Hi. Today’s post is short and sweet. I have talked about my reasons for DNFing books back at the end of 2019 and I’ve mentioned 12 books I have DNFed since I’ve decided to stop reading books that just don’t agree with me. Although the list only doubled since, I thought I’d mention the few books I’ve DNFed in the last 6 to 12 months. That might not be recently, but somehow the title “Books I’ve DNFed in the last 6 to 12 months” doesn’t roll off the tongue as easily.
Wakenhyrst by Michelle Paver – I’ve heard good things about it and what little I knew about it had me sold. But thanks to that book I’ve realised that I do not like gothic fiction at all. I didn’t find it atmospheric, on the contrary, it was quite dull for me and the pacing was terrible. This is one hundred percent personal preference and I’ll know for the future that the genre is not for me.
The Reckless Afterlife of Harriet Stoker by Lauren James – This has been one of my most anticipated releases last year and I got the eARC, which makes it extra sad I’ve DNFed it. In theory, the story sounded exactly up my alley. Found family trope, LGBTQA+ rep. I got around 40% in and I just couldn’t do it. I hated the main character, and none of the other characters grabbed me enough to continue with the story. I don’t think the book itself was bad – after all it has a 3.71 rating on Goodreads, which is pretty decent, but once again… it was not for me.
The Guinevere Deception by Kiersten White – I wanted to love it. In my head, it was THE book that I would absolutely love and rave about. I’ve added the whole damn series to my to-read shelf on Goodreads. All of that after DNFing Slayer by the same author. Turns out, I don’t like Ms White’s writing. I did like it in The Conqueror’s Saga, or I liked it at the time I read it, but I could not get through these 2 from page one purely because of the writing. Will I be picking up anything by her again? Probably not. Am I happy for people who enjoy her books? ABSOLUTELY.
Beyond The Shadowed Earth by Joanna Ruth Meyer – I made an oopsie. I picked up a second book in the series without a) knowing it was a series, and b) reading the first book. Needless to say, I was confused. I also didn’t like the writing at all, so I decided to DNF it rather than try book one first.
84K by Claire North – I have learned from my past mistakes. I loved 2 out of 4 Claire North books I’ve read. The End of the Day did not work for me at all, but I pushed through it just to be disappointed. So, this 5th one ended up in my DNF pile, because it simply didn’t work for me. North’s writing style is very specific to her and although I did love 2 books by her I’ve read, she tends to make her stories overly complicated and confusing by throwing in inner monologue and unfinished, choppy sentences, which was the case with 84K. I had to reread paragraphs over and over again to decipher what they meant and it was not enjoyable.
The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro – this one is my most recent DNF and I honestly can only blame myself for not looking into the genre and reviews of this book. I wanted to read more by Kazuo Ishiguro, because the one book I did read by him, Never Let Me Go, is one of my favourite books of all time. I do not like historical fiction, though, especially when it isn’t mixed with other aspects (historical fantasy is absolutely fine). Yet I picked up this book. I DNFed it pretty early, because I realised what it was and found it boring. I’ll know for the future to check.
The Mask of Mirrors by M.A. Carrick – yet another highly anticipated book that did not live up to my expectations. I gave it a fair chance to convert me. This one is one that I could rant about, because the heaps and heaps of potential were wasted, but I’ll just say that the pacing didn’t work for me at all and it nearly put me in a reading slump, because I’m choosing positivity today.
That is all for today. Do you DNF books? What is your most recent DNF?
Hi! I was meant to post a review today and I started writing one for The Darkest Bloom – a book I finished recently. But apparently I was feeling quite ranty instead. Big disclaimer! I don’t actually hate YA fantasy, don’t come for me, please, I’m just being overly dramatic. Okay, now that everything is cleared up…
Publication date: February 7th 2019
In the empire of Aramtesh, scent has power.
When disaster strikes and the crown prince lies poisoned, long suppressed rivalries threaten to blow the empire apart. It’s up to a poor village girl with a talent for fragrances and the prince’s loyal bodyguard to find an antidote.
To succeed, the pair must uncover secrets – cryptic, ancient tales as well as buried truths from their own pasts – in an adventure that will ignite your senses.
I am tired of reading the same YA fantasy over and over again. I thought this book would be different considering I thought it had a magic system based on different scents, but alas…
The scent based magic would be a great and fresh idea, if that’s what the author decided to do. But the problem here is… there isn’t much magic in it at all. Think of the Rebel of the Sands, except while that book was low on magic, it gave us heaps and heaps of world building and really introduced us to the characters.
The Darkest Bloom failed to do either. The first line of the synopsis mentions an empire and I think it gave me grand ideas. After finishing the book I can’t tell you a single thing about said empire and I am quite a careful reader. The only politics we get are the precious little that concerns our crown prince. The world building beyond the fact that “scent has power” is nonexistent. We’re thrown into a story with little to no explanation of why things that are happening are important, and we’re given nothing to care about. Maybe after spending time writing about these characters, the author got so familiar with them, they forgot we weren’t and we wouldn’t care if a prince we’ve met for 3 seconds was poisoned.
There is a formula in YA fantasy and many of the recent books I’ve read in the genre follow it.
There is a world A which has all these things that make it unique and interesting, but instead of developing it and delving into it, the author decided to just name drop them and never explain the significance and meaning of them. Enter mentioned “long suppressed rivalries”.
There’s a character B, that has a personal mission they absolutely have to embark on and they’re really good at (insert a skill here), but because of that, they get roped into helping someone else with an issue that’s so much bigger. Enter the second character C. They’re not someone character B wants to work with or trust, but they have to make do. Add some magic-non-magic into the equation – lucky dip, really, anything that has not been used in a different book recently, in this case scent. Sounds cool, right? But I still don’t know how scent is in any way magical in this world. Add a bare minimum to the story to tie in that element, and to make it sound like it’s part of the world, change some common sayings to mention said not-magic-system (this being one of my absolute biggest pet peeves EVER). Oh, and have character B and C fall in love in the end, or almost fall in love. Ta-daaa! There you have it – that’s Shadowscent and many more current YA fantasies.
Needless to say…
Rating: 2 out of 5.
This might not be the greatest review OR discussion post, but I had to get it off my chest.
Please recommend me some good YA fantasies in the comments, I’m begging you.
Hi. I haven’t posted any recommendations in a while, and I thought middle grade was an easy one to post as I’ve been reading quite a bit of it. I don’t think I need to say it, but in case I do – everyone can read and appreciate middle grade, no matter the age. Oftentimes the books are beautifully written and whimsical and a tonne of fun.
These are in no particular order, by the way!
Starting off strong, with an oldie – Anne of Green Gables. This series was one of my absolute favourites growing up and I identified with Anne as a character. I think it’s a great series to grow up with, as it starts off as middle grade and ages slowly with each and every book. The writing is beautiful and lyrical, and I find it to be a great cosy read for the autumn months. I can’t explain why it suits that season the most, but it does.
If you somehow don’t know what Anne of Green Gables is about – it’s a story of a red headed orphan, Anne, who mistakenly gets adopted by two elderly siblings – Marilla and Matthew. She’s a peculiar little child, with a huge imagination and a penchant for the dramatic. It’s just a story of her life, of finding a place where she belongs, of friendships and heartbreak. It’s honestly beautiful, and definitely my favourite off this list.
It’s been a while since I read Nevermoor and I’ve to yet continue with the series (and no doubt I will), but it is still quite fresh in my mind. This one follows Morrigan, a girl born on the unluckiest day of the year and cursed to die at midnight on her eleventh birthday. That is until she’s whisked away by a peculiar gentleman into Nevermoor – a magical and secret city; but to stay there, she has to join a prestigious society and compete with other children to do so.
Nevermoor was one of the books that gave me the idea to post middle grade recommendations. I don’t see it talked about nearly as much as it should be. I think it’s the perfect read for those of us who were raised on and loved Harry Potter, but decided against supporting it any further because of the obvious reasons (but let’s not get into that for now). I think there’s a few similarities plot wise, but mostly Nevermoor gave me THAT feeling I had while reading the aforementioned series. The cosy, whimsical, “warm blanket” feeling. I think for younger readers it could be that series they keep coming back to for nostalgia reasons. It’s really well written and structured, and a great engaging story.
This one is definitely one I think younger readers will enjoy a lot more than people my age. I know I said middle grade can be read by anyone, and I stand by it, but there is a reason some books are written and marketed for a younger audience. I find that to be the case with The Land of Roar.
This book follows 2 siblings who, although really close in the past, slowly start to drift apart. When they’re visiting their grandad, they remember a game they used to play when they were younger – a game where they visited Roar – an imaginary world in which they had many adventures. But when their grandad goes missing they realise that Roar might not be so imaginary after all. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and it was a very quick read. The blurb compares it to Narnia and Neverland and I honestly think that’s spot on. Roar is truly a vivid and magical world. If you have a young reader in your life – this is THE perfect gift. Or it’s a good read if you enjoy middle grade, or need a palate cleanser.
I needed to include this one on the list even though I think with Schwab’s name attached to it, it’s pretty popular as it is. City of Ghosts is a story of Cassidy Blake – a girl who can see ghosts. Add in the fact her parents are somewhat obsessed with the paranormal and have a TV show where they visit most haunted cities and you have the plot laid out clear as day. Each installment takes place in a different city, where Cassidy gets to solve a ghost related mystery.
These books are really fun, atmospheric and a tad bit spooky at times. I’ve yet to read book 3 – apparently the last book in the series, at least for now, but I’ve enjoyed the fist two installments thoroughly. This definitely reads different from all of the other Schwab books I’ve read (all of them, minus the Everyday Angel series), as the writing is age group appropriate, but it’s still very well done.
Staying in the paranormal genre is a book I recommended already last Halloween. I haven’t seen it talked about so I’m doing it again. The Witches of Willow Cove follows 2 best friends, Abby and Robby, as on Halloween night they embark on an adventure and discover magic and witches. There is a mystery those two need to solve, and Abby has a great deal to learn about her own identity.
I loved how perfectly friendships, mystery, magic and history were blended in this one, with also a lot of attention being focused on the atmosphere and pacing of the story. It’s not often you see a book that can do all of those simultaneously, and keep the reader engaged. It was quite a page turner and definitely a must read for people who like witchy stories. As far as I know, it’s a standalone, but the ending did hint on a possibility of it being a series.
My last middle grade read (worth mentioning that is), was also a magical/witchy story. A Pinch of Magic follows three sisters, three magical objects and a family curse. It is also a trilogy, although I haven’t read anything past book one.
I am a sucker for familial relationships done right, and the bond these three sisters have was lovely and well done. The book features a story within a story, which was lot of fun and added more depth without feeling info dumpy. A Pinch of Magic is full of adventure and a perfect blend of seriousness and humour. It’s fun and fast paced for most of it, although the beginning is quite slow.
This one was a total surprise for me. The Beast and the Bethany follows two very unlikeable characters – Bethany and Ebenezer. Bethany is an orphan and Ebenezer a 511 year old man with a beast who gives him an anti aging potion every time he feeds it something yummy (be it rare birds or even children). They’re both quite selfish, but when stuck together, they develop and unlikely relationship and learn from each other.
This book was probably one of the funnest, most original middle grades I’ve ever read. It was strange and whimsical and laugh out loud funny. Everything about it was ridiculous in the best way possible. The Beast and the Bethany gave me big Lemony Snickett vibes and I think a reader of any age will enjoy it – I can’t see why they wouldn’t.
I could gush about this book for a really long time, because it was everything I want from a middle grade. The Ship of Shadows follows Aleja, who always wanted to travel but is told that girls can’t be explorers. But her dream comes true when due to some false accusations she finds refuge on a ship. It’s not any ship either – it’s a pirate ship, and a legendary one, as well called The Ship of Shadows. And it’s crewed by females only!
This is book is brim full of adventure and greatness. It’s rich and addictive and written in such a way that evokes your imagination. Honestly, thinking back on it, I got confused whether things happened in the book or if for some reason I’ve seen something super similar on TV. My overactive imagination plays a movie in my head whenever I read, but it’s rarely ever written in a way when I confuse it with a movie. I am sad I couldn’t have read this book as a child – the crew of the ship stole my heart and I think the women in the book would be super inspirational to young girls to read about.
And lastly we have this absolute gem of a book written by an Irish author and set in Ireland. The Storm Keeper’s Island follows Fionn who goes to visit his old and eccentric grandad on the island of Arranmore. The island is full of magic and Fionn finds out his grandad is the Storm Keeper. As the story progresses, Fionn finds out about magic and discovers a lot about himself and his family’s past.
Everything about this book is magical, from the setting, to the story line and, obviously, the magic itself. The last one is super unique. Once again, there’s some great familial relationships, both between Fionn and his sister, and Fionn and his somewhat estranged grandfather. I’ve yet to continue with the series, but it shapes up to be a great one and one worth growing up with, Too bad I’m almost 28.
And that is it for my recommendations post. Have you read any of these? Do you like middle grade?
Hello again. It is once again time for a review, although just a head up, this one will be more of a brief one, and not because I don’t have much to say about it but rather that I think too much would spoil the experience of reading the book.
Publication date: April 20th 2021
Publisher: Faber & Faber
Genre: Contemporary Anthology
Come on a journey across the rural American West…
Meet the teenagers who live in the small towns across these states, separated by distance, but whose stories are woven together in the most unexpected of ways.
Whether they are brought together by the spread of wildfire, by the abusive priest who’s moved from state to state or by the hunt for a missing child, these incredible tales blaze with secrets, rage and love.
A novel like no other, this intricate, intense and beautiful book will take your breath away.
Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with an eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.
I don’t have very many thoughts about this book other that it’s one of the best ones I read this year.
Everyone Dies Famous in a Small Town is a collection of short stories from multiple POVs of various teenagers, which connect through characters and situations, creating an overarching story of what life in a small town is like. They’re very short and talk about many different subjects, and you slowly discover connections between every single one of them, and it’s honestly fascinating seeing how it comes full circle.
The misconception about small towns is that of no anonymity and no secrets, as everyone knows each other. This book proves that isn’t exactly true, and life in a small town is still full of secrets, lies, heartbreak and everything else that life itself has to offer. Both good and bad things happen. The people you thought you knew might not be who you thought they were all this time. This book comes with some difficult subjects, some trigger warnings – it’s definitely not sunshine and rainbows. But it is so worth a read.
Everyone Dies Famous in a Small Town left me with a heavy feeling in my chest. Not many books can manage that. It’s one I think you need to go into somewhat blind and discover things for yourself. I really really enjoyed it and now I wanna read everything by Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock, as this was my first book by this author.
Hi, there! I’ve been thinking about making this post for a while. Every now and then I mention I want to read a book purely because it has a certain buzzword attached to it and it makes me instantly interested. So, instead of repeating myself constantly, I thought I’d compile this list for future reference. These are in no particular order.
Anyone who knows me at all, knows that my favourite movie is Back to the Future. Why? I honestly do not know – I’ve seen it as a kid and was instantly obsessed, and that obsession did not go away for probably over 20 years now. I love me some time travel, especially when done well. It is a tricky one, I know, but if the blurb tells me time travel is involved, I will read the book. I did that with Stolen Time by Danielle Rollins, a book I didn’t buy for myself and had very little interest in, because it was blurbed as a romance, BUT it ended up being an instant favourite.
Oh my goodness, nothing gets me more excited than a promise of con artists, especially in a fantasy setting. Those characters usually become my absolute favourites. Funny, smart, a bit too confident… I clearly have a type *cough* Locke Lamora *cough*.
This was an obvious transition, right? Where there are con artists, there’s probably a heist or some sort of a secret mission, and I live for it. Heists are something I will never get tired of. A good heist is exciting, super high stakes and gets your heart racing. What else could you want?!
Yet another popular trope I don’t see myself ever being sick of. I’ll take a found family over any real family or relationship, especially if those characters don’t fit together at first glace. It’s those unconventional and seemingly unlikely ones that tend to be the fiercest and they really get me.
This one is a tough one to explain, because I’m not too into your typical superheroes – think all the Marvel ones ever. But at the same time, I love X-Men. The distinction to me is obvious, in fact, so obvious, I can’t really point out what it is. I guess it’s just more about the power aspect than the hero, because I like supervillains, and super-morally-grey-characters, too. I know I’m making it more complicated than it has to be. My buzzword encompasses all the stories with individuals with powers that don’t use them to either destroy or save the world. Now, I think that’s explained.
Last, but definitely not least, we have the character reliving the same day, month, year, life etc. I haven’t read very many of these, but I am obsessed with that concept and I add every single book that mentions it to my TBR instantly! I think, similarly to the time travel buzzword, I like when the character can influence something that happened to them or someone else in the past, or use it to solve a mystery. There are just infinite possibilities in those stories, and I live for them!
Do you have any buzzwords of your own? Or maybe recommendations you wanna throw my way of some books that have these?
Thank you so much for reading, as always. I hope you have a great weekend!
I have read quite a bit in March, so I won’t be babbling on for too long about the books. I will link my full reviews to all of them that I’ve written, and if you would like to know my detailed thoughts on any of the other ones, just drop me a comment down below and I’ll post one on here.
Time for stats.
Number of books read: 13
Number of pages read: 4969
Average star rating: 3.3
Physical TBR at the start of the month: 43
Books read: 10
Current physical TBR: 35
As you can see, I am trying to get through my physical TBR at the moment. It doesn’t help I’ve ordered 5 books in the last couple of days.
The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness
This book just didn’t work for me at all. I expected a story about regular people in a world full of the chosen ones. I guess what I expected would’ve been quite bland and boring – because in reality, these kids, though without superpowers (well, all but one) still get into some supernatural shenanigans. I didn’t much care for the characters, nor did I like the plot. Somehow, the bland and boring still very much applied.
Rating: 2 out of 5.
Everyone Dies Famous in a Small Town by Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock
I’ll be posting a full review closer to the publication date – it releases in the UK on the 20th of April. It was just my kind of a story, even though the format of it (told in short stories/vignettes from different POVs) might not be what I reach for usually. I loved it and it took me completely by surprise.
Rating: 4.5 out of 5.
A Pinch of Magic by Michelle Harris
This was a nice and breezy middle-grade about 3 sisters and a family curse. It took me a good few chapters to get invested in the story, but once I did, I really enjoyed it. Charlie is hands down my favourite character – I laughed out loud a few times reading the scenes with her.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5.
The Mermaid by Christina Henry
I expected a dark retelling of the Little Mermaid. Why? Because I read Lost Boy and that’s what it was – a horroresque retelling of a story we know. This wasn’t quite either. I still liked it, as Christina Henry is a skilled writer, but it just wasn’t what I wanted from the story, going into it.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5.
Havenfall by Sara Holland
The longer I sit on this book, the more I want to lower my rating. Havenfall was a cover buy. I didn’t have huge expectations going in but the idea of a magical inn connecting different worlds was fantastic, and it sounded like a good time, especially with the mystery element promised in the blurb. I am quite disappointed, even though my expectations were low. This book did nothing new or exciting, it was your middle of the road standard YA fantasy and I’ve had my fill with them by now… to bad, because it had potential.
Rating: 3 out of 5.
Legendborn by Tracy Deonn
Continuing on the last thought… Legendborn was so much different and a reason enough not to give up on the YA fantasy genre. It did remind me a bit of The Mortal Instruments at the start, but it blossomed into something different, intricate and well developed and written. Honestly, it was heaps of fun and I really enjoyed the story. It’s a King Arthur retelling, too, which is always a plus (or is it, since the last few I read I either DNFed or hated).
Rating: 4 out of 5.
The Midnight Library by Matt Haig
I’ve seen EVERYONE rave about this book. I caved. I picked it up expecting to also love it. And although the first third or maybe half was interesting and promising, in the end the book became more of a self-help kind of book full of long winded cliches. I understand what Haig tried to do, but that’s what I wanted from him, I’d pick up his non-fiction.
I talked a lot about Swanson recently, and I’ve mentioned I like his writing even though it follows a certain formula I very much expect from thrillers. Well, this one was COMPLETELY different and… I’m impressed. It wasn’t quite a 5 star read for me, but definitely the best book I read by the author so far. It was smart and twisty and just overall really well done.
Rating: 4 out of 5.
Everyday Sexism by Laura Bates
In March I also picked up a non-fiction. I’ve been wanting to read Everyday Sexism for a long while now. I think it’s always relevant. I listened to it on audio, but I feel like have I read it physically I would’ve skimmed many parts. Don’t get me wrong, the book is important and like I already said, still very relevant, but the way it’s done is incredibly repetitive. The book makes very few points, but manages to make up in length by repeating them every so often. I read non-fiction for educational purposes, obviously, but I learnt nothing I haven’t already in my nearly 28 years of being a woman.
Rating: 3 out of 5.
In a Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware
This was my first Ruth Ware, and incidentally also her first book, and it didn’t knock my socks off, but I did enjoy the writing and so I will be picking up more by the author. I’ve been in a thriller kick and it satisfied the craving, but I found the characters incredibly unlikeable and the plot quite predictable. Still, not a bad read.
Rating: 3 out of 5.
The Iron Trial by Cassandra Clare and Holly Black
I have many bad things to say about this one, but I’m choosing positivity today. I didn’t like The Iron Trial and I won’t be picking up the rest of the series. I know middle grades written in the last 10-15 years sometimes suffer from the Harry Potter syndrome, but this one tried just a bit too hard for me, and the countless similarities were too much.
Rating: 2 out of 5.
My Lovely Wife by Samantha Downing
Yet another thriller in this wrap up that I quite enjoyed. I read thrillers to be entertained and a bit unsettled and My Lovely Wife delivered in both cases, though significantly less in the latter. It was fun, though, and I’d like to pick up more by the author, because I found the writing quite engaging.
Rating: 3 out of 5.
And these are all of the books I read in the month of March.
How was your reading month? Did you read any new favourites? How’s your Goodreads challenge going?
Hi. It’s time for another review. I haven’t been able to get this book out of my mind since I read it, so I thought it deserves it’s own full review on here.
Publication date: May 22nd 2018
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Monday Charles is missing, and only Claudia seems to notice. Claudia and Monday have always been inseparable—more sisters than friends. So when Monday doesn’t turn up for the first day of school, Claudia’s worried. When she doesn’t show for the second day, or second week, Claudia knows that something is wrong. Monday wouldn’t just leave her to endure tests and bullies alone. Not after last year’s rumors and not with her grades on the line. Now Claudia needs her best—and only—friend more than ever. But Monday’s mother refuses to give Claudia a straight answer, and Monday’s sister April is even less help.
As Claudia digs deeper into her friend’s disappearance, she discovers that no one seems to remember the last time they saw Monday. How can a teenage girl just vanish without anyone noticing that she’s gone?
Books don’t make me cry often and I’m not a big crier in general, but… this one broke the dam.
I thought I knew what to expect going into this book, as the synopsis and the title are telling enough – this novel follows two friends, Claudia and Monday, and told from Claudia’s perspective it explores their friendship and lives from before and after Monday went missing.
I didn’t expect the story to hit me as hard as it did. I got invested in the lives of the two teens nearly from the get go. I really felt for Claudia, for losing her friend and having virtually no one listening to her when she raised her concerns about her friend. And I felt for Monday…
This story comes with many trigger warnings, child abuse being one of them, so it’s definitely not for everyone, but I found myself entirely captivated by Jackson’s writing. The way she told the story of these two girls was beautiful and touching. I loved that the narration was spilt between different timelines, it really worked for the story Jackson was telling, as we got a lot of glimpses into Monday and Claudia’s friendship, and how close the two girls were.
The ending broke me. It made my heart ache and left this heavy feeling in my chest I don’t get often. Monday’s not Coming is not an easy read, it’s not light, but it’s gut wrenching and emotional and I loved it. It’s definitely one of the best books I’ve read this year, if not my favourite.
Rating: 5 out of 5.
Have you read this book or anything by the author? What did you think?
Hi! I can’t believe it’s already time for this post! March is quickly coming to an end and we’re about to enter the second quarter of 2021. Where did the time go? Here are some book releases for the months of April, May and June I’m looking forward to!
Release date: April 6th
First of all, look at this COVER! I used to say I hate people and faces on the cover, but there’s been many lovely covers with faces and florals lately that I think I need to retract that statement. House of Hollow is a YA mystery with elements of magical realism, and it sounds bizarre and weird and like a lot of fun. The early reviewers seem to love it, and Melissa Albert is one of them, so I’m sold.
Release date: April 6th
Another gorgeous book on April 6th is this one. The author said she combined her love of robots, superpowers and Jane Austen to write this book and honestly I don’t think I need anything else. I’ve been loving sci-fi lately and I’m looking forward to this one, because it sounds exciting, unique and like just my kind of a book.
Release date: April 13th
Christina Henry is back with another book which, unsurprisingly is a blend of horror and fantasy. I’ve yet to catch up on her works, but Near the Bone sounds so good, I’m definitely bumping it up on my TBR. The blurb says “A woman trapped on a mountain attempts to survive more than one kind of a monster” and I am hooked already.
Release date: April 20th
Also in April, we’re getting this fantasy debut which is Jamaican-inspired and about witches and revenge. I’ve been dying to pick up a rich and complex YA fantasy, because the genre has been disappointing me lately and I have really high hopes for this one.
Release date: May 4th
I haven’t read The Martian yet, but I’m still very excited for another book by Andy Weir. I know it might not make much sense… Anyway, sci-fi is one of my favourite genres and Project Hail Mary sounds like my kind of a book, because it’s part sci-fi and part mystery, and incredibly high stakes, too, according to the blurb.
Release date: May 6th
I’ll be honest with you, I don’t know much about this book at all. What I do know, though, makes me really interested in it. It’s a queer genre defying book about a pregnant teen that is meant to be a harrowing read. That ticks many boxes and sounds intriguing to me.
Release date: May 11th
This one is one of the three sequels I’m excited to get to, and they all release at around the same time, which is unlucky for me… Illusionary is the second installment in a fantasy series by Zoraida Córdova, inspired loosely by the Spanish Inquisition. I gave the first book 4 stars, and really enjoyed it, so I’m looking forward to continuing with the series.
Release date: May 13th
Well, technically this releases on April 13th, but the paperback isn’t out until a month later which just so happens to be my birthday! And if that’s not a coincidence enough – it’s also the book I’m anticipating the most. I think The Last Magician series is super underrated for such a fantastic YA blend of fantasy and sci-fi. This is the second last book, I believe, and I am ITCHING to get my hands on it.
Release date: May 13th
Also on my birthday we’re getting this new Orbit fantasy release. It kind of gives me Strange the Dreamer vibes because it’s about a scholar trying to find an island that isn’t meant to exist. I’m expecting it to be less whimsical and more of a high fantasy, but either way, it sounds great!
Release date: May 18th
Another highly anticipated sequel, this one to Call Down the Hawk. I love Maggie Stiefbater, I need me some more of Ronan Lynch but… this cover and title are atrocious! Sorry, not sorry.
Release date: May 27th
This one is least like what I tend to read, a mix of historical fiction, contemporary and romance, but Jenkins Reid seem to be the exception to the rule for me. I’ve read her two most recent books and loved them both, so even though I know close to nothing about Malibu Rising, other than it follows 4 siblings and a party, I am really looking forward to picking it up and discovering what the story is about.
Release date: June 1
It’s not a secret that I’ve been on a mystery/thriller kick for a while. This one is a debut, with a premise that is very real and I haven’t seen being written about – it follows two Black girls in publishing. Described as a mix of Get Out and The Devil Wears Prada, it sounds like my kind of a book!
Release date: June 24th
Anthologies are usually a very mixed bag for me, and this is a romance one, but I have a feeling I’ll like it. I love Tiffany D. Jackson, Nic Stone and Angie Thomas, and I’ve read from Ashley Woodfolk, and have Dhonielle Clayton on my TBR, so it’s a very promising lineup. And it seems like it’ll be a great and quick summer read.
Release date: June 29th
Ms. Bayron is back with another retelling this June, and it’s one of The Secret Garden. Even though Cinderella is Dead wasn’t my absolute favourite, there was a lot of things I enjoyed about the book, and I want to give the author another chance. I loved The Secret Garden as a child. And… well. This cover is stunning!
Release date: June 29th
Last but not least we have another mystery/thriller which seems to be on many people’s radar, because Sager is a well known author. This one, I believe, is about a college student Charlie, and Josh, who may or may not be a serial killer, on a long drive together. Sounds great. I don’t need to know more.
Hi! It’s been a while since I’ve come on here to ramble, rather than review books or tell you about what I read or plan on reading. I think of myself as a very opinionated person, so these discussion posts are very fun to write, so let’s just get into this. As you can tell from the title, we’re talking about paid reviews!
Sometime last week I’ve seen an Instagram story from a person telling book reviewers who charge for reviews they “should be ashamed!” and it didn’t sit right with me at all. There are many reasons as to why one should or shouldn’t charge for reviews, and I think there’s a lot more to consider here before labeling these bloggers and reviewers greedy and ungrateful.
The argument against charging for reviews mentioned things like, authors don’t get paid enough for their work as it is, and it’s not right to on top of receiving a free copy of their book, to also charge them for it. The person who posted said story/post said a free copy of a book should be payment enough; that we, as readers, enjoy books and it’s our hobby rather than a paid gig, so we shouldn’t expect to get paid for our opinions. And in most cases, sure, I agree that someone who reads and reviews for fun only shouldn’t get paid for the reviews. But there is a difference between people like me, who have a small reach – probably less than 2k people following on Instagram and here, altogether – and people with a successful accounts on either platform (or both, and YouTube!), with 20k plus follows, lots of engagement and therefore influence.
While it’s not true in all of those cases, most of these people take book blogging seriously – they post multiple times a day, their pictures are immaculate, they go live or update their stories daily AND still review the books they get. They’ve built up their following through hard work, and they write coherent, detailed reviews of each and every book they read. Yes, they love reading, and they probably receive lots of books for free, most times unsolicited, too. It’s apparent especially in the BookTube world, that those bloggers do not ask for all of these books, and most of them don’t even get featured on their channel, but reading review copies means the blogger has less time to spend on reading what they want and enjoy. Reading a book takes time. Reading critically and trying to digest a book to then write about it in detail takes even more time. While treating blogging as a full time job, I think those people deserve to get paid for their time.
Of course, there’s doubt when it comes to paid reviews. Are they honest, or did the blogger only rate it 5 stars because they got paid to do so? I think there’s always doubt, even with NetGalley reviews. You never know if the person is being honest, but in the end, I think the quality of the review can tell you whether the reader enjoyed it. If you thought a book was meh, it’d be hard to praise it for paragraphs and paragraphs on end.
In the end, our Bookstagram accounts, or blogs, or Booktube channels are perfect for advertising. In the past week I’ve had my picture being shared on a different Instagram account to promote a book, which post then got reposted AGAIN by the author. And although they’ve both sort of credited me, no one asked me if it’s okay to repost that photo in the first place. No, I don’t want to be paid for it, but asking permission would be nice, especially since it wasn’t a shoutout kind of a post, I was just tagged at the bottom of it with no indication what for. The photo was screenshotted and zoomed in and lost all of its quality, too, which is a shame. These photos and posts are free advertising. People in marketing get paid to source these free things. So why should we, the people who actually do the work, not get paid? It doesn’t make any sense. I’ve put effort into something, and if the publisher thinks it’s good enough for them to repost and use it in their advertising campaign, then it’s good enough to be paid for.
That being said, I am very against book bloggers approaching self published authors asking if they would like their book reviewed, and then demand to get paid for it. But I’m also against authors reaching out to bloggers regardless what their review policy is, spamming them with messages to review their book. I’ve been approached a few times with a link to their book on Amazon, saying that they think it’s something I’d enjoy and they want me to review it and it’s only 1.99 on Kindle so I should also pay for it. Now, that’s something to be ashamed about.
That concludes my little ramble about book reviewers and whether or not they should get paid for their work. I think in a lot of cases, it’s up to the publisher to if they want to invest in that kind of advertisement, or waste money on sending out review and finished copies to people who are unlikely to read them. I definitely think getting paid for reviews in not an outrageous idea, especially for people who spend a lot of time reading and reviewing books full time. I don’t think those reviewers should be shamed. I’d never dream of charging for reviews myself because I don’t think I have that kind of influence over my followers and it wouldn’t seem fair, as I definitely blog in my spare time only and have not made the commitment to do it full time. But there are people out there who deserve to be paid.
What do you think? Do you think all book reviewers should treat it as a hobby and accept a free copy of a book as a “payment”? Let me know in the comments, I’d love to hear other people’s opinions on this matter.
If you’ve read through all this and are still here – thank you!
Talk soon, and until then please take care and stay safe.
Hello! Every Vow You Break releases tomorrow in Ireland and UK, and next week in the US, which means it’s time for a review!
Publication date: March 18th 2021
Publisher: Faber Faber
Abigail Baskin was in her early twenties – working two jobs to make rent on the crummy apartment she shared with two strangers, saddled with crippling student loan debt, and nursing a secret desire to become a novelist – when she met Bruce Lamb.
A freshly-minted tech millionaire from Silicon Valley, Bruce is completely genuine, completely generous, and completely in love with Abigail. On their third date, he told her he wanted to spend the rest of his life with her. Six months later, he asked her to marry him. It was a fairytale romance.
But now, three days before the wedding, Abigail had a received an unsettling email. And she has no idea that this email signals the beginning of a nightmare she may never escape.
Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for providing me with an eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.
I’m very rarely blown away by thrillers and I’ve accepted that a long time ago. I’ve read from Peter Swanson in the past and enjoyed the writing and plot, so I was delighted to receive and arc of this book.
Every Vow You Break is about Abigail, who’s about to marry a millionaire and ends up having a one night stand on her bachelorette’s weekend away. She decides to move on and forget about it until the day she leaves for her honeymoon and finds out the man she slept with has followed her and her husband. What follows is definitely NOT what you expect.
Or maybe it just wasn’t what I personally expected from the book. I am usually pretty good at calling the ending early or halfway through, and the predictability of the plot is not something I dislike in thrillers, because being able to predict things means it all makes sense. However, that also usually means that even though it might be enjoyable, the read won’t score anything above 3-4 stars.
Every Vow You Break falls into the 3 star category, because even though it surprised me, I didn’t find it too believable or… thrilling. I definitely liked the first 3/4 of the book more than I liked the ending. Abigail was an interesting protagonist and I quite enjoyed her voice. The plot itself was promising, I really liked the idea and the direction it took until the very plot twist. And the honeymoon destination, though nice on the surface, was honestly quite unsettling, with it being an island cut away from the world, with no mobile phones and largely populated by men.
Swanson’s writing didn’t disappoint. I’ve noticed similarities in the structure of this book and the other novel I read by him, The Kind Worth Killing, and I quite enjoy the way he tells stories and his plot twists. It does make the read more predictable, as you expect plot twists at certain points of the book, but I don’t think it’s something thriller readers mind.
Overall, this was a fun, quick read and although I enjoyed it, I wish it did some things differently. If you liked other Swanson’s books, I’m sure you will enjoy this one just as much.
Rating: 3 out of 5.
Thank you for reading. Will you be picking up the book once it releases?