October Wrap-Up and November TBR

Hi all! My reading has improved a lot in the past month and I’m happy to say I managed to get through 5 books. If I can stick to 5 a month I’ll be happy!

Books I Read in October

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My favourite book from this month was definitely The Places I’ve Cried in Public and my least favourite was Pixie Pushes On, though not by much.

Books I Bought in October

Letters to the Lost – Brigid Kemmerer
A Curse so Dark and Lonely – Brigid Kemmerer
Call it What You Want – Brigid Kemmerer
Viper – Bex Hogan
The Places I’ve Cried in Public – Holly Bourne
Pumpkinheads – Rainbow Rowell and Faith Erin Hicks

I mainly bought books for signings this month, which was so exciting!

Books I Want to Read in November

Ninth House – Leigh Bardugo
Made You Up – Francesca Zappia
Wayward Son – Rainbow Rowell

I’m not going to put pressure on myself to read books unless I want to read them, so I’m going to go for some mood reading in November.

What did you read in October and what do you want to read November?

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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Review: Only Love Can Break Your Heart by Katherine Webber

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Reiko loves the endless sky and electric colours of the Californian desert. It is a refuge from an increasingly claustrophobic life of family pressures and her own secrets. Then she meets Seth, a boy who shares a love of the desert and her yearning for a different kind of life. But Reiko and Seth both want something the other can’t give them. As summer ends, things begin to fall apart. But the end of love can sometimes be the beginning of you..

Since this book has been released, it’s been on my TBR. I adored Wing Jones, and have been keeping an eye on this author ever since. Thank you to Tavi for buying Only Love Can Break Your Heart for me off my wishlist!

Reiko is a heartbroken teenager who is dealing with the tragic loss of her sister. When she finds an unexpected friend in Seth, her world is turned upside down and she is forced to face her grief.

I wasn’t disappointed by this book, and I was drawn in from the first page. There was a certain level of comfort that came from Webber’s beautiful, poetic descriptions of the desert, and I found myself loving the locations as much as Reiko herself. Webber left me feeling like I was being enveloped in warmth every time I picked up this novel.

Only Love Can Break Your Heart explores topics in depth that I’ve hardly seen in YA, and found very interesting. This covered subjects such as grief, family, friendships and most importantly for me, social hierarchy. Social hierarchy is often not discussed in YA, especially from the viewpoint of those at the top of the social ladder. However, Reiko is unashamedly one of those people, and reading about her viewpoints were fascinating.

I had a love/hate relationship with Reiko throughout this book, unfortunately. Due to her attitude, she made many mistakes and some decisions which I frowned upon and found hard to relate to. I unfortunately felt the same about Seth as the book progressed, which left me feeling somehow betrayed. However, Reiko went through a lot of self development throughout the book and I left feeling reassured by the way she matures.

Overall, this book had compelling characters, a beautiful location and heart-wrenching plot line. Although I had problems with the characters at times, I would highly recommend this lovely story.

★★★★
4 out of 5 stars

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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ARC Review: Girls of Storm and Shadow (#2) by Natasha Ngan

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Lei, the naive country girl who became a royal courtesan, is now known as the Moonchosen, the commoner who managed to do what no one else could. But slaying the cruel Demon King wasn’t the end of the plan—it’s just the beginning. Now Lei and her warrior love Wren must travel the kingdom to gain support from the far-flung rebel clans. The journey is made even more treacherous thanks to a heavy bounty on Lei’s head, as well as insidious doubts that threaten to tear Lei and Wren apart from within.
Meanwhile, an evil plot to eliminate the rebel uprising is taking shape, fueled by dark magic and vengeance. Will Lei succeed in her quest to overthrow the monarchy and protect her love for Wren, or will she fall victim to the sinister magic that seeks to destroy her?

I was so grateful to manage to get an ARC of this book at YALC earlier this year (and get it signed by the beautiful Natasha!). I adored Girls of Paper and Fire and I was super excited for this one!

Girls of Storm and Shadow didn’t disappoint and it was great to be back in this world. Not only did we get to see more of it, but we also see beautiful descriptions of the world outside of the palace. It was so nice to feel more involved in the lush scenery and landscape of the surrounding world and palaces.

Lei has been one of my favourite female m/c’s in recent YA, and I adored her relationship with Wren. Seeing the relationship continue and develop under difficult circumstances felt so real and I loved reading about it. So many YA books don’t talk about relationships after the honeymoon period and seeing them dealing with what they went through in Girls of Paper and Fire was so needed. This book was focused around healing, and some of the more emotional scenes resonated with me deeply.

I really enjoyed the magic in Girls of Storm and Shadow, which I felt was discussed more than in the first book. It made the action scenes so intense and I flew through this in just a few days because of the well written, vivid action.

Even though I did love this book, I did unfortunately have more problems than with the first book, which was gutting as I adored it so much. I don’t know if it’s because I had a break between reading Girls of Paper and Fire and this one, but I found the side characters hard to follow, relate to or even sympathise with. I just wish there had been more character development to make the emotional scenes hit home a little more.

Another reason is I found the Moon Caste (fully demons) and Steel Caste (partly demon) characters very hard to picture. At one point, which stuck with me, Lei mentions how a Moon Caste is three times her height. Like, how does that actually work? I logistically can’t picture a world in which people are three times the heights of others. It’s not a big deal, but it bugged me a little.

Overall, this book was a great sequel and I loved being back in the world of Girls of Paper and Fire, one of my favourite books of the year so far! I wish this had lived up to the first, but it was still very enjoyable.

★★★★ 
4 out of 5 stars

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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Top 5 Books That Intimidate Me

This Top 5 Wednesday series is inspired by the weekly meme on Goodreads which you can find here. I no longer follow the topics and instead use my own.

Hi all! I’ve decided today to look at the top 5 books on my physical TBR that intimidate me. Of course I’m excited for all of the books on my TBR, but that doesn’t mean they also scare me too. I’m usually intimidated by books I think I might not like as much as I want to, or just look so big they scare me off!

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The House of Berethnet has ruled Inys for a thousand years. Still unwed, Queen Sabran the Ninth must conceive a daughter to protect her realm from destruction—but assassins are getting closer to her door.
Ead Duryan is an outsider at court. Though she has risen to the position of lady-in-waiting, she is loyal to a hidden society of mages. Ead keeps a watchful eye on Sabran, secretly protecting her with forbidden magic.
Across the dark sea, Tané has trained all her life to be a dragonrider, but is forced to make a choice that could see her life unravel.
Meanwhile, the divided East and West refuse to parley, and forces of chaos are rising from their sleep.

I’ve heard nothing but good about this book, and I’m fairly sure I’ll enjoy it. But come on, that is a commitment and a half.

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A boy drowns, desperate and alone in his final moments. He dies. Then he wakes, naked and bruised and thirsty, but alive. How can this be? And what is this strange deserted place?
As he struggles to understand what is happening, the boy dares to hope. Might this not be the end? Might there be more to this life, or perhaps this afterlife?

I’ve always found Patrick Ness very hit and miss, and I think that’s why I’m daunted by this one. I really need to get to it soon though as it’s been on my TBR for such a long time!

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WHEN BEAUFORT SWAN MOVES TO THE gloomy town of Forks and meets the mysterious, alluring Edythe Cullen, his life takes a thrilling and terrifying turn. With her porcelain skin, golden eyes, mesmerizing voice, and supernatural gifts, Edythe is both irresistible and enigmatic.
WHAT BEAU DOESN’T REALIZE IS THE closer he gets to her, the more he is putting himself and those around him at risk. And, it might be too late to turn back…

I picked this up cheap pretty much when it came out. And yet I still haven’t read it! I think it’s because this book is actually twice as long as it looks – I only need to read Life and Death.

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One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them, One Ring to bring them all and in the darkeness bind them
In ancient times the Rings of Power were crafted by the Elven-smiths, and Sauron, The Dark Lord, forged the One Ring, filling it with his own power so that he could rule all others. But the One Ring was taken from him, and though he sought it throughout Middle-earth, it remained lost to him. After many ages it fell into the hands of Bilbo Baggins, as told in The Hobbit.
In a sleepy village in the Shire, young Frodo Baggins finds himself faced with an immense task, as his elderly cousin Bilbo entrusts the Ring to his care. Frodo must leave his home and make a perilous journey across Middle-earth to the Cracks of Doom, there to destroy the Ring and foil the Dark Lord in his evil purpose.

I know so many people who love these books, and I myself love the movies. But all I’ve heard is that they’re so hard to get through and I’m so intimidated by them!

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In the dark, filthy salt mines of Endovier, an eighteen-year-old girl is serving a life sentence. She is a trained assassin, the best of her kind, but she made a fatal mistake. She got caught.
Young Captain Westfall offers her a deal: her freedom in return for one huge sacrifice. Celaena must represent the prince in a to-the-death tournament—fighting the most gifted thieves and assassins in the land. Live or die, Celaena will be free. Win or lose, she is about to discover her true destiny. But will her assassin’s heart be melted
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I have no doubts I will love this series. I adored A Court of Thorns and Roses so much! But that series took me long enough to get through, and I just know that when I start Throne of Glass, it will be a massive commitment.

Which books on your TBR are you intimidated by?

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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Beautiful Quotes #136 / What If It’s Us

Beautiful Quotes is a weekly meme hosted by me, where I post some of my favourite quotes. Any other bloggers are welcome to join me in this and just link my blog!

Hi everyone! It’s been a busy week and I ended up on a great road trip and day out with Pete today, back to work tomorrow so I’m going to relax in bed this evening. I’m about to start reading American Royals, as I’ve joined the Hogwarts readathon and it fits one of my prompts on top of being out later this week!

Now let’s talk about a book that’s been out for a while now but I really enjoyed – What If It’s Us by Adam Silvera and Becky Albertalli.

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“I barely know him. I guess that is every relationship. You start with nothing and maybe end with everything.” 
― Adam Silvera, What If It’s Us

Have you read any books by Adam or Becky? What’s your favourite?

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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August Wrap-Up and September TBR

Hello everyone! I’m here with my August Wrap-Up, which I’m very happy to announce was a successful month despite some personal ups and downs. I managed to read 9 books after only reading 5 in July! Here are the 9 books I read.

Books I read in August

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My favourite book of the month was actually This Time Will be Different and my least favourite was The Marrow Thieves.

Books I bought in August

I actually didn’t buy any books in August, as I’m on a book-buying ban after YALC! However, I posted about the books I bought at YALC here and here, and I also posted about when I bought To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before a while ago.

Books I want to read in September

Smoke in the Sun – Renee Ahdieh
American Royals – Katherine McGee
Letters to the Lost – Brigid Kemmerer
Frankly in Love – David Yoon
Tonight the Streets Are Ours – Leila Sales
The Deathless Girls – Kiran Millwood Hargrave
Pumpkinheads – Rainbow Rowell
A Curse So Dark and Lonely – Brigid Kemmerer

I’m joining the Hogwarts Readathon this month as the NEWTs worked out well for me (posts coming soon about these!), and these are the books I’m hoping to read. I don’t know if I’ll complete them all, but A Curse So Dark and Lonely is a bonus book so you never know.

What did you read in August and what do you want to read in September?

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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Review: The Marrow Thieves by Cherie Dimaline

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Humanity has nearly destroyed its world through global warming, but now an even greater evil lurks. The indigenous people of North America are being hunted and harvested for their bone marrow, which carries the key to recovering something the rest of the population has lost: the ability to dream. In this dark world, Frenchie and his companions struggle to survive as they make their way up north to the old lands. For now, survival means staying hidden but what they don’t know is that one of them holds the secret to defeating the marrow thieves.

Thank you to the author for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

It’s so unfortunate that I didn’t enjoy this book. It sounded so intriguing and like such a unique concept, but I was very disappointed with the book itself. I wish it hadn’t been such a let down!

The only way I can possibly think to describe The Marrow Thieves is it feels like there’s so much missing. Like, if I didn’t read the synopsis beforehand, I would have had no clue what was actually happening throughout the novel. It feels like nothing is ever explained in full and everything is quite a random series of events. I wouldn’t have been shocked if I found out someone had actually ripped pages or whole chapters out of my copy. This improved slightly towards the end of the book, but only as I became more involved in the story, and no where enough to recover from the disappointment.

‘Sometimes you risk everything for a life worth living,’

Unfortunately, the plot wasn’t the only problem. The characters also felt majorly underdeveloped and I struggled to connect with their stories because of it. Most of them were just names on the pages for me, and that meant the connection I should have felt in emotional scenes was just lost. I feel like the author concentrated fully on only a few of the characters, only one of whom I actually liked, and the others got lost along the way.

The reason I’m giving this book 2 stars instead of 1 is because the writing isn’t bad at all. At points, I even found myself sucked into some of the short stories within this larger story. In fact, I think this author could write some brilliant short stories and maybe they would be more developed and her forte?

‘even if you’re not the one that’ll be alive to see it.’

Overall, the concept was interesting but left unexplored and underdeveloped. I’d love to read more books exploring indigenous people and it’s definitely something I’d like to see more of, but this was a major disappointment with few things going for it. It’s definitely not the worst or most annoying book I’ve read, but it was by far from the best.

★★ 
2 out of 5 stars

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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