Review: P.S. I Still Love You (#2) by Jenny Han

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Goodreads | Waterstones

Lara Jean didn’t expect to really fall for Peter.
She and Peter were just pretending. Except suddenly they weren’t. Now Lara Jean is more confused than ever.
When another boy from her past returns to her life, Lara Jean’s feelings for him return too. Can a girl be in love with two boys at once?

I couldn’t help but enjoy this book. I was a little unsure about the first book and didn’t want to carry on with the series initially, but I adored the first movie adaptation when it was released and decided to continue. I’m really glad I did, because I actually enjoyed this book more than the first one when I read it years ago!

My favourite part of this story remains and probably always will be the family dynamic. We don’t see enough families in YA, and this is one of the only YA series I can genuinely say focuses around the sisters. The chaotic connection between them reminds me of a modern Little Women – although the two cannot be compared.

There’s a Korean word my grandma taught me. It’s called jung. It’s the connection between two people that can’t be severed, even when love turns to hate.

One of the main issues I had with the first book was the love interest, and to a degree that continues in P.S. I Still Love You. Although I rooted more for Peter in this book, I still questioned some of his actions towards the relationship and struggled to sympathise with him at times.

I also didn’t particularly enjoy the love triangle, or at least found it a little unnecessary and would have rather seen Lara-Jean have a meaningful friendship. But on the other hand, this is kind of the point. No relationship is without it’s rocky parts, and Lara-Jean’s confusion and jealousy from both of them is one of their rocky parts.

You still have those old feelings for them; you can’t ever completely shake them loose of you; you will always have tenderness in your heart for them.

Some of the side characters were brilliant (I’m looking at you, Stormy) and I really enjoyed reading some of the scenes. These books might not be perfect, but I’m still finding them quite engaging, easy to read and will definitely be reading the last book in the series and am looking forward to seeing it on the big screen.

★★★★
3.5 out of 5 stars

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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Review: Two Can Keep a Secret by Karen M. McManus

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Goodreads | Waterstones

Ellery’s never been to Echo Ridge, but she’s heard all about it. It’s where her aunt went missing at age sixteen, never to return. Where a Homecoming Queen’s murder five years ago made national news. And where Ellery now has to live with a grandmother she barely knows, after her failed-actress mother lands in rehab. No one knows what happened to either girl, and Ellery’s family is still haunted by their loss.
Malcolm grew up in the shadow of the Homecoming Queen’s death. His older brother was the prime suspect and left Echo Ridge in disgrace. His mother’s remarriage vaulted her and Malcolm into Echo Ridge’s upper crust, but their new status grows shaky when mysterious threats around town hint that a killer plans to strike again. No one has forgotten Malcolm’s brother-and nobody trusts him when he suddenly returns to town.
Ellery and Malcolm both know it’s hard to let go when you don’t have closure. Then another girl disappears, and Ellery and Malcolm were the last people to see her alive. As they race to unravel what happened, they realize every secret has layers in Echo Ridge. The truth might be closer to home than either of them want to believe.
And somebody would kill to keep it hidden.

After reading One of Us Is Next with Alex, we decided to carry on and read Two Can Keep a Secret together! And I’m so glad we did, because it became both of our favourite McManus books so far.

There was something about this book that stood out from her others. For a start, it felt startlingly creepier to me – maybe enhanced by the setting of a somewhat decrepit theme park. The scenes, especially those in theme park itself, felt almost tangible and too close for comfort. It was delightfully creepy and a perfect read for a cold, dark winters night.

“Welcome to life in a small town.”

Problems I had with McManus’ other books were almost banished with this one. In her other books, I’ve struggled with the amount of Points Of View and it tainted the story for me as I found it hard to follow everything going on. In this book, however, we only focus on two POV and I found it much easier to follow. The only criticism in plot is the major rush that seems to come towards the end of her books after such a big build up, which can be slightly overwhelming.

However, another favourite part of this one for me was the characters, especially Ellery. They were so good to read about and I really liked having the POV of both somebody involved in the past crimes of the small town and somebody who had relatives in the town but had only recently moved to it.

“You’re only as good as the best thing your family’s done. Or the worst.”

This was definitely my favourite of Karen M McManus’ books so far and I’d love to read more from her in the future.

★★★★
4 out of 5 stars

-Beth

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Let’s Discuss! March Releases I’m Excited For

This is a little late as some of these books have actually been released now, but I’ve been looking forward to them so much I thought I’d just go for it and post about them!

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Goodreads | Waterstones

Bryce Quinlan had the perfect life—working hard all day and partying all night—until a demon murdered her closest friends, leaving her bereft, wounded, and alone. When the accused is behind bars but the crimes start up again, Bryce finds herself at the heart of the investigation. She’ll do whatever it takes to avenge their deaths.
Hunt Athalar is a notorious Fallen angel, now enslaved to the Archangels he once attempted to overthrow. His brutal skills and incredible strength have been set to one purpose—to assassinate his boss’s enemies, no questions asked. But with a demon wreaking havoc in the city, he’s offered an irresistible deal: help Bryce find the murderer, and his freedom will be within reach.
As Bryce and Hunt dig deep into Crescent City’s underbelly, they discover a dark power that threatens everything and everyone they hold dear, and they find, in each other, a blazing passion—one that could set them both free, if they’d only let it
.

It’s been an exciting week for my shelf, especially as I picked up the exclusive edition of House of Earth and Blood. I probably won’t get around to reading it for a while, but I’m excited for when I do.

The Last Hours: Chain of Gold - The Last Hours (Hardback)

Goodreads | Waterstones

Welcome to Edwardian London, a time of electric lights and long shadows, the celebration of artistic beauty and the wild pursuit of pleasure, with demons waiting in the dark. For years there has been peace in the Shadowhunter world. James and Lucie Herondale, children of the famous Will and Tessa, have grown up in an idyll with their loving friends and family, listening to stories of good defeating evil and love conquering all. But everything changes when the Blackthorn and Carstairs families come to London…and so does a remorseless and inescapable plague.
James Herondale longs for a great love, and thinks he has found it in the beautiful, mysterious Grace Blackthorn. Cordelia Carstairs is desperate to become a hero, save her family from ruin, and keep her secret love for James hidden. When disaster strikes the Shadowhunters, James, Cordelia and their friends are plunged into a wild adventure which will reveal dark and incredible powers, and the true cruel price of being a hero…and falling in love.

I also picked up two editions of Chain of Gold, the Waterstones exclusive and normal hardcover eventually as I fell in love with it too.

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Goodreads | Waterstones

What do the queen bee, star athlete, valedictorian, stoner, loner, and music geek all have in common? They were all invited to a scholarship dinner, only to discover it’s a trap. Someone has locked them into a room with a bomb, a syringe filled with poison, and a note saying they have an hour to pick someone to kill … or else everyone dies.
Amber Prescott is determined to get her classmates and herself out of the room alive, but that might be easier said than done. No one knows how they’re all connected or who would want them dead. As they retrace the events over the past year that might have triggered their captor’s ultimatum, it becomes clear that everyone is hiding something. And with the clock ticking down, confusion turns into fear, and fear morphs into panic as they race to answer the biggest question: Who will they choose to die?

I’ve been seeing reviews of this book everywhere recently and it seems to be going down really well. I’d really like to pick it up when it comes out.

Which new releases are you excited about?

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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Animal Crossing Readathon TBR

You may not know this about me, but I’m a massive Animal Crossing fan and have been for years now. I have Animal Crossing: New Horizons pre-ordered (12 days to go!) and I’m super excited for it. So naturally, when I stumbled across this readathon, I knew I had to try and join in.

You can find more information about the readathon on their Twitter account here. So, what’s on my TBR?

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Resetti: Don’t forget to save! Read a book of your choice while using a bookmark.

I use a bookmark in every book I read so this one will easily combine for me with one of the other prompts! My most-used bookmark is a magnetic Mina Lima one with a Harry Potter book cover design on. My boyfriend gave it to me for Christmas and I love it because it never falls out of my books!

KK. Slider: Listen to an audiobook or read a book that has musical elements AND
Tom Nook: Read a book that you have recently purchased or checked out of the library

Two prompts in one because there’s no way I can read one book per prompt in just over 10 days!

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Goodreads | Waterstones

For a while, Daisy Jones & The Six were everywhere. Their albums were on every turntable, they sold out arenas from coast to coast, their sound defined an era. And then, on 12 July 1979, they split.
Nobody ever knew why. Until now.
They were lovers and friends and brothers and rivals. They couldn’t believe their luck, until it ran out. This is their story of the early days and the wild nights, but everyone remembers the truth differently.The only thing they all know for sure is that from the moment Daisy Jones walked barefoot onstage at the Whisky, their lives were irrevocably changed.
Making music is never just about the music. And sometimes it can be hard to tell where the sound stops and the feelings begin.

I’ve heard so many good things about this book, so I recently picked up a hardcover I stumbled across. It fits the music prompt perfectly, too.

Able Sisters: Read a book with strong family themes

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Goodreads | Waterstones

And there’s still so much to look forward to: a class trip to New York City, prom with her boyfriend Peter, Beach Week after graduation, and her dad’s wedding to Ms. Rothschild. Then she’ll be off to college with Peter, at a school close enough for her to come home and bake chocolate chip cookies on the weekends.
Life couldn’t be more perfect!
At least, that’s what Lara Jean thinks . . . until she gets some unexpected news.
Now the girl who dreads change must rethink all her plans—but when your heart and your head are saying two different things, which one should you listen to?

I really need to finish this series and I think it definitely falls under the family category.

Animal Crossing Gamecube: Read a book that has been on your TBR the longest or re-read an old favourite

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Goodreads | Waterstones

Sixteen years ago, after a scandal that rocked the world, teenagers Katherine and Matthew vanished without a trace. Now Clove Sutcliffe is determined to find her long lost relatives.
But where do you start looking for a couple who seem to have been reincarnated at every key moment in history? Who were Kate and Matt? Why were they born again and again? And who is the mysterious Ella, who keeps appearing at every turn in Clove’s investigation?
For Clove, there is a mystery to solve in the past and a love to find in the future, and failure could cost the world everything.

According to Goodreads I’ve had this book on my TBR since 2015, so it’ll be great to get it out of the way, and complete my Lauren James books as this is the only one I haven’t read.

I’m hoping 3 books are achievable for just over 10 days, and I’m so excited to read all of these!

Are you joining this readathon?

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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Stacking the Shelves #6

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 recently been lucky enough to pick up a really exciting ARC from where I work and it looks so cute. It even has a tiny, gorgeous rainbow Penguin logo on the side of it!

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Goodreads | Pre-Order on 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?

What did you buy this week?

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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Review: One of Us is Next (#2) by Karen M McManus

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It is a year after the action of One of Us Is Lying, and someone has started playing a game of Truth or Dare.
But this is no ordinary Truth or Dare. This game is lethal. Choosing the truth may reveal your darkest secrets, accepting the dare could be dangerous, even deadly.
The teenagers of Bayview must work together once again to find the culprit, before it’s too late . . .

I’ve had Karen M McManus’ second and third books on my shelves since their respective release dates, and it wasn’t until I’m meeting her at a book signing in a few weeks, and buddy reading with Alex became an option that I finally picked them up! It’s been almost 3 years since I read One of Us is Lying and I was really worried I wouldn’t be able to pick this one up as quick as I wanted to, or would need to re-read the first one.

But I was in luck, because this book is actually a different story that focuses on the younger siblings of the characters from One of Us is Lying, meaning you don’t really have to remember anything to follow their story!

“How do you make that choice?” I ask almost to myself.

I was so intrigued by this book from the very start. I loved the Truth and Dare and felt myself become hooked by the stories quickly, despite them seeming somewhat unrealistic in parts. As with the first book though, the writing is excellent, and I couldn’t help but find myself constantly wanting to read on and being surprised by all of the twists and turns.

The character development was great, and I rooted for my favourites and enjoyed learning more about their lives. But unfortunately, alongside the plot sometimes being unrealistic, I also found the characters hard to follow in parts due to there just being so many different POV. I would find myself reading so quickly I wasn’t always paying enough attention to the chapter I was on, and then not quite understanding which character I was reading about. This became annoying after a while, and sometimes I just wished for one or two POV instead.

“Between what you need and what you want?” 

Overall, this was a really enjoyable sequel and I found it very entertaining to read. I’d love to read more of McManus’ writing in the future!

★★★★
3.5 out of 5 stars

-Beth

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February Wrap-Up and March TBR

I read 6 books in February! That might not seem like a lot, but I’ve had much lower numbers for a while now and that’s quite impressive for me – I’m really happy.

Books I read in February

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Review | Goodreads | Waterstones

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

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Review | Goodreads | Waterstones

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

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Review | Goodreads | Waterstones

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

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Review | Goodreads | Waterstones

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

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Review | Goodreads | Waterstones

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

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Review to come | Goodreads | Waterstones

Lara Jean didn’t expect to really fall for Peter.
She and Peter were just pretending. Except suddenly they weren’t. Now Lara Jean is more confused than ever.
When another boy from her past returns to her life, Lara Jean’s feelings for him return too. Can a girl be in love with two boys at once?

My favourite book of the month was probably Yes No Maybe So and my least favourite was The Queen’s Assassin, but I still enjoyed it a lot.

Books I want to read in March

Two Can Keep a Secret – Karen M McManus
Always and Forever Lara Jean – Jenny Han
Viper – Bex Hogan

I’m already currently reading two of these books, and I’m hoping to buddy read Viper later in the month. Other than these, I’ll go on mood-reading!

What did you read in February?

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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