Sunday, 30 August 2020

Weekly Update #126


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!

I missed last week's post as we were away for the weekend on the Isle of Wight. 
It's pretty close to where we live (under an hour to the ferry then 45min on the ferry) but in all the years we've lived here we've never taken the trip over. Since we can't go on a proper holiday this year, the IoW felt like a nice compromise. It was lovely but four days was probably a day too many... I was happy to come home and see my cats. 😂 

Beyond that things have been pretty quiet... Work, lunch with friends and getting ready for the kid going back to school next week. We got notice that his fencing lessons could resume in mid-September too so it feels like a little bit of pre-covid normal is returning even though nothing is normal. 
(The safety measures for school and fencing are quite extensive.)
I wonder how long it'll last? Numbers are spiking all over Europe but we're fairly steady at the moment... I mean, I know the surge will come but when is the question. 😐
Oh well... I'll enjoy a little bit more normal while it lasts! 


Two books in two weeks... That is kinda pitiful. 
At least they were good ones!

Mini Reviews: Pucked, Lead Me Back & Butterface
Mini Reviews: Brazen & The Beast, His Bride For The Taking & The Wallflower Wager

Blog Tour: Booked For Murder by RJ Blain
TTT: Books That Should Be Netflix Shows or Movies
Mini-Reviews: The Song of Achilles & Daisy Jones & The Six

Mini Reviews: Ancient Magic & Mirror Mage by Linsey Hall
Mini Reviews: Nightwalker & Dayhunter by Jocelynn Drake
Hello Autumn Giveaway Hop
August Wrap Up

Have a great week all!

Friday, 28 August 2020

Mini Reviews: Pucked, Lead Me Back & Butterface

I've got a mixed bag of contemporary romances to review today... 

Pucked by Helena Hunting

With a famous NHL player for a stepbrother, Violet Hall is well acquainted with the playboy reputation of many a hockey star. So of course she isn't interested in legendary team captain Alex Waters or his pretty, beat-up face and rock-hard six-pack abs. But when Alex inadvertently obliterates Violet's misapprehension regarding the inferior intellect of hockey players, he becomes much more than just a hot body with the face to match. Suffering from a complete lapse in judgment, Violet discovers just how good Alex is with the hockey stick in his pants.

Violet believes her night of orgasmic magic with Alex is just that: one night. But Alex starts to call. And text. And email and send extravagant - and quirky - gifts. Suddenly he's too difficult to ignore and nearly impossible not to like. The problem is, the media portrays Alex as a total player, and Violet doesn't want to be part of the game.

My Thoughts:
Make no mistake about it, this book is complete and utter trash. Seriously, it's awful. The storyline is weak and the characters have very little depth and the vocabulary and phrasing used throughout the novel made something inside me shrivel up and die... But I had so much fun reading it!
It made me laugh. It made me cringe. It was utterly nonsensical when I needed nonsense.
It was sex with little substance interspersed with giggles and the occasional touch of sweet to balance the over the top media-induced relationship drama.
Plus, there's hockey. I love hockey romances. They're my favourite kind of sports romance.

Ultimately, I think this is a book that people will love or hate.
My advice would be don't take it too seriously, don't expect too much and just appreciate it for what it is - an over the top romantic comedy with a hockey backdrop.
Oh! And bonus enjoyment if you can appreciate the crudeness and immaturity.

💬 "My cooter has been in an epic battle with a cock monster." 💬  (A very mild example.)

Lead Me Back by CD Reiss

A twist of fate proves wildly explosive in New York Times bestselling author CD Reiss’s smart and sexy Hollywood romance about the cost of running from your past to get to your dreams.

Cutting all ties, Kayla Montgomery drives cross-country to Los Angeles. New start. New life. And an unexpected new job: assistant to Justin Beckett.
The Justin Beckett.
The boy band rebel with the cocky attitude and dreamy bed head who casts a spell over his fans and tests the patience of his handlers.
Now at the peak of Mount Adulthood, he has to build a clean-cut, movie star image. It’s in his contract. No partying. No attitude. No groupies.
To tie it together, he needs a normal girl.
Suddenly, Kayla’s swept up in Justin’s glamorous world, and his arms. But the most dizzying thing is Justin himself. Sweet, generous, reliable, and as eager to shed his past as Kayla is hers.
About that…
Those ties she thought she’d cut? They’ve followed her across the country with her secrets in tow, and they’re about to test Kayla’s courage, Justin’s loyalty, and a love that wasn’t part of the deal.

My Thoughts:
I almost DNF'd this book at about 20% but sheer bloody-mindedness kept me reading... It was an ARC and I don't like to bail on those but it look will-power, I tell ya!

I just didn't like the characters. I didn't like Justin Beckett and I didn't like Kayla Montgomery but I did like the supporting characters... There just wasn't a lot of page time with them. 
The book was 100% the Kayla and Justin show and that is fine - great even - if you like the main characters but I've already said that I didn't so it caused problems. 

Kayla is a prickly bitch and it takes a long time to get to the bottom of what her issue is. Her issue - the reason she ran across the country - is a serious one and it explained a lot but, the thing is, the reveal doesn't actually explain why she has such a shit attitude towards men in general. It's just her... And I'd say Daddy issues (even though I liked her dad). 

Justin. Well. He's just the authors wanna be Justin Bieber thrown into a boy band. He is surrounded by drama and is a bit of a tool. I hated the descriptions of how he dressed, I hated his behaviours and attitude and couldn't understand why anyone would find him attractive. That said, his relationship with his grandma made me laugh (the grandma is a great character) and he could occasionally do sweet things so... I dunno. 

The back and forth between Justin and Kayla almost gave me whiplash and they'd contradict their behaviour and thoughts from one paragraph to the next. As this is my first CD Reiss book, I don't know if that's supposed to be a character thing (aka they don't know what the hell they're thinking) or if it's a quirk of the writers but it drove me bonkers. 

Now, I know I'm giving the book a bit of a roasting and I'm sorry for it because the ending was actually quite satisfying. If the entire book had lived up to the final quarter, it would have been a really good read - but it didn't. I have a feeling that this book will really work for some people but it just was not for me. 

Butterface by Avery Flynn

It’s true. I’m not what most people would call “pretty” and, well, high school was rough. Fast forward ten years and life is good…
Until a bunch of jerks think it’s hilarious to put the “butterface” (AKA me) on a wedding Kiss Cam with the hottest guy ever—and that old humiliation hits hard.

I recognize him immediately. The sexiest cop in Waterbury and totally out of my league.
But then he kisses me. And we totally forget the room, the crowd, everything.
Then he tells everyone we’ve been dating for months.

Soon everything starts to feel too real, from adorable fights over “necessary” tools to fix my broken porch to surviving a free-for-all dinner with his six siblings to picking up where our last kiss left off.

But there’s something he’s not telling me about why he’s really hanging around, and I’m pretty sure it has to do with my mob-connected brothers.

Because this is not a make-over story, and Cinderella is only a fairy tale…

My Thoughts:
I'm not going to lie - I expected far more from this story than it delivered.
The writing was good, the story was good, the characters were likeable but Gina got annoying very quickly with her complete lack of self-esteem and I got super tired of the negative physical descriptions... There's only so many times you can read about big noses and bulging eyes before you start picturing a creature from the lagoon instead of a normal looking woman with a big nose, you know? And it got in the way of sinking into the story and enjoying the romance. 
And don't even start me on the behaviour of the guys in the police department relating to Gina... They're grown ass men acting worse than children! All over a person's appearance! 😑

However, it's a fun story. It's sweet, it's sexy and the Hartigan family were a hoot who I'd like to read more about so I'll definitely continue with the series even though this one was a bit of a mixed bag for me.

Wednesday, 26 August 2020

Mini Reviews: Brazen & The Beast, His Bride For The Taking & The Wallflower Wager (Regency Romance)

Today, it's mini-reviews Regency edition!

Brazen & The Beast by Sarah McLean

The Lady’s Plan
When Lady Henrietta Sedley declares her twenty-ninth year her own, she has plans to inherit her father’s business, to make her own fortune, and to live her own life. But first, she intends to experience a taste of the pleasure she’ll forgo as a confirmed spinster. Everything is going perfectly... until she discovers the most beautiful man she’s ever seen tied up in her carriage and threatening to ruin the Year of Hattie before it’s even begun.

The Bastard’s Proposal
When he wakes in a carriage at Hattie’s feet, Whit, a king of Covent Garden known to all the world as Beast, can’t help but wonder about the strange woman who frees him—especially when he discovers she’s headed for a night of pleasure... on his turf. He is more than happy to offer Hattie all she desires... for a price.

An Unexpected Passion
Soon, Hattie and Whit find themselves rivals in business and pleasure. She won’t give up her plans; he won’t give up his power... and neither of them sees that if they’re not careful, they’ll have no choice but to give up everything... including their hearts. 

My Thoughts:
I really liked this one! 
Hattie is strong-willed, unconventional and delightful but with a slight leaning towards pig-headed and annoying. Whit is interesting, sweet, sexy and utterly addictive. They compliment each other beautifully and I was fully invested in their relationship from their first meeting.
I'm a complete sucker for the hard-ass with a fierce reputation falling head over heels for a feisty female and this book delivers that alongside a fast-paced story with just enough drama and mild-peril to keep things spicy and exciting. 
If you're looking for a well-written regency then I definitely recommend giving this a try! 

Brazen and The Beast is book two in a trilogy and while it can stand alone, I think I'm going to go back and read book one as I liked Whit's brother and sister-in-law and want to see how their romance unfolded plus I'm super super intrigued for how the third book in the trilogy will play out and feel like I wouldn't be getting the full set up for that without having read the first two.  

His Bride For The Taking by Tessa Dare 

It’s the first rule of friendship among gentlemen: Don’t even think about touching your best friend’s sister.

Sebastian, Lord Byrne, has never been one for rules. He’s thought about touching Mary Clayton—a lot—and struggled to resist temptation. But when Mary’s bridegroom leaves her waiting the altar, only Sebastian can save her from ruin. By marrying her himself.

In eleven years, he’s never laid a finger on his best friend’s sister. Now he’s going to take her with both hands. To have, to hold…and to love.

*This novella was originally published in Rogues Rush In: a Regency Duet (2018), by Tessa Dare and Christi Caldwell

My Thoughts:
This was a short novella designed to be devoured in a single reading session.

It packs the usual charm of a Tessa Dare Regency romance but it was lacking in any depth or decent character development due to the length. The story is super basic, and a little far-fetched, but it's a fun read. I think if you don't go into it with the expectations Dare's full-length novels evoke you'll probably enjoy it... I did but it's not something I'm likely to remember in a year or ever read again. 

The Wallflower Wager by Tessa Dare

They call him the Duke of Ruin.
To an undaunted wallflower, he's just the beast next door.

Wealthy and ruthless, Gabriel Duke clawed his way from the lowliest slums to the pinnacle of high society—and now he wants to get even.

Loyal and passionate, Lady Penelope Campion never met a lost or wounded creature she wouldn’t take into her home and her heart.

When her imposing—and attractive—new neighbour demands she clear out the rescued animals, Penny sets him a challenge. She will part with her precious charges, if he can find them loving homes.

Done, Gabriel says. How hard can it be to find homes for a few kittens?
And a two-legged dog. 
And a foul-mouthed parrot.
And a goat, an otter, a hedgehog . . .

Easier said than done, for a cold-blooded bastard who wouldn’t know a loving home from a workhouse. Soon he’s covered in cat hair, knee-deep in adorable, and bewitched by a shyly pretty spinster who defies his every attempt to resist. Now she’s set her mind and heart on saving him.

Not if he ruins her first.

My Thoughts:
Out of the four friends, whose lives and marriages make up this series, Penny is my favourite so I was super excited to see how her love story played out and let me tell you that it didn't hang around!
Chapter one is where Penny and Gabriel meet in a less than proper and traditional fashion and it sparks a wonderful (if reluctant on Gabriel's part) friendship that grows into an epic romance.

Penny with her love of animals and kind heart and Gabriel with his love of making money and utter ruthlessness... It's a match made in romancelandia heaven!
It was sweet, funny, and utterly charming!
In theory, these two had nothing in common. Penny is the daughter of nobility and Gabriel is a street urchin that clawed his way up out of the gutter, but both are a little bit broken and in sore need of someone to love and to love them.
They found what they needed in each other and they worked to make it a reality and then fought to keep it.
I loved it. I loved them. I loved the quirky and humourous moments where Chance and Ash (the Dukes from the first two books) bonded with Gabriel and I loved the ending.

Basically, I just loved this book. So, yeah. I think you should read it.

Monday, 24 August 2020

Would You Rather Tag Edition #2!

Another would you rather tag! I love these and this time I'm answering 10 questions set out by Chuckles!
My set of questions are the same as when I answered Greg's questions earlier in the month because I'm too lazy to create a second set! 😜

If you want to be tagged, consider yourself tagged!


1) Would you rather be a vampire or a werewolf?

Neither! I'd rather be a witch.
However, if I had to choose, I'd probably go with Vampire.

2) Would you rather use magic or technology for an easier life?

Technology is boring in comparison.

3) Would you rather be invisible or able to fly?

Invisible! Oh, the possibilities...

4) Would you rather have gas or electricity?

I don't think I really understand this question... Gas or electricity like the utilities?
If so, electricity.

5) Would you rather read fiction or non-fiction?


6) Would you rather have sweet or savoury snacks?

Depends on my mood but I probably lean more towards sweet.

7) Would you rather have Indian or Italian food?


8) Would you rather have a beachside house or a riverside cabin in the woods?

Cabin in the woods as I like the peaceful setting, trees and the sound of water.

9) Would you rather visit Asia or Africa?

Hmmm... Probably Africa. I'd like to do a real-life African Safari.

10) If you could only read one genre for a year, what would it be?

Urban Fantasy.


My Questions:

1) Would you rather eat out or have a home-cooked meal every evening for the rest of your life?
2) Would you rather visit theme parks or visit castles/historical sites?
3) Would you rather have instantaneous travel in the present or the ability to time travel to the past?
4) Would you rather live in perpetual night or perpetual day?
5) Would you rather walk a mile on lego bricks or broken glass?
6) Would you rather lose the internet (i.e it ceases to exist) or lose your eyesight?
7) Would you rather play a game you love with people you hate OR play a game you hate with people you love?
8) Would you rather own the Mona Lisa or Starry Night?
9) Would you rather wear clothes that are always too big or always a little too small?
10) Would you rather burn books for warmth or freeze to death?