17 October 2017

The Love Experiment // I Didn’t Fall In Love In 36 Questions… It Just Took A Shirtless Man Holding A Cat

The Love Experiment
Published: 1st October 2017
Source: Bought
Genre: Romance, Contemporary
My Rating:
Can you fall in love in thirty-six questions?
The closest rookie lifestyle writer Derelie Honeywell gets to megastar reporter Jackson Haley is an accidental shoulder brush in The Courier's elevator. That is, until the love experiment: a study designed to accelerate intimacy using thirty-six questions and four minutes of sustained eye contact.

As far as Derelie is concerned, Jack Haley has always been a man best imagined in his underwear. He's too intimidating otherwise. But participating in the love experiment is her make-or-break chance. With another round of layoffs looming, Derelie knows holding on to her job means getting the story no matter what. Even when the what is kissing Jack like a maniac.

Jack Haley has zero interest in participating in a clickbait story. He didn't plan on finding Derelie smart and feisty and being mesmerized by her eyes. He certainly had no intention at all of actually falling in love with her.

The conclusion to this experiment? Thirty-six questions might lead to love, but finding the answer to happily-ever-after is a lot more complicated.
I had never heard of Ainslie Paton before and I only picked up The Love Experiment because Nick reviewed it and said it came on her radar because of Lucy Parker, an author I love, so I had to check this out. I preordered it and everything. I have no regrets, it was a swoon-worthy and addictive read I wasn't 100% I'd love but went in optimistic.

It all revolves around two reporters at a struggling newspaper answering questions to an experiment to see if it can forge a connection between them. As the title demonstrates, love is definitely involved, it's classified as romance after all. Jackson Haley is a respected investigative reporter who thinks he is above such ridiculous lifestyle pieces and Derelie (rhymes with merrily) is a relative newbie hoping to keep her job and solidify her position at the paper as rumours of cutbacks continually swirl. Jackson is reluctant and is strong-armed into it all and Derelie demonstrates she is determined and not easily put off.

I adored Derelie as soon as I met her on the page, even if she did have questionable tastes when it came to Yogaboy and his man bun (few can pull off a man bun and anyone I see with one immediately makes me think knob... sorry to man buns everywhere). She was likeable as the woman just beginning her career. Who bravely left her comfortable small town for an adventure and who was determined to succeed. You can easily relate to her as we all have had similar struggles. You want her to succeed with the story and you want her to get everything she wants because she may be sweet, but she's fun and determined and doesn't put up with shit and will ugly cry when an occasion calls for it, but only later when no one can see.

Jackson was not as easy to like. He began acting like a dick and he continued to lash out and be a jerk, and a condescending jerk at that. He seemed like I wouldn't like him with his putting down Derelie and refusing to cooperate at every turn like he was such hot shit. But then Derelie went to his apartment and the Jesus Jeans happened and you met Martha, his cat. I am a sucker for a man with animals and so when you met Martha the determined cat escape artist and learnt Jackson was messy and an actual human being, then I began to fall for him. He actually had all kinds of emotional issues, but he wasn't a bad person and he was so damn scared of revealing a soft underbelly that you vaguely got his dickish behaviour. It doesn't excuse it but then he cooperates with the experiment and all kinds of good stuff happens from there.

I thought as the book progressed I would love it and it would be predictable and maybe not stick with me but it kept doing things a little differently than I expected and by the end, I was in love. I even misted up a bit with the grand romantic finale (there were animals involved again, how could I not?).

Ainslie Paton may not have been an author on my radar before reading The Love Experiment but she definitely is now. This book hooked me in all the right ways and when I was beginning to think I'd never find I book I fancied reading either. I am tempted to employ this question asking approach to my dating life, what could go wrong?

Have you read this or anything else by Ainslie Paton? What was the best romance you read that just fell on your radar by accident? And why are romances which involve pets so good?

15 October 2017

Sunday Summary // 15.10.2017

Sunday Summary
I had the most relaxing beginning of the week (although my Sunday post was a day late) and I didn’t blog as much as I hoped but it was a great week. I didn’t go into work until Wednesday so I only had a three day working week which was pretty damn awesome, I could get used to that. I didn’t do a whole lot with my days off other than catch up on a little blog reading and a whole lot of Netflix watching. Sometimes a chilled couple of days is all I need.

Last time I told you we were getting a newbie at work, she started while I was off but I met her Monday. She is young! She’s just 18, I am telling you the newbies keep getting younger! She’s quite quiet but I think she’s scoping us out. At least she’s picking stuff up fairly fast so I’m hoping she’ll work out. I think this every time we get a new starter, though.

I also got some great news about someone who recently left the office, he’s coming back. He’s been offered a job in another department and so he’ll be coming back at the end of the month. I’m so excited! The office has been a lot less fun since he left so I’m glad to have him back.

What I’ve Been Reading

Wilde in LoveThe Love Experiment
I admit, I haven’t been reading as much this week. I have been binge watching Scorpion because it’s easy viewing and I just haven’t been able to figure out what I fancy reading. I was craving a bit of historical romance after going to Bath, though, so Wilde in Love arrived at the right time and it was brilliant! And I started The Love Experiment when I decided I simply didn't know what I wanted to read and I am in love. It is so good. I'm only a third of the way in and I adore it.

New To Me

SpellslingerBut Then I Came BackAsh and QuillWhile the Duke was Sleeping35521513Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
I know, there are a whole heap of books again. Turtles All The Way Down and the new Illustrated Harry Potter were preorders so I was excited to get those in the post. The rest, well, I have spending problems. I couldn’t say no, though. They were on offer!
The Girl in the TowerTo The Duke, With Love
I also got two ARCs which I didn’t really need but I mean, The Girl in the Tower, I adored The Bear and the Nightingale so I was so excited to get that to read. And I just can’t say no to some good old St Marten’s Press romance, I really can’t.

How was your week? Anyone else prefer a quieter week from time to time?

13 October 2017

Five Reasons to Read… Cormoran Strike Series

I decided to resurrect this series of posts because, honestly, sometimes thinking of five good points about something is the easiest way to convince folks to give a book a chance. I haven’t done one of these posts in ages but then I read two books series I absolutely loved but I couldn’t review each individual book because spoilers! So instead I will do a couple of these posts and attempt to convince you to read the books two.
18192717The SilkwormCareer of Evil
I first heard of Cuckoo’s Calling and the Cormoran Strike series when it was revealed that Robert Galbraith was a JK Rowling pseudonym I obviously wanted to read the books because JK Rowling! But also because I enjoy some good mystery fiction. I read the first one a few years ago and I know it took me a while to read last time but I really enjoyed it. The fact that it took me a little while to read, though, meant I put off reading the next one. Like three years later I was on holiday and the BBC had begun airing the series and I decide to reread the first book and read the next two (my mom had bought the books after all, it would be rude not to read them). I am so glad that everything fell into place to give me time to read them because the Cormoran Strike series was amazing and so worth a read. I am going to attempt to convince you to give them a chance.

JK Rowling wrote it!

jk rowling
Look, for many that reason alone will be enough. But they’ve probably already picked up the books and you’re not really the folks I need to convince now, are you? But seriously, the fact JK Rowling wrote them should suffice, her writing skills are excellent and we all know she can write a whole cast of characters and make you care about them. She is so smart and it really shows in her writing. I was seriously hooked second time around by her characters and the story and it was all just so well written. It’s seriously insane how good a writer she is, I think I forget that when it comes to Harry Potter because the story is so familiar I miss the writing itself but it’s not any old author who can appeal to both young and old audiences.

The mysteries hook you in and keep you guessing (that doesn’t always happen)

The Cormoran Strike series is a mystery/thriller series all about a private detective and the cases he works. There is always a big mystery with smaller ones within each book as well and I have yet to figure out ‘whodunnit’ before the big reveal. You are continually kept guessing as the clues are revealed and the evidence seems to hint at someone else you can never quite figure it out (at least I didn’t). Even if I did figure out I don’t think I’d mind because the books are so good and you have to keep reading because you can never quite figure out the details of how.

I think I forget that Rowling is a good mystery writer but she tested her skill to begin with in Harry Potter. Looking back on it now I think that’s half the reason those books appealed because there was a mystery within each one which was then revealed at the end. Sure, it’s a fantasy setting but at it’s heart there are mystery elements and you see that once more in the Strike series and you see it done with greater skill and the mysteries are more complex and it’s brilliant.

We have a grumpy MC and he is flawed and I love him.

Cormoran Stirke is not the stereotypical mystery hero (at least not the type you see in a lot of books). He isn’t typically handsome. He is not sweet, kind and lovable. He’s actually pretty damn grumpy, very flawed, and the kind of guy you definitely wouldn’t look at twice on the street (unless you’re looking at the Tom Burke version, in which case you totally would). I loved how Cormoran felt so human. he didn’t always say or do the right thing, he’s a bit of a dick sometimes and I definitely disliked him from time to time, but he’s also smart and brave and good. Basically, he is totally human

They may be long but you never once get bored,

The first three books total 1579 pages. I did that in just over three days and that’s a whole lot of words. Most of the books I read average around 350 words and sometimes I struggle with even that so reading a book which has 500+ words is always daunting. Not once did I notice how many pages there were and normally I’m always conscious of how may pages are left in a chapter or a book. I mean, this is also true of the Harry Potter books, I can read those and not even care what page I’m on but I was totally surprised to experience the same thing here.

I am hooked by the will they won’t they relationship between Cormoran and Robin.

Look, when I told a friend about this series (although I was more trying to convince her to watch the BBC series, even though the books are better, her attention span is not good enough for long books) she instantly predicted Cormoran and Robin would end up together. I ship them together pretty damn hard and that’s not just because I think Robin’s fiancĂ© is an undeserving toad who doesn’t support Robin anywhere near enough. I also think the chemistry between Robin and Cormoran is off the charts.

The pair do have an excellent friendship and working relationship and although it begins rocky between them because Cormoran does almost knock her arse over tit down the stairs and then he is gruff and grumpy and can’t even remember her name! By the end of the book they are friends and as the series continues they become closer, he gets an invite to her wedding, they can chat and joke and it’s brilliant. Personally, I kind of want Cormoran and Robin to get it on (I love romance) but even if they don’t their friendship is spot on and I adore them both.

Have I convinced you yet? The books are so worth the time and as readers we should all venture out of our comfort zone from time to time and here is a good book to do that with. Anyone else read this series or have a similar recommendation to make?

09 October 2017

Sunday Summary // 04.10.2017

Sunday Summary
I know this is a day late but I was in Bath for the weekend for a friend’s hen do and was far too exhausted to get it finished for Sunday. I hope you can forgive me, but I did pretty much faceplant my bed as soon as I walked in, I was exhausted.

First off, can we all just stop watching the news? Is that allowed? I feel like every time I turn on the TV the world is crumbling that bit more and Donald Trump is making another stupid comment and someone in the UK government has made another idiotic comment about Brexit which is completely illogical and I just feel like pulling my hair out. My thoughts are with everyone in Vegas and those affected by it. it was awful and it’s utterly insane and every time stuff like that happening the US I question why there aren’t more laws in place for gun control to try and help prevent stuff like this happening. I have also been left questioning what is wrong with people reading up on a crime which happened in my town where a homeless guy was taken in by a family. They helped and supported him for a year and he then turned around and attacked them. He has now been convicted but these things seriously make you question what is going wrong in the world.

So yeah, I want to stop watching the news, they say ignorance is bliss, right?

But outside of the news bringing me down real life has been surprisingly good. Work hasn’t been awful, we’ve had folks out sick, but I think because I know I’m off for a few days around the weekend I am just letting everything go and just getting my head down working. I have been productive and even though I am exhausted after working last Saturday (and after a hen do) I am happy with how everything has been going so far. We have a new starter while I’m off and I may not be looking forward to training (my manager is out a week after the newbie starts so guess who the trainer will be that week?) I am looking forward to having a full team. I am annoyed it’s another woman (we only have one male in the department, we need some eye candy people!) but she’s meant to be nice so fingers crossed guys. This one has to work out, right?

I went to Bath on Friday for the weekend and it was such a great weekend. I didn’t get to see anywhere near enough stuff in Bath (I didn’t even get to go in one bookshop) but I did love the city and hope to go back at some point. I visited the Roman Baths and I did a whole heap of walking seeing the Jane Austen centre and the Circus and the Royal Crescent and that was amazing. I would have loved to go in the Jane Austen centre but maybe another time.

One of the big things my friend wanted to do was have afternoon tea and I ate a Sally Lunn Bunn and they are amazing! If you’re going for afternoon tea and don’t want to spend a fortune I really recommend it, the place is very small inside but it’s over several floors and the staff there are so nice! The girl whose hen do it was got a complimentary glass of champagne when we got there and they were so good about trying to get us all on the same table considering there were 9 of us! And can I say Sally Lunn Bunn’s are delicious.

We went to a spa on the Sunday and I felt so relaxed afterwards! They didn’t do treatments (they did at prices that made me want to cry) but the pools and sauna’s, etc. were included. I felt so relaxed after being in there and it was really brilliant. I’ve never been in a spa so it’s convinced me I’d been willing to go to another and maybe get a treatment or two.

Basically, it was a great weekend in Bath, we experienced culture and plenty of good food. Some relaxation to work that off, and I also drank a few cocktails and boy do I love cocktails. It wasn’t your typical hen do with L plates and strippers and everything (although, does every country do that or is it just us in the UK?) but it was exactly what she wanted and she seemed to have a great time. I am now exhausted and I got no reading done all weekend!

What I’ve Been Reading

I mentioned last week I’d started rereading a favourite series from last year and here are the books so far. I’ve failed epically at reading practically any September or October ARCs but I am loving the Kate Daniels series. The last book is out next year so I kind of want to get all caught up. I did have strong historical romance urges whilst in Bath, though, so I may take a break from the series and read a bit of HR and maybe that will shift my new book slump.

New To Me

The Love ExperimentShining ThroughOn The EdgeDead Witch WalkingSaving Mr Perfect5JetRomeRiveted
It turns out when I’m in a slump I shop. Add in all the Kindle deals happening and there is no hope for me. I am excited for my books, but I’m always excited for my books. Fingers crossed I get to reading them all because there is a whole heap. I’m kind of trying to get all of Jay Crownover’s books and considering I’ve only ever read one book by her I’m not sure why but I’ve heard good things and I’m craving romance so it could work.
Seeing Red
I got a book in at the library I requested, though. This was a Nick inspired request so I hope I enjoy it. It will feed my craving for something different, at least.
Wilde in Love
And one single review copy in. I agreed to participate in a blog tour for Eloisa James’s newest book and I am totally excited to read something by her finally. I hope I love it!

How has everyone’s week been? Anyone want to join me in avoiding the news? And anyone else found themself rereading a favourite series when stuck on what to pick up next?

06 October 2017

My Thoughts // One Of My Book Buying Quirks… Am I Weird?

My Thoughts_zpsv3m9csox.png
I’ve been doing some book buying lately (because I’ve got issues) and it got me thinking about one of my worst book buying habits I have and whether or not I’m back kind of logical or if I’m just throwing my money away for no good reason.
who needs money
In most circumstances I will try and get the cheapest version of a book possible, be that ebook, paperback, hardback, used book, whatever. I will always go cheap unless I am trying to match a collection. I spend a lot of books so I obviously need to try and save as much as I can. I mean, it may be a hobby but I don’t want to bankrupt myself just got my hands on some books, I’m ridiculous, not crazy. But I notice that when both the ebook and the physical copy or expensive (i.e. more than £4.99) then I will always buy the physical copy, even if the physical copy is more expensive. I think it’s partially because in my mind physical books cost a little more than a fiver, because that’s what they cost when I was a kid spending my pocket money.

For example, I am trying to buy all of Ilona Andrews books and the majority of them are around £4.99 (at least for the Kate Daniels and The Edge series) and whilst it would be more convenient having these books on my Kindle for reading I instead own physical copies of them because I would rather spend that £2.00 extra and have a physical copy I can hold and see, you know? I mean, I like knowing that I have that copy there should I ever want it. Sure, it means if I’m out and about I can’t just pull up a copy to read on my Kindle but I don’t mind that. I would just rather spend more, even if the ebook is slightly cheaper, because spending near enough £5.00 on an ebook somehow offends me. Basically, if an ebook is expensive I would rather be out of pocket and buy the book… unless the cover is truly cringey or the physical copy is way more expensive.
Am I alone in doing this? Does anyone else save the money and just pay more for an ebook? Am I being too extravagant or is it just smart wanting something to show for it if you’re going to buy a pricey ebook?

03 October 2017

When It’s Real // A Fake Relationship Which Left Me Grinning By The End

When It's Real
Published: 30th May 2017
Source: Bought
Genre: Romance, Contemporary, Fake Relationship
My Rating:
Wealth, fame and a real-life romance she never expected—seventeen-year-old Vaughn Bennett lands it all when she agrees to become a pop star's fake girlfriend in this smart, utterly addictive novel from #1 New York Times bestselling author duo Erin Watt

Under ordinary circumstances, Oakley Ford and Vaughn Bennett would never even cross paths.

There's nothing ordinary about Oakley. This bad-boy pop star's got Grammy Awards, millions of fangirls and a reputation as a restless, too-charming troublemaker. But with his home life disintegrating, his music well suddenly running dry and the tabloids having a field day over his outrageous exploits, Oakley needs to show the world he's settling down—and who better to help him than Vaughn, a part-time waitress trying to help her family get by? The very definition of ordinary.

Posing as his girlfriend, Vaughn will overhaul Oakley's image from troublemaker to serious artist. In return for enough money to put her brothers through college, she can endure outlandish Hollywood parties and carefully orchestrated Twitter exchanges. She'll fool the paparazzi and the groupies. She might even start fooling herself a little.

Because when ordinary rules no longer apply, there's no telling what your heart will do…
This book came on my radar because I saw a few bloggers mention enjoying it and also because it involved a fake relationship, which we all know is my favourite ever trope. It is amazing and brilliant and I will read every book which employs said trope, regardless of how good or bad a read it is. Luckily, I’d heard people mostly say good things about this one and so I knew it was going to be read. When I went on holiday, it seemed like it would be the perfect beach read. Fake relationship. Celebrity romance. And it had a cute cover too!

This lived up to all my expectations and I enjoyed every page. It isn’t my favourite fake relationship ever but it does the trope justice and was fun to read, even if I was rolling my eyes at the young ages of the MCs and how Oakley was basically this masterful lover and renowned bad boy even though he was still really young. I didn’t totally believe that, but otherwise it was great.

Vaughn was pretty damn likable. I mean, she’s working heard to help support her brothers just like her sister had to and putting off going to college to help out (also because she is not totally convinced she knows what she wants to do so delaying the inevitable might help). There were elements of her personality I didn’t like, she was far too willing to put up with crap from her boyfriend and she wasn’t confident at times, but then that is also realistic so it worked. I loved how she was dedicated to her younger brothers and her sister and they had strong ties with one another.

Oakley Ford, he was kind of a dreamboat being a bad boy singer who has it all. ANd he has rich famous parents! I really liked his character development in this. He wasn’t just a kid who got famous too young and burned out in drugs, alcohol and girls. He was passionate about his music and was determined to get past his writers block and be taken seriously as the singer he wanted to be. He was willing to participate in stupid schemes to help clean up his image by having a fake ‘normal’ girlfriend but he was doing it all with one goal in mind. I kind of respected his work ethic, also, he was adorable when he wanted to be.

This book fell in that awkward realm of young adult.new adult as well. I felt it was more like a new adult romance but without the usual romance but then it sort of appears like it might be a young adult book instead. Either way, it was well written and seemed to combine the best elements of both genres for me. It kind of reminded me of 738 Days with less angst, but that could be because they both involve celebrities who is star is on the wane.

The book had some drama and I was rolling my eyes at the end part of the book, but rolling my eyes in a good way. This book wasn’t too angsty and ridiculous like some romance can be and I didn’t get annoyed at the celebrity element, it felt quite well done. Instead I was smiling at the gooey, happy, fluffy romance that I love and cheering Oakley and Vaughn on to get their happily ever after.

What’s your favourite romance trope? I’ve probably asked before, but we all have a favourite. And what was the last romance that left you smiling by the end?

01 October 2017

Sunday Summary // 01.10.2017

Sunday Summary
What a week! I’ve barely been back at work and already I’m doing overtime. We’re all kinds of behind because of holidays and people leaving so I was persuaded to do a few hours of overtime to help us get caught up for the new month (my work schedule is all based on the beginning of the month as I work on monthly statements). Being in Saturday has just made me all kinds of tired and completely put me out of sync with my usual schedule. I know I don’t so loads with my Saturday mornings but I’ve felt all out of sorts with that. My best friend did come pick me up and we had fun chatting and shopping, so that was nice. It’s always nice to know friends are there to chill with you and get you through a rubbish day working Saturday.

Apart from my work woes (who doesn’t have work woes?), my week was pretty calm. I have been trying to get things sorted as I’m away next weekend for my friend's hen do so I wanted to be organised before that. I need to make sure I have everything sorted to pack Thursday night so I can head out for that but I have mostly failed on all fronts.

But, I’m sure the part you’re most excited to hear about is whether or not I sorted my laptop issues. I bought a new one and it’s so shiny! It’s gold! I seriously didn’t realise how much crap I was putting up with when it came to my old one until I got one which was better and faster. This one may not have a disk drive but I barely used the one on my old laptop so I think I’ll cope. I seriously adore everything about my new laptop and whilst I did almost call them up irate as it was missing one thing it was advertised as having, I decided I like every other part of the laptop and I don’t care enough to wait on the phone with customer services to try and resolve my issue, you know?

I have to say, I’ve been struggling to blog this week. I even wrote a post how I’m not short of ideas but I just don’t seem to be able to get words on a page. I was hoping by writing it would help me figure out how to write posts again but it’s not totally worked. It may end up actually going live if my blogging block persists. Who even knew this was a thing?

What I’ve Been Reading

LingusMoxieThe Hook Up
Guys, why have I not been reading? I have been in such a weird mood and I think it’s work's fault but I just haven’t been able to settle on a book and I’ve tried all genres, I really have. Like every genre! I just can’t seem to get into reading anything, which sucks. Lingus I enjoyed but it was very predictable and just not as swoon-worthy as some of Zapata’s later books are. Moxie was amazing, definite required reading for both why feminism is important and how simple things we let slide are big issues we should discuss. Women shouldn’t have to put up with the crap they do and we have to stop letting men make us feel like that is just how it is. I think maybe going on from a feminist read to The Hook Up was not my best plan but I was in some weird mood and the inability to settle on a book began. The Hook Up was mostly unsatisfying but I have heard the series gets better as it goes along so we shall see.

New To Me

Getting it BackIt Ends With Us
And just two little ebooks this week and I am quite happy with my purchases. No one wants to be overflowing new books and I am stuck in a rut so I’m trying to restrict my purchases.

What has everyone been up to? Any new books or exciting news?

30 September 2017

Monthly Wrap-Up // September 2017

Monthly Wrap Up_zpshjihxrbe.png
I know I say this all the time, but I don’t know where this year is going. This month has just flown by. I’m sure this has to do with the fact I was on holiday for part of it so time passed way faster as I had such a great time away. But being away means I’ve got out of the routine of blogging and work and those are the things which I usually use to keep track of my days so time has passed at a crazy pace. Add in the fact that so many terrible things have happened this month and it’s also felt like such a long month as well. I know I don’t need to remind you all but with the earthquakes in Mexico and the hurricanes which have hit the Caribbean and some places in the US so it’s also sucked because why does all this stuff keep happening? And then there’s just Donald Trump, that dude, I just can’t even. Basically, my personal life and reading life, that’s been awesome this month, outside of my personal bubble the world just seems to have gone tits up, it really has.

Can’t Stop Listening

Sky Is A Neighbourhood – Foo Fighters
Younger Now – Miley Cyrus
What About Us – P!nk

September Reads

The NaturalsKiller InstinctAll InBad BloodThe Wall of Winnipeg and MeDear AaronKultiMoxie
East in ParadisefirebloodAcceptance18192717The SilkwormCareer of Evil
TrustWhen It's RealUnder LockeLingusThe Hook Up

September Posts

September Links

I’ve been away and during my hiatus I read posts but did no saving (sorry guys, they were some good posts too). I promise to get back on it in October, I want to show the blogger love.

I’m sure I’ve missed September stuff, lots of it. This has been my month, though, disorganised and fun, for the most part. Anyone got some September highlights they want to share? What was your favourite book of the month?