20 January 2019

Sunday Summary // 20.01.2019

Sunday Summary
All the drama has kicked off at work. I spent my week there gossiping and eating cake. I should probably feel bad about the amount of gossiping (and the amount of cake) but I just don’t have time for that. It made my week at work a little better at least. Especially as me and my supervisor need to be having words about holiday… but let’s not do the negative. Do not ask, I will start ranting at you and nobody needs that. Literally, everyone I see on a regular basis has had an earful on it, I’m amazed I’ve not started stopping strangers on the street.

Also, whilst we’re on the subject of things which piss me off what the hell is happening with America? Why you still not got past this government shutdown bullshit? Seriously? Why is the world falling apart? This is as bad as the fact our UK politicians can still not agree on a Brexit deal! I mean seriously people? Why are politicians all throwing their toys out of their prams on these things? At least in the US, you have a good reason, nobody wants to pay for that wall. I don’t even know what the UK excuse is. Yeah, Brexit is a terrible idea but ffs why can no one act like a grown up on it? Yeah, politics is right pissing me off lately. I am so over it, let’s all start our own country somewhere warm where it doesn’t snow but where I will totally not get sunburnt either. Who’s with me?

And now onto the rest of life. I am typing this all up Saturday like an hour before I need to start doing my hair and face for my night out. I spent far too much time watching YouTube videos, but you know how sometimes you watch one and it then becomes this black hole of watching just one more and then it’s 3pm and you’ve still not changed out of your pyjamas or written up any blog posts but you do have about 20 makeup products in your shopping basket on Boots and you don’t quite know what happened. No? Just me? Well, that’s been my Saturday so far and it’s been quite fun but it’s also my excuse for why this post may be a little all over the place. But you have to fit blogging in when you can so you get me for an hour before I get ready for cocktails and either an early night or dancing… we’ll see where the night takes me.

I went to the cinema Friday after work and saw Glass. Guys… I’m not sure the film holds up to the brilliant of Split… but it wasn’t bad. I also somehow got upgraded (downgraded?) to a student for a cheaper ticket. I loved the sweet guy who served me at the counter. What a nice guy! Especially as I am several years past being a student, but I am not complaining. And do you guys have the fancy cinema seats where they’re electric and they recline and have a table and cupholder? I sat in those totally comfy seats so even though the film was 2+ hours long and I was bursting for the toilet by about the halfway mark I at least didn’t have a numb bum. What can I say? I may have spent a small fortune for a 2-hour experience, but at least I was comfy doing it. And the film was OK too, I think maybe my expectations were just too high.

Oh, and if there is some hella weird formatting going on in this post I apologise. The program I normally use for typing up blog posts is having technical difficulties uploading photos to Blogger so I'm having to do the HTML all by myself and let's just so I have no skills so may end up mistyping and breaking the internet. 

What I’ve Been Reading

Appetites & VicesBest of Luck
It’s been another good reading week, I think. I did expect to have finished Best of Luck by now, but I’m just not totally invested. I am when I’m reading but when I put the book down to do other things I don’t get have those ‘I need to get back to reading ASAP’ urges. I don’t know if this is a me thing or a book thing at the moment, though. We’ll see. The other two books were pretty good, though. A Wicked Kind of Husband has been my favourite, I saw Nick mention it (where else do I get book recs from anyway) and as soon as I saw it was on Kindle Unlimited I was there and it was spectacular. It’s a travesty Mia Vincy has no other books out yet. Appetites & Vices was mostly a win, but there was something which didn’t quite work about it for me. But I did enjoy it. Maybe the problem with my reading week is simply that the books I’m reading aren’t holding a torch to the first one?

New To Me

Two borrowed books on Kindle Unlimited and only one purchase in the form of Mhairi McFarlane who is a favourite author of mine. I’m excited to start reading that. I then seriously have to get back to those ARCs I have. Obviously, I’ve already read one of my borrowed books, the other I saw over at Rowena’s blog but she didn’t actually love it so now I’m a little bit hesitant, but if I don’t enjoy it no skin off of my nose it was borrowed anyway. And there are no new ARCs this week because I have excellent self-control (and I’m avoiding Netgalley).

What have you been up to this week? Has anyone seen anything good at the cinema lately? I feel like I need to go more often and watch more films in the comfy VIP chairs. Also, tell me what books to read, book recs are appreciated.

18 January 2019

The One You Fight For // I Was Crying By The End… It Was Amazing

The One You Fight ForThe One You Fight For ( The Ones Who Got Away #3) – Roni Loren
Published: 1st January 2019

Source: Bought

Genre: Romance, Contemporary

My Rating:
How hard would you fight for the one you love?

Taryn Landry was there that awful night fourteen years ago when Long Acre changed from the name of a town to the title of a national tragedy. Everyone knows she lost her younger sister. No one knows it was her fault. Since then, psychology professor Taryn has dedicated her life's work to preventing something like that from ever happening again. Falling in love was never part of the plan...

Shaw Miller has spent more than a decade dealing with the fallout of his brother's horrific actions. After losing everything—his chance at Olympic gold, his family, almost his sanity—he's changed his name, his look, and he's finally starting a new life. As long as he keeps a low profile and his identity secret, everything will be okay, right?

When the world and everyone you know defines you by one catastrophic tragedy...
How do you find your happy ending?

This series has seriously been so good so far. I mean, I was wary going into the first book because any book which deals with characters who have gone through a school shooting and come out the other side is going to be emotional and I was worried it would be far too much about the characters trauma rather than learning to move forward but not forget what they have been through and what they have lost. The first book was awesome but a little dramatic now I think back on it but I totally couldn’t put it down. Then I wasn’t sure I wanted to read the second because Rebecca was not a favourite of mine so was I even going to like her story? I did, it was awesome and I need me a man in my life to cook for me like Wes. So when it came to the third release I’d finally learnt to put all doubts aside because I knew it would be good.

I wasn’t wrong.

As the summary says, this book is Taryn’s book and how she ends up falling for Shaw Miller. I adored Taryn, she was so hard working and she was the only one of the four friends who was already on the path she said she was going to set herself on in those time capsule letters. She knew where she wanted to be, she worked hard to study why the school shooting happened, and why others happened as well. To understand the psychology of the shooters and find ways to try and implement a programme in schools which would hopefully help prevent these kids ever getting to the stage where shooting their peers seemed like a good solution. She was so very intelligent and so dedicated and so very utterly stressed out from it all.

Shaw Miller was the brother of one of the school shooters at  Long Acre. He was older and had been a hopeful for Olympics. he had been dedicated to his gymnastics and had no idea of what his brother was to do. But afterwards, his life was changed forever. He was painted with the same brush as his brother and fell off the grid as much as he could. He never intended to move back around near Long Acre, couldn’t face everything that happened, but for his best friend Rivers he was willing to change his name and help him open a gym.

The pair of them were wonderful. I admired how dedicated Taryn was and I wanted the poor woman to give herself a break and I wanted to punch everyone who got in her way of doing such good things. It was frustrating to see Taryn struggling to get people to believe in the work she’d done and brush it aside as too expensive and instead be willing to spend money on measures which have already proven to be ineffective as shootings still happen! I loved Taryn best when she was enjoying herself and not stressing herself out from her work. When she sang that first karaoke song I liked her, even if she had a bit of an emotional breakdown afterwards. And when she cursing folks out on an obstacle course and treating a wall (called Wally) as if it were a nemesis and something she had to conquer. She was so much fun, and I loved her when she was with Shaw. Shaw brought out a fun side of her you never saw when she was working and stressing herself out with pressure from her family to live up to their expectations and the pressure she put on herself to make the world better.

And Shaw! That man broke my little heart and made me want to give him a hug and tell the world where to go and stop being so damn mean to him. He had been a successful gymnast with hopes of going to the Olympics before the Long Acre shooting. You saw flashes of this as he trained in the gym he opened with Rivers, when he was on the rings and when he did a floor routine to work out his stresses before starting his day. I have seen gymnasts on TV and let me tell you, those boys are hot and I would happily watch them practise all day so I was half in love with Shaw as soon as I met him. But as the book progressed and you learnt the sheer level of guilt he felt for his brother's actions and the amount of blame and hate he put on himself I wanted to protect him from the world. Taryn could not have been better for him (apart from when she got hella mean towards him at the end and I wanted to slap her for using his worries against him) but Taryn understood the psychology of his brother and the place he was at by the time the shooting happened. Knew that a comment made in the heat of a moment was not the root cause for such a tragedy. And she also knew that the public was wrong about Shaw, he had no anger problems and he was not like his brother in any way shape or form. He was a good man who unfortunately had a tragedy strike his family. I honestly hated how Shaw got lumped in with his brother when he was innocent. He was much a victim of Long Acre as anyone who was there because he was caught up in the aftermath too and had to recover from such a tragedy.

I loved how well handled the school shooting is within this series. You can tell Roni Loren has thought about how it has not only affected those who were there but also by those who felt the impact in other ways. She’s written the series so far so very well and she hasn’t gone wrong with this one. I understood the struggle between Taryn and Shaw, there were so many reasons not to be together but they brought out the best in one another and I wanted to shout at them every time doubts crept in and every time someone said something which made them question their relationship together. I was crying by the end of this book because damn it hit me in all the feels.

Have you read any of this series? Have you read the latest addition, what were your thoughts?

15 January 2019

Next Year in Havana // Utterly Stunning. I Didn’t Want To Put It Down

Next Year in Havana
Published: 6th February 2018

Source: Bought

Genre: Romance, Historical Fiction

My Rating:
After the death of her beloved grandmother, a Cuban-American woman travels to Havana, where she discovers the roots of her identity--and unearths a family secret hidden since the revolution...

Havana, 1958. The daughter of a sugar baron, nineteen-year-old Elisa Perez is part of Cuba's high society, where she is largely sheltered from the country's growing political unrest--until she embarks on a clandestine affair with a passionate revolutionary...

Miami, 2017. Freelance writer Marisol Ferrera grew up hearing romantic stories of Cuba from her late grandmother Elisa, who was forced to flee with her family during the revolution. Elisa's last wish was for Marisol to scatter her ashes in the country of her birth.

Arriving in Havana, Marisol comes face-to-face with the contrast of Cuba's tropical, timeless beauty and its perilous political climate. When more family history comes to light and Marisol finds herself attracted to a man with secrets of his own, she'll need the lessons of her grandmother's past to help her understand the true meaning of courage.
I know I say this a lot when it comes to books I’ve put off reading due to the hype, but why didn’t you guys push me harder to read Next Year in Havana?

Next Year in Havana is an utterly astounding novel which transports you away to Cuba, both past and present. From the very first page, you will feel invested in both Marisol’s journey in the present and Elisa’s journey in the past. It was an emotional roller-coaster of a book which I just didn’t want to pull myself away from. Chanel Cleeton managed to capture so much within these pages and she never drops the ball on any element of the story. The characters, the romance, the story, even the history within the pages is all done well. I was so utterly invested that I didn’t want to put this book down. If hadn’t needed to get some sleep I could have easily read this book straight through until the end.

From the summary, you can already tell there is a dual storyline. You have Marisol’s journey in the present, travelling to Cuba for the first time in her life, to a country she feels is home from her families stories of their time living there and the multitudes of family history which has occurred there. She is travelling to scatter her grandmother, Elisa’s, ashes and hoping to learn more about her family history whilst she is at it, where she discovers far more than she ever expected. And there is Elisa’s story in the past, starting a few months before the Cuban revolution which led her whole family to leave a country she loved. You slowly learn there was far more to Elisa than Marisol ever realised and I couldn’t wait for each time we returned to Elisa’s story in the past and her passionate affair with a man who was against everything her family represented in Cuba, yet who she cared for. It’s a story Marisol never knew and I loved learning about it.

Too often with books with dial storylines like this one, you find yourself more invested in one story than the other, but that simply wasn’t the case here. I expected to be more invested in Elisa’s story, to be honest, it seemed more exciting, but I loved both women, Elisa and Marisol, but that’s to be expected with Elisa helped raise Marisol, you could see elements of her within Marisol at times. And it was so impressive that both storylines mirrored the other in certain ways. Both Elisa and Marisol found themselves falling for someone political and they both fell for someone who loved Cuba so dearly and who were risking themselves for their beliefs. And Elisa and Marisol themselves were discovering their passions and learning what they wanted in life. I think that is why it was so easy to be invested in both stories because they each were following a similar path and you were hoping mistakes from the past were not repeated in the present.

As this was a historical read I also thought this might be a bit too heavy on the history, as well. But I loved learning more of both Cuba’s past and it’s present within the pages. Cuba is relatively unknown to me and I am now shocked at how we don’t hear more about Cuba. I mean, I know people that want to travel there, it’s a holiday destination and I think many have forgotten it is a communist country and the struggles which people are undergoing there even now is shocking. I feel like I need to read up on all the Cuban history because how did I not know about any of this? It was heart-breaking reading the Perez’s struggles in the past and I cried as they did, and mourned when they had to leave a country which they loved and which was their home. And when Marisol returned and felt that sense of home upon arrival, only to have it ripped away through the pages as she felt a sense of other in the country she loved because she hadn’t gone through the struggles those who had stayed had gone through and didn’t understand the way in which they still struggled. It was awful.

This was such a powerful and emotional read. I loved it so completely and cannot wait to read Beatriz’s book When We Left Cuba. Next Year in Havana was filled with history, emotional and amazing characters you can behind. I was crying by the end in such a good way because I was so utterly invested in Elisa’s and Marisol’s story. It was my third book of the year and I already know it’ll be one of my favourites of 2019. I will now be committed to reading everything which Chanel Cleeton writes and trying to talk myself out of preordering a signed copy of the book from Fountain Bookstore so I can get that stunning Besame lipstick with it. I adored it just like I adored Sarra Manning’s books like After The Last Dance and The House of Secrets both of which had a dual storyline and were utterly amazing.

Please tell me you have read this already? Wasn’t it utterly stunning in every way imaginable? And if you haven't, have I convinced you to buy it?