Review: Infinity Son (#1) by Adam Silvera

Goodreads

Growing up in New York, brothers Emil and Brighton always idolized the Spell Walkers—a vigilante group sworn to rid the world of specters. While the Spell Walkers and other celestials are born with powers, specters take them, violently stealing the essence of endangered magical creatures.
Brighton wishes he had a power so he could join the fray. Emil just wants the fighting to stop. The cycle of violence has taken a toll, making it harder for anyone with a power to live peacefully and openly. In this climate of fear, a gang of specters has been growing bolder by the day.
Then, in a brawl after a protest, Emil manifests a power of his own—one that puts him right at the heart of the conflict and sets him up to be the heroic Spell Walker Brighton always wanted to be.

I love a lot of Adam Silvera’s work – They Both Die at the End and History is All You Left Me being my favourites. His emotion and magical realism is unlike most contemporary YA, and I love something with a twist! When I heard about his new fantasy project, I think I was among many excited readers. I missed out on grabbing an ARC of this when I wanted to at YALC last year, but managed to get one through my work as a bookseller a month or so ago. I was so excited to delve into a new fantasy world, but I sit here today sorry that I have been disappointed at the very least.

Unfortunately, Silvera included little to no world-building in Infinity Son. I could picture the world only because it seemed to be set in our own – but I could not picture much else. The character building was few and far between too, and I struggled the most with the magic system. I felt like I was clueless when it came to the different people and species. I couldn’t picture the phoenixes and had little to no understanding of their history, which left me utterly disappointed.

I’m going to a brief interval to focus on the good parts, as I hate to be so negative about an author I have mostly loved.

  • I love the family aspects of the book, and the brother relationship was great to read about.
  • I noticed the diversity and that Emil seemed to be vegan, which naturally I couldn’t help but love.
  • The plot was, if nothing else, entertaining. It was full of action scenes which I sped through and found very fun.

But is fun enough? Not in my book. Infinity Son has been one of my most hyped books for at least 6 months, and I was so happy to finally read it. The sheer disappointment I feel in this book falling so flat is what I disliked the most. I will definitely read Silvera’s future novels, but I don’t think I will be reading more in the Infinity Cycle.

★★
2 out of 5 stars

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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Let's Discuss! January Releases I'm Excited For

Hi all! Today I’m here to talk about January releases I’m excited for. It might be a little bit late, but there are so many beautiful books that I wanted to talk about, I thought I’d write it anyway!

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Goodreads | January 7th

Ximena is the decoy Condesa, a stand-in for the last remaining Illustrian royal. Her people lost everything when the usurper, Atoc, used an ancient relic to summon ghosts and drive the Illustrians from La Ciudad. Now Ximena’s motivated by her insatiable thirst for revenge, and her rare ability to spin thread from moonlight.
When Atoc demands the real Condesa’s hand in marriage, it’s Ximena’s duty to go in her stead. She relishes the chance, as Illustrian spies have reported that Atoc’s no longer carrying his deadly relic. If Ximena can find it, she can return the true aristócrata to their rightful place.
She hunts for the relic, using her weaving ability to hide messages in tapestries for the resistance. But when a masked vigilante, a warm-hearted princess, and a thoughtful healer challenge Ximena, her mission becomes more complicated. There could be a way to overthrow the usurper without starting another war, but only if Ximena turns her back on revenge—and her Condesa. 

I’ve seen this book around on Instagram and the cover is to die for!

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Goodreads | January 7th

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

I adored A Curse So Dark and Lonely so I can’t wait to read this one.

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Goodreads | January 7th

When eighteen-year-old Ever Wong’s parents send her from Ohio to Taiwan to study Mandarin for the summer, she finds herself thrust among the very over-achieving kids her parents have always wanted her to be, including Rick Woo, the Yale-bound prodigy profiled in the Chinese newspapers since they were nine—and her parents’ yardstick for her never-measuring-up life.
Unbeknownst to her parents, however, the program is actually an infamous teen meet-market nicknamed Loveboat, where the kids are more into clubbing than calligraphy and drinking snake-blood sake than touring sacred shrines.
Free for the first time, Ever sets out to break all her parents’ uber-strict rules—but how far can she go before she breaks her own heart? 

I’ve been eyeing this book up for a while on social media and in the bookshop I work in.

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Goodreads | January 7th

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

One Of Us Is Lying was one of my favourite books of the year when I read it, so I definitely have to pick up this one. I really need to read Two Can Keep a Secret too!

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Goodreads | January 14th

An instant bestseller, A Map of Days launched readers into the previously unexplored world of American peculiars, one bursting with new questions, new allies, and new adversaries.
Now, with enemies behind him and the unknown ahead, Jacob Portman’s story continues as he takes a brave leap forward into The Conference of the Birds, the next installment of the beloved, bestselling Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children series.

I’m actually up to date on the Miss Peregrine’s books, so I’ll be able to pick this one up straight away.

Which January releases are you excited for?

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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Review: The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern

Goodreads

Far beneath the surface of the earth, upon the shores of the Starless Sea, there is a labyrinthine collection of tunnels and rooms filled with stories. The entryways that lead to this sanctuary are often hidden, sometimes on forest floors, sometimes in private homes, sometimes in plain sight. But those who seek will find. Their doors have been waiting for them.
Zachary Ezra Rawlins is searching for his door, though he does not know it. He follows a silent siren song, an inexplicable knowledge that he is meant for another place. When he discovers a mysterious book in the stacks of his campus library he begins to read, entranced by tales of lovelorn prisoners, lost cities, and nameless acolytes. Suddenly a turn of the page brings Zachary to a story from his own childhood impossibly written in this book that is older than he is.
A bee, a key, and a sword emblazoned on the book lead Zachary to two people who will change the course of his life: Mirabel, a fierce, pink-haired painter, and Dorian, a handsome, barefoot man with shifting alliances. These strangers guide Zachary through masquerade party dances and whispered back room stories to the headquarters of a secret society where doorknobs hang from ribbons, and finally through a door conjured from paint to the place he has always yearned for. Amid twisting tunnels filled with books, gilded ballrooms, and wine-dark shores Zachary falls into an intoxicating world soaked in romance and mystery. But a battle is raging over the fate of this place and though there are those who would willingly sacrifice everything to protect it, there are just as many intent on its destruction. As Zachary, Mirabel, and Dorian venture deeper into the space and its histories and myths, searching for answers and each other, a timeless love story unspools, casting a spell of pirates, painters, lovers, liars, and ships that sail upon a Starless Sea.

I reckon this book took me a month to read – but am I disappointed? No. The short fact is I just never wanted it to end. The Starless Sea is rich, enticing, beautiful and filling. It’s like a giant piece of chocolate cake – you devour it bit by bit and never want it to be gone. It fills your soul the way a good meal fills your belly. All I wanted was to go back for more. Just like The Night Circus, it sprawls.

‘Everyone wants the stars. Everyone wishes to grasp that which exists out of reach.’

I read The Night Circus almost 2 years ago now, and I’m pretty sure it ended up being one of my favourite books of that year. After that, Erin Morgenstern had a lot to live up to, but she certainly didn’t let me down. She managed to capture the enchantment and magic of her first book and develop an entirely new and just as beautiful world with it. My major love for Morgenstern’s books comes from her development of world. I have never before felt so enveloped in a place, a world, as her writing makes me feel.

To hold the extraordinary in their hands and keep the remarkable in their pockets.’

This book could easily be my desert island choice – simply because I imagine it would give more and more with every read. I could find something between the pages again and again, delving into this deep, whimsical, haunting world happily every time.

The beautiful Starless Sea reminded me why I adore reading so much. It transported me away to another land, and I love it for that. Morgenstern’s writing is so enticing, I felt like I was reading a beautiful fairytale.

This book is stardust. Savour it.

★★★★★
5 out of 5 stars

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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Welcome back! Blog Plans for the New Year

Hi everyone and welcome to my blog relaunch! I’m now entering my 5th year of owning this blog and I’m choosing 2020 as the year to bring new and exciting things to my journey. 2019 was a rough rollercoaster of a ride for me and it’s ups and downs left me neglecting the blog towards the end of the year. So I’ve chosen to do a relaunch to kickstart a fresh journey for The Books Are Everywhere!

What can you expect?

  • My shop
    – I run an Etsy shop here on which I sell bookmarks! I’m looking forward to adding more designs in 2020
  • Book reviews and content
    – On the blog you can expect to see many more reviews and other book-related content like hauls, wrap-ups, discussions, top 5’s and much more.
  • Recipes and lifestyle
    – I’d love to develop this blog to include other aspects of my life, such as my veganism, lifestyle, films and recipes.

What would you like to see on the blog in the near future?

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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Review: Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen

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Goodreads | Amazon

Peyton, Sydney’s charismatic older brother, has always been the star of the family, receiving the lion’s share of their parents’ attention and—lately—concern. When Peyton’s increasingly reckless behavior culminates in an accident, a drunk driving conviction, and a jail sentence, Sydney is cast adrift, searching for her place in the family and the world. When everyone else is so worried about Peyton, is she the only one concerned about the victim of the accident?
Enter the Chathams, a warm, chaotic family who run a pizza parlor, play bluegrass on weekends, and pitch in to care for their mother, who has multiple sclerosis. Here Sydney experiences unquestioning acceptance. And here she meets Mac, gentle, watchful, and protective, who makes Sydney feel seen, really seen, for the first time.

Sarah Dessen is an author that has stuck by me for years, and was one of the first authors to introduce me to YA. Because of this, diving into Saint Anything was like wrapping myself in a warm blanket. It was soothing to be in a world I knew so well, however predictable. I can liken Dessen to Disney movies for me, I know the pace and character profiles so well, yet her books are different enough to keep me on my toes. I was skeptical to go back into her stories having not read them since I was in my mid-teens myself, but I still thoroughly enjoyed this one as a 20 year old woman.

There was a sharpness and emotion to Saint Anything that threw me slightly, and I felt a deeper connection to Sydney than I ever expected. Dessen manages to write emotionally relatable characters so well, and I found myself even sympathising with Sydney’s brother Peyton, which surprised me as he had such a bad past.

“It was fluid and easy, like everything had been since we’d met,”

Dessen seems to write with such a fluidity and effortlessness, I couldn’t help but find myself so absorbed in her writing. Towards the end of the book, I was reading up to 100 pages at a time, which thrilled me as I haven’t been reading as much recently! Dessen writing might not constantly be poetic, but some scenes made me just put the book down and smile, because they were just simply beautiful and really touched my heart.

The only small complaint I have is that Dessen can be quite predictable. I found this familiar and comforting but I can also see how it can get a little annoying having very similar characters across a vast number of books.

“as I stood on my tiptoes and finally, finally kissed him.”

Overall, if you’re looking for an easy but emotional read, this one is definitely it. I loved seeing Sydney grow as a character and adapt to the changes around her as she matured. This one brought tears to my eyes but also made me smile quietly to myself on so many occasions, because it was just simply lovely.

★★★★
4 out of 5 stars

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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Review: Made You Up by Francesca Zappia

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Goodreads | Amazon

Alex fights a daily battle to figure out what is real and what is not. Armed with a take-no-prisoners attitude, her camera, a Magic 8 Ball, and her only ally (her little sister), Alex wages a war against her schizophrenia, determined to stay sane long enough to get into college. She’s pretty optimistic about her chances until she runs into Miles. Didn’t she imagine him? Before she knows it, Alex is making friends, going to parties, falling in love, and experiencing all the usual rites of passage for teenagers. But Alex is used to being crazy. She’s not prepared for normal. Can she trust herself? Can we trust her? 

I think this might be the first book I’ve read with a protagonist suffering from paranoid schizophrenia, and it felt so important because of that. The whole idea of the narrator having schizophrenia meant reality was constantly being questioned, and gave a magical realism level to the novel similar to that of Adam Silvera’s style of writing. It also allowed for some pretty big plot twists, which kept me constantly intrigued and engaged.

Although this is very much a contemporary novel, Alex’s schizophrenia left a mysterious element to the story. I found it so interesting how she used a camera and photography to try and capture the real to distinguish it from what was in her head. The only frustrating aspect of this was not always knowing what was real and what was happening inside Alex’s head.

I realized I wanted to kiss him. I didn’t know why.”

Alex’s story still tackled family, friendships and romance. Unfortunately I don’t think I fell for Miles as much as everybody else seemed to, although his character did become sweeter throughout the story. I found her relationships fascinating and heartwarming, especially the one she shared with her sister.

Although Alex’s story was emotional, I didn’t find it as heart-wrenching as I expected. The mystery was compelling but a little far fetched for me, so I lost a little connection with the book because of this. The mystery plot-line was fun, but that fun seemed to take away some of the emotional depth for me.

“Maybe it was the way he looked at me like I was the only thing he wanted to look at.”

Overall, this book was fascinating due to the main character having paranoid schizophrenia. It surprised me with the compelling plot twists and entertaining mystery element, but wasn’t quite as heart-wrenching as I wanted it to be and lacked some connection to me as a reader.

★★★★
3.5 out of 5 stars

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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Review: Only Love Can Break Your Heart by Katherine Webber

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Goodreads | Amazon

Reiko loves the endless sky and electric colours of the Californian desert. It is a refuge from an increasingly claustrophobic life of family pressures and her own secrets. Then she meets Seth, a boy who shares a love of the desert and her yearning for a different kind of life. But Reiko and Seth both want something the other can’t give them. As summer ends, things begin to fall apart. But the end of love can sometimes be the beginning of you..

Since this book has been released, it’s been on my TBR. I adored Wing Jones, and have been keeping an eye on this author ever since. Thank you to Tavi for buying Only Love Can Break Your Heart for me off my wishlist!

Reiko is a heartbroken teenager who is dealing with the tragic loss of her sister. When she finds an unexpected friend in Seth, her world is turned upside down and she is forced to face her grief.

I wasn’t disappointed by this book, and I was drawn in from the first page. There was a certain level of comfort that came from Webber’s beautiful, poetic descriptions of the desert, and I found myself loving the locations as much as Reiko herself. Webber left me feeling like I was being enveloped in warmth every time I picked up this novel.

Only Love Can Break Your Heart explores topics in depth that I’ve hardly seen in YA, and found very interesting. This covered subjects such as grief, family, friendships and most importantly for me, social hierarchy. Social hierarchy is often not discussed in YA, especially from the viewpoint of those at the top of the social ladder. However, Reiko is unashamedly one of those people, and reading about her viewpoints were fascinating.

I had a love/hate relationship with Reiko throughout this book, unfortunately. Due to her attitude, she made many mistakes and some decisions which I frowned upon and found hard to relate to. I unfortunately felt the same about Seth as the book progressed, which left me feeling somehow betrayed. However, Reiko went through a lot of self development throughout the book and I left feeling reassured by the way she matures.

Overall, this book had compelling characters, a beautiful location and heart-wrenching plot line. Although I had problems with the characters at times, I would highly recommend this lovely story.

★★★★
4 out of 5 stars

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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