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Monday, 25 May 2015

Let's Review - The Closer You Get by Carter Ashby

The Closer You Get by Carter Ashby

Published by Patchwork Press Cooperative, May 21st 2015

If there’s one thing Rye Holcomb hates, it’s small, tight-knit towns with high virtues and zero tolerance for outsiders. Fidelity is just such a town. And Rye is just such an outsider. So when he and his brother, Cash, take jobs in Fidelity, Rye decides not to get too comfortable. Which is why he is avoiding some rather confusing feelings for his new boss, Cora McKay.
Cora was born, raised, and baptized in Fidelity. She owns a thriving construction business, has a close circle of friends, and is the breadwinner for her mother and four sisters. The one thing she lacks is a sex life, something she’s never longed for until now. One conversation with Rye sparks her sexual awakening, and, in spite of his reputation as a man-whore, Cora can’t resist giving in to his advances.
As Rye enjoys initiating his virgin employer, and Cash experiences a relationship with a man for the first time in his life, they begin to think of Fidelity as home. But small towns have brought them trouble in the past, and it appears Fidelity holds trouble for their future. Can their newfound relationships be enough to overcome a past that relentlessly follows them? Can two men who have been burned by love learn to trust again?

Put simply, I loved this. I’m a sucker for a good romance, but this seemed to have that little added extra that kept me interested throughout. Carter Ashby has some incredible ways of creating characters that you love, hate, and root for, meaning you become completely absorbed in their lives and stories. I was particularly fond of Cora – her character development was amazing, and you really saw her grow throughout the course of the novel in a way that seemed like a natural progression.

I’ve never read a romance novel featuring a gay couple before, but this was refreshing. I imagined I might struggle to relate to Cash and Adam’s storyline, but I found that I was equally as interested in what happened to them as I was about Rye and Cora. Both romantic relationships were presented in a similar fashion at the beginning, developing in their own ways, but weren’t different because of the genders of the individuals involved. I can’t say I was overly thrilled with Adam and Cash reconciling at the end, but I can see why Ashby did this – it was nice to see both Holcomb brothers learn to forgive.

It was also nice to see the trials and tribulations of Cora and Adam’s friendship. Not many novels focus on a platonic relationship, focusing normally on the romance, but this was a nice change. Although Adam was probably my least favourite character from the novel, I appreciated the depth he brought to Cora’s character – it was brilliant to see her acknowledge that her friendship with Adam was flawed in places. Her personal strength shone through when she confronted her best friend, and this was just another aspect of Cora’s story that I loved.

Overall, this was a fabulous novel that I thoroughly enjoyed. I definitely think that I’ll have to keep my eye open for more Carter Ashby fiction in the future.

What are you reading at the moment?

Until next time…


Friday, 15 May 2015

My Running Playlist

With the beautiful weather that has now started gracing the South Coast on a regular basis, I’m really getting back into running. I’ll be the first to admit that I’m a little bit of a fair-weather jogger but, with summer just around the corner, and a graduation to dress for (eek!) I figured that now would be a great time to start getting back in shape. Dissertation writing and university living don’t really support as healthy a lifestyle as I would like, but now that my last lecture is in sight (just two lectures left), I’m ready to fully embrace a healthier lifestyle, even though this will mean fighting my two biggest temptations – chocolate and cheese! To fully motivate myself, I’ve been revamping my iPod a little bit, downloading some new tracks and revisiting some old favourites that get me in the mood for pounding the streets, and I thought you might be interested in what I listen while attempting to get fitter.

1. Let It Go, Demi Lovato – I’m a massive Lovatic, so anything by Demi will automatically make its way to my iPod as soon as possible. I’m also a massive fan of Frozen, so this track is the ultimate combination of some of my favourite things. This is a great running track, with both fast parts and slower bits (perfect for when I get out of breath haha), and the lyrics themselves are quite motivational. I love to run around, pretending I’m Elsa, fully embracing who I am, and running away from Arendale. I really am a big kid.

2. Style, Taylor Swift – A slightly different song from TSwift, in my opinion, but man is it catchy? For a slightly out-of-shape runner like myself, this is the perfect speed for me to get going with, to get my heartrate going, with the chorus providing me with the chance to try running a little faster. Plus, I sometimes have that “red lip, classic thing”, so it’s basically a song about me, right?

3. Shake It Off, Taylor Swift – Now I can’t listen to this song without wanting to jump up and have a bit of a boogie, so to me, it seemed like the perfect track to run to. It’s got that upbeat tempo that is essential to a running track, encouraging you to move faster. Perfect.

4. All About That Bass, Meghan Trainor – While the interpretations of this song can be a little negative, I think it is quite a good motivational running track. Encouraging you to embrace what you have in some ways makes me a little less embarrassed to be out running in public (because obviously, I have a little bit of excess padding in all the wrong places, otherwise I wouldn’t be running haha). Once again, it has that upbeat tempo, and makes you feel all sassy – which seems to come out in my running!

5. Love Me Like You Do, Ellie Goulding – My favourite song of the moment, this is another track that builds up to faster parts, while some parts allow me to catch my breath. It has that power ballad feel to it, that I can’t help but belt out in my head. And picturing Jamie Dornan definitely helps – maybe if I run fast enough, Christian Grey will be waiting for me at the end.

So they’re some of my favourite running tracks. I hope this has been interesting, and has possible given you some ideas of some different tracks to download to run to yourself. And what do you listen to? Is there anything you think would be good for me to listen to? And with that, I think I'll go out, enjoy this beautiful weather, and

Until next time…


Friday, 8 May 2015

Let's Review - Access All Areas by Charlotte Phillips

Access All Areas by Charlotte Phillips

Published by HarperImpulse, 21st May 2015

Sexy, addictive, and just pure fun, don’t miss the next instalment in the Do Not Disturb series!
After losing her elderly parents, portrait photographer Anna will do anything to avoid losing the family home – the only thing she has left of her perfect childhood.
When a friend who works at the exclusive boutique hotel, The Lavington, provides a hot tip – an A list film star is staying there with her rumoured toyboy lover – Anna comes up with a plan. A photo of them together could be the answer to all Anna’s money problems.
Unfortunately, she’s the worst paparazzi photographer on the planet and Joe, the hotel’s new head of security, back in England after globetrotting as bodyguard to the stars, isn’t about to allow a picture on his watch. No matter how cute the photographer might be…

At first, I was a little apprehensive about reading this, as it was the fourth instalment in the “Do Not Disturb” series, and I hadn’t read any of the preceding novels. However, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that this was essentially a stand-alone novel, part of a companion series rather than the continuation of one story. So don’t let this put you off.

This was a quick, easy read that was entertaining from the outset. The concept of staking out a celebrity at a fancy hotel was something I found interesting, as I hadn’t read anything from this perspective before. Charlotte Phillips’ writing style is simple and easy to follow, with scenes described so that you can easily imagine them. The characters of Anna and Joe were nicely fleshed out so you could relate to them and became invested in their plight. I will admit, Anna’s preoccupation with saving her house did get a little monotonous at times, but that was the driving force behind her visit to the hotel, and thus her meeting Joe, so without it, we wouldn’t have had a story. With this being only a ten chapter novel, it was nice to just have the two characters that you were mainly focused on. You could focus on getting invested in Anna and Joe’s story rather than having to develop relationships with various secondary characters.

Something I really enjoyed was the dual perspective. Each chapter involved both Anna and Joe’s perspective which was really interesting. You got to understand their feelings towards each situation they are in, meaning you can predict how their story might develop.

In terms of the novel as a romance novel, I particularly liked the relationship between Anna and Joe, with each character bringing with them qualities the other lacked. They were the epitome of the idea that opposites attract. From the first interaction between Anna and Joe, you can tell that in their normal lives they would not have friends, as such, with each probably avoiding the other because of the characteristics that would ultimately draw them together. There was no insta-love that I sometimes find occurs in romance novels (not that I’m adverse to this; sometimes I find it quite appealing), with the couple’s relationship stemming from what was essentially a one-night-stand, despite both characters wanting more. I was slightly disappointed with the final chapter – I feel like it could have been more developed. I suppose this could leave it open to a sequel, following Anna and Joe’s story. It did seem a little unrealistic that they would, essentially, move in together following a one-night-stand. I mean, sure a guy quitting his job in London to come and move to your hometown could be kind of romantic but, come on, they only knew each other for just over twenty-four hours.

That being said, I did thoroughly enjoy this novel. If you are looking for a relatively easy, cutesy read, then this could be your thing. It doesn’t take too much thinking about, which I’ve enjoyed reading alongside my university work. I think this would be a great read for the summer, or while you’re on holiday, or just as something to escape into after a hard day. Overall, I really liked this – 4 out of 5 stars!

Until next time...


*This was my first NetGalley review - thank you to HarperImpulse for allowing me to review this *

Friday, 1 May 2015

A Hair Change

I will be the first to admit that I have been rather safe with my hair for the past few years. No matter how hard I tried to be adventurous, I always returned to the same style - relatively long, side parting, long sweeping fringe. This was relatively easy to maintain and didn't take too much styling. But since my 21st birthday, and with my graduation just months away, I felt that "grown-up" Lexie needed a different hairdo. And so began the search for a style I liked.

Originally I was considering cutting my hair like Lucy Hale. I loved the look of her hair, but I'll admit the length of it, or the lack of length, terrified me. I once cut my hair to chin level and HATED it! Although it wasn't as cumbersome as long hair, I could do nothing with it. Obviously it was too short to style, or put up, and once I decided to grow it out, I had to experience the horrible phase when your hair does nothing that you want it to - admit it, we've all been there! And so, Lucy Hale was out the window as my hair inspiration - which I was gutted about, she is my favourite Liar from PLL.

But then, Dakota Johnson entered my life. I will be doing a blog post on why I liked Fifty Shades of Grey, but I will tell you know, I loved the film, and spent a good proportion of the film lusting after her hair (and Jamie Dornan, of course). Dakota looked so innocent, but quietly seductive at the same time, and I wanted to look like that haha! I have always fancied a fringe, and I figured that if I didn't do it now, I never would. After all, your twenties are the prime time to try a hairstyle that won't work out right? And besides, I figured that if I really didn't like it, it wouldn't take too long to grow it out.

Credit Allure

Credit Pinterest
So I booked myself an appointment, and the fringe was cut in. Originally, I was a little apprehensive about it - I was ready to get rid of it the next day - but I was convinced to persevere with it. Admittedly, I have days when I can't be bothered to style it - I have to wet it, and redry it, which can be a little bit tedious. But I am really trying to love it, and a good 75% of the time I do. It could still do with a few tweaks, to make it a little choppier, but it's getting there. It does mean I have had to adapt my makeup a little bit, with a bit of liner being essential these days to ensure that my eyes don't get hidden by my hair. But the longer I stick with it, the more I am loving it, and I am so glad I did it.

So my advice to all of you? If you are feeling like a hair change, then just do it! It's oddly liberating, and feels so good to be experimental. And if you really dislike it, it's only hair, it will grow. But I think the majority of the time, a hair change is always a good change! Are any of you considering a hair change?

Until next time...




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