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!

March 2021 Wrap Up

I didn’t read that many books this month but I did read The Priory of the Orange Tree which is super long and I’m actually pleased with how quickly I read it considering how long it is.

Links take you to my reviews!

Gut Feelings by C. G. Moore ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ – This novel in verse is a really raw and powerful read. It’s an own voices novel in verse based on the author’s own experiences of living with Familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP). I really related to the depiction of chronic illness and would really recommend.

Lore by Alexandra Bracken ⭐⭐⭐⭐ – This book is basically a mash up of Percy Jackson and The Hunger Games and that is a really cool combination. The Greek mythology is worked into the story really well and this book was a wild ride.

The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon ⭐⭐⭐⭐ – I was a bit intimidated by the length of this book but I am so glad I read it. Even though it was long, I never felt bored while reading it. The world building is so detailed and I loved how all the different characters’ stories weave together.

I got so many books in the post this month, but a lot of them were pre-orders, and a couple should have come in February but were delayed. So many books seemed to come out in March? So here’s a quick roundup – Goldsboro edition of Black Sun by Rebecca Roanhorse, Illumicrate edition of Red Tigress by Amélie Wen Zhao, A Dark and Hollow Star by Ashley Shuttleworth (I had an eARC of this and just had to pre-order because it was so good), Waterstones paperback edition of House of Earth and Blood by Sarah J. Maas, The Unbroken by C. L. Clark, and Fairyloot edition of Bone Crier’s Dawn by Kathryn Purdie.

I made so much progress with the second draft of my book this month so I’m really pleased with that! I hit 72,000 words at the end of March. Still have quite a bit left to go, but I’m hoping I can keep it under 100k as I don’t want it to get too long.

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

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!

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!

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.

Let’s Talk Bookish: Reading & Blogging – Their Effect on Writing

Let’s Talk Bookish is a weekly meme hosted by Rukky @ Eternity Books and Dani @ Literary Lion.

This is a really interesting topic but I’ll probably only be writing a short post as I’ve had a really busy week and had a migraine at the weekend so I’m feeling a bit behind on everything!  

Have you sometimes felt that as a reader, you should also be a writer or vice versa? Do you think that a desire to write is connected with a love of reading? What motivates you to write?

I’ve actually been a writer way longer than I’ve been a blogger! I started writing short stories when I was about 10 and by the time I was 12/13, I was planning out epic fantasy series! And I’ve never looked back. I’ve written six novels now and I’m hoping to start sending one of them out to agents next year, fingers crossed!

I do think there’s a weird expectation, especially from people who are more outside the book world, that people who read will also like writing too. Which isn’t the case. Maybe people who love reading love writing too, but not everyone.

Most writers probably also love reading. I mean, it makes sense right? I often see advice that says to be a good writer you need to read a lot. And while that is one of those generic pieces of writing advice that doesn’t feel that helpful, I have actually found my writing has improved so much over the last couple of years as I’ve started reading a lot more. Reading more has really helped me grow as a writer.

What I love about writing is getting to use my imagination, to come up with stories and worlds. I love to disappear into the worlds I’ve created. I’m not sure I can say what motivates me to write, I think it’s just that love of stories and using my imagination. When I write I’m transported to another world, and everything around me just fades away, and I get totally in the zone. Writing is like breathing for me, I really couldn’t imagine life without it.

As a book blogger, do you ever feel discouraged about publishing a book because you know how readers & bloggers can react to books/authors?

Like I said above, I’ve been writing and dreaming of being an author since before I became a blogger and part of the book community! So that’s not something that discouraged me. I think it’s important to remember that not every person is going to love every book. Your book might not be for one person, but it will be a favourite of someone else.

Do you think that authors can be book bloggers as well, or that they’ve crossed the imaginary line between authors and bloggers and therefore are not like other book bloggers anymore?

I hope authors can be book bloggers as well! I so desperately want to be an author, but I’d love to continue with this blog as well when I hopefully one day reach that dream of becoming an author!

Are you a writer as well as a reader? Have you ever thought about writing a book? Or are you happy to stick with being a reader? Share your thoughts with me in the comments!

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!

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!

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!