Books I Didn’t Think I’d Like But Loved | Discussion

I know a lot of people have the ability to be able to tell what book they’ll like before they read it. I sometimes have this ability, but more times than not I don’t. I sometimes struggle to work out what I will like and what I won’t like. Typically I fall into reading what books are hyped, which leads to a lot of disappointment for me when they don’t live up to it.

It’s not all bad news though. Sometimes I pick up a book with a resigned sigh, not expecting much and discover a new favourite. Have you ever had this happen? If so let me know in the comments so I know I’m not strange.

Some of these books include:

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Ivy Aberdeen’s Letter to the World by Ashley Herring Blake | Review

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Book Depository | Booktopia | Amazon |


Rating: ★★★★☆

Release Date: March 6th, 2018

Trigger Warnings: cancer (mentions), homelessness, isolation, depression, anxiety

Pages: 320

Publisher: Little, Brown Books For Young Readers

Genre: contemporary, middle grade, LGBTQ+

Goodreads blurb:

When a tornado rips through town, twelve-year-old Ivy Aberdeen’s house is destroyed and her family of five is displaced. Ivy feels invisible and ignored in the aftermath of the storm–and what’s worse, her notebook filled with secret drawings of girls holding hands has gone missing.

Mysteriously, Ivy’s drawings begin to reappear in her locker with notes from someone telling her to open up about her identity. Ivy thinks–and hopes–that this someone might be her classmate, another girl for whom Ivy has begun to develop a crush. Will Ivy find the strength and courage to follow her true feelings?

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Top 17 Books of 2017

Wow, 2017, what a year. So much has happened in my life. There have been so many hardships throughout this year and sometimes it was a mess. Sometimes it left me having a relapse in my room at 3am and sometimes it ended with me on top of the moon being so glad of all the progress I made.

But, you’re not all here to read about my mental health and my hardships of this year. You’re all here to read about what are my top 17 books of 2018. This was strangely an easy list to format. I tried to keep it mainly to 2017 releases, but some are just books I read this year and I adored. So, let’s get stuck into it. This list is in no particular order, so don’t assume because a book is higher up or lower it has more value.


1. Tower of Dawn by Sarah J. Maas | Review

This is the one that will have people screaming at me the most I think. I know so many people despise Sarah and her books, but her representation of PTSD really helps me. So, having Chaol, the main character, suffering throughout the book was something that resonated with me and left my feelings all over the place. It was also interesting to learn about his recovery, my mum had been in a car accident and told she’d never walk again (she did and does) so it was interesting to read about something that upsets her too much to talk about.

2. Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesa Zappia | Review

I think this hit a lot of people’s favourite books this year. The fandom representation and anxiety throughout hit the nail on the head. It was also interesting to see a character who wrote and fanfiction to be incorporated into a novel. I used to write fanfiction (cringe) so I sincerely enjoyed this dynamic because I met one of my closest friends from writing it.

3. Moxie by Jennifer Mathieu | Review

Now, this had to be one of my top books of 2017. It was incredible. It was the book I needed when I was younger and not sure where I fit in the world. When I truly needed some girl power. Honestly, I’m still speechless about this book but I will continue to scream about it and shove it into anyone’s hands I can.

4. Lord of Shadows by Cassandra Clare | Review

Okay, so obviously Lord of Shadows was my favourite book of the year. I’ve made it clear how much I adore Cassandra Clare’s books and The Dark Artifices series is no exception. Her writing has improved so much over 10 years so I’m even recommending this series who didn’t like The Mortal Instruments. I really am still speechless over this book. I will definitely be re-reading before Queen of Air and Darkness releases next year.

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

Now, The City of Brass is a shock favourite of the year honestly. It was such a magical read that really drew me in. The culture and just, overall, the story was so absolutely incredible. I am still unable to really grasp what happened in it and it’s another book I want to shove onto absolutely anyone who will listen.

6. The Gentlemen’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee | Review

Mackenzi Lee’s work is one book that has stuck with me since I read it months ago. It was so what I needed. A story about two young men and a girl causing mischief throughout Europe with a sense of adventure and serious tones throughout the novel. My favourite thing about this particular work was the inclusion of epilepsy. As someone who’s mum has epilepsy, it was incredible to see it represented in fiction with such a raw emotion. It truly is difficult to see someone you love suffer.

7. Hunting Prince Dracula by Kerri Maniscalco | Review

I absolutely loved the first book in this series and the second book was no exception. I loved it. Honestly. This book also had some PTSD representation throughout it, that in my opinion, was so well done. The storyline is just as incredible as the first, even if I guessed the killer in this one. Maniscalco is just an incredible writer who I sing the highest of praises to.

8. A List of Cages by Robin Roe | Review

I read this book before I had my blog and really had a chance to rave about it. There are a lot of triggers in this book I wasn’t aware of but I read it in one sitting and was awake until late in the night crying over what happened. I still think about this book. My best friend actually bought me a physical copy for my birthday and I’m just so in love. It was just such an emotional punch so be prepared for that.

9. Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor | Review

This is probably the most shocking book on my list. I put this book down after starting it and wasn’t expecting to ever go back. I had bought it because it was pretty and $11. One day though I picked it up on a whim and wow. This book. I am completely in love with Lazlo. Yet another book I am recommending endlessly to my friends and family. I really think this particular one is a good fit for anyone.

10. They Both Die At The End by Adam Silvera | Review

I just loved this book. There are no words for me to even describe how great it was. Read it. Now.

11. Everless by Sara Holland | Review

This is a debut I just loved. The concept is just so intricate and so elaborate. I was blown away by it, not at all expecting a favourite book to come out of reading it. Sure, it doesn’t come out until next year for the US but this book is just so incredible you need to preorder now. 

12. How To Make A Wish By Ashley Herring Blake | Review

Similar to They Both Die At The End I have no words to describe this book. I am trying to shove it on my sister quite aggressively (because it needs to be shared) but she refuses to read it and it frustrates me. So, to everyone reading this you need to pick up this book. Obviously you need to pick up every book on the list, but still.

13. Renegades by Marissa Meyer | Review

I knew I was going to love Renegades. So, I wasn’t shocked when I loved Renegades. Recently its been the target of some homophobic reviews which is really annoying because this book is incredible. I absolutely love the anti-hero concept so I sincerely loved reading about it in Marissa’s beautiful writing style.

14. Magnus Chase and the Ship of the Dead by Rick Riordan | Review

This one kind of speaks for itself. It’s the final book in a series and makes the list because Rick Riordan is an incredible writer. His inclusion of the mythologies in his worlds are so flawless and engaging that I can’t help but fall in love with absolutely everything.

15. The Hearts We Sold by Emily Lloyd-Jones | Review

This was probably the biggest shock for my list. I picked it up on a whim because the ebook was on my phone was some reason. I thought it was a series as well, I’m not sure why? I fell in love completely. This book is so underhyped. Why haven’t more people read it? I don’t understand, honestly. It is truly a masterpiece. The writing, the storyline,  the romance. All. So. Incredible. Pick this up, please.

16. The Nowhere Girls by Amy Reed | Review

If you like Moxie, then you’ll love The Nowhere Girls. These two go right together with feminism movements. However, this one is a tad darker and intense. The girls fight back and a movement begins to protect others. It also made me realise some things about my own life I had to move through mentally. It was, however, such a powerful feminist read and I highly recommend it.

17. The Abyss Surrounds Us by Emily Skrutskie | Review

Another unexpected favourite. This book got really popular on Goodreads for awhile and I decided to jump on the hype train. It’s such a beautiful f/f romance with pirates involved. Was not what I expected at all but I am glad to have it on this list!


So, there we have it! My top 17 reads of this year. Obviously, I recommend them all highly and sincerely suggest you give them as gifts to yourself (or others) this holiday season. All 17 books meant something important to me this year.

Have you read any of the books on this list? What are some of your favourite reads of 2017?

Girl Made of Stars by Ashley Herring Blake | Review

Thank you to the publishers for kindly sending me a physical ARC in exchange for honest review. All thoughts are my own and not impacted by recieving the copy. 31351689.jpgBook Depository |


Rating: ★★★★☆

Trigger Warnings: rape, sexual assault, misogyny, victim blaming

Release Date: May 15th, 2018

Pages: 304

Publisher: Houghton Muffin Harcourt Books for Young Readers

Goodreads Review: here

Goodreads blurb:

“I need Owen to explain this. Because yes, I do know that Owen would never do that, but I also know Hannah would never lie about something like that.”

Mara and Owen are about as close as twins can get. So when Mara’s friend Hannah accuses Owen of rape, Mara doesn’t know what to think. Can the brother she loves really be guilty of such a violent crime? Torn between the family she loves and her own sense of right and wrong, Mara is feeling lost, and it doesn’t help that things have been strained with her ex-girlfriend, Charlie.

As Mara, Hannah, and Charlie navigate this new terrain, Mara must face a trauma from her own past and decide where Charlie fits in her future. With sensitivity and openness, this timely novel confronts the difficult questions surrounding consent, victim blaming, and sexual assault.


R A M B L E

I’ve read two of Ashley Herring Blake’s books and they’ve both ripped me to shreds. Her beautifully diverse books have a way of making you feel joy, regret, love and sadness throughout the book. It is truly difficult to transcribe just how they do make you feel. The first book I read of hers, How To Make A Wish, left me so completely heartbroken I was unable to fully compose a review. In this case, I do need to review Girl Made of Stars becasue it was sent to me in exchange for a review, so let’s get real into this ramble, my friends.

Girl Made of Stars really tackles some difficult issues, like sexual assault and victim blaming. The author made sure to deal with these issues head-on, not shying away and going as far to make you as the reader uncomfortable. I mean, I sure was uncomfortable during some of these points.

This really was such a heartbreaking story in so many ways. I truly wasn’t expecting the level of death which was written in Girl Made of Stars. I also wasn’t expecting all the star sign references and for them to play such a large part in some of the dialogue throughout. A few of my friends love star signs, so they were very excited when I told them about this particular fact.

I can’t speak for any of the rep that is featured throughout this book, but as this book hits release I will definitely come back and try to add as many own voices reviews as I can.


P L O T

The plot for Girl Made of Stars is heavy. It is difficult and it is uncomfortable. With so many sexual assault stories coming out in the media I really felt it was finally the perfect time for me to read this. I really feel like this book is important to fiction and I truly hope many of you will choose to pick it up when it hits bookstores in May. I recommend it highly.

Mara’s twin Owen has been accused of raping his girlfriend. But, would he do that? Her twin brother? The person she knows better than anyone else and shared a womb with for nine months? She’s not sure. What she does know is that Owen’s girlfriend Hannah wouldn’t lie about something like this. Which leaves Mara is a messy middle where she needs to work out who she supports during this.

During this Mara is also dealing with something from her past that caused problems with her ex-girlfriend and best friend (they’re the same person) Charlie.

I really can’t even begin to describe this. It was heartbreaking. Almost every chapter left me desperately needing more because I needed to know how Mara would deal with the situation at hand. I was thankful for the choices she made at the end of the book.


C H A R A C T E R S

#M A R A 

Mara was an incredibly strong character. That is putting it lightly. I’ve really been staring at the cursor on my page for about ten minutes trying  to work out how to begin to describe Mara. She wasn’t what I was expecting, thats for sure. She was so much better.

This author has such a talent for writing strong and powerful female characters. They go through such a process throughout the books she writes that truly leaves you aching. Mara was no different. She has her battles and she dealt with them, sometimes in a messy way and sometimes in a correct way. It was truly just amazing to witness her growth throughout the book.

She’s basically left me speechless.


O V E R A L L

Overall, I can’t wait to get my hands on the finished copy of Girl Made of Stars. I absolutely adore all of Ashley Herring Blake’s books that I have read and would recommend them to literally everyone. She truly has a way for words and her diverse casts are truly beautiful.


Happy reading everyone!

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