Let’s Talk Bookish: Reading Resolutions

2021 has arrived! And my first post of the year will be a Let’s Talk Bookish discussion. Let’s Talk Bookish is a weekly meme hosted by Rukky @ Eternity Books and Dani @ Literary Lion. This week’s topic is Reading Resolutions and this was actually a topic I suggested, so let’s get stuck in!

Do you set reading resolutions in the New Year? Are they helpful?

I haven’t set myself any formal reading resolutions in the past. But I usually have a goal of a number of books I want to read and a general resolution to read more which has varying results!

This year though I think I might set some more specific goals, such as finishing or continuing particular series, and identifying some books that have been on my TBR for years that I really need to get round to.

I think resolutions can be helpful, and that’s why I’m thinking of setting some this year. Especially with a growing number of books I want to read and having more time to read at the moment, I feel like I’m just going to end up flailing around in a sea of books (literally and metaphorically).

Do you look back to see if you stuck to your goals?

Although I don’t set a specific TBR for myself, I do usually have some books in mind at the beginning of the year that I want to read, so I do like to look back and see how many of them I actually ended up reading. I also do track how many books I’ve read throughout the year and whether or not I’m going to hit my goal.

Do you ever feel pressured/stressed by these resolutions?

I think I’ve often been put off by the idea of having specific resolutions as I didn’t want to feel pressured by them. This year I think I’ll set some loose resolutions, but not be too strict with myself about it because I don’t want it to become a stressful thing.

Do you participate in the GoodReads challenge?

Yes! I have to admit I do get a bit obsessed with checking my progress and working out if I’m going to reach my goal in time. Sometimes I feel like it could potentially suck the fun out of reading when I’m always thinking about how many books I have left to read in the year. But at the same time, I do enjoy having a goal. I usually set something that is a challenge, but is still actually realistic, otherwise I would get stressed out by it.

Do you like setting reading goals or resolutions at the beginning of the year? I’d love to know what you think so chat with me in the comments!

December 2020 Wrap Up

It’s the end of December and the end of 2020! I can’t believe this year is finally over. It’s been, well, not the best year for many reasons. But I can say that I read 50 books this year, which is way more than I’ve ever read in a year before, so at least that’s one plus to having been stuck at home so much.

I had planned to write a lot more blog posts this month but I ended up being super busy at work and had a migraine at the beginning of the month which took out a few days of productivity. But some good blogging news – I now have 400 followers! I can’t believe so many people are following my blog now. Thank you so much to everyone who reads, likes and comments on my posts. I love interacting with you lovely people.

So on to the final monthly wrap up of the year…

Aurora Burning by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff ⭐⭐⭐⭐ – I loved Aurora Rising so much so I had really high hopes for this one. And while I did enjoy it, I did like Aurora Rising more. I hope we don’t have to wait too long for the next book…

A Storm of Swords Part II by George R. R. Martin ⭐⭐⭐⭐ – I read Part I in November and didn’t want to leave it too long before I read Part II as I didn’t want to forget what happened. There was a lot packed into this book and oh my gosh so many characters died. George R. R. Martin is ruthless.

A Court of Frost and Starlight ⭐⭐⭐ – This festive novella was a fun Christmas read but not much actually happened in it. There wasn’t much of a plot. So I didn’t love it as much as the other books in the series. I’m still excited for A Court of Silver Flames though.

I used up the last of a gift card I had to get Empire of Storms and Tower of Dawn by Sarah J. Maas and The Camelot Betrayal by Kiersten White. The Illumicrate Daughter of Smoke and Bone box finally arrived so I got a beautiful hardback edition of one of my favourite books. I also got some lovely presents for Christmas – Muse of Nightmares by Laini Taylor, Little Women and a beautiful edition of Persuasion.

As I finished my WIP at the end of November I took a couple of weeks off writing to give myself a break from the project so I could come back to it with fresh eyes. I’ve been working on some world building things and have a few other planning bits I need to sort out before I can start work on my second draft.

Can you believe it’s actually the end of 2020? Did you read any good books this year? Chat with me in the comments!

I realised I don’t follow many of you lovely people on social media. So, if you’d like to connect with me, feel free to drop your handles/links in the comments. You can find me @mtwilsonwrites on Twitter and @m.t.wilsonwrites1891 on Instagram.

Top 10 Tuesday: Favourite Books of 2020

I’ve read a lot of books this year and narrowing it down to just 10 of my favourites was so hard! So here are my favourite 14 books I read in 2020, in no particular order. Links take you to my reviews!

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.

Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo – I loved this book even more than Six of Crows! It was a brilliant conclusion to the duology.

Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor – As I loved Daughter of Smoke and Bone, I had high expectations for this one, and it didn’t disappoint. Laini Taylor’s writing is just so magical, imaginative and captivating.

Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff – I didn’t expect to love this book as much as I did, but it instantly became one of my favourite books ever.

Aurora Rising by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff – This book was just so much fun and action-packed. I loved going on an adventure with Squad 312 and can’t wait for the third book to come out.

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Book Review: A Court of Frost and Starlight by Sarah J. Maas

A Court of Frost and Starlight by Sarah J. Maas  

Genre: Fantasy

Publishing Info: May 2018 by Bloomsbury YA

Pages: 229

Star Rating: 3/5

Back Cover Summary:

ON THE DARKEST NIGHT, THE STARS STILL SHINE.

Feyre’s first Winter Solstice as High Lady is drawing near. With it will come a hard-earned rest from the work she, Rhys and their friends have done to rebuild the Night Court and the vastly changed the world beyond. Yet the festive atmosphere can’t keep shadows from looming. Even as her own heart heals, she finds that those dearest to her have wounds that go deeper than she knew.

AND THE SCARS OF THE PAST WILL TOUCH HER COURT IN TIMES TO COME.

A Court of Frost and Starlight follows on from the events of A Court of Wings and Ruin with a fun, cosy, wintery novella. This was a perfect festive read as the characters are celebrating the Winter Solstice in the Night Court, which has some similarities to Christmas traditions. So I think I enjoyed it more for reading it at this time of year.        

But while I liked returning to this world and spending time with these characters, this novella doesn’t really add much. I’m struggling to see what its purpose is as there, well, wasn’t really any kind of plot. We get some insight into what all of the characters have been up to since the war, but there’s no plot to drive this novella. By the end, it just fell a bit flat for me because it didn’t really have any direction. It feels like a stepping stone between A Court of Wings and Ruin and A Court of Silver Flames. But even so, it didn’t feel like there was much new information that couldn’t have been woven into the beginning of A Court of Silver Flames.    

If you haven’t read the first three books in the A Court of Thorns and Roses series, don’t read this one. You need to have read, and liked, the others to get any enjoyment from this book. If you’re a fan of the series, you’ll enjoy being reunited with the characters and getting to see their festive shenanigans, but don’t go into this expecting anything more.

I would say that this has piqued my curiosity more for A Court of Silver Flames though. I’m curious to see where Sarah J. Maas takes Nesta’s character in the next book in the series.   

Books That Surprised Me in 2020

I love writing these end of year posts! It’s fun to look back at what I read during the year. Today I’ll be talking about some of the books that surprised me in some way.


Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

This is the first book in the Illuminae Files series which is written in an unusual epistolary format. The story is told through emails, messaging, security camera footage, and files, which are knitted together to tell the narrative. I wasn’t sure if I’d like the format, but I actually loved it! It was such a unique way to tell a story and I was hooked all the way through. There’s plenty of action and I was completely gripped. I gave this book 5 stars and I wasn’t expecting to love it as much as I did.


The Shadows Between Us by Tricia Levenseller

This book wasn’t on my radar at all but I received it in Fairyloot’s February box. Having read the blurb, I wasn’t sure it was really for me, but decided to join in the readalong and give it a go. So, I was pleasantly surprised that I really enjoyed it! I loved Alessandra’s character, the scheming and the romance, even though some of it was a bit predictable. I gave it 4 stars as it wasn’t flawless, but this was unexpectedly a new favourite read for me. I wouldn’t have picked up this book if not for Fairyloot, so I am really glad I got that box!


A Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer

I looked at this book in Waterstones so many times before I eventually picked it up (that cover and shimmery spine definitely catches the eye!). There was a lot of hype around this book and I’m not massively into Beauty and the Beast retellings, so I wasn’t sure I’d like this one. However, I was surprised to find that I loved it. Harper is one of my favourite characters. She’s so fierce and fearless, but also kind, and I really appreciated the disability rep as she has cerebral palsy, and there aren’t many disabled characters in books, especially ones who go on adventures in YA fantasy. This book is also surprisingly dark at times which I really liked.  


Burn by Patrick Ness

I was expecting to like this book. I mean, it has dragons in, so I was already sold. But Burn was surprising in the sense that I really wasn’t sure what to expect going into it, and it was even more amazing than I had imagined. I don’t want to say too much because if you haven’t read it yet I feel like this is the kind of book you want to go into not knowing too much. Dragons in Cold War era America sounds really bizarre, but it really works. Patrick Ness did a great job with this book and I would thoroughly recommend it.


What books surprised you this year? Did you read any you weren’t expecting to like but ended up loving? Chat with me in the comments!  

Books I Want to Read in 2020 – did I read them?

At the beginning of the year, I wrote a blog post about what books I wanted to read in 2020. So now I’m going to look back and see how many of them I actually read!

Links will take you to my reviews!

Throne of Glass series by Sarah J Maas – I wanted to make some progress with this series as I loved the first two books. I read The Assassin’s Blade and Heir of Fire this year, so this one is a definite yes.

A Court of Thorns and Roses series by Sarah J Maas – I also wanted to continue this series and I did, as I read A Court of Wings and Ruin.

Leigh Bardugo’s Grishaverse – I read Crooked Kingdom, which I absolutely loved! But I still need to read King of Scars.

Fear by Michael Grant – It seems to have been taking me ages to get through the Gone series. Fear is the fifth book and I had planned to read it in 2019 but didn’t get round to it. But I did read it in 2020!  

The Midnight Star by Marie Lu – I really wanted to finish this trilogy but just didn’t get round to reading this one. It’s high up on my list for 2021 though.

Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare – Yep I read this one and loved it! And I also read the sequel, Lord of Shadows.

Spin the Dawn by Elizabeth Lim – Another yes, and I’m looking forward to reading Unravel the Dusk next year.

A Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer – I read this one and the sequel, A Heart So Fierce and Broken too.  

Blood Heir by Amélie Wen Zao – Yes, I read this at the beginning of the year, though I don’t remember it that well now.

The Deck of Omens by Christine Lynn Herman – I really enjoyed The Devouring Gray but didn’t get round to reading the sequel this year.

The Damned by Renée Ahdieh – No didn’t get round to this one either. I also decided I want to re-read The Beautiful first.

I’m quite happy that I managed to read quite a few of the books from my list! Hopefully I’ll get to the rest in 2021!

How about you? Are there any books you planned to read this year but didn’t get to?

Let’s Talk Bookish: Reading & Blogging – Their Effect on Writing

Let’s Talk Bookish is a weekly meme hosted by Rukky @ Eternity Books and Dani @ Literary Lion.

This is a really interesting topic but I’ll probably only be writing a short post as I’ve had a really busy week and had a migraine at the weekend so I’m feeling a bit behind on everything!  

Have you sometimes felt that as a reader, you should also be a writer or vice versa? Do you think that a desire to write is connected with a love of reading? What motivates you to write?

I’ve actually been a writer way longer than I’ve been a blogger! I started writing short stories when I was about 10 and by the time I was 12/13, I was planning out epic fantasy series! And I’ve never looked back. I’ve written six novels now and I’m hoping to start sending one of them out to agents next year, fingers crossed!

I do think there’s a weird expectation, especially from people who are more outside the book world, that people who read will also like writing too. Which isn’t the case. Maybe people who love reading love writing too, but not everyone.

Most writers probably also love reading. I mean, it makes sense right? I often see advice that says to be a good writer you need to read a lot. And while that is one of those generic pieces of writing advice that doesn’t feel that helpful, I have actually found my writing has improved so much over the last couple of years as I’ve started reading a lot more. Reading more has really helped me grow as a writer.

What I love about writing is getting to use my imagination, to come up with stories and worlds. I love to disappear into the worlds I’ve created. I’m not sure I can say what motivates me to write, I think it’s just that love of stories and using my imagination. When I write I’m transported to another world, and everything around me just fades away, and I get totally in the zone. Writing is like breathing for me, I really couldn’t imagine life without it.

As a book blogger, do you ever feel discouraged about publishing a book because you know how readers & bloggers can react to books/authors?

Like I said above, I’ve been writing and dreaming of being an author since before I became a blogger and part of the book community! So that’s not something that discouraged me. I think it’s important to remember that not every person is going to love every book. Your book might not be for one person, but it will be a favourite of someone else.

Do you think that authors can be book bloggers as well, or that they’ve crossed the imaginary line between authors and bloggers and therefore are not like other book bloggers anymore?

I hope authors can be book bloggers as well! I so desperately want to be an author, but I’d love to continue with this blog as well when I hopefully one day reach that dream of becoming an author!

Are you a writer as well as a reader? Have you ever thought about writing a book? Or are you happy to stick with being a reader? Share your thoughts with me in the comments!

Let’s Talk Bookish: The Writing Styles of Classics and Contemporaries

Let’s Talk Bookish is a weekly meme hosted by Rukky @ Eternity Books and Dani @ Literary Lion. Today’s topic is all about rereading books!

Today’s topic is all about the writing styles of classic and contemporary works. This is such an interesting topic! I did English Literature with Creative Writing at uni and had to read a lot of classics as part of my course.

Do you prefer reading classics or contemporaries? What differences do you notice between the two?

I generally prefer reading contemporary books. They often have a faster pace and are more relatable. I’m also a big scifi and fantasy fan, and those genres have grown a lot over the years. But I do like reading a classic from time to time.

Classics can feel slow and hard to get through, and the language can feel archaic to us, because we don’t speak or communicate in the same ways. Language and the way we use it has changed.

Literature has evolved both in terms of content and style over hundreds of years, and the way we read and consume books now is very different from in the past. Literature is informed by the times in which it is written, whether consciously or subconsciously on the author’s part. I think some of the reason people can struggle with getting into classics is partly because of the writing style, but also because they can be hard to connect with. They were written for the people reading them in that present time. Someone three hundred years in the future was not the author’s target audience. However, many classics explore themes and issues that we can still relate to today, and that is part of what makes them a classic.

Classics are also seen as kind of ‘highbrow’, old and stuffy. But that’s just the style of the times they were written in, and many of them were popular books of the time.

‘The classics’ also incorporates such a wide range of literature. I have read a couple of Dickens and they weren’t for me. But I loved Tess of the D’Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy and am also a fan of Jane Austen’s works. Then there’s the plethora of classic science fiction and horror. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley is a brilliant classic. Then there’s the modern classics from the 20th Century like 1984 by George Orwell and Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K Dick. It’s okay not to like classics, but it might just be that you haven’t found the right kind of classic for you. There are so many of them out there!

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Book Review: Aurora Burning by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Aurora Burning by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction

Publishing Info: May 2020 by Rock the Boat

Pages: 497

Star Rating: 4/5

Back Cover Summary:

Our heroes are back… kind of. From the bestselling co-authors of the Illuminae Files comes the second book in the epic series about a squad of misfits, losers, and discipline cases who just might be the galaxy’s best hope for survival.

First, the bad news: an ancient evil—you know, your standard consume-all-life-in-the-galaxy deal—is about to be unleashed. The good news? Squad 312 is standing by to save the day. They’ve just got to take care of a few small distractions first.

Like the clan of gremps who’d like to rearrange their favorite faces.

And the cadre of illegit GIA agents with creepy flowers where their eyes used to be, who’ll stop at nothing to get their hands on Auri.

Then there’s Kal’s long-lost sister, who’s not exactly happy to see her baby brother, and has a Syldrathi army at her back. With half the known galaxy on their tails, Squad 312 has never felt so wanted.

When they learn the Hadfield has been found, it’s time to come out of hiding. Two centuries ago, the colony ship vanished, leaving Auri as its sole survivor. Now, its black box might be what saves them. But time is short, and if Auri can’t learn to master her powers as a Trigger, the squad and all their admirers are going to be deader than the Great Ultrasaur of Abraaxis IV.

Shocking revelations, bank heists, mysterious gifts, inappropriately tight bodysuits, and an epic firefight will determine the fate of the Aurora Legion’s most unforgettable heroes—and maybe the rest of the galaxy as well.

Aurora Burning is the second book in the Aurora Cycle series. Aurora Rising is one of the best books I have read this year, so I had high expectations for its sequel. While I did love Aurora Burning, it didn’t quite hit the same high note as Aurora Rising for me.  

We’re thrown right into the action with a superb opening which really reminded me why I loved Aurora Rising so much. The first third or so of the book is action-packed and full of the humorous exchanges that make this series such a fun read. Unfortunately, the pacing slowed and started to drag a little in the middle and the beginning of the second half. I just wasn’t as gripped and didn’t feel such a connection with the story. There is a bit more of a serious tone in the second half, which makes sense since the stakes are really high for the characters, but that meant it lacked the fun spark that the first half of the book and Aurora Rising had. Having said that, I still didn’t want to put it down. There are some seriously big reveals and twists in this book that I didn’t see coming!

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Living with Crohn’s Disease (Crohn’s and Colitis Awareness Week)

This week is Crohn’s & Colitis Awareness Week so I’m going to be doing something a little different on my blog today. I don’t talk about personal things much on here, but I’m hoping by sharing my experiences of living with Crohn’s Disease it will help raise awareness.

There are a range of symptoms and not everyone’s experience of Crohn’s Disease is the same. This post will be explaining a bit about Crohn’s Disease and what my personal experience of the condition has been.

Most people I meet have never heard of Crohn’s Disease. According to Crohn’s & Colitis UK, it’s estimated that one in every 650 people in the UK are affected by Crohn’s Disease. But sadly it’s a misunderstood and often stigmatised condition.

Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis are the two main forms of Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD). They are chronic conditions that can be managed through various treatment options, including medication and surgery.  

Crohn’s Disease causes inflammation of the digestive system or gut. Symptoms vary from person to person, but include diarrhoea, abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, mouth ulcers, weight loss, anaemia, joint pain, as well as wider health complications. I’ve experienced all of these symptoms at various points in the last 15 years. You can find more detailed information about Crohn’s Disease on the Crohn’s & Colitis UK website.

Management of diet is also important for coping with Crohn’s Disease day-to-day for many people, although the extent food affects people seems to vary, and everyone has different foods they can and cannot tolerate. I can’t eat any whole grains or oats at all. While there are some foods I can eat in moderation with careful planning, for example cheese and chocolate.

I was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease at the age of 9 and to be honest, I don’t really remember a time when I wasn’t ill. People are diagnosed at all stages of life, some in childhood, some in their teens, some in early adulthood, some later in life.

The condition is life-long, although there can be periods of relative wellness interspersed with flare ups. For me it’s been an endless cycle. I’ll be very unwell, then have a few months or years of being fairly well, and then have another flare up, over and over again in a cycle. Stress can be a trigger for flares, which has happened to me a couple of times. It’s important to remember that Crohn’s Disease doesn’t go away during those ‘good’ periods. I still suffer from bad fatigue, still have to be careful to avoid trigger foods, and sometimes still get symptoms.

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