Book Review: One Paris Summer by Denise Grover Swank

One Paris SummerOne Paris Summer by Denise Grover Swank
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I had this books for months before reading it (life got in my way) and I sorely regret it. Once I stated this book it was impossible to stop reading. Sophie and her brother visit Paris for their father’s wedding. However their new sister seems determined to do anything and everything to spoil Sophie’s time abroad. Added to that there’s a hot and mysterious guy who’s friend with the evil step-sister AND Sophie’s longtime crush seems to be turning into a jerk. Could things get any worse? Yes, they can but you’ll have to read the book to find out more. At several points I just wanted to curl up in a corner and cry. Sophie goes through so much and it just upsets me. Paris is supposed to be magical and romantic, not full of horrible mean people.
This book was such a delight to read. I really wish I read it sooner. I thought Sophie’s relationship seemed a bit too serious for someone her age but besides that I loved every other thing about this book. I’d love to see a sequel about the other characters who are all so memorable.

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Fiction Friday: Caraval (Caraval #1) by Stephanie Garber

Caraval (Caraval, #1)Caraval by Stephanie Garber
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

There are two types of “Caraval” readers: those who loved it and those who found the hype totally undeserved. I was one of the former which was a good thing since I picked this as my first ‘FREE’ Audible read (definitely check out the audiobook. The narrator is amazing).
“Caraval” follows the story of sisters, Scarlett and Tella. The girls have grown up hearing stories about the magical Caraval but neither of them have ever experienced a show firsthand. In fact, neither of them have ever left their island or their abusive father. However, a week before she is about to marry, Scarlett receives a special invitation to Caraval by Legend, the master of Caraval himself. Scarlett is too afraid to attend the event but Tella is determined to finally see a performance for herself. When Tella runs away to Caraval, Scarlett follows her to bring her home before their father catches them. However Scarlett soon discovers that her sister is the star of this year’s game. Tella has been kidnapped and the first person to find her will win Caraval and a wish of their choice. Scarlett has been warned that everything that happens is just a game. But as time goes on, it becomes more and more difficult to trust anyone or anything around her. This book had me second-guessing myself and I loved it. There were millions of twist and turns, some predictable and some not. This book was a rollercoaster ride and it was such a delight to experience. I enjoyed the audiobook so much that I eventually bought an ebook copy so I could read on my own whenever it was not possible to listen (and I’m going to get myself a hardcover copy too because it was just that good). I really enjoyed this book and I CANNOT wait for the release of “Legendary”.

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7 Things College Graduates Need to Know About Their First Job

I’m writing this at 7PM on a Saturday. I worked today and I am totally and utterly exhausted. I was watching a video on Youtube where one of the lifetstyle vloggers spoke about her internship experience. She mentioned not enjoying the office environment and found it crazy that she had to wake up at 7:30 each morning (I wake up at 5:30. I’m very jealous). I feel like there’s a huge difference between the college life and the working world. Most of the time, graduates are not prepared. So here are some of the things I think college graduates need to know about their first job.

  1. This may not be the job for you- Guys, this is SO SO SO important. Sometimes your first job may not be for you. I had a friend join a company where she was utterly miserable and could not hide it. She would do the bare minimum of work to get by simply because it was not what she wanted to do. Not every job is for every person and I don’t think lots for people realise that.
  2. You may not have your dream job- Similarly your first job may not be the job you wanted. I spent four months looking for jobs in Media and Publishing before giving it and taking the first job I got. Was it in the field I wanted? No. Did I learn from it? HELL YES!
  3. There will be a transition period for you- Adjusting from the world of skipping classes just coz you could to a workplace where you need to be in is a HUGE adjustment. I’ve been working for ten months and it still makes me sad that I can’t just skip work on Fridays and stay in bed. Damn you, Uni for spoiling me.
  4. It is not always pretty or fair- Such is life. Guys, I can’t even tell you how many times I have been left gaping at the sheer unfairness of life especially in the working world. There’s lying, back-stabbing, betrayal. Think about a Housewives reality show and you have a good idea. WATCH YOUR BACK!
  5. You probably won’t have the salary you want- Starting salaries are incredibly low. I also feel like Durban salaries are especially pathetic. Please can someone explain to me how to survive on R2000-R3000. Have you heard of a little expensive thing called petrol?
  6. Your degree probably won’t count for much- It is very rare to find a job in your field especially if, like me, you studied something in Humanities (also, can I please point out that Humanities is the biggest college in my university and yet they do nothing for the students to find a job? Yes, I am still pissed about that. You’ll  soon see why). At the beginning of your job hunt, your degree might not make much of a difference in your career. I had a friend (non-Humanities of course) who worked for three years after university before he finally got a job in his field. I was equally parts impressed and jealous.
  7. It’s not what you know- Following from the above point, it’s more about who you know that what you know. The wonderful job where I learnt so much? My aunt recommended me for the position. While I am grateful to her, it annoys me that my degree was so useless. Why did I waste three years studying when I could have just had someone recommend me for a job. That being said, NETWORK! It is a great way to make connections and you never know where your next opportunity will come from.

Fiction Friday- Book Review: The Moon and More by Sarah Dessen

The Moon and MoreThe Moon and More by Sarah Dessen
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Emmaline lives in the beach town of Colby where it seems like she is nothing but a face in other people’s stories and holiday memories. Emmaline has been with her boyfriend, Luke for practically forever. They’re a great match. Almost perfect.
But things start to change in the summer before Emmaline goes off to college. Her absentee father returns with his son (and some secrets) while a visitor from New York, Theo seems taken with Emmaline.
While Luke is small town, Theo is ambitious and showy. Nothing like the life Emmaline knows but Theo represents the life she could have…If she only chose to move out of Colby.
This was a wonderfully written novel about growing up and finding your identity. Emmaline is a girl from a small town who longs for something more than her ordinary life. However when that something more is given to her, she isn’t so sure anymore if it is what she wants. I recommend this book to anyone who is looking for a contemporary read or a sweet family story.

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My Most Anticipated 2018 Reads

Okay, so I know it’s already February but I have only just realized that there are so many great books coming out in 2018. Previously I was just excited for the sequels to 2017 reads but I just found some new reads and I HAVE to share. Also I’m running out of blog ideas (feel free to share some down below):

  • All Your Perfects by Colleen Hoover- Collen Hoover is back with another heart-breaking romance (well I’m guessing it’s heart-breaking since most of her books are). “All Your Perfects” follow a married couple and the secrets between them. I was not really interested in this book since it seems more on the heavy side and less of a romance. However I read an excerpt and it looks GOOD!!!
  • A Court of Frost and Starlight by Sarah J. Maas- Why is there frost in this title? Has Winter come to the Night Court? Anything with Rhysand is a win for me. Also, how gorgeous is this cover???

  • Bright We Burn by Kiersten White- I love love love this series so much. I think this is possibly my most anticipated read for 2018. I can’t wait to see how this series ends.
  • Hero at the Fall by Alwyn Hamilton- This is already out and I NEED IT (so that I can finally finish “Traitor to the Throne”). Note to self- do NOT spend all of your money at the booksales.
  • Hello Stranger by Lisa Kleypas- I think about this book alot. I don’t know why coz I never had such an attachment to the other books in this series. Oh well, this is a historical romance and if you’ve been here a while you know how I love those.

What are some of your most anticipated reads for 2018? I’d love to know below!

Fiction Friday: Book Review- My True Love Gave to Me by Stephanie Perkins

My True Love Gave to Me: Twelve Holiday StoriesMy True Love Gave to Me: Twelve Holiday Stories by Stephanie Perkins
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

For some bizarre reason I have really been feeling for a YA contemporary read. Normally I don’t do YA contemporary. I am strictly a YA fantasy and adult contemporary fan (don’t ask me why but this is the way I have always been).
I picked this up to try and fill that craving and it definitely worked! This is a collection of twelve wonderful romances that can be read in one setting. Many of these authors are some of my favourites and it was great to see them write these bite-size stories. For me, personally, I hated that Real Life got in the way of me reading this book but I loved that I could read a story a day. It was like having Christmas in January (which is something I really needed). I also enjoyed the fact that these stories were all guaranteed a happy ending. The stories range from cute and sweet to magical and mystifying. This was a cute holiday read that I recommend to anyone who is looking for a good contemporary. I can’t wait to read the Summer anthology.

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Budgeting 101

Nothing makes me happier than having money at the end of the money, BEFORE payday arrives. I’ve been working for about a year and it still amazes me that the one thing in my life I have relatively good control over is my finances. Is it because I live with my parents? Is it because I have fewer expenses than most people? Maybe. But I personally believe that it’s my very strict budget. All through my life my father has told me that I don’t know how to budget (which at the time was true). However when you start working for your money, you learn quickly what works for you and what doesn’t. Here is my quick course on budgeting:

 

1) Save before you spend: Before you start drawing up your budget, be sure to put aside some money in a savings account. I have a certain amount set to transfer to a savings account every month as soon as I get paid. Which leads me to my next point…

2) Pretend you earn less than you actually do: I consider my earnings as a little less than the amount I have left AFTER I have saved. For example, if I have R500 after saving then I pretend I earn R300. That R500 is to remain untouched until absolutely necessary (I will discuss this later). This method work out as a great way for me to save money since at the end of every month I am surprised by my bank balance. Why do I still have money? Oh, yes- I earn more than I think I do. It feels like a present from me to me. Thank you, me.

3) Make a budget…but round everything up: I like to round up my expenses to the nearest hundred. This ensures that I am able to cover them sufficiently as well as having some extra money in case I need it. For example, the petrol price went up by a HUGE amount one month. It was a major strain on finances but it affected me just a small bit because of all the money I have saved.

4) Similarly, round up your spending budget as well: Make a list of what your usual purchases are and round that up too. I always over-budget for food (which I rarely buy) and clothes (just in case it turns out that I’m outgrowing them…AGAIN) so I know that I am always covered.

5) Remember to keep something for a rainy day: This is very important. Put aside money to use in case of an emergency. When I first started work, I was crazy about this. I insisted on keeping R500 in my account no matter what. I wouldn’t use the money even if I had no money for petrol or food. That money was not to be touched. This came in handy when all of a sudden, my car battery died and needed to be replaced. I was thrilled that my responsible ways finally paid off.

How do you budget? Are there any tips you have that I might have missed? I’d love to know below.

Waiting on Wednesday: Hello Stranger (The Ravenels #4) by Lisa Kleypas

I love Lisa Kleypas and her historicals. This series is no different. It is a sort of combination of her “Wallflower” series and her “Hathaway” series. This specific book follows the only female physician in London. This series has really strong feminist themes which are still relevant today:

Release Date:  February 27th 2018 by Avon

 

Official Synopsis from Goodreads.com:

A woman who defies her time

Dr. Garrett Gibson, the only female physician in England, is as daring and independent as any man—why not take her pleasures like one? Yet she has never been tempted to embark on an affair, until now. Ethan Ransom, a former detective for Scotland Yard, is as gallant as he is secretive, a rumored assassin whose true loyalties are a mystery. For one exhilarating night, they give in to their potent attraction before becoming strangers again.

A man who breaks every rule

As a Ravenel by-blow spurned by his father, Ethan has little interest in polite society, yet he is captivated by the bold and beautiful Garrett. Despite their vow to resist each other after that sublime night, she is soon drawn into his most dangerous assignment yet. When the mission goes wrong, it will take all of Garrett’s skill and courage to save him. As they face the menace of a treacherous government plot, Ethan is willing to take any risk for the love of the most extraordinary woman he’s ever known

 

Fiction Friday: Book Review- Wallflower Most Wanted (Studies in Scandal #3) by Manda Collins

Wallflower Most Wanted (Studies in Scandal, #3)Wallflower Most Wanted by Manda Collins
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I received a review copy of this book via Netgalley in exhange for an honest review. At first I put off reading this book for two reasons: 1) I wasn’t sure if I was going to be interested in another one of Lady Celeste’s mysteries and 2) I have absolutely no interest in the remaining wallflowers.
However this is one of my all-time favourite historical romance series so I gave it a go and I’m glad I do.
The book opens immediately with a mystery. Painter, Sophia overhears a conversation between two men who are planning to get rid of someone. She teams up with the handsome vicar, Ben and they try to find out who is in danger, why and from whom.
I loved the chemistry between Sophia and Ben. They have a really genuine, playful relationship and I loved that.
This book was well-written and once I started reading, I couldn’t put it down. I loved that it was different to the previous books but it still retained the same air of mystery. It would have been very easy for this series to get repetitive and predictable (it’s a series about wallflowers solving mysteries) but so far Manda Collins has done a great job making each book unique. This book can be read as a part of the series or as a standalone. I loved this book and I definitely recommend it to anyone who is looking for a good romance or mystery book.

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Waiting on Wednesday: Still Me (Me Before You #3) by Jojo Moyes

I loved the first two books in this series and I still mourn Will. Especially when I read the extract of “Still Me.” Lou is as entertaining as ever (but nothing- NOTHING- will ever make me forget Will).

 

Release Date: January 30th 2018 by Pamela Dorman Books

 

Official Synopsis by Goodreads.com: 

Louisa Clark arrives in New York ready to start a new life, confident that she can embrace this new adventure and keep her relationship with Ambulance Sam alive across several thousand miles. She is thrown into the world of the superrich Gopniks: Leonard and his much younger second wife, Agnes, and a never-ending array of household staff and hangers-on. Lou is determined to get the most out of the experience and throws herself into her job and New York life within this privileged world.

Before she knows what’s happening, Lou is mixing in New York high society, where she meets Joshua Ryan, a man who brings with him a whisper of her past. In Still Me, as Lou tries to keep the two sides of her world together, she finds herself carrying secrets–not all her own–that cause a catastrophic change in her circumstances. And when matters come to a head, she has to ask herself Who is Louisa Clark? And how do you reconcile a heart that lives in two places?

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