Wednesday, 24 November 2021

Thankful For Books Giveaway Hop!

Another giveaway!
Yep, I'm short on posts this year - thanks depression! - but I'm still trying to share some festive joy for the holiday season... It's the season of giving and it is absolutely my favourite time of the year!

I'm in the UK, so no thanksgiving for me, but I hope all of you in the US have a wonderful time with some good food, family and friends!

This year, I'm super, super, thankful for my family, my friends and the support of my employer... I wouldn't have gotten through the year without them.

What are you most thankful for? 
Feel free to tell me your favourite book(s) of the year for when my reading mojo fully returns!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This hop is hosted by Reading Reality and Caffeinated Reviewer.

Tuesday, 16 November 2021

Bookish Thoughts: The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo

Ageing and reclusive Hollywood movie icon Evelyn Hugo is finally ready to tell the truth about her glamorous and scandalous life.

When she chooses unknown magazine reporter Monique Grant for the job, no one in the journalism community is more astounded than Monique herself. Why her? Why now? Monique is not exactly on top of the world. Her husband, David, has left her, and her career has stagnated. Regardless of why Evelyn has chosen her to write her biography, Monique is determined to use this opportunity to jumpstart her career.

Summoned to Evelyn’s Upper East Side apartment, Monique listens as Evelyn unfurls her story: from making her way to Los Angeles in the 1950s to her decision to leave show business in the late 80s, and, of course, the seven husbands along the way. As Evelyn’s life unfolds—revealing a ruthless ambition, an unexpected friendship, and a great forbidden love—Monique begins to feel a very real connection to the actress. But as Evelyn’s story catches up with the present, it becomes clear that her life intersects with Monique’s own in tragic and irreversible ways.

Oh my... The amount of hype that surrounded this book when it was released was something else... And it's not often that a book lives up to the hype but The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo is one that absolutely does!

The book had me spellbound from beginning to end. 
It wasn't one I binged in a single sitting. No... I read it over the course of a week - husband to husband - for it was one that needed to be savoured and slowly digested, piece by piece.
Seven months later, the characters and story still live rent-free in my head. 
(Yes, it's taken me that long to write up my thoughts, thankfully I have notes.)

What struck me most about it all was that Evelyn was not a likeable person but she was utterly fascinating. Her life story is painfully realistic but also over the top in an 'only in Hollywood' kind of way. I marvelled at her, I ranted at her, I cried for her and I cried with her... When I finished the final page I had no idea what to feel about her beyond the woman was indisputably a legend.
But she wasn't real! None of the characters are real! But they felt real. 
The entire story felt like it could be a Hollywood biography from the golden years... Like I could google their names and watch their movies and flick through a picture book of photos from their public moments. I think it hurts that I can't! Like when I read Daisy Jones and The Six and couldn't listen to the album Aurora... But I'm drifting off topic. 

The writing was brilliant. The story was wonderful. The ending was shocking and surprising and I bawled my eyes out more times than I can count. 
It's definitely a book I won't forget.
I loved it.

Tuesday, 9 November 2021

Super Stocking Stuffer Giveaway Hop!

Now that Spooky Season has passed us by it's time for the season of giving!
I love the lead up to Christmas and I'm kicking off my festive run by joining the Super Stocking Stuffer giveaway hop!

I'm giving away a $10 Amazon giftcard to one winner.
Giveaway is open internationally.
Entrants must be 18 years and over.
Entry via the Rafflecopter.

Sunday, 7 November 2021

Sunday Post #143 - Oh dear, where did October go?!

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 have no idea where October has gone... It's been quite the month!

It starts off quite heavy... I'd been kinda slipping backwards with my depression and rather than getting better things got worse. Much worse. So bad that during my 6-week review with my work's Occupational Health doctor, he told me he didn't think I was fit to be back at work and to speak to my GP about being put back on medical leave. Which I did, and my doc did, with immediate effect. My meds got increased and I've had lots of back and forth with the CBT practitioner I'd been assigned to so... yeah. It's been a lot and it's been tough but I'm going in the right direction again!
I have another review with my GP coming up and I honestly have no idea whether I'll be allowed back to work yet but whenever I'm good to return I know I'll be looked after. My OH department has been incredible, as has my management chain. My goal is to be ready, after Christmas break, to resume my full duties and take my projects back on... Fingers crossed I'm well enough to do so! 

Let's see... What else happened in October... (My memory is shot btw. Nice symptom/side effect of severe depression I didn't know about!)

Near the beginning of the month, the little dude got to attend a virtual book signing for Rick Riordan's new book, Daughter of The Deep! He loves Rick Riordan's books and was gutted to read that Riordan doesn't do signings outside the US anymore because of the time commitments etc. Well, covid helped us out there! As his current tour was virtual. I booked a ticket for one of the independent stores (I think it was in Texas) that had a signing on the weekend because of the time difference. We joined the Zoom call and he got to listen to the live Q&A and all that jazz! His tour T-shirt and signed book are in the mail. He's ecstatic! 

Err... What else. Oh! The professor and the little dude went to Ireland to see the mother/brother/sister-in-law for the first time in over 2 years! That was nice for them and nice for me not having to go! 😂 I got to stay at home, sort myself out and cuddle my cats. 

I've been to the cinema a few times since I last updated and I've watched a load of TV... Reading has been hit and miss... Man, I miss being able to read at my old pace!!! My brain just doesn't cooperate at the moment though. 

The kitten - Tez - has almost doubled in size and he's an adorable love-bug who has a devilish streak... He cracks me up. He's glued to people the same way my ragdoll, Vesta, is and he loves Vess! He always wants to cuddle into her when sleeping. She's constantly grooming him. They chase and play and he follows her around... It's too cute! He's even cracking devil cat! Dora only hisses at him when he pounces on her as she's a cranky old girl and doesn't want to play fight the baby upstart! 
They are happiness on three sets of four paws!

I went on an overnight trip with a group of friends to Brighton (which had been booked months ago) and it was lovely. I wasn't sure I'd be able to cope with it but those ladies have been absolute rocks for me and unbelievably understanding and supportive since I was diagnosed (and long before) so I took the chance knowing I could retreat to my room and not come out if I didn't want to (and they wouldn't hold it against me or judge) and I ended up having a lovely time!
There was plenty of tea and cake, wine (for them), lovely meals, chatting, laughing and shopping!
Dare I say it but... I actually got an early start on Christmas shopping! 🙈
All of it made me feel 'normal' again... And reminded me that I am going to be ok. I will find my balance and learn to manage everything again and there will be plenty more days, weeks, and months, just like those ones. 

What else happened... Oh yeah! Halloween! 
Trick or treating was a 'go' around here this year but I wasn't up for answering the door to lots of people. One, because I can't handle lots of people at the moment, and two - covid. So, I put out some decorations and pumpkins, stuck a cauldron of candy outside the door and put a sign up telling them to help themselves. The neighbourhood kids seemed to have a blast.
The little dude dressed up as a plague doctor and had a mini shindig with friends from school... There were six/seven of them and I figured they're together 7hrs a day, 5 days a week, anyway so what difference does an evening celebrating together make?
They had fun and I ate lots of sweets. 

I think that last bit of "news" is that it was my birthday! I turned 36 and celebrated by eating cake. 
The professor got me/us theatre tickets to see Bat Out of Hell, the musical, next year. I've wanted to see it since it was on London's West End and now that it's touring I'm finally getting to! I'm so excited... The professor is less enthused but he's coming anyway because he loves me, lol.
I also got spoiled by my team at work who posted a package of goodies out to me, my friends showered me in lots of stuff for pampering myself (bubble baths, lotions and potions, super-soft slippers... Gin etc.), my mum sent stuff, my father-in-law sent me an amazon gift card to indulge my book-buying habit... All in all, it was surreal. 

Oh, last thing! For those who read the last update where I spoke about this... The little dude passed his 11+ exam. We worked through all the pros and cons of the various secondary school options with him and we got his application submitted. It's still bonkers that we have to choose a secondary/high school barely two months into his final year of primary but there we have it! Now we wait until March to find out what school he got a place in.

Okay, I've gibbered enough. Hope you're all well! I won't get to visiting/catching up with you all today (as it's almost midnight here) but I'll be starting to click through the links tomorrow. 😊 

Too many to count! Oh to heck with it... Here we go!
(Yes, my stupid plan to watch book spending and not acquire more than I read in a year went out the window in Q1...)

(All of these were freebies of under £1.49, btw.) 
Act Your Age, Eve Brown - Talia Hibbert
How To Save A Life - P. Dangelico
Waiting For Tom Hanks - Kerry Winfrey
Not Like The Movies - Kerry Winfrey
Baby It's Cold Outside - Emily Bell
Bellamy and The Brute - Alicia Michaels
Star Mother - Charlie N. Holmberg
Brand of Magic - K M Jackways
To Sir, With Love - Lauren Layne
Tell Me To Stop - Charlotte Bird
Pure Healing - Aja James
Wicked Wolves and Tangled Truths - Danielle Annett
Wild Highway - Devney Perry
Spoiler Alert - Olivia Dade
The Burning God - R. F. Kuang
The Winter of Second Chances - Jenny Bayliss
Heartwood (Speakeasy) - J. H. Croix
Fluffy - Julia Kent
Mr. Mayfair - Louise Bay
El Diablo - M. Robinson
Overture - Skye Warren
Co-Wrecker - Meghan Quinn
Baby Fever - Jenika Snow
Rock Hard - K.A. Linde
Devil's Deal - Aleatha Romig
Captain Heartbreaker - Brighton Walsh
Dare to Resist - Carly Phillips

(Paperback - £7.99) 
Defy The Night - Brigid Kemmerer 

I assume this is everywhere but Audible in the UK is also letting subscribers borrow a selected range of audiobooks to listen to and return, like Kindle Unlimited, but for audible! I've got a few new authors to try out which is exciting... But I won't list them here as I never bother listing KU borrows either. (They just crop up in the "read" section once I've read them.)

I read 4 whole books! That's... Something. Better than nothing!

One re-read: Lead by Kylie Scott.
One ARC: Well Matched by Jen DeLuca
One review copy: Hex Marks The Spot by Ani Gonzalez
One Audiobook: Junkyard Cats by Faith Hunter

(I'm actually doing better with reading - so far - for November! I've read one and I've almost finished another... And it's only the 7th! *gasp*)

I've been to the cinema a few times since I last updated. I've watched The Last Duel, Dune and Eternals. I really enjoyed all of them so I call that a win!

I've/we've also been watching a load of films at home... 
Hotel Transylvania, The Haunted Mansion and Hocus Pocus for spooky season. 
Thor Ragnarok (Mostly for Loki... And Thor. Oh ok, it's also funny and just plain awesome.)
Star Wars VII, VIII, IX (for Kylo Ren.)

As for TV...
I started watching Chicago Fire on a whim when the guys were in Ireland and whilst it's not exactly awesome it's keeping me entertained so I'll probably keep watching. Netflix UK only has the first four seasons though. 

We watched the first season of Marvel's What If? And I liked that a lot. I especially loved the zombie episode... It's amazing that I even find cartoon Bucky Barnes attractive but it is what it is! 😂

And I've been riveted by this years Strictly Come Dancing... 

The little dude has been continuing to watch Doctor Who so I've been seeing a few of those lately too. 

Basically, I've watched a lot of things this past month!

Oooh, I've a few that I've fallen in love with this month!

Griff - Black Hole

Ed Sheeran - Shivers

Sandro Cavazza & Georgia Ku - Love to Lose

Have a great week all!

Monday, 1 November 2021

Blitz: The Darkest Vampire by Juliana Haygert (Rite World: Vampire Wars, #1) + Giveaway!

Second promo post in a row - sorry about that - but I couldn't resist the sound of this book!
It's been a while since I've read an UF with a witch/vampire dynamic and this one sounds like it just might tick my boxes! Plus, I love the cover... So, I share. *shrug*

The author is also having an epic giveaway with prizes including a Kindle Fire so it's definitely worth continuing to scroll and check out the book!

Supernaturals around Portland are turning up dead. I’m next … if the vampire I just made a powerful bond with doesn’t kill me first. 

Magic is in a short supply for a half-witch like me, which makes things very difficult when I’m bound by a blood promise to avenge my parents.

With no leads left to follow, I make a bargain with a demon for help. Bad decision. The quest the demon sends me on binds me to a vampire named Killian, a half-mad, half-naked monster who hates my guts almost as much as he longs to drink my blood.

Killian swore to kill all witches on sight, but we agree to work together to solve the murders ravaging the city. He despises me, and I can’t stand him… but there’s an unexpected connection between us, something I can’t help but be curious about.

No, I can’t let anything distract me. Not even a hot and enraging vampire who presses all of my freaking buttons. I’m determined to find my parents’ killers, and stop the chaos taking over the supernatural world.

If only love didn’t get in the way.

A delicious slow-burn enemies to lovers novel, The Darkest Vampire is a new adult urban fantasy that’s full of dark romance, adventure, and twists you won’t see coming. Fans of Linsey Hall, Leia Stone, and Jaymin Eve are going to become obsessed with this brand-new paranormal series by Juliana Haygert!

The smoke disappeared and I gasped as I took the figure in—a man. A half-naked, half-mad man, with murder written all over his face. He was large, with wide shoulders and very ripped arms, rags for clothes, and an attack stance.


I didn’t have time to say or ask anything.

The man moved like the wind. In a flash, he had his hand around my throat and my back pressed against the bookshelf. Panic laced its way around my spine as I fought his steel-like grip, my legs dangling and my feet off the ground. My flashlight slipped from my hand.

“H—“ I tried telling him to stop, to listen, but my voice wouldn’t come out.

He snarled at me and in the near dark, all I could see were the dark veins around his dark eyes and his fangs—two long fangs. Holy shit, he was a vampire. The panic tightened around me. I had never seen a vampire before but I had heard they were fast and vicious and dangerous.

The vampire’s gaze fell to my neck.

Oh, shit.

I swung my legs and kicked him in the thigh—or at least, I tried to. He probably felt nothing more than a scratch. But it had been enough to take his attention from my neck. His eyes locked on mine as he snarled again.

Then, as quickly as he came, he backed off.

My feet hit the floor with such impact, I thought I would kiss the carpet, but I was able to hold on to the bookshelf and stay upright. My lungs screamed as I inhaled deeply.

I grabbed the dagger from inside my boot and pointed at the vampire. “Stay where you are or I’ll use this.” I was sure I couldn’t really hurt him if he didn’t allow me, but it was all I could do not to panic some more.

The vampire took two slow steps back, his eyes wide, his hand over his heart. “It’s you,” he rasped.

While Juliana Haygert dreams of being Wonder Woman, Buffy, or a blood elf shadow priest, she settles for the less exciting--but equally gratifying--life of a wife, mother, and author. She resides in North Carolina and spends her days writing about kick-ass heroines and the heroes who drive them crazy.

Subscribe to Juliana's newsletter if you don't want to miss news and updates!