Recent Reads | April - July 2021
This year just hit me like a brick, and I've been in some form of a reading slump for most of it, only managing to push through the books I want to review. I still wanted to make a recent reads to keep the blog updated on the books I read, but I do have full reviews for nearly all of the books mentioned here.
1) The Grisha Trilogy, Leigh Bardugo (Books #1 to #3)
I've wanted to read this series for years but once I read and loved Six of Crows so much, I was worried this would be a disappointment. However, I'd promised myself I wouldn't reread SoC until I'd read The Grisha trilogy and, with the then imminent release of the Netflix adaptation, I finally picked it up. If you want more in-depth thoughts, I not only reviewed the whole series but also how the TV show compared to it. I actually enjoyed this way more than I thought I would, seen as I had low expectations, to begin with. It was really entertaining, action-filled, and I overall really liked the characters. I already knew I loved Leigh Bardugo's writing and it was really interesting to read her debut knowing how much she's evolver as an author. I really only had a problem with the last book. Not only I though it was predictable but I also didn't really like the way things ended. I still think this is a classic in the book community for a valid reason, and if you've always been intrigued it's definitely worth the read. I strongly recommend the TV series though, one of my favourite ever book-to-screen adaptations.
2) The Bereft, J. J. Blacklocke (The Tradepoint Saga #3)
I've been reading and reviewing the books in the Tradepoint Saga since November last year when book one came out. In this series, we follow the Vennans as they journey to Tradepoint, a space station where different alien races can trade goods with one another. But on their first night there, Gredin, a young Vennan translator, receives a message from the Power that their world no longer exists and it's up to her to guide their entire community in search of their new home. I've thoroughly enjoyed this series, specifically the complexities of the different alien races, and this was an incredible conclusion to this story. You can read my full review of this book here, as well as my reviews of the first two. Thank you, J. J. Blacklocke for sending me the eARCs of The Tradepoint Saga in exchange for my honest review.
3) Six of Crows, Leigh Bardugo (Six of Crows #1)
Ah, the reread that's been in the making since I first read Six of Crows in January 2017. I'm so happy I finally got to reread this. It was somehow better than I remembered and it's just reinstalled itself as one of my favourite books of all time. I've yet to reread Crooked Kingdom (re. slump) but I'm just speechless every time I talk about this series. The amounts of twists and turns, the banter, the characters, the flawless writing. Everything is impeccable and I can see myself rereading this for the rest of my life. I loved getting to experience this story again and, although I remembered a lot of it, I loved being in this world again, with my favourite characters of all time. Honestly, if you have yet to read this book, PLEASE do. It's simply *chef's kiss*.
4) You and Me on Vacation, Emily Henry
Last year, everyone was talking about Emily Henry's Beach Read. And although I never picked it up, I was still intrigued enough by her newest release to request an ARC through NetGalley. You and Me on Vacation (or People We Meet in Vacation, if you're in the US) is a fluffy romance about two best friends who travel every Summer to a different and very exciting place. We follow what's probably going to be their last trip, that came unexpectedly after they stopped talking for two whole years. I really loved this but, as it tends to be the case with most romances, now that it's been a while I've already forgotten a lot about it (reading another travel-focused romance book in the same month also didn't help). It was a very quick and exciting read, and I loved the format of jumping back and forth between their current trip and all their previous ones. I also really loved the romance. My main issue was probably my biggest pet peeve with every romance novel, the conflict that stems from the most annoying kind of miscommunication and is there simply as a plot point. I'll link my full review right here if you want more thoughts, but I'm still interested in reading some more of Emily Henry in the future.
5) As You Like It, William Shakespeare
I read this for a "secret TBR" kind of post coming out hopefully at the beginning of September, so I won't say too much about it. This was my first Shakespeare comedy (I've only read Hamlet a few years ago and loved it), and it was okay? I enjoyed it but I must say I expected more. Not only because I loved his only other work I've read so much, but also because the main character, Rosalind, is probably his most loved female lead and I guess I just couldn't see why. As You Like It follows Rosalind as she flees persecution in her uncle's court, accompanied by her cousin Celia to find safety and, eventually, love. To escape, Rosalind disguises herself as a man, and I guess I just didn't find the humour particularly funny. I do want to read more of Shakespeare though, and it was a good enough place to start, but I have a feeling I might enjoy his tragedies a bit more. I do recommend listening to this on audiobook. I was listening and following along with the book and, in my opinion, it's the best way you could experience this. It was a recorded theatre production, with a full cast, and really entertaining.
6) The Lucky Escape, Laura Jane Williams
As I said, I read a second travel focused romance within a very short amount of time. As I listened to Our Stop by Laura Jane Williams last year and thoroughly enjoyed it, I also requested this ARC through NetGalley. In The Lucky Escape, Annie has just been left at the altar and, at the insistence of her would-be in-laws, decided to go on her fully payed luxurious honeymoon to Australia. Before going, she runs into an old friend, Patrick, and decided to invite him along on the trip. I absolutely loved this. It was a very cute romance, with great characters, and great writing. I do wish the travel portion of the book had lasted a bit longer, as it was my favourite. The only problem I had with it was that, once the character went back to England, they seemed to lose all of their development and became completely different people. Had this not happened, this would've become one of my favourite romances, and I highly recommend it if you want to go to sunny Australia, stay in incredibly luxurious hotels, but can't actually do it. If you want more in-depth thoughts, here's my full review.
7) Lost in the Never Woods, Aiden Thomas
I read Aiden Thomas' debut, Cemetery Boys, in October and it was my favourite book of 2020, so I was really excited about his newest release. Lost in the Never Woods is a dark reimagining of Peter Pan, following Wendy Darling, five years after she went missing in the woods with her brothers but she was the only one to come back. I'm sad to say I didn't love this one as much as I'd hoped. It was very entertaining and I loved the writing, I just found the plot twists a bit too predictable and wasn't really wowed by any of them. I guess my expectations were just a bit too high and, because I didn't fully connect to the characters, it was just an okay read for me. Really enjoyed it, but not as much as I'd anticipated.
8) The Atlas Six, Olivie Blake (The Atlas #1)
Now, this was my biggest surprise of the year and I absolutely loved it. I've been calling it "the TikTok book" because that's where I first saw the buzz about it and it's just been taking the bookish world by storm. The Atlas Six is a fantastical dark academia story (my favourite kind) about the Alexandrian Society, the world's largest caretakers of lost magical and academic knowledge. Every decade, they select the six best and most unique magicians to undergo training in order to become part of the society, but not all of them might make the cut. It hooked me from the very start and it was exactly what I wanted it to be. The characters were all so unique and the best kind of unlikeable. I honestly haven't been able to think about anything other than this book and I'm highly anticipating the release of The Atlas Paradox next year. It combined a magical school setting, with a competition, secret societies, and imminent murder. It was full of twists, kept me at the edge of my seat, and I have a feeling it took me out of my reading slump, it was that good. I don't like to believe TikTok, but they knew what they were talking about with this one.
I'm very happy that I'm slowly getting out of my slump (at least that's what it feels like). I'm trying to focus a lot on reading books I know I'll enjoy and maybe postponing some reviews/other projects so I don't bring my slump back. Let me know what's your favourite book you've read recently!