Beautiful Quotes #131 / Call It What You Want

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

Hi all! It’s been a tiring week but we’re back on track now and back in routine hopefully. It’s also been a weird week for me reading wise as I was trying to slog through A Darker Shade of Magic and it just wasn’t working for me. You can read more on my post from yesterday called DNFing books!

So here’s a (small) throwback to a book I really enjoyed, Call It What You Want by Brigid Kemmerer. I read it as an ARC and thought it’d be perfect to post about now it’s actually out in stores 🙂

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Goodreads | Amazon

“Other people don’t have the challenges we have… but that doesn’t mean they don’t have their own.” 
― Brigid Kemmerer, Call It What You Want


May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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Let’s Discuss! DNF’ing Books

Hi all! You might be sat there wondering what on earth this title means. Well, for those of you who don’t know, DNF stands for Did Not Finish in the book community. And I’m here to talk about it!

What is DNF’ing?

Marking a book as DNF’d means you decided to put it down part the way through without completing the book.

Why would this happen?

For example, someone could DNF a book because they decide they didn’t like it, or the writing style isn’t for them, they don’t understand what’s going on, or maybe it just isn’t the right time for them to read it right now. I’ve definitely put books down before knowing it’s not for me right now but I’ll probably pick it up again in the future!

Why is this important?

It really depends on the reader to whether you DNF a book or not. I spent a long time never, ever DNF’ing books under any circumstance, determined to see it all the way through. It’s only in recent times that I’ve decided it’s not worth my time anymore.

And I think it all comes down to that – sometimes it’s just not worth your time to carry on reading a book you just know isn’t for you. Sometimes that could be temporary, sometimes forever.

When do I, personally, DNF a book?

I’ve been thinking about this subject because I recently decided to mark A Darker Shade of Magic as DNF’d. This was for a number of reasons:

  • I didn’t understand the full extent of the book
  • I decided I didn’t much care for the characters
  • I didn’t want to pick the book up at this particular time
  • I didn’t have any intrigue to the outcome of the story

This was a really hard thing for me to do, as obviously this is a very hyped read. But personally, it definitely wasn’t the right time for me. I’ve put it aside for now with the intention of maybe trying it again at some point in the future.

Where do you stand on DNF’ing books? Do you ever do it?


May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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Blog Tour & Review: The Storm Crow by Kalyn Josephson

Hello readers! I was lucky enough to be selected by Source Books Fire through Midas Public Relations to take part in this blog tour. It was such an exciting tour to be a part of and I’m really grateful for the ARC copy they sent me in exchange for this honest review. Thank you again, Source Books Fire!

I’m finishing up this tour alongside DMCI Reads and The Library Looter. Go check them out!


Goodreads | Amazon

In the tropical kingdom of Rhodaire, magical, elemental Crows are part of every aspect of life…until the Illucian empire invades, destroying everything.
That terrible night has thrown Princess Anthia into a deep depression. Her sister Caliza is busy running the kingdom after their mother’s death, but all Thia can do is think of all she has lost.
But when Caliza is forced to agree to a marriage between Thia and the crown prince of Illucia, Thia is finally spurred into action. And after stumbling upon a hidden Crow egg in the rubble of a rookery, she and her sister devise a dangerous plan to hatch the egg in secret and get back what was taken from them.

I fell in love with this book the moment I saw it. I mean, the beautiful cover is a pretty good start, right? As soon as I started reading, I felt somehow comforted, in the sense I just knew I was going to enjoy this one.

It felt so lovely to read a good fantasy. I recently read The Last Namsara, and even though I liked it, The Storm Crow just seemed to add the things I missed in that one. For a start, the world was beautiful and so well described – I felt enveloped in the rich, lush description of the lands and kingdoms. The writing was poetic and lovely.

One of my favourite parts of this book was the first chapter. It was full of action and intrigue, and kept me intrigued for the lulls and slower parts. And unfortunately, the only downside for me was that this book did lull. Although the writing was great, the pacing unfortunately wasn’t. The action was very sporadic and I felt left for the majority of the book without any. Part of me understands due to Thia’s mental health, and the slow plot did make me sympathise with her personal struggles.

But that’s where my complaints end – I adored everything else about The Storm Crow. Thia resonated deeply with me in a way characters in fantasy don’t usually. I find with fantasy there can be some disconnect if the characters seem unattainable or unrealistic. With Thia, things are different. She struggles openly with grief and depression, and the way this was discussed felt so important. She was still a badass, passionate and heroic woman, but she was also struggling and surviving day by day. It made her so much more real.

My love for the characters doesn’t end there. This book had a great cast of side characters too, and I loved them all for their own roles. Thia’s relationship with her sister felt well written, and so did her friendship with Kiva, who I loved. Her friendship with Caylus and difficult friendship with her husband-to-be also offered interesting, dynamic relationships I became quickly invested in. And I can’t write this review without giving a shoutout to a villain I absolutely loved to hate, Razal.

The whole crow element to this book is something I’ve not really seen before in YA, and I loved it. Having such a strong connection to the magic and animals gave the story a whole different dynamic and focus, rather than just the politics. Instead, the story flickered between politics and magic and Thia’s passionate love for the crows, which kept me on my toes and interested.

Overall, this book encompassed me in such a love for a rich world, diverse (in all ways), lovable characters, magic and passionate writing. All in all, the only reason this didn’t quite get 5 full stars from me is unfortunately the pacing – everything else was there and I loved it.

5 out of 5 stars


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Blog Tour: The Storm Crow Q&A

Hi all! I’m honoured to be taking part in the blog tour for The Storm Crow by Kalyn Josephson. I have a review coming a little later and for now we have a Q&A with the author herself!

Thank you to Sourcebooks Fire for sending me a proof copy and making this interview possible. Before we begin let’s see a little about the book itself!


Goodreads | Amazon

In the tropical kingdom of Rhodaire, magical, elemental Crows are part of every aspect of life…until the Illucian empire invades, destroying everything.
That terrible night has thrown Princess Anthia into a deep depression. Her sister Caliza is busy running the kingdom after their mother’s death, but all Thia can do is think of all she has lost.
But when Caliza is forced to agree to a marriage between Thia and the crown prince of Illucia, Thia is finally spurred into action. And after stumbling upon a hidden Crow egg in the rubble of a rookery, she and her sister devise a dangerous plan to hatch the egg in secret and get back what was taken from them.

And now for the interview with Kalyn. Thank you for being with us Kalyn!

1. For those who don’t know, can you sum up The Storm Crow in a sentence or two?

a. The Storm Crow is a young adult fantasy about a princess who ignites a rebellion to bring back the magical, elemental crows that were taken from her people in order to protect her kingdom from an enemy empire.

2. What inspired you to write The Storm Crow?

a. I read an article about a little girl who fed her neighborhood crows. They brought her gifts in return, which inspired a short story I wrote about a princess trapped in a tower and the crows that brought her pieces of the world. The idea stuck with me and later evolved into a kingdom whose entire way of life was based on magical crows.

3. The Storm Crow is your debut novel – how does it feel having your first book out there in the world?

a. It’s incredibly surreal! Most the time it doesn’t feel real, and then every once in a while something will really drive it home, like seeing my final copies or doing a signing for people who have actually read it.

4. Do you relate to any of your characters? If so, which?

a. I relate to all of them in different ways. Thia’s depression, Kiva’s loyalty, Caylus’s love of baking. I’d say I’m closest to Kiva though!

5. How did you find writing about depression/mental illness? It must have been an emotional journey!

a. It definitely wasn’t easy. I had to take a lot of breaks from writing and editing those scenes, but in the end, it was very cathartic.

6. And finally, what’s the most important lesson you’ve learnt while writing a debut novel? Any advice for budding writers?

a. Write the story you love! Don’t worry about trends or doing what you think readers want. Write your story


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Top 5 Books Set in Summer

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

Hi lovelies! It’s definitely summer here in England and is actually warm for a change 🙂 It’s made me think about books I relate to the summertime and books I would love to be re-reading if I wasn’t in the middle of my TBR for YALC!

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Goodreads | Amazon

The Garretts are everything the Reeds are not. Loud, messy, affectionate. And every day from her rooftop perch, Samantha Reed wishes she was one of them . . . until one summer evening, Jase Garrett climbs up next to her and changes everything.
As the two fall fiercely for each other, stumbling through the awkwardness and awesomeness of first love, Jase’s family embraces Samantha – even as she keeps him a secret from her own. Then something unthinkable happens, and the bottom drops out of Samantha’s world. She’s suddenly faced with an impossible decision. Which perfect family will save her? Or is it time she saved herself?

I absolutely loved this book, and it was so unexpected because when I picked it up only last year I thought I wasn’t bothered by contemporary anymore. Turns out I was wrong!

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Goodreads | Amazon

Arthur is only in New York for the summer, but if Broadway has taught him anything, it’s that the universe can deliver a showstopping romance when you least expect it.
Ben thinks the universe needs to mind its business. If the universe had his back, he wouldn’t be on his way to the post office carrying a box of his ex-boyfriend’s things.
But when Arthur and Ben meet-cute at the post office, what exactly does the universe have in store for them?
Maybe nothing. After all, they get separated.
Maybe everything. After all, they get reunited.
But what if they can’t quite nail a first date . . . or a second first date . . . or a third?
What if Arthur tries too hard to make it work . . . and Ben doesn’t try hard enough?
What if life really isn’t like a Broadway play?
But what if it is?

Another more recent contemporary I’ve really enjoyed, along with any of Adam’s or Becky’s books.


Goodreads | Amazon

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

Originally I wanted to discuss summery covers, and this was the first one to come to mind. If I didn’t have such a long TBR this would be my first re-read for sure.

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Goodreads | Amazon

Last summer, Gottie’s life fell apart. Her beloved grandfather Grey died and Jason left her – the boy to whom she lost her virginity (and her heart) – and he wouldn’t even hold her hand at the funeral! This summer, still reeling from twin heartbreaks, Gottie is lost and alone and burying herself in equations. Until, after five years absence, Thomas comes home: former boy next door. Former best friend. Former everything. And as life turns upside down again she starts to experience strange blips in time – back to last summer, back to what she should have seen then…
During one long, hazy summer, Gottie navigates grief, world-stopping kisses and rips in the space-time continuum, as she tries to reconcile her first heartbreak with her last.

The Square Root of Summer is such an underhyped one for summer! I distinctly remember reading this in the late summer sunshine a few years ago and really enjoying it.


Goodreads | Amazon

Jonah never thought a girl like Vivi would come along.
Vivi didn’t know Jonah would light up her world.
Neither of them expected a summer like this…a summer that would rewrite their futures.
In an unflinching story about new love, old wounds, and forces beyond our control, two teens find that when you collide with the right person at just the right time, it will change you forever.

This is another book I relate to a memory – as I read it on holiday and I remember the gorgeous sunny weather. It’s the perfect holiday read with more depth!

What do you like reading in summer?


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Review: Noughts & Crosses by Malorie Blackman

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Goodreads | Amazon

Two young people are forced to make a stand in this thought-provoking look at racism and prejudice in an alternate society.
Sephy is a Cross — a member of the dark-skinned ruling class. Callum is a Nought — a “colourless” member of the underclass who were once slaves to the Crosses. The two have been friends since early childhood, but that’s as far as it can go. In their world, Noughts and Crosses simply don’t mix. Against a background of prejudice and distrust, intensely highlighted by violent terrorist activity, a romance builds between Sephy and Callum — a romance that is to lead both of them into terrible danger. Can they possibly find a way to be together?
In this gripping, stimulating and totally absorbing novel, black and white are right and wrong.

Well, that was a rollercoaster.

I know, I’m so late to the party with this one! I’ve seen it around and heard about it all of my life, yet somehow never picked it up myself. I thought at 19 it may be a little young and irrelevant for me, but I still thoroughly enjoyed it.

With Callum being a Nought (seen as a lower member of society) and Sephy being a Cross (more privileged), they defied normal expectations by falling in love. Noughts and Crosses just don’t mix. Of course we’ve seen this trope many times before (Jane Eyre and Mr Rochester, hello), but bringing race into the mix made this book turbulent, upsetting and frankly heartbreaking.

‘I used to comfort myself with the belief that it was only certain individuals and their peculiar notions that spoilt things for the rest of us.’

Even though this book is almost 20 years old, I could still see it relating to today’s society. I’m proud to say I think the UK is far past the racial divide we see in Noughts & Crosses, but I was constantly reminded that the actions taken throughout this book have very probably happened to real people. It is so sad and hard hitting to read and ponder.

Noughts & Crosses carries weight. It was the early noughties The Hate U Give, and it crushes my heart into pieces that even when The Hate U Give came out, stories like this still need to be told. But much like with THUG, I’m very glad they are being put out into the world, for us to reconsider how we treat one another.

I found this book very character driven, but I actually really enjoyed it. Callum and Sephy have very upsetting lives for completely different reasons (due to their class divide and differences), and seeing the world and racial struggles from their PsOV really related to me, even being much older than them. Due to feeling so close to them both, I felt so gripped to the story and ended up finishing it in a couple of long sittings. The short chapters and younger language ensured I read over 100 pages at a time, which is unlike me!

‘But how many individuals does it take before it’s not the individuals who are prejudiced but society itself?’

Talking of the language, it’s a tricky one to define. Yes, it’s young, but that I expected and didn’t mind. It’s also over dramatic and includes way too many exclamation marks. Like damn girl, those were overused. Personally, I do believe it was more common in writing around the time, and for that I forgave the language quickly. Only in that way does this book show it’s age, but it would have been more enjoyable with more contemporary writing.

It’s very hard to describe how else Noughts & Crosses let me down. In some ways, I found Callum and Sephy felt a little…forced? In a way, it’s very obvious their romance is a big plot point, and because of that I missed a natural connection between them both. And although the ending was incredibly gripping, it was also a little over the top for me personally.

Even with these small criticisms, this book is still very enjoyable and I can see why it has so much love and attention. It’s definitely worth a read!

4 out of 5 stars


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Review: City of Ghosts by Victoria Schwab

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Goodreads | Amazon

Cass can pull back the Veil that separates the living from the dead.
When Cass’s parents start hosting a TV show about the world’s most haunted places, the family heads off to Edinburgh. Here, graveyards, castles and secret passageways teem with restless phantoms.
But when Cass meets a girl who shares her “gift”, she realizes how much she still has to learn about the Veil—and herself. And she’ll have to learn fast. The city of ghosts is more dangerous than she ever imagined.

I was drawn to this book for a few reasons: 1. It has such a pretty cover, not going to lie. 2. It’s has such an intriguing synopsis. 3. I’ve never read a VE Schwab book before, and I thought MG might be a good introduction!

And I definitely wasn’t wrong. I don’t usually read middle grade at all, but it didn’t stop me from really enjoying this one. I read it in just over a day, and I just know I would have loved it in my pre-teen years!

‘”Stories have power,” she says.’

This book was so much fun and overall a great adventure. I’ve never visited Edinburgh myself, but this book has made me want to. It seemed to capture the history and essence of the city, and it was so atmospheric. The fact Cassidy was visiting a city for the first time herself too made it even more of an adventure, which I loved.

City of Ghosts is such an entertaining novel, fast paced and full of action. I really couldn’t put it down, even though the plot was definitely predictable for an older reader. Unfortunately this brings me to my only criticisms, this book lacked depth. Not much, I just wish the characters were a little more fleshed out and the plot a bit more intricate. It’s totally what I expected from a MG book and I completely understand the reasoning behind it, but that’s my opinion as an older reader.

‘”So long as you belive them.”’

Saying this, however, I still found depth in some of the more poetic lines and passages, and the relationships Cassidy had. Her somewhat complex relationship with Jacob was so interesting to read about and I’m interested to see where it heads in the further novels. I also found her relationship with her parents well written, and I really liked the scenes with her parents. They led such interesting lives themselves!

Overall, definitely a very enjoyable read, just lacking a little depth and leaving me wanting more. I’d definitely consider re-reading this around Halloween!

3.5 out of 5 stars


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