32 Books I Want to Read this Year | Part 2

32 books I want to read in 2021 Elaine Howlin annual reading list

I might be a bit late with an annual TBR but I didn’t make the list until February so here we are. I use Notion to organise my blog posts and my life (meal planning, travel planning, etc.). It’s freaking amazing! They have templates for everything. One of the templates I got was this 2021 | Reading List template. I love how it arranges the books, adds a reading timeline and has space for your notes. In my copy of the template I added a section for whether I owned the book already or if I needed to buy it and a link to purchase it.

Notion 2021 Reading List Book Page Example Elaine Howlin
Example of my book page

I got super excited about creating a reading list for the year. I’m pretty bad at sticking to monthly TBR’s but I feel like I will do better with this annual one. There’s less pressure and less books than I would normally read in a year so it feels more achievable.

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I have 32 books on the list but 32 is a bit too much to talk about in a single post so we’ll break it into 3 parts and discuss about 10 books per post. Read Part 1 here.

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Amazon Links

  1. A Deadly Education (The Scholomance #1) by Naomi Novik
  2. Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body by Roxane Gay
  3. From Blood and Ash (Blood and Ash #1) by Jennifer L. Armentrout
  4. A Court of Mist and Fury (A Court of Thorns and Roses #2) by Sarah J. Maas
  5. Someone at a Distance by Dorothy Whipple
  6. Sex: Lessons From History by Fern Riddell
  7. The Victorian Guide to Sex: Desire and deviance in the 19th Century by Fern Riddell
  8. Unmentionable: The Victorian Lady’s Guide to Sex, Marriage, and Manners by Therese Oneill
  9. The Invisible Library (The Invisible Library #1) by Genevieve Cogman
  10. Eve of Man (Eve of Man #1) by Giovanna Fletcher, Tom Fletcher
  11. The Scarlett Letters: My Secret Year of Men in an L.A. Dungeon by Jenny Nordbak

A Deadly Education (The Scholomance #1) by Naomi Novik

I quite enjoyed Uprooted and Spinning Silver so I want to read more from Novik. Plus, look at that cover! It’s so occult. I love it!

Synopsis: Lesson One of the Scholomance: Learning has never been this deadly.

A Deadly Education is set at Scholomance, a school for the magically gifted where failure means certain death (for real) — until one girl, El, begins to unlock its many secrets.

There are no teachers, no holidays, and no friendships, save strategic ones. Survival is more important than any letter grade, for the school won’t allow its students to leave until they graduate… or die! The rules are deceptively simple: Don’t walk the halls alone. And beware of the monsters who lurk everywhere.

El is uniquely prepared for the school’s dangers. She may be without allies, but she possesses a dark power strong enough to level mountains and wipe out millions. It would be easy enough for El to defeat the monsters that prowl the school. The problem? Her powerful dark magic might also kill all the other students.

Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body by Roxane Gay

I can’t remember a time after the age of 12 when I didn’t struggle with my body image and food which just isn’t right. I want to learn how to be accepting of my body and make the right choices for it to be healthy and not to be a particular dress size. Basically, I want to break free from diet culture and just live. In order to do that, I need to understand the problem better which brings me to this book.

Synopsis: From the New York Times bestselling author of Bad Feminist: a searingly honest memoir of food, weight, self-image, and learning how to feed your hunger while taking care of yourself.

“I ate and ate and ate in the hopes that if I made myself big, my body would be safe. I buried the girl I was because she ran into all kinds of trouble. I tried to erase every memory of her, but she is still there, somewhere. . . . I was trapped in my body, one that I barely recognized or understood, but at least I was safe.”

In her phenomenally popular essays and long-running Tumblr blog, Roxane Gay has written with intimacy and sensitivity about food and body, using her own emotional and psychological struggles as a means of exploring our shared anxieties over pleasure, consumption, appearance, and health. As a woman who describes her own body as “wildly undisciplined,” Roxane understands the tension between desire and denial, between self-comfort and self-care. In Hunger, she explores her past—including the devastating act of violence that acted as a turning point in her young life—and brings readers along on her journey to understand and ultimately save herself.

With the bracing candor, vulnerability, and power that have made her one of the most admired writers of her generation, Roxane explores what it means to learn to take care of yourself: how to feed your hungers for delicious and satisfying food, a smaller and safer body, and a body that can love and be loved—in a time when the bigger you are, the smaller your world becomes.

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From Blood and Ash (Blood and Ash #1) by Jennifer L. Armentrout

I thoroughly enjoyed the last YA book I read by Armentrout so I want to check out more from her. It’s high fantasy which is a little outside of my zone but it seems to be pretty popular.

A Maiden…

Synopsis: Chosen from birth to usher in a new era, Poppy’s life has never been her own. The life of the Maiden is solitary. Never to be touched. Never to be looked upon. Never to be spoken to. Never to experience pleasure. Waiting for the day of her Ascension, she would rather be with the guards, fighting back the evil that took her family, than preparing to be found worthy by the gods. But the choice has never been hers.

A Duty…

The entire kingdom’s future rests on Poppy’s shoulders, something she’s not even quite sure she wants for herself. Because a Maiden has a heart. And a soul. And longing. And when Hawke, a golden-eyed guard honor bound to ensure her Ascension, enters her life, destiny and duty become tangled with desire and need. He incites her anger, makes her question everything she believes in, and tempts her with the forbidden.

A Kingdom…

Forsaken by the gods and feared by mortals, a fallen kingdom is rising once more, determined to take back what they believe is theirs through violence and vengeance. And as the shadow of those cursed draws closer, the line between what is forbidden and what is right becomes blurred. Poppy is not only on the verge of losing her heart and being found unworthy by the gods, but also her life when every blood-soaked thread that holds her world together begins to unravel.

A Court of Mist and Fury (A Court of Thorns and Roses #2) by Sarah J. Maas

I started this last year and really want to finish it. I lost momentum cause I knew a certain thing was going to happen and I wasn’t really ready to read it so soon after finishing the first book.

Synopsis: Feyre survived Amarantha’s clutches to return to the Spring Court—but at a steep cost. Though she now has the powers of the High Fae, her heart remains human, and it can’t forget the terrible deeds she performed to save Tamlin’s people.

Nor has Feyre forgotten her bargain with Rhysand, High Lord of the feared Night Court. As Feyre navigates its dark web of politics, passion, and dazzling power, a greater evil looms—and she might be key to stopping it. But only if she can harness her harrowing gifts, heal her fractured soul, and decide how she wishes to shape her future—and the future of a world cleaved in two.

With more than a million copies sold of her beloved Throne of Glass series, Sarah J. Maas’s masterful storytelling brings this second book in her seductive and action-packed series to new heights.

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Someone at a Distance by Dorothy Whipple

I like to read stories of the everyday tragedies of life. I feel like reading about them lessens the burden and makes us more empathetic and understanding when we encounter them in life. Plus, I’ve read some very positive reviews for this book especially concerning the writing.

Synopsis: Written in 1953, the last book by novelist Dorothy Whipple, Someone at a Distance is a story about the destruction of a marriage. Ellen is “that unfashionable creature, a happy housewife” who loves her life in the English countryside. She tends her garden, dotes on her children, and, when she remembers, visits her cantankerous mother-in-law. This domestic bliss, however, is shattered when her husband, in a moment of weak mid-life vanity, runs off with a French girl.

Sex: Lessons From History by Fern Riddell

I find the topic of sex in history utterly fascinating. Many people have this idea that their generation is the sexy one and people in the past were repressed which is simply not the case. I find all the politics and, well, bullshit that’s often attached to sex so interesting. Sadly, it’s often quite destructive and leads to people not being properly educated when they start having sex.

Synopsis: Sex, for the entirety of human history, has never been about reproduction. Statistically speaking, only one out of every one thousand sexual acts between a man and a woman will result in a pregnancy. And, as we know, sex does not solely take place just between men and women.

So: what is sex for?

In this wide-ranging and powerful new history of sex, Dr Fern Riddell will uncover the sexual lives of our ancestors and show that, just like us, they were as preoccupied with sexual identities, masturbation, foreplay, sex and deviance; facing it with the same confusion, joy and accidental hilarity that we do today.

By looking at how history has dealt with different parts of our sexual experience, we’re taken on an illuminating and entertaining journey about why we have sex – and what that means today. 

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The Victorian Guide to Sex: Desire and deviance in the 19th Century by Fern Riddell

From the same author as the above book and continuing in the same vein but focusing on the Victorian era.

Synopsis: An exciting factual romp through sexual desire, practises and deviance in the Victorian era. The Victorian Guide to Sex will reveal advice and ideas on sexuality from the Victorian period. Drawing on both satirical and real life events from the period, it explores every facet of sexuality that the Victorians encountered. Reproducing original advertisements and letters, with extracts taken from memoirs, legal cases, newspaper advice columns, and collections held in the Museum of London and the British Museum, this book lifts the veil from historical sexual attitudes.

Unmentionable: The Victorian Lady’s Guide to Sex, Marriage, and Manners by Therese Oneill

Something similar to the above book but focusing on women and what life was like for them in the Victorian period. It’s about the elements of a woman’s life you won’t find in history books or history documentaries like how they dealt with their menstrual cycle. Another topic I love to read about.

Synopsis: Have you ever wished you could live in an earlier, more romantic era?

Ladies, welcome to the 19th century, where there’s arsenic in your face cream, a pot of cold pee sits under your bed, and all of your underwear is crotchless. (Why? Shush, dear. A lady doesn’t question.)

UNMENTIONABLE is your hilarious, illustrated, scandalously honest (yet never crass) guide to the secrets of Victorian womanhood, giving you detailed advice on:

~ What to wear
~ Where to relieve yourself
~ How to conceal your loathsome addiction to menstruating
~ What to expect on your wedding night
~ How to be the perfect Victorian wife
~ Why masturbating will kill you
~ And more

Irresistibly charming, laugh-out-loud funny, and featuring nearly 200 images from Victorian publications, UNMENTIONABLE will inspire a whole new level of respect for Elizabeth Bennett, Scarlet O’Hara, Jane Eyre, and all of our great, great grandmothers.

(And it just might leave you feeling ecstaticallygrateful to live in an age of pants, super absorbency tampons, epidurals, anti-depressants, and not-dying-of-the-syphilis-your-husband-brought-home.)

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The Invisible Library (The Invisible Library #1) by Genevieve Cogman

This is about a magical library, of course I want to read it! I actually started it a few years ago but had to return it to the library. I really liked it but wasn’t in a reading mood at the time.

Synopsis: Irene must be at the top of her game or she’ll be off the case – permanently…

Irene is a professional spy for the mysterious Library, which harvests fiction from different realities. And along with her enigmatic assistant Kai, she’s posted to an alternative London. Their mission – to retrieve a dangerous book. But when they arrive, it’s already been stolen. London’s underground factions seem prepared to fight to the very death to find her book.

Adding to the jeopardy, this world is chaos-infested – the laws of nature bent to allow supernatural creatures and unpredictable magic. Irene’s new assistant is also hiding secrets of his own.

Soon, she’s up to her eyebrows in a heady mix of danger, clues and secret societies. Yet failure is not an option – the nature of reality itself is at stake.

Eve of Man (Eve of Man #1) by Giovanna Fletcher, Tom Fletcher

This book was recommended to me a while ago from a commenter. I think the concept is quite interesting even though it’s been done before. I haven’t encountered it told with a female character surrounded by men. I find the idea a little frightening so I’m really interested to see how they write it.

Synopsis: AGAINST ALL ODDS, SHE SURVIVED.
THE FIRST GIRL BORN IN FIFTY YEARS.
THEY CALLED HER EVE . . .

All her life Eve has been kept away from the opposite sex. Kept from the truth of her past.

But at sixteen it’s time for Eve to face her destiny. Three potential males have been selected for her. The future of humanity is in her hands. She’s always accepted her fate.

Until she meets Bram.

Eve wants control over her life. She wants freedom.

But how do you choose between love and the future of the human race?

EVE OF MAN is the first in an explosive new trilogy by bestselling authors Giovanna & Tom Fletcher.

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The Scarlett Letters: My Secret Year of Men in an L.A. Dungeon by Jenny Nordbak

Nordbak is co-host on one of my favourite romance novels podcast, The Wicked Wallflowers Club. Prior to this, she was a professional dominatrix in L.A. and shares her escapades with us in this book.

Synopsis:

Jenny Nordbak takes us to a place that few have seen, but millions have fantasized about, revealing how she transformed herself from a beautiful USC grad into an elite professional dominatrix.

On an unorthodox quest to understand her hidden fantasies, Jenny led a double life for two years. By day she was a construction manager, but at night she became Mistress Scarlett. Working at LA’s longest-running dungeon, she catered to the secret fetishes of clients ranging from accountants to movie stars. She simultaneously developed a career in the complex and male-dominated world of healthcare construction, while spending her nights as a deviant sex worker, dominating men. Far from the standard-issue powerful men who pay to be helpless, Mistress Scarlett’s clientele included men whose fantasies revealed more complex needs, from “Tickle Ed” to “Doggie Dan,” from the “Treasure Trolls” to “Ta-Da Ted.” The Scarlett Letters explores the spectacularly diverse array of human sexuality and the fascinating cast of characters that she encountered along the way.

We’ll discuss part three of this list next week when I will have 11 more books to share with you.

32 Books I Want to Read this Year | Part One

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12 thoughts on “32 Books I Want to Read this Year | Part 2

  1. I love the Invisible Library series, they’re really good fun and I love that they’re about the balance between chaos and order instead of good and evil. I’ve got the newest/seventh book on my TBR and hoping that Genevieve Cogman will have the next out by the end of the year. 😊 My priority over the next few weeks is to read Leigh Bardugo’s Shadow and Bone trilogy before the Netflix series in April.

    Liked by 1 person

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