Sunday, 16 February 2020

Weekly Update #99


Welcome!
The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimberly @ Caffeinated Reviewer
It’s a chance to share News. A post to recap the past week, showcase books and share news about what is coming up for the week on our blog.

Now that's explained, it's on to my weekly recap!


Work continues to be hard and my energy level remains in the gutter but I've been trying to break myself out of my low mood.
So this week I've spent time baking, colouring, watching TV/movies, reading and catching up on people's discussion posts and it has been nice.
I have a long way to go until I'm back to my usual self but I feel like this week was a good one and that it's a good start!

The schools broke up for half-term on Friday so this week will see the little dude spending a couple of days with family before the professor and I take a few days to do some fun stuff. The weather has been stupid lately (lots of rain and storms) so planning is difficult but we have one event booked for Friday night and we'll just wing it on the other days. 


I went mad. Full-on took leave of my senses... Amazon freebies, newsletter freebies, 99p sales, other sales, full-price books... This week had it all. 
And part of me isn't sorry because overall, I didn't actually spend that much for the volume of books I got but time! When will I find the time?!
19 books! 😭

ebook


99p Sale


I'm so excited about these!

Other Sale


The Others was £1.49 but the Avery Flynn books were only 90p! Bit of a random number but I'm not going to argue. 

Amazon Freebies


Two of these (Wasted Words and The Extra) sound fun.
The other two I grabbed because they're written by authors attending RARE 2020 that I haven't read before... Not sure about them but I'll give them a go!

Newsletter Freebies


I don't quite understand why so many freebie book opportunities are being emailed at the moment but I won't complain! 



⭐⭐⭐⭐

I finished the Dark Tempest audiobook and it was awesome! The final book in the trilogy is going to break my heart! I know it!

Kill The Queen had been on my kindle for ages but I was too nervous to read it.
With the release of the final book coming up, it was time and it was so good!


@ Camillea Reads - Create A Healthy Blogging Mindset
AJ spent months reading best of 2019 posts and learned stuff!
Marie @ Dizzle & Hurricane books discusses why books matter to her


I've watched a lot of tv this week.
Explains why I haven't done as much reading as I wanted!

Lets see... I binge-watched season 1 of Mindhunter (which was awesome) and I watched a few more episodes of Lost In Space S2 and this week's episode of Picard.

To All The Boys I loved Before: PS. I Still Love You dropped on Netflix this week so I immediately pounced on that and thought it was lovely but not as good as the first one.

And, we went to the cinema to see the new movie adaptation of Jane Austin's Emma.
It was wonderful.
What surprised me most though was that both the professor and the little dude came with me to watch it and that they enjoyed it too!


Discussion: What Genre Do You Like Most? Reasons To Love UF
Mini Reviews: Thief and Hate The Game
Kiddie's Corner #6: A Little Courage, Scaredy Monsters, and The Rock Mammoth


I don't know!
My task for today is to write some posts!
😁


Have a great week all!

Friday, 14 February 2020

What Genre Do You Like The Most? (Reasons To Love Urban Fantasy)


It won't come as a surprise to anyone who follows this blog (or spends five minutes skimming through it) that I am a romance lover.
I love LOVE, people!
But what maybe a little more surprising is that the genre I love most is Urban Fantasy
Gasp! I know! But it's true!

Today, I want to discuss all the reasons that I love this genre the most and why it trumps all the others for me.

Reason Number One: It is pure escapism

With UF you have magical and sometimes monstrous creatures living in a world that is not too dissimilar to the world in which we live in. You can escape into it because it's familiar while being foreign. It's exciting learning about the new world - the world-building is amazing - and you can accept a lot of whacky and unlikely shit because the world is different when magic and magical beings exist.

Monsters are more often than not literal monsters so reading about the bad things they do is easier than reading, say, crime/thriller novels where the monsters are people just like like you.

As for comparing them to something like contemporary romance... Contemporary romances are set in the world we live in, just as it is. You know the rules, you know what people are like and therefore the opportunities to do something whacky without it jarring me out of the story are far less.
Some of the situations that present in contemporary romances are painfully unrealistic to the point where I spend a lot of mental energy actively reminding myself it doesn't need to be true to life.
This doesn't mean that I can't enjoy a contemporary romance - I love contemporary romances! - but it's one of the reasons that the genre isn't my favourite.


Reason Number Two: They're a little bit of everything!

The range of topics, styles, genres, within UF is unreal!

You love romance? (Hell yeah!) Paranormal Romance? (Yes, please!)
Then you can find plenty of rockin' UF series with a strong romantic couple to root for throughout five, six, seven, eight, twelve books!
The romance can be established in book one but more often than not it's a slow burn that develops beautifully over a few and I am here. For. It.

You like mysteries? Thrillers? Then look no further!
I don't think I've ever read a UF that doesn't have a crime or some other mystery to solve. I typically avoid crime, mystery, thrillers but when it's wrapped up in UF I love it!

You like action? You got it!
You want history? Mythology? Fantasy? It's all there!
No sex, a little sex, pure smut? You'll find something that caters to this too.

Urban Fantasy is a melting pot and it has no limits.

Oh, and if you hate romance in your books? (I don't know how to talk to you 😜) Then you can find UF that meets that criteria also!


Reason Number Three: Lots of kick-ass characters!

There are many UF that have a strong male leads but there are just as many (if not more) that have kick-ass women in the lead.

Whether our protagonist has extraordinary magical powers or not, they are rarely powerless.
They fight for what they perceive as right. They are brave. They grow into their abilities - or learn to adapt without them - and they learn to own their destiny.
They're often snarky, spunky and fierce but with a soft squishy side.

You're not going to find any damsels in distress in UF. The women in these novels handle their own business and don't need a big strong anyone to charge in and save them... (Except when they do and that is also fabulous.)

People can just be who they are in UF unless they are hiding some forbidden power or something... That's less true of other types of fiction set in the real world.


Reason Number Four: They are series!

You get a character you love and you get to watch them evolve over multiple books.
You are with them from start to finish. Good times, bad times and all the times in between.

Often, the characters start a low point and you get to watch them rise. To overcome their struggles and become the people they were born to be.

Each book has a plot that wraps up at the end but also contributes to an overarching plotline.
This system removes the requirement for cliffhangers but keeps you coming back for more!

With other genres, this happens less so.
With romance genres (aka the category I principally read in) the most you typically get is seeing the characters crop up again in interconnected standalones.
When you're a very character-driven reader (like moi), this is hard! I fall in love with people then have to live on scraps! UF in comparison is an all you can eat buffet.


🌻

You may have to kiss a few UF frogs before you find the series/author that works for you, and you may be unwilling to get up close and personal with something so strange, but I guarantee you that there IS a series that would work for you and you would love every second of the journey.

Now, fight me. 
Do you love UF? Why/Why not?



To view the linky list of this weeks Hop participants, please visit The Coffee Addicted Writer.

Thursday, 13 February 2020

Mini Reviews: Thief & Hate The Game


Theif was a freebie novella and Hate The Game is a full-length novel I grabbed via Kindle Unlimited.
Both are told in alternating, first-person, pov.

🌻



It always happens when you least suspect it.
Love.
The chemistry.
The pull.
Even when you don’t want it to.
Timing—it’s a bitch.
And then you have to make a choice.
Do you regret what is, or what isn’t?
Because when love is involved, there’s always regret.
And my story is no exception.


This novella started off super strong but went downhill pretty sharply once it moved from the past and into the present.

It starts off in the past and shows you the friendship between Vi and Max and how Dash came to be part of their friendship. It shows how the relationship between Vi and Dash started and how the loss of Max both sealed them together forever and simultaneously tore them apart.
Considering this novella is around 100 pages, it was very well done.
And then it moved into the present and I had such hopes for the reunion of Vi and Dash as adults and was bitterly disappointed.
For a start, Dash had a girlfriend who he immediately dumped upon the return of Viola. Nice and classy. Real prince there. I think it was supposed to highlight his devotion to Vi but it was an epic dick move that devalued him in my eyes.
Then, as if there hasn't been enough drama, Fernando manages to pack in some more with over the top reactions and misunderstandings.
It was like the first half of the book was meant to be part of something so much bigger but then the author thought, fuck it, I'm gonna cut this short and battered out a reunion and ending that took place in the blink of an eye, was riddled with unresolved issues and painful to read.

So, yeah. If you're new to the author, I don't think I'd start here. Her novellas - the two I've read - have been very weak compared to her full-length novels so I'd suggest going for one of those.

🌻



Talon Gold is a lot of things: good at football, bad at love. Obsessed with scoring, refuses to play by the rules. Cruel. Relentless. Brilliant. Intoxicatingly attractive.
Despite his demanding reputation and propensity for being the most arrogant a-hole ever to strut Pacific Valley University’s picturesque campus, everyone wants a piece of him: coaches, scouts, and pretty little campus fangirls with pouty lips and perfect top knots.
But Talon … he only wants a piece of me.
And four straight years of infuriating rejection means I’m almost positive he’d take a night with me over a national championship trophy.
But I’m no fool—he only wants me because he can’t have me. And with graduation approaching, time is running out. He’s more desperate than ever, pulling out all the stops and doing everything in his power to get in my good graces.
They say, “Don’t hate the player, hate the game.”
But to that I say, “Why not both?”
I have my reasons ...
Sorry, BMOC. This victory? Not going to happen.


This book was brain fluff when I needed it most. It was easy to just sit and read it, cover to cover, without interruptions.
It wasn't an angsty story, it wasn't overly dramatic (although there was some drama), and it wasn't even that interesting. It was just a nice steady story about a superstar athlete who has wanted the one girl since he first laid eyes on her in their first year of college and the girl who has studiously avoided him, rejected him, and judged him without knowing him all because of her past bad experiences with football players.
In short, Talon was likeable but could be a bit of a dick to anyone who wasn't Irie, and Irie was a judgemental bitch who didn't entirely deserve him (and wasn't overly likeable) but somehow the story worked.
There were a few moments when I sat there genuinely wondering what the hell the author was thinking - like the reason Irie hated jocks - but beyond that, I liked it well enough and would read more of the author if something caught my eye but not enough to actively seek out more of the author's work.

Monday, 10 February 2020

Kiddie's Corner #6: A Little Courage, Scaredy Monsters and The Rock Mammoth



A Little Courage by Taltal Levi

Rating: ⭐⭐ 1/2

Release Date:  4th March 2020

Description:
Through the eyes of a child, the world is full of adventure!

A teacup-sized little girl discovers a playground in a potted plant, and the perfect swimming pool in a glass of water. Then when she sees a mysterious shadow lurking beyond her books and paper clips, she must summon her courage. But wait! Could this fluffy, purring creature be a friend?

Taltal Levi’s evocative text and illustrations tell an inventive story about courage, imagination, and friendship. 

My Thoughts: 
There wasn't really a story here. You had 20 or so pages of 'story', some with a single word others with no words, and scratchy drawings with muted colours of a tiny girl going about her business in the house with no rhyme or reason. There was no 'courage' to speak of unless the act of charging the cat shadow with a pin is courage? I've come to expect some kind of moral or lesson to be weaved in a fun way through a kid's book and there was nothing to behold here. It was just a book about nothing that utterly failed to connect. Not one I'd recommend, I'm afraid!

Scaredy Monster by Meika Hashimoto 


Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Release Date:  24th March 2020

Description:
Scaredy Monster has a BIG secret. He's not scary like many monsters—he’s a scaredy monster! From Epic! Originals, Scaredy Monster is an illustrated early reader series about conquering fears and trying new things!

Join Scaredy Monster as he overcomes his fears of losing a tooth, riding a bike, and going to his first sleepover. With some help from Mommy Monster, Scaredy discovers he’s much braver than he thought—and he finds ways to feel safe and happy while doing scary things!

My Thoughts: 
This book has 3 different stories: Scaredy Monster Loses a Tooth, Scaredy Monster Rides a Bike, and Scaredy Monster and The Slumber Party.

The illustrations were fun, brightly coloured and fit the stories beautifully. The language was not too complicated, the stories not to basic, they were charming, held attention, and each had a moral to impart.

Scaredy Monster Loses a Tooth teaches that losing a tooth as a child is normal and nothing to be frightened of as it'll grow back.
Scaredy Monster Rides a Bike is a lesson in learning to walk before you can run, the transition between riding a trike and riding a bike, about falling and getting back up again.
Scaredy Monster and The Slumber Party teaches it's okay to be scared and to ask for help.

I highly recommend this one for kiddies probably up to six or seven years old.


Rock Mammoth by Eveline Payette and Guillaume Perreault

Rating: ⭐⭐

Release Date:  21st April 2020

Description:
Louis has to do an oral presentation on his pet. To everyone’s great surprise, he decides to present his mammoth. Even more surprising, he talks to the class about a new species of hairy Elephantidae only recently discovered: the Rock Mammoth. This proud ancestor of the hairy musicians of the ’70s didn’t actually disappear. In fact, these elephants had had enough of being rock stars and wished for a more tranquil life. So they decided to remain hidden during the last millennia. But now Louis, the great mammoth enthusiast and rigorous scientific apprentice, has discovered this well-kept secret and is ready to reveal it to the world.

My Thoughts: 
The illustrations were poor, the story was long and rambling (despite only being 27 pages or so) and I was utterly bored while reading, not charmed or curious. The humour fell flat and I had a serious problem differentiating fact from fiction with regard to the mammoth facts so a kid is going to stand no chance. All in all, the book felt like a really bad trip and the first time I read it to my child would be the last time. I'm sorry to say, I cannot recommend at all. 

*All books were review copies received via NetGalley *