Review: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes (#0) by Suzanne Collins

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Goodreads | Waterstones

It is the morning of the reaping that will kick off the tenth annual Hunger Games. In the Capitol, eighteen-year-old Coriolanus Snow is preparing for his one shot at glory as a mentor in the Games. The once-mighty house of Snow has fallen on hard times, its fate hanging on the slender chance that Coriolanus will be able to outcharm, outwit, and outmaneuver his fellow students to mentor the winning tribute.
The odds are against him. He’s been given the humiliating assignment of mentoring the female tribute from District 12, the lowest of the low. Their fates are now completely intertwined—every choice Coriolanus makes could lead to favor or failure, triumph or ruin. Inside the arena, it will be a fight to the death. Outside the arena, Coriolanus starts to feel for his doomed tribute . . . and must weigh his need to follow the rules against his desire to survive no matter what it takes.

I honestly don’t really know why I picked this one up. I enjoyed The Hunger Games years ago when I read it, but I wasn’t interested in Snow’s story enough to want to read this, until the Waterstones edition was announced. And I don’t know what came over me in that moment, but I ended up with a copy of this book. I finally decided to pick it up mainly because the audiobook was available to me on Scrib’d, and I’m so glad I read the vast majority of this on audio. I honestly think this would have felt like an absolute slog if I’d have read the physical version, as it is quite chunky!

I have to say, this book did end up being more entertaining than I expected, and I did find it interesting to follow the evil decline of Coriolanus Snow. This did feel a little jarring, however, as I felt the book started with him being likable and it’s almost as if Suzanne Collins suddenly remembered he had to be evil and changed her tune. I imagine it must have been difficult to write such an unlikable character, and it showed in places.

That is the thing with giving your heart. 

If you know me and my reading tastes, you will know that I often struggle to enjoy books when I dislike the main character. And it will come as no surprise that I did not like Coriolanus. While his story is fascinating and I enjoyed the links to The Hunger Games, I could not sympathise with him in the least. I also really disliked the ending of this book, which not only felt very rushed but I just wish could have gone a different way.

Although I did find the plot entertaining enough, it was also a lot slower than I expected and lacked any sense of urgency and because of it, any real weight. It had the feeling of ‘then this happened, then this happened’ for me. Everything just felt very passive, including the decisions made by the main character himself.

You never wait for someone to ask. You hold it out and hope they want it. 

Although this didn’t hit the spot for me, it may come as a surprise to hear I actually enjoyed it more than I expected to going in. A lot of the book just fell flat and felt very ‘meh’ to me, but there was enough interesting backstory on The Hunger Games and how the games were set up to keep me interested. I enjoyed reading about some of the characters and as mentioned, I did find most of the plot quite entertaining. Overall, a very mediocre read and definitely not a must-read for me.

★★★
3 out of 5 stars

-Beth

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Review: Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe (#1) by Benjamin Alire Saenz

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Aristotle is an angry teen with a brother in prison. Dante is a know-it-all who has an unusual way of looking at the world. When the two meet at the swimming pool, they seem to have nothing in common. But as the loners start spending time together, they discover that they share a special friendship–the kind that changes lives and lasts a lifetime. And it is through this friendship that Ari and Dante will learn the most important truths about themselves and the kind of people they want to be.

Thank you to Simon and Schuster for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

This book has been on my TBR for so long but I’ve just never bought myself a copy. However, 9 years after the initial release, it’s getting a sequel and re-release in the UK! Because of this, Simon and Schuster sent me a copy of the UK paperback – thank you to them. This is one I’ve been wanting to read for so long, and I really feel is a staple in LGBTQIA+ YA. I really didn’t know much about the story or what to expect, but I have heard amazing things about this book from others.

This book follows Ari and Dante, who are 16 year old boys both going through their own journeys of growth and discovery. Their lives become intertwined and they grow closer, especially when they go through something traumatic together that will forever leave Dante indebted to Ari. Although the characters in this book are now much younger than me, I still really enjoyed reading about their stories of self discovery. They both felt authentic and honest, and I really liked the focus on Ari.

Another secret of the universe: Sometimes pain was like a storm that came out of nowhere. 

The writing was the part that surprised me most, as this book is very poetic and lyrical, with a lot hanging on bold statements and beautiful quotes rather than heavy descriptions. The chapters are short and heavy with dialogue, which meant I read this super quickly in a couple of sittings. Although I really enjoyed the pacing, I did feel like this style left a little to be desired when it came to the character development. With little focus on the boys themselves or their feelings, I feel like I never quite got to know them as much as I wanted to.

However, I did still feel connected to them and their families. Both of their parents were brilliant and I loved how real and raw they were. The discussions of adulthood and growing up felt authentic and relationships with the adults in this book were well written. I also liked Ari a lot as a main character. He is evidently battling a lot and he is a complicated but raw character who felt like an authentic teen. Even now, I could relate to some of his thoughts and feelings. I also thought the discussions of culture/heritage/being Mexican were really well done, especially with the viewpoints differing between the boys.

The clearest summer could end in a downpour. Could end in lightning and thunder.

Overall, I did really like this book. I liked the characters, loved the writing and it was absolutely chock full of beautiful quotes. I do feel like there was something missing, but I’m still looking forward to the sequel!

★★★★
4 out of 5 stars

-Beth

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Review: King of Scars (#1) by Leigh Bardugo

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The dashing young king, Nikolai Lantsov, has always had a gift for the impossible. No one knows what he endured in his country’s bloody civil war–and he intends to keep it that way. Now, as enemies gather at his weakened borders, Nikolai must find a way to refill Ravka’s coffers, forge new alliances, and stop a rising threat to the once-great Grisha Army.
Yet with every day a dark magic within him grows stronger, threatening to destroy all he has built. With the help of a young monk and a legendary Grisha general, Nikolai will journey to the places in Ravka where the deepest magic survives to vanquish the terrible legacy inside him. He will risk everything to save his country and himself. But some secrets aren’t meant to stay buried–and some wounds aren’t meant to heal.

This was actually my second time reading this book, but the first time I read it I hadn’t read the Grisha trilogy. Let me tell you now, I would definitely recommend reading the Grishaverse books in order of release, and that is what I’ve been doing this time around and it is so much better! I really enjoyed the story of this one the first time around, even though it spoiled the ending of the Grisha trilogy for me. However, I loved reading it so much more this time because I had these characters fresh in my mind and their backstories.

Nikolai is my favourite character from the Grisha trilogy so I really enjoyed reading about his storyline continuing in King of Scars! He is such a witty and sarcastic character who I adore and his one-liners always make me laugh/smile. I also love the story of Nina which continues in King of Scars, and I find her storyline my favourite of all of them. Her story also really makes me emotional, especially at the start of this book!

Most of us can hide our greatest hurts and longings. It’s how we survive each day. 

I actually found this a little harder to get into than I expected considering I’ve been reading the Grisha books back to back. I did find the first time it took me around 250 pages to get in to, and this time it was more like 100 pages. However, once I got into this story I just adored it. It also took me a while to adjust to all of the points of view, especially considering we have a new character and a new point of view from someone else in the Grisha trilogy.

I really enjoyed the plot of this book, especially Isaak, Zoya and Nina’s points of view. Sadly, and surprisingly to me, I felt a little disconnected from Nikolai’s character and story in this one. I think this may be due to what is actually happening to him throughout this book, as it felt kind of natural to be a little disconnected from him because of the events.

We pretend the pain isn’t there, that we are made of scars instead of wounds.

I must say I really enjoyed this one but it didn’t quite have the same emotional impact or connection for me as the Six of Crows series does. I loved the plot, the characters and it kept me on the edge of my seat, but just didn’t quite reach 5 stars for me! I can’t wait to finally be able to read Rule of Wolves and see what I think.

★★★★★
4.5 out of 5 stars

-Beth

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Stacking the Shelves #45

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 have acquired another couple of books this week, even though I only actually bought one as a few pre-orders came through and I was kindly gifted a book by a publishers.

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Goodreads | Waterstones

I did buy this one as I needed to complete my set of The Last Namsara books before me and Alex buddy read them later in the year!

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Goodreads | Waterstones

My preorder of Heartstopper Volume 4 came through finally! I’m super excited to have this one and I’m hoping to read it next month as part of a readathon.

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Goodreads | Waterstones

Amari Peters knows three things.
Her big brother Quinton has gone missing.
No one will talk about it.
His mysterious job holds the secret . . .
So when Amari gets an invitation to the Bureau of Supernatural Affairs, she’s certain this is her chance to find Quinton. But first she has to get her head around the new world of the Bureau, where mermaids, aliens and magicians are real, and her roommate is a weredragon.
Amari must compete against kids who’ve known about the supernatural world their whole lives, and when each trainee is awarded a special supernatural talent, Amari is given an illegal talent – one that the Bureau views as dangerous.
With an evil magician threatening the whole supernatural world, and her own classmates thinking she is the enemy, Amari has never felt more alone. But if she doesn’t pass the three tryouts, she may never find out what happened to Quinton . . .

Thank you to the publishers for sending me an absolutely stunning copy of this one, which I’ve heard such good things about!

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Goodreads | Waterstones

Everyone likes Hani Kahn—she’s easy going and one of the most popular girls at school. But when she comes out to her friends as bisexual, they invalidate her identity, saying she can’t be bi if she’s only dated guys. Panicked, Hani blurts out that she’s in a relationship…with a girl her friends absolutely hate—Ishita Dey. Ishita is the complete opposite of Hani. She’s an academic overachiever who hopes that becoming head girl will set her on the right track for college. But Ishita agrees to help Hani, if Hani will help her become more popular so that she stands a chance of being elected head girl.
Despite their mutually beneficial pact, they start developing real feelings for each other. But relationships are complicated, and some people will do anything to stop two Bengali girls from achieving happily ever after.

I also had this one on preorder and I’m super excited to read it soon as it sounds so good!

Which books did you buy or receive this week?

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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ARC Review: Threadneedle (#1) by Cari Thomas

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Goodreads | Pre-Order Waterstones

Within the boroughs of London, nestled among its streets, hides another city, filled with magic.
Magic is the first sin. It must be bound.
Ever since Anna can remember, her aunt has warned her of the dangers of magic. She has taught her to fear how it twists and knots and turns into something dark and deadly.
It was, after all, magic that killed her parents and left her in her aunt’s care. It’s why she has been protected from the magical world and, in one year’s time, what little magic she has will be bound. She will join her aunt alongside the other Binders who believe magic is a sin not to be used, but denied. Only one more year and she will be free of the curse of magic, her aunt’s teachings and the disappointment of the little she is capable of.
Nothing – and no one – could change her mind before then. Could it?

Thank you to Harper Collins for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Honestly, I wasn’t expecting to love this book as much as I did. I thought I’d enjoy it, but I didn’t think I would be as captivated and drawn in by this world as much as I was. I was also quite daunted by the size and length of this book, which actually ended up being really easy to read and I didn’t want to put it down!

Reading this just felt like wrapping yourself in a blanket and sinking into it. It felt so comforting and familiar in the writing style, and I read 100+ pages of it in one go without thinking twice. It just felt so easy for lack of a better term, but certainly wasn’t without depth. It absolutely sucked me into the story and I really felt at one with the characters, especially Anna. I would often step away from this book and continue to think about it, or even forget I was reading. Trust me, there are not many books that make me feel so involved with a story as this one did.

The family culture, friendships and relationships were all so interesting to read about. I love the undertones of lies and betrayal that left the main character and the reader unsure who to believe and who to trust. I was reeling at some of the major plot reveals because even though I had ideas, I couldn’t guess where this was going.

The characters were so much fun to read about and I loved their friendship group. I also loved how these young teens formed a friendship group with no adults to rely or come to the rescue at the last second. They grow and explore the world and their own mistakes with little to no intervention, which made the whole story feel more tangible and authentic. For the most part, this story is set in the world as we know it, and is very much an urban fantasy. However, it includes vivid and almost psychedelic aspects that I just loved and could picture so beautifully. I adored the London setting with the magical additions of libraries and clubs. It was all so intricate and cleverly written!

Although the plot is, for the most part, quite slow and sprawling, I really loved the pacing. It felt almost reminiscent of other favourite authors of mine such as V.E. Schwab and Erin Morgenstern, with such a location and character driven story which I really enjoy. I also felt the witchcraft felt authentic and well written, as well as working as a plot device.

I honestly enjoyed this book so much and it was a really pleasant surprise for me. I’m really looking forward to book two and seeing where this story ends up going!

★★★★★
4.5 out of 5 stars

-Beth

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ARC review: Don’t Breathe a Word by Jordyn Taylor

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Goodreads | Waterstones

Present Day:
Eva has never felt like she belonged… not in her own family or with her friends in New York City, and certainly not at a fancy boarding school like Hardwick Preparatory Academy. So when she is invited to join the Fives, an elite secret society, she jumps at the opportunity to finally be a part of something.
But what if the Fives are about more than just having the best parties and receiving special privileges from the school? What if they are also responsible for keeping some of Hardwick’s biggest secrets buried?
1962:
There is only one reason why Connie would volunteer to be one of the six students to participate in testing Hardwick’s nuclear fallout shelter: Craig Allenby. While the thought of nuclear war sends her into a panic, she can’t pass up the opportunity to spend four days locked in with the school’s golden boy. However, Connie and the other students quickly discover that there is more to this “test” than they previously thought. As they are forced to follow an escalating series of commands, Connie realizes that one wrong move could have dangerous consequences.
Separated by sixty years , Eva’s and Connie’s stories become inextricably intertwined as Eva unravels the mystery of how six students went into the fallout shelter all those years ago . . . but only five came out. 

Thank you to Harper 360 for an ARC copy of this book in exchange for an honest review! Also, happy release day to this one!

Wow. This book was screwed up.

Don’t Breathe a Word follows two girls sixty years apart, at the same boarding school. It’s 1962, and Connie is one of six students to stay in the nuclear fallout shelter in the boarding school. In present day, Eva is new to the school and is invited to join the Fives, an elite society within the school. But throughout her story, she finds out more about Connie’s experience in 1962 and why only Five people come out of the nuclear fallout shelter…

I enjoyed a lot about this book. It was intriguing, thrilling and honestly really creepy in places. I did not expect this one to be quite as creepy as it was and it did make my skin crawl. I loved the dark academia atmosphere of the school and the murder that happened in 1962. The setting of the school was really interesting and I could picture the school and the surroundings well. I also enjoyed the multiple POV, which switched between Eva and Connie and between 1962 and present day. Flicking back and forth between them felt like a good balance but also kept me hooked on both of their stories.

But unfortunately, something just fell a bit flat for me with this book as a whole. I can’t pinpoint exactly what made me feel this way, but I just thought it was missing something. I think part of this was the lack of intrigue and intensity. Due to the nature of what happened to Connie, nobody is particularly pinpointed, and took out a whodonnit element that I was kind of craving. I think due to the lack of this element, I wasn’t quite as gripped as I was hoping to be.

I also didn’t feel quite as connected to the main characters as I wanted to, and I felt like I was missing out on big parts of their lives. Particularly Eva, who appears in this book more than Connie. I didn’t realise until near the end of the book that Eva talks about her family in a particular way that is not really explored at length within the book or is backed up by any discussions she has with the reader.

I have to also drop a mention to the fact that I just don’t understand some of the logic in this book. Some of the decisions the characters made really infuriated me and made me want to throw the book at the wall. However, naivety does play a big part in some of these decisions and the characters do come to realisations throughout the book. Also, it is worth noting that some of the stuff that happens is just super screwed up. I won’t talk about this in detail, but be prepared to be a bit taken aback by some of the elements of this one.

Overall, this was super interesting and I found the topic intriguing. I loved the idea of it but some of the way it played out let me down a little. I may sound a bit negative throughout this review, but I did still enjoy this book a lot and I would still recommend this one if you are interested in it!

★★★★
3.5 out of 5 stars

-Beth

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Review: Crooked Kingdom (#2) by Leigh Bardugo

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Goodreads | Waterstones

Kaz Brekker and his crew of deadly outcasts have just pulled off a heist so daring even they didn’t think they’d survive. But instead of divvying up a fat reward, they’re right back to fighting for their lives.
Double-crossed and badly weakened, the crew is low on resources, allies, and hope. As powerful forces from around the world descend on Ketterdam to root out the secrets of the dangerous drug known as jurda parem, old rivals and new enemies emerge to challenge Kaz’s cunning and test the team’s fragile loyalties.
A war will be waged on the city’s dark and twisting streets – a battle for revenge and redemption that will decide the fate of the Grisha world.
Welcome to the world of the Grisha
.

I cannot even describe how glad I am that I decided to reread this series and the Grishaverse books as a whole. Although I absolutely adored this one the first time around, going into it with background knowledge of the previous books just elevates it to another level. There were so many mentions of the people from Shadow and Bone and the events within those books that would have completely gone over my head in the first read!

Crooked Kingdom is set soon after the events of Six of Crows, but the whole reading experience feels so different. Whereas Six of Crows feels like diving into the deep end, Crooked Kingdom is diving under a warm and familiar duvet and wrapping it around you. Everything I felt was missing in the first book appears in this one. I love it.

I would have come for you. And if I couldn’t walk, I’d crawl to you, and no matter how broken we were, we’d fight our way out together-knives drawn, pistols blazing.

My favourite part of these books will always be the Crows themselves. I just love them, their stubborn, witty and determined selves. I will never stop loving them. Each Crow has a very distinct character, which I love, and I never wanted to skip chapters so I could be back with a different one. I cannot emphasise enough how skilled Leigh Bardugo is to write six different points of view yet keeps a fully coherent story throughout. I could (and did) easily cry at this book just because of the emotions I feel for the characters and the way they interact.

Which takes me onto the writing. The writing in this book is astounding, and I found myself holding my breath at crucial moments and fight scenes, yet crying at the gentler parts. It is utterly gripping and describes the world perfectly. I love Ketterdam and it is one of those places I can picture so vividly because of how well it is described.

Because that’s what we do. We never stop fighting.

Honestly, I could gush about this book forever and I do not have a bad word to say about it. It is a diamond in the rough, a rarity. I adore the characters, the relationships, the strong females, the world, the writing, the action, the pacing. It is all on another level. It shines.

★★★
5 out of 5 stars

-Beth

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Stacking the Shelves #44

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 lovely readers! I can’t seem to leave work without books recently, but I’m not buying them all which is good.

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Goodreads | Waterstones

A strange darkness grows in Allward.
Even Corayne an-Amarat can feel it, tucked away in her small town at the edge of the sea.
She soon discovers the truth: She is the last of an ancient lineage—and the last hope to save the world from destruction. But she won’t be alone. Even as darkness falls, she is joined by a band of unlikely companions:
A squire, forced to choose between home and honor.
An immortal, avenging a broken promise.
An assassin, exiled and bloodthirsty.
An ancient sorceress, whose riddles hide an eerie foresight.
A forger with a secret past.
A bounty hunter with a score to settle.
Together they stand against a vicious opponent, invincible and determined to burn all kingdoms to ash, and an army unlike anything the realm has ever witnessed.

My pre-order of Realm Breaker came in recently! This is a new series by Victoria Aveyard which I can’t wait to start reading.

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Goodreads | Waterstones

I also bought the Waterstones edition of this recently to complete my collection of The Cruel Prince series. Thank you to Alex for picking this up for me!

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Goodreads | Waterstones

My lovely friend Blue gave me their copy of Muse of Nightmares this week because we traded their hardback for a paperback. Thank you so much Blue, this completes my set!

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Goodreads | Waterstones

Aristotle is an angry teen with a brother in prison. Dante is a know-it-all who has an unusual way of looking at the world. When the two meet at the swimming pool, they seem to have nothing in common. But as the loners start spending time together, they discover that they share a special friendship–the kind that changes lives and lasts a lifetime. And it is through this friendship that Ari and Dante will learn the most important truths about themselves and the kind of people they want to be.

This book is an absolute staple in YA that I’ve actually never read! However, it is being re-released this year and because of that, Simon & Schuster sent me a copy. Thank you!

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Goodreads | Waterstones

Quinn keeps lists of everything – from the days she’s ugly cried, to “Things That I Would Never Admit Out Loud,” to all the boys she’d like to kiss. Her lists keep her sane. By writing her fears (as well as embarrassing and cringeworthy truths) on paper, she never has to face them in real life. That is, until her journal goes missing . . . An anonymous account posts one of her lists on Instagram for the whole school to see and blackmails her into facing seven of her greatest fears, or else her entire journal will go public. Quinn doesn’t know who to trust. Desperate, she teams up with Carter Bennett – the last known person to have her journal and who Quinn loathes – in a race against time to track down the blackmailer. Together, they journey through everything Quinn’s been too afraid to face, and along the way, Quinn finds the courage to be honest, to live in the moment, and to fall in love.

Hot Key also sent me a copy of this one, which I can’t wait to pick up because it sounds so good! Thank you Hot Key.

Which books did you buy or receive this week?

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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Review: The Love Curse of Melody McIntyre by Robin Talley

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Goodreads | Waterstones

Melody McIntyre, stage manager extraordinaire, has a plan for everything.
What she doesn’t have? Success with love. Every time she falls for someone during a school performance, both the romance and the show end in catastrophe. So, Mel swears off any entanglements until their upcoming production of Les Mis is over.
Of course, Mel didn’t count on Odile Rose, rising star in the acting world, auditioning for the spring performance. And she definitely didn’t expect Odile to be sweet and funny, and care as much about the play’s success as Mel.
Which means that Melody McIntyre’s only plan now is trying desperately not to fall in love. 

This book was so entertaining and so much fun! I loved the concept of this and the whole feeling of the theatre, I felt like it was captured so well in the book. We follow Mel, who is the stage manager for a show where everything starts to go wrong. The cast blame it on the curse, because in the last show they did, Mel’s girlfriend broke up with her during performance. Because of this, they make Mel promise to not date anyone before their spring performance of Les Mis….and then along comes Odile Rose.

Although the logic is absolutely through the roof with the superstitions in this book, it was honestly super creative and I really enjoyed it. It did feel a bit silly at times how everyone was acting with the amount of superstitions, but it was also super funny to read about and I can really see why the cast got so wrapped up in believing in it all.

I also really liked Melody as a main character. She did have her issues (including the major one of not being honest with her closest friends) that annoyed me slightly, but I just couldn’t help but see myself in her. Her stubbornness, work ethic and passion reminded me of myself and because of that I just couldn’t not like her. Even though she was a terrible friend and girlfriend in places, I completely understood why she acted the way she did.

I just loved how this book was so casually gay. There was no discussions of coming out, Mel was just bi. And her dads were gay. Obviously, I have nothing against coming out stories. They are very important and much needed. But I also really appreciated how this book was just so unapologetically gay from the off, and there was little-to-no discussion about it in the book. It was just part of who Mel was.

I would definitely have enjoyed this more if I happened to be a theatre geek, and I would honestly recommend it to anyone who is as I imagine it would be even more fun for you than it was today. But I still found myself really invested in the world of theatre and I really wanted to read on. The writing was funny and lighthearted, but also had some brilliant speeches that packed a punch.

Overall, this one isn’t groundbreaking. But it’s creative and a lot of fun, and I really liked it for what it is. If you’re looking for an entertaining, kind of far fetched sapphic romance, look no futher! Bonus points if you also love theatre.

★★★★
4 out of 5 stars

-Beth

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Review: Six of Crows (#1) by Leigh Bardugo

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Goodreads | Waterstones

Ketterdam: a bustling hub of international trade where anything can be had for the right price—and no one knows that better than criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker. Kaz is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. But he can’t pull it off alone. . . .
A convict with a thirst for revenge
A sharpshooter who can’t walk away from a wager
A runaway with a privileged past
A spy known as the Wraith
A Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums
A thief with a gift for unlikely escapes

Kaz’s crew is the only thing that might stand between the world and destruction—if they don’t kill each other first.

I read this book for the first time back in 2016, and I honestly wasn’t planning on re-reading it soon, even though it’s been in the back of my mind for a while. But then the Shadow and Bone Netflix show began, and all I wanted was to be in this world again. Back when I read this book, it was actually the first Leigh Bardugo book I’d ever read. I actually don’t think I was even aware of Shadow and Bone existing. Because of that, I read the Grisha books in the complete wrong order (Six of Crows duology > King of Scars > Grisha trilogy). The actual order is the Grisha trilogy > Six of Crows duology > King of Scars duology, if you’re wondering! I’ve been wanting to reread all of the Grisha books for a while, so thank you to the Shadow and Bone show for making me finally do it.

Having gone straight from the Grisha trilogy to this, I enjoyed it so much more. However, I still felt more like I’d been thrown into the deep end than I expected to. I think this is because this book does begin straight in the action, and because of that it still took me 100ish pages to get into it properly. I felt the same the first time I read this book, but back then I had no knowledge of the Grisha world or powers. With the knowledge I have now, this was just so much more enjoyable.

I will have you without armor, Kaz Brekker.

The characters are what melt my heart in this book. I just love them all so much and thinking of them makes me so emotional. The characters in these books are probably my favourite group of friends in any book, ever. I just adore the found family trope and Leigh writes it like no other. This book flicks between six points of view, and although I find this confusing normally, it really works in Six of Crows. I think this is helped along by the third person narrative, and made me feel really connected to all of the characters.

The writing is also absolutely beautiful and some of the quotes from this book and Crooked Kingdom make me so emotional. I started crying at the Shadow and Bone Netflix show at many random places, and one of those was when the line ‘no mourners, no funerals’ was used. I was just waiting for that moment, as those four words hold so much weight for the characters and in turn, for me as a reader.

The plot of this book is just amazing and I love the adventure in it. It’s so fast paced and especially after the first 100 pages or so, super addictive. I didn’t want to put it down, even though I had an awareness of the plot points from reading it the first time. I also adore the world so much, and I can’t wait to see more of it in Crooked Kingdom.

Or I will not have you at all.

Overall, I can’t not rate this book 5 stars. I’ve been conflicted about rating it 4.5 or 5 stars, but I just adore this book and these characters and they mean so much to me. This is definitely a personal rating (objectively, I would say 4.5 and leave that half star for Crooked Kingdom), but I just have such an emotional response to this book that it has become an absolute favourite over the years.

★★★
5 out of 5 stars

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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