22 June 2017

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

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

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

I told everyone I was your wife

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

If only it were true...

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

Now, onto the book…

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

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

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

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

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

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

20 June 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

18 June 2017

Sunday Summary // 18.06.2017

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

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

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

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

What I’ve Been Reading

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

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

New To Me

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

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