September 23, 2019

Abbreviations #90: The Austen Playbook, The Unhoneymooners + The Flatshare

Fourth in the London Celebrities series, The Austen Playbook has been described by a great many readers as being an enemies (of a sort)-to-lovers romance between a decidedly Slytherin critic and an extremely Hufflepuff actress – and I don’t disagree. (This Slytherin-Hufflepuff dynamic mirrors my relationship with Macky to some extent and I had a good giggle over that when I realized it.) Freddy Carlton is focused on figuring out how to pursue the sorts of roles she really wants to take on as an actress (and not just what her family’s expectations are for her), while James “Griff” Ford-Griffin is managing his younger brother’s latest scheme, researching a project close to his heart and still working as a critic. Their heads butt time and again when they meet, first out in public and again (and again) as The Austen Playbook starts rehearsals leading up to the television event premiere, and those sparks eventually catch fire and turn into a romantic entanglement neither one can resist. Like all the other novels before it, I found The Austen Playbook extremely delightful. It helps that the main characters are extremely easy to fall in love with (Freddy, especially, though I did immediately latch on to Griff because I do love a grumpy hero) and are joined by other secondary characters who pop off the page. It also helps that Lucy Parker’s writing is easy to sink into and get swept away by, and I always end up reading her books so, so quickly. While this didn’t eclipse my love for Pretty Face (which is my favorite in the series), it certainly ranks pretty high (probably equal to Making Up, which is my second favorite) and I’d highly recommend it. 

The Austen Playbook was released on April 22, 2019 by Carina Press.
I won a giveaway for an e-book from the author.

Once I picked up my first Christina Lauren read last year (Roomies, in case you were curious), this author duo automatically found a spot on my list of authors whose work I will always check out. The Unhoneymooners falls right in line with their latest releases, which are closer to rom-coms/women’s fiction than their earlier novels, as it chronicles the story of two individuals (Olive, twin to the bride, and Ethan, older brother to the groom) who end up taking an all-expenses honeymoon trip (where they must pretend to be newly married) to Hawaii on their siblings’ behalf after they (and everyone else at the wedding) end up with food poisoning. Olive and Ethan have constantly been at odds since an earlier encounter, but as they are forced to spend more time together, they start to develop feelings for each other… and you can guess where it goes from there. Throw in a touch of drama (which was over the top, and occasionally uncalled for, and not my favorite that I’ve read) and that happily ever after, and you basically get The Unhoneymooners. While this isn’t my favorite of their recent releases, I will say that I always admire how this duo writes couples who have a lot of chemistry. It is, in my opinion, the highlight of this novel, and what really kept me turning pages up until the end! I still had a lot of fun reading this story (which I finished in one sitting on a plane ride), and I’d definitely recommend it for fans of this author duo or anyone looking for a quick rom-com read. 

The Unhoneymooners was released on May 14, 2019 by Gallery Books.
I received an e-galley from NetGalley from the publisher for review.

The Flatshare is one of this year’s most popular adult contemporary fiction releases, at least in the online book communities that I’m involved in. While you might guess at the ending based solely on the premise (two individuals end up agreeing to a flatshare arrangement, where he works at night and uses the flat during the day and she operates the opposite way), the journey that gets the reader there is what ended up making The Flatshare a worthwhile read. I admittedly struggled at the start, finding it equally difficult to slip easily into the writing style and get used to Leon’s narrative (whereas Tiffy’s chapters were easier for me to get on with). But once I got a proper feel for O’Leary’s writing, I flew through the book! The characters and the story were charming and reminiscent (in a good way) of other popular British contemporary fiction I’ve read in the past. While I did find the conflicts that arose borderline over the top, they never quite crossed that line and instead fit in quite nicely with the overall story and character growth. Even though I can’t call this one a new favorite (as many folks I know have declared), The Flatshare was an enjoyable read.

The Flatshare was released on May 28, 2019 by Flatiron Books.
I received a galley from the publisher for review.


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