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

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

The Kill Order - Maze Runner Series 4 (Paperback)

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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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Review: The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery

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Goodreads | Waterstones

The narrator is a downed pilot in the Sahara Desert, frantically trying to repair his wrecked plane. His efforts are interrupted one day by the apparition of a little prince, who asks him to draw a sheep. “In the face of an overpowering mystery, you don’t dare disobey,” the narrator recalls. “Absurd as it seemed, a thousand miles from all inhabited regions and in danger of death, I took a scrap of paper and a pen out of my pocket.” And so begins their dialogue, which stretches the narrator’s imagination in all sorts of surprising, childlike directions.

I’m…not quite sure what to make of this book. I have to say though, it actually completes my reading of the Wordsworth edition set, which I managed to read all of in 2021! I just squeezed this short one in before the end of the year to complete reading the set. I’ve been intrigued by this book for a while and I’ve been really looking forward to reading it, but there was something that just passed over my head with it in the end.

All grown-ups were once children… 

There is definitely something about this book that feels like it will only capture the whimsical, nonsensical attention of children, and it did remind me of books I read and loved as a child such as The Wishing Chair stories and The Magic Faraway Tree by Enid Blyton. However, there is a level of pretentiousness that comes along with the assumption that if you don’t like this book, it’s just because you’re too much of a ‘grown-up’. I don’t like the idea of this being put on the reader, and I felt a sense of guilt for not enjoying this book as much as I wanted to.

I do really like the start of this book and the drawings are super cute and add something genuine and real to the story. It was more the later parts of the book that felt a little pointless and more flowery, lacking anything grounded.

but only few of them remember it.

All I can say is I wish I’d read this as a child, as I feel like I would have understood it on the level I wanted to, but I would like to re-read this in the future to see if my opinion changes!

★★★
3 out of 5 stars

-Beth

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Review: Frostheart (#1) by Jamie Littler

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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 . . . ?

I’ve heard such good things about this middle grade and I was recently offered a copy by a friend, so I decided to pick it up. I really wanted to read this in winter and ended up reading it in the last week of December, which was perfect! This is not a Christmassy book at all, but it’s more of a polar fantasy focusing on a boy called Ash who discovers he has magical powers and his yeti guardian, Tobu.

There’s a lot to love about this book and I can definitely see why so many people love it, but sadly it did miss the mark a little bit with me. The main downside for me was I just couldn’t help but feel a little disconnected from the story and I don’t really know why. I did read this fairly quickly, but as this one is a middle grade I expected to speed through it. I just found myself struggling to focus on what the characters were up to or really take any of the story in.

However, I did really like the found family group and the focus on the importance of friendship. This book is also illustrated throughout and has some beautiful drawings to accompany the writing that just adds another dimension to the reading experience! This one also feels so unique and stands completely alone from other middle grade books I’ve read.

I can see why this one has a lot of fans, but sadly there was just something here that didn’t keep me gripped and therefore it ended up falling a bit flat for me!

★★★
3 out of 5 stars

-Beth

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Review: Midnight in Everwood by M.A. Kuzniar

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Goodreads | Waterstones

Nottingham, 1906
Marietta Stelle longs to be a ballerina but as Christmas draws nearer, her dancing days are numbered. At the wishes of her family, she will be obligated to marry and take up her place in society in the New Year. But when a mysterious new toymaker, Dr Drosselmeier, purchases a neighbouring townhouse, it heralds the arrival of magic and wonder in her life. Although Drosselmeier’s magic is darker than Marietta could have imagined…
When he constructs an elaborate theatrical set for her final ballet performance, Marietta discovers it carries a magic all of its own. As the clock chimes midnight, Marietta finds herself walking through a land of snow-topped fir trees leading to a frozen sugar palace silent with secrets and must find a way to return home.
In the darkness of night, magic awaits and you will never forget what you find here…

Thank you to the publisher, HarperCollins, for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

I’ve been anticipating this book for a long time, as this publisher sent out hardcover proof copies to some booktubers and book bloggers late 2020, and I’ve been wanting to read this ever since! I pre-ordered one of the beautiful independent bookshop editions and I was also lucky enough to be sent a paperback proof copy not long afterwards.

This is a nutcracker retelling, and although I haven’t read the original story and I’m not very familiar with it at all, I was really fascinated by this idea of a retelling. This one has some resemblance to The Night Circus and Caraval, which are some of my favourite books of all time.

Chasing after your dreams is a peculiar kind of suffering; it is not for the weak-hearted or cowardly-minded.

I love that this was set in Nottingham, a place I’m familiar with but is not often used as a location! I think the author may be from Nottingham herself, and I loved seeing it portrayed as an Edwardian city. Although I’m not a dancer myself, nor have I ever been, I did like reading about Marietta and her passion for ballet.

I don’t want to say too much about this one because I don’t want to spoil it for others – but there’s elements of Narnia, female friendship, romance (but one that doesn’t overshadow the story!) and family. The world in this book is absolutely gorgeous and I’m so glad I read it around Christmas as it is set over Christmas Eve! I have to say though, not all of the focus is on Christmas and a lot of it is more wintery which I loved.

It requires deep strength and endless determination.

Overall, this is absolutely beautiful and gorgeously written book that I’m so glad I read around Christmas! I sped through this one over a couple of days and I really enjoyed the story and the characters. I just didn’t feel quite as much connection to them as I perhaps could have, which is why I’ve decided to deduct half a star.

★★★
4.5 out of 5 stars

-Beth

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Review: Animal Crossing: New Horizons: Deserted Island Diary vol 1 by Kokonasu Rumba

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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.

I was just discussing this manga with my boyfriend and he said ‘there’s good weird and there’s bad weird’, and let me tell you, this is not the good weird. I’ve been playing Animal Crossing for around 15 years, and when I saw there was going to be manga released, of course I wanted to read this. But the thing is about new releases in relation to things you love is that they can go either way, and this one wasn’t the best.

What I wanted from this manga was for it to be similar to Dobutsu no Mori, the 2006 film following the story inspired by Animal Crossing Wild World. Although a little odd in places, the film is charming and feels genuinely inspired by the characters from the game. I can see how this manga attempts to do the same, but it really fell flat for me.

This book is split into 4 (I think?) mini-comics and the second half of the book is character cards and tips and tricks starting the game. However, I’m confused whether this is targeted at people who already love the series or are getting into the game for the first time. The whole manga seems confused about what it’s trying to be.

The four characters in this one travel to a deserted island and comically miss the point of setting up life on the island. But instead of being charming and funny, this one just seemed to missed the point and fell completely flat for me.

★★★
2.5 out of 5 stars

-Beth

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Review: Crying in H Mart by Michelle Zauner

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Goodreads | Waterstones

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.

Thank you to the publisher, Macmillan, for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Before reading this book, I can honestly say I’d never heard of Michelle Zauner. In fact, I even thought for a while that this was a fiction book. But throughout this book, I fell in love with this book and the way Zauner writes about her life.

It feels odd to write a review for a memoir so intrinsically intertwined with such an emotional aspect of the writers’ life, but this book was such a beautiful representation of Zauner’s relationship with her mother. Inspired by an article written for the New Yorker and set to be adapted into a feature film, this book is a marriage of Zauner’s relationship with food, with Korea and with her mother.

In fact, she was both my first and second words: Umma, then Mom. I called to her in two languages.

There is no way of hiding the fact this book is not an easy one to read. It was incredibly sad and sometimes difficult to continue to read. There were many times I wanted to put it down because I was finding it so heavy. However, there is something about this book that made me feel like I had a duty to the author and the book to continue. To understand what Zauner went through and to understand her relationship with her mother and her mother’s illness.

I have been lucky that so far in my life I have not faced the kind of grief and loss that Zauner has. The visceral and unfiltered nature with which this book is written gave me a deeper understanding of grief and a deeper appreciation of my own relationship with my mother. My only complaint was that this book did feel a little long (despite it being just over 200 pages), and the structure felt a little off. At one point, I even thought about the fact this book may have been inspired by an article.

Even then I must have known that no one would ever love me as much as she would.

There was a quote on the back of this book that said something along the lines that all mothers and daughters should read it, and I honestly agree. Although this was so emotionally devastating it becomes hard to recommend, I simultaneously want to recommend it to anyone who will listen.

★★★★★
4.5 out of 5 stars

-Beth

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Review: Julia and the Shark by Kiran Millwood Hargrave and Tom de Freston

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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.

I’ve read a lot of Kiran Millwood Hargrave books across different ages, and I’ve liked them all a lot. Loved them, even. But none have captured my heart like Julia and the Shark did. There was something else about this book that made it feel like it was the story Kiran and Tom are trying to tell. It was told from the heart, from the centre of their souls. If you didn’t know, Kiran and Tom are a wife and husband team and I love that. Tom is an artist and he illustrated this book, and there’s something about the emotion in it that really shows.

This is a middle grade story about a girl called Julia who moves to an island off the coast of Scotland because her mum is in search of a Greenland shark. But this story is about so much more than that. It’s about family and mental health and adventure. It’s about growing up.

That’s another thing about words: there’s space in them. They change according to whose mouth they’re coming out of. 

I read this with my friend Alex, and she said this book reminded her of A Monster Calls, and I completely see why she felt that way. There was so much emotion crammed within these pages, these beautiful words. I flew through this book in one sitting, because I couldn’t put it down, especially after the first half.

I was a little hesitant at first how much this book would discuss mental health, and it was a bit darker than I expected. However, I do think this one handles depression for children in a really approachable way. It’s sad, and it’s difficult, but it’s real. I did find myself getting so emotional while reading, but it was also so full of hope and light that I loved the ending.

Sometimes they change so much in mine they become something else entirely, but Dad says these are called lies.

This book was just so beautiful and so easy to fall in love with. It has quickly become one of those books I would recommend to anybody, and feels so very needed.

★★★★★
5 out of 5 stars

-Beth

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Review: So Many Beginnings by Bethany C Morrow

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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.

When I say I loved this book, I mean I loved this book. It felt like a Black love letter to Little Women, and I want to write a love letter to this book.

Now, there are some books that are inspired by other stories that I feel like you don’t need to read to understand the original version – such as A Sky Painted Gold by Laura Wood which is inspired by The Great Gatsby. I definitely found more of a sense of enjoyment with that book due to having read Gatsby not so long ago, and I found it fun to unpick where certain scenes in the story were inspired by the original, but it wasn’t needed at all to read the original.

But So Many Beginnings is a different story. With this one, it feels firmly within the rounds of being written purely for fans of the original story. We don’t differ much from the plot or the characters we know and love. For me, this worked so well because I went into this story already having such a strong connection to the characters, and I loved them. Although there is slight differences in character relationships and dynamics (and these changes I really liked!), but the main characteristics remain the same.

I was a little hesitant going into this one, not knowing what to expect from the retelling, but it just did every aspect so well. The main divergence from the main story was, obviously, the little women themselves and the family being Black and living in the American Civil War. I was worried going in that the narrative and dialogue would feel unnatural or forced – I found this a little with A Sky Painted Gold, that the narrative of the main character felt a bit too modern for the time period. However, the dialogue, discussions and conversations felt entirely natural and authentic.

It is discussed at the end of the book in an authors note how this story is partially inspired by true diaries and research that has been done about the time period, and this shone through so well. The discussions about racism were incredible and so powerful.

There is just nothing I can point out about this book that I didn’t like – the changes were perfect, but were balanced so well with the original story. The characters were so likeable and lovely, and the discussions were very well done. What a book.

★★★★★
5 out of 5 stars

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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