Review: How to Win a Guy in 10 Dates by Jane Linfoot

Own the book: Yes
Source: #SexMeUpReadathon freebie from Jane Linfoot
Format: E-book – read on Kindle
Publish date: 29th August 2013 by Harpur Impulse
Price: N/A
Date Read: 31st July 2014

Note: I received this copy of How to Win a Guy in 10 Dates by Jane Linfoot for free through the #SexMeUpReadathon from Jane Linfoot. The opinions and thoughts I share in this review are my own.

How to Win a Guy is a contemporary romance story, coming in at an estimated 200 pages – a rough guess going by the percentage bar on my Kindle. It is the story of millionaire playboy Ed and burlesque dance teacher Millie. Neither of the two characters are without their faults or secrets. Ed, a guy who relishes a challenge is bet by his sister Cassie and best friend Will that he can’t go through 10 dates with the same woman – something he has never done before. It must also include a weekend away and meeting families. After a month of looking for a woman to date, Ed finally comes across men-aren’t-in-my-life-plan Millie when her horse throws her after an explosion. Following through the dates, the two get closer and closer together until a weekend in Provence takes the relationship much further.

All in all I really enjoyed this book. It was an easy read taking only took a few hours to get through, but also not being a taxing read as some books are. I think I would have enjoyed it more had I not read another by the same author only 10 days before. The book followed many of the same lines a contemporary romance does, but was pulled up by the characters and writing style.

An enjoyable read for a rainy day – as this has been.

 

Rating: ♥♥♥

Review: A Discovery of Witches (All Souls Trilogy #1) by Deborah Harkness

Own the book: NoA-Discovery-of-Witches-US
Source: Library
Format: Hardback
Publish date: 2011
Price: N/A
Date Read: 29th July 2014

 

Over the past few months I have had A Discovery of Witches out on loan from the library a number of times. Each time though, I found other things to read or do and for whatever reason never picked the book up.

I was a complete and utter idiot.

At 592 pages (the last 2 of the 594 are acknowledgements) the hardback version is a bit of a behemoth and certainly put a touch of fear in my heart. Overcoming this – even thanks to the third in the trilogy landing neatly on my doormat from the wonderful people at BookBridgr – was difficult, especially when I didn’t find my mind caught after the first few pages. I persevered however and soon found myself caught hook, line and sinker. I was addicted – in a good way.

The story centres around the main character; a witch called Diana Bishop. In a world filled with humans, witches, daemons and vampires, Diana is trying her hardest to keep away from a life of magic. Turning away from something you are though is impossible as Diana finds, with little bits of magic creeping out where she least expects. An alchemical history professor researching at Oxford, Diana comes into contact with many old and unusual texts; none more so than Ashmole 782. As shocked as Diana is when she realises there is a spell on the book, it is nothing to her feelings when she finds out that others are after this long-lost and very important text. However, Matthew (swoon) – a vampire and Diana’s love interest – is soon along to aid her. Travelling from the UK to France to America, Matthew and Diana are on the run from the witches and vampires who are after Diana. Meeting with allies old and new, Matthew and Diana soon have a plan; Diana must learn how to control her magic.

Although I was very late to the party for this book, I am so glad I read it. It was an absolute joy. I was transported away into another world – one I didn’t want to leave. The story of Matthew and Diana is a fantastic one and I can’t wait to read part 2; Shadow of Night and part 3; The Book of Life. With loveable and dislikeable characters galore, lines that have you in stitches and situations that have you reaching for the tissues, A Discovery of Witches is a delight and a wonder.

Rating: ♥♥♥♥ – I loved it.

Event Review: #SexMeUpReadathon & #Sunathon

Today (Sunday) sees the culmination of seven days of wonderful reading time. Firstly with #SexMeUpReadathon running Monday to Friday and (at the same time) #Sunathon running Monday to Sunday.

I have to say, apart from the craziness of having both running at the same time I’ve really enjoyed both of them. I haven’t read nearly as much as I have wanted – work, darn! – but I have loved sitting back in the evenings with a good book and the motivation to read instead of watching telly.

The two readathon’s were run by different groups/individuals and came across completely differently. Both were based on/in Twitter which made following and interaction easy and quick – at least until I managed to be a complete idiot and take Twitter off my phone; my usual method of following. After that it was back to the PC when I was able.

Although I had put together a list of TBR books at the beginning of the challenges, I didn’t end up following it. Instead I read (or began to read):

The Right Side of Mr Wrong by Jane Linfoot (#SexMeUpReadathon) – Reviewed 21st July 2014
The Mysterious Affair at Castaway House by Stephanie Lam (#Sunathon) – Reviewed 25th July 2014
The Story of O by Pauline Réage (#SexMeUpReadathon) – Still reading
Feet of Clay by Terry Pratchett (#Sunathon) – Complete but not reviewed
The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty (#SexMeUpReadathon) – Still reading
Dead Man’s Folly by Agatha Christie (#Sunathon) – Complete but not reviewed
A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness (#Sunathon) – Still reading

 

#SexMeUpReadathon:

The #SexMeUpReadathon was a fantastic way to ‘big up’ erotic fiction and to really talk about it with other readers and the authors themselves – having an itinerary to follow also helped! I will admit that it did get a little confusing in the end with things like blog posts going on through different platforms (many of which didn’t seem to get a great deal of interaction unfortunately from those involved) and three different hash tags to follow. Two of the hash tags were in use generally on Twitter so following via those was near impossible. The two were: #StaySexy and #LetsGetItOn. I did enjoy the #SexMeUpReadathon takeover on the last day (Friday) by The Hot Bed; a group of 4 women with a love of erotic fiction who all work at the publishers Simon & Schuster. Unfortunately this partially involved using another platform; Tumblr – one I don’t tend to use at all.

I had been hoping to extend my #SexMeUpReadathon over the weekend but gave this idea up in favour of savouring my last two days of #Sunathon. I think the general consensus by those involved to extend their reading over the weekend rather confused matters so the end of the #SexMeUpReadathon was very up in the air. Despite the things mentioned however, I did love taking part and would do so again in a heartbeat. The TBR pile of erotic fiction I have waiting is still rather large and only getting larger thanks to freebies on Amazon!

 

#Sunathon:

#Sunathon was very different and fantastic in it’s simpleness – Tweeting about what you’re reading and posting the odd picture. Retweeting, favouriting and conversing! I loved that #Sunathon went over the weekend too – I don’t know a great number of people with the leisure time needed in the week to really get their teeth into a book. The only thing that would have been better would be the readathon starting the Friday evening beforehand to include 2 weekends! I look forward to the chat going on at 8pm tonight to see how that will work.

 

I loved that the two weren’t races to read. They were designed to encourage people to read and to share their love of the books they had encountered. Overall, the two very different readathons were a fantastic introduction for me as my joint first.

I greatly look forward to joining more in the future.

 

 

 

A final note: These are my honest opinions of events as I have experienced them. They are in no way meant to be attacking or condescending, merely my thoughts and memory for the future.

Review: The Mysterious Affair at Castaway House by Stephanie Lam

21443281 Source: Goodreads First Reads
Format: Paperback ARC
Publish date: 28th August 2014 by Penguin
Price: N/A
Date Read: 24th July 2014

Note: I received this copy of The Mysterious Affair at Castaway House by Stephanie Lam for free through Goodreads First Reads. The opinions and thoughts I share in this review are my own.

I was delighted to receive this copy of The Mysterious Affair at Castaway House through the post as it was one which greatly appealed to me. I was shocked to discover on it’s arrival that it is an Advanced Reading Copy (ARC), so I am not allowed to post any quotes from it – much as I may wish. At a little over 500 pages, this paperback book is rather thick but surprisingly lightweight with reasonably sized but not overly large text. I especially enjoyed the floppiness of the pages – it was a joy not to have to wrestle to open a book! The cover is somewhat sedate and rather dignified but striking – I adore it.

The Mysterious Affair at Castaway House is a story set in two different time periods. The scene is set in the seaside town of Helmstone, a place with sharp cliffs, holidaymakers, day-trippers, a fairground and a hotel – among other things. Chapter one begins the story in 1965 with the main character of that period Rosie Churchill. She is a young woman in her late teens and run away from home and sixth form to rent a bed in the rundown yet still beautiful Castaway House in Helmstone. Castaway House though has its secrets. Rosie is soon set on discovering who the mysterious ‘R.C’ is; a drawing of a man with the initials ‘R.C.’ is found wedged behind some skirting boards, a mysterious message is discovered carved and inked into the frame of a window and whispers of trouble years ago come to Rosie’s ears.

In 1924, a young and somewhat naïve nineteen year old Robert Carver makes his way to Helmstone to stay with his wealthier, older and more exciting cousin Alec at his beautiful home, Castaway House. He arrives to find that Alec has married, walking straight into the lives of a damaged, un-loving couple with far-reaching secrets. Little does Robert know that his summer at Castaway House will change his life and the lives of all he comes in contact with.

At 500+ pages, The Mysterious Affair at Castaway House rather intimidated me upon first glance. Once I started reading however I was hooked. The story is written in the first person, from the viewpoint of either Robert or Rosie depending on which year the chapter was set in. I think the span of time covered in both 1924 and 1965 was only a few months; the summer of 1924 and sometime from September in 1965 although there were links between the two. The story was brought to life by the author’s words. The characters were wonderfully flawed and exquisitely human. No one was perfect and each had characteristics and traits and got into situations that you could easily understand, feel and relate to.

This book was very much set in the UK – Helmstone sounded  to me like the seaside town of Brighton on the south coast of England. There were also many mentions of the 1st and 2nd world wars. In 1924 and 1965, both would still be very near memory to the population. Many would have lost parents, bothers, cousins, uncles or sweethearts in the fighting. There would still be reminders, especially on the coast – shops previously used as lookout posts and maybe a pier destroyed so it couldn’t be used to land enemy planes.

The story of Castaway House and its inhabitants in both 1924 and 1965 were linked wonderfully, with little tendrils of knowledge and hits at answers – and even more questions – coming throughout the story. The way the author intertwined the characters throughout the book and between 1924 and 1965 was magnificently done and I am completely in awe. I was kept guessing throughout the majority of the book until the full story was told and the characters truly unveiled. I will admit to making a few guesses which ended up evenly split between right and wrong!

The mystery of Castaway House and its inhabitants was one which touched many lives. I was completely enchanted and thrilled with the story and characters and didn’t want to finish reading. Unfortunately I had to in order to find out what had really happened.

This book is one I will keep going back to and will loudly praise to all who will listen. Why? Because it’s bl**dy brilliant.

Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥

Review: The Right Side of Mr Wrong by Jane Linfoot

Own the book: Yesthe-right-of-mr-wrong-672x1024
Source: #SexMeUpReadathon Freebie from Jane Linfoot
Format: Kindle E-book
Publish date: 6th March 2014 by Harpur Impulse
Price: N/A
Date Read: 21st July 2014

Note: I received this copy of The Right Side of Mr Wrong by Jane Linfoot for free through the #SexMeUpReadathon from Jane Linfoot. The opinions and thoughts I share in this review are my own.

This is the first book by Jane Linfoot I have read and boy, was it a fab one. The story centres around the main characters of Shea (rhymes-with-day!) and Brando (who I unfortunately kept dying to call Brandon). Brando is a wealthy, parkour-addicted country-house owning insomniac playboy who likes fast cars and even faster ‘relationships’. His longest lasting an entire 5 hours. Oh and don’t bother wondering what her name or any of the others ‘hard and fast’ women’s names were – he doesn’t know or care – he won’t be seeing them again.

Shea on the other hand is a sweet-addicted, workaholic woman with a secret. She isn’t looking to get married but in trying to convince her house-mates that she is ready to move on, enters a competition designed to find Brando a wife. Brando, convinced Shea is just another gold-digger out for all she can get, is all set to leave her…until he gets a glimpse of her knickers.

This (rather erotic) contemporary romance was all I could have wished for. There were some extremely hot sex scenes which had me hot and bothered, along with some good old-fashioned romantic twists, turns, misunderstandings and a good-old heart-wrenching ending.

Jane Linfoot’s descriptions of her characters, the settings and everything in between was marvellous. There were many phrases that I ended up highlighting (something I very rarely do!) because I loved them so much. One of which was:

He hadn’t bargained for being belted practically into orbit, nor for being left hanging in some crazy airless free-fall, that progressed into a glorious, gyroscopic tumble.

I read this book as part of the #SexMeUpReadathon week, and it certainly lived up to my hopes in the play department. I even read the book in the staff room at work! It was on my Kindle I grant you but it was a small sidle forwards!

I really hope you will give Brando and Shea a go. They’re an extremely hot couple in a fantastic book. A more x-rated copy would be loved but this one will be well enjoyed again and again.

Edit: I noticed that I haven’t commented on the cover of this book or the number of pages. To be perfectly honest, there were no page numbers on my ebook/kindle and i didn’t notice the cover. For those reasons I really do prefer physical copies of a book! I do adore the cover of this book however – as you can see from the image above it’s fab and totally stands out! Oh and I REALLY want those shoes.

Rating: ♥♥♥♥

Events: #SexMeUpReadathon and #Sunathon 2014

This week is going to be fun and busy with two exciting events going on this week. Along with a normal week of work I shall be joining other twitterati and book bloggers to celebrate books and reading… By reading! I’m so eager to start that I’m up at 6am on a Sunday writing this blog!

 

#SexMeUpReadathon : Monday 21st – Friday 25th July 2014

First up, running Monday to Friday we have the #SexMeUpReadathon. You can follow on Twitter with that hashtag, along with #LetsGetItOn and #StaySexy. Even better is that I have written a guest post for it; my very first! My post, titled ‘The Taboo of Erotica’ will be going live at 5pm on Wednesday 23rd. Definitely a *squee* moment going to be going on there!

There is so much else to be looking forward to during the week including Q&A’s, other guest posts, short stories, authors (including J Kenner!) talking sex and a very exciting amount more. You can find a (nearly) finalised schedule for the week over at the #SexMeUpReadathon blog here. I shall be printing a copy to keep with me!

 

#Sunathon : Monday 21st – Sunday 27th July 2014

The second event runs from Monday to Sunday and is #Sunathon. Again, follow on Twitter with that hashtag. You can read Emma Louise’s fantastic introductory blog post about it here.

 

The object and idea of both readathons is to encourage people to pick up their books and read. They aren’t races to finishing lines or competitions to see who can read the most- a view I absolutely adore. As I joined up first to the #SexMeUpReadathon my book choices have mainly been for that, although all books will also count for #Sunathon. Maybe I am being a little hopeful in the amount I will be reading but no matter as I will enjoy reading all I can!

So, my list of Erotica for #SexMeUpReadathon:

#SexMeUpReadathon

Sources: The Story of O – My Bookshelf // Bound to Danger – BookBridgr // Crazy About the Baumgartners – NetGalley // Heated – Goodreads First Reads // Claimed By the Alpha Dolphins #1 – NetGalley // The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty – Library 

And my list of other books to include for #Sunathon:

#Sunathon

 Sources: The Mysterious Affair at Castaway House – Goodreads First Reads // Don’t Fall – Giveaway Prize by Mily @TheYANightstand // Good Omens – My Bookshelf // Do or Die – NetGalley

All in all a lot to look forward to, although some of the books with rather large numbers of pages (such as ‘The Mysterious Affair at Castaway House’ – which I will eagerly admit to having started already – with 504 pages and ‘Do or Die’ with 577 pages)  are starting to worry me. Fortunately these are offset by some with very few! I keep reminding myself though, it’s not how much I read that matters, only that I am reading! I’m also excited to be mixing physical copies of books and e-books. It will be interesting to see which I prefer.

So, will you join us this week in celebrating reading? It doesn’t matter at all what you read or which Readathon you join in with – if you join in at all. Just read. Visit your local library or pick something dusty off your shelf. Give it a glance, give it a read. Browse Amazon for free books to try on Kindle or computer/phone app or buy a dozen which catch your imagination.

Give it a go.  I certainly hope you do and invite you warmly to join, watch and take part.

 

Review: The Tycoon’s Convenient Bride…and Baby by Shoshanna Evers

TTCB&BOwn the book: Yes
Source: NetGalley
Format: Kindle E-book
Publish date: 28th July 2014 by Entangled Publishing
Price: N/A
Date Read: 16th July 2014

Note: I received this copy of The Tycoon’s Convenient Bride…and Baby by Shoshanna Evers for free through Entangled Publishing on NetGalley. The opinions and thoughts I share in this review are my own.

First off, i’m going to abbreviate this title to TTCB&B as typing that out a few times would likely double the length of my review on its own.

TTCB&B is the story of two people, Mack; rich tycoon and playboy, and Lauren; career business woman who has put all thoughts of a family of her own firmly behind her. The two are brought together when Mack’s business partner and best friend – the twin brother of Lauren – and his wife go missing and are presumed dead leaving behind their baby daughter. The little cutie Callie, bound by her fathers will to live with a married couple, is left to the fate of the fostering system unless Mack and Lauren can find a way around it. And they do… they’ll marry each other. Just until Callie’s parents are found. They can get an annulment, right?

I really enjoyed TTCB&B – it was an easy, engaging read which made me eager to read more and I sped through it in a few hours. The characters Mack and Lauren were at times beyond frustrating. Many times I was longing to hit their heads together or lock them in a room so that they’d just come out and say something, not just hope that an action was being construed for what they should have been saying out loud. This frustration just made the book better though and the ending even more poignant.

Shoshanna’s work was a wonderful escape and I absolutely loved it. There was heat (boy, was there!), love, misunderstanding, despair and so many other emotions all rolled into one little package. All in all a wonderful story. Thank you for allowing me this preview.

Rating: ♥♥♥♥