Review: Last Chance Books by Kelsey Rodkey

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Goodreads | Waterstones

Don’t you just love the smell of old books in the morning?
Madeline Moore does. Books & Moore, the musty bookstore her family has owned for generations, is where she feels most herself. Nothing is going to stop her from coming back after college to take over the store from her beloved aunt.
Nothing, that is—until a chain bookstore called Prologue opens across the street and threatens to shut them down.
Madeline sets out to demolish the competition, but Jasper, the guy who works over at Prologue, seems intent on ruining her life. Not only is he taking her customers, he has the unbelievable audacity to be… extremely cute.
But that doesn’t matter. Jasper is the enemy and he will be destroyed. After all—all’s fair in love and (book) wars. 

I’ve been really looking forward to reading this one and it did slightly surprise me when it ended up appearing in my tbr for the prompt of lowest rated on my Goodreads shelf! Due to the low ratings, I was naturally a little hesitant to dive in, but I actually came out with a lot of love for this book.

I’ve heard this one is similar to You’ve Got Mail (surprise surprise, a movie I have never seen but am actually rectifying while writing this review), and this one follows Madeline and Jasper, who work at rival bookstores. I love the setup of this book and the premise has appealed to me for a while. What’s not to love – a girl wanting to save her family bookstore while also flirting with the cute guy from across the street?

And there really was a lot to love in this one. It was so entertaining and fun. It made me laugh, constantly. I listened to the audiobook and it had me chuckling all the time at witty one-liners. I admire authors who can make me laugh so much, because I don’t find I laugh out loud at books all that much. The only problem I had with the audiobook is that I really disliked the narrator at first, but I did manage to get used to it.

For the most part, I really liked Madeline, the main character. Although her initial views of relationships and commitment annoyed me slightly, I couldn’t help but root for her cause of trying to save the family bookshop. I also saw myself in her with her determination and stubbornness.

Although the family element of this one was quite toxic in places and the characters were hard to like sometimes, I liked how the book discussed these darker subjects. A large part of this book is following Madeline and her difficult relationship with her mother and rest of her family. Reading these aspects gave a completely different dynamic to the book that I found really interesting.

Overall, I can see why this book had low ratings but I really enjoyed it! It wasn’t without a few little problems, but it was super fun to read and had such entertaining elements.

★★★★
4 out of 5 stars

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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Review: Blood & Honey (#2) by Shelby Mahurin

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Goodreads | Waterstones

After narrowly escaping death at the hands of the Dames Blanches, Lou, Reid, Coco, and Ansel are on the run from coven, kingdom, and church—fugitives with nowhere to hide.
To elude the scores of witches and throngs of chasseurs at their heels, Lou and Reid need allies. Strong ones. But protection comes at a price, and the group is forced to embark on separate quests to build their forces. As Lou and Reid try to close the widening rift between them, the dastardly Morgane baits them in a lethal game of cat and mouse that threatens to destroy something worth more than any coven.

I’ve heard a lot of mixed (and frankly bad) reviews for Blood & Honey, and I was a little hesitant going into this one. Serpent & Dove was my second-favourite book of 2020, and re-reading it recently reminded me of just how much I loved the opening of this series.. However, Blood & Honey is a little different.

I can see why people dislike this book, because it is just very different from the first one. I think expecting less from this one because of other people’s reviews definitely helped, as I went into this not knowing what to expect from it. Whereas the first book focuses a lot more on the developing relationship between Lou and Reid, this one moves away more towards the action focused subplot of book 1.

What you are now is not what you’ve always been, nor is it what you always will be.

From the very start, this book was action scene after action scene. It never let up and became darker and more rushed. Each scene felt unpredictable and stressful and I never knew what was going to happen – which I really love about these books. I feel like nobody is safe and anything could happen – and Blood & Honey proved that!

I do wish this book had made me more emotional, I feel like some of the scenes should have made me cry but didn’t. Although I do love the characters and I feel like there is a real feeling of found family in this book especially, I did miss the character development and focus on the relationships and friendships we had in the first book.

You are a snake. Shed your skin if it no longer serves you. Transform into something different. Something better.

I’m really looking forward to seeing where Gods & Monsters goes after this one! Although I didn’t quite enjoy this one as much as Serpent & Dove, I think the main thing to keep in mind is that these are two very different books. It’s just a shame that this one was missing some of my favourite parts of book 1!

★★★★
4 out of 5 stars

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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Stacking the Shelves #64

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! I feel like I have been better with my book buying the past few weeks, but there are still a couple that I’ve picked up.

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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.

The only book I’ve actually bought was this one! I’ve heard really mixed things about it, but I am excited to see what they do with the game I adore so much.

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Goodreads | Waterstones

New Orleans Fang Fest, 1995.
Mina’s having a summer to die for.
17-year-old Mina, from England, arrives in New Orleans to visit her estranged sister, Libby. After growing up in Whitby, the town that inspired Dracula, Mina loves nothing more than a creepy horror movie. She can’t wait to explore the city’s darkest secrets – vampire tours, seedy bars, spooky cemeteries, disturbing local myths…
And it gets even better when Mina lands a part-time job at a horror movie mansion and meets Jared, Libby’s gorgeous housemate, co-worker and fellow horror enthusiast.
But the perfect summer bliss is broken when, while exploring the mansion, Mina stumbles upon the body of a girl with puncture marks on her neck, clutching a lock of hair that suspiciously resembles Libby’s… Someone is replicating New Orleans’ most brutal supernatural killings. Mina must discover the truth and prove her sister’s innocence before she becomes the victim of another myth.

I also was very kindly gifted a few books from my friend and colleague Jo, including this one. I’ve had my eye on this one for a while so I’m very excited to now own it!

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Goodreads | Waterstones

Mia Tang has a lot of secrets.
Number 1: She lives in a motel, not a big house. Every day, while her immigrant parents clean the rooms, ten-year-old Mia manages the front desk of the Calivista Motel and tends to its guests.
Number 2: Her parents hide immigrants. And if the mean motel owner, Mr. Yao, finds out they’ve been letting them stay in the empty rooms for free, the Tangs will be doomed.
Number 3: She wants to be a writer. But how can she when her mom thinks she should stick to math because English is not her first language?
It will take all of Mia’s courage, kindness, and hard work to get through this year. Will she be able to hold on to her job, help the immigrants and guests, escape Mr. Yao, and go for her dreams?

She also gave me this middle grade, which I’ve heard such good things about and sounds so good.

Which books did you buy or receive this week?

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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Review: A Sky Painted Gold by Laura Wood

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Goodreads | Waterstones

Growing up in her sleepy Cornish village dreaming of being a writer, seventeen-year-old Lou has always wondered about the grand Cardew house which has stood empty for years. And when the owners arrive for the summer – a handsome, dashing brother and sister – Lou is quite swept off her feet and into a world of moonlit cocktail parties and glamour beyond her wildest dreams.
But, as she grows closer to the Cardews, is she abandoning her own ambitions… And is there something darker lurking at the heart of the Cardew family?

I’ve wanted to read a Laura Wood book for so long – partly because BooksNest on YouTube shouts about her work so much and loves her books! When my friend Jo suggested picking this one up as a buddy read, I was so happy to finally read something by her. This one is a kind of retelling/inspired by The Great Gatsby, but there is definitely no need to read it before picking this one up as it works well as a standalone novel.

However, I must say I am glad that I read The Great Gatsby for the first time earlier this year as it did add an extra dynamic to the story for me. I had so much fun reading this one and trying to see where the inspiration had come in for settings, scenes and characters. I was excited to find that this one is set between Cornwall and London instead of New York!

The characters were one of my favourite aspects of this book – I loved Lou as a main character and this is definitely a coming-of-age novel about her last summer before deciding what to do with the rest of her life. As this book is set in the late 1920s, there is a lot of interesting discussions about the pressures of marriage and growing up in that era. My only slight complaint with this book is that it took me a while to get used to the younger narration and the time period – at some points it just didn’t quite click together for me.

I loved the plot and the slight mystery element that was woven throughout – although at times I did wish for a little more emphasis on the mystery itself. As the book went on, I found myself becoming more and more wrapped up within the pages and wanted to read on until the end. I must say I absolutely loved the ending of this one too, it was so beautifully done and made me emotional!

I can’t wait to read more from this author and some of her other retellings – she’s releasing a Pride and Prejudice retelling in 2022 and I’m definitely going to be picking that one up!

★★★★★
4.5 out of 5 stars

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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Review: Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

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Goodreads | Waterstones

Pride and Prejudice, which opens with one of the most famous sentences in English Literature, is an ironic novel of manners. In it the garrulous and empty-headed Mrs Bennet has only one aim – that of finding a good match for each of her five daughters. In this she is mocked by her cynical and indolent husband. With its wit, its social precision and, above all, its irresistible heroine, Pride and Prejudice has proved one of the most enduringly popular novels in the English language.

This is such a difficult book to review, so many years after publication. I’ve been reading Jane Austen books on audiobook and this one was no different – I read this one on audio too and I really enjoyed it. I’d never read this book before, and I’ve never seen any of the film or TV adaptations either (but I will be rectifying this soon, I promise!).

I loved the start of this book and I feel like this is one of Austen’s clearest books in some ways, which may be part of the reason it is probably her most famous. I felt wrapped in the story immediately and I really liked the characters. The way Mrs Bennet and her husband chattered was so humorous to read about and I liked the family quickly.

I declare after all there is no enjoyment like reading! How much sooner one tires of any thing than of a book! 

As always, I loved the writing so much. Austen has a way with words that transcends space and time. The writing is so witty, funny and entertaining. Reading about the group of characters and their social dynamics was very interesting, and I love the family aspect of Austen’s work.

My biggest problem with this book is I did switch off a little in the middle. This is likely completely because of me and my own problem with not paying as much attention to the audiobook that day, but I definitely found the start and the end of the book much more enjoyable. I have to applaud Austen for her progressive attitudes to love and marriage, however I can’t help but yearn for an Austen book that ends in complete independence rather than marriage. I do like the romance aspect, but they do end up feeling a little predictable in the end.

When I have a house of my own, I shall be miserable if I have not an excellent library.

Overall, this has been one of my favourite Austen’s so far, but Northanger Abbey and Persuasion are just about above it in my opinion.

★★★★★
4 out of 5 stars

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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Review: Kingdom of the Cursed (#2) by Kerri Maniscalco

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Goodreads | Waterstones

After selling her soul to become Queen of the Wicked, Emilia travels to the Seven Circles with the enigmatic Prince of Wrath, where she’s introduced to a seductive world of vice.
She vows to do whatever it takes to avenge her beloved sister, Vittoria… even if that means accepting the hand of the Prince of Pride, the king of demons.
The first rule in the court of the Wicked? Trust no one. With back-stabbing princes, luxurious palaces, mysterious party invitations, and conflicting clues about who really killed her twin, Emilia finds herself more alone than ever before. Can she even trust Wrath, her one-time ally in the mortal world… or is he keeping dangerous secrets about his true nature?
Emilia will be tested in every way as she seeks a series of magical objects that will unlock the clues of her past and the answers she craves…

I’m so glad I re-read Kingdom of the Wicked before diving into this one. We pick up Emilia and Wrath’s story pretty much exactly where we left off at the end of the first book, and I definitely got a lot more enjoyment out of the book by reading them very close together. In this book, we leave the real world for the Seven Circles, which I imagine to be some kind of underworld.

I loved the world and I think this is where Kerri Maniscalco really shines. She managed to paint such a vibrant and beautiful picture of this new setting, and I loved how visual it was to picture while reading. The world is so luscious and extravagant and comes across so beautifully on the page.

Of course. There is nothing more dangerous…

The plot was so fast paced and kept me on the edge of my seat throughout. This book does have some more adult scenes, but I actually think they were done really well and become part of the actual plot. I find it difficult sometimes when fantasy books rely heavily on more spicy scenes and sometimes don’t get the balance right, but this one managed it. The scenes were really enjoyable to read too and felt quite gracefully done for the most part!

Although I really enjoyed reading about Wrath and Emilia’s relationship, my only complaint is the power dynamic is a difficult one to write properly. With Wrath being a Prince from this darker world, he does have a certain magical power over Emilia, and although this is part of the way he is, sometimes the way he displayed this power made me very uncomfortable. There is a certain level of manipulation that is justified to a degree, but did unsettle me and I felt like it wasn’t explained with full clarity.

…than a woman who owns who she is and apologizes to no one.

Overall, the writing was brilliant and I didn’t want to put this book down! There was a lot to enjoy and I did like this one ever so slightly more than the first book. My only slight complaint was the discussions of abuse, which I feel could have been handled a bit better.

★★★★★
4.5 out of 5 stars

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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Stacking the Shelves #63

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga where we share books we’ve bought or received this week. Find out more and join in here!

Hi everyone! I’ve been a little better with my book buying these past few weeks, but I still have a few that I want to share with you all.

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Goodreads | Waterstones

Nine years ago, Vivienne Jones nursed her broken heart like any young witch would: vodka, weepy music, bubble baths…and a curse on the horrible boyfriend. Sure, Vivi knows she shouldn’t use her magic this way, but with only an “orchard hayride” scented candle on hand, she isn’t worried it will cause him anything more than a bad hair day or two
That is until Rhys Penhallow, descendent of the town’s ancestors, breaker of hearts, and annoyingly just as gorgeous as he always was, returns to Graves Glen, Georgia. What should be a quick trip to recharge the town’s ley lines and make an appearance at the annual fall festival turns disastrously wrong. With one calamity after another striking Rhys, Vivi realizes her silly little Ex Hex may not have been so harmless after all.
Suddenly, Graves Glen is under attack from murderous wind-up toys, a pissed off ghost, and a talking cat with some interesting things to say. Vivi and Rhys have to ignore their off the charts chemistry to work together to save the town and find a way to break the break-up curse before it’s too late.

I couldn’t resist picking up this one after deciding to do a buddy read with a few of my colleagues. It sounds perfect for spooky season and I want to keep the Halloween season going!

Illumicrate Exclusive: ExtraOrdinary by V.E Schwab and Enid Balam –  Illumicrate

Goodreads | Waterstones

Taking place in the years between Vicious and Vengeful, ExtraOrdinary follows the tale of a teenage girl named Charlotte Tills who following a fatal bus crash, seemingly dies only to wake up to discover she has become an EO – a person with ExtraOrdinary abilities.
In Charlotte’s case, it’s the ability to see people’s deaths, but when she looks into her own future, sees her own murder at the hands of the self-proclaimed hero and notorious EO killer Eli Ever, who is currently in prison for the murder of Victor Vale. Refusing to accept her fate, Charlotte sets off to find-and change-her future-before it comes for her. This graphic novel introduces Eli Ever, the antagonist at the heart of the Villains series.

I also had a few Illumicrate orders turn up this week and this was one of them. I can’t read this yet as I haven’t read the Villains series, but I’m very excited to pick it up!

PomegraNet | Lore Olympians

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.
This volume collects episodes 1-25 of the #1 WEBTOON comic, Lore Olympus. 

I bought Extraordinary alongside Lore Olympus and this one looks so beautiful. I’ve been recommended this by a friend and I can’t wait to read it!

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Goodreads | Waterstones

I had this one come through as a pre-order and this finally completes my series! I’ve been collecting these in hardback and waiting for them all to come out, and I’m so excited to pick them up.

TJ Klune set – Illumicrate

I also had my beautiful Illumicrate pre-order of these hardbacks. The House in the Cerulean Sea is my favourite book of the year so far so I couldn’t resist picking this set up! I’ll be reading Under the Whispering Door soon too.

Which books did you buy or receive this week?

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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October Wrap-Up

Hello all! I surprised myself by managing to read 18 books in October. Although some of these books were graphic novels, I feel like I did really well with my reading and managed to read a lot of the books I wanted to in autumn. If you’d like to see this in video format you can watch below!

Books I read in October

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Review | Goodreads | Waterstones

When Fran Cooper accepts a mysterious temporary job as a PA to a celebrity, she is swept off her feet overnight. Working with internationally famous singer Juliette, Fran is the person charged with getting Juliette to the Crystal Ball, the glittering event when the world’s rich and famous gather on Panarea, a beautiful Mediterranean island, for a night like no other.
What Fran doesn’t know is that on this one night, everything will change for her too – that instead of standing on the sidelines, she’ll be putting on the most beautiful dress she’s ever seen and having the most unforgettable night of her life…

★★★★★
4.5 out of 5 stars

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Review | Goodreads | Waterstones

From the award-winning author of Princess Princess Ever After comes The Tea Dragon Society, a charming all-ages book that follows the story of Greta, a blacksmith apprentice, and the people she meets as she becomes entwined in the enchanting world of tea dragons.
After discovering a lost tea dragon in the marketplace, Greta learns about the dying art form of tea dragon care-taking from the kind tea shop owners, Hesekiel and Erik. As she befriends them and their shy ward, Minette, Greta sees how the craft enriches their lives—and eventually her own
.

★★★★★
5 out of 5 stars

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Review | Goodreads | Waterstones

★★★★★
5 out of 5 stars

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Review | Goodreads | Waterstones

★★★★★
5 out of 5 stars

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Review | Goodreads | Waterstones

Cass can pull back the Veil that separates the living from the dead.
When Cass’s parents start hosting a TV show about the world’s most haunted places, the family heads off to Edinburgh. Here, graveyards, castles and secret passageways teem with restless phantoms.
But when Cass meets a girl who shares her “gift”, she realizes how much she still has to learn about the Veil—and herself. And she’ll have to learn fast. The city of ghosts is more dangerous than she ever imagined.

★★★★
4 out of 5 stars

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Review | Goodreads | Waterstones

Although described by Jane Austen as a character ‘whom no one but myself will much like’, the irrepressible Emma Woodhouse is one of her most beloved heroines. Clever, rich and beautiful, she sees no need for marriage, but loves interfering in the romantic lives of others, until her matchmaking plans unravel, with consequences that she never expected. Jane Austen’s novel of youthful exuberance and gradual self-knowledge is a brilliant, sparkling comic masterpiece. 

★★★
3 out of 5 stars

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Review | Goodreads | Waterstones

In 1893, there’s no such thing as witches. There used to be, in the wild, dark days before the burnings began, but now witching is nothing but tidy charms and nursery rhymes. If the modern woman wants any measure of power, she must find it at the ballot box.
But when the Eastwood sisters–James Juniper, Agnes Amaranth, and Beatrice Belladonna–join the suffragists of New Salem, they begin to pursue the forgotten words and ways that might turn the women’s movement into the witch’s movement. Stalked by shadows and sickness, hunted by forces who will not suffer a witch to vote-and perhaps not even to live-the sisters will need to delve into the oldest magics, draw new alliances, and heal the bond between them if they want to survive.
There’s no such thing as witches. But there will be.

★★★
3 out of 5 stars

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Review | Goodreads | Waterstones

★★★★
4 out of 5 stars

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Review | Goodreads | Waterstones

In this delicious new collection, you’ll find stories about lurking vampires of social media, rebellious vampires hungry for more than just blood, eager vampires coming out―and going out for their first kill―and other bold, breathtaking, dangerous, dreamy, eerie, iconic, powerful creatures of the night.
Welcome to the evolution of the vampire―and a revolution on the page.
Vampires Never Get Old includes stories by authors both bestselling and acclaimed, including Samira Ahmed, Dhonielle Clayton, Zoraida Córdova and Natalie C. Parker, Tessa Gratton, Heidi Heilig, Julie Murphy, Mark Oshiro, Rebecca Roanhorse, Laura Ruby, Victoria “V. E.” Schwab, and Kayla Whaley.

★★★★
4 out of 5 stars

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Review | Goodreads | Waterstones

Finnmark, Norway, 1617. Twenty-year-old Maren Bergensdatter stands on the craggy coast, watching the sea break into a sudden and reckless storm. Forty fishermen, including her brother and father, are drowned and left broken on the rocks below. With the menfolk wiped out, the women of the tiny Northern town of Vardø must fend for themselves.
Three years later, a sinister figure arrives. Absalom Cornet comes from Scotland, where he burned witches in the northern isles. He brings with him his young Norwegian wife, Ursa, who is both heady with her husband’s authority and terrified by it. In Vardø, and in Maren, Ursa sees something she has never seen before: independent women. But Absalom sees only a place untouched by God and flooded with a mighty evil.
As Maren and Ursa are pushed together and are drawn to one another in ways that surprise them both, the island begins to close in on them with Absalom’s iron rule threatening Vardø’s very existence.

★★★★
4 out of 5 stars

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Review | Goodreads | Waterstones

★★★★★
5 out of 5 stars

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Review | Goodreads | Waterstones

Exiled to a far-flung island by the whims of the gods, Medusa has little company except the snakes that adorn her head instead of hair. But when a charmed, beautiful boy called Perseus arrives on the island, her lonely existence is disrupted with the force of a supernova, unleashing desire, love, betrayal . and destiny itself.
Filled with glorious full-colour illustrations by award-winning Olivia Lomenech Gill, this astonishing retelling of Greek myth is perfect for readers of Circe and The Silence of the Girls. Illuminating the girl behind the legend, it brings alive Medusa for a new generation.

★★★★
4 out of 5 stars

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Review | Goodreads | Waterstones

★★★★
4 out of 5 stars

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Review | Goodreads | Waterstones

Arthur Kipps, a junior solicitor in London, is summoned to Crythin Gifford to attend the funeral of Mrs Alice Drablow, and to sort through her papers before returning to London. It is here that Kipps first sees the woman in black and begins to gain an impression of the mystery surrounding her. From the funeral he travels to Eel Marsh House and sees the woman again; he also hears the terrifying sounds on the marsh.
Despite Kipps’s experiences he resolves to spend the night at the house and fulfil his professional duty. It is this night at Eel Marsh House that contains the greatest horror for Kipps. Kipps later discovers the reasons behind the hauntings at Eel Marsh House. 

★★★★★
5 out of 5 stars

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Review | Goodreads | Waterstones

This is what he remembers, as he sits by the ocean at the end of the lane:
A dead man on the back seat of the car, and warm milk at the farmhouse.
An ancient little girl, and an old woman who saw the moon being made.
A beautiful housekeeper with a monstrous smile.
And dark forces woken that were best left undisturbed.
They are memories hard to believe, waiting at the edge of things. The recollections of a man who thought he was lost but is now, perhaps, remembering a time when he was saved…

★★★★★
4.5 out of 5 stars

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Review | Goodreads | Waterstones

Jane Eyre ranks as one of the greatest and most perennially popular works of English fiction. Although the poor but plucky heroine is outwardly of plain appearance, she possesses an indomitable spirit, a sharp wit and great courage. She is forced to battle against the exigencies of a cruel guardian, a harsh employer and a rigid social order. All of which circumscribe her life and position when she becomes governess to the daughter of the mysterious, sardonic and attractive Mr Rochester. However, there is great kindness and warmth in this epic love story, which is set against the magnificent backdrop of the Yorkshire moors. Ultimately the grand passion of Jane and Rochester is called upon to survive cruel revelation, loss and reunion, only to be confronted with tragedy. 

★★★★★
5 out of 5 stars

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Review | Goodreads | Waterstones

The Storys are the envy of their neighbours: owners of the largest property on their East Coast island, they are rich, beautiful, and close. Until it all falls apart. The four children are suddenly dropped by their mother with a single sentence:
You know what you did.
They never hear from her again.
Years later, when 18-year-old cousins Aubrey, Milly and Jonah Story receive a mysterious invitation to spend the summer at their grandmother’s resort, they have no choice but to follow their curiosity and meet the woman who’s been such an enigma their entire lives.
This entire family is built on secrets, right? It’s the Story legacy.
This summer, the teenagers are determined to discover the truth at the heart of their family. But some secrets are better left alone.

★★★★
4 out of 5 stars

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Review (February 2021) | Goodreads | Waterstones

Emilia and her twin sister Victoria are streghe – witches who live secretly among humans, avoiding notice and persecution. One night, Victoria misses dinner service at the family’s renowned Sicilian restaurant. Emilia soon finds the body of her beloved twin… desecrated beyond belief. Devastated, Emilia sets out to discover who did this, and to seek vengeance at any cost—even if it means using dark magic that’s been long forbidden.
Then Emilia meets Wrath, the outlier among the seven demon brethren, always choosing duty over pleasure. He’s been tasked by his master with investigating a series of women’s murders on the island. When Emilia and Wrath’s fates collide, it’s clear this disturbing mystery will take a bewitching turn…

★★★★
4 out of 5 stars

I had a pretty good month for ratings, but my least favourite has to be The Once and Future Witches. My favourite books are probably tied at Jane Eyre, The Woman in Black and the Tea Dragon books because they’re all so different!

What did you read in October?

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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Stacking the Shelves #62

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! I’ve gained a few books in the past week in the form of deliveries or one’s I’ve bought, and I’m so excited for all of then.

Bought

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Goodreads

I ordered a hardback copy of this one a while ago to complete my duology, and it finally arrived! I wanted to grab these older covers and I’m so glad I did, it’s beautiful.

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Goodreads | Waterstones

Growing up in her sleepy Cornish village dreaming of being a writer, seventeen-year-old Lou has always wondered about the grand Cardew house which has stood empty for years. And when the owners arrive for the summer – a handsome, dashing brother and sister – Lou is quite swept off her feet and into a world of moonlit cocktail parties and glamour beyond her wildest dreams.
But, as she grows closer to the Cardews, is she abandoning her own ambitions… And is there something darker lurking at the heart of the Cardew family?

I also picked up this beautiful book as I’m reading it with some friends this month! I’ve wanted to read a Laura Wood book for a while so I’m really looking forward to this one.

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Goodreads | Waterstones

Nothing is more important than loyalty.
But what if you’ve sworn to protect the one you were born to destroy?
 Tarisai has always longed for the warmth of a family. She was raised in isolation by a mysterious, often absent mother known only as The Lady. The Lady sends her to the capital of the global empire of Aritsar to compete with other children to be chosen as one of the Crown Prince’s Council of 11. If she’s picked, she’ll be joined with the other Council members through the Ray, a bond deeper than blood. That closeness is irresistible to Tarisai, who has always wanted to belong somewhere. But The Lady has other ideas, including a magical wish that Tarisai is compelled to obey: Kill the Crown Prince once she gains his trust. Tarisai won’t stand by and become someone’s pawn—but is she strong enough to choose a different path for herself? With extraordinary world-building and breathtaking prose, Raybearer is the story of loyalty, fate, and the lengths we’re willing to go for the ones we love. 

I finally picked up a copy of Raybearer and completed my set. I’ve heard such amazing things about this series and I’m so excited to read it.

Gifted

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Goodreads | Waterstones

Adam Stillwater is in over his head. At least, that’s what his best friend would say. And his mom. And the guy who runs the hardware store down the street. But this pinball arcade is the only piece of his dad that Adam has left, and he’s determined to protect it from Philadelphia’s newest tech mogul, who wants to turn it into another one of his cold, lifeless gaming cafés.
Whitney Mitchell doesn’t know how she got here. Her parents split up. She lost all her friends. Her boyfriend dumped her. And now she’s spending her senior year running social media for her dad’s chain of super successful gaming cafés—which mostly consists of trading insults with that decrepit old pinball arcade across town.
But when a huge snowstorm hits, Adam and Whitney suddenly find themselves trapped inside the arcade. Cut off from their families, their worlds, and their responsibilities, the tension between them seems to melt away, leaving something else in its place. But what happens when the storm stops? 

I received a few books from Harper 360 this week, thank you Harper! This one sounded so good for winter that I couldn’t resist requesting it, thank you for my copy Harper!

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Goodreads | Waterstones

Half British Reaper, half Japanese Shinigami, Ren Scarborough has been collecting souls in the London streets for centuries. Expected to obey the harsh hierarchy of the Reapers who despise her, Ren conceals her emotions and avoids her tormentors as best she can.
When her failure to control her Shinigami abilities drives Ren out of London, she flees to Japan to seek the acceptance she’s never gotten from her fellow Reapers. Accompanied by her younger brother, the only being on earth to care for her, Ren enters the Japanese underworld to serve the Goddess of Death… only to learn that here, too, she must prove herself worthy. Determined to earn respect, Ren accepts an impossible task—find and eliminate three dangerous Yokai demons—and learns how far she’ll go to claim her place at Death’s side. 

I also requested this one from Harper and it sounds so good. Aren’t both of these covers beautiful too?

Which books did you buy or receive this week?

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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Review: Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

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Goodreads | Waterstones

Jane Eyre ranks as one of the greatest and most perennially popular works of English fiction. Although the poor but plucky heroine is outwardly of plain appearance, she possesses an indomitable spirit, a sharp wit and great courage. She is forced to battle against the exigencies of a cruel guardian, a harsh employer and a rigid social order. All of which circumscribe her life and position when she becomes governess to the daughter of the mysterious, sardonic and attractive Mr Rochester. However, there is great kindness and warmth in this epic love story, which is set against the magnificent backdrop of the Yorkshire moors. Ultimately the grand passion of Jane and Rochester is called upon to survive cruel revelation, loss and reunion, only to be confronted with tragedy.

Jane Eyre was the first classic I read, at around the age of 11. I’ve read it 4 or 5 times since, and enjoyed it every single time. Even though my thoughts changed a lot in this reading, I still regard it as one of my favourite books of all time. As I’ve grown up in the past 10 years, my viewpoints on parts of this book have certainly changed, but my love for the story hasn’t decreased.

I’ve always loved the romance in this book, but for the first time I looked at Rochester and noticed so many problems. This is something that has also come from reading Wide Sargasso Sea and having more of an (imagined) background to his character. There is absolutely no shying away from the fact Mr Rochester does not treat Jane well and repeatedly addresses her in ways that appear problematic today. However what I truly love about this story is that Jane doesn’t stand for anything. When she truly believes that she is not being treated with the respect she deserves, she stands up for herself.

I am no bird; and no net ensnares me:

There is no doubt there are many feminist elements to this story, and Jane is one of the most independent women I have come across in Victorian fiction. I spent so much of this story being in utter admiration of her character and how she stands up for herself. I would even argue this book stands away from (or even above) Jane Austen novels, especially in the way this book could have very easily not ended in marriage. Jane creates her own pathways through life and her own prospects, and everything she does is of her own accord.

I also love the setting of Thornfield Hall and the Victorian Gothic aspects of it. There is so much atmosphere crammed in between these pages and the writing portrayed the wild nature of the the British countryside so well – I could picture every scene. I listened to the audiobook this time and I’m glad I did – it gave me a different view of the story and made it feel more accessible too. I’ve always felt this is quite an accessible story, but it is quite long at over 500 pages and I can see why it would feel dense to some. I think because of the length of this book, movie adaptations do not manage to do the writing justice. Even though I love watching adaptations, the book stands above them all easily. You simply can’t portray all of Jane’s flawed character and relationship with Rochester in a condensed format.

I am a free human being with an independent will.

Overall, I did consider lowering my rating because of how problematic Rochester is and comes across as. But the takeaway from this book is Jane, Jane, Jane. She deserves all of the stars in the world.

★★★★★
5 out of 5 stars

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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