My 2020 in Books

This year I started a new job in a new apartment. I had a decent commute on public transportation, so I saw myself reading a bit more than I had in recent years. Then the pandemic happened, I saw myself working from home and having even more time on my hands. I started thinking about making a bookstagram and blog to talk about the even more books I had been consuming. Then I got laid off, and my decision was made.

It has been really exciting to share what I’ve been reading and starting this blog. 2020 has been a weird year, but this blog has brought a little slice of happiness.

So here is my year in review…

In 2020 I joined the cult of Sarah J. Maas

Also wish they had kept this cover art

In March, I began the Throne of Glass series and while I had a few problems with it overall, it was an incredibly immersive fantasy series that I needed at that time in my life. After finishing that series everyone kept tell my I needed to read A Court of Thorns and Roses. So I splurged and bought the entire series. Wow! I absolutely loved this series! Feyre is an incredible heroine. I loved this series so much more than the Throne of Glass Series. One unpopular opinion I do have though is I wish she wasn’t continuing the series. While I will still read A Court of Silver Flames, I’m not dying to read it since I feel like the story is finished.

I fully embraced my love of Romance novels…
I feel like a lot of people get shamed for loving romance novels, but this year I fully embraced it. I read some amazing romance novels this year, that were way better than some other more touted books. The Roommate by Rosie Danan was one of my favorite books I read this year. I also discovered the world of Evie Dunmore and her League of Extraordinary Women and Beach Read by Emily Henry. There are truly some extraordinary things happening in Romance.

I got sucked into Bookstagram suggestions…
Once I set up a bookstagram, I feel like my TBR grew tenfold. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. I love seeing people’s flatlays and their book recommendations. Sometimes though, the hype can be overblown. This happed to me with Serpent & Dove and Blood & Honey. I saw these two books all over Instagram, and quickly added them to my TBR. I read Serpent & Dove which I enjoyed but didn’t love. Then I picked up Blood & Honey. Boy, did I not like this book. It felt like a mess and when I discovered that this originally was meant to be a duology it made a lot of sense. A majority of the book was filler and I’m hesitant to continue this series when the last book comes out. So 9 times out of 10, bookstagram suggestions are great but sometimes you get burned.

I discovered the world of Jennifer L. Armentrout…

I stumbled upon the world of Jennifer L. Armentrout this summer. I had finished ACOTAR and was looking for something similar. From Blood and Ash kept popping up in my suggestions on Amazon. An obsession was born. Since this summer I’ve read the Lux Series and the Dark Elements Series with plans to read more. While the Blood and Ash series is still my favorite so far, I’m excited to see where her other books take me.

I’m so excited to see where 2021 takes my little book blog! I hope you enjoy my reviews, and I’m hoping to expand a bit more with what I do with this blog. Don’t forget to check out my Instagram and most importantly…

Happy New Year!

Review: A Rogue of One’s Own by Evie Dunmore

SYNOPSIS (via Goodreads):

“Lady Lucie is fuming. She and her band of Oxford suffragists have finally scraped together enough capital to control one of London’s major publishing houses, with one purpose: to use it in a coup against Parliament. But who could have predicted that the one person standing between her and success is her old nemesis, Lord Ballentine? Or that he would be willing to hand over the reins for an outrageous price—a night in her bed.

Lucie tempts Tristan like no other woman, burning him up with her fierceness and determination every time they clash. But as their battle of wills and words fans the flames of long-smouldering devotion, the silver-tongued seducer runs the risk of becoming caught in his own snare.

As Lucie tries to out-manoeuvre Tristan in the boardroom and the bedchamber, she soon discovers there’s truth in what the poets say: all is fair in love and war…”

REVIEW:

I read Bringing Down the Duke by Evie Dunmore at the beginning of 2020 so I was very excited that she was continuing the series about her lovely group of suffragettes finding love. A Rogue of One’s Own popped up in my library last week, and I had to grab it.

Just like Bringing Down the Duke, we have a smart and capable heroine in Lucie. We go on a journey with her as she comes to the realization that she can still champion her cause while sharing herself with someone. Her and Tristan’s relationship is an equal partnership, which I loved. As they got to know one another better, even though they had grown up together, Tristan discovers why Lucie’s cause is so important to her and how important it is to the country. Lucie discovers that Tristan is more than meets the eye, and has many layers hiding underneath the pomp. I loved their chemistry and how their shared past tied into their present relationship. I loved Lucie’s characterization. Her passion and dedication to the cause always feels authentic and is consistent throughout the novel.

Unlike Bringing Down the Duke, A Rogue of One’s Own dragged for me at times. I felt that the setup took forever, and some of the new side-characters were horrible cliches. Side plots often became too convoluted and made me lose interest at times. Once Lucie and Tristan began their affair, the book took off for me. Their moments together are the book’s strongest.

While I still enjoyed A Rogue of One’s Own, I found it lacking. Honestly, it is lacking because of how strong Bringing Down the Duke was for me. I still recommend this book though because Lucie is a fantastic heroine, and overall I enjoyed it. I’m excited to see what is next in store for the League of Extraordinary Women.

RATING: 4/5

Follow me on Instagram!

WWW Wednesday – December 23rd, 2020

Happy Festivus! It’s Wednesday which means another WWW Wednesday. I’m answering the three questions below. Let me know your answers in the comments or share on your own blog!

  • What are you currently reading?
  • What did you recently finish reading?
  • What do you think you’ll read next?

What are you currently reading?

I’m currently reading A Rogue of One’s Own by Evie Dunmore. I was very excited to pick this up at my library since I read Bringing Down the Duke at the beginning of the year and loved it.

What did you recently finish reading?

I just finished Air Awakens by Elise Kova. It is book one of the Air Awakens series. Overall, I really enjoyed it. I think it had some really great world building and I loved Vhalla and Prince Aldrik. It has some similarities to the Shadow and Bone trilogy by Leigh Bardugo, but isn’t a carbon copy.

What do you think you will read next?

I think I’ll be reading the next in the Bargainer series, Strange Hymn by Laura Thalassa. I loved Rhapsodic and completely devoured it. So I’m excited to see where this series goes, and see how Callie and Desmond relationship develops.

As always, check out my Instagram!

Review: In A Holidaze by Christina Lauren

SYNOPSIS (via Goodreads):

“It’s the most wonderful time of the year…but not for Maelyn Jones. She’s living with her parents, hates her going-nowhere job, and has just made a romantic error of epic proportions.

But perhaps worst of all, this is the last Christmas Mae will be at her favorite place in the world—the snowy Utah cabin where she and her family have spent every holiday since she was born, along with two other beloved families. Mentally melting down as she drives away from the cabin for the final time, Mae throws out what she thinks is a simple plea to the universe: Please. Show me what will make me happy.

The next thing she knows, tires screech and metal collides, everything goes black. But when Mae gasps awake…she’s on an airplane bound for Utah, where she begins the same holiday all over again. With one hilarious disaster after another sending her back to the plane, Mae must figure out how to break free of the strange time loop—and finally get her true love under the mistletoe.”

REVIEW:

In a Holidaze has been all over my instagram and I was excited to see that it was one of the December choices for Book of the Month. This book was definitely worth the wait. It put me in the holiday mood, and was perfect as I watched Winter Storm Gail hit my parents’ house. This was also my first Christina Lauren novel, and now I need to add more to my TBR.

I personally really connected with Maelyn. I am a late 20-something who recently had to move back in with her parents. I was laid off, due to Covid-19 and couldn’t afford my rent on my unemployment benefits. These last couple of months have been hard, and I’ve struggled to really find what makes me happy. I’m also a people pleaser. I am so worried about disappointing my family, that I often make decisions that would make them happier than myself. Though I don’t have a hunky life-long family friend who I’ve been in love with waiting in the wings. Because of these similarities, In a Holidaze really hit home for me. I do think that Maelyn will be relatable to a lot of people. It was just really nice to read a book where the lead was a bit lost and stuck.

I loved Andrew and Mae’s relationship. The chemistry is so well done, and also captures the history that is in their relationship. All the characters in this book are fleshed out really well. You can feel their love and support of each other. I loved learning about their holiday traditions. You can really feel Mae’s frustration and panic over why she has been sent into this time-loop.

I definitely recommend this book if you are looking for a fun festive read. The overall flow of the book is great, so it is a super quick read as well.

RATING: 4/5

Follow along on Instagram!

Review: Opposition (Lux #5) by Jennifer L. Armentrout

SYNOPSIS (via Goodreads):

“Katy can’t believe Daemon welcomed his race or stood by as his kind threatened to obliterate every last human and hybrid on Earth. But the lines between good and bad have blurred, and love has become an emotion that could destroy her—could destroy them all.

Daemon will do anything to save those he loves, even if it means betrayal.

They must team with an unlikely enemy if there is any chance of surviving the invasion. But when it quickly becomes impossible to tell friend from foe, and the world is crumbling around them, they may lose everything— even what they cherish most—to ensure the survival of their friends…and mankind.”

REVIEW:

I did it, I finished the Lux series!

I don’t quite know how to feel about this book.

Spoilers below for the whole series…

Things I really enjoyed about this book, I liked the continuation of dueling perspectives between Katy and Daemon. I also enjoyed the coming together of the Luxen and the Arum to battle the bigger evil. I also enjoyed the incorporation of the past classes of Origins into the alien invasion. Archer is great and I loved his dynamic with Katy and Daemon.

I have a big gripe with the last couple of books. Katy is assaulted multiple times, by different characters and her trauma is never really dealt with or truly discussed. Blake is introduced in Onyx and revealed to be a double agent by the end of the book. He is brought back again in Opal, and convinces the group that even though he was a double agent he’s there only hope of getting Beth back. By the end of the book, we find out that he has betrayed them again, but even more disturbing is that he has been disguising himself as Daemon and sneaking into Katy’s room at night and spooning with her. Genuinely and completely horrifying! Then Blake is back again in Origin, taunting and being his predatory self until he is killed in a fit of rage by Katy during one of her training sessions. Katy also has an unwanted full medical evaluation done to her while in the hands of the government. Then in Opposition, Katy is once again the target this time by Lotho, the head of the Arum. He says he will only help them if he gets to feed from Katy, ultimately revealing that he just wanted to see how much they were willing to sacrifice. However, after Lotho complements her, he kisses her. I just grew so frustrated because these actions are so completely horrendous, yet they are kind of brushed aside because “bigger” things are happening. I feel like these could have been handled so much better, even if it was just her talking to Daemon about it. I think it just hit a breaking point, for me personally, when the kiss with Lotho was played for laughs.

I felt like Daedalus kind of got the air taken out of their threat level. They were in the background of every book in this series, then the Luxen invade and just nothing. There was no build up for these Luxen invaders besides some throw away sentences, and its frustrating that this was what ended up being the big bad.

Overall, I am happy with the series conclusion. It does have a satisfying ending. I had to stick through it to finish out Katy and Daemon’s story. I’m going to take a bit of break before I start the Origin series. I just need a break from aliens.

RATING: 2.5/5

Have you read the Lux series? What are your thoughts on how it concludes? Did you have the same problems or am I just crazy?

Follow along on my book adventures on Instagram!

WWW Wednesday – December 16th 2020

It’s another WWW Wednesday, and I’m answering the three questions below. Let me know your answers in the comments or share on your own blog!

  • What are you currently reading?
  • What did you recently finish reading?
  • What do you think you’ll read next?

What are you currently reading?

In A Holidaze by Christina Lauren, this was my Book of the Month choice and I’m very excited to finally start reading it. It has a Groundhog Day-like plot involving a time loop just set around Christmas. I’m loving it so far.

What did you recently finish reading?

Just finished City of Ashes (Mortal Instruments #2) by Cassandra Clare. I am not loving this series so far, but I’ve also heard that the first three books are the weakest set in the Shadowhunters world. So I am pushing through. I requested City of Glass at my library, but I think I’m going to read a few books before I start that.

What do you think you will read next?

I think my next book is going to be Air Awakens by Elise Kova. It is book one in another fantasy series (I think I might have a problem). It sounds super interesting and it is featured through Kindle Unlimited. We will see how In A Holidaze has me feeling after I finish it, since that will really determine what I read next.

Let me know what you are reading!

I would love if you guys would follow me on Instagram!

Review: The Roommate by Rosie Danan

SYNOPSIS (via Goodreads):

House Rules:
Do your own dishes
Knock before entering the bathroom
Never look up your roommate online

The Wheatons are infamous among the east coast elite for their lack of impulse control, except for their daughter Clara. She’s the consummate socialite: over-achieving, well-mannered, predictable. But every Wheaton has their weakness. When Clara’s childhood crush invites her to move cross-country, the offer is too much to resist. Unfortunately, it’s also too good to be true.

After a bait-and-switch, Clara finds herself sharing a lease with a charming stranger. Josh might be a bit too perceptive—not to mention handsome—for comfort, but there’s a good chance he and Clara could have survived sharing a summer sublet if she hadn’t looked him up on the Internet…

Once she learns how Josh has made a name for himself, Clara realizes living with him might make her the Wheaton’s most scandalous story yet. His professional prowess inspires her to take tackling the stigma against female desire into her own hands. They may not agree on much, but Josh and Clara both believe women deserve better sex. What they decide to do about it will change both of their lives, and if they’re lucky, they’ll help everyone else get lucky too.”

REVIEW:

Wow, I love this book! It has been sitting on my bookshelf for the last couple months. I’m so glad I made time to read it, but also want to smack myself for waiting so long.

Josh and Clara are both incredible and are real, fully fleshed out characters. I wanted them together the instant that they met. Clara is very relatable, she is a smart and independent woman who has been let down in the romance and sex department. She has never really been taught to love and appreciate her body. Her people pleasing ways have led her to a life where she has never been selfish. Josh has the stigma of being a sex worker hindering his life. He is proud of what he does, but is frustrated that society treats him like a black sheep.

I love how Josh and Clara change each other for the better. I loved that this book shows sex workers in a normal and positive light, and I loved the emphasis on female pleasure. This is a very sex-positive romance and I’m all in. It’s incredibly funny, and encourages you to think and work on your perspectives. I do wish there had been a little bit more about Clara’s family finding out about her new business, specifically with her Mother. It was such a big theme in the book, even if it had just been a phone call between Clara and her mother. The story felt like it was naturally building to that, so when it didn’t really happen I was a little disappointed.

This is easily one of my favorite books I have read this year. I’m going to tell everyone I know and maybe strangers on the street to read it. If you love romance novels but are looking for something a little different, then The Roommate is perfect. It manages to hit all of the beats of a romance novel, while still bringing something new to the table.

RATING: 5/5

As always you can follow along on my bookish adventures on Instagram!

Review: City of Bones (Mortal Instruments #1) by Cassandra Clare

SYNOPSIS (via Goodreads):

“When fifteen-year-old Clary Fray heads out to the Pandemonium Club in New York City, she hardly expects to witness a murder― much less a murder committed by three teenagers covered with strange tattoos and brandishing bizarre weapons. Then the body disappears into thin air. It’s hard to call the police when the murderers are invisible to everyone else and when there is nothing―not even a smear of blood―to show that a boy has died. Or was he a boy?

This is Clary’s first meeting with the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the earth of demons. It’s also her first encounter with Jace, a Shadowhunter who looks a little like an angel and acts a lot like a jerk. Within twenty-four hours Clary is pulled into Jace’s world with a vengeance when her mother disappears and Clary herself is attacked by a demon. But why would demons be interested in ordinary mundanes like Clary and her mother? And how did Clary suddenly get the Sight? The Shadowhunters would like to know…”

REVIEW:

I, somehow, managed to have never read any book in the Mortal Instruments Series. I was always a bit skeptical because I just kept hearing about this faux incest plot. That being said I’ve heard some great things about other books in this series and world that I have wanted to check out. So here I am starting up this series.

I think reading these as a 29 year old hurts me a bit, most of the time I don’t think this affects reading anything ya fantasy. With this book, I was very aware that I am not the target audience. A majority of the characters kind of annoyed me, especially Jace. I did really enjoy the world building, and the potential for what could happen and what could be incorporated. Alec, Isabelle, and Jace all treat Clary and especially Simon horribly, but yet I’m supposed to believe that they would be against the teachings of The Circle.

City of Bones did feel all over the place plot wise. Like I understood wanting to introduce different aspects of the world, but maybe I don’t need Simon turning into a rat and the rescue of him. It just felt messy and disjointed. The flow overall wasn’t great. I also thought the ending felt awkward. Obviously, there is more than one book so I knew that Valentine wasn’t going to be thwarted. There has to be set up for the future installments, but it was building to this big conclusion and instead the ending just whimpers out.

Overall, I think there is a lot of promise with this series. I enjoyed the world the story is set in and the gradual reveal of the history behind everything. While feeling familiar at times, I think it sets itself apart enough to intrigue the audience. I’m interested to see where the series takes me.

RATING: 2.5/5

Have you read any of this series? What books should I be excited for in this series?

As always please follow me on Instagram!

WWW Wednesday – December 9th, 2020

I saw this on Taking on a World of Words and just loved it so I’m continuing it here! You just answer the three questions below, you can share yours in the comments or feel free to spread the love to your blog.

  • What are you currently reading?
  • What did you recently finish reading?
  • What do you think you’ll read next?

What are you currently reading?

The Roommate by Rosie Danan, I just picked this up this morning and I already love it! I have a heard some really great things about this book and the premise is super interesting. I always like to read romances in between big fantasy novels. So this seemed like the perfect choice, also it has been sitting on my bookshelf for way too long.

What did you recently finish reading?

I just finished City of Bones (Mortal Instruments #1) by Cassandra Clare yesterday. I have never read this series, and while I wasn’t completely in love with the storyline in this book, I really enjoyed the whole Shadowhunter world and I’m excited to see where it goes.

What do you think you will read next?

I think my next read will probably be City of Ashes (Mortal Instruments #2) by Cassandra Clare. I just picked it up from my library and I’m interested to see where this story goes. I want to get through the first three book of this series before I pick up another fantasy series.

Let me know what you are reading!

Remember to follow along on Instagram!

Review: Rhapsodic (The Bargainer #1) by Laura Thalassa

SYNOPSIS (via Goodreads):

“Callypso Lillis is a siren with a very big problem, one that stretches up her arm and far into her past. For the last seven years she’s been collecting a bracelet of black beads up her wrist, magical IOUs for favors she’s received. Only death or repayment will fulfill the obligations. Only then will the beads disappear.

Everyone knows that if you need a favor, you go to the Bargainer to make it happen. He’s a man who can get you anything you want … at a price. And everyone knows that sooner or later he always collects.

But for one of his clients, he’s never asked for repayment. Not until now. When Callie finds the fae king of the night in her room, a grin on his lips and a twinkle in his eye, she knows things are about to change. At first it’s just a chaste kiss—a single bead’s worth—and a promise for more.

For the Bargainer, it’s more than just a matter of rekindling an old romance. Something is happening in the Otherworld. Fae warriors are going missing one by one. Only the women are returned, each in a glass casket, a child clutched to their breast. And then there are the whispers among the slaves, whispers of an evil that’s been awoken.

If the Bargainer has any hope to save his people, he’ll need the help of the siren he spurned long ago. Only, his foe has a taste for exotic creatures, and Callie just happens to be one.” 

REVIEW:

So this was recommended to me after I finished From Blood and Ash by Jennifer L. Armentrout and was looking to fill that void. It is a New Adult Fantasy Romance. This book was exactly what I needed right now, and after finishing it I definitely want to read other books by Laura Thalassa.

Fair warning, the topics of rape, sexual assault, and abuse in general are a recurring topic throughout this book, and I would assume the series.

Rhapsodic hooks you in right from the start, the set up is just perfect. Throughout the book we alternate time lines. Present time, and seven years ago when The Bargainer (or Desmond) and Callie first met. This really helps to build their relationship and you discover how important Desmond and Callie are to each other. The book’s strongest feature is their relationship. I absolutely loved it and it gets bit steamy which is also great.

I wish there had been more world building in this novel. I wanted to know so much more about the Otherworld and the magic beings in general. This book just gave an overview or basic understanding so you wouldn’t be completely confused once the action moved there. I’m hoping that this world will be expanded on in the other books, so fingers crossed for more world building. Besides Callie and Desmond the other characters in the story aren’t really fleshed out which I think hurts it a little as well. That being said, I still really enjoyed this book and couldn’t put it down. This also caused me to fly through this book too.

Overall, if you are a fan of Sarah J. Maas or Jennifer L. Armentrout, you will enjoy this book. Honestly, I’m a sucker for Fantasy with some romance mixed in and if you are to, you should check this out.

RATING: 4/5

Please follow me on Instagram – @kerryreadsthings