Cover Lust #63 – The Slow Regard of Silent Things

Cover Lust #63 – The Slow Regard of Silent Things by Patrick Rothfuss

the slow regard of silent things

Tiny, tiny picture! But lovely cover. I was fortunate enough to win this, and was so excited because I’ve wanted to read something by Patrick Rothfuss ever since I heard an interview with him on a podcast where he was really engaging and interesting. It was that long ago, I can’t even remember what the podcast was…

Rothfuss says this isn’t the best place to start with his world, but I accidentally read book 2s all the time without reading book 1 first, it’s a particular talent of mine… One of these days I’ll learn to research books I request for a review a little better, and not just be drawn in by the shiny, but in the meantime, I will continue to hone my ability to slot into a narrative part way through.

I love the hint of the magical in this – the soft purple glow, the bright flowers and the hint of curl on the font all add to the mystical impression. So pretty.

What covers are you lusting after this week?

Review: The Return by Jennifer L. Armentrout

the returnTitle: The Return

Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout

Series: Titan #1

Genre: Paranormal Romance

Summary (from Goodreads)

The Fates are cackling their bony asses off…

It’s been a year since Seth made the deal with the gods that pledged his life to them. And so far, the jobs they’ve given him have been violent and bloody–which is kind of all right with him. But now Apollo has something else in mind for Seth. He’s got to play protector while keeping his hands and fingers off, and for someone who really has a problem with restraint, this new assignment might be the most challenging yet.

Josie has no idea what this crazy hot guy’s deal might be, but it’s a good bet that his arrival means the new life she started after leaving home is about to be thrown into an Olympian-sized blender turned up to puree. Either Josie is going insane or a nightmare straight out of ancient myth is gunning for her.

But it might be the unlikely attraction simmering between her and the golden-eyed, secret-keeping Seth that may prove to be the most dangerous thing of all.

Because history has once again been flipped to repeat.

Review

It took me a little while to get in to this one, but once I’d got past the first few chapters, I was hooked. I think it was the use of ‘mad skillz’ and ‘Holy Hottie McHotters’ in the first couple of chapters that totally threw me out of the narrative.

The alternating first person narrative made this easy to read – both characters are engaging, snarky and their perspectives are littered with pop culture gags. They are very different perspectives as well, Seth all brooding and sharp tongued, while Josie is a little more naive and kindly. As a romantic pairing they fizzed with chemistry.

And unlike most romances, Armentrout keeps the ‘will-they-won’t-they’ thing going almost all the way to the end, which means this is erotica-lite, but with plenty of longing gazes and lusty thoughts about certain parts of the anatomy.

The story going on in the background was pretty interesting too. There was a chapter that was pretty much ‘this is what happened in the books before, and this is what you need to know to make sense of this one’ but that aside, it was separate enough from the Covenant series to stand alone and be enjoyable alone. And the stakes are really high, with Titans and Gods and their super-powered offspring running around. I must admit, I’m a sucker for anything Greek Mythology, so I was loving all that stuff.

Overall, this wasn’t quite good enough to make me want to go straight to Amazon and order Armentrout’s entire back catalogue, but it was certainly good enough to ensure I’ll be keeping my eye out for her next book, and maybe tracking down her past ones at the library.

Review: 3.5/5

5 Things I Got For My Birthday

So, I wrote about what I wanted to get – only semi-seriously – and was delighted to have two of the things ticked off my list. I was bought the dress and given a voucher for Cineworld to spend on Jurassic World tickets. So excited about that!! I might have to wear the dress to go see it.

Here are some other things I got:

1. A New Pair of Pyjamas

From the Boyfriend’s family – they are super cosy, but light at the same time. Great for these in-between nights where the weather can’t quite decide how it’s going to play out.

02250177_12. This Jacket

The Boyfriend’s family also gave me a voucher for Debenhams, which I spent on a shopping trip with my mum. She paid the rest of the balance, so it’s a joint gift from both sets of parents!

I’ve been looking for a nice jacket for a while. I have a few that have been given to me, or that I’ve bought for work, and they’re either not very fashionable (in the work jacket case) or not a perfect fit. This is a lovely fit and it’s the sort of thing that can dress up or down. It’s perfect for the weddings I have coming up in the next couple of months and will go really nicely with some of the new dresses I’ve bought lately.

3. Parasite by Mira Grantshopping

Carole Heidi knows me too well, and got me this – which I’ve been dying to read for ages. I cleared a space for it on my bookshelf and it will sit there for a month or two while I get round to it, but it will be bumped up the pile as soon as possible.

I expect this will freak me out as much as the Feed trilogy did, so if I take to twitter in the near future mewling in terror, you’ll know why.

4. New Angel Wing Earrings

I pretty much cried when my last pair of angel wing earrings finally fell apart after being worn to death. They were my favourite, and I wore them all the time. Too much, in the end, and bits started to fall off them, and the metal started to corrode.

Now I have a brand new shiny pair to wear to death! Thanks again to Carole Heidi.

5. A picture of all the things my brother wants for his birthday

Because apparently four year olds don’t understand the concept of other people’s birthdays. It was an amazing picture though – my brother is a talented artist! He wants a marvel t-shirt and a hat. And some other things that he hasn’t unwrapped yet.

Q is for Quentin Blake

cbaq

Quentin Blake’


Like most people, I imagine, I was introduced to Quentin Blake’s lively, stylised illustrations via the works of Roald Dahl. We had a massive Roald Dahl collection, and each of the gruesome and humorous stories was perfectly complemented by Blake’s artwork.

matilda

I loved the scribbly quality of the drawings, and how they seemed to capture the essence and the energy of Dahl’s storytelling so perfectly. Whenever I saw a Dahl book that didn’t come with Blake’s illustrations, it didn’t feel right somehow.

bfg

It makes me very glad that the new reprints of the books still keep the original illustrations. They’re so intricately intertwined in my memory, it’s impossible to think of one without the other.

james and the giant peach

Of course, Blake does illustrate other work, and his own work, and in these instances his illustrations are still fantastic, still full of fizz and energy, and still unlike any other illustrator’s work. But without the Dahl connection they lose a little bit of that particular blend of magic.

Which Books To Keep?

We are currently doing our spare room up. This has meant once again putting all the furniture from both bedrooms into one. I’m getting re-accustomed to living in a room crowded with furniture, and enduring plaster dust and builder noise.

The room, when finished, will have its own built in bookshelf. Because of this, when consolidating our furniture, we got rid of one of our two bookshelves. No point making space for something we aren’t going to keep anyway.

It has meant making some difficult decisions about my book collection. I’ve been able to put some of my reference books downstairs in the living room, but I’ve still got far too many to fit onto one bookshelf.

I’m pretty good about donating books to charity. I consider it a donation instead of a monthly direct debit. I can share the love around the charity shops in my home town (though I favour the Cancer Research shop, a charity close to my heart) and over the years I’ve probably donated far more than I would have otherwise in cash donations. Books I keep, I keep because I love them and have a sense of connection with them.

But with the need to reduce my collection, I’ve had to reevaluate what makes the grade. I’ve been reading a lot of books that I know won’t make the ‘keep’ grade, or books that I’ve borrowed to make some space, but as fast as I try to get through them, it’s still a slow process.

Easy to get rid of were those trilogies that I had only two of the books of. I’m never going to buy the last one if I’ve already read it from the library… why am I keeping an incomplete set? Not so easy, making decisions about series I’ve acquired over the years and loved. This time it was the Shiver trilogy. I loved the trilogy and had been keeping hold of it. But when I thought about how long it would take to re-read, and how that time could be spent reading something I haven’t already read before, I realised it was the right time to be getting rid of them. Unlike Feed by Mira Grant, or Fire by Kristin Cashore, that I would gladly dedicate the time to reading again, Shiver was never going to make the grade, despite how much I enjoyed it when reading.

I’m looking at my shelf now – particularly at my Kelley Armstrong collection. I’ve already got rid of my copies of her YA books (two of the series where I didn’t have the complete set) and I’m looking at how much space her adult books take up on my shelf. Will I ever read them again? I keep them because she was my favourite author for so long, and there are a few in the collection that I still haven’t got round to reading. But if I can’t find the time to read the new ones, realistically, I’m not going to find the time to re-read the old ones, am I?

We all have to have our weaknesses. For now they can stay. But maybe next time…

Weekly Round Up #42

Weekly Round Up #42 (11/05-17/05)

Once again it’s been all about the weekend – specifically, a wonderful spa trip that the Boyfriend and I booked.

We’d been wondering what to do for my birthday. The home situation hasn’t been that great – we’re doing out the new spare room, so all the furniture that was in there has been moved into our new bedroom, somewhat spoiling the loveliness of it. It’s a necessary evil, and only temporary, but with two rooms worth of furniture in one room, it’s making our life feel cluttered and claustrophobic.

Plus, with a builder in the house banging on all the walls, it’s not easy to be restful.

So, on a whim we booked a Sunday Soother spa session. It included a room for the night, a three course meal, breakfast, access to the spa facilities and an hour treatment. We decided to go for a Hot Stones Massage, as we’d had one of those before and really enjoyed it.

It was wonderful – both to get away from the chaotic house and to have an excuse to do nothing but relax. We did a bit of swimming, a bit of jacuzzi-ing and even went to the gym, but mostly we just lounged and read and dozed and generally did nothing. And knowing I didn’t have to get up for work on Monday made it even better!

I was surprisingly not achey after the 10k – a little stiff on Monday, but otherwise fine. I’ve been trying to make the most out of my motivation and inspiration drawn from the race to help me lose a couple of pounds ahead of a holiday in a few weeks’ time. The Boyfriend has been coaching me a bit on some weights, which is really kind of him, and is helping me to push myself. I’ve never been very strong, so weights is quite a challenge for me. With the Boyfriend’s help, I’m improving slowly. I may manage a bikini body in a few short weeks yet.

Review: Asa by Jay Crownover

asaTitle: Asa

Author: Jay Crownover

Series: Marked Men #6

Genre: NA Romance / Erotica

Received for review from the publisher

Summary (from Goodreads)

Starting over in Denver with a whole new circle of friends and family, Asa Cross struggles with being the man he knows everyone wants him to be and the man he knows he really is. A leopard doesn’t it change its spots and Asa has always been a predator. He doesn’t want to hurt those who love and rely on him, especially one luscious arresting cop who suddenly seems to be interested in him for far more than his penchant for breaking the law. But letting go of old habits is hard, and it’s easy to hit bottom when it’s the place you know best.

Royal Hastings is quickly learning what the bottom looks like after a tragic situation at work threatens not only her career but her partner’s life. As a woman who has only ever had a few real friends she’s trying to muddle through her confusion and devastation all alone. Except she can’t stop thinking about the sexy southern bartender she locked up. Crushing on Asa is the last thing she needs but his allure is too strong to resist. His long criminal record can only hurt her already shaky career and chasing after a guy who has no respect for the law or himself can only end in heartbreak.

A longtime criminal and a cop together just seems so wrong . . . but for Asa and Royal, being wrong together is the only right choice to make.

Review

Before I can continue sensibly with this review, I have to get something off my chest. What the hell is up with the names???? Seriously. I spent more than half my time reading this book wishing for a directory of the characters, because almost every single one had a name beginning with S or R, and I kept forgetting who everyone was. Rome, Rule, Remy, Reyer, Royal, Rosalyn, Rowdy, RJ, Shaw, Salem, Sayer, Saint. And most of those are weird names. I don’t mind weird names when they are used infrequently – they can add colour, show character and generally make things more interesting. I could even go for a family set with same initial and unusualness. But ALL the characters in this book have weird names. To go with those already listed there’s Asa, Ayden, Avett, Brite, Jet, Church, Nash, and I forget the rest. It’s like all these people don’t know a single Lucy or Dave. I guess Daves aren’t sexy? I just got lost in all the people, and because they were all unusual and mostly alliterative, I just couldn’t keep track of who was who. And I’ve read half of the books in this series.

That said, let’s get on to content…

Asa continues in much the same vein as its predecessors, so if you’ve made it this far, you’ve probably got a good idea of what you’re letting yourself in for. I do think Jay Crownover’s writing has improved some since the first book of this series that I read. The narrative is much tighter, with less crossover and more forward motion. I do think she still dwells on certain points far too long – judicious use of a red pen could have cut the page count of this by at least 50 – and rehashes emotional issues, but this was definitely a step in the right direction. There’s also a lot of indulgent love of the characters, taking time in the narrative to remind the reader how fantastic all the previous heroes are, and how they’ve enriched the lives of their heroines. I doubt this will be much of a problem for readers, though, as they’ve lived with these characters a long time too, and probably appreciate the call backs.

The central premise of the cop and the convict is a fairly cliche, but entertaining set up. Both characters spent a LOT of time beating themselves up, and their journey towards redemption in each other was quite a sweet one. The inevitable ‘break-up before the happily ever after’ felt a bit weak, though. I just didn’t buy why Asa couldn’t have told a little white lie and everything have been fine. I get why he didn’t want to tell the truth, but there were plenty of options for things he could have said that would have made the situation go away without revealing too much about what actually happened. The words ‘She was drunk once and tried to give me her phone number, this is a bit awkward’ would have solved a lot of unnecessary heartache.

So, thin on the ground story-wise, but with interesting chemistry between the central characters and plenty of sexy scenes, there’s enough to keep the pages turning. Now if only Jay Crownover would pepper her casts with a few Jacks and Emmas…

Rating: 3.5/5