Top 10 Tuesday: Books Written Before I Was Born

Today’s top 10 is all about the older books we’ve read, rather than recent releases! This list will have five classics and five sci-fi and fantasy books. So here are some of my favourite books written before I was born, which was in the 90s!

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.

Emma by Jane Austen

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë

Tess of the D’Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy

Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? By Philip K. Dick

Dragons of Autumn Twilight by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman

The Cygnet duology by Patricia A. McKillip

The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien 

What are some of your favourite books from before you were born? Chat with me in the comments!

January 2021 Wrap Up

So my big news this month is that I’ve had the first dose of the covid vaccine! I’m in the clinically extremely vulnerable category because the medication I take suppresses the immune system, so I’m in one of the first groups to get the vaccine. I’ve spent most of the last 10 months stuck at home so this first step to getting back to some kind of normality feels like such a relief! The vaccine won’t be as effective for me as other people as I’m immunosuppressed so I will still need to carry on shielding for a while even when I’ve had both doses, but it’s reassuring to have some protection at least.

Links take you to my reviews!

A Dark and Hollow Star by Ashley Shuttleworth ⭐⭐⭐⭐ – It took me a while to get into this one but by the end I loved it! The world is so detailed and the characters are brilliant.

The Frozen Crown by Greta Kelly ⭐⭐⭐ – This political fantasy had plenty of intrigue, and while it seemed like it might be a bit predictable, there were some big twists at the end! Even so, I didn’t love it as much as I’d hoped.

Blood & Honey by Shelby Mahurin ⭐⭐⭐⭐ – Having loved Serpent & Dove, I was a bit nervous about reading this one, especially considering the mixed response, but I actually really enjoyed it.

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ – This book was recommended to me by a friend and I’m so glad I read it! I found it quite easy to read for a classic, and I was totally absorbed in the story of the four sisters.

My first new book of the year was An Illustrated History of Notable Shadowhunters and Denizens of Downworld by Cassandra Clare with beautiful illustrations by Cassandra Jean. Somehow this managed to pass me by when it came out a few years ago? I didn’t know it existed until a few weeks ago! I’m really not sure how that happened. I preorderd Gut Feelings by C. G. More which is a novel in verse about chronic illness, which I am really looking forward to reading, but I have a feeling may be a bit of an emotional read for me. My preorder of A Vow So Bold and Deadly by Brigid Kemmerer also arrived and I’m excited to see how the series ends!

I spent December and the beginning of January doing some planning and worldbuilding for my Arthurian legend retelling. I needed to redraw my map and add in some places. But now I’ve started work on the second draft and I’ve edited 10 chapters so far (out of 52…).

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

WWW Wednesday: 27 January 2021

I am so glad it is Wednesday, we’re halfway through the week! I’ve been feeling really tired so I’m looking forward to the weekend.

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 – Blood & Honey by Shelby Mahurin

A lot of people seemed to not enjoy this one but I actually really liked this sequel! I loved how it delved further into the consequences of using magic and expanded the worldbuilding with the addition of the blood witches and werewolves. You can read my full review here.

CURRENTLY READING – Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

I’ve read a lot of fantasy lately so I fancied a change. One of my dearest friends sent me a copy of Little Women recently and I felt in the mood for a classic so decided to give it a go. I’m a bit more than halfway through and loving it. Louisa May Alcott brings the four characters to life so wonderfully on the page.  

NEXT READ – ?

I haven’t decided what to read next! I’m generally a mood reader so I will see what takes my fancy when I have finished Little Women, as I expect it will take me a few more days to finish it.

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

Top 10 Tuesday: New-To-Me Authors I Read in 2020

Today’s Top 10 Tuesday is all about new authors I discovered in 2020! While I read quite a few books by favourite authors last year, I also found some new authors that I want to read more from!

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.

Elizabeth Acevedo – I got into novels in verse a few years ago and The Poet X was really good so I want to read more of Elizabeth Acevedo’s books.

Tricia LevensellerThe Shadows Between Us was an unexpected favourite from me last year. I haven’t read any of the authors other books but will definitely be looking out for them now.

Kiersten White – I absolutely love Arthurian legend so I was really excited when Kiersten White’s retelling came out. The Guinevere Deception was my first time reading her work but she’s had a lot of other books published that I haven’t checked out yet.

Elizabeth Lim – The gorgeous cover of Spin the Dawn is what drew me to Elizabeth Lim’s first book and I absolutely loved her writing style so can’t wait to read more.

Shelby Mahurin – After all the hype around Serpent & Dove, I caved and read it and I’m so glad that I did!

Brigid KemmererA Curse So Dark and Lonely is another book that I read because of all the hype and ended up loving. Brigid Kemmerer has previously written contemporary books but I haven’t read any of them.

Lori M. Lee – I wasn’t sure if I would like Forest of Souls but I ended up loving it and am so excited for the sequel!

V. E. Schwab – One of the biggest fantasy authors around at the moment, and I hadn’t read any of her books until last year. The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue was such a phenomenal book, I’ll definitely be checking out more of her work.

Zoraida Córdova – I was lucky enough to get an eARC of Incendiary which was my first time reading one of Zoraida Córdova’s books.

Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff – I really can’t believe I hadn’t heard of Illuminae before last year. It instantly became one of my favourite books and I’ve loved every book I’ve read by this duo so far.

What new authors did you read in 2020? Are there any you’re excited to read for the first time in 2021? Chat with me in the comments!

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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