31 December 2018

A Year in Review // 2018

A Year In Review
I think it is well established that 2018 was the year of the slump. From reading slumps to blogging slumps and everything in between. So much like the Oxford English Dictionary has a word of the year, I am having a word of the year for blogging.

Slumping is horrible and I have definitely noticed it seems to be catching. Maybe it’s growing older (I’m 27, I’m not old! Don’t even try and claim it. I will fight you) or maybe it’s that my reading habits have changed. no longer do I stay up all hours getting that really good book in. Or maybe I have found those ‘omg don’t make me put it down’ books recently so I am reading differently. I don’t know what it is but the slump has ruled 2018 and I for one am glad to see the back of this year. I know 2017 ended on a way worse note for me personally but I really feel like 2018 kicked my ass and maybe it suffered in the aftermath of 2017. And don’t even get me started on what’s happened in the real world. Honestly, Brexit can suck it, I think politically the world is going to hell in a handbasket. I’d be concerned but honestly, I’ve lost all energy for it.

But now I’ve sat here all doom and gloom about it why don’t we look back on the good stuff of this year? Because 2018 has had plenty of good points. Honestly, when I’ve been slumping like mad I’ve not been sat at home miserable. I’ve been out having some fun stuff so it’s always good to remember this. I’m going to try and spend a few posts recapping it (whilst wishing I did a better job of using my bullet journal because it would have made this whole process so much easier) and let’s hope 2019 has a better theme to it.

Let's begin with a playlist for you guys. My 2018 music has been all over the place and the songs aren’t all new songs.

Non-Bookish Highlights

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This year was not all bad. I did plenty of fun things throughout the year (in between more rubbish things that life throws at you).

As you can see from the photo mix there were plenty of fun things going on. From an insane holiday to New York City (I want to go back so much) to finally going on the Harry Potter Studio Tour. I did things which are out of my comfort zone (I’m looking at you Monster bouncy castle obstacle course). I did something different had fun and honestly am so glad that 2018 wasn’t all bad. It’s always good to remember those little moments and this year had plenty of them. I laughed and I cried and this year kicked my ass with emotions (almost as bad as 2017 did) but it was a good year and there were a lot of laughs. Here’s hoping the same is true of 2019.

Film Highlights

There is quite a mix of films here and I feel like I’ve forgotten a few but these are the films I’ve been loving this year. I think 2018 was definitely the year where Hollywood got YA book films right. Fingers crossed the trend carries on and maybe a few romance books will get an equally good adaptation because romance in all it’s forms is what I need in my life.

TV Highlights

I’ve not been watching as much TV lately.. or I have but it’s been a case of me rewatching old favourites like Hart of Dixie and Bones. I do think these were the shows I most enjoyed though. Good Girls was so much fun watching this group of friends attempt a life of crime (and it was far more successful than if my friends and I attempted the same thing). The Haunting of Hill House had me on the edge of my seat the entire time because it was so addictive and way more emotional than you’d expect from a horror show. Happy was seriously trippy but hilarious. Like, it is mental. I don’t know if I can even really describe it but I loved this little 8 episode treasure. And finally, Jack Ryan. I mean, I watched for John Krasinski but I stayed because I was interested in the storyline. I am glad it’s been renewed because sometimes you just need a good action/thriller type show.

Gaming Highlights

I don’t know if I’ve mentioned how much I enjoy gaming. I am terrible at most games and my short attention span means I have so many unfinished games lurking about but I don’t even care. I still enjoy playing them, though. The games which made my year are Detroit Become Human (because I love games where you can influence the ending). I finally moved on from Sims 2 and began playing Sims 4 and may now own all the expansions (because I can’t resist!) but I am loving it. From fame-hungry characters to my alien character which is trying to stealth his spawn into the human population. It’s awesome. Stardew Valley is a game I’d heard of long ago and never bought but then it came out on PS4 and I kind of convinced myself I needed it. I am now so invested in my little farm! From treasure hunting to raising animals. It’s amazing and weirdly addictive. And finally, there is the Spyro remake. They updated the graphics from the ground up and I am loving playing these games which I remember from my youth. Don't think of new games, remake old classics. Now I just need the Final Fantasy VII remake to have a release date already.

Bookish Highlights

As any reader will know, it’s hard to choose just one favourite, especially when this year I have managed to read so many good books. Sure, I feel like I’ve DNF-ed more than ever, but the books I have read and finished definitely felt like it included more of the good stuff. I suppose I finally embraced the concept of quality of quantity (although I would always be happy to read more, I’ve simply not been in that mindset lately).

The Duchess DealThe Governess Game12. The Wedding DateMaking UpChaotic Good Comps14.inddThe Epic Crush of Genie LoThis Adventure EndsWords in Deep BlueFrom Lukov With Love74. A Duke By DefaultA Princess in TheoryThe Love CouponTo Kill a KingdomThe Ones Who Got Away72. The One You Can't ForgetOne Night WifeFool Me Forever2974892549. RadianceThe Kiss QuotientSummer SkinJane DoeThe Earl I RuinedRoomies
As you can see, I’ve read a whole heap of romance this year and I’m totally cool with that. but I do have some other genres are thrown in, a couple of YA books and some fantasy. I’m hoping I can keep this mix of reading up and maybe even get rid of a few books on my shelves which are gathering dust because I’ve found some of my favourite books have been those I’ve owned for far too long without reading.

I’m not totally sure I’ve not forgotten something but if I have it’s too late now. This was my 2018 and I am pretty damn happy with it. What have some of your favourites this year been?

15 December 2018

The Earl I Ruined // It Proved Second Time Really Is The Charm

The Earl I Ruined
Published: 11th December 2018

Source: Netgalley (But also purchased)

Genre: Historical Romance

My Rating:
She’s beautiful, rich, and reckless…

When Lady Constance Stonewell accidentally ruins the Earl of Apthorp’s entire future with her gossip column, she does what any honorable young lady must: offer her hand in marriage. Or, at the very least, stage a whirlwind fake engagement to repair his reputation. Never mind that it means spending a month with the dullest man in England. Or the fact that he disapproves of everything she holds dear.

He’s supposedly the most boring politician in the House of Lords...

Julian Haywood, the Earl of Apthorp, is on the cusp of finally proving himself to be the man he’s always wanted to be when his future is destroyed in a single afternoon. When the woman he’s secretly in love confesses she’s at fault, it isn’t just his life that is shattered: it’s his heart.

They have a month to clear his name and convince society they are madly in love…

But when Constance discovers her faux-intended is decidedly more than meets the eye—not to mention adept at shocking forms of wickedness—she finds herself falling for him.

There’s only one problem: he can’t forgive her for breaking his heart.
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 decided to come out of hibernation to review this release (late). Please forgive me if it’s a terrible review but I both struggled to figure out how to explain why this book was so awesome (because what are words?) but also my review skills are a bit rusty, I’m brushing off cobwebs here.

I really enjoyed the debut release from Scarlett Peckham but had some grumbles (namely the big change in tone for the two halves of the book and a big is it cheating situation which occurred) but that being said I simply knew I /had to/ read the sequel, The Earl I Ruined. Not only because I'd liked the character of Constance in the first book (you just knew her mouth would get her in trouble one day) but also because fake relationships are absolute favourite romance trope ever seen. I cannot get enough of it and I most definitely wanted to see Constance meet her match with the likes of straight-laced Julian Haywood.

Constance is a bit of a gossip (I can totally relate to that because working in an office has ruined me and made me a total sucker for gossip) and although she promised her brother she would not gossip and spread rumours again (it did cause a little drama for her brother) she cannot help herself as she feels she is doing a favour for others. I did appreciate her sentiments. Women in this age have so little control over their lives. They must simply hope that they chaperoned meetings with a man mean he is who he pretends to be. It's only right and fair that she let others know when she finds that a man is not all that he appears. Her reasoning for it is sound as she herself had a terrible experience with a certain man I shall not name. Anyway, I digress, Constance is a gossip who gets herself into a touch of trouble when the gossip she has given to a few close friends falls into the wrong hands and ends up in a gossip column all can see and ruins the reputation of Julian Haywood. And she feels so guilty she proposes she redeem him by pretending to be engaged to him to enable him to claw back his good name and get everything he wanted (like his bill through parliament).

She though Julian was boring as he was always correcting her on her behaviour and actions and always seemed right and proper. And when she discovered he was a member of Charlotte Street even that she got the wrong impression on as well. Julian has been in love with Constance forever and so when he discovers that she is the one who ruined his rep his dreams are shattered as Constance was never interested in him and now he knows she doesn't care if she had no thought for how her gossip could ruin things for him. He acknowledges her help may be the only way to redeem his rep and get his plans through parliament to finally enable him to achieve his aims. Although he realises Constance may not be by his side as he had originally planned.

The pair fall into a false engagement to convince friends, family and parliament. They pretend they've had a long secret engagement and that the rumours are laughable. Sadly, the rumours are false but there is certainly more to Julian's story. I loved seeing this hate to love fake relationship develop. Julian was in love and now hates Constance and cannot stand this fake show they must out on when this is all he ever wanted. And for Constance Lord Bore is nothing like she expected and I loved her gradually learning more about what a kind and wonderful man he is.

Sparks flew throughout this romance and who can help but love Julian when he gifts Constance a dog who gets called Shrimpy (cute right) but not only that the man gifted her a dildo! And helped guide her to an orgasm. A man who cares for female pleasure above his own is always a win in my book. So I was utterly charmed by Julian as snippets of him came out. I already loved Constance but Julian was a slow burn love and I adored him.

This book did not suffer from the sophomore slump. It was more sophomore smashed it out the park. It was addictive and sexy and a stand out in the historical romance genre. Definitely check this out and I'll be sat here hoping we'll be seeing more of Charlotte Street soon.

Have you read Scarlett Peckham’s books? Aren’t they just lovely? And if you haven’t read them have I successfully enticed you to give this one a shot?