Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Tesco Finest Fresh Cream Profiteroles With Swiss Chocolate

As part of the Orchard at Tesco program I got to try something from the Tesco Finest Party food range over Christmas for free. I got sent a voucher that I could either use in store or online. Ordering online didn't work as the product I wanted was out of stock when the delivery arrived and then I found that no nearby Tesco stores had any of the desserts in stock either which wasn't very good. I did finally manage to find the Tesco Finest Fresh Cream Profiteroles With Swiss Chocolate though.
I took these to my aunt's house on Christmas Day for us all to share although there was only 8 profiteroles in the box so they didn't go very far! The profiteroles were really soft to bite in to and the fudge chocolate on the top was delicious. The box also has a chocolate cream underneath ready for dipping the profiteroles in and I thought everything went really well together. For £3 I think this was a good dessert although if entertaining a few people one box won't be enough!
*I tried this product for free through the Orchard at Tesco.

New Adult Review: One More Chance by Abbi Glines

Title:One More Chance
Author: Abbi Glines
Series: Rosemary Beach #8
Acquired: Bought
Genre: New Adult
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Release date: 11th September 2014

Grant Carter was once a playboy with a reputation to match but then he found a girl worth giving that up for. He loved Harlow Manning with everything he had but then he made the mistake of letting her go. 

Harlow did everything she could to stay away from bad boys because she knew they'd end up breaking her heart and she was right. She couldn't help but fall in love with Grant though but when her secret came out, she was left all alone. She desperately wants Grant back but can he handle everything that comes with her?

Review
This is the eight book in the Rosemary Beach series but also the second part of Grant and Harlow's story. Unlike in the first book, Take A Chance where the story was told from different times, this one is told from both Grant and Harlow's perspectives throughout. 

In this book Grant and Harlow are no longer together. A big secret came out at the end of Take A Chance and Grant didn't know how to handle it. Well, he handled it very badly. Both characters need to deal with the consequences of their actions and from this comes to fabulous character development. 

One of Grant's biggest fears was losing someone he loved which is why he was so scared to love Harlow in the first place. Now he has experienced losing her he knows what he needs to do. He needs to be with her no matter what but it's not that easy. Harlow isn't giving in easily and she is also very guarded. I really enjoyed the back and forth with Grant and Harlow. The passion for each other shines through in Abbi Glines' writing but the pain is also there. There were moments I was routing for them both but I could also see why some things weren't happening. 

A lot of the plot of this book revolves around Harlow's secrets and it's a hard thing to write about without giving spoilers for those who haven't read this one or the book before yet. However, I will say that One More Chance was exciting and passionate and extremely emotional. Letters are written as a way of telling the story in some parts and I was almost in tears several times. 

This wouldn't be an Abbi Glines book though without some steamy scenes between Grant and Harlow. This is not the most explicit of books in the series but it gives readers what they want in regards to Grant and Harlow. What I appreciated with this book though was some much sweeter moments. 

This review has been a hard one to write as I didn't want to give too much away. What I will say though is that Grant and Harlow's story is amazing and both books I read in one sitting each. 

Saturday, 27 December 2014

New Adult Review - Take A Chance by Abbi Glines

Title:Take A Chance
Author: Abbi Glines
Series: Rosemary Beach #7
Acquired: Bought
Genre: New Adult
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Release date: 27th February 2014

Harlow Manning is not your average girl; she's the daughter of a rock star. When he goes off on tour again he leaves Harlow in Rosemary Beach, the last place she wants to be. Her half-sister Nan is far from the ideal roommate but Harlow knows that everything should be okay if she can just stay out of the way. 

Grant Carter knows all too well what Nan is like and he knows he made a massive mistake when he got involved with her. When he sets his eyes on Harlow though he cannot keep away, even if she wants nothing to do with him because of his relationship with Nan. 

Grant wants the chance to redeem himself but Harlow isn't easy to win over!

Review
Like in many of Abbi Glines' books we have already met both of the main characters before in other books in this series but only briefly. I couldn't forget Grant because he had a gun pointed at his face at one point and I remember that I couldn't wait to read his story. 

Anyway, this book is a bit different from the others in this series as it's told from different points in time. Take A Chance is told from both the present and three months previously so that we can get to know how Grant and Harlow first met and what brought them to the present. Once Grant ignored Harlow and she has a hard time giving him the chance to make it up to her but the way that the story is told lets us know why Grant did certain things. 

As this is book seven in a series readers will already know of Grant's involvement with mega bitch Nan. His choices are questionable when it comes to her and I never really saw the appeal. Although their relationship has never been at the forefront of any of the previous books, you see some changes happening slowly over the last couple of books in the series and I was hopeful that he wouldn't end up with Nan. 

Harlow is this really sweet but shy girl who doesn't want to be a big part of her rock star dad's celebrity lifestyle. She is nothing like her half-sister. She is pretty sheltered when it comes to life experiences and would rather be curled up with a good book. However, she is far from a push over which is something I loved about her. She will pull anyone up on something when they're wrong or out of line which was great!

I have to say that the plot of Take A Chance is one of the best from Abbi Glines so far. Both Grant and Harlow have a lot to learn about themselves and it's not just each other that helps them do that. Grant has some really deep fears and Harlow is keeping some pretty epic secrets. Each character has a past and they are quite heavily involved in the story. Not only does this book have a lot going on but it is exciting, has location changes and it pretty damn steamy. As a New Adult book this one has strong language and scenes of a sexual nature. 

Take A Chance has a fantastic, jaw dropping cliff-hanger which makes you want to pick up the next book immediately. Abbi Glines' writing is addictive. 

Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Deeper by Robin York

Title: Deeper
Author: Robin York
Series: Caroline and York #1
Acquired: Bought
Genre: New Adult
Publisher: Piatkus
Release date: 6th March 2014

Caroline Piasecki was always the good girl. Well, she was until her ex-boyfriend posted sex pictures online and completely ruined her reputation. Then, one day someone punches her ex in the face and it's the person she least expected to stick up for her. 

West Leavitt swore to himself to stay away from Caroline from the minute he met her but when he punches her ex, she seems to always be around. They are definitely not friends though as West keeps telling himself. But, the more time they spend with one another they harder it is to deny their attraction to each other. 

Review
When I asked on the blog for recommendations for New Adult books to read this title came up a few times so I knew I had to get it. 

Deeper focuses on the subject of revenge porn, something I have never read about in a book before. Caroline and her boyfriend Nate had been together for a few years but when they broke up he decided to post private pictures of her all over the internet. Caroline is used to being a good girl and her reputation is ruined because of what Nate did. Not only that but she can't get rid of the voices in her head which repeat all of the nasty comments written online about her. In short, she's a mess and doesn't know how to cope. 

It's hard not to feel for Caroline. I wouldn't wish something like this on my worst enemy. Deeper shows what it is like for Caroline not only immediately after but what it will be like for the rest of her life. She wonders who at college has seen the pictures of her, if future employers will Google her name and find the pictures online. Caroline realises that trusting Nate may have ruined her entire life. Quite explicit language is used to show how serious the situation is but I think it was needed in this case. Examples are used of what people have said about Caroline online. 

I had to applaud Caroline for the way in which she acted. Even though she was a mess inside and going crazy with her own thoughts she battled on. She went to classes and tried to carry on as normally as she possibly could. I'm not sure if I would have had the strength to do that. I would have wanted to hide away and never see anyone again. When West Leavitt punches Nate in the face she knows she has to talk to him to say thank you but since she met him, she's been trying to keep her distance. 

West is also trying to stay away from Caroline but he just can't help himself when Nate pushes too far. West has a lot going on in his life and he doesn't want a complication that he can't keep. He and Caroline become, well, not friends because he doesn't want a friend. He seems to be the only person Caroline can open up to and be herself around and he can't tell her no. West is a very complex character and I loved learning more about him and why he didn't think he and Caroline should be friends. 

As West and Caroline do slowly become friends their personalities really come out and develop over the course of the book. They spend a lot of time getting to know each other which is something I always like to see. Both characters are attracted to one another to begin with but this is no story where they fall in love immediately and I was thankful for that. Caroline certainly needed someone like West to help her realise that what happened to her wasn't her fault and to help her gain more confidence. 

Another reason why I loved Deeper was because it was funny. There were so many different parts that made me giggle out loud. Although the plot focuses on a really serious topic Robin York manages to lighten it up a bit within Caroline and West's friendship. They are so cute together it's unreal. West I ended up falling for completely in this book and he's by far one of my favourite male characters in a New Adult novel to date. 

No wonder people recommended this one to me. Deeper is not only an amazing read but a very important one as well. 

To find out more you can go to http://www.endrevengeporn.org/

Monday, 22 December 2014

Travelling, trains, home and reading

Today John and I are heading back to my hometown of Grimsby to spend Christmas with my family. We spent last year here in Norfolk and the year before in Nottingham where I was at university. I'm really looking forward to going home this year as it's been a long time since I've had a Christmas there. I think it must have been at least four years now!

The only bad thing about going home for Christmas is the travelling. The train journey is about 5 and a half hours each way so that's 11 hours that will be spent on trains this week. I do normally end up sleeping on train journeys but this one has a lot of different changes so it's not 5 and a half hours on the same train. 


I really hope to get some good reading in this week and I have a few books to get on with. John has bought me some for Christmas which I've had early (due to us not wanting to take presents home with us just to bring them back) and I'm really excited to read them. They're all New Adult books and I'm really enjoying the genre at the moment even if I am reading the same authors again and again. 

Have a wonderful Christmas everyone!

Friday, 19 December 2014

Lost and Found by Nicole Williams

Title: Lost and Found
Author: Nicole Williams
Acquired: Bought
Genre: New Adult
Publisher: CreateSpace 

For years Rowen Sterling was a trouble maker but her mother has had enough. Before she'll agree to pay for Rowen to go to the art school of her dreams she must stay on a ranch for the summer and prove she can work hard and stay out of trouble. 

Rowen is a city girl through and through and is far from ready for country life, let alone ready for Jesse Walker. 

Review
I had read Nicole Williams' new adult Crash series a year or so ago and loved them. When I was trying to find new books to buy this one came up in a search and as it had her name on it, I bought it instantly. 

Lost and Found is very different from the Crash series and I loved that. I didn't know what to expect from one this. 

Rowen was a great protagonist from the start. She is clearly a bit troubled, has a bit of a wild side and does not want to leave the city, especially on a Greyhound bus. It's even worse for her because she's been shipped off to help on her mother's friend's ranch for the whole summer in the middle of nowhere. Even from stepping off the bus she knows she's out of her depth and stands out like a sore thumb. I liked Rowen. Although she is so full of angst and pain, she is funny and determined. 

Jesse Walker is there to meet Rowen off the bus and he couldn't be more of a stereotypical cowboy in her eyes. Even so, she cannot help but notice how amazingly hot he is in his skin tight jeans. He gives as good as he gets from the very beginning and won't take any sass from Rowen. In fact, he sees the banter as a way to flirt with her. Honestly, Jesse was adorable and I loved him. When Rowen put up walls and pushed him away, he did everything he could to show her he wasn't going anywhere. 

The plot for this book is really all about Rowen's character developing and realising that she doesn't have to act in the way that her mother expects. Jesse manages to teach Rowen that being herself is just fine and that she doesn't have to change for anyone or be anything that others expect. Rowen has also built up a lot of defensive walls before meeting Jesse and I loved watching them slowly come down. 

Lost and Found isn't just a romance story though. Nicole Williams adds in some quite exciting situations along with fantastic back stories for both Rowen and Jesse. This book has some darker elements throughout but they're not over done or too much at any point. Speaking of too much; as a new adult novel there are sexual themes throughout. Once again though they are done in a tasteful manner without too much being given away. 

I actually liked Lost and Found more than the Crash series so I can't wait to get my hands on the next book now. 

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Far From You by Tess Sharpe

Title: Far From You
Author: Tess Sharpe
Acquired: ARC
Genre: YA - Crime/ Thriller
Publisher: Indigo

Sophie almost died... twice. She saw her best friend Mina be shot and killed right in front of her. She's a recovering addict. She's determined to figure out who killed her best friend. 

Everyone thinks that it was a drug deal gone wrong the night that Mina was killed. Afterwards Sophie is forced to go to rehab as everyone thinks it was her that wanted drugs and her fault that Mina was there when she was killed. Sophie had already kicked the habit though even if no one will believe her. Now that she's out of rehab, Sophie has something to prove and she won't stop until everyone knows the truth. 

Review
I have to say that I'm not normally one for thrillers. I don't know why but if I had the choice between that and a romance, I'd pick up the romance 99% of the time. Kirsty (The Overflowing Library) said this one was great though so I gave it a fair shot. 

I was pretty hooked from the beginning. By the end of the second page Sophie has already been in a massive car accident and has also seen her best friend be shot and murdered. That's a pretty intense opening for any book. It also made me really intrigued by Sophie. I mean, who has that kind of life and who has such bad luck?! 

Far From You is told from varying times during Sophie's life. Different things have happened over many years and it is only from this that you get to learn why Sophie is how she is. It also explains her friendship with Mina, her brother Trevor and other characters in the story. Without this distorted way of telling the story, you wouldn't be able to fully grasp the importance of Sophie and Mina's friendship. Although the timelines were a bit confusing at times, it was a fun and different way of learning everything that you needed to know. 

So, Sophie became an addict after the car crash and due to her injuries, took way too many painkillers. Tess Sharpe shows Sophie in very different situations and one minute I thought she was really strong and tough but in another minute she as very weak. I thought that this showed human emotions really well as no one is just one thing all of the time and different situations bring out different things in a person. 

Sophie and Mina's friendship was pretty complicated and there are some good twists thrown in there. Until everything is revealed you would have never seen the big secrets coming and you would never be able to guess who killed Mina or why. The plot was quite slow paced really due to the changing times but it was still exciting and full of suspense. 

I didn't think I would enjoy this one as much as I did! 

Friday, 12 December 2014

Hold on Tight by Abbi Glines

Hold on Tight by Abbi Glines is the 8th book in the Sea Breeze series. 

Six years ago everything changed. Dewayne Falco's brother, Sienna Roy's boyfriend died after wrapping his car around a tree. Since then nothing has ever been the same. Sienna went away with everyone thinking she was mentally unstable but that wasn't the real reason. Dewayne has always felt like he's lived in the shadow of his brother Dustin in more ways than one. Dustin was always the better brother and he also had the girl Dewayne couldn't stop thinking about. 

Dewayne never expected to see Sienna again so when she moves back across the road to say he's shocked in an understatement. Sienna isn't alone but Dewayne can't help but feel for her everything that he did six years ago. 

Review
Hold on Tight was the fourth Abbi Glines book that I read in the space of a week after my really long break from reading and blogging. Her books are so addictive so reading one after another was great. 

This book is a great example of preconceptions about a character and then your mind being changed. Dewayne Falco has always come across as a bit rude, up himself and without a filter in the previous books in this series. I won't say that I haven't liked him before but he hasn't been someone I've cared to know a whole lot more about. I was quick to change my mind about him though. He's such a sweet and caring person and you would never have guessed it from the other books that he has popped up in. 

Sienna is the main female character in this book but unfortunately I neither loved or hated her. I guess you can say my feelings for her were neutral. I found her a little boring if I'm honest. However, I did love her story. Dustin Falco was her high school boyfriend but you could tell that she always had feelings for Dewayne too but could never act on them. When Dustin died she was left pregnant and was sent away by her parents. No one back at home knew about her son Micah so it was a shock to everyone when she moved back, especially the Falco family. The girl has had to deal with a lot on her own but her love for Micah shines through which was wonderful to read. 

What I missed from this book was the all consuming passion between Sienna and Dewayne. Don't get me wrong, they had chemistry for sure but it wasn't nearly as good or as hot as with other characters that Abbi Glines has written. There were some quite different scenes in this book but not completely believable. Some things that happen seemed to go against what the character's personalities and how they normally act so it wasn't totally believable for me. 

Normally if I'm a bit unsure of an Abbi Glines book it's the plot that hasn't done it for me but this time it was the romance which was a first! I guess I'm just used to her writing being a bit more 'something' (can't quite put a word to it) than it was in this book. I certainly didn't dislike it but it was a bit of a come down compared to the last three of hers that I have read. 

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

The Parisian Christmas Bake Off by Jenny Oliver

The Parisian Christmas Bake Off by Jenny Oliver is a stand-alone contemporary novel. 

When Rachel finally realises that her relationship is going nowhere and the boyfriend is a complete waste of space, she begrudgingly head off to Paris for Christmas. Her friends have entered her into a competition to become famous chef Henri Salernes' apprentice. She really didn't want to go but finally figured that Paris might be good for her. 

In one week Rachel must face her competition, an incredibly tough and mean chef and do the best baking she can ever imagine doing. 

Review
Let me start by saying I have never watched The Great British Bake Off and I know a lot of people will be drawn to this book because of that. 

Protagonist Rachel is stuck in a bit of a rut. Her boyfriend is beyond terrible and she finally sees that. Her mum passed away not too long ago and she misses her terribly, as does the whole village of Nettleton where she lives. Rachel's mum was a fantastic baker and everyone knows that Rachel likes to cook and bake as well. Just before Christmas one of Rachel's friends lets her know that she's going to Paris (even though she says she doesn't want to) to take part in a baking competition. 

Rachel is an easy character to like because from the beginning of the book you can see that she's been through a lot and just wants something better for herself. When she finds out about Paris and the competition she really doesn't want to do it and even once she arrives she's still unsure. I was rooting for Rachel from the minute she stepped foot in the competition kitchen. It was obvious that she wasn't very comfortable and she also didn't think she should be there compared with the other contestants. 

Jenny Oliver shows a very different view of Paris in this book. There are some very magical scenes at famous landmarks but what I really loved about the book was the descriptions of hidden away streets, the patisserie and the magic of a view from Rachel's window. The Parisian Christmas Bake Off doesn't show the flashy side of Paris but instead it's all about the magic of secret finds and not knowing what to expect. Oliver's descriptions really are wonderful, not only of Paris but of the food being made during the competition. I felt as though I was there with Rachel. 

My only real criticism with this one is the time scale. The book only barely covers Christmas in Paris and a lot happens during this time. Some things, especially the romance, seemed really rushed which meant I wasn't as invested in it as I could have been. I didn't get to know Philippe the love interest nearly enough in the short space of time and I really wanted to. I did 'get' the attraction to him but I really just wanted more. 

Overall, The Parisian Christmas Bake Off is a lovely read with the magic of Christmas, Paris and baking but I wanted more from it. 

Friday, 5 December 2014

Bad for You by Abbi Glines

Bad for You is the 7th book in the Sea Breeze series by Abbi Glines. 

Blythe Denton has always been alone. She was raised by a minister and his incredibly cruel wife but never had any friends. When Blythe finally has the chance to move away and start over she cannot wait but she knows she isn't like everyone else and struggles with social situations.

Krit Corbin is no stranger to crowds being the lead singer in Sea Breeze's most popular band. His life is pretty wild filled with parties and different women every night. When Krit sees his new neighbor for the first time, he knows she isn't for him. Blythe screams innocent and he is far from that. But, when she turns up at his door during a party to ask for the music to be turned down Krit cannot help himself. Once Blythe walks through that door there is no going back. 

Review
After the last book in the Sea Breeze series, Misbehaving, I have to say that Krit was not a character I was looking forward to reading about. You see, he has an extremely addictive personality and he acted like a complete ass towards Jess (from the other book) and I just couldn't like him. I'm not one to skip a book in a series though so I had to read Bad for You. 

The book starts with a prologue that makes it impossible to not feel for protagonist Blythe. She comes from a pretty terrible home where she's constantly put down and told that she's unworthy of being loved. I was so glad to see her get out of that place and start over on her own. However, she isn't used to people and quickly finds herself in unfamiliar situations and surrounded by people she has no idea how to talk to. Blythe was so awkward but in a sweet and endearing way. 

Krit, one the other hand, started out just as bad as I'd imagined him to be. He's a complete player and has this cheeky way about him. He's all about teasing comments and is quite full of himself. I still had him in my head from the previous book as I'd only read it a couple of days beforehand. Something I will say about Krit is that he knows exactly how bad is he and that he should stay away from Blythe. That obviously doesn't happen though otherwise there would be no story here! Anyway, Krit soon finds himself befriending Blythe and the two spend a lot of time together. These scenes certainly showed a different side to Krit and slowly I started to like him more and more. Deep down he's such a sweet and caring kind of guy but like Blythe, he also has a past that haunts him. 

Compared with other books by Abbi Glines I found the plot of this one to be quite slow going. That isn't a bad thing though as she spends time letting her characters really get to know one another. They both have lives separate to one another and plenty of time is spent with both Krit and Blythe on their own as well as together. This really allowed me to get to know each character without them being overshadowed by one another and what was going on with them together. 

Both Krit and Blythe have a lot to overcome in Bad for You and I really enjoyed watching them grow and change. It was really good to see what effect they had on one another and to see how someone can make you want to be different (although without really changing themselves) and to do new and exciting things. 

This was a really good installment in the Sea Breeze series. I didn't think I would enjoy it so much but I ended up really liking it. 

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Misbehaving by Abbi Glines

Misbehaving is the sixth book in the Sea Breeze series by Abbi Glines. 

Jason Stone is sick of being stuck in the shadow of his rock star brother, Jax Stone. Jason needs a break and Sea Breeze is the perfect place to get away from everything. It doesn't take long before he collides with the local bad girl Jess. His plan didn't include falling for someone let alone someone everyone thinks he should stay away from but he just can't help himself!

Review
Jax Stone was the bad boy who started this whole series and I absolutely loved his story. By the time I'd gotten round to reading this book though I'd sort of forgotten that he even had a brother. Ooops. 

Jason is not like his brother at all. He doesn't want the life in the spotlight but knows that it sort of follows his family around. He needs to get away from everything and heads to Sea Breeze to hide out for a while. I loved Jason from the off. Where other male characters in Abbi Glines' books are generally the bad boy types Jason isn't. Instantly you can tell he's different and there's something that bit extra special about him. 

Jess, on the other hand, is the bad girl in town and everyone knows it. It was refreshing to read about a character like Jess as normally the female character is quite sweet and innocent. Jess is full of sass and mischief and I loved her. She had a really hard exterior for many reasons but you know she wants better for herself than what she already has. 

Misbehaving had a pretty exciting plot but not in the sense that a lot happens. You see, the plot is all about Jason and Jess getting to know one another and also getting to know someone that they never thought they'd be interested in. They both come from really different lives and the contrast was something I liked a lot. Both Jason and Jess don't really know how to handle being with the other. 

Just like all couples in an Abbi Glines books, these two have insane chemistry. Jess is the kind of girl who lives life to the fullest and she knows exactly who she is. She's not afraid to be adventurous and daring and I loved that about her. Jason is so chivalrous and a gentleman but he also knows what he wants and goes for it. Jason being who he is means that this book is taken on location a couple of times and let me tell you, there are some pretty amazing trips taken in this story. 

Jason and Jess are two of my favourite Abbi Glines characters so this is now one of my favourite books.

Friday, 28 November 2014

Sometimes it Lasts by Abbi Glines

Sometimes it Lasts is the fifth book in the Sea Breeze series by Abbi Glines and it is a New Adult novel. 

Cage York never thought he'd want anything more than a baseball scholarship but then he met Eva Brooks and his whole life changed. Now he has the girl and the scholarship he is forced to do something he really doesn't want to do, endure a long distance relationship. That might not have been so bad if Eva's father wasn't dying. 

With Cage away Eva struggles and turns to the boy next door for comfort. Jeremy is her late fiance's brother and there's something reassuring about him that helps Eva. Cage and Eva have a lot of obstacles in their way but will they make it to their happy ending?

Review
Now, While it Lasts is the first book in Cage and Eva's story but I didn't love it. It was okay for me but wasn't quite as strong as some of Abbi Glines' other books such as Because of Low. Anyway, I went into this one months after reading While it Lasts so I'd sort of forgotten what had been going on. 

Cage and Eva had a rocky road to start on but at the beginning of this book they're very happily together. However, Cage has just got a baseball scholarship out of town and wants Eva to go with him. She finds out early on that her dad is sick and needs her help so she has to stay behind. I complained that there weren't enough set backs and problems in the first part of their story but I sure got what I was missing with this book. 

The thing I loved the most about this book was the journey that Cage and Eva went on together even though they were apart. Another thing I complained about with the previous book was not enough plot and too much sex but that wasn't the case at all this time around. Both characters have a lot to overcome and they need to do it alone before they can really sort out their relationship. Seeing each character apart was a good thing too because when they're together the chemistry sort of overtakes things at times. 

However, although Cage and Eva being apart was a good thing in a way, there were also aspects that I didn't like. Cage was totally obsessed with Eva and I just couldn't see him walking away from her considering the situation she was in. His actions just didn't seem to fit his character at all times so I was a bit baffled at a couple of different points in the story. Eva also does things really out of character so it wasn't just Cage that was confusing. 

Sometimes it Lasts has a much stronger plot that While it Lasts and the characters were much better in some ways as they were fleshed out more this time around. This one was still just an okay read for me though because I still wanted more. 

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Come Back to Me by Mila Gray

Synopsis
Home on leave in California, Marine Kit Ryan cannot deny the attraction to Jessa, his best friend's little sister. She's the one girl he knows he can't have but he can't help himself. Jessa has always had a thing for Kit but never dreamed that he could feel the same way. They were supposed to have a summer fling and leave it at that but the closer Kit comes to going back, the more in love they become. 

An agreement to wait for each other turns into an explosive twist in their relationship and one they're not sure they can come back from. 

Review
This is the first book I have read after having a massive reading slump for about a year. I hadn't felt like picking anything up until I was given this one to read and then I couldn't put it down. Mila Gray is actually YA writer Sarah Alderson writing New Adult. 

Come Back to Me starts with a pretty intense prologue. It's hard hitting and sort of took me breath away. It's full of mystery as you don't know who the characters are yet but the prologue gets you ready for something terrible happening even if you don't know anything about what leads up to that. I couldn't turn the pages fast enough to find out what was going on. 

Jessa has had a crush on Kit for years but he's her brother's best friend and she keeps those feeling a secret. She thinks he's way out of her league and her brother would probably kill him if anything happened. When Kit and Jessa's brother come back on leave butterflies begin to go mad in her stomach. Lucky for Jessa, Kit feels exactly the same way but has never had the nerve to tell her up until this point. 

The relationship between Jessa and Kit starts off quite slow although there is passion and chemistry from the off. They've both liked each other for a long time and although they know each other as friends, they spend a lot of time getting to know each other in a different way. A lot of New Adult books that I have read seem to spend too much time on sex seeing as it's okay to write about it compared with Young Adult novels. Mila Gray makes sure her characters have something a lot deeper than a physical relationship which I really appreciated. 

Not only is Kit and Jessa's brother in the Marines but other family members are/ were as well. Come Back to Me focuses a lot on life in the military and how it affects every day life. We have Kit and Jessa's brother trying to form meaningful relationships as well as the effects serving has had on their families. Jessa's father is a tough kind of man and Jessa feels trapped by him. He is obviously experiencing some kind of backlash of serving and things he has experienced affects him greatly. I actually really enjoyed these aspects of the book as it's a new subject to me and a really interesting one. 

I'm so glad I picked this one up on a day off work. The story was refreshing, as were the characters and I thoroughly enjoyed every page of it!



Saturday, 22 November 2014

Recommendations needed


So, I have been out of blog land for at least six months now, maybe more like a year and I have just started to read again. I've read three books in the last week which for me is pretty amazing as I just haven't been in the mood recently or I haven't had the time. 

Two out of the three books I have read have new new adult novels and I have really enjoyed them. An Abbi Glines book always makes me happy and they never disappoint. However, I don't have too many of hers left to read and I desperately need some recommendations. 

What's new in new adult and who are any new authors I should know about?!

Thursday, 20 November 2014

A book-less Christmas



It seems a bit strange to be writing this. I think this year may be the first in at least 5 years that I probably won't be getting any books for Christmas. I don't think I've even read the books that John got me last Christmas. If I'm honest, I don't even know where they are. You see, when we moved house a lot of my unread books went up in the loft and I've only left about 15 downstairs. If they were all down here they would probably over take my living room and it's a big room! 

I've never gotten loads of books for Christmas mainly because I've had so many to read already and no one ever knew what to buy me. Still though, John would try to get me one or two from my Amazon wishlist. My wishlists are probably really out of date now though and could probably do with being cleared out. If I haven't bought anything from it in a year then I probably don't want to read them enough. I do have a buy first list though which is quite current (full of Abbi Glines' books) so he does have some kind of option. I don't think he'll bother this year though as I've only read a couple of books in the last half of the year. 

So, no book shaped presents for me this year for the first time in a long time. 

Monday, 17 November 2014

Festive nails



Yes, I know it is no where near Christmas yet but I wanted to write about my nails. I have a *slight* obsession with nail polishes and own far too many yet I cannot stop buying them. 

Anyway, last year I had my nails done at a local salon and loved the Essie polish they used and have been on the look out for something similar ever since (the Essie colour is discontinued). I found a Nails Inc. polish in the 'Get it or regret it' sale online a few weeks ago for the bargain price of £5 so I knew I had to have it. It's called Nightingale Place and is sparkly red with a hint of gold glitter. I'm so in love with it!

As it's only the middle of November though I feel it is far too festive at the moment so I will be changing it pretty soon. I will be using it again in December though and maybe adding some nail art to make it a bit more special. 

Sunday, 16 November 2014

I miss my blog

It has been quite a while since I posted anything on here, let alone anything bookish. Life has been hectic and reading hasn't been something I have done a lot of. Actually, that's a lie. I haven't done any reading. Not for months and months. I got myself into a bit of a slump and never really managed to recover. 

When I saw Kirsty from The Overflowing Library a couple of weeks ago though to see the hilarious Knightmare Live at the theatre she gave me a few books she thought I would like which she actually nicked from Sarah at Feeling Fictional. One of the books I picked up ready to start reading in the bath on my day off from work and that was Come Back to Me by Mila Grey. I actually stayed in the bath until it was cold because I was enjoying it so much. I finished that book not long after I got out of the bath. 

I think I realised part of my problem. I sort of got bored with young adult books. After reading a good amount of new adult novels last year I have realised that I much prefer these now and maybe that's why I didn't feel like reading much. Don't get me wrong, I wouldn't not read young adult books but I do like contemporary stories more. I think I've gone off everything else... at the minute anyway. 

So, I'm not saying I'm back blogging like I used to because there is no way I'll ever manage 5 posts a week with how busy I am now. I am saying that I am back but posting as and when I manage to read. I don't know how often this will be but here I am... again. 

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

My first attempt at upcycling furniture

When my husband and I bought our house we didn't have nearly enough furniture for it.We moved from a 2 bedroom flat to a 4 bedroom house. We still don't have enough furniture but I'm constantly looking on Facebay for some bargains. A couple of months ago I managed to get a chest of drawers and a bedside table for £20. Below is what they originally looked like!


The drawers had some really ugly drawer handles too but I took this photo after I'd taken them off and started painting! I bought some Annie Sloan chalk paint to do these up with in Paris Grey. The spare room that I bought the furniture for will be decorated in a grey and green colour scheme eventually so I wanted something to match. Annie Sloan chalk paint is amazing because it paints on near enough anything without having to do any sanding or preparation. The furniture only took 2 coats of paint and each one dried within a couple of hours so I managed to get most of the painting done in one go. Instead of just painting the shell and the fronts I also painted the insides of the drawers.


As you can see, the drawers look completely different than they did to begin with and so much better! So far I have put on 2 coats of Annie Sloan clear wax to seal and protect the paint but I still need to put another coat on and then buff. 

One of the trickiest things with this furniture was the handles. I couldn't find any drawer handles that had the exact measurements for the holes already screwed in. I was tempted to fill them with wood filler and drill new holes but then I found a solution. In a local store I found some large round handles that are swirls. By using 2 of these next to each other it gives the impression that it is one large handle! This was so much easier than what I was going to do. The shop has run out at the moment so I still need a couple more!

I also wanted to do something a bit special with the insides of the drawers. They can look so plain and boring when they're just one colour so I decided to decopatch them. I found some really lovely flowery decopatch paper to line the drawers with. This part was really tricky as the sheets were just smaller than A4 and a pain to lay flat in one go. I also had to use different size strips of paper around the edges and some bits overlap so it doesn't look as neat as it could do but for my 1st attempt, I'm pretty happy. The drawers will be filled anyway so it doesn't matter too much I guess. From afar they look lovely though. I've added on a couple of top coats of glue/ varnish too so that the paper is sealed and has a smooth finish. 


I really love the insides of these drawers now! They really do have that something extra now when you open them.

It's taken me quite a while to get these done as I only have time on my days off to do bits to them. I can't wait to get my final couple of handles for them to be finished completely.


For my 1st attempt at upcycling furniture, I'm so pleased with the result. Now I have done these pieces I think I could easily do some more especially now I know how the products work and what to do differently next time!

Saturday, 5 July 2014

Reliving my teenage years

Diversity
Last Sunday I went to a concert in Chantry Park, Ipswich with Kirsty from The Overflowing Library. Neither of us hide the fact that we like boy bands and some of our favourites were from the '90s. A couple of months ago we went to see 911 and did a meet and greet which was pretty amazing! One of both of our favourite boy bands was 5ive and we have been dying to see them for ages. We couldn't go to any of the original Big Reunion concerts and we weren't prepared to pay for tickets at the O2 because the seats were terrible and we didn't want to see some of the bands. 

Instead we chose to buy McBusted tickets as the support acts were Diversity, Scouting for Girls, 5ive and Backstreet Boys. I saw Backstreet Boys when I was 14 and absolutely loved them so I didn't mind seeing them again. Diversity I love too and have a bit of a guilty pleasure thing about dancing... maybe because I'm rubbish at it myself. 5ive sold it for me anyway but these two extra acts made things even better. McBusted and Scouting for Girls though I couldn't care less about.

Ritchie and Abs
Anyway, it was a really long day with us leaving at 9:30am, arriving at 11:30 and then sitting in the car having a picnic for 2 hours before the gates opened. We'd bought Gold Circle tickets which meant we were in a nice little circle at the front of the stage and we also didn't have to queue with everyone else which was awesome. We had out little pink wristbands which meant we could just walk straight in!! Our place in the crowd was amazing and we ended up being a couple of rows from the front.We stood our ground from about 2pm until about 7:30. If we'd gone for food or anything we wouldn't have gotten the great views of the bands we really wanted to see. 

Sean
Backstreet Boys and 5ive were amazing and were certainly worth paying to see. 5ive did most of the songs I love of theirs although their set had to be cut a bit short which was a shame. Backstreet Boys were on for about 75 minutes and did a mix of both old and new songs. They were just as good as when I saw them all those years ago. I would easily pay to go and see them in a full concert again because of seeing them again last week. 

By the time Backstreet Boys had finished both of our legs, feet and backs were aching from being stood in one spot all day so we went for a walk and to get some chips. We really didn't have the energy to go back in the Gold Circle so we sat on the grass at the back of the field when McBusted were on as neither of us were too bothered about actually seeing them perform. They sounded okay though but I wouldn't have paid to just see them. 

We ended up getting home at about 11:30pm and I was so tired! However, it was so worth it and I had an awesome day reliving my teenage years and seeing a band I never thought I'd get the chance to see. 

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Book review: What I Thought Was True by Huntley Fitzpatrick

About the book
What I Thought Was True is a young adult book by Huntley Fitzpatrick. The book was published by Dial Books on 15th April and it is 409 pages long.

Synopsis
Gwen Castle's Biggest Mistake Ever, Cassidy Somers, is slumming it as a yard boy on her Nantucket-esque island this summer. He's a rich kid from across the bridge in Stony Bay, and she hails from a family of fishermen and housecleaners who keep the island's summer people happy. Gwen worries a life of cleaning houses will be her fate too, but just when it looks like she'll never escape her past—or the island—Gwen's dad gives her some shocking advice. Sparks fly and secret histories unspool as Gwen spends a gorgeous, restless summer struggling to resolve what she thought was true—about the place she lives, the people she loves, and even herself—with what really is.

What I thought
Huntley Fitzpatrick’s debut novel My Life Next Door was one of my favourite books during the summer of 2012 so when I had the chance to read this one, I didn’t wait around for long. I haven’t been reading that much of late due to life getting in the way and generally either being too busy or too tired to concentrate. This was the first book that I’ve read in months.

This book was quite hard to get in to. Protagonist Gwen comes from a pretty confusing family. I didn’t really understand who some of the characters were until a fair way into the book. Nic was one of those characters. It was never made really clear who he was but turns out that he’s Gwen’s cousin rather than a brother like I originally though. However confusing, her family were interesting to say the least. Gwen’s mother is in love with romance novels, her dad is never around and her granddad speaks in a mix of English and Portuguese.

The plot focuses on Gwen and her plans for the summer. Normally she would be working the restaurant for her dad and babysitting but this summer her mum lands her a job looking after an elderly lady and it pays well! Gwen always dreads working in the restaurant and having to serve the rich boys from across the bridge… especially one in particular. Turns out, that one boy in particular will be spending a lot of time on the island this year and everywhere Gwen seems to go, he’s there!

The plot was pretty cute for a summer read and it wasn’t too deep which was nice. Gwen has a past and this is sort of discovered in flashbacks. Again though, this aspect of the book was really confusing. There is no clear timeline for the bits in the past and there is no clear definition between the past and the present. I felt like I never really knew what was going on until after half way through the book which was a shame. Some of Gwen’s past actions are what made her into the girl she is in this book so it would have been nice to have been able to understand her a little better.

The love interest in this book is Cass, a guy from a wealthy family but is working as a yard boy for the summer. Cass was super sweet and you could tell from the very start that he was interested in Gwen but we have to wait a while to see what’s really going on between them. I liked slowly discovering what was happening between them and the chemistry was also pretty great!! During their time together we get to know a lot about both characters rather than them just being a romance or a ‘love at first sight’ kind of thing which I hate!


While I liked this book, I didn’t love it. There was too much confusion and I just wish things had been a bit more straightforward. 

Thursday, 26 June 2014

A skip and some hard work

Before the clear out!
After buying an old Victorian house, I have quickly started to realise just how much needs doing to it. One of the first jobs on the massive list was to clear the garden. The previous owners were artists and the guy made his own pottery. Well, I say pottery but it was figures and things mostly. As we looked around the garden after moving in we saw so much hidden underneath bushes but it was all ruined! Every single thing we found was broken in some way or another apart from a few plant pots. We had already started to pile this up in the middle of the garden so at least it was all in one place.

Then there were the plants. The garden is about 60ft in total although a chunk of it is patio. Two thirds of the garden was gravelled but with a lot of bushes and plants everywhere. My mum came to visit a couple of weeks ago and just started pulling things up, showing me that it was all dead anyway. That led to a weekend of pulling and digging up bushes. We were obviously left with bags and bags full of garden waste but we pay to have a garden bin and that is slowly going down now.

After
The gravel we had gotten rid of a lot of weeks ago as I offered it for free on a local Facebay site as long as the people who wanted it were prepared to shovel it and take it away themselves. A couple came and took three trailers full which did clear a lot. Now we have cleared more in the skip as well as deciding to re-gravel our shared driveway with the neighbours. That already had gravel in the middle but it was looking really thin and horrible so hopefully putting our gravel there will help it to at least look a little bit nicer. 

Patio area
Anyway, yesterday we got a skip delivered and we could really begin clearing things out properly. All of the gravel in bags has now gone as well as every single piece of broken pottery. Our sort of seating area is cleared now so we can finally use the table and chairs we have. There is still so much work to be done as the back half of the garden needs tackling at some point and everything needs leveling out before we can do anything else to it. However, this is quite far down our list of things to have done now but we have loads of time to get that done before next summer.

It's so rewarding to see such a big change in our garden and although it was hard work, it was well worth it!

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Planting success

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about attempting to plant things for the first time. The garden is in a massive state at the moment (I'll explain in another post!) so growing things outside isn't an option. I planted some grass and a selection of herbs in trays on the windowsill and they are doing great so far!

The herbs have tiny little shoots coming up in three of the rows but unfortunately, one of the rows hasn't grown anything at all. I'm not sure why either as I make sure to turn the tray to even out the sun coverage and make sure I water the tray enough. Oh well, at least some things in there are growing. I'll have to move these into larger pots quite soon though so they have more room to grow!

The tray is grass is what really surprised me though. That began growing in only a couple of days and I have already tested it out on the rabbits who I am growing it for. The shoots weren't fully grown but were long enough for the rabbits to nibble on. As you can see from the picture above, Flopsy thoroughly enjoyed the grass! I have realised though that I didn't plant enough seeds so next time I will plant loads so the grass comes up really thick.

As first attempts go, I think this one was pretty successful!

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Meet Flopsy and Mopsy

So Flopsy and Mopsy are my pet rabbits. We've had them for a little over a month now and we got them only days after moving into the new house. I haven't had a pet of my own for years and years now due to living in rented places that didn't allow pets. My husband hasn't had his own pet either so we were desperate to get a new addition to the family. 

We chose rabbits as we both work full time and didn't want to get a dog/ cat only to end up not having enough time for it. I bought the rabbits from a pet shop but I think that was a bad idea. To start with, I wanted two boys and these two were in the same pen. Someone did check the sex of the rabbits before I bought them and I was told they were male. We then took them to the vet a couple of days later to get their vaccinations done and the vet wasn't so sure about Flopsy. After a second opinion it was confirmed that Flopsy was in fact a girl. Ooops! Mopsy is getting neutered in a few weeks time as we don't want baby bunnies everywhere!

Flopsy exploring the living room
Next is the fact that Mopsy is a poorly bunny. He sneezed a bit as soon as we got him but we thought that was due to a new environment and new hay etc. The sneezing was still there a week or so later so back to the vet we went. Mopsy has snuffles which is pretty bad for a rabbit and now he has a runny nose all of the time and is on antibiotics still. He has been on them for about 20 days now and he's still not better. If it hasn't cleared up soon he will have to have an x ray done on his nose to see what is really wrong with him. He's costing us a fortune at the moment but I don't mind too much as he's part of the family and we love him. We just want him to get better.

Mopsy and his food!
The rabbits are right little characters! Flopsy is the bossy, dominant rabbit who likes to get her own way and Mopsy likes his food far too much. They instantly make me smile when I go out to see them and I love how they run straight up to the front of their run to see us when we go out to them.

Monday, 2 June 2014

Windowsill planters

Although we have a massive garden now, I have no idea what to do with it. You see, I have never had a garden before. Back at my mum's house where I grew up the garden was a concrete slab at the back of the house. We never had plants or grass or trees or anything like that! So, it is safe to say that I am not green fingered. 

While my husband and I are sorting out the back garden (clearing the gravel and digging up massive bushes) I wanted to have a go at growing something myself. We have pet rabbits who should be eating grass and green foods on a regular basis. While we do give them leafy vegetables, I would love to be able to grow them their own herbs to eat. Their hutch and run is also placed on concrete slabs so they don't have fresh grass to nibble on either. 

I have begun a bit of an experience of growing things in trays on the windowsill. Our garden is south facing so the windowsill the trays are placed on gets a hell of a lot of sun. I have planted a variety of herbs and some regular grass seeds in plastic trays which are covered with a see-through plastic lid. They're like little mini tray greenhouses. I only planted the seeds a couple of days ago so obviously nothing has grown yet but I am hopeful. 

I would be really happy if even a few of the seeds worked out. I know the rabbits would appreciate the yummy food!

Saturday, 31 May 2014

No longer just a book blog

When I started this blog, I had so much free time for reading. Unfortunately, I no longer have the time for reading that I used to. This is mostly due to working full time, being married and also having bought our first house together. 

The house is Victorian and the previous owners haven't looked after it very well. It isn't falling down or anything but pretty much all of the period features are now gone and the decor is shoddy, to say the least. Everything is covered in white it has no personality whatsoever. We also have a massive garden which has been neglected. There are massive bushes all over the place and there is no design to it. At the moment everything looks overgrown. 95% of the floor space was also covered in horrible gravel! We have now managed to get rid of a lot of it by giving it away for free on Facebay but there is still more underneath all of the bushes to get rid of. 

Our new home takes up all of my free time at the moment and I'm constantly finding things to do and things to potter about with.

We also have two wonderful pet rabbits called Flopsy and Mopsy who I will introduce you to in a different post. They are such characters now and we've only had them for a month. 

So, although I will still be reviewing books and films now and again, when I have the time, I have decided to change into a lifestyle blog. More of an all sorts blog actually. From now on this will be a blog for journalling the changes we make to the house and garden and other things that we get up to. I want to start trying to upcycle furniture once I buy the right paint in a few weeks so it will also be about decorating, colours and that kind of thing.

For those of you who follow for the book reviews, you'll still get to read them but also learn a lot more about me, my husband and our wonderful new home.