I finished the Popsugar Reading Challenge this week! Just one left on ATY and I’m freeee! Which is a silly thing to say because I choose to do these challenges, but it’s been a year. I’m looking forward to catching up with some of my recent purchases and a couple of festive books.

If the only bad news I have is that my wellies split, them I am doing OK! I wasn’t impressed at the time. I stepped into a flooded path with complete faith in my footwear only for my welly to fill up with icy, muddy water. So I had to walk back home with a squelch in my step.

I want to talk about Patrick Ness’ Burn which I don’t think has had enough attention this year. I bought it because Patrick Ness and dragons, but only just got round to reading it and it is so much more. It’s set in 1957 during the Cold War, and in a universe where dragons just exist. Sarah is mixed race and just trying to get by in a small town with a racist deputy when her father hires a dragon to work on the farm. Meanwhile an assassin from a dragon-worshipping cult is on his way to stop a prophecy and the FBI are on the trail. The country as a whole is just worried about the Russians spying on them with Sputnik.

So much going on and it was great! It’s such a different take on dragon fantasy. Plus is had great characters and plenty of twists and turns in the story. If you like Patrick Ness or dragons, please give it a go.

I also read A Cheesemonger’s History of the British Isles by Ned Palmer which was full of cheese facts as well filling me in on gaps in my British history knowledge. It’s starts way back in Neolithic times, talking about history in relation to cheese, from how society was shaped by cheese and cheese shaped by the history of the British Isles. Plus each section has a cheese being made now in the traditional manner as its mascot, so you can go and search out that cheese later. And trust me, I will!

My final book for Popsugar was Yuval Noah Harari’s 21 Lessons for the 21st Century which was a bit disappointing. I loved Sapiens and I do prefer him when he’s writing about history. His predictions need to be taken with a pinch of salt, there is very little criticism of Big Tech and the Cambridge Analytica scandal only got mentioned in passing. Some of it is very relevant, and your mileage may vary, but I didn’t think there was much new to me.

Lots of new books this week:

The Mask Falling by Samantha Shannon (review copy provided by Bloomsbury)
The Betrayals by Bridget Collins
Leave the World Behind by Rumaan Alam
The Dark Archive by Genevieve Cogman
Monstress: Warchild by Marjorie M. Liu + Sana Takada
Dying With Her Cheer Pants On by Seanan McGuire (ebook)
Someday at Christmas by Lizzie Byron (aka Tanya Byrne) (ebook)
The Nesting by C.J. Cooke (ebook)
Countless by Jennifer Niven (ebook)