December Wrap Up

Hi everyone! I’m a little late in posting this but it’s time for my December Wrap-Up. I read 18 books in December which I’m super proud of as it was a super busy month for me as usual with a lot of work and assignments. You can also watch this as a video, which I’ll link below.

Books I read in December

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Review | Goodreads | Waterstones

Do you dare read this collection of terrifyingly gruesome tales? In this gripping volume, author Jen Campbell offers young readers an edgy, contemporary, and inclusive take on classic fairy tales, taking them back to their gory beginnings while updating them for a modern audience with queer and disabled characters and positive representation of disfigurement.
Featuring fourteen short stories from China, India, Ireland, and across the globe, The Sister Who Ate Her Brothers is an international collection of the creepiest folk tales. Illustrated with Adam de Souza’s brooding art, this book’s style is a totally original blend of nineteenth-century Gothic engravings meets moody film noir graphic novels. Headlined by the Korean tale of a carnivorous child, The Sister Who Ate Her Brothers is a truly thrilling gift for brave young readers.

★★★★
3.5 out of 5 stars

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Review | Goodreads | Waterstones

★★★★★
4.5 out of 5 stars

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Review | Goodreads | Waterstones

Ivy, Mateo, and Cal used to be close. Back in middle school they were best friends. So, when Cal pulls into campus late for class, and runs into Ivy and Mateo, it seems like the perfect opportunity to turn a bad day around. They’ll ditch school and go into the city. Just the three of them, like old times. Why did they stop hanging out, anyway?
As soon as they pull out of the parking lot Cal knows why. Ivy’s already freaking out about missing class, and heartthrob Mateo is asleep in the backseat, too cool to even pretend like he wants to be there. The truth is they have nothing in common anymore.
At least they don’t until they run into the fourth student ditching school that day. Brian “Boney” Mahoney is supposed to be accepting his newly won office of class president. Which is why Ivy follows him into an empty building, only to walk into the middle of a murder scene. Cal, Ivy, and Mateo all know the person lying on the ground of that building, and now they need to come clean. They’re all hiding something. And maybe their chance reconnection wasn’t by chance after all. 

★★★★
4 out of 5 stars

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Review | Goodreads | Waterstones

When three very different siblings, Fern, Rowan and Willow, go home for a Christmas reunion at their family home in Edinburgh, it’s not long before some VERY BIG SECRETS threaten their cosy holiday …
The McAllister house on Arboretum Road has seen 120 Christmases since its completion.
This year, FERN is bringing her gorgeous boyfriend home and she wants everything to be perfect.
But her twin brother ROWAN would rather go on the pull than pull crackers with the family.
And their younger sister WILLOW is terrified of Christmas Day.
With FOUR sleeps till Christmas,
THREE secretive siblings,
TWO hot houseguests,
And ONE juicy secret …
This Christmas, there will be some BIG surprises under the tree.
Sometimes at Christmas, you don’t get what you want, you get what you need…

★★★★
4 out of 5 stars

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Review | Goodreads | Blackwells

Adam Stillwater is in over his head. At least, that’s what his best friend would say. And his mom. And the guy who runs the hardware store down the street. But this pinball arcade is the only piece of his dad that Adam has left, and he’s determined to protect it from Philadelphia’s newest tech mogul, who wants to turn it into another one of his cold, lifeless gaming cafés.
Whitney Mitchell doesn’t know how she got here. Her parents split up. She lost all her friends. Her boyfriend dumped her. And now she’s spending her senior year running social media for her dad’s chain of super successful gaming cafés—which mostly consists of trading insults with that decrepit old pinball arcade across town.
But when a huge snowstorm hits, Adam and Whitney suddenly find themselves trapped inside the arcade. Cut off from their families, their worlds, and their responsibilities, the tension between them seems to melt away, leaving something else in its place. But what happens when the storm stops? 

★★★★
4 out of 5 stars

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Review | Goodreads | Waterstones

Love, literature, friendship, music, carnival, travel, dance, work, nature, food – Black Joy can be found in so many places.
Edited by award-winning journalist Charlie Brinkhust-Cuff and up-and-coming talent Timi Sotire, join twenty-eight inspirational voices in this uplifting and empowering anthology as they come together to celebrate being Black British, sharing their experiences of joy and what it means to them.

★★★★★
5 out of 5 stars

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Review | Goodreads | Waterstones

An unflinching, powerful memoir about growing up Korean American, losing her mother, and forging her own identity.
In this exquisite story of family, food, grief, and endurance, Michelle Zauner proves herself far more than a dazzling singer, songwriter, and guitarist. With humor and heart, she tells of growing up one of the few Asian American kids at her school in Eugene, Oregon; of struggling with her mother’s particular, high expectations of her; of a painful adolescence; of treasured months spent in her grandmother’s tiny apartment in Seoul, where she and her mother would bond, late at night, over heaping plates of food.
As she grew up, moving to the East Coast for college, finding work in the restaurant industry, and performing gigs with her fledgling band–and meeting the man who would become her husband–her Koreanness began to feel ever more distant, even as she found the life she wanted to live. It was her mother’s diagnosis of terminal cancer, when Michelle was twenty-five, that forced a reckoning with her identity and brought her to reclaim the gifts of taste, language, and history her mother had given her.

★★★★★
4.5 out of 5 stars

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Review | Goodreads | Waterstones

Taken from the poverty of her parents’ home in Portsmouth, Fanny Price is brought up with her rich cousins at Mansfield Park, acutely aware of her humble rank and with her cousin Edmund as her sole ally. During her uncle’s absence in Antigua, the Crawford’s arrive in the neighbourhood bringing with them the glamour of London life and a reckless taste for flirtation. Mansfield Park is considered Jane Austen’s first mature work and, with its quiet heroine and subtle examination of social position and moral integrity, one of her most profound.

★★★
3 out of 5 stars

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Review | Goodreads | Blackwells

North Carolina, 1863. As the American Civil War rages on, the Freedmen’s Colony of Roanoke Island is blossoming, a haven for the recently emancipated. Black people have begun building a community of their own, a refuge from the shadow of the old life. It is where the March family has finally been able to safely put down roots with four young daughters:
Meg, a teacher who longs to find love and start a family of her own.
Jo, a writer whose words are too powerful to be contained.
Beth, a talented seamstress searching for a higher purpose.
Amy, a dancer eager to explore life outside her family’s home.
As the four March sisters come into their own as independent young women, they will face first love, health struggles, heartbreak, and new horizons. But they will face it all together.

★★★★★
5 out of 5 stars

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Review | Goodreads | Waterstones

In an Italian city ravaged by plague, Sofia’s mother carves beautiful mementos from the bones of loved ones. But one day, she doesn’t return home. Did her work lead her into danger? Sofia and her little brother Ermin are sent to the convent orphanage but soon escape, led by an enigmatic new friend and their pet crow, Corvith.
Together they cross the city underground, following clues in bones up to the towers of Siena, where – circled by magpies – the children find the terrible truth …

★★★★
4 out of 5 stars

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Review | Goodreads | Waterstones

Julia has followed her mum and dad to live on a remote island for the summer – her dad, for work; her mother, on a determined mission to find the elusive Greenland shark. But when her mother’s obsession threatens to submerge them all, Julia finds herself on an adventure with dark depths and a lighthouse full of hope…
A beautiful, lyrical, uplifting story about a mother, a daughter, and love – with timely themes of the importance of science and the environment.

★★★★★
5 out of 5 stars

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Review | Goodreads | Waterstones

Shaun Bythell owns The Bookshop, Wigtown – Scotland’s largest second-hand bookshop. It contains 100,000 books, spread over a mile of shelving, with twisting corridors and roaring fires, and all set in a beautiful, rural town by the edge of the sea. A book-lover’s paradise? Well, almost …
In these wry and hilarious diaries, Shaun provides an inside look at the trials and tribulations of life in the book trade, from struggles with eccentric customers to wrangles with his own staff, who include the ski-suit-wearing, bin-foraging Nicky. He takes us with him on buying trips to old estates and auction houses, recommends books (both lost classics and new discoveries), introduces us to the thrill of the unexpected find, and evokes the rhythms and charms of small-town life, always with a sharp and sympathetic eye.

★★★★★
4.5 out of 5 stars

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Review | Goodreads | Waterstones

Join your favorite villagers from Animal Crossing: New Horizons on new adventures!
What do the villagers of Animal Crossing: New Horizons get up to when you’re not around? Find out all about their antics in this hilarious manga filled with goofy gags and silly stories! Plus, read comics that highlight each villager, as well as get tips and tricks for playing the game in a special bonus section. 

★★★
2.5 out of 5 stars

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Review | Goodreads | Waterstones

There’s nothing Marietta Stelle loves more than ballet, but after Christmas, her dreams will be over as she is obligated to take her place in Edwardian society. While she is chafing against such suffocating traditions, a mysterious man purchases the neighbouring townhouse. Dr Drosselmeier is a charming but calculating figure who wins over the rest of the Stelle family with his enchanting toys and wondrous mechanisms.
When Drosselmeier constructs an elaborate set for Marietta’s final ballet performance, she discovers it carries a magic all of its own. On the stroke of midnight on Christmas Eve, she is transported to a snowy forest, where she encounters danger at every turn: ice giants, shadow goblins and the shrieking mist all lurk amidst the firs and frozen waterfalls and ice cliffs. After being rescued by the butterscotch-eyed captain of the king’s guard, she is escorted to the frozen sugar palace. At once, Marietta is enchanted by this glittering world of glamorous gowns, gingerbread houses, miniature reindeer and the most delicious confectionary.

But all is not as it seems and Marietta is soon trapped in the sumptuous palace by the sadistic King Gelum, who claims her as his own. She is confined to a gilded prison with his other pets; Dellara, whose words are as sharp as her teeth, and Pirlipata, a princess from another land. Marietta must forge an alliance with the two women to carve a way free from this sugar-coated but treacherous world and back home to follow her dreams. Yet in a hedonistic world brimming with rebellion and a forbidden romance that risks everything, such a path will never be easy.

★★★★★
4.5 out of 5 stars

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Review | Goodreads | Waterstones

The Little Prince is a modern fable, and for readers far and wide both the title and the work have exerted a pull far in excess of the book’s brevity. Written and published first by Antoine de St-Exupury in 1943, only a year before his plane disappeared on a reconnaissance flight, it is one of the world’s most widely translated books, enjoyed by adults and children alike. In the meeting of the narrator who has ditched his plane in the Sahara desert, and the little prince, who has dropped there through time and space from his tiny asteroid, comes an intersection of two worlds, the one governed by the laws of nature, and the other determined only by the limits of imagination. The world of the imagination wins hands down, with the concerns of the adult world often shown to be lamentably silly as seen through the eyes of the little prince. While adult readers can find deep meanings in his various encounters, they can also be charmed back to childhood by this wise but innocent infant.

★★★
3 out of 5 stars

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Review | Goodreads | Waterstones

Way out in the furthest part of the known world, a tiny stronghold exists all on its own, cut off from the rest of human-kin by monsters that lurk beneath the Snow Sea.
There, a little boy called Ash waits for the return of his parents, singing a forbidden lullaby to remind him of them… and doing his best to avoid his very, VERY grumpy yeti guardian, Tobu.
But life is about to get a whole lot more crazy-adventurous for Ash.
When a brave rescue attempt reveals he has amazing magical powers, he’s whisked aboard the Frostheart, a sleigh packed full of daring explorers who could use his help. But can they help him find his family . . . ?

★★★
3 out of 5 stars

The Kill Order - Maze Runner Series 4 (Paperback)

Review | Goodreads | Waterstones

★★★
3 out of 5 stars

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Review | Goodreads | Waterstones

Scandalous gossip, wild parties, and forbidden love—witness what the gods do after dark in this stylish and contemporary reimagining of one of mythology’s most well-known stories from creator Rachel Smythe. Featuring a brand-new, exclusive short story, Smythe’s original Eisner-nominated web-comic Lore Olympus brings the Greek Pantheon into the modern age with this sharply perceptive and romantic graphic novel.

★★★★
4 out of 5 stars

Although I had a run of 3 star reads at the end, I had some great reads in December and my favourite was definitely So Many Beginnings. I’ve recently found out it’s part of a set of remixed classics, which I definitely want to read more from! Unfortunately, my least favourite and definitely most disappointing book in the month was the Animal Crossing manga.

Which books did you read in December?

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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Review: Lore Olympus: Volume One by Rachel Smythe

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Goodreads | Waterstones

Scandalous gossip, wild parties, and forbidden love—witness what the gods do after dark in this stylish and contemporary reimagining of one of mythology’s most well-known stories from creator Rachel Smythe. Featuring a brand-new, exclusive short story, Smythe’s original Eisner-nominated web-comic Lore Olympus brings the Greek Pantheon into the modern age with this sharply perceptive and romantic graphic novel.

What a beautiful book. I’m so glad I decided to pick up the stunning Illumicrate edition of this book and I decided to squeeze it in as my last read of 2021. As a graphic novel, it’s super quick to read but is definitely not without substance and style.

The colouring and artwork in this graphic novel are absolutely gorgeous and I’ve not seen the kind of colour combinations used throughout this comic. Each character has an allocated colour, which looks beautiful and made it easy to follow as someone who doesn’t know much background information about the Greek Gods.

Lore Olympus: Volume 01: Amazon.co.uk: Smythe, Rachel: 9780593160299: Books

I love the idea of this being the Greek Gods ‘after dark’ and it does tackle some difficult issues, with a content warning at the start of the book. I’m hoping to re-read this one later in 2022 when volume 2 comes out and focus more on the beautiful panels and artwork.

★★★★
4 out of 5 stars

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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Review: So Many Beginnings by Bethany C Morrow

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Goodreads | Blackwells

North Carolina, 1863. As the American Civil War rages on, the Freedmen’s Colony of Roanoke Island is blossoming, a haven for the recently emancipated. Black people have begun building a community of their own, a refuge from the shadow of the old life. It is where the March family has finally been able to safely put down roots with four young daughters:
Meg, a teacher who longs to find love and start a family of her own.
Jo, a writer whose words are too powerful to be contained.
Beth, a talented seamstress searching for a higher purpose.
Amy, a dancer eager to explore life outside her family’s home.
As the four March sisters come into their own as independent young women, they will face first love, health struggles, heartbreak, and new horizons. But they will face it all together.

When I say I loved this book, I mean I loved this book. It felt like a Black love letter to Little Women, and I want to write a love letter to this book.

Now, there are some books that are inspired by other stories that I feel like you don’t need to read to understand the original version – such as A Sky Painted Gold by Laura Wood which is inspired by The Great Gatsby. I definitely found more of a sense of enjoyment with that book due to having read Gatsby not so long ago, and I found it fun to unpick where certain scenes in the story were inspired by the original, but it wasn’t needed at all to read the original.

But So Many Beginnings is a different story. With this one, it feels firmly within the rounds of being written purely for fans of the original story. We don’t differ much from the plot or the characters we know and love. For me, this worked so well because I went into this story already having such a strong connection to the characters, and I loved them. Although there is slight differences in character relationships and dynamics (and these changes I really liked!), but the main characteristics remain the same.

I was a little hesitant going into this one, not knowing what to expect from the retelling, but it just did every aspect so well. The main divergence from the main story was, obviously, the little women themselves and the family being Black and living in the American Civil War. I was worried going in that the narrative and dialogue would feel unnatural or forced – I found this a little with A Sky Painted Gold, that the narrative of the main character felt a bit too modern for the time period. However, the dialogue, discussions and conversations felt entirely natural and authentic.

It is discussed at the end of the book in an authors note how this story is partially inspired by true diaries and research that has been done about the time period, and this shone through so well. The discussions about racism were incredible and so powerful.

There is just nothing I can point out about this book that I didn’t like – the changes were perfect, but were balanced so well with the original story. The characters were so likeable and lovely, and the discussions were very well done. What a book.

★★★★★
5 out of 5 stars

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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Review: The Ex Hex (#1) by Erin Sterling

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Goodreads | Waterstones

Vivienne Jones handled the biggest break-up of her life the way that any witch would: vodka, bubble baths, and a curse on her ex.
That was nine years ago. Now Rhys Penhallow, descendant of the town’s founders, breaker of hearts and still irritatingly gorgeous, is back. Rhys has returned to the quaint town of Graves Glen to recharge the ley lines and make an appearance at the annual fall festival. But when his every move results in calamity, Vivi realises that hexing her ex might not have been so harmless after all…
As the curse starts to affect the magic of the town, resulting in murderous wind-up toys, an outraged ghost, and a surprisingly talkative cat, Vivi and Rhys must put their personal feelings aside and work together to break the curse and save not just the town, but also Rhys’s life.

I’m usually drawn to contemporaries when they have some kind of twist – like the magical twist in this one! Unfortunately this one came out only just before Halloween, because it would have been even more perfect to read it in October. But reading it as a buddy read with my friends in November was definitely a close second best!

This book genuinely made me laugh out loud from the very first couple of pages. It was so fun to read and had a lot of entertaining aspects. I’ve heard it be described as Hocus Pocus but with sex, and it honestly did remind me of Hocus Pocus in parts!

the best cure for anything

I loved the two main characters and there was brilliant chemistry between them. This book had the perfect amount of spice and the sex scenes were funny as well as passionate. The writing was so easy to read and I could have very easily sped through this one.

I also really liked Rhys as a love interest. I loved that he was Welsh and the small Welsh elements and bits of Welsh language really won my heart! The setting was perfect too and I could really picture the small-town American Halloween events.

was candles and a bath

If you’re looking for a spicy romance with witty writing and an entertaining plot, definitely go and pick this one up!

★★★★
4 out of 5 stars

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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Stacking the Shelves #62

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’ve gained a few books in the past week in the form of deliveries or one’s I’ve bought, and I’m so excited for all of then.

Bought

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Goodreads

I ordered a hardback copy of this one a while ago to complete my duology, and it finally arrived! I wanted to grab these older covers and I’m so glad I did, it’s beautiful.

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Goodreads | Waterstones

Growing up in her sleepy Cornish village dreaming of being a writer, seventeen-year-old Lou has always wondered about the grand Cardew house which has stood empty for years. And when the owners arrive for the summer – a handsome, dashing brother and sister – Lou is quite swept off her feet and into a world of moonlit cocktail parties and glamour beyond her wildest dreams.
But, as she grows closer to the Cardews, is she abandoning her own ambitions… And is there something darker lurking at the heart of the Cardew family?

I also picked up this beautiful book as I’m reading it with some friends this month! I’ve wanted to read a Laura Wood book for a while so I’m really looking forward to this one.

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Goodreads | Waterstones

Nothing is more important than loyalty.
But what if you’ve sworn to protect the one you were born to destroy?
 Tarisai has always longed for the warmth of a family. She was raised in isolation by a mysterious, often absent mother known only as The Lady. The Lady sends her to the capital of the global empire of Aritsar to compete with other children to be chosen as one of the Crown Prince’s Council of 11. If she’s picked, she’ll be joined with the other Council members through the Ray, a bond deeper than blood. That closeness is irresistible to Tarisai, who has always wanted to belong somewhere. But The Lady has other ideas, including a magical wish that Tarisai is compelled to obey: Kill the Crown Prince once she gains his trust. Tarisai won’t stand by and become someone’s pawn—but is she strong enough to choose a different path for herself? With extraordinary world-building and breathtaking prose, Raybearer is the story of loyalty, fate, and the lengths we’re willing to go for the ones we love. 

I finally picked up a copy of Raybearer and completed my set. I’ve heard such amazing things about this series and I’m so excited to read it.

Gifted

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Goodreads | Waterstones

Adam Stillwater is in over his head. At least, that’s what his best friend would say. And his mom. And the guy who runs the hardware store down the street. But this pinball arcade is the only piece of his dad that Adam has left, and he’s determined to protect it from Philadelphia’s newest tech mogul, who wants to turn it into another one of his cold, lifeless gaming cafés.
Whitney Mitchell doesn’t know how she got here. Her parents split up. She lost all her friends. Her boyfriend dumped her. And now she’s spending her senior year running social media for her dad’s chain of super successful gaming cafés—which mostly consists of trading insults with that decrepit old pinball arcade across town.
But when a huge snowstorm hits, Adam and Whitney suddenly find themselves trapped inside the arcade. Cut off from their families, their worlds, and their responsibilities, the tension between them seems to melt away, leaving something else in its place. But what happens when the storm stops? 

I received a few books from Harper 360 this week, thank you Harper! This one sounded so good for winter that I couldn’t resist requesting it, thank you for my copy Harper!

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Goodreads | Waterstones

Half British Reaper, half Japanese Shinigami, Ren Scarborough has been collecting souls in the London streets for centuries. Expected to obey the harsh hierarchy of the Reapers who despise her, Ren conceals her emotions and avoids her tormentors as best she can.
When her failure to control her Shinigami abilities drives Ren out of London, she flees to Japan to seek the acceptance she’s never gotten from her fellow Reapers. Accompanied by her younger brother, the only being on earth to care for her, Ren enters the Japanese underworld to serve the Goddess of Death… only to learn that here, too, she must prove herself worthy. Determined to earn respect, Ren accepts an impossible task—find and eliminate three dangerous Yokai demons—and learns how far she’ll go to claim her place at Death’s side. 

I also requested this one from Harper and it sounds so good. Aren’t both of these covers beautiful too?

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

Stacking the Shelves #61

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! One day I will get my book buying under control, but this week isn’t that week. A combination of October book releases and my birthday have meant that I’ve been receiving even more books than usual, which is both lovely and means a lot of books have been gained!

Bought

55780561

Goodreads

North Carolina, 1863. As the American Civil War rages on, the Freedmen’s Colony of Roanoke Island is blossoming, a haven for the recently emancipated. Black people have begun building a community of their own, a refuge from the shadow of the old life. It is where the March family has finally been able to safely put down roots with four young daughters:
Meg, a teacher who longs to find love and start a family of her own.
Jo, a writer whose words are too powerful to be contained.
Beth, a talented seamstress searching for a higher purpose.
Amy, a dancer eager to explore life outside her family’s home.
As the four March sisters come into their own as independent young women, they will face first love, health struggles, heartbreak, and new horizons. But they will face it all together.

The first book I received this week was a pre-order, which I’m so excited to read! I didn’t know when this one was actually coming out, so I was happy to receive it.

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Goodreads | Waterstones

I also made a Blackwells order with a voucher I had, including finally getting a hardback copy of this one to match the first book I have!

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Goodreads | Waterstones

Zafira is the Hunter, disguising herself as a man when she braves the cursed forest of the Arz to feed her people. Nasir is the Prince of Death, assassinating those foolish enough to defy his autocratic father, the sultan. If Zafira was exposed as a girl, all of her achievements would be rejected; if Nasir displayed his compassion, his father would punish him in the most brutal of ways. Both Zafira and Nasir are legends in the kingdom of Arawiya–but neither wants to be.
War is brewing, and the Arz sweeps closer with each passing day, engulfing the land in shadow. When Zafira embarks on a quest to uncover a lost artifact that can restore magic to her suffering world and stop the Arz, Nasir is sent by the sultan on a similar mission: retrieve the artifact and kill the Hunter. But an ancient evil stirs as their journey unfolds–and the prize they seek may pose a threat greater than either can imagine. 

I added this one to my Blackwells order too, as I’ve wanted to read this series for a long time but I much prefer the older covers like the one pictured above.

Gifted

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Goodreads | Waterstones

Flora loves Christmas more than anything else in the world, so she’s gutted when her Scrooge-alike boss fires her from Deck the Halls Christmas emporium. But now she finally has a chance to follow her dreams – and what better place to start than the home of Christmas?
Before she can say ‘sleigh bells’, Flora’s on her way to Lapland in a campervan-cum-Christmas-shop. She can’t wait to spend her days drinking hot chocolate and taking reindeer-drawn carriage rides, but something Flora didn’t expect was meeting Connor, a Norse god of a man who makes her heart flutter and snowflakes swirl in her stomach. There’s just one problem: Connor hates Christmas.
Can Flora convince Connor of the joys of Christmas – and will she find a festive romance along the way?

I also received a lot of books as gifts this week, the first one being Flora’s Travelling Christmas Shop from Midas PR/the publishers. This one looks super cute and I can’t wait to read it soon!

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Goodreads | Waterstones

After her mother dies in an accident, sixteen-year-old Bree Matthews wants nothing to do with her family memories or childhood home. A residential program for bright high schoolers at UNC–Chapel Hill seems like the perfect escape—until Bree witnesses a magical attack her very first night on campus.
A flying demon feeding on human energies.
A secret society of so called “Legendborn” students that hunt the creatures down.
And a mysterious teenage mage who calls himself a “Merlin” and who attempts—and fails—to wipe Bree’s memory of everything she saw.
The mage’s failure unlocks Bree’s own unique magic and a buried memory with a hidden connection: the night her mother died, another Merlin was at the hospital. Now that Bree knows there’s more to her mother’s death than what’s on the police report, she’ll do whatever it takes to find out the truth, even if that means infiltrating the Legendborn as one of their initiates.
She recruits Nick, a self-exiled Legendborn with his own grudge against the group, and their reluctant partnership pulls them deeper into the society’s secrets—and closer to each other. But when the Legendborn reveal themselves as the descendants of King Arthur’s knights and explain that a magical war is coming, Bree has to decide how far she’ll go for the truth and whether she should use her magic to take the society down—or join the fight.

My lovely friend Alex had a box of books she no longer wanted, and I decided to take this one as I’ve heard such good things about it and I’ve wanted to read it for a while.

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Goodreads | Waterstones

Unicorns don’t belong in fairy tales—they belong in nightmares. The deadly beasts can only be tamed by the rider who hatches them.
Skandar Smith has only ever wanted to be a unicorn rider, and the time has finally come for him to take his Hatchery Exam, which will determine whether he is destined to hatch a unicorn egg. But when Skandar is stopped from taking the exam, and the mysterious and frightening Weaver steals the most powerful unicorn in the world, becoming a rider proves a lot more dangerous than he could ever have imagined.
As he faces elemental magic, fierce sky battles, ancient secrets, nail-biting races and, of course, bloodthirsty unicorns, Skandar realizes he and his friends are in graver danger than he ever imagined.

I also received this beautiful proof from the publisher, which looks so fun!

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Goodreads | Waterstones

In the early hours after Halloween of 1988, four 12-year-old newspaper delivery girls uncover the most important story of all time.

It’s time to talk about birthday gifts, including this graphic novel Mark gave me! I’ve wanted to read this series for a while and Mark also thought I would enjoy it, so decided to buy me a copy. Thank you Mark!

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Goodreads | Waterstones

Throughout the deepest reaches of space, a crew rebuilds beautiful and broken-down structures, painstakingly putting the past together. As Mia, the newest member, gets to know her team, the story flashes back to her pivotal year in boarding school, where she fell in love with a mysterious new student. When Mia grows close to her new friends, she reveals her true purpose for joining their ship—to track down her long-lost love.

Courtney also gifted me a graphic novel – one we have both wanted to read ever since seeing SpoopyHol on YouTube reading it! I’m so excited for this one.

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Goodreads | Waterstones

The Moomins, in case you didn’t know, are kind, philosophical creatures with velvety fur and smooth round snouts, who live in a tall blue house in a beautiful woodland valley beside the sea.
One summer a grumbling volcano causes Moominvalley to flood, forcing the Moomin family to leave their beloved home and find refuge on a floating theatre. When this casts adrift, leaving Moomin, the Snorkmaiden and Little My marooned on land, Moominsummer Madness ensues. Will they all be reunited before the final curtain?

She also gifted me this beautiful copy of Moominsummer Madness! I’ve wanted to read the Moomin books for so long and Courtney looked into the recommended reading order for this one. Thank you so much Courtney!

Which books did you buy or receive this week?

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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Review: The Mercies by Kiran Millwood Hargrave

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Goodreads | Waterstones

Finnmark, Norway, 1617. Twenty-year-old Maren Magnusdatter stands on the craggy coast, watching the sea break into a sudden and reckless storm. Forty fishermen, including her brother and father, are drowned and left broken on the rocks below. With the menfolk wiped out, the women of the tiny Arctic town of Vardø must fend for themselves.
Three years later, a sinister figure arrives. Absalom Cornet comes from Scotland, where he burned witches in the northern isles. He brings with him his young Norwegian wife, Ursa, who is both heady with her husband’s authority and terrified by it. In Vardø, and in Maren, Ursa sees something she has never seen before: independent women. But Absalom sees only a place untouched by God, and flooded with a mighty evil.
As Maren and Ursa are drawn to one another in ways that surprise them both, the island begins to close in on them, with Absalom’s iron rule threatening Vardø’s very existence.

I don’t read or enjoy much historical fiction, so I was definitely a little hesitant going into this one. But I really like Kiran Millwood Hargrave’s other work, and I’ve heard great things about this book. I ended up reading this one as part of a buddy read with some friends, which was really nice and definitely made me finally pick this one up! I’ve had this one since the hardback release, and it’s been a long time coming.

Firstly, I’m really glad I picked this one up in autumn. The book itself is quite bleak and it fit the season so well. I started reading this one while it was raining heavily outside and the atmosphere felt so perfect. We start this book with the women of the island losing all of their men to the sea, which I found such a fascinating premise to the book, especially in the historical context.

Many of them seem past caring what is true or not, only desperate for some reason, 

I quickly found myself really liking the characters and the fact this one follows predominantly women as they find their own independence. We follow Maren, who has always lived on the island, and Ursa, who moves to the island with her husband from mainland Norway. Having these two perspectives gave the perfect amount of contrast to the story and kept me interested in both of their stories, and I loved their growing friendship.

I found myself really enjoying the setting and although it makes the book feel very contained, it doesn’t necessarily feel limited. The writing was beautiful and portrayed the story well, and although this book does have quite a few harrowing and bleak scenes, they don’t feel unnecessary and they are there to push the plot forward. I must admit I did occasionally find the plot quite slow and not as engaging as I wanted sometimes. It took me just under a week to read this one, which felt like quite a while for a 350 page book.

some order to the rearrangement of their lives, even if it is brought about by a lie.

Overall, this one was really enjoyable in places, but the writing did let it down in others.

★★★★
4 out of 5 stars

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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Stacking the Shelves #60

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!

I certainly made up for my lack of book buying last week with this week’s haul! Now I’m home, I’ve also unpacked a few books that arrived over the time I was away.

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Goodreads | Waterstones

As Princesses of Crete and daughters of the fearsome King Minos, Ariadne and her sister Phaedra grow up hearing the hoofbeats and bellows of the Minotaur echo from the Labyrinth beneath the palace. The Minotaur – Minos’s greatest shame and Ariadne’s brother – demands blood every year.
When Theseus, Prince of Athens, arrives in Crete as a sacrifice to the beast, Ariadne falls in love with him. But helping Theseus kill the monster means betraying her family and country, and Ariadne knows only too well that in a world ruled by mercurial gods – drawing their attention can cost you everything.
In a world where women are nothing more than the pawns of powerful men, will Ariadne’s decision to betray Crete for Theseus ensure her happy ending? Or will she find herself sacrificed for her lover’s ambition?

I did actually forget to add this one to last week’s post, but I recently picked up the new white edition of Ariadne. I’ve been wanting to buy this for a while and I love this new edition, and couldn’t resist the signed version!

Mooncakes Collector's Edition HC (Hardback)

Goodreads | Waterstones

A story of love and demons, family and witchcraft.
Nova Huang knows more about magic than your average teen witch. She works at her grandmothers’ bookshop, where she helps them loan out spell books and investigate any supernatural occurrences in their New England town.
One fateful night, she follows reports of a white wolf into the woods, and she comes across the unexpected: her childhood crush, Tam Lang, battling a horse demon in the woods. As a werewolf, Tam has been wandering from place to place for years, unable to call any town home.
Pursued by dark forces eager to claim the magic of wolves and out of options, Tam turns to Nova for help. Their latent feelings are rekindled against the backdrop of witchcraft, untested magic, occult rituals, and family ties both new and old in this enchanting tale of self-discovery.

I also found out about the new hardback deluxe edition of Mooncakes, which is one of my favourite graphic novels. I immediately picked one up and it’s beautiful!

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Goodreads | Waterstones

It’s the countdown to midnight on New Year’s Eve and Nur is steeling himself to tell his parents that he’s seeing someone. A young British Pakistani man, Nur has spent years omitting details about his personal life to maintain his image as the golden eldest child. And it’s come at a cost.
Once, Nur was a restless and insecure college student, struggling to present himself after being transplanted from his hometown with only the vaguest sense of ambition. At a packed house party, he meets Yasmina, a beautiful and self-possessed aspiring journalist. They start a conversation–first awkward, then absorbing–that grabs Nur’s attention like never before. And as their relationship develops, moving from libraries and cramped coffee shops to an apartment they share together, so too does Nur’s self-destruction. He falls deeper into traps of his own making, attempting to please both Yasmina and his family until he no longer has a choice. He must finally be honest and reveal to those who raised him the truth he’s kept hidden: Yasmina is Black, and he loves her.

This is the only proof copy I picked up this week, as it sounds really interesting and has been a-likened to The Big Sick.

Rebecca - Virago Modern Classics (Hardback)

Goodreads | Waterstones

Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again . . .
The novel begins in Monte Carlo, where our heroine is swept off her feet by the dashing widower Maxim de Winter and his sudden proposal of marriage. Orphaned and working as a lady’s maid, she can barely believe her luck. It is only when they arrive at his massive country estate that she realizes how large a shadow his late wife will cast over their lives–presenting her with a lingering evil that threatens to destroy their marriage from beyond the grave.

I also decided to pick up this beautiful anniversary edition of Rebecca after my boyfriend Mark told me it reminded him of Jane Eyre, which is one of my favourite books.

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Goodreads | Waterstones

Set on the desert planet Arrakis, Dune is the story of the boy Paul Atreides, heir to a noble family tasked with ruling an inhospitable world where the only thing of value is the “spice” melange, a drug capable of extending life and enhancing consciousness. Coveted across the known universe, melange is a prize worth killing for…
When House Atreides is betrayed, the destruction of Paul’s family will set the boy on a journey toward a destiny greater than he could ever have imagined. And as he evolves into the mysterious man known as Muad’Dib, he will bring to fruition humankind’s most ancient and unattainable dream.

I also couldn’t resist this absolutely beautiful edition of Dune. I’ve never actually read it or owned a copy, so I thought I’d buy this beautiful new exclusive.

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Goodreads

Evangeline Fox was raised in her beloved father’s curiosity shop, where she grew up on legends about immortals, like the tragic Prince of Hearts. She knows his powers are mythic, his kiss is worth dying for, and that bargains with him rarely end well.
But when Evangeline learns that the love of her life is about to marry another, she becomes desperate enough to offer the Prince of Hearts whatever he wants in exchange for his help to stop the wedding. The prince only asks for three kisses. But after Evangeline’s first promised kiss, she learns that the Prince of Hearts wants far more from her than she’s pledged. And he has plans for Evangeline that will either end in the greatest happily ever after, or the most exquisite tragedy…

My pre-order of this beauty came through too! It’s my fourth copy of the book so far and I love it.

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Goodreads | Book Depository

France, 1714: in a moment of desperation, a young woman makes a Faustian bargain to live forever and is cursed to be forgotten by everyone she meets.
Thus begins the extraordinary life of Addie LaRue, and a dazzling adventure that will play out across centuries and continents, across history and art, as a young woman learns how far she will go to leave her mark on the world.
But everything changes when, after nearly 300 years, Addie stumbles across a young man in a hidden bookstore and he remembers her name.

And my 11th (yes, 11th!) copy of The Invisible Life of Addie Larue came through, which is this beautiful American Illustrated edition. I love the blue and the gold together, it’s gorgeous.

Which books did you buy or receive this week?

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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Review: Emma by Jane Austen

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Goodreads | Waterstones

Although described by Jane Austen as a character ‘whom no one but myself will much like’, the irrepressible Emma Woodhouse is one of her most beloved heroines. Clever, rich and beautiful, she sees no need for marriage, but loves interfering in the romantic lives of others, until her matchmaking plans unravel, with consequences that she never expected. Jane Austen’s novel of youthful exuberance and gradual self-knowledge is a brilliant, sparkling comic masterpiece. 

I’m slowly making my way through Austen’s books this autumn, and I’ve been mainly doing that through audio. This one is no different, and I decided to pick it as my first October audiobook. I love reading Austen on audio and the narrator of this one was brilliant. The voices really reflected each character and the story shone through well.

I cannot make speeches, Emma…If I loved you less, I might be able to talk about it more. But you know what I am. 

However, this is sadly probably my least favourite Austen so far. I believe this is one of her longest books and I’m so glad I read it on audio because it did feel quite long and drawn out. I feel like this one has the least plot and most nonsense out of all of the Austen books I’ve read so far. I was never quite sure where this book was going and felt like there was not much of an end point to strive for.

Although Emma as a main character could be unlikable at times, I did enjoy the idea of her being a female heroine and not necessarily looking for love. However, some of the other characters were highly annoying (I’m looking at you, Miss Bates!) and let me tell you, the narrator did a great job as portraying them as such.

You hear nothing but truth from me. I have blamed you, and lectured you, and you have borne it as no other woman in England would have borne it.

Overall, I feel like this one is going to be quite forgettable for me and feels very…scatterbrained. I’m still excited to read more from Austen and I didn’t dislike this book, just my least favourite so far!

★★★
3 out of 5 stars

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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Review: On a Night Like This by Lindsey Kelk

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Goodreads | Waterstones

Within days of wishing she could change her life, Fran Cooper is acting assistant to a celebrity, on a yacht in the Mediterranean, and en route to a tiny Italian island and the glittering Crystal Ball, along with the world’s rich and famous.
When she – quite literally – bumps into a handsome American called Evan, a man able to keep his cool in the face of chaos, the magic really begins.
Evan makes her a promise: no last names, no life stories, just one unforgettable night. Yet Evan belongs at the Crystal Ball and Fran is a gatecrasher. They may be soulmates, but their homes are an ocean apart, and their lives a world apart. They’ll never meet again – unless, on a night like this, everything can change forever…

Thank you to Harper for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

It has taken me way too long to finally pick up a Lindsey Kelk book, but I jumped on the chance to read and review her upcoming release, On a Night Like This! In this book we follow Fran, who accepts a mysterious job as a personal assistant to megastar singer Juliette. Fran is thrown into a world of stardom and ends up reconsidering everything about her life back home because of it.

This book was so funny. I was immediately thrown into witty writing and laugh-out-loud one liners. I don’t often laugh out lout at books, but this one really did make me chuckle over and over again. The writing was so easy and felt less predictable than I expected. Once I picked this one up, I didn’t want to put it down. I was so absorbed in Fran’s story and just wanted to find out more about her life and how it would change as the book went on.

Fran made such a lovely main character and I clicked with her almost immediately. I sympathised so much with her and her situation, and it was so amazing to see how she learned about herself and grew as a person. Her friendship with Juliette was so entertaining to read about but also had some really heartfelt moments.

Overall, this book had such a beautiful mixture of self love, friendship and romance. It was both cliched in the best way put unpredictable at the same time. I really enjoyed reading it and I’m so glad I’ve finally picked up a Lindsey Kelk book!

★★★★★
4.5 out of 5 stars

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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