Book Review: Gallant by V.E. Schwab

Goodreads: Gallant
Publisher: Titan Books
Published: 01 March 2022
Genre: Young Adult Gothic Fantasy

Panda Rating:

(4 pandas)

Everything casts a shadow. Even the world we live in. And as with every shadow, there is a place where it must touch. A seam, where the shadow meets its source.

Olivia Prior has grown up in Merilance School for girls, and all she has of her past is her mother’s journal—which seems to unravel into madness. Then, a letter invites Olivia to come home—to Gallant. Yet when Olivia arrives, no one is expecting her. But Olivia is not about to leave the first place that feels like home, it doesn’t matter if her cousin Matthew is hostile or if she sees half-formed ghouls haunting the hallways.

Olivia knows that Gallant is hiding secrets, and she is determined to uncover them. When she crosses a ruined wall at just the right moment, Olivia finds herself in a place that is Gallant—but not. The manor is crumbling, the ghouls are solid, and a mysterious figure rules over all. Now Olivia sees what has unraveled generations of her family, and where her father may have come from.

Olivia has always wanted to belong somewhere, but will she take her place as a Prior, protecting our world against the Master of the House? Or will she take her place beside him? 

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#TopTenTuesday: 10 Romances I Want to Read ASAP!

So, we’re back with another Top Ten Tuesday, a weekly meme hosted by Jana @ That Artsy Reader Girl. This week’s prompt is: Love Freebie (come up with your own topic having to do with love).

I was planning on doing something a little more fun with this freebie today but time got away from me at the weekend and last night saw a family emergency that had me up until 6am only to start work at 9am and so… I’m exhausted! Therefore, I’m keeping this short, sweet and maybe a little boring with a list of ten romances I’m really looking forward to reading ASAP. I discovered the majority of these thanks to Nick who keeps my romance TBR fully stocked at all times and I’m here for it! 😍

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#TopTenTuesday: New to Me Authors I Discovered in 2021

So, we’re back with another Top Ten Tuesday, a weekly meme hosted by Jana @ That Artsy Reader Girl. This week’s prompt is: New to Me Authors I Discovered in 2021

If you’ve seen my yearly wrap up or read any of my ‘favourites’ posts for my 2021 reads, none of these authors (or books) will be a surprise. I didn’t really keep proper track of it but I’m pretty sure that the majority of the books I read last year were by new-to-me authors and I enjoyed a lot of them! Since the majority of my reads were romance I’ve grouped the authors into genres: first, everything else (including fantasy, mystery, contemporary) followed by romance. Also, this is a list of 15 authors because it was too hard to narrow it down more and this is actually already quite narrowed down! 😂

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2021 End of Year Book Survey: Part I

It’s that time of the year again and I’m keen to look back on my year of reading with The End of Year Book Survey originally created by Jamie @ The Perpetual Page Turner. Since this is a bit of a longer recap I’ve split the survey into two, combining parts 2+3 but that’ll also be going up later this week! And on that note, let’s dive straight in:

Screenshot of My Year in Books - 2021 from Goodreads. Image shows an open book with the text My Year in Books below it. Followed by: 62,038 pages read, 199 books read

Number of books read: 199
Number of pages read: 62,038
Number of re-reads: 3 (Illuminae, Gemina, Aurora Rising)
Genre(s) you read the most from: Romance and Fantasy

This is the first time I’ve checked the details of my reading stats on Goodreads but I love to see it! Interesting to see just how few 5-star reads I had in 2021—I know I had a few but I didn’t realise it was so few either! 😅 Despite that, my average rating was 3.7 this year, which is a surprisingly minor difference from 3.8 last year!

Goodreads status: 2021 Reads, ranking tier from 5 stars to 1 star and unrated reads.

Best book you read in 2021?

I really don’t think I can pick one for this prompt. I’m sorry! I made a Top 10 list but if I had to narrow it down to a Top 3 I think I’d pick: Jade City, The Goddess of Nothing at All, The Death of Vivek Oji, The Love Hypothesis and The Ones We’re Meant to Find.


Book you were excited about & thought you were going to love more but didn’t?

I buddy read Jade Fire Gold with Becky and unfortunately, we both didn’t end up loving it. It had potential but it fell short; the whole time I wanted more and sadly, we didn’t get it by the end.


Most surprising (in a good way or bad way) book you read? 

I decided to look at a book that surprised me in a good way! I struggle with anthologies/short story collections but I really enjoyed Up All Night: 13 Stories Between Sunset and Sunrise. Lots of fun, feel good, nostalgic YA stories that gave me the warm fuzzies 🥰


Book you “pushed” the most people to read (and they did)?

Hmm… This is a tough one. I’m not sure that I managed to convince anyone to read anything that I gushed about? 😂 But the books I’m quite sure pushed the most were these three: Jade City, The Goddess of Nothing at All, and Sing Anyway! All were brilliant. *chefs kiss*

Book cover: Jade City
Book cover: The Goddess of Nothing at All
Book cover: Sing Anyway

Best series you started in 2021? Best Sequel? Best Series Ender of 2021?

Six Crimson Cranes

Book cover: Six Crimson Cranes

I love Lim’s writing and world-building and I’m so happy this story was gorgeous as its cover!

Jade War

Book cove: Jade War

I didn’t think it could get better than Jade City, but this sequel blew my mind!

Subtle Blood

Book cover: Subtle Blood

This was a great ending to an amazing series. I adore this queer historical mystery/ romance!


Favourite new author you discovered in 2021?

Ooh, there are so many new favourites including: Fonda Lee, Martha Wells, Adrian Tchaikovsky, Holly Jackson, KJ Charles, Brighton Walsh, Ali Hazelwood, Lucy Parker, Anita Kelly and Danielle L. Jensen.


Best book from a genre you don’t typically read/was out of your comfort zone?

Kept from Cages

Dark SFF is not usually my jam but this had a compelling mystery, intriguing powers and awesome characters! 😍

Shards of Earth

I don’t read much adult sci-fi but this book was wow! The world-building was amazing and the characters grew on me quickly. I became very *invested* 👀


Most action-packed/thrilling/unputdownable book of the year?

The Bridge Kingdom series was one of my more recent reads and I sped through this so quickly I surprised myself! The action steadily escalated, the romance became deliciously angsty and I adored every moment of it. 😍


I think I’d re-read Silver in the Wood before starting the next book in the series.


Favourite cover of a book you read in 2021?

So so many but here are a few:


Most memorable character of 2021?

Art by: C.J. Merwild

Just like last year, this year’s favourite is not just one person but one family from The Green Bone Saga! After craving fan art all year, I’m so glad so much exists now. This family portrait by C.J. Merwild is my favourite. Everyone’s just so freaking stunning—I can’t 🥲


Most beautifully written book read in 2021?

There were two books tied for this but A People’s History of Heaven won by a small margin. The prose flowed like magic. Subramanian really knows how to give life to her words because I was able to vividly picture everything!


Most thought-provoking/life-changing book of 2021?

Hmm… Well, I wouldn’t necessarily say that Before the Coffee Gets Cold was life-changing but it did make me think a lot about time and life, changes and chances. This hit really deep emotionally!


Book you can’t believe you waited until 2021 to finally read? 

I honestly can’t believe I didn’t read A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder before this year! I loved Poppy and the mystery had me hooked until the very end!


Favourite passage/quote from a book you read in 2021?

“Everyone loses their way at some point, and it’s not just because of their mistakes or the decisions they make. It’s because they’re horribly, wonderfully human. And the one thing I’ve learned about being human is that we can’t do this alone. When we’re lost, we need help to try to find our way again.”

T.J. Klune, Under the Whispering Door

Shortest & Longest book you read in 2021?

Shortest: 52 pages (Surrender: An Erotic Short)
Longest: 672 pages (Gemina (The Illuminae Files #2))


Book that shocked you the most

Credence was pretty taboo and it definitely won’t be for everyone but it wasn’t the forbidden elements that shocked me. It was more how much I enjoyed the story! 😂


OTP OF THE YEAR (you will go down with this ship!)

I didn’t even have to take a second to think about it: Olive and Adam from The Love Hypothesis. They’re so precious and aah, I squee thinking about them! 😍

Honourary mentions: Sylvie & Dom (Battle Royal), Lara & Aren (The Bridge Kingdom), Will & Kim (The Will Darling Adventures), Gianna & Christian (The Maddest Obsession), Mac & Hudson (Captain Heartbreaker)


Favourite non-romantic relationship of the year

I loved the ride or die friendship between Olive and Lucy. Their relationship was my favourite aspect of this Love & Hate series.


Favourite book you read in 2021 from an author you’ve read previously

Chloe Liese is one of my favourite romance authors and I adored both books by her that I read this year: Ever After Always and With You Forever.


Best book you read in 2021 that you read based solely on a recommendation from somebody else/peer pressure/bookstagram, etc.

I’d seen a few of the Havenbrook series covers circulate on book Twitter throughout the year and all the threads gushed about how awesome they were so of course I had to find out for myself! It’s become one of my favourite small-town romance series and I can’t wait to read more by Brighton Walsh in 2022!


Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2021?

Ooh, this is a toughie. I read so many romances with swoontastic heroes that swept me off my love-drunk feet! I’m gonna do my best to narrow it down to a Top 5… I was a sucker for Zaf, Adam, Dominic, Hudson and Rahul! 😍😍😍😍😍


Best 2021 debut you read?

I still can’t believe The Hand of the Sun King was a debut with its immaculate world-building and stunning prose! The Love Hypothesis is also another stunner of a debut and I can’t wait to read more by Hazelwood ASAP!


Best world-building/most vivid setting you read this year?

I only read a few fantasies this year but I would have to say The Green Bone Saga books had the best world-building. It’s so intricate and vivid that I felt like I was there experiencing it myself!


Book that put a smile on your face/was the most fun to read?

Chef’s Kiss was one of the only graphic novels that I read in 2021 and I was constantly smiling as I read! It was so cute and relatable and ah, happy heart sighs. 🥰


Book that made you cry or nearly cry in 2021?

I’m an emotional reader so once I become invested in characters and their stories, it doesn’t take much to make me laugh, cry, scream at all the injustice… Anyway, it’s safe to say I cry easily while reading but these are the books that made me ugly cry.


Hidden gem of the year?

I feel like I haven’t seen enough people talk about Skin of the Sea in 2021 and it’s a gorgeous YA fantasy debut that deserves all the love!


Book that crushed your soul?

The soul-crushing honour definitely goes to The Goddess of Nothing at All. This book absolutely wrecked me and I felt so bereft when it ended 😭 (and obviously I mean all of this in the best way)!


Most unique book you read in 2021?

I can’t remember the last time I read a story from an animal perspective and Pighearted was a heartwarming story about family and belonging, told partially through the eyes of J6, a little pig who thought he was human. So cute!


Book that made you the most mad (doesn’t necessarily mean you didn’t like it)?

As Good As Dead took a turn that I really didn’t expect or wish for the main character and it frustrated me because why was she done like this?! I don’t mean it in a bad way either but just in a heartbreaking way, I guess?


And that’s a wrap on part 1!

2021 was a pretty weird reading year. I read more than I did in 2020 but I also feel like I read less impactful or memorable books too—or more like they left less of an impression on me? I’m still pretty happy with what I read though and I’m looking forward to (hopefully) more amazing reads in 2022!

How was your year of reading in 2021? Did you do the End of Year Book Survey too? What was your favourite book(s)? What about the book that surprised you the most?

Book Review: The Plight Before Christmas by Kate Stewart

Goodreads: The Plight Before Christmas
Published: 19 December 2021
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Panda Rating:

(4 pandas)

Clark Griswold was onto something, at least with his annual holiday meltdown. And since the last three weeks of my life have been riddled with humbug—another breakup, a broken toe, an office promotion I deserved and didn’t get—I’m not at all in the mood to celebrate nor have the happ, happ, happiest Christmas EVER.

When Mom insisted that we all gather at my Grandparent’s ancient cabin for an old school family Christmas, I fully intended to get into the holiday spirit with the help of the three wise men, Johnnie Walker, Jack Daniels, and Jim Beam. But those boys did absolutely nothing to offset the shock or temper the sting of seeing my EX on our doorstep the first day of our holiday soiree.

Apparently, Santa missed the memo, and this elf is pissed.
Stuck for a week with the man who obliterated my heart nearly two decades ago, I did the only thing I could do and put on my game face, thankful for the home advantage.

I knew better than to drink that last cup of eggnog.
I knew better than to get tongue tangled beneath the mistletoe with the only man to ever break my heart.
I knew better than to sleep with Satan’s wingman on the eve of the Lord’s birthday.

I could blame the nog. I could blame the deceitful light blue eyes, thick, angelic hair, and panty evaporating smirk…but mostly, I blame Eli because he always knew exactly which of my buttons to push.

I foolishly thought a family Christmas filled with nostalgia was going to turn my inner Scrooge around, but this year’s festivities went up in flames. Leave it to the ghost of my Christmas past to be the one to light the match.

Fa la la la la, la FML. 

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Book Review: Take A Hint, Dani Brown by Talia Hibbert

Goodreads: Take A Hint, Dani Brown (The Brown Sisters #2)
Publisher: Avon
Published: 23 June 2020
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Panda Rating:

(5 pandas)

Danika Brown knows what she wants: professional success, academic renown, and an occasional roll in the hay to relieve all that career-driven tension. But romance? Been there, done that, burned the T-shirt. Romantic partners, whatever their gender, are a distraction at best and a drain at worst. So Dani asks the universe for the perfect friend-with-benefits—someone who knows the score and knows their way around the bedroom.

When brooding security guard Zafir Ansari rescues Dani from a workplace fire drill gone wrong, it’s an obvious sign: PhD student Dani and ex-rugby player Zaf are destined to sleep together. But before she can explain that fact, a video of the heroic rescue goes viral. Now half the internet is shipping #DrRugbae—and Zaf is begging Dani to play along. Turns out, his sports charity for kids could really use the publicity. Lying to help children? Who on earth would refuse?

Dani’s plan is simple: fake a relationship in public, seduce Zaf behind the scenes. The trouble is, grumpy Zaf’s secretly a hopeless romantic—and he’s determined to corrupt Dani’s stone-cold realism. Before long, he’s tackling her fears into the dirt. But the former sports star has issues of his own, and the walls around his heart are as thick as his… um, thighs.

Suddenly, the easy lay Dani dreamed of is more complex than her thesis. Has her wish backfired? Is her focus being tested? Or is the universe just waiting for her to take a hint?

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Book Review: The Switch by Beth O’Leary

Goodreads: The Switch
Publisher: Quercus
Published: 16 April 2020
Genre: Contemporary Fiction, Romance

Panda Rating:

(4 pandas)

Leena is too young to feel stuck.
Eileen is too old to start over.
Maybe it’s time for The Switch…


Ordered to take a two-month sabbatical after blowing a big presentation at work, Leena escapes to her grandmother Eileen’s house for some overdue rest. Newly single and about to turn eighty, Eileen would like a second chance at love. But her tiny Yorkshire village doesn’t offer many eligible gentlemen… So Leena proposes a solution: a two-month swap. Eileen can live in London and look for love, and Leena will look after everything in rural Yorkshire. But with a rabble of unruly OAPs to contend with, as well as the annoyingly perfect – and distractingly handsome – local schoolteacher, Leena learns that switching lives isn’t straightforward. Back in London, Eileen is a huge hit with her new neighbours, and with the online dating scene. But is her perfect match nearer to home than she first thought?

It took me a while to get around to it but I’m so glad that I finally picked up The Switch. I buddy read this with Leslie @ Books Are The New Black and it was so much fun! It made me wonder why I didn’t do buddy reads more when it’s so great to have someone to gush and whine to while reading 😂 We both tried to pace ourselves but we ended up devouring this book because it was so easy and mostly enjoyable to read! Don’t forget to check out Leslie’s review! This has, without a doubt, cemented O’Leary in my auto-buy and favourite authors list because she definitely knows how to write those feel-good heartwarming stories that leave you wanting more. 🥰

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#TopTenTuesday: New-to-Me-Authors from 2020…

So, we’re back with another Top Ten Tuesday, a weekly meme hosted by Jana @ That Artsy Reader Girl. This week’s prompt is: New-to-Me Authors I Read in 2020 (if you didn’t read 10 new authors, that’s fine! Just do what you can)

I thought this was gonna be hard because my memory fails me but I took a quick look at my 2020 reading challenge and had to give myself a smack upside the head because the majority of the books I read last year were by new to me authors. 😂 If you’ve seen my December monthly wrap up and my 2020 yearly wrap up none of these titles will come as a surprise because I’ve mentioned some of them quite a few times (*cough* House in the Cerulean Sea *cough*), but all of these books and authors deserve to be read so I won’t stop gushing about them! Also, I’m mentioning 15 authors because there were so many new and amazing discoveries! 😍

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2020 End of Year Book Survey: Part I

HAPPY NEW YEAR, FRIENDS! 🥳

Sorry I’ve been a bit MIA over the last week. My desire to do the absolute bare minimum took over and I’ve done nothing but read (and game) since my last day of full-time work on Wednesday! It’s been grand but okay, it’s time to hop back on the horse! In my typical disorganised fashion, I’ve saved up all the “ending 2020″/wrap up posts for the first week of January, so if you’re sick of looking at wrap up posts now is the time to quit reading 😅

The End of Year Book Survey was originally created by Jamie @ The Perpetual Page Turner. It’s a bit of a long one and when I did this for the first time in 2019, I split it into three parts, though I think for 2020 I’ll split it into two (combining two and three as they’re shorter)! On that note, let’s dive straight in:

Number of Books Read: 160
Number of Re-reads: 2 (Scythe, Thunderhead)
Genre(s) You Read THE Most From: Young Adult Fantasy, Romance

Best Book You Read in 2020?

I’ve been thinking this over a fair bit since making my top ten favourites but after some thought, I think the best book I read was The House in the Cerulean Sea.


Book You Were Excited About &
Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?

Oh, it pains me to say it but… Kingdom of the Wicked. I did enjoy parts of it and gave it ★★★ but I thought I’d for sure love it, and then ended up feeling on the fence about it. I’m pretty sure this is more “it’s me and not the book” though because I also ended up feeling “so-so” about SJTR.


Most surprising (in a good way or bad way) book you read? 

One of my December reads was the non-fiction Bad Blood and even knowing how praised it is, I was surprised by how I sped through it. I’ve got a mixed relationship with NF as most of the time I find them a bit of a slog to get through but I devoured this book in a span of 8ish hours? It was intense. It was amazing. I would definitely recommend it (especially the audiobook)!


Book You “Pushed” The Most People To Read (And They Did)?

I think it’s a tie between two books and they’ll come as no surprise either. Plus, I don’t know if I’d say I “pushed” people to read them and also, I doubt it was me who convinced them to read them in the end? 😂 But I didn’t stop raving about both The House in the Cerulean Sea and Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow and often highly recommended them!


Best series you started in 2020? Best Sequel? Best Series Ender of 2020?

Oof… The best series started is so freaking hard to pick because there were so many that I started and absolutely loved this year… How am I supposed to choose?! 😩 I think I’m just gonna have to go with the first one two three (cough) that popped into my head and that’s The Poppy War, The Kinder Poison and Amari and the Night Brothers. (I’m sorry it’s so hard to choose okay!!!)

For best sequel I’m going with Wundersmith: The Calling of Morrigan Crow, which is book two in the Nevermoor series! For the series ender, I’m choosing Unravel the Dusk because it was a really satisfying conclusion to a beautiful duology.


FavoUrite new author you discovered in 2020?

I don’t think I can just choose one for this because I read so many books by new-to-me-authors that it’d be really impossible for me to pick one. I refuse. So here are some of my new faves: T.J. Klune, Jessica Townsend, Talia Hibbert, Chloe Liese, Kate Stewart, Teagan Hunter, Devri Walls, R.F. Kuang, Zoraida Cordova, June Hur. Basically, these authors are or are close to being auto-buys for me! 😂


Best book from a genre you don’t typically read/was out of your comfort zone?

Hmm… I think I’m going to also pick two books for this one. The first being Bad Blood, as I already mentioned this was a fantastic non-fiction and I’d highly recommend it especially if you like true crime. The second is Children. Although this is fantasy, it was pretty dark and different to what I usually read. It was definitely out of my comfort zone but Larssen’s writing and characterisation were exquisite!


Most action-packed/thrilling/unputdownable book of the year?

I think this one goes to Amari and the Night Brothers. This was packed with action from the go and it was an absolutely thrilling adventure from start to finish. It was so much fun and 100% unputdownable (for me), and I can’t wait for the world to experience its awesomeness when it’s out this month (Jan 2021)!


While I can pick more than one, I don’t tend to re-read very often so it’s gonna be With the Fire On High. Acevedo’s writing is so evocative and Emoni’s story was so beautiful and touching. Not to mention the recipes and all the talk about food made me crazy hungry. I definitely want to re-read it!


Favorite cover of a book you read in 2020?

I’m not even going to pretend that I can pick just one favourite cover because there were so many that were gorgeous and I refuse to choose ONE. 🤣 So, feast your eyes on some gorgeous covers:


Most memorable character of 2020?

Art by: EXY Fanart

Surprise surprise, I think I’m gonna go with… The cast of my favourite book this year! I loved Linus, Arthur and all the kids in this book. They won my heart big time ❤️


Most beautifully written book read in 2020?

Ooh, this one was a really tough pick but in the end I think Words in Deep Blue takes this one. This book was so deeply touching. It was beautifully written and made me feel ALL THE FEELS. It’s a gorgeous book!


Most Thought-Provoking/ Life-Changing Book of 2020?

These books really made me think a lot about history and the society we live in, especially with the murder of George Floyd. The Nickel Boys and The Black Kids are really important, impactful and timely reads that are so worth your time!


Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2020 to finally read? 

I have a tendency to put off hyped books (or, well, many books but mostly hyped ones) because the hype is intimidating a lot of the time, but I was so annoyed with myself for putting off reading Well Met until earlier this year. It’s SUCH a great romance! The banter, the character development, the faire! I loved it so much and can’t wait to read the next book set in this town!


FavoUrite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2020?

“Words matter, in fact. They’re not pointless, as you’ve suggested. If they were pointless, then they couldn’t start revolutions and they wouldn’t change history. If they were just words, we wouldn’t write songs or listen to them. We wouldn’t beg to be read to as kids. If they were just words, then stories wouldn’t have been around since before we could write. We wouldn’t have learned to write. If they were just words, people wouldn’t fall in love because of them, feel bad because of them, ache because of them, and stop aching because of them.”

Cath Crowley, Words in Deep Blue

Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2020?

Shortest: 56 pages (The Straw King)
Longest: 631 pages (The Toll)


Book That Shocked You The Most

It’s not just the brutality of certain scenes that shocked me in The Poppy War but I was also shocked by how much I loved it! This was definitely one heckuva dark read, especially as the story goes on, as Kuang does not shy away from the gruesome details of war. But it’s brilliant writing!


OTP OF THE YEAR (you will go down with this ship!)

Omg, why is this so hard? Lol I mean, there were so many wonderful couples that I would do this for like Ren & Frankie, Citra & Rowan, Meg & Reid, Yadriel & Julian, and Chloe & Red because I love all their loves… But I think Maia & Edan take the OTP cake this year! So swoon. *sigh*


FavoUrite Non-Romantic Relationship Of The Year

I’m a sucker for the found-family trope and strong friendships, and there were some really great ones in the books I read this year but I have to say that my favourites were from Nevermoor. The relationship between Juniper and Morrigan and also the friendship between Morrigan and Hawthorne filled my heart with such joy and warmth. These relationships made me fall even more in love with this book/series!


FavoUrite Book You Read in 2020 From An Author You’ve Read Previously

Vengeful. I love Schwab and I honestly wasn’t expecting to love Vengeful more than I loved Vicious because that book was *chefs kiss*. It was so great to come back to the devious characters I loved in the first book and I can’t wait to see what else Schwab has in store for these ‘Villains’.


Best Book You Read In 2020 That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else/Peer Pressure/Bookstagram, Etc.

Get A Life, Chloe Brown/The Brown Sisters series has been hyped everywhere (blogosphere, bookstagram, book twitter, booktube) and y’know what? Even though I’ve only read Chloe’s story, I know the praise is so well deserved. The banter, the romance, the diversity, the disability rep, THE STEAMINESS *fans self*. Ooh, I can’t wait to continue the series!


Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2020?

Ryder from Only When It’s Us. Um, yes, hello. THIS GUY. Ryder had me from the beginning even at peak broody mountain-man mode. That gruff exterior but soft interior is such a weakness for me. But I loved the disability rep in this book (and the series overall). Also, there’s this scene that involves Ryder + Pride & Prejudice and oh my heart, how I melted and swooned! 😂


Best 2020 debut you read?

It’s honestly hard to believe that The Silence of Bones is June Hur’s debut because it is so beautifully done. I’ve never read a book set in 1800s Joseon Dynasty Korea but the writing made it so easy to picture the historical setting perfectly. The inclusion of the sociopolitical climate of the time was intriguing and the mystery kept me on my toes! Plus, this cover? I LOVE! 😍


Best World building/Most Vivid Setting You Read This Year?

There are three books in the Venators series (so far) and Walls amps up the world building with each book we read and it’s done amazingly. I love that we get to explore so many different areas of this world in such great detail. It’s so easy to picture it all coming to life before my eyes and it doesn’t hurt that the characters and plot are fantastic as well!


Book That Put A Smile On Your Face/Was The Most FUN To Read?

The Good for Nothings was such a treat to read and I’m so glad it got put on my radar! It had me laughing out loud so often because the characters, their banter and their many shenanigans were so entertaining. This was a fast-paced, action-packed space drama that I absolutely loved!


Book That Made You Cry Or Nearly Cry in 2020?

I’m just a *bit* of an emotional reader (read: a big one) so it actually isn’t that hard to make me cry 🤣 Haha what can I say, I’m weak with the emotions! The book that probably made me cry hardest was The House in the Cerulean Sea because FEELS, but also The Invincible Summer of Juniper Jones, The Mountains Sing and The Poppy War made me pretty freaking weepy, too! 😅


Hidden Gem Of The Year?

I’m shouting four books that I really enjoyed reading this year (I gave all of them 4-5 stars) but haven’t seen a lot of on the blogosphere. I haven’t spent *that much* time on bookstagram or booktube so I don’t know if they were mentioned there, but I think all of these deserve much more attention: Tristan Strong Punches A Hole in the Sky, The Silence of Bones, The Puppetmaster’s Apprentice, and The Kinder Poison.


Book That Crushed Your Soul?

I really think it’s gonna be The Poppy War. I mean, this book just forking devastated me emotionally especially towards the end. It was… Wow. A lot. It was definitely worth it though! LOL


Most Unique Book You Read In 2020?

Oh, easily the biggest standout for this is Big Girl, Small Town. This was easily the most unique book I read in 2020 especially because it combines so many elements that tend to frustrate me in books, but instead I ended up loving this and the MC, Majella. I learned a lot about The Troubles and the simple, every day life in Northern Ireland. It also made me ridiculously hungry!


Book That Made You The Most Mad
(doesn’t necessarily mean you didn’t like it)?

There were actually a few books that made me quite mad this year and I loved all of them! I got mad at the blatant discrimination and bullying in these books, especially when it’s directed towards a child by the “adults” in the book. I wonder that I can still be surprised at the cruelty of humans when terrible and infuriating situations happen so often (even IRL)!


And that’s a wrap, folks!

Oof, despite all the crazy that happened this year, there’s no doubt that some really amazing books were read and many new favourites were discovered. I’m really hoping that 2021 will continue to be an amazing year for books and blogging! Stay tuned for part 2 & 3 of the End of Year survey which I’ll hopefully post tomorrow! 😉 Hope you’re doing well, taking care and staying safe, friends! ❤️

How was your year of reading? Did you do the End of Year Book Survey too? Have you read any of these books? Any favourites?