Review: Viper (#1) by Bex Hogan

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Goodreads | Waterstones

Seventeen-year-old Marianne is fated to one day become the Viper, defender of the Twelve Isles.
But the reigning Viper stands in her way. Corrupt and merciless, he prowls the seas in his warship, killing with impunity, leaving only pain and suffering in his wake.
He’s the most dangerous man on the ocean . . . and he is Marianne’s father.
She was born to protect the islands. But can she fight for them if it means losing her family, her home, the boy she loves – and perhaps even her life?

I really wasn’t sure whether to pick up this book as I’m not usually a fan of maritime, but it has such a beautiful cover that I couldn’t resist when I ended up at a book signing for the author. And I’m happy to say I definitely don’t regret picking it up!

I found myself more sucked in by Viper than I had been expecting – it is fast paced and full of adventure, but has emotional undertones that made me love Marianne’s soft but strong character. She is a brilliant female protagonist and I admired her spirit so much.

The man by my side is my opposite and my reflection. The dark to my light. The light to my dark. And everything in between.

The big shock for me in this book was definitely the gore. It can be quite visceral in parts and isn’t one for the faint hearted! But it only added to the fight scenes for me, which were some of my favourite parts of the book. The scenes went by in the blink of an eye, kept me on my toes and had a great action about them.

The characters were really interesting and I connected to most of them on some level, especially Marianne and those closest to her. I can’t usually pinpoint a favourite part of a novel, but I really could with this one. I won’t talk about it in detail due to spoilers, but there was a lovely part of the book set on the Fourth Isle that I just adored.

But I’m not sure either of us could survive the heartbreak of being together yet being apart.
Love is not enough.

The romance was sweet but didn’t overwhelm the story, which I really liked. And the setting was beautiful and easy to picture – I loved the visuals of some of the islands and they were very encompassing. The politics were enjoyable and not too over-complicated, sometimes I find fantasy can be hard to follow but this one certainly wasn’t!

Overall, this was a captivating story and I enjoyed it a lot! I found it wrapped up quite well for me, so I probably won’t carry on with the series, but I’d definitely recommend it if you think it sounds like something you’ll enjoy!

★★★★
4 out of 5 stars

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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Top 5 Series to Help You Escape

Hi everyone! It’s been a while since I did a top 5 list, but this one has been springing to mind over the past week or so.

To put it bluntly, the world sucks right now. Things are hard, and I’m sure a lot of us are using TV, films, games and books to escape from the madness. Here are 5 recommendations from me that I found completely absorbing and couldn’t put down!

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Goodreads | Waterstones

When sixteen-year-old Tessa Gray crosses the ocean to find her brother, her destination is England, the time is the reign of Queen Victoria, and something terrifying is waiting for her in London’s Downworld, where vampires, warlocks and other supernatural folk stalk the gaslit streets. Friendless and hunted, Tessa seeks refuge with the Shadowhunters, a band of warriors dedicated to ridding the world of demons. Drawn ever deeper into their world, she finds herself fascinated by — and torn between — two best friends and quickly realizes that love may be the most dangerous magic of all.

Cassandra Clare was the first author that came to mind with this post. It took me 3 months to read all of her books and I loved being absorbed in the world of Shadowhunters and I’m hoping to read Chain of Gold while we’re in isolation.

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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 read Girls of Paper and Fire last year and I loved it so much.

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Goodreads | Waterstones

Even if Blue hadn’t been told her true love would die if she kissed him, she would stay away from boys. Especially the ones from the local private school. Known as Raven Boys, they only mean trouble.
But this is the year that everything will change for Blue.
This is the year that she will be drawn into the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys. And the year Blue will discover that magic does exist.
This is the year she will fall in love.

This 4 book series is so amazing and absorbing! There’s also a fifth book Call Down the Hawk which I’d love to get to soon.

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Goodreads | Waterstones

Feyre is a huntress.
She thinks nothing of slaughtering a wolf to capture its prey. But, like all mortals, she fears what lingers mercilessly beyond the forest. And she will learn that taking the life of a magical creature comes at a high price…
Imprisoned in an enchanted court in her enemy’s kingdom, Feyre is free to roam but forbidden to escape. Her captor’s body bears the scars of fighting, and his face is always masked – but his piercing stare draws her ever closer. As Feyre’s feeling for Tamlin begin to burn through every warning she’s been told about his kind, an ancient, wicked shadow grows.
Feyre must find a way to break a spell, or lose her heart forever.

If you fancy a captivating fantasy, these books are amazing. I’m so tempted to start the Throne of Glass while we’re in isolation!

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Goodreads | Waterstones

Criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams – but he can’t pull it off alone.
A convict with a thirst for revenge. 
A sharpshooter who can’t walk away from a wager.
A runaway with a privileged past. 
A spy known as the Wraith. 

A Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums. 
A thief with a gift for unlikely escapes.
Six dangerous outcasts. One impossible heist.
Kaz’s crew is the only thing that might stand between the world and destruction – if they don’t kill each other first.

The Six of Crows series is one of my favourites, and Leigh Bardugo is such a talented writer. I might storm through the Grisha trilogy finally soon!

Which books do you want to read while we’re in isolation?

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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Review: P.S. I Still Love You (#2) by Jenny Han

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Goodreads | Waterstones

Lara Jean didn’t expect to really fall for Peter.
She and Peter were just pretending. Except suddenly they weren’t. Now Lara Jean is more confused than ever.
When another boy from her past returns to her life, Lara Jean’s feelings for him return too. Can a girl be in love with two boys at once?

I couldn’t help but enjoy this book. I was a little unsure about the first book and didn’t want to carry on with the series initially, but I adored the first movie adaptation when it was released and decided to continue. I’m really glad I did, because I actually enjoyed this book more than the first one when I read it years ago!

My favourite part of this story remains and probably always will be the family dynamic. We don’t see enough families in YA, and this is one of the only YA series I can genuinely say focuses around the sisters. The chaotic connection between them reminds me of a modern Little Women – although the two cannot be compared.

There’s a Korean word my grandma taught me. It’s called jung. It’s the connection between two people that can’t be severed, even when love turns to hate.

One of the main issues I had with the first book was the love interest, and to a degree that continues in P.S. I Still Love You. Although I rooted more for Peter in this book, I still questioned some of his actions towards the relationship and struggled to sympathise with him at times.

I also didn’t particularly enjoy the love triangle, or at least found it a little unnecessary and would have rather seen Lara-Jean have a meaningful friendship. But on the other hand, this is kind of the point. No relationship is without it’s rocky parts, and Lara-Jean’s confusion and jealousy from both of them is one of their rocky parts.

You still have those old feelings for them; you can’t ever completely shake them loose of you; you will always have tenderness in your heart for them.

Some of the side characters were brilliant (I’m looking at you, Stormy) and I really enjoyed reading some of the scenes. These books might not be perfect, but I’m still finding them quite engaging, easy to read and will definitely be reading the last book in the series and am looking forward to seeing it on the big screen.

★★★★
3.5 out of 5 stars

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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Animal Crossing Readathon TBR

You may not know this about me, but I’m a massive Animal Crossing fan and have been for years now. I have Animal Crossing: New Horizons pre-ordered (12 days to go!) and I’m super excited for it. So naturally, when I stumbled across this readathon, I knew I had to try and join in.

You can find more information about the readathon on their Twitter account here. So, what’s on my TBR?

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Resetti: Don’t forget to save! Read a book of your choice while using a bookmark.

I use a bookmark in every book I read so this one will easily combine for me with one of the other prompts! My most-used bookmark is a magnetic Mina Lima one with a Harry Potter book cover design on. My boyfriend gave it to me for Christmas and I love it because it never falls out of my books!

KK. Slider: Listen to an audiobook or read a book that has musical elements AND
Tom Nook: Read a book that you have recently purchased or checked out of the library

Two prompts in one because there’s no way I can read one book per prompt in just over 10 days!

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Goodreads | Waterstones

For a while, Daisy Jones & The Six were everywhere. Their albums were on every turntable, they sold out arenas from coast to coast, their sound defined an era. And then, on 12 July 1979, they split.
Nobody ever knew why. Until now.
They were lovers and friends and brothers and rivals. They couldn’t believe their luck, until it ran out. This is their story of the early days and the wild nights, but everyone remembers the truth differently.The only thing they all know for sure is that from the moment Daisy Jones walked barefoot onstage at the Whisky, their lives were irrevocably changed.
Making music is never just about the music. And sometimes it can be hard to tell where the sound stops and the feelings begin.

I’ve heard so many good things about this book, so I recently picked up a hardcover I stumbled across. It fits the music prompt perfectly, too.

Able Sisters: Read a book with strong family themes

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Goodreads | Waterstones

And there’s still so much to look forward to: a class trip to New York City, prom with her boyfriend Peter, Beach Week after graduation, and her dad’s wedding to Ms. Rothschild. Then she’ll be off to college with Peter, at a school close enough for her to come home and bake chocolate chip cookies on the weekends.
Life couldn’t be more perfect!
At least, that’s what Lara Jean thinks . . . until she gets some unexpected news.
Now the girl who dreads change must rethink all her plans—but when your heart and your head are saying two different things, which one should you listen to?

I really need to finish this series and I think it definitely falls under the family category.

Animal Crossing Gamecube: Read a book that has been on your TBR the longest or re-read an old favourite

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Goodreads | Waterstones

Sixteen years ago, after a scandal that rocked the world, teenagers Katherine and Matthew vanished without a trace. Now Clove Sutcliffe is determined to find her long lost relatives.
But where do you start looking for a couple who seem to have been reincarnated at every key moment in history? Who were Kate and Matt? Why were they born again and again? And who is the mysterious Ella, who keeps appearing at every turn in Clove’s investigation?
For Clove, there is a mystery to solve in the past and a love to find in the future, and failure could cost the world everything.

According to Goodreads I’ve had this book on my TBR since 2015, so it’ll be great to get it out of the way, and complete my Lauren James books as this is the only one I haven’t read.

I’m hoping 3 books are achievable for just over 10 days, and I’m so excited to read all of these!

Are you joining this readathon?

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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Stacking the Shelves #6

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 recently been lucky enough to pick up a really exciting ARC from where I work and it looks so cute. It even has a tiny, gorgeous rainbow Penguin logo on the side of it!

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Goodreads | Pre-Order on Waterstones

Everyone knows about the dare: Each week, Bryson Keller must date someone new–the first person to ask him out on Monday morning. Few think Bryson can do it. He may be the king of Fairvale Academy, but he’s never really dated before.
Until a boy asks him out, and everything changes.
Kai Sheridan didn’t expect Bryson to say yes. So when Bryson agrees to secretly go out with him, Kai is thrown for a loop. But as the days go by, he discovers there’s more to Bryson beneath the surface, and dating him begins to feel less like an act and more like the real thing. Kai knows how the story of a gay boy liking someone straight ends. With his heart on the line, he’s awkwardly trying to navigate senior year at school, at home, and in the closet, all while grappling with the fact that this “relationship” will last only five days. After all, Bryson Keller is popular, good-looking, and straight . . . right?

What did you buy this week?

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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Blog Tour & Review: Dear Edward by Ann Napolitano

Thank you to Penguin Viking for inviting me to take part in this blog tour and for providing me with an ARC copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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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 not one to pick up books like this, but when I found out about it at a Penguin event I was drawn in instantly. It sounded thrilling, fascinating and intriguing. I wasn’t disappointed.

I found this book so quick and easy to get through. The chapters are short and change POV between Eddie after the plane crash and the time on the plane before it actually crashed. The plane chapters cover more than just Eddie and his family, and instead focuses on a select number of people around the plane.

There was no reason for what happened to you, Eddie. You could have died; you just didn’t. It was dumb luck.

I feel like this way of storytelling intertwined with Edward’s emotional story and him trying to find himself after losing his entire family and living with his aunt and uncle was beautiful, and made us feel closer to the other characters on the plane when the time came for us to sympathise with them.

I feel like the only big let down for me was I expected more to be uncovered. The book actually never really discusses why Edward was the only one on the plane to survive, despite him questioning it. I guess I would have enjoyed it more as a thriller with a deeper level of intrigue.

Nobody chose you for anything. Which means, truly, that you can do anything.

This book is very character driven, but I enjoyed that. Even the small conversations Eddie has with other people in the story meant a lot to me, and seeing him come of age and grow with his difficult circumstances appealed to me. A part of the story I particularly loved was Edward deciding to go vegan for his brother, who made the decision to be vegan just before the plane crash. Another aspect of the book I really related to was both of the boys being home schooled, as I was home schooled for all of my high school years. I could really see how it enabled Edward to make decisions differently to other children his age.

Dear Edward wasn’t perfect or without it’s problems, but overall I enjoyed it greatly. It was a touching, emotional coming-of-age story that left me with goosebumps as I finished the final sentence.

★★★★
4 out of 5 stars

About the Author

Ann Napolitano’s new novel, Dear Edward, was published by Dial Press in January 2020. She is the author of the novels A Good Hard Look and Within Arm’s Reach. She is also the Associate Editor of One Story literary magazine. She received an MFA from New York University; she has taught fiction writing for Brooklyn College’s MFA program, New York University’s School of Continuing and Professional Studies and for Gotham Writers’ Workshop.
Dear Edward was published by Dial Press in the United States, and by Viking Penguin in the United Kingdom. The novel currently has fifteen international publishers.
Ann lives in Brooklyn with her husband and two children.

-Beth

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Review: Heartstopper Volume 3 by Alice Oseman

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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…?

Yay! Heartstopper 3 is out in physical form! My lovely friend Chloe introduced me to the Heartstopper Webcomic around a year ago now and I ended up reading it in one sitting and absolutely adoring it. I’ve been keeping up to date with the online comic every time it’s updated and have introduced a few of my friends to the graphic novels too!

I was lucky enough to go to Alice’s signing on 6th February, which also happened to be the release date of the third graphic novel. I’ve been collecting the physical graphic novels as they are released, as I adore them so much it’s simply a joy to reread them.

The differences in the third book are apparent – this one explores quite difficult topics such as eating disorders. I really appreciated the delicate insightful way Oseman approaches these topics. After some heavy topics in Solitaire, which is the novel Charlie first appears in, Heartstopper can come across as very different in tone.

Another difference in this novel is that it’s set in Paris! I’ve been lucky enough to visit Paris a few times – once on a college trip – and I adore the city. It was so fun to read about Nick, Charlie and their friends in such a beautiful city.

These books are some of the few I see reading again and again. They comfort me so much and have such a lovely, soft aura about them.

You can also keep up to date on Tumblr or Tapas!

★★★★★
5 out of 5 stars

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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