#bookreview: Dating You / Hating You by @ChristinaLauren

Format: Paperback
Publisher: Piatkus Books
Published: 18th January 2018
Pages: 368 Pages
Genre: Contemporary, Romance; Chick Lit.

The Blurb
Despite the odds against them from an embarrassing meet-awkward at a mutual friend’s Halloween party, Carter and Evie immediately hit it off. Even the realization that they’re both high-powered agents at competing firms in Hollywood isn’t enough to squash the fire.

But when their two agencies merge—causing the pair to vie for the same position—all bets are off. What could have been a beautiful, blossoming romance turns into an all-out war of sabotage. Carter and Evie are both thirtysomething professionals—so why can’t they act like it?

Can Carter stop trying to please everyone and see how their mutual boss is really playing the game? Can Evie put aside her competitive nature long enough to figure out what she really wants in life? Can their actor clients just be something close to human?

Purchase the book: Amazon UK | Book Depository

The Review

When I added Dating You / Hating You onto Goodreads, I noticed that Christina Lauren the author was listed as two different people. Given that I’ve just spent quite a lot of time reading the book, not once did I realise that it was written by two authors. I mean they may not have written separately, but either way, I did not notice.

I’ll start by saying that I don’t like the whole ‘hate one minute and love the next’ “thing” they had going on. Surely if you don’t like someone, you wouldn’t contemplate having sexual relations with them? Plus, in the beginning, they were getting on ok whilst dressed as Harry Potter characters!

Anyway, enough of that! Dating You / Hating You was steamy, fun and a book that I would highly recommend if you want to feel hot under the collar.

Evie and Carter have a relationship that we all probably want in our lives: powerful, exciting and a little bit of playing games.

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A Book and Tea’s (belated) 2018 goals

Notepad on Desk

Well, aren’t I late on the whole ‘New Year, New Me’ posting? It’s now 11th January and I’m only just posting my goals for 2018. It’s better late than never, I suppose!

Reflecting on 2017…

Let’s just say that 2017 started off absolutely terrible. It’s no secret that I had to take anti-depressants and go to counselling. But, do you know what? It helped me immensely and I feel stronger for having reached rock bottom. The second-half was a different story, though. I married my best friend (cue your sick buckets), got fitter (ran a 10k) and ditched the bad things in my life (new job, etc).

Now, I honestly feel better placed to jump into 2018 and grab it by the metaphorical balls. Admittedly, I still have bad days, but don’t we all? If you ever need to talk to someone, I’m always here. Pop over an email and we can have a chat if you need it! 🙂

My goals for 2018 seem incredibly easy to achieve and that’s just what I wanted. There’s no unnecessary pressure on myself and I can continue to enjoy my favourite hobby, reading and lots of it.

Goals for 2018

1. Read 50 books
Last year, I read 40 books in the 2017 reading challenge. Naturally, I was a little disappointed with this, yet the 40 books I did read were bloody amazing, so I’m certainly not going to complain. My favourite books were (click image for review):

East of Hounslow Book Cover Sweetpea Book Cover The Breakdown Book Cover

I’ve provisionally suggested a goal of 50 books to read this year. How many have you set for yourself?

2. Devour my TBR
Let’s be honest here, we’re all a slave to the TBR list, aren’t we? Usually, we don’t even get to look at it and it just secretly grows in our spare bedrooms.

At the moment, I very rarely read books that I’ve purchased myself or been given as gifts and I’d like to change this. I am so grateful to authors and publishers for sending me review copies, but sometimes I feel overwhelmed by it all and just want to read things that I fancy. So, that’s what I’m going to do! There’s not even going to be a process behind it, I’m gonna twirl near my bookcases and randomly choose from my selection.

3. Blog more often
Who is the worst book blogger, ever? *Raises hand*. Ok, so maybe ‘worst’ and ‘ever’ are a bit harsh. However, I definitely need to post more often and more importantly, different things! I’m a Digital Marketer by day, so I should know better. I love writing book reviews, but I also love writing new pieces of content that strikes the attention of people. I’ve got a two week trip to America, so I’ll use this time to become friends with a notebook, a pen and a mind full of ideas. Watch this space!

4. Cook more
If you follow me on Twitter, you may notice that I often post tweets about food. I do usually cook most meals from scratch with fresh ingredients, but I definitely need to cook more. I’ve decided to try one new recipe a week to keep things fresh. Expect to see lots of pictures on Twitter.

What goals have you given yourself for 2018?

#bookreview: The Arrangement by Sonya Lalli (@saskinthecity)

Format: Paperback
Publisher: Orion Books
Published: 10th August 2017
Pages: 352 Pages
Genre: Contemporary, Romance; Chick Lit.

The Blurb
You can’t choose who you fall for…but it helps if there’s a list

Raina, twenty-nine, is still unmarried much to the dismay of her family who thinks that by now she should have been married in a dream Indian wedding. The pressure to settle down reaches new heights when her grandmother, Nani, decides to play matchmaker in order to find her the perfect man.

Eager not to disappoint her family, Raina goes along with the plan but when the love of her life returns – ex-boyfriend Dev – she’s forced to confront her true feelings and decide what she really wants.

Purchase the book: Amazon UK | Book Depository

The Review

Raina is twenty-nine and “unlucky” in love (or so her grandmother, Nani, suggests). Raina is fine the way she is and is comfortable being a career girl. However, she’s handed a list of potential suitors to date and Raina feels obliged to give it a go for her Nani’s sake.

You’re taken on a (short) journey through Raina’s dating scene with other life situations thrown in there for good measure. Her best friend Shay is getting married, she isn’t sure her job is right for her anymore and she also tells a white lie that might just ruffle a few feathers.

Her collection of supportive family and friends definitely made The Arrangement a fun and emotional read. However, I didn’t enjoy the inclusion of the ex-boyfriend, Dev. Her besotted attitude towards him was a little annoying and I often wanted to punch him in the face.

It was refreshing to read about a female character, of a similar age to myself, that is comfortable (well to a degree) with being single and happy. Yes, I know I’m married, but it took me a long time to get here. Women shouldn’t be judged based on their marital status and more so when they’re forced to go on dates just to keep people sweet. It’s fine to want a career and do what you want when you want. Girl Power!

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#bookreview: Happy Days of the Grump by Tuomas Kyrö

About the Book

Format: Paperback
Publisher: Manilla
Published: 21st September 2017
Pages: 252 Pages
Genres: Humour, Translated, Contemporary.

The Blurb

Everybody recognises the Grump, everybody knows a grump. And maybe there’s a little grump in every one of us…

The Grump, at eighty years old, is more focused on death than life; building his own coffin and keen to write his will in ink – who can trust technology, after all? – he knows that everything was much better in the old days.

But when the Grump finds himself in hospital in a semi-conscious state after falling down his basement steps, his life passes before his eyes. Thinking of the people closest to him and reflecting on the changes society has brought about, he realises he must come to terms with the cards life has dealt him.

With wry humour and sharp observations on family and relationships, The Happy Days of the Grump is a black comedy, sure to bring a smile to the face of even the grumpiest among us.

Purchase the book: Amazon UK | Book Depositry

The Review

I read Happy Days of the Grump whilst travelling to and from London, during November. The fact I read it so quickly proves just how great this book was!

Meet ‘the Grump’ an 80-year-old gentleman who wants to tell you his story. You learn about all the things he isn’t happy about, possibly the reason why he’s called the ‘grump’. The main aspect of the story is that he wants to build his own coffin and is only going to write his will using traditional ink pen and paper.

Take a moment to imagine a family relative whom talks about ‘the good old days’ a lot and likes to compare the things you do now with the things they did in the past. I can sense you rolling your eyes at the realisation of what I mean. However, as much as you want to scream ’embrace the change’, I do think he had a point – in some places, anyway. Don’t be put off by this, the grump’s comical ways and blunt nature add texture and make you feel warmth towards him.

In one chapter, he mentions how he believes people are so used to taking photos of everything that they don’t step back and take in the situation with their own eyes. That got me thinking. Let’s just say I’m guilty of taking pictures of my food and posting it on Instagram (I know!). I wouldn’t say I’m a Selfie Queen, but I could probably leave my phone in my pocket a few times and take in my surroundings.

The grump brings you a scenario: you’re only allowed to take six photos for the rest of your life, what six things would you choose to take a photo of? I can think of four. For me, they would be a family portrait during a holiday in Florida, my Graduation, a picture of my friends and I, and my Wedding Day. Just two left! What photos would you take?

If you’re after a quick-read filled with nostalgia this is the book for you!

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#bookreview: It Started with a Tweet by @AnnaBell_writes

Are you a slave to your mobile phone? Wait until you see what happens to Daisy in It Started with a Tweet. Join me on the #blogtour!

About the Book

It started with a tweet Format: E-book (Kindle)
Published: 7th December 2017
Publisher: Bonnier Zaffre
Pages: 416 Pages
Genre: Contemporary, Chick Lit, Romance.

The Blurb

Can Daisy Hobson log off for love…?

Could you survive a digital detox? This hilarious new romantic comedy from the author of The Bucket List to Mend a Broken Heart is perfect for fans of Lucy Diamond and Sophie Kinsella.

Daisy Hobson lives her whole life online. A marketing manager by day, she tweets her friends, Instagrams every meal and arranges (frankly, appalling) dates on Tinder. But when her social media obsession causes her to make a catastrophic mistake at work, Daisy finds her life going into free-fall…

Her sister Rosie thinks she has the answer to all of Daisy’s problems – a digital detox in a remote cottage in Cumbria, that she just happens to need help doing up. Soon, too, Daisy finds herself with two welcome distractions: sexy French exchange-help Alexis, and Jack, the brusque and rugged man-next-door, who keeps accidentally rescuing her.

But can Daisy, a London girl, ever really settle into life in a tiny, isolated village? And, more importantly, can she survive without her phone?

Purchase the book: Amazon UK

The Review

A story about a city girl that lives in the modern world full of wondrous technology.

As the title says It Started with a Tweet and for Daisy it really did. Daisy has two Twitter accounts: a personal one and one for work. She posts an embarrassing tweet, and can you guess which account she posted it on? Yep, you probably guessed right – her work account. Cue her getting fired from her job and being upset with the disaster that is her life. However, her sister takes her on a device detox in the middle of nowhere. Hell? I’d suggest so, but does everyone else think the same?

Everyone can relate to Daisy and her addictive ways. I do spend a lot of time on my phone, but I wouldn’t say I was addicted. Others may disagree – which is probably not a good thing! We live in a world where technology rules our lives and sometimes taking a break will do us good.

Brilliantly funny and easily relatable. Daisy is a great character with her quick wit, overdramatic ways and her ability to know when she’s wrong. She’s someone I’d love to be friends with because I could be myself and not have to worry. I would tell her to stop using her phone all the time, though!

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#bookreview: East of Hounslow by @KhurrumRahman

Today, I’m part of the #EastofHounslow blog tour in association with HQ Stories! Here you’ll find my thoughts and feelings on Khurrum Rahman’s debut novel in my review below.

About the Book

East of Hounslow book coverFormat: Paperback
Published: 30th November 2017
Publisher: HQ Stories
Pages: 384 Pages
Genres: Contemporary

The Blurb
Meet Jay.
Small-time dealer.
Accidental jihadist.
The one man who can save us all?

Javid – call him Jay – is a dope dealer living in West London. He goes to the mosque on Friday, and he’s just bought his pride and joy – a BMW. He lives with his mum, and life seems sweet. But his world is about to turn upside-down. Because MI5 have been watching him, and they think he’s just the man they need for a delicate mission. One thing’s for sure: now he’s a long way East of Hounslow, Jay’s life will never be the same again. With the edgy humour of Four Lions and the pulse-racing tension of Nomad, East of Hounslow is the first in a series of thriller starring Jay Qasim.

Purchase the book: Amazon UK | Book Depository

The Review

What can I say? The East of Hounslow was brilliant. A contemporary piece of fiction that screams dark humour and more.

Javid Qasim, or Jay as he is better known, lives in Hounslow and is a small-time drug dealer. On a Friday he attends prayers and for the rest of the week, it’s all about sex, drugs and alcohol. However, his exploits don’t go unnoticed as MI5 want Jay as their new recruit. This petty criminal is enlisted as an undercover agent asked to spy on a possible Islamist cell operating in Hounslow.

Jay, at first, was a character that I felt like I wasn’t going to connect with. However, his honest humour and energy made me warm to his qualities. Yes, he’s committing an offence, but he’s not a malicious person. It was also interesting to learn about his culture and religion. Khurrum Rahman includes phrases and events that anyone who doesn’t belong to the faith would normally not hear about.

The story is packed full of energy, twists and turns, plus a mind-blowing ending that leaves you wanting more.

I recently found out that the East of Hounslow is book one in the series – I cannot wait to read more!

East of Hounslow blog tour image

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