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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.

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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?

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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

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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

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

Back from the Canaries

Hey guys,

I’m officially back of my holiday in Tenerife. So I’ll be back to blogging as soon as I’ve caught up on everything. The good thing is, I managed to read a fair few books with the couple I had waiting for review before I went on holiday, I’ll be bringing you reviews on all these. Very mixed opinions I promise!

1 Charmeine Book CoverA Thousand BayonetsDegrees of Wrong

Divided in DeathForbidden

Poison StudyStormdancerUnnatural Law Darwin's Children 2

And whilst I got lots of reading done just before and on my holiday with all these titles, which will be getting reviews for shortly. Here’s a little bit about my holiday.

We had several sunny days, but unfortunately we got the tail end of hurricane Sandy, so storms, rain and wind were definitely part of my holiday and Tenerife hasn’t had very little rain in 18 months and it really came down when I was there. Just unfortunate really, but it was warm and I still got out and had a really good time.

Here’s a few photos:

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The result of the rain on some steps….

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Some pretty clouds

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Some interesting sand sculptures

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My yummy cocktails

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Some mountains

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A little of me

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And a cute lemon cake to finish it off!

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Back from the Welsh Land

Hey guys,

I’m officially back from my holiday from WET Wales. I kid you not. Monday was nice. Tuesday rained in the afternoon, massive downpour. Wednesday. We do not even discuss the state I was in by the end of the day. It took two days for my jacket to dry out which was beneath my waterproof jacket which is no longer waterproof and I had to dry out all my money in my purse, not fun. Thursday was mainly dry with several sharp showers. We had sun at the end of the day—enough for me to get burnt. And Friday was nice and sunny with a shower. So however much I enjoyed Wales, it was very, very WET!

Let’s take a look at my caravan first:

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That was the living room, which was very pretty. How anybody can be expected to see with the TV so small, I don’t know though. And the twin beds had to be pushed together because I fell out the first night.

Overall the caravan was nice and quaint.

Let’s take a look at Welsh land countryside I visited which was beautiful!

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The town’s I visited:

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These are pictures of Llandudno and Llangollen. Both were beautiful towns that had a very old world, Victorian feel to them which I loved. Llandudno had the pier and lots of hiking up the hillside, whilst Llangollen had the pretty canal and the horse drawn boat ride I took.

I rode a tramway in Llandudno up part of the hillside.

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Then I visited a house in Llangollen that belonged to the Ladies of Llangollen in the 18th century who were two lesbians 13 and 29 who eloped together and had this “unpretentious” cottage to live which was surrounded by some very beautiful gardens.

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It had some really neat wood carvings too!

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So there is a run down of my time in Wales, which involved eating cake to cheer me up, reading lots of books to keep me entertained, doing lots of walking to keep me fit and sight-seeing a little!

Finally, to finish off a picture of me looking like a giant pea—I’m in need of a new coat, so don’t laugh at me please—in the rain, dressed like an idiot and just generally freezing my ass off! What was I doing, I couldn’t say, BUT I did have a smile on my face! haha. And YES, I’m wearing shorts, which was on the day I attempted to climb Snowdon on the Wednesday. :L I was actually thoroughly soaked and still in absolute downpour at this point…

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I’d say take a trip to Wales to visit the beautiful countryside, but try and pick a week with nice weather and if you’re going to climb Snowdon, take the proper gear! I’ve learnt my lesson about not taking all my walking gear, it ended in disaster.

See you soon!

Livvy x

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From the Review Pile (5)

From the Review Pile

From the Review Pile is a meme hosted by Stepping Out of the Pageevery Thursday.

The aim of this meme is to showcase books that you’ve received for review (or if you don’t receive review books, any book that you own and really want to read/review) but haven’t yet got around to reading, in order to give the book some extra publicity.

                              

This week I’m picking a book that I’ve been asked to review. I saw it the other week on Uncorked Thoughts and was thrilled when I got contacted by the author’s publicist about grabbing my own copy. It really looks fantastic!

Crashing Eden

Crashing Eden by Michael Sussman

Published: May 11th 2012 by Solstice Publishing

For one boy and his friends, the path to Paradise comes at a cost—one they may not be prepared to pay.

When a biking accident leaves 17-year-old Joss Kazdan with the ability to hear things others can’t, reality as he knows it begins to unravel.

A world of legends exists beyond the ordinary life he’s always known, and he is transported to the same Paradise he’s studying in World Mythology. But the strange gets even stranger when his new friends build a device that delivers people through the gates of the Garden of Eden.
Now Samael, the Creator God, is furious. As Samael rains down his apocalyptic devastation on the ecstasy-seeking teens, Joss and his companions must find a way to appease Samael—or the world will be destroyed forever.

Goodreads.

What did you get this week?

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Holiday

welsh-flag

Hey guys,

So I’m off to Wales for the week. At the time this is posting I should be in, or very much nearing Wales. The pictures below are of the place I’m going and where I’ll be staying. Yes! I’m in a caravan. I’m not sure how I feel about that, but we’ll see how it goes. It also means I’ve have no internet for the next week (or until Friday) so I’ll be relying on my scheduled posting for a couple of my posts for the next few days.

I’m hoping it doesn’t rain and that the weather will stay nice for me. I probably won’t see much of the beach because I intend to walk and maybe take a hike up Snowdon. We’ll see how things go.

I’ll get back to replying to all your comments when I get back.

For now, it’s goodbye and I’ll see you when I get back from Wales.

           lidobeachcaravanlido beach

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From the Review Pile (4)

From the Review Pile

From the Review Pile is a meme hosted by Stepping Out of the Page every Thursday.

The aim of this meme is to showcase books that you’ve received for review (or if you don’t receive review books, any book that you own and really want to read/review) but haven’t yet got around to reading, in order to give the book some extra publicity.

                                       

Well this week I didn’t even realise that I could get access this book, so when I got it through I was thoroughly surprised and excited. Hopefully I’ll get around to it soon, since I have a huge tbr-pile that only ever gets longer.

Throne of Glass

Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

Expected Publication: August 7th 2012 by Bloomsbury USA Children’s

After serving out a year of hard labor in the salt mines of Endovier for her crimes, 18-year-old assassin Celaena Sardothien is dragged before the Crown Prince. Prince Dorian offers her her freedom on one condition: she must act as his champion in a competition to find a new royal assassin.
Her opponents are men—thieves and assassins and warriors from across the empire, each sponsored by a member of the kings council. If she beats her opponents in a series of eliminations, she’ll serve the kingdom for three years and then be granted her freedom.
Celaena finds her training sessions with the captain of the guard, Westfall, challenging and exhilirating. But she’s bored stiff by court life. Things get a little more interesting when the prince starts to show interest in her… but it’s the gruff Captain Westfall who seems to understand her best.
Then one of the other contestants turns up dead… quickly followed by another. Can Celaena figure out who the killer is before she becomes a victim? As the young assassin investigates, her search leads her to discover a greater destiny than she could possibly have imagined.

Goodreads

What did you get this week?

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From the Review Pile (3)

From the Review Pile

From the Review Pile is a meme hosted by Stepping Out of the Page every Thursday.

The aim of this meme is to showcase books that you’ve received for review (or if you don’t receive review books, any book that you own and really want to read/review) but haven’t yet got around to reading, in order to give the book some extra publicity.

This week I’m picking a book I’m just about to start as one of my many to-read books. I got this one through NetGalley when I first joined, so I’ve been meaning to read it for a very long time. I hope I’ll enjoy it, but I’m a little wary about this one!

Semi-Charmed LifeSemi-Charmed Life by Nora Zelevansky
Publication:
July 3rd 2012 by St. Martin’s Press

In Nora Zelevansky’s hilarious debut, Semi-Charmed Life, an Upper West Side naïf, Beatrice Bernstein, gets swept up in the seemingly magical life of socialite Veruca Pfeffernoose, while ghost writing her blog. Veruca’s glitteringly opulent world soon seduces Beatrice away from her own insular, arty family with a promise of fancy parties, travel outside Manhattan (for once) and one desperately cute guy. But when her new glitzy lifestyle starts to take on dark undertones, Beatrice has to decide who she is—once and for all. With her own magical touch, Zelevansky deftly explores the world of rarified Manhattan in this sparkling modern fairy tale of first love, finding one’s voice and growing up.

What have you got this week to read?

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Talent on Tuesday (6)

Talent on Tuesday posterA weekly book meme hosted by Nerdy Book Reviews as a chance to express your opinion on authors you think have talent. Share a quote/cover/excerpt whatever you like to let us know about great authors out there. It can be something you’re reading or an author you love, but let us know why you think they have talent! Please link back to Nerdy Book Reviews, and if you don’t have a blog, feel free to participate in the comments section.

Dark Lover by J.R. Ward

Dark Lover

In the shadows of the night in Caldwell, New York, there’s a deadly turf war going on between vampires and their slayers. There exists a secret band of brothers like no other-six vampire warriors, defenders of their race. Yet none of them relishes killing more than Wrath, the leader of The Black Dagger Brotherhood.
The only purebred vampire left on earth, Wrath has a score to settle with the slayers who murdered his parents centuries ago. But, when one of his most trusted fighters is killed-leaving his half-breed daughter unaware of his existence or her fate-Wrath must usher her into the world of the undead-a world of sensuality beyond her wildest dreams.

Quotation:

“You’ve won the evolutionary lottery: You’re a vampire. Let’s go to Disneyland!”

This is one of my favourite quotes from the book, which I absolutely adore. I am very much addicted to J.R. Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood series and if you haven’t read these books by now, you really should go out and buy them.

I find this book has wit, romance and is really well written. This is the kind of book that you can sink your teeth into, whilst getting all hot and bothered in the sexy scenes.

What do you think has talent?!

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