Stacking the Shelves #100

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

Hi again everyone! I’m currently at YALC (yes, I promise I’ll stop talking about it soon), and today is going to be my last Stacking the Shelves post of books I bought leading up to the event. Next week I’ll have a YALC haul post and after that we’ll be back to regularly scheduled programming!

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Goodreads | Amazon

Kell is one of the last Antari—magicians with a rare, coveted ability to travel between parallel Londons; Red, Grey, White, and, once upon a time, Black.
Kell was raised in Arnes—Red London—and officially serves the Maresh Empire as an ambassador, traveling between the frequent bloody regime changes in White London and the court of George III in the dullest of Londons, the one without any magic left to see.
Unofficially, Kell is a smuggler, servicing people willing to pay for even the smallest glimpses of a world they’ll never see. It’s a defiant hobby with dangerous consequences, which Kell is now seeing firsthand.
After an exchange goes awry, Kell escapes to Grey London and runs into Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations. She first robs him, then saves him from a deadly enemy, and finally forces Kell to spirit her to another world for a proper adventure.
Now perilous magic is afoot, and treachery lurks at every turn. To save all of the worlds, they’ll first need to stay alive. 

Did I DNF this book? Yes. Did I also then buy a collectors edition? Again, that would be a yes. I just couldn’t pass up on the chance to have this signed by such a famous and admired author, especially as I might pick this up again sometime and adore it!

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Goodreads | Amazon

There’s no such thing as safe in a city at war, a city overrun with monsters. In this dark urban fantasy from acclaimed author Victoria Schwab, a young woman and a young man must choose whether to become heroes or villains—and friends or enemies—with the future of their home at stake. The first of two books, This Savage Song is a must-have for fans of Holly Black, Maggie Stiefvater, and Laini Taylor.
Kate Harker and August Flynn are the heirs to a divided city—a city where the violence has begun to breed actual monsters. All Kate wants is to be as ruthless as her father, who lets the monsters roam free and makes the humans pay for his protection. All August wants is to be human, as good-hearted as his own father, to play a bigger role in protecting the innocent—but he’s one of the monsters. One who can steal a soul with a simple strain of music. When the chance arises to keep an eye on Kate, who’s just been kicked out of her sixth boarding school and returned home, August jumps at it. But Kate discovers August’s secret, and after a failed assassination attempt the pair must flee for their lives. In This Savage Song, Victoria Schwab creates a gritty, seething metropolis, one worthy of being compared to Gotham and to the four versions of London in her critically acclaimed fantasy for adults, A Darker Shade of Magic. Her heroes will face monsters intent on destroying them from every side—including the monsters within.

And as she’s only signing 3 books per person, it’d be rude to not fill that 3 wouldn’t it? So I decided to try her other series, and I’ll also be taking City of Ghosts.

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Goodreads | Amazon

The year is 2059. Nineteen-year-old Paige Mahoney is working in the criminal underworld of Scion London, based at Seven Dials, employed by a man named Jaxon Hall. Her job: to scout for information by breaking into people’s minds. For Paige is a dreamwalker, a clairvoyant – and, in the world of Scion, she commits treason simply by breathing.It is raining the day her life changes for ever. Attacked, drugged and kidnapped, Paige is transported to Oxford – a city kept secret for two hundred years, controlled by a powerful, otherworldly race. Paige is assigned to Warden, a Rephaite with mysterious motives. He is her master. Her trainer. Her natural enemy. But if Paige wants to regain her freedom she must allow herself to be nurtured in this prison where she is meant to die.

I was so excited to spot this in the window of my local charity shop, especially in an almost pristine hardback! It was only £2, and what a perfect time to spot it.

What have you bought this week?

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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Review: Solitaire by Alice Oseman

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Goodreads | Amazon

In case you’re wondering, this is not a love story.
My name is Tori Spring. I like to sleep and I like to blog. Last year – before all that stuff with Charlie and before I had to face the harsh realities of A-Levels and university applications and the fact that one day I really will have to start talking to people – I had friends. Things were very different, I guess, but that’s all over now.
Now there’s Solitaire. And Michael Holden.
I don’t know what Solitaire are trying to do, and I don’t care about Michael Holden.
I really don’t.

I have to say, I think this book is going to be one of the hardest I ever review in my whole blogging history. I’m looking at this screen right now and my mind is blank, because it’s very hard to put into words how you will feel as a reader before you actually read this book. From reading other reviews, it’s a very love/hate, depending on whether you can relate to Tori herself. I’ve definitely had times in my life where I’ve felt like Tori did throughout this novel, therefore I found it very meaningful for me personally. Saying this, I can also see why people hated it. If you have a different mindset to Tori, you could easily see her as the most whiny, pessimistic person on the planet and want for her to ‘just snap out of it already’. This reaction But she is totally not. She just suffers in her own way.

“But books–they’re different. When you watch a film, you’re sort of an outsider looking in.”

Tori Spring has to be the most raw, honest and emotive main character I’ve read in YA. Ever. Because of this, I found myself on a very intense emotional rollercoaster, in which I would take a break from this book and just have to pause for a minute.

I think the easiest way to describe Tori is that she says everything we have all thought at some point in our lives but sound crazy in our heads. She express worries we have probably all had and dismissed. And because of that, she is one of the most relatable girls in YA, to the deepest and darkest parts of you.

The reason this book is so intense and difficult is because the main subject is Tori’s deep and personal struggling. It becomes more and more apparent throughout the book how much she is dealing with when it comes to her mental health, and the massive affect this is having on her life.

“With a book–you’re right there. You are inside. You are the main character.”

Moving on from Tori herself, this book is also about family and friendship. And let me tell you, there are not enough books in this world about family and friends, and too many about romance. This book was also about mystery, and the addition of the whole Solitaire sub-plot kept the pages turning so fast for me.

I’m going to leave by saying that personally, this book wasn’t without it’s problems, and it did leave me slightly annoyed in some places, and in need of more explanation in some. But for a debut, it makes me super excited to explore Alice’s other works.

★★★★
4 out of 5 stars

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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Top 5 Authors I’d Love to Meet

This Top 5 Wednesday series is inspired by the weekly meme on Goodreads which you can find here. I no longer follow the topics and instead use my own.

This topic came to me because of the amount of authors I’m lucky enough to be meeting this weekend at YALC. Some of them I’m super happy to be able to meet in person, and it got me thinking about other authors I’d love to meet one day. I’ve been lucky enough to meet some awesome people over the years, and here’s some more I’d love to add to my list.

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Goodreads | Amazon

Amy Curry is having a terrible year. Her mother is moving all the way across the country and needs Amy to drive their car from California to the East Coast. But since the death of her father, Amy hasn’t been able to get behind the wheel of a car. Enter Roger, the son of an old family friend, who turns out to be unexpectedly cute.

I’ve grown up reading Morgan Matson books, and I’d love to tell her how much of a constant she has been in my life. I read Second Chance Summer when I was first getting into YA at around the age of 11, and I still read her new releases at the age of 19 now.

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Goodreads | Amazon

It’s 2002, a year after 9/11. It’s an extremely turbulent time politically, but especially so for someone like Shirin, a sixteen-year-old Muslim girl who’s tired of being stereotyped.
Shirin is never surprised by how horrible people can be. She’s tired of the rude stares, the degrading comments—even the physical violence—she endures as a result of her race, her religion, and the hijab she wears every day. So she’s built up protective walls and refuses to let anyone close enough to hurt her. Instead, she drowns her frustrations in music and spends her afternoons break-dancing with her brother.
But then she meets Ocean James. He’s the first person in forever who really seems to want to get to know Shirin. It terrifies her—they seem to come from two irreconcilable worlds—and Shirin has had her guard up for so long that she’s not sure she’ll ever be able to let it down. 

Do you ever want to meet an author just to tell them how important their book is? Of course it would be great to do this with Angie Thomas, but honestly I think she already knows what an impact she has made 😉 Instead, it’s mean more to me to say that to Tahereh Mafi or Sabina Khan.

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Goodreads | Amazon

The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements. It is called Le Cirque des Rêves, and it is only open at night.
But behind the scenes, a fierce competition is underway: a duel between two young magicians, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood expressly for this purpose by their mercurial instructors. Unbeknownst to them, this is a game in which only one can be left standing, and the circus is but the stage for a remarkable battle of imagination and will. Despite themselves, however, Celia and Marco tumble headfirst into love – a deep, magical love that makes the lights flicker and the room grow warm whenever they so much as brush hands.
True love or not, the game must play out, and the fates of everyone involved, from the cast of extraordinary circus per­formers to the patrons, hang in the balance, suspended as precariously as the daring acrobats overhead.

I would love to tell Erin Morgenstern what an incredible and magical world she created, and how she changed my views on pacing and the importance of a setting.

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Goodreads | Amazon

Emi has been entrusted with her brother’s Los Angeles apartment for the summer as a graduation gift, but she isn’t sure how to fulfil his one condition: that something great take place there while he’s gone. She may be a talented young production designer, already beginning to thrive in the competitive film industry, but she still feels like an average teen, floundering when it comes to romance.
But when Emi and her friend Charlotte discover a mysterious letter at the estate sale of a Hollywood film legend, Emi finds herself chasing down the loose ends of the movie icon’s hidden life. The search leads her to uncover a decades-old secret and the potential for something truly epic: love.

Nina LaCour has definitely been one of my favourite contemporary authors in recent years. In Everything Leads to You she created a complex world of film sets and romance. I adored it with all of my heart.

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Goodreads | Amazon

Harry Potter’s life is miserable. His parents are dead and he’s stuck with his heartless relatives, who force him to live in a tiny closet under the stairs. But his fortune changes when he receives a letter that tells him the truth about himself: he’s a wizard. A mysterious visitor rescues him from his relatives and takes him to his new home, Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
After a lifetime of bottling up his magical powers, Harry finally feels like a normal kid. But even within the Wizarding community, he is special. He is the boy who lived: the only person to have ever survived a killing curse inflicted by the evil Lord Voldemort, who launched a brutal takeover of the Wizarding world, only to vanish after failing to kill Harry.
Though Harry’s first year at Hogwarts is the best of his life, not everything is perfect. There is a dangerous secret object hidden within the castle walls, and Harry believes it’s his responsibility to prevent it from falling into evil hands. But doing so will bring him into contact with forces more terrifying than he ever could have imagined.

And last but not least, I don’t think I need to explain why J.K. Rowling is on this list or what I’d say to her. Mainly because I’m sure what I’d say to her would be a babbling mess!

Who would you love to meet and why?

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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Let’s Discuss! Planning for YALC 2019

Hi everyone! I keep seeing these posts and really wanted to add my own tips and tricks, so here we are.

I’m lucky enough to be going to YALC for all 3 days this year! I’ve been twice before, but only for one day at a time. This year it’s become possible to go for the whole weekend so I took my chance. I didn’t want to write this post from the prospective of something I know loads about as I haven’t done the whole weekend before, so instead I’m just going to lead you through what I’m doing in the lead up to the big weekend. Posts I’ve found helpful while planning are this one at Connie Reads and this one at For the Love of Books!

What’s YALC?

YALC stands for the Young Adult Literature Convention and is probably the biggest YA event we have in the UK. It takes place at London Olympia as part of London Film and Comic Convention, or LFCC. The convention is full of stalls, authors, publishers, workshops and talks.

1.Organise your travel beforehand

This is a big one for me. I’m staying at a hotel that’s a short tube ride away from the convention hall itself, and I’m having to get down to London on a train and a few tubes. I’ve actually never been on the tube in my life and it absolutely terrifies me! To prepare, I’ve done full research on how I’ll be getting there, home and to and from the convention hall each day.

2. Pack well and plan what to take

Of course I’m prioritising books and will be taking a suitcase for my books and a backpack for clothes (because of course clothes are less important). Luckily as YALC is in the summer I can travel fairly lightly! Each day I will either take my suitcase to YALC with me for my books, or my backpack, depending on how many books I need to have signed that day. I’ll also take a fair number of tote bags for extra purchases!

3. Take food and water

Food in London, and the Olympia, is expensive. YALC has a small cafe and have confirmed on Twitter this cafe has facilities to refill water bottles for FREE. I believe the Olympia itself (on lower levels) also has fountains. I’m eating breakfast at my hotel, taking food for in the day and having dinner out. If you need somewhere cheap for snacks or lunch, stop at the Tesco Express opposite the venue!

4. Make use of your ticket

This may sound like a stupid thing to suggest, of course you’re going to use your ticket! But what many people may not realise is that on the floors below you, London Film and Comic Convention is happening and if you’re into that stuff, it’s brilliant. It’s free to enter with your ticket so if you have a lull in the day (hard to find, but still), make sure you go and have a wander around if you can.

5. Take cash

This is one of the things I’m really going to prioritise this year. Many of the stallholders will take card I’m sure but having cash will be so helpful! It’ll also help me budget, as I’d like to stick to the cash I take out (let’s see how well that goes).

6. Check the schedules, and the floor plan

The YALC programmes are now available here, and the floor plan will be available at this link. I’d recommend printing these off before you leave, and circling/highlighting signings and events you want to attend.

7. Use Twitter (and other social media)

Social media is definitely your friend when it comes to YALC. I’m going to be turning on notifications for the publishers that are there, so when they tweet about ARCs/competitions I should see it right away! I’ll also have notifications on for YALC, the venue and my favourite authors, so I can know of any changes or unforeseen circumstances. If I can, I might also pick up a portable charger to make sure my phone stays charged for the whole day!

8. Take a notebook

I have a little notebook and pen handy to take with me, which already has lists of authors I want to see and my full itinerary for travelling.

9. Wear loose, light clothes and comfortable shoes

I cannot stress this enough. Yes, there are places to sit down and chill. If I recall, some of these in previous years haven’t been all that great (beanbag chairs in the chill out zone etc). But the reality is, you’re going to be on your feet, queuing and walking for most of the day. The venue is also HOT, with a glass roof!

Still have questions? Drop them below or check the official YALC FAQ. And if you see me over the weekend, come and say hi!

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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Beautiful Quotes #132 / The Quiet at the End of the World

Beautiful Quotes is a weekly meme hosted by me, where I post some of my favourite quotes. Any other bloggers are welcome to join me in this and just link my blog!

Hi all! Today and this week is very much focused on YALC, as I leave to go down to London on Thursday and will be there until Sunday. Today I’ve managed to pack, print out schedules, book my transport and generally prepare! I also wrote a post including tips for preparing for YALC, which will be posted tomorrow.

Today’s Beautiful Quote is from someone I’m very excited to see again at the weekend – Lauren James! I only have 2 books of hers (one being her new novella, The Starlight Watchman) that aren’t signed, and it’ll be great to see her.

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“We live in the quiet at the end of the world. The slow winding-down clockwork motions before life stops completely. Time is slipping through our fingers.” 
― Lauren James, The Quiet at the End of the World

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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Review: Do You Dream of Terra-Two? by Temi Oh

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A century ago, scientists theorised that a habitable planet existed in a nearby solar system. Today, ten astronauts will leave a dying Earth to find it. Four are decorated veterans of the 20th century’s space-race. And six are teenagers, graduates of the exclusive Dalton Academy, who’ve been in training for this mission for most of their lives.
It will take the team 23 years to reach Terra-Two. Twenty-three years spent in close quarters. Twenty-three years with no one to rely on but each other. Twenty-three years with no rescue possible, should something go wrong. And something always goes wrong. 

When I saw this author was going to be at YALC, I was intrigued right away. YA book about space exploration? I am THERE. And I have to say, I haven’t been left disappointed.

Granted, this book was not perfect. But it was so intriguing, enjoyable and had so much depth to it. We follow ten astronauts, 6 of which are young people who have been picked for the long journey to Terra-Two, a brand new habitable planet.

First of all, I adored that this focused on young people. Due to the long journey and need for the astronauts to still be fairly young when they reach Terra-Two, this book also shows them growing up and maturing as the teenagers they are. A 23 year space exploration journey isn’t going to be without it’s problems and sufferings, but throw in 6 teenagers and you have yourself some kind of twisted reality style story. And I loved it.

Seeing the difficulties these teens faced as they dealt with so many struggles on and off the ship was deep, meaningful and hit home for me. And it’s not just the teens, the adults face their own kind of problems too. Each character was deeply troubled in their own way and had suffered their own loss and guilt, and I adored that because it made them real. Of course these astronauts are brave and strong and completely badass, but they have to learn to work with each other no matter their differences.

The setting of space gave these characters a unique backdrop for their rendezvous, and the whole notion of Terra-Two was so interesting to me. Although I couldn’t picture the ship perfectly, I had some idea from the description for the more important scenes.

Unfortunately, I did have a few other small issues with the book that let this review down from 5 to 4 stars. I found the pacing very off. Yes, this book is definitely a slow burner, and in a lot of ways that did work. But I just wish I’d been more driven to pick up this book in the earlier pages, and only found myself fully hooked for the last couple of hundred. I also found that because of the large cast of characters and third person view, some of the more emotional scenes weren’t as gripping as they could have been.

However, these were very small issues in what turned out to be a very enjoyable, somewhat gripping, drama filled novel. It’s a very strong debut, and I’d love to pick up more of Temi Oh’s work in the future.

★★★★
4 out of 5 stars

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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Stacking the Shelves #99

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

YALC is this week. I repeat. THIS. WEEK.

Guys, I’m super excited! And scared about how much money I’m going to spend while I’m there on new books. But I feel pretty prepared with the one’s I’ve bought so far, especially as there is so many! This week and next week will be about books I preordered for YALC, then I’ll do a YALC haul post the weekend after when things have calmed down a little 🙂

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I was lucky enough to pick up all 4 of these books in like new condition on eBay for just £8! Ebay has definitely been my friend recently.

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Goodreads | Amazon

And although I’m super thrilled to have all of Renee’s books I want to read now, this one is also different to book one in cover and size. How annoying is that?

Did you buy any books this week?

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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