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. 

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.

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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.

5 Stages of a Reading Slump

I’ve been in somewhat of a reading slump for the past few weeks, which has been frustrating because I was doing so well with my reading challenge. I was ahead of schedule, I was going to finish it. But now I’m behind schedule and the end of the year is fast approaching. So anyway, I thought I’d break down for you the stages that I go through with reading slumps and I’m sure most of you can relate.


1. Denial

Reading slump? Me? No. Pfft, I never! I’m totally enjoying all the 15 books that I’ve started in the past 3 days. I just like multi-tasking is all. It’s not that I’m in a reading slump, it’s just that I’m too busy. I mean, I would read, but I promised my friend that I’d catch up on the last 4 season of Supernatural and I just can’t let her down like that…

Am I the only one who just straight up bullshits myself when I feel a reading slump coming on? It’s not even that I say these things to other people. I lie to myself. Why? Don’t know. It’s silly and accomplishes nothing. But I do it nevertheless.

2. Anger

I WILL read this book and I WILL enjoy it. I’m gonna finish it. Today. And then I’m gonna start a new one. Do you hear? Stop being so WEAK. Just because you’ve been awake since 5 am is no excuse for you to not read at least like 50 pages tonight, do you even call yourself a reader. SHAME!

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Another stupid thing I do. I get mad at myself for not reading. And I think this has partly to do with the fact that I know that I enjoy reading. That it normally provides escapism for me. So when I’ve had a long day or a tough week, I want that escapism. I want the pleasure that reading brings me. Except, I’m not in the mood to read, so I’m not enjoying it and that makes me mad.

3. Bargaining

Okay, just read like one chapter okay. You’ll see, you’re gonna get really into it if you just read a whole chapter. Really, come on. Just… one more page, okay. Just read until the end of this scene and then you can maybe pick up one of those other 14 books you started and give that a shot? Or, you could even start a new one. I mean look at all those shiny, unopened books. Full of possibilities!

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This is usually when I spend an hour just staring at my books and trying to decide which one to read. I usually end up with a pile of them on my bed and I open each one in turn and try to convince myself to read.

4. Depression

What’s the point anymore. I’m never going to get to all these books on my TBR and now the one’s I’ve already started are probably ruined forever and I won’t ever enjoy them. I just wasted money on them. I’m not a reader anymore. Who even am I?

Sometimes, being in a reading slump really upsets me. I’m not getting the escapism that I want, so the things that are already weighing on me, weigh all the more. And on top of that, there’s the (albeit irrational and unfounded) fear that I’m never going to enjoy reading again and that I’ve lost not only my favourite source of entertainment, but also part of myself. Which is absurd. But can’t argue with emotions.

5. Acceptance

Fuck it, I’m watching TV.

This is almost invariably what I end up doing instead and it’s when I finally get to this point where I just enjoy other sources of entertainment that I start craving books again.


This is usually the progression of my reading slumps. Let me know how reading slumps go for you and how you deal with them?

Empire of Storms by Sarah J. Maas – Book Review

Empire of Storms by Sarah J. Maas – Book Review

empire-of-stormsRating: 4.5/5

Genre: High fantasy, NA

Published: 2016

Author: Sarah J. Maas

***SPOILER ALERT*** This book is not the first in the series and therefore the synopsis and review may contain spoilers for the previous books

Goodreads Synopsis: The long path to the throne has only just begun for Aelin Galathynius. Loyalties have been broken and bought, friends have been lost and gained, and those who possess magic find themselves at odds with those who don’t.

As the kingdoms of Erilea fracture around her, enemies must become allies if Aelin is to keep those she loves from falling to the dark forces poised to claim her world. With war looming on all horizons, the only chance for salvation lies in a desperate quest that may mark the end of everything Aelin holds dear.

Aelin’s journey from assassin to queen has entranced millions across the globe, and this fifth installment will leave fans breathless. Will Aelin succeed in keeping her world from splintering, or will it all come crashing down?

Book Depository | Goodreads


This one was not as good as its predecessor. I suppose it’s too much to ask for an author to release two insanely amazing books in the same year. Don’t get me wrong, I still really loved it. It was just not as good as Queen of Shadows. It was more of a preparation for what is to come. You know how sometimes the second book in a series sort of just sets up for the finale. Yeah, this was like that, only it’s the fifth book.

That said, a SJM book, even one that that stagnates a little, is still a SJM book and therefore, it will cause you joy and pain and it will love every second of it. I had to pace myself, because I was not prepared for the ending. I was not prepared to be left waiting for another year. And I knew that the ending would do things to me. Although I did not expect what happened to happen. If it weren’t for the ending, I might have awarded the book just 4 stars, but that ending!

My main issue with the book was that it was long, and I love long books don’t get me wrong, but only when they’re long for a good reason and with EoS, I felt like all the smut was just sort of filler. Sarah is usually craftier with her romances, but in this one, it was all the romance, all the sex scenes all the time. And it felt a little unnecessary. Even though I honestly ship every single pair with the entirety of my fangirl heart.

What the romance did though, was substitute for a lot of missing plot. I get that it’s sort of the gathering storm and all that, but the only one who I felt had any real character development in this book was Manon. Her POV was the one I looked forward to the most and at one point, I could barely contain my satisfaction. Chapter 17. That’s all I’ll say.

I also really loved the references to the first books. After Heir of Fire, the series sort of veered in an unexpected direction. But I love that it doesn’t feel like it’s a different story. There are little throwbacks to the events of the previous books in a way that makes it all one complete story. Instead of having the story of Celaena and the story of Aelin, it’s the story of both of them, interwoven. And I think that’s a fine line to walk and I think Sarah does it well. If ACOMAF taught me anything, is that Sarah is the queen of foreshadowing.

Aelin’s schemes. I live for them. I love that she’s so clever. And Rowan and Aedion (great, seasoned generals) just sort of stand there open-mouthed as they realise their queen is not only a smartass, but actually smarter than all of them put together.

And finally, the ending. My reaction upon finishing the book was “Well, shit.”. After which I proceeded to stare into the mid-distance for the following 2 hours. I don’t think I’m quite entirely over it yet, because I’ve been unable to concentrate on reading anything else.

Bookish Pet Peeves – Part 2

Just another rant about things that annoy me when it comes to books. Check out part one here.

Random paperback sizes

Can you please decide on a standard, universal format for paperbacks? Pretty please? Or have two formats, like they have for hardcovers. The large one and the small one. But please stop it with the 20 different types of slightly different formats. Sometimes, they literally differ by a couple millimeters. Why? How much difference can that possibly make? On the other hand, it’s frustrating as hell to try to find them places on shelves. Because it looks like shit if there’s a smaller or bigger one every once in a while. Sometimes, they even have different formats within the same series. Why? Please stop. And that brings me to the next one on the list.

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When they change covers, formats etc in the middle of a series

You are ruining the aesthetic of my bookshelf and I hate you! Like, if you want to re-release a series with new covers or a new format, fine. But please do not discontinue one cover/format and use another in the middle of the series! Release all of them in whatever format you started with and then re-release all of them with the new one. The only exception that I accept is the Throne of Glass series, Because they only had one book released in the first format and the second one was so much better. Plus, they re-released ToG to match the others. But I digress.

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New kid in school type plots

They just annoy the bejeebies out of me. It’s just lazy writing in my opinion. You don’t need to think of any sort of interesting way for your characters to be introduced to each other. Plus, I don’t remember ever having read a book with this type of plot that was good. It’s just lame. Stop doing that.

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Excessive recaps

I do not suffer from short term memory loss. I am not Dory. Please stop telling me what happened in the last books every other page. I get that you want to refresh your reader’s memory because maybe they’ve had to wait a year since reading your previous book. And I appreciate small reminders of a detail here and there myself. But it’s got to be done in moderation. Think of those who are binge-reading your series. As a good rule of thumb, if your “recaps” can be used as a synopsis for your previous book, stop it.

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Love polygons

These days, it’s not even love triangles anymore. It’s a geometry problem from hell. MCs be hopping from love interest to love interest, to love interest, to magical frog, to love interest like it’s a game of hop-scotch. And then one of the love interests sort of has an admirer who is is really good friends with the MC. And then, the poor, tortured MC! What will they do? Who will they choose? Who will they betray? Ugh, stop it! If I wanted a soap opera, I’d visit my grandmother.

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This post is again getting pretty long. I will probably have a part 3 sometime. I am easily annoyed. What are your bookish pet peeves?

Top 5 Wednesday – Characters I would not like to be

Top 5 Wednesday is a weekly meme created by gingerreadslainey and hosted by Sam @Thoughts on Tomes – and you can find more details about it on the Goodreads group. This week’s topic is “Characters you would not like to trade places with”. I don’t participate in this meme very often, but this week’s topic was really cool.

1. Katniss Everdeen from The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

tumblr_mrhqyeqnhe1r9i187o1_1280Her life just sucks. It’s great to read about, but yeah, no thank you. I’d rather not live in fear and poverty. And this applies to pretty much all characters in dystopia, but I choose her because The Hunger Games is what started this whole dystopia trend.

 

 

2. Tamlin from A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

File:Tamlin.jpgLittle bitch gonna get what’s coming to him. And I would not want to be in his pretty little shoes when that happens. Sorry Tam, but you screwed up big time. But his life sucked even before he screwed up. Which is all the more reason for me not wanting to be him.

 

 

3. Mare Barrow from the Red Queen series by Victoria Aveyard

red queenIf I ever act like such a spoiled, entitled, insufferable brat, please shoot me. I would rather die than know I am anything like her. She is honestly the worst character ever. If I were any of the other characters in that  series, I would just put on a rubber suit and send her gift-wrapped to the queen. Because I would rather be ruled by a mind-controlling maniac, than have to deal with her.

 

4. Any ASOIAF character

asoiafSeriously… on average, the life span of a ASOIAF character is like half a book. And during that time, they get raped, lose their whole family, their puppy, their home and possibly a body part. Except maybe Daenerys. She has dragons. I think that compensates for all the suck in her life.

 

5. Louisa Clark from Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

et00035678I think it’s pretty obvious why I wouldn’t want to be her. She looks happy in that picture, but don’t be fooled. You wouldn’t want to be her. Even if she got to kiss Sam Claflin.

 

 

 

I don’t think there are many characters in the books I read that I would want to trade place with. Their lives bring me enough pain when I read about them, I can’t imagine how it would be to live them. But these are just 5 characters I really *really* wouldn’t want to be. Let me know what characters you would hate to trade places with in the comments below.

 

Bookish Mid-Autumn Festival Tag

This tag was created by Tinka @ The Crazy Reader. I thought it was really cool and I decided to do it. This tag was inspired by a traditional Chinese festival. Tinka explains it better in her post.


1. Family reunion: Name a book with family goals

250px-weasleysThe Weasleys are the first who jump to mind. Most of the books I read don’t really have families in them because that would just make for far too happy MC. But the Weasleys were a big, loud, obnoxious family who ultimately had each other’s backs and I could really feel the family spirit. So I will go with Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets because that’s when we first see them as a family.

2. Full moon: Name a book with a werewolf

TMIThe Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare. There is more than one werewolf in it. You can take your pick. Now that I think of it, I think it’s the only series I love that has a werewolf in it.

 

3. Mooncake: Name a type of food in a book that you wish was real

harry-potter-1I hate answering with the same thing twice in the same tag, but anything in the HP series. I always get hungry reading them. I mean look at that picture! I want me some butterbeer and some candy that makes me roar like a lion and chocolate frogs, and every flavour beans and all of it. Also, a house elf to make the food for me please.

4. Rabbit: Name your favourite creature in a book

91qh6txtoal9d932ee70c2df735c120627b89c491b7Hmm, I really like the Pegasi in the Percy Jackson books. Or the great eagles from The Lord of the Rings. I like creatures that can fly and that are big enough to ride because I want to fly. Come to think of it, I also always thought the Nazgul were really cool in the LotR films.

 

5. Chang E.: A character that makes a significant change to the plot

cinnaI’m going with Cinna from The Hunger Games. He wasn’t a very prominent character. He wasn’t even in the books that much. But he basically jump-started the revolution. Without him, there would not be any girl on fire. He’s awesome and he deserves more recognition.

6. Lanterns: Name a book you like reading about

lotr deluxeI like reading about Tolkien’s work. I’ve barely read anything of his. Like, I’ve read The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings and about a third of The Silmarillion.  But I have spent countless hours on Wikipedia reading about him and Middle Earth and his work.

7. Autumn: Name a good autumn read

Six of CrowsSix of Crows by Leigh Bardugo. I’m not sure why, but I just feel like it’s a good book to read in autumn. I mean, it’s an awesome book to read at any time of the year, but it feels sort of autumny. Also, I have a review of it, if you want to check it out!

8. Festival: Name your favourite festival in a book

acotargathering-of-shadows_ukcoverCalanmai from A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas. Because that’s when we first meet Rhys. Although a close second is the Essen Tasch from A Gathering of Shadows by V. E. Schwab. That was really cool. Look how the covers match! That is a satisfying coincidence.

 

 

I will tag 3 of my followers at random. If you decide to do this, leave a link to your post in the comments below!

M @ A Blog of One’s Own

Sam @ One Bookish Girl

Mara @ Once Upon A Bind

 

Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard – Book Review

23174274Rating: 1/5

Genre: YA, dystopian

First Published: 2016

Author: Victoria Aveyard

***SPOILER ALERT*** This is book two in the series and therefore the synopsis and this review might contain spoilers for the first book. If you have read the first book, or don’t mind some spoilers, proceed.

Synopsis: The world is divided by blood. The common folk, with red blood and the nobility, with Silver blood that affords them special abilities. 

After escaping from Maven and his mother, Mare, Cal and the Scarlet Guard set out to find the other people like Mare: Red and Silver at once. 

Book Depository | Goodreads


This is probably the biggest gap in rating I have ever had with two books in the same series. I enjoyed Red Queen. I’m not sure whether it was because I was relatively new to the world of YA literature when I read it and I have now grown as a consumer of this genre and I am more critical of it, or because this one was just worse than the first one. I suspect it’s a bit of both.

I did not like this book at all. It was a chore to read. The only positive thing I have to say about it is that it has a really beautiful cover. As you can tell by my synopsis, not much happens in it. It doesn’t have a plot-line to speak of and it’s just a long, boring and very annoying introduction to the next book.

However, this lack of plot is not even the reason I disliked it as much as I did. The reason for my dislike was mare. The most insufferable, entitled, self-pitying, spoiled, selfish brat of a character I ever did come across. I don’t remember her being such a bitch in the first book. Mare Barrow has de-throned America Singer from The Selection series as the most obnoxious character ever.

It’s funny, because in my video review of Red Queen, I called it “The Selection done right”. Well, not anymore. After reading Glass Sword, I prefer The Selection. At least that was just… silly. And it was actually entertaining to read.

Everything in this book was about Mare. Like she was the most important person in the whole universe. She fancies herself to be such a badass, such a leader, such an important, special snowflake. Just thinking about her makes me want to punch her. I honestly just wanted Maven to win. Just straight out. The ending, the last 3 phrases were the most satisfying of this entire book. And that is all I will say.

None of the other characters had any real substance and the few times they said or did something resembling a personality (usually about Mare), our special snowflake threw a temper tantrum. There is this one scene where Mare gets angry with this one girl and she thinks something along the lines of “all I could think about was educating this brat”. I nearly threw the book across the room at that point. It just made me so angry because Mare was the biggest brat there and also the other girl (one of the first to show any hint of personality) was actually right.

I could go on and on about how much I hate Mare Barrow. But I don’t want this review to turn into more of a rant than it already is. I usually try to express my opinions as professionally as I can in my reviews, but this book and this character has made me so angry that I just felt like I needed to say it. I would not have hated the book as much if it weren’t for this character. It was meh when it came to the plot, but Mare just made me angry. I cannot get behind her attitude and her entitlement.