Blog Tour + Review: A Clock of Stars by Francesca Gibbons

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Goodreads | Waterstones

Imogen should be nice to her little sister Marie. She should be nice to her mum’s boyfriend too. And she certainly shouldn’t follow a strange silver moth through a door in a tree.
But then… who does what they’re told?
Followed by Marie, Imogen finds herself falling into a magical kingdom where the two sisters are swept up in a thrilling race against time – helped by the spoiled prince of the kingdom, a dancing bear, a very grumpy hunter… and even the stars above them.

Thank you to Kaleidoscopic Tours and Harper Collins for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

This book was so much fun! I don’t read much middle grade, but I’m so glad I had the opportunity to read this. It follows the story of two sisters who find a hidden door to a world. It had such Narnia vibes which I loved and felt perfect for Autumn.

The characters were great and I thought they were very well written. We had so many people to be introduced to: the sisters, Miro and the rest of the royal family in this mystical land, and their enemies, the skret. The skret felt like such cool monsters but I adored how they ended up being so much more – having their own story which was interwoven with the land and the royal family themselves. The two sisters were such lovely characters and it felt so bittersweet to leave them at the end of the story.

Some of my favourite parts of the book were the parts travelling across the land, which sounded beautiful and fantastical. I loved the tree-houses and the castle itself, with the rich descriptions working well alongside Riddell’s beautiful drawings. I loved the adventure aspect, with the plot being so fun and entertaining as they discovered more and more about the world.

My only slight complaint is this book seemed quite long (especially for a middle grade!) and the plot did lose me slightly at times. Other than that, this is definitely worth a read and I can see a younger me loving it!

★★★★
4 out of 5 stars

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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Stacking the Shelves #27

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! Today’s post is a bumper one because it’s been my birthday this week and I was lucky enough to receive some books. I’ll start with ones I pre-ordered or bought, and then move on to the others I was gifted!

Goodreads

Dive into the epic world of international bestselling author Leigh Bardugo with this beautifully illustrated replica of The Lives of Saints, the Istorii Sankt’ya, featuring tales of saints drawn from the beloved novels and beyond. Out of the pages of the Shadow and Bone trilogy, from the hands of Alina Starkov to yours, the Istorii Sankt’ya is a magical keepsake from the Grishaverse.
These tales include miracles and martyrdoms from familiar saints like Sankta Lizabeta of the Roses and Sankt Ilya in Chains, to the strange and obscure stories of Sankta Ursula, Sankta Maradi, and the Starless Saint.
This beautiful collection includes stunning full-color illustrations of each story.

I had this gorgeous edition on pre-order from Illumicrate and it arrived on my birthday! It was such a lovely present for myself.

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Goodreads

When Tea accidentally resurrects her brother 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 also had this arrive, which I ordered for the non-binary readathon in November! It’s our group book for the readathon, and I’m super excited.

Birthday Gifts

The Stalking Jack the Ripper Series Hardcover Gift Set (Hardback)

Goodreads | Waterstones

In this spine-chilling gothic murder mystery set in gritty Victorian-era London, a resourceful lord’s daughter named Audrey Rose Wadsworth and her brilliant friend Thomas Cresswell find themselves inescapably embroiled in the investigation of a ghastly serial killer known as Jack the Ripper.

My mum gifted me this gorgeous set, on recommendation from my lovely friend Amy. We are going to start reading it alongside our friend Jo tomorrow, and I’m super excited!

Pride (Paperback)

Goodreads | Waterstones

Zuri Benitez has pride. Brooklyn pride, family pride, and pride in her Afro-Latino roots. But pride might not be enough to save her rapidly gentrifying neighborhood from becoming unrecognizable.
When the wealthy Darcy family moves in across the street, Zuri wants nothing to do with their two teenage sons, even as her older sister, Janae, starts to fall for the charming Ainsley. She especially can’t stand the judgmental and arrogant Darius. Yet as Zuri and Darius are forced to find common ground, their initial dislike shifts into an unexpected understanding.
But with four wild sisters pulling her in different directions, cute boy Warren vying for her attention, and college applications hovering on the horizon, Zuri fights to find her place in Bushwick’s changing landscape, or lose it all.

The rest of the books were gifted to me from my gorgeous boyfriend, the first of which I picked up in a bookshop in the summer and he saved for me! I’m super excited to read this.

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Goodreads | Waterstones

Learn about identities, true histories, and anti-racism work in 20 carefully laid out chapters. Written by anti-bias, anti-racist, educator and activist, Tiffany Jewell, and illustrated by French illustrator Aurélia Durand in kaleidoscopic vibrancy.
This book is written for the young person who doesn’t know how to speak up to the racist adults in their life. For the 14 year old who sees injustice at school and isn’t able to understand the role racism plays in separating them from their friends. For the kid who spends years trying to fit into the dominant culture and loses themselves for a little while. It’s for all of the Black and Brown children who have been harmed (physically and emotionally) because no one stood up for them or they couldn’t stand up for themselves; because the colour of their skin, the texture of their hair, their names made white folx feel scared and threatened.
It is written so children and young adults will feel empowered to stand up to the adults who continue to close doors in their faces. This book will give them the language and ability to understand racism and a drive to undo it. In short, it is for everyone.

I also picked this up at the same time and it looks so good and it is beautifully illustrated.

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Goodreads | Waterstones

Meg, Jo, Amy and Beth – four “little women” enduring hardships and enjoying adventures in Civil War New England The charming story of the March sisters, Little Women has been adored by generations. Readers have rooted for Laurie in his pursuit of Jo’s hand, cried over little Beth’s death, and dreamed of travelling through Europe with old Aunt March and Amy. Future writers have found inspiration in Jo’s devotion to her writing. In this simple, enthralling tale, both parts of which are included here, Louisa May Alcott has created four of American literature’s most beloved women.

He also picked me up this lovely copy of Little Women! I haven’t ever read it, and I’ve really wanted to for years, especially since watching the 2019 film a grand total of four times in cinema!

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Goodreads | Waterstones

She will become a legend but first she is Diana, Princess of the Amazons. And her fight is just beginning …
Diana is desperate to prove herself to her warrior sisters. But when the opportunity comes, she throws away her chance at glory and breaks Amazon law to save a mere mortal, Alia Keralis. 
With this single heroic act, Diana may have just doomed the world. 
Alia is a Warbringer – a descendant of the infamous Helen of Troy, fated to bring about an age of bloodshed and misery. Diana and Alia will face an army of enemies, mortal and divine, determined to destroy or possess the Warbringer. 
To save the world, they must stand side by side against the tide of war.

The last and by no means least, he managed to get me this rare signed copy if Wonder Woman by Leigh Bardugo. I feel so very lucky 🙂

What have you bought recently?

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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Review: The Evolution of Mara Dyer (#2) by Michelle Hodkin

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Goodreads | Waterstones

Mara Dyer knows she isn’t crazy. She knows that she can kill with her mind, and that Noah can heal with his. Mara also knows that somehow, Jude is not a hallucination. He is alive. 
Unfortunately, convincing her family and doctors that she’s not unstable and doesn’t need to be hospitalised isn’t easy. The only person who actually believes her is Noah. But being with Noah is dangerous and Mara is in constant fear that she might hurt him. She needs to learn how to control her power, and fast! Together, Mara and Noah must try and figure out exactly how Jude survived when the asylum collapsed, and how he knows so much about her strange ability… before anyone else ends up dead!

This book was somewhat better than the first one. Mainly in the fact that I didn’t roll my eyes quite as much as I did for the first book. As Mara doesn’t spend any time in school, the tropes seem to be slightly less prominent. Which meant I cringed slightly less, and enjoyed it slightly more.

The creepiness level is still up there, and I loved it. In fact, if the third book is anything like this one, I’m slightly worried about reading it while home alone! Some of the scenes are really chilling, and the horror is written really well, I can’t deny it.

If I were to live a thousand years, I would belong to you for all of them.

I also loved the twists and turns in this book. It wasn’t all perfect, and I did predict one or two things that were going to happen. But most of the aspects of the plot twists I didn’t get and they left me reeling. I loved the ending, and the last 150 pages or so were full of twists that kept me gripped until the end. The writing is pretty good, but choppy at times.

The characters were…okay. They filled their roles and did their jobs. But no one really overly impressed me. I sympathised with Mara a lot, and she’s probably my favourite character in most ways. Noah melted my heart and also managed to really annoy me. Their relationship seemed all over the place but both refused to even attempt to sort it out or talk things through, which got on my nerves after a while.

If we were to live a thousand lives, I would want to make you mine in each one.

This series continues to tug me in two directions. It’s still annoying me and has a lot of problems, but also grips me and the plot if so fun and so entertaining, I’m definitely going to read the last one and see what it has in store for me!

★★
3.5 out of 5 stars

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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BookTube: Non-Binary November Readathon TBR

Hi everyone! As you may or may not have seen, I’m running a readathon in November with two of my closest friends on our joint YouTube channel. You can find out more about the readathon on our channel and in this blog post.

Today’s video is my TBR for the readathon! I’m super excited to start this readathon and read these books on my TBR.

Are you joining us for the readathon?

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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Review: The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer (#1) by Michelle Hodkin

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Goodreads | Waterstones

Mara Dyer doesn’t think life can get any stranger than waking up in a hospital with no memory of how she got there.
It can.
She believes there must be more to the accident she can’t remember that killed her friends and left her mysteriously unharmed.
There is.
She doesn’t believe that after everything she’s been through, she can fall in love.
She’s wrong.

Firstly, I’m so glad I decided to save this book for spooky season. It was absolutely perfect for a Halloween-y, fall read. It is deliciously haunting and creepy. But that’s….kind of where the good stuff ends.

The first thing I realised about this series is it did not age well. If you’re wondering how different a book can be in just eight years, choose one set in a private high school with every 2012 trope and cliche going. Welp. Some of the sentences in this book (for example, one along the lines of ‘what an overdramatic thing to commit suicide over’) made me want to throw it at a wall. I almost DNF’d it multiple times. I’m pretty sure this stuff wasn’t appropriate even back in 2012. So, why didn’t I just put it down?

Thinking something does not make it true.

I can’t deny this book is gripping. It made for a super quick page turning read. I flew threw 100ish pages a day, which is pretty good going for me. In places, it is spine tingling, and once I got through the first 200 pages, I found I could overlook most of the problems and mostly enjoy this book for the cringe-fest it is.

I expected to hate Noah, but in fact I struggled with Mara herself more. She’s just kind of annoying. And I get it, she’s broken, and the story would be boring if she just….got the help she needed. But like most of this book, her temperament is another thing to overlook at times.

Wanting something does not make it real.

So overall, this book was okay. I’m giving it 3 stars for now, but it’s definitely a low 3. I got through it quickly and I will be carrying on with the series, and I am intrigued by where it will lead. If you think you can overlook all the cliches and tropes of bad boy, broken girl and high school drama for the haunting undertones, you just might enjoy this book.

★★★
3 out of 5 stars

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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Stacking the Shelves #26

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!

Hey readers! It’s another week of beautiful preorders and gifts. I’m still on a book ban and not buying books, so these are ones I’ve been super excited for!

Shadow and Bone: Collector's Edition - Shadow and Bone (Hardback)

Goodreads | Waterstones

Soldier. Summoner. Saint. Orphaned and expendable, Alina Starkov is a soldier who knows she may not survive her first trek across the Shadow Fold – a swath of unnatural darkness crawling with monsters. But when her regiment is attacked, Alina unleashes dormant magic not even she knew she possessed.
Now Alina will enter a lavish world of royalty and intrigue as she trains with the Grisha, her country’s magical military elite – and falls under the spell of their notorious leader, the Darkling. He believes Alina can summon a force capable of destroying the Shadow Fold and reuniting their war-ravaged country, but only if she can master her untamed gift.
As the threat to the kingdom mounts and Alina unlocks the secrets of her past, she will make a dangerous discovery that could threaten all she loves and the very future of a nation.
Welcome to Ravka . . . a world of science and superstition where nothing is what it seems.

This beautiful copy of Shadow and Bone came out earlier in the week. It matches the special editions of Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom, and looks so pretty next to them on my shelf.

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Goodreads | Waterstones

Dive into the epic world of international bestselling author Leigh Bardugo with this beautifully illustrated replica of The Lives of Saints, the Istorii Sankt’ya, featuring tales of saints drawn from the beloved novels and beyond. Out of the pages of the Shadow and Bone trilogy, from the hands of Alina Starkov to yours, the Istorii Sankt’ya is a magical keepsake from the Grishaverse.
These tales include miracles and martyrdoms from familiar saints like Sankta Lizabeta of the Roses and Sankt Ilya in Chains, to the strange and obscure stories of Sankta Ursula, Sankta Maradi, and the Starless Saint. 
This beautiful collection includes stunning full-colour illustrations of each story.

We were treated with two Leigh books this week, with the second one being The Lives of Saints which was featured in the Grisha books themselves. Without the weird half-dust jacket, it looks really pretty!

Punching the Air (Paperback)

Goodreads | Waterstones

One fateful night, an altercation in a gentrifying neighbourhood escalates into tragedy. ‘Boys just being boys’ turns out to be true only when those boys are white. 
Suddenly, at just sixteen years old, Amal Shahid’s bright future is upended: he is convicted of a crime he didn’t commit and sent to prison. Despair and rage almost sink him until he turns to the refuge of his words, his art. This never should have been his story. But can he change it? 
With spellbinding lyricism, award-winning author Ibi Zoboi and prison reform activist Yusef Salaam tell a moving and deeply profound story about how one boy is able to maintain his humanity and fight for the truth, in a system designed to strip him of both.

I applied for an ARC copy of this book through work and received one. Thank you to Harper Collins for sending me a copy!

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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 …

I recently gave my lovely colleague Jo some books that I was getting rid of but she really wanted, and in exchange she bought me this book! Thank you Jo!

I also received yet another copy of The Starless Sea from Alex, who gave me the Illumicate edition she didn’t want! Thank you Alex!

What have you bought recently?

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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Review: Serpent & Dove (#1) by Shelby Mahurin

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Goodreads

Two years ago, Louise le Blanc fled her coven and took shelter in the city of Cesarine, forsaking all magic and living off whatever she could steal. There, witches like Lou are hunted. They are feared. And they are burned.
Sworn to the Church as a Chasseur, Reid Diggory has lived his life by one principle: thou shalt not suffer a witch to live. His path was never meant to cross with Lou’s, but a wicked stunt forces them into an impossible union—holy matrimony.
The war between witches and Church is an ancient one, and Lou’s most dangerous enemies bring a fate worse than fire. Unable to ignore her growing feelings, yet powerless to change what she is, a choice must be made.
And love makes fools of us all.

If love makes fools of us all, this book damn well made a fool of me.

Wow. This just ticked all the boxes. I admit, I’ve wanted this book for so long because of how beautiful the hardback edition is. I’ve also heard so many good things about it and…it has witches. What more could a reader want? But I never expected this book would become, well, one of my favourite books ever.

I picked this up because I was unsure about buying the Blood & Honey Fairyloot box without reading the first book, so I started it so I could make a decision. Immediately, I was gripped. By the time I reached the patisserie on like, page 25, I was in love. Serpent & Dove is set in the beautiful city of Cesarine, which I imagine to be Paris. It feels like a fantastical Paris, and it fits so well. I’m a sucker for fantasy set in a beautiful city, and the way Mahurin talked about the landscape just took my breath away. I was immersed from the start.

There are some things that can’t be changed with words. 

And then there’s the romance. I can’t. This has every trope going, love to hate, slow burn romance, love triangles are even thrown in…but I loved it. Most of the time, cliche tropes will make me roll my eyes, but this just swept me along for the ride. I loved the characters and just wanted them to be together.

Which brings me on to…the characters! Ah, Lou. How I loved your badass spirit and determination, with a soft heart underneath. Reid, with your gentle, loving soul and bravery. Ansel, with your loyalty and resolve. They were broken and real and tormented and I adored them all.

Everything about this book just took my breath away. I wanted to read it constantly and I was thinking about it when I wasn’t reading it. I would read it first thing in the morning, last thing at night. I was reading 100+ pages a day without even batting an eyelid.

Some things have to be seen. They have to be felt.

One last thing to note is I would definitely count this as New Adult rather than YA! It is on par with Sarah J Maas with the…ahem..quite steamy scenes.

As you can probably tell, I loved this book so much. If magic/witches, fantasy in a beautiful city and a slow burn romance sounds like something for you, you need to read this book. Perfect for fans of Leigh Bardugo and Sarah J Maas!


★★★★
5 out of 5 stars

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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Let’s Discuss! Non-Binary November Readathon

Hi everyone! I’m here today with a really exciting announcement. As you probably know, I run a YouTube channel with Blue and Alex and we’ve decided to run a month long readathon together!

Key information

  • The readathon is called the Non-Binary November readathon, will run from 1st-30th November and aims to read and promote books by non-binary authors and with non-binary rep!
  • You can cover more than one prompt with each book if you need to – for example, The Bone Witch covers non-binary author, non-binary side character, non-binary author of colour, N or B in the title and a colour of the non-binary flag (purple!)
  • Our group book is The Bone Witch which we all be reading and encourage you to join us for!
  • You do not need to read non-binary books for all of the prompts if non-binary is not specified, however it would be great to make sure they are LGBTQIA+!
  • The hashtag we are using for this readathon is #NBNOV, which can be used on Twitter to join in and discuss the readathon
  • We have a giveaway! All you have to do is subscribe to our channel and tweet using the hashtag #NBNOV, and you will be entered to win either The Bone Witch or a non-binary book of your choice. The giveaway ends at midnight on November 1st and the winner be will announced the following day and contacted via Twitter.
  • Prompts are below the video, which also provides this information!

Prompts

  • Read a book with a non-binary main character
  • Read a book by a non-binary author
  • Read a book with the letter N or letter B in the title
  • Read a book with a cover that has one or more of the non-binary flag colours (purple, yellow, white or black)
  • Read a book with a non-binary side character
  • Read a non-binary book by an author of colour
  • Read a book that represents another gender identity
  • Read a book recommended by a non-binary reviewer (like Blue!)
  • Free space!

Watch this space for another video with prompt ideas, books recommended by Blue, and all of our TBRs! I will also post a blog post with my TBR closer to when the readathon starts.

Want to join us? Just post on your platform with your TBR an read with us in November!

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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September Wrap-Up and October TBR

Happy Monday! And Happy Anniversary to this blog! I’ve been blogging for 5 years today – I can’t believe it. Anyway, that aside, onto the Wrap Up!

I didn’t read as many books in September as I did in August – but then again I read a lot of verse and shorter books in August. I also still managed to read the 3 books I had set for the month, so I’m still fairly happy with what I read!

Books I Read in September

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Review | Goodreads | Waterstones

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Review | Goodreads | Waterstones

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Review | Goodreads | Waterstones

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Review | Goodreads | Waterstones

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Review | Goodreads | Waterstones

They say the thirst of blood is like a madness – they must sate it. Even with their own kin.
On the eve of her divining, the day she’ll discover her fate, seventeen-year-old Lil and her twin sister Kizzy are captured and enslaved by the cruel Boyar Valcar, taken far away from their beloved traveller community.
Forced to work in the harsh and unwelcoming castle kitchens, Lil is comforted when she meets Mira, a fellow slave who she feels drawn to in a way she doesn’t understand. But she also learns about the Dragon, a mysterious and terrifying figure of myth and legend who takes girls as gifts.
They may not have had their divining day, but the girls will still discover their fate..

My least favourite book of the month was Knife Edge and my favourite was The Deathless Girls!

Books I Want to Read in October

Serpent & Dove – Shelby Mahurin
The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer – Michelle Hodkin
The Evolution of Mara Dyer – Michelle Hodkin
The Retribution of Mara Dyer – Michelle Hodkin

I’m currently reading Serpent & Dove and I’m loving it! I only want to commit to reading my series for the month (Mara Dyer) and then go for whatever else I fancy.

What did you read in September and what do you want to read in October?

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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