3 Reasons I fell in Love with Anna and the French Kiss Series

So it’s official, I went and fell in love with the Anna and the French Kiss series within approximately 5 hours, after finally (months behind everyone else) jumping on the bandwagon to read. My hands were literally glued to Anna and the French Kiss, which I kept promising myself “one more chapter before bed” and ultimately forgoing sleep to consume the whole book. I read the first two books within the space of a day, and then decided I needed to draw myself away and lasted all of around a week, before succumbing to the calling of Isla and the Happily Ever After. (Oh, and mentally slap myself every time I read Isla phonetically rather than Ey-la – I have problems with saying that name as much as I love it!).


By the point I reached the end of Isla, this was me; entirely star struck. What on earth had I just undertaken, reading contemporary, fluffy young-adult literature, finding genuine meaning, love, friendship and just all around elation?

So here begins my list of reasons to love the series, rather than composing a review for a set of books most of you have probably read/heard about, and you are honest to god bored of reading another mundane review.


I would literally compare how I feel about all the main characters: Anna, St. Clair, Cricket, Lola, Josh and Isla to how I feel (very nearly) about the Harry Potter characters. They are not perfect, they do have issues and they may not honestly be everyone’s cup-of-tea, however I found them quirky, relatable, fun and most of all likeable. Stephanie Perkins makes real effort to flesh out her characters, give them all backstories and connect them all in different ways, despite the fact that many of them end up living in different cities. Beyond these 6 main stars, she also brings in a plethora of secondary characters to support each individual, add more dimension to their character and make you understand them a little more.


Just sayin’, six awesome characters here, six awesome characters there..

I can literally probably talk your ear of for a good hour about these characters, but I am going to pick one as my favourite. I have to say it has to be Isla, there was just so many times when I connected with her and understood her.

“Because I thought no one could love me.”

“And why did you think that?”

“Because I didn’t think I was worth loving.”

Hattie takes this in. And then she hits me in the stomach. I yowl in surprise, and she hits me again. “Don’t be stupid.”


“Everyone is worthy of love. Even a dumb sister like you.”  – Isla and the Happily Ever After

YEAH SHE MAY BE A BIT OF A DORKY, INSECURE IDIOT AND YOU WANT TO SLAP HER HERE, but that is okay, I did too and I am EXACTLY the same kind of person. Like seriously, Isla and her nerves (okay, I’m not nearly as bad, but sometimes I do stupid things and make situations awkward). Her doubt of herself, her continual pushing that things are not good enough (school nerd here), and just generally everything about her. Also her inability to handle painkillers – totally me.

“Oh, shit.” I tuck up a leg and smack my kneecap on the table. “Am I acting that loopy?” – Isla and the Happily Ever After

There were so many aspects that I loved, but the part that made me applaud Perkins more was that she made Isla realise who she was without Josh. SHE DID NOT NEED A BOY TO FIND HERSELF. WOOOO FOR FEMINISM. YES. GIRL YOU CAN DO WHAT YOU WANT, GET WHAT YOU WANT AND THEN STILL FIND THE BOY LATER.

Anybody gathering that Isla and the Happily Ever After got five stars from me on Goodreads yet? Winking smile

“The more you know who you are, and what you want, the less you let things upset you.”

And I realise…it’s okay. It’s okay if St. Clair and I never become more than friends. – Anna and the French Kiss

Although Isla is not the only book that Perkins does this in, she started it at the very beginning with Anna. SELF-REALISATION FOR THE WIN!




“looks like a fantasyland castle – wet sand dripped through fingers, both sharp and soft. Bright construction lights are everywhere, and workers are tinkering around its massive spires in dangerously tall cranes.” – Isla and the Happily Ever After

I mean, I literally visited Barcelona this summer, I saw the amazing Gaudi’s church. (My beautiful photography *laughs* – it’s just so tall and I’m so small, there is undoubtedly neck cramp here. Yes it’s also the background of my blog!). THIS IS WHERE ISLA AND JOSH WERE. I mean, I literally love the fact that I was there, and so were they (I do remember they’re fictional, okay). Barcelona has to be one of my favourite European cities, it is just so beautiful. I think this has to also be why I connected to Isla and the Happily Ever After so much more.

We’re splashing towards the heart of Barcelona. Red- and yellow- striped flags – some with the blue triangle and star of independence, some without – hang everywhere from apartment balconies, soaked with storm. The city’s appearance is distinctly Western European, but it’s also filled with colourful architecture and steep hills. Palm trees and leafy trees. Purple vines and red flowers. – Isla and the Happily Ever After

Not to mention Paris, I love Paris. It has been a long time since I visited, but I have plans to go back next year and the majority of the setting was in Paris. It is such a beautiful, romantic city. Just downright being set in Europe won me over from the start because most YA contemporary teen fiction is set in America, and I don’t mind, but occasionally, I want something different, something European.


Oh, Etienne St. Clair where are you? Oh, Cricket, the boy next door and Josh the troublesome artist.

I definitely have to say I found it hard to pick between love interests. As much as I loved Isla and the Happily Ever After, I do not think Josh was my favourite love interest. And whilst I think I loved Lola and the Boy Next Door the least out of them all, I do think Cricket was my love, the nerdy boy next door who cared about Lola and only wanted the best. There was just something so geeky and loveable about him.

I know you aren’t perfect. But it’s a person’s imperfections that make them perfect for someone else.Lola and the Boy Next Door.

I mean – weeping – somebody come sweep me off that feet with such a line? Perkins just seemed to make it so effortless when she sweeps you off your feet with her beautiful way with words, and carefully crafted romantic proposals.

Perkins does not just craft an easy boy + girl = fall in love and happily ever after. She brings in the fact that people fall in love with people in a relationship and are afraid to leave them when it doesn’t work, but why? She talks about how we might be too afraid to step from our comfort zone. How we might appear to others, but is that truly us? I think despite the fact that this is contemporary romance and at times, fluffy, there are real issues that she tries to deal with subtlety and with love and attention that makes reading these books such a beautiful experience.

“Mademoiselle Oliphant. It translates to ‘Point zero of the roads of France’. In other words, it’s the point from which all other distances in France are measured.” St. Clair clears his throat. “Its the beginning of everything.”

I look back up. He’s smiling.

“Welcome to Paris, Anna. I am glad you’ve come.” – Anna and the French Kiss

There are just far too many quotes to take from all these books (I realise I have taken probably lots from Isla in comparison to Anna and Lola, but there was just something magical about that book for me. 


How could I resist the charms of these three guys?

Okay, I will admit this series is not perfect and it seriously has its imperfections, but there is just so much to love. So much beauty in her writing.

But I don’t want to give you this broken, empty me. I want you to have me when I’m full, when I can give something back to you. I don’t have much to give right now. – Lola and the Boy Next Door

This is me and how I am currently feeling towards any other book. This is The Absent Historian signing out on a serious book hangover, after falling in love with Anna and the French Kiss, Lola and the Boy Next Door and then having her heart confiscated by Isla and the Happily Ever After.

Now go read it if you haven’t already.


Filed under 2010 Publication, 2011 Publication, 2014 Publication, 4 Books, 4.5 Books, 5 Books, Chick-Lit, Contemporary, Dutton, E-book, Romance, Stephanie Perkins, Young Adult

A Trip Through Time #3

a trip through time

The meme, A Trip Through Time, hosted by The Absent Historian is posted biweekly on a Friday. On the meme I will be taking a look at everything history related.

This week I am going to be taking a Andrew Marr’s The Making of Modern Britain: From Queen Victoria to VE Day which is a history book I am currently reading and share a few of my favourite quotes and facts from the book. Andrew Marr also did an accompanying TV series for the BBC which is meant to be really informative and interesting, if you’re not a fan of reading history books but like a documentary, I’d check it out!

andrew marr


The war drew a kind of snarling bulldog mask across the face that the British people presented to the outside world. Behind that mask, however, many thousands were having second thoughts. – pg. 190

This was a kind of Liberal Stalinism, except that profits continued to be made and it was rather more effective than its successor. – pg. 165

Andrew Marr is quite a fan of his metaphorical style writing, particularly when it comes to talks of war! It makes for a certainly interesting read and a much easier reading style than some history books (which almost certainly make you sometimes want to bash your head against a wall and crawl under your desk in defeat!).

Both these quotes are talking about the first world war, and at first how the British presented themselves, and secondly the method in which they took to in terms of changing the very foundations of industry to increase output for the war. This obviously (as many of you are probably aware) involved bringing women into the work place, and bringing almost 3 million workers under government control so they could more precisely control the war effort. Under Lloyd George the munitions industry became much more efficient in his rule as practical dictator.


Despite the end of the the Edwardian era being a time when women were not very powerful and did not yet have the vote (1917: 8.4 million women aged 30+ would be eligible to vote) there are some very important changes and women in this era. There were quite the eccentric individuals, women who chose to speak out and there were both both Suffragettes (WSPU) and Suffragists (NUWSS) unions which were important. Women ventured into the work place, started changing their fashion to accommodate working, so wearing trousers, shorter skirts, bras which were less constrictive than corsets. Contraceptive usage became more common and babies born out of wedlock were known as ‘war babies’ and the mothers were seen as ‘war heroes’ because so many men left to fight rather than being able to marry.


Emmeline Pankhurst (leader of the Suffragettes arrest).

Besides the obvious leaders and the Pankhurst family (the very popular militant women), there were other individuals who were equally strong women that I read about. My personal favourite for her mere audacity and outrageousness has to be:

Lilian Lenton, who was a suffragette that nearly died when being force fed because the tube was accidentally pushed into her windpipe and it caused her to nearly die from septic pneumonia because of the food in her lung. However, my favourite part about her was that she was a devoted arsonist and had a programme whereby she would burn two buildings a week. Quite the radical activist!


Overall, The Making of Modern Britain has lots of different elements that came together to make a really informative, interesting read. I definitely recommend it if you are curious about the end of the Victorian era through to WWII in terms of British history and lots of little anecdotes, quotes from politicians/literary/public figures that give you a greater insight to the period.

I’ll leave you guys with a quote from Sir Edward Grey, the British Foreign Secretary during WWI which is a rather poignant, thought-provoking notion in regards to the consequences of WWI and how it left Europe.

The lamps are going out all over Europe and I doubt we shall see them lit again in our lifetime. –pg. 111.


Filed under A Trip Through Time

Series Review (4-7): Morganville Vampires

AA Feast of Foolslord of misrule Feast of Fools (#4), Lord of Misrule (#5) by Rachel Caine

Genre: Young-Adult, Paranormal-Romance, Vampires

The Review *Mild Spoilers for the series*

Feast of Fools and Lord of Misrule are two solid additions to the Morganville Vampire series and continue on seamlessly from where Midnight Alley left off. In these two books we are introduced to the character of Bishop who brings with him a much more sinister air and certainly amps up the tension. These books follow again the journey of Claire largely and then obviously her housemates, Michael, Eve and of course Shane.

The characters certainly seemed to develop to a much greater extent in Feast of Fools and sides were drawn and there were quite a few twists and turns I did not expect in terms of character development. This is one of the reasons that I really appreciate Caine’s skills as an author because she always manages to introduce a new element to the character and following the same individuals throughout this series really gives a chance to develop strong character traits and personalities and build up a plethora of secondary characters.

Admittedly, I have come to the conclusion despite his crazy ways, the unpredictability and some of the more dangerous sides of his character, Myrnin without a doubt is my favourite and although Shane captures my heart as the love interest of these stories, there is just an element of Myrnin that has so much more. For those of you who have not read the series, I urge you to read it just for Myrnin, he is intelligent, scary, creepy, excitable, unpredictable and at times he manages to be genuinely caring. He is a vampire who is immersed in science and discovering and he is certainly self-centred and authoritative and always believes he knows best. He is almost certainly not a perfect character and for me that is what makes him so endearing and likeable, although I doubt he would like to be called either.

In terms of the plot across these two books, it ramps up in action and whilst elements were frustrating with the seeming chain of events from the previous books appearing to reoccur just in a slightly different format, with slightly different characters, the novels were still engaging in terms of plot.

Overall, even five books in, I find the Morganville vampires series as refreshing as ever!

Favourite Quotes

“Claire stretched out against the wall and kissed it. “Glad to see you, too,” she whispered, and pressed her cheek against the smooth surface. It almost felt like it hugged her back. “Dude, it’s a house,” Shane said from behind her. “Hug somebody who cares.”

“What about Myrnin?” Eve swallowed, almost choked, and Michael patted her kindly on the back. She beamed at him. “Myrnin? Oh yeah. He did a Batman and took off into the night. What is with that guy, Claire? If he was a superhero, he’d be Bipolar Man.”

Rating: 4.5 / 5 Stars

carpe corpusfade out

Carpe Corpus (#6), Fade Out (#7) by Rachel Caine

Genre: Paranormal-Romance, Young-Adult, Vampires

The Review *Mild Spoilers for the series*

Carpe Corpus and Fade Out move in a slightly different direction to the previous books in the Morganville series and I am finally happy to see some more Shane action in terms of romance. Up until this stage, things between Claire and Shane have been together but rather tip-toeing around their relationship because of age concerns, parents and general differences between their experiences in life. However I felt like we had actual progression and a solid foundation for future between the two of them, although there were moments when I thought Caine was going to frustrate me and ruin everything.

Morganville by this stage has seen some serious changes to the start of the series, and I really like the development in the world building that slowly unravels the history of the town and the reasoning’s behind its existence. It still manages to move forward at the same time and it is a really excellent balancing act from Caine.

Thirdly, there are a lot more plot lines brought into the series now and elements that we have had no idea about until now, and it really serves to draw all the aspects of the previous novels together. However in some regards I feel like Caine is brining in all these new plot lines to draw out the series a little more. Nevertheless, I do not feel like reading is a drag at all in reference to the Morganville series, but it is certainly a long series. Although since the final book has been published, this has encouraged me to return to the series and finally finish it all in one go (hopefully soon since I have recently taken a short break from reading it)..

Overall, I think the Morganville series is refreshing in terms of the paranormal-romance and paranormal genre, since the idea of a town where vampires are confined to, and the humans are given protection or are free for the vampires to have their way with. It is very unlike Twilight and The Vampire Diaries and lots of other popular vampire novels out there, and I really enjoyed this element of the Morganville series and I think despite having grown up from being the young teenager reading these books, I still manage to find a connection with these books to enjoy them. If you have not tried this series, I definitely recommend it!

Favourite Quotes

“If the lab was neater, so was Myrnin. He was still favouring old-timey clothes, so the coat was dark green velvet, flaring out and down to his knees. The ensemble also included a white shirt, bright blue vest, a pocket watch chain gleaming against the satin, tight black pants, and…

Claire found herself staring at his feet, which were in bunny slippers.

Myrning looked down. ‘What’? he asked, ‘They’re quite comfortable.’ He lifted one to look at it, and the ears wobbled in the air.”

Rating: 3.5 / 5 Stars

Goodreads (#4), (#5), (#6), (#7) ~ Amazon UK / US ~ Author’s Website


Filed under 3.5 Books, 4.5 Books, Allison & Bushby, Paperback, Paranormal Romance, Rachel Caine, Vampires, Young Adult

The Forbidden Queen

The Forbidden Queen

The Forbidden Queen by Anne O’Brien

Genre: Historical-fiction, Romance, Adult

The Plot

The novel follows the journey of a young girl, Katherine de Valois who is realistically a mistreated, unloved French princess largely forgotten until she becomes of use as a pawn in peace agreements through marriage. She is thrust upon King Henry V in peace talks during the Hundred Years War and he is a man driven by war, with little interest in a wife except for producing an heir.

Katherine must deal with being largely unwanted by her husband, except to produce an heir, the consequences of being mother to the heir of the throne, being left widow and being the foreign enemy in an English court. A court inundated with controlling men, who have little time for a woman and her opinions and feelings. This forces Katherine to grow up in rather harsh conditions and lays testament to her strength with broken hearts, battles with those in power and struggles to be a mother.

The Review

The Forbidden Queen is a novel set in the prelude to one of my favourite periods of history, and this always leaves me wary to picking up such a novel. In general, historical-fiction as a history student is always a difficult one, because whilst I enjoy delving into a more imaginative side of history, sometimes the disregard for standard facts aggravates me. However, The Forbidden Queen whilst clearly being based on lots of imagination in terms of conversations, and the  real dynamics of relationships during this time, managed to encompass what I feel the 1400s would have felt like in England. I believe she encapsulated personalities and struggles from the events, and stuck largely to historical detail and it made a truly fantastic novel!

Katherine de Valois was a woman I fell in love with in this novel, my heart warmed to her throughout the novel. At the start I felt like she was childish and deluded, but part of the magic in this novel was how O’Brien developed her character and showed true growth to her as an individual that I imagine would to some degree be a true reflection. After all, when she left France, she was a scared young girl, basically still a child and by the time she was widow and mother to the heir of the kingdom, she was a much stronger, more capable individual and a woman with her own mind. Overall she was a likeable, strong individual and an important historical figure. After all, she birthed a king of England and was grandmother to another king of England, difficult to disregard such a woman in English history, even if she was the enemy!

There is ultimately a strong focus on romance throughout this book, and Katherine’s yearning for true affection, after receiving little from the Mad King, Charles VI her father and her mother the Isabeau a woman accused of adultery. Affection during this period was not common within royal families anyway, because the children were rarely raised by their parents. So Katherine stumbles through her early marriage, desperate for Henry V’s seal of approval, however he is much more interested in war. O’Brien really manages to interweave the romance with the historical events and descriptions, that provides greater plot and substance to the story.

Ultimately, the best part of the book for me does not arrive until much later in the story when Katherine meets Owen Tudor, which is when my attention was truly captivated. I have to warn you, O’Brien makes you work for happiness in this story, and it certainly tugs on your emotions, even at the end! The relationship between Katherine and Owen is everything is should honestly be, it develops once Katherine has achieved the kind of self-growth necessary to experience love, and Owen does not overpower her opinions. They are clearly an equal couple and one that I fully supported by the end, especially since it was something that actually happened.

O’Brien honestly brought these historical figures to life for me, she drew me into the English court and all the secrets, plots, hopes and dreams and weaved her magic with words. It was descriptive enough for me to visualise everything, yet O’Brien was never excessive. Overall The Forbidden Queen drew me into the 1400s with ease and elegance and kept my attention throughout. It is honestly a masterpiece in historical-fiction, and I encourage everyone to read it, not only because it serves to educate you a little about the basic happenings and people of this time in a fun, engaging and beautiful way, but it is genuinely a quality piece of fiction. I’ll be looking to get my hands on more O’Brien books now!

The Rating: 4.5 / 5 Stars

Goodreads ~ Amazon UK / US ~ Author’s Website

Extra note: I had an extremely busy week last week with moving back to University, packing and I also am pleased to announce, I can now drive because I finally passed my practical driving test! So hopefully I will be back to a regular posting schedule and dropping by your blogs from now on!


Filed under 2013 Publication, 4.5 Books, Adult, Anne O'Brien, E-book, Historical Fiction, Mira Books, Romance

Book Review: The Walled City

The Walled City

The Walled City by Ryan Graudin

Genre: Young-Adult, Crime, Fantasy, Gangsters

The Review

“There are three rules in the Walled City: Run fast. Trust no one. Always carry your knife. Right now, my life depends completely on the first. Run, run, run.”

These are the words that drew me in from the blurb of this book. In all honesty, I was unsure about a book that talked of rape, drug culture, gangsters, crime, death and prostitution, never mind the fact that it is a young-adult book. However, that does not mean to say I feel it is wrong for such a book to be published under the young-adult genre. After all, the term includes ‘adult’, the term only refers to somebody slightly below adult years and we have to enable our youth to learn and be educated through some means, and we cannot continue to hide the world from them. So I think whilst this book is gritty, harsh and at times dark and discomforting, it is a book that holds meaning, honesty and a brutal reflection of what human nature can lead to, and I think it is a fabulous addition to the young-adult genre as not the typical read.

The Walled City was unexpected in so many ways. It focused on three youths, Jin, Mei Yee and Dai. They all had secrets, all had a past and the alternate POVS throughout the novel slowly began to unravel their lives, their pasts, their hopes, dreams and needs and I really connected with all three of them. Personally I felt the strongest connection with Jin who is out in the Walled City to find her sister. She is young, but she is determined, feisty and frankly I would not want to mess with this young fireball. She is an absolutely brilliant character and my heart throughout the novel was firmly rooting for her. That is exactly what I want books I read to do too, have me rooting for the main character and living the story with them.

Dai is a mystery, and not exactly the one I expected. He is a likeable, rather tortured character, but underneath the first impression of a prickly, mysterious and rather untrustworthy exterior, he also found a place in my heart.

Mei Yee is the character I connected least with, however I feel that is because we got to know her least. By the end I could see her as an equally strong individual as Jin and Dai, but she faced her own struggles, being sold into prostitution at an early age by her father and being locked in one building for her future, it does appear that she lives a dismal life. There are no real explicit descriptions of the prostitution or lewd events in the brothel, however there are a couple of rather sadistic moments of brutality from a customer and the master to be aware of.

Throughout the novel Graudin is challenging how human nature has allowed this ‘Walled City’ to be created which is a place untouched by the laws of society and police force so that drugs, crime and death can continue. It challenges how human nature can become so depraved. Despite all of this, underneath it are shining moments of friendship, determination, a genuine care for others, doing the right thing and family.

There is a small amount of romance in the novel, but honestly it is not the dominant aspect, in fact it is entirely limited in terms of the plot. This is one of the other reasons why I really enjoyed this novel, because it was a somewhat refreshing look at the young-adult genre without the dominant aspect being romance. It was about friendship, family and trusting others with not just emotions, but your life. Having said that, the romance was entrancing, well-written and it was genuinely built up to. I thought it fit into the narrative with a fluid ease and was not forced in the slightest.

When I finished this novel and found out Graudin had based her novel in part upon a place called Kowloon’s Walled City in Hong Kong which in some ways made her question the type of people that would be there and the happenings, it made it all seem more realistic and heart-wrenching. Obviously the novel is fictitious which leads to the kind of fantasy element, because I would struggle to label this city as ‘contemporary’. Although the genre labelling is one topic that I struggled with when it came to this novel. Despite all this, Graudin is making a clear statement against human trafficking and I appreciated the message of the novel.

Overall, The Walled City was a novel that sent my emotions into turmoil, tugged on my heartstrings and had me racing through the last part of the novel. I almost certainly applaud Graudin on tackling such a sensitive topic, not being afraid to delve into the grit and darkness of humanity and coming out the other side successfully with 5 shining stars that shows human nature is not all bad. An absolutely phenomenal addition to the young-adult genre, and so splendidly written that every word despite being full of grit and tension, was quite beautiful to read; I recommend it to you all!

Survival Chances: 87%

Expiration Date: 2095

Favourite Quotes *quotes taken from an earc subject to change on publication

But there are still more wishes in my soul than there are stars. I wish I could hold Jin Ling’s hand in mine, I wish Sing never tried to run. I wish the boy didn’t make my chest burn, make my thoughts soar like a phoenix. I wish every girl in this brothel could be one of the lucky ones. I wish, like the boy, I was somewhere else. Someone else. And on and on and on.

“I work alone,” I say quickly. I do everything alone: eat, sleep, run, steal, talk, cry. It’s the curse of the second rule: Trust no one. The cost of staying alive.”

We stay like this for a long time. Skin to skin under false stars. The ones that never fall.

Rating: 5 / 5 stars

Goodreads ~ Amazon UK / US ~ Author’s Website


Filed under 2014 Publication, 5 Books, Crime, E-book, Fantasy, Little, Brown and Company, Ryan Graudin, Young Adult

Flashback Friday #1

flashback friday

On alternative weeks to the meme A Trip Through Time, I will be doing Flashback Fridays to cover everything that has happened in the past couple of weeks. This week I got a little bit behind on the blogging world, but I have been very busy.

From the past couple of weeks here are a few of the highlights from my life:

  • I got pink highlights in my hair, and cut my fringe back in, after living without it for a few months, I found that I missed it too much.
  • Got my scaffolding/industrial piercing which hurt quite a bit, but thankfully the whole process was fairly quick. However, I am really happy with the end result, despite the fact it has taken me a year to build up the courage to finally get it done – yes I am a utter wuss, I realise.
  • Went walking in the Peak District which turned into a 10 hour hike up and down hills, getting lost because the family I went with refused to listen to my impeccable sense of direction ;)! I visited Lady Bower and the surrounding lakes, where they have the amazing dam on the Derwent, and some stunning scenery.

photo 1photo 2

photo 2photo 1

I have managed to read quite a bit in the past couple of weeks too, and I am thoroughly happy with the books I’ve managed to read, since I feel like I have read quite a selection of genres.

A Clash of KingsIsla and the Happily Ever AFterThe Walled CityUnbroken TiesUpFromGraveCOV

Click on the cover to link to Goodreads.

Finally, here are some of the books I have managed to purchase/received for review in the last couple of weeks and I am looking forward to reading!

cure for dreamingIf I stayThe Empress Chroniclesthis is where I leave youThe Woodcutter

Click on the cover to link to Goodreads.

Finally, I picked up a few new history books this week, which will hopefully be interesting/help in my next year of study to some degree. Although whilst Matilda and Bess of Hardwick are not necessarily in the time periods I am studying since I am looking at Russian History (civilisation of the tsars), the Crusades, Christian Kings of France (1500-1700) and China 1949-present, they looked really interesting and I cannot resist reading about epic women in history! photo 1

Then a few blogging highlights of the past couple of weeks. Here I’ll be highlighting some of my favourite blogger posts from the past couple of weeks.

 And on my own blog, if you have missed it,

What have you been reading/doing this week?


Filed under Uncategorized

A Trip Through Time #2

a trip through time

The meme, A Trip Through Time, hosted by The Absent Historian is posted biweekly on a Friday. On the meme I will be taking a look at everything history related.

Today I am taking a look at the Channel 4 documentary that was on recently, Richard III: The New Evidence. As a massive geek when it comes to medieval history around the 14th-16th century, I was super excited to watch the documentary unveil more about Richard III; following the discovery of his bones last year. It is safe to say the documentary did not disappoint!

Here I have composed a little fact file for those of you who do not know much about Richard III. 

richard-iii-take-2Fact file: Richard III (October 1452 – August 1485)

  • * Younger brother to Edward VI and George, Duke of Clarence
  • * From House of Lancaster
  • * Reigned for 2 Years, 2 months and 2 days
  • * Last English king to die in battle
  • * Died at the Battle of Bosworth, 1485 (End of the War of the Roses)
  • * Usurped by Henry (Tudor)VII (father to Henry VIII)
  • * Supposedly killed his two nephews the princes in the tower to succeed to the throne after his brother, Edward VI
  • * Married Anne Neville (Warwick, the kingmaker’s daughter) and had one son, who died when he was young
  • * Depicted as a crooked, evil villain by Shakespeare

This picture is the one held in the National Portrait Gallery in London which I have visited and was painted by an unknown artists in the late 15th century, so the accuracy is debateable, but it is seen that Richard would have looked something like this at least, and not quite the hunch back that Shakespeare depicted.

However, having watched this documentary, and upon the bones being found in the Leicester car park, Richard III it is revealed did have a twisted spine, because he suffered from scoliosis which is a curvature of the spine.


If you take a look at the spine curvature here, you can see it moved to one side, which would have meant Richard’s ribs were curved around, and following experiments on a guy with a similar deformity, it was revealed this would hinder his capability when it came to lung capacity and stamina.

The programme had a central focus on uncovering whether with such a deformity Richard would ever have been capable of riding into battle in full armour and participate in hand to hand combat. In addition to this, the scientists at University of Leicester were able to analyse his bones to discover the type of diet he would have had from his time before kingship and right up until death. It was utterly fascinating to see them dissect all the elements of Richard III; him riding to battle, his fitness and capabilities; using a man who was suffering with the same condition.

Honestly, I learnt a lot from the programme and I was amazed to hear that the medieval armour and horse saddle were actually much more beneficial to supporting Richard in his condition than any new saddle would be. His range of movement was incredibly able for a man with a curved spine, however it was his stamina where he would fail. It can probably be seen that once he was dragged from his horse, he would not last long which was why he was able to be beaten quite badly and suffered severe head injuries and bodily damage, which ultimately led to his death.

In terms of his diet, the man was enjoying 2-3 litres of wine, every day! It certainly appears these medieval royals were having a jolly time, and once he became king, his intake of food such as pig, fish, peasant and all those delicacies increased and his diet became much richer. It appears that becoming king would certainly reduce his level of fitness, so when it came to riding into the Battle of Bosworth he was not at his prime.

Overall, it was really fascinating take on Richard III and revealed things that I did not know and continues to make me question about events of the time and the man that is Richard III.

For those of you interested in historical documentaries, finding out a little bit more about Richard III, or curious about the whole scientific process, I definitely recommend checking out the documentary that was broadcast on Channel 4!


Richard III’s double, Dominic Smee posing in his armour.


Filed under A Trip Through Time

Series Review (1-4): Line of Duty

protecting-tessa-baileyHis Risk to TakeOfficer off LimitsAsking for Trouble
Protecting What’s His (#1), His Risk to Take (#2), Officer Off Limits (#3), Asking for Trouble (#4) by Tessa Bailey

Genre: Contemporary, Romance, Adult

The Review
This is a contemporary series from one of my favourite publishers when it comes to contemporary books, Entangled. Line of Duty follows a series of different police officers as they come face to face with a woman who will challenge them and eventually one they will find romance with; inevitable right?

I feel like this series has strengthened as it has gone along and Officer Off Limits and Asking for Trouble were both much stronger than their predecessors. I will not claim that this series is free of the typical clichés that usually accompany the contemporary romance scene, and neither are these books perfect. However they are enjoyable.

Each of the novels introduces a new officer to the tale, however in some there are connections to the previous novels and links between the police forces, so the characters are not all entirely new. However each one explores a different perspective and this serves to reinvigorate each novel with new energy and prevent it from falling into the trapping of the previous one.

Largely the female protagonists tend to be women with past troubles, who are seeing themselves as independent and without the need for a man in their life. Bailey unfortunately does seem to fall into the trappings of this typical cycle of strong female, eventually being ‘saved’ in some way by the male police officer in the end, but when read over a period of time and not directly next to each other, I think this makes the series easier to handle and more enjoyable.

My favourite book from the series is probably Officer Off Limits which deals with Story Brooks and Daniel Chase. I felt like Story stayed much more true to her strengths and independence than the other female protagonists and I really had my heart stolen by officer Daniel Chase. Although the other police officers certainly have many a redeeming quality; who after all, can resist a man in uniform? However I did feel like that for a romance novel this edition in particular had a little more of a serious note that wasn’t the typical backstory and it served to really address characterisation that sells a novel to me.

Overall, this series is fun, flirty and a quick read that has some great teasing moments. It easily fills the need for a little bit of fluff and romance in ones life whilst not being too unrealistic nor annoying. Bailey has a solid series here and I think most contemporary romance fans will find something enjoyable in the Line of Duty series!

Historical Survival Chances
Honestly, I do not think this series despite being lots of fun, will last long in the span of history. I believe much more epic romances that are on the level of Pride and Prejudice are the types of novels that should survive through history and will be the literary genius that we are remembered for.

Survival Chances: 25%

Expiration Date: 2027


Rating: 3.5 / 5 Stars

Goodreads (#1), (#2), (#3), (#4) ~ Amazon UK / US ~ Author’s Website


Filed under 3.5 Books, Adult, Contemporary, Entangled Publishing, Romance, Tessa Bailey, Uncategorized

The Blue Blazes

TheBlueBlazes-144dpiThe Blue Blazes by Chuck Wendig

Series: Mookie Pearl #1

Genre: Adventure, Fantasy, Adult

The Plot
The Blue Blazes draws together the criminal, gangster underworld and supernatural happenings to give a rather unique take on an urban-fantasy novel. There may be creatures of the dark that haunt your nightmares, but the key feature of the novel surrounds drugs. The ‘blue blazes’ that provide supernatural strength, endurance and enhanced senses is the drug everyone wants to have on their side in battle. However it isn’t that only drug that everyone is searching for, as the main character Mookie uncovers.

Mookie Pearl is a man involved in both the supernatural and gangster underworld, but his family life also crosses over between the two and the novel follows him, and his spats with his daughter that adds yet another dynamic to this urban-fantasy novel.

The Review


Chuck Wendig is an author that not everyone will appreciate, but I read the first two books in his Miriam Black series and enjoyed them, I was curious to test out another series by him. However, like with the Miriam Black series he does not shy away from the violence and brutality, harsh language and rather grumpy, sometimes dislikeable characters that characterised the Miriam Black series. Nevertheless, he has a fantastic imagination, and if you don’t mind those sorts of things, delving into The Blue Blazes is an exciting, unique journey that served to keep my interest!

The Blue Blazes is not to me the typical urban-fantasy novel, which I think sets it head and shoulders apart from its genre. Wendig takes on something a little more adventurous and more applicable to modern day and succeeds with flying colours to craft it into a believable, exciting and scary fantasy world. After all, we have drugs in our world, why can’t there be ones that bring about supernatural changes?

Mookie Pearl admittedly is not an easy man to like, he doesn’t make the best life choices and his conflict with his daughter and seeming ignorance of her life makes him seem like a poor father figure. Throughout the novel he doesn’t really seem to make real attempts to mend the broken relationship and whilst his daughter and her wild attempts on her father’s life when she opposes his gang seem to make such things difficult, he still seems to be a rather harsh character. However, he does undergo some character development in terms of sorting out his family relations that redeems him in my eyes. He’s also not the typical main character that usually stares in the books I read and I enjoyed exiting from my comfort zone. Especially since he has a strong sense of identity developed and he is a hard-man with a lot of gruff, ready-to-roll style.

The Blue Blazes has a lot to offer in terms of fantasy and criminal underground dynamics that makes it unusual. It’s exciting, tense and it has tonnes of potential for the future series. I am definitely intrigued to know more about the origins of the drugs, what will happen with them all and especially the gang dynamics after things collapse a little at the end of The Blue Blazes. One thing this novel was not, was predictable and I will definitely be looking out to get my hands on the second instalment of the Mookie Pearl series. This might not be your usual type of book, but definitely take a leap of faith and try The Blue Blazes, as I think any fantasy fan can appreciate Wendig’s innovative slant on the criminal underground!

Historical Survival Chances

I have been contemplating for a short time now, how I rate books, and whilst I might give this book a solid 4.5 stars, will it last into the future? Will people in 20-30 maybe even 100 years time be reading Chuck Wendig like we read Mary Shelley or Dickens?

Wendig is innovative and creative enough that I think in the genre of urban-fantasy, he might stand a strong chance of being read well into the future. So I will be applying a survival chance percentage and an expiration date to the novel when I think people might no longer hold interest in these types of things.

Survival Chance: 65%    

Expiration Date: 2064

Favourite Quotes

“The Blazes are like that: the blue stuff doesn’t merely tear aside the facade to reveal the monsters, but when on it, the whole of the Underworld pulses with a different kind of energy.”

“The saying goes that there is more below the streets of New York City than there is above them. An exaggeration by those who say it, perhaps, but they don’t known just how accurate that statement truly is. Hell’s heart, as it turns out, has many chambers.”


Rating: 4.5 / 5 Stars

Goodreads ~ Amazon UK / US ~ Author’s Website


Filed under 2013 Publication, 4.5 Books, Adult, Adventure, Angry-Robot, Chuck Wendig, E-book, Fantasy, Uncategorized

Dilemma of Contemporary Romance

Contemporary Romance

Admittedly I have been known to binge on contemporary romance, the literature kind and the movies. However, I at least try to find the well-written kind. Despite this, when I was discussing my secret love of contemporary romance with one of my closest friends, she told me she despised it, and found it boring and unrealistic.

This was my first pause for thought; unrealistic. It had me wondering, what do we call a realistic romance? Do we want to read/watch a ‘realistic’ romance? Or do we want to be wooed and blown away?


Recently I just watched Love and Other Drugs which stars Anne Hathaway and Jake Gyllenhaal. The film has a 6.7 / 10 rating on IMDB and was nominated for 2 Golden Globe awards. So it appears the film is being taken seriously in the movie industry?

Yet, it still appears to have such a mixed response. Some hail it as being a champion of the romance-comedy genre with the take on Anne Hathaway an individual suffering from Parkinson’s being well portrayed and provocative, whilst others claim its another mindless romance, filled with crude language, sex scenes and being a typical plot line of a sick girl falling for a bad-boy. Why is it we get such mixed reviews?


Personally, I think there comes pros and cons from every contemporary romance film, which again, is based on personal preference. However, is the media designed to project moral messages and ideals to us even if overlaid with fun, flirty and flighty behaviour? Or is it supposed to be some strict, moral message in a boring fashion? Honestly, I do not believe many people would listen to something they perceived as being dull and boring. At least Love and Other Drugs manages to show by the end of the film, a steady, loving relationship where you can stand by somebody and care for them can be more fulfilling than a casual fling. It represents many values that I think are important, and is that really a bad thing? Even if it includes sex and naked skin, is that not again something that human beings want to see?

Obviously there are times in reading a book, or watching a film where you think “if only that happened in real life” because I do not think many times you will get a guy chasing after you down the street to declare his love, or driving across the country, or chasing you to the airport as I recently witnessed on an old episode of Friends when Ross Geller raced to the airport after Rachel Green. I mean, it would be nice, but when it came down to it, I think if somebody did such a thing for me, I would laugh or be awkward and not know how to react. However, I think I like reading these declarations of love and thinking maybe somewhere, somebody does such things because it makes me feel happy, and that is why I read right, to have my emotions played on, to be entertained and made smile? I want my main love interests to wooo me, to draw me in.


I want an Augustus Green (The Fault in Our Stars) to be there for me…

“I’ll fight it. I’ll fight it for you. Don’t you worry about me, Hazel Grace. I’m okay. I’ll find a way to hang around and annoy you for a long time.” I was crying. But even then he was strong. holding me tight so that I could see the sinewy muscles of his arms wrapped around me …”

I want a Levi (Fangirl) who will hang around my roommate’s room to see me, to walk me home in the dark, to tease me, to bring me out of my shell…

“I mean…” Levi leaned forward, hands still fisted in his pockets. “I mean, I spent four months trying to kiss you and the last six weeks trying to figure out how I managed to fuck everything up. All I want now is to make it right, to make you see how sorry I am and why you should give me another chance. And I just want to know—are you rooting for me? Are you hoping I pull this off?”

“I’m rooting for you,” she whispered. She wasn’t even sure he could hear her from the bed.

Levi’s smile broke free and devoured his whole face. It started to devour her face, too. Cath had to look away.”

I want myself a Finn the Robot (The Mad Scientist’s Daughter) who is smart and heartfelt.

“I can’t tell you what it means to be the only one of my kind,” he said. “I can’t… There is a lack in myself. But your thesis almost filled it in. It was… a start.”

Even a little bit of Vlad the Impaler (Night Prince Series) to melt a woman’s heart…

“No one feels like you do, so every brush of your skin is a cruel reminder of what I’ve lost. I can barely stand the sight of you because you’re more beautiful than I’ve allowed myself to remember, and when I cut that wire off Maximus and smelled you all over him, I wanted to kill him more than I’ve wanted to kill anyone in my life, yet I couldn’t because of my promise to you.”

These are just a few of the many fictional crushes, and there are probably many more, but these are a few of the more recent ones. Who are your fictional crushes? (because I severely hope I am not alone in my love of fictional characters *slinks away to hide in a corner* if I am). I’m going to leave you with one of the most iconic moments in film history and an all time favourite romance of mine, this film will always have a special place in my heart.



Filed under Contemporary, Rambles, Romance