Top Ten Tuesday #3: Best Friendships

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Hey guys! It’s time for Top Ten Tuesday, which is currently being run by the lovely Jana over at That Artsy Reader Girl.  We knew instantly that we wanted to take part in this weekly meme because both of us love making list, so this is perfect!

This week’s (November 27, 2018) topic is:  Platonic Relationships In Books. We decided to pick the topic: Best Friendships.

Since there are two of us running this blog (Melanie and Mireille), we’re going to break these memes up between us and each pick five!

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Harry, Hermione and Ron from The Harry Potter Series
I mean would this really be a friendship list without these three one it? There isn’t a lot to say, despite them fighting from time to time – they’d do anything for each other and have had to prove it many times over.

The Whole Gang from The Lunar Chronicles
Yep, we are talking Cinder, Iko, Scarlett, Wolf, Cress, Thorne, Jacin, Winter and of course, Iko.  Yes there are romances between many of these characters but it’s the friendship among them all that is the most fun to watch evolve.

Kate Harker and August Flynn from This Savage Song
These two might not seem like an obvious choice since they start off not trusting each other and wanting the other dead.  However, over time this friendship really evolves and becomes something really unique and strong.  The fact that we have a young-adult novel where romance doesn’t come into play really allowed this friendship to shine.

The Whole Gang from A Court of Mist and Fury
Yes, I have confessed my love for Maas more than once, so this shouldn’t be a surprise.  I live for scenes between Cass, Az, Amren and Morrigan.  Perfection.

The Gang from The Wondla Series
This isn’t a very well-known series in the YA community but it really deserves to be.  The amazing friendships built within this trilogy is beautiful to watch.  I’m so glad I discovered this one.

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Mia and Mr. Kindly from Nevernight
I love these two together. The degree of banter between these two is amazing. I wish I could had a shadow cat to get me into trouble and make snarky remarks at me.

Simon Snow and Baz from Carry On 
Ok ok this isn’t a friendship per say, well they didn’t start up as friends but their relationship is everything so I’m counting it. I am soooooo excited for Wayward Son, I know I still have a year to wait but I need more Simon and Baz in my life.

Squirrel Girl and Tippy Toe from Squirrel Girl
I’m still trying to find myself a squirrel sidekick. The closest I’ve gotten is naming the ones that live near me.   

Merry and Pippin from Lord of the Rings
I have to admit this is one of the best friendship I can think of. I swear every time they have to split up I cry like a baby. I just adore these two hobbits and the friendship they have for each other and for the rest of the fellowship. 

The Whole crew from Six of Crows
My heart fills with so much joy every time I think of these misfits. They are squad perfection in my opinion. I would love to be part of this crew and wreak havoc on Ketterdam. God! I’m hoping we get a reunion book.

 

 

Middle Grade Monday: City of Ghosts by Victoria Schwab

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Hey everyone!  I’m doing the Middle-Grade Monday meme, currently run by Carolina over at Fictionologst. Go check her out if you want to participate in this meme as well.
I’m a massive middle-grade fan, and I’m always trying to get people to give it a shot! Hopefully these reviews will give you a better idea if you want to try out the books or not! That is the goal anyway!

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Review: Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan

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My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Genre: YA Fantasy
Pages: 336
Pacing: Average/Normal
Publisher: Jimmy Patterson Books
Published: November 6th, 2018
Trigger Warnings: Sexual Assault, Rape, Grief, Graphic Animal Death (short but upsetting), Violence, Sex Trafficking, Slut Shaming

Each year, eight beautiful girls are chosen as Paper Girls to serve the king. It’s the highest honor they could hope for…and the most cruel. But this year, there’s a ninth girl. And instead of paper, she’s made of fire.  In this lush fantasy, Lei is a member of the Paper caste, the lowest and most oppressed class in Ikhara. She lives in a remote village with her father, where the decade-old trauma of watching her mother snatched by royal guards still haunts her. Now, the guards are back, and this time it’s Lei they’re after–the girl whose golden eyes have piqued the king’s interest.  Continue reading “Review: Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan”

ARC Review: The Girl King by Mimi Yu

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My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Genre: YA Fantasy
Pages: 496
Pacing: Average/Normal
Publisher: Bloomsbury YA
Published: January 8th, 2019

Trigger Warning: Violence, Emotional and physical abuse.

Two sisters become unwitting rivals in a war to claim the title of Emperor in this richly imagined, Asian-inspired fantasy for fans of Renée Ahdieh and Sabaa Tahir.

Sisters Lu and Min have always known their places as the princesses of the Empire of the First Flame: the eldest, assertive Lu, will be named her father’s heir and become the dynasty’s first female ruler, while timid Min will lead a quiet life in Lu’s shadow. Then their father names their male cousin Set the heir instead, throwing both girls’ lives into chaos.  Determined to reclaim her birthright, Lu is forced to flee, leaving Min to face the volatile court alone. Lu crosses paths with Nokhai, the lone, unlikely survivor of the decimated Ashina, nomadic wolf shapeshifters. Nok never learned to shift–and he has no trust for the Empire that killed his family–but working with the princess might be the key to unlocking his true power.

As Lu and Nok form a tenuous alliance, Min’s own hidden power awakens–a forbidden, deadly magic that could secure Set’s reign . . . or allow her to claim the throne herself. But there can only be one Emperor, and the sisters’ greatest enemy could very well turn out to be each other. Told in three distinct points-of-view, this first book in a sweeping fantasy series weaves a story of ambition, betrayal, and sacrifice. – Synopsis from Goodreads

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All Hail the Girl King!

Betrayal! SO. MUCH. BETRAYAL.   These royals are some shady ass people and I lived for it! I need the second book and the first one is not even officially released yet.  #readerproblems

When I read this synopsis. saw the STUNNING coves and then realized it was an ownvoice Asian-inspried fantasy – I knew I needed to feature this book and ask Mimi Yu to come visit us in 2019 on TBR and Beyond.  Thankfully, she generously accepted and I’m so glad.  I think the members are going to adore this one when we read it in February.  The Girl King is about two young princesses.  The first, Lu, is very strong, brave, opinionated and determined to do things her way.  While the second sister, Min, is timid, polite and does everything that is expected of her.  When Lu finds out that she is not going to become the next empress and must marry her arrogant cousin, she sets out to change her fate and everything goes to hell in a handbasket after that.

I also can’t forget to mention my favorite character in this whole story – Nok.  I don’t want to say a ton about him or how he fits into the story.  I’ll let that unfold for you all as you read.  Amazing character and completely surprising plot point involves him.  All of the characters are well developed, including some amazing side-characters.  I feel like I’ll be obsessed with The Oracle, Vera for a long time! Badass is putting it lightly.

I am not sure if this will be a polarizing read in the YA community or not.  The female characters in particular are very fierce but not always likable.  I personally loved very flawed characters and I love how many dimensions these young women have in the book.  Sometimes I adore them and am cheering them on and sometimes I’m banging my head against a wall from a decision that is being made.  I love that though!

The Girl King has complex world building and a really cool magic system.  I love that the author takes her time to build it so I fully understood what was going on and became completely immersed.  One thing I adored about this book is that there is an EPIC battle scene.  They don’t hold back at all and it gave me all the feels and goosebumps.  I can’t stop thinking about it.  Too often the battle scenes feel rushed, not this one! This one is perfect!

I highly recommend checking this book out when it is released on January 8, 2019.  I think this is going to be a huge hit and rightfully so.  Give me more of that diverse fantasy because I’m living for the different stories that we are getting from it!

Thank you Bloomsbury.  ARC provided in exchange for an honest review.

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Top Ten Tuesday #2: Top Ten Badass Heroines We are Thankful For

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Hey guys! It’s time for Top Ten Tuesday, which is currently being run by the lovely Jana over at That Artsy Reader Girl.  We knew instantly that we wanted to take part in this weekly meme because both of us love making list, so this is perfect!

This week’s (November 20, 2018) topic is:  Thanksgiving/Thankful Freebie. We decided to pick the topic: Badass Heroines We are Thankful For.  Although, we are both Canadian and it’s not Thanksgiving for us (Happy Thanksgiving to the Americans!), we are always excited to show love to our favorite book ladies.

Since there are two of us running this blog (Melanie and Mireille), we’re going to break these memes up between us and each pick five!

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Kady & Hannah from The Illuminae Files
Yes, I’m cheating a bit and picking two but I refuse to cut one of them.  They are both very different girls, but they both share some really important traits.  Loyalty, Bravery, Intelligence, and just complete badassery!

The Queen of Hearts from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland
Ok, maybe this is a weird one to include but I’ve been obsessed with Alice in Wonderland since I was three years old.  Even though the Queen of Hearts has a little bit of a temper, you can’t deny that she is a woman who knows what she wants and is going to get it.  I am thankful for having this very assertive woman in my life LOL

Alossa from Daughter of the Pirate King
Alossa is honestly one of my favorite heroines.  I’m so thankful for her wit and banter and for being able to kick any man’s ass that dares to try and mess with with her.  You also have to love that she has an all-female crew! Hats off to you Alossa!

Diana from The Black Witch
I know there was quite a bit of controversy on this book when it first came out but I personally am in love with this series and amazing Diana has a lot to do it.  I love how confident she is and she won’t let anyone take away her shine! Shine on Diana!

Zélie from Children of Blood and Bone
I was lucky enough to read Children of Blood and Bone earlier this year and I just fell in love with Zélie.  Her persistence and bravery is what puts her on this list.

 

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Mia Corvere from Nevernight
This is my girl. Anyone who knows me knows I am a HUGE fan of the Nevernight series and big part of it is because the kickass heroine that is Mia Corvere. I am so thankful for Mia’s fearlessness and strength showing me that even if you are a girl you can bring empires to ruin.

Nona Grey from Red Sister 
Nona is just a kid when she is brought to the Sweet Mercy Convent to be trained as an assassin but through it all she keeps true to herself and her friends. It takes great courage to stay that honest.

Lila Bard from  A Darker Shade of Magic 
One thing we can say about Lila is that she is adventurous. The girl leaves everything behind on the promise of adventure. She reminds me that sometimes you just have to go forward, take a chance and never look back.

Inej Ghafa from  Six of Crows
I love Inej for everything that she represents. She was taken from the life she should have had and never stopped hoping that one day she would be free. She reminds us that our past does not define us and that we can be whatever we want to be. 

Eelyn from Sky in the Deep
I want to be Eelyn when I grow up so I can be a feisty badass Norse warrior. Throughout her journey she showed growth and understanding, and that is something we all need a little more of.

 

 

 

Middle Grade Monday #1: The Dreadful Tale of Prosper Redding by Alexandra Bracken

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Hey everyone!  If you’ve been in our group TBR and Beyond for any time, you will know we’ve been doing a feature called Middle-grade Monday for about a year now and one of the first things I did when we decided to start a blog was see if anyone was doing a weekly middle-grade meme and there is! Carolina over at Fictionologst started one up and I couldn’t be more pleased! Go check her out if you want to participate in this meme as well.
I’m a massive middle-grade fan, and I’m always trying to get people to give it a shot! Hopefully these reviews will give you a better idea if you want to try out the books or not! That is the goal anyway! Let’s get to it!

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Dreadful

My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Genre: YA Sci-Fi
Pages: 402
Pacing: Average/Normal
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Published: May, 29th 2018

 

 

 

 

Prosper is the only unexceptional Redding in his old and storied family history — that is, until he discovers the demon living inside him. Turns out Prosper’s great-great-great-great-great-something grandfather made — and then broke — a contract with a malefactor, a demon who exchanges fortune for eternal servitude. And, weirdly enough, four-thousand-year-old Alastor isn’t exactly the forgiving type. 

The fiend has reawakened with one purpose — to destroy the family whose success he ensured and who then betrayed him. With only days to break the curse and banish Alastor back to the demon realm, Prosper is playing unwilling host to the fiend, who delights in tormenting him with nasty insults and constant attempts trick him into a contract. Yeah, Prosper will take his future without a side of eternal servitude, thanks.

Little does Prosper know, the malefactor’s control over his body grows stronger with each passing night, and there’s a lot Alastor isn’t telling his dim-witted (but admittedly strong-willed) human host. – Synopsis from Goodreads 

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“A soft heart only makes it easier for a knife to slip in.”

I want to kick myself for waiting so long to read this one! This is so up my alley and I loved every single minute of it.

The Dreadful Tale of Prosper Redding is the perfect fall read.  The atmosphere is spooky and forbidding and the magic is dangerous.  I don’t think at this point I need to declare my love of middle-grade books – we all know that I love them and am a fairly well-versed reader in the area.  This is the kind of book that I would recommend to anyone in the YA community because I think it’s the perfect gateway book to show that middle-grade has mature, witty, strong written books with amazing soul to them.

I figured from the start I would love this book, it had me written all over it, so that part isn’t surprising to me at all.  What I didn’t expect was to fall in love with all of these amazing characters.  Our protagonist Prosper is completely relatable.  He’s a bit of a black sheep in his family, kind of a loser but probably the most interesting person in his town – isn’t that always the way? It turns out that a 4, 000 year old demon, Alastor, has taken up residence inside of poor Prosper and the town isn’t too pleased with it.

The characters are all well-developed but mysterious at the same time.  I was never sure of their motives and even when I found out their motives – I still didn’t trust anyone.  We meet some cool eccentric characters as the story goes along, my favorite being Prosper’s cousin Nell, who just happens to be a witch.  She is adorable and I loved how confident and determined she was.  It also made me so happy to see the inclusion of LGBTQIA+ in this story, in such a way that it wasn’t focused on.  It was just presented as perfectly normal and everyday.  I loved it and I am so happy to see more and more of this showing up in middle-grade novels.  YAS!

Alastor is by far my favorite character, I can’t help it! I can’t remember laughing so much in a book in awhile.  Yes, this book is laugh-out-loud funny and it’s all because of Alastor.  He’s constantly disgusted and furious at humans and what the world looks like today and his commentary is always priceless.  There seriously needs to be a little quote book, just for Alastor.

I recommend this book, even if you are reluctant to pick up a middle-grade.  It doesn’t get much more fun than this and it’s a great book for all ages.  Don’t miss out on this treasure of a novel.  I’m so excited for the next book in 2019.

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Review: The Last Time I Lied by Riley Sager

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My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Genre: Adult – Thriller/Mystery
Pages: 384
Pacing: Average/Normal
Publisher: Dutton
Published: July, 3rd 2018

 

 

 

 

 

Two Truths and a Lie. The girls played it all the time in their tiny cabin at Camp Nightingale. Vivian, Natalie, Allison, and first-time camper Emma Davis, the youngest of the group. The games ended when Emma sleepily watched the others sneak out of the cabin in the dead of night. The last she–or anyone–saw of them was Vivian closing the cabin door behind her, hushing Emma with a finger pressed to her lips. Now a rising star in the New York art scene, Emma turns her past into paintings–massive canvases filled with dark leaves and gnarled branches that cover ghostly shapes in white dresses. The paintings catch the attention of Francesca Harris-White, the socialite and wealthy owner of Camp Nightingale. When Francesca implores her to return to the newly reopened camp as a painting instructor, Emma sees an opportunity to try to find out what really happened to her friends.

Yet it’s immediately clear that all is not right at Camp Nightingale. Already haunted by memories from fifteen years ago, Emma discovers a security camera pointed directly at her cabin, mounting mistrust from Francesca and, most disturbing of all, cryptic clues Vivian left behind about the camp’s twisted origins. As she digs deeper, Emma finds herself sorting through lies from the past while facing threats from both man and nature in the present. 
And the closer she gets to the truth about Camp Nightingale, the more she realizes it may come at a deadly price – Synopsis from Goodreads.

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Review

“Although their eventual fate remains a mystery, I’m certain that what happened to those girls is all my fault.”

I picked up The Last Time I Lied on impulse because I kept seeing it everywhere and it sounded pretty good but I wasn’t expecting anything great.  Thankfully, I was wrong.

I’ve been picking up more and more adult thrillers over the last year or so and it’s always very hit or miss.  Quite a few of the really popular ones, I really have been let down by (Looking at you – Girl on the Train!).  I’m so happy to say that this book was fantastic.  Our main protagonist, Emma is heading back to a place she never wanted to step foot near again – summer camp.  The whole story is based around what happened to Emma (and everyone else) when they were much younger at Lake Midnight.  Emma’s three friends vanished and were never seen again and the mystery was never even close to solved.  The premise sounds very basic, and I suppose it is.  It’s nothing we haven’t seen 500 times before but what makes this story stand-out is Sager’s writing and characters.

I read The Last Time I Lied in a couple of sittings, but every time I put it down, I couldn’t stop thinking about it.  I had to know what happened to those girls and who exactly was involved.  I think that is a sign of a good thriller/mystery.  The pacing of this story is enough to keep you hooked but most of the story is very character driven.  I found myself loving someone one minute and wanting to slap them upside the back of the head the next.  It was a very love/hate relationship with most of the people.  I did really like Emma overall, I thought she was fairly relatable – even though her choices were frustrating at times.

I’m glad they didn’t really throw in some big romance, yes there was some sexual tension and some things that got hinted at but it wasn’t the focus of the story, not did it deter it in any way.  This is one I honestly didn’t figure out.  I would be surprised if most had this one pegged.  I was constantly suspecting everyone and just when I thought I had it solved, something else happened and I was unsure again.  The ending was a great surprise and left me with a big smile on my face.  Well-played Sager, well-played.

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Top Ten Tuesday #1: Bookish Merch We Wish Existed

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Hey guys! It’s time for Top Ten Tuesday, which is currently being run by the lovely Jana over at That Artsy Reader Girl.  We knew instantly that we wanted to take part in this weekly meme because both of us love making list, so this is perfect!

This week’s topic and our very first Top Ten Tuesday (November 13th, 2018) post is:  Bookish Items/Merchandise I’d Like to Own.  We decided to change it a little to: Bookish Merch We Wish Existed.  It’s going to be hard to narrow this one down!

Since there are two of us running this blog (Melanie and Mireille), we’re going to break these memes up between us and each pick five!

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An Illustrated Edition of A Court of Thorns and Roses (ACOTAR) Guide
Yes, I’m one of the people who is trash for Maas, so I would love to see a nice hardcover guide book to the ACOTAR world.  I think someone like Charlie Bowater would be perfect to illustrate it.

Bookish Funkos
I know there are a lot of people doing amazing custom Funkos, but those are quite hard on the wallet and most of us can’t buy many (if any!).  It would be awesome if some of the bigger young-adult books got some Funkos.  I’m surprised we don’t have any for Mortal Instruments even, I mean it has a television show.

My Lady Jane Fandom
I know a lot of people loved the book My Lady Jane, but there really is almost no fandom for it.  I want some wall hangings or something! There aren’t even any prints – illustrators need to get on that!!

A Middle-Grade Sub Box Aimed at Adults
Hear me out on this one! The wonderful people over at Owlcrate are doing a fantastic job on their monthly middle-grade box, Owlcrate JR.  I love the stories they pick and so on but they have a lot of practical fun things for children in the box (which is fantastic).  I would just love to see a box that only does fandom things with MG such as mugs, prints, household items, etc.  I know there probably aren’t enough adult readers to make a sub like this work but a girl can dream, right?

Illustrated Editions of The Chronicles of Narnia
We have this for both Harry Potter and Percy Jackson, so why has this not happened yet? They story is perfect for getting the illustrated treatment and popular enough that it would still sell.  The books in the series are also not very large, so again perfect! Make this happen someone!

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Bookish Colouring Books

I know there are a couple of these like A Court of Thorns and Roses or The Lunar Chronicles, but I wish there were more out there. I would absolutely love an Illuminae Files or Nevernight one. There is so much amazing fanart out there that it would be so fun to put in a colouring book.

Bookish Soundtracks
A couple authors put playlist together for when they write, I did find a couple on Spotify. They are really cool to listen to while you read the book and they help set the tone for the book. How brilliant would it be to get one for your favourite book?

Bookish Coffee
I cannot function without coffee it’s the source of all my power. There are a couple of companies out there that do it but I wish there would be a bit more fandoms available.

Cooking Book with Recipes inspired from Books
I love to cook (and eat lol).  A lot of times when I read a book that has a description of food, I wish I could taste it. I’ve found some recipes for Harry Potter or Lord of the Ring inspired meals but nothing official. Wouldn’t be fun to put a A Court of Thorns and Roses or Heartless inspired cookbook out there?

Fandom Inspired Bookends
I’ve seen a couple ones but again, not that many. I would pay a lot of money to get a well-crafted Nevernight or Six of Crows set of bookends. I could display my special editions between them,  it would make my shelves way more pretty.

 

What do you guys wish existed? Tell us below!

 

 

 

We finally have a blog!

Hey everyone! We are so excited to finally have a blog to go with out very active Facebook book group, TBR and Beyond . 

First want to say thank you to all our 2,500+ members for all their love and support.  We are more grateful than we can say.

Why did we decide to create this blog? For several reasons.  One, it’s a great way to keep everyone updated on what is going on in the TBR and Beyond group.  If you look around, you’ll see that we are keeping the schedules and all the reads and events on here with easy access.  We also wanted a new place that we could branch out a little and meet other readers/bloggers.  We also really wanted to be able to have a place to review our reads and just talk bookish.  Books are pretty much our lives, so any chance to get to talk about books even more, WE ARE THERE!

I hope you guys enjoy the blog and we can’t wait to talk to everyone and hopefully make even more bookish friends!

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