NOVEMBER WRAP-UP

I can’t process a couple of things about this wrap-up. The first is that it’s already the end of November?? It seems impossible that we’re weeks away from Christmas now and, although I’m very excited about that, it’s also terrifying to think about… The second thing I can’t process about this wrap-up is that I read EIGHT books this month. EIGHT. As in: double what I read last month. So happy to have had such a good reading month and crossing my fingers that I don’t find myself slumping in December to make up for it!

Anyway, I read a lot of great books this month and I’m very excited to talk about all of them.

First up is Only a Monster by Vanessa Len – This was my first read of NetGalley November and I absolutely loved it. It took the villain protagonist trope very literally and I loved how conflicted I felt about 90% of what happened. Although it took me a while to get into it, it was very much worth the read. 4/5

Lock the Doors by Vincent Ralph – This was a very quick and easy thriller read. Sadly not one of my favourite books of the month as it was a little jumpy and I didn’t find myself overly invested, but it was still a fun read with an interesting protagonist, and it definitely got better towards the end. 2.5/5

Jade Fire Gold by June CL Tan – This is an absolute MUST read for YA fantasy lovers. It’s definitely similar in many ways to a lot of other fantasy books out there right now, but it was still a unique and impressive read with characters that I loved, incredible world building and some very dramatic climactic scenes. My favourite book of the month, for sure. 5/5

After the Rain by Natalia Gomes – Unfortunately, I didn’t love this book. It’s been on my TBR for a while and I made myself read it for Netgalley November, but I didn’t connect with the characters or their friendship as much as I hoped I would. The author does handle sensitive topics very well and I did appreciate the characters’ journeys towards recovery, but that was sadly the only thing I really enjoyed about it. 2/5

Heartstopper Volume 1 by Alice Oseman – I was starting to feel a little intimidated by my TBR this month so decided to take a break and read a fun graphic novel instead. This book is so sweet and so worth the hype, and I’ll definitely be picking up the next few volumes asap. 4/5

If This Gets Out by Cale Dietrich and Sophie Gonzales – This is a sweet contemporary read about two members of a world famous boy band who fall in love, and how they deal with the complications of it. It seemed really genuine in its portrayal of their relationship, and handled some other sensitive topics with the side characters as well. Although not my usual genre, I did really enjoy it. 3.5/5

Hotel Magnifique by Emily J Taylor – This book is more my style than anything else on this list. It gave off major Caraval vibes and I instantly fell in love with both of the main characters. It reads as slightly younger YA and I’m definitely above the YA target audience, but the setting was very well-developed, the story was fun and it was perfect as a quick, escapist read. 4/5

Finally, The Girls are Never Gone by Sarah Glenn Marsh – such a fun read. It has ghosts, it has a creepy mansion, it has romance, it has influencers. The YA horror vibes reminded me of Anna Dressed in Blood (which is one of my all time FAVES) and I devoured this book in basically one sitting. It was definitely a little cliched at times but, to be honest, that kind of made me enjoy it more… 4/5

And that’s it!… phew. I’d love to hear what you think of any of the above, and what your favourite book of the month was! All best wishes for a good reading month in December ❤

OCTOBER WRAP-UP

It’s officially my last post of Blogtober!!!! And officially my last post of my crazy schedule of one post every 48 hours! Super happy with all the blogging achievements I’ve had this month and I’m very excited to hopefully pick up a much more regular schedule going forwards – wish me luck on that🍀 


But enough on blogging… In terms of reading, it’s really just been an okay month! The books have been pretty good, and all very quick, but I’ve been so busy with other things that I only finished four. I’ve got my fingers crossed for a better NetGalley-November!


Anyway, the books I read this month were:


Dead Lucky – this was a fun murder mystery about influencer lifestyles gone wrong, and how you shouldn’t trust everything you see online. I didn’t love it as much as I hoped I would and found some bits a little too caricature-ish but it was a very fun and quick read with a plot twist and a lot of suspense – 3/5 (if you want to check out my review, you can do so right here)


The Devil Makes Three – dark academia horror may be one of my new favourite things! I feel like I haven’t stopped talking about this book since I finished it, because it’s quite unlike what I usually read, and I definitely want to find more books in this same genre. It was a dark, creepy horror set in a cursed library, and it was completely perfect for Spooktober – 4/5 (if you want to check out my review, you can do so right here)


You’ll Be the Death of Me – I’m convinced that Karen McManus books can do no wrong. Although sometimes they’re a little cliche, and they follow a lot of similar tropes, they’re always so quick, fun and full of twists, and You’ll Be The Death of Me was no different. It was perfect to get me out of my mid-month slump, and I’d fully recommend – 4/5 (if you want to check out my review, you can do so right here)


How We Fall Apart – in the same vein as You’ll Be The Death of Me, this is another fast-paced, high-school murder mystery thriller. It was twisty, fun and contained some surprisingly complex characters, and the constant jumping between timeframes kept me on my toes all the way through. I’d definitely recommend – 4/5 (review to come!)

And that’s it! Let me know what your favourite read of the month was in the comments, and best of luck for a great month of reading in November 🙂

NOVEMBER TBR

October’s nearly over! I’m struggling to comprehend the fact that it’s almost November, but I’m also super excited for the colder weather, the Christmas books and movies, and curling up with a million Costa Gingerbread Lattes (no spon, I’m just obsessed…).

This month has absolutely not been the best reading month for me and I’m cramming to finish a fourth book by month end but, as always, I’m overly optimistic about how much reading I’m going to get done in November. So, without further ado, my November TBR:

The Girls Are Never Gone by Sarah Glenn Marsh – this book has been living rent-free in my mind since I first discovered it and, honestly, the fact I haven’t already bought and read a copy is a crime. I’m hoping it will be a fun, easy read, and a good way to keep Spooktober going past October 31st

If This Gets Out by Sophie Gonzales and Cale Dietrich – I’ve been reading exclusively horror/thriller/dark fantasy books for the last month, and this one looks like a really interesting change of pace. I’m hoping for an adorable whirlwind read and have my fingers crossed that this will live up to my high expectations.

Jade Fire Gold by June CL Tan – if you’ve seen this on my TBR for like four months now, pretend you haven’t. And also please convince me to read it. It looks incredible and I’m pretty sure it’s going to be a five-star read when I finally get round to it but, for some reason, I just keep getting distracted by other things! This month will hopefully be the month I finally start it.

Dark and Shallow Lies by Ginny Myers Sain – maybe I’m not ready to move away from the spooky vibes of my October TBR because I know that this is a dark, creepy thriller but it’s also my number one priority on my November TBR. It looks like a quick, fun, mysterious read and I’m hoping I can devour the whole thing in one sitting.

It’s Behind You by Kathryn Foxfield – I actually have no idea what this book is about, oops, but I bought it because I loved Good Girls Die First and it looks like it has the same creepy tone. If you’ve read it, I’d love to hear what you thought!

And that’s it. Let me know which book you’re most excited to read in November, and if there are any November new releases that you’re looking forward to picking up!

10 Dark Reads For Halloween

Here I am, once again, coming at you with books to read on Halloween!

One of the first ever posts I made on Rarely in Reality was Halloween Book Recommendations and, in honour of the fact that today is my two year Blogiversary, I thought I’d recreate it. So, without further ado, here’s my top 10 dark book recommendations for reading next weekend:

Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake – this book was definitely featured on my Halloween recs post two years ago, but it’s too good not to include again. It’s an incredible YA thriller/horror/romance with a heart-crushing sequel and I definitely cannot recommend it enough.

Slasher Girls and Monster Boys by April Genevieve Tucholke – I will never shut up about this anthology, and one of the best things about it is that there is a story for everyone. There’s so much variation in this collection and so many incredible authors that, even if one or two of the stories are not to your taste, there will be a story that you absolutely love. And at least one that scares the life out of you.

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin – Any book that features a sleepover in an abandoned asylum and a girl who can kill creatures with her mind deserves a place on my Halloween recommendations list. This is dark, creepy and one of my favourite series’ ever – and also features your next fictional crush, Noah Shaw.

Good Girls Die First by Kathryn Foxfield – A YA horror set on an abandoned pier with a creepy magical presence, a group of suspicious teens and a mysterious invitation is also the perfect book to curl up with on Halloween. It’s a really easy standalone with the kind of scene-setting that makes you nervous to read while home alone.

The Shadow in the Glass by JJA Harwood – This one’s a little different to the others on the list in that it’s not exactly horror, but it’s just as deserving of a spot on your TBR. It’s a very gothic and creepy Cinderella retelling with a morally corrupt protagonist and a fair amount of gruesome deaths so, if fantasy is more your thing than straight-up horror, this could be the book for you.

In the Ravenous Dark by AM Strickland – or this one! This is another fantasy where the author does not shy away from gore. It’s got an excess of dark magic, a royal setting and plenty of untrustworthy characters, and it’s one of the first books that comes to mind when I think of genuinely dark YA.

Survive the Night by Riley Sager – the first and only non-YA book on this list, this adult thriller is dark, unpredictable and very fast-paced. It’s got a completely unreliable, grieving narrator, a mysterious stranger and an overnight car journey that could go wrong in a million ways. Though it’s definitely more thriller than horror, it’s perfectly creepy for Halloween.

Kingdom of the Wicked by Kerri Maniscalco – A YA fantasy about beautiful princes of Hell, a sacrifice and a vengeful, witchy protagonist. I think everyone knows about this book at this point and it’s not exactly a niche recommendation, but it definitely deserves a spot on your TBR if you haven’t already read it.

The Devil Makes Three by Tori Bovalino – a very recent addition to this list, since I only read this book earlier this month! It’s a dark academia horror with a haunted library, gruesome violence and a demon that resides in an old grimoire. It’s very traditional YA horror and a straight-forward choice for reading on Halloween.

The Last Girl by Goldy Moldavsky – if you’re into horror films and looking for something more along the lines of your favourite slashers, this could be a great option. With a film buff protagonist who’s obsessed with horror movies and gore, a group of disturbed outcast teens and a masked stalker, this is another obvious choice to curl up with on a dark and stormy night…

And that’s it! I’d love to hear your favourite Halloween recommendations, so please let me know in the comments what go-to read for October 31st 🙂

OCTOBER TBR

Happy October! I had a pretty good reading month in September and I’m crossing my fingers for an even better (and scarier) reading month in October. My TBR isn’t quite as spooky as I initially planned, but there are definitely some dark YA fantasies in the mix that I’m excited to read.

Without further ado, my October TBR:

The Devil Makes Three by Tori Bovalino – if you saw this on my September TBR, pretend you didn’t… I started it last month and am loving it so far so will definitely get round to finishing it this month. And it’s a horror-y enough way to start my spooky October reading.

Steelstriker by Marie Lu– I’ve ordered two copies of this to buddy read with my fiancé and I can. not. wait. Every Marie Lu book I’ve ever read has been amazing and I really loved Skyhunter, so I’ve been anticipating this one for EVER.

Only a Monster by Vanessa Len– a dark fantasy romance about monsters is exactly what I wanted to read this month and Harper approving my request on NetGalley just in time seems like a sign that I need to read it ASAP. This seems like a pretty unique edition to a super fun genre and I’m really excited to check it out.

Year of the Reaper by Makiia Lucier – Having just loved Defy the Night (a story about a royal court, an apocalyptic plague and an unexpected romance), this book with all the same tropes seems pretty perfect. I’m super excited to start this one and hope that it lives up to my very high expectations.

All of Us Villains by Amanda Foody and Christine Herman – The Hunger Games with high magic?! This book sounds amazing and, if it lives up to its description, it stands a chance at becoming a new favourite! I’ve been approved for it on NetGalley for longer than I’d like to admit and really hope I get round to reading it this month.

After the Rain by Natalia Gomes– I’ve been trying to get into this book for a while and haven’t been able to really get into it, but it does seem like an easy, important and emotional read. I’m giving it another try this month and think it will be quite drastically different to everything else I’m planning to pick up in October.

And that’s it! Let me know your most anticipated read for October in the comments (even more appreciated if it’s a Halloween-y book that I can add to my list!) 🙂

September Reading Wrap-Up

It’s nearly October! Which means it’s nearly time for Halloween reads only and horror and spooky books, and I’m SO excited for it. That being said, September was also a pretty incredible month for reading. I really expected to finish more books this month and the fact that I only read five might be disappointing if the majority of them just weren’t so good! Anyway, here’s my brief but very exciting September reading wrap up:

Gilded by Marissa Meyer – I LOVE this book. I never read the story of Rumpelstiltskin so I have no clue how heavily it referenced the fairytale, but it was an incredibly told story either way. The descriptions were magical, the characters were fascinating and the story was well-told, in sections that felt almost like individual short stories but tied together perfectly. 5/5 (the first of many this month…)

Defy the Night by Brigid Kemmerer – like Marissa Meyer, Brigid Kemmerer is another bestselling author that I’ve been missing out on for a pretty long time. This book is fast-paced, unique, very intense and emotional, with a strong, very moral protagonist, a swoon-worthy royal love interest and a fascinating story. I loved it. 5/5

Fools in Love by various authors – this was a really sweet short story collection entirely about love, with each story being based on a popular YA romance trope such as ‘only one bed’ or ‘friends to lovers’. The stories were very diverse and representative and, although some were much better than others, it was really fun overall. 3/5

This is Why We Lie by Gabriella Lepore- if you like traditional YA high-school murder mysteries, you will absolutely love this book. It’s a super quick read with a high-school whodunnit storyline and a very suspicious cast of characters. I would definitely recommend if you’re looking to get out of a slump or for an easy, gripping story. 4/5

Not Here to Be Liked by Michelle Quach – !!! This book exceeded my expectations by SO much. I was hoping for an easy contemporary romance read and, whilst I definitely got that from this book, it also discussed so many important themes and topics alongside its romantic storyline. This book is a masterclass on how to use fiction to genuinely educate on issues without forcing the message and making the story feel artificial, and I adored it. 5/5

And that’s it! Let me know in the comments if you loved any of these as much as I did, and what your favourite read of September was 🙂

August Wrap-Up & September TBR

Hi! How is everyone? Hope August was a wonderful reading month!

I’m back from my first ever blog hiatus and excited to share my August wrap-up and September TBR 🙂 I took it easy in August and had some me-time, so I’m back with an overwhelming amount of books to read – once again – and even more to talk about.

I only read a book per week last month so it’s quite a modest wrap-up, but there are some really fun books on here. So, without further ado, my August wrap-up:

Fire With Fire by Destiny Soria – 3.5/5

This was a really fun read with a lot of action, rivalry, drama and… dragons. It was a fun and easy read with an interesting cast of humans, sorcerers and dragons alike and, if you’re a big fantasy reader, I’d recommend.

Survive the Night by Riley Sager – 4/5

I was in the middle of a slump when I picked this book up, and it pulled me out of it so quickly. This is a fast-paced, set-in-real-time thriller with a lot of twists, a lot of tension, and an insanely unreliable narrator.

These Hollow Vows by Lexi Ryan – 4/5

A story about a girl caught between two rival faerie princes from the Seelie and Unseelie courts??? Honestly, I’m not sure I need to say more, but this was a fun, Cruel-Prince-esque fantasy about handsome princes, dark magic and a fierce heroine.

Every Line of You by Naomi Gibson – 5/5

I think I’d read any book in existence about AIs/VR/futuristic tech at this point. This is a gripping thriller about a girl who falls in love with her morally-corrupt AI and all of the havoc that ensues as a result. It’s such a quick read and I one-billion percent recommend.

And that’s it for August! If you’ve read any of the above, I’d love to hear what you thought!

Although I’m happy with my August wrap-up, I definitely need to be slightly more ambitious with my September TBR to keep on track with my GR goal, so I have quite a lotthat I want to get through this month.

First up, Fools in Love, a short story anthology based on all of the most popular romance tropes out there right now. I’m partway through this and really enjoying it, so I’m looking forward to reading the rest of the stories.

Klara and the Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro – this is absolutely not my usual type of book but my fiancé is obsessed with it right now and really wants me to check it out. I’m really looking forward to trying something difference and seeing what the hype is all about.

Jade Fire Gold by June CL Tan – this has been on my ARC TBR for so long and I don’t know why I haven’t picked it up already. It’s an intense fantasy YA (ie. right up my street!) and I’m really excited to check it out.

Defy the Night by Brigid Kemmerer – another that has spent too long on my ARC TBR and another that I’m insanely excited about. Corruption, action and a star-crossed romance? Yes please.

The Devil Makes Three by Tori Bovalino – I started this one a while ago and really enjoyed it, so I’m not entirely sure why I haven’t finished it sooner. I’m only about 20% in but really excited to see where this one goes. It’s been a while since I read YA Horror, so it’ll be such a fun change from the rest of the month’s reading.

And that’s it! I’d love to read more, but I got some advice to put less on my TBR than I plan to read so that I can branch out a little, and that’s what I plan to do.

What’s the number one book on your September TBR? I’d love some more recommendations and to hear what you’re excited to read.

April Wrap-Up

Happy May! I have high hopes for this month because, once again, I surprised myself and had a really good reading month in April. I’m really happy with my progress on my GR challenge (30/50 so far!) and I’m crossing my fingers that I can keep going at this rate…

Anyway, here’s a wrap up of the honestly-amazing books that I read in April:

You’ve Reached Sam by Dustin Thao – When I saw that this book was available as ‘Read Now’ on NetGalley, after obsessing over the cover since it was first announced, I knew that I needed to read this asap. It’s a very emotional, very sweet book about dealing with grief and learning to move on, and I really enjoyed it. 4/5

The Block by Ben Oliver– My review for this is right here. I loved loved loved this book and all of its creepy, dystopian elements. I’ve been looking for some old-school YA dystopia (think The Maze Runner and The Fifth Wave) and this was definitely it. 5/5

Unravel the Dusk by Elizabeth Lim– If you’ve read my Spin the Dawn review (right here), you’ll know that I fell in love with Elizabeth Lim’s writing as soon as I started it, and this sequel absolutely did not let me down. It was magical and unique and I am obsessed. 5/5

Things to Do Before the End of the World by Emily Barr – I’d already read a contemporary, a dystopia and a fantasy book in April, so for my fourth book of the month, I picked a thriller. This was a fun, unputdownable book that took place across Europe and gave me definite holiday envy, about what people do when the world is about to end. I didn’t connect hugely with the characters but it was exciting and unpredictable for sure. 3.5/5

We Are Inevitable by Gayle Forman – New. Book. By. Gayle. Forman! I’ve loved so many Gayle Forman books in the past that I knew I had to read this one immediately. It’s a sweet story about young love, coping with trauma and, most importantly, saving a bookshop. It was very clever and very much Gayle Forman’s style so, if you’ve liked her other books, you’ll likely enjoy this one too. 4/5

The Forest of Stars by Heather Kassner – My review for this one is right here. I don’t read a lot of middle-grade books but this one was a mystery about a carnival that I knew I had to read. It’s perfect for its target audience but, honestly, I loved it as an adult too and would absolutely recommend. 5/5

Dear Azula, I Have a Crush on Danny Phantom by Azura Tyabji and Jackson Neal – I kind of requested this poetry collection on a whim as soon as I saw Azula in the title. I don’t read a lot of poetry so don’t have a huge amount to compare it to, but it was a fun, nostalgic and very short read. 3/5

From Little Tokyo, With Love by Sarah Kuhn– When my copy of this book got delivered, I legitimately screamed. I’ll be posting a review soon, but it was a really fun book about fitting in, learning to love yourself and community spirit, with the added bonus of an adorable relationship, and I really enjoyed it. 4.5/5

Up All Night by Laura Silverman– the group of authors that wrote this book is incredible. It’s a series of short stories by some of the best YA contemporary, fantasy and thriller writers of the last few years, and it was another completely unputdownable book. It contained thirteen stories that I got through in a day, and it was such a varied collection that I wasn’t bored for a moment. 4.5/5

And that’s it! I’d love to hear what your favourite read of the month was and add it to my ever-growing TBR, so please drop a comment if you have any exciting recommendations 🙂

MARCH WRAP-UP

Happy April!

I’m optimistic about this month for a lot of bookish reasons. The new releases coming out this month are incredible, the bookshops are re-opening(!!) AND I am, for once, not starting the month in a reading slump. I feel like I read in every spare moment I had in March and I was given so many good new books on NetGalley that things in the non-reality sphere are definitely looking good.

With that in mind, here’s my (pretty exciting) March wrap-up…

The Loop by Ben Oliver – I was gifted this book and its sequel for a blog tour (that will be up very, very soon!) and I loved it SO much. If you like The Fifth Wave or The 100 or The Maze Runner or really any of the slightly older dystopian YA, this book is definitely worth a read. Full review to follow but, honestly, a wonderful start to the month.

Hunter x Hunter (volumes 11 and 12) by Yoshihiro Togashi – this is a kind of random choice since I haven’t read volumes 1 through 10 but I love HxH and could not resist picking these up when I found them in a charity shop last year. Both were super fun, though 11 was by far the more exciting of the two. On a side note, if you haven’t watched HxH (2011), you absolutely need to…

All Our Hidden Gifts by Caroline O’Donoghue – my review for this one is here. This was a super fun, slightly younger YA read about tarot reading, with lots of good LGBTQ+ rep.

The Lock In by Phoebe Luckhurst – contemporaries are not normally my thing in winter, but I requested this one on a whim and really enjoyed it. Though a little predictable at times, this was a funny rom-com set in a very familiar setting (a rented house-share in London…).

Love in Five Acts by Daniela Krien – this again is not my usual genre, but it was a pretty unique and very interesting exploration of how different women cope with love and loss in the twenty-first century. My review, if you want to check it out, is here.

Of Wicked Blood by Katie Hoyez and Olivia Wildenstein – this one was my only audiobook for the month and I’ve been listening to it forever on NetGalley. It’s a magical adventure set in France, following a life-or-death quest and an unlikely romance. I didn’t really connect with it as much as I would have liked, but the narrators were great and I loved the action elements a lot.

Spin the Dawn by Elizabeth Lim – this book is the best thing I read in March. As with The Loop, I’m super excited to be reading the sequel this month and can’t wait to see what happens next. My review for this is here.

And that’s it! Hope you have a wonderful reading month ahead, and I’d love to hear what your best book of March was, in case it’s something I need to add to my TBR…

January Reading Wrap-up

Hi! It’s the end of January so I hope everyone is having a (slightly, at least) better 2021 so far.

It’s been a crazy-busy and stressful month for me and it feels like there are a million things happening all at once, so I really thought my reading was going to suffer and was pleasantly surprised when I realised I have seven books for my January wrap-up!

So, the seven books I’ve read so far this year are:

Cemetery Boys by Aiden Turner – I wanted my first book of 2021 to be amazing and I was really struggling to decide what to go for, but I’m SO glad I settled on this one. It was a fun, exciting, super unique read with so much positive LGBTQ+ representation and a really fast-paced storyline. 5/5

To Whatever End by Lyndsey Frydman – this was an easy, and pretty predictable, YA romance. It has a tiny bit of paranormal activity but is primarily a typical romance, and I got through it in a day, which was great. It was pretty cliche and not entirely to my taste, but it definitely seems like a fun read to get you out of a slump. 2.5/5

The Girls Are All So Nice Here by Laurie Elizabeth Flynn – review to come for this one, but it was a very unique take on a mean-girl thriller, from the perspective of a girl that can only be considered the villain of the story. It was another quick read with a very interesting protagonist and a lot of drama. 4/5

Stay Sexy & Don’t Get Murdered by Georgia Hardstark and Karen Kilgariff – I listened to this one as an audiobook and I feel like that was absolutely the best format for it. It was motivational, uplifting and full of personal anecdotes. It was very much a self-help book, rather than a book for lovers of true crime, but it was a fun and interesting read all the same. 3/5

The Wing Thief by Samantha Atkins – my review for this is here, so there’s not much more to say other than that it was a really cute middle-grade about fairies and discovering where you belong. 4.5/5

The Stolen Kingdom by Jillian Boehme – my review for this one is here! This was another book that I adored. With enemies to lovers, royalty, dark magic and a kingdom at stake, this had pretty much everything I look for in YA fantasy. 5/5

The Sad Ghost Club by Lize Meddings – this book is adorable and was pretty much solely a cover-buy. It’s a really sweet graphic novel about a sad ghost who feels completely alone in the world until they discover that there are others in the exact same situation, and is the kind of book you can easily get through in an hour or so. 4/5

And that’s it! How was your reading this month, and what’s been your favourite book of 2021 so far? I’d love to know in the comments below 🙂