Last Year I Was Reading… | 17.09.20

In a surprising turn of events, we’re doing something different this week (woo!) and engaging in a little Throwback Thursday fun times. Maria @ReadingMaria came up with the cute idea of ‘Last Year I Was Reading’ in which you compare your current read to the book you were reading at the exact same time last year. You consider how they differ/are alike, which one you like better and mention any specific facts you feel like mentioning.

House of Earth and Blood (Crescent City 1#) – Sarah J. Maas

44778083

Here it is, my current read, in all of its 803 page, door-stopping glory. After powering through six romance novels in the first week of this month, I couldn’t see why I shouldn’t spend the rest of it tackling one of the bigger books on my TBR. HoEaB is an adult urban fantasy book full of fae, vampires, angels, shapeshifters and a bunch of other magical beings. The story revolves around a half-fae party girl named Bryce teaming up with a disgraced angel, Hunt, to investigate the brutal murders of Bryce’s friends. There’s magic, family drama, characters with plenty of baggage, a bit of violence, and romance typical of a Maas book.

At this point, I’m about 600 pages in and so far so…relatively good. It’s definitely a bigger book than it needed to be, the writing is questionable at points, and I’m still confused about elements of the world building. Still, for the most part, I’m enjoying it. I’ve heard that the last 200 pages get pretty crazy so I’m looking forward to finding out what happens.


The Institute – Stephen King

43807359. sy475

In September of 2019 I was making my way through Stephen King’s newest release, The Institute – a sci-fi, fantasy, thriller mix. It involves a group of kids being abducted for their telepathic and telekinetic abilities and taken to a secret facility in Maine (it’s always Maine). Here, they undergo testing to enhance their powers for some mysterious reason before being sent to another part of the complex after which they are never seen again. This was King’s first book in a long time focusing on child characters, which he still writes fantastically. It was very well received, even scoring a win for best horror novel in the 2019 Goodreads choice awards (I wouldn’t consider it much of a horror book though).

I enjoyed The Institute but not as much as I did IT. The characters were certainly likeable and the story did build up to an action packed (if somewhat rushed) climax. Yet, the pacing was a bit too slow in some sections and the neatly packaged ending was disappointing. There was also something missing from it that I still can’t quite put my finger on.


These are two very different books so comparing them is tricky. They both involve fantasy elements I suppose but that’s where the similarities end – vastly different settings, characters, lengths and moods yet still enjoyable. Of the two, I would say that House of Earth and Blood is my preferred read but only because my love for magical creatures comes out just ahead of my obsession with humans with superpowers. I will say though that these are two books that could have had smaller page counts and improved story momentum in spots.

What book were you reading this time last year? Was it more or less enjoyable than your current read?

Battle of the Book Covers: US VS UK (Round 2)

It’s time for round two of the book cover battle – US VS UK covers! Because we all need a fun post once in a while. As of round one, the US is in the lead, 6 points to 5. If you missed round one, check it out here. Let’s see how they both fare this time around. As before, US covers will be on the left and UK on the right.


They Both Die at the End – Adam Silvera

This match up is a very easy one for me. I’ve actually put off buying the UK/Aus cover at my local bookstore because I’m so determined to get the US hardback. The design and imagery is gorgeous – the skull in the sky, the shadows coming together to form a grim reaper, it’s great. I also love how clean the colour scheme is.

VERDICT: US Cover


The Night Circus – Erin Morgenstern

Now, this is a tough one. Why? Both covers have the same colour scheme and very similar design styles. While the hand on the US cover does look a little awkward, I really like the image of the circus tents with the famous clock overhead. The swirls around the title are super pretty, too. Meanwhile, the cut out figures on the UK version are great and with the font, the cover really encapsulates the spirit of the novel. Honestly, I think this one might just have to be a tie. A point for both.

VERDICT: Tie


Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine – Gail Honeyman

This is a tough match up because I quite like both covers for different reasons. The US cover has this fabulous complementary colour scheme going with the orange and the blue. Meanwhile, the UK cover is so clean looking. I really like the use of the matches (it’s all very symbolic) and the font choices. Hmmm, I think I’ll go with the the UK cover on this one. There’s just something about it.

VERDICT: UK Cover


Enchantee – Gita Trelease

If we were going off use of colour, the US cover would win here. I love the rustic, french flag like appearance and the torn paper effect through the middle. The cursive script for the title is quite nice, too. However, the weirdly obscured model at the centre does put me off somewhat. I really like the UK Cover as well. The fancy entrance gate is sweet, especially with the coloured accents against the black, and I appreciate the symmetry of it all. Difficult decision but I keep going back to the US version. Still, I’d be happy with either in my bookcase.

VERDICT: US Cover


The Institute – Stephen King

On first look at these, I found myself leaning towards the UK cover but the more I look at them, the more the US cover has grown on me. The bright blue of the UK version is lovely and I quite like the image of the boat with the reflection of the institute in the water. Still, there’s something about the muted colour scheme of the US cover which feels very rural America. I love the clean lettering and the design of the bedroom within the train car is very visually interesting.

VERDICT: US Cover


Daisy Jones & The Six – Taylor Jenkins Reid

When this book first came out, I was very much on team USA. I liked the way the image was cut to make it look like an album cover, the “worn” edges, and the muted but classy colouring. But, after buying and looking at the UK cover as I read it, that version eventually began to pull ahead for me ever so slightly. The title font has such fun 60s vibes and the colour scheme is very period appropriate. It’s also super eye-catching when you have it lying about. A very close call on this one.

VERDICT: UK Cover


And I Darken – Kiersten White

As you guys know, I am not a fan of people on covers. The images always seem to look forced. Weirdly enough, I don’t find this particular cover that bad. I haven’t read the book itself yet but from what I know of it, this cover seems like it encapsulates the dark, bloodthirsty vibes of it and the central character. Nevertheless, I still find myself leaning more towards the spear and bright purple flowers. It’s just that little bit more visually dynamic.

VERDICT: US cover


Little Fires Everywhere – Celeste Ng

Another challenging match up. When I first started this post, I was leaning towards team UK but as I’ve continued to compare them, I’ve changed my mind. With the UK cover, I love the brushed on title font and the image of the house figurine brightly burning down in the centre. Yet, from what I know of the book, the US cover seems like it fits very well with the story, which is about the events affecting the residents of a small community. The flames subtly showing through the front windows are also a great touch.

VERDICT: US Cover


Skyward – Brandon Sanderson

I love this book and while both covers are certainly great, I’m more in favour of the UK version here. Charlie Bowater’s art is always stunning, but I can’t help finding the straight on, character based image a little odd. Spensa, why are you trying to stare into my soul? Points for the stunning purple sky background though. I quite like the art for the UK cover and the small touches of yellow to contrast the shades of grey.

VERDICT: UK Cover


The City of Brass – S. A. Chakraborty

The last match up for round 2 of the book cover battle. Although the US cover is far brighter, there’s just something I don’t like about it. I don’t know if cheap is the right word but for some reason that’s all that will come to mind. While the UK cover isn’t exactly dynamic either, I do like that it looks the gates to a mysterious, fantasy city. There’s a sort of elegance to it. Then again, this might be one of those books you have to read to properly appreciate the US version (it’s on my TBR, okay?!). At least for now, I’m going with UK.

VERDICT: UK Cover


And that brings us to the end of round 2. Let’s check back in at the updated scoreboard shall we…

US Covers: 12 Points

UK Covers: 10 Points

Looks like the US has started to pull ahead a bit. Guess I’ll have to wait and see if round 3 can even things out again.

How did you score the covers from round 2? Any favourites here?