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.

Should Reviewers Charge For Their Reviews – A Discussion

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.

Every Vow You Break by Peter Swanson – A Review

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!

Every Vow You Break by Peter Swanson
  • Publication date: March 18th 2021
  • Publisher: Faber Faber
  • Genre: Thriller

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?

The Galaxy, and the Ground Within by Becky Chambers – A Review

Hi. As promised, I’m here to post the last reviews of the Wayfarer’s series and then we’re done and I have maaaany books to talk about. So bear with me, please.

The Galaxy, and the Ground Within by Becky Chambers
  • Publication date: February 18th 2021
  • Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
  • Genre: Sci-fi

With no water, no air, and no native life, the planet Gora is unremarkable. The only thing it has going for it is a chance proximity to more popular worlds, making it a decent stopover for ships traveling between the wormholes that keep the Galactic Commons connected. If deep space is a highway, Gora is just your average truck stop.

At the Five-Hop One-Stop, long-haul spacers can stretch their legs (if they have legs, that is), and get fuel, transit permits, and assorted supplies. The Five-Hop is run by an enterprising alien and her sometimes helpful child, who work hard to provide a little piece of home to everyone passing through.

When a freak technological failure halts all traffic to and from Gora, three strangers—all different species with different aims—are thrown together at the Five-Hop. Grounded, with nothing to do but wait, the trio—an exiled artist with an appointment to keep, a cargo runner at a personal crossroads, and a mysterious individual doing her best to help those on the fringes—are compelled to confront where they’ve been, where they might go, and what they are, or could be, to each other.

Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for providing me with an eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

I am so very sad this series is over. And I think it ended the best way possible.

I’m not going to give it all 5 stars for a simple reason… although once again, I got super invested into the characters we followed in this one (especially Pei), I will forever love the Wayfarer’s crew the most – Lovey included. Those will have my heart for the eternity.

But… saying that, I think this one is only half a step behind the second installment for me (the first being the best one, still) because I really loved everything about it. I know it makes no sense, but my ratings are really based on my feelings, rather than a rating made up of different, smaller aspects – like, CAWPILE. I might read a book that is perfectly written and has a riveting plot and vivid characters, but still rate it 4 stars, because it didn’t evoke a certain feeling in me. But I digress…

I think there are still places, characters and situations this series could explore, but I respect Chambers’ decision to end it here. It was a lovely ending. One that made a full circle, of sorts, with Pei going to visit Ashby in the end.

This book focused a lot on family and it was once again a very cosy read, even though many things that happened in it were not cosy by definition. It spoke of mother-child, father-child and sibling relationships and did it in a lovely way, once again showing the “humanity” in each species and how no matter where we come from, there are so many things we can relate to and agree on.

I see myself rereading this series in the future. After marathoning all 4 books in a short period of time, Chambers became one of my favourite authors, and I will be picking up everything by her. So, even if you’re not a big sci fi fan, I think this series could be for you, and I know I’m repeating myself at this point, but I really mean it.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Thank you for sticking around! I hope you’re doing well, and I’ll speak to you soon!

Record of a Spaceborn Few by Becky Chambers – A Review

Hi! I decided to continue with my Wayfarers’ reviews today, as I basically marathoned the series. So here’s what I thought about the Record of a Spaceborn Few!

Record of a Spaceborn Few by Becky Chambers
  • Publication date: July 24th 2018
  • Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
  • Genre: Sci-fi

Centuries after the last humans left Earth, the Exodus Fleet is a living relic, a place many are from but few outsiders have seen. Humanity has finally been accepted into the galactic community, but while this has opened doors for many, those who have not yet left for alien cities fear that their carefully cultivated way of life is under threat.

Tessa chose to stay home when her brother Ashby left for the stars, but has to question that decision when her position in the Fleet is threatened.

Kip, a reluctant young apprentice, itches for change but doesn’t know where to find it.

Sawyer, a lost and lonely newcomer, is just looking for a place to belong.

When a disaster rocks this already fragile community, those Exodans who still call the Fleet their home can no longer avoid the inescapable question:

What is the purpose of a ship that has reached its destination?

I’ve gushed about this series in my previous two reviews just to be slightly disappointed by this book. I think it did a lot of great things, but ultimately, I didn’t care as much about the characters in this one, as in the first two.

I think my enjoyment of this series stems from the cosiness of it and the emotional attachment, which this one was lacking. Tessa, even though she’s Ashby’s sister, wasn’t someone I cared about before, and so I wasn’t much invested in her story line. Kip was probably the most interesting, as we got a perspective into a life of a normal teenager, which none of the other books explored. As for Sawyer… I wanted to enjoy his POV more but before I did, it was cut short. The book definitely did get better in the last third, but it was too late for me to connect and care – by the time I sort of did, it ended.

Becky Chambers’ writing was immaculate, as always, and the story itself was engaging enough for me to still enjoy the read. Like I mentioned before, it explores a lot of perspectives we haven’t gotten before. Sawyer is an immigrant and an outsider and the way he’s treated reflects a lot how we humans treat people we think “don’t belong”/ I think Chambers’ ideas are stellar and the way she approached each book was quite unique, and the fact I am rating it lower than other ones is down to personal preference.

I think Record of a Spaceborn Few is the weakest book in the Wayfarers’ series, but still a good read. Maybe upon rereading it I’ll think differently and be able to take more out of it. But for now…

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

I have one more review left and then I swear I’ll talk about other books. As always, thank you for reading/ It means the world to me. Talk soon, stay safe!

February 2021 Wrap Up

Hi! How is it March already? I can’t believe it we’re almost through a QUARTER of 2021. Madness.

February, although short, was a great reading month volume wise. I’ve read 10 books. Let’s look at stats!

  • Number of books read: 10
  • Number of pages read: 3241
  • Average star rating: 3.6
  • Physical TBR at the start of the month: 46
  • Books read: 3
  • Physical TBR: 43
  • DNF: 1

A Closed and Common Orbit by Becky Chambers

Full review here.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Recursion by Blake Crouch

Blake Crouch’s books always make me feel stupid. It’s not a bad thing. They’re just so well thought out and complex, it takes all my brain power to understand them. Recursion was no different. I enjoyed it a lot, as it deals with time travel, and we know how I feel about that! It was the right amount of mind bendy and confusing, but still engaging.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Every Vow You Break by Peter Swanson

Full review to come soon. The idea was better than the execution which I find to be a thing for me a lot when it comes to thrillers. Still quite enjoyed the read.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Record of a Spaceborn Few by Becky Chambers

In my opinion the weakest book in the Wayfarers’ series. Full review to come in a few days!

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Cinderella is Dead by Kalynn Bayron

A quite enjoyable Cinderella retelling. I appreciated the representation, though I think it read quite young and was predictable. One thing that definitely brought the rating down for me was the unnecessary “love triangle”.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Riot Baby by Tochi Onyebuchi

I loved the premise of this one more than the execution. It’s about a pair of siblings with super powers. I think it’s best to go into it not knowing anything else. Sadly, the transitions made it hard for me to follow and took me out of the story a lot.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Elantris by Brandon Sanderson

I don’t understand anyone who says this is Sanderson’s worst book. Ahem… Warbreaker? I found Elantris really enjoyable and I really grew to love all of the characters. And! Hoid!!!

Rating: 4 out of 5.

The Galaxy and the Ground Within by Becky Chambers

A full review to come. I found this to be a great and satisfying ending to an overall fantastic series.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Silver in the Wood by Emily Tesh

I don’t have much to say about this one at all. I didn’t love it, I didn’t hate it. I think it was perfectly fine for what it was, a whimsical story about magical forest creatures and it’s definitely to many people’s taste, just not exactly my thing. I don’t regret picking it up, I just really don’t have anything to say about it.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Marly’s Ghost by David Levithan

I jinxed myself when I said Levithan can do no wrong. Everything I picked up by him since was not at all what I expected and I’ve been disappointed. Marly’s Ghost was predictable and had nothing that set it apart. Yes, I still do like Levithan’s writing, so I gave it 3 stars, even though objectively I think it deserves 2.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

How was your February? What’s the best book you read last month?

Thank you for reading. Talk soon!

A Closed and Common Orbit by Becky Chambers – A Review

Hi! Let’s skip the introduction. I’ve a review for you for the second book in the Wayfarers series today!

A Closed and Common Orbit by Becky Chambers
  • Publication date: 2016
  • Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
  • Genre: Sci-fi

Lovelace was once merely a ship’s artificial intelligence. When she wakes up in a new body, following a total system shut-down and reboot, she has no memory of what came before. As Lovelace learns to negotiate the universe and discover who she is, she makes friends with Pepper, an excitable engineer, who’s determined to help her learn and grow.

Together, Pepper and Lovey will discover that no matter how vast space is, two people can fill it together.

I didn’t realise this book wasn’t following the exact same characters as book one and I must admit, at the start I was bummed out. Just when I really fell in love with the crew of the Wayfarer, I had to leave them? Ahhh… My disappointment didn’t last for long, though.

I think I still love the first book a tad bit more, but this one is so close behind it’s incredible. Once again, even though it’s not necessarily a happy story, it’s one that is cosy and inviting. Chambers really lets us get to know Lovelace and Pepper and shows us what it is that make them tick, while still building onto the already rich world set up in the first book. We learn so much so effortlessly. And yes, there is a plot to it, but it takes the back burner while we really delve deep into the characters and their lives.

Lovey is a character I found incredibly fascinating in the first book, as she’s a sentient AI, with a personality and feelings, and I appreciated the way Chambers approached the subject. Lovey/Sidra really grows into herself throughout the book, and I was very invested in her journey.

Similarly, Pepper’s story is also really well done, and follows the character from childhood to when we know her, which inadvertently shows off more of the galaxy, laws, customs and all the good world building stuff that’s super intriguing.

Overall, A Closed and Common Orbit is a fantastic, engaging and warm story that I’m sure non sci-fi fans would also enjoy!

Thank you so much for reading! I’ll be back with a review for the 3rd and 4th book soon!

Take care!

The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers – A Review

Hi there! We’re nearing a year of the pandemic in Ireland and I’ve gotten so fed up and uninspired, hence the lack of posts. Thankfully, I’m reading a fair bit, still. I thought to try and combat the bad feelings, I’ll post about a book I’ve read recently and LOVED, and spread the good vibes instead. Also – a new book in this series is out tomorrow (and I’m currently in the middle of it)! What better time to do this?

If you couldn’t tell from the title, this is for The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers. Let’s go!

The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers
  • Publication date: 2014
  • Published: Hodder & Stoughton
  • Genre: Sci-fi

When Rosemary Harper joins the crew of the Wayfarer, she isn’t expecting much. The Wayfarer, a patched-up ship that’s seen better days, offers her everything she could possibly want: a small, quiet spot to call home for a while, adventure in far-off corners of the galaxy, and distance from her troubled past. But Rosemary gets more than she bargained for with the Wayfarer. The crew is a mishmash of species and personalities, from Sissix, the friendly reptillian pilot, to Kizzy and Jenks, the constantly sparring engineers who keep the ship running. Life on board is chaotic, but more or less peaceful – exactly what Rosemary wants. Until the crew are offered the job of a lifetime: the chance to build a hyperspace tunnel to a distant planet. They’ll earn enough money to live comfortably for years…if they survive the long trip through war-torn interstellar space without endangering any of the fragile alliances that keep the galaxy peaceful. But Rosemary isn’t the only person on board with secrets to hide, and the crew will soon discover that space may be vast, but spaceships are very small indeed.

I wish I could give this book all the stars in the world! 2021 barely started and I know for sure that this book will end up in my top 10 reads.

I loved every second of this book, every character and all that happened in it. I shed a tear at the end. If that doesn’t describe my feelings enough, I don’t know how to do it better.

I’ve read Chambers before, although only one book, so I knew I liked her style, or what I’ve seen of it. But this was something else. She managed to write the cosiest, warmest sci-fi book I’ve ever read. Found family trope is my absolute favourite, and it’s a big part of this book. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not all sunshine and rainbows, but there’s something about it that makes it a great comfort read.

It’s definitely a more character than plot driven story. Chambers describes different species and their culture with such ease you believe they really exist. She mentiones their struggles, differences, politics and by it creates such vivid, multidimensional (no pun intended), real characters that feel both human and alien. They’re effortlessly diverse. I fell a bit in love with every crew member of the Wayfarer and I cared about them so deeply, and this might be weird to say but they almost felt like friends.

I was not once bored, not once disappointed. There’s nothing I would change about this book. I think it’s a story that would be approachable for non sci-fi readers, because it’s about so much more than space, aliens etc. You don’t have to like and understand these things, because they’re not the main focus. Anything that is alien to the reader, Chambers describes beautifully, and all the other aspects of it focus on the relationships and lives of the characters, which is something all readers look for regardless of the genre.

I’m so glad I finally picked up the series, it was a really special read. I would definitely recommend it to everyone who enjoys beautiful writing and well crafted characters.

Have you read this one? Let me know what you thought, I’d love to know!

As always, thank you so much for reading! Talk soon.

Game Changer by Neal Schusterman – A Review

Hi! Happy Tuesday. It’s review time!

I usually post reviews ARC reviews on the publication date but it does make a bit more sense to post them before, to give people time to decide whether the book is for them or not, right? From now on I might try to aim to post a week in advance. So, here we are.

Game Changer by Neal Schusterman
  • Publication date: February 9th 2021
  • Publisher: Quill Tree Books
  • Genre: Sci-fi

All it takes is one hit on the football field, and suddenly Ash’s life doesn’t look quite the way he remembers it.

Impossible though it seems, he’s been hit into another dimension—and keeps on bouncing through worlds that are almost-but-not-really his own.

The changes start small, but they quickly spiral out of control as Ash slides into universes where he has everything he’s ever wanted, universes where society is stuck in the past…universes where he finds himself looking at life through entirely different eyes.

And if he isn’t careful, the world he’s learning to see more clearly could blink out of existence…

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

After reading and loving Schusterman’s Scythe trilogy, I was very excited to pick up this new release by him. Sci-fi is my jam and alternate realities a buzzword that alone makes me want to read a book, and with the pleasant previous experience with the author – I thought it was a recipe for a success.

I did like the general idea and premise for the book. Although I know nothing about football, nor do I have a clue how the game works, other than people slamming into each other, the sport part of the story didn’t put me off. I understood as much as I needed – Ash, the main character, gets slammed into an alternate reality during a game and things become quite messed up very fast. Sounds good.

The book was a breeze to get through. I liked the writing, the tone and the humour. Ashley was a fine protagonist, someone who’s point of view I enjoyed for most of the book. He wasn’t my favourite – that spot is dedicated to the Edwards, but I didn’t dislike him by any means. So why is the book a 3 star?

Now, I’m going to start by saying I think what Schusterman tried to do was valid and it’s needed in YA, but the way it was done just didn’t bring anything new to the table or have any particular merit in my eyes. The alternate realities bring up discussions about racism, sexism and homophobia, to describe it broadly. Yes, those issues are valid ones to talk about in YA literature and by all means should be discussed more and more, but maybe in a way that sounds less rehearsed and preachy. After all, Ash is a white, straight male in the first reality. His school is diverse racially and so is his friend circle, but he admits on many occasions how ignorant he’s been in the past and how his Black best friend called him out in those times. Ash admits that he has a lot to learn, yet we don’t see him learning much. I think the book misses the point completely and brings up issues and discussions without being willing to delve into all of them with the depth they deserve.

That being said, I didn’t dislike the book. I just think that it could’ve done more and done it better.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Have you read this one yet? Or is it on your radar?

Thank you for reading! Talk to you soon.

January 2021 Wrap Up

Hi, lovelies! How are you all doing? I honestly cannot believe the first month of 2021 is behind us. Where did the time go?

As always, it is time for a wrap up. This past month I have read… 9 books. It’s a pretty decent start to the year, if I do say so myself. Of course, part of me is asking, but why not 10? But let’s ignore that part completely.

This is how my reading went in January with the stats being as follows:

  • Number of books read: 9
  • Number of pages read: 3651
  • Average star rating: 3.5
  • Physical TBR at the start of the month: 50
  • Books read: 2
  • Physical TBR: 46

Middlegame by Seanan McGuire

Sadly, although I expected to love this one, I didn’t. I found it needlessly confusing, the pacing all over the place and the characters underdeveloped. Too bad, because I did like the premise and Seanan McGuire’s writing.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

House of Salt and Sorrows by Erin A. Craig

Full review here.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Wench by Maxine Kaplan

Full review here.

Rating: 2 out of 5.

The Stone Sky by N.K. Jemisin

Very solid ending to a very solid story. I think what N.K. Jemisin created in this series is super fresh and intricate. The finale didn’t disappoint, although I think book 1 is still my favourite.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

The Burning God by R.F. Kuang

This one blew me away. I didn’t think Ms Kuang would go THERE… but she did! If you know, you know. If you haven’t picked up The Poppy War yet – do it! If you like morally grey characters, good magic systems and violent, brutal fantasy books – it’s for you.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers

A full review to come, but know this – this book has my whole heart. I loved it! It deserves ALL THE STARS in the world.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Game Changer by Neal Schusterman

I’ve a review for this scheduled very soon, too (as it’s releasing soon) so I’ll talk about what worked for me and what didn’t, and why I’m giving it such a middle of the road rating.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Daughters of Nri by Reni K. Amayo

Sadly, I thought this one was quite forgettable. I found the story, characters and the world building… lacking. It definitely had lots of potential, I picked it up because it sounded intriguing – but not one part of the story grabbed me. I wish it was longer – with the world more immersive and the characters fleshed out. I don’t think I’ll be continuing with the series.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Touch by Claire North

I like Clare North, but this is not my favourite book by her. It’s not my least favourite, either. Touch lies right in the middle, with a interesting, nuanced premise, very Claire Northesque writing (which is a compliment) and a satisfying ending that makes you forgive the confusion and pacing of the middle of the book. What can I say – it was fun! It was no Harry August, but it was fun.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

And that is it for my wrap up. Have you read any of these? How did your month go? And on a different note – do you like the new look of the blog?

I’ll talk to you very soon. Thank you for reading!