Stacking the Shelves #59

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 may be misremembering, as I am away from home, but I think I’m right in saying that I only acquired two books this week and both were from the publishers as gifts. If I’m wrong, I will add other books I’ve missed onto next weeks update so look out for that one!

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Goodreads | Waterstones

Mirabelle has always known she is a monster. When the glamour protecting her unusual family from the human world is torn and an orphaned brother and sister stumble upon Rookhaven, Mirabelle soon discovers that friendship can be found in the outside world.
But as something far more sinister comes to threaten them all, it quickly becomes clear that the true monsters aren’t necessarily the ones you can see.
A thought-provoking, chilling and beautifully written novel, Pádraig Kenny’s The Monsters of Rookhhaven, stunningly illustrated by Edward Bettison, explores difference and empathy through the eyes of characters you won’t want to let go.

Both of these books are middle grade, the first being The Monsters of Rookhaven which is our children’s book of the month at Waterstones where I work. I’d like to somehow read this before the month ends!

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Goodreads | Waterstones

Do you dare read this collection of terrifyingly gruesome tales? In this gripping volume, author Jen Campbell offers young readers an edgy, contemporary, and inclusive take on classic fairy tales, taking them back to their gory beginnings while updating them for a modern audience with queer and disabled characters and positive representation of disfigurement.
Featuring fourteen short stories from China, India, Ireland, and across the globe, The Sister Who Ate Her Brothers is an international collection of the creepiest folk tales. Illustrated with Adam de Souza’s brooding art, this book’s style is a totally original blend of nineteenth-century Gothic engravings meets moody film noir graphic novels. Headlined by the Korean tale of a carnivorous child, The Sister Who Ate Her Brothers is a truly thrilling gift for brave young readers.

I was also sent this beautiful hardback by Thames and Hudson, and I’m so excited to get stuck into it. This is also a middle grade and I’m intrigued to how it is framed for younger readers! Another one I’d love to get to before Halloween if I can.

Which books did you buy or receive this week?

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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Review: Tea Dragon Trilogy by Kay O’Neill

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Goodreads | Waterstones

From the award-winning author of Princess Princess Ever After comes The Tea Dragon Society, a charming all-ages book that follows the story of Greta, a blacksmith apprentice, and the people she meets as she becomes entwined in the enchanting world of tea dragons.
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. 

This review will be for the entire Tea Dragon trilogy.

I’ve heard so many amazing things about this graphic novel series and I honestly fell in love with it. We follow Greta, who learns about the art of caring for tea dragons. She meets so many beautiful people along the way and some gorgeous tea dragons too.

I absolutely adored the tea dragons in these books. They all have their own personalities and their stories allow for some really important discussions about grief and loss.

The illustrations in this are absolutely to die for, and the panels are so creatively drawn. I absolutely love the colour palettes, especially in The Tea Dragon Tapestry, which is the latest book and the most autumnal. Although the books all follow a variety of seasons, but the last one definitely feels the most autumnal and the entire series is perfect to read at this time of year!

The diversity throughout these books was incredible and felt so natural. We have a character who uses a wheelchair, a character who uses sign language (and this was so seamlessly woven into the story!), a non-binary character, a range of sexualities and identities!

Overall, I just absolutely loved these books so much and I would highly recommend them to anyone who feels like they may enjoy reading them. It felt like such a big and warm hug and is so easy to fall in love with.

★★★★★
5 out of 5 stars

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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Review: On a Night Like This by Lindsey Kelk

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Goodreads | Waterstones

Within days of wishing she could change her life, Fran Cooper is acting assistant to a celebrity, on a yacht in the Mediterranean, and en route to a tiny Italian island and the glittering Crystal Ball, along with the world’s rich and famous.
When she – quite literally – bumps into a handsome American called Evan, a man able to keep his cool in the face of chaos, the magic really begins.
Evan makes her a promise: no last names, no life stories, just one unforgettable night. Yet Evan belongs at the Crystal Ball and Fran is a gatecrasher. They may be soulmates, but their homes are an ocean apart, and their lives a world apart. They’ll never meet again – unless, on a night like this, everything can change forever…

Thank you to Harper for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

It has taken me way too long to finally pick up a Lindsey Kelk book, but I jumped on the chance to read and review her upcoming release, On a Night Like This! In this book we follow Fran, who accepts a mysterious job as a personal assistant to megastar singer Juliette. Fran is thrown into a world of stardom and ends up reconsidering everything about her life back home because of it.

This book was so funny. I was immediately thrown into witty writing and laugh-out-loud one liners. I don’t often laugh out lout at books, but this one really did make me chuckle over and over again. The writing was so easy and felt less predictable than I expected. Once I picked this one up, I didn’t want to put it down. I was so absorbed in Fran’s story and just wanted to find out more about her life and how it would change as the book went on.

Fran made such a lovely main character and I clicked with her almost immediately. I sympathised so much with her and her situation, and it was so amazing to see how she learned about herself and grew as a person. Her friendship with Juliette was so entertaining to read about but also had some really heartfelt moments.

Overall, this book had such a beautiful mixture of self love, friendship and romance. It was both cliched in the best way put unpredictable at the same time. I really enjoyed reading it and I’m so glad I’ve finally picked up a Lindsey Kelk book!

★★★★★
4.5 out of 5 stars

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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September Wrap-Up

Hi all! It’s time for my September wrap-up and I read 15 books in September, which I’m honestly pretty happy with considering how busy I was in September with going back to uni. I also created this as a video which you can review on my YouTube channel (below)!

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Review | Goodreads | Waterstones

Sense and Sensibility is a delightful comedy of manners in which the sisters Elinor and Marianne represent these two qualities. Elinor’s character is one of Augustan detachment, while Marianne, a fervent disciple of the Romantic Age, learns to curb her passionate nature in the interests of survival.

★★★★
4 out of 5 stars

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Review | Goodreads | Waterstones

Kiki is a trainee witch. On her thirteenth birthday she must follow tradition and leave home to find a new village.
She knows she has to use only her powers to make a living, but Kiki’s no good at potions or spells…can she use her flying abilities to make her own way in the world?
She sets out with her beloved black cat Jiji on an exciting journey, making new friends along the way.

★★★★★
5 out of 5 stars

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Review | Goodreads | Waterstones

You are about to discover the secrets of ‘The Quick’ – but first you must travel to Victorian England, and there, in the wilds of Yorkshire, meet a brother and sister alone in the world, a pair bound by tragedy. You will, in time, enter the rooms of London’s mysterious Aegolius Club – a society of the richest, most powerful men in England. And at some point – we cannot say when – these worlds will collide. It is then, and only then, that a new world emerges, a world of romance, adventure and the most delicious of horrors – and the secrets of ‘The Quick’ are revealed.

★★★★
3.5 out of 5 stars

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Review | Goodreads | Waterstones

It has been twenty-seven long years since the last sunrise. For nearly three decades, vampires have waged war against humanity; building their eternal empire even as they tear down our own. Now, only a few tiny sparks of light endure in a sea of darkness.
Gabriel de León is a silversaint: a member of a holy brotherhood dedicated to defending realm and church from the creatures of the night. But even the Silver Order couldn’t stem the tide once daylight failed us, and now, only Gabriel remains.
Imprisoned by the very monsters he vowed to destroy, the last silversaint is forced to tell his story. A story of legendary battles and forbidden love, of faith lost and friendships won, of the Wars of the Blood and the Forever King and the quest for humanity’s last remaining hope:
The Holy Grail.

★★★
3 out of 5 stars

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Review | Goodreads | Waterstones

The summer is winding down in San Diego. Veronica is bored, caustically charismatic, and uninspired in her photography. Nico is insatiable, subversive, and obsessed with chaotic performance art. They’re artists first, best friends second. But that was before Mick. Delicate, lonely, magnetic Mick: the perfect subject, and Veronica’s dream girl. The days are long and hot―full of adventure―and soon they are falling in love. Falling so hard, they never imagine what comes next. One fire. Two murders. Three drowning bodies. One suspect . . . one stalker. This is a summer they won’t survive.

★★★★
4 out of 5 stars

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Review | Goodreads | Waterstones

In a kingdom where sickness stalks the streets and only the richest can afford a cure, King Harristan and his brother Prince Corrick are forced to rule with an iron fist.
Tessa Cade is a masked outlaw marked for death, but she likes it that way. Together with the mysterious, handsome Weston, she robs from the rich to help the poor, distributing food and medicine to those who need it most.
As it becomes clear that the only way to save her people is to assassinate the King, Tessa must face a deadly mission that will take her to the dark heart of the kingdom . and force her to work with the very people she intended to destroy.

★★★
4.5 out of 5 stars

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Review | Goodreads | Waterstones

During an eventful season at Bath, young, naive Catherine Morland experiences the joys of fashionable society for the first time. She is delighted with her new acquaintances: flirtatious Isabella, who shares Catherine’s love of Gothic romance and horror, and sophisticated Henry and Eleanor Tilney, who invite her to their father’s mysterious house, Northanger Abbey. There, her imagination influenced by novels of sensation and intrigue, Catherine imagines terrible crimes committed by General Tilney. With its broad comedy and irrepressible heroine, this is the most youthful and and optimistic of Jane Austen’s works.

★★★★
4 out of 5 stars

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Review | Goodreads | Waterstones

Caroline Murphy is a Hurricane Child.
Being born during a hurricane is unlucky, and 12-year-old Caroline has had her share of bad luck lately. She’s hated and bullied by everyone in her small school on St. Thomas of the US Virgin Islands, a spirit only she can see won’t stop following her, and — worst of all — Caroline’s mother left home one day and never came back.
But when a new student named Kalinda arrives, Caroline’s luck begins to turn around. Kalinda, a solemn girl from Barbados with a special smile for everyone, becomes Caroline’s first and only friend — and the person for whom Caroline has begun to develop a crush.
Now, Caroline must find the strength to confront her feelings for Kalinda, brave the spirit stalking her through the islands, and face the reason her mother abandoned her. Together, Caroline and Kalinda must set out in a hurricane to find Caroline’s missing mother — before Caroline loses her forever.

★★★★
4 out of 5 stars

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Review | Goodreads | Waterstones

There’s one thing Jay Collier knows for sure—he’s a statistical anomaly as the only out gay kid in his small rural Washington town. While all this friends can’t stop talking about their heterosexual hookups and relationships, Jay can only dream of his own firsts, compiling a romance to-do list of all the things he hopes to one day experience—his Gay Agenda.
Then, against all odds, Jay’s family moves to Seattle and he starts his senior year at a new high school with a thriving LGBTQIA+ community. For the first time ever, Jay feels like he’s found where he truly belongs, where he can flirt with Very Sexy Boys and search for love. But as Jay begins crossing items off his list, he’ll soon be torn between his heart and his hormones, his old friends and his new ones…because after all, life and love don’t always go according to plan.

★★
2 out of 5 stars

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Review | Goodreads | Waterstones

Briseis has a gift: she can grow plants from tiny seeds to rich blooms with a single touch.
When Briseis’s aunt dies and wills her a dilapidated estate in rural New York, Bri and her parents decide to leave Brooklyn behind for the summer. Hopefully there, surrounded by plants and flowers, Bri will finally learn to control her gift. But their new home is sinister in ways they could never have imagined–it comes with a specific set of instructions, an old-school apothecary, and a walled garden filled with the deadliest botanicals in the world that can only be entered by those who share Bri’s unique family lineage.
When strangers begin to arrive on their doorstep, asking for tinctures and elixirs, Bri learns she has a surprising talent for creating them. One of the visitors is Marie, a mysterious young woman who Bri befriends, only to find that Marie is keeping dark secrets about the history of the estate and its surrounding community. There is more to Bri’s sudden inheritance than she could have imagined, and she is determined to uncover it . . . until a nefarious group comes after her in search of a rare and dangerous immortality elixir. Up against a centuries-old curse and the deadliest plant on earth, Bri must harness her gift to protect herself and her family.

★★★★
4 out of 5 stars

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Review | Goodreads | Waterstones

Evangeline Fox was raised in her beloved father’s curiosity shop, where she grew up on legends about immortals, like the tragic Prince of Hearts. She knows his powers are mythic, his kiss is worth dying for, and that bargains with him rarely end well.
But when Evangeline learns that the love of her life is about to marry another, she becomes desperate enough to offer the Prince of Hearts whatever he wants in exchange for his help to stop the wedding. The prince only asks for three kisses. But after Evangeline’s first promised kiss, she learns that the Prince of Hearts wants far more from her than she’s pledged. And he has plans for Evangeline that will either end in the greatest happily ever after, or the most exquisite tragedy…

★★★★★
4.5 out of 5 stars

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Review | Goodreads | Waterstones

Will the princess save the beast?
For Princess Jaya Rao, nothing is more important than family. When the loathsome Emerson clan steps up their centuries-old feud to target Jaya’s little sister, nothing will keep Jaya from exacting her revenge. Then Jaya finds out she’ll be attending the same elite boarding school as Grey Emerson, and it feels like the opportunity of a lifetime. She knows what she must do: Make Grey fall in love with her and break his heart. But much to Jaya’s annoyance, Grey’s brooding demeanor and lupine blue eyes have drawn her in. There’s simply no way she and her sworn enemy could find their fairy-tale ending…right?
His Lordship Grey Emerson is a misanthrope. Thanks to an ancient curse by a Rao matriarch, Grey knows he’s doomed once he turns eighteen. Sequestered away in the mountains at St. Rosetta’s International Academy, he’s lived an isolated existence—until Jaya Rao bursts into his life, but he can’t shake the feeling that she’s hiding something. Something that might just have to do with the rose-shaped ruby pendant around her neck…
As the stars conspire to keep them apart, Jaya and Grey grapple with questions of love, loyalty, and whether it’s possible to write your own happy ending.

★★★★★
4 out of 5 stars

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Review | Goodreads | Waterstones

The trials are over. WICKED is planning to restore the survivors’ memories and complete the final cure for the Flare.
But Thomas has already remembered more than they think. And he knows WICKED can’t be trusted.
The time for lies is over. But the truth is more dangerous than Thomas could ever imagine. Will anyone survive the Death Cure?

★★★
3 out of 5 stars

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Review | Goodreads | Waterstones

Yadriel has summoned a ghost, and now he can’t get rid of him.
When his traditional Latinx family has problems accepting his gender, Yadriel becomes determined to prove himself a real brujo. With the help of his cousin and best friend Maritza, he performs the ritual himself, and then sets out to find the ghost of his murdered cousin and set it free.
However, the ghost he summons is actually Julian Diaz, the school’s resident bad boy, and Julian is not about to go quietly into death. He’s determined to find out what happened and tie up some loose ends before he leaves. Left with no choice, Yadriel agrees to help Julian, so that they can both get what they want. But the longer Yadriel spends with Julian, the less he wants to let him leave.

★★★★★
4.5 out of 5 stars

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Review | Goodreads | Waterstones

The Carls disappeared the same way they appeared, in an instant. While they were on Earth, they caused confusion and destruction without ever lifting a finger. Well, that’s not exactly true. Part of their maelstrom was the sudden viral fame and untimely death of April May: a young woman who stumbled into Carl’s path, giving them their name, becoming their advocate, and putting herself in the middle of an avalanche of conspiracy theories.
Months later, the world is as confused as ever. Andy has picked up April’s mantle of fame, speaking at conferences and online about the world post-Carl; Maya, ravaged by grief, begins to follow a string of mysteries that she is convinced will lead her to April; and Miranda infiltrates a new scientific operation . . . one that might have repercussions beyond anyone’s comprehension.
As they each get further down their own paths, a series of clues arrive—mysterious books that seem to predict the future and control the actions of their readers; unexplained internet outages; and more—which seem to suggest April may be very much alive. In the midst of the gang’s possible reunion is a growing force, something that wants to capture our consciousness and even control our reality.

★★★★★
5 out of 5 stars

Although I had a few mixed reads, most of my thoughts were really positive and I read some new favourites. My favourite of the month was definitely A Beautifully Foolish Endeavor and my least favourite has to be Jay’s Gay Agenda.

What did you read in September?

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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Review: A Beautifully Foolish Endeavor (#2) by Hank Green

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Goodreads | Waterstones

The Carls disappeared the same way they appeared, in an instant. While they were on Earth, they caused confusion and destruction without ever lifting a finger. Well, that’s not exactly true. Part of their maelstrom was the sudden viral fame and untimely death of April May: a young woman who stumbled into Carl’s path, giving them their name, becoming their advocate, and putting herself in the middle of an avalanche of conspiracy theories.
Months later, the world is as confused as ever. Andy has picked up April’s mantle of fame, speaking at conferences and online about the world post-Carl; Maya, ravaged by grief, begins to follow a string of mysteries that she is convinced will lead her to April; and Miranda infiltrates a new scientific operation . . . one that might have repercussions beyond anyone’s comprehension.
As they each get further down their own paths, a series of clues arrive—mysterious books that seem to predict the future and control the actions of their readers; unexplained internet outages; and more—which seem to suggest April may be very much alive. In the midst of the gang’s possible reunion is a growing force, something that wants to capture our consciousness and even control our reality.

I was a little concerned this second book wouldn’t live up to the first one. I read An Absolutely Remarkable Thing earlier this year and I absolutely fell in love with it and read it in one afternoon. However, I went into the first book with little to no expectation, and had much higher expectations. But as soon as I picked up this one I knew I was going to just fall in love with it. The narrative is so, so unique and I don’t think I will ever find a series quite like this one.

I had no idea where this series would go, but I love where we ended up. This is told from quite a few different points of view, but it really worked. I feel like multiple POV is hard to get right when there is more than just two, but this one got it just right. The chapters were quite short and I really didn’t want to put this one down. I constantly wanted to get to the next chapter and find out what was happening in different parts of the story.

You will always struggle with not feeling productive until you accept that your own joy can be something you produce.

I loved reading about these characters, who aren’t entirely likeable as such but I feel like these books really feel like you are inside their heads and relate very closely to them. Because the characters felt so familiar from the first book, I very smoothly dived into this one even though it’s been 6 months since I read the first book.

Without giving too much away about the plot, these books are kind of sci-fi contemporary, which makes it super intriguing and easy to read. This book follows the characters trying to find out more information about what happened to April-May at the end of book one, and also so much more. There are so many levels to these books and I found each of them easy to follow but equally intriguing.

It is not the only thing you will make, nor should it be, but it is something valuable and beautiful.

Overall, this series is just incredible and I couldn’t not rate this one 5 stars. I absolutely loved both books and I’m so glad I carried on with this series!

★★★★★
5 out of 5 stars

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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Review: Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas

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Goodreads | Waterstones

Yadriel has summoned a ghost, and now he can’t get rid of him.
When his traditional Latinx family has problems accepting his gender, Yadriel becomes determined to prove himself a real brujo. With the help of his cousin and best friend Maritza, he performs the ritual himself, and then sets out to find the ghost of his murdered cousin and set it free.
However, the ghost he summons is actually Julian Diaz, the school’s resident bad boy, and Julian is not about to go quietly into death. He’s determined to find out what happened and tie up some loose ends before he leaves. Left with no choice, Yadriel agrees to help Julian, so that they can both get what they want. But the longer Yadriel spends with Julian, the less he wants to let him leave. 

Ahh, this book was so good. I’m a bit late to the party with this one and I’ve already heard so much about it, as soon as I spotted a beautiful hardback I knew I wanted to pick it up. Even though I bought the hardback, I actually read this as an audiobook and I would highly recommend it – it was read by a trans, Latinx narrator and their passion really shone through in the narration. There is also an interview between the narrator and Aiden Thomas at the end of the audiobook, which I would highly recommend giving a listen if you have access!

This book follows Yadriel, who is a trans Latinx boy who wants to prove to his community that he is a real brujo by summoning the ghost of his cousin, Miguel. Instead, he summons the resident bad boy of the school, Julian, who doesn’t want to go quietly into death before finding out what happened to him.

No, it wasn’t the end. 

I loved the narration of this so much and I connected to the characters and the story almost instantly. Yadriel being trans gave such an interesting extra layer and depth to this story and I really loved how this wasn’t a coming-out story necessarily and was about a trans character in a fantasy genre with a completely different focus. Despite that, this book still includes some very important discussions about being trans and deadnaming.

I loved the entire concept of this book and it was such a perfect time of the year to read it! Reading about Latinx culture and particularly finding out more about Latinx folklore was so interesting and evoking. I loved the magic system, the food and the family/friendship/community aspects. The entirety of the world-building was so clever and vivid, really drawing me into the story. I loved it.

It was a better beginning.

My only tiny criticism of this book is that I found the plot a little predictable at times, but I still enjoyed the ride a lot and I’m so glad I picked this one up!

★★★★★
4.5 out of 5 stars

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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Stacking the Shelves #58

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 a little more controlled with my book buying this week, and actually 75% of the books I’m hauling today were very kindly gifted to me by publishers (and let me tell you, I am so excited for them)!

Bought

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Goodreads | Waterstones

The one book I did pick up this week was this beautiful sprayed edged Waterstones edition of The Last Graduate by Naomi Novik. I haven’t read the first one yet, and I do already have a proof of this one, but I wanted a hardback to match the first book properly!

Gifted

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Goodreads | Waterstones

When a reaper comes to collect Wallace Price from his own funeral, Wallace suspects he really might be dead.
Instead of leading him directly to the afterlife, the reaper takes him to a small village. On the outskirts, off the path through the woods, tucked between mountains, is a particular tea shop, run by a man named Hugo. Hugo is the tea shop’s owner to locals and the ferryman to souls who need to cross over.
But Wallace isn’t ready to abandon the life he barely lived. With Hugo’s help he finally starts to learn about all the things he missed in life.
When the Manager, a curious and powerful being, arrives at the tea shop and gives Wallace one week to cross over, Wallace sets about living a lifetime in seven days.

This is definitely the proof I’m most excited for and can’t wait to dive into! The House in the Cerulean Sea is my favourite book of the year so far and I feel so honoured to have a copy of this one. Thank you so much to Tor for this beautiful book!

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Goodreads | Waterstones

I read the first book in this series after having a copy from the publishers, so thank you once again for sending this to me, Simon & Schuster!

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Goodreads | Waterstones

Ivy, Mateo, and Cal used to be close. Back in middle school they were best friends. So, when Cal pulls into campus late for class, and runs into Ivy and Mateo, it seems like the perfect opportunity to turn a bad day around. They’ll ditch school and go into the city. Just the three of them, like old times. Why did they stop hanging out, anyway?
As soon as they pull out of the parking lot Cal knows why. Ivy’s already freaking out about missing class, and heartthrob Mateo is asleep in the backseat, too cool to even pretend like he wants to be there. The truth is they have nothing in common anymore.
At least they don’t until they run into the fourth student ditching school that day. Brian “Boney” Mahoney is supposed to be accepting his newly won office of class president. Which is why Ivy follows him into an empty building, only to walk into the middle of a murder scene. Cal, Ivy, and Mateo all know the person lying on the ground of that building, and now they need to come clean. They’re all hiding something. And maybe their chance reconnection wasn’t by chance after all.

Although this is not the only Karen M McManus proof I own, it is the first one I’ve been sent by the publisher. I really like her books so I’m very honoured to have received a proof, thank you Penguin!

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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Goodreads | Waterstones

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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Goodreads | Waterstones

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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Review: The Death Cure (#3) by James Dashner

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The trials are over. WICKED is planning to restore the survivors’ memories and complete the final cure for the Flare.
But Thomas has already remembered more than they think. And he knows WICKED can’t be trusted.
The time for lies is over. But the truth is more dangerous than Thomas could ever imagine. Will anyone survive the Death Cure?

It’s been almost ten years since this book came out and I finally finished this book and the original trilogy! It’s taken me long enough.

I have to say, this series has been gradually getting worse with each book if I’m honest. I actually liked the first one a lot more than I expected, The Scorch Trials was a little bit of a disappointment, and this one was definitely my least favourite one.

Minho looked at Thomas, a serious expression on his face. “If I don’t see you on the other side,”

I just felt like the author didn’t know where to go with this book. Having read other reviews, there is definitely a lot more that could have been done and a lot of other places this book could have gone. In reality, I could have summed up this book in a couple of sentences. It felt a little all over the place and I never felt much connection to the characters. Considering how emotional this book should have been, I just kind of didn’t….care, or really relate to the characters at all.

However, I must say this was once again super easy to read and the writing was compelling enough for me to get through this in just a couple of days. Each one of these books has only taken me a couple of days to get through each time and I’m so glad I’ve finally finished the first three. I will be reading one of the prequels, The Kill Order because I own it, but I won’t be picking up The Fever Code I don’t think!

he said in a sappy voice, “remember that I love you.

Overall, this one was okay and I wouldn’t say I disliked it as such, but it was definitely the one I’ve been least impressed with while making my way through this series.

★★★
3 out of 5 stars

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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Review | Of Curses and Kisses (#1) by Sandhya Menon

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Will the princess save the beast?
For Princess Jaya Rao, nothing is more important than family. When the loathsome Emerson clan steps up their centuries-old feud to target Jaya’s little sister, nothing will keep Jaya from exacting her revenge. Then Jaya finds out she’ll be attending the same elite boarding school as Grey Emerson, and it feels like the opportunity of a lifetime. She knows what she must do: Make Grey fall in love with her and break his heart. But much to Jaya’s annoyance, Grey’s brooding demeanor and lupine blue eyes have drawn her in. There’s simply no way she and her sworn enemy could find their fairy-tale ending…right?
His Lordship Grey Emerson is a misanthrope. Thanks to an ancient curse by a Rao matriarch, Grey knows he’s doomed once he turns eighteen. Sequestered away in the mountains at St. Rosetta’s International Academy, he’s lived an isolated existence—until Jaya Rao bursts into his life, but he can’t shake the feeling that she’s hiding something. Something that might just have to do with the rose-shaped ruby pendant around her neck…
As the stars conspire to keep them apart, Jaya and Grey grapple with questions of love, loyalty, and whether it’s possible to write your own happy ending.

I’m so glad I finally picked this up after having it on my TBR for a long time. Thank you to the Magical readathon for needing a book set in a school, as it made me finally be drawn to this one on my shelves! I read this one in a couple of days and I enjoyed it so much. It was such a fun ride and so entertaining.

This one really had Romeo and Juliet vibes and I couldn’t help but be drawn into the drama. We follow a Princess who wants to get revenge on a Lord and decides to try and break his heart, which initially I was a little worried about as I thought this would make me dislike the main character. However, I actually found them both more and more likable as the book went on and couldn’t help but falling for them.

Love? Does love make you feel ill, like you’re being tossed about on a stormy sea?

The plot was a little predictable at times but did leave me guessing and wanting to constantly read on. Even though some of the chapters felt quite long, I still only took a couple of days to read this as I felt like I was constantly being left on a cliffhanger. The writing was also so easy to digest and so easy to get through – I’ve only read a short story from Sandhya Menon before and I already knew I would love the writing.

I loved the mixture of fantasy and contemporary, and it’s something I’ve found out recently that I really love in books. The contemporary feeling made it so easy to read, but the fantasy idea gave a lot more depth to the story and made the plot slightly more unpredictable. It also kind of felt like a classic fairytale, which I actually really enjoyed.

Does it steal your sleep and make you feel like your insides are on fire?

Although this one was a little cliche and predictable at times, I still really enjoyed reading it and it felt a little like a guilty pleasure! I think I might pick up the others in the series at some point.

★★★★★
4 out of 5 stars

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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