August Reading Wrap Up

I’ve not been having much luck with my mid-month reading lately. Yet again I hit a big slump, and this month the culprit was This Savage Song, so once I identified the culprit it was put back onto the tbr shelves to be read in another month.

If you want to see what I intended to read this month then click here to see my tbr, but, spoiler, I barely read any of it.

The first book I finished was No Place to Hide by Glenn Greenwood which is all about Edward Snowdon and his NSA leak. It was a surprisingly slow read for me but I really enjoyed it and I’m very glad I picked this up from a little free shelf at work.

Second up I finished Prodigy by Marie Lu, which I read 80 pages of in July and I wanted to finish it up. This is another book that I’m pleased I’ve read. I really like where this book went and it definitely didn’t suffer from second book syndrome for me! I wonder how long it’ll take me to get to Champion!

Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte was the first book to be finished after the slump of the savage song. This I read through a few chapters each day and whilst I enjoyed it, it was a very odd book! I’m still not quite sure how to describe it but I think I enjoyed it?

For the Dead Famous Readalong we were reading Kingdom of the Wicked by Derek Landy this month. This time I was actually able to buddy read this with Bekka from The Comic Book Sanctum! And of course we loved it! This is a reread for me so they always go by super quick!

On a related note, is this months pages of Armageddon Outta Here by Derek Landy which is comprised of short stories. And of course as always I enjoyed them.

That Inevitable Victorian Thing by EK Johnston was an unexpected 5* read for me!! I had one little gripe with it but when I put it through CAWPILE it still came out at 5*s and honestly it’s just so sweet and wholesome! (mixed with a little sci-fi, honestly I’m in love)

Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid was next and I didn’t quite love this as much as I’d hoped. But I still did enjoy it and I enjoyed chatting about it with Shay from Shay with the Hobbies!

And the final book I read this month was Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare and this… was exactly as expected. Trashy. Bad writing. Felt guilty while reading it, but still kinda fun? If I do continue with this series it’ll be via my library or ebooks. But at least it fulfilled my Buzzwordathon prompt!

Then I of course read about 100+ pages of War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy and me and Olivia are getting so close to the end now! I’m predicting we’ll finish in October!

And lastly I read around 150 pages of Labyrinth by Kate Mosse which I’m also reading a chapter of each day to make my way through this chonker of a book.

And that’s my August reading! I managed 7 full books which is still pretty decent! Even if I didn’t get to half of my actual tbr. We can’t do everything!

What’s your favourite read of August? Mine has to be That Inevitable Victorian Thing! It just has to be!

Mid Year Book Haul 2021!!

So on my BookTube channel I’ve been doing quarterly hauls, but after January I stopped hauling books on this blog and now I’m behind! Feel free to check them out in video or written format!!

Let’s start with the books I got in the first quarter of 2021.

As I mentioned in my January haul post I got 3 books in January. No Place to Hide by Glenn Greenwald and Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood were both books I picked up from the little free book selection in my office before I moved to working from home. I’m curious about the Edward Snowdon situation, and I’ve only read the Handmaid’s duology by Atwood so I thought it was worth adding more from her to my shelves! The third book was an ebook of A Wish After Midnight by Zetta Elliot that me and Caitlyn (from Mad Cheshire Rabbit) picked up for the Small Press Book Club and we both loved!

Moving on to February, my pre-order of The Mask Falling by Samantha Shannon came in and Oh. My. God was I excited!!! This is one of my absolute favourite series and as expected I absolutely adored the next instalment! The only other book that I bought in February was The Dawn Chorus by Samantha Shannon which is the 3.5 novella within the Bone Season series, as I wanted to pick that up before I got into the 4th book. This is only available as an ebook in English so this was a kindle purchase and I absolutely flew through it! Despite that being the last book I bought in February I did get 3 more books. Two were from Caitlyn, as she sent me Frankenstein by Mary Shelley and also Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte because they’re her favourite books and she knows that the fastest way to get me to read something is to put it on my tbr… the wee shite 🤣 and the final book was Apocalypse Kings by Derek Landy which my boyfriend gifted to me! I asked him to grab me it because the book was only £1 and I didn’t want to pay the shipping after I couldn’t find it in a nearby irl shop (and he has Amazon Prime) and he wouldn’t let me pay him back. So it was a gift!

And for the final month of the first quarter we have March! 5 books came into my home this month! The only one purchased by me was The Great Gatsby by F Scott Fitzgerald: Diglot which is an “invention” by a new Irish company (Diglot) which sprinkles words of your target language through a classic work and gets more difficult as the book goes on. I read the German version of this and I enjoyed it! I’ll have a full review up in the future! And it is also the whole story of The Great Gatsby. Gifted to me by the wonderful Veronica from Veronica’s Shelf were All Systems Red by Martha Wells which is a fantastic sci-fi novella, and The Brother’s Lionheart by Astrid Lindgren which she gifted to me after I enjoyed a short story by the Swedish author (Veronica is Swedish too!). I’m really excited to read Lionheart! Lastly were the second two books in the A Darker Shade of Magic series by V.E. Schwab, A Gathering of Shadows and A Conjuring of Light which were gifted to me by the lovely Eleanor from Eleanor Nicbahtair as she was unhauling the books and I joked about wishing I lived closer so I could take them. So she posted them to me! And I am so so grateful!!

And that’s the end of the first quarter! 13 books ain’t bad! Now onto the haul in the second quarter! Again, if you’d like to check out the video version, it’s below for your viewing pleasure 😂

Starting off with April, I got 4 books. The one bought by me was my pre-order of Dead or Alive by Derek Landy, the latest Skulduggery Pleasant novel. Of course I had this one pre-ordered! It’s the purple one you can see in the thumbnail above, and as you might be able to see by the tabs I’ve read the book already and loved it! I adore this series! Then the amazing Kari from Kari-ng for books sent me Black Sun by Rebecca Roanhorse and also A Song of Wraiths and Ruin by Roseanne A Brown because not only does she know that I’m really leaning into fantasy books nowadays, but she also knows that I’m aiming to diversify my shelves so Roanhorse is Indigenous to North America, and Brown is a Black author. I’ve also heard fantastic things about both of these books, meaning that for some stupid reason I’m putting the books off cause I know that I’m going to love them! Stupid I know but shhhhh. And finally for April Olivia Savannah from Olivia’s Catastrophe gifted me Pet by Akwaeke Emezi. This came with the most wonderful and lovely note and it’s an amazing book. I’ve read this one already and I adored every second of it. I really recommend!

May was a nice small month. One book that I pre-ordered myself and that’s The Skulduggery Pleasant Grimoire by Derek Landy, which I wasn’t expecting so soon after Dead or Alive! I’ve finished this one too, and I do have some issues with it, but I can’t lie this was so much fun and I adored the story that ran throughout!

Now for June. June june june. I had thought that I wouldn’t be getting any books in June. I said it when I filmed the first half of that video. I JINXED MYSELF!!! I filmed that on the Saturday, and on the Tuesday a LITERAL BOX OF BOOKS ARRIVED AT MY HOUSE!!! My wonderful uncle decided to send me some books and I’m so so grateful! One that he sent me was a bright blue covered The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by CS Lewis which he said he thought would look good on my bookstagram, and guys? He’s totally right. I have an AMAZING bookstagram photo coming up with this book! He also gave me 4 books I had never heard of before. The Tenderloin by John Butler and Tales of the City by Armistead Maupin are both contemporary historical novels set in San Francisco, around 20 years apart. I don’t read much contemporary so those will be really interesting to dive into. And last from my uncle were Foundation by Mercedes Lackey, and Sourcerer to the Crown by Zen Cho which both sound right up my streets as fantasy reads! These two, I can’t lie, I’m more excited for and I can’t wait to give them a shot! They sound so interesing!!

My uncle runs an amazing instagram page, @onthisgayday which posts something from LGBTQ+ history each and every day. He’s put so much research into that page so I really do recommend checking it out to learn more about LGBTQ+ history!

And the final book was a gift from my lovely partner. I had looked for The Devil and the Dark Water by Stuart Turton when it was in Sainsbury’s and my local shop didn’t have it. But his did! So he grabbed it for me and isn’t he just a cutie! I really enjoyed The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle so I’m excited to read some more from this author.

And those are all of my books I’ve gotten in the first half of 2021! A whopping 24 books have came into my house so far this year, 6 of those I’ve spent money on, 11 I’ve read, and the rest I’m super excited for! This was a LONG post! I definitely need to make sure to keep up with these in the future 😂 maybe I’ll do them monthly here on my blog. I wonder if I’ll get any in July!!

Let me know the books that you’ve bought and you’ve hauled so far in 2021! Not that I need any more recommendations but give them to me anyways!

The worst tropes

Last week I spoke about the tropes I’d researched that I liked the best, this? Well this is the complete opposite. These are all of the worst tropes that I hate! Some of them just annoy me, and some of them I just can not read. Let’s get into it!

Let’s start with the most innocent one, the character letting out a breath they didn’t know they were holding. This never used to bother me! And to be honest, I probably wouldn’t have noticed it if other people hadn’t mentioned that it was occurring so frequently. But now I notice it when it’s in a story, and it pulls me out of the world. So it’s not the authors fault on this one I don’t think, but I still don’t like it!

One that I don’t like but I don’t tend to actually notice it until reflection? A world which never progresses. Seeing 300 years back or forwards in time and the world is static and unchanged. As I said I don’t tend to notice it while I read, but it does make my subconscious not settle fully into the world and it can tell that there’s something not quite right. Unless it’s specifically mentioned as a plot point it’s just annoying.

In a similar vain, homogenous species. So all elves are beautiful, all orcs are vicious, that kinda thing. It’s just lazy writing. If it’s a viewpoint of a character who’s never met the species then sure, that’s them being closed minded. But when we get to meet different members of the species and they’re all cardboard cut outs? Try again.

Lucky novices make sense, but it just pulls you right out of the world! And I don’t mean when someone discovers they have magic and are able to wield it a wee bit better than expected for no training. I mean my man has never picked up a bow and arrow in their life and they’re suddenly a master archer at the head of the monarch’s army. Nah. Nope. Noooo. Do not like. You can have a natural aptitude for something sure but you still have to work on it to actually reach the stage of other people who’ve trained! Come on guys!!

I’m going to lump these all in together, all the romance ones. I don’t read romance as a genre myself (just never tried it out, I will one day) so these are all from reading contemporary/SFF reads where romance isn’t the main focus of the book. The most basic is the one dimensional love interest. The only reason they’re there is to be hot and to distract the main character. They have no emotions of their own. Is this meant to make me care about the relationship? Cause if so it fails big time. Then we have insta-love. Again, why would I care about this relationship? There’s been no build up of chemistry, we don’t know one of the characters at all, it’s just… empty. Love triangles are a pet hate of the bookish internet and they’ve been so overplayed that you can’t blame people! But the name is possibly the most annoying bit. 99.999% of the time it’s not a triangle! It’s a damn V!!! For it to be a triangle the two who love the main character need to love each other as well! Now that I would read. And finally. Cheating. Can’t stand it irl, can’t stand it in books. No thanks.

And the last thing I’m going to bitch about today? The “I’m not like other girls” protagonist who “can’t see her own beauty”. I can’t lie, when I was younger I liked these. Because it made me think that this could be me. I felt ugly and if I can’t see my beauty maybe everyone else can? But not only is it used to excess, but also it’s just so annoying. “not like other girls” usually falls flat on its face cause the protagonist is exactly like so many other girls (give me a face eating pole dancer who spreads marmite over her victims before she eats them and then we can talk about not like other girls) and with so many “can’t see her beauty” main characters it’s just lost it’s charm by now. Physical appearance really doesn’t matter all that much and it just seems excessive. I can understand it more in YA literature but I see it a surprising amount in adult books too and I just *eye roll*.

And that’s it! (she says after writing an essay) Those are the tropes, that I know about, that I don’t like for one reason or another. Have a different opinion? Or even more bad tropes? Let me know what they are in the comments!! Thanks for reading!

A Review of Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo

I first read Six of Crows at the beginning of 2019 and fell in love with the rag-tag gang and their dynamic. I was nervous to start Crooked Kingdom, it’s a big book and had a lot to live up to. Carrying on from the end of one big heist and probably moving towards a second, there was a lot that could go wrong.

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At first, I didn’t enjoy it! I tried to read it in June and could just not get into the book at all. I ended up DNFing to read another time. But thankfully Noria’s Fuckathon prompts of fuck capitalism and fuck ableism fit beautifully with Crooked Kingdom and I just knew that I needed to read this book for that. When I picked the book up again I still wasn’t loving it, I just wasn’t jelling with the dynamic. Eventually I made myself sit and read it in bigger chunks, and that’s what did it for me. I was hooked.

I adored how the group dynamic had shifted ever so slightly, I loved the camaraderie between all of the characters and their intricate relationships. It did feel slightly weird when I remembered they were supposed to be teenagers, in my minds eye they were very much 18-25 years old. The writing just did not feel like kids to me, but then again I’m 23 so maybe I’m just becoming old and annoying before my time.

I had been spoiled for a major plot point at the end of the book from Twitter (damn it!!!) and so that did take away a little from my enjoyment as I was waiting the whole time for it to happen. I didn’t know where in the book it would occur. That was really annoying but even despite that I was really loving the book. The end third was absolutely gorgeous as you see all of these carefully placed cogs fall and either hit their mark or miss and the eventuality of that.

I definitely have to read the Grisha trilogy at some point, I’ve heard mixed reviews with some liking it more than the SoC duology and some liking it less but I just hope I enjoy them! I’ll also probably pick up King of Scars now, as I’ve heard Nina is in there and I need more of her! Nina, Inej and Jasper are my faves!

Have you read Crooked Kingdom, or any of the Grisha books? What did you think of them? Comment below!

A Review of Dark Intent by AB Endacott


Welcome to the Third Country! Yet another book by the amazing AB Endacott, I have adored reading her works lately! This follows the woman councillor seen in Queendom of the Seven Lakes (review here) who is a healer named Freya Kuch. She lived in the Third country where a brutal takeover has occured from the Kade population which has left the Pious people as second class citizens. Freya, through determination, has managed to become the perfect Kade citizen. This is torn apart, however, when she is caught up in an explosion detonated by those less happy to be subjugated. From this point onwards her view of the world and her place in it is to be tested to the limits.

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I adored this book, getting to delve into yet another section of this beautifully imagined world was a delight and I was quickly fully invested in Freya’s life and seeing her open her eyes to the truth in her country was so engrossing. I love how fleshed out all of the characters are and how much I was able to imaging the world in my head without there being any info-dumping.

The blurred lines between good and bad that are ever present in our day to day life are explored within this fantasy text in a way that can be extrapolated to real life. The contrast starts out quite strong, but quickly delves into the deep greys that come with life and show that nothing can quite fit neatly into a box. I love how Alice showed this and how it was interwoven into the story.

Freya’s relationships with both Simon and Ashtyn were really interesting and so different. I won’t tell you the nature of them in order not to spoil anything but I loved seeing the two very different sides to her and how she reacts differently to them both as the story goes on and she learns more about the country that they are living in and how they are all complicit.

The ending of this book is quite the cliffhanger! I’ve seen some reviews where people love it and some where they don’t. Me? I loved it! It turns out that it was actually an accident when this was uploaded and the ending was originally intended to be a little further into the story but I love the need to continue that this left me with and I’m so excited to pick up Dark Purpose soon and carry on with the series!

I of course adored this book and really really recommend picking it up!! (which you can do here, not affiliate I’m just lazy and assume others are too!)