29 March 2017

Paris for One and Other Stories // I May Have Only Fallen Head Over Heels For Two Stories But I Still Enjoyed It

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Published: 9th February 2017
Source: Netgalley
Genre: Romance, Contemporary, Short Stories
My Rating:
From the #1 "New York Times" bestselling author of "Me Before You" and "After You," a sensational collection featuring the title novella and eight other stories. Quintessential Jojo Moyes, "Paris for One and Other Stories" is an irresistibly romantic collection filled with humor and heart.

Nell is twenty-six and has never been to Paris. She's never even been on a romantic weekend away to anywhere before. Everyone knows travelling abroad isn't really her thing. But when Nell's boyfriend fails to show up for their romantic mini-vacation, she has the opportunity to prove everyone including herself wrong. Alone and in Paris, Nell uncovers a version of herself she never knew existed: independent and intrepid. Could this turn out to be the most adventurous weekend of her life? Funny, charming, and irresistible, "Paris for One"is vintage Moyes as are the other stories that round out the collection."

Paris for One
Between the Tweets
Love in the Afternoon
A Bird in the Hand
Crocodile Shoes
Holdups
Last Year's Coat
Thirteen Days with John C.
The Christmas List
This is a book I knew little about. I simply requested on Netgalley after seeing the name of Jojo Moyes because she is an author I want to read more of. I saw they were short stories and thought that would be a great way to get a feel for some more of her writing as I simply knew her for writing Me Before You. I’m glad I requested it as I can see Jojo Moyes is an author I should explore a bit more. She writes books about people and I want to see what she would do with a different story. I will be watching out for her at my local library.

I will begin with the fact that this book is mainly made up of short stories which appeared in magazines so the majority are quite short and thus rather unsatisfying. They have the potential to develop into a lot more but they themselves are simply snippets of characters and situations which I found interesting but they didn’t satisfy my appetite for a good story. I kept waiting for more and they ended instead. There were only two stories which truly stayed in my mind and they were the longest ones. It goes to show Jojo Moyes’s writing skills are evident when she had a little bit more room to develop characters and story. When she’s writing small pieces you get a taste without ever feeling invested. Basically, I’ll only really be talking about Paris for One and Honeymoon in Paris. They were both stories I loved and they both made me want to go to Paris.

Paris for One was amazing. It was sort of like a version of Just One Day for grown ups. I think it’s the falling in love with a stranger in Paris that gave me the vibe. And the limited number of days together influencing somebody to change the way the act. Those things definitely gave me a strong urge to reread the Just One Day books a whole lot. Anyway, the story itself was fantastic, I could relate to Nell’s nervousness and unwillingness to try new things which makes her exploration of Paris all the cooler. And when she starts hanging out with a heartbroken Frenchman she gets over her anger at having a suckass boyfriend and learns to live her life for herself. It was sweet and awesome and will make you want to go to Paris. Like… a lot.

Then there was Honeymoon in Paris which was also great. I don’t want to say that the Paris setting worked for me in the two stories and made me love them but it did. I think I liked it because it wasn’t just the story of one couple and their honeymoon but two linked through time via one painting. It was just great seeing the relationship between these two couples and the way in which they push each other through their misunderstandings and the reasons for them falling in love marrying. It was truly awesome and a really good story and was smart seeing the connection.

So, if you feel like reading an interesting collection of short stories, sure go ahead, but to be honest, there are only two stories which will truly hooked you (at least that’s the case for me). I can’t recommend it to you but I won’t discourage you either. I enjoyed it and considering last time I checked it was £6.49 on Amazon I would recommend giving it a go but be aware you may only love two of the stories… but they are two really good short stories.

What are your thoughts on short story collections? And what is your favourite Jojo Moyes book?

27 March 2017

Five Reasons To… Read And Love You’re Welcome, Universe

5 reasons
I recently read an absolutely fantastic book. I bought it by mistake (sometimes you add stuff to your basket and click buy when you intended to just save it until later) but I had no regrets in buying it. Once I began I knew I would love it. The style of writing and the characters themselves and then the fantastic story all added up to hook me right in. I couldn’t figure out the words to explain my love for this book and then I remembered I like to rave about books and the perfect way to do it was give you all five reasons to read it.

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You’re Welcome, Universe – Whitney Gardner
Published: 7th March 2017
Source: Bought
Genre: Contemporary, Young Adult
My Rating:
A vibrant, edgy, fresh new YA voice for fans of More Happy Than Not and Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda, packed with interior graffiti.


When Julia finds a slur about her best friend scrawled across the back of the Kingston School for the Deaf, she covers it up with a beautiful (albeit illegal) graffiti mural.

Her supposed best friend snitches, the principal expels her, and her two mothers set Julia up with a one-way ticket to a “mainstream” school in the suburbs, where she’s treated like an outcast as the only deaf student. The last thing she has left is her art, and not even Banksy himself could convince her to give that up.

Out in the ’burbs, Julia paints anywhere she can, eager to claim some turf of her own. But Julia soon learns that she might not be the only vandal in town. Someone is adding to her tags, making them better, showing off—and showing Julia up in the process. She expected her art might get painted over by cops. But she never imagined getting dragged into a full-blown graffiti war.

Told with wit and grit by debut author Whitney Gardner, who also provides gorgeous interior illustrations of Julia’s graffiti tags, You’re Welcome, Universe introduces audiences to a one-of-a-kind protagonist who is unabashedly herself no matter what life throws in her way.

Diversity Out The Wazoo


Seriously, I loved the fact that this book wasn’t trying to tick the diversity box. It didn’t force it but instead simply was. The main character was deaf, and she was proud of being part of the Deaf community. She didn’t see why she had to change herself to fit the ‘hearies’ instead she questioned why she had to adapt to their world. She was also an Indian MC with two moms and that wasn’t a big deal. She was accepted by those around her and she accepted herself and that was awesome. I know one of the biggest complaints about the publishing world is the lack of representation as people fail to see characters who are like them. This book definitely succeeds in showing that it isn’t difficult to include diversity as this one does it without it being a problem.

The thing I really loved about this book was the fact that there were multiple characters who were deaf and the fact that they were all part of the Deaf community and it was just awesome. I especially loved her moms. That’s a whole other point, though.

Present Parents


Now, having lesbian parents in a book is not ground-breaking. I loved it but the actual reason I loved Julia’s parents is actually because they were so present and involved in her life. One of my biggest pet peeves in YA books is when parents are just utterly absent. I mean, I get parents being the enemy in YA, they so often feel that way as a teenager. I get bored of seeing bad parents in books, though. I know they feel like the enemy but most parents aren’t bad ones and I do find the whole bad parent trope boring. To see Julia’s two moms suspicious of her, checking up on her and inspecting her bag was great because that’s what parents do. When you get expelled from a school you don’t get complete trust from your parents and I liked that. I liked seeing Julia sitting with her parents over a meal and chatting about her day and getting annoyed with them when it feels like they’re spying. I liked seeing genuine family life with one parent who feels a little guilty and gives small gifts, like cool new boots, even if they aren’t necessarily deserved. I want that kind of parent in YA because that is the kind I know and recognise. I want more awesome parents and strong family bonds.

The Integration of Art Into The Story


Art, graffiti more specifically, plays a major part in this story and so the fact the book features artwork throughout to demonstrate art from the story was fantastic. I am not always the best at visualising things in a book so I really enjoy seeing things to support the story. The only thing which would have made it better was if the artwork was in colour (I would buy a special edition if they did that). It felt like the colour of the artwork would have added something a bit extra as a lot of thought went into the colour choices. That may just be me, though.

The Friendship


I love when a book features friendship of any kind and this one is all about friendship. This is most definitely a book where our MC Julia learns no man is an island. She forms this fantastic friendship with YP without intending to and it was awesome. She connects with her purely on accident and then the friendship she develops is brilliant not only for her but YP as they both accept each other just as they are, something they haven’t had much of previously.

There is also an element of toxic friendship and often who we view as friends can take advantage. Often toxic friends aren’t acknowledged but this time it is and Julia goes kind of an extreme way of showing she is better friend (and some might question if what she does makes her a worse person) but it was satisfying to see the contrast between good friendship and bad and even when a good friend betrays you it is very different to just having a bad friend. Just everything about friendship in this book is right.

The Story Felt Real


Okay, we can’t all relate to graffiti artist dreams and I got confused about some of the slang used (it made me feel old and out of touch) but Julia felt like a very real character. She was a teenager who acted selfishly and impulsively and didn’t think about others all of the time but she felt like a real teenage girl. She could be selfish but then she would go out of her way for YP even when she didn't truly consider her a friend at that point. She could do something to prove a point and act like a crazy self-destructive psycho but also be really sweet. it was insane and I love that because that is how you act as a teenager. Consequences come later and I loved the path she took to apologise. I just really enjoyed it.

Bonus:

Learning Deaf Culture


I cannot say for certain, I know no one who is deaf, but I felt like a lot of work went into making the representation of the Deaf community accurate. Like the alarm clock where it seemed like an earthquake and the way, there are short names for people which get chosen for you. The way that too often when you have an interpreter with you people will speak and look at the interpreter rather than looking at who is doing the talking. It was small, it was the little things like people muttering about Julia’s use of her phone to type communication as the youth of today and the embarrassment of learning she’s deaf. And her quick dismissal of having an implant to hear when she feels she’s not missing anything by not hearing. And her outrage at the ESL class and how much she didn’t enjoy English with all the grammar rules. Just every part of Deaf culture and the difference between being deaf and being Deaf was amazing.

As you can see I loved this book and I think you will too. It is a fantastic read which is real and interesting and included characters which felt real. Have you read this, what did you think? And can you recommend books which will make me just as excited to read?

26 March 2017

Sunday Summary // 26.03.2017

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How has it been a full month since my birthday? Where has the time gone? I mean, how don’t know how it has all passed so quickly, we’re practically in April now and I am very much not ready for that.

It was a bit of a sad week this week, and also a frustrating one. I won’t go into the details but one team has now officially been made redundant. It was sad to see them go but they had all successfully gotten other positions both in the company and outside so at least I could be happy that they were going on to other things. Their leaving did coincide with us being told who was moving over from another office which is closing and being told we were getting lots of extra work and also finally got a confirmation date for moving office. Or a provisional date as long as everything doesn’t go wrong so yay! It’s all changing at my office right now. At least I know I won’t run out of stuff to do for a while.

Anyway, work is boring. I talk about work an awful lot. It’s where I spend a lot of my week, after all. This week I’ve had less of a social week. I was planning to see Beauty and the Beast with a friend but it was sold out and when we got to the cinema the queue for the screen was snaking towards the door. I’m glad we decided to go see Get Out instead, which was a good film if a little weird and very funny. I get why it’s gotten such good reviews, I really do.

Apart from the cinema, though. It’s been a slow week. I’m busy next week so I kind of feel like I’m trying to chill before that. Also, it’s mother’s day today here in the UK so I have to spend the day celebrating the awesomeness of my mom (pretty damn awesome). I’ve not bought her a gift because me and my brother already paid for her getting her hair done a couple of weeks ago (her request, not our idea) but I will be spending most of the day with her rather than my usual pyjama day. At least the weather is meant to be nice this weekend, I may try and persuade her we should go out somewhere.

What I’ve Been Reading

303183062530929433224718Ancillary Mercy
Another slow week of reading, really. I stayed up way too late reading Gemina on Sunday night (like 1am and five hours sleep too late) and so I was in bed dead early the next day and did basically no reading. I picked up and put down Jaeth’s Eye a few times. Ultimately, I don’t think I’ll be finishing it which annoys me because I want to like it but you know when your mind drifts when reading? I keep doing that and I know if I persist much longer I will actively not want to read and that is not where I want to be. To try and counteract that I was trying to read Ancillary Mercy as well, which would have been fine but I was still suffering some sci-fi hangover from Gemina so then I had to switch to something completely different in the form of Geekerella (because I saw Nick liked it) and that cured things a bit for me. I have then returned to Ancillary Mercy which I’ve enjoyed a whole lot more after having a book to break the sci-fi up with.

New To Me

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Oh, my excellent skills at not buying things went right down the drain a little this week. I was buying all the things and it all started with The Bone Witch which technically I bought a while ago but it took a while to be dispatched. I’ve not read it yet as I am majorly daunted but I’m hoping it’ll be good. It was then a slippery slope with Rookie Move going on offer for Kindle and so I had to buy Hard Hitter as well because I’ve been dying to read it. I know it’s only three books but I bought nothing last week (apart from freebies). I do feel proud that I’ve seen a few Kindle books go on offer that I’ve wanted to read but I’ve made the decision to visit my library instead.

And then there was Dark Made Dawn which is actually a review copy but I’ve only had the one this week so I included here. I still need to start the second book in this series but I’m hoping it’ll be good.

That’s my week, it may not have been as eventful as weeks past but it’s been good. How has your week been?

24 March 2017

My Thoughts // My Last Chance Books

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I am participating in the Shelf Love challenge and one of the quarterly topics is the books you’ve not read which have been on your shelf the longest. That’s basically an impossible challenge for me because I have some books which have been on my shelf years, like before I began blogging, and so I’ve got no way of knowing when I got them. I recently cleared and organised my shelves, though. I got rid of a lot of books (including some I finally admitted I’d never get around to) and I created a small pile of books which are my last chance books. The books I have to finally admit that I won’t be reading if I try them again and still can’t get into them.

I am someone who for a good long time struggled with DNF-ing because I am a mood reader. Often I will pick up a book read a couple of pages and put it right back down again because it simply isn’t what I fancy reading. I have done that to books. I also get bored so very easily. If I read a book for too long I will just abandon it completely as I lose interest and I can’t even blame the book it’s me. My attention span is not as long as it used to be and I don’t know why I do it. As such, I have books on my shelf for years which I have always intended to read, even picked up to give them a chance and got part of the way through before abandoning.

This post is all about those books which are on my Last Chance list. The books which will be given one final chance to impress me before I abandon them forever. You will see it’s an eclectic list, the books are not linked in any specific way. They are simply books I have owned for a long while and I want you to try and convince me to read.

cloud atlasEmpress OrchidLabyrinthMiss Peregrines

Cloud Atlas


I’ve had this book on my shelf since the trailer for the film was released (I know, it’s been that long!) and I even managed to finish about 50 pages of the book yet I couldn’t figure it out. I know it has the potential to hook me but I was utterly confused whilst reading.

I will give it one more chance and then give up and just watch the film, it may make more sense if I can see what I’ve been reading about.

Empress Orchid


I am a fan of history, I am a history graduate after all. I spent a long time preferring to read books based on historical events than anything else. Now I read more contemporary than anything else, how times change, right? I also have a fascination with Asian history mostly because it seems so much more interesting. Whist European history seems to be all politics and backstabbing Asian history seems to be different. I know it’s also politics and backstabbing but the culture is very different and that has always intrigued me and I find reading actual historical books quite dry and boring I enjoy reading historical events in fiction. I managed to get 100 pages into this one but I spent so long reading I abandoned it for an easier read. I don’t know why I’ve not finished but I am determined to try again.

Labyrinth


This book as been mentioned on my blog before. I am daunted by the sheer size of the book and the fact I’ve gotten part of the way in before and just gotten bored doesn’t bode well for it. I’ve never gotten past the first part of the book set in the past. I don’t know why, I simply haven’t. I love the sound of it, though. This is the kind of book I read for a long while and I want to read it now too. I want to give it another chance and find I like it I just wish the size of it didn’t put me off every time.

Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children


I think I got a third of the way into this one before putting it down. I actually bought this book at the same time I bought Daughter of Smoke and Bone and DoSaB was the book I thought I wouldn’t like whilst I was so excited for pictures in this one! I don’t know why but I never connected and so I gave up. I don’t remember why I got bored, though. I do think it deserves a final shot. I mean, it’s such a unique idea and the fact these are real photographs inspiring a story is so cool. I love books that do things in an original way like this.
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Pastures Nouveaux


You do remember me saying the list was eclectic, right? This isn’t actually a book I’ve ever attempted to read so you may be questioning how it’s on my last chance list when it’s never had a first chance? Easy, because I have given the author about a million chances, I know I liked a book by her before and I’m determined to find another I enjoy. This has been on my shelf so long, though and so it gets one chance to impress and then it’s gone.

Picture Perfect


I was intrigued by this. I may not always love Jodi Picoult’s writing but I’m always intrigued by her books and I love the idea of a person losing their memories and having an apparently perfect life. I managed to read a couple of chapters and put it down back when I was in uni and haven’t picked it up since. It definitely feels like this will either be a book I love or one I never read again.

Sedition

This is actually a book a friend gave me to red after she finished. She said that it was a book she ended up being hooked by and finished very quickly when she was on holiday. it has lived on my shelf for 2 or 3 years and I seriously need to read it or admit defeat.

The Art of Fielding


I can’t even remember why I picked up this book but there must have been something which interested me. I am pretty certain I got it from The Works, though, so I think it may have been an impulse buy when it was cheap. I tried to read it (as I do with many a book) and gave up because I got bored. That is nothing against the book and everything to do with my short attention span, though.
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The Book Thief


I admit this is one I bought because I knew people who were raving about it. In fact, I bought this book when I was 18! I have probably had this book on my shelf unread for the longest (not including classics). I remember trying to persevere with reading when I first bought it but simply couldn’t get into the story and somehow I have picked it up a few times and ignored it. Even seeing the film didn’t help motivate me to read. I am worried the book may be a lost cause but I am all about second (and third… and fourth) chances for books.

The Woman Who Went To Bed For A Year


I admit, I read the first two Adrian Mole books and never got to the rest but I remember liking the writing. When I heard about this book I didn’t even need to hear about what it was about to know I wanted to read it. Somehow I got to the buying part of owning the book but not the reading part and for that I am a little ashamed. I put this on the last chance pile not because I want to give up reading but because I hope by saying it’s the last chance for it I might find the right motivation to read.

Wicked


And my final book is Wicked. I bought this book mostly because I liked the idea of it more than anything. I knew nothing of the stage show or anything until afterwards. I’d heard of Gregory Maguire before when it came to the book Confession of an Ugly Stepsister, I’ve not read it but I remember seeing a movie adaptation of it and wanting to read that. I have to say I know nothing of whether I’ll actually enjoy the writing or anything but it’s getting one final chance. I’ve picked this up a few times and simply gotten bored whilst reading.

Which books have been sat on your shelf for too long that deserve one last chance before you give them away? And do you find your opinion can change on reading a book over time or do you trust your instinct on not liking it from the start?

22 March 2017

All In Pieces // A Book Which Left Me In Pieces And Stuck With Me

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All In Pieces – Suzanne Young
Published: 8th October 2016
Source: Bought
Genre: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult
My Rating:
From New York Times bestselling author Suzanne Young comes a heartrending new novel about a girl struggling to deal with anger issues while taking care of her younger brother with special needs.

“Anger-management issues.”

That’s how they classified Savannah Sutton after she stuck a pencil in her ex-boyfriend’s hand because he mocked her little brother, Evan, for being disabled. That’s why they sent her to Brooks Academy—an alternative high school that’s used as a temporary detention center.

The days at Brooks are miserable, but at home, life is far more bleak. Savvy’s struggling to take care of her brother since her mom left years ago, and her alcoholic dad can’t be bothered. Life with Evan is a constant challenge, but he’s also the most important person in the world to Savvy.

Then there’s Cameron, a new student at Brooks with issues of his own; a guy from a perfect family that Savvy thought only existed on TV. Cameron seems determined to break through every one of the walls Savvy’s built around herself, except if she lets herself trust him, it could make everything she’s worked so hard for fall apart in an instant.

And with her aunt seeking custody of her brother and her ex-boyfriend seeking revenge, Savvy’s fighting to hold all the pieces together. But she’s not sure how much tighter she can be pulled before she breaks completely.
The sole reason I read this book based upon Nereyda's review and I have no regrets.

This book was utterly fantastic. I was hooked within the first chapter and didn't want to put it down. It was a really quick read and yet a lot happened within those pages and the characters really stood out to me. I mean, I can remember the characters’ names without having to immediately refer to the summary (you would not believe the number of times that happens to me).

Savvy's lot in life sucks. Her mom has abandoned her and her brother Evan and she is stuck trying to care for him whilst her father is drunk. Savvy is stuck at a school for delinquents due to her anger management problems and she has the threat of her aunt taking her brother away looming over her. Life is tough. Not just for her, but for her friends too. She doesn't have it easy and you can tell. She struggles with the sheer amount of responsibility on her shoulders and she lashes out in the wrong way to others because of her trust issues. I can’t say I blame her. She hasn’t exactly had a good example to follow and she does the best she can.

The fact there is also a romance in this book is sweet but that romance is no way the focus of this book. Cameron is a friend first and he cares for Savvy. The romance is never forced and progresses naturally and I adored that. I would have liked to learn more about him but what we do learn is that he is a genuinely good guy. The contrast between his family and Savvy's is shocking. The contrast between Savvy's family and Retha's is shocking to be fair and Retha is her best friend. She should have realised far sooner there were issues in her family. Savvy has a terrible family life and so seeing her realisation about this fact throughout the book was fantastic. I may hate the trend for absent parents in YA but it is definitely explained well in this book as to why Savvy's parents are absent and that is what I enjoyed, a fully developed story that could explain the major issues in Savvy’s life.

I think the reason this book was so good is because the characters are strong and so is the story. It hooks you in and keeps you reading. I do have gripes about the book, I felt like more backstory for all the characters would have been good, yet what we got is substantial enough, especially considering the length of the book. And I did feel the story may have been a bit rushed towards the end, but then there wasn't a lot more which could have happened so it wasn't off-putting. And I most certainly felt that somethings at the end of the book could have been handled better, but I don't mind the way it went.

In the end, I really enjoyed this book. I stayed up late to finish and I was emotional by the end.

Have you read a book which has hit you emotionally? And what was the best YA book you’ve read recently?

20 March 2017

Moranifesto // Hilarious, Thought Provoking And Brilliant

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Published: 9th March 2017
Source: Publisher
Genre: Non-Fiction, Feminism, Humour
My Rating:
‘I’ve lived through ten iOS upgrades on my Mac – and that’s just something I use to muck about on Twitter. Surely capitalism is due an upgrade or two?’


When Caitlin Moran sat down to choose her favourite pieces for her new book she realised that they all seemed to join up. Turns out, it’s the same old problems and the same old ass-hats.

Then she thought of the word ‘Moranifesto’, and she knew what she had to do…

This is Caitlin’s engaging and amusing rallying call for our times. Combining the best of her recent columns with lots of new writing unique to this book, Caitlin deals with topics as pressing and diverse as 1980s swearing, benefits, boarding schools, and why the internet is like a drunken toddler.

And whilst never afraid to address the big issues of the day – such as Benedict Cumberbatch and duffel coats – Caitlin also makes a passionate effort to understand our 21st century society and presents us with her ‘Moranifesto’ for making the world a better place.

The polite revolution starts here! Please.
I decided I was a fan of Caitlin Moran after reading her book How To Be A Woman. I loved her writing style and she was funny and she’s local! I knew I had to watch her Channel 4 TV show Raised By Wolves because it was set in Wolverhampton and I’m sorry, when someone is writing about a place you can get to on a bus then you know you need to watch. When I got an email about Moranifesto, a book I’d been dithering over buying for a little while, I saw it as a sign from God (I see a lot of things as a sign from God, normally when it gives me an excuse to do something I wanted to do anyway. or something I didn’t want to do in the first place as the case may be). And I am so very glad I did read it.

This is one of the few non-fiction books I’ve read in the past few years and Moran is probably one of the few authors who will successfully convince me to read about politics and serious things without complaining. That isn’t to say I don’t make an effort to read about serious topics, but I tend to read them in news articles rather than in book form. I certainly don’t tend to read opinion pieces, I want the facts in as unbiased a format as possible so normally the bare facts from BBC. I forget I like to read more serious things until I read something like Moranifesto.

So, you can tell I liked the contents of the book. As this was a collection of Moran's thoughts and columns into one book you did find that there was some small amount of repetition from that which she has already done, but that was never an issue. What I did find is that I occasionally found my reading of each topic a bit disjointed. There was an amazing effort made to link everything but when you go from reading about the Olympics to reading about immigration and sex workers it’s easy to understand why I occasionally wasn’t absorbed into reading. I did find myself skimming sometimes because it was a fluff piece that I simply didn’t care about.

Moran’s writing is excellent and funny, quite genuinely funny and I get why there were lighter more fun articles in interspersed with her thoughts on the welfare system and the state of politics in the UK because we need those to not despair at how things have gone in the past few years. Moran manages to make a lot of the things she writes about relatable and genuinely make you interested as well and that is not an easy thing to do.

I found that this book was interesting to read and really kept me thinking. I wanted to talk to people about it constantly while reading and that’s what I want this book. I feel like that is what is intended by it. Caitlin Moran has presented her work in parts and tried to loosely link her writing and she has named it Moranifesto because this is her manifesto for life. She wants to get people talking and she wants to help move along change. It isn’t something which will happen instantly but by talking about issues change is gonna come. I would mention things by saying ‘remember when Benefits Street was on TV’ or ‘remember during the Olympics’ and stuff like that and then discussing ages old stuff. I love when a book gets you talking, especially when you’re discussing it with non-bookish people.

This book both had me thrusting it in people's faces asking them if they remembered that thing that happened a whole ago as I've just found someone who agrees with my thinking and put it into coherent sentences. And it also had me laughing out loud over things like tights (no I will not put them away when winter ends it's cold out).

She's just an utterly great relatable writer and this book deserves a read. Have you read this or any of Moran’s other work? And what has been the best non-fiction read you’ve read lately?

19 March 2017

Sunday Summary // 19.03.2017

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It’s Sunday again and it’s been one of those weeks where I almost feel like I’ve been missing a limb because I took a little blogging timeout. I’d intended to write a few posts throughout the week and to comment on blogs and reply to my own comments but then I lost motivation. This was partially because I was exhausted. I’d not had much sleep Sunday and Monday then I went to see Logan Tuesday night with my brother (FYI, it’s awesome, but pack tissues) and I was at the pub Wednesday for catching up. By Thursday I was exhausted, in bed by 9pm and slept for 9 hours. Basically, I had a week of pure exhaustion so I decided to take a break from blogging for a few days even though I had all these ideas! I didn’t even set up my bullet journal for the week on Sunday as I normally would because my motivation was simply non-existent.

As I said, I tried to focus on me and seeing my friends and keeping busy this week which is why I was so exhausted by the end of it. I plan on a pyjama day for Sunday. I have some new Star Wars pyjamas which I am really looking forward to wearing for the day and I will fight my dog for the bed so we can sit and watch a bit more Iron Fist. I’m still not sure what I think of the show but then I am only on episode 5 right now. I’ll see how it develops.

Now, I know you’re probably bored of me talking about work each weekend but it is kind of the major focus of my life currently. We were told this week that it’s only the one team at risk, they will probably receive notice of their redundancy on Wednesday. It sucks because I like these people and it’s a ridiculous idea but we are unable to fight it. My team is safe and possibly expanding which is just absurd when they’re getting rid of folks but what a nightmare! I’m waiting to see what happens but I’m not saying no if a good job comes along. It’s not great but at least we know I won’t lose my job for the next few months at least.

Another nightmare of my week has been getting a new phone. All I wanted to do was sort my contract out and keep my phone number and somehow they’ve disconnected my old number instead and I’m having to wait until Monday for them to reconnect and until then I’m stuck with a new phone number I don’t want to use because I don’t want to learn a new phone number! Why do phone companies fail to do such simple things? It’s a nightmare, and I was all excited about owning a shiny new iPhone 7 (I never get a new new phone, it’s always a phone that’s cheap so it’s exciting).

What I’ve Been Reading

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I’ve not done too much reading this week either, along with my blogging break I took a slower time reading simply because I was doing other things. It was quite nice. I enjoyed the short stories as an easy start to the week. Then Madly by Ruthie Knox was just as good as the first book. It was sweet and who knew I enjoyed an age gap in a romance? It totally worked for me. I didn’t even care about the British-ness of Winston.  Dark Currents was a disappointment, it wasn’t what I wanted I just couldn’t get into reading it fully, it just made me want to read other UF instead. Oh well, I’m ending the week with Ancillary Sword and that has been a good book so far (even if I am confused again due to the short gap between the first and the second book).

New To Me

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I got three free books this week. I got Paris Lights free for Kindle as I saw it over at Nicole’s blog and was vaguely intrigued (I like the setting of Paris, okay?). Seven Steps to Happiness I won from Rachel at Confessions of a Book Geek and it arrived this week! I’m excited to read because it sounds like such a good book. Go check out her blog as she’s running another competition right now for a really cool historical book. And then Hope Flames (and also the first book in Jill Shalvis’s Heartbreaker Bay) is free here in the UK so if you can get yourselves a copy). So, three freebies don’t count towards anything.
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I also took a trip to the library this week (I returned book and borrowed five… it’s a thing). I’m very excited about all these books. It helps that a couple of these I wanted to buy and borrowing them for free is a far cheaper option. I’m eager to read Six of Crows since I was so annoyed by Bardugo’s  Grisha series but I’ve heard nothing but good things about this book and it’s sequel so we shall see. Yeah, wish me luck. I both want to read my library books, my own books and my ARCs. I will conquer all!
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I also have a couple of new ARCs. I have Goodbye Days because everyone has been raving about that book and I’m auto-approved. And I was approved for The Names They Gave Us which I am totally psyched for. Even though my growing ARC issue means I have way too many books to read.

Anyway, that is my week. I have a whole heap of books to read and plenty to keep my entertained and not enough hours to do it in. Tell me about your week and if you have a phone horror story please tell me an make me feel better.

15 March 2017

Truly // I Have Found Another Fantastic Romance You Should Read Too

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Truly (New York #1) – Ruthie Knox
Published: 5th August 2014
Source: Bought
Genre: Romance, Contemporary
My Rating:
RITA finalist and USA Today bestselling author Ruthie Knox kicks off a steamy new series set in the city that never sleeps—alone, at least.


May Fredericks hates New York. Which is fair enough, since New York seems to hate her back. After relocating to Manhattan from the Midwest to be with her long-distance boyfriend, NFL quarterback Thor Einarsson, May receives the world’s worst marriage proposal, stabs the jerk with a shrimp fork, and storms off alone—only to get mugged. Now she’s got no phone, no cash, and no friends. How’s a nice girl supposed to get back to safe, sensible Wisconsin?

Frankly, Ben Hausman couldn’t care less. Sure, it’s not every day he meets a genuine, down-to-earth woman like May—especially in a dive in the Village—but he’s recovering from an ugly divorce that cost him his restaurant. He wants to be left alone to start over and become a better man. Then again, playing the white knight to May’s sexy damsel in distress would be an excellent place to start—if only he can give her one very good reason to love New York.
It’s been a few weeks since I read Truly and I’ve been to review for a good long while. It was a fantastic romance read that I hadn’t been certain I’d loved. I’d only bought it after reading Nick’s review of Madly. I realised that wasn’t released so decided to read the books in the right order and see if I liked Ruthie Knox’s writing style. I did and I cannot wait for Madly to be released and I’m going to tell you why I loved it.

This book hooked me in from the start. I read it in the space of a day and sacrificed sleep and time I intended to spend blogging to finish it. I can’t say exactly why it hooked me, at least not at first, because it’s not like the storyline distinguishes it from other romances but the way it’s written and the character sin it just sucked me in.

May was this fantastic character, a woman from a small town who stabbed her boyfriend in the hand and then ran away after breaking up with him because she couldn’t face him. She didn’t plan to get stuck in New York without money or a phone to contact anyone and having to hope for the kindness of strangers, but she rolls with it because May is strong. She knows that she’s not in a great situation and she works her way through so when Ben comes along she goes with it, even if he does come across grumpy and she’s suspicious of his intentions.

That’s what hooked me in, really. Once Ben came in with his grumpiness and slight anger problems and I was officially intrigued. I was wary, I mean, a book which involves a guy with rage issues immediately raises red flags. That’s just asking for him to take his frustration out in a relationship which I cannot support. Thankfully, Ben is a guy who realises his issues and takes steps to overcome them. And his interaction and relationship with May was utterly fantastic. I was hooked every step of the way.

I loved seeing May break out of her shell and act like herself and feel things even though she'd constantly been told that's not what girls like her do. She has been told she had to act and certain way and seeing her slowly accept who she is and what she wants is great. It was very much about character growth for both her and Ben and it was awesome. I loved hem together trying to bring each others best side and mostly succeeding and even when they didn't that called each other out on it.

Looking for a strangely addictive romance about two strangers falling in love in New York in a week? This is the book for you. Honest, it's not insta-lovey and you won't despair whilst reading. You'll probably laugh out loud and question why you don't have cowboy boots, though.

If you’re looking for a romance with two people who still have a lot of growth to go through but have a totally swoony romance then this is for you. Have you read any Ruthie Knox? Got any similar reads to recommend?

13 March 2017

Done Dirt Cheap // A Lyrical Book That Was Missing A Spark

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Done Dirt Cheap – Sarah Nicole Lemon
Published: 7th March 2017
Source: Netgalley
Genre: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult
My Rating:
Tourmaline Harris’s life hit pause at fifteen, when her mom went to prison because of Tourmaline’s unintentionally damning testimony. But at eighteen, her home life is stable, and she has a strong relationship with her father, the president of a local biker club known as the Wardens. Virginia Campbell’s life hit fast-forward at fifteen, when her mom “sold” her into the services of Hazard, a powerful attorney: a man for whom the law is merely a suggestion. When Hazard sets his sights on dismantling the Wardens, he sends in Virginia, who has every intention of selling out the club—and Tourmaline. But the two girls are stronger than the circumstances that brought them together, and their resilience defines the friendship at the heart of this powerful debut novel.
I got a copy of this on Netgalley and I’d been wanting to read it for a while. I mean, I knew nothing of the author and simply knew what the summary was. I went into this book blind and I think that was both a blessing and a curse. It was great as I had no preconceptions and nothing to influence my opinion. It was a curse, though, because it meant I developed my own expectations going in based on little information and I was way off base about certain elements. I didn’t get the book I expected and that left me slightly disappointed. At the same time, though, I’m glad it was different to what I thought because otherwise I’d be comparing it to Katie McGarry’s Thunder Road series and this is a very different book to that series.

This book went right in one very clear way. It was written beautifully. The writing had that magical lyrical quality some authors can perfect which just sucked me into the story. It wasn’t that it was trying too hard to create this stunning imagery, it was just written in such a way that it came across as very lyrical and just beautiful really. It did get a bit confusing at times. I mean, I’d find myself rereading a paragraph as something was mentioned as if it had already been stated earlier and it hadn’t, that got confusing, but once I got into the author’s writing style that didn’t happen anymore.

The reason I was a bit uncertain about the book, though, is the fact that I was uncertain about the characters. I was expecting this amazing friendship to develop between Tourmaline and Virginia and it did but not in the way I expected. It was slower and it definitely felt like it happened out of nowhere, the was nuance to the relationship developing and that did bother me a bit. It felt like all the relationships in this book were sudden. Once they happened they were solid and I liked it but I would have liked to see it develop a bit more.

I also felt quite distant to the characters, and this may have been because all the development in the character relationships are so sudden and so were the events of the characters lives. The story would be going quite slow when suddenly something happened to rush the story along once more and I didn’t like that. It meant I wasn’t getting attached to the characters I was suddenly caught up in a new story development. It meant I never felt like I was rooting for the characters because I was too busy figuring out what was going on.

I will say it was a wonderfully written book which had me thinking on it often and the story and friendship of Virginia and Tourmaline was a good one. I did enjoy the story once I got into it and I really enjoyed the writing. I just didn’t feel invested and I don’t know why. It was partially the strange pacing of the story and partly the sudden developments which happened and partially something else that meant there was no spark for me. I’m glad I read it, though, and I will look out for more from Sarah Nicole Lemon, so there’s that.

Have you read anything where the spark was lacking and you struggle to pinpoint what went wrong for you? And have you read this, what were your thoughts?

12 March 2017

Sunday Summary // 12.03.2017

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Welcome once more to the end of the week (or the beginning, I never get why some people start their week on a Sunday, and why do some calendars do that as well? It’s weird).

It’s been one of those weeks. It’s been a bad week actually. It’s been a week where actual tears and some potential life decisions need to be made and it sucks. Basically, some people in our office are being made redundant as their jobs are being moved down south and it is utterly shit. No other word for it. I was annoyed because we weren’t even told it was because their jobs were moving down south, we found out from others because they’re stuck working for 2 weeks! We were told Thursday and we found out via gossip Friday the reason why and I ended up crying at work for partially unrelated reasons and it was a mess. Anyway, now we’re pretty convinced that our jobs are at risk too so I need to decide if I hang around waiting for the potential axe to drop (because yay redundancy) or attempt to do the job search and get out first. It’s a nightmare so you can imagine why it’s been a bad week. I’ve decided to wait until I’m less emotional to make any major decisions but it still sucks.

It wasn’t all bad, though. I refuse to wallow and I won’t worry myself too much. This is because my family attempt to talk sense into my often (I may not always be known for being reasonable, thus the crying) and I have awesome friends. I spent my Thursday at the pub (honestly, I sound like I’m there all the time) chatting about how families can be crazy, how we are totally making sure her house is going to be decorated wonderfully, and how we are definitely not allowed to die on each other as it would be too depressing (brought up because I know someone whose best friend died recently). Also, saying we can totally run our favourite bar which is closing. We would be terrible at it but we would make up for our shortcomings with sheer enthusiasm. As you can tell, it was an utter nonsense evening but it was exactly what I needed.

I have also had an insanely productive weekend (even if I’ve technically done my productive thing for Sunday yet). I tend to like to clean when I’m procrastinating, I was the tidiest person at uni but I’ve been slacking of late and so gave my room a major spring clean. I reorganised my bookshelves and actually had a bit of a book cull. I got honest with myself about what I would and wouldn’t reread and it was necessary and means I no longer have two towers of TBR books. They're now on shelves.

My pile of books I need to get rid of are huge, though. I don’t know what to do with them. Would anyone be interested in swapping or willing to pay for postage if you want a book? I feel like I need to do something good with my signed copies as well and a couple of ARCs I want to giveaway. I’ll try and post a photo below of the pile so you can take a look.

My trade pile

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ARCs and signed editions

Now, I only have my ‘to get rid of’ book tower and a pile of books by my bed called the ‘last chance books’. Those are the books which I have tried and tried to read and never succeeded. They have been on my shelf for years and it’s time I gave them one last chance and if I still don’t want to read them they have to go. I’m planning to do a post on them in full so you can see what I’m up against.

What I’ve Been Reading

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Well, it’s not been a great reading week this week. I read a couple of chapters from Tuesday to Thursday and it sucked. I fell into a bit of a reading slump after finishing A Darkness Absolute and whilst I’ve really enjoyed reading Moranifesto, Caitlin Moran’s collection of articles doesn’t exactly make you want to stay up late reading. Then, add in my crappy week and I didn’t feel like reading much either. I did finally commit to a reread of Welcome to Temptation on Friday because if Jennifer Crusie couldn’t cheer me up there was just no hope. She did and then I had You’re Welcome, Universe, which I thought I wouldn’t be in the mood for as I knew there was no romance in it and I was wrong on so many levels. That book is all about the friends!

New To Me

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So, my bad week kind of meant I bought a bit more than intended but after seeing the physical TBR pile I have as I tidied yesterday I feel I am shocked enough into not buying anything new. For a little while anyway. I am happy with all of my purchases, though. I am a little annoyed I seem to be buying Jennifer Crusie’s books in both Kindle and physical form rather than concentrating on getting them in just a single format but oh well. My collection will be completed eventually. I did have a bit of a drama when it came to buying The Song Rising. I had had it pre-ordered from an age ago but when it came to release day and I still had no update on my order. I ended up having a whole drama getting it cancelled as turns out delivery was delayed! Luckily, I saw a copy available on another website so I instantly bought that instead so I have a copy. Now to get around to reading it! I also accidentally bought You’re Welcome, Universe when browsing for a decent price online. I always intended to buy it so I feel no regrets but I wish I’d waited for next month!

By the time you’re reading this I’ll probably be assembling a couple of shelving units for my CDs and DVDs (yes, I still own both along with blu-rays) and probably regretting my decision to buy them. How has your week been? Anyone else started their spring cleaning like me? And what should I pick up to read next?