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).

The Nope Trope Book Tag

First, here are some important stuff for you to check out:

This carrd compiles a lot of resources about petitions you can sign and ways to donate

https://blacklivesmatters.carrd.co/

Check out this playlist of black booktubers

Check out the Blackout Buddy reads readathon (Which I will try my best to complete the books within the timeframe. I have them both, they’re on my kindle and I have this week off so hopefully I’ll make good progress on them)


On to the tag. this tag was created by yerabooknerdzoe, if you haven’t already you should check her out, she is absolutely hilarious. This tag is basically centered around tropes that Zoe does not like.

Eavesdropping w/ miscommunication – Name a book you heard great things about and expected to love but ended up hating

I could probably give a list here… but I’ll go with Caraval by Stephanie Graber. This book was hyped to the heavens as the new Night Circus and as some amazing magical performance thing and firstly, there was no performance magical or otherwise. Secondly everything else was also poop (except for the cover, that was gorgeous). So yeah, this book sucked, I hated it.

Love Triangles – Name a series where you can’t pick your favourite book

First, let me say SAME! Love triangles (and polygons of any description, we don’t discriminate here) suck and they should just die.

A series I couldn’t pick my favourite… I could once again give a list, but I’ll talk about one I’ve not talked about before and that is Nevermoor by Jessica Townsed. I’ve not posted a review of this because I’ve not really posted much at all, but I binged the two books in this series earlier this year and it is now one of my favourite middle grade series. It’s so much fun and I honestly could not pick a favourite. I’m so excited for the third one coming out later this year!

Not Like Other Girls/Didn’t Know I’m Beautiful – Name a book that has a pretty cover but was boring as all hell

Once again, yeah I agree. This trope is overdone and annoying and it makes it sound like being a girl like other girls is an undesirable thing or that being aware of your beauty is a bad thing. And I bought into that lie for a long time as a youngin and it harmed me. I am a woman just like any other and that in itself is a good and beautiful thing. Thank you for coming to my TED talk.

As for my choice for the prompt, I will go with The Magicians by Lev Grossman. I really wanted to enjoy this book but honestly I was bored out of my mind. I DNFed it at around 180 pages or so. I just could not get through it. I do really like the cover though.

All-Consuming Love – Name a book that gave you a book hangover

Ah yes! You know when you pick up a cool sounding fantasy and you’re really excited because there’s dragons and magic and whatever and the first 100 pages are wonderful and you fly through them, and then Jane meets Tarzan and it’s all about their boring, awkward romance and the dragons and magic just get lost. And it sucks. If I wanted to read a romance, I’d have picked up a romance.

Have you ever gone to a beer festival and tried honey mead for the first time and found that it’s delicious and tastes nothing like alcohol and before you know it you’re throwing up on someone’s shoes in a train on your way back from Oxford and then you wake up the next day and you wish you hadn’t woken up at all? No? Me neither. But that’s the level of hangover that this book gave me.

Douchebag Boyfriend – Name a book that took you a while to get into, but you ended up loving

Yeah… why is that a trope? Although, I will say I’m a sucker for the brooding guy with a tortured past blah blah (I’m looking at you Will Herondale) trope which is very close to this one. And I know it’s trash and if someone actually behaved that way in real life, I would tear him a new one. But for some reason, I read about it and I love it. What is logic? But then there’s also the “He was a douchebag before but she fixed him” angle and yeah… I hate that one.

I can’t really think of anything right now. I’m sure there are some, but I can’t think of any. So instead, I’m going to go with one that I put off for a long time because I wasn’t sure I would enjoy it and ended up absolutely loving it and that is the Bear and the Nightingale series by Katherine Arden. This series was honestly a balm for my soul. I loved it so much.

Tell us your favourite or least favourite trope!

I think my least favourites have probably mostly been covered. There are a few more like the new kid in a small town school one that really annoy me. As for my favourite, I’d say probably discovering magical abilities, magic schools and assassins.

Phrases authors should stop using part II

As I continue my Shadowhunters re-read, I have come across a few more weird phrases that should just not happen. I will say, the writing is much better as the books progress, but I’m still in murky waters for now. You can check out part 1 if you want as well, but without further ado, here are some more phrases that should just stop.


*Blank* didn’t realise they’d spoken out loud

Never, not even once in my 23 years of life have I ever spoken out loud without realising it, nor have I ever met anyone who spoke out loud without realising it. Not when drunk, not when tired, it just does not happen except I suppose if you talk in your sleep. I’ve said stupid things, I’ve spoken nonsense, I’ve spoken to myself out loud. But at no point was I taken by surprise by the fact that I had audibly uttered those words. Like I get it’s meant to show how absorbed the character is by their thoughts, but it just makes them sound like they have some kind of mental issue. So stop.

no sheldon gif

They clenched their fists so hard they drew blood

Or some variation of that. This one doesn’t bother me so much in terms of writing, but it’s just so unrealistic. Like, how sharp are their nails? I have never clenched my fist so hard I drew blood. And I practice mixed martial arts. I clench my fists a lot. Like, are they all Wolverine or something?

People reading each other’s facial expression across the room

Not so much a phrase specifically, but it happens all the time that the POV character is across the room from someone and can read their every micro-expression. And not just like a small room, but big, big rooms. So big, they can’t hear what the other person is saying but they can read their facial expression. I mean, I know I don’t have perfect eyesight, but I doubt anyone can see that well. And not only that, but they detect super specific expressions and can deduce what the thoughts behind them are. And of course, as we saw in the previous post, their shoulders are incredibly expressive as well and have their own set of emotions that can be read in them. Do they all have Superman eyes or something?

She felt/returned the pressure of his hand on hers

Or variations of that. I know what it’s trying to say and technically… it’s correct. We do detect pressure when we are touched even if it’s light pressure. But to me it just sounds like they’re all very aggressive about holding each other’s hands. I would not describe the sensation of someone else touching me as pressure unless it was forceful enough to be uncomfortable. Surely, there are better words to describe the sensation of touch.

Liebster Blogger award Again

It has been a hot second since I last saw this going around. I can’t even remember how many times before I’ve done this. Maybe this is the 3rd? Or 4th. Anyway, I was tagged by The Crazy Reader. So thank you for tagging me.

Rules:

  1. Acknowledge the blog that nominated you and display the award.
  2. Answer the 11 questions that the blogger gave you.
  3. Give 11 random facts about yourself.
  4. Nominate 11 blogs and notify them of their nomination.
  5. Give these blogs 11 questions to answer.

What about your blog are you the proudest of? (Content, graphics, consistency, etc.)

I don’t really know. I like some of the content I’ve made. But nothing stands out as something I’m particularly proud of.

What is your favourite drink?

Water probably. That’s what I drink the most.

What is the first book that you really like?

The first “favourite book” i remember having as a kid was White Fang by Jack London.

Do you own any bookish merch? If so, do you have a favourite?

Yeah, I have loads of stuff from subscription boxes. My favourite are probably the socks. All of them. I have several pairs of bookish socks.

Book blogs, bookstagrams, booktubes or book twitters?

In terms of what I consumme the most of, definitely booktube. In terms of what I enjoy doing, blogging, obviously.

How has blogging helped you in life?

By providing an outlet.

Who is your favourite author?

I don’t know. I have many favourite authors.

Do you have a favourite artist? (music or visual art)

No. I don’t really do favourites.

Can you play any sports?

Not any team sports. But I do martial arts, used to do archery as well.

Can you play any musical instruments?

Not really. I can play a few songs on the guitar, but not well and nothing too complicated.

What is the thing you love the most about yourself?

That I’m clever.

11 facts about me:

  1. I’m 23
  2. I’m stubborn
  3. I don’t like cooking meat. I like meat, but cooking it is annoying, so I tend to cook vegetarian a lot of the time
  4. I don’t like cooking in general actually (but especially dislike cooking meat)
  5. Seafood freaks me out
  6. I have a younger brother.
  7. I hate clubbing
  8. I love riding horses
  9. I’m a scientist
  10. I’ve never travelled outside of Europe
  11. I’ve never broken a bone

I’ll just tag whoever wants to do this because I can’t be bothered to do it properly. So if you’re reading this, and you want to do it, you’re tagged!

Questions:

  1. Favourite indoors activity?
  2. Favourite outdoors activity?
  3. Last country (other than the one you live in) you’ve been to?
  4. Book you’ve re-read the most?
  5. Orange juice or apple juice?
  6. Have you ever taken any dance lessons?
  7. What languages do you speak?
  8. Least favourite fruit?
  9. Too hot or too cold?
  10. Smoothies or milkshakes?
  11. Do you like playing videogames?

Books and Bakes Book Tag

Here is another book tag from me because I’m really busy and don’t have time to review books. I saw this on Sam’s from Thoughts on Tomes channel.


Cupcakes – name a collection of short stories, poems, or anthologies where you couldn’t read just one section and had to go back for another

milk and honey

I don’t read a whole lot of anthologies or poems or anything like that. But Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur. I read it in one go. It made me cry. It’s a great poetry collection.

Lemon Pound Cake – Name a book that has 400 pages or more that you considered a comfort read and a classic

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I’m not sure if this means a classic that is over 400 pages. Buy I’m just going to go with a book over 400 pages that I consider a comfort read. And that is Uprooted by Naomi Novik. That book just makes me happy.

Red Velvet cake – Name a book that you thought was one thing, but ended up being something completely different

children of time

The first that comes to mind is Children of Time by Adrian Tchaikovsky. Unfortunately, this is not a positive example. I did not enjoy this book. You can read my review for more information if you are interested, but I was expecting something different from this based on the synopsis.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough – Name a book or a book series that you can read over and over again even though you know that it’s bad for you

HP

I don’t think I have any books or series that are necessarily ‘bad for me’. But I guess the Harry Potter series. I don’t even know how many times I’ve read them at this point. At least 5, probably more. They’re easy and fun to read and I can just read them over and over and over again.

Apple Pie a la Mode – Name a book that was really good but could have been better with a little bit of ice-cream

way of kings

Not sure what is meant by ‘ice-cream’. A book that was absolutely fantastic but it wasn’t quite 5 stars (though that’s mainly because my astronomical expectations from the author) was The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson. I loved it, but there were some issues with pacing every now and again in my opinion. Kind of hard to avoid with such a long book, but yeah it was just a little bit shy of perfection.

Gingerbread Cookies – Do you like your gingerbread cookies crunchy or soft.

  1.  If you like your cookies soft name a book that was squishy in the middle, but the beginning and the end were really good.

  2. If you like your cookies crunchy or more like ginger snaps name a book that you finished, but that you wanted to throw at a wall, or snap

I like crunchy ones dunked in tea. So… kind of both. So I’m going to answer both prompts.

red seas under red skies

1. For this, I’m gonna go with Red Seas Under Red Skies by Scott Lynch. Now this was by no means a bad book. But it was longer than necessary in my opinion and it dragged a little in the middle. I have reviewed it if you want more of my thoughts on it.

2. This is probably a tie between Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard, Caraval by Stephanie Garber and Stealing Snow by Danielle Paige. I have rants for the latter two, so you can check those out. But these books just got on my very last nerve.

Brownies – Are you a corner piece or a middle piece?

  1. If you’re a corner piece, name a book that starts off strong and then all comes apart.

  2. If you’re a middle piece, name a book that kept you in the feels the entire time.

I’m probably just slightly more of a corner piece, though I love both for different reasons. A book that starts off strong, but crumbles afterwards… most YAs I read, to be honest. They have this really cool premise and the first few chapters are exciting, then flop. However, I’m actually going to go with a series and that is the Illuminae series by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff.

The first book is absolutely amazing. The following two are progressively worse. I wouldn’t go as far as calling either of them bad. But they went from amazing to meh. I have reviewed all of them (12, 3) so check them out for more info. But I was sadly disappointed with especially the final book.

Birthday Cake – Name a book series or an author that you feel like keeps coming out with a book, short story, novella every year

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Brandon Sanderson. I don’t know how that man does it, but I am grateful that he does. He consistently churns out books, most of them pretty huge and good quality too. Sometimes even more than one a year.

Carrot Cake – Name a book that sounded healthy for you, but ended up being unhealthy either with content, or put you in a reading slump

What do you mean carrot cake isn’t healthy? I can’t really think of anything for this. I’ve been pretty slumpy this year, but that’s had less to do with what I was reading and more to do with my mental health. As for content, I’m fairly good at filtering out content that I can’t handle. There are a number of books that are currently on my TBR and I’d like to read, but I’ve had to put on hold for now because I just can’t handle them. And if a book does start upsetting me, I will just put it down before it really does any damage. So that’s just a very long way of saying I don’t have an answer for this and also carrot cake is great.

 

ABC Challenge – A

I saw this over at Thrice Read and since I’ve been having very little time for my blog lately, I thought this would be a fun, short post to do every week.

Basically, for each letter of the alphabet, I will reflect on the most remarkable book I’ve read starting with that letter and mention a book on my TBR starting with that letter that I would like to get to soon.


Most remarkable book

For this, I will go with Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer. I will never miss an opportunity to talk about this series because it is so underrated! More people should read it.

artemis_fowl_first_edition_cover

Book on my TBR

For this one, I have a tie between The Archived by Victoria Schwab and American Gods by Neil Gaiman. I’ve had my eyes on both for ages and I’ve yet to get to either of them. But I hope to do so very soon.

A Huge Book Haul

I haven’t actually made a haul post since April. That’s 6 months of acquiring books. So… I don’t even know how many books there are going to be. A lot.


Heart of Thorns by Bree Barton | These Rebel Waves by Sara Raasch | Angry White Pyjamas by Robert Twigger | Catwoman Soulstealer by Sarah J. Maas | Origin by Dan Brown

The Colour of Magic by Terry Pratchett | The Wee Free Men by Terry Pratchett | Before They Are Hanged by Joe Abercrombie | Elantris by Brandon Sanderson | A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L’Engle

City of Ghosts by V. E. Schwab | Vengeful by V. E. Schwab | The Accidental Further Adventures of the Hundred Year Old Man by Jonas Jonasson | Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik | Down River by John Hart

Sleeping Giants by Sylvain Neuvel | Waking Gods by Sylvain Neuvel | Lifelike by Jay Kristoff | Wild Embrace by Nikita Gill | The Killing Moon by N. K. Jemisin

That’s it, unless I’m forgetting something. Which is entirely likely. Actually not as many as I was expecting. I was on a book buying ban for a couple of months though, so that’s probably why the total only comes up to 20. And some of these, I didn’t even buy myself!

Temptation

I reach for my phone, I unlock it. I open YouTube, browse for a while. I put my phone down. I read. I pick my phone up again. Scroll through social media feeds. Put it back down. Read some more. I’m resisting temptation.

But every time, my eyes land on your name, they linger just a little bit longer. I resisted yesterday, I’m resisting today, perhaps I will resist tomorrow. But temptation is like a river. Give it enough time and it will turn mountains to sand. And my resolve never was a mountain.

Down the TBR Hole #15

This meme was created by Lia @ Lost in a Story

Stats:

Previous post

Books: #141-151

Last week’s final number: 361 | Current number: 360 | This week’s final number:  354 | Total books removed so far: 61| Total books kept so far: 88 | Books added since I began: 92 | Books read from my TBR: 22


Angelfall by Susan Ee

I’m pretty conflicted about this one. On the one hand, I don’t have any particular desire to pick it up anytime soon because I’m rarely in the mood for paranormal. On the other hand, sometimes I am in the mood for paranormal and one of my friends read it and said it was good and we generally have similar taste in books.

Verdict: Stays for now

The Demon King by Cinda Williams Chima

I keep hearing amazing things about this series, so I kinda want to read it.

Verdict: Stays

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

This one of those books that I really want to read, but somehow never get to. Maybe if I get my TBR to a manageable size (as if), I’ll actually get to the books I want to read?

Verdict: Stays

Out of My Later Years: The Scientist, Philosopher, and Man Portrayed Through His Own Words by Albert Einstein

I do want to read this, but I want to get rid of books on my TBR list and I feel like this is going to be one of those books that I see in a store one time and just buy it, so I don’t see the point of having it on my TBR list.

Verdict: Goes

Of Human Bondage by W. Somerset Maugham

I’m going to tell you a secret. I have no idea what this book is about (I’m trying not to read the synopses. If I can’t remember what it’s about, I probably don’t want to read it badly enough). I don’t think I ever knew what this book was about, but I know exactly why I added it. And it’s a pretty stupid reason. I added it because there is one episode in Buffy the Vampire Slayer where this book is mentioned and I love that show. Yeah… I know.

Verdict: Goes

Hamlet by William Shakespeare

I really need to read this. It’s a play, for goodness’ sake. It would take me like half an hour.

Verdict: Stays

C. S. Lewis: A Life: Eccentric Genius, Reluctant Prophet by Alister McGrath

I love C.S. Lewis and I do want to know more about him, but… I don’t see myself picking this up anytime soon. I still have a lot of his books to read and I feel like his own thoughts and writings are a far superior way of learning about him than some biography.

Verdict: Goes

Split by Swati Avasti

This book has the potential to be so good and every time I see it, I’m scared that it won’t be so i end up not picking it up. But I have to get over this irrationality and pick it up, because it sounds really good.

Verdict: Stays

Poemele Luminii (Poems of Light) by Lucian Blaga

This guy is one of the Romanian poets that I enjoyed studying. I’m really curious to read more of his poetry, but at the same time, I don’t think it’s necessary to have this on my TBR. Especially that I’m pretty sure my family owns this book, so I can just pick it up at some point when I’m in the mood for poetry and read from it. I don’t need a reminder.

Verdict: Goes

Trilogia Culturii (The Trilogy of Culture) by Lucian Blaga

So, this guy was also a philosopher. I studied a little bit of his philosophy and I like the way he thinks. I would like to read more of his writings, but I don’t see myself doing so in the near future. So I think I’ll get rid of these for now.

Verdict: Goes

Trilogia Cunoasterii (The Trilogy of Knowledge) by Lucian Blaga

See above.

Verdict: Goes