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.

WWW Wednesday (14th October 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!

What are you currently reading?

I am currently reading The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab….again! But this time, I have a gorgeous hardback instead of the eARC. I’m reading it really slowly, really noticing and absorbing all the messages. I have even put sticky tabs in for my favourite quotes! This book is heart-breaking and comforting all at the same time and I love it with everything I have.

What did you recently finish reading?

I just finished Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo for the second time. This time, I read it really slowly like I’m doing with Addie and honestly enjoyed it even more. Leigh’s show not tell world-building is exemplary. Galaxy Stern is one of my favourite characters and I really can’t wait to see where her story takes her in the next book. Do check out the trigger warnings – this one has a lot. You can check out my review if you want to.

What do you think you’ll read next?

I think I’m going to read From Blood and Ash, but that may change. I also really want to read The Broken Earth Trilogy and do a Jade City re-read since I just purchased Jade War. We will see where my mood takes me!

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

In other news, I do not have COVID, so I’m back at work loving life. Hope everyone is doing well.

WWW Wednesday (7th October 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!

What are you currently reading?

I am currently reading Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo. I absolutely love this book, and on this re-read I’m going slowly in order to take it all in. I’m a big fan of the protagonist, Alex Stern. She’s had such a rough life but is really doing the most. It is a. ADULT horror though, so don’t go into it without reading the trigger warnings as there’s plenty of graphic descriptions.

What did you recently finish reading?

Welcome to another of my favourite books of the year. It didn’t start too strongly for me but by the end it left me eagerly anticipating what happens next. The protagonist, El Higgins, is so easy to get behind. She’s got walls up for good reason, and she had really heart-warming character development during a tense, deadly plot. You can read my thoughts in my review, which has actually turned into one of my more popular reviews!

What do you think you’ll read next?

Okay, so I don’t often re-read books with this small of a gap in between, but I can’t help it with this one. Now I have a physical copy I am so excited to be absorbed in Addie and Henry’s world again. It’s also a Book Coven book club pick along with A Deadly Education so looking forward to discussing both of them with my friends.

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

In other news, I do not have COVID, so I’m back at work loving life. Hope everyone is doing well.

Six for Sunday (Coffee Date!)

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: Characters/authors you’d like to go for coffee with. I’m going to stick with characters this time.

1) Henry Strauss from The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue no question. I connected so much to this guy, just wow. Check out my review of the book and book inspired playlist!

2) Samiah Brooks from The Boyfriend Project. I want to go to coffee with Samiah, London and Taylor! Their friendship seems so fun (plus I want to quiz Samiah on being a woman in tech and on the events of the book).

3) Evelyn Hugo from The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo. I’d probably not say a word from awe and intimidation but I love Evelyn so much and I would really love to meet her. I mean, Taylor Jenkins Reid wrote her so well she felt real!

4) Jasmine Santos from From Lukov with Love. So I absolutely love Mariana Zapatas characters and this is one of my fave books of hers. I’d love to quiz Jasmine on all things figure skating.

5) Sissix from The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet. To be honest all of the characters in this book are amazing, but I’d like to talk about Sissix to learn more the Aandrisks! You can read my Becky Chambers Spotlight post here for all the reasons why I love her books.

6) On to the last character! I think I’d like to take Galadriel ‘El’ Higgins from A Deadly Education for a coffee. I finished this book yesterday and I really empathised with this girl, I just want to be like an older sister to her. You can check out my review for some incoherent ramblings on this amazing start which I think will become one of my favourite series ever.

And there we have it, six characters I’d like to go and get coffee with (though I’d definitely be ordering tea). This was way more difficult than I thought it would be. Hope you are all well and having a great weekend (I am still waiting for my COVID test results, so still self-isolating. I think it’ll be negative because my cough is very nearly better).

Playlist: The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue

It’s October – you know what that means? The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue publishes this month! Are you excited? This is my favourite book of all time and I can’t wait to read it again. You can see my review of the eARC here where I gush about all the reasons I love it so much. I’m also really excited for the movie that was just announced – with none other than V.E. Schwab herself as the screenwriter.

Since I already posted a review, I thought I’d try something new in the spirit of Blogtober and create a 15-song playlist of music that reminds me of this book. No explanations, just the tracks. So here we go. Sorry there’s not much artist variety, I go through music phases and since Folklore came out I basically haven’t stopped listening to Taylor Swift. I even did a folklore book tag!

  1. Find Me – Sigma, Birdy
  2. Peace – Taylor Swift
  3. Open Your Heart – Birdy
  4. Cardigan – Taylor Swift
  5. (Un)Lost – The Maine
  6. Last Kiss – Taylor Swift
  7. What a Difference a Day Made – Jamie Cullum
  8. Wildest Dreams – Taylor Swift
  9. Liability – Lorde
  10. Halo – Beyonce
  11. Making the Most of the Night – Carly Rae Jepsen
  12. Youth – Foxes
  13. Hurricane – MS MR
  14. Warmth – Bastille (acoustic version on YouTube please!!)
  15. Soul Survivor – Rita Ora

Yes, my music taste is basic af, and I don’t think any songs could truly capture how much this book spoke to my soul.

Got any music recommendations? Whether they remind you of Addie LaRue or not, drop them in the comments.

P.S. I have a nasty persistent cough and I’m waiting on [redacted] home-test results. No fever & I can still smell and taste things, but better to be safe!

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?

WWW Wednesday (26th August 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!

What are you currently reading?

I am currently reading The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern for the second time. It’s one of the most unique books I have ever come across, and is such a beautiful novel full of stories within stories. I highly recommend it if you like Strange the Dreamer and books written like it, because it’s so dreamy and whimsical with gorgeous writing.

What did you recently finish reading?

Only the best book I’ve ever read? The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab, which I was very lucky to receive an eARC of recently. It has some of the most beautiful quotes ever, made me feel things no book ever has, and broke my heart over and over. This is not one to miss and is Schwab’s best work in my opinion!

What do you think you’ll read next?

I got sidetracked with my re-read of The Starless Sea, so I’m thinking that Ace of Shades and King of Fools will be next so I can go in fresh to Queen of Volts. I can’t wait to see how Amanda Foody ends this trilogy!

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

ARC Review: The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue

I can’t even begin to describe how this book made me feel. Understood? Seen? Nothing has ever quite got me like The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue. I have enjoyed V.E. Schwab’s other books, but they’ve never hit my quite like this. There is something special here, and I am going to treasure this feeling for a while!

Rating: 5 stars (the best 5 stars I have ever given)

So what is this beautiful book about? Addie LaRue, a 23 year old woman from a small village in France, makes a pact with the devil in order to save herself from an unhappy life tied-down going nowhere. She trades her soul for immortality, but there’s a catch – everyone she meets will forget her almost as soon as she leaves them. One day, she meets a boy in a bookstore who remembers her, and everything changes.

I honestly can’t explain why I love it so much. The words spoke to me in a way that hasn’t happened since Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor. I was gripped with Addie’s character immediately and couldn’t get enough. And then along came Henry, a character that I love with all my heart, who I see myself in, who I just want to give the biggest hug. Reading his chapters had me in pieces, and with his entrance to the story the book became the best thing I’ve read.

It’s not just the characters – the plot is intricate, spanning multiple time periods and settings across the world. The writing is absolutely V.E. Schwab’s best work and the standard is already high. I feel like this is a more personal story which elevated it about her others for me. It is deep, I can already imagine the details a second read will reveal.

My heart hurts but I am also so happy to have read this book. Huge thanks to V.E. Schwab for writing this masterpiece that will be very hard to forget. I can’t wait t get my hardback version to really treasure those pages. Thanks to NetGalley and Titan Books for the advance copy.

You can find a review from my friend Meaghan over at Paragraphs and Pages here.