Hello everybody! Today, I’m bringing you another weather/seasonal themed post, which is unfortunately a few books shorter than intended because the last few weeks have been super busy with uni and reading for separate blog posts. I’m hoping to squeeze the ones that I didn’t manage to read for this into other posts, though, hopefully before the end of the year. Onto the post!
Rise to the Sun by Leah Johnson
I really enjoyed Leah Johnson’s debut You Should See Me in a Crown, so her 2nd book was an auto buy for me and it didn’t disappoint. It’s about two girls named Toni and Liv, both of whom are going through something really tough in their everyday lives, who meet at a music festival and start a really lovely relationship. I’ve seen some people saying it felt too instalove but I didn’t think that at all; Toni and Olivia’s connection felt genuine and real, and I liked them together a lot. I also enjoyed the focus on their respective friendships with Peter and Imani, and the music festival setting was brilliant. I really wish more books were set in similar places, because I love reading about the power of music and its ability to bring people together and change lives. As well as having some really sweet romantic and platonic moments, this also makes commentary on some really important issues: topics like revenge porn, grief and gun violence. I wish I’d managed to get to this in summer since it’s very much a summer vibe, but I really enjoyed it nonetheless and I’m very excited to see what Leah Johnson does next, especially as she seems to be planning an MG release!
The Ice Whisperers by Helenka Stachera and illustrated by Marco Guadalupi
This is a debut I’ve been anticipating since I first saw the announcement on Twitter, and it was just as good as I’d hoped it would be. It’s about a girl named Bela, who has been raised by her cold, uncaring great aunt Olga as she is sent to stay with her uncle Viktor, and her life changes forever. She discovers that her mother was from another world- a prehistoric world that is perpetually 40,000 years ago- and that she has a sister named Ren-ya, who needs her help to save the spirit world from destruction. The relationship between the sisters is the focal point of the story, and although it starts off rocky, I loved seeing them bond and come together to avenge their mother’s death. The worldbuidling was so unique, and I loved the inclusion of folklore and mythology. The illustrations really add to the book as well, and overall it’s just the perfect length and pace to devour in a couple of sittings. And just for the record, a part of the climax made me cry! Helenka Stachera’s debut is a wintry treat that shows she has huge promise as a writer, and I’m looking forward to seeing what she comes up with next.
The Winter of Second Chances by Jenny Bayliss
I’m aware winter is not really a weather, but wintry weather is absolutely a thing and I really need some romcom goodness last week, so this totally counts. Also, I loved it and really want to talk about it! I really liked Jenny’s adult offering the Twelve Dates of Christmas last winter, but her sophomore adult book is one of the best romances I’ve read this year. It’s about a chef named Annie, who walks in on her husband cheating on her for the umpteenth time, and her subsequent move to a lovely little seaside town where she starts her own cafe and attempts to save her new home Saltwater Nook from being demolished. And this is a romcom, so she obviously falls in love as well. Annie is such a phenomenal main character; I actually can’t even begin to tell you how much I loved her. She and I may be far apart in age and have very different life experiences, but she just felt as real to me as people I know in actual life and I just wanted to join the book club and be friends with her and Gemma and Maggie and Sally. I also really liked the fact her children were grown up, and I loved both of them too! This is also just really funny with jokes that had me crying with laughter on multiple occasions, and undeniably a brilliant romance. No spoilers but I think you can guess from the blurb who the love interest is and they are absolutely ADORABLE together. God, this was just such a joy. If you like romance books in the vein of Rachael Lucas or Cressida McLaughlin, you need to read this!
The Frozen Telescope by Jennifer Bell and illustrated by Karl James Mountford
This is embarrassing to admit, but I have somehow taken about three years to finally read this book, after loving the first two Uncommoners book in their release years. In my defense, I was worried about saying goodbye to the incredible characters and world Jennifer Bell has created, but I’m absolutely kicking myself for taking so long if I’m honest. It was yet another wonderful story, which this time sees Ivy and Seb go to Nubrook undermart to help their friend Valian track down his sister Rosie, who has been missing for the past seven years. In terms of plot and worldbuilding, I loved the way this continues the search for more items of the Great Uncommon Good, which I find so clever and interesting, and I just love reading about all the “normal” uncommon items and the ways they can be used as well. Scratch is undoubtedly still my favourite character in this series (I would die for him, he’s precious!!), but Ivy’s compassion and cleverness makes her a very close second, and I like everyone who isn’t a member of the Dirge really. And I loved the twist about Rosie and why it was so impossible to find her all this time! It also features the final battle against the evil Dirge and their army of the dead, which forms a thrilling climax, but I loved the way the epilogue tied up loose ends and left the characters in the perfect place to end the series.
Lightning Falls by Amy Wilson (recieved a copy from the publisher in exchange for my honest review)
Lightning Falls is my new favourite Amy Wilson book; I’ve really enjoyed everything she’s ever written, but this one is just a masterclass in MG fantasy from beginning to end. It’s about a girl named Valerie, who has lived at the Ghost House all her life despite having fundamental differences to the other inhabitants, and what happens when a boy named Joe arrives and tells her everything she has ever known is a lie. She’s a missing child from a magical world, it’s in danger and it desperately needs her help it it’s to be saved. Valerie is a wonderful protagonist and I absolutely adored her sister Meg, and Joe was so interesting too. The villain is utterly nasty and despicable and I hated them, but on the whole, the Ghost House is packed with lovable inhabitants. And the sections from Ada’s point of view were so great as well, I loved how they linked in with Valerie’s both in terms of plot and theme. It’s also just one of the most perfectly plotted and structured books I’ve ever read. It takes the classic ‘a new man comes to town’ idea and crafts an incredible fantasy world and magic system around it, and I was in love from the first couple of pages, but it just kept getting better and better. Amy Wilson’s trademark beautiful writing is just the cherry on top of an already exceptional cake. If you’re a fan of Nicola Skinner’s Storm or Pàdraig Kenny’s Monsters of Rookhaven books, this an absolute must read.
Storm Horse by Jane Elson (recieved a copy from the publisher in exchange for my honest review)
I was lucky enough to be part of the blog tour for this a couple of months ago, and Jane sent me one of the loveliest thank you messages I’ve ever received from an author, so when I started planning this post, this book just absolutely had to be part of it. It’s about a boy named Daniel, who is dyslexic, and what happens when he finds a mysterious horse and teams up with some people from his reading group (who are being forced to go up against the top reading group at school for a televised contest) to protect this amazing animal. Daniel is a wonderful character with so much heart and bravery, and I loved him with my whole heart. I will root for the underdogs till the cows come home, and this book was no exception. I just wanted Daniel and his new friends who are part of the Biscuits (named after the famous racehorse Seabiscuit, who was never supposed to win) tto succeed so badly. His friends all felt like such distinct characters too, and I wanted them to succeed every bit as much as I did Daniel; every single character in this book just felt like a three dimensional person and it was almost like I truly knew them. I loved the storyline with the Horse too, and of course all the information about Seabiscuit. I think it’s important to note that the book is also an OwnVoices exploration of dyslexia, which was another really interesting element for me. This is just a gorgeous, uplifting story about triumph against the odds, and how history and historical figures can continue to inspire people in the present.
Thank you so much for reading! Have you read any of these books? Are they on your TBR? What are some of your favourite weather-related stories? I’d love to hear in the comments!
3 thoughts on “Reviews: It’s Raining Books!”
Thanks for such an interesting post. I must look out for Storm Horse as I have a particular interest in books written for or about people with dyslexia 😊
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Now I’ve not seen Frozen, but when Ice Whisperers came into work it seemed to scream it – am I wrong?!
I still haven’t read The Uncommoners, I probably should – do you think I’d like them?
As for weather related books I’d choose, it would have to be Storm Keeper trilogy or Supreme Lie.
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I definitely think you’d like the Uncommoners! They’re absolutely brilliant and the world is so clever and fun. I think I said to you but I’m really hoping to pick up Supreme Lie in either December or January xx