asking for trouble

Books, Comics & Zines I Read in 2021

I’ll be updating this page throughout the year, hoping to meet my reading challenge of 52 books (eligible books are numbered below) and read a lot of the books in my Unread folder. You can follow me on Goodreads too or read about what I read in 2020, 2019, 2018 & 2017. Some links to buy are affiliate links. Please note I am a kind and generous reviewer and usually give a 4 star review. I mainly choose books by whatever is under £3 on my wish list and try to keep switching between genres and fiction/non-fiction.



51. The 7th Function of Language by Laurent Binet ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
This is somehow a ROMP of a detective novel about semiology, linguistics, philosophy and art history, which is an achievement in itself. It’s also based around the real-life death of Roland Barthes and involves a whole cast of real life 1980s intellectuals and politicians, a secret debating club and a document that could help anyone win an argument – or an election. Just a lot of fun, though a bit difficult to follow at times, even with having taken a couple of classes in semiotics at art school.

50. Sheets by Brenna Thummler ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Cute graphic novel about a teenage girl trying to keep the family laundry going and a ghost (of the sheet with eyes type) – and a really great villain trying to ruin everything. The story is a little predictable but the art is so good and the characters all seem real, as well as cartoonishly fun and quirky.

49. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild — Creating a Champion 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟
I wouldn’t normally include a coffee table book like this but it is MASSIVE and full of text and took me months to read. Obviously this is only interesting to anyone who is obsessed with Breath of the Wild but if you are, it’s full of so much cool stuff.

48. Witch Hat Atelier, Vol. 3 by Kamome Shirahama 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟
Still loving this manga of apprentice witches who draw their spells. Not a lot really happens but I just like learning more about this world and how the magic system works, plus the art is lovely.

47. Chaos Rising by Timothy Zahn ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
One of the best Star Wars books I’ve read. Not only does it have Thrawn in his younger years, still being super smart and figuring out from the smallest details – but it barely connects to the rest of the Star Wars universe. The Disney era books can make it all feel so small, as the same characters keep interacting with the same planets, but here we only get a brief appearance from one character. It also introduces lots of new characters, planets and tech that feel original and interesting. I’ll need to pick up the rest of the trilogy.

46. Before the Coffee Gets Cold by Toshikazu Kawaguchi ⭐️⭐️⭐️
This was originally a play and it totally reads like the novelisation of a script. That doesn’t make it bad, but it would work much better in a theatre. Since it’s very Japanese, it’s unlikely that will happen for me and I still enjoyed this tale of a cafe where you can travel in time, but only to meet people who have also visited the cafe. The stories are a little obvious but I liked the characters.

45. Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body by Roxane Gay
Unrated, because you can’t put a star rating on such a personal story. This is a brave, difficult to read book about trauma and body image and health and everyone should read it.


44. Hit Factories: A Journey Through the Industrial Cities of British Pop by Karl Whitney ⭐️⭐️⭐️
Extremely patchy set of essays about the musical history of British cities. It’s a nice idea to visit the actual locations of important venues etc. but almost all of them are gone now, which makes it a bit repetitive. Some of the city chapters are fascinating and he manages to show how how one scene/venue/group of people led to the next one through the decades. And then you have Liverpool being all about the Beatles, and saying nothing new, while barely mentioning the massively influential post-punk scene, and others just going on about Brexit and having to stop an interesting story because everyone moved to London. The Glasgow chapter missed so much as well – there’s so many people he could have talked to to get a wider view.

43. If the Fates Allow by Rainbow Rowell ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Cute short story catching us up with Reagan from Fangirl during Covid Christmas. Not much happens but I enjoyed it.

42. Nothing Like I Imagined by Mindy Kaling ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
I had Amazon Prime for the Wheel of Time and caught up on some exclusive books. These essays were such a fun read. It’s great that Mindy Kaling is a big TV exec now but I first found her through her blog and she’s such a good writer. I wish she’d gone down that route instead of TV shows that aren’t quite my thing.

41. Ascent by Jed Mercurio ⭐️⭐️⭐️
I couldn’t imagine how the creator of Line of Duty could write such a boring book, but of course he has always been far too interested in all the technical jargon and procedures. This is for the people who read astronaut auto/bios and wish there was more about their military service – a LOT more. It’s an alternate history of the Apollo era, and a (fictional) Russian pilot who ends up on a last-ditch mission to get to the Moon first. But he doesn’t even join the space programme until near the end of the book! Instead there’s endless descriptions of planes shooting at each other in Vietnam and then chapters and chapters of exile in the Arctic with a wife and children who never even get names. If you made a film of this, the first 80% of the book could be a 10 minute flashback.

40. The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary ⭐️⭐️⭐️
A fun romcom but I just couldn’t get past the premise (flatmates who split the flat – and bed – between day and night).

39. HHhH by Laurent Binet 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟
Probably my favourite book of the year, in one of my favourite genres – instead of writing the book, I will write about writing the book. I can’t explain why I love this format so much but it’s the playfulness of trying out scenes and doing research, only to double back and point out all the problems. And the way it’s written as if it were an unedited journal/manuscript. The way it builds from the journal-style snippets and reworkings to a really detailed and emotional final section about the final days of the protagonists is so well done. It’s just incredibly good and I can’t recommend it enough. A shame that people might dismiss this book because it looks like a straight up non-fiction book about the assassination of a major Nazi figure but it’s so much more than that.


38. Devolution: A Firsthand Account of the Rainier Sasquatch Massacre by Max Brooks ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Basically World War Z but not as good as it has sasquatches and a remote community that relies too much on technology over real world skills etc. None of the characters seem very believable and while it’s generally quite scary, it’s not very surprising. Also the ending made me want to hit things.

37. The Third Pole: Mystery, Obsession, and Death on Mount Everest by Mark Synnott ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Supposedly about an expedition to solve the mystery of George Mallory & Sandy Irvine but ends up being a mishmash of history, expedition planning and the experiences of some random climbers also on Everest that year. Since they spend very little time actually searching for Irvine, I guess he had no choice but to write a different book. Still interesting but only on a 99p deal.

36. The Relentless Moon by Mary Robinette Kowal 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟
Finally a UK ebook! I was surprised that this wasn’t about the original Lady Astronaut, Elma, but very quickly got engrossed in this, about one of the other pilots turned lady astronauts serving on the moon base. It suffers from the same ‘problem’ as the other LA books – too many exciting things keep happening! It really is just constant disaster after disaster with layers of conspiracies and problems back on Earth too. You definitely won’t be bored. I love how you can tell that Kowal has done her research but doesn’t feel the need to include pages of tedious detail to prove it, like certain male sci-fi authors I could mention.

35. The Terror by Dan Simmons ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
I enjoyed it but preferred the TV show, which I now see is a really excellent adaptation. It cuts out all the boring and repetitive stuff (and the constant weird sexualising of Lady Silence) and makes it all much more exciting and horrible.


34. The Stranger in the Woods: The Extraordinary Story of the Last True Hermit by Michael Finkel
Unrated because I feel deceived about what I bought. This starts out with fairly gripping reporting about a man who lived in the woods by himself for decades and how he was eventually discovered. It then has a long meandering attempt to understand why someone would seek solitude including a potted history of hermits and religious practices. But then it all gets too personal and the author’s air of baffled confusion and attempts to diagnose mental health conditions are just weird. And then it gets really creepy as you discover the subject of the book was barely a willing participant and was pretty much stalked and bullied by a writer who got obsessed with fixing him and treated his former home as some kind of pilgrimage site. Avoid. [Buy]

33. What The Traveller Saw by Eric Newby ⭐️⭐️⭐️
I love Eric Newby but this is a very odd book that can’t decide if it’s a photography book with lengthy captions or a book of short travel essays with some photos so is somehow both. There are photos without an accompanying essay, long captions taken straight from an included essay and many short random little essays that tell you very little and then just end. The photographs are all really good though and some great longer essays but mostly it’s just a glimpse at how world travel used to be. [Buy]

32. The Testaments by Margaret Atwood ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
With the TV show getting a bit less ridiculous I was interested to see where it might go next and this would make for a fairly satisfying ending. It does read weirdly like fanfiction though, and I dislike that one of the main antagonists from the show is retconned into a good person. It also definitely reads like someone who is getting frustrated by what the TV show is doing and kind of forcing them into getting back on track. Here’s hoping it all works out into something watchable. [Buy]


31. Farthing by Jo Walton ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Jo Walton’s book review posts on Tor are always so good and I thought I should read more of her own books. This one is an Agatha Christie-style murder mystery at a famous political house in the country but set in a post-war England where Britain made a peace deal with Hitler. It starts off in a cosy comic style but gets darker and darker. Do we really need any more ‘what if the Nazis won WW2’ books? Probably not. But this also works really well as a ‘what if Agatha Christie books weren’t obsessed with Jews & Communists ruining the world?’ I really like the main characters, especially the detective, so I will likely read the rest of the series. [Buy]

30. Beach Read by Emily Henry ⭐️⭐️⭐️
This is a cute idea where a romance writer and a literary fiction writer challenge each other to get over their respective writers’ blocks by writing in each others’ genre. The way they teach each other about writing and research is fun but the actual romance has a few too many annoying tropes to be enjoyable. [Buy]

29. Carrying the Fire: An Astronaut’s Journeys by Michael Collins ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
This is a really good astronaut autobiography that benefits hugely from not having a ghost writer/collaborator. Michael Collins’ writing style is very folksy and a little bit mixed up and rambling but he also has a lot of personality and an imaginative way of describing things. I love reading about Apollo and there’s a lot of great stories and descriptions in here that I had not really heard before. It does go into a LOT of detail about technical stuff and flying, plus the Apollo 11 team was not the most exciting bunch of people, but I enjoyed it all. The updated introductions as time passes are quite poignant too but do raise the question of why some of the more colourful and iffy opinions of a white guy from the 1950s weren’t removed from the original book text. [Buy]


28. We Were Eight Years in Power: An American Tragedy by Ta-Nehisi Coates ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Some of my recent online reading made me realise that the Obama era kind of passed me by (I am British and US politics didn’t really overwhelm our news/social media until the 2016 election so I only remember the big stuff). This is a book of essays written during Obama’s presidency (1 per year + a personal introduction and epilogue) that filled in a lot of gaps for me. Extremely well-written & researched, great arguments/theories, lots to think about. [Buy]

27. The Idea of You by Robinne Lee ⭐️⭐️⭐️
This is a fairly trashy Hollywood romance novel about an older woman who falls for her daughter’s favourite boy band idol. It was fun enough that I finished it but I didn’t care about any of these rich selfish people trying to deal with fame, celebrity etc. [Buy]

26. Any Way the Wind Blows by Rainbow Rowell 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟
Despite desperately wanting this book ever since that ending of book 2, time has been very weird this summer and suddenly it was here! I tried not to rush through it but I love these characters so much. There’s not much you can say about the final book in a trilogy with spoilering stuff but it had everything I wanted and a lot more too. Also very funny and I need to reread soon and highlight everything. What are we supposed to do now without Simon & Baz…and Penny….and Shepherd from Omaha? [Buy]

25. The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
I completely understand why people would hate this book as it is extremely whimisical and has a whole ‘stories within stories within stories’ format that gets a bit self-indulgent (having your characters openly praise stories that you also wrote is a little narcissistic!). However, I really liked the concept of a hidden library with all its history and mysteries and found the characters interesting. It did drag a bit in places and got very confusing near the end but I’m glad I read it. [Buy]


24. Erebus: The Story of a Ship by Michael Palin 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟
I enjoyed The Terror TV show so much and read a few articles on the real expedition after but was happy to spot this in the 99p deals. I’ve never actually read a Michael Palin book before and probably shouldn’t have been surprised at how good a writer he is. It covers the whole life of the ship and probably half of the book is about earlier Antarctic explorations. It goes into a lot of detail and has clearly been well researched, plus he manages to stay out of the story himself. There’s some personal travel memories here and there but they never overwhelm and even though you can tell he admires these men and considers them heroes, he’s perfectly willing to point out all their mistakes and personality flaws. Definitely recommended. [Buy]

23. All Stirred Up by Brianne Moore ⭐️⭐️⭐️
I always try to support books by bloggers whose writing I’ve enjoyed for free. This is by The Armchair Anglophile who (used to) generally blog about historical and period drama TV shows. However it is a modern retelling of Persuasion set in Edinburgh’s restaurant scene. It was so nice to read a romance novel set in Scotland written by someone who clearly knows the city well, though the attempts at local vernacular were a bit cringey. Generally it was fine for a quick read but everyone other than the main couple felt like cartoon characters and not real people. I also found it super weird that the protagonist had zero friends – just family and employees – but maybe that was because of the Persuasion inspiration (I can’t remember anything about that book!). [Buy]

22. Agent Sonya: Moscow’s Most Daring Wartime Spy by Ben Macintyre ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
I was in a bit of a reading slump and these books are always an exciting and fast read. This might be his best book as it has less patriotic pro-British fawning than usual, since it focuses on a communist German Jew. It really is an incredible and fascinating story, of a woman who lived through both the Russian Revolution and the fall of the Berlin Wall – and spied for the Soviet Union and the WW2 allies. [Buy]


21. Out There: The Wildest Stories from Outside Magazine ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
This was a Christmas gift I gave to my dad and he then lent it to me. It’s a good mix of articles previously published in the magazine/website, and all with a general theme of humans vs nature in remote places. That includes travel, animals, environmental issues and extreme sports. It does get a little alpha male at times but I didn’t skip a single story and enjoyed them all. Not having the photos is a real loss though, and Outside are still publishing great new stuff, so I would recommend having a dig around in their Long Reads section and joining their mailing list instead. [Buy]

20. Heartstopper: Volume Four by Alice Oseman 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟
Lovely to have Nick & Charlie back, and so in love. I was worried about this volume as this part of Charlie’s mental health issues was already told in the background one of her novels and was really traumatic, and I didn’t want to go through it all again in more detail. Thankfully, she does a time jump and tells that part through a few flashbacks and journal entries to find different angles. It’s all very sensitively done – making it clear that mental health isn’t something you can fix overnight through love or asking for help, but a much longer process with setbacks. I do wish there was more time for some of the side characters and hope they’ll get a bit more to do in the final book. [Buy]

19. The Feather Thief: Beauty, Obsession, and the Natural History Heist of the Century by Kirk Wallace Johnson ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
This has been on my wish list for years, after I read an excerpt, and it was so much better than I expect. It’s a real truth is stranger than fiction tale that is both difficult to summarise and better read without too much prior knowledge. I really loved that it’s almost 3 different short books – an interesting history of natural history collecting and the use of exotic birds in fashion, a classic true crime long read on the heist and the person behind it, and a first person race against time piece about the author becoming obsessed by a case. It’s also brilliant how it subtly juxtaposes the Victorian ladies who turned against the fashion and started bird protection leagues, and the modern day men who insist it’s their right to illegally sell, trade and steal endangered animals to make fishing flies they’ll never use. Could have been 5 stars but it has such a messy unresolved ending and a bit too much about the author’s life. [Buy]

18. The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟
I spent about 80% of this book thinking it was great but no Circe, and then it kept getting better and better. It’s a much simpler, smaller story – essentially a love story – but also with gods and prophesies and the siege of Troy. Just really beautiful and tragic. [Buy]

17. I Feel Bad About My Neck: And Other Thoughts on Being a Woman by Nora Ephron ⭐️⭐️⭐️
I don’t remember buying this but have been picking short books from my Unread folder. This is a collection of short columns from magazines etc. and she’s obviously a witty writer but it’s very much of its time and I found myself cringing a lot. It’s just a bit too superficial and rich celebrity and likely inspired all the modern female writers I hate who do that whole ‘I live in London and my life is a disaster and I am unlucky in love and hugely in debt and constantly binge drinking and spending a fortune on beauty products that don’t work – isn’t it all hilarious and relatable?!’ [Buy]

16. Culture Warlords: My Journey Into the Dark Web of White Supremacy by Talia Lavin ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
This is a weirdly unputdownable book, considering the horrible topic, but the author has a great writing style that keeps you interested. She’s also super brave and I spent way too much time expecting something terrible to happen as she infiltrated various private online groups who were already wishing death on her. Definitely recommended to understand quite what we’re dealing with – how people get radicalised and how they can be stopped. [Buy]

15. Star Wars: The Rise of Kylo Ren by Charles Soule ⭐️⭐️⭐️
A comic that explains some of Kylo Ren’s backstory that was missing from the movies, like who the hell are the Knights of Ren? I’m not too keen on the art style but the story is interesting enough that I will likely read the rest.[Buy]

14. The Mystery of Three Quarters by Sophie Hannah ⭐️⭐️⭐️
This is one of the new Hercule Poirot books and I was intrigued enough when it popped up on my 99p newsletter to give it a go. It just didn’t work for me though and felt a bit pointless. I wasn’t expecting the writing style or Poirot to be exactly the same Agatha Christie but he felt like a completely different character. The mystery was also a bit underwhelming and overly-complicated. I did like the new police friend character/narrator though so would possibly try the author’s original books at some point. [Buy]

Annually 2021 by the Pet Shop Boys & Chris Heath ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
I always immediately pre-order these annual fan books but I was a bit concerned it might be a bit boring this year since they cover all the events/anniversaries/releases/touring/recording etc of the previous year. However, it was an interesting as ever, with what they’ve been doing in lockdown and look back at their first year of fame from diary entries. Best free CD yet too. [Buy]


13. Rule of Wolves by Leigh Bardugo 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟
I dragged this out but still finished way too fast and now I am sad it’s all over! I liked this a lot better than King of Scars and Nikolai was on top form throughout. I don’t want to spoiler anyone so I’ll just the say all the cameos were so fun (though generally unnecessary), way less people died than I was dreading and Zoya might have one the best character arcs ever. I hope there is more Grishaverse some day but at least we have the Netflix show too. I binged that over 3 days and it is way better than I dared to hope, though the Dregs/Crows are inevitably 100x more watchable than the actual Shadow & Bone stuff. [Buy]

Only 1 book this month despite reading All The Time. Mostly a re-read of A Man on the Moon which finally got an ebook release. I’m now 3 books behind schedule so need to sort myself out.


12. The Right Stuff by Tom Wolfe ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
I remember being so bored watching the movie of this (we gave up half way through) but the Disney+ TV series was cool and made me want to read more about Mercury so I dug this up from the depths of my Kindle. The writing style takes a bit of getting used to but it has a real rhythm to it and pulls you back to the 1960s. It’s a good overview of the Mercury astronauts and missions, plus weaving in the stories of their erstwhile test pilot colleagues flying rocket planes adds a lot of interesting stuff I didn’t know about. All the patriotic good old heroic military men stuff does get a bit tedious though, as is the starry-eyed admiration for their general macho nonsense. [Buy]

11. Confessions of a Bookseller by Shaun Bythell ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Very similar sequel to his original year long diary of running a second hand bookshop in Wigtown. That doesn’t make it any less enjoyable though as enough time has passed that there’s new employees, friends and customers to poke fun at. I also really liked the excerpts from an old parody book about a book seller at the beginning of each month and will need to try and find a copy. [Buy]

10. Bunny by Mona Awad ⭐️⭐️⭐️
This starts out as a decent college-based book about outsiders vs a weird group of girls who call each other Bunny, but I don’t think anyone could possibly guess where it all goes next and what the bunnies are up to. There’s an incredible chapter written as a stream of consciousness from the mind of a bunny girl that will stay with me for a long time. However, the twist ending was a too obvious that even I guessed it. I was also a bit uncomfortable with the way the bunnies were portrayed as silly, childish and hateable for liking cute things, while another girl who was into punk goth stuff was obviously much smarter and admirable. [Buy]

9. Arsène Lupin, Gentleman-Thief by Maurice Leblanc ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
The (great!) Netflix show made me wonder why I have never read these books, since Castle of Cagliostro is one of my favourite films of all time. They’re in the public domain now so there really is no excuse. As expected, I loved this and it has the same style as other classics of that era with a big debt to Sherlock Holmes (who even makes an appearance!). Great fun and I am already planning to ration the other books so I have more to look forward to. [Free to download]


8. Witch Hat Atelier, Vol. 2 by Kamome Shirahama 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟
This continues to be great so I am in for the long haul now. It’s such a cute and magical story with beautiful art. I was glad to see the other girls getting a bit of the spotlight as the big flaw with the first book was their elitist mean girl attitude. Especially loved them working together to make the cutest spell to escape a dragon! [Buy]

The rest of the month I have been re-reading all the Grishaverse books to be ready for the new Nikolai book and Netflix show. So excited about both.


7. On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟
I’ve only read 2 or 3 things by Stephen King as I’m not a horror fan but he’s undoubtably a great writer and this is a really good book. It’s part memoir and part writing advice and both parts are interesting, though the memoirs were probably my favourite. I really got into his origin story of how he became a writer and there’s a bunch of extras at the end including a gripping tale of getting hit by a truck, a look at his real-life editing process and loads of personal book recommendations. The descriptions of some of his own books made me realise they’re not all straight up horror either and I’m going to add a few to my wish list. [Buy]

6. Paradise Kiss: 20th Anniversary Edition by Ai Yazawa 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟
I don’t usually count re-reads for this challenge (no shade on anyone who does!) but this is a new edition of my favourite manga ever with what appears to be an updated translation, plus some beautiful new full colour illustrations. I was tempted to buy the paperback but I already have the individual books so I got the ebook to read on my iPad. It’s the story of serious student Yukari who gets involved with a group of misfit fashion students and all kinds of drama occurs. I loved catching up with these characters again but they still break my heart (especially adorable super-kawaii Miwako). [Buy]

5. Rescue Me by Sarra Manning ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Even though she only writes adult romance books now, that aren’t generally my thing, I will always give a new Sarra Manning book a go, due to her incredible run of YA novels back in the day. This is a cute romance about 2 people who both fall in love with a rescue dog and agree to co-pawrent it. Of course they end up falling in love with each other too. Even though I’m not a dog person at all, Blossom the staffie is so well written that she’s really the main character and goes through even more character development than the humans. [Buy]

4. Case Histories by Kate Atkinson ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
I don’t even remember buying this but I accidentally opened it when choosing my next book and the first page was interesting enough that I kept reading it. The first few chapters set out the circumstances of 3 unsolved crimes and the rest of the book is about the relatives and a private detective who comes to discover they’re all connected. It keeps you guessing all the way through and is generally a good read but it does tend to keep picking the obvious explanation and then adding an extra twist at the end that gets a bit annoying. I enjoyed it but probably won’t read any more of the series. [Buy]

3. The Lives of Saints by Leigh Bardugo ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
A real version of the book Alina reads in Shadow & Bone! It’s set out like a book of fables with stories about each saint – either their origin story or a person who called on them. Each story is short and surprising but they do get a bit repetitive so better for dipping into than reading all in one go as I did. Lovely artwork too. [Buy]

2. I Like to Watch: Arguing My Way Through the TV Revolution by Emily Nussbaum ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
I never read any of Emily Nussbaum’s work when she was writing about the golden age of peak TV so it was cool to catch up and read about some of my favourite programmes. I realise there’s not much you can do about it now, but some pieces are just too short or focused on a specific season that make them a little less interesting so long after. Much better are the long profiles with showrunners and other major TV players including Ryan Murphy, Jenji Kohan and Joan Rivers. I didn’t really know anything about any of these people or their work but they were all fascinating. [Buy]

1. The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟
A treat to begin the year. I follow VE Schwab on social media and went to one of her readings a couple of years ago so have been following this book’s journey for a long time. The tale of a girl who makes a deal with the devil and gets freedom and immortality but is forgotten by everyone as soon as she is out of their sight. I initially felt like this was a pretty good deal until I understood the sneakiness of this bargain in reality – having no home, money, job, possessions, friends and family, or even the ability to create anything or tell your own story. Addie’s journey over 300 years as she finds a way to survive and make some mark on the world is so well done, and then she meets someone who remembers her. I kind of wish I hadn’t waited to read this as I think it got a bit overhyped and could only feel a little disappointing. But I still loved it and look forward to reading it again once the attention has died down a bit. [Buy]


Hello! I’m Marceline Smith, the designer and owner of Asking For Trouble. I create illustrated stationery, accessories and gifts using my cute characters inspired by Japanese kawaii. This is my business and personal blog where I write about my creative doings, inspirations, travels, Japan trips and daily life. Read more »

Browse the archives

Buy my stuff

other things I Do


All text, photos and illustrations are © Marceline Smith 2007-2024 unless credited otherwise. You may repost my images with full credit and link. However, do not reproduce full posts without my permission or use my images or writing for commercial purposes. Thank you!


All opinions are my own and I am not compensated or sponsored for writing about any products or services featured unless stated in the post. Links to shops and websites may be affiliate links – I receive a small commission from your orders at no cost to you, which helps me fund this site. I do not accept advertising.