I received this book for free (hey, thanks!) in exchange for an honest review. I promise that this does NOT affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. For real.The Switch by Beth O'Leary
Genres: Adult, Contemporary
Published by Macmillan on August 18, 2020
Also by this author: The Flatshare, The Road Trip, The No-Show
Format: eBook, Review Audio (330 pages) • Source: Publisher, Purchased
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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 long-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.
So they decide to try a two-month swap.
Eileen will live in London and look for love. She’ll take Leena’s flat, and learn all about casual dating, swiping right, and city neighbors. Meanwhile Leena will look after everything in rural Yorkshire: Eileen’s sweet cottage and garden, her idyllic, quiet village, and her little neighborhood projects.
But stepping into one another's shoes proves more difficult than either of them expected. Will swapping lives help Eileen and Leena find themselves…and maybe even find true love? In Beth O'Leary's The Switch, it's never too late to change everything....or to find yourself.
THE FLATSHARE was an interesting reading experience for me, as it was for many others. The chapters from Leon’s POV were super hard to get used to because he basically spoke in sentence fragments. I thought about quitting the book so many dang times but I kept feeling like I would miss out if I did. I ended up giving it 4.5 stars because it was SO CUTE by the end and I had kind of gotten used to his chapters. I was nervous to read THE SWITCH for some of these reasons.
Well, THE SWITCH had all of the cuteness and none of the adjustment period. I saw some people say that it was a little slow-moving for them but I was kind of addicted. I read most of it in one sitting, sneaking it in as my last read for February on the final day of the month. I also had a review copy of the audiobook, which was pretty good. I saw other reviewers also complain about some mouth noises and they didn’t enjoy the narration, but I didn’t notice. I always listen on 1.5x speed or higher so it was completely masked for me if it existed. I liked the audio overall and always appreciate multiple narrators for more than one POV.
This is the kind of book where I read other people’s reviews and was immediately confused by any negatively. This truly was near-flawless for me and such a cute reading experience. Reading about Eileen, Leena’s grandmother, felt like it would be weird at first but she was very youthful and adorable. Leena didn’t fall far from the tree there either. The way they blended into each other’s worlds and took over whatever needed “working on” was so heartwarming. I loved reading both POVs so much and seeing what they would each get up to in London or Hamleigh, respectively. There was an undercurrent of grief after the loss of Leena’s sister, as well as Leena trying to repair her relationship with her mother. A few serious topics to make you tear up but even more cute, heartwarming, and lovely sections as well.
My biggest complaint is that compared to THE FLATSHARE, the romances were secondary. I didn’t mind this because it quickly became clear that this was more a family-driven story than a romance. That’s fine with me! I do think the romances, because they still existed in the story, could have had a touch more page time to feel even more real. I still shipped everyone together and am super happy with the outcome.
I already have THE ROAD TRIP on my Kindle and I am going to try very hard not to read it way too early, because I need to keep a little Beth O’Leary available in my life somewhere in the next couple of months. I adored this book and all of the characters in it. There are plenty of people I kind of need a spin-off about too…
I received this book for free (hey, thanks!) in exchange for an honest review. I promise that this does NOT affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. For real.Accidentally Engaged by Farah Heron
Genres: Adult, Contemporary
Published by Hachette on March 2, 2021
Also by this author: Kamila Knows Best, Jana Goes Wild
Format: eARC (384 pages) • Source: Publisher
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Reena Manji doesn’t love her career, her single status, and most of all, her family inserting themselves into every detail of her life. But when caring for her precious sourdough starters, Reena can drown it all out. At least until her father moves his newest employee across the hall--with hopes that Reena will marry him.
But Nadim’s not like the other Muslim bachelors-du-jour that her parents have dug up. If the Captain America body and the British accent weren’t enough, the man appears to love eating her bread creations as much as she loves making them. She sure as hell would never marry a man who works for her father, but friendship with a neighbor is okay, right? And when Reena’s career takes a nosedive, Nadim happily agrees to fake an engagement so they can enter a couples video cooking contest to win the artisan bread course of her dreams.
As cooking at home together brings them closer, things turn physical, but Reena isn’t worried. She knows Nadim is keeping secrets, but it’s fine— secrets are always on the menu where her family is concerned. And her heart is protected… she’s not marrying the man. But even secrets kept for self preservation have a way of getting out, especially when meddling parents and gossiping families are involved.
I saw the fake-fiance-for-a-cooking-show premise and was sold on ACCIDENTALLY ENGAGED. I loved the idea even more when I saw that he was a man her parents had picked out for her and suggested she marry. Surely they wouldn’t
Even though it took me an unnecessarily long time to read ACCIDENTALLY ENGAGED, it was a very cute story that made me smile a ton. I adored it. It has a ton of excellent cultural references – Reena and Nadim are Indian and both of their parents lived in Africa for a time – and therefore great food to discuss. My mouth was watering the whole time. It doesn’t help that Reena was a fantastic bread maker and the two often bonded over delicious-sounding beers. Gimme em both.
There were a tonnnnn of different elements and plot points at play here, but I never felt like there was too much going on. Reena is dealing with her job/career issues, wanting to bake bread, not wanting to date her neighbor/husband match, falling for him anyway, doing a cooking show, navigating a tough relationship with her sister and parents… the list goes on. Nadim had a bunch of things happening on his side too. I really liked seeing how all of those things connected and allowed for growth between them, both individually and as a couple. There were an insane amount of secrets and fetishes that I definitely didn’t see coming (some were very random but I guess realistic?) that just added to the drama of Reena wondering what the hell is up with her family.
I learned that her best friend in this book is actually the MC of Heron’s other romance, so I definitely have to get to that one soon – that sounded like the couple had some interesting barriers to their relationship too. I liked reading about Reena’s friends and family, even though her parents and sister were SO frustrating at the beginning. I know a lot of it was cultural and/or things Reena had just put up with forever, but man – the payoff in the end when everyone got over themselves was lovely.
All in all, this book exceeded my expectations. It took me a little while to get into it for some reason but once I was 40-50% in, I was hooked and basically finished in one sitting. Part of that is my never-ending reading slump and the other part could be the slow and somewhat frustrating (see above about her parents/sister) start to the book. I highly recommend this one – but definitely recommend a porter and a piece of sourdough when you read.