29 August 2017

My Blogging Problems // Learning What To Prioritise When It Comes To Blogging

My Blogging Problems
Recently, I have felt like I’ve been failing as a blogger. No matter how hard I try to stay on top of things I always feel like there is one aspect of blogging which I am letting slide. If I’m not behind on blog reading I’m behind on commenting. If I’m ahead on blog posts I’ve slacked on reading other people’s blogs. If I’ve conquered my emails I’ve probably not gotten to spend a lot of time reading books which is kind of the thing which made me want to blog in the first place. I feel like blogging is a juggling act and I’m failing at catching any of the balls.
real work
I have never been brilliant at organising my time. Even though blogging is something I enjoy I still procrastinate about doing it. A review I’ve half finished and needs an hours clean up will take me three hours to do and it might be three hours spread over two days depending on my mood. If you email I’ll either reply straight away or in a weeks time for no reason other than that I didn’t feel like doing it straight away and it somehow felt like an effort. I don’t know why I procrastinate from blogging but I do. And so anything blog related because a daunting task because even when I knuckle down and do things I know it’ll take longer than I want because that’s who I am.
tenor
Anyway, I’ve realised my current non-routine is unsustainable. It’s gotten so bad I no longer even know what books I’ve finished reviewing and those I haven’t. My drafts are overflowing. It stresses me out constantly being behind on things and since I’m not reading as much It’s bothering me that I’m wasting so much of my time on blog related things when all I want to do it curl up with a good book. Something has got to give!

I realised I didn’t know what had to give, though. I mean, what facet of blogging is less important than the rest?

Problem #1: Making Time To Read And Comment On Other Blogs

too much
I’m obviously not giving up blog reading. It’s a source of inspiration and I want to see what my online friends are reading and talking about! If I gave up blog reading I wouldn’t be part of the community anymore and it kind of defeats the point of blogging. I do find that I am constantly playing catch up with blog commenting. I am never on top of it I am always behind and there are so many posts up every day!

The Solution:

About-Quality-Quantity-Friends
What I can do is cut down on the number of blogs and read and follow. I’ve spoken before how I want people to follow me who are genuinely interested in what I blog about and I’ve spoken about how I follow a lot of blogs for a lot of reasons (not all of them good reasons). Well, I’ve realised I need to make my blog feed manageable. There are at least five blogs I follow as they’re big names in the blog community but I never read their posts anymore. EVER! I’ve got to admit I followed them, to begin with, as they helped guide me but I know who I want to be in my corner of the internet, it’s time to let them go. It makes me sad to let go of blogs but it’s necessary. Instead, I can slowly introduce in those blogs I am interested in.

Problem #2: Replying to Blog Comments

5ca5dde69756e4aa7fa779b87e5b21d8c675614a_hq
I am bad at replying to blog comments. Much as I put off blog reading as I know the reading/commenting thing is time-consuming I put off replying to comments because it’s time-consuming. I will never not reply to blog comments. I love seeing people’s thoughts, why would I have a blog and not read the comments?

The Solution:

anigif_enhanced-buzz-20428-1382641748-33
I will start making set times to do so. I’ve actually started replying to blog comments on my way to and from work. It gives me half an hour or so of time to read people’s thoughts and reply back. I still have to sit in front of my laptop for an hour or so some nights but I’ve already found a way to cut down some of the time I spent doing so. I find responding in small doses is better because I don’t get bored (don’t worry, it’s not your comments which bore me but my replies).

Problem #3: The Dreaded Inbox Where Emails Go To Die

tenor (1)
Over the past few months, I’ve started getting more and more emails in from publishers/authors/random people I’ve never spoken to. And I’ve found I am now signed up for all the author newsletters (some I don’t recognise, how did that even happen?) and I also have all my Disqus notifications for blog comments every where and any other response notifications for other people’s blogs. My inbox is a mess and it scares me to go in it a lot of the time. Emails die there. Every publisher who emails me ever gets an email which begins ‘sorry for the delay in replying’ lately.

The Solution:

635922832360675432-1763852986_leslie knope organized
I saw a post a little while ago over at Howling Reviews about email bankruptcy where you delete your email from a certain date then go through the rest. I hope I haven’t gotten to that point (yet) but I do plan to look back and if I’m going too far back those things are getting deleted. I also plan to start unsubscribing myself from author newsletters as half I am genuinely not interested in. I can then just keep my actual favourite authors on the list who I want to be notified on. The biggest thing is creating folders which work for me. Currently, everything goes everywhere so I am going to start adding things to folders I’ve named and get proactive with my inbox going forward.

Problem #4: Who Has Time To Write Blog Posts Anymore?

no time
I seriously stress my self out with how much time I don’t have to write blog posts. Like I said, a lot of the things above really eat into my usual blog writing time. Sunday’s (and part of Saturdays if I’ve not got much on) will be spent writing up blog posts. I finish off reviews from what I typed up on Goodreads to make it an actual post. I write those discussion ideas which have been brewing. I even do the tags which interest me from around the internet. I don’t have enough time in the week to write a full blown blog post, I can edit and tweak at most so I need my weekends to work for me and lately, they don’t.

The Solution:

giphy
This isn’t as easy to solve. I mean, I can’t make more time but I do hope if I do the above it will mean less time spent doing all that at the weekend. The next key thing is sticking to my own mental blog schedule (and keeping planned posts written down in my bujo). I like to post Monday, Wednesday and Friday and have my usual Sunday post. I will change this from time to time, I have no aversion to posting Tuesdays and Thursdays, I just like my three times a week plan. I will also make sure all posts are finished on a Sunday and attempt to slowly build a few posts as back up for my lazy weeks. I want to stay a couple of reviews ahead of where I am and have back up none review posts on the go. I want to be able to plan ahead. I will also go on hiatus when I know I won’t be around so I’m not catching up on everything when I’m back. That means my holiday will be a hiatus. I’ve got to accept my human limitations.

Problem #5: If I Can’t Find Time To Blog How Am I Meant To Find Time To Read?

more-time
This one is the one which has been stressing me out the most. Any regular visitor will know I went through a reading slump recently. It was a major reading slump. I lost motivation to read even though I was enjoying reading and it threw me for a loop. I managed to get back to reading when I stopped stressing out over it and I may not be reading as much as I was but I’m reading again and looking forward to reading and that makes me happy but with every other blog thing taking up my time I don’t have as much time to read. It happens at weekends, with the time I put aside for blog writing I’m not reading and it sucks.

The Solution:

635934475741759412804578524_reading
This is something I’ve tried to implement for myself before but I want a technology disconnect on evenings when I’m at work. I try and switch my laptop off my 9 pm at the latest (but ideally earlier so I can have a cosy couple of hours reading). I try and set aside that hour or so before bed as reading time so I can get lost in a good book for a little while. It doesn’t always work but that is my plan for reading. I need to admit defeat and accept that by a certain time there is no more blog related things I can do.

***

And there you have it. There are plenty of other problems I have when it comes to blogging (don’t speak to me about social media, I do not get it I will use it as I please) but these are the ones which have bothered me most and I’ve mostly thought of solutions for them.

Are there blogging problems you haven’t been able to face sorting? Do you find writing a plan of action helps you relax about things which have been bothering you? And would you have different solutions to my problems?

27 August 2017

Sunday Summary // 27.08.2017

Sunday Summary
Another week has ended and I honestly don’t know where my week has gone. I mean, I would love to say I’ve spent it reading but I haven’t all that much, there have only been a couple of evenings where I’ve let myself get lost in the joys of reading. And it hasn’t been spent on blogging either (sorry guys, replying to comments and commenting on your posts is a priority this weekend… again).

I spent last weekend and the beginning of this week catching up on a little over 2 weeks worth of blog comments and tackling emails (which I have to tackle again, why is life so hard?). I am finding I am constantly falling behind on things with my blog so I am having a long hard think on a new blog strategy. I will even write a discussion post (maybe) on it. I;m not sure what kind of post but my discussion senses are tingling.

As I said last week, my supervisor was off this week so I was the go to person on my team (I love that people are willing to turn to me for these things because yay people respect me in my job but ugh, I so do not have the patience for questions sometimes). It was good though because I got all the gossip first. I love when managers tell you important stuff and I was the first to know one of our new starters handed his notice in (I know guys… I know, another one bites the dust). But it’s weird because he did it after the weekend and when he knew our supervisor was off. He’d had a performance review a few days before so I reckon he didn’t like what he heard and decided to quit while he only had a weeks notice. What’s weirder is he didn’t mention it to anyone on the team and it was only when our manager decided he was becoming more of a hindrance than a help during the week and told him he could finish early that everyone found out. And when he was leaving he didn’t even say bye! I feel like maybe he didn’t like us.
another one bites the dust
Apart from that work drama (which was quite funny looking back on it), it’s not been too exciting for me. My BFF has finally moved into her house though! It was very exciting as she has been waiting for that house for 8 months so that’s cool. I’ve barely gotten to see it as she has practically no furniture so anytime we’ve hung out we’ve left the house. It is very exciting because she is becoming a proper grown up whilst I am not. I'll let her try it out first, though, before I brave adulthood.

Apart from those things I’ve mostly just making plans with folks to meet up. Past work people are pushing for a meetup. Current work people are pushing for an out of hours event. Everyone wants to do stuff and it’s time-consuming thinking up plans! We have organised my friend’s hen do, mostly, though. There is a spa day involved and time at the Roman Baths and just, I think it’s going to be fun.

What I’ve Been Reading

Leviathan Wakes8. Alias Vol. 1Irresistible You
I finally finished Leviathan Wakes! I loved it but it’s been a while since I’ve read a book which was quite so long. I spoke to my brother about it and he agreed that the books in this series do take a while to read but they are well worth the effort. It’s such a well thought out storyline and I'm interested to see where the next book will go. Sadly, I am waiting for my brother to drop round the second book and he has a flat tyre on his car so that will probably be another week until that happens. I’ve got ARCs and reading challenge books to read until then. I did decide to tackle a graphic novel (not one of the ones I named) but after my Defenders binge watch on Netflix I felt inspired to read the first Jessica Jones book because she is my favourite character. The Alias comics weren’t quite on par with the series, not this first volume, anyway. I think it’s one which will improve with each collection so I’ll have to try and get a hold of the second one. This first volume was part of Prime Reading so I got it free so off to the library I shall go. I then had a craving for some romance and was inspired by Lisa’s review. it was very good, it’s been a while since I read a good sports romance so it definitely sated that craving.

New To Me

The NaturalsKiller InstinctWonder Woman WarbringerNyxia
You will not believe it guys, but no actual money was spent on books this week… well… there was but it was just postage or a subscription box. That’s different. The lovely Luna was getting rid of some books and posted a pic on Twitter, I saw a book I wanted and offered postage for it. She found the ARC for the next book in the series and a couple of weeks and an Amazon gift card later they arrived in my house and I couldn’t be happier. I wanted to read The Naturals after Kaja mentioned the books to me so yay! I also got my latest Illumicrate in the post so was thrilled to get a Wonder Woman: Warbringer and an ARC of Nyxia. I love that book box and it works perfectly for me that it’s quarterly as it gives me time to read the books I get.

#TheReadingQuest Progress


We are now two weeks in and I’ve read a grand total of one book in my main quest, and two for my side quest. I need to up my game! It’s harder than I first thought but I’m staying positive. I do have 30EXP and 116HP after all.
#thereadingquest
How has your week been? I know I get annoyed/depressed watching the news of late but I’m still managing to find things to make me smile in the every day. Anyone else get inventive with how they justify new books?

25 August 2017

Wildfire // It Was Brilliant But I Did Have One Complaint

Wildfire
Published: 25th July 2017
Source: Bought
Genre: Urban Fantasy, Romance
My Rating:
Just when Nevada Baylor has finally come to accept the depths of her magical powers, she also realizes she’s fallen in love. Connor “Mad” Rogan is in many ways her equal when it comes to magic, but she’s completely out of her elements when it comes to her feelings for him. To make matters more complicated, an old flame comes back into Rogan’s life…

Rogan knows there’s nothing between him and his ex-fiance, Rynda Sherwood. But as Nevada begins to learn more about her past, her power, and her potential future, he knows she will be faced with choices she never dreamed of and the promise of a life spent without him.

As Nevada and Rogan race to discover the whereabouts of Rynda’s kidnapped husband and are forced to confront Nevada’s grandmother, who may or may not have evil motives, these two people must decide if they can trust in each other or allow everything to go up in smoke.
It isn’t a secret that I’ve loved The Hidden Legacy Ilona Andrews series so far so you know I preordered Wildfire as soon as it became available. I finished Wildfire a little while ago and completely loved it. I had obviously been looking forward to reading it ever since I finished White Hot and I’m pleased to say that it met expectations (mostly). Totally amazing. Absolutely the perfect third book. I adored every page and even the moments I thought would annoy me I loved. My only complaint? That ending! There was nowhere near enough resolution. I hope it was left open ended and they’re waiting to see how the book performs before doing more but I just don’t know. I will have to eagerly await news instead.

There will be spoilers, I’m sure, but I need to talk about this book. Wildfire begins right where White Hot left off… with Nevada discovering the grandmother she has heard nothing but bad things about (she’s a total psycho) has discovered her and her family and knows where they live. She needs to leave her vacation immediately and go protect them… and figure out their next move.

I did love this book for lots of reasons and this is going to be a spoiler filled review for the series as a whole so don’t read ahead if you don’t like that. Just know it’s awesome and you need to read these books!

Okay, so we have nice established relationship Connor and Nevada in this and it’s always concerning that the series will get stale when a central point has been the romance but that just didn’t happen with this. There are tensions around their relationship as they establish where they stand with one another and debate their future. They end up having outside forces made them both uncomfortable and jealous which leads them to question what they want. I began to get a little frustrated at the jealousy aspect as Nevada has taken on a case from Connor’s ex (who has to then move in to Connor’s and be protected obviously) so Nevada gets jealous of Connor and then Connor gets jealous as Nevada has started the process of establishing a house and he thinks she leave him because she cares about something stupid like bloodlines (does he not know Nevada at all?). I think Andrews handled the jealousy storylines well, though. It was the kind of conversation any couple has, where are we going and how do we stand? I loved how both approached it mostly maturely and only ended up strengthening their relationship as they both knew the other would take no shit but give them the freedom to do as they pleased.

I loved seeing Nevada coming into her own power in this book as well. She had never had a chance to explore her abilities before as she was constantly hiding them so with the process to establish House Baylor meaning everyone finding out about her powers Nevada finally got to try new things and test her limits. I would have liked to have learnt more about her abilities and how they worked but I’m still hoping this series will continue. There appears to be an aspect of instinctively knowing how powers work and whilst it was interesting getting to see her interact with others who shared her ability and learning how they worked it would have been cool.

I did get strong Baylor family feels in this one, though. The second book established her sisters and cousins with solid personalities finally but this book is the book where they all got to shine, especially as we learnt more about what both of her sisters abilities were. We’d heard mention of them and seen them in play a small amount but this time you got to learn that in fact all the Baylor’s are badass and terrifying and you would not want to cross any of them ever.

My biggest complaint about this series is simply the fact this final book did not answer anywhere near enough of my questions. There is still a storyline which has been left hanging and whilst there is a whole heap of resolution to be had the big mystery that has extended over all three books never gets answered. This leaves me hopeful that we’ll see more of the Baylor’s in books to come but it was frustrating as hell when finishing this book.

It’s a fantastic book and a good end to enjoyable trilogy but if you’re easily annoyed by unresolved storylines maybe hold off reading until we find out if there will be more. I mean, by them to make sure the publisher knows this is a successful series… but just don’t read them until more books are announced.

Have you read any series where it finishes but leaves things unresolved for you?

21 August 2017

The Hate U Give // It’s A Must Read For Everyone

The Hate U Give
Published: 6th April 2017
Source: Bought
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Realistic Fiction
My Rating:
Sixteen-year-old Starr lives in two worlds: the poor neighbourhood where she was born and raised and her posh high school in the suburbs. The uneasy balance between them is shattered when Starr is the only witness to the fatal shooting of her unarmed best friend, Khalil, by a police officer. Now what Starr says could destroy her community. It could also get her killed. Inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, this is a powerful and gripping YA novel about one girl's struggle for justice. Movie rights have been sold to Fox, with Amandla Stenberg (The Hunger Games) to star.
A book about fighting for what's right has never felt more apt than right now. I mean, the past few weeks has once more demonstrated that racial equality has not been achieved and it has never been more obvious than in the US. I would go into my rant about the racism demonstrated by the white supremacist nazis who were protesting but I don’t want to work myself up to rage about it. I don’t need to when this book will help fire up that feeling of outrage.

This book has been raved about and hyped up and I was so wary about picking it up and being disappointed so it is safe to say I am thrilled it met all expectations and firmly placed itself as a must read for YA lovers (and book lovers in general). It’s an eye-opening read that will hit you in the feels and it’s certainly one I believe everyone should be reading. I should have read it far sooner but it’s sad to see even after the Black Lives Matter movement has been alive and well for a while it’s a book we still need today as there are still people out there who hold racist beliefs and whose voices are still being heard and not talked down enough.

I wasn’t sure how to talk about this book. I’ve tried three times to write a review which fully captures why this book is important and how it packed such a punch and I’ve been failing epically. At first I thought about writing five reasons why you should read, but there are far too many good reasons to read than that. Then I tried to write my normal review and couldn’t find the write words to explain why this book is good. I kept getting drawn off into tangents and I began talking politics and it all went wrong then. And so I’ve been sat staring as screen with about three different takes on this book all in one post. I’m going to try and be concise. Wish me luck.

This book was eye opening for me. I was aware of the struggles which were on going in America (and around the world, race is not an exclusively US struggle) and I knew about the Black Lives Matter movement. I was even aware that racial profiling was done by the police. I know the statistics for the number of black lives taken by the police last year and I know that more black people are killed by the police than in terror attacks. I know the statistics but actually reading a book where this happens is very different.

Angie Thomas speaks from a place of knowledge in this book. As her acknowledgements say, she grew up in an area very similar to Starr and had similar troubles reconciling herself at home and that at school as she had two very different personas. She knows the struggle of getting out of a poor neighbourhood and making her way in the world and you can see her experiences shining through on the page. You heard it in the way that Starr is viewed by those in her neighbourhood as seeing herself above them as she doesn’t hang out with them as much now she’s at a private school. You see it how she modulates her own self to fit better with her rich, white friends at her private school. There are certain phrases and speech patterns she won’t use so she doesn’t come across as an angry black girl. She is viewed as inherently cool by her white friends simply because she is black she must know what is cool whilst with her black friends at home she isn’t cool. She hangs back. The perception of her in both places is very different. I wouldn’t have even thought about it but it’s something which people do to fit. I know it’s now the same but we all alter ourselves from at home to how we act in a professional environment, like work. We alter ourselves slightly to better fit in. Starr has to do that in everyday life. Seeing her reconcile her two selves into one through the book was interesting. Especially as it was triggered by her witnessing the police shooting a friend and it being a spoken about topic both at home and at school meant her two worlds collided when she had managed to keep them very separate before that.

The skill at which Thomas shines a light on everyday things you don’t even notice was amazing as well. For me, getting pulled over by the police would be nerve-wracking (it’s the police, it’s always a daunting experience) but only in the way you mentally catalogue anything you’ve done wrong and try reassure yourself you’re not guilty. Not because you fear how the police will react to you and whether or not you have to fear the police themselves. Not because you fear they will look at the colour of your skin and you will be at risk. The fact that this is a normal occurrence for many a person and they have a reason to fear not because they’ve done something wrong but simply because the colour of their skin is shocking. It was not comfortable to acknowledge that although we like to believe we are beyond such thing racism is still obvious in the everyday and people get treated differently due to the colour of their skin. That has been very obvious in recent weeks seeing white folks gathering with firearms in a public place and there has been no rollout of the army whilst when black people protested for the killing of someone from their community there have been curfews and a large police presence.

It is not always comfortable seeing Starr’s friends and the way which they act and some of the comments said. I wasn’t always a fan of Starr’s boyfriend, especially with some of the comments he made… but he was good at demonstrating incorrect beliefs and when being taught why they are incorrect. Like the comments about black names being weird and then Starr and her friends demonstrating that in fact white names are weird (different cultures people!) and white people insistence that they split up (fatal horror film choice you should never make and it made me laugh when this then happened in a book I was reading, guess what everyone ended up captured!). Those lighter moments which highlighted comments which are racist but made fun of them were great because those are the comments people are likely to make. That fun interaction of learning about different cultures was good and it was fun and it meant this book never came across like it was preaching at you.

This is just a brilliant book. It’s brilliantly written and it’s smart. It talks about relevant issues in the world and thus should be read by everyone. For me it gave a different perspective and it taught me knew things. It led me to question my immediate response to events like a police shooting and reminded me that there are people involved and now be too quick to believe everything being said on the news. It will make you laugh and make you cry and make you care about all these characters and want to keep them safe. You will rage at the injustices seen and cheer on the small moments of success. When a character learns they’re being racist and stops you will want to let out a small cheer. And when someone is being an idiot you will want to smack them upside the head for being dumb. It’s chock full of all that good stuff I like in a book and I will be trying to force everyone I know to give this a read.

Have you read The Hate U Give? What did you think?

20 August 2017

Sunday Summary // 20.08.2017

Sunday Summary
This week has been a good week. You may be shocked to hear that as I so often complain or grumble or despair at how tired I feel. I am tired and I did have some long days but I am feeling positive at the end of this week which means I deem it a success.

Work has been work. I mean, it’s had its usual ups and downs, you know? It has been a good week and I left work feeling happy on Friday. It may be me trying to be positive because I know next week will be hell as my supervisor has the week off so guess who is the most experienced member of my team that week? Yep, lucky me, all the questions and responsibility and none of the pay benefits. It’s only for a week, at least, and I’ll have a few days off as well after that.

We’ve had builders in at home this week so our house looks surprisingly dusty and it’s a little weird. My parents are moving the living room downstairs so we’ve had new doors put in that lead out to the garden and a wall has been knocked out. Lots or plastering has been done and hopefully, we’ll get new flooring next week. It’s quite exciting but yeah, lots of dusting needs to be done. I am not looking forward to the cleanup job. I am looking forward to a living room leading on to a garden. It’ll be great for when everyone is home and we’re doing things.

I intended to get lots done this weekend. I intended to do lots of reading and blogging and generally be crazy productive but instead, I binge watched Marvel’s The Defenders because that’s how I roll. I never managed to finish Iron Fist but this Marvel series definitely redeemed things a bit. The storyline was good and the 8 episodes meant I didn’t feel too guilty about finishing it all in a day. I am in love with the dynamic between Matt and Jessica in it. They are opposites but they are fun together. Definitely, hope to see more of them in future series.

What I’ve Been Reading

Leviathan WakesRituals
Well, I intended to read a lot more than I did. I restarted Leviathan Wakes because I borrowed it from my brother and he raved about this series. I’m enjoying it but it’s a slow read for me. I think the length is putting me off but it definitely fits in with the side quest as ‘Grind’ as it has been a bit of a grind to read so far. In a good way. I also got my copy of Rituals this week and I was so damn excited to get reading. It definitely met expectations but the more I think on it the more I get frustrated that there wasn’t more. It wasn’t anywhere close to being a disappointment but I definitely wanted more, I think that’s my issue with it. I’ve got about a dozen reviews I want to write and this is one of them.

New To Me

SteadfastIrresistible YouThe Fifth SeasonRituals
You know that spending ban I spoke about? I didn’t exactly succeed. I mean, it began with my preorder of Rituals arriving (I do not regret that one) and then a couple of romances (because I am a sucker for having all the romance lurking on my Kindle) they were both going cheap and one click is just too easy sometimes. And finally, The Fifth Season, I saw it for £2 at The Works and a girl just can’t say no to a book at that price, especially when it’s one I’ve been wanting to read for a while. I know I shouldn’t have bought these books but #noregrets!

#TheReadingQuest Progress

#thereadingquest
I’ve read one and a half books for this quest (Leviathan Wakes & Rituals). I’ve boosted my EXP and HP, though. If the spreadsheet I’m using to track my progress is to be believed anyway. I had delusions of progressing through more than one of the quest paths. I would be shocked if I managed that to be honest.

How has your week been? Anyone else participating in #TheReadingQuest? What books you been reading lately?

18 August 2017

My Thoughts // Do Some Storylines Only Work In Certain Genres?

My Thoughts_zpsv3m9csox.png
Captive Prince8 Prince's Gambit9 Kings RisingBlackbird
I had been intending to review the Captive Prince trilogy for a very long while but found it difficult to summarise my thoughts on it. I’ve still got a half finished review of it in my drafts folder. Give it a year and those reviews may see the light of day. I found a lot of the story amazing and blazed through that series in a couple of days (I seriously could not put those books down). I will be placing them firmly in my favourites and even though I paid far more than is reasonable to get copies of the second two books in the series (the first I got from the library) I am completely glad I bought and read them and will undoubtedly read again sometime soon.

I recognise there were issues with the book, though, and my biggest one, outside of the ending, is the fact that the romance is a captor/captive romance and there is such a power imbalance happening in it. Power imbalances in romances have to be dealt with carefully because as soon as one person could be accused of using their position of power to force them on to another then it gets iffy. Add in the fact that one character is held captive and it then could be interpreted as Stockholm syndrome and that’s even worse because it adds a creepy element into the whole thing.

When reading the Captive Prince trilogy I was totally behind the romance because it’s so very slow burn and developed through three books. It doesn’t feel like Stockholm syndrome but instead that the characters are letting down their guard, getting to know one another and falling in love. All of it went together so well and I was there for it 100%. I came to read a contemporary book which had a similar premise of a man buying a woman and possessing her and the romance which developed between the two. That book was Blackbird and I had a very different reaction to it. I was immediately bothered that language was used of someone ‘possessing’ or ‘owning’ another. And really as soon as money was exchanged all I could think was that human trafficking was bad and I so was not there for the romance. I mean, it just screamed Stockholm syndrome. It took me a really long time to let the romance grow on me and although I liked the characters together I would have liked them far better if there hadn’t been that power imbalance. I mean, she didn’t even see other people for ages and was never allowed out alone. She really saw no one but him so there was no doubt she would fall for him as she had no human comparison. All of it made me feel a bit blech.

Why is it I felt so different to a similar storyline in a contemporary read and a fantasy one?

That’s easy, the fantasy read was removed from reality. It was set in a different world where the possession of people and use as slaves was accepted and it wasn’t real. It may have helped that both characters were men so physically there wasn’t the same power difference. In fact, the slave was the stronger of the two based on sheer physicality and brute strength. Whilst in the contemporary setting a woman was taken off of the streets, from her job, and forced into human trafficking only to be purchased by a man and forced to accept him. To feel comfortable around him by proving she is ok with him seeing her naked. And repeatedly she is forced into situations where she could potentially be raped and the man who bought her proves he could have her if he wanted. In that situation I felt disgusted and didn’t like any romance developing.

I am of course basing these opinions off of what I remember of both books and it has been a little while since I read each but I found a captive romance only works when it’s taken outside of reality. In the modern day you immediately jump to the conclusion there is a psychological bond forming between captor and captive that would never develop otherwise. It feels forced and it’s wrong. In a fantasy context you can overlook these things a little. Or at least I could. The same issues exist but I think my biggest issue was the possession of another human. When this happens in a society where slavery is accepted you can get it but in the modern world slavery and the possession of people is not the norm and so my dilemma began.

So, as you can see. Two very similar storylines but as soon as you alter the setting it gets interpreted in my mind in a very different way. Does anyone else have moments like this where they find themselves disliking a storyline they loved in another book all because of the genre it’s written in?

Does anyone else have a similar reaction or is this just me? Does context matter for certain storylines to work?

15 August 2017

North To You // Nick Forced A Fun Romance All About Food On Me

1. North To You
Published: 5th June 2017

Source: Bought

Genre: Romance, Contemporary

My Rating:
In this warmhearted and charming debut from Tif Marcelo, a food truck chef and her long lost Army love clash when they cross paths in San Francisco.

Camille Marino has got a full plate. As the sole guardian of her eighteen-year-old sister and the head chef and owner of a food truck, she’s used to life being a juggling act. With food to cook, social media accounts to manage, and a little sister to look after, she doesn’t have time for much else.

That is, until Drew Bautista walks back into her life.

Drew is Camille’s former high school crush and he returns to San Francisco to repair his relationship with his father before he ships out for deployment. By helping his father renovate his failing Filipino restaurant, he hopes to win back his respect. But when sparks fly between Drew and Camille—his father’s major competition and sworn enemy—Drew is conflicted. Should he join his father in the war against her food truck? Or surrender to the woman who’s given him a second chance at love?
I need a shelf on Goodreads called ‘Books That Are Nick’s Fault’ because this would be on it. Seriously, she just tweeted about it and I was there buying it. I mean, also, the cover was cute and I remember seeing it on Smart Bitches (that’s a whole other shelf I need on Goodreads) and so I bought it and started reading almost immediately. I’m so glad I give in so easily. One thing I have learnt is Nick knows good romance. Like the best kind of romance.

So, North To You is set in San Francisco and in the world of food in San Francisco. Camille has set out to follow her dreams and is trying to make herself a success as a chef and owner of a food truck. She is working hard to support her and her sister and has time for nothing else. She is pursuing her dreams, after all. So when she bumps into an old high school flame, Drew, she doesn’t have time for him despite having a whole heap of unresolved issues there since she disappeared without a word Luckily for her Drew isn’t taking no for an answer and sparks fly left, right and centre. I mean hot damn!

I think this book worked for me because Camille and her hard headedness sucked me in (I love a woman who knows what she wants and has a few trust issues) and then there was Drew. Drew was a sweet cinnamon roll, too good for this world. He was cute and so damn irresistible. I got how Camille struggled to resist him because I wouldn’t have been able to.

There were the usual obstacles to the relationship. Drew ended up holding back a few things which made Camille doubt him (I do hate a liar when it comes to romance but even that couldn’t make me dislike him). And Camille and her trust issues, they would normally frustrate me but the girl just made me love her more because she had been through so damn much and she just wanted to give her sister her dream and have her own. Then there was the fact she was competing with Drew’s dad and it’s hard competing with family, isn’t it?

If you’re in the mood for a book which will make you hungry (I want to go to San Francisco and eat all the food!) then this is the book for you. if you like a good old second chance romance with a cute couple who really should have gotten together far sooner if life hadn’t gotten in the way then check it out!

Do you know someone who convinces you to buy all the books? Is their name Nick? I feel your pain. And what was the last book you bought because someone recommended it and it blew you away?

13 August 2017

Sunday Summary // 13.08.2017

Sunday Summary
Guys, you don’t even know how exhausted I feel. This week has been the longest week and for no apparent reason. I mean, I’ve been busy I’ve had lots to do. I feel like I haven’t stopped and so time should have flown by but work is dragging. Maybe it’s because I spend the first half hour of my working day alone eating breakfast and reading the paper, it’s a little too quiet. I don’t know why but the week has dragged and that always sucks.

I was out last Saturday if you guys recall and I actually wasn’t hungover the next day. Get a few drinks down me (and one very tasty one with vodka and jam in it which was the bomb) and I was dancing to cheesy pop music with folks from work and having a great time. I had my usual meal from my favourite takeaway before heading home and I was in bed and asleep by 3 am. It was basically a great night out and then I spent Sunday just relaxing (and not blogging… oops?).

Some awful stuff then happened around where I live and to people I know and so that sucked. But then work distracted me which is always good. We’ve been so busy trying to train folks and I am having to do some of it because I’ve been there a while and it’s exhausting I’m exhausted. I think the bad stuff has added into my long week and then every time you turn on the news Donald Trump is doing something to try and get folks killed because that’s what he does. Or you hear about crappy things happening in America that really shouldn’t happen in 2017. I’m not surprised I haven’t felt more positive.

I wouldn’t have left the house Saturday if I hadn’t got another appointment at the opticians (yes I have my new glasses). I also am trialling new contact lenses so I may start wearing those on a more regular basis if I find these to be comfy. We’ll see how they go. it was weird, though. The optician put them in my eyes for me. It’s definitely the weirdest experience at the opticians of recent memory.

It hasn’t been all negative, though. One of my friends is getting married towards the end of the year and planning for the hen do has been under way. I am so excited as it turns out we’re renting a house down in Bath for a weekend! I’ve never been to Bath but the place is stunning and filled with history and we so better be going out exploring during the day for this thing because that is literally all I want to do whilst there. Is that wrong of me? I think not. I mean, who goes to Bath and doesn’t experience the history?

What I’ve Been Reading

The Hate U Give4. Beyond the Highland Mist5. The Female of the Species
Okay, so I have actually had a pretty good reading week. I dithered over picking up a book Saturday as my reading challenge starts Sunday so I just indulged in fanfiction (which has inspired me to think of another post to write but damn I have so many half finished post ideas of late). I only read three books this week (which isn’t bad, but I had wanted to read more) and one of those I skim read in parts because it turns out I wasn’t as in the mood for crazy sauce romance as I thought and the alpha male hero had me fed up (Beyond the Highland Mist, just FYI). I did read two really good books, though. The Hate U Give was insanely good and hit me in the feels all over the place (seriously, the number of times I teared up in public was embarrassing, warning label guys!) and then The Female of the Species got me all kinds of riled up because it talked about important issues and just. Ugh! I mean, I struggled to find the right words for it being so good. It was awesome and amazing and I feel like I should link to a whole bunch of articulate reviews to explain why.

New To Me

The Watchmaker's DaughterLove and Gelato4. Beyond the Highland Mist
I admit I got new books and I am on a spending ban. I did only spend 99p in total, though. That’s pretty damn good going if I do say so myself. The Watchmaker’s Daughter was free and I liked the cover so hopefully, it will be a Kindle books I remember to read. Love & Gelato is free for Kindle and was iBooks free book of the week so I got that. Beyond the Highland Mist is the only book I purchased and it wasn’t great but oh well.
Before We Were StrangersExit, Pursued By A BearMind GamesNoteworthy5. The Female of the Species
I have begun using the tag #booksfortradeuk and I have completed a few swaps in the past week and they all arrived in the post this week. I did pretty good and got a bunch of books which have been on my TBR for a while. I’ve already read The Female of the Species and loved it so hopefully, I will love the rest just as much.
InvictusJuniper Lemon's Happiness IndexHortense and the Shadow
And I also got a few ARCs. I really need to cut down on the ARCs. These might be the last until after my holiday just so I can take some time to catch up. I am insanely excited to read Invictus, though. I got Juniper Lemon’s Happiness Index because I’ve heard some good things and the cover is really pretty. I basically can’t say no. As for Hortense and the Shadow… I kind of accidentally got it. You know you have emails from Netgalley and you click the link? I got auto approved for it and clicked the link. It’s a picture book and the artwork looks amazing. You guys may get to see my first every picture book review!

So there is my week. I’m exhausted and it’s been long and weird and I hate watching the news of late. It hasn’t been all bad and the books have been good. Anyone read anything good or have a similar accidental Netgalley story to tell?