Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Teething puppy

Jackson is now 17 weeks old and that means he's teething. We thought he'd hit quite a bad time of it a few weeks back but that was nothing compared to how he is now. 

The poor thing is so unhappy right now and howls and whines because his mouth is hurting. Toothache is the worse so I can only imagine how he is really feeling and he's letting us know when he's in pain. I hate it! I feel so bad for him. 

The only way to help his pain is to help him relieve it and that means him having something in his mouth or chewing on something most of the time. We've found that knuckle bones are a really good thing for Jackson as they keep him occupied for a very long time and he doesn't get bored very quickly. 

Another thing that helps him is to be sat next to me on the couch and for me to help him and hold a chew toy in his mouth. He can't seem to get these at the right angles on his own so this means he can get to his back teeth easily. It's a pain in the arse having to hold a toy for him but if it helps them I'm willing to do it. 

Jackson's favourite chew at the moment is his DuraChew® Double Bone - Bacon by Nylabone. 

There are two different kinds of raised shapes on the white bone bits which help clean teeth. Jackson loves to go from one bit to another and then to the red middle as the texture is changing all of the time, helping to relieve the pain in his gums. I wasn't sure he would like this when I bought it but I'm so glad I did. It's a lifesaver if you've got a teething puppy, especially one as big as Jackson. 

Friday, 27 March 2015

NA review: Stay With Me by J. Lynn

Title: Stay With Me
Author: J. Lynn
Series: Wait For You #3
Acquired: Bought
Genre: New Adult
Publisher: Harper
Release date: 4th December 2014

Calla Fritz has been hiding from something for most of her life whether it be the scar on her face, the burns on her body or the life she once knew from all of her college friends. 

When her mother clears out her bank account leaving Calla unable to pay for school she is forced to go back home to face her past and figure out who her mother is running from. She didn't bargain for Jax though, the one person who seems able to see past every one of her defenses. 

Although Stay With Me is the third book in a New Adult series it can also be read as a stand-alone novel. There are characters from previous books who pop up in this one but you don't need to have read the other books in order to understand what is going on. 

We first meet protagonist Calla in book two, 'Be With Me' but never really get to know much about her apart from that she has a scar on her face. I wanted to know more about her then so I was glad to see her get her own story. It's clear that Calla has been through a lot. She has a scar covering a lot of her face, she has burns covering a lot of her body and no real parents to speak of. Her mother is a complete flake and a massive screw up. Calla knows she's better off being away from her. 

The plot follows Calla as she is forced to go back to her home town. She doesn't want to go back but her mother has stolen all of her savings for college and she needs to find out what is going on. Calla's home town is a small town where everyone knows everyone else's business. Her mother is very well known in town but not for very good reasons at all. I really enjoyed learning about Calla's past and why certain things have helped her to become who she is in this book. 

As Calla begins to settle back in to a place she never wanted to go back to, fun and interesting characters make themselves known. There were so many people willing to help Calla even though they barely knew her. She quickly forms strong friendships with some people around her and what fantastic, colourful people they were. These characters lightened up the story which was idea because the main plot is quite heavy going and the subject matter is pretty serious. 

Then there is Jax. He knows more about Calla when she arrives than he should be he is always there for her when she needs someone. Jax comes with his own set of problems and a past but when it comes down to it, he pushes that aside to be there for Calla. He was such a sweetheart but also hard as hell when he needed to be. Jax had that soft side to him that made my heart melt but he's also intense and smoldering at the same time. What's not to love about that?

Although J. Lynn writes amazing characters, the best thing about this book was the plot. It was so different from anything else I've read recently and it was exciting as hell. Just when you think things have calmed down a bit and are better for Calla something else happens to mix things up again. The pacing was great because I never knew what to expect or when to expect things to happen. 

I honestly couldn't put this book down! 

Thursday, 26 March 2015

Surprising Lidl

It's safe to say that I'm a bit of a snob when it comes to food shopping. John and I shop at Sainsbury's normally and I like it there. I like knowing where everything is. I like knowing exactly which products I want to buy. I also like knowing what things cost roughly. 

John has been telling me for months and months how good Lidl is and I sort of refused to listen to him. Both Sainsbury's and Lidl are around the corner pretty much from where we live but I can count on one hand how many times I have been in Lidl. I like branded products for the most part and I wasn't willing to try somewhere new. 

A couple of weeks ago the old Lidl in town had been rebuilt and I was curious. A friend at work had gone on about how amazing it was and she was like me before. Now she's converted. So, John and I went in on a Saturday evening to pick up some greens for the rabbits as we'd run out and it was on our way home anyway. 

We came out with 2 bags full. Not what I was expecting. 

You can see everything we bought in the picture above. At Sainsbury's this would have easily cost us £30, if not more. We only spent £14.32 at Lidl. I really couldn't believe it. The most expensive thing we bought was some peanut butter and that was £1.25. The best thing we got was the Ainsley Harriott soups which worked out at only 17p each. John loves them and takes them to work with him so we stocked up and bought 6 boxes. I was expecting the use by dates to be quite short but they go right up to December 2016... not that they will last that long! 

Now, I won't be giving up my Sainsbury's shop completely because there are certain things I won't change but I do think we'll now be going to Lidl more especially for fruit and veg as it is a lot cheaper.

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Chick-Lit review: It's Not Me, It's You by Mhairi McFarlane

Title: It's Not Me, It's You
Author: Mhairi McFarlane
Series: N/A
Acquired: Gifted
Genre: Adult - Chick Lit
Publisher: HarperCollins
Release date: 6th November 2014

Delia Moss is pretty content with her not exciting life. She lives with her long term boyfriend, rescue dog and works in a job that is just okay. There's nothing special about her life and she's okay with that. When Delia proposes to her boyfriend and finds out he's actually been cheating on her, she thinks it was all her fault. 

With a massive change and an exciting adventure for someone with no desire for either of those things, Delia begins to wonder if anything was actually her fault. Maybe it was his all along. 

The wonderful Kirsty at The Overflowing Library bought me this one for Christmas last year but it took me a little while to get around to reading it. I had a massive pile of books from my husband I was desperate to read so this one was a bit down the TBR pile. 

I have to be honest and say that this really took some getting in to. For a good chunk of this book I was debating giving up on it. It wasn't that the story wasn't good or funny, because it was, it just took a bit of time to really get into the plot. 

Protagonist Delia doesn't mind that she has a pretty normal life. She goes to work, goes home to her boyfriend and her dog and she quite likes her life. There's nothing exciting or special about it but she's happy so that's all that matters. But, on the day she proposes to her boyfriend and finds out he's been cheating on her, she blames herself and thinks maybe she's too boring. I felt for Deliah, I really did because she thought she knew what she was getting out of like and then her proposal went horribly wrong. 

Delia doesn't want to stick around in Newcastle where she has a constant reminder of her cheating boyfriend so she heads to London to live with her best friend and try something completely new and different. It's not like Delia at all and I loved the chance she took. I did exactly the same thing when I broke up with my boyfriend of 3 years when I was 20 although I moved to Toronto, not London. 

Delia's adventures in London are hilarious. She has no idea what she's doing in her new job, she's scared she'll mess everything up but she is also brave with her decisions. She's also really quirky and fun and I loved that about her. She was far from boring and always up for some fun and banter which mostly what made this such a fun read. I found myself really laughing as I was reading and my husband looked at me like I was insane a few times. There was times where I really could have high fived Delia throughout this book because really, the things she did were pretty amazing. 

Mhairi McFarlane writes such likable characters whom you can relate to. Delia especially is so down to earth and I felt like I'd been in her situation before. Starting over is not easy and she did the best with the situation she was in. Not only did I love Delia but her friends were great and so were the male characters. Strangely, I even quite liked Paul who was the cheating boyfriend. I don't know why I liked him after what he did but he was just a likable kind of guy. 

This book is really 531 pages of complete fun. Yes, it took me a little while to get in to but I'm so glad I didn't give up on it. It's Not Me, It's You is by far the funniest book I've read this year and I would love to read more from this author now. 

Sunday, 22 March 2015

A busy week

This past week John and I have been off work. It was my birthday this week and I have never, ever worked this week in my life so I always take a week off as a holiday. Sometimes we go away but this year we have had a lot to do around the house and we also aren't ready to leave Jackson in kennels if we want to go away. 

This week I had a lot of plans, much to John's dismay. He really would rather relax when we get a week off work together but I always have loads of other things for us to get on with. We don't get time to get much done during the week so I try to make up for that when we do get the free time. 

Day one consisted of sorting out our front garden. I meant to get this done last year but money ran out and it had to wait. We'd already cleared it of all the old, horrible gravel and the massively overgrown plants and was just left with a blank space. I wanted something really simple and easy to keep nice so chose landscaping bark for the ground and then added in a couple of little trees and a potted plant! 

I love it now. Our house was the one down the street that looked shabby and awful and now it's lovely to come home to a nice looking entrance. 

On day two we carried on a bit more with the front garden and painted the wall and the windowsill. Before it was a ghastly white and stood out and not in a good way. The previous owners of our house seemed to have a thing about white paint and used it A LOT! I hated it. Now it's a wonderful shade of light green and although very different from anything else on our street, it's much nicer. As we were painting a couple of people walked by and said how nice it looked. 

Day two was a really busy day because we also put up a clock in the living room, changed a light switch and had the electrician round to put in a ceiling rose and a new light fitting. We had been waiting ages to have this done. Our house is a four bedroom Victorian property and the previous owners ruined or took out any of the period features so I'm trying to put back as much as I possibly can. The ceiling rose looks absolutely amazing and I'm glad it's finally up. 

On day three John and I went into Cromer for breakfast and so I could get my nails done. I hadn't had them done for ages and they really needed doing so that was nice. It was also nice to get out of the house and do something fun! We also had another ceiling rose and light put up in another room that we were in the middle of painting. 

Day four was a bit different as it was my birthday! John and I went into Norwich for breakfast, then to see Insurgent at the cinema and out for lunch. I had a lovely day and loved all of my presents! 

On day five we really cracked on with the decorating of the spare bedroom. The plan this week really was to get it finished apart from a carpet and furniture. I chose a beautiful ornithology wallpaper from B&Q. At £20 a roll it wasn't cheap but I wanted something with a Victorian feel but a modern look. It's stunning but a pain to hang. This was mine and John's first time wallpapering and I had to have a few breaks as I got so annoyed with it. However, we managed to get half the room done and it looks amazing. I'm so glad I chose something bold and I'm surprised John likes it so much. 
John went back to work on day six for overtime. We need the extra money especially when we have so much to do around the house. As he wasn't home I got on with some cleaning and general tidying up. Not really fun but a necessity. 

Sunday was day seven of being off work and we finished off the wallpapering in the spare bedroom. This is the first room we have completely renovated since moving in and I'm so pleased with the results so far. 

Although this week was really busy and exhausting, it's been a good one. John and I have done so much around the house and it's nice to feel like we've really accomplished something now. 

Maybe the next week off won't be quite as hectic. 

Friday, 20 March 2015


Jackson our white German Shepherd puppy is now 4 months old and he has definitely hit the teething stage. He constantly needs to have his chops around some kind of bone or toy and when he doesn't... well, it hasn't ended well so far. Let's just say I'm glad we need a new kitchen eventually anyway. 

Finding toys for Jackson that last is proving to be a really difficult task. I did buy him a big yellow octopus from Pets At Home for £20 and that lasted a good month and so far, has been the longest lasting toy he's had that isn't a bone. I can't remember what brand that was though or if it was a Pets At Home toy but I'm determined to find something else for Jackson. 

After work the other day I stopped by Sainsbury's to get some of Jackson's favourite starfish treats and to pick up a couple of new toys as a few of his have been killed in the past week. Something that stuck out to me on the shelf was the Seriously Strong range by Petface. Seriously strong toys are what I need. 

The latest toy to die was Jackson's rope which he loved so much so I wanted a replacement. I ended up going with the Rope Log as it looked really thick and durable. At £3 it's not the most expensive toy but still, it looked great. 

Unfortunately, the rope did not live up to the brand name at all. I gave it to Jackson as soon as I got home and within minutes he had tugged loose one end of the rope. Not only did he unstick the end but he also managed to get one of the rope strands unwoven. 

I had to tie the ends back together before I could give him it again because otherwise he would have been able to eat the loose stands. Not good. I understand that dog toys are not indestructible but this really should have lasted more than 2 minutes. 

I guess I need to look elsewhere for a new toy for Jackson now. 

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

NA review: Hard Knox by Nicole Williams

Title: Hard Knox
Author: Nicole Williams
Series: The Outsider Chronicles 
Acquired: Bought
Genre: Adult - New Adult
Publisher: Nicole Williams
Release date: 12th August 2014

Everyone at Sinclair University knows the name Knox Jagger. Either they resent him or they want to be with him. Well, all apart from Charlie Chase.

Charlie thinks that Knox is everything that's wrong with guys at college. He drinks too much, sleeps around and seems to think with his fists. Unluckily for Charlie, she's been set the task to find out who is dropping little white pills into girl's drinks and all fingers point to Knox. She thought everyone could be right too until her own drink was spiked and the one person there to save her was the last person she expected. 

Nicole Williams has fast become one of my go-to authors for New Adult books. I can generally always pick up one of her books and know that I'm going to really enjoy it. I haven't found one I haven't liked yet. 

Charlie Chase was a fantastic female protagonist. Right from the off she's sassy, smart and independent. She doesn't like to rely on anyone other than herself and she knows who she is. She won't be changed by the pressures of being at college and she knows what she wants out of life. Charlie is a budding journalist and tells it how it is. She doesn't sugar coat any subject but that doesn't leave her in a very good standing with her fellow classmates. 

When Charlie takes on the task of finding out who is slipping date rape drugs into drinks at parties, the story doesn't phase her at all. However, when she gets her own drink spiked someone completely unexpected is there to help her; Knox Jagger the guy with the biggest reputation on campus. He's actually the prime suspect of Charlie's story but when she wakes up on his sofa and realises he didn't touch her, she begins to think he might not be who everyone thinks he is. 

Knox really does have a reputation. Guys would say it's a bad one but girls don't mind it at all. In fact, Knox is the guy who gets girls pants put in his pocket during parties with their phone numbers written on. Knox was also a fantastic character. The first time we get to really meet him is during a party and yes, he comes across in a bad way but the moment he opened his mouth was the moment I realised he was something else entirely. There's a hell of a lot more to Knox than he lets on to most people and I loved the slow reveal of his true self. 

Together, Charlie and Knox are hilarious. This is what happens when you get a girl willing to give as good as she gets with a guy who is used to getting what he wants. The banter going back and forth between both characters was so much fun. There is a lot of give and take over the course of the book as Charlie and Knox get to know each other and the passion each of them show was pretty awesome. Both characters are extremely likable which made me route for them even more. 

Not only is Hard Knox a steamy New Adult romance but it's also a thrilling mystery story as well. While the plot focuses on Charlie and Knox getting to know one another, revealing secrets about the past, there is also the mystery of what is going on with the date rape drugs. This book has a lot more to it than the general girl meets boy, falls in love eventually and then has hot, steamy sex like some New Adult novels are. I really enjoyed the built up of the plot and then the dramatic conclusion to what was happening. 

Hard Knox was definitely different from Nicole Williams' other New Adult novels but for me, it's one of my favourites. 

Monday, 16 March 2015

Branching out

Blogging for me all began with book reviews way back in 2010, the year I started university. Somehow I managed to blog the same as normal all the way through university. I really don't know how I did that sometimes though. I guess it helped having a job where I was able to read on night shifts or do my revision or edit essays. 

After graduating and getting a full time job as the manager of a children's play center and bowling alley, I seemed to not be able to cope with blogging any more. I really tried but I wasn't getting much time to read or to write the reviews even if I did manage to read. After a while of struggling I made a hard choice to give it up for a while. I just didn't have the energy, especially when John and I bought a house that needs a fair amount of work. 

Between then and now I also tried to have two blogs. I have no idea why I ever thought that would be a good idea because one was hard enough. Now my life is still really hectic. Not only does the house need a whole lot of work but we also have Jackson, our German Shepherd puppy. 

Before now I had lost my desire to read. I have no idea how I'm managing it right now to be honest, but I am. John laughs because I wake up some mornings when I'm in the middle of the book and I read a bit before I get a bath before work. 

Anyway, there was a time when I was really happy with having a blog just for book reviews. However, it really isn't that time now. With so much going on in my life right now I really need to branch out with my blog. I want to make it more about all of the things I love. My life with John, my house that is yet to be beautiful, my monster of a puppy, books and films. 

So, although there will still be a lot of book reviews I really want to be able to write about my life. As Jackson grows up I'm sure I'll have plenty of cute photos and funny stories about the things he gets up to. I also can't wait to write about updates on the house and things that get done. 

I hope you enjoy hearing about my life!

Friday, 13 March 2015

I want to read...

Do you ever go through a phase of wanting to read something pretty specific and not even knowing if that sort of thing actually exists?

The other day I got it into my head that I wanted to read either a NA or YA contemporary novel set in Toronto. This probably comes from living there for a while and wanting to go back for a visit but also because I have never seen or heard about anything set there. I don't know why. It's a pretty exciting place. There are a fair few books set in Paris for example and understandably so. There are loads set in various places in America. The same with the UK. Why no Canada? It's not even just Toronto but Canada in general it seems. 

This is like when you go shopping with a particular item of clothing in mind and then scour the shops for hours only to find it doesn't actually exist. Only, it's easier in shops because you can actually look around and see that what you want doesn't exist. Trying to find a book set in a particular place isn't that easy if there aren't loads of books already like that. Urgh.

Do you ever get something like this into your head? This is the first time I've ever really wanted to read something that I don't think exists. 

Wednesday, 11 March 2015

New Adult Review: Breakable by Tammara Webber

Title: Breakable
Author: Tammara Webber
Series: Contours of the Heart #2
Acquired: Gifted
Genre: New Adult
Publisher: Penguin
Release date: 7th May 2014

Landon Lucas Maxfield was hopeful and optimistic about his life until a tragedy destroyed everything. In a downward spiral, Landon sees no way forward, no way to the life he could have had... before. 

Long after, Landon becomes Lucas and leaves his old life behind. When he meets Jacqueline, Lucas' desire to takes over and he will be whatever she needs him to be, even if he knows he shouldn't. After all, his soul has already been shattered once and he knows better than anyone how happiness can be taken away so quickly. 

Breakable is a companion novel to the other book in this series as this is Easy told from Lucas' point of view instead of Jacqueline's. I actually posted my review of Easy way back in January 2013 so it's been a long time since I read it and to be honest, I could only remember bits about it. 

Breakable concentrates on how Landon Lucas Maxfield became Lucas as he is now known. When he was a young boy and went by Landon, he went through something really traumatic and it changed his life completely. In Easy I sort of remember him being a bit of a rock for Jacqueline but not getting to know his full story. Breakable shows us what Lucas went through and how that affected him growing up. 

This book is told through the points of view of both Lucas and Landon even though they are the same person. Landon is a boy going through a rough time and struggles to cope. Lucas is a mature young man who has figured out how to make something of himself even though he never thought it was possible. I really liked this way of the story being told as it made it possible to really realise how much Lucas grows over the course of the book. 

The thing with retellings is that they can sometimes be a bit of a disappointment because they don't offer enough new content or excitement. This certainly isn't the case with Breakable though. Yes, there is some conversations that are the same as in Easy but that's bound to happen and I didn't mind that at all. Instead of rehashing Easy, this book gives us the chance to discover how Lucas feels about Jacqueline in his own words instead of his actions we've seen before. 

What I really loved about this book was being able to read the love story between Lucas and Jacqueline all over again but with a bit of a difference. I don't think I'd have enjoyed it quite as much though if I had read Easy recently as everything would have been too fresh in my mind. However, it was quite nice to read certain chapters and for them to be familiar to me. 

Breakable is a wonderful New Adult novel and I'm glad I did read it eventually although I had been putting it off for quite some time. 

Friday, 6 March 2015

Young Adult review: Take Me On by Katie McGarry

Title: Take Me On  
Author: Katie McGarry
Series: Pushing The Limits #4
Acquired: Bought
Genre: Young Adult
Publisher: Mira Ink
Release date:6th June 2014

Haley Williams was once a champion kickboxer but things changed and now she is putting everything into getting into college instead. 

West Young is everything Haley said she would stay away from but when he accepts a challenge that forces him to fight for her honour she knows he won't last unless she helps him. 

Both Haley and West have secrets from each other but maybe together they'll find something worth fighting for. 

Take Me On is the fourth book in the Pushing The Limits series and while it can be read on its own, it is better to read the series in order as this one is set just after events in other books. 

West and Haley meet in pretty bad circumstances but they soon find themselves forced together when West faces off against Haley's ex-boyfriend. I really loved the idea for the plot as I haven't read anything like this before. The drama builds from the very beginning and leads up to one big fight between West and Haley's ex. There is so much tension between a lot of characters in this book and I really enjoyed watching things play out and to figure out how things would end for everyone. 

Not only is the plot dramatic and exciting but there's also a much softer and emotional side to the story. Katy McGarry explores the idea of what family and home can mean to different people. This aspect of Take Me On was a wonderful contrast to the rest of the story. It also meant being able to really get to know Haley and West and all of the things that make them who they are in this book. 

From page one my heart went out to Haley. It is instantly clear that she and her family are in a pretty bad situation and that she used to fight. Used to being the operative word. She used to hold a national title. Then something happened and she stopped fighting completely. Haley clearly wants something better out of life than what she has but things aren't looking very good for her. She is a fighter through and through even if she isn't doing it in a ring and I loved her strength throughout this book. She really tried to keep things going for everyone around her even if it meant keeping things to herself and trying to sort everything out on her own. 

West on the other hand comes from a privileged background which we discovered in the previous book. I have to say that I wasn't his biggest fan in the last book because of things that he did. However, he was actually a completely different person than I had expected him to be. I imagined him to be really selfish and stuck up but he wasn't that at all. West is such a caring and chivalrous guy and I didn't see it coming at all. What I loved most about him though is his protectiveness over Haley. 

Katy McGarry has the ability to write perfectly broken characters and give them one hell of a story, time after time. I loved Take Me On just as much as the other books in this series. 

Thursday, 5 March 2015

YA review: The Death House by Sarah Pinborough

Title: The Death House
Author: Sarah Pinborough
Series: N/A
Acquired: Review
Genre: Young Adult
Publisher: Gollancz
Release date: 26th February 2015

Blood tests can change everything and Toby knows that all too well. The day his blood test showed him as Defective Toby was taken away from his family and taken to The Death House, where all the Defectives go. 

Toby, along with everyone else in The Death House, don't get to live a normal life. They're monitored by Matron and the nurses, go to classes that mean nothing to them and they wait for the sickness to come. 

Sickness means going to the sanatorium, the place that no one comes back from. 

Sometimes when I get an email from a publicist about a book I get super excited; not because it's about a book I've been dying to read but because they bring something to my attention that I hadn't heard of yet and it's something that sounds amazing. This was how I felt when I got the email about The Death House. Although I do have my preferred genres or books I do still like to try something new and different now and again. 

The Death House is set in a world where some people are classed as Defectives. Well, not people, children. They're forced to have a blood tests which reveals if they have the gene or not and if they do, they're taken away from everything they know and are forced to live in The Death House with the rest of the Defectives. Isolated from the outside world, the Defectives soon give up hope that they'll be able to go home or hear from their families. Days are spent in meaningless classes, cleaning and trying to get through another day without getting sick. 

Protagonist Toby seems to have come to terms with his new life in The Death House. Okay, he isn't happy to be there just like everyone else as he knows what he has coming to him eventually. He is the oldest in his dorm though and that makes him their leader, the guy the others look up to. It isn't until newcomers enter the house that everything changes and Toby begins to change how his time is spent. He actually begins to live instead of waiting to die. 

The Death House has such an eerie and creepy setting. The house itself is on some unknown island, cut off from society and none of the children know where they are. They have no knowledge of what is going on in the outside world or how their families are. All they know is that they are Defectives and at some point they are going to die. The thing about this book is that it never really explains what being a Defective means. I don't see this as a bad thing though and I quite liked not really knowing much about it. The story really isn't about what is wrong with the children but instead, what happens during their time in the house. 

Not only is there the mystery of being Defective but also of the sanatorium which honestly would have scared the crap out of me. Makes me shudder just thinking about it. 

Sarah Pinborough writes a host of extremely likable characters whom you can relate to. Toby is quite the realist. He tells it how it is and doesn't hold any false hope. I loved Toby's honesty with his dorm-mates and he was just the sort of person I'd want to have around because he didn't sugar coat things. Will is a younger boy in dorm 4 who just doesn't really understand what is going on and he just wants to go home to his family. There are also the bullies and the kids who think they can do whatever they want. It's like a secondary school setting with the jealousy and rivalry. 

The Death House is really a journey of self discovery for Toby. There are a few really exciting twists over the course of the book and especially the ending. I didn't see that coming at all. I couldn't put this book down and it really is as exciting as it sounds!

Wednesday, 4 March 2015

Garden progress

When John and I first came to look at our house before we bought it, I loved the garden but I think it was a case of rose tinted glasses. Our garden is really big and it did have loads of plants, a gravel path leading to the shed, a sunken patio and a pond which resulted in loads of cute frogs. I thought it was really cute and I was excited about finally having a garden. Below is what it looked like before, minus the workshop to the right on the first picture. The previous owners took that with them. 

Last year when my Mum came to stay we started working on clearing the garden as we discovered that it was all pretty much overgrown and dead underneath. Not quite the pretty garden I thought it was. We did a hell of a lot of work last year and went through 3 skips to get rid of all of the waste but we still weren't finished. Last year was a year of filling so many garden waste bags, giving away the gravel for free on Facebay and killing ourselves. 

This is what it looked like last summer:

Not quite the pretty garden it was before!! So, this year we are making a start on making the garden nice again. Last weekend one of our neighbours came round with his chainsaw to cut down the trees for us and get the stumps as close to level as he could which was a massive help. We've also had a new fence put in on the side we're responsible for. We've nearly got the sunken patio filled and only one area of plants left to clear as well as filling in the pond. It's getting there... slowly. Now that we have a dog I really want the garden to be more friendly towards him instead of just being a garden full of mud and not much else.

We're planning on using artificial grass and decking in the middle part of the garden. I then want to section off the back part of the garden with a picket fence and archway/ gate so I can have nice plants in there that Jackson can't eat. Also it will mean being able to have one part of the garden closed off and usable without really having to worry about the rest for a while. 

Maybe this summer I'll finally have a section of the garden I can sit in and read when it's sunny!

Tuesday, 3 March 2015

New Adult Review: Saving Quinton by Jessica Sorensen

Title: Saving Quinton
Author: Jessica Sorensen
Series: Nova and Quinton #2
Acquired: Bought
Genre: New Adult
Publisher: Forever
Release date: 3rd February 2015

It has been almost a year since Nova Reed has seen Quinton Carter. He was the boy who made her finally feel again and realise that being empty is no life at all. Now that she's finally fixing herself, Nova knows Quinton needs help as well and she's determined to track him down before he spirals out of control. 

As Saving Quinton is the second book in a series this review will contain spoilers for the first book, Breaking Nova. 

Nova Reed has only just started really living again. After the death of her boyfriend she struggled to cope, struggled to live. Quinton Carter saved her from that, although he doesn't know that. Now that Nova is on the mend, she knows Quinton is out there somewhere and he needs someone to help save him in return. This book takes us to Las Vegas where Quinton has ended up with Tristan, Delilah and Dylan. 

In the previous book Nova was quite a weak character. Not weakly written mind you, but weak because of everything she had been through. She struggled to carry on living, struggled to feel anything and just didn't know what to do from day to day. In Saving Quinton she has come a hell of a long way. She's stronger now, determined and hell bent on pulling Quinton out of whatever hole he's put himself in. Nova knows there is something special about Quinton and refuses to let him lose himself to whatever he is going through. 

I really loved Nova's development in this book. She's a real firecracker and stands up for everything she believes in. When she finally tracks down Quinton she finds him in a really bad part of Las Vegas in a really shady apartment building. She's terrified but she doesn't back down. Even when Quinton says and does things to make her leave she keeps her feet firmly in place and doesn't go anywhere. Her determination and strength was pretty amazing and I was happy to see her in this kind of situation. 

Quinton. Poor Quinton. It was pretty impossible to not feel for this guy. In Breaking Nova we learn of his past and why he struggles with life so much. He had turned to drugs to forget and numb out his emotions. Before it wasn't anything too hard but now it's worse. A lot worse. He lives in a crack house addicted to some pretty bad stuff. He's a ghost of his former self and has pretty much given up on everyone and everything, including himself. 

Reading about Quinton and his current situation is not pretty at all and some of Jessica Sorensen's writing is extremely hard hitting and raw. This book is written in such a way that it was kind of depressing for me. It put me in a massive downer reading it but yet I couldn't stop. This is far from being a bad thing though. The way in which this book is written makes is easier to feel some of what Quinton feels. The writing drags you down as Quinton continues to fall. 

Saving Quinton is a book that is not easy to read. It's emotional, hard hitting and extremely raw. Yes, the subject matter is dark and not a happy ending kind of fairy tale. The ending wasn't at all what I was expecting but Jessica Sorensen always manages to throw in some curve balls so the reader doesn't know what to expect. I thought I had this one figured out but I didn't. This series is seriously addictive and I NEED to get my hands on the third book.