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Holiday Reading ☀️️

So I’m in Santorini! 

And I’m absolutely loving life.

We’re staying in Kamari and for the most part is very chilled and laid back which is just what I needed in my life. Whilst we have been exploring the island, we have also been doing a lot of sitting by the pool and reading. I mean that is what a holiday is about, right? Finding the balance between getting enough relaxation in and seeing all the sights you wouldn’t get to see back home. That is unless you’re blessed to live in such a beautiful place. 

I feel like we’ve the right balance so far. We went on a boat trip, walked a volcano in sandals and walked over 200 (very steep) steps to visit Oia for the sunset. 

I absolutely love holiday reading. Unlike reading in day to day life, you feel no pressure to stop as you have nothing else to do unless you to choose otherwise. No work, no housework, no dogs jumping on you for attention. There is no little voice in your head telling that you have a million things that actually need doing.

I’ve gotten through quite a few books on my kindle already, and I’ll probably get through a few more before it’s time to leave (I never want to leave!). I read through a few books that were okay, and then I was flicking through the store and I realised that the third book in Suzanne Wright’s The Dark In You series had been released! I am a big fan of Suzanne Wright’s paranormal/ fanatasy series. The characters are very well established and the presence of otherworldly beings in the world we know it today do not seem out of place. Ashes is the title of the third book and I thoroughly enjoyed it. It follows the main characters, Harper and Knox as they figure out how to deal with various attack and life events. 

Ashes was brilliant so I tried the first book in her Deep In Your Veins series. As you’ve probably guessed this is about vampires. I’m on the third book now and really enjoying it! Maybe it’s something to do with the fact the main character is British, it’s quite refreshing to see some English slang and phrases make an appearance. So whilst again the series deals with the paranormal, there is still a distinct connection with the real world which I enjoy. 

Hope everyone is enjoying themselves as much as I have been this past week. Feel welcome to share some of your favourite holiday reads and destinations!

Thanks for reading, 

Carla XOXO

Back to the favourites!

The beginning of this week was awful!

Work was mega stressful, and resulted in a three day long headache. On top of that the weather was crappy which did nothing to improve my mood. Thankfully, everything worked itself out annnnd I had a little sunburn today so the weather has picked up!

Although I feel one hundred times better now, there were a few dire moments where all I wanted to do was get away. Obviously not an option when you have work, dogs and everything else to keep on top of.

When real-life problems are getting me down, I do read more frequently. In the past, I used this as a way to ignore any problems but as I’ve aged I’ve realised that this only caused me more stress and anxiety. Now I deal with my crap, and then read so my mind can go else where for a couple of hours.

One of my all time favourite authors is Kresley Cole. I love everything about her books, particularly the Immortals After Dark series. It is just EPIC! If you like fantasy, romance and a dash of violence I highly recommend this series. I started reading the books in my late teens, I forget now how I even came across them. But I’m so glad that I did. Before discovering authors like Kresley Cole and Gena Showalter, I read a lot of novels by Nora Roberts and others who wrote in the same style. Whilst I enjoyed her books, I much prefer the more informal style of Kresley Cole. I love reading her books, but I think for me, it showed that you can have fun with writing. As long as you’re convincing about the subject about which you are writing, the mechanics of it become less important.

So to cheer myself up I read one of my favourites within my favourite series. The book is called Lothaire, its number twelve in the series I believe. The book centres around Lothaire, a vampire hell-bent on revenge for crimes commited against him when he was a child. He’s pretty much graduated to lunatic territory by the time this book begins (he makes an appearance in a number of preceding books). To summarise, each vampire has a fated Bride who can restore their heartbeat. Lothaire finds his in Elizabeth Peirce. It is unclear whether she, or the evil goddess housed inside of Ellie is his Bride. Honestly, these characters are hilarious. Ellie has been raised in a trailer park, and is a bit of hillbilly. Lothaire was born a prince, and likes the finer things in life.  The pairing is disastrous, and often heart-breaking which is what really injects life into the story.

It was a nice break from reality, which is exactly what I needed this week. In other news, I went for a long walk today around a reservoir close to where I live, which is where I took the featured image, and where I wrote most of this entry. Horrific photo of me, but super cute one of my doggie.

Please let me know who your favourite authors are, and your favourite books! No judgement on choice, they don’t have to be one of the classics or something profoundly deep.

Thanks for reading,

Carla XOXO

A Dark Lure (Spoilers Contained)

A Dark Lure by Loreth Anne White

Twelve years ago, Sarah Baker was abducted by the Watt Lake Killer and sexually assaulted for months before managing to escape. The killer was caught, but Sarah lost everything: her marriage, her child, and the life she loved.

Struggling with PTSD, Sarah changes her name to Olivia West and finds sanctuary working on Broken Bar Ranch. But as her scars finally begin to heal, a cop involved with her horrific case remains convinced the Watt Lake Killer is still out there. He sets a lure for the murderer, and a fresh body is discovered. Now Olivia must face the impossible—could the butcher be back, this time to finish the job?

As a frigid winter isolates the ranch, only one person can help Olivia: Cole McDonough, a writer, adventurer, and ranch heir who stirs long-dormant feelings in her. But this time, Olivia’s determination to shut out her past may destroy more than her chance at love. It could cost her her life.

Ahh! This book frustrated me immensely! It had the potential to be a fantastic read. And yet, when reading the last pages I thought to myself ‘is this it?’.

When reading, my initial thoughts are always shaped by the characters. From the outset it is clear that Olivia (formally known as Sarah Baker) is a strong woman who has survived an horrific event in her life and to move on from that has relocated, changed her name and in number of ways has managed to glue herself back together. Integral to the new life she had built for herself is Myron McDonough, the ranch owner who gave her sanctuary after a particularly dark period in her life. Another key character is Ace, Olivia’s dog who gave her a reason to live when she had given up on herself. As a dog lover, the relationship between Olivia and Ace really got to me!

To summarise, Myron has only weeks to live and Olivia takes it upon herself to call his children to make them aware how ill he is. His son Cole returns home with his own demons, which as the author does a good job of pointing out, are not quite on the same level as Olivia’s, but nonetheless have a clear negative impact on his life. I guess the point is that everyone has crap to deal with. Anyway, their worlds collide and an instantaneous attraction forms. Due to Olivia’s past, this is dealt with sensitively which I liked. If I’m being honest, the chemistry was just not there between them.

Pretty much immediately, strange things begin to happen. Every now and again, the point of view switches to a retired cop and his daughter, police back in Watt Lake and the serial killer himself. There were a few different strands that came together quite nicely at the end, though I found none of them particularly shocking. At one point, the fate of Ace was in the balance which got my heart pounding. I cannot express to you how much it would have upset me if the dog had died. It has happened in other book’s I’ve read, and I have not handled it well.

Whilst I liked the themes that ran throughout the book, there were times that I just couldn’t connect with the characters ( I hate this!) and found myself growing bored of them. The ending was predictable, and it felt a little rushed. I like epilogues or just something that wraps up the books and gives me an idea of what is going to happen in the future. The ending of A Dark Lure seemed very abrupt, and I felt there were a lot of unresolved issues – Olivia and Cole’s relationship, Olivia and Tori’s relationship, how recent events affected Olivia’s PTSD, etc. It is a personal preference, but I like issues like these to be addressed or I obsess about them for a little while after I’ve finished reading.

For me, this was an okay read. The writing was good, I admired the strength the main characters had in spite of all that had happened to them, however, there was something missing for me and I can’t quite put my finger on what it was.

If anyone has read the book, please let me know your thoughts.

Thanks for the read,

Carla XOXO

 

This Week….

This week has been a pretty standard for me, and yet strange.  I’ve been to work (not worth anymore detail), took the time to catch up with some friends and found myself doing a lot of thinking which has been spurred by the devastating terrorist attack that happened in Machester at the beginning of the week. Like everybody, my heart goes out to all those who have suffered. I doubt I have been alone in doing some self-reflecting; when something so awful happens I think it is only natural to take a look at your own life and ask yourself a few questions. One of those questions was ‘why am I not doing something that I love?’ It is a simple one really, however, the answer is often complicated. But it shouldn’t be and that is the reason why I have decided to begin this blog with a new focus and direction.

 My mood has a direct impact on the type of books I chose to read. This makes sense to me. For some people reading is a hobby; I use it as a way to deal (or not deal) with events that are happening in my life. Reading frees me from my own thoughts, and for me, it is incredibly important to have a break from myself. I overthink things wayyy too much and it can become extremely irritating at times!

So this week my mood has been a little strange which is what prompted my book selection. I branched out and tried an author called Bethany Adams, I’d never read any books written by her before so I didn’t know what to expect. The book I read was the first in The Return of the Elves Series. Fantasy has always been one of my favourite genres; it takes talent beyond comprehension to weave a convincing tale of other worldly beings and lands. Soulbound was exceptionally convincing! The attention to detail was staggering. The book is set in the Elven land of Moranaia. It begins with a young woman named Arlyn who has travelled to Moranaia in search of her Elven father Lyr.  Along the way a number of compelling characters are introduced which are sure to be explored in further depth in future books. Filled with magic, deception and acceptance, I found Soulbound to be an interesting read. So much so, that I had to download the second book in the series!

Typically, the fantasy books I read are quite heavy on the romance, sex and violence. Soulbound was a little more muted in those respects, and it was actually quite refreshing. The focus was on the wider story arc, but embedded into the story are quiet moments between the main characters that succeed in drawing you in and becoming invested in their future. Due to the complexity of the story and the strange names, it is a book that requires concentration and an active imagination!

If you a lover of the fantasy genre, and are captured by mythical lands and creatures, I would definitely recommend this series. I am about halfway through the second book, and I am still enjoying all of the characters and the direction of the plot.

Have a read and let me know what you think!

Carla XOXO