Challenger Deep by Neal Shusterman | The descend into the Challenger Deep!

Such a powerful novel about mental illness, «Challenger Deep» explores what’s it’s like to go through the period of life when your brain tricks you into believing that your delusions and hallucinations are actually real. Written in a way that allows you to understand Caden’s struggles on a deeper level, the story was rich with fantasy elements, that helped to bring the emotions forward.

I’m currently reading «The Toll», the third book in the Arc of Scythe trilogy by the same author, and I have to say that I prefer his writing in «Challenger Deep». It reads and flows much better for me. That is not to say that there is a big difference between the two, but somehow the writing style in his dystopian series doesn’t pull me in the same way.

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Week 1 | Classics: Persuasion by Jane Austen

In my August Monthly Goals post I mentioned that one of the things I wanted to do this month was to read Classics and Non-Fiction. I’m going to try and read at least 3 (maybe 4 – one for each week) and share my thoughts with you!

This is my second Austen book. Last year I read «Pride and Prejudice» and while it wasn’t my favorite classic of all time, I really enjoyed it. «Persuasion», however, had a very boring beginning, and my mind kept wandering away from the story. 

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Playing Nice by J.P. Delaney | A slow-burn suspense book!

«Playing Nice» is my second book by J.P. Delaney. Last year I found one of his books – «The Girl Before» at the local thrift bookshop. Surprisingly, I read it a few days after the purchase [which never happens!] and even though I wasn’t head over heels for it, I still enjoyed it.

When I saw that he was publishing a new book this year, I of course immediately requested it and was very lucky to get approved. That being said, «Playing Nice» didn’t blow my mind either. J.P. Delaney’s books seem to be a very quiet sort of mystery. There wasn’t anything particularly thrilling about it.  I didn’t stay up all night trying to finish this book. However, it was still entertaining in its own way.

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Every Little Piece of my Heart by Non Pratt | It’s been a while since I read a YA contemporary!

I’ve been doing a great job this year keeping up with popular new releases and trying books by new-to-me authors. In the last couple of weeks, I spoke about Silvia Moreno-Garcia and Elizabeth Acevedo, this week it will be all about Non Pratt. Probably next year I’ll need to adjust my goals a bit and read books by the authors I read before instead. 😀

To be honest, other than «Giant Days» which I learned about from Jadeyreads YouTube channel, I’ve never seen or heard about any of Non Pratt books before. Even though I wasn’t “wowed” by «Every Little Piece of My Heart», I definitely want to read some more of her books in the future.

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Traveling in time to Ancient Greece | The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

As I was reading «The Song of Achilles» I couldn’t help myself but compare this book to «Circe» also by Madeline Miller. Both of them follow a famous figure from Greek mythology, both a very heavy influenced by Ancient Greece, and both are told in a very beautiful way. While «The Song of Achilles» was a fairly quick read (in comparison to «Circe» which took me over a month), I feel like I will forget it just as quickly.

It might be due to the fact that this was an epic love story, or maybe because none of the characters in this book sparked love or even admiration in me. «Circe», on the other hand, is the book that will stay with me for a long time. I read it in July of last year and I still remember how it made me feel, I still think about it from time to time.

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The Unadoptables by Hanna Tooke | All elements I love about middle-grade in one book!

I’m obsessed with «The Unadoptables» by Hanna Tooke! It’s one of the best middle-grade books I’ve read in a long time. This book had it all – adventure, friendship, family, high stakes, endearing main characters, and incredible story-telling. 

Currently, it’s not marked as part of a series on Goodreads, but I would love to read more about the main group of friends. I definitely can see the potential for at least 4 more books. This one was focused on Milou’s story, but we still have Lotta, Egg, Fenna, and Sem’s backgrounds to discover.

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Traveling to Egypt | The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

When I was in high school I discovered one of Paulo Coelho books that took me on a trip through his stories and I literally became obsesses with «Veronica Decides to Die». I lost count of how many times I read that book. Looking back at it, I wonder if I was too young to read his novels, as they always made me feel almost hypnotized by his words and the powerful messages he sends through his work. 

After many intense years of constantly re-reading the couple of Paulo Coelho books I owned, I finally decided to take a break from them, and haven’t read anything by him until now.

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The Shadow Friend by Alex North | An interesting thriller but not as captivating as I wanted it to be!

Ever since the release of «The Whisper Man» by Alex North last year, I’ve been very excited to read his debut thriller. Especially because it received so much positive feedback (and the cover definitely caught my attention). 

Guess what. I still haven’t read «The Whisper Man» but I was very lucky to get the ARC of Alex North’s new release – «The Shadow Friend» (or «The Shadow» as it’s called in the US). I’m so happy that I finally got to read at least one Alex North books!

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Visiting Spain | With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo.

«With the Fire on High» was my first Elizabeth Acevedo book and now I understand why there has been so much hype around her books. The writing is beautiful, flaws seamlessly, which made the whole reading experience an absolute pleasure from the beginning till the end.

This is one of those “unputdownable” books that will make you addicted to the story and the characters from the very first pages.

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One to Watch by Kate Stayman-London | Great representation but poorly handled romantic relationships!

I wish I could say that I loved «One to Watch» by Kate Stayman-London… Sadly, it fell really flat for me. Maybe I should have known better and stayed away from a book inspired by the Bachelor TV show, which I’m not a big fan of. As much as I wanted to like Bea, the main character, her somewhat dubious behavior, and poorly handled relationships in the reality show context left a bad aftertaste. 

Now, don’t get me wrong! It wasn’t a total miss for me, and in fact, there were certain things that I liked a lot – for example, the plus-size women representation, the introduction of the asexual character, the lesbian friend (who was very smart about all the relationships I must say) and also seeing a fashion blogger who is not a standard 90-60-90. These were all great. But it definitely didn’t live up to my expectations.

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Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia | A true horror story that will make your heart beat faster!

Emer! Thank you so much for reviewing this book and for making me so curious about it! I honestly don’t think that I would have picked it up if it wouldn’t be because of your review. 

That being said, I didn’t quite like it as much as Emer did [make sure to read her review as well!] but I definitely enjoyed the suspense and horror bits Silvia-Moreno Garcia included in «Mexican Gothic». I think I’ve only read 1 or 2 gothic-ish books before, so this one was definitely a lot of fun.

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The Girl from Widow Hills by Megan Miranda | The perfect book to read in one sitting and preferably with lights on!

Apparently, the word “thrilling” means causing excitement and pleasure. I can agree with excitement, but pleasure? When I think thrilling, I imagine stories that make my heart beat faster, slightly spooky, maybe a little bit creepy, with a lot of unpredicted plot twists! And that’s exactly what «The Girl from Widow Hills» was like. 

It’s been a very long time since I’ve read a book until late at night, refusing to go to sleep because I needed to finish it and see the things finally unravel. This was my second Megan Miranda book and it took me completely off guard.

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Beach Read by Emily Henry | Witty, entertaining and absolutely swoon-worthy! ❤

Why don’t I read rom-coms more often? 

I’m so happy that I decided to listen to many glowing reviews of «Beach Read» and request it on NetGalley! Guys, if you haven’t read this book yet, make sure to pick it up this summer. It’s such a fast-paced and funny book, that will make you feel the whole spectrum of emotions. 

For a while now I have been avoiding romances and women’s fiction only because a couple of last books in these genres I read last year were nothing special, and after finishing them I always wished I’d spent my time reading something else instead. But «Beach Read» by Emily Henry is a must-read book for every book lover out there, even if romance is not your favorite genre. 

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The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett | The must-read book of this summer!

This book was phenomenal! It’s for a reason that many popular magazines and bookish media keep mentioning «The Vanishing Half» by Britt Bennett as one of the most-anticipated releases of this summer. I literally saw a dozen of 2020 summer reading lists with this book. 

It’s such an important book as well, especially with everything that is going on right now and the need that people feel to educate themselves on race and racial identity. I couldn’t be more grateful for the opportunity to read it and discuss it with all of you.

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The Paris Hours by Alex George | One day in Paris and four intertwined fates!

Happy Publication Day to «The Paris Hours» by Alex George!

In this new historical fiction, Alex George showed us the wondrous City of Love, Lights and Art, and four amazing stories that unwrap in a single day in Paris. If I’d need to describe this book in one word, the first one that comes to mind is “dreamy”. And while the story itself does not contain any sliver of magic, I was constantly in a dream-like state whenever I picked it up. 

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