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Recent Reads | Mini-Reviews & A Surprise Favourite

Since 2020 ended on a rather busy note, I never ended up doing mini-reviews for some of the books I read in the last quarter. So, today I’m catching up!

I’m always a fan of the BookTuber recent reads videos so I thought I’d do a blog post with a few mini-reviews of some of my recent reads myself. Let me know if you prefer these kinds of blog posts over in-depth reviews too! In this one, I’ll be trying to keep them short and sweet.

To avoid having to spiel the synopsis, please click on the book cover to be redirected to the Goodreads page 🙂

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Crown of Coral & Pearl by Mara Rutherford

Rating: 4 out of 5.

I had this book on my TBR for ages and I finally got to it on audio in 2020! I really liked the narrator of this one and I really enjoyed the story. It was so unique and original, with solid world-building and the best thing about it was the sisterly and family love from the main characters. This novel definitely surprised me; I did not expect certain twists (although I kinda saw the ending coming) and most of the important characters were distinct and fleshed out. The writing style was so easy to read, fit the concept and the YA audience perfectly. My only criticism is that the book felt like it was dragging a bit towards the middle and the ending was a bit predictable but I liked that it promised more exploration of this world in the next book. Best thing about this one would be its originality – I’m not sure if I’ll pick up the sequel but it was a fun audiobook to listen to for sure.

Please note: since the following are sequels, to avoid spoilers; all hyperlinks redirect you to the Goodreads page of the first book ‘The Bone Season’.

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The Mime Order by Samantha Shannon

Rating: 4 out of 5.

So, I finally read The Mime Order because I love The Bone Season yet haven’t continued the series. With The Mask Falling coming out very soon, end of 2020 I decided, it is time to finally read these sequels! As always, I really enjoyed Samantha’s writing and world-building. It’s so unique and interesting and I really had no idea where the story was going to go from The Bone Season’s ending. I really did enjoy this one but, to be honest, I was feeling anxious while reading this 95% of the time. I think it all comes down to the fact that Paige is constantly doing risky dangerous things I personally wouldn’t go through with and it physically makes me anxious because I’m so unsure of what’s going to happen next. Let’s just say (without spoiling) that the state of affairs is generally quite dire and that level of stress wasn’t super enjoyable for me, especially when this book is quite LONG at over 500 pages.

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The Song Rising by Samantha Shannon (RATING: 4.75/5)

Rating: 5 out of 5.

The latest book in the series, while still stress-inducing in many instances, was a lot more digestible and so great to read. It was shorter, had more plot twists and plot development than I could imagine and I could really appreciate the subtle relationships and Paige’s character development as she becomes a great leader. The ending was pretty crazy and it definitely hyped me up for the Mask Falling to the point that I pre-ordered the beauty. In general, I’m a huge fan of this series and I’d highly recommend it to anyone who’s a big fan of complex urban fantasies.

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Catherine House by Elisabeth Thomas (RATING: 4.75/5)

Rating: 5 out of 5.

As you may have seen in my ‘Best Book of 2020’ post, this was my most surprising read of 2020. I read this for Yasminthereader’s book club and I did not expect to love this book as much as I did. It was so mysterious and intriguing; the main character was also so detached – I did not like her at all, but somehow it made for a delightful combination and I just couldn’t put this down. I had to keep reading and try to figure out what Catherine House really was all about. The ending was ambiguous and will totally be controversial (love or hate) but I really liked that as it just embodied the whole drowsy, mysterious feel of the novel. It may not be your cup of tea but I really enjoyed this and I’d recommend anyone to give it a go if they’re a fan of mystery/thrillers and of course, the dark academia style and atmosphere.

I didn’t give it a full 5 stars, despite the satisfying ending, purely because I really disliked the main character but thoroughly enjoyed the writing and plot.

So, what you read recently? Have you previously read any of the books I’ve mentioned? Let me know in the comments 🙂

Until next time,

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  • Jorie

    Hallo, Hallo Tracy,

    One of my New Year Resolutions is to be a better follower and engage with the book bloggers who are ones I enjoy following and reading. *waves!* You’re book photo at the top of this post was lovely – I want to re-explore using book photos myself and vlog videos via Canva for Twitter as I did a few of those last Spring and have some fun with them. 🙂 Tonight, though – I wanted to address your Q?

    I liked how you spoke about each of the stories and gave your reactions to them – I have contemplated doing shorter reviews myself but whenever I approach the concept they become lengthened nearly outright because for whichever reason I blog better in length and I think in longer form, too. I love reading short stories and novellas but as a writer I can honestly say I do not excel at short form fiction; which is why I think short posts fail me! You should see my TTTs!! lol

    When you talked about ‘Crown of Coral and Pearl’ I was nodding my head because I’m constantly lamenting online (on my blog, others blogs or on Twitter) that a narrator can either make/break a book!! Seriously – it boils down to how they articulate the story, the concept and if they can pull us in emotionally to connect to the character(s) as we might have if we read a print copy instead. I heart audiobooks now — took me a bit to get settled into them but like you, if I find a wicked good narrator — its golden! 🙂

    I love Mythological retells – a credit I give to my friend Louise @foxesfairytales for hosting @Mythothon every year… she nudged me and I haven’t looked back at this hidden literary niche!! I mean,.. its like a whole new area of lit to explore! So, being this one is about mermaids and in a fantastical world, I’ll see if Scribd or my library has the audio and I’ll come back after I sample it a bit to let you know if I gave it a full go or found it wasn’t my cuppa.

    Aye! In regards to recent reads – you’ll have to see my End of the Year Survey – it is a quickfire way of getting to know me as a book blogger, find out how my 2020 went in regards to books and you can click into the author interviews and/or guest features (at the end of it) to gauge why I love hosting authors so much!! 🙂 I even gave out some book awards, and 2x of them were for my favourite narrators of the year!! Eek. Truly exciting this week to start 2021 on better footing than January 2020.

    Now off to find one of your longer reviews,.. keep finding the stories which resonate with you! And, have a very wickedly Happy New Year!!

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