May Wrap Up 2023

A pretty solid month for me with some new found favourites that I am adamant will make it onto my Top 10 books of the year!

  • I read 10 books this month
  • Genre: 6 fantasy, 2 literary fiction, 1 sci-fi and 1 mystery
  • Gender of authors: 7 men and 2 women
  • Race of authors: 5 asian authors, 3 white authors and 1 latino author
  • Age range: 5 YA and 5 adult
  • Format: 9 paperback and 1 hardback.


  • Prompt: High Fantasy
    • The Burning God
    • Elantris
    • Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind, Vol.1
    • Frieren: Beyond Journey’s End, Vol.5
    • Claymore, Vol.1
  • Sequel Challenge:
    • The Burning God
    • Frieren: Beyond Journey’s End, Vol.5

Elantris – Brandon Sanderson (DNF)

I am devastated to say that I DNFd my first ever Brandon Sanderson book. I never thought I would see the day where I would do so! Unfortunately, while this book had interesting characters and plot, the pacing was just so incredibly slow and boring that I could feel a reading slump forming. So I had to put it down. I don’t think I will ever go back to reading it.

Termush – Sven Holm (2 stars)

A dystopian novel re-issued for modern day audiences. This book was fine. It was a lot shorter than I expected and I felt that its page count put it at a disadvantage. I wanted more detail, more exploration, just a lot more. This story felt very surface level and I blinked and it was over.

The Mill House Murders – Yukito Ayatsuji (3 stars)

Another instalment in Ayatsuji’s Locked Room mystery series. I preferred this book a lot more to the first book in the series, The Decagon House Murders. Better atmosphere, more engaging characters, a plot which genuinely shocked me and I felt satisfied with the ending rather than stumped.

Claymore, Vol.1 – Norihiro Yagi (3 stars)

This is my official read through of the manga after I watched the show last year. I think if I didn’t already know the story – this rating would be higher. But I thought the story and the world was engaging and I look forward to reading more. I do believe this series might have been discontinued though so we shall see how many volumes I can find.

Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind, Vol.1 – Hayao Miyazaki (4 stars)

Also a manga I picked up because I watched the adaptation first. This time round though I enjoyed the manga a lot more. The artwork is beautiful as per for Miyazaki and I love Nausicaa with every fibre of my being. I will say though. that the plot is hard to follow at points so despite its beautiful art, clear striking message about protecting our planet I have to deduct a star. Sometimes I had no idea what was happening!

Lies We Sing to the Sea – Sarah Underwood (4 stars)

Despite me saying I was going to stop reading greek myth re-tellings… here I am! This book had a lot of people talking back when it was announced so I was interested to see my thoughts on this book. I ended up really enjoying it. I loved the setting, the characters, the plot. It was so far removed from what I was expecting it to be. For clarification, this book is not an Odyssey re-telling. It takes inspiration from the death of Penelope’s handmaidens at the hands of Odysseus and says what if? The book is set hundreds of years after the Odyssey and it’s only mentioned a handful of times. The book truly focuses on the characters of the present than the past.

The Burning God – R.F. Kuang (4 stars)

The final book in the ground-breaking Poppy War trilogy. Overall, it was good but it was not my favourite book in the series. I had the ending spoiled for me last month so that defiantly hindered my enjoyment as I already knew what to expect. I also think this book’s plot was the weakest of the 3 books and I wasn’t as engaged as I had been with the others.

Trust – Hernan Diaz (5 stars)

An unexpected favourite here! Very Great Gatsby meets Succession vibes. This story tells the story of a billionaire and his wife; their relationship, rise to fame, their philanthropy and her illness. This story is told 4 times, in 4 different ways. As you read this book you try to unearth whose version of the story is actually true. I thought it was incredibly impressive for an author to take the same story and write it in so many different ways with different narrators and through different mediums. I felt like I was solving a puzzle.

Yellowface – R.F. Kuang (5 stars)

Probably, my favourite Kuang book to date! I have a more detailed review up on my blog but this book was just so incredibly engaging and exciting. I loved being in the mind of someone as complicated and unlikable as June. It was so interesting to not be following the hero of the story but the villain. Delving into the failings of the publishing industry was very interesting indeed (though I do wish Kuang went even deeper).

June 2023 TBR

April was a weird month for me and May was good but I didn’t do as great with the theme as I had hoped. Again, I have learnt nothing from the previous month so here is my overly ambitious June TBR. This month’s theme is Middle Grade.

  • Title: Onyeka and the Rise of the Rebels
  • Author: Tola Okogwu
  • Series: Onyeka #2
  • Format: Paperback
  • Age Rating: Middle Grade
  • Genre: Sci-fi

Plot for Book 1: Onyeka has a lot of hair­—the kind that makes strangers stop in the street and her peers whisper behind her back. At least she has Cheyenne, her best friend, who couldn’t care less what other people think. Still, Onyeka has always felt insecure about her vibrant curls…until the day Cheyenne almost drowns and Onyeka’s hair takes on a life of its own, inexplicably pulling Cheyenne from the water. At home, Onyeka’s mother tells her the shocking Onyeka’s psychokinetic powers make her a Solari, one of a secret group of people with superpowers unique to Nigeria. Her mother quickly whisks her off to the Academy of the Sun, a school in Nigeria where Solari are trained. But Onyeka and her new friends at the academy soon have to put their powers to the test as they find themselves embroiled in a momentous battle between truth and lies…

  • Title: Howl’s Moving Castle
  • Author: Diana Wynne Jones
  • Series: Howl’s Moving Castle #1
  • Format: Paperback
  • Age Rating: Middle Grade
  • Genre: Fantasy

Plot: In the land of Ingary, where seven-league boots and cloaks of invisibility really exist, Sophie Hatter attracts the unwelcome attention of the Witch of the Waste, who puts a curse on her. Determined to make the best of things, Sophie travels to the one place where she might get help – the moving castle which hovers on the nearby hills. But the castle belongs to the dreaded Wizard Howl whose appetite, they say, is satisfied only by the hearts of young girls…

  • Title: Zachary Ying and the Dragon Emperor
  • Author: Xiran Jay Zhao
  • Series: Zachary Ying #1
  • Format: Paperback
  • Age Rating: Middle Grade
  • Genre: Fantasy

Plot: Zachary Ying never had many opportunities to learn about his Chinese heritage. His single mom was busy enough making sure they got by, and his schools never taught anything except Western history and myths. So Zack is woefully unprepared when he discovers he was born to host the spirit of the First Emperor of China for a vital mission: sealing the leaking portal to the Chinese underworld before the upcoming Ghost Month blows it wide open. The mission takes an immediate wrong turn when the First Emperor botches his attempt to possess Zack’s body and binds to Zack’s AR gaming headset instead, leading to a battle where Zack’s mom’s soul gets taken by demons. Now, with one of history’s most infamous tyrants yapping in his headset, Zack must journey across China to heist magical artefacts and defeat figures from history and myth, all while learning to wield the emperor’s incredible water dragon powers. And if Zack can’t finish the mission in time, the spirits of the underworld will flood into the mortal realm, and he could lose his mom forever.

  • Title: The School for Good and Evil
  • Author: Soman Chainani
  • Series: The School for Good and Evil #1
  • Format: Paperback
  • Age Rating: Middle Grade
  • Genre: Fantasy

Plot: This year, best friends Sophie and Agatha are about to discover where all the lost children go: the fabled School for Good & Evil, where ordinary boys and girls are trained to be fairy tale heroes and villains. As the most beautiful girl in Gavaldon, Sophie has dreamed of being kidnapped into an enchanted world her whole life. With her pink dresses, glass slippers, and devotion to good deeds, she knows she’ll earn top marks at the School for Good and graduate a storybook princess. Meanwhile Agatha, with her shapeless black frocks, wicked pet cat, and dislike of nearly everyone, seems a natural fit for the School for Evil. But when the two girls are swept into the Endless Woods, they find their fortunes reversed—Sophie’s dumped in the School for Evil to take Uglification, Death Curses, and Henchmen Training, while Agatha finds herself in the School For Good, thrust amongst handsome princes and fair maidens for classes in Princess Etiquette and Animal Communication. But what if the mistake is actually the first clue to discovering who Sophie and Agatha really are…?

  • Title: Hooky
  • Author: Miriam Bonastre Tur
  • Series: Hooky #1
  • Format: Paperback
  • Age Rating: Middle Grade
  • Genre: Fantasy

Plot: When Dani and Dorian missed the bus to magic school, they never thought they’d wind up declared traitors to their own kind! Now, thanks to a series of mishaps, they are being chased by powerful magic families seeking the prophesied King of Witches and royals searching for missing princes. But they aren’t alone. With a local troublemaker, a princess, and a teacher who can see the future on their side, they might just be able to clear their names…but can they heal their torn kingdom?

  • Title: Hilda: The Wilderness Stories
  • Author: Luke Pearson
  • Series: Hilda #1-2
  • Format: Hardback
  • Age Rating: Middle Grade
  • Genre: Fantasy

Plot: Explore the magic, folklore, and mystery of Hilda’s world as she rides fluffy woffs through the sky, dodges trolls through the forests, and catches up with giants the size of mountains. With the help of her lovable deerfox friend Twig, the grumpy (but no less loveable) Wood Man, and with a backpack full of cucumber sandwiches, there’s nothing to stop Hilda from exploring the wilds and getting into sticky situations…

  • Title: Hilda: The Trolberg Stories
  • Author: Luke Pearson
  • Series: Hilda #3-4
  • Format: Hardback
  • Age Rating: Middle Grade
  • Genre: Fantasy

Plot (Spoilers): Leaving their home in the wilderness, Hilda, Twig and her mother have moved to the big bustling city of Trolberg. Hilda must find a way to fit into this new and very different way of life by building new friendships with humans – and creatures. Soon, she discovers the city is just as mysterious and filled with adventures as the wilderness. There is no shortage of unexpected twists, turns and new friends in this bind-up edition. A perfect gift for Hilda fans and any young adventurer in your life!

Now the 3 books are not on theme.

  • Title: The Gilded Wolves
  • Author: Roshani Chokshi
  • Series: Gilded Wolves #1
  • Format: Paperback
  • Age Rating: YA
  • Genre: Historical Fantasy

Plot: It’s 1889. The city is on the cusp of industry and power, and the Exposition Universelle has breathed new life into the streets and dredged up ancient secrets. Here, no one keeps tabs on dark truths better than treasure-hunter and wealthy hotelier Séverin Montagnet-Alarie. When the elite, ever-powerful Order of Babel coerces him to help them on a mission, Séverin is offered a treasure that he never imagined: his true inheritance. To hunt down the ancient artifact the Order seeks, Séverin calls upon a band of unlikely experts: An engineer with a debt to pay. A historian banished from his home. A dancer with a sinister past. And a brother in arms if not blood. Together, they will join Séverin as he explores the dark, glittering heart of Paris. What they find might change the course of history–but only if they can stay alive.

  • Title: Cards on the Table
  • Author: Agatha Christie
  • Series: Hercule Poirot #15
  • Format: Paperback
  • Age Rating: Adult
  • Genre: Murder Mystery

Plot: Mr. Shaitana was famous, as were his parties. He was also a man of whom everybody was a little afraid. So, when he boasted to Poirot that he considered murder an art form, the detective had some reservations about accepting a party invitation of cards and viewing Shaitana’s private art collection. Indeed, what began as an absorbing evening of bridge was to turn into a more dangerous game altogether…

  • Title: Murder Before Evensong
  • Author: Reverend Richard Coles
  • Series: Canon Clement #1
  • Format: Paperback
  • Age Rating: Adult
  • Genre: Murder Mystery

Plot: Canon Daniel Clement is Rector of Champton. He has been there for eight years, living at the Rectory alongside his widowed mother – opinionated, fearless, ever-so-slightly annoying Audrey – and his two dachshunds, Cosmo and Hilda. When Daniel announces a plan to install a lavatory in the church, the parish is suddenly (and unexpectedly) divided: as lines are drawn, long-buried secrets come dangerously close to destroying the apparent calm of the village. And then Anthony Bowness – cousin to Bernard de Floures, patron of Champton – is found dead at the back of the church, stabbed in the neck with a pair of secateurs. As the police move in and the bodies start piling up, Daniel is the only one who can try and keep his fractured community together… and catch a killer.

The Promised Neverland Series Review

Life at Grace Field House has been good for Emma and her fellow orphans. While the daily studying and exams they have to take are tough, their loving caretaker provides them with delicious foods and plenty of playtime. But perhaps not everything is as it seems… Emma, Norman and Ray are the brightest kids at the Grace Field House orphanage. And under the care of the woman they refer to as “Mom,” all the kids have enjoyed a comfortable life. Good food, clean clothes and the perfect environment to learn—what more could an orphan ask for? One day, though, Emma and Norman uncover the dark truth of the outside world they are forbidden from seeing.

Spoiler free!

April Wrap Up 2023

Not my best month, no 5 star novels and I didn’t get to my entire April TBR 😦

  • I read 17 books this month
  • Genre: 13 fantasy and 4 mystery
  • Gender of authors: 6 women and 6 men
  • Race of authors: 7 white authors, 4 Asian authors and 1 collection of varied authors
  • Age range: 11 YA and 6 adult
  • Format: 9 paperback and 8 ebook


  • Prompt: Mystery
    • The Ashes of London
    • Moriarty the Patriot, Vol.2
    • The Cloisters
    • Final Acts
  • Sequel:
    • Moriarty the Patriot, Vol.2

Final Acts edited by Martin Edwards (DNF)

This was just a super uninspiring murder mysteries with slow pacing and engaging writing. Which is a shame as I loved some other collections I have read.

Scarlet by Genevieve Cogman (DNF)

Nothing particularly bad about this fantasy re-telling of The Scarlet Pimpernel. I just couldn’t stay engaged and for a fantasy book promising vampire aristocrats there weren’t many at all!

Soggy Landing by Alec McGovern (2 stars)

I couldn’t actually tell you what this graphic novel was about. I really liked the art style but that was about it! The plot was all over the place and not cohesive at all and it felt gory and sexual for no real reason.

Twin Crowns by Catherine Doyle & Katherine Webber (3.5 stars)

A super fun and action-packed fantasy romance with major Parent Trap/Princess and the Pauper vibes. I loved the world-building, the romance (Team Shen) and I thought the magic was super cool. I will say it took some time for the plot to properly going at first and a bit too much telling and not enough showing for certain aspects of the narrative.

At Midnight edited by Dahlia Adler (3.5 stars)

Overall, I had a really great time reading these stories and I loved the amount of love, representations and magic I saw in these pages.

Sugarplum – 2 stars
In The Forest of the Night – 5 stars
Say My Name – 3.5 stars
Fire and Rhinestone – 3 stars
Mother’s Mirror – 3 stars
Sharp As Any Thorn – 2.5 stars
Coyote in High Top Sneakers – 4 stars
The Sister Switch – 3 stars
Once Bitten, Twice Shy – 3 stars
A Flame So Bright – 3.5 stars
The Emperor and the Eversong – 5 stars
The Littlest Mermaid – 2 stars
Just a Little Bite – 5 stars
A Story About a Girl – 5 stars

The Cloisters by Katy Hays (3.5 stars)

A book for academia fans and art fans everywhere. A really engaging story following a young art historian as she works at the prestigious The Cloisters renowned for its collection of medieval and Renaissance art. This started off super strong and I was so absorbed in the story and the interpersonal dynamics of the main characters but unfortunately this book ended in a super predictable and cliched way for my personal liking.

The Ashes of London by Andrew Taylor (4 stars)

A really detailed and engaging historical crime novel. I will say that the mystery definitely takes a back seat in order to bring the historical fiction side of the novel to be highlighted. I would have preferred more mystery content but our two main characters are super captivating that I didn’t mind. My favourite part of this whole novel was the atmosphere. This book is set during and just after the Great Fire of London and Taylor did a great job weaving the terror and grief throughout the novel. You felt just as suffocated.

The Promised Neverland Series Vol.15-20 by Kaiu Shirai (5 stars)

What a way to end the series!!!! I want to give a standing ovation to this series and the author. So masterful. But… if I have to be picky I will say that Vol. 20 includes one of my least fave tropes and while I think it was the only answer to the tricky puzzle the author put himself in. I am still not a fan of the trope. Apart from that one tiny thing. 10/10! I cried.

Other books I read but couldn’t form coherent thoughts about at this current moment in time:

  • Yona of the Dawn. Vol.1 by Mizuho Kusanagi (4 stars)
  • Moriarty the Patriot, Vol.2 by Ryosuke Takeuchi (4 stars)
  • Fierce by Mathieu Burniat (4 stars)
  • A Magic Steeped in Poison by Judy I. Lin (4 stars)

May 2023 TBR

April was a bit of a funny month which I will detail more in my wrap up post. I didn’t do as well as I hoped but that has not stopped me from planning a highly ambitious May TBR. This month’s theme is High Fantasy. Fantasy that covers countries and the world itself with deep lore and world-building.

Starting off with my 3 choices for my theme:

  • Title: Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind, Vol.1
  • Author: Hayao Miyazaki
  • Series: Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind #1
  • Format: Hardback
  • Age Rating: YA
  • Genre: Science Fantasy

Plot: In a long-ago war, humankind set off a devastating ecological disaster. Thriving industrial societies disappeared. The earth is slowly submerging beneath the expanding Sea of Corruption, an enormous toxic forest that creates mutant insects and releases a miasma of poisonous spores into the air. At the periphery of the sea, tiny kingdoms are scattered on tiny parcels of land. Here lies the Valley of the Wind, a kingdom of barely 500 citizens; a nation given fragile protection from the decaying sea’s poisons by the ocean breezes; and home to Nausicaä . Nausicaä, a young princess, has an emphatic bond with the giant Ohmu insects and animals of every creed. She fights to create tolerance, understanding and patience among empires that are fighting over the world’s remaining precious natural resources.

  • Title: The Burning God
  • Author: R.F. Kuang
  • Series: The Poppy War #3
  • Format: Paperback
  • Age Rating: Adult
  • Genre: Fantasy

Plot (SPOILERS): After saving her nation of Nikan from foreign invaders and battling the evil Empress Su Daji in a brutal civil war, Fang Runin was betrayed by allies and left for dead. Despite her losses, Rin hasn’t given up on those for whom she has sacrificed so much—the people of the southern provinces and especially Tikany, the village that is her home. Returning to her roots, Rin meets difficult challenges—and unexpected opportunities. While her new allies in the Southern Coalition leadership are sly and untrustworthy, Rin quickly realizes that the real power in Nikan lies with the millions of common people who thirst for vengeance and revere her as a goddess of salvation. Backed by the masses and her Southern Army, Rin will use every weapon to defeat the Dragon Republic, the colonizing Hesperians, and all who threaten the shamanic arts and their practitioners. As her power and influence grows, though, will she be strong enough to resist the Phoenix’s intoxicating voice urging her to burn the world and everything in it? 

  • Title: The Fires of Heaven
  • Author: Robert Jordan
  • Series: The Wheel of Time #5
  • Format: Paperback
  • Age Rating: Adult
  • Genre: Fantasy

Plot (SPOILERS): The bonds and wards that hold the Great Lord of the Dark are slowly failing, but still his fragile prison holds. The Forsaken, immortal servants of the shadow, weave their snares and tighten their grip upon the realms of men, sure in the knowledge that their master will soon break free… Rand al’ Thor, the Dragon Reborn, knows that he must strike at the Enemy, but his forces are divided by treachery and by ambition. Even the Aes Sedai, ancient guardians of the Light, are riven by civil war. Betrayed by his allies, pursued by his enemies and beset by the madness that comes to the male wielders of the One Power, Rand rides out to meet the foe.

And then we have my other choices:

For Elantris, I am not sure if this counted as High Fantasy as it is part of the Cosmere but I believe due to it being just set in one city that it doesn’t count as HF.

  • Title: Elantris
  • Author: Brandon Sanderson
  • Series: Standalone
  • Format: Paperback
  • Age Rating: Adult
  • Genre: Fantasy

Plot: The capital of Arelon, the home to people transformed into magic-using demigods by the Shaod. But then the magic failed, Elantris started to rot, and its inhabitants turned into powerless wrecks. And in the new capital, Kae, close enough to Elantris for everyone to be reminded of what they have lost, a princess arrives. Sarene is to be married to unite Teod and Arelon against the religious imperialists of Fjordell. But she is told that Raoden, her husband to be, is dead. Determined to carry on the fight for Teod and Arelon’s freedom, Sarene clashes with the high priest Hrathen. If Hrathen can persuade the populace to convert, Fjordell will reign supreme. But there are secrets in Elantris, the dead and the ruined may yet have a role to play in this new world. Magic lives.

  • Title: Magic Has No Borders
  • Editor: Sona Charaipotra & Samira Ahmed
  • Series: Standalone
  • Format: Paperback
  • Age Rating: YA
  • Genre: Fantasy & Sci-Fi

Synopsis: From chudails and peris to jinn and goddesses, this lush collection of South Asian folklore, legends, and epics reimagines stories of old for a modern audience. This fantasy and science fiction teen anthology edited by Samira Ahmed and Sona Charaipotra contains a wide range of stories from fourteen bestselling, award-winning, and emerging writers from the South Asian diaspora that will surprise, delight, and move you. So read on, for after all, magic has no borders.

  • Title: Lies We Sing to the Sea
  • Author: Sarah Underwood
  • Series: Standalone
  • Format: Paperback
  • Age Rating: YA
  • Genre: Fantasy & Romance

Plot: Each spring, Ithaca condemns twelve maidens to the noose. This is the price vengeful Poseidon demands for the lives of Queen Penelope’s twelve maids, hanged and cast into the depths centuries ago. But when that fate comes for Leto, death is not what she thought it would be. Instead, she wakes on a mysterious island and meets a girl with green eyes and the power to command the sea. A girl named Melantho, who says one more death can stop a thousand. The prince of Ithaca must die—or the tides of fate will drown them all.

  • Title: Yellowface
  • Author: Rebecca F. Kuang
  • Series: Standalone
  • Format: Paperback
  • Age Rating: Adult
  • Genre: Contemporary

Plot: Authors June Hayward and Athena Liu were supposed to be twin rising stars: same year at Yale, same debut year in publishing. But Athena’s a cross-genre literary darling, and June didn’t even get a paperback release. Nobody wants stories about basic white girls, June thinks. So when June witnesses Athena’s death in a freak accident, she acts on impulse: she steals Athena’s just-finished masterpiece, an experimental novel about the unsung contributions of Chinese laborers to the British and French war efforts during World War I. So what if June edits Athena’s novel and sends it to her agent as her own work? So what if she lets her new publisher rebrand her as Juniper Song–complete with an ambiguously ethnic author photo? Doesn’t this piece of history deserve to be told, whoever the teller? That’s what June claims, and the New York Times bestseller list seems to agree. But June can’t get away from Athena’s shadow, and emerging evidence threatens to bring June’s (stolen) success down around her. As June races to protect her secret, she discovers exactly how far she will go to keep what she thinks she deserves.

  • Title: Gwen and Art are Not in Love
  • Author: Lex Croucher
  • Series: Standalone
  • Format: Paperback
  • Age Rating: YA
  • Genre: Historical Romance

Plot: It’s been hundreds of years since King Arthur’s reign. His descendant, Arthur, a future Lord and general gadabout, has been betrothed to Gwendoline, the quick-witted, short-tempered princess of England, since birth. The only thing they can agree on is that they despise each other. They’re forced to spend the summer together at Camelot in the run up to their nuptials, and within 24 hours, Gwen has discovered Arthur kissing a boy and Arthur has gone digging for Gwen’s childhood diary and found confessions about her crush on the kingdom’s only lady knight, Bridget Leclair. Realizing they might make better allies than enemies, they make a reluctant pact to cover for each other, and as things heat up at the annual royal tournament, Gwen is swept off her feet by her knight and Arthur takes an interest in Gwen’s royal brother.