Posted in WWW Wednesday

WWW Wednesday – January 27th 2021

“This is my last entry in the Librarian’s Log. “

First line in The Archive of the Forgotten by A. J. Hackwith

Hi, guys. Hope you’re all doing well. WWW Wednesday a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking on a World of Words, and it’s meant to give you all a little insight into my reading this week. I’ll answer the 3 questions:

  • What are you currently reading?
  • What did you recently finish?
  • What do you think you’ll read next

What did you recently finish?

The Archive of the Forgotten by A. J. Hackwith, which got 4.5 stars. I loved the first half more than the second half. The ending fell a little flat for me, especially compared to what we got in the first book in the series. It was still a great book, though. The characters and their relationships with each other are so precious, and I really hope Hackwith is coming back to this universe.

I also finished Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, and now I’m so sad that my reread of the series is over because it never fails to make me feel better (and I needed that in 2020). The Lost in Translation post on it is coming later this week.

What are you currently reading?

I’m 20% into my commute book, Assassin’s Apprentice by Robin Hobb, the first book in the Farseer Trilogy. It’s quite slow as I expected, but I’m still enjoying it. I was afraid the style wasn’t going to be to my liking, but that hasn’t been the case, although it is a bit dense in some areas. I can also tell that I’m reading it slower than my usual pace, like the book is determined to remind me that English isn’t my first language. I don’t mind though, and excited to see where to story goes.

I’ve also started Call of the Bone Ships by R. J. Barker, which I’m about halfway through. It’s so good! The many complex characters continue to surprise me. I can’t get enough of them. I’m also constantly contemplating how Barker managed to create one of the most brutal fantasy worlds I’ve ever read about… but also managed to make it one of the most wholesome ones. I don’t know how it works but it does.

What do you think you’ll read next?

Honestly, no idea. I have a few ebooks I’m first in line for at the library, so maybe one of those. It’s either The Beauty of Darkness by Mary E. Pearson or The Left-Handed Booksellers of London by Garth Nix. I might also pick something completely random, though.

Posted in Book Memes

Top Ten Tuesday: New-To-Me Authors I Read in 2020

“Oh dear,” Linus Baker said, wiping the sweat from his brow.”

First line in The House in the Cerulean Sea by T. J. Klune

It’s Tuesday, and I have a Top Ten for you. Or rather, two top fives? This week’s topic is about the new-to-me authors I read back in 2020, which made me realize how many new authors I read last year. I had way more than ten, so to make some kind of order, I decided to share five authors I will not be reading again and five that I can’t wait to read more from.

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl, so head over there to check out the future topics.

Authors I’m Not Reading Again

🗑️ Blake Crouch
Read: Dark Matter

Considering that I read Crouch’s most popular book and hated it, I don’t think there’s any reason for me to try any of his other works. My biggest problem with the book was also his style of writing and that’s not likely to change.

🗑️ Margaret Owen
Read: The Merciful Crow, The Faithless Hawk

This one is more tentative, but I was incredibly disappointed with Owen’s conclusion to The Merciful Crow duology, so I’m afraid to get invested in one of her stories again. However, it was her debut, so I guess she’s allowed to improve, but she’s not an author I’m itching to try again.

🗑️ Becky Chambers
Read: The Long Way to A Small, Angry Planet

There is more than one reason you find this popular author on this list. Firstly, I need more conflict than this book had to offer because without it, I don’t care about the characters. Secondly, I don’t think I like sci-fi set in space. Yes, I’m a fantasy reader who doesn’t like “proper” sci-fi. We exist.

🗑️ Mary E. Pearson
Read: The Kiss of Deception, The Heart of Betrayal

Where Margaret Owen was tentative, this one is technically a lie. I have one book left in The Remnant Chronicles, and I am going to read that, but after that, I’m not picking up more of her books. Not that they’ve been horrible, but I do find them a little too romance-focused and angsty for my taste.

🗑️ Justin Travis Call
Read: The Master of Sorrows

I’ve ranted over this book quite a bit here on the blog, so it shouldn’t be surprising to find the author on this list. His writing style is so far from what I love that I don’t intend to give him a second chance.

Authors I’m Definitely Trying Again

🏆 Natasha Pulley
Read: The Bedlam Stacks, The Watchmaker of Filigree Street, The Lost Future of Pepperharrow

If you read my blog regularly, I understand if you’re tired of hearing me talk about Natasha Pulley, but I couldn’t not have her on this list. I will read everything she writes as soon as it’s out, no matter what it is.

🏆 John Boyne
Read: The Heart’s Invisible Furies

I was enthralled by Boyne’s writing in 2020, and I need more. I don’t have an interest in all of his books, but I do have my eyes on The Absolutist as my next read from him.

🏆 Margaret Rogerson
Read: Sorcery of Thorns

Not an author who has a ton of books out, but she appealing because she writes fantasy standalones (or she has done so far) with intriguing premises’. I’m probably going to read her first book, An Enchantment of Ravens, while I wait for her next book, although people don’t seem to love that one as much as Sorcery of Thorns.

🏆 T. J. Klune
Read: The House in the Cerulean Sea

Even though I’m the only person on this entire planet who didn’t absolutely love The House in the Cerulean Sea, I’m going to give this author a second chance. He has quite a few books out, and they all sound different compared to Cerulean Sea. Maybe I just started with the wrong book. I have both Wolfsong and The Lightning-Struck Heart on my TBR.

🏆 R. J. Barker
Read: The Bone Ships

An author who made me love a story set on the sea is one I need to keep an eye on. So far, he only has one other trilogy out, The Wounded Kingdom, but I’m a bit apprehensive about that one since it’s an assassin story, and I tend to avoid those as much as possible. On the other hand, I also tend to avoid seafaring stories, so who knows, maybe I’ll read it.

Honorable mentions: A. J. Hackwtih, Cinda Williams Chima, Emily Tesh, K. D. Edwards, Christina Lauren

Have you read any of these authors? What do you think of them? Also, let me know who your favorite new author of 2020 was. Happy reading!

Posted in Uncategorized

Book Blogging and Social Anxiety

“There was a boy in her room.”

First line in Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

Hi, guys. I’ve been meaning to write a post about social anxiety for a while because it’s something that has a great impact on my life. Occasionally, I’ve mentioned that I suffer from it here on my blog, but I’ve never really gone into much detail. Not that I’m going to spill all the detail of my personal life in this post, but I want to let you know how it affects the way I do book blogging. I also really want to start a conversation about this because it’s something so many people suffer from, even if they don’t know about it. It’s going to be a long one, so settle in.

What is social anxiety?

The short definition of social anxiety (also called social phobia) is a long-term and overwhelming fear of social situations. It’s natural for people to worry about a social situation once in a while, but for people with social anxiety, it turns into an intense fear/worry both before, during, and after a social event.

Some signs that may indicate that you have social anxiety:

  • You worry about everyday activities, such as meeting strangers, starting conversations, speaking on the phone, working or shopping.
  • You avoid or worry a lot about social activities, such as group conversations, eating with company and parties.
  • You always worry about doing something you think is embarrassing, such as blushing, sweating or appearing incompetent.
  • You find it difficult to do things when others are watching. You may feel like you’re being watched and judged all the time.
  • You fear being criticized, avoid eye contact or have low self-esteem.
  • You often have symptoms like feeling sick, sweating, trembling or a pounding heartbeat.
  • You have panic attacks, where you have an overwhelming sense of fear and anxiety, usually only for a few minutes.

I’ve taken this list from the NHS, and they have a lot more information if you’re interested.

How do I combine anxiety and blogging?

After reading the symptoms above, it shouldn’t be a surprise to you that many people with social anxiety instinctively want to hide in a hole somewhere and never interact with anyone. It’s just easier sometimes. Nevertheless, we’re still human, so we still need social interaction to not go crazy or slip into depression. Too much interaction, though, and there’s also a depression waiting for you. Thanks, universe.

All of this meant that when I started my blog, I had spent a lot of time thinking about my expectations, what I wanted from it, how much I wanted to give. I had to realize how my anxiety might limit me and then accept that. Without accepting it, I couldn’t then later start working on it and push my limits. And that’s the important part! Social anxiety is something you can work on, but not all at once. It was a big step for me to even start this blog because it goes against every instinct I have to draw attention to myself. But then, when I somehow didn’t die, I got the courage to push those other limits. Here’s a list of some of the things I had to work on:

  • Answering comments on my own posts without having to worry about it for several hours.
  • Invading other people’s spaces and interacting with literal strangers. The whole point of creating a blog was to talk about books with other people.
  • Tagging authors in positive reviews on Twitter.
  • Be active on Twitter in general.
  • Entering/hosting giveaways. Winning a giveaway means interaction with the host and that’s a high risk. Hosting a giveaway means interaction is a certainty.
  • Any interaction with authors whether it be for review requests, interviews etc.
  • Participate in blog tours and review ARCs because those get a lot of attention.

With these limitations, I was very aware of the fact that I wasn’t going to be an immensely popular book blogger, but I accepted that. I’m still working on a lot of these, but there are also some I’ve scratched from the list such as blog tours and ARCs after learning I had zero interest in those. For the things I’m still working on, there are ups and downs, and I thought I would give you a few examples of what I’ve experienced.

In case you’re new to my blog, I should tell you that I love discussions, and the prospect of a good discussion is one of the things that can draw me out of my shell. So when a popular BookTuber posted a video in which she claimed (several times) that she wanted to discuss different aspects in the comment section, I couldn’t resist. You should also know that I’m one of those people who, if I don’t have a strong opinion on a topic, will naturally argue the opposite because I believe that to be beneficial for everyone. That… can be dangerous, as I learned that day of the BookTube video. You see, I decided to comment on that video with what I thought was a kind response that, however, disagreed with her. To my own big surprise, she actually answered me, and that’s when I learned that she didn’t want a discussion as she had claimed. She just wanted to be confirmed in her own opinion by her followers, and I hadn’t delivered on that. I also learned that I had stumbled upon a nest of cancel culture people, and they just seem to be allergic to respectful conversations or something. The short version is that it got pretty ugly, and I had to delete the comment to keep my sanity. But I still felt awful for weeks and didn’t sleep at all the night afterward. It was a step backward for me in terms of commenting on other blogs/videos, and even though this happened seven months ago, I’m still not back to commenting on strangers’ posts.

On a more positive note, I made progress on getting over my fear of entering giveaways last year. I saw one on Twitter for a book that I really wanted, and I knew I was going to buy it anyway, so I held my breath and entered because you never win these things anyway.
Well, I did win. And freaked out.
The giveaway was hosted by the author himself, and he said just to DM him with my details. Now, I don’t know who would just casually DM one of their favorite authors and just be cool about it, but let me tell you, you don’t want that added anxiety I experienced in that situation. However, when I finally responded, everything was fine. I didn’t die, and more importantly, I didn’t embarrass myself (yes, that is more important). I will probably still be scared if it were to happen again (unlikely), but hopefully less than this first time, and that’s one way you can work on social anxiety. Getting to know new social situations and steadily becoming more and more familiar with them, so that you can feel in control. This might lead to me one day getting the courage to host a giveaway because that’s something I really want to do.

Now, I think I’ve rambled on for long enough, but before I leave you, I thought I would give you some book recommendations, in case you’re interested in reading about anxiety in fiction. My own favorite is Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell, which does a really good job of describing that fear and how it all works. It definitely helped me put my feelings into words. Another book recommendation is Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia. This one focuses a lot on anxiety’s consequences on one’s life but also shows how to treat the condition. Lastly, we have Queens of Geek by Jen Wilde, which portrays how constraining social anxiety can be. It’s about these limitations I was talking about and how you push them to live the life you want.
These are all Young Adult because I’ve never come across social anxiety rep in Adult fiction, but if you know of any, please leave them in the comment section below.

This post has been sitting in my drafts folder for months, and I always thought of it as that post I’m going to put up when I have nothing else. I tried to make it helpful, but it’s just as much a post I had to do to get something off my chest. So please remember that I’m no healthcare professional, and that my experiences might not be the same as everyone else’s. So stay safe and happy reading.

Posted in WWW Wednesday

WWW Wednesday – January 20th 2021

“It begins, as most things begin, with a song. “

First line in Anansi Boys

Hi, guys. Hope you’re all doing well. WWW Wednesday a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking on a World of Words, and it’s meant to give you all a little insight into my reading this week. I’ll answer the 3 questions:

  • What are you currently reading?
  • What did you recently finish?
  • What do you think you’ll read next

What did you recently finish?

Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman which I gave 3.5 stars. The book was weird in a way only a Neil Gaiman book can be, and if you haven’t read a book by him, I highly recommend you do so, at least just to get that experience.
He is a brilliant writer, but I think Anansi Boys helped me figure out why I’m not totally in love with his books, and that’s his characters. Not that they are badly written, but I don’t truly connect with any of them. I don’t feel what they feel, but I don’t think that’s Gaiman’s intention either. That is just very hard for a character-driven reader like me to accept. So I enjoyed Anansi Boys but nothing more.

What are you currently reading?

The biggest problem with reading multiple books at once is that situation where you love the books so much you want to be reading them at the same time. Yes, that is this week’s (awesome) predicament.

I’ve started The Archive of the Forgotten by A. J. Hackwith, the sequel to The Library of the Unwritten, and oh my god! I’m 44% in, and I can’t get over how good a sequel this already is, although it’s difficult for me to say why without going into spoiler-territory. The characters are still the driving force of the story, and they keep developing and showing new sides to themselves. It’s such a joy to follow. The adventurous plot also practically began from page 1, so there hasn’t been a dull moment. One of the things I really loved about the first book was how it was able to have a fast-paced plot alongside the detailed and brilliant character development, and the sequel just seems to continue that trend.

I’m also going through my reread of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, which surprisingly has been quite emotional for me. I haven’t cried over this book since I read it the first time, but if you’ve read it, you know that there are two deaths that hurt just a little bit more than the rest of them, and yeah, I couldn’t keep it together for those scenes this time around. I’m blaming it on the rough January I’ve had. But well, I’m almost done with the book with around 80 pages to go.

What do you think you’ll read next?

The first book I’m going to start is finally going to be Call of the Bone Ships by R. J. Barker, the sequel to The Bone Ships. I’m incredibly excited to see where to story goes.
I’m expecting to start a second book as well, and I think it’s time I began my Robin Hobb adventure with Assassin’s Apprentice. I just can’t wait any longer.

Posted in Uncategorized

2020 Reading Stats

“It was almost sweet the way they worried about me.”

First line in Galatea by Madeline Miller

We’ve made it to my final “end-of-the-year” post where I’m going to throw a lot of numbers at you. I often wonder how interesting these stats posts are to other people, but I love doing them and that’s all that matters. I’ll try to make it interesting.

In 2020, I read 28,526 pages across 64 books. Apparently, I’m a creature of habit because those numbers for 2019 were 28,756 pages across 63 books. Should I set myself the challenge of guessing the exact number of pages I read in 2021? Looks like it shouldn’t be that hard 😅.

My average rating for the year was 3.7 out of 5. That doesn’t say a whole lot as the average rating of so many books is bound to land somewhere around the middle. Here is a more detailed overview of my rating (as I have rounded up or down on Goodreads):

  • 5 ⭐: 19 books
  • 4 ⭐: 19 books
  • 3 ⭐: 11 books
  • 2 ⭐: 9 books
  • 1 ⭐: 2 books
  • No rating: 4 books

Note that six of the 5-star books were rereads, but that still leaves me with 13 new 5 star reads. I’m very satisfied with that.
As something very rare for me, I also had two DNF’s this year, but they weren’t rated and only counted towards the number of pages read. That left my average book length at 439 pages. I read a lot of big books in 2020.

I see other bloggers making fancy pie charts for the genres they’ve read in 2020. But I did the math and realized my pie chart would be very boring as I read 75% fantasy. Remember how I talked about being a creature of habit? Can you guess how much fantasy I read in 2019? Yes, that’s right, 75%. And just I case you were wondering, my second and third most popular genres in 2020 were Science Fiction and Historical Fiction. That has changed from last year when Contemporary was my second most popular. In 2020, I only read two contemporaries, and one of those was a graphic novel. It really wasn’t something I had planned, and I still consider the genre to be one I like. However, I’ve read a lot more historical fiction novels in 2020, so I think those were the ones I turned to instead whenever I needed a break from fantasy. I’m not mad about that because those books were some of my favorites of the year.

I do have a pie chart, though, that shows whether I primarily read books by female or male authors:

Please note that I read one book by a genderfluid author. But as the chart shows, I clearly have a preference, and it isn’t all that surprising to me. Since I started reading as a child, I’ve always felt that I preferred books by female authors. To check that statement, I calculated my average rating for both genders: my average rating for male authors were 3.6 and 3.8 for the female authors.
Not a huge difference, but enough to confirm that I shouldn’t actively take steps to change this ratio.

In terms of age demographic, I’m mainly interested in the ratio between YA and Adult. The chart looks like this:

That looks exactly like I want it to. A fairly even divide, but a bit more adult. In 2019, YA was in the lead with 56%, so it’ll be interesting to see if YA will continue to diminish, but I don’t think so.

Lastly, I’ll finish this off with some quick, fun stats:

📚 The highest rated book on Goodreads that I read in 2020 was Words of Radiance by Brandon Sanderson (4.73 stars)

📚 The most popular book on Goodreads that I read in 2020 was Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J. K. Rowling (happens when you do rereads)

📚 The least popular book on Goodreads that I read in 2020 was The Nephilim Protocol by J. D. Kloosterman

📚 According to Storygraph, I read most slow-paced books (22 books) and least fast-paced books (15)

📚 The shortest book I read was Galatea by Madeline Miller (20 pages)

📚 The longest book I read was Oathbringer by Brandon Sanderson (1,220 pages)

I think that’s all the interesting things I had to say about my 2020 reading statistics. I’m quite satisfied with everything, which is a good thing because if there’s one thing we’ve learned today, it is that I’m automatically going to read the exact same way in 2021. Hope you all have a great reading year!

Posted in WWW Wednesday

WWW Wednesday – January 13th 2021

“Of course the Parshendi wanted to play their drums. “

First line in Rhythm of War by Brandon Sanderson

Hi, guys. Hope you’re all doing well. WWW Wednesday a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking on a World of Words, and it’s meant to give you all a little insight into my reading this week. I’ll answer the 3 questions:

  • What are you currently reading?
  • What did you recently finish?
  • What do you think you’ll read next

What did you recently finish?

The reason I haven’t done a WWW Wednesday post since Christmas: Rhythm of War by Brandon Sanderson. I ended up rating it 4 stars, and overall, I really enjoyed it. Had the entire book been just like Part 1 and 2, it would have a clear 5 star and probably also a new favorite in the series. Those parts were so fast paced and I was incredibly intrigued by the issues they introduced. Then Part 3 and 4 happened and it was like running straight into a brick wall. The story started to drag and became quite repetitive, so I really felt like I had to trudge through those parts. The feeling of disappointment was also magnified by how good the beginning of the book was, and because I felt like it hadn’t needed to slow down so much. The potential was there but it was wasted.

What are you currently reading?

I am 75% into Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman. And it’s so weird! I don’t have many thoughts about it other than that. I think I’m enjoying it, although not head-over-heels in love. Gaiman has a very significant style that seems rooted in some very dark humor, which creates some quite unique sentences sometimes. And I think that’s what I love about the book. The story itself and the characters aren’t doing much for me, but it’s a pleasant enough reading experience.

I’ve also started my reread of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, which I’m 27% into. I’m reading it in Danish for the sake of my Lost in Translation posts, and it’s actually only the second time in my life I’m reading this one in my native language. It’s a different experience because I don’t have as much nostalgia connected to this particular edition as I had with the first six books in the series. And my paperback still looks new! My editions of the other books can’t relate.

What do you think you’ll read next?

The Archive of the Forgotten by A. J. Hackwith, the sequel to The Library of the Unwritten which made it onto my list of favorites in 2020. It’s been out for months, and I should have read by now.

Posted in Fun Lists

Most Disappointing Books of 2020

“I love Thursday nights.”

First line in Dark Matter by Blake Crouch

I’m still in the process of wrapping 2020 up, and we’ve made it to my post about my most disappointing books of the year. These aren’t necessarily the worst books I read in 2020, although there are a lot of those on this list, too. It’s a list of the books that, for various reasons, let me down the most. So prepare for some ranting. These books are in no particular order.

The Gray Wolf Throne (Seven Realms #3) by Cinda Williams Chima

My rating: 1 star

After having really liked the first two books in this series, I was incredibly disappointed with the pacing of this one. Not a lot happened because we had to witness reruns of all the relationship drama (which also wasn’t going anywhere). I was also particularly put off by this because there was some girl-on-girl hate for absolutely no reason at all. I have a full review here where I also talk spoilers.

Master of Sorrows (The Silent Gods #1) by Justin Travis Call

My rating: 2 stars

I don’t think I’ve ever come across such a dry writing style, and I can only assume it was the author’s intention to put readers to sleep. I was begging for time jumps by the halfway point because so far I had been subjected to a description of the MC’s everyday life in excruciating detail. We hadn’t even made it through a full day yet. It was disappointing because the world and its mythology showed great potential. We just never reached a point where any of it mattered.

Chosen Ones by Veronica Roth

My rating: 2 stars

This was one of my most anticipated releases of the year because of its very cool focus on my all-time favorite trope: the chosen one. Even better, it was about the aftermath of being a chosen one. At least that was its marketing, but the book itself turned in a completely different direction very quickly and left most of the ‘chosen ones’ as glorified extras without any kind of story arc.

Infinity Son by Adam Silvera

My rating: 2.5 stars

Infinity Son was mainly disappointing because I couldn’t recognize Silvera in it. It was written very simplistically with characters that seemed more like caricatures, making it hard to really care about them. So even though this was Silvera’s first attempt at writing fantasy, it’s disappointing that the character work is the part that’s lacking because that shouldn’t be all that different from what he usually writes.

Dark Matter by Blake Crouch

My rating: 2 stars

A very hyped book I picked up even though sci-fi thrillers are outside of my comfort zone. I haven’t read a lot of thrillers but I have yet to find one with good writing, and Dark Matter didn’t have that either. The characters were almost comically flat, so I wasn’t going to care about them, and the main plotline was too predictable to keep my interest.

The House in the Cerulean Sea by T. J. Klune

My rating: 3 stars

I’m sorry, okay! I know this is everyone’s favorite book of the year, and because of that, it’s probably my most disappointing one. But it’s my own fault. Had I known this book was Middle Grade, I wouldn’t have come near it. I am bored to death with these kinds of heartwarming stories with no real conflict. I need my characters to suffer before I love them, so this book was a total miss for me.

The Faithless Hawk (The Merciful Crow #2) by Margaret Owen

My rating: 2 stars

This one was a disappointing conclusion to a duology where I really loved the first one. The plot went from action-packed to meandering because the author failed to utilize the amazing and detailed world she had created. It was also disappointing to see several side-characters take a step backwards and get reduced to simple plot devices.

The Dragon Reborn (The Wheel of Time #3) by Robert Jordan

My rating: 2 stars

This was the book that properly killed my enthusiasm for Wheel of Time because it made me realize how many ‘filler books’ there must be in this 14 books long series. There was zero point to this book. It didn’t need to exist. And it means I’ll probably never finish the series.

Peter Pan by J. M. Barrie

My rating: 3 stars

I had put this book on a list of 5 star predictions because I really love the story of Peter Pan. However, this taught me not to expect too much of classics. I just don’t love them. I often like the sentiment but not the execution which was also the case with Peter Pan.

Firestarter (Timekeeper #3) by Tara Sim

My rating: 4 stars

I know I shouldn’t be disappointed with a 4-star book, but when I gave to first two books in the series glowing 5 star reviews, it’s hard not feel a little let down by this final installment. There were some plot-related things I was especially disappointed with as they were quite cliché-ish and predictable. And you just really want the final book to be the best one!

That was 10 books I wasn’t all that excited about in 2020. I did read some amazing books in 2020, but it also wasn’t that hard to find books for this list. And I didn’t even include my two DNF’s. But I did feel that I learned a lot about my own reading taste by reading these books that didn’t quite work for me. I also hope it made a fun post to read, so it’s not all bad. What was your most disappointing read of the year?

Posted in Book Memes

Top Ten Tuesday: Anticipated Releases for the First Half of 2021

“Dima heard the barn doors slam before anyone else did.”

First line in King of Scars by Leigh Bardugo

It’s time for another Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. Today the topic is anticipated releases for the first half of 2021, and I always argue with myself whether to post these or not. I don’t care all that much about new releases so most of these books are series continuations or books by authors I’ve read before. I haven’t even been able to find 10 books, but I still wanted to share the books that I am excited about. Hope you enjoy anyway!

Covers link to Goodreads.

Into the Heartless Wood by Joanna Ruth Meyer

The forest is a dangerous place, where siren song lures men and women to their deaths. For centuries, a witch has harvested souls to feed the heartless tree, using its power to grow her domain.

When Owen Merrick is lured into the witch’s wood, one of her tree-siren daughters, Seren, saves his life instead of ending it. Every night, he climbs over the garden wall to see her, and every night her longing to become human deepens. But a shift in the stars foretells a dangerous curse, and Seren’s quest to become human will lead them into an ancient war raging between the witch and the king who is trying to stop her.

Epic, heartbreaking, and darkly atmospheric, Into the Heartless Wood is the story of impossible love between a monstrous tree siren and a boy who lives at the edge of her wood.

Genre: YA Fantasy
Buzzwords: Gender-swapped Beauty and the Beast retelling, dark atmosphere, giving off strong Silver in the Wood-vibes
Release date: January 12th

Game Changer by Neal Shusterman

All it takes is one hit on the football field, and suddenly Ash’s life doesn’t look quite the way he remembers it.

Impossible though it seems, he’s been hit into another dimension—and keeps on bouncing through worlds that are almost-but-not-really his own.

The changes start small, but they quickly spiral out of control as Ash slides into universes where he has everything he’s ever wanted, universes where society is stuck in the past…universes where he finds himself looking at life through entirely different eyes.

Genre: YA Science Fiction
Buzzwords: Alternative universes, racism
Release date: February 9th

Chain of Iron (The Last Hours #2) by Cassandra Clare

Cordelia Carstairs seems to have everything she ever wanted. She’s engaged to marry James Herondale, the boy she has loved since childhood. She has a new life in London with her best friend Lucie Herondale and James’s charming companions, the Merry Thieves. She is about to be reunited with her beloved father. And she bears the sword Cortana, a legendary hero’s blade.

But the truth is far grimmer. James and Cordelia’s marriage is a lie, arranged to save Cordelia’s reputation. James is in love with the mysterious Grace Blackthorn whose brother, Jesse, died years ago in a terrible accident. Cortana burns Cordelia’s hand when she touches it, while her father has grown bitter and angry. And a serial murderer is targeting the Shadowhunters of London, killing under cover of darkness, then vanishing without a trace.

Together with the Merry Thieves, Cordelia, James, and Lucie must follow the trail of the knife-wielding killer through the city’s most dangerous streets. All the while, each is keeping a shocking secret: Lucie, that she plans to raise Jesse from the dead; Cordelia, that she has sworn a dangerous oath of loyalty to a mysterious power; and James, that he is being drawn further each night into the dark web of his grandfather, the arch-demon Belial. And that he himself may be the killer they seek.

Genre: YA Fantasy
Release date: March 2nd

Lost in the Never Woods by Aiden Thomas

When children go missing, people want answers. When children go missing in the small coastal town of Astoria, people look to Wendy for answers.

It’s been five years since Wendy and her two brothers went missing in the woods, but when the town’s children start to disappear, the questions surrounding her brothers’ mysterious circumstances are brought back into light. Attempting to flee her past, Wendy almost runs over an unconscious boy lying in the middle of the road, and gets pulled into the mystery haunting the town.

Peter, a boy she thought lived only in her stories, claims that if they don’t do something, the missing children will meet the same fate as her brothers. In order to find them and rescue the missing kids, Wendy must confront what’s waiting for her in the woods.

Genre: YA Fantasy
Buzzwords: Peter Pan retelling (you don’t need other buzzwords)
Release date: March 23rd

Rule of Wolves (King of Scars Duology #2) by Leigh Bardugo

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

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

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

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

Genre: YA Fantasy
Release date: March 30th

Mister Impossible (Dreamer Trilogy #2) by Maggie Stiefvater

The stakes have never been higher as it seems like either the end of the world or the end of dreamers approaches.

Do the dreamers need the ley lines to save the world . . . or will their actions end up dooming the world? As Ronan, Hennessy, and Bryde try to make dreamers more powerful, the Moderators are closing in, sure that this power will bring about disaster. In the remarkable second book of The Dreamer Trilogy, Maggie Stiefvater pushes her characters to their limits – and shows what happens to them and others when they start to break.

Genre: YA Fantasy
Release date: May 18th

The Kingdoms by Natasha Pulley

Joe Tournier has a bad case of amnesia. His first memory is of stepping off a train in the nineteenth-century French colony of England. The only clue Joe has about his identity is a century-old postcard of a Scottish lighthouse that arrives in London the same month he does. Written in illegal English-instead of French-the postcard is signed only with the letter “M,” but Joe is certain whoever wrote it knows him far better than he currently knows himself, and he’s determined to find the writer. The search for M, though, will drive Joe from French-ruled London to rebel-owned Scotland and finally onto the battle ships of a lost empire’s Royal Navy. In the process, Joe will remake history, and himself.

From bestselling author Natasha Pulley, The Kingdoms is an epic, wildly original novel that bends genre as easily as it twists time

Genre: Historical Fiction/Science Fiction/Fantasy
Buzzwords: Alternate history, time travel, genre-bending
Release date: May 25th

The Hidden Palace (The Golem and the Jinni #2) by Helene Wecker

Chava is a golem, a woman made of clay, able to hear the thoughts and longings of the people around her and compelled by her nature to help them. Ahmad is a jinni, a perpetually restless and free-spirited creature of fire, imprisoned in the shape of a man. Fearing they’ll be exposed as monsters, these magical beings hide their true selves and pretend to be human—just two more immigrants in the bustling world of 1900s Manhattan. Having encountered each other under calamitous circumstances, Chava and Ahmad’s lives are now entwined—but they’re not yet certain of what they mean to each other. 

Each has unwittingly affected the humans around them. Park Avenue heiress Sophia Winston, whose brief encounter with Ahmad left her with a strange illness that makes her shiver with cold, travels to the Middle East to seek a cure. There she meets a tempestuous female jinni who’s been banished from her tribe. Back in New York, in a tenement on the Lower East Side, a little girl named Kreindel helps her rabbi father build a golem they name Yossele—not knowing that she’s about to be sent to an orphanage uptown, where the hulking Yossele will become her only friend and protector.

Spanning the tumultuous years from the turn of the twentieth century to the beginning of World War I, The Hidden Palace follows these lives and others as they collide and interleave. Can Chava and Ahmad find their places in the human world while remaining true to each other? Or will their opposing natures and desires eventually tear them apart—especially once they encounter, thrillingly, other beings like themselves?

Genre: Historical Fantasy
Release date: June 8th

That was 8 books I highly anticipate in 2021. If you were wondering, my most anticipated is without a doubt The Kingdoms by Natasha Pulley. I can’t even describe to you how much I need that book right now!
Is there a book you cannot wait for in 2021?

Posted in Wrap up

December 2020 Reading Wrap-Up

“A girl is running for her life.”

First line in The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V. E. Schwab

Somehow 2020 has ended, although I’m still checking the calendar quite often just to be sure. Not that 2021 is just magically going to solve everything right away, but it feels like we’re closer to an end to this pandemic.

My December was pretty much all work. As a postal worker, December really hits hard, and this year was even crazier than usual. I’m so glad it’s over! Right now, I could sleep for a month.
I still got some reading done, but, as has been the trend the last couple of months, less than what I consider average. Here are the stats:

The number of pages read was greatly helped by the fact that I finished a book of 1,000 pages that I had started in October (The Wise Man’s Fear). I had one reread this month, which was Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, and I won’t be reviewing that one. That leaves three books to get mini-reviews, and I think the headline for this month should be “Line doesn’t like popular books”. Enjoy!

Return of the Thief (The Queen’s Thief #6)

Author: Megan Whalen Turner

Published: October 6th 2020

Genre: YA Fantasy

My rating:

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Go to Goodreads to read the synopsis for the first book in the series, The Thief.

My thoughts

What can I say about a sixth and final book in a series without spoiling you? Well, I can say that was a very satisfying conclusion. All of the five previous books in the series work as standalones, but this final one still managed to use something from all of them to bind everything together. My only critique is that I wanted a little bit more from the ending to this book. We spend a lot of time building up to the end when the conclusion itself is quite brief. I would have liked to see some stuff wrapped up more nicely.

However, this last book confirms that the series belongs among my all-time favorites. I love Turner’s writing and the way she shapes her characters. It is unlike any YA fantasy I’ve ever read. There are also so many hidden meanings in her writing, meaning it’s a series I expect to love even more when I reread it someday.

The Wise Man’s Fear (Kingkiller Chronicle #2)

Author: Patrick Rothfuss

Published: March 1st 2011

Genre: Fantasy

My rating:

Rating: 2 out of 5.

Read the synopsis of the first book, The Name of the Wind on Goodreads.

My thoughts

No. Just no. This book was unbelievably boring. I refuse to believe that every single scene was necessary to do whatever it is that Rothfuss is doing. So much of it is repeating the same stuff over and over and over again. It was interesting in the first book with the plot also visibly moving forward, but here in the second one, we’re just walking in circles.

There are still important scenes in here which make this book worth reading. Whenever I came across those, I was fully immersed in the story, however, they were very far between.

Finally, I will say that I almost gave it a better rating because I still really enjoy the writing, but the last third ruined that. Without going into spoilers, I’ll just say that it suddenly became very clear that this book is written by a man. The cringe! So much cringe! I’m still working on erasing images and conversations from my mind.

The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue

Author: V. E. Schwab

Published: October 6th 2020

Genre: Fantasy

My rating:

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Buzzwords: Deals with the devil, romance, immortality,

Synopsis: France, 1714: in a moment of desperation, a young woman makes a Faustian bargain to live forever-and is cursed to be forgotten by everyone she meets.

Thus begins the extraordinary life of Addie LaRue, and a dazzling adventure that will play out across centuries and continents, across history and art, as a young woman learns how far she will go to leave her mark on the world.

But everything changes when, after nearly 300 years, Addie stumbles across a young man in a hidden bookstore, and he remembers her name.


My thoughts

Those 3 stars might be a bit generous, and they’re more a reflection of how I can see this book working for other readers. Just not me. It so didn’t work for me. It’s funny because I see this book being recommended to people who love slow, atmospheric, character-driven stories, which is usually right up my alley. It just requires a better execution than this book had (please, don’t kill me).

The writing is very ambitious and very lyrical, but it’s just not done well. I didn’t feel the atmosphere. I didn’t feel her characters. Schwab was too busy coming up with 20 different ways of saying the same thing. And that’s why I think I didn’t connect with the characters. They had about three characteristics that Schwab kept telling us about over and over again. They didn’t have any depth. This kind of writing also hindered the plot as a huge part of each scene was dedicated to Addie walking around thinking up metaphors. It’s actually possible for writing to be beautiful AND progress the plot and the characters at the same time.

Finally, I was also quite disappointed with the plot that we did get, but then we’re going into spoiler-territory. I also know a lot of people love this book, so I’m going to stop my ranting.

Those were the last few books I read in 2020! I’m ready for 2021 to start and for it to be filled with amazing books. What was your favorite read of December?

Posted in Fun Lists

Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Books of 2020

“Night fell as death rode into the Great Library of Summershall.”

First line in Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson

Hey, it’s the last Tuesday in 2020! Who would have thought we’d get here? Today you get the post I love making every year: all of the best books I read in 2020. It was actually quite difficult to narrow it down to 10 books, and there are technically also more than 10 books on this list. If I’ve read multiple books in a series, they only take up one spot unless I had widely differing opinions on them. To torture myself even further, I’ve also decided to put them in order. Last year I remember being completely sure what my number one was, but this year, 1 and 2 are practically interchangeable. 10 to 3 are pretty set though.

Top Ten Tuesday is as usual hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. Enjoy!

10 – Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson

YA Fantasy

Sorcery of Thorns doesn’t only take the number 10 spot, it is also my most surprising read of the year as I originally hadn’t intended to read it. But oh am I glad I did! I’m not sure how I would have gotten through 2020 without being able to reminisce about the funny banter and the generally beautiful relationship between the two main characters. And it’s a book about books! (You’re going to see a trend on this list).

9 – Burn by Patrick Ness

YA Fantasy

This is the book that finally made me understand why so many fantasy readers go crazy over dragons. Combine that with Patrick Ness’ unparalleled way of writing YA, and I think I have a new favorite book by this author.

8 – The Bone Ships by R. J. Barker


The Bone Ships introduces the reader to a highly intriguing and brutal fantasy world with a culture that often circumvents expectations. I was so excited to learn more that I was able to ignore that I don’t normally like seafaring stories. I’m also pleased to announce that The Bone Ships is the winner of my own unofficial contest called “Best First Line of 2020” with its very simple opening: “Give me your hat.” Other than it made me laugh, the author also quickly proved how this is the only line that can start this story, and I think it’s bloody brilliant.

7 – Words of Radiance by Brandon Sanderson


Even though Words of Radiance didn’t manage to beat The Way of Kings as my favorite Stormlight Archive book, it was very close. It has two of the most epic scenes I’ve ever read, so it was very easy for me to forgive the small parts of this book that I didn’t love. Some of my favorite Kaladin-scenes are also in this book.

6 – The Last Sun and The Hanged Man (Tarot Sequence #1 and #2) by K. D. Edwards


A diverse urban fantasy series that is very adult in some areas, but still has a lot of lighthearted and funny moments. It has some of the most hilarious banter between some of the characters, and the friendships in here are so precious. Even though they claim to want to kill each other a lot. Don’t worry, they only mean it, like, half of the time.

5 – The Library of the Unwritten by A. J. Hackwith


Hey, it’s another book about books! And it explores the very cool concept of characters from unwritten books coming to life to search for their authors. This book is an example of a unique idea that is just executed so brilliantly, but the book still manages to be more than its concept. You also get a character-driven story with a bunch of wholesome characters that each have their own struggles. It takes place in Hell after all.

4 – The Heart’s Invisible Furies by John Boyne

Historical Fiction/Literary Fiction

The Heart’s Invisible Furies is a very simple story about the life of an Irish man called Cyril. It’s a story that doesn’t have any kind of plot, but that didn’t bother me in the slightest. It tore at my heartstrings anyway and even produced a few tears. The writing is exceptional. Boyne had a certain way of relaying information that I’ve never seen before, and I loved every sentence.

3 – Silver in the Wood and Drowned Country (The Greenhollow Duology #1 and #2) by Emily Tesh

Fantasy novellas

I don’t read novellas, but apparently, I should make exceptions for dark fairytale-like stories with an intense focus on nature elements and lovable characters. I admire how Tesh manages to tell this story in so few pages and still create depth in every character. When all you need is a few sentences to make readers understand and love a character, there’s really no need to write a 500-page book.

2 – The Watchmaker of Filigree Street and The Lost Future of Pepperharrow (The Watchmaker of Filigree Street #1 and #2) by Natasha Pulley

Historical Fiction/Magical Realism

You know when you love a book so much because of how it makes you feel, so you can’t explain why you love it other than going 😍😍😍🥰🥰❤️❤️❤️😍😍? These books are like that for me. That I don’t usually enjoy magical realism, but you still find these books at the top of my list of favorites, should also tell you all you need to know. The characters won me over with their depth, and the writing made me love it with its cleverness.

1 – The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern


The Starless Sea is one of those “either you love or you hate it”-kind of books. For me, it is one of the most perfect books I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading. I’m in awe of Morgenstern’s imagination portrayed through all the minor stories sprinkled throughout the book. Every single one of them felt unique while still reminding you of an old fairy tale. And of course, a book about books needs to be my number one in 2020.

I had such a great time looking back on these amazing books to remember why I loved them so much. Proof that 2020 wasn’t all bad. Please let me know what your favorite book of 2020 was! Do we have any books in common? Happy reading in 2021!