Books · Monthly Tags

December TBR – The TBR Raffle

Hello, lovelies!

Welcome to the December TBR! I am so ready for Christmas! Well – both Christmases, actually. One on the 25th December, and one on the 7th January. Perks of being a Macedonian. Because of what this year has been, we have decided to make our small Christmases the best they can be, and celebrate it to the fullest. For the family gatherings we can’t have, we’ll compensate with more food, more songs and more fun games!

November was a very rich month in terms of my reading. I read around 16 books in total. I will be soon sharing my November Wrap Up Post, but if you’re interested to see the books, you can find them on my Instagram November Wrap Up photo. And because it’s Christmas season, I will try to pick books that I know I will enjoy and bring me into a happy mood!

You probably already know this, but just a reminder that I share my current reading updates on my Instagram posts and stories, so don’t forget to follow my Instagram to see what I am reading at any given time during this month. And this month, there will be a lot of surprises there as well, which you don’t want to miss.

And with that being said, let the December TBR raffle commence.

The December TBR Raffle

I am filming my TBRs on my Instagram Stories. Make sure to follow me on Instagram, and check out the “Monthly TBR” highlight at the beginning of each month!

My TBR Raffle game is simple: I have a number of prompts that I put in small papers, into a jar. I draw a prompt, and I fit in a book that matches my prompt. Here is a list of the current prompts I have. Feel free to leave any prompt suggestions in the comments. Once the paper is drawn, I put it back into the jar, so it has an equal chance to get drawn again. I draw a total of 6 prompts, which result in 6 books for the month. If I fail to read a book, it automatically goes into the next month.

My December TBR

✨ 1. Series

Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling is a series I still have yet to complete, and the down time in Christmas is the perfect time to read Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. I can’t wait to get back to Hogwarts! This year, the stakes are higher and danger is looming even in the world of the muggles.

Synopsis:

Harry Potter is due to start his fifth year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. His best friends Ron and Hermione have been very secretive all summer and he is desperate to get back to school and find out what has been going on. However, what Harry discovers is far more devastating than he could ever have expected…

Purchase Links:
Amazon UK |Amazon US |

✨ 2. Instagram Pick

Usually, I pick two books and do an Instagram Poll for it. But this time, I couldn’t choose two books, so I decided to ask you for a random number. I had 205 books on my TBR, and you chose random numbers. Then, having received a lot of responses, I did what every person would do – created a single elimination bracket. With seeding and all. I know, I know – no one would actually do that – but it was so much fun for me, and I will be doing it again, because my Instagram followers enjoyed it just as much!

And the book that Instagram picked for me is Cinder by Marissa Meyer. I have heard some amazing things, and I am very excited to start this series!

Synopsis:

A forbidden romance.
A deadly plague.
Earth’s fate hinges on one girl . . .

CINDER, a gifted mechanic in New Beijing, is also a cyborg. She’s reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s sudden illness. But when her life becomes entwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she finds herself at the centre of a violent struggle between the desires of an evil queen – and a dangerous temptation.

Cinder is caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal. Now she must uncover secrets about her mysterious past in order to protect Earth’s future.

This is not the fairytale you remember. But it’s one you won’t forget.

Purchase Links:
 | Amazon UK | Amazon US |

✨ 3. Beautiful Cover

This prompt was so hard for me, because I own so many books with beautiful covers! So I decided to choose the most recent book that made me go “Aah” and admire it for a while, and that’s Ready Player Two by Ernest Cline. I loved Ready Player One, and honestly, I didn’t expect a second book. But now that it’s here, I want to see whether it will live up to my expectations.

Synopsis:

Days after winning OASIS founder James Halliday’s contest, Wade Watts makes a discovery that changes everything. Hidden within Halliday’s vaults, waiting for his heir to find, lies a technological advancement that will once again change the world and make the OASIS a thousand times more wondrous – and addictive – than even Wade dreamed possible.

With it comes a new riddle, and a new quest – a last Easter egg from Halliday, hinting at a mysterious prize. And an unexpected, impossibly powerful, and dangerous new rival awaits, one who’ll kill millions to get what he wants. Wade’s life and the future of the OASIS are again at stake, but this time the fate of humanity also hangs in the balance.

Purchase Links:
Amazon UK |Amazon US |

✨ 4. TBR Vet

Believe it or not, the book I have had on my TBR the longest is Divergent by Veronica Roth. I have been meaning to read it for so long, and now it’s finally time!

Synopsis:

THREE FLYING BIRDS…
ONE FOR EACH MEMBER OF THE FAMILY I LEFT BEHIND.

Sixteen-year-old Tris is forced to make a terrible choice. In a divided society where everyone must conform, Tris does not fit.

So she ventures out alone, determined to discover where she truly belongs. Shocked by her brutal new life Tris can trust no one. And yet she is drawn to a boy who seems to both threaten and protect her.

The hardest choice lies ahead.

Purchase Links:
Amazon UK |Amazon US |

✨ 5. LoveReading

This prompt is to choose a book I have been sent by the team at LoveReading UK. And for this, I will choose The Coffinmaker’s Garden by Stuart MacBride, coming out in January 2021.

Synopsis:

A village on the edge…
As a massive storm batters the Scottish coast, Gordon Smith’s home is falling into the North Sea. But the crumbling headland has revealed what he’s got buried in his garden: human remains.

A house full of secrets…
With the storm still raging, it’s too dangerous to retrieve the bodies and waves are devouring the evidence. Which means no one knows how many people Smith’s already killed and how many more he’ll kill if he can’t be found and stopped.

An investigator with nothing to lose…
The media are baying for blood, the top brass are after a scapegoat, and ex-Detective Inspector Ash Henderson is done playing nice. He’s got a killer to catch, and God help anyone who gets in his way.

Purchase Links:
Amazon UK |Amazon US |

✨ 6. My Pick

Well, this works so well! A perfect last spin to end my December TBR. For this I am choosing One More For Christmas by Sarah Morgan. I have formed a bit of a habit now, to read her Christmas books in December, and I will continue it this year as well.

Synopsis:

Gayle is a highly successful and motivated business woman, but her success has come at a price – she hasn’t spoken to her daughters, Ella and Samantha, for years. But when Gayle has an accident at work, she realises she needs to make amends with her family.

And so she invites herself to join Ella and Samantha for their Christmas in the beautiful Scottish Highlands. The sisters are none too pleased that their mother has inserted herself into their Christmas plans. They have each other – and don’t need their mother back in their lives. Or so they think…

As they embark on their first family Christmas together in years, will the three women learn that sometimes facing up to a few home truths is all you need to heal your heart?

Purchase Links:
 Amazon UK | Amazon US |

✨ 7. Extra

I will be reading Shiver by Allie Reynolds for a bookstagram readalong, and I am very excited for it! The readalong starts today, 1st December.

Synopsis:

They don’t know what I did. And I intend to keep it that way.

How far would you go to win? Hyper-competitive people, mind games and a dangerous natural environment combine to make the must-read thriller of the year. Fans of Lucy Foley and Lisa Jewell will be gripped by spectacular debut novel Shiver.

When Milla is invited to a reunion in the French Alps resort that saw the peak of her snowboarding career, she drops everything to go. While she would rather forget the events of that winter, the invitation comes from Curtis, the one person she can’t seem to let go.

The five friends haven’t seen each other for ten years, since the disappearance of the beautiful and enigmatic Saskia. But when an icebreaker game turns menacing, they realise they don’t know who has really gathered them there and how far they will go to find the truth.

In a deserted lodge high up a mountain, the secrets of the past are about to come to light. 

Purchase Links:
 Amazon UK | Amazon US |

✨ 8. Extra

I will also be reading The Spiral by Iain Ryan as part of a bookstagram readalong, starting from the 11th December.

Synopsis:

Erma Bridges’ life is far from perfect, but entirely ordinary. So when she is shot twice in a targetted attack by a colleague, her quiet existence is shattered in an instant.

With her would-be murderer dead, no one can give Erma the answers she needs to move on from her trauma. Why her? Why now?

So begins Erma’s quest for the truth – and a dangerous, spiralling journey into the heart of darkness.

With all the inventiveness of The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle and the raw brutality of Mulholland Drive, THE SPIRAL is a unique crime thriller with killer twists – and 2020’s most jaw-dropping ending.

Purchase Links:
 Amazon UK | Amazon US |

And that’s my December TBR. Because there are only 8 books in here, which means I will most probably be reading more, so keep an eye on my blog posts and social media. And wish me luck! <3
Make sure to follow me on Instagram, so you can stay up to date with my current updates during the month.
What is your December TBR? Let me know in the comments!

Social Media:
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Blog Tour · Book Review · Books

Return To Virgin River by Robyn Carr [BLOG TOUR]

Return To Virgin River by Robyn Carr [BLOG TOUR]

This January, I read Virgin River and watched Season 1 of the Netflix TV Show. And I fell in love. With the small town, with the characters, with Robyn Carr’s writing. When the team at Mills & Boon offered me a chance to Return to Virgin River, I couldn’t say no.

Return To Virgin River by Robyn Carr [BLOG TOUR]

★★★★

Synopsis:

Return To Virgin River is actually the 19th book in the series. But the amazing thing is that you can read each book as a standalone as well. Each book is set in Virgin River, but it focuses on different characters and their lives in the same town. It is just the chronological part that changes.

In this book, we follow Kaylee. Her mother passed away recently and she rents a house in Virgin River to try and get back to writing and to cope with her grief. But as she arrives, she finds out that the house had burnt. Devastated, she goes to Jack’s bar to figure out what’s next. Yes – the same Jack we meet in the first book. He still has his bar, and the same old charm.

As she meets more people and spends more time in Virgin River, Kaylee slowly starts to heal. And not only she heals, but she starts to find happiness, love and motivation again. Because there is no better place to mend a broken heart than Virgin River.

My Thoughts:

I loved Virgin River, but I loved Return to Virgin RIver even more. Coming back to this town and reading again about Mel, Jack, Preacher and the other characters felt good. It felt like seeing your long distance cousins for Christmas, and talking like no time has passed. And I felt this, after only reading the first book. I can only imagine how people that have read all the books might feel.

I think it was also the happy tone of the book that I loved as well. Despite the sadness, grief and stress Kaylee was going through, this book shouts with positivity. The long walks, the caring people, the caring for the animals and the kindness – it filled me with positive vibes. And reading it during the Covid pandemic felt like the perfect escape. There is something about a small, fictional village that offers second chances that feels like home.

I highly recommend it to everyone that may need to find a little bit of escape. Or to people that love heartwarming stories, and second chances in life and love.

And don’t forget that there is a Netflix TV Show of this as well – with the new season coming out. Season 1 was incredible, and I cannot wait to see Season 2 as well – I am sure it will as good!

Purchase Links:
Amazon UK | Amazon US

Social Media:
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Book Review · Books

A Clock of Stars by Francesca Gibbons

★★★★

When I started reading A Clock of Stars by Francesca Gibbons, I knew it would be a fantasy. But I didn’t know this story would leave me breathless and take me on such a magical adventure! This book is illustrated by Chris Riddell, and those illustrations are absolutely stunning!

Synopsis:

Imogen loves adventures. But her little sister finds Marie always disturbs her and is such a burden. One day, Imogen sees a shadow moth in the garden and starts to follow it. Then her sister finds her, and closes the gate behind them.

Suddenly, they are trapped and it’s all Marie’s fault. But on the other side of the gate, there is a new world, different to theirs. A world where they meet Miro, a boy dressed in weird clothes, claiming he is the prince of this kingdom. A kingdom, where dangers lurk at night.

My Thoughts:

A Clock of Stars reminded me of how I felt when I was reading the Chronicles of Narnia for the very first time. The moment you enter into a fantasy world and meet new characters. When you start to care for these characters and root for them. Moments when you want to be there with them, joining them in this adventure and help them save a kingdom. And you are there – with them. I felt part of this crew, I was on this journey with them. Afraid for what’s about to happen next, and happy when things would go as planned.

And when danger threatens the kingdom and the crew are getting ready to save it, you start biting your nails. I watched their friendship grow and loved it. What I loved the most was watching Imogen get closer to her little sister Marie. That special sister bond was beautiful! Francesca Gibbons’s writing is so captivating, the world building phenomenal and the action suspenseful.

I wished I was a kid again. And I wished I had this book when growing up. Definitely a must read for every child out there. One of the best children fantasies about fictional kingdoms I have read in a while!

Purchase Links:
Amazon UK | Amazon US

Social Media:
| WishlistKo-fi | FacebookTwitterGoodreadsInstagramPinterest |

Book Review · Books

Hands Up by Stephen Clark [BOOK REVIEW]

Hands Up by Stephen Clark [BOOK REVIEW]

★★

I was so happy when the author, Stephen Clark, approached me and offered to send me a copy of his book, Hands Up, for me to read and provide an honest review. I also felt great responsibility, because this books speaks about some very important, very relevant, and very, unfortunately, sad topics that are currently happening in the world.

Synopsis:

Police officer Ryan Quinn, raised in a family of cops, shoots an unarmed black male. His career and his freedom are now in jeopardy, as he embarks on a journey for redemption.

Jade Wakefield is a student, whose brother just got shot by the police. And she is determined to find the cop who did this and get their revenge.

Kelly Randolph abandoned his family ten years ago. But when his son’s death brings him home, he seeks forgiveness and wants to make amends. But the dark past he thought he left behind for good is still here to haunt him.

My Thoughts:

Hands Up is a very difficult read for me to write a review for. Throughout the book, we follow these three people’s perspectives. Ryan’s point of view is in first person, while Jade and Kelly’s perspectives are in third. This took me a while to get adjusted to, and it doesn’t affect the story much, apart from the fact that it caught my curiosity. I wonder what the author’s intention was behind this choice.

Hands Up is a fast-paced read. As soon as I dived into it, it pulled me into the story, and I finished it in no time. The chapters swapped between the characters quite seamlessly, which was quite enjoyable. And I have to admit, I did enjoy it, and I do recommend it for you to pick it up. It has some major issues that bothered me, which I will speak about further below, but ultimately, I think that the intention of this book was on point, and for that sole purpose it needs to go out in the world and raise awareness.

I felt like the book’s intentions and the idea behind the police brutality and Black Lives Matter movement were great. We need more books that will speak up on these subjects. This year has been extremely important for so many black people. And people are slowly starting to educate themselves, and becoming more aware of the racism and discrimination happening around us every single day. It is far from over, but people are starting to speak up, and things are slowly beginning to shift. However, I think that it was poorly executed. The book is written in such a way that it didn’t provoke feelings in me. Feelings I was hoping it would. It felt as if I was reading a news report, rather than a story that affects people’s lives, feelings and thoughts.

The other issue I had were the characters.

All the characters were stereotypical. And I hoped that at least, maybe they would change throughout the story, throughout their experiences. Work on their issues and prejudices, and overcome it, but they didn’t.

The cop is white and he is the killer. The dad is black and a gang member who left his family. The daughter is a girl with no future, relying on violence. And this made me angry, because I know many black fathers who are amazing and don’t abandon their families. And many bright young black women who are doing extremely well in life and in their studies. Many white people that are not killers, and many white people that are bullies.

Ever since I was little, I was taught to see people for good and bad. That no colour, no race, no religion and no nationality should define people’s characters. And I would have let this pass, if people changed throughout the book. But they didn’t. The white cop tried to find redemption, but ended up failing in the end. The black dad returned to his bad past again. The daughter relied on violence and revenge yet again. The only character that I had respect for was Regina, the victim’s mother. She felt the most realistic of them all, and I could connect with her as a character and feel her pain. I wish we had more scenes with her. I believe that her point of view would have been quite beneficial to the story.

Another issue I had was a certain romantic relationship that developed throughout the book.

SPOILER ALERT IN THE NEXT PARAGRAPH:

The victim’s sister fell in love with the cop. And this troubled me, for many reasons. She was actively seeking revenge for her brother’s death. Then she found out who he was. And two nights later, they were in love. I think that such relationship can’t develop so fast in normal circumstances. I won’t even get into how impossible it would be in these circumstances. It was too fast and too unrealistic for me.

SPOILER FINISHED.

That is why I am so troubled with my review of Hands Up. For me, it wasn’t the typical book I’d pick up and enjoy. It had many issues. But it was very important. The Black Lives Matter movement is so damn important. Which is why I urge you to pick this book up and give it a chance. The issues that it speaks of are around us, and awareness should be raised.

Purchase Links:
Amazon UK | Amazon US

Social Media:
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Book Review · Books

Uprooted by Naomi Novik [BOOK REVIEW]

Uprooted by Naomi Novik [BOOK REVIEW]

★★

Being born and raised in Macedonia, I grew up with the Slavic fairy tales. I still remember my grandma telling me stories about Baba Yaga (Babaroga). When I found out about Uprooted by Naomi Novik, it intrigued me instantly.

Synopsis:

Uprooted tells a story about Agnieszka. She lives in a quiet village that she loves. Surrounding the village is an enchanted forest, and the Wood has taken many people’s lives. The villagers go in and don’t come back. The village relies on the wizard, called Dragon, to protect them from the dark magic coming from the woods.

However, this help comes with a price. A young woman must serve him for ten years, leaving everything behind and never leaving the tower. Agnieszka fears that her best friend Kasia will be picked for the next choosing. Kasia is everything Agnieszka isn’t – graceful, beautiful and brave. And yet, when the Dragon comes, it isn’t Kasia that he takes.

My Thoughts:

The beginning of Uprooted is fantastic. I was immediately sucked into the story and I was loving the pace. Naomi Novik’s storytelling ability is honestly breathtaking, and it is consistent throughout the book. However, as soon as the Dragon makes his pick of the young girl and they head to the tower, the pace slows down. And for me, the rest of the journey kept going downhill.

“But there’s no kindness in offering false hope.”

I loved Agnieszka, and her side of the story. It felt familiar in the way that I’ve heard similar stories before in my childhood. And that familiarity kept warming my heart until the very end.

And I felt the same for the Dragon.

I loved the name, especially because the usual Slavic fairy tales have a dragon in the tower that is guarding the princess. I see what you did there, Naomi. The story about a wizard who doesn’t age and looks after the village is incredible. And that he takes a woman every ten years adds to the suspense, and of how the villagers have mixed feelings about him. Feelings of gratitude, fear and anger, all combined.

“The Dragon wasn’t like any man of our village. He should have been old and stooped and grey; he had been living in his tower a hundred years, but he was tall, straight, beardless, his skin taut.”

The idea started well, but it was executed poorly. I have mixed feelings about the Woods. I liked the suspense and danger, but I think many scenes were way too long and unnecessary. That made the Woods a little bit boring for me. I really loved the parts about the magic, as well as the mentions of Baba Yaga. As for the romance, I am not too sure about that either. I just wasn’t as bothered or invested as I would usually be in another book.

Uprooted isn’t a favorite book of mine, but I did enjoy parts of it. It is very magical and the writing is beautiful. The pace was somewhat slow for me, but I know many people enjoy that. I recommend it to anyone that likes fairy tales and fantasy. I will definitely be reading more from Naomi Novik in the future.

Purchase Links:
Amazon UK | Amazon US

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