The Switch by Beth O’Leary

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?

You guys! I am trying to formulate my thoughts for this book without giving any spoilers. The Switch reminds me of a Hallmark movie without Christmas time being the setting, if that makes any sense.

After reading and loving The Flatshare, I couldn’t wait to see what Beth O’Leary came out with next. When I found out it was The Switch, I was so impatient I ordered my hardcover copy from Book Depository (and I actually love the UK edition)! Then, Netgalley offered the Switch as an audiobook option, and I knew it was a sign that I just had to read it.

Side note, if you are a netgalley user, I had a lot of issues with the app, which is understandably so as it is new, so there are a lot of bugs they need to fix. That being said, my audiobook kept freezing and skipping/jumping chapters, so I ultimately found it faster to just read the book, because I didn’t want to stop, so just a fair warning in case you’re having issues with the app as well!

I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t tell you (time and again) how much of a sucker I am for dual POVs. Being able to read it from Eileen and Leena’s perspective was so refreshing and engaging. I really loved Eileen, Leena, the residents of the Yorkshire village, and Leena’s friends. My only complaint is I wish I could read more about them!

The Switch is such a sweet and charming book. While there was romance, much like Flatshare, it was not the overall theme of the book. There are themes of forgiveness, grieving, domestic abuse, infidelity, and moving on woven throughout the book and that added so much more depth to the story.

That being said, look no further if you’re looking for a book that will capture your heart almost instantaneously. Grab yourself a copy on Book Depository, or it releases August 18th in the US, and make a cup of tea, sit back, and relax and enjoy life with this book.

Many thanks to Netgalley and Macmillan Audio for providing me with an audiobook in exchange for an honest review.

Title: The Switch
Author: Beth O’Leary
Genre: Contemporary Fiction, Romance
Publication Date: August 18, 2020 (US release date)

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Book of Longings by Sue Monk Kidd |book review|

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Synopsis

“I am Ana. I was the wife of Jesus.” So begins the new novel from the number one New York Times bestselling author of The Secret Life of Bees and The Invention of Wings, an extraordinary story set in the first century about a woman who finds her voice and her destiny in a time of great despair and great hope.

In her fourth work of fiction, Sue Monk Kidd brings her acclaimed narrative gifts to imagine the story of a young woman named Ana. Raised in a wealthy family in Sepphoris with ties to the ruler of Galilee, she is rebellious and ambitious, a relentless seeker with a brilliant, curious mind and a daring spirit. She yearns for a pursuit worthy of her life, but finds no outlet for her considerable talents. Defying the expectations placed on women, she engages in furtive scholarly pursuits and writes secret narratives about neglected and silenced women. When she meets the eighteen-year-old Jesus, each is drawn to and enriched by the other’s spiritual and philosophical ideas. He becomes a floodgate for her intellect, but also the awakener of her heart.

Their marriage unfolds with love and conflict, humor and pathos in Nazareth, where Ana makes a home with Jesus, his brothers, James and Simon, and their mother, Mary. Here, Ana’s pent-up longings intensify amid the turbulent resistance to the Roman occupation of Israel, partially led by her charismatic adopted brother, Judas. She is sustained by her indomitable aunt Yaltha, who is searching for her long-lost daughter, as well as by other women, including her friend Tabitha, who is sold into slavery after she was raped, and Phasaelis, the shrewd wife of Herod Antipas. Ana’s impetuous streak occasionally invites danger. When one such foray forces her to flee Nazareth for her safety shortly before Jesus’s public ministry begins, she makes her way with Yaltha to Alexandria, where she eventually finds refuge and purpose in unexpected surroundings.

Grounded in meticulous historical research and written with a reverential approach to Jesus’s life that focuses on his humanity, The Book of Longings is an inspiring account of one woman’s bold struggle to realize the passion and potential inside her, while living in a time, place, and culture devised to silence her.

Have you ever read a book that leaves you completely inarticulate? Because I just did. I read a lot of books that leaves me at a lost for words, but the Book of Longings has left me not only speechless, but also breathless.

I’m going to be frank with you guys- I’m agnostic, so the Book of Longings was originally no where near being in my pile. I was scrolling through Goodreads one day, and someone gave this book a one-star without even reading it because it didn’t follow their religious view, so it peaked my curiosity.

I was skeptical going into this book, worrying it would be more focused on the religion aspect than the synopsis leads you to believe. It came through on Libby three days ago, and you guys- I practically inhaled the book. WOW! I’ve been working on this review the last three days, and yet- I find myself continuously rambling because I still cannot articulate my thoughts.

It is a poignant story that is character-driven and may not be for devout Christians unless you are willing to keep an open mind, reminding yourself it is a work of fiction because it is traditionally believed that Jesus did not marry. While obvious mentions of God, prayers, and biblical stories are present throughout the book, the story primarily focuses on Ana, the wife of human Jesus, an amiable husband who is in the background. Ana is fierce and strong. She speaks her mind and writes her words in a time period that tries to silence women.

What I loved about this book are the women, their resilience, and their friendship. There are definite note of feminism, courage, and perseverance. Ana’s voice is strong and she uses that to make sure other’s stories get told and are heard.

All in all, Kidd did a terrific job balancing the book between biblical stories and weaving in a woman’s voice and determination to stand up for herself and others as well as maintaining equality in her marriage with human- Jesus. It is very clear that Kidd put a lot of research into this novel, and while I am not familiar with all biblical stories, I know they are sprinkled throughout the book.

This is a book I’d highly recommend for anyone willing to step out their comfort zone, regardless of which side you stand on, because you have to have an open mind in order to see all the beauty this book has to offer. It is a book that’ll sit with you for a long time if you’re willing to look at the big picture instead of dissecting every phrase of paragraph, or page.

Title: The Book of Longings
Author: Sue Monk Kidd
Genre: Historical Fiction
Publication Date: April 21, 2020

Rating: 5 out of 5.

If you are a BOTM member, do you have any books in mind that might be a contender for the year, because I can see Book of Longings being one! I’d love to hear your thoughts and chit-chat 🙂

The Peculiar Fate of Holly Banks by Julie Valerie [cover reveal]

With many thanks to Julie and Amazon Publishing/Lake Union for welcoming Christie and me back to the Village of Primm. We are so excited to visit our good friend, Holly Banks! If you’ve read Holly Banks Full of Angst, welcome back to Primm Village! If you haven’t, we are so excited to have you join us on November 24, 2020.

Synopsis:

The Peculiar Fate of Holly Banks is the second installment in the Village of Primm series and is designed as a standalone novel, so readers do not need to read Book One to enjoy and understand the story told in Book Two.

Ideally, readers would start with Book One, but it’s not necessary. If you are a series reader, enjoy the series beginning with Book One, Holly Banks Full of Angst. If you do not want to commit to reading more than one book, you can enjoy any book in the Village of Primm series in isolation, as the main storyline of every novel begins and ends within that particular book.

While every novel in this series is/will be a standalone, we absolutely recommend reading all the books! Holly Banks will have you laughing from beginning to end. We found her to be such a relatable character and it is such a delightful and witty read. This series is the perfect escape from reality, so while we wait for book 2, hurry over to Amazon to purchase the physical copy or you can get it on KU, if you have a subscription, and read book 1. Hip Hip!

Pre-order your copy on Amazon today:
https://www.amazon.com/Peculiar-Holly-Banks-Village-Primm/dp/1542007992/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=

About the Author: Julie Valerie


Julie Valerie is the founder of the 85K Writing Challenge and serves on the board of directors of James River Writers. Julie earned an editing certificate from the University of Chicago Graham School and has a master’s degree in education, a bachelor of fine arts in fashion, and certification in wilderness first aid.

She enjoys books, the study of wine, hikes on the Appalachian Trail, and travel. Julie married her college sweetheart, and they live in Virginia with their four children and two English labradors. Holly Banks Full of Angst is her debut novel.

Connect with Julie

Follow Julie Valerie’s Amazon author page, and be the first to learn of new releases and author updates.
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Top Ten Tuesday: Titles That Would Make Good Band Names

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme that was created by The Broke and the Bookish, but has since be moved to The Artsy Reader Girl. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

This week’s Top Ten list topic is Titles That Would Make Good Band Names

(1) Supernova by Marissa Meyer

(3) Oasis by Katya de Becerra 😉

(3) Chosen Ones by Veronica Roth

(4) The Diviners by Libba Bray

(5) The Shadows by Alex North

(6) The Mercies by Kiran Millwood Hargrave

(7) Heartless by Marissa Meyer

(8) Wicked Saints by Emily A. Duncan

(9) Wilder Girls by Rory Power

(10) Writers & Lovers by Lily King

What do you think of my list? Agree/Disagree? Lets have a chat down in the comments? Also, feel free to drop your link for you TTT post 😀