Saturday, 26 June 2021

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas | BOOK REVIEW

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Non-spoiler

I’m actually ashamed of how long it took me to read this. The Hate U Give is a massively important and emotional book and I found myself captivated through the entire thing. The characters were lively and vibrant and the different relationships were so realistic and heart-warming. The message of this book was enlightening and I completely understand why it’s as hyped up as it is.

Starr is a great protagonist. I love that we got to see her grow and speak up despite her fear and despite the risks. Her perspective on the world was eye-opening and I really enjoyed reading about her. I also thought the contrast between her school life and home life was interesting and it was great to see that, throughout the book, the two versions of her started to blend together until she was just 100% herself and wasn’t ashamed of any part of herself.

What I loved most about this book was the range of different relationships we got to see and explore. Starr and her relationship with Chris, her parents, her siblings, DeVante, her school friends, Kenya, her Uncle. There were so many different dynamics which made it easy to fall in love with these characters. My personal favourite dynamic was Starr’s mum and dad- they were so sweet and obviously in love and I’m obsessed with them! I also thought her dad was one of the most amazing parents I’ve seen portrayed in fiction- his dedication to his children and family melted my heart.

Tuesday, 8 June 2021

Roomies by Christina Lauren | BOOK REVIEW

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Non-spoiler

I’ve heard a lot of hype about Christina Lauren books but, after reading Twice in a Blue Moon, I felt a little underwhelmed. Roomies, however, was a vast improvement and made me more excited to jump into the backlog of Christina Lauren. It was cute concept and the characters were easy going and loveable.

I really liked Holland as a protagonist. She was an inspiring writer which made her very relatable to me and I loved the exploration into her purpose and insecurities. She wasn’t 100% sure of what she wanted in life and struggled to put what she wanted before others and I appreciated her journey to discover herself before she truly committed to someone else.

Calvin was a standard, good love interest. He was charming, sexy and loveable. (He also had a Irish accent which wins immediate brownie points for me). I thought he was well-suited to Holland and I enjoyed watching their relationship develop. Roomies had an interesting take on the ‘fake dating’ trope which worked really well and the pages turned themselves.

Saturday, 29 May 2021

Moxie | MOVIE REVIEW

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Non-spoiler

As soon as I finished the book, I watched the movie and it was super faithful! Pretty much everything that happens in the book happens in the movie and the characters stayed true to themselves. Because it was so accurate to the book, it still lacked depth for me and the characters sometimes felt two-dimensional. But, overall, it was a great adaptation.

Just like the book, I really liked the premise and how women’s issues were raised and discussed. Again, I think if I had seen this movie and read the book in my early teens, I would’ve absolutely loved it and obsessed over the message. But, as I’m older and have a healthy passion for all things feminism, nothing about this movie was particularly ground-breaking or mind-blowing to me. I do hope it speaks to a lot of younger people though and introduces and inspires them to educate themselves on women’s rights- especially intersectionality which was one thing that really shone in this movie for me. Don’t get me wrong, I thought a couple of things felt tokenistic and on-the-nose but the topic of race was brilliantly raised hand-in-hand with feminism.

Saturday, 15 May 2021

Moxie by Jennifer Mathieu | BOOK REVIEW

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This book was always going to be my cuppa tea. Feminism and calling out the patriarchy? Count me in.

I liked Moxie. It was fun and raised a lot of important points when it comes to female empowerment and misogyny. The concept was cool and I would’ve loved a female revolution or club when I was at school.

The characters in Moxie were okay but they’re never going to be my favourite characters ever. They were a little two-dimensional at times. However, I will say that I loved the female friendships that blossomed throughout the story. The love interest, Seth, was alright but I thought that he often got praised and celebrated for doing the bare minimum. He doesn’t objectify women and he believes they should be equal? Congrats. So should everyone.

I thought the plot was fun but often predictable and the ‘twists’ and ‘turns’ weren’t exactly mind-blowing. But, overall, it was a fun read and if I had read it in my early teens, I know I would have loved and appreciated it back then a lot more.

I’m also super excited to see the movie adaptation on Netflix. I’ve heard really great things and I hope that the adaptation brings a bit more maturity and depth to the story.

Sunday, 9 May 2021

Unchained by Jennifer L. Armentrout | BOOK REVIEW

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Non-spoiler

Fantasy romance is my all-time favourite genre and this was a solid read of Nephilim and Fallen Angels. It will never be my favourite JLA book. It kind of felt like The Dark Elements series was a re-imagined and better executed version of Unchained. Julian walked so Roth could run.

I really liked Lily and Julian and they were my favourite plotline to follow. I wasn’t a huge fan of the other random POVs we got throughout the book and I skim-read most of Michael’s chapters. It was pretty obvious what Michael was going to end up being and I understand that this story was supposed to be a series so we would have had a lot more time to explore how his character learned to accept and thrive on his powers (he’s the equivalent of Trinity in the Dark Elements but Trinity is 100 times cooler).

Lily’s journey to realising that not all Fallen are evil really reminded me of Layla’s epiphany that not all demons are evil in the Dark Elements. Honestly, the only thing that Unchained did better was the steamy scenes. In any other way, the Dark Elements is superior.

Sunday, 2 May 2021

Cursed by Jennifer L. Armentrout | BOOK REVIEW

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Non-spoiler

I am gradually making my way through Jen’s backlog of books which is so much fun. While JLA is my all-time favourite author, this was not my all-time favourite book of hers. You can easily tell that it’s early-days Jen just from the writing style and how much she has grown as an author. I didn’t mind this book but it will never be a fave of mine.

This book had an interesting plot. I liked the Shatter-Me-esque concept and the characters were entertaining enough. I thought Ember was a strong character and her dedication to her sister was admirable. I also liked Hayden and his blossoming relationship with Ember- though, I will admit that Hayden’s feelings for her were very insta-lovey. He saw her once, didn’t even speak to her, and then couldn’t stay away? Sure...

The story was interesting and I loved how it had a thriller/mystery type feel. However, I think the villain reveal was very obvious and I predicted it from the second the character came onto the scene. Nevertheless, the final scenes were climactic and well done. I would’ve liked a little more closure and loose ends to be tied up at the very end but, overall, it was an enjoyable read.

I don’t think this will ever be my favourite JLA book because it didn’t fill me with the obsessive, giddy feeling that I usually have with her books but it was nice to see how her writing has evolved.

Sunday, 25 April 2021

On the Way to the Wedding by Julia Quinn | BOOK REVIEW

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Non-spoiler

I have really enjoyed reading the Bridgerton series but this was a disappointing finale. It’s one of my least favourites and I didn’t feel any connection or love for the main characters.

We’d only really seen Gregory in Hyacinth’s story and, from what I’d seen, he was really funny and charming. But in this book… he was just annoying. There was painful insta-love at every turn in this story and Gregory was whiny and irritating through the whole thing. Lucy wasn’t much better- there was nothing enamouring or interesting about her.

The story was extremely predictable and I wish the blurb hadn’t given so much of the plot away. I also don’t think the prologue was necessary- it basically outlined what was going to happen in the story and destroyed any suspense or intrigue.

Thursday, 22 April 2021

It's In His Kiss by Julia Quinn | BOOK REVIEW

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Non-spoiler

I still have one more book to read in this series but I THINK THIS IS MY FAVOURITE! I absolutely adore Hyacinth and she was a captivating and brilliant heroine in this book. I loved the mystery element, the romance, and the humour. The epilogue had me simultaneously frustrated and ecstatic! I don’t even know how that’s possible.

Hyacinth is probably my favourite Bridgerton sibling. She didn’t star in the show very much so I didn’t know what to expect but she’s perfect. She’s intelligent, outspoken and unashamed to be herself. She doesn’t apologise and she has a certain charm and sarcasm that instantly endeared me to her. I also loved Gareth. There are some questionable love interests throughout this series but Gareth was great. He was entertaining, funny and could match Hyacinth’s wit. I loved their banter and it was a joy to read.

I think the reason why I love this book more than the others is because this one had an actual subplot! We had a mystery to solve throughout this book and it was so much fun to watch Hyacinth and Gareth discover all the clues and try to solve the mystery. Like I said, the epilogue was both infuriating and satisfying and it makes me desperate to read the following short story to see if Hyacinth ever finds the jewels!

Saturday, 17 April 2021

When He Was Wicked by Julia Quinn | BOOK REVIEW

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Non-spoiler

I really loved this one! I absolutely fell in love with this book and this couple. When He Was Wicked is definitely the steamiest Bridgerton book so far. The romance was scorching and addictive so, if that’s you cuppa tea, this is the book for you.

I didn’t know much about Francesca going into this book but I liked her. I can’t say she’s my favourite female protagonist of them all but she was smart and funny and passionate. Michael… was probably one of my favourite male protagonists, though. He was funny, charming, sexy and nowhere near as problematic as some of the other characters (after Phillip in the last book, Michael seemed like he fell from heaven).

I thought the ‘I’m-in-love-with-my-cousins-wife’ take on a popular trope was fun, well done and worked really well for the characters. I was glued to the page whenever Francesca and Michael were in the same scene and the ending was beyond satisfying.

Sunday, 11 April 2021

To Sir Phillip, With Love by Julia Quinn | BOOK REVIEW

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Non-spoiler

I had high expectations for this book. Eloise is my favourite character in the show and, while I knew I couldn’t expect the book version of her to be quite so iconic… I was disappointed. It was a flat story and probably my least favourite pairing of all the books so far.

I went into these books fully aware that Eloise wasn’t going to be the explicit feminist icon that she was in the show. That wasn’t what bothered me about the book. Phillip bothered me. He’s not good enough for Eloise. I understood Phillip’s background and trauma but that man was a raging red flag! He has definite anger issues and doesn’t listen to Eloise on so many occasions. I don’t mind a quiet and introverted character (I would be quite hypocritical to do so) but he was rude and dismissive for no reason. Eloise deserves much better.

The side characters we saw were mainly Oliver and Amanda and, while I liked watching them slowly come to like Eloise, they annoyed the hell out of me. They were really rude and boisterous and (for someone who isn’t great with kids) I would be so overwhelmed in their presence. I also couldn’t stand Phillip’s anger and aggression towards his kids. No, he never hit them, but he thought about it so much that it made me really uncomfortable. Red flag. Red flag. Red flag.

Friday, 9 April 2021

Romancing Mr. Bridgerton by Julian Quinn | BOOK REVIEW

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Spoilers

I’ve been looking forward to Colin and Penelope’s book and it didn’t disappoint! Penelope is such a sweetheart and this story made me love her even more. I loved reading in her perspective and learning more about her experiences and reasons for becoming Lady Whistledown. I also adore Colin- he’s so much funnier and more interesting in the books. I hope the show can portray him with justice in the following seasons.

Watching Colin and Penelope’s relationship unfold was beautiful. I feel like they bring the best out of each other- Colin gives Penelope confidence and Penelope helped Colin realise his dreams of being a writer.

I really enjoyed the plotline of Lady Whistledown’s identity and how it all came out. It was fun knowing from the beginning that Penelope was behind the whole thing and it was great to see Penelope grow confidence and a sense of pride over what she has accomplished.

Saturday, 3 April 2021

An Offer From a Gentleman by Julia Quinn | BOOK REVIEW

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Non-spoiler

I sped through this so fast! I couldn’t get enough! Benedict and Sophie’s story was a Cinderella retelling which I absolutely adored. This story had MAJOR love-at-first-sight vibes but it didn’t annoy me all that much. I just accepted the insta-love and let myself enjoy the book.

Benedict was one of my favourites from the TV show and the book did nothing but strengthen my love of him. I thought Sophie was a perfect match for him (though, I really wanted TV show Benedict to be gay…). I loved the Cinderella-esque qualities of Sophie’s circumstances and watching the two of them develop a relationship was beautiful.

I also especially loved this book because we got to see our first true appearance of Eloise! She was definitely my favourite character of the show so I’ve been waiting not-so-patiently for her to show up in the books! I loved that we saw glimpses of Benedict and Eloise’s close bond because I adored their dynamic in the show.

I continue to absolutely love Colin, despite him being such a minor character at the moment! I don’t think the show has done his character justice just yet- he’s constantly making me smile and laugh! I also have to say that my initial opinion of book- Violet has changed. At first, I thought she was pushy and annoying but I like her a lot more now- she’s funny, kind and extremely clever.

Sunday, 28 March 2021

The Viscount Who Loved Me by Julia Quinn | BOOK REVIEW

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Non-spoiler

Immediately, I can say that I enjoyed this so much more than the first book! Maybe it was my love of Anthony. Maybe it was my love of Kate. Or maybe it was because I am complete trash for the enemies-to-lovers trope.

I had so much fun reading this book. Anthony and Kate were a perfect pairing and watching their banter and conversations made me feel so full! Kate was infinitely a better female protagonist to Daphne. Kate was smart and funny and stubborn and stood up for herself. Paired with Anthony (who I adore), they were perfect.

I liked that their relationship was a slower pace than Daphne and Simon’s and felt more natural. It was nice to see how protective Kate was of her sister Edwina and I also loved delving into Anthony’s past a bit more and discovering how close he was to his father.

Overall, this book was so much better than The Duke and I and it has me undeniably excited for season 2 of Bridgerton. I think the casting of Kate is perfect and I can’t wait to see her character brought to life!

Monday, 8 March 2021

Wandavision | TV REVIEW

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Spoilers

WandaVision is Marvel’s most original and ambitious story yet. I was apprehensive going into this show because I had no idea what to expect. But I should never doubt Marvel because it was phenomenal! The sitcom through the decades was funny and charming and I think this story worked so well as a show rather than a movie- it gave us a chance to make predictions and theories which was maybe the best part.

The first couple of pure-sitcom episodes were a joy to watch. I loved the humour and quirkiness of the concept. But the story is elevated when the real-world elements came into play. It was an ambitious concept and plot but it played out perfectly, with twists and turns at every point and satisfying character arcs.

Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany truly stole the show. I’ve never minded Wanda or Vision but I found a whole new love for them during this show- especially Wanda. Her character development was complex and captivating. Her powers (and costume!) were awesome and there is no doubt that she’s the strongest Avengers. She’s been through so much and it was heart-breaking to see her deal with grief and work through that. I was close to tears so many tears because, out of everyone, she has lost the most and Olsen portrayed Wanda’s grief spectacularly. The theme of grief also presented maybe one of my favourite Marvel quotes ever: “What is grief, if not love persevering?”

Saturday, 6 March 2021

The Duke and I by Julia Quinn | BOOK REVIEW

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Spoilers

I binge-watched the Netflix show and had to read the books to deal with my withdrawal until the next season. This was a fun experience- usually I read the book before watching the adaptation- but I enjoyed picking out all the similarities and differences. I preferred the show to the book (which doesn’t happen often) but there’s many reasons for this.

There were some big differences in the characters which shocked me. I liked Daphne a lot more in this book- she had more personality. Colin was another character that surprised me- in the show, he comes across as sweet and na├»ve and innocent. In the books, he’s portrayed as a lot more mischievous, cheeky and promiscuous… which I kind of enjoyed? Show Colin was very goody-two-shoes for me. And finally, I think the last biggest character difference was Violet. I really liked her in the show but in the book, she seemed shrill and controlling and over-the-top. Wasn’t a fan.

The writing style was a little odd and sometimes jarring for me to read. It was third-person limited but the perspective would also change between Daphne and Simon mid-chapter. It confused me and took me out of the story many times.

Thursday, 4 March 2021

Scorched by Jennifer L. Armentrout | BOOK REVIEW

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Non-spoiler

I didn't know what to expect from Scorched (and not just because the blurb on the back was the wrong book...). I was hoping for a spicy enemies-to-lovers and it was kinda that but also so much more. This story touched on some really difficult and hard-hitting topics which I really appreciated. 

Compared to Frigid, I preferred Andrea and Tanner as characters. They were more entertaining and I lived for their flirty banter. They had a great dynamic and I found them more complex and interesting than Kyler and Sydney. Their romance was more intense and I was rooting for them from the very first page. 

While Frigid had a more 'thriller/mystery' element, Scorched dived straight into mental health subplot. I really appreciated how such delicate subjects were handled liked depression, anxiety and alcoholism were handled. This book got pretty serious at points but the struggles enhanced the romance and made the story and characters so much more realistic. 

Generally, I preferred Scorched to Frigid due to the depth and complexity of the plot and characters but both stories are amazing. These books are addictive and perfect reads for quick romance fix.


Wednesday, 24 February 2021

Frigid by Jennifer L. Armentrout | BOOK REVIEW

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Non-spoiler

I’m never shocked that I rate a JLA book 5 stars… it’s expected now. I love a contemporary romance and I especially love it when they’re written by my favourite author. This was a lovely friends-to-lovers romance and, the fact that it snowed where I am whilst reading this, made it even more immersive. It’s a perfect winter read.

Sydney and Kyler were great protagonists. They had great chemistry and a scorching romance. I will admit, there were a couple of times where I just wanted to shake them for being so oblivious, but that’s the fun of friends-to-lovers. Watching their relationship develop was entrancing and I couldn’t put the book down.

What I love most about Jen’s contemporary books is that it’s not all about the romance. There’s often subtle subplots and additions of thriller/mystery which makes everything so much more gripping. There was a stalker subplot to this book and, while the ‘antagonist’ was pretty predictable, it added another element and layer of intrigue to the book.

Thursday, 18 February 2021

Crown of Bones by A. K. Wilder | ARC BOOK REVIEW

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I was sent an ARC of this book from Entangled Teen in exchange for an honest review.

I was really excited to jump into this book. The whole concept of being able to call up phantoms is awesome, and it created a great base to the book. I liked the book as a whole but I felt like a lot of things were told instead of shown to the reader.

My favourite characters had to be Ash and Kaylin. They were definitely the most interesting and, honestly, I skim read a lot of Marcus’ parts. Ash was a great female lead- she was smart and had a great determination which drove the story forward. I also loved Kaylin- he added a bit of humour and swoon-worthiness that this book definitely needed. I liked their blossoming romance but I was a little unsatisfied with how the book ended. We didn’t get to see Ash confront Kaylin about all the Mar reveals which would have tied up a few things ahead of the sequel.

The ending as a whole was unsatisfying to me. We had a massive fight on Aku which was done brilliantly but going back to Baiseen and the defences there were very rushed and glossed over. We didn’t get any closure and, while it is obviously the first book in a series and cliffhangers are to be expected, there wasn’t any sense of closure to the book. I wanted the others to see Ash’s phantom and I desperately wanted Ash to address why and how she could hear other people’s thoughts! It happened so much throughout the book and she didn’t even seem fazed! She didn’t discuss it or ponder what it meant at all!

Saturday, 13 February 2021

Bridgerton Season 1 | TV REVIEW

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Spoilers

I need to preface this review by saying I’m not a massive fan of period dramas. It’s not my thing. Usually...

Along with the rest of the world, I have become obsessed with this show. I binged the whole thing and fell in love with absolutely everything. It was an emotional rollercoaster with gasp-worthy moments and scorching romance.

Daphne and Simon were the prominent storyline this season and… they certainly kept me on my toes. It was a great romance and they have heartbreaking highs and lows. The actors portray these characters so beautifully and it was easy to get invested in their romance. I will say that the pair are beyond perfect- there are definitely toxic and abusive traits in their relationship but I think it raises the right conversations.

Moving through the Bridgerton siblings… Anthony was one of my faves (and the most attractive to me). I loved his relationship with Sienna and it broke my heart to see them end the way they did- though I 100% respect Sienna for her decision. I also loved the duel scene between Simon and Anthony- I had my hand over my mouth the entire time, it was so intense! I liked seeing Anthony’s protective streak of his family and learning the pressures of being head of the household. I’m so excited that the next season will focus on his story.

Sunday, 7 February 2021

Cinderella is Dead by Kalynn Bayron | BOOK REVIEW

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I had really high expectations for this book- the concept, the diversity, the story sounded amazing to me! And it was a good book but… it didn’t blow me away. I thought the story was very convoluted and the characters were two-dimensional. It fell flat for me.

What I did like about the book was the interesting twist on the Cinderella fairytale, the diversity, and the romance. Sophia and Constance really were well-suited and brought the best out of each other. Their relationship was refreshing and lovely to follow. I also really liked Luke as a side character and wish we’d seen more of him.

I think what really pushed me back on this book was how surface level all of the characters were. Take Constance for example. We know she’s feisty, we know she’s strong and badass and resilient. But that was it. She was a tool to drive the plot forward and I wanted to know more about her. We didn’t delve deep into her vulnerabilities and her experiences. And that’s what it was like for most- if not all- of the characters. We had their motivation and that was about it.