Top Ten Tuesday: Books on my Autumn 2022 TBR

Happy Tuesday, bookworms. It’s that day of the week again so it’s time for another edition of Top Ten Tuesday (hosted by the lovely Jana @ ThatArtsyReaderGirl). This week we’re talking books on our TBR for the season. As always, I’m Australian so while all you northern hemisphere babies are busy planning your spring reads I am extremely happy to be reunited with my favourite season, Autumn. Because my mood reader self panics at the idea of having to plan 10 books for this list, I’m only doing 8 – shorter and sweeter. Here are the reads on my TBR:

The Atlas Six – Olivie Blake

The re-publish is finally out and, as of last weekend, I have a copy sitting in my house. Woo! I’m excited because I’ve been wanting to read this for ages now but I’m also worried about being disappointed because in that time it’s become extremely hyped. Like, EXTREMELY hyped. On its face, The Atlas Six seems like it should be right up my alley – magic, competition plot, dark academia, grey characters, but there’s always room for things to go wrong. It’s about a group of 6 magicians competing against each other for only 5 spots in a secret society of magical academics. Please, be good, please, be good!


Cleopatra and Frankenstein – Coco Mellors

This is another one of those books that I bought on a sudden whim while perusing the book store. It’s been marketed as being suitable for lovers of Conversations with Friends by Sally Rooney which I love, however, I’ve been burnt by these types of recommendations before. But after seeing a few positive reviews from people who actually did like CwF, maybe the suggestion is legit? It’s about a young painter named Cleo who impulsively marries a man named Frank, twenty years her senior. The book looks at how this decision impacts their lives and those of their close friends and family.


All Systems Red (The Murderbot Diaries #1) – Martha Wells

I’ve heard so many positive things about The Murderbot Diaries that I think it’s about time I see for myself what everyone’s talking about. These are sci-fi novellas (eventually progressing to a full-length novel) so they’re fairly quick reads and there’s always something fun about a sarcastic, dysfunctional AI. It’s about a self-aware security droid tasked with protecting a group of humans doing research on a far-off planet. However, Murderbot (as it refers to itself) doesn’t really like humans and would rather just be sitting around watching videos, doing stuff all. Sounds like me. Here’s hoping I find an enjoyable new series.


Jade City (The Green Bone Saga 1#) – Fonda Lee

Okay, yes, mentions of this book on my blog are starting to feel a bit Jack in the box-ish lately so I won’t rehash the blurb for the umpteenth time, but here we are again. I’d really like to get stuck into this series sometime over the next few months. I’ve finally managed to find a copy at the book store (they were all weirdly sold out for a while there – guess everyone else had the same idea as me) so I’m ready to go. I still have no idea if this is going to be something I enjoy as I’ve never really gravitated towards mob-like stories before but I’m really intrigued so I suppose we’ll see.


A Lady for a Duke – Alexis Hall

I only recently heard about A Lady for a Duke and it’s annoying because had I known earlier I would’ve included it in my 2022 anticipated releases list. I had a lot of fun with Alexis Hall’s Boyfriend Material and I’ve been reading a few historical romances lately so the idea of combining the two is exciting. This book sounds so good! It’s about trans lead Viola who after being presumed dead at Waterloo takes the opportunity to finally live as herself. She ends up reconnecting with her best friend, Justin, who hasn’t handled her death well and becomes determined to help him find happiness again. We don’t often see a lot of mainstream romances where trans characters get to take center stage so this is such a nice change. This one will be a very late Autumn read due to the release date (but if anyone wants to send an ARC my way…*wink wink*)


Skyward (Skyward 1#) – Brandon Sanderson (Re-Read)

I received Cytonic, the third book in this series, for Christmas but I haven’t read it yet because I’d really like to do a re-read of the first two books in the series and then make my way through the two novellas set in between books 2 and 3. It seems like a stack at the moment, which is likely why I’ve put it off for months, but I really love this series so I should just get to it already. This will be my third time through Skyward but it’s such a fantastic book that I have no doubt I’ll power through it as I have the first two times. If you haven’t read it and have been thinking about doing so, I 100% recommend going for it!


The Hacienda – by Isabel Cañas

This is the second book on this list that has yet to release but I’m so keen to read The Hacienda that I’m including it anyway. It’s been likened to Mexican Gothic, which I wasn’t a huge fan of, but also Crimson Peak and Rebecca, both of which I did like. Combine that with a great-sounding blurb and I’m hoping for a hit. The story follows Beatriz. After losing everything when the Mexican government is overthrown, she marries the handsome Don Rodolfo Solórzano and moves to his country estate. However, something seems off about the Hacienda and there are rumours about what happened to her husband’s first wife. Desperate for help, Beatriz seeks assistance from a young priest in getting rid of the malevolent presence plaguing the house.


Fence, Vol. 2 – C.S. Pacat & Johanna the Mad

I’m in the mood for something fun and what’s more fun than a comic about silly, competitive boys fencing? I read the first volume in this series ages ago and bought the next two volumes expecting that I’d get around to them shortly after but, as usual, I didn’t. So, let’s change that, shall we? I feel like this will be a good way for me to break up one of the larger and more dense reads on my TBR with a couple of hours of something fluffy. The fifth volume in the series is due out in August this year so perhaps I’ll be all caught up by then.


Let’s see how many of these I get through over the next couple of months. For all I know, I could suddenly have an urge to binge read massive amounts of thrillers and this could get thrown out the window. Hopefully not, but life is full of surprises.

What books are you hoping to read this Autumn/Spring?

2022 TBR: 20 Books I Want to Read in 2022

Happy new year, bookworms! I hope you’ve all been celebrating and that you’re ready to take on 2022. As I’ve done for the past two years, here I am again with a list of some of the books I’m hoping to read over the course of the next 12 months. These books are usually a mix of backlist reads and newer releases from the last 1-2 years that I, unfortunately, didn’t get around to when they first came out. New 2022 releases are a story for another day (aka. another post).

Confession time: I don’t have the best success rate when it comes to these posts. Over the past two years, I’ve managed to read about half the books I’ve planned to. Not bad, but er…could be better. However, I have higher hopes for this year’s list! Why? Because (a) I’m more determined and (b) I reduced the list down to 20 books. Want to achieve more? SET SMALLER GOALS! I’ve even re-added the handy little checkboxes I used in 2020 to help tick them off as I go. Now, let’s jump in.

  • The Way of Kings (The Stormlight Archive 1#) – Brandon Sanderson  
    • Yes, it’s finally happening. I’m going to put on my big girl pants, ignore the enormous page count and see what the hype is about. Don’t let me down Sanderson!
  • Jade City – Fonda Lee ☐
    • I mentioned Jade City a couple of times in my December posts so I doubt you’re surprised to see it show up here. I’m looking forward to hopefully getting invested in another Asian fantasy series.
  • The Atlas Six – Olivie Blake ☑
    • I’ve wanted to read this for a while and with the new hardcover version being released in March, seems like the universe is trying to tell me something. Besides, I need a new dark academia book to obsess over.
  • The Goblin Emperor (The Goblin Emperor 1#) – Katherine Addison ☐
    • I only came across this book a little while ago but it sounds like a great fantasy read with a cinnamon roll lead, and I feel like 2022 will be my year of fantasy/sci-fi books.
  • A Sky Beyond the Storm (An Ember in the Ashes 4#) – Sabaa Tahir ☐
    • It’s happening this year. I WILL finish this series. I’m manifesting it happening.
  • Cytonic (Skyward 3#) – Brandon Sanderson ☐
    • Continuing on with one of my absolute favourite YA series. I’m praying it’s as good as the last two, otherwise I may cry.
  • Harrow the Ninth (The Locked Tomb 2#) – Tamsyn Muir ☐
    • I’ve had this sitting on my desk for a year now because I need to read a detailed summary of Gideon before I tackle it. Bring on the mind boggling world building and badass necromancers.
  • This is How You Lose the Time War – Amal El-Mohtar & Max Gladstone ☐
    • It’s a novella. I have absolutely no excuse. Also, time travelling, rival spy lesbians.
  • The Likeness – Tana French
    • I’ve been wanting to try a Tana French book for a while. The Dublin Murder Squad series can be read out of order and since this one is a dark academia read, I’m keen to read it first.
  • The Hollows – Mark Edwards
    • It’s a thriller so, with me, that means it could go either way. It was cheap on the amazon store and involves a creepy campground in the forest. Fingers crossed.
  • The Burning Girls – C. J. Tudor
    • Every time I’m in the mood for a thriller/mystery read I come close to downloading this but change my mind. It sounds great so this year I’m determined to finally read it
  • My Best Friend’s Exorcism – Grady Hendrix
    • I feel like everyone’s been telling me how good this book is for years. I bought it as part of my 2021 post-lockdown haul so I’m doing it this year. There are like 3 Grady Hendrix books on my TBR so I’m looking foward to crossing one off.
  • Blonde – Joyce Carol Oates
    • Another chunky read that I’ve been putting off. But since the adaptation starring Ana de Armas is coming out in 2022, I better get on it!
  • Malibu Rising – Taylor Jenkins Reid
    • I put this off for the second half of last year because the right mood just didn’t arise, but I like TJR’s historical fiction and I’m interested in reading this one, so 2022 it is.
  • Migrations – Charlotte McConaghy
    • I really enjoyed McConaghy’s 2021 release, Once There Were Wolves, so I’m going back to her first adult besteller. It’s another environmental themed plot with personal drama thrown in. Hopefully it’ll be a good, short read.
  • The Lighthouse Witches – C. J. Cooke
    • This is a new addition to my TBR. It sounds very atmospheric & interesting, and I love a good Scottish setting. I’ve heard there are similarities to Netflix’s series ‘Dark’ but as I’ve never seen that it should still be surprising for me.
  • The View was Exhausting – Mikaella Clements, Onjuli Datta ☑
    • It’s contemporary but somehow this book is giving me Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo vibes. I’m not sure how it’ll go but this is the first book in a while I’ve spontaneously bought without doing a full online investigation first.
  • Seven Days in June – Tia Williams
    • I’ve been making my way through the GR choice award romance finalists for 2021 and this is the second last one on my list. I’m not usually a big second-chance-romance fan but I’ve heard great things, plus it’s about two authors which sounds cool.
  • The Charm Offensive – Alison Cochrun
    • I needed at least one contemporary romance and seeing as I picked this up in the sales, here it is! I’m looking forward to some Bachelor-esque romance fun with a twist.
  • Norweigan Wood – Haruki Marukami
    • Yes, it’s here again. Look, I almost started in December but eventually decided against it so we’re DEFINITELY doing it in 2022. Promise.

There you have it! 20 Books from a mix of different genres. Okay, yes, there’s a chunk of fantasy/sci-fi on there but I’m vibing with it at the moment. Completing this list should hopefully reduce my physical TBR pile by a good amount which is a major plus. Wish me luck, guys.

What books are on your 2022 TBR?

WWW Wednesday | 01.12.21

I can’t believe it’s been more than a year since my last WWW Wednesday post. So how about we rectify that now? As always, this weekly meme is hosted by Sam over at Taking on a World of Words and asks you to answer the 3 Ws – what did you recently finish, what are you currently reading, and what’s up next? Here’s what I’ve been up to lately and what’s on the horizon…

Iron Widow – Xiran Jay Zhao

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I was super excited to read Iron Widow after hearing so many amazing things. While I enjoyed it, I feel bad that I didn’t love it the way others have. The gritty, edgy aesthetic was great and I had a lot of fun with the machine vs alien battles. The vibe is very Pacific Rim and the technology/magic aspect was quite interesting. This is the first time I’ve read a book with a poly romance and I love that it did something different. However, I found the relationships with both love interests a little too underdeveloped to truly invest in them. The overall themes were good but it did feel like the book was screaming them at me most of the time, especially the feminist elements, and I wish there’d been more depth and nuance. Some of the world-building is also slightly lacking, weakening the ‘rage against the machine’ aspect. Zetian is a strong female lead and I found her easy to root for, but she can be quite rash at times and there’s definitely a hint of the ‘not like other girls’ trope. Overall, a good read, but I’m still tossing up whether I’d be interested in the sequel.

Once There Were Wolves – Charlotte McConaghy

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While this wasn’t the five-star read I was hoping for, I’m really glad I decided to pick it up. OTWW focuses a lot on environmental issues and I learned some interesting things about wolves and natural ecosystems. The blend of drama, mystery and romance was good (although, the latter was a little rushed at the beginning) and I found the conflict between the biologists reintroducing the wolves to the Scottish Highlands and the farmers compelling. I wasn’t sure about the writing at first but came to appreciate its beauty, especially when exploring heartbreaking themes of abuse & assault, painting a picture of gorgeous rural settings, or diving into MC Inti’s experiences with mirror touch synesthesia. I was also shocked at just how much CM managed to get me to care about the wolves themselves. I can definitely see myself giving McConaghy’s Migrations a read in the future.


One Last Stop – Casey McQuiston

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That’s right, I’m finally doing it (after saying that I will on this blog for what feels like forever!). At the moment, I’m around 120 or so pages in but, hopefully, I’ll get some more read tonight. So far, I’m liking it but there isn’t that absolute love feeling I had very quickly while reading RW&RB or the compulsive need to binge-read to the end. The characters are cute and diverse (the found family trope is always a winner) but I’m a little sad that I haven’t been laughing out loud as much as I did with CM’s debut. I’m also a litttttlllle worried that this will start to drag at some point, considering how long it is and how far in I am already. I might be completely wrong but I guess I’ll find out soon enough.


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

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I’m currently in the process of working on a 2021 romance reads review post so it’s highly likely that my next book will be Act Your Age, Eve Brown. I’m doing things a little out of order with this series as I’ve read the first entry but not the second. However, because you can get away with reading them as standalones and I just really loved the sound of this one, I’m doing it. It’s an opposites attract/enemies to lovers story set at a B&B, and I’m so keen! I’m hoping this will be a quick, comforting and cute (but still sexy) read. My only worry is that it’ll be a little too heavy on the smut as that’s one of the issues I had with Get a Life, Chloe Brown.


That’s the latest from me. With only one more month left before 2021 closes, I’m thinking hard about what books I really want to squeeze in over the next few weeks. I’m still hoping to pad out my top ten reads of the year list a bit more with a couple of highly-rated books, but who knows? Wish me luck!

What’s your current read? How are you enjoying it?

Books on My TBR: 500+ Page Books Whose Size Intimidates Me

Spoiler Alert. A lot of the books on this list are going to be fantasy. Why? Because Fantasy authors seem to look at a book and go, ‘You know what? Could be bigger’. So, here we are. This seems like a weird list to compile considering I only recently finished a 700+ page book but what can I say, I never claimed to be consistent in my anxieties.

The Way of Kings (The Stormlight Archive 1#) – Brandon Sanderson

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It hurts me to say so, but I’ve been thinking about reading this book since 2016. That’s right, around five years. The poor thing has rave reviews everywhere you look, a 4.6(!) average Goodreads rating and it’s written by an author I’ve already read and liked things from. But you know what I see when I look at it – that 1007 page count. ONE THOUSAND AND SEVEN. Is this thing a book or a weapon? Perhaps it’s both. I couldn’t possibly hope to try and sum up the blurb for this novel here but the good thing is there are talented reviewers like Melanie (@ Mel To The Any) who are able to do it perfectly for me.


The Priory of the Orange Tree – Samantha Shannon

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I was so keen read Priory once upon a time. Unlike other books on this list, I actually started reading it back in 2019 but after feeling overwhelmed and getting distracted, I put it down again. However, that doesn’t mean it’s given up a spot on my TBR. Every time I see that gorgeous orange cover I feel a mixture of longing and terror. At 830 pages, it’s smaller than The Way of Kings but still a wrist injury waiting to happen. Generally, the book follows four major characters from two kingdoms – the east who worship and ride dragons, and the west who fought a war against them and whose queen must have a daughter to prevent their return. I’ve heard it’s an epic read so here’s hoping I get there.


Dark Age (Red Rising Saga 5#) – Pierce Brown

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Would someone please explain to me why I’m somehow feeling intimidated by a book that is THE FIFTH in a series I have already read all the previous entries from (& one of my favourites, I might add)? Like, what? This makes no sense. Perhaps it’s because I didn’t enjoy book four as much as the first three. Regardless, Dark Age is still sitting on my shelf after goodness knows how long, in all its 750+ page glory. A lot of people have said this is the best book in the saga but I’ve also heard it’s the darkest, bleakest and most violent. Suddenly 750 pages seems a lot longer than it first did.


The Shining – Stephen King

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I considered using King’s monstrously sized The Stand but, in reality, I’ve wanted to read The Shining for longer. You’d think it would be because of the Kubric film adaptation but, unpopular opinion alert, I don’t like it very much. Mostly because nothing is bloody explained properly – it just drops in random things from the book with no context whatsoever. However, with over 650+ pages (varying depending on your edition) to work with, King has the time to weave an intricate plot, outline the history of the Overlook Hotel and create characters with rich backstories. It’s far from the biggest book on this list but still intimidating.


The Eye of the World (The Wheel of Time 1#) – Robert Jordan

Buy The Eye Of The World: Book 1 of the Wheel of Time (Soon to be a major  TV series) Book Online at Low Prices in India | The Eye Of The

I’ve been hiding from my paperback of this book for around 7 years. It’s 804 pages, with tiny print and terrifying. Plus, it’s part of a series of 14 books that all look like this. Can you hear me screaming? If there was ever a time to use the word ‘intimidating’, here it is. And yet, I still want to get there one day. With all the buzz about the TV series lately, I’ve been feeling more inclined to give it a go but it’s hard to take that step and finally do it. This is another book that it’s difficult to provide a brief synopsis for but the series takes inspiration from Tolkien and involves the farm boy/chosen one destined to save the world from a dark entity trope. It starts out with three friends setting off on an adventure after their home is attacked and expands from there.


Jade City (The Green Bone Saga 1#) – Fonda Lee

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The Green Bone saga is another fantasy series I’ve continued to hear amazing things about and Jade City even won the World Fantasy award back in 2018. Jade City is the shortest book on this list at 544 pages but that doesn’t make it “short”. It’s a mafia/godfather-type fantasy set in a world in which magical jade is prized, traded and the control of which is fought for. However, when the introduction of a new drug gives more people the ability to wield it, conflict erupts between rival families Kaul and Ayt. This sounds awesome, even though I don’t usually gravitate towards gang narratives. Then again, I recently got into watching the series Sons of Anarchy so maybe I’ll completely love this.


Recently I’ve been feeling a little more inclined to start one of the larger books on my TBR. It might be because we’re reaching the end of the year and I’ve already hit my 2021 reading goal but it might also be a desire to read something complex and immersive. Whether that voice in the back of my head will win out, we shall see.

What are some of the bigger books on your TBR that you’ve been putting off?

Or, if you’re someone who simply eats doorstopper books for breakfast, what are the favourites you believe to be worth the time and effort?

Books On My TBR: 5 Star Reading Predictions

Recently, I was going back over the books I’ve read so far this year and discovered something a little sad. So far in 2021 I’ve only given two books 5 stars! Crazy right? Well, I guess not that crazy for those who know me and how picky I am about my 5 star ratings. Don’t get me wrong, there have been a couple of 4.5 stars, but it seems as though this year I’ve rarely reached the obsessive love level I always hope to be at after finishing something. With that in mind, I thought it might be a good idea to do a 5-star prediction list. I’ve only done this once or twice in the past (okay, more like 1.5 since some of the same books were on both posts due to my usual procrastination) and I’ve had some mixed results. Clearly I’m not always the best judge of what my personal reading tastes are. Oops. However, I’m hoping for a better outcome this time around and that this will be a good way to get excited about some great looking reads. Hopefully it’ll also encourage me to actually sit down and read them. A bookworm can dream, right?

So here are 6 books I’m predicting (& praying) to find some 5 star magic with!

One Last Stop – Casey McQuiston

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Yes, this book is still on my TBR…I know, I know. 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 a twenty-three year-old waitress/student called August who meets punk-rocker, Jane, on the subway. The only problem is that Jane has magically traveled in time from the 1970s and can’t remember how or much about her past. I put this one off for a while after seeing some mixed reviews but having now also seen a heap of positive ones, I’m feeling so much more excited. I’ve decided to be optimistic and hope for a 5-star rating because one of the reasons I loved RW&RB so much was the writing and that’s something I can reasonably expect to translate well between books, even though the plot will be different. Don’t let me down Casey!


A Ladder to the Sky – John Boyne

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I’m adding this book for 3 reasons. First, it’s written by John Boyne, whose book The Heart’s Invisible Furies is already on my list of fave reads for 2021. Second, the premise sounds so intriguing and different. And third, reviewers I trust have said it’s amazing. So yes, I’m really hoping to strike gold on this one! It’s about a young, charming man called Maurice who makes his way into the literary world of fame by getting close to, manipulating, and then stealing the stories of others. As time goes on, he has to go further and further to get what he needs to stay in the spotlight. I haven’t read many writer based books previously but they seem to have increased in popularity lately, so why not get on trend?


Once There Were Wolves – Charlotte McConaghy

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This is a more recent addition to my TBR. I’m not entirely sure why, but I have a really good feeling about this book. I haven’t even read McConaghy’s previous (and very popular) novel, Migrations. There have been some really positive reviews and I’m interested in the premise because it’s not something I’d normally immediately pick up. It’s about Inti Flynn, the leader of a team of biologists who are reintroducing gray wolves to the Scottish Highlands to improve the balance of the natural environment. Inti brings her twin sister Aggie along hoping it’ll help her recover from the past. However, things turn ugly when a farmer is mauled to death and people blame the wolves. Inti doesn’t believe they’re behind it, but then who is? This seems like it’ll be a good mix of drama, mystery and romance in a beautiful setting so fingers crossed for 5 stars.


The Atlas Six – Olivie Blake

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I’ve lost track of how long I’ve wanted to read this and haven’t. And it makes zero sense because it sounds like all my magical dark academia dreams come true. At this rate the new, flashy 2022 hardcover will be out before I finally read it. The book is about a secret group of magical academics called the Alexandrian Society. Every ten years they choose six talented magicians to compete for 5 slots in their ranks as the caretakers of lost knowledge from great civilisations of antiquity. Our characters are recruited by a man named Atlas Blakely and have one year to prove their contributions to the impossible subjects of time & space, luck & thought, and life & death. How amazing does that sound? 5 star rating kind of amazing, hopefully.


Beautiful World, Where Are You – Sally Rooney

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Including this book is a risky choice but I’m doing it anyway. The reason it’s risky is that while I loved Conversations with Friends and gave it 5 stars, when I read Rooney’s more popular Normal People I only gave it 3. So this could blow my socks off or possibly end up decent yet kind of middle of the road. Hopefully it’s the former. BWWAY is about four millennials (two of which are best friends), Alice, Eileen, Felix and Simon, and follows them as they navigate life in all its awkwardness, heartbreak, confusion and joy. I’m preparing myself to feel…things, including the sudden desire to move to Ireland.


Cytonic (Skyward 3#) – Brandon Sanderson

Cytonic, The Third Skyward Novel by Brandon Sanderson | 9781473217942 |  Booktopia

I’m jumping the gun with this book because it won’t release until the end of the month, but you can bet anything you own that I’ll be buying it as soon as it comes out. I’m almost positive that Cytonic will be a high rating for me because book 1 was a 5 star read and book 2 was 4.5 stars. Bodes well doesn’t it? I’ll be absolutely devastated and heartbroken if things go the other way so let’s not even entertain that realm of possibility. I can’t really do a synopsis for this one because there’d be spoilers for anyone who hasn’t read this series yet, but if that’s you – what are you waiting for? It’s one of my favourites and it’s AMAZING!


Have you read any of these books? If so, what did you think? Are they worthy 5 star predictions, or am I just setting myself up for disappointment?

Spooktober: My Halloween Themed October 2021 TBR

Ignoring the fact that we’re already a week into October and I’m only just doing this now, here is my Halloween themed Spooktober TBR! There are 10 books on this list but as you likely already know, there is NO way I’ll get through all of them over the next 3.5 half weeks. However, because your girl is a serious mood reader, I need to have OPTIONS. I may also add something here or there if I happen to come across a book and suddenly get an irresistible urge to read it.

Putting this TBR together was more difficult than I expected because of accessibility issues. Due to Covid there have been some serious stock problems and shipping delays where I live. Combine this with some later AUS release dates for a few books already available overseas and you can understand my dilemma. As a result, many of my reads for this month will be kindle purchases. There were a few books I wish I could have included but couldn’t because (a) there’s no way for me to get a copy in the next few weeks or (b) I really want a physical copy and am willing to wait for one to become available. In the end, I’m excited about my TBR and really looking forward to getting stuck into it!


The Haunting of Hill House – Shirley Jackson*

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Four seekers arrive at a notoriously unfriendly pile called Hill House: Dr. Montague, an occult scholar looking for solid evidence of a “haunting”; Theodora, the lighthearted assistant; Eleanor, a friendless, fragile young woman well acquainted with poltergeists; and Luke, the future heir of Hill House. At first, their stay seems destined to be merely a spooky encounter with inexplicable phenomena. But Hill House is gathering its powers—and soon it will choose one of them to make its own.

* I can already tick this one off! (Since I’m posting my TBR so late).


To Break A Covenant – Alison Ames

To Break a Covenant by Alison Ames

Moon Basin has been haunted for as long as anyone can remember. It started when an explosion in the mine killed sixteen people. The disaster made it impossible to live in town, with underground fires spewing ash into the sky. But life in New Basin is just as fraught. The ex-mining town relies on its haunted reputation to bring in tourists, but there’s more truth to the rumors than most are willing to admit, and the mine still has a hold on everyone who lives there.

Clem and Nina form a perfect loop—best friends forever, and perhaps something more. Their circle opens up for a strange girl named Lisey with a knack for training crows, and Piper, whose father is fascinated with the mine in a way that’s anything but ordinary. The people of New Basin start experiencing strange phenomena—sleepwalking, night terrors, voices that only they can hear. And no matter how many vans of ghost hunters roll through, nobody can get to the bottom of what’s really going on. Which is why the girls decide to enter the mine themselves.


My Heart is a Chainsaw – Stephen Graham Jones

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Jade Daniels is an angry, half-Indian outcast with an abusive father, an absent mother, and an entire town that wants nothing to do with her. She lives in her own world, a world in which protection comes from an unusual source: horror movies…especially the ones where a masked killer seeks revenge on a world that wronged them. And Jade narrates the quirky history of Proofrock as if it is one of those movies. But when blood actually starts to spill into the waters of Indian Lake, she pulls us into her dizzying, encyclopedic mind of blood and masked murderers, and predicts exactly how the plot will unfold.

Yet, even as Jade drags us into her dark fever dream, a surprising and intimate portrait emerges… a portrait of the scared and traumatized little girl beneath the Jason Voorhees mask: angry, yes, but also a girl who easily cries, fiercely loves, and desperately wants a home. A girl whose feelings are too big for her body.


Payback’s a Witch – Lana Harper

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Got to have something fun and light to break up all the haunted house reads!

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?


Pumpkinheads – Rainbow Rowell & Faith Erin Hicks

Pumpkinheads by Rainbow Rowell

A quick read that I feel as though I’ve had on my TBR FOREVER.

Deja and Josiah are seasonal best friends. Every autumn, all through high school, they’ve worked together at the best pumpkin patch in the whole wide world. (Not many people know that the best pumpkin patch in the whole wide world is in Omaha, Nebraska, but it definitely is.) They say good-bye every Halloween, and they’re reunited every September 1.But this Halloween is different—Josiah and Deja are finally seniors, and this is their last season at the pumpkin patch. Their last shift together. Their last good-bye.

Josiah’s ready to spend the whole night feeling melancholy about it. Deja isn’t ready to let him. She’s got a plan: What if—instead of moping and the usual slinging lima beans down at the Succotash Hut—they went out with a bang? They could see all the sights! Taste all the snacks! And Josiah could finally talk to that cute girl he’s been mooning over for three years . . .What if their last shift was an adventure?


The Book of Accidents – Chuck Wendig

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Long ago, Nathan lived in a house in the country with his abusive father—and has never told his family what happened there. Long ago, Maddie was a little girl making dolls in her bedroom when she saw something she shouldn’t have—and is trying to remember that lost trauma by making haunting sculptures. Long ago, something sinister, something hungry, walked in the tunnels and the mountains and the coal mines of their hometown in rural Pennsylvania.

Now, Nate and Maddie Graves are married, and they have moved back to their hometown with their son, Oliver. And now what happened long ago is happening again . . . and it is happening to Oliver. He meets a strange boy who becomes his best friend, a boy with secrets of his own and a taste for dark magic. This dark magic puts them at the heart of a battle of good versus evil and a fight for the soul of the family—and perhaps for all of the world. But the Graves family has a secret weapon in this battle: their love for one another.


My Best Friend’s Exorcism – Grady Hendrix

Buy My Best Friend's Exorcism: A Novel Book Online at Low Prices in India |  My Best Friend's Exorcism: A Novel Reviews & Ratings - Amazon.in

There were a heap of Grady Hendrix options for this TBR but I decided to go with this one because it seems to be the most popular, but also I’m all for those female friendship vibes.

Abby and Gretchen have been best friends since fifth grade, when they bonded over a shared love of E.T., roller-skating parties, and scratch-and-sniff stickers. But when they arrive at high school, things change. Gretchen begins to act….different. And as the strange coincidences and bizarre behavior start to pile up, Abby realizes there’s only one possible explanation: Gretchen, her favorite person in the world, has a demon living inside her. And Abby is not about to let anyone or anything come between her and her best friend. With help from some unlikely allies, Abby embarks on a quest to save Gretchen. But is their friendship powerful enough to beat the devil?


Summer Sons – Lee Mandelo

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Andrew and Eddie did everything together, best friends bonded more deeply than brothers, until Eddie left Andrew behind to start his graduate program at Vanderbilt. Six months later, only days before Andrew was to join him in Nashville, Eddie dies of an apparent suicide. He leaves Andrew a horrible inheritance: a roommate he doesn’t know, friends he never asked for, and a gruesome phantom that hungers for him.

As Andrew searches for the truth of Eddie’s death, he uncovers the lies and secrets left behind by the person he trusted most, discovering a family history soaked in blood and death. Whirling between the backstabbing academic world where Eddie spent his days and the circle of hot boys, fast cars, and hard drugs that ruled Eddie’s nights, the walls Andrew has built against the world begin to crumble. And there is something awful lurking, waiting for those walls to fall.


White Smoke – Tiffany D. Jackson

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I planned to read this last month as part of my Magical Readathon but didn’t get around to it. However, it’s perfectly suited to this month’s TBR so maybe it’s a good thing I held off.

Marigold is running from ghosts. The phantoms of her old life keep haunting her, but a move with her newly blended family from their small California beach town to the embattled Midwestern city of Cedarville might be the fresh start she needs. Her mom has accepted a new job with the Sterling Foundation that comes with a free house, one that Mari now has to share with her bratty ten-year-old stepsister, Piper.

The renovated picture-perfect home on Maple Street, sitting between dilapidated houses, surrounded by wary neighbors has its . . . secrets. That’s only half the problem: household items vanish, doors open on their own, lights turn off, shadows walk past rooms, voices can be heard in the walls, and there’s a foul smell seeping through the vents only Mari seems to notice. Worse: Piper keeps talking about a friend who wants Mari gone.

But “running from ghosts” is just a metaphor, right? As the house closes in, Mari learns that the danger isn’t limited to Maple Street. Cedarville has its secrets, too. And secrets always find their way through the cracks.


The Shining – Stephen King

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I’m going to add this one just in case I’m feeling brave and ambitious because it’s a chunker. It’s unlikely, especially considering how long I’ve wanted to read it and haven’t, but you never know. Plus, what would spooky season be without some King?

Jack Torrance’s new job at the Overlook Hotel is the perfect chance for a fresh start. As the off-season caretaker at the atmospheric old hotel, he’ll have plenty of time to spend reconnecting with his family and working on his writing. But as the harsh winter weather sets in, the idyllic location feels ever more remote…and more sinister. And the only one to notice the strange and terrible forces gathering around the Overlook is Danny Torrance, a uniquely gifted five-year-old. 


These should definitely keep me busy for the rest of the month. Hopefully I have a few really enjoyable books here. The end of the year and my top 10 ranking is getting closer and closer, after all!

Are you planning on getting into the spooky season with some Halloween-ish reads?

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!

Top 10 Tuesday: Books on my 2021 Winter TBR

It’s TBR time again – courtesy of this week’s Top 10 Tuesday topic (hosted by Jana @ That Artsy Reader Girl). I’ve hit a rather large slump recently and haven’t done much reading for the last month. Making this list was kind of a challenge because I’m in that nothing-feels-appealing-to-me-right-now mood. However, I did manage to come up with a couple of titles that I’m keen to try and get through over the next few months. It isn’t 10 but with the way things have been tracking for me, perhaps 8 is a more reasonable number. HA, who am I kidding? It’s likely too LARGE a number already!

Just Last Night – Mhairi McFarlane

Just Last Night: A Novel: McFarlane, Mhairi: 9780063036857: Amazon.com:  Books

When I have been reading lately, it’s been mainly a romance mood and Just Last Night is one I’m hoping to read soon. This is a 2021 release and unlike a lot of the other books in the genre that I usually read this isn’t really a romcom (at least they aren’t trying to market it as such because I’ve been burned by that before). Going in, I know to expect some heavier themes like forgiveness, grief, loss, betrayal, but I’m cool with that. It’s about a group of thirty-somethings, Eve, Ed, Susie and Justin, who have been friends since their teens. Eve has been in love with Ed for years but he’s long been in a relationship with his unlikeable girlfriend Hester. However, one night, tragedy occurs and their lives are irrevocably changed. In the aftermath, Eve learns shocking new things about her friends which cause her to question how well she really knows them.


A Ladder to the Sky – John Boyne

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Some of you might remember that a few months ago I read one of John Boyne’s other books, The Heart’s Invisible Furies. I thought the writing was fantastic and enjoyed it so much I gave it 4.5 stars. After having a browse through Boyne’s other works, there ended up being several others I’d love to read. A Ladder to the Sky is the first on the list. It deals with a young man named Maurice Swift who wants more than anything to be a famous novelist. He makes his name by cosying up to an aging, closested gay author and uses the story of his youth in Nazi Germany to write an international bestseller. Maurice then continues to use his charm, manipulation and deviousness to steal stories from others and continue climbing the ladder to success.


The Maidens – Alex Michaelides

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I read Michaelides debut, The Silent Patient, back in August 2019 when there was a heap of hype surrounding it. It only took me about a day to finish but I wasn’t really sure why people were going as gangbusters for it as they were. Still, I can’t help feeling super excited to give his second book, The Maidens, a read. I think it might be the dark academia draw card. I’m fascinated and obsessed with the genre at the moment. The Maidens centres around a series of murders taking place in connection with Cambridge University. The main character is Mariana, a group therapist, who starts looking into the deaths when her niece, Zoe’s, friend is killed. She comes to suspect one of the professors, Edward Fosca, who runs a cult like secret society of female students called The Maidens who deal in ancient Greek rites. Mariana becomes determined to catch him and drama ensues.


The People in the Trees – Hanya Yanagihara

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I’ve actually started reading this one. I’m not sure whether it’s the book itself or my reading rut, but it’s been slow going and my motivation has been low. I might have to stop and come back to it next month. I do really want to read it though as I loved Yanagihara’s A Little Life. I know TPITT is supposed to be quite different but I really hope it’ll be a great read, too. It’s written in the style of a memoir and is about a doctor who takes a trip to a remote island in Micronesia where he discovers a tribe of locals who have obtained a kind of physical (but not mental) immortality by eating a rare turtle – a condition he names ‘Selene Syndrome’. He brings knowledge of this back to the US and also adopts a bunch of the children he meets on the island, both of which have severe consequences.


An Ember in the Ashes – Sabaa Tahir (Re-Read)

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The last book in The Ember Quartet was released in 2020 but as usual, being me, I haven’t read it yet. That’s largely due to the fact that I’d always planned to do a full re-read of the previous books in the series beforehand. Here we are, several months later and I haven’t even started. Since re-reads are a good way to help snap out of a slump, now might be the perfect time for me to finally start and refresh my memory with An Ember in the Ashes. I know I’ve probably forgotten a heap of stuff as it’s been like four years since I first read this. I vaguely remember there being some kind of competition to become emperor or something? I’m looking forward to spending more time with my girl Helene. What a badass.


Project Hail Mary – Andy Weir

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I really enjoyed Weir’s debut, The Martian, when I read it back 2017. I’d actually planned to read his follow up Artemis but after hearing some disappointing things, I eventually decided to give it a miss. So when Project Hail Mary was announced, I was interested but tried not to get my hopes up too high. However, this time around the reviews have been great and now I’m really excited to give it a read, especially since I’ve been feeling like I might be in the mood for some Sci-Fi soon. The story follows a middle-school science teacher who wakes up alone on space ship light years from home with no idea why or how he got there. Eventually he comes to realise that he is Earth’s only hope at stopping an impending extinction level threat. As with The Martian, Project Hail Mary is supposed to include quite a bit of scientific explanation but packaged with great story and fun humour.


All of Us Villains – Amanda Foody and Christine Lynn Herman

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Now, All of us Villains doesn’t actually come out until November which is still a good while off. Luckily for me though, I was recently approved for an ARC. Yay! This book is like The Hunger Games crossed with A Song of Ice and Fire plus magic. All the yes as far as I’m concerned. It tells the tale of a city where every generation seven families name a champion to compete in a fight to the death to win control of the city’s magic supply. One house normally wins every time but this year it seems like things will be different due to previously unseen publicity levels and attention on the event. I’ve been interested in reading other books by Amanda Foody before but have never really seemed to get around to them, so I’m glad to be giving this one a read.


To Sleep in a Sea of Stars – Christopher Paolini (Again)

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Yes, it’s here again. After I failed to get to it in Autumn. Don’t come at me, okay. This thing is enormous and scary. I’m working my way up to it. Slowly. Very slowly. It’s going to happen eventually. But, hopefully I don’t have to also include it on my Spring TBR post…*facepalm*. This is a first contact story about Kira, who discovers an alien relic during a survey mission on an uncolonised planet. Cue craziness and a potential war. Apparently there are no space dragons but there are alien squids. Make of that what you will. It took a gazillion years for Paolini to write this so I hope it’s good.


What books are you looking forward to reading over Winter/Summer? Are they mostly new releases or are you tackling your epic backlist?

Book Haul: March Mystery/Thriller Book Buying Madness

Something I hadn’t realised until recently is that this is the first time I’ve ever actually done a book haul post. Pretty crazy, especially considering I’ve been blogging since 2017. It’s probably because I tend to list my hauls as part of my monthly wrap ups. But there’s a first time for everything after all, and now seemed like the time. With my newbie status in mind, I made sure to check out some other blogs for hints on how to format this. From what I could see, most people tend to copy the book covers off Goodreads, list the synopsis and some brief thoughts, and go on their merry way. Smart, efficient, practical. But me, oh no. Past Ashley was like, I should take proper photos of everything!

Never. Again. Let it be said here: past Ashley is stupid.

Moving along, as the title suggests, recently I’ve been really in the mood for mystery/thriller type reads and, as you do when you get fixated on something, I’ve bought a few of them over the last couple of weeks. Okay, more than a few. Here are the new additions to my shelves in all their (annoying printed sticker) glory.

Final Girls – Riley Sager

Ten years ago, college student Quincy Carpenter went on vacation with five friends and came back alone, the only survivor of a horror movie–scale massacre. In an instant, she became a member of a club no one wants to belong to—a group of similar survivors known in the press as the Final Girls. Lisa, who lost nine sorority sisters to a college dropout’s knife; Sam, who went up against the Sack Man during her shift at the Nightlight Inn; and now Quincy, who ran bleeding through the woods to escape Pine Cottage and the man she refers to only as Him. The three girls are all attempting to put their nightmares behind them, and, with that, one another. Despite the media’s attempts, they never meet.

Now, Quincy is doing well—maybe even great, thanks to her Xanax prescription. She has a caring almost-fiancé, Jeff; a popular baking blog; a beautiful apartment; and a therapeutic presence in Coop, the police officer who saved her life all those years ago. Her memory won’t even allow her to recall the events of that night; the past is in the past.

That is, until Lisa, the first Final Girl, is found dead in her bathtub, wrists slit, and Sam, the second, appears on Quincy’s doorstep. Blowing through Quincy’s life like a whirlwind, Sam seems intent on making Quincy relive the past, with increasingly dire consequences, all of which makes Quincy question why Sam is really seeking her out. And when new details about Lisa’s death come to light, Quincy’s life becomes a race against time as she tries to unravel Sam’s truths from her lies, evade the police and hungry reporters, and, most crucially, remember what really happened at Pine Cottage, before what was started ten years ago is finished.

Surprisingly, I’ve already finished this one! I was really in the mood for a quick, satisfying thriller one day and after enjoying Sager’s The Last Time I Lied earlier this year, I thought this might be just what I was after. As it turned out, it wasn’t quick or satisfying. The main story took so long to finally get going and I wasn’t very keen on most of the characters. The big reveal was disappointing, too. Another one of those cases of a good premise and poor execution, I’m afraid.


Stillhouse Lake – Rachel Caine

Gina Royal is the definition of average—a shy Midwestern housewife with a happy marriage and two adorable children. But when a car accident reveals her husband’s secret life as a serial killer, she must remake herself as Gwen Proctor—the ultimate warrior mom.

With her ex now in prison, Gwen has finally found refuge in a new home on remote Stillhouse Lake. Though still the target of stalkers and Internet trolls who think she had something to do with her husband’s crimes, Gwen dares to think her kids can finally grow up in peace.

But just when she’s starting to feel at ease in her new identity, a body turns up in the lake—and threatening letters start arriving from an all-too-familiar address. Gwen Proctor must keep friends close and enemies at bay to avoid being exposed—or watch her kids fall victim to a killer who takes pleasure in tormenting her. One thing is certain: she’s learned how to fight evil. And she’ll never stop. 

This book was on my 2020 TBR and I never got around to buying or reading it. So, when I found it on sale on the kindle store last month for less than $2, I couldn’t resist hitting that ‘buy now’ button. I think it’s the cheapest book I’ve ever bought! I’ve seen quite a lot of positive reviews for Stillhouse Lake and the premise is intriguing, however I know it’s the first installment in a series and there’s a cliffhanger ending, which I’m sure will drive me crazy.


The Nowhere Child – Christian White

Kimberly Leamy is a photography teacher in Melbourne, Australia. Twenty-six years earlier, Sammy Went, a two-year old girl vanished from her home in Manson, Kentucky. An American accountant who contacts Kim is convinced she was that child, kidnapped just after her birthday. She cannot believe the woman who raised her, a loving social worker who died of cancer four years ago, crossed international lines to steal a toddler.

On April 3rd, 1990, Jack and Molly Went’s daughter Sammy disappeared from the inside their Kentucky home. Already estranged since the girl’s birth, the couple drifted further apart as time passed. Jack did his best to raise and protect his other daughter and son while Molly found solace in her faith. The Church of the Light Within, a Pentecostal fundamentalist group who handle poisonous snakes as part of their worship, provided that faith. Without Sammy, the Wents eventually fell apart.

Now, with proof that she and Sammy are in fact the same person, Kim travels to America to reunite with a family she never knew she had. And to solve the mystery of her abduction—a mystery that will take her deep into the dark heart of religious fanaticism where she must fight for her life against those determined to save her soul…

I realised looking at my 2020 reading stats that although I live in Australia, I read barely any books by Australian authors or ones set there. It’s kind of sad, so consider this my first step in trying to improve that somewhat. From the blurb this seems like an interesting approach to the kidnapping type story so I’m looking forward to getting around to reading it. The Nowhere Child was shortlisted for quite a few Australian literature awards (what gave it away I wonder, could it be ALL THE PRINTED STICKERS??!!) so fingers crossed it’s a good read.


A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder – Holly Jackson

Everyone in Fairview knows the story.

Pretty and popular high school senior Andie Bell was murdered by her boyfriend, Sal Singh, who then killed himself. It was all anyone could talk about. And five years later, Pip sees how the tragedy still haunts her town.

But she can’t shake the feeling that there was more to what happened that day. She knew Sal when she was a child, and he was always so kind to her. How could he possibly have been a killer?

Now a senior herself, Pip decides to reexamine the closed case for her final project, at first just to cast doubt on the original investigation. But soon she discovers a trail of dark secrets that might actually prove Sal innocent . . . and the line between past and present begins to blur. Someone in Fairview doesn’t want Pip digging around for answers, and now her own life might be in danger.

I’ve been meaning to buy A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder for a while now so the fact that I finally did isn’t much of a surprise. Unlike the other books on this list, it’s a YA Mystery read. I’ve been burnt by other YA books in this genre before so I’m a little wary but I’ve seen so many great reviews that I’m really hoping for a home run with this one, particularly since there’s another two books in the series after it.


In the Woods – Tana French

As dusk approaches a small Dublin suburb in the summer of 1984, mothers begin to call their children home. But on this warm evening, three children do not return from the dark and silent woods. When the police arrive, they find only one of the children. He is gripping a tree trunk in terror, wearing blood-filled sneakers and unable to recall a single detail of the previous hours.

Twenty years later, the found boy, Rob Ryan, is a detective on the Dublin Murder Squad and keeps his past a secret. But when a 12-year-old girl is found murdered in the same woods, he and Detective Cassie Maddox (his partner and closest friend) find themselves investigating a case chillingly similar to the previous unsolved mystery. Now, with only snippets of long-buried memories to guide him, Ryan has the chance to uncover both the mystery of the case before him and that of his own shadowy past.

In one of my recent posts I mentioned wanting to give some of Tana French’s books a try and In the Woods is the first in French’s Dublin Murder Squad series. You can read them out of order but I’m a bit of nut when it comes to that sort of thing so the first book it is. She’s a popular author in the genre so I hope I enjoy this because it’ll mean I have plenty of other books from her back catalogue to work my way through.


The Good Daughter – Karin Slaughter

Two girls are forced into the woods at gunpoint. One runs for her life. One is left behind.

Twenty-eight years ago, Charlotte and Samantha Quinn’s happy small-town family life was torn apart by a terrifying attack on their family home. It left their mother dead. It left their father—Pikeville’s notorious defense attorney—devastated. And it left the family fractured beyond repair, consumed by secrets from that terrible night.

Twenty-eight years later, Charlotte has followed in her father’s footsteps to become a lawyer herself—the ideal good daughter. But when violence comes to Pikeville again, and a shocking tragedy leaves the whole town traumatized, Charlotte is plunged into a nightmare. Not only is she the first witness on the scene, but it’s a case that unleashes the terrible memories she’s spent so long trying to suppress–because the shocking truth about the crime that destroyed her family nearly thirty years ago won’t stay buried forever.

Like Tana French, Karin Slaughter is another big crime author with a healthy backlog that I’ve wanted to give a go for some time. Picking where to start with her books was a tough decision but The Good Daughter is one of her highest rated on GR and the blurb for it definitely grabbed me more than for some of her other books. I know that my grandma enjoys her books occasionally so, at the very least, I’ll have someone to chat to about it.


Death on the Nile – Agatha Christie

The tranquility of a cruise along the Nile is shattered by the discovery that Linnet Ridgeway has been shot through the head. She was young, stylish and beautiful, a girl who had everything – until she lost her life. Hercule Poirot recalls an earlier outburst by a fellow passenger: ‘I’d like to put my dear little pistol against her head and just press the trigger.’ Yet in this exotic setting, nothing is ever quite what it seems…

Let me first say, Agatha Christie is a literary queen and amazing. But I would be lying if I said I didn’t buy this because of how pretty the hardback special edition is. I’m not sure how I missed this but over the last few years Harper Collins has released a couple of Christie’s books with brand new, special foiled covers. They have a chosen quote on the back and nice, patterned end pages. As you might have guessed, I’m now determined to collect them all. I decided to go with Death on the Nile first as I know the new adaptation is releasing soon. While I’ve seen other adaptations before, I’ve never read the book and there’s no time like the present, right?


And that’s that! While I have bought a few other reads recently, they’re from other genres and I’ll probably save those to include as part of my end of month wrap up, as per usual. What books have you recently purchased and are looking forward to reading? Have you read any of these books and if so, what did you think? Or even better, do you have any other good mystery/thriller recommendations for me?