First Lines Friday- 23 July 2021

First Lines Friday is a weekly feature for book lovers hosted by Wandering Words. What if instead of judging a book by its cover, its author or its prestige, we judged it by its opening lines?

This week’s First Lines Friday book is a 2021 debut recently released in June!

First Lines


“Myrra smashed a roach with her bare hand as it crawled along the wall, then recited a small eulogy for the deceased in her head. Perpetual survivors, the roaches had managed to sneak a ride on this world to the next, even when every other bit of cargo had been bleached and catalogued over a century ago. Myrra admired their pluck, but Imogene would hate the sight of an insect, and where there was one, there were always more.”


And the book is…….

The World Gives Way by Marissa Levien

Goodreads Synopsis: In fifty years, Myrra will be free. Until then, she’s a contract worker. Ever since she was five, her life and labor have belonged to the highest bidder on her contract–butchers, laundries, and now the powerful, secretive Carlyles. But when one night finds the Carlyles dead, Myrra is suddenly free a lot sooner than she anticipated–and at a cost she never could have imagined. Burdened with the Carlyles’ orphaned daughter and the terrible secret they died to escape, she runs. With time running out, Myrra must come face to face with the truth about her world–and embrace what’s left before it’s too late. A sweeping novel with a darkly glimmering heart, The World Gives Way is an unforgettable portrait of a world in freefall, and the fierce drive to live even at the end of it all.

Dystopian Sci-fi will always have a place in my TBR pile. This debut novel peaked my interest right away, and I’m very excited to give it a read! If the synopsis isn’t enough to grab your attention, the beautiful cover should help convince you to give this book a try.

Have you already read ‘The World Gives Way’? Let me know in the comments!

First Lines Friday- 18 June 2021

First Lines Friday is a weekly feature for book lovers hosted by Wandering Words. What if instead of judging a book by its cover, its author or its prestige, we judged it by its opening lines?

This week’s First Lines Friday book is a recent 2021 release, and a great read for Pride month!

First Lines


In the court of the imperial mahal, the pyre was being built. The fragrance of the gardens drifted in through the high windows – sweet roses, and even sweeter imperial needle-flower, pale and fragile, growing in such thick profusion that it poured in through the lattice, its white petals unfurled against the sandstone walls.


And the book is…….

The Jasmine Throne by Tasha Suri

Goodreads Synopsis: Author of Empire of Sand and Realm of Ash Tasha Suri’s The Jasmine Throne, beginning a new trilogy set in a world inspired by the history and epics of India, in which a captive princess and a maidservant in possession of forbidden magic become unlikely allies on a dark journey to save their empire from the princess’s traitor brother. Imprisoned by her dictator brother, Malini spends her days in isolation in the Hirana: an ancient temple that was once the source of the powerful, magical deathless waters — but is now little more than a decaying ruin. Priya is a maidservant, one among several who make the treacherous journey to the top of the Hirana every night to clean Malini’s chambers. She is happy to be an anonymous drudge, so long as it keeps anyone from guessing the dangerous secret she hides. But when Malini accidentally bears witness to Priya’s true nature, their destinies become irrevocably tangled. One is a vengeful princess seeking to depose her brother from his throne. The other is a priestess seeking to find her family. Together, they will change the fate of an empire. 

I was lucky enough to get a digital ARC of this book from Netgalley! I love a good fantasy trilogy, and if it features vengeful princesses and forbidden magic then all the better! I’m very excited to start reading this new book by Tasha Suri.

Have you already read ‘The Jasmine Throne’? Let me know in the comments!

Cant-Wait Wednesday: Ace of Spades by Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé

Can’t-Wait Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted at Wishful Endings, to spotlight and discuss the books we’re excited about that we have yet to read. Generally they’re books that have yet to be released. It’s based on Waiting on Wednesday, hosted by the fabulous Jill at Breaking the Spine.

This week’s Can’t-Wait Wednesday book is Ace of Spades by Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé!


Ace of Spades book cover

Synopsis: When two Niveus Private Academy students, Devon Richards and Chiamaka Adebayo, are selected to be part of the elite school’s senior class prefects, it looks like their year is off to an amazing start. After all, not only does it look great on college applications, but it officially puts each of them in the running for valedictorian, too. Shortly after the announcement is made, though, someone who goes by Aces begins using anonymous text messages to reveal secrets about the two of them that turn their lives upside down and threaten every aspect of their carefully planned futures. As Aces shows no sign of stopping, what seemed like a sick prank quickly turns into a dangerous game, with all the cards stacked against them. Can Devon and Chiamaka stop Aces before things become incredibly deadly? With heart-pounding suspense and relevant social commentary comes a high-octane thriller from debut author Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé.

About the author: Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé is a writer from South London who has dreamt of writing books about black kids saving (or destroying) the world all her life. She is an avid tea drinker, and a collector of strange mugs. Faridah currently studies English Literature at a university in the Scottish Highlands. Ace of Spades is her debut novel.

Books like Pretty Little Liars and Gossip Girl are initially intriguing as a concept, but for me they get stale pretty fast. Ace of Spades might just change my mind! A mystery thriller set in a private school with POC and LGBT representation? Sign me up! Ace of Spades is breathing life into a genre that was in dire need of some diversity. This debut novel is the perfect addition to Pride month releases, and I’m very excited to read it!

Ace of Spades is set to be released tomorrow, June 10th in the UK, and was released in the US already as of the 1st! Click here to order!

Review: The Witch’s Heart by Genevieve Gornichec

Goodreads Synopsis: When a banished witch falls in love with the legendary trickster Loki, she risks the wrath of the gods in this moving, subversive debut novel that reimagines Norse mythology. Angrboda’s story begins where most witches’ tales end: with a burning. A punishment from Odin for refusing to provide him with knowledge of the future, the fire leaves Angrboda injured and powerless, and she flees into the farthest reaches of a remote forest. There she is found by a man who reveals himself to be Loki, and her initial distrust of him transforms into a deep and abiding love. Their union produces three unusual children, each with a secret destiny, who Angrboda is keen to raise at the edge of the world, safely hidden from Odin’s all-seeing eye. But as Angrboda slowly recovers her prophetic powers, she learns that her blissful life—and possibly all of existence—is in danger. With help from the fierce huntress Skadi, with whom she shares a growing bond, Angrboda must choose whether she’ll accept the fate that she’s foreseen for her beloved family…or rise to remake their future. From the most ancient of tales this novel forges a story of love, loss, and hope for the modern age.

Genre: Fantasy, Retelling, Mythology, LGBT

Date of Publication: February 9th, 2021

Publisher: Ace Books

Length: 368 pages

My rating: 5/5

This book is heartbreak and yearning, but in a good way! I’ve been trying to think about how to describe this book for a while now, having finished it back in March. It’s like that comforting melancholy you feel when deliberately watching a sad movie just to feel sad for a while. Normally I finish good books quite quickly, because I’m so excited to see how they end. I ended up taking a bit longer to read The Witch’s Heart, because I didn’t want it to end. I wanted to savour it and stay with the characters just a little while longer.

I knew a passable amount of Norse Mythology going into this story, and of course Marvel has played a role in popularizing a few of the main Norse gods. The story of Angrboda is not one I was familiar with, although her children make it into the more commonly known stories. I like that her story is the main focus of this book, with the more popular Norse myths appearing in the sidelines. Genevieve Gornichec breathed life into Angrboda’s character, and it’s hard not to fall in love with her and the life she builds herself. Personally, I can relate to wanting to go off and live in a cave and avoid most of humanity.

The plot of the book is slower-paced, but very enjoyable. The complexity of the characters and the depth of the story mean it doesn’t need a million twists or non-stop action. The descriptions of the domesticity of Angrboda’s life are soothing. It reminded me of playing the farm simulator games like Stardew Valley, where you can relax in the simplicity of day to day. There is a decent amount of romance as well, but I would say that it’s a slower, comforting romance, very fitting with the pace of the book. I don’t mean to downplay the action in this book, there definitely is plenty. There is violence, drama, and questing, and plenty of Loki shenanigans, which is very on brand for Norse mythology.

I would say that The Witch’s Heart was one of the more highly anticipated (by me) books on my TBR list, and it more than delivered! It’s got such a wonderful vibe, it just wraps around you like a blanket and pulls you into the story. It’s the perfect choice on a day when you just want to curl up with a book and spend a whole afternoon reading. I highly recommend this book to any lovers of mythology retellings, or anyone who needs a good dose of heartache without actually getting their heart broken.

April Wrap-Up + Hiatus Announcement

April zipped by too quickly, and I have been pretty absent the last few weeks. I only finished one book, a non-fiction audiobook since my brain hasn’t been focused enough to absorb a fiction novel. As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I’m in the home stretch of growing my second human. I’ve been busy finishing up at my job, prepping for the new arrival, and sleeping (a lot), which is why I haven’t been posting as much lately. This will likely continue for the next couple months, as a newborn (based on previous experience) doesn’t give you much free time. I still plan on doing some reading, but I do want to focus on my family for a while and take time to rest and recover.

Posts should pick back up again hopefully by the summer, once I can get a new routine established and carve out some time for reading/writing.

Happy May everyone!

Books I read/listened to:

How Not to Die: Discover the Foods Scientifically Proven to Prevent and Reverse Disease by Michael Greger, M.D. I’m all for the plant-based diet, and despite the silly name, this is a very interesting read. Technically, I listened to the audiobook, narrated by Michael Greger himself. He had a very pleasant and engaging voice, and for a non-fiction it was quite entertaining. I will post a book review eventually, but if you’re interested in a book about nutrition that references a lot of scientific studies, I would definitely give this one a try!

The Blogger Recognition Award

I was nominated by itsKooReviews! I’ve followed their blog for a little while now and you should definitely check it out too, especially if you are a fan of romance or fantasy novels. A very big thank you to them for the nomination, it really made my day!

The Rules:

  • Thank the blogger/s who nominated you and provide a link to their blog.
  • Write a post to show your award.
  • Give a brief story of how your blog started.
  • Give two pieces of advice to new bloggers.
  • Select up to 15 other bloggers you want to give this award to.
  • Comment (or pingback) on each blog and let them know you have nominated them and provide the link to the post you created.

How My Blog Started

I started this blog back in November of 2020, almost half a year ago now! I realized I had hit a slump, and wanted to give myself some motivation to start reading again. I had never realized how big the book blogging community was, and it was exciting to join in and rediscover my passion once again!

Two Pieces of Advice for New Bloggers

Oh jeez, am I even qualified to give advice yet? I still feel like a new blogger! I guess two things that would be handy for new bloggers to consider when starting a book blog are:

Go into it for the right reasons. These reasons might be different for everyone, but you want to make sure that you are starting something you won’t get bored with weeks or months down the road. Blogging shouldn’t feel like work, it should (for the most part) be a fun and enjoyable experience you look forward to doing.

Find your niche. If you only enjoy reading fiction books, don’t try to review a whole stack of non-fiction. For one thing, it’ll probably feel like work, and who wants more of that? For another thing, if non-fiction isn’t your niche, then are you really the best person to be reviewing it? I’m not saying to avoid anything you aren’t sure to love, but if your blog is full of 2-star reviews or DNFs of books you wouldn’t have read willingly otherwise, are you actually having fun? At the end of the day, you should be enjoying this. So if that means you only review historical fiction, so what? And tastes change over time, maybe you’ll end up trying something new and discovering a new favourite author or genre, which is great!

Nominations!

  1. The Sassy Library Fox
  2. Fi’s Bibliofiles
  3. One Book More
  4. Bookish Brews
  5. Books are 42
  6. Curiouser and Curiouser
  7. Elspells
  8. Becca Kate Blogs
  9. The Book Lovers’ Sanctuary

Cant-Wait Wednesday: Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir

Can’t-Wait Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted at Wishful Endings, to spotlight and discuss the books we’re excited about that we have yet to read. Generally they’re books that have yet to be released. It’s based on Waiting on Wednesday, hosted by the fabulous Jill at Breaking the Spine.

This week’s Can’t-Wait Wednesday book is Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir!


Goodreads Synopsis: Ryland Grace is the sole survivor on a desperate, last-chance mission–and if he fails, humanity and the earth itself will perish. Except that right now, he doesn’t know that. He can’t even remember his own name, let alone the nature of his assignment or how to complete it. All he knows is that he’s been asleep for a very, very long time. And he’s just been awakened to find himself millions of miles from home, with nothing but two corpses for company. His crewmates dead, his memories fuzzily returning, he realizes that an impossible task now confronts him. Alone on this tiny ship that’s been cobbled together by every government and space agency on the planet and hurled into the depths of space, it’s up to him to conquer an extinction-level threat to our species. And thanks to an unexpected ally, he just might have a chance. Part scientific mystery, part dazzling interstellar journey, Project Hail Mary is a tale of discovery, speculation, and survival to rival The Martian–while taking us to places it never dreamed of going.

About the author: Andy Weir built a two-decade career as a software engineer until the success of his first published novel, The Martian, allowed him to live out his dream of writing full-time. He is a lifelong space nerd and a devoted hobbyist of such subjects as relativistic physics, orbital mechanics, and the history of manned spaceflight. He also mixes a mean cocktail. He lives in California.

I’m comfortable with science fiction, but outright ‘people in space’ books tend to make me a bit hesitant. Why? Because space scares the hell out of me. Like full blown anxiety, I do not yearn to be stuck in a tiny can and shot into a dark oxygen-less atmosphere, it’s the same reason I’ve never wanted to scuba dive either. But Andy Weir managed to seriously entertain me with The Martian, so I will give Project Hail Mary a chance for that alone. The way the main character was narrated felt so natural and often made me laugh out loud, so I’m hopeful that Project Hail Mary offsets the terror of space with some of that humour again.

Project Hail Mary will be released on May 4th, 2021! Click here to preorder now!

First Lines Friday- 9 April 2021

First Lines Fridays is a weekly feature for book lovers hosted by Wandering Words. What if instead of judging a book by its cover, its author or its prestige, we judged it by its opening lines?

This week’s First Lines Friday book is a 2018 release on my TBR pile that I am very excited to read, see if you can guess the book!

First Lines


““Take your clothes off.” Rin blinked. “What?” The proctor glanced up from his booklet. “Cheating prevention protocol.” He gestured across the room to a female proctor. “Go with her, if you must.” Rin crossed her arms tightly across her chest and walked toward the second proctor.”


And the book is…….

The Poppy War by R. F. Kuang!

Goodreads Synopsis: A brilliantly imaginative talent makes her exciting debut with this epic historical military fantasy, inspired by the bloody history of China’s twentieth century and filled with treachery and magic, in the tradition of Ken Liu’s Grace of Kings and N.K. Jemisin’s Inheritance Trilogy. When Rin aced the Keju—the Empire-wide test to find the most talented youth to learn at the Academies—it was a shock to everyone: to the test officials, who couldn’t believe a war orphan from Rooster Province could pass without cheating; to Rin’s guardians, who believed they’d finally be able to marry her off and further their criminal enterprise; and to Rin herself, who realized she was finally free of the servitude and despair that had made up her daily existence. That she got into Sinegard—the most elite military school in Nikan—was even more surprising. But surprises aren’t always good. Because being a dark-skinned peasant girl from the south is not an easy thing at Sinegard. Targeted from the outset by rival classmates for her color, poverty, and gender, Rin discovers she possesses a lethal, unearthly power—an aptitude for the nearly-mythical art of shamanism. Exploring the depths of her gift with the help of a seemingly insane teacher and psychoactive substances, Rin learns that gods long thought dead are very much alive—and that mastering control over those powers could mean more than just surviving school. For while the Nikara Empire is at peace, the Federation of Mugen still lurks across a narrow sea. The militarily advanced Federation occupied Nikan for decades after the First Poppy War, and only barely lost the continent in the Second. And while most of the people are complacent to go about their lives, a few are aware that a Third Poppy War is just a spark away . . .Rin’s shamanic powers may be the only way to save her people. But as she finds out more about the god that has chosen her, the vengeful Phoenix, she fears that winning the war may cost her humanity . . . and that it may already be too late.

The Poppy War was published back in 2018, and I have had it on my TBR pile for a while now. I plan to read the whole trilogy, hopefully a little later this year if I get the chance! I like to mix in some ‘older’ books with the newer releases I read, especially ones that I have heard such great things about!

Have you already read ‘The Poppy War’? Let me know in the comments!

Cant-Wait Wednesday: The Chosen and the Beautiful by Nghi Vo

Can’t-Wait Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted at Wishful Endings, to spotlight and discuss the books we’re excited about that we have yet to read. Generally they’re books that have yet to be released. It’s based on Waiting on Wednesday, hosted by the fabulous Jill at Breaking the Spine.

This week’s Can’t-Wait Wednesday book is The Chosen and the Beautiful by Nghi Vo!


Goodreads Synopsis: Immigrant. Socialite. Magician. Jordan Baker grows up in the most rarefied circles of 1920s American society―she has money, education, a killer golf handicap, and invitations to some of the most exclusive parties of the Jazz Age. She’s also queer, Asian, adopted, and treated as an exotic attraction by her peers, while the most important doors remain closed to her. But the world is full of wonders: infernal pacts and dazzling illusions, lost ghosts and elemental mysteries. In all paper is fire, and Jordan can burn the cut paper heart out of a man. She just has to learn how. Nghi Vo’s debut novel reinvents this classic of the American canon as a coming-of-age story full of magic, mystery, and glittering excess, and introduces a major new literary voice. 

About the author: Nghi Vo is the author of the acclaimed novellas The Empress of Salt and Fortune and When the Tiger Came Down the Mountain. Born in Illinois, she now lives on the shores of Lake Michigan. She believes in the ritual of lipstick, the power of stories, and the right to change your mind. The Chosen and the Beautiful is her debut novel.

The roaring 20s normally bring to mind a Great Gatsby-esque time of partying and flapper dresses, but The Chosen and the Beautiful promises to explore much more. Jordan Baker sounds like an exciting protagonist, and I can’t wait to see what her story holds! Magic, mystery and excess surround this enticing debut novel!

The Chosen and the Beautiful will be released on June 1st! Make sure to preorder your copy today!

First Lines Friday- 2 April 2021

First Lines Fridays is a weekly feature for book lovers hosted by Wandering Words. What if instead of judging a book by its cover, its author or its prestige, we judged it by its opening lines?

This week’s First Lines Friday book is a 2020 release on my TBR pile that I am very excited to read, see if you can guess the book!

First Lines


She’s at Mrs. Ruthie’s house, eating one of Mrs. Ruthie’s peanut butter cookies, staring out Mrs. Ruthie’s living room window and waiting for her parents to come home. From here, Bea can see her house with all its lights off and the front door locked. The wooden swing hanging from the tree in the front yard rocks idly in the summer breeze. The driveway is empty. All of this makes her stomach hurt, but not enough to abandon the cookie, so yummy and so soft.


And the book is…….

The Project by Courtney Summers!

Goodreads Synopsis: Lo Denham is used to being on her own. After her parents died in a tragic car accident, her sister Bea joined the elusive community called The Unity Project, leaving Lo to fend for herself. Desperate not to lose the only family she has left, Lo has spent the last six years trying to reconnect with Bea, only to be met with radio silence. When Lo’s given the perfect opportunity to gain access to Bea’s reclusive life, she thinks they’re finally going to be reunited. But it’s difficult to find someone who doesn’t want to be found, and as Lo delves deeper into The Project and its charismatic leader, she begins to realize that there’s more at risk than just her relationship with Bea: her very life might be in danger. As she uncovers more questions than answers at each turn, everything Lo thought she knew about herself, her sister, and the world is upended. One thing doesn’t change, though, and that’s what keeps her going: Bea needs her, and Lo will do anything to save her.

A mysterious cult and a missing sister? Yes please! I’ve heard very good things about this February 2021 release so far, and I’m excited to read it! I think I will keep it on my TBR pile for a little while longer, since I have a feeling it could get a bit scary, and I can’t handle that right now. But I have high hopes of reading it before the end of the summer!

Have you already read ‘The Project’? Let me know in the comments!