Top Five of 2021

I have a crisis. I don’t actually have enough 5 star books to fill up my top 5 for 2021. It isn’t like I didn’t read enough – 120 books is more than enough to choose from. Surely amongst those thousands of pages of reading I could find enough books to rave about?

Apparently not.

Though as I look through my list of five star books I can safely pull out 4 that were amazing reads of the year. Even the picture books I’ve found 5 that I gave full stars to, they all may not have been amazing in the same way, but they were all fantastic in their own way.

I felt my reading tapered off towards the end of the year with everything going on but I’m trying to get back into the swing of it. Whether I would have found my fifth amazing book if I’d kept up momentum I do not know. My reviewing certainly suffered but there is a nice backlog to dive into for the future. I’m only hoping that I can write a good review, I don’t usually like leaving it so long since I finished for those inevitable times I can’t actually remember what it was about.

But that is for a later time. This is to share my Top Five of 2021.

Sword in the Stars (#2) by A. R. Capetta

Sword in the Stars (Once & Future #2)The sequel to Once & Future that featured in last year’s list and it did not disappoint. It picks up after book one and takes you on another amazing adventure that is full of mythology, space, love, action and adventure and honestly every time I think about the world and narrative Capetta and McCarthy have created I am in awe of their talent. If you love the Arthurian legend and want all kinds of diverse representation and a kick-arse story than you MUST pick up this series but you also have to start with book one.

 

Loveless by Alice Oseman

LovelessI ADORED this story. Absolutely adored it. Oseman tells a beautiful story about growing up, self discovery and finding your place in the world and it’s filled with a range of characters that are delightful to get to know.

 

 

 

 

 

Birthday by Meredith Russo

BirthdayI will warn you that this book deals with some serious topics and can be hard to read at times but it is also so incredible powerful in what Russo is trying to tell us. I felt so much sympathy for these poor characters and their lives but there is hope which is important and no spoilers but there is light after the darkness. The format is unique and I love how Russo has told a full bodied story across numerous single days.

 

 

The Adventure Zone: The Crystal Kingdom (#4) by Clint McElroy

The Crystal Kingdom (The Adventure Zone Graphic Novels, #4)I love the entirety of The Adventure Zone podcast but this was also my least loved arcs so I was surprised to see how much I loved the graphic novel. I mean I still loved it, but it never stuck with my the ways the others did. But seeing it visually play out reignited my admiration for Griffin’s storytelling and Clint’s ability to convert an audio into a visual medium. The memorable, quotable moments are there and it’s another step in this journey we’re going on with this little band of misadventurers and I can’t wait to keep going.

 

 

 

Top Five Picture Books

Boy Who Tried to Shrink His Name by Sandhya Parappukkaran

The Boy Who Tried to Shrink His Name

The Tiny King by Tarō Miura

The Tiny King

My Shadow is Pink by Scott Stuart

My Shadow Is Pink

Things in the Sea Are Touching Me by Linda Jane Keegan

Things In The Sea Are Touching Me!

Green Lizards vs Red Rectangle by Steve Antony

Green Lizards vs. Red Rectangles

 

I’m Back!

It’s been 84 years but I’ve finally returned to my blog. This isn’t even my first post back because the blogiversary had to be addressed (have you got your entries in yet?) but this is essentially the first post back after a long, planned but unplanned break.

I closed the tab on my computer that has essentially been open for the past 8 years. It was a break and one I did not plan on taking for so long (see proud self-proclaiming ‘I’ll be gone for a month’ post), but it was clearly needed but now with my blogiversary I knew I couldn’t let it go by. I needed that to get me back into gear because while last year I told myself over and over that I had to come back, it has only been through January that I’ve felt I’ve wanted to come back. So I got my blogiversary out and it’s kick-started something because I have that familiar feeling of wanting to write about books that I’m reading, want to share with you all my thoughts and recommend some good reads and lament about those that didn’t live up to my expectations. Which goes to show that I still love doing this, I haven’t been doing it out of habit or obligation, I still have that desire to share and talk about books and reading. So while the break was unexpected, it didn’t result in me never coming back again.

I am going to start off slow, mainly because I have not got any reviews in reserve so I’m going to focus on my wrap ups from last year and all the beginning of the year stuff I usually post late Dec/early Jan, and I will go from there. Baby steps to begin with but enthusiastic baby steps all the same.

9th Blogiversary + Int Giveaway!

NINE YEARS! Nine! What does that even mean? What kind of time frame is that? Nothing goes for nine years! And yet here we are, nine years later after a lot of everything happening I’m still here posting my nonsense and babbling on. It’s been incredible fun and rewarding. I can think back to the early days where I had some amazing opportunities and no idea what I was doing, to the surprising influx of writers asking for my reviews, then having to stop doing that for a little while because I couldn’t say no and got myself so incredibly stressed. One day I will reopen them and try not to be so pleasing to everybody.

A lot has happened over the years and yet it seems not that long ago either. I have had a lot of fun writing these reviews. I get to share my thoughts and opinions about books I’ve loved (and some I have not) and seeing people read books based on what I have reviewed is always amazing to me.

Today is a day to celebrate though and so per tradition I am giving away goodies to celebrate my blogiversary. This year I am giving away two books to make up for my five month absence. I actually don’t have 5 top of 2021 (more on that in a later post) but I have included those that made the cut as well as some other favourites that I’ve read in the last few years that came close to five stars but didn’t quite make it over the line.

 

A poster that has eight book covers on it. The words Lost in a Good Book's 9th Blogiversary Giveaway are at the top. The word Enter to win one of these titles Open Internationally are at the bottom.

The Selection

Loveless by Alice Oseman

Sword in the Stars (#2) by A. R. Capetta*

The Adventure Zone: Crystal Kingdom by Clint McElroy*

Birthday by Meredith Russo

Finding Nevo by Nevo Zesin

Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia

Lenny’s Book of Everything by Karen Foxlee

The Incredible Adventures of Cinnamon Girl by Melissa Keil

 

*This item is a sequel that possibly won’t make any sense if you haven’t read the previous ones. Keep that in mind when picking your book.

 

To enter: For a chance to win one of the pictured books simply enter here and complete the Rafflecopter form.

Please note: This giveaway is international on the basis the Book Depository ships to your country. To see if you are eligible you can check their website.

Thank you for helping me celebrate and if you entered the draw I wish you the best of luck!

Giveaway runs until midnight AEDT on Sunday 20th February 2022

Taking a Break

I’ve often though over the last few years when the pressures of life and daily going ons meant I wasn’t writing as many reviews. I’d watch my scheduled posts dwindle and realise I could take a break, no one would blame me, but then I’d write one or two, get back into the swing of things again and before I knew it I has another few weeks ready to go.

This time I have found that I can have as many half-finished reviews open, have as many recently read books ready to go and no motivation to write anything. I’ve decided to take September off, because even if I do get some posts ready I don’t want to become trapped in a cycle of posting for a couple weeks then a couple of weeks of nothing. It’s happened this month and I didn’t like it and yet I found I couldn’t do anything about it even as I knew those no post days were approaching.

Second lockdown could be to blame for this, a lot of things could be to blame for this, but instead of focusing on why I’m choosing to focus on solutions instead. My solution is to take September away from the blog, despite my intense wish to continue I know I can’t actually do it because wishing isn’t getting anything done.

I will use this time to build up my posts again, coming back strong in October and ready to share some great books with you all. I’m also coming back from a mini reading slump too so there will be a lot of books to talk about on my return.

Don’t forget there’s still more than eight years of reviews to flick through if you’re ever in need of a good recommendation.

I’ll see you all in October!

Agatha Raisin and Love, Lies, and Liquor (#17) by M. C. Beaton

Published: 1st September 2006 (print)/1 July 2012 (audio) Goodreads badge
Publisher:
St. Martin’s Paperbacks /Audible
Pages: 231/6 hrs and 14 mins
Narrator: Penelope Keith
Format: Audiobook
Genre: Cosy Mystery
★ – 1 Stars

Cotswold detective Agatha Raisin lies to herself, hoping skimpy lingerie will suit her ex’s surprise holiday. He lies to himself, remembering childhood heyday of Snoth-on-Sea as sunny, now a wreck in a cold windy storm. Aggie threatens obnoxious guest Geraldine, later found strangled in Aggie’s lost scarf. Aggie can try drink, but needs all her friends when bodies pile up.

If I thought about it, every book with James Lacey is terrible, and Agatha is a better person when he isn’t around. Less than 1/5th of the way through I was already back to hating James and hating Agatha for who she becomes when she’s around him. I had such hopes for her after the last book, she was sensible, looking for companionship but not going after every neighbour that moved in with lust. She’d stopped going on about James and put herself in her work and her friends again. Now this is all undone.

Whilst Agatha is giving James another chance she gets caught up in another murder where she is a suspect. These can be hit or miss but because Agatha is stuck with the insufferable James it ruins any chance of enjoying anything else. You can see Agatha trying to break free from James but her desire to give him another chance is a complete disappointment.

All the regular characters make an appearance to try and help Agatha, you can see they are growing and evolving so that’s a benefit since Agatha isn’t allowed to.

Prejudices are ongoing with Agatha surprised that Harry, who dresses in punk clothing and has a shaven head, is considerate, while Patrick, who wears “conventional dress” could be considered attractive. It’s just criticisms and judgemental observations after the other. And the fact Beaton has Harry suddenly say they look foolish and wish they’d never gotten the piercings is so bizarre to me. Beaton is trying to bland down the world one book at time, just as she was adding some interesting characters.

These books were published in 1990s and 2000s, in that time society changes, language changes, and references change which I understand, you can pick that up from the way she writes her earlier books to these ones, but this one was published in 2006, there’s no excuse for this kind of writing.

There are endearing moments, but then there are also times you hate the main characters because Agatha and James will drive you up the wall. What is a quirk or personality trait for some characters, the fact these two change so much is ridiculous. Actually, James stays the same, but it changes from being a problem to not clearly on how Beaton feels on a particular book.

I truly don’t know what to expect with this series anymore. The vast differences in ratings so far is bizarre. In the beginning they were gradually getting better, characters were evolving as we got to know them and while the stories weren’t perfect they were decent enough. Now they have swung so wildly it’s hard to know what the next one will bring and characters flip suddenly between stories you don’t know what’s going to happen.

You can purchase Agatha Raisin and the Deadly Dance via the following

QBD | Booktopia | Book Depository

Dymocks | WorderyAngus and Robinson

 Fishpond | Amazon | Audible

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