February 2021 Wrap Up

This month was pretty good for reading considering I read two 5 star reads! I don’t give 5 stars very often so to have two in one month is pretty amazing. But on the flip side, the other two books I read were quite disappointing which isn’t so good.

Links take you to my reviews!

The Midnight Star by Marie Lu ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ – This was just the perfect ending to the Young Elites series. I felt so emotional reading the last few chapters.

Shadow Kiss by Richelle Mead ⭐⭐⭐ – This is the third book in the Vampire Academy series and I found it a bit slow. I’m not sure if I’m still enjoying this series enough to continue.

Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ – This was the best book in the Throne of Glass series so far – I loved it! I was hooked all the way through and absolutely devoured it in hardly any time at all.

The Prison Healer by Lynette Noni ⭐⭐ – I’ve started writing my review for this but I think I need a bit of time to process and think through what I want to say about this one. I found the twist ending very frustrating.

I absolutely love Ancient Greek mythology so I just had to have Lore by Alexandra Bracken and I’m excited to read it soon. I ordered a set of signed / signed book plate editions of the Shades of Magic series by V. E. Schwab from Forbidden Planet but at the moment I’ve only received the second and third books. I’m starting to wonder if I’ll ever get A Darker Shade of Magic.

I had a bit of a wobble this month and didn’t do any writing for more than a week. I wasn’t feeling so good and just wasn’t feeling like writing. But I’m now 40,000 words into the second draft of my Arthurian retelling WIP so I’m still pretty pleased with my progress. I think this second draft is definitely going to be longer than the first at this rate!

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

Let’s Talk Bookish: Has Blogging Affected Your Reading?

Let’s Talk Bookish is a weekly meme hosted by Rukky @ Eternity Books and Dani @ Literary Lion. Today’s topic was suggested by Mini @ Book and Corner and is all about the impact blogging has had on our reading.

Has blogging affected your reading in a positive or negative way? If so, how?

Before I started regularly blogging, I’d find books by browsing my local Waterstones. I wasn’t aware of what was hyped or popular, wasn’t clued up on upcoming releases. I simply went into the shop and browsed and shelves and the tables and picked up whatever I fancied. In some ways, I miss that, because I liked not knowing what I might discover.

Whereas now, I’m so aware of what’s out there and upcoming releases, that when I go in a bookshop and look at the shelves, I recognise all (well, a lot of anyway) of the books, so there’s less surprises. But at the same time, I like the anticipation of waiting for a new book to be released, of being able to get excited for a book to come out. It’s also easier to find books I think I’ll enjoy when I’m more aware of what’s out there, and if I’ve read reviews before buying a book, I’m less likely to end up with books that aren’t for me.

Blogging and reading more about upcoming books, reading more reviews and posts, has meant I’ve discovered some amazing books that I wouldn’t have come across in Waterstones. They don’t stock everything on their shelves. Being part of the blogging community has also made me seek out diverse reads a lot more, and that is definitely a very good thing.

But it’s also very easy to get sucked into the hype around a book, even if you’re not sure it’s for you. Sometimes that means discovering a new favourite, and sometimes it means being disappointed. It can be tempting to always get drawn towards the books that get shouted about the most, when there are other amazing books out there that haven’t had so much attention.

Blogging makes me excited for reading, and so I do feel like I’ve been reading more since I’ve been more actively blogging.

Do you think the pressures to produce content can result in a bad relationship with books?

I love blogging and talking about books. But I do sometimes feel pressured to post consistently. Taking breaks when you need to is important. If you’re in a reading slump, that’s okay, you don’t have to force yourself to blog. Blogging should be fun. So I’m careful to try and avoid it becoming something that’s stressful. But sometimes that’s easier said than done.

How do you balance blogging and reading?

Balancing hobbies can be so hard. I’m currently balancing my day job, reading, blogging and writing, all along with being chronically ill. I feel frustrated when I’m struggling with my energy levels, because I have so many things I want to do. For me, writing always has to come first, because it’s my dream to become an author and I have to prioritise it if I want to reach that dream one day. I read and blog when I can, but I do sometimes wish I had more time and energy for reading, because I really do love it. 

Do you think you would have started blogging if it weren’t for books or vice versa?

As I’ve always loved writing, I think I would have ended up with a blog of some kind. Writing fiction is my passion, but I enjoy writing of all kinds, including writing blog posts. As I love books, whether it be reading them or writing them, it made sense to have a blog dedicated to them.

Has blogging changed your reading habits? Do you read more? Do you read different kinds of books to before you started blogging? Chat with me in the comments!

WWW Wednesday: 24 February 2021

I had a bit of an unplanned break from blogging last week. I’ve been struggling a bit this month with my energy levels and motivation, but I’m feeling a bit better now so planning on posting a bit more regularly again.

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?

Book cover of Queen of Shadows

RECENTLY FINISHED – Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas  

I absolutely loved this book, it was the best in the Throne of Glass series so far! I was glued to the pages and read it pretty fast considering it’s a 600+ page book! You can read my full review here.

CURRENTLY READING – The Prison Healer by Lynette Noni   

I’m halfway through reading an eARC of this at the moment and I’m not loving it so far, so I hope it improves in the second half. I’ve nearly DNFed it a few times but want to try and finish it if I can.

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

WWW Wednesday: 10 February 2021

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

The Midnight Star by Marie Lu – This book was so so good! I felt so emotional at the end. It was just such an amazing conclusion to the Young Elites trilogy. You can read my full review here.

Shadow Kiss by Michelle Read –In my last WWW Wednesday I said I’d read a scifi book. And I ended up reading a paranormal book. This is why I don’t set a monthly TBR, I’m very much a mood reader! It didn’t feel like much happened in this book and I didn’t enjoy it as much as the previous book in the Vampire Academy series.  

NEXT READ – Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas  

So unless I change my mind by later today, I’m planning to continue the Throne of Glass series next.

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

Let’s Talk Bookish: Clichés and Tropes

Let’s Talk Bookish is a weekly meme hosted by Rukky @ Eternity Books and Dani @ Literary Lion. This week’s discussion is all about clichés and tropes, and it’s a topic that I suggested, so I’m looking forward to diving in.

A trope is an element that occurs regularly across literature and media, and could be related to plot, character, or setting etc. All books have tropes, but it’s how the author utilises them that makes each book unique. A cliché often occurs when a trope has been overused, or has been used too similarly too often. Clichés can be irritating because we see them so often, they have become something that makes us roll our eyes because it’s become so predictable.

Tropes are the backbone of literature. Identifying tropes can be a great way for readers to find new books they might enjoy, and they are great for marketers too. If a reader knows they enjoyed a trope, they can look for other books that have that trope. Examples of popular tropes include enemies-to-lovers romance, friends-to-lovers romance, the chosen one and the outsider protagonist.

I don’t often enjoy clichés, unless they are done in a tongue-in-cheek way. If I know what tropes I like and dislike, I know which new books to avoid and which to hone in on. Though I think I’m still learning what kind of tropes I enjoy, and some of it can be down to how the author has used the trope. I love it when an author takes a well-known trope and puts a really unique spin on it. But at the same time, the familiarity of tropes can also be very satisfying.

It’s also great to see tropes being told in different ways by diverse authors, whether they are AOC, LGBTQ+ or disabled. Tropes and cliches that we’ve seen told over and over again by straight, white, able-bodied writers can be told a totally different way by other authors who have a different perspective on those stories.  

Another thing I’d like to discuss is another angle to clichés, which lies in clichés/stereotypes around particularly groups of people in society. Some clichés can be harmful for marginalised groups. When clichés about race, sexuality, disability or mental health are used in literature or media, they often present an unrealistic view and can perpetuate harmful stereotypes. It’s important for authors to be mindful about these so they aren’t contributing to misrepresentation and misperceptions, which is just one reason why sensitivity readers are important.

To round off this discussion, tropes aren’t a bad thing. They are a vital part of a book’s makeup. They can be done well, and they can be done badly sometimes, but one thing I’ve learnt is not to dismiss a trope having read one book with it that I didn’t enjoy. Because there are so many ways to write tropes, that even if I didn’t like one book, I might love another author’s take on it.

What tropes do you love? Are there any you avoid? Chat with me in the comments!

WWW Wednesday: 3 February 2021

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 – Little Women by Louisa May Alcott  

It’s a little while since I read a classic and I really enjoyed this one. I loved the family dynamics and seeing how the girls changed as they grew up over the course of the book.

CURRENTLY READING – The Midnight Star by Marie Lu

I am finally reading the last book in the Young Elites trilogy! I loved the first two books but it’s a while since I read them. I’ve nearly finished The Midnight Star and I have no idea how it’s going to end but I’m afraid it’ll break my heart!

NEXT READ – Crownchasers by Rebecca Coffindaffer or Goddess in the Machine by Lora Beth Johnson

I’ve not made my mind up what to read next yet, but it’s been a while since I read a scifi book so I will probably pick one of these two.

What are you reading at the moment? What are you looking forward to reading next? 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!

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!