Life Takes Over…Again

It’s always the same. Every time I’m determined to get myself back into writing things happen and I find that I’m too busy to sit with my laptop. If only I could be as organised at home as I can be at work.

I am really hoping to find a way to balance everything better. In the meantime, here are some life updates that cover why I’ve been super distracted:

My house is getting renovated

My fiancé and I bought our first home two years ago and apart from adding a few splashes of paint here and there and getting our kitchen done we kind of left it as it was. Luckily it was decent enough to live in. It had all the essentials,  it was warm and we were happy to save up for the renovations we wanted.

Two years down the line, we are now renovating and decorating our house. No more awful brown carpets and cream walls. No more 1970s brown bathroom. No more badly plastered walls. I cannot wait for it to be finished!

It’s stressful, messy and driving me crazy but we are slowly getting there. Finally, the plastering has been completed. Now we just have to wait for the bathroom to be ripped out and redone, the painting to be completed, the joiner to finish the built in cupboards and shelves in the living room, the cast iron radiators to be moved from the dining room into the correct rooms and then the carpets.

I have another new job

Several weeks ago I learnt that a position was opening up at my work and I went for it.  Surprisingly, they have offered me the job.  The pay is so much better and I’d be daft to turn it down. I know that it is a lot more work than what I am doing now but I’m hoping I’ll be a great fit and it will work out.

Hopefully, it will enable me to organise my life more outside of work as well.

I’ve been struggling with reading lately

I don’t know what is going on. I just don’t seem to be in a mood to read at the moment. I don’t know if it’s because I haven’t picked up the right book or if I’m in just in the worst kind of slump. I am hoping that what I have planned over the next few weeks will help.

I think I’m going to try a monthly reading challenge. I’ve seen a couple for October that I’m interested in so I think I’m going to give it a go.  Maybe having a target will get me out of the slump I have found myself in.

If you know of any other things I could do to help me out of this I’d appreciate the help.

 

Lucy xx

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The Cruel Price (The Folk of the Air #1) – Holly Black

 

Image result for CRUEL PRINCE

Book: The Cruel Price (The Folk of the Air #1)
Author:
 Holly Black
Genre:
Fantasy
Release Date: 2nd January 2018
Pages: 370

My Rating: 2.5 / 3 stars

Jude was seven when her parents were murdered and she and her two sisters were stolen away to live in the treacherous High Court of Faerie. Ten years later, Jude wants nothing more than to belong there, despite her mortality. But many of the fey despise humans. Especially Prince Cardan, the youngest and wickedest son of the High King.

To win a place at the Court, she must defy him–and face the consequences.

As Jude becomes more deeply embroiled in palace intrigues and deceptions, she discovers her own capacity for trickery and bloodshed. But as betrayal threatens to drown the Courts of Faerie in violence, Jude will need to risk her life in a dangerous alliance to save her sisters, and Faerie itself.

Goodreads

 

My Thoughts…

I bought this book back when it first came out in 2018 and after reading the first couple of pages I found that I just wasn’t in the right mood for it. Bizarrely, this routine became a habit with this book. For several months I picked it up and put it straight back down after reading a few pages. After a while I just gave up with it all together and it sat on my TBR shelf for a long time.

I had (notice the past tense) placed myself on a book buying ban to try and make a dent in my TBR list and found myself drifting towards this book. Once I had decided that this was the book I was going to read next I was determined to actually complete it this time.

I saw so many 5 star reviews for this book online and I feel like an oddity as I definitely don’t rate as highly. I’ll be honest, there are things I did like about the book but there were more things I didn’t like about it.

I’m going to jump straight into the things I did not like.

The book lacked character development for most, if not all of the characters. Due to this I found it ridiculously hard to connect to the story. I’m presuming I’m not the only reader who finds it extremely difficult to read a book when it is impossible to build a relationship with the characters, especially the main protagonist.

I also found that the characters were annoying at times. I’m not going to get into this too much because I feel like once these floodgates open they will never close. However, in a shortened version: Jude’s relationship with her twin sister Taryn was irritating due to the their immature and whiney nature. Taryn excelled in this category and could win an Oscar for bitch of the year due to her jealousy.  Cardan was stupidly dramatic and his reasons for bullying just seemed really petty to me. Don’t even get me started on Valerian  and Locke. They are absolute arseholes. I just have not time for characters like that.

When new characters were introduced throughout the book there was a lack of explanation to who they are and where they came from. They just seemed to have come out of no where, did their job and then disappeared back to where they came from. The new characters come from different Courts and these weren’t really discussed either which is a shame. This caused confusion and ruined the story a little for me. I don’t understand why someone would introduce new characters into a story without any insight to their history and who they are. This loops back to the whole character development issue I mentioned earlier.

Regardless of the negatives there were a few perks to the story which moved it from a 1 star rating to a 3 star rating (I think I’m being really generous). There is drama from the get go and I do love a story with drama! I mean, it’s dark in places but it’s drama nonetheless. Right from the very beginning shit hits the fan and it makes you want to read on.

It’s an easy and entertaining read. Although there are quite a few ‘blah’ moments I found that they were easy to get over. It’s not the most amazing YA fantasy book that I have ever read but it’s readable. I’ll probably read the second instalment when I get my hands on it. However, I’m not running into town to buy it at 9am when the shops open.

 

Lucy xx

 

 

April 2019

It has been a busy few weeks for me recently with travelling home to spend time with my family and starting my new job. I can’t see my lifestyle slowing down for a little while longer either. At least until I have gotten used to everything. Due to things being up in the air this month I didn’t want to over do it with my April TBR. So this month I am keeping it simple. And I mean real simple.

I have selected three books that I hope to read this month. Anything else on top of this will be selected randomly if and when needed.

I know it seems like such a waste of a TBR but sometimes a girl’s gotta to do what a girl’s gotta do. I know for a fact that if I went overboard with my TBR and I was unable to complete it I would be devastated.

So without further ado this is my April TBR (if we can even call it that):

 

The Summer Garden (The Bronze Horseman #3) by Paullina Simons

Image result for the summer garden

The Magnificent Conclusion to the Timeless Epic Saga

Through years of war and devastation, Tatiana and Alexander suffered the worst the twentieth century had to offer. Miraculously reunited in America, they now have a beautiful son, Anthony, the gift of a love strong enough to survive the most terrible upheavals. Though they are still young, the ordeals they endured have changed them–and after living apart in a world laid waste, they must now find a way to live together in postwar America.

With the Cold War rising, dark forces at work in their adopted country threaten their lives, their family, and their hard-won peace. To regain the happiness they once knew, to wash away the lingering pain of the past, two lovers grown distant must somehow forge a new life . . .or watch the ghosts of their yesterdays destroy their firstborn son.

The Summer Garden . . . their odyssey is just beginning.

Goodreads

 

I was supposed to start this last week but I hardly had a minute to myself.  When I did I can guarantee I was in bed trying to have an early night. Hopefully, I can finish this book this week. I mean I’m pretty sure I still have 650 pages to go.

 

Soul in Darkness by Wendy Higgins

Soul in Darkness

People travel from afar to the small isle in the Aegean Sea hoping for a single glimpse of Princess Psyche. Their adoration for the mortal woman is so all-consuming that citizens begin to shower her with the very gifts and offerings they once left at the alter of Venus, goddess of love and beauty.

But gods are known for their jealousy.

Cupid, the god of love, takes pleasure in causing strife and mischief in the lives of humans. He uses love as a weapon, humouring in the weakness of people at the whims of their feelings. When his mother Venus approaches him about punishing the human girl who dares to steal her offerings and affections from the people, Cupid gladly accepts.

Psyche’s punishment is to be given to a mysterious creature who only comes to her in the dark of night under the pact that she will never lay eyes on him. She is terrified of this stranger, who the oracle described as a serpent. Her mate, however, is masterful in his dealings with his bride. He takes his time, morphing her fears into different sensations completely.

Based on the Roman/Greek mythology of Cupid and Psyche by Lucius Apuleius, New York Times bestseller Wendy Higgins brings the tale to life, weaving layers that show exactly how a sacrificial lamb can be enchanted by an unseen monster.

Goodreads

 

I watched Jessica from Peace Love Books mention this book in one of her previous videos. I looked into it a little more and I’m intrigued to see how Higgins has worked with Greek mythology. Everyone knows I love a bit of history.

 

Lover Awakened (Black Dagger Brotherhood series) by J R Ward

Lover Awakened (Black Dagger Brotherhood, #3)

In the shadows of the night in Caldwell, New York, there’s a deadly war raging between vampires and their slayers. And there exists a secret band of brothers like no other – six vampire warriors, defenders of their race. Of these, Zsadist is the most terrifying member of the Black Dagger Brotherhood.

A former blood slave, the vampire Zsadist still bears the scars from a past filled with suffering and humiliation. Renowned for his unquenchable fury and sinister deeds, he is a savage feared by humans and vampires alike. Anger is his only companion, and terror is his only passion—until he rescues a beautiful aristocrat from the evil Lessening Society.

Bella is instantly entranced by the seething power Zsadist possesses. But even as their desire for one another begins to overtake them both, Zsadist’s thirst for vengeance against Bella’s tormentors drives him to the brink of madness. Now, Bella must help her lover overcome the wounds of his tortured past, and find a future with her…

Goodreads

 

I intended to read this last month but obviously I never got around to it. I am determined to get this book off on my TBR shelf this month. I’ll see what all the fuss about with this series.

 

I told you. A short but very, very sweet TBR this month.

 

Lucy xx

 

Why is there so much negativity about reading Romance?

I recently read an article about how romance books have such a bad reputation. It’s not the most recent article I will admit but I still feel like there is so much stigma with the romance genre. People seem to believe that it is some lower, nonintellectual genre and I’m not going to lie it pisses me off.

So, I’m going to rant!

The article I read (which is one of many with the same views) touched on how people who read romance are seen as less intelligent than those who read other genres. Now, at this point of the article my blood was boiling. How can you judge someones intelligence by their choice of book or genre? I do love a good romance and I can tell you right now I worked as hard as everyone else who does not read romance and I’ve got my three degrees from University to prove it. I can assure you that I graduated with the same grades as those who don’t read the romance genre. I can also guarantee that I am not the only person to do this either! In today’s society where equality and acceptance is such an important part of life why are people being made to feel less due to the choice of genre they read? 

There are a lot of individuals out their who think that romance depicts unrealistic views of relationships and life. I’m not going to deny this. It happens and it happens a lot. However, if we were to attach these theories to the fantasy genre for example, doesn’t this genre also portray an unrealistic view of life too? Who in real life is going to get kidnapped by a cursed fairy or go to war with the rulers of the county because of their new magical abilities. Fictional literature isn’t always supposed to be a representation of real life! That is what non-fiction is for. Fiction is supposed to depict unrealistic views of life regardless of the genre.

I have found that it is not just a persons intelligence that is picked on either. A person who reads romance must be obsessed with sex or BDSM or controlling alpha-males. (Honestly, this list could continue but I think three examples is enough and you get the idea). Once again I am going to apply this to another genre. Does this mean that people who read thrillers about criminals are obsessed with criminals and criminal behaviour? I didn’t think so! Just because people like romance doesn’t make them sex addicts just like people who read books about criminals aren’t criminals themselves. If people who read thrillers aren’t judged like this though, why should people who read romance be scrutinised?

Romance has a target audience just like all literature does and not everyone is going to enjoy it. I understand that. It’s the judgemental opinions that really wind me up. Romance is going to have its target audience just like all other genres. Yes! Men are less likely to pick up a romance book just like an adult is less likely to pick up a children’s book. But if they do pick up a book that falls into a different category or genre that isn’t necessarily for them, they should not be given hassle for doing so. Surely, as a reader you should appreciate and respect that people are reading regardless of the topic. As big as the reading community is there are so many people out there who don’t read and won’t even consider giving it a try. Why would they bother when they see news articles on genres being slated? As an English teacher I have faced so many battles when trying to get students to read. It is so hard to do. If someone finally picks up a book and enjoys it enough to continue right until the end and then wants to read another book only to be criticised due to there genre choices it is very disheartening. 

Just like in young adult fiction a woman can be strong and independent. They can have hopes and dreams and they can fight for what they want. Just like in horror the female character can overcome their demons. Just like in children’s literature the main protagonist can go on adventures and learn life lessons. The only difference is in romance people fall in love along the way!

I just think that people should stop judging others for their reading choices. Just because you might not enjoy the genre a stranger across from you is reading  doesn’t mean you can berate them for it.  If you hear someone say they love romance or they’ve just read an amazing romance book you could ask them about it with no judgement. You never know it might surprise you.

For now. My rant is over.

Lucy xx

How do you pick what books to read?

How do you choose what books you want to read? Strangely, this is not a question I have asked myself before. However, with a recent book ban in place and a TBR bookcase that is way too full at the moment it’s something that’s popped into my mind. How did I pick all of these books to read? What drew me to them?

There are so many reasons to pick up a book and here are a few of the reasons how I choose the books I want to read.


Recommendations

I love a good recommendation. Whether this is from fellow bloggers or my family and friends. There is something about talking to others about their most recent reads especially when they are highly rated. I love when people are passionate about a book and they want to share it with others.

I do read a lot of recommendations from people who know and/or enjoy the same writing styles and genres as me.

The best thing about recommendations is that you don’t just have to wait for people to recommend books to you. You can recommend your favourite reads to others.  And it’s not just books that you love. Just because you have not enjoyed it doesn’t mean you don’t know someone who will. Why keep it to yourself when someone you know may love it ten times more than you?

 

Beautiful covers

I can be guilty of this every so often.

It is so much worse when I am in a bookstore compared to when I am online as when I buy books from the internet I tend to know which book(s) I am after. I can’t lie though. I do love a beautiful book cover. Sometimes there is nothing better than something new that looks amazing on my bookcases.

I can’t be the only person out there who has bought a book just because of the cover.

Thinking about it I did do this a lot more when I was younger but every so often it is a nice surprise opening a book and knowing nothing about it because you’ve bought it just for the cover.

 

Booktube

This is currently the most common way I find books that I want to read. I am subscribed to quite a few Booktubers on Youtube and it is such a great way to find what books you want to read next.

Recommendations for Booktubers to follow are always welcome.

From book hauls to unhauls and book reviews to monthly wrap-ups I think it a great way to pick books that you want to read. It’s such a simple way to keep your ‘to be read’ list up to date too with both new and old releases. I have found some of my favourite books by watching Booktube channels. You Can find some proper hidden gems this way.

Blog Posts

Before I go to sleep I do tend to read though the days blog posts of those that I follow. Similar to Booktube channels I use blogs to see what book(s) I want to read. Book reviews are super great to help you pick. I do prefer posts that don’t go into too much detail about books as this stops the story from being ruined before it has been picked up. Why do people have to explain in detail what happens all the way through the book? There is literally no point in reading the book after reading a review like this. I’ve been guilty of this in the past and I have learnt my lesson. I’m getting a little of topic though.

Goodreads

I do not do this as much as I used to but every so often I fall down the Goodreads rabbit hole. When this occurs I read synopsis’ for books and see which ones I am interested in and which once I don’t fancy reading. I used to add them onto the Goodreads to read shelf. However, this was getting ridiculously long so I now add them into my bullet journal where I break them into categories. I know this may seem a little sad but I love nothing more that a journal and list. Maybe I will do a post about this another time.

What’s popular

I am a little bit embarrassed to say that I have picked up books just because they were popular in the blogging and Booktube community. By doing this I have DNFed so many books. Honestly, it is ridiculous. I don’t do this anymore because of it. Why should I have to pick up a book  just because everyone else has? Especially if I know I am not going to enjoy it. Things have completely changed with this now and I will not pick up a popular and hyped book if I have no interest in it. This has not only saves so much money but it has also saved my time and dedicated my reading time to books I know I will enjoy.

 

There are the many ways I select which books I want to read. How do you pick the books you want to read? Do you do anything different to me?

 

Lucy xx

The Classics Book Tag

Did I find another tag that I really wanted to do? Of course I did.

Have I read had as much as I wanted / intended to read during my week off? That would be a no. Visiting home and spending time with family that I hardly see is great. I get to see everyone and catch up which is amazing. However, my reading time just disappears.

So instead of a review (which I do intended to write as soon as I finish a book) a tag will have to do.  Maybe at some point over the next few days I will have finished The Summer Garden by Paullina Simons! This is doubtful and I’m only on the second chapter and I’m sure the book is over 700 pages long.

While scanning through old blog posts regarding classics I stumbled across It’s a Books World‘s blog. Check out the original post. It’s a shame that she no longer run the blog!

The Classics Book Tag!

1. An overhyped classic you really didn’t like:

This is an easy one! Ulysses by James Joyce. This is one of the worst books I have ever read. Grated I was forced to read it for my Masters a few years back and I can confirm that the 12 weeks Ulysses course we had to complete was the worst semester at university ever.

To be honest anything by James Joyce is not for me.

 
2. Favourite time period to read about:

I don’t think I have favourite time period. I love history too much to pick. It really does depend on my mood at the time.

 

3. Favourite fairy-tale:

How can you pick just one? I am partial to a Beauty and the Beast re-telling though!

 

4. Which classic have you not read yet that you’re embarrassed to admit to?

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee.  I have just never got around to picking it up and I find this really embarrassing.

 

5. Top 5 classics you would like to read soon?:

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky

War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy

East of Eden by John Steinbeck

Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy

 
6. Favorite modern book/series based on a classic:

I haven’t read many classic retellings unless we go down the fairytale route. I did enjoy Uprooted by Naomi Novik.

Although, there are a few modern twists on classics that I want to read too including:

Winters by Lisa Gabriele – This is a Rebecca retelling. Rebecca was originally written by Daphne du Maurier.

The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein by Kiersten White. Most people will gather that this relates to Mart Shelley’s masterpiece Frankenstein.

 

7. Favorite movie version/tv-series based on a classic:

There are way too many for me to go through! Way too many.

Pride and Prejudice (1995)

Pride and Prejudice (2005)

Tess of the D’urbervilles (2008) I cannot locate a trailer

Testament of Youth

I FEEL LIKE I SHOULD JUST SAVE THIS FOR AN ENTIRELY DIFFERENT POST FOR ANOTHER DAY BECAUSE I COULD JUST GO ON FOREVER WITH THIS!

 

8. Worst classic to movie adaptation: 

The Alice in Wonderland adaptation that came out in 2010 with Johnny Depp. It is one of the worst films I have ever seen.

 

9. Favorite edition(s) you’d like to collect more classics from:

The penguin clothbound classics. I have dreamt about owning all of them. I just don’t think it will happen.

THE MOST BEAUTIFUL COVERS EVER!

 

10. An underhyped classic you’d recommend to everyone:

I really really enjoyed Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen and you cannot forget Anne Brontë’s The Tenant of Wildfell Hall.

 

11. What is your favorite classic of all time? 

Of course this could change at any point but from when I first read Tess of the D’Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy when I was 17 it has had a special place in my heart!

 

Your turn…

 

Who doesn’t love a good classic?

 

Lucy xx

 

Tatiana and Alexander – Paullina Simons

Image result for tatiana and Alexander release dateBook: Tatiana and Alexander (The Bronze Horseman #2) 
Author:
 Paulinna Simons
Genre:
Historical Romance
Release Date:  2003
Pages: 559

My Rating: 4 stars

Goodreads

Tatiana is eighteen years old, pregnant, and widowed when she escapes war-torn Leningrad to find a new life in America. But the ghosts of her past do not rest easily. She becomes consumed by the belief that her husband, Red Army officer Alexander Belov, is still alive and needs her desperately.

Meanwhile, oceans and continents away in the Soviet Union, Alexander barely escapes execution, and is forced to lead a battalion of soldiers considered expendable by the Soviet high command. Yet Alexander is determined to take his men through the ruins of Europe in one last desperate bid to escape Stalin’s death machine and somehow find his way to Tatiana once again.

 

My Thoughts:

After I finished reading the first book in this trilogy I don’t think I could have gone without reading the second instalment straight away. I mean with an ending like that how could anyone want to have a break between the two books?

Now, don’t get me wrong I really enjoyed this book but I don’t think I enjoyed it as much as The Bronze Horseman. Something was lacking and I can’t quite put my finger on what it was exactly. I did feel like there was a little section at in the middle of the book that dragged out for a long while and I felt my mind drifting every so often. This was the same for the flashback elements from when Alexander was growing up. I just wanted to focus on the present. I feel like this book is a very slow burner and I mean VERY slow.

Regardless of the parts that I didn’t quite like, there were still things I loved, especially the intense relationship and fierce love between Tatiana and Alexander.

Moreover, I was so happy to see that there was a lot of character development in the book. In particular with Tatiana. I am so happy that Simons helped character mature.

Tatiana and Alexander is just as emotional as The Bronze Horseman. There are times when you’re on such a high because things look like they are going to get better and then suddenly things start to go all wrong again and you’re at rock bottom. When you read Paullina Simons’ writing you cannot help but be invested in the characters and their journey.

I can’t finish this review without mentioning the imagery throughout this book. It is just as enticing as you’d expect after reading The Bronze Horseman. You feel like you are in the middle of their story right along with them. You get all the feels. When they hurt you hurt. When they are sad you are sad. Paullina’s writing style is just extremely beautiful and not many authors can do what she does so successfully.

This book is a heartbreaking tale full of hope and love and it is worth every second of your time.

I genuinely can’t see where Tatiana and Alexander’s story is going to go in the third instalment (The Summer Garden) but I am eager to give it a go and my fingers are crossed that it is just as addictive.

 

Lucy xx