18 March 2018

Sunday Summary // 18.03.2018

Sunday Summary
I am somehow convinced these Sunday posts may be the only posts I manage to get up… although if I get time I have a rave review I want to post for a book I’ve read recently so fingers crossed I have more tie to sit with my computer (I can’t believe I actually want to sit with my computer more for once, I normally want to get away from it). I am also utterly fed up of the snow which keeps hitting the UK. We never get any and now we’re getting snow in the middle of March! I’m not normally one to wish for summer (I do not cope well in really warm weather, I am to pale for that) but I actually want warm weather even though I will hate it.

Let’s begin this week by telling you all I am officially a travel jinx. I don’t know what I’ve done to deserve such a jinx but I am officially a travel jinx. My week began well, no major issues until I came to try and catch the bus home after going into the supermarket after work. I was stood at the stop, a bus pulled in but not the one I was waiting for. I could see mine approaching. O grabbed my bags all ready to get on… and the bus drove pass me because the one I didn’t want was in the way and they couldn’t see me! It sucked and it meant hanging out in the cold and the rain but no big deal. I ignored it until I came to catch the train home Tuesday and they were all delayed! There were trespassers on the rail and lengthy delays happened for everyone so it took me two hours to get home. I was angry but it wasn’t so bad. My travel woes were tame things like late buses on Wednesday and I figured my troubles were over. Until I turned up to the station Thursday morning and all the trains are delayed because of a broken down train on the rail! I got to work on time but I stood waiting for a train for 45 minutes! And then I left work and my train got cancelled! And the same thing happened to me Friday coming home with another cancelled train. I don’t know what I did to offend the travel gods but I’m hoping my journey to and from work is better next week because it’s still too cold outside for hanging around a train platform.

This week has been another crazy hectic one (outside of travel woes). Nothing major has happened with me but I feel like there’s been loads going on around me. It’s another weekend of clearing out my nan’s. This weeks prize is both an old gramophone my brother says was my great-granddad's which is pretty awesome. Doesn’t have the typical gramophone horn but instead comes in a case. We also found an awesome little camera in the loft. It looks like it still has film in it but after some googling turns out the film is discontinued. I am still figuring out the logistics of it but I am now eager to give the camera a shot… even though I am terrible at remembering to take photos. Maybe I can be a hipster camera person?
So yeah, a frustrating week happened as some things went down in my best friend’s world so I have spent so much time with her and she is going to be taking up a whole bunch of time for a while. I’m not complaining, I love that girl, but in case you think I have something major going on it’s because I’m being there for a friend.

What I’ve Been Reading

Virgin TerritoryChaotic Good Comps14.inddShatter Me
So I’ve not been sure what I’ve wanted to read this week so it’s not a lot and I am still reading Shatter Me even though it’s a really short book. Virgin Territory was a great romance, it was easy and I liked it. It had serious notes in it but as a whole it was just a great romance and an easy read. I then started Chaotic Good. That book probably would have been read way faster if it hadn’t been continually raining outside so I didn’t want to chuck it in my bag an the way to work to get damaged. That was a surprising read with a strong feminist note wrapped in an adorable fluffy bundle. I loved it. And then there’s Shatter Me. I actually began reading that Sunday and wasn’t in the mood for it. I went back to it after reading Virgin Territory and was more in the mood for it but got distracted by Chaotic Good. And now I’m reading it again after Chaotic Good and I’m not sure what I’m in the mood to read any more. We’ll see, everyone is telling me to read it so I’m determined because there isn’t anything I don’t like about it, you know?

New To Me

ShadowblackThe Epic Crush of Genie LoOsidio
I once more bought more than I read but I think I’ll begin a month of no new books for April. my readings slowed down anyway so unless I preorder it I can maybe focus on getting through a few books. But I’m happy with every new book I’ve got so no regrets! I hope to get to them all soon but soon is such a relative term for readers. Soon really means in the next two to ten years I will read these books.

Anyone else suffering with more snow? Is it a sign of old age that I no longer get excited about snow? And what books have you read lately?

13 March 2018

A Princess in Theory // The Hype Was Right

A Princess in Theory
A Princess in Theory (Reluctant Royals #1) – Alyssa Cole
Published: 27th February 2018
Source: Purchased
Genre: Romance, Contemporary
My Rating:
From acclaimed author Alyssa Cole comes the tale of a city Cinderella and her Prince Charming in disguise . . .

Between grad school and multiple jobs, Naledi Smith doesn’t have time for fairy tales…or patience for the constant e-mails claiming she’s betrothed to an African prince. Sure. Right. Delete! As a former foster kid, she’s learned that the only things she can depend on are herself and the scientific method, and a silly e-mail won’t convince her otherwise.

Prince Thabiso is the sole heir to the throne of Thesolo, shouldering the hopes of his parents and his people. At the top of their list? His marriage. Ever dutiful, he tracks down his missing betrothed. When Naledi mistakes the prince for a pauper, Thabiso can’t resist the chance to experience life—and love—without the burden of his crown.

The chemistry between them is instant and irresistible, and flirty friendship quickly evolves into passionate nights. But when the truth is revealed, can a princess in theory become a princess ever after?
A Princess in Theory has been on my TBR ever since I saw the book cover. An inclusive romance which is also a royal romance and there's a STEM girl in it as well? Like, this book ticked all the boxes and the summary made me laugh so I knew I needed to read it. Also, Alyssa Cole wrote it and everyone seems to love her so I knew I wanted to read this. I'm so glad I put a pre-order in for it.

First off, royal romances aren't really my jam. I mean, I don't get the appeal of royals and their love lives. Maybe it's because I'm British and the royal family isn't exciting and cool to me. Queenie is just a face on a coin and her kids and grandkids lives are pretty boring (why should I be so interested in their lives, they got the luck of the draw with what family they were born into and they aren't exactly the most interesting people). So, royal romances are always a bit cringe to me. An African prince scam sounds like the perfect set up for a romance. Especially when the prince isn't a scam and Naledi was actually engaged to him in a weird religious ceremony as a toddler... even if she can't remember it.

I have to say, Thabiso's ill-conceived plan of lying to Naledi full on stressed me out. I hate lying in books because I know the fallout from the lie will be brutal. I wasn't wrong. He caused doubts to arise in Naledi, she cared for him but she is a foster child who never got an adoptive family and has major trust issues. I felt for her her velcro theory on relationships. She seriously needed someone to want her so I adored seeing her and Thabiso grow closer. They were definitely meant to be together.

I didn't love Naledi's bestie but I was pretty sure that there was hope for her. She has potential to grow but in this one she was definitely selfish and pulled a lot of dick moves. Fingers crossed she becomes a better person next time (also, have you seen the summary for the next book, people, these books are my catnip).

This was a brilliant read and I am so glad the hype forced this onto my radar. Now I just can't wait for the next one.

Have you read this or anything else by Alyssa Cole? What did you think? What was the last book you enjoyed from a category you don’t usually enjoy?

11 March 2018

Sunday Summary // 11.03.2018

Sunday Summary
You know how I said I’d be blogging less? I don’t think even I predicted how much less it would be. I think I’ve forgotten how to blog! I’m sure it’ll all come back to me but it might take a while. Until then, let’s fill you on on my weeks away.

I’ve been working a bunch. It’s been good, we’re on top of everything but I’ve felt a bit out of it at work so that sucks. I can’t put my finger on what’s wrong there because the people are fine so I’ll be thinking on that one for a good long while.

I’ve seen my friends a whole bunch, as well. They all have stuff going on in their lives, much like me, so getting together and talking and relaxing has been key to get us all through the past couple of weeks. Good friends are hard to come by so I’m glad they’re there for me and I can be there for them. I know we’re going to be meeting up a bunch more in the coming weeks. I’m not kidding when I say we’ve all got a lot going on.

We’ve sold my nan’s house… I’m not sure I’ve mentioned that, but now we’re slowly working our way through clearing out her stuff ready for the sale to go through. There are so many things it’s ridiculous! It’s tough but it’s also so fun going through things and discovering items I’d forgotten about and stuff we didn’t even know she had. It’s exhausting, every trip round is emotionally draining but good for me, I think.

I also finally booked my trip to New York. It may only be a few nights but I’m already writing a list of what I want to do and where I want to visit. It’s definitely going to be the highlight of my year. I have been dying to go there forever so if you have suggestions of must do things that would be great. I’m going in September so I need to narrow down the important stuff for my time away.

What I’ve Been Reading

53936376653693Hunting Ground1926028249Bone CrossedSilver vBorneA Princess in TheoryThe Love Coupon
I’ve done some reading while I’ve been gone. I began a read through of the Mercy Thompson world books. I’ve taken a break to read some feel good romance, but I’m excited to get back into the Mercy Thompson world. i am loving her and the entire (growing) cast of characters.

New To Me

All For YouBone CrossedSilver BorneA Princess in TheoryVirgin TerritoryRiver MarkedBeginner's LuckShatter MeBlood and SandThis Fallen Prey
I bought a few books while I’ve been gone. Not as many as I might have bought, though. I feel very pleased I’ve managed to restrain myself some. I was pleased with every new book I’ve gotten and I will slowly try and work my way through those and everything else I’ve got. Keep your fingers crossed for me and my reading.

What haev you been up to while I’ve been away? Read any good books? And don’t you love when you forget about book releases and get some surprises on your kindle?

05 March 2018

Hiatus // Where Have I Been And Why

Beautiful Watercolor Background with Splatters
Hi guys! So… I’ve kind of took an unintended hiatus and liked it. We all need a break now and then and I obviously needed a break. It wasn’t planned but I actually enjoyed just enjoying reading, and watching TV and not thinking about blogging for a couple of weeks. I mean, I thought about blogging last week and then… I just didn’t do any. The chance to do the things I want without the constant presence of my blog and the work needed on it was nice.

Why Did The Hiatus Happen?

I was gone for another of reasons. Partly, it was exhaustion from work… but that can only be an excuse for the one week I was at work, I also had a week off of work and I didn’t fancy blogging then either. It wasn’t just being exhausted from work, though. It was also real life things. One the weekend I should have had my author afternoon tea some things went down with my friend and she needed friend support so that didn’t happen. Instead, I spent my time with her and sadly missed out on meeting some of my favourite authors. I think that got me down a bit too and put me off of blogging. I was where I needed to be, no regrets, I love my bestie, but we can all be disappointed, you know? Anyway, when I missed out on a bookish thing I think I wanted to blog less.

I figured, I had a week off of work after that, during that time my blogging mojo was bound to be reignited, right? Wrong! Instead, I just fancied doing everything but blogging and I certainly didn’t want to force myself to blog, that is not how I’ve done it during my four years of blogging and I didn’t plan to start doing that now. By the end of my week off I finally started to feel the blogging itch again and figured, after two weeks of reading, watching TV and game playing it was time to embrace another hobby I love… but changes need to happen.

Why Am I Coming Back And What Changes Need To Be Made?

So, I knew I wanted to come back and I knew I needed to write a little explanation for you guys while I crack my fingers and figure out what to write about. This post doesn’t mean I am back right this second, but I am coming back.

Thing is, I know things needs to be changing because sometimes I think about blogging and it plain old makes me feel exhausted because there is so much work involved. I spend 11 hours a day out of the house Monday to Friday and I need 8 hours of sleep, that leaves me with 5 hours for me, and some of that has to be spent getting ready for work and doing chores and such so I simply do not have the time to spend blogging as I might wish, Especially because I don’t want my weekends to be all blogging.

So what am I changing? I plan to blog less, it sucks but guys, life is necessary. I’m gonna do more reviews in a single post and I am basically gonna concentrate on making it manageable, especially since I can’t blog as much as I used to and keep up to date with all your blogs too. I used to be able to do it but I have other stuff to focus on so I need to make my blog grow with me. I think that is something I have been forgetting of late. It’s what I want and it’ll make me happier I’m sure.

Anyone else taken an unintended hiatus and learnt a few things from it? And how have you guys made your blog grow with you?

20 February 2018

Bite Sized Books // Hate To Love Romance

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The Hating Game – Sally Thorne
Published: 9th August 2016
Source: Netgalley/Purchased
Genre: Romance, Contemporary
My Rating:
1) An opponent or rival whom a person cannot best or overcome
2) A person's undoing
3) Joshua Templeman

Lucy Hutton has always been certain that the nice girl can get the corner office. She prides herself on being loved by everyone at work - except for imposing, impeccably attired Joshua Templeman.

Trapped in a shared office, they've become entrenched in an addictive game of one-upmanship. There's the Staring Game, The Mirror Game, The HR Game. Lucy can't let Joshua beat her at anything - especially when a huge promotion is on offer.

If Lucy wins, she'll be Joshua's boss. If she loses, she'll resign. So why is she questioning herself? Maybe she doesn't hate him. And just maybe, he doesn't hate her either. Or is this just another game . . . ?

I read this book a good long while ago and never reviewed it on my blog or Netgalley. It was a fantastic read and I really enjoyed it, I even bought a copy for me to reread at some point. It definitely feels like a romance I could revisit another day and enjoy just as much,

Last year, there was a lot of hype surrounding this book so I was a little nervous going in. Luckily, this book met all the hype and then some. When I first began reading I was a bit uncertain. I mean, Lucy fully just throws us into hating Josh right along with her and it's funny and weird and I wasn't sure at first, but then I thought it was hilarious. The way it was written was a little over the top but it had the right amount of humour to have me giggling along with the book.

The tension between Josh and Lucy was brilliant, you seriously could tell that there was so much chemistry between them. At times I was fanning myself there was fire between them. You spend a few chapters enjoying the strange games they play and enjoying Lucy's utter obsession with Josh and his different behaviours and then you get to see them together as their chemistry boils over. Josh lusting after Lucy after she's dressed in a provocative outfit and then that elevator scene?!?! Let me just fan myself for a second.

I think this book was so perfect because it was on the edge of being weird. I mean, Lucy and her neurotic behaviour is hilarious. She could come across as crazy (she does come across as crazy) but she is adorable whilst doing it and Josh doesn't even bat an eyelash at it. Their battle of wills and their competitive streak with one another is just awesome.
It's hard to fully describe this book and explain why it is so great. It's hilarious and such a swoony romance and it's just brilliant. It's partially a throwback to older 'chick-lit' in the general tone of the book, but yet it's completely it's own book at the same time. I think I've stopped expecting books to be funny like this when it comes to romance and it's showing me I'm wrong for thinking that.

The only reason I didn't rate this book 5 stars is because the ending just felt lacking in some way. I almost felt like we lost a couple of chapters. It was no major gripe, it didn't make me like the book any less, it simply ended too soon for my liking.

14. Love To Hate You
Love to Hate You – Jo Watson
Published: 6th February 2018
Source: Netgalley
Genre: Romance, Contemporary
My Rating:
An unmissable sexy rom-com from the author of ALMOST A BRIDE. Perfect for fans of Joanna Bolouri, Cate Woods and Sally Thorne's THE HATING GAME.

Sera is usually a good girl. (Except for one wild night in the backseat of a stranger's car!) But what happens when that bad boy turns out to be her new boss? And what happens when he wants more than one night...and he can be very persuasive...

For more laugh-out-loud, swoon-worthy hijinks, don't miss Jo's other rom-coms, BURNING MOON, ALMOST A BRIDE and FINDING YOU.
I admit, I was drawn into requesting this book on Netgalley because of the comparison to The Hating Game so it felt utterly appropriate to then review it right along with that very book (which I should have reviewed a year ago).

First off, it was utterly ridiculous but very fun. I mean, it starts with a girl having sex in the backseat of a car after going to a gay club and then runs a way after a group of drag queens knocks the car and cheers as she runs away. Like, if that doesn’t say it all with this book I don't know what does. That sort of sets the tone of the book, it’s just that step beyond and a little ridiculous. It’s a perfect light read but at times the ridiculousness took me out of the book as I went ‘really?’ which was a little annoying.

One thing I really liked is this book is set in South Africa! That is exciting for me as my uncle actually lived in South Africa before he died. It’s one place I only want to visit because of the family connection. I couldn’t immediately tell but once it clicked that the author was South African it was really obvious. It was fun to read a book set somewhere different for once.

But onto why this book was ridiculous. It was so OTT and yes it did having me laughing and smiling to myself and it did have rom-coms vibes but if I hadn't been in the mood for a light easy read I might have hated it. Luckily, I was in the mood for it so it worked but I had to say it. It took me out of the story a couple of times so it’s a love/hate thing for this style of writing.

Also, it felt like all the stereotypes were here like the gay couple who were kind and totally out there and the sexy hot stranger/boss with a heart of gold. And the MC with a troubled family who just didn't see how awesome she was. All things which meant characters felt flat at times which is why this book didn't get a higher rating. Romance is all about the characters so if you're not loving them the you're not loving the book. Sera was likeable at times but then sometimes I was rolling my eyes in a bad way at her antics, you know?

I am glad I read this though. It was very reminiscent of Sophie Kinsella and old school chick-lit of the 2000s. It had that fun vibe going for it and I know there are plenty of folks who won't even notice any issues and will love the rollercoaster ride of fun.

And there are my reviews for two hate to love romances. What hate to love romance do you love?

18 February 2018

Sunday Summary // 18.02.2018

Sunday Summary
Hi guys. Just a quick update this week. I’ve been crazy busy both in real life and I even got blogging done this week, but it means I am exhausted. Turns out blogging takes it out of you, who knew?

My busy week has been made up of work, seeing friends and sorting through things at my nan’s. It’s been a busy, busy week. I can’t even think of everything I’ve been up to. I spent a lot of time watching Bones (I’m up to season 6 and I am loving it). I also saw old school friends and it was great, laughing ‘til you cry and generally having fun. And there was pancake day this week too. I don’t think I mentioned but my mom was recently diagnosed with type 2 diabetes so she’s having to look at her diet and cut down on sugar and carbs. It meant she couldn’t have usual pancakes so I found this awesome banana pancake recipe. That was pretty fun to make… if a little difficult to flip (also, if you guys have good low sugar/low card recipes let me know because me and my mom are trying to find good foods that still taste nice).

I’ve done plenty of blogging as well this week (three posts up, I know you’re all impressed… I know I was). I quite enjoyed staying up to date with these things but honestly I don’t know how I used to do it because I had like no time left after doing that, how do folks have time to read and blog? It means this week, a slower week of blogging so I can have a date with my bed and figure out what on earth I feel like reading.

What I’ve Been Reading

I’ve read one book. I know, that’s it. Like I said, blogging takes up crazy amounts of time. Also, I’ve had no clue what to read lately. It’s not a slump, I’m just unsure as what I want to do other than watch copious amounts of Bones.

New To Me

Once and For AllSpare and Found Parts
So just two new purchased books. I haven’t gotten around to read the newest Sarah Dessen book so I had to buy when it was on sale. Spare and Found Parts I only heard of last week as it was advertised in the back of Shadowsong and then I saw it in a couple of magazines and it sounds really cool, I’m excited to read it.
Cover Spread Starfish.inddA Thousand Perfect NotesThe Truth About AliceRuinTo Kill a Kingdom
I got a whole heap of ARCs this week and yeah, it’s a lot of YA which I’ve drifted from a bit but I’ve heard a good things about most of these. I mean, I have Cait’s book! You don’t know how exciting it is, I’ve never been so glad to be auto approved. Ruin was a surprise ARC in the post and yay for sports romance. And I won a copy of To Kill A Kingdom. It’s fantasy about sirens! Who doesn’t want to read that?

How was your week? Anyone else find they’re time being eaten up and not having time for anything? And who is excited about all the new books coming out?

16 February 2018

My Thoughts // Why I Love The Book Blogging Community

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It’s not so much of a discussion post this time around but more me singing the praises of the awesomeness of the books blogging community. Recently, I’ve had a tough time of it in real life. My nan died and it sucked but I refused to allow myself to not blog and so powered through. I am still struggling to find a new blog/life balance (much like a work/life balance but blogging is way more fun than work). Whilst I’ve been struggling through real life stuff, though, bloggers have continually reminded me why I adore the book blogging community and why I keep blogging even though sometimes you have doubts as to why you keep going. There are plenty of reasons for why the book blogging community is brilliant but these are the ones which came to mind for me.


One thing which has always been apparent to me is that everyone I have spoken to and whose blogs I have visited has been supportive. If you show even a little bit of doubt or uncertainty you’ll have about five people lining up to give you a boost. I love that when things are tough I’ve got folks telling me that it’s okay. I mean, I have folks offering me support and being kind. Anyone who tells you that online friends aren’t real friends hasn’t been going through a tough time and had folks asking how you’re doing and messaging on a tough day. Bloggers are the best and they are there for you always. They all deserve a massive hug for being awesome like that.


Book bloggers are seriously all over the world. You will not find a more diverse bunch of people. You speak to folks in the US (yes, there are a lot of them) but there are also folks in Europe, Asia, Australia. Everywhere! It means you learn about a whole bunch of books and as there is a push for books to more reflect reality (thus not be a sea of white middle-class people). I mean, I had no idea the sheer number of books being published in Australia until I started reading books blogs, there are loads of them and we get to see but a smidgen of them! I mean, the way different people view books is insane as well! I am white, middle class and live in the UK. I have had an easy life, all things considered, so seeing other bloggers highlight books which they can relate to and represent their own experience is awesome. I have people explaining why certain reads are problematic to them and why others are well done at showing something which they can relate to. I have folks telling me about books I would never have even heard of if it wasn’t for blogs and the internet in general. It’s awesome, yay for blogging.


I was terrified to start blogging. I didn’t comment on other blogs for a while and really, did not have a clue what I was doing. I just knew I wanted to talk about books like other folks, but I wasn’t totally certain how to go about it. Other bloggers made me feel so welcome. Like I said before, anyone who tells you that online friends aren’t real friends is a liar because the book bloggers I have spoken to in my time (almost four years of blogging) have always been friendly and approachable and sometimes I know more about what’s happening with them than real life friends. They’ll chat and ask you questions and if you’re daring enough to go to a bookish event then they’ll totally be willing to chat and hang out as if you do it all the time.


Look, blogging is hard. You have to become a writer, a reviewer, make your graphics, design a website (or buy one) and manage and maintain the whole thing. You have to learn to do all of these things, especially things you may never have done before. You have to learn things and educate yourself and it takes time and effort and we have real lives as well as a blogging one to maintain. It’s hard and complicated and so the fact that bloggers everywhere write helpful guides helping guide on any question you might have. And most people are willing to answer questions you might have. It’s awesome, want to know how someone formatted on their blog? Most of the time people will give you advise. Want to advise on blog design? There are plenty of people you can ask for hints and tips. The most helpful bunch.

All The Best Recs

The best thing about bloggers, though? They always have the best recs. I never had so many books on my TBR as since I started blogging. You say you liked one type of book, one genre or one trope and folks are ready to recommend you 20 more. You read all these posts and say a book sounds good and bloggers will tell you to check out something else. It’s amazing really how much we push books at one another and how excited we all are to tell each other about these great books. The excitement to read new stuff and get everyone else to do the same is amazing. We are awesome.


In conclusion, book bloggers are amazing and we should all definitely take the time to remind each other of that fact. This is me doing that. You’re all awesome and you deserve the love.

Why do you love book bloggers? What makes us all so great (because we all need a boost from time to time)?

14 February 2018

Shadowsong // I’m Not Good At Explaining Why But I Loved It

Published: 30th January 2018
Source: Netgalley/Purchased
Genre: Romance, Fantasy, Young Adult
My Rating:
The conclusion to the gorgeous and lush Wintersong duology.

Six months after the end of Wintersong, Liesl is working toward furthering both her brother’s and her own musical careers. Although she is determined to look forward and not behind, life in the world above is not as easy as Liesl had hoped. Her younger brother Josef is cold, distant, and withdrawn, while Liesl can’t forget the austere young man she left beneath the earth, and the music he inspired in her.

When troubling signs arise that the barrier between worlds is crumbling, Liesl must return to the Underground to unravel the mystery of life, death, and the Goblin King—who he was, who he is, and who he will be. What will it take to break the old laws once and for all? What is the true meaning of sacrifice when the fate of the world—or the ones Liesl loves—is in her hands?
I had been eagerly anticipating this book ever since I’d finished Wintersong. That first book had an ending which left me wanting more and needing resolution. I needed this book in my hands as soon as possible. I even preordered this book because I needed to know how it would all end. I was in no way prepared for the story given in this book and I enjoyed it but I have spent the past two days struggling to put into words why I loved it.

Just as a warning there will be spoilers in this post because it was hard enough writing a review, any review, so editing it down to not include spoilers would be too damn hard. I don’t hate myself that much.

The premise of this book is simple. It’s in the summary above, but Liesl has been out from the underground for a while and strange things are happening. Her brother is not ok and she is not ok and both aren’t willing to admit it. It’s a book about Liesl dealing with her grief at leaving the one she loves. Struggling with the madness which lies in her family and the concern of what that means for her. She struggles with trying not to delve into the madness she experiences composing in the underground by avoiding her music altogether.

It’s so hard to explain this book because the story itself is relatively simple. Not a lot happens. Like the first book, the pace is slow and is far more about character development than fast paced story action. As the author mentions at the start, Wintersong ‘was her bright mirror’ showing the brighter side of who she was whilst Shadowsong is the dark one showing ‘how all the monstrous parts of the Underground’ and how they were facets of herself. This really reflects within the books. Whilst there were manic aspects to Wintersong with Liesl suffering with her creativity getting to the extreme lengths composing music, it was always magical and charming and never as dark as Shadowsong gets. Shadowsong feels a lot more hopeless in how it’s written. Liesl seems to accept the inevitability of her life outside of the underground and denying the magic which she knows exists… maybe in concern that her experiences were a sign of madness.

I think my love for this book came from the character journey rather than a fast paced storyline (because fast paced this book is not). I loved the exploration of Lisel’s character and her discovering who she is and what it means to accept her whole self. It was about Josef realising who he was and what his differences meant. And it was about the Goblin King getting to lead his own life with those he loved and that it shouldn’t always be about sacrifice.

Look, this book wasn’t anything like I expected and whilst at first I struggled with the slow pace as Liesl seemed so accepting in her angry existence denying her love. I did adjust to the pacing of the book and love exploring the characters thoughts and slowly seeing the story unfold. It was such a satisfying ending to a magical ending. It had the exact same feel as the first book did but also a whole different vibe. I loved it and cannot fully explain why but it was an excellent read and if you’ve read the first you definitely need to check this out.

What was the last book you read which you loved and couldn’t explain why? And have you read this or Wintersong? What did you think?

12 February 2018

Bite Sized Books // Wallflowers: I Finally Read Some Lisa Kleypas

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So, last month I finally read some Lisa Kleypas. Nick has been going on at me to read her books for a while and then Danya started in I figured I should probably go ahead and get reading, I did own two of the books in the series anyway so it made sense. I ended up loving the series and I’m not totally sure why I waited to read them. I figured a small handful of quick bite-sized review was appropriate in case anyone (like me) has yet to read them and needs a little convincing.

Secrets of a Summer Night (wallflower #1) – Lisa Kleypas
Published: 26th October 2004

Source: Purchased

Genre: Historical Romance

My Rating:
Annabelle Peyton, determined to save her family from disaster, decides to use her beauty and wit to tempt a suitable nobleman into making an offer of marriage. But Annabelle's most intriguing - and persistent - admirer, wealthy, powerful Simon Hunt, has made it clear that while he will introduce her to irresistible pleasure he will not offer marriage. Annabelle is determined to resist his unthinkable proposition... but it is impossible in the face of such skillful seduction.

Her friends, looking to help, conspire to entice a more suitable gentleman to offer for Annabelle, for only then will she be safe from Simon - and her own longings. But on one summer night, Annabelle succumbs to Simon's passionate embrace and tempting kisses... and she discovers that love is the most dangerous game of all.

The first book centres around Annabelle. There is literally no reason she should be a Wallflower. She is extremely pretty, she knows how to behave as a lady should and she’s good at faking a smile. Unfortunately, her family is poor and they are relying upon Annabelle to marry well to help support her family but the rich men? They are circling like sharks waiting for her to be desperate enough to act as a mistress to one of them. Those men include Simon Hunt. He doesn’t wish to marry but continually he is around Annabelle and can’t seem to get her out from under his skin.

I admit I was a little wary of the pairing. Annabelle could have potentially been unlikable, so confident in her looks searching for a rich man, but she was so sweet and nice and she had an attitude she didn’t always let folks see (unless she was with the Wallflowers who allowed her to be herself). And Simon may have been a working man (shocking, how dare he get rich from a hard days work) but him being unwilling to marry seemed a bit weird. All doubts were cast aside when they were together. Their little digs at one another were brilliant. And the care Simon showed when Annabelle was sick! I am a sucker for one half of a romantic pairing caring for the other when sick, I don’t know what it is.

I found this romance didn’t follow the path I expected. I expected them together and for a nice little HEA to happen. Instead, the two married but that was by no means the end because the end was when they admitted their care and love for one another. I even enjoyed how overly dramatic the book got. Turns out I love the OTT drama in this historical romance. I adored Annabelle and Simon not understanding their depth of care for one another until they almost lost one another. It was perfect.

7. It Happened One Autumn
Published: 25th September 2005

Source: Purchased

Genre: Historical Romance

My Rating:
It happened at the ball...

Where beautiful but bold Lillian Bowman quickly learned that her independent American ways weren't entirely "the thing." And the most disapproving of all was insufferable, snobbish, and impossible Marcus, Lord Westcliff, London's most eligible aristocrat.

It happened in the garden...

When Marcus shockingly - and dangerously - swept her into his arms. Lillian was overcome with a consuming passion for a man she didn't even like. Time stood still; it was as if no one else existed.

It happened one autumn...

Marcus was a man in charge of his own emotions, a bedrock of stability. But with Lillian, every touch was exquisite torture, every kiss an enticement for more. Yet how could he consider taking a woman so blatantly unsuitable...as his bride?
I went into this book with high expectations. I’d already been told by Danya and Nick it was good and Danya claimed Lillian and Marcus as her favourite couple. Thus, I was nervous to read because what if I didn’t like them?

I admit I found Lillian to be far too forceful a personality in the first book. She was very set in her mind and she very much stuck to her guns even when she was wrong. I wasn’t sure such a headstrong personality would appeal to me. I was wrong, she was brilliant. She was American and thus way too free and outspoken for British society but the fact she shook things up made her interesting to me. She was fun and just blew into things without much thought.

On the other hand, Marcus was stereotypically British, the perfect gent really. He was restrained and proper and although he was far more understanding than a lot of the British elite he was still stuck in his ways. He didn’t try and break too much from the elite and instead mostly blended except when it came to his business affairs. I didn’t like how he spoke about Annabelle in the first book and so I was a little wary going into this one. He was too quick to judge (much like Lillian) and so I was wary of both.

Turns out, two people who I potentially didn’t like trying to get together in a romance (whilst both being adamant they didn’t want each other) is a great recipe for romance. I thought they were hilarious, especially Lillian’s drunk scene that was hysterical. And when they did get together? Look, their path was never going to be easy and they were brilliant together. Once they were set upon each other no one else would do. They were perfect together.

8. The Devil in Winter
Published: 28th February 2006

Source: Purchased

Genre: Historical Romance

My Rating:
Evangeline Jenner stands to become the wealthiest Wallflower, once her inheritance comes due. Because she must first escape the clutches of her unscrupulous relatives, Evie has approached the rake Viscount St Vincent with a most outrageous proposition: marriage!

Sebastian's reputation is so dangerous that thirty seconds alone with him will ruin any maiden's good name. Still, Evie appeared, unchaperoned, on his doorstep to offer her hand. Certainly an aristocrat with a fine eye for beauty could do far worse.

But Evie's proposal comes with a condition: no lovemaking after their wedding night. She will never become another of the Viscount's discarded broken hearts - which means Sebastian will have to work harder at his seductions . . . or surrender his own heart for the first time in the name of true love.

This was one of the Wallflowers books which I’d heard most about. Everyone raved about how brilliant it was and how it was one of the best in the series. I think I may have to agree, Evie’s transformation from an actual wallflower (she was shy, retiring and had an overbearing family) to a confident woman who went after what and who she wanted was great.

It picked up right from the end of the last book with Evie approaching Sebastian and proposing marriage. What we saw of Sebastian in the last book did not shine him in the best light. I was wary of any romance involving him because although I’d like him up until the end as he may have been an inveterate rake but he was honest about it. Until he acted like a dick. I couldn’t see how he would redeem himself with this one. Turns out I need to get more imaginative because he most certainly redeemed himself.

Sebastian is utterly charming but he was also honest in his own way. He never hid who he was and so the relationship between Evie and Sebastian was brilliant. I knew he was a good egg as soon as Evie stopped stammering around him. If she could feel comfortable around him then he can’t be all bad. And seeing him slowly reform himself and become a hardworking gentleman running a reasonably respectable gambling club… well, I was all for that.

I loved that Evie stuck to her guns and made Sebastian work for her and her love. She didn’t let him off the hook simply because he was charming. The simple fact Sebastian was willing to sacrifice that which he loved to try and woo Evie (without realising that was what he was doing) was pretty damn awesome. my only complaint is we didn’t get more of Sebastian’s backstory. I feel like there could have been way more depth to him. That is my only grumble really, though.

9. Scandal in Spring
Published: 25th July 2006

Source: Purchased

Genre: Historical Romance

My Rating:
After spending three London seasons searching for a husband, Daisy Bowman's father has told her in no uncertain terms that she must find a husband. Now. And if Daisy can't snare an appropriate suitor, she will marry the man he chooses - the ruthless and aloof Matthew Swift.

Daisy is horrified. A Bowman never admits defeat, and she decides to do whatever it takes to marry someone . . . anyone . . . other than Matthew. But she doesn't count on Matthew's unexpected charm . . . or the blazing sensuality that soon flares beyond both their control. And Daisy discovers that the man she has always hated just might turn out to be the man of her dreams.

But right at the moment of sweet surrender, a scandalous secret is uncovered . . . one that could destroy both Matthew and a love more passionate and irresistible than Daisy's wildest fantasies.
The final one (apart from that Christmas book which I’ve not read) in this series is one I was nervous about. They’d all been so good and I questioned if Daisy’s book could possibly be as good. Especially as it seems to be a lower rated book in general. After all, this book follows on from three really good books.

I actually really enjoyed it despite all my doubts. Daisy was the youngest of the wallflowers and a dreamer. Far more likely to be found with her nose in a book than actually actively pursuing a future husband. It’s no surprise that her father becomes exasperated and gives her an ultimatum to either marry someone or she will be forced to marry Matthew Swift, a man who seems to go against everything Daisy hopes to find in a husband. Except, what she remembers of him is a little different to who he was when he came to England.

I think, after the drama of the first three books the calmer atmosphere of this book was appreciated. I mean, even the major drama at the end was a touch less dramatic and I liked that. What made this book great is that it was all about the competitive nature of the couple. Daisy is convinced that Matthew isn’t for her, even if he has miraculously grown hot in the time since she last saw him. He is far too rigid for her liking, but she is determined to prove him wrong and be better than him whenever possible.

Matthew, he was the one I truly loved. He had been head over heels for Daisy ever since he met her. He may not have always put things in the right way to her but he did love her. Even though he was in denial about it as he major secrets of his own. A secret I totally guessed but that’s neither here nor there.

This book was perfect really. Matthew and Daisy were great. I especially loved their competitive game of bowls. And the glimpses of the other ladies in their happily married lives. It was a great end to a great series and I have been informed I have to read the Ravenels series.

Have you read any of Lisa Kleypas’s books? And have you read any of the books in this series?