Hi all! I hope everyone’s doing okay with the new lockdown, I’ve been pretty busy with a job application this week, but that’s done now. I’m trying to keep occupied as much as I can to stave off the lockdown boredom, I’ve got an intensive Spanish course starting on the 18th, I’m doing editing on my friend’s novel and obviously my never-ending job hunt is still ongoing, so I’m hoping that I’ll have enough to be going on with for the next few weeks of lockdown.
So I kind of dropped the ball on my #RockMyTBR updates towards the end of last year, so this is going to be a fairly lengthy post updating everything I read in November and December and then wrapping up my thoughts on all of my 2020 #RockMyTBR reads. 2020 may have been mostly a trashfire of a year, but aside from my amazing trip to South Africa, I also had a great reading year, reading 45 books for my Goodreads Challenge, which is my best ever end of year total. My reading kind of slowed towards the end of 2020, I only read 4 books over November/December but you know what it was an exhausting year, so I’m not going to be hard on myself about it. I also didn’t actually read any #RockMyTBR challenge books over November or December, so this post will just be my regular reads:
A Song of Wraiths and Ruin (A Song of Wraiths and Ruin #1) by Roseanne A. Brown:
My audiobook read for November. I really enjoyed this one, the characters were great and the anxiety representation was so beautifully done. There were a few debut teething issues, like pacing and slightly confused magic system and world-building, but overall it was a really good read and I’m looking forward to the sequel. I read this one from 2nd-26th November. Here is my review of it:
The Book of Two Ways by Jodi Picoult:
My November/December Netgalley e-ARC (I was mostly reading it in November, but it carried over a little into December as well). It was kind of disappointing for a Jodi Picoult book, I usually love her stuff, but this one was super slow paced and kind of suffered from an overload of technical information and trying to focus on too many things at once. I read this one from 19th October-12th December (was very on-off, I was reading another Netgalley e-ARC at the same time). Here is my review of it:
Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman:
This was my audiobook read for December. I loved the TV show, but I found the book actually left a lot to be desired. The plot was very confused, the humour relied on a lot of incredibly dated stereotypes and there were way too many characters to keep track of. I read this one from 27th November-17th December. Here is my review of it:
Kingdom of The Wicked (Kingdom of The Wicked #1) by Kerri Maniscalco:
This was my other Netgalley e-ARC for November/December. I was kind of disappointed in this one, the pacing was off, the worldbuilding was kind of lacklustre and I wasn’t a big fan of the main character. I read this one from 13th November-31st December (again kind of on/off). Here is my review of it:
So that’s my final update of 2020, or first update of 2021 depending on how you look at it! I put together my list of 2021 challenge reads at the beginning of December, which is the post just below this one under the #RockMyTBR Challenge tab, marked #RockMyTBR 2021 Challenge, if you’d like to see what I’m planning on reading for my challenge this year. For the rest of this post, I’m going to rank my reads for my 2020 challenge and look forward to what I’ll be reading for the rest of January:
My 2020 #RockMyTBR Reads Ranked In Star Order:
- The Gilded Wolves-Roshani Chokshi-4 stars
Roshani Chokshi was one of my favourite new author discoveries of 2020, The Gilded Wolves hit all the things I love, historical setting, heists, found family and lots of humour. The Silvered Serpents is one of my challenge reads for this year and I can’t wait to read it!
2. The City of Brass-S.A. Chakraborty-4 stars
Another of my favourite new author discoveries of last year, I tore through all of S.A. Chakraborty’s published books (ie her Daevabad trilogy) in 2020. The City of Brass was a wonderfully immersive fantasy read, with brilliant characters and it’s one I’m definitely glad I had in the miserable days of Lockdown 1.0.
3. The Dead Queens’ Club-Hannah Capin-4 stars
Hannah Capin’s debut novel was super fun, I loved all of the Tudor references, I thought the humour was great and I loved how feminist it was too, it was so cool to see a Tudor retelling that centred Henry VIII’s wives rather than the man himself (and which acknowledged that Henry was categorically THE WORST).
4. The Lady’s Guide To Petticoats and Piracy-Mackenzi Lee-4 stars
Lady’s Guide was so fun, not as good as Gentleman’s Guide but I loved how this book focused on female friendships and I loved how Lee tackled internalised misogyny in a historical setting. It was great seeing Felicity take centre stage and I can’t wait to read the final book focusing on Felicity and Monty’s younger brother coming out this year.
5. Circe-Madeline Miller-4 stars
Being a massive Greek mythology fan, I was super excited for this one, and it definitely lived up to expectations. Miller wove lots of different Greek myths into Circe’s story in a really cool way and her writing was just stunning. I’m also always here for stories that explore the relationship between women and power.
6. Spin The Dawn-Elizabeth Lim-3.5 stars
I enjoyed this but not as much as I expected to, I think I kind of fell victim to the hype monster for this book. The concept sounded so cool, but the tailoring aspect really wasn’t utilised enough, I didn’t like the romance, the world building was kind of lacking and I found it really off-putting that the main female character had like no other female friends. I did love the diverse world and characters though.
7. Tunnel of Bones-Victoria Schwab-3 stars
This was originally meant to be City of Ghosts, but I swapped it out after City of Ghosts was chosen for me to read in May as part of my Goodreads Book Club’s Pick-It-For-Me group. I don’t usually read middle grade, but I enjoyed the first book in the series, and this one was super fun as well, I preferred City of Ghosts for the atmosphere and setting, but I still really loved the friendship focus here and it was a nice fast read.
8. King of Scars-Leigh Bardugo-3 stars
I was really disappointed with this one, I’ve been looking forward to Nikolai’s book for years and it just wasn’t as enjoyable as I hoped. It was kind of slow and Nikolai didn’t really have as much of a role as he should have given that it’s his book. Nina’s storyline also didn’t really fit with the rest of the book. I did however really love Zoya’s plotline and backstory, I thought that was the highlight of this book.
9. The Devouring Gray-Christine Lynn Herman-3 stars
I didn’t originally have this on my list, but I swapped it in after I DNF’ed my September read and swapped it for Tunnel of Bones, so this ended up being my October read. I didn’t love this one as much as I’d hoped sadly, it wasn’t as creepy as I’d have liked and it was very slow paced which meant it took me a while to get through.
10. Unhooked-Lisa Maxwell-3 stars
I loved the concept for this one, but it was executed poorly. It was such a slow paced book and I didn’t really connect to any of the characters, which was a real shame because I loved the idea of a Peter Pan retelling.
So that’s a wrap-up of what I thought of my 2020 reads, here’s what I’m planning on reading in the first month of 2021:
I’ve already read my first book, Seasons of War by Derek Landy which was a carry over from last year, so it won’t be included here, though you will see it on my January update.
A Court of Wings and Ruin-Sarah J Maas
I’m planning on catching up with the ACOTAR series before the release of A Court of Silver Flames, as I’ve still not read the third book. I have to admit, I’ve been putting it off because of its length, but since I have almost the entire month of January to read it, I’m hoping I’ll be able to get it done.
A Court of Frost and Starlight-Sarah J Maas
I’ve heard mixed things about this novella, but I still want to read it before A Court of Silver Flames comes out so that I’m fully caught up on the series.
The Midnight Library-Matt Haig
My January audiobook read, I’m almost halfway through it and it’s been pretty good so far, Carey Mulligan is a great narrator and the whole concept behind the story is pretty cool.
Burn Our Bodies Down-Rory Power
My Netgalley read for January, I wasn’t a massive fan of Wilder Girls by the same author but I thought her new book sounded cool, so I decided to give it a try. Hopefully I enjoy it more!
I’m so pleased with how well my reading went in 2020, having my highest Goodreads Challenge total ever was a nice way to cap off a not-so-great (to put it mildly) year. I’d really like to try and hit 50 on my challenge this year, but I’m not going to push myself to get there, as I like to focus more on the enjoyment of the books I read rather than the number. I’d also really like to actually read all 12 books on my challenge list this year as I know I fell slightly short this year! Here’s to 2021 being another great reading year!
How did everyone else’s November/December reading go? What was your first read of 2021? What did you set your Goodreads Challenge to this year? Let me know in the comments!