The Once and Future Witches by Alix E. Harrow | Sadly, Alix E. Harrow’s writing style is not for me!

I think I have to admit defeat and NOT request any future books written by Alix E. Harrow. As much as I want to love her books, and as much as I love the concepts, ideas, characters she creates, the writing style ruins everything for me. Which is so frustrating! 

It would be understandable if I wasn’t a fan of lyrical writing, but I am! In my reviews of The Bear and the Nightingale series by Katherine Arden (which is the BEST series ever!), many people mentioned how beautiful and lyrical her writing was but they couldn’t get engaged in the story, mostly because of the writing. Apparently, I have the same issue with Alix E. Harrow…

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Small Spaces (Small Spaces #1) by Katherine Arden | “At nightfall they’ll come for the rest of you.”

I became a big fan of Katherine Arden’s work after falling in love with the Winternight Trilogy, especially with the first installment «The Bear and the Nightingale». She released her first middle-grade book – «Small Spaces» in 2018 and I’ve been trying to get my hands on it ever since. 

What I didn’t know going into this book, but was pleasantly surprised by, was that this is going to be a four-book series! With each book representing one season. «Small Spaces» focuses on autumn, it’s set in October and is filled with scarecrows. I assure you, you won’t look the same at scarecrows after reading this.

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The Castle of Tangled Magic by Sophie Anderson | Magic, adventure & Russian folklore!

What an interesting month! It’s the 19th of September as I’m writing this review and only yesterday I finished my second book of this month. Hooray! 🤯 That’s why I love adding books to Goodreads as soon as I start reading them so I can see for myself how long it takes me to finish them. And oh my, I started «The Castle of Tangled Magic» on the 8th! 

Ten days to finish a middle-grade book that could be read in a couple of hours!

I won’t be blaming this all on the book, as September has been very busy and I just didn’t read for the most part of it. But at the same time, if the book was a little bit more engaging, I wonder if I would have made the time for it. Hm…

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Majesty (American Royals, #2) by Katharine McGee | A very good conclusion to the duology!

This is not my usual type of book, but OMG… it was just as addictive as the first installment! «Majesty» picks up right after the events of the first book, «American Royals», which I read and reviewed last year. If you haven’t read it, I wouldn’t recommend reading this review. Even though I’ll try to keep it as spoiler-free as possible, the blurb for the second book does give away a lot of things that happen in the first one.

I mentioned in my review of the first book that reading this story reminded me a lot of my favorite TV shows – «Gossip Girl» and «The Royals». There was just enough drama to keep me flipping pages as fast as possible without being overly-exhausting to read.

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Home Before Dark by Riley Sager | Should I read more books by Riley Sager?

Will I ever become a Riley Sager fan?

Last year I read my first Riley Sager book – «Lock Every Door» and, to be honest, I wasn’t impressed. The thriller genre is very competitive. There are so many incredible writers whose books I love and who never fail to surprise me with the crazy twists. So far I can’t say the same about Riley Sager. 

Someone who is new to the mystery / thriller genre will appreciate his books much more than I have, and will probably be surprised by the twists and turns.

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Just Like You by Nick Hornby | Literary fiction, romance or social commentary?

Nick Hornby is one of those authors I always wanted to read more. Right after finishing «About a Boy» and «Slam» almost 10 years ago I intended to read his other books, but never got around to picking them up. Seeing his new novel on NetGalley, «Just Like You», made me incredibly happy! Not only because I knew I was going to enjoy the prose, but also because “tender but also brutally funny” sounded exactly like something I’d love!

I need to warn you though that this blurb is very misleading. On one hand, it does capture the bare bones of the story, but on the other hand, it makes you believe things that are not actually in the book. It made me wonder if I would have noticed that the main characters had “nothing in common” without reading the blurb.🤷‍♀️

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To Sleep in a Sea of Stars by Christopher Paolini | Part 1 & all the reasons why I want to read this book!

What a journey! I’ve never read the Inheritance Cycle series by Christopher Paolini, although I did hear about it quite a lot, as I’m sure most of you did. «To Sleep in a Sea of Stars» is his new Sci-Fi and essentially a “come-back”, as it’s the first one he publishes in almost 10 years! [The last book of the Inheritance Cycle was published in 2011!]

Even though I have no point of reference to his previous works, I still wanted to be part of the hype and see what this new Sci-Fi is all about. And let me tell you, Christopher Paolini delivered an incredible, well-planned, and emotional science fiction novel!

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The Ten Riddles of Eartha Quicksmith by Loris Owen | A Scientific magical school & tons of adventures!

I LOVE MIDDLE GRADE! 😀 Every single time I pick up a middle-grade book, it makes me feel so content, happy, cozy. Basically, everything you want to feel while reading a good book. Middle-grade is the only genre that will ALWAYS accomplish that for me.

I’ve been checking my excel spreadsheet recently (because Goodreads is not enough) and I noticed that this year I read at least one MG book every month. Seeing this makes me very happy. As one of my goals, every single year is to read for fun. With constant blog posts, ARCs, reviews, new releases, and the need to stay relevant, I tend to forget to pick up books outside of popular YA or Adult books.

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The Bone Shard Daughter by Andrea Stewart | A fantastic beginning to a new epic series!

Whenever I start slowing my reading pace and prioritizing other tasks over reading, I really should remind myself how truly great books make me feel. Picking up «The Bone Shard Daughter», while slumping through the other two books, felt like a breath of fresh air. I didn’t know what to expect from Andrea Stewart, but I can say that I was very pleasantly surprised by how quickly it drew me into the story and how incredible each Point of View was!

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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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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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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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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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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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