Stacking the Shelves #81

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 bought a couple of books this week, but they were both really special ones I’m super excited about.

Goodreads | Alibris

Seventeen-year-old Julie has her future all planned out—move out of her small town with her boyfriend Sam, attend college in the city, spend a summer in Japan. But then Sam dies. And everything changes.
Heartbroken, Julie skips his funeral, throws out his things, and tries everything to forget him and the tragic way he died. But a message Sam left behind in her yearbook forces back memories. Desperate to hear his voice one more time, Julie calls Sam’s cellphone just to listen to his voicemail.
And Sam picks up the phone.
In a miraculous turn of events, Julie’s been given a second chance at goodbye. The connection is temporary. But hearing Sam’s voice makes her fall for him all over again, and with each call it becomes harder to let him go. However, keeping her otherworldly calls with Sam a secret isn’t easy, especially when Julie witnesses the suffering Sam’s family is going through. Unable to stand by the sidelines and watch their shared loved ones in pain, Julie is torn between spilling the truth about her calls with Sam and risking their connection and losing him forever.

I’ve wanted to read this one for a while and I love the hardback version, which has flowers under the dust jacket. I hunted around and managed to find a reasonably priced one at Alibris (linked above) which arrived a few days ago and is very pretty!

Goodreads | Waterstones

In Charlie Hall’s world, shadows can be altered, for entertainment and cosmetic preferences—but also to increase power and influence. You can alter someone’s feelings—and memories—but manipulating shadows has a cost, with the potential to take hours or days from your life. Your shadow holds all the parts of you that you want to keep hidden—a second self, standing just to your left, walking behind you into lit rooms. And sometimes, it has a life of its own.
Charlie is a low-level con artist, working as a bartender while trying to distance herself from the powerful and dangerous underground world of shadow trading. She gets by doing odd jobs for her patrons and the naive new money in her town at the edge of the Berkshires. But when a terrible figure from her past returns, Charlie’s present life is thrown into chaos, and her future seems at best, unclear—and at worst, non-existent. Determined to survive, Charlie throws herself into a maelstrom of secrets and murder, setting her against a cast of doppelgangers, mercurial billionaires, shadow thieves, and her own sister—all desperate to control the magic of the shadows.

I also pre-ordered some books last week, including this one which has already arrived! I managed to get a Waterstones exclusive before it sold out, and it’s beautiful.

What have you bought or received this week?

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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Anticipated Releases January-March 2022

It’s 2022 and there are so many exciting books coming out! I thought I’d do a little wrap-up of some of the books I’m excited for in the first quarter of the year. The dates on these might not be exactly the same as the release dates in your country, but hopefully they’ll be within the same month at least.

January

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January 11th

Goodreads | Waterstones

Growing up on the moon, Xingyin is accustomed to solitude, unaware that she is being hidden from the feared Celestial Emperor who exiled her mother for stealing his elixir of immortality. But when Xingyin’s magic flares and her existence is discovered, she is forced to flee her home, leaving her mother behind.
Alone, powerless, and afraid, she makes her way to the Celestial Kingdom, a land of wonder and secrets. Disguising her identity, she seizes an opportunity to learn alongside the emperor’s son, mastering archery and magic, even as passion flames between her and the prince.
To save her mother, Xingyin embarks on a perilous quest, confronting legendary creatures and vicious enemies across the earth and skies. But when treachery looms and forbidden magic threatens the kingdom, she must challenge the ruthless Celestial Emperor for her dream—striking a dangerous bargain in which she is torn between losing all she loves or plunging the realm into chaos.

I didn’t pre-order this one but it looks so beautiful and I’ve heard so many people talking about it! I’m hoping to pick it up soon now it’s out.

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January 11th

Goodreads | Waterstones

Ari Abrams has always been fascinated by the weather, and she loves almost everything about her job as a TV meteorologist. Her boss, legendary Seattle weatherwoman Torrance Hale, is too distracted by her tempestuous relationship with her ex-husband, the station’s news director, to give Ari the mentorship she wants. Ari, who runs on sunshine and optimism, is at her wits’ end. The only person who seems to understand how she feels is sweet but reserved sports reporter Russell Barringer.
In the aftermath of a disastrous holiday party, Ari and Russell decide to team up to solve their bosses’ relationship issues. Between secret gifts and double dates, they start nudging their bosses back together. But their well-meaning meddling backfires when the real chemistry builds between Ari and Russell.
Working closely with Russell means allowing him to get to know parts of herself that Ari keeps hidden from everyone. Will he be able to embrace her dark clouds as well as her clear skies?

This isn’t one I would normally be drawn to if it wasn’t for my friend Sophie, who loves this author and this book! All of her hype has definitely made me want to pick it up.

February

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February 1st

Goodreads | Waterstones

To all the world, Alizeh is a disposable servant, not the long-lost heir to an ancient Jinn kingdom forced to hide in plain sight.
The crown prince, Kamran, has heard the prophecies foretelling the death of his king. But he could never have imagined that the servant girl with the strange eyes, the girl he can’t put out of his mind, would one day soon uproot his kingdom—and the world.

I have an arc copy of this one which I’m hoping to pick up this month before the February release. I’m so excited to see how it is!

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February 3rd

Goodreads | Waterstones

I loved the first book in this series and I’ve already pre-ordered the second, which I can’t wait to read when it comes out.

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February 15th

Goodreads | Waterstones

This one is definitely one of my most anticipated books of the year. I read the first one, House of Earth and Blood back in August, and I’m looking forward to reading the next one hopefully soon after release.

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February 22nd

Goodreads | Waterstones

Deadly storms have ravaged Mina’s homeland for generations. Floods sweep away entire villages, while bloody wars are waged over the few remaining resources. Her people believe the Sea God, once their protector, now curses them with death and despair. In an attempt to appease him, each year a beautiful maiden is thrown into the sea to serve as the Sea God’s bride, in the hopes that one day the “true bride” will be chosen and end the suffering.
Many believe that Shim Cheong, the most beautiful girl in the village—and the beloved of Mina’s older brother Joon—may be the legendary true bride. But on the night Cheong is to be sacrificed, Joon follows Cheong out to sea, even knowing that to interfere is a death sentence. To save her brother, Mina throws herself into the water in Cheong’s stead.
Swept away to the Spirit Realm, a magical city of lesser gods and mythical beasts, Mina seeks out the Sea God, only to find him caught in an enchanted sleep. With the help of a mysterious young man named Shin—as well as a motley crew of demons, gods and spirits—Mina sets out to wake the Sea God and bring an end to the killer storms once and for all.
But she doesn’t have much time: A human cannot live long in the land of the spirits. And there are those who would do anything to keep the Sea God from waking… 

This book looks absolutely beautiful and I loved XOXO by the same author when I read it last year. This looks very different to her first book, but I’m super excited for it.

March

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March 1st

Goodreads | Waterstones

Sixteen-year-old Olivia Prior is missing three things: a mother, a father, and a voice. Her mother vanished all at once, and her father by degrees, and her voice was a thing she never had to start with.
She grew up at Merilance School for Girls. Now, nearing the end of her time there, Olivia receives a letter from an uncle she’s never met, her father’s older brother, summoning her to his estate, a place called Gallant. But when she arrives, she discovers that the letter she received was several years old. Her uncle is dead. The estate is empty, save for the servants. Olivia is permitted to remain, but must follow two rules: don’t go out after dusk, and always stay on the right side of a wall that runs along the estate’s western edge.
Beyond it is another realm, ancient and magical, which calls to Olivia through her blood…

And we’ve reached my absolute most anticipated book of the year – Gallant by V.E. Schwab. The Invisible Life of Addie Larue is my favourite book ever, so I can’t wait for this one.

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March 1st

Goodreads | Waterstones

The world’s best young magicians accept the opportunity of a lifetime.
Six are chosen. Only five will walk away.
The Alexandrian Society is a secret society of magical academicians, the best in the world. Their members are caretakers of lost knowledge from the greatest civilizations of antiquity. And those who earn a place among their number will secure a life of wealth, power, and prestige beyond their wildest dreams. Each decade, the world’s six most uniquely talented magicians are selected for initiation – and here are the chosen few…
– Libby Rhodes and Nicolas Ferrer de Varona: inseparable enemies, cosmologists who can control matter with their minds.
– Reina Mori: a naturalist who can speak the language of life itself.
– Parisa Kamali: a mind reader whose powers of seduction are unmatched.
– Tristan Caine: the son of a crime kingpin who can see the secrets of the universe.
– Callum Nova: an insanely rich pretty boy who could bring about the end of the world. He need only ask.
When the candidates are recruited by the mysterious Atlas Blakely, they are told they must spend one year together to qualify for initiation. During this time, they will be permitted access to the Society’s archives and judged on their contributions to arcane areas of knowledge. Five, they are told, will be initiated. One will be eliminated. If they can prove themselves to be the best, they will survive. Most of them.

I’ve heard so many good things about The Atlas Six, and I’m so glad it’s getting a big publication! I’m hoping to pre-order a copy soon.

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March 8th

Goodreads | Waterstones

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

I’ve had an arc of this one for a while and I’m hoping to read it soon.

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March 22nd

Goodreads | Waterstones

I read the first book in this series, The Bright and the Pale, last year, and I’m hoping to re-read it when this one comes out so I can marathon the series together.

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March 29th

Goodreads | Waterstones

Bailey and Vanessa shared everything: laughter, secrets, and packets of Pop Rocks to ward off bad days. But that all changed the night Vanessa left Bailey’s, headed for home, and ended up swerving off a cliff nowhere near her house. Now Bailey, who thought she knew Vanessa better than anyone in the world, is left with a million unanswered questions, and the only person with answers is gone.
To help grieve her loss, Bailey creates a chat bot of Vanessa using years’ worth of their shared text messages and emails. The more data she uploads to the bot, the more it feels like she’s really talking to her best friend. That is, until the bot starts dropping hints that there was more going on with Vanessa than Bailey realized–a secret so big, it may have contributed to Vanessa’s death.

I hadn’t heard of this one since I read about it in an email from the publisher last week, and it looks so interesting!

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March 29th

Goodreads | Blackwells

Eighteen-year-old chauffeur’s daughter Jane Marlow grew up among the domestic staff of a wealthy LA rock producer, within reach of bands she idolizes, but never a VIP. Every summer, Jane and her father head to the Sierras to work at the producer’s luxury lodge at Lake Condor—a resort town and the site of a major musical festival.
The legendary family who runs the festival are the Sarafians, and Jane’s had a longtime crush on their oldest son, Eddie—doltish but sweet. So when a long-distance romance finally sparks between them, she doesn’t hesitate to cross class lines.
But Jane’s feelings about Eddie are thrown into question after she returns to the lake and reconnects with his alluringly intense brother, the dark horse of her placid summer plans. A fellow lover of music—and hater of the game—Fen Sarafian has been ousted from the family and is slumming it at a vinyl record shop. He burns for Jane like a house on fire and will do anything to sabotage his older brother, even if it means taking a wrecking ball to a multi-million-dollar music festival. Or Jane’s heart.

I will read anything Jenn Bennett writes and even though I still need to pick up a few of hers, I’m hoping this will be one of them!

Which books are you excited for in the next few months?

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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Stacking the Shelves #68

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 posted a Stacking the Shelves so far this year, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t gained any books! I haven’t actually spent any money on books so far this year, but I have picked some up.

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Goodreads | Waterstones

My first purchase of the year was on a gift card, and I bought The Sad Ghost Club 2! I didn’t know this existed or had come out, so when I spotted a signed edition I knew I wanted to pick it up.

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Goodreads | Waterstones

At first, Jude and her twin brother Noah, are inseparable. Noah draws constantly and is falling in love with the charismatic boy next door, while daredevil Jude wears red-red lipstick, cliff-dives, and does all the talking for both of them. Years later, they are barely speaking. Something has happened to change the twins in different yet equally devastating ways . . . but then Jude meets an intriguing, irresistible boy and a mysterious new mentor. The early years are Noah’s to tell; the later years are Jude’s. But they each have only half the story, and if they can only find their way back to one another, they’ll have a chance to remake their world. 

I really didn’t need another copy of I’ll Give You the Sun, but Alex offered me this beautiful American paperback, and I just couldn’t bring myself to turn it down.

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Goodreads | Waterstones

I had the Fairyloot edition of Our Violent Ends on pre-order and it arrived in the past few weeks. I haven’t read the first book yet but I’m hoping to soon now I have both of the books in the series!

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Goodreads | Waterstones

Would you choose to find out the length of your life?
One spring day, small wooden boxes arrive for every person, all over the world, from suburban doorsteps to desert tents. All the boxes feature the same inscription, “The measure of your life lies within,” and vary in only two ways: the name of the recipient and the length of the single string inside. Instantly, the world is thrust into a collective frenzy, first to ascertain their origin and meaning, and then to confront the truth of the strings.
Told through multiple perspectives, The Measure introduces an unforgettable cast of characters whose lives weave and interlock with one another upon the arrival of the strings: a doctor who cannot save himself, a couple who thought they didn’t have to rush, best friends whose dreams are forever entwined, pen pals finding refuge in the unknown, and a politician whose string becomes a powder keg in an increasingly turbulent world.
As society divides itself, the truth has the power to unravel their long-held beliefs and relationships all while forging new alliances and philosophies about our time on this earth and our place in the community.

HarperCollins sent a box of proof copies to work, and this book was among the selection. It sounds super interesting so I picked it up!

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Goodreads | Waterstones

Evelyn Hugo is finally ready to tell the truth about her glamorous and scandalous life. But when she chooses unknown magazine reporter Monique Grant for the job, no one in the journalism community is more astounded than Monique herself. Why her? Why now?
Monique is not exactly on top of the world. Her husband, David, has left her, and her career has stagnated. Regardless of why Evelyn has chosen her to write her biography, Monique is determined to use this opportunity to jumpstart her career.
Summoned to Evelyn’s Upper East Side apartment, Monique listens as Evelyn unfurls her story: from making her way to Los Angeles in the 1950s to her decision to leave show business in the late 80s, and, of course, the seven husbands along the way. As Evelyn’s life unfolds through the decades—revealing a ruthless ambition, an unexpected friendship, and a great forbidden love—Monique begins to feel a very a real connection to the actress. But as Evelyn’s story catches up with the present, it becomes clear that her life intersects with Monique’s own in tragic and irreversible ways.

My lovely friend Courtney passed on her copy of The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo after she read it and loved it so much that she bought a hardback copy! I can’t wait to finally read this one as I’ve heard so many good things about it.

Which books did you buy or receive this week?

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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Series I Want to Finish This Year

Hi everyone! Welcome to 2022! I’m hoping to not only post more in the new year, but also do some more discussion posts and I’m starting the year off with some series I want to finally finish. I’ve been trying to finish off these series I’ve been in the middle of for a while now, and I want to make this year the year for finally reading them!

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Goodreads | Waterstones

In a land ruled by a murderous boy-king, each dawn brings heartache to a new family. Khalid, the eighteen-year-old Caliph of Khorasan, is a monster. Each night he takes a new bride only to have a silk cord wrapped around her throat come morning. When sixteen-year-old Shahrzad’s dearest friend falls victim to Khalid, Shahrzad vows vengeance and volunteers to be his next bride. Shahrzad is determined not only to stay alive, but to end the caliph’s reign of terror once and for all.
Night after night, Shahrzad beguiles Khalid, weaving stories that enchant, ensuring her survival, though she knows each dawn could be her last. But something she never expected begins to happen: Khalid is nothing like what she’d imagined him to be. This monster is a boy with a tormented heart. Incredibly, Shahrzad finds herself falling in love. How is this possible? It’s an unforgivable betrayal. Still, Shahrzad has come to understand all is not as it seems in this palace of marble and stone. She resolves to uncover whatever secrets lurk and, despite her love, be ready to take Khalid’s life as retribution for the many lives he’s stolen. Can their love survive this world of stories and secrets?

It’s been a long time since I read The Wrath and the Dawn, probably 5+ years. I loved it a lot when I read it, but I never continued with the series for some reason. I’ve had the second book for a while now but I’m definitely at the point of needing to re-read the first book to carry on with the series.

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Goodreads | Waterstones

When Tea accidentally resurrects her brother, Fox, from the dead, she learns she is different from the other witches in her family. Her gift for necromancy means that she’s a bone witch, a title that makes her feared and ostracized by her community. But Tea finds solace and guidance with an older, wiser bone witch, who takes Tea and her brother to another land for training.
In her new home, Tea puts all her energy into becoming an asha—one who can wield elemental magic. But dark forces are approaching quickly, and in the face of danger, Tea will have to overcome her obstacles…and make a powerful choice.

I wanted to read the rest of the series early last year after picking up The Bone Witch in November 2020, but of course I never got to the rest of the series and it’s been so long now that I’d like to re-read the first book before continuing.

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Goodreads | Waterstones

Self-proclaimed fat girl Willowdean Dickson (dubbed “Dumplin’” by her former beauty queen mom) has always been at home in her own skin. Her thoughts on having the ultimate bikini body? Put a bikini on your body. With her all-American beauty best friend, Ellen, by her side, things have always worked…until Will takes a job at Harpy’s, the local fast-food joint. There she meets Private School Bo, a hot former jock. Will isn’t surprised to find herself attracted to Bo. But she is surprised when he seems to like her back.
Instead of finding new heights of self-assurance in her relationship with Bo, Will starts to doubt herself. So she sets out to take back her confidence by doing the most horrifying thing she can imagine: entering the Miss Clover City beauty pageant—along with several other unlikely candidates—to show the world that she deserves to be up there as much as any twiggy girl does. Along the way, she’ll shock the hell out of Clover City—and maybe herself most of all.

This one is a series I’d like to finish soon, but unlike others, I won’t have to re-read the first book to continue! This is a contemporary series following different characters, so they’re more companion novels than a continuous series, which is useful for me. I have the whole set now and I’d like to finish it soon!

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Goodreads | Waterstones

In the beginning, there was the Namsara: the child of sky and spirit, who carried love and laughter wherever he went. But where there is light, there must be darkness—and so there was also the Iskari. The child of blood and moonlight. The destroyer. The death-bringer.
These are the legends that Asha, daughter of the king of Firgaard, has grown up learning in hushed whispers, drawn to the forbidden figures of the past. But it isn’t until she becomes the fiercest, most feared dragon slayer in the land that she takes on the role of the next Iskari—a lonely destiny that leaves her feeling more like a weapon than a girl.
Asha conquers each dragon and brings its head to the king, but no kill can free her from the shackles that await at home: her betrothal to the cruel commandant, a man who holds the truth about her nature in his palm. When she’s offered the chance to gain her freedom in exchange for the life of the most powerful dragon in Firgaard, she finds that there may be more truth to the ancient stories than she ever could have expected. With the help of a secret friend—a slave boy from her betrothed’s household—Asha must shed the layers of her Iskari bondage and open her heart to love, light, and a truth that has been kept from her. 

I read the first book in this series before YALC in 2019 where I met the author, and me and Alex have been wanting to buddy read the rest of the series ever since. I think we’ll be re-reading the first book in order to continue though, as it’s been a while!

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Goodreads | Waterstones

Fall in love, break the curse.
Cursed by a powerful enchantress to repeat the autumn of his eighteenth year, Prince Rhen, the heir of Emberfall, thought he could be saved easily if a girl fell for him. But that was before he turned into a vicious beast hell-bent on destruction. Before he destroyed his castle, his family, and every last shred of hope.
Nothing has ever been easy for Harper. With her father long gone, her mother dying, and her brother constantly underestimating her because of her cerebral palsy, Harper learned to be tough enough to survive. When she tries to save a stranger on the streets of Washington, DC, she’s pulled into a magical world.
Break the curse, save the kingdom.
Harper doesn’t know where she is or what to believe. A prince? A curse? A monster? As she spends time with Rhen in this enchanted land, she begins to understand what’s at stake. And as Rhen realizes Harper is not just another girl to charm, his hope comes flooding back. But powerful forces are standing against Emberfall . . . and it will take more than a broken curse to save Harper, Rhen, and his people from utter ruin.

Another series here that me and Alex want to buddy read together, and we’re also thinking of re-reading the first book. I loved A Curse so Dark and Lonely when it first came out but I didn’t continue with the series as the rest of the books were released – so I think we’re going to re-read the whole series!

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Goodreads | Waterstones

A mysterious island. An abandoned orphanage. A strange collection of very curious photographs. It all waits to be discovered in Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, an unforgettable novel that mixes fiction and photography in a thrilling reading experience. As our story opens, a horrific family tragedy sets sixteen-year-old Jacob journeying to a remote island off the coast of Wales, where he discovers the crumbling ruins of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. As Jacob explores its abandoned bedrooms and hallways, it becomes clear that the children were more than just peculiar. They may have been dangerous. They may have been quarantined on a deserted island for good reason. And somehow-impossible though it seems-they may still be alive. A spine-tingling fantasy illustrated with haunting vintage photography, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children will delight adults, teens, and anyone who relishes an adventure in the shadows.

The Miss Peregrine’s series is one I feel like I’ve been reading for years, because I have! I read the original trilogy, and then I read A Map of Days when it came out, but I never carried on with the series. I’m hoping I don’t have to re-read the series before carrying on, but I still have the 5th and 6th books to go.

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Goodreads | Waterstones

Eighteen-year-old Gu Miyoung has a secret–she’s a gumiho, a nine-tailed fox who must devour the energy of men in order to survive. Because so few believe in the old tales anymore, and with so many evil men no one will miss, the modern city of Seoul is the perfect place to hide and hunt.
But after feeding one full moon, Miyoung crosses paths with Jihoon, a human boy, being attacked by a goblin deep in the forest. Against her better judgment, she violates the rules of survival to rescue the boy, losing her fox bead–her gumiho soul–in the process.
Jihoon knows Miyoung is more than just a beautiful girl–he saw her nine tails the night she saved his life. His grandmother used to tell him stories of the gumiho, of their power and the danger they pose to humans. He’s drawn to her anyway.
With murderous forces lurking in the background, Miyoung and Jihoon develop a tenuous friendship that blossoms into something more. But when a young shaman tries to reunite Miyoung with her bead, the consequences are disastrous . . . forcing Miyoung to choose between her immortal life and Jihoon’s.
 

I read this book a while ago and never continued with the series, but I’ve been seeing it about again recently and I decided to pick the duology up! I definitely want to read the first one again before I pick up the second.

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Goodreads | Waterstones

Sephy is a Cross: she lives a life of privilege and power. But she’s lonely, and burns with injustice at the world she sees around her.
Callum is a nought: he’s considered to be less than nothing – a blanker, there to serve Crosses – but he dreams of a better life.
They’ve been friends since they were children, and they both know that’s as far as it can ever go. Noughts and Crosses are fated to be bitter enemies – love is out of the question.
Then – in spite of a world that is fiercely against them – these star-crossed lovers choose each other.
But this is love story that will lead both of them into terrible danger . . . and which will have shocking repercussions for generations to come

My boyfriend Mark bought me Crossfire and Endgame as part of a surprise book haul we did on my YouTube channel, which I’ll link down below if you want to give it a watch! I’ve read the other four books in the Noughts & Crosses series, and it’ll be interesting to see where the last two books go.

Which series would you like to complete reading this year?

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

Shop | Booktube | Goodreads | Instagram | Tumblr | Twitter | Facebook

www.etsy.com/uk/shop/thebooksareverywhere

Stacking the Shelves #67

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 buying or receiving pretty much 2 books per week recently, but I actually got 3 this week, oops. So here are the books I got this week!

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Goodreads | Waterstones

Oliver Marks has just served ten years in jail – for a murder he may or may not have committed. On the day he’s released, he’s greeted by the man who put him in prison. Detective Colborne is retiring, but before he does, he wants to know what really happened a decade ago.
As one of seven young actors studying Shakespeare at an elite arts college, Oliver and his friends play the same roles onstage and off: hero, villain, tyrant, temptress, ingenue, extra. But when the casting changes, and the secondary characters usurp the stars, the plays spill dangerously over into life, and one of them is found dead. The rest face their greatest acting challenge yet: convincing the police, and themselves, that they are blameless. 

I’ve had my eye on this special edition of If We Were Villains for a while now, and I managed to find a copy this week! It’s so pretty and has black sprayed edges too.

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Goodreads | Waterstones

The dead of Loraille do not rest.
Artemisia is training to be a Gray Sister, a nun who cleanses the bodies of the deceased so that their
souls can pass on. She’d rather deal with the dead than the living, who point and whisper about the odd girl who was once possessed by a violent spirit.
When her convent is attacked by possessed soldiers, Artemisia fights back by awakening an ancient spirit bound to a high saint’s relic. It is a revenant, a malevolent being now whispering in her head. Wielding its extraordinary power almost consumes her in body and soul. But death has come to Loraille, and only a vespertine, a priestess trained to wield a high relic, has a chance of stopping it.
As Artemisia investigates a mystery of saints, secrets and dark magic, an ancient evil is stirring. Can an untrained girl, tormented by the burden of containing the revenant’s devouring power, have any hope of defeating it?

I also had a pre-order come through in the form of this beautiful Fairyloot edition of Verspertine. I’ve wanted to read a book by this author for a while, and I couldn’t resist the Fairyloot edition!

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Aideen has plenty of problems she can’t fix. Her best (and only) friend is pulling away. Her mother’s drinking problem is a constant concern. She’s even running out of outlandish diseases to fake so she can skip PE.
But when Aideen stumbles on her nemesis, overachiever Meabh Kowalski, in the midst of a full-blown meltdown, she sees a problem that—unlike her own disaster of a life—seems refreshingly easy to solve. Meabh is desperate to escape her crushing pile of extracurriculars. Aideen volunteers to help. By pushing Meabh down the stairs.
Problem? Solved. Meabh’s sprained ankle is the perfect excuse to ditch her overwhelming schedule. But when another student learns about their little scheme and brings Aideen another “client” who needs her “help,” it kicks off a semester of traded favors, ill-advised hijinks, and an unexpected chance at love. Fixing other people’s problems won’t fix her own, but it might be the push she needs to start.

I picked this one up kind of from the publishers/through the bookshop I work in, as I loved the authors’ other book The Falling in Love Montage.

Which books did you buy or receive this week?

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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October + Spoopathon TBR

Hello everyone! I haven’t been posting my monthly TBR’s recently, but this one is extra exciting as it includes my Spoopathon TBR. If you didn’t know, Spoopathon is a readathon being hosted by Spoopyhol over on YouTube. If you want to know more, I’ll link the announcement video here and the Twitter here which has more information! I will also include this post in video format below for those of you who are interested in seeing it on my own YouTube channel.

This readathon follows us attempting to escape a haunted house by reading. How cool is that? Basically, we follow the prompts board (below) from the top to the bottom, collecting points along the way and trying to make it to the bottom. We gather points and bonus points for every book we read and enable us to defeat the ghosts and unlock the doors too. There are different teams that have different skills, and I’m on team spoop shifters which actually allows me to move diagonally across the board which is very helpful!

I’m only going to be attempting to escape the haunted house once, but I’m super excited! If you do happen to go through twice, then you have to start from a different point. The board below explains the scoring system in more detail and means I can add up as I go and make sure I have enough to defeat the ghosts and get through the doors.

Prompt 1 – Gifted to you

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When Fran Cooper accepts a mysterious temporary job as a PA to a celebrity, she is swept off her feet overnight. Working with internationally famous singer Juliette, Fran is the person charged with getting Juliette to the Crystal Ball, the glittering event when the world’s rich and famous gather on Panarea, a beautiful Mediterranean island, for a night like no other.
What Fran doesn’t know is that on this one night, everything will change for her too – that instead of standing on the sidelines, she’ll be putting on the most beautiful dress she’s ever seen and having the most unforgettable night of her life…

This one was gifted to me by the publisher (thank you so much Harper!), and I’m so excited for it. My boyfriend loves Lindsey Kelk’s work and I’ve wanted to read one of her books for a while because of that, so I grabbed the chance to read this new release! It also comes out early November, so I wanted to pick it up before then.

Bonus prompts: recommended to you Points overall: 75 points

Prompt 2: Autumnal cover

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I’m already going to be reading the first graphic novel in this series for my other October TBR (linked at the bottom of this post), and I knew I wanted to pick this one for autumnal cover as it is just…so perfect. I’ve heard so many good things about this series and I can’t wait to read it.

Bonus prompts: LGBTQIA+ rep/author, cover features team colour (pink) Points overall: 125

Prompt 3: 500+ pages

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In 1893, there’s no such thing as witches. There used to be, in the wild, dark days before the burnings began, but now witching is nothing but tidy charms and nursery rhymes. If the modern woman wants any measure of power, she must find it at the ballot box.
But when the Eastwood sisters–James Juniper, Agnes Amaranth, and Beatrice Belladonna–join the suffragists of New Salem, they begin to pursue the forgotten words and ways that might turn the women’s movement into the witch’s movement. Stalked by shadows and sickness, hunted by forces who will not suffer a witch to vote-and perhaps not even to live-the sisters will need to delve into the oldest magics, draw new alliances, and heal the bond between them if they want to survive.
There’s no such thing as witches. But there will be.

I received a proof of this book from the publisher last year (thank you Hachette!) and I’ve been excited to read it ever since but knew I wanted to wait for autumn. I’m hoping to buddy read this one with Alex which also gets me some bonus points!

Bonus prompts: buddy read, spooky book Points overall: 125 points

Prompt 4: trick or treat

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

I’ve been so excited to read this one for a while and I’m actually going to be buddy reading this one in October anyway with some friends so it fit so well!

For this prompt I actually used my spoop shifter ability to jump across the board to trick or treat. The prompt means you put a poll up with one book being a treat (one you really want to read) and one being a trick (one you don’t want to read so much/this month). You also don’t include which one is a trick and which is a treat. I put a poll on Twitter and you guys voted for my treat so thank you!

Bonus prompts: buddy read. Points overall: 75 points

Prompt 5: read after dark

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Exiled to a far-flung island by the whims of the gods, Medusa has little company except the snakes that adorn her head instead of hair. But when a charmed, beautiful boy called Perseus arrives on the island, her lonely existence is disrupted with the force of a supernova, unleashing desire, love, betrayal . and destiny itself.

I read after dark pretty much every night, but I decided to go for a shorter book so I can hopefully read the entire thing after dark over a few nights! This one sounds so interesting and accessible for someone like me who doesn’t read too much Greek mythology. I was also sent this one by the publisher, thank you Bloomsbury!

Points overall: 25

So working out my points across the entire board, I should leave the haunted house with a total of 525 points (including the bonus for exiting which is 100 points!). I have some other books I want to read in October including an entire other TBR game which gives me 5 different books, which you can view below on my YouTube channel.

Which books do you want to read in October?

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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Stacking the Shelves #56

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!

It’s been a couple of weeks since I last posted a book haul, but I’ve bought and received even more than I thought I had – oops.

Bought

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Julia has followed her mum and dad to live on a remote island for the summer – her dad, for work; her mother, on a determined mission to find the elusive Greenland shark. But when her mother’s obsession threatens to submerge them all, Julia finds herself on an adventure with dark depths and a lighthouse full of hope…

I couldn’t help but pick this one up as soon as it came out – this husband and wife team have created such a beautiful book and I managed to grab a signed edition!

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He expected nothing. But they gave him everything . . .
Linus Baker leads a quiet life. At forty, he has a tiny house with a devious cat and his beloved records for company. And at the Department in Charge of Magical Youth, he’s spent many dull years monitoring their orphanages.
Then one day, Linus is summoned by Extremely Upper Management and given a highly classified assignment. He must travel to an orphanage where six dangerous children reside, including the Antichrist. There, Linus must somehow determine if they could bring on the end of days. But their guardian, charming and enigmatic Arthur Parnassus, will do anything to protect his wards. As Arthur and Linus grow ever closer, Linus must choose between duty and his dreams.

I also bought the beautiful Waterstones exclusive paperback of my favourite book of the year so far. It has yellow sprayed edges and I love it!

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Piranesi’s house is no ordinary building: its rooms are infinite, its corridors endless, its walls are lined with thousands upon thousands of statues, each one different from all the others. Within the labyrinth of halls an ocean is imprisoned; waves thunder up staircases, rooms are flooded in an instant. But Piranesi is not afraid; he understands the tides as he understands the pattern of the labyrinth itself. He lives to explore the house.
There is one other person in the house—a man called The Other, who visits Piranesi twice a week and asks for help with research into A Great and Secret Knowledge. But as Piranesi explores, evidence emerges of another person, and a terrible truth begins to unravel, revealing a world beyond the one Piranesi has always known. 

I also picked this one up because of wanting this beautiful edition with purple sprayed edges – I’ve been meaning to pick this up for a while and I couldn’t resist.

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In the world of Divergent, society is divided into five factions – Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful) and Erudite (the intelligent). Every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. Beatrice Prior must choose between staying with her family and being who she really is. Her choice shocks everyone – including herself.
During the initiation that follows, Tris and her fellow initiates undergo extreme tests with devastating consequences. As initiation transforms them, Tris must determine who her friends really are – and whether she can trust the man who both threatens and protects her.
Because Tris has a deadly secret. And as growing conflict threatens to unravel their seemingly perfect society, this secret might save those she loves … or it might destroy her. 

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I’ve been meaning to pick up and swap out my editions of Divergent with these 10th anniversary copies since their release, and I finally did it with some money on my Waterstones card as a treat to myself.

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After discovering a lost tea dragon in the marketplace, Greta learns about the dying art form of tea dragon care-taking from the kind tea shop owners, Hesekiel and Erik. As she befriends them and their shy ward, Minette, Greta sees how the craft enriches their lives—and eventually her own.

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I also picked up this beautiful graphic novel series as the hardbacks are slowly going out of print and I wanted a matching hardback set. I’m hoping to get to them in autumn sometime!

Blood and Ash DELUXE SET – Community

Goodreads

A Maiden…
Chosen from birth to usher in a new era, Poppy’s life has never been her own. The life of the Maiden is solitary. Never to be touched. Never to be looked upon. Never to be spoken to. Never to experience pleasure. Waiting for the day of her Ascension, she would rather be with the guards, fighting back the evil that took her family, than preparing to be found worthy by the gods. But the choice has never been hers.
A Duty…
The entire kingdom’s future rests on Poppy’s shoulders, something she’s not even quite sure she wants for herself. Because a Maiden has a heart. And a soul. And longing. And when Hawke, a golden-eyed guard honor bound to ensure her Ascension, enters her life, destiny and duty become tangled with desire and need. He incites her anger, makes her question everything she believes in, and tempts her with the forbidden.
A Kingdom…
Forsaken by the gods and feared by mortals, a fallen kingdom is rising once more, determined to take back what they believe is theirs through violence and vengeance. And as the shadow of those cursed draws closer, the line between what is forbidden and what is right becomes blurred. Poppy is not only on the verge of losing her heart and being found unworthy by the gods, but also her life when every blood-soaked thread that holds her world together begins to unravel.

My beautiful Fairyloot set of From Blood and Ash also arrived and I love it. I haven’t read these yet but I hope I love them.

Gifted

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Sold by her mother. Enslaved in Pompeii’s brothel. Determined to survive. Her name is Amara. Welcome to the Wolf Den…
Amara was once a beloved daughter, until her father’s death plunged her family into penury. Now she is a slave in Pompeii’s infamous brothel, owned by a man she despises. Sharp, clever and resourceful, Amara is forced to hide her talents. For as a she-wolf, her only value lies in the desire she can stir in others.
But Amara’s spirit is far from broken.
By day, she walks the streets with her fellow she-wolves, finding comfort in the laughter and dreams they share. For the streets of Pompeii are alive with opportunity. Out here, even the lowest slave can secure a reversal in fortune. Amara has learnt that everything in this city has its price. But how much is her freedom going to cost her?

I finally picked up a copy of this one as it was sent to the bookshop I work at by the publisher. One of my colleagues absolutely adores this book and it’s definitely convinced me to pick it up.

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Hannah Ashton wakes up to silence. The entire city around her is empty, except for one other person: Leo Sterling. Leo might be hottest boy ever (and not just because he’s the only one left), but he’s also too charming, too selfish, and too devastating for his own good, let alone Hannah’s.
Stuck with only each other, they explore a world with no parents, no friends, and no school and realize that they can be themselves instead of playing the parts everyone expects of them. Hannah doesn’t have to be just an overachieving, music-box-perfect ballerina, and Leo can be more than a slacker, 80s-glam-metal-obsessed guitarist. Leo is a burst of honesty and fun that draws Hannah out, and Hannah’s got Leo thinking about someone other than himself for the first time.
Together, they search for answers amid crushing isolation, but while their empty world may appear harmless . . . it’s not. Because nothing is quite as it seems, and if Hannah and Leo don’t figure out what’s going on, they might just be torn apart forever.

Scholastic sent me a copy of this one after I requested it – thank you!

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Aspiring actor August Greene just landed a coveted spot at the prestigious School of Performing Arts in New York. There’s only one problem: His conservative parents won’t accept that he’s transgender. And to stay with his aunt in the city, August must promise them he won’t transition.
August is convinced he can play the part his parents want while acting cool and confident in the company of his talented new friends.
But who is August when the lights go down? And where will he turn when the roles start hitting a little too close to home?

And I had another beautiful gift in the form of this one from Harper. I’ve read some great books from Harper so far this year and I’m excited for this one too!

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There’s nothing Marietta Stelle loves more than ballet, but after Christmas, her dreams will be over as she is obligated to take her place in Edwardian society. While she is chafing against such suffocating traditions, a mysterious man purchases the neighbouring townhouse. Dr Drosselmeier is a charming but calculating figure who wins over the rest of the Stelle family with his enchanting toys and wondrous mechanisms.
When Drosselmeier constructs an elaborate set for Marietta’s final ballet performance, she discovers it carries a magic all of its own. On the stroke of midnight on Christmas Eve, she is transported to a snowy forest, where she encounters danger at every turn: ice giants, shadow goblins and the shrieking mist all lurk amidst the firs and frozen waterfalls and ice cliffs. After being rescued by the butterscotch-eyed captain of the king’s guard, she is escorted to the frozen sugar palace. At once, Marietta is enchanted by this glittering world of glamorous gowns, gingerbread houses, miniature reindeer and the most delicious confectionary.
But all is not as it seems and Marietta is soon trapped in the sumptuous palace by the sadistic King Gelum, who claims her as his own. She is confined to a gilded prison with his other pets; Dellara, whose words are as sharp as her teeth, and Pirlipata, a princess from another land. Marietta must forge an alliance with the two women to carve a way free from this sugar-coated but treacherous world and back home to follow her dreams. Yet in a hedonistic world brimming with rebellion and a forbidden romance that risks everything, such a path will never be easy.

This one is definitely on the list of one’s I’m most looking forward to in 2021 as I heard so much about it late 2020 when the hardback proofs were released – it’s a nutcracker retelling and I feel very lucky to have received a proof of it.

Which books did you buy or receive this week?

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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Review: With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevado

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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.

I had such high expectations for this book, and let me tell you it surpassed every last one. I can’t believe I didn’t pick this up sooner, but I’m so glad I’m finally did. It was so beautiful and full of joy, heartache, pain and forgiveness. It spans every emotion under the sun and I felt them all throughout reading this book.

There is something about books that discuss food that I can’t help falling in love with. I’m vegan, but even if that focus isn’t vegan, I still love it. I think it’s something to do with the magic of food, the connection that we feel when reading about such a tangible thing. It always really draws me into the story, and I felt that in this book like no other.

Emoni is a Black teen mum living with her elderly grandmother, and she has a natural talent for cooking. It’s all she wants to do, and when the opportunity comes up at her high school to take a culinary arts class that includes a trip to Spain, she knows she has to take it.

The world is a turntable that never stops spinning;

This book carries so much weight but was also so easy to read. The super short chapters were utterly addicting and I really didn’t want to put this book down. I was just so absorbed by Emoni’s story, and although I had a good idea what would happen at the end, it overjoyed me to be along for the ride. With the Fire on High has so many important discussions including about race, sexuality, family, friendship, relationships, teen pregnancy and how to deal with being your own person and having to look after a child at 17. I sometimes find teen pregnancy puts me off books (probably due to a highly disturbing one I read as a young teen that still sticks firmly in my mind, sadly), but this was just handled so well. I absolutely loved Emoni’s relationship with her family and I felt the difficult balance was written so genuinely and honestly. I really felt for her.

There was just so much I loved about this book, and I honestly don’t have anything to criticise, I could gush about it all day. It was the perfect contemporary with a twist that had so many heart warming elements and scenes. I really rooted for and felt connected to all of the characters, and there was a few scenes towards the end of the book that made me tear up because of the love I felt for them all.

as humans we merely choose the tracks we want to sit out and the ones that inspire us to dance.

Overall, this was an absolutely adorable and heart warming read with some heavy topics that I felt were handled really well. It was super enjoyable and had so many elements that worked well together, including Emoni’s love for food. I’m so glad I picked this one up!

CW: death of a parent (mentioned, in the past), teen pregnancy, discussions of sex

★★★★★
5 out of 5 stars

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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Review: An Absolutely Remarkable Thing by Hank Green

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The Carls just appeared. Coming home from work at three a.m., twenty-three-year-old April May stumbles across a giant sculpture. Delighted by its appearance and craftsmanship – like a ten-foot-tall Transformer wearing a suit of samurai armour – April and her friend Andy make a video with it, which Andy uploads to YouTube. The next day April wakes up to a viral video and a new life. News quickly spreads that there are Carls in dozens of cities around the world, and April, as their first documentarian, finds herself at the centre of an intense international media spotlight. 
Now April has to deal with the pressure on her relationships, her identity and her safety that this new position brings, all while being on the front lines of the quest to find out not just what the Carls are, but what they want from us.

This is the kind of book you have to take a deep breath after you finish it and try and pause for a while, just to make sure your brain can soak in all of that information. Honestly, it was just complete and utter genius. I had no idea what I would make of this book or even what it was really about. I did not expect the rollercoaster of a journey this book took me on at all, but I really, really loved it.

April is a bisexual twenty three year old art school graduate in an unsatisfactory job that means she works all hours of the day and night. One night, walking through New York City at 3am, she comes across a giant sculpture. After phoning her friend, they make a YouTube video about the sculpture, who they name Carl. The video goes viral and quickly makes April and Andy famous. April then has to navigate the world of fame, and is still caught up in the mystery of the Carls, after finding out there are 64 of them all over the world, and have been placed in very mysterious circumstances.

Just because someone has power over you doesn’t mean they’re going to use it to hurt you.

Just wow. I have no idea how to begin how to describe this wild ride of a book, but it is the kind of story that will blow your mind and make you see the world at just a slightly different angle. I’m so glad I picked it up as part of the 48 hour readathon I was taking part in, because it was very hard to put down. I was constantly craving the next part, and I needed to know the rest of the story. It’s not often I finish a book and feel like I immediately need the next one, but I really do want the next book in the series right now.

I also ended up really liking the character of April. This was another unexpected factor, as April’s character is written to be unlikable. She makes so many questionable decisions and mistakes. But she is human, and she is real, and I kind of loved her. The way this narrative is written is so unique, and I think it’s what made me appreciate April for who she was. I also really appreciated the cast of characters that surrounded April, who were diverse and great in their own rights.

Hank Green really opens up so, so many conversations with this book. Topics on and off the world we know, about fame and social media, but also about control and human nature. It made the story so compelling, interesting and truly like nothing else I have ever read. It was super nerdy but also so amazingly clever.

People who believe that tend to either be: People who have been victims of that sort of behavior, or . . .People who, if given power, will use it to hurt you.

This was so witty, fun, entertaining but also had heavy topics interwoven throughout. It was such an entertaining and riveting read and I’ll be recommending it to many people!

★★★★★
5 out of 5 stars

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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Review: Fangirl Vol. 1: The Manga by Sam Maggs, Rainbow Rowell + Gabi Nam

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Cath is a Simon Snow fan. Okay, everybody is a Simon Snow fan, but for Cath, being a fan is her life. Cath’s sister has mostly grown away from fandom, but Cath just can’t let go…
Cath doesn’t need friends IRL. She has her twin sister, Wren, and she’s a popular fanfic writer in the Simon Snow community with thousands of fans online. But now that she’s in college, Cath is completely outside of her comfort zone. There are suddenly all these new people in her life. She’s got a surly roommate with a charming boyfriend, a writing professor who thinks fanfiction is the end of the civilized world, a handsome new writing partner…

As soon as I found out there was a Fangirl manga coming out, I knew I wanted to read it. I haven’t read Fangirl in a really long time, but I really enjoyed it and thought this would be a great way to revisit the story. However, I’m finding it so hard to discuss or rate this book because it felt like an odd re-read of the first part of the Fangirl book.

The manga stays very faithful to the original story, and I couldn’t pick anything up that felt different (although it has been a long time since I read it). I did enjoy the art style and I felt like the story fit the art style well. It was very expressive and the characters looked exactly how I pictured them – especially Cath. I really liked seeing Cath in picture format and I could really feel her emotions leap off the page. I also feel like this can really stand alone as a manga without knowing the original story at all.

Check out the first 20 pages of the FANGIRL Manga! | The Fandom
Copyright Viz Media (2020)

I also really enjoyed seeing Snowbaz in this format and I felt like it fit them well. However, I did feel like the way Simon Snow’s story was blended into Cath’s story felt a little jumpy and didn’t always fit too well. I liked each in their own right a lot, but they didn’t quite work as well as the prose version in my opinion.

I’m both excited and apprehensive to see where this series goes as a manga, as I feel like there are parts of the Fangirl original story that I will find questionable as a reader now and would have turned a blind eye to when I read the story before. However, I do want to see where this manga goes and I am enjoying the style of it!

★★
3.5 out of 5 stars

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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