16 September 2018

Sunday Summary // 16.09.2018 (The NYC Recap)

Sunday Summary
I’m back!

I have no idea what I've missed whilst I’ve been gone and I have started doing the rounds catching up on blogs so if I’ve not stopped by already I’ll try to soon. I’ve got my own blog comments to catch up on too so I am going to be busy! I haven’t even really had time to properly sit down and write up some blog posts so this might be the only post for about a week while I play catch up. I make no promises for being totally back but I’m getting there.
times square
As anyone who has stopped by lately will know I’ve been on holiday! I got back from New York Thursday and let me tell you I was tired after that trip. It was just my mom and me, we travelled up to Manchester last Thursday and flew Friday morning. It was such a wonderful trip. The weather was not brilliant for us. The first day and a bit were probably the best days we had weather wise. We arrived exhausted on Friday, New York is five hours behind us so mentally we were in the middle of the night whilst it was light out. Our flight out was a bit meh, the food sucked (as airplane food always does) and I forgot how ridiculous security is in the US. You feel like a criminal when you get there! We queued for an hour to have our photo and fingerprints taken. It’s my least favourite part of visiting the states because you do feel like you’ve done something wrong before you’ve even got there. We ended up grabbing a taxi to the hotel as we were exhausted. It took forever and it was pricey, we, unfortunately, got there during a busy period I think. It was worth it, though as we were both far too tired to contend with people and figuring out where to go next. We just about managed a stroll around Times Square and grabbed food at the Irish bar next door (also, what’s with all the Irish bars in NYC?) and we crashed out for about 10 hours.
central parkparade
Our first full day in the city was spent walking. Turns out it was the Labor Day Parade the Saturday, neither of us had a clue what it was but I liked the music some of them played. Still not totally sure what it is, though. We also had a long wander around Central Park and along the Avenue of the Americas and Fifth Avenue (until the barriers up for the parade started to annoy us). We ended up walking over 18000 steps that day just strolling about. I was excited to see the Alice in Wonderland statue in Central Park and just to take a stroll around the place as I’ve obviously seen it on TV a lot but it’s totally different to be there. I think if the weather was nicer I could have spent far longer there another day just relaxing but sadly that was not to be. We also took a stroll down to Macy’s that afternoon and looked around the shops. So many shops! We didn’t shop too much that first day, though.

The Sunday was a day of shopping and exploring. It began to rain that day so we decided to take a stroll up to the shops at Columbus Circle. We stopped in a whole bunch of gift shops while we wandered. We got confused as to why TK Maxx was called TJ Maxx and had fun browsing the shoes and clothes there (purchases were made). We then finally got to the shops at Columbus Circle and we were a little disappointed. It was fun browsing the Amazon Books shop and looking around Sephora and that but we weren’t impressed. We eventually wandered back down another street and ended up back in Times Square before taking a stroll around a lot of shops there. American Eagle is my new favourite shop, they need to open over here. Their clothes are so soft and comfy looking! We also discovered our love for the US Urban Outfitters. The clothes may be pricey but they are so nice, and they look much better than the UK ones. I may be trying to figure out shipping and customs duties in my future. We also went to Barnes and Noble and I discovered my hatred of US paperbacks. Guys, you have these adorable little paperbacks which are just awesome (I think you call them mass market paperbacks) and then you have the more expensive horribly floppy paperbacks which are extortionately priced and they get damaged so easily. It makes no sense! I’ve never been so appreciative of UK paperbacks, they are far sturdier and cheaper. You guys need to seriously sort it out. I also went to the place which serves the most epic cheesecakes. We ate at Junior's and let me tell you, that place was rammed! We ended up eating outside, despite the rain, and the service was slow but when it came to dessert I had a chocolate brownie cheesecake and it was amazing! If I was less full I would have demolished the whole thing. I would love to go there again, even if it is a tourist trap.
Monday was the day of culture. It poured with rain and we (smart British folks that we are) decided to walk to the Natural History Museum and we were pretty soaked from that walk. It was a long walk from our hotel, but we wanted to keep our steps up and we hadn’t seen the west side of Central Park and we got to see the Dakota building as my mom had said she would like to see it (it’s fancy looking). I have to say, our expectations for the American Museum of Natural History may have been a touch high. More Night at the Museum and less actual museum. I’m not a huge fan of stuffed animals in general so the nature sections did not appeal as much and that is a large chunk of the museum. The people sections were interesting, though. But there’s also a slice of a giant sequoia tree which was cut down and that was upsetting to see such an old tree (it was like 1400 years old before it was felled) and it was cut down for the railroad! Seeing the destruction we as people cause in history is upsetting. Same as seeing the skeleton of a dodo, a bird which is extinct because we hunted it to extinction! That was horrible to see and to see other animals in danger of extinction too. I think my favourite part of the museum was the space section and the dinosaur sections. Also the mammals and their extinct relative's section. It was so interesting seeing how different animals evolved and how some mammals are linked as well! That was the best part for me by far. We then had the bright idea to walk back in the rain as well. Turns out that was a terrible plan and we were soaked by the end. Rain in NYC is no joke, especially when the wind picks up too. We finished our day going to Cock and Bull home of the best fish and chops in NYC (it was alright, they definitely had a thing or two to learn).
Our final full day in New York we again walked, this time heading down Fifth Avenue until we eventually reached the Flatiron Building, which was pretty cool to see. And then we carried on to the Strand Bookstore and whilst that place was cool (so many books!) I bought not a single one because the place was just too hectic and I didn’t know what I was looking for so I came back with nothing. Also, I learnt US books are kind of expensive, how do you guys do it over there? I much prefer UK books, I think. Hardcovers may bankrupt you but paperbacks are cheap like they’re meant to be and way more durable. It was a nice walk when the rain stopped, though. We also visited another location of my favourite store, American Eagle, and let me tell you that shop could make me poor! We then strolled back to the hotel and had dinner at the other Irish bar next to our hotel (like I said, a lot of Irish bars) and we found the most reasonable priced cider we'd had anywhere. I mean, why is cider not a bigger thing in the US? And why is it called hard cider? I don’t understand. I know we’d had a few imports while we were there so they were going to be pricey but our drinks were always expensive. I did like the Angry Orchard I drank, it was very fruity and different to UK ciders. It was interesting. It wasn’t as sweet as the cider I had on my first night but it was nice.
We finished our trip in the city walking around basically every gift shop in Times Square hunting for a gift for my stepdad and both of us trying to find reasonably priced I Red heartNY t-shirts and an NYPD hoodie for my mom. We took a last tour around Times Square, popped the Hersheys shop for too much chocolate and then got ready for the long trip home. I didn’t sleep Wednesday night at all and we then travelled back from Manchester when we landed. I ended up getting home and was wide awake. My dog was thrilled to see me (sort of, I feel like he was a little angry we left) but he greeted us at the door ball in mouth and ready to play (and slobber all over us). After lazing around the house with him all day I went to bed Thursday night and slept for over 12 hours. It’s safe to say I was sleep deprived.
lovemore love
And that was my trip to New York guys. That is literally the only exciting thing I’ve done this week. I do have a giant bouncy castle obstacle course I’m doing next week so I’ll try and take photos and have an update of that for you guys.

What I’ve Been Reading

Captive Prince8 Prince's Gambit
I can’t claim to have been reading much lately. These are literally the only books I’ve looked at in the past couple of weeks and I’ve not even finished Prince's Gambit! And they’re both rereads! I guess New York sapped my reading energy completely. I am going to finish my reread of the series as I know I enjoyed it but I am still lacking reading energy while I try to get back into the right timezone.

New To Me

When He Was WickedNext Year in HavanaA Study in ScarletA Conspiracy in BelgraviaCrazy Rich Asians
Yes, I have acquired a small number of books in the past couple of weeks. I had to get the next book in the Bridgerton series as I slowly power my way through them (I think I’ve been working my way through those books for the past two years). Next Year in Havana, A Study in Scarlet and A Conspiracy in Belgravia are my Nw York purchases. They were slightly cheaper to buy over there and they are the three books which motivate my hatred for US paperbacks. I’ve had a US paperback before and disliked the feel of it but I forgot how strong my dislike was for them until I bought those three as I feel genuinely cheated by the price when I know they are going to be destroyed after a couple of trips with me to work. Why so flimsy books? Why??? I also had to get Crazy Rich Asians when it was part of a Kindle daily deal. I may not have seen the film yet but I know I will (eventually).
NightbloodFool Me ForeverTinsel in a TangleLove and Other WordsBy Virtue Fall
I also got a few ARCs over the past few weeks so I seriously need to get reading (and By Virtue Fall is a finished copy, thank you Piatkus) so I am going to knuckle down and get some review copies conquered (maybe). Mostly romance and I don’t know why I requested Nightblood apart from the fact I’ve read the rest of the series but now I realise I don’t remember the last two books so I don’t want to start reading. Ugh, I need to just crack on and finish a book.

And that is how my holiday went and a recap of everything. What have you guys been up to? Can you explain why US paperback are the worst? Or why cider is not more widely drank in the states? Or why I keep requesting ARCs when I’m meant to be on a ban from Netgalley? So many questions and so little time!

02 September 2018

Sunday Summary // 02.09.2018

Sunday Summary
Welcome to September!

This is gonna be one of my last posts for a little while because I go away next Friday and I fully want to embrace the holiday and not have my head on blogging. I will maybe do a couple of posts next week but I want to open with me going away. I’ll be back in a couple of weeks, though, and I’m not gone yet. I’ll obviously give you a full update upon my return because you know I live for you guys.

This week has been a mixed bag. I thought things were going great. We had a bank holiday on Monday so only four days at work. I was on countdown to my holiday and the week at work hadn’t been awful. I’d had a good catch up with my friend Thursday after work, our last before we each go away, and even though someone (Nick) was telling me about books I couldn’t afford I was pretty happy with my slower reading week too. I have started writing a mini list of books I might buy while I’m on holiday, though, because sometimes you should treat yourself to books you wouldn’t buy in the UK just to the price, right? But then Friday I got a text from my best friend and she had had some bad news from both parents and she was feeling pretty down on herself and everything so I had to have a mad rush showering and get ready to go out to give her a distraction. I think I achieved it but still, it sucks because she’s going away and so am I and I just know this will play on her mind. I did my best, though, and sometimes that’s all you can do.

What I’ve Been Reading

To Sir With Phillip With LoveKultiThe Wall of Winnipeg and Me
Like I mentioned, it’s been a slower reading week this week. I’m still not certain what I want to be reading so I’m doing some rereading. I am only taking a Kindle away with me, no physical books (need the weight for the return journey… also I will be packing a lot of clothes for what will essentially be a 5-night trip… I have problems).

New To Me

A Curious BeginningOne in a Million
A couple of new books this week. A Curious Beginning is Danya’s fault… but also I had it on my radar for a good long while so I figured why not? It might be a holiday read for me. And One In A Million was 99p for Kindle and I’d eyed it up at the supermarket because I have liked previous Lindsey Kelk books so why not, right? Hopefully, I’ll enjoy both, I figure they’ll be great holiday reads when I’m on the plane.

What have you been up to this week? And am I the only one rereading to try and kick my butt into gear when it comes to reading?

30 August 2018

Bite Sized Books // Two Sequels With MCs I Hated When I Met Them But Loved When They Got Their Own Starring Role

Bite Sized Books_zpsszuklfto.png
74. A Duke By Default
A Duke by Default (Reluctant Royals #2) – Alyssa Cole
Published: 31st July 2018
Source: Bought
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
My Rating:
Award-winning author Alyssa Cole’s Reluctant Royals series continues with a woman on a quest to be the heroine of her own story and the duke in shining armor she rescues along the way…

New York City socialite and perpetual hot mess Portia Hobbs is tired of disappointing her family, friends, and—most importantly—herself. An apprenticeship with a struggling swordmaker in Scotland is a chance to use her expertise and discover what she’s capable of. Turns out she excels at aggravating her gruff silver fox boss…when she’s not having inappropriate fantasies about his sexy Scottish burr.

Tavish McKenzie doesn’t need a rich, spoiled American telling him how to run his armory…even if she is infuriatingly good at it. Tav tries to rebuff his apprentice—and his attraction to her—but when Portia accidentally discovers that he’s the secret son of a duke, rough-around-the-edges Tav becomes her newest makeover project. 

Forging metal into weapons and armor is one thing, but when desire burns out of control and the media spotlight gets too hot to bear, can a commoner turned duke and his posh apprentice find lasting love?
Well... this book made me want to go to Scotland. There must be plenty of sexy Scottish sword makers hanging around, right?


Don’t ruin my dreams guys!

Yet again, I went in wary to a book and got blown away by its brilliance. I was wary of it because I wasn't a fan of the female lead in the previous book. Portia did some questionable things in A Princess in Theory and I wasn't excited about her getting her own book until I read the summary of this one, a grumpy, sexy Scottish boss? I was all over needing this book, I was ready to forgive Portia for her sins. And Portia didn't even need much forgiveness. Once you start reading from her POV and you get her barrelling in with her mace ready to rescue someone she'd never met I knew me and her were going to get along just fine.

Portia is an impulsive character. She has a bad reputation for acting first and thinking about the consequences later. This isn't always a bad thing because it means she gets shit done but it does mean she ends up acting a little rashly and that gets her in trouble from time to time. It also means folks up making her doubt herself by calling her out on her rash behaviour in the worst possible way. I felt for Portia because she had been drowning herself in alcohol and masking her problems by partying and having meaningless sex. It was messy and she had turned over a new leaf so sparks flying with her new boss were not part of the plan. And her parents questioning her decisions and giving her zero support did not help matters. Girl needed a better family support system and a little more self-confidence.

And boy was Tav amazing too. He had the gruff Scotsman thing going for him. And he was an older grumpkins who was adorable too with his squishy centre he didn't like folks to show. He was adorable... until he was with Portia and then sparks were flying. Those two together! Wow, they were amazing. I loved their snarky banter. And then there gentle teasing. By the end, I was yelling for both of them to pull their heads out of their arses already. I admit Tav did need a lot of help to figure things out for himself. He was a typical male who needed the obvious pointed out to him because he couldn’t see beyond the end of his nose, but I forgave him for being dim because he had a good heart and always had good intentions.

I admit, the duke element of the story bothered me slightly... but only because they kept saying the Duke of Edinburgh and that's Prince Philip so I was kind of visualising Queenie's husband, you know? Like, guys, I know in The Crown he was Matt Smith but in reality, dude is old and causes a lot of offensive but we forgive him because he’s like your racist grandad, you love him but you don’t half wish he wouldn’t speak in public. But I digress! Apart from the whole Duke of Edinburgh/Prince Philip debacle, it was all totally cool. The rest of the book was all kinds of enjoyable. Also, loved all the geeky references.

72. The One You Can't Forget
Published: 5th June 2018
Source: Bought
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
My Rating:
Most days Rebecca Lindt feels like an imposter...

The world admires her as a survivor. But that impression would crumble if people knew her secret. She didn't deserve to be the one who got away. But nothing can change the past, so she's thrown herself into her work. She can't dwell if she never slows down.

Wes Garrett is trying to get back on his feet after losing his dream restaurant, his money, and half his damn mind in a vicious divorce. But when he intervenes in a mugging and saves Rebecca―the attorney who helped his ex ruin him―his simple life gets complicated.

Their attraction is inconvenient and neither wants more than a fling. But when Rebecca's secret is put at risk, both discover they could lose everything, including what they never realized they needed: each other

She laughed and kissed him. This morning she'd melted down. But somehow this man had her laughing and turned on only a few hours later. Everything inside her felt buoyed.

She felt...light.

She'd forgotten what that felt like.
Another sequel I was hesitant about reading! I’ve got to stop being wary when I know I enjoyed book 1. Again, I wasn’t the MCs biggest fan in the first book, though. Me and Rebecca did not gel in book 1 so hearing book 2 was going to be about her I was like, really? And no, it wasn't because she'd stolen my name. I just, didn’t like how she came across in the first book and even the snippet at the end of the book didn’t get me excited to read but I preordered all the same and when the reviews came rolling in I glad I did. I was all for a divorce lawyer getting it on with someone whose ex she’d helped get a good settlement. It sounded like an interesting messy romance where two characters shouldn’t work together but do. Also, I heard there was food involved and turns out I love foodie romance.

The romance was sweet That actually really surprised me because when Rebecca and Wes meet they aren’t aware of who the other is so the sparks are flying without them knowing. When they both figure out who the other is this should really drive them apart and I figured this would be a romance which is all passion but they actually are so cute together. When they aren’t aware who the other is they were sweet and when they moved passed it and spend time together they’re downright adorable. Their friendship and bond grew over time and that’s not something you always see in romance and that was a really great part to it. I was frustrated by them denying what they meant to each other but it’s a romance so you know it all worked out in the end. I got their reasons, at least.

It was a such an enjoyable read with a good level of swoony romance. Also if you like men that can cook and food, in general, you should totally check this out because you will not be disappointed. Turns out I like foodie romance and men who can cook just does something for me. We all have our thing, right?

There were have it, two sequels with MCs I didn’t expect to like but did. Have you read either of these? What did you think? And am I the only one doing a 180 with my opinions of characters?