22 February 2017

Our Own Private Universe // I Didn’t Love It But It’s A Good Book

Published: 9th February 2017
Source: Netgalley
Genre: LGBTQ, Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult
My Rating:
Fifteen-year-old Aki Simon has a theory.

And it’s mostly about sex.

No, it isn’t that kind of theory. Aki already knows she’s bisexual–-even if, until now, it’s mostly been in the hypothetical sense.

Aki’s theory is that she’s only got one shot at living an interesting life–-and that means she’s got to stop sitting around and thinking so much. It’s time for her to actually do something. Or at least try.

So when Aki and her friend Lori set off on a trip to a small Mexican town for the summer, and Aki meets Christa–-slightly-older, far-more-experienced–-it seems her theory is prime for the testing.

But something tells her its not going to be that easy…
Okay, I want to begin by saying that I completely get why people like Robin Talley. This book was a great LGBTQ novel and I really enjoyed a lot of the elements of it. I just couldn’t get into it, I felt a disconnection as this was obviously intended for a younger audience than me. The struggles of Aki and Christa were unrelatable to me because they were young and struggling to accept who they are and figure out how to fit into themselves and their own identity. I think this would be a great book for teens who are in that stage of life, but I couldn’t get into that. I wanted to make that clear before you read my review. I will cover the positives but then may address some of the negatives.

Now, one of the things which are done well in this book are the characters. They feel genuine and I loved that fact. I really enjoyed that Ali wasn't shy but instead hesitant in social situations and one who observes before taking part. She was quite an introspective character thinking about the consequences of her actions. She was the perfect character to follow as it’s easy to like her. Sure, she lies to a girl she likes because she is young and stupid and she falls out with a friend because of reasons and she is a bit too obsessed in her new relationship to the detriment of other things, but who doesn’t get like that in their first relationship?

I also liked the fact this book made it ok not to know where you’re going in life or who you are in yourself. It addressed the fact that sexuality can be quite fluid and what it meant to be bisexual. I feel like bisexuality is barely ever addressed in books. It was interesting to see Aki deal with her sexuality when she hadn’t been in a relationship with anyone. It was interesting to see her discover who she is and grow with Christa discovering who she is. I loved the journey of self-discovery which went on. Not just with Aki, but with Christa as well as she learnt to be okay with who she is and allow others to know her.

Also, I really enjoyed the fact that this was set at a church retreat where the children were looking at platforms on things like gay marriage, war, healthcare, foreign aid and lots of other things. I feel like religion is frequently used as a negative thing. Frequently it is portrayed as something which is against people’s differences and doesn’t allow change so to have them debating gay marriage and supporting it was amazing! I may not be religious myself but I like seeing positive representation in fiction.

In the end, I didn’t connect with the book due to the age of the characters and their struggles, but I think it was a great book with good representation which addresses good issues. I want to be able to recommend it to teens and say this is a great book to read, but I didn’t enjoy it as much as I hoped.

Have you read a book which you know is good but you didn’t enjoy lately? And what’s your favourite Robin Talley book?

20 February 2017

Pretty Face // Has Lucy Parker Written Another Book Yet?

Published: 20th March 2017
Source: Netgalley
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
My Rating:
Highly acclaimed, award-winning author of Act Like It Lucy Parker returns readers to the London stage with laugh-out-loud wit and plenty of drama.

The play's the fling.

It's not actress Lily Lamprey's fault that she's all curves and has the kind of voice that can fog up a camera lens. She wants to prove where her real talents lie—and that's not on a casting couch, thank you. When she hears esteemed director Luc Savage is renovating a legendary West End theater for a lofty new production, she knows it could be her chance—if only Luc wasn't so dictatorial, so bad-tempered and so incredibly sexy.

Luc Savage has respect, integrity and experience. He also has it bad for Lily. He'd be willing to dismiss it as a midlife crisis, but this exasperating, irresistible woman is actually a very talented actress. Unfortunately, their romance is not only raising questions about Lily's suddenly rising career, it's threatening Luc's professional reputation. The course of true love never did run smooth. But if they're not careful, it could bring down the curtain on both their careers…
Now, last year I read and reread Lucy Parker’s first book, Act Like It. I told everyone how much I loved it and I became a little bit obsessed with getting a hold of Pretty Face. Once I got approved on Netgalley to read it I became utterly terrified it wouldn’t my admittedly high expectations. I even put off reading for a few weeks just in case. I came up with excuses in my head but it was full on fear of disappointment. For anyone else who read and loved Lucy Parker’s first book and are scared of disappointment, have no fear, this book more than meets expectations. I loved every page of it and will be rereading often until Parker’s next book is out.

I was hooked by this book when I was no more than 2% of the way in and Luc was making snap judgements and making snide comments about Lily and Lily was fuming after his comments were overheard by someone she knows. From there, I was in love.

I was concerned when I first began reading that this would be a repeat of Act Like It with new characters. They disliked each other before they even met and I was fully expecting another hate to love affair, which would be nice, but also done and boring. I was so wrong I deserve a slap in the face for even doubting Parker's genius. It is not a hate to love, simply a case of two characters being completely off base about one another. Luc thought Lily was some small time actress who had no brain in her head and was doing a poor Marilyn impression when acting. Lily thought Luc was a judgmental asshole who didn't even give her a chance to audition before passing judgement. Both were miles off base and I loved it.

Sure, from that you may be expecting hate to love too, but they get past their misconceptions of one another swiftly and end up finding out about their attraction quite swiftly which begins with a very steamy kiss. I loved the fact that the obstacle for their relationship was a very significant one. It was simply a workplace romance, maybe not recommended but not frowned upon, he was the director and was in a very obvious position of power, it is frowned upon and can lead to many a rumour about how a small-time TV actress managed to get on the stage in a lead role. Watching the pair circle around one another denying their attraction when it was obvious for all to see was absolutely fantastic. I was there laughing away and loving every second of it. I especially loved their time in Oxford when they first met Jocasta (the voice coach who is there to make Lily sound less like a Marilyn impressionist).

I adored Act Like It because I loved Richard Troy and how he was this asshole actor who was utterly charming to those he loved (basically, Lainie). I loved Pretty Face because I adored Lily. I mean, Luc was fantastic and I loved every scene he was in and the fact that he was falling for a younger woman when he had ripped into his older brother for a similar situation and the fact he really didn't want to be in the situation he was. But Lily was the character who took my heart. I loved her struggle to accept that she could be in a relationship with Luc despite all the bad press it would generate. And I loved how she struggled to accept people were permanent in her life when her parents had continually let her down. She was the woman who got my heart and kept me reading this time.

I have to say, it isn't often a romance gets all of my emotions going but this one did. I was laughing and swooning, I was angry and ready to punch folks in the face and I was in actual tears. I felt all of the emotions and loved every second of it. I could not say enough positive things about it if I tried. I could gush about this book all night and I've only just finished the damn thing. I recommend it all fans of Lucy Parker, her second book doesn't disappoint and if this is a sign of books to come from her then I hope we have a long and productive career as a writer from her because I will be buying everything she writes ever and telling all of my friends to do the same.

Have you read a book lately which ticked all your reading boxes? And how soon is too soon to declare an author one of your favourites?

19 February 2017

Sunday Summary // 19.02.2017

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I’m sure you all want an update on how I’m feeling. My cold is mostly gone and I feel pretty rested up (or I would if my dog didn’t insist on coming to wake me up at half past seven because he wants to roll around and be a pest). I now just have a lingering cough. Enough about my cold, though, that’s boring.

What else have I done this week? It’s actually been quite a boring week for me. I’ve not gone out much, I did nothing on Valentine’s day. I basically became a recluse with my cold this week. I didn’t even get that much reading done because I got sucked into watching crap on TV I wouldn’t usually. I mean, I’ve become a dedicated watcher of Eastenders (for those not in the UK this a soap on TV 4 days a week all year round and is both terrible and great… many people in the UK have the soap they watch religiously, it’s a thing). I’d be embarrassed I watch soaps… but I kind of love them, it’s half an hour of mindless TV and I miss the Sunday afternoon omnibus, where has that gone?

Apart from my TV watching, though, I’ve done nothing. I went to the pub Wednesday but that was a none event so you don’t care about that. I think I just couldn’t be bothered to do more, even reading was a bit slower this week.

What I’ve Been Reading

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Well, I’d say this has been a week of re-reads. I know there are only 2 re-reads on here but considering I had one last week as well, that’s a lot of such a short space of time. I carried on my YA reading in the form of I’ll Meet You There and it was just as good second time around. I love when that happens. I then went with the romance theme and Read Home At Last, it’s the last in the Sanctuary Island books and Marcus and Quinn’s story and I really enjoyed it. They were just perfect together. I was a bit disappointed by Done Dirt Cheap but I think that’s because I went in with my own expectations which is never a good idea. I will write a full review soon so you can see all my thoughts. Moon Called was my other reread and I am now wondering is I should read just the Mercy Thompson books or the expanded world with the Alpha Omega series. Suggestions? I read Deceptions in a day and was in love with the characters even if the plot wasn’t as strong. I immediately began Betrayals because how could I not? I am very much waiting for the conclusion on this one.

New To Me

I think I’ve been quite good this week. I mean, yes, Caraval is on my post as new (again) but that is because I had to buy a copy for myself, especially as I saw it for £5 at Tesco (supermarkets, the place I buy most books at the moment). I did have a bit of a book buy thing on Amazon… but I have £20.00 of gift card left so I feel no remorse about that. It probably won’t last much longer, though, but oh well.
I am pleased I’ve only gotten myself two books for review this week (go me, cutting down the numbers of my ARCs… or breaking even). I got a surprise approval for Roar considering all I did was wish for it on Netgalley (seriously, who knew that worked?). I’m intrigued by Cormack’s first foray into YA and so I knew I’d be reading at some point. As for Good Girls Don’t Kiss and Tell, I have been a big fan of Codi Cary’s for a while so when her newsletter mentioned reviewing her newest book I was there straight away. I cannot recommend her Rock Canyon series enough, it just works for me on every level and I feel a good old reread of the whole series as it has been a while.

How has your week been? Anyone done anything nice for Valentine’s Day or did you forget about it like I did? And any good book recommendations you feel you need to force upon me (I will complain but I always like new books really).