30 April 2018

Monthly Wrap Up // While I’ve Been Gone (February, March & April)

Monthly Wrap Up_zpshjihxrbe.png
I’ve been absent for the past couple of weeks and it turns out my last monthly wrap up was January! That was the start of the year! It’s cool, though. Now you get the three month bumper edition of my reading/blogging/life update.

You’re excited, I know.

In Real Life

So it’s been a bit crazy in real life… which is obviously why I’ve been gone a while. If you’ve checked out any of the Sunday posts I did manage to get up you will have seen I’ve had things going on.

We are finally finished clearing out my nan’s! The house sale went through last week and I was amazed we managed to clear out everything in the time we did. It was a very full house and it was empty by the time we were finished with it (I think. I shed a few tears when it hit I wasn’t going to get to go back in the house. It was a place where I grew up and there were a lot of happy memories in that house. It would have hurt too much to keep it, though. I’m glad it was going to become a family home again.

There’s also been drama at work I’m not even going to attempt to get into as it will just piss me off. Safe to say I am not happy with my job and something needs to change on that front. I;ll let you know when I’ve figured out where on earth I’m going with that one. Is it so much to ask to have a job which I can do and when the days over I can leave it at work and just enjoy my time off. I do not live for my job right now, my job fuels my reading habit and makes it so I don’t starve to death. I kind of with I could love my job but it’s just one of them.

And that is most of the day to day. Other stuff happened but let’s not get into that, shall we?

Can’t Stop Listening

Clearly // Grace VanderWaal
Paradise // George Ezra
Make Me Feel // Janelle Monae

February/March/April Reads

5 Stars
12. The Wedding DateMaking UpHunting GroundChaotic Good Comps14.inddThe Epic Crush of Genie LoThis Adventure EndsWords in Deep Blue
4.5 Stars
From Lukov With LoveShadowsong6653693Bone CrossedA Princess in TheoryThe Love CouponTo Kill a KingdomThe Ones Who Got Away
4 Stars
53936371926028249Silver vBorneVirgin Territory8435270Slouch WitchPrint
3.5 Stars
14. Love To Hate You24379727Star WitchSpirit WitchA Winter's Tale
2.5 Stars
While the Duke was Sleeping
Shatter Me

February/March/April Posts

No link ups again this time around, I’ve so many bookmarks lately and I don’t know when they’re all from. Hopefully we’ll be back sharing the blogger love next month.

And we’ve given up with the goals and challenges. I barely have had chance to think and I’ve lost the blogging/reading mojo of late so I’m prioritising.

What have you been up to in the past three months? Read any good books? Got any tips to get me back into the swing of things?

12 April 2018

To Kill A Kingdom // I Knew I Loved It Before I Even Really Started

To Kill a Kingdom
Published: 6th March 2018

Source: Readers First/Publisher

Genre: Fantasy, Retelling, Romance, Young Adult

My Rating:
Princess Lira is siren royalty and the most lethal of them all. With the hearts of seventeen princes in her collection, she is revered across the sea. Until a twist of fate forces her to kill one of her own. To punish her daughter, the Sea Queen transforms Lira into the one thing they loathe most—a human. Robbed of her song, Lira has until the winter solstice to deliver Prince Elian’s heart to the Sea Queen or remain a human forever.

The ocean is the only place Prince Elian calls home, even though he is heir to the most powerful kingdom in the world. Hunting sirens is more than an unsavory hobby—it’s his calling. When he rescues a drowning woman in the ocean, she’s more than what she appears. She promises to help him find the key to destroying all of sirenkind for good—But can he trust her? And just how many deals will Elian have to barter to eliminate mankind’s greatest enemy?
I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Well wow. I read a sampler for this a few weeks back and then was lucky enough to get a copy from the publisher but the small chapter sampler was enough to get me excited to read this. In fact, it almost threatened to put in a book slump as all I wanted was to read this book. I didn't know I'd won until later and by that point, I was craving all kinds of romance so I didn't get to it for its release. I couldn't stop thinking about it, though, so eventually, I just had to read, especially as everyone said it was good and a standalone! That is a rarity in YA fantasy reads. All I can say is I am glad I got a copy, this book was utterly fantastic.

This book was a total surprise to me in that it was bloody with characters who should have been utterly unsympathetic yet I adored every page.

Elian and Lira appear to be two polar opposites. She is a bloodthirsty siren out to get another prince's heart to appease her mother and prove she is the most vicious, the most savage, and the most unfeeling beast in the sea. Elian is the noble prince, turned pirate, out to rid the seas of the siren menace. Hunting for a way to stop those hunting people and put an end to the war and savagery of them no matter what. Elian at least has a noble purpose to endear you to him, even if he freely admits there is nothing noble in killing the sirens, he still views himself as a murderer. And Lira? You are introduced to her hunting a prince with no real reason to it other than that is what sirens do. And she appears to enjoy the kill, even coaching her cousin through the best approach. And as the story progresses you learn more of those she has killed and it's impossible not to be shocked. Yet, I liked Lira from the first page.

Lira has depths which aren't explored until later on in the book and I enjoyed pealing away her layers and learning more and more of her past and the vicious way in which she was raised which shaped her. No matter how many times she calls herself a killer, and she is an incredibly skilled one, she is never just that. Her intentions are more complex and slowly deciphering who she was was so much fun to read. Especially as she saw her grow closer to the very person who she wished to kill and whose heart she wished to possess.

Elian was different. It's a running joke that he is charming in the book and he really was. It was easy to like him from the very beginning, especially as he had conflicting feelings about his actions. He wasn't a brute and was quick to joke with those around him. He really was charming and he was a good person and that makes it easy to like.

I fell utterly in love with this book and I do have a thing I disliked. I expected more at the end, the book was wrapped up that bit too quickly for my liking, but it's such a minor grumble I don't dare expand upon it too much. I just don't want to bring down what really was a fantastic read.

Have you read any books that just instantly hooked you? And how do you feel about unlikable characters?

09 April 2018

The Love Coupon // I Start Off With A Minor Grumble But I Kind Of Want To Throw This Book At People To Read

The Love Coupon
Published: 9th April 2018

Source: Netgalley & Preordered

Genre: Romance, Contemporary

My Rating:
How many coupons does it take to fall in love?

Flick Dalgetty knows what she wants and how to get it, which is why she’s about to start her dream job in Washington. Until then, she needs somewhere to crash, and Tom O’Connell’s place is her sole option. He’s a repressed, antisocial ogre…but man can he kiss.

For Tom, being around Flick is like being too close to the sun. Her untamed energy is overwhelming, and he’d spontaneously combust if he had to live with her long-term. Housemates with benefits—and an expiration date—suits him just fine.

Then Flick gives Tom thirty coupons, each entitling him to one obligation-free activity, from bowling and bubble-bathing to morning delight, removing all the guesswork from being incompatible partners and shifting their fling into high gear.

Now the problem is their arrangement is drawing to a close, and they might be falling in love—and there wasn’t a coupon for that.
I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Did I ever tell you guys about my love for Ainslie Paton’s book The Love Experiment? I think I did. I will search my blog and show you I did because that was a great surprise romance from an author I hadn’t heard of. I now follow her on Twitter and think she’s a genius and that was after one book. The second book in the series was one I was seriously excited for. I mean, a couple who are opposites who fall in love doing all these tasks in these coupons? It sounds weird and I want to read it.

I will start off with a grumble. I am not spoiling anything by saying there are love coupons involved in this book, it’s in the damned title. You would think the love coupon element of the story would get introduced within the first third of the book, wouldn’t you? Yeah, not so much. My biggest grumble about this book was the fact that the titular Love Coupons aren’t actually part of the story until pretty much the second half of the book so it detracted a little from the story as I kept waiting for those damned coupons to crop up. That is my biggest grumble about this entire book, though. I just wanted to put that out there to start off with because the rest is gonna be all good stuff.

First off, Tom and Flick were so damn adorable and I want to just hold the pair close and protect them from the world. Flick is this little ball of energy. She’s always doing something/saying something/going somewhere. She’s not the person who sits still and quiet for a night, she’s a whirlwind and force of nature. Whilst Tom is her complete opposite. He has a plan and he sticks to it. He knows where he wants to be today, tomorrow, next week, next year. His life is mapped out and he has no time to divert course. He is set. Flick has a plan, but she isn’t as fussed about how she gets there (just as long as she gets there, and she is almost there goddammit).

So, two opposites who, through a weird sequence of events, end up being roommates. Roommates under duress mind you. Tom doesn’t want anything to do with Flick because she’s too damn messy… even if he doesn’t end up eyeing her up from time to time, he’s totally not interested. And Flick has convinced herself her only interest in Tom is that she finds it fun to rile him up. They are both totally wrong and they took forever about realising but they were adorable getting to that realisation. That's really what made the book. These two adorable idiots being in denial and falling in love until they get smacked upside the head and realise how stupid they’ve been.

Spoilers may be ahead in this paragraph so skip this one if you’re concerned and go to my summarising thoughts below. So the best part of this book though was Flick’s determination to head to her new job doing exactly what she always wanted in Washington. She was only ever going to live with Tom temporarily while she finishes up her notice period with her old job. Her time with Tom was gonna be a fling, even if she did get certain feelings while sleeping with him. And when they began the coupons it had an expiration date. It could never be serious. She was never going to be willing to give up her perfect job and she doesn’t ever apologise for that fact. She is determined to follow her own career plan and what I loved she could care about her career and there’s no shame in it. And when it comes down to it it’s Tom who sacrifices his set plan. He gives up things for her when so often it’s women who seem to have to make sacrifices. Can we all celebrate a woman who gets the job she wants and the man? Yeah boy, I’m down for women doing they’re thing and getting love out of it too. So yeah, my spoiler celebration is over.

In the end, this was an excellent romance. I loved how Tom and Flick were opposites and through a stroke of luck they came together to be temporary roommates and ended up falling for each other too. They’d been working and socialising together for ages but through chance, they fell for each other and I loved reading it. I wasn’t sure about either at first, but I think because they are so opposite they balanced each other out and so when you read about them laughing together, having fun, dancing on tables and having fun you couldn’t help but love them. I may have wanted the coupons to arrive sooner but every part of this book worked for me. They slowly fell in love and the coupons were what made them both realise that fact so they couldn’t come along too soon. I definitely recommend I loved it.

An awesome contemporary romance I cannot recommend enough. I definitely need to read more by her. Have you read this?

08 April 2018

Sunday Summary // 08.04.2018

Sunday Summary
Guys, its been like three weeks! What’s happening? What have I missed? Have I missed about a million posts by you? Yeah, I need to play catch up (again) even though I briefly caught up on my blog reading, I then fell behind again.

I wish I could say I’ve been doing lots of fun interesting things while I’ve not been giving you life updates (although, did you notice I’ve managed to get some review up? Oh yeah, I’m impressed with myself for that one) but I would be lying if I said anything fun had happened. I mean, I’ve done fun stuff but nothing newsworthy really. Mostly just seeing friends and continuing with the epic clear out at my nan’s house. We’re approaching a final sale date and it’s stressful because what do you even do with half that stuff? And what do you do with old wind up pendulum clocks? Like, stuff, it needs to go somewhere but we have reached our limit for it. Anyway, that’s basically been my time away.

Oh, and there has been a DIY project. I had some floating shelves put up in my room for more book storage space. That only happened yesterday so I’ve yet to properly organising them for true book storage. Right now they’re just housing stuff so it no longer sits on my floor. I don’t have any bookends to properly keep books up there so it is a mess and I won’t show you a picture (hopefully by next weekend I’ll have sorted things out).

Basically, while I’ve been gone I’ve been my most boring. I can’t even think of a funny story to tell you guys! No, I take that back. I was merrily walking my dog the other day, just a short walk while it wasn’t raining outside (because we’ve moved on from snow to rain at least!) and I was walking past a dead end turning where a bunch of cars park when my dog spotted a cat. I could see a full on staring contest developing so I gave my dogs lead a tug and called him on, he started walking (yay) but still kept his eyes on the cat. I saw what was going to happen before it did and tried to pull my dog over as he was in the path of a parked car but the appeal of a cat and winning a staring contest was too strong and my dog full on walked into a parked car. It was quite funny because he wasn’t hurt but what dog walks into a car? The car alarm didn’t go off luckily so we walked on and that cat got the pleasure of knowing he made my dog walk into a car.

It’s bad that’s the funniest thing I can think of from the past few weeks. And I’ve not even read all that many books either. I feel like a bit of a letdown guys, but I’m determined to have two or three posts up on the blog a week so yay.

What I’ve Been Reading

The Epic Crush of Genie Lo8435270Slouch WitchStar WitchSpirit WitchPrintThis Adventure EndsWords in Deep BlueTo Kill a Kingdom
I have done a decent amount of reading, but I do wish I’d have read more. I am still currently reading both Spirit Witch and To Kill A Kingdom, but I’m including up there anyway.

I think my favourite reads of the past few weeks were The Epic Crush of Genie Lo, This Adventure Ends and Words in Deep Blue. All YA< maybe it’s a sign I need to read a bit more of that… or maybe it’s just because they are all really good books.

New To Me

The King of Bones and AshesHis Perfect PartnerDiary of an Accidental WallflowerStar WitchSpirit WitchTrue FictionThe Girl Who Kicked the Hornets' Nest
I’ve been pretty good all things considered. At least, book buying-wise I’ve been good. All these books were bought cheap or as part of a sale and I’ve even read a couple of them. All things considered, that isn’t half bad if I do say so myself. I actually haven’t fancied buying all that many books, I do have a couple I’ve eyed up in Kindle sales that might get bought but I am trying to focus on what I already have if I can.
A Family RecipeLegendaryThe Queens of Innis LearSong of Blood & StoneAbsent in the Spring
I haven’t been so great with ARCs, though. I got sent one book in the post (and I am totally excited about it) but the rest are of my own choosing so I am once more falling way behind on ARC reading. My bad, I’ll get there. I guess it’s a bit of a weird mix of books but that’s how I roll so I’m cool with that. Tell me if you think there’s one of these books I should prioritise over the rest just so I know which ARCs I should speed through to read.

How have things been in my absence? How was your week? And what have you been reading?