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!

Wench by Maxine Kaplan – A Review

Hello, my dears! I hope you’re doing well. I’m here to talk about a book that came out today – Wench by Maxine Kaplan. Happy book birthday, Wench.

Wench by Maxine Kaplan
  • Publication date: January 19th 2020
  • Publisher: Abrams
  • Genre: Fantasy

A funny, fiercely feminist YA epic fantasy—following the adventures of a tavern wench

 

Tanya has worked at her tavern since she was able to see over the bar. She broke up her first fight at 11. By the time she was a teenager she knew everything about the place, and she could run it with her eyes closed. She’d never let anyone—whether it be a drunkard or a captain of the queen’s guard—take advantage of her. But when her guardian dies, she might lose it all: the bar, her home, her purpose in life. So she heads out on a quest to petition the queen to keep the tavern in her name—dodging unscrupulous guards, a band of thieves, and a powerful, enchanted feather that seems drawn to her. Fast-paced, magical, and unapologetically feminist, Wench is epic fantasy like you’ve never seen it before.

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

I got approved for this one a few months ago and was very excited to pick it up. A funny epic fantasy about a tavern wench that was, I quote, “unapologetically feminist”? Sign me up! What happened, you ask? The blurb lied…

There are many things I didn’t like about Wench. While the blurb promised so much, I didn’t find the book funny, nor particularly feminist. It was a fantasy, sure, but I wouldn’t call it epic… in any meaning of the word.

The biggest issue I had was the world building and magic system – two key elements that really shape any fantasy story. While the author clearly knew what her world was like, she didn’t educate the reader at all. There is no explanation of the world, kingdom name, basic geography, or politics. Things get mentioned every now and then in an offhand way, as if the reader should already know it all. I’m not sure if the author chose this method not to fall into the trap of “telling instead of showing”, but honestly I’d rather be told. I would appreciate a full scope of the world instead of having to guess things and piece them together.

I had the same issue with the magic system. Only the very basic info was given to us – nothing beyond the fact that magic is possible but creates “junkoff”. Can everyone do magic? Is it learned? Are you born with it? What can it actually do? No clue. It’s a fantasy novel – explain the main elements, please.

If those two were done better (I’m not even saying done right), it could’ve been a 3 star. But on top of all of this the cast of characters was just too big and hence they weren’t really developed at all. The relationships felt forced, I kept forgetting who was meant to be who because their personalities bled into one… I have nothing good to say about Tanya, or any other characters whose names I already forgot.

I think the efforts were definitely there, and people who care more about the plot in a vaguely fantastical setting would enjoy it a lot more than me. Ultimately Wench didn’t work for me, sadly, as I looked forward to what seemed like a new and fresh fantasy.

⭐⭐

Can anyone explain star rating is not a thing on the WordPress app while it is in the browser?

Anyway… thank you for reading. Don’t let my bad review stop you from reading the book if it sounds interesting to you.

Talk soon!

House of Salt and Sorrows by Erin A. Craig – A Review

Hi! It’s time for the first review of 2021.

Let’s take a moment to appreciate the lovely briefcase I got right before Christmas in a charity shop for… 5.50! It’s probably the best deal and purchase I made in all my nearly 28 years on this Earth. Also, before I move onto the review, let’s do a little self promo – if you like this photo, I have an instagram account full of them! I would be over the moon if you considered following me there. My handle is the same – imfullybooked!

Okay, now it’s review time!

House of Salt and Sorrows by Erin A. Craig
  • Publication date: August 6th 2019
  • Publisher: Delacorte Press
  • Genre: YA Fantasy/Retelling/Horror

In a manor by the sea, twelve sisters are cursed.

Annaleigh lives a sheltered life at Highmoor, a manor by the sea, with her sisters, their father, and stepmother. Once they were twelve, but loneliness fills the grand halls now that four of the girls’ lives have been cut short. Each death was more tragic than the last—the plague, a plummeting fall, a drowning, a slippery plunge—and there are whispers throughout the surrounding villages that the family is cursed by the gods.

Disturbed by a series of ghostly visions, Annaleigh becomes increasingly suspicious that the deaths were no accidents. Her sisters have been sneaking out every night to attend glittering balls, dancing until dawn in silk gowns and shimmering slippers, and Annaleigh isn’t sure whether to try to stop them or to join their forbidden trysts. Because who—or what—are they really dancing with?

When Annaleigh’s involvement with a mysterious stranger who has secrets of his own intensifies, it’s a race to unravel the darkness that has fallen over her family—before it claims her next.

Oh boy, did this book take me on a rollercoaster!

I’m not sure how to articulate my feelings towards House of Salt and Sorrows. On one hand, I was sure it would be a 5 star read until about 35% in, and then after partial redemption about 65% in. And on the other hand… everything that happened in between those times was just so disjointed from the rest of the story and hence jarring, and I can’t with good conscience give it anything more than 3 stars.

The story grabbed me from the start. I didn’t know what to expect, I had no clue what it was really about, other than 12 sisters who kept dying one by one, and I genuinely didn’t know it was a retelling (nor do I know the original story). It would probably be wiser for me to read the blurb beyond the first 2 sentences, but I like going into things blindly. The book opens with a funeral, which really set up the atmosphere, and the elements of mystery and possible supernatural elements had me super intriguing. It really seemed like my cup of tea. Until…

I am not sure what happened around 35% in. The atmosphere and pacing changed. The overall mood of the story changed. What started out dark and moody, turned into fluffy adventure and love story. Spooky supernatural elements disappeared. It really had me confused – I wasn’t sure what I was reading anymore. The feel I got from it at the start of atmospheric, ghosty mystery changed. And then when I was losing hope, it changed again! And again.

I would definitely enjoy it a lot more has it stayed with one mood, and didn’t jump around so much, undecided what it actually was. I think some of the ideas were fantastic. As was a lot of the execution. I loved all of the Thaumas sisters and I really cared about them all. But what grabbed me at the start just didn’t carry through the book. Twists and turns are great, but when they keep the same tone. The book is marketed as a YA horror, but a lot of it doesn’t read like horror at all. It made the ending feel super disjointed. I feel like the author tried to do too much in 400 pages. It’s a shame.

I’ll be picking the authors other book once it comes out, as I think she’s a skilled writer. Hopefully that one will work for me more.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Have you read this one? What did you think? Do you agree with me, or did you love it? Let me know down below.

Thank you so much for reading, and apologies for the shameless promo at the start.

Until the next one!

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.

September Wrap Up

Hi! It took me forever to sit down and write this post. I was going to start October strong and ended up not posting for a week… typical!

Anyway… introductions are hard and I’m not the best at them. Here’s all the books I read in September, stats, and all the other good things.

  • Number of books read: 7
  • Number of pages read: 2978
  • Average star rating: 4.1 stars
  • TBR at the start of the month: 46
  • Books added: 6
  • Books read: 1
  • Current TBR: 51

As you can see I went a bit crazy buying books… and not reading them. It’s already a trend in October also. What can I say… everyone knows collecting books and reading books are two different hobbies.

Fable by Adrienne Young

I have a full review up for Fable here if you fancy checking it out, but to give you my quick thoughts – I thought the beginning up until about the halfway point dragged like crazy and I considered DNFing it. The ending made up for it slightly.

🌟🌟🌟

Into The Bright Unknown by Rae Carson

I have loved the first two books in this series, but this finale disappointed me slightly. It didn’t feel as eventful and high stakes as the first two books, and the ending wasn’t my favourite. That being said I still very much enjoyed it. It just didn’t wow me.

🌟🌟🌟🌟

The Dragon Republic by R.F. Kuang

I listened to this one on audio and thoroughly enjoyed it. This trilogy is proving to be a very well thought out and executed fantasy series. I think The Dragon Republic was as good as The Poppy War, just as dark, gritty and violent. The middle meandered a bit too much for me, hence docking a star. I cannot wait to finish the series.

🌟🌟🌟🌟

The Beast and the Bethany by Jack Meggitt-Phillips

What a wonderful read! I’ve given my thoughts on it already here so I’ll refrain from repeating myself.

🌟🌟🌟🌟

Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery

I have finally reread Anne of Green Gables last month (after I’ve bought myself a matching set of those covers) and it was just as great and magical as I remembered. Anne is honestly my spirit animal. I laughed, I cried… Gilbert Blythe is to this day deserving of the biggest fictional crush title (jeez, that sounds creppy sice he’s young in this book, but I don’t mean it in THAT way).

🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

The Inheritance Games by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

I don’t want to sound like a broken record. I have a review for this YA gem, too, right here. I was very pleasantly surprised by it, it doesn’t happen often that a YA mystery inspires any more than a meh reaction from me.

🌟🌟🌟🌟

Why I’m No Longer Talking To White People About Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge

And lastly, I actually read a non-fiction! Well… listened to a non-fiction. I think it’s a really important read, one that opened my eyes to a lot of things related to race, and through a different lens too, as it gives a British narrative rather than an American one. I would definitely recommend giving this one a read if you are trying to educate yourself more on the subject of race and racism and working on not only how to not be racist, but anti racist.

🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

And that is all for today. I’m sorry if the formatting of this is weird – it’s the first time I’m posting from my phone and I’m not sure how everything works in app (hence the star emojis rather than rating – I’ve no idea how to add that).

As always, thank you for reading and until the next time!

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!

August Wrap Up

Hi! I am finally back after an unintentional hiatus! My last post was the last month’s wrap up… I have not even been around to read your blogs and for that I sincerely apologise.

I moved houses! I spent most of August packing, cleaning, moving then unpacking and cleaning, and slowly but surely covering my whole body in bruises. Now that it’s done, though, I am hopefully back to blogging semi regularly and reading more. Let’s get into my stats and you’ll know what I mean.

  • Number of books read: 7
  • Number of pages read: 2815
  • Average star rating: 3.8
  • TBR at the end of July: 48
  • Books added: 2
  • Books read: 4
  • Current TBR: 46 (not quite, as I already bought 2 books this month, but shhhh…)

The Black Kids by Christina Hammonds Reed

I think this book explores some great topics and is an important read – especially right now. It opened my eyes to a time in American history I didn’t know about. I liked the characters and the storyline, but the narration style and the writing weren’t my favourite. There was just something about it that made the read quite slow. Or maybe it was my reading slump…?

Rating: 4 out of 5.
The Night Country by Melissa Albert

The Night Country was one of my most anticipated books of this year and it didn’t disappoint. I listened to it on audio, because with the move happening, it was quite difficult to find time to physically read (you’ll see that all over this wrap up). The Night Country was everything I wanted from a follow up and conclusion to The Hazel Wood. It was deliciously weird and spooky and I loved every second of it.

Rating: 5 out of 5.
The Black Flamingo by Dean Atta

The Black Flamingo is the only physical book I got to this month. It was a beautiful and quick read. I don’t usually read books written in verse (poetry is a hit or miss for me, and so books written in verse didn’t always hold any appeal to me), so I didn’t know what to expect, but honestly after reading this one I want to pick up more of them. I loved everything about this book, from the first page to last. I will definitely read more from Dean Atta in the future.

Rating: 5 out of 5.
Twisted Fates by Danielle Rollins

I am low key obsessed with this series. The first book really took me by surprise (whoever marketed it did it wrong and that is the only reason why EVERYONE and their mother isn’t talking about this book – and why I only picked it up by accident) and the sequel killed me. Dorothy is definitely one of my favourite heroines ever. I am in awe of the story arc and I need more. (P.S. I also listened to this on audio).

Rating: 5 out of 5.
The Toll by Neal Schusterman

I was searching for books on my physical TBR that were available on audio from my library and I finally finished the Scythe series! As always, Neal Schusterman didn’t disappoint. I didn’t quite enjoy this one as the previous two – it lacked something I can’t quite put my finger on – but it was overall a very smart, well written and great book. I’d definitely recommend this series.

Rating: 4 out of 5.
All Your Twisted Secrets by Diana Urban

No one is more devastated that I didn’t enjoy this book more than me. I was so hyped to read it and got it out of my library on audio (of course) and ended up very disappointed. The premise was interesting and the dual timeline of the narration would’ve worked if everything else wasn’t so cliched and predictable. I didn’t like the characters and couldn’t relate to them. I did everything in power to invest myself in the story but just couldn’t. I’m sure the book will work for some – sadly, it just didn’t work for me.

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.
Sawkill Girls by Claire Legrand

Lastly, also from my library and on audio, and also a disappointment – Sawkill Girls. I’ve seen a lot of comparison between this book and Wilder Girls – from the obvious similar title, through creepy vibes, island setting and queer girls – I thought it was yet another book that was written for me specifically (jokes). I absolutely loved Wilder Girls but Sawkill Girls didn’t live up to my expectations. The queerness seemed forced, I didn’t much care for the story or the characters and it wasn’t spooky at all, even though it tried hard to be. If you were to only pick up one – go for Wilder Girls.

Rating: 2 out of 5.

And that is all for today. As you can see, if not the audiobooks I wouldn’t have read much at all this month. Have you read any of these? What did you think?

Thanks for reading! I’ll talk to you soon.

Lowest Rated Books on my TBR

Hi! I’ve been slacking off on posting (and working and reading, too), but I thought, in the vein of my previous posts where I discussed all of the highest and lowest rated books I’ve read, I’d write one about the books on my TBR, too!

From the lowest to the highest rated ones (according to Goodreads), here they are:

Sam & Ilsa’s Last Hurrah by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan

Goodreads rating: 2.83

Ouch! This author duo really can’t catch a break, can they? Sam and Ilsa’s last hurrah is about twins throwing a New Years party, where each can invite 3 guests and not tell the other who’s invited until they arrive. The amount of 1 and 2 star ratings on Goodreads I’ve skimmed for this book is staggering, and it really put me off reading it. I will give it a try, but probably closer to New Year’s as I hate reading seasonal books… off-season?

Looker by Laura Sims

Goodreads rating: 3.08

Honestly, I have no clue what this one is about or why exactly I added it to my TBR (I don’t know when either), but a quick read of the synopsis tells me it’s a mystery/thriller about a woman stalking a famous actress. Apparently it’s not very good. But it’s short, and Mona Awad (the author of Bunny) thought it was “a perfect dark pleasure” so I might still give it a go.

Marly’s Ghost by David Levithan

Goodreads rating: 3.19

Poor David! So many of his books have terribly low ratings. What does that say about my taste in books (since he’s one of my favourite contemporary authors)? Marly’s Ghost is a sort of a retelling of A Christmas Carol, but set around Valentine’s. I have it on my physical TBR and was going to read it in February, but didn’t get to it and now I feel like it’s off-season again and I’d rather wait until next year. Is that silly?

Family Trust by Kathy Wang

Goodreads rating: 3.23

Okay, I was confused about Looker, but at least mystery/thriller is a genre I read quite often, so it’s somewhat understandable that it was on my TBR. This one, thouh? I have no idea why I added it, what it’s about and honestly, I don’t care to find out (I still did, and it’s time to say bye to it, because I don’t see myself picking it up willingly).

84K by Claire North

Goodreads rating: 3.27

Claire North seems to be a polarising author. I’ve read 3 of her books and liked 2 of them, and I would consider her to be a writer I like, so I’m still very interested to read 84K. It’s a sci-fi dystopian story where people can pay off their crimes and get away with them (is it really a dystopia, then?) It’s been sitting on my shelf for a while, too, so I should really pick it up soon and see how I feel about it myself.

Upon a Burning Throne by Ashok K. Banker

Goodreads rating: 3.32

Sometimes I add books to my TBR based off a vague description I hear… Like this one. I know it’s an epic fantasy and it’s Indian inspired and by an Indian author. It has to do with kingdoms and taking over the throne, maybe? Not terribly unique, but still something I could potentially want to read, though reviews say it’s long and slow.

The Antidote by Shelley Sackier

Goodreads rating: 3.33

I admit, I might’ve added this one to my TBR purely based on the cover, because, let’s face it, it’s stunning! The Antidote is a YA fantasy set in a world where magic is forbidden and the main character (who obviously has magic) has to save her best friend (and the crown prince) with it. Does this sound absolutely typical? Yes. Will I read it, still? That’s a maybe – it’s a standalone, which appeals to me a lot. I’ve started too many series!

All of this is True by Lygia Day Penaflor

Goodreads rating: 3.36

A YA mystery – it was bound to pop up on this list! As far as I can remember this one is about a group of friends who befriend an author and she ends up writing a book about their lives and drama ensues. It sounds good to me, I’m not sure why the ratings are so average. I wish my library had it…

Girl Gone Viral by Arvin Ahmadi

Goodreads rating: 3.36

I had no idea what this is about, so I read the synopsis and it’s giving me major Ready Player One vibes. That, in turn, leaves a bad taste in my mouth. Hey, if you’re new here, I HATE Ready Player One. This is coming off the TBR straight away, sorry.

I’m Thinking of Ending Things by Iain Reid

Goodreads rating: 3.42

Last but not least, this is a mystery/thriller/horror and it’s meant to be weird, that’s why I added it to my TBR. I don’t know much about it and I don’t want to, because I prefer to go into these kinds of books blind. I kinda forgot about the existence of it until now, and it made me want to put down everything I’m currently reading and pick this up instead. So, I guess, thanks me for looking through my books on Goodreads and having this fantastic idea for a post – I owe me one!

Th-th-th-that’s all, folks! As always, thanks for reading! I’ll speak to you when I’m a year older (it’s my birthday in 2 days and let’s face it, I probably won’t post 2 days in a row).

The Wrongful Death by Kenneth B. Andersen – A Review

Hi! It’s my stop on The Write Reads tour for the third book in Kenneth B. Andersen’s series. I’ve reviews for the first and second books, if you’d like to check those out first. So… without further ado, as we all know how bad I’m at introductions…

The Wrongful Death by Kenneth B. Andersen
  • Publication date: April 20th 2009 (original)
  • Publisher: Host & Son
  • Genre: Fantasy

An unfortunate chain of events makes Philip responsible for the untimely death of the school bully Sam—the Devil’s original choice for an heir. Philip must return to Hell to find Sam and bring him back to life, so that fate can be restored. But trouble is stirring in Lucifer’s kingdom and not even Philip can imagine the strange and dark journey that awaits him. A journey that will take him through ancient underworlds and all the way to Paradise.

Thank you to the author for sending an e-copy of the book for a review, and for Dave at The Write Reads for putting together this tour.

I’ve grown to really love this series. As I’ve mentioned at the start of every review, it really took me by surprise. While books one and two were between middle grade and YA, at least for me, I feel like The Wrongful Death got a bit darker.

Philip got himself into Hell again! What’s new? This time, by a very unfortunate mix up, Philip’s friend (and ex tormentor) Sam ends up dead and lost in Hell. All because of Philip (and partially Satina). So he has to venture back to the underworld and find him before it’s too late.

As always, Philip was a great protagonist to read from. He remains extremely likeable throughout those books, and it was a real pleasure following him through his adventures. One of my favourites aspects of those books are times where Philip is looking for his dad – every time he sets foot in the underworld he thinks about him and tries to find a way to see him. I feel like it might be a big part of the plot in the later books. I was glad to see many supporting characters, especially Lucifer himself. He’s one of my absolute favourites.

Andersen managed to add even more depth into the already rich world, and we got to visit Heaven and meet god, as well as Hades in his underworld. Apart from the main plot, there is also a lot going on in Hell and the atmosphere gets darker with every chapter. It is quite apparent a big war is brewing, and I’m dying to find out more.

I always find it hard to review sequels and keep them spoiler free, and so they’re usually considerably shorter than other reviews. I found The Wrongful Death to be a bridge of sorts between Philip’s somewhat innocent adventures in Hell (though how innocent can they really be), and something darker and more sinister. I enjoyed it immensely and I can’t wait to continue with the series, and see where they lead.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Thank you for reading.

Follow the tags on Twitter to find more reviews from this tour, as a lot of lovely reviewers already posted theirs.

Incendiary by Zoraida Cordova – A Review

Hi! Happy release date to Incendiary by Zoraida Córdova. I was lucky enough to read an early copy, so here’s my review.

Incendiary by Zoraida Córdova
  • Publication date: April 28th 2020
  • Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
  • Genre: Fantasy

I am Renata Convida.

I have lived a hundred stolen lives.

Now I live my own.

Renata Convida was only a child when she was kidnapped by the King’s Justice and brought to the luxurious palace of Andalucia. As a Robari, the rarest and most feared of the magical Moria, Renata’s ability to steal memories from royal enemies enabled the King’s Wrath, a siege that resulted in the deaths of thousands of her own people.

Now Renata is one of the Whispers, rebel spies working against the crown and helping the remaining Moria escape the kingdom bent on their destruction. The Whispers may have rescued Renata from the palace years ago, but she cannot escape their mistrust and hatred–or the overpowering memories of the hundreds of souls she turned “hollow” during her time in the palace.

When Dez, the commander of her unit, is taken captive by the notorious Sangrado Prince, Renata will do anything to save the boy whose love makes her place among the Whispers bearable. But a disastrous rescue attempt means Renata must return to the palace under cover and complete Dez’s top secret mission. Can Renata convince her former captors that she remains loyal, even as she burns for vengeance against the brutal, enigmatic prince? Her life and the fate of the Moria depend on it.

But returning to the palace stirs childhood memories long locked away. As Renata grows more deeply embedded in the politics of the royal court, she uncovers a secret in her past that could change the entire fate of the kingdom–and end the war that has cost her everything.

Thank you to NetGalley for providing an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Incendiary is an introduction to Zoraida Córdova’s writing for me, even though I’ve had a few of her other books on my TBR for a while. This book has been hyped up for months and I requested it without really thinking I’ll get approved. Surprisingly, I did!

The plot had me intrigued, being loosely based on the Spanish Inquisition, with the main character having magic powers to steal people’s memories. It sounded right up my alley. Rebels, spies, magic – overall, my reading experience was positive.

The book throws you in the deep end from the start, giving very little explanation as to what is going on, which left me quite confused. I don’t usually like that in books, as I find it slows down the pace, because I’m constantly trying to figure out what’s happening. I needed a good while to get my bearings and be able to follow the story. But once I was in, I was hooked.

Renata, the main character, is a Robari, which means she can steal memories with a simple touch. It makes her a really powerful weapon. Kidnapped as a child by the king’s people and used for her magic, plagued by other people’s memories and not being able to remember her own, she finds it difficult to find her place in the world and it doesn’t change when she joins the Whispers, a group of rebel spies.

Though there are plenty of YA fantasies out there with a similar plot line, Incendiary was and enjoyable read and a solid first book to a series I’m sure I’ll love. The world building was rich, and I really loved the magic system, though I would definitely like to see how it works a bit better. I find YA books often lack the political intrigue (even if the plot centers around it, i.e. someone wants to take back the throne) and I’m glad that wasn’t the case with Incendiary.

Renata was not my favourite protagonist. On the contrary, I kind of disliked her, but it didn’t take away from my engagement with the story. Her story arc was interesting enough for me to keep reading, even though her decisions annoyed me. None of the Whispers were particularly great, either, but I loved Leo and to my absolute surprise… Castian. It’s been a while since I’ve read a book where I was openly rooting for the antagonist.

The ending was really what warranted the rating, though I’ve called it to a T. It transformed from a solid book to a fast paced page-turner I love in fantasy. I don’t mind when stories are predictable (unless they’re mystery/thrillers) and the fact I knew the twist before it was revealed didn’t diminish my enjoyment in any way, it made me more excited to know what happens next.

I’m definitely going to continue with the series.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Will you be picking up this book?

Thank you for reading!