Review: My Neighbor Totoro by Tsugiko Kubo

17571527

Goodreads | Amazon

The beloved animation classic by legendary Studio Ghibli director Hayao Miyazaki, My Neighbor Totoro is now retold in novel form. This prestige, hardcover edition features original illustrations by Miyazaki himself, accompanying a story written by veteran children’s book author Tsugiko Kubo. Sure to delight both existing fans and new readers! Eleven-year-old Satsuki and her sassy little sister Mei have moved to the country to be closer to their ailing mother. While their father is working, the girls explore their sprawling old house and the forest and fields that surround it. Soon, Satsuki and Mei discover Totoro, a magical forest spirit who takes them on fantastic adventures through the trees and the clouds–and teaches them a lesson about trusting one another.

I can’t even begin to tell you how lovely this book was. I found it so comforting! I started watching Studio Ghibli movies a few years ago, and they really hold a special place in my heart. I’ve come to love the franchise, and when I saw this book I knew I’d want to pick it up. I wasn’t wrong in adding it to my TBR, I got through it in just a day and I adored it!

“The rain kept falling, falling, falling….”

If you’re a fan of the movie like I am, this book is definitely worth the read. Told mostly from the view of 11 year old Satsuki, it explores the challenges of moving to a new house and having an ill family member. It’s lighthearted and extremely gentle, but still nostalgic of the more emotional undertones of the beautiful movie.

This book is extremely cute as a physical item, and is scattered with beautiful watercolour illustrations that are reminiscent of the animation. The story reminded me of Enid Blyton, who I adored as a kid! It really made me think how much I would have loved this book if I’d had it read to me as a child.

“The sound of rain was everywhere.”

I read this in bed, with fairy lights on, while I wasn’t feeling well one rainy day. The countryside setting is described beautifully, and overall the narrative is sweet and calming. If you like the movie/Studio Ghibli in general, this book is definitely worth the read.

★★★★★
5 stars

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

Goodreads |Instagram | Tumblr | Twitter | YouTube | Facebook | Redbubble |

Review: Shatter Me by Tahareh Mafi

13455782

Goodreads | Amazon

Juliette hasn’t touched anyone in exactly 264 days.
The last time she did, it was an accident, but The Reestablishment locked her up for murder. No one knows why Juliette’s touch is fatal. As long as she doesn’t hurt anyone else, no one really cares. The world is too busy crumbling to pieces to pay attention to a 17-year-old girl. Diseases are destroying the population, food is hard to find, birds don’t fly anymore, and the clouds are the wrong color.
The Reestablishment said their way was the only way to fix things, so they threw Juliette in a cell. Now so many people are dead that the survivors are whispering war – and The Reestablishment has changed its mind. Maybe Juliette is more than a tortured soul stuffed into a poisonous body. Maybe she’s exactly what they need right now.
Juliette has to make a choice: Be a weapon. Or be a warrior.

Before I begin, thank you to the lovely Anna for pushing me to read this book! An old friend gave it to me for my birthday almost 2 years ago and it’s taken me until now to finally pick it up. But I’m glad I did, because I enjoyed it so much that it took me under 2 days to complete.

“Raindrops are my only reminder that clouds have a heartbeat.”

I think the thing I found most enjoyable about this book is it’s so easy to read. The pages literally fly by, because after the first couple of chapters the pacing is steadfast. The short chapters left me wanting to just read another one, making Shatter Me a book I just couldn’t put down. I also loved the cast of characters, from our clever villain to Adam’s sweet little brother. Although Juliette was whiny and cliche, I couldn’t help but understand her situation.

This book kind of reminded me of The Selection series in the ways it made me feel. The insta-love annoyed me a little as it was cringy, but I still couldn’t help but enjoy reading about their story. I just wish I’d read this one a couple of years ago instead, because I would have loved it even more!

“That I have one, too.”

Alongside some of the cringe, I had a few small issues I want to address. For one, why does Mafi not know about commas? I understand that this pushed forward the whole diary/notebook written aspect, but some sentences just really needed breaking up. It didn’t bother me too much after a while, but if I didn’t think it was intentional, it would have just looked unprofessional.

But niggles aside, I couldn’t help but enjoy it. I’ve already ordered the second book and I can’t wait to carry on with the series soon!

★★★★
4 stars

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

Goodreads |Instagram | Tumblr | Twitter | YouTube | Facebook | Redbubble |

Review: The Raven King (#4) by Maggie Stiefvater

17378527

Goodreads | Amazon

All her life, Blue has been warned that she will cause her true love’s death. She doesn’t believe in true love and never thought this would be a problem, but as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys, she’s not so sure anymore.

I can’t believe I’ve finished this series. It took me so long to get round to finishing, but it’s all I’ve been thinking of for the past couple of weeks. Take a read of the quote I included in this, because it’s exactly how I felt about this series! The Raven King was ups and downs for me, but I did end up loving it.

Something I disliked..where was Noah? The little sweet thing, I missed him so much in this book. His lack of presence was the only thing I really disliked, and it made me feel Henry was only there to attempt to make up for it. Sorry, Stiefvater, but a Noah shaped hole can never be filled.

“He was a book, and he was holding his final pages, and he wanted to get to the end to find out how it went,”

I do have to say that I unfortunately found the pacing off yet again in this book! But once I got into it, it flew past for me. I found the plot interesting, and I’m glad this one focused mostly on the group of friends rather than villains, and included some really interesting scenes with them all.

Talking of the group of friends, I won’t give spoilers but I ship two different couples in this book 😉 Fans of the series will know how happy I feel! I mentioned in my review for Blue Lily, Lily Blue that I felt each of these books focused more on a different character, but I’m happy to say that I think The Raven King made the group equal. I loved reading about each of them!

“and he didn’t want it to be over.”

I don’t think I can say enough about the characters. It’s just so rare for YA to not focus on romance and actually focus on intimate friendships and friendship groups instead. Alongside Stiefvater’s absolutely beautiful writing and scenes that will stay with me for a long time to come, I feel the characters and their friendship warms my heart the most. That’s what made me truly fall in love with this series.

★★★★★
5 stars

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

Goodreads |Instagram | Tumblr | Twitter | YouTube | Facebook | Redbubble |

Review: Blue Lily, Lily Blue (#3) by Maggie Stiefvater

22978079

Goodreads | Amazon

Blue Sargent has found things. For the first time in her life, she has friends she can trust, a group to which she can belong. The Raven Boys have taken her in as one of their own. Their problems have become hers, and her problems have become theirs. The trick with found things, though, is how easily they can be lost.

I just saw on Amazon that I bought this book in May 2016, over 2 years ago. So why the hell did it take me so long to get round to actually reading this series? I’ve got to a point where I can’t imagine my world without these beautiful Raven Boys, and I’m dreading finishing The Raven King and being without this series.

I feel like each of these books teaches us more about the individuals that make up this quirky little group. We had an introduction, we had Ronan and in Blue Lily, Lily Blue, I developed a deep understanding of Adam. There is a passage in this book where Blue explains that the Raven Boys all fall a little bit in love with each other, and I think I can include myself in this. Because the characters are by far the best thing about this book.

“”Don’t tell the others,” Gansey said.”

Although we really needed more Noah in this book, because his cold little self warms my heart with some scenes, my favourite of which is in The Dream Thieves with Blue, and always will be. We also find ourselves with a number of awesome characters added in this book, one of which is Jesse Dittley, who I have to say I just found awesome.

Leaving the characters aside for a moment, I have to force myself to focus on other things. Like the plot, which actually wasn’t half-boring in this book! I feel like this is where it clicked for Maggie, and became more action-packed and paced better. Thank god. Let’s hope she keeps it up for The Raven King.

“”I’m dead,” Noah replied, “not stupid.””

I only have two minor complaints, once again. For one, I want more Gansey please? He is meant to be the main focus of this entire book, but I need more description of him and his life outside Glendower. Or maybe the point is that he doesn’t have one.

For two, Adam’s court scene? Is entirely missed out? I’m presuming it all turned out okay, but I also feel like someone ripped some very important pages out of my book or something.

But these two very minor feelings can’t impact on my love for this series, which burns brighter than it ever has, if you can believe it.

★★★★★
5 stars

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

Goodreads |Instagram | Tumblr | Twitter | YouTube | Facebook | Redbubble |

Review: The Dream Thieves (#2) by Maggie Stiefvater

17347389

Goodreads | Amazon

Now that the ley lines around Cabeswater have been woken, nothing for Ronan, Gansey, Blue, and Adam will be the same. Ronan, for one, is falling more and more deeply into his dreams, and his dreams are intruding more and more into waking life. Meanwhile, some very sinister people are looking for some of the same pieces of the Cabeswater puzzle that Gansey is after…

I am adoring this series. It’s taking up so much space in my head at the moment because I literally can’t stop thinking about these books and these characters and this story. I can’t even function because these books are so compelling and I couldn’t put this one down. I mean this very literally, because I was looking so hard at the page while reaching for a cup of tea that the tea ended up spilled on the bed. Oops.

“In that moment, Blue was a little in love with all of them.”

But despite all the love and fangirling, I have got to admit I had a few very minor problems.

  1. I genuinely think Maggie has a little bit of a problem with pacing. Like, I started this book a little slow but the second half arrived and BAM. I couldn’t put it down.
  2. I still don’t love Ronan. Sure, I understand more about his inner demons but he’s still a bit of a pr*ck to me, and not much of a likeable character.

But oh well, because the other boys (especially Noah HELLO), I loved. There is a scene in this book which features him and Blue (I’m sure you know which one I mean if you’ve read this book), that made me adore his spooky little self. Also, I loved the villain and the focus on every single character in this beautiful story and how they work together. They all seemed to be drawn together in this book and I really enjoyed the focus on each of them.

“Their magic. Their quest. Their awfulness and strangeness.
Her raven boys.”

I’m still very much in love with Maggie’s writing. She comes out with so many beautiful sentences, it makes me want to stop and just breathe it all in for a moment. In conclusion, I wanted to knock half a star off this for the bad pacing, but I couldn’t bring myself to do it. I love this series.

★★★★★
5 stars

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

Goodreads |Instagram | Tumblr | Twitter | YouTube | Facebook | Redbubble |

Review: The Raven Boys (#1) by Maggie Stiefvater

17675462

Goodreads | Amazon

Even if Blue hadn’t been told her true love would die if she kissed him, she would stay away from boys. Especially the ones from the local private school. Known as Raven Boys, they only mean trouble.
But this is the year that everything will change for Blue.
This is the year that she will be drawn into the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys. And the year Blue will discover that magic does exist.
This is the year she will fall in love.
 

I can’t believe I didn’t carry on with this series the first time I read this book! I picked this up over 2 years ago now in 2016 and I remember really enjoying it. However, I didn’t own the entire series and due to that it has taken me until now to finally decide to carry on reading them! I couldn’t remember what happened at all though, so hence I decided to pick the first one back up and re-read it before I continue.

“She wasn’t interested in telling other people’s futures.”

And I’m so glad I did because I feel like I’ve discovered this book all over again! This series is incredibly compelling, and I know it won’t take me long to get through the rest. It did take me a while to start becoming obsessed with the story, but I’m definitely there now and I can’t stop thinking about Blue’s life.

The first thing that came into my head when reading this book is the originality. I have to admit I have never read a YA book like this one, and that is a bold statement to make, and an incredible thing for an author to achieve.

“She was interested in going out and finding her own.”

I have so much praise for the amazing woman that is Maggie Stiefvater. I could go on forever about what I love about this book, but let’s start with her writing. Easy to read but randomly poetic. Very page-turning but also made me stop and think wow how does someone do that?

The only slight issue I had was this book really ramps up like 100 pages in and the pacing was incredibly slow to start with? It honestly took me around half the book to go from ‘it’s okay’ to ‘omg this is the best thing ever’. Aside from possibly Ronan, who I unfortunately found very 2D, I also love the colourful complex cast of characters Stiefvater has created. Blue is so mature, never whines and is all around calm and cool and intriguing. And I found the other boys so fascinating to read about and very vibrant and alive (ahem).

So to sum up, this book is unique and original and unlike anything I’ve read before. If you’re looking for something a little different, I URGE YOU TO READ THIS.

★★★★★
5 stars

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

Goodreads |Instagram | Tumblr | Twitter | YouTube | Facebook | Redbubble |

Review: A Court of Frost and Starlight by Sarah J Maas

31076583

Goodreads | Amazon

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.

I enjoyed this a lot more than I thought. Because I’ve heard it’s a lot like fanfic, and I thought it might disappoint me because of it. In a way, I ended up loving it even more. Because this book is like Maas’ own love letter for the world she created. It’s like a fanfic for herself, and I’m sorry but how damn cool is that?

“Stars flickered around us, sweet darkness sweeping in.”

relished this book, because I absolutely adore the world Maas made, and she made sure to show it off with this book. I felt like she took the time to really show us how Velaris looked to her, and I loved that. The winter scenes felt truly magical and so vibrant, I couldn’t stop reading about the beautiful swirling snowstorms.

I also love how this book didn’t rush. The whole thing was about the solstice and their beautiful family. Having the slightly different POV helped me understand their inner dynamics and I’m sure its something I’m going to take into the rest of the series. Also, the solstice really gave me a Christmassy festive feel which was so heartwarming!

“As if we were the only souls in a galaxy.”

The only slight issue I had was the weird sex scene at the end, in which Feyre shows Rhys their future son, and he…um..enjoyed it a little too much for my liking. If you sit back and think about that scene, it really creeped me the hell out.

But for the whole book to only have that one little setback for me, I still have to say I’m going to give it 5 stars!

★★★★★
5 stars

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

Goodreads |Instagram | Tumblr | Twitter | YouTube | Facebook | Redbubble |