The Great Unhaul 2022: 20 Books I’m Donating Before I Move

As some of you may have seen in my Feb-March wrap up, I accepted a job offer last month and this means I’ll be moving to a new city in a few weeks’ time. It’s exciting, it’s scary, but it also means that it’s time for me to go through my bookcases and unhaul some things. Here are 20 books that I’ve decided to let go of:

  • The Near Witch – Victoria Schwab: This hurts because it’s a lovely hardcover (hardcovers are gold in Aus) and it’s signed! Yet, as much as I love Schwaby, The Near Witch didn’t do much for me. I appreciate it as her debut but I can see how far she’s come since.
  • Lore – Alexandra Bracken: I don’t have anything major against this book, but overall I was pretty apathetic towards it. I don’t think I’ll muster the energy to read a sequel. Probably due to my growing fatigue with repetitive YA fantasy stories and characters as I get older.
  • The Last Namsara – Kristen Ciccarelli: This one pains me because the sparkly cover is so pretty. Quite a lot of people really liked The Last Namsara but my reaction was lukewarm. The world-building was okay but the plot and romance didn’t do much to grab me. Goodbye, pretty sparkles.
  • Legend – Marie Lu: This is the kind of book I would have been nuts for had I read it at the time it came out. Reading it in 2019, though, my reaction was: it’s okay but nothing special. The characters were fine, the plot was fine, the rushed romance was unnecessary…I don’t know, I just need more these days. Time to unhaul.
  • When Dimple Met Rishi – Sandhya Menon: This wasn’t for me. It was nice to have a YA romance between 2 POC but I wasn’t a fan of the story and some of Dimple’s treatment of Rishi was…questionable. Almost want to keep it for that cheerful cover and orange spine, though.
  • Ready Player Two – Ernest Cline: While I love the cover & spine, there’s no way I’m re-reading this or recommending it to anyone. It’s just not very good, super disappointing considering it’s a sequel to a really fun read.
  • Chosen Ones – Veronica Roth: This wasn’t as bad as other reviewers made it sound, but it was definitely one of those books with a good concept and disappointing execution. It takes ages to get going and the characters are pretty eh. I have no plans to ever re-read it or read the sequel so to the unhaul pile it goes.
  • Girl Made of Stars – Ashley Herring Blake: This was a great YA contemporary that handled a challenging subject matter very well. The cover is lovely, too. However, it’s another YA book that I know I won’t re-read. Plus, there are other people who’ll benefit from having this more than me.
  • Stalking Jack the Ripper – Kerri Maniscalco: Why my pretty HARDBACKS? (As if I’m not in control of which ones go and stay). This book had a lot of potential, but it wasn’t what I was hoping for. I’ve often thought of giving the series a second chance but I think the time has come to let that idea go. These books were SUPER popular so maybe someone else will fall in love?
  • The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes – Suzanne Collins: For those of you familiar with my views on this book, I don’t need to offer an explanation for why it’s here. All I’ll say is BYEEEEEEEE!
  • All the Bright Places – Jennifer Niven: I had a mixed reaction to this book and I think it’s partially because I was expecting more based on how popular it was. For the most part, I enjoyed it and I appreciate that Niven took on some very difficult topics, however, I wasn’t a fan of the way they were handled. I don’t see myself revisiting this so off to a new home with you!
  • More Than We Can Tell – Brigid Kemmerer: I adored Letters to the Lost and while More Than We Can Tell was a decent read, I didn’t fall in love with the story or the characters in the same way. This was particularly the case for the female lead, Emma. I liked it but not enough to hang onto.
  • Slayer – Kiersten White: As big a Buffy fan as I am and as mildly enjoyable as I found this, I remember very little about it and I don’t think I’ll ever read the sequel now. The world-building is good but the pacing and the characters have their issues. Still, I’m sure there will be plenty of people who’ll enjoy this in all its monster-butt-kicking glory.
  • Mirage – Somaiya Daud: Are we sure I read this? Okay, yes, I know I read it but seriously, I have no memory of anything besides it being a dystopian fantasy The Princess Switch. Must have been okay if I gave it 3 stars. Regardless, it’s going to join the pile.
  • The Flame in the Mist – Renee Adhieh: Another 3 star YA fantasy that I have few memories of. I know this was a sort of Mulan retelling but Japanese? I also vaguely remember the story being a bit flat and not liking many of the characters. Basically, to the pile.
  • Insurgent – Veronica Roth: Don’t we all wish that the books after Divergent had simply not happened? I know I do.
  • Children of Blood and Bone – Tomi Adeyemi: I think I just heard a few people scream in horror. I’m sorry! The setting/world-building here was great but the characters and the plot didn’t really do it for me in the way I’d been expecting from the crazy hype train. Time to say goodbye (I’m definitely sad to lose that stunning cover).
  • Daughter of Smoke and Bone – Laini Taylor: I love Laini’s Strange the Dreamer duology but couldn’t muster the same enthusiasm for this series. I really liked the world-building, backstory and some of the characters but wasn’t a fan of the romance at all, which dominated the book. Not for me but maybe for someone else?
  • The Winner’s Curse – Marie Rutkoski: Another lovely looking hardback! It’s even got those fringed page edges! If only I were as fond of the content as I am the pretty cover. I ended up reading the sequel on kindle and found it slightly more enjoyable but I don’t really get the hype so unhaul it is.
  • Ash Princess – Laura Sebastian: I actually remember really enjoying this book, even though I knew it was like every other YA fantasy I’d read before. I even planned to read the sequel, which did not happen at all. Despite it being entertaining, like others on this list, I don’t see myself going back to it so it’s time to go.

Believe it or not, I’m unhauling more than double the number of books that I have listed here but because I’m trying not to actively bore you guys to tears, I thought 20 would suffice. I haven’t really done a proper clear-up of my shelves for a few years now and while it’s sad to be getting rid of things, I’ve realised I own a lot of books that I don’t really love and what’s the point of that? Despite the clean-out I still have multiple tightly packed boxes coming with me to my new place which I will get to lovingly reorganise.

What do you think of my unhaul? Are there any books listed here that you feel I’ve made a big mistake in letting go?

New to my Goodreads TBR: Adult Contemporary Romances

There was a time, eons ago, that I honestly believed I was cleaning up my ridiculously overstuffed TBR. And…now look at me. Why are there so many amazing sounding books out there, dying for me to read them??? Bookworming is hard, guys.

Lately I’ve been adding a lot of books to my TBR (look, once you start you head down a rabbit hole and it’s very difficult to stop) and the majority of them have either been thrillers or contemporary romances. So, I thought it might be nice to share with you some of the latter that I’ve recently discovered, just in case they’re something that catches your eye, too.


The Charm Offensive – Alison Cochrun

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Dev Deshpande has always believed in fairy tales. So it’s no wonder then that he’s spent his career crafting them on the long-running reality dating show Ever After. As the most successful producer in the franchise’s history, Dev always scripts the perfect love story for his contestants, even as his own love life crashes and burns. But then the show casts disgraced tech wunderkind Charlie Winshaw as its star.

Charlie is far from the romantic Prince Charming Ever After expects. He doesn’t believe in true love, and only agreed to the show as a last-ditch effort to rehabilitate his image. In front of the cameras, he’s a stiff, anxious mess with no idea how to date twenty women on national television. Behind the scenes, he’s cold, awkward, and emotionally closed-off.

As Dev fights to get Charlie to connect with the contestants on a whirlwind, worldwide tour, they begin to open up to each other, and Charlie realizes he has better chemistry with Dev than with any of his female co-stars. But even reality TV has a script, and in order to find to happily ever after, they’ll have to reconsider whose love story gets told.

An opposites attract, grumpy-sunshine, LGBTI, the-bachelor-reality-type-show romance book? Please, sign me the hell up already.


People We Meet on Vacation – Emily Henry

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Poppy and Alex. Alex and Poppy. They have nothing in common. She’s a wild child; he wears khakis. She has insatiable wanderlust; he prefers to stay home with a book. And somehow, ever since a fateful car share home from college many years ago, they are the very best of friends. For most of the year they live far apart—she’s in New York City, and he’s in their small hometown—but every summer, for a decade, they have taken one glorious week of vacation together. Until two years ago, when they ruined everything. They haven’t spoken since.

Poppy has everything she should want, but she’s stuck in a rut. When someone asks when she was last truly happy, she knows, without a doubt, it was on that ill-fated, final trip with Alex. And so, she decides to convince her best friend to take one more vacation together—lay everything on the table, make it all right. Miraculously, he agrees. Now she has a week to fix everything. If only she can get around the one big truth that has always stood quietly in the middle of their seemingly perfect relationship. What could possibly go wrong?

I read Emily Henry’s Beach Read last year and although I gave it 3.5 stars, it wasn’t my favourite romance ever. So, when I heard about PWMoV a while back I was originally like, eh, maybe later. As you can see, my attitude has now changed. Lately I’ve been seeing some great reviews from people I trust on this one and I can’t deny that the blurb is making me really want to read it, so why not?


The Ex-Hex – Erin Sterling (aka Rachel Hawkins)

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Nine years ago, Vivienne Jones nursed her broken heart like any young witch would: vodka, weepy music, bubble baths…and a curse on the horrible boyfriend. Sure, Vivi knows she shouldn’t use her magic this way, but with only an “orchard hayride” scented candle on hand, she isn’t worried it will cause him anything more than a bad hair day or two.

That is until Rhys Penhallow, descendent of the town’s ancestors, breaker of hearts, and annoyingly just as gorgeous as he always was, returns to Graves Glen, Georgia. What should be a quick trip to recharge the town’s ley lines and make an appearance at the annual fall festival turns disastrously wrong. With one calamity after another striking Rhys, Vivi realizes her silly little Ex Hex may not have been so harmless after all.

Suddenly, Graves Glen is under attack from murderous wind-up toys, a pissed off ghost, and a talking cat with some interesting things to say. Vivi and Rhys have to ignore their off the charts chemistry to work together to save the town and find a way to break the break-up curse before it’s too late.

I’m not sure when it happened, but 2021 seems to have somehow turned into the year of the witch romance. I’m not complaining though because I love romance, I love magic/witches, so why not mix the two? This seems like a fun take on the second chance romance trope with plenty of magical hijinkss and I’m looking forward to it.


The Love Hypothesis – Ali Hazelwood

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As a third-year Ph.D. candidate, Olive Smith doesn’t believe in lasting romantic relationships–but her best friend does, and that’s what got her into this situation. Convincing Anh that Olive is dating and well on her way to a happily ever after was always going to take more than hand-wavy Jedi mind tricks: Scientists require proof. So, like any self-respecting biologist, Olive panics and kisses the first man she sees.

That man is none other than Adam Carlsen, a young hotshot professor–and well-known ass. Which is why Olive is positively floored when Stanford’s reigning lab tyrant agrees to keep her charade a secret and be her fake boyfriend. But when a big science conference goes haywire, putting Olive’s career on the Bunsen burner, Adam surprises her again with his unyielding support and even more unyielding…six-pack abs.

Suddenly their little experiment feels dangerously close to combustion. And Olive discovers that the only thing more complicated than a hypothesis on love is putting her own heart under the microscope.

I hear that this started its life as Reylo fanfiction, but I’ve also heard it’s fluffy, tropey goodness involving, once again, the grumpy-sunshine dynamic and some fire smut. So…we’re going to do it. Plus, the cover is cute.


It Happened One Summer – Tessa Bailey

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Piper Bellinger is fashionable, influential, and her reputation as a wild child means the paparazzi are constantly on her heels. When too much champagne and an out-of-control rooftop party lands Piper in the slammer, her stepfather decides enough is enough. So he cuts her off, and sends Piper and her sister to learn some responsibility running their late father’s dive bar… in Washington.

Piper hasn’t even been in Westport for five minutes when she meets big, bearded sea captain Brendan, who thinks she won’t last a week outside of Beverly Hills. So what if Piper can’t do math, and the idea of sleeping in a shabby apartment with bunk beds gives her hives. How bad could it really be? She’s determined to show her stepfather—and the hot, grumpy local—that she’s more than a pretty face.

Except it’s a small town and everywhere she turns, she bumps into Brendan. The fun-loving socialite and the gruff fisherman are polar opposites, but there’s an undeniable attraction simmering between them. Piper doesn’t want any distractions, especially feelings for a man who sails off into the sunset for weeks at a time. Yet as she reconnects with her past and begins to feel at home in Westport, Piper starts to wonder if the cold, glamorous life she knew is what she truly wants. LA is calling her name, but Brendan—and this town full of memories—may have already caught her heart. 

This rom-com is said to be Schitt’s Creek inspired and I’m not sure what that will mean for me considering I only made it through 1 episode and couldn’t bring myself to watch more because I found it so annoying (please don’t murder me in my sleep). Still, the premise seems really enjoyable and I’ve heard that Tessa Bailey’s books are pretty darn steamy.


Payback’s a Witch – Lana Harper

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Emmy Harlow is a witch but not a very powerful one—in part because she hasn’t been home to the magical town of Thistle Grove in years. Her self-imposed exile has a lot to do with a complicated family history and a desire to forge her own way in the world, and only the very tiniest bit to do with Gareth Blackmoore, heir to the most powerful magical family in town and casual breaker of hearts and destroyer of dreams.

But when a spellcasting tournament that her family serves as arbiters for approaches, it turns out the pull of tradition (or the truly impressive parental guilt trip that comes with it) is strong enough to bring Emmy back. She’s determined to do her familial duty; spend some quality time with her best friend, Linden Thorn; and get back to her real life in Chicago.

On her first night home, Emmy runs into Talia Avramov—an all-around badass adept in the darker magical arts—who is fresh off a bad breakup . . . with Gareth Blackmoore. Talia had let herself be charmed, only to discover that Gareth was also seeing Linden—unbeknownst to either of them. And now she and Linden want revenge. Only one question stands: Is Emmy in? But most concerning of all: Why can’t she stop thinking about the terrifyingly competent, devastatingly gorgeous, wickedly charming Talia Avramov?

See what I mean? WITCH ROMANCES. But in this case, it’s LESBIAN WITCH ROMANCE! It’s like a revenge story with a magical tournament and romance all in one!!! Can you tell I’m excited? Because I am. I really am. This book doesn’t release until early October so there’s still a few more weeks but I’ll be on that, for sure.


Act Your Age, Eve Brown (The Brown Sisters 3#) – Talia Hibbert

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Eve Brown is a certified hot mess. No matter how hard she strives to do right, her life always goes horribly wrong—so she’s given up trying. But when her personal brand of chaos ruins an expensive wedding (someone had to liberate those poor doves), her parents draw the line. It’s time for Eve to grow up and prove herself—even though she’s not entirely sure how…

Jacob Wayne is in control. Always. The bed and breakfast owner’s on a mission to dominate the hospitality industry—and he expects nothing less than perfection. So when a purple-haired tornado of a woman turns up out of the blue to interview for his open chef position, he tells her the brutal truth: not a chance in hell. Then she hits him with her car—supposedly by accident. Yeah, right.

Now his arm is broken, his B&B is understaffed, and the dangerously unpredictable Eve is fluttering around, trying to help. Before long, she’s infiltrated his work, his kitchen—and his spare bedroom. Jacob hates everything about it. Or rather, he should. Sunny, chaotic Eve is his natural-born nemesis, but the longer these two enemies spend in close quarters, the more their animosity turns into something else. Like Eve, the heat between them is impossible to ignore—and it’s melting Jacob’s frosty exterior. 

Have I read the second book in this series yet? That would be a no (It’s on my TBR, alright?). Do I still really want to read this? Very much so, yes. It’s set in a B&B and has enemies to lovers, basically its a resounding yes from me.


Seven Days in June – Tia Williams

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Brooklynite Eva Mercy is a single mom and bestselling erotica writer, who is feeling pressed from all sides. Shane Hall is a reclusive, enigmatic, award-winning literary author who, to everyone’s surprise, shows up in New York. When Shane and Eva meet unexpectedly at a literary event, sparks fly, raising not only their past buried traumas, but the eyebrows of New York’s Black literati. What no one knows is that twenty years earlier, teenage Eva and Shane spent one crazy, torrid week madly in love. They may be pretending that everything is fine now, but they can’t deny their chemistry-or the fact that they’ve been secretly writing to each other in their books ever since.

Over the next seven days in the middle of a steamy Brooklyn summer, Eva and Shane reconnect, but Eva’s not sure how she can trust the man who broke her heart, and she needs to get him out of New York so that her life can return to normal. But before Shane disappears again, there are a few questions she needs answered. . .

This book is still a contemporary romance but it’s a lot more dramatic in vibe than others on this list. I’ve read some really great things about it and heard that it hits you in the emotions hard. Both the lead characters are writers, which sounds really interesting. They’re also black, which is great considering how white the romance genre can be at times. Here’s hoping for an enjoyable read.


Are any of these contemporary romances on your TBR, too? Or if you’ve read any of them already, what did you think?

Are there any other contemporary romances than you’re really excited to read soon?

Magical Readathon 2021: September TBR

Yes, I am fully aware that we’re already a week into September and I’m only now just posting my TBR. SSSSHHHHHHH! I’m an indecisive nut, okay and picking monthly TBRs is hard for me but, unfortunately, that’s part of completing a readathon. Speaking of which…

It’s back! Yes, that’s right, Magical Readathon (created by G at Book Roast) is returning again in 2021. But not as we know it. For those of you who aren’t familiar with it, up until this year, Magical Readathon was based around Harry Potter and completing prompts related to Hogwarts exam subjects. However, after the J K Rowling controversies of 2020, G was worried about how continuing the readathon in its current form would make members of the trans community feel. And so, she has completely overhauled it in spectacular fashion. For Magical Readathon 2.0, G has created an entirely new fantasy world, Aeldia, with a full booklet devoted to describing its history, continents, and inhabitants (all with illustrations I might add!).

The Novice Path

G intends for the readathon to return to a magical academy type vibe in 2022. But, as a way of introducing us all to Aeldia first, she’s developed a readathon for September 2021 based around ‘The Novice Path’ – the path designed to “test” new students seeking to reach & study at Orilium Academy. The path involves a series of obstacles/landmarks which, as you’d expect, are overcome by completing reading prompts. G’s kept things pretty easy in that you only need to complete a minimum of 2 prompts to successfully reach the academy. Still, you’re more than welcome to do as many as you want, as long as you use different reads.

As usual, I’m not 100% sure which prompts I want to do and books I’ll be in the mood for so I’ve decided to find a book for (almost) each one and see where September takes me. Here are my picks:

The Novice Path: A Book with a Map

A TORCH AGAINST THE NIGHT (EMBER QUARTET 2#) – SABAA TAHIR (RE-READ)

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Time to continue with my Ember reread on the road to finally reading A Sky Beyond the Storm. I’m excited! I definitely want to tackle this in September because I have a terrible habit of starting series rereads and then abandoning them midway through (*cough* The Bone Season *cough*). So, best to keep going while the motivation is there. If my memory serves me correctly, when I first read this, I think I may have even enjoyed it the slightest bit more than book one. Seems hard to believe, having just reread An Ember in the Ashes, but I think it had something to do with the adventurous spirit of it all, broader world building and some good political drama. Guess we shall see.


AshtHorn Tree: A Book That Keeps Tempting You

ONE LAST STOP – CASEY McQUISTON

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Red, White and Royal Blue was my second favourite read of 2019. So you can imagine how excited I was when One Last Stop was announced. It’s a f/f romance set in NYC about twenty-three year-old waitress/uni-student called August who meets punk-rocker, Jane, on the subway. The only problem is that Jane has magically traveled to the present from the 1970s and can’t seem to remember how or much about her past. I was a little worried about reading this after seeing some middle of the road reviews. Since then though, I’ve also seen a heap of super positive ones, too, so I’m feeling excited again. I’ve been looking at this sitting on my desk for weeks now, daring me to read it, so it seems like now is finally the time!


The Mist of Solitude: A Standalone

Just to give myself more flexibility, I’m going to leave this one open as a freebie in case I discover something during the month that I really, really want to read all of a sudden (which, let’s face it, is typical me). The prompt for this landmark is ‘a standalone’ so it’s extremely broad and will allow me to read a very large number of books. Maybe I’ll feel like another romance or perhaps a mystery. Or, maybe I’ll be a good little bookworm for a change and read something off my existing TBR…It could happen, right? Right?


Ruin of the Skye: A Book Featuring Ghosts, A Haunted House or Other Supernatural Elements

WHITE SMOKE – TIFFANY D. JACKSON

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I’ve never read a Tiffany D. Jackson book before but after the amazing things I’ve heard about her previous novels, Monday’s Not Coming and Grown, I thought her September release White Smoke might be a good pick for this prompt (although I’ll have to read it after the 14th) It’s about a girl named Marigold who moves to the Midwest after her mother remarries and gets a new job, which includes a house as a relocation bonus. But after moving in, they start to notice things going missing, doors opening on their own, voices in the walls and a weird smell in the vents. Plus, Mari’s step-sister has been talking about a mysterious “friend” who wants Mari gone. I have no idea if this will be an actual ghost/haunted house story but seeing as that’s what it’s pitched as, I feel like it meets the requirements.


Obsidian Falls: a Thriller/Mystery Book

ROCK PAPER SCISSORS – ALICE FEENEY

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It’s very likely that I’ll complete this prompt because lately I’ve had a massive thing for binge-reading thrillers in 1-2 days. Usually my ability to do relies on me buying something off the Amazon kindle store on a whim based on whatever my mood is and just blazing on through it, so my choice for this prompt could change. At the moment I’m planning on reading Rock Paper Scissors by Alice Feeney. It’s a new release and follows a couple with marital problems who win a weekend away to Scotland but find that things start to go wrong when they get there, begging the question: did they really randomly win this trip? I’ve heard that there’s a great twist in this one, and I love getting my mind blown by those, so here’s hoping for an exciting and quick read.


Tower of Rumination: A 5-Star Prediction

EMPIRE OF THE VAMPIRE – JAY KRISTOFF

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At over 700 pages this seems pretty ambitious, but considering I only have to complete a minimum of 2 prompts, I can afford to be ambitious. My physical copy has only just arrived, however I was lucky enough to receive the first 300 or so pages via Netgalley so I was able to get started early. I’m really liking it so far so hopefully my 5 star prediction becomes a reality. It’s set in a world in which the sun is almost completely blocked out, allowing vampires to seize control. The plot centres around an imprisoned man named Gabriel, the last member of a holy order called the Silversaints, who is telling his life story to a vampire. He details his education, great love, the destruction of his order, and his quest to find the Holy Grail, which is said to be able to end the eternal night.


Orilium Academy Arc: A Book with a School Setting

A LESSON IN VENGEANCE – VICTORIA LEE

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Since I just did a massive dark academia book post, there were a lot of potential options for this prompt. I’ve decided that if it ends up being one of my chosen ones, I’ll use A Lesson in Vengeance for it. I’ve been excited about this book for months so hopefully I’m not disappointed. It’s about two girls at a boarding school in the Catskill mountains who are researching the mysterious deaths of a group of students who were believed to be witches and are rumoured to still haunt the school grounds. It also involves a sapphic romance between the two MCs – one is a prodigy author and the other has returned to the school after dropping out following her girlfriend’s death.


Create a Character

The fun doesn’t stop there. For those looking to participate in the readathon in 2022, we also have up until April to create our own character! By completing particular prompts we get to choose our magical student’s background, home continent, and race. Want to be a wild roaming dwarf from the desert continent of Daerune? Go for it. Or how about one of the ancient earthlings with cool elemental abilities who lives in the lush forests of Irtheria? The choice is yours. I’m nowhere near a fast enough reader to do this during September on top of The Novice Path prompts so I’ll try to shape my student over the next few months instead.


Are any of you also participating in Magical Readathon this month? If so, I’m sure you were much more organised in selecting your TBR than I was. Let me know which prompts you’re most looking forward to completing and the books you’ve selected for them!

And That’s a Wrap: July and August 2021 Edition

So, you know how I said I was going to be consistent about doing wrap up posts to help when it came to my end of the year wrap up? Yeah, how about we just forget about that because it failed pretty much after April. Probably because I intended to do May and June together, hit a reading slump, finished only 1 book total in June and simply continued onward in the hopes that things would improve. Now, here we are.

The Maidens – Alex Michaelides ★★ | Review

I was really keen to read this one but tried not to let my expectations get away from me. Luckily I didn’t because I wasn’t the biggest fan by the end. The book revolves around a group therapist trying to solve some murders at Cambridge University, under the belief that they’re connected to a Greek tragedy professor and his female “study group” called ‘The Maidens’. While there were things I liked such as the setting, atmosphere, and way the book dealt with the MC’s grief, I couldn’t get past the weird dialogue choices, stupid decisions of the lead, underdeveloped subplot elements and multitude of unbelievable story components, especially the ending.

All of us Villains – Amanda Foody & Christine Lynn Herman (ARC) ★★★★ | Review to Come

This book is pitched as The Hunger Games with magic so you can imagine how excited I was to get an ARC. It’s about a group of families who every generation are bound by a curse to send one of their teens into an arena to fight to the death for control of the town’s reserves of high magic. It wasn’t as bloody and action packed as I was expecting from the HG comparison but I still had a great time. The characters are really well crafted, the magic system is decently constructed and there’s an adequate build up to the arena. It also has romance elements which don’t overwhelm the story and some exciting plot threads that make me really keen for the sequel. There were a few things which could have been improved upon but, overall, a great YA fantasy read.

The Nowhere Child – Christian White ★★★★ | Review

Look at me actually reading some Australian fiction for a change! I probably should read more if it’s like this. The Nowhere Child is a split timeline book set both in the present and 1990s which deals with an Australian woman discovering she’s the victim of a 20+ year old kidnapping case in a small US town. This was a lot less of a dramatic thriller type mystery and more of a slower burn one than I expected. It focused on characters, relationships and how the kidnapping impacted the town, but I really enjoyed it. I was engaged pretty much right until the end and though that White’s writing was great, especially for a debut novel.

An Ember in the Ashes (Ember quartet 1#) – Sabaa Tahir (Re-Read) ★★★★.5

I’m finally doing my Ember re-read so I can read A Sky Beyond the Storm (I know I’m super behind). I was a little worried when I first started that it wasn’t going to be as good as I remembered but once I got past the opening chapters, I had a great time and sped through it. I still love Elias and Helene, and I think Laia grew on me more this time through. The plot is well constructed and entertaining, the world building is fantastic, and I like that the ending isn’t highly predictable. Maybe I just have a thing for competition plots. The last time I read this I gave it 4 stars but considering the YA fantasy books I’ve read since, I feel I undervalued it a little so I’m going to bump it up to a 4.5. I’ll try to reread the next book soon.


Blood of Elves (The Witcher 1#) – Andrzej Sapkowski ★★★

I rewatched the first season of The Witcher in late July and as, you can tell, suddenly became very interested in reading the first novel (I’ve already read the short stories). I didn’t mind this but there were plenty of times where I sat there wondering what the overall plot was. The middle of the book, in particular, felt very aimless. There are a lot of lengthy conversations and a great deal of time is spent world building, politically especially, in ways I’d probably find overwhelming if I weren’t already familiar with aspects of it. Still, I like Yennefer, with her brand of bitchy-snarkiness, and enjoy Ciri’s bond with both her and Geralt. Hopefully the next book has more magic/sword badassery and eventful plot drama now that Ciri has received both witcher and sorcery training.

The People in the Trees – Hanya Yanagihara ★★.5 | Review to Come

*Sigh* I started this book in June and didn’t finish it until more than halfway through August, an achievement considering I thought about DNF-ing it numerous times. It’s a fictional memoir which details the life of a Nobel-prize winning scientist who after travelling to a remote island in Micronesia discovers that a turtle there brings a sort of immortality to those who eat it. This book was super hard for me to rate and review because while I didn’t like the story (sometimes I was engaged, others I was super bored), I can’t deny that I’m impressed by it as a piece of literary fiction. It’s not an easy read and deals with super dark themes (e.g. child rape), but the narrative style and voice is extremely well done. It also explores ideas like colonialism and the destruction of the environment in impactful ways. It may not be a favourite, but I’ll be thinking about it for a long time to come.

Lock Every Door – Riley Sager ★★★★ | Review

This was $3 on the kindle store and one of the last two Sager books I had yet to read. My experiences with Sager have been varied so I wasn’t sure how this’d go but I enjoyed it. The concept is farfetched and over the top but I decided to just go with it. It’s about a woman who takes an apartment sitting job in a fancy New York building but starts to suspect something is wrong when one of the other sitters mysteriously disappears. Unlike The Final Girls, the pacing in this was really good and I read nearly all of it in one sitting. The level of tension is decent as well without being too much. As far as heroines go, I liked Jules – she was a fighter and I clearly understood the motivations for her actions. The big reveal is…a lot and brought down my rating somewhat, but like with The Last Time I Lied I found that it didn’t massively affect my overall enjoyment. No regrets about spending a lockdown day reading this one.

In the Dark – Loreth Anne White ★★★

This was good but I didn’t love it. In Agatha Christie fashion, In the Dark follows eight people as they travel to a wellness spa in isolated British Columbia. The group quickly finds that all is not as it seems and they’ve been invited there for sinister purposes. I really liked the set up for this, and the eerie vibes of the setting were great. The decision to concurrently feature the police & SAR investigation was mostly well done (if a little detail heavy) and tied in nicely to the other timeline. Plus, this plotline featured two strong characters I wouldn’t mind reading about again. However, there were points during the book where things lagged for me. The first two thirds were more enjoyable than the last, during which the tone shifted, and I found the ending slightly flat with more exposition than necessary. Also, while I appreciate what the story was trying to say about the effects of stress on group dynamics and people’s selfish sense of self-preservation, I do wish events had been more calculated (as was first insinuated) than spur of the moment.

The Push – Ashley Audrain ★★★★★

My second 5 star read of the year, hurray!!! Considering this book is on Goodreads’ list of the most read books of 2021 so far, I can’t believe it took me this long to hear about it. Because, holy moly, this steamrolled me emotionally. The writing was just raw, heartbreaking perfection. Loneliness, resentment, anxiety, defeat, and completely gut-wrenching grief, I felt it all with the main character. While it’s largely “pushed” as a thriller, it’s more of psychological drama with a heap of tension. The Push tells the story of Blythe, who becomes convinced that there is something wrong with her daughter Violet. Is she right or is it all in her head? This is a complex, brutal, and layered view of motherhood that contravenes the usual stereotype of perfection, completion and unconditional love. It’s a short, punchy read and I cannot recommend it enough!


Up until the last week or so, I’d bought almost no books at all in the last two months. I know, I’m shocked, too. Mainly because a) I’ve been unable to physically go to a bookstore (more on that later) and b) I haven’t been in a reading mood. One Last Stop was a gift from one of my best friends, sent as part of care package to boost my mood (which it did!). I was so excited to receive it and I’m looking forward to reading it in September. After going back and forth over what edition of EotV to buy for around a month, I finally pre-ordered the special Aussie red paperback edition. It should get here sometime next week, however, I was lucky enough to receive the first 300 or so pages early via Netgalley so I’ve started reading already to get a head start.

Yesterday I also ordered A Lesson in Vengeance and Once There Were Wolves online. I’m super keen for both and the latter will be signed by the author, which is pretty cool. My last purchase is a kindle one which can be attributed entirely to the fact that I re-watched Bridgerton S1 on Netflix last week. Even though I two starred the first book, I was kind of like, ‘what the hell, let’s just do it’ and bought the sequel. Let’s see what happens.


As usual, here’s the list of posts from the last two months additional to the book reviews already linked above. Just in case there’s something you missed that you’d be interested in:


Life wise, the only real update I have for you all is, unfortunately, Covid-19 related. Back in July, after months of zero cases, my home state in Australia experienced an outbreak of the Delta variant. A few weeks later Sydney was placed into lockdown and when numbers continued to grow, several government areas were placed under heavier restrictions. These limit people from leaving those areas (or your home) except for specific reasons. Unluckily, I live in one of the affected regions and have been unable to leave my house except for the occasional walk. My work hours have been reduced by a large amount (I’m still able to do some from home), but thank goodness I’ve been able to receive government support to cover this.

While the conditions here are nothing compared to what some countries have experienced, being stuck inside my house for a month, with more to come, hasn’t been the easiest time. It’s even harder in the face of people consistently flouting public health orders by hosting parties, refusing to wear masks, and attending anti-lockdown protests. Our case numbers are still awful at the moment but hopefully things will improve soon. Regardless, I’m extremely happy to have received my first vaccine dose this week.


I hope that you’re all doing well at the moment, in both life and reading, and that you and your families are staying safe. It’s scary to think that we’re already in September. I feel as though both this year and last have simultaneously taken forever and gone by in the blink of an eye. So, here’s to, fingers crossed, a great new month of reading! Much love.

Bookish Fun: ANOTHER 16 Book, Reading and Author Related Facts

That’s right, it’s time for EVEN MORE bookish, reading and author related facts. But why, you ask. Well, why not? And because you can never have enough fun facts about books and reading! So, let’s continue to expand your (and my) superior trivia knowledge, shall we?

Bookish & Reading Facts

1. there’s a precise word for ‘someone who reads in bed’

That’s right! The term is a ‘Librocubicularist’. Try saying that mouthful three times fast.

Gif.... Hey Andrew, whatcha reading? Guess your character and I are both  librocubicularists?! | Andrew scott, Jim moriarty, Sebastian moran

2. Reading is good for both mental and physical health

Although, I’m sure you were already aware of this. The University of Sussex conducted a study in 2009 that showed reading can reduce stress levels by up to 68%, which is even better than listening to music, taking a walk or having a cup of tea. Apparently it eases muscle tension and lowers your heart rate.

3. The World’s Oldest (Operating) bookstore is located in Lisbon, Portugal.

It’s called the ‘Livraria Bertrand’ and was founded by two French brothers in 1732!! When you buy a book there, the staff will ask if you want a stamp in it stating that you bought it at the world’s oldest bookstore. The books stocked are mostly in Portuguese but they do have a small English language section.

Bonus: Up until 2014, when it closed, the largest bookstore in the world by floor area was the Barnes and Noble flagship store on 5th Avenue in New York City. It covered 54,250 square feet and had 12.87 miles of shelving.

4. The original printing press was built in Germany by a man named Johannes Gutenberg and the first book he printed was The Gutenberg Bible.

It’s one of the rarest books in the world. Back in the 1970s, a copy was sold by a New York book dealer to a German museum for $1.8M. Again, note to self, do not get into rare book collecting.

5. Books actually do have a “smelL” which becomes more potent as they age

Ever wondered about the book smell we love so much? Well, it’s caused by a breakdown of two of the chemical components of paper – lignin and cellulose. The by-products of this process create a mixture of almond, vanilla, floral, and general sweet scents.

Logan Huntzberger Netflix GIF by Gilmore Girls - Find & Share on GIPHY

6. Scientists can use this scent to determine a book’s age

By looking at the breakdown of these compounds, historians are able to use a process called material degradomics to determine the age of a book. Science is cool, guys.

7. The Romance Genre is a Massive Money Maker

Romance as a genre is often disregarded but you might be surprised to know that romance makes up over 1/3 of mass-market paperbacks sold. It’s a billion dollar industry and actually makes more money than several other genres combined. I’ll admit, I contribute to this.

8. Edgar Allan Poe’s The Murders in the Rue Morgue is credited as being the first ever ‘locked-door mystery’

However, if you go back a LONG way, it might actually be Greek historian Herodotus’s account from the 5th century BC of a robber whose headless body was found in a sealed stone chamber with only one guarded exit. Creepy.

9. in 2014, Amazon released a list of the most highlighted e-book passages and 19 of the top 25 were from The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins.

The most popular was the line, “Because sometimes things happen to people and they’re not equipped to deal with them”. People were obviously feeling very bleak at that point in time.

I Can'T Help It That I'M Popular GIF - Mean Girls Gretchen Wieners Lacey  Chabert - Discover & Share GIFs

Author Facts

10. Stieg Larsson got the idea for his The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo lead, Lisbeth Salander, by imagining what Pippi Longstocking would have been like as an adult.

Even the nameplate for one of Lisbeth’s apartments is an allusion to Pippi’s house Villa Villekulla. I’m sorry, but what??

11. Truman Capote was REALLY superstitious.

He wouldn’t start or finish a book on a Friday, allow more than 3 cigarette butts in an ash tray, stay in hotel rooms with unlucky numbers, call phone numbers that added up to unlucky numbers, or fly on a plane with more than two nuns on board. He always needed to write lying down and frequently carried a security blanket with him. However, some of these things might be due to the fact that he suffered from obsessive compulsive disorder.

12. Charles Dickens had a fascination with morgues and dead bodies

He was in the habit of visiting the Paris Morgue, even on holidays like Christmas and New Years. He referred to the morgue as ‘an old acquaintance’. Morbid, but whatever floats your boat I guess?

Season 13 Episode 22 GIF

13. Jim Butcher’s Codex Alera series was created because of a challenge of sorts from a member of an online writers’ workshop.

The man claimed Jim couldn’t write a good story based on a lame idea. He disagreed and said he’d do it based on any two lame ideas of the guy’s choosing. They were “Lost Roman Legion”, and “Pokémon”. And what do you know, the average Goodreads rating for book one, The Furies of Calderon, is over 4 stars.

14. Roald Dahl used to write his books in a small shed at the bottom of his garden.

He would sit in an cosy, old armchair with a pencil and a red book (apparently he never learned to type) for around 4 hours every day. That’s some serious dedication.

BONUS – Did you know that originally James and the Giant Peach was going to be about a giant cherry? It was changed because a peach was supposedly ‘prettier, bigger and squishier’. So weird.

15. Toni Morrison began working on her first novel while she was at university but it wasn’t published until she was 39 years old

She went on to win a Pulitzer prize, be awarded the US Presidential Medal of Freedom, and become the first African-American woman to ever win the Nobel Prize in literature . If that isn’t reason to never give up on your dreams, I don’t know what is.

Ron Burgundy Wow GIF

16. Marissa Meyer wrote her The Lunar Chronicles novella, Fairest, in just 9 days!

Originally it was going to be a short promotional story but ended up growing and developing so much beyond this that it was published as its own novella. I mean, I already knew that Meyer drafted the first 3 books in the series as part of different NaNoWriMos but this is crazy impressive!

BONUS: Meyer drew influence for the series from things like Star Wars and Sailor Moon. No wonder it’s so much fun.


How many of these facts did you already know about? Probably more than me, let’s be honest. Still, I hope you picked up one or two new things to use during super boring conversations.

Missed the first two posts full of bookish and author related facts? You can find them here & here.

Battle of the Book Covers: US vs UK (Round 5)

It’s time for another battle of the book covers! I’ve been doing these posts for a while now and, as it turns out, they’re some of the most high traffic ones on my blog. So clearly you all enjoy them. Just to recap, the scoreboard currently reads at US: 24 points, UK: 22 points. It’s surprisingly still a very close race but I have a feeling the US is going to pull further ahead this round.

The Four Winds – Kristin Hannah

Starting off with Kristin Hannah’s latest release. I like both of these covers. This is another match up where you can see that the brief was similar but the designers did something slightly different with it. I love the fresh looking blue background on the UK cover and it contrasts well with the gold wheat/text. However, I find the layout of the US cover cleaner, and the black background makes the wheat stalks stand out even more.

VERDICT: US Cover


Project Hail Mary – Andy Weir

Once again, same design brief, different results. This one is tricky because while I like the Sci-Fi style font used for the text on the US cover, I think the use of the red embers and smoke in the background of the UK cover is more visually striking. Plus, the US cover has a printed sticker and you all know how I feel about THOSE. The UK cover does have a lot of text on it though which makes it somewhat cluttered. If only they could have combined the elements of both, they would have had a perfect cover! In that case, tie it is.

VERDICT: Tie


Ace of Spades – Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé

Can I just say, these are both absolutely awesome covers! I love how they each take the playing card inspiration and run with it to create something very dynamic. I really like the spade cut out used to break up the text and imagery on the UK cover and the way the figures are facing each other. Yet, I think I’ll have to give it to the US cover on this one – the way the colour scheme is used, the layout, the art, even the title font…it’s all so well done. *Chef’s kiss*

VERDICT: US cover


The Road Trip – Beth O’Leary

Now, this is another tough one because I really wish I could mix elements from both covers together to create a great Franken-cover. On the US cover, I like the script style title and bold blue background but I’m not a fan of the blobby art style, especially when you look closely at the figures. With the UK cover, I like the art a lot more but find the white background super boring. Alright, we’ll give it to the US cover but only by a hair.

VERDICT: US Cover


Recursion – Blake Crouch

Here are two very different but similarly eye-catching covers. I love the vivid electric green on the US cover and the imagery of the infinity symbol, extremely fitting for the story. Overall, it’s a very clean, modern sci-fi cover. The UK cover effectively utilises the orange-blue complementary colour scheme to really make things pop and the layers upon layers of those curved interlocking rooms is quite visually captivating, too. For some reason it gives me The Matrix vibes. Ah, this one is really tricky!! I think I’m going US but barely.

Verdict: US Cover


Conversations with Friends – Sally Rooney

These two covers for Conversations with Friends have super similar vibes. Yellow backgrounds, highly similar fonts. The only real differences are the art and layout. I love how neat the US cover looks without all the extra promotional text e.g. quotes, award wins. Yet, having seen the full face images of the art used, it’s put me off somewhat because they look really odd. I also don’t remember either of the main characters have closely cropped hair? Or am I wrong?. On the UK cover, I’d like to think we have Bobby on the left, looking for a new adventure and Francis on the right, trying to hide herself away.

Verdict: UK Cover


A Discovery of Witches – Deborah Harkness

The UK cover in this comparison is actually a recover and was done to match the first and second books with a midseries change for the third book. While the UK cover is clean, simple and the red looks nice against the black (I enjoy the way the colour gradually shifts over all three covers in the series), it’s also fairly boring. The US cover, on the other hand, is slightly busy for my liking, but I like the midnight blue background and the way they’ve incorporated the alchemical imagery. It definitely looks very old school mystical and magical.

Verdict: US Cover


Anna K – Jenny Lee

I’m not super keen on either of these covers but there’s something about the US cover that feels super lazy to me. It’s just a model floating in blue space. Yes, the title font is nice but I expect more. On the UK cover, the pink and gold background is certainly very striking and works well to make Anna stand out. Although, I do think that the use of the magenta for the title wasn’t the best as it blends a little with the blue of the coat.

VERDICT: UK Cover


Ariadne – Jennifer Saint

Okay, I’m in love with both of these covers. They’re stunning. The layered design of the US cover using the burnt orange against the navy is so nice. The layout is perfectly done as well. HOWEVER, the UK cover has foiling. Shiny, shiny foiling. And, as we all know, I am a massive magpie when it comes to shiny covers. Those leaves are so darn pretty against the blue background. Even the design itself with the tree, ship, snake and border is lovely. Sorry US cover, you’re nice but SHINY!

Verdict: UK Cover


Cinderella is Dead – Kalynn Bayron

My verdict on this one is purely about personal preference regarding the art style. There’s something about the body positioning (especially the neck) and the lighting in the US cover that I find…weird. But I really like the fact that they’ve incorporated an ominous enchanted forest background. The art style on the right looks more real to me, especially those thick bouncy curls, and I like the fact that she’s got a few cuts, tears and bruises – much more badass.

Verdict: UK Cover


Malibu Rising – Taylor Jenkins Reid

I’ve used Taylor Jenkins Reid’s books a few times on these lists. Probably because her books always seem to have different US and UK covers. I’ll be blunt, I’m going with the US cover on this match up. Mostly because that stupid printed sticker on the UK cover is driving me absolutely nuts. Every time I look at the cover, my eyes are drawn there first. Don’t get me wrong, the colours in the sky and ocean are super pretty but I can’t do it. With the US cover, I like the variations in the blue of the ocean and how nicely the text stands out against it.

VERDICT: US Cover


Never Let Me Go – Kazuo Ishiguro

We have two completely different covers for the US and UK editions of Never Let Me Go. While the US version tries to use the facial close up to get across the idea of purity and innocence, the UK cover showcases movement and life, almost like children running around, playing. I’m split about this comparison as they both have nice qualities to them and I wouldn’t mind having either in my bookcase.

VERDICT: Tie


Just as I thought, the UK has taken a hit this time around and the US is pulling ahead more. Let’s check out the updated scoreboard:

Who would have won these match ups in your eyes? Am I on the right track or clearly blind?

Missed any of the previous rounds? You can find them here: ONE, TWO, THREE, FOUR.

Bookish Fun: Book Covers with Autumn Vibes

Everyone has a favourite season. Mine, by a long way, is Autumn. I love watching the leaves change colour from green to gorgeous shades of red, orange and yellow, and finally getting to break out my warmer wardrobe again (I own A LOT of sweaters). While all you northern hemisphere people are enjoying the first few weeks of spring, in the southern hemisphere I’m currently throwing my usual ‘Thank god, summer is over party’. With this in mind, I thought I’d do a fun little post to showcase some book covers which really capture those Autumn feelings. Leaves, warm colour schemes, coziness, rustic vibes, all that wonderful goodness. Enjoy!

Did I miss any notable ones? What’s your favourite Autumn feeling book cover?

Battle of the Book Covers: US vs UK (Round 4)

It’s been a while since I last put some US and UK book covers in a battle to the death. Okay, it’s not that dramatic. Still, I think it’s time to put the score board back up and see which region’s covers reign supreme. Just in case you need a catch up, here are rounds 1, 2 and 3. At this point the US is in the lead on 17 points with the UK right behind on 16 points. You guys know the drill by now, US covers on the left and UK on the right. Let’s dive in!

Hamnet – Maggie O’Farrell

While I do like the idea of the renaissance style painting and the text on scripts of parchment on the US cover, I love the elegance of the UK version. The gold, nature based designs around the letter are stunning.

Verdict: UK Cover


The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue – V. E. Schwab

This was an easy decision, especially considering how much money I forked out to get a copy of the US cover sent to Australia (UGH). I’m not sure what it is about the UK Cover, but I’m just not really a fan. The squiggly lines look a little odd and I wish that the text had been more elegant. The US cover is so simple but the text with the star constellation incorporated is magical.

Verdict: US Cover


The Vanishing Half – Brit Bennett

Now this is a tough one. I love the semi-abstract nature of the imagery on both covers. There’s so many organic, flowing lines. I also feel like both covers capture the idea of two sisters being different parts of a whole very well. In the end though, I’m going to go with the UK cover but only just! It’s mostly because I find the colour scheme easier on the eyes than the shades of blue, green, orange and pink blended together on the US version.

Verdict: UK Cover


The Midnight Library – Matt Haig

I’m definitely a fan of the starry sky background on the top half of the UK cover but the rest of it is kind of boring, especially the snooze-worthy title font. The US cover, on the other hand, is an example of a simple cover which still looks engaging. I love all the little images inside the ovals. They remind me of airplane windows. The colour contrast of the yellow and orange with the navy is nice, too.

Verdict: US Cover


Clap When You Land – Elizabeth Acevedo

Another difficult match up, again because the concepts are similar but the styles are different. I love how both covers utilise half the girls’ faces and a clear sense of colour contrast. I think I like the more realistic art style of the UK cover better, however I prefer the colour scheme (the use of green and pink to create harmony and difference is well done) and layout of the US cover.

Verdict: US Cover


The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo – Taylor Jenkins Reid

This is another pairing where the publishers have executed a same-same vision with small differences. It’s a tough choice. I think the title stands out better on the UK cover and I like the way the dress falls at the bottom. I also feel as though the brown wall offers good contrast against the green. However, the US cover screams old Hollywood more and I believe it captures the sexy, glamorous image Evelyn portrayed to the world a lot better. Very Marilyn Monroe.

Verdict: US Cover (By a smidge!)


If I Had Your Face – Frances Cha

My god, that yellow and red overlay on the US cover is gorgeous. I love the way the title text takes up a lot of space and cuts through the colour so cleanly. Yet, the UK cover is really eye-catching, mostly because it’s super weird to look at. You just find yourself staring at it trying to make sense of what’s happening. I’m torn on this one, guys. There’s stuff to like about both. Tie it is then.

Verdict: Tie


If We Were Villains – M. L. Rio

Considering how much I loved this book, I wish I’d bought the US hardback now. The skull, script and dark lighting are making all my dark academia dreams come true. The UK cover (which has since been redesigned) is very simple. I like the ’embossed’ bordering and big dramatic title text, however the dead sparrow image only really makes sense if you’ve read the novel and look kind of odd if you haven’t.

Verdict: US Cover


The Bone Clocks – David Mitchell

There’s something very soothing about the US cover for The Bone Clocks. Maybe it’s the reflected sky or perhaps it’s those beautiful layers of perfect circles, one after the other. Still, I definitely find the UK cover more striking and visually dynamic. The colours, sense of movement, and all the tiny details to pick apart make this one the stronger cover in my opinion.

Verdict: UK Cover


A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder – Holly Jackson

Both the US & UK covers have the same concept here – a messy looking murder board – but they go about it slightly differently. I have to say, I’m more a fan of the US cover and it’s mostly because the title text is better integrated into the image than the splat-on-the-page approach of the UK cover. I also feel like the slightly grayer background feels more ominous looking than the stark white which is what you want for a mystery novel.

Verdict: US Cover


City of Girls – Elizabeth Gilbert

This is another set of covers with somewhat similar concepts, this time with the use of showgirl costume feathers. I appreciate the colour scheme and bold, theater style text on the US cover, but there’s something about the image of the showgirl peering over the top of the text in the UK version that I really like.

Verdict: UK Cover


My Dark Vanessa – Kate Elizabeth Russell

I have to say, I don’t really like the US cover for My Dark Vanessa. I appreciate the incorporation of the butterfly as a reference to Vladimir Nabokov who wrote Lolita (which is referred to many times in this book), but the image doesn’t do much for me. The UK cover, however, features one of my favourite colour combos on covers – orange and blue, a complementary pairing. I also love the bold, blocky title text woven into the hair strands. So clean looking.

Verdict: UK Cover


Okay, better stop before I get too carried away (which is easy to do when you’re looking at a bunch of cool book covers). Time to check the score board!

US Covers: 24 Points

UK Covers: 22 Points

It seems that the US is still in the lead. Hm, interesting. Better get your act together UK, you’re falling behind. As always, how would you have decided these match ups? Any favourite covers among the bunch?

2021 TBR: 24 Books I Want to Read in 2021

A new year, a new probably unrealistic list of books I’d like to tackle before the end of the year. In 2020 I set myself a list of 30 books I wanted to read from a bunch of different genres. I ended up only reading…well, 14 of them. Er, yeah. It could have been better. Anyway, here’s hoping that this year is more productive and less subject to intense shifts in my reading mood.

  • Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte: I bought a Penguin faux leather copy of this and it’s too pretty not to be read. Hopefully I like it a lot more than I did Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights.
  • Rebecca – Daphne du Maurier: I’ve been putting this off for YEARS. Now that I’ve watched an adaptation, I feel I really, really need to finally read the book.
  • Little Women – Louisa May Alcott: Yes, this book was on my 2020 list. Yes, it’s here again.
  • The Haunting of Hill House – Shirley Jackson: Lately I’ve been wanting to try my hand at writing a ghost story. I should probably see how one of the experts does it.
  • Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe – Benhamin Alire Saenz: I’ve heard so many amazing things about this book and it sounds so good.
  • The Heart’s Invisible Furies – John Boyne: Heaps of positive reviews, an interesting sounding blurb and recommended for those who liked A Little Life (which I did). Please don’t make me cry.
  • Norwegian Wood – Haruki Murakami: I tried reading 1Q84 many years ago and found it super weird. This is supposedly less so. I might hate it, might love it. Trying it for something different.
  • The Comeback – Ella Berman: There’s something intriguing about this book. It just seems like something I’d like. Plus very topically relevant in today’s day & age.
  • If We Were Villains – M. L. Rio: I read The Secret History back in 2020 and really liked it. This has been regularly recommend as being similar in feel. Yay, dark academia & murder!
  • The Boy From the Woods – Harlan Coben: I came across TBFtW while perusing the GR Choice awards noms. I do enjoy a good mystery from time to time and this one certainly sounds exciting.
  • The Last Time I Lied – Riley Sager: It’s bizarre, I am so keen on reading Sager’s books despite having this nagging feeling that I won’t love them. This one is set at a camp which is cool yet creepy.
  • A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder – Holly Jackson: This is my next stop in the search for an amazing YA crime/thriller book. I’ve been burnt before but reviews have been great so fingers crossed!
  • To Sleep in a Sea of Stars – Christopher Paolini: The size is definitely intimidating but as if I’m going to pass up new Paolini, and an interesting sounding one with a gorgeous cover at that.
  • Dark Age (Red Rising 5#) – Pierce Brown: You guys already know how much I love this series. I FINALLY read Iron Gold last year so that means it’s time for Dark Age. I’m preparing my heart.
  • Ready Player Two – Ernest Cline: Reviews on this one haven’t been great but a) I got it for Christmas and b) I really liked the first book. So we’re doing it in 2021.
  • The Midnight Library – Matt Haig: The Goodreads Choice Awards Fiction winner for 2020! This book sounds so good and I’m almost 100% positive that I’m going to love it.
  • The Burning God (The Poppy War 3#) – R F Kuang: I’m legit obsessed with this series. Book two was my favourite read of 2020 and I’m SO keen for the last book. Pain is coming, I can tell.
  • Piranesi – Susanna Clarke: Shiny foiling on covers, I can’t resist it. Piranesi sounds super different from other things I’ve read in recent years and I’ve seen some amazing reviews, too.
  • The Well of Ascension (Mistborn 2#) – Brandon Sanderson: I have a sudden desire to go back to this series (blame Skyward maybe?). I read The Final Empire back in 2015 but for some reason didn’t continue onward. I’ll have to reread it before tackling TWoA but I’m really looking forward to it.
  • Foundryside – Robert Jackson Bennett: I’ve had Foundryside on my radar for a while now and I think it’s finally the time. Magic, politics, a heist, adventure…sign me up!
  • Layla – Colleen Hoover: It’s been hit or miss with Colleen Hoover reads, but I like the sound of this. Hopefully it’s more Verity & It Ends with Us than Confess. I also got it for $2 on kindle, SCORE.
  • The Two Lives of Lydia Bird – Josie Silver: The concept for this sounds kind of weird but I enjoyed Josie Silver’s One Day in December so I’m keen to give this a whirl.
  • From Blood and Ash – Jennifer L. Armentrout: Blame the hype. I have to see what people are talking about. I’m sure it’ll be tropey and cringey to the max but the FOMO is too intense.
  • Today, Tonight, Tomorrow – Rachel Lynn Solomon: This looks like a solid ya rom-com. It also features enemies to lovers (= my crack). I’m worried about rushed development because of the time frame but we shall see.

What’s on your list of backlist books to read in 2021?

My Most Anticipated Releases of 2021

Let me preface this by saying that there are so many amazing looking books due to come out in 2021. I am ridiculously excited. So, that means, DO NOT BLAME ME THAT THIS POST IS LONGER THAN WAR AND PEACE, okay? My reading tastes tend to gravitate towards fantasy, romance and mysteries/thrillers (both YA & Adult), so expect to see a mix of books from these genres below.

Lore – Alexandra Bracken | January

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Every seven years, the Agon begins. As punishment for a past rebellion, nine Greek gods are forced to walk the earth as mortals, hunted by the descendants of ancient bloodlines, all eager to kill a god and seize their divine power and immortality. Long ago, Lore Perseous fled that brutal world in the wake of her family’s sadistic murder by a rival line, turning her back on the hunt’s promises of eternal glory. For years she’s pushed away any thought of revenge against the man–now a god–responsible for their deaths.

Yet as the next hunt dawns over New York City, two participants seek out her help: Castor, a childhood friend of Lore believed long dead, and a gravely wounded Athena, among the last of the original gods.

The goddess offers an alliance against their mutual enemy and, at last, a way for Lore to leave the Agon behind forever. But Lore’s decision to bind her fate to Athena’s and rejoin the hunt will come at a deadly cost–and still may not be enough to stop the rise of a new god with the power to bring humanity to its knees.


A Court of Silver Flames (A Court of Thorns and Roses 4#) – Sarah J Maas | February

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Nesta Archeron has always been prickly-proud, swift to anger, and slow to forgive. And ever since being forced into the Cauldron and becoming High Fae against her will, she’s struggled to find a place for herself within the strange, deadly world she inhabits. Worse, she can’t seem to move past the horrors of the war with Hybern and all she lost in it.

The one person who ignites her temper more than any other is Cassian, the battle-scarred warrior whose position in Rhysand and Feyre’s Night Court keeps him constantly in Nesta’s orbit. But her temper isn’t the only thing Cassian ignites. The fire between them is undeniable, and only burns hotter as they are forced into close quarters with each other.

Meanwhile, the treacherous human queens who returned to the Continent during the last war have forged a dangerous new alliance, threatening the fragile peace that has settled over the realms. And the key to halting them might very well rely on Cassian and Nesta facing their haunting pasts.

Against the sweeping backdrop of a world seared by war and plagued with uncertainty, Nesta and Cassian battle monsters from within and without as they search for acceptance-and healing-in each other’s arms.


The Project – Courtney Summers | February

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Lo Denham is used to being on her own. After her parents died, Lo’s sister, Bea, joined The Unity Project, leaving Lo in the care of their great aunt. Thanks to its extensive charitable work and community outreach, The Unity Project has won the hearts and minds of most in the Upstate New York region, but Lo knows there’s more to the group than meets the eye. She’s spent the last six years of her life trying—and failing—to prove it.

When a man shows up at the magazine Lo works for claiming The Unity Project killed his son, Lo sees the perfect opportunity to expose the group and reunite with Bea once and for all. When her investigation puts her in the direct path of its leader, Lev Warren and as Lo delves deeper into The Project, the lives of its members it upends everything she thought she knew about her sister, herself, cults, and the world around her—to the point she can no longer tell what’s real or true. Lo never thought she could afford to believe in Lev Warren . . . but now she doesn’t know if she can afford not to.


The Mask Falling (The Bone Season 4#) – Samantha Shannon | February

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Dreamwalker Paige Mahoney has eluded death again. Snatched from the jaws of captivity and consigned to a safe house in the Scion Citadel of Paris, she finds herself caught between those factions that seek Scion’s downfall and those who would kill to protect the Rephaim’s puppet empire.

The mysterious Domino Program has plans for Paige, but she has ambitions of her own in this new citadel. With Arcturus Mesarthim-her former enemy-at her side, she embarks on an adventure that will lead her from the catacombs of Paris to the glittering hallways of Versailles. Her risks promise high reward: the Parisian underworld could yield the means to escalate her rebellion to outright war.

As Scion widens its bounds and the free world trembles in its shadow, Paige must fight her own memories after her ordeal at the hands of Scion. Meanwhile, she strives to understand her bond with Arcturus, which grows stronger by the day. But there are those who know the revolution began with them-and could end with them…


Sing Me Forgotten – Jessica S. Olson | March

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Isda does not exist. At least not beyond the opulent walls of the opera house.

Cast into a well at birth for being one of the magical few who can manipulate memories when people sing, she was saved by Cyril, the opera house’s owner. Since that day, he has given her sanctuary from the murderous world outside. All he asks in return is that she use her power to keep ticket sales high—and that she stay out of sight. For if anyone discovers she survived, Isda and Cyril would pay with their lives.

But Isda breaks Cyril’s cardinal rule when she meets Emeric Rodin, a charming boy who throws her quiet, solitary life out of balance. His voice is unlike any she’s ever heard, but the real shock comes when she finds in his memories hints of a way to finally break free of her gilded prison.

Haunted by this possibility, Isda spends more and more time with Emeric, searching for answers in his music and his past. But the price of freedom is steeper than Isda could ever know. For even as she struggles with her growing feelings for Emeric, she learns that in order to take charge of her own destiny, she must become the monster the world tried to drown in the first place.


Rule of Wolves (King of Scars 2#) – Leigh Bardugo | March

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The Demon King. As Fjerda’s massive army prepares to invade, Nikolai Lantsov will summon every bit of his ingenuity and charm—and even the monster within—to win this fight. But a dark threat looms that cannot be defeated by a young king’s gift for the impossible.

The Stormwitch. Zoya Nazyalensky has lost too much to war. She saw her mentor die and her worst enemy resurrected, and she refuses to bury another friend. Now duty demands she embrace her powers to become the weapon her country needs. No matter the cost.

The Queen of Mourning. Deep undercover, Nina Zenik risks discovery and death as she wages war on Fjerda from inside its capital. But her desire for revenge may cost her country its chance at freedom and Nina the chance to heal her grieving heart.

King. General. Spy. Together they must find a way to forge a future in the darkness. Or watch a nation fall.


Yolk – Mary H.K. Choi | March

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Jayne Baek is barely getting by. She shuffles through fashion school, saddled with a deadbeat boyfriend, clout-chasing friends, and a wretched eating disorder that she’s not fully ready to confront. But that’s New York City, right? At least she isn’t in Texas anymore, and is finally living in a city that feels right for her.

On the other hand, her sister June is dazzlingly rich with a high-flying finance job and a massive apartment. Unlike Jayne, June has never struggled a day in her life. Until she’s diagnosed with uterine cancer. Suddenly, these estranged sisters who have nothing in common are living together. Because sisterly obligations are kind of important when one of you is dying.


She’s Too Pretty to Burn – Wendy Heard | March

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The summer is winding down in San Diego. Veronica is bored, caustically charismatic, and uninspired in her photography. Nico is insatiable, subversive, and obsessed with chaotic performance art. They’re artists first, best friends second. But that was before Mick. Delicate, lonely, magnetic Mick: the perfect subject, and Veronica’s dream girl. The days are long and hot―full of adventure―and soon they are falling in love. Falling so hard, they never imagine what comes next. One fire. Two murders. Three drowning bodies. One suspect . . . one stalker. This is a summer they won’t survive.

Inspired by The Picture of Dorian Gray, this sexy psychological thriller explores the intersections of love, art, danger, and power.


Every Last Fear – Alex Finlay

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After a late night of partying, NYU student Matt Pine returns to his dorm room to devastating news: nearly his entire family—his mom, his dad, his little brother and sister—have been found dead from an apparent gas leak while vacationing in Mexico. The local police claim it was an accident, but the FBI and State Department seem far less certain—and they won’t tell Matt why.

The tragedy makes headlines everywhere because this isn’t the first time the Pine family has been thrust into the media spotlight. Matt’s older brother, Danny—currently serving a life sentence for the murder of his teenage girlfriend Charlotte—was the subject of a viral true crime documentary suggesting that Danny was wrongfully convicted. Though the country has rallied behind Danny, Matt holds a secret about his brother that he’s never told anyone: the night Charlotte was killed Matt saw something that makes him believe his brother is guilty of the crime.

When Matt returns to his small hometown to bury his parents and siblings, he’s faced with a hostile community that was villainized by the documentary, a frenzied media, and memories he’d hoped to leave behind forever. Now, as the deaths in Mexico appear increasingly suspicious and connected to Danny’s case, Matt must unearth the truth behind the crime that sent his brother to prison—putting his own life in peril—and forcing him to confront his every last fear.


Twice Shy – Sarah Hogle | April

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Parrish has always been a dreamer and hopeless romantic. But living with her head in the clouds has long been preferable to dealing with reality, whether it’s navigating the wild world of dating apps or getting her coworkers to show her a little respect. So when Maybell inherits a stately old Tennessee manor from her Great Aunt Violet, she seizes the opportunity to make a fresh start.

But when she arrives at her new home, it seems her troubles have only just begun. Not only is the manor practically falling apart around her, but she isn’t the only inheritor: she has to share everything with Wesley Koehler, the groundskeeper who’s just as grouchy as he is gorgeous–and it turns out he has a very different vision for the property’s future.

Convincing the taciturn Wesley to stop avoiding her and compromise is a task more formidable than any of the many other dying wishes Great Aunt Violet left behind. But when Maybell uncovers something unexpectedly sweet beneath Wesley’s scowls and silences, she realizes they might have more in common than she ever dreamed. And as the two slowly begin to let their guards down, they just might learn that sometimes the smallest steps outside one’s comfort zone can lead to the greatest rewards.


The Forest of Stolen Girls – June Hur | April

Hwani’s family has never been the same since she and her younger sister went missing and were later found unconscious in the forest, near a gruesome crime scene. The only thing they remember: Their captor wore a painted-white mask.

To escape the haunting memories of this incident, the family flees their hometown. Years later, Detective Min—Hwani’s father—learns that thirteen girls have recently disappeared under similar circumstances, and so he returns to their hometown to investigate… only to vanish as well.

Determined to find her father and solve the case that tore their family apart, Hwani returns home to pick up the trail. As she digs into the secrets of the small village—and reconnects with her now estranged sister—Hwani comes to realize that the answer lies within her own buried memories of what happened in the forest all those years ago.


Life’s Too Short – Abby Jimenez | April

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Vanessa lives life on her own terms — one day at a time, every day to its fullest. She isn’t willing to waste a moment or miss out on an experience when she has no idea whether she shares the same fatal genetic condition as her mother. Besides, she has way too much to do, traveling the globe and showing her millions of YouTube followers the joy in seizing every moment.

But after her half-sister suddenly leaves Vanessa in custody of her infant daughter, she is housebound, on mommy duty for the foreseeable future, and feeling totally out of her element.

The last person she expects to show up offering help is the unbelievably hot lawyer who lives next door, Adrian Copeland. After all, she barely knows him. But as they get closer, Vanessa realizes that her carefree ways and his need for a structured plan could never be compatible for the long term. Then again, she should know better than anyone that life’s too short to fear taking the biggest risk of all.
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Girl, 11 – Amy Suiter Clarke | April

Amazon.com: Girl, 11 (9780358418931): Clarke, Amy Suiter: Books

Once a social worker specializing in kids who were the victims of violent crime, Elle Castillo is now the host of a popular true crime podcast that tackles cold cases of missing children in her hometown of the Twin Cities. After two seasons of successfully solving cases, Elle decides to tackle her white whale—The Countdown Killer. Twenty years ago, TCK abruptly stopped after establishing a pattern of taking and ritualistically murdering three girls over seven days, each a year younger than the last. No one’s ever known why—why he stopped with his eleventh victim, a girl of eleven years old, or why he followed the ritual at all.

When a listener phones in with a tip, Elle sets out to interview him, only to discover his dead body. And within days, a child is abducted following the original TCK MO. Unlike the experts in the media and law enforcement who have always spun theories of a guilty suicide, Elle never believed TCK had died, and her investigation was meant to lay that suspicion to rest. But instead, her podcast seems to be kicking up new victims. 


Malibu Rising – Taylor Jenkins Reid | May

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Malibu: August 1983. It’s the day of Nina Riva’s annual end-of-summer party, and anticipation is at a fever pitch. Everyone wants to be around the famous Rivas: Nina, the talented surfer and supermodel; brothers Jay and Hud, one a championship surfer, the other a renowned photographer; and their adored baby sister, Kit. Together the siblings are a source of fascination in Malibu and the world over–especially as the offspring of the legendary singer Mick Riva.

The only person not looking forward to the party of the year is Nina herself, who never wanted to be the center of attention, and who has also just been very publicly abandoned by her pro tennis player husband. Oh, and maybe Hud–because it is long past time for him to confess something to the brother from whom he’s been inseparable since birth. Jay, on the other hand, is counting the minutes until nightfall, when the girl he can’t stop thinking about promised she’ll be there. And Kit has a couple secrets of her own–including a guest she invited without consulting anyone.

By midnight the party will be completely out of control. By morning, the Riva mansion will have gone up in flames. But before that first spark in the early hours before dawn, the alcohol will flow, the music will play, and the loves and secrets that shaped this family’s generations will all come bubbling to the surface.

Malibu Rising is a story about one unforgettable night in the life of a family: the night they each have to choose what they will keep from the people who made them . . . and what they will leave behind. 


The Soulmate Equation – Christina Lauren | May

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Single mom Jess Davis is a data and statistics wizard, but no amount of number crunching can convince her to step back into the dating world. Raised by her grandparents—who now help raise her seven-year-old daughter, Juno—Jess has been left behind too often to feel comfortable letting anyone in. After all, her father’s never been around, her hard-partying mother disappeared when she was six, and her ex decided he wasn’t “father material” before Juno was even born. Jess holds her loved ones close, but working constantly to stay afloat is hard…and lonely.

But then Jess hears about GeneticAlly, a buzzy new DNA-based matchmaking company that’s predicted to change dating forever. Finding a soulmate through DNA? The reliability of numbers: this Jess understands.

At least she thought she did, until her test shows an unheard-of 98% compatibility with another subject in the database: GeneticAlly’s founder, Dr. River Pena. This is one number she can’t wrap her head around, because she already knows Dr. Pena. The stuck-up, stubborn man is without a doubt not her soulmate. But GeneticAlly has a proposition: Get to know him and we’ll pay you. Jess—who is barely making ends meet—is in no position to turn it down, despite her skepticism about the project and her dislike for River. As the pair are dragged from one event to the next as the “Diamond” pairing that could make GeneticAlly a mint in stock prices, Jess begins to realize that there might be more to the scientist—and the science behind a soulmate—than she thought.


Tokyo Ever After – Emiko Jean | May

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Izumi Tanaka has never really felt like she fit in—it isn’t easy being Japanese American in her small, mostly white, northern California town. Raised by a single mother, it’s always been Izumi—or Izzy, because “It’s easier this way”—and her mom against the world. But then Izzy discovers a clue to her previously unknown father’s identity…and he’s none other than the Crown Prince of Japan. Which means outspoken, irreverent Izzy is literally a princess.

In a whirlwind, Izzy travels to Japan to meet the father she never knew and discover the country she always dreamed of. But being a princess isn’t all ball gowns and tiaras. There are conniving cousins, a hungry press, a scowling but handsome bodyguard who just might be her soulmate, and thousands of years of tradition and customs to learn practically overnight.

Izzy soon finds herself caught between worlds, and between versions of herself—back home, she was never “American” enough, and in Japan, she must prove she’s “Japanese” enough. Will Izumi crumble under the weight of the crown, or will she live out her fairytale, happily ever after?


Project Hail Mary – Andy Weir | May

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Ryland Grace is the sole survivor on a desperate, last-chance mission–and if he fails, humanity and the earth itself will perish. Except that right now, he doesn’t know that. He can’t even remember his own name, let alone the nature of his assignment or how to complete it. All he knows is that he’s been asleep for a very, very long time. And he’s just been awakened to find himself millions of miles from home, with nothing but two corpses for company.

His crewmates dead, his memories fuzzily returning, he realizes that an impossible task now confronts him. Alone on this tiny ship that’s been cobbled together by every government and space agency on the planet and hurled into the depths of space, it’s up to him to conquer an extinction-level threat to our species. And thanks to an unexpected ally, he just might have a chance.


One Last Stop – Casey McQuiston | June

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For cynical twenty-three-year-old August, moving to New York City is supposed to prove her right: that things like magic and cinematic love stories don’t exist, and the only smart way to go through life is alone. She can’t imagine how waiting tables at a 24-hour pancake diner and moving in with too many weird roommates could possibly change that. And there’s certainly no chance of her subway commute being anything more than a daily trudge through boredom and electrical failures.

But then, there’s this gorgeous girl on the train.

Jane. Dazzling, charming, mysterious, impossible Jane. Jane with her rough edges and swoopy hair and soft smile, showing up in a leather jacket to save August’s day when she needed it most. August’s subway crush becomes the best part of her day, but pretty soon, she discovers there’s one big problem: Jane doesn’t just look like an old school punk rocker. She’s literally displaced in time from the 1970s, and August is going to have to use everything she tried to leave in her own past to help her. Maybe it’s time to start believing in some things, after all.


The Maidens – Alex Michaelides | June

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Edward Fosca is a murderer. Of this Mariana is certain. But Fosca is untouchable. A handsome and charismatic Greek Tragedy professor at Cambridge University, Fosca is adored by staff and students alike—particularly by the members of a secret society of female students known as The Maidens.

Mariana Andros is a brilliant but troubled group therapist who becomes fixated on The Maidens when one member, a friend of Mariana’s niece Zoe, is found murdered in Cambridge. Mariana, who was once herself a student at the university, quickly suspects that behind the idyllic beauty of the spires and turrets, and beneath the ancient traditions, lies something sinister. And she becomes convinced that, despite his alibi, Edward Fosca is guilty of the murder. But why would the professor target one of his students? And why does he keep returning to the rites of Persephone, the maiden, and her journey to the underworld?

When another body is found, Mariana’s obsession with proving Fosca’s guilt spirals out of control, threatening to destroy her credibility as well as her closest relationships. But Mariana is determined to stop this killer, even if it costs her everything—including her own life.


Survive the Night – Riley Sager | July

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It’s November 1991. George H. W. Bush is in the White House, Nirvana’s in the tape deck, and movie-obsessed college student Charlie Jordan is in a car with a man who might be a serial killer.

Josh Baxter, the man behind the wheel, is a virtual stranger to Charlie. They met at the campus ride board, each looking to share the long drive home to Ohio. Both have good reasons for wanting to get away. For Charlie, it’s guilt and grief over the murder of her best friend, who became the third victim of the man known as the Campus Killer. For Josh, it’s to help care for his sick father. Or so he says. Like the Hitchcock heroine she’s named after, Charlie has her doubts. There’s something suspicious about Josh, from the holes in his story about his father to how he doesn’t seem to want Charlie to see inside the car’s trunk. As they travel an empty highway in the dead of night, an increasingly worried Charlie begins to think she’s sharing a car with the Campus Killer. Is Josh truly dangerous? Or is Charlie’s suspicion merely a figment of her movie-fueled imagination?

What follows is a game of cat-and-mouse played out on night-shrouded roads and in neon-lit parking lots, during an age when the only call for help can be made on a pay phone and in a place where there’s nowhere to run. In order to win, Charlie must do one thing—survive the night.


The Dead and the Dark – Courtney Gould | August

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Something is wrong in Snakebite, Oregon. Teenagers are disappearing, some turning up dead, the weather isn’t normal, and all fingers seem to point to TV’s most popular ghost hunters who have just returned to town. Logan Ortiz-Woodley, daughter of TV’s ParaSpectors, has never been to Snakebite before, but the moment she and her dads arrive, she starts to get the feeling that there’s more secrets buried here than they originally let on.

Ashley Barton’s boyfriend was the first teen to go missing, and she’s felt his presence ever since. But now that the Ortiz-Woodleys are in town, his ghost is following her and the only person Ashley can trust is the mysterious Logan. When Ashley and Logan team up to figure out who—or what—is haunting Snakebite, their investigation reveals truths about the town, their families, and themselves that neither of them are ready for. As the danger intensifies, they realize that their growing feelings for each other could be a light in the darkness.


The Heart Principle – Helen Hoang | August

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To most people, Quan Diep is nothing but a surly-looking, underachieving playboy. The problem is he’s not any of those things. And now that he’s the CEO of an up-and-coming retail business, he’s suddenly a “catch,” and the rich girls who never used to pay any attention to him are looking at him in a new way—especially Camilla, the girl who brushed him off many years ago.

Anna Sun dislikes Quan Diep almost as much as germy bathroom door handles. Or so she tells herself. She will never admit that she has a secret crush on him, especially because he only has eyes for her charismatic and newly engaged younger sister Camilla. Over the years, Anna has worked hard to overcome her OCD, but she’ll still need to find a way to bury her anxieties and seduce Quan so he doesn’t ruin her sister’s engagement, and with it, a crucial real estate development deal.

Slowly, Anna breaks down Quan’s dangerous and careless exterior while peeling off her own tough, protective shell. But when Quan discovers Anna’s true intentions, he’s forced to confront his own hurtful past and learn to forgive, while Anna must face her greatest challenge: truly opening herself up to love.


If the Shoe Fits – Julie Murphy | August

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After having just graduated with a degree in shoe design, and trying to get her feet on the ground, Cindy is working for her stepmother, who happens to be the executive producer of America’s favorite reality show, Before Midnight. When a spot on the show needs filling ASAP, Cindy volunteers, hoping it might help jump-start her fashion career, or at least give her something to do while her peers land jobs in the world of high fashion.

Turns out being the only plus size woman on a reality dating competition makes a splash, and soon Cindy becomes a body positivity icon for women everywhere. What she doesn’t expect? That she may just find inspiration-and love-in the process. Ultimately, Cindy learns that if the shoe doesn’t fit, maybe it’s time to design your own. 


Empire of the Vampire – Jay Kristoff | September

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It has been twenty-seven long years since the last sunrise. For nearly three decades, vampires have waged war against humanity; building their eternal empire even as they tear down our own. Now, only a few tiny sparks of light endure in a sea of darkness.

Gabriel de León is a silversaint: a member of a holy brotherhood dedicated to defending realm and church from the creatures of the night. But even the Silver Order couldn’t stem the tide once daylight failed us, and now, only Gabriel remains.

Imprisoned by the very monsters he vowed to destroy, the last silversaint is forced to tell his story. A story of legendary battles and forbidden love, of faith lost and friendships won, of the Wars of the Blood and the Forever King and the quest for humanity’s last remaining hope: The Holy Grail.


Under the Whispering Door – T. J. Klune | September

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When a reaper comes to collect Wallace Price from his own funeral, Wallace suspects he really might be dead. Instead of leading him directly to the afterlife, the reaper takes him to a small village. On the outskirts, off the path through the woods, tucked between mountains, is a particular tea shop, run by a man named Hugo. Hugo is the tea shop’s owner to locals and the ferryman to souls who need to cross over. But Wallace isn’t ready to abandon the life he barely lived. With Hugo’s help he finally starts to learn about all the things he missed in life.

When the Manager, a curious and powerful being, arrives at the tea shop and gives Wallace one week to cross over, Wallace sets about living a lifetime in seven days.


I’m stopping here before I break my blog. There are a few other books which are also rumoured to be coming out in 2021 but still not confirmed yet, e.g. Skyward 3# by Brandon Sanderson and V. E. Schwab’s first Threads of Power book, but I guess we’ll have to wait and see.

Which 2021 releases are you most dying to get your hands on?