Monday 26 July 2021

The Mid-Year Freak Out Tag 2021!!

Mid-Year Freak out time!
Yes, it's the end of July but I don't care... Being late is the story of my life! 😆

I can't choose!!! I have 3 very different favourites of the year, so far...
Lancelot by Giles Kristian
The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid
Well Met by Jen DeLuca

Erm... I guess it would be Hellbound Guilds and Other Misdirections by Annette Marie and Rob Jacobsen.

A Court of Silver Flames by Sarah J Maas
Blood Heir by Ilona Andrews

The One and Only Crystal Druid by Annette Marie

An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson

Sick Kids in Love by Hannah Moskowitz

Jen DeLuca

Ren Bergman from Always Only You by Chloe Liese

Nava Katz from The Unlikeable Demon Hunter series by Deborah Wilde

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo had me bawling my eyeballs out towards the end.

Well Met by Jen DeLuca

I can't really think of any book to movie adaptations we've watched this year beyond doing a re-watch of the Hunger Games movies so I'll go with those!

Bwahahahaha! I've written about 20 posts total this year and I wouldn't say any of them are a favourite but I'll go with "Reasons why I love reading and reading romance!" as it was fun.

Uprooted by Naomi Novik

It's much prettier in "person" with embossing and foil etc.

Too many to count! But here's a few that spring to mind...

Uprooted by Naomi Novik
Keystone by Dannika Dark
Great and Precious Things by Rebecca Yarros
Camelot by Giles Kristian
House of Earth and Blood by Sarah J Maas
The Heart Principle by Helen Hoang


Did any of these make your lists?

Tuesday 20 July 2021

Books I Read In One Sitting

This week's Top Ten Tuesday question is: 
Books I read in one sitting... Or would have if I'd had the time.

Oooh... and what a lovely question it is! The problem is that there are so many!!! 
And I'm only going to focus on books I read in one sitting... The "would have if I'd had the time" would keep us here forever!

Okay, let's start with 2021, so far...

Well Met by Jen DeLuca

Sick Kids in Love by Hannah Moskowitz

Rhapsodic by Laura Thalassa

The Unlikeable Demon Hunter by Deborah Wilde

And now for 2020...

The Bride Test by Helen Hoang

The Beginner's Guide To Necromancy series by Hailey Edwards. 

Yes, the series... One book after another (paced at one book a day). It was lockdown... I had nothing else to do and it hooked me.

Damned Souls and A Sangria by Annette Marie

Touch of Evil by Cecy Robson

Grave War by Kalayna Price

The Twelve Dates of Christmas by Jenny Bayliss

You Had Me At Hockey by Kelly Jamieson

Huh... What do you know; that's eleven (plus)!
And I could have gone on from 2020... Let alone 2019 and beyond (behind?) but I'll stop there.

What can I say? I like a good binge read.
What about you? What's on your list? 

Sunday 18 July 2021

Sunday Post - Hot and sticky with a side of reading...

This week has been a quietish one without work (I'm on medical leave) to juggle alongside the day-to-day activities. 

Monday to Wednesday pretty much consisted of me going for a walk in the morning and reading the rest of the day until the little dude got home from school. 
On Thursday and Friday, I mixed things up a little by meeting a friend for coffee in the morning, then walking, then reading... What an exciting life! 😆 In all seriousness, I need the routine, I need the calm and I need the time to adjust to the medication I'm on, so it's all good. 
On Saturday, we ran errands in town, checked out flooring options (we're looking to replace the downstairs carpets probably with wood flooring), and had a BBQ in the evening. 

The weather has been so freaking hot this week and it looks like next week will be the same and I'm not happy about it... I hate it when it gets too hot... Ugh, sticky and gross!
 As I write this, it's not quite 10am, and it's already 26c/79f. 😞 If yesterday is any indication, it'll be above 30c by lunchtime and there is nowhere to hide! The only one in this house who can handle the heat is the professor who thrives on it.

The little dude breaks up from school this coming Thursday so I think I'm going to spend the day planning some summer activities. It's going to be nice having something to look forward to!

This week was a mixed reading week... 2 novels, one novella!
I really enjoyed Romancing the Duke but the other two mostly missed the mark for me.

Romancing The Duke by Tessa Dare 
Never His Mate by Sarah Spade
How To Catch A Wild Viscount by Tessa Dare

I blame Jen DeLuca and Well Met because I'm re-watching Once Upon A Time! I'm halfway through S2 and enjoying having it on in the background immensely!

Apart from that, all we've watched is the season finale of Loki.

Friday 16 July 2021

Lancelot by Giles Kristian

Audiobook Duration: 22hrs 56min
Narrator: Phillip Stevens

The legions of Rome are a fading memory. Enemies stalk the fringes of Britain. And Uther Pendragon is dying. Into this fractured and uncertain world the boy is cast, a refugee from fire, murder and betrayal. An outsider whose only companions are a hateful hawk and memories of the lost.

Yet he is gifted, and under the watchful eyes of Merlin and the Lady Nimue he will hone his talents and begin his journey to manhood. He will meet Guinevere, a wild, proud and beautiful girl, herself outcast because of her gift. And he will be dazzled by Arthur, a warrior who carries the hopes of a people like fire in the dark. But these are times of struggle and blood, when even friendship and love seem doomed to fail.

The gods are vanishing beyond the reach of dreams. Treachery and jealousy rule men’s hearts and the fate of Britain itself rests on a sword’s edge.

But the young renegade who left his home in Benoic with just a hunting bird and dreams of revenge is now a lord of war. He is a man loved and hated, admired and feared. A man forsaken but not forgotten. He is Lancelot.

Set in a 5th century Britain besieged by invading bands of Saxons and Franks, Irish and Picts, Giles Kristian's epic new novel tells - through the warrior's own words - the story of Lancelot, that most celebrated of all King Arthur's knights. It is a story ready to be re-imagined for our times.

Do excuse me while I rock in the corner bawling my eyes out because I am not okay! Lancelot freaking wrecked me to the extent that I wish I could turn back time... and read it all over again, like it was the first time, because I bloody loved it!

Lancelot has always been the character from the Arthurian legends that held the most appeal to me and this book - fiction though it may be - cemented that for all time.

It was stunning... Breath-taking, soul-stealing... Haunting.
Giles Kristian is a wonderful writer capable of transporting you to a different time and place with his words... Told from the pov of Lancelot himself, he fully immerses you into the life of this legendary character to a degree that he became flesh and blood, not smoke and words.
The story is a long and winding journey taking you from Lancelot's childhood through to his end... Lancelot is not a perfect man but as a warrior, he is something truly special - and I loved him. I loved his loyalty, his courage and his fierce devotion.

I loved how the famous love triangle of Guinevere, Lancelot and Arthur was handled... Yes, it's heart-breaking. Doomed from the start. A beautiful disaster... But it didn't matter. Guinevere was never truly Arthurs in this tale... There's nothing underhanded or seedy about it all. It's just tragic and it makes your heart bleed for all of them. Lancelot, Guinevere and Arthur...

This is a story of a special boy who grew to be an extraordinary man.
A story of a dream... Camelot was the dream. Something that could have been but never was because even the very best of people have flaws and vices.
The 'what could have been' is what haunts you... If only Arthur and Lancelot hadn't been pulled apart!
If only, if only, if only...

The story is intense, gritty, graphic, and utterly engrossing.
The characters of legend are familiar but so different to what you've seen before.
The book is very grounded in reality but still has hints of "magic"... An otherworldly something in the shape of Merlin, the Lady and even Guinevere.

I'm not going to lie, the book can be slow in places and won't be for everyone but it absolutely worked for me.
It was a unique take on the Arthurian legends and it will stay with me for a very long time.

Tuesday 13 July 2021

TMST: What are your favourite posts to read?

This week's question on Tell Me Something Tuesday is... What are your favourite posts to read?

My favourite types of posts are posts that let me get to know the person behind the blog; Sunday Posts, recaps, slices of life. Getting to know the blogger, liking the blogger, is what keeps me reading when a mutual love of books may not be enough.
I also enjoy discussion posts and lists.

I think my least favourite posts are book blitzes and cover reveals. I understand the need for them, and have found quite a few favourites from taking part in or seeing a blitz post  - and I love admiring book covers! - but when a blog posts too many of them I switch off. Especially when they don't personalise them in any way.
I like to see personality, you know?

What about you?


Monday 12 July 2021

Well Met and Well Played by Jen DeLuca!

Warning! You'll want to run away to a Renaissance Fair after reading these books... You can't say you haven't been told! I just warned ya!

Emily knew there would be strings attached when she relocated to the small town of Willow Creek, Maryland, for the summer to help her sister recover from an accident, but who could anticipate getting roped into volunteering for the local Renaissance Faire alongside her teenaged niece? Or that the irritating and inscrutable schoolteacher in charge of the volunteers would be so annoying that she finds it impossible to stop thinking about him?

The faire is Simon's family legacy and from the start he makes clear he doesn't have time for Emily's lighthearted approach to life, her oddball Shakespeare conspiracy theories, or her endless suggestions for new acts to shake things up. Yet on the faire grounds he becomes a different person, flirting freely with Emily when she's in her revealing wench's costume. But is this attraction real, or just part of the characters they're portraying?

This summer was only ever supposed to be a pit stop on the way to somewhere else for Emily, but soon she can't seem to shake the fantasy of establishing something more with Simon, or a permanent home of her own in Willow Creek.

This book is utterly delightful!! The definition of joy in a book... I absolutely loved it! The Renaissance Fair setting, the characters, the family dynamics, the friendships... All awesome.The romance? Top notch.

Simon freaking ruled! Okay, I could be 100% biased on this point because I cannot think of this book, and Simon, without picturing Hook from Once Upon a Time but that's irrelevant: Simon was a good dude but his Captain Blackthorne alter-ego stole the show! Did Simon annoy me at times? Yes. Did his ren-fair control-freakery make me stabby sometimes? Yes. Do I care? Nope! Give me that pirate!
His relationship with Emily was gold and had me smiling - and laughing - like an eejit.

Emily was super endearing. I loved how she found her home in that quirky little town (and fell in love with the pirate English teacher... Did I mention the pirate yet?!) She'd had a tough time of it and it was wonderful seeing her find her purpose and her tribe.
It was all just adorable. I read it through in one sitting (I seriously don't think I stopped to even get a drink) and I loved it. I didn't want it to end and jumped straight onto the next one in the series.
Highly recommend it (especially if you love a sultry, flirty (non) pirate!)

Stacey is jolted when her friends Simon and Emily get engaged. She knew she was putting her life on hold when she stayed in Willow Creek to care for her sick mother, but it's been years now, and even though Stacey loves spending her summers pouring drinks and flirting with patrons at the local Renaissance Faire, she wants more out of life. Stacey vows to have her life figured out by the time her friends get hitched at Faire next summer. Maybe she'll even find The One.

When Stacey imagined "The One," it never occurred to her that her summertime Faire fling, Dex MacLean, might fit the bill. While Dex is easy on the eyes onstage with his band The Dueling Kilts, Stacey has never felt an emotional connection with him. So when she receives a tender email from the typically monosyllabic hunk, she's not sure what to make of it.

Faire returns to Willow Creek, and Stacey comes face-to-face with the man with whom she’s exchanged hundreds of online messages over the past nine months. To Stacey's shock, it isn't Dex—she's been falling in love with a man she barely knows.

After devouring book one, Well Met, I dove headfirst straight into this one. I did not stop, pass go, nor collect two hundred pounds. (Otherwise known as pop to the loo, grab a drink and have a snack...) I just clicked on the book and off I went!

We met Stacey in book one and I adored her. She was just so friendly and kind. This girl lives and breathes the ren-fair but beyond that, I feel like I knew little about her so it was a pleasure getting to know Stacey outside of the Fair, from her family to her cat, in this book. Her reasons for still being in town, how alone and left behind she felt... You just wanted good things for her so it made the Dex/Daniel thing infuriating.

I knew going into this book that it would give me Don Quixote vibes but I wasn't prepared for how conflicted I'd feel about it all playing out. Daniel is so likeable and he genuinely cares about Stacey (unlike Dex!) but I cannot reconcile that with him not telling her who she was actually talking to for so long... On the other hand, when confronted, he was a big boy about it. He didn't lie, he didn't hide, he owned it and he and Stacey worked through it like sensible adults! Imagine that! People actually talking things out like rational hooman beans... Unusual to say the least when most authors would have rolled with the drama.

The ups and downs in Stacey and Daniel's relationship were understandable. How everything played out made perfect sense... And I adored the ending! However, I feel like this one lacked a little bit of the sparkle that made Well Met shine so brightly. I enjoyed Well Played immensely but it was missing a certain something... (And no, I'm not talking about a certain pirate - he crops up!) Regardless, it's well worth a read and I cannot wait to read more in this series! Just keep 'em coming!


Thursday 8 July 2021

The Kiss Quotient (by Helen Hoang) and Sick Kids In Love (by Hannah Moskowitz)

One adult contemporary romance and one young adult contemporary romance... Two wonderful books I highly recommend!

Stella Lane thinks math is the only thing that unites the universe. She comes up with algorithms to predict customer purchases—a job that has given her more money than she knows what to do with, and way less experience in the dating department than the average thirty-year-old.

It doesn't help that Stella has Asperger's and French kissing reminds her of a shark getting its teeth cleaned by pilot fish. Her conclusion: she needs lots of practice—with a professional. Which is why she hires escort Michael Phan. The Vietnamese and Swedish stunner can't afford to turn down Stella's offer, and agrees to help her check off all the boxes on her lesson plan—from foreplay to more-than-missionary position...

Before long, Stella not only learns to appreciate his kisses, but to crave all the other things he's making her feel. Soon, their no-nonsense partnership starts making a strange kind of sense. And the pattern that emerges will convince Stella that love is the best kind of logic...

I finally read this book! Yay! I feel like everyone has read it - and loved it - and I was the odd duck in the corner who hadn't but now I have and I'm kicking myself for waiting so long!

This book is so easy to read... You just slide into the story on page one and are promptly swept away on a gentle current of laughter and romantic awesomeness.

The book has a super simple premise that is executed beautifully. Filled with loveable characters, real challenges and understandable conflict, it was a super enjoyable read.

The Asperger's elements really hit home for me (as I imagine they would for anyone who is close to an Aspie) and I adored the care and understanding Michael showed Stella even before he knew anything about it. (If only the majority of people in real life were so kind and understanding of people's differences...)

Michael is such a wonderful character... I mean, Stella is fine - I liked her - but Michael stole the show and my heart. The lengths he went to for his family... Not many would. I totally understood why he did the escorting but I'm not going to lie and say that I didn't struggle with it. It gave me a slightly skeezy feeling whenever I thought about how many women he'd slept with. I honestly don't know how Stella could handle it but the pair of them were so good together that I'm glad she could!

I didn't love The Kiss Quotient as much as I did The Bride Test but, if you haven't read it already, I highly recommend it just the same!

Isabel has one rule: no dating.
It's easier-- It's safer-- It's better --for the other person.

She's got issues. She's got secrets. She's got rheumatoid arthritis.
But then she meets another sick kid.
He's got a chronic illness Isabel's never heard of, something she can't even pronounce. He understands what it means to be sick. He understands her more than her healthy friends. He understands her more than her own father who's a doctor.
He's gorgeous, fun, and foul-mouthed. And totally into her.

Isabel has one rule: no dating.
It's complicated-- It's dangerous-- It's never felt better -- to consider breaking that rule for him.

This book caught me completely by surprise! I mean, I thought I'd like it (of course I did or I wouldn't have read it) but I didn't expect to like it, nay love it, as much as I did! Isabel and Sasha just blind-sided me and made me feel so happy... What a pair they were. Two chronically ill (not terminally ill, thank goodness!) teenagers who meet, fall in love, and go about their business... It was that simple and that complicated.

I loved them together, and apart. I loved their friendship, their relationship and how they were just two teenagers in love...

I laughed so much while reading this book. Despite the "sick kids" label, it is not a heavy read. It's pragmatic about the realities of living with a chronic illness but doesn't get weighed down by it. They are still kids, teenagers, and they're just living their lives. It was so easy to read... I didn't really want it to end!

I have no idea why this book resonated so much with me but I adored it even when people - I'm side-eyeing you, Isabel - got on my nerves. It brought joy and happiness. Thus five stars and I think everyone should read it! lol.


Tuesday 6 July 2021

Reasons Why I Love Reading... And Reading Romance!

My answer to this week's question - why I love reading - is twofold, so let me being with reading in general:

To escape! There is a book for everyone and every mood. No matter what is plaguing you, you can escape into a book. A book can help you cope with what's going on in your life. A book can make you forget and it can help you remember.  
Through a book, you can experience new and different things and maybe, just maybe, you'll be suitably inspired to try some of those things for real...
Through books, you can learn! About people, life, the world... Facts, vocabulary, you name it! Fiction, non-fiction, it doesn't matter! They all have things to teach you.
Books can challenge your perspective by putting you firmly in someone else's shoes. They foster empathy for other human beings, other creatures, by exposing you to realities and situations you may never have encountered in your own life. 
Reading engages your brain!  It educates. It makes you think, it makes you feel... Improving your imagination and keeps you mentally on your toes. It provides endless hours of pleasure, entertainment and comfort.
Reading makes you a better, more rounded, person. Especially if you read a wide variety of books from a wide variety of authors.
Everyone should read!

Now onto me personally...

I read all sorts of books from a host of genres in both the fiction and non-fiction realms but I class myself primarily as a romance reader. 
Romance novels are my jam. 
Yes, I read a lot of UF/F books but my favourites in those genres are the ones that have strong romantic entanglements throughout to keep me hooked. 
I love love!
My reasons for reading romance are because you get to experience - like the ultimate voyeur, people falling in love. You fall in love with them! You get to live a million meet-cutes. A million first dates. All the trials and tribulations of new relationships (and established relationships), all the giddy highs of meeting someone, falling for someone, without moving from your favourite reading spot or jeopardising your own, real-life, relationship! 
You have strong women (actually, all kinds of women) who get theirs... You know what I'm saying?!
You have smouldering alphas (and sexy betas) with abs galore! 
You don't like muscles? It's cool, there are romance novels to cover you too!
Same sex? No sex? All the sex? You're covered. 
Monogamy, polyamory... Abducted by tentacled space beasties? Don't you worry... You'll find it all in romance! Romance has every sub-genre imaginable! Seriously... you'll find whatever makes you tick and you'll find it with a happily ever after (minimum happy for now). It doesn't matter what hell the author puts you through... It will all be okay with romance! Can any other genre say the same? I don't think so.


So tell me... Why do you love reading?
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