Monthly Wrap Up – February 2021

By popular demand on Twitter, I started reading The Priory of the Orange Tree, which means I didn’t get round to reading much else when it came to my physical TBR! However, I did continue on my goal to get through my entire NetGalley shelf (which would be going a lot better, if I stopped requesting books even before I finish the one I’m reading!).

Books read this month

This month I read a total of 7 books (3 physical and 4 ebooks)

  1. My Brother by Karin Smirnoff (ARC)
  2. The Swimmers by Marian Womack (ARC)
  3. Little Gods by Meng Jin (ARC)
  4. The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon 
  5. Tender is the Flesh by Augustina Bazterrica 
  6. Dear Child by Romy Hausmann (ARC)
  7. Breasts and Eggs by Mieko Kawakami

Favourite books read this month

Little Gods by Meng Jin
This February release is a wonderful novel about identity and motherhood which I adored. Jin has a wonderful way of being able to craft realistic characters with a real depth, not just through the character’s perspective but through using the perspectives of other characters too. A perfect way to illustrate the layers of a single person and how easy it is to have many faces.

The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon
This 800 page beast of a novel is an absolute delight to read and the perfect fantasy escape from the world. Shannon has created a new classic of the genre with a whole cast of very different characters and a world that has so much history and lore that it felt very, very real. Also this novel has dragons, need I say more?

Tender is the Flesh by Augstina Bazterrica
Bazterrica offers a whole new way of looking at dystopian fiction with this short, but brutal, novel. This deliciously dark and addictive read is definitely not one for the faint of heart, but if you have the stomach for a special kind of slaughterhouse then this is definitely not a novel that you want to sleep on!

Breasts and Eggs by Mieko Kawakami
Kawakami presents a very interesting perspective on what it is like to be a woman in modern Japan. From the extremes that some women go to in order to meet their impossibly high expectations of beauty (I had no idea bleaching nipples was a thing until I read this book) to the perception of women without a family (a husband or child). It was such a refreshing, and eye-opening, read.

How did your February shape up? Did you make a good dent in your TBR or would you rather forget February happened?

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Monthly Wrap Up – January 2021

Hello everyone! Welcome to my first wrap up of 2021! I spent most of the month trying to get on top of my ARCs and blog tours which I’ve nearly done so then I can start to make a dent in my physical TBR pile! Also this month I set up a small, private, Discord server so if I have any mutuals interested in joining please DM me on Twitter!

Books read this month

This month I read a total of 10 books (4 physical and 6 ebooks)

  1. The Shape of Darkness by Laura Purcell (ARC / Blog Tour)
  2. Fable by Adrienne Young (ARC)
  3. Now You’re One of Us by Asa Nonami
  4. Gratitude by Delphine de Vigan (Publisher sent)
  5. The Invitation by Katie Webster (ARC / Blog Tour)
  6. A Burning by Megha Majumdar (ARC) 
  7. Crow Court by Andy Charman (ARC / Blog Tour) 
  8. Light Perpetual by Francis Spufford (ARC)
  9. Of Magpies and Men by Ode Ray (ARC) 
  10. Pine by Francine Toon

Favourite books read this month

The Shape of Darkness by Laura Purcell
Not only was this my first read of the year but it was also my first five star read of the year too! I loved the way Purcell crafted such a tense and mysterious atmosphere. It felt like a perfect marriage of contemporary fiction and classic gothic fiction. I was fascinated by how different all the characters were and I loved all the dark twists and turns this story took. 

Now You’re One of Us by Asa Nonami
My first Japanese fiction of the year was very dark and slightly disturbing… and I loved it. The entire novel was unsettling and it keeps you on edge as the mystery slowly unravels on the creepy family that Noriko has married into, which stays with you long after you’ve finished the book.

Gratitude by Delphine de Vigan
This was my first book mail of 2021 and I’m so grateful this was sent to me by Bloomsbury as otherwise I may have missed this one all together! Gratitude is a lovely, bittersweet, novella which has a lot of heart and contains a very important message – one that is vital to remember, especially after the events of the past year.

A Burning by Megha Majumdar
A Burning is another powerful novel which highlights the injustices that occur in India, especially against young women and Muslims. The three characters that this novel focuses on are so fascinating to read and you genuinely can’t help but feel strongly (either positively or negatively) about them. This is a novel that I urge you to read as it will open your eyes.

How did your January go? Was it a good start to 2021? Let me know in the comments!

www.blackwells.co.uk

Monthly Wrap Up – December 2020

I can’t believe tomorrow is the last day of 2020, it’s insane to think about when how long this year felt back in the Spring! I hope you all managed to enjoy the holiday period despite the pandemic. I haven’t read as much this month which was to be expected with Christmas and New Year, plus I have been working on getting blog content ready for 2021, however I did still manage to read some great novels this month!

Books read this month

This month I read a total of 6 books (6 physical and 0 ebooks)

  1. The Burning God by R.F. Kuang
  2. The Glass Woman by Caroline Lea
  3. The Beast Player by Nahoko Uehashi
  4. Sorry It’s A Girl by A.A. Khan
  5. little scratch by Rebecca Watson
  6. Elantris by Brandon Sanderson

Favourite books read this month

The Burning God by R.F. Kuang
I doubt that this comes as a surprise as all as both of the instalments before this one have made it to this section in previous monthly wrap ups! As you can tell from my previous review, I could talk about this book for a while so I will keep this brief: this is a great end to the series. It was brilliant and bittersweet. I’m genuinely sad that this series is over but it has spurred me to read many more fantasy series in 2021!

The Beast Player by Nahoko Uehashi
This is one fantasy series that I will be continuing in 2021 after loving this first instalment. Although I’ve been reading more fantasy novels this year, I have been slightly disappointed with the lack of fantastical creatures in them (even if the novels were still great) so when I came across this novel all about fantastical beasts and caring for them I was thrilled. I loved the characters in this book and even though it is a title from Pushkin Children, it is one that I would encourage everyone to read no matter how old you are.

little scratch by Rebecca Watson
My full review of this novel will be coming out in a couple of weeks, so you’ll be able to see read my gushing then! Just know that this is a very challenging novel due to its content and the writing style and I loved every page of it. It’s a very raw and refreshing read that I’m still thinking about even now.

Elantris by Brandon Sanderson
In 2020 I rediscovered my love for fantasy novels and my last book of the year became one of my favourites of the year when I read Brandon Sanderson for the first time, after his books have been recommended to me for quite some time. Filled with brilliant characters in an expertly crafted world with such fascinating lore. I’m very excited to read more of his work in 2021.

Did you manage to get much reading in December? Was it a race to meet your reading challenge goal or did you fit in reading time around what festivities you were able to have? Let me know in the comments!

www.blackwells.co.uk

Monthly Wrap Up – November 2020

This month was slow starting for me in terms of reading, I’m not sure why but I was in a bit of a slump! Maybe it was because I was being good and not doing a monthly haul this month so I didn’t feel that I had to race through to get to my new books. It definitely picked up 

I’ve tried to focus more on blog tour books and review requests this month in the spirit of ‘Galleyathon’ – even if they didn’t all come from NetGalley specifically! 

Books read this month

This month I read a total of 13 books (7 physical and 6 ebooks)

  1. The Ruby Locket by Melissa Wray
  2. The Fathers, the Sons and the Anxious Ghost by Jamie Adams (Blog tour)
  3. Nevernight by Jay Kristoff 
  4. The Smallest Man by Frances Quinn (ARC / Blog tour)
  5. There’s No Such Thing As An Easy Job by Kikuko Tsumura
  6. The Inugami Curse by Seishi Yokomizo (ARC) 
  7. The Dragon Republic by R.F. Kuang
  8. The Decagon House Murders by Yukito Ayatsuji (ARC)
  9. Fae Child by Jane-Holly Meissner (Blog tour)
  10. Leave the World Behind by Rumaan Alam
  11. Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout
  12. Nothing Good Happens After Midnight edited by Jeffery Deaver (ARC / Blog tour)
  13. Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata
www.blackwells.co.uk

Favourite books read this month

Nevernight by Jay Kristoff
This is the first in the Nevernight chronicle series which is definitely one that I will be finishing after such a strong start! I adored this fantasy novel, I loved the world, the characters and the tone of the novel. I wasn’t expecting this novel to have as much humour in it as it does which I really loved. 

There’s No Such Thing As An Easy Job by Kikuko Tsumura
In this novel Tsumura brilliantly captures work burnout and jumping from job to job as a temp. I especially loved how each job wasn’t exactly what it seemed and there was some kind of mystery surrounding them. 

The Dragon Republic by R.F. Kuang
It’s no surprise that this made it onto this list as I loved The Poppy War. All the characters were wonderfully developed and you could clearly see how they were impacted from the first novel. This was a brilliant second instalment to the series and had me incredibly excited for the last novel The Burning God

The Decagon House Murders by Yukito Ayatsuji
I do love a good detective fiction novel and this is one of the best that I have ever read. It simultaneously feels like a classic detective fiction novel but it also feels very contemporary and subversive in some ways, despite the novel originally being published in the 1980s. 

Leave the World Behind by Rumaan Alam
I can’t remember the last time a book left me as unsettled as this one. Alam has such a way with words and tone that you feel suffocated from the very pages, yet you can’t help yourself but keep turning them. Alam also clearly understands people as his characters don’t feel like characters at all, but people you have met in passing instead. 

www.blackwells.co.uk

Monthly Wrap Up – October 2020

Firstly in non-book news, this month I got a new addition to my family! After several years I have finally adopted a kitten – Yuki! He’s three months old and 90% fluff, he loves attention and sleep. He also makes an excellent alarm clock as he demands breakfast from 5am every morning.

This month I changed things up a bit on my blog with a fresh new theme and I have dropped the WordPress from my domain! I’m so happy with the changes that I have made and feel this blog is much more me and what I envisioned the site to be when I first started up again. 

I also joined the ‘bookstagram’ community, so you can now find me over there too! Whilst I’m not new to Instagram, I am new to bookstagram so if you have any tips, then please let me know!

You’ll notice that this month I did endeavour to read spookier novels to get into the spirit of things. It was quite refreshing to change up genres for a bit and I’ll be sure to sprinkle in some of these reads throughout my year in future. 

Books read this month

This month I read a total of 14 books (8 physical books and 6 ebooks).

  1. The Mercies by Kiran Millwood Hargrave
  2. The Wolf and the Water by Josie Jaffrey (ARC)
  3. The Winter Duke by Claire Eliza Bartlett (ARC)
  4. Piranesi by Susanna Clarke
  5. Letters From the Dead by Sam Hurcom (ARC)
  6. Earthlings by Sayaka Murata (ARC)
  7. Where the Wild Ladies Are by Aoko Matsuda
  8. Dracula’s Child by J.S. Barnes
  9. A Touch of Death by Rebecca Crunden (Review request)
  10. The Ghost Tree by Christina Henry
  11. Mango Bay by Serena Fairfax (Blog tour)
  12. The Vegetarian by Han Kang
  13. The Dead of Winter by Nicola Upson (Blog tour)
  14. On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong
www.blackwells.co.uk

Favourite books read this month

Piranesi by Susanna Clarke
This is one of the most unique novels that I’ve read in a long time. It’s so mysterious and magical that it’s difficult to describe. For risk of saying anything that could be remotely deemed a spoiler, all I can do is urge you to check this novel out for yourselves – there’s nothing quite like it! 

Earthlings by Sayaka Murata
Whilst this is only a short novel, so much is packed into it and it left me speechless by the end. I had no idea what to expect and as each page passed I became more and more surprised and gripped. I loved how complex the characters were and their situations, it was a very refreshing read. 

Dracula’s Child by J.S. Barnes
This spiritual successor of Bram Stoker’s classic Dracula could easily have been a sequel that Bram Stoker had written himself. Barnes captures everything that makes Dracula great and creates a sensational story. I loved how this novel didn’t feel like a contemporary novel at all and how it was just as gripping, perhaps more so, than its predecessor. 

The Ghost Tree by Christina Henry
The Ghost Tree feels like a classic dark fairytale, despite it being set in 1980s America. When two girls are found brutally murdered the most shocking thing about this novel is how the town reacts to the fact. In this novel Henry has created a wonderfully unsettling community which leaves you feeling intensely uneasy. 

On Earth Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong 
This novel is a beautifully written letter from the protagonist to his mother. It is a brutally honest letter which covers many important topics that should be spoken about. Covering the Vietnam war, sexuality and racism, this novel doesn’t shy away from the difficulties some people faced and still face to this day. 

How was your October? Did you focus on spooky reads too or do you read them throughout the year? Let me know in the comments!

www.blackwells.co.uk

Monthly Wrap Up – September 2020

I can’t believe it’s time for another monthly wrap up already! This month I managed to complete my GoodReads goal of reading 70 books! This has been the most I have ever read in a single year, even before I had my book burnout, where I was just about managing to read one book a year, I never read more than 50 books. I’m not going to increase my goal as I’m just happy to see how the number ends up at the end of the year, but I’m still very pleased with how I’ve done!

As it was September, my Top Five Friday posts and my Thoughtful Thursday post was very much centred around university, regardless of whether you’re in your first year or last year. It was very nice to take a trip down memory lane, I hope the posts were useful to my student followers too!

This month I have read some amazing books, some of my favourites in the year so I feel very lucky with my book choices this month. 

Books read this month

This month I read a total of 12 books (7 physical books and 5 ebooks)

  1. Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell
  2. Jessicaca by Suzy Blackledge (Review Request)
  3. The Lost Soul Atlas by Zana Fraillon 
  4. Hagen’s Curse by James Emmi (Review Request)
  5. The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang 
  6. These Violent Delights by Chloe Gong (ARC)
  7. The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller
  8. The Broken Hearts Honeymoon by Lucy Dickens (ARC)
  9. Whistle in the Dark by Emma Healey
  10. The Discomfort of Evening by Marieke Lucas Rijneveld
  11. Crowned a Traitor by Kate Callaghan (ARC) 
  12. Before the Coffee Gets Cold by Toshikazu Kawaguchi
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Favourite books read this month

The Lost Soul Atlas by Zana Fraillon
This novel probably has one of my favourite friendships in a novel this year. I just completely adored Twig and Flea and could have read an entire series about their adventures. Additionally, this novel had so many unexpected twists and turns that it was a joy to read and I had no idea how it was going to end. 

The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang
You’ve probably seen a lot of people talk about The Poppy War by now and all I can say is that it deserves all of the praise that it has been getting. Kuang’s novel is such an amazing, albeit difficult at times, read and it has me excited to read the rest of the series. 

These Violent Delights by Chloe Gong
I’m a complete sucker for modern retellings of classic Shakespeare plays and this is easily one of my favourites that I’ve ever come across. Who knew that 1920s Shanghai would lend itself to be a perfect setting for such a classic tragic romance? Regardless of if you love or hate Romeo and Juliet, Gong’s These Violent Delights is definitely a novel you should look out for when it is released on 17 November 2020! 

The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller
I thought that Hamnet would win the award for most heartbreaking novel of the month, but then along came The Song of Achilles. I already knew, for the most part, the story of Achilles and Patroclus, but nothing could prepare me for this novel. I loved Miller’s interpretation of one of the best Greek heroes in mythology and offered some brilliant insight into some of the actions of some of the Iliad’s major players.

Before the Coffee Gets Cold by Toshikazu Kawaguchi
This book was such a delightful surprise, I wasn’t sure what to expect from a collection of stories set in a time travelling cafe. I knew I would enjoy it but within a few pages it became a favourite of the month. Each story was so touching for a variety of reasons and I felt myself tearing up multiple times. I’m very excited to read even more of the tales in the second book!

Lastly, on a different note, today is the last day of my current blog theme as over the weekend I will be taking the site offline whilst I update the theme and upgrade to a domain. I feel much more positive with this blog and blogging experience, than I ever did with my previous book blog. I’ve already been testing the changes (which will be fairly minor) on a test site and I’m very happy with the outcome and I’m excited to share the new look with you!

How has your month been? Are you sad Summer is over or excited Autumn is finally here? Let me know in the comments!

www.blackwells.co.uk