Tuesday, 30 June 2015

The Year So Far

I can't believe we are already half way through 2015, this year has gone so quickly already and comparing now to the start of the year things are much better.

I started this year in a massive reading funk which carried over from the end of last year so I set myself the goal to get out of this slump and to have read 20 books by the end of the year. I was actually worried I wouldn't achieve this but now I have passed this goal by a lot.

I should probably figure out what my new goal is.

I read the grand total of zero books in January.


Dreams of Gods and Monsters (Daughter of Smoke & Bone, #3)
The Baking Life of Amelie Day Highschool of the Dead, Vol. 1 (Highschool of the Dead, #1) Highschool of the Dead, Vol. 2 (Highschool of the Dead, #2)
Dreams of Gods and Monsters by Laini Taylor was my favourite read this month and an amazing end to the trilogy. I have reviewed The Baking Life of Amelie Day by Vanessa Curtis already (here), and I plan to do a series review of Highschool of the Dead at some point.


監獄学園 Vol. 14Now or Never (Alexander Twins, #1)Highschool of the Dead, Vol. 3 (Highschool of the Dead, #3)I Am Woo (I Am Alive Prequel)
Highschool of the Dead was my favourite read this month as its starting to show more storyline than the anime showed. I can't believe I'm still reading Kangoku Gakuen either because it is fanservice x1000. Now or Never by A. J. Bennet was a fairly good read though I felt a few things were a little unresolved. I am Woo is a short story prequel and whilst I liked the ideas given I felt the story itself wasn't written that great.


おやすみプンプン 1 おやすみプンプン 2 おやすみプンプン 3
監獄学園 Vol. 15 Bad Boy Rock Star (Bad Boy Rock Star, #1) Witch Eyes (Witch Eyes, #1)
Whoever let me read Oyasumi Punpun has a lot to answer for, this manga is so dark and depressing but I am so hooked. Bad Boy Rock Star by Candy J. Starr was my first DNF this year which I've already reviewed (here). Hopefully I can put down in words how much I loved Witch Eyes by Scott Tracey at some point too.


おやすみプンプン 4 Buonanotte, Punpun #5 Silence (Silence, #1) Throne of Glass (Throne of Glass, #1)
Silence by Natasha Preston had such an interesting synopsis and plot but I felt like the writing let it down a little at times plus the ending felt rushed. Holy sh*t, why did no one force me to read Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas sooner? I cried a lot throughout this book.


I said I cried at Throne of Glass but that doesn't even compare to how much I bawled my eyes out over Crown of Midnight, I am very attached to this series right now.

26 books so far which is not bad at all considering how much of a reading slump I was in, a lot of them are manga's at the moment but once I'm done with these I wont be picking any more up this year.

Have you read any of these books, if so what did you think? Do you have any recommendations as to what I should be reading next?

Sunday, 28 June 2015

Bought, Borrwed & Bagged (70)

Bought, Borrowed and Bagged hosted by Talk Supe is a weekly meme where you can share your book haul, ongoing events and news about what is coming up on your blog for the week ahead.
Please Note: All images link back to their GR pages.
New Books
I had £2 amazon credit to spend on e-books but it is really unclear which books it is available for use on, I tried it on Rebel Wing by Tracy Banghart because I adore the copies of this I already have (it was first published as Shattered Viel, my review can be seen here) and apparently I'm now going to collect this in every format. (I have Shattered Viel in ebook and signed paperback and now Rebel Wing as ebook). I also won a giveaway I completely forgot about that I entered on BookLikes to see if that worked, and well I won! 
Rebel Wing (Rebel Wing #1) Dwarves in Space
I've also been toying with the idea of purchasing the signed trilogy of Pretty When She Dies by Rhiannon Frater - should I? Please help!
Recently on Northern Plunder
Upcoming on Northern Plunder
The Year So Far
Top 5 Authors
Lauren's Progress
Read in 2015: 25 / 36

Currently Reading:
The Assassin's Blade by Sarah J Maas
Click by Lisa Becker
News from Lauren
I guess you could say I've been putting off making this post all week, writing this makes everything real again. I've been missing this past week in the blogging world, well and I guess you could say in the real world too. One of my dogs - Monty - got very ill and after a few days at the pet hospital we had the make the hard and horrible decision to have him put to sleep. I can't even begin to describe the sadness that was in my house, or the shock that this happened given he was only 7 years old. 

The next day we got two puppies to keep Monty's brother - Max - company and bring some cheer into the house. It has worked, they're very lively and time consuming. Oh and they're called Freddie and George!

Other than that I've done very little this week, apart from plan a long trip to my boyfriends next month.

Please note that I've implemented a new drop down menu at the top but some pages are still in progress so the links haven't been added yet!

Friday, 26 June 2015

Review: The Baking Life of Amelie Day by Vanessa Curtis

The Baking Life of Amelie Day
by Vanessa Curtis

Series: Standalone
Genre: Middle Grade
Length: 240 pages
Published on 9th September 2014 by Curious Fox
Purchase: Amazon / B&N / The Book Depository
Vanessa Curtis: Website | Twitter | Goodreads

Received from publisher

Amelie Day loves to bake - cupcakes, biscuits, bread, tarts and muffins - so she's thrilled when she's invited to compete in Britain's Best Teen Baker of the Year. But Amelie has Cystic Fibrosis and some days she can barely breathe. Determined not to let her condition or her mum stop her, Amelie musters all her flour power, but will it be enough to get here there?

The Baking Life of Amelie Day was one of the first books I finished off this year, and I ended up devouring it over the space of two days.

Middle grade books aren't something I read very often but after reading Zelah Green by this author and enjoying it so much, I couldn't refuse seeing how another of hers was.

The Baking Life of Amelie Day is a quick and easy read, with interesting characters and a great story line - which makes it a perfect read to get out of a reading slump.

Amelie is the first character I've read about who has Cystic Fibrosis, and I think its important that this book is from Amelie's point of view because she doesn't let her illness define her and it is not the first thing that is mentioned. Her love of baking is.

She is aware how others worry and care about her, but she also knows what she wants out of life. Baking is something that makes her happy and she loves experimenting with recipes and allowing her best friend and family try them out.

When she is accepted to take part in Britain's Best Teen Baker of the Year competition television show she knows she has to attend and bake the best cake possible to win. 

I really loved Amelie as a character and her determination to do what she wanted, I like her growth throughout the book, and the experiences she goes through to make her dreams come true.

Another great thing is that her recipes are also featured in the book, I'm not a baker myself but maybe sometime the boyfriend and I can attempt to make something. I look forward to read more of Vanessa Curtis' books as they always seem to impress.
4 stars / 5 stars

Thursday, 25 June 2015

Current Plunder: The V Girl by Mya Robarts

The V Girl
by Mya Robarts

Series: Standalone
Genre: Young Adult / Dystopia
Length: 298 pages
Published on 20th June 2014 by Mya Robarts
Purchase: Amazon US / Amazon UK / Kobo

In post-apocalyptic North America, rape and sexual slavery are legal. Lila Velez, desperately wants to lose her virginity before the troops visit her town, and can take it away by force. She makes plans to seduce her only friend, Rey, the most attractive man in her town. Lila does not love him, but he is the only man who has shown her true affection, an affection she is willing to take as a substitute of love.
Lila’s coping mechanism to her mother’s violent attack is her secret. A secret that will bring her closer to Aleksey Fürst, a foreign, broody man that she distrusts because his links to the troops and his rough, yet irresistible appearance. He offers Lila an alternative to her plans, a possibility that terrifies her…and tempts her in spite of herself.
All the while Lila will have to find a way to live in the constant company of death, slavery, starvation, sexual abuse and the danger of losing the people she loves the most.
Due to strong language, violent scenes and sexual content, this book is not intended for readers under the age of 18.

Mya Robarts: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads
I am a bookaholic and regret nothing.
I spent years trying to become a contemporary dance choreographer. Eventually I realized that I enjoyed writing my stories rather than creating dances for them.
I am obsessed with books that present damaged characters, swoon worthy guys, controversial topics and happy endings.

I look at him questioningly. “I don’t know anything about you.”

The cop looks down at himself and smiles wickedly. “You know my feet are big. What is left to know?” So many things. Like who are the people he cares for.

For a few minutes, I bombard him with questions. ‘Who taught you to play bass?’ ‘Who do you fight for?’ ‘Is there anyone waiting for your return?’ and others of the sort. He gets closer to me with each question he politely refuses to answer. We stand very close to each other and electricity sizzles in the air. I forget what I was about to ask.

My back finally hits a tree. I can’t step back anymore, so I tread to my side, stepping on a rock.
This position erases our height difference. He presses his palms on the tree trunk next to my head, trapping me.

Looking at me intently, he takes a strand of my hair and twirls it before putting it behind my ear. The way his hand lingers in my earlobe leaves my skin tingling.

My voice comes out breathy. “I’ll … have to think … your offer … through.”

His voice is low, husky. “I’ll give you something to think about.”

Aleksey slides an enormous hand around my waist, pulling me closer. He positions my body, so the difference in height isn’t an obstacle. He’s building anticipation first, making the wait for his lips deliciously torturous. His face slowly, deliberately approaches.

When his lips touch mine, it’s a soft brush that makes my body melt into liquid fire. Then they move against my mouth hungrily.

And everything that isn’t his body vanishes into thin air.

He’s showing me that he can be gentle, but I want more. My hands grab his shoulders forcefully. I press my body tightly against his, and he mirrors my action with his pelvis, blending it with mine. Showing me through his erection the promise of greater pleasures.

I whimper. Automatically the kiss deepens. His bulky arms tighten their grip on mine. My skin burns and tingles in all the points in which our bodies are touching.

I’ve never been kissed like this. Deep and lingering at times, playfully pulling my lower lip at others. Expertly moving his lips to my earlobe and neck before returning to my mouth. He doesn’t make me feel like he’s kissing me. He makes me feel like he owns me. I feel it in the way his enormous hands move up and down my sides, the way his strong arms are constricting me. It makes my blood bubble deliciously with a desire I’ve never felt before.

I can’t get enough of him.

He keeps kissing me like this until he finally pulls back, touching his forehead to mine and resting his enormous hands at the small of my back. I struggle to control my breathing. My heart pounds harshly against my chest, and I’m sure he can hear it. It’s not embarrassing because I can see that I affect him, too. He’s struggling to recover his cool, arrogant demeanor.

“Surrender,” Aleksey whispers, still holding me tightly against his body. He skims his nose along my jaw to my neck. “Surrender to me and I’ll …”

His lips at the hollow of my throat speak louder than words. If I surrender, the pleasure will be like nothing I’ve felt before. I can’t barely manage it now. If this is what he makes me feel with a full-dressed kiss, how would it be if we were scantily clothed, exploring our bodies in a private place? I’m dying to find out, but I can’t overcome my reservations.


a Rafflecopter giveaway
Thank you Xpresso Book Tours for allowing me to take part in this book blast. Also thank you to Braine @ Talk Supe for not minding that I used "Feature" in the title, listing "Book Blast, Excerpt & Giveaway" takes up so much room and I'm just not feeling it any more.

Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Review: Bad Boy Rock Star by Candy J. Star

Bad Boy Rock Star
by Candy J. Starr

Series: Bad Boy Rock Star #1
Genre: New Adult / Romance
Length: 197 pages
Published on 18th November 2013
Free: Amazon / B&N
Candy J Starr: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

Received from Xpresso Book Tours

Hannah Sorrento never planned to be a band manager. She’s a princess and the toughest obstacle she's had in life is finding shoes to match her outfit.

Then her father disappears leaves her with only the money in her purse and a management contract for hot, indie band, STORM. She plans to sell the contract, one way or another, then pack up her designer wardrobe and head back to law school.

But lead singer, Jack Colt, has other ideas. She's never met a man like him before. His raw sexuality is messing with her head and her heart... and a lot of other body parts.

With the help of crazy rock chick, Angie, Hannah sets the band on their first steps to the big time and learns to survive on her own.

But this isn’t some game - soon the threat that Hannah fears most becomes reality.

Jack Colt - he’s arrogant and infuriating but he’s the one that’s there for Hannah when her world comes crashing down. With secrets of his own, will Jack Colt save Hannah or destroy her?

Bad Boy Rock Star is the first book in a series of three. Rock Star vs Millionaire, the second book, is due for release in early 2014.

Nope. Big fat NOPE.

I shelved this as DNF so quickly it should be a sin. I'd read 1% and warning signs were flashing everywhere.

After reading 1 and a half pages I was under the impression that they weren't supposed to be kissing because of a friendship or work related relationship which is why the female protagnist was worrying about it.

Then the next half calmly presented itself with the quote below, and wanted me to be happy about it.

"I didn't want him kissing me. I didn't want his flesh against mine."
Surely she's kissing someone that isn't the main love interst, right? No I double checked and its the same guy on the blurb.

But I chose to ignore these warning signs and pushed forth, until I had read 4 pages.

4 pages to provide me with

"But he's not even given me the chance to say no.
I wanted to slap his face for daring to pounce on me like that."
"Eyes that mocked me with a look that said he could take what he wanted from me any time."
and that is the moment I tried my very hardest to suceed in angrily shutting the kindle app on my phone, which turns out isn't really possible so I added in a huff and slammed my phone on the bed too.

I understand the title is "Bad Boy Rock Star" but being a rapist/sexual abuser is not the kind of bad boy I'm willing to read further about and supposed to be thinking dreamily of. No can do. Sorry.

Please Note: I did recieve this for part of a book tour when I first started university but I had to pull out due to being overwhelmed with how busy university was, I guess that worked out well considering how strongly I didn't like four pages.

Did not finish - 1 star / 5 stars

Saturday, 20 June 2015

Bought, Borrowed & Bagged (69)

Bought, Borrowed and Bagged hosted by Talk Supe is a weekly meme where you can share your book haul, ongoing events and news about what is coming up on your blog for the week ahead.
Please Note: All images link back to their GR pages.
New Books
I am so so thankful to Lisa Becker for providing me with a copy of Click to review, I'll be picking this up straight after I have finished with my current books. Other than that I have been very well behaved and not bought anything.
Recently on Northern Plunder
Upcoming on Northern Plunder
Review: Bad Boy Rock Star by Candy J Starr
Review: The Baking Life of Amelie Day by Vanessa Curtis
Lauren's Progress
Read in 2015: 24 / 70
*nothing new*

Currently Reading:
The Assassin's Blade by Sarah J Maas
Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo
News from Lauren
I haven't read this week as I've been so very busy, I was lucky I managed to get some blog visits done and posts drafted. Why was I so busy though?
It was E3 week, which meant from 5pm - 5am I was watching a live stream of everything gaming related at the Expo. Those times are a rough guess, some days it started later or finished earlier but that was it more or less. I was getting up at 10am every day too, to make sure I was cleaning the flat as I am now back home with my parents until next month!
I don't think I can describe how exhausting this week has been or how exciting.

Please note that I've implemented a new drop down menu at the top but some pages are still in progress so the links haven't been added yet!

Friday, 19 June 2015

Review: Patch Up by Stephanie Witter

Patch Up
by Stephanie Witter

Series: Patch Up #1
Genre: New Adult / Contemporary
Length: 296 pages
Published on 11th September 2013 by Anchor Group Publishing
Purchase: Amazon / B&N / The Book Depository
Stephanie Witter: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

Received from author via Xpresso Book Tours

Skye followed her long time boyfriend to Seattle for their first year of college, but he dumped her after only a week. The relationship brought only pain and destruction in Skye's life, and yet, she can't bring herself to open up and live her life.

"What if I am already broken into pieces?"

She hates to be touched, hiding under her oversized shirts and behind her wild frizzy hair. Even her bubbly roommate can't reach her. And yet ...

"I'm the guy who knows how you can hurt so much that your insides feel like they're cut and bleeding."

The tall, handsome, and tattooed TA in her psychology class changes everything when he literally collides with her and confronts her. For the first time in a long time, she wants to try and open up to this guy whose dark, intense eyes can't hide his own pain despite his dazzling smile getting to her.

However, just when she's starting to live again, her ex-boyfriend comes back, breaking her time and time again, making it all the more complicated.

She wants to fight for herself and for this building thing with the TA, even when he pushes her away, but can two broken people patch each other up?

"I never thought colliding with someone could change lives, but it is possible."

* Due to some shocking scenes, this novel is for readers of 18 and up.

Patch Up is a fairly quick read that I got through over a few days last September but because of other commitments I haven't gotten around to reviewing it until now.

Regardless of the time spent between finishing this book and writing my review, I still remember it as if I'd only read it last week.

Patch Up is as dark as it is fluffy. Skye has kept her ex-boyfriend's abusive behaviour to herself, kept to herself, kept shy and broken. Her only real friend is her room mate Kate.

After meeting Duke the TA for her psychology class she allows herself to reconsider stepping out of the walls she's built around herself.
"But one broken person can always recognise another one."
As we get to know Duke more and see his and Skye's friendship grow, we learn that he too is broken for a very different reason. And even though the ex-boyfriend keeps providing hurdles for Skye wanting to improve her life, she still manages to do this and that is what I love about this book.

I love the fact that whilst they're both broken, they're not completely dependant on one and other. Skye and Duke's interest in each other is what encourages them to face their problems, to acknowledge they need help, and to improve themselves. Of course they do help each other out and they do feel safer at each others side, but I think ultimately its their self realisation that things can be better is why they start to head this way.

So the development of Skye and Duke together is the fluffy side of the book.

What about the dark?

Skye may be moving forward but her ex-boyfriend has other things in mind, he's still roaming around the same campus as her and still finding the time to try and show off his power over her.

The last time the two of them are together in the book is the darkest, but every encounter Skye has with him is horrible and I felt everything that she goes through. I was so connected and emotionally invested in her, that I too felt broken. It was an experience.
3.5 stars / 5 stars
I look forward to reading the other books in the series
Fix Up (Patch Up, #2)Change Up (Patch Up, #3)

Tuesday, 16 June 2015

Read Play Blog: I want to live where?

Read Play Blog 2
"Read Play Blog is a meme about video games and books, posted every 16th of the month. Bloggers are encouraged to answer a discussion question, and recommend a video game that is similar to a book they liked. Hosted by Happy Indulgence Books & Read Me Away."

Which video game would you want to live in or be the main character of?

I thought long and hard about this, because a lot of the games I play are about survival and I'm not too sure I would want to be somewhere that has a lot of Zeds or Aliens coming after me. I finally settled on Guild Wars 2 because the world is so beautiful, and because when I play its more about exploring and completing the map rather than the fighting I think it would be a great adventure.

Kiseen, my Sylvari in Guild Wars 2


Another world that is great to explore is Borderlands 2, with many quirky and fun characters to interact with and mad questlines too. In the DLC it has a Dungeons and Dragons themed questline, and honorable mentions to Game of Thrones too.
My boyfriend and a friendly Skag in Borderlands 2

Currently Playing

Killing Floor 2 finally went to early access on Steam last month, and for a game that isn't even complete it is amazing. At the time of writing this post I've already hit 68 hours on it and I can't stop, even though its just wave after wave of Zed killing.
Top of the leader board but died to the boss, oops
It has an adjustable gore meter in game, this is max

Saturday, 13 June 2015

Bought, Borrowed & Bagged (68)

Bought, Borrowed and Bagged hosted by Talk Supe is a weekly meme where you can share your book haul, ongoing events and news about what is coming up on your blog for the week ahead.
Please Note: All images link back to their GR pages.
New Books
Last month my flat mate came rushing into the flat after being shopping with her boyfriend and was squealing about something, after calming her down I came to find out that Sarah J. Maas would be at our local Waterstones doing a signing for the release of A Court of Thorns and Roses. We dedicded we would go together, but I realised whilst I had her books on my wishlist I hadn't actually read any of them! So I did what any sane person does and purchases all of them.
I had hoped to have read at least one before meeting her but I only got a bit of the way through Throne of Glass, but now I'm powering through them and I'm so in love with these books. Sarah J. Maas was lovely and signed all of them, personalising A Court of Thorns and Roses too.
Recently on Northern Plunder
Upcoming on Northern Plunder
Review: Patch Up by Stephanie
Read Play Blog: I want to live where?
Lauren's Progress
Read in 2015: 24 / 20
Throne of Glass by Sarah J Maas
Crown of Midnight by Sarah J Maas
Oyasumi Punpun Volume 7 by Inio Asano

Oyasumi Punpun Volume 8 by Inio Asano

Oyasumi Punpun Volume 9 by Inio Asano

Highschool of the Dead Volume 4 by Daisuke Sato

Highschool of the Dead Volume 5 by Daisuke Sato
Highschool of the Dead Volume 6 by Daisuke Sato

Currently Reading:
Ten by Gretchen McNeil
Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo
News from Lauren
I already spoke about meeting Sarah J Maas and what is more newsworthy than that? Nothing much. It is the summer holidays at the moment and I'm just enjoying some downtime with my boyfriend, books, and video games.
At the end of this month I'll be moving into a new flat which is a lot better than where I am currently living so I'm really excited about that.
Please note that I've implemented a new drop down menu at the top but some pages are still in progress so the links haven't been added yet!

Tuesday, 9 June 2015

Summer Time Updates

I've been thinking long and hard about returning to book blogging and I realised one of the things putting me off was how unorganised I had left everything. Emails and bloglovin notification had been piling up, my Twitter feed is unreadable, and my queue empty on Tumblr.

I've been reading regularly now which has helped with my need to return, but I desperately needed a spring cleaning. At one point I even considered a new blog, though I ended up decided to just tidy up and organise what I already had.

So this post is a just quick update to let everyone know what I've been working on and intend to do.

Also a big big thank you to all the kind words on my previous post, I'm much happier now and things are looking better.

Books and Tea Updates

I run another book blog on tumblr - Books and Tea - which I decided should be my first re-entry into the book blogging world.

I have:
- Added a new theme to the main page
- Written a new about section
- Updated The Book Blogger Directory
- Kept the queue full of images

I still want to change the side bar image, create a 2014 and 2015 read books page, and work on a format for adding reviews there.

Northern Plunder Updates

So you have probably seen me stopping by a few blogs here and there, thats because I'm slowly making my way through bloglovin which has helped inspire me and I've found a few things I want to take part in.

I have:
- Started catching up with my bloglovin feed
- Draft and schedule reviews/posts here
- Cleaned up old posts (removed broken images/removed white backgrounds)
- Changed the main font here (hopefully it reads okay for everyone)

I still need to schedule more posts really, clean up my Twitter feed, and figure out what to do with the Facebook page, but my main thing I accomplisted was unsubscribing from all but one of the book tour hosts. I love taking part in book tours but I think that may have been what killed my passion here, as I felt like I was reading and posting because I had too, not becuase I wanted. Even though I enjoyed what I read it was still a bit too much.