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.

Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Defying Destiny by Deanna Chase

About the book
Defying Destiny is a new adult book by Deanna Chase. The book was published in paperback format on 14th March by Bayou Moon Publishing and it is 266 pages long. I received an e-book for review.

Lucy Moore thinks she has her whole life figured out. She’s 21, in love with her soul mate Cadan and has the career of her dreams as a singer-songwriter. She and Cadan have a recording contract and she couldn’t be happier than sharing what she was born to do with the man she loves. But, after the death of her father and Cadan betraying her, Lucy goes back home to sort her life out.

Seth Kennan seems to be exactly what Lucy needs and he’s always there when she needs him. He has secrets though and ones he isn’t willing to share with her yet. When it comes to women, he never normally sticks around for very long but Lucky seems different. First her voice lured him in and then he began to get to know her. Now he can’t stay away but will she take a chance on someone when she knew she had her soul mate already?

What I thought
I generally tend to really enjoy books set around a musical world as they’re normally really creative and deep which is why I wanted to read this book.

Lucy is a singer in a band with her boyfriend Cadan and they also write the songs they play. She knows that Cadan is her soul mate (I’ll get to that later) and they’re madly in love. But, Cadan cheats on Lucy and she screams and shouts at him and tells him that it’s over. I did respect her for telling Cadan off but that didn’t last very long. She goes back to him a couple of times even when she’s adamant that she won’t after what he does to her. Anyway, she has a fiery personality and that was something I liked about her. You never knew what she was going to do next even if that was rushing in to things at times.

Cadan was horrible and I absolutely hated him. That’s pretty much all I have to say because I’ll explain a bit more about him in the soul mate section.

Seth I was also very unsure of. I liked him for the most part but he also had a ‘mate’ and focused on that far too much. He was a character with so many problems but unlike with Lucy, I enjoyed watching him work through those problems and learn from his past experiences. However, some of his issues aren’t very realistic, especially in the way that they’re dealt with so I thought that this could have been done a little bit better. Seth is a bit of a tortured soul and who doesn’t like a character like that?

The whole soul mate aspect of this book annoyed the hell out of me. I wouldn’t have minded but from the very first page you’re expected to believe that everyone has one soul mate. There was no explanation of Lucy believing in this, or any other character for that matter, everyone else just seemed to think that was what happened. Not only that but Lucy’s soul mate was an arsehole and a half. He cheated on her and treated her like dirt! What kind of soul mate is that?! Not one I would want, that’s for sure. And, if Cadan was really Lucy’s soul mate to begin with, why would she ever go for anyone else. I just didn’t get it and I didn’t believe it at all.

As for the plot, it was all a bit meh. Nothing exciting really happened and all we really get is a lot of back and forth from Lucy. There were so many decisions gone back on and no one knowing their own minds. I wanted more substance from all of the characters involved and I wanted them to be more solid. It seemed as though the author couldn’t make up her mind about which direction she wanted the story to go in which is why it was all over the place.

It was such a shame that I didn’t really like this book because it did have promise. 

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Impossible by Koman Kant

About the book
Impossible is a (mature) young adult book by Koman Kant. It was published by the author on 24th October 2012 and the book is 254 pages long.

Ashton Summers and Luca Byron used to be best friends. Now, they wouldn’t even look at each other in the school hall let alone talk to each other. They do live next door to one another though which can make things extremely awkward. Ashton has now made new friends and is part of the popular, cheerleading crowd while Luca dyed his hair black and everyone thinks of him as a devil worshipper.

The two old best friends have absolutely nothing in common anymore so falling in love should be impossible, right?!

What I thought
Impossible was one of those Kindle books that I found on Amazon for free at the time I downloaded it. I love getting the free Kindle books sometimes because you can find some real gems that you may not have looked at before.

Ashton Summers is finally where she always wanted to be; popular and a cheerleader. She’s actually quite annoying at the beginning of the book because she thinks that is all that matters in life and I wanted to give her a bit of a slap to knock some sense into her. It’s clear that she’s changed from the person that she used to be in order to climb the social ladder at school which really makes her quite fake. She was also shallow and a bully. Not the kind of character that you love instantly is it?

Then there is Luca who I did feel quite sorry for. He is seemingly happy with who he has become but he is constantly put down by Ashton and her annoying shallow friends. I did quite like him though as he didn’t take any crap from anyone and just got on with what he wanted to do. The thing about Luca for me was that there was actually something about him. He had a passion for music and he was sweet and funny as well.

Impossible’s plot focuses on Ashton and Luca rekindling their friendship but it takes quite a while for them to really get there. Luca certainly doesn’t like the person that Ashton has become. There is a large part of the story that deals with bullying but I can’t say that it was done right. While Ashton bullying others is a large part of the story, she is never really punished for her actions nor does she get how wrong she has been. I really wanted Ashton to learn more from her mistakes but instead she just seemed to change in an instant without ever really having to deal with what she had done.

Unfortunately, I didn’t love this book but it was still an okay read. The chemistry between Ashton and Luca wasn’t very realistic and their emotions and feelings were never really an important issue. It was more about sexual chemistry than anything else. Also, I don’t feel as though the character development was strong enough for Ashton when it could have been so much better. 

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Stir Me Up by Sabrina Elkins

About the book
Stir Me Up is a contemporary new adult novel by Sabrina Elkins. The book was published in e-book format on 1st December 2013 and it is 268 pages long.

Even though she’s in her senior year of high school, Cami Broussard thinks she has everything figured out. After finishing school, she’ll work for her father in his French restaurant along with her boyfriend Luke. However, when her step-mother’s nephew is injured in Afghanistan comes to live with them to recuperate, everything changes for her. He’s everything she never wanted but she can’t stop thinking about him which makes things difficult when they live in the same house!

What I thought
Stir Me Up was one of those books I found on NetGalley but wasn’t really sure about before reading it as I hadn’t read anything else by the author. This one was such a nice surprise though.

The book begins revolving quite a lot around protagonist Callie’s father’s French restaurant. Callie is mixing working for her dad with going to high school but she does both because she knows she wants to be a chef. She has such a passion for food which shined through from the very first page. However, it is clear that her dad doesn’t really appreciate her skill in the kitchen and he also makes her prove herself just like any other employee. In fact, he probably works her harder and is harder on her than he is with anyone else. Although I did feel a bit sorry for Callie, I also loved the way that she stuck to her guns and fought for what she wanted. This also made her really easy to like.

The plot of Stir Me Up revolves around Callie having to deal with her step-mother’s nephew (Julian) moving in and taking over her room, and her life! He was a Marine in Afghanistan and comes back with terrible injuries. Not only does he have whiplash and broken bones, he left a leg below the knee and has PSTD. He does not cope well at all with his injuries and also doesn’t cope with having to move in with his aunt her family. To start with, I thought that Julian was a complete arsehole but I could also understand why he acted the way that he did. He was really mean to Callie for no real reason but he was really just trying to adjust and deal with everything he had experienced.

I absolutely loved watching the relationship between Callie and Julian develop. When they first meet it is clear that Callie doesn’t want him there and Julian hates being there just as much. Both of them have had to give things up and they don’t like it. They insult each other quite a lot but the banter between them is fantastic. You can tell that something will happen between them but are never sure when which made the plot more exciting. Once both characters get over themselves though, the tension between the two was sizzling hot and I couldn’t get enough of them.

What I loved the most about this book was the mix of themes and ideas throughout. The Marine/ PSTD/ injury thing was fantastic to read about and certainly quite educational. Then there is Callie and her dream of being a chef. Many books, both YA and NA, tend to focus on college which I guess is a good message to send to readers but it was refreshing to see a character want to do something different with their lives.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this book and would happily read it again and again!

Tuesday, 6 May 2014

Simple Perfection by Abbi Glines

About the book
Simple Perfection is the second book in the new adult ‘Perfection’ series by Abbi Glines. The book was published by Simon and Schuster on 3rd December 2013 and it is 272 pages long.

Until Della Sloane walked into his life, Woods Kerrington had his life all planned out. He was set to follow in his father’s footsteps even if he didn’t want to. Della changed everything though and made him question what he wanted out of life. However, his father’s sudden death puts Woods in a difficult situation with a whole business to manage and an overbearing mother to care for at the same time.

Della tries to be there for Woods in any way she can but she has problems of her own to deal with. After a terrible childhood, she struggles to cope with everything going on around her. She doesn’t think that she can be everything that Woods needs in his life, causing doubt and uncertainty to taint their relationship.

Will Woods and Della be able to work through their problems before their relationship is completely broken?

What I thought
Abbi Glines is one of my go to authors when I want something a bit steamier than a young adult book. She never really fails to disappoint me and the Perfection series is one of my favourites of hers so far.

Simple Perfection starts from where Twisted Perfection ended. Woods’ father has just died and his whole life is turned upside down. Not only does he now have a business to run but his mother is giving him the cold shoulder and he doesn’t really understand why, especially as she helped his father when he tried to ruin his life. Anyway, many problems are thrown in from the very beginning which made the plot instantly interesting.

Woods’ girlfriend Della has had to cope with a lot in her life without having to deal with everything that Woods’ father’s death brings as well. However, as bad as things got in this book she did try to stay as positive as possible without really letting herself get down about things. I really admired her for this, especially when she could have broken down quite easily. Della is also such a joy to read about not only because she overcomes so much but because she was such a fun character. She really comes into her own during this book as she is able to have a bit of time to really get to know herself and decide what she wants.

Woods also has some fantastic character development. He desperately wants to protect Della from anything bad coming into her life but he doesn’t always understand that he can’t fix everything and some things she needs to do for herself. Due to his father dying so suddenly, Woods has a lot of responsibility to take on in regards to his family and the business. He has to grow up very quickly and it was great to see him do this and take charge when he needed to.

While the plot of Simple Perfection wasn’t the most exciting, I still couldn’t put it down. Getting to know the protagonists more and more is what kept me hooked to this one. They were characters that I had liked in another book and had wanted to read their story for some time. Not only are Della and Woods great but Abbi Glines always adds in characters from other books which is how they all tie in together. It is always great to see what some of my other favourite characters are getting up to and how they can all help each other.

Simple Perfection was a great addition to Abbi Glines’ wonderful collection of new adult novels. Highly recommended!