Two Book Tuesday

Title: If The Shoe Fits
Author: Julie Murphy
Genre: Contemporary Romance  
Publication Date: August 3rd, 2021
Ratings: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Goodreads Summary:

After having just graduated with a degree in shoe design, and trying to get her feet on the ground, Cindy is working for her stepmother, who happens to be the executive producer of America’s favorite reality show, Before Midnight. When a spot on the show needs filling ASAP, Cindy volunteers, hoping it might help jump-start her fashion career, or at least give her something to do while her peers land jobs in the world of high fashion.

Turns out being the only plus size woman on a reality dating competition makes a splash, and soon Cindy becomes a body positivity icon for women everywhere. What she doesn’t expect? That she may just find inspiration-and love-in the process. Ultimately, Cindy learns that if the shoe doesn’t fit, maybe it’s time to design your own.

This was such a delight! A Cinderella re-telling featuring a fat main character, a dishy “prince”, AND written by Julie Murphy? SIGN ME UP!

Julie Murphy always does an incredible with writing positive fat representation in her books and the character of Cindy is no different. She doesn’t accept less than what she’s worth when it comes to clothing and life in general. All the winks and nudges to the original source material were the best: Cindy’s triplet half-siblings being named Jack, Gus, and Mary, Cindy specializes in shoe designs, and the dating show competition being named Before Midnight. One of my favorite departures from the source material is the characterizations of Cindy’s stepsisters. They are so supportive and nurturing to their sister, even when all three are being put on this dating show. Of course, I assumed they would be mean or ignore her once she got to the house but they stayed by her side. It was nice to see a semi-positive spin on her relationship with her step-mother, as well. Yes, it was a rather superficial relationship, but as a reader you can tell that by the end, they are on the path to establishing a real relationship. Don’t even get me started on the chemistry between Henry and Cindy! Despite being put out by Disney, I kind of wish it had some steam…

Of course since this is a retelling, the story was a bit predictable and the ending a little lackluster, but this was a fun read with a lot of heart. If the first book is this good, I can’t wait to read what comes next in this new series from Disney Hyperion!

ARC was provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Title: Ghosts
Author: Dolly Alderton
Genre: Fiction  
Publication Date: August 3rd, 2021
Ratings: ⭐️⭐️⭐️.5

Goodreads Summary:

Nina Dean has arrived at her early thirties as a successful food writer with loving friends and family, plus a new home and neighbourhood. When she meets Max, a beguiling romantic hero who tells her on date one that he’s going to marry her, it feels like all is going to plan.

A new relationship couldn’t have come at a better time – her thirties have not been the liberating, uncomplicated experience she was sold. Everywhere she turns, she is reminded of time passing and opportunities dwindling. Friendships are fading, ex-boyfriends are moving on and, worse, everyone’s moving to the suburbs. There’s no solace to be found in her family, with a mum who’s caught in a baffling mid-life makeover and a beloved dad who is vanishing in slow-motion into dementia.

Dolly Alderton’s debut novel is funny and tender, filled with whip-smart observations about relationships, family, memory, and how we live now.

This took some time to get into and I was really close to putting it down as a DNF. And while I am glad I kept with it, it definitely wasn’t perfect.

I read Dolly Alderton’s memoir, Everything I Know About Love, last year so I was excited to pick up her debut fiction novel. Ghosts displays the same witty writing with this commentary on relationships—platonic, familial, and romantic. Her voice leaps off the page and felt very genuine. I really loved the characters, especially Lola, and thought they developed really well across the novel. My big problem was the pacing—this book felt like it went on for 500 pages when it didn’t even hit 350. There was so much time wasted, dragging through parts of the story that didn’t need to be there.

While I do think I will keep my eye on Dolly Alderton’s writing in the future, I might just stick to her essays.

ARC was provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

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