April Wrap-Up + May TBR

Hi everyone! I managed to read 15 books in April which I’m super happy with, especially considering I went back to work recently. I also read all of the books on my TBR and completed the Ember in the Ashes series with Alex as a buddy read. I recently put up videos on my BookTube channel for both my April wrap-up and May TBR, which you can watch below.

Books I read in April

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Review | Goodreads | Waterstones

The magical Peter Pan comes to the night nursery of the Darling children, Wendy, John and Michael. He teaches them to fly, then takes them through the sky to Never-Never Land, where they find Red Indians, Wolves, Mermaids and… Pirates.
The leader of the pirates is the sinister Captain Hook. His hand was bitten off by a crocodile, who, as Captain Hook explains ‘liked me arm so much that he has followed me ever since, licking his lips for the rest of me’. After lots of adventures, the story reaches its exciting climax as Peter, Wendy and the children do battle with Captain Hook and his band. 

★★★
2.5 out of 5 stars

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Review | Goodreads | Waterstones

Mary Lennox was horrid. Selfish and spoilt, she was sent to stay with her hunchback uncle in Yorkshire. She hated it.
But when she finds the way into a secret garden and begins to tend to it, a change comes over her and her life. She meets and befriends a local boy, the talented Dickon, and comes across her sickly cousin Colin who had been kept hidden from her. Between them, the three children work astonishing magic in themselves and those around them.

★★★★
4 out of 5 stars

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Review | Goodreads | Waterstones

Laia is a slave. Elias is a soldier. Neither is free.
Under the Martial Empire, defiance is met with death. Those who do not vow their blood and bodies to the Emperor risk the execution of their loved ones and the destruction of all they hold dear.
It is in this brutal world, inspired by ancient Rome, that Laia lives with her grandparents and older brother. The family ekes out an existence in the Empire’s impoverished backstreets. They do not challenge the Empire. They’ve seen what happens to those who do.
But when Laia’s brother is arrested for treason, Laia is forced to make a decision. In exchange for help from rebels who promise to rescue her brother, she will risk her life to spy for them from within the Empire’s greatest military academy. 
There, Laia meets Elias, the school’s finest soldier—and secretly, its most unwilling. Elias wants only to be free of the tyranny he’s being trained to enforce. He and Laia will soon realize that their destinies are intertwined—and that their choices will change the fate of the Empire itself.

★★★★
4 out of 5 stars

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Review | Goodreads | Waterstones

Saoirse doesn’t believe in love at first sight or happy endings. If they were real, her mother would still be able to remember her name and not in a care home with early onset dementia. A condition that Saoirse may one day turn out to have inherited. So she’s not looking for a relationship. She doesn’t see the point in igniting any romantic sparks if she’s bound to burn out.
But after a chance encounter at an end-of-term house party, Saoirse is about to break her own rules. For a girl with one blue freckle, an irresistible sense of mischief, and a passion for rom-coms.
Unbothered by Saoirse’s no-relationships rulebook, Ruby proposes a loophole: They don’t need true love to have one summer of fun, complete with every cliché, rom-com montage-worthy date they can dream up—and a binding agreement to end their romance come fall. It would be the perfect plan, if they weren’t forgetting one thing about the Falling in Love Montage: when it’s over, the characters actually fall in love… for real.

★★★★
4.5 out of 5 stars

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Review | Goodreads | Waterstones

★★★★
4 out of 5 stars

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Review | Goodreads | Waterstones

These are the truths that Lexi has heard all her life.
But when an actual stranger-a boy who seems to fade like smoke-appears outside her home on the moor at night, she knows that at least one of these sayings is no longer true.
The next night, the children of Near start disappearing from their beds, and the mysterious boy falls under suspicion. Still, he insists on helping Lexi search for them. Something tells her she can trust him.
As the hunt for the children intensifies, so does Lexi’s need to know-about the witch that just might be more than a bedtime story, about the wind that seems to speak through the walls at night, and about the history of this nameless boy.

★★★★
4 out of 5 stars

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Review | Goodreads | Waterstones

★★★★
3.5 out of 5 stars

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Review | Goodreads | Waterstones

Three years ago, Tanner Scott’s family relocated from California to Utah, a move that nudged the bisexual teen temporarily back into the closet. Now, with one semester of high school to go, and no obstacles between him and out-of-state college freedom, Tanner plans to coast through his remaining classes and clear out of Utah.
But when his best friend Autumn dares him to take Provo High’s prestigious Seminar—where honor roll students diligently toil to draft a book in a semester—Tanner can’t resist going against his better judgment and having a go, if only to prove to Autumn how silly the whole thing is. Writing a book in four months sounds simple. Four months is an eternity.
It turns out, Tanner is only partly right: four months is a long time. After all, it takes only one second for him to notice Sebastian Brother, the Mormon prodigy who sold his own Seminar novel the year before and who now mentors the class. And it takes less than a month for Tanner to fall completely in love with him.

★★★★★
4.5 out of 5 stars

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Review | Goodreads | Waterstones

With her daughter to care for and her abuela to help support, high school senior Emoni Santiago has to make the tough decisions, and do what must be done. The one place she can let her responsibilities go is in the kitchen, where she adds a little something magical to everything she cooks, turning her food into straight-up goodness. Still, she knows she doesn’t have enough time for her school’s new culinary arts class, doesn’t have the money for the class’s trip to Spain — and shouldn’t still be dreaming of someday working in a real kitchen. But even with all the rules she has for her life — and all the rules everyone expects her to play by — once Emoni starts cooking, her only real choice is to let her talent break free.

★★★★★
5 out of 5 stars 

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Review | Goodreads | Waterstones

★★★★
4 out of 5 stars

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Review | Goodreads | Waterstones

★★★★
3.5 out of 5 stars

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Review | Goodreads | Waterstones

This powerful YA memoir-manifesto follows journalist and LGBTQ+ activist George M. Johnson as they explore their childhood, adolescence, and college years, growing up under the duality of being black and queer. From memories of getting their teeth kicked out by bullies at age five to their loving relationship with their grandmother, to their first sexual experience, the stories wrestle with triumph and tragedy and cover topics such as gender identity, toxic masculinity, brotherhood, family, inequality, consent, and Black joy.

★★★★
5 out of 5 stars

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Review (2020) | Goodreads | Waterstones

Alina Starkov doesn’t expect much from life. Orphaned by the Border Wars, she is sure of only one thing: her best friend, Mal–and her inconvenient crush on him. Until the day their army regiment enters the Fold, a swath of unnatural darkness crawling with monsters. When their convoy is attacked and Mal is brutally injured, Alina reveals a dormant power not even she knew existed.
Ripped from everything she knows, Alina is taken to the royal court to be trained as a member of the Grisha, the magical elite led by the mysterious Darkling. With Alina’s extraordinary power in his arsenal, he believes they can finally destory the Fold. Now Alina must find a way to master her untamed gift and somehow fit into her new life without Mal by her side. But nothing in this lavish world is what it seems. As the threat to the kingdom mounts and her dangerous attraction to the Darkling grows, Alina will uncover a secret that could tear her heart–and her country–in two. 

★★★★
4 out of 5 stars

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Review (2020) | Goodreads | Waterstones

★★★★
4 out of 5 stars

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Review | Goodreads | Waterstones

Del has had a crush on Kiera Westing since kindergarten. And now, during their junior year, she’s finally available. So when Kiera volunteers for an opportunity at their church, Del’s right behind her. Though he quickly realizes he’s inadvertently signed up for a Purity Pledge.
His dad thinks his wires are crossed, and his best friend, Qwan, doesn’t believe any girl is worth the long game. But Del’s not about to lose his dream girl, and that’s where fellow pledger Jameer comes in. He can put in the good word. In exchange, Del just has to get answers to the Pledgers’ questions…about sex ed.
With other boys circling Kiera like sharks, Del needs to make his move fast. But as he plots and plans, he neglects to ask the most important question: What does Kiera want? He can’t think about that too much, though, because once he gets the girl, it’ll all sort itself out. Right?

★★★★
3.5 out of 5 stars

I read a real mix of books this month and I feel like I had a very positive reading month. My least favourite was sadly Peter Pan and my favourite was With the Fire on High, which both surprised me for different reasons!

Books I Want to Read in May

Anne of Green Gables – L.M. Montgomery
Ruin and Rising – Leigh Bardugo
Six of Crows – Leigh Barugo
Crooked Kingdom – Leigh Bardugo
King of Scars – Leigh Bardugo
Rule of Wolves – Leigh Bardugo
Don’t Breathe a Word – Jordyn Taylor
The (Un)Popular Vote – Jasper Sanchez
Threadneedle – Cari Thomas

May really is the month of Leigh Bardugo for me! I was planning on rereading King of Scars before reading Rule of Wolves, but I never expected to reread all of the Grisha books. However, here we are! I’m doing most of these as buddy reads with Alex, which is super lovely. I also want to read a few ARCs this month before their releases!

I’ve already read a few of these books, so I’m pretty confident I can finish this TBR, I’m just unsure if I’ll be able to finish Threadneedle as it is quite chunky. I’m sure I’ll at least start it before the end of the month though!

What did you read in April and what are you hoping to read in May?

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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Review: Autoboyography by Chrstina Lauren

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Goodreads | Waterstones

Three years ago, Tanner Scott’s family relocated from California to Utah, a move that nudged the bisexual teen temporarily back into the closet. Now, with one semester of high school to go, and no obstacles between him and out-of-state college freedom, Tanner plans to coast through his remaining classes and clear out of Utah.
But when his best friend Autumn dares him to take Provo High’s prestigious Seminar—where honor roll students diligently toil to draft a book in a semester—Tanner can’t resist going against his better judgment and having a go, if only to prove to Autumn how silly the whole thing is. Writing a book in four months sounds simple. Four months is an eternity.
It turns out, Tanner is only partly right: four months is a long time. After all, it takes only one second for him to notice Sebastian Brother, the Mormon prodigy who sold his own Seminar novel the year before and who now mentors the class. And it takes less than a month for Tanner to fall completely in love with him. 

Okay, I expected to like this book. I didn’t expect to love it. This has been on my shelves for a long time and I’m so glad I picked it up out of my TBR jar recently because it finally forced me to read, and thoroughly enjoy, this story.

This book has very similar vibes to Georgia Peaches and Other Forbidden Fruit, which I liked but didn’t love. The gripes I had with that book luckily didn’t appear in Autoboyography, and I really loved the story. I was absolutely addicted to this book and read it in a couple of days, even though I was reading it alongside two others. Once I hit the 200 page mark, I was hooked. I became so invested in these characters and I just wanted to know what was going to happen, and found I couldn’t put it down until I’d finished the book.

Tanner and Sebastian were just so adorable. Neither are perfect, and both definitely have their own issues. But they are both teenage boys figuring out their sexualities, their religions and their place in the world. Of course they are going to make mistakes and decisions that are not always the right one’s, and I love how this book worked out these mistakes with the support of the side characters.

I don’t actually care if you break my heart, Sebastian. I went into this knowing it could happen and I gave it to you anyway.

I really liked how both ends of the scale are portrayed here – Tanner is secure in his sexuality and his identity and is supported by his family in that. Also, his family is not deeply religious. Sebastian is Mormon, largely influenced by the church and his family, who are very closed in their viewpoints and would not be happy to find out Sebastian is, in fact, attracted to guys. This book is told largely from the point of view of Tanner, but in no means overshadows what Sebastian is going through in terms of figuring out his sexuality.

I also really enjoyed the cast of side characters, including siblings, parents and even teachers. They all have different outlooks on the world and nothing is shied away from – the discussion of religion in this book is particularly heavy and hard to read about at times. Some of the discussions among Sebastian’s family are particularly painful to read later in the story. If I did have any small complains about this book, it’s about how Mormonism is portrayed, however I am not educated enough on the topic to discuss any further! I also found that coming from outside any religion, I did have to search a few terms from this book, as I didn’t even know what LDS stood for.

But I don’t want you to break your own. You have so much space in your heart for your church, but does it have space for you?

Overall, there was just so much I adored about this book. The two main characters really carried this story in a way I didn’t expect and I found myself rooting for them so much that I had tears rolling down my cheeks as the story ended. The side characters were also brilliantly written and diverse, and I did for the most part love the friendship Tanner had with Autumn. The plot was fast paced and I could never completely guess where it was going, which is why I couldn’t put it down! Bar a few small plot holes and discussions that didn’t sit quite right with me, I absolutely loved this book and I will definitely be recommending it to friends.

CW: heavy discussion of religion, homophobia, sex (not particularly graphic/mentioned before or after)

★★★
4.5 out of 5 stars

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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Stacking the Shelves #41

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 haven’t actually bought too many books recently, although I have ordered a few more recently that I’m very excited to arrive. I might be speaking too soon, but I definitely feel like adding to my TBR has gotten better, and I’m buying more duplicate editions instead! Whether that’s a good thing or not is your own judgement 😉

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Goodreads | Waterstones

Nesta Archeron has always been prickly – proud, swift to anger and slow to forgive. And since the war – since being made High Fae against her will – she’s struggled to forget the horrors she endured and find a place for herself within the strange and deadly Night Court. The person who ignites her temper more than any other is Cassian, the battle-scarred, winged warrior who is there at Nesta’s every turn. But her temper isn’t the only thing Cassian ignites. And when they are forced to train in battle together, sparks become flame. As the threat of war casts its shadow over them once again, Nesta and Cassian must fight monsters from within and without if they are to stand a chance of halting the enemies of their court. But the ultimate risk will be searching for acceptance – and healing – in each other’s arms.

This edition is actually the edition that turned up with my Illumicrate dust jackets, which are absolutely beautiful! I also picked up my Waterstones edition.

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Goodreads

A Life No One Will Remember. A Story You Will Never Forget.
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.

I had one last collectors edition of The Invisible Life of Addie Larue to pick up, which was this gorgeous Forbidden Planet version. I recently managed (with some help from my boyfriend) to pick up this edition, which looks amazing as part of my collection!

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Goodreads | Waterstones

I’ve also had two out of three copies of Rule of Wolves that I had preordered arrive – the Waterstones and Illumicrate versions. They have the same dust jackets but the designs underneath are absolutely drop dead gorgeous!

Which books did you buy or receive this week?

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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Review: Shadow of the Batgirl by Sarah Kuhn and Nicole Goux

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Goodreads | Waterstones

Cassandra Cain is the daughter of super-villains and a living weapon trained from birth to be the ultimate assassin. But that doesn’t mean she has to stay that way, right? She’ll have to go through an identity crisis of epic proportions to find out. But how do you figure out who you’re supposed to be when you’ve been trained to become a villain your entire life?
After a soul-shattering moment that sends Cass reeling, she’ll attempt to answer this question the only way she knows how: learning everything she possibly can about her favorite hero–Batgirl. But Batgirl hasn’t been seen in Gotham for years, and when Cass’s father threatens the world she has grown to love, she’ll have to step out of the shadows and overcome her greatest obstacle–that voice inside her head telling her she can never be a hero.

Mark has managed to choose the perfect two books to introduce me to the world of DC. I read You Brought Me the Ocean earlier this year and I absolutely adored it, and now we have this one. I love the idea of these newer DC stories being aimed at teen/young adult readers, and they suit me perfectly.

Shadow of the Batgirl follows Cassandra Cain, who is growing up and learning about herself, as well as living in a library. What’s not to love? I immediately fell for the art style and colour palette, which was vibrant and beautiful. Purples, blues and pinks are used throughout the spreads and I just adored it, I could look at the pages for hours and still find new details I didn’t spot before. The library made for such a lovely setting and was, as you can see below, portrayed so beautifully.

From Birds of Prey to Shadow of Batgirl: Meet Cassandra Cain | EW.com
Copyright DC Comics 2020

I really liked Cassandra as a character and her innocence. Throughout this story she is constantly learning more about herself and overcoming mistakes. She is also always learning from those around her and this made for a wonderful found-family. Local restaurant owner ‘Jackie’ Fujikawa Yoneyama and librarian Barbara Gordon made for slightly odd but equally likable fairy godmothers. I really loved the relationship between them both and Cassandra, and how they became the people who took her under their wings.

The combination of (very little) dialogue and beautiful, expressive illustrations made for a delightful read. I loved the artwork so much, I feel like this will become a real comfort read for me.

★★★★
4 out of 5 stars

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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Stacking the Shelves #40

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’ve received a couple of books recently that are helping to complete some of the series I have or have read the first book of. I’m super excited to carry on with them!

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Goodreads | Waterstones

I read The Last Namsara a while ago and I really enjoyed it. Me and Alex are hoping to buddy read the whole series this year so I picked up the second one recently!

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Goodreads | Waterstones

Both of my copies of Chain of Iron also arrived recently around the release. I managed to nab this standard edition with a beautiful dust jacket, which was the virtual tour edition.

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Goodreads | Waterstones

I also managed to grab one of these beautiful Waterstones editions and have it redirected it to my house as it was going to the shop I work at. I’m so glad it arrived safely. Even though I haven’t read Chain of Gold yet and I’m not planning to read this series soon, I’m super happy to have them all on my shelf because they look so beautiful.

Which books did you buy or receive this week?

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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Review: Serious Moonlight by Jenn Bennett

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Goodreads | Waterstones

Raised in isolation and home-schooled by her strict grandparents, the only experience Birdie has had of the outside world is through her favourite crime books.
But everything changes when she takes a summer job working the night shift at a historic Seattle hotel. There she meets Daniel Aoki, the hotel’s charismatic driver, and together they stumble upon a real-life mystery: a famous reclusive writer—never before seen in public—is secretly meeting someone at the hotel.
To uncover the writer’s puzzling identity, Birdie must come out of her shell, and in doing so, realize that the most confounding mystery of all may just be her growing feelings for Daniel.

I don’t read as much contemporary as I used to, but Jenn Bennett is an auto-buy author for me. I’ve loved all of her books so far and I only have Starry Eyes left to pick up now. She has a great knack of writing compelling contemporary books with very real characters and always with an interesting, mysterious twist, and Serious Moonlight was no different!

Although Alex, Approximately remains my favourite Jenn Bennett book, this one might be a close second. The characters in this book felt so real and alive. They are dynamic and make a lot of mistakes, but not without reason and I actually quite enjoyed how layered the characters felt because of it. I think one of my favourite small things about the way these characters were written is it’s all in the detail. It’s in the way Birdie wears a flower in her hair and had a sheltered childhood. It’s in the way Daniel likes magic tricks and David Bowie. All of the tiny details made every character feel vibrant and beautiful and I fell in love with each of them a tiny bit. The side characters were diverse and amazing in every way.

Judging other people unfairly doesn’t define them; it defines you.

I also loved the plot of this book. I never expect to have so many twists and turns and I definitely didn’t guess what was going to happen along the way! The plot is interwoven mystery and romance, with one sometimes coming to the forefront of the story. Although a little far fetched sometimes, I was so invested in the story and I couldn’t stop reading at the end because I just needed to know what was going to happen to Birdie and Daniel.

There was so many tiny things I loved about this book. I find Jenn Bennett’s writing always brings the location to life and I find I always want to visit the settings afterwards. I also loved the food in this book (no surprise there!), which seemed to have constant talk of pie, and a great sushi scene. The characters were really sex positive and talked a lot about sex, which was not only brilliant but also made for some very humorous scenes!

And in the end everyone will be disappointed.

This book was so quirky, cute and just an all around amazing. It was also really diverse, with a compelling plot and beautiful cast of characters. I will definitely continue to read all of Jenn Bennett’s books!

★★★
4.5 out of 5 stars

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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February Wrap-Up + March TBR

Hi everyone! I’m here today with my February Wrap Up and March TBR. I managed to read 11 books in February, which I’m pretty happy with. I read a mix of books with most of them being 3.5-4 stars, so it was a solid month with a lot of enjoyable reads!

Books I Read in February

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Review | Goodreads | Waterstones

Emilia and her twin sister Victoria are streghe – witches who live secretly among humans, avoiding notice and persecution. One night, Victoria misses dinner service at the family’s renowned Sicilian restaurant. Emilia soon finds the body of her beloved twin…desecrated beyond belief. Devastated, Emilia sets out to discover who did this, and to seek vengeance at any cost—even if it means using dark magic that’s been long forbidden.
Then Emilia meets Wrath, the outlier among the seven demon brethren, always choosing duty over pleasure. He’s been tasked by his master with investigating a series of women’s murders on the island. When Emilia and Wrath’s fates collide, it’s clear this disturbing mystery will take a bewitching turn…

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Review | Goodreads | Waterstones

On an island off the coast of Ireland, guests gather to celebrate two people joining their lives together as one. The groom: handsome and charming, a rising television star. The bride: smart and ambitious, a magazine publisher. It’s a wedding for a magazine, or for a celebrity: the designer dress, the remote location, the luxe party favors, the boutique whiskey. The cell phone service may be spotty and the waves may be rough, but every detail has been expertly planned and will be expertly executed.
But perfection is for plans, and people are all too human. As the champagne is popped and the festivities begin, resentments and petty jealousies begin to mingle with the reminiscences and well wishes. The groomsmen begin the drinking game from their school days. The bridesmaid not-so-accidentally ruins her dress. The bride’s oldest (male) friend gives an uncomfortably caring toast.
And then someone turns up dead. Who didn’t wish the happy couple well? And perhaps more important, why?

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Review | Goodreads | Waterstones

A sharpshooter. A dreamer. A damn good liar.
Mortals rule the desert nation of Miraji, but mythical beasts still roam the wild and remote areas, and rumor has it that somewhere, djinn still perform their magic. For humans, it s an unforgiving place, especially if you re poor, orphaned, or female.
Amani Al Hiza is all three. She s a gifted gunslinger with perfect aim, but she can t shoot her way out of Dustwalk, the back-country town where she s destined to wind up wed or dead.Then she meets Jin, a rakish foreigner, in a shooting contest, and sees him as the perfect escape route. But though she s spent years dreaming of leaving Dustwalk, she never imagined she d gallop away on a mythical horse or that it would take a foreign fugitive to show her the heart of the desert she thought she knew.

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Review | Goodreads | Waterstones

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Review | Goodreads | Waterstones

Once, in the desert country of Miraji, there was a Sultan without an heir.
The heir had been killed by his own brother, the treacherous Rebel Prince, who was consumed by jealousy and sought the throne for himself.
Or so it was said by some. There were others who said that the Rebel Prince was not a traitor but a hero…
In the final battle for the throne, Amani must fight for everything she believes in, but with the rebellion in pieces, and the Sultan’s armies advancing across the desert plains, who will lead, who will triumph, who will live and who will die?

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Review | Goodreads | Waterstones

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Review | Goodreads | Waterstones

For Penny Lee, high school was a nonevent. She got decent grades, had a few friends, and even a boyfriend by senior year but basically she was invisible. Having just graduated from high school, she’s heading off to college in Austin, Texas, and she’s ready for it.
Sam has had a rougher time over the last few years. He grew up in a trailer park and had to bail when he caught his addict mom taking out credit cards in his name to buy more crap from the Home Shopping Network. He gets a job at a café whose owner is kind enough to let him crash on a mattress in a spare room upstairs. He wants to go to film school and become a great director but at the moment he has $17 in his checking account and his laptop is dying.
When Penny and Sam cross paths it’s not exactly a Hollywood meet cute: they’re both too socially awkward for that. But they exchange numbers and stay in touch—almost entirely by text message, a form that allows them to get to know each other while being witty and snarky and intimate without the uncomfortable weirdness of, you know, actually having to see each other in person. 

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Review | Goodreads | Waterstones

What does persuasion mean – a firm belief, or the action of persuading someone to think something else? Anne Elliot is one of Austen’s quietest heroines, but also one of the strongest and the most open to change. She lives at the time of the Napoleonic wars, a time of accident, adventure, the making of new fortunes and alliances.

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Review | Goodreads | Waterstones

What if death is only the beginning?
When Harriet Stoker dies after falling from a balcony in a long-abandoned building, she discovers a group of ghosts, each with a special power.
Felix, Kasper, Rima and Leah welcome Harriet into their world, eager to make friends with the new arrival after decades alone. Yet Harriet is more interested in unleashing her own power, even if it means destroying everyone around her. But when all of eternity is at stake, the afterlife can be a dangerous place to make an enemy. 

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Review | Goodreads | Waterstones

Cover art by Trần Nguyên
Following her father’s death, Jane North-Robinson and her mom move from sunny California to the dreary, dilapidated old house in Maine where her mother grew up. All they want is a fresh start, but behind North Manor’s doors lurks a history that leaves them feeling more alone…and more tormented.
As the cold New England autumn arrives, and Jane settles in to her new home, she finds solace in old books and memories of her dad. She steadily begins making new friends, but also faces bullying from the resident “bad seed,” struggling to tamp down her own worst nature in response. Jane’s mom also seems to be spiralling with the return of her childhood home, but she won’t reveal why. Then Jane discovers that the “storage room” her mom has kept locked isn’t for storage at all — it’s a little girl’s bedroom, left untouched for years and not quite as empty of inhabitants as it appears….
Is it grief? Mental illness? Or something more… horrid?

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Review | Goodreads | Waterstones

Dive into the epic world of international bestselling author Leigh Bardugo with this beautifully illustrated replica of The Lives of Saints, the Istorii Sankt’ya, featuring tales of saints drawn from the beloved novels and beyond. Out of the pages of the Shadow and Bone trilogy, from the hands of Alina Starkov to yours, the Istorii Sankt’ya is a magical keepsake from the Grishaverse.
These tales include miracles and martyrdoms from familiar saints like Sankta Lizabeta of the Roses and Sankt Ilya in Chains, to the strange and obscure stories of Sankta Ursula, Sankta Maradi, and the Starless Saint.
This beautiful collection includes stunning full-color illustrations of each story.

My favourite read this month was definitely Emergency Contact, and my least favourite was The Guest List.

Books I Want to Read in March

Little Women – Louisa May Alcott
Twilight: Life and Death – Stephanie Meyer
Serious Moonlight – Jenn Bennett
Red, White and Royal Blue – Casey McQuinston
King’s Cage – Victoria Aveyard

I don’t have a super set-in-stone TBR for March, but I do want to read these if I can!

What did you read in February and what are you hoping to read in March?

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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Review: Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

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Goodreads | Waterstones

Little Women is one of the best-loved children’s stories of all time, based on the author’s own youthful experiences. It describes the family of the four March sisters living in a small New England community. Meg, the eldest, is pretty and wishes to be a lady; Jo, at fifteen is ungainly and unconventional with an ambition to be an author; Beth is a delicate child of thirteen with a taste for music and Amy is a blonde beauty of twelve. The story of their domestic adventures, their attempts to increase the family income, their friendship with the neighbouring Laurence family, and their later love affairs remains as fresh and beguiling as ever.

This is a story that has oddly been with me throughout my life, in one way or another. When I was a child, I picked this book up after reading Jane Eyre and loving it immensely. However, I couldn’t get into it and put it back down for another time. Likely over 10 years later, that other time finally arrived.

New Year’s Day 2020: me and my boyfriend decided to go to the cinema to see the brand new adaptation (I posted about it here!). It was packed, almost every seat taken, and we ended up craning our necks on the front row. Despite that, I fell in love with that film so deeply that I saw it another three times afterwards, also in cinema. Just over a year after that, I finally pick up my new Wordsworth classic edition, and fall in love all over again.

Take some books and read; that’s an immense help;

I don’t have sisters, but I imagine that this book portrays how having sisters really feels. The chaotic, arresting energy these girls have between them is addictive. I never fail to feel their undying love for one another and those around them, I just adore how the friendships and relationships really jump off the pages. The girls capture my heart again and again, with their bravery, self awareness, caring natures and childlike abandonment.

This book truly feels like a comfort read, and diving into it’s pages is like wrapping yourself in a warm blanket, or sinking into a warm bath. It is like that first sip of tea, when you can feel the warmth spreading around your body. I will never understand just how it works, how stories such as these can have such a calming and nurturing tone to them, but it feels like a gentle, comforting kind of magic.

and books are always good company if you have the right sort.

Without spoiling this book, I did feel very surprised at the ending, and it is something I will warn you of. Having known the story of Little Women for a long time, and having watched the 2019 movie adaptation, I knew what I was going into and fully expected to have a good cry. However, the original publication was actually in two parts – Little Women and Good Wives, with the second book being set 3 years after the original story. Now, it is highly common to find most editions of Little Women contain both halves of the story, but as it happens, mine did not. I imagine this is due to my edition being a children’s classic, and I would definitely recommend checking your copy if you are looking to read both books in one! Luckily, my boyfriend has a copy that includes both books, so I will definitely be carrying on fairly soon.

★★★
5 out of 5 stars

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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Stacking the Shelves #39

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’ve had some really exciting bookmail recently that I can’t wait to tell you about. I’ve been buying a lot of special editions recently in lockdown and a few of them arrived this week.

An Ember in the Ashes DELUXE SET – Community

Goodreads

Laia is a slave. Elias is a soldier. Neither is free.
Under the Martial Empire, defiance is met with death. Those who do not vow their blood and bodies to the Emperor risk the execution of their loved ones and the destruction of all they hold dear.
It is in this brutal world, inspired by ancient Rome, that Laia lives with her grandparents and older brother. The family ekes out an existence in the Empire’s impoverished backstreets. They do not challenge the Empire. They’ve seen what happens to those who do.
But when Laia’s brother is arrested for treason, Laia is forced to make a decision. In exchange for help from rebels who promise to rescue her brother, she will risk her life to spy for them from within the Empire’s greatest military academy.
 There, Laia meets Elias, the school’s finest soldier—and secretly, its most unwilling. Elias wants only to be free of the tyranny he’s being trained to enforce. He and Laia will soon realize that their destinies are intertwined—and that their choices will change the fate of the Empire itself.

I actually ordered this set back in November and it arrived last week! It’s such a beautiful set, I’m so happy I bought it.

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Goodreads

Nesta Archeron has always been prickly-proud, swift to anger, and slow to forgive. And ever since being forced into the Cauldron and becoming High Fae against her will, she’s struggled to find a place for herself within the strange, deadly world she inhabits. Worse, she can’t seem to move past the horrors of the war with Hybern and all she lost in it.
The one person who ignites her temper more than any other is Cassian, the battle-scarred warrior whose position in Rhysand and Feyre’s Night Court keeps him constantly in Nesta’s orbit. But her temper isn’t the only thing Cassian ignites. The fire between them is undeniable, and only burns hotter as they are forced into close quarters with each other.
Meanwhile, the treacherous human queens who returned to the Continent during the last war have forged a dangerous new alliance, threatening the fragile peace that has settled over the realms. And the key to halting them might very well rely on Cassian and Nesta facing their haunting pasts.

I’m so happy that after so much grief (I will be covering this more on my YouTube channel soon!), my tour edition of A Court of Silver Flames finally arrived. I can’t wait to read it!

What have you bought this week?

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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Stacking the Shelves #37

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 been a little better at buying books recently, but I have something very exciting to show you all today! My lovely boyfriend Mark gifted me a book for Valentine’s day that I am so, so happy and excited about. I have been looking for the Owlcrate version of The Invisible Life of Addie Larue for a while now, and I’d almost given up on being able to find one I could afford. I was just trying to convince myself I didn’t need this beautiful edition, when Mark gave me this one. I couldn’t believe it!

Image result for owlcrate the invisible life of addie larue
Credit: bookishluna.com

This is the beautiful back cover of the book, with the front cover being similar to the American hardback. I can’t wait to see them next to each other on the shelf!

What have you bought this week?

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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www.etsy.com/uk/shop/thebooksareverywhere