December 2021 Wrap Up

It’s the last day of 2021! Today I’m looking back at the books I read in December. I had a bit of a disappointing reading month and felt in a bit of a slump but have been reading The Wisteria Society of Lady Scoundrels over the holidays and it’s fun, ridiculous and hilarious, and just the kind of book I needed to get me out of a slump.

Knot My Type (audiobook) ⭐⭐⭐⭐ – I don’t read romance very often but I loved this one. It’s got excellent disability rep and a sweet love story that I really enjoyed.

Girls of Paper and Fire ⭐⭐⭐ – I found this book a little slow and didn’t find it very memorable, though I thought the worldbuilding was interesting. It was a good book, but I didn’t love it. I think it just wasn’t a book for me, but would encourage others to give it a go.

Queen of Air and Darkness by Cassandra Clare (audiobook) ⭐⭐⭐ – The finale of the Dark Artifices series was a bit of a let-down for me and I was especially disappointed as Lady Midnight was one of her best. Queen of Air and Darkness was just too long and drawn out. I’m glad I finished the series but think the last instalment would have benefited from some trimming.

This month, I have sadly not had much time for writing. It seemed to be a very busy month, and I am still struggling to fully shake off covid. But I am looking forward to continuing to plan my next book in the new year. I’ve had a lot of ideas and can’t wait to start writing again.

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

Top 10 Tuesday: Best Books I Read In 2021

I cannot believe it’s nearly the end of the year and it’s time to pick my 10 favourite reads of 2021! I read some great books this year and it’s always hard to narrow it down, but here are my 10 best reads.

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.

Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir – This is hands down my favourite book of the year. It was so imaginative and unique, and I was totally hooked on the mysterious story. The audiobook narration was brilliant as well and brought all the characters to life so vividly.

Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor – I can’t get enough of Laini Taylor’s writing. It’s so lyrical and emotive, I get drawn into every book of hers I read, and Days of Blood and Starlight was no exception.

The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon – I finally tackled this chonky book this year and I’m so glad I did because I loved it. The worldbuilding is incredibly detailed and although it is very long, it didn’t feel slow, and I found myself propelled through the pages.

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Books I Enjoyed Most in 2021

Today I wanted to share some of the books I had the most fun reading this year! Some of these may overlap with my Best Books post, and some won’t, because some of the best books aren’t necessarily the ones I enjoyed the most. Some of the best books are the best because they are so well crafted, they have an important message or are particularly memorable. All the books in this post are the ones I had the most fun reading in 2021!

Lore by Alexandra Bracken – As someone who loves Greek mythology, I found this book a really fun read, especially as the plot very much has Hunger Games vibes. It’s a fast-paced standalone and I had a blast reading it.

Crownchasers by Rebecca Coffindaffer – I don’t think it’s much of a surprise that another of my choices for this list also revolves around a competition. Contest plotlines just provide that fast, thrilling and suspenseful feeling I love from a story. The protagonist’s voice is fantastic as well, with plenty of snarky humour.

The Bone Houses by Emily Lloyd-Jones – This perhaps seems an odd choice but I genuinely really enjoyed reading this one. Although there were some darker elements, the dead goat was brilliant and made me smile so much while I was reading.

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Book Review: Knot My Type by Evie Mitchell

Knot My Type by Evie Mitchell

Genre: Romance  

Publishing Info: Audiobook, November 2021

Star Rating: 4/5

Back Cover Summary:

He doesn’t do relationships.

She doesn’t do flings.

Everything they thought is about to unravel…

Frankie

When you say you’re a sexologist, people imagine Marilyn Monroe. They don’t expect a woman who uses a wheelchair. As the host of the All Access Podcast, I’m breaking barriers, crushing stigmas, and creating sexual connections that are fulfilling for my fans. I’m like cupid, but with pink hair and fewer diapers.

Only, I’ve hit a snag. A lovely listener wants some advice about accessible rope play and I’m drawing a big fat blank. Which leaves me with no option but to get out there and give it a go.

Which is how I meet Jay Wood—rigger, carpenter, and all-round hottie.

I’d be open to letting him wine and dine me—only Jay isn’t my type. He’s not a one-girl kind of guy. Monogamy isn’t even in his vocab, and I’m not a woman who’ll settle for being second choice.

But the closer we get, the more Jay has me tied up in knots.

And it’s making me think, maybe I could compromise and accept a little Wood in my life. Even if it’s only temporary.

Jay

Frankie’s funny, intelligent, and ridiculously sexy. This should be a no-brainer. A little fun in the sheets, and a little romp with some ropes—simple.

Only the infuriating woman is asking for more. I’m not that kind of guy. I wouldn’t even know how to be that kind of guy. I’m the definition of easy.

It’ll be fine. We’ll be friends. Just friends.

So, why does my heart feel frayed? And why is it I can’t help but consider taking the ultimate leap of faith—tying myself to Frankie. Permanently.

I’m not usually a romance reader but I’m always on the lookout for books with disability rep, and this cover caught my eye. It honestly made me really emotional reading this one. I don’t use a wheelchair, but I’ve been chronically ill for most of my life and seeing this kind of rep just fills me with so much emotion. Never underestimate the value good rep for underrepresented groups can have. There is a scene in Knot My Type where Frankie secretly leaves a party to find an accessible toilet in another building because the bathroom is too small in her partner’s house, and although this isn’t something I’ve experienced, I really related to having to adapt your life as a disabled person and the feelings Frankie went through during this scene. 

This is just the kind of disability rep I want to see in fiction. It appeared to be well researched (I can’t comment on accuracy) and it wasn’t a book about disability, it showed a disabled person living and enjoying life, going through all the highs and lows that everyone goes through, experiencing love and passion. Frankie is intelligent, bold, funny and sexy – she is a fully fleshed out character, and her disability is part of who she is.

Not only is the main character disabled, but her group of friends are also disabled! Even though they are only side characters, it’s amazing to see multiple disabled characters in a novel, because so often there is just one token disabled character. They were also an amazing, supportive and fun friendship group. One of Frankie’s friends, Annie, has Crohn’s disease, the condition which I have, and I genuinely cried because I’ve never seen a character with Crohn’s disease before. Annie is the protagonist in the next book in the All Access series so I am really looking forward to that.

As previously mentioned, I don’t read romance very often, so don’t feel I’m the best judge of how this book shapes up in the romance genre, but I found it a fun, enjoyable read, and I loved the two main characters and seeing their relationship develop over the course of the novel. There was communication and respect, and it was a sweet romance. Knot My Type is quite short, but I didn’t mind that. I would wholeheartedly recommend this book and can’t wait to read the rest of the series.   

Books I Want to Read in 2021 – did I read them?

At the beginning of the year, I made a post about some of the books I wanted to read this year. The question is – did I read them?

There were many series I wanted to finish, and while I didn’t finish all of them, there are quite a few I ticked off my list – The Dark Artifices by Cassandra Clare, Cursebreakers by Brigid Kemmerer, Gone by Michael Grant, Bone Grace by Kathryn Purdie, The Young Elites by Marie Lu, and The Blood of Stars by Elizabeth Lim. There are some series I am part way through reading and wanted to continue, and made progress with Throne of Glass, Daughter of Smoke and Bone, and Serpent & Dove, but didn’t get round to the next Camelot Rising book.

I also set a goal to pick up more debuts rather than reading the same authors all the time. I definitely discovered some great new authors and books, including A Dark and Hollow Star by Ashley Shuttleworth, Malice by Heather Walter, Queen of Coin and Whispers by Helen Corcoran, and The Unbroken by C. L. Clark.

Other books I planned to read and did – A Darker Shade of Magic by V. E. Schwab, The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon, Crownchasers by Rebecca Coffindaffer, The Bone Houses by Emily Lloyd Jones, And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie.

Books I didn’t get to – Furyborn by Claire Legrand, Legend by Marie Lu, The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness, Legendborn by Tracy Deonn, The Gilded Ones by Namina Forna, Blazewrath Games by Amparo Ortiz, Persuasion by Jane Austen.

It was interesting to look back at what I had planned to read this year and see how many I ended up reading. I discovered other books during the year that I hadn’t planned to read. I’m definitely a mood reader so don’t always stick to TBRs, but I am pleased that I managed to read quite a few of the books that were on my list at the beginning of the year.

Were there any books you planned to read this year but didn’t get to? Chat with me in the comments!

Book Review: Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir (audiobook)

Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir

Genre: Science Fiction, Fantasy

Publishing Info: Audiobook, September 2019 by Recorded Books

Star Rating: 4.5/5

Back Cover Summary:

The Emperor needs necromancers.

The Ninth Necromancer needs a swordswoman.

Gideon has a sword, some dirty magazines, and no more time for undead bullshit.

Brought up by unfriendly, ossifying nuns, ancient retainers, and countless skeletons, Gideon is ready to abandon a life of servitude and an afterlife as a reanimated corpse. She packs up her sword, her shoes, and her dirty magazines, and prepares to launch her daring escape. But her childhood nemesis won’t set her free without a service.

Harrowhark Nonagesimus, Reverend Daughter of the Ninth House and bone witch extraordinaire, has been summoned into action. The Emperor has invited the heirs to each of his loyal Houses to a deadly trial of wits and skill. If Harrowhark succeeds she will become an immortal, all-powerful servant of the Resurrection, but no necromancer can ascend without their cavalier. Without Gideon’s sword, Harrow will fail, and the Ninth House will die.

Of course, some things are better left dead.

Tamsyn Muir’s debut is an enthralling and unique science fantasy which propels the reader into an unexpectedly delightful, yet dark, tale about necromancers in space. Gideon the Ninth is complex and difficult to summarise, and in some ways difficult to define due to the way it draws together multiple genres, stitching them together into something entirely new.

Despite the significant amount of devoted fans Gideon the Ninth has garnered, it was with a little trepidation that I picked it up. It didn’t sound like my kind of book, but the glowing reviews for the narration encouraged me to give the audiobook a try.     

Rather than taking your hand and guiding you through the world, Tamsyn Muir thrusts you straight in, immediately immersing you in an unfamiliar and slightly daunting new world in which you feel like you could easily sink, rather than swim. There were times where I felt like I was floundering, struggling to keep my head above water and absorb all of the new words and concepts crashing over me in waves. There are few explanations about the world, how it came to be, how the system of nine necromantic Houses works, or what the different types of necromantic abilities are. There were many times where I was simply confused. However, the lack of pausing for explanations meant that reading Gideon the Ninth was an immersive experience, and once I had realised that the author wasn’t going to stop to explain anything, I simply allowed myself to be carried on the wave and enjoy the experience. I might not have understood every word or every aspect of the worldbuilding, but it didn’t seem to matter.

Forming a reluctant alliance, Gideon and Harrow of the Ninth House travel to the First House, where they join the necromancers and cavaliers of the other Houses for trials which they hope will see them rise to Lyctorhood. They find themselves in a once grand but now crumbling palace served by skeletons. Tamsyn Muir blends the old and the new in Canaan House, combining classical architecture with modern experimental labs, to create an eerie and sinister atmosphere which builds over the course of the novel. There is a significant mystery element to Gideon the Ninth which kept me turning the pages, and plenty of unexpected twists which kept me on my toes. The novel concludes with a thrilling climax. However, while I usually love action scenes, I found the final battle a little repetitive, and the pacing dragged in this section.   

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November 2021 Wrap Up

After taking a bit of a hiatus over the summer and autumn thanks to illness, moving house and being very busy at work, I am pleased to have been able to come back to blogging more regularly again in November! I’m still in pain with my back and shoulder, and am currently trying to get a diagnosis for that and am waiting for a hospital appointment, so have mostly been listening to audiobooks. I’ve been slowly reading a paperback of Girls of Paper and Fire and have nearly finished it.

Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir (audiobook) ⭐⭐⭐⭐.5 – I really didn’t expect to love this book as much as I did, but it’s so imaginative, unique, dark, funny and memorable, that it’s become one of my favourite books. The narration by Moira Quirk is fantastic and breathes life into the story and characters.

Among Thieves by M. J. Kuhn (audiobook) ⭐⭐⭐⭐ – This is a short, fast-paced Adult fantasy featuring a heist and ragtag crew of characters with secret agendas, but despite an intriguing set up, it didn’t keep me turning the pages.

I received some really helpful feedback from beta readers on my Arthurian legend retelling, but I decided I needed a bit more time to consider what direction I want to take the book in before proceeding with my next draft. Instead, I have been planning for a redraft of a novel I wrote a few years ago and set aside, and am really excited to completely refresh it with new ideas and more detailed and creative world building.

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