Review: Hani and Ishu’s Guide to Fake Dating by Adiba Jaigirdar

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Goodreads | Waterstones

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

This was just the absolute cutest. I buddy read this one with a few friends, and most of our chat was between ‘how cute is this’ and ‘how annoying is this side character’. Hani is a popular girl who has recently come out as bisexual to her friends, who invalidate her sexuality because she’s only dated guys. Ishu is an academic overachiever who wants to become Head Girl, but needs to become more popular to get votes. They begin a fake relationship to mutually benefit them both, which brings them closer together.

One of my favourite parts of this book was the Muslim and Bengali rep. It felt authentic, natural and was so lovely to read about. It shouldn’t feel groundbreaking to have this kind of rep in YA, but it really does. I was reading this the entire time thinking of young Muslim readers who will see themselves in these characters. There are so many little things mentioned in this book, from wearing hijab, to praying, to having peer pressure from classmates to drink, that young Muslim girls will not have seen discussed in books before. And although that is crazy, and sad, I’m so happy to their stories finally shining through in YA. I also loved how this didn’t try to explain terms or coddle readers who are not from a South Asian background, because it is not the job of the author to educate.

I loved how distinct the two main characters and their families were, both having their own voices and interests. Although they do become intertwined with each other’s lives and have some quirks that belong only within the relationship, they also remain true to themselves and their own personalities. I also really liked Hani’s relationship with her family, which was so wholesome and lovely to read about. I especially found that in comparison to Ishu’s parents, it was heartwarming to read about their interactions. Ishu’s relationship with her sister was, although complicated, also lovely to read about.

Despite some of the difficult topics and discussions, I found this one very easy to read and dip in and out of for the buddy read. I became absorbed into the story so quickly, and found myself becoming emotional for different reasons throughout, especially feeling a lot of anger towards anyone who hurt these two girls. The only downside I found with this one is that some aspects of the plot had loose ends, or sometimes felt a little frustrating – especially when it came to the racism within the school.

Overall, this book was so heartwarming and fluffy but also covered some really important topics. I really loved it I’d love to pick up The Henna Wars by the same author!

★★★★★
4.5 out of 5 stars

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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Review: Show Us Who You Are by Elle McNicoll

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Goodreads | Waterstones

When Cora’s brother drags her along to his boss’s house, she doesn’t expect to strike up a friendship with Adrien, son of the intimidating CEO of Pomegranate Technologies. As she becomes part of Adrien’s life, she is also drawn into the mysterious projects at Pomegranate. At first, she’s intrigued by them – Pomegranate is using AI to recreate real people in hologram form. As she digs deeper, however, she uncovers darker secrets… Cora knows she must unravel their plans, but can she fight to make her voice heard, whilst never losing sight of herself?

I knew this was going to be good because I’ve heard so many amazing things about it, but wow. What a book. What I didn’t expect was to be quite so blown away by this, or quite so reeling with emotion throughout and especially in the last 10 or 20 pages. I was not prepared for or expecting the emotional rollercoaster that this book is, and trust me Elle McNicoll does not hesitate to discuss some really deep and important issues.

Our main character, Cora, is neurodivergent and has autism. She quickly becomes friends with Adrien, who has ADHD. Their friendship was so real and heartwarming to read about, and I loved the portrayals of both of them individually and together. This book is own voices as I believe the author has autism themselves, and it makes the portrayal of Cora’s autism all the more authentic. Not only will this book be amazing for neurodivergent kids, who will finally see themselves on the pages, it will also hopefully serve as an educational tool for all children and help them understand their friends and classmates. Although I am not neurodivergent, I did see myself a lot throughout this book because of Adrien’s homeschooling. I was homeschooled myself, specifically because I struggled in school, and some of the comments made me feel seen in a way I never have before in relation to homeschooling.

I have every right to be here. As me. Exactly as I am. I might be different to you, I might be different to every person in this room, but you have no more of a right to exist than I do. 

What I expected from this book was two neurodivergent kids having Scooby-Doo style adventure. And while there are certainly aspects of this throughout, Show Us Who You Are runs so much deeper than I could have expected. It is such an important story that genuinely hit me hard in places and made me really emotional. Seeing Cora explore her own identity and grow in confidence throughout this book really warmed my heart. I rooted for her the whole way.

The characters were amazingly written and great to read about, some cleverly planned to be turned against you when you least expect it. Although I did guess one of the major plot points towards the end, a lot of this book left me reeling with the reveals. I loved the wider cast of characters, especially some of the more heartwarming parents and teachers. Cora’s situation as a child who has recently lost her mother not only allows for some amazing, heart-wrenching discussions about grief, but also single parent rep, which I found really important.

You don’t get to pick and choose which bits of me are fine. All of me is fine.

On top of all of the aspects of this book I adored is that the writing is truly excellent. This was so fast to read, and I read in a couple of sittings over 24 hours, but is also hard-hitting, beautiful and sometimes poetic. It is just perfect for this rollercoaster of a story. I’m so glad I picked it up and I can’t wait to recommend this to people around me, adults and children alike.

★★★★★
5 out of 5 stars

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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Stacking the Shelves #47

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! It’s been a few weeks since I last posted one of these and I have gained a LOT of books in that time (probably too many). Let’s have a look at what I got!

Bought

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Goodreads | Waterstones

Ever felt anxious or alone? Like you don’t belong anywhere? Like you’re almost… invisible? Find your kindred spirits at The Sad Ghost Club.
This is the story of one of those days – a day so bad you can barely get out of bed, when it’s a struggle to leave the house, and when you do, you wish you hadn’t. But even the worst of days can surprise you. When one sad ghost, lost and alone at a crowded party, spies another sad ghost across the room, they decide to leave together. What happens next changes everything. Because that night they start the The Sad Ghost Club – a secret society for the anxious and alone, a club for people who think they don’t belong.

I’ve wanted a copy of this for a while and I was lucky enough to find a signed edition in a Waterstones I visited recently!

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Goodreads | Waterstones

Greece in the age of heroes. Patroclus, an awkward young prince, has been exiled to the court of King Peleus and his perfect son Achilles. By all rights their paths should never cross, but Achilles takes the shamed prince as his friend, and as they grow into young men skilled in the arts of war and medicine their bond blossoms into something deeper – despite the displeasure of Achilles’ mother Thetis, a cruel sea goddess. But then word comes that Helen of Sparta has been kidnapped. Torn between love and fear for his friend, Patroclus journeys with Achilles to Troy, little knowing that the years that follow will test everything they hold dear.

I wanted this cover of The Song of Achilles, which is now out of print, but I managed to find one second hand.

Illumicrate introduces special 'The Infernal Devices' box – TMI Source

These beautiful editions of The Infernal Devices arrived recently! I absolutely love them.

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Goodreads | Waterstones

Adrift after her sister Bailey’s sudden death, Lennie finds herself torn between quiet, seductive Toby—Bailey’s boyfriend who shares her grief—and Joe, the new boy in town who bursts with life and musical genius. Each offers Lennie something she desperately needs… though she knows if the two of them collide her whole world will explode.
Join Lennie on this heartbreaking and hilarious journey of profound sorrow and mad love, as she makes colossal mistakes and colossal discoveries, as she traipses through band rooms and forest bedrooms and ultimately right into your heart.
As much a celebration of love as a poignant portrait of loss, Lennie’s struggle to sort her own melody out of the noise around her is always honest, often uproarious, and absolutely unforgettable.

I found this beautiful 10th anniversary edition of The Sky is Everywhere (fun fact, this book inspired my blog name!) recently and just had to pick it up.

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Goodreads | Waterstones

Linus Baker leads a quiet, solitary life. At forty, he lives in a tiny house with a devious cat and his old records. As a Case Worker at the Department in Charge Of Magical Youth, he spends his days overseeing the well-being of children in government-sanctioned orphanages.
When Linus is unexpectedly summoned by Extremely Upper Management he’s given a curious and highly classified assignment: travel to Marsyas Island Orphanage, where six dangerous children reside: a gnome, a sprite, a wyvern, an unidentifiable green blob, a were-Pomeranian, and the Antichrist. Linus must set aside his fears and determine whether or not they’re likely to bring about the end of days.
But the children aren’t the only secret the island keeps. Their caretaker is the charming and enigmatic Arthur Parnassus, who will do anything to keep his wards safe. As Arthur and Linus grow closer, long-held secrets are exposed, and Linus must make a choice: destroy a home or watch the world burn.

I also came across a copy of this for the first time in person while at work and put it to the side for myself as I’ve heard so many amazing things about it.

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Goodreads | Waterstones

Under the Martial Empire, defiance is met with death.
When Laia’s grandparents are brutally murdered and her brother arrested for treason by the empire, the only people she has left to turn to are the rebels.
But in exchange for their help in saving her brother, they demand that Laia spy on the ruthless Commandant of Blackcliff, the Empire’s greatest military academy. Should she fail it’s more than her brother’s freedom at risk . . . Laia’s very life is at stake.
There, she meets Elias, the academy’s finest soldier. But Elias wants only to be free of the tyranny he’s being trained to enforce. He and Laia will soon realize that their destinies are intertwined – and that their choices will change the fate of the Empire itself.

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Goodreads | Waterstones

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Goodreads | Waterstones

I recently decided to unhaul my Fairyloot set of these, and I’ve picked up the paperbacks as I did enjoy the series, just not enough to keep my super special editions.

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Goodreads | Waterstones

During the summer of his first year in high school, a young man named Hodaka runs away from home to the bustling city of Tokyo. Alone and exhausted, he decides to kill time in a fast food place, where he meets a young woman named Hina who happens to work there. Little does he know that Hina possesses powers that not only affect the weather, but the whole world…
In Weathering with You, Makoto Shinkai dives into topics like love and sacrifice to show how far one boy goes to protect the thing he loves most. This manga reveals the backstories and true thoughts of the characters who stole the hearts of fans and critics worldwide.

Your Name and Weathering With You are two of my favourite films so I was excited to see the first volume of this manga.

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Goodreads | Waterstones

When glamorous socialite Noemi Taboada receives a frantic letter from her newlywed cousin begging to be rescued from a mysterious doom, it’s clear something is desperately amiss. Catalina has always had a flair for the dramatic, but her claims that her husband is poisoning her and her visions of restless ghosts seem remarkable, even for her.
Noemi’s more suited to cocktail parties than amateur sleuthing, but she heads immediately to High Place, a remote mansion in the Mexican countryside, determined to discover what is so affecting her cousin. She’s tough and smart, with an indomitable will, and she is not afraid: not of her cousin’s new husband, who is both menacing and alluring; not of his father, the ancient patriarch who is fascinated by Noemi; and not of the house itself, which begins to invade Noemi’s dreams with visions of blood and doom.
Her only ally in this inhospitable abode is the family’s youngest son. Shy and gentle, he wants to help – but he might also be hiding dark knowledge of his family’s past. For there are many secrets behind the walls of High Place. The family’s once colossal wealth and faded mining empire kept them from prying eyes, but as Noemi digs deeper she unearths stories of violence and madness.
And Noemi, mesmerised by the terrifying yet seductive world of High Place, may soon find it impossible to leave this enigmatic house behind …

I’ve wanted to read this for a while and me and Amy want to buddy read it together, so we both picked up copies.

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Goodreads | Waterstones

Maeve Chambers doesn’t have much going for her. Not only does she feel like the sole idiot in a family of geniuses, she managed to drive away her best friend Lily a year ago. But when she finds a pack of dusty old tarot cards at school, and begins to give scarily accurate readings to the girls in her class, she realizes she’s found her gift at last. Things are looking up – until she discovers a strange card in the deck that definitely shouldn’t be there. And two days after she convinces her ex-best friend to have a reading, Lily disappears.
Can Maeve, her new friend Fiona and Lily’s brother Roe find her? And will their special talents be enough to bring Lily back, before she’s gone for good? 

I’ve also recently heard amazing things about this one, mostly from BooksNest on YouTube. Me, Amy and Jo have decided to read it together soon as we haven’t done a buddy read in a while!

Gifted

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Goodreads | Waterstones

Seventeen-year-old Valeria is one of the only survivors of the freeze, a dark magical hold Knnot Mountain unleashed over her village. Everyone, including her family, is trapped in an unbreakable sheet of ice. Ever since, she’s been on the run from the Czar, who is determined to imprison any who managed to escape. Valeria finds refuge with the Thieves Guild, doing odd jobs with her best friend Alik, the only piece of home she has left.
That is, until he is brutally murdered.
A year later, she discovers Alik is alive and being held against his will. To buy his freedom, she must lead a group of cutthroats and thieves on a perilous expedition to the very mountain that claimed her family. Only something sinister slumbers in the heart of Knnot.
And it has waited years for release.

I’ve seen this around a lot and I decided I really wanted the Fairyloot edition, and Amy very kindly gifted one to me!

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Goodreads | Waterstones

This one was sent to me by the publishers – thank you! – and I really like the sound of it. Little did I know, it’s the second in a series! Hopefully I can pick up the first at some point and read them both.

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Goodreads | Waterstones

In this delicious new collection, you’ll find stories about lurking vampires of social media, rebellious vampires hungry for more than just blood, eager vampires coming out―and going out for their first kill―and other bold, breathtaking, dangerous, dreamy, eerie, iconic, powerful creatures of the night.
Welcome to the evolution of the vampire―and a revolution on the page.
Vampires Never Get Old includes stories by authors both bestselling and acclaimed, including Samira Ahmed, Dhonielle Clayton, Zoraida Córdova and Natalie C. Parker, Tessa Gratton, Heidi Heilig, Julie Murphy, Mark Oshiro, Rebecca Roanhorse, Laura Ruby, Victoria “V. E.” Schwab, and Kayla Whaley
.

And last but not least, this one was also sent to me by the publishers – thank you Titan! I heard that V.E. Schwab’s short story is being adapted for Netflix, and I really wanted to read it.

Which books did you buy or receive this week?

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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ARC review: Blackout by Various Authors

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Goodreads | Waterstones

The irresistible blockbuster YA romance of summer 2021 that celebrates Black love stories, by six of the biggest voices in YA. Perfect for fans of Jenny Han, Netflix’s Let it Snow and Bolu Babalola’s Love in Colour.
When a heatwave plunges New York City into darkness, sparks fly for thirteen teenagers caught up in the blackout. From the exes who have to bury their rivalry and walk from Manhattan to Brooklyn in time to kick off a block party, to the two boys trapped on the subway who come face-to-face with their feelings and the pair of best friends stuck in the library and surrounded by love stories and one very big secret, they are all about to see that when the lights go out, people reveal hidden truths, love blossoms, friendship transforms, and all possibilities take flight.
Six of today’s biggest stars of the YA world bring all the electricity of love to a collection of charming, hilarious and heartbreaking tales that shine the brightest light through the dark.

Thank you to Electric Monkey (Harper Collins) for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review! This book is released on June 24th in the UK.

I have wanted to read this one as soon as I saw it on 2021 YA releases lists. Yes to all of this. Yes to Black voices and Black love stories. Yes to an anthology. Yes to a New York blackout setting. Yes to cute romance. Yes to queer romance. There are so many things I adored in this book.

This is a collection of short stories following different teenagers throughout one night. On this particular night, New York falls into darkness during a blackout, and I adored this setting. It reminds me of the Friends episode The One With the Blackout, which is also one of my favourite episodes because I love the concept of what happens during a weird phenomenon like a city-wide blackout.

The short story concept was so sweet, especially because they kind of intertwined and the characters in some stories mentioned characters from others, which I really liked. I also liked how one of the stories was placed throughout the book in sections, with other stories breaking it up. My only let down was I expected a big scene at the end bringing all of the characters together, and I was a little sad that didn’t happen.

I love how different these stories were, in setting and story and characters. My favourite of the stories was actually sapphic, and was just so sweet. It was set in a home for older people, and the character’s were so sweet. The only downside I find with short stories is I find I struggle to connect to the character’s quite as much because of the lack of time to become connected to them. However, with Made to Fit by Ashley Woodfolk, my favourite story, I just fell in love with the characters. Also one of these stories was set in New York Public Library, which I adored!

These stories were so cute and fluffy, and made for a perfect summery romance read! I loved the differences between the stories but there actually wasn’t one I disliked. I’d highly recommend this one and especially the Waterstones exclusive edition because those sprayed edges!

★★★★
4 out of 5 stars

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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May Wrap-Up + June TBR

Hi! I’m here with a very late May Wrap-Up and June TBR, even though we’re halfway through June, oh well. I managed to read 14 books in May and all of the books on my TBR, which I’m so happy about. I recently posted videos of my May Wrap-Up and my Whatever-You-Want-a-Thon TBR for June, which I will link here.

Books I Read in May

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Review (2020) | Goodreads | Waterstones

★★★★
4 out of 5 stars

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Review | Goodreads | Waterstones

Anne Shirley is an eleven-year-old orphan who has hung on determinedly to an optimistic spirit and a wildly creative imagination through her early deprivations. She erupts into the lives of aging brother and sister Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert, a girl instead of the boy they had sent for. Thus begins a story of transformation for all three; indeed the whole rural community of Avonlea comes under Anne’s influence in some way. We see her grow from a girl to a young woman of sixteen, making her mistakes, and not always learning from them. Intelligent, hot-headed as her own red hair, unwilling to take a moral truth as read until she works it out for herself, she must also face grief and loss and learn the true meaning of love. Part Tom Sawyer, part Jane Eyre, by the end of Anne of Green Gables, Anne has become the heroine of her own story. 

★★★★
4 out of 5 stars

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Review | Goodreads | Waterstones

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

★★★
5 out of 5 stars

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Review | Goodreads | Waterstones

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

★★★★
4 out of 5 stars

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Review | Goodreads | Waterstones

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

★★★
5 out of 5 stars

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Review | Goodreads | Waterstones

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

★★★★
3.5 out of 5 stars

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★★★★
3.5 out of 5 stars
| Goodreads | Waterstones

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

★★★★★
4.5 out of 5 stars

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Review | Goodreads | Waterstones

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

★★★★★
4.5 out of 5 stars

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Review | Goodreads | Waterstones

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

★★★★
4 out of 5 stars

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Review | Goodreads | Waterstones

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

★★★
3 out of 5 stars

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Review | Goodreads | Waterstones

The gentle thoroughbred, Black Beauty, is raised with care and is treated well until a vicious groom injures him. The damaged horse is then sold to various masters at whose hands he experiences cruelty and neglect. After many unpleasant episodes, including one where he becomes a painfully overworked cab horse in London, Black Beauty finally canters towards a happy ending. Although Anna Sewell’s classic is set firmly in the Victorian period, its message is universal and timeless: animals will serve humans well if they are treated with consideration and kindness.

★★★★
3.5 out of 5 stars

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Review | Goodreads | Waterstones

The Demon King. As Fjerda’s massive army prepares to invade, Nikolai Lantsov will summon every bit of his ingenuity and charm—and even the monster within—to win this fight. But a dark threat looms that cannot be defeated by a young king’s gift for the impossible.
The Stormwitch. Zoya Nazyalensky has lost too much to war. She saw her mentor die and her worst enemy resurrected, and she refuses to bury another friend. Now duty demands she embrace her powers to become the weapon her country needs. No matter the cost.
The Queen of Mourning. Deep undercover, Nina Zenik risks discovery and death as she wages war on Fjerda from inside its capital. But her desire for revenge may cost her country its chance at freedom and Nina the chance to heal her grieving heart.

King. General. Spy. Together they must find a way to forge a future in the darkness. Or watch a nation fall. 

★★★★
4 out of 5 stars

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Review | Goodreads | Waterstones

The Jungle Book introduces Mowgli, the human foundling adopted by a family of wolves. It tells of the enmity between him and the tiger Shere Khan, who killed Mowgli’s parents, and of the friendship between the man-cub and Bagheera, the black panther, and Baloo, the sleepy brown bear, who instructs Mowgli in the Laws of the Jungle.

★★★★
3.5 out of 5 stars

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Review | Goodreads | Waterstones

Vaseline on the teeth makes a smile shine. It’s a cheap stunt, but Mark Adams knows it’s optics that can win or ruin an election.
Everything Mark learned about politics, he learned from his father, the congressman who still pretends he has a daughter and not a son. To protect his father’s image, Mark promises to keep his past hidden and pretend to be the cis guy everyone assumes he is. But when he sees a manipulatively charming candidate for student body president inflame dangerous rhetoric, Mark decides to risk the low profile he assured his father and insert himself as a political challenger.
One big problem? No one really knows Mark. He didn’t grow up in this town, and he has few friends; plus, the ones he does have aren’t exactly with the in-crowd. Still, thanks to countless seasons of Scandal and The West Wing, these nerds know where to start: from campaign stops to voter polling to a fashion makeover. Soon Mark feels emboldened to get in front of and engage with voters—and even start a new romance. But with an investigative journalist digging into his past, a father trying to silence him, and a bully front-runner who stands in his way, Mark will have to decide which matters most: perception or truth, when both are just as dangerous.

★★★★★
4.5 out of 5 stars

I not only read a mixture of books once again this month, I also managed to finish my Grishaverse re-read and read Rule of Wolves! My favourite book of the month was my re-read of Crooked Kingdom, and my least favourite was The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes.

Books I Want to Read in June

Heartstopper Volume 1 – Alice Oseman
Heartstopper Volume 2 – Alice Oseman
Heartstopper Volume 3 – Alice Oseman
Heartstopper Volume 4 – Alice Oseman
Caraval – Stephanie Garber
Legendary – Stephanie Garber
Finale – Stephanie Garber
The Starlight Watchmaker – Lauren James
The Deep Sea Duke – Lauren James
Show Us Who You Are – Elle McNicoll
Slay – Brittney Morris
Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte
Cinderella is Dead – Kalynn Bayron
House of Hollow – Krystal Sutherland
Punching the Air – Ibi Zoboi and Yusef Salaam
Circe – Madeline Miller
Xoxo – Axie Oh
The Maidens – Alex Michaelides
Blackout – Various Authors

I have so many books on my TBR for June, which is partly because of Whatever-You-Want-a-Thon! However, these books have a lot of variety, including a few graphic novels, shorter books and even a verse book. I wanted to give myself a lot of variety, and I do have a few proofs to read before they are released this month. I’ve already managed to read 10 of these and a couple of others, so I’m really happy with how the month is going.

What did you read in May and what are you hoping to read in June?

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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

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Goodreads | Waterstones

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

★★★★
4 out of 5 stars

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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Stacking the Shelves #45

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

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

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Goodreads | Waterstones

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

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Goodreads | Waterstones

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

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Goodreads | Waterstones

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

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

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Goodreads | Waterstones

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

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

Which books did you buy or receive this week?

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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April Wrap-Up + May TBR

Hi everyone! I managed to read 15 books in April which I’m super happy with, especially considering I went back to work recently. I also read all of the books on my TBR and completed the Ember in the Ashes series with Alex as a buddy read. I recently put up videos on my BookTube channel for both my April wrap-up and May TBR, which you can watch below.

Books I read in April

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Review | Goodreads | Waterstones

The magical Peter Pan comes to the night nursery of the Darling children, Wendy, John and Michael. He teaches them to fly, then takes them through the sky to Never-Never Land, where they find Red Indians, Wolves, Mermaids and… Pirates.
The leader of the pirates is the sinister Captain Hook. His hand was bitten off by a crocodile, who, as Captain Hook explains ‘liked me arm so much that he has followed me ever since, licking his lips for the rest of me’. After lots of adventures, the story reaches its exciting climax as Peter, Wendy and the children do battle with Captain Hook and his band. 

★★★
2.5 out of 5 stars

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Review | Goodreads | Waterstones

Mary Lennox was horrid. Selfish and spoilt, she was sent to stay with her hunchback uncle in Yorkshire. She hated it.
But when she finds the way into a secret garden and begins to tend to it, a change comes over her and her life. She meets and befriends a local boy, the talented Dickon, and comes across her sickly cousin Colin who had been kept hidden from her. Between them, the three children work astonishing magic in themselves and those around them.

★★★★
4 out of 5 stars

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Review | Goodreads | Waterstones

Laia is a slave. Elias is a soldier. Neither is free.
Under the Martial Empire, defiance is met with death. Those who do not vow their blood and bodies to the Emperor risk the execution of their loved ones and the destruction of all they hold dear.
It is in this brutal world, inspired by ancient Rome, that Laia lives with her grandparents and older brother. The family ekes out an existence in the Empire’s impoverished backstreets. They do not challenge the Empire. They’ve seen what happens to those who do.
But when Laia’s brother is arrested for treason, Laia is forced to make a decision. In exchange for help from rebels who promise to rescue her brother, she will risk her life to spy for them from within the Empire’s greatest military academy. 
There, Laia meets Elias, the school’s finest soldier—and secretly, its most unwilling. Elias wants only to be free of the tyranny he’s being trained to enforce. He and Laia will soon realize that their destinies are intertwined—and that their choices will change the fate of the Empire itself.

★★★★
4 out of 5 stars

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Review | Goodreads | Waterstones

Saoirse doesn’t believe in love at first sight or happy endings. If they were real, her mother would still be able to remember her name and not in a care home with early onset dementia. A condition that Saoirse may one day turn out to have inherited. So she’s not looking for a relationship. She doesn’t see the point in igniting any romantic sparks if she’s bound to burn out.
But after a chance encounter at an end-of-term house party, Saoirse is about to break her own rules. For a girl with one blue freckle, an irresistible sense of mischief, and a passion for rom-coms.
Unbothered by Saoirse’s no-relationships rulebook, Ruby proposes a loophole: They don’t need true love to have one summer of fun, complete with every cliché, rom-com montage-worthy date they can dream up—and a binding agreement to end their romance come fall. It would be the perfect plan, if they weren’t forgetting one thing about the Falling in Love Montage: when it’s over, the characters actually fall in love… for real.

★★★★
4.5 out of 5 stars

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Review | Goodreads | Waterstones

★★★★
4 out of 5 stars

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Review | Goodreads | Waterstones

These are the truths that Lexi has heard all her life.
But when an actual stranger-a boy who seems to fade like smoke-appears outside her home on the moor at night, she knows that at least one of these sayings is no longer true.
The next night, the children of Near start disappearing from their beds, and the mysterious boy falls under suspicion. Still, he insists on helping Lexi search for them. Something tells her she can trust him.
As the hunt for the children intensifies, so does Lexi’s need to know-about the witch that just might be more than a bedtime story, about the wind that seems to speak through the walls at night, and about the history of this nameless boy.

★★★★
4 out of 5 stars

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Review | Goodreads | Waterstones

★★★★
3.5 out of 5 stars

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Review | Goodreads | Waterstones

Three years ago, Tanner Scott’s family relocated from California to Utah, a move that nudged the bisexual teen temporarily back into the closet. Now, with one semester of high school to go, and no obstacles between him and out-of-state college freedom, Tanner plans to coast through his remaining classes and clear out of Utah.
But when his best friend Autumn dares him to take Provo High’s prestigious Seminar—where honor roll students diligently toil to draft a book in a semester—Tanner can’t resist going against his better judgment and having a go, if only to prove to Autumn how silly the whole thing is. Writing a book in four months sounds simple. Four months is an eternity.
It turns out, Tanner is only partly right: four months is a long time. After all, it takes only one second for him to notice Sebastian Brother, the Mormon prodigy who sold his own Seminar novel the year before and who now mentors the class. And it takes less than a month for Tanner to fall completely in love with him.

★★★★★
4.5 out of 5 stars

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Review | 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.

★★★★★
5 out of 5 stars 

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Review | Goodreads | Waterstones

★★★★
4 out of 5 stars

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Review | Goodreads | Waterstones

★★★★
3.5 out of 5 stars

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Review | Goodreads | Waterstones

This powerful YA memoir-manifesto follows journalist and LGBTQ+ activist George M. Johnson as they explore their childhood, adolescence, and college years, growing up under the duality of being black and queer. From memories of getting their teeth kicked out by bullies at age five to their loving relationship with their grandmother, to their first sexual experience, the stories wrestle with triumph and tragedy and cover topics such as gender identity, toxic masculinity, brotherhood, family, inequality, consent, and Black joy.

★★★★
5 out of 5 stars

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Review (2020) | Goodreads | Waterstones

Alina Starkov doesn’t expect much from life. Orphaned by the Border Wars, she is sure of only one thing: her best friend, Mal–and her inconvenient crush on him. Until the day their army regiment enters the Fold, a swath of unnatural darkness crawling with monsters. When their convoy is attacked and Mal is brutally injured, Alina reveals a dormant power not even she knew existed.
Ripped from everything she knows, Alina is taken to the royal court to be trained as a member of the Grisha, the magical elite led by the mysterious Darkling. With Alina’s extraordinary power in his arsenal, he believes they can finally destory the Fold. Now Alina must find a way to master her untamed gift and somehow fit into her new life without Mal by her side. But nothing in this lavish world is what it seems. As the threat to the kingdom mounts and her dangerous attraction to the Darkling grows, Alina will uncover a secret that could tear her heart–and her country–in two. 

★★★★
4 out of 5 stars

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Review (2020) | Goodreads | Waterstones

★★★★
4 out of 5 stars

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Review | Goodreads | Waterstones

Del has had a crush on Kiera Westing since kindergarten. And now, during their junior year, she’s finally available. So when Kiera volunteers for an opportunity at their church, Del’s right behind her. Though he quickly realizes he’s inadvertently signed up for a Purity Pledge.
His dad thinks his wires are crossed, and his best friend, Qwan, doesn’t believe any girl is worth the long game. But Del’s not about to lose his dream girl, and that’s where fellow pledger Jameer comes in. He can put in the good word. In exchange, Del just has to get answers to the Pledgers’ questions…about sex ed.
With other boys circling Kiera like sharks, Del needs to make his move fast. But as he plots and plans, he neglects to ask the most important question: What does Kiera want? He can’t think about that too much, though, because once he gets the girl, it’ll all sort itself out. Right?

★★★★
3.5 out of 5 stars

I read a real mix of books this month and I feel like I had a very positive reading month. My least favourite was sadly Peter Pan and my favourite was With the Fire on High, which both surprised me for different reasons!

Books I Want to Read in May

Anne of Green Gables – L.M. Montgomery
Ruin and Rising – Leigh Bardugo
Six of Crows – Leigh Barugo
Crooked Kingdom – Leigh Bardugo
King of Scars – Leigh Bardugo
Rule of Wolves – Leigh Bardugo
Don’t Breathe a Word – Jordyn Taylor
The (Un)Popular Vote – Jasper Sanchez
Threadneedle – Cari Thomas

May really is the month of Leigh Bardugo for me! I was planning on rereading King of Scars before reading Rule of Wolves, but I never expected to reread all of the Grisha books. However, here we are! I’m doing most of these as buddy reads with Alex, which is super lovely. I also want to read a few ARCs this month before their releases!

I’ve already read a few of these books, so I’m pretty confident I can finish this TBR, I’m just unsure if I’ll be able to finish Threadneedle as it is quite chunky. I’m sure I’ll at least start it before the end of the month though!

What did you read in April and what are you hoping to read in May?

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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Stacking the Shelves #42

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!

We are in for a wild ride with this post today. I’ve received a lot of books in the past few weeks, with England being slightly more back to normal, working in a bookshop again and seeing friends a bit more has meant a lot of book gathering. So today’s post is kind of going to be a bit of a bumper issue separated out into a few sections! I also posted a video on my YouTube the other day with all of the books I bought in lockdown, which I’ll link below if it interests you.

Bought

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Goodreads

I was lucky enough to snag this beautiful Illumicrate edition of Rule of Wolves by Leigh Bardugo, which is a lovely match to my Waterstones edition.

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Goodreads | Waterstones

Half-Fae, half-human Bryce Quinlan loves her life. Every night is a party and Bryce is going to savour all the pleasures Lunathion – also known as Crescent City – has to offer. But then a brutal murder shakes the very foundations of the city, and brings Bryce’s world crashing down.
Two years later, Bryce still haunts the city’s most notorious nightclubs – but seeking only oblivion now. Then the murderer attacks again. And when an infamous Fallen angel, Hunt Athalar, is assigned to watch her every footstep, Bryce knows she can’t forget any longer.
As Bryce and Hunt fight to unravel the mystery, and their own dark pasts, the threads they tug ripple through the underbelly of the city, across warring continents, and down to the deepest levels of Hel, where things that have been sleeping for millennia are beginning to stir …

I knew when I saw this beautiful paperback I wanted to pick it up, even though I still haven’t read my hardback I know I’ll love it!

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Goodreads | Waterstones

I’ve read every Lauren James book (bar one) so far, and I knew I wanted this one. This is the sequel to the dyslexia friendly The Starlight Watchmaker, which I really enjoyed.

The Gilded Ones: Signed Bookplate Edition - Gilded (Paperback)

Goodreads | Waterstones

Sixteen-year-old Deka lives in fear and anticipation of the blood ceremony that will determine whether she will become a member of her village. Already different from everyone else because of her unnatural intuition, Deka prays for red blood so she can finally feel like she belongs.
But on the day of the ceremony, her blood runs gold, the color of impurity–and Deka knows she will face a consequence worse than death.
Then a mysterious woman comes to her with a choice: stay in the village and submit to her fate, or leave to fight for the emperor in an army of girls just like her. They are called alaki–near-immortals with rare gifts. And they are the only ones who can stop the empire’s greatest threat.
Knowing the dangers that lie ahead yet yearning for acceptance, Deka decides to leave the only life she’s ever known. But as she journeys to the capital to train for the biggest battle of her life, she will discover that the great walled city holds many surprises. Nothing and no one are quite what they seem to be–not even Deka herself.

I found the last signed exclusive copy I had of this at work and I knew I wanted to snag it! It’s so beautiful and I can’t wait to read it.

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Nesta Archeron has always been prickly-proud, swift to anger, and slow to forgive. And ever since being forced into the Cauldron and becoming High Fae against her will, she’s struggled to find a place for herself within the strange, deadly world she inhabits. Worse, she can’t seem to move past the horrors of the war with Hybern and all she lost in it.
The one person who ignites her temper more than any other is Cassian, the battle-scarred warrior whose position in Rhysand and Feyre’s Night Court keeps him constantly in Nesta’s orbit. But her temper isn’t the only thing Cassian ignites. The fire between them is undeniable, and only burns hotter as they are forced into close quarters with each other.
Meanwhile, the treacherous human queens who returned to the Continent during the last war have forged a dangerous new alliance, threatening the fragile peace that has settled over the realms. And the key to halting them might very well rely on Cassian and Nesta facing their haunting pasts.
Against the sweeping backdrop of a world seared by war and plagued with uncertainty, Nesta and Cassian battle monsters from within and without as they search for acceptance-and healing-in each other’s arms.

I finally managed to get my Waterstones edition of this, as it had arrived at the bookshop I work in over lockdown.

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Goodreads | Blackwells

Around the world, black hand prints are appearing on doorways, scorched there by winged strangers who have crept through a slit in the sky.
In a dark and dusty shop, a devil’s supply of human teeth grows dangerously low.
And in the tangled lanes of Prague, a young art student is about to be caught up in a brutal otherworldly war.
Meet Karou. She fills her sketchbooks with monsters that may or may not be real, she’s prone to disappearing on mysterious “errands”, she speaks many languages – not all of them human – and her bright blue hair actually grows out of her head that color. Who is she? That is the question that haunts her, and she’s about to find out.
When beautiful, haunted Akiva fixes fiery eyes on her in an alley in Marrakesh, the result is blood and starlight, secrets unveiled, and a star-crossed love whose roots drink deep of a violent past. But will Karou live to regret learning the truth about herself?

I’ve been wanting to buy these books for a while and I love these new editions. I managed to get the entire set on Blackwells recently, which I was really happy about.

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Goodreads

The dream chooses the dreamer, not the other way around – and Lazlo Strange, war orphan and junior librarian, has always feared that his dream chose poorly. Since he was five years old he’s been obsessed with the mythic lost city of Weep, but it would take someone bolder than he to cross half the world in search of it. Then a stunning opportunity presents itself, in the person of a hero called the Godslayer and a band of legendary warriors, and he has to seize his chance to lose his dream forever.
What happened in Weep two hundred years ago to cut it off from the rest of the world? What exactly did the Godslayer slay that went by the name of god? And what is the mysterious problem he now seeks help in solving?
The answers await in Weep, but so do more mysteries – including the blue-skinned goddess who appears in Lazlo’s dreams. How did he dream her before he knew she existed? And if all the gods are dead, why does she seem so real?

I also managed to find this beautiful UK edition of Strange the Dreamer, which I can’t wait to read.

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Goodreads

And last but not least, I’ve been slowly collecting the hardback Throne of Glass books. I know I already have the paperbacks, but there is a special reason I’ve been getting these that will become clear soon…

Gifted by friends

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Goodreads | Waterstones

Within the boroughs of London, nestled among its streets, hides another city, filled with magic.
‘Magic and love. Love and magic. They destroy everything in the end …’
Anna’s Aunt has always warned her of the dangers of magic. Its twists. Its knots. Its deadly consequences.
Now Anna counts down the days to the ceremony that will bind her magic forever.
Until she meets Effie and Attis.
They open her eyes to a London she never knew existed. A shop that sells memories. A secret library where the librarian feeds off words. A club where revellers lose themselves in a haze of spells.
But as she is swept deeper into this world, Anna begins to wonder if her Aunt was right all along.

And this is the first book gifted to me recently by my lovely friend and co-worker Jo! She was sent two copies of this book by the publisher and decided to pass one to me. I’m really excited for this one as it really intrigues me!

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Goodreads

Every seven years, the Agon begins. As punishment for a past rebellion, nine Greek gods are forced to walk the earth as mortals, hunted by the descendants of ancient bloodlines, all eager to kill a god and seize their divine power and immortality.
Long ago, Lore Perseous fled that brutal world in the wake of her family’s sadistic murder by a rival line, turning her back on the hunt’s promises of eternal glory. For years she’s pushed away any thought of revenge against the man–now a god–responsible for their deaths.
Yet as the next hunt dawns over New York City, two participants seek out her help: Castor, a childhood friend of Lore believed long dead, and a gravely wounded Athena, among the last of the original gods.
The goddess offers an alliance against their mutual enemy and, at last, a way for Lore to leave the Agon behind forever. But Lore’s decision to bind her fate to Athena’s and rejoin the hunt will come at a deadly cost–and still may not be enough to stop the rise of a new god with the power to bring humanity to its knees. 

The lovely Alex from Alex’s Books decided to pass this to me after I was hunting down the Fairyloot edition. It’s so beautiful and I’ve been seeing it everywhere!

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Goodreads | Waterstones

And when Blue from Bookish Blue found out they’d ordered two copies of this, they decided to give me a copy! Thank you Blue!

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Goodreads | Waterstones

When Rin aced the Keju – the test to find the most talented students in the Empire – it was a shock to everyone: to the test officials, who couldn’t believe a war orphan from Rooster Province could pass without cheating; to Rin’s guardians, who had hoped to get rich by marrying her off; and to Rin herself, who realized she was finally free from a life of servitude. That she got into Sinegard – the most elite military school in Nikan – was even more surprising.
But surprises aren’t always good.
Because being a dark-skinned peasant girl from the south is not an easy thing at Sinegard. Fighting the prejudice of rival classmates, Rin discovers that she possesses a lethal, unearthly power – an aptitude for the nearly-mythical art of shamanism. Exploring the depths of her gift with the help of psychoactive substances and a seemingly insane teacher, Rin learns that gods long thought dead are very much alive – and that mastering these powers could mean more than just surviving school.
For while the Nikara Empire is at peace, the Federation of Mugen still lurks across a narrow sea. The Federation occupied Nikan for decades after the First Poppy War, and only barely lost the continent in the Second. And while most people calmly go about their lives, a few are aware that a Third Poppy War is just a spark away…

This one is another book gifted to me by Alex, as she recently bought the Fairyloot set and passed me the paperback. I’ve wanted to read this series for a while!

Gifted by publishers

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Goodreads | Waterstones

The Storys are the envy of their neighbours: owners of the largest property on their East Coast island, they are rich, beautiful, and close. Until it all falls apart. The four children are suddenly dropped by their mother with a single sentence:
You know what you did.
They never hear from her again.
Years later, when 18-year-old cousins Aubrey, Milly and Jonah Story receive a mysterious invitation to spend the summer at their grandmother’s resort, they have no choice but to follow their curiosity and meet the woman who’s been such an enigma their entire lives.
This entire family is built on secrets, right? It’s the Story legacy.
This summer, the teenagers are determined to discover the truth at the heart of their family. But some secrets are better left alone.

This is a strange one, as I received a copy from Alex and from the publisher recently – so thank you both to Penguin and Alex.

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Goodreads | Waterstones

In a series of personal essays, prominent journalist and LGBTQIA+ activist George M. Johnson explores his childhood, adolescence, and college years in New Jersey and Virginia. From the memories of getting his teeth kicked out by bullies at age five, to flea marketing with his loving grandmother, to his first sexual relationships, this young-adult memoir weaves together the trials and triumphs faced by Black queer boys.
Both a primer for teens eager to be allies as well as a reassuring testimony for young queer men of color, All Boys Aren’t Blue covers topics such as gender identity, toxic masculinity, brotherhood, family, structural marginalization, consent, and Black joy. Johnson’s emotionally frank style of writing will appeal directly to young adults. 

I also received a copy of All Boys Aren’t Blue from Penguin, which I’m currently reading. Thank you for my copy!

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Goodreads | Waterstones

Vaseline on the teeth makes a smile shine. It’s a cheap stunt, but Mark Adams knows it’s optics that can win or ruin an election.
Everything Mark learned about politics, he learned from his father, the congressman who still pretends he has a daughter and not a son. To protect his father’s image, Mark promises to keep his past hidden and pretend to be the cis guy everyone assumes he is. But when he sees a manipulatively charming candidate for student body president inflame dangerous rhetoric, Mark decides to risk the low profile he assured his father and insert himself as a political challenger.
One big problem? No one really knows Mark. He didn’t grow up in this town, and he has few friends; plus, the ones he does have aren’t exactly with the in-crowd. Still, thanks to countless seasons of Scandal and The West Wing, these nerds know where to start: from campaign stops to voter polling to a fashion makeover. Soon Mark feels emboldened to get in front of and engage with voters—and even start a new romance. But with an investigative journalist digging into his past, a father trying to silence him, and a bully front-runner who stands in his way, Mark will have to decide which matters most: perception or truth, when both are just as dangerous.

And the last two books on this list were sent to me by Harper 360 and I’m very excited to get to them soon. When I found out the main character of this one had the same exact name as my boyfriend, I couldn’t resist! It also sounds really enjoyable.

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Goodreads | Waterstones

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

I also received this one from Harper (thank you Harper!) and I’m very drawn to this one as well. It sounds super interesting!

Thank you for reaching the end of this post, and well done if you did – there’s a lot of books here! I have been very lucky to be able to buy or receive all of these books in such a short space of time, and I just want to take a second to acknowledge all of the ways I am privileged enough to be able to do that. Between some lovely gifts, working in a bookshop and buying smartly, I haven’t spent an extortionate amount on these and I recognise I am very lucky to be able to say that! Thank you to Blue, Alex, Jo and the publishers mentioned in this post.

Which books did you buy or receive this week?

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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www.etsy.com/uk/shop/thebooksareverywhere

BookTube: Recent vlogs + videos

Hi everyone! It feels like it’s been a while since I’ve shared any of my booktube videos, so I thought I’d highlight a few of my most recent one’s here for you.

I took part in an Easter Readathon over the Easter weekend which was a few weeks ago now, and I vlogged the entire thing! I read 4 books in 4 days which I’m pretty happy with.

Another of my most recent videos is this one, where I talk about books that have been on my TBR for years and make excuses to why I haven’t picked them up yet.

And finally, we have this long vlog I posted yesterday, showing the week bookshops reopened, I went back to work, did a lot of reading, got some bookmail and also had a few bookhauls.

Do you have any suggestions for videos you’d like to see on my channel?

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

Shop | Booktube | Goodreads | Instagram | Tumblr | Twitter | Facebook

www.etsy.com/uk/shop/thebooksareverywhere