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The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary, narrated by Carrie Hope Fletcher and Kwaku Fortune

cartoon type cover with a red-haired white girl on the left and a brown-skinned guy in a blue shirt on the right with a wall in between where the titles are written as on the spine of a bookWhy I read it:  I received a review copy from the publisher.

What it’s about: (from Goodreads)  What if your roommate is your soul mate? A joyful, quirky romantic comedy, Beth O’Leary’s The Flatshare is a feel-good audiobook about finding love in the most unexpected of ways.

Tiffy and Leon share an apartment. Tiffy and Leon have never met.

After a bad breakup, Tiffy Moore needs a place to live. Fast. And cheap. But the apartments in her budget have her wondering if astonishingly colored mold on the walls counts as art.

Desperation makes her open minded, so she answers an ad for a flatshare. Leon, a night shift worker, will take the apartment during the day, and Tiffy can have it nights and weekends. He’ll only ever be there when she’s at the office. In fact, they’ll never even have to meet.

Tiffy and Leon start writing each other notes – first about what day is garbage day, and politely establishing what leftovers are up for grabs, and the evergreen question of whether the toilet seat should stay up or down. Even though they are opposites, they soon become friends. And then maybe more.

But falling in love with your roommate is probably a terrible idea…especially if you’ve never met.

What worked for me (and what didn’t):  I’d had my eye on this book ever since a friend recommended it on Goodreads. I listened to a sample of the audiobook before agreeing though because new-to-me narrators can be a bit dicey and it’s not fun to slog through a bad audio and it’s not fun to write a review about it. I didn’t get to hear any of the male narrator, Kwaku Fortune, on the Audible sample but Carrie Hope Fletcher’s voice was enough to have me signing up. As it happened, both narrators were very good – although I do have a couple of quibbles which I’ll talk about later – and I’ll happily listen to each of them again.

Told in the alternating (but not always evenly) point of view of Tiffy Moore and Leon Twomey, both twenty-something Londoners. Leon needs some extra money and works as a palliative care nurse on night shifts at a hospice. He spends weekends with his girlfriend, so he rents out his one bedroom flat for the nights and weekends for £350 per month. He gets the flat between 9am and 6pm Monday to Friday. Tiffy rents the flat for the rest of the time.

Written On His Skin by Simone Stark

Tattooed, abtastic shirtless hot guy wearing dog tags with his hands in his hairWhy I read it:  One of my friends rated this one very highly and it was only 99c so I bought it.

What it’s about: (from Goodreads)  Letters are magic, don’t you think?
You could be anyone. I could be anyone.
And then, suddenly, we’re more than anyone.
We’re someone…

When Abigail Trent agreed to write a letter to a soldier deployed overseas, she expected it to be a fleeting exchange. A friendly back-and-forth that ended barely after it began. She didn’t expect Theodore LaRoux.

It isn’t strange that writing feels so good. It’s right.
Here’s my secret: I like making you feel good…

Abby didn’t expect Roux to be a living fantasy, either–sexy, smart and strong enough to star in every one of her dreams. So, was it any wonder that when he asked for a photo, she sent one that would star in his dreams? The fact that it was a picture of someone else wouldn’t be a problem. After all, it’s not like they’d ever meet…right?

Wrong.

What worked for me (and what didn’t):  I do have a soft spot for an epistolary romance. (This novella isn’t only letters but they form a fair chunk of the story.) I did like the book but there were a few things I had to get over.

In seven tours of Iraq and Afghanistan as an Army medic, Special Forces operator and commanding officer, Sergeant Theodore LaRoux knew the drill.

Sergeants aren’t commanding officers. There may be other errors as well – I only checked that one. Roux’s military history didn’t sound right. If accuracy and authenticity is important to a reader, Written On His Skin is probably not going to work that well.

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