Quarantine Reads: The Flatshare, Unhoneymooners & Sex & Vanity

The Flatshare by Beth O’leary

Goodreads blurb: Tiffy Moore and Leon Twomey each have a problem and need a quick fix. Tiffy’s been dumped by her cheating boyfriend and urgently needs a new flat. But earning minimum wage at a quirky publishing house means that her choices are limited in London. Leon, a palliative care nurse, is more concerned with other people’s welfare than his own. Along with working night shifts looking after the terminally ill, his sole focus is on raising money to fight his brother’s unfair imprisonment. Leon has a flat that he only uses 9 to 5. Tiffy works 9 to 5 and needs a place to sleep. The solution to their problems? To share a bed of course…As Leon and Tiffy’s unusual arrangement becomes a reality, they start to connect through Post-It notes left for each other around the flat.

Can true love blossom even in the unlikeliest of situations?
Can true love blossom even if you never see one another?
Or does true love blossom when you are least expecting it?

my take: 3.5 out of 5. This is a really enjoyable romance book. A cute premise and although highly predictable ending, the route there is very enjoyable. It’s like my Hallmark movie category of Predictable but nice. One can enjoy the journey and no the suspense. Quick question – what is with romantic leads needed to be quirky dressed characters? so many books recently have gone that route, Me Before You included? The only ting i really didn’t enjoy was the writing as Leon. I get that it was being set up so you know that it was different characters point of view (as the story is narrated by both characters), and since Leon is not a words guy the quick writing seemed to make sense, but for me it just seemed like a middle school kid was writing. 

The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren

Goodreads blurb: Olive is always unlucky: in her career, in love, in…well, everything. Her identical twin sister Ami, on the other hand, is probably the luckiest person in the world. Her meet-cute with her fiancé is something out of a romantic comedy (gag) and she’s managed to finance her entire wedding by winning a series of Internet contests (double gag). Worst of all, she’s forcing Olive to spend the day with her sworn enemy, Ethan, who just happens to be the best man.

Olive braces herself to get through 24 hours of wedding hell before she can return to her comfortable, unlucky life. But when the entire wedding party gets food poisoning from eating bad shellfish, the only people who aren’t affected are Olive and Ethan. And now there’s an all-expenses-paid honeymoon in Hawaii up for grabs.

Putting their mutual hatred aside for the sake of a free vacation, Olive and Ethan head for paradise, determined to avoid each other at all costs. But when Olive runs into her future boss, the little white lie she tells him is suddenly at risk to become a whole lot bigger. She and Ethan now have to pretend to be loving newlyweds, and her luck seems worse than ever. But the weird thing is that she doesn’t mind playing pretend. In fact, she feels kind of… lucky. 

my take: 4 out of 5. Another predictable but nice story. However the twists and turns to get to he predictable ending are very enjoyable. I liked the characters and how they developed, and a Hawaii setting is never a bad thing.

Sex & Vanity by Kevin Kwan

Goodreads blurb: The iconic author of the bestselling phenomenon Crazy Rich Asiansreturns with a glittering tale of love and longing as a young woman finds herself torn between two worlds–the WASP establishment of her father’s family and George Zao, a man she is desperately trying to avoid falling in love with. On her very first morning on the jewel-like island of Capri, Lucie Churchill sets eyes on George Zao and she instantly can’t stand him. She can’t stand it when he gallantly offers to trade hotel rooms with her so that she can have the view of the Tyrrhenian Sea, she can’t stand that he knows more about Curzio Malaparte than she does, and she really can’t stand it when he kisses her in the darkness of the ancient ruins of a Roman villa and they are caught by her snobbish, disapproving cousin, Charlotte. “Your mother is Chinese so it’s no surprise you’d be attracted to someone like him,” Charlotte teases. Daughter of an American-born-Chinese mother and blue-blooded New York father, Lucie has always sublimated the Asian side of herself in favor of the white side, and she adamantly denies having feelings for George. But several years later, when George unexpectedly appears in East Hampton where Lucie is weekending with her new fiancé, Lucie finds herself drawn to George again. Soon, Lucy is spinning a web of deceit that involves her family, her fiancé, the co-op board of her Fifth Avenue apartment, and ultimately herself as she tries mightily to deny George entry into her world–and her heart. Moving between summer playgrounds of privilege, peppered with decadent food and extravagant fashion, Sex and Vanity is a truly modern love story, a daring homage to A Room with a View, and a brilliantly funny comedy of manners set between two cultures.

My take: 2 out of 5. This was a total disappointment. I was a huge fan of the Crazy Rich Asians trilogy and was very much looking forward to this. Kevin Kwan + A room with a view seemed like it would be the perfect beach read. Sadly it is not.  The commentary on the elites in the Crazy Rich Asians was fun and given that it was being seen by an outsider, super relevant. Here its just obnoxious and in times annoying (i did not care for the introduction of very character with all their education in parenthesis). I did not get into the characters. I really couldn’t careless about Lucie and George at the end of the book. They totally melded in the rest of the cast of characters. They might have actually been some of the least developed characters in the book. As for the tension in the book, it doesn’t translate. The adaptation of Room with a view implied that there was a reputation damage and a purity to maintain, but in the age of sex tapes and sexual liberation, how to translate that so that an audience actually believes there is a risk for the character didn’t go through. Really is being out of the social register that important? or do people actually care about the social register? The act is so not shocking that you really find it hard to understand where the motivation for the rest of the book lies. So not caring about the leads and the tension of the book being just meant i really just wanted to end the story quickly to move to another one.  Thank god it was a quick half a day rad.

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