Author: Alyce

Top Ten Tuesday: Authors I discovered in 2020

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl. I read 240 books in 2020, and a lot of those were new-to-me authors. It’s been really hard to narrow this list down to just ten, because I could have easily gushed over 

REVIEW: Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris

REVIEW: Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris

I’ve been interested in reading the Southern Vampire Mysteries series for a long time. It’s one of the only times I’ve caved and watched the adaptation before reading the source material. That being said, I hardly remember anything about the True Blood TV series – 

TOP TEN TUESDAY: Books I should have read in 2020

TOP TEN TUESDAY: Books I should have read in 2020

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl.

There were a lot of books that I meant to read in 2020, so I’ve already done a couple of videos and posts discussing them. Because of that, this list isn’t going to include any of the books I skipped in 2020 or the books I already mentioned in my books I should have read in 2020 video over on my Booktube channel, and I also won’t be mentioning any of the books on my 25 Before 25 list.

That being said I still have plenty of books to talk about, so it’s get on with it!

10. Two Can Keep a Secret by Karen M. McManus






It wasn’t until I started preparing this post that I realised I still haven’t read Karen M. McManus’s second novel. I was highly anticipating the release of The Cousins after reading and enjoying both One of Us is Lying and One of Us is Next, but somehow managed to skip her second book! At least this means I still have two Karen M. McManus mysteries to read and enjoy, and I’ll definitely be picking up one (if not both) of them in 2021.






9. Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo




This is going to be a reread for me, which is probably why it slipped through the net. I want to reread the Grisha trilogy before moving on with the Six of Crows duology and (eventually) the King of Scars duology, but I didn’t love the Grisha trilogy first time around so I’m kind of putting it off. I will be rereading these with Sean, and I know for a fact that he’s not going to enjoy them, so I also don’t want to put up with him complaining the whole time! Unfortunately he’s way too interested in Six of Crows and has been warned that you should read the Grisha trilogy first, so he has no choice but to suffer through this series with me.

I am lowkey excited about the upcoming adaptation, particularly as Ben Barnes has been cast as The Darkling and that is superb casting. Hopefully the show will be more engaging and enjoyable than I found the books to be.




8. Lament by Maggie Stiefvater




At the start of 2020 I binged the Raven Cycle series and read Call Down the Hawk, and I found myself determined to finally read more of Maggie Stiefvater’s older novels. Lament is definitely a TBR veteran – I’ve had it for far longer than I should have without reading it – but unfortunately I still haven’t picked it up. This is probably because I have mixed feelings about faerie books and haven’t found one that I’ve loved in quite a long time. Perhaps Lament will change that!

Hopefully I will feel the same excitement for Maggie Stiefvater’s writing after Mister Impossible is released in May, and I will finally get around to reading this duology (and The Scorpio Races, which has also been on my shelf for far too long!).

However, while getting the cover for this novel I’ve just discovered that there was supposed to be a third book and it never got released. Now I’m torn between reading the first two and waiting for the mythical third one (which was supposed to be released in 2013, and is still nowhere to be seen!). Conflicting…



7. The Court of Miracles by Kester Grant





I’ll be honest, I didn’t know a darn thing about The Court of Miracles when I requested a copy on NetGalley. All I knew was that it had a GORGEOUS cover and everyone was raving about how beautiful it was and look – can you blame them? And can you blame me, for getting swept away in the excitement?

Unfortunately, it wasn’t until my NetGalley request had already been accepted that I learnt that The Court of Miracles is a Les Misérables retelling. That wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world if I didn’t have such a conflicting relationship with books set throughout French history. Enjoyed Dangerous Remedy by Kat Dunn, hated Enchantée by Gita Trelease, no idea how I’m going to feel about The Court of Miracles because I’m too scared to pick it up. Oops.



6. Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard




I thought I enjoyed Red Queen more than I actually did. This is probably because it’s a favourite of one of my very close friends and she was extremely hyped that I was picking it up, so I got carried away by her excitement (noticing a trend?!).

When I finished Red Queen I was determined to pick up Glass Sword straight away… But it’s been nine months now, and I still haven’t read it. I have also successfully forgotten most of the events of Red Queen. I’m a mess.

This is still a series I would like to finish at some point, because I liked Victoria Aveyard’s writing and some of the scenes are still vibrantly alive in my mind, but I’m not sure how long it’s going to take.




5. An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir





I should have read the first book in the An Ember in the Ashes quartet back in 2015 when it was first published. I had a special edition hardback pre-ordered, my friend ended up gifting me her ARC and my excitement for the start of this series was through the roof.

Unfortunately, I still haven’t started it.

That being said, the last book in the quartet was released in November and I have ordered the Fairyloot special edition set, so I will be reading these as soon as they arrive. It will be nice to be able to binge the series and discover Laia and Elias’s story without needing to wait for each new installment to arrive.





4. Ruthless Gods by Emily A. Duncan






I only read Wicked Saints in October, but I’m excited about carrying on with this series and I wish I’d done it already.

Although I only gave the first book in the series three stars and found it quite predictable, there’s something about this world and these characters that leaves me wanting more.

I’ve even put the third book, Blessed Monsters, on my five star predictions list. If that isn’t proof that I think this series is going to dramatically improve (or that I’m a naive optimist) then I don’t know what is!






3. Carrie by Stephen King






Another reread, Carrie is a book that I read in one sitting when I was younger and really enjoyed. To say that I was surprised when Sean said he hadn’t picked it up yet is an understatement!

We read IT by Stephen King back in October, and I will admit that I didn’t love it. It made me determined to read Carrie to Sean so I could show him my favourite Stephen King novel (so far!), so the next time we saw my mum I borrowed her copy… Which is still sitting on our staircase, neglected. Sorry Mum.

This is definitely a book that we’ll be picking up at some point in 2021.






2. The Waste Lands by Stephen King





Two Stephen King books in a row! In 2020 we started the Dark Tower series and read the first two books, but we have struggled to fit the third installment in the series onto a TBR since.

It doesn’t help that I’m not a huge fan of Stephen King’s writing in these books. They are stuffed to the brim with racial stereotypes, and although I understand that that is because they were written in the 80s it still isn’t something that I can excuse.

I’m hoping that his portrayal of Odetta is going to become more nuanced and that the characters are going to start giving her some respect, because if they don’t I’m going to struggle to get through the rest of this series.





1. The Shadow Rising by Robert Jordan







Top of this list had to be The Shadow Rising. We read a book from the Wheel of Time series three months in a row but we postponed reading the fourth one because we had to read IT. Unfortunately, we haven’t got the ball rolling on these chunky boys again quite yet.

I absolutely love the first three books in the Wheel of Time series, and I’m convinced that the rest of the installments are probably going to get five stars. Robert Jordan’s writing is so easy to digest, and I am already so attached to these characters! I wouldn’t be surprised if we finished this series in 2021.






Thank you for reading this week’s Top Ten Tuesday post! If you have read and would recommend any of the books in this post, please leave a comment down below – it might help me finally get around to picking one up.

Alyce

X

REVIEW: The Girls I’ve Been by Tess Sharpe

REVIEW: The Girls I’ve Been by Tess Sharpe

First things first I’d like to say a huge thank you to Hodder Children’s Books, who accepted my request to read The Girls I’ve Been via NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review. Tess Sharpe’s Far From You is one of my favourite 

REVIEW: Game Changer by Neal Shusterman

REVIEW: Game Changer by Neal Shusterman

First things first I’d like to say a huge thank you to Walker Books, who accepted my request to read Game Changer via NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review. I have been so excited about reading a new Neal Shusterman novel. Having 

TOP TEN TUESDAY: Resolutions

TOP TEN TUESDAY: Resolutions

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl.

I’ve already done a video on my Booktube channel discussing my reading resolutions for 2021, so I’ve decided to use this Top Ten Tuesday post to discuss some of my other resolutions. I’ve also decided to only talk about five resolutions, because I’ve already talked about five in that video and I can’t juggle any more than that!

Resolution #1: To use my blog more

As you’ve probably noticed, in the past week I’ve posted more blog posts than I have since the end of Blogtober. This is because it’s one of my New Year’s resolutions, and so far I’m actually sticking to it!

I’ve always loved taking part in Top Ten Tuesday, but some weeks there is a prompt which doesn’t inspire me. Instead of taking that as an excuse to drop the ball and never write another Top Ten Tuesday post again, I’ve decided that I’ll let myself skip the odd week here and there, as long as I’m consistently writing posts for the prompts which do interest me.

I’m also going back to writing individual book review posts. I always reviewed that way back when I was Everything Alyce, but I stopped after being told that that way didn’t work. I don’t know why I listened, because spoiler alert: different things work for different people. And writing individual book review posts works really well for me.

Resolution #2: Use Bookstagram more

My resolution was actually to post a picture on my Instagram every single day in 2021, but to go from not using the platform for over three years to suddenly posting daily would have been a bit of a stretch. Instead I’ve resolved to post at least three times a week.

Hopefully I’ll be able to ramp this up later in the year as I get used to taking and editing the pictures, but to start with three times a week will be fine.

Resolution #3: Stick to my Booktube schedule

We’ve decided to post videos over on The Bumbling Blogger channel every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, and we’re so serious about this that we’ve even drawn it into our Booktube intro! Hopefully we will stick to this throughout the year (and possibly even post more videos than just those if we’re feeling inspired).

Resolution #4: Keep up my 2021 reads thread

Every year I see people post a thread on Twitter with all of the books they’ve read, and every year I think, “I want to do that!”. Then I realise it’s February, I’ve completely forgotten to start one off, and my life is a mess.

However, this year I’ve actually remember to start one. I just need to remember to keep on top of it and continue updating it regularly (which is already becoming a challenge and we’re less than two weeks into the year. Awks.)

Resolution #5: Tweet at least once a day

I’m ALWAYS on Twitter. I wish I wasn’t, because I think it’s really bad for my mental health, but I can’t stop myself from clicking on that dang little blue bird.

That being said, I’m not often posting my own content. Sure, I cross post my blog posts and my videos, but I don’t often just Tweet into the void for no reason. However, in 2021 I’ve decided to Tweet at least once a day. If I’m going to be sinking so much of my time into the site, I might as well express my opinions there while I’m doing it!

I hope you enjoyed this Top Ten Tuesday post. Leave your links down in the comments so I can check out what resolutions you’re trying to stick to in 2021!

Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you soon,

Alyce

X

Book review: Heartless by Marissa Meyer

Book review: Heartless by Marissa Meyer

First things first: I’d like to say a huge thank you to Macmillan Children’s Books for accepting my request to read this book via NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review. I don’t understand how we’re in 2021 and I’ve just read my 

Series review: Christmas by Matt Haig

Series review: Christmas by Matt Haig

As I mentioned during my review of Tinsel of Sibéal Pounder, I spent the last week of December reading a bunch of Christmas middle grades which included the complete series of Christmas books by Matt Haig! I have already talked about them a little bit 

Review: First Day of My Life by Lisa Williamson

Review: First Day of My Life by Lisa Williamson

I’d like to start this review by saying a huge thank you to David Fickling Books, who sent me an advanced copy of First Day of My Life in exchange for an honest and fair review.

I read First Day of My Life back in May but, with the release date being pushed back due to everything that’s going on in the world, I decided to wait to review it closer to release day. That is now TOMORROW, which is extremely exciting! But also means I can hardly remember anything I was planning on saying about this book, so it’s already due a reread.

First Day of My Life follows two best friends, Frankie and Jojo, as they discover truths about each other (and themselves) that puts their friendship to the test.

Frankie hasn’t seen Jojo all summer, so she’s looking forward to meeting up with her friend to collect their GCSE results on Results Day. However, when she gets to the school Jojo is nowhere to be found. That might be Frankie’s fault, though – she’s late because the route she normally takes is closed because of a police investigation into a kidnapping.

It isn’t until later that day, when she finally gets hold of Jojo on the phone, that Frankie makes a startling discovery. Hearing a baby crying in the background, Frankie starts to wonder whether Jojo might be responsible for the kidnapping. But why would Frankie’s goody-two-shoes best friend decide to kidnap a baby, and where can she have gone?

Luckily Frankie has Find My Friend on her phone, so she manages to track Jojo down to a hotel in Swindon. Unfortunately, the only person Frankie knows who drives is her ex-boyfriend, Ram. Driving across country in a search for the truth, will they be able to put the awkwardness behind them to save Jojo from whatever trouble she might be in?

This novel is a love letter to the tumultuous nature of teen friendships. Lisa Williamson perfectly encapsulates the extreme emotions found in platonic relationships (particularly those between teen girls). The friendship between Frankie and Jojo is almost toxic at times, but the depth of their feelings for each other means that they’re able to work through anything given enough time.

Frankie is very self-absorbed, and makes everything about her throughout which is frustrating. However, it did remind me a lot of my teen days, and I saw a lot of myself in the way that Frankie reacted to the situation that she found herself in! Even though it is quite annoying, it’s realistic.

Meanwhile Jojo makes herself the centre of attention by running away, but she does it for a very important reason, and this story shows that sometimes extremely out of character behaviour is the only choice you have.

My favourite character out of the three perspectives was probably Ram. He’s such a cinnamon roll. I would have liked it if more of the story had focused on him as I thought his character had a lot more potential, but I also appreciated the fact that this is a YA contemporary which is much more focused on the importance of friendship over romantic relationships.

This has lots of different aspects that I love – multiple perspectives, a non-chronological timeline, a cross-country road trip – and the main bulk of the action plays out in Swindon, which is actually where I live. It was a lot of fun to speculate over whether Lisa Williamson had been to Swindon to research the setting before basing her story here, and discussing which clubs, takeaways and hotels the characters could be visiting. We have much more than just a Magic Roundabout here, I promise!

This was easily a five star read for me. I’m a bit sad about the fact that the publication date got pushed back to 2021 because I was convinced that this was going to be appearing on the YA Book Prize shortlist this year. I’ll just have to wait until next year and keep my fingers crossed that this novel gets the recognition that it deserves.

This is the third of Lisa Williamson’s YA novels that I’ve read (I only have All About Mia to get to!) and her books have always been four or five star reads for me, so if you haven’t read any of her other stories I highly recommend picking them up. She’s a shining star in the UKYA scene.

Once again, huge thanks to David Fickling Books for sending me an advanced copy of this one. I will cherish it forever!

Alyce

X

TOP TEN TUESDAY: 2021 Anticipated Releases (Jan-June)

TOP TEN TUESDAY: 2021 Anticipated Releases (Jan-June)

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl. I’ve already made a video discussing ten of my most anticipated 2021 releases, but I’ve decided that I’m not going to mention any of them in this post so that I can shine