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.