Review: Insurgent (#2) by Veronica Roth

18713356. sy475

Goodreads | Waterstones

Tris Prior’s initiation day should have been marked by victorious celebrations with her chosen faction; instead it ended with unspeakable horrors. Now unrest surges in the factions around her as conflict between their ideologies grows. War seems inevitable; and in times of war sides must be chosen, secrets will emerge and choices will become ever more irrevocable. Tris has already paid a terrible price for survival and is wracked by haunting grief and guilt. But radical new discoveries and shifting relationships mean that she must fully embrace her Divergence – even though she cannot know what might be lost in doing so. 

Unfortunately, this book really fell flat for me. Luckily, I think I’ve only watched the movie once (looking back, I’ve probably watched Divergent more than once and that’s why it was so fresh in my mind), so it didn’t feel like such a re-read for me and I could see it with fresher eyes.

But Insurgent made me realise why everyone found Tris really annoying back when everyone was reading this series. It had serious second-book syndrome for me. I rarely find narrators I find as annoying as I’m finding Tris right now – she just cannot make a good decision. She spent this entire book pushing everybody away and taking childish, uncalculated risks that turned into mistakes. And I just couldn’t even bring myself to sympathise with her.

Cruelty does not make a person dishonest,

The plot fell flat too and just didn’t have the same kind of excitement for me as book one. I still got through it in a couple of days, but it felt slow and like not much happened for long stretches of time. I found the start of the book okay, the middle a slog, and then the last 30 pages or so finally ramped up, but by that point it was way too late.

Tris and Tobias feel like completely different people and I really did not enjoy reading about their relationship. This whole book is a back and forth about them doing stupid things and then forgiving each other with one kiss. I cannot take their sucky communication skills. They never seem to talk about anything and their relationship is unrealistic. I hope it takes a backseat again in Allegiant as it did in Divergent.

the same way bravery does not make a person kind.

Overall, this was not great. I still found it okay, and it was fun in parts. There are still glimmers of what I enjoyed about Divergent, and I’m hoping the third book picks up!


★★★

3 out of 5 stars

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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

www.etsy.com/uk/shop/thebooksareverywhere

Stacking the Shelves #31

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 received a proof this week through work that I requested a while ago and I’m really excited about. My lovely friend Charlotte has been reading some fiction about Ancient Greek myths and has made me intrigued too, so I knew I had to check this one out!

51135393. sy475

Goodreads | Waterstones

Stories of gods and monsters are the mainstay of epic poetry and Greek tragedy, from Homer to Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripides, from the Trojan War to Jason and the Argonauts. And still, today, a wealth of novels, plays and films draw their inspiration from stories first told almost three thousand years ago. But modern tellers of Greek myth have usually been men, and have routinely shown little interest in telling women’s stories. And when they do, those women are often painted as monstrous, vengeful or just plain evil. But Pandora – the first woman, who according to legend unloosed chaos upon the world – was not a villain, and even Medea and Phaedra have more nuanced stories than generations of retellings might indicate.
Now, in Pandora’s Jar, Natalie Haynes – broadcaster, writer and passionate classicist – redresses this imbalance. Taking Pandora and her jar (the box came later) as the starting point, she puts the women of the Greek myths on equal footing with the menfolk. After millennia of stories telling of gods and men, be they Zeus or Agamemnon, Paris or Odysseus, Oedipus or Jason, the voices that sing from these pages are those of Hera, Athena and Artemis, and of Clytemnestra, Jocasta, Eurydice and Penelope.

What have you bought recently?

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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

www.etsy.com/uk/shop/thebooksareverywhere

Review: Boy Queen by George Lester

49109726. sy475

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 every bit as fabulous as I expected it to be. Boy Queen follows Robin, who is struggling with knowing what to do when he gets turned down from his dream drama school. Surrounded by his friends, he ends up exploring the world of drag, and blimey it is a ride.

Look, I don’t know much about drag. I watched a bit of Drag Race yearssss ago, and I don’t remember much about it. But this book feels like a staple for those who love drag, and those who only know a little about it. As Robin is only just being introduced to the wonderful world of drag himself, I was very much along for the ride, and what a ride it was.

I absolutely adored the characters. Robin’s mum was my favourite. She was smart, she was sassy, and she loved Robin more than anything in the world. I loved every line she came out with, and the relationship between Robin and his mum was so heartwarming. The book never talks about why Robin and his mum live alone, and I actually really liked that. I’ve found a couple of books recently that don’t discuss single parent relationships in too much depth, and I find it really strong and a great thing to normalise. Not that it’s not important, it just wasn’t the story Boy Queen was here to tell, and that’s okay.

Robin was surrounded by a lovely, diverse group of friends who stand up for him when it really matters. They have their differences, which feels real and is done really well, but they also stick together. And Robin himself, the fabulous little drama queen he is, was a great protagonist to follow. He even made me properly laugh out loud in parts, which I find rarely happens with a book and I really appreciated!

I read this book in a couple of days, and although the pacing can be a little slow at times, it feels like an all-singing, all-dancing heart-warming pick me up. It was warm and fuzzy, but not without it’s family feuds, break ups and drama! What an absolutely sparkling YA debut! I can’t wait to see more from George Lester.

cw: homophobia, physical attack/abuse, homophobic slurs

★★★★
5 out of 5 stars

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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

www.etsy.com/uk/shop/thebooksareverywhere

Review: Wonderland by Juno Dawson

48822142. sy475

Goodreads | Waterstones

Alice lives in a world of stifling privilege and luxury – but none of it means anything when your own head plays tricks on your reality. When her troubled friend Bunny goes missing, Alice becomes obsessed with finding her. On the trail of her last movements, Alice discovers a mysterious invitation to ‘Wonderland’: the party to end all parties – three days of hedonistic excess to which only the elite are welcome.
Will she find Bunny there? Or is this really a case of finding herself? Because Alice has secrets of her own, and ruthless socialite queen Paisley Hart is determined to uncover them, whatever it takes.
Alice is all alone, miles from home and without her essential medication. She can trust no-one, least of all herself, and now she has a new enemy who wants her head…

Thank you to the publisher for my copy in exchange for an honest review!

I haven’t read any of Juno’s fiction before and I was super excited for this. It was really intriguing and sounded wacky. I heard Juno read aloud from it back in February/March and I was so drawn into it, I knew I had to pick it up. I’ve had my copy since release, as I was lucky enough to receive a proof! However, I have only just managed to pick it up as part of our non-binary November readathon. I wanted to mention that I haven’t read the other two books in the ‘series’, but as I understand these are standalones that have cameos in each one.

The concept of this book was amazing and I really loved the idea. It is a modern reinterpretation of Alice in Wonderland which follows Alice, who is a trans girl in a private school, and her friend Bunny, who is missing. The way this was written was incredible clever, with interwoven quotes and references to the story which I loved. The setting was a very exclusive party for the high class students of the school, called Wonderland. Alice managed to sneak into this following finding an invitation she found in Bunny’s locker. I loved the scenes travelling ‘down the rabbit hole’ to the party and the party itself. It was magical and reminded me of something out of Willy Wonka.

In fact, the setting was probably my favourite part. It felt fantastical and was, again, very clever. I also loved the discussion of gender and sexuality, with Alice discussing her own journey of being transgender and pansexual. She is very open about her body and sex-positive, and I feel like these discussions will be really important to some readers. I really felt for her and some of the things she had to go through felt exhausting.

But unfortunately, that’s where my love ended for this book. A lot of it actually felt quite problematic for me and I just felt slightly uncomfortable reading it. I personally didn’t enjoy the casual sex/sleeping around, as I just didn’t relate to it and how Alice felt. I also felt like the excessive drug use just wasn’t for me. I understand that because of the nature of Alice in Wonderland itself, it was kind of needed in terms of retelling the story, but it also didn’t sit right with me in terms of normalising a lot of this stuff for young people.

CW: Attempted date rape, bipolar episodes/hallucinations/ intrusive thoughts, suicide, drug use, casual sex.

★★★
3 out of 5 stars

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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

www.etsy.com/uk/shop/thebooksareverywhere

Stacking the Shelves #30

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!

I’ve definitely been receiving less books in the past few weeks which is good as maybe I can finally start to tackle my physical TBR before Christmas a bit, but I did receive one book this week that I thought I’d tell you about!

55379429. sx318

Goodreads | Waterstones

Following her father’s death, Jane North-Robinson and her mom move from sunny California to the dreary, dilapidated old house in Maine where her mother grew up. All they want is a fresh start, but behind North Manor’s doors lurks a history that leaves them feeling more alone…and more tormented.
As the cold New England autumn arrives, and Jane settles in to her new home, she finds solace in old books and memories of her dad. She steadily begins making new friends, but also faces bullying from the resident “bad seed,” struggling to tamp down her own worst nature in response. Jane’s mom also seems to be spiraling with the return of her childhood home, but she won’t reveal why. Then Jane discovers that the “storage room” her mom has kept locked isn’t for storage at all–it’s a little girl’s bedroom, left untouched for years and not quite as empty of inhabitants as it appears….
Is it grief? Mental illness? Or something more…horrid?

Blue decided to pass on their beautiful Owlcrate edition of Horrid, which caught my eye a couple of months ago. It might be a bit morbid, but I absolutely adore this cover! This copy is also signed and has beautiful artwork under the dust jacket.

What have you bought recently?

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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

www.etsy.com/uk/shop/thebooksareverywhere

Review: I Wish You All the Best by Mason Deaver

41473872

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.

Wow. I wish I could find the words to give this book the review it deserves, but I feel like I will never be able to. Becky Albertalli sums it up so well as quietly groundbreaking, and this is the perfect way to describe this novel. It will change people’s lives. It will rock people’s worlds. It will make you laugh and cry, but most importantly, it will educate.

At the start of this book, Ben comes out as non-binary to their parents, which they don’t react well to and therefore kick them out of the house. They then move in with their sister, who they haven’t spoken to in around 10 years. The thing that hit me the most about this book is that there is really nothing else out there quite like it. I’ve never felt so informed about what non-binary people have to go through just to be who they are. It honestly broke my heart over and over again, but also filled me with hope to see Ben surrounded by the people who love them the most.

“Whatever happens”—his grip tightens a little—“I wish you all the best, Benjamin De Backer.”

The characters in this book are just amazing. Ben went through so much and were treated so unfairly by their parents, and to see them slowly open up was just such a beautiful story to witness. Ben’s sister is such a great character, strong willed and always wanting what is best for Ben. Her husband, Thomas is also so loving and warm. Ben’s friends at school were such a great group and overall Ben was surrounded by such a diverse group of people. I love how good family relationships were reinforced among Ben’s friends families and their relationship with their sister and brother in law. It really balanced out the bad relationship Ben had with their parents and warmed my heart.

I also can’t write this review without mentioning how positive Ben’s relationship with their therapist was. She was such an amazing character and I love the conversations she had with Ben about informed consent, medication, and other important aspects of having therapy. Nothing was shied away in this book and everything was discussed.

He says it with a smile. “You deserve it.”

I wish I could tell you how much this book meant to me because I can really see how many lives it will change. It gave me goosebumps, made me cry, made me laugh, warmed my heart and broke it so many times. Again, I am going to leave you with the quote from Becky Albertalli, because she sums it up better than I ever could:

“Heartfelt, romantic and quietly groundbreaking. This book will save lives.”

★★★★
5 out of 5 stars

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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

www.etsy.com/uk/shop/thebooksareverywhere

Blog Tour + Review: The Silent Stars Go By by Sally Nicholls

52857330. sy475

Goodreads | Waterstones

Seventeen-year-old Margot Allan was a respectable vicar’s daughter and madly in love with her fiance Harry. But when Harry was reported Missing in Action from the Western Front, and Margot realised she was expecting his child, there was only one solution she and her family could think of in order to keep that respectability. She gave up James, her baby son, to be adopted by her parents and brought up as her younger brother.
Now two years later the whole family is gathering at the Vicarage for Christmas. It’s heartbreaking for Margot being so close to James but unable to tell him who he really is. But on top of that, Harry is also back in the village. Released from captivity in Germany and recuperated from illness, he’s come home and wants answers. Why has Margot seemingly broken off their engagement and not replied to his letters? Margot knows she owes him an explanation. But can she really tell him the truth about James? 

Thank you to Kaleidoscopic Tours and Anderson Press for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

I don’t usually pick up historical fiction but this one actually really intrigued me and I ended up almost requesting a copy through work. And then a beautiful parcel turned up on my doorstep, with a copy of this book, which also included parcels and envelopes to unwrap at certain pages. It was such a delightful thing to be a part of, thank you to everyone involved!

This book felt weirdly nostalgic, especially for having absolutely no reason to be nostalgic for 1919. It was nostalgic for that feeling of Christmas as a little kid, being excited for the Christmas tree and decorations and the sweets shop in the village. It was absolutely charming and utterly heartwarming.

I absolutely flew through this in just a couple of days, it’s a real page turner and the plot is so fast, I really enjoyed reading it. The book is set in the lead up to Christmas, and it has a real wintery, Christmassy feeling to it. My favourite thing about this book was probably how descriptive everything was, from the little interactions between Margot and her family, to the village at Christmas, to Christmas Day, to the grand New Years Ball at the end. It was all so beautifully written and absorbing.

Overall, this book was fairly simple and predictable. But it’s fun and charming and has just enough emotion to keep you engaged with Margot’s story. I quite enjoyed it and it definitely got me into the Christmas spirit!

★★★★
3.5 out of 5 stars

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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

www.etsy.com/uk/shop/thebooksareverywhere

Review: The Bone Witch (#1) by Rin Chupeco

34023990. sy475

Goodreads

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

This book follows Tea, a bone witch/necromancer, who has also brought back her brother from the dead. After finding this out, Tea travels to another land, with a mentor, to be taken to a school to become an asha. From what I understood, Asha are kind of like Geisha, in that they learn to perform for others, dance and sing, and are recognised by their outfits, which in this case is hua.

They also have heartglasses, which hang around their necks, and change colour with the emotion of the wearer. Silver heartglasses means you can draw runes and fight, as an asha (for women) or a soldier (for men). Heartglasses are also exchanged with the person you fall in love with, which can be dangerous as they are essentially a part of you.

Then perhaps we should carve a world one day where the strength lies in who you are

There was a lot I liked about this book, but I did feel mixed about it. For a start, I felt like I was being thrown into this story almost as if it was a sequel. The world feels very fantastical and for a good chunk of the book, I just felt a bit..lost. If you enjoy high fantasy, I think you’ll get on with this just fine and enjoy it. But for me, who has only recently gotten into fantasy, I still find it hard to wrap my head around some things and it felt like I was being plunged in at the deep end sometimes! I also couldn’t quite grasp who was telling the in-between chapters, even though I enjoyed them I have since learned it is also Tea, telling the same story but in the present, whereas the main narrative is Tea in the future, telling the tale.

All that aside, there are some really cool parts of this story. Once I got into it, I couldn’t put it down. The pacing isn’t exactly fast, but I didn’t want to put it down in the second half either. The writing is just beautiful, magical and weirdly comforting, and I really enjoyed reading about the world.

I also want to say I love how Rin discusses gender. Even in a regimented world in which there are two genders and they both have their roles, gender issues are discussed. The fact that Asha face criticism as females is not shied away from. The characters as a whole were great, and I really loved Tea’s mentor and some of the older Asha’s. Her relationship with her brother and friendship with Likh were also lovely to read about.

rather than in what they expect you to be.

Overall, I had mixed feelings about this but overall quite enjoyed reading it. This world has so much potential and I will definitely be carrying on with the series, now I have more understanding about how the world works I think I’ll really enjoy it!

★★★★
3.5 out of 5 stars

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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

www.etsy.com/uk/shop/thebooksareverywhere

Review: Radio Silence by Alice Oseman

40119231

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?

This was my last Alice Oseman novel and I had no idea that I would fall in love with it the way I did. I’ve heard mixed things about this and I was unsure how I would feel about it. Even the first hundred pages or so, I was unsure about it and how I would end up feeling about it by the end of the book.

And then I absolutely fell for it. Oseman has a way of writing that has this raw and beautiful honesty, like the characters are speaking directly to you. Like they are hiding nothing. And they are broken, and they are emotional, and they are real. I loved them for it.

I wonder- if nobody is listening to my voice,

This story follows Frances, the listener of a podcast, and Aled, the creator. It is about how they find each other in a time when they both need somebody to save them. It is about friendship, not romance, which felt so refreshing. I love how Oseman decided to write about a friendship and face it up front, even addressing it in the book (You probably think that Aled Last and I are going to fall in love or something. Since he is a boy and I am a girl. I just wanted to say—we don’t). It felt so amazing to have such a diverse cast of characters with different friendships and relationships, with no relationship being the focus of the story.

It dealt closely with sexuality in places, with one of the characters discussing demisexuality which I was surprised by and absolutely warmed my heart, identifying as demi myself. This book also dealt with emotional abuse and family issues, all the while showing an absolutely heart warming family in Frances and her mum that felt so incredibly well done. The diverse friendship group was amazing and supported each other through everything. I loved them.

The plot had just enough mystery in it that I never wanted to put it down, and I read this in less than 24 hours. I read some of it on audio, but at least half in physical format, and I couldn’t put it down. The podcast being woven into the story played into this, as I wanted to find out what happened in the Universe City world too.

am I making any sound at all?

It also discussed a lot of issues surrounding school and university, which as somebody who could be classed as a ‘school refuser’ at one point in my life, I related to and found it such an important conversation which I’m so glad Oseman faced head on. It was fascinating and encouraging to see a book that talked about healthy alternatives to higher education, and I loved it.

Overall, wow did this blow me away. I had no idea how much I would fall for it and that it would become my favourite Oseman book!

★★★★★
5 out of 5 stars

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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

www.etsy.com/uk/shop/thebooksareverywhere