All Book Reviews

⭐⭐⭐ ½
How High We Go in the Dark by Sequoia Nagamatsu

This was a really surreal take on a pandemic that wipes out a good portion of the Earth. One example being that they decided to build rollercoasters that would euthanize sick kids that were strapped in without them realising (?!) The first half was pretty depressing because it was just death, death and more death but the second half felt a bit mor

⭐⭐⭐⭐
Once There Were Wolves by Charlotte McConaghy

A book about a team reintroducing wolves back into Scotland to help restore the ecosystem. It's fiction, but does take real-life inspiration from how wolves were successfully reintroduced into Yellowstone National Park. The story comes with a side of romance and murder mystery which is not quite as compelling as the wolves, though.

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
A Psalm for the Wild-Built by Becky Chambers

Yet another comfy read from Becky Chambers. Pity it is only a novella - is it quite short. This was my first time reading solarpunk and I want to read more of it!

⭐⭐⭐⭐
The Inheritance Games by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

A YA Knives Out just about sums it up (without the amazing Daniel Craig and his southern accent). Of course throw in a stupid love triangle like you get in any YA novel (girl you're about to be a billionaire, keep it in your pants!)

⭐⭐⭐⭐
One Last Stop by Casey McQuiston

A wholesome romance about a girl meeting a sort-of-ghost girl that has been stuck on a New York subway train for 30 years. I liked the fantasy element, it made it more interesting to read than a regular romance book.

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
A Closed and Common Orbit (Wayfarers, #2) by Becky Chambers

I was expecting a continuation from the first Wayfarers book but this can almost be read as a standalone.

⭐⭐⭐⭐
A Desolation Called Peace by Arkady Martine

A solid sequel, although unfortunately since there was a big gap between me reading the first and the second book, I was quite confused at what was happening for a while. I'm not too sure if reading the books back to back would have helped or if it would have been confusing either way.

⭐⭐⭐⭐
Six Crimson Cranes by Elizabeth Lim

Cute fantasy story about a princess who has to break a curse to save her brothers who have been turned into cranes.

Nothing groundbreaking, but it is a YA so I won't go too hard on it.

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Daisy Jones and The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Beautiful, drug-addicted singer Daisy and the band The Six come together to write an album in the 70s. The entire book is told in an interview format, which I think works really well, since it lets the different characters give their own (slightly different) perspectives on certain events.

⭐⭐⭐ ½
People We Meet on Vacation by Emily Henry

The general premise of this book is that two "best friends" are secretly in love with each other for 10+ years. Maybe that's romantic for some people but I found the way it was written was just frustrating, like surely after a couple of years you'd get your shit together!!

⭐⭐⭐⭐
The Love Hypothesis by Ali Hazelwood

So I knew this book was originally a Kylo Ren / Rey fanfic before I started reading it. Which made things unintentionally funny because you can't help but imagine Kylo Ren doing all this weird romance novel shit (pushing a car shirtless across a carpark? Ok). And when he repeatedly gets described as being "broad" and "massive" (kind of cringey tbh

⭐⭐⭐⭐
The Dry by Jane Harper

Murder mystery set in a small Australian town.

⭐⭐⭐⭐
The Southern Book Club's Guide to Slaying Vampires by Grady Hendrix

From the title I thought it was going to be a quirky story about housewives banding together to kill off a vampire (or something like Pride and Prejudice and Zombies) but honestly this was straight up a horror book.

⭐⭐
Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown

DNF - the book talks about using your time wisely, and I don't think reading this book is worth it. Very shallow anecdotes and examples. Maybe worth reading if you have a problem saying "no" to things and really need a kick up the butt.

⭐⭐⭐⭐ ½
She Who Became the Sun by Shelley Parker-Chan

Basically the premise is, "imagine that the first Emperor of the Ming dynasty was actually a woman" and go from there. In saying that it skips over a lot of the possible issues that come with a woman pretending to be a man and more focuses on the "attempting to become Emperor" bit.

⭐⭐⭐
Light from Uncommon Stars by Ryka Aoki

Shizuka Satomi has sacrificed the souls of six violinists to the devil, and has now found her seventh soul in runaway teen and violin prodigy Katrina. When she visits a local donut shop, owner Lan Tran catches her eye. What she doesn't realise is that the donut shop hides a spaceship, and the Tran family are actually aliens from another planet.

⭐⭐⭐⭐
Shards of Earth by Adrian Tchaikovsky

Huge alien beings known as Architects have the power to wipe out planets, and no one knows why they do it. Enter the crew of the Vulture God, a salvage ship that discovers evidence of the Architects returning after 50 years of peace in the galaxy.

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

An entertaining fantasy read. The book ends on a cliffhanger and feels unresolved, so I didn't really feel a sense of satisfaction when I finished reading it, though :(

⭐⭐⭐
Walden by Henry David Thoreau

Walden is the sort of book you see referenced in popular media all the time. When the male lead in k-drama Hometown Cha-cha-cha was shown reading it (did not expect that!), I figured it was finally time for me to get around to it.

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Dear Edward by Ann Napolitano

12-year old Edward is the sole survivor of a plane crash that kills his parents and his brother.

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet (Wayfarers, #1) by Becky Chambers

A comfy sci-fi read. I really enjoyed the care the author put into building out its cast of alien species. The aliens aren't just humans with different skins, but there's some thought put into their cultural differences and histories as well. And even within the humans, there's a varied mix of cultures too, depending on whether you were rich and m

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
The Goblin Emperor (The Goblin Emperor, #1) by Katherine Addison

The Elven Emperor and three of his sons die in a tragic airship accident, leaving the throne to his exiled half-Goblin son.

⭐⭐⭐
Mansfield Park by Jane Austen

As a poor cousin sent to live amongst her more privileged relations, Fanny Price is a fairly meek and boring leading character, as far as Jane Austen books go. She's content to be a wallflower, and her poor self-esteem isn't helped by comments from her aunts like "remember, wherever you are, you must be the lowest and the last". Yikes.

⭐⭐⭐
Year One (Chronicles of The One, #1) by Nora Roberts

The book starts off quite strong. We're in New York, and a plague has broken out. Either you're immune to the plague, or you catch it and die. The plague somehow strengthens the ability for a small percentage of the population to use magic. Society collapses, and people flee the city.

⭐⭐⭐⭐
Beach Read by Emily Henry

I always go into romance novels with low expectations, so this one turned out to be a pleasant read. It helped that the two main characters both had family issues they were dealing with so it wasn't just a romance novel. The way these issues were resolved didn't feel that satisfying, though. There's also a side plot where they start researching

⭐⭐⭐
The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune

Linus works as a caseworker for magical children living in orphanages. He's a very boring, by-the-books type of person but this all changes when he spends a month investigating an orphanage with potentially dangerous children who all have highly classified case files.

⭐⭐⭐⭐
The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides

Alicia murders her husband, and then stops talking. Theo starts a job as her therapist at the hospital where she is held. Determined to get Alice to crack, he plays detective and starts asking around for clues, which is a pretty weird thing for a therapist to do. But the twist at the end was pretty good.

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Cloud Cuckoo Land by Anthony Doerr

This is one of those books that starts off very confusingly, as you're thrust into the stories of five seemingly disconnected lives.

⭐⭐⭐⭐
The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah

The Four Winds follows a broken family as they migrate from drought-ridden Texas to the green "promised land" of California during the Great Depression.

⭐⭐⭐ ½
Beautiful World, Where Are You by Sally Rooney

The writing style is quite clunky, but you get used to it. One of the characters is a millionaire writer, and at times she talks about what it's like to be famous, which felt a bit too much like the author complaining via the character.

I finished it and felt left with a sense of "well what was the point in that?" hence the low rating.

⭐⭐⭐⭐
Red, white & royal blue by Casey McQuiston

Fairly lighthearted read, and a fair bit cringe as you would expect from most romance novels. Just ignore how unrealistic it is (son of the president and the Prince of England running around without security guards) and it's ok.

⭐⭐⭐⭐
The Last Graduate by Naomi Novik

This one was hampered a bit by being the middle book in the trilogy. It ends on a huge cliffhanger, and I spent most of the book looking forward to reading about what happens after they graduate, which won't come until book 3.

⭐⭐⭐ ½
The City We Became by N. K. Jemisin

The book starts off quite abstract as New York is "born" into a human body. Once we are introduced to the five boroughs of NY, also in human form, it becomes a lot easier to follow. Basically there's a big bad enemy trying to kill off New York (the city and the person) and the boroughs have to team up to try and stop them.

⭐⭐⭐⭐
Swordheart by T. Kingfisher

A housekeeper picks up a sword, which turns out to contain a swordsman who is obliged to protect its wielder.

The ending was a bit cheesy but otherwise a wholesome fantasy-romance book.

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Frederica by Georgette Heyer

At the old age of 24, Frederica Merriville has no plans on marriage of her own, and is instead keen to see her younger sister Charis matched with a husband worthy of her beauty. She enlists the help of a distant cousin, Alverstoke, to hold a ball to debut Charis into London society.

⭐⭐⭐⭐
The Grand Sophy by Georgette Heyer

Sophy bursts into her cousins' lives, all 5'9" of her, with a pet monkey, a parrot and a dog. Unlike the women in an Austen novel, she can handle horses, her father's finances, and even owns a pistol. Schemes and matchmaking attempts ensue.

⭐⭐⭐ ½
The Wicked King (The Folk of the Air #2) by Holly Black

I dunno, I didn't walk away from this one feeling anything in particular. But it wasn't horrible. I guess maybe the romance isn't as good as it could be.

⭐⭐⭐⭐
The Poppy War by Rebecca Kuang

Not sure how I feel about this one.

⭐⭐⭐⭐
Nevernight (The Nevernight Chronicle, #1) by Jay Kristoff

16 yr old Mia Corvere is a darkin - someone that has the ability to control shadows, and has a small shadow-cat as her familiar. She sets off on a journey to find assassin hogwarts so that she can train to take revenge on the people that killed her family.

⭐⭐⭐⭐
Aurora Rising by Amie Kaufman

As cadets graduate from Aurora Academy, they set off on their first missions across the galaxy in groups of six. Tyler, top of his class, is looking forward to take first pick of the graduates to put together his dream team, but ends up leading a bunch of misfits instead.

⭐⭐⭐⭐
The Raven Tower by Ann Leckie

The Raven Tower tells the story of a god who lives in a rock. These small gods take the forms of forests, animals and other entities and are sustained by the prayers and offerings from people.

⭐⭐⭐
The Shadows Between Us by Tricia Levenseller

I enjoyed how both the characters were kind of evil and willing to kill, although the ending turned into a sappy cringefest.

⭐⭐⭐⭐
Winter's Orbit by Everina Maxwell

Sci-fi with a side of romance. Jainan's husband Taam dies in an accident, and so he is quickly married off to Taam's cousin Kiem to maintain the treaty between their two planets. Turns out it's not an accident and a murder-mystery ensues.

⭐⭐⭐⭐
Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir

In this space fantasy novel, people belong to one of the nine Houses, which are spread out across nine different planets. The Emperor alone resides in the First House, and orders the Second through Ninth houses to send their necromancer and cavalier (the necromancer's bodyguard/swordsman) to his planet.

⭐⭐⭐⭐
Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid

The author is really good at writing about people and their relationships with others in a believable way. The ending was also very cathartic.

⭐⭐⭐⭐
A Deadly Education by Naomi Novik

A Deadly Education follows El (short for Galadriel) who is in her junior year at the magic school Sholomance. The school is a highly hazardous place. There are murderous creatures out to kill El and all her classmates, and even if you make it to graduation, there's an all-out bloodbath waiting for you when you try to leave the school grounds.

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
The Once and Future Witches by Alix E. Harrow

The suffragette movement, except instead of just looking for equal rights, women are taking back their long-forgotten witchcraft powers as well.

This felt really empowering to read!

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
The Sword of Kaigen: A Theonite War Story by M. L. Wang

An East Asian-inspired fantasy book, where each race has the ability to control an element - in the case of the Kaigenese (based off of the Japanese), it's the ability to wield water and ice.

⭐⭐⭐⭐
The Space Between Worlds by Micaiah Johnson

From the title and cover I actually thought this was some sort of YA-ish romance book (oops, probably getting confused with "The Space Between Us") but it's actually a decent soft sci-fi novel.

⭐⭐⭐⭐
Klara and the Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro

Similar to "Never Let Me Go", Ishiguro likes to do this sort of vaguely dystopian sci-fi where he doesn't quite flesh out all the details. I need answers, damnit!!

⭐⭐⭐
The Flatshare by Beth O'Leary

The main character was veeeeery quirky and I couldn't really deal with it. Maybe you'd enjoy it if you can relate to her character.

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir

I enjoyed Weir's first book about a science dude on Mars, but decided to give his second one a miss after hearing lackluster reviews about his attempt at a female protagonist.

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
A Memory Called Empire by Arkady Martine

I love a good sci-fi novel! The main character Mahit becomes the new ambassador for her small mining station and gets to fulfill her childhood dream of visiting the Empire. Of course there's one small problem in that her predecessor died under mysterious circumstances and a bunch of politics ensue.

⭐⭐⭐
House of Earth and Blood by Sarah J. Maas

Wow this was a wild ride.

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett

Beautifully written. Twin sisters run away from their home in the South. Both are black, but one goes on to pass as a white woman while the other eventually returns to her hometown.

⭐⭐⭐
A Million Miles in a Thousand Years by Donald Miller

A memoir/book about the author's experiences of helping to produce a film about his life. Miller is really good at painting himself as a very ordinary guy (slightly veering into pathetic/loser territory). Apparently he's also written a bestselling book. It's almost confusing - because I couldn't see why he's famous (from the way he writes about hi

⭐⭐⭐⭐
My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell

About a teacher grooming his student. It was actually quite explicit which made it really hard to read. It made my skin crawl. It felt disturbingly realistic as well - apparently it's based on the author's past experiences. The ending did feel quite abrupt.

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

A magazine writer is given the chance to have an exclusive interview with reclusive Hollywood star Evelyn Hugo. The question she sets out to answer - of her 7 husbands, which one did she love the most?

Don't be fooled by the Marilyn Monroe-esque cover or the story premise though - this book goes somewhere completely different.

⭐⭐⭐⭐
Paladin's Grace by T. Kingfisher

As a fantasy-romance book with under 3000 reviews, I was definitely hesitant to give this one a go (you can't trust Goodreads ratings!!). However I was pleasantly surprised and found it to be quite well-written.

⭐⭐⭐
The Midnight Library by Matt Haig

I accidentally started this book 70% of the way through (I must have accidentally tapped a chapter title from the index at the beginning and my kindle took me to it). I didn't even notice! I finished it, and thought "wow, that was so short".

⭐⭐⭐ ½
The Passengers by John Marrs

The book tries to explore the morality of self-driving cars (and who should die in case of an accident) but it felt fairly shallow. The main character gives fairly obvious arguments against the "evil" people who want autonomous cars to take over the road. I think at times the dialogue wasn't that great. The cringiest moment for me was when a socia

⭐⭐⭐⭐
The Rage of Dragons by Evan Winter

It reminds me a lot of "The Way of Kings" in that the main character is an underdog from a lower "class", who strives to become as strong as the warrior nobles (a feat considered impossible).

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

Kya, the "marsh girl", grows up alone in the swamps of North Carolina in the 1950s/60s. Intertwined with her coming-of-age story is the mysterious death of the popular Chase Andrews in 1969. The jumping back between the two storylines really kept me on the edge of my seat, wanting to hear more (I listened to this one as an audiobook).

⭐⭐⭐⭐
Verity by Colleen Hoover

This book was definitely a mindfuck. Docking a star because the sex scenes were super cringey. The dude has possessive vibes, sort of reminiscent of Edward from Twilight or the guy in Fifty Shades which I guess is what the people want these days? Also when Lowen tries to get pregnant, like you barely know the guy and his comatose wife is in the ho

⭐⭐⭐
Where the Forest Meets the Stars by Glendy Vanderah

Jo, a woman doing birds nest research in rural America, meets a girl who claims to be an alien sent down to witness 5 "miracles" before she returns home to her planet. She ends up co-parenting this child with neighbour Gabe, as they debate whether they should hand over the child to police.

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Persuasion by Jane Austen

A good Austen novel, but the real question is, is it better than Pride and Prejudice? I'm probably very biased having watched at least two movie adaptations of P&P, but I'd probably say no.

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer

Krakauer's probably best known for his book "Into the Wild". I'd also recently read his book about Mormonism, "Under the Banner of Heaven". However I had no idea he had first-hand experience climbing Mt Everest, in which multiple people on his expedition team died.

⭐⭐⭐⭐
Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen

This book didn't feel very romantic!

⭐⭐⭐⭐
A Promised Land by Barack Obama

Having also read Michelle Obama's recent memoir, I'm going to have to say I enjoyed her's more. She spoke from the heart and was a bit more personal. Barack's was a bit more of a play-by-play of his interactions with leaders across the world, and the work that goes into his policies (war in the middle east, affordable care act). Of course that was

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon

A solid fantasy book. The story follows the queen and her handmaiden (secretly a trained killer) in the west where dragons are hated, and a girl aspiring to become a dragon rider in the east, where dragons are revered.

⭐⭐⭐⭐
The Elements of Style by William Strunk

This book serves as a long list of do’s and don’ts when it comes to writing. As a native English speaker some of the advice I understood instinctively, while some was a lot harder to understand and/or hard to try and explain in a quick review like this one.

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Children of Time (Children of Time #1) by Adrian Tchaikovsky

Wow, this is the best book I've read all year (and I've read over 40 of them!) Definitely recommend reading it if you're into sci-fi.

If you haven't googled/seen a summary already - don't - I think this book is even better with that element of surprise.

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Boy Swallows Universe by Trent Dalton

Listened to the audiobook version, well narrated.

⭐⭐⭐⭐
Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead

One of those books about slavery and the treatment of Black people in America that is really hard to read, but worth reading.

⭐⭐⭐⭐
The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling

I almost gave up on this book 30 pages in because it felt like JK was trying to cram in 7 books worth of "adult" themes that she hadn't been able to do in Harry Potter. But then I kept reading.. and I got really hooked on all the characters, and before I knew it I had read the whole book in one sitting.

⭐⭐⭐⭐
The Left Hand of Darkness (Hainish Cycle, #4) by Ursula K. Le Guin

Plot tl;dr - the main character, Genly, is on a planet where everyone is is neither male or female. It reminds me of the Ancillary Justice series where everyone is referred to as a "she" (although this book came 40 years earlier!)

⭐⭐⭐⭐
Starsight (Skyward, #2) by Brandon Sanderson

A fun YA sci-fi book with some good world-building.

⭐⭐
The New Machiavelli by H.G. Wells

Wells had his own affair and this book was apparently partially based off that - I'm not sure if we're supposed to feel sympathetic as the main character and his mistress have a whole Romeo/Juliet "I can't bear to be parted from you and I might kill myself" moment because the guy is cheating on his wife! No sympathy for you sir!

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Becoming by Michelle Obama

Listened to the audiobook narrated by Michelle - definitely recommend!

Learnt a lot of things I didn't know about the Obamas. Feels super relevant as we come into the 2020 elections.

⭐⭐⭐⭐
Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell

I went into this one with a bit of scepticism, considering that the "10,000 hour rule" talked about in the book has been to a certain extent debunked.

I question some of the claims he makes, sometimes it didn't feel like there was enough evidence for what he was saying. But it did make for an interesting read!

⭐⭐⭐⭐
All Systems Red by Martha Wells

Pity it's only a novella. I think the most interesting part about this book was that the murderbot doesn't have a gender yet for the first half I was completely convinced it was a female - and if you go and read other reviews there's a good mix of referring to it as he or she.

⭐⭐⭐⭐
Vicious (Villains, #1) by V.E. Schwab

Two college students realise that they can gain super powers if they try and kill themselves, and manage to not die in the process.

⭐⭐⭐⭐
Normal People by Sally Rooney

A very melancholy "will they or won't they" book about two people dipping in and out of each other's lives. It could have been very frustrating, since a lot of their issues boil down to miscommunication but I think the author pulled off the reasons for their breakups really well.

⭐⭐⭐⭐
168 Hours by Laura Vanderkam

As the author rightly points out, most productivity books are written by men. It's good to see this book tackle things from a slightly different perspective - a woman who's trying to balance both her career ambitions as well as raising a family and running a household.

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Educated by Tara Westover

A very gripping memoir. I found the audiobook reader's voice grating at first, but her impressions of other people's voices were really good and I came to enjoy it.

⭐⭐⭐⭐
Pachinko by Min Jin Lee

A glimpse of the struggles and discrimination Koreans faced living in Japan, as well their struggle of trying to find an identity - never being accepted as Japanese, but not quite Korean either.

Dialog felt clunky towards the end, and the characters introduced in the last section felt more shallow and one dimensional.

⭐⭐⭐⭐
Ninth House (Alex Stern, #1) by Leigh Bardugo

Alex is a girl with an edgy dark past who can see ghosts. So she ends up at Yale with the job of watching over a bunch of rich kids in secret societies perform very unethical magic (e.g. operating on some random dude to tell the future).

⭐⭐⭐ ½
Nudge by Richard H. Thaler

3.5 stars - I wouldn't recommend you go out and read it, but it's not complete trash either.

⭐⭐⭐⭐ ½
The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

An interesting retelling of Achilles' story, focusing on his relationship with Patroclus. The Iliad itself doesn't outright mention any sort of romance between the two of them but interestingly, other ancient Greeks did interpret it as a romance. It's only more recently that people were keen to interpret their relationship as a friendship instead.

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

A pandemic kills off 99% of the world's population - an intense book to read during these COVID-19 times.

Instead of focusing on the immediate survival of humans, the book takes a longer term look at how humans try and find purpose and meaning in this new post-apocalyptic world.

⭐⭐⭐⭐
Great North Road by Peter F. Hamilton

Loved how the Angela's backstory (one of the main characters) was revealed throughout the book. The potential alien lurking throughout the book was pretty gripping too. The book was longer than it needed to be though.

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
The Golem and the Jinni (The Golem and the Jinni, #1) by Helene Wecker

A blend of historical fiction and fantasy. The book paints a vivid picture of the Syrian and Jewish neighborhoods of 1900s New York and then chucks in a jinni and a golem too.

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Words of Radiance (The Stormlight Archive, #2) by Brandon Sanderson

There was a lot more action in this than the first book (which I gave 4 stars).

⭐⭐⭐⭐
Under the Banner of Heaven by Jon Krakauer

A meandering look at the Mormon religion - its history, right from its founder Joseph Smith and his secret proclivities for polygamy, the founding of Utah, through to present-day Mormonism and its many offshoots (notably the fundamentalist Mormons who still practice polygamy). Krakaeur also makes a connection between some of the violence committed

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup by John Carreyrou

It's insane the amount of fraud that Theranos managed to pull off. Pretty compelling read.

⭐⭐⭐
Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

The main character is supposed to be the deadliest assassin, renowned and hated. And yet she easily gets two of her enemies to fall in love with her (I guess she's just that pretty?) and spends most of her time acting like a regular teenage girl, even becoming besties with a princess in the process.

⭐⭐⭐⭐
On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King

As someone who has only read one of King's books (the one on JFK's assassination) and is currently not aspiring to be a fiction author, I don't think I was the target reader for this book.

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
What I Talk About When I Talk About Running by Haruki Murakami

I wish it was a lot longer!

⭐⭐⭐⭐
Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro

Left slightly confused by some inconsistencies - seems like the donors at the hospital / recovery centres weren't treated as poorly as you would expect, considering that the Madame / Miss Emily mentioned how badly the students at other schools were being treated. Wonder if each patient getting their own room, carer etc. is cost-effective. Is raisi

⭐⭐
Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee

So Scout finds out that her dad Atticus is a racist, and she's not because she's "color blind" (but would never marry a black person so is she really) and then in the end she forgives him and all is well.

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
The Fifth Season by N. K. Jemisin

Set in a land where there's devastating earthquakes and societies either try and survive through the aftermath or end up dying out. There's magic users (Orogenes), who have the power to prevent these earthquakes and wield its power (as well as the life force of other people / nature). Even though they alone can keep the world from falling apart, u

⭐⭐⭐⭐
The Cruel Prince by Holly Black

After reading 4 Sarah J Maas books in a row, this felt a lot less stupid to read in comparison. Of course there's the whole "this guy is bullying me but secretly deep down it's because he had a crush on me" trope but I'mma roll with it. Jude makes dumb mistakes (like Lockey or whatever his name was) which you can see coming, but hey, she's still y

⭐⭐⭐ ½
To Sleep in a Sea of Stars by Christopher Paolini

The book wasn't horrific (I finished reading it!), but I've definitely read better sci-fi.

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Hidden Valley Road by Robert Kolker

Half of the Galvin family's 12 children (incl 10 boys!) have schizophrenia. A riveting read into the Galvin family, the toll schizophrenia takes, and the advances made in the research of schizophrenia over the last 50+ years.

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng

Really liked the contrast between Bebe - a Chinese immigrant who wants her biological child back from her new adoptive (white) parents, and Mia, who has essentially stolen and raised a child that she gave birth to, but was not biologically hers.

⭐⭐⭐
The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy

Not the biggest fan of this one. There was a lot of personal anecdotes but the way it was all written came across as a bit arrogant / egotistical. The author is a millionaire and successful businessman so if you're a fan of the guy himself then maybe it's worth reading, but otherwise no.

⭐⭐⭐ ½
A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas

Vaguely reminds me of New Moon where Bella switches from Edward to Jacob. I actually found it kind of hilarious how the first book hypes up the romance so much and then BAM she gets with another dude lmao. The author goes straight to painting the original romantic lead as a villain and it felt very one dimensional, like it completely removed him f

⭐⭐⭐⭐
A Court of Thorns and Roses (A Court of Thorns and Roses, #1) by Sarah J. Maas

I've seen some bad reviews for this one but since I went into it expecting a trashy romance novel its actually alright. The first half was better than the second half, I felt it dragged on once they were in the mountain and I just wanted to get that part over and done with.

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Greenlights by Matthew McConaughey

This works really well as an audiobook. McConaughey will shout, use Australian accents (actually quite well - I'm impressed) and at times it felt almost poetic.

At 6 hours in length, I think this would be way too short (and all over the place) to read as a conventional novel and I would probably dock it a star or two if I did.

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

Follows the story of two sisters living through Germany's invasion of France during WW2.

⭐⭐⭐⭐
The Essential Paradise Lost by John Carey

The author shortened the poem to about a third of its original length and added in some explanations / analysis along the way. Still pretty hard to read, I wish there was more analysis by the author so that I could better understand what was going on.

⭐⭐⭐⭐
Anna Karenina by Tolstoy

Really enjoyed the realism of the relationships portrayed (the good, the bad and the ugly) but have to remove a star because there's so much fluff in between about politics and farming that's nowhere near as fun to read.

⭐⭐⭐⭐
Stalling for Time by Gary Noesner

The author has had a very, very impressive career helping to champion the art of hostage negotiation within the FBI.

⭐⭐⭐⭐
American Prometheus by Kai Bird

I knew of the atomic bombings from the Japanese side but going into this book I didn't know about Oppenheimer (the "father of the atomic bomb") so I learnt a lot. However at 600 pages this book is very dense, which I guess serves its purpose as a very-detailed biography. I do wish it was a bit easier to read, though!

⭐⭐⭐⭐
Six of Crows (Six of Crows, #1) by Leigh Bardugo

A fun fantasy read about breaking in/out of a maximum security prison. It ended on a huge cliffhanger which is kind of frustrating. Won't be picking up the sequel but I might check out the Netflix series when it comes out.

⭐⭐⭐
The House of the Seven Gables by Nathaniel Hawthorne

Not sure that I'd recommend anyone to read it (there's better classic English literature out there) but it was interesting. My favourite part was the way the judge's death was described at the end.

⭐⭐⭐⭐
I'll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman's Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer by Michelle McNamara

Tragic that the author wasn't alive to see the killer found. Wish the book could've included more info about the killer and how he was linked to Michelle's theories.

⭐⭐⭐
A Court of Wings and Ruin (A Court of Thorns and Roses, #3) by Sarah J. Maas

Idk, felt so cheap that Rhys got to come back to life in exactly the same way Fayre did. Surely some of the other high lords would've preferred to have him dead??

⭐⭐⭐⭐
Their Lost Daughters by Joy Ellis

Quite pleasant to listen to as a free audiobook on Audible. Nothing amazing though. Detective/murder mystery-type book. You could see some of the twists coming.

⭐⭐⭐⭐
Collapse by Jared Diamond

The book explores the rise/fall of a bunch of different societies. I found most interesting the bits about the people on Easter Island and the Norse in Greenland. Took me a fair while (2 weeks) to get through this one, a bit of a long read.

⭐⭐⭐⭐
Billion Dollar Loser: The Epic Rise and Spectacular Fall of Adam Neumann and WeWork by Reeves Wiedeman

I found this didn't grip me as much as Bad Blood did (the book about Theranos, another dodgy startup with a charismatic founder). Probably because the stakes were lower and they actually did have a real product (albeit one that's not really profitable).

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
2001: A Space Odyssey (Space Odyssey, #1) by Arthur C. Clarke

I found the movie really slow and boring at times, this book was definitely a lot better!!

⭐⭐⭐⭐ ½
Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief by Lawrence Wright

A detailed look into the history of Scientology. Honestly scary how much they can get away with without the US government being able to do anything. E.g. all the stalking they do to try and get people who leave to come back, or how they abuse their followers (technically willingly, but cmon they're basically brainwashed).

⭐⭐⭐⭐
The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab

A fun read, I devoured it in one sitting. Not sure I'm super keen on the ending though.

⭐⭐⭐⭐
Secondhand Time by Svetlana Alexievich

Pretty intense book, composed entirely of people's accounts of living in the USSR during its collapse. It took me a while to get into it, and I felt it got better / more interesting / easier to read about a third or a half of the way in.

⭐⭐⭐ ½
Gods of Jade and Shadow by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

I read it one sitting so it wasn't completely bad, but I wasn't convinced by the romance subplot, I don't think the main character had enough going for her that a god would fall in love with her? I also didn't really connect with most of the characters because we didn't really get a chance to know them, only on a surface level.

⭐⭐⭐⭐
Old Man's War by John Scalzi

A quick, fun sci-fi read with a unique concept (people over 75 choosing to become soldiers). The dialogue felt a bit wooden which made it harder to feel any attachment to the characters, and there's the cliche of the seemingly ordinary main character being really good at everything he does which comes across as forced and unrealistic.

⭐⭐⭐
The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami

I've enjoyed some of Murakami's other books but this one just didn't grab me. The main character's friendship with the underaged girl kind of creeped me out too.

⭐⭐⭐⭐
Flowers For Algernon by Daniel Keyes

I think this book got over-hyped for me from all the Goodreads reviews. Good concept, straightforward writing. It's sad but not that sad.

⭐⭐⭐
Atomic Habits by James Clear

The author acknowledges that Atomic Habits builds upon some of the content laid out in The Power of Habit, and so if you had to pick one of the two to read, this one is not it!

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
My Year of Rest and Relaxation by Ottessa Moshfegh

The main character has a year of rest and relaxation - by bingeing on pills that let her sleep for days at a time, only waking up to eat and watch TV.

⭐⭐⭐⭐
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

I wouldn't go into the Night Circus expecting a lot of action or a well-explained magic system, it's a lot more vague than that. But I did enjoy the author's writing style and the mysterious/magical vibe I got from reading it.

⭐⭐⭐⭐ ½
Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari

I got a bit bored partway through, and it took me a couple of months to come back and finish it off. Most interesting part for me was how a lot of things in human society are imaginary (like money, the concept of a company, etc) but we all buy into them being real, and so that's what makes it "real".

⭐⭐⭐⭐
This Is How You Lose the Time War by Amal El-Mohtar

Letters between two time-traveling agents on opposite sides of a war. It started out really slow and I didn't really see the point of it but everything came together towards the end. I preferred the parts of the book that weren't letters and were proper descriptions of what was happening.

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi

In a way you can't not like this book because it's a memoir about someone's final years on earth, but it is well-written. Especially considering that the author passed away before he finished it, the editors did a good job of turning into a "finished" product.

⭐⭐⭐⭐
Stories of Your Life and Others by Ted Chiang

Short story anthology. I really loved Ted's other book of short stories so I decided to give this one a read. These contain his earlier works (from the 90s) as well as the short story that inspired the acclaimed sci-fi movie Arrival.

⭐⭐⭐⭐
Three Moments of an Explosion: Stories by China Miéville

Some of the short stories were great, others not so much.

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Circe by Madeline Miller

Basically like a Greek mythology version of Wicked.

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
She-Wolves: The Women Who Ruled England Before Elizabeth by Helen Castor

I don't read much historical nonfiction but this was a fun one!

⭐⭐⭐⭐
The Power by Naomi Alderman

Giving it a 4 for the concept (what happens when women gain the ability to electrocute people, and become the dominant gender?) but unfortunately the characters were boring and hard to engage with and the ending was a bit disappointing.

⭐⭐⭐⭐
JANE EYRE by CHARLOTTE BRONTE

On first thoughts I gave this book a 3/5 but I've revised it to a 4/5 - Mr Rochester is a mostly unappealing romantic lead with his age gap and his clinginess (especially in comparison to Jane Austen's Mr Darcy), but it's kind of amazing that Charlotte Brontë wrote something like this as a woman in the 19th century.

⭐⭐⭐⭐
Manson by Jeff Guinn

Was a bit dry at times, not as gripping as Guinn's other biography for Jim Jones.

⭐⭐⭐
The Familiars by Stacey Halls

Women in the 17th century did not live a good life! Kind of depressing to read how weak the main character is.

⭐⭐⭐⭐
Provenance by Ann Leckie

I wish the author would dive a bit deeper into the culture of the different races, but it was still a fun (albeit quick) read.

⭐⭐
The One Thing by Gary Keller

It irritated me that the author always wrote "the ONE Thing" and then you'd have to see that phrase like 10 times on the one page.

⭐⭐⭐⭐
Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë

The only thing I knew going into reading Wuthering Heights was that it was some sort of love story with a guy named Heathcliff. Unfortunately Heathcliff is a pretty terrible person and there is a love story but it's very tragic. Overall though it is impressive that Emily Brontë managed to write something like this in 19th century England.

⭐⭐⭐ ½
Foundryside by Robert Jackson Bennett

The main character felt a bit cliche (sad backstory but they're an emotionally hardened badass now) and I didn't really enjoy the writing style, especially at the start.

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
The Scar (New Crobuzon, #2) by China Miéville

The first 50 pages were boring but once it got going I couldn't put it down. Great plot, writing - the shit this guy thinks up of is amazing.

⭐⭐⭐⭐
Out of the Silent Planet (The Space Trilogy, #1) by C.S. Lewis

For a sci-fi book published in the 1930s, it has aged very well! Didn't realise CS Lewis wrote sci-fi. Very short book, my favourite part was the Hrossa (otter people).

⭐⭐⭐
Blood Meridian, or the Evening Redness in the West by Cormac McCarthy

Super super violent (people and animals dying everywhere) and McCarthy's writing style is hard to read (as expected). It's the sort of book that they'd get you to read in an English class - it's probably going to be considered as a classic, but it wasn't super enjoyable for me to read.

⭐⭐⭐
Getting Things Done by David Allen

I've read about GTD online before and found it interesting but the actual book was pretty dry and boring to read.

⭐⭐⭐ ½
Picnic at Hanging Rock by Joan Lindsay

Decided to pick this one up because it's considered an Australian classic - buts it's more a classic in the sense that it was really popular when it was published, not really because it's groundbreaking in any way. Giving it somewhere between a 3 and a 4, but bumping it down to a 3 because while I did enjoy it, I wouldn't recommend anyone go out o

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
The Road to Jonestown by Jeff Guinn

Really in-depth, the author did his research. If you were ever curious where the American phrase "drinking the kool-aid" comes from, it comes from Jim Jones managing to convince 1000 of his followers to move to South America and kill themselves via drinking kool-aid laced with poison.

⭐⭐⭐
The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

Religious self-help book disguised as a fiction novel.

⭐⭐⭐⭐
The Way of Kings (The Stormlight Archive, #1) by Brandon Sanderson

Great writing, but frustrating to spend 75% of the book waiting for something to happen.

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini

One of those books that are really depressing but really beautiful at the same time.

⭐⭐⭐⭐
Red Rising (Red Rising Saga, #1) by Pierce Brown

Starts off with a cliche "chosen one" plotline and none of the female characters have any value beyond acting as a love interest for the protagonist but otherwise an entertaining read.

⭐⭐⭐
The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood

Elderly Canadian narrator who describes her (overall depressing) life growing up in the 20th century as a woman in upper class society. The ending was beautiful but it really dragged on in the middle.

⭐⭐⭐⭐
The Last Wish by Andrzej Sapkowski

Definitely worth reading if you're a fan of the games. Felt a bit biased towards liking it since I already know the characters, might not have enjoyed it as much otherwise.

⭐⭐⭐
Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson

Cool world building, but if you're going to sexualize the main female character so much I don't understand why the author didn't make her older than 15.

⭐⭐⭐⭐
The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie

Can't say I thought it was good as some of Christie's other books (Death on the Nile, And Then There Were None) but the reveal of the murderer at the end was unexpected (as it always is!)

⭐⭐⭐ ½
Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn

Somewhere in between 3 and 4 stars, it was readable but none of the main characters were likeable.

⭐⭐⭐⭐
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

It was a decent book (although you could tell it's YA and not adult fiction) but I didn't think it was super amazing or noteworthy. Super tugging on the heart strings with the death and all that but at the same time I felt a bit cynical/sceptical about it all.

⭐⭐⭐
Dark Matter by Blake Crouch

Cool concept but I was expecting a proper sci-fi novel, instead it was more of an action novel.

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