January Wrap-Up

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

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Review | Goodreads | Waterstones

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

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

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Review | Goodreads | Waterstones

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

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

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Review | Goodreads

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

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

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

What did you read in January?

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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Let's Discuss! Favourite Books of 2019

Hello everybody! I’m here today with a post I always find hard to write – my favourite books of last year. I hate the question ‘what is your favourite book’, because I never feel I can choose! But I’m forcing myself to do a top 5 countdown today for you, to challenge myself on actually choosing.

5.

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Review | Goodreads | Waterstones

Amid the chaos of war, the Shadowhunters must decide to fight with the vampires, werewolves and other Downworlders – or against them. Meanwhile, Jace and Clary have their own decision to make: should they pursue the love they know is a mortal sin?

I had to choose a Cassandra Clare book to include in this list, and City of Glass was my favourite in The Mortal Instruments series. But still, no other Cassandra Clare book beats Clockwork Princess for me!

4.

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Review | Goodreads | Waterstones

Sixteen-year-old Starr lives in two worlds: the poor neighbourhood where she was born and raised and her posh high school in the suburbs. The uneasy balance between them is shattered when Starr is the only witness to the fatal shooting of her unarmed best friend, Khalil, by a police officer. Now what Starr says could destroy her community. It could also get her killed. 

I was so late to the party reading The Hate U Give, but it astounded me all the same. It truly is an incredibly important book.

3.

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Review | Goodreads | Waterstones

In this richly developed fantasy, Lei is a member of the Paper caste, the lowest and most persecuted class of people in Ikhara. She lives in a remote village with her father, where the decade-old trauma of watching her mother snatched by royal guards for an unknown fate still haunts her. Now, the guards are back and this time it’s Lei they’re after — the girl with the golden eyes whose rumored beauty has piqued the king’s interest.
Over weeks of training in the opulent but oppressive palace, Lei and eight other girls learns the skills and charm that befit a king’s consort. There, she does the unthinkable — she falls in love. Her forbidden romance becomes enmeshed with an explosive plot that threatens her world’s entire way of life. Lei, still the wide-eyed country girl at heart, must decide how far she’s willing to go for justice and revenge. 

I adored Girls of Paper and Fire so much! It was such a beautiful read that meant so much to me, but unfortunately I didn’t enjoy the second book as much.

2.

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Review | Goodreads | Waterstones

Amelie loved Reese. And she thought he loved her. But she’s starting to realise love isn’t supposed to hurt like this. So now she’s retracing their story and untangling what happened by revisiting all the places he made her cry.
Because if she works out what went wrong, perhaps she can finally learn to get over him.

This book came at a time in my life that it couldn’t have helped me more. It was such an emotional read for me and made me realise a lot. But it didn’t quite nab top spot!

1.

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Review | Goodreads | Waterstones

Zachary Ezra Rawlins is a graduate student in Vermont when he discovers a strange book hidden in the library stacks. As he turns the pages, entranced by tales of lovelorn prisoners, key collectors, and nameless acolytes, he reads something strange: a story from his own childhood. Bewildered by this inexplicable book and desperate to make sense of how his own life came to be recorded, Zachary uncovers a series of clues – a bee, a key and a sword – that lead him to a masquerade party in New York, to a secret club, and through a doorway to a subterranean library, hidden far below the surface of the earth.
What Zachary finds in this curious place is more than just a buried home for books and their guardians – it is a place of lost cities and seas, lovers who pass notes under doors and across time, and of stories whispered by the dead. Zachary learns of those who have sacrificed much to protect this realm, relinquishing their sight and their tongues to preserve this archive, and also those who are intent on its destruction. Together with Mirabel, a fierce, pink-haired protector of the place, and Dorian, a handsome barefoot man with shifting alliances, Zachary travels the twisting tunnels, darkened stairwells, crowded ballrooms, and sweetly-soaked shores of this magical world, discovering his purpose – in both the mysterious book and in his own life
.

I feel like I’m cheating calling my last read of the year my favourite, but a month on and it still means so much to me. I absolutely adored The Starless Sea and it was such a desert island book. I couldn’t help but give it my number 1.

Which was your favourite read of 2019?

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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Stacking the Shelves #1

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’m back with a brand new series of Stacking the Shelves posts. I’m trying really hard to control my book-buying in 2020, but working in a bookshop makes it so much harder! I’m proud of myself for only having actually bought one book so far this year, though.

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Goodreads | Waterstones

Rosemary has lived in Brixton all her life, but everything she knows is changing. Only the local lido, where she swims every day, remains a constant reminder of the past and her beloved husband George. Kate has just moved and feels adrift in a city that is too big for her. She’s on the bottom rung of her career as a local journalist, and is determined to make something of it.
So when the lido is threatened with closure, Kate knows this story could be her chance to shine. But for Rosemary, it could be the end of everything. Together they are determined to make a stand, and to prove that the pool is more than just a place to swim – it is the heart of the community.

I guess I’ve always been a wild swimmer in one sense or another, and as I’ve grown up I’ve started swimming in rivers and lakes as well as the sea! I’ve been eyeing up this book for a while, so I finally decided to pick it up.

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Goodreads | Waterstones

Welcome to the café that never sleeps. Day and night Stella’s Café opens its doors for the lonely and the lost, the morning people and the night owls. It is many things to many people but most of all it is a place where life can wait at the door. A place of small kindnesses. A place where anyone can be whoever they want, where everyone is always welcome.
Meet Hannah and Mona: best friends, waitresses, dreamers. They work at Stella’s but they dream of more, of leaving the café behind and making their own way in life.
Come inside and spend twenty-four hours at Stella’s Café; a day when Hannah and Mona’s friendship will be tested, when the community will come together and when lives will be changed…

And here comes the danger of working in a bookshop – we get so many proofs! And this one came in a couple of days before I picked up The Lido, so I thought why not just pick both up.

My only hope is that I don’t build on my TBR this year, and buy less than I read! Wish me luck.

Did you buy any books this week?

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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Let's Discuss! Visiting Harry Potter Studios

Hi all! This week I had the chance to visit the Warner Bros Harry Potter Studio tour again. I visited last year in the Hogwarts in the Snow feature and decided to go again this year for the same feature with my boyfriend and group of friends.

We all noticed the entrance has changed around quite a lot in the past year, with a dragon now hanging from the ceiling and a super cute cafe with a roof shaped like a chocolate frog box!

I love how the Great Hall is dressed for the Yule Ball during the Hogwarts in the snow feature. The Christmas trees look amazing and of course the dinner looks delicious too. Something we noticed this year is how each part of the tables have Christmas crackers for each house!

It was lovely to wander around the rest of the sets. I’ve always adored Dumbledore’s office, so ended up spending a while in there.

Possibly the most exciting thing about our visit was the new feature none of us had seen – Gringotts! It was truly outstanding, especially the part in the top right which I won’t spoil for everybody but was worth taking a video of.

You now enter Diagon Alley through Gringotts, which was so cool but makes Diagon Alley look so small in comparison. It was still so lovely to see though!

Last but not least, we got to see the castle again. I cried the first time I saw this, but I wasn’t expecting to be so emotional this time. However, I still had a few tears in my eyes as it’s just so impressive!

It was so lovely to visit this wonderful and enchanting place again with amazing people who love Harry Potter as much as I do! I even braved Aragog’s Lair this year!

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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Top 5 Series I Want to Read This Year

Hi all! Today I’m going to talk about the top 5 series on my physical TBR I want to read this year. I have so many series on my TBR and some of them have been on my shelves for way too long. I figure if I can combat some of these soon I can get my physical TBR down a bit!

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Goodreads | Waterstones

What if all the crushes you ever had found out how you felt about them…all at once?
Sixteen-year-old Lara Jean Song keeps her love letters in a hatbox her mother gave her. They aren’t love letters that anyone else wrote for her; these are ones she’s written. One for every boy she’s ever loved—five in all. When she writes, she pours out her heart and soul and says all the things she would never say in real life, because her letters are for her eyes only. Until the day her secret letters are mailed, and suddenly, Lara Jean’s love life goes from imaginary to out of control. 

I’ve read To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before a while ago, but didn’t carry on with the series. I’d like to re-read the first book and continue with the series soon, especially with the second movie being released next month!

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Goodreads | Waterstones

Surrounded by enemies, the once-great nation of Ravka has been torn in two by the Shadow Fold, a swath of near impenetrable darkness crawling with monsters who feast on human flesh. Now its fate may rest on the shoulders of one lonely refugee.
Alina Starkov has never been good at anything. But when her regiment is attacked on the Fold and her best friend is brutally injured, Alina reveals a dormant power that saves his life—a power that could be the key to setting her war-ravaged country free. Wrenched from everything she knows, Alina is whisked away to the royal court to be trained as a member of the Grisha, the magical elite led by the mysterious Darkling.
Yet nothing in this lavish world is what it seems. With darkness looming and an entire kingdom depending on her untamed power, Alina will have to confront the secrets of the Grisha . . . and the secrets of her heart.

I’ve read Leigh Bardugo books the wrong way round in a lot of ways – reading Six of Crows before the Grisha trilogy. So this year I’d like to finally catch up and read the original series!

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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. 

I’ve had these books for a while after picking them up second hand and some of them are even signed! I know I’ll get through them super quickly once I pick them up, I just need to delve in.

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Goodreads | Waterstones

When the lift cranks open, the only thing Thomas remembers is his first name. But he’s not alone – an army of boys welcomes him to the Glade, an encampment at the centre of a terrible maze. The Gladers have no idea why they’re there, or what’s happened to the world outside. All they know is that every morning when the walls slide back, they will risk everything to find out.

I’ve had this series since before the movie came out (or rather, it’s been in my house owned by somebody or another). I definitely need to finally force myself to get to it.

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Goodreads | Waterstones

Mara Dyer doesn’t think life can get any stranger than waking up in a hospital with no memory of how she got there.
It can.
She believes there must be more to the accident she can’t remember that killed her friends and left her mysteriously unharmed.
There is.
She doesn’t believe that after everything she’s been through, she can fall in love.
She’s wrong
.

I picked up this series second hand quite a while ago too and it’s still hanging around – I’m hoping to actually get to it in 2020.

Who knows whether I’ll read all of these within the year, but I’m going to try my best!

Which series do you want to read in 2020?

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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Let's Discuss! 2019 Reading Wrap-Up

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

How many books did I read?

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

What were the shortest and longest books I read?

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

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

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

Which books did I read?

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

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

What was your reading journey of 2019?

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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Let's Discuss! Little Women Adaptation

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I wasn’t going to write a review or any kind of post for this movie, due to the pure fact I have never read the book. But after my third viewing of it in cinema, I knew I couldn’t resist any longer. I have to talk about my admiration for this cinematic masterpiece.

This film is just absolutely beautiful in every way. The scenery is superb. The lighting is lovely. The girls have my heart. I saw some of myself in each one of them, and I think that’s what makes this story so special. Jo’s spark, soul and courageous wit is who I think we all aspire to be. Beth’s caring nature is who I hope I am every day. Meg’s love for her family and John shines through, and I know in my heart I am and will be like her in many ways. Amy’s lust for life and raucous, somewhat unsettled character touched my heart. And although I could go on, I will finish on marmee, who I relate to on so many levels, but especially the ‘I bake scones at midnight and don’t mind the mess, we don’t’.

The energy in this film is electric, and I fell in love with the chaotic scenes between the girls. I often felt like Laurie, looking in on the family with adoration and wonder. He seemed to be almost yearning to be part of it all, to have the unrequited love that only occurs between family.

Everything seemed to fit seamlessly together – the costumes, sets and score are just a few aspects that come to mind that offer layer upon layer. The acting is superb, and specific scenes (Jo’s powerful and emotional speech in the attic to her mother comes to mind immediately (below)), I know will stay with me. Some of the beautifully poetic lines brought tears to my eyes even on the third watch.

“I just feel like women….they have minds and they have souls as well as just hearts. And they’ve got ambition and they’ve got talent as well as just beauty. And I’m so sick of people saying that, that love is just all a woman is fit for. I’m so sick of it. But I’m – I’m so lonely.”

Jo March, Little Women

I can only describe Little Women as an absolute delight and achingly beautiful. Coming out of the first screening with my boyfriend on New Year’s Day, I immediately knew I wanted to see it again and again. I already am endlessly glad that I began the year on such a lovely note. I have since seen it with my mum and my best friend, and both the second and third screening were just as enjoyable as the first. I just know that this film will be a comfort for years to come, and the level of warmth it brought to me will not leave in a hurry.

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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