Let’s Discuss! Top 10 Books of 2020 Countdown

Hi all! 2020 was a pretty good reading year for me. I read 87 books overall, which is probably the most I’ve ever read in a year. I’m super proud of that amount and it’s allowing me to push myself for 2021! I recently sat down and filmed the video below, which covers my top 10 books of 2020. I wasn’t planning on ordering anything beyond the top 3 (or even just my favourite), but I naturally ended up numbering them, so I thought I’d do a countdown from my 10th favourite to my absolute favourite of 2020.

So, let’s get to the countdown!

10. Rules for Being a Girl

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Review | Goodreads | Waterstones

Marin is a smart, driven, popular girl – she’s headed for Brown when she graduates and has a brilliant career as a journalist ahead of her. Especially in the eyes of English teacher Mr Beckett. He spends a lot of time around Marin, and she thinks it’s harmless . . . until he kisses her. 
No one believes Marin when she tells them what happened, so she does the only thing she can: she writes an article called ‘Rules for Being a Girl’ for the school paper to point out the misogyny and sexism that girls face every day. As things heat up at school and in her personal life, Marin must figure out how to take back the power and rewrite her own rules.

This book was such a shock for me. I received an unsolicited ARC from the publishing company and even though it didn’t sound like one for me, I thought I’d try it. And I ended up devouring it. This was so good and I really believe every teenage girl should read it!

9. Boy Queen by George Lester

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Review | Goodreads | Waterstones

Robin Cooper’s life is falling apart.
While his friends prepare to head off to university, Robin is looking at a pile of rejection letters from drama schools up and down the country, and facing a future without the people he loves the most. Everything seems like it’s ending, and Robin is scrabbling to find his feet.
Unsure about what to do next and whether he has the talent to follow his dreams, he and his best friends go and drown their sorrows at a local drag show, where Robin realises there might be a different, more sequinned path for him . . .
With a mother who won’t stop talking, a boyfriend who won’t acknowledge him and a best friend who is dying to cover him in glitter make up, there’s only one thing for Robin to do: bring it to the runway.

This book was so much fun and I absolutely loved it. It introduced me to the world of drag and it was so fabulous, but with heartfelt and heavy moments.

8. Yes No Maybe So by Becky Albertalli and Aisha Saeed

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Review | 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 worstthing 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.

I’ve really enjoyed all of Becky’s books and this was no different! I loved this partnership with Aisha and the political subject was actually so interesting.

7. Radio Silence by Alice Oseman

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Review | Goodreads | Waterstones

Frances Janvier spends most of her time studying.
Everyone knows Aled Last as that quiet boy who gets straight As.
You probably think that they are going to fall in love or something. Since he is a boy and she is a girl.
They don’t. They make a podcast.
In a world determined to shut them up, knock them down, and set them on a cookie cutter life path, Frances and Aled struggle to find their voices over the course of one life-changing year. Will they have the courage to show everyone who they really are? Or will they be met with radio silence?

Another big surprise for me was Radio Silence. I’ve enjoyed everything by Alice Oseman, but some more than others, and I thought this one would fall to the bottom of the list as I feel like Alice has developed over time and this is one of her older books. However, this was absolutely amazing and became my favourite book of hers!

6. Felix Ever After by Kacen Callendar

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Review | Goodreads | Waterstones

Felix Love has never been in love—and, yes, he’s painfully aware of the irony. He desperately wants to know what it’s like and why it seems so easy for everyone but him to find someone. What’s worse is that, even though he is proud of his identity, Felix also secretly fears that he’s one marginalization too many—Black, queer, and transgender—to ever get his own happily-ever-after.
When an anonymous student begins sending him transphobic messages—after publicly posting Felix’s deadname alongside images of him before he transitioned—Felix comes up with a plan for revenge. What he didn’t count on: his catfish scenario landing him in a quasi–love triangle….
But as he navigates his complicated feelings, Felix begins a journey of questioning and self-discovery that helps redefine his most important relationship: how he feels about himself.

I absolutely adored this and it opened my eyes so much to being transgender. It really hit me in the feels and at some points I had all over goosebumps and chills from the pure emotion of this book.

5. The Lido by Libby Page

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Review | Goodreads | Waterstones

Kate is a twenty-six-year-old riddled with anxiety and panic attacks who works for a local paper in Brixton, London, covering forgettably small stories. When she’s assigned to write about the closing of the local lido (an outdoor pool and recreation center), she meets Rosemary, an eighty-six-year-old widow who has swum at the lido daily since it opened its doors when she was a child. It was here Rosemary fell in love with her husband, George; here that she’s found communion during her marriage and since George’s death. The lido has been a cornerstone in nearly every part of Rosemary’s life.
But when a local developer attempts to buy the lido for a posh new apartment complex, Rosemary’s fond memories and sense of community are under threat.
As Kate dives deeper into the lido’s history—with the help of a charming photographer—she pieces together a portrait of the pool, and a portrait of a singular woman, Rosemary. What begins as a simple local interest story for Kate soon blossoms into a beautiful friendship that provides sustenance to both women as they galvanize the community to fight the lido’s closure. Meanwhile, Rosemary slowly, finally, begins to open up to Kate, transforming them both in ways they never knew possible.

I didn’t expect to adore this one quite as much as I did, but it was like picking up a warm cup of tea on a cold winters day. I was actually recommended this book by a customer at work because of our mutual love of outdoor swimming, and I’m so glad I took the recommendation to heart!

4. I Wish You All the Best by Mason Deaver

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Review | Goodreads

When Ben De Backer comes out to their parents as nonbinary, they’re thrown out of their house and forced to move in with their estranged older sister, Hannah, and her husband, Thomas, whom Ben has never even met. Struggling with an anxiety disorder compounded by their parents’ rejection, they come out only to Hannah, Thomas, and their therapist and try to keep a low profile in a new school.
But Ben’s attempts to survive the last half of senior year unnoticed are thwarted when Nathan Allan, a funny and charismatic student, decides to take Ben under his wing. As Ben and Nathan’s friendship grows, their feelings for each other begin to change, and what started as a disastrous turn of events looks like it might just be a chance to start a happier new life.

This was another book that absolutely opened my eyes. I read it as part of Non-Binary November and I loved it. It made me so emotional, but was so heartfelt and beautiful. I also recently read I’ll Be Home For Christmas which is a novella about the same characters which was super cute!

3. We Are Okay by Nina LaCour

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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. 

I read this one back in January 2020 and it stayed with me the whole year. It was so beautiful, but so sad and tackles grief and friendship and love. I’ve read a couple of books by Nina LaCour now and I’ve loved them all.

2. Serpent & Dove by Shelby Mahurin

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Review | Goodreads | Waterstones

Two years ago, Louise le Blanc fled her coven and took shelter in the city of Cesarine, forsaking all magic and living off whatever she could steal. There, witches like Lou are hunted. They are feared. And they are burned.
Sworn to the Church as a Chasseur, Reid Diggory has lived his life by one principle: thou shalt not suffer a witch to live. His path was never meant to cross with Lou’s, but a wicked stunt forces them into an impossible union—holy matrimony.
The war between witches and Church is an ancient one, and Lou’s most dangerous enemies bring a fate worse than fire. Unable to ignore her growing feelings, yet powerless to change what she is, a choice must be made.
And love makes fools of us all.

I adored this book. I thought I’d like it, but I had no idea that I would fall in love with it the way I did. It was beautiful, I loved the setting, the romance and the characters so much. I savoured this book and I never wanted it to end. I thought it would be my favourite of the year, until….

1.The Invisible Life of Addie Larue by V.E. Schwab

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Review | Goodreads | Waterstones

France, 1714: in a moment of desperation, a young woman makes a Faustian bargain to live forever-and is cursed to be forgotten by everyone she meets.
Thus begins the extraordinary life of Addie LaRue, and a dazzling adventure that will play out across centuries and continents, across history and art, as a young woman learns how far she will go to leave her mark on the world.
But everything changes when, after nearly 300 years, Addie stumbles across a young man in a hidden bookstore, and he remembers her name.

This was incredible. I didn’t read it until early December but it quickly surpassed all of my other reads of the year so far and I just adored it. It broke my heart and made me cry, but it utterly stole my heart too.

Which were your favourite books of 2020?

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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Stacking the Shelves #34

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 a few books recently that I have struggled to find for various reasons. I also received a book this week which I’ll talk about below! I have actually also been buying the Wordsworth classic collector’s editions, which I haven’t included here because of a couple of reasons:

  1. There is…16 of them. So far. (I’m collecting them all over the next few weeks).
  2. I’m filming a vlog for Library of Books and Daydreams, so I’m going to include them there instead!
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Goodreads | Waterstones

Felix Love has never been in love—and, yes, he’s painfully aware of the irony. He desperately wants to know what it’s like and why it seems so easy for everyone but him to find someone. What’s worse is that, even though he is proud of his identity, Felix also secretly fears that he’s one marginalization too many—Black, queer, and transgender—to ever get his own happily-ever-after.
When an anonymous student begins sending him transphobic messages—after publicly posting Felix’s deadname alongside images of him before he transitioned—Felix comes up with a plan for revenge. What he didn’t count on: his catfish scenario landing him in a quasi–love triangle….
But as he navigates his complicated feelings, Felix begins a journey of questioning and self-discovery that helps redefine his most important relationship: how he feels about himself.

I finally bought my own copy of this book that I really loved when I read it back in November. I had borrowed a copy from Courtney (thank you Courtney!), and I’m happy to have my own now.

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Goodreads

A shy teenager attempts to express how she really feels through the pastries she makes at her family’s pasteleria. A tourist from Montenegro desperately seeks a magic soup dumpling that can cure his fear of death. An aspiring chef realizes that butter and soul are the key ingredients to win a cooking competition that could win him the money to save his mother’s life.
Welcome to Hungry Hearts Row, where the answers to most of life’s hard questions are kneaded, rolled, baked. Where a typical greeting is, “Have you had anything to eat?” Where magic and food and love are sometimes one in the same.
Told in interconnected short stories, Hungry Hearts explores the many meanings food can take on beyond mere nourishment. It can symbolize love and despair, family and culture, belonging and home. 

I actually received this as a gift, as I won it from MTMC Tours back in November. Thank you – I’m super excited to read this one as I always enjoy reading fiction that mentions food!

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Goodreads

I received the collectors edition of A Conjuring of Light for Christmas, and I already had the first book. So I managed to track down a copy of the second book this week. I’m happy to add this whole series to my TBR!

What have you bought this week?

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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December Wrap-Up + January TBR

Hi lovely readers! I’m here today with my December wrap-up and January TBR. I actually had another really good reading month in December, despite it being a little different to my TBR in the end. I have a few books from my December TBR that have been pushed back to January, but other than that I read all of the books on my TBR and a few different ones!

Books I Read in December

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Review | Goodreads | Waterstones

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Review | Goodreads | Waterstones

France, 1714: in a moment of desperation, a young woman makes a Faustian bargain to live forever-and is cursed to be forgotten by everyone she meets.
Thus begins the extraordinary life of Addie LaRue, and a dazzling adventure that will play out across centuries and continents, across history and art, as a young woman learns how far she will go to leave her mark on the world.
But everything changes when, after nearly 300 years, Addie stumbles across a young man in a hidden bookstore, and he remembers her name.

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Review | Goodreads | Waterstones

In Find Me, Aciman shows us Elio’s father, Samuel, on a trip from Florence to Rome to visit Elio, who has become a gifted classical pianist. A chance encounter on the train with a beautiful young woman upends Sami’s plans and changes his life forever.
Elio soon moves to Paris, where he, too, has a consequential affair, while Oliver, now a New England college professor with a family, suddenly finds himself contemplating a return trip across the Atlantic.
Aciman is a master of sensibility, of the intimate details and the emotional nuances that are the substance of passion. Find Me brings us back inside the magic circle of one of our greatest contemporary romances to ask if, in fact, true love ever dies.

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Review | Goodreads | Waterstones

Romance was not part of Nora Grey’s plan. She’s never been particularly attracted to the boys at her school, no matter how hard her best friend, Vee, pushes them at her. Not until Patch comes along. With his easy smile and eyes that seem to see inside her, Patch draws Nora to him against her better judgment.
But after a series of terrifying encounters, Nora’s not sure whom to trust. Patch seems to be everywhere she is and seems to know more about her than her closest friends. She can’t decide whether she should fall into his arms or run and hide. And when she tries to seek some answers, she finds herself near a truth that is way more unsettling than anything Patch makes her feel.
For she is right in the middle of an ancient battle between the immortal and those that have fallen – and, when it comes to choosing sides, the wrong choice will cost Nora her life. 

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Review | Goodreads | Waterstones

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Review | Goodreads | Waterstones

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Review | Goodreads

Ben has a plan for the ultimate Christmas present for Nathan. All it requires is taking a large golden retriever from one end of the country to the other. No pressure.
When a snowstorm rocks the east coast sooner than expected, though, Ben is trapped at the airport, and suddenly all their plans for a perfect first Christmas with Nathan are on the line.
This 60-page short story details Ben and Nathan’s first Christmas together back in 2019.
This short story is available for free via Gumroad’s ‘Pay What You Want’ option, however any proceeds this short story earns will be donated to the National Center for Transgender Equality

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Review | Goodreads | Waterstones

I’m not going to think about the past few months, about Charlie and me, and all of the sad. I’m going to block it all out. Just for today.
“Happy Christmas, ” I say.
The festive season isn’t always happy for Tori and her brother Charlie. And this year’s going to be harder than most. 

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Review | Goodreads | Waterstones

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Review | Goodreads | Waterstones

My favourite book of the month was definitely The Invisible Life of Addie Larue, as you can probably guess! My least favourite was Crescendo, in which the whole series fluctuated between 3 and 3.5 stars, but this was my least favourite.

Books I Want to Read in January

Chasing the Stars – Malorie Blackman
Tonight the Streets are Ours – Leila Sales
Wide Sargasso Sea – Jean Rhys

I’m not putting any pressure on my reads in January past this very small TBR, because I want to spend the month deciding how I’m going to attack my TBR in 2021. I do have the idea of reading a classic per month, and Wide Sargasso Sea will be my January one! I’m super excited for this one as it is inspired by the mad wife in Jane Eyre, and Jane Eyre is one of my favourite books of all time.

What did you read in December and what do you want to read in January?

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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Review: Silence (#3) by Becca Fitzpatrick

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Goodreads | Waterstones

The noise between Patch and Nora has gone. They’ve overcome the secrets riddled in Patch’s dark past, bridged two irreconcilable worlds and faced heart-wrenching tests of betrayal, loyalty and trust… and all for a love that will transcend the boundary between heaven and earth.
Armed with nothing but their absolute faith in one another, Patch and Nora enter a desperate fight to stop a villain who holds the power to shatter everything they’ve worked for – and their love – forever.

I finally got to a point where I enjoyed this book more than the previous one in the series. I think this is definitely partly due to reading the physical version rather than the audiobook. I honestly couldn’t put it down, and that was exactly what I was hoping from the physical book. This book took a twist with Nora not being able to remember anything from the past 5 months of her life – the entire first two books. At first, this felt a bit like an excuse to write another book, just erase her memory! But I delved into the book and began to enjoy it a lot. This is definitely a guilty pleasure series!

I’ve got to be honest, I’ve dived straight into the last book and I’m already nearly halfway through, so I am struggling to separate the events of the books as I’ve been reading them so quickly. I also read around 220 pages of this book in one sitting, as I really couldn’t put it down!

I missed you, Angel.

Nora continues to be her usual feisty self, fighting for the memories she has lost and to fill the hole she now has. She is a real fighter, very sassy and will stop at nothing to get her way. Nora has also forgotten her relationship with Patch, and rediscovers him in this book through fresh eyes. This definitely gave their relationship a new level and she feels more mature than in the first few books. Their relationship was a big problem for me in the second book, and I’m glad I could finally feel a bit different towards them in this one!

I honestly am struggling to remember the plot, because I sped through it so quickly, but it must have been good because I just couldn’t put it down. Becca’s writing may not be the most sophisticated, but can also be quite addictive!

Not one day went by that I didn’t feel you missing from my life.

I don’t know how much of this was about reading the physical version, but I am finally beginning to see what people like and enjoy about reading this series. It can be a bit trashy, but I am really liking reading them and I’m definitely getting a little addicted to the story.

★★
3.5 out of 5 stars

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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Review: Escaping from Houdini (#3) by Kerri Maniscalco

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Goodreads | Waterstones

Audrey Rose Wadsworth and her partner-in-crime-investigation, Thomas Cresswell, are en route to New York to help solve another blood-soaked mystery. Embarking on a week-long voyage across the Atlantic on the opulent RMS Etruria, they’re delighted to discover a travelling troupe of circus performers, fortune tellers, and a certain charismatic young escape artist entertaining the first-class passengers nightly.But then, privileged young women begin to go missing without explanation, and a series of brutal slayings shocks the entire ship. The disturbing influence of the Moonlight Carnival pervades the decks as the murders grow ever more freakish, with nowhere to escape except the unforgiving sea. It’s up to Audrey Rose and Thomas to piece together the gruesome investigation as even more passengers die before reaching their destination. But with clues to the next victim pointing to someone she loves, can Audrey Rose unravel the mystery before the killer’s horrifying finale?

This is the third book in the Stalking Jack the Ripper series and it might just about be my favourite so far. Again, I buddy read this one with my lovely friends Amy and Jo, and I’m so glad we’ve been reading these together! This book is set straight after Hunting Prince Dracula, with the two main characters Audrey and Thomas travelling on a cruise ship across the ocean to America. I didn’t realise this would actually be set on the ship but I honestly ended up loving it!

I’ve been lucky enough to go on a cruise once in my life and this book definitely captured the essence of being on a cruise ship, with the luxurious and elabroate lifestyle and enchanting shows. I really liked how Kerri used the classic cruise ship magic show and made it into a carnival with lots of behind the scenes extravaganzas.

I love you… More than all the stars in the universe. 

I’ve always enjoyed books with carnivals, circuses and other games, such as Caraval and The Night Circus. This book really held elements of those with the carnival on the ship, and I really enjoyed reading about the carnival nights on the ship. The contrast of the carnival with the darker events happening behind the scenes was really interesting and intriguing.

As usual, I really enjoyed reading about Audrey Rose and continues to hold her own in this book. Her relationship with Thomas feels mature and they both have their own independence. I really like how the romance takes a backseat and is a subplot to the book.

In this life and ever after. I love you.

Again, I had absolutely no idea who the killer was and Kerri constantly manages to surprise me! I’m always trying to work it out without success. I can’t wait to read the next and last book!

★★★★★
4.5 out of 5 stars

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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Review: Crescendo (#2) by Becca Fitzpatrick

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Goodreads | Waterstones

Nora Grey’s life is still far from perfect. Surviving an attempt on her life wasn’t pleasant, but at least she got a guardian angel out of it. A mysterious, magnetic, gorgeous guardian angel. But despite his role in her life, Patch has been acting anything but angelic. He’s more elusive than ever (if that’s possible) and what’s worse, he seems to be spending time with Nora’s archenemy, Marcie Millar.
Nora would have hardly noticed Scott Parnell, an old family friend who has moved back to town, if Patch hadn’t been acting so distant. Even with Scott’s totally infuriating attitude, Nora finds herself drawn to him – despite her lingering feelings that he is hiding something.
If that weren’t enough, Nora is haunted by images of her murdered father, and comes to question whether her Nephilim bloodline has anything to do with his death. Desperate to figure out what happened, she puts herself in increasingly dangerous situations to get the answer. But maybe some things are better left buried, because the truth could destroy everything – and everyone – she trusts. 

The second book in the Hush Hush series had a lot more mixed feelings from me. Again, I read it partly on audiobook and only a small amount in physical format. However, the part I did read in physical format I found hard to put down, and I’m actually quite excited for reading the last two completely in physical format to see how I feel about it. I have a feeling I’m actually going to enjoy them more reading them in physical format and really feel the guilty pleasure aspect. At least, that’s what I’m hoping!

This book seemed better in some ways and worse in others, but I felt similarly about it to the first book in the end. The part that I really disliked was the romance in this book. There were some scenes in this book between Nora and Patch that made me want to personally murder the both of them. They act like children, cannot talk to each other without shouting abuse, and just act stupid. They do not discuss anything, instead ignoring each other, refusing to communicate or talk anything through, and generally ignore each other instead.

Any happiness, no matter how brief, seemed better than the long,

I found this aspect of the book incredibly frustrating. The vast majority of the story was the back and forth between them and them getting back at each other for stupid things. I found it really hard to read about her and Patch and I really couldn’t get on board with how either of them, but especially Nora, was acting. I struggle to enjoy books in which I dislike the author, and this one was no different.

However, I do feel like it got better after the first half. I think once we had the big fight at the start it got more bearable and their drama did take a backseat, thankfully. I did enjoy the subplot and some of the scenes in this book and it managed to balance out the annoying part to a degree. I had an inkling who the villain was, but I wasn’t as sure as I was in the first book. I really enjoyed the very last part of the book and the dramatic ending was much more enjoyable to read.

simmering torture of waking up day after day, knowing I could never have him.

I am still going to carry on with this series and I am definitely looking forward to seeing how addicted I get when reading the physical books, I think it could really change things for me!

★★★
3 out of 5 stars

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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Stacking the Shelves #32

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

Hi everyone! I’ve been meaning to post about a book I finally managed to get a hold of for weeks and then forgetting. But I thought it would be smart to get this posted before Christmas, so I can do a Christmas haul next week!

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Goodreads | Forbidden Planet

A story of love and demons, family and witchcraft.
Nova Huang knows more about magic than your average teen witch. She works at her grandmothers’ bookshop, where she helps them loan out spell books and investigate any supernatural occurrences in their New England town.
One fateful night, she follows reports of a white wolf into the woods, and she comes across the unexpected: her childhood crush, Tam Lang, battling a horse demon in the woods. As a werewolf, Tam has been wandering from place to place for years, unable to call any town home.
Pursued by dark forces eager to claim the magic of wolves and out of options, Tam turns to Nova for help. Their latent feelings are rekindled against the backdrop of witchcraft, untested magic, occult rituals, and family ties both new and old in this enchanting tale of self-discovery.

This is the book I’ve been trying to get a copy of for ages and finally became available in the UK again. It took a while to be dispatched but I managed to get one and I’m so excited to read it.

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Goodreads | Watestones

It’s 200 years since Cinderella found her prince, but the fairytale is over.
Sophia knows the story though, off by heart. Because every girl has to recite it daily, from when she’s tiny until the night she’s sent to the royal ball for choosing. And every girl knows that she has only one chance. For the lives of those not chosen by a man at the ball . are forfeit.
But Sophia doesn’t want to be chosen – she’s in love with her best friend, Erin, and hates the idea of being traded like cattle. And when Sophia’s night at the ball goes horribly wrong, she must run for her life. Alone and terrified, she finds herself hiding in Cinderella’s tomb. And there she meets someone who will show her that she has the power to remake her world.

I received this one as part of a secret Santa gift this week from Nikki at Books, Tea and Lemon Squash. I’ve wanted to read this since it came out and I’m super excited to read it! Thank you Nikki!

What have you bought recently?

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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Review: Hush Hush (#1) by Becca Fitzpatrick

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Goodreads | Waterstones

Romance was not part of Nora Grey’s plan. She’s never been particularly attracted to the boys at her school, no matter how hard her best friend, Vee, pushes them at her. Not until Patch comes along. With his easy smile and eyes that seem to see inside her, Patch draws Nora to him against her better judgment.
But after a series of terrifying encounters, Nora’s not sure whom to trust. Patch seems to be everywhere she is and seems to know more about her than her closest friends. She can’t decide whether she should fall into his arms or run and hide. And when she tries to seek some answers, she finds herself near a truth that is way more unsettling than anything Patch makes her feel.
For she is right in the middle of an ancient battle between the immortal and those that have fallen – and, when it comes to choosing sides, the wrong choice will cost Nora her life.

This is the kind of book I would have probably loved as a young teen, but I couldn’t help but pick out a lot of problems with now. I read this mostly on audibook (I actually only read 2 chapters of the physical version in the end), and I did enjoy it. I feel like if I’d have read the physical version I would have found it very addictive and hard to put down, and I think I’ll find out as the last two books in the series don’t have audiobooks on the app I use. The only problem I found with the audiobook was a bad Irish accent….

I found the characters not so great, although for the most part Nora was okay, thankfully. I struggle to enjoy books when I don’t like the main character, but Nora was just a troubled, confused teenager. She did annoy me a few times with her desperation for a character who was quite obviously bad news, but I managed to push it away for the most part.

All this time I’ve hated myself for it. 

The plot was really interesting and I definitely wanted to keep reading and find out what was happening. I did guess who the killer was, but it still retained a lot of mystery. Patch was an up and down character, I definitely grew to like him more as the book went on, but there was a lot of problematic scenes that made me cringe with discomfort for Nora.

I also found a lot of problems with gender and sexuality in this book. It just isn’t diverse at all. And I know this book was written in an era which was less diverse, but after reading some amazingly diverse books recently I did struggle with it. The writing was simple but addictive – definitely what I expected from this book and I wasn’t disappointed. It was kind of cringey and cheesy, and I definitely wanted to roll my eyes at some points. But if this is the kind of thing you enjoy, you’ll love it!

I thought I’d given it up for nothing. But if I hadn’t fallen, I wouldn’t have met you.

If this sounds like something you’d enjoy, go for it! It’s one of those books that is quite cheesy but really easy to like.

★★★
3 out of 5 stars

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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Review: The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab

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Goodreads | Waterstones

France, 1714: in a moment of desperation, a young woman makes a Faustian bargain to live forever-and is cursed to be forgotten by everyone she meets.
Thus begins the extraordinary life of Addie LaRue, and a dazzling adventure that will play out across centuries and continents, across history and art, as a young woman learns how far she will go to leave her mark on the world.
But everything changes when, after nearly 300 years, Addie stumbles across a young man in a hidden bookstore, and he remembers her name.

This is the kind of book that grabs you from the first page and doesn’t let go. It draws you into the pages until you know nothing else, and you are left gasping for air. It shakes you up and makes you never, ever want it to end. This book was astounding. Beautiful. Clever. Brilliant. And I will never have enough words to describe how much I adored it. After all, the hardest reviews to write are the ones for the books that you fall in love with.

This book follows Addie LaRue, a girl who is cursed to be forgotten. Until one day, after nearly 300 years of wandering the earth without leaving a mark, she meets a boy who remembers. Told over those 300 long years of Addie’s life, we flit between everywhere she has been, and modern day New York, where she meets Henry, who remembers her name.

Being forgotten, she thinks, is a bit like going mad. You begin to wonder what is real, if you are real. 

This is a romance. A mystery. A historical fantasy. It is so many things, but in every way it is utterly encapsulating and absolutely breathtaking. I fell for Addie’s story and the way she wandered the earth, learning more about herself with every situation she found her in. She was broken by the curse she was under, but also stronger and a lover of life because of it. Her story was unlike anything I’ve ever read before, and I couldn’t resist the urge to know what happened to her.

It is about the world and wandering it, friendship and love, life and death, loss and hope. It is a beautiful narrative of a girl who longs to be remembered, and a boy who longs to forget. The prose is written in such a way that I wanted to savour it as it if it was the last chocolate on earth, and I also wanted to keep on turning the pages. It was truly enthralling, and so intense.

After all, how can a thing be real if it cannot be remembered?

I wish I could tell you how much this book made me feel. Intrigued. Sorrowful. Overjoyed. Infatuated. Heartbroken. Hopeful. I sobbed more than I ever have at a book before, but was still left with a warmth in my heart that I don’t think will ever leave. I have always struggled to pick out a favourite book, but V.E. Schwab, you may have just gone and done it. Thank you so much for such a breath of fresh air, that I just want to push into the arms of every reader I come across, and tell them to read it, savour it, let it take you on this wild, beautiful ride.

I will say your name, Addie LaRue. I will carry you with me and I will not forget.

I remember you.

★★★
5 out of 5 stars

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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Review: Allegiant (#3) by Veronica Roth

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Goodreads | Waterstones

What if a single revelation – like a single choice – changed everything?
What if love and loyalty made you do things you never expected?
The faction-based society that Tris Prior once believed in is shattered – fractured by violence and power struggles and scarred by loss and betrayal. So when offered a chance to explore the world past the limits she’s known, Tris is ready. Perhaps beyond the fence, she and Tobias will find a simple new life together, free from complicated lies, tangled loyalties, and painful memories.
But Tris’s new reality is even more alarming than the one she left behind. Old discoveries are quickly rendered meaningless. Explosive new truths change the hearts of those she loves. And once again, Tris must battle to comprehend the complexities of human nature – and of herself – while facing impossible choices about courage, allegiance, sacrifice and love.

I didn’t have high expectations for Allegiant, I’m not going to lie. After reading Insurgent and finding it disappointing, I wasn’t sure whether this would be any better. I’d also heard more bad things about this book than either of the others. It was also the first book in which I didn’t really know what to expect, because the movie only covers a small portion of the book and is less similar to the story. However, I did know what the big spoiler was, and have known for years!

I actually enjoyed this book more than expected, and definitely more than Insurgent. It was so interesting to finally be outside of the city and learn about the world alongside Tris and Four. I wasn’t sure how I would feel about Four having his own chapters, but I quite liked it. It gave a different dynamic to their relationship and I liked reading about how they both reacted to certain situations.

I fell in love with him. But I don’t just stay with him by default as if there’s no one else available to me.

Tris seemed to mellow a little, or at least she annoyed me less in this than she did in Insurgent. Her character was definitely less of an annoyance, and the plot became more of one. This book just felt so slow. I managed to read it in only a couple of days, and I read the second half of the book (about 250 pages) in a day. But even though I read it quite quickly, it felt like a slog. It felt like walking through custard. Not much happened, all was leading to an explosive (pun not intended!) ending that just fell quite flat for me.

I had little emotional connection to the characters too, which was disappointing considering how much I went through with them as a reader. The ending in general felt like quite a let down and was particularly unrealistic in parts.

I stay with him because I choose to, every day that I wake up, every day that we fight or lie to each other or disappoint each other. I choose him over and over again, and he chooses me.

Overall, I did enjoy this more than Insurgent but it still felt like quite a disappointment. I did like having two narrators for a change and I didn’t mind Four as a character. But I do wish I hadn’t found this quite so slow!

★★★★
3.5 out of 5 stars

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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