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:
NEMESIS (n)
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

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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.

Supportive

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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.

Diverse

diversity
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.

Friendly

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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.

Helpful

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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

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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

Shadowsong
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.

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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?

11 February 2018

Sunday Summary // 11.02.2018

Sunday Summary
Welcome to another Sunday. I honestly don’t know what I’ve done this week apart from read and read some more. And sleep. There has been a whole heap of sleeping because I’ve been feeling run down. Also singing as I got myself some wireless headphones which obviously meant I had to dance around the house singing (to test out the range from my phone, of course). I’m sure my neighbours haven’t thanked me for those performances as I am a truly bad singer but it was funny.

I did a couple of buddy reads this week. First I read From Lukov With Love with Nick and that was an adorable read in every way. We then dived into Making Up together along with Danya and oh my, Lucy Parker’s latest book is good. You guys definitely need to get that preordered. These buddy reads mean if I’ve not been reading I’ve been spending way more time on Twitter than I ever usually would. It’s crazy how often you phone pings when you actually use Twitter from time to time.

Apart from reading I haven’t done much, I’ve been really run down this week. I’ve had the hint of a cold brewing for a while and unfortunately this was the week that my immune system succumbed. When I wasn’t reading or working I was sleeping. I’ve slept so much this week and annoyingly it wasn’t even good sleep that made me feel better. Hopefully, resting over the weekend will do me some good. I mean, I even bailed on seeing a friend Thursday night and that’s my one night a week of catching up and chilling. It was annoying but I got so much sleep that night that it was totally worth it. Hopefully resting up this weekend will conquer all illness.

What I’ve Been Reading

From Lukov With Love14. Love To Hate You15. Making UpShadowsong
My reading this week is all romance related, even Shadowsong which is a fantasy, but also a romance. It began with me buddy reading From Lukov With Love. I also read Love To Hate You because I got approved on Netgalley and it looked like perfect Valentine’s easy reading. I think Love To hate You suffered for following on from From Lukov… but it was fun and ridiculous. And then I got approved for Making Up so you just know I dropped everything to get reading that. Like I said, preorder if you haven’t already. And then I got Shadowsong, I actually had an ARC on my Kindle but I had to get a physical copy upon release regardless. It wasn’t everything I had hoped yet it was something completely different and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Now if I can only make sure I can put my feelings into words.

New To Me

TitheValiantIronsideShadowsongActing on ImpulseThe Tethered Mage
I did some shopping and some ARC requesting and it’s basically a whole heap of new books. The above are all new purchases (which doesn’t amount to more than £12 so I’m sat here feeling pretty damn smug). And I’ve read one of the books already so go me! I think my brain can’t decide if it fancies fantasy or romance and it’s leaving me confused but oh well.

And the below are my new ARCs, which I’ve already read two of so I’m almost the master of my ARC list. Well… sort of and that’s close enough for me.
14. Love To Hate You15. Making UpWords in Deep BlueThe Love CouponThe Smoke Thieves

How has your week been? Anyone else becoming the master of the ARCs? Or at least fooling themself into having that title?

07 February 2018

The Duchess Deal // Tessa Dare Proves Her Books Only Get Better

The Duchess Deal
Published: 22nd February 2018 (UK)

Source: Netgalley/Preordered

Genre: Historical Romance

My Rating:
‘I am a Duke. I’m not asking you to marry me. I am offering to marry you. It’s a different thing entirely.’

When the Duke of Ashbury returns from war scarred, he realises he needs an heir – which means he needs a wife! When Emma Gladstone, a vicar's daughter turned seamstress visits wearing a wedding dress, he decides on the spot that she'll do.

His terms are simple:

- They will be husband and wife by night only.
- No lights, no kissing.
- No questions about his battle scars.
- Last, and most importantly… Once she's pregnant with his heir, they need never share a bed again.

But Emma is no pushover. She has secrets and some rules of her own:

- They will have dinner together every evening.
- With conversation.
- And teasing.
- Last, and most importantly… Once she's seen the man beneath the scars, he can't stop her from falling in love…

When a girl meets a Duke, their marriage breaks all the rules…
I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

We all know I adore Tessa Dare, right? I mean, she is seriously a favourite author. I cannot get enough of her books. So when I learnt the UK release of her newest book would be pushed back (boo, stupid rights issues) I was understandably heartbroken. I seriously contemplated buying a US paperback even though I much prefer romance on Kindle. I decided not to buy because I had pre-ordered the Kindle edition anyway. I did get approved for the ARC on Netgalley, though, so all hope was not lost (although the wait for the UK ARC was painful too). I sped through this book and wanted to delay it ending because it was so so good!

My initial reaction to this book was emojis: 😍😍😍. Then there is this gif which demonstrates how I died from the cuteness:

flails helplessly... dead
But I suppose I should try and explain in words why it’s so good too. You know, since this is a blog and it’s not all about visual demonstrations of my love.

I will start by saying it was amazing. The hype was well deserved. It's the kind of book you want to hug close because it's so good and you want to hug it close. I always thought the first Tessa Dare book I read was my favourite (romancing the Duke) but I do believe this may have taken that top spot because it was just that good and I pinpoint the reason I loved it easily: Ash.

Don't get me wrong, I adored Emma. She was a tough headstrong woman who didn't allow her father determine her path in life. She struggled to get to where she was at the beginning of the book and she fought throughout the book to remain independent as she had grown accustomed. She had hang-ups ups and flaws but she was funny and fought and teased Ash and made him accept a love he didn't know he wanted and didn't think he deserved and I adored that about her. You couldn't not love her... but Ash was a precious angel.

Ash made me smile in his grumpiness and when he was despairing at being a monster and ashamed of the scars which made him I wanted him to get his happily ever after. I laughed at his various hilarious Shakespearean swear words and I just adored him. His wit was brilliant. I love a good romance with banter. Also, Ash was a genuinely good person, no matter how hard he tried to hide it. He cared about those around him, no matter how he tried to hide that fact.

I suppose folks want to hear about the story, not just the characters. I have to say he didn't have the usual ending and some might call it ridiculous. Normally, there is a big moment which splits the couple apart for a time but once Emma and Ash were together no matter their arguments they never felt like they weren't together. Their insecurities raised their heads a couple of times but I could tell they would be together and even their own doubts wouldn't last for long.

Basically, this book is wonderful. Read it. Repeatedly. This book has earned a place as a comfort read for me.

What’s your favourite Tessa Dare book? And do you have a favourite historical romance?

05 February 2018

The Wedding Date // Cute, Diverse, And Awesome

Published: 30th January 2018

Source: Bought

Genre: Romance, Contemporary

My Rating:
On the eve of his ex's wedding festivities, Drew Nichols is minus a plus one. Until a power outage strands him with the perfect candidate for a fake girlfriend...
Agreeing to go to a wedding with a guy she gets stuck with in an elevator is not something Alexa Monroe would normally do. But Drew's proposal proves hard to resist.
After their wedding date turns into a whole weekend of fun in San Francisco, Drew and Alexa return to their all-consuming careers - his in LA and hers in Berkeley. Too bad they can't stop thinking about each other...
It could be the long-distance dating disaster of the century - or Drew and Alexa could be just a flight away from what each of them truly wants.


The Wedding Date was an impulse preorder after I’d seen positive things said on Twitter and then saw that Nick had read it too. Those two things combined together meant I had to read it, It was meant to be. I hopped on Amazon and got my preorder sorted. This is the reason I own a lot of romance really, but this one was awesome so I’m glad I did.

The premise of The Wedding Date is simple, guy (Drew) is going to his ex’s wedding and his date bailed n him. He gets stuck in a lift with Alexa and the two end up chatting and he impulsively asks her to be his fake date as they got along so well. She says yes and they spend a weekend as fake boyfriend and girlfriend because he lies and calls her his girlfriend to the groom (who was also his friend from medical school who got with his ex). It’s a two-day thing this wedding so they spend two days having a laugh and getting along for better than expected so they end up sleeping together. Now, the good stuff happens. Alexa lives in Berkeley and Drew in Santa Monica (no, the distance between these places meant nothing to me, I did have to Google it to grasp it was kind of far). The two end up in this weird long-distance relationship with fun and laughter (and fallings out) as the two navigate the uncertain ground as they figure out who they are together and what they mean to each other.

Drew and Alexa were totally adorable together right from when they first met. They bantered and they had a laugh and I could totally see them as a couple as they got along and got each other so well. Even when there were misunderstandings at the start the two managed to get through all kinds of obstacles together which I wasn’t at all certain they could to start off with.

I admit, when we first meet Drew he seemed overly charming and considering he clarified right at the start he ‘didn’t do relationships’ I was kind of wary of him. He seemed like he was going to mess Alexa about and I wasn’t up for that. Especially when we learnt a bit more about what happened with his ex. I liked him, but I was wary. I was right to be with some of the stuff which happens in the book but everything he does he isn’t doing it maliciously, he is just a scared guy who honestly cannot figure out how relationships work. He is going in blind so I got his stumbling about like a bit of an oaf from time to time. I think it helped he was a paediatric surgeon, kind of hard to hate a doctor who works with kids, you know?

Alexa, though? I adored her. She worked at the mayor’s office in Berkeley as his chief of staff. She was totally in love with her job (much like Drew was, so I kind of questioned if the two would have time for each other when they have such hectic careers) and everything she did she worked so hard for. Be it building parks to heading up a scheme to help disadvantaged youths. All of it she gave her 100% and she was totally awesome doing it. I love when someone is so invested in their career.

What was brilliant about this book is that it wasn’t just a cute romance and I’m sure you’ve all predicted the ending of. It also did this great job of addressing race as Alexa is black and Drew is white. The little things which were dropped in to show the different attitudes each had to certain situations simply because of their race was brilliant. Be it a reaction to things done as a teen which for a white kid would be considered youthful exuberance and a prank to a black kid would be considered a crime and jail time could be faced. To Alexa innocently asking if the will be the black person there when it’s not something Drew would ever normally consider. Some of the attitudes to Alexa by those around her are shocking (from one guy continually asking her where she’s from because she can’t really be from California…. douche) but they are reactions which I would never get and small realities for others. Little things like that pushed this into being both a cute romance and a diverse read. It never stops being one because of the other and it is why there needs to be more diverse romance too.

So yeah, if you couldn’t tell, I loved this book. It wasn’t just a fake relationship book, but one about long-distance romance (not seen much of that in romance recently). It was cute and awesome and you should definitely check it out.

Have you read this? What did you think? And can you think of any good long distance romances because I’ve got a craving, I can only think of Dear Aaron.

04 February 2018

Sunday Summary // 04.02.2018

Sunday Summary
Guys, how are we in February? Like, how did that even happen? I am so shocked at how fast the start of this year has gone and considering last year flew by I am not ready for this year to go by as fast last year (except I also am).

This week has been a much, much slower week. We’d finished the hard stuff at work so this week dragged until the new month began. It didn’t help that it’s been a very long wait for payday as well. The new month and payday both arrived, though, and it was beautiful. I did a little shopping (clothes, not books) and basically spent way too much money all things considered. But that was pretty much the highlight of my week.

Unusually, I am writing this up on Friday night as I am busy Saturday. I have agreed to go for cocktails with some folks from work which inevitably lead to a little dancing before I got home well past my bedtime and snuggle up with the dog. It’s meant to be a mix of a couple of birthdays and because I missed out on the Christmas party so it should be fun. Even if I am far too tired Sunday because of it.

What I’ve Been Reading

10. Fables Vol 2 Animal Farm11. Fables Vol 3 Storybook Love12. The Wedding Date
So, not so many normal books this week but I am enjoying continuing rereading Fables. I actually don’t have the fourth volume yet so I think I might have to buy a copy. I am dithering over physical copies and ebook copies. It’s hard to decide which works better for me. Ebooks are cheaper but I do like the feel of something in your hands. I just don’t know. And The Wedding Date? That book is so insanely cute and adorable and I love it with all my heart. Also, yay for good diverse romance which addresses the issue of race and

New To Me

12. The Wedding DateLegsHeating It UpShining ThroughFrom Lukov With Love
Yeah, guys, my shopping restrictions aren’t going well. I am definitely trying harder than last year, though. And really, I am a sucker for romance. February is totally an acceptable time of year to give into some romance, though. So that’s cool.

And that’s my week, a chilled one really. how has your week been? Any good books or good news?