The Bronze Horseman – Paullina Simons

Image result for the bronze horsemanBook: The Bronze Horseman
Author:
 Paulinna Simons
Genre:
Historical Romance
Release Date:  2000
Pages: 637

My Rating: 5 stars

Goodreads

The golden skies, the translucent twilight, the white nights, all hold the promise of youth, of love, of eternal renewal. The war has not yet touched this city of fallen grandeur, or the lives of two sisters, Tatiana and Dasha Metanova, who share a single room in a cramped apartment with their brother and parents. Their world is turned upside down when Hitler’s armies attack Russia and begin their unstoppable blitz to Leningrad.

Yet there is light in the darkness. Tatiana meets Alexander, a brave young officer in the Red Army. Strong and self-confident, yet guarding a mysterious and troubled past, he is drawn to Tatiana—and she to him. Starvation, desperation, and fear soon grip their city during the terrible winter of the merciless German siege. Tatiana and Alexander’s impossible love threatens to tear the Metanova family apart and expose the dangerous secret Alexander so carefully protects—a secret as devastating as the war itself—as the lovers are swept up in the brutal tides that will change the world and their lives forever.

My Thoughts

It is a rare occurrence for me to award a book a 5 star review. And to have two in one month I’m beginning to wonder if something is wrong? Maybe it is just that things are finally looking up and my book selection process has improved drastically!

I know that there are plenty of issues with this book and I know that there are so many people out there who hate this book due to the story and its characters. I’ve read so many negative reviews online and I was seriously in two minds about picking it up but I am so glad that I did. I genuinely think that this might be one my favourite books. Judge me all you want. Honestly, I don’t care. This story has stolen my heart and left me in the worst reading slump ever. (I am probably being over dramatic and I may need to work on this. In the meantime recommendations for my next read are welcome at this time. I need help!)

Getting back on track and discussing the issues with this book a little more. I’ve already said that there are issues, I won’t deny it. Take Tatiana’s attitude and behaviour for example. Throughout the beginning of the book she is extremely irritating. But if I can get over this I’m sure you can too. Especially when you consider she is a 17 year old girl. Who wasn’t an annoying person when they were 17. Everyone goes through that period in their life where they think they know everything. You walk around thinking you’re so grown up. It isn’t until later in life when reality hits and you realise what a little shit you actually were.  I can relate and I’m pretty sure most of you can too.

When you combine the romance, the history and all the events that each character goes though in this story it’s going to stick with you for a while. It is a heat-wrenching tale that I love so much. I can’t put into words the emotions I felt while reading it. I’m pretty sure my fiancée took the flack for it when I went into one of my moods. You know the one right? That huff that you get into when your current read starts pissing you off or even worse when it makes you cry. It is like a roller-coaster that just never stops. The worst of it was when I finally thought that it could only get better I crashed straight back down to rock bottom all over again. 

I really cannot believe that I had not heard of this book before now. I stumbled upon it while watching Youtube videos. Someone was doing a bookshelf tour (I’m not ashamed to say that I spend a lot of my time watching these videos when I have nothing else to do). I saw the book and thought ‘Oh that’s a nice cover. I want it in my life. I might give that book a go.’ Low and behold I ordered myself a copy.

Yes! I just admitted to buying a book due to it’s cover. How beautiful is this cover though? It is a total shame that this is not the cover that turned up.

The Bronze Horseman (The Bronze Horseman, #1)

I studied the Second World War in school during my GCSE’s but we did not focus on the Germany and Russia aspect of it so I learnt some new things while reading this book. The imagery that Simons creates is amazing. You can feel what the characters are feeling all the way through the story. The hunger. The cold. The loneliness. The heart-ache. Every little thing that Tatiana and Alexander feel, you feel right along with them.

As a side note which probably has no relevance to you I would just like to mention that the historical aspect of the story also prompted discussions between my Dad and I about history.  My Dad and I have always been interested in different historical topics and eras. I like classic history, the old history (this will be the incorrect term for it – but it works). My Dad has always enjoyed learning about modern history.  So to be able to ask questions and have conversations about topics he is interested in it’s been good. Of course I left out that The Bronze Horseman is primarily a romance book but he was happy to chat away and teach me new things about war around Europe in the early 1940s.

I read (or maybe watched) an interview with Paullina Simons about this book and how she was going to leave it as a standalone novel. Well lets all thank our lucky stars for her husband who persuaded her otherwise. My book buying ban was well and truly forgotten once again after completing this book. As soon as I had put this book down I went in search for the next two instalments of the trilogy. I cannot wait to get tucked into the second book when it arrives.

This book has rekindled my love for historical romance novels and surprisingly it has started me off with a new little obsession. I have not read many books set during this era but I think my Step Mum would be proud of my new interest as they were her favourite. If anyone has any recommendations within this genre I will be happy to take them.

I highly recommend this book. Please do pick it up and give it a chance if you haven’t already. It is so good!

 

Lucy xx

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Kiss Quotient

Image result for the kiss quotient

Book: The Kiss Quotient
Author:
 Helen Hoang
Genre:
Romance
Release Date:  30 May 2018
Pages: 314

My Rating: 5 stars

Goodreads

A heartwarming and refreshing debut novel that proves one thing: there’s not enough data in the world to predict what will make your heart tick.

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

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

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

My Thoughts

Before picking this book up I had heard nothing but goods things about it. Whether this was online via twitter and Booktube or down in the salon where I get my nails done. Quite a few people have read, loved and recommended this book. To be honest I had no intention of reading this book but I have to admit I am so glad that I did. I was pleasantly surprised by the story and I definitely enjoyed in more than I anticipated.

I loved the story and the characters from the very beginning which can be rare thing for me as I to tend to look for the faults in both of these areas. Helen Hoang should be really proud of the diverse story and characters she introduced to the world. Yes, I am aware that other people may find faults in the book but due to the pure enjoyment I got when reading it I am willing to overlook them.

To start with I don’t think I was expecting the story to be quite as smutty as it was. I don’t know why this was a shock to me. Maybe this was due to the cartoony style book cover that is all over the internet and the fact that I avoided all detailed conversations regarding the synopsis. I just don’t think I was expecting it to be as sexy as it was. I can assure you though, this is not a bad thing!

Both Michael and Stella are lovable characters from the very beginning. They both have their own things going on and Hoang does an excellent job in telling you what is going on in both of their minds alternatively throughout the entire book. This keeps you in the loop with both the characters thoughts and feelings so you’re not left behind at any point.

Hoang’s representation of diversity is very well done from Stella’s Asperger’s to Michael’s Vietnamese and Swedish descent. For someone like me who doesn’t know much both living with Asperger’s or the Vietnamese culture I found it really interesting to read. It was embedded within the story very well and I did learn a few things along the way.

I was hooked to this story from the get go. The first sentence made me smile and I had a feeling I was going to enjoy this book as soon as I had stated it.  The Kiss Quotient is charming, funny, emotional and super hot.  I seriously cannot recommend it enough.

Yes! I know it has been out for a while as it’s been stuck on my TBR shelf for so long and I seriously had no intention to pick it anytime soon but this is my first 5 star read of 2019.

Lucy xx

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

MARCH 2019

So 2018 ended in the shittest way possible and I’m not going to lie I generally could not be bothered to read and write.  To be honest, I didn’t really have the time to read and write between work and travelling between home and Sheffield. I’ve had minimal me time over the past 6 months or so.

The start of 2019 was definitely tough. However, a little time has now passed and I’m starting to feel myself again. I’m determined to change a lot of things in my life as I have so much to look forward to. Therefore, I am back.

Now, my opinion of TBR lists has once again changed and I think I have a new way to keep myself on track. Especially with my reading. Hopefully, this will eradicate all stress out of my life and help me complete my monthly tasks with ease.

With regards to my TBR, I intend to pick two maybe three books a month that I have to read and then all of the other books I pick up will be selected due to my mood at the time.

The books I will pre-select will be from my TBR shelf as the pile is ever growing and I would really like to make a dent into it before I start buying more books. I’m not strict enough to put myself on a book buying ban. That is just setting myself up for failure straight away but I do intend to spend less money each month though. I have a wedding to save up for!

I am also tempted to bring my book jar into play again as there are quite a few books that have been on these shelves for far too long that I don’t seem to be picking up.

So March TBR:

The two books that I will be reading this month are:

The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang 

Image result for the kiss quotient

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

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

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

Goodreads

 

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

Both of these books have been on my TBR shelf for a long time and I’ve decided now is the time to read them. Two completely different genres but I’ve heard nothing but goods things about them both!

All of the other books will be selected randomly depending on my mood. By doing it this way in the past I’ve had pretty good reading months so my fingers are crossed.

If you do have any recommendations let me know. Or if you have read either of the above two books tell me what your thoughts are I’m eager to know.

Lucy xx

 

 

 

 

October TBR

 

This is yet another late post and I don’t know whether to blame having so little free time or the fact that I have a new bullet journal that I’m obsessing over. When I do eventually have some time to myself I’m doing that.

I have another eventful month coming up with a trip home for a week and my engagement party / huge family get together. Due to this I fear that a weeks worth of reading time is probably going to be taken from me. This does depend on the plans my family make around my visit. I am selfishly hoping that there will be a couple of days where I can veg on my mum’s sofa with the dog and do nothing but read. I’m not going to lie, my mum’s dog is like a tornado and being alone in the house to read with the terror will inevitably result in no reading time. It’s most likely going to leave me with a half eaten book.

Due to the visit home I have purposely made my TBR small this month. This just means that if I do get some extra reading time in throughout October I can pick a few books out of my TBR jar.

So the three books I will read this month are:

Shadow of Night – Deborah Harkness.

Image result for shadow of night

I started this book at the end of September and I mean the end. I think I managed to pick it up on the last day of the month. I intend to get this finished at some point this week.

The Book of Life – Deborah Harkness

Image result for the book of life book
The third book in the All Souls series is the second book I intend to complete this month.

 

His True Queen – Jodi Ellen Malpas

Image result for his true queen

I read the first instalment of this duology last month and I do intend to complete the series as soon as possible.

As I said it’s a short list this month.

It just feels so empty.

There is a fourth book by Debora Harkness called Times Covert which I have avoided looking into in case there are spoilers of the series around. As far as I am aware it is a follow on from the All Souls series. Depending on how the series turns out and if I am still in the mood for the story this may also be added into my October TBR.

Additionally, as I stated above my ever-growing TBR jar really does need some attention. Once I have completed the books above I will be selecting my next reads at random. Hopefully, if I start using the TBR jar to chose my next reads I will have more space on my TBR shelves by Christmas.

What is on your TBR this month?

Lucy xx

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September Wrap-Up

September Wrap-Up

So this post is super late and it’s going to be brief for so many reasons but without boring you here is my September wrap-up.

With trips home at the beginning of the month and awful things thrown in in between I’ve been a little preoccupied. Sadly, not much reading took place over September.

I have managed a total of four and a half books this month which is awful.

 

Image result for controversial princess

The Controversial Princess – Jodi Ellen Malpas

On a busy Friday rush hour train choosing something to read that requires my sole attention is probably the worst decision I could make. I get distracted too easily when I’m on trains. I will start up a conversation with the person at the side of me and my concentration disappears. A clear example of this is when I was heading down to Sheffield at the beginning of the month. A lecturer from The University of Sheffield sat down at the side of me and we chatted most of the way home about EVERYTHING. Our studies, our favourite classics, why we moved away from home and never moved back. The list goes on. With easy reads I can dip in and out of them without losing my place and forgetting things. Jodie Ellen Malpas’ writing is so easy to ready and follow so it is great for these moments.

 

Image result for throne of glass

Throne of Glass – Sarah J Maas

At the beginning of the month I decided to re-read Maas’ Throne of Glass so I could continue with the series. This backfired. As soon as I had completed the book and I was ready to move onto Crown of Midnight I found a copy of A Discovery of Witches. I’d heard that the show was coming out and all of the reviews online had hinted that it needed to be read so obviously I had to buy it.  The Throne of Glass series has been forgotten for the time being. I’ll get to it eventually I just hope this is sooner rather than later.

 

Image result for a discovery of witches book

A Discovery of Witches – Deborah Harkness

I am so glad a picked this book up when I did. I LOVE IT! It’s my favourite read this year so far. My review was uploaded a little while ago if you want to check it out. After reading the first instalment I needed Shadow of Night in my life. As usual when there is a huge hype about a book Amazon run out of their copies and there was a pre-order system going on. After stewing over the wait time for a while I decided to order elsewhere. (I am happy to announce my new books have arrived and I own the complete series)

 

I have only just noticed how specific my selection of books was during September. It seems I was in a Deborah Harkness and Sarah J Maas mood.

 

Image result for a court of frost and starlight

A Court of Frost and Starlight – Sarah J Mass

This is by far my worst read of September. I hated it. This is a new experience for me with Maas’ writing. I don’t think she has ever disappointed me before. I just can’t get over how poor this book was. Yes, I know it was a novella and it was released to fill the gap between Feyre’s story and the upcoming new release but the writing was dreadful and the way the characters were portrayed just didn’t work for me.

 

Image result for shadow of night

Shadow of Night – Deborah Harkness

I am still reading this book and was debating whether to add it to my wrap-up but I don’t think I could have finished the month with a total of 4 books. It would just make a shitty month even worse. This book has been stated and will be finished shortly.

 

Lucy
xx

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REVIEW – A COURT OF FROST AND STARLIGHT

Image result for a court of frost and starlightBook: A Court of Frost and Starlight
Author:
 Sarah J Maas
Genre: YA 
Fantasy
Release Date:  1 May 2018
Pages: 250(ish)

My Rating:  2 Stars 

Goodreads

Feyre, Rhys, and their close-knit circle of friends are still busy rebuilding the Night Court and the vastly-changed world beyond. But Winter Solstice is finally near, and with it, a hard-earned reprieve.

Yet even the festive atmosphere can’t keep the shadows of the past from looming. As Feyre navigates her first Winter Solstice as High Lady, she finds that those dearest to her have more wounds than she anticipated–scars that will have far-reaching impact on the future of their Court.

Review

So, it’s time for me to actually write down my thoughts on Sarah J Maas’ A Court of Frost and Starlight. People seem to be loving this book and honestly, I just don’t get it. The last thing I want to do is offend someone who really enjoyed this book but each to their own. I was so disappointed with this book. There were so many problems with it and absolutely nothing happened.

I was expecting so much more from this story. Maybe it’s because I have so much love for the series. From what I understood going into this story, it was a bridge between the old series and the upcoming new release. I thought everything would have been tied up and closed neatly in preparation for the next instalment. In my opinion this did not happen, and I am left feeling a little sad that Sarah’s writing for the first time has made me feel blah. I don’t even know what to call this mood that I am in.

At the end of A Court of Wings and Ruin I was a little sad that Feyre and Rysand’s story had come to an end. After learning this novella was being released I was a little excited because I’d be getting a bit more from the two of them. Never in a million years did it cross my mind that it would get to the point where I am over them and their relationship. I think this book just took it too far.

I know this book is focusing on the end of the war and how the group are moving on with their lives and coping with the aftermath of everything but there are things that I’m really struggling to appreciate. Feyre’s ongoing battle with having nothing to having everything got tiresome.  Additionally, Rysand’s constant I’m horny attitude got on my nerves real quick. I’m all for a little smut but I didn’t expect so much of it in a YA book. The worst thing is that it was cringeworthy and badly written. Especially in the later chapters. There was too much of and it was not needed. Image result for gag gif

“Do you want to begin at the wall, or finish there?”

NO!!!!!!!!!!! In  a YA book I think things should be left to the imagination. Especially if it’s badly written.

A part of the book that I hated involved Amren. Out of all the things we could have learnt about Amren from her past or currently life experiences Maas focused on her toilet habits. Since when has this been an interesting topic for anyone to discuss with their friends? Just no. That was a moment that could have easily been avoided.

Then there is Tamiln. Yes he’s the villain. He did some horrible stuff throughout the other books and everyone hates him. We get it. He’s lost everything. He’s alone and he’s clearly suffering. There was definitely no need for Rhysand to behave like he did.  I feel like this was taken way too far. Rhysand’s behaviour was just ridiculous. there was no need for the gloating and the ongoing ‘I want to kill him’ attitude. I think it is time that Tamlin is forgotten about and just left alone. The story can continue quite easily without him.

The fact that Maas included so many different perspectives in such a short book was great. I was so pleased to find out that we would be able experience the thought process of other characters.  Like Cassian and Mor. However, this was ruined with the first person and third person switch over. I don’t understand how it was okay for Feyre and Rhysand’s point of views to be written in a first-person narrative, but all the other characters getting a third person narrative. I just feel that the book would have flowed so much better if everything was the same. It doesn’t even matter which one. As long as it was the same the entire way through.

I feel like this book was pointless. The only positive thing to come out of this book was the teaser for the next instalment. After reading this book I’m actually relieved that Feyre and Rhysand’s story is over. I don’t think I can take any more of their relationship and point of view(s). We get it. They’re mates. They’re supposed to be together forever. It’s so shitty that a short novella can ruin two characters that you used to love. Can we just pretend that I never read this so that they can just stay great?

I can’t lie. It’s about time something new came out that focused on the side characters. I will absolutely be reading the next instalment(s). I just hope that it isn’t as forced and pointless as A Court of Frost and Starlight is.

The only reason this book got two stars was for the teaser at the end of the book. My fingers are crossed that the next book is an improvement.

 

Was anyone else as disappointed with this book as me?

 

Lucy
xx

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Top 5 Wednesday

Top 5 Wednesday

It’s Top 5 Wednesday time.

This weeks topic is:

Top 5 Book Covers

 

Once again this is an awesome Top 5 Wednesday topic.

Now, when it gets to book covers the simpler the better. I hate it when they are over complicated and there is too much cramped into a small space.

Every so often an amazing cover will catch my eye and it usually deserve a spot on my wall instead of on a bookshelf but it is a rarity.

I just have a preference for simple, eye catching book covers with a little bit of colour.

There are way too many covers out there to choose from and the 5 that I have chosen are not in any specific order.

So here are 5 of my favourite covers from my ever-growing list:

 

Colleen Hoover – Confess

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I love this book cover. I was scrolling through Instagram or Pinterest one afternoon and this book randomly popped up.  I bought it straight. It’s so pretty! I think it was around the time the TV show aired in the US.

 

Neil Gaiman – Norse Mythology 

Image result for norse mythology neilImage result for norse mythology neil

I am obsessed with history and mythology and I heard about this book and wanted to read it. When I saw the book cover I got even more excited because I love it. This book was published with both a black and a white cover and although I like both the black cover is my favourite. It just really stood out to me.

I went to Budapest over the summer and due to a layover in Amsterdam and the 2 short flights in both directions I wanted something I could pick up and put back down easily without interruption. This is why short stories are great when travelling.

I intended to buy this at the airport before taking off to Amsterdam. Sadly, when I arrived they had sold out of the black cover. I looked around for a while to see if there was anything else I wanted to read but I couldn’t find anything, so I ended up buying the white one. I can’t lie I have no regrets it’s still beautiful.

 

Deborah Harkness – A Discovery of Witches 

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There are several covers for this book but just look at this one. It made it onto my favourite list straight away. It’s simple, effective and beautiful. It depicts important elements of the story brilliantly. The photography and the splash of colour just grab your attention straight away and I don’t have much to say other than I really do love it.

 

Naomi Novik – Uprooted

Image result for uprooted book cover

Look how beautiful this cover is. One again it is simple with a splash of colour. You should be able to see the trend in my favourite book covers at this point. It’s a wonderful tale with a pretty cover that suits the story completely.

 

Erin Morgenstern – The Night Circus

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I saw The Night Circus cover a long time after the hype of the book died down. I was in a charity shop browsing the shelves and this one just stood out. I know that there are so many different covers for this book and I honestly love them all. The one pictured above is the one on my bookshelf.

This is a story that I went into blind. I bought the book due to the book cover. I remember telling my friend that I had bought it and she started raving about the story. She had really enjoyed it and I’m so glad that I picked it up.

 

 

I literally can’t pick just one favourite book cover. Can you? What is your favourite cover?

 

 

Lucy
xx

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