Accidentally in Love by Belinda Missen Review

This book sounded like the perfect adult romance for me after loving the Flatshare by Beth O’Leary last year however, it just did not hit the mark for me. I do not know if I had too high hopes for it but I ended up not enjoying it which was really disappointing.

“I Love Postcards – It means someone’s thinking enough about me to want to share something with me.”

Accidentally in Love follows Katherine Patterson who has grown seemingly bored of her 9-5 life. After quitting her job surrounded by overbearing males and leaving her boyfriend she decides to move back home to Sheffield. She decides she’s going to finally open the art gallery that she has dreamed of since she was younger, and she has one artist that she has her eye on for the opening. Kit is a local artist, but his stubbornness and lack of communication is not what Katherine is after. But when the two seem to be attracted to more than each other’s work things begin to go wrong.

The book started out pretty strong in the beginning where there was a strong feminist theme with Katherine quitting her job because a male has got the position she is more qualified for the third time. The thing I loved most about this book was the references to Sheffield. I am from that area which was exciting to see within a book as it’s not a usual setting. It was the small details but Missen did such a good job of describing the area. There was a good sense of humour throughout the narration which did have me laughing out loud at some moments. Also the cover is so cute and adorable!

The thing I disliked the most about this was the romance. I just found that the communication between the two characters were lacking and I feel like Kit’s character started to rub me the wrong way. The development between the characters seemed rushed and the ending was so fast I could not quite believe I was reading it. It felt like all the conflict occurred within the last fifty pages which took me by surprise. I think that the romance did have somewhere to go but it just did not quite achieve it. The timeline got a little bit lost.

Overall I planned to love this book but it just fell flat for me. I ended up giving it a two stars for the humour and the location of Sheffield! I feel like if you do enjoy a fast, movie romance then this book is for you but I was hoping for a more of a slow burn romance.

Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with a copy of this book for an honest review!

Top Five Wednesday, Furry Friends

This is going to be the first post in my top five Wednesday series and I am so excited to start this little series! I joined the goodreads group which gives out prompts monthly for each Wednesday of the month and you choose five books that fit. I’ll link the group here if anyone wants some more information about the group: https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/118368-top-5-wednesday . This weeks prompt is furry friends which is all about your favourite animals in books so today I will be discussing my top five favourite book creatures. These are just the ones I can think of I am sure there is more that I love but these are the five I came up with.

5. The Dæmons from His Dark Materials by Phillip Pulman

Art by: @KhaliaArt

I love the concept of the dæmons. During the series they are the physical manifestation of the characters souls. Even though they often have a form that they rely on they can adapt to their environment by changing into a different animal. They represent the characters personality and they share their emotions and traits. Dæmons are able to communicate verbally with their partner and other dæmons but should not be touched by other humans. I’d like to think if I had a dæmon it would be my rabbit which I would love to be able to communicate with.

Pantalaimon is the main dæmon in this series and I love him so much. He is extremely funny but also just a good addition to the book. He is the voice of reason to Lyra and has many forms like a puppy and a mouse but is mainly an ermine. I think without Pantalaimon I would not have enjoyed this book as much as I did.

4. The Direwolves from Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin

Art by: @AlectorFencer

I loved the Direwolves in Game of Throne so much. They were such a good and interesting aspects in the show despite not appearing too often throughout. Direwolves are huge wolves that appear on the Starks coat of arms within the series. They are huge beasts and are extremely intelligent and have huge emotional attachments to their owners. Around the size of a small horse they are extremely loyal not only to their masters but to their masters friends. I would love a direwolf to follow me round and they look

During Game of Thrones there are six main direwolves after their mother is found dead at the beginning of the series. The six wolves are Shaggydog belonging to Rickon, Summer who belonged to Bran, Nymeria who belonged to Arya, Lady for Sansa, Grey Wind for Robb and my personal favourite Ghost who belonged to Jon Snow. The direwolves go on such a journey within the story and I love watching the scenes that they are in.

3. Mister Kindly from Nevernight by Jay Kristoff

Art by: @Pinktofu_art

This is another form of daemon who is attached to Mia within the book. He is made out of shadows and takes the form of a cat although he is not truly a cat. During the book he helps Mia on her journey and adds a lot to the story. He is created by rage; Mia’s rage at the outcome of her family and then has remained with her ever since. By living alongside Mia he devours her fear so that she can not feel it and that is so interesting to read about.

He is very witty and clever within the book and is another voice of reason overall. I think the reason I love Mister Kindly so much is the way he interacts with Mia and also the quotes he comes out with are some of my favourite parts of the book. “…bravo…’ Mister Kindly said, ‘..if only I had hands to applaud..’ The cat is literally so sarcastic, and I love it so much.

2. Hippogriffs from the Harry Potter series

Art by: Jim Kay – Harry Potter Illustrated

I love the hippogriffs. So, so much. I would love to have one. It is half horse and half griffin. The body is that of a horse and its head is that of a griffin. It is covered in feathers and has talons for claws. Buckbeak is introduced in the third book and appears in the fifth book as well.

I like Buckbeak mainly because of how proud he is. He does not like insult, and he is extremely proud of himself. I love his loyalty to Hagrid and how he defends himself from Draco. I wish that he had been in the fifth movie and not forgotten about completely. I love the friendship which is formed between him and Sirius.

  1. Syrinx from House of Earth and Blood by Sarah J. Maas
Art by: @_artjake_

Finally, we have Syrinx who I have grown to love this year. Syrinx is a chimera who has the appearance of a lion with wings and lives with Bryce within the book. She is best friends with Lehabah which I think is the cutest thing in the world. He often takes up residence within the library alongside the sprite which is just such a beautiful and cozy image.

The friendship between the two is the thing I love the most with these creatures. This image of the two within the library made me love this duo and Syrinx even more. I wish I could come home and find syrinx laid on my bed to lay with. He is the most beautiful creature which is why he is my top creature.

That was my first top five Wednesday! I hope you enjoyed and let me know which creatures you love in the comments! Thank you for reading and please follow down below. See you in the next one tomorrow!

The Most Disappointing Books of 2020

In 2020 it was such a good year for reading. I found some new favourites that I am obsessed with. However, with any good thing there is an opposite and these are some of the books that I am really disappointed by. I know that some of these are very popular books and these are controversial opinions, but this is how I personally felt about these books. I am not saying that no one should read them because you might love the books, but this is just how I feel.

Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

This book is loved by a lot of people so when I came to read it last year, I was extremely excited for it. However, when I actually got to it, I was disappointed by the message that is created around the representation of disabilities. This book follows Louisa Clarke who takes a job caring for Will Traynor who has recently been left in a wheelchair. Louisa sets out to make Will realise that he can still live his dreams despite being bed bound.

The first problem I had with this book was the pacing. I found that in parts the plot felt like it was not moving forward. My other issue with this book is the representation with the disability in this book. Will acts as though once you have a disability that your life is not worth living. That you cannot do anything. The ending seemed to have morally and ethnically apposing ideas and something did not sit right with me in the way this book played out.

Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

I was really disappointed with this one. This was on my most anticipated books of 2020, but I was let down a lot by the ending. When NoemÍ receives a letter from her cousin begging for someone to save her, she rushes to help. NoemÍ is not sure of her cousins’ new husband and the house he is living in. Once she begins getting nightmares in the house, she knows something is wrong and being kept secret. Eventually she begins to realize she needs to find out what is going on before she cannot leave the house herself.

I loved the beginning of the book. It was looking to be one of my favourites of the year. The atmosphere and the characters were beautifully written. It felt like a slow burn mystery romance which was looking to have an amazing twist to it. Also look at the cover; it’s gorgeous! As soon as I found out what was occurring at the house, I was immediately put off reading it. The characters were creepier in a weird way than an atmospheric way. And the ending, I honestly just did not understand it in the slightest. There also seemed to be barely any Mexican setting in it whatsoever.

Regretting You by Collen Hoover

I have heard such amazing things about Collen Hoover that I was really let down by this book. It follows a mother and a daughter after their family is struck by tragedy. Chris the husband and father is killed in a questionable accident. As the two attempts to get along they find themselves being torn more apart by secrets.

I found the characters quite unlikable in most of the scenes within this book. Throughout I really hoped that the book would focus on grief and heartache, but it seemed to focus more on teenage drama than the accident. It needed the characters to communicate instead of making matters worse by lying. I do want to try and give more of Collen Hoovers book a chance, but this was not my favourite.

The Spectacular Now by Tim Tharp

This was a book that has sat on my shelf for a long time and I think I knew I was not going to enjoy it. This is about two teenagers; Stutter who is the popular guy that everyone wants to be but has a serious drinking problem and Aimee. The clueless naive girl who has her entire life planned out but is a disaster when it comes to real life. When the two meet and Stutter decides he’s going to help Aimee but soon realises the situation is more than it seems.

The whole book just fell a little bit flat for me. Aimee seemed to have no personality and the whole narrative of the book just felt like a teenage boys rambling. The way that girls are spoken about depending on their weight. My main issue was that the book was completely unmemorable. I felt like the plot went nowhere and the ending was just a little underwhelming regarding Stutters drinking problem. I just felt like the whole plot was unrealistic and uninteresting.

Wayward Son by Rainbow Rowell

Finally, we have the sequel to Carry On. Carry On is the fanfiction that Cath writes in Rainbow Rowells other book Fangirl. It’s almost a retelling of Harry Potter with the chosen one trope but if the chosen one was not as good as everyone makes him out to be. It features a magical school and vampires and all the stuff that sets up for this to be a really good book.

I did love the first book; it was cute, and I loved the characters in the book. But this one just did not give me the same feeling as the first one did. It just felt so flat to me and it was almost as though this was a filler book between the first book almost a ‘second book syndrome’. The ending felt very abrupt and dissatisfying overall.

So, these are the very few books I did not enjoy last year. Overall, I had a very good reading year, but these were the few that let it down. I’m not saying these were bad books, but they did not work for me personally. Thank you for reading and let me know if there were any books you found disappointing in 2020. Please follow down below and I’ll see you in my next post!

Book Series I Need to Finish Part One

One of my resolutions for this year is to finish more of the series that I have started over the years (if you would like to see what other resolutions I have this year I did a post about it!). During today’s post I’m going to speak about the book series that I really need to finish. The list is in alphabetical as I have none that I want to get to more than others. This post is going to be quite long  but it is going to be split into two posts as it is more of a list, but I hope you enjoy!

A Song of Ice and Fire by George R. R. Martin

This series is more commonly known as Game of Thrones and I am always intimidated to pick up the next book. I read the first book in this series during 2018 and the second book at the beginning of 2019. I really want to at least get to the third book this year if not a few of them.

For those of you that do not know (although I presume everyone will) A Song of Ice and Fire is a high fantasy series that follows several families as they compete for the Iron Throne; the ruler of the seven kingdoms. After the hand of the king is killed Ned Stark is sent to the Red Keep to help rule the seven kingdoms but there is something not right in the kingdom and the stakes are very high.

All Souls Trilogy by Deborah Harkness

This series includes a Discovery of Witches, Shadow of Night and The Book of Life. I read the first book in 2020 and it did make my top books of the year. I adored the first book and I will definitely be getting to the second book in 2020 without a doubt and hopefully finishing the entire series this year. I adore this story and this world, so I am excited to continue with the series.

This series follows Diana Bishop; a witch who has denied her powers ever since her parents were young. When she uncovers a book that has been missing for centuries where she sets off a chain of events including her involvement with Matthew Clairmont. As it becomes clear the Diana is in danger it is up to her to figure out if she truly wants to turn her back on magic or embrace who she is.

Arc of a Scythe by Neil Schusterman

This book trilogy includes Scythe, Thunderhead and The Toll. I read the first two books in this trilogy back to back in 2018 and I adored them. The second book left me on such a cliffhanger and I could not wait for the third book. However, I have been putting off finishing this series for so long because of how much I love them (I know I sound ridiculous) even though I do own the third book and I am so excited to eventually get to it.

This series follows a world without death; there is no disease, no hunger or war. The only way you can die is by a Scythe in order to keep the population controlled. When Citra and Rowan are chosen to apprentice a scythe, they must compete against each other to become the next scythe; or die as a consequence.

Bloodlines by Richelle Mead

I read this book during my original vampire stage back when Twilight was huge. Before this I had read the Vampire Academy series and absorbed all six of them and then immediately read these books. Even though I really enjoyed this book for some reason I did not end up reading the rest of the series and I have no idea why! I plan on reading this book this month and then hopefully moving onto the rest of the series.

This book follows on from the Vampire Academy series however, the focus is on Sydney; an alchemist whose job is to keep the peace between vampires and humans. Sydney’s decisions during the Vampire Academy lead to her being charged with the protection of Jill Dragomir at a human boarding school.

Crave Series by Tracey Wolff

This is another book series that I started in 2020 which I reviewed for NetGalley and my review will be up on this account soon. This is the book that kicked off my recent vampire addiction; I adored it. I have recently brought myself the sequel Crush and I know the next book is coming out soon so I really want to catch up with the series before the new book.

Crave follows Grace after her parents are killed and she is sent to her uncles boarding school but things are not as they seem. The school is home to people Grace never thought to exist; vampires, werewolves and witches. But when a particular vampire named Jaxon Vega begins to show an interest in her Grace’s life is turned around.

Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan

Another series I began in 2020 after watching the movie again I decided I wanted to get to the source material and see if the book was as good. As much as I enjoyed the first book I’ve heard the rest of the series is not as good so I am unsure about whether I want to continue with this series or not. Let me know your thoughts in the comments!

This follows China’s elite families and their dramas within the families. After one of the richest family’s children brings back his American girlfriend to the wedding event of the year she is thrown into a world that she never knew existed. This book has scandals, heartbreak and all the things you expect of the world’s richest families.

The Diviners by Libba Bray

Last year must have been the year that I started most of my series because I also read this one during the summer last year. I was hooked by this series immediately and I can not wait to get back to this world hopefully this month. This has the possibility to become one of my favourite series because I just love the setting and the characters; just everything about this book.

This is set in the jazz age New York where Evie O’Neil is struggling to hide her unacceptable supernatural power from the world. But when a murder is revealed Evie realizes she could help. But she isn’t the only one with a power. Memphis, Theta and Jericho are hiding there own secrets but with a dark secret unfurling they might be forced to reveal it.

An Ember In The Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

I read the first book in this series in 2017 and the second book in 2018 before I forgot to keep up with the series after that. I loved the first two books in this series, and I don’t know why I did not keep up with the releases because I love the characters and the stories within this series. I do plan on binge reading the entire series soon so that I can finally get to the final two installments.

This follows Elias and Laia within the Martial Empire where if you don’t follow the rules you die. When Laia’s brother is arrested for treason she makes the choice to join the rebels who will free her brother if she spies for them within the academy. Elias is the academy’s finest soldier but all he wants is to be free. But when their fates come together they need to realise who they truly are.

Gumiho by Kat Cho

This is a duology featuring the books Wicked Fox and Vicious Spirits. I read the first book last year during the lockdown due to Books with Chloe’s recommendation and I loved it. It features Korean mythology focusing specifically on the nine tailed fox but has other elements mixed in. Hopefully I will be reading this book within the first few months of this year.

Wicked Fox follows Gu Miyoung; a gumiho who must devour the energy of men. Set in modern day Seoul she takes evil mens lives without anyone noticing. But when she comes across Jihoon, a boy getting attacked by a goblin she saves the boy but loses her soul in the process. When there friendship becomes something more she must decide between her life or his.

His Dark Materials by Phillip Pullman

This series is initially made up of three books; The Golden Compass, The Subtle Knife and The Amber Spyglass but it has since been extended. Once again I have only read the first book in this series but I really want to catch up before too many books come out. I really enjoyed the first book when I read it around three years ago but I might have to reread it before I carry on with the series.

It follows Lyra after Gobblers steal her best friend Roger. In a world where humans are born with a daemon; an animal bonded to their spirit. She begins to travel North where witch clans and bears that wear armor live in a hunt for her uncle Asriel and the children that have been stolen.

Hush Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick

This is a book series that I read when I first properly began to read. I loved it when I read it but I’m not sure of what I’d think of it if I read it now. I read three out of the four books and I have no idea why I didn’t read the fourth book at the time but now I am not sure if I ever will but maybe one day.

Nora Grey has never been interested in boys until Patch comes along. But even though Patch attempts to push Nora away it only makes her want him more. When Nora’s life is threatened more than once she doesn’t know who is to trust. Especially when she finds out Patch isn’t human.

Illuminae Files by Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman

I read the first book in this series back in May 2018 and I did not love it. I thought the concept was amazing and the mix media is one of my favourite formats but for some reason I couldn’t get into the book. However, I think my reading taste has changed in the last two years and now I really want to read the entire series to see what I think of it now. There is three books in this series the second one being Gemina and the third being Obsidio and I know a lot of people love this series so I really want to be able to get behind the hype.

The first book in this series follows two rival corporations who are at war over a planet which is forced to flee. But when a plague breaks out the two realise that from opposing ships they have to communicate to try and figure out what is going on with the ship and stop everyone from being taken over before it is too late.

Legacy Of Orïsha by Tomi Adeyemi

I’m not sure how long this book series is going to be but so far there is two books out; Children of Blood and Bone and Children of Virtue and Vengeance. I read the first book as soon as it came out in 2018 and I loved it! I was so ready for the second book but when it came out, I just did not get round to buying it!

The first book follows a world without magic and Zélie has one chance to bring back magic. In order to do this she must strike against the monarchy and outrun the prince who wants to rid the world of magic once and for all. But as Zélie struggles to get her powers under control she threatens to destroy herself.

Lunar Chronicles by Marrisa Meyer

The final one for today’s post is another series that I am not sure if I am going to carry on with or not. There is four books in this series and a couple of novellas. I did not love the first one and I was never interested in picking up the rest of the series but I have seen people saying how it does get better each book so let me know if you think I should pick this one up or not! I do love a retelling so I thought I would love this series but I am not sure.

The first book is a Cinderella retelling but with androids. A plague is destroying the population and only one girl Cinder, a mechanic, can fix it. But Cinder is an android, a second class citizen who is hated by her step-mother and blamed for her sisters illness. When she meets Kai, who also happens to be the prince she must figure out her own secrets in order to protect the world.

So this is the first half of book series I need to finish! Let me know what series I should finish first and whether I should not finish some of them! I can not wait to share the rest of my list with you tomorrow. Please comment and follow down below!

Books I Need to Get to in 2021 Part 2

This is part two to the blog post I put up yesterday telling you about the other ten books I plan on reading in 2021. I don’t really have much else to say so enjoy!

These Violent Delights by Chloe Gong

This is a debut novel by Chloe Gong that came out in 2020 and I could not be more excited for it. I love retellings, it is a favourite trope of mine especially if they are done well. This book has been receiving so much hype towards the end of the year which makes me so excited to get to this book.

It’s a Romeo and Juliet retelling set in the roaring twenties where a gang leaders’ daughter has been betrayed by the rival gangs’ heir. But when a monster begins killing throughout the city the two heirs must put their issues aside to discover what is destroying their city before it destroys them.

Circe by Madeline Miller

This book was popular a few years back especially on BookTok, so I bought it for my mum for her birthday and then she loved it. She gave it to me, but this is another one that I have never got around too. It is also another book based on Greek mythology which is one of my targets for this year.

Circe is about the daughter of a titan who turns her back on the gods and enters the world of mortals. When Zeus banishes her to a deserted island, she tames wild beasts and meets several of the most famous creatures within Greek mythology. She eventually has to choose between the Gods and the mortals that she has grown to love.

Woven in Moonlight by Isabel Ibañez

This is another book that has become popular more recently. This book has the most gorgeous cover, but I do not know that much about it. I know it surrounds Bolivian politics and is about magic in tapestries. I really want to read this book because of all the amazing reviews I have heard about it.

This follows a girl who is a stand in for a royal but when the prince proposes marriage to the royal, she takes her place. She goes to take revenge for her people who were pushed away by an ancient relic. When the girl takes her place, she finds out the relic is no longer with them and tries to find it in order to regain her people’s lives.

 A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

I tried to read this book about two years ago but never fully got into it. After reading This Savage Song earlier this year I now really want to read more of V. E. Schwab’s writing because I loved that book. I know that this is her most popular series and everyone loves it so hopefully I can finally get around to reading it.

This is about a world where four London’s exist; red, white, grey and black. Kell travels between the London’s as an ambassador smuggling pieces of the different worlds that others will never get to see. After he meets Delilah who robs him before saving him, he takes her to another world for an adventure.

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

This book is BookTubes baby. Everyone and their mum read this a few years ago but for some reason I never got myself a copy. I have however read Daisy Jones and the Six which was one of my favourite books a few years ago. I am also obsessed with old Hollywood and the lives of actresses so this one sounds amazing.

This is about Evelyn Hugo, a glamourous actress who is finally ready to tell all about her scandalous life. When she chooses a journalist that no one has heard about the whole community is confused. Evelyn tells about her making her way to LA before deciding to leave show business as well as all about her husbands. They soon realise their lives are intersected together.

Lady Midnight by Cassandra Claire

I have slowly been making my way through Cassandra Claire’s books and this is the next trilogy on my list now. I’ve really been enjoying revisiting these books especially now I am on the books I have not read before. This is the first book in the Dark Artifices trilogy which is set after the events of The Mortal Instruments series.

This picks up five years after the events of City of Heavenly Fire and Emma Carstairs is set on revenge. Alongside her parabati Julian Blackthorn she has got to figure out a demonic plot that is taking over Los Angeles. After a face from the past is returned by the faeries as a peace offering to try and figure out who is killing their kind the everything gets a little more complicated.

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

Another one of BookTubes babies that I haven’t yet got around to. If anyone is interested in me doing a series reading old popular BookTube books, then let me know in the comments! This was A Clockwork Readers favourite book and I know it is supposed to be amazing. It also has a competition trope as well as an enemy to lovers.

This follows a circus that appears overnight. It is only open to the public at night and it is spectacular. But this is a fierce competition between two of the magicians. However, only one can be the winner but when the two become closer than they should have. Despite this they must continue with the game or the fates will destroy everything.

Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor

I cannot believe I have not got to this one yet. This one has been living on my shelf since BookswithChloe recommended it years ago. It was huge on BookTube years ago and is one of the most popular duologies out there. The whole plot of the book sounds amazing and I know I am going to love it when I eventually get to it.

This follows Lazlo Strange who is obsessed with the lost city of Weep. When a group decide to go on an expedition to try and find the city, they choose Lazlo to find it. There is so many unanswered questions but also a mystery to figure out. Who is the woman that keeps appearing in Lazlo’s dreams and why does she seem so real?

The Poppy War by R. F. Kuang

Another series that has been raved about this year, but I just really want to try and get to the first book. I tried to start reading the e-book this year, but I could not focus on the story due to it being on my phone. I have since picked up the physical book but have not got to it, so I am excited to finally get to this one this year.

This is another one that I am not quite sure what it is about. I know this is about a war-torn county and a girl is studying to try and get into a school. After she aces all her exams much to the surprise of everyone around her. But being at the school is harder than she realises, and she might lose herself in the process.

Godsgrave by Jay Kristoff

Finally, we have Godsgrave which is the second book in the Nevernight trilogy. I read the first book earlier in 2020 and I loved it. It made my top ten books of 2020 and I can see this becoming one of my favourite trilogies. Jay Kristoff’s writing is so unique especially with the use of footnotes which I know a lot of people don’t like but I personally loved this little extra.

This series follows Mia Corvere and her shadow cat Mr Kindly as she trains to become an assassin as revenge. She travels to join a school of assassins where she has to beat the rest of the students in several tasks to become a Blade of the Lady Blessed Murder. But when people start to be murdered within the keep Mia must figure out who is behind them before it is too late.

They are all the books that I want to get to in 2021. I am not sure how many I will end up getting to but hopefully I will get through over half of the books on this list. Next year I am going to look back on this list and write a post about if I got to these books or not, but I hope you enjoyed. Please leave a comment if you have read any of these books and please follow if you enjoyed!

Nick by Michael Farris Smith Review

“Your world is a place unto its own… it is a place of its own truth and its own consequences and it is invisible to all.”

Nick by Michael Farris Smith is a masterpiece in its own right. I love The Great Gatsby; it’s my favourite classics and one of my favourite books. I am always wary of retelling of classics in case they do not portray the character right or get the true essence of the story. However, I have always wondered what Nick Carraway did before arriving in West Egg as it is not said much in the books which is what led me to this one. This book made me love Nick’s unreliable character even more and this story made me love the Great Gatsby more if that was at all possible. It moved me and kept me wanting more the entire way through this novel.

This follows Nick throughout his life starting within the war and his fight in the trenches whilst also showing the horror of war and PTSD. Whilst on a short leave he travels to Paris and meets Ella, an interesting French woman who shows Nick how to love. Whilst flashing back and forward between his time in the trenches and his time with Ella it shows how Nick copes being alone. It goes into his loneliness at home as a child, caring for his mother during her dark periods and his time with Ella. He spends time traveling the world in order to not return to his overbearing family ending up in New Orleans. Here he meets two ex-married people who are having trouble with their own lives after the war.

“And he raised his arms and reached out for the dawn as if to warm his hands on the rising sun”.

Smith brought me straight back to The Great Gatsby with his use of vivid descriptions of the war as well as the places Nick travelled too during his time. His unreliable narration and long, expressive sentences are similar to that of Fitzgerald himself. Through vivid, haunting nightmares of Ella and the bloody, torturous war it felt like I was living this life alongside Nick; feeling his pain and longing. It perfectly displayed how characters do have lives before we join them on their story and how it shapes them into the characters we see.

This book details the love, loss, friendship and heartbreak that outlines a person’s life. I could not put it down and I am looking forward to reading more by Michael Farris Smith in the future.

Thank you to Little Brown and Company and Net Galley for letting me read an advanced copy of this book!

New Year Readathon

So this month I have decided as well as my usual TBR that I want to take part in a month long readathon. Although I have doubled up on some books there is also some books that do not appear on my monthly TBR. This is a new readathon that is hosted in the month of January to start your book goals off to a good start. It is hosted on YouTube by;

Literary Lizzy: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCPcmAbT6eegqn124HBWxJlQ

Mindy’s Book Journey: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCLd_e77IsqzY455zDEvgFUg

David’s Book Reviews: https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=davids+book+reviews

Noelle7pages: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCrlIcbZlBZUz2t-qNWHJoeA

I really love the idea of having a readathon that helps me get a head start on this years goals! The prompts are a good selection and even come with there own bingo board which is one of my favourite types of readathons! So here is my TBR for the prompts:

A Book You Meant To Read In 2020 – Unravel the Dusk by Elizabeth Lim

I read the first book in this duology Spin the Dawn in the first lock-down and I immediately ordered Unravel the Dusk. However, something went wrong and by the time the delivery got to my house I was back at my university house, so this definitely fits this prompt. I loved the first book. I thought it was really beautifully written and the description of all the materials and clothing was so stunningly written. This is a re-imagining of Mulan meets Project Runway and I am obsessed.

The first book follows Maia who is trying to become the world’s next great tailor but as a woman this is not a career. When she disguises herself as a man in the place of her dad to enter a competition against all the tailors to try and become the tailor for the royals she is entered into a competition against other men in the kingdom. This book picks up straight after the first book and follows Maia after the trial she’s endured towards the end of this book.

A 2021 Reading GoalTomie by Junji Ito

One of my goals this year is to read more manga; especially Junji Ito’s works. For this challenge I am probably going to choose Tomie by Junji Ito as Junji Ito is a very popular horror manga writer and one of my reading challenges for this year is to read more manga as well as more horror books. I read Uzumaki earlier in 2020 and adored it which makes me really excited to get to this book.

This book follows Tomie a girl who is cursed to have men fall that intensely in love with her that they end up killing, however, it is usually Tomie that is on the receiving end. Tomie keeps coming back to life but can not figure out why this keeps happening to her. I am really excited to see if I love this one as much as Uzumaki and I can not wait to pick it up.

Physical Book Left Unread The Longest – Ash Princess by Laura Sebastian

I have had this book on my TBR for so, so long. This is probably the book that has been on the most TBR’s since I got into reading. I have not heard much about this series but I do know one person that loves it but other than that I have not heard a thing. Another book has recently come out I’m not sure how many books it is now but I really want to give the series a try.

This book follows a princess after her mother is murdered and she is held captive in the castle for ten years. When she is forced to do the unthinkable, she realises if she does not escape now, she will lose her kingdom forever. This book sounds so good and I feel like I will love it so I’m really excited that this challenge is making me get to it.

Reread a favourite book from 2011 – Bloodlines by Richelle Mead

In 2011 I loved Richelle Mead books. I adored the Vampire Academy series and the first book of the Bloodlines series. However, for some reason I never got around to the rest of the Bloodlines series, so I think this year is the year I’ll get to them all. I find the world that Richelle Mead has created is so complex and interesting but she also throws a lot of plot twists into her novels that I never see coming.

This follows the alchemists from the Vampire Academy series specifically Sydney. The alchemists protect the humans from the vampires and Sydney is suddenly sent to protect one of the Moroi’s royals; at a boarding school. But when they begin to get threats it turns the situation upside down. I can not wait to jump back into this world and reread this favourite so that I can continue with the rest of the books.

Top of your TBR – Kingdom of the Wicked by Kerri Maniscalco

I am so excited for this book that I literally cannot contain myself. This book looks and sounds amazing which is why it is so perfect for this prompt because this is one of the next books I am so excited to pick up. You can tell just from the cover of this book; it is stunning. I have not read any of Kerri Maniscalco’s other works but if I enjoy this one as much as I think I am going to then I will definitely be picking up her other works.

It focuses on two sisters and after one is found brutally murdered leading the other to set out to find her sister’s killer. During this task she meets one of the Wicked. I’ve already read the first few pages of this and the text is beautiful. The setting and the descriptions just set a really good vibe for this book.

A Book You Are Intimidated By – From Blood and Ash by Jennifer L. Armentrout

This book has received so much hype on every platform; Instagram, BookTube and even TikTok. That’s what makes this so intimidating. I’m not even sure what this book is even about I just know it has an amazing enemy to lover’s romance and the characters are supposed to be brilliant.

I think it follows a fallen kingdom and a girl that is forbidden from being with anyone. After a man is enrolled to protect her a forbidden romance begins between the two. I love enemies to lovers’ books so I’m hoping it holds up to the hype. It is also nearly seven-hundred pages which is a little intimidating as well.

A Book Written by a POC – A Song of Wraiths and Ruin by Roseanne A. Brown

This is another book that has been on a lot of TBR’s during 2020 so I really want to get to it at the beginning of the year. Roseanne is a POC from Ghana and I really cannot wait to read her book. This is the first part in a duology and the second part is coming out later this year so I want to read this one so I can read the second as soon as it is released.

This is another competition novel that follows a man that has made a rule to kill the princess of the land and the princess who is holding a competition to find a husband; so that she can kill him for his heart. It just sounds so interesting especially with the African folklore that it features but also really cutthroat and I am so excited to finally get into it.   

A Book From a Different Genre – Loveless by Alice Oesman

I have been trying to branch out of the books that I usually read in 2020 which is predominantly fantasy and sci-fi. So far, I’ve been enjoying some contemporaries that I read as well as a couple of adult romance. I decided to go with Loveless by Alice Oesman as I have been loving her series Heartstopper and now I really want to get into her other books.

This is a book about an asexual girl who is ready to find love. She starts at university and I know it involves a Shakespeare play. During 2021 I really want to read more diverse books and I think this one is a really good place to start. I just think this book sounds lovely and I am so excited to finally get to it.

A Debut Novel – Star Daughter by Shveta Thakrar

Finally another book that I have been meaning to read through the end of 2020 and a book that I am completely in love with. I think this cover is my favourite cover ever. It’s just gorgeous. This is a debut novel by Shveta Thakrar and is a standalone book which is based around a competition; a trope I cannot get enough of.

This follows a girl who is forced to return to her fathers celestial court to compete in a game to decide the next ruling house of heavens. After burning her human father the girl has no choice to compete in order to try and heal him. I just think this sound like another beautiful story and I can’t wait to see where the story goes.

So these are all my prompts for the New Year Readathon. Hopefully I will be able to get to all these as well as all of the books that were on my January TBR. There are some amazing books on this list that I am desperate to read so I will definitely be getting to most of them this month. Thank you for reading; please follow and leave a comment about a book you are excited to read this month!

Best Books of 2020

Today’s New Year, New Blog post is going to be all about my favourite books of 2020. I read a lot of amazing books this year and I found it really difficult to just pick ten of them but I have managed to get it down however, I’m still not sure about the order so this list is not the final list. However, at this moment in time this is where I would place them at this moment in time.

10. Uzumaki by Junji Ito

So, coming in at number ten is a new to me author Junji Ito with Uzumaki. Junji Ito is a horror manga writer who creates weird and scary manga based on peoples fear but amplified. Uzumaki follows a town that becomes obsessed with spirals. It starts off with just a couple of people being consumed but eventually the entire town is overwhelmed by spirals.

I enjoyed this book so much; the art style was beautiful it really brought together the weirdness of the storyline. The story kept me wanting more and I read this in one big sitting I was that obsessed. The characters were really interesting to read about, and I cannot wait to get to some of Junji Ito’s other books in 2021.

9. Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo

Elizabeth Acevedo is quickly becoming one of my favourite authors. With the Fire on High was my favourite book in 2019 and now this one has become another favourite. Although this one was very different to With the Fire on High, I still loved Acevedo’s way with words. This book was written in verse which is a form of writing I had not experienced till this year but now I am obsessed with them. Clap When You Land follows two sisters that do not know the other exists. One lives in New York whilst the other lives in the Dominican Republic. After their dad dies in a plane crash, they discover each other exists and it sends their world upside down.

I loved the two sisters in this book; how they both had been brought up completely differently and their story of discovering how they are more similar then they realise. This book also tackles so many important topics that I think everyone needs to read more about. These characters and this story have stuck with me all year even though I read it all the way back in June.

8. The Diviners by Libba Bray

This is another book I read back in June and another one that I cannot wait to continue the series. The Diviners is set in the jazz age which is one of the reasons it is on this list; I love anything that is set in the 20’s era. The multiple perspectives really added to this book as you are following many stories that all come together eventually.

It was really interesting to see how they people with special abilities reacted and how they used their powers. I loved Memphis and Theta’s dynamic although they did not get nearly enough time together. The one thing I loved more than anything in this book is the atmosphere. The 1920’s jazz scenes, the dark and spooky elements at night especially the old mans whistling. That was the creepiest thing I’ve ever experienced.

7. The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon

I could talk for hours about this book. I had been so nervous and intimidated by this book that I did not pick it up for ages until lockdown gave me the full opportunity to fully invest my time into it. This book has so many points of view and it is a high fantasy standalone. I loved each and every character in this book especially Tané and Ead. This follows a kingdom filled with dragons where a dark force is returning. It focuses on a dragon-rider, a queen, a prioress, a professor and a nobleman.

I really want to write a full review of this book eventually. It was full of politics, war but also showing how everyone’s views are different and how people can come together in times of need.  The thing I loved most about this book was watching relationships (not just romantic ones) form between characters and watching them develop. Of course, I also loved the dragons. The dragons were the best bit.

6. Nevernight by Jay Kristoff

This is where my list gets a bit difficult to place. I loved this book. It’s all about the assassins and I love a good assassin book. It follows Mia a girl who’s gifted with shadows. She joins a keep of assassins where she must battle it out to become the best. I know the unusual writing style will not be for everyone, but I really enjoy the elements it added to it.

Mia Corvere is one of my new favourite characters of all time along with the no-cat Mr Kindly. She is vicious and on a road for vengeance and you’ve got to respect her for that. This book is bloodthirsty, character driven and just all around an amazing book. I can not wait to get into Godsgrave this year.

5. A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness

This book had me obsessed. I devoured it within a couple of days and then I sat and binged watched the TV series. It lives in my brain rent free. Harkness has created a beautiful atmospheric book with vampires and witches and various other creatures, and I love it. It follows Diana Bishop who was raised by her aunts after her parents were killed and is now a professor in Oxford. When she meets Matthew who she soon learns is a vampire she is pulled into the world of creatures she has tried to ignore for so long.

I think the thing I love most about this book is the setting. I love Oxford; my great nan used to live here and ever since I read this book, I’ve wanted to go back so bad. Marcus was my favourite character; he was witty and kept the story going altogether. The one thing I disliked about this book was the insta-love and how Matthew was a ‘little’ (a lot) overprotective at times otherwise I can not fault this book in my eyes.

4. The Beautiful/The Dammed by Renée Ahdieh

This series is beautiful. The romance, the setting, the story. I went into it with not many expectations, but I ended up adoring it. This is another vampire novel set in New Orleans in 1872 which follows Celine after she goes to New Orleans to join a convent. It’s there she meets La Cour des Lions and their leader Sébastien Saint Germain. After murders begin occurring it becomes clear that a serial killer is on the loose and is targeting the group.

This book is so atmospheric. The setting of New Orleans is so beautiful and dark it really brings the story together. The characters are so unique it really adds life to the story; Bastien is so dark and mysterious. Also, I loved how as a reader this book kept you guessing; you never knew what was coming next or when. It was all about the plot twists. I read both books back to back and I can not wait for the next book which will hopefully come out next year. 

3. Where Dreams Descend by Janella Angeles

This book was the definition of my perfect book. It was Phantom of the Opera meets Moulin Rouge! I am a huge musical theater girl and Moulin Rouge is one of my ultimate favourites. The visual aspects of this book are beautiful, the description. This book is another book which is based around a competition; it focuses on finding the new headline act for a circus group in a city where magic is not as accepted. It follows three characters throughout all with different additions to the story.

Kallia who is a showgirl down to her soul, all she wants to do is perform and prove herself to the world. Jack, her old mentor who is attempting to get his star performer back despite lying to her all her life. Demarco, a judge of the competition who no longer can keep hiding who he is. This book is dark, mysterious and full of twists but also just a lot of magic. It’s one of those books you can read, and it makes you invested but also just happy whilst reading.

2. The Silvered Serpents by Roshani Chokshi

These last two I have been swapping and changing until I posted this blog post, but I think this is my final decision. This book is the second book in the Gilded Wolves series and this book started a few months after the tragedy in the last book. I do not want to say too much about it, but this book had me hooked from start to finish. I could not put it down. Unlike the last book which was set in Paris this one was set in Russia. I love snow. Everything about this. So, this really added to the enjoyment story for me.

I love the characters in this series. They are all so different and add so much to the dynamics of the story. They work so well together in the story especially the romances. Watching the couples grow and adapt but also how they cope with situations is so enjoyable to read about. My favourite characters must be Laila and Severin especially when they interact with one another. I can not wait for the final book in this series to be released at some point next year.

1. House of Earth and Bloody by Sarah J. Maas

This book was a masterpiece. The plot kept me hooked the entire time and I could not put it down. So many things happened in this book that I almost wanted it to be longer because it is so entertaining. The characters, the love interests and even the world building was done brilliantly. In this world especially the mix of medieval weapons such as swords yet the use of modern technology. The side characters especially are such a lovely thing to read about especially Lehabah and Syrinx; I would love both creatures for Christmas.

This book is full of fae, werewolves’ angels and demons, as well as a modern-day city setting. Bryce and Hunt are such problematic characters, but I am so here for it. The way Hunt is described as an ‘alpha hole’ but ends up watching TV and cooking with Bryce. Also, the enemies to lovers. This reminded me why this is my favourite romance trope. It literally had me so invested. Danika did deserve more time in the book, but I loved what to see of her character. Also, Ruhn. Ruhn just needed a big hug and I was so ready to give him one. I do not want to say too much about the plot because I can not say much without ruining the first third of the book, but I just think everyone should pick this book up. Even if you’re not a Sarah J. Maas fan there is something in this book for everyone.

So, this is my top ten books of the year. I had a really good reading year this year and I couldn’t fit them all in this list. Some special mentions are The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides, which is a thriller novel, The Black Flamingo by Dean Atta which is a drag queen origin story written in verse and Crave by Tracey Wolff which is a vampire story set at a boarding school. I hope next year is just as successful for reading but I will definitely be rereading some of these some time soon.