Hi everyone! I hope your reading year so far is going as well as mine! 😁 I’ve been reading sooo much more than I was expecting to, and really loving what I’ve been reading, too! 💕 So far, 56% of my reads this year have been 4-stars or higher (& I’m usually a pretty harsh rater), and – although I set it deliberately low so as to not put myself off reading the longer books on my TBR – I’ve already completely smashed my Goodreads goal! Unless something drastic happens in the next few months, it looks like I’ll even be making it to 100 books this year, for the first time since 2015! 😱
1) What’s the best book you’ve read so far in 2021?
The City of Brass by S.A. Chakraborty! I’ve owned this book for a while now, but was really nervous about starting it because I had the audiobook, and as I sometimes find it difficult to concentrate on audiobooks, they’re not always the best way to be introduced to a complicated new fantasy world… but I was a fool to put off reading it for so long! It was absolutely fantastic, and so gripping that I almost never found my concentration slipping. 😁 I just got the second book in this series (The Kingdom of Copper) for my birthday, and I’m super-excited to be getting back to the world of Daevabad soon!
2) What’s the best sequel you’ve read so far in 2021?
Another easy question! 😋 I finally picked up the second Stormlight Archive book, Words of Radiance by Brandon Sanderson, in March, and to my astonishment, I loved it even more than the first book! There were just so many great moments! 💕 I’ve since read Oathbringer, which was also pretty great, but Words of Radiance is still my favourite. Hopefully I can get to Rhythm of War soon, too! (An honourable mention here for A Desolation Called Peace, which is a close second-favourite sequel of the year.)
3) What’s a new release that you haven’t read yet, but want to?
The most pressing one is definitely Fevered Star by Rebecca Roanhorse, which was my most anticipated release of the year, and yet… 😅 It came out here in early May (which is admittedly not that long ago), and has been sitting on my unread shelf for almost that long, but hopefully I’ll fit it in soon! 🤞
4) What’s your most anticipated release for the second half of the year?
Most of the new releases I’m super-hyped for are already out (surprisingly! Usually I’m all for the autumn releases), but I’m very excited for Ocean’s Echo by Everina Maxwell, which is a new story set in the world of Winter’s Orbit. 😊 There’s no UK cover yet, so please enjoy the US one instead. →
5) What’s your biggest disappointment of the year?
Hmm… it’s hard to say, really; most of the book’s I’ve disliked this year have been ones I never had great expectations for in the first place, so disappointment isn’t exactly the right word… But maybe (strangely) A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin? Don’t get me wrong, I actually really love this book, but at the beginning of the year I decided to re-read the whole series via audiobook, but could barely make it through the first two books, the narration was so awful. 😑 The narrator was constantly changing how he pronounced characters’ names; the accents would sometimes change mid-paragraph – and apart from often being very grating (which I know is a subjective thing), they also made no sense; for instance, Tyrion had a completely different accent from Jaime & Cersei, even though they’re siblings… 😓 Given how popular this series is, and how universally bad the reviews for the audiobook are, I’m surprised that nobody’s bothered re-recording them, honestly.
6) And the biggest surprise?
Romance! I’m learning my taste in romance novels mostly by throwing things at the wall & seeing what sticks, so the real hits are always a very pleasant surprise! 😁 In particular, so far this year I’ve really, really loved both Do You Want to Start a Scandal by Tessa Dare, and The Love Hypothesis by Ali Hazelwood, both of which were adorable and hilarious. (I’m beginning to think I might have a preference for rom-com-style stories.)
7) Do you have a new favourite author?
While hers weren’t my favourite romances I’ve read this year, I’m really into Elle Kennedy‘s books, & kind of want to binge everything she’s ever written! 😅 I’d like to continue on with the Off-Campus series soon (and start on Briar U, which I believe is in the same universe?), and I’m really looking forward to the release of Bad Girl Reputation at some point this year. 💕
8) Or a new fictional crush?
None, really. 😅 I remember thinking the love interests in Song of the Forever Rains and Gods of Jade & Shadow were both cute, but can no longer remember either of their names… 😬 Maybe Dara from The City of Brass? Problematic as he is, I was kind of living for his romance with Nahri, and I really hope that they’ll find a way to end up together (though I don’t mind some more angst in the meantime 😋).
9) Who’s your newest favourite character?
Another win for The City of Brass! Though don’t ask me to choose between Nahri, Dara & Ali; I love them all. 💕
10) What book made you cry?
I got a little misty-eyed over A Game of Thrones (despite the narration), especially in Ned’s chapters, but have not shed any actual tears over books this year.
11) What book made you happy?
Soooo many! But of the books I haven’t mentioned yet, the one that made me happiest was probably Deeplight by Frances Hardinge, which was just so atmospheric, and so cleverly plotted.
12) What’s the most beautiful book you’ve bought (or been given) this year?
Deeplight again, without question. Some runners-up, however, include For the Throne by Hannah Whitten, The Missing of Clairdelune by Christelle Dabos, and the first omnibus volume of Vampire Hunter D by Hideyuki Kikuchi (which is illustrated by Yoshitaka Amano, of Final Fantasy fame!).
13) What books do you need to read by the end of the year?
I have five books left to read for my 12 recommendations in 12 months challenge, so definitely those. And I would also really, really like to get to Empire of the Vampire by Jay Kristoff at some point this year, as well as basically the whole of Mariana Zapata’s backlog (but starting with All Rhodes Lead Here and The Wall of Winnipeg & Me).