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!

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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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!

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?

Book Review: It Only Happens in the Movies by Holly Bourne

It Only Happens in the Movies by Holly Bourne  

Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary

Publishing Info: October 2017 by Usbourne Publishing

Pages: 410

Star Rating: 5/5

Back Cover Summary:

Audrey is over romance. Since her parents’ relationship imploded her mother’s been catatonic, so she takes a cinema job to get out of the house. But there she meets wannabe film-maker Harry. Nobody expects Audrey and Harry to fall in love as hard and fast as they do. But that doesn’t mean things are easy. Because real love isn’t like the movies…

The greatest love story ever told doesn’t feature kissing in the snow or racing to airports. It features pain and confusion and hope and wonder and a ban on cheesy clichés. Oh, and zombies… YA star Holly Bourne tackles real love in this hugely funny and poignant novel.

This is my second book by Holly Bourne and she is definitely a talented writer. Once again, I found myself sucked into the story. She has a way of writing YA contemporary books that just reads so naturally and is really easy to connect to. I wish her books had been out when I was a teen because they are just so good and really relatable, and so amazingly feminist too.  

What I loved about It Only Happens in the Movies is that it’s fun and humorous, while also giving a really realistic portrayal of teen life. The book examines all the clichés you find in romance films and how unrealistic they are. As much as I do enjoy a good romance flick, they don’t explore any of the messy bits of relationships and can be so predictable!

Holly Bourne is really honest about the ups and downs of being a teen. So many YA romance stories almost feel like a fantasy in a way, because there are often a lot of clichés and predictable endings, but It Only Happens in the Movies feels so real and relatable.

There are some really well-written sex scenes and conversations about sex and the anxieties around experiencing it for the first time. Audrey’s parents are also going through a divorce and Holly Bourne portrayed the conflicting feelings and raw emotions of that experience so well.

If you haven’t read any of Holly Bourne’s books yet, I would thoroughly recommend them! I especially recommend to UK readers! There aren’t enough books set in UK high schools and sixth forms and I so enjoyed reading a book with a setting that I could relate to more than the typical US high school stories. I shan’t talk about the ending, because I don’t want to spoil it, but it was a very satisfying conclusion to an excellent book.

Let’s Talk Bookish: Rereading Books

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!

Do you reread books? How often?

I very rarely reread books. I just don’t have as much time for reading as I would like, so I prioritise reading new books rather than rereading. There are so many books out there, though I know it will be impossible to read them all! It’s important to support new authors as well.

Rereading books is an interesting experience since you’re already familiar with the story, and I often find I discover new things I missed the first time around. So I do enjoy rereading and I would do it more if I had more time.

Do you reread a series before reading the newest book?

No, again because of the time issue, but sometimes I wish I was able to do this more! Especially since I often leave a big gap between books in series and forget a lot of what happened in the previous book! If I had more time this is probably something I would do. There are some series I want to reread in future, and I think then I would try reading them closer together.

I’m planning on rereading The Beautiful by Renée Ahdieh before I read The Damned, since it’s more than a year ago since I read The Beautiful, and I read an eARC as well so I’d like to read the finished copy.

Is there a certain book or series that you always come back to reread?

Not really, but there are some I would like to read again sometime. The Hunger Games, Shadowhunters, Blood Red Road, Ombria in Shadow, The Haunting of Alaizabel Cray, A Court of Thorns and Roses, Shadow and Bone, to name a few. I’m sure in a few years’ time I will reread some of these!

Do you count rereads towards your monthly/yearly goals?

On the rare occasion that I do reread a book, yes I do, because it’s still reading, even if I’ve read the book before!

Do you feel guilty about rereading books?

I don’t reread much but when I do, I do feel guilty for neglecting all the new books on my shelves I haven’t read yet!

Do you reread books often? What do you enjoy about rereading? Let me know in the comments!

Let’s Talk Bookish: How Many POVs is Too Many?

Let’s Talk Bookish is a weekly meme hosted by Rukky @ Eternity Books and Dani @ Literary Lion. This week’s Let’s Talk Bookish is a freebie so I decided to look back at topics I’d missed from previous weeks. Today I’ll be talking about POVs!

I have to say I love books with multiple POVs. They don’t work for every story, and I do enjoy single-perspective books, but I just love getting to see inside multiple characters’ heads. I like both reading and writing multi-perspective stories, especially when there’s a large cast who aren’t necessarily with each other the whole book. Seeing what different characters are up to and how their stories come together in the end is so satisfying to me. It’s also interesting seeing how different characters view situations, especially if they come from different backgrounds, have different morals etc. Especially in fantasy, seeing different perspectives can really build on the world as well.

I wish there were more books with more than one or two POVs in YA. A lot of YA books seem to focus on one protagonist, or switch between two, and I often wish I could go and explore what other characters are up to as well.

I do prefer third person over first person when there are multiple POVs. It’s really difficult to pull off two or more distinct first person voices in a book and it can get confusing and jarring. It can be done really well, but I think it’s quite challenging for the writer.

It is important when having multiple POVs for there to be enough time to properly develop each of the POV characters, and also to make sure each of their stories are interesting and unique and actually adds something to the overall plot. Sometimes extra POVs just don’t seem necessary, but sometimes you really couldn’t do without them and it would be a totally different story without multiple POVs. There needs to be a purpose behind it, and each POV needs to drive the plot. They need to carry the story forward in some way, and also have their own arc. There can be too many POVs if they don’t all have a purpose.

What do you think about having multiple POVs? Do you enjoy these types of books, or do you prefer to have just one POV? Is there such thing as too many POVs? Share your thoughts with me in the comments!

Book Review: Lord of Shadows by Cassandra Clare

Lord of Shadows by Cassandra Clare

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal, Romance  

Publishing Info: May 2018 by Simon and Schuster Children’s UK (first published 2017)

Pages: 699

Star Rating: 4/5

Back Cover Summary:

Emma Carstairs has finally avenged her parents. She thought she’d be at peace. But she is anything but calm. Torn between her desire for her parabatai Julian and her desire to protect him from the brutal consequences of parabatai relationships, she has begun dating his brother, Mark. But Mark has spent the past five years trapped in Faerie; can he ever truly be a Shadowhunter again?

And the faerie courts are not silent. The Unseelie King is tired of the Cold Peace, and will no longer concede to the Shadowhunters’ demands. Caught between the demands of faerie and the laws of the Clave, Emma, Julian, and Mark must find a way to come together to defend everything they hold dear—before it’s too late.

Lord of Shadows is the second book in the Dark Artifices trilogy. The first in the series, Lady Midnight, instantly became one of my favourite Shadowhunters books when I read it earlier this year. Unfortunately, while I enjoyed Lord of Shadows, I didn’t get quite the same feeling from it as the first book.

Lord of Shadows is very long and felt too drawn out to me. Too much time seems to be spent on the relationship drama, and the main plot falls to the wayside too often. Relationships are always a big part of Cassandra Clare’s books, but the plot was very strong in Lady Midnight with a clear arc and goal for the characters. While the characters did have a goal in Lord of Shadows, that didn’t become clear until a fair chunk into the book, and then the main conflict seemed secondary to character drama for too much of the remaining pages. The final, shocking chapter felt too rushed and ended very suddenly.

The Blackthorn family and their dynamics is part of what I loved about Lady Midnight, and is also one of the best aspects of Lord of Shadows. While I did feel the relationships dominated too much at times, I did appreciate the character development in this book. We got to see a lot more of some of the characters, such as Kit, Ty and Diana. I wasn’t keen on Kit at first but he grew on me and I liked seeing how he came to terms with his new position (can’t say more without spoiling Lady Midnight!).  

The Blackthorns end up in the London Institute for a time, and readers of The Infernal Devices will enjoy some references to that series. I haven’t read Chain of Gold yet, but there also seemed to be some references to the characters from the Last Hours series, which was published after the Dark Artifices series. It always astonishes me how far in advance Cassandra Clare seems to plan this stuff out!

I gave Lady Midnight 5 stars because I just fell in love with the story and the characters. Sadly, Lord of Shadows didn’t hit the same note for me. I’m still excited to see how the trilogy concludes in Queen of Air and Darkness though, especially after that final chapter took the story in a direction I hadn’t anticipated. I’m glad I don’t have to wait for it to be released. However, the final book in the series is an absolute monster at 870 pages so I’m really hoping the angst doesn’t take over too much…