Review: We Are Okay by Nina LaCour

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Goodreads

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

★★★★★
5 out of 5 stars

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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Let's Discuss! Favourite Books of 2019

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

5.

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Review | Goodreads | Waterstones

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

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

4.

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Review | Goodreads | Waterstones

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

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

3.

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Review | Goodreads | Waterstones

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

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

2.

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Review | Goodreads | Waterstones

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

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

1.

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Review | Goodreads | Waterstones

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

Which was your favourite read of 2019?

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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Review: The Binding by Bridget Collins

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Goodreads | Waterstones

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

★★★★
4 out of 5 stars

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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Review: Infinity Son (#1) by Adam Silvera

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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

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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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