Top 5 Books On My TBR the Longest

Hello all! We’re….7 weeks into lockdown? I think? Here in the UK. Nobody knows what day it is anymore, and I’m spending endless days looking at all of the unread books on my bookshelves. It’s reminding me how many have sat unread for years, and I thought I’d share some of the ones with you that have been there the longest!

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Goodreads | Waterstones

Mara Dyer doesn’t think life can get any stranger than waking up in a hospital with no memory of how she got there.
It can.
She believes there must be more to the accident she can’t remember that killed her friends and left her mysteriously unharmed.
There is.
She doesn’t believe that after everything she’s been through, she can fall in love.
She’s wrong.

I bought this whole series so long ago in a charity shop, I don’t even remember where it came from!

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Goodreads | Waterstones

Mortals rule the desert nation of Miraji, but mythical beasts still roam the wild and remote areas, and rumor has it that somewhere, djinn still perform their magic. For humans, it s an unforgiving place, especially if you re poor, orphaned, or female.
Amani Al Hiza is all three. She s a gifted gunslinger with perfect aim, but she can t shoot her way out of Dustwalk, the back-country town where she s destined to wind up wed or dead.Then she meets Jin, a rakish foreigner, in a shooting contest, and sees him as the perfect escape route. But though she s spent years dreaming of leaving Dustwalk, she never imagined she d gallop away on a mythical horse or that it would take a foreign fugitive to show her the heart of the desert she thought she knew. 

I’ve bought these books as they were released as I kept finding signed editions! I started reading the first book years ago but never finished it and have been meaning to pick it up ever since.

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Goodreads | Waterstones

When the lift cranks open, the only thing Thomas remembers is his first name. But he’s not alone – an army of boys welcomes him to the Glade, an encampment at the centre of a terrible maze. The Gladers have no idea why they’re there, or what’s happened to the world outside. All they know is that every morning when the walls slide back, they will risk everything to find out.

This series is probably the one longest on my TBR, as we’ve had a set in my house for at least 5 years!

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Goodreads | Waterstones

Beatrice Prior is on the brink of a decision that will change her life. In a society divided into factions all are forced to choose where they belong. And the choice Tris makes shocks everyone, including herself.
Once decisions are made, the new members are forced to undergo extreme initiation tests with devastating consequences. As their experience transforms them, Tris must determine who her friends are – and if the man who both threatens and protects her is really on her side.
Because Tris has a deadly secret. And as growing conflict threatens to unravel their seemingly perfect society, this secret might save those Tris loves… or it might destroy her.

I’ve also had a boxed set of Divergent for a few years now but haven’t picked it up yet. I must have a problem with picking up series!

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Goodreads | Waterstones

A boy drowns, desperate and alone in his final moments. He dies. Then he wakes, naked and bruised and thirsty, but alive. How can this be? And what is this strange deserted place?
As he struggles to understand what is happening, the boy dares to hope. Might this not be the end? Might there be more to this life, or perhaps this afterlife?

I’ve read most of Patrick Ness’ books, but not this one despite having it for ages.

Which books have been on your shelves for years?

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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Stacking the Shelves #14

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! This week I bought a book I’ve had my eye on for a very long time. I was given a sample and goody bag at YALC last year and immediately fell in love with the cover. I also found out what the undercover of the hardcover version looks like (it’s BEAUTIFUL. see below) and knew I had to pick it up. I recently decided to just go for it and finally had one imported for myself.

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Goodreads | Waterstones

With her daughter to care for and her abuela to help support, high school senior Emoni Santiago has to make the tough decisions, and do what must be done. The one place she can let her responsibilities go is in the kitchen, where she adds a little something magical to everything she cooks, turning her food into straight-up goodness. Still, she knows she doesn’t have enough time for her school’s new culinary arts class, doesn’t have the money for the class’s trip to Spain — and shouldn’t still be dreaming of someday working in a real kitchen. But even with all the rules she has for her life — and all the rules everyone expects her to play by — once Emoni starts cooking, her only real choice is to let her talent break free.

I’m so excited to read this one when I get around to it!

What did you buy this week?

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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Review: Date Me, Byrson Keller by Kevin van Whye

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Goodreads | Waterstones

Everyone knows about the dare: Each week, Bryson Keller must date someone new–the first person to ask him out on Monday morning. Few think Bryson can do it. He may be the king of Fairvale Academy, but he’s never really dated before.
Until a boy asks him out, and everything changes.
Kai Sheridan didn’t expect Bryson to say yes. So when Bryson agrees to secretly go out with him, Kai is thrown for a loop. But as the days go by, he discovers there’s more to Bryson beneath the surface, and dating him begins to feel less like an act and more like the real thing. Kai knows how the story of a gay boy liking someone straight ends. With his heart on the line, he’s awkwardly trying to navigate senior year at school, at home, and in the closet, all while grappling with the fact that this “relationship” will last only five days. After all, Bryson Keller is popular, good-looking, and straight . . . right?

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

I was so happy to receive an ARC from this through work. It caught my attention from the cover and synopsis, to the little rainbow Penguin logo on the spine. And I wasn’t wrong – I loved it.

This book drew my attention from the start, and I really liked the concept of the dare and Kai as a character. Although I was a little confused about his actions at times, I did sympathise with him quite a lot, and I found reading about the racism and homophobia he faced so heartbreaking. His friends and family were all brilliant, I love a good YA book that includes close family.

Although I found it difficult to like Kai’s parents at times, I really liked reading about some moments with them and his sister, Yazz, was just brilliant in every way. Kai’s supportive friends were lovely side-characters and so was Byrson and his family, the main scene in Bryson’s house warmed my heart so much.

The plot was so compelling, especially after the first half or so, and I ended up reading almost half of the book in an hour or two. I really enjoyed the pace, short chapters and day-by-day sections, and it made me rush through it and just want to read a couple of extra tables.

Overall, this was a great LGBT contemporary with some lovely family scenes and tackling difficult topics. I loved it!

★★★★
4 out of 5 stars

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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April Wrap-Up and May TBR

Hi all! I read 7 books in April which I’m pretty proud of! I’d love to say I read more in lockdown but university work and Animal Crossing have both been big distractions. Still, I’m ahead of my Goodreads goal for the year and I’m happy with the amount I’ve been reading!

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Review | Goodreads | Waterstones

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

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Review | Goodreads | Waterstones

Frank Li is a high school senior living in Southern California. Frank’s parents emigrated from Korea, and have pretty much one big rule for Frank – he must only date Korean girls.
But he’s got strong feelings for a girl in his class, Brit – and she’s not Korean. His friend Joy Song is in the same boat and knows her parents will never accept her Chinese American boyfriend, so they make a pact: they’ll pretend to date each other in order to gain their freedom.
Frank thinks fake-dating is the perfect plan, but it leaves him wondering if he ever really understood love – or himself – at all.

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Review | Goodreads | Waterstones

For Angel Rahimi, life is only about one thing: The Ark – a pop-rock trio of teenage boys who are currently taking the world by storm. Being part of The Ark’s fandom has given her everything – her friendships, her dreams, her place in the world.
Jimmy Kaga-Ricci owes everything to The Ark too. He’s their frontman – and playing in a band is all he’s ever dreamed of doing. It’s just a shame that recently everything in his life seems to have turned into a bit of a nightmare.
Because that’s the problem with dreaming – eventually, inevitably, real life arrives with a wake-up call. And when Angel and Jimmy are unexpectedly thrust together, they will discover just how strange and surprising facing up to reality can be.

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Review | Goodreads | Waterstones

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

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Review | Goodreads

A young royal from the far north is sent south for a political marriage. Alone and sometimes reviled, she has only her servants on her side. This evocative debut chronicles her rise to power through the eyes of her handmaiden, at once feminist high fantasy and a thrilling indictment of monarchy.

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Review | Goodreads | Waterstones

Rosemary has lived in Brixton all her life, but everything she knows is changing. Only the local lido, where she swims every day, remains a constant reminder of the past and her beloved husband George. Kate has just moved and feels adrift in a city that is too big for her. She’s on the bottom rung of her career as a local journalist, and is determined to make something of it.
So when the lido is threatened with closure, Kate knows this story could be her chance to shine. But for Rosemary, it could be the end of everything. Together they are determined to make a stand, and to prove that the pool is more than just a place to swim – it is the heart of the community.

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Review | Goodreads | Waterstones

No one in modern-day Seoul believes in the old fables anymore, which makes it the perfect place to for Gu Miyoung and her mother to hide in plain sight. Mihoung is a Gumiho, a nine-tailed fox, who must eat the souls of men to survive. She feeds every full moon–eating the souls of men who have committed crimes, but have evaded justice. Her life is upended when she kills a dokkaebi, a murderous goblin, in the forest just to save the life of a stupid boy. But after Miyoung saves Jihoon’s life, the two develop a tenuous friendship that blooms into romance forcing Miyoung to choose between her immortal life and Jihoon’s.

My favourite read of the month was The Lido which surprised me! And my least favourite has to be Night Owls and Summer Skies.

May TBR

Throne of Glass – Sarah J Maas
The Assassins Blade – Sarah J Maas
Crown of Midnight – Sarah J Maas
Heir of Fire – Sarah J Maas
Date Me Bryson Keller – Kevin van Wye
Hideous Beauty – William Hussey

It might seem a little ambitious, but I’m starting a buddy read this month for Throne of Glass with Alex, and I’m hoping to read a few others around it.

What did you read in April and what do you want to read in May?

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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Review: The Empress of Salt and Fortune by Nghi Vo

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Goodreads

A young royal from the far north, is sent south for a political marriage in an empire reminiscent of imperial China. Her brothers are dead, her armies and their war mammoths long defeated and caged behind their borders. Alone and sometimes reviled, she must choose her allies carefully.
Rabbit, a handmaiden, sold by her parents to the palace for the lack of five baskets of dye, befriends the emperor’s lonely new wife and gets more than she bargained for.
At once feminist high fantasy and an indictment of monarchy, this evocative debut follows the rise of the empress In-yo, who has few resources and fewer friends. She’s a northern daughter in a mage-made summer exile, but she will bend history to her will and bring down her enemies, piece by piece.

I was very unsure going into this book – I don’t usually read short stories like this and most of the time just didn’t know what to think. Although this book was beautiful and whimsical, I had mixed feelings about the whole thing. I was very confused throughout about who the characters actually were, and found I had to completely put it out of my head to enjoy the story.

And I have to say, the writing was lovely. I loved the idea of having fairytales sprinkled throughout the story, and I became very engrossed in those. I also loved the Asian and feminist rep!

“Angry mothers raise daughters fierce enough to fight wolves.”

I can see the good in this story and in parts I really loved it. But unfortunately most of the time I was left feeling confused and overwhelmed with little idea of what was happening. I enjoyed it once I let myself get lost in the story, but it just simply wasn’t long enough to allow the read to sympathise with the characters.

I really enjoyed some aspects of this book and it was beautiful, but it left me feeling like a lot was missing, and the premise was just better than how I ended up feeling about the story.

★★★
3 out of 5 stars

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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OWLs Wrap-Up 2020

Hi all! I can’t believe we’re already at the end of the OWLs, and I’m very happy to say I managed to complete my OWLs to become a Magizoologist and a bonus course for Animagus training! This means I read 6 books for the OWLs this year.

If you’re confused or want to know more about how the OWLs works, I’d refer to my TBR post here which explains about the magical readathon.

magizoologists | Tumblr

As I explained above, I decided to go for the Magizoologist exams, which meant I had to read four books under the prompts listed below.

Care of Magical Creatures – Hippogriffs: creature with a beak on the cover

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Goodreads | Waterstones

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

I did enjoy this book, but not as much as I’d hoped after adoring The Raven Cycle. You can see my review here!

Charms – Lumos Maxima: white cover

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Goodreads | Waterstones

Frank Li is a high school senior living in Southern California. Frank’s parents emigrated from Korea, and have pretty much one big rule for Frank – he must only date Korean girls.
But he’s got strong feelings for a girl in his class, Brit – and she’s not Korean. His friend Joy Song is in the same boat and knows her parents will never accept her Chinese American boyfriend, so they make a pact: they’ll pretend to date each other in order to gain their freedom.
Frank thinks fake-dating is the perfect plan, but it leaves him wondering if he ever really understood love – or himself – at all.

I was a little hesitant going into this one, but I ended up really enjoying it! My review is here.

Herbology – Mimbulus Mimbletonia: title starts with an (i)

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Goodreads | Waterstones

For Angel Rahimi, life is only about one thing: The Ark – a pop-rock trio of teenage boys who are currently taking the world by storm. Being part of The Ark’s fandom has given her everything – her friendships, her dreams, her place in the world.
Jimmy Kaga-Ricci owes everything to The Ark too. He’s their frontman – and playing in a band is all he’s ever dreamed of doing. It’s just a shame that recently everything in his life seems to have turned into a bit of a nightmare.
Because that’s the problem with dreaming – eventually, inevitably, real life arrives with a wake-up call. And when Angel and Jimmy are unexpectedly thrust together, they will discover just how strange and surprising facing up to reality can be.

I read this one so quickly as it was so addictive to read and has made me very excited for Radio Silence! My review can be found here.

Potions – Shrinking Solution: book under 150 pages

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Goodreads

A young royal from the far north is sent south for a political marriage. Alone and sometimes reviled, she has only her servants on her side. This evocative debut chronicles her rise to power through the eyes of her handmaiden, at once feminist high fantasy and a thrilling indictment of monarchy.

I read this on the last day of OWLs and enjoyed it! It’s not something I’d usually read, but I sped through it as it was only 120 pages.

BONUS course: Animagus Training

Arithmancy – Read a book outside of your favourite genre

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Goodreads | Waterstones

Rosemary has lived in Brixton all her life, but everything she knows is changing. Only the local lido, where she swims every day, remains a constant reminder of the past and her beloved husband George. Kate has just moved and feels adrift in a city that is too big for her. She’s on the bottom rung of her career as a local journalist, and is determined to make something of it.
So when the lido is threatened with closure, Kate knows this story could be her chance to shine. But for Rosemary, it could be the end of everything. Together they are determined to make a stand, and to prove that the pool is more than just a place to swim – it is the heart of the community.

I read this one as it is an adult contemporary and I don’t usually branch out to adult, but this ended up being a fast favourite. I adored it, and you can find my review here.

Transfiguration – Animagus lecture: book/series that includes shapeshifting

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Goodreads | Waterstones

No one in modern-day Seoul believes in the old fables anymore, which makes it the perfect place to for Gu Miyoung and her mother to hide in plain sight. Mihoung is a Gumiho, a nine-tailed fox, who must eat the souls of men to survive. She feeds every full moon–eating the souls of men who have committed crimes, but have evaded justice. Her life is upended when she kills a dokkaebi, a murderous goblin, in the forest just to save the life of a stupid boy. But after Miyoung saves Jihoon’s life, the two develop a tenuous friendship that blooms into romance forcing Miyoung to choose between her immortal life and Jihoon’s.

This was a mixed one for me, but I did end up liking a lot about it. You can read my review here.

Potions – already covered above!

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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Review: Gumiho: Wicked Fox (#1) by Kat Cho

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Goodreads | Waterstones

Eighteen-year-old Gu Miyoung has a secret–she’s a gumiho, a nine-tailed fox who must devour the energy of men in order to survive. Because so few believe in the old tales anymore, and with so many evil men no one will miss, the modern city of Seoul is the perfect place to hide and hunt.
But after feeding one full moon, Miyoung crosses paths with Jihoon, a human boy, being attacked by a goblin deep in the forest. Against her better judgment, she violates the rules of survival to rescue the boy, losing her fox bead–her gumiho soul–in the process.
Jihoon knows Miyoung is more than just a beautiful girl–he saw her nine tails the night she saved his life. His grandmother used to tell him stories of the gumiho, of their power and the danger they pose to humans. He’s drawn to her anyway.
With murderous forces lurking in the background, Miyoung and Jihoon develop a tenuous friendship that blossoms into something more. But when a young shaman tries to reunite Miyoung with her bead, the consequences are disastrous . . . forcing Miyoung to choose between her immortal life and Jihoon’s.

I had such mixed feelings about this book, and when I started it I really didn’t think it was for me at all. I had come into a world I felt like would only make sense if I really, really worked for it, and you know what, I just couldn’t be arsed. For a start, this book has an entire glossary, and it isn’t a small one. I could see myself flicking between the glossary constantly and the mere idea of it annoyed me.

But I stuck with it, mainly because this was the only book I had that was under 800 pages that fit into my OWLs TBR for the transfiguration prompts. And I was determined to finish my OWLs. But you know what, I was shocked. After around 50 pages, this book hooked me a little. I really started to enjoy it.

“Maybe it’s wrong for us to hold any one person as our whole world. Maybe…” Jihoon trailed off with an odd expression.

Not going to lie, it wasn’t amazing. It wasn’t a favourite. But I quickly started to see a lot of good in this book – it came up in scenes and moments that I really enjoyed. I would easily read 100 pages at a time and they flew by, the chapters short and easy to get through. I liked the characters, even if I didn’t feel a great connection to them. And the Korean representation was great too, and not something I’ve seen enough of in YA.

But unfortunately, Wicked Fox still just…lacked for me. I felt little connection to the characters, which meant I didn’t feel enough when the most devastating things happened to them. Because of the disconnect, I rarely focused enough on what was happening in the book, instead skimming the pages and reading the occasional really good scene.

“Maybe it’s wrong of us to owe all of our happiness or sadness to one person.”

So overall, this book was….good. But it just wasn’t enough. Which was such a shame, but I think maybe it just wasn’t for me.

★★★
3 out of 5 stars

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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