Category: reading

The Strange And Beautiful Sorrows Of Ava Laven…

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Author: Leslye Walton

Rating: 5/5

Buy: Amazon UK

         Amazon US

Wow. Another all-time favourite for sure! The Strange And Beautiful Sorrows Of Ava Lavender is such a whimsical and tragic, yet still gorgeous, tale about a girl born with wings, how that came to be, and all the beauty and sorrow it comes with.

The factor that puts this book over the majority of other magical realism novels is the writing style. It was sumptuous and metaphorical, yet still gives the reader a clear image of Ava and the world around her. More than clear, in fact. It’s colourful and vibrant and lavish and everything I love in literature.

And yet, somehow, the author creates such believable characters and story lines that feel so real! Utterly human characters are placed next to fantastical ones until you don’t see why they should ever be separated. 

There are very real issues tackled in this novel too – mental health, grief, love and loss, sexual abuse – and, although they aren’t always directly addressed, they described in a way so raw it was almost brutal. I will stick a trigger warning for sexual assault here because, although it isn’t an overly-detailed description, it’s ruthless and a little disturbing even to someone like me, who isn’t usually psychologically affected by what happens in a book.

Still, I recommend this book so so highly – it may be in my top 10 favourites of all time!

Holiday reads off to a whimsical start with th…

Holiday reads off to a whimsical start with this, I adored this book so much!

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

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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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The One Book Review

Author: Kiera Cass

Rating: 5/5

You know, I never know what to say about this series. I’ve read the first 3 each in less than a day, I’m always anticipating reading the following instalment, and I know I love them beyond belief. But I couldn’t, intellectually, tell you why. They’re so addictive, yet I know that it’s really not good literature! To be honest, I’ve gave up all guilt about loving The Selection long ago, so here’s all the reasons you should read them:

  1. The characters are so loveable you’ll feel like either your best friends or your children
  2. The writing is so easy to read – almost no effort required!
  3. Yet somehow, it messes with your emotions so much that I was audibly suffering
  4. Romance… romance, romance, romance
  5. Plot twists! There’s one in this book that hit me square in the chest and sent me flying
  6. Dystopia meets utopia, the complexity of the morals in this society is so deep, with half the population living in blissful naivety and the other living in painful honesty
  7. CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT

And I could give you so many more. Basically, pick up this series – you’ll love it!