Review: Just As You Are by Kate Mathieson

Just As You Are by Kate R. Mathieson

Taking its inspiration from Bridget Jones Diary, Just As You Are by Kate R. Mathieson is a warm and funny story about trying to settle down and meet the one. It took a bit of time for the story to get going but once it did I found myself completely hooked, hoping that main character Emma would get everything she wanted. It’s not the most original or memorable story but it certainly cheered me up on a rainy February afternoon.


Emma Londstown spent her twenties travelling, and now needs to make up for lost time. All her friends are married, having babies, and settling into domestic bliss. Determined to catch up, Emma plunges herself headfirst into the online dating world, and discovers single men in Sydney are one of three things; tossers, illiterate, or nerds that work in IT (she must be sending out subtle hints in binary code.)

This story, set in the bustling city of Sydney, is a humorous, light-hearted novel for every woman who has ever wanted to find The One. With a clear underlying message – be yourself.


As you can possibly guess from the title, Just As You Are is a little bit of an homage to Bridget Jones Diary. It’s a warm and funny story about working out what you want from life, accepting who you are and following your dreams. It took me a little while to warm up to this story but once I did I found it a laugh out loud funny and enjoyable read.

I do think the synopsis is a little bit misleading as this isn’t really a light and fluffy read full of funny stories about online dating (there isn’t actually any online dating at all) but instead goes much wider than that. Main character Emma Londstown is returning to Sydney after years spent travelling the globe. After much nagging from her Mum and feeling left out by her friends who are all married with children she decides it’s time to settle down. She comes up with a three part plan, 1) get a job, 2) find a house, 3) meet the guy she’ll spend the rest of her life with.

Parts 1 and 2 of her plan come together quite quickly as, after a great deal of creativity with her CV, she lands a job at a top PR firm and her mother finds her a cheap (albeit dingy and damp) place to live. Part 3 however proves more difficult as the crazy hours she ends up working and limited options in the Sydney dating scene make finding Mr Right seem like an impossible task. Emma starts to wonder if she made a mistake in throwing away the number of the guy she spent an incredible night with in Fiji.

There is definitely something very Bridget Jones like about Emma. She’s constantly worrying over her weight, her clothes, her makeup. She feels left behind and lonely as her friends all seem to be focused on their own families and they can’t hang out the way they used to. She drinks too much has a terrible diet and is killing herself trying to pretend that she’s something she’s not (confident, qualified career woman who knows what she’s doing). It’s tough to read at times and incredibly frustrating as a lot of her problems are those of her own making. She’s lied her way into a job she’s in no way qualified for and keeps on lying even when well out of her depth.

Despite this, there is something relateable and likeable about her. Yes, she blunders about, says and does the wrong thing but her heart is in the right place and when it comes down to it she’s willing to work and to fix her mistakes. She’s funny and loyal and trying to be what everyone thinks she should be. I may have been frustrated with her but I did want her to succeed.

I also very much wanted her to get together with Nick as it’s clear from the start that they’re absolutely perfect for each other. Even in that one night in Fiji they have an instant connection and the scenes where they were together were the highlight of the book for me. I loved the banter between them and the awkwardness and the sparks.

So why you may be asking if I loved this so much did I only give three stars, well, in addition to there being a lot to love there were things I thought could have been better. Firstly it’s pretty slow to get going, for the first third of the book not very much happens.

I also felt like much more could have been made of the secondary characters. Other than Emma and Nick the others feel a little stereotyped and don’t make much of an impression. There’s the overbearing mother and under the thumb father, the maneating coworker, the gay best friend and the overly demanding boss. I don’t necessarily mind a stereotype but it also seemed like many of these characters had a big part then disappeared never to be seen again. Emma’s parents for example disappear as soon as she moves out of the family home. I found it odd too that Emma doesn’t spend any time with her best friend’s families.

Finally I think the story could have gone a bit deeper and had a little more emotion. Yes it made me laugh but instead of spending so much time on Emma’s job it could have dug a little more into why she felt like she had to conform. It is obvious that she’s lonely, she admits it herself, but I didn’t feel it.

Anyway, overall I thought this was a really fun read and I’d recommend to anyone looking for a light holiday (or rainy afternoon) read.

I received an advance copy of this from the publisher via Netgalley

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

WWW Wednesday: 26th February 2020

The WWW Wednesday meme is hosted by Sam @ Taking on a World of Words and is a great way to do a weekly update on what you’ve been reading and what you have planned.

WWW Wednesday

To take part all you have to do is answer the following three questions:

  • What are you currently reading?
  • What did you recently finish reading?
  • What do you think you’ll read next?

Currently ReadingDeep Blue Trouble (Lori Anderson, #2)

I picked up Deep Blue Trouble by Steph Broadribb on Monday and am flying through it, it’s just sooo good. It’s the second in a series featuring bounty hunter Lori Anderson and this time she’s hunting a killer who has escaped from prison but the stakes have never been higher. Lori is fast becoming a favourite character of mine and there is so much action it’s hard to put it down.

On audio I’ve started listening to East of Croydon by Sue Perkins as my hold came in at the library. It’s sort of part memoir, part travel guide as it follows Sue as she ventures well out of her comfort zone. It’s very early days but so far very, very funny.

Recently Finished

Overkill (Sam Shephard, #1)Worst Case ScenarioMirage (Mirage, #1)

Three books finished again this week, the first was Overkill by Vanda Symon which follows a New Zealand detective investigating a murder in her home town. It was a pretty enjoyable and easy read but I do feel like the main character was a little unprofessional at times. It probably didn’t help that I also stumbled across a review with a fairly major spoiler i.e. who the killer was (why do people do this?).

It was the Orenda Roadshow on Monday night so I decided to try and squeeze in Worst Case Scenario by Orenda author Helen Fitzgerald before it. It’s an absolutely brilliant read. The main character is a menopausal middle aged woman who works as a probation officer but has decided she’s sick of it all and is going to resign so goes a little bit rogue. It’s funny, it’s touching and it does not go where you expect. I really, really liked it.

Final book finished was Mirage by Somaiya Daud, an advance copy of which I got from NetGalley a while ago and only just got around to reading. I’ve been struggling with YA fantasy / sci fi lately so wasn’t sure I wanted to read anything in this genre (the stories are becoming repetitive) but I ended up enjoying this. It reads like a fantasy but is really a sci fi, although it’s very light on sci fi too (there’s some space travel and droids in the background and that’s about it). The characters are however intriguing and while I have read similar stories I liked the writing style and the Moroccan inspired setting. I’d definitely be interested in reading the next book in the series.

Reading Next

I bought a couple of new books on Monday night, Ash Mountain and I Am Dust, which I’m really keen to read as soon as possible but I feel like a lot of my recent reads have been pretty dark and I need something a little lighter. I’m thinking I may pick up Pretending by Holly Bourne or Beach Read by Emily Henry both of which are on my NetGalley shelf.

Ash MountainI Am DustBeach ReadPretending

Have you read any of the books on my list this week? Any others you’d recommend? As always please feel free to leave comments and links below.

Happy Reading ❤

TTT: Ten Book Characters I’d Follow on Social Media

Top Ten Tuesday is a bookish meme that was started by The Broke and Bookish and moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January 2018.  It was born of a love of lists (something I share) and each week participants come up with a list of ten(ish) things based on a theme.

The theme for this weeks Top Ten Tuesday is the ten book characters you’d follow on social media. Initially I thought this would be really easy but it turns out I read a lot more crime/thriller and horror books than I thought and I do not want that popping up on my social media. Anyway, after a scour through some of my recent reads I’ve managed to come up with a nice mix of weird conspiracy theorists, humour, travel and food which I think will cover off most of my interests 🙂

  1. Nolan Moore from The Anomaly Files by Michael Rutger – As someone who loves a good conspiracy theory I think rogue archaeologist Nolan’s YouTube channel and Instagram would be right up my street.  I am fascinated by unsolved mysteries and urban legends so I would definitely watch his documentaries and no doubt wander down a rabbit hole investigation of my own.
  2. Johanna Morrigan from How To Build A Girl by Caitlin Moran – Wild, witty, well read, feminist who’s adventurous and not afraid to follow her heart. She also works as a music journalist so I think you could expect her to have her pulse on the music scene and also be up on current issues. My only concern is she’s a little obsessive about a certain musician so the whole thing could turn into a massive love letter to him.
  3. Tiffy Moore from The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary – She works in a quirky publishing house, do I need to say anymore? OK, she’s also a really positive, energetic, upbeat person who’s pretty creative. I think her Pinterest and Insta would be a wonderful mix of crafts and books.
  4. Lara Jean from To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han – You just know her Insta and/or Pinterest would be full of baking and quirky outfits and I am very interested in cakes.
  5. Rhiannon Lewis from Sweetpea by C.J. Skuse – I can’t be the only one who thinks Rhiannon’s social media would be hilarious. I mean ok she’s a serial killer who has a daily kill list (mostly just people who’ve annoyed her that day) but a lot of her observations are spot on and so funny. There’d also no doubt be many, many pictures of her cute dog.
  6. Darcy Barrett from 99 Percent Mine by Sally Thorne – She’s a photographer undertaking a major remodel of a cottage she inherits from her Grandmother. I love property makeover shows so think this would be wonderful.
  7. Nana from The Travelling Cat Chronicles by Hiro Arikawa – I already follow a few cats on Twitter/Insta  and would love to follow Nana on his adventure across Japan. I think there’d be lots of funny observations and many cute cat pictures.
  8. Rosemary Harper from The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers – Some more adventuring, this time across the universe on board a ship full of unusual characters. I would love to experience this alongside Rosemary who’s seeing a lot of it for the first time.
  9. Felicity Montague from The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy by Mackenzi Lee – So probably not much in the way of social media in Felicity’s time but if there was I would love to follow her on her adventure across Europe. Sea voyages, pirates, dragons and no doubt a lot about her passion for medicine.
  10. Legend from the Caraval series by Stephanie Garber – I think I need a little more magic and mystery in my life and there’s no one more magical or mysterious than Legend. I’m thinking this would be full of riddles, puzzles and pictures of impossible things.

So those are the ten book characters I’d follow on social media. There’s probably a whole lot more I could have picked (I was very tempted to add Luna Lovegood) but thought I’d stick to some fairly recent reads. Would any of these make your list or is there anyone I’ve missed you think would have a brilliant social media presence.

Feel free to leave comments below and links to your top ten’s.

WWW Wednesday: 19th February 2020

The WWW Wednesday meme is hosted by Sam @ Taking on a World of Words and is a great way to do a weekly update on what you’ve been reading and what you have planned.

WWW Wednesday

To take part all you have to do is answer the following three questions:

  • What are you currently reading?
  • What did you recently finish reading?
  • What do you think you’ll read next?

Currently Reading

Overkill (Sam Shephard, #1)

Things have finally eased off a little at work so I’m finding a little more time and a little more focus for reading which is great as my TBR is completely out of control. It’s only a few days till the Orenda Roadshow stops in Glasgow so I’ve decided to pick up Overkill by Vanda Symon, one of the authors appearing. It’s making a nice change to find a novel set in New Zealand, I seem to mostly read UK/US set books so it’s great to venture to an area of the world I’ve always wanted to visit.

On audio I’m still kind of listening to Before the Devil Breaks You by Libba Bray. I say kind of as I haven’t actually listened to anything over the last week. I’ve been having some car issues (the battery keeps going flat) so I’ve been keeping the radio (and as much other stuff as possible) off.

Recently Finished

One in a MillionCall Me Star GirlUndercover Bromance (Bromance Book Club, #2)

Three books finished again this week, the first was backlist book One in a Million by Lindsay Kelk. I do like Kelk’s books and this was no exception. It’s loosely based on My Fair Lady but with a social media slant and PR guru Annie Higgins makes a bet she can make anyone famous on social media. It’s a funny and sweet story and was just what I was needing.

The second book read Call Me Star Girl by Louise Beech was definitely not a light and fluffy read but wow it was good. It’s dark and disturbing and I don’t think there was a single likeable character in the whole thing but there was something addictive about it. It draws you in completely and is one of those stories where you have no idea where it’ll go. I’m going to have to read more books by Beech now.

After Call Me Star Girl I had to switch back to something a lot lighter so went on a binge read of Undercover Bromance by Lyssa Kay Adams. This is the follow up to Bromance Bookclub and is such a fun read. I love an enemies to lovers story so this was perfect. My only gripe is that it seemed to lose the bookclub aspect I loved so much in the first book.

Reading Next

I’d really like to try and squeeze in another Orenda book or two prior to the roadshow so I’m thinking I’ll pick up A Dark Matter or Little Siberia next. I loved both authors’ previous books. My NetGalley shelf has however also gotten a lot little out of control so I should maybe do something about that, particularly as I managed to snag a couple of my most anticipated reads

A Dark MatterLittle SiberiaHe Started ItThe Girl and the Stars (Book of the Ice, #1)

Have you read any of the books on my list this week? Any others you’d recommend? As always please feel free to leave comments and links below.

Happy Reading ❤

TTT: Ten books that left me with a book hangover

Top Ten Tuesday is a bookish meme that was started by The Broke and Bookish and moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January 2018.  It was born of a love of lists (something I share) and each week participants come up with a list of ten(ish) things based on a theme.

The theme for this weeks Top Ten Tuesday is the last ten books that gave me a book hangover. I have to confess it’s pretty rare for me to get a book hangover, probably because I mostly go for lighter reads and haven’t really been reading many series lately (I have more of a tendency to get overly attached to characters in a series than a standalone). This topic was therefore a bit of a struggle but I have managed to come up with 10 recent ish books that have left me shook. I didn’t necessarily have a full blown hangover but they have proven themselves difficult to forget.

Call Me Star GirlDarkdawn (The Nevernight Chronicle, #3)The Places I've Cried in Public

  • Call Me Star Girl by Louise Beech – the most recent book on my list (I only finished it on Friday) but wow this was a lot more intense and emotional than I expected. There were a few moments that got to me but that ending was perfection (and took some getting over).
  • Darkdawn by Jay Kristoff – Many, many times I wanted to throw this book at the wall while reading. I’d grown far too attached to the characters so to lose so many of them (and have to leave the world) was just too much.
  • The Places I’ve Cried in Public by Holly Bourne – As you can probably guess from the title this is an emotional read. The writing is brilliant and powerful and all too real. I found myself crying in public while reading it.

Foul Is Fair (Foul Is Fair #1)Monstrous HeartBreakers

  • Foul is Fair by Hannah Capin – Angry, intense and shocking this story of revenge inspired by Macbeth is over the top at times but I doubt anyone could read it and not be affected by it
  • Monstrous Heart by Claire McKenna – I still need to write a review for this but while not perfect there was something about this book that really resonated with me. I read an early ARC so I’m hoping to read again once it’s published (and hopefully a lot of the issues are fixed)
  • Breakers by Doug Johnstone –  I think what got me with this one was how horrifically real and incredibly believable it is. My day job is sort of loosely associated with aspects of this so it brought a lot of issues I’m aware of to life.

Daisy Jones and The SixGood Samaritans

  • Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid – Like many other I fully believed that this was about a real band and that these were real people so it was tough to accept it was all over (I still don’t accept it’s fictional)
  • Good Samaritans by Will Carver – This is seriously messed up and unlike anything else I think I’ve ever read. It was hard to put this down at the end and just go off and read something fluffy. It buzzed around in my head for days.

My Lovely WifeThe Travelling Cat Chronicles

  • My Lovely Wife by Samantha Downing – This was a completely addictive read from start to finish and with such a shocking ending I spent I don’t know how long trying to figure out what the hell just happened.
  • The Travelling Cat Chronicles by Hiro Arikawa – An all time favourite and one I’ve been buying for everyone I know. It’s a heartbreaking read but totally worth it.

So those are the last ten books that have really gotten to me. Do you suffer from book hangovers or are you like me and just keep swimming along?

Feel free to leave comments below and links to your top ten’s.

WWW Wednesday: 12th February 2020

The WWW Wednesday meme is hosted by Sam @ Taking on a World of Words and is a great way to do a weekly update on what you’ve been reading and what you have planned.

WWW Wednesday

To take part all you have to do is answer the following three questions:

  • What are you currently reading?
  • What did you recently finish reading?
  • What do you think you’ll read next?

Currently ReadingOne in a Million

I’m sticking with lighter reads at the moment as work is still pretty busy so I’m currently reading One in a Million by Lindsay Kelk. I’m taking part in a couple of reading challenges at the moment, Popsugar and a team challenge on Goodreads, so this quite conveniently works for both. It’s a My Fair Lady retelling with main character Annie Higgins taking on the challenge of making a stranger Instagram famous in 30 days. It’s pretty early days for me but so far so good.

On audio I’ve decided to pick up Before the Devil Breaks You by Libba Bray again. I put it on pause last week so I could listen to an audio from the library that was due back. This is the third book in the Diviners series and I’m very much enjoying it. So much so I have book 4 sitting waiting on me.

Recently Finished

Deep Down Dead (Lori Anderson, #1)Come Tumbling Down (Wayward Children, #5)To Have and to Hoax

Three books finished again this week, the first of which Deep Down Dead by Steph Broadribb was a bit of a surprise. Not sure what I was expecting, it’s about a bounty hunter tasked with bringing in an ex, but I really enjoyed it. It’s been a while since I’ve read a book like this and I have been seriously tempted to just go on a binge read of the rest of the series.

I also finished the audiobook of Come Tumbling Down by Seanan McGuire and liked it a lot. It’s still not my favourite in the Wayward Children series but I do love the characters and can’t wait to see what’s next for them.

Final book finished this week was To Have and to Hoax by Martha Waters, which I received an advance copy of from NetGalley. I was in a historical romance kind of mood and this fit the bill perfectly. It’s a little bit silly and kind of ridiculous at times but a whole lot of fun and I read the whole thing cover to cover on Saturday morning.

Reading Next

It’s not that long till the Orenda Roadshow (it’s on the 24th February) so I’d really like to read a few books by the authors appearing before then. I have loads sitting on my TBR but I’m thinking I’ll probably go for some or all of the following

A Dark MatterLittle SiberiaOverkill (Sam Shephard, #1)Snare (Reykjavik Noir Trilogy, #1)

Have you read any of the books on my list this week? Any others you’d recommend? As always please feel free to leave comments and links below.

Happy Reading ❤

WWW Wednesday: 5th February 2020

The WWW Wednesday meme is hosted by Sam @ Taking on a World of Words and is a great way to do a weekly update on what you’ve been reading and what you have planned.

WWW Wednesday

To take part all you have to do is answer the following three questions:

  • What are you currently reading?
  • What did you recently finish reading?
  • What do you think you’ll read next?

Currently ReadingDeep Down Dead (Lori Anderson, #1)

Things are still busy at work (hopefully only another week or so to go) so I’m sticking with slightly lighter reads and currently reading Deep Down Dead by Steph Broadribb. I have tickets for the Orenda roadshow at the end of the month and thought I should probably try and read some of the books by the authors Orenda publish. It was only after I started reading this and got quite into the story that I realized Steph Broadribb wasn’t on the tour… oops. I am however absolutely loving this story of a single mom/bounty hunter so it’s all good. It’s been an age since I read this kind of story and I’d forgotten how much I enjoy them.

Come Tumbling Down (Wayward Children, #5)

On audio I’ve had to put Before the Devil Breaks You by Libba Bray on hold for the moment as my library hold on Come Tumbling Down by Seanan McGuire came in so I had to bump it to the top of the list. I probably would have done this anyway as I absolutely love the Wayward Children series. It’s a really short book, around 4 hours, so I’m making great progress with it. Only around 1 hr 30 mins to go.

Recently Finished

Dark Waters (Monica Kennedy #2)American Royals (American Royals, #1)Wicked Bite (Night Rebel, #2)

I’ve managed to sneak in quite a bit of reading over the last week, the weather’s been bad, so I managed to finish three books. The first of these was a NetGalley ARC of Dark Waters by G.R. Halliday. This is the second in the DI Monica Kennedy series and I would say it’s better than the first. It’s just as dark and creepy, but a lot of the things that were irritating me in the first book seem to have been sorted out and it feels like we’re getting some real character development.

Second book finished this week was American Royals by Katharine McGee. I also received this from NetGalley but just never seemed to be in the mood to read it. I very much enjoyed her other series The Thousandth Floor, a futuristic sci fi teen drama, and this was a lot of fun too. While it’s an alternate history type story rather than a sci fi there are definitely a lot of similarities between the two series and it reads like an American soap opera with all of the clichés and relationship drama. If you don’t take it too seriously and accept it as it is it’s fantastic.

The final book finished this week was Jeaniene Frost’s latest Wicked Bite. Frost is my go to author when I’m in the mood for a paranormal romance and this book doesn’t disappoint. Not my absolute favourite of her books but it’s enjoyable and main character Ian is growing on me.

Reading Next

I know I had it on my reading next list last week and didn’t read it next but I’m keeping The Switch by Beth O’Leary close to the top of the pile for the moment. It’s one I’ve been really looking forward to so I don’t want to read it when I’m tired and stressed. I have a lot of books on my NetGalley shelf at the moment so I think I’m going to try and make a bit of progress with that. Yes No Maybe So and Wranglestone are both out this week so I should really be picking them up.

The SwitchYes No Maybe SoWranglestone (Wranglestone, #1)

Have you read any of the books on my list this week? Any others you’d recommend? As always please feel free to leave comments and links below.

Happy Reading ❤

WWW Wednesday: 29th January 2020

The WWW Wednesday meme is hosted by Sam @ Taking on a World of Words and is a great way to do a weekly update on what you’ve been reading and what you have planned.

WWW Wednesday

To take part all you have to do is answer the following three questions:

  • What are you currently reading?
  • What did you recently finish reading?
  • What do you think you’ll read next?

Currently Reading

I’m back… well kind of. I’m still working long hours at the moment so haven’t had much time to read but I have actually been reading which is an improvement on last week when I think I had a touch of eye strain. But, I’ve switched to my ancient kindle and have been managing to read without the headaches, dizziness and floating black dots.

Dark Waters (Monica Kennedy #2)

At the moment I’m working my way through Dark Waters by G.R. Halliday, which I stumbled across on NetGalley and couldn’t resist. It’s the second in the Monica Kennedy series and is a police procedural/murder mystery set in the Highlands of Scotland. I’m around two thirds of the way through as I write this and very much enjoying. It’s definitely stronger than the first book and I think even darker and creepier.

Speaking of dark and creepy, on audio I’m still listening to Before the Devil Breaks You by Libba Bray, the third book in the Diviners series. I have to confess I haven’t made a huge amount of progress in the last week which means the gang are still stuck in an asylum with darkness and some not so happy ghosts moving in 😮

Recently FinishedThe New Guy

Only one book finished again this week, The New Guy by Kathryn Freeman. The publisher very kindly sent me a widget for an advance copy of this and as I’d been considering requesting it anyway I couldn’t resist despite a heaving NetGalley shelf. This turned out to be a very wise decision as I ended up kind of loving it. It’s a romcom about a man and woman who meet in a bar and have a “one night stand” only to discover the following day that he’s the new guy they’ve hired to work in the company she owns.

I wasn’t sure about this at the start as the male lead Ryan does not come across as a particularly likeable guy but he definitely grows on you as you get to know him. I loved the role reversal, with the woman in the position of power and the guy the insecure mess. It’s funny and sweet and there’s plenty of chemistry between the leads so overall a very enjoyable and addictive read.

Reading Next

The publishers actually granted my wish on NetGalley for a copy of Beth O’Leary’s new book The Switch so I suspect that will be moving to the top of my list. It’s one of my most anticipated books of the year so won’t be able to resist for long. My library hold on the audiobook of Come Tumbling Down by Seanan McGuire also came in during the week so will be picking it up soon.

The SwitchCome Tumbling Down (Wayward Children, #5)

Have you read any of the books on my list this week? Any others you’d recommend? As always please feel free to leave comments and links below.

Happy Reading ❤

TTT: Choosing Books by their Covers

Top Ten Tuesday is a bookish meme that was started by The Broke and Bookish and moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January 2018.  It was born of a love of lists (something I share) and each week participants come up with a list of ten(ish) things based on a theme.

The theme for this weeks Top Ten Tuesday is a Book Cover Freebie which has totally sent me into an indecisive mess (and is the reason why I’m so late with this week’s post). I’d much prefer if someone just told me what to post but anyway I’ve decided to put a little bit of a twist on it and have come up with a list of the things I want/ or don’t want on my book covers. What will put me off buying a book or tempt me into splashing the cash.  Let’s start with the negative


TV/Movie tie in coversSimon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda

I do get it, they want people who love the show/movie or who have even just heard everyone rave over it to rush out and buy the book but seeing the actors and the huge big sticker with “Now a hit TV show starring…” plastered all over the front really puts me off. I’m pretty sure if people really want to find the book the show is based on they will, and don’t even get me started when they change the title of the book to the name of the show…

What really winds me up too is when you buy an ebook from Amazon with the original cover and all of a sudden Amazon decide to change it to the tie in version… grrr!!

The authors name is the biggest thingGenesis (Jack Stapleton & Laurie Montgomery, #12)

Yes if an author is successful and has lots of readers make sure their name is prominent but when the name is more prominent than the title of the book, or pretty much anything else on the cover it just makes me think they’re trying to sell you it purely based on the author. The story seems to be treated as some kind of secondary, less important factor, it’s sort of assumed that you’ll buy it regardless of what it’s about because the author is just sooo awesome. It seems a little disrespectful to readers to me.

(I haven’t read this book btw, it was just one I spotted that kind of fit)

People on coversSince You've Been Gone

I know, I’m a weirdo but I really don’t like when covers have real people i.e. not illustrations on them. It’s probably part of the reason I don’t like tie in covers with the actors on the cover. I don’t want anyone showing me what the characters look like, I want to imagine them for myself. When I read I actually struggle to take in descriptions of people (or places) so I have a tendency to make up my own image of them, which usually bears no resemblance to how the author intended. If there’s a picture on the front of the character it kind of forces me to imagine them that way, and I don’t want to.

The “standard genre” coverThe Bet (Indecent Intentions #1)

There seems to be this thing where if a book is a certain genre it has to have the same thing on the cover. Crime books have the dark alley (possibly with a sinister figure), domestic thrillers a house or a door, romances have the bare chested guy and YA fantasy has that snake that seems to be doing the rounds at the moment. It’s all just obvious and kind of boring. I think I may have a couple of books which have literally the same cover (the guy in this cover is on at least four different books).

It’s just ugly or doesn’t fit

I won’t be mean and put an example for this one but there have certainly been a few times where the cover of the book has put me off buying it. It’s either really unprofessional looking (I feel like I could come up with a better one myself using my phone) or it just seems to have absolutely no real connection to the story. This sort of links to the standard genre point as well, just because a book is a certain genre you are not obliged to have certain things on the cover if they have nothing to do with the story . I do understand that a lot of self published authors don’t have money to spend on covers but I’m sorry they do matter.


All the pretty, sparkly things ❤Circe

I am a sucker for a pretty cover and will admit to having bought more than one book based on the cover alone, didn’t even read the synopsis.

I love intricate designs, flowers, possibly some foil or sprayed edges. I know that a gorgeous cover doesn’t always translate exactly into a gorgeous story but I am seriously struggling to think of a book with a pretty cover that I haven’t enjoyed.

Little references to the storyDarkdawn (The Nevernight Chronicle, #3)

I don’t like covers that are too obvious but I do love when the cover images have little clues or references to some of the things that pop up in the story. I haven’t come across many of these but the most recent was the UK version of Darkdawn by Jay Kristoff. I love how if you look closely there are lots of little images within the main one which link to certain scenes or characters in the story. I had a lot of fun after I finished the book fitting all of the little parts of the story to the images on the cover.

A little bit of mysteryThe 7½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle

There’s a lot to be said for a cover that’s simple, stylish and doesn’t give much away about the story, especially if you add in a little bit of foil or a nice border. The 7 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle was one of those books for me. There are a few little clues in those diamonds in the corner but the big draw for this book is definitely the title and the story. It doesn’t need a fancy cover and honestly I can’t think of anything you could put on the cover that would fit the story (although I am aware the paperback version has a staircase on it).

Less can be more.

Contemporary design with strong colours and illustrationsThe Bromance Book Club (Bromance Book Club, #1)

I read a lot of romcoms and contemporary fiction and am absolutely loving the trend at the moment for illustrations on the cover. Bright colours, big loopy writing, something that literally jumps of the shelf and says go on you know you want to read me. There’s just something fun about them that appeals to me and you can usually trust that if the cover is contemporary the story will be too.

It’s quirky or funnyA Semi-Definitive List of Worst Nightmares

I love a quirky or different story so it stands to reason that I’m drawn to books with slightly quirky or just downright weird covers (anyone for a lobster or a pink flamingo?). And, if it happens to have a slightly out there title that’s a bonus. I find that there are a lot of covers that are just variations of the same thing, but books like this just jump out at you. I may not necessarily buy it but I’ll definitely pick it up and read what it’s about.

So that’s what I look for (or avoid) in my book covers. Is there anything in particular you look for on the cover when choosing a book or do you share any of my cover pet peeves?

Feel free to leave comments below and links to your top ten’s.

Review: This is How You Lose the Time War

This Is How You Lose the Time War
This Is How You Lose the Time War
by Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone did not make for the easiest reading but there is certainly something very engaging about it. I loved the creativity and imagination that went into it. It’s a very unique story and one I think I’ll be re reading at some point.


Among the ashes of a dying world, an agent of the Commandant finds a letter. It reads: Burn before reading.

And thus begins an unlikely correspondence between two rival agents hellbent on securing the best possible future for their warring factions. Now, what began as a taunt, a battlefield boast, grows into something more.

Except discovery of their bond would be death for each of them. There’s still a war going on, after all. And someone has to win that war. That’s how war works. Right?


I loved the originality in this story but while the writing was wonderfully descriptive and imaginative I must admit I did not find this the easiest book to read. This was in part my own fault as I picked absolutely the wrong time to read this, work was busy, I was tired, stressed and having difficulty focusing on anything for any length of time, but both the concepts and the language made this a feel like a challenge rather than a pleasure at times.

From the very start you’re thrown in to the deep end of this story, no explanation, no scene setting and very little in the way of background. It quickly becomes clear that there are two factions in a war across time (yes the clue is in the title). One faction is seeking to influence the timeline to promote technology and progress, the other is looking for a return to nature. Each employs agents who hop back and forward in time, trying to influence the various different strands of time to their own ends by whatever means available.

Two of these agents are Red and Blue from whose points of view the story is told. They operate for rival factions but begin a correspondence which begins with a sort of taunting, challenging tone but quickly becomes something more. Given they come from opposing sides of the war however can they really trust each other, is a relationship of any kind possible or is it doomed to end in tragedy?

I really loved the creativity and imagination that went into the story. I loved the very different ways Red and Blue found to correspond with each other in the different times and places they visit. I loved the contents of the letters themselves and how the tone of them changes over the course of the book as they start to realize their feelings for each other. I loved the relationship that develops between them, there’s something very Romeo and Juliet about two people from warring factions who develop a bond despite their differences.

I even loved the little snippets of what they’re doing to subtly alter the timeline to their own ends, one through sudden force and violence, the other through slower more invasive means. I’ve always been fascinated by the notion of time travel and the various theories surrounding (paradox theory, the multiverse etc) so I find pretty much every story featuring it intriguing. I just wish we’d gotten a little more of this. More of the background to these two factions, who are they, what are they and how do they do what they do? Over the course of the story there are more and more details revealed about the societies Red and Blue come from but it wasn’t enough and somehow seemed to raise more questions than it answered. Even by the end I couldn’t figure out what Red and Blue were, they certainly didn’t seem to be human. I spent a lot of the story just sort of going with it.

I also felt like the voices of the two leads were lacking distinctiveness, it sometimes took me a few pages to figure out whose story I was in. This was no doubt in part due to the complexity of the language used by both authors which took up most of my concentration. It’s very flowery and very deliberately plays with words and phrases, something I’m really not sure I liked. I could certainly appreciate it but I did feel like it took something away from the underlying story and I spent more time trying to understand the words used than the underlying meaning and emotion behind them. This was not helped by the occasional wandering off on tangents within the letters themselves as I found my concentration wandering off on a tangent all of it’s own.

As I say though I was very tired and having difficulty focusing on pretty much anything for any length of time when reading this. It is however a fairly short book at only 200 odd pages so it didn’t take me too long to read it. I was left with a slight feeling of confusion at the end though and I do think it’s one I may re read at some point (when I’m less tired) as I feel like I’ve missed some things that I’ll pick up on a second reading.

Overall therefore a wonderfully unique read that I’m glad I’ve read even if I found it a challenging read at times. I would recommend this to anyone but maybe wait till you can give it your full focus.

My rating: 4 of 5 stars