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Hello Stranger by Lisa Kleypas
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
It took me two tries to read this book (ah the powers of a book slump). On my first attempt, I got distracted and bored within the first two chapters.
Picking up on attempt two, I devoured this book.
“Hello Stranger” follows Dr Garrett Gibson, the only female doctor in England and her stalker friend, Ethan Ransom.
Ethan has been following Garrett around during her nightly visits to ensure that she is safe. It is not long before sparks fly between these two and they indulge in an intimate night together.
Ransom knows that his world- and him- are too dangerous for Garrett so they both decide to stay away from each other.
However Ransom’s enemies soon find out about Garrett and she is drawn into Ransom’s criminal world.
My favourite thing about this book was that Garrett was not a damsel in distress. She saves Ransom, Ransom saves her and throughout their relationship she is treated as an equal. She is never fazed by Ransom’s mysterious underground life and I loved that.
This was an incredibly well-written book and I am only sad that I did not read it sooner. Curse you book slump.
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I love eating out. It’s like a weakness of mine. Bad day? Grab take-out. Good day? Pop in to a nice restaurant. Pay day? SPLURGE on a meal.
This was especially tough for me when I first started work. It didn’t take long for me to realise that a huge chunk of my salary was being spent on food. At the time I told myself it was fine since I was a temp work and I didn’t know how long I would have an income for. However since then I have picked up a few tips to help me save money when eating out (so that I can eat out again. What? I didn’t say that I stopped the habit completely).
1) Split meals- When my friends and I go out for lunch we always split meals. Usually restaurant portions are bigger than what we are used to so we can usually make one meal last between two or three of us.
2) Take the extras home- Alternatively if you ordered too much food you can always take the extras home so that you have food for another meal.
3) Order a starter- Starters are cheaper than mains and sometimes they are just as filling. Order a starter if you are a bit light on cash but still want to eat out.
4) Drink water- Water is free. Also I’m going through a phase where all I drink is water for some reason so for me, water is free and tasty. (Tip- water will fill you up less than cooldrink so that you are able to eat more)
5) Choose specials- Some places have specials that you just cannot refuse. Sign up for mailing lists of your favourite spots so you can be informed when there’s a special.
Tempt Me at Twilight by Lisa Kleypas
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
When Poppy Hathaway runs into Harry Rutledge, she does not expect that their chance meeting will change her life forever.
Harry is instantly taken with Poppy and her unconventional personality. He would do anything to win her…including ruining her current relationship.
When a scandal forces the two of them to marry, Harry assumes that he has won. But Poppy refuses to submit to the man who has lied to her.
This was a well-written, intriguing read that I enjoyed immensely.
There is an undeniable chemistry between Harry and Poppy and it is hard to not root for their relationship.
The Hathaways are still one of my favourite historical families and even all these years later, it is always a delight to come back to this series.
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I know the title says “best thing that ever happened to me” but my stomach is clenching just reading it.
No one likes failure. ESPECIALLY NOT ME. I am an only child. I usually get what I want. So the concept of failure- of not getting what I want- is fairly foreign to me. Now I could go on about all the things I did not fail at but that is not the point of this blog post. The point is the one thing that I did fail at.
So some time in January, I came across a job opening for a magazine journalist. I didn’t want to apply because it seemed like I was never getting chosen for journalist jobs. I forced myself to send in an application because the week before that my floor manager had told me not to stop looking for a job in my field. “Hey, maybe it’s a sign”, I thought to myself.
I sent in my application and got a really positive response. I applied for a half-day position so I could still keep my steady job that I liked. However the person doing the hiring suggested that I apply for a full-day position as she was impressed by my blog and my writing. I was thrilled and I agreed. I was so excited. Someone liked my blog and my writing. A MAGAZINE SOMEONE LIKED ME!
We arranged an interview. I was excited, nervous, anxious all at once.
I bombed the interview. I implied that I thought Media was a dying industry. Which I do because every Media outlet I planned to work at was either closing or already closed. I also mentioned that I saw myself in Marketing in five years. Also true. Because Media was not hiring.
By the time I left the interview I knew that I would not get the job. But it hurt nonetheless.
I waited for the deadline for the job to pass. Then I waited another day. Then a week. And then I cried. I cried and I cried and then I cried some more. I gave myself a week to cry. Then I picked up my bright yellow highlighter and went back to my notes on Digital Marketing.
It hurt that journalism kept kicking me in the face. I gave up so much to write. While friends were busy with boys and booze, I was writing and pitching articles. I’m a twenty-three-year-old with ten years of writing experience and the only writing I do at my job is emails.
Once I was done crying, I wallowed with some Gilmore Girls. More specifically, I watched the horror that was Rory’s journalist career.
At times like this I seriously doubt that I will ever make it as a journalist. But maybe I am just not meant to. Don’t get me wrong. I would love to have the opportunity to actually try out journalism before making a decision. However it does not look like that opportunity is coming anytime soon.
Once I accepted that I didn’t get the job and was going to be stuck in a Call Center for the foreseeable future, I had some decisions to make.
The excitement over my interview taught me a few things:
- Someone in the journalism industry liked me and my blog
- Someone thought I was worth interviewing
- My attitude in the interview might be the reason I will never get another job
- I was miserable before the job opening
No 4 was vital. I had never felt as excited or alive as I had while preparing for that interview. I thought it would change my life. And it did but not in the way I expected.
I spoke to my manager about wanting to try out Marketing. He agreed to speak to our Marketing team. I threw myself into my Digital Marketing course. I picked up new tips and tricks for my blog.
However I still felt like I lacked that excitement that I had for the interview. I needed to do something that would excite me. I felt like my life was in a rut. So I did what anyone in a rut does- I booked me a holiday. But before that holiday, I made more of an effort to be with supportive friends and family.
When one of my friends heard my sad sob story about my ten years of writing experience and no job, she told me to watch The Bold Type.
As a rule I do not watch shows about magazines because they depress me. As a college graduate I thought my first job would be something like “The Devil Wears Prada” (and it was but for a completely different reason- I’ll talk about that some other time). Instead I got “Postgrad” without the happy ending.
But I gave in and watched The Bold Type because it has been ten years since my first magazine internship and three years since my failed freelancing gig. I was not going to be a journalist. But I would find a new dream. I had to. So I watched The Bold Type and I fell in love. This was not a show about a magazine. This was a show about female empowerment and life and love. I was hooked.
I am sad to have “failed” the interview for my dream job. But honestly that single failure has taught me so much. I feel like I’m finally living instead of just going through the motions in life. I am disappointed to be a call center agent instead of a journalist but nothing lasts forever and all I need is one “yes” to finally get me in the door.
Or maybe not.
Mine Till Midnight by Lisa Kleypas
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I have had a really awful book slump and nothing I read seems to interest me. So when I saw that Amazon had the Kindle copy of “Mine Till Midnight” on sale, I absolutely had to purchase and reread it (as opposed to the many unread books I have currently on my bookshelves).
“Mine Till Midnight” is the first novel in the “Hathaways” series which tells the story of the eccentric and unusual Hathaways.
The Hathaways lived a regular, uninteresting life until a distant relative dies and they inherit his land. Suddenly the family is now a part of the aristocracy- something that they were never prepared for and somewhere that they certainly do not fit in.
The eldest female of the family, Amelia Hathaway is busy trying to help her sisters adjust to their new life while trying to stop her brother from drinking himself to death.
Amelia has decided that she will spend her life as a spinster, taking care of her family. And then she meets the enigmatic Gypsy, Cam (sidenote- who is also the hottest Victorian love interest in the world. NOTHING AND NO ONE WILL EVER COMPARE. And no, I am not just saying that because Cam was the first adult fictional character I fell in love with).
Cam is incredibly wealthy and has decided that he is going to go find his Gypsy family. However when he comes across mother hen, Amelia, he has second thoughts. Something about her appeals to him and he just can’t help hanging around her when he should be looking for his family.
This was a beautiful story with wonderfully unforgettable characters and an amazing storyline. It has been about 6 years since I read this book for the first time and even after countless rereads, it is still a difficult book to put down.
If you are a fan of romance or historical fiction, definitely give this a go.
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The first in a wickedly seductive new Scottish historical romance series from New York Times bestselling author Suzanne Enoch, IT’S GETTING SCOT IN HERE (St. Martin’s Paperbacks, February 26, 2019, $7.99) crosses two sweethearts from separate worlds. Readers find out what happens when a headstrong leading lady, who refuses to marry someone she doesn’t love, meets an off-limits ruffian from the barbaric Highlands.
London socialite Amelia-Rose Baxter is nobody’s fool. Her parents may want her to catch a title, but she will never change who she is for the promise of marriage. Her husband will be a man who can appreciate her sharp mind as well as her body. A sophisticated man who loves life in London. A man who considers her his equal—and won’t try to tame her wild heart…
Rough, rugged Highlander Niall MacTaggert and his brothers know the rules: the eldest must marry or lose the ancestral estate, period. But Niall’s eldest brother just isn’t interested in the lady his mother selected. Is it because Amelia-Rose is just too. . . Free-spirited? Yes. Brazen? Aye. Surely Niall can find a way to soften up the whip-smart lass and make her the
perfect match for his brother for the sake of the family.
Instead it’s Niall who tempts Amelia-Rose, despite her reservations about barbarian Highlanders. Niall finds the lass nigh irresistible as well, but he won’t make the mistake his father did in marrying an Englishwoman who doesn’t like the Highlands. Does he have what it takes to win her heart? There is only one way to find out…
Once upon a time—in May 1785, to be exact— Angus MacTaggert, Earl Aldriss, traveled from the middle of the Scottish Highlands to London in search of a wealthy bride to save his well- loved but crumbling estate. Aldriss Park had been in the MacTaggert family since the time of Henry VIII, when Domhnall MacTaggert, despite being Catholic and married, declared publicly that Henry should be able to wed as many lasses as he wanted until one of them got him a son. Aldriss Park was the newly minted earl’s reward for his support and understanding. For the next two hundred years Aldriss thrived, until the weight of poor harvests, the ever- intruding, rule- making Sassenach, and the MacTaggerts’ own fondness for drinking, gambling, and wild investments (including an early bicycle design wherein the driver sat between two wheels; sadly, it had no braking mechanism and
after a series of accidents nearly began a war within the MacTaggerts’ clan Ross) began to sink it into disrepair. When Angus inherited the title in 1783, he realized the old castle needed far more than a fresh coat of paint to keep it from both physical collapse and bankruptcy. And so he determined to go down among the enemy Sassenach and win himself a wealthy bride. The English had made enough trouble for him and his over the centuries, so they could bloody well help him set things right. On his second day in London, he met the stunning Francesca Oswell, the only offspring of James and Mary Oswell, Viscount and Viscountess of Hornford— who had more money than Midas and a bevy of very fine solicitors—at a masked ball where he dressed as a bull, and she as a swan. Despite the misgivings of nearly everyone in Mayfair, Angus and Francesca immediately fell madly in love, and married with a special license ten days later. A week after that, Angus took Francesca back to Aldriss Park and the Highlands, where she found very little civilization, a great many sheep, and a husband who preferred brawling to dancing, and he discovered that her father’s solicitors had arranged to keep the Oswell family money in Francesca’s hands. This made for some very spectacular arguments, because there is nothing more combustible in the world than an impoverished Highlands laird in disagreement with an independently wealthy English lady about his own ancestral lands. Over the next thirteen turbulent years the estate prospered, and Francesca gave Angus three sons— Coll, Aden, and Niall— and with each one became more concerned that this was not a life for any civilized person. She wanted to bring the boys back to London for proper educations and to live proper lives, but Angus refused, stating that what had been good enough for him would be good enough for his lads. When a fourth child, a daughter, arrived in 1798, Francesca reached her breaking point. No daughter of hers was going to be raised with an uncivilized accent in a rough country where she would be ridiculed by proper Society and unfit to marry anyone but a shepherd or a peat cutter. Angus refused to let his lads go, but he allowed Francesca to take young Eloise and return to London—on the condition that she continue providing for the maintenance of the estate. Francesca reluctantly agreed, but given that she controlled the purse strings, she had her own conditions to try to keep some influence with her wild sons: All three boys must marry before their sister, they must wed proper Englishwomen, and at least one of them must marry someone of her choosing. She knew Angus would raise them as he pleased, but they were her children, too, by God, and she meant to see to it that they had some semblance of propriety in their lives— she was a viscount’s daughter, after all, and certain things would be expected of her offspring. She refused to allow them to be viewed as unsophisticated wild men by her London neighbors, and she remained determined to have a presence in their lives. To enforce her will, she convinced (or rather, coerced) Angus to put his signature to the agreement, which contained this provision: If young Eloise MacTaggert did marry before any of the boys, Francesca would cut off all funds to the estate. If they were to insist on defiance, they would have a heavy price to pay for it— one they and their tenants could not afford. Angus had no choice but to agree, and considering that Coll, the oldest, was only twelve at the time of Francesca’s departure and Eloise was but a wee bairn, he was willing to wager that he would have time to renegotiate. Angus and Francesca remained married, but neither would bend enough to visit the other ever again. As far as the lads were concerned, their mother had abandoned them. In the spring of 1816 Angus received a letter from Francesca announcing their daughter’s engagement, and he promptly collapsed. He’d hoped his sons would have found themselves Scottish lasses by now and shown their mother she couldn’t control their lives after all, but the lads were defiant and wouldn’t be rushed. Now it appeared to be too late. He summoned his sons to his apparent deathbed and confessed all— Francesca funding the estate, the pernicious agreement, and their mother’s grasping claws, which he explained was a symptom of all Englishwomen and their weak, clinging, cloying ways. For the sake of the property and their tenants the young men must go to London. At once. No sense even taking time to put him in the ground, much less mourn him, because Francesca wouldn’t excuse the loss of time, and they needed to marry before their sister. The lads— grown men, now— were not at all happy suddenly to learn about the responsibilities and rules foisted upon them by a woman they barely remembered. Being wily, freehearted, and exceptionally handsome men accustomed to doing things their way and certainly not bowing to the demands of a demented Englishwoman, they determined to go down to London not to comply, but to outwit their mother and upend any plans she had for them. And thus, dear reader, begins our story.
I have already started reading this and it is incredible!
SUZANNE ENCOCH grew up in Southern California, where she still balances her love for the
Regency romances of Georgette Heyer and classic romantic comedies with her obsession for
anything Star Wars. Given her love of food and comfy chairs, she may in fact be a Hobbit. She
has written more than 35 romance novels, including traditional Regencies, Historical Romance, and contemporary Romantic Suspense. When she isn’t working on her next book she is trying to learn to cook, and wishes she had an English accent. She is the bestselling author of Scandalous Brides series, The Scandalous Highlanders series, and One Hot Scot.
P.S. I Still Love You by Jenny Han
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Lara Jean and Peter are finally really together and they are an absolutely ADORABLE couple. But Gen is still lurking in the picture. Peter swears that there is nothing between them but why does it seem like Gen is more a part of Lara Jean’s life now than before?
With the reappearance of John Ambrose, another one of the boys Lara Jean wrote love letters to, Lara Jean is forced to consider who she wants to be with.
This was a cute read however I was in a book slump and struggled to finish it. I also cannot forgive Peter for allowing Gen back into his life (I don’t care what the reason was).
This was a fun, light read that I strongly recommend to anyone who enjoys contemporary. There were several new colourful characters introduced which was highly entertaining. I especially enjoyed seeing the development of Lara Jean’s relationship with Peter and John Ambrose.
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Thief by Tarryn Fisher
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I actually cannot remember most of this novel (which is worrying considering that I spent so much time invested in this series).
“Thief” follows Caleb and Olivia in the aftermath of his divorce. Once again they are drawn together when Olivia and her husband start to have issues.
This was a sweet read that almost made up for all of the emotional strain the previous books put me through.
I especially enjoyed seeing how Caleb and Olivia have changed over the years. It is made clear that though they have made mistakes in the past, they have both grown from it.
This was a wonderfully emotional series that made me cry, rage and almost throw my cellphone across the room but I enjoyed it immensely.
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Dirty Red by Tarryn Fisher
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
After reading “The Opportunist”and realising that “Dirty Red” was Leah’s story, I had zero interest in continuing with this series.
I could never forgive Caleb or Olivia for both of their deceptions and Leah was my least favourite story so I had no desire to learn any more about her.
However after reading about two pages of this and after completing “Verity”, I NEEDED another flawed, bordering-on-psychotic female to follow. So I picked this up again and it did not disappoint.
Leah finally has her marriage to Caleb as well as a beautiful baby. Sure, he might seem to care more for the crying brat than he does for her. But he is away from Olivia and that is what matters. Or does it?
Olivia may be out of their lives physically but she is still a part of Caleb’s mental space. As Leah and Caleb struggle with their marriage and their differing opinions on parenthood, there might still be space for Olivia to wriggle her way back in anyway.
By the end of this book, I had a reluctant understanding and sympathy for Leah. She is a flawed woman who loved a guy who did not love her back. Yes, she is a bitch. But this novel shows that this bitch does have a heart.
This was a well-written read that I could not put down and I enjoyed it immensely. I have never read a book, let alone a series, about so many flawed characters and this change was good.
Definitely pick this up.
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