MAD ABOUT YOU by Mhairi McFarlane 🎧

Two strangers.
One big coincidence.
Driving each other crazy is just the beginning…

Harriet Hatley is running away from everything.

Getting married.
Her boyfriend’s family.
Her past.

A dream house-share seems like the perfect place to hide, but her unlikely housemate Cal is no stranger to running away himself. And he’s also hiding secrets of his own . . .

Can these two take a crazy risk, face the past and finally find a reason to stay?


Title : Mad About You
Author : Mhairi McFarlane
Narrator : Chloe Massey
Format : audiobook
Length : 10 hours, 15 minutes
Page Count : 422
Genre : Contemporary Fiction
Publisher : Harper Collins
Release Date : April 14, 2022

Reviewer : Micky
Rating : ★ ★ .5


Micky’s 3.5 star review

Headlines:
Sarcastic wit
Chips are down
Coercive control

This story from McFarlane was equal parts sarcastic wit and life handing out crap one piece at a time. It started in one place and ended up in completely different location by the end. It took time for the themes of the story to emerge but they were valuable. Romance was very much on the backburner in this book.

The story centered around weddings, the endings of them, the photographing of them and a really impressive finale. Harriet was a likeable heroine, a hardy Yorkshire lass with the best Huddersfield accent on audio (I live 15 minutes away from that location and appreciated that so much). This tale took you on a mainly contemporary but sometimes retrospective journey of the past men in Harriet’s life and it wasn’t pretty.

Emotional abuse in the form of coercive control was a important part of this story and it’s a theme I welcome more about as it is so insidious in it’s form and difficult for victims to speak about and break free from. Bravo, Mhairi for this.

Overall, I wouldn’t say this was a fun read but it was absorbing and enjoyable. Excellent narration.

Thank you to netgalley and the publisher for the audio review copy.

WHAT TIME IS LOVE? by Holly Williams

1947. 1967. 1987.
When Violet and Albert first meet, they are always twenty.

Three decades.

Over the years, Violet and Albert’s lives collide again and again: beneath Oxford’s spires, on the rolling hills around Abergavenny, in stately homes and in feminist squats. And as each decade ends, a new love story begins…

Two people.
Together, they are electric and the world is glittering with possibility. But against the shifting times of each era, Violet and Albert must overcome differences in class, gender, privilege and ambition. Each time their lives entwine, it will change everything.

One moment is all it takes…

As their eyes first meet, for a split-second it’s as if the clocks have stopped. Nothing else matters. Yet whichever decade brings them together, Violet and Albert are soon forced to question: what if they met the right person at the wrong time?


Title : What Time Is Love?
Author : Holly Williams
Format : Physical
Page Count : 320
Genre : Historical-Contemporary Fiction
Publisher : Orion Books
Release Date : May 26, 2022

Reviewer : Micky
Rating : ★ ★ ★


Micky’s 3 star review

Headlines:
Contemporary with magical realism
Time jumps
Complex couples

What Time is Love was a rather unusual read and concept that lulled you into the story you thought was the story, then pulled the rug out from under you. This is a book where I really think it helps if you read the synopsis before entering to prempt any confusion.

It was a story told in thirds, three couples or the same couple in different times, you decide. The first story was in one breath my favourite but it was incredibly tragic. The second, explored the makings and breakings of an open relationship. The third, brought Violet and Albert into the most contemporary times and gave them a different start, different challenges and a different end.

I think this was a clever concept and there was much I enjoyed about it. I did have times of frustration over unfinished ends, especially over story one which I was very partial to. I’m not sure what I thought about how these storys did or didn’t weave together, I need to think on it.

This was an absorbing read, it felt like nothing I’d quite read before and I definitely became invested in some of the couples.

Thank you to Orion Books for the review copy.

IMPOSSIBLE by Sarah Lotz

This is not a love story. This is IMPOSSIBLE.

‘Sometimes love doesn’t come in the form you think it will.’

Nick: Failed writer. Failed husband. Dog owner.

Bee: Serial dater. Dress maker. Pringles enthusiast.

When fate brings them together over a misdirected email, the connection is instant. They feel like they’ve known each other all their lives . . .

It should have been the perfect love story.
Instead it was IMPOSSIBLE.


Title : Impossible
Author : Sarah Lotz
Format : Physical
Page Count : 448
Genre : Contemporary Fiction
Publisher : Harper Fiction
Release Date : March 30, 2022

Reviewer : Micky
Rating : ★ ★ ★ ★


Micky’s 4 star review

Headlines:
Stay for that early, important twist
Odd coupling that works
Fresh feels

Impossible had me really wondering at it’s direction for the inital section but it wowed me as we turned an early twist corner. This is one of the most unconvential romance stories I think I’ve read and yet I do some parallels with other films/stories I won’t mention so as to keep that twist spoiler-free.

Bee was an endearing character, I liked her vibe, her job and her willingness to go with the curve balls the universe sent her way. Nick was more of a slow grower and I imagine many will feel this way. They weren’t a couple you would conventionally put together in a romantic sense but the writing and how the story evolves does make it work and get the reader on board. There were some pretty big roadblocks in the way that I was grateful were resolved early on. One roadblock however, stayed.

There was an alternative pov format to this story alongside an email epistolary approach and I lived for the email sections, that’s where the connections happened.

This story kept you on edge right to the end. There was a building tension and so many what ifs and what the… A clever read for sure.

Thank you to Harper Fiction for the early review copy.

3.75 stars rounded up.

VLADIMIR by Julie May Jonas🎧

A provocative, razor-sharp, and timely debut novel about a beloved English professor facing a slew of accusations against her professor husband by former students—a situation that becomes more complicated when she herself develops an obsession of her own…

“When I was a child, I loved old men, and I could tell that they also loved me.”

And so we are introduced to our deliciously incisive narrator: a popular English professor whose charismatic husband at the same small liberal arts college is under investigation for his inappropriate relationships with his former students. The couple have long had a mutual understanding when it comes to their extra-marital pursuits, but with these new allegations, life has become far less comfortable for them both. And when our narrator becomes increasingly infatuated with Vladimir, a celebrated, married young novelist who’s just arrived on campus, their tinder box world comes dangerously close to exploding.

With this bold, edgy, and uncommonly assured debut, author Julia May Jonas takes us into charged territory, where the boundaries of morality bump up against the impulses of the human heart. Propulsive, darkly funny, and wildly entertaining, Vladimir perfectly captures the personal and political minefield of our current moment, exposing the nuances and the grey area between power and desire.


Title : Vladimir
Author : Julie May Jonas
Narrator : Rebecca Lowman
Format : Audiobook
Length : 9 hours, 40 min
Genre : Contemporary Fiction
Publisher : Simon & Schuster Audio
Release Date : Feb 1, 2022

Reviewer : Micky
Rating : ★ ★


Micky’s 3 star review

Headlines:
Contemporary fiction in academia
Narcissists
A spiral of events

This was a strange listen and one that I don’t think was well represented by the cover, which I initially took to be historical romance. In reality, this is a story not centering on Vladimir but an academic, an English professor and the narrator of the story who becomes obsessed with Vladimir. She was in her late 50s, we never knew her name and she was feeling ‘past it’. Every single person in this book had an ego the size of a high rise building.

The narrator of the story was a narcissist but then so were her husband John, Vladimir and pretty much all the other characters presented. Not one of them was likeable but there was something incredibly compelling about this eventual spiral of wild events that kept you listening. The side story of her husband being investigated for long-term sexual infractions with students was an interesting storyline but more so, was the narrators non-plussed reaction to the situation.

There wasn’t a lot of relatable relationships in this book but plenty of self-gratification, obsession and self-serving behaviours. The culmination of the story was not really what I expected but still interesting.

I didn’t love this book, I’m not sure I even liked it because the characters are so unlikeable. However, I did want to listen and get back to the book, it was like waiting for the accident to happen. Good narration supporting the listening experience.

Thank you to Libro FM and Simon & Schuster Audio for the review copy.

https://libro.fm/audiobooks/9781797137032-vladimir

RUN ROSE RUN by Dolly Parton and James Patterson 🎧

Find a future. Lose a past.

She’s a star on the rise, singing about the hard life behind her.

She’s also on the run.

Nashville is where she’s come to claim her destiny.

It’s also where the darkness she’s fled might find her. And destroy her….

Run Rose Run: a story glittering with danger and desire.

Also available: an album of 12 original Dolly Parton songs made for the novel!


Title : Run Rose Run
Author : Dolly Parton & James Patterson
Narrator : Full cast including Dolly Parton
Format : Audiobook
Length : 10 hours, 17 minutes
Genre : Contemporary
Publisher : Penguin Audio
Release Date : March 7, 2022

Reviewer : Micky
Rating : ★ ★ ★ ★


Micky’s 4 star review

Headlines:
Singing for escape
Secrets and lies
Full cast audio

Run, Rose, Run was incredibly easy to listen to with a full cast dramatisation that really floated my boat and brought the different characters alive. You even get some Dolly Parton as Ruthanna, the MC’s mentor. Annie-Lee, the main character was a young woman, clearly on the run, definitely on hard times, living rough but with the voice and talent that made her exceptional.

This Nashville-centric story reminded me completely of the TV series of the same name in terms of vibe, but not necessarily story-wise. While this wasn’t a unique story, it had such a great suspense plot with a bit of thiller towards the end. I completely bought into the ups and downs of Annie-Lee’s determined trip to the stage and writing her own music.

The cast of characters around Annie-Lee were brilliant. I loved Ethan, such a humble and in the background kind of guy, but he was instrumental to Annie-Lee’s story. Equally, Ruthanna was such a colourful ‘Dolly’ kind of character, she was hard not to love.

If you’re looking for an all-absorbing listen, then Run, Rose, Run has all the ingredients for a great contemporary fiction listen, with comforting predictability, a solid plot and fantastic all cast narration.

Thank you to Penguin Audio for the ALC.

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