February 2021 Wrap Up

Another month gone. I had a decent reading month despite it being short. Not as good as in January, but January is usually my best reading month of the year. I completed 8 books this month and am about 3/4 through a ninth though, so not bad.

The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N. K. Jemisin

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I really enjoyed this much more than I enjoyed The Killing Moon. I think the mythology is really cool and I am really intrigued by it. I’m really curious to continue with the series, but the sequels do follow different characters and I never really know how to feel about series like that. I will say it was a bit slow to start with. It took me a while to get into it, but one it got going, it was very compelling. there are also a lot of elements both character-wise and writing-style wise that appear in N.K. Jemisin’s Broken earth series (which is one of my favourite series ever, check out my review). So it was a lot of fun to see her play with those ideas and how they eventually evolved into perfection. So yeah, enjoyed the book, will continue with the series at some point. I gave it 3.75/5 stars

Seasons of War by Derek Landy

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I am now officially up to date with this series. I believe there is another one being released at some point this year and I’m not sure what the plans are after that, but this has been a solid, fun series for me throughout and it’s been really cool to follow Valkyrie from childhood into young adulthood. 3.5/5 stars

The Mask Falling by Samantha Shannon

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Been waiting for this one for a while. I really enjoy this series. It’s really fun and fast paced. I think my thoughts on this book without going into spoilers, are more or less what they were for the rest of the series, so you can check out my review of that. 3.75/5 stars

The Masked City by Genevive Cogman

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I am thoroughly enjoying this series. this is the second book. It’s so much fun and so underrated in my opinion. At least… I haven’t really heard people talk about it. It’s great. it’s about a magic librarian lady and her dragon sidekick. Oh, and there’s also a Sherlock Holmes from an alternate dimension. What more could you ask for. 4/5 stars

City of Stairs by Robert Jackson Bennett

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This one was kind of a disappointment for me. It was pretty boring to be honest. Nothing happened for the first two thirds of it and then everything got resolved in like one grand “battle” if you could even call it that. As I put it in my Goodreads review “the highlight of the book was the MC getting high as hell and making her acid dreams reality basically.”. I really like his other series, but this one was a let down for me and I don’t think I| will continue with the series. 2/5 stars

The Folk of the Air books 2 and 3 by Holly Black

I finally finished this series and books 2 and 3 were just as addictive as the first one. Honestly, these gave me a hangover I still have not fully recovered from. they’re like book crack. I read them in 2 days, back to back it was wild. I want more. Cardan and Jude are the most addictive angsty couple I’ve ever read about. I’m just absolute trash for this series basically. 4.75/5 and 4.5/5 stars respectively.

The Humans by Matt Haig

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This was… weird. I enjoyed it. It was funny and somewhat insightful, but also just very clichee. It was fine, but I didn’t love it and it took me a while to get into it. 3/5 stars

Blood Upon the sands by Bradley Beaulieu

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I haven’t finished this one yet, but I am about 3/4 through it. I like this series, but I don’t love it. I wish I did because on paper, it’s totally my kind of book. But I feel kind of disconnected from it and I think I’ve managed to pinpoint why. I think there’s just too many characters and most of them are just not sufficiently fleshed out for me to distinguish between them. So aside from the 3 Pov characters, I tend to lose track of who is who and what their agendas are. It also doesn’t help that I’ve been listening to them on audio and the narrator for some reason decided to give everyone these weird Russian sounding accents. I don’t understand that choice. For one thing, why give accents to characters who are native to the country where the book is set? Secondly, this is a desert fantasy. Why do they all sound Russian? Thirdly, some of them are from different countries, why do they all have the same accent? So yeah, maybe I’ll switch to physical books for the future. And I guess I’ll have a rating for this next month. 

Down the TBR hole #30

it’s been absolutely ages since I last did one of these. But here I am continuing with it. as a refreshes of how this works, I go to my Goodreads TBR shelf and randomise it and pick out the first 10 books that I’m no longer interested in reading. I did originally go through every single book and decided whether or not I wanted to read it, but that was just taking too long.

Count after previous post: 265

Current count: 257 (it’s amazingly actually gone down!)

Count after this post: 247

Previous post

Winter Dark by Alex Callister

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I just have no desire whatsoever to read this. I don’t even know why it’s on my TBR.

Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden

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This is one of those classics that I say “Oh, one day I’ll read it”. But yeah, I will most likely never read it and I don’t need it cluttering my TBR shelf. 

Freeze Frame by Heidi Ayarbe

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Again, I just have no interest in this. It’s been on my shelf since probably like 2015. It ain’t happening folks. 

Gathering Blue by Lois Lowry

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I enjoyed The Giver when I read it, but that was in like 2016 or something so… yeah I’m probably never reading this.  

Dark Matter by Blake Crouch

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I’d watch a movie of this. But I don’t think I’m interested enough to read the book. 

Crank by Ellen Hopkins

Again, I’d probably watch it as a film. But honestly it sounds like something that’ll just negatively impact my mental health. So… no. 

The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson

Paranormal thrillers are not really my thing and this has been on my TBR for 5 years so… it’s not happening. 

Muse of Nightmare by Laini Taylor

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I didn’t love Starnge the Dreamer. it was okay, but eh… I don’t see myself continuing with this. 

Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins

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I tried listening to this on audio and the narration sucked so I stopped and then I heard everyone say that the book in general sucks and yeah, I just lost interest. 

Schindler’s List by Thomas Keneally

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I’ve seen the film several times. It’s a great story, but I already know it. 

January 2021 Wrap Up

Generally speaking, January is always a strong reading month for me. I don’t know what it is about the new year that just makes me read twice as much as I normally do. As such, I read 13 books in January and I actually enjoyed all of them. So this will be a long post. Let’s get into it.

The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden

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This was a re-read for me. I have read the whole series and it’s one of my favourite series. And just such a solid start to the year. Cause I think everyone can agree we just need a better 2021. This also got me in the mood for some angsty  enemies to lovers fantasy romance. Which is totally reflected in the following books in this wrap up. I of course, gave this 5/5 stars. 

The Invisible Library by Genevive Cogman

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This book was a lot of fun. I picked it up almost at random. One of the books in the series was on my recommended listens on Audible. So I listened to a preview and the narration was absolutely awful. But I read one of the reviews that highly recommended just reading the physical book. so I bought it on a whim and I ended up really enjoying it. It had dragons, it had fae, it had a magical library, it had this cool steampunk vibe. It gave me some The Infernal Devices vibes. It was just a lot of fun and there was also a maybe potential future slow burn, kinda angsty romance, which was just fuel on the fire kindled by The Bear and the Nightingale. Thoroughly enjoyed, I’ve already bought the next few books in the series, so looking forward to continuing with it soon. 4/5 stars.

The Fool’s Fate by Robin Hobb

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Continuing on with the Elderlings. This is the final book in the third Elderlings series. I read 6 Elderling books last year. I’m really loving them on audio. I think I will take a little bit of a break for now, but I do want to continue with the next series later this year. They just get better and better as more and more of the world and the overarching story is revealed. The Fool is the best character ever. I loved seeing the interplay between the different series. It’s just such masterful writing even though the Fitz books aren’t my favourites. I’m not a huge fan of Fitz as a character. I find him a bit… just annoying. But still this series is much better than his first one and I still really loved it. 4/5 stars. 

An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson

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I read A Sorcery of Thorns a couple of years ago and was pleasantly surprised by it. So I decided to pick this up when I was struck by my angsty fantasy romance craving and this hit the spot so well for me. It does have some pacing issues and it’s a bit insta lovey, but I still loved it. I loved the atmosphere, I loved the take on the fae and their inability to create anything. I’m also a sucker for the fae Courts and their magic being tied to their courts. so, yeah this was a lot of fun, I think I read it in two sittings. 3.5/5 stars

Kingdom of the Wicked by Kerri Maniscalco

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I have already reviewed this one so I won’t talk too much about it for the sake of shortening this post, but I adored it. It’s by far my favourite (non re-read) of the year so far and I definitely recommend listening to the audiobook. I cannot wait for the next one. 4.5/5 stars

A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman

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So, I’ve come to the conclusion that I have a thing for Swedish humour authors. I love Jonas Jonasson’s books and now Fredrik Backman, This book was hilarious and heartwarming and just beautiful. I put if off for so long because honestly if you read the synopsis, it sounds boring as hell. I mean, I had heard great things about it, but even so I was never strongly tempted. But I’m so glad I gave it a try. I’m definitely going to be reading more of Backman’s books. 4.5/5 stars. 

A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas

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This was another re-read for me. I still loved it. I will say though, i definitely don’t love the writing. I don’t think I ever loved the writing, I just didn’t have any objections to it. But now I do. But I still just love the story and the characters and the world though so I still loved the book. But if I had read it for the first time now, I probably would have given it 4 stars because of the writing. However, since I tend not to change my rating for re-reads unless I have a vastly different opinion on them, it still got 5/5 stars.

The Alloy of Law by Brandon Sanderson

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Finally continued with the Mistborn books. I liked this a lot. I wouldn’t expect to not like any Sanderson books. But it’s probably my least favourite Sanderson book I’ve read so far. I think the main reason is that it’s so short. It’s not even 400 pages when I’m used to 1000 page monsters from him. And while it’s in an already established world so it doesn’t need as much world building, I still just wanted more and felt like this was just not on the same level as what I’m used to. If any other author had written this book, it would probably have been 4 stars at least. But on this occasion, Sanderson is just suffering from success, really (and my really high expectations) and only earned 3.5/5 stars.

Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier

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This is probably my least favourite book that I read so far this year. I still enjoyed it, but it just lacked something. I think mainly, the main character just lacked agency and was just kind of a spectator to her own life. And that kind of annoyed me cause she had such potential to be a strong, badass character. I’m kind of happy with where I left the story, so I’m not sure if I will continue with this series. 3/5 stars

Keeper of the Lost Cities by Shannon Messenger

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I was a little bit disappointed by this book. I had heard amazing things about it and while I enjoyed it, I didn’t love it. the writing was a bit tacky and it had some romance elements that I didn’t like. It’s a middle grade book, so I don’t want crushes and romance, I want magic and adventure and friendship. So it was so jarring whenever the romance elements showed up. It was like it just kept switching between middle grade and YA and I didn’t like it. But I did enjoy the adventure and the world and I am interested in continuing with the series, but I was just a little disappointed. 3.5/5 stars

Skulduggery Pleasant 10-12 by Derek Landy

I read the majority of the Skulduggery books last year and I’m just about caught up with it. I have one book left which I’m currently reading. This is just such a fun series and it did such a good job at following Valkyrie since she was a child and changing the tone of that as she grew. I love this series and I’m excited for anything else coming in the series. I’m not sure how many books are planned in the series, I know there is one coming out this year, but not sure beyond that. Either way, this is a solid 4 star series for me. 

And that is it for January. Hopefully, I continue as well as I did this month for the whole year. 

Books I’m glad I listened to on audio

The past couple of years, I really delved into audiobooks and discovered that some books I actually prefer as audio books and listening to them as opposed to reading them actually increases my enjoyment of them. This isn’t true for all books, I’m very picky about narrators and some books I would rather just read myself regardless of the narrator. But these are some books I am glad I consumed as audiobooks.

Kingdom of the Wicked by Kerri Maniscalco

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This was such an amazing audiobook. The narrator was fantastic at creating the right kind of atmosphere for this book and on top of that, the production of the book was also great. The sound effects used were fantastic and everything came together splendidly. I definitely recommend this as an audiobook and I will be continuing with the series on audio for sure.

A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman

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I loved this book, it was so beautiful and funny and just wonderful. But I don’t think I’d have really reached for it in a physical format anytime soon. It’s not really a genre I really read much of and the synopsis really does not do it justice. It sounds kind of boring based on the synopsis in all honesty. but with audiobooks, I tend to branch out more, especially that audible lets you return audiobboks if you don’t like them. So I’m really glad I gave this a try and Fredrik Backman is now up there with Jonas Jonasson on my list of Swedish humour authors I love.

The Realm of the Elderlings by Robin Hobb

I read the first book in physical format and it didn’t work for me that well. I found it difficult to get through. Granted, her first series does slug a bit, but just in general, I think her books and her writing style works better for me as audiobooks. And it goes to show that I listened to 6 Elderling books last year, where between reading her first book and her second one, it took me 2 years. So I’m definitely glad I gave this a go on audio, because I do really enjoy the story.

Nonfiction books

I read a few in 2020 and I want to continue to do that. I find I’m much more inclined to pick non-fiction books as audiobook. I can listen to them while I’m cooking or doing something else and I don’t get bored. I find that if I just sit down to read them, I get bored and I end up not enjoying them and not learning much.

The Resolutions Book Tag

Because it’s been ages since I’ve done a tag and I’m in the mood to blog, but got no better ideas, here is a tag for you. Check out the original creator as well. I will mostly try to answer with books I read in 2020, since I’ve not made any favourites/least favourites post this year.

Exercise More – name a book that has made you want to leap up out of your seat (for any reason)

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Hmm… I’m stumped by the first question. I don’t remember any books I’ve read recently making me want to leap out of my seat. Keeping me on edge, yes, but not not quite leaping out. Alas, I’ll have to settle for that and I’ll go with The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton. One of my favourite reads of 2020. New favourite author. Just yes. This book is amazing. 

Get Organised – a book with an exceptional plot

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Foundryside by Robert Jackson Bennet was another favourite of 2020. I have actually reviewed it as well, one of the few such occurrences last year. This book was so good. The magic system is so cool, there’s a magical heist plot, there’s a wonderful talking key who is the BEST. It’s just fantastic and I loved every second of it.  

Learn A New Skill – a book which taught you something

I actually read a few non-fiction books that I really enjoyed. A Classical Education by Caroline Taggart probably stands out the most for me because it was just so funny and informative at the same time. Having said that, the one I feel like I retained the most information from was Rome: A History in Seven Sackings  by Matthew Kneale.

Live Life To The Fullest – a book which inspired you

I really don’t know what to answer this with. I don’t think I’ve been particularly inspired by any of the books I read in 2020. I’m sure at some point in my life I felt inspired by some book, but I can’t think of any such instances just now. 

Save more money / spend less money – the most expensive book you’ve bought and was it worth it?

I don’t think I bought any particularly expensive books in 2020. Probably graphic novels would be the most expensive books that I bought. I bought 2 graphic novels last year: Maus by Art Spiegelman and Monstress Vol. 3 by Marjorie Liu and Sana Takeda. And yes, they were both worth it indeed.  

Spend More Time With Family and Friends – a character you would want to be best mates with

There are a few characters I’d love to be friends with. Clef, from Foundryside is one. He’s my favourite character in that series. The Fool from The Realm of the Elderlings by Robin Hobb (I read six Elderling books last year!) would be another. Also Nighteyes from the Elderlings series as well. Skulduggery Pleasant from the eponymous series is another I’d love to be friends with. And another one is Wit/Hoid from the Cosmere books in general but particularly from The Stormlight Archive by Brandon Sanderson. He appears in most Cosmere novels, but he’s a lot more prevalent in the more recent one. I have not actually finished any Cosmere books last year but I did read the majority of Oathbringer (I was forced to put it in storage before I could finish it 😥 ) so I’m going to include it here as well. To be honest, I could list quite a few Stormlight characters I’d want as my friends, but I’ll refrain. 

Travel More – a book with a location you’d love to visit

Nevermoor by Jessica Townsend. I would love to visit Nevermoor, it sounds like a wonderful place!

Read More – a book you are desperate to read this year

I’m going to assume this refers to new releases, so I will go with The Mask Falling by Samantha Shannon, The Girl and the Mountain by Mark lawrence and Kingdom of the Cursed by Kerri Maniscalco. I’m sure there are more books that if I knew they were coming out this year, I’d be desperate to read, however I haven’t really looked at what is being released this year. 

How not to write

A while back, I re-read some of the early Shadowhunter books and if you’ve read them, you know the first few books are not that well written. So I started this series about weird writing choices (Part 1 | Part 2). I’m currently reading another book from around that time (2008-2010, twilightish era) and they all just have this same vibe. Characterised by tacky, overly dramatic, weird “quirky” writing. So I decided to extend this series from weird phrases, to general writing things that I find irritating. These are observations that I’ve either made in one or more books and I use examples from the books I’ve most recently read, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re exclusive to those books or even that I think those books are bad.

Weird adverbs used to describe speech

One that I particularly noticed in the book I’m currently reading (The Iron King by Julie Kagawa) is “intelligently”. Used when someone interjections basically. For example: “‘How’re you feeling, princess?’ ‘Uh,’ I said intelligently.” I mean I get what it’s trying to convey, but I just find it jarring and annoying. especially that not every line of dialogue needs a descriptor. Like, if (as in this case) it’s a conversation between two people and they’re the only ones in the room, you only need to qualify who’s speaking at the start of the conversation or if there’s a pause in the conversation, or if the way that someone said something is relevant. Like if their tone of voice changes or something like that. But in this case, it just serves no purpose other than… trying to be funny, I suppose? But not doing a very good job at it.
Another one that actually comes from one of my favourite books story and character-wise (A Court of Mist and Fury), but which upon my latest reread, I found somewhat lacking in the writing department, is “purred”. Everyone’s always purring and that’s just such a weird imagery to me. I know it’s trying to convey a kind of sly, seductive tone of voice, but firstly I can’t understand what about cat purring conveys seduction. To me, it conveys contentment. But leaving that aside… it’s such a weird word to use. I just find myself imagining all sounding like chain smokers or something. There’s no other way for me to marry the sound of purring and the sound of human speech.

Excessive use of nicknames

Also conveniently illustrated by my previous quote. This particular character calls the man character “princess” every single time he addresses her (and yes, I know she really is a princess, but my point is still valid). Look, I get nicknames, pet names whatever. And they’re okay in moderation or if they replace the actual name of the character. But when it’s used ad nauseam, when every single time one character addresses another, they add the nickname… again, it’s jarring, repetitive and serves no real purpose whatsoever. Except making the writing seem tacky. Though I imagine the intention is to make the characters seem quirky.

Excessive or weirdly placed emphasis

This is another one that comes to you courtesy of ACOMAF. There’s so much emphasis, either through repeating a word or phrase (e.g. “He laughed – laughed – out loud for the first time in months”), or through italics (e.g. “He laughed out loud for the first time in months”) or both (e.g. “He laughed – laughed – out loud for the first time in months”). Don’t get me wrong, either of these types of emphasis are not in themselves necessarily bad writing, and when used appropriately can be very useful. But I’ve found that SJM just did it to the extent that the characters constantly seemed in utter disbelief of everything that was happening and it was just jarring. It also made it seem like she doesn’t trust her readers to understand anything that is any way significant unless it’s thoroughly pointed out to them. Which just gets irritating. Emphasis should be used sparingly and your story should highlight significant things without you having to constantly provide emphasis.  Just as a general rule of thumb, you should write as if you don’t think that your readers have the intelligence of a pencil case and can figure some stuff out for themselves. done 2 gif

Excessive exposition of character’s emotions

In the same vein, another thing that really stood out to me in ACOMAF and something that I have encountered particularly in YA books is explaining why a character is feeling a certain way in a certain moment. This is not necessarily a bad thing, again, there are circumstances in which that might be the way to go. But when your reader already knows the reasons for those feelings, we don’t need an internal monologue that lays out every single reason why that feeling is being felt. We already know and are capable of empathising without being told every single reason why we should empathise. So for example, if we know that character A has gone through a traumatic event and character B at some point finds out about it or realises how traumatised character A is or whatever, and feels for them. We don’t need an internal monologue that explain to us why character B feels for character A. We already know and generally, as I said, you ought to write as if you expect your readers not to be stupid or incapable of empathy. It just takes up unnecessary word count and it’s just irritating. stop_it_hellboy
This turned out to be a bit longer than I had expected, but that’s it for now. I don’t doubt I’ll be back with more at some point. But for now, let me know about writing choices that you find irritating.

Kingdom of the Wicked by Kerri Maniscalco

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Rating: 4.5 stars

Published: 2020

Genre: Fantasy, YA

Author: Kerri Maniscalco

Synopsis: Emilia and her twin sister Victoria are streghe – witches who live secretly among humans, avoiding notice and persecution. One night, Victoria misses dinner service at the family’s renowned Sicilian restaurant. Emilia soon finds the body of her beloved twin…desecrated beyond belief. Devastated, Emilia sets out to discover who did this, and to seek vengeance at any cost—even if it means using dark magic that’s been long forbidden.

Then Emilia meets Wrath, the outlier among the seven demon brethren, always choosing duty over pleasure. He’s been tasked by his master with investigating a series of women’s murders on the island. When Emilia and Wrath’s fates collide, it’s clear this disturbing mystery will take a bewitching turn…

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Damn, this book was so good. I loved it way more than I expected to, which is kind of how it went with Stalking Jack the Ripper as well. For the sake of preventing me from dissembling into incoherence inserting some sort of structure into this review, let’s first talk about the few things I enjoyed less and that prevented it from being a 5 star read for me.

The main thing I didn’t really enjoy and that pulled me out of the story was the excessive description of foods. I think it’s probably just a personal preference rather than bad writing, but whenever Emilia started listing ingredients for whatever food… it bored me and it took me right out of the story. I strongly dislike cooking and while I enjoy eating food, I don’t particularly want to know how it’s made. That made the first few chapters of the book really drag for me since they were very food-focused. As the plot progressed, it wasn’t as prominent anymore, but it still happened occasionally and I just found it jarring. 

Another thing that bothered me was the lack of communication between Wrath and Emilia. Like, I understand that they’re kind of enemies and he’s a demon so she’s loath to trust him. But sometimes, it just didn’t make any sense and so many issues would have been avoided if she’d just talked to him. Overall, I really enjoyed their dynamic, but occasionally I felt that Emilia in particular was just irrational in an almost absurd way. Wrath was also reserved, but I felt that his reluctance was more natural and made more sense. 

Other than that, this book was everything that I wanted. I find myself recently really craving lush and decadent either fae or other kind of paranormal being, enemies to lovers romance, but not… too romancey. Like more slow burn and also other things going on. I already knew Maniscalco is great at writing gothic mysteries, so I wasn’t surprised by that, but this just hit the spot so well and left me craving more. I can’t believe I have to wait until October for the next one. 

The setting was so lush and atmospheric. Obviously, since it’s set in our world, there’s not that much world-building to do, but just the way the mythology of the world was set up just drew me right in and was so evocative. Especially the audiobook, the sound effects they used along with the narration was just… chef’s kiss. I definitely recommend this book as an audiobook. 

In terms of characters… I absolutely loved Wrath. I’m a sucker for a dark, brooding, powerful hunk with hidden but hinted at soft squishy centre. I also liked Emilia well enough. She was kind of the more boring twin, Victoria was definitely more fun for the brief time she was present. but that was kind of the point and we got to see how what she was going through changed Emilia. I definitely like the Emilia at the end of the book more than the Emilia at the beginning. She’s far more interesting and I look forward to seeing where her character goes from here.  Also… Emilia and Wrath had better be endgame is all I’m gonna say. 

Overall, I highly recommend this. It is quite dark and very… occulty, so if that’s something that makes you uncomfortable, maybe it’s not for you. It’s also pretty gory at times so that’s something else to be mindful of. But otherwise, I definitely recommend this. 

2020 Year In Review

My, my… what a year it has been. Many a thing has happened to me in 2020. I finished my masters, I moved to another country, I started a PhD, I spent an ungodly amount of time playing video games and what we’re really here to talk about, I read a bunch of books.

This year was an odd one, reading wise (as well as in many other ways). I read 83 books and the vast majority were audiobooks. Somehow, in a year where the one thing most people had an abundance of was time, I found myself feeling like I need to multitask while consuming my stories. I’ve also re-read a lot of books. Overall, I think it was a good reading year.

I started a lot of new series…

And I finished (or caught up) with many of them.

I read some books out of my comfort zone…

And many old favourites.

I found some new favourites…

Some good, but not quite favourites…

And a few I didn’t care for (though surprisingly few of them).

Adult/YA Books Without Romance Recommendations

Some petitions you should check out:

Justice for Toyin | Justice for Tony McDadeJustice for Sheku Bayoh

Some UK resources. I feel like a lot of people in the UK are saying “Oh, well that doesn’t happen here.” It does.

https://www.blacklivesmatter.uk/

HomePage

https://www.stophateuk.org/

A booktube channel I’ve discovered recently and I think is dope:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCamkpihJtPvMuH49D6FejEw


I’m not the biggest fan of romance and I just want to read stuff with no romance sometimes. However, it’s really, REALLY difficult to find any books that are not marketed for children that do not have any romance in them. So if you have any recommendations for me, I would love to hear them. But here are some that I’ve enjoyed that had no romance.

The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton

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This is one of the best books I’ve read this year. It’s a who done it mystery with some elements of fantasy/sci-fi. I could not stop reading this. I think I finished it in 2 sittings. There is no romance whatsoever, it’s all about solving the crime and it’s fantastic.

The Gift by Alison Croggon

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I didn’t love this book, I had some issues with it. But I did enjoy it and at least in the first book, there is no romance. I can’t say about the rest of them because I haven’t read them yet, but I do intend to continue with the series. And I feel like any series without romance in the first book will likely not have the biggest focus on romance even if it does eventually appears in the story.

The Hundred Year Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson

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This book is absolutely hilarious. I believe there is some kind of romance between side characters, but it’s very much an afterthought. There’s no like… romancey scenes or anything. I don’t know how to explain it, but basically there may as well be no romance. I have read all of Jonas Jonasson’s books and loved the majority of them. They’re so funny and poignant at the same time. I don’t know why more people don’t talk about them.

The Martian by Andy Weir

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No romance. Just a guy on Mars. I loved this book so much. I know a lot of people know about it, but I’d still recommend it!

The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch

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The first one has no romance in it, however, the second book in this series does have a little bit of romance and I suspect there will be more in subsequent books. However, the first book is just a fantastic bit of fun unhindered by romance and I love it for it.

Temerarie by Naomi Novik

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No romance, just the bromance between a guy and his dragon.


This is all I can actually think of. Which kind of highlights my point from earllier. Of the literal hundreds of books I’ve ever read, I can only think of 6 that have no romance in them.

Mid-Year Book freakout tag 2020 edition

This is my fourth year doing this. I have not done any wrap-ups this year, I don’t think. I’ve re-read a LOT of books so far. Like probably half the books I read were re-reads. So yeah, let’s see how this goes. I will try not to use re-reads for any of the questions.


Best book you’ve read so far in 2020

Foundryside is actually the latest of the books I read and it is by far one the best book I’ve read this year. It’s just a phenomenal book, I have a review of it if you want to hear more of my thoughts.

The only other book that I read this year and can compare is The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle. This book totally deserves its hype, it’s one of the coolest mysteries that I’ve read. I can’t wait to see what Stuart Turton has in store in the future.

Best sequel you’ve read so far in 2020

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I read both the books in this series this year and man, this is another favourite series. One of the best middle grades I’ve read in some time. It’s so fun anf wholesome and magical. It’s exactly what I want in a middle grade book and I just want more. I can’t wait for the third book.

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

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This was released in April. I obviously haven’t read it yet, I only just finished the first book, but I am soooo excited to pick this up! I have to say… for once I actually like the US covers for this series better than the UK ones. This almost never happens.

Most anticipated release for the second half of the year

It’s pretty much a tie between these two, even though I still need to finish Oathbringer. So maybe I’m anticipating Hollowpox more because I am caught up with the series.

Biggest disappointment

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The Magicians by Lev Grossman. This was a DNF for me. I really wanted to read this series. I knew the the first book wasn’t the best, so I didn’t go in with huge expectations, but I absolutely hated everything about it. I hated the characters, I was bored out of my mind. I just could not push through this book.

Biggest surprise

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This is a book that is outside my usual genres. I do read non-fiction, but not nearly as much as SFF books. And when I do read non-fiction, I like it because I learn things. But I don’t necessarily think they’re entertaining. But this was actually supremely entertaining. It was funny. I found myself laughing frequently. I actually plan to re-read this just because it was so entertaining. I especially recommend the audiobook.

Favourite new author (Debut or new to you)

See first question.

Newest fictional crush

I don’t really get crushes anymore.

Newest favorite character

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Clef from Foundryside. I know this is the third or fourth question I answer with this series, but I just loved it that much!

Book that made you cry

I don’t think there has been one.

Book that made you happy

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This series definitely made me happy.

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

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This cover is GORGEOUS!

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

Basically all the Brandon Sanderson!