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TS’s Monthly Wrap-Up : May 2022

TS’s Monthly Wrap-Up : May 2022

Hello all!  Welcome back to my monthly wrap-up.

Amazingly, I found my Book of the Month for May right at the very beginning of the month, but that’s not to say that the books that came after that were not good.  Most of them were great reads (in fact, only one book disappointed me), and I’m happy to say that the series conclusion that I was looking forward to delivered very satisfactorily.   I did start to feel a slight burn-out from reading almost non-stop fantasy (albeit mostly Middle Grade) and ended the month with two crime/mystery thrillers.

NB. Books are rated within its genre.  For avoidance of doubt, rereads are not considered for Book of the Month.

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TS’s Monthly Wrap-Up : April 2022

TS’s Monthly Wrap-Up : April 2022

Hello all!  Welcome back to my monthly wrap-up.  I can’t believe that four months had already gone by this year.   One positive development so far in 2022 is that international borders are opening up and I’m looking forward to be able to travel again, one of my other favourite things to do besides reading.

April was another great month of reading, as we continued our Middle Grade series reads and started the epic reread of all the Mistborn books in preparation for the release of The Lost Metal in November this year.

NB. Books are rated within its genre.  For avoidance of doubt, rereads are not considered for Book of the Month.

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TS’s Monthly Wrap-Up : March 2022

TS’s Monthly Wrap-Up : March 2022

Hi everyone!  Wow, Middle Grade March was a very full month of reading for me.  Aside from the fact that that MG books tend to be easy and fast to read, most of the ones that we’ve chosen to buddy read for the month of March were very enjoyable as well.  In total, I’ve managed to complete 11 novels this month, which was quite a record.

I didn’t only read Middle Grade this month, as I was working towards finishing two adult series – The Winternight Trilogy and The Riyria Revelations, as well as continuing with some classic (horror) short stories from Edgar Allan Poe and Ray Bradbury.  I also couldn’t resist picking up a self-published stand-alone fantasy novel which everyone was raving about on social media, and I’m so glad that I’ve done so because it was definitely one of my Books of the Month.  Yups, I couldn’t pick between two novels for BotM.

So let’s get the show on the road shall we?

NB. Books are rated within its genre.

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Book Review: Pan’s Labyrinth: The Labyrinth of the Faun by Guillermo del Toro and Cornelia Funke

Book Review: Pan’s Labyrinth: The Labyrinth of the Faun by Guillermo del Toro and Cornelia Funke


Pan’s Labyrinth: The Labyrinth of the Faun by Guillermo del Toro
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

I’ve never watched Pan’s Labyrinth. I remember borrowing the DVD from the library about a decade ago, but Chris vetoed it about 10 minutes in because it was subtitled and our tv was small. While I always intended to go back to it one day, I just never got around to it. That’s going to have to change, because I absolutely loved this novelization of the story. I feel like “novelization” is almost an insult, actually. Because, while I’ve never seen the movie, I know that the care with which this book was written and illustrated demands more respect that such nomenclature usually provides. Pan’s Labyrinth: The Labyrinth of the Faun, is gorgeous in the same way poisonous mushrooms are: lush, inviting, but deadly.

“In our choices lie our fate.”

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TS’s Top 20 Books Read in 2020

TS’s Top 20 Books Read in 2020


2020 has been such a strange, stressful and complicated year.  I took a one-year sabbatical leave from work from mid-2019 and managed to do quite a bit of travelling for about six months before the world got completely turned upside down.  I’ve read/listen over 120 books this year, 73 of which was completed during the first half when I wasn’t working and the entire world was on lockdown.  Getting back to work during the second half in the midst of a global pandemic and a new challenging role did affect my ability to read and also write reviews on a regular basis.

Despite 2020 being such a watershed/dumpster year, it’s been an incredible one for my reading as I’ve completed a lot books ranging from great to masterpieces.  In fact, I can’t remember the last time I’ve added so many books onto my favourites shelf (many of which were from the same series).  If you’re curious/interested, you also can see my year in books for 2020 right here.

Similar to my previous list, I do not limit this to only books released this year.  There are simply too many great books that have been published prior and that I’ve yet to read, so there will always be older books included.  Below are the parameters that I’ve set for the list.

  • Rereads don’t count
  • One book per author
  • Not limited to books which are released this year.

None of these are ranked except for the top five.  The rest, I’ve listed them in the chronological order of when I’ve read them this year.  Almost all of these have been reviewed by me on Novel Notions and Goodreads, albeit some are quite brief.

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TS’s Top 11 Books Read in 2020 So Far (1st Jan to 30th June)

TS’s Top 11 Books Read in 2020 So Far (1st Jan to 30th June)


2020 has so far been a truly strange, stressful and complicated year, but reading wise it has been pretty incredible for me.  I’ve read/listen to 73 books during this first six months of the year and quite a sizeable chunk of these garnered 4-stars and above.  In fact, I can’t remember the last time I’ve added so many books onto my favourites shelf in the same period of time.  If you’re interested, you can see my year in books for 2020 right here.

Similar to my previous list, I do not limit this to only books released this year.  There are simply too many great books that have been published prior and that I’ve yet to read, so there will always be older books included.  Below are the parameters that I’ve set for the list.

  • Rereads don’t count
  • One book per author
  • Not limited to books which are released this year.

None of these are ranked except for the top three, of which two are tied for first place.  The rest, I’ve listed them in the chronological order of when I’ve read them this year.  All of these have been reviewed by me on Novel Notions and Goodreads.

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Book Review: The Unadoptables by Hana Tooke

Book Review: The Unadoptables by Hana Tooke

ARC received from the publisher, Puffin UK, in exchange for an honest review.

The Unadoptables by Hana Tooke

My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Genre: Middle grade, children’s fiction

Published: 21st July 2020 by Viking Books for Young Readers (US), and 23rd July 2020 by Puffin (UK).


The Unadoptables caught my eye because of its adorably whimsical cover, and I’m so glad to have read this wonderful tale of friendship and found family during this bleak and trying time.

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Book Review: The Subtle Knife (His Dark Materials, #2)

Book Review: The Subtle Knife (His Dark Materials, #2)


The Subtle Knife by Philip Pullman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Subtle Knife picks up almost where The Golden Compass ended, except that this second installment took a slight detour in order to introduce us to a second main protagonist in the form of Will Parry. I quite enjoy Will, and found him a great counterpart for Lyra. Their personalities are very different, but they are both defined most by the protectiveness that fuels them and the fierceness that courses through them. Will is both more civilized and more violent than Lyra, which shines a softer light on our original protagonist than we saw in her first book. The two children on the cusp of their adolescence are quite obviously being set up as either the salvation or damnation of the countless worlds they now know exist.

“It’s like having to make a choice: a blessing or a curse. The one thing you can’t do is choose neither.”

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Book Review: The Golden Compass (His Dark Materials, #1)

Book Review: The Golden Compass (His Dark Materials, #1)


The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I’ve read this book before, but it was long ago. When I was in elementary school, I was just beginning to develop a lot for fantasy. Harry Potter was fairly new, with only the first couple of books having been released. I had consumed those, and A Wrinkle in Time, and the majority of the Redwall books that had been published. But my favorite series was The Chronicles of Narnia. I loved the Christian allegory, as I had come to my faith quite young. When I picked up The Golden Compass, I enjoyed it almost as much, even though I found the concept of dæmons both fascinating and disconcerting. However, a well-meaning teacher informed me that His Dark Materials was known as the anti-Narnia, and proceeded to spoil some plot points of the next book in order to discourage me from continuing the series. I was appalled at the thought of a series that was so vehemently opposed to my faith, so I steered clear of it and let myself forget about how enjoyable I found the first book.

“We are all subject to the fates. But we must act as if we are not, or die of despair.”

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Alcatraz vs. the Evil Librarians (Alcatraz, #1)

Alcatraz vs. the Evil Librarians (Alcatraz, #1)

Alcatraz vs. the Evil Librarians by Brandon Sanderson
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Is anyone else hesitant to read a favorite author’s work outside of their usual genre? I’ve loved Brandon Sanderson for years, but I’ve been extremely reluctant to try his young adult or middle grade offerings. I know that he writes addictive, immersive adult fantasy and was afraid to find out if that carried over into other genres intended for radically different audiences. I shouldn’t have doubted him. Alcatraz vs. the Evil Librarians was my first foray into Sanderson’s middle grade books, and it definitely won’t be my last.

“If you don’t believe what I’m telling you, then ask yourself this: would any decent, kind-hearted individual become a writer? Of course not.”

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