Stacking the Shelves #2

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga where we share books we’ve bought or received this week. Find out more and join in here!

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

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Goodreads | Waterstones

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

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

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Goodreads | Waterstones

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

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

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Goodreads | Waterstones

The curse is finally broken, but Prince Rhen of Emberfall faces darker troubles still. Rumors circulate that he is not the true heir and that forbidden magic has been unleashed in Emberfall. Although Rhen has Harper by his side, his guardsman Grey is missing, leaving more questions than answers.
Win the crown, save the kingdom.
Rumored to be the heir, Grey has been on the run since he destroyed Lilith. He has no desire to challenge Rhen–until Karis Luran once again threatens to take Emberfall by force. Her own daughter Lia Mara sees the flaws in her mother’s violent plan, but can she convince Grey to stand against Rhen, even for the good of Emberfall?
The heart-pounding, compulsively readable saga continues as loyalties are tested and new love blooms in a kingdom on the brink of war.

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

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Goodreads | Waterstones

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

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

What did you buy this week?

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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January Wrap-Up

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

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Review | Goodreads | Waterstones

Growing up in New York, brothers Emil and Brighton always idolized the Spell Walkers-a vigilante group sworn to rid the world of specters. While the Spell Walkers and other celestials are born with powers, specters take them, violently stealing the essence of endangered magical creatures.
Brighton wishes he had a power so he could join the fray. Emil just wants the fighting to stop. The cycle of violence has taken a toll, making it harder for anyone with a power to live peacefully and openly. In this climate of fear, a gang of specters has been growing bolder by the day.
Then, in a brawl after a protest, Emil manifests a power of his own-one that puts him right at the heart of the conflict and sets him up to be the heroic Spell Walker Brighton always wanted to be.
Brotherhood, love, and loyalty will be put to the test, and no one will escape the fight unscathed.

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

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Review | Goodreads | Waterstones

Books are dangerous things in Collins’s alternate universe, a place vaguely reminiscent of 19th-century England. It’s a world in which people visit book binders to rid themselves of painful or treacherous memories. Once their stories have been told and are bound between the pages of a book, the slate is wiped clean and their memories lose the power to hurt or haunt them. After having suffered some sort of mental collapse and no longer able to keep up with his farm chores, Emmett Farmer is sent to the workshop of one such binder to live and work as her apprentice. Leaving behind home and family, Emmett slowly regains his health while learning the binding trade. He is forbidden to enter the locked room where books are stored, so he spends many months marbling end pages, tooling leather book covers, and gilding edges. But his curiosity is piqued by the people who come and go from the inner sanctum, and the arrival of the lordly Lucian Darnay, with whom he senses a connection, changes everything.

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

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Review | Goodreads

Marin hasn’t spoken to anyone from her old life since the day she left everything behind. No one knows the truth about those final weeks. Not even her best friend, Mabel. But even thousands of miles away from the California coast, at college in New York, Marin still feels the pull of the life and tragedy she’s tried to outrun. Now, months later, alone in an emptied dorm for winter break, Marin waits. Mabel is coming to visit, and Marin will be forced to face everything that’s been left unsaid and finally confront the loneliness that has made a home in her heart.

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

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

What did you read in January?

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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Let’s Discuss! 2019 Reading Wrap-Up

Hi all! It might seem a bit late, with us now being near the end of January, but I thought I’d do a bit of a wrap-up of my journey of my reading in 2019! I find it so interesting to look back on the Goodreads Year in Books, so I’ll be taking the information from there.

How many books did I read?

I managed to read 65 books in 2019! My original goal was 50, so I’m proud of myself for going above and beyond. Overall, this was 26,849 pages.

What were the shortest and longest books I read?

The shortest book was A Christmas Carol at just 95 pages, and the longest was Queen of Air and Darkness at 893 pages.

What were the most popular and least popular books I read?

City of Bones was the most popular book I read with 1,642,971 ratings and my least popular was Parked with just 23 other readers!

Which books did I read?

My True Love Gave To Me – Various Authors
City of Bones – Cassandra Clare
City of Ashes – Cassandra Clare
City of Glass – Cassandra Clare
City of Fallen Angels – Cassandra Clare
City of Lost Souls – Cassandra Clare
City of Heavenly Fire – Cassandra Clare
King of Scars – Leigh Bardugo
Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy – Cassandra Clare
Lady Midnight – Cassandra Clare
The Hate U Give – Angie Thomas
Lord of Shadows – Cassandra Clare
Queen of Air and Darkness – Cassandra Clare
East of Eden – John Steinbeck
The Bane Chronicles – Cassandra Clare
Dumplin’ – Julie Murphy
Heartstopper – Alice Oseman
Glass Houses (Morganville #1) – Rachel Caine
The Dead Girls’ Dance (Morganville #2) – Rachel Caine
Midnight Dance (Morganville #3) – Rachel Caine
Feast of Fools (Morganville #4) – Rachel Caine
Lord of Misrule (Morganville #5) – Rachel Caine
Cape Corpus (Morganville #6) – Rachel Caine
Fade Out (Morganville #7) – Rachel Caine
Kiss of Death (Morganville #8) – Rachel Caine
Ghost Town (Morganville #9) – Rachel Caine
Bite Club (Morganville #10) – Rachel Caine
Last Breath (Morganville #11) – Rachel Caine
Black Dawn (Morganville #12) – Rachel Caine
The Quiet at the End of the World – Lauren James
Bitter Blood (Morganville #13) – Rachel Caine
Fall of Night (Morganville #14) – Rachel Caine
Daylighters (Morganville #15) – Rachel Caine
Midnight Bites – Rachel Caine
The Love and Lies of Rukhsana Ali – Sabina Khan
Meet Cute – Various Authors
Girls of Paper and Fire – Natasha Ngan
Call It What You Want – Brigid Kemmerer
The Last Namsara – Kristen Ciccarelli
The Storm Crow – Kalyn Josephson
Arctic Zoo – Robert Muchamore
City of Ghosts – Victoria Schwab
Noughts and Crosses – Malorie Blackman
Do You Dream of Terra-Two? – Temi Oh
Solitaire – Alice Oseman
The Bone Season – Samantha Shannon
Attachments – Rainbow Rowell
The Starlight Watchmaker – Lauren James
Flame in the Mist – Renee Ahdieh
This Time Will Be Different – Misa Sugiura
Heartstopper Vol 2 – Alice Oseman
Scars Like Wings – Erin Stewart
Parked – Danielle Svetcov
The Marrow Thieves – Cherie Dimaline
Girls of Storm and Shadow (#2) – Natasha Ngan
American Royals – Katherine McGee
Pumpkinheads – Rainbow Rowell and Faith Erin Hicks
A Curse so Dark and Lonely – Brigid Kemmerer
Letters to the Lost – Brigid Kemmerer
The Places I’ve Cried in Public – Holly Bourne
Pixie Pushes on – Tamara Bundy
Only Love Can Break Your Heart – Katherine Webber
Made You Up – Fransesca Zappia
Saint Anything – Sarah Dessen
A Christmas Carol – Charles Dickens
The Starless Sea – Erin Morgenstern

Keep up to date with the blog, I’ll be posting about my absolute favourite reads of 2019 soon!

What was your reading journey of 2019?

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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Let’s Discuss! January Releases I’m Excited For

Hi all! Today I’m here to talk about January releases I’m excited for. It might be a little bit late, but there are so many beautiful books that I wanted to talk about, I thought I’d write it anyway!

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Goodreads | January 7th

Ximena is the decoy Condesa, a stand-in for the last remaining Illustrian royal. Her people lost everything when the usurper, Atoc, used an ancient relic to summon ghosts and drive the Illustrians from La Ciudad. Now Ximena’s motivated by her insatiable thirst for revenge, and her rare ability to spin thread from moonlight.
When Atoc demands the real Condesa’s hand in marriage, it’s Ximena’s duty to go in her stead. She relishes the chance, as Illustrian spies have reported that Atoc’s no longer carrying his deadly relic. If Ximena can find it, she can return the true aristócrata to their rightful place.
She hunts for the relic, using her weaving ability to hide messages in tapestries for the resistance. But when a masked vigilante, a warm-hearted princess, and a thoughtful healer challenge Ximena, her mission becomes more complicated. There could be a way to overthrow the usurper without starting another war, but only if Ximena turns her back on revenge—and her Condesa. 

I’ve seen this book around on Instagram and the cover is to die for!

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Goodreads | January 7th

Find the heir, win the crown.
The curse is finally broken, but Prince Rhen of Emberfall faces darker troubles still. Rumors circulate that he is not the true heir and that forbidden magic has been unleashed in Emberfall. Although Rhen has Harper by his side, his guardsman Grey is missing, leaving more questions than answers.
Win the crown, save the kingdom.
Rumored to be the heir, Grey has been on the run since he destroyed Lilith. He has no desire to challenge Rhen–until Karis Luran once again threatens to take Emberfall by force. Her own daughter Lia Mara sees the flaws in her mother’s violent plan, but can she convince Grey to stand against Rhen, even for the good of Emberfall?

I adored A Curse So Dark and Lonely so I can’t wait to read this one.

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Goodreads | January 7th

When eighteen-year-old Ever Wong’s parents send her from Ohio to Taiwan to study Mandarin for the summer, she finds herself thrust among the very over-achieving kids her parents have always wanted her to be, including Rick Woo, the Yale-bound prodigy profiled in the Chinese newspapers since they were nine—and her parents’ yardstick for her never-measuring-up life.
Unbeknownst to her parents, however, the program is actually an infamous teen meet-market nicknamed Loveboat, where the kids are more into clubbing than calligraphy and drinking snake-blood sake than touring sacred shrines.
Free for the first time, Ever sets out to break all her parents’ uber-strict rules—but how far can she go before she breaks her own heart? 

I’ve been eyeing this book up for a while on social media and in the bookshop I work in.

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Goodreads | January 7th

It is a year after the action of One of Us Is Lying, and someone has started playing a game of Truth or Dare.
But this is no ordinary Truth or Dare. This game is lethal. Choosing the truth may reveal your darkest secrets, accepting the dare could be dangerous, even deadly.
The teenagers of Bayview must work together once again to find the culprit, before it’s too late . . .

One Of Us Is Lying was one of my favourite books of the year when I read it, so I definitely have to pick up this one. I really need to read Two Can Keep a Secret too!

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Goodreads | January 14th

An instant bestseller, A Map of Days launched readers into the previously unexplored world of American peculiars, one bursting with new questions, new allies, and new adversaries.
Now, with enemies behind him and the unknown ahead, Jacob Portman’s story continues as he takes a brave leap forward into The Conference of the Birds, the next installment of the beloved, bestselling Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children series.

I’m actually up to date on the Miss Peregrine’s books, so I’ll be able to pick this one up straight away.

Which January releases are you excited for?

-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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Goodreads | Amazon

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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Goodreads | Pre-Order on Amazon

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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Review: The Marrow Thieves by Cherie Dimaline

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Goodreads | Amazon

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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