I write book reviews, I also write books, and occasionally I write about myself!

Tuesday, 30 December 2014

My year in books...

As we approach the end of another year, I thought I would reflect back on what I have achieved reading wise over the year. After all I started this blog initially as a 'book blog'.

This year hasn't been all that prolific for me in terms of reviewing books... REAL LIFE has gotten in the way of this mostly and I do find myself having less and less time for writing full detailed reviews. However, I have continued to read a lot, as always.

Mainly the 2nd half of this year I have been reading a lot of older books, I've been in a bit of a retro vibe! And also, the amount of kindle one-click purchases appearing on my bank statement was getting to epic levels so I actually thought I should knuckle down and actually read the books I have been collecting and putting on my groaning bookshelves! Which, I admit are mainly of the old school variety...
oooh, look at all the pretty colours...

Old skool romance FTW!

And surprisingly I have actually made my way through quite a lot of them!

Going forward, I am thinking of different ways to continue to keep this blog as a book based blog at its core. Such as mini, on the go reviews as I'm reading books or just a monthly summary and star rating... I've not quite decided.

But whatever happens, don't worry I'm still out there reading and enjoying romance novels as aways. Maybe one day I'll actually get through my entire book collection...

Two NEARLY full book shelves (p.s. theres also two more 'non romance' bookshelves in the other room...)


Wednesday, 17 December 2014

App for it....

So, it appears you can now blog directly from your phone on the blogger app, who knew?! 

I seem to always be a few steps behind on these kind of things. But be prepared for a lot more photos of Pete being blogged!!

In fact, here's one now...

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

The Great Big Career Change...

A lot has changed since I last posted on here. You may (but probably won't) remember that earlier on in the year I was having a bit of difficulty with the ol' life/work balance - basically I had none! Cutting my hours back helped a bit, but it didn't take long until the additional duties, and asking me to do extra hours, phone calls on my days off, etc, started piling on again.

It was around the end of summer when I realised that I. Was. Done. with my job. In the nearly ten 10 years since university I have only ever had one employer, and yes I had a 2 year break off work during that time, but enough was enough and I felt a change was needed.

And boy was it a big one. Let's just say going from banking and insurance into working for the NHS is veeeerrrrrryyyy different. Very! Applying for the job in the first place was a bit of a whim, actually getting an interview was surprising, and then to actually get the job was a complete shock!

Fast forward 5 weeks on and after a gruelling 4 weeks of full time training, which included 2 exams and audits, I am now flying solo and finding it, well er, challenging. Going from a job that I didn't like but could basically do with my eyes closed, to one where I actually had to use that brain that I'd buried away years ago has been a bit of a culture shock... But they say you can never go home again so I do want to make the most of this new role.

Not only that it works out so much better for my work/life balance. I only work 20 hours a week now over 4 evenings making it a lot better for me and my husband and Pete the dog!

Watch this space for more updates on the new job...! It might be interesting!


Sunday, 7 September 2014

Welcome to Planet Apple...

I have been quiet on the writing and blogging front recently. There has been a couple of reasons for this. Mainly day job based, but also because my faithful laptop was on it's last legs and I was struggling to get use out of it.

On the days it decided to turn on at all, it took about 10 mins to do so, and trying to work over the loud constant buzzing it emitted was frustrating to say the least. And the most difficult part was that I couldn't type for long periods of time as one side of the keyboard would overheat to rather uncomfortable levels. As you can probably understand, I can't really write if I can't type (apart from pen to paper, of course!)

So I had a big decision on my hands... did I a) go and get myself a replacement laptop, knowing that probably in 3-4 years time I would go through the same thing, or perhaps b) get a PC desktop, a fairly decent one, with it's rather cumbersome-even-in-2014 tower, or did I go for the option that had been whispering it's way through my blood for the last few years... c) go all out and finally, FINALLY, get an iMac that I have always wanted.

It was a tough decision... and iMac was undoubtedly the favourite option. BUT, they are not the kind of this I can go out and purchase willynilly. They are expensive, so I could only justify the cost if it is something I will use enough to make it worth it, and will it have a longer shelf life than I have ever had a normal laptop last for. Also after years of being a PC user, I last used a Mac at university and that was only for design based programs (which was 12 whole years ago, would you believe!) would I be able to switch over to using a Mac or would it take a lot of adjustments.

Isn't it pretty!

I ummed, I uhhhed, spoke to a few people about it. (One person was so very against getting a Mac and that PC's are the only way to go that it only made me want a one even more! I don't give a damn if you can update the insides of a PC and not a Mac, that's not how I roll!) and eventually settled on my hearts desire and bought it. After a little fiasco regarding getting the item delivered, which I'm not going to go into as it just makes my blood boil and those of you whole follow me on twitter might remember my little drama, I now have a gorgeous computer that works.

And it's an iMac, yo!

Now, I know what you're probably thinking... does getting a new computer warrant and entire blog post?! Well, in my rather boring life, yes it does! It's a shiny new toy and very exciting. It also means I have the (working) tools to try and make a go out of getting published. Maybe now that I have something inspiring to write on, I might , ya know, be more inspired to write. For that, only time will tell, but in the last week I have managed 3000 words... and that is more than I have managed in the last few months combined!

Going forward I've got a few kinks to try and iron out... Basic things like how the hell do I copy and paste on this thing? and Where on earth do I save something? I have sort of managed to work out!
My current issue is whether or not to purchase Microsoft Office or just stick with the in-built pages app, which to be honest so far I am not getting along with that well.

Any advice on decent Word Processing and Spreadsheet programs I should/could use would be greatly appreciated?

Also, other useful app recommendations? What is all the fuss about linking iPhone via cloud? etc...

Anyway, that's enough about my shiny new Mac for now, watch this space for some more updates and blog posts soon....

Pete's not sure what all the fuss is about... and why do I sit at the desk instead of paying him attention?!


Thursday, 7 August 2014

Review... Changing Constantinou's Game - Jennifer Hayward

Changing Constantinou's Game - Jennifer Hayward
Harlequin Presents
Harlequin, 2014
ISBN: 9870373132775

My rating

From the back cover:

"One kiss couldn't hurt, could it?
Alexios Constantinou is notorious for his lethal charm, so when the exquisite Isabel Peters is—literally—dropped into his lap during a hellish elevator ride, he doesn't waste the opportunity! With tensions sky-high after their near-death experience, an insatiable desire ignites between them, and all bets are off.
But when Alex discovers that reporter Isabel's next story is him, he's furious…yet determined to use it to his advantage. He's calling the shots, but the closer Isabel gets, the closer she comes to discovering his carefully concealed secret. Now, with everything at stake, he'll need a whole new game plan…"

This is only Jennifer Hayward's fourth book, but is crafted so beautifully you would think it's her fortieth! I really enjoy books that start with a bang, and this one certainly does. Hero and heroine stuck together in a broken elevator (or 'lift' to us brits!)... what else would you want but some sizzle.

I liked that Jen immediately showed her character's flaws, I felt I could understand them and their motivations straight away. Izzie, as a heroine, is rather insecure and a bit lost as to where her life is going. I think that in today's world this is something we can all relate to. And Alex is the typical distrustful, closed book of a hero. The two are a perfect combination.

The actual plot is really interesting too. I loved reading all the inner conflict the hero and heroine had over whether to do what they think is right, or do what their hearts tell them to do. Neither of them would budge and inch over control, which makes for some great push/pull tension.

The hero and heroine feel very real and that is what I love. I enjoyed the rather rash jumping to conclusions by the the hero and the almost constant second guessing from the heroine. When they are together there is plenty of passion, as well as some lovely tenderness.

Finding out that life doesn't always go the way you planned is the theme here, and it is really quite special to read, and very emotional too. Reading romance is all about fantasy and escapism, but that doesn't mean it can't have a splash of reality involved. Jen, in my opinion, has managed this perfectly.

Highly recommended. 

Thanks to Jen for kindly providing me with a copy of this fantastic book.


Thursday, 17 July 2014

Review... The Rings That Bind - Michelle Smart

The Rings That Bind - Michelle Smart
Mills & Boon Modern
Harlequin UK, 2013
ISBN: 9780263900361

My rating

From the back cover

"On his terms only
The day Rosa agreed to wear Nicolai Baranski's ring she wasn't so foolish as to expect love. Yet nothing could have prepared her for the aching loneliness of her husband's constant indifference-an indifference that proved too much to bear.
Nico is furious- no on turns their back on a Baranski. Rosa has some nerve if she thinks he will just let her walk away. He'll use every sensual trick at this disposal to bring her back, begging for more. And once he's got her where he wants her he'll let her go. But only when he's ready."

*Readers of a more traditional romanace novel nature should pass this book by!*

Let's just get this out of the way first and foremost, shall we? This is not going to be a book for everyone. It pushes buttons, ones that for some people are a deal breaker when it comes to romance novels. Now, I like an ol' traditional style romance (you know the ones - shy untouched virgin heroine vs alpha/kind of a dick hero) as much as the next person. But I also love reading modern books, ones that deal with today's issues and has a voice that I can relate to a lot more. I also like my books to push boundaries, and I got everything I wanted from Michelle Smart here.

One fantastic thing about this book, and there are quite a few fantastic things, is that Michelle has used a really traditional trope - in this case Marriage of Convenience - but has brought it bang up to date and has managed to make this rather out dated idea fit into a modern ideal.

The hero and heroine are both broken characters, but they also seem like very different people. At times I actually did wonder how on earth they could ever find their HEA. But as the story progresses, all the outer layers of the hero and heroine's personalities are stripped away to reveal two very lonely people that really did need each other.

Rosa is a wonderful character; so strong yet so hurt. There is a scene towards the All Is Lost moment where Rosa breaks down and begs Nico to tell her what is wrong with her, why no one ever wants her, which is so emotional and intense it almost had me in tears and I felt this was when I truly learned why Rosa was what she was and did what she did.

There is so much drama in this book and the storytelling, in my opinion, is faultless. I wasn't just told about every high and low, I actually felt them.

The depth of this book surprised me, and I am so glad it did. It is packed full of passion, emotion, joy, and redemption, as well as all the other stuff that makes reading romance so wonderful!

Great stuff, Chellebell!


Monday, 7 July 2014

#ModernTempted... Sex, Lies & Her Impossible Boss - Jennifer Rae

Sex, Lies & Her Impossible Boss - Jennifer Rae
Mills & Boon Modern Tempted
Harlequin UK, 2014
ISBN: 9781472017642

My rating

From the back cover:

"‘There’s no such thing as “just sex”, Cash.’
When the new boss of Faith Harris’s TV station, the famously ruthless and annoyingly gorgeous Cash Anderson, tells her he’ll be cancelling her sex and relationships show she knows she’s in for a fight. She’s worked her silk-clad butt off to get her high ratings, and no man’s going to take them away from her – however hot under the collar he secretly gets her…
But sugar’s better than vinegar any day, so Faith decides to prove to Cash just how meaningful her show really is. The only trouble is, it’s also rather…risqué. And there was enough chemistry between them even before Faith set about proving just how riveting sex can be…!"

I really enjoyed this book, my first from Jennifer Rae. And let me tell you, I was really happy throughout reading this book as it is everything I want and hope to get from the Modern Tempted/KISS line.

The book is capital H hot - I could actually feel my cheeks heating up at certain moments, and my eyebrows wrinkle-inducing-high at others! The story has a lot of fun and quirk included and it is all wrapped up in quite a lovely little love story.

The heroine hosts her own sex and relationships show - great idea although on a few occasions I couldn't quite get the image of the show being a bit like Eurotrash (remember that show?!) out of my head. What I liked most about Faith was that she was so determined to stick up fro herself and prove that she had created something worthwhile whilst showing the narrow minded hero that he was wrong, wrong, wrong about her!

Loved reading the slow build up to their eventual relationship... you know what was really great about this story? The hero and heroine actually spent a lot of time together! A romance novel revelation.

Both Faith and Cash have been hurt by relationships in the past, and Jennifer Rae uses these hurts well. OK, a little more time could have been spent delving a little deeper and exploring this, and had this been a straight up Modern/Presents book then I would have expected that but for the story as it was, I think the balance was just right.

There is an awesome amount of push/pull between Faith and Cash and plenty of sexual tension to keep you interested, trust me. Plus the weird, wacky, and wonderful world of sexual exploration is fabulous to read!

Great job!


With thanks to Flo and the Modern Tempted team at Romance HQ. Sorry I'm so late at posting this review ;-).

Thursday, 5 June 2014

Back in the New York groove...

Hello, hello, hello!

Well what a whirlwind it has been since I last posted, which was far far too long ago, lots going on but most of it boring so I'll bullet point it

  • Crappy day job
  • Puppy time
  • weight loss
  • crappy day job
  • family issues
  • crappy day job
Get the idea?! It's not been an easy few months that's for sure. But... things are getting back on track now. For one I have changed my hours back to part time, my work was consuming my life and that has never been what I have wanted out of a job/career, so I made the decision to step down and cut back to get my life back. Now I have more time to spend with Pete the puppy (yay!!) and the husband of course, more time to spend sewing and doing stuff I like, and more time to spend on reading and writing - two things I love. Believe me, I have missed this blog.

I have also recently returned from a fantastic holiday to my favourite place in the whole world... New York City. There is nothing quite like walking round the city that is so full of life of all types to really bring back your joie de vivre. Everything about this city is so raw and honest that it brought the life out of me again. I loved it. Did lots of shopping, sightseeing, walking, eating, etc!

So, to sum up... I'm back!! I've got lots of blog posts and book reviews coming up soon so watch this space.

Good to see you all again. 

Thursday, 20 February 2014

Meet the Pete...

So, it has been a while (a rather long while) since I last blogged and for that I feel rather ashamed. Although not sorry. You see, I have a reason for it.

And that reason is this little man who came to live with me and the husband in December...

His name is Pete and he's a very energetic little Jack Russell now 4 months old. 

He has truly changed my life. I adore taking him out for long walks (something which has helped me lose quite a bit of weight, along with diet of course!) and having a little thing to take care of and come home to instead of an empty house and work stress.

Of course certain things aren't the best, there is the toilet training but that seems to have been cracked, with the exception of a few 'protest' moments, and the puppy biting, which we're still working on, the total lack of being able to do anything that doesn't revolve around Pete is also draining... but I love him!!

Here's some of Pete's best bits from the day he arrived all tiny to now...


#ModernTempted The Reunion Lie by Lucy King

The Reunion Lie - Lucy King
Mills & Boon Modern Tempted
Harlequin UK, 2014
ISBN: 9780263910742

My Rating

From the back cover:

"It was only meant to be a little white lie...
Inventing a fake fiance was an act of desperation for Zoe Montgomery - a knee-jerk response to her horrifying high school reunion! But now that she's convinced London's most unattainable bachelor to play the part, her little white lie is spiralling out of control. 
Because everyone wants a piece of tycoon Dan Forrester. Including Zoe! Especially once she's seen the view from his bedroom...
This might be a fake engagement, but she's certainly not faking anything else! Now the reunion is over, and Zoe and Dan have convinced the world they're meant to be! But convincing each other? That's a whole different challenge..."

There was something about the back cover blurb that made me think I wouldn't enjoy this book all that much... But I must have been reading something different as I ended up loving this book!

The opening of this book is fantastic, I was utterly absorbed from the word go. Lucy King managed to draw me right into the heroine's feelings, I was feeling as uncomfortable, unconfident, and inadequate as the heroine was at that moment in her private hell of a reunion. I loved the touch that the heroine had only gone to prove a point only to have that point backfire on her!

Then with the heroine's ridiculous attempt at saving face by not only inventing a fantastical fiancé but also pretending the next guy who walked in was him, and quite literally jumping on him, the story became a bit of a farce, in a really good way. Good job that the man took it well, and actually helped with the pretence, oh that was fun to read! I wanted to roll my eyes, but I couldn't.

Lucy had me totally hooked already and the hero and heroine's story was only beginning. There is instant, recognisable chemistry between this pair and I loved that both characters, individually, were so strongly written. The relationship develops slowly and I was really invested in it. What I particularly liked about this story is that the author didn't really on that one big "black moment" (there is one but its not the total focus of the conflict) instead the conflict is clear throughout and the hero and heroine's insecurities slowly chip away at their supposed happiness... Very poignant.

A really enjoyable read. Fun, flirty, sad, and romantic!