Moments of Happiness 5

Readers, this week I am seriously struggling on the happy front. I fell over at the school, frantically running to find my “missing” child (it transpires, he’d gone back to get his carton of milk, because we never have milk at home <eyeroll>) I had to be picked up off the floor by the headteacher. Mortified is not the word. Turns out, I cracked a bone in my ankle and tore a bunch of ligaments, so I’m pretty miserable. I think when you’re miserable is the most important time to find something to be happy about. Here’s what I came up with:

The NHS

I was only there for two hours. Everyone was lovely. I had a triage, x-rays, diagnosis and was strapped up in a moonboot and home in time for a takeaway. How utterly awesome is that?

Fabulous Humans

A school mum who drove me home; a friend (also a nurse) who checked over my ankle and looked after my child whilst I went; another lovely friend who helped us through a birthday party the day after the break. Husband who has run around after me. All the lovely twitter people who have checked on me and entertained me. There are lovely humans in the world.

A Year of Dexter 

This week marks a year since this fluff came to live with us. 

August Readathon

Is it a cheat to count something you’re excited for? This month I’ve got myself into a Readathon of sorts, reading books off my bookshelf. I can’t honestly remember how this started, but RossNad, Cora, Naima and I shared details of books that have been on our shelves for longer than we care to admit (in my case a year or more). Each chose one book from the list to be read in August. There is an official “clear your backlog challenge”: Unhaulatahon, but we didn’t know this when we started, and what we’re doing is a tiny bit different, but if you’re looking to clear your backlog then you should definitely check out that Twitter feed.

Here’s what was chosen for me:

  • Noughts and Crosses by Malorie Blackman (chosen by Ross and seconded by Cora)
  • Peter Pan in Scarlet by Geraldine McCochrean (Cora’s second choice)
  • The Coldest Girl in Cold Town by Holly Black (chosen by Nad)
  • The Little Coffee Shop in Kabul (chosen by Naima)

And because he’s so much better at it than I am, my 5 year old’s:

  • Cracking eggs into great-grandma’s cake
  • Library challenge (that’s my boy!!)
  • Getting Lego Superhero Airport Battle
  • Mummy buying me The Witches book

“That’s it now Mummy, I can’t just sit here chatting, I’ve got more important things to do, like build.”

      What’s been making you happy this week? 

         

        End of Month Stats

        Stats time! What happened this month?

        My book buying ban began on Sunday 9th July. How’s that going you ask (probably laughing at my foolishness as you cuddle all your new books)? I got the two books I said I was picking up just before the ban..and one more that was a rare edition (but that doesn’t count when you already have a copy, obviously). Then I found 2 more books propping up my computer screen, putting my pre-ban total officially at 303. 

        I gained 17 new books from friends, husband, ARC requests, giveaway wins and one for a Round Robin!

         (Just a few of this month’s additions).

        I have read 12 of my existing physical books, e-books and ARCS. I had to return 4 unread library books because someone else reserved them and I got 1 new library book. 

        *Drumroll*

        My Current TBR now stands at 304. Which is one more than I set out with. This is going well.  

        Physical Books: 122

        E-books: 171

        Advanced Review Copies: 8

        Library Books: 4

        Reading Challenges

        Goodreads Bookbuster Challenge


        Number of books I committed to: 28

        Number of books I’ve read: 21

        Thoughts: Not made any progress with this in the last month, but I have until December 31st to get through 7 more books. 

        Goodreads Number Challenge

        Number of books I committed to: 3

        Number of books I’ve read: 1

        Thoughts: This isn’t bad but there aren’t many books with numbers on my TBR, so it doesn’t bode well for my ban.

        Overall Goodreads Challenge

        Number of books I committed to: 120

        Number of books I’ve read: 73

        Thoughts: Slightly ahead of schedule now, helped hugely by the knackered foot and enforced rest. 

         That’s my month in reading. I have 22 days of book buying ban left!

        Slaying my TBR- 28th July

        This week I’ve been stuck in bed or on the sofa nursing a knackered ankle, so I’ve been catching up on my netgalley requests. Thanks to the authors and netgalley for the review copies of these books!

        I’m afraid I’m lacking in photos for this week due to the aforementioned knackered foot, but I’m hoping you’ll forgive me. 

        Here’s what I’ve been reading:

        If You Could See Me Now by Keris Stainton

        If You Could See Me Now is Keris Stainton’s first adult novel, but it reads like she’s an expert in the genre. I deliberately didn’t read too much about this one before picking it up, because I wanted to be surprised. From the line “Apparently, I’m fucking invisible”, I was hooked. What’s not to love about a story of an invisible woman?

        I loved that the story was about Izzy being physically invisible whilst dealing with being metaphorically invisible to those around her. She doesn’t stand out. Her boyfriend, Max, barely notices her and she is always in the background at work. Then one day she becomes literally invisible, and through this, she learns to stand up for herself and make herself seen. She discovers what she wants from a relationship, what she wants from her job and what she wants from her life. I became so invested in Izzy’s development and future that at one point, I shouted out loud and scared my dog. Keris also makes some really great and important commentary on gender, feminist issues and the male gaze. If You Could See Me Now strikes a great balance between serious issues and a laugh-out-loud story that keeps you wanting more. Keris is a wonderful writer. You should definitely get hold of this book: it’s only 99p to pre-order on Kindle just now. 

        Dare to Fall by Estelle Maskame

        Dare to Fall is the story of MacKenzie and Jaden: their tragedies, their families and their friends and their relationship. Kenzie has separated herself from Jaden (her boyfriend) and Danielle (her best friend) after the death of their parents because she doesn’t know how to treat them. The story picks up a year after this tragedy, and Kenzie is still avoiding them. It’s hard to understand this at first: Kenzie seems selfish and I found myself shouting “it’s not about you” at various points. Later, we come to learn that there is more to it than this, that Kenzie is dealing with her own grief, or rather, struggling to acknowledge her own grief. Grief is a big theme of this book: everyone in the book is grieving differently and the author writes about it all beautifully. Jaden and Kenzie meet by chance when Kenzie is trying to buy cheap alcohol for her mum, and this sparks an attempt to rebuild their relationship which becomes a huge focus of the book. Along the way, Kenzie learns to deal with her own grief and that of those around her.  Everyone is forced to face up to their actions and it makes for a really interesting story with some jaw dropping moments. The twist at the end that made me sick to my stomach, but also made me feel silly for not guessing sooner. I just wish we knew how that particular story-line concluded because I needed some closure there. I would definitely recommend Dare to Fall to others, but be prepared for it to play with your emotions.

        All Things New by Lauren Miller



        All Things New is the story of Jessa, who manages to cover up her anxiety until one night when she ends up in a tragic accident. What follows is Jessa trying to rebuild her life and control over anxiety. This one gets a mixed review from me: some parts I really loved and others I couldn’t get on with at all. At times the psychology around anxiety bordered on sounding like a text book, and the dialogue at these moments felt stilted and unrealistic. My other main complaint is the angel story-line which I just couldn’t get on with at all: I expected and hoped for something more realistic and sinister to wrap up that thread. I felt like, particularly towards the end, a lot of the plot-lines were wrapped up quickly and not resolved satisfactorily: I wanted to know more. For the most part though, it was a great story and well written. I loved the idea of Jessa losing her mind’s eye after her accident and that she saw other people’s wounds on their faces (this is one of the lines I wish had been explored more). The novel has a strong opening and the descriptions of Jessa’s life with anxiety are outstanding. I loved the way that anxiety was represented in the novel, and how this was amplified by being a first-person narrative. I loved the friendship between Jessa and Hannah, and her relationship with Martin and how these formed and developed as the story went on. I would have liked more detail of Hannah’s struggle, as this was a fascinating and important side story and I felt that Jessa’s own story overshadowed it a lot. I really struggled with the ending to the novel; I just didn’t find it believable enough, and that let the ending down for me. Overall though, this is an interesting read and I would recommend it for anyone looking to get an insight into living with anxiety.

        A Change is Gonna Come 

        I’m almost finished with this collection and it is awesome! Looking forward to sharing my thoughts with you next week. 

        That’s it from me! How was your week? What have you been reading?  

         

        Blog Tour: To Provence, With Love

        To Provence, With Love is the story of an aspiring writer who moves to Provence to live in a Chateaux and write the biography of a famous elderly woman. What’s not to love?

        To Provence with Love

        Faye Carter has recently separated from her boyfriend and is looking to make a fresh start when an elderly, famous actress, Anabelle Beech commissions her to write the story of her life. Faye moves to Provence where she meets an array of marvellous people including a handsome farmer she may be developing feelings for. Does he share these feelings? And what is the secret that Anabelle Beech is avoiding putting in her book? Will Faye decide to stay in Provence? These questions (and others) keep us engaged until the very end of the novel.

        To Provence, With Love has everything that you want from this genre: a heart-broken woman embarking on a new life, a mysterious man she may or may not have feelings for, a tragedy, a family secret and a wonderfully happy ending.

        There is a lovely focus in the novel on the sharing and passing on of stories and memories, which I loved. In real life, I enjoy listening to the stories the elderly have to share with younger generations (my beloved grandad told some of the best) and so this aspect of the story was something I really enjoyed. I also enjoyed the twist and secret when it came (and guessed it only slightly before it was revealed), although I did feel a bit awful for Faye initially.

        The characters in this novel are so well developed and vibrant, especially Marlon the dog, that when you close the book, its like losing some real life friends. I would love to know what happens after this story: how does the romance pan out? What happens to the book? How is Marlon?

        T. A. Williams’s scene setting is wonderful and the many descriptions of delicious French food will have you heading to the kitchen (and if you’re at all like me, feeling great disappointment when you discover you do not have a stash of Claudette’s homemade biscuits).

        This books manages to be both a genuinely lovely story and one that continually surprises you with it’s unpredictable twists and new dimensions to the story.

        Chick lit is not a genre I read often, but when it is good, I enjoy it, and I really enjoyed this one.

        You can get your copy here:

        Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/35438059-to-provence-with-love

        Amazon Link: https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B0711T5LQC

        About the Author (by the Author)

        I write under the androgynous name T A Williams because 65% of books are read by women. In my first book, “Dirty Minds” one of the (female) characters suggests the imbalance is due to the fact that men spend too much time getting drunk and watching football. I couldn’t possibly comment. Ask my wife…

        I’ve written all sorts: thrillers, historical novels, short stories and now I’m enjoying myself hugely writing humour and romance. Romantic comedies are what we all need from time to time. Life isn’t always very fair. It isn’t always a lot of fun, but when it is, we need to embrace it. If my books can put a smile on your face and maybe give your heartstrings a tug, then I know I’ve done my job.

        I‘ve lived all over Europe, but now I live in a little village in sleepy Devon, tucked away in south west England. I love the place. That’s why you’ll find leafy lanes and thatched cottages in most of my books. Oh, yes, and a black Labrador.

        I’ve been writing since I was 14 and that is half a century ago. However, underneath this bald, wrinkly exterior, there beats the heart of a youngster. My wife is convinced I will never grow up. I hope she’s right.

        Website: http://www.tawilliamsbooks.com/

        Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/TAWilliamsbooks

        Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/TrevorWilliamsBooks

        And don’t forget to check out the other stops on the blog tour:

        To Provence with Love banner2

        * I received an ebook copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review. Opinions are my own genuine thoughts and not in any way influenced by this. My thanks to T.A. Williams and Faye Rogers for the copy and inclusion in the book tour.*

        Coffee with Amy from Golden Books Girl

        Joining me for coffee this week is the lovely Amy from Golden Books Girl I’ll be drinking a Tanzanian filter coffee from Steampunk Coffee, whilst Amy (not a coffee drinker) will be having a refreshing glass of water. Amy is sharing with us her favourite signed books, so grab yourself a drink and enjoy!

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        Hi everyone! So excited to be over here on Charlotte`s blog today. Hope you enjoy my post 🙂  despite my lack of signed book photos (I don`t currently have access to them to take photos. In no particular order, my favourite signed books are…

        1. Murder Most Unladylike series by Robin StevensI met Robin before Murder Most Unladylike was even published (even though I can`t quite remember how) and we`ve kept in touch ever since. I`m lucky enough to have almost this whole series (except for my finished copy of the first book) signed, and it just makes me love reading them even more to see Robin`s lovely messages in the front.2017-07-11-12-24-29-
        2. Adventure Island by Helen Moss- As I plan to speak about in a blog post later this week, this series means a lot to me in a lot of ways, so winning signed copies of the entire series in the Authors for the Philippines auction (along with the chance to meet Helen, who I`d already chatted with via email for a few years, in person)2017-07-11-12-19-24-
        3. Geek Girl series by Holly SmaleI met Holly at her signing after watching her excellent talk at the Edinburgh Book Festival last year, and got all the books that were out at that time signed. I`m a massive Geek Girl fangirl in general, so it`s pretty surreal that I got to meet someone I think is so amazing (and Holly was lovely) and have her write lovely messages.images-1 (1)
        4. Karen McCombie books I`ve met Karen quite a few times at the Edinburgh Book Festival, and I have quite a lot of my (very extensive!) Karen McCombie collection signed. A particularly treasured one is my copy of Angels in Training, which is dedicated to me .images
        5. A Home for Shimmer by Cathy HopkinsAs you might know if you follow me on Twitter my older dog is called Shimmer, and the name of the dog in this book is no coincidence. I`ve known Cathy ever since I devoured her books and got in touch with her, and I was so thrilled when she decided to use my Shimmer as the inspiration for her`s. This book is also dedicated to me (and Shim) so my signed copy is very special to me. 

        And here’s a photo of Shimmer, who I’m sure you’ll agree is completely adorable!

        Thanks so much for a wonderful chat Amy! 

        I hope you all enjoyed reading about Amy’s favourite signed books as much as I did! My own favourites include my signed Jasper Fforde books (particularly the one where he wrote Happy Birthday), Strange the Dreamer and my lovely signed copy of The Devil’s Poetry. 

        Do you have any treasured signed books to tell us about? 

         

         

         

        Blogger Recognition Award

        I’m bringing you a break in my usual happy Monday post because the lovely Rebecca of This Booky Place nominated me for a Blogger Recognition Award. I’m really new to this and completely surprised anyone reads my random thoughts, so Rebecca’s nomination really touched me: thank you!

         

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        The rules are:

        1. Thank the blogger who nominated you and provide a link to their blog (see above)
        2. Write a post to show your award (you’re reading my post now)
        3. Give a brief story of how your blog started.
        4. Give two pieces of advice to new bloggers.
        5. Select 15 other bloggers you want to give this award to.
        6. Comment on each blog and let them know you have nominated them & provide the link to the post you created.

        How My Blog Started

        I wish I had a great story for this, but basically I joined a readathon on Twitter over Easter weekend and everyone was posting about what they’d read over on their blogs. I wanted a blog. I made one.

        Two Pieces of Advice for New Bloggers

        Being really new to this myself, I feel a bit of a fraud giving advice, but here it is:

        • Be yourself. Don’t try to copy someone else just because you think that’s what people want to read. It’s better to have a handful of followers that want to read what you have to say than hundreds who are following you because you sound like someone else. That way madness lies.
        • Think about what you want to do in advance: I gave no real thought to this beyond “blog. I want one”. I ended up switching from Blogger to WordPress after a few weeks and it took me longer than I should have to start planning what I wanted to do. I’m still doubting it now. I wish I’d thought more about what I was trying to do before just jumping right in!

        15 Bloggers I Want to Nominate

        This is a crazy amount and I’m assuming a lot of these have already been nominated, but here goes:

        And everyone else who reads this, you’re all wonderful! 

        Slaying My TBR…July 21st

        Here’s what I’ve been reading this week. Let me know your thoughts in the comments or over on Twitter @charlottesburns 

        The Marriage Pact by Michelle Richmond

        Adding this to this week’s TBR is a bit of a cheat as I read the ARC a little while ago. It is published on Tuesday, so I can finally share my review with you!

        The Marriage Pact is dark, twisty and impossible to put down. We know from the very opening that The Pact is something sinister and that given the chance again, Alice and Jake would not have joined it, but it is a while before we learn exactly what The Pact is and how they became involved. The Pact is a wedding gift that promises a lifelong, happy marriage but is that what it delivers? It sounds appealing but it is much more sinister and we don’t discover how sinister it is until we get towards the very end. Michelle keeps us guessing and even when we think we know what’s going to happen next, there’s another surprise around the corner. Alice and Jake’s marriage is continuously compared to those around them, in The Pact and in the couples that Jake works with (he is a therapist). Throughout the book, I found myself comparing their marriage and The Pact’s idea of marriage with my own and wondering how my husband and I would fare under such strict rules. At times I found myself agreeing that some of the rules could make for a happy relationship, but the methods they use are old-fashioned and brutal. I would suggest proceeding with caution if torture is a triggering issue for you. Jake is an interesting narrator and I often wondered what the story would be like told from Alice’s point of view as Jake’s  is often clouded by his doubts and insecurities. The Marriage Pact is a brilliant thriller. It is never predictable and the twists, betrayals and unexpected events keep you hooked until the very last page.

        When Dimple Met Rishi

        When Dimple Met Rishi is one of this summer’s most hyped novels. Dimple is a modern girl with a passion for coding and doesn’t want to settle down and find the Ideal Indian Husband her mother wants her to; she has career goals. Rishi is traditional, he wants to make his parents happy and settle down with a compatible wife. When they meet, he introduces himself as her future husband and she throws her drink at him. It’s a scene that’s gotten Dimple a lot of criticism, but I say fair play: in her shoes I’d have thrown a drink too. The rest of their story is about Insomnia Con and trying to code the perfect app and the relationship of Dimple and Rishi. It was very predictable and at times both characters really annoyed me and made me want to bang their heads together, but I suppose it did give me feelings. I enjoyed this one, but didn’t love it as much as I expected to from the rave reviews I’d seen. I think maybe I’m broken. 

        Nemesis by Brandon Reichs

        I was sent a copy of this by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. 

        This was gripping from start to end. Min is murdered every alternate birthday. But she wakes up somewhere outside of town alive. Noone seems to believe her. Then strange things start happening around the town and she discovers the sinister Project Nemesis. I don’t want to say too much about the plot because it would be easily spoiled and it’s so brilliant that you just need to read it. I loved the twists and suspense, and the story being told from different view points. It keeps you hooked until the end and had me screaming for the sequel. Read it. You won’t regret it. 

        I Know Where She Is by S.B.Caves

        I finished this one last night and am looking forward to sharing my thoughts with you as part of the blog tour on 21st August. 

        That’s my week in reading. What have you been reading? 

        Coffee and… Ice-Lolly Book Tag

        It’s summer! And, whilst I’m usually one of the “Argh! Daylight! It burns!” people, I am very partial to a nice summery ice-lolly or (tub of) ice-cream whilst reading. Amy (of Golden Books Girl), Louise (of Book Murmuration) and I got chatting about which books we would match with each ice-lolly. I’m taking a lot of credit here – Amy and Louise did a lot of the thinking and I chirped in my 20p worth at the end! But still, one random bookish conversation and this tag was born. So that’s this week’s Coffee and…

        The Coffee: I’m drinking a Kenyan filter coffee from Steampunk with a side-order of Ben and Jerry’s Caramel Chew Chew. Don’t even talk to me about not having coffee in the summer. My dark heart needs it.

        The Books: 

        If you’re tagged, please tag four other bloggers to do this and link back to Amy, Louise and me as we’d love to see what you’re all posting and if you enjoyed doing this tag as much as we did! Feel free to use our graphics (header by Amy and naff ice-cream drawings by me, with some editing help from Louise!)

        Fruit Ice Lolly- Left on the Shelf

        I think the basic fruit ice lolly gets a bad rep. I love one of these on a sunny day, but am the first to admit that I leave them in the freezer when there’s something more exciting around. My left-on-the-shelf book is Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. Like every avid Potter fan, I rushed to get a copy when it first came out, but I haven’t got around to reading it yet. Partly because I’ve heard so many mixed-reviews about it, but also I just haven’t gotten round to picking it up amongst all the other books I’ve read.

        Calippo – Work Hard to Get the Good Stuff Out

        We’ve all been there with the ice-lolly: it tastes good but it takes a lot of effort to eat. I’m pairing this with A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving . This was a book that a trusted friend lent me and for about half of it, I thought she’d lost her marbles. It was a hard slog, but then something changed and it became one of the best books I’ve ever read. I’m pleased I persisted to the end because it was so rewarding to get there.

        Rocket – More Exciting From The Outside

        I almost hate to do this, but for me it was When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon. My feelings for the humble rocket ice-lolly are that it’s good, but never as great as you expect it to be, and that was this book for me: it was lovely, sweet, and summery but somehow just didn’t live up to the hype. I liked it, but I didn’t love it.  

        Rainbow – Favourite LGBTQIA Read 

        It has to be Noah Can’t Even by Simon James Green because this book kept me up until the early hours, laughing until the very end. I loved it!

        Crunchie Blast – A Great Spin-Off or Re-telling

        I don’t often (knowingly) read spin-offs or re-tellings, and I don’t know why that is. My pairing for this is Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman which is a brilliant and, at times hilarious, retelling of Norse Myths. I loved this one.

        Nobbly Bobbly- A Gritty Subject With a Sweet Message

        Release by Patrick Ness takes this ice-lolly. It’s a story with an important subject and a lot to sink your teeth into, but with a lovely, sweet and hopeful message that sometimes people are genuine and wonderful, and that you can be truly happy if you surround yourself with the right ones.

        Fab – A Weak Ending

        I hate doing the negative ones. I don’t want to hurt any of my books! I’m probably interpreting this a little differently to others but I’m going with the new (and supposedly exciting) ending to the Divergent trilogy which was released earlier this year: We Can Be Mended by Veronica Roth. Because, no. No. No. No. That’s just not an okay ending to the trilogy: it was disappointing and it didn’t add anything. For me, it took the shine off a little, so I am now in a state of refusal to acknowledge its existence.

        Cornetto – A Hidden Surprise at the End

        Personally, I’ve never been a fan of a Cornetto, but I do love a surprise ending to a book. The one that I’ve been thinking of since we discussed this tag is Ask No Questions by Lisa Hartley because that ending just blew me away and left me begging for the next in the series.

        Ben and Jerry’s – Most Versatile Author

        I’m giving this to the fabulous Alice Hoffman whose writing I loved so much the first time I encountered it, that I ordered almost her entire back catalogue in one go. I don’t know many other authors who can go from magical YA books (The Foretelling) to magical adult books (Practical Magic) and gritty realism (Blue Diary) and be amazing at them all.

        Boss Double Strawberry – Book by an International Author

        I’d never even heard of this ice-lolly until Louise mentioned it, which is probably fitting for my international author tag. This one is 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami. Not a book for the faint-hearted or those that like their books short and easy to follow, but it is a fantastic epic fantasy and I love it.

        Magnum – A Classic

        I struggled to think of this one, so I’m going with one of my all time favourite classics Jane Eyre by Charlote Bronte. I read this for the first time aged 7 (when I thought reading classics was the height of cleverness, if not coolness) and I have adored it ever since. Every re-read I get something new out of it, but Helen always breaks my heart and I am always on edge wanting Jane to find her way back to Edward.

        Choc Ice – The Book You Don’t Want to Admit You Love

        My choice for this is slightly inspired by the recent spin off #SundayYA where a group of us got to discussing unpopular book opinions. Mine is Twilight by Stephenie Meyer. It’s one that most people hate: other readers turn their noses up at you when you tell them you enjoyed it and every one seems to enjoy pointing out all the problems with it. I love it.

        Mint Choc Chip- Either Love it or Hate it

        I love mint choc chip ice-cream, so long as it’s not green. Ironically, the cover of my book choice for this is green. The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde which has divided opinion amongst everyone I’ve ever recommended it to. People either love it or just don’t get it at all. I’m in the love it camp.

        Magnum Tub – Weird but Good

        I’m giving this to Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor because it is weird (a girl who screams moths that feedback what they can see to her brain, yeah, that’s weird) but is is also exquisite and wonderful. Everyone should read it.

        Mini Milk – Short and Sweet

        Mini milks always remind me of being young and eating ice-cream at my Grandparents’ House. My book choice for this is a short and sweet book I enjoyed reading when I was little Pollyanna by Eleanor H. Porter a lovely story about a girl who tries to find the happiness in every situation and encourages a whole town of people to do the same.

        Solero – Light and Fluffy

        We’ve established that I am dark and twisty, yes? So light and fluffy reads do not come easily (or often) to me. I scrolled back to last year in my Goodreads list trying to find something. This one is going to the not-yet-published To Provence, With Love by T. A. Williams which I will be reviewing here on the blog on 27th July.

        Phew! That was harder work than I thought it would be! I’m tagging in some of my favourite and newly discovered bloggers: Rebecca from This Booky Place , Liv from That Fiction Life, Rachel from Rachey Ragdoll and, because I would love to see her answers to this (and whether she can survive sunshine), Cait from Paper Fury

         

         

        Moments of Happiness 4

        It’s me again with the happy things! As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments or over on Twitter (@charlottesburns)

         Books Despite the Ban

        If you read my Sunday Stats post, you’ll know that I am currently under a book-buying ban. Despite this, this week I have manage to obtain a rather large pile of books from friends clearing their shelves, giveaways and receiving ARCs that I cannot wait to read. Book people are the best people!

        These Bookmarks

        They’re probably a tad risque for posting on my blog, but a friend sent me these two bookmarks this week and I love them! I have the most amazing friends.

        Lunch and Ice-Cream

        This week I had lunch and ice-cream out with a lovely friend. We don’t spend a lot of time together without our husbands or child so it was lovely to have a lunch out, ice-cream and a wander around in the sunshine.

        Sports Day

        On Thursday I went to my boy’s sports day. He had a great time and his team came third overall. Then we did the parents and kids race and came 4th (out of 4) but we had fun and the little one loved his stickers!

        Paper Fury Followed Me On Twitter

        And she is basically my social media hero so that’s nice. 

        That’s it for this week. How’s your week been? 

        Slaying TBR …16th July

        I’m a little later posting my round-up this week due to being on the blog tour for the brilliant Ask No Questions. This week I’ve mostly been reading  books with LGBTQ themes as part of the LGBTQ Month Readathon being organised by The Royal Bookshelf and Blue Eyed Demon X

        Release by Patrick Ness

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        Every time I pick up a Patrick Ness book it slays me. Release is no exception to this. As the parent of a young boy, I found reading about how Adam’s parents treated him utterly heart-wrenching. They do not accept his sexuality, try to pray it away, and they clearly have conditions on their love for him. His dad saying to him “You have no idea how much I have to work to love you” brought a genuine tear to my eye; I cannot imagine ever feeling that way about my own son. The stark contrast between their treatment of him and of their heterosexual son, and his dad’s assumption that Adam is responsible for the despicable actions of his manager really emphasises their lack of care and support. Ness writes Adam’s story beautifully: “You could only instinctively trust someone who had been there, who had seen it first-hand“, and we see in this how the actions of his parents and brother impact his life: his inability to love the person who is kind to him, the assumption that he is not good enough and his doubts about his own sexuality: “A single red rose. Could he buy it? Was that something that was ok? That boys did?” The positive that I took away from it was that Adam had forged his own supportive and loving family with his friends, who clearly care deeply about him and accept him unconditionally, and I loved that the story ended with Adam being with this family and being happy. The story running alongside this has been criticised by some reviewers, but I loved it. I think it helped that I guessed quite early on what was going on, but the two types of release running alongside each other added another, very clever, dimension to an already outstanding novel. If you haven’t read this yet, I really cannot recommend it enough.

         

        Noah Can’t Even by Simon James Green

        Noah Can’t Even is laugh out loud from the very beginning. I started reading it at bedtime and finished it in one sitting it was THAT good. I read it, in bed, trying to laugh silently so as not to wake the rest of my household. Noah is adorable and clumsy, not at all one of the popular kids; he seems to have no idea of socially acceptable conversation which is awkward for him but hilarious for those reading. The characters in this novel are very colourful. Noah’s mum and her Beyonce tribute act nearly killed me laughing. Harry is a lovely, warm-hearted character who wants to protect Noah, even as he faces his own social challenge of publicly acknowledging his sexuality at school.  Noah’s gran was probably my favourite: she is funny, wise and generally wonderful. When Noah is worried about what others will think of his changing relationship with his friend Harry, she gives him the best advice: “…ask yourself: in the grand scheme of things, in the total insignificance of our tiny lives in this massive universe, who gives a shit?” and I think it is her encouragement that gives Noah the confidence to be with Harry. I loved that the author didn’t put labels on this relationship: that is was just a relationship that happened and Noah accepted that he loved Harry without defining himself in any way, which really fit with his general aura of confusion and self-doubt. I hope that in the sequel, we get to see Noah grow into himself a bit more. This really is a wonderful book: not many drive me to sleep deprivation. I really recommend you read this if you haven’t already. It’s one of my new favourites and I am excited for the sequel!

        All Things New by Lauren Miller

        This one doesn’t fit into the LGBTQ Readathon, but I have been reading this review copy in readiness for it’s publication at the start of August. Keep an eye out for my review being posted on the blog when it’s released!

        That’s my week in books. What have you been reading? Have you read any of these?