“I’m just a girl who forgot to look both ways before she crossed the street.”
Liz is almost 16 and she dies in a hit-and-run accident. And this is where her story begins. Instead of going wherever it is that people go when they’re dead, she wakes up on a big boat that’s heading to a place called Elsewhere. It turns out that people go to Elsewhere when they die, they live there (if you can call it that), age backwards and then return to Earth as babies to be (quite literally) reborn.
As we follow Liz around on the ship, she is having a very hard time understanding she is dead. She thinks this is all a dream and expects to be woken up anytime.
“It can be particularly difficult for young people to realise they have passed. Young people tend to think they’re immortal. Many of them can’t conceive of themselves as dead.”
As the story goes on, Liz meets her grandma, Betty, who passed away before Liz was born. Due to how time is measured in Elsewhere, Betty now looks quite young. Young enough to be in a relationship with Liz’s friend. We’ll get into that in a minute.
Liz is supposed to now live her life and find an avocation.
An avocation is like a job on Earth, except you have to really enjoy doing it and can only do it if it makes you happy. So Liz becomes a counsellor for the Division of Domestic Animals, and her task is to welcome dogs on Elsewhere and explain everything to them when they arrive. I loved the idea that the dogs could talk with some people that can speak the dog language. Some of my favourite scenes are when the dogs are talking – the humour in them is priceless!
At the beginning, Liz is having a very hard time accepting this reality. She dies before she could truly live her life and she will never grow up, have children, buy a house, or grow old. Not on Earth and not in Elsewhere either. She’ll just age backwards from 16 to 0. She is very depressed and spends a lot of time at the Observation Desks, where she can watch people on Earth through binoculars. She even tries an illegal way to make contact and it massively backfires.
“Many people on Earth spend their whole lives dead.”
But in all this grief, she meets a friend and things slowly start to get better for her. She starts to find joy in the years she has left and enjoys herself. This book has a powerful message about living in the moment and making the most of life with the cards you’ve been dealt. It’s a sad, but true story about life and death, grieving, depression, but also about friendships and love.
“People, you’ll find, aren’t usually all good or all bad. Sometimes they’re a little bit good and a whole lot bad. And sometimes, they’re mostly good with a dash of bad. And most of us, well, we fall in the middle somewhere.”
The ending is a bit sad, but at the same time satisfying. And it will definitely make you want to read the book backwards as soon as you have finished it.
About The Author:
Gabrielle Zevin is an internationally best-selling and critically acclaimed author, whose books have been translated into thirty-eight languages.
The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry spent several months on the New York Times Best Seller List, reached #1 on the National Indie Best Seller List, was a USA Today Best Seller, and has been a best seller all around the world.
I cannot believe it took me this long to finally mark Eragon as a read book. This book has been on my shelves for way too long and I am happy I finally got to it.
About The Book:
Genre: Fantasy, Adventure, Young Adult
Publisher: Penguin Random House
Format I read it in: Paperback
Knowing how saturated the fantasy genre is today, I was apprehensive going into the book. The boy and the dragon story have been used very frequently. But as soon as I read the first few chapters, I was transported to Eragon’s farm in Carvahall, joined his adventure and never looked back.
Eragon is just a boy on a farm, doing his bit to help his uncle. When one day he finds a shiny blue egg, he is sure he can sell it in town and buy food for the winter. But as soon as people find out he got it from the Spine, they want nothing to do with it. So Eragon decides to keep it for a bit, until he can find a buyer. When the egg cracks and a dragon is hatched, Eragon’s whole world is about to change. He knows a few things: he has a special connection with the dragon through his mind and he is in big danger. Along the way, an old man called Brom offers Eragon help and knowledge, and we find out so much more about dragons, Dragon Riders, magic and all the dangers Eragon Is about to face for being a Dragon Rider in his time, when the king is searching for him.
From one adventure into another, the book is quite rich with action, stories, and interesting characters. I really liked Angela and the merecat, as well as the Twins. They seemed quite interesting, although I can’t say I trust them. I liked Brom and Murdoch too – their knowledge and experience in different topics intrigued me.
The magic in Eragon was a cool concept.
I liked the Ancient language and the fact that you have to know certain words to cast a spell. I also liked that you cannot lie in the Ancient language, although I’ve seen that before in other lore that features elves. And I was also quite intrigued by the “true name” and the power it held, the possible duels and the rules on how magic works from a distance. The magic concept in Eragon intrigued me a lot and I loved that.
Be prepared to watch Eragon learn about who he is now, his legacy and his powers. And watch him try to choose what allegiance he should aid, and how involved he wants to be. The Spiderman quote “with great power comes great responsibility” rings very true in this book.
Eragon’s dragon, Saphira, is also a big character. She has great powers and ancient wisdom, and together with Eragon they make a great team. They share a unique bond and I’m excited to see how they’ll grow stronger together.
I will be continuing the series and pick up the second book in the series, Eldest. I am curious to know more about their adventures. If you haven’t read Eragon yet and love fantasy, I warmly recommend it. It made me forget I was a book reviewer for a long time. I was so captivated by the story I forgot to take notes and had to re-read some parts of the book later. Could not recommend it more!
About The Author:
Christopher Paolini was born in Southern California and has lived most of his life in Paradise Valley, Montana. He published his first novel, Eragon, in 2003 at the age of nineteen, and quickly became a publishing phenomenon. His Inheritance Cycle—Eragon and its three sequels—have sold nearly 40 million copies worldwide. To Sleep in a Sea of Starsis his first adult novel.
I went in unprepared, and loved the experience I was introduced to. I read the synopsis, but the book didn’t do it justice. There is so much going on that one blurb could never be able to explain. You will get to meet twins Roger and Dodger. Roger is very good with languages and stories. Dodger is amazing with maths. Numbers come so easy for her, and they are her world. Roger and Dodger are not actually human, although they don’t know it. The bond they have between them is special, and it serves a special purpose in the world. They are two pieces in a puzzle, and need each other’s abilities to unlock their full potential.
“The unspoken pieces of language are sometimes the most painful.”
And even though they’re twins, they live in separate states and can communicate in a unique way. This was actually one of the most intriguing parts for me – I loved how they get to know each other and start communicating, and also how throughout the years, despite all the challenges, they keep finding their way to each other.
“Heredity is not only in blood. It is in the sympathetic vibration of the universe, in the places where atom becomes alchemy.”
Roger and Dodger were created by Reed, an alchemist, who has goals of his own. His plan is to raise the twins to the highest power, to ascend with them and claim their authority as his own. I particularly liked Reed’s chapters. I enjoyed these, as they show a much larger picture of the motives behind what he is doing and to learn more about what the Doctrine is.
“Ignorance is bliss, or at least ignorance leads to better choices: ignorance doesn’t try to account for the costs and consequences of a hundred doomed timelines every time it takes a step.”
As I said, the blurb doesn’t do this book justice, in fact, it will probably confuse you rather than offer an explanation. But Middlegame is so much more than that! If I could recommend one thing, it would be to dive into the story without knowing too much. Everything will be explained properly as you start reading, and it will all make sense, unlike my notes of the blurb.
“But what is perfection, really, if not the act of winning?”
For me, diving into Middlegame transported me into another reality, where alchemy resembles magic. It has been a while since a book did that to me from the first chapter and that is one of the reasons I will remember this book. Middlegame starts with an “end of the world” type of way, and then we go back in time to find out what led to this moment
“Time is like skin: it can scar if you cut it enough times.”
The other fascinating thing for me were the excerpts from “Over the Woodward Wall” by A. Deborah Baker. Deborah Baker was an alchemist and she created Reed. After finishing the book and doing some research, it turns out that this is a real book. And the author, A. Deborah Baker, is a pen name for Seanan McGuire. What an incredible thing to do – I am still in awe of this fact.
As for Seanan McGuire, I have nothing but praise! For all the feelings Middlegame evoked from me. For the incredible writing and for hiding a book within a book. And an author within an author, within a character. I will be definitely continuing “Alchemical Journeys” and reading “Seasonal Fears”, the second book in the series, as well as “Over the Woodward Wall”.
“In the same ordinary town, on the same ordinary street, lived two ordinary children who had never quite managed to cross paths.”
From “Over the Woodward Wall” by A. Deborah Baker
About The Author:
Seanan McGuire is an American author and filker. McGuire is known for her urban fantasy novels. She uses the pseudonym Mira Grant to write science fiction/horror and the pseudonym A. Deborah Baker to write the “Up-and-Under” children’s portal fantasy series.
Another April TBR, another TBR Raffle – I am starting to quite enjoy the way I gamify my TBR list. Let’s see what this month of reading brings.
You probably already know this, but just a reminder that I share my current reading updates on my Instagram posts and stories, and my Goodreads and Storygraph account, so don’t forget to follow my Instagram and other socials (all listed at the bottom of the blog) to see what I am reading at any given time during this month. Sometimes my TBR varies, as I add additional books during the month.
And with that being said, let the April TBR commence.
The April TBR Raffle
I am filming my TBRs on my Instagram Stories. Make sure to follow me on Instagram, and check my Raffle draw (usually posted as a highlight or a reel).
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 April TBR
✨ 1. Beautiful Cover
Even though I own an uncorrected proof of this book, it still has the amazing constellation and blue shades on it – so for this prompt I had to choose “With This Kiss” by Carrie Hope Fletcher. I am participating in the blog tour organized by HQ Stories, so keep an eye out for my book review from the 13th April and onwards. 😉
When their lips touch, will she seal his fate?
From the outside, Lorelai is an ordinary young woman with a normal life. She loves reading, she works at the local cinema and she adores living with her best friend. But she carries a painful burden, something she’s kept hidden for years; whenever she kisses someone on the lips, she sees how they are going to die. But she’s never known if she’s seeing what was always meant to be, or if her kiss is the thing that decides their destiny. And so, she hasn’t kissed anyone since she was sixteen.
Then she meets Grayson. Sweet, clever, funny Grayson. And for the first time in years she yearns for a man’s kiss. But she can’t… or can she? And if she does, should she try to intervene and change what she sees?
Spellbinding, magical and utterly original, With This Kiss is one love story you will never forget.
✨ 2. Mama Pick
It has been a long time since my mum picked a book for me – and I think she was as excited as I was when I told her. She always laughs at me and picks me big books. She was glancing at War and Peace, and I am glad this time she slightly spared me and picked Middlegame by Seana McGuire. Still a chunky beast, but I’m quite excited to dive into this one.
New York Times bestselling and Alex, Nebula, and Hugo-Award-winning author Seanan McGuire introduces readers to a world of amoral alchemy, shadowy organizations, and impossible cities in this standalone fantasy.
Meet Roger. Skilled with words, languages come easily to him. He instinctively understands how the world works through the power of story.
Meet Dodger, his twin. Numbers are her world, her obsession, her everything. All she understands, she does so through the power of math.
Roger and Dodger aren’t exactly human, though they don’t realise it. They aren’t exactly gods, either. Not entirely. Not yet.
Meet Reed, skilled in the alchemical arts like his progenitor before him. Reed created Dodger and her brother. He’s not their father. Not quite. But he has a plan: to raise the twins to the highest power, to ascend with them and claim their authority as his own.
Godhood is attainable. Pray it isn’t attained.
✨ 3. One Word Title
As soon as I got my copy of Lemon by Kwon Yeo-Sung (thank you to the team at Head of Zeus), I have been desperate to read it. It looks like it will be the perfect short mystery thriller novel, and I love translated works, especially Asian fiction – so I have big hopes for this one and I’m quite excited to dive into it.
In the summer of 2002, when Korea is abuzz over hosting the FIFA World Cup, nineteen-year-old Kim Hae-on is killed in what becomes known as the High School Beauty Murder. Two suspects quickly emerge: rich kid Shin Jeongjun, whose car Hae-on was last seen in, and delivery boy Han Manu, who witnesses Hae-on in the passenger seat of Jeongjun’s car just a few hours before her death. But when Jeongjun’s alibi turns out to be solid, and no evidence can be pinned on Manu, the case goes cold.
Seventeen years pass without any resolution for those who knew and loved Hae-on, and the grief and uncertainty take a cruel toll on her younger sister, Da-on, in particular. Unable to move on with her life, Da-on tries in her own twisted way to recover some of what she’s lost, ultimately setting out to find the truth of what happened.
Told at different points in time from the perspectives of Da-on and two of Hae-on’s classmates, Lemon loosely follows the structure of a detective novel. But finding the perpetrator is not the main objective here. Instead, the work explores grief and trauma, raising important questions about guilt, retribution, and the meaning of death and life.
✨ 4. Instagram Pick
The Instagram Pick means that I do an Instagram Story where people choose random numbers. These numbers relate to my TBR list, and once this story is over and I have a few numbers (books), the Instagram Battle Of The Books begins on my story, where I post the books my followers have chosen, and two by two, they all get voted off until the last one is standing. To make things more interesting, I even did the seeding like I would for a real tournament 🙂 Here’s the link to the Instagram Story Highlights, if you want to see how the voting took place. Make sure you follow me on Instagram to join the future Instagram Pick Battles too.
This month, the people have chosen a very popular book – The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins. I even got messages saying: “How have you not read this yet?” 😀 I know, I know, I’m late on the hype train (pun intended), but I’m finally reading it this month!
Rachel catches the same commuter train every morning. She knows it will wait at the same signal each time, overlooking a row of back gardens. She’s even started to feel like she knows the people who live in one of the houses. ‘Jess and Jason’, she calls them. Their life – as she sees it – is perfect. If only Rachel could be that happy.
And then she sees something shocking. It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but it’s enough.
But now everything’s changed. Now Rachel has a chance to become a part of the lives she’s only watched from afar.
Now they’ll see; she’s much more than just the girl on the train…
✨ 5. Highest Rated
If “Some Mistakes Were Made” by Kristin Dwyer was not on my Highest Rated prompt, I would have picked it for the Beautiful Cover one, because jkust look at that gorgeous cover! This book promises romance and cuteness, and I am here for it. I think it’s been a while I’ve read this genre, and I am looking forward to it.
You can’t always go home again.
Ellis and Easton have been inseparable since childhood. But when a rash decision throws Ellis’s life—and her relationship with Easton— into chaos she’s forced to move halfway across the country, far from everything she’s ever known.
Now Ellis hasn’t spoken to Easton in a year, and maybe it’s better that way; maybe eventually the Easton shaped hole in her heart will heal. But when Easton’s mother invites her home for a celebration, Ellis finds herself tangled up in the web of heartache, betrayal, and anger she left behind… and with the boy she never stopped loving.
✨ 6. Sister Pick
It’s a funny story this one, actually, because my sister tried to “sell” me this book a few times before. Apparently, there’s some harems going on, a lot of erotica and some incest-y moments too, and I was like – NOPE! So when the Sister Pick came around, guess what she did? Of course, she picked Credence by Penelope Douglas. But you know what – fine! I’m going in open minded and excited to read it – bring it on 🙂
Tiernan de Haas doesn’t care about anything anymore. The only child of a film producer and his starlet wife, she’s grown up with wealth and privilege but not love or guidance. Shipped off to boarding schools from an early age, it was still impossible to escape the loneliness and carve out a life of her own. The shadow of her parents’ fame followed her everywhere.
And when they suddenly pass away, she knows she should be devastated. But has anything really changed? She’s always been alone, hasn’t she?
Jake Van der Berg, her father’s stepbrother and her only living relative, assumes guardianship of Tiernan who is still two months shy of eighteen. Sent to live with him and his two sons, Noah and Kaleb, in the mountains of Colorado, Tiernan soon learns that these men now have a say in what she chooses to care and not care about anymore. As the three of them take her under their wing, teach her to work and survive in the remote woods far away from the rest of the world, she slowly finds her place among them.
And as a part of them.
She also realizes that lines blur and rules become easy to break when no one else is watching.
One of them has her.
The other one wants her.
He’s going to keep her.
And that’s my April TBR. Have you read any of the above books? What is on your April TBR list? Let me know in the comments!
Make sure to follow me on Instagram, so you can stay up to date with my current updates during the month.
Cassandra Claire is one of those authors that no matter what she writes, I’ll be there to read it. Chain of Iron was no different – a very high-paced and adventurous continuation to Chain of Gold. I love this series and can’t wait for Chain of Thorns to come out now.
The Shadowhunters must catch a killer in Edwardian London in this dangerous and romantic sequel to the #1 New York Times bestselling novel Chain of Gold, from New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author Cassandra Clare. Chain of Iron is a Shadowhunters novel.
Cordelia Carstairs seems to have everything she ever wanted. She’s engaged to marry James Herondale, the boy she has loved since childhood. She has a new life in London with her best friend Lucie Herondale and James’s charming companions, the Merry Thieves. She is about to be reunited with her beloved father. And she bears the sword Cortana, a legendary hero’s blade.
But the truth is far grimmer. James and Cordelia’s marriage is a lie, arranged to save Cordelia’s reputation. James is in love with the mysterious Grace Blackthorn whose brother, Jesse, died years ago in a terrible accident. Cortana burns Cordelia’s hand when she touches it, while her father has grown bitter and angry. And a serial murderer is targeting the Shadowhunters of London, killing under cover of darkness, then vanishing without a trace.
Together with the Merry Thieves, Cordelia, James, and Lucie must follow the trail of the knife-wielding killer through the city’s most dangerous streets. All the while, each is keeping a shocking secret: Lucie, that she plans to raise Jesse from the dead; Cordelia, that she has sworn a dangerous oath of loyalty to a mysterious power; and James, that he is being drawn further each night into the dark web of his grandfather, the arch-demon Belial. And that he himself may be the killer they seek.
Chain of Iron is the second book in The Last Hours series. It should be read after you have read the first book, Chain of Gold. This review will probably contain spoilers for the first book, but I will do my best to refrain from revealing anything major in this book.
I love the writing of Cassandra Clare, period. Her chapter openings that make me tab and seek the books she is referencing. The way she adds a foreign language into the books. Here, have some Latin and Italian. Yes, please. I also love how she casually drops so many interesting facts. I don’t think I ever was curious how chess came to be, but I love the myth that was in the book. And also, not to forget, the unforgettable Magnus Bane cameos.
“You all know Magnus Bane, of course?” Anna gestured to the tall figure standing next to her.
“It’s my understanding,” Cordelia said,”that the question is never whether you know Magnus Bane. The question is always whether Magnus Bane knows you.”
The romance in the book was spot on.
Very slow burn, just as I like it. There were some couples I was expecting to start felling things for each other, and there were also some which pleasantly surprised me. It felt like every couple or potential couple had a unique connection and I felt differently pleased when reading their chapters. The middle of the book hyped me up, and I was so happy when I finished Chapter 22. I have also never been so annoyed at a bracelet before, so that’s a first. 🙂 The ending gave me a big heartbreak, and I can’t wait to read book 3 to see if some hearts will be mended, because I don’t like the way it ended, with some couples being heartbroken…
“My father used to tell me that sometimes you cannot reconcile with someone else. Sometimes you have to find that reconciliation on your own. Someone who broke your heart is often not the person who can mend it.”
I didn’t like the Lucie and Grace combo, and I really missed the relationship Lucie had with Cordelia in the first book. For best friends that are supposed to be parabatai, they didn’t have much time together in this book and I truly missed that. On the subject of Grace, I enjoyed her chapters, but I felt no sympathy for her at all and this didn’t change. She knew exactly what she was doing, and I will never have sympathy for her in this lifetime or the next.
“Love leads to pain, but if you are careful with the way you wield it… you can use it to wound, as well.”
The mystery part was a bit weak.
Without spoiling anything away, I will just say that a certain narrative kept being pushed as to who the killer is, and if you can instantly know this is not the truth and something else is going on. The reveal was very promptly revealed and wasn’t satisfying to me, but I did like some parts, for example the twist with Cordelia.
Overall, I loved this book. I devoured it very fast, and that always says a lot to me. If I don’t like a book, I tend to read it for longer periods of time. Chain of Iron was amazing and satisfied my need for adventure, romance, and Shadowhunter world vibe. I am looking forward to read the next book, and I also warmly recommend this series!
About The Author:
Cassandra Clare was born overseas and spent her early years traveling around the world with her family and several trunks of fantasy books. Cassandra worked for several years as an entertainment journalist for the Hollywood Reporter before turning her attention to fiction. She is the author of City of Bones, the first book in the Mortal Instruments trilogy and a New York Times bestseller. Cassandra lives with her fiance and their two cats in Massachusetts.