Monthly Wrap-Up: March 2021

Hi everyone! Welcome to my March 2021 wrap-up post. For these wrap-ups I include Book Coven book club, fave books you can buy now, books to look out for and books I want to read soon. March has been a slow reading month – I only completed 7 books. Mostly because I got the COVID vaccine and I had side effects, but also because I re-read some Leigh Bardugo and I love to take my time with her books.

Book Club

Every month the mods of the Book Coven get us to suggest books that make up the book club bracket. We then vote all the way through to a final, and that’s the book we read together over the course of 3 weeks. Then the amazing Paragraphs and Pages asks us some super insightful questions and off we go. This month the club read two books:

  1. Honey Girl by Morgan Rogers
  2. Winter’s Orbit by Everina Maxwell.

Honey Girl by Morgan Rogers is a book that spoke to my soul. I read it back in February. because I couldn’t have been more eager to get to it. Winter’s Orbit by Everina Maxwell is an excellent science-fiction romance and that filled the Wayfarers shaped hole in my heart after that series ended. I highly recommend both books!

Next month, since we struggled again to choose just one book, or even two, we have four! We decided to nominate lots of books by Asian authors in the bracket and these are the ones who chose:

  1. Blood Heir by Amélie Wen Zhao
  2. A Pho Love Story by Loan Le
  3. Phoenix Extravagant by Yoon Ha Lee
  4. Last Night at the Telegraph Club by Malidna Lo

I’m really excited to read these books, though I’ve already read A Pho Love Story which was absolutely excellent,

Favourites

I can’t talk about what I read in March without mentioning Six of Crows, Crooked Kingdom and King of Scars. I read these in preparation for the release of Rule of Wolves and honestly it took so long to read them even though it was the third or second time I’ve read each one. I love Leigh Bardugo’s attention to detail without it being overwhelming, and the characters are some of the best out there.

I think Nina Zenik is one of my favourite of Leigh’s characters and I can’t wait to see where her story goes in Rule of Wolves after the ending of King of Scars. I also love Zoya so much!

Books to Look Out For

I read a couple of arcs this month, the first being Dial A for Aunties! This book by Jesse Sutanto was just brilliant, it made me laugh so much. It comes highly recommended from me!

The other ARC I choose to read this month is Sweethand by N.G. Peltier. This romance blended baking with music and I enjoyed it very much. I can’t wait to see what else the Island Bites series has to bring.

Next month?

In April I’m going to read Rule of Wolves (OK I’m about 100 pages in and loving it so far). In the Book Coven we are also doing ARC April to try and get some of our ARCs read. I have a few good ones ready to go which is super exciting.

Anyway I hope you have had a better March than I have. It’s been long and tiring, but I’ve got a week and a half off work now to rest and try and get an offer accepted on our first house.

What are your plans for April? Looking forward to all of your April blog posts.

Monthly Wrap-Up: February 2021

Hi everyone! Welcome to my first February 2021 wrap-up post. For these wrap-ups I include Book Coven book club, fave books you can buy now, books to look out for and books I want to read soon. February has been a speedy month – I read quite a few books too!

Book Club

Every month the mods of the Book Coven get us to suggest books that make up the book club bracket. We then vote all the way through to a final, and that’s the book we read together over the course of 3 weeks. Then the amazing Paragraphs and Pages asks us some super insightful questions and off we go. This month the club read FOUR books

  1. Kingdom of the Wicked by Kerri Maniscalco (actually won the voting haha)
  2. The Project by Courtney Summers (to break our hearts)
  3. The Ex Talk by Rachel Lynn Solomon (for the month of romance!)
  4. Shipped by Angie Hockman (the book we all thought would win the vote…)

I read the latter three, having read Kingdom of the Wicked last year. I really loved both The Project and The Ex Talk as you can see from my linked reviews. The Project is a YA mystery / thriller set around a cult, and The Ex Talk is a romance about two radio show co-hosts pretending they are exes and falling in love. Shipped is another workplace romance, but I just didn’t vibe with the characters hence only receiving a 3 star rating from me and no blog review.

Next month, since we struggled again to choose just one book, we have two book clubs going on! Honey Girl by Morgan Rogers and Winter’s Orbit by Everina Maxwell. I have read both before but will definitely be joining in the discussions.

Favourites

In terms of favourite books this month, there are 3 standouts.

As mentioned previously in book club nominations, I read Honey Girl by Morgan Rogers. This is a contemporary book that has a poetic writing style (almost like Addie LaRue). I felt this book strongly – it focusses on the weight of expectations from yourself and others, and not knowing what to do with your life after academia when your plans aren’t working out. This debut blew me away, but be warned, the romance isn’t the main plot point and the love interest isn’t actually in the story a lot.

On the Young Adult side of things, I read Parachutes by Kelly Yang (audiobook!!) This one really was an amazing story, and taught me so much about the experience of international students in American prep schools. It’s told from two perspectives – Claire a parachute, and Dani a Filipino student whose mom decided to let out the spare room to Claire. It has a really knotty, twisty friendship, and two plotlines that focus on sexual harassment and assault. It’s not a light read but it is really empowering.

And on to fantasy…what else could I talk about except A Court of Silver Flames! Sarah J Maas blew me away with this story – I think it’s her best book. She took me from disliking Nesta to loving her, and I found it to be a really gritty, emotional read on trauma and recovering from it. I also really loved the friendships Nesta developed in this one – can’t wait to see what Sarah writes next because this was such an improvement.

Books to Look Out For

I didn’t read a lot of ARCs that I loved this month, but one that stood out was a romance called Accidentally Engaged by Farah Heron. This one follows Reena, a woman who is great at cooking and baking, and Nadim, a guy who moved in across the corridor from Reena and happens to work for her Dad. I loved these two, and the plot that draws them together. Who doesn’t love a cooking competition? Really love the cover too.

And that is unfortunately it in terms of books I loved this month. A lot of my reads were disappointing, or really mediocre. Hopefully March will be better.

Next month?

In March I still have to read Six of Crows (and Crooked Kingdom and King of Scars…sigh), in time for Rule of Wolves. I’m actually really looking forward to diving into this world again, but there are so many pages to get through! Some others I want to get to are Intercepted by Alexa Martin, Dear Martin by Nic Stone, and Love Frankie by Jacqueline Wilson.

Hope February has been a good month for you all! I for one am really excited for March because it’s my birthday month! I am also ecstatic that Honey Girl and Winter’s Orbit are being discussed for book club, because both of them were 5 star reads for me.

Do you think you’ll be reading any of the books I read in February? What are you plans for March? Let me know in the comments.

Top Ten Tuesday (Valentine’s Day & Love)

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together. This is my first Top 10 Tuesday post, and this week the theme is: Valentine’s Day and Love

Hi Guys! It’s been a while since I did a Top Ten Tuesday but I couldn’t resist the chance to talk about my favourite romance novels. I will make clear which of the books I’m talking about are adult and which are YA, and I wouldn’t recommend adult romances to under 18s but everyone matures at different paces.

1) I can’t resist the chance to talk about my new favourite romance novel – Act Your Age, Eve Brown by Talia Hibbert. I connected so much to Eve and absolutely adored the romance. (adult)

2) Something to Talk About by Meryl Wilsner is a great sapphic romance that I absolutely adored even with a slightly big age gap. (adult)

3) The Worst Best Man by Mia Sosa is another favourite of mine, about a wedding planner who gets stood up on her wedding day only to end up working with her ex’s brother in a competition against her ex. (adult)

4) A Duke by Default is a great grumpy and sunshine book that I really enjoyed. I really loved the rural Scotland setting and the lead characters were just perfect. (adult)

5) The Boyfriend Project by Farrah Rochon is definitely up there with my favourites because it centres on a woman in STEM. Also loved the financial investigation plot, so cool! (adult)

6) Well Met by Jen DeLuca is another one I love to bits. It’s enemies to lovers and the setting involves a renaissance faire! What more could you want? (adult)

7) A Pho Love Story by Loan Le is the first YA I’m featuring on this list. I read it recently and it really touched my heart as it mixes interesting family dynamics with a rival family style romance. (YA)

8) Maybe in Another Life by Taylor Jenkins Reid is a book that challenges the notion of ‘the one’ and I really loved this take on parallel lives. Taylor Jenkins Reid is one of my favourite authors of all time so of course I highly recommend this book.

9) A book that strongly features dogs? Count me in. Morgan Matson’s novels are all fantastic romances but I think this is one of my favourites. (YA)

10) OK so I wouldn’t call The Switch by Beth O’Leary a romance per se, but I loved it to pieces and it does have two cute romances in it. Mostly it’s a book about learning from different generations and it’s honestly one of the best contemporary books I’ve ever read (adult).

There we go, 10 romances that I absolutely love. have you read any of these books? Have you got any romances to recommend? Let me know in the comments!

Monthly Wrap-Up: January 2021

Hi everyone! Welcome to my first monthly wrap-up post of 2021. For these wrap-ups I include Book Coven book club, fave books you can buy now, books to look out for and books I want to read soon. January has been so long. Working from home takes its toll to be honest, but I’m lucky I have the option.

Book Club

Every month the mods of the Book Coven get us to suggest books that make up the book club bracket. We then vote all the way through to a final, and that’s the book we read together over the course of 3 weeks. Then the amazing Paragraphs and Pages asks us some super insightful questions and off we go. This month the club read two books – These Violent Delights by Chloe Gong and The Bone Shard Daughter by Andrea Stewart (naturally we couldn’t choose between the two). After not vibing with the ARC of These Violent Delights, I only participated in The Bone Shard Daughter this time.

What an amazing story! The Bone Shard Daughter is full of twists, characters you can’t help but love and gets really, really creepy and dark unexpectedly. I have a full review on my blog! (Spoiler Alert – it received 5 stars from me – and most of book club in fact).

Next month, since we struggled even more to choose just one book, we have four book clubs going on!

  1. Kingdom of the Wicked by Kerri Maniscalco (actually won the voting haha)
  2. The Project by Courtney Summers (to break our hearts)
  3. The Ex Talk by Rachel Lynn Solomon (for the month of romance!)
  4. Shipped by Angie Hockman (the book we all thought would win the vote…)

Favourites

I have read 25 books in January, somehow, and quite a few have been fantastic. I’ve already mentioned The Bone Shard Daughter by Andrea Stewart, but there were many more!

In terms of Fantasy, I really enjoyed Winterkeep by Kristin Cashore. It really gave me that Graceling series nostalgia whilst also bringing new world-building and characters. You can read my review here.

I think I found a new book for the favourites list! The Switch by Beth O’Leary is a cute contemporary with a heart-warming take on generational differences. Leena and Eileen swap houses for a bit after Leena is made to take two months leave from her job in London. It made me cry, a lot and I think people of all ages will love it. You can read my review here.

In terms of re-reads, I think Such a Fun Age is also one of the best books I’ve read. It follows Emira, a Black girl in her twenties who babysits for Alix, a rich white woman with two young girls, Briar and Catherine. The character dynamics are absolutely gripping, and its messages strong. You can read my review here.

Finally, let’s talk audio. Listening to Audiobooks was one of my 2021 goals and I’m pleased to say I listened to 5 this month. My favourite was Monday’s Not Coming, a young adult mystery / thriller about a girl whose best friend Monday goes missing but nobody seems to care. The audio is great, with narration that really makes you believe that the protagonist is talking to you. You can see my review here.

Books to Look Out For

I read so many ARCs this month, and there were some absolute crackers! Let’s start with a romance that definitely made my favourites list. Act Your Age, Eve Brown by Talia Hibbert is the final book in The Brown Sisters series. I think it was my favourite of all 3, partly because I related to Eve so much. I love this series so much that I pre-ordered signed copies from Words and Kisses. You can find my review here, be sure to check this out when it releases in March!

Science Fiction time! Winter’s Orbit by Everina Maxwell was such a brilliant surprise. It follows Kiem and Jainam on an arranged marriage style romance in a unique planet setting. This book is such a sweet take on sci-fi, it was such loveable characters and a really gripping plot. You can check out my review here, plus pick it up in early February really soon!

Next, let’s talk YA. I read A Pho Love Story by Loan Le, and honestly it was so, so heart-warming that I had tears in my eyes for the last quarter of the book? This is so much more than a romance as it delves into the lives of the children of Vietnamese immigrants, who happen to be the kids of rival restaurant owners. This one is out in the US in February, and the UK in April, so be sure to check it out then! You can see my review here.

Finally, I was really, really lucky to get my hands on an eARC of Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid, who might just be my favourite author ever. This book did not disappoint – you can see why people are googling if Taylor’s characters are actually real people because there is so much depth and history that goes into their stories without it being overwhelming. You can see my review here, but the book doesn’t release until May. I’ll be for sure reading it all over again then with a physical copy in my hands!

Next month?

Next month I have so much I want to read. I have more ARCs (Girl in the Walls, Friends and Strangers, Falling Down Under to name some…), some rereads (Six of Crows, The Winner’s Curse…) and some audio (Luster) planned.

How has January been for you all? Hope you’ve been doing well, keeping safe and enjoying lots of good books!

Do you think you’ll be reading any of the books I read in January? I’d love to know your thoughts!

Goals for 2021

Welcome to 2021! It’s going to be my first full year of Toastie Books and I’m excited to get cracking. I thought I’d talk about my goals for 2021 with you guys now.

Goodreads Challenge

So 2020 was my best reading year yet but I’ve set my Goodreads Challenge at 150 books. This is because I’d like to try and do things other than read – I want to learn how to do hand lettering, I need to go on more walks, and maybe try some new video games

150 books

Library!

So I did join my local library in 2020, but my phone couldn’t handle the app. It occurred to me that since I now have a new phone, I should try and use the online library services more! In the UK, that means I’ve downloaded Borrow Box, where my library lets me have 5 eBook loans and 5 Audiobook loans at any one time.

Audiobooks

OK, so I have never really been into Audiobooks – the only one that was bearable to me was Becoming by Michelle Obama. BUT I’d like to try more, using the library app in particular as it will allow me to try Audiobooks for free and return them if I don’t get on with them.

Blogging

I had a good year of blogging in 2020. This year I think I’d like to make sure I write a blog length review for all eARCs that I give 4 or more stars. I tend to review only the best books on this blog as I’d like it to be positive. I’d also like to post one book review a week.

NetGalley

I currently have 11 NetGalley books that I need to read. I think for this year, I’d just like to keep my feedback percentage at 80% and make sure I keep on top of publishing reviews to Amazon, Goodreads and other sites.

Non-Fiction

I set myself a challenge to read one Non-Fiction book per month every year. Despite having read loads of books in 2020, I didn’t keep up with this. So the goal remains for 2021 and hopefully I will be successful this time.

Diversity

I actually read a lot of diverse books in 2020, so I’d like to carry on doing the same, and maybe even increase the diversity of the books I read even more. I should do better and blogging and tweeting about them too.

So, that’s the end of my goals post. What do you think, do you think I can achieve them? What are your goals for 2021?

Monthly Wrap-Up: December 2020

Hi everyone! Welcome to my December monthly wrap-up post. I am sure these will evolve over time, but for now I’ll include Book Coven book club, fave books you can buy now, books to look out for and books I want to read soon. December has been speedy with work, Christmas and plenty of annual leave. I’ve been listening to Evermore on repeat too, it’s been fun.

Book Club

Every month the mods of the Book Coven get us to suggest books that make up the book club bracket. We then vote all the way through to a final, and that’s the book we read together over the course of 3 weeks. Then the amazing Paragraphs and Pages asks us some super insightful questions and off we go. This month the club read Written in the Stars by Alexandria Bellefleur which I thought was OK, but didn’t fall in love with.

Next month we are reading one of the following (still waiting to finish the vote!):

  1. Grown by Tiffany D. Jackson
  2. The Bone Shard Daughter by Andrea Stewart
  3. Soulswift by Megan Bannen
  4. These Violent Delights by Chloe Gong

Favourites

I read some awesome books this month – including a re-read of A Court of Mist and Fury and A Court of Wings and Ruin which I adored. A standout for me though was definitely The Midnight Library by Matt Haig, which absolutely has made my favourites of all time list.

I re-read The Fifth Season by N.K Jemisin, and it’s sequel The Obelisk Gate. Both of them are fascinating reads that blend science fiction and fantasy in an excellent way. I definitely enjoyed the first book more but I’m very excited to read the last book because the second one set it up perfectly!

I also re-read The Never Tilting Word to follow it up with The Ever Cruel Kingdom by Rin Chupeco. This is an excellent duology with 4 points of view – I couldn’t recommend it any more! I think this is my favourite Rin Chupeco series now.

Finally, I read We Hunt the Flame by Hafsah Faizal. This one got a solid four stars for it’s great characters.

Books to Look Out For

I did read some eARCs this month – my favourite being The Galaxy, and The Ground Within by Becky Chambers. This is absolutely one of my favourites of all time, it’s such an emotional book. I can’t believe it’s the last of the Wayfarers books but I’m so excited to see what Becky does next.

Another book coming out soon that I read is We Free the Stars by Hafsah Faizal. This is a solid follow up to We Hunt the Flame with a really good ending.

Next month?

Well, it’s time to kick off 2021! I’m not sure what I’ll be reading – I really want to read Six of Crows and King of Scars again before Rule of Wolves. I’ve also got a few eARCs I should get to in the new year that I’m excited about.

Do you have any planned books for January? Let me know what’s on your to be read!

WWW Wednesday (30th December 2020)

Hi friends, it’s time for WWW Wednesday again. So, what’s it about? This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived on Taking on a World of Words. Here are my answers to the three Ws!

It’s the last WWW of 2020! Wow!

What are you currently reading?

I am currently reading The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin again. Looking forward to finishing the rest of the trilogy this time. This is a really cool book that blends sci-fi and fantasy!

What did you recently finish reading?

I finished The Midnight Library!! It’s such a wonderful book I highly recommend it. Definitely one of my faves of all time. You can see more in my review.

What do you think you’ll read next?

I’m getting Exciting Times today so I’ll probably read that next. It’s described as being like Normal People so I’m really excited to see what it’s all about. Exciting times. Ha.

What do you think of these choices? I am so excited to make more progress on my to be read.

Let me know what you’ve been reading this week! How are you all doing? I can’t believe 2020 is almost over, March feels like yesterday.

Most Anticipated Books: 2021

Hello everyone! I already wrapped up my favourite releases of 2020, so here’s to the ones I am looking forward to most in 2021!

1) The Galaxy, and The Ground Within by Becky Chambers. OK, I’m cheating. I already read this book (thanks NetGalley). But you all need some Becky Chambers in your life for some quietly profound science-fiction. This is one of my all-time faves – check out my review.

2) Rule of Wolves by Leigh Bardugo. I absolutely cannot wait to see how this duology ends and I’m definitely re-reading Six of Crows through to King of Scars before this comes out. And then we get the Shadow and Bone TV show in April too, what a year.

3) A Court of Silver Flames by Sarah J. Maas. OK, I just finished an A Court of Thorns and Roses re-read. I’m really looking forward to seeing if Sarah can rescue Nesta’s character for me because I am not a fan right now.

4) The Last Graduate by Naomi Novik. Loved A Deadly Education more and more as the story progressed, and the ending was so good. I can’t wait to find out what happens next in this deadly magic school.

5) Vulture by Bex Hogan. Ah, this series. I got the first one as a bonus in a Fairyloot box and it’s actually really good. Enjoyed the first one and the sequel, so excited to see where it all ends up. Also the covers are super gorgeous.

6) Act Your Age, Eve Brown by Talia Hibbert. Loved Chloe and Dani’s stories, can’t wait to see the youngest Brown sister Eve in action! This is probably the romance I’m looking forward to the most next year – not much longer to wait.

7) Jade Legacy by Fonda Lee. This one should be at the very top of the list! I can’t wait to get my hands on this – I’ll probably read Jade City and Jade War again before it comes out because these are some of my favourite characters of all time. This is definitely my favourite urban fantasy series and I can’t wait to see how Fonda Lee will break my heart.

8) Honey Girl by Morgan Rogers. I found out about this book ages ago and have been anticipating it ever since! The protagonist has a PhD in Astronomy! I’m so excited for this women in STEM power. Also the cover is amazing.

9) Winterkeep by Kristin Cashore. I didn’t think we’d get a new book in the Graceling realm but here we are! This is one of my favourite series, but Bitterblue was a small let down so I hope this makes up for it.

10) Sweethand by N.G. Peltier. I mean the cover definitely drew me to this one, it’s gorgeous and look at all that cute detail. But the story sounds super cute too! Hopefully it’s a good romance.

So there are plenty of more books I’m looking forward to, some of which don’t have covers yet (House of Earth and Blood). I also don’t know if we’ll see Ninth House 2 in 2021 but that would be one of the first on this list if it is.

What are you looking forward to reading in 2021? Let me know in the comments so I can add some to the list.

The Bookish Blog Tag

So I guess it’s about time I did a book tag again. I got tagged in this one by Riddhi at Whispering Stories

Rules:

  1. Make sure you thank the blogger who nominated you and include a link to their blog.
  2. Answer all of the following questions.
  3. Include the blog tag graphic and these rules on your post.
  4. Nominate 3 or more bloggers at the bottom of your post, including their name and their blog’s link.

What are 1-3 of your favourite books of all time?

Difficult – but for now we will go

  1. The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab
  2. The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid
  3. The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet by Becky Chambers

What are 1-3 of your favourite authors of all time?

  1. Taylor Jenkins Reid
  2. Leigh Bardugo
  3. Becky Chambers

Who is your favourite female character from a book?

Ooooh difficult to just pick one. I’d go with Fire in Fire by Kristin Cashore

Who is your favourite male character from a book?

Henry Strauss in The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab

What’s your favourite fictional world?

Oh…I’m not sure! I’d say the world in The Wayfarers series by Becky Chambers is pretty awesome to be honest.

What book has your favourite book cover?

What’s your favourite book-to-movie adaptation?

I have absolutely no idea. All adaptations have leaked from my brain right now. I guess I quite liked the TV series of Normal People. And Little Fires Everywhere was pretty good.

If you could make any book into a movie, which would it be? 

Legendborn by Tracy Deonn is made to be a movie or tv series and I need it to be a thing right now.

What was your favourite childhood book?

I loved Mates, Dates and Inflatable Bras by Cathy Hopkins…no idea why.

Fantasy or Sci-fi (or neither)?

Fantasy all the way, but The Wayfarers series is one of my favourites of all time an really brings that emotional connection to sci-fi for me.

That’s it!
I tag:

Alison @ Antari Reads

Bertie @ Luminosity Library

Tiffany @ String of Pages

The Reading Addict

Anyone else who wants to complete this tag!

WWW Wednesday (23rd December 2020)

Hi friends, it’s time for WWW Wednesday again. So, what’s it about? This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived on Taking on a World of Words. Here are my answers to the three Ws!

It’s been a while since I checked in with a WWW! How are we doing?

What are you currently reading?

I am currently reading Written in the Stars for my book club. I’ve read the first third, it’s been OK so far. I don’t love the characters so far but the main couple did an escape room as a double date and it was adorable. Also the cover is super cute.

What did you recently finish reading?

I recently finished A Court of Mist and Fury for the second time. I forgot how much I enjoyed how easy it is to read Sarah J Maas books, and this is definitely my favourite in the trilogy. Rhys is so soft and cute, I love the romance in this one. I’ll definitely be reading the next book again soon.

What do you think you’ll read next?

I’m not really sure what’s next for me. I still didn’t get around to reading the eARC of We Hunt the Flame (I tried but the formatting is super off – words have no spaces between them and it’s really annoying). Maybe I’ll just buy the book because the second one has no issues with formatting.

What do you think of these choices? I am so excited to make more progress on my to be read.

Let me know what you’ve been reading this week! How are you all doing?