Category

Book Reviews

Category

The Crossover

Genres: Coming of Age, Contemporary, Family, High School, Poetry, Realistic Fiction, Sport

Reaction Upon Reading: I need more poetry books like this in my life!


“Basketball Rule #1 –  In this game of life your family is the court and the ball is your heart. No matter how good you are, no matter how down you get, always leave your heart on the court.”


Synopsis:

“With a bolt of lightning on my kicks … .The court is SIZZLING. My sweat is DRIZZLING. Stop all that quivering. Cuz tonight I’m delivering,” announces dread-locked, 12-year old Josh Bell. He and his twin brother Jordan are awesome on the court. But Josh has more than basketball in his blood, he’s got mad beats, too, that tell his family’s story in verse, in this fast and furious middle-grade novel of family and brotherhood.

Josh and Jordan must come to grips with growing up on and off the court to realize breaking the rules comes at a terrible price, as their story’s heart-stopping climax proves a game-changer for the entire family.


“Basketball Rule #4 – If you miss enough of life’s free throws you will pay in the end.”


Overall Thoughts: 

It is easy to see why this book won the Newberry award in 2014. I am officially planning to buy and read all of Alexander Kwame’s books. #obsessed

‘The Crossover’ tells the story of twin thirteen-year-old basketball players Jordan and Josh Bell. This is a unique book and reading experience as it is told through poetry and prose. Basketball is used as a metaphor for life and this book touches on some important adolescent life lessons. Each chapter is told through a different type of poetry and the use of white space is extremely creative.

Josh and Jordan “JB” Bell are basketball superstars. Their father was also a basketball phenomenon and their mother is a junior high principal. Although the boys are twins there are a few differences. Josh is more academic, an inch taller and plays small forward. JB plays shooting guard and is less focused on being the best and more focused on getting a girlfriend. This causes a rift between the two boys and is the catalyst for the conflict and life lessons told.  We see them navigate family drama, loss, finding your own identity, jealousy, and the struggles of growing up.

You don’t need to love basketball or poetry to enjoy this book. It is a must read for all middle schoolers and adults alike. I absolutely adored this and can not recommend it enough.



What did you think of this book?

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Rating Report
Plot
four-half-stars
Characters
four-half-stars
Writing
five-stars
Pacing
five-stars
Cover
five-stars
Overall: five-stars

When It’s Real

Genres: Contemporary, Family, Realistic Fiction, Romance

Reaction Upon Reading: Can this please happen to me?!


“There aren’t any cameras here. This isn’t for show.
This is as real and as awful and as wonderful as it gets. I’d hold her forever if she’d let me.”


Synopsis:

Meet Oakley Ford – teen celebrity, renowned pop star, child of famous movie stars, hottie with millions of fangirls… and restless troublemaker. On the surface, he has it all, but with his home life disintegrating, his music well suddenly running dry, and the tabloids having a field day over his outrageous exploits, Oakley’s team decides it’s time for an intervention. The result: an image overhaul, complete with a fake girlfriend meant to show the world he’s settled down.

Enter seventeen-year-old Vaughn Bennett-devoted sister, part-time waitress, the definition of “normal.” Under ordinary circumstances, she’d never have taken this gig, but with her family strapped for cash, she doesn’t have much of a choice. And for the money Oakley’s team is paying her, she figures she can put up with outlandish Hollywood parties and a team of publicists watching her every move. So what if she thinks Oakley’s a shallow, self-centered jerk? Is it not like they’re going to fall for each other in real life…right?


“You told me not to settle. You said to find my passion, but I don’t know what that is. I only know what I don’t want.”


Overall Thoughts:

Eeeek! Wouldn’t this be amazing if it could actually happen? You’re the girl next door just minding your own business and you get asked to be the pretend girlfriend for the Hollywood ‘It’ boy. Next thing you know it has gone from pretending for the fans to actual love. Books like this just make my heart happy.

I really enjoy a light easy contemporary read and this is just that. It is nothing memorable but I still enjoyed it none the less. I managed to read the whole thing in one sitting…which is saying something because I am easily distracted.

Vaughn and Oakley are the perfect couple to ship. They have polar opposite lives but manage to find some middle ground in their values. Vaughn works her butt off to support her family as a result of losing her parents. She is obsessed with her family and is motivated to do better for them. Oakley, on the other hand, has an extremely strained relationship with both of his parents, who he felt used and took advantage of his success and fame. He has got a hardened exterior and puts up a big facade hiding who he actually is.

Vaughn takes the money Oakley is offering to pay her to be his girlfriend because she knows she will never get another opportunity like this to support her family. Oakley wasn’t prepared however to have a pretend girlfriend who wasn’t in complete and utter awe of his fame. She is sassy, rude and doesn’t stand for any of his bullshit, regularly calling him out for being an idiot. This makes for some hilarious banter!

Normally I would hate a book that has any of semblance of a love triangle, but it doesn’t feel like that because Vaughn’s boyfriend (at the start of the book) is a complete and utter douchebag. Honestly, I wanted to pull him out of the book by his hair and slap him silly! After writing this I will be deleting his character from memory permanently.

This is same author who wrote ‘Paper Princess’ which is so hard to fathom because while that book is dark and r-rated, this book is light and fluffy. I loved the writing style switching perspectives and thought the characters were very likable and complex.



What did you think of this book?

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Rating Report
Plot
four-stars
Characters
four-half-stars
Writing
four-half-stars
Pacing
four-stars
Cover
four-stars
Overall: four-stars

When Dimple Met Rishi

When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon
on May 30th 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Realistic Fiction, Romance
Pages: 380
Goodreads

Reaction Upon Reading: Everyone needs to read this book!


“This is our life. We get to decide the rules. We get to say what goes and what stays, what matters and what doesn’t.” 


Synopsis:

Dimple Shah has it all figured out. With graduation behind her, she’s more than ready for a break from her family, from Mamma’s inexplicable obsession with her finding the “Ideal Indian Husband.” Ugh. Dimple knows they must respect her principles on some level, though. If they truly believed she needed a husband right now, they wouldn’t have paid for her to attend a summer program for aspiring web developers…right?

Rishi Patel is a hopeless romantic. So when his parents tell him that his future wife will be attending the same summer program as him—wherein he’ll have to woo her—he’s totally on board. Because as silly as it sounds to most people in his life, Rishi wants to be arranged, believes in the power of tradition, stability, and being a part of something much bigger than himself.

The Shahs and Patels didn’t mean to start turning the wheels on this “suggested arrangement” so early in their children’s lives, but when they noticed them both gravitate toward the same summer program, they figured, Why not?

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.


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


Overall Thoughts:

This book is humorous, light-hearted and completely raw and real. Basically, it hits you in all of the feels. ‘When Dimple Met Rishi’ quickly made its way on to my ‘Top Reads of 2017’ list! It would make the most amazing rom-com and is something I would love to see. I just hope they nail the casting and keep the authenticity of the book intact.

I am obsessed with the characters, the fact that the story is centered around a female characters love of coding and that it lets you into the world of Indian culture and norms. We explore the notion of arranged marriage, Indian families, and their expectations all still while trying to follow your dreams.

I am really glad I read this book before the hype becoming overwhelming.

Dimple is the character I connected the most with. She is a teen web developer who has been trying to convince her parents to let her go to Insomnia Con; a week-long web development camp and competition for aspiring coders. Getting to Insomnia Con isn’t easy as Dimple comes from a traditional Indian family who is more focused on her getting a husband than a career.

Dimple is shocked when her family allows her to attend to Insomnia Con, but she is even more shocked when she meets the boy that her family has arranged for her to marry unbeknownst to her. It isn’t all love at first sight but the love that develops is real, raw and surprisingly beautiful.

Dimple quickly calls out her mother against her ‘unrealistic’ views on marriage and the kind of woman Dimple is supposed to present herself to be. She is someone is happy just being herself and doesn’t feel a need to fit the mold her mother has set or societies. She is content with no-makeup and messy hair.

Rishi, on the other hand, is a total goofball. He respects his Indian culture and does everything he can to please his parents and preserve his heritage. Rishi is someone who puts everyone before himself and works hard for those he cares about. He quickly takes a liking to Dimple regardless of her attitude and contempt she has for him.

I always appreciate a story that opens a door for me. This did just that, it opened a door to Indian culture and customs I previously knew very little about. There are many phrases and words in Hindi, they speak about different types of Indian fashion, and the book delves into family customs. One takeaway is I now really want to watch a Bollywood film.

Overall I think this book is fantastic. A rich blend of humor, love and cultural norms being tested.



What did you think of this book?

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Dear Aaron

Genres: Contemporary, Realistic Fiction, Romance

Reaction Upon Reading: Could this book get any cuter?


“What was love if it wasn’t just a single word people used to try and describe something that wasn’t easily explained or grown in one action or declaration?”


Synopsis:

Ruby Santos knew exactly what she was getting herself into when she signed up to write a soldier overseas.
The guidelines were simple: one letter or email a week for the length of his or her deployment. Care packages were optional.
Been there, done that. She thought she knew what to expect.
What she didn’t count on was falling in love with the guy.


“Loneliness even when you’re surrounded by others is something I understand well.”


Overall Thoughts:

Mariana Zapata is the goddess of writing the most hilarious banter. I was laughing within 2 minutes of reading this book so I knew I was in for a treat from the word go.

You’ve got this girl Ruby who is quirky and beautiful yet insecure and hasn’t got the most confidence. Then there’s Aaron, the broody military guy who is straight-up and sexy as hell. The 2 characters met through one of the military services which pairs people/families up with a soldier just to talk to them so they don’t get so lonely while he or she is deployed. At first, I felt kinda awkward for Ruby because Aaron didn’t actually reply for a while but once he did, oh boy, my life got a whole lot better.

The banter between these 2 characters, gives me life. It was so funny at some points that I had legit tears.

In the beginning, it’s small talk and just getting to know each other but once events in each of their lives start getting too much to handle, they begin to open up with each other which was so cool to read and just see their relationship develop on a friends basis first. Aaron encourages and pushes Ruby to go after what she wants, he even helps her with her dating life which she reports back to him, letting him know how, usually bad, they went.

At a certain point in reading, I felt the change in Aaron and knew the exact moment he no longer saw Ruby as just a friend, which to be honest, excited the hell out of me because you already know how Ruby feels about him. #loveisintheair

Eventually, Aaron gets leave and pretty much forces Ruby to meet him (in the nicest way possible) so for one of the first times in her life she does something selfish and gets on a plane to meet Aaron. After the fear of being stood up and initially awkwardness, Aaron & Ruby fall into their banter just like online which I’m sure pleased all readers because by this point you’re just rooting for them to confess their love. It was one of those things where you know it’s gonna happen so it takes, what feels like forever but when they do it’s seriously adorable because Ruby just doesn’t believe he could like her as more than a friend which is kinda sweet.

This book is full of beautiful moments that I’m sure all people who have fallen in love/like can relate to. I haven’t been able to read anything since because I’m so hooked on these characters but I’m sure the next Mariana Zapata book I have on my list will do the same.

 

Loves:

  • Aaron’s nickname for Ruby: RC or Ruby Cube
  • Their confession of love
  • The emailing back and forth was a refreshing and fun way to read a book.
  • Love, love, love a military book!
  • Love that their own weird complemented each other’s so nicely
  • Their first kiss! Swoon!
  • I love that it was an easy read which I could not put down until I’d finished it.
  • Ruron Forever!

“Beauty fades, a good personality and chemistry doesn’t.”


What did you think of this book? What is your favourite Mariana Zapata book?

Leave a comment below.

Rating Report
Plot
five-stars
Characters
five-stars
Writing
five-stars
Pacing
five-stars
Cover
three-half-stars
Overall: four-half-stars

Girl Out of Water

Girl Out of Water by Laura Silverman
on May 2nd 2017
Genres: Coming of Age, Contemporary, Family, Realistic Fiction, Romance
Pages: 350
Goodreads

Reaction Upon Reading: This did nothing for me


“There’s something satisfying about going faster than you can on the legs you were born with.” 


Synopsis:

Anise Sawyer plans to spend every minute of summer with her friends: surfing, chowing down on fish tacos drizzled with wasabi balsamic vinegar, and throwing bonfires that blaze until dawn. But when a serious car wreck leaves her aunt, a single mother of three, with two broken legs, it forces Anise to say goodbye for the first time to Santa Cruz, the waves, her friends, and even a kindling romance, and fly with her dad to Nebraska for the entire summer. Living in Nebraska isn’t easy. Anise spends her days caring for her three younger cousins in the childhood home of her runaway mom, a wild figure who’s been flickering in and out of her life since birth, appearing for weeks at a time and then disappearing again for months, or even years, without a word.

Complicating matters is Lincoln, a one-armed, charismatic skater who pushes Anise to trade her surfboard for a skateboard. As Anise draws closer to Lincoln and takes on the full burden and joy of her cousins, she loses touch with her friends back home – leading her to one terrifying question: will she turn out just like her mom and spend her life leaving behind the ones she loves


“I fucking did it. I ollied. A shitty ollie, but still – if a tree falls in the forest, and it was a shitty tree, the tree still fell, right?” 


Overall Thoughts:

Ugh I don’t know where to start with this. This book did absolutely nothing for me at all. I put it down numerous times and I was skimming and scanning to try and speed the plot up. Nothing really happened at all. Anise is pretty much the same person at the end of the book as she was at the start.

‘Girl out of Water’ is ‘coming of age’ story about a girl named Anise.

Anise has surfing in her blood. She lives and breathes her love of being out on the water, so when her Aunty is badly injured in a car accident and she and her father are on the next flight out to Nebraska, Anise is crushed. This was meant to be her last summer with her friends, they had plans of how to make the most of it before they all go their separate ways to college. *cue the sad music*

Anise finds herself as the surrogate mother to her three younger cousins. Two twin boys obsessed with skateboarding and a moody pre-teen who keeps shutting her out. Nebraska is a far cry from the beaches she was expecting, but before you know it Anise has swapped her surfboard for a skateboard and a boy who is nothing like she expected.

I was hooked on this storyline until Anise become super whiny and the plot felt like it was crawling towards her relationship and returning home at the end of the summer. There was a lot of what I would consider ‘filler’ content in the story. It was so realistic that the timing felt realistic too. It would take chapters and chapters for anything remotely interesting to take place.

Anise basically goes through this spiral of not wanting to end up like her mother, while doing exactly the same things her mother did; running away, shutting people out, keeping secrets. I will admit I was surprised her mother didn’t make an appearance at all in the book. Also, how could her father uproot her life and then make her in charge of three children all day every day?! This makes no sense to me at all. Where is she going to college? Has she changed her mind about that now…and what about Lincoln? Too many things annoyed so I am just going to stop.

I will be forgetting this book in a hurry.



What did you think of this book?

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Rating Report
Plot
three-half-stars
Characters
three-stars
Writing
three-half-stars
Pacing
three-stars
Cover
four-half-stars
Overall: three-half-stars

The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue

The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee
on June 27th 2017
Genres: Adventure, Fantasy, GLBT, Historical Fiction, Romance
Pages: 513
Goodreads

Reaction Upon Reading: Literary perfection.


“It’s beginning to feel like he’s shuffling his way through the seven deadly sins, in ascending order of my favourites.” 


Synopsis:

Henry “Monty” Montague was born and bred to be a gentleman, but he was never one to be tamed. The finest boarding schools in England and the constant disapproval of his father haven’t been able to curb any of his roguish passions—not for gambling halls, late nights spent with a bottle of spirits, or waking up in the arms of women or men.

But as Monty embarks on his Grand Tour of Europe, his quest for a life filled with pleasure and vice is in danger of coming to an end. Not only does his father expect him to take over the family’s estate upon his return, but Monty is also nursing an impossible crush on his best friend and traveling companion, Percy.

Still it isn’t in Monty’s nature to give up. Even with his younger sister, Felicity, in tow, he vows to make this yearlong escapade one last hedonistic hurrah and flirt with Percy from Paris to Rome. But when one of Monty’s reckless decisions turns their trip abroad into a harrowing manhunt that spans across Europe, it calls into question everything he knows, including his relationship with the boy he adores.


“God bless the book people for their boundless knowledge absorbed from having words instead of friends.” 


Overall Thoughts:

This book is seriously perfection! The cover stole my heart initially but then the characters did the rest. How do I even convey my feelings about this gem? Go and read it, review done…just kidding…I shall attempt to make this review flow because my feelings are everywhere.

I usually have a ‘fear’ of big books and yet I devoured this so quickly. I barely even noticed the length, I just wanted more, more, more. What kept me engaged was how funny and sassy the characters were.

Monty is the whiny brat but he has the best banter ever. He is constantly getting himself into trouble and everyone just puts up with his shenanigans. When it gets ‘too much’ his friends call him on it and promptly put him in his place. If trouble is a foot then Monty is bound to be in the middle of it all.

Percy is perfection. He is proper, kind, good-natured, plays the violin and is Monty’s number one supporter. The love he has for Monty is so sweet. When the two were being pig-headed about their feelings I want to bash their heads together repeatedly!

Felicity is an extremely intelligent bookworm. She comes across cold and disinterested, but you best believe she cares for her brother Monty and his friend Percy. She is observant, smart mouthed and won’t put up with your BS.

The three of them together is the best Trio I have read since ‘Harry Potter’.

This book is surely going to win some awards because the diversity is outstanding. What makes it even better is everything covered is given time, care and attention to explain. I love how it is all treated with the most utmost respect. Well planned and written!

  • Bisexual character
  • M/M romance
  • Disability
  • Characters with different ethnicities
  • Anxiety

Historical fiction is moving its way up the ranks for me. This year I have had the pleasure of reading ‘Echo’ and ‘Salt to the Sea’. Now I can add this to the list of HF loves. All I want to do in life is travel and this book allowed me to tour the continent in a time period I would have loved to live in. Paris, Spain, Greece – where do I sign up?

Pirates, magic, uncouth behaviour, highwaymen, set in the 18th century, touring the continent, the greatest trio ever and a crazed Duke. Need I say more? Go and read this now. 

EDIT – Omg, this is a series?! How did I not know this? It wasn’t until I was writing this review and looking up the ISBN number did I discover that there is another book ‘The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy’. Say no more, take my money!


“Just thinking about all that blood.” I nearly shudder. “Doesn’t it make you a bit squeamish?”
“Ladies haven’t the luxury of being squeamish about blood,” she replies, and Percy and I go fantastically red in unison.” 


What did you think of this book?

Are you just as excited for the sequel as me?

Rating Report
Plot
five-stars
Characters
five-stars
Writing
five-stars
Pacing
five-stars
Cover
five-stars
Overall: five-stars

The Female of the Species

The Female of the Species by Mindy McGinnis, Amanda Dolan, Bittner Bolding, Dan Justis
on September 20th 2016
Genres: Contemporary, High School, Mystery, Romance, Thriller, Tragedy
Goodreads

Reaction Upon Reading: These violent delights have violent ends


“You see it in all animals – the female of the species is more deadly than the male.’

‘Except humans.” 


Synopsis:

Alex Craft knows how to kill someone. And she doesn’t feel bad about it. When her older sister, Anna, was murdered three years ago and the killer walked free, Alex uncaged the language she knows best. The language of violence.

While her crime goes unpunished, Alex knows she can’t be trusted among other people, even in her small hometown. She relegates herself to the shadows, a girl who goes unseen in plain sight, unremarkable in the high school hallways.

But Jack Fisher sees her. He’s the guy all other guys want to be: the star athlete gunning for valedictorian with the prom queen on his arm. Guilt over the role he played the night Anna’s body was discovered hasn’t let him forget Alex over the years, and now her green eyes amid a constellation of freckles have his attention. He doesn’t want to only see Alex Craft; he wants to know her.

So does Peekay, the preacher’s kid, a girl whose identity is entangled with her dad’s job, though that does not stop her from knowing the taste of beer or missing the touch of her ex-boyfriend. When Peekay and Alex start working together at the animal shelter, a friendship forms and Alex’s protective nature extends to more than just the dogs and cats they care for.

Circumstances bring Alex, Jack, and Peekay together as their senior year unfolds. While partying one night, Alex’s darker nature breaks out, setting the teens on a collision course that will change their lives forever.


“But boys will be boys, our favorite phrase that excuses so many things, while the only thing we have for the opposite gender is women, said with disdain and punctuated with an eye roll.” 


Overall Thoughts:

This book is all violence and angst and is basically a feminists dream! It beats down the notion of ‘boys will be boys’, deals with loads of moral questions/dilemmas – which leave you in a quite a grey area, it calls out society on its horrific views towards rape, doesn’t wrap everything up in a nice bow and has loads of complex characters and themes. Basically, as far as contemporary fictions go, this book is pushing the boundaries and I love it!

Alex is all kinds of twisted. We meet Alex after the rape and murder of her sister. She has spent the last few years lurking in the shadows and attempting to detach herself from society. She is intense! Alex doesn’t seem to fit the social norms and therefore doesn’t conform to society’s expectations of a teenage girl. She’s kind of awkward, weird and her conversation skills are a little lacklustre. She will beat down anyone who makes a rape joke and she took justice into her own hands by murdering her sister’s killer and getting away with it (Is that twisted or what?!). Just when you think she has no empathy, she blindsides you with the way she cares for puppies and kittens each week in a shelter. Alex doesn’t fit any boxes. The scary thing is, each time she did something horrific I didn’t feel like what she was doing was wrong. I found it sad that she wasn’t just twisted because of her sister’s murder, but that it is something she believes she genetically inherited from her father.

Jack – where do I begin with Jack? He is basically a big dumb idiot, but you like him anyway. He is a stereotypical high school boy that thinks with his hormones and not his brain. His relationship with Alex was a quite slow burn and even though I didn’t approve of every choice and decision he made, he definitely grew up throughout the book. By the end of it, I was rooting for him to make the right choice and have some happiness.

Peekay (Claire) is the Preacher’s Kid. She is ridiculously likeable, real, honest and I just wanted to be her friend. We meet her after a bad breakup when she is really going through a phase of discovering herself. She is the preacher’s kid and yet she is quite fond of drinking and partying. Her parents are pretty cool though and are really supportive of her finding her place in the world…which means trying things out for herself. Peekay worked with Alex at the shelter and was pretty much the whole reason Alex was able to come out of her shell and make friends. Yay Peekay!

Branley really surprised me. I thought she was going to be another vapid mean girl, but her motivations were much more interesting. I love that she was written that way because she feared being thought of as stupid and ultimately tossed away. I did hate a lot of her choices, but she was a real character! Someone we have all met at some stage in our lives.

One issue I have is that the cover is very misleading. It is bright and funky looking, leading me as the reader to believe I am about to read some happy bubblegum pop type contemporary. The book is very dark and I think that the cover should reflect this more.

Basically if you want a book that pushes the boundaries and ultimately leaves you with all the feels, this is it.

Loves:

  • There are puppies!
  • Complex characters.
  • Challenges societies views on rape and sex.
  • Characters I want to be friends.
  • Characters that are 100% relatable – we all know these people.
  • The writing style was beautiful. Lots of quotable lines.
  • Blood…murder…revenge!
  • It is raw, bold and dark, like really dark.

“Anger makes you tired, but guilt keeps you from falling asleep.” 


What did you think of this book?

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Rating Report
Plot
four-stars
Characters
four-half-stars
Writing
four-stars
Pacing
four-stars
Cover
five-stars
Overall: four-stars

Heartless

Heartless by Marissa Meyer
on November 8th 2016
Genres: Fantasy, Retellings, Romance
Pages: 453
Goodreads

Reaction Upon Reading: Not the ending I was expecting at all!


“The easiest way to steal something, is for it to be given willingly.” 


Synopsis:

Catherine may be one of the most desired girls in Wonderland and a favorite of the unmarried King, but her interests lie elsewhere. A talented baker, she wants to open a shop and create delectable pastries. But for her mother, such a goal is unthinkable for a woman who could be a queen.

At a royal ball where Cath is expected to receive the King’s marriage proposal, she meets handsome and mysterious Jest. For the first time, she feels the pull of true attraction. At the risk of offending the King and infuriating her parents, she and Jest enter into a secret courtship.

Cath is determined to choose her own destiny. But in a land thriving with magic, madness, and monsters, fate has other plans.


“It is a dangerous thing to unbelieve something only because it frightens you.” 


Overall Thoughts:

Did I love this as much as Cinder? No – This book is very different and I don’t know whether to celebrate or cry that it is a stand alone.

I think I will celebrate because as much as I did love the book there were a lot of flaws and holes. I did pick it up and put it back down 3 or 4 times. So it did take me a while to finish. I only feel like crying because I still have so many questions!

Cath has caught the eye of the King. He wishes to make her his bride, much to Cath’s dismay because her goal in life is to open a bakery with her BFF Mary Ann (Friendship goals). Cath attends a black and white ball (unbeknown to her) in a striking red dress, thanks to her mother who is thrilled that she has managed to catch the King’s eye. Before he can propose Cath flees the ball and finds herself alone with the new court Jester, Jest. A wild-eyed, mysterious magician who is quite the charmer.

Nothing much happens for a while, it is a lot of back of forth pining and whining on Cath’s behalf. Then around two-thirds of the way through we hit some action!

The ending of the book was really its saving grace. It evolves quite quickly and really was quite unexpected because this book is a stand alone, I assumed I would get a happy ending. Oh boy was I wrong. To see Cath transform over the course of the book from a happy go lucky girl to a cold-hearted Queen was incredible. The way she spoke to Mary-Ann on the last few pages had my jaw on the floor. Where did Cath go?!

Loves:

  • Everything about Wonderland makes me smile. I like its silliness and nonsense.
  • I really really really like Jest. Can we have a prequel about him?!
  • There was so much baking. I was perpetually hungry and craving sweets.
  • The rhymes and nonsense that ended up being prophecies were very creative!
  • It was great big fairytale which didn’t have a happy ending – don’t get me wrong – I was sad but it was poweful.

Questions I still have:

  • What happens next?
  • What was the deal with all the things that would grow in Catherine’s room over night?
  • When does Hatter go mad? Has it already happened?
  • Will Raven still attempt to fulfil his mission? Or has Cath’s heart truly gone bad?
  • Is there going to be repercussion with the pumpkin seeds that came from Chess?
  • Why did the King want her? It just didn’t add up to me. She was annoying.
  • What happens with Mary Ann now?
  • Do Cath’s parents feel guilty? I hope so, silly selfish parents.

“But hoping,” he said, “is how the impossible can be possible after all.” 


What did you think of this book?

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Crooked Kingdom

Crooked Kingdom (Six of Crows, #2) by Leigh Bardugo
on September 27th 2016
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 536
Goodreads

Reaction Upon Reading: Deliciously bad!


“I would have come for you. And if I couldn’t walk, I’d crawl to you, and no matter how broken we were, we’d fight our way out together-knives drawn, pistols blazing. Because that’s what we do. We never stop fighting.”


Synopsis:

Welcome to the world of the Grisha.

After pulling off a seemingly impossible heist in the notorious Ice Court, criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker feels unstoppable. But life is about to take a dangerous turn—and with friends who are among the deadliest outcasts in Ketterdam city, Kaz is going to need more than luck to survive in this unforgiving underworld.


“Maybe there were people who lived those lives. Maybe this girl was one of them. But what about the rest of us? What about the nobodies and the nothings, the invisible girls? We learn to hold our heads as if we wear crowns. We learn to wring magic from the ordinary. That was how you survived when you weren’t chosen when there was no royal blood in your veins. When the world owed you nothing, you demanded something of it anyway.” 


Overall Thoughts:

I would love to spend a day in Ketterdam and explore the debauchery and chaos this wonderful den of sin has to offer.

‘Crooked Kingdom’ begins a week after ‘Six of Crows’ and takes place in Ketterdam *swoon*. This book is less focused on a heist and more focused on taking down Van Eck’s empire. It is a lot of political schemes and character defamation. I didn’t think Kaz could get darker but there were points in this book where I truly felt like he was lost for good. IT WAS BRILLIANT! 

This book doesn’t have the same excitement and wow factor as ‘Six of Crows’ but the characters and schemes redeem the slower pacing. It is a large read – 500 pages! I thankfully chose to listen to the audiobook which I believed helped me to follow the ever changing plot and twists

I thought Kuwei would have a bigger part – I mean he is central to the plot of book 1. He was just kind of there – such a missed opportunity.

The death towards the end of the book seemed a little cheap. It just happened and because of the mantra ‘no mourners, no funerals’ I didn’t get a chance to feel anything. Which means, by the time I got to the next chapter I wasn’t bothered. Which is terrible because I did love that character. I feel like the death was poorly timed and written. A cheap gimmick to attempt to give people the feels.

I did, however, enjoy that not everything was wrapped up in a neat bow, this is Ketterdam after all. The characters are all off on their own pathways now and it is pretty much the best they are going to get. It felt like each character was at peace and able to move forward with their lives, even if that means drifting apart from one another.

KAZ AND INEJ HELD HANDS!!!

Overall I enjoyed this book. I think the plot is so beautifully planned out and woven together and the characters are just magic. I am pleased it is only a duology. I think a third book would have been too much and some of the charm of the setting and characters would have worn off.

I am sad to say goodbye to these characters, but I haven’t read the ‘Shadow and Bone’ series yet, so it won’t be goodbye to this world.


Favourite Character:

Wylan Van Eck

I didn’t realise I would fall so in love with Wylan’s character. In the first book, he was just kind of a character who was there, he served a purpose to Kaz’s master plan.

In this book he was perfection. His relationship with Jasper gave me butterflies. Can we have a spin-off series about this two, please?

He may not be able to read but he makes up for it by being wickedly clever and creative. He managed to get the crew out of sticky situations.


“Fear is a Phoenix. You can watch it burn a thousand times and still it will return.” 


Least Favourite Character:

Pekka Rollins

This is obvious! He is the evil man who ruined Kaz’s life.

I didn’t like how he was always so cocky and arrogant, so you best believe I am giddy with excitement and Inej’s appearance in his ‘guarded’ home. Will he ever remember Jordy’s name? I don’t think so – which makes me dislike him even more. When he spoke about being able to redeem his businesses I wanted to slap him upside the head. How dare he think he can return to Ketterdam without repercussions. Silly Rollins.


“Has anyone noticed this whole city is looking for us, mad at us, or wants to kill us?”
“So?” said Kaz.
“Well, usually it’s just half the city.” 


What did you think of this book?

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Rating Report
Plot
five-stars
Characters
five-stars
Writing
four-half-stars
Pacing
four-half-stars
Cover
four-stars
Overall: four-half-stars

5 Makeup Products I want But Don’t Own

I don’t know about you but I have an ever growing make-up list, it’s a little bit insane. These are just 5 makeup products that I want but don’t own…


Naked 2 – Urban Decay

@flawles.shop


Posie K – Kylie Cosmetics

@elinevanlent 


Lip Injection – Too Faced

@jun_ko13 


Venus Palette – Limecrime

@paperluster 


Spray Fix+ – Mac

@beautyproductsaremycardio


 

What are your makeup must-haves?

Leave a comment below.