My February TBR

Hi all! We’re just into February and today I’m here to tell you guys which books I’m excited to read this month. I’m doing a few buddy reads with Alex and Faye which is super exciting!

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Goodreads | Waterstones

One summer morning, a flight takes off from New York to Los Angeles. There are 216 passengers aboard: among them a Wall Street millionaire; a young woman taking a pregnancy test in the airplane toilet; a soldier returning from Afghanistan; and two beleaguered parents moving across the country with their adolescent sons. When the plane suddenly crashes in a field in Colorado, the younger of these boys, 12-year-old Edward Adler, is the sole survivor.
Dear Edward recounts the stories of the passengers aboard that flight as it hurtles toward its fateful end, and depicts Edward’s life in the crash’s aftermath as he tries to make sense of the loss of his family, the strangeness of his sudden fame, and the meaning of his survival. As Edward comes of age against the backdrop of sudden tragedy, he must confront one of life’s most profound questions: how do we make the most of the time we are given?’ 

I’m currently reading this book with Alex and Faye and I’m enjoying it quite a lot! My stop on the blog tour is in a few weeks and I’m excited for it.

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Goodreads | Waterstones

Jamie Goldberg is cool with volunteering for his local state candidate – as long as he’s behind the scenes. There’s no way he’d ever knock on doors to ask people for their votes…until he meets Maya.
Maya Rehman’s having the worst Ramadan ever. Her best friend is too busy to hang out, her summer trip is cancelled, her parents are separating and now her mother thinks the solution to her problems is political canvassing – with some awkward guy she hardly knows …
Going door to door isn’t exactly glamorous, but maybe it’s not the worst thing in the world. After all, the polls are getting closer – and so are Maya and Jamie. Mastering local activism is one thing. Navigating the cross-cultural crush of the century is another thing entirely.

I managed to get an ARC of this through work and I can’t wait to read it! I’m also buddy reading this one with Alex and Faye next week.

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Goodreads | Waterstones

In this volume we’ll see the Heartstopper gang go on a school trip to Paris! Not only are Nick and Charlie navigating a new city, but also telling more people about their relationship AND learning more about the challenges each other are facing in private…
Meanwhile Tao and Elle will face their feelings for each other, Tara and Darcy share more about their relationship origin story, and the teachers supervising the trip seem… rather close…?

I’m actually meeting Alice Oseman for the third time tonight at a signing and I can’t wait! I’ll also read the third installment of Heartstopper after I pick it up tonight.

Which books would you like to read this month?

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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Review: The Queens Assassin (Queen's Secret #1) by Melissa de la Cruz

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Goodreads | Waterstones

Caledon Holt is the Kingdom of Renovia’s deadliest weapon. No one alive can best him in brawn or brains, which is why he’s the Guild’s most dangerous member and the Queen’s one and only assassin. He’s also bound to the Queen by an impossible vow–to find the missing Deian Scrolls, the fount of all magical history and knowledge, stolen years ago by a nefarious sect called the Aphrasians.
Shadow has been training all her life to follow in the footsteps of her mother and aunts–to become skilled enough to join the ranks of the Guild. Though magic has been forbidden since the Aphrasian uprising, Shadow has been learning to control her powers in secret, hoping that one day she’ll become an assassin as feared and revered as Caledon Holt.
When a surprise attack brings Shadow and Cal together, they’re forced to team up as assassin and apprentice to hunt down a new sinister threat to Renovia. But as Cal and Shadow grow closer, they’ll uncover a shocking web of lies and secrets that may destroy everything they hold dear. With war on the horizon and true love at risk, they’ll stop at nothing to protect each other and their kingdom in this stunning first novel in the Queen’s Secret series.

Thank you to the publisher and Northern Bloggers for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

I wasn’t sure how I’d take this book. I find I’m still daunted by most fantasy books even though I tend to enjoy them a lot more than I used to. But I was very quickly sucked in by this entertaining story and really, really enjoyed reading it.

I was really fond of the characters from the start. Shadow and her story reminded me a little of Mulan and I really liked her individuality and spirit. She’s a great role model for young girls. Cal was also super sweet and I ended up rooting for them. The Queen’s Assassin is told by both of their points of view and changes every few chapters. Shadow’s narrative appealed to me a little bit more than Cal’s, I just found her slightly easier to relate to.

Another important thing about this book for me was the LGBT representation. The casual mentions of Shadow’s aunts made me smile from the start of the book, and throughout at every mention. The normalisations of the relationships really warmed my heart.

The world building was lacking a little and I struggled to picture the surroundings a little. This was a little disappointing as I imagine this world could have been beautiful if it was written with a little more richness. I can almost picture the astounding towers and turrets of the castle and meandering streets of the medieval towns, but it’s just a little out of reach. The most I could picture vividly was the cave and lake at the start of the book.

This was the same for the history of the fantasy world. Unfortunately there wasn’t much explained in way of the reasons behind the tension between the kingdoms, which left me confused in parts.

Unfortunately, the plot was a little predictable and cliche, especially when it came to the romance aspects. I found it quite easy to guess the next part of the plot in most cases, but it was still full of twists and turns that made this book fun and entertaining to read.

But despite the few flaws and this book not being perfect, I really enjoyed it more than I expected to and found it so easy to speed through. If you want an entertaining romantic fantasy, this one is definitely for you!

★★★★
3.5 out of 5 stars

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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

Hello lovely readers! Welcome to a new month and it’s time for a new set of exciting YA releases. There are so many exciting new releases and here is just a few of them – if you’d like to see more there’s a Goodreads list here.

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Goodreads | February 4th

Caledon Holt is the Kingdom of Renovia’s deadliest weapon. No one alive can best him in brawn or brains, which is why he’s the Guild’s most dangerous member and the Queen’s one and only assassin. He’s also bound to the Queen by an impossible vow–to find the missing Deian Scrolls, the fount of all magical history and knowledge, stolen years ago by a nefarious sect called the Aphrasians.
Shadow has been training all her life to follow in the footsteps of her mother and aunts–to become skilled enough to join the ranks of the Guild. Though magic has been forbidden since the Aphrasian uprising, Shadow has been learning to control her powers in secret, hoping that one day she’ll become an assassin as feared and revered as Caledon Holt.
When a surprise attack brings Shadow and Cal together, they’re forced to team up as assassin and apprentice to hunt down a new sinister threat to Renovia. But as Cal and Shadow grow closer, they’ll uncover a shocking web of lies and secrets that may destroy everything they hold dear. With war on the horizon and true love at risk, they’ll stop at nothing to protect each other and their kingdom in this stunning first novel in the Queen’s Secret series.

I just finished an ARC copy of this book and I enjoyed it! Review coming tomorrow.

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Goodreads | February 4th

As a successful social media journalist with half a million followers, seventeen-year-old Cal is used to sharing his life online. But when his pilot father is selected for a highly publicized NASA mission to Mars, Cal and his family relocate from Brooklyn to Houston and are thrust into a media circus.
Amidst the chaos, Cal meets sensitive and mysterious Leon, another “Astrokid,” and finds himself falling head over heels—fast. As the frenzy around the mission grows, so does their connection. But when secrets about the program are uncovered, Cal must find a way to reveal the truth without hurting the people who have become most important to him.

This book looks gorgeous and I adore the cover.

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Goodreads | February 4th

Jamie Goldberg is cool with volunteering for his local state candidate – as long as he’s behind the scenes. There’s no way he’d ever knock on doors to ask people for their votes…until he meets Maya.
Maya Rehman’s having the worst Ramadan ever. Her best friend is too busy to hang out, her summer trip is cancelled, her parents are separating and now her mother thinks the solution to her problems is political canvassing – with some awkward guy she hardly knows …
Going door to door isn’t exactly glamorous, but maybe it’s not the worst thing in the world. After all, the polls are getting closer – and so are Maya and Jamie. Mastering local activism is one thing. Navigating the cross-cultural crush of the century is another thing entirely. 

I also have an ARC copy of this book and I’m buddy reading it with Faye and Alex next week! I’ve loved all of Becky Albertalli’s books so I’m excited for this one.

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Goodreads | February 6th

In this volume we’ll see the Heartstopper gang go on a school trip to Paris! Not only are Nick and Charlie navigating a new city, but also telling more people about their relationship AND learning more about the challenges each other are facing in private…
Meanwhile Tao and Elle will face their feelings for each other, Tara and Darcy share more about their relationship origin story, and the teachers supervising the trip seem… rather close…?

This week also brings Heartstopper Volume 3. I’ve loved all of the Heartstopper books so far and I’m pretty much up-to-date online, so I can’t wait to add this to my collection.

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Goodreads | February 18th

For Princess Jaya Rao, nothing is more important than family. When the loathsome Emerson clan steps up their centuries-old feud to target Jaya’s little sister, nothing will keep Jaya from exacting her revenge. Then Jaya finds out she’ll be attending the same elite boarding school as Grey Emerson, and it feels like the opportunity of a lifetime. She knows what she must do: Make Grey fall in love with her and break his heart. But much to Jaya’s annoyance, Grey’s brooding demeanor and lupine blue eyes have drawn her in. There’s simply no way she and her sworn enemy could find their fairy-tale ending…right?
His Lordship Grey Emerson is a misanthrope. Thanks to an ancient curse by a Rao matriarch, Grey knows he’s doomed once he turns eighteen. Sequestered away in the mountains at St. Rosetta’s International Academy, he’s lived an isolated existence—until Jaya Rao bursts into his life, but he can’t shake the feeling that she’s hiding something. Something that might just have to do with the rose-shaped ruby pendant around her neck…
As the stars conspire to keep them apart, Jaya and Grey grapple with questions of love, loyalty, and whether it’s possible to write your own happy ending.

This is another read I’m not sure I’ll pick up right away but looks really intriguing and I might look out for a copy.

Which February releases are you excited for?

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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Stacking the Shelves #2

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! I feel like I’ve gained so many books in the past few weeks, but luckily all of the ones in today’s post I managed to receive as ARCs!

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Goodreads | Waterstones

Caledon Holt is the Kingdom of Renovia’s deadliest weapon. No one alive can best him in brawn or brains, which is why he’s the Guild’s most dangerous member and the Queen’s one and only assassin. He’s also bound to the Queen by an impossible vow–to find the missing Deian Scrolls, the fount of all magical history and knowledge, stolen years ago by a nefarious sect called the Aphrasians.
Shadow has been training all her life to follow in the footsteps of her mother and aunts–to become skilled enough to join the ranks of the Guild. Though magic has been forbidden since the Aphrasian uprising, Shadow has been learning to control her powers in secret, hoping that one day she’ll become an assassin as feared and revered as Caledon Holt.
When a surprise attack brings Shadow and Cal together, they’re forced to team up as assassin and apprentice to hunt down a new sinister threat to Renovia. But as Cal and Shadow grow closer, they’ll uncover a shocking web of lies and secrets that may destroy everything they hold dear. With war on the horizon and true love at risk, they’ll stop at nothing to protect each other and their kingdom in this stunning first novel in the Queen’s Secret series.

I was lucky enough to be at the Northern Bloggers Bi-Monthly Book Bash a few weeks ago, and we were all given ARCs of this book. I’m currently buddy-reading it with Alex from Library of Books and Tea, and I’m really enjoying it so far.

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Goodreads | Waterstones

The Prince and the Pauper gets a modern makeover in this adorable, witty, and heartwarming young adult novel set in the Geekerella universe by national bestselling author Ashley Poston.Imogen Lovelace is an ordinary fangirl on an impossible mission: save her favorite character, Princess Amara, from being killed off from her favorite franchise, Starfield. The problem is, Jessica Stone—the actress who plays Princess Amara—wants nothing more than to leave the intense scrutiny of the fandom behind. If this year’s ExcelsiCon isn’t her last, she’ll consider her career derailed.
When a case of mistaken identity throws look-a-likes Imogen and Jess together, they quickly become enemies. But when the script for the Starfield sequel leaks, and all signs point to Jess, she and Imogen must trade places to find the person responsible. That’s easier said than done when the girls step into each other’s shoes and discover new romantic possibilities, as well as the other side of intense fandom. As these “princesses” race to find the script-leaker, they must rescue themselves from their own expectations, and redefine what it means to live happily ever after.

At the same event, we all brought any spare proofs we didn’t want to swap. I donated a few and picked up this which I’ve wanted to read since I read Geekerella when that came out!

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Goodreads | Waterstones

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?
The heart-pounding, compulsively readable saga continues as loyalties are tested and new love blooms in a kingdom on the brink of war.

I requested a copy of A Heart so Fierce and Broken through work, but I really didn’t expect to get a copy! I was really shocked when this came in for me.

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Goodreads | Waterstones

Jamie Goldberg is cool with volunteering for his local state candidate – as long as he’s behind the scenes. There’s no way he’d ever knock on doors to ask people for their votes…until he meets Maya.
Maya Rehman’s having the worst Ramadan ever. Her best friend is too busy to hang out, her summer trip is cancelled, her parents are separating and now her mother thinks the solution to her problems is political canvassing – with some awkward guy she hardly knows …
Going door to door isn’t exactly glamorous, but maybe it’s not the worst thing in the world. After all, the polls are getting closer – and so are Maya and Jamie. Mastering local activism is one thing. Navigating the cross-cultural crush of the century is another thing entirely
.

This is another ARC I managed to grab through work, and I’m really looking forward to picking it up.

What did you buy this week?

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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January Wrap-Up

January has been a rather disappointing start to the year, with me only reading 3 full books. But I’m determined to read more in February to make up for it!

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Review | Goodreads | Waterstones

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.
Brotherhood, love, and loyalty will be put to the test, and no one will escape the fight unscathed.

Unfortunately, my first read of the year was a fairly disappointing one. I’d been looking forward to this book for so long and was so excited to finally manage to get a proof copy, but I definitely didn’t enjoy it as much as I’d have liked to.

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Review | 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.

The Binding isn’t something I’d usually pick up, and I think that’s probably why it took me longer than usual to read. I did end up really enjoying it though!

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Review | 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.

After The Binding, I wanted to pick up something I’ve been wanting to read in a while, so I went for We Are Okay by Nina LaCour. I loved Everything Leads to You and I’d heard so many good things about this book.

My favourite book of the month was definitely We Are Okay, and my least favourite was Infinity Son.

What did you read in January?

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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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
.

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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