Life Among Pages

Book Reviews and Personal Musings

Tag: 4 stars

What If It’s Us by Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera | Review

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Cover for What If It's Us by Becky Albertalli and Adam Silveria with Harry Potter wand, Baby Driver movie tickets and Hamiliton soundtrack cover image

4 Stars


“I barely know him. I guess that is every relationship. You start with nothing and maybe end with everything.” 
I feel quite conflicted by this book. On one hand it was a super cute, enjoyable, lighthearted read. When I first saw the title I immediately thought of the song from Dear Evan Hansen and once I started reading the book I knew that was Becky and Adam’s intention, especially as the lyrics are split to form the different parts of the book: “What If”, “It’s Us”, “And Only Us”.

Arthur is only in New York for the summer, but if Broadway has taught him anything, it’s that the universe can deliver a showstopping romance when you least expect it.

Ben thinks the universe needs to mind its business. If the universe had his back, he wouldn’t be on his way to the post office carrying a box of his ex-boyfriend’s things.

But when Arthur and Ben meet-cute at the post office, what exactly does the universe have in store for them?

Maybe nothing. After all, they get separated. Maybe everything. After all, they get reunited.

But what if they can’t quite nail a first date . . . or a second first date . . . or a third?

What if Arthur tries too hard to make it work . . . and Ben doesn’t try hard enough? What if life really isn’t like a Broadway play? But what if it is?” Summary from Goodreads

“I’m just going to live in the moment. That’s the only way to see where we end up.” 

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Library Of Souls by Ransom Riggs | Review

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All three covers of the Miss Peregrine series, including Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, Hollow City, and Library of Souls by Ransom Riggs, surrounded by the vintage photos from the books included in the hardcover boxset

4 stars

“What a beautiful day to go to hell” 

This was a great continuation in the series, this might be my favourite of the Peregrine’s series. This was insanely action packed, lots of twists and character reveals, I was hooked.

When I was reading Library of Souls I thought it was the final book in the series, the ending was nicely wrapped up. However, at the time of writing this a fourth book, Map of Days, has been published, which surprised me. So I’ll be interested to see where the series goes from here.

“The adventure that began with Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children and continued in Hollow City comes to a thrilling conclusion with Library of Souls. As the story opens, sixteen-year-old Jacob discovers a powerful new ability, and soon he’s diving through history to rescue his peculiar companions from a heavily guarded fortress. Accompanying Jacob on his journey are Emma Bloom, a girl with fire at her fingertips, and Addison MacHenry, a dog with a nose for sniffing out lost children.

They’ll travel from modern-day London to the labyrinthine alleys of Devil’s Acre, the most wretched slum in all of Victorian England. It’s a place where the fate of peculiar children everywhere will be decided once and for all. Like its predecessors, Library of Souls blends thrilling fantasy with never-before-published vintage photography to create a one-of-a-kind reading experience”Summary from Goodreads.

“There was something sweet about holding a tangible thing that had been touched and marked upon by someone I loved.”

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Hollow City by Ransom Riggs | Review

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Miss Peregrines: Hollow City by Ransom Riggs beside vintage photos that are included in the hardcover box set edition of the series and with a canvas pouch featuring a quote from the book on it.

4 stars


“I liked this idea: that peculiarness wasn’t a deficiency, but an abundance; that it wasn’t we who lacked something normals had, but they who lacked peculiarness. That we were more, not less.”

I thoroughly enjoyed this, it’s a great continuation of the series. It picks up directly where the previous book left off, with them rowing away from the island of Cairnholm. The high stakes were great, the time sensitive mission added a lot to the story. I also like the new additions and knowledge about the peculiar world we received.

“This second novel begins in 1940, immediately after the first book ended. Having escaped Miss Peregrine’s island by the skin of their teeth, Jacob and his new friends must journey to London, the peculiar capital of the world. Along the way, they encounter new allies, a menagerie of peculiar animals, and other unexpected surprises.

Complete with dozens of newly discovered (and thoroughly mesmerising) vintage photographs, this new adventure will delight readers of all ages”Summary from Goodreads.

“We aren’t so different. Outcasts and wanderers all—souls clinging to the margins of the world.”

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The Art of Asking by Amanda Palmer | Review

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The Art of Asking by Amanda Palmer, held in front of a building under construction and a tree.

 4 stars

“From what I’ve seen, it isn’t so much the act of asking that paralyses us–it’s what lies beneath: the fear of being vulnerable, the fear of rejection, the fear of looking needy or weak. The fear of being seen as a burdensome member of the community instead of a productive one. It points, fundamentally, to our separation from one another.” 

This book was incredibly different to what I expected, but in a way it was also much more. At first, I had thought it would be a mild advice book, backed up with analogies from her life. However, it was more of a memoir than self help, but that doesn’t mean you cant learn from Amanda’s experiences.

The Art of Asking; or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Let People Help is a very in-depth look into the life of Amanda Palmer up close, personal, and without a filter. It proves that even though she lives an insane life, and is very well known musician. She is just a person, like you and me. She is flawed, makes mistakes, and has fears and anxiety about life, just like everybody else. Which is why it was exactly what I needed to read, much of what she said resonated strongly with me.

Rock star, crowd funding pioneer, and TED speaker Amanda Palmer knows all about asking. Performing as a living statue in a wedding dress, she wordlessly asked thousands of passers-by for their dollars. When she became a singer, songwriter, and musician, she was not afraid to ask her audience to support her as she surfed the crowd (and slept on their couches while touring). And when she left her record label to strike out on her own, she asked her fans to support her in making an album, leading to the world’s most successful music Kickstarter.

Even while Amanda is both celebrated and attacked for her fearlessness in asking for help, she finds that there are important things she cannot ask for-as a musician, as a friend, and as a wife. She learns that she isn’t alone in this, that so many people are afraid to ask for help, and it paralyses their lives and relationships. In this groundbreaking book, she explores these barriers in her own life and in the lives of those around her, and discovers the emotional, philosophical, and practical aspects of THE ART OF ASKING.” (Summary from Goodreads)

“As I moved through my life as a statue and later as a musician, I started to understand. There’s a difference between wanting to be looked at and wanting to be seen.” 

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Vassa in the Night by Sarah Porter | Review

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Vassa in the Night by Sarah Porter lying on the tiles surrounded by paper stars

4 stars 

“Why did it take me so many years to understand that Night is something you can talk to, something that might even decide to watch over you or kiss you just when you’re about to crumple from loneliness?” 

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. A few book reviews I had seen online warned that it’s strange, and won’t be everyone’s cup of tea etc. well it was definitely mine. I was enthralled. I do agree that it does have an odd vibe, but I did not find it as strange as some people made it out to be.

“In the enchanted kingdom of Brooklyn, the fashionable people put on cute shoes, go to parties in warehouses, drink on rooftops at sunset, and tell themselves they’ve arrived. A whole lot of Brooklyn is like that now—but not Vassa’s working-class neighbourhood.

In Vassa’s neighbourhood, where she lives with her stepmother and bickering stepsisters, one might stumble onto magic, but stumbling away again could become an issue. Babs Yagg, the owner of the local convenience store, has a policy of beheading shoplifters—and sometimes-innocent shoppers as well. So when Vassa’s stepsister sends her out for light bulbs, in the middle of night, she knows it could easily become a suicide mission.

But Vassa has a bit of luck hidden in her pocket, a gift from her dead mother. Erg is a tough-talking wooden doll with sticky fingers, a bottomless stomach, and a ferocious cunning. With Erg’s help, Vassa just might be able to break the witch’s curse and free her Brooklyn neighbourhood. But Babs won’t be playing fair” (Summary from Goodreads)

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Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur | Review

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Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur, lying on a table with a vanilla candle and a tube of honey

4 stars.

 

 “accept yourself
as you were designed”
“we are all born
so beautiful
the greatest tragedy is
being convinced we are not”

Going into this book, I knew very little, only what was in the Goodreads blurb (featured below), and that people on bookstagram had been mentioning it in many posts. It was somewhat of a shock to realise just how intimate some of the poems in milk and honey were.

“milk and honey is a collection of poetry and prose about survival. It is about the experience of violence, abuse, love, loss, and femininity. It is split into four chapters, and each chapter serves a different purpose, deals with a different pain, and heals a different heartache. milk and honey takes readers through a journey of the most bitter moments in life and finds sweetness in them because there is sweetness everywhere if you are just willing to look” Summary from Goodreads.

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Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake | Review

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The paperback and hardback editions of Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake

4 Stars

Three dark queens, are born in a glen,
Sweet little triplets will never be friends.
Three dark sisters, all fair to be seen,
Two to devour, and one to be Queen.”

“In every generation on the island of Fennbirn, a set of triplets is born: three queens, all equal heirs to the crown and each possessor of a coveted magic. Mirabella is a fierce elemental, able to spark hungry flames or vicious storms at the snap of her fingers. Katharine is a poisoner, one who can ingest the deadliest poisons without so much as a stomachache. Arsinoe, a naturalist, is said to have the ability to bloom the reddest rose and control the fiercest of lions.
But becoming the Queen Crowned isn’t solely a matter of royal birth. Each sister has to fight for it. And it’s not just a game of win or lose . . . its life or death. The night the sisters turn sixteen, the battle begins.
The last queen standing gets the crown.” (Summary from Goodreads)

I received two copies of Three Dark Crowns in October last year. The black hardcover was a part of Owlcrate’s ‘Darkness’ box and the paperback came in The YA Chronicles ‘You Win Or You Die’ box. This was the first time I purchased two book subscription boxes in a month, and was surprised to get the same book, although I know realise how common that is. However, since the covers are different, I don’t really mind. Plus Owlcrate’s came with a signed book plate and letter from the author so that was really cool. However, I prefer to read paperbacks, as they are lighter to carry around so I am quite happy to have both editions.

Full unboxing of the October Owlcrate Darkness box, containing its hardback copy of Three Dark Crowns and the misc. bookish items received with it.

Owlcrate October ‘Darkness’ Unboxing

I had no expectations going into Three Dark Crowns, I’d never heard of the book, but after reading the blurb on the book I was incredibly intrigued by the book’s premise. I was completely drawn into the world where three sisters are born with incredible gifts (or so we initially think) and are destined to kill each other. That part just breaks my heart, sisters having to kill each other; in fact, they are encouraged to do so.

Mild spoilers ahead, so please keep that in mind.

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Binge by Tyler Oakley | Review

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Binge by Tyler Oakley hardcover surrounded by candy

4 Stars

“I was taught that being myself was not only okay, but encouraged—and by being unapologetically yourself, you thrive and inspire others to thrive.”

Pop culture phenomenon, social rights advocate, and the most prominent LGBTQ+ voice on YouTube, Tyler Oakley brings you his first collection of witty, personal, and hilarious essays written in the voice that’s earned him more than 10 million followers across social media.” (Summary from Goodreads)

Tyler Oakley posted his first YouTube video in 2007, never expecting much to come from it. He definitely never thought that one day he would amass a following of over eight million subscribers on YouTube. Tyler has taken the online world by storm with successes including interviews with Michelle Obama and One Direction (both of which each have a chapter in the book, and one of them really pulls at the ole heartstrings), a worldwide live tour, a chart-topping podcast Psychobabble and a documentary titled Snervous. It’s crazy to think that all this started because a boy decided to film videos in his living room and upload them to YouTube.

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