December Wrap Up

Hi everyone! I’m a little late in posting this but it’s time for my December Wrap-Up. I read 18 books in December which I’m super proud of as it was a super busy month for me as usual with a lot of work and assignments. You can also watch this as a video, which I’ll link below.

Books I read in December

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Review | Goodreads | Waterstones

Do you dare read this collection of terrifyingly gruesome tales? In this gripping volume, author Jen Campbell offers young readers an edgy, contemporary, and inclusive take on classic fairy tales, taking them back to their gory beginnings while updating them for a modern audience with queer and disabled characters and positive representation of disfigurement.
Featuring fourteen short stories from China, India, Ireland, and across the globe, The Sister Who Ate Her Brothers is an international collection of the creepiest folk tales. Illustrated with Adam de Souza’s brooding art, this book’s style is a totally original blend of nineteenth-century Gothic engravings meets moody film noir graphic novels. Headlined by the Korean tale of a carnivorous child, The Sister Who Ate Her Brothers is a truly thrilling gift for brave young readers.

★★★★
3.5 out of 5 stars

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Review | Goodreads | Waterstones

★★★★★
4.5 out of 5 stars

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Review | Goodreads | Waterstones

Ivy, Mateo, and Cal used to be close. Back in middle school they were best friends. So, when Cal pulls into campus late for class, and runs into Ivy and Mateo, it seems like the perfect opportunity to turn a bad day around. They’ll ditch school and go into the city. Just the three of them, like old times. Why did they stop hanging out, anyway?
As soon as they pull out of the parking lot Cal knows why. Ivy’s already freaking out about missing class, and heartthrob Mateo is asleep in the backseat, too cool to even pretend like he wants to be there. The truth is they have nothing in common anymore.
At least they don’t until they run into the fourth student ditching school that day. Brian “Boney” Mahoney is supposed to be accepting his newly won office of class president. Which is why Ivy follows him into an empty building, only to walk into the middle of a murder scene. Cal, Ivy, and Mateo all know the person lying on the ground of that building, and now they need to come clean. They’re all hiding something. And maybe their chance reconnection wasn’t by chance after all. 

★★★★
4 out of 5 stars

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Review | Goodreads | Waterstones

When three very different siblings, Fern, Rowan and Willow, go home for a Christmas reunion at their family home in Edinburgh, it’s not long before some VERY BIG SECRETS threaten their cosy holiday …
The McAllister house on Arboretum Road has seen 120 Christmases since its completion.
This year, FERN is bringing her gorgeous boyfriend home and she wants everything to be perfect.
But her twin brother ROWAN would rather go on the pull than pull crackers with the family.
And their younger sister WILLOW is terrified of Christmas Day.
With FOUR sleeps till Christmas,
THREE secretive siblings,
TWO hot houseguests,
And ONE juicy secret …
This Christmas, there will be some BIG surprises under the tree.
Sometimes at Christmas, you don’t get what you want, you get what you need…

★★★★
4 out of 5 stars

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Review | Goodreads | Blackwells

Adam Stillwater is in over his head. At least, that’s what his best friend would say. And his mom. And the guy who runs the hardware store down the street. But this pinball arcade is the only piece of his dad that Adam has left, and he’s determined to protect it from Philadelphia’s newest tech mogul, who wants to turn it into another one of his cold, lifeless gaming cafés.
Whitney Mitchell doesn’t know how she got here. Her parents split up. She lost all her friends. Her boyfriend dumped her. And now she’s spending her senior year running social media for her dad’s chain of super successful gaming cafés—which mostly consists of trading insults with that decrepit old pinball arcade across town.
But when a huge snowstorm hits, Adam and Whitney suddenly find themselves trapped inside the arcade. Cut off from their families, their worlds, and their responsibilities, the tension between them seems to melt away, leaving something else in its place. But what happens when the storm stops? 

★★★★
4 out of 5 stars

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Review | Goodreads | Waterstones

Love, literature, friendship, music, carnival, travel, dance, work, nature, food – Black Joy can be found in so many places.
Edited by award-winning journalist Charlie Brinkhust-Cuff and up-and-coming talent Timi Sotire, join twenty-eight inspirational voices in this uplifting and empowering anthology as they come together to celebrate being Black British, sharing their experiences of joy and what it means to them.

★★★★★
5 out of 5 stars

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Review | Goodreads | Waterstones

An unflinching, powerful memoir about growing up Korean American, losing her mother, and forging her own identity.
In this exquisite story of family, food, grief, and endurance, Michelle Zauner proves herself far more than a dazzling singer, songwriter, and guitarist. With humor and heart, she tells of growing up one of the few Asian American kids at her school in Eugene, Oregon; of struggling with her mother’s particular, high expectations of her; of a painful adolescence; of treasured months spent in her grandmother’s tiny apartment in Seoul, where she and her mother would bond, late at night, over heaping plates of food.
As she grew up, moving to the East Coast for college, finding work in the restaurant industry, and performing gigs with her fledgling band–and meeting the man who would become her husband–her Koreanness began to feel ever more distant, even as she found the life she wanted to live. It was her mother’s diagnosis of terminal cancer, when Michelle was twenty-five, that forced a reckoning with her identity and brought her to reclaim the gifts of taste, language, and history her mother had given her.

★★★★★
4.5 out of 5 stars

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Review | Goodreads | Waterstones

Taken from the poverty of her parents’ home in Portsmouth, Fanny Price is brought up with her rich cousins at Mansfield Park, acutely aware of her humble rank and with her cousin Edmund as her sole ally. During her uncle’s absence in Antigua, the Crawford’s arrive in the neighbourhood bringing with them the glamour of London life and a reckless taste for flirtation. Mansfield Park is considered Jane Austen’s first mature work and, with its quiet heroine and subtle examination of social position and moral integrity, one of her most profound.

★★★
3 out of 5 stars

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Review | Goodreads | Blackwells

North Carolina, 1863. As the American Civil War rages on, the Freedmen’s Colony of Roanoke Island is blossoming, a haven for the recently emancipated. Black people have begun building a community of their own, a refuge from the shadow of the old life. It is where the March family has finally been able to safely put down roots with four young daughters:
Meg, a teacher who longs to find love and start a family of her own.
Jo, a writer whose words are too powerful to be contained.
Beth, a talented seamstress searching for a higher purpose.
Amy, a dancer eager to explore life outside her family’s home.
As the four March sisters come into their own as independent young women, they will face first love, health struggles, heartbreak, and new horizons. But they will face it all together.

★★★★★
5 out of 5 stars

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Review | Goodreads | Waterstones

In an Italian city ravaged by plague, Sofia’s mother carves beautiful mementos from the bones of loved ones. But one day, she doesn’t return home. Did her work lead her into danger? Sofia and her little brother Ermin are sent to the convent orphanage but soon escape, led by an enigmatic new friend and their pet crow, Corvith.
Together they cross the city underground, following clues in bones up to the towers of Siena, where – circled by magpies – the children find the terrible truth …

★★★★
4 out of 5 stars

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Review | Goodreads | Waterstones

Julia has followed her mum and dad to live on a remote island for the summer – her dad, for work; her mother, on a determined mission to find the elusive Greenland shark. But when her mother’s obsession threatens to submerge them all, Julia finds herself on an adventure with dark depths and a lighthouse full of hope…
A beautiful, lyrical, uplifting story about a mother, a daughter, and love – with timely themes of the importance of science and the environment.

★★★★★
5 out of 5 stars

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Review | Goodreads | Waterstones

Shaun Bythell owns The Bookshop, Wigtown – Scotland’s largest second-hand bookshop. It contains 100,000 books, spread over a mile of shelving, with twisting corridors and roaring fires, and all set in a beautiful, rural town by the edge of the sea. A book-lover’s paradise? Well, almost …
In these wry and hilarious diaries, Shaun provides an inside look at the trials and tribulations of life in the book trade, from struggles with eccentric customers to wrangles with his own staff, who include the ski-suit-wearing, bin-foraging Nicky. He takes us with him on buying trips to old estates and auction houses, recommends books (both lost classics and new discoveries), introduces us to the thrill of the unexpected find, and evokes the rhythms and charms of small-town life, always with a sharp and sympathetic eye.

★★★★★
4.5 out of 5 stars

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Review | Goodreads | Waterstones

Join your favorite villagers from Animal Crossing: New Horizons on new adventures!
What do the villagers of Animal Crossing: New Horizons get up to when you’re not around? Find out all about their antics in this hilarious manga filled with goofy gags and silly stories! Plus, read comics that highlight each villager, as well as get tips and tricks for playing the game in a special bonus section. 

★★★
2.5 out of 5 stars

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Review | Goodreads | Waterstones

There’s nothing Marietta Stelle loves more than ballet, but after Christmas, her dreams will be over as she is obligated to take her place in Edwardian society. While she is chafing against such suffocating traditions, a mysterious man purchases the neighbouring townhouse. Dr Drosselmeier is a charming but calculating figure who wins over the rest of the Stelle family with his enchanting toys and wondrous mechanisms.
When Drosselmeier constructs an elaborate set for Marietta’s final ballet performance, she discovers it carries a magic all of its own. On the stroke of midnight on Christmas Eve, she is transported to a snowy forest, where she encounters danger at every turn: ice giants, shadow goblins and the shrieking mist all lurk amidst the firs and frozen waterfalls and ice cliffs. After being rescued by the butterscotch-eyed captain of the king’s guard, she is escorted to the frozen sugar palace. At once, Marietta is enchanted by this glittering world of glamorous gowns, gingerbread houses, miniature reindeer and the most delicious confectionary.

But all is not as it seems and Marietta is soon trapped in the sumptuous palace by the sadistic King Gelum, who claims her as his own. She is confined to a gilded prison with his other pets; Dellara, whose words are as sharp as her teeth, and Pirlipata, a princess from another land. Marietta must forge an alliance with the two women to carve a way free from this sugar-coated but treacherous world and back home to follow her dreams. Yet in a hedonistic world brimming with rebellion and a forbidden romance that risks everything, such a path will never be easy.

★★★★★
4.5 out of 5 stars

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Review | Goodreads | Waterstones

The Little Prince is a modern fable, and for readers far and wide both the title and the work have exerted a pull far in excess of the book’s brevity. Written and published first by Antoine de St-Exupury in 1943, only a year before his plane disappeared on a reconnaissance flight, it is one of the world’s most widely translated books, enjoyed by adults and children alike. In the meeting of the narrator who has ditched his plane in the Sahara desert, and the little prince, who has dropped there through time and space from his tiny asteroid, comes an intersection of two worlds, the one governed by the laws of nature, and the other determined only by the limits of imagination. The world of the imagination wins hands down, with the concerns of the adult world often shown to be lamentably silly as seen through the eyes of the little prince. While adult readers can find deep meanings in his various encounters, they can also be charmed back to childhood by this wise but innocent infant.

★★★
3 out of 5 stars

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Review | Goodreads | Waterstones

Way out in the furthest part of the known world, a tiny stronghold exists all on its own, cut off from the rest of human-kin by monsters that lurk beneath the Snow Sea.
There, a little boy called Ash waits for the return of his parents, singing a forbidden lullaby to remind him of them… and doing his best to avoid his very, VERY grumpy yeti guardian, Tobu.
But life is about to get a whole lot more crazy-adventurous for Ash.
When a brave rescue attempt reveals he has amazing magical powers, he’s whisked aboard the Frostheart, a sleigh packed full of daring explorers who could use his help. But can they help him find his family . . . ?

★★★
3 out of 5 stars

The Kill Order - Maze Runner Series 4 (Paperback)

Review | Goodreads | Waterstones

★★★
3 out of 5 stars

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Review | Goodreads | Waterstones

Scandalous gossip, wild parties, and forbidden love—witness what the gods do after dark in this stylish and contemporary reimagining of one of mythology’s most well-known stories from creator Rachel Smythe. Featuring a brand-new, exclusive short story, Smythe’s original Eisner-nominated web-comic Lore Olympus brings the Greek Pantheon into the modern age with this sharply perceptive and romantic graphic novel.

★★★★
4 out of 5 stars

Although I had a run of 3 star reads at the end, I had some great reads in December and my favourite was definitely So Many Beginnings. I’ve recently found out it’s part of a set of remixed classics, which I definitely want to read more from! Unfortunately, my least favourite and definitely most disappointing book in the month was the Animal Crossing manga.

Which books did you read in December?

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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Anticipated Releases January-March 2022

It’s 2022 and there are so many exciting books coming out! I thought I’d do a little wrap-up of some of the books I’m excited for in the first quarter of the year. The dates on these might not be exactly the same as the release dates in your country, but hopefully they’ll be within the same month at least.

January

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January 11th

Goodreads | Waterstones

Growing up on the moon, Xingyin is accustomed to solitude, unaware that she is being hidden from the feared Celestial Emperor who exiled her mother for stealing his elixir of immortality. But when Xingyin’s magic flares and her existence is discovered, she is forced to flee her home, leaving her mother behind.
Alone, powerless, and afraid, she makes her way to the Celestial Kingdom, a land of wonder and secrets. Disguising her identity, she seizes an opportunity to learn alongside the emperor’s son, mastering archery and magic, even as passion flames between her and the prince.
To save her mother, Xingyin embarks on a perilous quest, confronting legendary creatures and vicious enemies across the earth and skies. But when treachery looms and forbidden magic threatens the kingdom, she must challenge the ruthless Celestial Emperor for her dream—striking a dangerous bargain in which she is torn between losing all she loves or plunging the realm into chaos.

I didn’t pre-order this one but it looks so beautiful and I’ve heard so many people talking about it! I’m hoping to pick it up soon now it’s out.

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January 11th

Goodreads | Waterstones

Ari Abrams has always been fascinated by the weather, and she loves almost everything about her job as a TV meteorologist. Her boss, legendary Seattle weatherwoman Torrance Hale, is too distracted by her tempestuous relationship with her ex-husband, the station’s news director, to give Ari the mentorship she wants. Ari, who runs on sunshine and optimism, is at her wits’ end. The only person who seems to understand how she feels is sweet but reserved sports reporter Russell Barringer.
In the aftermath of a disastrous holiday party, Ari and Russell decide to team up to solve their bosses’ relationship issues. Between secret gifts and double dates, they start nudging their bosses back together. But their well-meaning meddling backfires when the real chemistry builds between Ari and Russell.
Working closely with Russell means allowing him to get to know parts of herself that Ari keeps hidden from everyone. Will he be able to embrace her dark clouds as well as her clear skies?

This isn’t one I would normally be drawn to if it wasn’t for my friend Sophie, who loves this author and this book! All of her hype has definitely made me want to pick it up.

February

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February 1st

Goodreads | Waterstones

To all the world, Alizeh is a disposable servant, not the long-lost heir to an ancient Jinn kingdom forced to hide in plain sight.
The crown prince, Kamran, has heard the prophecies foretelling the death of his king. But he could never have imagined that the servant girl with the strange eyes, the girl he can’t put out of his mind, would one day soon uproot his kingdom—and the world.

I have an arc copy of this one which I’m hoping to pick up this month before the February release. I’m so excited to see how it is!

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February 3rd

Goodreads | Waterstones

I loved the first book in this series and I’ve already pre-ordered the second, which I can’t wait to read when it comes out.

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February 15th

Goodreads | Waterstones

This one is definitely one of my most anticipated books of the year. I read the first one, House of Earth and Blood back in August, and I’m looking forward to reading the next one hopefully soon after release.

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February 22nd

Goodreads | Waterstones

Deadly storms have ravaged Mina’s homeland for generations. Floods sweep away entire villages, while bloody wars are waged over the few remaining resources. Her people believe the Sea God, once their protector, now curses them with death and despair. In an attempt to appease him, each year a beautiful maiden is thrown into the sea to serve as the Sea God’s bride, in the hopes that one day the “true bride” will be chosen and end the suffering.
Many believe that Shim Cheong, the most beautiful girl in the village—and the beloved of Mina’s older brother Joon—may be the legendary true bride. But on the night Cheong is to be sacrificed, Joon follows Cheong out to sea, even knowing that to interfere is a death sentence. To save her brother, Mina throws herself into the water in Cheong’s stead.
Swept away to the Spirit Realm, a magical city of lesser gods and mythical beasts, Mina seeks out the Sea God, only to find him caught in an enchanted sleep. With the help of a mysterious young man named Shin—as well as a motley crew of demons, gods and spirits—Mina sets out to wake the Sea God and bring an end to the killer storms once and for all.
But she doesn’t have much time: A human cannot live long in the land of the spirits. And there are those who would do anything to keep the Sea God from waking… 

This book looks absolutely beautiful and I loved XOXO by the same author when I read it last year. This looks very different to her first book, but I’m super excited for it.

March

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March 1st

Goodreads | Waterstones

Sixteen-year-old Olivia Prior is missing three things: a mother, a father, and a voice. Her mother vanished all at once, and her father by degrees, and her voice was a thing she never had to start with.
She grew up at Merilance School for Girls. Now, nearing the end of her time there, Olivia receives a letter from an uncle she’s never met, her father’s older brother, summoning her to his estate, a place called Gallant. But when she arrives, she discovers that the letter she received was several years old. Her uncle is dead. The estate is empty, save for the servants. Olivia is permitted to remain, but must follow two rules: don’t go out after dusk, and always stay on the right side of a wall that runs along the estate’s western edge.
Beyond it is another realm, ancient and magical, which calls to Olivia through her blood…

And we’ve reached my absolute most anticipated book of the year – Gallant by V.E. Schwab. The Invisible Life of Addie Larue is my favourite book ever, so I can’t wait for this one.

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March 1st

Goodreads | Waterstones

The world’s best young magicians accept the opportunity of a lifetime.
Six are chosen. Only five will walk away.
The Alexandrian Society is a secret society of magical academicians, the best in the world. Their members are caretakers of lost knowledge from the greatest civilizations of antiquity. And those who earn a place among their number will secure a life of wealth, power, and prestige beyond their wildest dreams. Each decade, the world’s six most uniquely talented magicians are selected for initiation – and here are the chosen few…
– Libby Rhodes and Nicolas Ferrer de Varona: inseparable enemies, cosmologists who can control matter with their minds.
– Reina Mori: a naturalist who can speak the language of life itself.
– Parisa Kamali: a mind reader whose powers of seduction are unmatched.
– Tristan Caine: the son of a crime kingpin who can see the secrets of the universe.
– Callum Nova: an insanely rich pretty boy who could bring about the end of the world. He need only ask.
When the candidates are recruited by the mysterious Atlas Blakely, they are told they must spend one year together to qualify for initiation. During this time, they will be permitted access to the Society’s archives and judged on their contributions to arcane areas of knowledge. Five, they are told, will be initiated. One will be eliminated. If they can prove themselves to be the best, they will survive. Most of them.

I’ve heard so many good things about The Atlas Six, and I’m so glad it’s getting a big publication! I’m hoping to pre-order a copy soon.

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March 8th

Goodreads | Waterstones

It’s the countdown to midnight on New Year’s Eve and Nur is steeling himself to tell his parents that he’s seeing someone. A young British Pakistani man, Nur has spent years omitting details about his personal life to maintain his image as the golden eldest child. And it’s come at a cost.
Once, Nur was a restless and insecure college student, struggling to present himself after being transplanted from his hometown with only the vaguest sense of ambition. At a packed house party, he meets Yasmina, a beautiful and self-possessed aspiring journalist. They start a conversation–first awkward, then absorbing–that grabs Nur’s attention like never before. And as their relationship develops, moving from libraries and cramped coffee shops to an apartment they share together, so too does Nur’s self-destruction. He falls deeper into traps of his own making, attempting to please both Yasmina and his family until he no longer has a choice. He must finally be honest and reveal to those who raised him the truth he’s kept hidden: Yasmina is Black, and he loves her.

I’ve had an arc of this one for a while and I’m hoping to read it soon.

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March 22nd

Goodreads | Waterstones

I read the first book in this series, The Bright and the Pale, last year, and I’m hoping to re-read it when this one comes out so I can marathon the series together.

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March 29th

Goodreads | Waterstones

Bailey and Vanessa shared everything: laughter, secrets, and packets of Pop Rocks to ward off bad days. But that all changed the night Vanessa left Bailey’s, headed for home, and ended up swerving off a cliff nowhere near her house. Now Bailey, who thought she knew Vanessa better than anyone in the world, is left with a million unanswered questions, and the only person with answers is gone.
To help grieve her loss, Bailey creates a chat bot of Vanessa using years’ worth of their shared text messages and emails. The more data she uploads to the bot, the more it feels like she’s really talking to her best friend. That is, until the bot starts dropping hints that there was more going on with Vanessa than Bailey realized–a secret so big, it may have contributed to Vanessa’s death.

I hadn’t heard of this one since I read about it in an email from the publisher last week, and it looks so interesting!

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March 29th

Goodreads | Blackwells

Eighteen-year-old chauffeur’s daughter Jane Marlow grew up among the domestic staff of a wealthy LA rock producer, within reach of bands she idolizes, but never a VIP. Every summer, Jane and her father head to the Sierras to work at the producer’s luxury lodge at Lake Condor—a resort town and the site of a major musical festival.
The legendary family who runs the festival are the Sarafians, and Jane’s had a longtime crush on their oldest son, Eddie—doltish but sweet. So when a long-distance romance finally sparks between them, she doesn’t hesitate to cross class lines.
But Jane’s feelings about Eddie are thrown into question after she returns to the lake and reconnects with his alluringly intense brother, the dark horse of her placid summer plans. A fellow lover of music—and hater of the game—Fen Sarafian has been ousted from the family and is slumming it at a vinyl record shop. He burns for Jane like a house on fire and will do anything to sabotage his older brother, even if it means taking a wrecking ball to a multi-million-dollar music festival. Or Jane’s heart.

I will read anything Jenn Bennett writes and even though I still need to pick up a few of hers, I’m hoping this will be one of them!

Which books are you excited for in the next few months?

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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www.etsy.com/uk/shop/thebooksareverywhere

Review: Diary of a Bookseller by Shaun Bythell

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Goodreads | Waterstones

Shaun Bythell owns The Bookshop, Wigtown – Scotland’s largest second-hand bookshop. It contains 100,000 books, spread over a mile of shelving, with twisting corridors and roaring fires, and all set in a beautiful, rural town by the edge of the sea. A book-lover’s paradise? Well, almost …
In these wry and hilarious diaries, Shaun provides an inside look at the trials and tribulations of life in the book trade, from struggles with eccentric customers to wrangles with his own staff, who include the ski-suit-wearing, bin-foraging Nicky. He takes us with him on buying trips to old estates and auction houses, recommends books (both lost classics and new discoveries), introduces us to the thrill of the unexpected find, and evokes the rhythms and charms of small-town life, always with a sharp and sympathetic eye.

This book has been recommended to me more than once by friends, because I’m a bookseller myself at a large UK based chain of bookshops, Waterstones. I decided to finally pick this one up on audio and I’m really glad I did – I’m not a big lover or reader of non-fiction so reading this memoir as an audiobook definitely helped it become more accessible for me. Even though Bythell doesn’t read this himself, the narrator suits the book really well in my opinion.

Shaun writes this in a day-to-day diary with some really insightful information about the online orders the shop sends out per day and the daily takings, which I found super fascinating as somebody who not only works for a chain but would love to own my own bookshop one day!

I am putting a mental jigsaw together of what a hobbit looks like,

Any booksellers out there will find this relatable, I can almost guarantee. Although some of the customers and situations Shaun finds himself in might seem funny or even far fetched to some, once you’ve worked in a bookshop for a while you quickly find yourself having these conversations. I honestly want to thrust this at people around me and say ‘this! This is what my job is like! This is what happens in a bookshop!’.

My only slight complaint is that this book can be a little repetitive, but it is the nature of the book and the way it’s been written as a day-to-day diary. The discussions about Amazon, online bookselling and chain bookshops such as the one I work for were all super interesting. There’s even a bit of history and reflection on the industry as at the point of Bythell writing this book, he has owned The Bookshop for around 15 years.

based on a composite of every customer I have ever sold a copy to.

Honestly, if you’re a bookseller this is a must read, and if you know someone who works in a bookshop or are a general book buyer yourself, I’d highly recommend it!

★★★★★
4.5 out of 5 stars

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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Stacking the Shelves #68

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga where we share books we’ve bought or received this week. Find out more and join in here!

Hi everyone! I haven’t posted a Stacking the Shelves so far this year, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t gained any books! I haven’t actually spent any money on books so far this year, but I have picked some up.

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Goodreads | Waterstones

My first purchase of the year was on a gift card, and I bought The Sad Ghost Club 2! I didn’t know this existed or had come out, so when I spotted a signed edition I knew I wanted to pick it up.

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Goodreads | Waterstones

At first, Jude and her twin brother Noah, are inseparable. Noah draws constantly and is falling in love with the charismatic boy next door, while daredevil Jude wears red-red lipstick, cliff-dives, and does all the talking for both of them. Years later, they are barely speaking. Something has happened to change the twins in different yet equally devastating ways . . . but then Jude meets an intriguing, irresistible boy and a mysterious new mentor. The early years are Noah’s to tell; the later years are Jude’s. But they each have only half the story, and if they can only find their way back to one another, they’ll have a chance to remake their world. 

I really didn’t need another copy of I’ll Give You the Sun, but Alex offered me this beautiful American paperback, and I just couldn’t bring myself to turn it down.

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Goodreads | Waterstones

I had the Fairyloot edition of Our Violent Ends on pre-order and it arrived in the past few weeks. I haven’t read the first book yet but I’m hoping to soon now I have both of the books in the series!

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Goodreads | Waterstones

Would you choose to find out the length of your life?
One spring day, small wooden boxes arrive for every person, all over the world, from suburban doorsteps to desert tents. All the boxes feature the same inscription, “The measure of your life lies within,” and vary in only two ways: the name of the recipient and the length of the single string inside. Instantly, the world is thrust into a collective frenzy, first to ascertain their origin and meaning, and then to confront the truth of the strings.
Told through multiple perspectives, The Measure introduces an unforgettable cast of characters whose lives weave and interlock with one another upon the arrival of the strings: a doctor who cannot save himself, a couple who thought they didn’t have to rush, best friends whose dreams are forever entwined, pen pals finding refuge in the unknown, and a politician whose string becomes a powder keg in an increasingly turbulent world.
As society divides itself, the truth has the power to unravel their long-held beliefs and relationships all while forging new alliances and philosophies about our time on this earth and our place in the community.

HarperCollins sent a box of proof copies to work, and this book was among the selection. It sounds super interesting so I picked it up!

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Goodreads | Waterstones

Evelyn Hugo is finally ready to tell the truth about her glamorous and scandalous life. But when she chooses unknown magazine reporter Monique Grant for the job, no one in the journalism community is more astounded than Monique herself. Why her? Why now?
Monique is not exactly on top of the world. Her husband, David, has left her, and her career has stagnated. Regardless of why Evelyn has chosen her to write her biography, Monique is determined to use this opportunity to jumpstart her career.
Summoned to Evelyn’s Upper East Side apartment, Monique listens as Evelyn unfurls her story: from making her way to Los Angeles in the 1950s to her decision to leave show business in the late 80s, and, of course, the seven husbands along the way. As Evelyn’s life unfolds through the decades—revealing a ruthless ambition, an unexpected friendship, and a great forbidden love—Monique begins to feel a very a real connection to the actress. But as Evelyn’s story catches up with the present, it becomes clear that her life intersects with Monique’s own in tragic and irreversible ways.

My lovely friend Courtney passed on her copy of The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo after she read it and loved it so much that she bought a hardback copy! I can’t wait to finally read this one as I’ve heard so many good things about it.

Which books did you buy or receive this week?

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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ARC Review: Messy Roots by Laura Gao

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Goodreads | Pre-Order from Waterstones

After spending her early years in Wuhan, China, riding water buffalos and devouring stinky tofu, Laura immigrates to Texas, where her hometown is as foreign as Mars–at least until 2020, when COVID-19 makes Wuhan a household name.
In Messy Roots, Laura illustrates her coming-of-age as the girl who simply wants to make the basketball team, escape Chinese school, and figure out why girls make her heart flutter.
Insightful, original, and hilarious, toggling seamlessly between past and present, China and America, Gao’s debut is a tour de force of graphic storytelling.

Thank you to Harper 360 for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

This graphic novel was so good. Even though I can’t relate to Gao’s own experience, I enjoyed educating myself with her story and I thoroughly enjoyed reading it.

The idea of this being a graphic novel was one I was hesitant to read as this isn’t the lightest topic, and I wasn’t sure if the format would provide enough space for the story. But I must say, it worked so well. This wasn’t as heavy as I expected which worked well, but still tackled some difficult topics and discussions about the Covid-19 pandemic.

One of the things I loved about this book was the authors depictions of Wuhan. I feel like the past 2 years have given us such a skewed and narrow view of Wuhan and China with the portrayal in the media earlier in the pandemic, and it was just so refreshing and lovely to read about someone’s love for the city and country.

The artwork was also so beautiful and I can’t wait to see a full colour version of the whole book. My proof copy had a small section at the front in full colour which was just stunning, but the black and white drawings were beautiful too. The art style works so well for the story and the writing complemented it beautifully.

Overall, this was such a gorgeous book and the balance of difficult topics and beautiful memoir was done so well. I’m so happy I had the chance to read it early, and I absolutely loved it!

★★★★★
4.5 out of 5 stars

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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Review: A Darker Shade of Magic (#1) by V.E. Schwab

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Goodreads | Waterstones

Most people only know one London; but what if there were several? Kell is one of the last Travelers – magicians with a rare ability to travel between parallel Londons. There’s Grey London, dirty and crowded and without magic, home to the mad king George III. There’s Red London, where life and magic are revered. Then, White London, ruled by whoever has murdered their way to the throne. But once upon a time, there was Black London…

Apparently I’m on a morally grey character kick at the moment, but I’m so glad I finally picked up this book. I actually tried to read this one a couple of years ago, but I got around 60 pages in and realised it wasn’t quite the right time for me to pick it up. I’m so glad I waited, as I definitely enjoyed it more now I’m reading more fantasy as I understood it a lot easier!

There’s definitely something so unique about Schwab’s stories and I loved the concept of having multiple London’s that each had their own features. I read this one with Alex and I read the sections so quickly each day. I read a mixture of physical reading and listening to the audiobook, which was a mixed experience. The audiobook was good, but the narrator didn’t quite fit for Lila’s parts and I did prefer reading it physically.

I’d rather die on an adventure

The plot was super quick to get through and full of action and adventure which I loved. I can already tell this series is going to be a quick and entertaining one to read as we go on! I really like the characters as even though they’re very morally grey, I like the portrayal of their vulnerabilities and they seemed very real to me.

I like how the romance didn’t take centre stage in the story and didn’t feel very lovey-dovey, but I did miss a sense of tension that might have come with the closeness of the characters. I feel like one of the only things missing out of this book was the stakes sometimes feeling lower because of it.

than live standing still.

I’m super excited to see where this series is going to go and I’m so happy to be reading something else by V.E. Schwab!

★★★★
4 out of 5 stars

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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Review: Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier

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Goodreads | Waterstones

Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again . . .
The novel begins in Monte Carlo, where our heroine is swept off her feet by the dashing widower Maxim de Winter and his sudden proposal of marriage. Orphaned and working as a lady’s maid, she can barely believe her luck. It is only when they arrive at his massive country estate that she realizes how large a shadow his late wife will cast over their lives–presenting her with a lingering evil that threatens to destroy their marriage from beyond the grave.

This book is one I’ve wanted to read for a while and I’ve had recommended to me multiple times because of my love for Gothic stories such as Jane Eyre. I must say it was a good recommendation and I ended up really enjoying it! I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect from this book, other than a Gothic romance with darker undertones.

This book starts off slowly, and honestly didn’t pick up for me until around 300 pages in, which was definitely the most disappointing thing for me. I was still enjoying the book, but it felt quite sudden and inconsistent when it really got going. The first part of this book focused largely on the relationship between the main character and her new husband and they move back to Manderley, her new husbands property.

I wondered how many people there were in the world who suffered, and continued to suffer, because they could not break out from their own web of shyness and reserve,

One of the biggest surprises I found with this book was the discussions of mental health, especially anxiety. Mrs de Winter suffered from anxiety, even though it wasn’t necessarily named as such. I related to a lot of the way she talked about her feelings, which was something I didn’t expect to get from this book at all. The characters were also very morally grey, which I found super interesting to read about because there was a part of me that couldn’t help but love the characters in a way.

Once the plot picked up, I honestly couldn’t put this book down. Even though I wanted to read it before this point, I found it so much more compelling after the plot changed around the 300ish page mark. Without going into the plot too much as I don’t want to spoil the book, the plot becomes quicker and more compelling, and I kept reaching cliffhangers and not wanting to put the book down.

and in their blindness and folly built up a great distorted wall in front of them that hid the truth.

Overall, my only complaint at the end of this one was the slight inconsistency in the plot, but I did really love the book. The Gothic atmosphere was impeccable and I was definitely a little creeped out in places, which I loved! I only wish I’d managed to read it in autumn.


★★★

4.5 out of 5 stars

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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Review: Lore Olympus: Volume One by Rachel Smythe

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Goodreads | Waterstones

Scandalous gossip, wild parties, and forbidden love—witness what the gods do after dark in this stylish and contemporary reimagining of one of mythology’s most well-known stories from creator Rachel Smythe. Featuring a brand-new, exclusive short story, Smythe’s original Eisner-nominated web-comic Lore Olympus brings the Greek Pantheon into the modern age with this sharply perceptive and romantic graphic novel.

What a beautiful book. I’m so glad I decided to pick up the stunning Illumicrate edition of this book and I decided to squeeze it in as my last read of 2021. As a graphic novel, it’s super quick to read but is definitely not without substance and style.

The colouring and artwork in this graphic novel are absolutely gorgeous and I’ve not seen the kind of colour combinations used throughout this comic. Each character has an allocated colour, which looks beautiful and made it easy to follow as someone who doesn’t know much background information about the Greek Gods.

Lore Olympus: Volume 01: Amazon.co.uk: Smythe, Rachel: 9780593160299: Books

I love the idea of this being the Greek Gods ‘after dark’ and it does tackle some difficult issues, with a content warning at the start of the book. I’m hoping to re-read this one later in 2022 when volume 2 comes out and focus more on the beautiful panels and artwork.

★★★★
4 out of 5 stars

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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Review: The Kill Order (#0.4) by James Dashner

The Kill Order - Maze Runner Series 4 (Paperback)

Goodreads | Waterstones

Sun flares have unleashed devastation on the earth. Mark and Trina were there when it happened, and against the odds they survived.
But now a violent and high contagious disease is spreading like wildfire. Worse still, it’s mutating, and people are going crazy. Mark and Trina will do anything to save their friends – if only they can avoid madness and stay alive…

I’ve seen a lot of people discussing the point of this book, and I must agree with the many reviews that are saying this book doesn’t really add anything to the series at all. We see the original characters from The Maze Runner for a couple of pages at the start of the book, and then follows a group of (maybe) teenagers during a disease spreading throughout their already desolate world.

But as with all of these books, I did still enjoy it and I was pleasantly surprised in some ways. All of these books are just kind of easy in a way, and I always find them very quick to get through.

Scared. That’s good. A fine soldier is always scared.

There’s a lot about this entire series I find very mediocre, and this one was sadly no different. The plot was okay, it was easy to follow and I read it quickly. The characters were likeable enough but I didn’t feel completely connected to them or emotional over their story. The writing is easy to read and does make these books more enjoyable than I initially expected, but is equally nothing special. The location is predictable considering the story.

The main part of the book I enjoyed was the action and the short chapters, which meant I read this mostly in one sitting and managed to read it within 24 hours or so. I did find that some of the plot points felt quite random and somewhat reminiscent of some of the plot points in the other books, which felt a little lazy.

Makes you normal. It’s how you respond to it that makes or breaks you.

Overall, this was fun and I’m glad I’ve finally read this series, but I won’t be picking up The Fever Code any time soon.

★★★
3 out of 5 stars

-Beth

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Series I Want to Finish This Year

Hi everyone! Welcome to 2022! I’m hoping to not only post more in the new year, but also do some more discussion posts and I’m starting the year off with some series I want to finally finish. I’ve been trying to finish off these series I’ve been in the middle of for a while now, and I want to make this year the year for finally reading them!

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Goodreads | Waterstones

In a land ruled by a murderous boy-king, each dawn brings heartache to a new family. Khalid, the eighteen-year-old Caliph of Khorasan, is a monster. Each night he takes a new bride only to have a silk cord wrapped around her throat come morning. When sixteen-year-old Shahrzad’s dearest friend falls victim to Khalid, Shahrzad vows vengeance and volunteers to be his next bride. Shahrzad is determined not only to stay alive, but to end the caliph’s reign of terror once and for all.
Night after night, Shahrzad beguiles Khalid, weaving stories that enchant, ensuring her survival, though she knows each dawn could be her last. But something she never expected begins to happen: Khalid is nothing like what she’d imagined him to be. This monster is a boy with a tormented heart. Incredibly, Shahrzad finds herself falling in love. How is this possible? It’s an unforgivable betrayal. Still, Shahrzad has come to understand all is not as it seems in this palace of marble and stone. She resolves to uncover whatever secrets lurk and, despite her love, be ready to take Khalid’s life as retribution for the many lives he’s stolen. Can their love survive this world of stories and secrets?

It’s been a long time since I read The Wrath and the Dawn, probably 5+ years. I loved it a lot when I read it, but I never continued with the series for some reason. I’ve had the second book for a while now but I’m definitely at the point of needing to re-read the first book to carry on with the series.

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Goodreads | Waterstones

When Tea accidentally resurrects her brother, Fox, from the dead, she learns she is different from the other witches in her family. Her gift for necromancy means that she’s a bone witch, a title that makes her feared and ostracized by her community. But Tea finds solace and guidance with an older, wiser bone witch, who takes Tea and her brother to another land for training.
In her new home, Tea puts all her energy into becoming an asha—one who can wield elemental magic. But dark forces are approaching quickly, and in the face of danger, Tea will have to overcome her obstacles…and make a powerful choice.

I wanted to read the rest of the series early last year after picking up The Bone Witch in November 2020, but of course I never got to the rest of the series and it’s been so long now that I’d like to re-read the first book before continuing.

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Goodreads | Waterstones

Self-proclaimed fat girl Willowdean Dickson (dubbed “Dumplin’” by her former beauty queen mom) has always been at home in her own skin. Her thoughts on having the ultimate bikini body? Put a bikini on your body. With her all-American beauty best friend, Ellen, by her side, things have always worked…until Will takes a job at Harpy’s, the local fast-food joint. There she meets Private School Bo, a hot former jock. Will isn’t surprised to find herself attracted to Bo. But she is surprised when he seems to like her back.
Instead of finding new heights of self-assurance in her relationship with Bo, Will starts to doubt herself. So she sets out to take back her confidence by doing the most horrifying thing she can imagine: entering the Miss Clover City beauty pageant—along with several other unlikely candidates—to show the world that she deserves to be up there as much as any twiggy girl does. Along the way, she’ll shock the hell out of Clover City—and maybe herself most of all.

This one is a series I’d like to finish soon, but unlike others, I won’t have to re-read the first book to continue! This is a contemporary series following different characters, so they’re more companion novels than a continuous series, which is useful for me. I have the whole set now and I’d like to finish it soon!

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Goodreads | Waterstones

In the beginning, there was the Namsara: the child of sky and spirit, who carried love and laughter wherever he went. But where there is light, there must be darkness—and so there was also the Iskari. The child of blood and moonlight. The destroyer. The death-bringer.
These are the legends that Asha, daughter of the king of Firgaard, has grown up learning in hushed whispers, drawn to the forbidden figures of the past. But it isn’t until she becomes the fiercest, most feared dragon slayer in the land that she takes on the role of the next Iskari—a lonely destiny that leaves her feeling more like a weapon than a girl.
Asha conquers each dragon and brings its head to the king, but no kill can free her from the shackles that await at home: her betrothal to the cruel commandant, a man who holds the truth about her nature in his palm. When she’s offered the chance to gain her freedom in exchange for the life of the most powerful dragon in Firgaard, she finds that there may be more truth to the ancient stories than she ever could have expected. With the help of a secret friend—a slave boy from her betrothed’s household—Asha must shed the layers of her Iskari bondage and open her heart to love, light, and a truth that has been kept from her. 

I read the first book in this series before YALC in 2019 where I met the author, and me and Alex have been wanting to buddy read the rest of the series ever since. I think we’ll be re-reading the first book in order to continue though, as it’s been a while!

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Goodreads | Waterstones

Fall in love, break the curse.
Cursed by a powerful enchantress to repeat the autumn of his eighteenth year, Prince Rhen, the heir of Emberfall, thought he could be saved easily if a girl fell for him. But that was before he turned into a vicious beast hell-bent on destruction. Before he destroyed his castle, his family, and every last shred of hope.
Nothing has ever been easy for Harper. With her father long gone, her mother dying, and her brother constantly underestimating her because of her cerebral palsy, Harper learned to be tough enough to survive. When she tries to save a stranger on the streets of Washington, DC, she’s pulled into a magical world.
Break the curse, save the kingdom.
Harper doesn’t know where she is or what to believe. A prince? A curse? A monster? As she spends time with Rhen in this enchanted land, she begins to understand what’s at stake. And as Rhen realizes Harper is not just another girl to charm, his hope comes flooding back. But powerful forces are standing against Emberfall . . . and it will take more than a broken curse to save Harper, Rhen, and his people from utter ruin.

Another series here that me and Alex want to buddy read together, and we’re also thinking of re-reading the first book. I loved A Curse so Dark and Lonely when it first came out but I didn’t continue with the series as the rest of the books were released – so I think we’re going to re-read the whole series!

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Goodreads | Waterstones

A mysterious island. An abandoned orphanage. A strange collection of very curious photographs. It all waits to be discovered in Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, an unforgettable novel that mixes fiction and photography in a thrilling reading experience. As our story opens, a horrific family tragedy sets sixteen-year-old Jacob journeying to a remote island off the coast of Wales, where he discovers the crumbling ruins of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. As Jacob explores its abandoned bedrooms and hallways, it becomes clear that the children were more than just peculiar. They may have been dangerous. They may have been quarantined on a deserted island for good reason. And somehow-impossible though it seems-they may still be alive. A spine-tingling fantasy illustrated with haunting vintage photography, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children will delight adults, teens, and anyone who relishes an adventure in the shadows.

The Miss Peregrine’s series is one I feel like I’ve been reading for years, because I have! I read the original trilogy, and then I read A Map of Days when it came out, but I never carried on with the series. I’m hoping I don’t have to re-read the series before carrying on, but I still have the 5th and 6th books to go.

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Goodreads | Waterstones

Eighteen-year-old Gu Miyoung has a secret–she’s a gumiho, a nine-tailed fox who must devour the energy of men in order to survive. Because so few believe in the old tales anymore, and with so many evil men no one will miss, the modern city of Seoul is the perfect place to hide and hunt.
But after feeding one full moon, Miyoung crosses paths with Jihoon, a human boy, being attacked by a goblin deep in the forest. Against her better judgment, she violates the rules of survival to rescue the boy, losing her fox bead–her gumiho soul–in the process.
Jihoon knows Miyoung is more than just a beautiful girl–he saw her nine tails the night she saved his life. His grandmother used to tell him stories of the gumiho, of their power and the danger they pose to humans. He’s drawn to her anyway.
With murderous forces lurking in the background, Miyoung and Jihoon develop a tenuous friendship that blossoms into something more. But when a young shaman tries to reunite Miyoung with her bead, the consequences are disastrous . . . forcing Miyoung to choose between her immortal life and Jihoon’s.
 

I read this book a while ago and never continued with the series, but I’ve been seeing it about again recently and I decided to pick the duology up! I definitely want to read the first one again before I pick up the second.

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Goodreads | Waterstones

Sephy is a Cross: she lives a life of privilege and power. But she’s lonely, and burns with injustice at the world she sees around her.
Callum is a nought: he’s considered to be less than nothing – a blanker, there to serve Crosses – but he dreams of a better life.
They’ve been friends since they were children, and they both know that’s as far as it can ever go. Noughts and Crosses are fated to be bitter enemies – love is out of the question.
Then – in spite of a world that is fiercely against them – these star-crossed lovers choose each other.
But this is love story that will lead both of them into terrible danger . . . and which will have shocking repercussions for generations to come

My boyfriend Mark bought me Crossfire and Endgame as part of a surprise book haul we did on my YouTube channel, which I’ll link down below if you want to give it a watch! I’ve read the other four books in the Noughts & Crosses series, and it’ll be interesting to see where the last two books go.

Which series would you like to complete reading this year?

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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