April 2022 Wrap Up

I didn’t end up finishing many books this month as I couldn’t decide what I was in the mood for, so picked up and put down a couple of books before deciding that actually I needed a break from SFF and decided to give a romcom audiobook a go! I think it was a good choice as it definitely stopped me from sliding into a slump.

Blade of Secrets by Tricia Levenseller ⭐⭐⭐⭐ – Tricia Levenseller is now my go-to author for fun, easy-read YA fantasy, and Blade of Secrets is a fun adventure. The main character of Blade of Secrets has society anxiety and I have honestly never related to a character so much before! I felt the author did a great job of showing all of Ziva’s internal thoughts and anxieties, and I really connected with her.

The Stand-In by Lily Chu (audiobook) ⭐⭐⭐⭐.5 – It’s rare that I pick up a romcom, but I am so glad I decided to give this one a chance, because I loved it! I had so much fun listening to the audiobook, which is brilliantly narrated by Phillipa Soo. Although there is romance, there are also several other subplots which I enjoyed, and which gave the story layers and plenty to keep me engaged. I would definitely recommend the audiobook for this one, as I think it enhanced the reading experience.

I added a few books to my haul this month – The Atlas Six by Olivie Blake, The City of Dusk by Tara Sim, and An Arrow to the Moon by Emily X.R. Pan. I’ve ordered some new bookcases, which are due to arrive in June, and I’m excited to get to display all my books on them!

I haven’t done an update on my writing for a while as it’s been a rough few months and, well, I haven’t been able to write much. But last week I wrote two pages of my new WIP and I am so happy to be back writing again!

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

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!

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!

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!

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!