy I listened to and will likely be corrected in the final edit of the audiobook.

I really liked the narrator Leena, she was fantastic. And while the narrator for Eileen was a great voice actor, I’m very sensitive to mouth noises/sounds, and she had some that began to grate on me as I was listening.

Overall, I thought this book was good, but not great and was slightly disappointed considering my expectations after reading The Flat Share.


Audiobook Performance: 4 stars

4-stars


Butterfly Rating: 0 Stars

0-stars


Re-read Worthiness: No


Bookshelf Placement: No


Book Boyfriend Rating: 2 stars

2-stars

 

 

 

Vincent Ehindero Award

I was tagged by Mybookworld24.

Here are the rules:

  • Thank the blogger who nominated you and provide a link to their blog.
  • Post the award logo.
  • Post the rules.
  • Nominate up to 10-30 other bloggers and notify them.
  • Notify Vincent of your nomination, via comment.
  • After notifying Vincent, he’ll check out your blog, follow and give you your unique award for the good work on your blog.
  • Ask 5-10 questions of your choice.

Alex’s Questions:

What gave you the push to start blogging?
I was really active on Goodreads and I decided that I wanted to talk about books in other ways aside from just reviews, so I did a little research and created this blog!

Of course now I’m not great about being active on Goodreads anymore. Womp.

Are you proud of the progress you’ve made so far?
Yep! Though, BookTube/Bookstagram are where I’m most active these days.

Where do you see yourself in the next five years (blogging or personal life)?
Honestly? Probably (and hopefully) the same place. I’m pretty content with where I am and what I’m doing.

What’s your post frequency?
I used to post daily, but like I said, BookTube has kind of taken over for me, so I decided to change my posting to 3-4x per week. I post 3 videos per week on BookTube and I post on Bookstagram daily.

Where do most of your views come from?
Honestly, it’s been so long since I’ve looked at my analytics! TBH views were never what it was about for me. I mostly just wanted to connect with fellow romance readers.

How many friends have you made from blogging?
From blogging? Not many. But, I’ve made quite a few from Bookstagram and BookTube!

Do you ever regret any of your posts?
Nope!

What are your favourite blog posts to write?
I like doing tags like this and wrap-ups.

What blog posts to you like to read from others? (etc. reviews, tags, hauls)
I love recs and personal posts!

Would you ever consider monetizing your blog?
Eh.

 

I tag whoever wants to do it!

 

What You Wish For by Katherine Center

3-stars
Overall Rating: 3 Stars
Title: What You Wish For
Author: Katherine Center
Format: Audiobook provided by Netgalley in exchange for an honest review

Synopsis:
Samantha Casey loves everything about her job as an elementary school librarian on the sunny, historic island of Galveston, Texas—the goofy kids, the stately Victorian building, the butterfly garden. But when the school suddenly loses its beloved principal, it turns out his replacement will be none other than Duncan Carpenter—a former, unrequited crush of Sam’s from many years before.

When Duncan shows up as her new boss, though, he’s nothing like the sweet teacher she once swooned over. He’s become stiff, and humorless, and obsessed with school safety. Now, with Duncan determined to destroy everything Sam loves about her school in the name of security—and turn it into nothing short of a prison—Sam has to stand up for everyone she cares about before the school that’s become her home is gone for good.

GOODREADS

Review

I have loved everything I’ve read by Katherine Center so far and while this book wasn’t my favorite of hers, I still enjoyed it for the most part.

There are definite trigger warnings in this book for the loss of a loved one, gun violence, abuse, and medical trauma.

All of those trigger warnings may make you think that this is going to be an incredibly emotional book… you’re right… however, it isn’t all doom and gloom. It tackles some serious subject matter, but the hope and joy in this book make a good balance.

I did find some of those parts a bit cheesy – and trust me, I can tolerate a fair amount of it – sometimes, considering the darker parts, I wondered if it was a little over the top.

Another criticism I found – which is fully just a “me” thing – are inaccuracies or things that just wouldn’t happen in a private school setting. Or if they did, it’d be a HUGE deal.

I have a better part of a decade’s experience with the administration/development (and parent) side of private schools and it was slightly irritating to read about how certain things were handled at the school that would not fly in real life.

It took me out of the story every time.

The most glaring was when the new Head of School claimed he was re-allocating funds that were raised for a new playground to build something completely different. I could NEVER imagine that happening. Parents would lose their ever-loving minds if they donated large sums of money to a capital campaign and the nonprofit organization suddenly changed their minds about what they were using the money for. I also highly doubt a Board of Directors would agree to that.

Is it even legal?

There were also little things like how the “quirky” teacher behaved in flashbacks and I kept imagining what kind of uproar it truly would’ve caused at faculty meetings – and how many complaints the Head of School and administration would get from other teachers. You’d be surprised at how upsetting those overly outgoing teachers are to the rest of the faculty. I think I would’ve been more impressed with this book if it had handled those nuances more accurately. It definitely would’ve been far more believable for me.

I really enjoyed the romance, though the hero’s “before and after” characteristics were so jarringly different that his character didn’t hold a lot of believability to me. In fact, I found both the main characters somewhat lacking. I loved the epilepsy rep, though I can’t speak to how well it was done. I did feel like the heroine’s quirks weren’t consistent. I can’t really put into words what it was exactly, but something felt off with both of these characters which has not been the case at all with other Katherine Center books I’ve read.

Speaking of the epilepsy rep, I fully empathize with how the main character felt about her illness. It is a constant storm cloud that looms over her head and plays a part in every decision she makes. It refocused her future and how her mind works on a minute-to-minute basis. The constant, “is this an episode,” worry was so relatable to me.

I have Multiple Sclerosis, so I know what it is like to carry around your illness with you everywhere you go, whether you’re having a flare-up or not. I both love and hate reading about it in books.

As always in Katherine Center books, I did love the ending. I love how she wraps things up in a pretty bow. And OMG if I could rate only her essay about reading for joy at the end, I’d give it all the stars in the universe, it was so validating and so good!


Audiobook Performance: 5 stars

5-stars
The audiobook reader for this was REALLY good!


Butterfly Rating: 1 Star

1-star


Re-read Worthiness: No


Bookshelf Placement: Maybe


Book Boyfriend Rating: 2 stars

2-stars

 

 

 

{Review by Kayla} The Ruby Circle by Richelle Mead (Bloodlines #6)

5-stars
Overall Rating: 5 Stars
Title: The Ruby Circle
Author: Richelle Mead
Series: Bloodlines #6

Synopsis:
THEY WILL BE TESTED

Sydney Sage is an Alchemist, one of a group of humans who dabble in magic and serve to bridge the worlds of humans and vampires. They protect vampire secrets – and human lives.

Their forbidden romance exposed, Sydney and Adrian find themselves facing the wrath of both the Alchemists and the Moroi in this electrifying conclusion to Richelle Mead’s bestselling Bloodlines series.

When the life of someone they both love is put on the line, Sydney risks everything to hunt down a deadly former nemesis. Meanwhile, she and Adrian becomes enmeshed in a puzzle that could hold the key to a shocking secret about spirit magic, a secret that could shake the entire Moroi world and alter their lives forever.

Don’t miss their unforgettable final chapter. . . .

LOVE WILL CONQUER ALL

GOODREADS

Review

The series is over. Yes, I loved the ending, no I am not okay that it’s completely over.

I am so attached to all of these characters and this entire world and let me tell you, this was an amazing book to end the whole series but I can’t help but think how I want more and more and more and different POVs from every single character. But either way, I loved how this story played out. It was like a breath of relief- well after the rollercoaster I was put through- when I finally finished. It was one of those books when you’re on the very last page and you read those last few lines and when you are done, you just smile. I think in this last book especially, you see how much Adrian matured and how confident Sydney has become. One of my favorite things about this series is the character relationships and the never failing rollercoaster that the plot gives you. For everyone who’s read Vampire Academy (If not, you totally should!), you NEED this series in your life and I can guarantee you will be just as attached to all of the characters more than you thought.


Age recommendation: 14+


Book Boyfriend Rating: 5 stars

5-stars

 

 

 

ARC Review: A Change In Tide by Freya Barker

4-stars
Overall Rating: 4 Stars
Title: A Change in Tide
Author: Freya Barker
Series: Northern Lights #1
Format: Audiobook ARC provided by Netgalley in exchange for an honest review

Synopsis:
What impact would it have when everything suddenly faded to black?

For Mia, a crowded subway ride changes her entire life. Retreating to the wilderness helps her cope with a world that is suddenly too loud, too turbulent.
Her existence safely contained to the small cottage on the lake, she is unprepared for the neighbor that moves across the bay

A career-ending injury has Jared permanently benched. His reputation as The Enforcer won’t survive the unanticipated responsibilities awaiting him.
Away from the public eye, he adjust to his new reality, under the quiet observation of the intriguing hermit on the other side of the water.

GOODREADS

Review

First of all, the audiobook for this was really, really good. The narrators are new-to-me, but I really liked them. The male narrator had such a nice, deep voice.

While I feel like this story was longer than it needed to be, I did really like it. I especially appreciated that the main character was a midwife who supported the hero’s sister throughout her “4th trimester.” It’s obvious the author has experience with all the nuances that come along with breastfeeding and all the attachment parenting things that I went through as a new mom. I had so many flashbacks to when my girls were newborns reading this book – it even made me nostalgic for those days as hard as they were!

I love this take on the hockey player trope. While it plays a big part in the story, especially toward the end, it’s different since Jared is retired due to an injury.

While I don’t have agoraphobia, the representation of the anxiety part of her disorder was done really well.

I loved how Jared took care of his sister and how well the heroine fit into their little family.

The journalist was incredibly annoying and seemed a bit over the top.

This book definitely made me wish I had a nice, secluded lake house across from a famous hockey player! Lol!


Audiobook Performance: 5 stars

5-stars


Butterfly Rating: 2 Stars

2-stars


Re-read Worthiness: Nah


Bookshelf Placement: No


Book Boyfriend Rating: 4 stars

4-stars

 

 

 

July TBR // July Reading List

And just like that… half of the year is in the books. And what a crazy half of the year it has been.

There are a few readathons happening this month that I will make separate TBRs for if I decide to participate, but I thought I’d share with you the books I’m hoping to read this month. Of course, as always, I use this as more of a reference guide to help me pick my next book rather than something that will DEFINITELY happen.

 

Books to Read in July

*=Author of Color, BIPOC Authors

 

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*Meet Cute Club by Jack Harbon 
TBH, I actually already read this, but I read it on July 1 it’s one of those things where you add things you’ve already done to your To Do list just so you have something to check off.

This is an adorable M/M romance between a guy who runs this romance book club called The Meet Cute Club and a book snob who works at his favorite book store. RTC!

This is the KU book that got the most votes over on my BookTube channel for what I should read in July.
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*Sin & Ink by Naima Simone 
This was the Audible Escape vote for July and it sounds so good.

This is a contemporary forbidden romance between an ex MMA fighter and his dead brother’s widow.
The Space in Between (The Space in Between, #1)
*The Space In Between by Brittainy C Cherry

The Guy on the Right (The Underdogs, #1)
The Guy on the Right by Kate Stewart

I am so late to the game on this one. This was super popular a few months ago, but it just kind of fell off of my radar. I found it on Scribd, so I think I’ll listen to the audiobook this month.

From what I understand this is a friends-to-lovers underdog romance. I think the hero gets friend zoned and his roommate gets all the attention.

You Should See Me in a Crown
*You Should See Me in a Crown by Leah Johnson 

This is the Dragons and Tea book club pick and I’ve had this on my radar ever since I saw promo for it on Instagram.

It’s about a girl who has a plan to get out of her small town, go to college, and play in the orchestra… except all of her plans blow up when she isn’t approved for Financial Aid.
Always Never Yours
*Always Never Yours by Emily Wibberley

This has been on my TBR for such a long time. I love the cover of this book!

It’s a YA Contemporary that revolves around a school play of Romeo and Juliet. The main character draws a lot of parallels between herself and with Rosalind.
With the Fire on High
*With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo

I’m buddy reading this one with Mallory over at @FigsLibrary on Instagram. I read The Poet X last month and ADORED it so much I bought the physical book along with this one. We are reading the physical book together, but I also want to listen to the audiobook as well.

This is about a teen mom who is navigating life through high school while also being a parent and having aspirations of becoming a chef. This book includes recipes!

 

 
Felix Ever After
*Felix Ever After by Kacen Callender

The hype around this book is so real and I can’t wait to get my eyes on it.

Felix’s last name is love, but he has never been in love. An anonymous person starts sending him transphobic messages and publicly uses his dead name, he comes up with a plan for revenge.
Rhapsody (The Butcher and the Violinist #1)
*Rhapsody (The Butcher and the Violinist #1) by Kenya Wright

That cover tho. This was a rec from a subscriber and it looks so good.

This is about a man named Jean-Pierre who is known as The Butcher of Corsican. He was known for his lack of feelings until he sees Eden playing the violin on stage.

 

Docile
Docile by KM Szpara

I got the audiobook for this a while ago from Libro.FM and it has been haunting me from my library ever since.

This is an extremely unique-sounding story set in a world where people can become  slaves in exchange for removing their debt for their families.

 
The Extraordinaries (The Extraordinaries, #1)
The Extraordinaries by TJ Klune 

I read Wolfsong and House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ last month and adored them.

All I really know about this book is that it revolves around a fandom and TJ wrote it – that’s all I really need to know to read it!
The Groom Will Keep His Name: And Other Vows I've Made About Race, Resistance, and Romance
*The Groom Will Keep His Name by Matt Ortile 

This was an ALC from Libro.FM, and I was excited to see that it was written by a Filipino man. (For those who don’t know, I’m half Filipino. My dad immigrated to the US in college.)

This is, essentially, a collection of essays about Matt’s life as a gay Filipino immigrant.

All of the books I mention in this post can be found and purchased on my storefront here.

(The above links are affiliate links and I receive a small commission if you purchase the book. I’m so grateful for your support.)

 

June 2020 Wrap Up

For full reviews of the books I mention in this post, be sure to check out my Recent Reads posts!

 

All of the books I mention in this video can be found and purchased on my storefront here.

 

June Stats

Total Books: 28
Audiobooks: 21
EBooks: 2
Physical Books: 5
Fiction: 25
Nonfiction: 4
5 Stars: 12
4 Stars: 9
3 Stars: 4
2 Stars: 1
1 Star: 0
DNF: 0

June Standouts

Least Favorite: Twilight Graphic Novel
Favorite: Take a Hint Dani Brown by Talia Hibbert
Most surprising: Becoming by Michelle Obama
Biggest Disappointment: On the Rocks by Kandi Steiner
June Rankings 
These are all the books I read in June listed and ranked from least favorite to favorite.
*=Author of Color, BIPOC Authors

Unrated

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White Fragility by Robin Diangelo

 

2 Stars

Twilight: The Graphic Novel, Vol. 1 (Twilight: The Graphic Novel, #1)
Twilight Graphic Novel Vol. 1 by Stephanie Meyer

 

3 Stars

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On the Rocks by Kandi Steiner

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* Rafe by Rebekah Weatherspoon

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My Favorite Souvenir by Penelope Ward and Vi Keeland

4 Stars

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*Once More Upon a Time by Rostand Choski
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Hard as It Gets (Hard Ink, #1)
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5 Stars

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