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?

16 June 2017

My Thoughts // Commenting: Sometimes Less Is More

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There was a slightly different post which I intended to write today. I had had plans to write a post on commenting anyway, but I was intending to write it from a slightly different angle. I was going to write it to remind myself that the silly rules I have in mind for commenting are ridiculous and that it’s ok to be a bit briefer or to only write a short comment. Basically, it was a post to drill a few points home. But then I saw a couple of things around a couple of blogs and on the internet which made me think to do this slightly different.

I say this because Kristen has had some health issues which means she can’t comment as much and she felt she had to apologise about this (you don’t, sometimes it happens and life gets in the way of things) and then Nick tweeted how drops in comments and views get her down and I thought about how my comment numbers have dropped a touch (partly my own fault for not taking more time to comment on blogs myself) and I thought, actually, a few more folks may to hear this than just me so here you go, guys.

An Essay Isn’t Always Required: There Isn’t A Word Count

I like to write long comments. They are my favourite. It feels like I get to have a proper chat with folks and there is nothing than a good old comment thread you can keep popping back to. They are the best. You don’t always have time for that, though. I don’t always have half an hour to write all my thoughts and you should never feel like that is the only way to comment.  There isn’t a word count when it comes to commenting so don’t feel the pressure to write all the words. It isn’t necessary.

Commenting Shouldn’t Feel Like A Challenge

One thing to remember is that commenting isn’t a challenge. Just as it' isn’t an essay it isn’t a test either. You won’t be marked on what you say so don’t struggle to try to find the right words. Just word vomit in the comments and move on. I mean, you don’t need to spell check it. Hell, you don’t even need to read it back over if you don’t want to. Just writing words is always nice. Don’t stress yourself over trying to get it exactly right. People won’t notice or care.

Something Is Better Than Nothing

Look, while you’re stressing yourself out over finding the perfect words for your comment and how you can precisely convey the thoughts you had about that post please remember one thing: there are people behind that blog and those people kind of like to feel appreciated. Knowing that you’ve taken the time to read a post (any post) will make most bloggers day. We do read them all, even if sometimes it can take three weeks and then others it takes just three hours. Hell, I even like spam comments from time to time.

‘You Say It Best When You Say Nothing At All’ Is Totally Incorrect

And I know this is just reiterating all the other points, but you really don’t say it best when you say nothing at all. Just because you don’t have lots of words to say doesn’t mean you shouldn’t bother. ‘Nice review’ and ‘Great point’ are just as appreciated as that 2-page essay explaining why someone missed making a really important point in their discussion or review. It shows that you’ve taken the effort to read and it’s nice to know who stopped by. Don’t always write those short comments, but if you don’t have the time to write all the words two can work just as well.

Basically, folks, comment more. Comment widely. And don’t stress yourself trying to change the world with your words in a simple comment. Just write a few thoughts to let folks know you stopped by and you liked the words they put on screen. Bloggers like to feel appreciated. You know this. I know this. So for god’s sake take the time to show that fact. I know I’m guilty of skipping a post I want to comment on because I don’t feel like I have much to say. But no one cares if you say lots. Just say anything.

Do you find yourself not commenting if you don’t have a lot to say? If so, why? Do you feel a little more motivated to comment now? I know I do (it was why I wanted to write it in the first place, to remind myself to comment and not feel bad if I don’t use all the words).

14 June 2017

Bite Sized Books // Two Romance Books You Have To Read Together

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This will be a joint book review. I was going to see if I could make the review for these two more individual but it’s difficult. The story in All The Lies We Tell very much continues in All The Secrets We Keep, although they each focus more on different characters. I will try to split the reviews into individual books but really if you’re gonna read one you need to read both. The second makes less sense without the first and the first will leave you dissatisfied with the loose threads.

All The Lies We Tell
Published: 1st May 2017

Source: Bought

Genre: Contemporary, Romance

My Rating:
Everyone knew Alicia Harrison’s marriage to Ilya Stern wouldn’t last. They’d grown up on a remote stretch of Quarry Street, where there were two houses, two sets of siblings, and eventually, a tangled mess of betrayal, longing, and loss. Tragedy catapulted Allie and Ilya together, but divorce—even as neighbours—has been relatively uncomplicated.

Then Ilya’s brother, Nikolai, comes home for their grandmother’s last days. He’s the guy who teased and fought with Allie, infuriated her, then fled town without a good-bye. Now Niko makes her feel something else entirely—a rush of connection and pure desire that she’s been trying to quench since one secret kiss years ago. Niko’s not sticking around. She’s not going to leave. And after all that’s happened between their families, this can’t be anything more than brief pleasure and a bad idea.

But the lies we tell ourselves can’t compete with the truths our hearts refuse to let go…
All The Lies We Tell is much more the story of Alicia and Niko. Alicia lives over the road from her ex-husband Ilya. She owns a company with him, she sees him every day. Their lives are very much entwined even if they are no longer married or sleeping together. The two have lived across the road from one another their entire lives and although they married for the wrong reasons they are both still close. So when Ilya’s grandmother takes a turn for the worse Alicia is obviously there with Ilya and the entire Stern family. It’s a bit of a shock coming face to face once more with Niko, Ilya’s younger brother. She grew up with him as well, she was part of a small friendship group, which included her sister Jenni as well as Ilya and Niko’s former stepsister, Theresa.

I think I knew immediately that the interaction between Alicia and Niko was going to be brilliant. Niko said some harsh things when he’d heard his brother and Alicia had eloped together and I can’t blame him as he was totally right. He obviously had a thing for Alicia (even if she’d been too blind as a teen to notice) and the spark was still there when they see each other in that room in the care home.

This is an angsty read as the Stern family deal with losing a family member and Ilya deals with both his brother and his mother moving into his home. It wasn’t so much the loss of a family member which caused the angst, it was the past memories it dug up of grieving as Alicia’s sister, Jenni, died all those years ago and it affected all of them in different ways. It didn’t help that this was a romance where almost everyone had been involved with another in some way. It was a little incestuous. I wasn’t sure it would be handled well, a romance between Alicia and her ex-brother in law was going to be a careful balancing act to get it right and Megan Hart managed that. I was rooting for them to get together and saying screw you to Ilya and shouting at Alicia so get past her issues because they were such non-issues. Who cares about gossip anyway?

There was more than just the romance to this book, though. There was a further mystery of what Galina, Ilya and Niko’s mother, had been up to. And also what happened in the past with Jenni. This book was told in the present with flashbacks to their shared past interspersed throughout. It was really rather well done. My biggest issue with this book is that it felt unfinished when it ended because the second book was obviously meant to wrap up some of the story threads and that did bug me slightly. It was an enjoyable enough read, though, that I didn’t mind too much.

All The Secrets We Keep
Published: 13th June 2017
Source: Netgalley
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
My Rating:

In the riveting conclusion to Megan Hart’s passionate new family drama, the secrets they keep are no match for the truths their hearts will never let go.

Still stuck in his small Central Pennsylvania hometown, Ilya Stern is used to feeling like a disappointment. After his high school girlfriend, Jennilynn, drowned, he married her sister, Alicia, only to divorce a decade later. The business they started together is threatened by a luxury development—and Alicia has already sold her stake. Now that Babulya, Ilya’s gentle Russian grandmother, has died, there’s no one left who believes in him. Or so he thinks.

Theresa Malone was Ilya’s stepsister for only a year, until his mother threw her pill-popping father out of the house in the middle of the night, forcing teenage Theresa to follow. Now she’s returned for Babulya’s funeral—and to facilitate the quarry-development deal. As she tries to convince Ilya to sell, she realizes her feelings for him have ignited—from sisterly into something more.

Working together closely, Ilya and Theresa struggle to define their intense attraction. When the details of Jennilynn’s death surface, will Ilya and Theresa’s deep connection keep their hope for the future afloat—or submerge them once and forever in their tragic past?
As I said, this book and the first were meant to be read together. They are stories which don't make sense apart and are intrinsically linked. That might have bothered me but it was very obvious upon reading the first book that there was plenty more story to explore. There were so many unanswered questions in regards to what would happen with Ilya and the fact that Theresa had a lot more troubles. And there were all the unanswered questions to be had with Jenni. And what on earth motivated Galina to come home. Basically, this book was both the story of Theresa and Ilya finding their happy, but also about tying up loose ends.

It was a really fast read and whilst it was angstier than my usual books I kind of enjoyed that. I was a bit wary going in, whilst I'd quite liked Theresa in the first book (despite her secretive ways) I was far more wary of Ilya. He came across as a bit of a dick in the first book and also very hung up on a girl he loved as a teenager. I didn't get how I was going to be convinced to like him and especially when he didn't seem willing to grow from the teenager he once was. Thankfully, Megan Hart is a far better author than I gave her credit for because whilst I'd been a fan of Theresa's in the first book it was actually Ilya I was cheering for because he really turned over a new leaf.

I will give this book that, there was plenty of character growth, far more than I experience in the first. I like Nico and Alicia as a couple but they seemed like they were falling back into something which could have happened if given a chance anyway. They were inevitable. Theresa and Ilya, on the other hand, had to grow as people before they were ready to even think about moving forward together. I liked that level of growth they experience, but especially Ilya growing into the adult he should have been long ago.

I was a little disappointed with the mystery surrounding Galina and Barry and what happened to Jenni all those years ago. I predicted back in the first book (not precisely, but I knew bits of what must have happened) and that obviousness about something which was in the background through two books was a bit of a letdown. I know it wasn't the focus of the books so I won't let it affect my rating but it was a bit meh.

As a whole, the book was brilliant and a fantastic close to the story of these characters and I will definitely be visiting Megan Hart's books in the future.

Do you like reading romance series where the books are obviously meant to be read together? Or do your prefer them to be standalone, especially when they focus on a different couple in each book?

12 June 2017

Dark Days Pact // I Loved Almost Everything About It

Published: 26th January 2017
Source: Gifted
Genre: Historical, Fantasy, Young Adult
My Rating:
June 1812. Just weeks after her catastrophic coming-out ball, Lady Helen Wrexhall—now disowned by her uncle—is a full member of the demon-hunting Dark Days Club. Her mentor, Lord Carlston, has arranged for Helen and her maid, Darby, to spend the summer season in Bristol, where Helen can sharpen her Reclaimer powers. Then the long-term effects of Carlston’s Reclaimer work take hold, and his sanity begins to slip. At the same time, Carlston’s Dark Days Club colleague and nemesis will stop at nothing to bring Helen over to his side—and the Duke of Selburn is determined to marry her. The stakes are ever higher for Helen, and her decision will truly change the world…
Recently I reread the first book in this series, The Dark Days Club, and remembered it was a great book but it definitely suffered from some poor pacing. It meant I had been quite nervous about actually reading the second books, despite forcing my brother to buy it for me on my birthday, because I needed it. It was only when Danya messaged me about doing a buddy read did I pick it up, though. I mean, I’d intended to read anyway but having someone else to drive you to stick with it helps because I thought I might need that if the pacing was as slow in this one. Turned out there was no need to worry.

For anyone who has read the first book, you will know what I’m talking about. There was a whole lot of setting the scene in that book and not a lot of action so certain reservations were understandable. I know the book picked up quickly by the halfway point but I had to worry over whether or not the pacing would continue in the second. It did, so folks who are nervous about reading do not fret!

Helen is now staying with Lady Margaret and her brother Mr Hammond in Brighton for the summer whilst she begins are Reclaimer training with Lord Carlston. She has accepted her abilities and is now trying her best to access all of her abilities so she can help in the fight against the Deceivers and also be finding out more about the Grand Deceiver. I mean really, after the way the last book ended I should have known this one would be all action and plot and basically what I wanted in the first book.

We are introduced to a couple of new characters in this book, and a couple of others get to play larger roles and I really liked that. This books was all about plot development and bringing forth characters who are going to play greater roles in the story. I liked that fact. I mean, we had a great character in the form of Pike who is a total douche, he was awful. He was this horrible misogynist who thought Helen needed men to balance out her impulsive womanly ways. But he was great with how he was a terrible person on the side of the Reclaimers. I loved that sense that this was not a simple black and white battle between good and evil and that was never more obvious than when you saw those on either side. It’s like I loved that a Deceiver was in this book who actually became a source of information for our little group and I really liked him. It was brilliant how Goodman muddied the waters between good and evil because it is never so black and white as all that and I hope it leaves greater potential for what happens in the next book because I don’t believe all Deceivers are bad much like all the Reclaimers haven’t been good so far.

One thing which I really enjoyed was the growing relationship between Lady Helen and her mentor, Lord Carlston. Both are fighting their attraction for different reasons but I enjoyed the tension between the two, especially as they had to get more physical this time around. It wasn’t them simply at balls and dancing together, it was that, but also they had to learn how to fight and get within close proximity to one another and that really added to it. Especially as Goodman threw in a couple of extra barriers between the two, I won’t say what, though, that will spoil things.

The only reason I didn’t give this book five stars is because it featured one of the douchiest of dickhead characters in the form of the Duke of Selburn. I hated him on so many levels. I thought I was being irrational in my dislike for him in the first book. After all, Goodman is very good about sticking to historical facts and making her books pretty accurate and so his view that he could help protect and care for Helen was accurate, even if it grated. But in this book I loathed him. I want a badge making me founder of the ‘I Hate The Duke’ club. It’s like Danya says he is the worst kind of nice guy character. You can’t say he’s a terrible person because he comes across all nice and kind but he’s a dick thinking he knows best and can in anyway dictate how Helen is to act. The burning rage I felt for him throughout the book culminated in the way it ended. I know me saying that is a spoiler in itself but it’s true. Read it and then come back and talk to me. He is the only reason for me rating this down.

I feel like I can;t say all I have to say in my review without spoiling everything but it is safe to say this was a brilliant read. It is also a quick read despite being 500 pages long. You won’t notice the length once the story gets going and it does that almost immediately. I could respect the effort which went into the historical accuracy of this book. Sure, I did question how Darby, Helen’s ladies maid and candidate to be her Terene, was quite so eloquent and educated with some of the speeches she gave to Helen, but as a whole, I feel like a lot of work went into this and I can respect it. I do need the next book in my hands sharpish because I need more but I will wait sort of patiently for it.

Have you read this, what did you think? Do you find yourself becoming irrationally enraged about certain characters in a book or is that just me?

11 June 2017

Sunday Summary // 11.06.2017

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I have been so absent this week guys. I have barely touched my laptop (partly because it’s really started to slow down so I’m not always patient enough to sit down with it on an evening) and so I’ve done practically no blogging which I hadn’t organised in advance. I’ve just caught up on my own blog comments and I have started commenting back on all of yours. It’s a slow process and I;m sorry if I skip posts but there are so many! I think I got lazy lately and the more I put off doing things the more I avoided it so here I am. That being said, the one thing I have been alright with is completing my blog posts for the week which is usually the thing I slack off with the most. I had to do well somewhere, right?

My time living alone ended and I was just starting to get used to it. The things I learnt from this experience is I cannot live in a big house like this one alone, which is perfect because I can only afford something little. I also learnt having a pet is important because talking to yourself is better when you can pretend you’re talking to your pets. These are important things to know because I am getting to the point where I might have enough money saved and a stable enough job (I hope) to be able to move out on my own and actually buy a place. We’ll see, though.

It was the dreaded election this week. I got bored of it as soon as it was announced so I’m glad it wasn’t the usual long drawn out election campaign as it was a snap election. It was made more annoying by the fact I went to vote and the old lady at the desk gave me a dirty look and an eye roll for not bringing my polling card. There is a reason it says you don’t need to bring it! Honestly, at least I voted! I would have bitched at her but she was an old lady (which totally doesn’t justify her being rude) and my mom told me to respect me elders. Also, there was a queue and no one would thank me for holding them up. I love how the whole election backfired for Theresa May, now to keep my fingers crossed this DUP thing will fail epically because I do not want those folks having any kind of power in parliament.

Apart from wanting to throw down with an old lady it’s been a quiet week. Works been crazy as people are on holiday so we’re short staffed again so I’ve pretty much been coming home exhausted and then watching TV. I’ve begun watching Brooklyn Nine Nine and it’s hilarious! I blame that for my lack of blogging.

What I’ve Been Reading

Her Backup BoyfriendAll The Secrets We Keep4. Daddy's Best Friend5. The DILFThe Girl With The Make Believe Husband
It’s been another week of reading less. I have definitely been doing other things, like watching TV, but it means I’ve not had time to read quite as much. I finished Her Backup Boyfriend as I wanted to include a review in a blog post. I finished All The Secrets We Keep and Megan Hart proved to be a strong writer making me like a character I’d written off in the first book. Nick somehow convinced me to read the porn title books she’s been enjoying so much and they are kind of fun, I’ll give her that. Definitely glad they’re novellas, though. I don’t think a longer book would work as I’d be stuck rolling my eyes at them. But for killing some time reading a steamy book? They’re great for that. My last read is The Girl With The Make Believe Husband. I’m halfway through and loving it but I am worried how it’ll work out all these lies!

New To Me

The Hook UpThe Friend ZoneThe Game PlanMajor CrushGirl on the RunPlease Release Me
I bought a lot of ebooks… I feel a little bad about it. Especially as I bought three Kristen Callihan books when I’ve not read a single one in this series. I mean, what if I don’t like them? I highly doubt it, but these things happen. The Callihan books were the most expensive of the lot, the rest of my books are 99p and hopefully fun, easy reads. I’ll let you know.
Always and Forever, Lara JeanThe Girl With The Make Believe HusbandTruth or DareThe Waking Land
I actually got all of these last week but I forgot to include them. I’d preordered Always and Forever Lara Jean and forgot to include as my preorder took a little while to be delivered. Julia Quinn’s newest book was also a preorder. Funny story, actually, I had preordered this but Piatkus contacted me to review it and sent me a copy. I knew I didn’t need two copies of one book so tried to return my preorder. I stated my reasons and requested a refund and it came up my refund would be processed and I didn’t need to return the book! How good is that? Now, I have two copies so any UK folks wanting a copy let me know and we can do a swap or something.

The last two came in my most recent boo box. I only pay for one and it’s always YA books and various things so I like it. It’s the Illumicrate one so it is quarterly. I prefer that as I still don’t manage to read the books which come in it so I dread to think what I’d be like with a monthly one. Anyway, I have a signed copy of Truth or Dare, it’ll be my first Non Pratt book so that’ll be good and then there was an ARC of The Waking Land. I’ve wanted to read that ever since I saw UK ARCs go out so yay!

Flame in the Mist
And, finally, I got the above on Netgalley. I actually thought I wasn’t going to be approved as I requested this book over a month ago. Who doesn’t love a surprise approval on Netgalley? I will be having a week of ARC reading next week to catch up.

And there is my week. How was your week? Anyone read anything good? Tell me all below! And if you have tips on keeping organised with blogging let me know as I am currently a hot mess.

09 June 2017

Looking Forward // June 2017

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A girl needs something to look forward and whilst I am actually cutting my spending a touch for my holiday in September I will still be treating myself to a few books (I need something to read on the beach). I wanted to change up the format of this post because I admit, I don’t always have detailed reasons for wanting to read books and they can take forever to write up considering there is little original content in them. This time I am going to feature a lot more books and give less reasons for why I’m excited. Let’s see how it goes.

Books I Want To Buy

Bad RomanceOnce and For AllOur Dark Duet
The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and VirtueStay
This book was on my TBR as soon as I heard about it. I loved I’ll Meet You There so much and so I was thrilled to see another book from Demetrios. I am a little nervous about this book, especially from the summary but I fully believe it will be a powerful and emotional read and I cannot wait. I will even be willing to invest in a full priced copy.

I am obviously going to buy myself a copy of the latest Sarah Dessen book. There was never any doubt on this. She is an author whose summaries I no longer even need to read, I will just add her book to my basket and go on my memory way. I mean, this one, I just know there are weddings involved but I don’t even care I don’t know.

I mean, I already have this one preordered so it kind of feels like cheating but This Savage Song was a favourite read. It was so totally awesome and I really put off reading so OMG I cannot wait to read the sequel and not put of reading it this time around.

This book has been on my radar forever and I cannot wait. I mean a grand tour and a historical setting would have been enough for me but the fact there is a m/m romance and a the MC has a crush on his bestie? Well, that just really is perfect. I have high expectations but this better me brilliant.

Stay will be brilliant. I know I haven’t read Good Boy yet but I will still definitely be buying this because I love the fact that this is a romance where they don’t begin actually meeting but instead flirt via phone first. It will be awesome and I cannot wait to start reading.

Books I’m Dithering Over

Aftercare InstructionsIf Birds Fly BackInternet FamousSpellbook of Lost and Found
I won’t go into detail on any of these books but these four books are ones I’ve added to my TBR but are now dithering over wanting to read. I will hold out for reviews and if I spot them I may give them a shot.

Books I Have Already

32828372Shattered MindsThe Hundredth QueenDuke with benefits
I also won’t go into detail on these are they are all ones I have copies of. I am excited to read Shattered Minds as I adored False Hearts (guys, check it out) but the rest I’m also dithering over now. I was excited for Roar but I’ve seen a couple of mixed things. The Hundredth Queen, I’ve heard mention that it’s not brilliant with some of it’s representation, it’s a little generic. And Duke With Benefits I was dithering over even before I agreed to an ARC because of the first book. I’m willing to give the author a second chance, though, because library!

And those are my books for June. What are you most excited to read? And what books were you excited to read but have begun to dither over?

07 June 2017

Bite Sized Books // Where I Indulge In The Fake Relationship Trope

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I am on a continual quest to read all the fake relationship books. This is an absolute favourite trope of mine, I am a sucker for a pretend romance in my books and I am not fully sure where my passion for this trope comes from, but there you have it. I found myself having a few fake relationship books lurking on my Kindle so decided now was the time to read and review them all for your pleasure.

Blacktie OptionalBlack Tie Optional – Ann Marie Walker
Published: 30th May 2017
Source: Netgalley
Genre: Romance, Contemporary, Fake Relationship
My Rating:
Everything about Coleman Grant III oozes power and sex. And not the perfunctory kind either, but the sheet clawing, heart stopping, gasping for air after you’ve screamed so loud you can’t breathe kind. From his dark wavy hair that stands in an artfully rumpled mess, to the blue eyes that sear your skin, to his full, sensual lips - on the surface he’s pure perfection.

Too bad he's an asshole. An arrogant, uptight corporate raider hell bent on destroying the environment one species at a time.

Everything about Olivia Ramsey screams hippie humanitarian. From her blond hair tied in a sloppy bun, to her faded jeans with the Bonnaroo patch sewn on the thigh, to her combat boots still splattered with mud from the previous day’s site visit.

So it makes perfect sense that they would get married. In Vegas. Stone-cold sober.

Cole needs a wife. Olivia needs to save an endangered species. But what starts as a marriage of convenience soon turns into a battle of wills and sexual tension. Love is a game, and Olivia and Cole are ready to win.
Is this book perfect? Hell no. Is this book insanely fun and an addictive read? Definitely! When I was emailed about it I was intrigued but hesitant because I always get excited about fake relationship books and I have been disappointed a time or two. I was concerned that I would experience the same thing again. Thankfully, I didn’t.

It was originally proposed as being a book for fans of rom-coms and The Proposal and it is very true. I saw it as a cross between Two Weeks Notice and The Proposal. Two Weeks Notice for the rich man thing who is a bit of a dick but still charming. And then The Proposal as they stage a fake relationship to fool his family and convince them he has gotten married. I just loved the whole fake relationship and the entire relationship they staged as they were such opposites.

Cole and Olivia were so good together, they were opposites, Olivia campaigning for the rights of animals and Coleman not caring about little more than making sure his business is successful and keeping his sister happy. Those are the things which are most important to him and nothing else matters. Together they were so good together and enjoyed reading them moving from attraction to actually caring about one another. I especially loved when they were at her parent's house because he was out of context. He was no longer just the rich guy but also got to relax away from work and expectation and he could be a little silly and fun and that was the time I liked them best. When they weren’t putting on as much of a show for other people.

Basically, this was a fun romance which included a favourite romantic trope of mine. I would recommend for a nice easy summer read. You will enjoy yourself and who doesn’t love that?

Published: 28th November 2014
Source: Bought
Genre: Romance, Contemporary, Fake Relationship, New Adult
My Rating:
She needed a place to live. He needed a girlfriend. The rules were clear... until they were broken...

The only thing Ethan Price and Stephanie Kendrick have in common is their screenwriting class at the NYU Film School. Ethan's family is loaded and expectations are high for his stepping into the family business one day, while Stephanie is the class outcast and from the other side of the tracks.

When a project brings this unlikely pair together, Stephanie becomes the fake girlfriend who plays a part similar to that of the character in their screenplay. What Ethan didn't expect was to fall in love with her - but has he fallen for the real her? Or just the version he created...?

Isn't She Lovely is a modern take on Julia Roberts' Pretty Woman and is perfect for fans of Jessica Sorenson and Tammara Webber.
Lauren Layne is a firm favourite of mine when it comes to contemporary romance. She knows how to hook me in with her romance and I love her books. Sadly, this one was a little disappointing. I mean, fake relationships are my favourite romantic trope. It makes no sense, it's a ridiculous trope and I love everything about it. I don’t fully know why this one didn’t quite hit the mark for me. I enjoyed it, but I could easily forget about it.

In this case, I loved that our couple, Ethan and Stephanie, were aware it was a farfetched trope and that it was partially their joint film project which motivated them to start their fake relationship. Sure, Ethan had lied to his parents about having a new relationship but there was no real reason he has to make Stephanie into his fake girlfriend. And the whole makeover thing was partly to make her less 'gothic' but also to mirror the Pygmalion concept of creating the ideal woman and falling in love with your creation. I think that's partly why I struggled to connect because the two were analysing their relationship via the context of their screenplay. It meant you couldn't get fully absorbed in their relationship as they weren't either, there was too much time looking at it through the context of their screenplay and it just didn’t work for me.

I also didn't love Stephanie or Ethan. I mean, I liked Ethan. He was rich and charming but had another layer to him he rarely got the chance to show. And then Stephanie, she had very good reasons for her prickly goth ways but it made me feel quite unsympathetic to her as she continually pushes everyone away. I mean, I get it, I don’t usually mind a prickly personality but for some reason, it just didn’t work for me with Stephanie. I think because I didn’t fully believe she was the goth she made everyone think she was. I don't know, just something about them made me…not dislike them... but not like them either. Even together, I liked them but I didn't fall in love.

I was bound to find a Lauren Layne I didn't love but it was sad all the same. I liked it and finished it but I didn't adore it and when I read romance I kind of want to get caught up in it, you know?

Her Backup Boyfriend
Published: 19th January 2015
Source: Bought (free)
Genre: Romance, Contemporary, Fake Relationship
My Rating:
One little white lie leads to more than she planned…

Straight-laced lawyer Kate Matthews always plays by the rules. But when her ex gets engaged and a big promotion is on the line at work, she blurts out that she has a new boyfriend. And now that she’s proved she “has a life” outside of work, everything is perfect. Except for one teeny little detail—here is no boyfriend. And now Kate’s liable for her little white lie…

Dominic Sorensen is hot, charming, and very definitely not Kate’s type. But not only does Dominic want to help Kate renovate her home, he’s also willing to play “boyfriend.” All he wants in return is a little pro bono work for his sister. Now instead of Mr. Right, Kate has a delectable Mr. Fix-It-Right—and some unbelievable sexual chemistry. And if falling for Dominic is a breach of contract, Kate is guilty as charged…
Okay, I know I got a bit out of hand with three fake relationship books in under a month, but when you love a trope you love a trope. In fact, the only reason I got this book was the fake relationship aspect and the fact it was free on Kindle (or when I got it it was). I am so glad I did, though. I often find the freebies I get for my Kindle are some of the best reads and I think that’s because I go in with no expectations. Ashlee Mallory has gotten me interested in reading the rest of her books to see if they are just as enjoyable as this one.

Kate and Dominic are these complete opposites who only really meet as Kate moves in next door to Dominic’s aunt. He happens to do some house renovations she happens to need someone to renovate. I mean, that premise alone of her falling for the guy doing up her house whilst he’s being all burly and manly whilst telling herself that’s not what she wants would have worked fine for me. It’s taken a step further when Kate gets caught in a lie at work and ends up needing a fake boyfriend and it’s a case of mistaken identity when someone assumes that boyfriend is Dominic. He decides to take advantage and get a little legal assistance from Kate (she is a lawyer after all) and the fake relationship begins! That’s when it got good with the whole 'opposites attract' fake relationship awesomeness.

I think the reason this book worked better than the Lauren Layne one was simply the fact I liked the characters. I mean, I was annoyed by Kate dithering between her head and her heart within the book but I liked her. She was a good person who had been put down a lot in her life and doubted her wants. And Dominic was a bit of a dick judging Kate based on a past relationship but I loved how he continually tried to reassure Kate she was brilliant no matter what she did and anyone who told her otherwise could get lost. And the entire Sorenson clan was fantastic as well. I love a romance with a strong sense of family and you definitely got that with Dominic’s family. I especially loved how all his siblings and his parents could make fun of one another and tell embarrassing stories but were also there to offer support.

This book just worked for me in every way. If you’re looking for a fun fake relationship with a bit less sexy time and a bit more family time then this is the best book for you. And if you’re lucky you might find it still going free on Kindle.

And there are my mini reviews, have you read any of these? What were your thoughts? And please tell me your favourite fake relationship book, I am on a continual quest to find more.

05 June 2017

The Names They Gave Us // A Fantastic Summer Read It’ll Definitely Give You That Summer Feeling

Published: 1st June 2017
Source: Netgalley
Genre: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult
My Rating:
From the acclaimed author of When We Collided comes a vibrant, compelling story of love, loss, faith, and friendship.

Lucy Hansson was ready for a perfect summer with her boyfriend, working at her childhood Bible camp on the lake and spending quality time with her parents. But when her mom's cancer reappears, Lucy falters--in her faith and in her ability to cope. When her boyfriend "pauses" their relationship and her summer job switches to a different camp--one for troubled kids--Lucy isn't sure how much more she can handle. Attempting to accept a new normal, Lucy slowly regains footing among her vibrant, diverse coworkers, Sundays with her mom, and a crush on a fellow counselor. But when long-hidden family secrets emerge, can Lucy set aside her problems and discover what grace really means?

Emotionally-charged and unforgettable, Emery Lord's storytelling shines with the promise of new love and true friendship, even in the face of life's biggest challenges.
I have been a fan of Emery Lord’s for a while now. I read Open Road Summer and loved it (I had to beg borrow and steal myself a copy of that… or, you know, go to my local library. Semantics!) and so I was so excited for her latest release, especially as Lord’s books have begun to get published over here in the UK too. I was also hesitant to begin, like every other release I’m excited for I always seem to have a sense of hesitance going in as I’m never sure if I’m hyping it up in my own mind. I wasn’t, thank goodness.

When you read an Emery Lord book you know you're in for an excellent read and I cannot dispute the brilliance of this book. It is the perfect summer read even for those of us who didn't go to summer camp. It just brings up those feelings of summer and how so much seems to change and yet stay the same.

I really like Lucy and how she was a character many can relate to. She has been the good girl her entire life and it's not exactly been a hardship for her. She's liked being good and respected by her parents so when her mother's cancer returns and her parents ask her to go to the hippy summer camp across the lake from their church one she feels hurt and angry and doesn't quite know what is happening in her life. She's struggling to come to terms with the fact she may lose her mother in this second battle with cancer and she's learning that everything she thought she knew may not be entirely true. It's a feeling many of us know and when you add in her struggle with her faith then you have an interesting read.

I really liked the religious element of the book. Lucy was in many ways far more na├»ve than many teenagers as she hasn't had sex or gone to the usual raging high school parties but that made me like her more. Many people can relate to that, though. And the fact that she was struggling to reconcile her faith under the circumstances was great because religion isn't featured too often in books. Not in this way. I mean I'm not religious but I could relate to her struggles because the struggles of all teens figuring out who they are. And it was made all the more interesting in Lucy’s case as she has legitimate reasons to be angry. Her faith is something she has been raised with so when she gets so many different things presented to make her doubt herself seeing the path she takes is interesting.

I also really loved the cast of characters. I mean, Lord writes brilliant characters, it is a fact, but I really enjoyed these specific characters and they were a diverse cast of several POC characters and a transgender BFF and religious characters presented in a positive light! It was fantastic. Sure, it was Christian characters presented in a positive light, I will forever search for a YA with characters with a different religious background but you take what you can get and really, all religion gets a bad rep now and again.

I think the reason I didn't rate this 5 stars is the fact that I kind of wanted more which sounds harsh, doesn't it? I just wanted and expected a few more realisations and the discoveries at the end were fantastic but I felt like they were rushed in and I'd figured out some of it already. I feel like they could have been revealed sooner and then they could have been explored more in depth and we could fully have seen how this affected Lucy's own choices. Instead the reveals sort of tumbled out at the end and you’re left with that open ending which frustrated the hell out of me but I get it because this book was never about Lucy’s mom’s battle with cancer. It was about Lucy learning she can try different things and question her own religion and choices and it’s ok. It’s about her learning acceptance of herself and others and so when that finished the book ended.

In the end, there can never be any doubt that I enjoyed it because I did and it was definitely a favourite but I feel liked it missed taking advantage of some of the plot points. This book could have been more and I’m sad about that. But the questioning of faith and diverse cast of characters is plenty to enjoy. It’s also a brilliant, summer read… you know… if you’re looking for one.

What’s your favourite Emery Lord book? And please tell me your favourite summer reads I’m prepping my Kindle for summer. Do you find yourself frustrated when an author misses a trick and don’t explore a plot point to it’s fullest?