WWW Wednesday: 11th March 2020

The WWW Wednesday meme is hosted by Sam @ Taking on a World of Words and is a great way to do a weekly update on what you’ve been reading and what you have planned.

WWW Wednesday

To take part all you have to do is answer the following three questions:

  • What are you currently reading?
  • What did you recently finish reading?
  • What do you think you’ll read next?

Currently ReadingDoctor Dearest

After the trauma of the book I finished on Monday evening (see below) I needed something a lot lighter and fluffier so am currently reading Doctor Dearest by R.S. Grey. I do enjoy Grey’s books and I love a medical romance so this is working out well as a reading palate cleanser.

On audio I’m still listening to East of Croydon by Sue Perkins although have to confess I haven’t made a huge amount of progress. Still enjoying it, it’s funny and entertaining and Perkins makes for a great narrator so hopefully I’ll do better over the next week.


Recently Finished

The Heiress Effect (Brothers Sinister, #2)Yes No Maybe SoI Am Dust

Despite being back at work and having quite a bit on outside of work I somehow managed to finish three books last week all of which I very much enjoyed for very different reasons.

  • The Heiress Effect by Courtney Milan – I couldn’t resist reading on in this series after finishing prequel The Governess Affair last week and it was great to catch up with a lot of the characters. I did find it a little on the long side but still a good historical romance and I loved that the characters were a little different from the norm
  • Yes, No, Maybe So by Becky Albertalli and Aisha Saeed – I’ve had this on my NetGalley shelf for a while and despite looking forward to it have been putting it off due to my avoidance of all things YA. Turned out I shouldn’t have put it off as I liked it a lot. It was a little more political than I expected (and the authors don’t hold back in their views of the American government) but I loved that and really liked the characters. The romance is pretty cute too ❤
  • I Am Dust by Louise Beech – Wow, where do I start with this book? I loved Beech’s previous book Call Me Star Girl but this may have it beat. It’s original, it’s emotional and the writing is just mesmerizing. I loved everything about it, even the fact it left me in bits.

Reading Next

I haven’t been doing very well at predicting what kind of book I’ll pick up next but it should probably be something a little darker. I recently got my hands on advance copies of M.R. Carey’s new book, The Book of Koli and have Helen Callaghan’s Night Falls, Still Missing so might go for one of them. I’m a big fan of both authors.

Night Falls, Still MissingThe Book of Koli (Rampart Trilogy, #1)

Have you read any of the books on my list this week? Any others you’d recommend? As always please feel free to leave comments and links below.

Happy Reading 🙂

WWW Wednesday: 4th March 2020

The WWW Wednesday meme is hosted by Sam @ Taking on a World of Words and is a great way to do a weekly update on what you’ve been reading and what you have planned.

WWW Wednesday

To take part all you have to do is answer the following three questions:

  • What are you currently reading?
  • What did you recently finish reading?
  • What do you think you’ll read next?

Currently Reading

I Am Dust

I started reading  I Am Dust by Louise Beech on Sunday and am making pretty good progress with it. This is only my second book by the author but I’m already a big fan. Every book is completely different but the writing remains ridiculously good. I Am Dust is a thriller/ghost story so very dark and a little bit spooky. I am absolutely loving it.

On audio I’m still listening to East of Croydon by Sue Perkins. As one of the least adventurous people in the world I am finding Perkins ventures into Cambodia and Vietnam fascinating and slightly terrifying.


Recently Finished

Deep Blue Trouble (Lori Anderson, #2)Just As You AreRomancing Mr Bridgerton (Bridgertons, #4)The Governess Affair (Brothers Sinister, #0.5)

I’d been reading lots of serious and dark books over the last few weeks so was in need of something lighter and as you can probably tell by the covers above the four books finished over the last week have been much more colourful

  • Deep Blue Trouble by Steph Broadribb – the second book in the Lori Anderson series about a bounty hunter was a fast paced, action packed read and I really, really enjoyed it. I was slightly missing JT in this one but there were some great new characters and a lot of twists and turns to keep me hooked
  • Just As You Are by Kate Mathieson – this Bridget Jones inspired contemporary is about a 30 something woman returning home after travelling for years. She has a plan to settle down but when do things ever go to plan. It’s a fun read and there were a few bits which had me laughing out loud. You can read my full review here.
  • Romancing Mr Bridgerton by Julia Quinn – I love a historical romance so I very much enjoyed this book by Julia Quinn. It may be rather predictable but it was a light and fluffy read that was perfect for a lazy morning avoiding the storms.
  • The Governess Affair by Courtney Milan – More historical romance, this time from new to me author Milan. I’ve been curious about her books and this novella was free on Amazon so I thought why not. It may be short but it’s convinced me I need to read more by this author.

Reading Next

As I’ve been overloading on fluffy romances it’s probably about time for a change in genre. I’m on a mission this month to reduce my NetGalley shelf so I think I’m going to go for one of the fantasy or thriller reads from it.

Our Little CrueltiesA Good FatherThe Court of Miracles (Court of Miracles, #1)The Night Country (The Hazel Wood, #2)

Have you read any of the books on my list this week? Any others you’d recommend? As always please feel free to leave comments and links below.

Happy Reading ❤

Review: Mirage by Somaiya Daud

Mirage (Mirage, #1)
Mirage
by Somaiya Daud is probably not the most original story but there’s definitely something magical and unique about Daud’s writing and the world she creates. I found it an engaging read and am already looking forward to the sequel.


WHAT’S IT ABOUT

In a star system dominated by the brutal Vathek empire, eighteen-year-old Amani is a dreamer. She dreams of what life was like before the occupation; she dreams of writing poetry like the old-world poems she adores; she dreams of receiving a sign from Dihya that one day, she, too, will have adventure, and travel beyond her isolated moon.

But when adventure comes for Amani, it is not what she expects: she is kidnapped by the regime and taken in secret to the royal palace, where she discovers that she is nearly identical to the cruel half-Vathek Princess Maram. The princess is so hated by her conquered people that she requires a body double, someone to appear in public as Maram, ready to die in her place.

As Amani is forced into her new role, she can’t help but enjoy the palace’s beauty—and her time with the princess’ fiancé, Idris. But the glitter of the royal court belies a world of violence and fear. If Amani ever wishes to see her family again, she must play the princess to perfection…because one wrong move could lead to her death.


MY THOUGHTS

I have to confess I’ve been a little bit down on YA fantasy and sci fi lately so despite receiving an advance copy of this from NetGalley I kept putting off reading it. I thought it’d be the same story I’d read a million times before however, while there are a lot of similarities to other stories, there is definitely something special about this and it was not at all what I was expecting.

I should probably have read the synopsis properly before picking this book up as I had no idea it was sci fi. From the cover I thought maybe some kind of Moroccan inspired fantasy, I did not anticipate intergalactic travel and droids but actually despite these elements this book reads much more like fantasy. It may just be the magic of Daud’s writing (there’s no magic in the story), the beautiful and vivid descriptions, the romance and the intrigue but this never felt like sci fi and I was perfectly happy with that.

The story is a familiar one, main character Amani is taken away from her home and family by the Vathek (an alien race who have invaded and colonized her home world) and held captive within the palace. She bears an uncanny resemblance to the cruel and unpopular Princess Maram so is tasked with acting as her double. Terrified and with no other option Amani has to learn how to be Princess Maram so convincingly that not even the Princess’s family, friends or fiance can tell the difference.

This isn’t a fast paced or action packed story but a slower paced character driven story and I liked that a lot. We follow Amani as she’s taken from everything she knows and loves and forced into a strange and violent world where one mistake could mean her death. It’s an engaging read and Amani is very easy to like. She admits herself that she’s a bit of a dreamer and it is her faith and belief in her people’s religion and mythology that gives her the hope that she can get through anything. She’s not physically strong, she has no special powers or abilities but she still shows bravery and a determination to overcome all of the challenges thrown her way. I’m sure this will make her incredibly relateable to a lot of people.

I also loved how her character develops over the course of the story. Forced to pretend to be someone completely different she starts to question herself, she feels like she’s losing herself in the character she’s pretending to be and has to fight to hang on to what makes her unique, finding a strength she didn’t know she had.

There is as is compulsory in all YA novels a romance, this time a forbidden one between Amani and Princess Miram’s fiance Idris, and I very much enjoyed how it slowly developed. It’s not insta love but instead a connection forged through similar histories and an understanding or each other. Idris was not my favourite character, he comes across a little weak and naive but I did like how they were together.

The star of the story was however Maram. I love a good villain and Maram fits the bill perfectly. She starts out seemingly nasty, vindictive and cruel but she’s much more complex than first appearances would suggest. As we find out more of her background and she softens a little I found myself feeling some sympathy for her. She’s very isolated and alone, desperate to prove herself a worthy heir to her cruel father’s empire by the only means she knows how. She’s unpredictable and it’s impossible to tell how she’ll react in any situation.

I also absolutely adored the world the author created, the descriptions make everything feel vivid and rich and I loved how the mythology was woven into the story. There are some heavy themes running throughout, oppression, colonialism, the stripping away of heritage and tradition and I thought the author handled them well.

As the first book in a series I thought it was pretty much perfect and I look forward to book two.

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with an advance copy. This has not influenced my review

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Review: Just As You Are by Kate Mathieson

Just As You Are by Kate R. Mathieson

Taking its inspiration from Bridget Jones Diary, Just As You Are by Kate R. Mathieson is a warm and funny story about trying to settle down and meet the one. It took a bit of time for the story to get going but once it did I found myself completely hooked, hoping that main character Emma would get everything she wanted. It’s not the most original or memorable story but it certainly cheered me up on a rainy February afternoon.


WHAT’S IT ABOUT

Emma Londstown spent her twenties travelling, and now needs to make up for lost time. All her friends are married, having babies, and settling into domestic bliss. Determined to catch up, Emma plunges herself headfirst into the online dating world, and discovers single men in Sydney are one of three things; tossers, illiterate, or nerds that work in IT (she must be sending out subtle hints in binary code.)

This story, set in the bustling city of Sydney, is a humorous, light-hearted novel for every woman who has ever wanted to find The One. With a clear underlying message – be yourself.


MY THOUGHTS

As you can possibly guess from the title, Just As You Are is a little bit of an homage to Bridget Jones Diary. It’s a warm and funny story about working out what you want from life, accepting who you are and following your dreams. It took me a little while to warm up to this story but once I did I found it a laugh out loud funny and enjoyable read.

I do think the synopsis is a little bit misleading as this isn’t really a light and fluffy read full of funny stories about online dating (there isn’t actually any online dating at all) but instead goes much wider than that. Main character Emma Londstown is returning to Sydney after years spent travelling the globe. After much nagging from her Mum and feeling left out by her friends who are all married with children she decides it’s time to settle down. She comes up with a three part plan, 1) get a job, 2) find a house, 3) meet the guy she’ll spend the rest of her life with.

Parts 1 and 2 of her plan come together quite quickly as, after a great deal of creativity with her CV, she lands a job at a top PR firm and her mother finds her a cheap (albeit dingy and damp) place to live. Part 3 however proves more difficult as the crazy hours she ends up working and limited options in the Sydney dating scene make finding Mr Right seem like an impossible task. Emma starts to wonder if she made a mistake in throwing away the number of the guy she spent an incredible night with in Fiji.

There is definitely something very Bridget Jones like about Emma. She’s constantly worrying over her weight, her clothes, her makeup. She feels left behind and lonely as her friends all seem to be focused on their own families and they can’t hang out the way they used to. She drinks too much has a terrible diet and is killing herself trying to pretend that she’s something she’s not (confident, qualified career woman who knows what she’s doing). It’s tough to read at times and incredibly frustrating as a lot of her problems are those of her own making. She’s lied her way into a job she’s in no way qualified for and keeps on lying even when well out of her depth.

Despite this, there is something relateable and likeable about her. Yes, she blunders about, says and does the wrong thing but her heart is in the right place and when it comes down to it she’s willing to work and to fix her mistakes. She’s funny and loyal and trying to be what everyone thinks she should be. I may have been frustrated with her but I did want her to succeed.

I also very much wanted her to get together with Nick as it’s clear from the start that they’re absolutely perfect for each other. Even in that one night in Fiji they have an instant connection and the scenes where they were together were the highlight of the book for me. I loved the banter between them and the awkwardness and the sparks.

So why you may be asking if I loved this so much did I only give three stars, well, in addition to there being a lot to love there were things I thought could have been better. Firstly it’s pretty slow to get going, for the first third of the book not very much happens.

I also felt like much more could have been made of the secondary characters. Other than Emma and Nick the others feel a little stereotyped and don’t make much of an impression. There’s the overbearing mother and under the thumb father, the maneating coworker, the gay best friend and the overly demanding boss. I don’t necessarily mind a stereotype but it also seemed like many of these characters had a big part then disappeared never to be seen again. Emma’s parents for example disappear as soon as she moves out of the family home. I found it odd too that Emma doesn’t spend any time with her best friend’s families.

Finally I think the story could have gone a bit deeper and had a little more emotion. Yes it made me laugh but instead of spending so much time on Emma’s job it could have dug a little more into why she felt like she had to conform. It is obvious that she’s lonely, she admits it herself, but I didn’t feel it.

Anyway, overall I thought this was a really fun read and I’d recommend to anyone looking for a light holiday (or rainy afternoon) read.

I received an advance copy of this from the publisher via Netgalley

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

WWW Wednesday: 26th February 2020

The WWW Wednesday meme is hosted by Sam @ Taking on a World of Words and is a great way to do a weekly update on what you’ve been reading and what you have planned.

WWW Wednesday

To take part all you have to do is answer the following three questions:

  • What are you currently reading?
  • What did you recently finish reading?
  • What do you think you’ll read next?

Currently ReadingDeep Blue Trouble (Lori Anderson, #2)

I picked up Deep Blue Trouble by Steph Broadribb on Monday and am flying through it, it’s just sooo good. It’s the second in a series featuring bounty hunter Lori Anderson and this time she’s hunting a killer who has escaped from prison but the stakes have never been higher. Lori is fast becoming a favourite character of mine and there is so much action it’s hard to put it down.

On audio I’ve started listening to East of Croydon by Sue Perkins as my hold came in at the library. It’s sort of part memoir, part travel guide as it follows Sue as she ventures well out of her comfort zone. It’s very early days but so far very, very funny.


Recently Finished

Overkill (Sam Shephard, #1)Worst Case ScenarioMirage (Mirage, #1)

Three books finished again this week, the first was Overkill by Vanda Symon which follows a New Zealand detective investigating a murder in her home town. It was a pretty enjoyable and easy read but I do feel like the main character was a little unprofessional at times. It probably didn’t help that I also stumbled across a review with a fairly major spoiler i.e. who the killer was (why do people do this?).

It was the Orenda Roadshow on Monday night so I decided to try and squeeze in Worst Case Scenario by Orenda author Helen Fitzgerald before it. It’s an absolutely brilliant read. The main character is a menopausal middle aged woman who works as a probation officer but has decided she’s sick of it all and is going to resign so goes a little bit rogue. It’s funny, it’s touching and it does not go where you expect. I really, really liked it.

Final book finished was Mirage by Somaiya Daud, an advance copy of which I got from NetGalley a while ago and only just got around to reading. I’ve been struggling with YA fantasy / sci fi lately so wasn’t sure I wanted to read anything in this genre (the stories are becoming repetitive) but I ended up enjoying this. It reads like a fantasy but is really a sci fi, although it’s very light on sci fi too (there’s some space travel and droids in the background and that’s about it). The characters are however intriguing and while I have read similar stories I liked the writing style and the Moroccan inspired setting. I’d definitely be interested in reading the next book in the series.


Reading Next

I bought a couple of new books on Monday night, Ash Mountain and I Am Dust, which I’m really keen to read as soon as possible but I feel like a lot of my recent reads have been pretty dark and I need something a little lighter. I’m thinking I may pick up Pretending by Holly Bourne or Beach Read by Emily Henry both of which are on my NetGalley shelf.

Ash MountainI Am DustBeach ReadPretending

Have you read any of the books on my list this week? Any others you’d recommend? As always please feel free to leave comments and links below.

Happy Reading ❤

TTT: Ten Book Characters I’d Follow on Social Media

Top Ten Tuesday is a bookish meme that was started by The Broke and Bookish and moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January 2018.  It was born of a love of lists (something I share) and each week participants come up with a list of ten(ish) things based on a theme.

The theme for this weeks Top Ten Tuesday is the ten book characters you’d follow on social media. Initially I thought this would be really easy but it turns out I read a lot more crime/thriller and horror books than I thought and I do not want that popping up on my social media. Anyway, after a scour through some of my recent reads I’ve managed to come up with a nice mix of weird conspiracy theorists, humour, travel and food which I think will cover off most of my interests 🙂


  1. Nolan Moore from The Anomaly Files by Michael Rutger – As someone who loves a good conspiracy theory I think rogue archaeologist Nolan’s YouTube channel and Instagram would be right up my street.  I am fascinated by unsolved mysteries and urban legends so I would definitely watch his documentaries and no doubt wander down a rabbit hole investigation of my own.
  2. Johanna Morrigan from How To Build A Girl by Caitlin Moran – Wild, witty, well read, feminist who’s adventurous and not afraid to follow her heart. She also works as a music journalist so I think you could expect her to have her pulse on the music scene and also be up on current issues. My only concern is she’s a little obsessive about a certain musician so the whole thing could turn into a massive love letter to him.
  3. Tiffy Moore from The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary – She works in a quirky publishing house, do I need to say anymore? OK, she’s also a really positive, energetic, upbeat person who’s pretty creative. I think her Pinterest and Insta would be a wonderful mix of crafts and books.
  4. Lara Jean from To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han – You just know her Insta and/or Pinterest would be full of baking and quirky outfits and I am very interested in cakes.
  5. Rhiannon Lewis from Sweetpea by C.J. Skuse – I can’t be the only one who thinks Rhiannon’s social media would be hilarious. I mean ok she’s a serial killer who has a daily kill list (mostly just people who’ve annoyed her that day) but a lot of her observations are spot on and so funny. There’d also no doubt be many, many pictures of her cute dog.
  6. Darcy Barrett from 99 Percent Mine by Sally Thorne – She’s a photographer undertaking a major remodel of a cottage she inherits from her Grandmother. I love property makeover shows so think this would be wonderful.
  7. Nana from The Travelling Cat Chronicles by Hiro Arikawa – I already follow a few cats on Twitter/Insta  and would love to follow Nana on his adventure across Japan. I think there’d be lots of funny observations and many cute cat pictures.
  8. Rosemary Harper from The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers – Some more adventuring, this time across the universe on board a ship full of unusual characters. I would love to experience this alongside Rosemary who’s seeing a lot of it for the first time.
  9. Felicity Montague from The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy by Mackenzi Lee – So probably not much in the way of social media in Felicity’s time but if there was I would love to follow her on her adventure across Europe. Sea voyages, pirates, dragons and no doubt a lot about her passion for medicine.
  10. Legend from the Caraval series by Stephanie Garber – I think I need a little more magic and mystery in my life and there’s no one more magical or mysterious than Legend. I’m thinking this would be full of riddles, puzzles and pictures of impossible things.

So those are the ten book characters I’d follow on social media. There’s probably a whole lot more I could have picked (I was very tempted to add Luna Lovegood) but thought I’d stick to some fairly recent reads. Would any of these make your list or is there anyone I’ve missed you think would have a brilliant social media presence.

Feel free to leave comments below and links to your top ten’s.

WWW Wednesday: 19th February 2020

The WWW Wednesday meme is hosted by Sam @ Taking on a World of Words and is a great way to do a weekly update on what you’ve been reading and what you have planned.

WWW Wednesday

To take part all you have to do is answer the following three questions:

  • What are you currently reading?
  • What did you recently finish reading?
  • What do you think you’ll read next?

Currently Reading

Overkill (Sam Shephard, #1)

Things have finally eased off a little at work so I’m finding a little more time and a little more focus for reading which is great as my TBR is completely out of control. It’s only a few days till the Orenda Roadshow stops in Glasgow so I’ve decided to pick up Overkill by Vanda Symon, one of the authors appearing. It’s making a nice change to find a novel set in New Zealand, I seem to mostly read UK/US set books so it’s great to venture to an area of the world I’ve always wanted to visit.

On audio I’m still kind of listening to Before the Devil Breaks You by Libba Bray. I say kind of as I haven’t actually listened to anything over the last week. I’ve been having some car issues (the battery keeps going flat) so I’ve been keeping the radio (and as much other stuff as possible) off.


Recently Finished

One in a MillionCall Me Star GirlUndercover Bromance (Bromance Book Club, #2)

Three books finished again this week, the first was backlist book One in a Million by Lindsay Kelk. I do like Kelk’s books and this was no exception. It’s loosely based on My Fair Lady but with a social media slant and PR guru Annie Higgins makes a bet she can make anyone famous on social media. It’s a funny and sweet story and was just what I was needing.

The second book read Call Me Star Girl by Louise Beech was definitely not a light and fluffy read but wow it was good. It’s dark and disturbing and I don’t think there was a single likeable character in the whole thing but there was something addictive about it. It draws you in completely and is one of those stories where you have no idea where it’ll go. I’m going to have to read more books by Beech now.

After Call Me Star Girl I had to switch back to something a lot lighter so went on a binge read of Undercover Bromance by Lyssa Kay Adams. This is the follow up to Bromance Bookclub and is such a fun read. I love an enemies to lovers story so this was perfect. My only gripe is that it seemed to lose the bookclub aspect I loved so much in the first book.


Reading Next

I’d really like to try and squeeze in another Orenda book or two prior to the roadshow so I’m thinking I’ll pick up A Dark Matter or Little Siberia next. I loved both authors’ previous books. My NetGalley shelf has however also gotten a lot little out of control so I should maybe do something about that, particularly as I managed to snag a couple of my most anticipated reads

A Dark MatterLittle SiberiaHe Started ItThe Girl and the Stars (Book of the Ice, #1)

Have you read any of the books on my list this week? Any others you’d recommend? As always please feel free to leave comments and links below.

Happy Reading ❤