31 August 2016

Monthly Wrap Up // August

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Goodbye Summer! It was nice to actually experience some sunshine for once and to get to relax.  I had my highs and lows but it was a really fun month. We are now moving in to autumn and the end of the year and it makes me a bit sad but there’s still lots of reading to be done, right?

Can’t Stop Listening

Starving – Hailee Steinfeld ft. Zedd
Gangsta – Kehlani
Heathens – Twenty One Pilots

August Reads

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The Favourites: The Body Electric // This Savage Song // Iron Cast // Exit Strategy (Just the Nadia Stafford series as a whole, really)
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August Posts


August Links

Confessions of a Book Geek: I’m Breaking Up With Ebooks // Ebooks vs Paper Books – The Facts (this second post was actually really interesting, you should read it)
Smart Bitches, Trashy Books: Real Quick – Why Reading Romance Is Brave and Powerful (because romance readers get just as much grief as adult YA readers do)
It Starts At Midnight: Lesser Known (But Still Kind of Annoying) Tropes // Shattering Stigmas (this is the opening post but go check out the tag for all the posts, these are touching reads)
Of Dragons and Hearts: Reading Bad Books (I’m looking at you Torn) // Re-Reading Childhood Favourites
Metaphors and Moonlight: Do Spoilers Actually Ruin Books?
Broc’s Bookcase: We Have the Power!

And there is my month! How has your August been? Has it been productive as you’ve had lot’s of free time or have you felt lazier than usual and gotten nothing done? It always seems to go one of two ways in the summer months.

29 August 2016

This Raging Light // A Book Which Was Beautiful In It’s Writing

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Published: 14th January 2016
Source: Won
Genre: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult
My Rating:
How is it that you suddenly notice a person? How is it that one day Digby was my best friend's admittedly cute twin brother, and then the next he stole air, gave jitters, twisted my insides up?

Lucille has bigger problems than falling for her best friend's unavailable brother. Her mom has gone, leaving her to look after her sister, Wren. With bills mounting up and appearances to keep, Lucille is raging against her life but holding it together - just.

A stunning debut to devour in one sitting, Laure captures completely the agony and ecstasy of first love.
I read a lot. I read a lot of YA. I read a lot of contemporary. I just really like to read. As such I feel like I know quite a bit about the usual YA contemporary reads and what classes as a fun but pretty average read and what counts as a fantastic lyrical read. This book falls into the second category. Now, I will warn you now this has some partial spoilers so please beware from this point forward.

What Made It So Fantastic?


This is a beautifully written book. Not magically written like Daughter of the Forest, but instead the writing feels lyrical. It feels poetic. It’s the kind of beautifully written book which makes you want to get lost in the pages and not come out. Even though there are a lot of real life issues featured in this book which are tense and dark, the delicate writing keeps you reading and makes you enjoy a story which could be a tense read.

I adored the actual story of this book. Lucille’s life has taken a sharp turn from where it was just a few months ago. Her dad is gone and she doesn’t know where he’s gone since his nervous breakdown and her mom went on holiday and hasn’t come back. It’s just her and her little sister Wren and they are struggling to pay the bills and look after one another waiting for either of their parents to return. Add to this Lucille has found herself falling in love with her best friend’s twin brother, Digby, who already has a girlfriend and life is getting quite difficult for her. This is one of those books that has a more dramatic storyline but really works. I enjoyed reading about Lucille and the tough decisions she had to make trying to be an adult whilst still making the stupid decisions any teen does.

One of my absolute favourite part, though? It was the relationship between Wren and Lucille. Wren is Lucille's little sister who she is trying to raise and doing everything she can to hide the disappearance of her parents so no-one will take Wren away from her. I loved every page they were together in this book. Wren was just perfect. Sure, she’s a little kid, but she’s a kid who loves watching the cooking channel and talks about vodka sauce for meatballs and is continually thinking about food. She was fun and you could tell Lucille both wanted her to grow up and protect her innocence at the same time. Everything Lucille does is for Wren and when she tries to act like a normal teen the guilt she feels is not for herself but always for how things affect others.

The Romance Is Complicated


This is no spoiler as it’s on the back cover but Lucille and Digby have a complex relationship. They've known each other forever and Lucille can’t remember when or how but she is finding herself falling in love with him. It’s awkward as Eden, her best friend, is his twin and add into the fact he is in a long-term relationship with a girl who he very much loves and it’s quite complicated. I liked that fact. It made it interesting. I am not a fan of cheating in books or even the prospect of cheating but this book deals with the various relationships so well that you can partially understand how they have gotten onto the path of temptation. Neither party is happy about their feelings for one another. They struggle with the decisions they make and feel guilty and it’s not simple. I like that the book demonstrates how not simple the relationship is.

Crappy Best Friends Suck


I do admit one thing I didn’t like was Lucille and Eden’s friendship. It’s not that I didn’t like it, as such. I did, I just didn’t like some of the decisions Eden made. Sure, Lucille is mean and does take some of her frustration about her situation out on Eden. And Lucille is almost cheating with Eden’s twin (like, the temptation is there) which puts Eden in a crappy position. But Eden’s decisions in the book angered me. I won’t reveal everything but I will say her explanation for why she acted as she did sucked. She made it seem simple and it’s not. Sure, she was put in a terrible position but it wasn’t like she had to choose one over the other. And considering the situation Lucille was in she most certainly acted like the worst best friend. I know they’re teenagers and we all make bad choices but she certainly made one of the worst.

Let’s Get Summarising


Overall, I adored this book. I loved the characters (even when they were making rubbish choices) and I loved the story. This book just worked for me. I loved the relationship between Wren and Lucille and I loved the relationship between Digby and Eden and  adored the writing. This is a book I will return to again and again because it’s a quick read filled with excellent writing. I don’t normally consider myself a fan of fanciful writing such as this but I have very much changed my mind.

Have you read this book? What were your thoughts? Do you like books with pretty writing or does it come across as a bit over the top and unnecessary?

27 August 2016

Sunday Summary // 28.08.2016

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I am in an excellent mood this weekend because it is not only a bank holiday weekend which means more time to see friends and family, but I also have the next week off of work and so I have lots of free time to read. I couldn’t be happier which is shocking considering how my week has been.

I am not going to go on at length about a bad week at work but it wasn’t the best week I’ve had in a while. My entire team has been having bad week for no specific reason, it’s just been dragging. I don’t think it helped that we had a bunch of negativity dumped on us Friday about our work so my working week ended on a sour note. This was pretty annoying because Thursday had actually made it seem like my week was turning around. I think I really needed the break from work and even that has been ruined slightly by the fact we’re behind with our week and I feel guilty that I’ve not done overtime this weekend to help everyone catch up but I have been looking forward to my week off from work for too long to go in when I don’t have to. Maybe that means I’m not a team player and I do feel bad but honestly the relief I felt walking out of the door Friday really signified my need for a break.

Enough about work, my time away will make my heart grow fonder. Honestly, I do enjoy going to work really I just really like to complain.

What have I been doing outside of work and reading? I spent my time putting up some pictures to make my room a little more homey and I’ve hung some fairylights. I’ll post a picture to my Instagram feed soon so you can admire it. It involved a lot of cleaning and vacuuming as well because I feel like I’m a hoarder with the amount of stuff I threw away. Honestly, how do we manage to get so much stuff?

What I’ve Been Reading

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I’ve done a whole heap of reading this week and I am insanely proud of myself. I have just been in the reading zone and I’ve fully embraced it. It’s not even like I’ve been spurred on by 4 and 5 star reads, I’ve just really enjoyed reading. I think my only book flop this week was The Gracekeepers and that was more because of my expectations than anything else. I mean, I’ve even managed to fit in two rereads! I couldn’t be happier with how much I’ve read, although I may have neglected blogging a bit in favour of books, but this is a book blog so it’s related.

New To Me

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All I can say is it all went a bit wrong this week. I had a lot of books I’d ordered turn up and so it looks like I’ve gone a lot crazier than I have. Better World Books had an offer on a week or so ago and so I ended up with six books for under £12 and I’d be stupid to say no to such things, right? And then I’d treated myself to the first book in the Nadia Stafford series by Keeley Armstrong on Sunday and, well, I loved it and had to buy the next book in the series. And then there were a few sneaky Kindle purchases which happened, like Trust Me On This and Right of First Refusal and here we are. We all have weeks like this, right?

How has your week been? I’m not the only one who felt like work dragged, right? And why is it we get a bank holiday weekend in the UK and it ends up being a wash out? Explain this to me! Tell me all about books and things below.

25 August 2016

My Blogging Problems // Why It’s Good To Follow Bloggers With Different Tastes

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My Blogging Problems is a feature where I think about the things I struggle most with when it comes to blogging. There are plenty of issues when it comes to blogging. How do you write reviews? To comment back or not? How do you tackle your TBR? Is DNF-ing a book sensible or admitting defeat?

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This is a sort of continuation of my last post about why I follow various blogs and it’s part of the second question I posed. Do you have to have similar tastes as those you follow?

Look, I know the answer is obvious. Of course, you don’t. What a ridiculous idea. I want to go onto to explain why, though. I know that some people probably do try to stick with bloggers with similar bookish tastes because how else are you going to get decent recommendations? I’m not one of those bloggers, but people do. I just want to take the time to remind people that they should give bloggers a chance even if their tastes are very different.

Why Did I Have This Thought?


This whole idea began because I was reading a review on The Quiet People for a book I really liked and I found myself disagreeing with Beth and her thoughts and I realised that our bookish tastes are pretty dissimilar. It got me questioning why I follow her blog and these posts were born. My first post explains the thought process which occurs when I decide I need your blog on my blog feed and this post explains why I won’t drop you just because you’re saying things which I don’t agree with (unless you’re seriously offensive but I doubt I would have followed you in the first place if you were).

I know I can disregard some blogs far too easily and I need to stop that and I’m sure many others do this too. I am here to explain why that is stupid and why just because you’re not reading the same books or enjoying the same books doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be following one another.

I don’t need to agree with you to want to hear what you say.

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We’re allowed our own thoughts and we should never hold it against others when they voice your opinions. It gives you a well-rounded perspective and helps spark debate which gets conversations going. I really enjoy following bloggers who have different tastes to me both to hear their differing opinions on books but also to discover new ones. I love reading their posts because their thoughts get me thinking. They might say something about a book I loved which makes me realise there were flaws to it I overlooked and I love that.

I discover so many cool books from bloggers whose tastes differ from mine.

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If I didn’t follow bloggers whose tastes were different I would never venture into new genres and that would just be sad. I never used to read historical romance until some bloggers I follow said some wonderful things about some books and convinced me to give them a shot. Turns out I love historical romance and I would never have known this if I didn’t follow bloggers with different tastes to me. It makes me sad to think I may never have picked up a Sarah MacLean or Tessa Dare novel because I would have been missing out.

Only recently I read a fantastic book I would never have looked at twice if it wasn’t for blogger opinion and I am forever grateful that a good review was posted online. If it wasn’t for Jamie I would never have read These Shallow Graves and I absolutely adored that book. I simply couldn’t put it down. It would have been unfortunate to miss out on it.

It helps me get perspective on hyped books

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Some books cross genre boundaries and all bloggers seem to be talking about it. if I didn’t follow a variety of bloggers who read in different genres I would never get a well-rounded view of these overly hyped books. Some people rate them highly others take issue. I need to hear good and bad and everything in between otherwise I go in expecting the world and just end up disappointed.

Look, I know I shouldn’t have to convince you to follow more blogs. Often I wish people would talk me out of following more blogs because it’s impossible to find the time to stay caught up but I simply don’t care. Go and follow everyone and don’t let your brain talk you out of it for stupid reasons.

Do you find yourself disregarding blogs when you see they don’t talk about the same books as you do or are you a fan of variety like me?

23 August 2016

The House In Quill Court // A Surprising Read I’m Glad I Read

Published: 25th August 2016
Source: Publisher (Netgalley)
Genre: Historical, Romance
My Rating:
From the multi-award-winning author of The Apothecary’s Daughter, The House in Quill Court is a gorgeously evocative Regency novel bursting with historical flavour and characters you won’t forget. If you love Philippa Gregory and Joanne Harris, you will adore Charlotte Betts.
 
1813. Venetia Lovell lives by the sea in Kent with her pretty, frivolous mother and idle younger brother. Venetia’s father, Theo, is an interior decorator to the rich and frequently travels away from home, leaving his sensible and artistic daughter to look after the family. Venetia designs paper hangings and she and her father often daydream about having an imaginary shop where they would display the highest quality furniture, fabrics and art to his clients.
 
When a handsome but antagonistic stranger, Jack Chamberlaine, arrives at the Lovell’s cottage just before Christmas bringing terrible news, Venetia’s world is turned upside-down and the family have no option but to move to London, to the House in Quill Court and begin a new life. Here, Venetia’s courage and creativity are tested to breaking point, and she discovers a love far greater than she could have ever imagined . . .




I wouldn’t have even looked at this book twice if I saw this somewhere and that would be a travesty! This was a book I wasn’t expecting but thoroughly enjoyed and isn’t that just the best kind of book? The kind which sneaks up on you and makes you like it so I am glad to have been invited on this blog tour and have a chance to read it.

This was a book which took me longer than usual to read but in a good way. I was savouring every page and although some of the story elements were a bit obvious I did really enjoy it. I mean, this is a book which is quite different to my usual reads and I was a bit uncertain but those doubts went right out of the window.

Let’s Begin With The Positives


This book was such a gripping read. I mean, it’s a historical read and it’s a romance but it’s not the usual historical romance. It’s slower and more about character development and the mystery than being about the romance. It’s filled with a whole lot of story which is what keeps you reading and some characters you can’t help but like.

I think the main reason for me getting to drawn into the book was the dual narratives of Venetia and Kitty. Venetia is from a more privileged background, her father is an interior decorator for the upper class and she dreams of owning a shop with him where she can sell the paper hangings she can design and he can offer his interior design services. Kitty, on the other hand, is Venetia’s maid who dreams of escaping her small town and going to London to seek a better life. The twos lives could not be more opposite. When Jack Chamberlaine arrives in the household with shocking news which changes all of their lives the family moves to London with Kitty along for the ride.

Throughout the book Venetia and Kitty are opposites. At firsts it’s because of the positions they are in, Venetia is privileged and doesn’t have struggle and work for a living and Kitty is simply her maid and every day is a chore with another demand made of her time. As the book progresses their positions are different as Kitty takes quickly to life in London whilst Venetia struggles and has to work so hard for everything she achieves. At times the differences in the two characters bothered me but overall I adored these two people who I could see viewed things very differently. It made the book interesting for me.

It’s a difficult book to review because there are some significant reveals to the story which I don’t want to spoil as that will completely ruin your enjoyment of the book. I have to say, I didn’t expect the direction the book went at the beginning. I did find myself feeling it got a tad obvious towards the end. I mean, not really obvious but I began to be able to predict things just before they happened.

Look, I loved It But It Wouldn't Be Me If I Didn’t Have Some Gripes


I did have a few complaints about this book I enjoyed so much. One is that everything seemed to be happening, it was a book filled with drama. Drama is something I both enjoy and can get frustrated by when it gets a bit too over the top. I think the book managed to keep it on the side of the sensible considering everything which happened in the book I understand why so many things seemed to happen to our main characters.

My big BIG complaint about this book is that a character gets so poorly mistreated in the book. They seriously have all the bad luck. Things seem to be going so well for them and then it all seems to go wrong whilst our other character seemed to have all the luck after having things going really wrong. I feel like one of our characters was cheated and just didn’t get the ending they deserved and I was heartbroken about it. Like, a lot of terrible things happened to a lot of people, but why did all those terrible things have to happen to that one person? I did feel they were conveniently used towards the end to help resolve the story and got cheated out of a better ending. It was nowhere near enough to put me off the book but was just a niggling annoyance.

It Was Love (With Some Gripes) But You Should Totally Read It


Look, I cannot claim to be an expert in the historical genre but I certainly think my first foray into Betts’s writing demonstrates she is a skilled writer who captures an era and who can write realistic characters and an interesting story. I may not have looked at this book twice before but I now know I am very happy to hunt out more books by Betts because she knows how to capture your attention with a book. This book will be a surprise to all who read it and you will enjoy it. I can’t say too much I can say the twists and turns and dramatics of the story are what made this such a captivating read. Some may say the story was melodramatic but I say it was gripping and it had some pretty great romance, too.

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About the Author

Charlotte Betts began her working life as a fashion designer in London. A career followed in interior design, property management and lettings. Always a bookworm, Charlotte discovered her passion for writing after her three children and two step-children grew up.
 
Her debut novel, The Apothecary’s Daughter, won the YouWriteOn Book of the Year Award in 2010 and the Joan Hessayon Award for New Writers, was shortlisted for the Best Historical Read at the Festival of Romance in 2011 and won the coveted Romantic Novelists' Association's Historical Romantic Novel RoNA award in 2013. Her second novel, The Painter’s Apprentice was also shortlisted for the Best Historical Read at the Festival of Romance in 2012 and the RoNA award in 2014. The Spice Merchant’s Wife won the Festival of Romance's Best Historical Read award in 2013.
 
Charlotte lives with her husband in a cottage in the woods on the Hampshire/Berkshire border.




And don’t forget to visit the rest of the stops on the blog tour below!
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Have you read a book which surprised you recently? And do you find yourself reading books which surprise you and finding yourself rating them higher because of it?

21 August 2016

Sunday Summary // 21.08.2016

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It’s Sunday again (or, it’s Saturday when I’m writing this but it’ll be Sunday once you get to read it so we’ll say it’s Sunday shall we?). My week has gone so quickly and I think it’s because I’ve had to much to do! Work has been crazy busy because with all the extra work we’ve been given we’ve fallen behind and then I’ve been reading away and watching the Olympics and trying to catch up with friends and write blog posts and read blog posts and so now I feel like I need a day in my pyjamas. That is my plan for Sunday. When you’re reading this just know I am sat in my pyjamas enjoying another good book… or binge watching something on Netflix. Also, a lie in will be involved. Maybe I’ll sleep until midday. Who is gonna stop me?

I’ve not watched much Olympics this week, all the late nights had me falling asleep at work so I had to start getting some sleep. I’m sad it’s ending this weekend but I’m glad to get normal TV back and to stop watching sport. It’s like a complete reversal of my normal views on sport. I’ve actually enjoyed it and normally I’d leave a room rather than watch it.

What I’ve Been Reading

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I’ve read some amazing books so far this week and I’m so glad. After finishing The Two Pearls of Wisdom I was sure I’d end up not being able to read anything until I had the second book in the duology, but then I read Iron Cast. Iron Cast was the perfect book for my mood and I’m glad I read, now to write a review for it! I then read another of the Cainsville books by Kelley Armstrong and Visions was even better than Omens. I adore Kelley Armstrong I am going to work my way through all of her books! I ended my reading week with Underwater. It’s completely different from everything else I’ve read this week and that’s made it refreshing.

New To Me

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I have been very restrained with my buying of books, you’ll be impressed. I actually have only borrowed books from the library. I mean, I have books which are due to be delivered, but until they arrive I don’t own them, right?

How have your weeks been? Has anyone else found they have too many things to do and not enough time lately? I feel like Summer should be a relaxing time and that has yet to happen for me. I’ve got some annual leave coming up so maybe that will help.