First Ten Books I Reviewed | A Walk Down Memory Lane

Top Ten Tuesday

It was only last year that I started reviewing books, but it feels like a lifetime ago. So much has happened since then and I’ve come so far – from just discovering Goodreads to running my own blog. I’m still learning, and it was really fun to look back at these first reviews. It helped remind me why I’m doing this: to have fun and create content I’m passionate about!

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly blog meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl.

The First Ten Books I Reviewed

1. Illuminae by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff book cover
★★★★★

I always thought this was the second book I reviewed but Goodreads says it’s the first, so we’ll go with them on this one. I loved this book. So much that I had to scream it to the world. Reading this review back now I’m pretty proud of how I wrote back then – it’s open, honest and full of passion and personality. I can tell I was happy while I wrote it, and that’s how I want all my content to feel.


This book is incredible. It’s completely in a field of its own. It has everything you could want – a brilliant cast of characters, a plot that mixes up mystery and action, and the perfect blend of humour and emotion.

Illuminae review

2. Shift by Hugh Howey

Shift by Hugh Howey book cover
★✩✩✩✩

My second review was less happy, more angry. I did not like this book – it felt like a total waste of my time. I struggled through the whole thing, and looking back now I’m glad that I can say I’ve learnt from my mistakes and would just DNF this if I read it now.


Let me start by saying that I really did enjoy the previous book, Wool. It had action, mystery, genuinely likeable characters, and some real shocking moments. Unfortunately, Shift shares none of these qualities.

Shift review

3. Air Awakens by Elise Kova

Air Awakens by Elise Kova book cover
★★★★✩

My review style is definitely a little janky in this one. I’d been reading a lot of other people’s reviews and I’m pretty sure I was trying to write more like them. I don’t like this one as much, but I think I learnt after this to just say my thoughts the way I want to.


I was instantly drawn to this book by the library setting, however I did think the story took a while to get going. The pacing improved later into the book, and as characters were introduced to the story and events began happening, I found myself getting more absorbed into the book.

Air Awakens review

4. Glass Houses by Rachel Caine

Glass Houses by Rachel Caine book cover
★★★★★

Ah, my favourite. I remember at the time I felt like it was a crime that I didn’t have a review for my favourite book. So I simply had to reread it and fix that.


Given that this is my fourth time reading this book, it shouldn’t be surprising that I’m giving it 5 stars. But what perhaps is surprising, is that even on my fourth time of reading this book, it still stands up to all my expectations.

Glass Houses review

5. Gemina by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

Gemina by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff book cover
★★★★✩

Yeah, this is the point where I got really obsessed with The Illuminae Files.


I really wanted to love this as much as Illuminae but it didn’t quite have the same edge for me. I still really loved it though!

Gemina review

6. Obsidio by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

Obsidio by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff book cover
★★★★★

Yup, I fell hard for this series.


This book is everything I could hope for from a finale. After being slightly disappointed by Gemina, I was worried for the conclusion, but Obsidio wraps up this trilogy perfectly.

Obsidio review

7. A Clash of Kings by George R.R. Martin

A Clash of Kings by George R. R. Martin book cover
★★★✩✩

I think this review was just me venting. I finished this book three years after I started it and I skimmed most because I really wasn’t enjoying it. As you can see, I hadn’t yet learnt my lesson from Shift to just DNF books I don’t enjoy.


I did not enjoy this book as much as the first. I didn’t find the plot as engaging, and I missed the mystery aspects of trying to figure out what’s really going on in King’s Landing along with Ned. I also felt like I was reading this book just to get it finished.

A Clash of Kings review

8. To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo

To Kill A Kingdom by Alexandra Christo book cover
★★★★✩

I think this is another review where I wasn’t entirely sure what I was doing and tried to write like someone else. It’s a Little Mermaid retelling, and my proudest moment was noticing that Lira (the main character) is practically Ariel spelt backwards.


This is a very fun and dark read. It has snarky characters, pirate antics, and some heart stealing of both the literal and romantic variety.

To Kill a Kingdom review

9. The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton

The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton book cover
★★★★★

This review was mostly me trying not to give away any spoilers whilst also screaming that everyone needs to read this book.


This book completely blew my mind. I don’t think I’ve ever read a plot so delightfully complex, or a murder mystery where I felt so connected to the character.

The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle review

10. The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson

The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson book cover
★★★★★

Fitting that this list should end on what I proclaimed at the time to be my new favourite book. This review is basically me trying to fangirl eloquently.


I went into this book with no idea what I would find. What I certainly didn’t expect was a heist story about a 16-year-old girl recruited into a thieving crew in a plot to overthrow a tyrannical leader. I was very pleasantly surprised.

The Final Empire review

This was a fun trip down memory lane. It’s interesting to look back at my old reviews and see whether my writing style has changed. I don’t think it has that much, but I’ve had fun looking back anyway. It’d be interesting to do this again in a year.

Do you remember your first review? What book was it for?

4 thoughts on “First Ten Books I Reviewed | A Walk Down Memory Lane

  1. Omg your old reviews were actually really good. I wish I could say the same xD Also damn, this really makes me want to read the Illuminae Files.

    But yeah, I really enjoy looking back on my old reviews sometimes. It’s interesting to see how my writing has evolved and improved and changed over time. Though I don’t usually go back to my firsts cuz they were low key terrible and I end up cringing so hard 😛

    If you’re interested, I posted my own TTT list:

    https://lauraherondale.wordpress.com/2019/04/23/top-ten-tuesday-my-first-reviews-this-took-an-unexpected-turn-into-unpopular-opinion-territory/#more-287

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aww, well mine aren’t that old – only last year if that makes you feel better 😂 You should! I recommend that series to everyone.

      Oh no, old stuff can be really cringy but it’s good to see how you’ve changed 😋

      Thanks, I’ll check it out!

      Liked by 1 person

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