Books

Mid Year Book Freak Out Tag 2021

1. Best book you’ve read so far in 2021

Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson
I was super hesitant to read this, I really wasn’t a fan of the author’s first book. This has entirely changed my mind. I loved every moment!
Check out my review here.

2. Best sequel you’ve read so far in 2021

I haven’t read a lot of sequels this year… I’ll go with Act Your Age, Eve Brown by Talia Hibbert. It was SO cute. It was such an enjoyable experience. Check out my review here.

3. New release you haven’t read yet, but want to.

Meet Cute Diary by Emery Lee

4. Most anticipated release for the second half of the year.

Cytonic by Brandon Sanderson
I CANNOT WAIT FOR THIS!! The ending to Starsight almost killed me. Biggest cliffhanger ever. I am so excited to get back to this world and characters!
My reviews for Skyward and Starsight

5. Biggest disappointment.

The Midnight Library by Matt Haig
Boy, oh boy, did this disappoint. I really cannot understand the hype around this book. The ideas and concepts – amazing. The execution – not good. I didn’t enjoy it at all. Fell completely flat for me.
Full review here.

6. Biggest surprise.

The Girls I’ve Been by Tess Sharpe
This was just so good. The premise sounded interesting, but I didn’t expect to love it as much as I did. Review here.

7. Favourite new author. (Debut or new to you)

Elizabeth Lim
After reading Spin the Dawn, I need to read everything else by Elizabeth Lim. I LOVED it!

8. Newest fictional crush.

Nathaniel from Sorcery of Thorns. *swoon*

9. Newest favourite character.

Jordan and Declan from The Dreamer Trilogy by Maggie Stiefvater
I don’t want to spoil the books, so I won’t say too much. I just loved Jordan and Declan!! Declan was a huge surprise, I didn’t like him in TRC.

10. Book that made you cry.

I haven’t had an emotional read this year yet…

11. Book that made you happy.

Instant Karma by Marissa Meyer

12. Most beautiful book you’ve bought so far this year (or received)

Spin the Dawn by Elizabeth Lim
The UK paperback of this, my goodness. I am obsessed.

13. What books do you need to read by the end of the year?

SO MANY!!
To name a few:
The Road Trip by Beth O’Leary
A Gathering of Shadows and A Conjuring of Light by V.E. Schwab
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
A Long Way to a Small Angry Planet by Becky Chambers


What books do you need to read by the end of the year?
Link me if you do this tag, they’re my favourite to read!

Books

May Wrap Up | 2021

Hello! Happy June!
This year is seriously flying by, it’s scary!!

May was a super busy month for me, I had my final finals! I am officially done with university and I couldn’t be happier. Since I was busy writing essays and assignments, I didn’t actually pick up a book until almost half way through the month. All things considered, 3 books and a short audiobook isn’t a bad total!

1) Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson

Sorcery of Thorns: Amazon.co.uk: Rogerson, Margaret: Books

Rating: 5 Stars // Review here

2) Call Down the Hawk by Maggie Stiefvater

Call Down the Hawk: The Dreamer Trilogy eBook: Stiefvater, Maggie:  Amazon.co.uk: Kindle Store

Rating: 4 Stars / Review coming soon

3) Mister Impossible by Maggie Stiefvater

Mister Impossible (Dreamer Trilogy, #2) by Maggie Stiefvater

Rating: 3.75 Stars // Review coming soon

4) The Story of Antigone by Ali Smith

The Story of Antigone (Save the Story) by Smith, Ali, Paoletti, Laura  (October 24, 2013) Hardcover: Amazon.co.uk: Books

Rating: 3 Stars

What did you read in May? Any new faves?

Books · Wrap-up

March Wrap Up | 2021

Hello everyone!
March was a super busy month for me and I went into a bit of a slump. Uni has been kicking my ass lately and I have a lot of essays to read for that, so haven’t read much outside of uni stuff.
I only managed to finish two books, sadly.

The first book was Salvage the Bones by Jesmyn Ward (audiobook)

Salvage the Bones Audiobook | Jesmyn Ward | Audible.co.uk

This was for my climate change fiction module in uni. I liked it more than the previous novel I read by this author (Sing, Unburied, Sing) but I still didn’t love it. I think this will be the last book I read by Ward.

Lastly I listened to *Act Your Age, Eve Brown by Talia Hibbert (audiobook)

Act Your Age, Eve Brown Audiobook by Talia Hibbert - 9780062941299 |  Rakuten Kobo

Oh my godddd. This was just amazing!
I was so excited to see this on Libro.fm’s ALCs for March. I loved every moment. The whole series is just incredible. I’ll have a review up for this soon.

*gifted


What did you read in March?

Books · Review

Book Review: A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

A Darker Shade of Magic: 1: Amazon.co.uk: V. E. Schwab, Victoria Schwab:  9781783295401: Books

Goodreads Synopsis:
Kell is one of the last Antari—magicians with a rare, coveted ability to travel between parallel Londons; Red, Grey, White, and, once upon a time, Black.

Kell was raised in Arnes—Red London—and officially serves the Maresh Empire as an ambassador, traveling between the frequent bloody regime changes in White London and the court of George III in the dullest of Londons, the one without any magic left to see.

Unofficially, Kell is a smuggler, servicing people willing to pay for even the smallest glimpses of a world they’ll never see. It’s a defiant hobby with dangerous consequences, which Kell is now seeing firsthand.

After an exchange goes awry, Kell escapes to Grey London and runs into Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations. She first robs him, then saves him from a deadly enemy, and finally forces Kell to spirit her to another world for a proper adventure.

Now perilous magic is afoot, and treachery lurks at every turn. To save all of the worlds, they’ll first need to stay alive.


My Thoughts:

The writing – As usual, V.E. Schwab’s writing is beautiful. She writes very prettily, which is nice, but it does make for a slower read. Usually I prefer a faster pace for fantasy, unless it’s based on political intrigue/world building, we don’t really either here. However, it was writing amazingly, I expect nothing less from Schwab. Her writing is always gorgeous and lovely to read.

I can’t say I loved nor hated this book. It was an okay read. In my opinion it was nothing special, nothing bad either. I read this last month and honestly hasn’t left much of an impression on me. This is unusual for Schwab, she usually leaves some kind of impression, I still think about Vicious even years after reading it, I also read Addie Larue back in Jan and I’m still thinking about it. This book, however, the moment it was done, so was interest…

I like the worlds, the concept is pretty cool. V.E. Schwab comes up with such good ideas and concepts, but they always lack something for me. I just wanted a bit more from this book, as a first book in a series. It reads like a standalone, which is fine, but considering most of the book is a bit unmemorable there wasn’t anything particularly enticing me to continue the series. That being said, I own the whole trilogy and will continue it. I am interested to see where the story leads purely on the basis that the first one wrapped up pretty nicely, it didn’t seem to set up for anything else. I also am interested in learning more about the world and magic, hoping it gets developed more in the coming books.

Characters:
Kell: Definitely my favourite character and the most interesting. He seems like such a nice guy and his magical abilities are cool. I so wanted to know more about the antari and the different Londons.

Lila: I’m not a huge fan of Lila. I don’t hate her, but I don’t love her. She can be a tad annoying and tedious sometimes. I did like her interactions/relationship with Kell. Hopefully, I’ll like her more in the next one.

Overall, I wasn’t overly impressed. I didn’t hate it, didn’t love it. It was an okay read.

Rating: 2.5/3 Stars

Books · Wrap-up

February Wrap Up | 2021

Hey bookworms!
Is it just me or did Feb fly by?! I can’t believe it’s March already.
Let’s hope this March is a good one…

Anyway, I had a really good month in Feb! Despite starting back at uni, I still managed to read a lot!
I read a total of 8 books!

*The Girls I’ve Been by Tess Sharpe – Rating: 4 Stars
Ice by Anna Kavan – Read for uni/ No rating
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte (reread) – Read for uni but have previously read. Rating: 5 Stars
The Year of the Flood by Margaret Atwood – Read for uni/ No rating

Dat’s Love by Leonora Brito – Read for research/ Rating: 2.5 Stars
A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E Schwab – Rating: 3 Stars (review coming soon)
Parable of the Sower by Octavia E. Butler – Read for uni, but this was on my tbr already/ Rating: 3 Stars
Instant Karma by Marissa Meyer (audiobook) – Rating: 4 Stars (review coming soon)

How was your reading in February? Any new favourites?

Books · Review

Disappointing | Book Review: The Midnight Library by Matt Haig

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Between life and death there is a library, and within that library, the shelves go on forever. Every book provides a chance to try another life you could have lived. To see how things would be if you had made other choices . . . Would you have done anything different, if you had the chance to undo your regrets?”

Somewhere out beyond the edge of the universe there is a library that contains an infinite number of books, each one the story of another reality. One tells the story of your life as it is, along with another book for the other life you could have lived if you had made a different choice at any point in your life. While we all wonder how our lives might have been, what if you had the chance to go to the library and see for yourself? Would any of these other lives truly be better?

In The Midnight Library, Nora Seed finds herself faced with this decision. Faced with the possibility of changing her life for a new one, following a different career, undoing old breakups, realizing her dreams of becoming a glaciologist; she must search within herself as she travels through the Midnight Library to decide what is truly fulfilling in life, and what makes it worth living in the first place.



My Thoughts:

I have really mixed feelings about this, I find myself pretty disappointed.
The reviews I’ve seen have been absolutely amazing and the premise was so interesting and cool, I thought I’d really love it too. The more I think about it more I dislike it. It’s a real shame because it was one of my most anticipated books of 2020.

This is a super short book (less than 300 pages) I thought it would be a quick read. Although I finished it in one day, it wasn’t as binge-able as I hoped.

I’ve now read 5 Matt Haig books, 3 fiction, 2 non-fiction – there is a reoccurring theme. I really love his non-fiction, it resonates with me fully. His fiction on the other hand, always sounds amazing in theory to me, I really like his ideas and concepts, but the execution always lets me down. I was hoping The Midnight Library would break this cycle, unfortunately, it didn’t.

The Midnight Library has such an amazing premise and concept, which I really love and enjoyed that aspect of the novel. The writing was bland and boring – it wasn’t the easiest to read in terms of style or content.

Although I wasn’t super attached to Nora, as we didn’t really get to know her much, I could emphasise and relate to her mental state. I just wish there was a lot more insight to Nora. I feel like I barely know her even after finishing the novel.

The opportunity to see alternate lives in the library should’ve been more fun and interesting than it was. It found myself pretty bored at times. I kept hoping it would pick up and be amazing but it never did. I pushed myself through it, as it was short.

It deals with heavy topics, such as suicide and death, really good discussion points and the overall message is a hopeful and inspiring one. However, due to the lack of development of the protagonist, it really lacked depth for me. It was too brief and too impersonal for me to really feel connected.

Rating: 2.5 Stars

Serious trigger warnings for this book. This book is one massive trigger for suicide and death.
If you’re depressed and don’t want to be further depressed, please stay away from this novel.

Have you read this one? What are your thoughts?

Books · Review

Book Review: The Invisible Life of Addie Larue by V.E. Schwab

“Books, she has found, are a way to live a thousand lives–or to find strength in a very long one.”

Goodreads Synopsis:

France, 1714: in a moment of desperation, a young woman makes a Faustian bargain to live forever-and is cursed to be forgotten by everyone she meets.

Thus begins the extraordinary life of Addie LaRue, and a dazzling adventure that will play out across centuries and continents, across history and art, as a young woman learns how far she will go to leave her mark on the world.

But everything changes when, after nearly 300 years, Addie stumbles across a young man in a hidden bookstore, and he remembers her name.

My Thoughts:

TW/CW: Death, depression, grief, violence, attempted suicide, emotional manipulation, drug use, starvation, sexual acts for payment

When I first started this novel it was super slow and to be honest, I wasn’t really into it. I was really worried I wasn’t going to end up liking this book, the first 200 pages or so I thought this book was going to disappoint me. To my surprise, I ended up really enjoying this book, mostly the second half.
Although Schwab’s writing style is undeniably gorgeous, I found myself a little bored. I didn’t really see where the story would go. Until Henry showed up, then my attention was captured. I needed to know everything!

This is a very character driven novel, if you don’t like Addie then this would be a struggle to get through. It took me a while, but I did find myself attached to Addie and later Henry. This is a very slow paced novel, which isn’t typically my favourite thing. I do, however, really like character driven stories, so long as I can attach myself to the characters. Addie felt real, so very real. Schwab crafted such an amazing character and story; it feels like it should be real. You can tell how much emotion went into writing this.

I’m not typically a historical fiction reader, although I like history and learning about it, I prefer it in visual format usually. This book didn’t really change my mind, I found myself preferring the modern parts more than the flashbacks. It was interesting to see Addie through the different times, but the story felt stronger in the present to me. There were huge time jumps and lots left out, I feel like there should’ve been more interesting things going on in the past. I wanted a bit more plot, yes it’s character based, but there was room for so much more action and intrigue.

It’s a very emotive book. I found myself tearing up at parts (I didn’t fully cry) – I’m pretty heartless and don’t cry easily at books/tv/film but this hit me right in the feels. I had so many emotions reading this, it really does make you feel.

One of my complaints, is the repetition. There’s just so much repetition, it really could’ve been edited down a bit more. Like if I have to hear Addie has seven freckles like stars again, I’m going to lose my mind. It was kind of annoying. Also what Addie did in the flashbacks was pretty repetitive, which mad the book kind of drag in the middle.

Another complaint is the character development we see for Addie. You’d think over 300 years, living through so much would change a person, right? Well not Addie. She pretty much stays the same, which I find a bit odd.

Finally, the whiteness.
As a few other reviewers have noted this book is very white. In the novel, Addie spends all her time in Europe. There’s no POC mentioned or anything really. I knew this going in. It’s quite disappointing considering Addie lives through a lot of history, yet the history of POC is left out entirely. I was aware of this prior to reading, after seeing a lot of reviewers discuss this. So this didn’t disappoint me, as I already knew – but I’m still disappointed. If that makes any sense. ReadwithCindy makes some really good point in her discussion of the novel. It’s a tough call whether Schwab should have added POC. Like Cindy mentioned, she probably would’ve come under fire either way. At risk of writing POC poorly, Schwab didn’t write them at all.

Overall, it is a beautifully written novel. It has some really amazing aspects, but the pacing is a bit off. If you don’t mind a slower read, definitely pick this one up!

If the pacing hadn’t been an issue and it had a little more action in the flashbacks, this could’ve easily been a 5 star read for me. Alas, it wasn’t diverse enough and it was a little too slow going and took too long for me to be invested to gain a 5 star rating from me.

Rating 4 Stars

Disclaimer: I have previously worked with Titan Books. This was purchased by myself. All opinions are my own.

Books · Wrap-up

January Wrap Up | 2021

Happy February!
I don’t know about anyone else, but I felt like January was the lost month ever.
I didn’t read much in Jan, I had a lot going on, I didn’t expect to read much anyway. I’ve been dealing with personal issues on top on uni deadlines. It has been a chaotic month and I’m glad it’s over!
I did manage to read 3 books, which I’m happy with:

Graceling by Kristin Cashore (reread)

Graceling by Kristin Cashore | Gollancz - Bringing You News From Our World  To Yours

I kick started the year with a reread. I want to reread this series before diving into the new book, which was released in Jan. I was super worried I wouldn’t like this book upon rereading, it had been 4 years or so since I first read it. I ended up really loving it!
Review here // Rating: 5 Stars

The Invisible Life of Addie Larue by V.E. Schwab

The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue: Amazon.co.uk: V.E. Schwab:  9781785652509: Books

Next, I finally read Addie Larue. Which I meant to read last year, but didn’t get around to it. Oh wow. I have so many thoughts on this. I have a full review coming soon (it’s quite a lengthy one). I have so many feelings on this book. I started off thinking I wouldn’t like it, by the end I loved it.
Rating: 4 Stars

The Midnight Library by Matt Haig

Buy The Midnight Library 9781786892706 by Matt Haig for only £14.

Lastly, I read another book I didn’t get to last year. I really wanted to love this, but I just didn’t. I’ll discuss it more in my review.
Rating: 3 Stars


How many books did you read in Jan? Any new favourites?

Audiobooks · Books

Best Audiobooks of 2020

Hello!
This post is a tad late, but I thought I’d do it anyway!
These are my favourite audiobooks I listened to last year. (Not necessarily 2020 releases).

Black Girl Unlimited by Echo Brown

Black Girl Unlimited Audiobook by Echo Brown - 9781250248572 | Rakuten Kobo  United Kingdom

This is a really moving, magic-realism semi-autobiographical book about Echo Brown’s life. It’s an amazing story. I haven’t heard many talk about it. It’s severely underrated!
Full review here.

Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge

Why I'm No Longer Talking to White People About Race Audiobook | Reni Eddo- Lodge | Audible.co.uk

Everyone needs to read/listen to this book. It’s very informative and educational. I learnt so much from listening to this. It’s basically required reading.

Let Me Hear a Rhyme by Tiffany D. Jackson

Let Me Hear A Rhyme Book Review - Book and Film Globe

I really enjoyed this, it was fun. The music aspect was really cool too, hearing it was really effective. I’m not sure I would’ve enjoyed this as much in print.
Review here.

The Queen of Nothing by Holly Black

The Queen of Nothing: The Folk of the Air, Book 3 (Audio Download):  Amazon.co.uk: Holly Black, Caitlin Kelly, Hot Key Books: Audible Audiobooks

This was an unexpected fave. I didn’t plan to finish this series, I’m glad I did. I really enjoyed this conclusion. I ended up binging the entire audiobook in one day…
Review here.

Odd and the Frost Giants by Neil Gaiman

Odd and the Frost Giants: Amazon.co.uk: Gaiman, Neil, Gaiman, Neil: Books

Neil Gaiman has the most magical, light-hearted short stories. This was one. It was incredibly short but so lovely to listen to. Neil narrates it himself and he is absolutely wonderful.


What were your favourite audiobooks in 2020?

Anticipated Books · Books

2021 Sequels, Prequels & Companion Books I’m Excited For

Hello everyone!
Today I’m going to share some 2021 releases that are sequels, prequels and companions that I’m excited to read. I have no idea how many I’ll actually get to this year (final year uni problems) but when I can I’ll be happily diving into these!

The Way of the Argosi by Sebastien de Castell

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I’m not usually super excited for prequels, but Ferius Parfax is such an amazing character, I cannot wait to explore her backstory! If you haven’t read the Spellslinger Series yet, do it! It’s one of the best YA fantasy series. It’s so fun and humorous, you’ll have a blast!


Winterkeep by Kristin Cashore

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I have wanted a sequel in this world since I first read the Graceling books years ago. I’m excited to be back in this world with a new story! Graceling was one of the first series I read because of the online book community, I’m so happy to get a sequel!



Beneath the Keep by Erika Johansen

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Another series I read forever ago. I loved The Queen of the Tearling trilogy, even if it did end… oddly. This is a prequel about one of the side characters, I’m curious to learn more about him and dive back into this world. I may have to reread the original books at some point too.


Act Your Age, Eve Brown by Talia Hibbert

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I love The Brown Sisters, I cannot wait to read this! I’m super sad this is the last book but I have loved every moment of the previous two, I’m sure this will also be a favourite. If you looking for swoon-worthy romances, definitely read this series. It’s incredible!


A Dance with the Fae Rogue by Elise Kova

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After reading (and loving) A Deal with the Elf King I am dying for this companion/sequel! I love a good fantasy romance and fae are my favourite! This sounds like it’ll be amazing, sadly it’s not out until the end of the year 😦


Are any of these on your TBR? What sequels/prequels/companion books are you excited for?