Review: Blood for Blood by Ryan Graudin

blood-for-blood Publisher: Orion Children’s Books
Release date: October 6, 2016
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased
Pages: 496
Goodreads || Book Depository

There would be blood.
Blood for blood.
Blood to pay.
An entire world of it.

For the resistance in 1950s Germany, the war may be over, but the fight has just begun.

Death camp survivor Yael, who has the power to skinshift, is on the run: the world has just seen her shoot and kill Hitler. But the truth of what happened is far more complicated, and its consequences are deadly. Yael and her unlikely comrades dive into enemy territory to try to turn the tide against the New Order, and there is no alternative but to see their mission through to the end, whatever the cost.

But dark secrets reveal dark truths, and one question hangs over them all: how far can you go for the ones you love?

This gripping, thought-provoking sequel to Wolf by Wolf will grab readers by the throat with its cinematic writing, fast-paced action, and relentless twists.


5 stars

Blood for Blood is the sequel of Wolf by Wolf, which means that this review may contain spoilers for the first book.

Wolf by Wolf was one of my favourite releases of last year and I’ve been highly anticipating Blood for Blood since last year. And it definitely did not disappoint. Wolf by Wolf ended on a bit of a cliffhanger and I had absolutely no idea what to expect from this sequel other than more fantastic storytelling and lots of intense action. Ryan Graudin definitely delivered both of those things and I can say that this was one of my favourite releases of this year.

Blood for Blood picks up exactly where Wolf by Wolf ended, with Yael running away from the ball. It’s a little bit hard to describe exactly what this book is about because there are so many things going on, but throughout the novel, Yael and her comrades escape from various foes and work with the Resistance to bring down the Third Reich and the Fuhrer. I absolutely loved the plot of this book. There were countless unexpected twists that kept me on my toes, and it’s definitely a book where nobody is safe from death. There was never a sense that our beloved characters were untouchable and I really enjoyed that about the book (even though I will protect my babies until the end of time). This book was extremely action-packed even though it wasn’t as fast-paced as Wolf by Wolf. I thought the pacing was perfect for the story and I loved the intensity of everything that was going on. Some of the events in this sequel had me visibly shaking and it’ll take me a little while to get over all the feels. The last 100 pages of the book absolutely blew my mind and I really loved how everything was revealed and tied together neatly at the end. There was definitely a lot of internal screeching as I was reading Blood for Blood, but it was completely worth all of the pain and fear I felt.

Was it really so surprising that Yael was nothing like the slurs Luka’s father/teacher/Fuhrer spewed? That out of all the souls Luka had ever come across, hers was one of the brightest? It held the bravery of one hundred Iron Crosses, melted down and forged into something purer – a courage not corroded by cruelty.

I absolutely loved the characters in this book, even though we have a potential traitor in our midst. I appreciated Yael so much more in this book because she was completely herself and not a fake Adele Wolfe. I loved her compassion, her strength and her convictions and she’s definitely one of my favourite fictional heroines because of these qualities. Her resilience was astounding and I enjoyed everything about her character. I also continued to love Luka in this book, which is probably a surprise to no-one because I loved him immensely in the first book. We got to see so much more of his character and I really connected with him and his story. I love every side of his character – his cockiness, his ability to find humour in every situation and his love for doing what he thinks is right. As for some of the other characters, I really did not like Felix in this book. He really grated on my nerves but I did like the way that his character was developed. I also really enjoyed seeing some of the characters that were mentioned in Wolf by Wolf. It was nice to see them make an appearance here in the book and to see the relationship that they had with Yael.

There wasn’t a lot that I didn’t like about this book. While it didn’t have the excitement of a fast-paced motocross race, it did have war, strategy, survival, family and love all wrapped up nicely into one book. My only criticism would probably be that there isn’t another installment.

Review: When the Moon was Ours by Anna-Marie McLemore

when-the-moon-was-ours Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books
Release date: October 4, 2016
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased
Pages: 288
Goodreads || Book Depository

To everyone who knows them, best friends Miel and Sam are as strange as they are inseparable. Roses grow out of Miel’s wrist, and rumors say that she spilled out of a water tower when she was five. Sam is known for the moons he paints and hangs in the trees, and for how little anyone knows about his life before he and his mother moved to town.

But as odd as everyone considers Miel and Sam, even they stay away from the Bonner girls, four beautiful sisters rumored to be witches. Now they want the roses that grow from Miel’s skin, convinced that their scent can make anyone fall in love. And they’re willing to use every secret Miel has fought to protect to make sure she gives them up.


5 stars

When the Moon was Ours is the epitome of everything that I love in a story. It had beautiful writing, a romance and friendship that gave me hope, and magical realism elements that left me in wonder. This book isn’t for everyone, but if you love all of the things that I mentioned above, I think you will absolutely fall in love with this story.

I read Anna-Marie McLemore’s The Weight of Feathers at the beginning of this year and fell in love. That novel is still my favourite of her books but When the Moon was Ours explores other things that are near and dear to my heart. The diversity in this novel is absolutely amazing and I loved the exploration of and focus on identity and having the courage to be the person we want to be. This novel follows two LGBTQ+ characters: Sam, a transgender boy, and his queer best friend, Miel. And what I appreciated about this LGBTQ+ representation was that it didn’t feel forced. McLemore incorporates the exploration of gender identity so well into her plot, her characters and her magical realism elements, and everything just worked seamlessly and effortlessly. While I do read a lot of LGBTQ+ fiction, I’ve read very few books that feature transgender main characters and When the Moon was Ours is by far the best. It thoroughly examines the struggle that transgender people go through, including the fear of rejection by the community and the fear of nonacceptance by family and friends. It explores the courage that it takes to tell others and to own your identity. It was evident that these issues mean a lot to the author and it’s particularly special knowing that her own personal story is reflected in this novel.

This book not only has diversity of sexual orientation, it also includes lots of culturally diverse characters. Sam is Pakistani and there’s a lot of Pakistani food and culture mentioned in the book. McLemore uses a Pakistani cultural practice called bacha posh quite heavily in her book and I really enjoyed how much of the plot and Sam’s identity was tied to this. Bacha posh is a practice where families without boys will choose one of their daughters to dress and live as a boy until they are old enough to get married. In the novel, Sam hides behind the practice of bacha posh and uses it as an excuse to keep living as a boy, without hurting or disappointing his mother. I just really appreciated how these cultural elements were incorporated into the story and that the author wasn’t scared to include a lot of diversity in her novel. Cultural identity is important and McLemore highlights this importance brilliantly in her book.

She was a place whose darkness held not fear, but the promise of stars.

My favourite thing about this book is definitely the relationships. The romance between Sam and Miel was first and foremost a friendship and I loved how much they supported each other through the good times and the bad. Their connection was great and the way that they kept each others secrets and protected each other was really beautiful. But it wasn’t just the relationship between Sam and Miel that warmed my heart. I absolutely adored Sam’s relationship with his mother, as well as Miel’s relationship with Aracely, the lady who takes in Miel at a young age. The family and friendship elements were exquisite and made the book extremely touching and enjoyable to read.

All of the beautiful elements that I’ve discussed above make it unnecessary to even talk about the plot because at this point you’ve probably already run away to order the book. But I also absolutely loved the plot. I thought it was extremely clever and the way that the magical realism elements tied into the themes of the book as well as the plot was really masterful. I loved all the magic and the quirkiness of the story and its setting, even though it was surprisingly creepy and thrilling. There were some amazing plot twists that I didn’t see coming and I highly enjoyed every last word of this novel.

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Bought Because of my Happy Indulgence Co-bloggers


Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Check out their website for previous and upcoming topics. This week’s topic is recommendations and I’m going to be featuring ten books that I bought because of my co-bloggers over at Happy Indulgence, Jeann and Aila. Some of these are books that they pushed me to buy and others are just books that I’ve seen them review on the blog.

1. Girl Against the Universe by Paula Stokes

When fantasy-lover Aila reads a contemporary YA novel and loves it, I know I have to buy it. She also illustrated some promotional postcards that I absolutely loved! This book is cute and fluffy but also explores some more serious themes like mental illness. I really, really enjoyed it.

2. Uprooted by Naomi Novik

This was on both Jeann and Aila’s favourite books of 2015 lists so I finally got myself a copy a few months ago. I still haven’t found time to pick it up yet but I know it’s going to be amazing.

3. The Girl From Everywhere by Heidi Heilig

If you haven’t seen Aila’s rap review of this book, you need to go watch it now. It was absolutely amazing and how could I not run out and get this book after watching her rap about why we need to read this novel?!

4. Vicious by V.E. Schwab

Everytime I wanted to pick up a V.E. Schwab book, Jeann would encourage me to read Vicious. So I finally did and it was soooo good!

5. Summer Skin by Kirsty Eagar

I picked up this awesome Aussie YA feminist read mainly because it was one of the books featured on OzYAY, a monthly ABC radio segment where Jeann talks about Aussie YA releases with two other fab ladies. The show is on the first Sunday of each month at 7pm AEST and you can tune in online.

6. The Sky So Heavy by Claire Zorn

This was another one of Jeann’s recommendations. She absolutely loves Claire Zorn’s books and recommended this one to me after I was disappointed by Claire’s newest release, One Would Think the Deep.

7. Red Rising by Pierce Brown

Both Jeann and Aila love this book and I finally read it a few months ago after lots of encouragement from not only them but also my other close blogging friends. I have yet to pick up the sequel, Golden Son, but I’m hoping to do so before the year is over.

8. Stitching Snow by R.C. Lewis

I picked up this book a few months after seeing Aila’s review on Happy Indulgence. It gave me some Lunar Chronicles vibes so I decided to give it a go. It wasn’t as good as I thought it would be but I still really enjoyed it.

9. This Adventure Ends by Emma Mills

I read First & Then by Emma Mills a few months ago and loved it. Aila received an early copy of This Adventure Ends back in June or July and said that she really enjoyed it, so I preordered a copy. I’ll be reading this one really, really soon.

10. The Only Thing Worse Than Me is You by Lily Anderson

I had never heard of this book until I saw it at a bookstore while browsing one day. Upon checking out some of the ratings and reviews on Goodreads, I saw that Aila gave it a 5 star rating! I had to buy it straight away after seeing that!

Have you read any of these books?

Review: Replica by Lauren Oliver

replica Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Release date: October 6, 2016
Format: Paperback
Source: Publisher
Pages: 520
Goodreads || Book Depository

Lyra’s story begins in the Haven Institute, a building tucked away on a private island off the coast of Florida that from a distance looks serene and even beautiful. But up close the locked doors, military guards, and biohazard suits tell a different story. In truth, Haven is a clandestine research facility where thousands of replicas, or human models, are born, raised, and observed. When a surprise attack is launched on Haven, two of its young experimental subjects – Lyra, aka number 24, and the boy known only as 72 – manage to escape.

Gemma has been in and out of hospitals for as long as she can remember. A lonely teen, her life is circumscribed by home, school, and her best friend, April. But after she is nearly abducted by a stranger claiming to know her, Gemma starts to investigate her family’s past and discovers her father’s mysterious connection to the secretive Haven Institute. Hungry for answers, she travels to Florida, only to stumble upon two replicas and a completely new set of questions.



4 stars

Thank you to Hachette Australia for providing a review copy of the book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Replica is a sci-fi novel with a very interesting format. It is written from the perspectives of two different girls, Lyra and Gemma. You can read Lyra’s story first and then flip the book over and read Gemma’s story. You can do the opposite and read Gemma’s story first. You also have the option of reading alternating chapters of Lyra and Gemma’s story until their stories meet in the middle.

I personally read Replica in alternating chapters, starting with Lyra’s story and then ending with Gemma’s. I decided against reading one perspective after the other because I thought it would take away some of the suspense of the story because I’d already know important plot points from reading the first perspective in its entirety. Having now read the entire book, I would still choose to read it by alternating perspectives every chapter, but if you were to read one perspective at a time, I don’t think that there is too much overlap. One thing to note is that there is one extra chapter in Gemma’s perspective, so if you decided to read Replica in alternating chapters starting with Lyra’s perspective like I did, you’ll find yourself left with two Gemma chapters after Lyra’s story is over.

I really, really loved the concept of this story. I don’t read a whole lot of sci-fi but Replica falls into my favourite type of sci-fi. I enjoyed the concept of the Haven Institute, which is home to thousands of replicas or clones that are experimented with and observed. These replicas have extremely weak bodies and have never been outside of the Haven Institute. They’re born and bred at the Institute and spend their days undergoing cognitive testing and physical exams. They are completely uneducated and are unable to read. The only people they come in contact with are the doctors and nurses who work at the Institute, who constantly remind them that they’re different and are lesser than human beings. I loved the Haven Institute and all of the mystery surrounding it. Lyra’s perspective gave us some really good insight into the Institute and how the system of the replicas worked. I initially went into the book expecting the replicas to be like robots or androids but they were no different from humans. They displayed the same kinds of physical and mental illnesses and humans, including eating disorders and suicide ideation, which I found really intriguing and interesting. My only criticism of the Haven Institute is that I felt like the world needed a bit more development and that there were some things missing from the book. The novel spends a lot of time focusing on the origins and the purpose of the Haven Institute and I would have liked a bit more focus on the operations within the Institute. Having said that, Replica is the first novel in what I believe is a duology so I’m hoping these things will be addressed further in the sequel.

I loved both of the main characters in this novel but my personal favourite was Lyra. I thought her story was so interesting and unique and I really loved her voice. I enjoyed how Lyra had never really experienced the real world and how she handled learning about new things. I did however think that Gemma’s story was fleshed out a little bit more than Lyra’s (possibly because Gemma lives in our contemporary world that doesn’t need much development) and I would’ve liked to have seen a little bit more from Lyra’s perspective. I thought Lyra was sensitive, kind and intelligent and I connected with her character from the very beginning. I wasn’t enamoured by Gemma from the very start but she quickly grew on me. Her character and her worries were extremely relatable and I ended up loving her and wanting to read more about her story by the time I reached the end of the novel. Her perspective worked extremely well with Lyra’s and I thought together, the two stories came together in a very exhilarating manner.

What I really enjoyed about the plot and the two different perspectives was that they worked together seamlessly. There was a tiny bit of overlap in plot and dialogue but the two characters do spend a large amount of time apart, leading to separate and unique stories. There were an endless number of plot twists, some predictable and some not, and I was so captivated by the story and how everything fitted together that I didn’t want to put the book down. Another thing that kept me invested in the book were the romances, even though I did have some issues with them. I thought there was a lot of insta-love and every boy that appeared in the book seemed to be a potential love interest. Having said that, I thought they were super sweet and I enjoyed the roles that the boys played in the story.

Overall, I thought this was a very interesting read and the ending definitely left me wanting more. The writing was easy to read and I sped through the book. I’m excited to see what the sequel will bring and whether it will be in the same format as Replica.

Book Haul: September 2016


I think I was much more restrained this month than in previous months when it comes to my book haul. Even though I acquired lots of books, I only bought 14 of them! Which is still a lot… but it was my birthday this month and I didn’t buy as much as I thought I did. Book haul justified.



I love how Crooked Kingdom and The Thousandth Floor have the same pretty black and gold colour scheme! It’s soooo pretty. Half of these purchases from Book Depository were preorders. I preordered Crooked Kingdom, The Thousandth Floor and Phantom Limbs. Milk and Honey was a book that I picked up on a bit of a whim but I’ve since read it and absolutely loved it. I purchased P.S. I Like You because I love Kasie West’s fluffy contemporary romances and this one was just as good as her other ones have been. Finally, I picked up The Encyclopedia of Early Earth (which I used to have a copy of but gave it away to a friend who I thought would also love it) and Isabel Greenberg’s new graphic novel, The One Hundred Nights of Hero. I can’t wait to read it!



On the first day of September, I went to the #YAFanFest, hosted by Allen & Unwin, to preview some upcoming titles. There were also some amazing Aussie YA authors there and books for sale by Kinokuniya. I ended up picking up a copy of Swarm 4 weeks before release at the event and got it signed by Margo Lanagan and Deborah Biancotti. I also bought a copy of Garth Nix’s Goldenhand before release at the event too, which I gave away to a friend. The following day, I went to a Rainbow Rowell and David Levithan event at Kinokuniya and I picked up two David Levithan books that I don’t already own, Will Grayson, Will Grayson and Are We There Yet? Finally, for my birthday, I bought myself Embrace by Jessica Shirvington because I’ve really enjoyed the three books of hers that I’ve read so far, Disruption duology and Between the Lives.



I’ve been saving up my Dymocks credit points since July so that I can spoil myself on my birthday. However, when I went to the store, there weren’t actually that many books that I wanted to buy. I ended up picking up Graffiti Moon and a finished copy of Words in Deep Blue by Cath Crowley. I also bought Graeme Simsion’s new novel, The Best of Adam Sharp, which was signed. Funny story, after I bought this book from Dymocks, I went to Kinokuniya to browse, and 5 minutes after I left Kinokuniya, I checked my Instagram feed and saw a picture of Graeme Simsion signing copies of The Best of Adam Sharp at Kinokuniya, posted 15 minutes ago. Totally could have gotten my copy personalised if I was paying more attention!



At the #YAFanFest event that I went to, there were goodie bags for all the attendees. In my bag, I received The Diviners and London Belongs to Us. Because I’ve already read and reviewed London Belongs to Us, I ended up swapping with Emily @ The Loony Literate for Cooper Bartholomew is Dead. At the event, I also won an ARC of Garth Nix’s Frogkisser! in a lucky dip that he was running. It sounds hilarious and I’m so excited to read it. From publishers, I received Swarm from Allen & Unwin, Replica from Hachette Australia, Witch’s Pyre from Pan Macmillan Australia, and Empire of Storms from Bloomsbury Australia. Empire of Storms actually came last month but I didn’t include it in my book haul last month. My coblogger Jeann @ Happy Indulgence sent me Open Road Summer for my birthday and I’m so happy to now have it in my hands!!

Phew! All done! Which books did you purchase in September and what are you most excited to read?

Review: Swarm by Scott Westerfeld, Margo Lanagan & Deborah Biancotti


Publisher: Allen & Unwin
Release date: September 28, 2016
Format: Paperback
Source: Publisher
Pages: 400
Goodreads || Book Depository || Booktopia


Keep the secret.
Use your power for good.
Keep out of trouble.
Stick together.
Or things will fall apart.

It’s the holiday season, but the celebration at the Zeroes’s underground nightclub is blown apart when two strangers with new powers take to the dance floor. The Zeroes pursue them, only to discover that they’re fleeing an even more sinister power-wielder, Swarm. The Zeroes must learn all they can about this dangerous new player if they are to stay safe.

Meanwhile each of the Zeroes also has their own issues to deal with. Bellwether’s confidence is challenged, and Mob questions the nature of her power. Crash’s conscience gets a workout, and Anon and Scam face harsh truths about belonging. And it’s up to Flicker to pick up the reins and lead the Zeroes into a terrifying showdown.

A terrific sequel with a cracking pace that raises the stakes in this brilliant and unique superheroes series.


4 stars

Swarm is the second book in the Zeroes trilogy, which means that this review may contain minor spoilers for the first book.

Thank you to Allen & Unwin for providing a review copy of the book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

All I can say right now is whoa. And I need the next book ASAP! Swarm ends on an incredibly painful cliffhanger and I don’t know what I’m going to do with myself for the next 12 months while I wait for the next book to be released…

This trilogy is getting better and better. I enjoyed Zeroes immensely but wasn’t completely sold on all the characters and the plot of the book. Swarm takes it to a completely different level. It was engaging, fast-paced and action-packed. The whole novel takes place over just a few days and there’s so much that happens in the book that it’s hard not to get swept up in everything that’s going on. It also struck me again how unique and interesting the superpowers in this series are. This book picks up 6 months after the events in Zeroes and is about what happens when our group of Zeroes meet a pair of other Zeroes that don’t have good intentions. As they try to stop this couple from causing mass destruction, it turns out that there’s a bigger enemy called Swarm who has a mission that puts all Zeroes in danger. I really, really loved the plot of this book. I enjoyed it more than the events in Zeroes because, to me, it seemed a bit more logical and clear. I connected with it much more and was really invested in what was going on in the story. This might have been because I was more familiar with the characters at this point and could focus on the plot – who knows? I just thought that the plot explored a lot of really interesting questions about superheroes and superpowers, and whether having a superpower means that you’re automatically doing good. And what happens when your powers unknowingly destroy things and cause harm instead?

The other thing that I really loved about this book were the characters. When I read Zeroes, the only two characters that I really liked were Flicker and Anonymous. The others I either disliked or didn’t really care for. However, the character development in this book was fantastic. In the previous book, I felt like I didn’t have a good idea of who some of the characters were but Swarm definitely rectified that. We got to know more about Crash and she became a character that I came to like a lot more. We also get to see a different side to Bellwether and that was really refreshing. I also started to like Mob a little bit more. She was a character that I didn’t really understand or connect with in Zeroes but her character really morphed into somebody who was really interesting. Finally, there’s Scam… I’m still not completely sold on Scam. While the Ethan side of him is kind of endearing because he’s so awkward, I find it really hard to connect with his character. He also didn’t have a lot of page time in this book and I don’t feel any closer to him than before.

I really loved the character relationships in this book. I will adore Flickonymous forever and ever, and I’m really keen to see how their storyline plays out in the final book of the trilogy because this book killed me with all the feels. What I really enjoyed about Swarm was that the other romances in this book weren’t obvious. There were ships in the previous book that I was sure were going to sail in Swarm but the authors definitely turned some things on their heads. It was really refreshing and enjoyable to see. The group as a whole is more tight-knit and I’m interested to see where the next book takes them.

Swarm was published by Allen & Unwin on September 28, 2016. It is available at all Australian retailers for $19.99.

Wrap Up: September 2016


Where did the time even go?  How is it even October already? This year has definitely flown by and so has the month of September. I had lots of reading plans in September. I got my wisdom teeth removed earlier this week and I thought I’d have a lot of reading time during my recovery. Turns out, it doesn’t really work that way and I spent most of my time just sleeping. But even though I haven’t made the most of my time off, I still managed to read quite a lot of books this month. Here’s my reading summary and full reviews are linked.


Reading summary header

1. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them – J.K. Rowling  4 stars

This was a really interesting guidebook to the different magical creatures in the Harry Potter world. It wasn’t the most entertaining book but it was super informative and made me feel like I was back in the world.

2. Empire of Storms – Sarah J. Maas  45 stars

I was super impressed by this fifth installment of the Throne of Glass series. It wasn’t as good as Heir of Fire and Queen of Shadows in my opinion but it was a nice continuation to the series. The plot is really starting to come together and I’m really excited about the finale!

3. The Realm of Possibility – David Levithan  4 stars

I’ve had this book for a while and had never picked it up. I went to a few David Levithan events in recent weeks and hearing him talk about his work made me want to pick up some more of his books that I still have yet to read. This book is written in verse and was a really nice easy read about love and everything that comes with it.

4. Trial by Fire – Josephine Angelini  3 stars

This is the first book in the Worldwalker trilogy and I was a bit underwhelmed by it. I didn’t connect with any of the characters and I thought the plot was a bit clumsy and confused. This book just wasn’t for me.

5. PS. I Like You – Kasie West  4 stars

I love Kasie West because all of her books are so cute and fluffy. PS. I Like You was no exception. It was so full of sugary cuteness that I sped through it in one sitting. The book is about a girl who exchanges letters with a boy who sits at the same desk as her at school, and I just absolutely adored it.

6. It Ends With Us – Colleen Hoover  35 stars

I’ve heard countless good things about this latest Colleen Hoover novel. Unfortunately I didn’t really connect with the story emotionally. I found it to be a bit dull and the characters also came across as a bit boring to me. I did like the issues that the book explored but I didn’t think the book was amazing by any means. (Trigger warning for domestic violence and abuse).

7. The Thousandth Floor – Katharine McGee  45 stars

I was completely unprepared for how much I loved this novel! It’s the first book in a new trilogy and I loved it so much that I couldn’t stop raving about it for days. It’s a futuristic Gossip Girl-like story set in a world where Manhattan is literally inside a 1000-storey tower. I loved the technology and the world of this book and also really liked the characters and their stories.

8. The Only Thing Worse Than Me is You – Lily Anderson  45 stars

This was another adorable contemporary story. It’s a retelling of Much Ado About Nothing and is set at a high school for geniuses. I loved the entire cast of characters in this book and I thought the main characters, Beatrice and Benedict, were absolutely fantastic and relatable. There are lots of nerdy references in the book and I highly enjoyed the plot.

9. Twenty Boy Summer – Sarah Ockler  35 stars

I love Sarah Ockler’s writing and stories and I also really enjoyed Twenty Boy Summer. However, I think you could really tell that this was her debut novel because it wasn’t as polished as her other novels. Despite that, I still really enjoyed it and I liked that it explored the theme of grief in an interesting and relatable way.

10. Between the Lives – Jessica Shirvington  45 stars

Jessica Shirvington hasn’t disappointed me yet. I loved her Disruption duology and this was just as good. The story follows our main character, Sabine, who lives two separate lives. Every 24 hours, she Shifts into her other life and lives that day over again. I loved the concept of this book and I loved Sabine as a character. I thought the plot of the story was spectacular and I can’t wait to read some more of Jessica Shirvington’s work.

11. Our Chemical Hearts – Krystal Sutherland  3 stars

This was a highly anticipated contemporary release for me and I was left extremely underwhelmed. Pretty much nothing happens for a good 80% of the book and I was just extremely bored. There are also some Manic Pixie Dream Girl elements and it took a lot of willpower for me to continue the novel. I considered DNFing at 100 pages and, in hindsight, I probably should have.

12. The Hating Game – Sally Thorne  5 stars

The Hating Game was a book that I didn’t know I needed. It’s one of the most adorable office romances that I’ve read and every single page of this book gave me intense contemporary romance feels. The main character, Lucy, is absolutely wonderful and I could read 100 more books about her.

13. Heartless – Marissa Meyer  35 stars

I’ve been highly anticipating this novel since Winter came out earlier this year. I loved The Lunar Chronicles and I really love Marissa Meyer’s writing. But I thought Heartless was just… okay. It took me a while to get through the book because I wasn’t really excited by the plot or the characters. I also thought that the romance lacked spark and I just wasn’t feeling it.

14. Crooked Kingdom – Leigh Bardugo  5 stars

Oh man… this is probably my favourite novel that I’ve read so far this year. There was literally nothing that I didn’t like about this sequel and it’s definitely on par with Six of Crows. The characters were perfect, the plot was perfect and the writing and pace were perfect. I’ve already read this book twice and I’m pretty sure I’m going to be rereading it again soon.

15. Milk and Honey – Rupi Kaur  5 stars

I very rarely read poetry but I really, really enjoyed this collection from Rupi Kaur. There were a lot of free verse poems and that made the experience a little bit easier for me. What I really loved about it was that it was feminist and empowering and I think it’s an important read for all women.


I only did two Top Ten Tuesday posts in September but I loved both of the topics!

Review: Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo


Publisher: Henry Holt & Co.
Release date: September 27, 2016
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased
Pages: 546
Goodreads || Book Depository

When you can’t beat the odds, change the game.

Kaz Brekker and his crew have just pulled off a heist so daring even they didn’t think they’d survive. But instead of divvying up a fat reward, they’re right back to fighting for their lives. Double-crossed and badly weakened, the crew is low on resources, allies, and hope. As powerful forces from around the world descend on Ketterdam to root out the secrets of the dangerous drug known as jurda parem, old rivals and new enemies emerge to challenge Kaz’s cunning and test the team’s fragile loyalties. A war will be waged on the city’s dark and twisting streets―a battle for revenge and redemption that will decide the fate of the Grisha world.


5 stars

As Crooked Kingdom is a sequel, this review may contain spoilers for Six of Crows.

Crooked Kingdom is my favourite book of this year. I’ve read close to 150 books so far this year so it’s a big call but I can so confidently put this novel on my list of all-time favourites, right next to Six of Crows. I loved everything about this sequel and there’s absolutely nothing that I would change… except maybe that one tiny plot point at the end of the book that made me cry like a baby.

This book had everything that a great book should have. It had captivating characters whose stories draw you in and make you want to learn more. There’s thrilling action and intrigue that keeps you on your toes. And there’s fabulous writing that just sings and makes you never want to let go of the book. I honestly don’t even know where to start with this review. Let’s start with the plot. I absolutely loved how this book moved and flowed and how everything was planned to perfection by Leigh Bardugo. I thought the plot of this book was so perfectly constructed, with each character playing a crucial role in the ‘job’ and in the novel. There was nothing predictable about the plot at all and I was constantly worrying about my babies because I had no idea what was going to happen. There were also about a million plot twists in Crooked Kingdom and I loved every single one of them. Everything worked out so well and it all made sense together, which made the story a pleasure to read. Also, because the book has multiple perspectives, there was a lot of suspense and mystery in every chapter and this added to the sense of excitement that I felt as I was reading the book. The pacing of the story and the writing was so perfect that I raced through this 500+ page book in a few short sittings.

“This is the city that I bled for. And if Ketterdam has taught me anything, it’s that a guy can always bleed a little more.”

What I love most about this duology is that the characters are absolutely ruthless and it’s just so much fun to read. I will never tire of Kaz’s cruel but seamless plans and his hard exterior. He’s a perfect main character because of his complexity and his soft, gooey, marshmallowy centre. And that’s what I love about all of the characters in this novel. They’re all extremely complex and I’ll never stop discovering new sides to them no matter how many books Leigh Bardugo gives us (I’m devastated that this is only a duology!). I love that the book is peppered with little flashbacks so that we get to see the characters’ backstories and further understand where they came from. While a lot of Six of Crows was about the pasts of Kaz, Inej, Nina and Matthias, Crooked Kingdom places greater emphasis on Jesper and Wylan’s stories. I loved learning more about them because I didn’t really care for them as much as I did the other four characters in Six of Crows. I started to care more about them and see them as more than just side characters, which they were to me in the first book of the duology. And of course, I continued to love the rest of the characters and even developed a bit of a soft spot for Kuwei, who’s a bit of a troublemaker!

“I would 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.”

The relationships and the dynamics between the characters were what made this book for me. I, of course, loved the three couples. I loved how Jesper and Wylan were there for each other and supported each other throughout their family issues and devastating pasts. I loved Nina and Matthias’s relationship and how he was so awkward at expressing his feelings. I love that Matthias is strong and tough but is secretly a romantic, and I love how Nina balances him out by being her shameless, indulgent self. And I love Kaz and Inej, and how they’re both broken but they fit so well together. I love all the things that Kaz does for Inej and how her happiness comes first. But I also really love how all these characters interact with the other characters who aren’t their romantic partners/love interests. I really enjoyed Jesper’s banter with everyone around him, especially Kaz and Kuwei. I loved how Inej brings out the protective older brother in Jesper and Matthias. And, of course, Kaz and Nina hold a special place in my heart that I reserve for great fictional friendships.

But they were his first friends, his only friends, and Wylan knew that even if he’d had his pick of a thousand companions, these would have been the people he chose.

I could go on for another ten days about all the things I love about Crooked Kingdom and the duology in general. There’s really nothing that I didn’t like about the book and I could go on reading about the mischief that these characters get up to for another 100 books (pleeeeasseeeee!). I absolutely love this series and this world and I’m so sad to be saying goodbye.

Top Ten Tuesday: Spring TBR for 2016


Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by the team at The Broke and the Bookish. This week I’m featuring my TBR for spring (because I’m in the Southern Hemisphere). These are all books that I either already own or have preordered/bought.

1. Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo

Of course, Crooked Kingdom is at the top of my list. Six of Crows is one of my favourite books ever and I’m so excited to read the sequel! My preorder is already on its way and hopefully it’ll be here today. I’ll be jumping right into it as soon as it gets here.

2. Blood for Blood by Ryan Graudin

Blood for Blood is the sequel to another book that I absolutely loved last year, Wolf by Wolf. This duology is pretty action-packed and quick to read and I’m super excited to see how the sequel plays out.

3. When the Moon was Ours by Anna-Marie McLemore

The Weight of Feathers by Anna-Marie McLemore is an all-time favourite of mine and I’m so happy that she has a new book out so soon. I preordered this book months and months ago because I was so excited. And it’s since been nominated for the National Book Award, which makes me even more excited to have it in my hands.

4. Phantom Limbs by Paula Garner

This book is currently on its way to me and I couldn’t be happier. It sounds right up my alley and I’ve seen some really good reviews for it so far. It sounds like the kind of contemporary story that I love and I can’t wait to read it.

5. Bone Gap by Laura Ruby

This book has been on my shelf since May and I’m ashamed that I still haven’t read it. It’s a book that I need to read for a reading challenge so I’m hoping to finally get to it in the coming months.

6. Frost Like Night by Sara Raasch

I absolutely loved Snow Like Ashes and it’s one of my favourite books of all time. However, I didn’t really like Ice Like Fire and the direction that it started to go. Still, I couldn’t not finish the trilogy so I ordered Frost Like Night to see how it all ends. I do love Sara Raasch’s writing though, so I know I’m going to enjoy it.

7. The One Hundred Nights of Hero by Isabel Greenberg

My favourite graphic novel ever is The Encyclopedia of Early Earth by Isabel Greenberg and when I found out that she had a new book out, I had to pick it up. This one is also currently on its way to me and I’m hoping that I get it really really soon because the little bits that I’ve seen of it were amazing.

8. Everyone We’ve Been by Sarah Everett

This is another book that I preordered because the synopsis sounded right up my alley. I’m interested to see how I feel about it once I’ve read it. The cover is also really pretty and I’m keen to have it in my hands soon.

9. The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon

I’m super excited for Nicola Yoon’s new book. I really enjoyed Everything Everything last year and The Sun is Also a Star sounds even more amazing! Plus David Levithan wouldn’t stop raving about it and I need this book in my hands soon!

10. This Adventure Ends by Emma Mills

This is mostly just a cover buy, but I really liked First and Then by Emma Mills. It was a really cute contemporary and I’m hoping this will be of the same standard!

Review: The Hating Game by Sally Thorne


Publisher: Piatkus
Release date: August 9, 2016
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased
Pages: 363
Goodreads || Book Depository


1) An opponent or rival whom a person cannot best or overcome
2) A person’s undoing
3) Joshua Templeman

Lucy Hutton has always been certain that the nice girl can get the corner office. She prides herself on being loved by everyone at work – except for imposing, impeccably attired Joshua Templeman.

Trapped in a shared office, they’ve become entrenched in an addictive, never-ending game of one-upmanship. There’s the Staring Game, The Mirror Game, The HR Game. Lucy can’t let Joshua beat her at anything – especially when a huge promotion is on offer.

If Lucy wins, she’ll be Joshua’s boss. If she loses, she’ll resign. So why is she questioning herself? Maybe she doesn’t hate him. And just maybe, he doesn’t hate her either. Or maybe this is just another game . . .


5 stars

I have no words for how incredibly adorable and sweet this book was. It was exactly the kind of story that I needed to read after having a rough time these past few days. It definitely brightened up my day, put a huge smile on my face and melted my heart.

The Hating Game is an office romance with two of the most endearing characters. Ever since Lucy and Joshua’s respective publishing houses merged, they have shared an office working as executive assistants for the two co-CEOs. And they absolutely hate each other. They love engaging in different ‘games’ and trying to beat out the other person. When the position of chief operating officer is up for grabs, Lucy is determined not to let Joshua beat her. If she loses, she’ll resign and she makes Joshua promise the same thing. But in the days leading up to the interview and promotion decision, she finds that she doesn’t really hate Joshua as much as she thought she did. And he doesn’t seem to hate her as much as she thought either.

One of my favourite romance tropes in fiction is the hate-to-love trope and The Hating Game executes it perfectly. I could feel the tension between the two characters throughout the book, including a whole heap of unresolved sexual tension (HAHAHA). Their banter was fantastic and the way that they tried to one-up each other was absolutely perfect. The way that their romance unfolded was very realistic to me and I really enjoyed the way that it was developed very gradually. I thought the slow-burning romance suited the characters and the story brilliantly and added to the ‘will they or won’t they?’ aspect of the book. It kept me interested and I devoured this novel!

Lucy was a fantastic narrator. I loved her voice so much and I could never be tired of reading about her. She’s such a relatable character and I found myself connecting to her from the very first page. She’s quirky, she’s fun and she’s bite-sized, which makes for some wonderful banter between her and Josh about her height. Josh was also an amazing character. He was grumpy and broody and exactly the kind of guy I like to read about. Even though he was a bit prickly, he was also sensitive and romantic and I swooned hard, guys. I swooned hard.

This is a feel-good book that I can see myself rereading over and over when I need a pick-me-up. It’s a fantastic debut novel and I’m definitely looking forward to reading more by Sally Thorne.