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: ♥♥♥

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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.

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: Elysian Fields (Sentinels of New Orleans #3) by Suzanne Johnson

Own the book: Yes9780755397709
Source: BookBridgr
Format: Paperback
Published: (Originally) 15th August 2013 by Headline
Price: N/A
Date Read: 15th July 2014

Note: I received this copy of Elysian Fields by Suzanne Johnson for free through BookBridgr. The opinions and thoughts I share in this review are my own.

Elysian Fields is the third book in the Sentinels of New Orleans series, preceded by Royal Street (#1) and River Road (#2). It is classed by Headline as a Fiction/Urban Fantasy mix. I couldn’t quite work out if this was aimed at a teen or adult audience however, but I think it could easily be enjoyed by both.

Before reading this book I will fully admit that I had not read either of the other books in the series but I was intrigued too much by the storyline and the gorgeous cover to let my chance to read it pass. And I’m so pleased I took it.

The Sentinels of New Orleans series focuses around the main character of DJ – Drusilla Jaco. DJ is an odd mix of wizard and elf, with the powers of both. The books are set around New Orleans in the times around Hurricane Katrina. The hurricane opened a passageway from the Beyond to present day New Orleans, giving characters still remembered by the world of today the opportunity to came back for periods. These characters can be good, bad or a charming pirate named Jean who is a mix of both. The world DJ lives in contains elves, werewolves, witches and wizards along with shapeshifters, elves and who knows what else.

Book three was an absolute joy to read. The characters imagined by Suzanne Johnson fully came to life in my mind and her descriptions were wonderful. I laughed, I hid in fear and I couldn’t put it down. I even had a 3am incident when I just didn’t want to stop reading, despite having to work the following day! I found that though I had missed the first two books in the series, I could still really enjoy the book as everything was explained succinctly enough to get the gist of what had previously happened without it ruining the flow.

I loved too the hints of romance in the story – the will they/won’t they play which still wasn’t sorted at the end. Can I hear a book 4 in the distance? Please? If bribery will work I’ll send cupcakes…!

It was a clever book and one I would certainly recommend. So please, give it a try!

Rating: ♥♥♥♥

Review: Shifting Colours by Fiona Sussman

Own the book: Yes
Source: Goodreads First Reads
Format: Hardback
Published: 22nd May 2014 by Allison & Busby
Price: N/A
Date Read: 12th July 2014

Note: I received this copy of Shifting Colours by Fiona Sussman for free through Goodreads First Reads. The opinions and thoughts I share in this review are my own.

shifting-colours

I was extremely fortunate to receive this book; it turned out to be one I didn’t know I needed to read. When I opened the package, the first thing that struck me was the gorgeous cover; the girl in the red dress under a tree full with purple blossom. The tree I think is some kind of jacaranda. The blurb on the back reads:

‘This is the sweet memory of Mme, my dear mother. The first sweet memory…sometimes her laughter bursts into my head or I hear her call me – my name full and round in her mouth. Frustratingly though, as with all the memories I have of Mme, her face always blurs under the pressure of my focus’

Let me begin by saying that if you’re looking for an easy read, this is not the book for you. If you’re going to read it, be ready for emotion, intelligence and a story that will stay with you and make you think.

Shifting colours is, at its very basics a story about a mother and her child. The mother, Celia, is a black woman in South Africa during the apartheid and a maid in the house of a white couple; Rita and Michael. Her daughter is called Miriam, a young and outgoing child who is excited about the world and eager to explore. With the increasing unrest and danger, Rita and Michael decide to move back to England, offering to give Celia’s daughter Miriam a new and better life there with them. Celia, longing for better for her daughter agrees, being told that she will of course see her daughter again soon, that letters will be written, news shared and that Miriam will return. She doesn’t. Rita and Michael on returning to England with their newly legally adopted daughter Miriam cast aside the promises made and lie to Miriam about her mother. Heartbreaking.

Over the following years, the story dips into the then very different and often upsetting lives of Celia and Miriam. Celia in Africa; trying to make her way in life and supporting her remaining children as well as an ailing mother and Miriam in England; tormented by bullies, an unloving adopted mother and knowing that she doesn’t really fit in anywhere.

Fiona Sussman writes with unwavering and often brutal honesty. Many of the situations were heart-rending but I also found a brilliance in her writing. Her descriptions and language brought the story to life and I could smell the air of Africa and visualise the places Miriam and Celia travelled. Lives so very different to my own. I found the narrative of the differences between England and Africa to be startling and I hope to one day travel to the continent to see it for myself.

There is so much I could say about this book but the words do not come. How difficult it is to write of emotions and wild thoughts.

I will end by saying that I feel I am starting to know just a little more about a situation and time that was long before I was born. A time which for many is still so close though.

Please read. It will be difficult, but you won’t regret it.

Rating: ♥♥♥♥½

Review: George – Don’t Do That by Joyce Grenfell

Own the book: YesJoyce Grenfell
Source: Charity shop
Format: Paperback
Price: £0.49
Published: 1992 by Warner Books (originally 1977 by Macmillan London Limited)
Date Read: 12th July 2014

I suspect (and hope) that many people will recognise the well-known and much loved phrase ‘George – don’t do that’. If you don’t, why not?! It is of course from the brilliant Joyce Grenfell’s set of Nursery School sketches. Joyce – who sadly died in 1979 – was a beloved English actress, comedienne, monologist and singer-songwriter. An extremely talented woman. I knew her best as Sergeant Ruby Gates in the original St Trinian’s films where she was marvellous. I discovered Joyce’s monologues after a YouTube search and was hooked. Finding the book with the scripts of many of them in was an added bonus.

I really enjoyed reading ‘George – Don’t Do That’ although it was best read aloud. My talents were nowhere near those of Joyce however – and occasionally rather embarrassing – so I shall keep my monologue reading to myself. The book was relatively short at 88 pages but did contain six Nursery School sketches; ‘Nativity Play’, ‘Flowers’, ‘Free Activity Period’, ‘Story Time’, ‘Sing-Song Time’ and ‘Going Home Time’ along with a monologue called ‘Writer of Children’s Books’ which was new to me. The book also contained a number of illustrations by John Ward which enabled me to picture some of the scenes even better.

I think this book will end up becoming one of my go-to escape books and I couldn’t have chosen better. Give it a go (or a watch!) and tell me what you think below.

 

Rating: ♥♥♥♥