Upcoming Releases: Spring 2022

Spring looks like it’s going to be pretty packed for new releases! It was kind of a struggle paring this list down… but that just means there’s more to be excited about! 😅 Here’s what I’m most looking forward to in March, April & May:

[All dates are taken from Goodreads unless stated otherwise, and are correct as of 7/3/2022.]

Alone Out Here by Riley Redgate (5th April)

A standalone sci-fi following a group of the teenage children of world leaders, who are the lone survivors of the apocalypse. I’ve never read anything by Riley Redgate before, and have been having rather so-so luck with YA in general lately, but I keep hearing this pitched as “Lord of the Flies in space”, which makes me very intrigued. 😊 Excitement level: 7/10

Fevered Star by Rebecca Roanhorse (19th April)

The sequel to my maybe-favourite book of last year, Black Sun, and my for-certain most anticipated release of this year! 😆 Black Sun followed a collection of characters – the vessel for an ancient god, a disgraced sea-captain, and a priestess surrounded by enemies – in the lead-up to a solar eclipse that is prophesied to throw the world into chaos… and it ended on a huge cliffhanger! So I expect to be picking up Fevered Star as soon as I possibly can. Excitement level: ∞/10

The Imagination Chamber by Philip Pullman (28th April)

… To be honest I’m not entirely sure what this is. 😅 It describes itself as a companion to the His Dark Materials series, “full of scenes featuring the iconic characters from Pullman’s classic fantasy series”, but beyond that I’m drawing a blank. An art book (though I haven’t seen any artists credited anywhere)? New stories from the HDM world? A bind-up of existing stories? Whatever it is, I’m sold! (… but also I would really like to know what this is.)  Excitement level: 6/10

Book Lovers by Emily Henry (5th May)

A new romance from the author or Beach Read and You & Me on Vacation, featuring an editor and a literary agent who keep running into each other on holiday – despite their best efforts. I skipped over Henry’s last novel as the synopsis wasn’t appealing to me, but I loved Beach Read, and Book Lovers sounds very much like it’ll be cut from the same cloth… or at least I hope it will! I probably won’t pick this up straight away, as I need to be in a very particular mood for straight-up romance, but I know what I’ll be reaching for as soon as that mood hits! 😁 Excitement level: 7/10

Honourable Mentions:

  • Eternity Engine by Struan Murray (17th March) – the final book in the Orphans of the Tide trilogy.
  • Skyward Flight by Brandon Sanderson (5th April) – a collection of short stories from the Skyward universe.
  • Elektra by Jennifer Saint (28th April) – a new Greek mythology retelling from the author of Ariadne.
  • Book of Night by Holly Black (3rd May) – Holly Black’s adult debut; a dark, urban fantasy following a con-artist with the power to manipulate shadows.

2021 in Review: Highlights

Well, the world may still be crazy, but in terms of reading, 2021 ended up pretty great! I blew my Goodreads goal out of the water (though I had deliberately set it low so that I wouldn’t stress over it this year) with 98 books read, and so many of them were fantastic! 😆 I finally got around to starting a bookstagram account in April, and I’m pretty pleased with how it’s going so far… and if I do say so myself, my 2021 My Year in Books page is looking pretty neat. 😋

As for some specific book stuff, I started some excellent new fantasy series last year. Notably, The Stormlight Archive (which has been a very long time coming); Black Sun (which has left me on tenterhooks for the sequel); and The Tiger’s Daughter (a sapphic, Mongolian-inspired fantasy with a heavy focus on its central love story – though I’m very much looking forward to more demon-fighting in the rest of the series).

I also did a lot of re-reading this year, and I’m pleased to say that a couple of the books I re-read, I liked even better than the first time around, those being Komarr, which I now rate among my all-time favourites, and The Edge of the Cloud, which was a burst of nostalgia that came at the perfect moment. And speaking of nostalgia, I managed to end the year on a real high point with Terciel & Elinor, a new prequel to a series that’s been one of my favourites since I was a teenager. ☺️

This was a great year for romance, too! It’s not a genre I’ve ever been super-into, but (like many people, I think), I’ve been appreciating it a lot in the last couple of years, and am definitely hoping to read more in 2022. Some of my favourites were Kulti (a slow-burn sports romance), Beach Read (a fun rivals-to-lovers story), as well as the political sci-fi romance Winter’s Orbit, and the Regency-inspired fantasy romance The Midnight Bargain.

… And my summer in general somehow ended up being very Regency-themed, with me (kind of accidentally) participating in #JaneAustenJuly. At long last, I read Persuasion, the last (completed) Austen novel I had left – and it was well worth the wait. 😁 I re-listened to Pride & Prejudice on my summer holiday not long after, inspired by a couple of spin-offs and continuations of that story that I’d been enjoying; namely Longbourn and The Other Bennet Sister.

And last but not least, an unexpected favourite (though also somewhat Austen-adjacent) was the Mean Girls inspired Regency rom-com Reputation. I was nervous to pick this one up, as I’ve historically had pretty bad luck with authors who I initially liked for other reasons (Lex Croucher, who wrote Reputation, is also a youtuber), but it was absolutely hilarious, and the perfect book for the moment in which I read it. 🎶 I’ll definitely be keeping my eyes open for their next release, Gwen & Art Are Not in Love, which should be out in early 2023. 🤞

(ROUGH) TOP 10:

  1. Komarr by Lois McMaster Bujold* [REVIEW]
  2. Black Sun by Rebecca Roanhorse
  3. The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson [REVIEW]
  4. Terciel & Elinor by Garth Nix
  5. The Midnight Bargain by C.L. Polk
  6. The Tiger’s Daughter by K. Arsenault Rivera
  7. Persuasion by Jane Austen
  8. The Edge of the Cloud by K.M. Peyton*
  9. Reputation by Lex Croucher
  10. Longbourn by Jo Baker [REVIEW]

(*Re-reads included only where I’ve changed my rating.)

August & September Wrap-Up

Another wrap-up, and a whole month late! (Or two months, even, for some of these.) But in my defence, October was pretty crazy. 😓 However! August and September seem to have been some of my best reading months of the year – helped along by a long family holiday, then three concurrent readathons… So here’s what I read (featuring quite a few great rereads, and even a new – though unsurprising – favourite!):

BOOKS I REVIEWED

[INSTAGRAM REVIEW]

[REVIEW]

[INSTAGRAM REVIEW]

[REVIEW]

[REVIEW]

[REVIEW]

OTHER BOOKS I READ

The Lady & the Fox by Kelly Link. [SHORT STORY; from My True Love Gave to Me]

A cute story about a girl who visits her extended family every Christmas, and a boy who’s under a curse, and can only visit her if it’s snowing. I don’t have much to say about it, but I liked it more than I do the average short story; naturally, it was too short for me to get fully invested, but the premise was interesting, I liked both the main characters, and I thought their romance was very sweet.

For the Wolf by Hannah Whitten.

As the first Second Daughter born in generations, Red’s fate is to be sacrificed to the Wolf in the Wilderwood in hopes of persuading him to release her kingdom’s trapped gods… but neither the Wolf nor the Wood turn out to be quite what she expected, and while she’s slowly making a new life for herself, her older sister Neve will do anything to bring her home.

This was such a great book! I loved the world that Whitten created, and the romance between Red and Eammon was super-cute, and the story ended on a very tense note – so I’m relieved that I don’t have too long to wait until the sequel (next June)! The characters were all pretty great as well; I wish that some of the side characters had had a bit more devlopment, but can’t fault Whitten for wanting to focus more on Red, Eammon, and Neve – and I was pleased that the relationship between the sisters seemed to be just (/almost?) as much a focus of the novel as Red and Eammon’s romance. To be honest, Neve was probably my favourite character; her chapters were only sporadic, but she was so interesting! And from the title (For the Throne), I assume that there’ll be a lot more of her in the sequel! 😆 

Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen. [AUDIOBOOK; Narrator: Lindsay Duncan]

The classic romance between Lizzy Bennet and Mr. Darcy, who are the very definition of mistaken first impressions. This is an old favourite of mine, and I’m sure I’ve read (and probably talked to you guys about it) a million times before, so I don’t have much to say here, but: Pretty much the perfect book, and Lindsay Duncan’s performance of the audiobook is absolutely wonderful. 💕

Ghostweight by Yoon Ha Lee. [SHORT STORY; from Conservation of Shadows]

A sci-fi short story about a girl and a ghost who steal a warship together in order to get revenge on the people who destroyed their world. I’m not generally a fan of short stories, but I loved this, and really wish it had been a full novel. The worldbuilding was really interesting, and I love the concept of people carrying ghosts within them (after which the story is named).

The Shadow Postulates by Yoon Ha Lee. [SHORT STORY; from Conservation of Shadows]

Another short story, about a student who’s struggling to complete a research project, for which she ambitiously chose to study a mathematical concept that’s baffled her predecessors for generations. I didn’t like this as much as Ghostweight (it’s very maths-y, and a little confusing), but I liked the characters a lot, and (once again) loved the world and concepts that Lee explores here.

Klara & the Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro.

Klara, an artificial friend, watches the people in the streets each day from her shop window, as she waits to be purchased – and then, afterwards, must adjust to a new role as companion to a sick child. This was an interesting book, and very well-written, but I ultimately found it a little disappointing. There was a lot of interesting worldbuilding going on in the background which never became part of the story; lots about the characters was never explained; the explanation of “lifted” children wasn’t as interesting as I had hoped; and the twist was kind of intriguing, but not as impactful as it might have been had Ishiguro actually followed through on it.

However! I really loved Klara’s perspective: her perceptiveness about people, contrasted with her misunderstanding of many simple concepts, eg. the Cootings machine, or “oblongs”. And her acceptance of her role as something to be of use, and then discarded, was also quite chilling, considering her very human-like feelings. My favourite part of the book was definitely the first, when Klara was in the shop with Manager and the other AFs, observing people through the window.

Point Blanc by Anthony Horowitz.

The second Alex Rider book, in which Alex is asked to go undercover at Point Blanc, an exclusive reform school for the children of the incredibly wealthy, to see if there’s any connection between the school and a couple of deaths of the parents of former students. This is my favourite in the series, and I decided to reread it after watching the Amazon series, which (loosely) adapts this book… And it was a little more rushed that I remembered, & its characters a little less fleshed out, but I still had a lot of fun with it. 😊

XOXO by Axie Oh.

A cute romance about a cellist who falls in love with a k-pop star without knowing who he is, and then meets him again when she temporarily transfers to an arts school in South Korea. I didn’t think that this book had the most realistic relationship development in the world, but to be honest I didn’t really care. The characters were wonderful, their relationship adorable, and I could really feel the love of music that went into this book. 🎶💕 Predictably, my favourite character was Sori; I’m a complete sucker for the popular-girl-who’s-never-had-a-real-friend trope… 😅

Vampire Knight, volume 2 & volume 3 by Matsuri Hino. [MANGA; Illustrated by the author]

Yuki is a Guardian at Cross Academy, charged with keeping the Day Class (made up of humans) and the Night Class (full of vampires) apart, and torn between her fellow Guardian Zero – a former vampire hunter whose whole family was slaughtered – and Kaname, the mysterious leader of the Night Class, who saved her life years ago.I don’t have all that much to say here: Volume 2 contains a lot of angst, as it details some of Zero’s backstory, and I loved the flashback scenes with a young Yuki in volume 3 (she’s the cutest 💕). These were both rereads (I need a refresher before I move on to some of the later volumes in the series), so while I’m enjoying getting to know the characters (again) at the moment, I’m looking forward to the story picking up a bit more in the next few volumes.

The Throne of Fire by Rick Riordan.

The second book in the Kane Chronicles, in which the Egyptian god of chaos Apophis threatens to destroy the world, and Carter and Sadie Kane have five days in which to stop him. This was a quick, fun read, but for some reason I’m just not as invested in Riordan’s Egyptian books as I have been in his Greek and Roman ones. I like Carter and Sadie, and new character Bes was a great addition to the story – but most of the other side-characters were pretty under-developed (even Walt, who had more page-time than the others). And it’s no secret that I generally dislike Riordan’s romances, but I think that Sadie’s love triangle might be one of the worst he’s written; it’s actually kind of creepy, given that she’s twelve/just thirteen, and her two love interests are 16 and older-than-time… 😓

The Rift Walker by Clay & Susan Griffith.

The sequel to The Greyfriar, wherein Gareth and Adele try to prevent an all-out war between humans and vampires, while Adele’s heroic husband-to-be hatches a plan to instead win the war, but at the cost of the entire human population of the North… Like its predecessor, The Rift Walker was a bit slow to get started, but I really enjoyed it once it did. ☺️ And I wish that there had been more scenes where Gareth and Adele got to spend time alone together (unsurprisingly, since I’m kind of living for their romance), but the scenes we did get were some of my favourites of the whole series!

Rule of Wolves by Leigh Bardugo. [AUDIOBOOK; Narrator: Lauren Fortgang]

The final book in the Nikolai duology, in which Ravka faces the double threat of a looming war with Fjerda, and a blight on its lands which is reminiscent of the Fold that still haunts its people. King of Scars felt like it was mostly build-up, and that definitely paid off here! I was still more invested in Nina’s plotline than in Zoya or Nikolai’s (and likewise more invested in her new romance), but I was very pleased with how all the branches of the story came together in this book, and I absolutely loved the ending! 😆 So satisfying!

Mrs Death Misses Death by Salena Godden. [AUDIOBOOK; Narrated by the author]

A strange tale about an author who’s writing the biography of the personification of death. I had very mixed feelings about this one: It yo-yos between poignant and gross, with a lyrical writing style that I loved, and some really interesting historical references (I got sucked down quite a few wikipedia rabbit holes while listening to this). So parts of it I liked a lot, but other parts of it I really, really disliked. 😓 On the whole I would say that I respect this book a lot though. The narration was also great, but very, very slow – presumably for dramatic effect? But I could never have listened to it at normal speed, even though in general I hate speeding up audiobooks even a tiny bit.

Nightwing: A Darker Shade of Justice by Chuck Dixon. [COMIC; Illustrators: Scott McDaniel, Karl Story & Roberta Tewes]

The fourth volume of Nightwing, in which Blüdhaven is overrun by refugees from the disaster-torn Gotham, and Dick heads back to Gotham to help out. This is definitely my favourite volume so far, with no real low points! Dick had a really great team-up with Superman near the beginning, and the Blackgate arc (though I’d read it before, as part of the Batman: No Man’s Land collection) was a little fleshed out here, with a whole extra issue where Dick hallucinates an encounter with Robin, and a short arc afterwards where he recovers from his ordeal under Oracle’s care. In general, this volume was more character-driven than action-driven, which very much worked for me. 😊👍

#Bookoplathon & #MagicalReadathon Update 4! (+ #BotWathon Update 1)

JUST FINISHED: The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson.

Set in a world where two factions – the Alethi and the Parshendi – have been fighting a long, drawn-out war since the assassination of the Alethi king, an unlikely set of characters are caught up in combat and politics of this world. Kaladin, a surgeon’s apprentice-turned-soldier-turned-slave, is brought to the Shattered Plains as a lowly bridgeman, and hopes to lead his new crew to freedom – but first they must survive, and keep surviving; Shallan hatches a plan to save her family from ruin by stealing a powerful magical artifact from the heretical Princess Jasnah; and Dalinar, the new king’s uncle, has begun seeing visions that tell him to unite the Alethi people, who very decidedly do not want to be united.

Brandon Sanderson does it again! 😁 As the first in a really long series, The Way of Kings is naturally made up of a lot of world-building, scene-setting and character development, with big Plot Implications only really coming into play near the end, but wow, was everything in this book done masterfully! I loved all the main characters, and plenty of the supporting ones, too; the world was fascinating, and was introduced to us in a really organic way, with barely any info-dumping at all; Sanderson’s writing style was incredibly gripping, even when nothing in particular was happening; and the ending was absolutely exhilarating! (I was reading this at work this afternoon, and had to actively hold myself back from excited bouncing/pacing/making other sudden movements on the shop floor… 😅)

I do find myself left with a lot of questions, which sometimes frustrates me, but this time I’m genuinely excited to search for the answers in the future books… probably because I have faith that they’ll definitely be answered – and that the answers will be incredible. 😆

Some final feelings:

  • I want Kaladin and Dalinar and Adolin to all become bros. It was super-satisfying whenever any of the main characters crossed paths, and I’m really looking forward to them all interacting more in Words of Radiance. (And hopefully meeting Shallan, too!)
  • The Wit definitely seems like he Knows Things. I feel like he might be a crossover character, but I’m not familiar enough with the wider Cosmere to be able to tell for sure.
  • I didn’t find the excerpts at the beginning of the chapters in this book as interesting as I did the ones in Mistborn, but I loved the reveal (or strong implication?) we get at the end, of where they all come from!

CURRENT READATHON STATUS: Done! 😆 I finished The Way of Kings with about an hour to spare, which I’m really pleased with! And it counted for all three of my current readathons! (Juggling all of these has been a little exhausting, to be honest, but now that we’re into October, at least I’ve only got Breath of the Wild-athon to finish. 😅) For Bookoplathon, this counted for the highest rated prompt, for the Magical Readathon it was my Tower of Rumination pick (a five-star prediction), and for BotWathon it was for the Lurelin Village prompt (which was also a five-star prediction).

In between this update and my last, I also finished Nightwing: A Darker Shade of Justice, which was my chance card pick for Bookoplathon, and my Bridge of Hylia (a book where a character crosses between worlds) pick for BotWathon, along with the Eventide Island bonus challenge (to read a book in one sitting). I still have my three character prompts to fulfil for Magical Readathon, but thankfully I have until April (I think) to get that done… And as for the rest of BotWathon: I’m currently almost halfway through the audiobook of Beach Read, and my next physical read will probably be The Kingmakers. 😊

Bookoplathon Books Completed: 5
Magical Readathon Books Completed: 7
BotWathon Books Read: 2
Pages Read: 3386
Hours Listened: 12:02
Bookoplathon Challenges Completed: 5/5
Magical Readathon Challenges Completed: 7/10
BotWathon Challenges Completed: 3/8

Breath of the Wildathon: Vah Ruta Quest TBR!

As if two readathons at a time wasn’t enough, I’ve decided to add a third with the next round of the Breath of the Wildathon, which started last Monday, and will be running until Wednesday 20th October. This round is the first section of the main quest, during which we’ll all be making our way to Vah Ruta and hopefully defeating Waterblight Ganon! 🤞 I’ve joined Team Revali 🦅, which will be taking me on a path around the Southern edge of the Faron Grasslands and East Necluda.

1) THE GREAT PLATEAU – read a book that’s out of your comfort zone – This first book is the one I’m most torn on; it’ll either be The Second Sleep by Robert Harris, a post-apocalyptic thriller, or Cod by Mark Kurlansky, a non-fiction about, well, cod. The Second Sleep is the one I’m most drawn to, but I just played my TBR game for October and landed on a non-fiction square, so reading Cod here would combine those two, and thereby slightly increase my chances of getting to Empire of the Vampire next month? (Which is definitely a priority.) Let me know what you guys think! 🐟/🐎?

2) BRIDGE OF HYLIA – read a book where a character crosses between worlds – I’m stretching this prompt somewhat in order to fit in something that’s not fantasy (for those pesky bonus challenges), but I’ve decided to go with Nightwing vol. 4: A Darker Shade of Justice, in which Dick has to go undercover to infiltrate Blackgate Prison… which is kind of another world?

3) LURELIN VILLAGE – read a 5-star prediction – This one was a pretty easy choice, since this is also one of the Magical Readathon prompts that I haven’t fulfilled yet: The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson! I started this on day 1 of the readathon, and am currently almost halfway through, and really enjoying it, even though I was definitely not looking forward to fitting a 1000-page book into an already busy reading month. But oh well, it seems to have worked out. 😅

4) BLOOD MOON – draw a blood moon card – The card I drew told me to pick a book over 500 pages, but I will be cheerfully using my Team Revali perk here to ignore that card and read whatever book I want instead… And that book is The Kingmakers by Clay & Susan Griffith, the final book in the Vampire Empire trilogy, which is decidedly less than 500 pages, and is essentially a romance between a human princess and a vigilante vampire hunter with a lot of secrets. 💕 There’s an interesting plot, too, but to be honest I’m mostly into this series for the romance.

5) DIVINE BEAST VAH RUTA – read a book with a water-related word in the title – Last up is Beach Read by Emily Henry! A romance between two rival authors, who decide to switch genres in order to combat their writer’s block. I started the audiobook of this a couple of days ago, and am really enjoying it so far! 😁 I was initially going to pick The Ocean at the End of the Lane for this challenge (because I didn’t realise that we could double up with the bonus prompts), but am really happy with the change – and not just because I now have something to listen to while I knit!

6) BONUS CHALLENGES – I’ve doubled up for all of these, so Beach Read will be counting for the Dueling Peaks Tower challenge (to read a book with a rivalry or a competition), and I will be attempting to read A Darker Shade of Justice in one sitting to fulfil the Eventide Island challenge. And the final challenge – weapon connoisseur – is for every book on my TBR to be from a different genre, which I’ve just about managed: I’ve got either a thriller or non-fiction, a superhero comic, a high fantasy, a steampunk/urban fantasy, and a romance! The only potential overlap is between The Second Sleep and The Kingmakers, which are both post-apocalyptic, but they each blend in other (different) genres as well. 👍

Luckily, I managed to complete all the rune trials during the Great Plateau round, and earned myself the glider perk, so I’m allowed to read these in whatever order I like – and I’ll be starting with (have already started with, in fact) The Way of Kings and A Darker Shade of Justice, as they overlap with my Bookoplathon and Magical Readathon TBRs. After that, it’s anyone’s guess what I’ll be reading.

Upcoming Releases: Autumn 2021

As always, autumn seems to be a treasure trove of exciting new fantasy books, and there’s quite a few here that I’m dying to get my hands on (though I should probably try to restrain myself, as I went rather overboard with the book-buying in the last couple of months… 😓). It was a tough list to narrow down, but here are my most-anticipated releases for September, October & November:

[All dates are taken from Goodreads unless stated otherwise, and are correct as of 5/9/2021.]

Empire of the Vampire by Jay Kristoff (7th September)

The first in a new urban fantasy series set in a world where humans and vampires are at war, with a main character who’s the last  of an elite order of vampire hunters, and is now imprisoned by his immortal enemies… All I want from life right now is all the edgy vampire books that ever existed, and it seems like Jay Kristoff is prepared to oblige me! I’ve only read a few of his other books, but I’ve really liked them all, so my expectations for this book are pretty high! Let’s hope it lives up to them! 🤞  Excitement level: 8/10

Three Novels by Yuri Herrera (14th September)

A gorgeous new bind-up of Herrera’s three novellas: Kingdom ConsSigns Preceding the End of the World, and The Transmigration of Bodies. I’ve already read the latter two of these, and they were excellent stories; engaging and thought-provoking, and showing glimpses of a Mexico that I had barely imagined… Excitement level: 6/10

Terciel & Elinor by Garth Nix (2nd November)

A new entry in the Old Kingdom series, one of my all-time favourite fantasy series! I don’t know (or really want to know) much about the plot at this point, but I do know that it will be set some time before Sabriel (the first book in the series), and following Sabriel’s parents. 😊 I’ve pre-ordered this already (mostly because Forbidden Planet are releasing an exclusive edition that matches the old UK hardbacks), and am awaiting its arrival with bated breath! Excitement level: 10/10

King of Battle and Blood by Scarlett St. Clair (30th November)

Another vampire book! 🧛🏻‍♂️ (Did I mention that I’m into vampires at the moment?) This is kind of a wild-card entry on this list, though, as all I know about Scarlett St. Clair is that she wrote a Hades & Persephone retelling that I was kind of interested in for a little while… but this book sounds like it’s right up my alley! Centring around an arranged marriage between a vampire king and a human who wishes to kill him, King of Battle and Blood sounds like it’s going to be choc-full of drama and angst, which is exactly what I look for in my fantasy romance picks! 😁  Excitement level: 9/10

Honourable Mentions:

  • The Tensorate Series by Neon Yang (21st September) – an omnibus edition of Yang’s novella series, which starts with The Black Tides of Heaven.
  • For All Time by Shanna Miles (28th September) – a YA reincarnation (or possibly time loop?) romance!
  • Vespertine by Margaret Rogerson (5th October) – the start of a new fantasy series about a nun possessed by a malevolent spirit, from the author of An Enchantment of Ravens and Sorcery of Thorns.
  • Aurora’s End by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff (9th November) – the final book in the Aurora Cycle.
  • Cytonic by Brandon Sanderson (25th November) – the next book in the Skyward series.

#Bookoplathon 2021: TBR

It’s Bookoplathon time again! 😆 And also Magical Readathon time, and almost Breath of the Wild-athon time… (September’s going to be packed) but today I’ll just be sharing my Bookoplathon TBR, as that’s the only I’ve absolutely decided on at the moment. 😅 Last year’s month-long Bookoplathon was so much fun, and fingers crossed this round will be just as great! 🤞

THE BOARD:MY ROLLS:


CHANCE CARD: I decided to just draw from my TBR jar for this prompt, which contains every unread book I own, and is therefore a hazardous place to be… but I was pretty lucky this time around, and drew the next volume of the original Nightwing comics: A Darker Shade of Justice by Chuck Dixon (and others). I haven’t been super-enjoying this series, but it definitely has its fun moments, so I’m looking forward to continuing. (And, best of all, it’s short.)


BUZZWORD – COLOURS: For this prompt I decided to pick one of my newest books: The Greyfriar by Clay & Susan Griffith. I picked this up on a whim, and don’t really know much about it, but it’s apparently set in a future ruled by vampires, which sounds exciting. 🧛🏻‍♂️ Plus, I’ve really been in the mood for vampire stories lately (as you may notice).


BUZZWORD – TIMES OF DAY: … and next up is Midnight Sun by Stephenie Meyer! I drunkenly reserved this from my library several months ago, and I finally got to the front of the queue, so I’d better read it before I have to take it back! But I do genuinely want to read this; I don’t really expect it to be good, but Twilight can be a lot of fun, if I’m in the right mindset for it. 😋


POC REP.: This was probably the hardest choice for me, as there are a lot of books with POC rep. that I’m really excited for at the moment, but given the length of my last pick (and the one that’s about to come up), I wanted to go for something quick… so I’ve decided on The Gilded Ones by Namina Forna, which is a YA fantasy about an army of girls with demon blood (I think). I was seeing this around a lot a few months ago (because it was in a subscription box?), but I haven’t really hard anyone talking about it since, so fingers crossed it’s good! 🤞


HIGHEST RATED: And at the final hurdle, Bookopoly decided to smack me in the face with The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson… 🤦‍♀️ Which, you know, I do want to read. It’s just long. Very, very long. Wish me luck! 🍀

… And that’s all! Apart from that last roll, I feel like the board was fairly nice to me this year! 😊 But I suppose the real challenge will be fitting all these prompts in with the Magical Readathon ones (and eventually the BotW-athon ones, which haven’t been announced yet). Are any of you guys going to be participating in these readathons, too? & of so, what books have the Bookopoly gods selected for you?

Breath of the Wildathon TBR!

Hi, all! It’s readathon time again, and I’m super-excited for this one… because it’s Zelda-themed! The Breath of the Wildathon will be starting tomorrow (Monday 17th), and running through to 23rd May, and all the challenges are based on shrines and locations in Breath of the Wild! You can find the announcement video here, if you’d like to check it out for yourself (or join in!), but here’s what I’m planning on reading:

1) MAGNESIS TRIAL – read a book you’re drawn to – For this challenge I’ve decided to pick up eveyone’s a aliebn when ur a aliebn too by Jonny Sun, which my book-buying ban has prevented me from reading for several years… but now is finally the time! 😆 This is an introspective comic about an alien who’s sent to Earth to observe humans, and ends up making friends with the plants and animals there.

2) CRYONIS TRIAL – read a book with winter vibes – And next up is Winter’s Orbit by Everina Maxwell, another sci-fi, but this time featuring a same-sex arranged marriage that’s supposed to prevent an interplanetary war. I’ve heard a ton of people talking about this recently, and it’s made me super-psyched (of all the books I own right now, this is the one I’m most excited for), so here’s hoping it lives up to the hype! 🤞 I also don’t know if this actually has winter vibes, but with a title like that, I’d hope so! 😅

3) BOMB TRIAL – read an action-packed book set in a land far away – In the interest of fitting some more comics on this list, I’ve picked out Nightwing: Love and Bullets for the bomb trial. This is the book I’m least happy about having on my TBR, but “far away” is a pretty relative term, and I’d say America is pretty far from the UK geographically, if not culturally…

4) FOREST OF SPIRITS – read a book with mythical or supernatural elements – I’ve got two choices for this challenge, and which one I pick up will depend on how well the readathon’s going overall; if I’ve read a ton already, with plenty of time left, then I’ll be trying out Ghoster by Jason Arnopp, a supernatural thriller that I got in my last Box of Stories… but if I’m struggling, I’ll read the first volume of Matsuri Hino’s Vampire Knight instead. I recently bought several of the later volumes in this series, but I definitely need a re-read of the earlier volumes before I’m ready to carry on!

5) TEMPLE OF TIME – read a book pertaining to the passage of time – And finally, I want to read The Alloy of Law by Brandon Sanderson, which (to my knowledge) doesn’t have much to do with time in its own story, but I’m still counting since it’ll be showcasing the Mistborn world centuries after the events of the original trilogy. I’m dying (and extremely nervous) to see how much things have (and haven’t) changed. 😬

Five books in one week might be something of an ask (even with several of them being comics), since I’ve been feeling a bit slumpy recently, but hopefully this readathon will be just what I need to kick me back into a reading mood. 🤞

March Wrap-Up

Happy Easter!!! 🐇🥚🐣 I wish you all as much chocolate as you can eat! 😁 March, as it turns out, was the best reading month I’ve had in years; I read fourteen books! Fourteen!! 😱 And, for the most part, they were all really good ones! The highlight of the month was, of course, my re-read of Komarr, but in general I was really motivated to read this month, and really enjoying everything I picked up. 😊

BOOKS I REVIEWED

[REVIEW]

[REVIEW]

[REVIEW]

OTHER BOOKS I READ

The Rift by Gene Luen Yang. [COMIC; Illustrated by Gurihiru]

The third of the Avatar: The Last Airbender continuations, in which the Aang takes the Air Acolytes to celebrate an old Air Nomad festival, only to find that a refinery has been built on top of his people’s sacred land. This story didn’t click with me quite so well as The Promise or The Search, but I still enjoyed it a lot. The main highlight for me was Toph’s role; her friendship with the refinery’s manager, and reconnecting with her father… and although I wouldn’t exactly say I liked reading about her fight with Aang, I liked how it was resolved.

Lothaire by Kresley Cole.

An entry in the Immortals After Dark series (which I am absolutely not reading in order), following the Enemy-of-Old Lothaire, who finds his soulmate possessing a human girl, and endeavours to find a way to give her permanent control over Ellie’s body… but although the goddess of death seems like a perfect match for Lothaire on paper, it’s squishy-human Ellie that he finds himself drawn to.

This romance has a lot of problematic elements, but I appreciate that the narrative didn’t try to gloss over them; Cole did a great job of fleshing out Lothaire’s character in a way that made him a sympathetic romantic lead without making excuses for his (extreme and unrepentant) villainy. And Ellie was such a great match for him; I loved her determination to be a thorn in his side, and the way her feelings for him gradually changed as the book went on… And I also really appreciated that (disregarding the epilogue, which was set years later) their story didn’t leave off with all loose ends tied up and everything forgiven, as this book wasn’t nearly long enough for them to believably work through all their problems.

I still have no desire to read this series in its entirety, but I’d definitely be interested in picking up more of the Dacians books (a subset of Immortals After Dark that follow Lothaire’s Dacian cousins).

Shards of Honor by Lois McMaster Bujold.

The first book in the Vorkosigan Saga, in which Commander Cordelia Naismith of the Betan Survey Corps is taken prisoner by Captain Aral Vorkosigan of Barrayar, whose fearsome reputation is belied by his behaviour towards her. This was a re-read for me, and I think I liked it even more the second time than I did the first! It’s a short book, but the world and characters are fleshed out brilliantly, and the romance develops slowly and believably. My favourite part is the final (maybe-)third of the story, where Cordelia returns to Beta Colony, only to find herself changed by her experiences, along with her family and friends’ reactions to her new self… it’s honestly quite chilling at times…

The Bridge Kingdom by Danielle L. Jensen. [AUDIOBOOK; Narrators: Lauren Fortgang & James Patrick Cronin]

Lara is sent to the Bridge Kingdom by her father to become its queen, and its downfall, but finds that King Aren is far from the brute she’s been told to expect, and his apparent stranglehold over trade to her impoverished homeland may not be quite what it seems. This was such a fun book! The worldbuilding was a little incomprehensible and the story a little, but I really enjoyed the characters, their hate-to-love romance, and the melodramatic storytelling – I’ll definitely be continuing as soon as my reading schedule allows! (In no small part thanks to that huge cliffhanger! It’s looking like The Traitor Queen might be a lot less predictable than this one.) 😁

A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki.

The diary of a Japanese teenager washes up on a beach on the remote island where Ruth and her husband live, and Ruth finds herself consumed by the mystery of what’s happed to Nao. I found this more interesting than enjoyable, as the story was a very heavy one, dealing with suicide and really severe bullying… I thought the ending was a little unsatisfactory, though, and I also didn’t much appreciate the magical realism-y aspects in the last few chapters, nor the theoretical physics explanations, which made my eyes glaze over and were a huge departure in tone from the rest of the novel. However! As I said, it was very interesting, and I was invested in both Nao and Ruth’s storylines the vast majority of the time. No regrets for finally having read this. 👍

The Rithmatist by Brandon Sanderson.

Joel is fascinated by Rithmatics, and with an unusual talent for maths, he seems like he’d make the perfect candidate – but he missed his chance to become a Rithmatist a long time ago, and there doesn’t seem to be any way to try again… But when students at his school start disappearing, leaving behind nothing but strange chalk marks, Joel’s theoretical knowledge may be just what’s needed to help solve the case!

I was a little surprised by how much I enjoyed this, as I thought the concept was one of Sanderson’s less interesting ones, but I’m very pleased to have been mistaken! 😁 The chalk-based magic system actually ended up being my favourite thing about this book, and I loved the technical illustrations that were added in between chapters. The two main characters – Joel and his friend Melody – were also really great; I found Melody a little irritating at first, but she really grew on me as the book went on, and I liked how their friendship developed, given their very different personalities and priorities… The plot, too was pretty solid, though I thought that the identity of the villain was kind of out of nowhere, and there was a little twist right at the end of the book that I didn’t appreciate… but I’ll reserve final judgement on the plot for when (/if) the sequel is released.

A Notorious Vow by Joanna Shupe.

With her parents determined to marry her off to the rich but odious Mr. Van Peet, Christina flees to her neighbour Oliver, a reclusive inventor whom she accidentally befriended on a walk through his garden. Feeling for her plight, Oliver agrees to marry her with the stipulation that they will divorce a year later, so she’ll be able to make a better life for herself… but as they grow closer, both Oliver and Christina begin to realise that what they really want is each other. This was a pretty cheesy story, but very cute. Both the main characters were very endearing, and I loved their interactions the whole way through – but in particular, Oliver’s surprise at Christina’s interest in his inventions, and in learning sign language (Oliver is deaf) were really touching. My main criticism is that most of the conflict in this story seems very contrived; there are a lot of villains, and they all come across as comically evil, and then go away very quickly.

The River Whale by Sita Brahmachari. [NOVELLA; Illustrated by Poonam Mistry]

Immy loves to dive, and dreams of being a marine biologist, but her big diving test has to be cancelled when a whale gets lost in the Thames, and Immy’s instructor is called on to set it free. I don’t have much to say about this one, except that it was a sweet but simple story, written in a dream-like combination of poetry and prose, and beautifully illustrated. A very atmospheric read.

We Hunt the Flame by Hafsah Faizal.

Zafira has a unique ability to find her way, and so has been hunting alone in the dangerous magical forest of the Arz since her father’s death, and has gained a good deal of notoriety as the Hunter. Nasir is a prince, but has been trained as an assassin his whole life, and now serves his cruel father without question. Both are sent on a quest to recover an artefact that could restore magic to their dying homeland, but although they need each other’s help to complete this quest, their goals are very different.

I liked the main characters and the story well enough, but there was a lot of wasted potential. I feel like the story would’ve been much more interesting (and character and relationship development much more compelling) if Zafira and Nasir (and perhaps Altair) hadn’t had so many random companions along for the ride. Deen’s presence in particular seemed incredibly pointless, but more characters are introduced later in the book with little purpose beyond exposition – if that, even. There were also a few dramatic reveals towards the end that were rather predictable, and I also thought it was a shame that, although the Arz kept being spoken of as this incredibly dangerous and mysterious place, we barely saw it… I was under the impression early on that Zafira was going to have to find her way all the way to the far side of the forest, but when we got to that part of the story, it was just skipped over… 😑 I’m interested enough in these characters (and to a lesser extent the story) to continue, however; I just hope that Zafira and Nasir’s relationship is fleshed out more in the sequel.

Alex Rider Undercover by Anthony Horowitz. [SHORT STORY COLLECTION]

A collection of four short stories in the Alex Rider universe, mostly featuring Yassen Gregorovich, the series’ recurring villain. In The Man with the Wrong Shoes, Alex foils an assassination attempt at his school; in Double Agent, Ash’s loyalties are tested; in Metal Head, Yassen comes sniper-scope-to-face with the man who made his childhood a misery; and in The White Carnation, a client comes to Yassen with an unusual request. Overall, this was a pretty solid batch of stories; Metal Head was the strongest (and, unsurprisingly, the longest) of the bunch, and The White Carnation was probably the weakest, but I enjoyed them all, and my desire to catch up on this series has definitely been re-kindled. 😊

The Way of Shadows by Brent Weeks.

Street-rat Azoth is determined to escape from his life of drudgery, and his method of choice is to convince Durzo Blint – the city’s most dangerous assassin – to take him on as an apprentice. But becoming an assassin will mean turning his back on everything in his old life, even the friends who helped him get here. I really liked the beginning of this story, and the end of it, but the middle was very confusing, with the storyline jumping all over the place, and a lot of sudden character- and relationship-developments for no apparent reason… It kind of came together in the end (and I’m definitely looking forward to the sequel), but I feel like everything would’ve been a lot smoother if Weeks had either spent more time on the Azoth-growing-up chapters, or else just had one clean time-skip in the middle rather than a hundred tiny ones…
3 stars

[EDIT (13/4/2021): Changed rating of The Way of Shadows from 4 stars to 3, after further consideration.]

Upcoming Releases: Autumn 2018

If summer is the season of YA, then autumn is definitely the season for sci-fi and fantasy (and even horror, with Halloween coming up), something that this list unintentionally reflects… This is great news for me, however, since that’s all I ever really want to read once the weather starts to get cold; give me a hot cup of tea, some nice warm socks, and a book I can sink my teeth into, and I’ll be happy for the rest of the year! ☕️🧦📚 With that in mind, here are (some of) the books I’m going to keeping an eye out for in September, October & November:

[All dates are taken from Amazon UK unless stated otherwise, and are correct as of 30/8/2018.]

The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein by Kiersten White (25th September)

A retelling of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, as told by Victor Frankenstein’s fiancée, Elizabeth Lavenza. I’ll admit that nothing about this book makes it seem like something that I would particularly want to read (from the basic premise, to the synopsis, the the incredibly off-putting cover), but I thought the same thing about The Conquerors Saga, which turned out to be amazing, so I’m cautiously optimistic about this one, too. My fingers are crossed; don’t let me down, Kiersten White! 🤞 Excitement level: 7/10

Muse of Nightmares by Laini Taylor (2nd October)

The sequel to Strange the Dreamer, which follows the orphaned librarian Lazlo Strange, who is unexpectedly at the forefront of a conflict between humans and godspawn, in the tormented city of Weep. Probably the book on this list that I’m most excited for, as Strange the Dreamer ended on such a cliffhanger – and I’m extremely relieved that I don’t have much longer to wait! As with it’s predecessor, I will probably be getting this book in audio-form rather than in print, partially for continuity’s sake, but mainly because Steve West’s narration of the first book was incredible. Excitement level: 10/10

The Books of Earthsea by Ursula K. Le Guin (25th October)

A new bind-up of the entire Earthsea series, including three short stories (one of which has never been published in print before), and 50 illustrations by Charles Vess (whose work includes the amazing illustrated edition of Neil Gaiman’s Stardust). I already have a bind-up of the first four books in this series, and haven’t read all that much of it, but if I end up liking Earthsea as much as I anticipate I will, then I am much more likely to replace it with this beautiful edition than to just buy the last two books on their own… Excitement level: 6/10

brandon sanderson//skywardSkyward by Brandon Sanderson (6th November)

The first in a new sci-fi trilogy, which follows a young aspiring pilot by the name of Spensa, who finds an ancient – and sentient – spaceship. In addition to having loved everything I’ve read by Sanderson (though I haven’t read nearly as much as I would like to have), sentient A.I. has become something of a favourite topic of mine since reading Ancillary Justice, so this seems right up my alley. 💕 Hopefully it won’t disappoint! Excitement level: 6/10

george r.r. martin//fire and bloodFire & Blood by George R.R. Martin (20th November)

A history of the Targaryen family from Martin’s A Song of Ice & Fire series… My excitement for Fire & Blood is tempered somewhat by the fact that it is not The Winds of Winter, and by my general dislike of Danaerys (the main series’ primary Targaryen representative), but on the other hand, what’s already been written about the family intrigues me, and I’m also looking forward to the extra detail that this book will undoubtedly add to the already-very-well-developed world of Westeros. Excitement level: 7/10

& some honourable mentions:

  • 9 from the Nine Worlds by Rick Riordan (2nd October) – short stories from the Magnus Chase universe
  • Soulbinder by Sebastien de Castell (4th October) – the fourth in the Spellslinger series
  • Kingdom of Ash by Sarah J. Maas (23rd October) – the final Throne of Glass book