June 2022 Wrap Up

Hello everyone! June has been a busy month for me so I haven’t had loads of time for reading but I did finish two audiobooks, and I’ve nearly finished reading Six Crimson Cranes. We went for a day trip to Cambridge for my birthday and went punting on the river which was fun.

The Stardust Thief by Chelsea Abdullah (audiobook) ⭐⭐⭐ – This book was a magical adventure and I wish I had loved it more. For some reason, I just didn’t click with it. But it is a great book and I’m sure lots of other people will love it.

Breathe and Count Back From Ten by Natalia Sylvester (audiobook) ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ – This is my first 5 star read of the year! I have been working on my review for this book and trying to find the right words to describe how it made me feel. This book is stunningly written and I felt such a strong connection to it. Breathe and Count Back From Ten is about a disabled protagonist, written by a disabled author, and Natalia Sylvester really captured the experiences, feelings, and emotions of being disabled so well, it was deeply relatable for me. Full review coming soon!

I’ve been trying not to buy too many new books, but it was my birthday this month so I did get a couple of new ones – Gideon the Ninth and Harrow the Ninth. Gideon is one of my favourite books so I’m so happy to have this book on my shelves now, and I’m excited to read Harrow.

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

Audiobook Review: The Stardust Thief by Cheslea Abdullah

The Stardust Thief by Chelsea Abdullah

Genre: Adult, Fantasy

Publishing Info: Audiobook by Hachette Audio UK, May 2022, narrated by Nikki Massoud, Rasha Zamamiri, Sean Rohani

Star Rating: 3/5

Back Cover Summary:

Inspired by stories from One Thousand and One Nights, this book weaves together the gripping tale of a legendary smuggler, a cowardly prince, and a dangerous quest across the desert to find a legendary, magical lamp.

Neither here nor there, but long ago . . .

Loulie al-Nazari is the Midnight Merchant: a criminal who, with the help of her jinn bodyguard, hunts and sells illegal magic. When she saves the life of a cowardly prince, she draws the attention of his powerful father, the sultan, who blackmails her into finding an ancient lamp that has the power to revive the barren land—at the cost of sacrificing all jinn.

With no choice but to obey or be executed, Loulie journeys with the sultan’s oldest son to find the artifact. Aided by her bodyguard, who has secrets of his own, they must survive ghoul attacks, outwit a vengeful jinn queen, and confront a malicious killer from Loulie’s past. And, in a world where story is reality and illusion is truth, Loulie will discover that everything—her enemy, her magic, even her own past—is not what it seems, and she must decide who she will become in this new reality.

Full of adventure and magic, The Stardust Thief takes readers on a journey through an Arab-inspired fantasy world where our protagonists take on a perilous quest fraught with danger. This fantasy debut is inspired by One Thousand and One Nights and uses storytelling as a theme throughout, weaving the stories and myths the protagonists know with the truth of the jinn they come to discover.

It took a little while for me to really get into this book. However, I enjoyed it more as the story progressed. There were some great twists in the second half which left me terrified for my favourite characters, as well as exciting and magical action. The novel focuses on the quest and the characters’ journeys, so if you are looking for fantasy without romance, I’d recommend giving this one a go.

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Fairyloot April 2022 Unboxing

Fairyloot recently launched a book only option for their YA subscription, something I have been hoping they would do for a long time. As I’ve now switched to the book only option, the April 2022 box was my last full box. It might miss out on some great future items, but I just didn’t want my space getting cluttered with so many things, so I think the book only is the right option for me.

Fairyloot is a UK-based YA fantasy subscription box. If you subscribe, you get a box a month which includes a hardback book and 5-6 exclusive goodies around a theme.

The theme for April was ‘Bittersweet’! Let’s see what was inside…

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Audiobook Review: The Atlas Six by Olivie Blake

The Atlas Six by Olivie Blake

Genre: Adult, Fantasy, Dark Academia

Publishing Info: Audiobook, March 2022, Tor, narrated by Steve West, Siho Ellsmore, Munirih Grace, James Patrick Cronin, David Monteith, Damian Lynch, Caitlin Kelly, Andy Ingalls

Star Rating: 4/5

Back Cover Summary:

When the world’s best magicians are offered an extraordinary opportunity, saying yes is easy. Each could join the secretive Alexandrian Society, whose custodians guard lost knowledge from ancient civilizations. Their members enjoy a lifetime of power and prestige. Yet each decade, only six practitioners are invited – to fill five places.

Contenders Libby Rhodes and Nico de Varona are inseparable enemies, cosmologists who can control matter with their minds. Parisa Kamali is a telepath, who sees the mind’s deepest secrets. Reina Mori is a naturalist who can perceive and understand the flow of life itself. And Callum Nova is an empath, who can manipulate the desires of others. Finally there’s Tristan Caine, whose powers mystify even himself.

Following recruitment by the mysterious Atlas Blakely, they travel to the Society’s London headquarters. Here, each must study and innovate within esoteric subject areas. And if they can prove themselves, over the course of a year, they’ll survive. Most of them.

The Atlas Six is one of 2022’s most talked about releases. Originally self-published, the novel was picked up by Tor Books and rereleased. With the intense amount of hype around this book, I felt a little wary going in as I didn’t want to be left disappointed. Dark academia is also not my usual genre of choice, but I was intrigued by the premise and decided to take a chance on something outside my comfort zone.

The opening intrigued me and the smooth writing style drew me in. It did, however, take a while to introduce all six point of view characters, and the formula of Atlas approaching each of them to make offers to join the Alexandrian Society felt a little repetitive after the first couple.

Having multiple POVs worked really well in this novel. It was fascinating seeing everything from different perspectives and getting to see how all the characters viewed each other, building tension very nicely. They are basically all morally grey in some way and each have an interesting backstory. There was a different narrator for each POV which was really effective, making it easier to distinguish the characters and feel immersed in each viewpoint.

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May 2022 Wrap Up

I’m not sure what happened to May but it seemed to go by in a blur and I only managed to read one book. It’s been a difficult month as I’m still not feeling that well. I got diagnosed with a new chronic illness and haven’t started treatment yet. So I will probably still be blogging only occasionally for a while until I start feeling a bit better again.

The Atlas Six by Olivie Blake (audiobook) ⭐⭐⭐⭐ – Dark academia is not usually my thing but I actually really enjoyed this one! It was great having a different narrator for each POV and I loved all of the intrigue. Full review coming soon!

I added a couple of gorgeous new books to my shelves this month – A Lady’s Guide to Fortune-Hunting by Sophie Irwin and The Stardust Thief by Chelsea Abdullah.

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

Fairyloot March 2022 Adult Book Only Unboxing

Fairyloot recently launched a new monthly subscription offering an exclusive edition of an Adult fantasy book. Unlike their original YA subscription which includes a selection of bookish items, their Adult sub comes with just a book.

As I enjoy reading a mix of YA and Adult fantasy, I was excited to try out the new subscription and see what books they would choose. For their first box, Fairyloot’s theme was ‘Dark Academia’ and they picked The Atlas Six by Olivie Blake.

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April 2022 Wrap Up

I didn’t end up finishing many books this month as I couldn’t decide what I was in the mood for, so picked up and put down a couple of books before deciding that actually I needed a break from SFF and decided to give a romcom audiobook a go! I think it was a good choice as it definitely stopped me from sliding into a slump.

Blade of Secrets by Tricia Levenseller ⭐⭐⭐⭐ – Tricia Levenseller is now my go-to author for fun, easy-read YA fantasy, and Blade of Secrets is a fun adventure. The main character of Blade of Secrets has society anxiety and I have honestly never related to a character so much before! I felt the author did a great job of showing all of Ziva’s internal thoughts and anxieties, and I really connected with her.

The Stand-In by Lily Chu (audiobook) ⭐⭐⭐⭐.5 – It’s rare that I pick up a romcom, but I am so glad I decided to give this one a chance, because I loved it! I had so much fun listening to the audiobook, which is brilliantly narrated by Phillipa Soo. Although there is romance, there are also several other subplots which I enjoyed, and which gave the story layers and plenty to keep me engaged. I would definitely recommend the audiobook for this one, as I think it enhanced the reading experience.

I added a few books to my haul this month – The Atlas Six by Olivie Blake, The City of Dusk by Tara Sim, and An Arrow to the Moon by Emily X.R. Pan. I’ve ordered some new bookcases, which are due to arrive in June, and I’m excited to get to display all my books on them!

I haven’t done an update on my writing for a while as it’s been a rough few months and, well, I haven’t been able to write much. But last week I wrote two pages of my new WIP and I am so happy to be back writing again!

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

Audiobook Review: The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon

The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon

Genre: Dystopian, Fantasy  

Publishing Info: Audiobook, March 2021, Bloomsbury Publishing, narrated by Alana Kerr Collins

Star Rating: 4/5

Back Cover Summary:

For the past two hundred years the Scion government has led an oppressive campaign against unnaturalness in London.

Clairvoyance in all its forms has been decreed a criminal offence, and those who practise it viciously punished. Forced underground, a clairvoyant underworld has developed, combating persecution and evading capture.

Paige Mahoney, a powerful dreamwalker operating in the Seven Dials district of London, leads a double life, using her unnaturalness illegally while hiding her gift from her father, who works for the Scion regime…

Having enjoyed Samantha Shannon’s epic fantasy novel, The Priory of the Orange Tree, I decided to delve into her backlist and try her debut novel, The Bone Season. While The Bone Season is vastly different from Priory, being set in future London rather than a secondary world fantasy, the pages were still filled with Samantha Shannon’s rich, detailed worldbuilding and readable, engaging prose. The audiobook narration by Alana Kerr Collins was also excellent and drew me into the story.  

After an intriguing opening, The Bone Season very quickly went in a direction I was not expecting, giving me a kind of book whiplash. It left me feeling a little baffled at first, wondering what, exactly, it was I was reading. However, once I adjusted my expectations and got used to this complex and strange future world, I found myself becoming more and more invested in Paige’s story. I won’t talk about plot specifics, because I think this is one of those books where it’s best going in not knowing much at all. Many of the plot elements are familiar, but Samantha Shannon’s immersive world building makes it feel fresh.

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Illumicrate March 2022 Book Only Unboxing

Illumicrate’s featured book for March was Gallant by V. E. Schwab! I have only read a couple of her books so far but loved them so I was really excited Illumicrate would be doing Gallant so I could add another special edition to my Schwab collection. Let’s take a look at the book and the special finishes!

Illumicrate is a UK-based subscription box. Subscribers can choose between a full box or book only option. The full box includes a hardback book and 3-5 exclusive goodies around a theme, but I subscribe to the book only option.

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