Favourite 2020 Releases

Hey all! It’s time for my first end of year post – favourite 2020 book releases. For this post I’ll be sharing my favourite books that came out in 2020 – I’ll probably forget loads because I always do.

1) I can’t start with anything else than The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab. This one broke my heart through Henry Strauss. Captured that complete confusion about deciding what you want to do with your life in your twenties perfectly and it hit very, very close to home. You can read my review here.

2) My favourite YA release this year has to be Furia by Yamile Saied Méndez. This is a cool book following a teen with a passion for football (soccer) in Argentina. My favourite part of this book was how mature the protagonist Camila is. She is such a good role model. One of my friends got me a hardback for Christmas and I’m so happy because I can read it in physical copy now. You can check out my review of the eARC here.

3) Let’s talk about a final book in a series! The Burning God by R.F. Kuang, the end of The Poppy War trilogy. Again, I was lucky enough to receive an eARC of this book so I got to read it right after I finished The Dragon Republic. This is the series for you if you want a series that’s loosely historical, has really vivid depictions of war without sacrificing the character development and will break your heart many, many times. You can read my review here.

4) One of my favourite romances this year was Something to Talk About by Meryl Wilsner. This book had a lot of my favourite tropes (ice queen that’s really a softie, slow burn, office romance), and I love that it has women that support each other. Emma and Jo are so cute, I can’t wait to read this one again now I have a physical copy (thanks friend!!!) You can read my review here.

5) A contemporary fiction that I loved this year is Such a Fun Age by Kiley Read (it came out in early January in the UK). This one definitely gave me Little Fires Everywhere vibes – the writing is so good and the characters are the opposite of one dimensional as it delves into white saviours. I can’t wait to read this again and write a review for my blog.

6) OK, I can’t help it, I’ve got to put in another romance. I absolutely loved The Boyfriend Project by Farrah Rochon, it was everything. Samiah is one of my favourite characters – she’s a Black woman in STEM and I loved how this book highlighted her challenges at work. It also has a really awesome female friendship which is super cute. Really loved the romance between Samiah and Daniel too.

7) My favourite sci-fi release of 2020 is Honor Lost by Rachel Caine and Ann Aguirre. This is the final book in the Honor Among Thieves trilogy which my friends finally convinced me to read this year. This book honestly sounds completely wild but it’s amazing and cute and I want to re-read just thinking of it. Cute space whale spaceships, what a concept, and the finale definitely doesn’t disappoint.

8) Another trilogy conclusion you say? There were a lot of good finales this year, that’s for sure. This time it’s The Empire of Gold by S.A. Chakraborty. The Daevabad trilogy is fantastic and I’m so glad I read all of the books this year. The Empire of Gold is a thrilling final book from start to finish and is a fast read despite it being many, many pages long. It has characters I grew so attached to and really rich world-building, you have to pick up this series.

OK, that’s my top 8 book releases of 2020! There’s still some that I want to finish before the end of the year, like The Ever-Cruel Kingdom by Rin Chupeco. Like I said, I probably forgot some, but that’s fine.

Hope you’re all doing well, I am on holiday from work now until 4th January so hopefully I can write some more blog posts. Also I didn’t get that job I applied for, it’s been a bit of a mess to be honest so I’m looking forward to moving past it all and throwing my frustration into 2021.

Six for Sunday (Books That Gave You Feels)

Hi everyone! This week I’m participating in Six for Sunday, a meme hosted by Steph at A Little But a Lot. This month, the focus is on pumpkin spice goodness, and this week’s topic is: Books that gave you feels!

1) The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab. I feel like this book ends up on my lists every time haha, but I literally can’t get enough of it. As I’ve said before, it spoke to my soul and made me feel all kinds of things.

2) The Burning God by R.F. Kuang. Okay so this entire series gave me feels – it’s one of the only books I’ve read that mixes the heavy military with all the emotions. Every book is heart-breaking and I could not recommend this series enough. You guys are all in for a treat when The Burning God comes out in November.

3) Meat Market by Juno Dawson. One of my favourite YA contemporary reads, as an adult this book was literally one of the most emotional and amazing things I’ve ever read. I’ve never cared so much about a protagonist. This one really made me empathise.

4) Honor Lost by Rachel Caine and Ann Aguirre. Okay, so this team of space whale, girl and girl is just the most heart-warming relationship. This one gave me all the good feels. It starts with Honor Among Thieves and these books really need to be read more so if you like sci-fi, get ready to read something different!

5) The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet by Becky Chambers. Okay….I mention this book a lot too but I can’t help it! Becky Chambers just makes me cry! This is one of the best series I’ve ever read (and all the books could standalone too).

6) When Life Gives You Mangoes by Kereen Getten. I had the pleasure of reviewing this for netgalley – and guess what? They used my quote on the reader reviews in the inside cover! Honestly this middle grade really hits hard for all ages – I literally didn’t see the twist coming at all. It’s a beautiful story with a vivid setting and you should absolutely pick it up.

This was really hard – there are loads of books that gave me feels but I wanted to choose books with different vibes. Others I have loved include Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo, Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor, Fire by Kristin Cashore, Forever, Interrupted by Taylor Jenkins Reid and Radio Silence by Alice Oseman.

Hope everyone is doing well, feel free to share your posts below.

Six for Sunday (Devious Main Characters)

Hi everyone! This week I’m participating in Six for Sunday for the first time, a meme hosted by Steph at A Little But a Lot. This month, the focus is on book characters, and this week’s topic is:  Devious Main Characters.

1) I just finished The Court of Miracles by Kester Grant and Nina, the protagonist, is definitely devious. She’s always throwing a spanner in the works for the reader! You can find my review of this amazing debut novel here.

2) How can I make a post about devious characters without mentioning the notorious Kaz Brekker from Six of Crows? Kaz is a master schemer which means the plot of this duology is awesome.

3) Alessandra from The Shadows Between Us is full of ambition. She’s definitely the kind of girl that will stop at nothing to get what she wants, including killing The Shadow King by making him fall in love with her. Her task will definitely take all of her devious skills if she’s going to succeed!

3) Time for a contemporary devious character. Pip from A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder is honestly a good bean – but that doesn’t mean she doesn’t have a devious streak! Interviewing people of interest in a murder case that everyone thinks is already solved definitely takes some nerves of steel. You can read my review here.

5) Oh Nehza, you broke my heart. The Poppy War trilogy has plenty of devious characters including the protagonist Rin. But Nehza is one of a kind in terms of being a character that you can’t trust and don’t know whether you’re supposed to love them or hate them. You can read my review of the eARC of The Burning God, the final instalment in the series, here.

6) Finally, back to the contemporary genre – Evelyn Hugo from The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo. I actually named a cactus after Evelyn – I definitely put her in the devious character category, especially as she has kept some huge secrets!

In my choices, devious doesn’t exactly equal bad. I love characters that are full of surprises with more than a few tricks up their sleeves. What do you think of my choices? Have you read any? Let me know in the comments and link your Six for Sunday posts!

Monthly Wrap-Up: August 2020

Hi everyone! Welcome to my first 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. August was a great month for 5 star reading – more than half of the books I read achieved this! I went on holiday too, which was a really nice break from work (fortunately we had great weather – it’s gone cold now!)

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 we read Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia. This is a really creepy, bizarre horror novel that I definitely wouldn’t normally end up picking up, but I am really glad I did. It follows Noemi, a socialite sent to the countryside to investigate what’s happening to her cousin Catalina after receiving a concerning letter. But things at High Place are even worse than they appear, leaving both women in more danger than they could have imagined. Silvia has a great writing style that really draws you in, and I loved Noemi as a character – strong and caring, a winning combination. Meaghan asked some super great questions that made me consider things I didn’t pick up on when reading. You can read my friend Sam’s review for the blog tour right here.

Next month we will be reading The Court of Miracles by Kester Grant, a book I have already read and loved but can’t wait to read again. See you there?

Favourites

On to my favourite books this month that you can pick up in stores right now. It is really hard to choose this month because lots of them were so good!

Ace of Shades and King of Fools are sitting there waiting for you, ready for Queen of Volts that releases on September 1st! They follow Enne, a girl that grew up on an island at a finishing school for girls, who has ventured into the City of Sin to search for her adoptive mother who never returned home. There she meets Levi, the head of a gang, The Irons. Honestly I loved the concept of these books and they are so full of mystery and puzzles. You can see my review of Queen of Volts here.

Now is also the perfect time to read The Poppy War and The Dragon Republic before The Burning God arrives in November. They follow Rin, a girl who was going to be forced into marriage who trains her way to military school to avoid that future. Honestly, these are some of the most wonderfully written heavily military books I’ve ever read. They combine detail and character growth beautifully – and The Burning God is just as wonderful. You can see my review of The Burning God here.

Finally, Record of a Spaceborn Few is the most recent book in Becky Chamber’s Wayfarers series. I loved it just as much as the others. It follows a small group of humans living on the huge space-based city of Fleet, formed of huge spaceships. It is very character driven, and the stories all connect in the best ways. There is a strong theme of being lost and finding yourself which I connected with a lot. I can’t wait for the next book in the series releasing in 2021! You can see my spotlight post on Becky Chambers here.

Books to Look Out For

I had the pleasure of reading many amazing eARCs from NetGalley this month. I’ve already mentioned Queen of Volts and The Burning God, so I’ll talk about the others.

The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue became my favourite book of all time. It’s out in October and I honestly feel like it is V.E. Schwab’s best work to date. Emotive and gripping, I feel like it’s her most personal story. I highly recommend it, and you can see my review here.

The Betrayals by Bridget Collins is releasing in November, so I was super glad to get an advanced copy of this. I have the Waterstones edition of pre-order, and I do not regret it! The book centres on The Grand Jeu, which we never actually learn much about, which I love because it relies on reader imagination and will have so many different interpretations! There are some things I’m still not sure about that I’ll have to think about on my re-read, but overall this is a great book.

I didn’t read that many YA books this month, but my favourite was an eARC of Furia by Yamile Saied Méndez. It’s a story set in Rosario, Argentina, and follows Camlia, a girl who longs to play football professionally but is being pressured into medicine. I love this book mostly because Camila makes such mature decisions when it comes to the romance in her life – this representation is so, so important for teenagers, particularly girls, to have. You can read my review here. I strongly recommend you check this book out!

Next month?

I am so excited for September – A Deadly Education by Naomi Novik releases which I’m very much looking forward to. I’m also re-reading Courting Darkness by Robin LaFevers as I just bought Igniting Darkness.

August purchases included Chasing the Stars by Malorie Blackman, Wing Jones by Katherine Webber, Tiny Pretty Things by Sona Charaipotra and Dhonielle Clayton, and Tumbling by Caela Carter. Definitely going to get to these in September, as part of the Hamilton inspired bingo by the Book Coven!

That’s all from me, hope you enjoyed this book and also had a great month of reading. Looking forward to seeing what everybody has been up to. Have you read any of the books mentioned in this post? What did you think?

ARC Review: The Burning God

Consider me destroyed. R.F. Kuang has done it again. The Burning God is the final instalment in The Poppy War Trilogy, a series richly inspired by modern Chinese history – a subject which I wasn’t really familiar with before reading this series. The trilogy centres on Fang Runin, known throughout the books as Rin. The series takes her from adopted girl mistreated by her family, to student at the prestigious Sinegard Military Academy, to soldier, to shaman, to all-powerful General.

Star rating: 5 stars (all of the stars, this is a new favourite for me)

Publication date: 17th November 2020

The Burning God begins with Rin returning south to Rooster Province. In book one she saved her nation from foreign invaders, in book two she battled Empress Su Daji, Trifecta survivor and known as the Vipress. She is betrayed by her allies in the Dragon Province, which sends her home to Tikany, the small village where her story began.

This is a stunning finale with vivid military descriptions mixed with a fantasy world that is only expanded upon. Rin is faced with the challenge of her school nemesis – turned ally – turned betrayer Nezha, who has allied with a foreign colonising nation, Hesperia. Hesperia wishes to eliminate shamanism as it goes against all of their religious beliefs, but Rin knows her Gods are real and she is not afraid to prove it.

Amongst the detail and gripping plot lies a cast of characters with so much depth it’s astonishing. This is not a book of good versus evil – every character has multiple sides to them which only facilitates the twists in the plot. Rin is as ambitious and angry as usual, but really grows into her new power (not always in the best way). Kitay, now bound to her, balances her out, and becomes an even better strategist. Nezha, having been forced by Rin to acknowledge his shamanism, is now an even greater threat than ever before. Venka is as mysterious as always, and I couldn’t help but like her.

This book really explores what war can do to a country and its people, whether it is civil or through invasion. The ending made me cry, but the story definitely has a small number of humorous moments along the way. I cared so much for Rin, despite her flaws and horrific decisions. Even though it was always clear that she would not have a happy ending, I still hoped otherwise.

Thank you, R.F. Kuang for a better ending to this trilogy than I could have hoped for. Thanks to NetGalley and Harper Collins UK for the eARC, it made my week.

My friend Linaria from North America also wrote an awesome review – you should check it out in Linaria’s Library

WWW Wednesday (19th August 2020)

Hi friends, this is the first time I’m taking part in WWW Wednesday. 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!

What are you currently reading?

Well, at the moment it’s The Burning God by R.F. Kuang. I enjoyed The Poppy War and The Dragon Republic so much, and I’m really grateful to have an eARC of The Burning God. I am so excited to see where the story goes!

What did you recently finish reading?

Record of a Spaceborn Few by Becky Chambers. It follows a whole cast of interesting characters who are linked in subtle ways. I love how quiet the plot is because it really gives the characters opportunity to shine and draw you in. My favourite character was definitely Pip because he reminds me of me, especially when I was also 16. You can see my thoughts on Becky Chambers Wayfarers series here.

What do you think you’ll read next?

I have just been approved for an eARC of Queen of Volts by Amanda Foody. I really liked the earlier books in the series so I will probably go with that. Or Chasing the Stars by Malorie Blackman which I bought last week when I was on holiday.

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