10 September 2017

The Holiday Hiatus

Those of you hoping for a Sunday Summary post I'm just going to have to disappoint. I'm off on my holiday today and my plans to get some blog reading failed this week. Real life took over whilst I saw friends and packed my suitcase so sadly my hiatus really began last weekend by accident. I'll not have a Sunday post up for the next couple of weeks (or any posts really). 

My break is one I feel is well deserved. I will miss you guys and all the bookish chat but holiday! The only down side is my dog won't get to come with! I have my Kindle loaded up with a holiday reading collection and I'm excited for the break. I'll be back before you know it and I'm sure I'll lurk online occasionally while I'm gone. Even a holiday can't stop me.

08 September 2017

Looking Forward // September 2017

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Looking Forward is all about the books I am hoping to get my hands on each month. These are all the new releases I’m excited for whose release I am actually keeping track of. I am incredibly impressed there are just three books which I haven’t managed to get a hold of already. That is impressive yet I do notice I am a little behind in actually reading my ARCs for September. There is a mix of books on this post which I think demonstrates I have varying tastes and I am fully convinced I’ve missed a few.

New Books I Want To Get

The Loneliest Girl in the UniverseJane, UnlimitedSuccessor's Promise
There are three new releases I’ve not already managed to get a hold of which I will (hopefully) get my hands on this month. I may have not read anything my Lauren James (yet) but The Loneliest Girl in the Universe may be the first one I get. I cannot wait to get my hands on it. Kristin Cashore is a favourite author of mine, I adored her Graceling series, so I obviously need to read Jane, Unlimited. I love the cover and I want this book. And then there is Trudi Canavan’s Successor’s Promise which I am very excited to read. I have been dithering over preordering as I have forgotten parts of the second book so I kind of wanted to reread before buying but I will definitely be getting this book eventually.

New Books I Have And Need To Read

NyxiaMoxieInvictusThere's Someone Inside Your HouseCompletely
As you can see, there is a bit of a mix when it comes to the books I have and need to read. Nyxia looks interesting and is sat on my shelf (or my floor, which is like another shelf) and it is just begging to be read. Moxie I have had for a while as the Zoella edition came out at WHSmith and I got it straight away. Who doesn’t want a YA feminist read? Invictus, There’s Someone in Your House, and Completely are all Netgalley ARCs sat on my Kindle waiting to be read. I have big dreams of reading my Kindle ARCs whilst away so wish me luck on that front!

And One I Have And Loved

East in Paradise
Okay, East In Paradise I have already read but I would be looking forward to its release even if I hadn’t already read it so I feel that it is only fair to include it in my Looking Forward post. If you are looking for a nice contemporary romance this is the book for you.

What books are you looking forward to being released this month? Are there any important ones which I am missing?

06 September 2017

Bite Sized Books // Three Romances I’ve Enjoyed Lately

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It’s been a while since I wrote up a collection of reviews and I’ve read a handful of romances lately that I want to talk about. apart from a bit of romance they really have nothing in common but that’s ok. I mean, who doesn’t love a good romance? One was a brilliant historical romance which I sort of wasn’t in the mood for it. One was a sports romance which kept making me think of X-Men. And one was a contemporary romance I went in wary and came out loving.

Published: 17th January 2014
Source: Library
Genre: Historical Romance
My Rating:
From the Design Book of Marcelline Noirot:
The allure of the perfect gown should be twofold:
ladies would die to wear it . . .and gentlemen would kill to remove it!

Brilliant and ambitious dressmaker Marcelline Noirot is London's rising star. And who better to benefit from her talent than the worst-dressed lady in the ton, the Duke of Clevedon's intended bride? Winning the future duchess's patronage means prestige and fortune for Marcelline and her sisters. To get to the lady, though, Marcelline must win over Clevedon, whose standards are as high as his morals are . . . not.

The prize seems well worth the risk—but this time Marcelline's met her match. Clevedon can design a seduction as irresistible as her dresses; and what begins as a flicker of desire between two of the most passionately stubborn charmers in London soon ignites into a delicious inferno . . .and a blazing scandal.

And now both their futures hang by an exquisite thread of silk . . .

This book wasn't what I fancied reading when I started it. I had just finished another book which overwhelmed me with its stunning writing and I was lost but I fancied romance, I just don't think it was a romance of the historical variety I fancied. The writing in this book and the spark between Clevedon and Marcelline was amazing. And once they had returned to England and still Clevedon found himself drawn to Marcelline, that was the point I became truly invested. Especially as glimpses of his past came up and the way he was with Lucie, Marcelline's daughter, well my heart just melted.

This was a little different to the other historical romance I've read so far (I am still not well read in this genre) as Marcelline is a working woman. She was a dressmaker and so she gained access to the elite in society as she clothed them but was never a part of their world either. She is the greatest modiste in the world and she has excellent taste. She has not yet been recognised by many in society for her skill (people don't like trying new things) but her quest to woo the Duke of Clevedon, to entice him to bring his future Duchess to shop with her is her first step on being recognised by all. The only problem is she is more interested in Clevedon that she should be and he has fallen in lust with her.

The sparks flying between the two were amazing and as they spent more time together I found my interest picking up in the book. They were obviously meant to be but you could tell there was more to both than they were letting on. The twists and turns of their relationship were great but as I said, it was Clevedon with Lucie which did it for me, he was adorable and she was amazing. She deserves her own book she had me in stitches.

I wasn't totally swept away in the romance. I was not in the right mood for this but it was so very enjoyable and I'm glad I picked up a copy.

Published: 14th August 2017
Source: Bought
Genre: Contemporary, Romance, Sports Romance
My Rating:
Hot in Chicago series author Kate Meader returns with her all new, scorching Chicago Rebels hockey series, featuring her signature “steamy sex scenes, colorful characters, and riveting dialogue” (Romantic Times). Three estranged sisters inherit their late father’s failing hockey franchise and are forced to confront a man’s world, their family’s demons, and the battle-hardened ice warriors skating into their hearts.

Harper Chase has just become the most powerful woman in the NHL after the death of her father Clifford Chase, maverick owner of the Chicago Rebels. But the team is a hot mess—underfunded, overweight, and close to tapping out of the league. Hell-bent on turning the luckless franchise around, Harper won’t let anything stand in her way. Not her gender, not her sisters, and especially not a veteran player with an attitude problem and a smoldering gaze designed to melt her ice-compacted defenses.

Veteran center Remy “Jinx” DuPre is on the downside of a career that’s seen him win big sponsorships, fans’ hearts, and more than a few notches on his stick. Only one goal has eluded him: the Stanley Cup. Sure, he’s been labeled as the unluckiest guy in the league, but with his recent streak of good play, he knows this is his year. So why the hell is he being shunted off to a failing hockey franchise run by a ball-buster in heels? And is she seriously expecting him to lead her band of misfit losers to a coveted spot in the playoffs?
He’d have a better chance of leading Harper on a merry skate to his bed…
First of all, Remy DuPre? He gave me full on Remy Lebeau vibes you don't even know. All I could think was X men and I felt bad about that as it did take me out of the story at first. Come on, he's name is Remy and he's a Cajun from New Orleans, who could blame me? About 20% in I was pretty solidly invested, though.

I wasn't Harper's biggest fan when I began reading. It wasn't that she was a driven woman who was focused on a single path, it was the fact she was focused and had blinders on. She was so closed off she was unwilling to rely on anyone else. Meader did an excellent job of explaining the independent streak Meader had going and Harper did grow on me but I still wanted her to reach her final realisations for sooner. It was a good kind of frustration, at least. And I had huge respect for what she did when she had been continually beaten down by a father who did not respect her brilliance and accept his own flaws.

As for Remy, everyone loves a passionate man, especially when he is a sexy hockey player who respects women and isn't afraid to talk about his feelings. And he's a musician as well? Don't mind me, I'm just swooning here.

The chemistry between Harper and Remy? Well, hot damn this book is on fire in that department. I loved them together, they were so good together and you could see sparks before they even had a proper conversation. I loved seeing them getting together and they were brilliant.

I also loved the family feels with the sisters together. I have high hopes for more family time with Harper, Violet and Isobel. Those girls will be hilarious together, I can see it now. Also, the DuPre family feels were good, too. Got to love a big family and Remy was so adorable with his nieces.

Published: 4th September 2017
Source: Netgalley
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
My Rating:
When an entrepreneur and an Army reservist end up in their own reality show fauxmance, they have to decide whether their love exists just for the cameras...or if it’s for real in this warmhearted romance, perfect for foodies and wine lovers!

Bryn Aquino, the former manager of a Filipino restaurant, knows the value of hard work. With a shiny new MBA in tow and an investor, she’s ready to start her own business: a culinary retreat where visitors can relax, cook, and enjoy life’s simple pleasures. Dubbed Paraiso Retreats, she leases the childhood home of army reservist Mitchell Dunford—who returned from Afghanistan to revive his family’s vineyard—but finds herself in a bind when her investor pulls out of the business.

When the retreat catches an internet live stream producer’s eye through social media channels, Bryn is offered the opportunity of a lifetime—to document her journey in exchange for a hefty paycheck. Excited, Bryn happily agrees to the arrangement...only to find out that she’s going to have to fake an onscreen romance with her indifferent landlord in order to keep her audience interested.

As Mitchell and Bryn put on a show for the cameras, they find their romance isn’t hard to fake. They’ve got more in common under their bluster, banter, and doubts. As their relationship heats up and the cameras keep rolling, the line between show and reality blurs. And when the pressures of family, business, and the audience stack against them, will their romance survive internet stardom? Or was it just for show?
I had my doubts with this one. I'd seen Nick saying she wasn't Bryn's biggest fan because she was mean so I went in with a couple of reservations. At first, I agreed, Bryn was mean and quick to judge when she didn't know everything. She wasn't willing to let folks close to her and needed control. And then Mitch looked like he was going to grow closer to Bryn with this livestream and not mention his ulterior motives and when he cared for her. I should've known there was no need to be worried. Did North To You teach me nothing? Marcelo knows what she's doing.

Mitch and Bryn were very different and they didn't get off to the best start. He did spill his coffee all down her and then he ended up being her landlord. There were sparks from the start, though. No one is that bothered by someone and doesn't have an interest in them.

Mitch was the easier character to like. He was a war veteran and suffering from insomnia and PTSD. He had things mostly under control and he was working to make his family's vineyard a success once more. He was a genuinely nice guy and he was so easy to fall in love. Bryn was not. She was harsh in North To You but in this, her determined personality shone through. She was focused and independent and that did make me like her but, like Mitch, I had to get past those walls she built to see what she was really like. Once she released a bit and got to know Mitch that was one I really started to like her.

There were several ups and downs in this book. I really enjoyed it, though. I also loved that it was a fake relationship book, except that it wasn't a fake relationship. They were taking a fake relationship and that was a good twist on a common (and far-fetched) trope.

And there you have it, three romances which I enjoyed (even if I wasn’t in the mood for one). Have you read any of these, what did you think? And what’s the best romance you’ve read lately?

04 September 2017

The Female of the Species // A Strong Feminist Read Which Is Totally Not What I was Expecting

5. The Female of the Species
Published: 20th September 2016
Source: Bookswap
Genre: Contemporary, Young Adult, Mystery
My Rating:
Edgar Award–winning author Mindy McGinnis delivers a dark and riveting contemporary YA novel that blends the unflinching honesty of Laurie Halse Anderson’s Speak with the relentless pacing and alternating perspectives of Gone Girl. A stunning, unforgettable page-turner.

Alex Craft knows how to kill someone. And she doesn’t feel bad about it.

Three years ago, when her older sister, Anna, was murdered and the killer walked free, Alex uncaged the language she knows best—the language of violence. While her own crime goes unpunished, Alex knows she can’t be trusted among other people. Not with Jack, the star athlete who wants to really know her but still feels guilty over the role he played the night Anna’s body was discovered. And not with Peekay, the preacher’s kid with a defiant streak who befriends Alex while they volunteer at an animal shelter. Not anyone.

As their senior year unfolds, Alex’s darker nature breaks out, setting these three teens on a collision course that will change their lives forever.

I had been wanting to read this book for a while. I’d seen reviews on various blogs but it never seemed to catch the wider blogging world and I don’t know why. Sure, it’s a dark YA read, you open with the MC having killed a man (this isn’t a spoiler, just read the blurb). It’s a dark book shining a light on the fact there are bad things in the world and bad people and sometimes good people do bad things for the right reasons. It doesn’t mean it’s right or good. This book also shows that small towns with no prospects leads bored people to do bad things. It’s also an insanely good feminist read. Basically, this book does a lot of things within it’s pages and it packs a powerful punch.

I don’t think this is an easy book to review. Like, I want to talk about everything which happened but I want to reveal no spoilers because the best part of this book, for me, was the fact I went in mostly blind and was all kinds of surprised by how the book progressed.

Alex was this amazing character who is very morally grey. All of the characters are a bit morally grey for different reasons. You have someone who has done something so very wrong for good reasons and you question if you should judge them for it when they are so good in so many other ways. Then you have characters who are good people raised by good parents and yet they go out and they get drunk and do stupid things. And then there are the people who do rubbish things and seem like bad people but ask someone close to them and they hung the moon. It’s insane, part of this book is all about the fact that you can’t judge someone from jut one angle. People are multi-faceted and complex and that is never more obvious than with the characters of this book.

It's a special book which both encapsulates the despair felt in a small town and the rage felt in youth. This is a book that is a difficult to review. I mean, how do you find words to describe a book where a girl murders a man within the first few pages? That really sets the scene for the book yet doesn't do it justice. This book is filled with things that make no sense and is hard to describe but it was brilliant.

I am a little ball of rage like 50% of the time. 90% if I have to go to crowded public places. I think I really respected this book for demonstrating the sheer level of rage felt at things which can some everyday. The unacceptable things which happen in life we are unable to prevent from happening. I've never had an author so accurately describe how sometimes you visualise bludgeoning and tearing apart someone for a minor offense and making it seem normal. I loved that it was female rage as well as so many everyday occurrences can you fill you with this need to lash out and just ugh. I want to describe everything in this book and how it made me feel but I can't.

I love how morally grey the characters were, especially Alex. And I loved that it wasn't scared to address drug use, alcohol use, and how bored angry people who use them are likely to spiral into the worst version of themselves. And most importantly it addressed that rape culture is everywhere that rapes are usually by those we know that rape is far more common than it ever should be and no where near enough rapes are reported because we know them. It just did everything right and I loved it for that.

It's safe to say this book angered me and made me smile. There was a dark humour to it I adored and I am so glad I read this. I loved all of it. Every page and it had me tearing up at the end and I just adored it. I can only say to you to read it because none of my review makes sense unless you have. This is hardly  even a review, it’s just a fantastic reads and I wanted you all to know that too.

What’s the last book you loved and couldn’t put into words why? Have you read this? What did you think?

03 September 2017

Sunday Summary // 03.09.2017

Sunday Summary
Welcome to another Sunday and the first Sunday of September! Where is the time going you guys?

It is just one week until me and my mom are going away so this week has been all about the holiday prep. It was actually a bank holiday weekend last weekend so I had Monday off of work and I decided to treat myself and I booked the Tuesday and Wednesday off as well. I spent the start of last weekend helping with cleaning, decorating, assembling new furniture and basically helping out with the new living room which we have yet to move into because we keep finding things which need painting! Hopefully, that will be finished before I go away. The rest of my time off was spent shopping and reading and it’s been lovely. I even registered at the doctors! I’d been meaning to do this forever because I knew I needed to change doctors so it was close by but I am the procrastination queen and put it off… for years! I finally did it though and was pleased to be informed I’m about 1kg under my ideal weight (I was expecting to be told to lose a little) and my blood pressure is good! Yay for good health.

I didn’t blog all that much during my time off and as my discussion post said this is because I’ve felt like I’ve been falling behind in all aspects of blogging so I wanted to take the time to figure out what I would and wouldn’t spend time on and I was I was going to focus. I think I’ve come up with some good ideas and I’ll get some reviews written this week so I will be sorted for a couple of weeks of posts. I will be taking a hiatus whilst I’m away, though, guys. I don’t want to come back to a bunch of comments on posts I’ve scheduled and spend my time catching up on things when I’m back so my holiday will be just that. I think a week off will do me good and my blog should survive that long without me. Don’t worry, you’ve got a week of me yet.

I have to say, outside of holiday things I’ve not done all that much. Seen friends and that. The usual. I don’t even have hilarious work stories for you as I was only in two days. You’ll have to put up with my barely there update. I did buy myself some Harry Potter socks from Primark when I was shopping, though! And Wonder Woman pyjamas. Guys, I know how to get crazy.

What I’ve Been Reading

33854876Silk is For SeductionHortense and the ShadowEvery Heart a DoorwayThe NaturalsKiller Instinct
I have been on a reading roll this week! It helps that I had time off of work so I’ve nothing but time to read (when I wasn’t busy doing other things). I think it helps I’ve been in the mood to read, though. I adored Wintersong, I picked it up last Sunday and I just got swept away in that book. It’s stunning, why did I wait to read it? Why? It was a five-star read and I need the next book now! I thought I fancied more romance after that so began Silk is for Seduction, I didn’t but I still enjoyed it. I now need to read the rest of the Dressmakers books to ensure they are just as good. I decided to read the picture book I accidentally got off of NetGalley and that book was so sweet. I am a fan of the art in it even if the story wasn’t totally amazing (it’s a picture book, I don’t know what I expected). I read Every Heart a Doorway and I will be continuing the Wayward Children books and I need to read more by Seanan McGuire. As for The Naturals series? Wow, I may hate the love triangle but I have been totally sucked into these quick and easy to read books, I will binge all 4 books just try and stop me (although the last two will be on my Kindle and I hate switching format part way through a series).

New To Me

32314754Destination ThailandThe Gentleman's Guide to Vice and VirtueEliza and her Monsters
I did treat myself to a few books this week. The Kindle version of The Hating Game is 99p (or was) and so I figured I’d need to reread at some point (it’s one of those NetGalley books I read and then didn’t review, silly me). Destination Thailand was a freebie which I figured might be a good plane read for me. And since I got all the stuff done I needed to (apart from getting my hair cut) during my time off I treated myself to both The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue and Eliza and her Monsters, I’m not totally sure when I’ll be reading either but I’m excited!
East in ParadiseAcceptanceA Jigsaw of Fire and Stars
I forgot to list my ARCs last week so this two weeks worth of books (not that there are so many, I’m just saying). I am so psyched to read East in Paradise (that’s my next read after my Naturals binge read). I loved North To You so fingers crossed this second book is as good. Acceptance I got as I liked the sound of it from the post Nicole and Feed Your Fiction Addiction did and she passed on my name to the author. It will be another plane read for me and it’s got mythology in it! I love mythology. And finally, we have A Jigsaw of Fire and Stars. It sounds like a great read set in Europe with some magical realism going for it. Fingers crossed it’s as good as the cover makes it seem.

How has your week been? Anyone else found a really good book they couldn’t put down?

01 September 2017

Monthly Wrap Up // August 2017

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I know it’s basically a given sentence at the start of all wrap-up posts but seriously, where it the time going? I feel like August barely started and it was already over! I mean, time flies when you’re having fun, right?

As all of you know, this month has had plenty of ups and downs. With Donald Trump sticking his foot in it constantly. With racist marches, terrorist attacks and a storm on a scale not seen for decades if not centuries. It’s safe to say it’s not exactly been a month filled with cheer. I’ve watched the news and been outraged and it has basically sucked. But when I’m not paying attention to the current news stories it’s not been all that bad. My reading slump hasn’t completely abated but I’m getting there. I’ve been vaguely succeeding at my spending ban until my holiday (I mean, I’ve been buying plenty of clothes, far more than I’ll need for just a week, but let’s not talk about that). I even thought of excellent solutions to the blogging things which stress me out the most. I found this month to be slower when it came to reading and blogging but I’ve been enjoying myself all the same.

Can’t Stop Listening

Praying – Kesha
I am full on obsessed with this song and her entire album. It has just been on repeat ever since it was released.
Look What You Made Me Do – Taylor Swift
I know not everyone is a fan of her new song, but Swift’s latest release is catchy. I want to know what the rest of the album will sound like now with this new turn for her.

August Reads

1. North To YouThe Hate U GiveLeviathan Wakes5. The Female of the SpeciesRituals33854876Every Heart a Doorway
House of Secrets4. Beyond the Highland Mist8. Alias Vol. 1Irresistible YouSilk is For SeductionHortense and the Shadow

August Posts

August Links

Boats Against The Current | 15 Book Blog Post Ideas (because we all need inspo sometimes) // Do you have to own the books you love? (the answer is yes because I need to own all the books) // Has  Blogging Changed Your Reading Habits?
Lost In My Library | I Don’t Like Series Finales
It Starts At Midnight | Reasons My TBR Is Ridiculous (This post is just me all over)
Nick and Nereyda’s Infinite Booklist | Do You Review Every Book You Read? // 10 Minimalist (AKA Easy) Weekly Bullet Journal Layouts (for you bullet journalers out there this is a brilliant post for when you’re short of time and need something to get the job done)
The Fictional Reader | On Reading Fan Fiction (I’ve wanted to do a post on my love for fanfiction for a while and this post is perfect)
Confessions of a Book Geek | Have You Found Your Ratings Twin?

Resolution Catch Up

I’ve reached most of my resolutions (I think) but my book challenges are a struggle. I’ve abandoned shelf love altogether because time is a thing I struggle with and even the Modern Miss Darcy challenge has stalled with no new books read. I have adopted a new month long challenge as well and my card below will demonstrate my progress.

2017 Discussion Challenge:
I’m continuing to do well on this. I probably won’t reach 20+ but I am on track to have posted the one a month I’d hoped so I’m happy with that, I mean, if I post two discussions a month I’ll reach 20 but I don’t think I have quite enough ideas for that.

Modern Mrs Darcy Reading Challenge
8/12 Categories – No change


The Reading Quest Becky
I’ve read 2/5 books for my main quest and 3/9 on the side quests and we’re halfway through. I must say I’m impressed with how well I’m doing. I won’t win the race but those are a few books removed off of my shelf and onto the read shelf and that is a good thing.

How has your month been? Any books which were the highlight of the month? Or a post you couldn’t stop reading? Tell me all.