30 August 2018

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

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

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

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

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

Right?

Don’t ruin my dreams guys!

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

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

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

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


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


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

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

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

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

She felt...light.

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

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

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

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

28 August 2018

The Governess Game // How Does Tessa Dare Keep Blowing Me Away With Her Awesome Books?

The Governess Game
Published: 28th August 2018 (paperback out 7th September)

Source: Netgalley (also preordered)

Genre: Historical Romance

My Rating:
He’s been a bad, bad rake—and it takes a governess to teach him a lesson


The accidental governess

After her livelihood slips through her fingers, Alexandra Mountbatten takes on an impossible post: transforming a pair of wild orphans into proper young ladies. However, the girls don’t need discipline. They need a loving home. Try telling that to their guardian, Chase Reynaud: duke’s heir in the streets and devil in the sheets. The ladies of London have tried—and failed—to make him settle down. Somehow, Alexandra must reach his heart . . . without risking her own.

The infamous rake

Like any self-respecting libertine, Chase lives by one rule: no attachments. When a stubborn little governess tries to reform him, he decides to give her an education—in pleasure. That should prove he can’t be tamed. But Alexandra is more than he bargained for: clever, perceptive, passionate. She refuses to see him as a lost cause. Soon the walls around Chase’s heart are crumbling . . . and he’s in danger of falling, hard.
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.

I thought The Duchess Deal was one of my favourite Tessa Dare books but oh my goodness I just could not get enough of The Governess Game. It was so, so good and I couldn't stop smiling throughout. I was that person with a silly grin on her face because the book was so damn adorable and downright funny. Seriously, people on the bus probably gave me side-eye thinking I was going to go off on one… or I was on something.

I admit I don't remember the whole of The Duchess Deal as much as I thought I did because when I started reading I'd totally forgotten about Alex's chance meeting in the bookshop. Once I got remembering everyone from the last book, though, I was all kinds of happy. I loved Alex and her total misunderstanding in meeting Chase for the second time. Her swift put down of him and his behaviour was awesome and the names she gave his man cave were awesome. I adored Chase and Alex together from the very beginning. Especially when he chased her and offered her his coat when she was dripping wet and accepting a job offer as a governess for his unruly wards.

Another win for this book was the fact I enjoyed it despite there being children involved! I'm not normally one for books with children in. Sometimes the kids are cute in books and sometimes they just feel like a plot device and don't get fully fledged personalities. That was definitely not the case when it came to Rosamund and Daisy. That pair had so much personality it was bursting off the page with every scene they were in. They were hilarious little troublemakers and they were awesome. From the daily funerals of poor Millicent (a doll) which were hilarious to the petty thievery of Rosamund. They were not good, sweet little girls. They were beasts and I loved them. Especially when they started their lessons in piracy.  They stole, they were dramatic, and they weren't afraid to talk back when necessary (or tip some water out of a window when Chase needed to cool off with his womanising).

I admit a little bit more of the cute romance between Alex and Chase would have made me happy, we got plenty of good scenes with them together but I would always be happy for more. Especially as when they were together I felt like they bounced back and forth from being head over heels (and in denial) to acknowledging their love but denying themselves because it's not the done thing. I hate that back and forth in romance and the ending was then dragged out because of it. But I did adore the two of them and was happy with every page we got with them on it. And their grand romantic finale was pretty amazing. I couldn’t help but swoon at Chase’s grand romantic gesture and Alex deserved to be swept off of her feet just a little.

It was a fantastic read. I loved Alex and Chase and their book was amazing I cannot wait for what the next one will be. I will spend my time contemplating rereading Tessa Dare because I know I’ve not read some of her earlier books, like the Stud Club books. She always has me laughing whilst reading her romances and they are the kind of books you want to hug close upon finishing because you are always happy to see her characters got their happily ever after.

Don’t you love when an author can keep surprising you with their books? What’s your favourite Tessa Dare book? (And if you haven’t read any sort yourself out! And read the comments for suggestions of where to start.)

26 August 2018

Sunday Summary // 26.08.2018

Sunday Summary
LESS THAN TWO WEEKS BEFORE I GO ON HOLIDAY!!!!

Yeah, my holiday is pretty much taking over my life and I just know when I come back I’m going to feel all blergh and deflated that it’s over but until then, yay excitement! We got out holiday money the other day. Like, I won’t be carrying loads of cash with me but who can go anywhere without some cash on them? I forgot how much like Monopoly money US dollars are, though. They’re all the same size! How do you even tell which note you have without looking at it? How do blind people cope? It’s all very confusing. Also, it’s paper! Like, I know it’s only £5 and £10 which have gone plastic but they’re like the most common notes so it’s funny how weird it is to hold paper money again. That’s gonna take a little while to get used to but it’s for a few days.

Apart from holiday everything I’ve been pretty chill this week. I managed to read some good books but I am pretty much always on the verge of slumping because I don’t know what I’m in the mood for. I keep picking up and putting books down because nothing feels like the right fit. When I find a really good book it’s perfect but when I’m not I recognise the book isn’t working for me like straight away and I have put it down and it’s always really stupid little things which would never normally put me off reading! Ugh, I wish I could shift this feeling. It’s really weird and it’s not even like I’m slumping and want to read nothing I just don’t know what I do want to read.

I did a little bit of retail therapy this week as well. I went shopping after work with a friend and we both put a small dent on our bank balance. But I successful bought no books (on that shopping trip) so that was a sort of success. I bought a really cute pink denim skirt from Topshop and a couple of work appropriate items from New Look and I deem that a success. I did see other stuff I liked but I’m going to New York, I’ll shop there. I did love buying some new clothes though,

I finally watched To All The Boys I Loved Before on Friday night and guys, I’m in love. I mean, Peter Kavinsky is just so swoon-worthy. But more importantly, I need Lara Jean’s wardrobe in my life (or at least a few items of clothing from her). I was seriously so in love with so much of the film. It was so on point and it had the vibes I would have wanted a film based on the book to have. I was just so very much in love and I won’t be over it for a good long while, let me tell you.

What I’ve Been Reading

The Governess GameThe PassageBayou BornThe Raven PrinceTo Sir With Phillip With Love
Before you all go getting excited at how much I’ve read, two of these are DNF. Two! I am embracing the DNF, though and I was not feeling them when I DNF-ed. The Governess Games was AMAZING! Like, I am always shocked at how Tessa Dare can still impress me with her new releases. I think if all else fails with my reading I’ll go and read everything Tessa Dare has ever written. The Passage was a DNF at 50 pages (it’s almost 800 long so that isn’t a good go) but I was not in the mood for vampires… and the length put me off a lot. I didn’t want to get stuck in another series I had to struggle through. Bayou Born, I actually tried to read a couple of months back and DNF but I was in the mood for something different and wow, so glad I gave it a second shot (which is why DNF isn’t always final with me). I am so excited to read the next book now. I have it on my kindle but wanted to try reading that next week and break up the series. I then picked up The Raven Prince because I thought I was still in the mood for some HR. Turns out I wasn’t because I DNF that. To be fair, there was only so many times I could read about a woman fantasising about a man’s chest hair before I find it weird. I might give that book another chance but I won’t hold my breath. And finally, I started reading To Sir Phillip, With Love. This has been on my shelf for over a year and I thought Julia Quinn is the woman to get me out of my funk. I’m only a couple of chapters in, keep your fingers crossed.

New To Me

Bone DrivenRemedial Rocket ScienceA Girl Like HerNorse Mythology
Yeah, I was doing awesome at not getting new books until I wasn’t. At least two of these books were free! Remedial Rocket Science and A Girl Like Her were both free on Amazon so check those out. A Girl Like Her is the first book we’ll be reading for our online book club. Hopefully, I have a chance to read and join in the discussions. Bone Driven is the sequel to Bayou Born so I had to buy even though it was almost as much as a normal book. And then Norse Mythology was an impulse buy when I was shopping Saturday.
Glory in Death
And I borrowed this from the library. I have another reservation which is taking it’s sweet time to arrive because the book is still on order so hopefully that arrives soon. I still don’t know how I feel about this JD Robb series but I figure I can give it a few books to make up my mind.

How has your week been? Anyone else finding awesome freebies? Do you ever go through phases of not knowing what you want to read and DNF-ing a whole lot?

22 August 2018

My Thoughts // How Often Do You Look At Your Goodreads Shelves?

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How OftenHow often do you look at your Goodreads shelves?

Never?

Me either, so you can imagine there was a whole lot of work to be done when I decided to clear and organise my shelves.

This decision was not made on the spur of the moment. In fact, I had been contemplating it for a couple of weeks but it was such a daunting task and so much work that I put it off a little (doesn’t sound like me at all). It was partially inspired by the fact my Kindle is once more in a mess. A while back I had tried to organise it with collections of my read and unread books, etc, but I didn’t keep up with the upkeep of such a venture so my books have once more fallen into disarray. I always intend to sort it but my Kindle is a bit too slow for me to have the patience to do so. What has this got to do with Goodreads? Very little other than the fact I want Goodreads to be able to give me an idea of what I have to read and where I have it from to read it.

The thing with my Goodreads shelves is I have been a member for so very long and my reading tastes have changed throughout that time. When I first began my shelves were YA and fantasy heavy. I still enjoy both categories, but I feel I am more particular about the books I read in them. The same goes for romance. I have a habit of adding any and every romance book I have seen get a slightly good review… or which is going to cheap for Kindle, and don’t consider if I even really want to read it. I needed to go through and clear out the crap I was simply never going to read and held no interest in reading.

So, with such a venture in mind one Sunday I decided to get on it and get organised (instead of writing blog posts like I intended to when booting up my laptop).

I had 500+ books on my ‘Want to Read’ shelf but I also had a ‘to-buy’ shelf that I liked to use for books I didn’t own yet but were on my reading radar and that held almost 600 books. That’s over a 1000 books which I wanted to read. Ain’t nobody gonna get around to reading all of those books! It was time to set out shelves and take advantage of one of the best features on Goodreads: exclusive shelves.
exclusive
My shelves are now split down by several different categories: read, currently reading, want to read, abandoned books, arcs, borrowed books, kindle to read, maybe buy, and must buy. Some might say that’s too many shelves but it means I can now look at ‘Want to Read’ shelf and see these are just my physical books I have to read. And if I want to read a Kindle book but don’t know what I have to read that’s what the ‘Kindle to read’ is there for. I now which books I absolutely need to buy and those which are just on the radar. I have my arcs and library/Kindle unlimited/Scribd books on another shelf. I finally know what I have and from where!
My Shelves
I’ve never actually liked looking at my Goodreads shelves because they’ve been so crazy but now I look and know what goes where. And even better, in the long process of sorting books to the right shelves I actually managed to shed some books I knew I would never get to reading. It’s probably the best use of a Sunday night in a long time (although I did end up buying a few books as I investigated deals and what books were even about).

I also discovered another amazing feature of Goodreads I’d never discovered before: exporting your shelves. I exported my bookshelves and downloaded the .csv and now I have a nice spreadsheet filled with all of my books and so my next task is to create a lovely spreadsheet for my books I own to try and conquer my unread shelves. I’m planning to get brutal with the DNF-ing and try and bring down my unread figured because it’s a little embarrassing. We’ll look at the success of that one another time. I have loved browsing through that spreadsheet though, there is so much information which is exported in the csv and if you are into stats I know that would be one of the most interesting things to look into.
export
Basically, my books are now slightly over organised for some people’s likings. I don’t utilise the non-exclusive shelves to the same degree and that might be something new to explore but I have to say, Goodreads has it’s faults (like so many of them) but I have found it has it’s uses too.

Do you use Goodreads to it’s full extent or as an after thought to keep track of books and haphazardly at best? What is your book organisation method or are you like last week Becky where it’s a free-for-all?

19 August 2018

Sunday Summary // 19.08.2018

Sunday Summary
Hi Guys! I only got one post up this week, which was not my plan but oh well. Fingers crossed I finish my planned discussion for next week because currently, I have nothing scheduled! And I’m going to be out Sunday morning so hopefully, I get to it in the afternoon. But I also had plans to watch To All The Boys I Loved Before and Love, Simon Ugh, I hate having to do stuff on a Sunday.

This week has been all over the place. I had set mental plans for how things were going to go… and then it didn’t happen. I was meant to have posts scheduled and I spent last Sunday reorganising my Goodreads shelves and I was going to tell you all about it because as much as we complain about the many flaws of Goodreads I do think it has it’s good points if you just know how to use them! But all my plans went out the window I haven’t turned my laptop on since Tuesday and I honestly couldn’t even tell you why. I suppose less computer time is a good thing.

I also learnt this week I miss the Twitter dramas and if soapgate is anything to go by I would probably be happier to keep missing them. Yes, it is hilarious that folks bought a book box and got a soap penis, but you know that’s just gonna end badly for so many! Also, it freaks me out that ACOTAR gets marketed as YA in so many shops what about if teens bought that! I mean, it’s just a bit dodgy, sure they should learn about sex and everything, but you know what the education system is like. Some of these people are going to use the soap inappropriately and all that will happen is bad stuff in the downstairs. Also, nobody will be able to explain that soap to their housemates! I do kind of want to buy it for a friend because it would be hilarious, but that’s a whole other matter. So what we learnt from that experience is that Twitter is weird, and book Twitter can get hella crazy.

Erm… what else? Well, we had a massive ceiling leak as a pipe cracked in our bathroom. That was all kinds of drama because it had obviously happened over a couple of days and we didn’t notice. I’d heard a hissing noise from where the pipe had obviously cracked but we didn’t realise it was that for a while. And the puddle in the kitchen? Honestly, our poor cat got the blame because it was right next to his litter tray, we thought maybe he was refusing to use it (which wouldn’t be the first time). So we were without water for a day getting that fixed. Just how i wanted to spend my Saturday with no water while my stepdad replaced the pipe. It is fixed, though just need to get some new flooring in the bathroom and we’re good to go.

What I’ve Been Reading

Ten Tiny Breaths23621681The Arrangement41YJ875TSXL
Four books read this week… but one was a DNF. After sorting out my Goodreads shelves I felt inspired to try and focus a little bit more on reading older books. It began well with me reading Ten Tiny Breaths, which was such a good book. It was angsty and I remembered why NA was so difficult for me to get into sometimes, but I got sucked right on in despite the angst. I had high hopes for Magonia, but it just didn’t work for me. I liked the writing and characters but I just wasn’t interested in the story at all so DNF-ed at about 20%. I did enjoy The Arrangement, though. I was expecting a different kind of book when I started so it took me a little while to decide if I liked it but Something hooked me and then by the end I was hugging the book when I finished. I decided to finish the week with a reread in the form of Tell Me Lies and I enjoyed it more than I remembered last time I read it.

New To Me

The Perks of Loving a ScoundrelThe Replacement Crush
Different format for my new to me reads. So the above are my Kindle acquisitions of the week, I will hopefully get to them soon as this was a bad week for new books (or good as the case may be).
Finding FelicityFire KinDreaming DeathThe Opposite of Loneliness
These are the books are sat and dithered about for 2 hours whilst sorting out my Goodreads shelves, they totalled to under £12 when I bought them and there were a couple of others I almost bought I talked myself down. I’m pretty certain I’ll read all of these and enjoy them. Fingers crossed!
The GuardianThe Governess GameTempests and Slaughter
And the above are the ARCs I’ve gotten lately. I forgot to include them last week so this is two weeks worth. Two from authors and series I’ve been enjoying so you know I was going to be reading them anyway. And then I got approved for the new Tamora Pierce book. Not gonna lie, I’ve never read any Tamora Pierce before but I hear good things so fingers crossed I like this new series and then I can work my way backwards with the rest of her releases, right?

That’s my week, not exciting but oh well. What have you been doing lately? Read any good books? And should I read the rest of Tamora Pierce’s books and where should I start if I do?

14 August 2018

Bite Sized Books // A Look At Some Kindle Unlimited Books I’ve Read Recently

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This week's Bite Sized Books edition features two books I have mixed feelings about and both are Kindle Unlimited borrows. I still don’t know how I feel about Kindle Unlimited but I’m willing to try it for another month and see how things go.

73. Borrowed SoulsBorrowed Souls (Soul Charmer #1) – Chelsea Mueller
Published: 2nd May 2017

Source: Kindle Unlimited

Genre: Urban Fantasy

My Rating:
Callie Delgado always puts family first, and unfortunately her brother knows it. She’s emptied her savings, lost work, and spilled countless tears trying to keep him out of trouble, but now he’s in deeper than ever, and his debt is on Callie’s head. She’s given a choice: do some dirty work for the mob, or have her brother returned to her in tiny pieces.

Renting souls is big business for the religious population of Gem City. Those looking to take part in immoral—or even illegal—activity can borrow someone else’s soul, for a price, and sin without consequence.
To save her brother, Callie needs a borrowed soul, but she doesn’t have anywhere near the money to pay for it. The slimy Soul Charmer is willing to barter, but accepting his offer will force Callie into a dangerous world of magic she isn’t ready for.

With the help of the guarded but undeniably attractive Derek—whose allegiance to the Charmer wavers as his connection to Callie grows—she’ll have to walk a tight line, avoid pissing off the bad guys, all while struggling to determine what her loyalty to her family’s really worth.

Losing her brother isn’t an option. Losing her soul? Maybe.
This was put on my radar by Danya and it was a decent read. I was interested to find out how the story was going to progress but it didn’t quite click for me. I think I went in with my expectations too high. I didn't love this as much I'd hoped.

It’s not all bad, it had its fun moments, I laughed along at parts but something about the characters and the story just didn’t work to make me love it. I don’t think it helped that I spent at least a third of the book being confused about the whole church element of the book. The church plays a major role in shaping the progression of the story. The church supports the renting of souls to prevent folks from truly sinning but instead allows them to keep their soul clean with their indiscretions… but it also makes committing crimes easier as souls muddy up the whole evidence thing (or something). It was weird and it wasn’t explained at the start so I sat there questioning if I missed something and I think that really threw me out of the book.

Callie was a fun character, though, and you want an MC who is easy to like with these things. It's easy to like a character when they're hard done by their family and stuck once more rescuing her brother doing some morally questionable and legally debatable things. My biggest problem was her entire family being selfish dicks I did not have time for and I didn’t get how Callie hadn’t cut them out already. I get blood’s thicker than water and all that but I just didn't get it and that made me not care as much about Callie’s struggles as they were all self-made.

Then there was Derek whose connection with Callie felt awfully rushed. It was like he was male and convenient to make the love interest. I'm not saying there wasn't some spark there but not enough for me to ship them before they even got it on. I am intrigued by his backstory though because there was definitely a lot more to him than you see in this book.

I think my biggest struggle was I spent so much time confused in the book. I didn't understand the dynamics of Gem City, why the church was so huge and who on earth Ford was. I didn't get enough set up. I don't want an info dump but some info would have helped me get into the story at the start instead of stumbling along blind questioning everything. The humour was perfect, definitely my kind of humour, but unfortunately, other things brought this one down a touch for me so I’ll be dithering over reading the next book.
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Published: 20th March 2018
Source: Kindle Unlimited
Genre: Romance, Fantasy, Paranormal
My Rating:
They came to earth—Pestilence, War, Famine, Death—four horsemen riding their screaming steeds, racing to the corners of the world. Four horsemen with the power to destroy all of humanity. They came to earth, and they came to end us all.

When Pestilence comes for Sara Burn’s town, one thing is certain: everyone she knows and loves is marked for death. Unless, of course, the angelic-looking horseman is stopped, which is exactly what Sara has in mind when she shoots the unholy beast off his steed.

Too bad no one told her Pestilence can’t be killed.

Now the horseman, very much alive and very pissed off, has taken her prisoner, and he’s eager to make her suffer. Only, the longer she’s with him, the more uncertain she is about his true feelings towards her … and hers towards him.

And now, well, Sara might still be able to save the world, but in order to do so, she'll have to sacrifice her heart in the process.
This book was ridiculous and I really enjoyed it. Like, I know I haven’t rated it all that high and there are complaints to be had, but I honestly really enjoyed reading and wanted to get to the end and see how it would all get resolved. I also don't want to claim it as amazing because I did question why I kept reading a few times, I'm not gonna lie. It was good and bad all rolled into one but I was fully committed to getting to the end because I wanted to know what would happen so even if it was bad it was the good kind of bad.

Let’s start off with the premise and it might explain why I needed to see how it was all going to work out. The basic premise is simple: this is the world after the four horsemen of the apocalypse have arrived. No, I do not know who all the four horsemen are either but isn’t that what Google is for? The first one to arrive is Pestilence, though (hence the book's title). The four horsemen arrived signalling the start of the apocalypse and made electricity go a bit wonky (but only sometimes) and meant the world didn't work as it used to. Currently, the other horsemen are resting up and it's just Pestilence riding around the globe spreading a new plague and killing folks off and that is where our story begins.

The characters were interesting. Our MC is Sara Burns (I seriously only learnt what her name was about a third of the way in if it was mentioned before I did not retain it). She is living in a world after the four horsemen arrived and she's struggling through. She worked at the fire station and she is the last of a small group of people in a town that's evacuated as the horseman was coming. She ends up being the unlucky person who gets to complete their plan of killing Pestilence and ending the whole plague/apocalypse thing. She does it and ends up getting taken prisoner and that's basically the story. Seriously, that’s all you need to know really, the rest is just filler.

Sara is obviously a reluctant prisoner but the more time she's stuck with cheery old Pestilence (because he is a bit of a miserable git) the more she grows to appreciate some of his complexities. And he is the absolute worst, at the start with the way he treated her I really wanted to take him down and teach him a thing or two about not being a dick (that’s my philosophy in life: don’t be a dick). Another factor which helps in Sara softening towards Pestilence is he is mighty easy on the eyes. Like, she is totally down for a bit of hate sex from the start because he is like that dudebro you hate but you can’t help lusting after every so often when you’re weak and up for making bad decisions. The longer they spend together the closer they grow. They both struggle with their gradually growing connection. I mean, Sara is liking the guy there to literally wipe out the human race, you can get her struggle. And Pestilence? Well, he is feeling some human hate because honestly, we can be total dicks. Sometimes I think we all need a lesson in not being dicks because otherwise why would the world be in the state it is? But whatever, the pair are struggling is my point and I could appreciate the struggle. I think because I just couldn't believe the resolution to this major central problem of them being opposite sides is what made me rate this lower. It was too clean and I was sat there thinking ‘really?’ because I expected it to be more dragged out. I know, the only time I want to be dragged out!

So yeah, like it wasn’t bad. Hell, I enjoyed it but I just couldn’t with the ending, I needed more. I don’t know, I’ll still read the next one (if I remember about it). It was a ridiculous and fun book. I adored the hate banter between Sara and Pestilence and the miscommunication was fun in this one because they both had such different perspectives. It was great in that way like the characters were on point! The story needed a touch more refining though. I mean, a book with a horse named Trixie Skillz is kind of awesome. And I mean Pestilence is a virgin hero and you know there aren’t enough of those out in the romance world! But, like, the other horsemen are barely even mentioned. And the whole electricity working and not working bothered me because there was no continuity. Little things niggled. So yeah, it was good and bad but I do recommend reading.

And there are my reviews, have you read either of these books? Do you find yourself enjoyed and disliking a book so you’re all kinds of confused about your feelings?

12 August 2018

Sunday Summary // 12.08.2018

Sunday Summary
And the rain has finally started in the UK! We have had rain and we are rejoicing. And I’m talking prolonged periods of rain where the world gets cooler and you crack out cardigans and blankets. What a glorious way to begin this post! I may be the only person this insanely excited about all of this but I bought the best looking cardigan which is soft and lovely and I simply adore so I want to celebrate finally getting to wear it!

But let’s move on from the weather because that’s boring. What else have I done with my week? I’m not gonna lie, I’ve been really boring. I was meant to have my weekly date with a friend to catch up at the pub but she cancelled on me so I’ve pretty much just been to work. I did start to come down with a cold on Thursday, though, It all began with a sore scratchy throat and after a restless night of having a stuffy nose I woke up Friday sniffling and sulky. I pretty much hoped to stay home and silk this weekend over getting a cold. Unfortunately, I had to go over to see family Saturday morning and ended up being out chatting and being social so I didn’t get to curl up at home with a good book until Saturday afternoon. It’s always the way when you have plans to be lazy.

I have been doing some NYC research since it’s been a slow week though. I’ve been trying to figure out places I want to visit and things I want to do. Currently, my big thing is shopping and buying books. I think my next quest will be to figure out some good places I want to eat. I know we’ll do sightseeing and all that, but I would love to try some new food whilst I’m there, although I am such a fussy eater. Hopefully, I’ll find a few interesting places to eat which is all I ask for.

Oh yeah, and I am also having a load of fun being part of a romance book club which Nick and Renee started and it’s awesome. The discord chat is filled with so many different topics and we’ve not even got to the book club part yet! Seriously, if you are a lover of romance that’s something to check out.

What I’ve Been Reading

Naked in DeathPestilenceJane Doe
All three books I’ve been reading this week are borrowed. So much for me reading through books on my own shelves as I intended. I had Naked in Death from the library about two months ago and was due back yesterday so I had to read and it was enjoyable enough to reserve the next book. Pestilence I borrowed on Kindle Unlimited and it was good and bad and I have mixed feelings but I enjoyed it. And Jane Doe I am buddy reading with Nick and Danya and it’s a hella feminist read and gives me Female of the Species vibes but grown up. I am loving so far.

New To Me

The Arrangement
The above are my purchased books (yes, there’s only one) and this one was bought purely because Nick posted about it and I found out it was already published in the UK! I am so psyched to get reading!
PestilenceJane DoeDoing it Over

I borrowed the above books from Kindle Unlimited (because why not add another way for me to get books into the repertoire?).
The PassagePoison City
And I also borrowed a couple of books from the library (which I have to read fast or renew as they’re due back when I go on holiday).

And there you have it, that is my week. Do you find yourself getting more and more ways to get a hold of books even though you have plenty on your shelves to read? Also, how was your week? Tell me all!

10 August 2018

My Thoughts // We Need To Talk About Fanfiction

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I have been attempting to write a discussion post for a while now on various topics. I actually really wanted to talk about what my time away from blogging and the strange little things I missed about it. But I think that will have to wait for another day now because this article inspired me to write about another passion of mine: fanfiction.
We Need To Talk
I am a massive fan of fanfiction. In fact, I went through a period of reading barely any books (I’m talking under 20 a year) from about the age of 15 to 20. I still loved reading, I was passionate about it. I carted books to uni which I never got around to reading and told everyone how much I loved reading… but I just had no motivation to read. The problem was at the age of 15 I felt too old for the teen section (YA hadn’t exploded then like it has now) and whilst I loved the few romances I read (which were still being labelled chick lit at this point) I didn’t feel old enough for those stories. I enjoyed them, but I didn’t relate to the characters problems in the same way. I lost my motivation to read because I didn’t feel like the books I saw on the shelves were targeted towards me and I had no place. It was sad and it was worse because I wanted to read and that’s where fanfiction came in.

I discovered fanfiction as a shy 13-year-old. I am almost certain the first fanfiction I discovered was X-Men fanfiction as I explored my love for Gambit and Rogue. I loved the cartoon X-Men Evolution (you guys remember it right?). I remember loving that once more the X-Men was on for Saturday morning cartoons and it wasn’t the dated looking 90s X-Men but instead a new cool one with them as teenagers! I could totally relate to these characters! I adored it and so I spent my limited hours on the internet trying to learn all I could about the characters and somehow discovered a site with stories about them! It opened my eyes to this whole world and I’d delved into it often. I’d read fluff, angst, crack, basically anything I could get my hands on. It was great and so when I stopped being able to find books I wanted I turned to fanfiction to feed my need to read. hell, I wrote a fic or two as well. I am not an excellent writer but it was so much fun to explore these characters I felt I knew so well.

As I got older I often found myself checking out fanfiction for any and all shows/films I watched because I loved the chance to explore the characters deeper through the use of fanfiction and the opportunity for what if storylines was just too good for an ongoing show. I read fanfiction for X-Men (all it’s films and various offshoots), Dark Angel, Harry Potter, Gossip Girl, Gilmore Girls, House, Firefly, The Mentalist, Buffy, Sherlock, Doctor Who, Suits, Life, Vampire Diaries, Merlin, Tin Man, Rookie Blue, Life With Derek, Teen Wolf, The 100, The Blacklist, The Hobbit, Star Trek, James Bond, Hawaii Five-0, Pitch. Literally, anything which caught my interest enough that I wanted to explore the characters and their lives further in the form of fanfiction. Hell, I still turn to fanfiction when a show takes a turn I don’t like or if I decide a couple of characters are meant to be and want to explore fandom and see if folks agree with me. I love those what ifs and maybes.

When I was a child reading Harry Potter I didn’t care just about the story of the books, I wanted to know how the wizarding world worked. Did they go to school before Hogwarts? What about maths, English and science, did they study the core curriculum? What jobs did wizards do considering the wizarding world was so small? Pureblood seemed to snobbish, how did the wizarding work beyond Hogwarts. Were there different classes, but how when there are so few? I just wanted to know it all! I couldn’t get enough and this is true for so many of the fandoms I have been a part of. I am not satisfied with what I have been given I want to know more about character’s pasts. I want to know what happens next or what would happen if one small element of the story changed.

For me, fanfiction helped keep me reading when so many lost interest in books. The teen years were a hard time for readers before YA came along because it was hard for people to see themselves in books. Sure, that’s not everyone’s experience of reading. Some people find themselves in classics or reading non-fiction, we’re all different. But for me, reading fanfiction helped me find out the stories I liked reading with characters I was familiar with until I was ready to get back out there and find the books which I would like. I read my way through fake relationships, soul bonds, secret babies and angsty love affairs. I read through stories which examined prejudice in a rigid society, post-apocalyptic fare and a different kind of urban fantasy. I explored all the genres with characters I was familiar with and I came out understanding my own reading habits far better. My reading tastes now are surprisingly similar to my fanfiction reading tastes and they always have been. Who knew?

I think it's amazing how popular fanfiction is now, I mean there are amazing dedicated sites which are so very much an improvement upon my initial days on fanfiction.net. I mean, Archive of Our Own is an amazing website I visit regularly and I never even knew Naomi Novik was one of that site and it blows my mind. I am in awe of the skill of the authors out there writing this fanfic for the simple love of the characters and the opportunity to tell their own story with them. I am forever grateful that I discovered fanfiction for helping me keep being the reader I am today and I just plain old wanted a moment to tell you all about it. I’ve mentioned I read fanfiction before but I just wanted to tell you all why I love it so much. I may be 27 and some would say too old for this… but I know where I would tell those people to get off.

Do you read fanfiction? How did you delve into fanfiction? If you don’t read it, why not? I’d love to know what your thoughts on it all are!

07 August 2018

Bite Sized Books // Three Different Books Dealing With A Similar Theme

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I have such a review backlog so please be prepared for more bite sized reviews to come. I’m going to review three books which have a shooting as a central part of the storyline. They’re pretty different books but you’ll be able to see that from my reviews. I didn’t originally intend to review them all together but that thought how could I not?

Aftermath
Published: 5th April 2018

Source: Library

Genre: Contemporary, Mystery, Thriller, Young Adult

My Rating:
Three years after losing her brother Luka in a school shooting, Skye Gilchrist is moving home. But there's no sympathy for Skye and her family because Luka wasn't a victim; he was a shooter.

Jesse Mandal knows all too well that the scars of the past don't heal easily. The shooting cost Jesse his brother and his best friend--Skye.

Ripped apart by tragedy, Jesse and Skye can't resist reopening the mysteries of their past. But old wounds hide darker secrets. And the closer Skye and Jesse get to the truth of what happened that day, the closer they get to a new killer.
I've long claimed Kelley Armstrong as a favourite author (for at least a year or two when I discovered her books anyway). She has written so many good books series so when I saw this YA book being released I knew I wanted to read it. Even better, my library went and got a copy in so I could read it! I admit, I was wary and the reason I went to the library was because I had heard mixed reviews from folks when it came to her YA books. Considering I claim many of her books as favourites of mine that concerned me because how could she write lacklustre YA books when those marketed as adult ones were so good?

This book deals with the aftermath of a school shooting (it’s in the name guys) and rather than looking at the victims or the perpetrators this one focuses more on the unintended victim of Skye, whose brother, Luka, was one of the shooters and Jesse, Skye’s best friend and who also loses his brother from the shooting. Skye left town after the events and had no plans to return where her surname is synonymous with tragedy and where she lost a brother she loved. And she certainly didn’t want to return and face her former best friend, Jesse, now when she feels her own guilt over what happened to his family.

The book doesn’t wholly focus upon the shooting, though, although it does show how Skye feels her own sense of blame, but also on the misplaced blame others attribute to her because of her brother's actions. This book is more about the mystery of who is terrorising Skye with images and recordings of the shooting. Who is pushing her to look deeper into the shooting and why are they doing it? She doesn’t want to look at the moment her brother became a monster because that is never who he was to her and why should she have to hate him so utterly when she knew there was good to him?

I admit, I enjoyed the mystery aspect but it wasn’t as surprising as some of the mysteries Armstrong has written before. This may be due to it being a standalone book whilst I am used to her writing longer series where various mysteries are developed over several books with small hints dropped throughout. I also admit that the way the mystery was developed and everything was a little weird. I felt like there had to be a suspension of disbelief occurring and maybe that’s because it was elaborate for teenagers… but then teenagers are way smarter than we give them credit for.

I liked the book but it was flawed. I don't know if that's partly because it's a single book as opposed to a series like I'm used to from Armstrong or maybe it's the continued effect of the slump I was in. Something stopped me from loving the book, but it was a good enjoyable book and I’m glad I read it.

Shelter in Place
Published: 29th May 2018
Source: Publisher
Genre: Romance, Contemporary, Thriller
My Rating:
From #1 New York Times bestselling author Nora Roberts comes Shelter in Place—a powerful tale of heart, heroism . . . and propulsive suspense.

It was a typical evening at a mall outside Portland, Maine. Three teenage friends waited for the movie to start. A boy flirted with the girl selling sunglasses. Mothers and children shopped together, and the manager at video game store tended to customers. Then the shooters arrived.

The chaos and carnage lasted only eight minutes before the killers were taken down. But for those who lived through it, the effects would last forever. In the years that followed, one would dedicate himself to a law enforcement career. Another would close herself off, trying to bury the memory of huddling in a ladies' room, helplessly clutching her cell phone--until she finally found a way to pour her emotions into her art.

But one person wasn't satisfied with the shockingly high death toll at the DownEast Mall. And as the survivors slowly heal, find shelter, and rebuild, they will discover that another conspirator is lying in wait--and this time, there might be nowhere safe to hide.
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.

This wasn’t my first Nora Roberts book and from the few I’ve read I knew what to expect. Some angst, a lot of good romance, and an interesting story. I was excited about it because it dealt with something different for me and this book began well. The book focuses on two main characters, Simone and Reed. Both were unfortunate to be at a shopping mall when shooters entered and starting opening fire. Both were there for different reasons, Simone was upset over a break from a boy who didn’t deserve her attention so was at the mall cinema with friends to cheer her up. Reed is working waiting tables. Neither expects what the day will bring and how this will shape their future.

The shooting is described in the opening pages of the book and I really think Roberts dealt with the panic and the trauma of the event and the aftermath of the event so very well. and She was sensitive to something which many will have thoughts about, especially with gun control being a key issue in the US right now. I honestly had a lot of respect for how it was written, I felt the terror and the confusion and then the guilt afterwards and the grief and the utter confusion about what’s next. The event was disjointed and filled with confusion and it’s only as the book progresses you begin to get a clear picture of what happened. Like I said, it began well with every day becoming this shocking event. The way the shooting was written with it being quick and disjointed made sense and I had a lot of respect for the initial aftermath.

Then the book began jumping about a bit and rushing forward and it began to lose me.

This book was told with multiple POV which was fine. Once I'd connected to the key characters I was fine with that. But the multiple POV also had time passing at a rapid pace. I expected to see the immediate aftermath and people's reactions but instead, it kept bouncing forwards in time seeing major events in characters lives. It made sense to progress the story forward, and I understood that, but it also meant I grew distant from these characters as I saw these glimpses to their lives but didn’t understand why it was significant to see it. and I got used to that too seeing how even through large gaps of time the shooting still had an impact. I did feel like it was rushed though until Reed and Simone met. I get that was the big romance Roberts was building to but I could have skipped the middle events if that was the case because this book felt dragged out in places and rushed in others. Like Roberts was eager for us to see what was going in their lives and how they changed, but didn’t want to waste time with that and then it felt like the story stopped at their meeting and really dragged during their romance and by that point I was more interested in the mystery, stop telling me about their romance when I wanted to know the whodunnit of who was bumping off survivors!

Oh yeah, because that’s what the plot really needed to focus on. After the shooting which Reed and Simone survived people slowly moved forward with their lives. It wasn’t immediately obvious at first but slowly those who managed to survive the shooting at the mall and move forward started getting killed. It often wasn’t labelled as murder because the killer was skilled at hiding how they did it. Making each death seem like an accident or something, and it’s only as the killer gets sloppy people begin to suspect it’s not a tragic accident but something more.

I admit, you know who the killer is because you get told, but I was eager to learn how they would be discovered and stopped. So you’d think when you reach the big finale I’d have been excited… it sort of felt flat. It went on for a while and then you kept expecting it would end and the story dragged out some more. In fact, I began to skim read because I just stopped caring, I wanted the killer to be stopped and if it has happened 50 pages earlier that would have been awesome.

I know I’m grumbling, but I did enjoy the book in some ways. I just wish it had been shorter. My issues overshadowed the good parts which sucked.



The Ones Who Got Away
Published: 2nd January 2018
Source: Purchased
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
My Rating:
It's been twelve years since tragedy struck the senior class of Long Acre High School. Only a few students survived that fateful night—a group the media dubbed The Ones Who Got Away.

Liv Arias thought she'd never return to Long Acre—until a documentary brings her and the other survivors back home. Suddenly her old flame, Finn Dorsey, is closer than ever, and their attraction is still white-hot. When a searing kiss reignites their passion, Liv realizes this rough-around-the-edges cop might be exactly what she needs…

Liv's words cut off as Finn got closer. The man approaching was nothing like the boy she'd known. The bulky football muscles had streamlined into a harder, leaner package and the look in his deep green eyes held no trace of boyish innocence.
This book was one I wanted to read because everyone was talking about it! I eventually gave in in April and purchased me a copy because I didn’t know what I wanted to read but this angsty sounding romance seemed like it could fit. I was in a massive reading slump and I needed something. Anything! Luckily, it helped kick start my reading a touch. Or at least I made it through when I thought the angst and drama would put me off.  As usual, all of my doubts about reading this book were wrong. I am always wrong, this is what I need to remember when I have bookish doubts.

This book focuses upon Liv and Finn who were both survivors of a school shooting which shocked a community (right, there’s a theme here guys) and they also have a messy past as the two hooked up a whole lot at school, up to and including the night of the shooting. A whole lot happens with the shooting and the survivors go forward with their lives.

Liv is so easy to like and connect with because she is just so nice. She tough and fun and flawed, and really who can’t relate to that? She survived that tragic event and whilst she, like anyone, intended to grasp hold of life and let nothing stop her she ends up being far more scarred by that tragedy than she let on. She was scared to live and risk really admit that she wasn’t happy with how things turned out or even say what she wanted in life. The documentary which brought everyone back to town after that shooting is actually the thing which helps her kick start her life again. Seeing the friends she gained from that tragedy helps her realise she needs to do more, and seeing Finn makes her realise she needs to go for what she wants a bit more.

Finn was more difficult for me to like. He was the romantic lead and he did grow on me, but he frustrated the hell out of me too. He was all about Liv living her best life and wanting the best for her. He pushed her to recognise her brilliance and talent and to stop putting herself down and giving into the haters who tried to tell her she was less than. But he never took his own damn advise! I wanted to shake him with his self sacrificing macho bullshit. I really did. Whilst Liv had big changes she embraced change quite well and was good about admitting what she wanted. I just wish Finn had been a bit quicker on the uptake but he got there in the end and I loved every moment Liv and Finn were together. They deserved that second chance to get it right.

This book wasn’t as angsty as I thought it might be but it was most definitely filled with good romance. I got sucked in and was so glad I read it (even if it took me a while). I was totally excited for the next book… but not because Rebecca did some things I wasn’t a fan of in this book. I’ll be reviewing that soon (I hope).

Have you read any of these books? What did you think? And do you ever find yourself inadvertently reading books with a similar focus?