2020 · Long post · Wrap ups

January Wrap-Up and Mini-Reviews 2021

Fresh good start 🙂

First wrap-up of the year! It’s going to be a good one 🙂

For being the start of a new year, this month was great! I read 8 books and I’ve started another one! It’s a fab start to 2021 and I’m very pleased with myself. I also got several ARC come through as well and life is great lol.

Anyway, I’ve had some good reads this month and some just ok. I completed my entire TBR which is great. I don’t think that will happened next month as my TBR is massive… It makes me a bit nervous but the books look great so it will be fine 🙂

Let’s just dive in 🙂

As a reminder: To me, 5 ivy leaves is an amazing book that stuck with me, surprised me, one I could stop thinking about, I got lost in, etc. 4 ivy leaves is an enjoyable read something I really liked, but that’s it. 3 ivy leaves are either a disappointing read, or the book is just OK.

All Systems Red (Murderbot Diaries #1) by Martha Wells

Physical book – Borrowed

In a corporate-dominated spacefaring future, planetary missions must be approved and supplied by the Company. Exploratory teams are accompanied by Company-supplied security androids, for their own safety.

But in a society where contracts are awarded to the lowest bidder, safety isn’t a primary concern.

On a distant planet, a team of scientists are conducting surface tests, shadowed by their Company-supplied ‘droid — a self-aware SecUnit that has hacked its own governor module, and refers to itself (though never out loud) as “Murderbot.” Scornful of humans, all it really wants is to be left alone long enough to figure out who it is.

But when a neighboring mission goes dark, it’s up to the scientists and their Murderbot to get to the truth.

I loved this book and the main character! I loved how socially awkward they are and how self-conscious about how other preserves them. They are super sweet but super cool. I look forward to reading the rest of the books in this series 🙂

The Decent of Man by Greyson Perry

Audiobook – Library

Grayson Perry has been thinking about masculinity – what it is, how it operates, why little boys are thought to be made of slugs and snails – since he was a boy. Now, in this funny and necessary book, he turns round to look at men with a clear eye and ask, what sort of men would make the world a better place for everyone? What would happen if we rethought the old, outdated macho version of manhood and embraced a different idea of what makes a man?

Apart from giving up the coronary-inducing stress of always being ‘right’ and the vast new wardrobe options, the real benefit might be that a newly fitted masculinity will allow men to have better relationships – and that’s happiness, right?
Grayson Perry admits he’s not immune from the stereotypes himself – as the psychoanalysts say, ‘If you spot it, you’ve got it’ – and his thoughts on everything from power to physical appearance, from emotions to a brand-new Manifesto for Men, are shot through with honesty, tenderness and the belief that, for everyone to benefit, upgrading masculinity has to be something men decide to do themselves. They have nothing to lose but their hang-ups.

This was an interesting book. It was an opinion piece from a man who identifies as a cross dresser and his view on men and gender. Very fitting with my own views and it was a pleasure to read. I do wish Greyson Perry had narrated the book himself instead of someone else as he is a public figure and has a great story teller voice.

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

Physical book/e-book – Own

Cath is a Simon Snow fan.

Okay, the whole world is a Simon Snow fan..

But for Cath, being a fan is her life—and she’s really good at it. She and her twin sister, Wren, ensconced themselves in the Simon Snow series when they were just kids; it’s what got them through their mother leaving. Reading. Rereading. Hanging out in Simon Snow forums, writing Simon Snow fan fiction, dressing up like the characters for every movie premiere.

Cath’s sister has mostly grown away from fandom, but Cath can’t let go. She doesn’t want to.

Now that they’re going to college, Wren has told Cath she doesn’t want to be roommates. Cath is on her own, completely outside of her comfort zone. She’s got a surly roommate with a charming, always-around boyfriend, a fiction-writing professor who thinks fan fiction is the end of the civilized world, a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words… And she can’t stop worrying about her dad, who’s loving and fragile and has never really been alone.

For Cath, the question is: Can she do this? Can she make it without Wren holding her hand? Is she ready to start living her own life? Writing her own stories?

And does she even want to move on if it means leaving Simon Snow behind?

This was sweet. I can’t believe it took me so many years before I read it. It s an easy read and a breeze to get through. The Simon Snow parts were fun and added another world into the story. The romance was a bit obvious but sweet at the same time. I loved how patience he was and how he genuinely cared about the best for her and not the best for them or him.

However, the ends was a bit meh. I didn’t get why it ended there. I don’t know.

The Eve Illusion (Eve of Man #2) by Giovanna & Tom Fletcher

Audiobook – Library

Synopsis of Book 1 Eve of Man

AGAINST ALL ODDS, SHE SURVIVED.
THE FIRST GIRL BORN IN FIFTY YEARS.
THEY CALLED HER EVE . . .

All her life Eve has been kept away from the opposite sex. Kept from the truth of her past.

But at sixteen it’s time for Eve to face her destiny. Three potential males have been selected for her. The future of humanity is in her hands. She’s always accepted her fate.

Until she meets Bram.

Eve wants control over her life. She wants freedom.

But how do you choose between love and the future of the human race?

Book 2 in this series continues straight after books one with he same characters and the same perspective. There are more world building and I can see where the book goes in the next and last instalment.

This is a high intensity and very interesting YA book but I bit predictable. I look forward to the next and last instalment 🙂

Black Sun (Between Earth and Sky #1) Rebecca Roanhorse

e-ARC – NetGalley

A god will return
When the earth and sky converge
Under the black sun

In the holy city of Tova, the winter solstice is usually a time for celebration and renewal, but this year it coincides with a solar eclipse, a rare celestial event proscribed by the Sun Priest as an unbalancing of the world.

Meanwhile, a ship launches from a distant city bound for Tova and set to arrive on the solstice. The captain of the ship, Xiala, is a disgraced Teek whose song can calm the waters around her as easily as it can warp a man’s mind. Her ship carries one passenger. Described as harmless, the passenger, Serapio, is a young man, blind, scarred, and cloaked in destiny. As Xiala well knows, when a man is described as harmless, he usually ends up being a villain.

Crafted with unforgettable characters, Rebecca Roanhorse has created an epic adventure exploring the decadence of power amidst the weight of history and the struggle of individuals swimming against the confines of society and their broken pasts in the most original series debut of the decade.

This was a refreshingly new adult fantasy and I think I might have found my favourite character of 2021!!!!!! It’s nuts! But Xiala forever ❤️

Full review found here.

Love in Lockdown by Chole James

e-book – Library

Sophia is afraid lockdown will put her life on pause – just as she was she was going to put herself out there and meet someone. When the first clap for the keyworkers rings out around her courtyard, she’s moved to tears for all kinds of reasons.

Jack is used to living life to the fullest, and is going stir-crazy after just days isolating. Until that night he hears a woman crying from the balcony beneath his. He strikes up a conversation with the stranger and puts a smile back on her face.

Soon their balcony meetings are the highlight of Jack and Sophia’s days. But even as they grow closer together, they’re always kept apart.

A sweet and easy rom-com book set in London during the first wave of lockdown in 2020. I felt it was a bit flat but with he limitations of lockdown atmosphere is was well done. When your characters can’t go outside or do many things the story needs to change too. Some of the practicalities of this book didn’t fit with me. It just doesn’t logically fits into the physics of this world. But still it was the sweet punch I needed in this third wave of lockdown.

Riot Baby by Tochi Onyebuchi

Audiobook – Library

Ella and Kev are brother and sister, both gifted with extraordinary power. Their childhoods are defined and destroyed by structural racism and brutality. Their futures might alter the world. When Kev is incarcerated for the crime of being a young black man in America, Ella—through visits both mundane and supernatural—tries to show him the way to a revolution that could burn it all down. 

This was a short and super interesting book. I liked how it stared and the serious tone to it. But what took me off guard was how the ending with its sci-fi “twist” snuck up on me. Yes there were sci-fi elements throughout this story with Ella and her powers. But the journey the society took while Kev was away from it really took me by surprise when it shouldn’t have. It was well done!

Starsight (Skyward #2) by Brandon Sanderson

Physical book – Borrowed

Synopsis of book 1 Skyward


Defeated, crushed, and driven almost to extinction, the remnants of the human race are trapped on a planet that is constantly attacked by mysterious alien starfighters. Spensa, a teenage girl living among them, longs to be a pilot. When she discovers the wreckage of an ancient ship, she realizes this dream might be possible—assuming she can repair the ship, navigate flight school, and (perhaps most importantly) persuade the strange machine to help her. Because this ship, uniquely, appears to have a soul.

This is just as good as the first book. The sass has reached new levels but the same time the emotions and Spensa has grown and will continue to grow throughout this book. But the end I feel Spensa is an actual adult and nowhere near who she is when we first meet her in Skyward. I can’t wait for the third and last instalment. I had a feeling something has happened to M-Bot…. and it makes me nervous and I hope I’m wrong.

Reading Challenge check:

Let’s hold me accountable.

I have two goals this year which involve acquiring books;

  1. only buy two books a month,
  2. only request two ARCs a month.

Rules: For buying books it only for books I, personally, spend money on including subscription boxes (one per box), but it excludes my audible membership and all free books and gifts. For the ARC’s I’ve focused on my request-button-pressing and not getting the requests approved because you don’t know if it will be approved, nor do you know when it will be approved. Therefore, only two request-clicks per month. I can move the points between the months and if I don’t use them in one month transfer them to the next month.

I will have this on my wrap-ups every month.

Let’s check if I stuck to my goals:

  • Only buy two books a month:
    • Heartstopper volume 3 – Alice Oseman
    • The Deep – Rivers Solomon
    • The Court of Silver Flames – Sarah J Maas
    • Pet – Akwaeke Emezi
    • Heartstopper volume 4 – Alice Oseman
    • Vicious Spirit #2 – Kat Cho
    • Once Upon an Eid – edited by S. K. Ali
    • The House in the Cerulean Sea – TJ Klune
    • Into the Wild by Cherie Dimaline

Available credit from last month; 9

Credit transferring over to next month: 0

I cheated. I have reasons & excuses but according to my own rules I cheated massively. Points aren’t supposed to pass over the New Year mark. I should have used them in December! But I didn’t. I used them now and I’m allowing it. It’s January., it’s cold and dark, and we are in Lockdown until March. I need something to make me happier…! But I’m not transferring anything else over even though I have 2 spare credit. As punishment for cheating. Lol!

  • Only request two ARC’s: 
    • All the Tides of Fate
    • Sorrowland
    • Witherward
    • The Wolf and the Woodsman

Available credits from last month; 0

Credit transferring over to next month: -2

Oops… I did have credit from last month but as mentioned above, any credit left after New Year’s Eve doesn’t count… And I didn’t cheat this time.

TBR Shelf Reads

I also had a goal of reading one book form my physical shelf and one books from my e-book shelf per month. None of these can involve 2020 or 2021 acquired books. Based on all the books I read this month these are the once from my shelves:

  • Physical shelf
    • Fangirl
  • E-book shelf
    • Fangirl

That’s it!

Have you read any of these?

Of all of them, I think Black Sun might be my favourite this month but Starsight and All Systems Red are a good seconds 🙂 What was your favourite read this month?

Until next time; happy reading!

4 thoughts on “January Wrap-Up and Mini-Reviews 2021

Leave a Reply to waytoofantasy Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s