Friday, December 29, 2017

Review: Foolish Hearts by Emma Mills

Firstly, thanks to Pan Macmillan Australia for this review copy <3

Date Read: December 20 - 28 2017
Date Released: December 27th 2017
Publisher: Pan Macmillan Australia
Source: Review copy via publisher
Genre: Contemporary
My Rating:

"A contemporary novel about a girl whose high school production of A Midsummer Night's Dream leads her to new friends—and maybe even new love.

The day of the last party of the summer, Claudia overhears a conversation she wasn't supposed to. Now on the wrong side of one of the meanest girls in school, Claudia doesn't know what to expect when the two are paired up to write a paper—let alone when they're both forced to try out for the school production of A Midsummer Night's Dream.

But mandatory participation has its upsides—namely, an unexpected friendship, a boy band obsession, and a guy with the best dimpled smile Claudia's ever seen. As Claudia's world starts to expand, she finds that maybe there are some things worth sticking her neck out for."


I still remember picking up Mills’ debut novel First & Then and being completely in awe of her simple yet sophisticated style and engaging characters. Foolish Heart is her third book and Mills is really showcasing her talent and ability to expand the way she writes personalities.

I found Foolish Hearts to be a bit different to her previous two books – First & Then, This Adventure Ends – in that while those two were definitely more plot focused (adjusting to a new family member and finding a painting respectively), Foolish Hearts was definitely more character focused. This is not something I regularly see in American books which are plot focused while Aussie contemporaries are more character driven, hence I found this very refreshing.

Claudia Wallace was an interesting character and at first, I didn’t think I’d like her. She was so ordinary and seemed like the wallflower type before the story really got going. As someone who’s not rich but goes to a prestigious school she kind of hides and tries to be invisible, not making an effort to make any friends despite it being her senior year. She observes and hangs back but whenever someone asked her to do something she’d do it and she came across as a bit of doormat. But then the story progresses and I realise she’s a genuinely nice person. She cares about other people and she’s also got an awesome sense of humour - +1 to anybody who speaks sarcasm. When someone really gets to know her, they know they’ve found a true friend in Claudia Wallace – she’s the person who’ll give you a lift when you’ve no one to drive you home, who will listen when you have problems, who has a wicked sense of humour when you need to hear a good joke. I also loved that she’s a nerd – SHE GAMES. She is extremely passionate about this MMORPG called Battle Quest and I was like omg you love this game like I love mapulsutoriii *hums MapleStory login theme song* (to be fair Battle Quest has way more purpose than Maple… actually on second thought what MMORPG doesn’t have more purpose than Maple?)

Anyway poor Claudia gets stuck helping out with her school’s joint production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream with their brother school as extra credit for her poor co-written essay with Iris. Iris was such a well-written character. Kind of hate her because she’s a bitch who says some really scathing things and has no filter, but kind of love her too because she says it like it is and once Claudia/the reader got to know her, Iris is actually trying. She’s the kind of person who looks at a situation and doesn’t need to be told twice to get it, she’ll do the right thing. Iris also has an amazingly fascinating obsession with a boyband called TION (This Is Our Now… is that like 1D in Mill’s world?) and the singer Kenji. I could relate to this because I love my Korean boybands… not at the Iris Huang level though… but still! Her passion!

Senior year is definitely the year everything changes for Claudia though because not only does she get landed with Iris but she catches the attention of popular boy Gideon Prewitt from the brother school. And ohmygod does Mills write the most uniquely lovely boys. When we’re first introduced to the full force that is Gideon Prewitt I thought he was going to be one of those fake nice boys who plays with girls’ feelings, knows he’s hot and does drugs just because he’s a rich kid. I was so wrong. This boy is so genuinely sweet, lovely and full of excitement I fell in love with him so easily. He is extremely thoughtful, considerate of his friends and doesn’t hide his feelings to be ‘manly’. You know when guys tease each other about liking a girl in front of everyone and they get all weird about it and deny it? Gideon is the kind of guy who will earnestly say yes, he likes her. And that I find, shows a guy who feels confident in his own skin and is genuine about his feelings. This makes the romance immensely adorable and there was a lot of squealing on my part because there are so many moments that could have turned out differently HAHA. Like to the point where I’m like, is anything ever gonna happen? So cute guys, SO CUTE.

Foolish Hearts also has one of the best family dynamics I’ve ever seen. Claudia has quite a decent relationship with her parents but it’s her relationship with her siblings I enjoyed. She games with her brother Alex and their older sister Julia and her husband Mark! They go on quests and run dungeons together along with Claude’s best friend from pre-school, Zoe. It’s a different way of bonding with each other, learning how to work together in your different character classes to battle bosses. Alex is a great brother to Claudia, protecting her and while Julia may not live at home anymore, they obviously all care about one other what with the constant calls and texts like you’d have with friends. Great family dynamics like this aren’t usually explored and despite their non-constant presence, Mills managed to really give their personalities depth.

Another aspect I really appreciated was the amount of diversity Mills explored. I acknowledge that her previous books didn’t have as much of this (I recall This Adventure Ends had gender diversity) and it kind of felt like it was included amidst all the outcry of whitewashing in books. However, I think Mills did diversity right. There’s diversity of class, of race, of sexual orientation but it’s never used as an excuse for anything or as a plot device. These characters just are and don’t impede on the overall story.

All of this to set to the backdrop of the progress of turning A Midsummer’s Night Dream into a fully-fledged production. Friendships are formed in rehearsals, whilst sewing costumes and practicing lines. Romance is lowkey forming watching each other on stage and interact with others. There’s misunderstandings and drama… just like a Shakespearean comedy!

With the genius that Mills has established early on and continues to display, Foolish Hearts is like a standard high school romance but when you look closely, resembles a piece of literature the book heavily references. With a cast of stunningly unique and memorable characters, Foolish Hearts is a lovely contemporary that further cements Emma Mills as a truly talented YA writer.

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Review: Unearthed (Unearthed #1) by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner

Firstly, thanks to Allen & Unwin for this review copy <3

Date Read: September 30 - October 9 2017
Date Released: December 1st 2017
Publisher: Allen & Unwin
Source: Review copy via publisher
Genre: Sci-fi
My Rating:

"When Earth intercepts a message from a long-extinct alien race, it seems like the solution the planet has been waiting for. The Undying's advanced technology has the potential to undo environmental damage and turn lives around, and Gaia, their former home planet, is a treasure trove waiting to be uncovered.

For Jules Addison and his fellow scholars, the discovery of an alien culture offers unprecedented opportunity for study... as long as scavengers like Amelia Radcliffe don't loot everything first. Mia and Jules' different reasons for smuggling themselves onto Gaia put them immediately at odds, but after escaping a dangerous confrontation with other scavvers, they form a fragile alliance.

In order to penetrate the Undying temple and reach the tech and information hidden within, the two must decode the ancient race's secrets and survive their traps. But the more they learn about the Undying, the more their presence in the temple seems to be part of a grand design that could spell the end of the human race..."


If there’s one thing Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner (from here on out referred to A&M for Amie and Meg) can do well, it’s writing a high stakes space opera. Fast spaced, action-packed and romantic, Unearthed is one book that had me on the edge of my seat the whole time.

Amelia may only be 16 but she’s lived a hard life. She’s basically a scavenger and relies on this lifestyle to get by. She’s quick to act and not naïve. I liked her untrusting personality and cynical nature which gave a realistic impression of her world. Her street smarts gave her an edge on Gaia and showed that being book smart isn’t everything (although she’s a great logistician too).

Jules was a harder one for me to like. I couldn’t fathom how a guy who is so learned could be so sheltered as to not realise how badly Earth was falling apart? Like here’s a guy who plays water polo and is surprised when many of the luxuries he’s experienced are unknown to Mia. It was like something on the back of his mind while he studied at Oxford and lived his privileged life that the majority of the United States had no electricity or clean drinking water. He’s on this mission to basically save Earth yet it hasn’t kicked in for him that Earth really needed saving from what I gathered. To him, his research purposes were far more important. Thus, he definitely annoyed me when he used his ‘moral standing’ to justify the need to do things for research. I was like duuuude get off your high horse and get your nose out of the book because your book smarts, while theoretically great are going to get you killed because you can’t think fast on your feet *eye roll* Ok Jules rant over sorry. He does have his good side though. Naïve from one perspective but innocent and pure from another. He’s really sweet and kind and so loveable, kind of like a cinnamon roll.

There’s a cast of sub characters that add to the chase but in a fashion similar to Starbound, the story is really about Mia and Jules. I mean I kind of cared for a few but let’s be honest, we all know I was in it for Mia and Jules.

The plot definitely kept me on the edge of my seat. The story is a series of puzzles to solve with one overarching mystery tying it all together and I loved the way Mia and Jules came together to solve them. The puzzles get more bizarre as they kind of get more and more… familiar? That’s the most I can say without spoilers. I thought it was extremely clever how A&M came up with these puzzles and how everything comes together because plots like this are just asking for plot holes. I couldn’t spot any though! I really think they had their bases covered.

I’m not going to say the plot overall was particularly ground-breaking for me. The mystery was something I’d already figured out early on in the story – within the first 3 chapters-ish – so reading on was to see it all unravel and how everything came together by the end. It was definitely cool and most of my questions were answered although the ending – what a cliffhanger! Typical A&M let’s be honest.

I’m definitely excited for Unnamed/the next book to see how this gets wrapped up. Unearthed is a great high stakes chase novel with a mystery that kept me turning the pages throughout. There’s sass, romance, puzzles til the end and it was just so fun!

Monday, October 9, 2017

Review: Tower of Dawn (Throne of Glass #6) by Sarah J. Maas

Firstly, thanks to Bloomsbury Australia for this review copy <3

Date Read: September 19 - 29 2017
Date Released: September 5th 2017
Publisher: Bloomsbury Australia
Source: Review copy via publisher
Genre: Fantasy
My Rating:

"Chaol Westfall has always defined himself by his unwavering loyalty, his strength, and his position as the Captain of the Guard. But all of that has changed since Aelin shattered the glass castle, since Chaol's men were slaughtered, since the King of Adarlan spared him from a killing blow, but left his body broken.

Now he and Nesryn sail for Antica – the stronghold of the southern continent's mighty empire and of the legendary healers of the Torre Cesme. It's Chaol's one shot at recovery, and with war looming back home, Dorian and Aelin's survival could depend on Chaol and Nesryn convincing Antica's rulers to ally with them.

But what they discover there will change them both – and be more vital to saving Erilea than they could have imagined."


There were times I debated not reading Tower of Dawn because Chaol Westfall is my favourite character in the TOG series and the way he’s been treated since the end of Heir of Fire/beginning of Queen of Shadows has me really disappointed. Crown of Midnight was wonderful and the events in there definitely put a rift between Celaena and Chaol, but the complete 180 these two had in feelings for each other between one book and the next just didn’t make sense. It was drastic and it felt forced. However, I love these books for the world and the plot that has me at the edge of my seat and I was very curious about the Southern Continent. I’m so glad I decided to pick up ToD; I initially thought this was a parallel to Empire of Storms as a #5.5 but the events in ToD are actually crucial to the story and plot.

Bitter. That is one word I’d use to describe Chaol when Tower of Dawn opens. He’s full of disappointment and self-loathing after the cumulative events of the books and then this spinal injury at the end of Queen of Shadows. Arriving at the royal court of the Southern Continent, he not only hopes to walk again, but he’s tasked with trying to win over the khaganate and amass an army to help Aelin’s cause. It’s a difficult journey both physically, mentally and emotionally – he’s harbouring dark emotions from when he first left Anielle and there’s layers and layers of negativity he needs to get through. As the previous Captain of the Royal Guard, he didn’t play any political games so the khagan’s children really have him frustrated with their deceptions and mind games.

I think Yrene is the first female protagonist (well one of the main cast) SJM has introduced who is not a fighter, but a healer. Celaena, Aelin, Manon, Lysandra, Nesyrn, even Nehemia (let’s not talk about poor Sorscha), knew how to fight in some shape or form. Yrene has only ever held a knife for surgical purposes so it was quite different seeing this gentle woman who was fierce in her own way. She’s amazing at what she does and well loved by the people of Antica. As her and Chaol’s story intertwines she learns a lot about herself, about healers and her ancestry. I can’t wait to see what SJM has in store for her.

The royal family are really an interesting lot though. There’s the sly princess Hasar who is Yrene’s friend; their friendship is kind of weird because I could tell they cared about each other but Hasar clearly had the upperhand and as a royal she was conniving and would occasionally manipulate Yrene. Then there’s steadfast Kashin who has this crush on Yrene and it would be cute if he wasn’t so politically powerful. My favourite was definitely Sartaq who’s charming and quiet BUT HE RIDES A RUK. HE GETS TO RID AN ENORMOUS GOLDEN BIRD WHO IS PRECIOUS. Like I fell in love with Kadara immediately, she’s loyal, intelligent and described by Sartaq as clucky. One of my absolute favs was Hafiza, the Healer on High, this extremely wise and gentle woman who is the most powerful healer on the Southern Continent. She embodies goodness and I hope to see more of her in the future books. Then there’s Shen who’s a minor character but I find helps put Chaol’s situation into perspective. There’s definitely heaps of characters and they’re more diverse than in her previous books. I do think that they all have a purpose no matter how many characters SJM introduces.

I’ll never get off my Chaolaena ship but I could see where this romance comes from. It’s one of healing and acceptance, facing inner-truths and darkness. There’s actually two romantic storylines going on and I’m grateful. The other one is freeing and adventurous, perfect for this particular character. I was definitely shipping this second romance a lot more!

The Southern Continent is a really different place and I’m glad SJM expanded on her world to include a more diverse culture. It’s kind of like oriental and Middle Eastern? The world-building is fabulous, the khaganate having a long history of being smart enough to embrace all the cultures of these southern lands to ensure peace but also showing force when required to quell discord. We get to see the mountains and deserts surrounding Antica as well as exploring the bustling city. As usual, the writing is gorgeous and lovely, with in-depth imagery to heighten our senses. The food was what got me, my goodness do I really want to eat from one of those street vendors, or sit at a restaurant, or try some of Cook’s delicacies in the Torre Cesme. There’s mint tea, and spiced meats and honeyed pastries AND I JUST DROOOOOOOOOL.

Of course underpinning all this FUN (because who doesn’t love flying on birds, exploring new cities and EATING?) is the pressing threat of the Valg. The overarching Throne of Glass story continues which is why this book actually needs to be read after Empire of Storms and before the last ToG. There are like REVELATIONS that are so important to the story and had me shook.

Tower of Dawn is a book of healing, of facing your inner darkness and truths. Set against the glorious sunburned backdrop of the Southern Continent, in typical SJM fashion, this book had me on the edge of my seat the whole way through. I can’t wait to see how this series finishes!

Monday, October 2, 2017

Review: If There's No Tomorrow by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Firstly, thanks to Harlequin Australia for this review copy <3

Date Read: September 11 - 16 2017
Date Released: September 5th 2017
Publisher: Harlequin Australia
Source: Review copy via publisher
Genre: Contemporary
My Rating:

"Lena Wise is always looking forward to tomorrow, especially at the start of her senior year. She's ready to pack in as much friend time as possible, to finish college applications and to maybe let her childhood best friend, Sebastian, know how she really feels about him. For Lena, the upcoming year is going to be one of opportunities and chances.

Until one choice, one moment, destroys everything.

Now Lena isn't looking forward to tomorrow. Not when friend time may never be the same. Not when college applications feel all but impossible. Not when Sebastian could never forgive her for what happened.

For what she let happen.

With the guilt growing each day, Lena knows that her only hope is to move on. But how can she move on when tomorrow isn't even guaranteed?"


If There’s No Tomorrow may not have been the most amazing book I’ve ever read, but it’s a very important book. The themes JLA discusses are not ones usually seen in YA. I’ve never read anything like this, and I found it extremely unique.

The story is told in a before and after style. Before, Lena is your typical high school girl – wait is typical a thing anymore? Is that a stereotype? Whatevs LOL. Anyway, she’s got the part time job, dealing with some family problems, does well at school, has friends, is doing not so bad at life and waiting for high school to finish so she can go on to college ya know? We’ve all been there. Then she makes a particular choice and after, she’s a totally different person. Lena is ridden with guilt and it consumes her. Add on the grief and her life is basically on pause. She stops seeing her friends, stops interacting, she is detached from everything. I thought JLA did an amazing job of first person POV because I was totally in Lena’s headspace. Her transition from carefree teenager with boy problems to her lack of presence in the real world was so well done.

ITNT has a diverse cast of characters that JLA all gives distinct personalities. They’re memorable and fun-loving but also flawed. Abbi was one character that really stood out to me. She’s fierce and not afraid to speak her mind; the things she said to Lena made me angry because they were hurtful but also so very true. All of Lena’s friends have different aspirations and the glimpses JLA gives us into each person makes everything in the after quite impactful.

How is it that JLA writes such wonderful boys? There’s Damon, Roth and ohmygod Aiden St. Delphi. For those of you who have been following me/reading my reviews for a long time you know the Covenant series is my favourite YA series of all time and Aiden St. Delphi is my #1 book boyfriend. In IFNT we are introduced to Sebastian who is this dark-haired blue-eyed wonder. A gorgeous specimen of course but also kind, funny and the kind of boy every parent wants their daughter to marry. Good natured, not a player, understanding, I couldn’t help but think this is who Aiden would’ve been in a contemporary YA without all the daimon drama making him broody. Lena and Sebastian have been best friends forever and you kind of wonder why the hell they aren’t together. There’s the wondering before, then there’s the after where Lena locks herself away and it’s interesting how their dynamic changes.

At times I found the book itself dragged on. I understand that the lengthy ‘Before’ was required to set the scene and establish the different characters but it definitely went on for a while and I wanted to just get on with the plot and the ‘what happened’ and ‘After’. The book is definitely easy to get through though in typical JLA fashion – her writing has an addictive quality to it that sucks you in no matter what world.

Without giving too many spoilers away the plot is a good one. It really drives home the idea of perspective. You know when we say ‘could’ve, should’ve, would’ve’? That’s what I think of when I read this book. All the things we could’ve said, should’ve said, but for fear of making a big deal we don’t speak up. And it’s normal. How many times as a teen (or even now) did you not want to speak up about something because the majority were saying you were just making a big deal out of nothing and you’re just setting everybody back? IFNT draws on such conflicting thoughts we have and that at the end of the day, what are those consequences. Can we entirely blame someone? I think chance has a really big part to play in everything that happens. If There’s No Tomorrow is an important book about safety, the could’ve/should’ve/would’ve moments we have in life and the consequences when chance isn’t in our favour.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Review: Godsgrave (The Nevernight Chronicle #2) by Jay Kristoff

Firstly, thanks to Harper Voyager Australia for this review copy <3

Date Read: September 2 - 10 2017
Date Released: September 7th 2017
Publisher: Harper Voyager Australia
Source: Review copy via publisher
Genre: Fantasy
My Rating:

"Mia Corvere has found her place among the Blades of Our Lady of Blessed Murder, but many in the Red Church hierarchy think she’s far from earned it. Plying her bloody trade in a backwater of the Republic, she’s no closer to ending the men who destroyed her familia; in fact, she’s told directly that Consul Scaeva is off limits. But after a deadly confrontation with an old enemy, Mia suspicions about the Red Church’s true motives begin to grow.

When it’s announced that Scaeva will be making a rare public appearance at the conclusion of the grand games in Godsgrave, Mia defies the Church and sells herself to a gladiatorial collegium for a chance to finally end him. Upon the sands of the arena, Mia finds new allies, bitter rivals, and more questions about her strange affinity for the shadows. But as conspiracies unfold within the collegium walls, and the body count rises, Mia will be forced to choose between love and revenge, and uncover a secret that could change the very face of her world."


There’s something about a really good… No… Really amazing book that leaves me speechless. A book that makes me angry is easy to review because all I want to do is rant my heart out. Something like Godsgrave though? All I want to do is yell at you READ THIS BOOK. Thus I’m here yelling at you through the screen, notice my caps: READ THIS BOOK. READ THE NEVERNIGHT CHRONICLE. START NEVERNIGHT IF YOU HAVEN’T YET.

I’m going to attempt stringing some words together for some semblance of a review but be warned, it’s probably just going to be heaps of cussing and yelling at you to READ THIS DAMN BOOK through caps lock.

Shit guys (oops strike one) Kristoff has really done a number on me with book 2. I thought Mia was ruthless in Nevernight but she is nek level goals and ambition here. I freaking loved her for it. “Eyes on the prize Corvere” is a common mantra and damn (strike two) is it accurate. Mia lets nothing stand in her away, nobody she won’t kill to get what she ultimately wants. Girl is all daggers, knives, poisons, punches, everything in her arsenal. Girl is the type to kick a man while he’s down to make sure he stays down! Yet at the heart of it all Mia is not a bad person. She is a girl with morals – albeit questionable ones – so there are numerous moments that had me going “FUCK NO. YOU DID NOT. OMG YOU DID.” But then my girl comes through and I’m like yeah truuuuuust you did good. I just love Mia Corvere so much and she is lethal, hilarious AND OMG I WISH SHE WOULD QUIT SMOKING THOUGH?

Kristoff introduces new characters but brings back familiar faces from Nevernight and y’all should really just read Nevernight to know what I’m talking about. We can love and hate the characters together! No spoilers but there is one person who re-appears that when I first saw them again I wanted to KILLLLLL THEM. STABBY STABBY KILL DIE I HATE THEM SO MUCH. Buuuuut Kristoff really does a number on me so that I eventually warm to this person. I’m still not sure if I completely trust them but not gonna lie I really like them now. Then there’s this group of FRANS that Mia meets (Mia won’t admit they’re her friends but I swear they buddy buddy) and I couldn’t help but grow attached to them. They’re all different and loveable and memorable.

There is romance and omg sexy times are sexy but I’m not sure I’m totally onboard with the person given their actions previously. Also I’m sorry but I’m attached to a particular someone from Nevernight haaah. Buuuuut Kristoff writes such seductive sexy times and I was shipping Mia and this person so hard I was so invested in these scenes LOL :shrug:

Everything is accentuated by Kristoff’s sensual and lush writing. The gritty, gory imagery is in full swing and I love the dark vibes. The descriptions are intense and totally draws me into this unforgiving ancient Roman-inspired world. One of the techniques I loved in Nevernight that I’m really glad continues in Godsgrave is the use of parallels to show juxtapositions between characters. Have two different characters in nearly the same situation, but change a few things as we go back and forth between views and the differences are so much more profound. There’s a lyrical nature to it and I couldn’t help but look for these moments.

Of course the story is amazing and I’m on the edge of my seat the whole time cheering Mia on as she progresses through her killing spree, AHEM I mean journey. Kristoff doesn’t make it easy for her so every tiny victory seems like a big step in the grand scheme of things. AND THEN. AND THEN. Kristoff totally blindsided me because THAT ENDING. THAT DAMN ENDING. My brain is still a grey mess it’s literally been blown to smithereens. Talk about fucked up. I was like fuck. FUCK. FUUUUUUUCK NO WAY. NO FUCKING WAY. I’m still not over it. Conspiracies layered within conspiracies and the mind fuckery is so real. One more book. One more book and Kristoff needs to get Mia out of this cesspool he’s thrown her in. GOOD LUCK MATE.

Basically read this book, READ NEVERNIGHT. READ EVERYTHING JAY KRISTOFF WRITES because we’re all masochists here and love having our feelings slayed. Embrace the dark, gritty, seductive world of Nevernight and rise with Mia Corvere.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Review: The Duchess Deal

The Duchess Deal The Duchess Deal by Tessa Dare
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Every time I try one of these historical romance novels I hope for something different. Alas, they all fall into one of two plot styles and The Duchess Deal was no exception. I'm not sure why I even bother but there's the hope that one day I'll stumble across one I really love.
The Duchess Deal lacked the complexity in plot I was looking for to make this standout. It's typical poor girl with sad back story and broody troubled aristocrat being forced together and falling in love. There's the occasional obstacle here and there but nothing majorly chaotic. It's light, on the surface and of course accompanied by smut.
The Duchess Deal wasn't bad per se, it was ok (see the 2 stars lel) but I got bored a lot of the way through. Said obstacles bored me and had me rolling my eyes.
Emma is fierce and tenacious enough, speaking her mind and the Duke is certainly broody and caring in that stereotype we see. I don't mind their characters but they didn't stand out to me.
I get these are meant to be cute, sweet, sexy and the kind of book you read when you want something to get away from the deep, heavy stuff. I KNOW that, I even expect it? But I can't help wanting more.

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Review: The Savage Dawn (The Girl at Midnight #3) by Melissa Grey

Firstly, thanks to Date a Book for this review copy <3

Date Read: August 15 - 20 2017
Date Released: July 6th 2017
Publisher: Hachette Australia (Atom)
Source: Review copy via publisher
Genre: Fantasy
My Rating:

"The sides have been chosen and the battle lines drawn.

Echo awakened the Firebird. Now she is the only one with the power to face the darkness she unwittingly unleashed . . . right into the waiting hands of Tanith, the new Dragon Prince. Tanith has one goal in mind: destroy her enemies, raze their lands, and reign supreme in a new era where the Drakharin are almighty and the Avicen are nothing but a memory.

The war that has been brewing for centuries is finally imminent. But the scales are tipped. Echo might hold the power to face the darkness within the Dragon Prince, but she has far to go to master its overwhelming force. And now she’s plagued by uncertainty. With Caius no longer by her side, she doesn’t know if she can do it alone. Is she strong enough to save her home and the people she loves?

Whether Echo is ready to face this evil is not the question. The war has begun, and there is no looking back. There are only two outcomes possible: triumph or death."


It’s always so hard to review the last book in a series. There’s so much to say and yet I can’t talk about most of it because it would spoil the journey that was taken. And what a journey The Girl at Midnight has been. From the moment Echo first appeared on my doorstep back in 2015 to the very last page of her saga in 2017, I have been invested in her story.

Once upon a time Echo was just a simple human girl in an Avicen world and all she wanted was to eat sweets. But then prophecies, destiny and an ages old war swept her up in magical mayhem and Echo is no longer simple human girl stealing sweets. Watching her become this increasingly selfless heroine was an interesting progression. It was a bit jarring seeing her throw everything down to save a friend with no hesitation at all; she hit the ground running from the first page of the book. Echo continues taking on more of the burden, the responsibility of needing to save the world solely resting on her shoulders. It was definitely exhausting reading from her POV sometimes because she wanted to do everything herself, not letting others around her in to help. But can we blame her when she’s the Firebird?

Grey has done an absolutely stellar job of including a cast of wonderful and diverse characters with their own storylines. I can tell you that a number of books I’ve read have included diversity for the sake of having it, like the author felt it had to be included to tick off a box. Those occurrences come off as forced and unnatural and honestly those books would’ve fared better without the so called ‘diversity’. This series though? Done so well. We’ve obviously got the glaring race issue of Avicen versus Drakharin but amongst that there’s LGBTQ representation throughout. And you know what? These characters aren’t cast aside, they’re front and centre, with their own stories and perspectives and HUGS ALL AROUND. I loved Ivy’s gentleness, Dorian’s steadfast and unending loyalty, Jasper’s confident façade that hid his vulnerabilities.

I’m biting my lip just thinking about the romance. So much build-up throughout the series and MY SHIPS. I just… nope can’t even with the feels. Sweet and lovely and bittersweet and fleeting and enduring. I’m sorry I can’t really string together proper sentences so I’m just flinging adjectives at you. These are my emotions in full swing *massive sigh*.

The plot continues with the Kucedra’s wrath threatening the world and the Firebird racing to stop it. I’m not going to lie and say it’s anything mind blowingly complex but it’s a story that we’ve heard a lot and doesn’t tire – giving one’s people a chance, of being sick of needing to hide and the ambitious means to be great. Execution style? Not graceful or ideal but in the eye of the beholder’s clouded judgement well… Do I even make sense? I’m just going to carry on now.

ANYWAY. I love Grey’s writing style. She’s not flowerly but there’s a poetic ease in the way she writes that gets her point straight across. It’s effective and she uses that technique of bringing together many meanings that can’t be expressed by a single word in the English language, through a foreign word. I loved it and was scrambling to commit these lovely words to memory as they rolled off my tongue.

It’s a story filled with magic and heartache, lives are lost and sacrifices made. With Grey’s lovely writing directing Echo to the end we experience happiness, love, loss and in those final pages, a bittersweet edge that for now it’s the end.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Review: Flame in the Mist (Flame in the Mist #1) by Renee Ahdieh

Firstly, thanks to Date a Book for this review copy <3

Date Read: May 8 - July 23 2017
Date Released: May 16th 2017
Publisher: Hachette Australia
Source: Review copy via publisher
Genre: Fantasy
My Rating:

"The daughter of a prominent samurai, Mariko has long known her place—she may be an accomplished alchemist, whose cunning rivals that of her brother Kenshin, but because she is not a boy, her future has always been out of her hands. At just seventeen years old, Mariko is promised to Minamoto Raiden, the son of the emperor's favorite consort—a political marriage that will elevate her family's standing. But en route to the imperial city of Inako, Mariko narrowly escapes a bloody ambush by a dangerous gang of bandits known as the Black Clan, who she learns has been hired to kill her before she reaches the palace.

Dressed as a peasant boy, Mariko sets out to infiltrate the ranks of the Black Clan, determined to track down the person responsible for the target on her back. But she's quickly captured and taken to the Black Clan’s secret hideout, where she meets their leader, the rebel ronin Takeda Ranmaru, and his second-in-command, his best friend Okami. Still believing her to be a boy, Ranmaru and Okami eventually warm to Mariko, impressed by her intellect and ingenuity. As Mariko gets closer to the Black Clan, she uncovers a dark history of secrets, of betrayal and murder, which will force her to question everything she's ever known."


This review is so painful to write you don’t even understand. Imagine a child dragging their feet along the floor in utmost resistance as they enter the dentist. That’s me and this review. I mean we can review the evidence, the time between when I started reading Flame in the Mist, the time between me putting it down and finally picking it back up again, to the time between finishing and writing this review. From the beginning of May to mid-July to the end of August. Every time I think about the book I ask myself why couldn’t I like this, why it had to be this way. Then a deep disappointment fills my bones.

Call me presumptuous but I already knew I wouldn’t like this book from the very first page – how dare she just assume and not give this book a chance you may be asking? It was in the writing but we’ll delve into that later. I had a lot of problems with Mariko, the protagonist of the story. The daughter of a wealthy clan and family of samurais, she is enroute to her marriage with the emperor’s son when her envoy is attacked. Her litter is in flames and her inside it but she still can’t decide whether she wants to leave it despite her attackers already having presumed her dead. Honey, you’re more likely to survive outside that in a wooden contraption feeding the fire. And that was what frustrated me about Mariko throughout the book. All her supposed thinking/pondering that was meant to come across as strategizing. Her constant internal debates were meant to show how she had a great mind for a battle of wits but she came across as indecisive and uncertain. There were so many situations where I was screaming at her to just go – I’m sorry that I like my heroines who know when to act. Then there was her supposed wit – those moments where she says it’s more powerful to stay silent rather than retort? I found it embarrassing as this came across as her not having a proper comeback and admitting defeat when she’s adamant she’s right. I didn’t buy into her character.

The book would occasionally cut to her brother Kenshin’s point of view and while I actually liked the Dragon of Kai and the honourable qualities of his character, I just didn’t care about his perspective. I feel that the book could do without these parts and it would be fine; even better really because it would speed up the pace.

Having infiltrated the Black Clan disguised as a filthy peasant boy, Mariko spends her time trying to get to know the members and their motive to kill her. The two main guys Okami and Ranmaru immediately accept her as a boy and I found this a tad unbelievable? I mean come on, the Ouran Host Club found out Haruhi was a girl within a day and they didn’t even live with her. Mariko spends months with these guys and nobody suspects a thing? What the? I can’t say I even cared too much about Ranmaru or Okami like yeah cool bromance guys now move on with the story.

Of course there had to be romance. Honestly could have done without. I’m not sure how hate turns into love so quickly. I fully support hating someone but there’s chemistry leading to attraction, but love? It felt so forced too, hate one moment, love the next. I didn’t understand, I didn’t feel and I didn’t sense the chemistry at all. No attraction. Nothing. Nada. Zilch.

The plot progressed so slowly I kind of wondered if anything was ever going to happen. Endless pages of Mariko “biding her time” and nek minnit days or weeks have passed. This book isn’t a slow read by any means, the physical turning of the pages can happen quickly, but it’s just nothing seems to move? The writing itself is easy enough to read but it felt so distant and simplistic. I was craving the lush, lyrical style that Ahdieh graced me with in The Wrath and the Dawn and I got the complete opposite. As soon as I read the first page, my heart plummeted as I’d set my hopes up for the writing style I had fallen in love with. Don’t get me wrong, the writing isn’t bad, Ahdieh is a good writer but Flame in the Mist wasn’t a style to my liking.

In terms of the world-building I feel like this incorporated every trope-y, stereotypical Japanese element stuffed into one book. Samurai, geisha, teahouses, ninjas, THROWING STARS. I’m not Japanese though so I don’t have a right to comment on these aspects. My Japanese friend did look at the writing and at parts like “Ranmaru ronin” go “what a weeb” LOL.

And coming to the end of this review I’ve made this book sound so much worse than it really is. I think I’m still feeling the disappointment because I love The Wrath and the Dawn duology so much and I had such exceptionally high hopes for Flame in the Mist. This book just wasn't for me.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

The Reading Quest Sign-Up and TBR

I haven't posted in a loooooong time as I've sort of quit blogging but in a rush decision today I've decicided to participate in #TheReadingQuest hosted by Read at Midnight.

Hopefully, this read-a-thon will motivate me to read more as I want to complete the minimum 5 books for my character class!

I've decided to take the path of the Mage~

Main Questline:
  • A Book With a One Word Title: Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones
  • A Book That Contains Magic: My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton and Jodi Meadows
  • A Book Based on Mythology: The Savage Dawn (The Girl at Midnight #3) by Melissa Grey
  • A Book Set in a Different World: Ten Thousand Skies Above You (Firebird #2) by Claudia Gray
  • The First Book of a Series: Dash & Lily's Book of Dares (Dash & Lily #1) by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan

Side Quests:

  • Expansion: Daimon by Jennifer L. Armentrout
  • Mini-Game: Paper Girls volume 3
  • Potions: You Know Me Well by Nina LaCour and David Levithan


Saturday, July 22, 2017

Review: If Birds Fly Back by Carlie Sorosiak

Firstly, thanks to Pan Macmillan for this review copy <3

Date Read: July 15 - 19 2017
Date Released: July 1st 2017
Publisher: Pan Macmillan
Source: Review copy via publisher
Genre: Contemporary
My Rating:

"Linny has been living life in black and white since her sister Grace ran away, and she's scared that Grace might never come back. When Linny witnesses the return to Miami of a cult movie star long presumed dead, she is certain it's a sign. Surely Álvaro Herrera, of all people, can tell her why people come back - and how to bring her sister home?

Sebastian has come to Miami seeking his father, a man whose name he's only just learned. An aspiring astrophysicist, he can tell Linny how many galaxies there are, how much plutonium weighs and how likely she is to be struck by a meteorite. But none of the theories he knows are enough to answer his own questions about why his father abandoned him, and why it left him in pieces.

As Sebastian and Linny converge around the mystery of Álvaro's disappearance - and return - their planets start to collide. Linny's life is about to become technicolor, but finding the answers to her questions might mean losing everything that matters."


If Birds Fly Back is one of those lovely contemporaries that warm your heart and move you with its deeper meaning.

Linny is still grieving over her sister leaving 5 months prior. With nothing but a note, her sister disappeared into the night leaving Linny behind. She feels completely lost without her sister as she believes she lived in her sister’s shadow. When a missing author/movie star suddenly reappears, she thinks that by spending time with him she can understand the reasons why he left and came back, and that this can in turn lead her to Grace. She thinks she’s wandering along listlessly through the book but she’s actually learning to be herself and realising what she wants. I liked her strength of character, the way she spoke her mind even though she considered herself shy. Sorosiak showed Linny’s love for film and photography through the way she perceived the world and noticed the small details in her surroundings.

Sebastian on the otherhand has been wondering his whole life where his father is. When he suddenly finds out said father is alive he literally jumps at the chance to meet him and ask him why he abandoned Sebastian and his mum. But his dad isn’t what Sebastian hoped for and the more time he spends with him, the more confused he is and more questions are raised. I guess Sebastian’s growth was his aim for his closure but I feel he didn’t grow as much as Linny. I wasn’t really sure about his love for astrophysics, other than being told this fact and he was going to Cal Tech to study it. He had more of an obsession with a particular book rather than astrophysics overall in my opinion.

I really liked the different secondary characters. Cass especially interested me. At first I thought she was the beautiful but mean girl who was using Linny to make herself look better. As I kept reading though I understood there was so much more to her. Then there’s Alvaro whose cryptic phrases added to Linny and Sebastian’s already many questions. I also really enjoyed Linny’s interactions with her parents, who she forgets are also victims in the whole Grace missing situation.

The romance is cute and the attraction is definitely there. I felt like Sebastian was attracted more to Linny especially in the beginning. Honestly though I can’t say I cared too much about romance as I was there more for their individual journeys.

The plot is quite interesting as they try to figure out where Alvaro’s been for the past 3 years. But it was quite obvious to me after a few chapters in what had happened to him. I can’t say it was anything profound for me but for the characters I guess it was a shock. While the plot was different, I didn’t feel like If Birds Fly Back astounded me as a lot of contemporaries out these days have deeper meaning plots too. I would have liked Linny’s chapter heading bits to actually relate to the chapter. The writing is well developed though and I couldn’t tell this was Sorosiak’s YA debut.

I think I might sound harsher than I intended in this review. I want to point out that I actually really enjoyed If Birds Fly Back, but I’ve been in a massive reading slump and almost nothing has impressed me lately haha. Great writing and interesting characters made for a lovely summer read about understanding why people leave.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Review: When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon

Firstly, thanks to Date a Book (Hachette Australia) for this review copy <3

Date Read: June 8 - 24 2017
Date Released: May 30th 2017
Publisher: Hodder
Source: Review copy via publisher
Genre: Contemporary
My Rating:

Side note: This review has been a long time coming but I’ve been in a massive reading slump and by proxy, reviewing slump since coming back from Europe. I got really sick – I haven’t had such a debilitating cold in 10 years – and then work/life got in the way. BUT HERE IT IS.

"The arranged-marriage YA romcom you didn't know you wanted or needed...

Meet Dimple.
Her main aim in life is to escape her traditional parents, get to university and begin her plan for tech world domination.

Meet Rishi.
He's rich, good-looking and a hopeless romantic. His parents think Dimple is the perfect match for him, but she's got other plans...

Dimple and Rishi may think they have each other figured out. But when opposites clash, love works hard to prove itself in the most unexpected ways."


When Dimple Met Rishi was so adorable I was fully set on recreating the cover for an Instagram post - me holding my Starbucks Green Tea Frappuccino (because I don’t drink coffee), biting my straw and grinning… but then Starbucks stuffed up my order (why does it always happen at this one Starbucks? Why do I never learn?) and I gave up. Anyway my point is, I loved this book so much I thought it was worth the effort had Starbucks not gotten my order wrong.

I was showing one of my Indian colleagues WDMR to help me translate some of the phrases and she said all the Dimples she knew had very happy/bubbly personalities. I can’t say that’s the same for this particular Dimple though. If I had one word to describe her, it would be FIERCE. I could relate to this girl so much – she’s a feminist but at the same time she cannot deny her culture which has conservative traditions. I loved how she felt conflicted because she wanted to uphold those values and make her parents happy, while still putting her ambitions and career first. She is driven, dedicated but also a great friend. During her 6 weeks at Insomnia Con, she’s on a journey to self-actualisation with the people around her and it was so endearing to watch her grow.

Rishi couldn’t be more of an opposite to Dimple if he tried. And yet they were also very similar. While Dimple tried to put her career progression over her parents’ traditional wants for her, Rishi embraced everything culturally. But they are both wonderful friends who stick up for others, loving children who want to please their parents, and all round great people who I honestly wish I knew in real life. Rishi, the hopeless romantic that he is, warmed my heart. I wanted to give him a big hug and tell him to step back and slow down. He seems to have everything sorted out, or does he? I loved that Rishi wasn’t there as just the love interest, he’s got his own story and things to figure out himself. Can I just say I would LOVE to see his art work?

The romance ermagherd. So so SO cute. I loved the way it started, with Dimple throwing her coffee at Rishi. I adore romances that start off with either party (or both) hating the other. Then watching them get to know each other, grow accustomed to one another, find out that hey, they actually like some of their qualities. The outings they planned with each other were so thoughtful (RISHI U R TRU MVP), like let me find a guy like that in real life. Not gonna lie, the romance was quite full on I was like HEY FRIENDS MAYBE HIT PAUSE YOU’RE- ok well if you must, carry on LMAO because I shipped it so hard. But y’all know it’s never quite that simple and remember they’re both only at this con for 6 weeks so…???

The plot doesn’t lose focus which I think Menon deserves extra brownie points for. There’s a lot going on with the romance, the side stories with friendships and family. I loved Celia and Ashish, and the way they juxtaposed Dimple and Rishi. At the heart of it all is Dimple’s purpose at Insomnia Con: to develop an app that will win the con and allow her to meet her programming idol. Dimple will do anything to win, and Menon has her step out of her comfort zone which really added to my belief in Dimple’s dedication. I want to add that I’m so appreciative of Menon for making the ‘bitchy/bad person’ the guys. In so many books I feel like women are demonised, labelled the ‘bitch’ but here the females all kind of stick up for each other. In my own personal experience, when guys want to be horrible/gossipy they’re a million times worse than girls – the stuff they say is more malicious and hurtful. So yeah, GIRL POWER.

Menon’s writing is fun and engaging, her characters multifaceted and the kind of real people you know in real life. She gives the whole San Francisco setting a little extra oomph by introducing us non-SF noobs to Karl. YES, APPARENTLY SAN FRANCISO PEOPLE HAVE NAMED THEIR FOG. I can vouch for this because I asked my SF friend and he said it’s an attraction. He then proceeded to show me a time lapse and Karl looks like this sea and it’s cool and also kind of creepy. This really gives the whole book the tech-vibe because ya know SF, Silicon Valley?

I hear Menon’s next book is called From Twinkle, With Love? Gimme!

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Review: A Court of Wings and Ruin (A Court of Thorns and Roses #3) by Sarah J. Maas

Firstly, thanks to Bloomsbury Australia for this review copy <3


Date Read: May 1 - 8 2017
Date Released: May 2nd 2017
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Source: Review copy via publisher
Genre: High Fantasy
My Rating:

Warning: this review contains spoilers for the first 2 books (but NOT ACOWAR)

"Feyre has returned to the Spring Court, determined to gather information on Tamlin's maneuverings and the invading king threatening to bring Prythian to its knees. But to do so she must play a deadly game of deceit-and one slip may spell doom not only for Feyre, but for her world as well.

As war bears down upon them all, Feyre must decide who to trust amongst the dazzling and lethal High Lords-and hunt for allies in unexpected places."


It’s no secret I’m SJM trash and waiting for the finale of the ACOTAR trilogy has been one of the most torturous waits of book releases for me. While I didn’t love ACOWAR as much as my all time fav, ACOMAF, I still loved ACOWAR’s story so much and thought it a fitting end to this arc.

Feyre has gone through so much and she’s got one last hurdle to get over with her return to the Spring Court. I really liked her strategizing and manipulation to get her revenge in the court. I would have liked her exercising her High Lady status and powers a bit more rather than hiding them or seeking other people’s approval. I mean yes I understand she’s fresh but by the end she should have been telling people what her decisions were and trusting that they’d support her in them rather than being secretive about her actions. This happened a lot. I also had issues with her decisions too. There was this one point in the book where I knew Maas was trying to make Feyre seem humane but it was the wrong bloody situation. I was like NO. LEAVE THEM. But nope, overly kind Feyre has to do this and NEARLY GETS ONE OF MY FAV PEOPLE KILLED. NO THAT IS NOT OKAY. It’s not worth it. Choose your battles lady. Your goal is to win the war.

I didn’t think it was possible to fall in love with the Inner Circle anymore. But I did. MY PRECIOUS SMOL CHILDREN. Especially Azriel and Cassian. They are so compassionate and strong and I want to give them all hugs. I loved Cassian’s humour and the little moments when we’d catch Azriel making a joke or slightly smiling at something. I can see them as two besties – the mischief maker and the quiet broody one – in real life who I could be friends with. Cranky Amren was as hilarious as always. I mean she’s meant to come off as scary but I can’t take her seriously when’s snapping at people. I love these guys so much. As for Feyre’s sisters, I still don’t get Nesta’s hate for Feyre. Like why? It pissed me off to no end how Feyre just gives and gives and Nesta takes it all but not for one moment does she seem grateful. Nesta’s great as a character – she’s strong and unflinching but the familial stuff was terrible.

Rhysand. *Sparkly eyes* Such perfection. I love this guy. I’m in love with this man. I’ll admit Rhys didn’t wow me the way he did in ACOMAF when we first found out about him, but he’s still awesome here. Lovely, charming, let’s Feyre do her own thing, funny, ruthless when he needs to be. I could properly see how he chose his battles, fitting for a 500 year old High Lord. He’s good at what he does and he knows it. Makes me weak at the knees hurhur.

I loved the exploration of the other courts. In typical SJM fashion, she paints her world vividly, with gorgeous colours and descriptions. The red and golden toned hues of the Autumn Court with its seemingly sentient forest. The chilling Winter Court, forever frozen in a white glaze. And then there’s the Dawn Court *sighs in wonder* I’m a sucker for the concept of castles in the sky. The fantasy element, the way it’s ethereal, majestic and so Final Fantasy-esque really draws me in. The palette of the Dawn Court, the food, the plush décor and silks makes me so darn happy. I was honoured to be welcomed into Thesan’s home.

Now let’s talk about the problematic aspects of this book. I felt like diversity was being forced down my throat for the sake of quelling the cries of the community. I’m fine with the High Lords of each court being coloured as SJM did mention their colouring in ACOTAR. But then there’s the LGBTQI+ representation that I thought wasn’t done right. So many LGB couples suddenly popping up? At one point it’s mentioned that the mating bond is whatever higher power determining that a male and a female would breed strong children but then at another point there’s same sex couples apparently having the mating bond? Is that a plot hole or did I miss something I don’t know. (It’s not even about the passing of the High Lord title since we see the Summer title being passed to other family members.) She tried but eehhh…

Nevertheless, the story is engaging and the brewing war instills a fear wrought from knowing the terrors that Hybern can inflict. The battle tactics are cleverly thought out and Hybern is really a force to be reckoned with, not just their numbers and the dark lengths they’ll go to, but for their millennia of existence and experience. War is painted in a realistically haunting and exhausting light. There is no glory in it and I’m grateful that it’s not romanticized for a fantasy.

A Court of Wings and Ruin is a fitting end to Feyre’s arc of the story. Maas has taken us across Prythian and beyond, and introduced us to many characters that I can’t wait to meet in the future.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Blog Tour Review: Queens of Geek by Jen Wilde

Firstly, thanks to Pan Macmillan Australia for this review copy <3


Date Read: April 17 - 21 2017
Date Released: May 1st 2017
Publisher: Swoon Reads
Source: Review copy via publisher
Genre: Contemporary
My Rating:

"When BFFs Charlie, Taylor and Jamie go to SupaCon, they know it’s going to be a blast. What they don’t expect is for it to change their lives forever.
Charlie likes to stand out. SupaCon is her chance to show fans she’s over her public breakup with co-star, Reese Ryan. When Alyssa Huntington arrives as a surprise guest, it seems Charlie’s long-time crush on her isn’t as one-sided as she thought.

While Charlie dodges questions about her personal life, Taylor starts asking questions about her own.

Taylor likes to blend in. Her brain is wired differently, making her fear change. And there’s one thing in her life she knows will never change: her friendship with Jamie—no matter how much she may secretly want it to. But when she hears about the Queen Firestone SupaFan Contest, she starts to rethink her rules on playing it safe."


With a diverse cast and great representation, Queens of Geek is a heartwarming Aussie YA that speaks to the fangirl/boy in all of us.

I found it so refreshing the way Wilde told the story through two different perspectives – Charlie and Taylor who are best friends but have basically opposite personality traits. Charlie presents the con from a celebrity POV. A famous YouTuber turned movie star she’s quite outgoing and very sure of herself. I like that she didn’t let the fame get to her and she was so nice to all her fans. On the inside though, Charlie’s still struggling through a breakup that really tore her up. Her feelings are a mess and it’s clear her ex was manipulating her. I liked her journey to self-actualisation throughout the book, coming to terms with who she is, accepting herself after her messed up relationship made her doubt herself and really understanding what she wants. In the other perspective we have introvert Taylor who suffers from anxiety. Through Taylor we can relate to the long lines and waiting to meet our idols. Her apprehension at being in such a large crowd, the thrill and adrenaline of being with likeminded people – I lived it. Then there was her anxiety which Wilde wrote so well – the sudden overwhelming emotions, the panic out of nowhere. For Taylor, the con was about stepping out of her comfort zone to go for what she really wanted.

The two main secondary characters – Jamie and Alyssa – were great. Jamie’s a bit of a geek and I liked that he didn’t trying his suppress his fanboying. Bonding with Taylor over a favourite book series, he’s a genuinely nice guy but not perfect. Then there’s Alyssa, a really famous YouTuber who is honestly such a sweetheart. I adored her kind and cheerful demeanour. Just like Charlie, she didn’t let the fame get to her and she was so appreciative of her fans, knowing she wouldn’t be where she is without them.

I guess the romance is where this book faltered slightly for me. There’s two love stories going on at the same time here. One is really slow burn which I love; there’s lots of flirting disguised as friendly banter. The tension is cute and I just wanted them to get together. On the other hand, the other romance was insta-love to me. I loved each person individually, and I definitely wanted them to get together but it was just a bit too quick for my liking. Everything was happening in leaps and bounds, from the first meeting to flirting and touching and feelings and I was like wow ok slow down it’s been 3 days.

Plot wise, the story is set in the con and centres around Charlie and Taylor making their way through the weekend at SupaCon (San Diego Comic Con anybody?) discovering themselves. Wilde’s writing is fresh and easy to read, I was drawn into the story immediately. My favourite aspect of this book is that it’s not only Aussie YA, but it’s so diverse. Taylor has anxiety, Charlie is Australian Chinese and bisexual. Like omg can it get any more perfect? For ONCE a Chinese MC that’s ‘normal’. She doesn’t have a Chinese name as her English name, she’s not going to uni to be an accountant or doctor or lawyer – none of the stereotypical Chinese stuff I’m so sick of when authors attempt diversity. If Wilde didn’t mention Charlie’s Chinese I wouldn’t have known and I could relate because I’m Australian born Chinese. I have an Anglicised name, I like Chinese food but that’s not all I eat, I really suck at maths. To be properly represented is an amazing feeling. I’m not bi so I can’t speak for the rep but it felt real reading it, and I’ve heard this was done right from various bi friends. From what I read, Jamie and Alyssa aren’t white either – based on Jamie’s last name he sounds Latino/Filo and Alyssa is black? It’s just wonderful having a non- full white cast but everybody bonds over their fandom.

Queens of Geek is a fun, refreshing read filled with all things geeky that you’d find at a convention. The diversity representation is wonderful and heartwarming.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Review: Geekerella by Ashley Poston

Firstly, thanks to Quirk Books for this review copy <3


Date Read: March 23 - 30 2017
Date Released: April 4th 2017
Publisher: Quirk Books
Source: Review copy via publisher
Genre: Contemporary
My Rating:

"Cinderella goes to the con in this fandom-fueled twist on the classic fairy tale.
Part romance, part love letter to nerd culture, and all totally adorbs, Geekerella is a fairy tale for anyone who believes in the magic of fandom. Geek girl Elle Wittimer lives and breathes Starfield, the classic sci-fi series she grew up watching with her late father. So when she sees a cosplay contest for a new Starfield movie, she has to enter. The prize? An invitation to the ExcelsiCon Cosplay Ball, and a meet-and-greet with the actor slated to play Federation Prince Carmindor in the reboot. With savings from her gig at the Magic Pumpkin food truck (and her dad’s old costume), Elle’s determined to win…unless her stepsisters get there first.

Teen actor Darien Freeman used to live for cons—before he was famous. Now they’re nothing but autographs and awkward meet-and-greets. Playing Carmindor is all he’s ever wanted, but the Starfield fandom has written him off as just another dumb heartthrob. As ExcelsiCon draws near, Darien feels more and more like a fake—until he meets a girl who shows him otherwise."


When I heard about Geekerella I knew it was the book for me. Fandoms? Conventions? Cosplays? Oh my god this was my high school and uni years.

Our modern Cinderella is Danielle (Elle), a regular high school teen who seems odd to outsiders but seems familiar to those of us who are dedicated fans of anything. Elle is an extremely passionate Starfield fan, having grown up with the intergalactic TV series and it’s what connected her parents. She knows every episode off by heart and is faithful to the show’s original cast and story. Elle also writes fanfic and keeps a dedicated blog of her thoughts on the show, this is a true fan girl right here (doesn’t that sound familiar?). Can someone be annoyingly selfless? Because I found Elle to be selfless to the point of spineless and never sticking up for herself. Whatever people wanted, she did their bidding no complaints. I was screaming GIRL SAY NO COME ON but nope she let people walk over her, bully her, taking it all in stride. Just once I wanted her to be like the Princess Amara or Prince Carmindor she adored, the way they took the initiative to act rather than sit back and let their enemies defeat them. There’s a lot of development required for Elle, she’s got to learn to go for things.

Prince Charming comes in the form of hottie teen heartthrob Darien Freeman who’s been cast in the role of Prince Carmindor and I loved his character so much. There’s the juxtaposition of what he does from his point of view, such as requesting someone to take him off a signing schedule, to how the act is actually perceived – he comes off as pretentious and self-entitled. The poor guy only wants a break from the media and paparazzi, to take a breather, but everybody is breathing down his neck. I thought Poston did a great job of portraying how difficult it must be to be a teen celebrity, especially one controlled by others and trying to please everyone. It’s a different side to the glamorous lifestyle, lacking freedom and making things like going to the vending machine to buy something, an extremely hard thing to achieve. I liked his own journey of trying his best to do the role of Carmindor justice because for him it’s personal – he’s a Starfield fan too. Along the way he learns what he really wants out of life.

I found the modern twist Poston put on the characters to be really fun and creative. There’s the typical evil stepmother and stepsisters but the stepsisters are YouTube beauty vloggers who are materialistic. I also liked that there’s more to the stepsisters than meets the eye. Then we’ve got the ‘fairy godmother’ who is just so fitting… and the very literal pumpkin. I had a right laugh when I got to that part. The characters represented their original fairy tale monikers but held their own as Poston’s creation. Also props to Poston to the natural way diversity was incorporated.

The romance is sweet and develops in the back-and-forth of text messages which I found really cute. I thought it was fitting given how the story has social media/technology driven vibes. The conversation has this prince and princess theme in the form of Carmindor and Amara. It’s here the two are able to voice their truths and find a reprieve from their everyday problems. At the same time, the method of communication presents the issue of safety because two strangers texting each other never having met… it’s almost like online dating? You really don’t know who’s on the other end. Both Elle and Darien voice this concern which is good and they don’t ever really talk about meeting – which is like BUT YOU MUST from the perspective of the reader. There are swoony moments, angsty moments and just how does a text message manage to slay me? Don’t you feel it’s easier to talk to someone and say what you really want to say via text/IM?

The plot being centred around a fandom and cosplay is just ughh *hugs this book* it gave me all the fuzzy feelings. It took me back to a time when I used to write (horrible) fanfiction, and spend my nights reading HP fanfic. I was transported to the world of cons and cosplay (I actually went back to my photos of Animania, ah the nostalgia). This was a world that spoke to me and I got it. I got the difficulty of Elle getting her Starfield cosplay correct, to the buttons and crown (there was this one time I wanted to cosplay Organization XIII from Kingdom Hearts and making the robe is HARD, I didn’t go through with it). There’s the whole online community, everybody different in real life but united by their fandom, it’s so supportive and fun. Watching Elle navigate her fandom world as she raced against the clock to get her costume together was so exhilarating.

Basically, I adored Geekerella and I thought Poston did an amazing job turning a much loved classic into a relatable modern fairy tale of fandoms, love and friendship. Never underestimate the power of a fandom y’all.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Review: Waking Gods (Themis Files #2) by Sylvain Neuvel

Firstly, thanks to Random House for this review copy <3


Date Read: March 16 - 20 2017
Date Released: April 4th 2017
Publisher: Del Rey
Source: Review copy via publisher
Genre: Science Fiction
My Rating:

Warning: this reviews contains major spoilers for book 1 Sleeping Giants

"As a child, Rose Franklin made an astonishing discovery: a giant metallic hand, buried deep within the earth. As an adult, she’s dedicated her brilliant scientific career to solving the mystery that began that fateful day: Why was a titanic robot of unknown origin buried in pieces around the world? Years of investigation have produced intriguing answers—and even more perplexing questions. But the truth is closer than ever before when a second robot, more massive than the first, materializes and lashes out with deadly force.

Now humankind faces a nightmare invasion scenario made real, as more colossal machines touch down across the globe. But Rose and her team at the Earth Defense Corps refuse to surrender. They can turn the tide if they can unlock the last secrets of an advanced alien technology. The greatest weapon humanity wields is knowledge in a do-or-die battle to inherit the Earth . . . and maybe even the stars."


Last chance - if you haven't read Sleeping Giants DO NOT PROCEED.

Sleeping Giants was one of my favourite books of 2016, it absolutely blew my mind with the concept and Neuvel’s immersive writing style. I’d never read such wonderful plot twists… until Waking Gods that is. Waking Gods surprised me at every turn and was even more impactful than book 1.

The book opens 9 years after the events of Sleeping Giants, with a new robot having appeared out of thin air in the middle of London. Everybody is in a tizzie because what could this mean and what do they do, when do they bring Themis in?

Since coming back to life at the end of Sleeping Giants, Rose has been struggling with who she is for the past 9 years. The 4 years she spent working on discovering Themis are not a part of her, and while she’s still a brilliant scientist she questions the ‘Rose’ during those 4 years which she can’t remember. I can’t blame her for continuing to question her existence – I mean who wouldn’t be if they were brought back to life? Sleeping Giants Rose approached the discovery of Themis with a positive energy and fervour that made Themis her life. The Rose after is much more hesitant. She is no less brilliant but she’s now seeing things in a much more cautious and negative light. Everybody basically tells her to harden the eff up but it takes her the course of the book to develop and come to terms with who she is.

Kara and Vincent have gotten a lot closer since book 1 and I love their dynamic. I never would have pictured them becoming a couple when they were first introduced but oh how far things have come. Kara is still kind of reckless but hilarious with her witty comebacks, and Vincent is still a genius but I could totally see that they’re in love. Vincent especially has a smaller ego and is always considerate of Kara and it’s so damn sweet. Their life as a couple is also their work and I admired their ability to maintain such a strong relationship despite their differences. Their banter was fun and delightful as always and showed how well they got along.

The unnamed man who I think of as the mastermind behind all of this is still pulling strings and manipulating people throughout the story, however I feel like he’s grown softer. I really admired the way Neuvel did this character’s voice. He elicits such reactions from people with his calm and blunt comments and I could always ALWAYS tell when it was him speaking. There’s something so penetrating about the structure of his words and sentences that cannot be misinterpreted. It’s jarring to the receiver, and to those who aren’t used to him it’s kind of hilarious the way they get angry. Then you’ve got Rose and Vincent who answer normally while Kara responds with her usual wit because they’re so used to him. Neuvel has really done a fantastic job with this unique and recognisable voice through both books. He’s managed to give the character growth in his subtle and infrequent shows of emotion with the way he protects those he’s come to care about.

As with the first book there’s a lot of science and I’m no scientist but I could tell Neuvel had really done his research. The science is in-depth yet Neuvel is also able to explain it in layman terms, presenting these in interview style as a scientist talking to a pleb like me, ahem, I mean non-scientist. There’s more maths, more chemistry and metallurgy, and heaps of biology with talk of DNA and evolution. It was fascinating and planted a lot of seeds in my brain with the direction this story was going. Neuvel’s writing style is easy-going, flowing well and immersive – I couldn’t stop turning the pages!

The plot though, my goodness! Alien robots that are posing to be a threat to mankind seems standard but there’s so many plot twists and mind-fuck moments. There’s punch you in the feels moments too that left me in denial (I’m STILL in denial damn it) and an ending to end all endings with a whopping cliffhanger.

To say Waking Gods is one of the most breathtaking and thought provoking books I’ve ever read in my lifetime is an understatement. It messed with my brain and my heart. Thank goodness there’s a book 3 – I made sure to check with Neuvel and he’s confirmed it’s in the works!