18 August 2017

Blog Tour: Review: The Big Dreams Beach Hotel by Lilly Bartlett

Wriggle your toes in the sand and feel the warm breeze on your face when you check into the hotel that’s full of dreams…

Three years after ditching her career in New York City, Rosie never thought she’d still be managing the quaint faded Victorian hotel in her seaside hometown.

What’s worse, the hotel’s new owners are turning it into a copy of their Florida properties. Flamingos and all. Cultures are clashing and the hotel’s residents stand in the way of the developers’ plans. The hotel is both their home and their family.

That’s going to make Rory’s job difficult when he arrives to enforce the changes. And Rosie isn’t exactly on his side, even though it’s the chance to finally restart her career. Rory might be charming, but he’s st that ill there to evict her friends.

How can she follow her dreams if it means ending everyone else’s?


Source: Blog Tour | Review Consideration

5 Words: Responsibility, change, trust, friendship, love.

This book was so laugh out loud funny that I had to stop reading it in public. I was getting some very funny looks.

I enjoyed the way the narrative weaved back and forth between past and present, it made Rosie's story all the more powerful and kept a little thread of mystery open throughout the story. And Rory! Oh, Rory.

The cast of characters is incredible. There are so many varied people. And they were so incredibly real and quirky that even the side characters came fully to life.

This book is hilarious and a perfect summer read. It's a glorious escape from typical British rainy days. A definite feel-good page turner!

15 August 2017

Top Ten Tuesday #95

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish and is a chance for everyone to get to know fellow bloggers and share lists. I love lists. Every week is a different list.

This week is Top Ten Recommendations For Hufflepuffs.

You might belong in Hufflepuff,
Where they are just and loyal,
Those patient Hufflepuffs are true
And unafraid of toil;


Dedicated, hard working, tolerant, patient, loyal, kind... What's not to love about Hufflepuff?

Here's some books for my fellow Hufflepuff's to devour. They'll test your tolerance, patience and kindness, and probably leave you feeling like a slightly different person at the end. And with some of them you'll have to work hard to make it to the end. But they're all worth it ❤
Which Hogwarts House are you in?

13 August 2017

#TheReadingQuest Reading Challenge

It was when I was at YALC that I first discovered #TheReadingQuest. It popped up on my timeline on Twitter and I was like "Oh?" and then Kelly was off explaining about the amazing reading challenges that Read At Midnight hosts. And I knew I had to join in.

I'm going to be marking off each square as I finish!
I'm not able to make a fancy graphic, my poor wee laptop just wouldn't be able to take it, but CW from Read Think Ponder made the most beautiful artwork for the quest. Hopefully I can somehow make up a card before the quest ends! I'll post here if I manage it.

The Reading Quest runs from 13th August to 10th September and I am planning to read A LOT for it. Especially as there is a cheeky bank holiday coming up, and I plan on spending it all reading.

I'm starting as a Rogue, but may try Mage as well!
I will be following the Rogue path and completing as many side quests as I can. I am really going for it with this challenge. It will not be easy, I will be pushing myself outside of my comfort zone, but I think I can definitely tackle my TBR and those side quests I have my eye on.

My Reading Quest Rogue TBR
✔ A banned book (audiobook)
Northern Lights by Philip Pullman

A book cover with a partially obscured face
Pantomime by Laura Lam

A book with <500 ratings on Goodreads (currently 189 ratings)

✔ A book published by a small press
Needlework by Deirdre Sullivan

A book with a one word title
Magnolia by Maria Dahvana Headley


My Reading Quest Side Quest TBR
Grind - A book with 500+ pages (audiobook, based on 801 pages)
A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin

Multiplayer - Buddy read a book (reading with Steph at Dystopia Fantasy Reads)
The Waking Land by Callie Bates

Respawn - Read a book which you previously DNF
Sabriel by Garth Nix



Are you taking part? What would you read?


11 August 2017

Book Beginnings #49

For Book Beginnings, Rose City Reader invites us to share the first sentence (or so) of the book you are reading, along with your initial thoughts about the sentence, impressions of the book, or anything else the opener inspires.

For Friday 56, Freda's Voice asks you to turn to Page 56 in your book or 56% on your e-reader and pick a sentence.

I am currently reading The Big Dreams Beach Hotel by Lilly Bartlett.
New York is where I fell head over heels for a bloke named Chuck. I know: Chuck. But don't judge him just because her sounds like he should be sipping ice cream floats at the drive-in or starring in the homecoming football game.
Interesting start and I'm curious to see how it goes. And yes, the name Chuck does bring to mind exactly what the narrator expects it to.
Lill is a total inspiration. Here's someone who's worked since her teens to do everything she possibly could to rise to the top of her profession.
I think I'll like Lill when I get to this part of the story. She sounds pretty tenacious.

What are you reading for the weekend?

10 August 2017

Release Day Review: A Change Is Gonna Come by Various

Featuring top Young Adult authors alongside a host of exciting new talent, this anthology of stories and poetry from BAME writers on the theme of change is a long-overdue addition to the YA scene.

Contributors include Tanya Byrne, Inua Ellams, Catherine Johnson, Patrice Lawrence, Ayisha Malik, Irfan Master, Musa Okwonga and Nikesh Shukla.

Plus introducing four fresh new voices in YA fiction: Mary Bello, Aisha Bushby, Yasmin Rahman and Phoebe Roy.


Source: Purchase | NetGalley Request

5 Words: A Change Is Gonna Come.

This is an absolutely fantastic collection, with something for everyone. I actually liked everything included, which is very rare for me when it comes to anthologies. My mind is blown by how good it was.
“We laughed over our difference then spent years bonding over things that made us the same.”
There is something within the pages to laugh at and cry at. There are authors new and established within the pages, it was great to read some familiar voices - I recognised Patrice Lawrence's story from her writing style - and I discovered some new-to me writers. The poems are beautiful and I read them each over and over. The stories are set across multiple genres and times, all linked by the theme of Change.

I think Marionette Girl may become my go-to story for when I need a cry, it is heart-breakingly excellent. It made me cry like a baby.

I hope that Stripes are going to continue with their wonderful anthologies, but I can't imagine where they will go next! I just know I can't wait to read more exceptional writers.

09 August 2017

Blog Tour: Guespost & Giveaway: Little Gray Dress by Aimee Brown

Emi Harrison has avoided her ex-fiance, Jack Cabot, for nearly two years. Her twin brother Evan’s wedding is about to end that streak.

From bad bridesmaid’s dresses, a hyperactive sister-in-law, a mean girl with even meaner secrets, and too much to drink, nothing seems to go right for Emi, except when she’s wearing her little gray dress.

When she speed-walks into Liam Jaxon’s bar, things get more complicated. He’s gorgeous, southern, and has no past with Emi. He may be exactly what she needs to prove for the last time that she doesn’t need or want Jack!

Her favorite little gray dress has made an appearance at nearly every major event in Emi’s adult life. Will it make another when she least expects it?


Naming my Characters
I’m a sucker for browsing through baby name sites and books. When I was pregnant, I seriously looked through the baby name books (because in the 90’s the interwebs just wasn’t what it is today) daily. I would jot down lists and lists of names and every single night when my husband would get home from work, for nine months, I would go though the list, crossing out each name he vetoed. Let’s just say, we went through a lot of names. 
My kids will still ask me, what their name name could have been. And I still have my runner up names right at the tip of my tongue so I can use them one day on a fictional character. 
When I chose the names for Little Gray Dress, I did pretty much the same thing, I just didn’t need anyone’s approval but my own. That didn’t make it any easier, though. The endless list of websites that have baby names make the task far more complicated than it ever was when I was pregnant. 
I knew what my main characters name would be, Esmeralda. ‘Emi’ for short, cause I love a good nickname. Once I decided that her name would be ‘Romanian’ for reasons she’s yet to know, I knew I had to come up with an equally fitting Romanian name for her twin brother. Evangelo, or ‘Evan’ for short, just fit the bill. 
Main characters Jack & Liam were no-brainers for me. I LOVE the old names as much as I love old Hollywood. To me, Jack is fitting for the tall, dark and handsome hero. And Liam is fitting for the tall, blond, bad-boy. 
The name Jack took on greater meaning when my grandfather, ‘Jackie, aka- Jack’ passed on a few months ago. It’s funny cause, while I was writing the book the fact that I had a grandpa named Jack never even occurred to me, because for the last 38 years I’ve known him as simply ‘grandpa’. Now that he’s gone though, I feel like it has a bigger meaning that it initially did. I wouldn’t be surprised at all if I start using a lot of names of friends and family now passed on. What a great way to keep their spirits with me. 
As for picking the rest of the charactes names, I like to fill out a character questionnaire and then once I’ve gotten to know them a bit, I go through my list of names I adore and find the one that fits. It’s crazy to me how names will seem wrong or right for fictional characters. It’s like they really exist and are just waiting for that final piece of their puzzle in their name. 
Obviously, naming characters is one of my favorite parts of creating a story. I could create new characters all day long and be perfectly happy. My new found friends are real to me. I always expect to run into them when shopping or out and about and it’s a little sad when I never do. I put so much work into creating them that I want to chat with them in real life! Until then, I will be happy that they have endless conversations with you guy, my readers.




08 August 2017

Review: STAGS by MA Bennett

S.T.A.G.S by M.A. Bennett
Nine students. Three bloodsports. One deadly weekend.

It is the autumn term and Greer MacDonald is struggling to settle into the sixth form at the exclusive St. Aidan the Great boarding school, known to its privileged pupils as S.T.A.G.S. Just when she despairs of making friends Greer receives a mysterious invitation with three words embossed upon on it: huntin' shootin' fishin'. When Greer learns that the invitation is to spend the half term weekend at the country manor of Henry de Warlencourt, the most popular and wealthy boy at S.T.A.G.S., she is as surprised as she is flattered.

But when Greer joins the other chosen few at the ancient and sprawling Longcross Hall, she realises that Henry's parents are not at home; the only adults present are a cohort of eerily compliant servants. The students are at the mercy of their capricious host, and, over the next three days, as the three bloodsports - hunting, shooting and fishing - become increasingly dark and twisted, Greer comes to the horrifying realisation that those being hunted are not wild game, but the very misfits Henry has brought with him from school...


Source: NetGalley Request | Purchase

5 Words: Privilege, power, huntin', shootin', fishin'.

Holy wow. I misjudged this book a lot.

I knew from those first gripping pages that there had been a death, that someone thought they had murdered someone else, but I loved how unreliable it felt.

I'm not entirely sure what it was about the cover or the blurb (yes, I read it for once!) that made me think that this was set in the US, but it's not. And that came as a very pleasant and welcome surprise.

I found myself quickly sucked deep into the world of the Medievals and Savages and the intrigue of school politics, and that was enough to keep me feverishly turning pages even before the main story kicked in.  And once that main story kicked in I was hooked by the ominous cloud hanging over everything, the portent of what I thought I knew was to come (I was wrong).

I loved Greer. I loved how she had this film connection with her father and how it was such a large part of her life that slipped into Greer's narrative.

I feel like this would translate amazingly into film or TV - and the setting would be all the more breathtaking. Think Skins set in Downton Abbey with a dash of Mean Girls.

The ending of STAGS was left open, ready for a sequel. But I actually hope it is left on its own, as that would make the story (and the ending) even more powerful. Also, I can carry on the fanfic in my head.