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)

February 2023 TBR

Another month, another bunch of books. January was really successful so I am hoping the same for Feb. The theme for this month is Romance! Now it doesn’t specifically be romance novels it can also include books where there are strong romance side plots as well.

  • Title: The Bride Test
  • Author: Helen Hoang
  • Series: The Kiss Quotient #2
  • Format: eBook
  • Age Rating: Adult
  • Genre: Contemporary Romance

Plot: Khai Diep has no feelings. Well, not big, important emotions – like grief. And love. He thinks he’s defective. His family knows better – that his autism means he just processes emotions differently. When he steadfastly refuses to consider a relationship, his mother takes matters into her own hands and returns to Vietnam to find him the perfect bride. As a mixed-race girl living in the slums of Ho Chi Minh City, Esme Tran has always felt out of place. So when the opportunity arises to go to America and meet a potential husband, she can’t turn it down. This could be the break her family needs. Seducing Khai, however, doesn’t go quite as planned. Esme’s lessons in love seem to be working… but only on herself. She’s hopelessly smitten with a man who’s convinced he can never return her affection. As Esme’s time in the United States dwindles, will Khai let his head catch up with his heart? Will he find the strength to let go, and let love in?

  • Title: Once Upon a Broken Heart
  • Author: Stephanie Garber
  • Series: Once Upon a Broken Heart #1
  • Format: Hardback
  • Age Rating: New Adult
  • Genre: Fantasy Romance

Plot: Evangeline Fox was raised in her beloved father’s curiosity shop, where she grew up on legends about immortals, like the tragic Prince of Hearts. She knows his powers are mythic, his kiss is worth dying for, and that bargains with him rarely end well. But when Evangeline learns that the love of her life is about to marry another, she becomes desperate enough to offer the Prince of Hearts whatever he wants in exchange for his help to stop the wedding. The prince only asks for three kisses. But after Evangeline’s first promised kiss, she learns that the Prince of Hearts wants far more from her than she’d pledged. And he has plans for Evangeline that will either end in the greatest happily ever after, or the most exquisite tragedy.

  • Title: Twisted Love
  • Author: Ana Huang
  • Series: Twisted #1
  • Format: Paperback
  • Age Rating: Adult
  • Genre: Contemporary Romance

Plot: He has a heart of ice… but for her, he’d burn the world. Alex Volkov is a devil blessed with the face of an angel and cursed with a past he can’t escape. Driven by a tragedy that has haunted him for most of his life, his ruthless pursuits for success and vengeance leave little room for matters of the heart. But when he’s forced to look after his best friend’s sister, he starts to feel something in his chest: A crack. A melt. A fire that could end his world as he knew it. Ava Chen is a free spirit trapped by nightmares of a childhood she can’t remember. But despite her broken past, she’s never stopped seeing the beauty in the world… including the heart beneath the icy exterior of a man she shouldn’t want. Her brother’s best friend. Her neighbour. Her saviour and her downfall. Theirs is a love that was never supposed to happen – but when it does, it unleashes secrets that could destroy them both… and everything they hold dear.

  • Title: Inuyasha
  • Author: Rumiko Takahashi
  • Series: Inuyasha #1
  • Format: Paperback
  • Age Rating: YA
  • Genre: Historical Fantasy Romance

Plot: Kagome is a modern Japanese high school girl. Never the type to believe in myths and legends, her world view dramatically changes when, one day, she’s pulled out of her own time and into another! There, in Japan’s ancient past, Kagome discovers more than a few of those dusty old legends are true, and that her destiny is linked to one legendary creature in particular – he dog like half-demon called Inuyasha! That same trick of fate also ties them both to the Shikon Jewel, or Jewel of Four Souls. But demons beware… the smallest shard of the Shikon Jewel can give the user unimaginable power.

  • Title: This Is How You Lose the Time War
  • Author: Amal El-Mohtar & Max Gladstone
  • Series: Standalone
  • Format: Paperback
  • Age Rating: Adult
  • Genre: Sci-Fi & Romance

Plot: Among the ashes of a dying world, an agent of the Commandant finds a letter. It reads: Burn before reading.
Thus begins an unlikely correspondence between two rival agents hellbent on securing the best possible future for their warring factions. Now, what began as a taunt, a battlefield boast, grows into something more. Something epic. Something romantic. Something that could change the past and the future. Except the discovery of their bond would mean death for each of them. There’s still a war going on, after all. And someone has to win that war. That’s how war works. Right?

  • Title: The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue
  • Author: V.E. Schwab
  • Series: Standalone
  • Format: Hardback
  • Age Rating: New Adult
  • Genre: Historical/Fantasy Romance

Plot: When Addie LaRue makes a deal with devil, she trades her soul for immortality. But the devil takes away her place in the world, cursing her to be forgotten by everyone. Addie flees her tiny home town in 18th-Century France, beginning a journey that takes her across the world, learning to live a life where no one remembers her and everything she owns is lost and broken. Existing only as a muse for artists throughout history, she learns to fall in love anew every single day. Her only companion on this journey is her dark devil with hypnotic green eyes, who visits her each year on the anniversary of their deal. Alone in the world, Addie has no choice but to confront him, to understand him, maybe to beat him. Until one day, in a second hand bookshop in Manhattan, Addie meets someone who remembers her. Suddenly thrust back into a real, normal life, Addie realises she can’t escape her fate forever.

  • Title: My Killer Vacation
  • Author: Tessa Bailey
  • Series: Standalone
  • Format: Paperback
  • Age Rating: Adult
  • Genre: Contemporary Romance & Murder Mystery

Plot: It was supposed to be a relaxing vacation in sweet, sunny Cape Cod – just me and my beloved brother – but discovering a corpse in our rental house really throws a wrench into our tanning schedule. Now a rude, crude bounty hunter has arrived on the back of his motorcycle to catch the killer and refuses to believe I can be helpful, despite countless hours of true crime podcast listening. Not to mention a fulfilling teaching career of wrangling second graders. A brash bounty hunter and an energetic elementary schoolteacher: the murder-solving team no one asked for, but thanks to these pesky attempts on my life, we’re stuck together, come hell or high tide. I’m just here to do a job, not babysit an amateur sleuth. Although… it is becoming less and less of a hardship to have her around. Sure, she’s stubborn, distracting and can’t stay out of harm’s way. She’s also brave and beautiful and reminds me of the home I left behind three years ago. In other words, the insatiable hunger and protectiveness she is waking up in me is a threat to my peace of mind. Before I sink any deeper into this dangerous attraction, I need to solve this murder and get back on the road. But will fate take her from me before I realize the road has been leading to her all along?