Reading Wrap Up: April – June 2021

Hi! It’s been a minute since I posted here. The last few months have been really busy for me. I was in the final stretch of my undergrad degree and had a lot of work due. Right now I’m just waiting on the final confirmation of my grades, and then I’ll officially be able to say that I’m a university graduate! 

I didn’t get as much reading done as I would’ve liked, but at this point I think it’s safe to say that that’s a constant in my life. As always, I’m going to go through the books that I read in the order that I read them and share some brief thoughts on them. I won’t split it up by month because I don’t want to, time to me recently has felt like it all runs together so I might as well write out this post as if that really is the case. Also, I reread almost the entire Grishaverse during my time away from blogging, so heads up in advance of the full wrap up that that’s what’s going to be dominating it. I regret nothing. Except maybe how large and overdue my arc pile has gotten. Oops.

Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

Rating: 4 out of 5.

I’ve reviewed this book before here. I pretty much still agree with that review. It’s a solid start to the trilogy and a good starting point for getting to know the world, but it’s also Bardugo’s worst book. She improves with every installment and watching that progression is so great to see! The love triangle aspect bothered me less this time around, mainly because I’ve made the decision to stop viewing the Darkling as a love interest at all. He’s emotionally manipulative, yes, and Alina stops being interested in him the moment she finds out what he’s up to, regardless of any lingering and unwanted attraction she has through the rest of the series. Being attracted to someone on some level and wanting to do something about that attraction are very different things, and Alina stops wanting to do something about her attraction to the Darkling very quickly.

Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Nikolai my beloved 💜 The first section of this book is about a pirate (sorry, privateer) crew, and most of the rest of it is about politics and political maneuvering. This is probably my favourite out of the trilogy!

Monthly Girls’ Nozaki-kun vol. 2 by Izumi Tsubaki

Rating: 5 out of 5.

This series remains excellent and super queer friendly! I definitely need to read more of it soon!

Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Apparently unpopular opinion incoming, but I like the way this book ends. I really like how this book ends. One day I might put together a long post of all my thoughts on the ending of this book, because this certainly isn’t the place for it, but what I will say now is that if you think that Alina should’ve ended up with the Darkling and/or chosen power then congratulations on missing the point I guess. You’re valid and you’re wrong 💜

The Lives of Saints by Leigh Bardugo

Rating: 5 out of 5.

I got the Illumicrate edition of this back in October, so it was great to finally read it! The stories were really interesting and the illustrations were beautiful. It’s not required reading for this universe by any means, but I’m really glad to have read it and it definitely adds to the experience, especially later on when the saints have more prominence in the story.

These Feathered Flames by Alexandra Overy

Rating: 4 out of 5.

I was part of a blog tour for this book, and you can find my tour stop here. I enjoyed this book a lot! I liked both of the main characters, I liked the slow development of both of their romantic subplots (one of which is developing so slowly that it might not even necessarily be romantic, by the end of the book it could honestly go either way), and I love the magic system. I’ll definitely be reading the sequel when it comes out.

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

Rating: 5 out of 5.

What is there to say about this book that hasn’t already been said? It’s great, it deserves its hype, and Bardugo’s permanent switch to third person from here on out improves her writing tremendously.

Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo

Rating: 5 out of 5.

I wanted to get through it so I could move on to King of Scars, so I spent the day walking around town listening to the audiobook. It was a good day! This was my favourite Grishaverse book for a reason! I now know that a lot of it sets up the events of the Nikolai dulology, and it’s very impressive that Bardugo manages to do this without it being obvious that that’s what she’s doing. Also, shout out to Kaz and Inej in the bathroom and Kaz on the stairs. If you’ve read the book you know what I’m talking about. Those scenes are highlights of my life.

A Film – Philosophy of Ecology and Enlightenment by Rupert Read

Rating: 1 out of 5.

I get to count this because I had to read this whole book twice. This book was written by one of my lecturers, and for his module that I took this past semester he assigned the entirety of his book as the sole reading. And while I respect (some of) his philosophical analysis, he has some truly terrible takes. He sings the praises of known white saviour narrative James Cameron’s Avatar, he makes a snide comment about Keira Knightley finally playing a role suited to her because the character she was playing had the potential to annoy the audience (because God forbid a female character be flawed and make mistakes), and he said that if you don’t feel any love for Denethor from The Lord of the Rings then you’ve missed the philosophical point of the series. There aren’t many fictional characters that I despise so much that I don’t trust people who like them, but Denethor is one of those characters. I found out kinda late in the semester while talking to a friend about Read’s bad takes on films that he’s been publicly transphobic, so I guess my don’t trust people who like Denethor rule has been proven right. Anyway, I got to spend a large amount of my essay for this module directly arguing with one of his terrible points (according to him the only reason why HAL ‘malfunctioned’ is because he was in space, and he was so confident of this idea that he put it in his book and dedicated a large chunk of the lecture to it) and I got to say trans rights while doing so. I got a good grade on the essay.

King of Scars by Leigh Bardugo

Rating: 5 out of 5.

I’d only remembered a little from last time I read this, which is what had prompted this whole reread in the first place. I wasn’t going to be able to read the next book without first rereading this one, and if I was going to reread this one then I might as well do that big reread that I’d wanted to do ahead of the Netflix show coming out. I really enjoyed rereading this, and my five star rating from when I read it the first time still stands! It’s around about this book that my thoughts on the Grishaverse start to turn from this is a series that I enjoy to these books feel comfortable and I live here now, and once a series goes from A to B for me it takes a Lot for me to turn against it. Bardugo has my trust at this point.

Magia Record vol. 1 by Fujino Fuji & Magica Quartet

Rating: 5 out of 5.

I love the Puella Magi franchise. I live in the UK, so I wasn’t able to play the Magia Record mobile game while it was available in English. This manga is an adaptation of the game, just like the anime is an adaptation of the game, so it and the anime are very different. I’m liking both versions! Though Iroha seems to have more personality in the manga. I still only vaguely know what the actual plot is though, but I think that I just need to accept that I’m not going to understand what’s going on for a long time.

Rule of Wolves by Leigh Bardugo

Rating: 5 out of 5.

This is quite possibly my new favourite book in the entire Grishaverse series. I was constantly sending snippets to my partner as I read because I was loving it so much. If I elaborate on this any more then I’ll probably end up writing a whole essay, and that’s not something that I want to be doing in a wrap up. There’s a non-zero chance that I’ll end up rereading this book sometime soon.

Scott Pilgrim vol. 1: Scott Pilgrim’s Precious Little Life by Bryan Lee O’Malley

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Scott Pilgrim vs the World is one of my favourite movies, and I’ve owned the graphic novels for a while now so it’s about time I picked them up. This first volume is alright. Some aspects of it haven’t aged well. I suspect it’s going to be one of those things where I prefer the adaptation.

Skullduggery Pleasant: Dead or Alive by Derek Landy

Rating: 2 out of 5.

Remember how I said that once I start to feel comfortable in a book series’ world then it takes a lot for me to turn against it? Yeah. I know what my bullshit threshold is now, because Landy has shown it to me. I’ve been very patient for four books, and this one was the breaking point. I will still be reading the last book in the series. I’ve come too far not to see it through. I would still wholeheartedly recommend the original nine books (plus extras) because those are still great and aren’t diminished by the direction the series went in since its revival, but this? This is not a good book.

And that’s it! That’s all the books that I read in April, May, and June! Like I said at the top of this post, yes I mostly reread the Grishaverse, but there are a couple of other things dotted in there too! Have you read any of these? What did you think of them?

About the Blogger

El is a 21 year old from the UK who loves to read and loves talking about what they read. They particularly like to focus on books featuring lgbtq+ main characters.

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