30 July 2015

Blog Tour: Review, Excerpt & Giveaway: Sex, Lies ad Cruising by Cathryn Chapman

Exotic locations, sexy men, and crazy crew parties… Ellie has her dream job… or does she?

When Ellie's fiancĂ© cheats on her with a younger, slimmer, blonde from the office, she boots him out of her life and finds solace in a fabulous photography job aboard a Caribbean cruise ship. Twenty-four hours on board and she’s already shagged her sexy Texan colleague, who happens to love her muffin-top. Unfortunately he’s leaving in a week, and his ex-girlfriend, a hot-headed Brazilian with stripper moves right out of the 90s and a talent for stealing boyfriends, is still on board and out for revenge.

Ellie must work out how to deal with the loco ex, sort the lying scumbags from the good guys, and figure out how many crew members in a cabin it takes before officially becoming group sex. Who the hell knows? (It’s five, actually.) It’s a world completely unlike the one she left behind, but as she tries to find her place on board, Ellie discovers laughter and tears in equal measure. And in the midst of the craziness, she realises the greatest thing this lifestyle change has given her is the chance to rediscover herself.


5 Words: Photography, cruises, relationships, sex, lies.

This book was so much fun to read, and I loved the main character. I could identify with her so much, and it meant that when I could see her making a mistake I'd be admonishing her in my head as I was reading.

I think that hand-down, Ellie's plots and plans were the best bits of the book. I could recognise myself and my friends in each of them, it was just such a real thing for someone to do.

There are so many characters in this book to love and hate that you end up becoming quite invested in them, and it makes the whole reading experience so much more... More. You really feel that little bit extra for the story.

Sex, Lies and Cruising was very easy to pick up and keep reading, and very hard to put down. It was a relatively quick read that is perfect for summer days and rainy nights.

I reviewed this as part of the blog tour with Chick Lit Plus and a review copy was provided free as part of this. And cruises are my NA cat nip.

EXCERPT

“Should we keep this secret?” I asked abruptly. “It’s a bit weird, right, that I only got here and yesterday and we’ve already… you know…” 
“I wouldn’t worry about it,” he said with a shrug. “This is a cruise ship, little lady, not a convent.” 
Our night of passion had been one of my exotic cruise fantasies, and he was being refreshingly nonchalant about it, but I still felt awkward as arse. It had been a long time since I’d had to deal with the walk of shame. But before I could skulk back to my own cabin, there was something I needed. I felt around under the covers and quickly scanned the floor. Damn, they were about three feet away, curled up in a little ball right near Seth’s left foot. Bollocks. 
“Can you, um, please pass me my pants?” I felt my cheeks go hot. This was embarrassing. 
He looked around in confusion. “I thought you were wearing a skirt?” 
I suddenly remembered the difference in vocabulary across the pond. Cringing, I said, “My… underpants.” Excruciating. 
He looked down and spotted them. As he handed over my pants, uniform, and thankfully, my bra, our hands met and I felt a little jolt of electricity. His hand lingered… then he leaned over and kissed me quickly on the lips. “Thanks for last night, Miss Ellie. I had a jolly ol’ good time,” he said, mocking my accent embarrassingly badly. 
“Oh, no problem at all. I’m not normally so… forward… but it was fun.” I reached under the sheet, trying to struggle into my pants. Where was last night’s carefree Ellie when I needed her? 
“Well, we should do this again,” he said over his shoulder as he disappeared into the bathroom. I heard the toilet flush, followed by the shower being turned on full blast. I swung my feet onto the floor, straightened myself out, and looked for a mirror to check how scary my hair and make-up looked after last night. I couldn’t find one, so I rubbed a finger under my eye and groaned when it came away black. I gingerly patted my hair and quickly discovered it was sticking up at the back. “Ugh.” Not the best look. Then again, if someone like Seth wanted to spend the night with me, again, I must have been doing something right… 
I looked around Seth’s cabin as I squeezed myself back into my wrinkled uniform. It was the same size as mine, obviously, but surprisingly neat for a guy’s room. The desk held a laptop, iPod docking station, and a few books. At the back of the room were a couple of little chairs and a small, round table, where Seth’s crumpled uniform lay in a little heap.
I really couldn’t believe I’d slept with him. I hadn’t been with anyone other than Dan for years, and while I was looking for fun, I hadn’t intended to play ‘How’s Your Father’ with someone quite so soon. Mind you, I wasn’t complaining. Seth had the accent, face, and body of most girls’ secret (and not-so-secret) fantasies.
 
A knock at the door interrupted my thoughts. “Seth? Please hurry up!” It was a woman with an unidentifiable accent. “We were supposed to be on gangway five minutes ago. Justin is going to kill us!” Knock, knock, knock. “Seth!” 
The door flew open and a short girl with wavy black hair burst into the cabin. “Oh, it’s unlocked. I hope—” She saw me and stopped short, staring. “Oh. You must be that new girl.” 
Damn. So much for getting out of there before anyone discovered me and started labelling me as some wanton whorebag. I’d thought these doors automatically locked from the inside… 
Naturally, I had to play cool. “Oh, hello, I’m Ellie. Really lovely to meet you.” I stuck my hand out. 
She just looked at my hand without shaking it, and then looked back up at me. “You seem to have settled in.” There was no trace of a smile on her heart-shaped face. I figured she was South American, or maybe Spanish; either way, she was astonishingly beautiful, and I suspected I might hate her already. 
The sound of the shower stopped. “Hey, Maria, how many times have I told ya not to come into my cabin without being invited?” Seth called from the bathroom. “I really need to get that lock fixed,” he added, almost, but not quite, under his breath. 
“Sorry, Mr Big Shot,” she said sarcastically, watching me with narrowed eyes. 
“What was that?” He stuck his head out the bathroom door. 
“I said sorry, I forgot,” she said, smiling with total insincerity. “I see you have a guest.” 
“Ellie, this is Maria. Maria’s a fellow photographer, from Brazil. Maria, Ellie is our new Pic Stop girl from England.” Seth came out of the bathroom, drying his hair, a towel casually slung around his waist. 
Maria and I caught each other eyeing his toned torso. “We’ve met,” she mumbled, and swung around so that her back was to me. Her curvaceous figure was barely contained by her tight work skirt. I’d inherited my mum’s flat bum and cursed the fact I’d never look that good in mine. I was hoping eventually I’d fit into my uniform and look stunning, but right now I just felt like a cow in a skirt too tight for me. Far cry from Maria’s glamourous figure. 
The tension in the room was very uncomfortable. I wondered if Maria was not the type to have fallen into a fling so quickly. According to Seth we didn’t have anything to hide, but I didn’t want to get a colleague offside so quickly, either. 
“I just popped over to find out from Seth if, um, I could come and help today.” I stumbled over the lie and felt my cheeks going red.  
“Oh yes, obviously that is what you were doing.” Already halfway out the door, she said over her shoulder, “Do not bother. We do not need help.” Then she was gone.

GIVEAWAY


28 July 2015

Top Ten Tuesday #37

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish and is a chance for everyone to get to know fellow bloggers and share lists. I love lists. Every week is a different list.

This week is Ten Characters Who Are Fellow Book Nerds.

How could I not absolutely love writing this list? But I only did 5, because it's a busy busy day with a trip to York.

  • Celaena Sardothian from Throne of Glass (series)by Sarah J Maas
  • Cassandra Mortmain from I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith
  • Hermione Granger from Harry Potter (series) by JK Rowling
  • Harriet Manners from Geek Girl (series) by Holly Smale
  • Alexia Tarrabotti from The Parasol Protectorate (series) by Gail Carriger

21 July 2015

Top Ten Tuesday #36

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish and is a chance for everyone to get to know fellow bloggers and share lists. I love lists. Every week is a different list.

This week is Top Ten Books That Celebrate Diversity/Diverse Characters.

I actually found this list quite difficult - it's not something I'd actually focus on when I'm reading, how diverse the characters are... I just read. So this is probably the hardest list I've had to do this year, what's diverse to one person is the norm to another. And this book blogger has a lesbian single mother for a sister.

What even is diversity anyway? I used this definition:
It means understanding that each individual is unique, and recognizing our individual differences. These can be along the dimensions of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, age, physical abilities, religious beliefs, political beliefs, or other ideologies.
  1. The Parasol Protectorate (Series) by Gail Carriger
  2. Rani and Sukh by Bali Rai
  3. Noughts and Crosses by Malorie Blackman
  4. Megan by Mary Hooper
  5. Kissing the Rain by Kevin Brooks
  6. Pirates! by Celia Rees
  7. Salvage by Keren David
  8. Sundowners by Leslie Lokko
  9. Harry Potter (Series) by JK Rowling
  10. The Murder Wall by Mari Hannah

What about you?



20 July 2015

Review: The Huntress of Thornbeck Forest by Melanie Dickerson

Jorgen is the forester for the wealthy margrave, and must find and capture the poacher who has been killing and stealing the margrave's game. When he meets the lovely and refined Odette at the festival and shares a connection during a dance, he has no idea she is the one who has been poaching the margrave's game.

Odette justifies her crime of poaching because she thinks the game is going to feed the poor, who are all but starving, both in the city and just outside its walls. But will the discovery of a local poaching ring reveal a terrible secret? Has the meat she thought she was providing for the poor actually been sold on the black market, profiting no one except the ring of black market sellers?

The one person Odette knows can help her could also find out her own secret and turn her over to the margrave, but she has no choice. Jorgen and Odette will band together to stop the dangerous poaching ring... and fall in love. But what will the margrave do when he discovers his forester is protecting a notorious poacher?


5 Words: Religion, love, family, crime, hunting.

This was a bit of a love-hate read for me. But ultimately I didn't really enjoy it that much. It wasn't bad enough that I wouldn't read more by the author, I'm very likely to pick something she's written in future.

An awful lot of this story felt forced and because of that it wasn't a fluid read. Then there was the fact that I actually studied this time and place in history at college, so I just knew too much. At first this was great, I knew the context of what I was reading. And then it was bad because I knew the context of what I was reading and a lot of the story just didn't fit.

If this had been a medieval inspired fantasy then I would have likely enjoyed it a lot more.

Odette was very naive considering all she'd been through. She was very childish despite her age and experiences and it annoyed me. Something else that annoyed me was how she lived in one of the wealthiest households in the town and instead of paying for food for the poor, starving children, she went out and illegally poached in the king's forest. That just really riled me up.

I received a copy of this for free via NetGalley for review purposes.



17 July 2015

Book Beginnings #2

For Book Beginnings, Rose City Reader invites us to share the first sentence (or so) of the book you are reading, along with your initial thoughts about the sentence, impressions of the book, or anything else the opener inspires. 

I'm currently reading Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard.


I hate First Friday. It makes the village crowded, and now, in the heat of high summer, that's the last thing anyone wants.

This book has been on my radar for a while and I have heard so so much about it. But I am really just starting, haven't even finished the first chapter yet, so I don't really have any thoughts. I'm just hoping that this book lives up to the hype. Because there has been a lot of hype.

What book are you currently reading?