Contemporary Books | Mini Reviews

I’m back with some mini reviews! I’ve written so many reviews lately that my brain has become kind of mush and I didn’t a break from writing my lengthy reviews. I have also been reading so much contemporary so I figured I could mush three books I had differing feelings about into one post. It seemed like a smart way to go.

So buckle up folks because I’m about to review To Be Honest by Maggie Ann Martin, Sweet Filthy Boy by Christina Lauren and Starfish by Akemi Dawn Bowman.

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Something New | Mini Reviews

Sometimes I don’t have enough thoughts or comments to make a full review. I don’t know if anyone else has this dilemma but I have noticed this happening more and more to me as I continue in the blogging world. I am struggling to compile my review thoughts. Maybe it’s because I started doing discussion posts? Who knows (not me).

I decided that I would write mini-reviews for some of the books I’ve read recently, compiling three to make a full blog post. I know, I’m a genius. There are three books within this post that I just simply didn’t have much to say on. They all left me feeling kind of flat or just unable to put my love in words. These reviews aren’t long at all and, as always, I feature the trigger warnings I found while reading. I hope you enjoy this different style of post, let’s jump into the reviews!

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You’ll Miss Me When I’m Gone by Rachel Lynn Solomon | Mini Review

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Rating: ★★★☆☆

Release Date: January 2nd, 2018

Trigger Warnings: depression

Pages: 384

Publisher: Simon Pulse

Goodreads blurb:

 Eighteen-year-old twins Adina and Tovah have little in common besides their ambitious nature. Viola prodigy Adina yearns to become a soloist—and to convince her music teacher he wants her the way she wants him. Overachiever Tovah awaits her acceptance to Johns Hopkins, the first step on her path toward med school and a career as a surgeon.

But one thing could wreck their carefully planned futures: a genetic test for Huntington’s, a rare degenerative disease that slowly steals control of the body and mind. It’s turned their Israeli mother into a near stranger and fractured the sisters’ own bond in ways they’ll never admit. While Tovah finds comfort in their Jewish religion, Adina rebels against its rules.

When the results come in, one twin tests negative for Huntington’s. The other tests positive.

These opposite outcomes push them farther apart as they wrestle with guilt, betrayal, and the unexpected thrill of first love. How can they repair their relationship, and is it even worth saving?

From debut author Rachel Lynn Solomon comes a luminous, heartbreaking tale of life, death, and the fragile bond between sisters. 


M I N I    R E V I E W

You’ll Miss Me When I’m Gone wasn’t a bad book at all, it just wasn’t the book for me. This book should receive every bit of praise it is receiving. It deserves it. Rachel Lynn Solomon writes a stunning debut novel that tackles many hard-hitting topics, like the fact sisters aren’t always close and the bond shared can easily be broken. As well as learning you have a gene that will slowly take away your ability for life.

My problems with You’ll Miss Me When I’m Gone simply stem from the fact its a highly character driven novel. Adina and Tovah are fraternal twin sisters and this book follows their journey of one learning that they will develop Huntington’s disease, like their mother. The twins can’t be any more different and their lack of sister like relationship highlights this as we read this book which separates the two perspectives. Tovah has plans to become a surgeon and follows her Judaism belief strongly, whereas Adina wants to practice music and doesn’t as she rebels against all the rules.

I will say it was definitely interesting to get an insight on Judaism. I don’t know a lot about it as a religion and I didn’t realise it was so heavily practised in day to day life. Highly ignorant of me and I’m glad that this book was able to open my eyes on the topic.

I wish I could say more on the characters and what I thought of the plot of the book, but I simply struggled to get into the story and it impacted my entire view, unfortunately. I don’t want to this to keep anyone away from this book, which is why I’m writing this review. I definitely highly recommend this despite my thoughts!


Happy reading everyone!

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The Walled City by Ryan Graudin | Mini Review

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Rating: ★★★☆☆

Release Date: November 4th, 2014

Pages: 424

Publisher: Little, Brown

Goodreads Review: here

Goodreads blurb:

730. That’s how many days I’ve been trapped.
18. That’s how many days I have left to find a way out.

DAI, trying to escape a haunting past, traffics drugs for the most ruthless kingpin in the Walled City. But in order to find the key to his freedom, he needs help from someone with the power to be invisible….

JIN hides under the radar, afraid the wild street gangs will discover her biggest secret: Jin passes as a boy to stay safe. Still, every chance she gets, she searches for her lost sister….

MEI YEE has been trapped in a brothel for the past two years, dreaming of getting out while watching the girls who try fail one by one. She’s about to give up, when one day she sees an unexpected face at her window…..

In this innovative and adrenaline-fueled novel, they all come together in a desperate attempt to escape a lawless labyrinth before the clock runs out. 


M I N I    R E V I E W

The Walled City was a book that was faced paced and full of action. I find that is how most of the author’s books go. They go quickly and you’re left wondering if you really did just read that book. I got The Walled City for Christmas last year from a really close friend of mine. We both exchanged books and I have slowly been making my way through the ones I was gifted. This one, in particular, I was excited for since I adored the authors Wolf by Wolf series.

This just ended up a bit meh for me. I wasn’t super into the book but I did read it in one sitting in under two hours while sitting by a pool. It was super fast and the chapters are even shorter so you feel like you’re reading a lot faster than you normally would, or at least I did. I found the story to have so much potential but the execution of it to fall flat on me, unfortunately.

The Walled City is told in three perspectives, just as it is promised in the blurb. Dai, Jin, and Mei Yee. They’re all in this city for their own reasons, all with a goal. It was pretty heartbreaking reading each reason why they were in the city. However, I found Mei Yee’s to be the most tragic. She had been sold by her father to fund his alcohol addiction. Leaving her to take up residence in a brothel. I was pretty taken aback by how graphic some of her scenes were, which I presume was the point since the book is loosely based on an actual city that existed.

Each character had such a goal I feel their personalities got a little lost behind it. At some points, I confused characters as well, though that could have been the heat and not the actual writing. I just found that with the chapters being so short you barely got the POV of a character when it was ripped out from underneath your feet and you were moving on to one of the other protagonists. If that makes sense?

Overall, The Walled City isn’t a bad book. It just didn’t absorb me and keep me wanting to read. I was a tad disappointed, obviously, but that is simply because I put expectations on myself. However, at the end of the day, it isn’t a good book and it isn’t a bad book. The Walled City is just average, despite the exciting premise and diverse cast.


Happy reading everyone!

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The City of Brass by S. A. Chakraborty | Mini Review

Thank you so much, Harper Collins Australia for sending me an ARC in exchange for an honest review. 

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Rating: ★★★★★

Release Date: November 14th, 2017

Pages: 528

Publisher: Harper Voyager

Goodreads Review: here

Goodreads blurb:

Nahri has never believed in magic. Certainly, she has power; on the streets of 18th century Cairo, she’s a con woman of unsurpassed talent. But she knows better than anyone that the trade she uses to get by—palm readings, zars, healings—are all tricks, sleights of hand, learned skills; a means to the delightful end of swindling Ottoman nobles. 

But when Nahri accidentally summons an equally sly, darkly mysterious djinn warrior to her side during one of her cons, she’s forced to accept that the magical world she thought only existed in childhood stories is real. For the warrior tells her a new tale: across hot, windswept sands teeming with creatures of fire, and rivers where the mythical marid sleep; past ruins of once-magnificent human metropolises, and mountains where the circling hawks are not what they seem, lies Daevabad, the legendary city of brass?a city to which Nahri is irrevocably bound. 

In that city, behind gilded brass walls laced with enchantments, behind the six gates of the six djinn tribes, old resentments are simmering. And when Nahri decides to enter this world, she learns that true power is fierce and brutal. That magic cannot shield her from the dangerous web of court politics. That even the cleverest of schemes can have deadly consequences. 

After all, there is a reason they say be careful what you wish for… 


M I N I   R E V I E W

The City of Brass was a book I was cautious of when I was requesting it. I was a bit nervous because it is so big. 520 pages, to be exact. I find that sometimes the longer the book the more bored I get throughout. However, this wasn’t the case at all. The City of Brass is an enchanting and alluring story that grips you from the very first page. Every single character has a layer of depth, I literally mean every single one to even the side characters who are only around for a few pages.

From the very first page, you are sucked into a world of magic and Egypt. I say Egypt purely because I adored reading a book set in the environment. I think the only book I’ve read that has gone to Egpyt is the Kane Chronicles by Rick Riordan. But, that’s off topic.

You follow one of the main characters of The City of Brass, Nahri on her journey of discovery throughout this book. Learning her origins, what her past is and what is expected of her. It was honestly pretty heartbreaking at times to read. Though, I adored reading the main character who wasn’t perfect. Nahri has done what she has to survive and it might not be the most ethical but she has done it and she’s not ashamed. She was so damn strong in her own right and learning about her culture throughout the book was so interesting.

The other perspective we get in this book is from Ali. A prince for his people but viewed as a religious fanatic. He’s basically the opposite to Nahri and it was incredibly interesting to read the dynamic between the pair. In the grand sense of it, neither character is meant to be viewed as a good character either. They have flaws that are very obvious in the text.

The writing within The City of Brass was just spectacular as well. I’m honestly speechless since this is a debut. This book reads a lot better than some authors with many books published. The imagery is done so well and not at all overdone, coming from someone who usually gets frustrated with metaphors. The language use was just spectacular. I obviously can’t speak about the muslim representation throughout this book but the author is an own voices author, so I adored learning her persptive on her culture and how it incoperated into this book. I’m so excited to read more!

It is a book full of betrayal, wishes and magic. It is complex and full of politics. At some stages, I didn’t understand what was happening but I never once cared majorly due to the absolute incredible cast of characters in this debut, own voices novel. The City of Brass is a must read. Put it on your December or January TBR’s, because I promise you won’t regret it.


Happy reading everyone!

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Exit, Pursued by a Bear by E.K Johntson | Review

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Rating: ★★★★☆

Trigger Warnings: rape, sexual assault, spiking of drink, abortion, PTSD

Release Date: March 15th, 2016

Pages: 248

Publisher: Dutton Books for Young Readers

Goodreads Review: here

Goodreads blurb:

Veronica Mars meets William Shakespeare in E.K. Johnston’s latest brave and unforgettable heroine. 

Hermione Winters is captain of her cheerleading team, and in tiny Palermo Heights, this doesn’t mean what you think it means. At PHHS, the cheerleaders don’t cheer for the sports teams; they are the sports team—the pride and joy of a tiny town. The team’s summer training camp is Hermione’s last and marks the beginning of the end of… she’s not sure what. She does know this season could make her a legend. But during a camp party, someone slips something in her drink. And it all goes black.

In every class, there’s a star cheerleader and a pariah pregnant girl. They’re never supposed to be the same person. Hermione struggles to regain the control she’s always had and faces a wrenching decision about how to move on. The assault wasn’t the beginning of Hermione Winter’s story and she’s not going to let it be the end. She won’t be anyone’s cautionary tale. 


M I N I   R E V I E W

After reading the horrible storm that was Zenith I needed a book that was all about girl power and friendship. Exit, Pursued by a Bear was exactly that book. Though, upon completion, I’m really wondering why this book isn’t talked about more. The events of which are terrible but the message and support network that is within it is truly inspiring and beautiful.

Hermione is a popular girl. She is a cheerleader and she is pretty damn nice. This year is her year. She and her best friend are co-captains of their squad. She is attending her last cheerleading camp and despite the fact, her boyfriends kind of being a jerk all is right in the world. Until the last night of camp where she is drugged and raped, tossed in the lake like an afterthought. She then ends up pregnant. All of this something she’d never dreamed of happening to her. Hell, no one dreams of this happening to them. It was pretty damn heartbreaking.

It was interesting to read about abortion in a young adult book. I am personally pro-choice. I believe a woman has the choice to get an abortion and shouldn’t be shamed ever for what they do. I really believe if you would rather choose to support a fetus over the woman wanting the abortion you’re a dickhead. That’s neither here nor now. Hermione had such an incredible support group throughout the book. It was refreshing to read about adults who were present and ready to support her.

I loved that everyone in her town supported Hermione as well. I’ve read a few books where a sexual assault happens in a small town and the girl is instantly a pariah. It’s beyond frustrating because, at the end of the day, these girls need to know they’re supported and believed. That their story is the truth and shouldn’t be ignored.

Overall, this was a simultaneously heartbreaking and heartwarming story about a girl learning who she is after a traumatic event. Learning how to react and be herself. Learning that this isn’t the end for her. I truly recommend this story. I wasn’t expecting Exit, Pursued by a Bear to make me feel like I did but boy, it was incredible.


Happy reading everyone!

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If you use my Book Depository link I will receive a 5% commission from your order at no expense to you. I would sincerely be grateful if you chose to use it.

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Unearthed by Megan Spooner & Amie Kaufman | Mini Review

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Rating: ★★★☆☆

Release Date: November 22nd, 2017

Pages: 384

Publisher: Allen & Unwin

Goodreads Review: here

Goodreads blurb:

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

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

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


M I N I    R E V I E W

I found Unearthed difficult to read. I’m not sure why. I wonder if maybe it was simply just a mood read for me and I wasn’t in the mood for a sci-fi action book? Don’t get me wrong, I did enjoy Unearthed. I found that the writing styles of Megan Spooner and Amie Kaufman flawlessly flowed into one another and I truly could not distinguish between the pair. The writing was beautiful too and very easy to follow.

The thing is, though, I’m just not really a sci-fi girl. I find the world difficult to work out which is simply on me, it takes me a while to truly understand the worlds because I suck at science. That’s putting it lightly. Ever since my physics teacher failed me twice (he was a misogynistic dick who only failed me because I asked questions and would fight him when he said men were better at science than women). Anyway, that’s not here and now.

Unearthed was definitely what it was marketed as, which was Lara Croft meets Indiana Jones in space. The book is fast moving and action packed basically from the beginning in a journey that makes you truly question what you would do if you were in the characters shoes. Jules and Amelia, our two main characters, are thrust into an even more intense journey than they could have ever expected. Two people who would have never had met if it wasn’t for fates intervention while they discover this new planet.

The plot was definitely what kept me reading and the ending of this book left my jaw basically hanging on the ground, I truly wasn’t expecting it and it will definitely have me picking up book two when it’s released in 2019 (so far away!!).

I did have some problems with Unearthed though and I’m always honest on my blog so I have to mention them. Despite me saying that the plot was action packed it was incredibly slow for around 50% of the book. You simply just read about activities that the main characters do and some backstory as to what the state of the earth is.

My other problem was that Jules felt like a female had written him, which she had. I kept getting stuck up on the fact that his voice was sometimes hard to distinguish from Amelia’s. I also didn’t like the fact from the moment he met Amelia he was infatuated with her. I like my romances to be a bit more slow burn than this book.

That isn’t to say I didn’t like Amelia though because I loved her. She had a great drive about her that I felt inspired by. I truly can’t wait to read more about her and see where her story takes her because her backstory has me so curious as to what will happen to her sister. I know I would do anything for my sister so it will be interesting to see where her love will take her next.

Overall, Unearthed is a fast-paced and exciting novel that unfortunately didn’t live up to the expectations I had placed on myself while reading it. It is nothing against the book, truly, it’s a simple ‘me not you’ situation. I truly would still recommend this if you’re in the mood for a sci-fi read because it will keep you invested in the story.


Happy reading everyone!

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If you use my Book Depository link I will receive a 5% commission from your order at no expense to you. I would sincerely be grateful if you chose to use it.

The same goes for my Booktopia link, which is a great service for Aus and NZ residents.