Books I’ve Recently DNFed

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?

Thank you for reading! Talk soon.

Middle Grade Recommendations

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!

Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery

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.

Nevermoor: The Trials of Morringan Crow by Jessica Townsend

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.

The Land of Roar by Jenny McLachlan

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.

City of Ghosts by Victoria Schwab

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.

The Witches of Willow Cove by Josh Roberts

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.

A Pinch of Magic by Michelle Harrison

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.

The Beast and the Bethany by Jack Meggit-Phillips

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.

The Ship of Shadows by Maria Kuzniar

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.

The Storm Keeper’s Island by Catherine Doyle

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?

Thank you for reading.

Bookish Buzzwords

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.

  • Time Travel

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.

  • Con artists

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*.

  • Heists

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?!

  • Found Family

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.

  • Superpowers

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.

  • “Groundhog” day/year/life

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!

Most Anticipated Releases of The Second Quarter of 2021

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!

House of Hollow by Krystal Sutherland

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.

The Infinity Courts by Akemi Dawn Bowman

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.

Near the Bone by Christina Henry

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.

Witches Steeped in Gold by Ciannon Smart

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.

Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir

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.

Sorrowland by Rivers Solomon

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.

Illusionary by Zoraida Córdova

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.

The Serpent’s Curse by Lisa Maxwell

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.

Son of the Storm by Suyi Davies Okungbowa

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!

Mister Impossible by Maggie Stiefvater

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.

Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid

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.

The Other Black Girl by Zakiya Dalila Harris

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!

Blackout Anthology

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.

This Poison Heart by Kalynn Bayron

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!

Survive the Night by Riley Sager

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.

Do you see any books already on your TBR?

As always, thank you for reading! Talk soon.

Most Anticipated Releases of The First Quarter of 2021

Hi! Happy Saturday!

I realise this post is about 3 weeks too late, but better late than never, right? A few of these books are out already, but I am still very excited to read them. Let’s go!

Concrete Rose by Angie Thomas

Release date: January 12

I will read EVERYTHING Angie Thomas decides to write. I absolutely love THUG and am dying to read about Maverick’s teen years. I’ll be getting my hands on this one as soon as my self imposed book buying ban ends (read: as soon as I’m not as broke as I am currently).

Across the Green Grass Fields by Seanan McGuire

Release date: January 12

I’ll be honest with you… I haven’t read past the first book in this series. The premise of it is very intriguing, though, and I liked Every Heart a Doorway, so I might do a mini readathon in February and fly the rest of the books since I own them all on Kindle…

Tales from the Hinterland by Melissa Albert

Release date: January 14

I loved The Hazel Wood and The Night Country and I just need this book right now in my hands! Is food really that important, or do I just order it?

The Mask of Mirrors by M.A. Carrick

Release date: January 21

I got very very lucky and approved for an ARC of this literally THE DAY it came out. So I’ll be starting it very shortly (possibly tomorrow) and I couldn’t be more excited. It has magic, con artists (if you don’t know that yet, it’s one of my buzz words!) and LGBTQA+ rep.

If I Disappear by Eliza Jane Brazier

Release Date: January 26

First and foremost – I really enjoy this cover trend! Whether it’s flowers emerging from an actual face, or this kind of a deal with the picture of the face being ripped and the botanicals underneath. *chef’s kiss* All I know here is that this one is a mystery with a podcast and big Sadie vibes, so of course I’m on board.

We Could Be Heroes by Mike Chen

Release date: January 26

Another January 26 release that I am DYING to read. We Could Be Heroes follows two characters with superpowers (another buzzword… maybe I should make a blog post about those?), and they come together, discover a threat and have to work together overcome it. I think. I’m not sure I’m understanding the synopsis, but either way it sounds right up my alley – it’s a weird sci-fi, and honestly sometimes that’s ALL I want to read!

The Gilded Ones by Namina Forna

Release date: February 1

I love fantasy – it surprises no one. The Gilded Ones is meant to be a fantastic one, so of course it’s on my radar. All the people who were fortunate to get an early copy are raving about it. They say it’s great and full of representation, but also violent and graphic. That ticks most of the boxes for me. I am not sure about the plot, other than that it revolves around a girl who is being tested to become a member of her village, and fails the test, because her blood is gold and not red. I don’t need to know more, I’m sold already.

The Project by Courtney Summers

Release date: February 8

Another cover that is just… indescribably beautiful. And it so happens to be my most anticipated book of the year (I think, but maybe don’t quote me on it). If I had this book now, I would drop everything to read it. I fucking loved Sadie and Courtney Summers’ writing in it, and this one is also a mystery AND had to do with cults. Sign me up, I’m ready, I NEED IT!

Game Changer by Neal Schusterman

Release date: February 11

So, I have compiled this list in late December. I loved Schusterman’s Scythe trilogy, and got approved for this on NetGalley. I also finished it today. It’s about a guy who plays football, and after being hit on the field, the world around him changes and the reality is not quite how he remembers it. I’ll be posting a review for this one soon, and you’ll see if it deserved the spot on this list or not!

Bridge of Souls by Victoria Schwab

Release date: March 2

Lots of sequels on this list! This one is a MG paranormal fantasy series by Victoria Schwab. I’ve enjoyed the first two books, centering about Cassidy, who can see ghosts, and her parents, who host a TV show all about them, as they travel from one city to another, exploring their haunted past. This one should be a lot of fun.

The Accidental Apprentice by Amanda Foody

Release date: March 30

This cover gives me big Nevermoor vibes! So does the title. I am a sucker for a good magical middle grade fantasy. Amanda Foody is a writing goddess, and we need new books that kids can read instead of picking up HP. And by kids, I mean me. I’m kids.

Rule of Wolves by Leigh Bardugo

Release date: March 30

On the same day, by another writing goddess – Leigh Bardugo, we have Rule of Wolves. I need more Nikolai Lantsov in my life. I loved King of Scars and I expect to love this one just as much. And look how gorgeous it is!

And that is all. Of course, these are not ALL of the books on my radar, just the ones I’m looking forward to the most. Any of these on your list?

Thank you for reading, as always, I’ll talk to you soon. I hope you’re staying safe!

2020 Reading Stats

Hi, everyone.

It’s been a while. I tend to say it in every post, but it really HAS been a while. The last months of the year have been a big struggle in every aspect of life, though I’m sure I’m not the only person who experienced that, and I got way too overwhelmed to read and post.

This might not be a post for everyone. We’ll be looking at all my reading stats from last year. At the end of 2019 I also posted all my favourites, least favourites, most surprising and disappointing books, but since we’re already 11 days into the new year, I will include some of the info here instead of posting separately.

Okay, let’s get to it!

In 2020 I’ve read… 92 books. It’s the most I’ve read in a single year probably ever. I’ve been a reader most of my life, but I’ve also been a library user until I got a job and was able to afford books – so, my choices were fewer.

Here’s a look at the stats in my bullet journal.

The total number of pages I read is 35 692! That includes the 7 DNFs from the year, most of which I gave until around 40% in before I put them down.

I have read 27 physical books, 30 audio books and 35 ebooks. Out of those 35 ebooks 12 were ARCs. I also DNFed 2 ARCs and read 2 physical review copies. My reading slowed down in October, as you can see, and the only thing that saved me were audio books. Anyone who says audio books don’t count as reading… you’re wrong!

My most read genre was unsurprisingly fantasy. It accounted for 47% of all the books I read. Other genres I read multiple books of were sci-fi, contemporary, mystery and horror. I even managed 3 non-fiction, which is usually not my genre of choice. A discovery I made this year that surprised me is that I like horror books. I am not a horror movie fan, but the few books I read in the genre I really enjoyed!

As for star ratings – my overall rating for the year is 3.78 stars, which is quite high in my opinion. Although the numbers don’t reflect this I feel like from September onwards I wasn’t reading many books I really enjoyed, and it’s probably because I felt very slumpish and unmotivated. In reality, all my favourite, least favourite, most surprising and disappointing books were mixed evenly throughout the year.

Favourites

Least Favourite

Most Surprising

Most Disappointing

Now, that last one definitely has some controversial titles.

To wrap it all up before I head away – I’ve had a really good year number wise, fairly good year rating wise, although quite a disappointing one when it comes to some big books I was very excited to read. Here’s to doing better in 2021!

How many books have you read in 2020? Did you have a good reading year? Let me know in the comments.

Thanks for reading.

October 2020 TBR

Hi, lovelies! Posting two days in a row and NOT for a tour this time?! Who is that girl, because I know it ain’t the old Zaneta.

So, I’ve kind of retired TBRs early this year to “mood” read whatever I felt like and not pressure myself, and while that worked for a while, I found myself receiving more review copies and joining multiple tours and having to plan half of my monthly reading anyway. That felt a bit too chaotic to me, I like to be organised. Hence this post. I’m bringing back the TBRs! It might be a bit too ambitious but we’ll see.

First of all, I have some arcs.

You’ve seen these on my list of most anticipated releases. The Reckless Afterlife of Harriet Stoker already came out, but I didn’t get a chance to finish it and am hoping to do so in October. The Once and Future Witches is coming out on the 13th, and Addie LaRue, which I got approved for TODAY is out in a week time. I will be trying to focus on these 3 at the start of the month.

I’ve decided to get to books that have been on my shelf for a while, also, as I feel I’ve been neglecting them for long enough.

I’ve a dark retelling, which if I’ve to judge by Henry’s other book I read – Lost Boy – I’m going to thoroughly enjoy, Haunted, which is a collection of scary short stories and… The Guinevere Deception which I know doesn’t much fit the season but the second book in this series is out in November and I just really want to get to it.

I will also be picking up some audiobooks.

I’ll be getting these from my library, even though I own Gone Girl physically. I’m in the mood for thrillers and really enjoyed the movie when I watched it, so I wanna give the book a try. As for My Name is Monster… I don’t know much about it at all, but I heard it described as weird and that sounds right up my alley.

These are all the books I’ve put on my TBR so far. I don’t want to overdo it again, and let’s face it, I haven’t been able to read more than 6 books a month in a while, so I’ll leave it at that. I might pick up more audiobooks, depending on my shifts at work.

Do you see any of your favourites here? How big is your TBR? Let me know down below.

Thank you for reading! I’ll be back tomorrow with a September wrap up!

Autumn Recommendations

Hi, lovelies! How are you doing?

It’s cold and wet out today, and since Autumn is finally here I thought I’d share some of my favourite spooky, atmospheric or in any other way autumny reads. These are in no particular order of my enjoyment.

The Witches of Willow Cove by Josh Roberts

Let’s ease into the list with a fun, witchy Middle Grade. The Witches of Willow Cove follows two friends, Abby and Robby, who on Halloween night sneak out to snoop around an abandoned mental hospital to find out anything they can about Robby’s mom, who went missing, but instead get into some trouble and discover that witches might actually exist and that Abby is one. As you can see, it’s a perfect autumn read and definitely one for people who enjoy Halloween, but not the scary and gory aspects of it.

City of Ghosts by Victoria Schwab

On a similar note… City of Ghosts, the first book in Victoria Schwab’s Cassidy Blake Middle Grade series follows Cassidy as she ventures to Europe with her parents, who are TV show hosts and are recording a programme about haunted cities. What they don’t know is that Casssidy can peel the veil between the living and the dead and see ghosts. The first book takes place in Edinbrugh, it’s a really fun and only slightly spooky read and it’s perfect for this season.

Jackaby by William Ritter

To any mystery and paranormal fans… Jackaby is your series. I think it’s the most underrated one in the YA genre. Set in the late 1800s it follows Abigail Rook, who in desperate need of a new job, apprentices with a most unusual detective. It’s a Sherlock Holmesesque series full of paranormal creatures, each book featuring a different mystery, which are all linked together. It’s honestly one of my favourite series ever and I would highly recommend it.

Perfectly Preventable Deaths by Deirdre Sullivan

Repping a local author here (Deirdre is from Galway, which is 107km from where I live) with Perfectly Preventable Deaths. If the cover doesn’t give you autumny and Halloweeny vibes, I don’t know what will… It’s about twins Madeline and Catlin who move to a remote village in Co. Galway where for the last 60 years teenage girls have been mysteriously disappearing. It’s a slow burn kind of a book, spooky, extremely atmospheric and also quite Irish, that took me by surprise. If you like witchy reads with queer rep – pick this up.

The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert

I remember when this came out and people had such mixed opinions on it. I feel like the hype died down pretty fast, but I’m here to reignite it. The Hazel Wood is a sort of a dark fairytale and after reading the sequel this year I am obsessed with this series, Alice, Finch and the Hinterland. Everything about it is great and bizarre. I’m not going to tell you what it is about. I feel the less you know, the better. If you haven’t read it yet and trust my opinion even a tiny bit, do yourself a favour and buy this or borrow it and read it.

The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein

This cover gives me the hibbie jibbies. Don’t ask me why… Staying in the YA genre I thought I’d mention The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein. It’s a retelling of (yes, you guessed it, well done) Frankenstein and follows the main character (again, you’re a genius) Elizabeth. She’s an orphan taken in by the Frankenstein family to keep company to Victor – a strange and solitary child. It’s a quick read, just short of 300 pages, but it has all the spookiness and disturbingness you would want from a Frankenstein retelling. Big thumbs up from me.

Wilder Girls by Rory Power

If you’ve noticed a theme here of witchy, ghosty stories and think, well, hang on… how does Wilder Girls fit into this category? It doesn’t, but I never said it’s Halloween recommendations, it’s just autumn recommendations. And Wilder Girls is really creepy and atmospheric and a horror novel, so it fits. It’s a story about a pandemic breaking out on an island holding a girl’s school. Said pandemic/virus/whatchamacallit causes the girls’ bodies to change. It’s quite gory, so if you can’t stomach it, it’s not a book for you. But if you can – I couldn’t recommend it more.

Bunny by Mona Awad

Another horror on the list. This one I won’t tell you anything about. For one, it’s really hard to explain and also it just works better when you know nothing at all and have no clue what to expect. Bunny is an absolute mindfuck of a book and it’s definitely not for everyone. I found it interesting, confusing and disturbing all at once and it was a great ol time.

You by Caroline Kepnes

Speaking of disturbing… this book! I’d say after the TV show, most of you know what the book is about. I read it back in 2016 and at the time I was new to the thriller genre and it was the scariest thing I’ve read. The most disturbing part is the narration style, which is told in the second person. You follows Joe, who works at a bookshop where he meets Beck, looks her up on social media and starts stalking… I know it’s everyone’s biggest fear – going to such a safe place like a bookstore and having that happen… We’re all on the same page, I know. Anyway, I thought the book was better than the show and worthy of appearing on this list.

I See You by Clare Mackintosh

Last, but not least, and funnily enough also with big stalker vibes we have I See You by Clare Mackintosh. I didn’t realise the themes were so similar when I was making this list – I swear. It’s a really smart and realistic thriller, following a woman who spots her own picture in a newspaper. It’s small and grainy and her family tries to convince her it’s not even her picture, just someone who looks like her. She’s sure, though, and determined to find out who put it up and why, but she doesn’t have much to go by. If you’re a fan of twisty, suspenseful thrillers that will keep you on the edge of your seat, I See You is for you.

That concludes my recommendations post. I hope I included books for all tastes. Have you read any of these? What did you think?

Thanks for reading, I’ll chat soon!

Most Anticipated Releases of the Last Quarter of 2020

Hi! I can’t believe it’s that time of the year again. And by that time of the year, I mean the time for a most anticipated releases post. 2020 has simultaneously been the longest and shortest year of my life, don’t ask me how that’s possible – it just is.

Today I have 10 releases spread through the months of October, November and December – the dates correspond to UK release dates, and looking back at them most are hardbacks, which are not my preferred format. But we will deal.

The Devil and the Dark Water

Release date: October 1st

Stuart Turton, the author of The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle, is back with yet another historical mystery. This one is set on a ship, in the 17th century and sounds spooky and atmospheric, it is about the devil after all… or is it? I am expecting to love it as much as I loved Evelyn. I also think it’s going to be incredibly smart and mysterious. Can’t wait to pick it up!

Dear Justyce by Nic Stone

Release date: October 6th

A sequel to Dear Martin! Do I need to say more? In case you are clueless about these books, do yourself a favour and look them up. Both Dear Martin and Dear Justyce’s protagonists are Black teens. Both deal with police brutality, racism, racial profiling, prejudice. I already know that both are important reads, even though I have not read this one yet. I am glad so many more books about unfair treatment of minorities are being released as we all need to be more aware of what is happening in the world and how absolutely bullshit it is. Thanks for coming to my TED talk. Pick up Dear Justyce on October 6th!

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

Release date: October 6th

A new book by Schwab about a girl who makes a deal with the devil and ends up immortal and NO ONE remembers her… Until someone does. I’m going to be real with you… it’s historical. I’ve heard it was slow paced. And also there is a romance at the forefront. So, overall it doesn’t sound like exactly my thing. Yet, Schwab is my queen so you know I’ll be picking it up and reading it asap. I just hope my extra high expectations, despite knowing it might not be my kind of book, won’t make me disappointed. I guess time will tell.

The Once and Future Witches by Alix E. Harrow

Release date: October 13th

Can we appreciate this gorgeous cover? As the title suggests, this one is about witches. It’s also historical – this fall seems to have nearly exclusive historical fiction blend releases. Honestly, I don’t know much about it, but I have an arc of this one so expect a review on the release date. I am excited because I read and loved The Ten Thousand Doors of January and just know this one will be as good if not better.

God Storm by Coco Ma

Release date: October 20th

Finally, a sequel to Shadow Frost! Coco Ma is a talented young writer and I am looking forward to returning to this fantasy world. The first book had a lot of potential, and I really enjoyed most parts of it and I’m curious to see how Ms. Coco matures with each and every book.

Kingdom of the Wicked by Kerri Maniscalco

Release date: October 27th

Another witchy, spooky story. You know I have a type. This one centers around twin sisters who are witches. When one of them is brutally murdered, the other decides to seek revenge. It sounds great. I’ve only read one book by Kerri Maniscalco, but I’m looking forward to reading more from her. I will be returning to the Stalking Jack the Ripper series eventually, but this seems more up my alley.

Rhythm of War by Brandon Sanderson

Release date: November 17th

Ooooh, I CANNOT wait for this one. I love Brandon Sanderson and so far every book in The Stormlight Archive was a huge hit for me. This one is a chunky one, as all his books, and I’m not gonna lie, it’s a bit intimidating, so I probably will be picking it up on audio. But I’ll definitely be reading it this year!

The Burning God by R.F. Kuang

Release date: November 17th

Big day for fantasy releases on November 17th! The Burning God, which I believe is the finale of the Poppy War trilogy, is out and I don’t expect it to be anything less than absolutely brutal, bloody and amazing. I’m currently in the middle of book 2 and really enjoying it. The magic system is fantastic, it’s edge-of-the-seat exciting and… brutal for the lack of a better word. If you’re a fantasy lover, give this one a go.

The Cousins by Karen M. McManus

Release date: December 3rd

While I didn’t LOVE LOVE LOVE Karen M. McManus’ other books, I think they are solid YA mystery/thrillers. This one sounds incredibly promising – it’s about family secrets and a group of cousins working at a mysterious estate of their grandmother’s. I’m really looking forward to reading it – I am taking part in The Write Reads Tour for The Cousins so I’ll definitely be reading and reviewing it around the release date!

A Sky Beyond the Storm by Sabaa Tahir

Release date: December 10th

And last but definitely not least – A Sky Beyond the Storm – the finale of An Ember in the Ashes series. It’s been a while since I read the first book and I think a reread is due before I pick up the last book, as I’m a bit rusty on the details. The first 3 books were very solid 4/5 stars and I’m impressed by the detailed world building and great character arcs. I can’t wait to find out how this all ends.

These are the 10 books I’m looking forward to the most in the last quarter of the year. Are any of these on your list, too? Did I miss any? Let me know!

Thank you for reading. I will talk to you all soon!

Most Anticipated Releases of the Third Quarter of 2020

Hi! This time I didn’t like when I said I’ll speak to you soon. July means we’re entering the third quarter of the year, which in turn means it’s time for my quarterly new releases post. These are my most anticipated releases for the months of July, August and September (for UK paperbacks mostly, which are my preferred editions).

Burn Our Bodies Down by Rory Power

Release date: July 7th

Burn Our Bodies Down is another queer mystery/thriller/horror from Rory Power. I really loved Wilder Girls, so I’m looking forward to picking this one up. It follows Margot, a girl who was raised by her mother alone, who decides to look for her family and ends up in her mother’s hometown, where she realises her mother left for a reason. What reason? No clue, but it sounds mysterious and a bit spooky and I’m all here for it.

The Ship of Shadows by Maria Kuzniar

Release date: July 16th

This beauty is a Middle Grade story about pirates, if you couldn’t tell by the cover. As a sidenote, can anyone explain to me how MG books are consistently so stunning? I don’t know exactly what the book is about other than it has female pirates, but honestly that alone is good enough for me. I will be reading it and reviewing it for you very soon, because I’m on a tour for it!

The Black Kids by Christina Hammonds Reeds

Release date: August 4th

Guess who got approved for an e-arc of this? I couldn’t be happier. It’s a coming of age story set during the Rodney King Riots in 1992 Los Angeles. I’m not going to pretend I know anything about that part of Black American history, but I’m looking forward to reading a book set during it and educating myself on the subject, too, and most importantly support a debut author.

I Killed Zoe Spanos by Kit Frick

Release date: August 5th

So… I included this in my last most anticipated releases post, but I think it got pushed back? All I know I can’t get it until August and it sucks because I really want to read it now. It’s a YA thriller, it has a podcast element (which I loved in Sadie, so I’m intrigued) and murder mystery element and honestly just sounds fantastic.

Fable by Adrienne Young

Release date: September 1st

I read Sky in the Deep by Adrienne Young and ever since, I know I want to read everything by her (don’t ask why I haven’t picked up her second book yet and don’t shame me further, please). Fable is a story about a girl trying to escape a dangerous island on which her father left her and taking her rightful place on her father’s crew. It sounds like a great YA fantasy, and the cover is to die for.

The Reckless Afterlife of Harriet Stoker by Lauren James

Release date: September 3rd

I’ll be honest with you, I don’t know much about it other than it’s a paranormal fantasy where all of the characters are ghosts with different powers? Doesn’t that sound fanfuckingtastic? It has (supposedly) the found family trope, which is one of my FAVOURITES! I’m pumped.

Legendborn by Tracy Deonn

Release date: September 15th

Another YA fantasy that sounds amazing! From what I know of it it’s a modern King Arthur retelling of sorts with heaps and heaps of representation, and… demons. The synopsis says it’s in the vein of City of Bones (and though I recognise it might not be a compliment for many and TMI is not a masterpiece of any sorts, I kind of understand what they mean, by marketing it as such), which lets me believe it’ll be addictive af. Also, the cover… what a stunning book!

That is all for this post. I’m sure there are many more terrific books being released in the next 3 months, so if you feel like sharing some of your most anticipated releases in the comments below, please do – my TBR might not need more books, but I certainly do.

Thanks for reading!