Monday 27 April 2020

The #StayAtHome Diaries Tag!


Since we're still locked down here in the UK, I thought I'd jump in and post this fun book tag created by Karen at For What It's Worth.

It's a nice and simple one answering ten questions and everyone can join in so if you want to post, consider yourself tagged!


Last Thing You Googled?
How to make french toast. The kid wanted to try it!

Last Book You Read?
How To Survive an Undead Honeymoon by Hailey Edwards.

Last Movie You Watched?
Alice Through The Looking Glass on Disney Plus. 

Last Thing You Did Before Socially Isolating?
I went to work! I was in office all day on Monday and that evening the government announced that lockdown would begin. That was my last day in the office for over a month now... How strange.

What Is Your Quarantine Personality? Couch Potato or Over-Achiever?
Couch Potato! Couch potato all the way.
There has been a lot of movies, a little TV and some reading since lockdown and not a lot of much else.

Average Number of Hours You Sleep At Night?
Between six and eight usually. 

Last Thing You Ordered Online?
Some shorts and pyjamas for my son. 

First Thing You'll Do When This Is Over?
I want to go to a shopping centre and browse and eat lunch at the food court. It's so mundane and everyday and I miss it... The little dude wants to go to a theme park and the professor has no clue.

If You Could Choose - Who Would Be Your Ideal Quarantine Companion?
I'm quarantined with him! Bit sappy but it's true. 

What Are You Most Grateful For?
I'm grateful that my family and friends are so far safe from the virus and I'm grateful that our jobs are secure. 

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Friday 24 April 2020

Discussion: Do Star Ratings Affect Your Book Buying?


Ah, star ratings... Those wonderful marks out of five. 
We're asked to leave them as a form of quick glance reviews for everything nowadays, aren't we?

You do grocery shopping online? Rate your fresh carrots! (True story.)
Buying clothes? Rate them! 
Day out at a theme park or museum? Rate them!
Watching a movie? Employing a plumber? Eating at a restaurant? Staying at a hotel?
Rate it!!!

Books are no exception to the star rating mania and that's what I'm talking about today. 
Do star ratings affect my book buying? For they will - and do - affect other areas of my life.
The very very short answer to this question is no. 
However, it's not quite as simple as that... Nothing ever is!

You see, if I want to hire someone to come and repair my boiler, or repair my roof, I'm going to be checking feedback from previous jobs, professional credentials and lots of other things before I hire them for the job because I want those things done properly with little room for error and the feedback is likely to be to the point and less subjective than for other things - for example: turned up on time, did job and did it well, tidied up after themselves, were polite/considerate etc. 

For a book?
There are no set criteria for marking. Everything is subjective.
What annoys me, may not annoy you, what I like you may hate, and vice versa. 
The number of stars a person gives it is a quick indication of what that person thought of the book but it is not an indication of how I'm going to feel about a book. 
I care more about what a person says about the book than the rating.
If someone lists all the things they think was so wonderful and I read those things and want to kill it with fire then I'm not going to read the book. 
If someone's hate-filled rant has me giggling because I would probably like all they disliked then I'm 1-clicking that sucker.

People like different things. 
There is no one size fits all when it comes to a book, nor when it comes to anything really...
Plus, people are really freaking strange.
I've seen reviews where people have 1-starred a book because they didn't like something the author did/said online but "it hurt them to do so because they loved the book." 
WTF now? That's a star rating for the author's humanity then, isn't it? Not the book. Controversial opinion, maybe, but how about you keep your personal opinion of the author out of it? 

I've also seen books 1-starred as soon as they're announced. I've seen books 5-starred as soon as they're announced. None of those people will have read the book yet but it doesn't stop them from giving an opinion on it and it has the potential to really skew opinion.

People deduct "stars" for poor editing when the book breathed passion and fire into their soul.
People give boring pieces of literary might all the stars because it was superbly written even though it was a thing of misery... People are weird but each to their own!
As I said, we like different things and that keeps life interesting but we need to account for that when taking things like star ratings into consideration.
No one died because they took a chance on a book with a low star rating. A high star rating is no guarantee you'll like it.
You need more information and you need to keep an open mind when hunting out your selections always remembering that star ratings are a highly subjective quick glance indicator of mood... Not a statement of fact.

When I give star ratings, I rate mostly on how a book made me feel.
It could be an absolute trash fire but if it made me feel all warm and fuzzy who is anyone to judge me and my five-star read?
Me... I'd totally judge me, especially if I re-read it years later and it had me questioning my life choices but that's not the point! 😜
The point is that ratings are too subjective to be trusted!
To me, they're snapshots of what I felt about something at that time. They're not necessarily enduring and that's why I don't let star ratings affect whether I'll buy a book.
What can/does affect my book buying is the opinion of people who I trust on the subject, book covers, blurb, price and past experience of the writer.
They're much more important, imo.

So I ask, what do you think? Are star ratings useful? Do they influence you?
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Tuesday 21 April 2020

TTT: Book Titles That Would Make Good Band Names


I often read book titles and think that they could be song titles but I'd never really given much thought to book titles as band names so this was a fun exercise!

I'm really looking forward to seeing what others come up with for this prompt!

Now, I haven't read all the books I've featured but the songs are all songs on my playlists from various stages of my life... Make of that what you will! πŸ˜‰

🌻

Bad Romeo & Broken Juliet 

(by Leisa Rayven)

I couldn't choose between these two so I'm cheating and including them both!
I'm thinking they'd suit an alt. rock band... Like, Night Riots.



🌻

Finding Cinderella
(by Colleen Hoover)

I'm thinking this would suit an Indie Rock band... Like, Scouting For Girls.



🌻

Mud Vein

(by Tarryn Fisher)

This has got to be a Heavy Metal band, right?



🌻

Seeing Stars 

(by J. Sterling)

This would be for a pop rock band!



🌻

Till Death 

(by Jennifer L. Armentrout)

I'm thinking thrash metal for this one!



🌻

Black Magic Sanction

(by Kim Harrison)

Symphonic Metal! Has to be!
Nightwish sprung straight to mind when trying to link titles to bands so...



🌻

Sins of Seven 

(by Penelope Ward)

Another one that would suit a metal band...



🌻

Finding Eden 

(by Mia Sheridan)

I went back and forth on what kind of band Finding Eden would be and settled on some kind of symph metal again but this time more like Within Temptation.



🌻

Molly's Millions

 (by Victoria Connelly)

I'm thinking angry chick band for Molly's Millions... Alt/indie rock maybe?



🌻

Undercover Bromance

(by Lyssa Kay Adams)

I'm thinking something punk poppy rocky for this one!



🌻

So, whatcha think? 
Did you take part in this prompt? If so, leave me your links!
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Monday 13 April 2020

Tell Me To Stay & Dear Ava (Willow Winters / Ilsa Madden-Mills)


Some spoilers (aka potential triggers) are mentioned below for Dear Ava!

🌻



It’s impossible to get over what we had.
He was everything – irresistibly handsome, ruthlessly elite, and seemingly untouchable - while I was nothing.
Yet he protected me when I was at my lowest; more than that, he wanted me.
He devoured me… and I did the same to him.
Until it all fell apart and I ran as far away from Madox as I could. After all, the two of us were never meant to be together.
I never thought I’d see him again, years later. Let alone be under him in the way I’ve craved since we said goodbye.
The attraction between us still burns like fire, but time can’t change the past. And I don’t know if it’s possible for us to mend all of our broken pieces.


This is my first Willow Winters novel and I must admit that I found it completely underwhelming. I don’t know if it was because this particular story had started off as a novella which was later expanded (into a short novel) or whether it was just the author’s writing style but I found it to be a bit of a hot mess.

The characters lacked any kind of depth or personality, the storyline was paper thin, and the constant back and forth between flashbacks and the present was tedious when the past barely explained anything going on in the present. (I think that the flashbacks were supposed to add depth, but they failed.)

The book was just… Sex and angst. Angst that meant nothing to you as a reader because you did not care a single jot about any of the characters because it’s hard to give a single crap about a fictional character who is no more fleshed out than a name on a page.
As for the sex… I read it with a bored almost clinical detachment because I just did not care.
I don’t think you could class the book as erotica as it fell short on the fundamental requirement of that - i.e. being erotic - but I wouldn’t call it romance either as it failed to inspire emotion.

Basically, it read like a first draft. It was the bare bones of a story that sorely needed to be fleshed out with some life breathed into it but, unfortunately, it was delivered DOA.

🌻


*Read via Kindle Unlimited*


The rich and popular Sharks rule at prestigious, ivy-covered Camden Prep. Once upon a time, I wanted to be part of their world--until they destroyed me.

The last thing I expected was an anonymous love letter from one of them.

Please. I hate every one of those rich jerks for what they did to me. The question is, which Shark is my secret admirer?

Knox, the scarred quarterback.
Dane, his twin brother.
Or Chance, the ex who dumped me. . .

Dear Ava,
Your eyes are the color of the Caribbean Sea.
Wait. That's stupid.
What I really mean is, you look at me and I feel something REAL.

It's been ten months since you were here, but I can't forget you.
I've missed seeing you walk down the hall.
I've missed you cheering at my football games.
I've missed the smell of your hair.
And then everything fell apart the night of the kegger.
Don't hate me because I'm a Shark.
I just want to make you mine.
Still.


This book was nothing like I expected.
For a start, Ava is drugged and raped the first chapter of the book (off page but the aftermath isn't) and that wasn't something I was prepared for.
Secondly, I wasn't prepared for the devastating events of that night to permeate every chapter of the book - but it did and in a big way.
I'm not going to lie, I went into this book expecting an angsty, hate to love romance, that was pretty straight forward but what I got was an angsty hate to love romance with an added side of serious shit and honestly, I didn't appreciate the serious shit at first and considered DNFing.
I felt like I'd been mis-sold the book. However, I'm glad I kept reading.

Ava is one tough cookie. Knox is a bastard sweetheart. Seeing them come together as a couple - wading through all that serious shit - was worth the journey.
Seeing them get their HEA was awesome.
Knowing that the asshole who raped Ava got his comeuppance? Priceless.
(Even if you could guess who it was pretty much from the freaking beginning.)
Is it a book I'm likely to fangirl over and recommend to everyone? Not really, no.
Is it a book I'm likely to read again? No.
But I enjoyed it in the end and I'm sure it'll tick a lot of people's boxes, especially if they like bratty rich kid dramas and hate to love romances. (Which this book captures in spades.)
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Friday 10 April 2020

Why I'm Weird Tag

I was tagged by Tanya @ Girl Plus Books months and months (and months) ago with this but I'm terrible at remembering things and honestly? Listing my quirks is kinda difficult because they all make perfect sense to me! lol.

It's taken me a while to collate people's offhand comments about me (and remembering to write them down) to pull together a blog post but I finally did it!

Behold! The "weird" that is me!

I love making lists but am terrible about sticking to them.
This mostly applies to watch lists and reading schedules. I actually follow my task and shopping lists.

I hate having certain foods touching other foods. 
Nope, I can't really elaborate with examples because there are no hard and fast "rules" that cover my quirk. It shifts and I'm perfectly fine with certain food combos being up in each other's business but really not ok with others.
It's about flavours mixing I think...

I don't like people touching me unless you're someone I find acceptable to touch me.
Yep. That makes perfect sense, right? But it's true.
My family (aka husband, son, mum etc) I'm perfectly normal with when it comes to casual touches and affection like hugs. A select group of friends are the same. But, for the most part, I cannot stand people touching me. I hate getting my hair cut. I refuse to get my nails done, or go to a spa. I am not the person who'll give someone a consoling hug or hand squeeze. I cannot stand people accidentally touching me in a queue or brushing against me in a crowd. It's a nightmare and it drains me faster than a battery in sub-zero temperatures.

I have an irrational fear of lots of holes close together. 
They actually make me feel sick.
You have no idea what finding this giph cost me... *shivers*

I love romance in books but I'm allergic to sappy romantic stuff in real life.
Seriously, I can't handle it.

🌻

If you want to share why you're 'weird' consider yourself tagged!

(This tag was originally created by Dellybird.)
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Monday 6 April 2020

You Deserve Each Other & Rhythm, Chord and Malykin


Two different but awesome contemporary romances coming right up!

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*eARC granted via Edelweiss*


When your nemesis also happens to be your fiancΓ©, happily ever after becomes a lot more complicated in this wickedly funny, lovers-to-enemies-to-lovers romantic comedy debut.

Naomi Westfield has the perfect fiancΓ©: Nicholas Rose holds doors open for her, remembers her restaurant orders, and comes from the kind of upstanding society family any bride would love to be a part of. They never fight. They're preparing for their lavish wedding that's three months away. And she is miserably and utterly sick of him.

Naomi wants out, but there's a catch: whoever ends the engagement will have to foot the nonrefundable wedding bill. When Naomi discovers that Nicholas, too, has been feigning contentment, the two of them go head-to-head in a battle of pranks, sabotage, and all-out emotional warfare.

But with the countdown looming to the wedding that may or may not come to pass, Naomi finds her resolve slipping. Because now that they have nothing to lose, they're finally being themselves--and having fun with the last person they expect: each other.


OMG, I don't think I have laughed out loud so much to any book before ever!
This book was a riot and not because it was trying to be laugh out loud funny but because it was so snarky and bitchy and mean at times. I don't know what it says about my personality that I enjoyed the conflict and the way it was articulated so much but I really did. It ticked my boxes. However, it did get a bit draining and I did question the mental faculties of people who were at such inner odds with each other willingly staying in that environment... But then you'd get a little peek behind the curtain, a little sneaky peek of what this couple could become, and it kept me going until they finally started to thaw and fight for each other.

The book was a perfect example of what happens to two people when they fail to unite against all the external forces determined to drive them apart, not to mention what happens when you stop being yourself in your relationship and instead become what you think the other person wants you to be.

I can't say I particularly liked Naomi and I didn't particularly like Nicholas either - they were both assholes - but I kinda liked them being assholes together... They worked. A perfect, shining, example of there being someone for everyone.
I liked that they found their way back to each other, I liked how they finally stood up to Nicholas's psycho mother and I love the idea of them living happily ever after in their rustic house in the woods.

You Deserve Each Other is not a conventional contemporary romance but it is definitely a fun one so if you're looking for something a little bit different, I highly recommend!

🌻



Twenty-six-year-old Gaby Barreto might be a lot of things (loyal, sarcastic, one of the guys and a pain in the butt depending on which family member you ask), but dumb isn’t one of them. When her twin brother invites her to go on tour as his band’s merch girl, she isn’t exactly screaming at the top of her lungs with joy.

With no job opportunities pounding on her door, an ex-boyfriend she would still like to castrate, and no end in sight to moving out of her parents’ house in Dallas… it would be dumb to say no to the chance of a lifetime. Two bands, three continents, one tour. Spending the next ninety-plus days with three beloved idiots and eight complete strangers shouldn’t be a big deal, right?

If only the singer of the headlining band didn’t have tattoos... a great personality… a fantastic body… and if he wasn’t so funny….

Let’s be real: Gaby never had a chance against Sacha Malykhin.


I cannot believe I have waited so freaking long to read this book!
Seriously, it has sat on my kindle forever but I've put off reading it a million times paranoid that it wouldn't live up to my expectations... And what a muppet I was for it surpassed my expectations!
Sasha Malykin is officially one of my favourite Zapata book boyfriends (second only to Ivan Lukov) and Gabby was also awesome.
Watching them fall in love - watching Gabby be oblivious to it - was just excellent.
It ticked all my happy romance loving boxes and had a supporting cast of weird and whacky characters that absolutely delighted me.
It was a delicious slow burn romance against a backdrop of a rock tour... How could I fail to be anything but enthralled?
Oh okay, the potty humour evident in Zapata's earlier books is a bit annoying (thank god she works that out of her system in later books!) but it wasn't enough to overshadow the joy I found within the pages of this story.

If you like slow burn, friends to lovers, and rockstar romances then give this a read!
Zapata's style isn't for everyone but if it works for you then her books really are golden.
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Saturday 4 April 2020

Dark Prince by Michelle Hercules


Dark Prince by Michelle Hercules is available now and I thoroughly enjoyed this dark and twist paranormal romance!

Don't forget to add Dark Prince to your Goodreads! and check out the author's giveaway (on her FB).



There are only two ways a human can cross the gates of Bloodstone Institute: as a familiar to one of the blueblood vampires who attend the elite school or as a snack.

I’m neither, but I have to get in at all costs. My brother made a big mistake, and now I have to fix it by stealing from the most powerful and cruel vampire to ever come to Bloodstone, Lucca Della Morte. If that wasn’t almost suicidal, I need to get it done before the spell concealing my human nature wears off.

But I forget that I’m only pretending to be a vampire. I’m still human and susceptible to Lucca’s dangerous allure. His darkness calls to my soul. His savagery makes my blood sing. I’m falling for the dark prince, craving him in a visceral way that’s frightening and exciting at the same time.

If he discovers my secret, he’ll destroy me. And yet, I can’t help wanting to get closer. I never thought I had a death wish until I met him.

*ARC provided as part of the blog tour*


It's been a while since I've read a paranormal romance, especially a paranormal romance featuring vampires, but I loved the sound of this book so had to give it a try!
Annnd... It was good. I really enjoyed it.
It took a while for me to get into the story. It felt a bit wooden in the beginning and I didn't immediately like Vivi or Lucca (and his Blueblood gang) but the further into the story I went, the more I enjoyed it.

There's a fair amount of information to absorb. The world has vampires, shifters, witches, familiars and a mysterious magical race called Nightingales.
The series offers a unique spin on vampires and understanding where they came from, the dynamics of their world and their relationship with the other races is a puzzle.
 The bulk of the story is set within an Institute which gave the book a bitchy prep school feel which felt a bit out of place when you're dealing with supernatural creatures that are hundreds of years old... It was distracting to be honest, but once the essentials were imparted and you got used to the environment,  it was easy to sink into the story and just enjoy how Vivi and Lucca's relationship developed. Their chemistry was explosive and addictive and  I loved the fiercely protective drive of a male vampire with his mate!

With an interesting collection of secondary characters and a whole load of questions left unanswered, I'm excited to read more books in the series!
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Thursday 2 April 2020

Bone Crossed by Patricia Briggs (Mercy Thompson #4)


*Spoilers ahead for previous books in series!*
Minor spoilers for this book.




By day, Mercy is a car mechanic in the sprawling Tri-Cities of Eastern Washington. By night, she explores her preternatural side. As a shapeshifter with some unique talents, Mercy has often found herself having to maintain a tenuous harmony between the human and the not so human. This time she may get more than she bargained for.

Marsilia, the local Vampire Queen, has learned that Mercy crossed her by slaying a member of her clan—and she's out for blood. But since Mercy is protected from direct reprisal by the werewolf pack (and her close relationship with its sexy Alpha), it won't be Mercy's blood Marsilia is after.

It'll be her friends'


After the ending of Iron Kissed, I was powerless to do anything but immediately begin reading Bone Crossed and to my surprise, it picked up immediately where the last book left off!
(Usually, there is a little bit of a time jump.)

The lack of time jump between the books meant that everyone - especially Mercy - is still reeling over what happened to her in Iron Kissed and although she begins working through that in this book, it’s obvious she has a long way to go before she’ll be ok.

The plot of this one was a bit of a mish-mash.
You have actions from Blood Bound (book two) coming back to bite Mercy (literally) running parallel and criss-crossing with another plot thread having to do with an old college friend and Mercy’s ability to see ghosts. Alongside all this, you have developments with Mercy accepting Adam as her mate and the conflicts that arise from having a coyote shifter in a wolf pack.
It was a busy book that tied up many plot threads from the earlier books while setting up some new ones for the future and that’s why I feel like this book was a bridge book… It wasn’t a single, neat story but instead a story designed to set up what comes next in the series.
I didn’t mind this as there was plenty to keep me entertained and Briggs managed to weave everything together quite nicely but it definitely didn’t feel as tight as the earlier books.

With matters settled, and Mercy and Adam mated, I’m not quite sure what to expect next from the series going forward but I’m sure it’ll be interesting! Exploring more of Mercy’s Walker abilities would be good.
One thing is for sure, I’m most definitely here for more! I love this world and these characters. Mercy is kick-ass, Adam is awesome and the gang of supernatural misfits that make up Mercy’s world are absolutely wonderful. Give me more!

Favourite Quotes

“People who know other people’s secrets can’t afford to do things that impair their ability to control their mouths.”

πŸ’¬

“We are none of us perfect, and...we learn to take these imperfections and make them only a small part of who we are”
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