Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Books Lately

Happy Show Us Your Books day with Steph & Jana! I read quite a lot since the last link up, including lots of romance books.

Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow - Jessica Townsend
cursed child escapes death and finds herself in magical world
Never would have picked this up if it weren't for Heather - it sounded cute but I thought it might have been too young for me. It's definitely for a younger audience, but it's one of those that adults can enjoy too. It was so, so fun. It was just super delightful. Plus, Aussie author. I have the second one from the library and can't wait to get to it. Also, there is a big talking cat in this. Loved it. I do see people comparing it to HP and I get that, kind of, but really the only similarities are that it's about a young neglected kid thrust into a world she knows nothing about and she may or may not turn out to be someone super important who can defeat a bad guy. As you do.
Verity - Colleen Hoover
thriller/mystery/romance
This was the most recent book club choice. It's hard to describe it and I think it's best going into it kind of blindly. It was hard to read at times and more than a little disturbing. There are some things I didn't love or wanted more from, but overall, there's no denying it was unputdownable and super messed up. If you go into this expecting a typical CoHo book, you will be disappointed and probably more than a little disturbed. 
Saga series - Brian K Vaughn
two soldiers from opposite sides of war fall in love, sci-fi
Wow. Wow. I am not normally into comics or graphic novels. I could not put these down. I read all 9 in just a few days. Even though these came highly recommended, I didn't expect much or think I would like them. I was wrong, obviously. I can't even explain it - they are addicting, super quick reads, they will break your heart... They are sci-fi, I'd still recommend them even if that's not normally your genre. They are 100% not meant for children and the author makes no bones about killing beloved characters. Actually, on that note, I take back my recommendation because #9 killed me dead and there is no #10 yet and I have too many emotions.
The 7½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle - Stuart Turton
1 person in 8 bodies needs to solve murder mystery
This is the third book I've read now where a character keeps dying - I hated the other two, but Tanya recommended this one and thankfully third time is a charm! I loved this book. It's a little confusing and you definitely have to enjoy fantasy-ish books because of the whole 8 bodies thing - I had no problem with that, though it's frustrating when you want the character to just accept it and move on to the investigation. Super interesting, fascinating idea, well written, all the yes. Loved it. I was a bit skeptical with one part of the ending, but eh. I never guessed who did anything and I gasped at the big twist. The audio was top notch. 
Then She Was Gone - Lisa Jewell
aftermath of teenage girl disappearing
Gina gifted me this audiobook (thanks Gina!) and it was my first Lisa Jewell book. I loved it. It's different in the sense that you kind of find out what happened, or who did it, fairly early on, but it's still super suspenseful because you don't find out everything. This was also very emotional, I got teary quite a few times - not what I expected from a suspense novel! It also felt real, in the sense that I was super sad for this fictional teenage girl and her family. Definitely recommend it. Off to read all the other Lisa Jewell books...
Next Year in Havana - Chanel Cleeton
cuban american travels to cuba to spread grandmother's ashes
I liked this one, but didn't love it. I do agree with Gina's review, the history and politics were a bit much, especially the way they are presented. I would have preferred more 'living' the history vs talking about it. That being said, I didn't hate it, perhaps because I went into it prepared for that. Some parts were very enjoyable, I just wanted more of some things and less of others. I really didn't hate it though.
Exit West - Mohsin Hamid
two people meet in war zone, magical doors
I kept seeing reviews saying the magical realism felt odd or unnecessary and I kept thinking 'why pick up a magical realism book if you don't want to read about magical realism?' and here I am saying it definitely felt odd and unnecessary.  The book started off strong, but there would be these random snippets of other people that never seemed to have a point or come back up? Anyway. It was beautifully written and super short, but it wasn't an easy read because just when I'd get into it, the doors would come back up and I'd want to put it back down. I was disappointed in the love story as well. I saw someone on goodreads compare it to Monsters Inc and lord I laughed so hard. So true.

The Two Hearts of Eliza Bloom - Beth Miller
Basically, I thought this was going to be a love story chick lit style, but instead it's just selfish insecure characters treating each other poorly and lying until their daughter finds something that makes her start asking questions, which makes the adults fight and lie some more.
Received from Netgalley.
Rosie’s Travelling Tea Shop - Rebecca Raisin
Good for fans of lighter chick lit, or maybe Sophie Kinsella. It wasn't bad, I just wanted the main character to be stronger, have a backbone and stop being so naive. I also wasn't a fan of the love triangle angle, regardless of how it ended. Also, I don't like Jason Momoa, there I said it, no regrets. 
Received from Netgalley.

Wild Aces trilogy - Chanel Cleeton
By the same author as Next Year In Havana, but trust me, not the same. Way more my jam. Loved this trilogy, the first was my fave. If you liked Next Year In Havana and that is your romance limit, do not pick these up. If you like romance, I highly recommend. Loved them and wish she would write more like this.
Sin & Ink and Passion & Ink - Naima Simone
loved loved loved loved loved. These aren't for everyone because the tropes are 'taboo' which aren't normally my jam, but dang Naima Simone can write. Warning, these are steamy AF though.
Hate Notes - Vi Keeland & Penelope Ward
I have had mixed luck with this author duo and I wasn't really interested in trying again until Heather recommended this one. Since I trust her with my book life, I added it to my TBR. Of course, she was right, it was amazing and so emotional. 
Loyal League trilogy - Alyssa Cole
I adore Alyssa Cole's Reluctant Royals series, so I had high expectations for this trilogy. I know next to nothing about American history so that part could be kind of hard to get through, not that I'm not interested in learning, I've just lost the ability to absorb history I didn't learn in school. Thankfully, it's not a huge part of the first 2 books, though the 3rd book definitely read more like historical fiction vs romance with a bit of historical fiction and was my least favourite.
Received third from Netgalley.
Fumbled - Alexa Martin
This is by the same author as Intercepted, which I really enjoyed. Didn't love this one as much unfortunately. Thankfully, not a hashtag in sight, but the main character was just a smidge too immature for me. Also, second chance romance is one of my least favourite tropes because sometimes it's like 'hey we used to love each other and still do' with absolutely no development in the book so the reader doesn't get to fall in love. This happened in this one for me. But, I didn't hate it, at all. Just didn't love it.
Received from Netgalley.
Loved Huge Deal, disappointed in Passion on Park Avenue. If you are a Lauren Layne fan, Passion on Park Ave is different than her other books and I was a bit bummed. It wasn't awful, at all, it just wasn't like LL. I will continue the series, I will just adjust my expectations. Huge Deal was probably my favourite from that series. Loved it loved it loved it.
Devil's Daughter - Lisa Kleypas
If you are a Kleypas fan, you know this book is amazing simply for existing. Ha. But seriously, it was adorable and thoroughly enjoyable and please may I have a West of my very own. That being said, Winterborne is still my favourite and I will fight you for him.

Let's Get Textual - Teagan Hunter
I fully admit I judged the shit out of this book based on the cover and title. I was 100% wrong! I love when that happens. This book was freaking hilarious and adorable and gah. I loved it. Unfortunately, disappointed in the second one - it wasn't awful but my expectations may have been too high. I definitely recommend this one.





Linking up with Steph & Jana


Life According to Steph



I also read Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH after Bev mentioned it last month - it's probably been 20 years since I last read it, but it was like curling up with an old friend.

TL;DR - I recommend the Saga series, Evelyn Hardcastle, Nevermoor, Then She Was Gone and Verity. And anything else that sounds like your jam.

Read anything decent lately?

Sunday, March 10, 2019

2019 - March Goals

10 days into the month, better late than never right?

First off, did okay-ish with my February goals. By okay-ish, I mean my appetite came back so I ate like a normal person and I read 1 book of the month book. Spending was okay but not great, didn't deep clean the house and I went to the gym... once. So. Not so okay-ish, but lets be positive shall we, and lets move on to March.

Deep clean the house + purge, purge, purge. These two go hand in hand, KC will be out of town one weekend this month and I am going to use that weekend to have my music on loud while I clean all the things and throw a bunch of crap out. Can't wait.

No extra spending. Haven't been great in the first 10 days of the month, but starting now I'm buckling down and going to try very hard to not spend anything extra - and by extra I mean if I haven't already planned for it, I'm not allowed to buy it.

2 audiobooks + 2 BOTM books. This may be pushing it. I used to be all about the audiobooks but last year I only listened to 12, and I switched between the ebook and audio for all of them. I think I've not listened to books that much because my commute is a lot shorter and I don't run as much. I have 25 books in my audible account though, some I've had for over 2 years. I need to make an effort to listen to them.

Exercise 6 times. That's twice a week for the rest of the month. My cruise should motivate me. Plus there's that whole I feel better when I exercise thing.

And that's all I'm going to attempt in March. Keep it simple and all that. No pictures or snappy things to say here, so... show us your books on Tuesday, can't wait!

Thursday, March 7, 2019

February 2019 Recap - What's New With You Link Up

Hello all, time for another what's new with you link up! Thanks again if you join me, I always appreciate it. You don't have to display the button if you don't want to, but don't forget to mention it somewhere in your post and check out some of the other posts! I'll be doing a monthly recap like I do every month.

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February was a bit busier than January, what with being my birthday month. It rained on my birthday, as it has every.single.year. since I was born, no matter where I am living. I told my coworker that and he said 'well I'm sure it's rained somewhere on my birthday every year too'. Smart ass. I meant wherever I am living, it rains. Summer or winter, all day or 1 hour. Rain.

Anyway. The highlight of my month was Cher. Dream come true, once in a lifetime, loved it loved it loved it. She was amazing. Unfortunately, I had too much to drink - I am assuming my tolerance was super low because I had only had a couple random single drinks since not being pregnant anymore, so having more than 4 was a recipe for disaster. Thank goodness for good friends to hold your hair back... I had a great time otherwise. And shout out to my bestie who isn't a huge Cher fan but went with me so I didn't have to go alone (or drag KC).


Other than that, got my hair done, went out to dinner for my birthday (black bean burger from the Goat, favourite favourite favourite, could eat it every single day), went to book club - Crazy Rich Asians and we watched the movie too.


We went to visit KC's mom to return her car and KC wanted me to shoot his guns while we were there so I'd feel comfortable if anyone broke into the house... Let me tell you, if someone breaks into my house to hurt me, I'm grabbing the cats and running. It's something KC and I argue about a lot, good-naturedly, kind of. We have opposite opinions when it comes to guns and the right to hurt/kill people if they break into our house. But I at least agreed with the fact that there shouldn't be something in the house that I don't know how to use. So we went shooting. I hit a tree! Go me. It was disgustingly muddy, my photos don't do it justice. It was also cold AF and I had a blanket from my car wrapped around me when I wasn't shooting.


And yes we finally got a new car! I have no photos, oops. It's just another toyota corolla, similar to the one that was written off back in November. Because I was pregnant and we were dealing with all that, it just wasn't a priority. We were very lucky that my mother in law had a spare car for us to borrow for those few months.

I got some Australian goodies for my birthday and ate them all within 48 hours. I used to be able to eat a whole bag of lollies in one sitting, no problem, now I get a stomachache. So I had a stomachache for a couple days because I am incapable of slowing down when it comes to allens lollies. Yum. I also ate lots of food - ended my vegetarian month with Shiraz, my fave (thanks coworker) and it's the only meat I've had since.


For my birthday, I requested a mini closet update. As you can see, I was in serious need of some organisation and purging. We have big plans for the bathroom next to our bedroom, and that will include a bigger closet, but for now this mini one is mine and KC uses one in a different room. So for now, this will do and I am quite happy with it. So is Millie. I still haven't put everything away (oops) because I'm wanting to do a big clean out and just haven't really been bothered yet. So my current closet is the bed in the spare room.


I also organised all of my makeup and skincare. Again, the set up isn't ideal but remodeling both of the bathrooms isn't a super high priority and we need to save all the money first.


Read a lot of books and took lots of photos of my cats too. The cats are hilarious with the roomba, they follow it around and then hide if it gets too close. They will never be the cats that sit on the roomba, that's for sure.



And that's all I got up to in February. March is shaping up to be relatively busy as well, a concert last night (well, I'm writing this on Wednesday so it's tonight), a mini girls trip, St Patrick's Day parade... I think that's about it. I am so ready for spring.

If you'd like to link up, please do so below.

Inlinkz Link Party

So, what's new with you?

Monday, March 4, 2019

Link Up Reminder

Hello all - just a quick reminder to anyone who wants to link up - this Thursday the 7th is the next What's New With You link up if you want to join me!

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Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Books Lately

Happy Show Us Your Books day with Steph & Jana! Also, happy birthday to me! What a fun coincidence. I am 32. That's weird.

Long Way Down - Jason Reynolds
Poetry is not normally my jam, but I really liked this. It is super short but delivers a lot. It was very emotional and I thought the whole elevator thing was a super interesting way to tell this story.
Last Christmas in Paris - Hazel Gaynor + Heather Webb
epistolary format, world war 1
I have been meaning to read this for over a year, ever since Heather recommended it. I don't read books in epistolary format often, though Guernsey is one of my faves of all time. It can be frustrating because you miss a lot when you are reading letters because you don't get to read things as they happen, only a report of them. Anyway. Beautiful story, heartbreaking, flawed but realistic characters. Loved it loved it. Oh, and ignore the christmas in the title. They talk about christmas like we would any time of year - we should do XYZ at christmastime, but it's not a christmassy book.

The Winter of the Witch - Katherine Arden
I do wish I'd read this series back to back rather than a year between each, but I didn't realise it was going to be a trilogy when the first came out. My memory is awful and the story can be confusing at times, but I muddled through. The love story is my favourite part of this series (surprise, surprise) and I do wish it was a teensy bit of a bigger part - not in a detailed way, but in a they don't even spend a whole lot of time together way. I enjoyed this one more than the second, it was a bit of a struggle at times but the magical delightful parts made it worth it. There is a part that broke my heart and I totally spoiled it for myself, needing to know that this character would be okay in the end and I have no regrets. 
Received from Netgalley.
Crazy Rich Asians - Kevin Kwan
crazy rich asians
This was book club's most recent choice and it wasn't exactly a hit with everyone. I didn't hate it, but it didn't blow me away. I have never read a book with so much unnecessary crap - the brand names, this person related to this person and neither of them are in the top 20 characters, their family owns this company, etc etc. There was just so much that was not important to the story at all. However, I did think the story had something compelling about it, I wanted to know what was going to happen, but it was so bogged down it was hard to find the story within all the unnecessary crap. For a 500 page book, it was a very quick read. The movie was cute.
The Dreamers - Karen Thompson Walker
infectious disease that makes people fall asleep 
This was definitely captivating, and I was so curious to know what was going on. It was creepy and kind of terrifying in a 'if this really happened' kind of way... but I was pretty unimpressed by the ending and super annoyed by one of the characters and what he did. I get that he was making his point from earlier in the book, but I kind of wanted to push him in front of a bus. I see a lot of people comparing it to Station Eleven, which I hated.
Received from Netgalley.
Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows - Balli Kaur Jaswal
murder mystery, romance + erotic stories by punjabi widows 
I'd heard really good things about this one so my expectations were pretty high. It took a bit to get into, but overall I liked it. The main character was a bit frustrating at times, but I really liked her. There is a lot going on but that didn't really bother me. I really liked the ending and thought everything wrapped up nicely. I liked it, but I didn't love it. Can't put my finger on why.
The Girl He Used to Know - Tracey Garvis Graves 
eleanor oliphant meets love and other words - comes out april
I loved On the Island so I had high expectations. This author tends to write very simply, so her books are very easy reads - it bothers some people so just FYI. My description above is the best I could think of, but it's definitely more chick lit than romance. Annika has some social anxiety and is on the spectrum, similar but not exactly like Eleanor. I did enjoy this one because it was nice and easy, but it gets super emotional towards the end and I wish I'd known about something because it was too hard for me to read (but it would have been a spoiler, so oh well). It also wraps up too quickly and without a much needed epilogue. I recommend if you're in the mood for a light-sprinkled-with-heavy-AF-shit read.
Received from Netgalley.
Dear Mrs Bird - A.J Pearce
typist for advice columnist in world war 2 
At first, this was very much 'passing the time just fine' kind of book with nothing spectacular or interesting happening. I was liking it well enough but didn't think it was anything special. But then sad things happened and it wormed its way into my heart. I liked the way the main character grew, I loved the friendship aspect, I liked the ending. It was a mix of comedy and tragedy, heartwarming and heartbreaking. I liked it a lot.
I Owe You One - Sophie Kinsella
typical kinsella book, miscommunication and mishaps galore
I know I shouldn't be surprised that this is a typical Kinsella book, because, you know, she wrote it, but I was still a bit bummed. I had high expectations after loving My Not So Perfect Life. I thought Surprise Me might have fallen flat for me because of the plot, and her next one would be more like MNSPL. But nope, this one is full of characters being doormats, not communicating, misunderstanding each other and stupid shit happening as a result. It passed the time more than fine, I'm not mad I read it, the ending was cute.
Received from Netgalley.
The Tattooist of Auschwitz 
tattooist in world war 2
Wow am I in the minority with this one! Thankfully all but one person in book club felt the same, so we are all in the minority together. I don't understand why this is so popular. I had high expectations and the book did not meet them at all. I feel a bit heartless but it's not the subject or story I disliked, it was the writing. It ruined everything for me. I'm sure the real guy and his wife were lovely and I would have loved to hear their story, or read it, if it had been written by someone else. I was not surprised to learn this was originally written as a screenplay. I'm not judging anyone who did like this one, but it was 100% not for me. Also, this is a perfect example of me not liking the book but I will watch the mini series when it comes out to see if it's any better in that format.
Forget You Know Me - Jessica Strawser
friends are skyping and a masked intruder enters one of the houses
DNF - I really enjoyed Not That I Could Tell so I had high expectations for this one, but I couldn't get into it. I tried, but then I saw several bad reviews from friends and figured I wouldn't be missing much so I gave up.

Professor Feelgood - Leisa Rayven
My book bestie Heather sent this to me and kept telling me to read it, I don't know why I kept putting it off but once I started I couldn't put it down. I definitely liked this one more than the first, though this one had its flaws as well. But I liked the trope and setting better, I liked the characters and the story. I want more from this author!
Elements of Chemistry trilogy - Penny Reid
Not my favourite Penny Reid by any means, but it was fun and quick. I'm glad I didn't have to wait in between the books because I would have been super cranky. The heroine is fun and quirky, the hero is a bit annoying at times but really comes into his own in the last - which was my favourite. It was cute and I recommend if you like Penny Reid.
Earth Bound - Emma Barry & Genevieve Turner
I read the first two in this series and though I liked them, they didn't blow me away. I wasn't expecting much from this one but I loved it. I loved the characters, the story, the setting, all the things. 10/10 would recommend if it sounds like your jam.



Linking up with Steph & Jana


Life According to Steph



TL;DR - I recommend Long Way Down, Last Christmas in Paris, Dear Mrs Bird and anything else that sounds like your jam.

Read anything decent lately?