Top Ten Tuesday #305

Hi all! I hope you’ve all had a good week this week, mine was fairly quiet but I did have some great video chats with my friends over the weekend which were super fun, I cannot wait till I can finally see my friends in person again though!

Anyway, as it’s Tuesday, I have another Top Ten Tuesday for you, courtesy of Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl. This week we’re talking about Characters Whose Jobs I Wish I Had. Now obviously, I already know the job I’m planning to go into (Journalism) but if I wasn’t going to do that, these are the jobs that fictional characters have, that I’d like to do:

  1. Amy Fleming-Heartland Series-Lauren Brooke-Horse Trainer

I love horses, and Amy’s job of working with horses with problems always seemed like such a cool thing to do when I was younger. I still really would love to learn some of the natural horsemanship techniques that Amy does in the books (and on the show) though that will probably only happen in a dream world where I finally manage to get a horse of my own!

2. Enrique Mercado-Lopez-The Gilded Wolves Trilogy-Roshani Chokshi-Historian

This one isn’t actually massively out of the question, since part of my degree was History! I do love the idea of being a historian, but I’m not really academically inclined and I didn’t want to do further education which I’d need to do if I was going to go into academia and do historical research. If I could find a job that was history related that I didn’t need further degrees for though, I would definitely be interested!

3. Mrs Elm-The Midnight Library-Matt Haig-Librarian

Any job to do with books would be perfect for me, and I have so many great memories of a particularly brilliant librarian from the library I used to go to when I was a kid, who was so lovely and helpful. I’m not really a kid person, so I don’t think I’d make the best children’s librarian but I reckon I would be a good general librarian, I know I’d be good at helping patrons find books they’d love.

4. Cath-Heartless-Marissa Meyer-Baker

I am able to bake a little, mostly really simple things like cookies and flapjacks, but I’d love to be able to do it well, in my dreams I’d be able to bake like the bakers on the Great British Bake-off and do all of these super elaborate desserts!

5. Jordan McAffee-Several Jodi Picoult books-Jodi Picoult-Lawyer

My parents always used to joke I’d make a good lawyer when I was a kid because I loved to argue! I’ve always found legal stuff interesting, but never really felt compelled to make it a career, mostly because I don’t think I could live with someone innocent going to jail because of me (or someone guilty walking free). However, when I was in Cape Town, I met a lawyer who worked for the Women’s Legal Centre, and if I was a lawyer, I’d love to do what she does, fighting to improve women’s rights would be a great job for me.

6. Henry Strauss-The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue-V.E. Schwab-Bookseller

I’ve always thought I’d make a great bookseller, finding people great books to read sounds like my idea of a dream job. Now I have worked in retail before, so I do realise that bookselling would probably have all the same drawbacks that all of my other retail jobs have had, but getting a discount on books would be totally worth it!

7. Lina Vilkas-Between Shades of Gray-Ruta Sepetys-Artist

I am terrible at art, truly horrendous, but I’ve always wanted to be good at it, it’s like singing, I really admire and am envious of people who can do it well. However, this is a dream not reality scenario, so in this scenario, if I was good at art, I would love to be an artist like Lina.

8. Dawn Edelstein-The Book of Two Ways-Jodi Picoult-Egyptologist

Egyptology seems like it would be a truly fascinating subject to study, I’ve always thought archaeology was really cool, so I’d love to be able to go on digs and excavate tombs, but being the history nerd that I am, I’d also love studying Ancient Egyptian history, I think it would be so interesting. I’ve not had a chance to study much Ancient history so far and I’ve always been fascinated by it, so I think Egyptology would be a really fun and interesting thing to study.

9. Queenie-Code Name Verity-Elizabeth Wein-Spy

I’m not sure I’d make the world’s best spy, but again, this is a dream scenario, so I think I can swing it. All the different disguises and pretending to be someone else is very appealing to me and though I’m sure the job would be dangerous, I reckon being undercover as a spy would also be really fun (I would not have wanted to do it during a war like Queenie though!).

10. Will Fitzgerald-The Diviners Series-Libba Bray-Museum Curator

Being a museum curator would be so interesting, obviously I would want to work for a historical museum rather than an arts or science one as that’s my area of interest but managing a museum’s collections sounds super interesting. Again, I probably wouldn’t do this in real life, as it requires higher degrees and so more studying, but if in a dream world I could do this job without those, then yes, I would definitely go for it.

So there we go, those are some Characters Whose Jobs I Wish I Had. Have you read any of these books? Would you like to? What fictional characters’ jobs would you like to have? Let me know in the comments!

Next week’s topic is a Spring Cleaning Freebie, now I’m not planning on doing an unhaul of my bookshelves any time soon, so instead, I’m going to look at Books I Added To My Goodreads TBR More Than Two Years Ago and see if I can clean up my Goodreads shelves!

Top Ten Tuesday #304

Hi everyone! I hope you’ve all had a good week this week, as usual mine was very quiet, though I have a lot of job applications to get through this week and a few video chats organised for the end of the week, so this week is looking a little busier.

Anyway, since it’s Tuesday, I have another Top Ten Tuesday for you all, courtesy of Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl. This week we were meant to do Books That Made Us Laugh Out Loud, but I decided to go a slightly different route: as it’s still Black History Month in the US (the UK does Black History Month in October), I wanted to share some Books By Black Authors on My TBR as there are so many great Black authored books coming out this year, and many more that have come out previously that I’m excited to read too:

  1. This Poison Heart-Kalynn Bayron

Cinderella Is Dead was one of my favourite books of last year, so naturally I’m super excited for Kalynn’s newest book, which comes out in July. The cover is gorgeous, and the story sounds great, sapphic love story with plant magic and lots of family secrets? Sign me up!

2. A Psalm of Storms and Silence (A Song of Wraiths and Ruin #2)-Roseanne A. Brown

A Song of Wraiths and Ruin was another of my favourite books of last year, so I’m super excited for the sequel to release at the end of August (it was June, but has been pushed back), especially as the first book ended on a cliffhanger!

3. The Gilded Ones (Deathless #1)-Namina Forna

I’ve already heard such great things about this one, it’s about a deeply patriarchal society where women are shunned or killed if they have gold blood instead of red blood. The gorgeous cover was definitely what attracted to me to this one, but it does sound like a really interesting story, so I’m excited to read it.

4. Off The Record-Camryn Garrett

As a journalist myself, I’m always interested when I see books about young journalists, and this one sounds really interesting, a teenage #metoo journalist story. I know that I’ll probably be quite picky around the journalistic details in this one since I have experience in the area but I’m still really looking forward to reading it.

5. Ace of Spades-Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé

I was immediately drawn to this one when I saw the Gossip Girl comparison because I was obsessed with Gossip Girl as a teenager, and it sounds so good, I’ve read very little dark academia before, Ninth House and Vicious are the only ones that really come to mind, so I’m super excited to try this one, especially because it centres Black students, and all the dark academia I’ve read before has very much centred white people.

6. Endgame (Noughts and Crosses #6)-Malorie Blackman

Agh, I can’t believe this is the last Noughts and Crosses book we’re ever going to get. I read the first Noughts and Crosses book when I was 11 and by the time one releases I’ll be almost 25! Anyway, I can’t deny I was a little disappointed by Crossfire but I’m still excited to see how this series ends.

7. Why I’m No Longer Talking To White People About Race-Reni Eddo-Lodge

Yes, I know, I know, I’m super behind the curve on this one! My sister keeps telling me to read it and that it’s super good, but I just haven’t got round to it yet. I’m definitely hoping to try and get to it this year though, as I want to educate myself more on structural racism, especially in the UK.

8. A River of Royal Blood-Amanda Joy

I added this one to my TBR a while back, but I’ve still not got around to it, since my TBR is huge and ever expanding. It does sound really good though, it’s about a sisterly rivalry which is definitely up my street.

9. A Blade So Black-LL McKinney

This one sounds really great, it’s an Alice in Wonderland retelling with a Black Alice. I’ve not been able to find this one in the UK so far and I’m trying not to buy my books from Amazon, so I’ll just have to see where I can get this from.

10. A Promised Land-Barack Obama

I got Barack Obama’s latest memoir for Christmas and wow is it a hefty tome! I will probably be dipping in and out of this one throughout the year rather than reading it in one chunk as it’s easier to do that with a non-fiction book.

So there we go, those are some of the books by Black Authors that are currently on my TBR. Do we share any? Have you read any of these (of the ones that are already published)? Are you excited for any? Let me know in the comments!

Next week’s topic is Characters Whose Job I Wish I Had, and honestly I was going to try and do books where the main characters are journalists, but it turns out those are fairly few and I haven’t read most of them. This will be a tricky one to do, since I read mostly YA, but I will I give it a go!

#RockMyTBR January Update (2021)

Hi everyone! I hope you’ve all been doing okay over the past month with the continuing lockdown (if like me, you are in a country that is currently under lockdown). This post is a little later than it would normally be, considering that we only have a week and a half of February left but I was very busy with a job application at the beginning of the month, so I didn’t have all my reviews lined up until last week. Having a lot to do has definitely helped me with this lockdown, between blogging, my intensive Spanish course, applying for jobs and beta-reading for my friend, it helps the time pass quicker.

If you’re new to my blog and haven’t seen one of these posts before, #RockMyTBR is a challenge originated by Sarah K at The YA Book Traveler, it’s fairly straightforward, you pick a list of backlist books from your TBR (books not published in the year you’re reading them) and read them over the course of a year. I always do 12 books, one for a each month, and then every month I post an update of all the books I’ve been reading. This year is my fifth year doing it, and it’s always so much fun! In January I read 2 books, which wasn’t as many as I would have liked, but hey, it’s only the beginning of the year! I didn’t actually finish my January #RockMyTBR book as ACOWAR is super long, so these will just be my regular reads:

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Seasons of War (Skulduggery Pleasant #13) by Derek Landy:

This one was a hangover from last year as I didn’t manage to finish it in December, so I continued it on into January. I was really excited for this one but it was kind of a let down, it was very messy in terms of all the plot threads, it was longer than it needed to be and it was fairly slow paced. However, Valkyrie’s mental health journey and the focus on that was golden, MORE FOCUS ON THE MENTAL HEALTH IMPACTS OF SAVING THE WORLD IN FANTASY BOOKS PLEASE. I read this one from 10th November-9th January. Here is my review of it:

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The Midnight Library-Matt Haig

This was my audiobook read for January (though I actually started it in December). I found this one a little underwhelming compared to the hype, I thought Carey Mulligan did a great job narrating it, but it was a fairly slow read considering how short the audiobook was and I felt like the mechanics of The Midnight Library and the characters were underdeveloped. I read this one from 18th December-31st January. Here is my review of it:

So those were my January reads, this is what I’ve been reading in February (since I can’t really say planning to read 10 days before the end of the February!):

The Silvered Serpents (The Gilded Wolves #2)-Roshani Chokshi

This is my #RockMyTBR book for February. I’m about halfway through this one, it was a bit of a slow starter, but I’ve really got into it now, I’m really looking forward to seeing how this book ends. I love these characters so much!

The Mask Falling (The Bone Season #4)-Samantha Shannon

My current Netgalley read, which I’m also around halfway through. This was another slow starter but things are really getting exciting now and there have been so many HUGE reveals already.

Lore-Alexandra Bracken

My current audiobook read, I’m not very far through it yet, but it seems intriguing so far. It’s my first Alexandra Bracken book and I reckon I will probably be reading more after this one.

A slightly smaller TBR than I’ve had in previous months but since I seem to have been reading a bit slower over January and February, it made sense. How are everyone’s Goodreads Challenges going so far? Did you read any good books in January? What have you been reading so far in February? Let me know in the comments how you guys have been getting on!

Top Ten Tuesday #303

Hi everyone! I hope you’ve all had a good week this past week, as always, mine has been very quiet as is usual for life under lockdown. So today is apparently Mardi Gras, which we don’t really do in the UK, the day before Lent in the UK is Shrove Tuesday, or Pancake Day depending on whether you observe the religious aspects or not, we don’t in our family, but we do still eat pancakes because let’s face it, any excuse to eat pancakes!

Anyway, with that in mind, today’s Top Ten Tuesday, courtesy of Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl, is Mardi Gras themed, so we’re sharing Books With Purple, Yellow and Green Covers, the colours of Mardi Gras. I actually thought this one would be more tricky than it was, but it turns out there are a lot of books with these colour covers. As with my Valentine’s Cover topic last week, these covers won’t necessarily have all three colours on them, but they will have at least one:

  1. The Kingdom of Copper (Daevabad Trilogy #2)-SA Chakraborty
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I love the covers for this series so much, honestly I could have used The Empire of Gold as well because it has a purple cover, but I decided to stick to just one from this series. This series has the most gorgeous covers and I highly recommend the series as well, it was one of my favourites from last year.

2. The Gilded Wolves (The Gilded Wolves #1)-Roshani Chokshi


This series also has some of the most gorgeous covers, I cannot wait till The Bronzed Beasts comes out and I can see all three of the covers together. Anyway, I love everything about this cover, the green, the purple and the gold work so well together and the leaves and flowers are really fitting as one of the characters is a botanist and gardens play quite a big role in the story.

3. Into The Crooked Place (Into The Crooked Place #1)-Alexandra Christo

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I love the dark purple colour of this one, purple is one of my favourite colours anyway, and this is a really pretty shade. The black and the silver also look really good on this background, and I love the silvery spirals. This book is also really great, I loved the group dynamics, and it had lots of great twists and turns, I can’t wait to read the sequel when it comes out next month as it left off on a serious cliffhanger!

4. The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes (The Hunger Games #0)-Suzanne Collins

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Honestly everything about this book was a let down. The cover itself is pretty ugly, and the story itself was slow and kind of boring. However it does have a yellow and green cover, so it fits the topic!

5. Hamilton and Peggy!: A Revolutionary Friendship-LM Elliott


So it’s kind of a turquoise-y cover rather than pure green, but I figured it still counted, plus it also has yellow on it! I really enjoyed this book, I learned a lot about Peggy that I didn’t really know, since Hamilton kind of reduces her down to “And Peggy!” but in real life she was so much more than that. I love the little cameo of Hamilton at the top, the nod to the 18th century setting, and the colours match really well.

6. Daughter of The Burning City-Amanda Foody

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I think this is my favourite of Amanda Foody’s covers, I love the colours, that shade of purple is so nice and I love the way the stripes in the background kind of look like a circus tent. It’s a really cool story as well, it’s basically a circus murder mystery but the murder victims are illusions, who aren’t supposed to be able to die!

7. Rebel of The Sands (Rebel of The Sands #1)-Alwyn Hamilton

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I love this cover so much! The colours are gorgeous (and I’m not usually a fan of either green or yellow but these are really nice shades), the way that it resembles a night sky is so nice and I love the little black silhouettes. I highly recommend this book, it’s a fun, fast paced story and the main character Amani is great. I could have used the second book in the series for this one too as it has a purple cover, but since I used it for my purple covers topic, I decided not to.

8. Kingdom of Ash (Throne of Glass #7)-Sarah J Maas


I generally like the UK Throne of Glass covers, but I was definitely a bit jealous of this US cover for the final book, it’s so vivid, it really looks like the background is flames, and you don’t get the same effect with the UK cover as the background is white. I did generally enjoy the final Throne of Glass book, but there’s no denying that it did NOT NEED TO BE OVER 900 PAGES.

9. This Poison Heart-Kalynn Bayron

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This one comes out in July, and I’m super excited for it, because I loved Cinderella Is Dead last year and this one sounds just as good. It also has all three colours of this week’s theme, the background is green, there’s yellow writing, and Bri has purple flowers in her hair. Whoever designed this cover did a really great job, I love the nature theme, and it’s such a bright and colourful cover!

10. Forest of A Thousand Lanterns (Rise of The Empress #1)-Julie C.Dao


Look it’s the YA Book Snake! I have to admit, this isn’t my favourite cover, I like the green background, but the flower and the snake definitely seem like stock photos which is not my favourite cover trend. I actually prefer the US paperback, which is a more illustrated cover. Still, it does fit the theme, with the green and the yellow on the cover.

So there we go, those are my Purple, Yellow and Green covers for Mardi Gras! Have you read any of these? Are any on your TBR? Let me know in the comments!

Next week’s topic was meant to be Books That Make Us Laugh Out Loud, but I’ve decided to go a little off course and instead talk about Books By Black Authors On My TBR, Leah from Leah’s Books topic last week reminded me that we haven’t ever really done a topic for Black History Month before, so I wanted to take the chance to talk about all of the great Black authored books that I’m excited to read.

Jo Talks Books: On My Favourite Authors I’ve Discovered Whilst Blogging (7th Blogaversary post!)

Hi all! So yesterday was my seven year blog anniversary, which is honestly quite incredible to me. I started this blog as a seventeen year old in Lower Sixth to help me get into University and honestly I didn’t really expect it to last much beyond a year, let alone to still be doing it at 24! As always, I want to thank everyone who has followed me, or viewed my posts over the past seven years, I really appreciate you guys and all the support you’ve given me.

So I thought for this year’s blogaversary post, it would be fun to talk about my favourite books and authors that I’ve discovered whilst I’ve been a blogger, as in the past seven years, I’ve found so many amazing books and authors through the blogging community, it’s my favourite part of blogging and I wanted to celebrate that today!

I’ve reviewed quite a lot of really big authors since I started blogging, but not all of them have been ones that I’ve found directly through my blog. For example, Sarah J Maas. Throne of Glass and Crown of Midnight were two of the earliest books I reviewed for this blog in March of 2014, and I hadn’t actually heard of her when I picked up her books! I ended up picking up Throne of Glass and Crown of Midnight as part of a 3 for 2 offer in Waterstones, had no idea what they were about, I just needed to make up the offer and they sounded good and she’s ended up becoming one of my favourite authors. Surprise favourites have been one of the things that I’ve missed since I started blogging, as now I’ve usually heard of most of the books I pick up, so it was nice to have Sarah’s books be a surprise discovery to start my blogging career.

Another really great surprise who ended up becoming a favourite author was Neal Shusterman. I only picked up Unwind because it was recommended on Amazon when I was buying something else and it sounded just strange enough to be up my street, so again, in my early days of blogging, I picked it up. If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you’ll know how much I loved the Unwind series, it’s such a weird, unique dystopia and it led me to many of Shusterman’s other books, which I’ve also enjoyed. I know we all rag on Amazon (and rightly so) but it does occasionally do some things right!

Then we have the authors that the blogging community themselves led me to. The most notable of these is probably VE Schwab, who yes, I know you have all heard me go on and on (and on) about over the past five years, but I really couldn’t do a post talking about my favourite authors I’ve discovered whilst blogging without mentioning her. VE Schwab was one of those authors who came up a lot in Top Ten Tuesdays and everyone was talking about A Darker Shade of Magic so much in 2016 that I just had to try it and see what all the fuss was about. Of course I loved it and have proceeded to devour almost all of her back catalogue plus new releases in the last few years. Getting into VE Schwab’s books also had another unexpected benefit for me, after largely writing fanfiction, news articles or blog posts for several years, I got back into fiction writing the same year that I read A Darker Shade of Magic, largely because it reminded me of why I wanted to be an author in the first place, to write stories that would transport people to another world.

Leigh Bardugo also fits into this category. Since I started blogging just before Six of Crows came out, and joined Top Ten Tuesdays in 2015, Leigh Bardugo was everywhere when I first started blogging and naturally because I’m curious, I wanted to read the book that everyone seemed to be talking about. But since I am me, of course I bought it in 2015 and then proceeded not to read it until 2017 because I am the queen of procrastination! However it was worth it in the end because I ended up loving Six of Crows and went on to devour all of Leigh’s other Grishaverse books. I still kick myself that I didn’t take my friend Nicola up on the offer to go to one of her events in 2016 because I’ve yet to actually be able to meet her in person!

I’ve also discovered a lot of great authors I’ve loved through blogging because of my use of Netgalley. Netgalley can be great for getting to read new releases by your favourite authors early (which I have also used it for) but because it’s free, I’ve also taken chances on authors that I’ve not necessarily heard of before and ended up finding ones I’ve really loved because of it. One of the best examples of these for me is Amanda Foody. I was approved for her book Ace of Shades on Netgalley (I was actually approved for Daughter of The Burning City as well, but it ended up being archived before I could download it) and was on her street team for promoting that book as well. Since reading it, I’ve read all of her other released books and am impatiently waiting for her next on but without blogging, I probably never would have read her books! Tara Sim is another author whose books I love but I never would have read without Netgalley, I requested Timekeeper on a whim in 2016, loved it and ended up devouring the whole series. Her books aren’t available in the UK, so without Netgalley (and blogging) I never would have known about her books!

The final way I’ve discovered books through blogging is YALC. Now you don’t have to be a blogger to go to YALC, but I probably never would have found out about it if it wasn’t for Book Twitter as I just wasn’t as tuned into things from the YA book community before I became a blogger. Several authors I really love I’ve found through YALC: one is Alwyn Hamilton, who Hannah and I met at our first year of YALC. She was doing a lucky dip to win manuscripts of Rebel of The Sands (which was as of then yet to be released) and though we didn’t win, we remembered the book and I ended up buying it and loving it! Hannah bought it at YALC the following year, and every year since then we’ve had our picture with Alwyn, she’s so lovely and she always remembers us (it does help that we go together every year!). Another was Laura Steven, in 2017, Hannah was desperate to pick up all the ARCs possible, of which Laura’s was one, which worked out really well for me as I ended up loving her book and we’ve since met her at YALC in 2019.

Then there was Stephanie Garber, I was desperate to win an ARC of Caraval at YALC in 2016, but was thwarted by my lack of throwing skill. Still I ended up requesting Caraval on Netgalley and loving it so it wasn’t a total waste. Alexandra Christo was another author I love whose book I got at YALC, I had heard of To Kill A Kingdom before and even requested it from Netgalley but that was another one that got archived before I downloaded it, so I finally bought and read her book because of going to YALC.

I’ve also been really lucky to get to meet a lot of my favourite authors since I started blogging, now of course you don’t need to be a blogger to go to book events, but I’ve definitely been more aware of author events since I started blogging (and using Book Twitter), which has meant I’ve been able to go to some really cool events over the past few years. There are also some events that I’ve been able to go to specifically because I’ve been a blogger, like Headline’s New Voices’ events, a Hot Key bloggers’ brunch and a HQ showcase event in London last year. Obviously we can’t go to in person events right now because of the pandemic and whilst I’ve attended some really cool virtual talks over lockdown, I’m definitely looking forward to book events starting back up again.

So those are just some of the authors that I’ve discovered whilst I’ve been blogging. Obviously I wasn’t able to include all of the authors that I’ve found in seven years of blogging, as there are so many of them, but this should have given you guys a pretty good picture. Who are your favourite authors that you’ve found whilst blogging? How long have you been blogging for? Let me know in the comments!

I’m not sure what my Jo Talks post for next month will be, so I guess you’ll find out when I post it. In the meantime, I’ll have another Top Ten Tuesday post for you guys on Tuesday.

The Midnight Library Review (Audiobook)

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Book: The Midnight Library

Author: Matt Haig

Narrator: Carey Mulligan

BECHDEL TEST: Uncertain, honestly I didn’t keep track!

Content Warnings: Suicide attempt, depression, death of an animal, death of parents, death of a friend, anxiety, panic attacks, alcoholism, mentions of cancer, grief, self-harm, mentions of death by overdose, infidelity

The Midnight Library is one of those books that was seemingly everywhere in the second half of last year. I became aware of it after Matt Haig was on Jameela Jamil’s I Weigh podcast and was really drawn in by the concept of a library that contained all the different options for paths your life could have taken. In the end though, this was slightly overhyped for me, it was a nice enough book but nothing ground-breaking, it was kind of slow in places and I found the ending a real let down. Here is a short synopsis of the book:

‘Between life and death there is a library, and within that library, the shelves go on forever. Every book provides a chance to try another life you could have lived. To see how things would be if you had made other choices… Would you have done anything different, if you had the chance to undo your regrets?’

A dazzling novel about all the choices that go into a life well lived, from the internationally bestselling author of Reasons to Stay Alive and How To Stop Time.

Somewhere out beyond the edge of the universe there is a library that contains an infinite number of books, each one the story of another reality. One tells the story of your life as it is, along with another book for the other life you could have lived if you had made a different choice at any point in your life. While we all wonder how our lives might have been, what if you had the chance to go to the library and see for yourself? Would any of these other lives truly be better?

In The Midnight Library, Matt Haig’s enchanting novel, Nora Seed finds herself faced with this decision. Faced with the possibility of changing her life for a new one, following a different career, undoing old breakups, realizing her dreams of becoming a glaciologist; she must search within herself as she travels through the Midnight Library to decide what is truly fulfilling in life, and what makes it worth living in the first place.

My main issue with this book was our perennial friend, PACING. This book is relatively short, and has short chapters for the most part which usually works well for me, but because it’s a very introspective type of story, it takes a while to get going and there are definitely places where it lags. Weirdly, it actually felt longer than it needed to be, even though it was only a nine hour audiobook! I think if Haig had chosen less lives to explore for Nora but explored them in more detail, that would have helped with that, at times it felt like he was just trying to fit as many lives as possible into the book. I will admit that part of this is probably a me issue though as super introspective novels are not usually my thing!

On the upside, Carey Mulligan’s narration was really great, she has a lovely soothing voice and it was very easy to listen to her.

The library was also super cool! Yes, it’s more of a metaphorical representation of the multiverse than an actual library, but the idea was definitely really cool and I think my “Midnight Library” would definitely be a library or a bookstore (not that it’s appealing to go there since you would have to be dying!).

The chapter names were really great, I love it when authors name their chapters and one of them was “Why Would You Want Any Other Universe When This One Has Dogs?” to which I heartily concur.

I will admit, it’s super unrealistic for Nora to be super successful in all her lives? Like just because she followed through with music, swimming or being a glaciologist, doesn’t mean she would have been super successful at everything. I mean I get the point of The Midnight Library is to allow her to live out her dream lives, but it just felt like A LOT that she would be that successful at everything she did.

I had some issues with the actually working of the Midnight Library. For one thing, Nora doesn’t remember anything about the life that she’s entering, she’s basically taking the place of the version of her that had already been living the life. So this brought up a few issues for me: firstly, of course Nora isn’t going to be satisfied with a life she feels like an imposter in. So it’s not really giving her a fair shot at deciding whether a life is for her when she has to spend most of her time in a life finding out about what she was like in that life: I feel that if Nora had gone into her lives with the same knowledge and experiences of the version of herself who lived that life then the outcome would have been very different. It was weird to me that it took Nora so long to realise that her lack of knowledge going into a life was the reason why she was dissatisfied with all of them. I do appreciate that finding a new life wasn’t shown to be a cure for Nora’s depression, but I think it would be a lot more interesting if Nora had actually had the knowledge she needed about her other lives and still found them dissatisfying.

To that end, I also wish you found out what happened to the version of Nora who lived the lives she entered? Like does she just get pushed aside while you take over? What happens if you decide to stay in that life, does the version of you who was already there cease to exist? What happens to you in your root life if you decide to go to another life? There’s a lot of mechanics of the Midnight Library that aren’t really explored and as a world building nerd, I would have liked it if they had been!

Matt Haig’s writing was nice enough, though there were definitely times when it felt a little overly preachy and sentimental but generally it was nice enough to listen to.

I will admit, the characterisation in this was a bit flat. All the other characters around Nora are barely fleshed out and even Nora could have done with a little more development, she felt fairly flat like she was kind of just meant to be a blank slate for the reader to impose themselves on to rather than feeling like a developed, nuanced person.

It does get very repetitive, Nora tries out a life, isn’t satisfied, rinse, repeat. I mean that is one of the pitfalls of this kind of story, but as I said earlier in the review, I think this definitely could have been solved if she hadn’t tried out as many lives.

I wish she’d spent a bit more time with Hugo, or met some other sliders in the course of her book, because I felt like that plot thread kind of got dropped which was a shame as I thought it would be really cool to hear about what other people’s “Midnight Libraries” were like.

I did find it kind of annoying that the life she found the most fulfilment in had to be the one where she was a mother. Of course there’s nothing wrong in finding fulfilment in motherhood but it’s just the most common story pushed in media for women, and it would have been nice if this book hadn’t leaned into that.

The ending, UGH THE ENDING. It was so predictable and far too sickly sweet and easily wrapped up. I can’t really say more about it for spoilery reasons, but I actually would have been more surprised if he had gone for a different ending that perhaps might seem more expected. I mean I do get what Haig was trying to go for with the ending, but it just didn’t really work for me.

Overall, this was a decent read, but I think the hype got to me, as I found it kind of slow and wished that the mechanics of the Midnight Library, and the characters had been more developed.

My Rating: 3.5/5

My next review will be of my February #RockMyTBR read, The Silvered Serpents (sequel to The Gilded Wolves) by Roshani Chokshi

Top Ten Tuesday #302

Hi everyone! I hope you’ve all had a good week since I last did one of these, as with last week, I’ll be spending this week working on more job applications as usual.

Anyway, as it’s Tuesday, I’ve got another Top Ten Tuesday for you all courtesy of Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl. Obviously Valentine’s Day is this Sunday (as usual, I am doing nothing!) so we’ve got a Love Freebie for this week. I’ve decided to do a cover themed post this week as you guys always seem to really like those, so I’ll be sharing my favourite Red, White and Pink covers in honour of Valentines Day. As with the Red, White and Blue cover topic we did, these books won’t necessarily have all three colours on their cover but they will all have at least one:

  1. The Silvered Serpents (The Gilded Wolves #2)-Roshani Chokshi

This is my current read and I still can’t get over how gorgeous this cover is. White and red always look so great together and I love how much this cover embraces the wintery setting of the book (it’s set in Russia).

2. Ruin and Rising (Shadow and Bone #3)-Leigh Bardugo


Another red and white one, I have to admit, I actually prefer the redesigned covers to the originals ones but this one fitted the theme better. I do love the red colour, but I’m not massively in love with the illustration?

3. Girl, Serpent, Thorn-Melissa Bashardoust

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The YA book snake makes a return appearance! In all seriousness though, I really do love this cover, the white and the pink are really complimentary and I think they did something very visually intriguing with the flowers and the thorns wrapped within the snake.

4. Alex and Eliza-Melissa De La Cruz

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I really didn’t like this book, it’s very historically inaccurate and it’s just a slow and rather dull book. However, the cover does fit the prompt as it is pink.

5. A Thousand Perfect Notes-CG Drews


We have a little bit of all three on this cover, some red, some white and some pink. I love this cover, I think the butterfly wing is a really gorgeous and cool design and I love the simplicity of it as well.

6. Ace of Shades (The Shadow Game #1)-Amanda Foody

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I couldn’t not include this one in a red and white covers list! I really love what they did with these covers, the way they integrated the card suites into the background of the cover in particular I think is really cool.

7. Finale-Stephanie Garber

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The UK hardback covers for the Caraval trilogy are so gorgeous, it makes me so mad how dirty they did the paperback covers! I will admit, I did like the Fairyloot exclusive cover better (and did slightly kick myself for agreeing that my friend could have it when we split the cost of the special edition box as I’d already bought the original edition) but this cover has grown on me.

8. Under Rose Tainted Skies-Louise Gornall

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I couldn’t not have this cover on this list, given that it is bright pink! Very sadly, Louise Gornall died of cancer last year, and this was her only book, but it’s one of the most touching books about mental health that I’ve ever read, so I highly recommend it.

9. Everless-Sara Holland

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The US cover for this one is a little more dramatic, but I actually really like the minimalist approach that they took with the UK cover and I love the hourglass, it’s not a design that you usually see on book covers. Plus obviously the red and white works great for my purposes here!

10. Reign of The Fallen-Sarah Glenn Marsh


The combination of the light pink and the skull is definitely unexpected, usually skulls on covers tend to be on darker backgrounds but I think it works really well!

11. Heartless-Marissa Meyer

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I really loved this origin story of the Queen of Hearts from Alice in Wonderland and I think the UK cover is so much prettier than the US one. I particularly loved the way the queen’s face in this forms the shape of a heart!

12. The Mime Order (The Bone Season #2)-Samantha Shannon


I’m so glad they decided to revert back to the original covers for this series because they’re so pretty, I hated the redesign (though now I have one awkward redesigned cover, but that’s neither here nor there). I love the red of this cover, it’s so vibrant, and the little moth details (Paige’s syndicate name is The Black Moth) are really cool as well.

13. A Darker Shade of Magic-VE Schwab

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I couldn’t do this topic without featuring at least one VE Schwab book, since red, white and black are pretty much her default colour scheme at this point! The Shades of Magic books also work really well for this topic anyway, since Red and White London are two of the Londons in this book.

14. The Scorpio Races-Maggie Stiefvater


I have to admit that 99% of the reason that I picked up The Scorpio Races in the first place was the cover, it really is just so gorgeous (and this UK cover is still my favourite). In terms of the content, I definitely preferred The Raven Boys to this one, but it was still a fun read.

I know I went super over this week, but it turns out there are a lot of really lovely red, white and pink covers, so I wanted to share as many as I could with you! Do you like any of these covers? Have you read any of these books? What is your favourite red, white or pink cover? Let me know in the comments!

So next week is another cover topic, we’ll be sharing Purple, Green and Yellow Covers in honour of Mardi Gras, which I’m really looking forward to as I love doing cover posts!

Top Ten Tuesday #301

Hi everyone! I hope you’ve all had a good week since I last did one of these, mine has been fairly quiet, I’m working on a job application this week, so that’s probably going to take up most of my time.

Anyway, it’s Tuesday, so it’s time for another Top Ten Tuesday, courtesy of Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl. This week we’re talking about Books Written Before I Was Born, so for me that’s anything that was published 26 years ago or earlier (I’m 24, turning 25 this year). I’ve chosen to go for all books I’ve read (we could have done books on our TBR as well) and these are in order of publication date, so no particular indicator of how much I liked the book:

  1. What Katy Did-Susan Coolidge-First Published 1872

This was actually one of my Mum’s favourites when she was younger and both me and my sister read it too (my sister is actually also called Katy, though I don’t think this book had anything to do with that!). Katy gets up to all sorts of mischief and I remember this book being a lot of fun to read.

2. Black Beauty-Anna Sewell-First Published 1877

Black Beauty is one of only a handful of classic books that I actually really liked, I’m usually not a fan! Of course, the fact that it’s about horses certainly helped but it’s also just a really beautiful and emotional story. If you’re going to watch one of the many film versions, I recommend the 1994 one, the horses are beautiful and it’s really well done.

3. Ballet Shoes-Noel Streatfeild-First Published 1936

For someone who was terrible at dancing, I really did enjoy dance books when I was younger! The sister relationship was definitely my favourite thing about this book, I think that reading about Pauline, Petrova and Posy when I was younger was the start of me loving the “found family” trope!

4. The Enchanted Wood-Enid Blyton-First Published 1939

Okay, I am very aware that Enid Blyton was pretty awful (apparently growing up means learning that all of the authors you liked when you were a kid were horrible people, but the Faraway Tree books, starting with The Enchanted Wood were really my start into fantasy. I loved being able to visit different lands with Jo, Bessie and Fanny (yes, her name has had to be changed in current editions of the book!) and meeting all of the magical creatures who lived in the Faraway Tree. It was always exciting to see whether they’d end up in a fun land (the Land of Birthdays for instance) or a bad one like The Land of Dame Slap.

5. Charlotte’s Web-EB White-First Published 1952

I maintain that Charlotte will remain the only spider I will ever like, and that’s only because she’s fictional. I feel like Charlotte’s Web is one of those that many generations share as a childhood classic? Anyway, it’s a really lovely, if a very sad story about the unlikely friendship between a pig and a spider and it’s one of the first books I can remember being completely devastated by the ending!

6. Flambards-KM Peyton-First Published 1967

When I was younger I was completely obsessed with horse stories (I still love and ride horses now, but horse books don’t tend to be aimed toward 24 year olds so I read less of them!) and Flambards was one of my favourites. It’s been a long time since I read it so I can’t really remember the details but I remember really liking Christina, really liking the horses and enjoying the development of the relationship between Christina and Will.

7. Matilda-Roald Dahl-First Published 1988

Roald Dahl is another of those authors I loved when I was younger that I now know was a pretty awful person. Matilda did mean a lot to me when I was a kid though, it’s one of the first books I remember reading with a main character who really loved books, so obviously I strongly related to her. It’s such a fun read, and Miss Trunchbull remains one of my favourite villains to this day.

8. Good Omens-Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett-First Published 1990

I actually only read Good Omens last year! I didn’t really like the book that much, though I enjoyed the show, it was very much of its time and a lot of the humour relied on sexist, racist and homophobic stereotypes which wasn’t something I enjoyed.

9. Animal Ark-Lucy Daniels-First Published 1994

I was obsessed with Animal Ark when I was a kid, I loved animals so these stories about vet’s daughter Mandy Hope and her animal saving exploits were right up my street. They were really short and there were a lot of them published, there were 12 published before I was born alone, so you can imagine I read a lot of them!

10. Picture Perfect-Jodi Picoult-First Published 1995

This was one of Jodi Picoult’s earlier books, so the writing wasn’t as good, I tend to prefer her post 2000 publications than the books she published early in her career. However, this is my favourite of her earlier published books, though it does rely on one of my least favourite tropes (amnesia), it’s a really interesting look into an abusive marriage.

So there we go, those are some books I’ve read that were published before I was born. How about you? Have you read any of these? Let me know in the comments!

Next week is our annual Valentines Day Freebie, which is always one of my least favourite topics as I’m not really a romance person, so I’m doing a topic that’s only tangentially related to Valentines Day and sharing my favourite Red, White and Pink Book Covers (similar to the Red, White and Blue covers post we did for 4th July a few years back). I realise this means I’m doing two cover related posts in a row as the topic for the week after is also a cover one, but you guys really seem to like cover posts, so I don’t think you’ll mind!

Jo Talks Books: On Year 3 Of My Bechdel Test Experiment

Hi everyone! I meant to do this post at the end of last year, but I just didn’t have time for it, so I moved it to the beginning of this year. This has become an annual thing since 2018 when I first started analysing the books I read to see if they passed the Bechdel Test, and I like to wrap up my thoughts at the end of each year to see if I can see any trends or patterns emerging in the books I read that passed. For anyone who may not have heard of the Bechdel Test, it’s a (admittedly flawed) test of female representation in media, usually used for films. The three criteria for passing the test are as follows: a) there have to be two or more female characters, b) who talk to each other & c) about something other than a man.

Last year I read 45 books, and of those, I analysed 38 of them. 7 were left out of my data, because for 4, I honestly just wasn’t able to keep track of incidences where they passed the Bechdel Test (most were audiobooks and for some reason I find those harder to analyse for passing material), one was a non-fiction and two I didn’t review because they were so short. This is slightly up on my 2019 stats, where analysed 34 books.

Of these, 34 passed the test and 4 failed. This is actually a significant downtick on 2019, where I had 11 books fail the test and it was the same the year before that, and significantly more books passed the test last year than have previously, 35 as compared to 22 in 2019. Now obviously, this year did also have books missing from the stats, and not every book I read in 2020 was released in 2020, so I can’t say with any real confidence that books are becoming more feminist, but it definitely is pleasing to see such a marked difference in the number of books that passed the test last year.

Once again, almost all the books I read last year were by female authors, which isn’t really a surprise, since I rarely read much by male authors, I read 3 books last year by male authors (one of which isn’t included in the stats). All but one of the books that passed the test were written by female authors, but of the books that failed, again, all but one were written by female authors. Honestly, I would need to read more books by male authors to get better data on whether their books are less likely to pass the test, but from the little I have read over the past few years, it doesn’t seem like male authors are any less likely to write books which pass the test than female authors (though again, do take this with a pinch of salt as we are talking about a very, very small pool of male authors that I’ve read here).

The issue of male narrated books not passing the test was actually less evident this year than it has been in previous years. Of the four books that failed, only one failed because it was from a male POV, the rest either had mixed casts or a female narrator, so that’s actually quite an interesting change from previous years as last year, three books suffered from this issue and in 2018 as well, so it was quite interesting to see this year that it wasn’t the case this year. I will admit, I do read books primarily with either female narrators or mixed casts (I read a lot of YA and they tend to either have female leads or a multiple narration with different genders) so that probably does skew my sample slightly, but it was still interesting to see that this issue wasn’t as prevalent this year as it has been.

In fact, two of the books that failed the test this year were quite interesting to me, because they really should have passed. Foul Is Fair, by Hannah Capin, presents itself as a feminist retelling of Macbeth, there are plenty of female characters, it would have been very easy for it to pass the test. In fact, her other book, Dead Queens Club, which I also read last year, passed the test easily and on multiple occasions. But Foul Is Fair, being entirely focused on a revenge plot against the boy who assaulted Jade, means that all of her discussions with her friends end up being focused around boys. Now obviously the Bechdel Test really isn’t a measure of how feminist a piece of work is, and I do think this book has some merit in that area, but it did stick out to me that a book like this about women reclaiming their power, didn’t pass the test? Like it would have been super straightforward for Jade and her friends to have one conversation about something other than guys, but nope. Didn’t happen.

The other was Capturing The Devil, the final book in Keri Maniscalco’s series. The series sets Audrey Rose up as this feminist heroine, so ahead of her time but the final book was so focused on her romance with Thomas that it was literally all she spoke about on the rare occasions that other women appeared in the book (this series definitely has an issue with Audrey being the only woman in the book a lot of the time!). It would have been really easy for the book to pass, if the author hadn’t been so focused on the romance, which derailed the rest of the plot.

I only had one book that failed this year because it only had one major named female character in it, and that was Good Omens. Being published in 1990 should not, and should never have been an excuse for not having more major female characters in your book! I have many, many issues with this book but the treatment of women is definitely one of the major ones. Still, it was really great to see only one book failing because of a lack of female characters in 2020 and I would love to see this stat be reduced to nothing this year.

Okay so onto the books that did pass the test, and there were lots of them last year! As usual though, there was a fair bit of variation in the amount of passing content featured in the books that did pass. Over three years of doing this, it’s fairly obvious (and tbh, it would have been before I started doing this), that the books that do best have multiple female characters, who interact frequently and place female relationships as something that is centrally important within the plot. For 2020, these were books like, Queen of Volts, which despite being a disappointing finale in other areas, definitely really highlighted its female characters and the relationships between them. The Lady’s Guide To Petticoats and Piracy was another great example, that book was all about Felicity and her relationships with other women and I actually really loved how Lee showed her growth in terms of examining her internalised misogyny and improving her relationships with other women, particularly Johanna. The Enigma Game was also a really great one for this, Louisa, Ellen and Jane (and a certain other character who shall not be mentioned for spoilery reasons), all have a really important part to play in the story and their friendships are definitely front and centre. I’ve already talked earlier about Dead Queens Club, so I won’t touch on it too much here, but that was another great one in terms of focus on female friendships.

However, where there are obvious passes, there were also of course, those that only just passed. Addie LaRue for instance, whilst Addie is not the only female character in the book, and one of her most important mentors (Estelle) is a woman, there are actually fairly few interactions between her and other women. This is a problem I’ve noticed a lot in VE Schwab’s books actually, as she tends to go for the “one main woman” trope a lot. Not Even Bones had a similar problem, Nita doesn’t really interact all that much with other women, most of her interactions in the book are with Kovit, so though it did pass, it was barely. Kingdom of The Wicked, much like Keri Maniscalco’s other books, had so much focus on romance that Emilia barely interacted with other women. The City of Brass also suffered with this quite a bit as Nahri didn’t seem to interact much with other women aside from Nisreen, though thankfully I would say this improved in the other two books in the trilogy.

I also wanted to talk about some of the books that passed that had problematic content in terms of their treatment of women. Because the test isn’t massively nuanced, it measures quantity of interactions over quality, this means that a piece of media can be problematic and still pass the Bechdel Test (see, Twilight). A notable example of this last year was Neal and Jarrod Shusterman’s Dry. It passes the Bechdel test due to a brief conversation between Alyssa and her friend Sofia about the water crisis.

However, the main male character Kelton acts in some pretty toxic ways throughout the book, acting like Alyssa is a prize to be won and he even admits to having spied on her at one point. There’s also a few instances of slut shaming and girls having to trade sex for water. So in terms of the way women are represented, and treated in the book, I would say it’s not actually great representation, even though the book ostensibly passes the test.

The City of Brass also suffered from a well worn trope, immortal who is distinctly abusive towards his human love interest. There were definitely moments in City of Brass where it felt like Dara was being abusive towards Nahri and on more than one occasion, even though again, that book ostensibly passed the Bechdel Test.

So that was my 2020 Bechdel test results! I thought it was quite interesting this year, because though a lot of the same issues from the last two years cropped up again, there were far less books that failed this year and the ones that did, didn’t necessarily fail due to lack of female characters but rather that their female characters plotlines were so focused around the men that their interactions revolved solely around that. Still, the fact that I read so many books that passed the test last year and so few that didn’t was very heartening!

I look forward to seeing how these results differ in 2021 and hope that the marked increase in books passing the test from last year is something that continues!

I’ll have another discussion posts for you next month, I’m hoping to do something for my blogiversary on the 13th, though I haven’t decided what that will be yet. In the meantime, I will have my usual Top Ten Tuesday post for you all on Tuesday.

Top Ten Tuesday #300

Hi everyone! I hope you had a good week since I last did one of these. I attended the virtual UK launch of The Mask Falling, the latest Bone Season book yesterday (the book is out today so if you’re a Bone Season fan, our time is now!) and it was a really fun event, I do miss in-person book events, but the virtual events I’ve been to so far have been really well run and the authors and moderators have done a great job.

Anyway, it’s Tuesday, so it’s time for another Top Ten Tuesday, courtesy of Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl. This week we’re talking about our Top Ten New To Me Authors We Discovered In 2020, which is always one of my favourite topics to share as I love raving about new authors I’ve come to love. It’s also a timely topic as it coincides with my 300th Top Ten Tuesday, so it’s nice to have a topic I like doing for this milestone post. So here we go, the new to me authors I discovered last year that I will be reading more from (as always, they are all women because I read basically no male authors these days):

  1. Roshani Chokshi

The Gilded Wolves was one of my favourite reads from last year, it was such a fun read and I’m super excited to read the sequel next month and also for the final book in the trilogy later this year. I really enjoyed Roshani Chokshi’s writing and especially her character dynamics, so I will definitely be checking out her work after The Gilded Wolves trilogy ends.

2. SA Chakraborty

I devoured the Daevabad trilogy last year, I loved SA Chakraborty’s lush, expansive worldbuilding and the characters she created in this world. I’m already super excited for her new series, the first book of which is set to publish next year, which sounds like a historical pirate heist, so basically everything I love in one book.

3. Holly Jackson

A Good Girl’s Guide To Murder is one of the best mysteries I’ve read in ages, so naturally Holly Jackson is an author I’m definitely going to be looking out for from now on. I’m super excited to read the sequel this year and apparently there’s going to be a third book as well, so lots more adventures for Pip and Ravi to come, which is great! I find it so hard to find mysteries that really impress me, so having found Holly Jackson, she’s definitely an author I’m going to be following well into the future.

4. Roseanne A. Brown

I really enjoyed Roseanne’s debut, A Song of Wraiths and Ruin last year and I’m super excited to read the sequel when it comes out later this year. She’s already a really great writer, so I’m looking forward to seeing how she grows through her career.

5. Madeline Miller

Circe was another of my favourite reads from last year, Madeline is such a beautiful writer and I love Greek mythology so much, so I’m definitely looking forward to reading more from her. The Song of Achilles is definitely near the top of the list of books I want to read, because I’ve heard so many good things about it!

6. Addie Thorley

I really enjoyed Night Spinner when I read it last year, it was such a creative fantasy, I loved the arctic setting, not one that’s really utilised very much in fantasy. I’m really excited to read the sequel, Sky Breaker and also to read her debut An Affair of Poisons because I love historical fantasy.

7. Laura Bates

Men Who Hate Women was my favourite book of last year, and with one of my goals for the year being to read more non-fiction, I can definitely see myself picking up more of Laura Bates’ books this year, starting with Everyday Sexism which I already have on my shelf.

8. Rebecca Schaeffer

Not Even Bones was a really exciting series starter, so I’m looking forward to read the rest of the Market of Monsters trilogy, I already have Only Ashes Remain, so hopefully I will get around to it at some point this year.

9. Susan Dennard

I read all of the Witchlands books last year, and I’m really looking forward to Witchshadow coming out in June. I really enjoy following Susan on Instagram, she always has great writing tips and talks a lot about craft and process which I really appreciate!

10. Kalynn Bayron

Cinderella is Dead was one of my favourite reads of last year, and I was really surprised because Cinderella is not one of my favourite fairytales, but I loved what Bayron did with it. I’m already excited for her 2021 release This Poison Heart, it has such a beautiful cover and I love the idea of the plant magic.

So there we go, those were my favourite new-to-me authors of 2020. All of these authors have books I’m really looking forward to reading either already out or coming out in the future, so I look forward to hopefully finding even more favourite books from them! Have you read any of these authors? Did you enjoy their books? Let me know in the comments!

I’ll be back next week with another Top Ten Tuesday, this time the topic is Books Written Before I Was Born, which should be a really interesting one, I’m intrigued to see how all of our lists differ, given the varying ages of bloggers in the book community!