September & October 2021 Wrap Up

Having moved house at the end of September, I was hoping to return to blogging more actively. Unfortunately, I got COVID at the beginning of October. Having spent most of the pandemic shielding due to being clinically extremely vulnerable, it was a bit of a blow! But the vaccine did its job and I didn’t get seriously ill. It did wipe me out pretty badly though, and I’m still recovering now and feeling very drained. So I think it will be a little while yet before I’m feeling properly better.

Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson (audiobook) – ⭐⭐⭐⭐ – I really enjoyed this one! How could I not love a book about magical libraries? I found it a little slow in places but on the whole it was a great book. It was nice to read a standalone fantasy book for a change as I so often read series.

The Black Flamingo by Dean Atta (audiobook) – ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ – This is a novel in verse and it was my first time listening to a verse novel in the audio format. Hearing the rhythm of the verse audibly was an interesting experience and I would definitely read more verse novels in audiobook form. This book was a definite 5 star read as it was just so emotive, engaging and insightful.

The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco (audiobook) – ⭐⭐⭐ – Although this book was good, it didn’t quite draw me in. Though I have heard that the sequels are better, so I will likely keep reading this series. The ending did pique my curiosity, and I’m interested to see how Tea becomes the character we see in the flashforwards.

And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie – ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ – This is easily the best Agatha Christie book I’ve read so far. The suspense was high all the way through and I was totally gripped.

I’ve been trying to keep my book buying down until my shoulder gets better as I’m not able to read physical books much at the moment and I don’t want to stack up even more books on the TBR pile! I did, however, get the Fairyloot edition of Gods & Monsters, and I couldn’t resist buying Iron Widow as it sounds absolutely amazing.

Due to moving house and illness I haven’t had much time for writing in quite a long time. However, I have been doing some thinking about my projects and making some notes. I can’t wait to get back into it again when I’m feeling a bit better.

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

June 2021 Wrap Up

I am very late with my June wrap up! Things have been very busy for me lately and I’ve been finding things very stressful. Work has been absolutely manic and we’ve also been house hunting and really struggling to find somewhere. We think we’ve found somewhere so crossing fingers we get it because that would be a massive relief. Although I’ve still then got to think about packing everything up! Hopefully I will be able to get back into blogging a bit more regularly again soon but I’ve just been really struggling to cope with everything recently.

Unravel the Dusk by Elizabeth Lim ⭐⭐⭐⭐ – I loved Spin the Dawn and Unravel the Dusk was an excellent sequel. This book seemed a bit darker and I loved that. Elizabeth Lim’s writing pulled me in once again.

Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan ⭐⭐⭐⭐ – I felt a bit of a reading slump coming on with everything in life being so hectic, so decided to reread an old favourite. It’s been years since I read this series!

Red, White and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston – DNF at 74% – This book just wasn’t for me. It’s written in third person present tense and I found it really difficult to read, I just couldn’t get into the style. I also found it very slow paced and didn’t feel compelled to keep turning the pages. I probably should have DNF’d it right at the start but I so rarely DNF and it had such good reviews, I was hoping I would get into it more, but sadly I didn’t.

So June was my birthday month! And I ended up hauling quite a few books… The Mabinogion, Blade of Secrets, Days of Blood and Starlight, Dreams of Gods and Monsters, Truthwitch, The Ones We’re Meant to Find, A Feast For Crows and Queen of Coins and Whispers.

My King Arthur WIP is currently with beta readers, and I’ve had some feedback come through, so I’m starting making some plans for my next draft. But largely I’ve been having a break from that project and brainstorming a new idea I’m really excited about which is a Regency era inspired Gothic fantasy!

What books have you enjoyed this month? 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.

November 2020 Wrap Up

November ended up being a pretty good month for me. I managed to stay well and got LOADS of writing done! I only read 3 books but two of them were really long so I’m still happy with that.

Lord of Shadows by Cassandra Clare ⭐⭐⭐⭐ – This is the second book in the Dark Artifices series and while I enjoyed it, I didn’t love it quite as much as Lady Midnight which was just absolutely brilliant.

It Only Happens in the Movies by Holly Bourne ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ – Holly Bourne’s books are just so good. This one picks apart clichés in romance films and portrays teen life in a way that was funny but also really realistic.

A Storm of Swords Part I by George R. R. Martin ⭐⭐⭐⭐ – I don’t know about other countries, but here in the UK the third book in the A Song of Ice and Fire series is split into two volumes because it’s so long! It was really weird how the book just finished in the middle of the story, so I will definitely be picking up Part II soon.

I had two amazing special editions arrive this month. Illumicrate’s book for October was The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue and their edition is just so beautiful! I also couldn’t resist a special edition of Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo as her Grishaverse is one of my favourite series. I got the Fairyloot edition which has exclusive stencilled edges. As I’ve mentioned before, I LOVE dragons, and I was so excited when I saw the premise for Blazewrath Games by Amparo Ortiz, it sounds amazing!

So… I did it!! I finished my WIP! In my October wrap up I didn’t think I would be able to finish it by the end of November, but I ended up having such a good month for writing. I wrote 22,000 words in November and managed to finish my YA Arthurian legend retelling. I am so so excited to have finished my first draft! The final word count is 75,674 which I am pretty happy with. My first drafts are usually quite short and then get longer as I redraft. Now I’m going to have a bit of a break from it before I start working on it again. But I’m so excited about it, I probably won’t be able to resist coming back to it in a week or two. I’ve just really connected with this project and I’m really looking forward to continuing working on it.

Have you read any good books this month? Did anyone take part in NaNoWriMo, how did you do? Chat with me in the comments!

October 2020 Wrap Up

There was so much I wanted to get done this month, but October just didn’t end up being so great for me. I haven’t done as much blogging or blog hopping this month sadly. I’ve been busier at work, and my fatigue has been worse. It’s been a bit of a struggle. I’m thinking of writing a blog post about my experience of chronic illness at some point, perhaps in December for Crohn’s & Colitis awareness week. I also found out this week that we’re going through a restructure at work. I should have a job for the time being, but it’s quite stressful. I haven’t been told much yet, but it could have quite big implications for my role.

I might not be blogging as much the next couple of months depending how I’m feeling health-wise. The limited time I have when I feel good, I need to focus on writing my novel. But I will still be blogging and reading blog posts when I can!

The Space Between Worlds by Micaiah Johnson ⭐⭐⭐⭐ – I really loved this one and would recommend it even for people who don’t usually go for sci-fi!

The Roommate by Rosie Danan ⭐⭐⭐ – I very rarely read contemporary books, but I’ve read so much fantasy this year that I just needed to read something totally different. I had no idea what to pick but I’d heard this one mentioned a few times so got it on my Kindle. I didn’t write a review for it because this is just not my genre so I wouldn’t really know what to say! It was okay but I didn’t love it. It served its purpose of giving me a break from fantasy. I would like to read more romance books occasionally, so if anyone has any recommendations please share them with me!

An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir ⭐⭐⭐ – I’ve heard so much about this series and I was so excited to read this book. Sadly though, I just didn’t click with it. There’s nothing wrong with it. It’s a good book. I can’t even put my finger on why I didn’t enjoy it more. It has all the elements I should love in a fantasy book. I didn’t write a review for this one either because I just didn’t know what to say about it, because I’m not sure why I didn’t connect with it. Perhaps some of it was just down to timing and the mood I’ve been in this month.

Manga Shakespeare: Much Ado About Nothing ⭐⭐⭐⭐ – I read some of these books a while ago as a way to introduce myself to Shakespeare plays I was studying before diving into the play. It can be quite hard to keep track of who is who when reading the plays, and I found these Manga adaptations gave a helpful and enjoyable overview. I realised I had a couple on my shelf I hadn’t read because I didn’t end up studying them.

The Bane Chronicles by Cassandra Clare ⭐⭐⭐⭐ – When I marked this as finished on Goodreads, it showed that my start date for this book was September 2019. I cannot believe it took me so long to read it! I don’t generally enjoy short stories that much, so I’ve been reading the odd story from this collection every now and then between other books.

These Violent Delights by Chloe Gong ⭐⭐⭐⭐ – This is a brilliant debut! It’s a retelling of Romeo and Juliet set in 1920s Shanghai and I really enjoyed it. (although there was a bit too much gore for me in places!)

This month I ended up with only a couple of books. But I have several ordered which are due to arrive in November so I think I will need to go on a book buying ban! I love YA sci-fi and Crownchasers by Rebecca Coffindaffer sounds amazing so I just had to get myself a copy. I also bought Illumicrate’s edition of The Lives of Saints by Leigh Bardugo. This book is just so beautiful, the illustrations are stunning!

Although I had a pretty rough month, I still managed to write double the amount I wrote in September. This month I wrote about 12,000 words of my WIP and I’m roughly two thirds of the way through the book. So I am happy with that, but I know I could have written so much more if I’d been feeling better. I don’t think I’ll reach my original goal of finishing it by the end of November. I’d really like to finish it by Christmas.

What have you been reading? What have you been up to? Chat with me in the comments!

September 2020 Wrap Up

Well I managed not to have any new ailments this month so I suppose that is an improvement on the last couple of months. I spent a few days (safely) at my grandparents in Devon and it was really nice to just get away for a bit. Due to being at risk from COVID I’m spending most of my time in the house so it was good to have a change of scene.

I started off the month with an eARC of The Invisible Life of Addie Larue which was absolutely brilliant. I really loved it and I can’t wait to share my review with you very soon!

I joined in the readalong for Fairyloot’s July book which was Shielded by KayLynn Flanders. Unfortunately, I didn’t love this one that much. It picked up in the second half so I am glad I stuck with it, but it was only a 3 stars overall.

I finished Jane Austen’s Emma which I’ve been reading for the last couple of months. I’ve read two other Austens – Northanger Abbey and Sense and Sensibility – and it was the recent adaptation of Emma which prompted me to choose it as my next Austen. I adored the film and I also loved the book.

As Daughter of Smoke and Bone is one of my favourite books, I had high expectations for Strange the Dreamer, which is the opener of Laini Taylor’s other series. It did not disappoint! Strange the Dreamer is so imaginative and lyrical and heartbreaking and I loved it.  

I ended the month with another slightly disappointing one. I was lucky enough to win an ARC of Kingdom of the Wicked. I haven’t read any of Kerri Maniscalco’s other books but I was really excited for this one. As much as I wanted to love it, there were quite a few issues for me and I ended up writing a really long review of it!

This month I bought a few special edition books and also had some pre-orders arrive. Unsurprisingly I pre-ordered Blood & Honey by Shelby Mahurin. I also pre-ordered Legendborn by Tracey Deonn because it sounds amazing! Plus I ordered The Red Scrolls of Magic by Cassandra Clare. From Fairyloot’s August box I had Star Daughter by Shveta Thakrar and Illumicrate’s August book was The Space Between Worlds by Micaiah Johnson. Owlcrate had a restock of some past books in their shop so I got copies of Goddess in the Machine by Lora Beth Johnson and The Bone Houses by Emily Lloyd Jones.

I’m now halfway through my King Arthur retelling which is really exciting! I took a break from writing for a week when I went on holiday but I’m looking forward to getting back into it at full throttle next month!

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

August 2020 Wrap Up

So August wasn’t a great month. I had an infection in my eye which got really bad. All one side of my face was swollen and I was in a lot of pain. I also couldn’t see anything. So I had a week off work, didn’t read for a week, didn’t do much of anything actually. Because the medication I take effects the immune system, when I get ill, I get really ill, and it also takes a while for me to recover. So even though my eye was almost better after a week or so thanks to antibiotics, I’m still recovering energy-wise.

I’m really hoping September is going to be a better month because I’ve not been doing great health-wise lately.

Because I couldn’t see anything, I couldn’t read. So I ended up signing up for the Audible free trial and trying out audiobooks. I haven’t listened to an audiobook in years. I chose The Tales of Beedle the Bard and Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen, both of which I’ve read before. The Northanger Abbey audiobook had a full cast and I quite enjoyed it as it’s one of my favourite Austen novels. I have to say that I much prefer reading a physical book, though I can see audiobooks having benefits.

When I was able to see again, I read Forest of Souls by Lori M. Lee which was amazing. It’s a plot-driven YA fantasy with an intriguing magic system. It ended on a cliff-hanger so I’m really excited for the sequel!

A Heart So Fierce and Broken by Brigid Kemmerer was a really anticipated read for me as I loved A Curse So Dark and Lonely, but unfortunately I didn’t like it as much as the first book which was a little disappointing.

Finally, I read Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo which just blew me away. It was absolutely brilliant and I loved it even more than Six of Crows.      

This month I shared my book haul as a separate post because I ended up with so many thanks to winning a massive AtHomeYALC giveaway! You can see what books I got here.

Since I couldn’t see for part of the month and have been feeling pretty rubbish, I’m fairly happy with how much I’ve managed to write. I’ve written about 16,000 words for my King Arthur retelling and I’m nearly halfway through the book which is pretty exciting. My goal, so long as I don’t get ill again, is to finish it by the end of October. I’m not sure if I’ll be able to achieve that, but I’d certainly hope to have finished it by the end of November.

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

July 2020 Wrap Up

This month I should have been going to YALC! I was so looking forward to it so was really disappointed it had to be cancelled because of coronavirus. Instead there was a digital version of the event called #atHomeYALC which was fun! There were giveaways and panels and lots of other fun bookish things on Twitter and Instagram. Hopefully we will be able to attend YALC in person next year!

I had a great month for reading as I loved all the books I read! My first read of July was Spin the Dawn by Elizabeth Lim which I really enjoyed. Next, I read Burn by Patrick Ness which was just so creative and unique. I never knew quite what was going to happen next. Plus it had dragons!

I read the third book in Sarah J Maas’s Throne of Glass series – Heir of Fire. This series just seems to get better and better! I love her writing and stories.   

I just finished reading an eARC of The Once and Future Witches by Alix E. Harrow. I’ll be posting a review of that soon!

I received copies of Forest of Souls by Lori M. Lee and The Gilded Ones by Namina Forna in Fairyloot’s June box which arrived a few weeks late. My Fairyloot edition of The Damned by Renee Ahdieh also arrived. The Beautiful was one of my favourite reads of 2019 so I’m really looking forward to the sequel.

This month I took part in Camp NaNoWriMo with my King Arthur retelling and I smashed my goal of 16,000 words! I wrote 18,552 words in July which I am super happy with. I’m loving working on this project so I’m excited to continue writing it.

How had your July been? What books have you enjoyed this month? Chat with me in the comments!

April 2020 Wrap Up

April has been a strange month. Adapting the way we live has been a challenge. It’s been strange getting used to working at home all the time and not being able to meet and see people. NHS and key works are all doing such an amazing job right now keeping us alive and keeping the country moving. These are hard times but we will reach the other side eventually.

Since I’ve not been able to go anywhere, I have found more time for doing things I enjoy like reading and writing, which is one plus of this situation. Always look for the positives!

Reading

I finally started Cassandra Clare’s The Dark Artifices series. Lady Midnight was such a good book. I just loved getting to know this new cast of characters. I was one of the lucky people to get an eARC of The Court of Miracles by Kester Grant which was one of my anticipated reads for this year. Unfortunately it wasn’t as good as I was hoping. It was a good read but I didn’t love it. Since I loved Illuminae, I decided to pick up Aurora Rising, the first book in Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff’s new series. I adored this book so much. It was fast paced and I was hooked all the way through. Finally, I just finished reading Caraval by Stephanie Garber and will be posting my review for that soon. Sadly, this is another book I found a tad disappointing. I think perhaps this book just wasn’t for me.

Book Haul

I’m so missing being able to go into bookshops and browse! I pre-ordered The Deck of Omens by Christine Lynn Herman. The Devouring Gray was one of my favourite books from last year, so I had to get my hands on the sequel. More people need to read this book, so if you haven’t picked up The Devouring Gray yet, I’d recommend it! I also received my Fairyloot and Illumicrate copies of Chain of Gold. I won’t post photos of their exclusive editions here as I don’t want to spoil the surprise for anyone who hasn’t had their box yet!

Writing

It’s been full steam ahead for my Arthurian legend retelling idea. I’ve been doing lots of research around the legends and also getting to know my characters through making character charts. I’m having lots of fun planning this one!

What have you been getting up to? Are there any books you read this month that you absolutely loved? I hope you’re all managing to stay safe and well!

March 2020 Wrap Up

This has been a weird month hasn’t it? I’m now working from home. I’m lucky that I have that option and still have an income. A lot of people and businesses are struggling right now. I’m still kind of in this state of shock almost. It just doesn’t seem real. Things seemed to get bad really quickly. And it almost hasn’t sunk in that this is actually happening.

But on to more positive subject matter – reading!  

Reading

I finished reading The Assassin’s Blade by Sarah J. Maas at the beginning of March. It’s a collection of prequel novellas for the Throne of Glass series. I enjoyed it and I’m glad I read it, because it did fill in what happened before Throne of Glass. But I am looking forward to getting back to the main plot, the next book in that series for me to read will be the third book, Heir of Fire.

The Shadows Between Us by Tricia Levenseller was Fairyloot’s pick for their February box. As I was on holiday during the readalong, I actually had time to stick to the reading schedule and read the chapters on the scheduled days which was quite fun! Next I read A Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer which I loved more than I was expecting to!

I decided I wanted a little break from reading YA, so I read Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express. This is the third Agatha Christie novel I’ve read and I liked it, but didn’t love it. I do want to read more of his books though, as I liked the other two books I’ve read better. Her books are quite short, easy reads, and I do love a good mystery!

Book Haul

So, yeah, I bought a few books this month… I ordered some online from Waterstones as I had filled up my stamp card and wanted to spend it while I still could…

King of Scars finally came out in paperback (the hardback was massive and heavy so I decided to wait for the paperback) and I managed to get a copy signed by Leigh Bardugo! Having only just finished A Curse So Dark and Lonely, I ordered A Heart So Fierce and Broken because I just knew I wanted to continue reading this series.

Since I didn’t have any more Agatha Christie on my shelf, I decided to order And Then There Were None so I have one lined up for the next time I fancy a mystery. I remember watching the adaptation BBC did a few years ago and thinking it was very good.

I also bought a book on Arthurian literature and legend as part of research for a new series I’m planning at the moment. It will be a retelling of the legends, so I also bought The Guinevere Deception by Kiersten White as I want to read a few retellings as part of that research (plus, you know, I’ve had my eye on this book since it came out…)

Writing

I finished the second draft of the YA fantasy book I finished writing last year. I’ve sent it to a couple of writer friends to read to get some feedback before I do another draft. I’ve also started planning the aforementioned Arthurian legend retelling which I’m really excited for! All the ideas have just grown in my mind over the last few weeks. I’ve got a rough idea for a trilogy in mind, but want to do some more research around the legends themselves before I start making more detailed plans.