30 June 2017

Monthly Wrap Up // June 2017

Monthly Wrap Up_zpshjihxrbe.png
We are now officially halfway through the year and I don’t know where time has gone! I really wish the year would slow down a touch so I could catch up. I feel like I just need to pause time for a week so I can figure out where I stand.

June has been a month plagued with reading slumps, it’s not been fun. I descended into a slump about the second week of this month and I’m still not out of it. I like to blame the heatwave we had here but I honestly don’t know why I fell into a slump but my enthusiasm for reading died a little. Hopefully, it will return in July, or at least with enough time to catch up on my ARCs.

Can’t Stop Listening

Fuqboi – Hey Violet
Run – Foo Fighters

June Reads

The Girl With The Make Believe HusbandShattered Minds
All The Lies We TellHer Backup BoyfriendAll The Secrets We Keep4. Daddy's Best Friend
5. The DILF32828372wake of vulturesEvery Little Thing

June Posts

June Links

Boats Against The Current | What Would You Pay For An Ebook? // 30 Fun Hobbies To Try (because sometimes inspiration is needed to figure out what to do when you’re not reading)
Nick And Nereyda’s Infinite Booklist | 6 Bollywood Movies To Watch If You Enjoyed When Dimple Met Rishi (because I always wanted to watch some Bollywood and who doesn’t appreciate recs?)
The Book Voyagers | Single Parents In Romance Books
Buzzfeed | 17 Words Only Twentysomething Grandmas Will Understand (this describes me to a t)

Resolution Catch Up

  • I want to cut my unread bookstennant-crazy-laugh
  • I want to review more books on Goodreads – I am continuing my success on this and I have a vague Amazon routine too. I must improve my Amazon reviews.
  • I want to read 100 books – I hit 104 books! This may be one of my few successful goals.
  • Read more diverse books – I continue doing okay with this one. I want to find more diverse romance now.

2017 Discussion Challenge:
I’ve been pretty successful on this one. Below are all my discussion posts from the beginning of the year which I’ll be adding on to each month. I wanted to manage a discussion post a month, with me hoping for 20+ if it was a really good year. I may not manage 20+ but I’ve definitely gotten up more than one a month.

Modern Mrs Darcy Reading Challenge

6/12 Categories
Halfway through, now I just need to allocate some books off of my shelf to the other 6 categories.

Shelf Love Challenge 2017

I’m not completely certain I’m doing well at this. I’ve read plenty of books from my shelves…. but I also keep adding to them. I have definitely purchased more than I’ve read and I sort of accept that my current process is not working for me. I am not good at long term commitment. I may just do a week every couple of months where I buy nothing and only read books off of my shelves (not ARCs). We’ll see.

How has your month been? Any favourite reads you need to recommend?

28 June 2017

Bite Sized Books // Some Mixed Young Adult Reviews I’ve Been Holding On To

Bite Sized Books_zpsszuklfto.png
I have a couple of reviews for some YA books. They are linked in no other way than they are both YA. One was a fantastic read and the other less so. I reviewed both and as I am slowly catching up on some old reviews I figured I’d post both together.

Simon vs The Homo Sapiens Agenda
Published: 7th April 2015
Source: Library
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance, LGBTQ
My Rating:
Sixteen-year-old and not-so-openly gay Simon Spier prefers to save his drama for the school musical. But when an email falls into the wrong hands, his secret is at risk of being thrust into the spotlight. Now Simon is actually being blackmailed: if he doesn’t play wingman for class clown Martin, his sexual identity will become everyone’s business. Worse, the privacy of Blue, the pen name of the boy he’s been emailing, will be compromised.

With some messy dynamics emerging in his once tight-knit group of friends, and his email correspondence with Blue growing more flirtatious every day, Simon’s junior year has suddenly gotten all kinds of complicated. Now, change-averse Simon has to find a way to step out of his comfort zone before he’s pushed out—without alienating his friends, compromising himself, or fumbling a shot at happiness with the most confusing, adorable guy he’s never met.
This book! Why did I hold out on reading it? What was I thinking? It was amazing! I'd already read Upside of Unrequited so I knew I liked Albertalli's writing but I didn't realise how enjoyable this book would be until I started it. I went in pretty much blind, I didn’t bother reading the summary I just went based on what I could remember from other’s reviews. So, essentially, I knew there was a gay MC and that was about it. I think that was probably for the best as I had no expectations.

I loved how this book is an exploration of people's personalities and what is is to change and grow. I completely related to Simon's struggles of feeling like he is in a box and a certain person with those who know him so he doesn't know how to break that and reveal more of himself. I mean, I think it’s way too easy to get stuck as a certain person. It’s why folks love university, it’s a chance to redesign yourself. I really loved seeing Simon's thoughts and I could totally relate to him. I think that’s why I enjoyed the book so much. I totally connected with Simon.

I liked the fact there were email exchanges between Simon and Blue interspersed throughout the book. That extra element was great. I love when books have that kind of interaction because it’s just not done anymore. You don’t email folks or write letters. I’ve definitely noticed a theme in some of the YA books I’ve enjoyed this year.

I really loved this book and Albertalli is getting herself a place on my favourite authors list.

Published: 13th June 2017
Source: Netgalley
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance
My Rating: DNF
New York Times bestselling author Cora Carmack's young adult debut: Roar.

In a land ruled and shaped by violent magical storms, power lies with those who control them.
Aurora Pavan comes from one of the oldest Stormling families in existence. Long ago, the ungifted pledged fealty and service to her family in exchange for safe haven, and a kingdom was carved out from the wildlands and sustained by magic capable of repelling the world’s deadliest foes. As the sole heir of Pavan, Aurora's been groomed to be the perfect queen. She’s intelligent and brave and honorable. But she’s yet to show any trace of the magic she’ll need to protect her people.

To keep her secret and save her crown, Aurora’s mother arranges for her to marry a dark and brooding Stormling prince from another kingdom. At first, the prince seems like the perfect solution to all her problems. He’ll guarantee her spot as the next queen and be the champion her people need to remain safe. But the more secrets Aurora uncovers about him, the more a future with him frightens her. When she dons a disguise and sneaks out of the palace one night to spy on him, she stumbles upon a black market dealing in the very thing she lacks—storm magic. And the people selling it? They’re not Stormlings. They’re storm hunters.

Legend says that her ancestors first gained their magic by facing a storm and stealing part of its essence. And when a handsome young storm hunter reveals he was born without magic, but possesses it now, Aurora realizes there’s a third option for her future besides ruin or marriage.

She might not have magic now, but she can steal it if she’s brave enough.

Challenge a tempest. Survive it. And you become its master.

I don't want to rate a book I haven't finished but I will say a few words. This book will probably appeal to many. I mean, I've enjoyed several Cormack reads, but they were NA and I suppose within that genre you have certain expectations. This book just didn’t click for me. I could get why people liked it, I was intrigued by the magic system and the story was vaguely interesting. I didn't love it, though. I didn’t hate it either, and that may be because I couldn’t make it beyond 25% so I didn’t have time to hate it. I don’t know.

I wasn’t as against the romance as one review I’ve read. Aentee really sums why the book is flawed and really says it best so go read that. But there were definitely glaring problems to be seen within the first few pages. I saw some things that definitely raised an eyebrow and I like romance, but our ‘love interests’ were way to full on and went beyond being an alpha male to just being creepy. Way too forceful and by the sounds of it that continued so I’m glad I got out when I did.

I don't know. If you're interested in the world building and magic system you may like it. If you're going to get angered by a questionable and potentially abusive romance really just don't do that to yourself.

26 June 2017

Dumplin’ // I May Be Late To The Party But I Get What The Hype Was About

Published: 15th September 2015
Source: Bought
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
My Rating:
Self-proclaimed fat girl Willowdean Dickson (dubbed “Dumplin’” by her former beauty queen mom) has always been at home in her own skin. Her thoughts on having the ultimate bikini body? Put a bikini on your body. With her all-American beauty best friend, Ellen, by her side, things have always worked . . . until Will takes a job at Harpy’s, the local fast-food joint. There she meets Private School Bo, a hot former jock. Will isn’t surprised to find herself attracted to Bo. But she is surprised when he seems to like her back.

Instead of finding new heights of self-assurance in her relationship with Bo, Will starts to doubt herself. So she sets out to take back her confidence by doing the most horrifying thing she can imagine: entering the Miss Clover City beauty pageant—along with several other unlikely candidates—to show the world that she deserves to be up there as much as any twiggy girl does. Along the way, she’ll shock the hell out of Clover City—and maybe herself most of all.

With starry Texas nights, red candy suckers, Dolly Parton songs, and a wildly unforgettable heroine— Dumplin’ is guaranteed to steal your heart.
I had been wanting to read Dumplin’ for over a year. I loved this book so much that I read it in one day. I didn't want to stop because I loved Willowdean in all her flawed greatness. I wanted to know what happened and I wanted to see if she and Ellen were OK and I just cared an insane amount about her story. So, I may have been late to join the ‘I love Dumplin’ party’ but I got there in the end and I am here to tell you about why it’s so awesome.

Willowdean is a self-proclaimed fat girl. She owns that aspect of herself because if she doesn't someone else will. She recognises she is heavier than is considered right bit is her body and she is happy with it. Even if others tease her for it and her mom might make her feel less than ok about it. I loved Willowdean and I certainly thought a bit more about my body and how no one can judge me for it unless I let them. It's a fantastic message to be putting out there for young girls who will read this and are uncomfortable with their body (because who isn't as a teen?) but also for anyone reading because it's so easy to forget.

I loved all of the characters in this book outside of Willowdean as well, though. I loved Ellen and how she didn't let Will tell her what to do and stuck to her guns when it was something which mattered. And I loved Millie and her sweet positive ways. And I loved Amanda and how she was a little snide but still awesome. I loved Hannah and her negativity because that I can relate to from my teen years. I was angry and pessimistic and really sarcasm is still my default setting. My absolute favourite (apart from Willowdean) was Bo.The fact that he continually had a lollipop (his poor teeth) and his peach butt. And let’s not forget his angry sweet adorableness. I really I just loved this cast of characters and how everyone had such a distinct personality. They were all memorable and distinct and I was thrilled to learn there’s a second Dumplin’ book coming!

I occasionally have doubts about still really enjoying YA reads as much as I did but then I read books like this one and I know that YA is fantastic and there are gems like this to be read. You should definitely give this book a go if you’re a fan of YA it will make you feel body confident and make you want to go and tell everyone to shove off as you can do anything you want.

Anyone else read this or any of Murphy’s other books? What was the last book you read in one sitting?

25 June 2017

Sunday Summary // 25.06.2017

Sunday Summary
Another week is over and this has been a loooong one.

We had a mini heatwave here in the UK and it was not fun. The temperature got to over 30°C here and that was not fun. I mean, I am a pasty white girl who burns easily, anyway. I didn’t mind the fact that it was sunny and warm… at least not during the day, but when it doesn’t get under 20°C on an evening it makes sleeping kind of uncomfortable. I definitely lost a lot of hours of sleep before the heatwave ended. Also, our air-conditioning was broken at work just to coincide with this heatwave. When you have giant windows like a green house it does not bode well for you not being a sweaty wreck by the end of the day. The maintenance men that came to fix it were definitely the heroes of the week. Those guys, I love them.

Apart from being a sweaty wreck from the heatwave making me cranky and irritable and making my week feel about a million days long the other reason this week dragged is that I’ve been forced to go to work on a Saturday! I actually had to write the majority of this post on Friday night because I wasn’t sure I’d have enough time Saturday to say all the words I wanted to. Especially, as I have a bunch of comments to reply to. The life of a blogger is hard, isn’t it? Anyway, working overtime on a Saturday is not how I like to spend my weekend so it’s bringing me down a bit. We’ll get everyone trained up soon, hopefully. At least I like some of our newbies. They are really fun, fresh blood certainly has it’s benefits in the office, I will say that. I mean, working Saturday wasn’t terrible, it’s just I feel like I’ve had no weekend. As soon as it gets to Sunday I have work at the back of my mind. Oh well, at least I get money, although I will feel the rush of catching up on my blogging now.

Apart from work and the weather I have little else to talk about. I am sorting a friend’s birthday present out and I am trying to think of something else to get my brother, but that’s pretty boring. It’s his 30th at the beginning of July so I want to get him something good. Otherwise, I’ve been very dull. I’ve hardly even read because I was too warm to do anything. It’s a little embarrassing to look at my reading for the past two weeks.

What I’ve Been Reading

wake of vultures
Yeah, as you can see it’s been a slow week. A very slow one. I only finished Wake of Vultures right at the end of Saturday. How have I only finished one book? I am kind of almost in a total slump and I blame the heat. Let’s see how next week goes.

New To Me

The Sleeping PrinceBlackbirdUnconventional
I bought a few books to make me feel better about working over a weekend. It’s how I roll. Also, they were all 99p and no girl can say no to that?
FireflyLeave the night onThe Sea King
I got me a few ARCs this week as well. I was surprised by getting an ARC of Firefly in the post (thank you Headline Eternal!) and I knew I had to read Leave The Night On when I read the summary – revenge romance! – so yay (thank you St Martin’s, I love your romance) and finally, an e-ARC I didn’t expect to get, The Sea King! It is the first book I’ve ever been approved for on Edelweiss and I seriously want to read it now but I kind of need to read my library books first. Damn reading priorities.

How has everyone’s week been? Anyone else been suffering from warm weather? Or have a story of suffering without air-con?

22 June 2017

The Girl With The Make Believe Husband // Where Julia Quinn Proves She’s Brilliant

Published: 30th May 2017
Source: Publisher
Genre: Historical Romance
My Rating:
While you were sleeping...

With her brother Thomas injured on the battlefront in the Colonies, orphaned Cecilia Harcourt has two unbearable choices: move in with a maiden aunt or marry a scheming cousin. Instead, she chooses option three and travels across the Atlantic, determined to nurse her brother back to health. But after a week of searching, she finds not her brother but his best friend, the handsome officer Edward Rokesby. He's unconscious and in desperate need of her care, and Cecilia vows that she will save this soldier's life, even if staying by his side means telling one little lie...

I told everyone I was your wife

When Edward comes to, he's more than a little confused. The blow to his head knocked out six months of his memory, but surely he would recall getting married. He knows who Cecilia Harcourt is—even if he does not recall her face—and with everyone calling her his wife, he decides it must be true, even though he'd always assumed he'd marry his neighbor back in England.

If only it were true...

Cecilia risks her entire future by giving herself—completely—to the man she loves. But when the truth comes out, Edward may have a few surprises of his own for the new Mrs. Rokesby.
I will begin this review with something completely unrelated to the book. I am typing this up whilst it’s 29°C outside and I am running off very little sleep because of warm weather. As such, please forgive all spelling mistakes and grammar issues, I’ll double-check it when it gets below 20°C on an evening so I can actually get a good nights sleep. Also, because I loved the book I don’t guarantee this is spoiler free. Be warned!

Now, onto the book…

I had a few doubts when I first read the summary for this book. I mean, the title alone and the lying about being married, it kind of seems like a recipe for disaster so I was a tad nervous. I don't know why I bothered having doubts, though. I mean, it’s Julia Quinn! She is a queen and it was always going to be brilliant and I apologise for doubting how she was going to successfully get me to root for a couple when one was lying to the other because she totally did. She's a genius. She perfectly crafted these characters so that even though lies were involved I could understand the character motivations for doing so.

The premise is above, but basically Cecelia lied about being Edward’s wife as she travelled to America to search for her brother who was wounded and ends up stumbling upon Edward instead, her brother’s friend. She lies to enable her to care for him when he was unconscious and had every intention to end it as soon as he awoke. Unfortunately, he awakes with amnesia and she realises that his name will help her find her brother who had gone missing! I got Cecelia's motivation for lying and I even felt she was sort of justified. You could totally tell it was eating her up about lying anyway and that made me love her all the more. And I got why Edward cared so much for Cecelia even though they'd never met and I didn't feel too terrible about the lies when she took advantage of his amnesia because you knew he liked her. I should clarify, the two wrote to each other before they met as Edward read all of Cecelia’s letters to her brother until the two had their own little mini correspondence going on. Isn’t that the sweetest?

I loved every page of this book and cannot wait for the next one. I have a lot of words to say about how frustrated I am about the last sentence of that book! That being said, this book was fabulous. I may not have fully understood how Cecelia convinced herself that Edward was in love with Billie (please see book 1 in this series) but that was partially because I've read Because of Miss Bridgerton! But, also, he remembered who she was so how could he have forgotten about their agreement to marry and his love for her? It made no sense. But apart from that small plot point I was totally in love.

Cecelia was such a brilliant character, I instantly felt sympathetic to her plight. I got her motivation for continuing the lie of marriage even after Edward awoke as she tried to find her brother because she loved him so dearly. It was Edward who I truly adored, though. I loved how he was honourable and always trying to do the right thing and not just because he was raised well. He truly was honourable because he was a good person. And he was charming and I adored him. I thought I'd feel terrible for him with the lies and I did want Cecelia to just fess up but I was totally cheering for them to sort their problems and live happily ever after.

I basically loved this book. Definitely a favourite romance of 2017. I don't know how Julia Quinn does it but she is a genius.

What’s your favourite historical romance (or any romance) read of late? And do you find yourself getting nervous about a book based on the summary?

20 June 2017

Shattered Minds // It Was Brilliant, I Didn’t Want To Put It Down

Shattered Minds
Shattered Minds (Pacifica #2) – Laura Lam
Published: 15th June 2017
Source: Netgalley
Genre: Sci-fi, Thriller
My Rating:
She can uncover the truth, if she defeats her demons.

Ex-neuroscientist Carina struggles with a drug problem, her conscience, and urges to kill. She satisfies her cravings in dreams, fuelled by the addictive drug ‘Zeal’. Now she’s heading for self-destruction – until she has a vision of a dead girl.

Sudice Inc. damaged Carina when she worked on their sinister brain-mapping project, causing her violent compulsions. And this girl was a similar experiment. When Carina realizes the vision was planted by her old colleague Mark, desperate for help to expose the company, she knows he’s probably dead. Her only hope is to unmask her nemesis – or she’s next.

To unlock the secrets Mark hid in her mind, she’ll need a group of specialist hackers. Dax is one of them, a doctor who can help Carina fight her addictions. If she holds on to her humanity, they might even have a future together. But first she must destroy her adversary – before it changes us and our society, forever.
I knew I wanted to read this book as soon as I had finished False Hearts last year. I don’t think this book even had a title at that point. I just knew I had to read it. I then promptly forgot about it until I saw the cover on Netgalley so instantly requested. I’m glad I did because Laura Lam in an author I don’t think got anywhere enough attention with that first book, False Hearts, and so I am determined to try again with Shattered Minds.

I will begin by saying this is a sci-fi read. The world it is set in is meant to be some kind of utopia where murder has been eradicated and there is meant to be these great lives for folks. Pacifica is meant to be an ideal place to live and the company, Sudice, has created this brilliant way for people to go into these dreamscapes and satisfy their urges in their dreams rather than in reality. It is obviously all a lie and completely flawed, but that is where we’re at with this book. Shattered Minds is also a standalone book, as is False Hearts, they are set in the same world and there are references to things mentioned in False Hearts in Shattered Minds but you don’t need to read one to enjoy the other (I love when that happens).

I was completely absorbed from the first page with this one, much as I was with False Hearts. I just didn’t want to stop reading at all and it was because I was intrigued by all these characters you are introduced to. I actually didn’t expect that as at first I didn’t understand how Carina was going to play a major role as she was a Zeal addict (Zeal is the drug used to take folks into their dreamscape) but I soon came to care about her and it was swiftly explained how this addict was going to play a pivotal role. And I really liked Dax from the get go. He was so calm and together in the book and I loved that he knew exactly who he was and what he was working towards. Even Roz, the villain of our story, was a brilliant in her emotionless way as you completely got she was being rational and logical (mostly) and that’s what motivated in her crazy way. I mean, I loved to hate Roz and I love when you feel strongly for an antagonist, it makes you care more what happens at the end.

The story in this book is brilliant and I don’t want to reveal plot details but Carina ends up joining a group who are trying to shine a light on the crimes Sudice has committed. Sudice for too long has accumulated power and basically has control over Pacifica as it is this giant corporation with it’s fingers in all the pies. And I loved it was a total David and Goliath type storyline where this tiny group tries to take on the big guy and it’s utterly brilliant. You’ll be cheering for them the entire time and won’t be able to help yourself.

It did make me a little uncomfortable the attitude to addiction in the book but it really showed how flawed a society Pacifica was and it kind of shines a light on reality as well. They were happy to leave Zealots (the Zeal addicts) to slowly kill themselves by getting lost in their dreamscapes and essentially starving themselves as they forget to care for their basic needs until they simply die. And people were swift to believe that only those with criminal tendencies are the ones who will be susceptible to becoming addicted as Zeal itself shouldn’t be addictive. I know that in reality we are swift to ignore things which make us uncomfortable (like those who are homeless and people begging on the streets) and easily assume that it’s their own fault, to invent that they are addicts and criminals. It may not be intentional that this book shines a light on a few flaws, but I certainly felt it did.

Essentially, this is a totally brilliant book you need to check out. This one is very much shining the flaws on society for me and it is an addictive read. Also, did I mention that Dax is transgender and a main character and the love interest in this book? No? Then you have another reason to read right there. I could list lots of reasons, really. It’s an awesome read and so addictive with these brilliant characters. You should really just check it out.

What’s the last book you read where you hooked from the first page? Anyone else read this or anything else by Laura Lam?

18 June 2017

Sunday Summary // 18.06.2017

Sunday Summary
This week has been a strange one. I had the first three days of this week off of work this week so I’ve been really confused about what day I’m on. Really, you should be impressed I even remembered to write up this post considering I felt like I’ve had two Sunday’s.

I took some time off because I went to see Robbie Williams for my mom’s birthday. I bought her tickets way back last year and it was finally time for us to go and sing our hearts out and have a little boogie. We probably got there far too early but with the way they’ve been upping security at concerts since Manchester we didn’t want to risk being stuck in a queue. We had overpriced burger and chips and sat chatting and people watching before the support act Erasure came on. I know one song by them so I was a little bored but my mom had a great time. And then when it was time for Robbie he was very entertaining. I knew the words to most songs so we did stood with the crowd and had a laugh. I was impressed with how central our seats were and they weren’t nose bleed seats either! As a whole it was a great laugh, although lesson learned, do not go to the toilet in intermission you will queue for half an hour.

It was then my mom’s birthday the day after. We did little but she treated herself to a shopping trip and I bought myself new work shoes (one of us is obviously more exciting than the other). It was a great restful few days off of work before I went back to more catching up (time off is great until you remember the work doesn’t go away whilst you’re gone).

Apart from that I’ve really been very boring this week. I’ve gotten slightly more blog organised but really I’ve just been trying to not ignore my blog completely. It’s difficult, though, as the weather has turned warm and sunny this weekend and I am not a creature used to warm weather so the time I usually spend blogging may be spent outside or sat in front of a fan.

What I’ve Been Reading

Shattered Minds32828372
I have had a terrible reading week. After finishing Julia Quinn’s newest book (review to follow one day) I decided to read something completely different as I knew I wanted an ARC week this week. I picked up Shattered Minds and was utterly blown away by it. I loved Laura Lam’s first book to this series (both books work as standalones, though) and I think I forgot how good her writing was in False Hearts as I was surprised by Shattered Minds. I will be reviewing the brilliance that was that book. Then, I thought I was on a roll since that first ARC was such a hit… and I’ve been reading Roar ever since. I’m a quarter of the way through and it’s not that I don’t like it because I do… I think. I just feel absolutely no motivation to continue. Have you ever had that with a book? You can’t say you dislike it you just have no motivation to keep reading either?

Instead, I have been reading lots of fanfiction as a reading alternative. If I included all that on here then I will have read a lot of words.

New To Me

Our Dark Duet
I am so impressed with my single book this week. And it was a preorder so it’s totally okay that I bought it. I am learning to restrain my buying (sometimes, anyway). And, I’ve had no motivation to look at books. I’ve lost my reading mojo. It’s either the warm weather or me trying to force myself to read certain books. One of these things is not working for me!

How has your week been? Anyone else experience that weird feeling of not knowing what day it is when you’re not at work/school? And what do you do when you’re stuck in a book you’re not not enjoying but can’t make yourself want to pick up?

16 June 2017

My Thoughts // Commenting: Sometimes Less Is More

My Thoughts_zpsv3m9csox.png
There was a slightly different post which I intended to write today. I had had plans to write a post on commenting anyway, but I was intending to write it from a slightly different angle. I was going to write it to remind myself that the silly rules I have in mind for commenting are ridiculous and that it’s ok to be a bit briefer or to only write a short comment. Basically, it was a post to drill a few points home. But then I saw a couple of things around a couple of blogs and on the internet which made me think to do this slightly different.

I say this because Kristen has had some health issues which means she can’t comment as much and she felt she had to apologise about this (you don’t, sometimes it happens and life gets in the way of things) and then Nick tweeted how drops in comments and views get her down and I thought about how my comment numbers have dropped a touch (partly my own fault for not taking more time to comment on blogs myself) and I thought, actually, a few more folks may to hear this than just me so here you go, guys.

An Essay Isn’t Always Required: There Isn’t A Word Count

I like to write long comments. They are my favourite. It feels like I get to have a proper chat with folks and there is nothing than a good old comment thread you can keep popping back to. They are the best. You don’t always have time for that, though. I don’t always have half an hour to write all my thoughts and you should never feel like that is the only way to comment.  There isn’t a word count when it comes to commenting so don’t feel the pressure to write all the words. It isn’t necessary.

Commenting Shouldn’t Feel Like A Challenge

One thing to remember is that commenting isn’t a challenge. Just as it' isn’t an essay it isn’t a test either. You won’t be marked on what you say so don’t struggle to try to find the right words. Just word vomit in the comments and move on. I mean, you don’t need to spell check it. Hell, you don’t even need to read it back over if you don’t want to. Just writing words is always nice. Don’t stress yourself over trying to get it exactly right. People won’t notice or care.

Something Is Better Than Nothing

Look, while you’re stressing yourself out over finding the perfect words for your comment and how you can precisely convey the thoughts you had about that post please remember one thing: there are people behind that blog and those people kind of like to feel appreciated. Knowing that you’ve taken the time to read a post (any post) will make most bloggers day. We do read them all, even if sometimes it can take three weeks and then others it takes just three hours. Hell, I even like spam comments from time to time.

‘You Say It Best When You Say Nothing At All’ Is Totally Incorrect

And I know this is just reiterating all the other points, but you really don’t say it best when you say nothing at all. Just because you don’t have lots of words to say doesn’t mean you shouldn’t bother. ‘Nice review’ and ‘Great point’ are just as appreciated as that 2-page essay explaining why someone missed making a really important point in their discussion or review. It shows that you’ve taken the effort to read and it’s nice to know who stopped by. Don’t always write those short comments, but if you don’t have the time to write all the words two can work just as well.

Basically, folks, comment more. Comment widely. And don’t stress yourself trying to change the world with your words in a simple comment. Just write a few thoughts to let folks know you stopped by and you liked the words they put on screen. Bloggers like to feel appreciated. You know this. I know this. So for god’s sake take the time to show that fact. I know I’m guilty of skipping a post I want to comment on because I don’t feel like I have much to say. But no one cares if you say lots. Just say anything.

Do you find yourself not commenting if you don’t have a lot to say? If so, why? Do you feel a little more motivated to comment now? I know I do (it was why I wanted to write it in the first place, to remind myself to comment and not feel bad if I don’t use all the words).

14 June 2017

Bite Sized Books // Two Romance Books You Have To Read Together

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This will be a joint book review. I was going to see if I could make the review for these two more individual but it’s difficult. The story in All The Lies We Tell very much continues in All The Secrets We Keep, although they each focus more on different characters. I will try to split the reviews into individual books but really if you’re gonna read one you need to read both. The second makes less sense without the first and the first will leave you dissatisfied with the loose threads.

All The Lies We Tell
Published: 1st May 2017

Source: Bought

Genre: Contemporary, Romance

My Rating:
Everyone knew Alicia Harrison’s marriage to Ilya Stern wouldn’t last. They’d grown up on a remote stretch of Quarry Street, where there were two houses, two sets of siblings, and eventually, a tangled mess of betrayal, longing, and loss. Tragedy catapulted Allie and Ilya together, but divorce—even as neighbours—has been relatively uncomplicated.

Then Ilya’s brother, Nikolai, comes home for their grandmother’s last days. He’s the guy who teased and fought with Allie, infuriated her, then fled town without a good-bye. Now Niko makes her feel something else entirely—a rush of connection and pure desire that she’s been trying to quench since one secret kiss years ago. Niko’s not sticking around. She’s not going to leave. And after all that’s happened between their families, this can’t be anything more than brief pleasure and a bad idea.

But the lies we tell ourselves can’t compete with the truths our hearts refuse to let go…
All The Lies We Tell is much more the story of Alicia and Niko. Alicia lives over the road from her ex-husband Ilya. She owns a company with him, she sees him every day. Their lives are very much entwined even if they are no longer married or sleeping together. The two have lived across the road from one another their entire lives and although they married for the wrong reasons they are both still close. So when Ilya’s grandmother takes a turn for the worse Alicia is obviously there with Ilya and the entire Stern family. It’s a bit of a shock coming face to face once more with Niko, Ilya’s younger brother. She grew up with him as well, she was part of a small friendship group, which included her sister Jenni as well as Ilya and Niko’s former stepsister, Theresa.

I think I knew immediately that the interaction between Alicia and Niko was going to be brilliant. Niko said some harsh things when he’d heard his brother and Alicia had eloped together and I can’t blame him as he was totally right. He obviously had a thing for Alicia (even if she’d been too blind as a teen to notice) and the spark was still there when they see each other in that room in the care home.

This is an angsty read as the Stern family deal with losing a family member and Ilya deals with both his brother and his mother moving into his home. It wasn’t so much the loss of a family member which caused the angst, it was the past memories it dug up of grieving as Alicia’s sister, Jenni, died all those years ago and it affected all of them in different ways. It didn’t help that this was a romance where almost everyone had been involved with another in some way. It was a little incestuous. I wasn’t sure it would be handled well, a romance between Alicia and her ex-brother in law was going to be a careful balancing act to get it right and Megan Hart managed that. I was rooting for them to get together and saying screw you to Ilya and shouting at Alicia so get past her issues because they were such non-issues. Who cares about gossip anyway?

There was more than just the romance to this book, though. There was a further mystery of what Galina, Ilya and Niko’s mother, had been up to. And also what happened in the past with Jenni. This book was told in the present with flashbacks to their shared past interspersed throughout. It was really rather well done. My biggest issue with this book is that it felt unfinished when it ended because the second book was obviously meant to wrap up some of the story threads and that did bug me slightly. It was an enjoyable enough read, though, that I didn’t mind too much.

All The Secrets We Keep
Published: 13th June 2017
Source: Netgalley
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
My Rating:

In the riveting conclusion to Megan Hart’s passionate new family drama, the secrets they keep are no match for the truths their hearts will never let go.

Still stuck in his small Central Pennsylvania hometown, Ilya Stern is used to feeling like a disappointment. After his high school girlfriend, Jennilynn, drowned, he married her sister, Alicia, only to divorce a decade later. The business they started together is threatened by a luxury development—and Alicia has already sold her stake. Now that Babulya, Ilya’s gentle Russian grandmother, has died, there’s no one left who believes in him. Or so he thinks.

Theresa Malone was Ilya’s stepsister for only a year, until his mother threw her pill-popping father out of the house in the middle of the night, forcing teenage Theresa to follow. Now she’s returned for Babulya’s funeral—and to facilitate the quarry-development deal. As she tries to convince Ilya to sell, she realizes her feelings for him have ignited—from sisterly into something more.

Working together closely, Ilya and Theresa struggle to define their intense attraction. When the details of Jennilynn’s death surface, will Ilya and Theresa’s deep connection keep their hope for the future afloat—or submerge them once and forever in their tragic past?
As I said, this book and the first were meant to be read together. They are stories which don't make sense apart and are intrinsically linked. That might have bothered me but it was very obvious upon reading the first book that there was plenty more story to explore. There were so many unanswered questions in regards to what would happen with Ilya and the fact that Theresa had a lot more troubles. And there were all the unanswered questions to be had with Jenni. And what on earth motivated Galina to come home. Basically, this book was both the story of Theresa and Ilya finding their happy, but also about tying up loose ends.

It was a really fast read and whilst it was angstier than my usual books I kind of enjoyed that. I was a bit wary going in, whilst I'd quite liked Theresa in the first book (despite her secretive ways) I was far more wary of Ilya. He came across as a bit of a dick in the first book and also very hung up on a girl he loved as a teenager. I didn't get how I was going to be convinced to like him and especially when he didn't seem willing to grow from the teenager he once was. Thankfully, Megan Hart is a far better author than I gave her credit for because whilst I'd been a fan of Theresa's in the first book it was actually Ilya I was cheering for because he really turned over a new leaf.

I will give this book that, there was plenty of character growth, far more than I experience in the first. I like Nico and Alicia as a couple but they seemed like they were falling back into something which could have happened if given a chance anyway. They were inevitable. Theresa and Ilya, on the other hand, had to grow as people before they were ready to even think about moving forward together. I liked that level of growth they experience, but especially Ilya growing into the adult he should have been long ago.

I was a little disappointed with the mystery surrounding Galina and Barry and what happened to Jenni all those years ago. I predicted back in the first book (not precisely, but I knew bits of what must have happened) and that obviousness about something which was in the background through two books was a bit of a letdown. I know it wasn't the focus of the books so I won't let it affect my rating but it was a bit meh.

As a whole, the book was brilliant and a fantastic close to the story of these characters and I will definitely be visiting Megan Hart's books in the future.

Do you like reading romance series where the books are obviously meant to be read together? Or do your prefer them to be standalone, especially when they focus on a different couple in each book?

12 June 2017

Dark Days Pact // I Loved Almost Everything About It

Published: 26th January 2017
Source: Gifted
Genre: Historical, Fantasy, Young Adult
My Rating:
June 1812. Just weeks after her catastrophic coming-out ball, Lady Helen Wrexhall—now disowned by her uncle—is a full member of the demon-hunting Dark Days Club. Her mentor, Lord Carlston, has arranged for Helen and her maid, Darby, to spend the summer season in Bristol, where Helen can sharpen her Reclaimer powers. Then the long-term effects of Carlston’s Reclaimer work take hold, and his sanity begins to slip. At the same time, Carlston’s Dark Days Club colleague and nemesis will stop at nothing to bring Helen over to his side—and the Duke of Selburn is determined to marry her. The stakes are ever higher for Helen, and her decision will truly change the world…
Recently I reread the first book in this series, The Dark Days Club, and remembered it was a great book but it definitely suffered from some poor pacing. It meant I had been quite nervous about actually reading the second books, despite forcing my brother to buy it for me on my birthday, because I needed it. It was only when Danya messaged me about doing a buddy read did I pick it up, though. I mean, I’d intended to read anyway but having someone else to drive you to stick with it helps because I thought I might need that if the pacing was as slow in this one. Turned out there was no need to worry.

For anyone who has read the first book, you will know what I’m talking about. There was a whole lot of setting the scene in that book and not a lot of action so certain reservations were understandable. I know the book picked up quickly by the halfway point but I had to worry over whether or not the pacing would continue in the second. It did, so folks who are nervous about reading do not fret!

Helen is now staying with Lady Margaret and her brother Mr Hammond in Brighton for the summer whilst she begins are Reclaimer training with Lord Carlston. She has accepted her abilities and is now trying her best to access all of her abilities so she can help in the fight against the Deceivers and also be finding out more about the Grand Deceiver. I mean really, after the way the last book ended I should have known this one would be all action and plot and basically what I wanted in the first book.

We are introduced to a couple of new characters in this book, and a couple of others get to play larger roles and I really liked that. This books was all about plot development and bringing forth characters who are going to play greater roles in the story. I liked that fact. I mean, we had a great character in the form of Pike who is a total douche, he was awful. He was this horrible misogynist who thought Helen needed men to balance out her impulsive womanly ways. But he was great with how he was a terrible person on the side of the Reclaimers. I loved that sense that this was not a simple black and white battle between good and evil and that was never more obvious than when you saw those on either side. It’s like I loved that a Deceiver was in this book who actually became a source of information for our little group and I really liked him. It was brilliant how Goodman muddied the waters between good and evil because it is never so black and white as all that and I hope it leaves greater potential for what happens in the next book because I don’t believe all Deceivers are bad much like all the Reclaimers haven’t been good so far.

One thing which I really enjoyed was the growing relationship between Lady Helen and her mentor, Lord Carlston. Both are fighting their attraction for different reasons but I enjoyed the tension between the two, especially as they had to get more physical this time around. It wasn’t them simply at balls and dancing together, it was that, but also they had to learn how to fight and get within close proximity to one another and that really added to it. Especially as Goodman threw in a couple of extra barriers between the two, I won’t say what, though, that will spoil things.

The only reason I didn’t give this book five stars is because it featured one of the douchiest of dickhead characters in the form of the Duke of Selburn. I hated him on so many levels. I thought I was being irrational in my dislike for him in the first book. After all, Goodman is very good about sticking to historical facts and making her books pretty accurate and so his view that he could help protect and care for Helen was accurate, even if it grated. But in this book I loathed him. I want a badge making me founder of the ‘I Hate The Duke’ club. It’s like Danya says he is the worst kind of nice guy character. You can’t say he’s a terrible person because he comes across all nice and kind but he’s a dick thinking he knows best and can in anyway dictate how Helen is to act. The burning rage I felt for him throughout the book culminated in the way it ended. I know me saying that is a spoiler in itself but it’s true. Read it and then come back and talk to me. He is the only reason for me rating this down.

I feel like I can;t say all I have to say in my review without spoiling everything but it is safe to say this was a brilliant read. It is also a quick read despite being 500 pages long. You won’t notice the length once the story gets going and it does that almost immediately. I could respect the effort which went into the historical accuracy of this book. Sure, I did question how Darby, Helen’s ladies maid and candidate to be her Terene, was quite so eloquent and educated with some of the speeches she gave to Helen, but as a whole, I feel like a lot of work went into this and I can respect it. I do need the next book in my hands sharpish because I need more but I will wait sort of patiently for it.

Have you read this, what did you think? Do you find yourself becoming irrationally enraged about certain characters in a book or is that just me?

11 June 2017

Sunday Summary // 11.06.2017

Sunday Summary
I have been so absent this week guys. I have barely touched my laptop (partly because it’s really started to slow down so I’m not always patient enough to sit down with it on an evening) and so I’ve done practically no blogging which I hadn’t organised in advance. I’ve just caught up on my own blog comments and I have started commenting back on all of yours. It’s a slow process and I;m sorry if I skip posts but there are so many! I think I got lazy lately and the more I put off doing things the more I avoided it so here I am. That being said, the one thing I have been alright with is completing my blog posts for the week which is usually the thing I slack off with the most. I had to do well somewhere, right?

My time living alone ended and I was just starting to get used to it. The things I learnt from this experience is I cannot live in a big house like this one alone, which is perfect because I can only afford something little. I also learnt having a pet is important because talking to yourself is better when you can pretend you’re talking to your pets. These are important things to know because I am getting to the point where I might have enough money saved and a stable enough job (I hope) to be able to move out on my own and actually buy a place. We’ll see, though.

It was the dreaded election this week. I got bored of it as soon as it was announced so I’m glad it wasn’t the usual long drawn out election campaign as it was a snap election. It was made more annoying by the fact I went to vote and the old lady at the desk gave me a dirty look and an eye roll for not bringing my polling card. There is a reason it says you don’t need to bring it! Honestly, at least I voted! I would have bitched at her but she was an old lady (which totally doesn’t justify her being rude) and my mom told me to respect me elders. Also, there was a queue and no one would thank me for holding them up. I love how the whole election backfired for Theresa May, now to keep my fingers crossed this DUP thing will fail epically because I do not want those folks having any kind of power in parliament.

Apart from wanting to throw down with an old lady it’s been a quiet week. Works been crazy as people are on holiday so we’re short staffed again so I’ve pretty much been coming home exhausted and then watching TV. I’ve begun watching Brooklyn Nine Nine and it’s hilarious! I blame that for my lack of blogging.

What I’ve Been Reading

Her Backup BoyfriendAll The Secrets We Keep4. Daddy's Best Friend5. The DILFThe Girl With The Make Believe Husband
It’s been another week of reading less. I have definitely been doing other things, like watching TV, but it means I’ve not had time to read quite as much. I finished Her Backup Boyfriend as I wanted to include a review in a blog post. I finished All The Secrets We Keep and Megan Hart proved to be a strong writer making me like a character I’d written off in the first book. Nick somehow convinced me to read the porn title books she’s been enjoying so much and they are kind of fun, I’ll give her that. Definitely glad they’re novellas, though. I don’t think a longer book would work as I’d be stuck rolling my eyes at them. But for killing some time reading a steamy book? They’re great for that. My last read is The Girl With The Make Believe Husband. I’m halfway through and loving it but I am worried how it’ll work out all these lies!

New To Me

The Hook UpThe Friend ZoneThe Game PlanMajor CrushGirl on the RunPlease Release Me
I bought a lot of ebooks… I feel a little bad about it. Especially as I bought three Kristen Callihan books when I’ve not read a single one in this series. I mean, what if I don’t like them? I highly doubt it, but these things happen. The Callihan books were the most expensive of the lot, the rest of my books are 99p and hopefully fun, easy reads. I’ll let you know.
Always and Forever, Lara JeanThe Girl With The Make Believe HusbandTruth or DareThe Waking Land
I actually got all of these last week but I forgot to include them. I’d preordered Always and Forever Lara Jean and forgot to include as my preorder took a little while to be delivered. Julia Quinn’s newest book was also a preorder. Funny story, actually, I had preordered this but Piatkus contacted me to review it and sent me a copy. I knew I didn’t need two copies of one book so tried to return my preorder. I stated my reasons and requested a refund and it came up my refund would be processed and I didn’t need to return the book! How good is that? Now, I have two copies so any UK folks wanting a copy let me know and we can do a swap or something.

The last two came in my most recent boo box. I only pay for one and it’s always YA books and various things so I like it. It’s the Illumicrate one so it is quarterly. I prefer that as I still don’t manage to read the books which come in it so I dread to think what I’d be like with a monthly one. Anyway, I have a signed copy of Truth or Dare, it’ll be my first Non Pratt book so that’ll be good and then there was an ARC of The Waking Land. I’ve wanted to read that ever since I saw UK ARCs go out so yay!

Flame in the Mist
And, finally, I got the above on Netgalley. I actually thought I wasn’t going to be approved as I requested this book over a month ago. Who doesn’t love a surprise approval on Netgalley? I will be having a week of ARC reading next week to catch up.

And there is my week. How was your week? Anyone read anything good? Tell me all below! And if you have tips on keeping organised with blogging let me know as I am currently a hot mess.