Stacking the Shelves #2

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 feel like I’ve gained so many books in the past few weeks, but luckily all of the ones in today’s post I managed to receive as ARCs!

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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.

I was lucky enough to be at the Northern Bloggers Bi-Monthly Book Bash a few weeks ago, and we were all given ARCs of this book. I’m currently buddy-reading it with Alex from Library of Books and Tea, and I’m really enjoying it so far.

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Goodreads | Waterstones

The Prince and the Pauper gets a modern makeover in this adorable, witty, and heartwarming young adult novel set in the Geekerella universe by national bestselling author Ashley Poston.Imogen Lovelace is an ordinary fangirl on an impossible mission: save her favorite character, Princess Amara, from being killed off from her favorite franchise, Starfield. The problem is, Jessica Stone—the actress who plays Princess Amara—wants nothing more than to leave the intense scrutiny of the fandom behind. If this year’s ExcelsiCon isn’t her last, she’ll consider her career derailed.
When a case of mistaken identity throws look-a-likes Imogen and Jess together, they quickly become enemies. But when the script for the Starfield sequel leaks, and all signs point to Jess, she and Imogen must trade places to find the person responsible. That’s easier said than done when the girls step into each other’s shoes and discover new romantic possibilities, as well as the other side of intense fandom. As these “princesses” race to find the script-leaker, they must rescue themselves from their own expectations, and redefine what it means to live happily ever after.

At the same event, we all brought any spare proofs we didn’t want to swap. I donated a few and picked up this which I’ve wanted to read since I read Geekerella when that came out!

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Goodreads | Waterstones

The curse is finally broken, but Prince Rhen of Emberfall faces darker troubles still. Rumors circulate that he is not the true heir and that forbidden magic has been unleashed in Emberfall. Although Rhen has Harper by his side, his guardsman Grey is missing, leaving more questions than answers.
Win the crown, save the kingdom.
Rumored to be the heir, Grey has been on the run since he destroyed Lilith. He has no desire to challenge Rhen–until Karis Luran once again threatens to take Emberfall by force. Her own daughter Lia Mara sees the flaws in her mother’s violent plan, but can she convince Grey to stand against Rhen, even for the good of Emberfall?
The heart-pounding, compulsively readable saga continues as loyalties are tested and new love blooms in a kingdom on the brink of war.

I requested a copy of A Heart so Fierce and Broken through work, but I really didn’t expect to get a copy! I was really shocked when this came in for me.

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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
.

This is another ARC I managed to grab through work, and I’m really looking forward to picking it up.

What did you buy this week?

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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January Wrap-Up

January has been a rather disappointing start to the year, with me only reading 3 full books. But I’m determined to read more in February to make up for it!

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Review | Goodreads | Waterstones

Growing up in New York, brothers Emil and Brighton always idolized the Spell Walkers-a vigilante group sworn to rid the world of specters. While the Spell Walkers and other celestials are born with powers, specters take them, violently stealing the essence of endangered magical creatures.
Brighton wishes he had a power so he could join the fray. Emil just wants the fighting to stop. The cycle of violence has taken a toll, making it harder for anyone with a power to live peacefully and openly. In this climate of fear, a gang of specters has been growing bolder by the day.
Then, in a brawl after a protest, Emil manifests a power of his own-one that puts him right at the heart of the conflict and sets him up to be the heroic Spell Walker Brighton always wanted to be.
Brotherhood, love, and loyalty will be put to the test, and no one will escape the fight unscathed.

Unfortunately, my first read of the year was a fairly disappointing one. I’d been looking forward to this book for so long and was so excited to finally manage to get a proof copy, but I definitely didn’t enjoy it as much as I’d have liked to.

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Review | Goodreads | Waterstones

Books are dangerous things in Collins’s alternate universe, a place vaguely reminiscent of 19th-century England. It’s a world in which people visit book binders to rid themselves of painful or treacherous memories. Once their stories have been told and are bound between the pages of a book, the slate is wiped clean and their memories lose the power to hurt or haunt them. After having suffered some sort of mental collapse and no longer able to keep up with his farm chores, Emmett Farmer is sent to the workshop of one such binder to live and work as her apprentice. Leaving behind home and family, Emmett slowly regains his health while learning the binding trade. He is forbidden to enter the locked room where books are stored, so he spends many months marbling end pages, tooling leather book covers, and gilding edges. But his curiosity is piqued by the people who come and go from the inner sanctum, and the arrival of the lordly Lucian Darnay, with whom he senses a connection, changes everything.

The Binding isn’t something I’d usually pick up, and I think that’s probably why it took me longer than usual to read. I did end up really enjoying it though!

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Review | Goodreads

Marin hasn’t spoken to anyone from her old life since the day she left everything behind. No one knows the truth about those final weeks. Not even her best friend, Mabel. But even thousands of miles away from the California coast, at college in New York, Marin still feels the pull of the life and tragedy she’s tried to outrun. Now, months later, alone in an emptied dorm for winter break, Marin waits. Mabel is coming to visit, and Marin will be forced to face everything that’s been left unsaid and finally confront the loneliness that has made a home in her heart.

After The Binding, I wanted to pick up something I’ve been wanting to read in a while, so I went for We Are Okay by Nina LaCour. I loved Everything Leads to You and I’d heard so many good things about this book.

My favourite book of the month was definitely We Are Okay, and my least favourite was Infinity Son.

What did you read in January?

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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Review: We Are Okay by Nina LaCour

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Goodreads

Marin hasn’t spoken to anyone from her old life since the day she left everything behind. No one knows the truth about those final weeks. Not even her best friend, Mabel. But even thousands of miles away from the California coast, at college in New York, Marin still feels the pull of the life and tragedy she’s tried to outrun. Now, months later, alone in an emptied dorm for winter break, Marin waits. Mabel is coming to visit, and Marin will be forced to face everything that’s been left unsaid and finally confront the loneliness that has made a home in her heart. 

I read Everything Leads To You by Nina LaCour in 2018 and it ended up being one of my favourite books of that year. Two years on, I finally decided to pick up We Were Okay, and I’m so thankful I did. I can’t even begin to tell you how much I adored this book. I knew from the very first page that I would.

The story follows Marin, who has lost so much in her life and has been left trying to find herself among the ruins that are left behind. This book explores her grief and heartache in a way I have never read about before. It is something so raw and beautiful, and left me crying at various points.

“One of the first lectures my history professor gave us was about this guy William Morris. He said that everything you own should be either useful or beautiful.

I saw something of myself in Marin – her conflict of being alone and being surrounded. Her gentle ways with the people she loved the most. Every second I spent away from this book, I longed to be back within it’s pages. Each chapter seemed to be a poem all of it’s own, and it left me piecing the story together bit by bit, wanting to know more. Addicted. Consumed.

I could have easily flipped this book over and just started it again the moment I finished, and it’s been a long time since I felt so strongly about a book in that way. Constantly, I began to think of times in the future when I know I will pick this up for warmth, despite the heartache.

It’s a lot to aspire to, but I figured why not try?”

We Are Okay left me with tears running down my face, feeling a gentle, burning warmth at the gorgeous writing and delightful, complicated characters. I am endlessly grateful for finding this truly lovely piece of writing I think will stay in my heart forever.

★★★★★
5 out of 5 stars

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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Let's Discuss! Favourite Books of 2019

Hello everybody! I’m here today with a post I always find hard to write – my favourite books of last year. I hate the question ‘what is your favourite book’, because I never feel I can choose! But I’m forcing myself to do a top 5 countdown today for you, to challenge myself on actually choosing.

5.

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Review | Goodreads | Waterstones

Amid the chaos of war, the Shadowhunters must decide to fight with the vampires, werewolves and other Downworlders – or against them. Meanwhile, Jace and Clary have their own decision to make: should they pursue the love they know is a mortal sin?

I had to choose a Cassandra Clare book to include in this list, and City of Glass was my favourite in The Mortal Instruments series. But still, no other Cassandra Clare book beats Clockwork Princess for me!

4.

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Review | Goodreads | Waterstones

Sixteen-year-old Starr lives in two worlds: the poor neighbourhood where she was born and raised and her posh high school in the suburbs. The uneasy balance between them is shattered when Starr is the only witness to the fatal shooting of her unarmed best friend, Khalil, by a police officer. Now what Starr says could destroy her community. It could also get her killed. 

I was so late to the party reading The Hate U Give, but it astounded me all the same. It truly is an incredibly important book.

3.

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Review | Goodreads | Waterstones

In this richly developed fantasy, Lei is a member of the Paper caste, the lowest and most persecuted class of people in Ikhara. She lives in a remote village with her father, where the decade-old trauma of watching her mother snatched by royal guards for an unknown fate still haunts her. Now, the guards are back and this time it’s Lei they’re after — the girl with the golden eyes whose rumored beauty has piqued the king’s interest.
Over weeks of training in the opulent but oppressive palace, Lei and eight other girls learns the skills and charm that befit a king’s consort. There, she does the unthinkable — she falls in love. Her forbidden romance becomes enmeshed with an explosive plot that threatens her world’s entire way of life. Lei, still the wide-eyed country girl at heart, must decide how far she’s willing to go for justice and revenge. 

I adored Girls of Paper and Fire so much! It was such a beautiful read that meant so much to me, but unfortunately I didn’t enjoy the second book as much.

2.

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Review | Goodreads | Waterstones

Amelie loved Reese. And she thought he loved her. But she’s starting to realise love isn’t supposed to hurt like this. So now she’s retracing their story and untangling what happened by revisiting all the places he made her cry.
Because if she works out what went wrong, perhaps she can finally learn to get over him.

This book came at a time in my life that it couldn’t have helped me more. It was such an emotional read for me and made me realise a lot. But it didn’t quite nab top spot!

1.

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Review | Goodreads | Waterstones

Zachary Ezra Rawlins is a graduate student in Vermont when he discovers a strange book hidden in the library stacks. As he turns the pages, entranced by tales of lovelorn prisoners, key collectors, and nameless acolytes, he reads something strange: a story from his own childhood. Bewildered by this inexplicable book and desperate to make sense of how his own life came to be recorded, Zachary uncovers a series of clues – a bee, a key and a sword – that lead him to a masquerade party in New York, to a secret club, and through a doorway to a subterranean library, hidden far below the surface of the earth.
What Zachary finds in this curious place is more than just a buried home for books and their guardians – it is a place of lost cities and seas, lovers who pass notes under doors and across time, and of stories whispered by the dead. Zachary learns of those who have sacrificed much to protect this realm, relinquishing their sight and their tongues to preserve this archive, and also those who are intent on its destruction. Together with Mirabel, a fierce, pink-haired protector of the place, and Dorian, a handsome barefoot man with shifting alliances, Zachary travels the twisting tunnels, darkened stairwells, crowded ballrooms, and sweetly-soaked shores of this magical world, discovering his purpose – in both the mysterious book and in his own life
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I feel like I’m cheating calling my last read of the year my favourite, but a month on and it still means so much to me. I absolutely adored The Starless Sea and it was such a desert island book. I couldn’t help but give it my number 1.

Which was your favourite read of 2019?

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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Let's Discuss! Reading Resolutions for 2020

Hi all! I try not to give myself too many targets to avoid disappointment or aiming for anything I realistically can’t achieve, but I also love completing things I aspire to do! So, today I’m going through some reading and blogging resolutions for the year.

  • Read 50 books

I’ve been aiming to read 50 books per year for the past few years, and I only change my Goodreads goal towards the end of the year if I feel I can achieve over that. I managed to up my goal and hit 65 last year, but I’m going to go for 50 again as to not stress myself too much and see how it goes.

  • Read more than I buy

This is a big goal for me right now – I ended last year with more unread books than I had at the start, but I’d like 2020 to be different.

  • Read some of my series

In this post, I discussed some series I’d like to read in 2020. I have a lot sitting on my shelves and it’d be great to get them done!

  • Read a classic

As with last year, I’d like to read just one classic, or more if I can. I imagine with how much I adored the movie, this will end up starting with Little Women, which I’m now desperate to read.

  • Keep up to date on reading ARCs

With me now working as a bookseller, I tend to be lucky enough to pick up ARCs often. But I’m trying, with the help of buddy reads with the lovely Faye and Alex, to keep on top of them!

  • Keep up a blogging schedule

Something I’ve been finding super handy is having this amazing Google sheets document! Faye at A Daydreamers Thoughts shared it with me at the start of the year, and it’s already helping me immensely with keeping on top of my blog.

Thank you for reading! What are your resolutions for the year?

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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Review: The Binding by Bridget Collins

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Goodreads | Waterstones

Books are dangerous things in Collins’s alternate universe, a place vaguely reminiscent of 19th-century England. It’s a world in which people visit book binders to rid themselves of painful or treacherous memories. Once their stories have been told and are bound between the pages of a book, the slate is wiped clean and their memories lose the power to hurt or haunt them. After having suffered some sort of mental collapse and no longer able to keep up with his farm chores, Emmett Farmer is sent to the workshop of one such binder to live and work as her apprentice. Leaving behind home and family, Emmett slowly regains his health while learning the binding trade. He is forbidden to enter the locked room where books are stored, so he spends many months marbling end pages, tooling leather book covers, and gilding edges. But his curiosity is piqued by the people who come and go from the inner sanctum, and the arrival of the lordly Lucian Darnay, with whom he senses a connection, changes everything.

I really wasn’t sure about this book. It’s unlike a lot of books I read, especially the historical aspect being a big no-no for me usually. But with it being the Fiction Book of the Month where I work and my colleague adoring it, I decided to give it a go. I also had a niggling feeling it might have underlying tones of The Starless Sea about it, and I loved that book so much!

I wasn’t wrong about it feeling like The Starless Sea. The Binding had the same enchanting, sprawling writing style as Erin Morgenstern does in both of her books which I love so much. But I didn’t feel quite so mystified with The Binding.

‘Memories,’ she said, at last. ‘Not people, Emmett. We take memories and bind them. Whatever people can’t bear to remember. 

This book is written in three parts. The first part didn’t draw me in as half as much as I would have liked it too. It was slow and plodding and somewhat problematic, with the protagonist, Emmett, being kept in the dark about a lot of things. The location was vivid and witchlike, and was the main aspect I focused on in this portion of the story.

The second part reeled me in like a fly trapped in a spiders web. With a suddenness that was jarring at first, we are thrown into a much different time, and much different situation. The second part is full of lust, desire and forbidden love. I adored it. This part of the book is the one that captured my heart and left me feeling completely enthralled with the characters and their stories.

The third part was again, much different. We jump ahead, before the first part, and look back on the story. I didn’t enjoy this part as much as the second, but I still felt trapped with my desire to find out what happens to these characters.

Whatever they can’t live with. We take those memories and put them where they can’t do any harm. That’s all books are’

Overall, this book is enchanting and beautiful, and I can see why it seems to be so well loved. For the most part, it didn’t capture my imagination as much as I would have hoped, but I ended up enjoying it quite a lot all the same. If the entire book had enchanted me as much as the second part did, it would have been a solid 5 stars. But due to the first, and sometimes the third parts letting it down a little, I’m going to go with 4.

★★★★
4 out of 5 stars

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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Stacking the Shelves #1

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’m back with a brand new series of Stacking the Shelves posts. I’m trying really hard to control my book-buying in 2020, but working in a bookshop makes it so much harder! I’m proud of myself for only having actually bought one book so far this year, though.

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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 guess I’ve always been a wild swimmer in one sense or another, and as I’ve grown up I’ve started swimming in rivers and lakes as well as the sea! I’ve been eyeing up this book for a while, so I finally decided to pick it up.

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Goodreads | Waterstones

Welcome to the café that never sleeps. Day and night Stella’s Café opens its doors for the lonely and the lost, the morning people and the night owls. It is many things to many people but most of all it is a place where life can wait at the door. A place of small kindnesses. A place where anyone can be whoever they want, where everyone is always welcome.
Meet Hannah and Mona: best friends, waitresses, dreamers. They work at Stella’s but they dream of more, of leaving the café behind and making their own way in life.
Come inside and spend twenty-four hours at Stella’s Café; a day when Hannah and Mona’s friendship will be tested, when the community will come together and when lives will be changed…

And here comes the danger of working in a bookshop – we get so many proofs! And this one came in a couple of days before I picked up The Lido, so I thought why not just pick both up.

My only hope is that I don’t build on my TBR this year, and buy less than I read! Wish me luck.

Did you buy any books this week?

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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