30 July 2016

Sunday Summary // 31.07.2016

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Welcome all to Sunday. I think we all should take a moment to wish Harry Potter and JK Rowling a happy birthday and celebrate Harry Potter and the Cursed Child release day.

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My copy of Cursed Child is due to be delivered today (I hope) and I plan on reading it immediately. And have you all heard the exciting news the play is on until 2017 with more tickets due to be released on the 4th August?! I need to find a friend to go with me. A trip to London would totally be worth it. A nice all day play and then spend another day shopping or being touristy. At least, that will be the plan if I can get tickets.

 

This week has been a slow easy week. I’ve done some blogging and visited far more blogs than I usually do and I’ve read book which I’ve really enjoyed! I’ve just been enjoying myself for once and it’s been nice. I’ve also been a bit disappointed that I’ve missed out on YALC but I knew I wouldn’t be able to make it. I’m not good at going places alone and the cost of going down to London was too much. Especially as my friend who lives down there has been moving so couldn’t offer me a place to stay either. I am not overly upset, I will enjoy myself my own way over the weekend. There will be other years to go and undoubtedly my purse will thank me for not going and spending so much money on books.

 

What I’ve Been Reading

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I have been reading a few things this week and it’s gotten me into the habit of reading multiple books at the same time. I’m continuing my read along with Danya and Kaja and it’s just as good/terrible as last week. I did read a really fantastic book, though. These Shallow Graves was an absolutely unputdownable read and I loved it. If you like historical YA with strong female characters then this is the book for you. The rest of my reads were just enjoyable, I may review them but they weren’t rave worthy. I think Warrior shows good potential for the rest of the series, though.

 

New To Me

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I’ve been really restrained with my book buying this week, you would be impressed. I enjoyed Boomerang when I read it a couple of years back so decided to complete the series for myself. I can see a lazy few days reading and enjoying these. Then I was surprised to see Finnikin of the Rock in a deals email, it was going for £1 for Kindle so I obviously bought it. I’ve seen plenty of people talk about it so I figured I should buy it at that price.

 

How have your weeks been? Read anything interesting lately which you want to recommend to me? And have you any suggestions as to what I should read next?

28 July 2016

Nina Is Not Ok // A Book Which Will Make You Think

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Published: 28th July 2016
Source: NetGalley
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
My Rating:
Nina does not have a drinking problem. She likes a drink, sure. But what 17-year-old doesn’t?

Nina’s mum isn’t so sure. But she’s busy with her new husband and five year old Katie. And Nina’s almost an adult after all.

And if Nina sometimes wakes up with little memory of what happened the night before , then her friends are all too happy to fill in the blanks. Nina’s drunken exploits are the stuff of college legend.

But then one dark Sunday morning, even her friends can’t help piece together Saturday night. All Nina feels is a deep sense of shame, that something very bad has happened to her…

A dark, funny - sometimes shocking - coming of age novel from one of the UK’s leading comedians. NINA IS NOT O.K. will appeal to fans of Caitlin Moran and Lena Dunham.
This is a book I would have adored reading when I was a teenager. I lived for books like this for no other reason than they were teen books set in the UK. That’s what drew me to this book in the first place, that and it is about a 17 year old girl with a drink problem.

It’s Awkward and Cringey, But That’s Not A Bad Thing


It’s an awkward read for so many reasons, but awkward in a good way. The kind of awkward which makes it relatable. You know that cringey feeling you get when you’re hungover and you remember that really embarrassing thing you did which was completely hilarious when you’re drunk but mortifying when you wake up and realise everyone else saw you too? You feel that a lot during this book because Nina’s inhibitions when drunk are non-existent.

You spend the first half of the book experiencing life with Nina and her slow descent into having a problem with alcohol. It’s awkward and so very refreshing because it feels genuine. Then you have the second half of the book where steps are taken towards recovery. You see more of the real Nina as people realise she has a problem and try to help, although some are more helpful than others.

Nina is An Awful Drunk, But An Amazing Person


Nina is not the most likeable of characters, when drunk she may be the life and soul of the party to those who don’t know her, but those who do just worry. She takes things too far and makes bad decisions and it’s not fun to watch. I think I began to like her more once she realised what she was doing was going too far. As Nina grows as a character she becomes a person you might actually want to speak to. She may be blunt and sarcastic, but she also cares and you see that as you experience her regrets the next day. This is a girl who is being forced to grow up and feels like no-one understands her.

Basically, Nina is a train wreck just waiting to happen. She is lovely, but she’s such a stereotypical teenager who thinks she always knows best it’s ridiculous. I loved and hated her in equal measure because she is awesome that way. I grew to like her more and more as the book progressed because I could relate to her. I’m not an alcoholic or anything, I meant I could relate to her issues as a teenager and the simple fact it’s in the UK (that’s seriously significant for me.

It’s Book Which Isn’t Afraid To Let The Real World Creep In


I don’t know, this is an awkward book to read, but also a good reality check. It takes a very different look at the teen experience of growing up and drinking. We all assume it’s a right of passage to get drunk and act stupid, but for some, they don’t learn their limits and head in a downward spiral and this book was certainly open to that fact.

I love that this book deals so smartly with consent, as well. Nina is a girl who drinks and only truly begins her downward spiral (and climb up) after a terrible night she blacks out and suspects way more happened with a stranger than she would have ever agreed to. The consent is obviously non-existent when it comes to him, but Nina also finds herself sleeping with others when drunk and it’s excellent seeing the obvious difference between what happens with the first bloke and with the others. Is her behaviour questionable and does she regret what happened afterwards with those guys? Most definitely.

Let’s Talk Generalities and Summarise


This is basically a really intense read for so many reasons. It deals with a lot of issues, addiction and consent being the main ones, but also deals with loss, abuse, growing up, and dealing with parents who have moved on to new relationships and families and feeling left behind. It’s an interesting read I would recommend to others, but be aware it’s not always a comfortable read.

Do you prefer lighter books or are you okay with more serious books too? Do you find yourself reading books you know would have appealed to you when you actually the target age as well?

26 July 2016

Unpopular Opinions Tag // Let's Get Ranting

I like nothing better than to rant about things. I am a ranter. I like to make my opinion known and I don’t care whether people are interested to hear it or not. As such, it is very appropriate to be tagged in the Unpopular Opinions Tag to get a chance to get a few things off of my chest. Although, it has taken me an awfully long time to get around to doing this tag. I am very behind other people ding this. Tags have moved on since this one came out but I like to be different.

Shall we begin?

1. A popular book or series you didn’t like:
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I did not like Leigh Bardugo’s Grisha trilogy. I thought I might like it whilst reading the first book, but then the end of that book and the second book happened and I’ve not gotten around to the third.

That series just angered me into liking it and it was because the main character, Alina,  was a bit annoying, but at least was justified as she had lots of life things happening and she was in an insanely stressful situation. You can at least understand her craziness, but then there was her love interest, Mal. Mal needed punching in the face repeatedly and the really awesome characters just didn’t get enough page time.

I was really intrigued by the Darkling but I felt like his entire back story and characterisation was flubbed to make him the evillest evil who ever evilled. I mean, he began in the first book by being this intriguing character who knew little about but was rumoured to be a bit bad. He then came across as charming and misunderstood, but then his character went wrong. Rather than becoming this villain with interesting motivations who you could relate to and almost sympathise with he just become all about POWER!!!! And that was annoying. He just became evil personified and failed epically.
Then there was Sturmhond who was not given enough page time ever. He was my most favourite of characters in this series because he had so much sass, but he didn’t get even half a chance to live up to his potential.

Ugh. Just, that series!

2. A popular book/series everybody hates but you love:
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I’m going to have to say, Passenger. I saw mixed reviews for it when it came out and I honestly think it got a lot of criticism unnecessarily. I really liked it. Sure, the pacing was a bit off and I was annoyed the violin bit never cropped back up in the story, but I really liked the book and can’t wait for the next one.

3. A love triangle where you didn’t like who the main character ended up with:
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I was going to mention A Court of Thorns and Roses but we all know how that one turned out.

Going back to my youthful reading I do have a book series I loved and adored and I was never happy how the romantic pairing went in that one and that is The Secret Circle books. I full on adored those books growing up. I got them out of the library so many times it’s probably a bit ridiculous. Anyway, in the book you have your main character, Cassie, who discovered she is a witch and she is part of this Coven and she finds her ‘soulmate’ in Adam, but he is in a relationship with Diana who Cassie loves. Then there is mysterious rebel Nick who is also part of the coven but on the darker side and I adored Nick. Nick and Cassie had a connection and the stupid ‘we’re soulmates’ things Adam meant that never got to happen. Instead, sweet Diana steps aside and lets Cassie and Adam get together because she can’t stand in the way of true love and it’s all very annoying, but I loved the book series regardless. Even if my ship just didn’t happen/

4. A popular genre you hardly read:
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I read everything! Like, I actually read everything. I read contemporaries and romance and fantasy and sci-fi and historical. I don’t think I could claim there is one genre I hardly read, it’s more a case of me getting stuck in genre ruts and the others get neglected while I binge read a few books in a certain genre.

5. A popular/beloved character you dislike:
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This is a difficult one because I don’t know what to say. I am terribly out of the loop on things and I honestly don’t know which characters are loved and which are hated.

Okay, I’m going to go with a character who I found through googling popular characters (was that cheating? Maybe but who cares?) and it’s Etienne St Clair from Anna and the French Kiss. I was never the biggest fan of the first book in Stephanie Perkins series and it meant I almost never read Lola and the Boy Next Door (which I adored) and it was because the entire relationship between Anna and St Clair seemed ridiculous. I hated it. I thought the rest of the series would be the same. Turns out I was wrong.

6. A popular author you can’t seem to get into:
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I think I need to accept that Catherynne M Valente’s writing might not be for me. I’ve tried a couple of her books and just not been able to gel with them. It’s disappointing as the concept of them is solid but the books themselves just don’t work for me. Maybe it’s the writing. Maybe I just don’t like the writing. I don’t know but it’s frustrating as hell.

7. A popular trope you’re tired of reading:
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I’m tired of love triangles for love triangles sakes. I’m also sick of the whole ‘chosen one’ thing. I mean, don’t get me wrong. I love a good chosen one story but at least make it something original. I feel like I’m continually reading about characters who have all these skills and abilities they don’t know about and they discover they are secret heir to all that is good and holy and must save the entire world even though there are better, smarter, more well-trained people to hand that would probably do it way more competently. But no, the chosen one must take the path alone blah, blah, blah. I’m bored of it.

8. A popular series you have no interest in reading:
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I think I am going to have to say The Vampire Academy series. I know a lot of people adore it and a lot of people hate it. Either way, everyone seems to have heard of it and read it and it really holds no interest. I saw the hot mess that was the film when it was on Netflix and I almost felt interested to read the books but the price and the general idea of the books means I never will read them. I think if I had been 15 when I heard of this series I probably would have read and loved it but this one is just never going to happen. The world is awash with vampire stories and I’d rather stick to ones I actually really want to read.

9. A movie you liked better than the book:
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I don’t know. I mean, I saw one person say they preferred Austenland over the book on this one and I agree, but only because I couldn’t get through the book but the film was hilarious.
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The only other film I think was better than the book was the Lord of the Rings films. I love those books, don’t get me wrong, the films couldn’t even attempt to get half of the books in there (have you seen those books? They are beasts). I liked that the films cut down on a lot of the crap, though. I will always be in awe of Tolkien for the immense worlds he created, but I wish an editor had sat him down and explained it doesn’t all need to go in the books.

And there is my hate and complaints for all to see. Are there any books that make you want to rant?

24 July 2016

Sunday Summary // 24.07.2016

Sunday Summary
Hello all and welcome once more to my weekly ramblings. I hope you’ve all had a very nice week since last we met.

Let’s begin with what has been taking up most of my focus this week… the weather.
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Sorry to be crass but it’s been so God damn hot I want to die. I think it has been the warmest week I’ve experienced in a long while. I mean, Tuesday was 30C+ and that is way too warm to function yet I had to go to work! Add in the fact people have had the nerve to turn the air-conditioning off at one point at work and you an tell how I feel. I threated to strip in the office because there are only so many layers I can take off in the workplace and I’d done that already!
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Sorry, I’m a bit irritable about the warm weather as I haven’t slept so badly in a long while. I compensated by sleeping 10 hours on Friday night (I was in bed by 10pm like I was still at school).

I feel my poor sleep and warm weather segues nicely into why I’ve not been around much lately. I’ve been in a bit of a slump and it sucks. I’ve not been sure what I want to read so I’ve not been wanting to blog because I feel guilty about all the reviews I’m not writing. Then, I don’t want to read other people’s blogs because I find myself wanting to read all these books but when I get them they aren’t hitting the spot so I start avoiding blog reading too. It sucks. I do think things are looking up on the blog front, though. I feel bad I’m not around as much but I’m hoping the time away will help and I can feed my other hobbies whilst I’m away. I’ll still be around every Sunday if nothing else, anyway.

But enough of my guilt trip (which isn’t really a guilt trip but just an explanation in case you’ve been questioning my absence lately) and on to my good news. I was at work Monday and sweating to death (why they didn’t tell us we could come in casual clothes this week I do not know) when I get called into the kitchen by manager. I’m internally going through everything I could have potentially done wrong in the past couple of weeks and questioning if I may have been a bit too loud. She then says to me thank you for all my hard work and she knows we’ve had a whole lot of work just dumped on us and that there’s more pressure on us so she’s spoken to our finance manager at head office and had it agreed I can have a pay rise at the beginning of next week! I was internally screaming and dancing around the room and nicely said thank you and that I’m just doing my job. I full on danced around the house when I got home. Pay rise people! Don’t I feel the love right now?
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And do you know what that means? More books, obviously! Shall we move on to what I’ve been reading and bought lately?

What I’ve Been Reading

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I’ve not done much reading this week. I binge read Sweet Little Lies Sunday night and adored it but I think it began my week of little sleep. I skimmed to the end of The Shadow Hour, I just couldn’t get myself in the right reading mood for it and I feel I can’t review it properly because of it, but we shall see.

I began my read along of Torn on Tuesday with Danya and Kaja and we are taking a regular chats about it (or we will once we all reach the end of chapter 10. I’ve resisted the urge to read ahead on it but it’s one of those books where you’re hooked when you’re reading but once put down you can easily leave it.

Then I sat in the sun reading The Survival Kit (or I did until I decided to make the playlist which goes along with the book, songs were bought and it was interesting to read along with the music in my ears. More books should come with a soundtrack. I really enjoyed it, though. It was a heart-warming and enjoyable read for fans of contemporary.

And I've only read a few chapters of False Hearts but it's looking good so far. A lot to remember but good worldvuilding and interesting characters. Also, the book is so pretty so all I want to is look at it.

New To Me

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Nothing, I got nothing to explain this one. Maybe I should stop leaving the house? And give up the internet. Maybe I should become a hermit and live in a cave with just my books for a few months. I will attempt to justify, though. Torn was for my buddy read so barely even counts. As for the Zoe Archer books? They were a four book kindle collection for under £4, it was cheaper than buying individually so how could I not? False Hearts was an impulse Waterstones buy ( and a beautiful one at that). And then the next four?

As I said before, I may not be around as much but I think my little slump is reaching its end. How have your weeks been? Did you do anything exciting or have you been much like me suffering from the weather and watching way too much TV?

18 July 2016

How Not To Fall // Where Science Is Sexy And I Get A Girl Crush

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Published: 28th June 2016
Source: NetGalley
Genre: Romance, New Adult
My Rating:
In her witty and breathtakingly sexy novel, Emily Foster introduces a story of lust, friendship, and other unpredictable experiments. . .

Data, research, scientific formulae--Annabelle Coffey is completely at ease with all of them. Men, not so much. But that's all going to change after she asks Dr. Charles Douglas, the postdoctoral fellow in her lab, to have sex with her. Charles is not only beautiful, he is also adorably awkward, British, brilliant, and nice. What are the odds he'd turn her down?

Very high, as it happens. Something to do with that whole student/teacher/ethics thing. But in a few weeks, Annie will graduate. As soon as she does, the unlikely friendship that's developing between them can turn physical--just until Annie leaves for graduate school. Yet nothing could have prepared either Annie or Charles for chemistry like this, or for what happens when a simple exercise in mutual pleasure turns into something as exhilarating and infernally complicated as love.
This book is one I hoped to love but didn’t think I would when I began the first chapter. I had heard it raved about on Smart Bitches podcasts. I adored the podcast with Emily Foster on and was fascinated by everything she had to say. She is a woman I think women (and men) could learn so much from it is crazy. I would love to read her book Come As You Are (written as Emily Nagoski) as I think it would be the most eye-opening read about women’s bodies in general. I think I had a whole heap of expectations for this book so you can imagine my heartbreak when I began the first chapter and didn’t like Annie or the writing style.

My Heartbreak Did Not Last Long Because I Fell In Love


My doubts were unfounded and absurd, though. This book is amazing. I thought I didn’t like it as the writing was very blunt and in your face and I thought Annie was too logical and scientific. I was wrong on all counts. Annie is not too logical, she is straightforward and believes everyone else is as well. That may sound naïve, but it’s not somehow. She is surprised when things are not as obvious and straightforward as she expects, but she takes this in her stride and adjusts her expectations based on her experience. Her experience at the beginning of the book had taught her she just has to face things head on and go for what she wants. When she is logical and puts her points forward with strong arguments and logic to back it up then she can expect to get what she wants, she learns things get more complex when you are getting involved with people.

I know many always exclaim their love for a male character and how they are their dream boyfriend or whatever, but I fell in love with Annie. Annie is my own little science loving spirit animal. She is funny, and geeky and naïve but in a way which isn’t negative and is really more she is so optimistic and recovers so quickly from the bad. She is just amazing. She is straightforward and blunt and I was cheering her on every step of the way. The characteristics she had that could be annoying in other books with other characters are what make her so fabulous in this book.

Science Can Be Sexy? Who Knew?


I thought the book was going to be science-y and I was intimidated because Emily Foster has a PhD and is a totally smart science person. She is an actual smart person and I wasn’t fully certain how that would translate into writing fiction. Turns out it translates fantastically. She knows the science behind sex and it worked for me. These were the bluntest and most straight forward sex scenes I have ever read. She calls it what it is. I mean who knew mentioning a person's labia and a bunch of scientific parts of an ear would be sexy? Not I. It works, though. I loved how there were no ridiculous euphemisms for a guys penis entering a vagina which took me out of the story a moment to laugh. Instead, it was just all out there and it was great. It might be a style all will not be enamoured with, but I found it so refreshing and greatly appreciated.

It’s Not All Sunshine And Rainbows But Who Actually Cares?


There were flaws to the book, sure. I felt like there was way too much sex and not enough story going on at times. The pacing had issues. You had an epic sex weekend where various sexual acts are described and it’s great, but it got a bit boring towards the end. You want sex in your romance but you don’t want it to get boring. Or bordered on boring at times for me. I actually skimmed a couple of scenes because I wanted the juicy story bit. My other issue with the book is that it’s gone over into another book! I reckon it could have been edited down to one book (I assume, based upon the length of this one) if some of the sex got cut out. It annoyed me that it’s gone over into two. That being said, I wouldn’t tell you to avoid reading over that… unless you don’t like a lot of sex in your romance because this will not be one for you.

Where I Repeat Myself To Convince You To Get Reading


Overall, this was a mature and refreshing read. Especially as it does get categorised in the often criticised New Adult genre. This is a stand out book in that genre, I think. It’s not overly angsty (no more than real life can be angsty) and the writing is just spot on. It’s a book about science nerds with sex and love and difficulties along the way. It’s well written. It’s blunt. It has a female character who is direct and acts like a crazy person and gets annoyed about it and is trying to be smart in the face of a bunch of emotions she doesn’t know how to direct because it’s hard to feel things and be sensible and logical and she demonstrates this. It involves a hot British guy who can obviously not be a genuine person (I live here guys, blokes like this do not exist) who has a lot of issues but is awesome and is the perfect bookish man I’ve read in a while. I was far more in love with the character of Annie anyway.

Look, even if I don’t manage to convince you to go listen to the podcasts over at Smart Bitches, Trashy Books with Emily did which just demonstrate how she is awesome. Her speaking may convince you to give her romance a chance even if I can’t.

Have you ever been daunted by a romance because you thought it might be too intellectual (doesn’t that seem contradictory)? And have you read this because I would love to hear your thoughts on the blunt straightforward approach in this book.

17 July 2016

Sunday Summary // 17.07.2016

Sunday Summary
Welcome to another Sunday Summary. You know, I noticed I don’t write introductory posts for these things each week and I probably should. I just throw you in the deep end and start rambling about my week.

I haven’t been interesting at all since coming back from Leeds. I have a working phone again (yay). I Googled reviews before buying and you know what? It may be advertised as a budget phone but I love my little Motorola phone which has a way better battery life than my last phone did anyway. It was strange to realise how reliant I am on my phone for everything. I wish I could say it allowed me to make myself a bit less dependent on it but why bother lying. I mean, Pokémon Go came out and so any hope of separating me from my phone just died. I’m never going to be amazing at the game (I don’t venture far and wide) but it’s fun discovering your local area, isn’t it?

I also had work news this week. We finally had the office move confirmed! I mean, we’re not so happy with the office location, it’s local but it means a longer commute. Thankfully, the office move will not begin until the beginning of 2017 so no plans need be made yet, but it’s good to finally have some confirmation about it! Rumours can end and we can get some work done and we have a lot of it to do so we shouldn’t have time for gossip. I’d go into all the work stresses but you honestly don’t want to hear it. All I can say is thank God for the weekend.

What I’ve Been Reading

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You’ll be thrilled to hear I finished Summer Days, Summer Nights! I decided I was fed up of seeing it on my bedside table and I wasn’t sure what to read next so I read through the final five short stories. I thoroughly enjoyed it and I strongly recommend it for fans of YA looking to explore new authors.

I began The Shadow Hour at the beginning of the week but grew bored. I haven’t been in the mood for it but I need to read it for review. Someone tell me good things to motivate me! I was in the mood to read The Bride by Julie Garwood, though. It was over the top and a ridiculous romance and I enjoyed every word of it. I’ve not read any old school romance before and considering this was originally published in 1989 it’s pretty old school.

My favourite book of the week is Daughter of The Forest. I began on Thursday and then preceded to stay up until 1am reading Friday night (Saturday morning?) because I needed to know what happened. I actually had doubts when I began reading but it was quickly turned around when the story really got going. The writing was fantastic and the story magical.

Then I began This Raging Light which is beautiful and heartbreaking and I didn't want to stop reading except I was falling asleep by 10pm so really had to.

New To Me

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And this week I’ve gained just three books (I am very restrained when I want to be) and I am excited about all of them. Until Friday Night is part of the Kindle summer sale. The Girl in the Spider’s Web was my free book on Amazon Prime Day and This Raging Light is a book I won from Maximum Pop Books a few weeks ago. I am proud I’ve managed to restrain myself to such a degree.

How has your week been? Read any good books or done anything interesting? What was the last book you read which kept you up past bedtime?