Category: books and libraries

Tower Of Dawn Book Review

Author: Sarah J. Maas

Rating: 4.5/5

*check out my reviews for The Assassin’s Blade, Heir Of Fire, Queen Of Shadows and Empire Of Storms with these links*

If you had told me when I first started this series, “Hey, Beth! SJM is writing a 650 page book just about Chaol!”, I would have groaned and written it off. I hated Chaol with a passion, and so you can understand my hesitance around Tower Of Dawn even without knowing that I’m really not a die-hard ToG fan. HOWEVER, I adored this book so so so SO much! As in, it’s only my second to The Assassin’s Blade in this series. It was awesome.

Let get to the soppy bit first, shall we? So, I couldn’t walk for a couple of years due to a chronic ill health condition I have. It took me 9 months in bed and then 15 months of walking with a crutch to get me out of it – and here we have such a similar situation with Chaol. What makes it so emotional for me was that he used to feel so in control and courageous in the first couple of books, but in Tower Of Dawn he’s so vulnerable in himself. It’s so bloody relatable and, for anyone who doesn’t know whether to trust the disabled rep – it’s incredibly accurate. 

Right, now that that’s over with I wanna talk about the characters. As usual with SJM, I fell in love with each and every one! I love how they compliment and contrast each other, and seeing their relationships evolve was utterly stunning. 

Furthermore, I adored the southern continent! So much exploration of culture, which is fascinating especially in a fantasy novel. This world is so much bigger than I ever could have imagined, and I don’t want it to end.

The one teeny tiny issue I had was the weird description of Chaol’s healing process. That might just be me and ASD and not being able to visualise stuff that well, but it was a little too metaphorical for me.

Still, highly highly recommend to anyone – even those who, like me, hated Chaol beyond measure. You will learn to love him, I promise!

Day 7 Book Review

Author: Kerry Drewery

Rating: 3/5

*For synopsis and thoughts on the first book of the series check out my Cell 7 review here!*

Well, it was better than the first one. I always finish series and I wasn’t going to let the Cell 7 trilogy beat me – and to be honest I’m quite glad it didn’t. I liked the path that this book took the series in and I’m actually looking forward to reading the next one.

It certainly wasn’t perfect. The world is still a little shallow and 1-dimensional, the narration is still a little frustrating and the writing style is still a little… odd. Yeah, the writing still confuses me. It could be quite good if the script-like chapters were simply described instead of given in too-long stage directions and interrupted speech. But, it is. So it’ll have to do.

However, we have character development! Thank God. I loved watching the characters grow together – and apart – throughout the story as they all faced their own problems and fears. I both liked and disliked how broken the main character seemed. It definitely made her more real, but we spend a lot of time with her just breaking down so I’m not sure.

In conclusion, I think I’ll stick with it. But if you haven’t started it, this instalment isn’t quite enough reward for dragging yourself through the first one.

A Quiet Kind Of Thunder Book Review

Author: Sara Barnard

Rating: 4.5/5

I actually loved this book. With contemporary novels, especially YA, I often find them too cliché or too wooden – and I think this one is neither. Yes, it’s a little cheesy. But, in my opinion, it has enough actual content to make the cheesiness worthwhile.

What drew me to A Quiet Kind Of Thunder most was the representation: the narrator has severe social anxiety and is in the recovery process of selective mutism, and another main character is deaf. Now, I’m not deaf but I can speak for the severe social anxiety rep and I think it was portrayed pretty accurately. It was small things, like there was a whole page literally naming all the anxious thoughts that the main character had whilst just on a bus, that made me resonate with this book so much. Her thought process was so completely relatable and raw that I have to commend the author. Still on the mental health topic, this novel focusses on recovery, something that YA doesn’t seem to cover much, and I respect that a lot. This includes the family dynamic that’s explored throughout this book too, and how it’s not only mental health issues affect a family, but recovering from it too.

Following on from that, this novel defies the ‘girl meets boy and all is better now’ trope which I’m SO GLAD ABOUT. They have a good, healthy (in)dependence and, by the end of the novel, have complete understanding of each other and their strengths and weaknesses. That said, I love their relationship too – just pure awkward, teenage emotion that is clumsy and real.

The only thing I can’t comment on without more info is the deaf representation – so if anyone in the community have read this and have thoughts please let me know!

After reading this I now have an overwhelming urge to learn BSL, which I think is a good thing. 

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Beth Holland’s review of City of Ashes (The Mo…

Beth Holland’s review of City of Ashes (The Mortal Instruments, #2): undefined

Beth Holland’s review of The Son of Neptune (T…

Beth Holland’s review of The Son of Neptune (The Heroes of Olympus, #2):

Check out my Son Of Neptune review! All my other Rick Riordan reviews are on my master list here if you wanna read more of my thoughts on Percy Jackson and his universe – and let me know what you think of PJO too!

Simon Vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda Book Review

Author: Becky Albertalli

Rating: 5/5

Wow I’m having such a good reading month. Aaaanyway, holy crap I love this book! Another one I read in less than a day because I just couldn’t put it down. Simon is so loveable as a main character, and more importantly as a narrator. It’s so rare that actually like the main character/narrator of 1st person books, but Simon shows so much personality in the narration and I couldn’t get enough of it!

Okay, but I adore the other characters too! Leah is an absolute boss and I can’t wait for Leah On The Offbeat this year!! But, for some reason, I enjoyed any of Taylor’s appearances the most. Her character makes anyone think about the one person in school just like her – but you could tell that there was something more to her.

I liked how the story ended, but half of me was a bit mad about how little tact Simon has! I mean, it worked out for him in the end but it was a little infuriating.

Besides that tiny little peeve, I don’t have anything bad to say about this book – highly recommend and can’t wait to see the movie!

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The Death Cure Book Review


Author: James Dashner

Rating: I don’t even know

I didn’t rate this book out of 5 stars because I don’t think I can form one overall opinion! I enjoyed it, I didn’t want it to end, and I think the plot was wholesome and well-thought out but at the same time I hated it, wanted to stop reading it, and despised everything that happened. I think I’m just really bitter and upset about SOMETHING (people who have read it, YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN) that happened in this book, but I get how necessary it was for character and plot development as well as solidifying the reality and horrifying truth of the Flare.

This was kind of a reread for me – I read the trilogy before the first film came out but never actually *finished* The Death Cure after some-of-you-know-what happened. Now that the 3rd movie is upon us, I picked it up again with the sole purpose of completing it. I do recommend it! I would never tell someone not to read it, but make sure you don’t let your emotions control you too much.

I love the moral haziness of this trilogy. To be honest, as someone with ASD and therefore unempathic tendencies, I would probably have gone down a similar route to WICKED, but their ‘means’ were too awful to be justified by the end. I liked the way this book ends, and it left me with a sort of peaceful sadness that was needed to conclude all the horrid things these characters have been put through.

I now know the movie is going to end me.

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To Kill A Mockingbird Book Review

Author: Harper Lee

Rating: 5/5

Although it took me a while, this book is frickin worth it. I don’t think I will ever forget it.

All I knew about this book going into it was that it concerned racism, but it is so much more than that! The beginning of this novel centres around two kids and their father in the county of Maycomb, Alabama. The narrator, a young girl who by the end is still no older than 10, is so loveable and innocent, and because of this we get to see the serious themes through the eyes of a person who is a stranger to them. 

Even before we discover the seriousness of this novel, I adored the family dynamic of the Finch’s. Their father is so loving and the relationship between Scout and her brother, Jem, is relatable and raw. 

Throughout this story, I was constantly scared. Not because it was scary, at least not in the traditional sense, but because the plot was so unpredictable. These characters deserve the world and I was never sure what would happen to them!

On a serious note, as not only a white person but a person from the UK and not the middle of Alabama I’m not sure how qualified I am to be giving my opinion on this. However, I feel this novel highlights the massive importance of equality in the eyes of the law as well as everyday society. It’s terrifying how the characters of different races view each other as so separate, as if they don’t belong in the same society. It infuriates me that, even today, people aren’t equal. It’s bullshit, and there is no explanation!?

Anyway, everyone should read this book. My advice is to not judge it until you reach the 2/3s mark, when I got to that point I couldn’t put it down!

City Of Bones Book Review

Author: Cassandra Clare

Rating: 5/5

I’m taking part of emmmabooks’ year-long Shadowhunters Read-A-Long (all the info on her video here) and of course it all begins with City Of Bones. Not gonna lie, I was a little scared to re-read this book. I was never convinced that it was amazing literature but I didn’t let it bother me since the characters and plot were so fabulous. But no, it’s as good as ever! 

There are so many amazing moments that I’d forgot about in this book! The best example is the banter between the characters at the start – it reminded me of The Inner Circle from ACOMAF. It’s like looking through a photo album and being like “Aw look this is when she killed her first demon!” and “This is when they’re about to meet!”. Don’t judge me.

Apart from the nostalgia of re-reading, City Of Bones is still one of the best characterization in any book – ever. I don’t want to think what would happen if Cassie, Leigh Bardugo and Sarah J Maas teamed up… Anyway! Each character is so well rounded and individual and yet so flawed. Going back, you can see how dramatically each character develops.

If I’m being honest, The Dark Artifices definitely show more literary skill, but that won’t stop me loving The Mortal Instruments!

The Rosie Project Book Review

Author: Graeme Simsion

Rating: 5/5

As part of my goal to get Autism Spectrum Disorder seen in a more positive light, I’m trying to read as many books with ASD rep as possible (check out my On The Edge Of Gone review here). I’m so glad I came across The Rosie Project – it was so sweet and so quirky and exactly what I wanted. Don, the main character, is not shown as a anything like ‘disturbed’ or ‘pitiful’ which is one thing I despise about books with ASD rep. He was shown as a quirky guy with his own way of living that different, but worked for him. 

My favourite part is in the first quarter, where Don has to teach a lecture about Aspergers to kids who have it. Instead of insisting they had a ‘difficulty’ or an ‘illness’ he told them all the positives that came with it, and everything they should be proud of. As someone with ASD, I think it’s so important we let people (not only atypicals) know this! People with ASD can get seriously depressed if they are led to believe they are inferior to anyone, WE’RE NOT! And this book proves that so effectively.

Not only is this novel a fabulous representation, it’s such a funny, feel-good novel (I can imagine myself reading this in Summer). The characters are brilliant, the writing style is unique and colloquial, and the ending is beautiful and satisfying. It’s quite thought-provoking, but not to the point of being stressful. A real rom-com of a book! Loved it.