November TBR Time!

Is this tbr a little late? Yeah! But better late than never πŸ˜…

October did not go great for me reading wise, but it gave me the reality check I needed that reading is a hobby that I’m supposed to enjoy, not stress about. So although I’ve got a fairly big tbr for November, I’m not going to stress if I don’t manage to read all the books.

I’m also transferring books over from last months tbr, so let’s start with those before I move onto the new books on the list.

Dracula by Bram Stoker is a well known Gothic classic, and one that I got over halfway through in October. I’m really enjoying it so far and looking forward to finishing up the story.

Illumicrate’s book for last month, The Book Eaters by Sunyi Dean is a horror standalone set mainly in the north east of England (love) about people who eat books and people who eat minds. I’m only about 20% of the way into this one but it’s another I have high hopes about enjoying.

And then Goldsboro’s GSFF book last month was Mindwalker by Kate Dylan. A YA Sci-fi with Marvel vibes, this is definitely a fun one and I’m looking forward to the conclusion.

Assassin’s Apprentice by Robin Hobb is one of my “12 in 12 months” books and I’d like to be able to at least make a good dent in all of those. It’s also a high fantasy, which I’ve not read for a while.

And the last for transferred books is How To Kill Your Family by Bella Mackie. I only read 35 pages of this last month so I’ve barely scraped the surface of this one, but I’m intrigued and always down for a death themed read.

Now onto the books that are new for this month.

The wonderful people over at Footnote sent me Between Starshine and Clay by Sarah Ladipo Manyika, which is a non-fiction work where Ladipo Manyika has conversations with people across the African diaspora. It sounds completely fascinating and I’m really excited to dive in.

Then we have this month’s Illumicrate read: The Whispering Dark by Kelly Andrew. This has own voices deaf representation and seems like it’s going to be a dark read. Right up my street.

Goldsboro GSFF for this month is Silver Under Nightfall by Rin Chupeco. I loved The Never Tilting World so I’m excited to read this vampire book from them, I’ve not read a vampire book in years!

Then Dune by Frank Herbert is also on my “12 in 12 months” list so I’m trying to squeeze this one is as well, buddy reading it with Eleanor and Chels. This is a classic sci-fi space opera and the first time I’ve dove into one of those. Hoping I enjoy it!

And the final book on my tbr is Erotic Stories for Punjabi Women by Balli Kaur Jaswal, one that Hannah from Ladette M put on my tbr for this month. This is a contemporary, which I don’t usually read. But I trust Hannah so I’m looking forward to diving into this one!

And that’s the tbr! Like I said, if I don’t read these books it’s not the end of the world. Fingers crossed I do but I’m just taking it easy and looking after my mental health.

With us being almost half way through the month, I hope that your tbr is going well! Good luck for the rest of November!

Air Awakens by Elise Kova, a review (Air Awakens #1)

Air Awakens by Elise Kova is a book I was challenged to read by Princess from Castle Library as a part of my 12 books in 12 months challenge for 2022. Without that, I don’t think this book would have been on my radar. Maybe that would’ve been a good thing…

Air Awakens by Elise Kova

In this book we have a young woman/girl who works in the palace library. She’s lucky to have this job, and loves being around the books. There’s also magic in this world, sorcerer’s aren’t exactly accepted in society, but the power they have and how it helps the country in the war they’re fighting means they are feared and respected. But our main character is enticed into this magical world after saving the life of a prince. And her life is about to be altered forever.

Unfortunately, this just wasn’t the book for me. The plot concept was really interesting. I enjoyed learning about the different powers, how they were linked to locations, and which ones were rare and which were common. But it was such a minor part of the book that was barely explored.

Instead, the main part of the book was the ridiculous, pining, totally inappropriate, romance. I was rolling my eyes listening to this and speeding up the audio as much as I could just to get through the damn thing! It’s all so over the top, ridiculous, and I really just could not be arsed to listen to this girl whine over this bloke. No thank you. This is definitely the main part of the book, if that’s your vibe then you should totally enjoy this one and I really hope that you do! But it really isn’t for me.

On CAWPILE I rated this: Characters: 3, Atmosphere: 3, Writing: 2, Plot: 3, Intrigue: 2, Logic: 3, Enjoyment: 1. Giving an average of 2.43 and a 2* rating. My lowest rated book so far this year.

Highlight here for content warnings: death, physical abuse, fire, gore, injury, confinement, violence, classism, child death, torture, toxic relationship, police brutality, kidnapping, grief, death of parent, gaslighting, war, adult/minor relationship, xenophobia.

Overall? This one ain’t for me, and despite being curious about the war in the world and the possible worldbuilding, I highly doubt I’ll be carrying on with this without outside motivation because I just cannot deal with reading something like that again. Definitely one for those who enjoy more romance in their books!

The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter by Theodora Goss, a review (The Extraordinary Adventures of the Athena Club #1)

The Strange Case of the Alchemists Daughter by Theodora Goss is the first book in The Extraordinary Adventures of the Athena Club trilogy, following the unknown products of Victorian era mad scientists as they solve crimes. This was recommended to me by a few people, with the lovely Kari gifting me it (thank you so much!)

The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter by Theodora Goss

This is the perfect autumn/spooky season read, with our main character Mary being the daughter of Dr Jekyll, an infamous scientist. There are so many characters from Victorian stories here, with of course The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, as well as Sherlock Holmes, Rappaccini’s Daughter, The Island of Doctor Moreau, and Frankenstein. I’ve not read Rappaccini’s Daughter or The Island of Doctor Moreau yet but they’re firmly on my tbr after having read this book!

Theodora Goss is clearly well versed in these books (or at least, the ones I’ve read) because she manipulates their aspects so well to create this novel. This is not a literary book, don’t get me wrong, it’s a fun YA fantasy mystery novel, but the elements she uses are absolutely fantastic. I also love how Goss integrates more modern thinking into the book. There is both atheism and strong religious faith, a character who was raised by prostitutes and trusts them more than she’ll ever trust a man, talks of votes for women, and a strong feeling that these women are capable and able to stand on their own.

I also love the banter and the way that this book is written, with interjections throughout the narrative from the girls as they disagree or comment on what is being written. It adds another dimension to the storytelling and also adds some extra intrigue to picking up the next book, as they’re clearly discussing this from a future time. The girls are all so different and yet gel together to make a fantastic group.

Additionally, the mystery in this book is fun and done well! We’re given plenty of little clues and puzzle pieces, but both the reader and the girls don’t quite know enough until the end to make the full picture. But not all of the lose ends are tied up, leading nicely into the rest of the series and leaving me impatient for more!

On CAWPILE I rated this: Characters: 9, Atmosphere: 8, Writing: 8, Plot: 8, Intrigue: 8, Logic: 8 and Enjoyment: 8 giving an 8.14 average and a 4.5* rating.

Highlight here for trigger warnings: abandonment, animal cruelty, child abuse, death of parent, confinement, misogyny, murder, mutation of the human body, torture.

This is such a fun book and I’m excited to delve into the rest of the trilogy! Is this something you would pick up? I’ve not read this sort of retelling in a while and it was a lot of fun!

October TBR πŸŽƒ

It’s officially spooky season!!! It’s also Gothtober season (hosted by the amazing Hannah), and it’s my birthday month!! (13th October, just saying). So this is always a super busy and hectic month for me… at least I’m not moving, starting a new job, and doing a video every single day like last year!! 🀣

I also wanted to try and theme my tbr around Kari this month, with her birthday being on the 15th October and with us adoring the same books. It seemed appropriate and also like it would set me up for some fantastic reads! Matching up “Kari reads” along with the Gothtober prompts wasn’t exactly easy, but I think I’ve done an okay job πŸ˜‚

I’m also not doing the tbr jar this month, instead I’ve got a huge stack of “Kari reads” that I’ll delve into if I finish up my main tbr.

To get my prompts for Gothtober I had to play a game 😈 no really, Hannah’s brother Ciaran made a game for us to generate different prompt lists for everyone! I just ran it one time and decided to make the the prompts work damn it!

The first prompt is a gothic mood read and of course that could just be a random book I pick up, but I’m going to match The Book Eaters by Sunyi Dean to this prompt. Because I’m always in the mood for dark, book themed reads! This is also the September Illumicrate book, so I’ve gotta squeeze it in somewhere.

Next is a book that completes you and for this I’m going with Foundation by Mercedes Lackey. This was gifted to me by my uncle but it’s also an author that Kari absolutely adores, and given it’s a YA high fantasy (the type of book we match most on) it’s a pretty sure bet I’m gunna love this one!

A beautiful book could be so many that are on my shelves, but I’m putting my Goldsboro GSFF book in here and that’s Mindwalker by Kate Dylan with it’s stunning bright pink cover with hexagons and a woman holding a gun? Gimme. All I know about this one is it’s a sci-fi soooooo, I’m excited!

Then for the prompts that everyone gets, because of course. These are books by a BIPOC/BAME author, an LGBTQ+ book, and a book with disability representation. I love to try and combine these all into one, and I actually found out (through the Gothtober twitter account) that The Book Eaters would count for this. But instead I’m going to be reading Sorrowland by Rivers Solomon because I adore everything I’ve read by them and I need an excuse to pick this up!

For a book that I forgot I had I’m going with Dracula by Bram Stoker, because how the hell did I forget about this classic? And it’s SO gothic that it’s just the absolute perfect choice rn. Give me bats! πŸ¦‡

The next prompt is a murder mystery read and that fits in fantastically well with How to Kill Your Family by Bella Mackie which Hannah challenged me to read this October. All about a woman who’s jailed for murder, and she is a murderer, but she didn’t do this one and she’ll be damned if she goes down for someone elses crime!

A heavy book could have a few meanings, but I’m going with a big book and that’s The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett. I’m buddy reading this with Kari throughout October, and whilst I don’t think it actually is, it gives me dark academia vibes so I’m here for it being an October read.

My final prompt is a book that features a training montage and this is the perfect excuse to pick up The Gilded Ones by Namina Forna. This has been sat on my tbr for too damn long and I’m excited to pick it up!

Then I’ve only (not including the Kari books) got one book left on my tbr, which isn’t linked to Gothtober, and that’s The Ends of the World by Peter Brannen, an Earth Science non-fiction. Because it’s my birthday month and I wanna read it πŸ˜‡.

I’m hoping that this TBR is pretty manageable, and even slightly too easy, cause I want to get to some more of the Kari stack! But October is also going to be a really busy month for me. Lots of live streams, catching up with family, and even a trip to London for my birthday! (my amazing partner got us tickets for the Eng vs USA football game ⚽). I’m also getting a new phone, finally. I’ve had mine since 2014…. 😢 and so I imagine I’m gunna be pretty glued to that. Let’s hope I can still squeeze the reading in!

What are you wanting to read in October? And are you joining in Gothtober? I hope so! Have a great month folks!

The Final Strife by Saara El-Arifi, a review (The Ending Fire Trilogy #1)

The Final Strife by Saara El-Arifi was my Goldsboro GSFF box book, and it is absolutely stunning in its slip case. I was super excited to delve into this African and Arabian inspired fantasy that explores a world divided by the colour of ones blood.

The Final Strife by Saara El-Arifi, standard UK cover

There are three blood types in the Empire. Red of the Embers, the ruling class. They have access to magic and complete control. Blue of the Dusters, the working class. They work on plantations and in factories and are treated as though less than human by the Embers. Clear of the Ghostings. They have their tongues cut out and their forearms cut off in penance for an uprising over 400 years ago.

First of all, the representation within this book is fantastic. Unless I’m mistaken every single character in this book is Black. There is also great LGBTQ+ representation, both in romantic and sexual relationships (enemies to lovers anyone?) and also in having transgender and non-binary/multi gendered people. And just to top it all off there is disability rep from the Ghosting characters who have been mutilated. However, they have developed their own language and have adapted their tools to work for them. Now I know that representation doesn’t make a good book, but in a good book? Well it just makes it even better!

We follow a drug addicted woman who has red blood but was raised as though she was a Duster. She was supposed to be the chosen one, but things don’t go her way and she misses her chance. She struggles with her addiction and also with her place in this society. She was raised to hate those with red blood, but that includes herself. We also follow a young woman living a life of plenty, the daughter of one of the most powerful women in the Empire. But she is hated by her mother, and lacks skills in the BloodWerk magic that other Embers can do. Finally, we follow another woman, this time one with transparent blood. She is a slave, as are all of her kin, but with how little the Embers notice her she is able to slip in and out of places she should never be. There is a lot more to her than meets the eye.

So not only is there the conflict present between the different classes of people, but there is the tidewind. It blows each night and is strong enough to rip the skin off of a person. If you get caught in it? You’re dead. It used to follow a pattern, you could make sure you were inside on time. But lately? The tidewind has been getting more powerful, more unpredictable, and more dangerous.

I adored the character development within this book, it’s pretty strong from two of our main characters and seeing their change and growth throughout the book is incredibly satisfying (as well as allowing us to learn more about this world along with them). I also need to know more about this world. I don’t want to spoil anything but there are so many secrets partially revealed and mysteries to unravel and I just need the second book already!

On CAWPILE I rated this: Characters: 10, Atmosphere: 8, Writing: 9, Plot: 9, Intrigue: 8, Logic: 9, and Enjoyment: 10 giving an average of 9 and a 5* rating!

Highlight here for trigger warnings: addiction, violence, slavery, blood, classism, death, racism, torture, murder, child abuse, confinement, grief, ableism, alcoholism, emotional and physical abuse, genocide, police brutality, suicide attempt, colonisation.

If it wasn’t already obvious, I adored this book. We have politics, characters, a slow burn romance, and fights for human rights along with a mystery about the rest of the world. I LOVE IT. Please let me know if you have read this or if you’re thinking about it. Because I need to chat with people about this book!!!

My MiddleEarthAThon TBR!

The wonderful Lizzie from Lizzieiself is hosting the MiddleEarthAThon from the 26th August until the 2nd September to celebrate the new Lord of the Rings TV show releasing! She asked me to cohost and I’ve been placed as the team leader for the Dwarves πŸ˜Šβš’

Our others hosts are: The Bookworms Feast for Team Hobbit (who also has a book blog), Imena Ginac for Team Elf, Stuff Celine Does for Team Men, and LadetteM for Team Witch King!

Come and check out the MiddleEarthAThon twitter and instagram too for updates and mini sprints!

I published a recommendations video for the Dwarf prompts a while ago, as well as a video and a blog post for my overall August tbr. But I’ve also done a standalone video for my MiddleEarthAThon tbr so I thought I should do a blog post too!

First up is the prompt: “That still only counts as one” – reading an anthology or a collection of short stories. For this one I’m going with The Complete Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle… I know it’s huge but it’s literally the only one I have! This is over 1100 pages and I’m going to be trying to read it, and two 500+ page books, in just a week. Why do I do this to myself?

The second prompt is: “Thranduil” – a book with a shiny cover. Demon Road by Derek Landy is my choice for this one. A YA urban fantasy based in the US by the same author who wrote the Skulduggery Pleasant series. I’ve heard some… not so positive reviews of this one? But I want to try it for myself regardless and I’m hoping that this’ll be a quick read like the Skulduggery books are for me.

The final dwarfish prompt is: “Durin’s sons” – the book that has been on your tbr the longest. For me this is pretty hard to judge, so I just went with one I know is pretty old (since 2016) and that’s All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr, a historical fiction based in WWII. I’ve not been having much luck with historical fictions lately, but it’s been a while since I’ve read one based during WWII (which used to be my favourite period) so I’m holding out hope.

Now whilst that’s all the prompts, the Dwarves do also get one special power and that is to swap out any book for a shorter one if needed. And oh boy do I intend to use this if I need it!

For the anthology prompt I have two different options. One is to just read one of the bindups that lives within the Sherlock book itself. The full book of The Case Book of Sherlock Holmes. This is a lot more manageable so I’m going to start the readalong with this and then see if I can manage more. Another possibility was given to me by the wonderful Hannah from Ladette M, who reminded me my Waypoint Books order would be coming through soon with my copy of Armageddon Outta Here by Derek Landy the revised edition. This is a collection of Skulduggery short stories and would be a much easier read πŸ˜‚

For the shiny book prompt I’ve given myself the backup book of The Cat Who Saved Books by Sosuke Natsukawa which is a translated Japanese cat book. I whip through these super quick (I actually force myself to spread them over a few days) and so if Demon Road doesn’t work out I can squeeze this in at the end.

And for the oldest on my tbr prompt, I realised that I actually have a book I know has been on my tbr longer! And that’s The Witchfinder’s Sister by Beth Underdown. This is a historical fiction which only clocks 300 pages rather than the 600 for All The Light and could save my guts by the end of the month πŸ˜…

I will say I’m slightly worried that I might end up trying to read all of these books… in a week… so someone needs to stop me from doing that please and thank you.

Are you taking part in the MiddleEarthAThon? If you’ve not signed up yet I’ve linked the Spreadsheet, Google Form to submit the books you’ve read for your team, and the form to tell us the team you’ve picked so you can sign up and have some fun with us! Having read/watched Lord of the Rings not required (I only just read the first LotR book last month and I’ve still not watched them!)

If you are taking part tell me which team you’re joining and make sure to follow all of the other lovely hosts!!

Miss Peregrine’s for Adults? πŸ¦…

I got Ordinary Monsters by J.M. Miro in a Goldsboro GSFF box, and god is it gorgeous. But on top of that, it’s a damn good book. Coming in at just under 700 pages it’s definitely a big boi, but I think it’s worth it.

Ordinary Monsters is set in late 1800s, in the UK (mainly Scotland but with time spent in England) along with travels to places including the US and Japan. There are children who have mysterious powers, and a man who has set up a school/community for them in the Scottish highlands sends out staff to find them and bring them back to the Institute. To keep them protected. We primarily follow Charlie and Marlow, two young boys from the US. One is Black and despite being in Mississippi and having been treated with violence, Charlie has no scars. The other travelled across the pond from London to end up working in a circus in the US, and he can make himself glow blue.

I’ve barely even scratched the surface with the details inside this book. I could go on and on about each and every character, their backstory, and what we learn about them. Everything within this book has been so well developed. I’ve even found myself wanting to know about each and every side plot that was mentioned. I want to know everything about this world.

Miro does such a great job at exploring this magical world nestled within our own. I’m able to understand the magic system (as much as our characters do) as well as the community that has been built up and what their aims are for themselves and for humanity. And yet despite this there is still so much more that I want to know about the world! I was so relieved when I finished this and saw that there would be two more books. There is so much that can still be explored within this series!

I’m doing such a bad job of explaining this book, and that’s because it was just that good! I’m trying not to give any spoilers while I gush about this amazing tome and it’s so difficult!

It’s a lot easier to describe this book if you’ve read the Peculiar Children series though. Because this seems very much like the adult version of that. We explore the outside world more than you do in PC (especially in the first book) as well as tackling much darker and more complex themes. But the core concept of the book is still the same. There are magical children, they are taken to a big old house where they look after them and teach them to use magic, but things aren’t as they seem and dark forces want to ruin everything.

Bloody fantastic. That’s what it is.

On CAWPILE I rated this: Characters: 9, Atmosphere: 9, Writing: 9, Plot: 9, Intrigue: 9, Logic: 9, and Enjoyment: 10. With an average of 9.14 and a 5* rating.

Highlight here for trigger warnings: violence, death, gore, racism, blood, murder, injury detail, body horror, child abuse, gun violence, child death, mental illness, physical abuse, self harm, slavery, torture, kidnapping, abandonment, death of parent, addiction, confinement, miscarriage, misogyny, rape, xenophobia, police brutality, gaslighting.

I think the only reason this didn’t rate higher is because I finished The Travelling Cat Chronicles just before it and that made me weep my eyes out! But this is an amazing and fantastic read. If I’ve piqued your interest at all, please please consider giving this book a shot!

Have you read this? If so I need to know what you thought! And have you read Peculiar Children? I know a lot more people have read those books, and they’re fun!

Some Jane Austen for my July

If you read classics, and if you’ve liked what you’ve read from Austen before… it’s kinda mandatory to read one of her books in July. Right? Well at least I think so, which is why I read Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen this July.

I’m not gunna lie, I picked this one because it was the shortest in my bind up collection out of the books I’ve yet to read. I didn’t want to make my tbr any harder than it had to be! But this ended up being a really fun choice.

Austen used this novel to poke some fun at her gothic literature counterparts. Playing with, and making fun of, the tropes they so often utilised within their works. It’s all in good jest though, and I did really like how she interwove this in with the main character so that it wasn’t something at odds with the rest of the book.

The ending of this one is exactly what I had expected. It’s an Austen novel, I think all the endings are the same. Right? I don’t know, I’ve not read them all yet. Ask me in five years and I might be able to get back to you. But yes, the ending was exactly what one would predict. But there’s a plot twist that you (if you’re like me) definitely won’t expect. Shocking behaviour!

Also within this novel, I adored Austen’s discussions on novels and literature, discussing their importance and utility. As well as discussions on friendship, first impressions of people, and gut reactions not always being the best move (surprise suprise)

On CAWPILE I rated this: Characters: 6, Atmosphere: 7, Writing: 7, Plot: , Intrigue: , Logic: 7, and Enjoyment: 6. Giving a score of 6.29 and a 3.5* rating.

Highlight here for trigger warnings: toxic friendship, misogyny, domestic abuse, infidelity, gaslighting, death of parent, classism, adult/minor relationship, death, confinement.

This was definitely a novel of Austen’s that was worth reading. If you’ve read anything from her before and enjoyed it then I definitely recommend! I wouldn’t say that this is the best novel to start with however. It’s definitely (imo) best appreciated when already having knowledge of Austen’s writing style so you can see how she mocks the gothic tropes.

Have you read this Austen work, or any others by her? I know that some people aren’t keen on her writing. And usually I wouldn’t go for the genre she writes in, but for some reason I just really enjoy her novels!

May Reading Wrap Up

May was, as always, a busy month! And yet somehow I managed to read 13 books. Let’s take a look at the books and then I’ll look at balancing out my tbr with the new books I brought in. If you’d rather see this in video format that’s linked below!

My first read was Rebel Heart by Moira Young, the second book in the Blood Red Road trilogy. This suffered a little from middle book syndrome, with the characters clearly just being moved into place for the final book. But it was still interesting to be back in this world and I’m looking forward to capping off the series, hopefully sometime soon.

My non-fiction for the month was Living Planet by David Attenborough which is a republication of a book from the 80s. In this repub they’ve updated the scientific information, as well as switching out examples of species to those which are more obscure. This was a fantastic book and I’m so glad I can add it to my shelves!

This month I discovered that Spotify has some audiobooks you can listen to for free, so I listened to The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien because it was way past time for me to read this one. It’s such a fun audiobook and I’m definitely more hyped to read the main LotR trilogy now!

Freak Like Me by Hannah O’Donnell is a teeny book, at only 10 pages, but it packs a punch. Talking about familiars and acceptance in society, I would adore to see a full sized book within this world (and am tempted to hound Hannah until she does it!)

My last audiobook for the month was Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds, which is a novel written in verse. This is a really tough novel, discussing gang violence and deaths in Black communities in the US. It’s tackled beautifully and I want to read more from Reynolds!

A partial reread, Binti: The Complete Collection by Nnedi Okorafor includes the titular novel Binti, as well as two more novellas in the series and a final short story between books 1 and 2. I read Binti previously via audio, but when I was picking up this collection I thought that I should reread the first book before diving in. This is a gorgeous sci-fi series that tackles racism, leaving home, being from multiple cultures and not feeling like you fit it, and it does all of it beautifully. I was genuinely disappointed when I realised I didn’t have anything else in this world to read!

Graceling by Kristin Cashore is one that I should’ve read years ago! It’s one of those “classic” YAs from the 00s and is such a fun read. The naming conventions are ridiculous, but I really enjoyed the book and I’m super excited to delve into the rest of the series, and then read the brand new release that’s due to come out later this year! I need to get my butt in gear clearly.

By now, I think I’ve solidified that the Goldsboro GSFF box sends me books that I adore, because Wild and Wicked Things by Francesca May was fantastic. A magical, witchy, dark book set on a small island in the 1920s with murder, lesbians, and non-binary rep. What else could you ask for?

Then I delved into some British ridiculousness with The Big Over Easy by Jasper Fforde which is a murder mystery, with Humpty Dumpty as the victim! I loved Fforde’s work in the Thursday Next series and this didn’t disappoint. Utterly stupid whilst also being brilliantly clever. I need to pick up more from Fforde.

Time for a little classic with The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde, the synopsis on the back of my copy just talks about Wilde, and so I went into this knowing literally nothing. Colour me surprised when there was a fantastical element inside! There was one chapter that I really didn’t enjoy in here, but apart from that it was a fun classic with a really interesting concept I would love to see played with more.

Sticking with pictures, but this time it’s a contemporary read from Illumicrate. Portrait of a Thief by Grace D Li could’ve been so much more. It really needed better work on the character development, and the heist plots to steal back Chinese artefacts from Western museums needed a shade more believability. It was clearly a debut but I’m interested in anything else Li publishes in the future.

This Vicious Cure by Emily Suvada finished off the This Mortal Coil trilogy with a bang. The character development was fascinating, I adore the genetics and general science throughout all of this, and I actually really liked the ending! Looking forward to rereading this trilogy in the future.

Last but not least, I finished up my month with some Discworld in the form of Pyramids by Terry Pratchett, the seventh book in the series. This is a fun romp following the Pharaoh of not-quite-Egypt, who also happens to be a God and an assassin. In the ridiculous world on the back of the Great A’Tuin it’s a great standalone in the series.

And those are the thirteen books I managed to read this past month! I’m pretty happy with that if I do say so myself.

And then there comes the balancing. So I didn’t balance out my books for April (because it was a rough month) but I started May with 119 books on my tbr (honestly I really need to get this to a more reasonable number). I read 13 books, with 9 of them being from my tbr. I brought in 5 new books, and read 1 of those. All in all meaning that my new physical tbr count is 114. It’s went down!! I’m so damn pleased that I’m actually making some headway through this tbr!!

Let me know your favourite read of May. I’m spoilt for choice but I think Wild and Wicked Things might just have hit the top spot for me!

My June TBR Hopefuls!

After how hectic the end of May was, I thought I’d be a little more down low for June and only put 10 books onto my tbr (yes… I’m aware that’s still a lot. This was as low as I could get it!) A couple audiobooks, one non-fiction, and a load of fantasy. Perfect!

My tbr video is already up if you’d rather consume this in video form!

Not included in the 10 is The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas, which I’m reading one chapter a day of. I’m carrying on with it in June and I’m actually hoping to finish it this month! We’ll have to wait and see.

Then, the TBR jar returned this month! And from that I’m picking up The Muse by Jessie Burton. This is a historical fiction set between the 1960s and 1930s that follows art, or more accurately, one painting. This was gifted to me by my little sister back in 2016 and I really do need to get around to it!

Because I’m one of the co-hosts for MiddleEarthAThon I really should have read the Lord of the Rings… and I haven’t. So I’m wanting to listen to the audiobook of The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkein! One of the most well known high fantasy books, and it’s a wee bit shameful I’ve not read it yet πŸ˜‚

And for my second audiobook, Plain Bad Heroines by Emily M. Danforth. This is an LGBTQ+ gothic historical fiction, and I really know basically nothing else. But my friend Lizzie enjoyed it (from LizzieIsElf) so why not! It’s a long audiobook, just under 20 hours, so I’ll most likely start this one after reading LotR.

Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch is a longstanding fantasy series that I’ve seen around for a few years now, it follows a detective around a magical version of our London. I love a good mystery, as well as a fantasy, so I’m hoping this combination really works for me.

Vox by Christina Dalcher is a dystopian where women can only speak 100 words a day. Any more and they get hit with 1000 volts of electricity. I enjoy concepts like these, but I am wary of it being “women” who are impacted by this. How does this then impact trans women, or non-binary folk, or trans men? I’m not expecting this book to be aware enough to cover this topic but I’ll be super pleasantly surprised if it does.

Another social commentary kind of book, 84k by Claire North. This is set in a world where each life has a monetary value, and if you can afford the price you can do whatever you like. Including murder. Our main character doesn’t care, until someone they love has their life bought.

Hannah from LadetteM sent me The Atlas Six by Olivie Blake when she was unhauling it. She really didn’t vibe with it, but I also enjoyed Addie LaRue, which Hannah hated sooooo I thought it was worth giving a shot to a fantasy world where only 5 people will get a place in this society each year.

For my non-fiction of the month I’m going for Minnesota’s Geologist by Sue Leaf, which was a present from Kari from Kar-ing for Books who lives in the state and knows I’m always down to learn about geology! I’m super excited for this one and have been for a while.

The Goldsboro GSFF box for May gave us The Collarbound by Rebecca Zahabi, this is advertised as a magical, brink-of-war setting and I really do enjoy political fantasy and have had fantastic success with previous GSFF books so I’m excited for this one!

And finally is the Illumicrate book from the May box which is Book of Night by Holly Black. I’ve never been interested in Black’s books before, but this one has a woman who is fantastic with explosives and I am totally here for that. I just hope it’s a good one!

And that’s my June TBR! Let me know if you’ve read any of these books and what you thought of them. And let me know one book that’s on your TBR, I’m always here to add more books to the list!