Below (North #1) by Alexandria Warwick – This Book Is Gorgeous (ARC Review)

Thank you to the author for providing me an ARC in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own. All quotes are taken from the ARC and are subject to change.

Overall: 4/5 Stars
Characters: 4/5
Setting: 5/5
Writing: 5/5
Plot and Themes: 3.5/5
Awesomeness Factor: 4/5
Review in a Nutshell: Below is cold and dark, a story rich with culture and told in beautiful prose.

“The night is long, but the sun will soon greet you.”

[ Related: 20 Most Anticipated Book Releases of 2020 (and 120+ More)(Recommendation Nation) ]

// Content Warning: Violence, Torture, Animal Death, Suicide Mention //

Release Date: 2/4/2020
Publisher: Wolf Publishing
Page Count: 308
Premise:

When Apaay’s sister, Eska’s face is stolen by the legendary creature known as the Face Stealer, she travels to where no one dares to go, the Face Stealers lair, to take it back. But her journey does not go as planned, and she finds herself trapped in a labyrinth by a girl, Yuki. Yuki promises her freedom if only Apaay can find Eska’s face, and a face Yuki is searching for. But the labyrinth, and those inside, are not what they seem. Including the Face Stealer himself.

“Does one crush a flower in winter?”

Want to see all of my thoughts on Below? Read more!

Writing & Setting

Alexandria Warwick’s writing is beautiful and enthralling. I found myself stopping every once in a while just to admire the writing and the choices Warwick makes in telling this story. Even what could be simple statements have a fairytale-esque feel that adds so much to this book. The writing also perfectly matches the atmospheric setting. The cold of this world seeps into your bones, chilling you as you follow Apaay’s journey. The world and culture are inspired by Inuit mythology. Alexandria Warwick managed to pull from a mix of reality and fantasy to ground her world and make it feel fleshed out and tangible, while also unique and imaginative.

“Power was temptation. Power was the question: to hurt or heal?”

Plot

This book is definitely not a fast-paced, action-focused epic. Instead, it moves slowly, emphasizing the character’s journeys and development. If you aren’t a fan of slower reads, this book may be hard to get into, but trust me, if you’re patient, you will find yourself absorbed by it. It may take you 50-75 pages or so to get into it, but once you are, you’ll be hooked.

“You love so fiercely. With your whole heart. That’s where your strength comes from.”

Characters

Apaay is a strong protagonist, loyal and dedicated, with corny jokes and fantastic development. I really loved her love for her sister and the relationship between them. As for the antagonists, we have two: Yuki and The Face Stealer. Yuki is a pretty run-of-the-mill villain— I don’t not like her as a character but she also didn’t really do anything for me. The Face Stealer (Numiak) on the other hand? Oh my god, I love him. He’s exactly my favorite type of character- a villain with unknowable motives and a backstory you’re desperate to unlock. I really can’t wait to learn more about him. We get glimpses in this book, but I need so much more! He’s such a compelling character, stealing every scene he was in. Usually, I prefer books with a romance plot, but these characters were so strong on their own that I wasn’t upset that we didn’t have one. Although, I will most definitely not complain if we get one in the next book (especially if it involves Numiak. I really just want a whole book about him).
Also, this book also features deaf characters and utilized sign language!

[ Related: My November + December Favorites, And My January TBR ]

“”People like us?” he said, voice hard. “We’re not meant to be loved.””

Conclusion

Pros- Atmospheric, beautiful writing and setting
Cons- A little slow
Overall- 4/5 stars.
Below is a stunning novel, atmospheric and beautiful, that is sure to stick with you.

If You Liked Below, I’d Recommend:

What book do you think has the most beautiful writing?





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My November + December Favorites, and My January TBR

I know, it’s been a while since I’ve done a TBR and Favorites post. December (and early January for that matter) was insane, and I was mostly prioritizing end of year posts and reviews. I wanted to have this posted last week, but I was in Disney, and the WordPress app hates me so I couldn’t get it up on time. So, despite the month being almost over, I still want to share my January TBR.

Also, since I missed my November favorites wrap up, I thought I’d combine it with my December favorites here. Yeah, I got quite a bit to talk about today, so let’s get to it!

Read more to see my favorite reads of November & December, plus my January TBR!

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Caitsbooks Reviews: Tweet Cute by Emma Lord (5 Stars)

Tweet Cute by Emma Lord – This Book Is Too Good (ARC Review)

Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for an ARC in exchange for an honest review! All quotes are taken from the ARC and are subject to change.

Overall: 5/5 Stars
Characters: 5/5
Setting: 5/5
Writing: 5/5
Plot and Themes: 5/5
Awesomeness Factor: 5/5
Review in a Nutshell: Tweet Cute is the perfect YA contemporary- it’s cute, it’s funny, and it’s got heart.

“Apparently in the vast arsenal of useless talents that aren’t going to help me get into college, I am really good at being snarky on Twitter.”

[ Related: 20 Most Anticipated Book Releases of 2020 (Plus 120+ More)(Recommendation Station)]

Release Date: 1/21/2020
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Page Count: 368
Premise:
Tweet Cute follows two high schoolers, Pepper and Jack. Pepper is a perfectionist. While her family life isn’t going great, their fast-food business, Big League Burger, is, due to Pepper running their massive Twitter. Jack is a class clown who keeps himself busy helping out in his family’s deli. When he discovers that Big League Burger stole one of their recipes, he goes after them on the deli’s twitter. What starts as one small tweet turns into a viral battle, but while their fighting on twitter, they’re falling for each other on an anonymous app and in real life.

“[…] the issue isn’t so much what I want to be, but whether or not I can be it without hurting everyone else in the process.”

Read more for all of my thoughts on Tweet Cute!

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20 Book Releases of 2020

20 Most Anticipated Book Releases of 2020 (And 120+ More!) (Recommendation Station)

I feel like every year, there are just more and more new releases that I’m dying to read.

2020 has some impressive books lined up, and I would love to talk about all of them, but that would take days. Instead, I’ve decided to highlight my 20 most anticipated 2020 releases, and throw in an extra 140 amazing releases separated in lists so that you can check all of them out on your own!

Speaking of separate lists- I tried to organize these… somewhat. There are 4 different sections of releases:
New Series– the book is the first in a soon-to-be series
Sequels & Prequels– the book is a continuation of a series that has at least one book in it already
Standalones– the book has little to no affiliation with a series and can be read alone
The Untitled Section– can include any of those types of books above, but all of these books don’t have titles. I don’t know why I felt that needed a category, but I wanted to make one.

[ Related: 19 Best Debut Novels of 2019 (Recommendation Nation) ]

New Series

All the Stars and Teeth by Adalyn Grace

Release Date: 2/4/2020
Series: All The Stars and Teeth #1
Genre: YA Fantasy (Pirates)
Publisher: Imprint
Page Count: 384
When Princess Amora’s demonstration to prove her mastery of soul magic goes awry, she strikes a deal with a pirate, Bastian. In return for helping her prove she is fit for the throne, she must help him reclaim the magic that was stolen from him. I’ve been so excited for this book for years now, and I can’t wait to finally read it! Also, it comes out on my birthday, so I can tell this year is gonna be a good one.

The Queen’s Assassin by Melissa de la Cruz

Release Date: 2/4/2020
Series: Queen’s Secret #1
Genre: YA Fantasy
Publisher: G. P. Putnam’s Sons
Page Count: 384
Caledon is the Queen’s only assassin, and the kingdom’s deadliest weapon. Shadow dreams of becoming an assassin like him, training to join the Guild, while also learning to control her magic that is forbidden in the kingdom. When an attack brings the two of them together, they must team up to hunt down Renovia’s newest threat.

Chain of Gold by Cassandra Clare

Release Date: 3/3/2020
Series: The Last Hours #1
Genre: YA Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Page Count: 544
Yet another new series in Cassandra Clare’s world of Shadowhunters. Chain of Gold takes place in Edwardian London, following the children of Will and Tessa Herondale- James and Lucie- as well as Cordelia Carstairs, whose name may sound familiar if you’ve read the The Dark Artifices series.

Read more for all of my most anticipated releases of 2020!! Trust me, you don’t want to miss them!

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Caitsbooks Reviews: A Heart So Fierce and Broken by Brigid Kemmerer (4 Stars)

A Heart So Fierce and Broken (Cursebreakers #2) by Brigid Kemmerer – I Dont Know If Im Happy or Scared (Probably Both) (ARC Review)

*I received an ARC at BookCon. All quotes are taken from the ARC and are subject to change.*

Overall: 4/5 Stars
Characters: 3/5
Setting: 5/5
Writing: 5/5
Plot and Themes: 4/5
Awesomeness Factor: 3/5
Review in a Nutshell: A Heart So Fierce and Broken is, overall, a great read, but some aspects left me conflicted.

“There is no path here. I feel as though the curse never ended. The players simply changed.”

[ Related: A Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer- I’m So Glad I Finally Read It!! (Review) ]

// Content Warning: Violence, Death, Torture, Anxiety, Suicide Mention, Self Harm Mention, Rape Mention, Animal Death, War Themes, Mental Illness, PTSD //

Release Date: 1/7/2020
Publisher: HarperTeen
Page Count: 491
A Heart So Fierce and Broken is the sequel to A Curse So Dark and Lonely, this focusing on Grey, Rhen’s loyal guard who is on the run, and Lia Mara, the daughter of the queen of a rival kingdom.

“Choices are never easy. There are good or bad options, but the most dangerous is not to make any choice at all.”

Read more for all of my thoughts on A Heart So Fierce and Broken!

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