Top 5 Fictional Places I Want to Visit

Hi everyone! While in isolation, I’m doing a lot of daydreaming. Daydreaming about seeing my friends, family and boyfriend again. Daydreaming about driving again, singing along to the radio with the window rolled down. Daydreaming about the beach, the feeling of sand between my toes.

So why not add to that daydreaming, and talk about fictional places I’d love to visit too?

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Goodreads | Waterstones

Life isn’t much fun at number four Privet Drive, at least not for Harry Potter, living under the stairs in a cupboard full of spiders, but all of that is about to change. On the eve of Harry’s eleventh birthday the letters start arriving; letters written in emerald green ink on yellowing parchment with an unmistakable letter H on purple wax seals. Because Harry Potter is no ordinary boy, he is the boy who lived, the wizard whose name everyone in the magical world knows and he has a place at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. An incredible adventure is about to begin and life for Harry Potter will never be the same again.

Obviously this one has to be top of the list. I’d love to be able to wander the hallways of Hogwarts, and I feel lucky enough to be able to do the Studio Tour occasionally.

The Mortal Instruments 3: City of Glass - The Mortal Instruments (Paperback)

Goodreads | Waterstones

To save her mother’s life, Clary must travel to the City of Glass, the ancestral home of the Shadowhunters – never mind that entering the city without permission is against the Law, and breaking the Law could mean death. To make things worse, she learns that Jace does not want her there, and Simon has been thrown in prison by the Shadowhunters, who are deeply suspicious of a vampire who can withstand sunlight.
As Clary uncovers more about her family’s past, she finds an ally in mysterious Shadowhunter Sebastian. With Valentine mustering the full force of his power to destroy all Shadowhunters forever, their only chance to defeat him is to fight alongside their eternal enemies. But can Downworlders and Shadowhunters put aside their hatred to work together? While Jace realizes exactly how much he’s willing to risk for Clary, can she harness her newfound powers to help save the Glass City – whatever the cost?

I remember reading this series and finding the City of Glass sounded so beautiful, I’d love to see it in real life.

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Goodreads | Waterstones

Bilbo Baggins is a hobbit who enjoys a comfortable, unambitious life, rarely travelling further than the pantry of his hobbit-hole in Bag End. But his contentment is disturbed when the wizard, Gandalf, and a company of thirteen dwarves arrive on his doorstep one day to whisk him away on an unexpected journey `there and back again’. They have a plot to raid the treasure hoard of Smaug the Magnificent, a large and very dangerous dragon…

One of my bucket list activities is definitely to visit Hobbiton in New Zealand. It looks so beautiful!

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Goodreads | Waterstones

Feyre, Rhys, and their close-knit circle of friends are still busy rebuilding the Night Court and the vastly-changed world beyond. But Winter Solstice is finally near, and with it, a hard-earned reprieve.
Yet even the festive atmosphere can’t keep the shadows of the past from looming. As Feyre navigates her first Winter Solstice as High Lady, she finds that those dearest to her have more wounds than she anticipated–scars that will have far-reaching impact on the future of their Court.

Honestly, all of these books sound beautiful, but especially A Court of Frost and Starlight. I remember reading this book and thinking how beautiful the city sounded!

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Goodreads | Waterstones

Zachary Ezra Rawlins is a graduate student in Vermont when he discovers a strange book hidden in the library stacks. As he turns the pages, entranced by tales of lovelorn prisoners, key collectors, and nameless acolytes, he reads something strange: a story from his own childhood. Bewildered by this inexplicable book and desperate to make sense of how his own life came to be recorded, Zachary uncovers a series of clues – a bee, a key and a sword – that lead him to a masquerade party in New York, to a secret club, and through a doorway to a subterranean library, hidden far below the surface of the earth.
What Zachary finds in this curious place is more than just a buried home for books and their guardians – it is a place of lost cities and seas, lovers who pass notes under doors and across time, and of stories whispered by the dead. Zachary learns of those who have sacrificed much to protect this realm, relinquishing their sight and their tongues to preserve this archive, and also those who are intent on its destruction. Together with Mirabel, a fierce, pink-haired protector of the place, and Dorian, a handsome barefoot man with shifting alliances, Zachary travels the twisting tunnels, darkened stairwells, crowded ballrooms, and sweetly-soaked shores of this magical world, discovering his purpose – in both the mysterious book and in his own life.

I just couldn’t write this post without including something written by Erin Morgenstern. Her worlds sound so rich and luscious. I’m sure it would be terrifying but beautiful to visit the world of The Starless Sea.

A worthy mention is also Caraval, which I’m sure would be terrifying too!

Which fictional places would you love to visit?

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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Stacking the Shelves #13

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 all! This week I decided to spend a voucher I had on some books I’ve had my eye on recently, and just treat myshelf!

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Goodreads | Waterstones

Naila’s conservative immigrant parents have always said the same thing: She may choose what to study, how to wear her hair, and what to be when she grows up—but they will choose her husband. Following their cultural tradition, they will plan an arranged marriage for her. And until then, dating—even friendship with a boy—is forbidden. When Naila breaks their rule by falling in love with Saif, her parents are livid. Convinced she has forgotten who she truly is, they travel to Pakistan to visit relatives and explore their roots. But Naila’s vacation turns into a nightmare when she learns that plans have changed—her parents have found her a husband and they want her to marry him, now! Despite her greatest efforts, Naila is aghast to find herself cut off from everything and everyone she once knew. Her only hope of escape is Saif . . . if he can find her before it’s too late.

I’ve been wanting to read more of Aisha Saeed’s work after loving Yes No Maybe So, and I’m super excited for this one.

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Goodreads | Waterstones

Will the princess save the beast?
For Princess Jaya Rao, nothing is more important than family. When the loathsome Emerson clan steps up their centuries-old feud to target Jaya’s little sister, nothing will keep Jaya from exacting her revenge. Then Jaya finds out she’ll be attending the same elite boarding school as Grey Emerson, and it feels like the opportunity of a lifetime. She knows what she must do: Make Grey fall in love with her and break his heart. But much to Jaya’s annoyance, Grey’s brooding demeanor and lupine blue eyes have drawn her in. There’s simply no way she and her sworn enemy could find their fairy-tale ending…right?
His Lordship Grey Emerson is a misanthrope. Thanks to an ancient curse by a Rao matriarch, Grey knows he’s doomed once he turns eighteen. Sequestered away in the mountains at St. Rosetta’s International Academy, he’s lived an isolated existence—until Jaya Rao bursts into his life, but he can’t shake the feeling that she’s hiding something. Something that might just have to do with the rose-shaped ruby pendant around her neck…
As the stars conspire to keep them apart, Jaya and Grey grapple with questions of love, loyalty, and whether it’s possible to write your own happy ending.

This was really just self-indulgence, as I’ve seen it be talked about everywhere since it’s release!

What did you buy this week?

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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Review: The Lido by Libby Page

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Goodreads | Waterstones

We’re never too old to make new friends—or to make a difference.
Rosemary Peterson has lived in Brixton, London, all her life but everything is changing.
The library where she used to work has closed. The family grocery store has become a trendy bar. And now the lido, an outdoor pool where she’s swam daily since its opening, is threatened with closure by a local housing developer. It was at the lido that Rosemary escaped the devastation of World War II; here she fell in love with her husband, George; here she found community during her marriage and since George’s death.
Twenty-something Kate Matthews has moved to Brixton and feels desperately alone. A once promising writer, she now covers forgettable stories for her local paper. That is, until she’s assigned to write about the lido’s closing. Soon Kate’s portrait of the pool focuses on a singular woman: Rosemary. And as Rosemary slowly opens up to Kate, both women are nourished and transformed in ways they never thought possible
.

I was so unsure about picking this book up. It appealed to me at first because of the outdoor swimming theme, I love outdoor swimming myself. And then I had a customer in the bookshop I work in recommend it to me after a conversation about wild swimming, and knew I had to try it.

I finally decided to pick it up the other night, and let me tell you I was blown away. God, this book was amazing. I’m not used to reading adult contemporary and often find it hit and miss, but this one was just so delightful and heart-warming and was exactly what we all need right now. I picked it up one night intending to read a chapter and ended up reading around 50 pages. Every time I picked it up after that I felt so happy to be a part of this story.

‘Love is love,’ says Rosemary. ‘Just like a tree is a tree.

The characters in this book were beautiful. Kate was such a lovely soul with a warm heart and so many struggles. Seeing her blossom throughout this book felt like an honour. Rosemary was such a delightful, warm person to read about, and I joked with my boyfriend that I was so much like her, even though she was 86. I loved the way The Lido included flashbacks of Rosemary’s life with her husband and tackled some really difficult themes. The wider cast of characters were diverse and wonderful in their own ways.

The way Kate tackles her own mental health felt so raw and I really felt for her, especially some of the conversations she has with those around her on her journey. This book just radiated warmth and the heartfelt scenes often had me in tears, even only 150 pages in.

It can be a sapling or a hundred -year-old oak, but it still has roots and life and is at the mercy of the seasons.’

I can’t explain how much this book meant to me. It was full of hope and love and warmth, and was written from the heart. It absolutely warmed my soul, and I’m so happy I picked it up.

★★★★★
5 out of 5 stars

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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Top 5 Covers That Were Better Than the Books

Happy Wednesday everybody! It is Wednesday, right? Who even knows anymore? Either way, here I am with a new Top 5, a list of books that had super pretty covers but ended up being disappointing reads. This is definitely nothing to do with the fact my last read ended up being disappointing…

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Goodreads | Waterstones

Growing up in New York, brothers Emil and Brighton always idolized the Spell Walkers—a vigilante group sworn to rid the world of specters. While the Spell Walkers and other celestials are born with powers, specters take them, violently stealing the essence of endangered magical creatures.
Brighton wishes he had a power so he could join the fray. Emil just wants the fighting to stop. The cycle of violence has taken a toll, making it harder for anyone with a power to live peacefully and openly. In this climate of fear, a gang of specters has been growing bolder by the day.
Then, in a brawl after a protest, Emil manifests a power of his own—one that puts him right at the heart of the conflict and sets him up to be the heroic Spell Walker Brighton always wanted to be.

This book just made me so sad. Adam Silvera can be such an amazing writer and I’ve loved some of his books, but this one disappointed me so much!

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Goodreads | Waterstones

Makani Young thought she’d left her dark past behind her in Hawaii, settling in with her grandmother in landlocked Nebraska. She’s found new friends and has even started to fall for mysterious outsider Ollie Larsson. But her past isn’t far behind.
Then, one by one, the students of Osborne Hugh begin to die in a series of gruesome murders, each with increasingly grotesque flair. As the terror grows closer and her feelings for Ollie intensify, Makani is forced to confront her own dark secrets.

When this book was released, I adored this cover. I couldn’t wait to have it on my shelf. And then it came out, and I read, and oh it was so disappointing.

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Goodreads | Waterstones

Kady, Ezra, Hanna and Nik narrowly escaped with their lives from the attacks on Heimdall station and now find themselves crammed with 2,000 refugees on the container ship, Mao. With the jump station destroyed and their resources scarce, the only option is to return to Kerenza–but who knows what they’ll find seven months after the invasion?
Meanwhile, Kady’s cousin, Asha, survived the initial BeiTech assault and has joined Kerenza’s ragtag underground resistance. When Rhys–an old flame from Asha’s past–reappears on Kerenza, the two find themselves on opposite sides of the conflict. With time running out, a final battle will be waged on land and in space, heroes will fall, and hearts will be broken.

It would make me so happy to have the whole hardback set of these books and like them. I adore the hardbacks, and I do have the first one, but the second and third disappointed me so much I don’t even want to own them.

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Goodreads | Waterstones

Greg Gaines is the last master of high school espionage, able to disappear at will into any social environment. He has only one friend, Earl, and together they spend their time making movies, their own incomprehensible versions of Coppola and Herzog cult classics.
Until Greg’s mother forces him to rekindle his childhood friendship with Rachel.
Rachel has been diagnosed with leukemia—-cue extreme adolescent awkwardness—-but a parental mandate has been issued and must be obeyed. When Rachel stops treatment, Greg and Earl decide the thing to do is to make a film for her, which turns into the Worst Film Ever Made and becomes a turning point in each of their lives.
And all at once Greg must abandon invisibility and stand in the spotlight.

There was a time when I adored this cover, and searched for it until I finally found it. But then I read it, and it was so disappointing I didn’t even want to keep it on my shelf.

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Goodreads | Waterstones

Emma Lane’s forced to face her fears when her mother unceremoniously dumps her on the doorstep of Camp Mapplewood, abandoning her for the summer while she heads off on a cruise with her latest husband. It’s the last place Emma wants to be with scary creatures, creepy crawlies, and much that can go bump in the night. When Emma breaks into the tool shed on her first day there, the fall out from her escapades leads her right into the path of her counsellor, Vivian Black. . .

And of course I did have to include the last book I read on this list – Night Owls and Summer Skies. What a pretty cover this is, but unfortunately only got 2.5 stars from me!

Which books do you think have pretty covers but disappointed you?

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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ARC Review: Night Owls and Summer Skies by Rebecca Sullivan

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Goodreads | Waterstones

Emma Lane’s forced to face her fears when her mother unceremoniously dumps her on the doorstep of Camp Mapplewood, abandoning her for the summer while she heads off on a cruise with her latest husband. It’s the last place Emma wants to be with scary creatures, creepy crawlies, and much that can go bump in the night. When Emma breaks into the tool shed on her first day there, the fall out from her escapades leads her right into the path of her counsellor, Vivian Black. . . .

Thank you to Netgalley and Wattpad for an e-arc in exchange for an honest review.

This book intrigued me, a pretty cover, a summer romance, the great outdoors. What’s not to love? Well, unfortunately a lot more than I expected. This book wasn’t necessarily bad. It just wasn’t very good either.

Emma was problematic from the off. She flitted from being scared, depressed and anxious to being cocky, arrogant and just….kind of unlikable. I would just begin to relate to her and like her when she would do or say something that would brush me the wrong way. In fact, most, if not all of the characters, were completely not fleshed out and underdeveloped. I had soft spots for some of them, mostly Vivian, the rest of the Black family and Emma’s dad. But Emma herself seemed to be so unsure of herself, or as if the author had been unsure of how to write her.

The location was great and I loved the idea of a camp romance. I could really picture the scene and it reminded me of my few days at camp years ago! The plot was okay, predictable but mainly enjoyable to read. Once I passed the 50% mark I found it easy to pick up and more compelling. The parents of Emma were both well written for their own ways, and I actually found myself enjoying the relationship between Vivian and Emma.

Although I can see the problems with the romance, and it did make me a little angry that they were often overlooked by other characters such as Vivian’s family, I actually did like the scenes between them.

Overall, this book was…weak. It had enjoyable factors, but too much bad outweighed a possibility for it to be good. There was so much potential for it to be good, but so much was lost.

★★★
2.5 out of 5 stars

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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Stacking the Shelves #12

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 everybody! I’m a day late for Stacking the Shelves this weekend but I’ve been ordering a lot recently while in lockdown so I thought I’d post today.

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Goodreads | Waterstones

Zélie Adebola remembers when the soil of Orïsha hummed with magic. Burners ignited flames, Tiders beckoned waves, and Zélie’s Reaper mother summoned forth souls.
But everything changed the night magic disappeared. Under the orders of a ruthless king, maji were killed, leaving Zélie without a mother and her people without hope.
Now Zélie has one chance to bring back magic and strike against the monarchy. With the help of a rogue princess, Zélie must outwit and outrun the crown prince, who is hell-bent on eradicating magic for good.
Danger lurks in Orïsha, where snow leoponaires prowl and vengeful spirits wait in the waters. Yet the greatest danger may be Zélie herself as she struggles to control her powers and her growing feelings for an enemy.

I was given the second book in this series through work, so I’ve decided to pick up the first one so I can read it soon.

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Goodreads | Waterstones

Chaol Westfall has always defined himself by his unwavering loyalty, his strength, and his position as the Captain of the Guard. But all of that has changed since Aelin shattered the glass castle, since Chaol’s men were slaughtered, since the King of Adarlan spared him from a killing blow, but left his body broken.
Now he and Nesryn sail for Antica – the stronghold of the southern continent’s mighty empire and of the legendary healers of the Torre Cesme. It’s Chaol’s one shot at recovery, and with war looming back home, Dorian and Aelin’s survival could depend on Chaol and Nesryn convincing Antica’s rulers to ally with them.
But what they discover there will change them both – and be more vital to saving Erilea than they could have imagined.

I was also given the rest of this series by a friend but I was missing Tower of Dawn which although doesn’t match the white covers, is actually the 6th book in the series!

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Goodreads | Waterstones

With his dying words, H – Jacob’s final connection to his grandfather Abe’s secret life – entrusts Jacob with a mission: Deliver newly contacted peculiar Noor Pradesh to an operative known only as V.
Noor is being hunted. She is the subject of an ancient prophecy, one that foretells a looming apocalypse. Save Noor, save the future of all peculiardom. With only a few bewildering clues to follow, time is running out.

I’ve bought all of these books in hardback so far, so I also decided to pick up the newest one!

What did you buy this week?

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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Review: Call Down the Hawk (#1) by Maggie Stiefvater

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Goodreads | Waterstones

Ronan Lynch is a dreamer. He can pull both curiosities and catastrophes out of his dreams and into his compromised reality.
Jordan Hennessy is a thief. The closer she comes to the dream object she is after, the more inextricably she becomes tied to it.
Carmen Farooq-Lane is a hunter. Her brother was a dreamer . . . and a killer. She has seen what dreaming can do to a person. And she has seen the damage that dreamers can do. But that is nothing compared to the destruction that is about to be unleashed. . . .

It felt so good to be back in the world of the raven boys. I loved the original series and it always felt so unique and like nothing I had ever read before, especially The Dream Thieves. It was always hard to pick a favourite from the series, but I’m fairly sure The Dream Thieves was up there for me. When I heard this new series would be about Ronan and his dreams, I honestly couldn’t think of a better tangent to go off. I was excited.

And I’m not about to say that excitement was misplaced, it wasn’t….but maybe this one wasn’t quite for me as much as I would have liked it to be.

You are made of dreams 

Don’t get me wrong, I really enjoyed this book. It drew me in and I became addicted to the story of the Lynch brothers and our new cast of characters. When I picked it up, I would read over 50 pages at a time and never want to put it down. The short chapters allowed me to fly through the story.

But. It just constantly felt like it was missing. Some of the scenes were great. Some of the moments were exactly what I was looking for. And others were just somehow lacking. Lacking in references to any of the original characters from the series I loved so much. Lacking in love, I was living for the brief, scattered scenes with Ronan and Adam.

The writing was of course, beautiful. Stiefvater has an ethereal, otherwordly way of writing, almost dreamlike. I adored it, and felt like I was floating along on a journey that although I didn’t quite understand, I still enjoyed all the same.

and this world is not for you.

This book was excellent in parts, and it did really capture my attention. I just wish it had been a little bit more, and I didn’t feel like I was looking for something constantly out of reach.

★★★★
3.5 out of 5 stars

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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