26 June 2017

Dumplin’ // I May Be Late To The Party But I Get What The Hype Was About

Published: 15th September 2015
Source: Bought
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
My Rating:
Self-proclaimed fat girl Willowdean Dickson (dubbed “Dumplin’” by her former beauty queen mom) has always been at home in her own skin. Her thoughts on having the ultimate bikini body? Put a bikini on your body. With her all-American beauty best friend, Ellen, by her side, things have always worked . . . until Will takes a job at Harpy’s, the local fast-food joint. There she meets Private School Bo, a hot former jock. Will isn’t surprised to find herself attracted to Bo. But she is surprised when he seems to like her back.

Instead of finding new heights of self-assurance in her relationship with Bo, Will starts to doubt herself. So she sets out to take back her confidence by doing the most horrifying thing she can imagine: entering the Miss Clover City beauty pageant—along with several other unlikely candidates—to show the world that she deserves to be up there as much as any twiggy girl does. Along the way, she’ll shock the hell out of Clover City—and maybe herself most of all.

With starry Texas nights, red candy suckers, Dolly Parton songs, and a wildly unforgettable heroine— Dumplin’ is guaranteed to steal your heart.
I had been wanting to read Dumplin’ for over a year. I loved this book so much that I read it in one day. I didn't want to stop because I loved Willowdean in all her flawed greatness. I wanted to know what happened and I wanted to see if she and Ellen were OK and I just cared an insane amount about her story. So, I may have been late to join the ‘I love Dumplin’ party’ but I got there in the end and I am here to tell you about why it’s so awesome.

Willowdean is a self-proclaimed fat girl. She owns that aspect of herself because if she doesn't someone else will. She recognises she is heavier than is considered right bit is her body and she is happy with it. Even if others tease her for it and her mom might make her feel less than ok about it. I loved Willowdean and I certainly thought a bit more about my body and how no one can judge me for it unless I let them. It's a fantastic message to be putting out there for young girls who will read this and are uncomfortable with their body (because who isn't as a teen?) but also for anyone reading because it's so easy to forget.

I loved all of the characters in this book outside of Willowdean as well, though. I loved Ellen and how she didn't let Will tell her what to do and stuck to her guns when it was something which mattered. And I loved Millie and her sweet positive ways. And I loved Amanda and how she was a little snide but still awesome. I loved Hannah and her negativity because that I can relate to from my teen years. I was angry and pessimistic and really sarcasm is still my default setting. My absolute favourite (apart from Willowdean) was Bo.The fact that he continually had a lollipop (his poor teeth) and his peach butt. And let’s not forget his angry sweet adorableness. I really I just loved this cast of characters and how everyone had such a distinct personality. They were all memorable and distinct and I was thrilled to learn there’s a second Dumplin’ book coming!

I occasionally have doubts about still really enjoying YA reads as much as I did but then I read books like this one and I know that YA is fantastic and there are gems like this to be read. You should definitely give this book a go if you’re a fan of YA it will make you feel body confident and make you want to go and tell everyone to shove off as you can do anything you want.

Anyone else read this or any of Murphy’s other books? What was the last book you read in one sitting?

25 June 2017

Sunday Summary // 25.06.2017

 photo sunday summary_zpsutc6nw4v.png
Another week is over and this has been a loooong one.

We had a mini heatwave here in the UK and it was not fun. The temperature got to over 30°C here and that was not fun. I mean, I am a pasty white girl who burns easily, anyway. I didn’t mind the fact that it was sunny and warm… at least not during the day, but when it doesn’t get under 20°C on an evening it makes sleeping kind of uncomfortable. I definitely lost a lot of hours of sleep before the heatwave ended. Also, our air-conditioning was broken at work just to coincide with this heatwave. When you have giant windows like a green house it does not bode well for you not being a sweaty wreck by the end of the day. The maintenance men that came to fix it were definitely the heroes of the week. Those guys, I love them.

Apart from being a sweaty wreck from the heatwave making me cranky and irritable and making my week feel about a million days long the other reason this week dragged is that I’ve been forced to go to work on a Saturday! I actually had to write the majority of this post on Friday night because I wasn’t sure I’d have enough time Saturday to say all the words I wanted to. Especially, as I have a bunch of comments to reply to. The life of a blogger is hard, isn’t it? Anyway, working overtime on a Saturday is not how I like to spend my weekend so it’s bringing me down a bit. We’ll get everyone trained up soon, hopefully. At least I like some of our newbies. They are really fun, fresh blood certainly has it’s benefits in the office, I will say that. I mean, working Saturday wasn’t terrible, it’s just I feel like I’ve had no weekend. As soon as it gets to Sunday I have work at the back of my mind. Oh well, at least I get money, although I will feel the rush of catching up on my blogging now.

Apart from work and the weather I have little else to talk about. I am sorting a friend’s birthday present out and I am trying to think of something else to get my brother, but that’s pretty boring. It’s his 30th at the beginning of July so I want to get him something good. Otherwise, I’ve been very dull. I’ve hardly even read because I was too warm to do anything. It’s a little embarrassing to look at my reading for the past two weeks.

What I’ve Been Reading

wake of vultures
Yeah, as you can see it’s been a slow week. A very slow one. I only finished Wake of Vultures right at the end of Saturday. How have I only finished one book? I am kind of almost in a total slump and I blame the heat. Let’s see how next week goes.

New To Me

The Sleeping PrinceBlackbirdUnconventional
I bought a few books to make me feel better about working over a weekend. It’s how I roll. Also, they were all 99p and no girl can say no to that?
FireflyLeave the night onThe Sea King
I got me a few ARCs this week as well. I was surprised by getting an ARC of Firefly in the post (thank you Headline Eternal!) and I knew I had to read Leave The Night On when I read the summary – revenge romance! – so yay (thank you St Martin’s, I love your romance) and finally, an e-ARC I didn’t expect to get, The Sea King! It is the first book I’ve ever been approved for on Edelweiss and I seriously want to read it now but I kind of need to read my library books first. Damn reading priorities.

How has everyone’s week been? Anyone else been suffering from warm weather? Or have a story of suffering without air-con?

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?