Let’s Talk About Love by Claire Kann | Review


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Rating: ★★★★☆

Release Date: January 23rd, 2018

Pages: 304

Publisher: Swoon Reads

Goodreads blurb:

Alice had her whole summer planned. Non-stop all-you-can-eat buffets while marathoning her favorite TV shows (best friends totally included) with the smallest dash of adulting–working at the library to pay her share of the rent. The only thing missing from her perfect plan? Her girlfriend (who ended things when Alice confessed she’s asexual). Alice is done with dating–no thank you, do not pass go, stick a fork in her, done.

But then Alice meets Takumi and she can’t stop thinking about him or the rom com-grade romance feels she did not ask for (uncertainty, butterflies, and swoons, oh my!).

When her blissful summer takes an unexpected turn, and Takumi becomes her knight with a shiny library employee badge (close enough), Alice has to decide if she’s willing to risk their friendship for a love that might not be reciprocated—or understood.

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January Wrap-Up

Wow, the first month of 2018 is done and dusted and what a month it has been. Not a lot has happened, which is always good considering I had a few bad months in 2017. My mental health is going alright, so is family life and I start my last year of university in March. The hunt for a job is neverending but I really feel like I’ve started to really set in concrete some new friendships I’ve made and I’m excited!

I know you’re not here for an update on my life though. You want to know how many books I read. Well, I’m excited to share that the number is twenty. I read 20 books in the beginning month of the year and I’m so excited. I’ve read that same amount for the past three years and I just really feel it sets me up for, ultimately, a really great reading year. A lot of the books I read don’t have reviews out just yet but if you are following my blog you’ll get the email as they go up and they’ll appear on Goodreads!

So, let’s get into the list.

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Palace of Fires by Bill Bennet | ARC Review

Thank you Penguin Random House Australia for sending me a copy in exchange for honest review. 


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Rating: ★☆☆☆☆

Release Date: January 29th, 2018

Pages: 384

Publisher: Penguin Random House Australia

Goodreads blurb:

She turned and saw them. Three black shapes in a crowd of colour, moving slowly like scuttling roaches.
Three women, dressed in leathers, carrying biker helmets.
They laughed and joked as they walked through the market, yet they radiated a palpable evil.
Lily knew it was all a hideous charade. They had come here to find someone.
They had come here to hunt.

For as long as Lily remembers, she and her mother have been on the move, but she does not know why.

Then she discovers the terrifying truth.

Three hundred years ago, her ancestor broke a solemn promise signed in blood. And now Lily is thrust into a shadow world where Satan is real, witches exist and evil is an ancient living thing that seeks to wreak havoc and rule.

The dark is coming, and only she can stop it. 

 R E V I E W

Palace of Fires is one of the first physical ARC’s I’ve been sent. Which made me pretty excited, obviously. Unfortunately, it fell really flat despite the exciting premise that had me requesting the book. From the writing to the characters everything felt incredibly flat and wasn’t enjoyable as a whole or even as a segment.

Since I didn’t actually finish Palace of Fires, I will only be commenting on the part I did read and my thoughts and feelings on it.

The book begins with a girl struggling to support her family in a historical era (I’m not sure on the year). Her little sister died, her mother and father are on their deathbeds and no doubt her younger brother will follow from starvation. It’s pretty damn sad. That is until she makes a deal with the devil, that her family and ancestors will have bountiful crops that will sustain them and provide them with an income. It’s an opportunity too hard to pass up and this girl jumps at it. The only catch is that she has sold her soul. Yes, the big cliché in these deals. However, this girl breaks her deal. Then we get a time jump to her ancestors who are on their way to a farmers market to sell produce they grew. Blah, blah, blah this mum and daughter duo eventually end up on the run from something evil chasing them – don’t be worried, you’ll get the perspective of these evil people so the mystery and suspense are destroyed.

I really was invested in the prologue that told the historical girls story. I feel like it would have been a better story as a whole as we learn why she broke her promise and, ultimately, see her punishment. What we got though was a mess, at least in this uncorrected proof. The main character, Lily, was also pretty unbearable. She came across as the classic special snowflake main character, which I personally have nothing against. My problem was how easy everything was coming to her. She barely had to try and everyone was willing to risk his or her lives for her. Why? No idea, she really didn’t seem that special on the part of the book I read. It also seemed that she had some sort of magic that she was going to master before the end of the book so within 300 pages.

Another issue I had with Palace of Fires was the number of points of view throughout. I am usually not too bothered by the changes in perspective when I feel they add to the plot. In the case where I felt they really took away from the mystery of the book, which feels like the main point of it. We get two of the villain’s perspectives, along with a boy that Lily’s thinks is cute. This is obviously on top of Lily’s POV. It just really took away from what the book was saying in my opinion and didn’t aid in what was happening at all.

The writing style of the book also was disconnected. The flow and transitions between chapters were inconsistent and it lacked a severe depth of the characters or world-building – hence, why I put it down.

Overall, Palace of Fires had a lot of promise but was very poorly executed. I know this is just an ARC so maybe these issues have been fixed in the final copy. However, I can’t ignore these issues in the copy I received since I was, unfortunately, let down by my too high expectations.

Happy reading everyone!

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Not Your Villain by C.B Lee | Review


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Rating: ★★★★☆

Release Date: October 5th, 2017

Pages: 307

Publisher: Duet Books

Goodreads blurb:

Bells Broussard thought he had it made when his superpowers manifested early. Being a shapeshifter is awesome. He can change his hair whenever he wants, and if putting on a binder for the day is too much, he’s got it covered. But that was before he became the country’s most-wanted villain.

After discovering a massive cover-up by the Heroes’ League of Heroes, Bells and his friends Jess, Emma, and Abby set off on a secret mission to find the Resistance. Meanwhile, power-hungry former hero Captain Orion is on the loose with a dangerous serum that renders meta-humans powerless, and a new militarized robotic threat emerges. Everyone is in danger. Between college applications and crushing on his best friend, will Bells have time to take down a corrupt government?

Sometimes, to do a hero’s job, you need to be a villain. 


Warning: this is the second book in the Sidekick Squad series. The first one is title Not Your Sidekick and I would highly recommend reading it. It features one of the first f/f romances I ever read and is just so cute.

I was so excited about Not Your Villain. I absolutely loved Not Your Sidekick and was stoked to be able to find out more about Bells. However, I kept pushing the book back because I knew I wasn’t in the mood and it was just sitting as a sad ebook on my phone. When I got my kindle I almost instantly started reading it and it instantly pulled me out of a strange slump I was falling in to.

If you’re like me and have a terrible memory, don’t worry Not Your Villain recaps the events of the first book throughout from Bells perspective. You learn more about his life and what it’s like being a hero in the League. It was honestly interesting. Though my favourite thing had to be how accepting everyone was; not a single person is homophobic or transphobic in this world it seems and it makes me feel so fuzzy inside. Finally, a fictional, futuristic world where people are fully accepted for who they are. I just love it.

Throughout Not Your Villain we are dealing with what was revealed at the end of Not Your Sidekick, that the heroes have been kidnapping the villains and using them to increase their own powers. Bit of tables turned situation. Bells is also now a villain in the eyes of the law because sometimes doing the right thing makes you a villain in the eyes of the law.

We also get characters from the previous book, Jess, Abby and Emma. I have to say that my only problem was the romance. I completely understand why it was in the book but like, I was really hoping this would have just been a no romance book. However, the conversation shared between Bells and Emma about asexuality and being aromantic kind of struck a chord with me? The way Emma feels is very similar to me and now I’m questioning things and need to do some more research on the topic. I’m excited to read her perspective in the third book.

I’m not sure what I can say, which I’ve been saying a lot in my reviews, but for Not Your Villain I’m serious. The plot is so jam-packed with action that saying anything would have spoilers and leave people mad at me. I just really wanted to write a review in order to get people on this series. It may be middle grade, but it is so easy to read and honestly so exciting. If you love Percy Jackson I would highly recommend this series.

Happy reading everyone!

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The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert | Review

Thank you so much to Penguin Random House Australia for sending me a full copy in exchange for honest review. All thoughts are my own. 


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Rating: ★★★★☆

Release Date: January 30th, 2018

Pages: 368

Publisher: Penguin Random House Australia

Goodreads blurb:

Seventeen-year-old Alice and her mother have spent most of Alice’s life on the road, always a step ahead of the uncanny bad luck biting at their heels. But when Alice’s grandmother, the reclusive author of a cult-classic book of pitch-dark fairy tales, dies alone on her estate, the Hazel Wood, Alice learns how bad her luck can really get: her mother is stolen away―by a figure who claims to come from the Hinterland, the cruel supernatural world where her grandmother’s stories are set. Alice’s only lead is the message her mother left behind: “Stay away from the Hazel Wood.”

Alice has long steered clear of her grandmother’s cultish fans. But now she has no choice but to ally with classmate Ellery Finch, a Hinterland superfan who may have his own reasons for wanting to help her. To retrieve her mother, Alice must venture first to the Hazel Wood, then into the world where her grandmother’s tales began―and where she might find out how her own story went so wrong. 


The Hazel Wood was a memorising book. I was unable to put it down and I was truly so involved with the plot that I was gasping almost every page. If you enjoyed Caraval (which, I hate but I can see how these two connect) or The Raven Boys I truly believe you will like The Hazel Wood. It has such a dark fairytale vibe to it that throws you into the world where nothing is truly what it seems. 

I went in with some pretty low expectations, I had been seeing some mixed reviews around the place and that always makes me a tad cautious. This book blew those low expectations right out of the park. I was so shocked by the writing, the mystical style and the fact that this was actually an urban fantasy. I was expecting a high fantasy, but nope. I absolutely love urban fantasies too, so this made me happy beyond words.

Actually, my favourite thing was just the fairytales. I absolutely loved the writing style of the few that were included. They left me itching for more and re-reading the pages to try and find hidden messages that would be added to the plot.

One of my favourite things about The Hazel Wood is how unlikeable the main character, Alice, is. She doesn’t give two shits if it doesn’t concern her or her mother. It doesn’t matter to her. It’s always just been Alice and her mum, something I related to considering my family is just my sister, mum and I. The pair have been running for years from bad luck. The bad luck follows them no matter how far they drive or how many houses they live in. They can’t get away. Until Alice’s grandma dies and her mother believes they can finally relax. Finally, escape the cursed fairytales she wrote about. Until Alice’s mother is kidnapped. Teaming up with the help of one of her classmates, Finch (hate that name, too many flashbacks to All The Bright Places), she goes on an adventure to find her. Along the way, she makes many discoveries that change her to the core. She never loses that sense of self though and remains quite unlikeable throughout the whole novel, with her anger and ability to isolate herself. I felt like she grew on me though, like a fungus of sorts.

My only dislike is that we didn’t get a lot of the fairytales, which from the small snippets we did get I wanted more. However, looking at the Goodreads page I presume they’ll be getting released as a novella when book two in this series is released.

Oh also, I hated the lack of parents. They’re only 17 and I mean, yes Alice’s mum has been kidnapped and yes, Finch’s parents don’t like him and he’s mind-blowingly rich. It just seemed like all the parents disappeared though and it was a little annoying because why is no one kicking these kids asses for missing school?

Overall, I loved The Hazel Wood. It was such an interesting read that brought out the darkness involved in fairytales and really highlighted it. It even reminded me of Inkheart, a book I loved when I was younger. It was truly just magical.

Happy reading everyone!

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The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton | Review

Thank you so much to Hachette Australia for sending me a review copy in exchange for honest review. All thoughts are my own. 


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Rating: ★★★★☆

Release Date: February 6th, 2018

Trigger Warnings: sexual assault, animal torture

Pages: 448

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Goodreads blurb:

 Camellia Beauregard is a Belle. In the opulent world of Orléans, Belles are revered, for they control Beauty, and Beauty is a commodity coveted above all else. In Orléans, the people are born gray, they are born damned, and only with the help of a Belle and her talents can they transform and be made beautiful.

But it’s not enough for Camellia to be just a Belle. She wants to be the favorite—the Belle chosen by the Queen of Orléans to live in the royal palace, to tend to the royal family and their court, to be recognized as the most talented Belle in the land. But once Camellia and her Belle sisters arrive at court, it becomes clear that being the favorite is not everything she always dreamed it would be. Behind the gilded palace walls live dark secrets, and Camellia soon learns that the very essence of her existence is a lie—that her powers are far greater, and could be more dangerous, than she ever imagined. And when the queen asks Camellia to risk her own life and help the ailing princess by using Belle powers in unintended ways, Camellia now faces an impossible decision. 

With the future of Orléans and its people at stake, Camellia must decide—save herself and her sisters and the way of the Belles—or resuscitate the princess, risk her own life, and change the ways of her world forever.


To start off this review lets just address how beautiful this cover is. I’m not usually a fan of people on the cover of books (my eye prefers designs) but wowThe Belles was a book I instantly wanted to pick up after seeing the cover. The model is stunning and so is the design surrounding her. I don’t know, I was just left utterly speechless when I saw it.

Now, about the book. The Belles was a book I felt a bit cautious about. I had requested it but I wasn’t sure if it was a book that would suit my tastes. Especially since it took me a couple days to even reach 100 pages. However, once I was able to sit down and truly get into the world I flew through the remaining pages in a day. The concept and execution were so seamless for me that I couldn’t put the book down without knowing what happened.

The Belles is a fantasy novel set in a world where a large majority of people are born void of colour. A select few girls are born with colour and are tasked with the job to make everyone (who can afford it) beautiful. To keep trends changing and people different because in this world beauty is power. If you are not beautiful you are basically treated like trash. Camellia is a Belle, one of the few, and her goal has always been to become the Favourite of the queen. Which means that she will be the one doing all the beauty treatments of anyone royal, creating the new fashion and being trusted by the most beautiful people in Orléans.

I was pleasantly surprised by everything in this book. I didn’t find it predictable at all and I felt that every scene was happening for a reason and not simply to add page count. I also really enjoyed reading about a character who I shared a name with. One of Camellia’s sister’s name is Ambrosia but goes by Amber (which, is my name if you weren’t aware).

Speaking of the characters I felt everyone had such a depth. Especially Camellia. At the beginning, she isn’t that great of a person and I didn’t exactly like her, at all. Throughout The Belles, she grows as she realises the world and position she holds aren’t what she always dreamed about. The world around her is a lot messier and she needs to adapt now or die (not even an exaggeration). Everyone around her isn’t as she originally thought. My favourite character had to be Remy, who is the bodyguard for Camellia. I’m rooting for him in the sequel.

To round this up and stop babbling about this masterpiece, The Belles shattered me. It is well worth the hype in my opinion and has a fantastic cast throughout. I desperately need help picking up my scattered brain for this. I’m sure once the book is officially out in the world there will be some more concise book reviews out but just trust me here read this book. It’s worth it.

Happy reading everyone!

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Meet Cute by Various | Review


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Rating: ★★★☆☆

Release Date: January 2nd, 2018

Pages: 320

Publisher: HMH Books For Young Readers

Goodreads blurb:

Whether or not you believe in fate, or luck, or love at first sight, every romance has to start somewhere. MEET CUTE is an anthology of original short stories featuring tales of “how they first met” from some of today’s most popular YA authors.

Readers will experience Nina LaCour’s beautifully written piece about two Bay Area girls meeting via a cranky customer service Tweet, Sara Shepard’s glossy tale about a magazine intern and a young rock star, Nicola Yoon’s imaginative take on break-ups and make-ups, Katie Cotugno’s story of two teens hiding out from the police at a house party, and Huntley Fitzpatrick’s charming love story that begins over iced teas at a diner. There’s futuristic flirting from Kass Morgan and Katharine McGee, a riveting transgender heroine from Meredith Russo, a subway missed connection moment from Jocelyn Davies, and a girl determined to get out of her small town from Ibi Zoboi. Jennifer Armentrout writes a sweet story about finding love from a missing library book, Emery Lord has a heartwarming and funny tale of two girls stuck in an airport, Dhonielle Clayton takes a thoughtful, speculate approach to pre-destined love, and Julie Murphy dreams up a fun twist on reality dating show contestants.

This incredibly talented group of authors brings us a collection of stories that are at turns romantic and witty, epic and everyday, heartbreaking and real. 

The Meet Cute anthology was an interesting one. There were so many authors and so many stories. Some I couldn’t wait to end and others I wanted to be extended to fill the pages of a novel. For this review, I’ve tried to review each story featured in this anthology. They’re quite short but I find it difficult to rate an anthology as a whole (3 is what I just figured was the average among these).

This collection definitely was super cute and I do love meet-cute stories. Some definitely stood out. I would recommend this collection though if you’re looking for a short read to fill a rainy day.



I’m not sure this was the best start to the novel. I feel there were so many other ‘meet cute’ stories throughout the novel which were better suited for the first story – ones that would have had a better impact. I enjoyed the writing style and I did gush, but there was cheating and abuse which wasn’t dealt with and only very briefly mentioned that made me feel slightly uncomfortable about the whole thing.

I also hate people who are self proclaimed popular so I had that issue with the main character, since she knows she’s popular. I feel like there were just little facts in the story that, ultimately, didn’t add to the overall story and actually took away from me being able to enjoy it. I felt for her backstory, but she really did ruin it by being a self righteous bitch.



This was the first f/f romance in the book and I loved it. It wasn’t as if it was anything special but the writing itself and the characters the author created in those few short pages were incredible. It shows just how talented the author writing it was.

I was so engaged it the idea of the print shop (especially since it was a queer business). The author didn’t rush a single moment. It all felt super organic and very well written to me. I was completely involved with the main character as she did her best to help the client in need. Print Shop was just super feel good and fluffy, if the idea had been extended into a full novel I would be so happy!



This was when the lack of conclusions in this anthology really started to get to me. I also had a problem with every character but the main one in this particular story.

Our POC MC just wants to escape her small town despite all the waitlists she’s been placed on, her best friend ended up backstabbing her and she’s 6’5 (a queen). Her meet cute doesn’t really start until the end. Quite literally the last two pages or so it happens. So, it felt like a lot of build up which ultimately had a good ending. I just wanted a bit more interaction so I could root for the two characters some more!



Click was one of my favourites in the anthology. The author creates such authentic and deep characters so quickly that had my heart racing. I loved the concept of online dating – it’s hard to meet people and online dating shouldn’t be shamed. I absolutely adored the twist as well.

I’m not even sure what to say, I loved how the MC was a smart girl and the love interest was a good guy. It just made me feel happy and mushy and the overall message was super sweet.



The Intern was flat as heck for me. There was no climax. There was no moment I rooted for the two characters. Nothing. I felt for the main characters as much I felt for the cast of the new Jumajii movie (nothing).

I’m not too interested in ‘celebrity falls for normal girl and she makes him remember his passion’ trope either, which this fell into it. It really did have that classic love cures all vibe too which I am not down for in the slightest. There was also just no connection between the characters, they didn’t know each other long enough for what concluded.



This particular story featured a transgender (male to female) character. Nia is in quite an accepting environment, with her dad accepting her and her friends. The problem is the church and the schools won’t acknowledge her gender in order for her to use the correct bathrooms. A part of this reason is that a girl in her grade has spoken out against Nia on the news on behalf of her church.

To rectify her choices this girl decides to out herself to her peers, recording it so her conservative parents will 110% see it.

My problem with this particular meet-cute was the fact one girl had to out herself. I just didn’t think she was ready to do so from her inner monologue. Maybe I’m wrong, and I completely understand I may be, but it just rubbed me the wrong way.



Now, this was an interesting concept. I’m not even sure if I can really find the words to accurately describe this story or even give my views. This isn’t a contemporary story like the others, this one is straight up urban fantasy with the inclusion of a thing called a love bond. I’m not even sure if I truly understand the concept to explain it either.
The writing style, however, was beautiful. I loved the characters the author was able to create in the few available pages she had. The story was so engaging and one of the few in the anthology that I didn’t pause while reading. I was simply so involved in what was happening on the page. This was yet another concept I wanted to be extended into a novel so I could truly get a feel for it.



This was one of my favourites in the anthology. It was another f/f romance that left me feeling mushy and wanting to scream. The girls pretend to be CIA and FBI agents in an airport while they wait to board their separate flights. It was honestly nothing too original or too out of the ordinary but the authors writing left me desperately grasping for more once I finished the story. It was such a romantic read that I was shocked it wasn’t extended into a full novel.



This particular story was my favourite. It featured a library-based romance that left my heart racing at the sheer adorableness of it all. I know this story had its flaws, obviously, but from the first page I was grinning ear-to-ear and desperately yearning for more. This was yet another story that could have been a novel, the idea definitely could have extended more than just a few pages and I would not be mad.



I don’t have much to say about this particular excerpt in the anthology apart from boring. The whole story was so analytical that I was left confused at all the jargon. I also just didn’t care as soon as math was mentioned. I am terrible at math and as soon as it’s mentioned in fiction or real life I instantly check out.

I also was not feeling the love connection either. This would have been to the quick changes of scenes. We’d get a few paragraphs about something and then a quick change. It made the whole story feel disconnected and the flow felt extremely off.



I was so excited by this story, we were finally getting a male perspective after all this time. I’m not sure why but I expected more male perspectives. I absolutely loved the concept of having to go to Mars to create new life. However, the conclusion of this story left me feeling unhappy since it wasn’t a happy ending. Who allowed this? I was not okay.

Basically, fuck everyone. This story made me feel things and then ruined me.



This did not go where I thought it was going. Honestly. A celebrity dating show where two girls compete in order to score a date with the celebrity on national TV. How nice. Sounds like my worst nightmare. The two girls competing couldn’t be more different on paper either. However, literally everything goes wrong and the end had me definitely like ‘what?’ It was cute though.



Now, this was the definition of mediocre for me. It read the exact same way as the author’s full-length novels and didn’t exactly vary from the plot line either. It was a very forbidden love like with the twist (if you can call it that) thrown in.

I don’t really have much to say. At one point I got some The Greatest Showman vibes but not really. It was just super mediocre and nothing to brag about.



I think Nicola Yoon works much better for me in a short story format than her novels. I really do enjoy her short stories in the two anthologies I’ve read that feature her. It was super engaging, super messy and just overall reminded me of the concept of More Happy Than Not.

It was just a very interesting story and a pretty fun concept of meeting someone who realises you are over your previous partner.

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.