Wrap Up: 2021 in Books

It’s time to do a wrap up of all the books I read last year! I hit my goal of reading 35 books by reading 36. I am pleased I managed to read so many, despite having a bit of a rough year health-wise. I ended the year with quite a few audiobooks as I’ve been struggling with back and shoulder pain. Because of this continuing issue, I have set a lower goal for 2022 to avoid any unnecessary pressure, and am aiming to read 25 books.

Read More »

Top 10 Tuesday: Most Anticipated Releases for the First Half of 2022

There are some exciting looking sequels coming out this year but I am so behind on reading 2021 releases so there are very few sequels on this list! There are, however, many debuts and new releases by familiar authors that I am very excited for this year.

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.


Scorpica by G. R. Macallister

A centuries-long peace is shattered in a matriarchal society when a decade passes without a single girl being born in this sweeping epic fantasy that’s perfect for fans of Robin Hobb and Circe.

Five hundred years of peace between queendoms shatters when girls inexplicably stop being born. As the Drought of Girls stretches across a generation, it sets off a cascade of political and personal consequences across all five queendoms of the known world, throwing long-standing alliances into disarray as each queendom begins to turn on each other—and new threats to each nation rise from within.

Uniting the stories of women from across the queendoms, this propulsive, gripping epic fantasy follows a warrior queen who must rise from childbirth bed to fight for her life and her throne, a healer in hiding desperate to protect the secret of her daughter’s explosive power, a queen whose desperation to retain control leads her to risk using the darkest magic, a near-immortal sorcerer demigod powerful enough to remake the world for her own ends—and the generation of lastborn girls, the ones born just before the Drought, who must bear the hopes and traditions of their nations if the queendoms are to survive.

The synopsis for this book gives me Priory of the Orange Tree vibes and I would love to read more epic fantasy with queendoms, so I am highly anticipating this one’s release.


Castles in Their Bones by Laura Sebastian

A spellbinding story of three princesses and the destiny they were born for: seduction, conquest, and the crown. Immerse yourself in the first book in a new fantasy trilogy from the author of the New York Times bestselling Ash Princess series.

Empress Margaraux has had plans for her daughters since the day they were born. Princesses Sophronia, Daphne, and Beatriz will be queens. And now, age sixteen, they each must leave their homeland and marry their princes.

Beautiful, smart, and demure, the triplets appear to be the perfect brides—because Margaraux knows there is one common truth: everyone underestimates a girl. Which is a grave mistake. Sophronia, Daphne, and Beatriz are no innocents. They have been trained since birth in the arts of deception, seduction, and violence with a singular goal—to bring down monarchies— and their marriages are merely the first stage of their mother’s grand vision: to one day reign over the entire continent of Vesteria.

The princesses have spent their lives preparing, and now they are ready, each with her own secret skill, and each with a single wish, pulled from the stars. Only, the stars have their own plans—and their mother hasn’t told them all of hers.

Life abroad is a test. Will their loyalties stay true? Or will they learn that they can’t trust anyone—not even each other?

I’ve not read Laura Sebastian’s previous books, but something about this cover and description caught my attention. I love multi perspective stories, and the concept behind this one sounds really intriguing.


Gallant by V. E. Schwab

Sixteen-year-old Olivia Prior is missing three things: a mother, a father, and a voice. Her mother vanished all at once, and her father by degrees, and her voice was a thing she never had to start with.

She grew up at Merilance School for Girls. Now, nearing the end of her time there, Olivia receives a letter from an uncle she’s never met, her father’s older brother, summoning her to his estate, a place called Gallant. But when she arrives, she discovers that the letter she received was several years old. Her uncle is dead. The estate is empty, save for the servants. Olivia is permitted to remain, but must follow two rules: don’t go out after dusk, and always stay on the right side of a wall that runs along the estate’s western edge.

Beyond it is another realm, ancient and magical, which calls to Olivia through her blood…

From the Sunday Times-bestselling author of The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue, and A Darker Shade of Magic comes a standalone novel where The Secret Garden meets Stardust.

I only discovered V. E. Schwab a couple of years ago (I know, very late to the party) and have loved both of her books I’ve read so far, so of course I’ll be snapping up her latest release.

Read More »

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.

Read More »

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.

Read More »

Audiobook Review: Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir

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.   

Read More »

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!

Audiobook Review: Among Thieves by M. J. Kuhn

Among Thieves by M. J. Kuhn

Genre: Fantasy

Publishing Info: Audiobook by Simon & Schuster Audio 2021

Star Rating: 3/5

Back Cover Summary:

In just over a year’s time, Ryia Cautella has already earned herself a reputation as the quickest, deadliest blade in the dockside city of Carrowwick—not to mention the sharpest tongue. But Ryia Cautella is not her real name.

For the past six years, a deadly secret has kept her in hiding, running from town to town, doing whatever it takes to stay one step ahead of the formidable Guildmaster—the sovereign ruler of the five kingdoms of Thamorr. No matter how far or fast she travels, his servants never fail to track her down…but even the most powerful men can be defeated.

Ryia’s path now leads directly into the heart of the Guildmaster’s stronghold, and against every instinct she has, it’s not a path she can walk alone. Forced to team up with a crew of assorted miscreants, smugglers, and thieves, Ryia must plan her next moves very carefully. If she succeeds, her freedom is won once and for all… but unfortunately for Ryia, her new allies are nearly as selfish as she is, and they all have plans of their own.

Among Thieves has been pitched as perfect for fans of Six of Crows, and it has a lot in common with that work which many will enjoy, namely a ragtag crew from a criminal gang taking on a massive heist. The novel follows five POV characters as they are forced to work together, each with their own secrets and agendas. While I enjoyed Among Thieves, it didn’t quite keep me turning the pages the way I had hoped, especially for such a short, fast-paced Adult fantasy. 

In the opening chapters, we’re introduced to our main characters – Ryia, Tristan, Nash, Ivan and Evelyn. Three of these five characters had very similar backstories – they are on the run and their real identities are a secret that none of the others know. This similarity made it difficult to remember who was who at first, and also meant their stories didn’t feel unique enough to hold my interest.

The plot moved fast, was engaging, and the stakes were high. Inevitably, all their plans for the heist go wrong, and they have to adapt. Some parts kept me guessing, others felt a little too predictable.

Read More »

July & August 2021 Wrap Up

So, I’ve not been around here much lately! I’ve been on a bit of a hiatus and will probably not be here much for a little while longer. At the beginning of August, I hurt my shoulder and I’ve been in a lot of pain. I’ve been managing to work but not been able to use my computer or phone much. Or, unfortunately, do much reading! I have been listening to audiobooks though.

I just wanted to do a quick post to let you know I haven’t disappeared completely! I will be back, I’m just not sure when, as it depends how long my shoulder takes to get better. I’m also moving house at the end of September (talk about bad timing to have a painful shoulder!) so things are a bit hectic at the moment.

Here is a quick wrap up for July and August. Hopefully I will be back to posting more regularly again soon!

The Dark Days Club by Alison Goodman – ⭐⭐⭐.5

Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor – ⭐⭐⭐⭐.5

Queen of Coin and Whispers by Helen Corcoran – ⭐⭐⭐

A Darker Shade of Magic by V. E. Schwab – ⭐⭐⭐⭐

The Hobbit audiobook – ⭐⭐⭐⭐ ⭐

I got a book voucher for my birthday and I was able to go to a book shop in July for the first time since the pandemic which was incredibly exciting! I got The Invisible Library, The Poppy War, Pride and Premeditation, and The Cruel Prince. I also had pre-orders arrive for Six Crimson Cranes, The Wolf and the Woodsman, Fire With Fire, and Broken Web.

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

Book Review: Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor

Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor  

Genre: Fantasy

Publishing Info: 10th Anniversary Edition, 2020 by Hodder & Stoughton (first published 2012)

Pages: 528

Star Rating: 4.5/5

Back Cover Summary:

Once upon a time, an angel and a devil fell in love and dared to imagine a new way of living – one without massacres and torn throats and bonfires of the fallen, without revenants or bastard armies or children ripped from their mothers’ arms to take their turn in the killing and dying.

Once, the lovers lay entwined in the moon’s secret temple and dreamed of a world that was like a jewel-box without a jewel – a paradise waiting for them to find it and fill it with their happiness.

This was not that world.

Daughter of Smoke and Bone is one of my favourite books of all time. It’s two years since I read it and I can’t believe it took me this long to get to the sequel. I think, perhaps, because the first book blew me away so much, I was nervous to read Days of Blood and Starlight. I needn’t have been worried, because although I don’t love it quite as much as the first book, it was still absolutely phenomenal.

I found the first half a little slow and wasn’t really sure where the story was going, but the last third or so was filled with so many twists I was absolutely glued to the page and audibly gasped at multiple points. There’s not too much I can say without spoiling the first book, but this one is at times very bleak and very grim, but despite that, the words and way Laini Taylor tells the story is so captivating and heart wrenching. There are also a few lighter moments provided by Zuzana and Mik who are gems bringing some much-needed smiles amongst all the darkness. 

I’ve read three of Laini Taylor’s books now and I just can’t get over how stunning her writing is. It paints a picture and envelops you like silk, delivering gentle moments and violence with a brush stroke that captures every emotion and movement so beautifully and vividly. Her words draw me into every story she writes and makes me want to never let go of the book in my hands.

Days of Blood and Starlight is an excellent sequel – dark and heart-breaking, yet full of hope. I’m excited for the final book in the trilogy – Dreams of Gods and Monsters – but I also don’t want the story to end, and I have a feeling it’s going to be devastating. Brilliant, but devastating, in the way the first two books have been. In a way that makes it unforgettable.