Review: Weathering With You by Makoto Shinkai

48614841

Goodreads | Waterstones

Longing to escape his island home, a boy named Hodaka runs away during his first summer of high school to find a new life in Tokyo. As rain falls for days on end and Hodaka struggles to adjust, he meets a girl named Hina who holds a mysterious power: With a single prayer, she can part the clouds and bring back the sun. But her power comes at a price, and as the weather spirals further and further out of control, they must choose what future they truly want for themselves.
Written concurrently with production of the 2019 film Weathering With You, this novel comes straight from director Makoto Shinkai, the mind behind 2016’s hit your name.!

I always find these books the hardest to review. Makoto Shinkai is the director of multiple movies such as Your Name and now Weathering With You. In 2017, I read the light novel of Your Name and adored it so much – you can see my review here. But the difference here is I think there was much more time between me watching the Your Name movie and reading the light novel. This time, I only watched Weathering With You around a month ago, so reading the light novel with it so fresh in my mind was a little strange. I’m going to attempt to summarise my thoughts on this book, but I also believe I will naturally struggle to separate the two and may discuss both.

Makoto Shinkai, you’ve done it again. I fell in love with this story just as much as I did with Your Name. Although both stories are a little dark, I saw the contrast between them almost instantly. A major focus of Weathering is environmental and climate change, but it also immediately explores difficult family relationships, homelessness and mentions gun crime and the difficulties young girls face on the streets. Watching the film, I was a little shocked. The dark undertones of this story were not quite expected, and gave a much different narrative for me than that of the familiar Your Name.

However, the story quickly picks up and we see our main character meet the 100% sunshine girl, and a magical realism compelling fantasy tale emerges. Even if I didn’t always love all of the characters in this book, I appreciated them for what they were, including Keisuke. I loved that the book gives cameos to both Taki and Mitsuha from Your Name, and they’re in the movie too, if a little harder to spot.

Hodaka and Hina both grow and have a strange coming of age story among all the madness they face. Seeing them face their own challenges together and apart warmed my heart, and I ended up tearing up at the movie and the book. Even Hina’s little brother, Keisuke’s daughter and the cat ended up having a special place in my heart.

My only difficulty (other than separating my thoughts between the movie and the light novel), is that this book often left me questioning who was narrating. We follow more than two characters, and there isn’t any chapter or section headings to indicate the switches, neither is the tone all that different. It left me muddled and I found the book hard to follow in parts.

Overall, the story of Weathering With You was compelling, emotional and romantic. I can’t say whether it surpassed or matched Your Name for me, but rather I think it holds a different piece of me all together, a piece just as treasured.

★★★★
4 out of 5 stars

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

Shop | Goodreads | Instagram | Tumblr | Twitter | Facebook |

www.etsy.com/uk/shop/thebooksareverywhere

Blog Tour & Review: Dear Edward by Ann Napolitano

Thank you to Penguin Viking for inviting me to take part in this blog tour and for providing me with an ARC copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

45837015. sy475

Goodreads | Waterstones

One summer morning, a flight takes off from New York to Los Angeles. There are 216 passengers aboard: among them a Wall Street millionaire; a young woman taking a pregnancy test in the airplane toilet; a soldier returning from Afghanistan; and two beleaguered parents moving across the country with their adolescent sons. When the plane suddenly crashes in a field in Colorado, the younger of these boys, 12-year-old Edward Adler, is the sole survivor.
Dear Edward recounts the stories of the passengers aboard that flight as it hurtles toward its fateful end, and depicts Edward’s life in the crash’s aftermath as he tries to make sense of the loss of his family, the strangeness of his sudden fame, and the meaning of his survival. As Edward comes of age against the backdrop of sudden tragedy, he must confront one of life’s most profound questions: how do we make the most of the time we are given?

I’m not one to pick up books like this, but when I found out about it at a Penguin event I was drawn in instantly. It sounded thrilling, fascinating and intriguing. I wasn’t disappointed.

I found this book so quick and easy to get through. The chapters are short and change POV between Eddie after the plane crash and the time on the plane before it actually crashed. The plane chapters cover more than just Eddie and his family, and instead focuses on a select number of people around the plane.

There was no reason for what happened to you, Eddie. You could have died; you just didn’t. It was dumb luck.

I feel like this way of storytelling intertwined with Edward’s emotional story and him trying to find himself after losing his entire family and living with his aunt and uncle was beautiful, and made us feel closer to the other characters on the plane when the time came for us to sympathise with them.

I feel like the only big let down for me was I expected more to be uncovered. The book actually never really discusses why Edward was the only one on the plane to survive, despite him questioning it. I guess I would have enjoyed it more as a thriller with a deeper level of intrigue.

Nobody chose you for anything. Which means, truly, that you can do anything.

This book is very character driven, but I enjoyed that. Even the small conversations Eddie has with other people in the story meant a lot to me, and seeing him come of age and grow with his difficult circumstances appealed to me. A part of the story I particularly loved was Edward deciding to go vegan for his brother, who made the decision to be vegan just before the plane crash. Another aspect of the book I really related to was both of the boys being home schooled, as I was home schooled for all of my high school years. I could really see how it enabled Edward to make decisions differently to other children his age.

Dear Edward wasn’t perfect or without it’s problems, but overall I enjoyed it greatly. It was a touching, emotional coming-of-age story that left me with goosebumps as I finished the final sentence.

★★★★
4 out of 5 stars

About the Author

Ann Napolitano’s new novel, Dear Edward, was published by Dial Press in January 2020. She is the author of the novels A Good Hard Look and Within Arm’s Reach. She is also the Associate Editor of One Story literary magazine. She received an MFA from New York University; she has taught fiction writing for Brooklyn College’s MFA program, New York University’s School of Continuing and Professional Studies and for Gotham Writers’ Workshop.
Dear Edward was published by Dial Press in the United States, and by Viking Penguin in the United Kingdom. The novel currently has fifteen international publishers.
Ann lives in Brooklyn with her husband and two children.

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

Shop | Goodreads | Instagram | Tumblr | Twitter | Facebook |

www.etsy.com/uk/shop/thebooksareverywhere

Review: Heartstopper Volume 3 by Alice Oseman

43449920. sy475

Goodreads | Waterstones

In this volume we’ll see the Heartstopper gang go on a school trip to Paris! Not only are Nick and Charlie navigating a new city, but also telling more people about their relationship AND learning more about the challenges each other are facing in private…
Meanwhile Tao and Elle will face their feelings for each other, Tara and Darcy share more about their relationship origin story, and the teachers supervising the trip seem… rather close…?

Yay! Heartstopper 3 is out in physical form! My lovely friend Chloe introduced me to the Heartstopper Webcomic around a year ago now and I ended up reading it in one sitting and absolutely adoring it. I’ve been keeping up to date with the online comic every time it’s updated and have introduced a few of my friends to the graphic novels too!

I was lucky enough to go to Alice’s signing on 6th February, which also happened to be the release date of the third graphic novel. I’ve been collecting the physical graphic novels as they are released, as I adore them so much it’s simply a joy to reread them.

The differences in the third book are apparent – this one explores quite difficult topics such as eating disorders. I really appreciated the delicate insightful way Oseman approaches these topics. After some heavy topics in Solitaire, which is the novel Charlie first appears in, Heartstopper can come across as very different in tone.

Another difference in this novel is that it’s set in Paris! I’ve been lucky enough to visit Paris a few times – once on a college trip – and I adore the city. It was so fun to read about Nick, Charlie and their friends in such a beautiful city.

These books are some of the few I see reading again and again. They comfort me so much and have such a lovely, soft aura about them.

You can also keep up to date on Tumblr or Tapas!

★★★★★
5 out of 5 stars

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

Shop | Goodreads | Instagram | Tumblr | Twitter | Facebook |

www.etsy.com/uk/shop/thebooksareverywhere

Review: Yes No Maybe So by Becky Albertalli and Aisha Saeed

47895982. sy475

Goodreads | Waterstones

Jamie Goldberg is cool with volunteering for his local state candidate – as long as he’s behind the scenes. There’s no way he’d ever knock on doors to ask people for their votes…until he meets Maya.
Maya Rehman’s having the worst Ramadan ever. Her best friend is too busy to hang out, her summer trip is cancelled, her parents are separating and now her mother thinks the solution to her problems is political canvassing – with some awkward guy she hardly knows …
Going door to door isn’t exactly glamorous, but maybe it’s not the worst thing in the world. After all, the polls are getting closer – and so are Maya and Jamie. Mastering local activism is one thing. Navigating the cross-cultural crush of the century is another thing entirely. 

I was lucky enough to receive an ARC of this book through work and I was super excited to find it! I’ve loved all of Becky Albertalli’s book so far, and this one didn’t let me down.

Maya and Jamie were such great protagonists. Jamie was so sweet and awkward and I related to him a lot. I adored his love for Target, because I also have a weird obsession with big department stores and find it really fun to go shopping when it’s quiet. I found Maya so interesting to read about because of her religion. I often find religion isn’t shown a lot in YA and it was fascinating to read about Maya being Muslim in the way it should be written – like it’s normal. Because it is.

I also adored the characters’ passion for politics. Maya and Jamie get to know each other through canvassing and politics, and it was so lovely to read about teenagers being interested in something so important. The other characters in the book were so lovable too – especially Jamie’s grandmother! She’s a social media influencer and she is the most amazing character. Both of Maya and Jamie’s families were so great as supporting character’s and the rest of the friends were fascinating too. I loved how much friendships and family relationships were written about and included too, especially the hard parts. It made the book so real and relatable!

The romance was the sweetest thing and I loved reading about it. It was a little cliche, but I was rooting for them all the way. I couldn’t help but love them. As Alex also said in her review, I was constantly reminded in little ways of my boyfriend and I realising we liked each other just before we got together, and it made me smile every time!

I had so much fun buddy reading this with Alex and Faye. This book was so easy to read and I couldn’t put it down once I picked it up. I could have probably read over a hundred pages at a time, I was enjoying it so much!

★★★★★
5 out of 5 stars

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

Shop | Goodreads | Instagram | Tumblr | Twitter | Facebook |

www.etsy.com/uk/shop/thebooksareverywhere

Review: The Queens Assassin (Queen's Secret #1) by Melissa de la Cruz

39334176. sy475

Goodreads | Waterstones

Caledon Holt is the Kingdom of Renovia’s deadliest weapon. No one alive can best him in brawn or brains, which is why he’s the Guild’s most dangerous member and the Queen’s one and only assassin. He’s also bound to the Queen by an impossible vow–to find the missing Deian Scrolls, the fount of all magical history and knowledge, stolen years ago by a nefarious sect called the Aphrasians.
Shadow has been training all her life to follow in the footsteps of her mother and aunts–to become skilled enough to join the ranks of the Guild. Though magic has been forbidden since the Aphrasian uprising, Shadow has been learning to control her powers in secret, hoping that one day she’ll become an assassin as feared and revered as Caledon Holt.
When a surprise attack brings Shadow and Cal together, they’re forced to team up as assassin and apprentice to hunt down a new sinister threat to Renovia. But as Cal and Shadow grow closer, they’ll uncover a shocking web of lies and secrets that may destroy everything they hold dear. With war on the horizon and true love at risk, they’ll stop at nothing to protect each other and their kingdom in this stunning first novel in the Queen’s Secret series.

Thank you to the publisher and Northern Bloggers for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

I wasn’t sure how I’d take this book. I find I’m still daunted by most fantasy books even though I tend to enjoy them a lot more than I used to. But I was very quickly sucked in by this entertaining story and really, really enjoyed reading it.

I was really fond of the characters from the start. Shadow and her story reminded me a little of Mulan and I really liked her individuality and spirit. She’s a great role model for young girls. Cal was also super sweet and I ended up rooting for them. The Queen’s Assassin is told by both of their points of view and changes every few chapters. Shadow’s narrative appealed to me a little bit more than Cal’s, I just found her slightly easier to relate to.

Another important thing about this book for me was the LGBT representation. The casual mentions of Shadow’s aunts made me smile from the start of the book, and throughout at every mention. The normalisations of the relationships really warmed my heart.

The world building was lacking a little and I struggled to picture the surroundings a little. This was a little disappointing as I imagine this world could have been beautiful if it was written with a little more richness. I can almost picture the astounding towers and turrets of the castle and meandering streets of the medieval towns, but it’s just a little out of reach. The most I could picture vividly was the cave and lake at the start of the book.

This was the same for the history of the fantasy world. Unfortunately there wasn’t much explained in way of the reasons behind the tension between the kingdoms, which left me confused in parts.

Unfortunately, the plot was a little predictable and cliche, especially when it came to the romance aspects. I found it quite easy to guess the next part of the plot in most cases, but it was still full of twists and turns that made this book fun and entertaining to read.

But despite the few flaws and this book not being perfect, I really enjoyed it more than I expected to and found it so easy to speed through. If you want an entertaining romantic fantasy, this one is definitely for you!

★★★★
3.5 out of 5 stars

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

Shop | Goodreads | Instagram | Tumblr | Twitter | Facebook |

www.etsy.com/uk/shop/thebooksareverywhere

Review: We Are Okay by Nina LaCour

28243032

Goodreads

Marin hasn’t spoken to anyone from her old life since the day she left everything behind. No one knows the truth about those final weeks. Not even her best friend, Mabel. But even thousands of miles away from the California coast, at college in New York, Marin still feels the pull of the life and tragedy she’s tried to outrun. Now, months later, alone in an emptied dorm for winter break, Marin waits. Mabel is coming to visit, and Marin will be forced to face everything that’s been left unsaid and finally confront the loneliness that has made a home in her heart. 

I read Everything Leads To You by Nina LaCour in 2018 and it ended up being one of my favourite books of that year. Two years on, I finally decided to pick up We Were Okay, and I’m so thankful I did. I can’t even begin to tell you how much I adored this book. I knew from the very first page that I would.

The story follows Marin, who has lost so much in her life and has been left trying to find herself among the ruins that are left behind. This book explores her grief and heartache in a way I have never read about before. It is something so raw and beautiful, and left me crying at various points.

“One of the first lectures my history professor gave us was about this guy William Morris. He said that everything you own should be either useful or beautiful.

I saw something of myself in Marin – her conflict of being alone and being surrounded. Her gentle ways with the people she loved the most. Every second I spent away from this book, I longed to be back within it’s pages. Each chapter seemed to be a poem all of it’s own, and it left me piecing the story together bit by bit, wanting to know more. Addicted. Consumed.

I could have easily flipped this book over and just started it again the moment I finished, and it’s been a long time since I felt so strongly about a book in that way. Constantly, I began to think of times in the future when I know I will pick this up for warmth, despite the heartache.

It’s a lot to aspire to, but I figured why not try?”

We Are Okay left me with tears running down my face, feeling a gentle, burning warmth at the gorgeous writing and delightful, complicated characters. I am endlessly grateful for finding this truly lovely piece of writing I think will stay in my heart forever.

★★★★★
5 out of 5 stars

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

Shop | Goodreads | Instagram | Tumblr | Twitter | Facebook |

www.etsy.com/uk/shop/thebooksareverywhere

Review: The Binding by Bridget Collins

44304912. sx318

Goodreads | Waterstones

Books are dangerous things in Collins’s alternate universe, a place vaguely reminiscent of 19th-century England. It’s a world in which people visit book binders to rid themselves of painful or treacherous memories. Once their stories have been told and are bound between the pages of a book, the slate is wiped clean and their memories lose the power to hurt or haunt them. After having suffered some sort of mental collapse and no longer able to keep up with his farm chores, Emmett Farmer is sent to the workshop of one such binder to live and work as her apprentice. Leaving behind home and family, Emmett slowly regains his health while learning the binding trade. He is forbidden to enter the locked room where books are stored, so he spends many months marbling end pages, tooling leather book covers, and gilding edges. But his curiosity is piqued by the people who come and go from the inner sanctum, and the arrival of the lordly Lucian Darnay, with whom he senses a connection, changes everything.

I really wasn’t sure about this book. It’s unlike a lot of books I read, especially the historical aspect being a big no-no for me usually. But with it being the Fiction Book of the Month where I work and my colleague adoring it, I decided to give it a go. I also had a niggling feeling it might have underlying tones of The Starless Sea about it, and I loved that book so much!

I wasn’t wrong about it feeling like The Starless Sea. The Binding had the same enchanting, sprawling writing style as Erin Morgenstern does in both of her books which I love so much. But I didn’t feel quite so mystified with The Binding.

‘Memories,’ she said, at last. ‘Not people, Emmett. We take memories and bind them. Whatever people can’t bear to remember. 

This book is written in three parts. The first part didn’t draw me in as half as much as I would have liked it too. It was slow and plodding and somewhat problematic, with the protagonist, Emmett, being kept in the dark about a lot of things. The location was vivid and witchlike, and was the main aspect I focused on in this portion of the story.

The second part reeled me in like a fly trapped in a spiders web. With a suddenness that was jarring at first, we are thrown into a much different time, and much different situation. The second part is full of lust, desire and forbidden love. I adored it. This part of the book is the one that captured my heart and left me feeling completely enthralled with the characters and their stories.

The third part was again, much different. We jump ahead, before the first part, and look back on the story. I didn’t enjoy this part as much as the second, but I still felt trapped with my desire to find out what happens to these characters.

Whatever they can’t live with. We take those memories and put them where they can’t do any harm. That’s all books are’

Overall, this book is enchanting and beautiful, and I can see why it seems to be so well loved. For the most part, it didn’t capture my imagination as much as I would have hoped, but I ended up enjoying it quite a lot all the same. If the entire book had enchanted me as much as the second part did, it would have been a solid 5 stars. But due to the first, and sometimes the third parts letting it down a little, I’m going to go with 4.

★★★★
4 out of 5 stars

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

Shop | Goodreads | Instagram | Tumblr | Twitter | Facebook |

www.etsy.com/uk/shop/thebooksareverywhere