Friday, 22 December 2017

mini reviews // Flame In the Mist, When Dimple Met Rishi, City of Circles, A Semi-Definitive List of Worst NIghtmares & I Hate Everyone But You

 I found FITM really hard to get into at first, but once I got past the first few chapters, I was gripped to my seat until the very end! I love, love, LOVE everything about all of Renee Ahdieh's previous books and FITM was just as good. With an amazing story, excellent plot and complicated characters, all paired as useul with her beautiful writing, Renee spun a thrilling adventure between these pages.

I saw none of the plot twists coming and was shocked and taken aback by all of them. The way this book concluded, I am SO excited to see where the second book goes. If it's anything as exciting as FITM was, I know I'm in for an exciting ride.

Thank you hachette for the review copy!

buy:  paperplus / whitcoulls 

One of my favourite reads of 2017! I loved this book so much! I fell in love with the characters from the beginning and they held my heart in their fists right up until the very end. I even cried TWICE! The rest of the time I couldn't stop laughing as Dimple the main character is so sarcastic and funny and Rishi the other main character's sweet and mischievous sense of humour meant they had so much chemistry and bounced of each so well!

I also loved how this book wasn't just a romance but an in-depth look at how family, friendship and following your passion intertwined around first love. All these factors made the book such a refreshing and exciting read. I can't WAIT for the author's next book!

“But that was Rishi... he was like a pop song you thought you couldn't stand, but found yourself humming in the shower anyway.”

Thank you hachette for the review copy!

This was so disappointing. I love anything to do with circuses be it in real life or fiction so when I saw City of Circles pop up on my radar, I was so excited for it!

Unfortunately, paired with the odd writing and confusing storyline, I gave up at around the 150 page mark. Hopefully other people enjoy it more than I did, just missed me this time around.

Thank you hachette for the review copy!

I really wanted to enjoy this book more, but sadly I border-line hated it. I was excited when I saw it was about two friends in their first year of different universities as that's something I really want to see more of in YA! However, disliking both characters and both characters voices sounding so similar I got constantly confused over who was who. The fact that nothing happened except for the girls' friendship to grow toxic (this is just my opinion though!) and the repeated bitching and fighting between them about the smallest and most ridiculous things, made the book so tiring to read.

I did like the format of the book and how it was written in the form of texts and emails and the tiny bits you got to see of them experience university for the first time, I just wish the book hadn't been so focused on the slowly fracturing friendship between the two main characters.

Thank you allen & unwin for the review copy!

 I enjoyed the mental health rep, the storyline and the unique characters but the flat writing style threw me off and made the book hard to get through at times.

This book is actually written by an Australian author but it honestly felt so American. I was a little confused by this, but still happy that this was written by an Australian author that has done so well overseas!

I felt a bit letdown by the ending and would've like something more satisfactory but overall, I'd definitely recommend this book to contemporary fans.

Thank you penguin for the review copy!

Friday, 15 December 2017

mini reviews // This Mortal Coil, No Limits, The Colour Project & Heart of Mist

I loved how the science behind this book although complicated, actually made sense and was almost believable. It's also broken down and explained in a manner so that you actually understand how everything works which makes a nice change from every other dystopian/evil government doing something evil to take over the world plot.

I did wish however that the pacing hadn't been so slow because the brief spurts of action paired with the excruciatingly large amount of slow stretches made the book a slog to get through at times.

The plot twist at the end completely blindsided me as I 100% did not expect anything like that to happen ever. Still in shock over it and definitely haven't recovered from it.

Thank you penguin for the review copy!

no limits by ellie marney / ★★★★★

Well knock me down with my dangerously-close-to-killing-me-TBR, this. Book. People. Oh my GOD. THIS BOOK. Words can't and will never be able to do justice to how perfect this book is. I've loved Ellie Marney's writing ever since I first set my eyeballs on her Every Breath trilogy (which if you haven't read or heard off, WHAT ARE YOU EVEN DOING with your life, buy the first book HERE!!). My life had never been quite the same since the trilogy ended and I was left with a Mywatts shaped hole in my life heart...or so I thought because now I have a new book by Ellie Marney to obsess over!

I read this when I was really sick and could do nothing but lie in bed and think about how sick I felt. Not only did the book take my mind off everything (I literally could not tear my eyeballs away from my kindle the whole time I was reading it) it actually made me feel BETTER. Take that, flu! Who knew drug battles, gritty writing, achingly well written characters, slow-burn romance, a terrifyingly tight and on-the-edge-of-your-seat plot was just what I needed?

Please. My words will never do this book justice. Just go buy a copy and see for yourself how good it is.

Thank you to the author for the review copy!

For a picky contemporary reader like I am, I really enjoyed how this book intertwined so delicately the cuteness of the sweet romance with the more serious themes of loss and grief.

It also surprised me over how invested I got in the book. The grief written in this book was written so well and even made me tear up a couple of times, which shocked me as I never - never! - cry over a book. I can count on one hand the amount of times I've cried while reading ever. This book made me add another two times which is a feat within itself.

I only wish though that book hadn't been so long. At 480 pages, it's a looooong contemporary and I wish it had been shorter and the story tighter. By the end I was impatient for everything to tie itself up and end which let down the overall rating for me a bit. Still, I will definitely recommend this book to any contemporary lovers in the future.

Thank you to the author for the review copy!

buy: amazon

I can't wait for the next book! Good start for a trilogy, I wish there had been more action and less prepping for action/talking about action but as the first book in a series, I understand the need for background and setting, especially as this is fantasy.

I enjoyed the diverse and unique cast of characters although to be honest, I found all the different POVs distracting at times as I often wanted to stay in just one character's head and not jump around to all the others. I enjoyed Bleak the main character's POV the most as I found her a really interesting and complicated person.

The ending was absolutely gripping and definitely made me want to read the next book. I'm excited to what happens next and where everyone goes as the book ended on such an exciting note.

Thank you to the author for the review copy!

have you read any of these books?

Friday, 16 June 2017

Pieces of You by Eileen Merriman :: a sobering piece of kiwi fiction

34660764Publisher: Penguin NZ
Release Date: May 29th 2017
Source: From the Publisher!
Purchase: Mighty Ape / Paperplus

Wise, tough, heart-breaking, funny, this compulsive love story is about facing your demons.

Fifteen-year-old Rebecca McQuilten moves with her parents to a new city. Lonely but trying to fit in, she goes to a party, but that’s when things really fall apart.

I couldn’t tell anyone what had happened. Especially since I was the new girl in town. Who would want to believe me?
Things look up when she meets gregarious sixteen-year-old Cory Marshall.
‘You’re funny, Becs,’ Cory said.
‘You have no idea,’ I said, and clearly he didn’t, but I was smiling anyway.
And after that, he was all I could think about.

Cory helps Rebecca believe in herself and piece her life back together; but that’s before he shatters it all over again . . .

Firstly, what an absolutely GORGEOUS box of goodies that accompanied my review copy of PIECES OF YOU! I wasn't expecting either the book or the beautiful box and it made my week when it all arrived on my doorstep.

I also had too much fun taking what I imagined at the time, were artsy bookstagram shots, but really when I look at them now are jumbled photos of everything thrown together enthusiastically on my duvet so I could show EVERYTHING that was in the box. Yes, I failed and I obviously don't have any of the talent that the people who so thoughtfully put the box together did, BUT HEY, JUST LOOK AT ALL THE CUTE STUFF! (And major props to the epically talented peeps that put everything all together!)

But on to the review! Firstly, it made my day when I realized HEY THIS IS A BOOK WRITTEN BY A KIWI AUTHOR! I unfortunately read very little NZ fiction so it was an utter delight to read a book that described places that I'd actually BEEN too and was familiar with! This was an excellent reminder to read more books written by NZ authors.So to be honest, as soon as I found that this book was written by an NZ author, my excitement for the book upped even more. And maybe because I suddenly had high expectations, that's why I struggled so much with this book. I can totally understand why so many people adored it, but I'm just not one of them.

Probably my main reason for finding this book so hard to read, was Rebecca the main character.
Another thing that really angered me was the amount of girl-on-girl hate. The "mean" girls are complete stereotypes and are only in the books to be mean to Rebecca, be called sluts by Rebecca and her friends FOR NO REASON JUST BECAUSE EVERYONE KNOWS THE MEAN GIRLS "ARE SLUTS".

I just felt they were used as examples of how bad the mean girls were - and how dare they be sexual and/or want to be sexual! - next to Rebecca who is the most perfect girl ever, and is deifntely not a slut. Considering this book also dealt with rape, I was really disappointed how girls that were even slightly promiscuous girls in here, were portrayed next to the ones who weren't. I wanted this book to do better in that regard and it didn't.

I will give this book major points for taking - what I thought - a brave and thoughtful stand on suicide. Suicide is a topic that definitely needs to be spoken about more and I'm glad this book covered that.I found the self-harm a bit iffy and didn't find how Rebecca's parents reacted at all believable. But again, major points for featuring self-harm, I just cannot say if it was portrayed correctly or not, but I'm sure others would be able to connect over it.

Overall, sober, much needed discussion of suicide and self-harm, something that YA will never not have room for as well as being set in NZ, something that I will never get tired of reading of! Pity about the girl hate though.

::Thank you PENGUIN NZ for the review copy and box of goodness!::


Sunday, 30 April 2017

Mini Reviews :: King's Cage, The Stand-In, Shield & Gemina

30226723Publisher: Hachette
Release Date: February 7th 2017
Source: From the Publisher!
Purchase: Mighty Ape / Paperplus

In this breathless third installment to Victoria Aveyard’s bestselling Red Queen series, allegiances are tested on every side. And when the Lightning Girl's spark is gone, who will light the way for the rebellion?

Mare Barrow is a prisoner, powerless without her lightning, tormented by her lethal mistakes. She lives at the mercy of a boy she once loved, a boy made of lies and betrayal. Now a king, Maven Calore continues weaving his dead mother's web in an attempt to maintain control over his country—and his prisoner.

As Mare bears the weight of Silent Stone in the palace, her once-ragtag band of newbloods and Reds continue organizing, training, and expanding. They prepare for war, no longer able to linger in the shadows. And Cal, the exiled prince with his own claim on Mare's heart, will stop at nothing to bring her back.

When blood turns on blood, and ability on ability, there may be no one left to put out the fire—leaving Norta as Mare knows it to burn all the way down.

Hmmm. Conflicted emotions here. On on hand I quite enjoyed it: the plot twists and action scenes were exciting and kept me hooked  but the rest of the book dragged on and on and ON. The book is huge and well over 500 pages and there were so many parts of the book that I thought could've been chopped out as they just weren't needed and were incredibly boring to read. I feel like if 100 pages or so had been cut out, the whole book would've had a faster pace and just MOVED quicker.

I really enjoyed seeing all the character seem to show their actual colours. By the end of KING'S CAGE, you know who is really bad and who's good which was incredibly satisfying to see some of the bad guys change their minds but also really exciting to see where this will lead in the fourth and last book coming out next year.

I wished the multiple POVs had been handled better. I didn't mind Mare's who's chapters took up about 90% of the book, couldn't see the point at all of Cameron's chapters and absolutely ADORED Evangeline. Frustratingly, Evangeline only had probably 3 chapters in the whole book and I would've loved to see at least half the book narrated by her instead.

::Thank you HACHETTE for the review copy!::

28926879Publisher: Walker Books AU
Release Date: October 6th 2016
Source: From the Publisher!
Purchase: Paperplus

When Brooks volunteered to be a stand-in for Burdette's cousin who got stood up for Homecoming, it was with the noblest of intentions-helping a fellow human being, free of charge. But when he gets a tip of more than three hundred bucks, word spreads quickly and Brooks seizes the opportunity to offer his impeccable escort services to super-wealthy parents who want their daughters to experience those big social events of senior year.

Besides, Brooks could use the cash to hire a tutor to get admitted to Columbia University. So what if along the way he goes along with a few minor deceptions and cuts a few moral corners? What could be the harm?

I couldn't stand the amount of sexism that this book portrays. Brooks the main character is so sexist. The other characters are sexist. There's girl-on-girl hate which I can't stand. The whole book makes out that no girl could possibly be able to go to prom without a date because it's obviously such a shameful and dirty thing to go by yourself, a friend or a group of friends. This is SUCH a wrong message to portray, especially to teenage girls and I was so mad by the end of the book.

The biggest thing I disliked after the sexism, was Brooks. Besides being sexist, he was incredibly unlikeable, had such a low opinion on girls that I couldn't stand and complained about how unlucky he was during the whole book, when obviously he wasn't.

This book was not for me. Even though it's quite a short book and I read it in just a couple of hours, reading it was painful. What this book turned out to be like was the complete opposite of what I expected and not for the better.

::Thank you WALKER BOOKS AU for the review copy!::

25857262 Publisher: Walker Books AU
Release Date: September 1st 2016
Source: From the Publisher!
Purchase: Mighty Ape / Paperplus

  "This is the Affinity Project - where freewill is turned to ash."
Evie is out of options. She must comply with the Affinity Project – obey their rules, play their deadly games, give up Jamie. And her losses keep growing...

When she decides to help a small group of Shields trying to affect change, Evie finds herself in the firing line. Counsellor Knox is intent on revealing her secrets and shackling her to the Affinity Project for life. To protect her family, Evie must betray those closest to her.

The odds of success – let alone survival – are slim.

The final thrilling conclusion to the Spark series.

I feel so emotional!! I can't believe the SPARK trilogy - a series I've been following since the first book came out - is finally finished. NOOO! I'm still in denial.

For all my fears that I had before finally reading SHIELD, none of them actually came true, THANK GOD. After the traumatic ending of STRAY, the second book in the trilogy, and the awful cliffhanger that followed, I was was terrified that SHIELD would kill all my favourite characters and just be a general bucket of sadness and tragedy.

THANKFULLY THOUGH, IT WAS NOT!!! Oh, thank the bookish gods.I pretty much adored everything about the book except the ending. Part of it is my own fault - the whole time I was reading I was hoping for a happily-ever-after-everything-is-happy-and pink-confetti-is-raining-down-everywhere-with-angels-strumming-harps-and-singing-joyfully-in-the-background...okay, maybe I had unrealistic hopes that were of course not going to happen! But I still would've liked more things to be tied up as it ended on a bit of a cliff-hanger/open ending.

::Thank you WALKER BOOKS AU for the review copy!::

29236299Publisher: Allen & Unwin
Release Date: November 1st 2016
Source: From the Publisher!
Purchase: Mighty Ape / Paperplus

The sci-fi saga that began with the breakout bestseller Illuminae continues on board the Jump Station Heimdall, where two new characters will confront the next wave of the BeiTech assault.

Hanna is the station captain’s pampered daughter; Nik the reluctant member of a notorious crime family. But while the pair are struggling with the realities of life aboard the galaxy’s most boring space station, little do they know that Kady Grant and the Hypatia are headed right toward Heimdall, carrying news of the Kerenza invasion.

When an elite BeiTech strike team invades the station, Hanna and Nik are thrown together to defend their home. But alien predators are picking off the station residents one by one, and a malfunction in the station’s wormhole means the space-time continuum might be ripped in two before dinner. Soon Hanna and Nik aren’t just fighting for their own survival; the fate of everyone on the Hypatia—and possibly the known universe—is in their hands. But relax. They’ve totally got this. They hope.

AHHHHHHHHH. SO! MANY! FEEEEEELSSS!!!! I was nervous before reading GEMINA as I had no idea if it would be anywhere near as good as ILLUMINAE or even good at all! I'm happy to say though, GEMINA punches right above the belt and is up there with ILLUMINAE with how much I loved it.

 I adored EVERYTHING about this book! Everything about it from the style it's presented in, the writing, the characters, THE PLOT...oh my god everything is absolute PERFECTION.

Although I still love ILLUMINAE more, I loved how GEMINA followed the same style as ILLUMINAE did but also tried to set itself apart as well. Marie Lu's illustrations were absolutely fantastic and I loved how they tied into the book so well!!


::Thank you ALLEN AND UNWIN NZ for the review copy!::


Wednesday, 26 April 2017

All the things I loved about STRANGE THE DREAMER by Laini Taylor

29748925Publisher: Hachette
Release Date: March 28th 2017
Source: From the Publisher!
Purchase: Mighty Ape / Paperplus

The dream chooses the dreamer, not the other way around—and Lazlo Strange, war orphan and junior librarian, has always feared that his dream chose poorly. Since he was five years old he’s been obsessed with the mythic lost city of Weep, but it would take someone bolder than he to cross half the world in search of it. Then a stunning opportunity presents itself, in the person of a hero called the Godslayer and a band of legendary warriors, and he has to seize his chance or lose his dream forever.

What happened in Weep two hundred years ago to cut it off from the rest of the world? What exactly did the Godslayer slay that went by the name of god? And what is the mysterious problem he now seeks help in solving?

The answers await in Weep, but so do more mysteries—including the blue-skinned goddess who appears in Lazlo’s dreams. How did he dream her before he knew she existed? And if all the gods are dead, why does she seem so real?

“Weep slept. Dreamers dreamed. A grand moon drifted, and, and the wings of the citadel cut the sky in two: light above, dark below.”

Meet my favourite book of 2017. STRANGE THE DREAMER by Laini Taylor is the lyrical and mysterious adventure I didn't know my bookish heart was longing for until I read it. I have too many feelings and emotions to lay out in an ordered explanation so here is a scrambled and unordered list of all the things that I loved and adored and made my heart sing about STRANGE THE DREAMER. Also peppered throughout are all my favourite quotes from the book as it was impossible to write any sort of review without showing examples of of how beautiful this novel is.

“I think you're a fairy tale. I think you're magical, and brave, and exquisite. And I hope you'll let me be in your story.”  

First of all, Lazlo Strange. 

Oh Lazlo, how I love you. Why? For so many reasons. Because Lazlo is a dreamer and all dreamers can relate to a dreamer. Because he loves books and cherishes them like they deserve. Because he loves fairytales and legends and magic and wonder. But most of because Lazlo is KIND. Because he is caring and sweet and gentle. I am so tired of boys in YA that don't know how to be kind or think kindness is "weak" and so Lazlo and the kindness that just comes out of him in such waves, with no expectation or bitterness or selfishness behind it is a breath of well-deserved air that YA needs.

“He wasn't an alchemist, or a hero. He was a librarian, and a dreamer. He was a reader, and the unsung expert on a long-lost city no one cared a thing about.”

The dreamy writing style. 

The dream-like quality of this book is heavenly. The writing was so smooth and honey-like and reading it was completely luxurious. Even though it was always exciting and there were tense moments, I felt so relaxed and at peace while immersing myself in its pages. I also adored how dreams were a big part of the book itself though. The way Taylor wrote about them was so unique and fascinating not to mention beautiful to read.

 “On the occasions that he did look up from the page, he would seem as though he were awakening from a dream.”

The slow pace.

I'm not a huge fan of slow books. I like action, I like fast-moving plots and storylines. I like battles and war and heists. But man did I adore the slowness and tranquillity of pace that STRANGE THE DREAMER took. It worked so well. And while it is definitely a fantasy, I loved how the book never followed any cliché or typical plot line that many fantasies follow.

  “He dreamed of deserts and great empty cities and imagined he could feel the minutes and hours of his life running through him, as though he were nothing but an hourglass of flesh and bone.”

Never knowing what to expect.

Following on from the above paragraph, I loved the not only slow and meandering pace of the book but also the fact that I never had ANY idea or clue what was going to happen. Not one! And because I read a lot of fantasy and it's my favourite genre, I kept thinking I KNEW what was going to happen, KNEW who was going to do what or what was going to happen to who, but always, ALWAYS, I was proved wrong. And I LOVED IT. Not knowing what to expect and to have everything that happens in the book be a complete surprise made reading the book an even better experience.

 “He had loved the library, and had felt, as a boy, as though it had a kind of sentience, and perhaps loved him back. But even if it was just walls and a roof with papers inside, it had bewitched him, and drawn him in, and given him everything he needed to become himself.”

It fed my soul, specifically my writing one.

 I felt so INSPIRED when reading STRANGE THE DREAMER and also after I'd finished reading it as well. I am so in awe of everything about Taylor's writing prowess, but especially with her way to write so beautifully. I came away with a new enthusiasm for all my writing projects which I didn't realize I needed until finishing this book.

“He read while he walked. He read while he ate. The other librarians suspected he somehow read while he slept, or perhaps didn't sleep at all.” 


Next year is so far away! How am I possibly going to be able to wait that long to find out what's happened to my sweet and bitter darlings?! I am dyyyyyying right now as I speak, my bookish soul that's still so lit up from the beauty of STRANGE THE DREAMER is slowly shrivelling when I think of the long, long, L.O.N.G. wait I have for the second book.

 “Like nightmares, dreams were insidious things, and didn't like being locked away.” 

::Thank you HACHETTE for the review copy!::


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