26 May 2017

My Blogging Problems // How Long Until You Put An Unfinished Draft Out Of It’s Misery?

blogging problems
Welcome to another discussion post presented by me. I haven’t had a nice discussion in a while and I intended to have a different post up about how I am getting far too free and easy with my Netgalley requests… but then I realise I had something far more important to talk about.

We need to talk about how long you leave a post languishing in your drafts before you accept it isn’t getting up there on your blog?
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I ask this question because currently I have many a heading typed out and a few key points written up for some posts which sit gathering dust only to be forgotten about. And that’s not even counting the reviews I’ve copied over from my Goodreads all ready to be edited and posted on my blog that get to spend three or six months for me to get my butt in gear. I don’t know why I do this. It may be because I have a short attention span. Or it might be that I get distracted with my enthusiasm for some new idea that takes over. Sometimes, it’s simply that I can’t be bothered adding in the images and hyperlinks and the usual business I like to have on a post and so I think ‘I’ll do that later’ only to not go back to it.

Now, I can’t be alone in this lazy habit of mine, right? I cannot be the only one who gets distracted by a sparkly thing. Or who finished a post and rewards themself with a good internet browse only to not go back and finish off that post ready for adding into the queue. Please, tell me I’m not alone!

Now, I know I do this and so I have a lot of unfinished drafts. Apart from comforting me that I’m not the only person hoarding unfinished drafts I also want to know how long you leave it there unfinished? Do you have a time limit before you go ahead and delete them? Or do you finish every draft you have? I’m curious because I’ve recently gone through and gotten rid of a few, and you will have noticed this week I also went and published a few. I am trying to tidy up my drafts folder. Whilst it’s nice to have a couple of half-finished posts to fall back on it also means that sometimes a post misses being posted at the right time when it felt most current to me. It means that sometimes when I had a theme in mind for my week of blog posts I instead end up posting that discussion which links to my reviews three months later and it feels a bit out of place. Basically, it may be nice it does have it’s downfalls and often I never end up going back to the posts and so they just sit there languishing until I put it out of it’s misery and delete it.
bI3Te2F
How long do you leave a book unfinished in your drafts? Do you have a limit to how long it stays before you abandon it? What system do you use for your blog drafts? Do you even have a system?

24 May 2017

738 Days // The Drama May Have Gone A Bit OTT At The End But Looking Back I Loved The Book

 738 Days
738 Days – Stacey Kade
Published: 7th June 2016
Source: Bought
Genre: Romance, Contemporary, New Adult
My Rating:
At fifteen, Amanda Grace was abducted on her way home from school. 738 days later, she escaped. Her 20/20 interview is what everyone remembers—Amanda describing the room where she was kept, the torn poster of TV heartthrob Chase Henry on the wall. It reminded her of home and gave her the strength to keep fighting.

Now, years later, Amanda is struggling to live normally. Her friends have gone on to college, while she battles PTSD. She’s not getting any better, and she fears that if something doesn’t change soon she never will.

Six years ago, Chase Henry defied astronomical odds, won a coveted role on a new TV show, and was elevated to super-stardom. With it, came drugs, alcohol, arrests, and crazy spending sprees. Now he's sober and a Hollywood pariah, washed up at twenty-four.

To revamp his image, Chase’s publicist comes up with a plan: surprise Amanda Grace with the chance to meet her hero, followed by a visit to the set of Chase’s new movie. The meeting is a disaster, but out of mutual desperation, Amanda and Chase strike a deal. What starts as a simple arrangement, though, rapidly becomes more complicated when they realize they need each other in more ways than one. But when the past resurfaces in a new threat, will they stand together or fall apart?
I have been wanting to read 738 Days ever since I first heard about it when I saw Ashley’s review on Nose Graze and when I saw Ksenia review it earlier this year I just knew I needed to read it too. I treated myself to a copy and although I’m not a huge fan of celebrities in books (I find it hard to find them believable and they definitely aren’t relatable) but I decided to give this one a shot as I was interested to see how Amanda’s struggle to recover from her captivity would happen. Would it be handled well and what struggles would she face that you wouldn’t expect?

I actually really enjoyed this book. I did end up dropping half a star as it did get crazy dramatic there at the end but I enjoyed myself reading. I mean, I read it so quickly I didn’t want to put this book down. Addictive reading is a sign of an enjoyable read and honestly, sometimes all I want is a bit of a light entertainment, not a book which blows away all expectations. This is definitely the first one.

So what worked about this book? Mainly the characters. I mean, I was concerned that this would delve into a whole world of angst as Amanda is suffering from PTSD after her kidnapping. I mean, I wanted her struggle to overcome experience to be genuine and so a certain level of angst was inevitable but I didn’t want it to feel wallow-y. I wanted it to feel like Amanda accepted her fight and although she had bad days she was trying to get herself to a level of normal she could be happy with. Anyway, my point was it wasn’t as angsty as some might have made instead Amanda was this amazingly fragile character who had amazing strength, it just took her time to recognise it. And Chase could easily have been a vapid celebrity in it only for his benefit, and he was some of those things, but he was also this really great guy who realised when he made mistakes and did try to do better. I can respect that.

There was plenty of character growth happening as well. With our MCs but also with secondary characters as well. I loved Amanda’s sisters in this they were so utterly charming in their own ways, especially with how they were with her. They were her sisters so sometimes they acted like dicks and I loved it. I really enjoyed seeing Amanda come in herself more and learning to recognise her own strength. She went through a terrible ordeal, she can’t deny that, but she learns to not let it completely define her. It changed who she is but it doesn’t mean she always has to be that girl. And Chase learns a lot about forgiving himself and his own actions.

The thing is, the romance kind of takes over at times and you forget at all these great developments happening to the characters because it is a crazy sauce romance. I loved that when I was reading, I love crazy over the top happenings, I can’t help it, but I think that is what sticks in your mind immediately after reading.

I won't go into all the ways it went wrong. Like I said it could have toned the drama down and I could see one plot point right from the start which was going to come back and bite Chase in the arse but despite those flaws, it was a good book. I was concerned Amanda's recovery was going to be all down to the love of a good man which would be awful and a slap in the face of any survivor of violence and sexual violence so I’m glad that didn't happen. Instead, the arrival of Chase in her life was a trigger for Amanda to try something different. I think it was the whole having an outsider there instead of a family which did it. Sure, the romance plays a big role in this but thank God Chase didn't solve all her problems otherwise I would have had to stop reading.

 
Have you read this book? What did you think? Good level of character development and story or did the romance take over?








22 May 2017

A Darkness Absolute // A Brilliant Sequel From An Author Who Always Delivers

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Published: 28th February 2017
Source: Gift
Genre: Mystery, Thriller
My Rating:
The follow-up to #1 NYT bestseller Kelley Armstrong’s acclaimed City of the Lost, Rockton town detective Casey Duncan makes a terrible—and dangerous—discovery in the woods outside of town.

When experienced homicide detective Casey Duncan first moved to the secret town of Rockton, she expected a safe haven for people like her, people running from their past misdeeds and past lives. She knew living in Rockton meant living off-the-grid completely: no cell phones, no Internet, no mail, very little electricity, and no way of getting in or out without the town council’s approval. What she didn’t expect is that Rockton comes with its own set of secrets and dangers.

Now, in A Darkness Absolute, Casey and her fellow Rockton sheriff’s deputy Will chase a cabin-fevered resident into the woods, where they are stranded in a blizzard. Taking shelter in a cave, they discover a former resident who’s been held captive for over a year. When the bodies of two other women turn up, Casey and her colleagues must find out if it’s an outsider behind the killings or if the answer is more complicated than that...before another victim goes missing.

Casey Duncan returns in another heart-racing thriller from #1 New York Times bestselling author Kelley Armstrong.
You know how I posted some reviews which had been lurking in my drafts for six months the other day? Well, now I’ve got one which I have been intending to write ever since I finished the book. I read City of the Lost last year and loved it. And I told you about how I loved it in my Borrowed Books post and I fully intended to review the sequel too…. and then somehow didn’t. I decided to remedy this because I want to review my favourite books on here and this was a favourite (also, seeing Kaja reading the first book reminded me I still haven’t reviewed this… bad Becky). I will be relying on my memory on this and my Goodreads review but I think I can remember all the salient details.

First of all, I absolutely loved this book. I was a little hesitant going in but once I got into the flow of the book I loved it. There was little doubt about that, though. Kelley Armstrong may be an author I first read last year but she has become a firm favourite of mine and her books always deliver.

It was great to return to the town of Rockton and see how Casey has managed to integrate herself within the community now she has stayed. A lot of things happened in the first book and given that it’s an off the grid town relying upon the mysterious council to provide for their needs nd a place where the community must fill all the holes in labour needs meant it was interesting seeing how they managed to cope after the reveal of the first book. I really liked seeing how Casey was being accepted in town. It was great reading about it all and just seeing this community and how they work, especially as this time they were looking at both the past and the present. I loved glimpses on how the town came about and about what happens when folks leave. All of it just worked for me.

I also loved that Casey and Eric's relationship is as strong as ever despite both of them not having had long-term relationships before. It was interesting seeing them navigate the unknown together. They were initially influenced by others and the expectations that others have for relationships but it was great that when there were moments that in other books would have forced them apart and created conflict they instead spoke about stuff. Like actually used their words. You do not know how often I shout that at a book, it’s insane. I loved that they were both able to speak to one another about things. Their relationship will not be plain sailing but I enjoyed reading about it.

The reason the book didn't get 5 stars from me may be petty but it was simply the mystery of this book wasn't as strong as the first. It felt like Casey's path to find out who was to blame was very convoluted and I noticed that fact. It wasn't enough to bring my enjoyment down but that did niggle at me. I get it was difficult for them to investigate with the weather being against them and trying to not create doubts within a community which lean towards volatility but I feel like it was a not seeing the forest for the trees kind of situation. Basically, they went all round the Wrekin and it was unnecessary.

The mystery may not have been as strong this time around but I continue to want to see more from the Casey Duncan series. I still have many questions about Rockton and the people there and I also wanted to know more about this mysterious council and the hostiles. There is plenty more to explore and I for one cannot wait.

Anyone else let reviews linger in their drafts for far too long? And had anyone else read and loved this series so far? Any similar recs because I feel like Armstrong is in a genre of her own at times and that makes her original but girl needs some good recs now and again.



21 May 2017

Sunday Summary // 21.05.2017

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I am writing this after recovering from a hangover. I was out Friday night and I danced the night away to a Robbie Williams cover band. It was a fun night but I was feeling it the next morning. I’m writing this far later than I normally would so please don’t judge me for any mistakes.

I forgot to take photos of my present for the woman leaving at work (my bad) but I had a blue theme for her leaving as we were blue to see her go. And she had a Ferrero Rocher chocolate bouquet. I was very impressed with my gift buying this time around. It’s not easy finding stuff for folks. It does mean we are now drowning in work as she left Friday but that’s okay. We will (hopefully) manage to catch up. One woman, who has recently gone on maternity leave, brought in her new baby as well so she could see the woman who was leaving as she had been so excited to see the new baby. He is two weeks old and is so tiny and cute and she looked so good considering it was only two weeks since she had him. They were both well and they came into to say goodbye so it was really nice to see everyone together.

This week has been a very slow blogging week. I am behind on comments and blog reading and blog writing so I apologise if you’ve noticed a slight absence. I plan to spend Sunday doing some catch up so you might see a lot of me popping up.

What I’ve Been Reading

Captive Prince8 Prince's Gambit9 Kings RisingBlacktie Optional3136651623650493
I had a binge read over the weekend of the Captive Prince trilogy. It was an amazing read, so very addictive and I loved it. I recognise that there are some flaws and I have a few things to say about the ending but as a whole I loved it. I finished my buddy read of Dark Days Pact, what was that ending guys? Like, really? And then I’ve had some romance reading with the insanely fun Black Tie Optional which had a fake relationship and I loved it. I then followed up with another fake relationship book in the form of Isn’t She Lovely.

New To Me

Queen of BloodDumplin'Good GirlEverseaTaken by the CowboyStealing Mr RightSugar Daddy
Yeah… I’ve got no excuse. I bought a lot of books. I can’t think of a reason I just saw a lot of books I wanted to read. I’m excited to read them, though. Or, reread as the case may be for Sugar Daddy.
GodblindHouse of Secrets
I’ve gotten two new books on Netgalley as well. I am so excited for both they sound so interesting. I was a bit rash requesting Godblind but it does sound good. And there’s a new Sarra Manning book! I need to read that ASAP!

So, I had a fun week with as little drama as I could and now I will spend the day in my pyjamas blogging/reading/binge-watching Kimmy Schmidt. How has your week been? Anyone read any good books lately?

19 May 2017

Deja Vu // The Rephaim Series–Paula Weston

Deja Vu
As some of you may remember, I was struggling to find a way to feature books I have loved and reread. Especially those books I’ve already reviewed here on the blog. Even if it was a few years ago. You all said I could review again if I wanted to and that’s great. Glad to be reminded we are a non-judgmental bunch of folks in the book blogging community. I thought about re-reviewing but that’s not really what I want. I’ve done that. I don’t want to repeat myself, that’s boring (although, I do it a lot). So, instead, I am trying to create a new feature. A feature where I get a sense of deja vu about books I’ve reread.

Now, you will need to bear with me with these posts and I am still not completely certain how I will implement it. I don’t have a set format and I totally don’t know where the post will take me as I write it. You’ll have to give me hints and tips at the end.
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Original Review: Here posted 10th September 2015

My Rating: (it hasn’t changed)


How Do My Opinions Hold Up After A Year And A Half?

i just want to rub my face on his face
I will begin this with my original thoughts and what I agree with. After a slightly cringe-worthy reread (you read through and edit for a reason, some of those sentences don’t make sense!) I have to say I really do agree with my original review. I may have only really focused on the first book as too many comments on the other three really risk spoilers but I still strongly agree. The best comment I made was that Hush Hush and Fallen should have tried to be more like the Rephaim books and less like Twilight because it’s extremely accurate and also it made me smile.

I agree with all of my comments, really. It’s strange to see my thoughts repeated when it’s been so long since I originally wrote them. It’s like when you see someone else write a review on a book you loved and you feel like hugging the screen because they have fully encapsulated your thoughts to a tee. It’s like that, only less coherent.

Has Anything Changed?

Whitney
One thing I did notice is that my focus seemed to change between my first read and my reread. In my original review I was flailing over the friendship between Gaby and Maggie. I even call their friendship one of the highlights of the series. Whilst I did love their close friendship it was never my focus during my reread. In fact, I hadn’t really give it a thought. Instead, it was all about the romance and Gaby and Rafa (Rafa, who is probably my only book boyfriend ever) and they were what I was flailing about in my reread. Reading my original thoughts I don’t disagree that I loved the friendship aspect of the series. I loved the friendship between Maggie and Gaby. It’s the central part of a lot of the books. Gaby makes decisions based on making sure she keeps Maggie safe and Maggie totally doesn’t freak out at Gaby being this totally awesome fighting machine. Or about demons. Girl has staying power. True friend!

I do find it strange that my focus differs between my readings, though, and I think it’s very much to do with the type of reader I am from now and then. Whilst romance has always been a thing I’ve enjoyed it’s only within the past year or two I’ve fully embraced romance everywhere because I am a hardcore card-carrying romance reader. I mean, I like to think me embracing romance began when I started this blog but I think I was still hesitant. Instead, I focused on friendships and story and all of that and yes those things were brilliant in the book but damn that romance! I do love a slow burn romance which spans on entire series.

Basically, looking back at my original review I agree 100% with those thoughts. I am even shocked to remember that the first time I read the series I binge read and almost fell into a reading slump and the same can be said the second time around. It seems, whilst many things change when it comes to our reading tastes and bookish trends, many things also stay the same. In this case, The Rephaim series by Paula Weston is still an absolute favourite of mine and will be for a long time to come, I think. It had romance and friendship and an action-packed plot and I simply cannot recommend it enough.

Have you read this series? What did you think? And isn’t it strange you focus on different things when reading as time passes? It is certainly true when it comes to different genres but I never noticed during a reread before.

17 May 2017

Spandex and the City // It’s Ridiculous And Funny But The Romance Didn’t Do It For Me

Spandex and the City
Published: 18th May 2017
Source: Netgalley
Genre: Romance, Contemporary, Humour, Chick-lit
My Rating:
LOCAL GIRL SWEPT OFF HER FEET

Mild-mannered PR girl Holly Phillips doesn't think much of costumed vigilante 'Ultimate Man' - and after his superpowered antics leave her hoisted over his shoulder and flashing her knickers in the newspaper the next day, she's embarrassed beyond belief.

But when Holly's fifteen minutes of fame make her a target for something villainous, she only has one place to turn - and finds the man behind the mask holds a lot more charm than his crime-fighting alter-ego.

Can Holly find love, or is superdating just as complicated as the regular kind?

WOULD LIKE TO MEET: NICE GUY, LIKES DOGS, GSOH AND NO SUPERPOWERS
I got this one off Netgalley, it was one of those impulse requests you do when a book sounds like it’s going to go either way based off the summary. I’m still of two minds about it. On the one hand it was a great light read with a quirky fun look at the other side of superhero story. The story of the ordinary person in a city where there is a super hero and the city is filled with criminals. It was also a romance and I do feel like it was the romance which let this book down, which is bad coming from me as I am a huge fan of romance.

I loved the humour. It read as having a wry British humour and it was great. Our MC, Holly, is so not interested in her BFF trying to push her into a romance. Especially not when it involves her imparting her sage knowledge since she is in a committed relationship so knows it all. Instead, she'd rather be at home in her pyjamas, eating too much food, and watching bad reality TV (who can't relate to that feeling?). So, you can imagine her annoyance when she is forced to approach a hot guy to avoid grief and it ends up with her being tossed over the bar by him and an armed robbery by 'the bad guy' which ends with her having a photo of her arse in the paper... especially as she was wearing knickers which were past their best. She then proceeds to be the focus of the bad guy and in a strange sort of not relationship with her cities favourite super hero. I mean, life as a single girl in the city is difficult enough without adding in a maybe romance with a super hero whilst trying to pursue a normal life herself.

So many things about this book shouldn't have worked because it was so ridiculous and I think that's why I enjoyed it. It was very much a humorous take on the super hero genre which has become the focus of so many movies and TV shows of late. Holly wasn’t enamoured with our hero… and she wasn’t much impressed by the bad guy either. She honestly wished for some peace and quiet.

There were a few things I disliked, though. The humour and fun storyline was great. It wasn’t a serious take on the superhero genre, it was just fun. But the romance felt a bit forced. I didn’t get any chemistry there at all. I honestly would have been happier without the romance, if she had just been friends with Ultimate Man (yes, that is his superhero moniker). I felt like Holly in any kind of relationship was a bit like a teenage relationship of everything being OTT. Holly blew everything out of proportion and really was a little too self-centred in the relationship (but then, so was he). The pair definitely didn’t mesh well together. Just… I could see it coming and I liked it but it really added nothing for me at the same time. Isn’t that weird?

If you’re looking for a slightly ridiculous read then this is the book for you. It can never be taken seriously and whilst it won’t be for everyone or for every reading mood if you catch it at the right time it is a great book to enjoy.

Have you read any good old chick lit lately which is out there but still fun? And how is it I can enjoy a book which is marketed as having romance in it and declare I didn’t like the romance?

15 May 2017

The Forever House // A Charming Read Which Made A Touch Emotional

The Forever House
Published: 18th May 2017
Source: Netgalley
Genre: Contemporary, Romance, Women’s Fiction
My Rating:
Would you know your forever house if you found it?
 
Hunter's Moon is the ultimate 'forever' house. Nestled by a river in the Peasebrook valley, it has been the Willoughbys' home for over fifty years, and now estate agent Belinda Baxter is determined to find the perfect family to live there. But the sale of the house unlocks decades of family secrets - and brings Belinda face to face with her own troubled past.
 
A gorgeous escapist read for anyone needing a hug in a book - perfect for fans of Erica James, Lucy Diamond and Harriet Evans.



I don't know how Veronica Henry does it but this is the second time she's made me cry reading one of her books. Considering this is only the second book of hers I've read I really feel like that says something about her writing. She just knows how to write a book which makes you feel all the emotions. There is plenty to love in her books and I am just so happy that I read this one.

I will be honest and say I was a little uncertain, to begin with. A book about a family selling their home and unearthing secrets? It sounded like it might be a little boring, an exploration of the past and stories from the past. I was completely wrong. Instead, I had drama and romance and tears and laughter and everything which makes me love a book. It was just utterly charming. You can’t help but fall in love.

It is told from several perspectives both in the past and in the present. It’s easy to tell who it is each time and when it is you are, be it the past or present. I am not always a fan of multiple perspectives in a book as I am easily confused and when POV changes too frequently I can sometimes find myself disconnected from characters but that wasn't the case this time around. Whilst this was very much Belinda and Sally's story it was also the story of the Willoughby's past and present. We saw Belinda in the present striving to sell Hunter's Moon and do the home justice as Sally and Alexander clearly love it although they are selling to move to a retirement community. But you also had the story of Sally and Alexander in the past as they met and their path to falling in love.

It isn’t even just the story of Sally and Alexander which you get, though. It’s in the 60s and you get the story of Alexander’s entire family, the Willougby’s. From his romance author mother to his father who spends far too much time at the pub and his two sisters and their adventures. Sally finds herself organising the whole family and also slowly becoming one of them. It’s hard to say too much about the book without revealing too much but it’s safe to say there is a whole story in the past as you slowly learn about Hunter’s Moon’s history and the family who has lived there. There was also a story to Belinda, as well. Everything just linked together slowly flawlessly, the past and the present and it was just brilliant. I can’t explain why without you reading it so you can get where I’m coming from but trust me, it’s brilliant. 

It really was the characters making this book. I loved Belinda and her strength and how she was both driven but kind. But really, it was Sally and her crazy path to Hunter's Moon and the Willoughby family which I loved. And Alexander. I was very much in love with Alexander, but so was many a woman if the book was to be believed.

This may not be a book for everyone but it is a wonderful and charming read set in the English countryside. It will hit you in the feels but you'll be smiling a lot of the time so it's OK. It was also nice to see a few familiar names from the only other Veronica Henry book I've read, as well. I love those little bits of crossover in books. Sarah Dessen is the queen of doing that and it was nice to see here.

Have you read this or any other Veronica Henry book? What did you think? And what was the last book you read which made you tear up?

14 May 2017

Sunday Summary // 14.05.2017

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Yay to another week gone. I mean, not yay in one sense because my time is passing far too fast, but also yay in another. I’m strange.

I can’t say I’ve been interesting at all this week. The highlight of my week has been planning a night out with my BFF as she really needs the chance to let loose with the stress of buying a house and some family drama going on we are going to have a fun night out and relax whilst dancing our troubles away.

We also have a few new faces arriving in our office over the next few weeks. The first arrived on Thursday and she seems really nice. As I’ve barely spoken to her I can’t form too much of an opinion but I’m optimistic she’ll do well. Fingers crossed the other couple are just as good. But, they are coming because one of my colleagues is leaving. I’m really sad to see her go as she has been the person who I’ve worked with the longest and we get along so well but she does have an offer on a really good position which is a bit more local for her so I can’t fault her for going. It’s not like most who leave after a few months. I’ve been busy planning on what to get her as her leaving gift and I have come up with the best plan! I will take photos for next week so you can appreciate the thought and planning which went into this. I have a theme and everything and it will be hilarious. Hopefully, she’ll appreciate it.

I also made the decision to go away with my mom this year. I haven’t been away properly for a few years now and my mom has been grumbling she wants a beach holiday for a while. I’m not really one for sunning myself on a beach (I am pale, me and sun don’t mix well) but I decided screw it. I want a holiday and she wants to go to a beach, holiday partner sorted. We have no clue where we're going but I have a week booked off in September and I’ll have a slightly later sun holiday because I deserve that. I may have to think about doing some exercise before then so I will at least look slightly toned at the beach. Good exercise suggestions for toning up would be appreciated.

What I’ve Been Reading

27074515Six of CrowsSpandex and the City31366516
I took a long time about reading The Dark Days Club and Six of Crows, I know. It was really quite a slow reading week all things considered. I mean, I finished Dark Days at the beginning of the week, fitted in Spandex and the City (which is fun… but it’s missing something as well). And then I didn’t finish Six of Crows until Friday night! I know. I’ve been slacking. I’m now doing a buddy read of The Dark Days Pact with Danya so that’ll be on the list for another week as well.

New To Me

DeeperAll Played Out
Check out who has been a calm and restrained book shopper this week! Oh yes, just two books purchased and I am so excited for both. I blame Deeper on Nick as she mentioned in her Sunday post last week and I’ve had it on my radar for a little while anyway. And then All Played Out went on offer and I’ve been wanting to read it forever so I couldn’t say no really. Apart from that, no other books have been purchased. Check me out!
Thirteen Reasons WhyThe Goblins of Bellwater
I did get two ARCs on Netgalley as well. As soon as I saw Thirteen Reasons Why I knew needed to grab it whilst I could as it’s been on my TBR for a while. I’ve heard mixed things and I really want to throw in my two cents by having an informed opinion. Also, everyone told me to watch the TV show on Netflix so I will. And The Goblins of Bellwater just sounded so interesting. I mean, it may be terrible but I’m hoping not, not with a cover that pretty!

So it’s been a slow week and I’m glad of it, how have your weeks been? Anyone got good suggestions for a nice September beach holiday? Do people have their own holidays planned? Tell me things.

10 May 2017

The Winter King // A New Favourite In Fantasy Romance

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Published: 29th July 2014
Source: Bought
Genre: Fantasy, Romance
My Rating:
After three long years of war, starkly handsome Wynter Atrialan will have his vengeance on Summerlea's king by taking one of the man's beautiful, beloved daughters as his bride. But though peace is finally at hand, Wynter's battle with the Ice Heart, the dread power he embraced to avenge his brother's death, rages on.

Khamsin Coruscate, Princess of Summerlea and summoner of Storms, has spent her life exiled to the shadows of her father's palace. Reviled by her father, marriage to Wintercraig's icy king was supposed to be a terrible punishment, but instead offers Kham her first taste of freedom—and her first taste of overwhelming passion.

As fierce, indomitable Wynter weathers even Khamsin's wildest storms, surprising her with a tenderness she never expected, Kham wants more than Wynter's passion—she yearns for his love. But the power of the Ice Heart is growing, dangerous forces are gathering, and a devastating betrayal puts Khamsin and Wynter to the ultimate test.
This book is one of those books I’d been dying to read ever since I heard of it and then I got a really cheap used copy that was basically new… and it sat on my shelf for a few months. It’s a book which had terrified me to read and so when I finally picked it up I was scared. Scared and excited. Thankfully, my fear was unfounded because this book was totally awesome. I mean, logically, I know I should rate this book more like a 4 star or something as I'm sure I've read books which with a more in depth plot and greater world building and all that but to mark it down for something small like that is crazy because I enjoyed it so much. 

This was such an enjoyable and addictive read and now I've finished I'm ready to hit myself for having doubts. This book was exactly what I wanted and more. There are nowhere near enough fantasy romance books out there in the world and this is a prime example of doing this genre right.
This book is amazing and it rocked because Khamsin was an utterly relatable protagonist you could easily like. No, we don't all have horrible parents who make us feel unloved and a curse on the family, but we all have moments of doubt about our abilities and our self-worth and at the heart of it that is Khamsin. From the beginning, you are rooting for her to get her happy ending and for her father, the king of Summerlea, to get his comeuppance. Add in the ultra masculine and supposedly terrifying Wynter as your romantic lead and you are set for a good story.

One of the things which made this book so awesome was the romance, It is a fantasy romance after all and the romance was fantastic. Wynter and Khamsin were so good together with sparks flying all over the place. They clashed a lot and bother were too stubborn for their own good but they were also so sweet together. Khamsin definitely brought out the best in Wynter. He was meant to be this terrifying and overbearing mean conqueror of Summerlea who is forcing the conquered royalty to give up a daughter for marriage to provide an heir. But with Khamsin he is so sweet and so charming and you learn he just has this squishy centre. I just loved how those two together were just so hot! Oodles of chemistry to be had.

The great thing is there was also a good story to this book as well. The romance doesn’t overtake the fantasy, there are excellent fantasy elements to be had. Sure, I would have liked to know more of the magic and abilities in the book but that small flaw wasn’t enough to put me off. The romance was awesome sauce but there was a solid plot to go along with the romance. You had the doubt between Kham and Wyn as they were each suspicious of the other’s motives. And it could have been annoying, I hate when a couple keeps doubting each other but they had totally valid reasons, they are in a forced marriage after all. And then there was the fact that Wynter was battling a fearsome Ice Heart which was leading him to be unfeeling and could potentially unleash an apocalyptic event unless he can find a way to thaw his ice heart. And Khamsin is battling the fact her new countrymen hate her and her brother was the one who triggered a war between nations. Add in the fact she is convinced Wynter is going to kill her in a year and they both are battling some issues.

This book cannot be accused of lacking substance. It had a strong plot which may have been dragged out a little but I seriously enjoyed every page and I will be buying everything C.L. Wilson has ever written. I need more books and I need the sequel ASAP.

What was the last fantasy romance you read? Got any recommendations in the genre as this is one I truly love? And have you read this book or any others by C.L. Wilson, what did you think?

08 May 2017

Bite Sized Books // Where I Dig Up Some Old Reviews And Talk About Some Good Romance

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Okay, I’m going to be honest with you guys. This Bite Sized Books post has been in my drafts for going on six months and I don’t know why I’ve not posted it. I think I couldn’t be bothered to sort out images and links at the time so it’s never gotten onto my blog and ready to post. It’s sad and I loved these first two books by Emma Chase so that is a crying shame. I wanted to clarify that now before you all go accusing me of not reading these, I did and then didn’t tell you all about how great they were.

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Published: 28th April 2015
Source: Bought
Genre: Romance, Contemporary
My Rating:
Emma Chase, New York Times bestselling author of the Tangled Series, returns with the first installment of the Legal Briefs Series.


As a DC defense attorney, Stanton Shaw keeps his head cool, his questions sharp, and his arguments irrefutable. They don’t call him the Jury Charmer for nothing – with his southern drawl, disarming smile and captivating green eyes – he’s a hard man to say no to. Men want to be him and women want to be thoroughly cross examined by him.

Stanton’s a man with a plan. And for a while, life was going according to that plan.

Until the day he receives an invitation to the wedding of his high school sweetheart and mother of his beloved ten-year old daughter. Jenny is getting married — to someone who isn’t him.
That's definitely not part of the plan.

***

Sofia Santos is a city raised, no-nonsense litigator who plans to become the most revered criminal defense attorney in the country. She doesn’t have time for relationships or distractions.
But when Stanton, her "friend with mind-blowing benefits" begs for help, she finds herself out of her element, out of her depth, and obviously out of her mind. Because she agrees to go with him – to The-Middle-Of-Nowhere, Mississippi – to do all she can to help Stanton win back the woman he loves.

Her head tells her she's crazy...and her heart says something else entirely.

***

What happens when you mix a one stop-light town, two professional arguers, a homecoming queen, four big brothers, some Jimmy Dean sausage and a gun-toting Nana?

The Bourbon flows, passions rise and even the best laid plans get overruled by the desires of the heart.
I loved this cute contemporary read and thank Smart Bitches, Trashy Books for putting this series on my radar from one of the podcasts (it was actually the second book mentioned but it’' feels like blasphemy to not start at the beginning of a series).

I had seen this book about a couple of times but I wrote it off because I am not a fan of romances where it goes from friends with benefits to more because that is not how life goes in reality. It might, but more often than not from my experience and what I’ve seen with friends it too often ends in disaster with one person having fun and the other wanting more. Life experience has taught me people suck. Anyway, I’d written off this book thinking I wouldn’t enjoy the romance and Stanton’s love for his ex and stringing Sofia along. Turns out I was wrong as I so often am.

This is a great romance and I think the reason it works is because Stanton is a sweet and charming southern guy you want to swoon over. He is completely likable and when he acts like a bit of a dick he seems to recognise it as well. You keep trying not to like him because of how he treats Sofia and how he acts with his ex he’s trying to get back, but you can’t.

More importantly, Sofia is a badass. She is ‘one of the guys’ which can be an annoying category for a beautiful woman to be in books because it seems ridiculous, but Chase managed to do it right with Sofia. It’s logical that she feels like one of the guys in her firm because she group with older brothers and you always end up being able to interact with guy talk a lot easier then. And it’s acknowledged she isn’t a tomboy, she is just capable of guy talk and understand guy logic a bit more. I really liked Sofia because she seemed really relatable and she did have little meltdowns in her head but she was strong and awesome and I loved it.

Basically, this is the contemporary read for you if you enjoy seeing to strong personalities who clash yet totally work as a team. It’s fun, there’s flirting, and you won’t be able to help to get absorbed. Also, who doesn’t like a nice southern gent in your romance reads?

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Published:
Source: Bought
Genre: Romance, Contemporary
My Rating:
A knight in tarnished armor is still a knight.

When you’re a defense attorney in Washington, DC, you see firsthand how hard life can be, and that sometimes the only way to survive is to be harder. I, Jake Becker, have a reputation for being cold, callous, and intimidating—and that suits me just fine. In fact, it’s necessary when I’m breaking down a witness on the stand.

Complications don’t work for me—I’m a “need-to-know” type of man. If you’re my client, tell me the basic facts. If you’re my date, stick to what will turn you on. I’m not a therapist or Prince Charming—and I don’t pretend to be.

Then Chelsea McQuaid and her six orphaned nieces and nephews came along and complicated the ever-loving hell out of my life. Now I'm going to Mommy & Me classes, One Direction concerts, the emergency room, and arguing cases in the principal's office.

Chelsea’s too sweet, too innocent, and too gorgeous for her own good. She tries to be tough, but she’s not. She needs someone to help her, defend her…and the kids.

And that — that, I know how to do.
The second book in Emma Chase’s Legal Briefs series ended up being just as enjoyable as the first but in a different way. The first one turned a trope I am not a fan of into a really enjoyable basis for a book. Sustained turned a trope I roll my eyes out into one that I really liked as long as suspended a certain amount of disbelief.

Sustained is all about hardass Jake, the man of a hundred one night stands, who enjoys sex and is determined in his career. He was once a badboy who got put on the right path to follow the law. The book is told exclusively from his perspective, which is pretty unique for romance reads. Normally it’s from the female perspective or a duel perspective, never from the male perspective alone. I’ll be interested to see if the third is similar.

Our intrepid hero Jake ends up meeting Chelsea, a woman who has been dealt a tough hand with the death of her brother and his wife leaving her with six kids to raise (yes, six children!). Jake is returning one of her wayward wards home when he first meets her and he gets drawn into their lives and the lives of these kids when the last thing he wants is responsibilities and a relationship.

I really enjoyed this romance both because Jake turned out to be a softy with a squishy marshmallow centre of gooiness, but also because Jake was resistant to this whole thing. You often get guys who don’t want commitments in romance and you never see much of their perspective, or when you do in can come across that they are just a bit of knob. This isn’t the case with Jake, he has very legitimate reasons for wanting his independence and you can see it’s tearing him up trying to stop himself falling for Chelsea and all her kids. It’s not him acting like a complete knob (he is still a bit of one) but it’s him just being absolutely petrified and I liked reading that. It’s obviously a losing battle and I adored reading every step to his downfall.

This is another fun contemporary read this does involve you not rolling your eyes at the idea of a woman in her mid twenties taking on an army of children when her brother dies and not needing to work (she seriously didn’t seem to have any job, where was the money coming from?). Apart from the suspension of disbelief at the gaggle of children it really worked and those kids needed to be in there to provide the romantic obstacles necessary. It’s just a plain old fun read.

Have you read either of these books? What did you think? And can you recommend any other good contemporary reads, I have a craving.

07 May 2017

Sunday Summary // 07.05.2017

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This week has been… well… it’s been. I don’t know what to say. It began well with it being a bank holiday weekend (who doesn’t love those?) and so I really enjoyed relaxing. I didn’t even leave the house over the weekend I was relaxing that much. But then I had to go back to work and I know this month is going to be stressful so there was that slight feeling of dread. I like how busy we are as there is nothing better than having a bunch of work to focus on and plan to do but I really do just want a calm month. Just once this year.

A highlight of my week was the pub (I know, when is it not lately?) but it wasn’t so much the pub it was seeing my bestie and just having fun. We walked in and the place was empty! It was such a rarity to have it be empty. We had out pick of tables and chatted with the bargirl about a long distance race she has coming up and whether she plans to do it. We then sat catching up and ended the night crying with laughter over that faceapp thing you can get where you make yourself old or young or male or whatever as we had the best pictures. We ended up having to leave we were crying so much. Hers was great for being male as it randomly gave her one ear which stuck out a no facial hair whilst I just look like I should work in IT and possible be balding and have a paunch. My pictures are below. It’s a strangely fun app. Forgive my very unhappy original photo. Also, yes, I know female is weird when you are female but we wanted to see what it would do… it just gives you more obvious makeup.
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Apart from hysterical laughter over nothing, it’s been a much calmer week than last week. I did find out my favourite bar which shut down has been taken over and reopened so yay! Hopefully, the new owners will be just as good as the last ones. It really was a fantastic bar and I can’t wait to go back.

What I’ve Been Reading

Labyrinth10485751The Forever House27074515Six of Crows
This week began with my DNF-ing one of my Last Chance Books. I gave it a fair shot. I got over 100 pages in and I was bored. I kept waiting for a hint of action or something interesting to happen but all there was was a girl in love with her husband who was cheating on her because he’s a dick. Not exactly fun reading. Luckily, I did begin reading The Winter King straight after and that is a good book. Brilliant even. I will be buying everything C.L. Wilson has ever written just so you know. I was surprised by how much I enjoyed The Forever House as well. I knew I’d like it after my last Veronica Henry book was such a hit but I didn’t anticipate how much I would enjoy it. Isn’t it great when a genre surprises you? I also began rereading The Dark Days Club this week as I have The Dark Days Pact on my shelf. I remembered the slow start but it isn’t as slow as I remember, that may be because I’m reading at a slower pace this time, though.

New To Me

The Understatement of the YearThe Midnight QueenHow the Duke was WonThe Hundredth QueenThe Pact
For some reason, I always get more books at the beginning of a month than any other time. I think it may have something to do with those monthly Kindle sales but I don’t like to point fingers. There were two freebies in this haul, though. The Hundredth Queen is my Kindle First book of the month and The Pact was going free on Amazon and who can say no to free romance?
Blacktie Optional
Just one new review copy this week. Black Tie Optional hooked me with the fake marriage angle also, the publisher posed it as being one for fans of rom-coms and the film The Proposal (oh Ryan Reynolds, how I love you so). Basically, there was no way I could say no.
Captive PrinceCrooked KingdomEvery Little ThingSimon vs The Homo Sapiens Agenda
And finally, I took a trip to the library. Some might say I don’t need library books with the number i have to read above… but I laugh in their face and ask where they get such farfetched ideas from. Library books are free so who cares how many I borrow? I had to go, anyway. I both need to read Becky Albertalli’s first book after loving Upside of Unrequited. But also, I found out that my library as the first book in the Captive Prince trilogy and I need those books in my life (if I love the first I’ll treat myself to Kindle copies of the other two). I just like books and I can’t wait to get reading.

And that is my week. A bit more sedate than last time but still perfectly enjoyable. I will go now and absorb myself in Sims playing (I’ve been inspired by Kristen… I may even reinstall Sims 3) when I should be replying to blog comments and catch up on reading for the past 5 days. Have a good week and tell me all the things below.