Top Ten Tuesday: Most Anticipated Books Releasing in the First Half of 2023

A new year means more new exciting releases to look out for!

Top 10 Tuesday was originally created by The Broke and the Bookish, but has now moved to That Artsy Reader Girl. If you’re interested in taking part click here.

Mysteries of Thorn Manor by Margaret Rogerson

I really enjoy Margaret Rogerson’s writing and Sorcery of Thorns was fantastic so I’m very happy that we get to see more from these characters.

In this sequel novella to Sorcery of Thorns, Elisabeth, Nathaniel, and Silas must unravel the magical trap keeping them inside Thorn Manor in time for their Midwinter Ball!

Elisabeth Scrivener is finally settling into her new life with sorcerer Nathaniel Thorn. Now that their demon companion Silas has returned, so has scrutiny from nosy reporters hungry for gossip about the city’s most powerful sorcerer and the librarian who stole his heart. But something strange is afoot at Thorn Manor: the estate’s wards, which are meant to keep their home safe, are acting up and forcibly trapping the Manor’s occupants inside. Surely it must be a coincidence that this happened just as Nathaniel and Elisabeth started getting closer to one another…

With no access to the outside world, Elisabeth, Nathaniel, and Silas – along with their new maid Mercy – will have to work together to discover the source of the magic behind the malfunctioning wards before they’re due to host the city’s Midwinter Ball. Not an easy task when the house is filled with unexpected secrets, and all Elisabeth can think about is kissing Nathaniel in peace. But when it becomes clear that the house, influenced by the magic of Nathaniel’s ancestors, requires a price for its obedience, Elisabeth and Nathaniel will have to lean on their connection like never before to set things right.

Reggie and Delilah’s Year of Falling by Elise Bryant

I don’t read a lot of contemporary YA these days but this sounds fun and it has migraine and dyslexia rep.

Delilah always keeps her messy, gooey insides hidden behind a wall of shrugs and yeah, whatevers. She goes with the flow—which is how she ends up singing in her friends’ punk band as a favor, even though she’d prefer to hide at the merch table.

Reggie is a D&D Dungeon Master and self-declared Blerd. He spends his free time leading quests and writing essays critiquing the game under a pseudonym, keeping it all under wraps from his disapproving family.

These two, who have practically nothing in common, meet for the first time on New Year’s Eve. And then again on Valentine’s Day. And then again on St. Patrick’s Day. It’s almost like the universe is pushing them together for a reason.

Delilah wishes she were more like Reggie—open about what she likes and who she is, even if it’s not cool. Except . . . it’s all a front. Reggie is just role-playing someone confident. The kind of guy who could be with a girl like Delilah.

As their holiday meetings continue, the two begin to fall for each other. But what happens once they realize they’ve each fallen for a version of the other that doesn’t really exist?

A Day of Fallen Night by Samantha Shannon

The Priory of the Orange Tree is one of my favourite books and I’m so glad the author decided to write more books set in this world.

The stunning, standalone prequel to the New York Times bestselling The Priory of the Orange Tree.

Tunuva Melim is a sister of the Priory. For fifty years, she has trained to slay wyrms – but none have appeared since the Nameless One, and the younger generation is starting to question the Priory’s purpose.

To the north, in the Queendom of Inys, Sabran the Ambitious has married the new King of Hróth, narrowly saving both realms from ruin. Their daughter, Glorian, trails in their shadow – exactly where she wants to be.

The dragons of the East have slept for centuries. Dumai has spent her life in a Seiikinese mountain temple, trying to wake the gods from their long slumber. Now someone from her mother’s past is coming to upend her fate.

When the Dreadmount erupts, bringing with it an age of terror and violence, these women must find the strength to protect humankind from a devastating threat.

Intricate and epic, Samantha Shannon sweeps readers back to the world of A Priory of the Orange Tree, showing us a course of events that shaped it for generations to come.

Read More »

December 2022 Wrap Up

The last wrap up of 2022! In the last month of the year, I finished two books, both of which I loved, so it was a pretty good month.

King of Scars by Leigh Bardugo (audiobook) ⭐⭐⭐⭐ – I just loved being back in the world of the Grishaverse, and Leigh Bardugo always writes a great story.

Make You Mine This Christmas by Lizzie Huxley-Jones (audiobook) ⭐⭐⭐⭐ – I rounded off the year with a Christmassy read! This book was super fun and entertaining, and hit the emotional beats really well too.

I got Master of Iron, the sequel to Blade of Secrets, for Christmas and I’m really excited to read this one.

I finally, finally, got back into writing in December. I’m working on a new version of an old project, and I’m 13,000 words in now, so slowly but surely making progress.

What books have you enjoyed this month? Chat with me in the comments!

Top Ten Tuesday: Favourite Books of 2022

It’s time to share my favourite books of 2022! From epic fantasies to romcoms, I read some excellent books this year.

Top 10 Tuesday was originally created by The Broke and the Bookish, but has now moved to That Artsy Reader Girl. If you’re interested in taking part click here.

Breathe and Count Back From Ten by Natalia Sylvester – This is undoubtedly my favourite book of the year. It was also my only five star read (what happened, 2022?!). I really connected with this book as a chronically ill person and found it a very emotional read.

The Councillor by E. J. Beaton – I wish this book was more well known because it was just so good. It’s full of intrigue and the audiobook has a fantastic narrator. Highly recommended if you enjoy political fantasy!

The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon – I loved Priory of the Orange Tree so decided to read Samantha Shannon’s other series and I’m so glad I did! I wasn’t sure about this one at first but it grew on me the more I read and I ended up loving it.

Read More »

Wrap Up: 2022 in Books

It’s the last day of 2022! So I’m looking back on all the books I read this year. I read 22 books in total so didn’t quite reach my goal of 25 but I’m not surprised since it’s been a bad year health-wise and I was in a reading slump for a couple of months. I’m glad to have managed to read 22 though.

I love the stats that come with Storygraph, so here are a few of my charts for 2022. I read more audiobooks than I ever have before due to chronic pain making reading physical books difficult. I am so happy to be able to read audiobooks as it’s enabled me to keep reading.

How was your reading year? Did you achieve your goals?

Happy New Year! I hope 2023 brings you joy – and lots of books!  

Audiobook Review: Make You Mine This Christmas by Lizzie Huxley-Jones

Make You Mine This Christmas by Lizzie Huxley-Jones

Genre: Romance, Comedy

Publishing Info: Audiobook by Hodder & Stoughton, narrated by Helen Keeley

Star Rating: 4/5

Back Cover Summary:

It’s the golden rule of pretending to be someone’s girlfriend: don’t fall for their sister.

After a year from hell, Haf is ready to blow off steam at a Christmas party: a kind stranger, a few too many drinks and suddenly she’s kissing Christopher under the mistletoe—in front of his ex-girlfriend.

The next day the news is out that they’re apparently a couple, madly in love and coming to Oxlea to spend the festive season with Christopher’s family. But Haf doesn’t have better holiday plans and to save her new friend from embarrassment, she agrees to pretend to be Christopher’s girlfriend for Christmas.

It has the makings of a hilarious anecdote they’ll be telling for years. Until Haf meets Christopher’s sister: the mysterious, magnetic and utterly irresistible Kit. Maybe love was waiting for Haf in this quiet little town all along….

Perfect for fans of Sarah Morgan, Laura Kay and Carol—this is sheer festive joy as you’ve always wanted to see it.

As soon as I heard about Make You Mine This Christmas earlier this year – a romance with queer, neurodivergent and disabled characters in the main cast – I knew this had to be my festive read in December. This book made me laugh and cry, and I had such a fun time listening to the audiobook, which had great narration by Helen Keeley.  

Some parts of this book are ridiculously cheesy, and some parts are just bonkers, but you know what, I loved that. I loved seeing queer and disabled people fall in love and experience all the tropes and Christmassy romance. The main trope here is fake dating, so if you aren’t a fan, this might not be the book for you. I really enjoyed the author’s spin on this trope, and it provided plenty of opportunities for humour and Christmas chaos. I felt the spark and connection between Haf and Kit, and enjoyed the slow burn and romantic tension. They only actually get a few days together, but the chemistry was definitely there right from their meet cute.

Although the romance is, of course, the beating heart of this book, I wouldn’t have enjoyed Make You Mine This Christmas nearly as much without the equally important platonic relationships. Just as much care and attention is given to the friendships in the book as the romance. Seeing Haf’s existing friendship with Ambrose and her new friendships grow was heart-warming.

Make You Mine This Christmas is a cosy and festive read with fantastic rep so if you are looking for a holiday romcom then this should be going to the top of your list!

Best and Worst Series of 2022

This tag was originally created by Mara from Bookslikewhoa and seemed like a fun way to look back at the series I’ve read this year!

What is the best series that you caught up with this year that is still a work in progress?

I didn’t actually manage to catch up with any series this year – I’m always behind!

What is the best work in progress series that you are still catching up with? OR What is the best completed series that you are still catching up with?

The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon. I loved the first book and the prequel novella and will definitely be catching up on the rest next year.

What was your favourite first book in a series this year?

The Councillor by E. J. Beaton. I absolutely loved this book. There’s no word yet on when the sequel will come out though.

What is a first book in a series you read this year that you think should have just been a standalone, not a series?

I don’t think I’ve read any books this year that fit this.

What is your most over-hyped series of the year?

Not got any of these this year either.

What is a series that you DNFed this year?

The Bone Witch series by Rin Chupeco. I read the first book last year and was considering continuing this year but I didn’t get round to it and I think I will probably not be continuing this series.

What was your favourite series finale of the year? OR What was your least favourite series finale of the year?

My favourite series finale of the year was Thronebreakers by Rebecca Coffindaffer.

What was the biggest cliffhanger you had in a series this year?

King of Scars by Leigh Bardugo ended with some pretty dramatic twists!

What is your favourite spinoff series you read this year?

Six Crimson Cranes by Elizabeth Lim, which is set in the same world as the Spin the Dawn duology.

What is your most anticipated next book in a series that you read this year that will come out next year?

I’ve not read any that are out next year.

What is your most anticipated series to catch up with next year based on what you read in that series this year? OR What is the series you’re most excited to stay caught up with next year based on what you read in the series this year?

I really want to finish the Bladesmith duology by Tricia Levenseller.

What is your favourite series that you finished this year?

The Aurora Cycle. I didn’t enjoy the last book as much as the previous two but overall, it was a great series.

What is your favourite episodic series of the year?

I’ve not read any.

What is a series that you finally bailed on after holding onto it for a long time?

I hold onto series for eons and I don’t think there’s any I’ve given up on this year. They sit on my TBR for eternity.

What is the series you were most surprised that you liked this year?

The Atlas Six. I wasn’t sure it would be for me but loved it.

What is the series that you meant to catch up with or finish this year that you didn’t?

So. Many. Series. Shades of Magic, to name one.

What is a series you finished this year that you think is greater than the sum of its parts? OR What is the series you caught up with this year that you think is greater than the sum of its parts?

This is an interesting question but I don’t think I have any that fit.  

What series have you enjoyed this year? Chat with me in the comments!

End of Year Book Tag 2022

I can’t believe 2022 is nearly over. December seems to have flown by! Today I’m doing the End of Year Book Tag. The tag was created by booktuber Ariel Bissett.

Are there any books you started this year that you need to finish?

I’m currently reading Make You Mine This Christmas and definitely want to finish it by the end of the year. I’m halfway through The Wolf of Oren-Yaro but I think that may end up being a DNF as I just don’t think the book was for me. I also still need to finish Harrow the Ninth but I think I may pick that up again in the new year.

Do you have an autumnal book to transition into the end of the year?

No but I am reading a Christmas book which feels very seasonal.

Is there a new release you’re still waiting for?

I don’t think there are anymore releases on my radar to come out this year.

What are three books you want to read before the end of the year?

I’m not that fast a reader so I won’t manage three. I want to finish Make You Mine This Christmas and I’m hoping to fit in The Last Tale of the Flower Bride which I have an audio ARC for.

Is there a book you think could still shock you and become your favourite book of the year?

I’m really intrigued by The Last Tale of the Flower Bride. It’s the kind of book that I’ll love or I won’t, so I hope it becomes a surprise favourite.

Have you already started making reading plans for 2023?

Yes, but I’m a mood reader so I rarely manage to stick to those plans! I’m terrible at finishing series so the series I have in progress are high up on my list for next year.

Have you done the End of Year Book Tag? Feel free to share your post in the comments.

Audiobook Review: King of Scars by Leigh Bardugo

King of Scars by Leigh Bardugo

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy

Publishing Info: Audiobook by Audible Studios, narrated by Lauren Fortgang

Star Rating: 4/5

Back Cover Summary:

Nikolai Lantsov has always had a gift for the impossible. No one knows what he endured in his country’s bloody civil war – and he intends to keep it that way. Now, as enemies gather at his weakened borders, the young king must find a way to refill Ravka’s coffers, forge new alliances, and stop a rising threat to the once-great Grisha Army. 

Yet with every day a dark magic within him grows stronger, threatening to destroy all he has built. With the help of a young monk and a legendary Grisha Squaller, Nikolai will journey to the places in Ravka where the deepest magic survives to vanquish the terrible legacy inside him. He will risk everything to save his country and himself. But some secrets aren’t meant to stay buried – and some wounds aren’t meant to heal. 

Leigh Bardugo’s Grishaverse is one of my favourite series, and I just knew King of Scars would be a great choice to get me out of a reading slump. This is the first book in a duology, but it follows the Shadow and Bone trilogy and the Six of Crows duology. I would definitely recommend reading the previous books as the protagonists in King of Scars are returning characters from both of the previous series. It was interesting to follow characters beyond their original stories, see how the traumas of the previous books have impacted them, and explore how their characters develop further, which made me feel an even stronger connection to them than I did before.

In King of Scars, we follow multiple POV characters like in the Six of Crows series, and I really enjoyed getting to see the different perspectives. I’m intrigued to see how Nina’s story ties in more with the main plot in the sequel, as her plotline did feel quite separate from Nikolai’s in this book. Both plotlines were engaging and the character development was very strong. Having seen how their characters started out in previous books, it was great to follow their progression in King of Scars, and Leigh Bardugo did a fantastic job of developing each of the three protagonists. I especially liked getting Zoya’s perspective, she’s a really interesting character with a lot of depth and it was great getting more insight into her past and her inner thoughts and feelings.

Read More »

November 2022 Wrap Up

Hello everyone! It’s been a while since I last posted. I have been in such a bad reading slump. I’ve picked up and put down so many books and been really struggling to get into reading and blogging. I started reading King of Scars recently though, hoping that a book by one of my favourite authors would help bring me out of the slump, and it has worked! I am enjoying reading again and hopefully that will continue.

The Pale Dreamer by Samantha Shannon (audiobook) ⭐⭐⭐⭐ – The only thing I managed to finish in November was a novella in the Bone Season series. I don’t always enjoy short stories and novellas but this one was great. I love Samantha Shannon’s writing and the narrator for this series is fantastic.

Illumicrate’s October book came a little late and didn’t arrive until November. It was The Whispering Dark and I’m really excited to read this book.

Just a short post today as things have been pretty quiet for me on the reading front, but I am hoping to get back into blogging more again!

What books have you enjoyed this month? Chat with me in the comments!

October 2022 Wrap Up

This month was super busy at work so I’ve been really tired and not had much energy for blogging, but I have managed to do some reading and finished three books this month!

Thronebreakers by Rebecca Coffindaffer ⭐⭐⭐⭐ – The sequel to Crownchasers was just as good as the first book. There were some lighter moments, but also heavier aspects like grief, which I think the author balanced really well. I liked seeing how Alyssa grew over the duology and was satisfied by the ending. If you’re looking for a quick and fun YA space opera, I’d definitely recommend this series.

The League of Gentlewomen Witches by India Holton (audiobook) ⭐⭐⭐ – I was a little disappointed by this one since the first book was so good. There was a lot I did like about the sequel, but I just found it too slow and not as engaging as the first book.

Vespertine by Margaret Rogerson (audiobook) ⭐⭐⭐⭐ – Sorcery of Thorns was such a delight to read that I was excited to pick up Margaret Rogerson’s next book. As soon as I started listening, I was drawn into the story. I just love Rogerson’s writing style, it flows so smoothly and paints such a vivid picture, making me really feel immersed in the world.

I was so excited to get my Illumicrate set of the Locked Tomb series and I was not disappointed! Their editions are just stunning. I also got the Illumicrate edition of Demon in the Wood and the Goldsboro edition of Mindwalker.

What books have you enjoyed this month? Chat with me in the comments!