Recap of 2020 and Visions for 2021

I think the whole world would agree that 2020 was a bit of a shit show.

I’m happy to write if off as a garbage fire and failure of a year. Currently my job is in jeopardy and all plans I have for the future have been put on hold until I find out if I will continue to bring in money. But having said that I’m healthy, my partner is healthy, and comparatively to the rest of the world Australia seems to be handling the pandemic. So at least there is that.

So when faced with all this negativity and a very long 12 months, I present to you some of my favourite things from 2020 – with some sneaky hopes and dreams for 2021 thrown in.


Recap of 2020

Reading

  • The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee – The character arch and romantic pairing of this book was amazing and is what made this a standout of the year. If you do read this book, I would 100% recommend the audiobook as the narrator brings Monty to life!
  • The House of the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune – A romantic slow burn set in a urbanesque fantasy that centres around magical children that are classed too dangerous for society. Klune’s story is so deeply emotional and enriching that I would recommend it to anyone, fantasy fan, romance fan, and general fiction fan!
  • Women Don’t Owe You Pretty by Florence Given – Honestly if you only read one non-fiction book in 2020/2021 then let it be this gem. Given presents us with issues in bite size and personal chapters that challenge you to view the world outside of the toxicity that clouds topics. Honestly do yourself a favour and read this book, it has something for everyone.
Continue reading “Recap of 2020 and Visions for 2021”

12 Tropes of 2020 – The Winter Prince by R. Cooper

Ice King/Queen from
12 Tropes of 2020

The Ice Queen is aloof and, well, frigid. She may not want to get emotionally close to anyone, or it may just be men she disdains. There are a few different ways her icy qualities can manifest themselves, ranging from slinging nasty remarks at anyone who crosses her to simply coming across as emotionless and “cold”. In romance, the hero strives to “defrost” her and win her over so they can embark on a relationship. 

Taken from Thea Landen 

The Winter Prince by R. Cooper

At seventeen, the noble Prince Arrow had his heart stolen by a powerful pari’s magic, which earned him the name Kişin Bey, the Prince-in-Winter, as his veins slowly filled with ice without a heart to keep him warm. Three years have passed since then, and Kişin is not expected to survive another winter. In a last, desperate attempt to save his life, Razin, the court wizard and Kişin’s childhood best friend, convinces him to travel in search of the pari, to ask for the return of his heart. What Razin doesn’t know is that Kişin’s heart was never stolen; he gave it away to the pari to escape the pain of an impossible love—his love for Razin.

Smart and stubborn, Razin has never accepted Kişin’s fate, continuing to address him by his childhood name of Arrow and doing everything he can to keep Kişin warm despite the distance Kişin has put between them. Bitter and sharp of tongue, he is nonetheless determined to ensure Kişin’s survival. The prince needs him, Razin insists, not knowing the truth of his own words, or how painful it is for Kişin to be near him. Kişin agrees to the desperate quest, out of duty and a need to protect Razin, but it isn’t long before Razin realizes saving his prince will require more than simply getting his heart back. Razin will have to convince him to want it

Taken from book blurb

My thoughts

In The Winter Prince we are presented with as cold and emotionless character, Kişin Bey. Having had his heart stolen not only is Kisin not expected to live past next winter but he has become an emotionless and hard person to be around. Across the story, one of our romantic leads set out to return Kisin’s heart and save him from an early grave.

Continue reading “12 Tropes of 2020 – The Winter Prince by R. Cooper”

2020 Goals Recap

Happy end of 2020!

So 2020 has been a huge shit show but hey, I’m healthy and safe. I am so happy that Australia is going as well as it has, especially considering I am still working my full hours. I hope everyone is staying safe and remember, you’re not superhuman – stay inside, wash your hands, and if you’re sick stay at home.


The below are some of the things I had hoped to achieve in 2020. What with the way that 2020 played out, a lot of these goals became unattainable. Any motivation to read or continue my two a week blogging schedule was comtopletely wipoed out by the pandemic – I’ve just been too tired and too overwhelmed by everything.

But having said this I am still proud to have achieved what I have this year and look forward to getting stuff done in 2021.

Blogging

Until recently I had been staying pretty up to date with my ARC reviews but since COVID-19 hit, it has really been on the back burner. Sadly, I neglected my ARCs after the lockdown and did not request anymore after March.

After taking a month long hiatus in May, I returned with a reduced schedule of one post a week. I am happy to say that I have not missed a week and the relaxed schedule has led to be taking advantage of my inspiration but also being able to not panic when I don’t feel up to posting.

Reading

I have definitely read more non-fiction this year. If we count cook and craft books then I have really been hitting that genre hard! Recently I’ve read a bunch of mindfulness, self care, sustainability, and personal finance non fiction books, which have been nice easy reads.

Sadly I did not read The Folk of the Air series. After reading Tithe I was very motivated to continue on with the series and start Folk of the Air but sadly I read Valiant. The second book in the The Modern Faerie Tales series really demotivated me from reading further. I don’t want to say the book was bad but it is different, less engaging, and so quite uncomfortable to read. So sorry Holly Black, I probably won’t be returned to your work.

I read 10.5 of the 16 books in my Hopeful Reads of 2020 so I am counting that as a major success. Bring on next year!

Gaming

I started Surviving Mars and the tutorials were so complicated and boring – so I stopped. I really need emotional engagement to really connect with games like this, certainly while the Tropico series is no less complicated, it does have the humour and story to pull you through.

Not progress on Mass Effect 3. I do need to sit down and dedicate a whole week or two to reemerge myself in the series. Also yay! I finished Pokemon: Sword!

Personal

Still slugging along on that house deposit. Sadly PAX was cancelled so I wasn’t able to get my geek on in Melbourne. Also double sadly there has been no movement on the blanket front as I am not in the mood to work on it or focus after work.

Hopefully 2021 is kinder to us all!


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BLOGMAS Day 11: Top Historical Romances featuring Ally from Ally’s Appraisals

Hi Everyone, check out this blog post that I guest starred in with the lovely Jess from The Neverending Bookshelf!

The Never Ending Bookshelf

Today I’m teaming up with Ally from Ally’s Appraisal’s to bring you our top historical romance recommendations and what we are looking forward to reading most in 2021.

I’ve been loving historical romances this year once more thanks to Ally’s brilliant recommendations. So make sure you check out Ally’s blog Ally’s Appraisal’s and especially check out her 2021 Historical Romance Bingo Challenge; I for one can’t wait to start marking off books on this bingo board!

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My Hopeful Reads of 2021

Due largely to my enjoying the graphic, rather than my ‘success’ of last year – I will be attempting again my Hopeful Reads reading challenge.

The image below will be on display in a sidebar widget of my blog for the entirety of 2021. The books featured are ones that I want to hopefully read by the end of 2021, thus the ‘Hopeful reads of 2021’ title. If you see a tick on the cover, it means I finished the book, if you see a cross, sadly it means I wasn’t able to finish the book.

The books that are featured are potentially ones that:

  • potential Historical Romance Book Bingo selections
  • have been recommended to me
  • have caught my eye
  • are books that have remained from last year
  • or simply are ones I want to read.


See any books in there that you want to know more about? Do you want a similar template for your blog? Leave a comment and let me know 😊

Hopeful Reads of 2020 Rundown

It’s finished, it’s over! 2020 has been a very different year than what I was expecting, so I am happy to see it over. Hopefully 2021 will see everyone living a safer and healthier life. At the start of the year I challenged myself to try and read some of the books I was hoping to read in 2020. Check out how I did!


I am proud to have gotten through so many of the below books. I will admit that I wasn’t reading much as during the Australian lock down I was still working and when we opened back up I was quite frazzled (the nicest word for what I was feeling) with the public push back at opening restrictions – so combined this all together it was safe to say I wasn’t feeling all that up to reading.

So when I say proud, I do mean I am proud and surprised that I got through so many of the books.

Check out how I did:



The books that I was able to complete and read were:

The book that I did not finish was:

  • Embrace Your Weird: A Guided Journal for Facing Your Fears and Unleashing Creativity by Felicia Day.

The book was good and I enjoyed the content but I just wasn’t in the mind set to benefit from the content of the book, so I stopped reading 😓

In addition to this I am half way through Mr. Know-It-All by John Waters and since I’m not the biggest fan of biographies, I think this one will take me a little longer to get through.

So as it stands, I have finished 101/2 books out of 16.

One of my 2020 Goals was to read at least half of my Hopeful Reads, so I have smashed it! As I’ve said, I enjoyed this passive challenge, so I’ll make one for 2021 – keep an eye out for that!


It’s been a tough year, were you able to get some reading done? Were there any book you were happy to mark off your TBR pile? Comment and let me know!

12 Tropes of 2020 – The Only Option by Megan Derr

Marriage of Convenience from
12 Tropes of 2020

A marriage of convenience is a mutually beneficial agreement, with both parties profiting from the binding – it may even involve a contract – but not always. Sometimes, only one of the partners may be in it for something other than love.

Taken from TV Tropes.

The Only Option by Megan Derr

A desperate dragon. A lonely necromancer. A marriage neither wants.

When he is summoned to the royal castle, Rochus anticipates nothing more than a particularly difficult assignment. The bothersome journey is almost made worthwhile when he is propositioned by a young, beautiful dragon, Tilo, who seems untroubled by the fact that Rochus is a necromancer.

When Rochus arrives at the castle he is ordered to marry the very same dragon he spent the night with. Though Rochus would rather sign papers and return home, he is helpless against Tilo’s pleas for help, even if it means spending more time around a man he is desperately drawn to but who doesn’t seem to want him.

Taken from book blurb

My thoughts

Megan Derr is a master at crafting in-depth fantastical locations and lore – in The Only Option were are introduced to a necromancer who is quite different from other magical users. Rochus, said grumpy necromancer, has pearly white skin, so black its blue hair, black teeth, and an appetite for blood. Due to his different and off-putting appearance and diet, Rochus is ostracised and feared by people.

Continue reading “12 Tropes of 2020 – The Only Option by Megan Derr”

Clarification on my 2021 Historical Romance Book Bingo

If you are interested in learning more about my Historical Romance Book Bingo I am running in 2021, please follow the below link.

If you are interested in taking part and would like more clarification on what each of the bingo tiles mean, please read on.


Beauty & the Beast – A novel that is an adaption or retelling of the Beauty & the Beast fairy-tale. Doesn’t have to be a complete re-telling, elements of the story are completely fine, such as a scarred or reclusive hero. Eg, The Duchess Deal by Tessa Dare.

Christmas Time! – Novel that features or is set during Christmas time. Eg, 12 Dukes of Christmas Series by Erica Ridley.

Continue reading “Clarification on my 2021 Historical Romance Book Bingo”

12 Tropes of 2020 – A Princess in Theory by Alyssa Cole

Free Choice: Royalty from
12 Tropes of 2020


A Princess in Theory
by Alyssa Cole

Between grad school and multiple jobs, Naledi Smith doesn’t have time for fairy tales…or patience for the constant e-mails claiming she’s betrothed to an African prince. Sure. Right. Delete! As a former foster kid, she’s learned that the only things she can depend on are herself and the scientific method, and a silly e-mail won’t convince her otherwise.

Prince Thabiso is the sole heir to the throne of Thesolo, shouldering the hopes of his parents and his people. At the top of their list? His marriage. Ever dutiful, he tracks down his missing betrothed. When Naledi mistakes the prince for a pauper, Thabiso can’t resist the chance to experience life—and love—without the burden of his crown.

The chemistry between them is instant and irresistible, and flirty friendship quickly evolves into passionate nights. But when the truth is revealed, can a princess in theory become a princess ever after?

Taken from blurb

My thoughts

I have mixed feelings about this book – I enjoyed it and am really keen to read more from Alyssa Cole but some parts of the story were problematic for me. Without going into too much detail there were some actions that really bordered on dubious consent with actions taken and the power imbalance between the romantic couple.

Outside of this though was a great story which made for a compelling read. I enjoyed the world building and loved the main character, Naledi. The whole cast was really engaging and, as I read this years after it was published, I was excited to see characters who got their own books.

Continue reading “12 Tropes of 2020 – A Princess in Theory by Alyssa Cole”

Hyped Up? Women Don’t Owe You Pretty by Florence Given

Women Don’t Owe You Pretty by Florence Given

WOMEN DON’T OWE YOU PRETTY will tell you to…
love sex, hate sexism,
protect your goddamn energy,
life is short, dump them,
And that you owe men nothing, least of all pretty.

Florence’s debut book will explore all progressive corners of the feminist conversation; from insecurity projection and refusing to find comfort in other women’s flaws, to deciding whether to date or dump them, all the way through to unpacking the male gaze and how it shapes our identity.

WOMEN DON’T OWE YOU PRETTY is an accessible leap into feminism, for people at all stages of their journey who are seeking to reshape and transform the way they view themselves. In a world that tells women we’re either not enough or too much, it’s time we stop directing our anger and insecurities onto ourselves, and start fighting back to re-shape the toxic structures of our patriarchal society.

Florence’s book will help you to tackle and challenge the limiting narrative you have been bombarded with your whole life, and determine feminism on your own terms. After all, you are the love of your own life

Taken from book blurb

The Hype

Currently Women Don’t Owe You Pretty has a long reservation list at my library. After processing the book and checking out the blurb, not only was I intrigued but I began to see it pop up all over the place.

I am seeing a lot of hype about Given’s book on the internet and have had a few conversations with people who has read the book who rave about it. After having researched the book, I figured that it would be perfect to use my not often used, Hyped Up feature!


“Up until now we have been bombarded with the same stories that either make us subconsciously hate ourselves or hate others. It’s time to change the narrative, and the power lies in your hands. Consume diverse content. Reinvigorate those tired taste buds.”

Florence Given, Women Don’t Owe You Pretty.

The Verdict

Women Don’t Owe You Pretty is so incredibly worth reading!

From front to back the book was so engaging and relevant! A number of issues are covered over the course of the book and are broken up into very easy to read chapters. You can devour this book in one sitting or you can return to it chapter by chapter and ruminate on the issues raised, how they affect you, and what you can do with your new knowledge.

While the content is by no means new or revolutionary, the accessible way in which Given communicates these issues really speaks to a wide audience. Seasoned feminist pros, people who need a refresher, people new to the idea of feminism, people who don’t want to feel so alone with modern issues, or people who want to better themselves by reading about privilege and how to view the world outside of the toxicity that clouds certain topics. As the blurb says, Women Don’t Owe You Pretty is for people at all stages of their journey.

Towards the end of the book, I found out how old the author is and it pulled me up. I did think, how could someone that age have valid insight into these issues BUT THEN I realised that no, this is exactly what the book is talking about – I need to stop and push through my ageist prejudice and view these from an objective viewpoint. Given’s age doesn’t detract from the validity of her book and comments.

Do yourself a favour, pick up Women Don’t Owe You Pretty and discover for yourself how the book deserves the hype. You’ll thank yourself ❤


Have you read Women Don’t Owe You Pretty? What do you think – do you agree with me or do you think the book is over hyped?