29 September 2016

Reading Challenges 2016 // Third Quarter Update

reading resolutions
It is once more time to see how I’ve been doing in my reading challenges and evaluate my progress with my resolutions. I am never very good at challenges because I get bored and forget about them so I like to look back every three months to see how I’m doing, especially as there are only three months left to complete these (apart from Bookopoly). I think I will find that I will not be completing any of them, but it’ll be fun to see how it goes.

Resolutions


  • I want to read at least 100 books: Completed!
  • I want to read more widely: I think I’ve succeeded. I’ve now read a horror book and dived into a bunch of urban fantasy. I’ve not completely broken out of my comfort zone but I’m trying new things every so often.
  • I want to cut my TBR pile in half: Still laughing hysterically at my delusion.
  • I want to review more books: I have reviewed quite a few, although I’ve got to play review catch up with some of my more recent reads. I am reviewing more and I find it way easier than I used to.
  • I want to use social media a bit more: This is hit and miss. I try but don’t expect miracles. I think that counts, though, that I try and use social media? I tweet things, I post  few Instragram post. I’m sort of making an effort.
  • I want to reread more books: I’ve re-read 4 more books since last time and I think that is really impressive. I will hopefully reread three more for my next quarter but I make no promises.

 

Reading Challenges


How are my reading challenges going? For the most part, I’ve stalled. I cannot motivate myself to read books in certain categories and so I think I’m stuck. I’ve read two more books in the Book Riot Read Harder challenge and that is it. I think I have to accept I’ll only manage to read about 50% of books in that and the Popsugar Reading Challenge. I’ve just stalled and I wish I could say why but I think it’s me just getting bored and not being willing to force myself to read books in the hard categories… oh well.

As for my new reading challenge, Bookopoly. I’ve hardly taken a look at that one. I’ve managed two categories so far. I have read a book in a series (do you not recall the beginning of my Kate Daniels binge?) and I’ve read a book with multiple POVs (The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend has several POVs and they aren’t all as lengthy as Sara’s but there are multiple perspectives in it so it counts).

I am also doing the discussion challenge. I think I am managing one post a month but I wish I could do more! I just keep getting distracted. I find inspiration for discussion posts doesn’t strike often enough.

How have your reading challenges been progressing? Have you stayed on track with resolutions are are you planning to say screw it all and see what happens? I am strong proponent of that second option right now.

27 September 2016

To Have And To Hold // A Cute Contemporary That Almost Gets Me Excited About Weddings

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Published: 26th July 2016
Source: Publisher (Headline Eternal)
Genre: Romance, Contemporary
My Rating:
Sex and the City meets The Wedding Planner in To Have And To Hold, the first sizzling contemporary romance in Lauren Layne's The Wedding Belles series about three ambitious wedding planners who can make any bride's dream come true...but their own. For fans of Jill Shalvis, Julie James and Rachel Gibson.


Discovering her fiance is a con man moments before they exchange vows devastates LA celebrity wedding planner Brooke Baldwin. With a fresh start in New York and her first Wedding Belles bridal client, things are looking up. Until she meets the uptight businessman who's holding the purse strings...

Seth Tyler wishes he could write a blank cheque and be done with his sister Maya's wedding, but micromanaging the event is his only chance at proving that Maya's fiance is a liar. He needs the help of her stunning, sassy wedding planner who he finds both irritating - and undeniably tempting.

Can Seth persuade Brooke to unplan a wedding? And, more importantly, how will he convince her that the wedding she should be planning...is theirs?
Where to begin with my latest contemporary romance read? I mean, it’s another addition to my shelf from the publisher, Headline Eternal, and this is a publisher who is proving to be my go to for all things romance.

First Off We Establish I Am Not A Wedding Person


I am not completely sure why I wanted to read this book. I think I was drawn in by the premise of a wedding planner and a cynical sibling to the bride falling in love and that is definitely what I fell in love with.

The thing is, I did not grow up planning a dream wedding or anything like that. A wedding theme does not make me swoon and get me wanting to read because I can imagine nothing worse than being a wedding planner dealing with brides all the time. I do not understand why anyone would want to spend the thousands of pounds so many do on a wedding when that money could be spent on something far more practical, like a house. I mean, I see the stress people get under from trying to plan the perfect wedding and it seems completely illogical to me so it seems a bit strange I would want to read a series which centres around people’s weddings.

Anyway, despite not being a wedding person I fell in love with the entire concept. The idea of a girl who has been jilted still believing in love and planning weddings and a boy who is convinced his sister is doing the wrong thing trying to convince the wedding planner to stop the wedding all whilst falling in love.

And Then We Discover I Liked The Characters


I actually really enjoyed this book and I think it’s because I fell for the characters. I mean, Brooke was instantly likeable as the women who has burned by marriage (or an almost one, anyway) who is determined to put on a brave face and start afresh in a new city. She is the perfect first character to meet and follow in the Belles series. She is so perfectly relatable and sweet, even if she is floating down the Nile on some things. Her likability comes from her positive attitude which is often bordering and falling over into denial because we all delude ourselves about things.

As for Seth, he is a controlling dumbass who I loved. I mean, he was way too controlling to be acceptable in the real world but book wise he was the perfect guy. I adored him and he’s loneliness and he’s love for his sister and his utter need to control things after that control had been taken away from him previously. Normally I roll my eyes at really rich romantic leads (seriously, how many millionaires can there be in the world?) but it somehow worked in favour of Seth. I don’t quite know why it worked but it did.

And Then We Get Summarising


In the end, this was a really enjoyable contemporary read, especially as I haven’t read one of those in a while. I obviously needed more romance in my life and this book came at the right time. If you’re looking for a cute contemporary read then I would recommend this book to you. It will certainly satisfy that craving. It’s got fun characters who may be a bit ridiculous but are really fun to read about. This may not be breaking new ground in the romance world but it’s still pretty enjoyable.

Have you read any of The Wedding Belles series yet? What did you think? And am I alone in not dreaming of a dream wedding growing up, I feel like it’s a cliché that that is what girls do growing up?

25 September 2016

Sunday Summary // 25.09.2016

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Who has been a lazy book blogger this week? Yes, that would be me. I mean I only got one post up! How did that happen? I think I fell into some kind of life slump after I finished book six in the Kate Daniels series and I lost some motivation (that and I totally thought I’d scheduled my posts and I hadn’t). I am slowly working my way out of this mini slump and hopefully you will see a bit more from me for the next couple of weeks but we shall see.

What have I been up to this week? Very little, I meant to see a friend who was home for a few days and somehow we managed to completely miss each other. I did manage to successfully see another friend and go to the cinema, I saw Don’t Breathe and if you are fan of a tense horror that is all about people and involves no supernatural elements this is probably the film for you. Otherwise, I’ve just spent too much time despairing at the changes in Bake Off in it’s move to channel 4 (seriously, this is all we Brits have been able to talk about for at least a week) and have probably spent too much time being excited about the return of Grand Designs and a new series of Location Location Location (yes, I like house programmes).

Something surprising happened at work as well this week. You will be shocked to here I am once more Employee of the Month, considering I spend an inordinate amount of time venting my work frustrations in these weekly posts you may be shocked to hear that. I know I am. I have done absolutely nothing different this month to any other month and it’s not like I keep quiet when I’m complaining about things. Maybe that’s a good thing? Maybe it’s just because I keep showing up everyday? Maybe I don’t are because it means I can treat myself to more books with my gift voucher.

What I’ve Been Reading

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It looks like a lot, doesn’t it? But two of these books I didn’t love and after reaching the halfway point skimmed to the end. I know that sounds terrible, but I just couldn’t get into them. I was in a bit of a slump after Kate Daniels and this is why I took a break and didn’t buy the next couple of books in the series to avoid this. Luckily, I finally found a book which completely suited my mood. The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend was the perfect read for me and I loved every page. It has spent the past few days being battered in my bag to and from work as I devour it in batches. It is an utterly charming read that celebrates the joy of reading and the drama of small towns and the struggles of small towns in the recession which hit. It was just perfect and I am a little bit in love with it. Then a reread of The Deal was required because I watched Pitch and suddenly was craving some sports romance. Can you believe I only gave this book a 3 star rating last year? What was I on? It's definitely a 4.5 star book. I must have been crazy.

New To Me

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This is quite a tame bookish week this week. ell, in terms of book purchases anyway which were only Doctor January (blame Smart Bitches) and Out On Good Behaviour. The rest were free. I swapped a couple of unwanted books from my shelves to get a hold of The Darkest Minds and Girl In The Mirror. I won from Girl In Pieces in a contest by Annie Crosby and I am thrilled to have it. I then borrowed the last three books from the library, not great considering I returned one of my books unread and had to a renew another one from my last library trip. I will attempt to be better with this lot and I am still determined to read Pantomime from my list haul.

How have your weeks been? Has anyone pre-emptively tried to stop a reading slump and hit one anyway? And am I the only who finds when they’re struggling to find something to read they struggle to blog as well?

20 September 2016

My Blogging Problems // Where I Say Screw You To Feeling Guilty

blogging problems
This is a post inspired by the fact I continually end up making myself feel bad about the number of books I bought for various reasons and I am fed up of doing that. It’s alright if I’m feeling guilty because I’ve bought something and I told myself I couldn’t have it (I’m trying to learn restraint here) but when I am treating myself to something I am fed up of other people and their voices creeping into my head and making me feel bad. Let me enjoy this one thing! I rarely buy clothes and I don’t go out on crazy nights out every week I just buy books. It’s my one indulgence and I am fed up with people trying to make me feel bad about it and I am sure other book lovers out there feel the same way.

We are continually talking about book buying bans and reading old books and our towering TBR piles and I am fed up of us feeling guilty. I think Cait summed it up best when she talked about it being okay to have a towering TBR pile (go read her post, you’ll feel a lot better about yourself fellow book addicts) and mine is probably going to end up repeating the same thing and if it does throw something at me because, ugh, try and be original Becky!

There Are Worse Things You Could be Addicted To

drug addict
Look, it’s true. You could be a drug addict. Or be like that woman from Confessions of a Shopaholic who had to freeze her cards so she couldn’t buy anything else and got herself into a serious shopping debt. I mean, it would take thousands of books to get you into that kind of debt so it’s really quite a cheap thing to be addicted to buying, right?

Other People Don’t Have To Apologise For Their Hobbies So Why Should We?

everybody needs a hobby
How often do you hear football fans apologising for their love of the game? How often do you see anyone apologising for the fact they are really passionate about something? Why on earth should we allow others to make us feel guilty about our hobby? Is it because it’s a solitary pursuit so it gets judged more harshly? I just don’t understand why I need to justify my book spending when I know for a fact a lot of hobbies are way more costly than mine? Basically, embrace your damn hobby and tell everyone where they can shove the next book you buy if they keep on at you.


Having A Lot Of Options Of What To Read Next Is Good (Even If Sometimes You Spend A Day Trying To Decide What To Read Next)

never out of options
I am always glad I have so many books to read because I almost always have a book to suit my mood. Sure, it’s not always easy to pinpoint what that mood is but I always have something to read. My options are endless and it’s great. It’s not like I've just got the few books I got out of the library to read and those are my only options, I just have to turn and look at my shelves and see I have books from at least 10 different genres to pick from.I mean, t does mean sometimes my library books don't get read, but that is a minor issue we will not address here.

It’s Okay To Want To Cut Back On Your Spending And Acquisitions But Stop Apologising For Doing What You Love.

we're al sorry
I know I have a book buying issue and I need to cut back but it’s hard to not to have about a 100 new books you want to buy at any one time when you are continually being exposed to new books on the internet. I don’t think I go a day without finding another book I want to read because I’ve stumbled across it on someone’s blog. I don’t think it’s an issue that I am still buying books, though. I just think I need to employ a bit of restraint and not buy five books in one go. I won’t keeping apologising when I do get something new.


Basically, what I am saying people is that it isn't the end of the world that we like to read and why should we keep restraining ourselves and feeling guilty over our book purchases because other people say so? This post is completely inspired by a judgemental comment from my stepdad and this is me telling him to swivel in a really eloquent way. But it's true, also. It's something I need to remember more because I am fed up of feeling guilty because of what other people think. Now, if I feel like it's an issue. If I see I am spending too much money and need to save or if I find I am buying way too many books I never plan to read then I can address the problem, but until then screw everybody.


Do you have someone who makes you feel guilty about getting new books? Do you ever find yourself feeling guilty about how many unread books you have or are you some inhuman monster who reads everything they buy and waits before getting something new (no judgement I just can’t understand that level of self-control)? Have you realised you make excuses for new book purchases and it’s really unnecessary? If so people you need to join me in stopping the guilt and owning your books, screw everyone else.

18 September 2016

Sunday Summary // 18.09.2016

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Welcome once more to a Sunday. I wish I could say what kind of Sunday I am welcoming you to, but I am currently writing this Friday night (with a couple of Saturday afternoon additions) so how am I supposed to know? I will say that I think it’ll be a pretty good Sunday, but I am sat reading the entire Kate Daniels series in the space of a few days so I will probably be reading when this goes up.

Workwise this has been a very tame week. There have been some annoyances of the usual kind (you’re never going to like everyone you work with and so you occasionally find yourself wanting to move office to avoid them but can’t) but I’ve had worse weeks. It was sad in some ways, one of the finance team has moved to another department (and she is thrilled) but it’s sad to see her go as she is one of the people I like at work. We can still see her, but walking a couple of buildings down to see someone isn’t always convenient.

The only other thing which has happened this week is a family meeting on Saturday with my second cousins and my great uncle about the care of my nan. My brother, my mom and I all went to see them because they are currently the people handling the money for my nan’s care and they wanted to have a lengthy discussion about it. They are all getting on in years and they wanted to make sure we got involved more with the financial side of things and confirming it was okay with us. It’s safe to say it was a very emotional talk about her wellbeing and what’s best to do for her but it makes complete sense for us to get involved now as we were far too young when everything first happened to do anything.

I may not have mentioned my nan too much on here before and it’s just because she suffered a stroke when I was 17 and has never fully recovered from it. She has been bed ridden for about the past 5 years after suffering a second stroke and she is very much adamant she wants no help despite being unable to speak and being unable to do much at all for herself. Obviously, we have ignored that completely, and have arranged care for her and have tried to help her as much as she will allow, but even when she can't talk or move her body that woman is stubborn as hell. She is a nightmare of epic proportions but she is my nan and we love her, even when she is refusing to acknowledge you're there after you've told her she see a doctor for a cough and she doesn't like it (seriously, she can't talk but the doctors have decided she is coherent enough to determine her own medical care? Don't even ask, the NHS be crazy).

What I’m Reading

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What you may have noticed this week is that Nevernight has mysteriously disappeared from my list. No, I haven’t finished the book, but I am also not actively reading it at the moment. I’ve not admitted defeat and abandoned it but I think it’s safe to say my mood has decided not now on it because something wasn’t clicking. I liked everything about it but nothing was gripping me so I shall pick up again later. If you think you can convince me otherwise in the comments let me know.

Now, onto the books I have been finishing. I began reading the Kate Daniels series on Sunday looking for something good to read and I became utterly hooked. I have only split it up with a review copy in the form of Losing It and sadly I wasn’t in love with that, but it’s okay because I own the first six books in the Ilona Andrews books so I’ve got plenty to keep me quiet.

New To Me

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Yes, I know, you don’t need to say it. I just stumbled across a lot of deals… and I discovered a series I had to keep reading. I won’t explain my Kate Daniels purchases, I will instead explain the rest.

Cogheart and A Torch Against The Night were part of this weeks Amazon book deal and both were on my Looking Forward post. I managed to get both for what I would have spent buying A Torch Against The Night and so I couldn’t say no. I purchased The Score because it was on offer for 99p (who can say no?). Then I completely blame my mom for me buying The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend and The Liar (which will be my first Nora Roberts book). I was hanging around waiting for her to finish up her shopping to go to my nan’s and I ended up at the book section of the supermarket. These books just jumped into my hands. I have a problem… I know. Then there were my three review copies: For Better Or Worse, Caraval and It Must Be Christmas. I am thrilled about all three, Caraval was one where I felt like flailing in excitement when I got emailed about it. And I am really looking forward to my little seasonal collection, It Must Be Christmas, it’s three short stories and I cannot wait to read them all (although I’ve already read Jennifer Crusie’s one) I’m excited about the rest and to get a seasonal review up for Christmas.

How has your week been? Am I alone in obsessively reading a series to catch up, even when it’s a bit pricey buying all the books? And, as always, please let me know what I should read next.

16 September 2016

This Or That Tag // Where I Have To Make A Decision And Hate It Because I Am A Poor Decision Maker


I was tagged by Rachel over at Confessions of a Book Geek with his tag and it looks fun and who am I to turn down a tag, right? This tag was created by Ayunda from Tea and Paperbacks and it looks very cool.

Now, what you need to know about me before I begin is that I am a poor decision maker. I am terrible at it and this is because I am an indecisive person. I am terrible about committing to one choose so you may notice I say both to some of these questions.
both is good

Reading on the couch (sofa) or in the bed?

reading bed
This one is a hard one, I tend to read on my bed more simply because if I am on the sofa downstairs I am far more likely to get distracted. Either by the TV or by talking to someone in the living room or because my dog has chosen to lie on me and try and lick my hands/my face/my book whilst I’m reading. I mean, I still get attached by the dog on my bed, but there aren’t the other distractions there.

Male main character or Female main character?

I seem to read more books with a female main character but it’s not like I go out of my way to read only female main characters it just sort of happens. I suppose this has something to do with the fact I read a whole lot of romance, what do I expect? But even when I’m reading YA or fantasy I seem to drift towards books with female main characters, somehow. Can someone recommend me a few books with male MCs so I can get some reading balance? Ta.

Sweet Snacks Or Salty Snacks?

chocolate
Sweet snacks, obviously. I have such a sweet tooth it’s crazy. I mean I always have some kind of snack with me, normally chocolate but I am also a fan of foamy fruit, Maom, and marshmallows. Give me a bag of proper marshmallows (none of this Haribo crap, I’m talking marshmallows stuck together in a bag with their slightly hard shell and gooey centre covered in powdery sugary goodness). As you can see, I seriously love my sweets. That’s not to say I won’t have savoury snacks, but they aren’t my go to food. I have savoury snacks only when I’m craving them.

Trilogies Or Quartets?

Do I really have to choose? I don’t have a preference. I do feel a bit fatigued by trilogies lately (seriously, every book feels like part of a series) but honestly, I don’t care how long my series is as long as there is a clear end in sight. I want it to be signed for a set number of books in the series and then that be it. I can handle really long series when it comes to UF for some reason, though.

Basically, I am indifferent to quartets or trilogies as long as the series itself is good.

First Person POV Or Third Person POV?

Personally, I am partial to a third person POV. First person can often feel weird. I mean, to be honest I don’t tend to notice it too much, but first person can feel a bit off if done badly. It’s not really something I’d thought overly much about until now, though.

Reading At Night Or In The Morning?

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I read more at night than during the day but that’s only because I often feel like I should be productive during daylight hours and I tend to read before bed (which often leads to 2am bed times). As a whole, I am a fan of reading all day not just at a set time, but night time is when I tend to get a lot of reading done. Less distractions once you’re in bed.

Libraries Or Bookstores?

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Can’t I have libraries and bookstores? I mean, I buy more books than I borrow from the library but I do wish I used the library more. I think I prefer owning books to borrowing them but I’ve come to learn that sometimes it’s better to borrow a book first and you can always buy it later (it’s a slow learning curve on that one, though).

Books That Make You Laugh Or Books That Make You Cry?

i just have a lot of feelings
I’d rather have both. I mean, I love books that make me laugh as long as they aren’t trying too hard to be funny (if that makes sense) and I love books which make me cry because who doesn’t love an emotional read? It all just depends what mood I’m in. I just want a book which makes me feel things really. If I’m not emotional over a book it’s not doing something right.

Black Book Covers Or White Book Covers?

I want to say white covers because they are so clean and pretty, but black book covers often have the same effect as well. I’ve browsed through my goodreads shelves and I actually think white manages to come out on top (just about) and below are a few reasons why. I will say no book cover is all one cover and that’s what makes it pretty.
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Character Driven Or Plot Driven Stories?

I always find this a difficult question. I like books that have really interesting characters or characters I can connect and I want to feel something for them whilst reading but when it’s all character and little plot then I get bored same goes for all plot and no character.

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Now I’m meant to tag ten people but I hate tagging folks so if you fancy doing this tag please do. All you got to do is answer the above questions and we can get to know you and your bookish choices a bit more.

Have you done this tag? What do you think of some of these answers?