30 October 2017

The Sea King // An Excellent Sequel And A Brilliant Romance

The Sea King
Published: 31st October 2017
Source: Edelweiss
Genre: Fantasy, Romance
My Rating:
From the New York Times bestselling author of The Winter Kingcomes a breathtaking new tale of love and adventure set in the mystical land of Mystral...

He wasn't supposed to choose her...

Seafaring prince Dilys Merimydion has been invited to court the three magical princesses of Summerlea. To eradicate the pirates threatening Calberna and to secure the power of the Sea Throne, Dilys vows to return home with a fierce warrior-queen as his bride. But politics has nothing to do with unexpected temptation.

She didn't dare wed him...

A weathermage like her sisters, Gabriella Coruscate's gentleness exemplifies the qualities of her season name, Summer. Yet her quiet poise conceals dangerous powers she cannot begin to wield. Better to live without excitement, she reasons, than risk her heart and lose control— until an irresistible Sealord jolts her awake with a thunderclap of raw desire.

Until evil threatens everything they hold dear...

When pirates kidnap Summer and her sisters, Dilys is in a desperate quest to save the woman he loves. Only by combining his command of the seas with the unleashed fury of Summer's formidable gifts can they defeat their brutal enemies and claim the most priceless victory of all: true love.
This was one of my most anticipated releases. I read The Winter King a little while ago and loved it in all it’s cheesy, romantic, crazypants ways because it was fun and had story and it was fantasy romance and that is such an uncommon mix. It had the usual romantic drama and it had this great story line and characters. It was a little ridiculous and I loved it for that and I was so, so excited to read The Sea King so I was daring and requested on Edelweiss (which I’d never done before because that place scares me). I am so glad I did request it because it’s a brilliant read and I will definitely be buying my own copy as well because this book really builds on the larger story arc hinted in the first book but it’s on your face and obvious by the end of this second one.

First of all, the storyline is a little farfetched and ridiculous once more. This time we have Dilys (who we should all hopefully recall from the first book) here to claim his prize, his right to court and try and win the hand of one of the Seasons of Summerlea. The only problem is, one of the seasons, Summer, has more than a few secrets and she doesn’t want anyone finding them out, certainly not Dilys who has a fire in his eyes who from a single look makes her feel more than she is used to. Gabriella is hiding her powers and avoiding being courted by Dilys Merilylidion. He makes her feel too much and last time that happened there were terrible consequences so she isn’t risking that again. Dilys can tell there is more to her than the kind and gentle persona she puts out the world. She also fears that madness runs in her family (her father did go loop-de-doop in the first book) and she fears the same is happening to her so she plans to get through this courting nonsense and plan her escape and isolation. Only, Dilys is far more intrigued with her than he should be and is determined to figure out what the hell is happening with her. I think we all know where this one is going, right?

I admit, the book was long and the pacing was a little off for me. I kept waiting for more to happen than misunderstanding and Summer avoiding people and being a ridiculous person scared of her own feelings but it took a long while for the story to really get going. It was the second half of the book which hooked me once Gabriella and her sisters were kidnapped (which is not a spoiler as it’s in the summary and yes that takes like half a book to happen so you understand how slow the build up in the first half was). It was the kidnapping and then the need to rescue them where the action really got going right up until the end of the book.

I admit, the kidnapping and what follows was uncomfortable, I know it’s a spoiler so be warned when you get to the bold be wary… *SPOILER* there is non-consensual touching and rape happening upon the kidnapping. I won’t reveal how it happens partly because I don’t fully remember the details, but also because that’s a major spoiler but it’s important to know *SPOILER*. The kidnapping and the events that followed whilst the Seasons were taken did make me uncomfortable because it was so awful. It was definitely my least favourite part of the book because I understood why it was there and happening but it felt unnecessary as well almost as if it was for effect except I am certain the events of this book will be important when it comes to the next one so I think it is part of developing the characters but it sucked to read and may put readers off.

Apart from that part of the book, though, the rest I loved. I was fully there cheering Dilys on (even though he was a bit of a dick who didn’t think before he spoke) and wanting Summer to admit she was more than meets the eye and get it on with the hot guy she obviously loves and cares for and who will treat her like a queen! Who doesn’t want to be treated like a queen by a hot guy? I would so sign up for that.

I really enjoyed this book, basically. I am so here for the next one and I know I’ve missed loads out of this review because I loved it so much and I always miss major plot points when I love a book. I also waited an age to write the review to try and get my thoughts straight and that so didn’t help anything. If you’re looking for a slightly ridiculous but totally awesome fantasy romance this and Winter King are the books for you. They rocked my socks off. So often in fantasy romance either the fantasy or the romance is stronger, in this one both are good. You get awesome world building, fantastic characters and steamy romance all in one book. What’s not to love?

Have you read this or any of C.L. Wilsons’s other books? And what is your favourite fantasy romance? I need more of this genre.

29 October 2017

Sunday Summary // 29.10.2017

Sunday Summary
This week guys I am a little out of sorts. There is nothing wrong but I’m just feeling a little blergh. I know it’s partly because I cancelled a night out Friday night and I feel bad. my friend wanted to reschedule for Saturday instead but I stopped feeling that urge for drinks and dancing, you know? I think it’s partly down to me maybe developing a cold, my mom’s been roaming the house spreading her plague so I kind of expected that (although, I’d been downing orange juice in the hopes vitamin C would conquer all) and also because I had a bit of a weird dizzy spell in the middle of the night Thursday. I’m pretty sure it’s down to the fact our heating broke and didn’t automatically turn off at night and so I woke up at 2am sweating (attractive, I know) and went to investigate but I think the heat and getting up too fast made me have a funny turn. I ended up lay on my bedroom floor with my dog sniffing at my head hoping the world would stop spinning and sweating a whole lot more. So yeah, I cancelled my night out and really didn’t fancy dancing which made me feel bad because we bought Halloween costumes and everything.

Apart from my dizzy spell and maybe cold it’s been a quiet week. I’ve got tickets booked for a bonfire and fireworks next weekend so I’m looking forward to that. I haven’t done much else, though. It’s just been rushing to get things done at work and I’m finding myself getting annoyed with certain people at work again. I do question whether or not it’s time to move on, except I am no closer to figuring out what kind of job I want than I was four years ago. I need to weigh things up on that one but if I leave you guys can claim you saw it here first. We’re also losing another person (shocking I know). She’s not on my team, she’s on the other finance team but she got offered a job in another department and she’s accepted. I do question why management hasn't asked why there’s such a high turnover in one team. I could honestly give them all the answers on that one.

I think there is another reason I’ve felt a bit blergh this week. We are thinking we’re going to have to put my nan in a care home. It’s been something my mom, brother and I have all thought for a long time but unfortunately, we don’t control my nan’s finances or care decisions. Her money has run out and we simply don’t have the time or skills to give her the care she needs anymore so we’ve had to look at care homes who would be able to meet her needs so we can focus on her well being. It’s a time consuming and expensive prospect and it really isn’t any fun. The cost of care homes is shocking and the lack of support to help you get those who need it into one is even worse. It’s awful the elderly are expected to spend their entire life savings to ensure they have someone to help them when they need them is ridiculous. I won’t get started on that, though. Admitting we may have to put her into a home was not a fun decision and shopping around at the eye-watering prices wasn’t fun either.

I feel like I’m sounding like a bit of a downer this week. What good stuff happened? Well, one of my friends is returning to the office next week. He’s the one who left and came back and I am excited to see his face, it’s been a few months. I realised more people at the office know who I am than I thought, which is nice. I think I assume I go under the radar of many because I am quiet with people I don’t know, or overly sarcastic so people just think I’m mean. So that was nice, good to know people do know me, I should hope so after being there for 4 years, still surprised me, though.

What I’ve Been Reading

17900545Here We Are Now
Because of my general rubbish mood, I have not been reading a whole lot. It doesn’t help that I finished reading Eliza and Her Monsters and adored it so completely so finding something to read after that has been hard! Rule was just as disappointing as I remember it being, I just could not get invested in the MCs at all, they just came across whiny. I did love some of the secondary characters, though, so I’m thinking they might work better for me? I can only hope because I flicked to the end of Rule and have already forgotten it. Then I started Here We Are Now and whilst it’s brilliant there was something stopping me from getting totally hooked. I loved the characters and the story, it was such a cool idea and didn’t ever fall into the weird trap that a story with celebrities can do. I think my issue was it was too short. I loved how it ended but I would have happily read far more because there was so much more to happen. It was good.

New To Me

Offensive BehaviorFreakonomicsSuperfreakonomics
I’ve been quite good lately. Only one ebook and two physical books and the Freakonomics books were part of the clearance section of my local WHSmith’s (no, I didn’t know that was a thing either but I got very excited, they had books for under £3 and I think they’re trying to compete with The Works which is a few stores away). And Offensive Behavior (it genuinely bothers me spell behaviour in that way) was 99p for Kindle and considering I adored The Love Experiment (and cannot wait for The Love Coupon) I figured now was the time to start reading all her other books (she’s written a whole heap). I actually read the first Freakonomics book forever ago when someone lent me a copy. I was strangely absorbed by it and the logic in it so I was so excited to get my own copy.

And that is my week. I still need to watch Stranger Things season 2 and a bunch of films on Netflix so I’m off to hibernate doing that whilst enjoying my extra hour. What have you done this week?

28 October 2017

My Blogging Problems // Why Am I So Forgetful?

My Blogging Problems
Currently, I am failing epically at thinking of posts which aren’t reviews unless I’m writing discussions. This means I am writing my discussions based on the stuff which goes through my head at any one time (case in point, one of my drafts is actually about how I can’t seem to figure out how to start writing a blog post… then my blogging block passed). Despite my blogging block having passed (it’s like writer's block but for blog posts), I do still have a problem with getting posts live on my blog.

I am forgetting to schedule my posts!
If you are a regular visitor you may have noticed my blog posts are going up a bit sporadically of late. I like to have a routine to posting (either Monday, Wednesday, Friday or Tuesday and Thursday) and that just hasn’t been happening lately. I try and remember to schedule posts (otherwise I will never remember to get posts up) but I’m even forgetting to do the thing which I do to stop me forgetting to post. What is wrong with me?

You’d think that this wouldn’t be a major issue. The posts are all there and ready to go so I just log on and click publish. Problem solved! But I’m both too busy and too forgetful to do this. The only post I post manually is my Sunday post because that one I don’t tend to finish until the last minute. I may not have a schedule which goes beyond the end of each week but a basic schedule is what keeps my blog running at any kind of regular pace. I am up at 6am during the week and don’t get home until 6pm. I leave the house at 6:45 and my morning routine is planned by the minute so until I get to work I have no time for even thinking about my blog until I get to work and by then I am thinking about work. It’s normally not until I get home that I think and remember a post I did or didn’t schedule.
The thing is, I am a totally forgetful person. I think I’ve mentioned before I am a procrastinator so I get insanely excited to actually finish a post in my drafts. I think that’s half the reason I forget to schedule stuff. The other problem is I am easily distracted. I will finish and if something even slightly interrupts my train of thought all hope of scheduling is gone and it’ll take me a few days to even remember I forgot to do something.

Basically, I am forgetful and my forgetfulness is getting worse. I am trying to remind myself to schedule every time I finish a post but fingers crossed. If you notice a post going up at a weird time at least you know why.

My question is how does everyone remember to get their posts up? Anyone manually post them? Or do you immediately schedule as soon as your draft is ready? Or are you so excited to have a post finished you simply forget, like me?

26 October 2017

Five Reasons To Read… The Naturals Series

I know it’s been a good long while, but do you guys recall almost two months ago now I began reading The Naturals series? I adored every page and even though I had some doubts at the end of the first book (I could sense a love triangle developing as soon as I started and I am so not up for that) but the book hooked me in even though it included something I hate and I read the entire series in the space of four days and if that doesn’t announce my love for the series nothing will. It was because of Kaja this book even came on my radar and that was because someone else had recommended the book to her as she enjoyed some Kelley Armstrong books so that’s my sole reason for getting the first book in the series.

I couldn't figure out how to review an entire series because spoilers! And then I remembered I could give you vague highlights in the form of a five reasons to read post (genius, I know).

The NaturalsKiller InstinctAll InBad Blood

It’s a Good YA Thriller Series!

Look, I feel that is a totally valid and brilliant reason to read. I can think of zero similar YA reads like this one and I adored it. I am known for being a fan of police procedural dramas and I know they are so formulaic and obvious but I will sit and watch them late at night and I love it. Sit me in front of NCIS or Criminal Minds and I am a happy bunny. As such, finding a really good YA thriller series about murderers just ticked all my boxes (that makes me sound weirder than I actually am, honest). It had an interesting mystery which developed of the books and it didn’t seem weird that the characters had these unique abilities as they weren’t superpowers, they were better observance and the ability to see body language and manipulate folks. It was like being hyper-aware and brilliant so it made total sense.

It Didn’t Feel Like Nancy Drew All Grown Up

easy nancy drew
Look, as much as I adore Veronica Mars with every fibre of my being, that girl was a grown-up Nancy Drew with some serious sarcasm going on and I adored she was a PI. She was a genius with her episode mysteries which I totally wouldn’t have cracked but you have to admit it’s totally farfetched, a bunch of teens solving crimes. This book series managed to make it at least make sense why teens would be solving murders and it’s not because of an incompetent police force and because they are hiding behind just the right corner to catch the criminal. The ‘abilities’ of the characters totally made sense and whilst recruitment by the FBI sounds a little farfetched I’ve seen more ridiculous storylines.

The Scooby Gang Was Awesome and Not Cookie Cutter Sweet

The MCs and secondary characters in this book are not completely 100% good. They are flawed and interesting and considering they are only teenagers they felt like fully fleshed characters who acted like teens! They all had kind of messed up childhoods, I will give you that. Poor angsty teenagers with their parents removed, but they also didn’t anger me with their teenaged ways (look, I like when teens in YA actually sound like their real-life counterparts but anyone who is passed teen age will realise that sometimes teens can sound a little ridiculous with their woes, they are legit but it also makes them sound ridiculous when you give them context for their problems). And these characters weren’t perfect and I loved how they get their backstory revealed over the course of the four books. They get to develop and grow and it was awesome.

There Was An Overarching Storyline

Often, thrillers don’t have any link to them beyond the characters. They stay in the same world but as a whole, they are pretty standalone books. But then YA series tend to have an ongoing story arch where the characters pursue a goal through a series of books. This series manages to combine those two things together into this wonderful stories. Each book had its main storyline which loosely led to each secondary character getting some spotlight as their backstory gets revealed and developed, and then there was the mystery of the week. At the same time, there was the storyline of Cassie and her mother’s murder and the entire story which develops from her trying to find out what happened to her mother. I won’t say too much on that because of course it gets revealed throughout the books and spoilers! It was insanely good and interesting and I didn’t guess the whodunnit of the mystery too early which would have ruined everything. And that overarching mystery keeps you reading because it’s so damn addictive.

It Wasn’t Afraid to Get Dark

The first few books didn’t get too dark but they dealt with murder and they weren’t afraid to give the details. The backstories of our characters weren't exactly all bright and shiny either so there were such things as abuse happening to characters in their past and it was a touch messed up but it added to the layers of each character and the struggles of their past. And then the fourth book, it got really dark there for a while and I loved how Barnes wasn’t afraid to include the kind of storylines you would expect in adult thrillers. She didn’t dumb down her mysteries and storylines for a younger audience because teens are just as capable of dealing with a darker storyline and you see just the same thing on TV.

So there you have it. I really enjoyed this series and whilst I warn you, you do have to brace yourself for a love triangle. I will say that from the go ahead, it’s there. I do not deny it, but it’s balanced out by a good storyline, excellent writing, and interesting characters. You get sucked in and if you aren’t interested in continuing the series after that first book I am impressed.

Have you read this series? Anyone got some recommendations for some good mystery/thriller type books? I used to read them all the time and stopped for some reason.

23 October 2017

Bite Sized Books // Where I Declare My Love For Mariana Zapata’s Books

Bite Sized Books_zpsszuklfto.png
I have been intending to write a review for Mariana Zapata’s books for a good long while. A month, even! I read them when I was on holiday and adored them in every way. At least, the first ones I read (the two I read when I got home weren’t quite as good but they showed great potential). I knew I wanted to tell you guys how brilliant they were but I really couldn’t find the words to say why other than to flail and say read them! I still knew I had to feature them, though. There are just some books you have to talk about even when you’re utterly inelegant about them. I mean, even Zapata’s worst books were enjoyable they just weren’t up to scratch to my favourites from her.

The Ones I Adored

The Wall of Winnipeg and Me
Published: 28th February 2016
Source: Bought
Genre: Sports romance, Contemporary, Adult
My Rating:
Vanessa Mazur knows she's doing the right thing. She shouldn't feel bad for quitting. Being an assistant/housekeeper/fairy godmother to the top defensive end in the National Football Organization was always supposed to be temporary. She has plans and none of them include washing extra-large underwear longer than necessary.

But when Aiden Graves shows up at her door wanting her to come back, she's beyond shocked.

For two years, the man known as The Wall of Winnipeg couldn't find it in him to tell her good morning or congratulate her on her birthday. Now? He's asking for the unthinkable.
What do you say to the man who is used to getting everything he wants?
This was the first book from Zapata I heard about. I am a girl who loves romance, and more specifically sports romance, and I also adore fake relationships so when I heard there was a book which included all three of them you can bet I was interested in reading. Only problem? It was over 600 pages long. The average romance is like 300 pages, you can imagine I was intimidated by a book which was twice that. It’s why I didn’t bother buying until I knew I had all the time in the world to read it, when I was on holiday. I almost didn’t pick it up even then, luckily I avoided that mistake and found my first of my favourites from Zapata.

I adored Vanessa, she puts up with no crap and she didn’t swoon for Aiden just because he was some hot shot NFL player. She didn’t care. He had been a means to an end so could pursue her career. She handed in her notice and didn’t look back and I didn’t blame her as Aiden was annoying as hell, he was an island, and he didn’t stand up for her. She would have stayed focused an independent from Aiden if he hadn’t offered something she wanted, money to truly give her the independence she craved, she just had to marry him to help him stay in the US. Easy, right?

Well, it’s safe to say from there I fell in love as Aiden stayed being gruff and focused, but a little less of an island under Vanessa's influence. And I adored it. I didn’t even notice the length of the book because I was so invested in these characters. I swooned and sighed and grinned like and idiot and fell head over heels. I truly did, this was the best. Don’t be put off by the length but strap yourself in for a slow… very slow ride. This is the ultimate of slowburn. The romance moves at a glacial pace and it might frustrate the hell out of some. I was on the edge of my seat and loved every minute, though.

Dear Aaron
Published: 10th June 2017
Source: Bought
Genre: Romance, Contemporary, Adult/New Adult
My Rating:
Ruby Santos knew exactly what she was getting herself into when she signed up to write a soldier overseas.

The guidelines were simple: one letter or email a week for the length of his or her deployment. Care packages were optional.

Been there, done that. She thought she knew what to expect.

What she didn’t count on was falling in love with the guy.
Then onto the second of Zapata’s books which I read. I hadn’t got this one on my radar until Nick reviewed it (funny how Nick often is the person who puts romance on my radar). I wasn’t quite as eager to get a hold of this one because Nick had said the pacing was a bit off with some of the romance and that it could have been shorter, the concern I had when it came to buying Wall of Winnipeg. I went ahead, though, because I loved the idea of a couple writing to one another and falling love. The concept slayed me and the reality was even better than expected.

Ruby and Aaron were so cute together. Ruby was brilliant and I loved that she lived with her parents still but was pursuing her career because I live at home too and it isn’t great but it’s a good means to and end. And Aaron was great building this friendship with Ruby as one of his few contacts back home so he could cope throughout his deployment.

I adored it and was totally sucked in from the start. I was gone for Aaron and adored Ruby from the very beginning. She was way geekier than me but I totally got her and her fandom ways and her quirkiness and how utterly why she is. I just connected with her straight away as I saw a lot of myself in her.

I loved how the format of the book demonstrated the progression in the relationship. We begin with emails being sent with them being a bit awkward as hey got to know one another and slowly connect. It then changes to IMs as the pair get closer and talk more often and it develops as they grow closer. It totally worked and I loved it.

This was such a cute book and I was expecting it to be angstier because Aaron was in the army but it actually was way more cute and fun and I loved it for that. It was nothing like I thought and everything which I wanted in a romance. I had a silly grin going on while I was reading and I'm not ashamed of that fact.
Published: 20th March 2015
Source: Bought
Genre: Romance, Contemporary, Sports Romance, Adult
My Rating:
“Trust me, I’ve wanted to punch you in the face a time or five.”

When the man you worshipped as a kid becomes your coach, it’s supposed to be the greatest thing in the world. Keywords: supposed to.

It didn’t take a week for twenty-seven-year-old Sal Casillas to wonder what she’d seen in the international soccer icon—why she’d ever had his posters on her wall, or ever envisioned marrying him and having super-playing soccer babies.

Sal had long ago gotten over the worst non-break-up in the history of imaginary relationships with a man that hadn’t known she’d existed. So she isn’t prepared for this version of Reiner Kulti who shows up to her team’s season: a quiet, reclusive, shadow of the explosive, passionate man he’d once been.

Nothing could have prepared her for the man she got to know.

Or the murderous urges he brought out in her.

“Sal, please don’t make me visit you in jail. Orange isn’t your color.”

This was going to be the longest season of her life.
And then the third, and in some ways my favourite. I actually had to figure out how to connect my Kindle to my phones internet to read this one while I was away because I brought it halfway through reading Dear Aaron because I knew I needed to read more Zapata and especially this one. It was another that had come onto my radar when I heard of Wall of Winnipeg because sports romance! I was put off by the fact it was a football (soccer) romance because I am not a huge fan of football, I see it enough on TV at home, do I really need to read a romance about it too. Also, the last sports romance which involved football I tried to read was Scoring Wilder and I hated it so I thought I might not like Kulti I was convinced by the fact Zapata wrote it and I am so glad I was.

I think this one clicked for me because I adored the fact it was a romance with an age gap. I was full on in love with Kulti too. Also, it was so similar to Pitch and my favourite ship in that (Mike/Ginny 4eva) that I was fully in love from the beginning.

This one was an enemies to lover romance and it was spot on. Even better, Sal wasn’t the usual girl in her early twenties falling in love but instead 27 and had several years playing on the football team who was focused on her career. She was determined to be the best she could be (with a few exceptions) and she was determined to do her best. And Reiner Kulti was a grumpy guy who had passed the peak in his career and who really didn’t want to be coaching when he was a world famous player. And he had been a dick to Sal’s brother and was basically horrible to anyone he spoke to and so Sal wasn’t willing to put up with crap from him at all.

I loved the dynamic between the two whenever they spoke and how throughout the book they grew closer. First, they became friends before any hope of romance happened. And then there was Sal’s family! I adored her parents and would have happily had them feature far more in the book. I would return to read more about Kulti and Sal’s life given half a chance.

This was the best kind of sports romance for me. It was about a female athlete for once and was absolutely brilliant. It even had a really good age difference romance for me to love. I will read all the books!

The Ones I Liked Less

Under Locke
Published: 19th January 2014
Source: Bought
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
My Rating:
He was my boss, my brother’s friend, a Widower, an ex-felon, and a man I’d seen casually with a handful of women. But he was everything that gripped me, both the good and the bad. Worst case scenario if things turned awkward between us, I could go somewhere else. I’d gotten over epic heartbreak before, one more wouldn’t kill me.

After moving to Austin following six months of unemployment back home, Iris Taylor knows she should be glad to have landed a job so quickly... even if the business is owned by a member of the same motorcycle club her estranged father used to belong to. Except Dex Locke might just be the biggest jerk she’s ever met. He’s rude, impatient and doesn’t know how to tell time.

And the last thing they ever expected was each other.

But it was either the strip club or the tattoo shop.

… she should have chosen the strip club.
It just makes me sad when you read a book which doesn't work for you from an author you love. I mean, I still haven’t read all of Zapata’s books so there is still a chance there are more from her I don’t like but it made me sad as this was the first book by her I didn’t adore. It was partially a me thing for me to dislike it. I wasn’t a fan of the whole motorcycle gang aspect of the book. I may have enjoyed Sons of Anarchy but it’s a bit iffy when it comes to gang things. Also, when I began reading it was the last day on my holiday and my brain wasn’t totally focused on the book. That lack of focus when it came to reading this meant I didn’t become fully absorbed either.

It had all the usual marks of a Mariana Zapata book but it just missed the mark for me. I think it was the fact it was a biker gang book and Dex was just not what I wanted. He came across as a dick (hence the nickname in the book) and whilst he revealed a softer side his dickish tendencies were too much for me.

It was a good read for some, I’m sure, but not for me. It makes me sad but there always has to be one, right?
Published: 7th August 2015
Source: Bought
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
My Rating:
Most people would describe Katherine Berger as a responsible girl with a big heart, a loyal friend who takes care of those close to her, and the possessor of a wicked sense of humor. There was something about her that most people didn't know. "My name is Kat Berger, and I love porn."

When twenty-five-year-old Kat is dragged to a porn convention by her best friend, she's both embarrassed and nervous. The last thing she ever expected was to meet someone who makes her laugh like no other. This is a story about acceptance and friendship, and a love born out of the most unexpected of places.
This was a really good friends to lovers story and I enjoyed it. I didn't fall head over heels for it like Zapata's later books but you can see the essence of the great stories she writes and I did enjoy it. This only ended up on the bad list because I wasn’t head over heels and totally absorbed like I expected to be.

The book starts at a porn convention so it was safe to say I was a little hesitant going in to see whether I'd like it. Turns out it was hilarious and I enjoyed it. Sure, occasionally Kat and her friends seemed a bit OTT, almost like caricatures of who they really were because they were too much. But I did enjoy it and I loved Kat's close-knit group of friends and how they were all so close.

I thought some stuff went too fast in this book and some things too slow but the pacing wasn't a major issue. It was the first time I felt like a Zapata book was a touch too long though. I actually noticed a bit of a drag in the story towards the end.

As a whole it's a funny romance that I enjoyed as a weekend read. It may not have ticked all my boxes but it did tick a lot of them.

Now I have declared my undying love for Mariana Zapata I feel a strong need to go read those last two books by her. Who was the last author whose entire backlist you went and bought after one book? And any awesome romance authors you feel the need to recommend?

22 October 2017

Sunday Summary // 22.10.2017

Sunday Summary
Hi all, it’s Sunday again. I have had a pretty calm week once more, although I wish I had been way more productive blog wise.

I survived hurricane Ophelia with no more damage then blown about rubbish and a few branches. I also survived the creepy apocalyptic sky we experienced when the storm hit. I love how dust from the Sahara could turn the sky in the UK another colour. I now just have to make it through storm Brian with the rain and strong winds. The weather in some parts of the country really was crazy, though. I’m lucky to live in the middle of the country so we didn’t get the brunt of the storm but the dregs of it. We can’t complain like some folks and the damage caused but it’s good to see we could all joke about it with plenty of pictures of twisters being seen throughout the country (for those non-Brits a Twister is a delicious ice cream). We kept upbeat, it was a fun day on Facebook.

You know how I had a chilled week of work last week? This week was not as chilled, I am exhausted. With my supervisor out I have filled in for her this week and whilst I’ve answered everyone’s questions and trained our newbie and basically been exhausted and had the time fly by every day at work. I’ve really appreciated that half-hour lunch break so I can just relax and I’ve liked reaching the end of the day. I’m just glad I got to the weekend to relax a touch. I love being busy at work so the time will fly but it was pretty constant all week and it is mentally exhausting.

I have been playing a whole heap of The Sims this week as well. I have yet to embrace Sims 3 or 4 fully, I have moved my entire download folder over to my laptop and on my old one it took about twenty minutes to load the game, on this one it takes under five, it’s brilliant. I’ve been playing a lot of Sims recently but I also may have read one and a but new books which weren’t rereads! I celebrate small things.

What I’ve Been Reading

25750546332613865SatelliteSeeing RedEliza and her Monsters
Like I said, I have managed to read something which wasn’t a reread and that made me insanely happy. But I did begin the week rereading both Act Like It and Pretty Face. I adored both just as much the second (or third) time around. I then tried to give Satellite a chance but honestly, the style of writing wasn’t suited to me. I don’t think it helped I was reading it as an eARC. I think I could have put up with it more in a finished copy, which sounds weird, but with an ARC you end up feeling like it’s missed editing and it looks rough and ready, it’s easier to handle in an actual finished book, you know? I read Seeing Red and enjoyed it, although the MCs did bother me a bit, the mystery was brilliant. I began reading Eliza and her Monsters last night and I am loving it so far, why did you guys not force me to read it as soon as I said I’d bought a copy?

New To Me

KeepsakeReady Player One
I got two more books this week and I am proud there weren’t more (I shop more when I’m stuck in a bit of a slump and a loss as to what to read… probably in the hopes I’d find something good to pick up). And both these books were on offer so I sort of accidentally bought them. I am determined to read everything Sarina Bowen has ever written, though, so I will keep buying this True North series even if I have yet to read. And the trailer for Ready Player One reminded me I wanted to read and it’ll take a year for me to remember to remind my brother I want to borrow his copy. It was easier to treat myself to the Kindle Daily Deal instead.

What have you been up to this week? Anyone else find themself playing games which are over ten years old and unable to move on? No? Just me? That’s cool.

20 October 2017

My Thoughts // I Don’t Know What To Read

My Thoughts_zpsv3m9csox.png
I cannot settle on what to read. It’s an issue I come across all the time. I sit there staring at my bookshelf and can’t make a decision about what genre I fancy reading. Or if I do pick a genre I don’t know what books specifically I’m craving. I am hopping from book to book completely lost as to what I'm looking for. Each page is interesting but I'm left with the vague sense that something is missing. I just haven't found what I'm looking for. I got a lucky break with my last couple of reads and settled into some really good books but once more I am adrift unsure what to pick up next, so then I end up rereading old favourite (I <3 Lucy Parker). I know I want to read but I don't know what it is I want to pick up.

I am a mood reader. I might have mentioned that before. I don't know how people set themselves a monthly TBR because the constraint would kill me. Setting restrictions means I just want to break them. I am contrary. I simply cannot help myself. It means TBRs don't work for me and I am left to my own reading devices. Not great when it comes to ARCs but does mean my monthly reading list is varied and I am always reading something different… and being stuck in one genre for too long from time to time. It means I will never know what books I will pick up and I’ll always have at least twenty books waiting on stand by depending on my mood.

My question is how does everyone decide what to read next? And what do you do when you can't figure it out? I'm not in a slump. I am dying to read but I don't know what it is exactly I'm craving. I notice myself rereading a lot lately and I think that has to do with my not knowing what to pick up next. I am the person that struggles when there are too many options so maybe may towering TBR pile is not so much a help as I originally thought but instead a hindrance. Some might say maybe I should conquer it but I’ll stick to rereading until my reading mood can figure out what it’s looking for.

Do you have your books all planned out week to week or month to month? Or do you read whatever takes your fancy and just roll with it?

17 October 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

15 October 2017

Sunday Summary // 15.10.2017

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

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

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

What I’ve Been Reading

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

New To Me

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

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

13 October 2017

Five Reasons to Read… Cormoran Strike Series

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

JK Rowling wrote it!

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

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

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

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

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

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

They may be long but you never once get bored,

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

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

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

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

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