Let’s Talk Bookish: Why Do You Blog?

Let’s Talk Bookish is a weekly meme hosted by Rukky @ Eternity Books and Dani @ Literary Lion. Today’s topic is all about why we blog, so let’s hop straight in to the discussion!

When did you first start blogging and why?

I started this blog way back in 2012, which means I’ve been blogging for 9 years now, which I really cannot believe! For the first two years I hardly posted at all, but started posting more regularly in 2014. In 2019, I decided to revamp my blog with a new theme and give it a refresh which reinvigorated my enjoyment of blogging.

When I started my blog all those years ago, I think I was just looking for somewhere to share my love of books. I also loved writing and really enjoyed writing reviews, so that’s what my focus was on to begin with.

In the last two or three years I’ve started to get a lot more involved in the bookish community and I think it’s really made my love for blogging grow, as I’ve felt more part of something. For the first few years, I was basically just posting reviews into the void. I honestly actually didn’t realise there were so many other book bloggers out there too and when I started to discover and follow more and more other blogs, it made blogging so much more enjoyable.   

What keeps you motivated to continue?

Writing novels is my greatest passion. But writing of any kind brings me a lot of joy, so I do get a lot of pleasure from writing blog posts as well. Blogging gives me an avenue to flex my writing muscles away from my main writing projects.

I also love interacting with fellow book lovers and I think I would miss the community aspect of blogging if I were to stop. Since I’ve been more involved in the community, I’ve also discovered so many books and authors that I might not have known about if I hadn’t been reading people’s blogs, so I love that aspect of blogging too.

Have you ever thought about not blogging anymore?

I have had some breaks, for example when I was at uni I had periods where I didn’t post much because my coursework had to come first. I’ve been blogging for so long that I can’t imagine not doing it anymore!

What would make you go on a hiatus for forever?

Probably life circumstances. I can’t imagine choosing to stop blogging completely. I can imagine having breaks from it, whether that be because of health, or just needing a rest from it, or having other life pressures. But I can’t imagine stopping blogging forever unless life got completely in the way and it wasn’t feasible to continue.

Do you have any specific plans for your blog this year, and if so, what are they?

Last year I posted way more than I’ve ever done before, so I would really like to keep that momentum up and keep posting regularly.

How long have you been blogging for and what made you start? What do you love about blogging? Chat with me in the comments!

Book Review: Blood & Honey by Shelby Mahurin

Blood & Honey by Shelby Mahurin

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance  

Publishing Info: September 2020, Harper Teen

Pages: 528

Star Rating: 4/5

Back Cover Summary:

After narrowly escaping death at the hands of the Dames Blanches, Lou, Reid, Coco, and Ansel are on the run from coven, kingdom, and church—fugitives with nowhere to hide.

To elude the scores of witches and throngs of chasseurs at their heels, Lou and Reid need allies. Strong ones. But protection comes at a price, and the group is forced to embark on separate quests to build their forces. As Lou and Reid try to close the widening rift between them, the dastardly Morgane baits them in a lethal game of cat and mouse that threatens to destroy something worth more than any coven.

Serpent & Dove was a surprise read for me last year. There was so much hype around it that I was curious to read it and ended up loving it more than I expected. The sequel, Blood & Honey, has not been received quite so well, so I was a little cautious going into reading it as I didn’t want to set my expectations too high and be disappointed. 

It took me a while to orientate myself at the beginning of the book, and I had to search for a recap online in the end because there were some important points from the end of Serpent & Dove which I just couldn’t remember. So I would definitely recommend rereading Serpent & Dove or looking for a recap if it’s been a while since you read the first book.

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Top 10 Tuesday: Books I Meant to Read In 2020 but Didn’t Get To

This week’s Top 10 Tuesday is all about books I had planned to read last year but didn’t end up getting round to.

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.

Unravel the Dusk by Elizabeth Lim – I read Spin the Dawn last year and planned to read the sequel in 2020 as well. I will definitely be reading it this year though.

The Midnight Star by Marie Lu – I loved the first two books in this series, but for some reason haven’t read the last book yet, which I really need to rectify soon!

Blood & Honey by Shelby Mahurin – I have to say, I was kind of putting this one off since I’ve seen a lot of mixed reviews. I loved Serpent & Dove and I really didn’t want to be disappointed with the sequel! But I am now reading this one at the moment and hope to finish it soon.

Shadow Kiss by Richelle Mead – I started reading the Vampire Academy books a while ago and liked the first two books so I would like to continue with this series at some point.

The Deck of Omens by Christine Lynn Herman – I really need to read this book before I completely forget what happened in The Devouring Gray!

Star Daughter by Shveta Thakrar – This book came in a Fairyloot box and I’d planned to read this as part of their readalong, but Illumicrate had a readalong at the same time and I couldn’t read both books.

The Gilded Ones by Namina Forna – I got this as an early finished copy in Fairyloot’s June box last year and was really excited to read it, but didn’t want to read it too early and have to wait ages for the sequel. So I planned to read it at the end of 2020 but just didn’t end up getting to it. I’ll be reading this one soon for sure!

A Darker Shade of Magic by V. E. Schwab – I’ve been meaning to get into V. E. Schwab’s books for ages since there is so much love for them.

Furyborn by Claire Legrand – I bought this at YALC back in 2019 and can’t believe I still haven’t read it yet.

Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard – This has been sitting on my Kindle for so long! I plan to read this every year but just never end up picking it up.

What books did you mean to read last year but didn’t get to? Are you planning on reading them this year instead? Chat with me in the comments!

Book Review: The Frozen Crown by Greta Kelly (eARC)

The Frozen Crown by Greta Kelly

Genre: Fantasy  

Publishing Info: eARC from Harper Voyager

Pages: 384

Star Rating: 3/5

Back Cover Summary:

A princess with a powerful and dangerous secret must find a way to save her country from ruthless invaders in this exciting debut fantasy, the first novel in a thrilling duology packed with heroism, treachery, magic, and war.

Askia became heir to the Frozen Crown of Seravesh because of her devotion to her people. But her realm is facing a threat she cannot defeat by sheer will alone. The mad emperor of the Roven Empire has unleashed a horde of invading soldiers to enslave her lands. For months, her warriors have waged a valiant, stealth battle, yet they cannot stop the enemy’s advancement. Running out of time, she sets sail for sun-drenched Vishir, the neighboring land to the south, to seek help from its ruler, Emperor Armaan.

A young woman raised in army camps, Askia is ill-equipped to navigate Vishir’s labyrinthine political games. Her every move sinks her deeper into court intrigues which bewilder and repel her, leaving her vulnerable not only to enemies gathering at Vishir’s gates, but to those behind the palace walls.

And in this glittering court, where secrets are worth more than gold, Askia fears that one false step will expose her true nature. For Askia is a witch gifted with magical abilities—knowledge that could destroy not only her life but her people. As her adversaries draw closer, Askia is forced to make an impossible choice—and no matter what she decides, it may not be enough to prevent Seravesh’s fall.

Thank you so much to Harper360YA for providing an eARC of this book via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.

The Frozen Crown is an intriguing political fantasy revolving around a princess desperate to save her kingdom from the empire that has invaded her lands. Although I was a little unsure about this book at the start, it did grow on me after the first few chapters, and I found myself invested in Askia’s quest to find an army to help take back her kingdom.

Although The Frozen Crown is an Adult fantasy novel, the writing style, with first person narration and quick-to-read prose, was more reminiscent of YA. While the simple style made it an easy read, my preference would have been for more description and vivid prose to make the settings and scenes really come to life in my mind.   

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WWW Wednesday: 13 January 2021

It’s that time of the week for WWW Wednesday! This weekly meme is hosted by Sam @ Taking on a World of Words.

The three W’s are:

What did you recently finish reading?

What are you currently reading?

What are you going to read next?

RECENTLY FINISHED

A Dark and Hollow Star by Ashley Shuttleworth – I found the first half quite slow, but got much more into it in the second half and ended up enjoying it a lot more than I thought I would at the start. I loved the worldbuilding and characters. You can find my review here.

The Frozen Crown by Greta Kelly – I only just finished reading this book last night and it ended on a massive twist! While I liked it, I didn’t love it, but I haven’t decided yet what star rating I’m going to give it. I’ll be posting a review soon.

NEXT READ – Blood & Honey by Shelby Mahurin

I’ve seen so many mixed reviews for this book, and since I loved Serpent & Dove, I’ve been a bit nervous about reading this one because I really don’t want to be disappointed! I’m hoping it will be good!

What are you reading at the moment? What are you looking forward to reading next? Chat with me in the comments!

Illumicrate Daughter of Smoke and Bone Unboxing

This box was just so stunning! Daughter of Smoke and Bone is one of my favourite books so I knew I had to have this box. It did not disappoint! This was Illumicrate’s final special edition box of the year and came about a month later than planned, but it was totally worth the wait. When I opened the box, I gasped as I saw each item. The box was packed so full, they had to use large, plain brown boxes instead of their usual branded special edition boxes as they couldn’t fit everything in!

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Book Review: A Dark and Hollow Star by Ashley Shuttleworth (eARC)

A Dark and Hollow Star by Ashley Shuttleworth   

Genre: Young Adult, Urban Fantasy

Publishing Info: eARC from Hodder & Stoughton

Pages: 512

Star Rating: 4/5

Back Cover Summary:

The Cruel Prince meets City of Bones in this thrilling urban fantasy set in the magical underworld of Toronto that follows a queer cast of characters racing to stop a serial killer whose crimes could expose the hidden world of faeries to humans.

Choose your player.

The “ironborn” half-fae outcast of her royal fae family.

A tempestuous Fury, exiled to earth from the Immortal Realm and hellbent on revenge.

A dutiful fae prince, determined to earn his place on the throne.

The prince’s brooding guardian, burdened with a terrible secret.

For centuries, the Eight Courts of Folk have lived among us, concealed by magic and bound by law to do no harm to humans. This arrangement has long kept peace in the Courts—until a series of gruesome and ritualistic murders rocks the city of Toronto and threatens to expose faeries to the human world.

Four queer teens, each who hold a key piece of the truth behind these murders, must form a tenuous alliance in their effort to track down the mysterious killer behind these crimes. If they fail, they risk the destruction of the faerie and human worlds alike. If that’s not bad enough, there’s a war brewing between the Mortal and Immortal Realms, and one of these teens is destined to tip the scales. The only question is: which way?

Wish them luck. They’re going to need it.

Thank you so much to Hodder & Stoughton and NetGalley for the eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

A Dark and Hollow Star is a fun urban fantasy novel with stunning world building and brilliant characters. I had high expectations for this book since the blurb sounded amazing. Although I found it slow to start, by the end I realised I really loved it.

The world building in A Dark and Hollow Star is very well done. The level of detail is incredible. It’s clear the author spent a considerable amount of time working on the world building and it pays off. I felt completely immersed in a world which is familiar yet unfamiliar – our world but with faeries roaming the streets. The different types of faerie, the Courts, and immortals, the way it’s all hidden alongside our world, was depicted so vividly. I loved the mix of fantasy and modern-day technology and pop culture references.

However, as much as I loved learning about the world, it felt very overwhelming. There is so much information crammed into the first few chapters that my brain felt like it was going to explode from trying to absorb everything. The focus on world building also meant I felt more distanced from the characters at the start, who were well-written, but felt side-lined by the world building at times in the first half. It also meant the book had a slow pace in the early parts.  

The way the world building interrupted conversations for several paragraphs made it feel disjointed and I found it hard to get into many of the early scenes as they didn’t flow. The world building is so very good, but needed to be better woven into the narrative. However, I enjoyed the second half a lot more. It wasn’t as bogged down by long descriptions and explanations, and I was able to really get into the story and enjoy the ride.

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WWW Wednesday: 6 January 2021

This is my first time taking part in WWW Wednesday! I’ve been looking for some new memes to take part in for the new year and this one looks like fun! This weekly meme is hosted by Sam @ Taking on a World of Words.

The three W’s are:

What did you recently finish reading?

What are you currently reading?

What are you going to read next?

RECENTLY FINISHED – A Court of Frost and Starlight by Sarah J. Maas

I loved getting to see what these characters have been up to since the end of A Court of Wings and Ruin. It was a fun read that made me feel all wintery and festive. You can find my review here.

CURRENTLY READING – A Dark and Hollow Star by Ashley Shuttleworth

I was super excited to get an eARC of this book via NetGalley as it was an anticipated release for me. I’m 85% of the way through so I’m nearly finished! I found the first half a bit slow and hard to get through, but I’ve been enjoying the second half more. Also Nausicaä is one of my new favourite characters.

NEXT READ – The Frozen Crown by Greta Kelly

Another eARC, this one via Edelweiss. It comes out next week so I’m planning on reading this next so I can hopefully get my review up on or near the release date.

What are you reading at the moment? What are you looking forward to reading next? Chat with me in the comments!

Top 10 Tuesday: Most Anticipated Releases for the First Half of 2021

Yet again there are so many new releases I’m excited for! Here are 10 of the ones I’m most looking forward to coming out in January-June 2021.

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.


Lore by Alexandra Bracken

From the No.1 New York Times bestselling author of The Darkest Minds comes a high-octane story of power, destiny and redemption. A lifetime ago, Lore Perseous left behind the brutal, opulent world of the Agon families – ancient Greek bloodlines that participate in a merciless game every seven years. A game that is about to begin again…

For centuries, Zeus has punished the gods with a game called the Agon, which turns them mortal for one week, and at the mercy of being hunted by those with godly ambitions. Only a handful of the original Greek gods remain, the rest replaced by the mortals who killed them and ascended.

After her family’s sadistic murder by a rival bloodline, Lore escapes and vows to repay her parents’ sacrifice by doing one thing – surviving. For seven years, she has pushed back dark thoughts of revenge against the man responsible for their murder, a man by the name of Wrath who has attained unimaginable power. Except for one week, every seven years. A week that is fast approaching …

When Lore comes home on the first night of the Agon to find Athena gravely wounded on her doorstep, the goddess offers her an alliance; they have a mutual enemy, after all. But as the world trembles under the force of Wrath – a god with the power to destroy all of humanity – will Lore’s decision to bind her fate with Athena’s come back to haunt her?

I have loved anything to do with Ancient Greek mythology since I was a kid so this book sounds right up my street.


A Vow So Bold and Deadly by Brigid Kemmerer

Emberfall is crumbling fast, torn between those who believe Rhen is the rightful prince and those who are eager to begin a new era under Grey, the true heir. Grey has agreed to wait two months before attacking Emberfall, and in that time, Rhen has turned away from everyone—even Harper, as she desperately tries to help him find a path to peace.

Meanwhile, Lia Mara struggles to rule Syhl Shallow with a gentler hand than her mother. But after enjoying decades of peace once magic was driven out of their lands, some of her subjects are angry Lia Mara has an enchanted prince and magical scraver by her side. As Grey’s deadline draws nearer, Lia Mara questions if she can be the queen her country needs.

As two kingdoms come closer to conflict, loyalties are tested, love is threatened, and an old enemy resurfaces who could destroy them all, in this stunning conclusion to bestselling author Brigid Kemmerer’s Cursebreaker series.

Even though I didn’t love A Heart So Fierce and Broken as much as A Curse So Dark and Lonely, this is still one of my most anticipated releases this year. I have no idea how the story is going to end but I have a feeling it will break my heart.


The Gilded Ones by Namina Forna

The start of a bold and immersive West African-inspired, feminist fantasy series for fans of Children of Blood and Bone and Black Panther. In this world, girls are outcasts by blood and warriors by choice.

Sixteen-year-old Deka lives in fear and anticipation of the blood ceremony that will determine whether she will become a member of her village. Already different from everyone else because of her unnatural intuition, Deka prays for red blood so she can finally feel like she belongs.

But on the day of the ceremony, her blood runs gold, the color of impurity–and Deka knows she will face a consequence worse than death.

Then a mysterious woman comes to her with a choice: stay in the village and submit to her fate, or leave to fight for the emperor in an army of girls just like her. They are called alaki–near-immortals with rare gifts. And they are the only ones who can stop the empire’s greatest threat.

Knowing the dangers that lie ahead yet yearning for acceptance, Deka decides to leave the only life she’s ever known. But as she journeys to the capital to train for the biggest battle of her life, she will discover that the great walled city holds many surprises. Nothing and no one are quite what they seem to be–not even Deka herself.

If I remember correctly this book was originally due to come out in 2020 but was one of many releases pushed back by the pandemic. I got an early finished copy in a Fairyloot box which I was very excited about since the premise sounds so good, but haven’t got round to reading it yet!

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Reading Goals & Books I Want to Read in 2021

It’s a new year so that means it’s time to set some goals! First, I’m going to set myself some reading and blogging goals for 2021 and then talk about some specific books I want to read this year.

Read 40 books

For my Goodreads Reading Challenge I’ve set my goal at 40 books this year. Last year I read 50 books which is a lot more than I’ve read in previous years, and I’m not sure if that’s a level of reading I’ll be able to sustain this year. So, I decided to set my reading goal a bit lower than that this year to something that I think will be a challenge but is also achievable. I don’t want to set a really high goal and be stressed trying to hit it.

Finish some series

I am really bad at finishing series. I read a lot of fantasy and sci-fi, a lot of which are series rather than standalones, but in the past, I’ve been really bad at picking up sequels, even if I really loved the first book. It’s something I need to try and get out the habit of! Some series I plan on finishing this year which I only have one book left: The Dark Artifices by Cassandra Clare, Cursebreakers by Brigid Kemmerer, Gone by Michael Grant, Bone Grace by Kathryn Purdie, Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor, The Young Elites by Marie Lu, The Devouring Gray by Christine Lynn Herman, The Illuminae Files by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff, and The Blood of Stars by Elizabeth Lim.

Discover some new debuts

I started doing this more last year and want to continue. For a long time, I would tend to just read books by all the same authors, which meant there wasn’t really much variety in my reading. In the last couple of years, I’ve been more actively seeking out new authors to discover, and especially debut authors. I plan on seeking out more diversity in my reading as well, and picking up more books by Black, LGBTQ+ and disabled authors.

Blogging goals

Last year I started to get more organised with my blogging and plan out what posts I wanted to write each month. So I want to continue doing that. But I also want to try and get even more organised and get a bit ahead with my posts and schedule them in advance, so if I’m busy or unwell, I know I already have some posts scheduled, and I’m hoping that will make blogging less stressful. I absolutely love blogging, but when I leave things to the last minute I hate feeling pressured to get something posted in time, especially for weekly memes.

Books I want to read in 2021

So in addition to the series I listed above that I want to finish, there are also some series I’m part way through that I want to continue reading – Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas, Camelot Rising by Kiersten White, Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor, and Serpent & Dove by Shelby Mahurin.

There are some new series I want to start too that I’ve been meaning to read for a while – Shades of Magic by V. E. Schwab, Empirium by Claire Legrand, Legend by Marie Lu, and Chaos Walking by Patrick Ness.

There are a few books I picked up last year that I haven’t got round to yet, so I’d like to read them this year – The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon, Legendborn by Tracy Deonn, Crownchasers by Rebecca Coffindaffer, The Gilded Ones by Namina Forna, The Bone Houses by Emily Lloyd Jones, Star Daughter by Shveta Thakrar, and Blazewrath Games by Amparo Ortiz.  

I’d also like to read a couple of classics. I really enjoyed Emma last year so I’d like to read another Jane Austen. And I also want to read some more Agatha Christie.

Plus, there are some really exciting 2021 releases coming up so I’d like to read a few books published this year as well.

I’m a mood reader so I don’t really set myself a monthly TBR and if I do make reading plans, they often go out the window, but I’d like to get to as many of these books as I can this year.

Have you set yourself any reading goals? What books are you most excited to read this year? Chat with me in the comments!