The Bride Test by Helen Hoang | Review

Thank you so much to the publisher for approving me for an eARC of The Bride Test by Helen Hoang. All thoughts and opinions stated throughout the review are my own and are no way impacted by receiving a copy of the book.

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Rating: ★★★★☆

Release Date: May 7th, 2019

Dates Read: February 14th to February 15th, 2019

Pages: 320

Publisher: Berkley

Genre: romance, adult, contemporary

Goodreads blurb:

Khai Diep has no feelings. Well, he feels irritation when people move his things or contentment when ledgers balance down to the penny, but not big, important emotions—like grief. And love. He thinks he’s defective. His family knows better—that his autism means he just processes emotions differently. When he steadfastly avoids relationships, his mother takes matters into her own hands and returns to Vietnam to find him the perfect bride.

As a mixed-race girl living in the slums of Ho Chi Minh City, Esme Tran has always felt out of place. When the opportunity arises to come to America and meet a potential husband, she can’t turn it down, thinking this could be the break her family needs. Seducing Khai, however, doesn’t go as planned. Esme’s lessons in love seem to be working…but only on herself. She’s hopelessly smitten with a man who’s convinced he can never return her affection.

With Esme’s time in the United States dwindling, Khai is forced to understand he’s been wrong all along. And there’s more than one way to love.

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Queen of Air and Darkness by Cassandra Clare | Spoiler Review

WARNING: THE BLURB OF THIS BOOK CONTAINS SPOILERS.

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Thank you Simon and Schuster Australia for sending me a review copy of Queen of Air and Darkness by Cassandra Clare. Receiving a copy of this particular book did in no way impact my thoughts or feelings in this review.

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Rating: ★★★★★

Release Date: December 4th, 2018

Dates Read: December 4th to December 7th, 2018

Buddy Read with: Alexandra, Mel & Solomon

Trigger Warnings: grief, self mutilation, death, war, murder

Pages: 912

Publisher: Simon & Schuster Australia

Genre: young adult, fantasy, urban fantasy, magic, romance

Goodreads blurb:

What if damnation is the price of true love?

Innocent blood has been spilled on the steps of the Council Hall, the sacred stronghold of the Shadowhunters. In the wake of the tragic death of Livia Blackthorn, the Clave teeters on the brink of civil war. One fragment of the Blackthorn family flees to Los Angeles, seeking to discover the source of the blight that is destroying the race of warlocks.

Meanwhile, Julian and Emma take desperate measures to put their forbidden love aside and undertake a perilous mission to Faerie to retrieve the Black Volume of the Dead. What they find in the Courts is a secret that may tear the Shadow World asunder and open a dark path into a future they could never have imagined. Caught in a race against time, Emma and Julian must save the world of Shadowhunters before the deadly power of the parabatai curse destroys them and everyone they love.

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Josh & Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating by Christina Lauren | Review

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Rating: ★★★★★

Release Date: September 4th, 2018

Dates Read: September 5th, 2018 – September 6th, 2018

Pages: 309

Publisher: Gallery Books

Genre: adult, romance, contemporary 

Goodreads blurb:

Hazel Camille Bradford knows she’s a lot to take—and frankly, most men aren’t up to the challenge. If her army of pets and thrill for the absurd don’t send them running, her lack of filter means she’ll say exactly the wrong thing in a delicate moment. Their loss. She’s a good soul in search of honest fun.

Josh Im has known Hazel since college, where her zany playfulness proved completely incompatible with his mellow restraint. From the first night they met—when she gracelessly threw up on his shoes—to when she sent him an unintelligible email while in a post-surgical haze, Josh has always thought of Hazel more as a spectacle than a peer. But now, ten years later, after a cheating girlfriend has turned his life upside down, going out with Hazel is a breath of fresh air.

Not that Josh and Hazel date. At least, not each other. Because setting each other up on progressively terrible double blind dates means there’s nothing between them…right?

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The Midnight Star by Marie Lu | Review

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Rating: ★★★★☆

Release Date: October 11th, 2016

Dates Read: September 2nd, 2018 – September 8th, 2018

Trigger Warnings: animal abuse, death, murder, starvation, torture

Pages: 316

Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers

Genre: dystopia, romance, young adult, fantasy, magic

Goodreads blurb:

 Adelina Amouteru is done suffering. She’s turned her back on those who have betrayed her and achieved the ultimate revenge: victory. Her reign as the White Wolf has been a triumphant one, but with each conquest her cruelty only grows. The darkness within her has begun to spiral out of control, threatening to destroy all she’s gained.

When a new danger appears, Adelina’s forced to revisit old wounds, putting not only herself at risk, but every Elite. In order to preserve her empire, Adelina and her Roses must join the Daggers on a perilous quest—though this uneasy alliance may prove to be the real danger.

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City of Bones by Cassandra Clare | Review

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Rating: ★★★★★

Release Date: March 27th, 2007

Pages: 485

Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books

Goodreads Review: here

Goodreads blurb:

When fifteen-year-old Clary Fray heads out to the Pandemonium Club in New York City, she hardly expects to witness a murder― much less a murder committed by three teenagers covered with strange tattoos and brandishing bizarre weapons. Then the body disappears into thin air. It’s hard to call the police when the murderers are invisible to everyone else and when there is nothing―not even a smear of blood―to show that a boy has died. Or was he a boy?

This is Clary’s first meeting with the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the earth of demons. It’s also her first encounter with Jace, a Shadowhunter who looks a little like an angel and acts a lot like a jerk. Within twenty-four hours Clary is pulled into Jace’s world with a vengeance, when her mother disappears and Clary herself is attacked by a demon. But why would demons be interested in ordinary mundanes like Clary and her mother? And how did Clary suddenly get the Sight? The Shadowhunters would like to know…

Exotic and gritty, exhilarating and utterly gripping, Cassandra Clare’s ferociously entertaining fantasy takes readers on a wild ride that they will never want to end.


R E V I E W

I think I’ve made it pretty clear in my reading career that I am trash for the Shadowhunter Chronicles. This doesn’t mean I can’t acknowledge the fact they are trash. However, the nostalgia is so raw that I can’t help but feel like I’m coming home when I pick up this book. I get taken back to when I felt uncomfortable picking it up in the library as a 13-year-old because of the half-naked guy on the front. Now, here I am holding the 10th-anniversary edition which is stunning.

My point is, I know City of Bones is highkey a bad book. Trust me, it became so clear in this re-read that I was cringing at every other interaction and how much I hated Clary. But, I can’t help but be sucked into the world of Shadowhunters and Downworlders. It’s a problem. Cassandra Clare’s writing has improved so much, though, so I feel no shame for this being one of my favourite series ever.

City of Bones begins with Clary Fray. A firey red-headed artist (basically her description, oh the cliche) who is simply trying to get through high school with her best friend, Simon, and stop fighting with her mum. Her mum has hidden a whole world from her though, a world that Clary is born to be a part of. Strange, right? I’m pretty sure she’s sixteen too? I’m not even sure, honestly. Anyway, this all changes after she is an underage club one night with Simon and sees something that no one else can see. She’s thrown into a world where she discovers the lies her mothers told to protect her and who she is. Also along the way, she makes some new enemies and even finds out who her father is, which is something I would rather die than do.

Clary Fray may possibly be one of the most annoying female leads. She seems to forget her mum is missing and remember at times convenient to her. She’s much happier to fantasise over the male love interest, Jace Wayland. Who is annoyingly arrogant. I keep picturing him as the actor from the film City of Bones and it has ruined my 12-year-old picture of him, honestly. I’m not a fan of the actor. Nor am I a fan of Dom Sherwood. That’s neither here nor now though. Clary is happy to live her normal mundane life until she discovers the Shadow World. The only problem is she isn’t content to just take herself down. She drags her completely human best friend with her.

I hated Simon when I first read these. I was a big Jace fan and Simon came in as a love interest and I gagged. However, during every re-read, I love Simon more. He is an adorable nerd who is simply just in love with his best friend. It’s kind of tragic and definitely cliche, but the growth of his character over the series is one of my favourites. Alongside Isabelle. That is in the other books though, not City of Bones.

There is some hardcore girl competition too. Neither Isabelle or Clary like each other in this book and it makes me sad since I am such an advocate for girl friendships in books. It gets better later, but I feel if Cassie Clare had had the friendship grow from the book once it would have been a lot better.

This book is also pretty messy. The writing style is all over the place and my friend who’s studying nursing says all of the medical terminologies throughout this series is wrong. Which, are only little things but they amuse me so I feel you should be aware. I do love the humour throughout City of Bones but I’ve heard it’s been ripped off from Buffy The Vampire Slayer? I’m not sure, just covering my bases so no one yells at me for being naive.

The plot line and plot twist in this book make me gag though, every time. I feel like everyone knows what the twist is but if not skip this part because of spoilers. The fact that Jace and Clary are portrayed as siblings (which gets proven wrong in book three) but remain romantically involved or have been romantically involved makes me want to throw up. Honestly, what the heck was Cassie thinking? Possibly the most disturbing storyline ever, especially for me considering I had step-brothers when I read this book and thought of them as bio brothers and could never imagine what Jace and Clary do.

I also just want to say I hate Magnus. I’m not sure what it is but I’ve never meshed well with his character. This is an irrelevant part of my review but I do like his growth with Alec and I felt I should mention this, if not briefly.

Ultimately, is City of Bones a good book? No. Will I still give it five stars for nostalgia? Yes. This is definitely a great series to use to transition into the fantasy world when you just start reading. It’s what I used it as. It is also just a great series for me when I don’t look in analytically. It’s like a big warm hug and coming home.


Happy reading everyone!

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Renegades by Marissa Meyer | Review

Thank you, Macmillian Australia for sending me a copy to review. All thoughts are my own and not impacted by receiving this copy. 


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Rating: ★★★★★

Release Date: November 14th, 2017

Pages: 576

Publisher: Pan Australia

Goodreads Review: here

Goodreads blurb:

Secret Identities. Extraordinary Powers. She wants vengeance. He wants justice.

The Renegades are a syndicate of prodigies—humans with extraordinary abilities—who emerged from the ruins of a crumbled society and established peace and order where chaos reigned. As champions of justice, they remain a symbol of hope and courage to everyone…except the villains they once overthrew.

Nova has a reason to hate the Renegades, and she is on a mission for vengeance. As she gets closer to her target, she meets Adrian, a Renegade boy who believes in justice—and in Nova. But Nova’s allegiance is to a villain who has the power to end them both.


R A M B L E

Renegades by Marissa Meyer was one of my most anticipated reads of 2017. Which meant I was incredibly cautious when it began approaching its release date. At this point in this year, I have been let down countlessly by books I was excited about. It’s gotten to the point where I try to feel indifferent in order to save myself from disappointment or get incredibly excited when the book is amazing. I’m so happy to tell you that Renegades falls into the amazing category.

I received this book on the 27th of October. My sister called me while I was sitting at a train station in Brisbane to tell me because I was going away for two weeks. So, I had to wait two weeks to get home for this book and I was pretty damn excited about it. I honestly wouldn’t shut up about it and honestly found it hilarious that it turned up an hour after I had left my house because at that point it was the only book I wanted to read. Just my luck, right?

This book was just incredible and I’m pretty sure this review will be mostly incoherent because what the fuck did I just read? This book has honestly shot straight to my favourites ever, and especially into my favourites of this year. It was truly such a spectacular book that really felt like it was from the same author as The Lunar Chronicles (which Heartless didn’t feel to me).

I really feel that in Renegades Marissa Meyer creates one of the best worlds to date. Creating such an interesting world filled with grey morals and ethics. This particular book shows that things aren’t as straightforward as people tend to believe, leading to a spectacular story with complex characters who go through their struggles as they try to decide what side of the good or bad line they fall on.

It’s not even that Marissa Meyer creates great main characters, which she does, but her side characters are what really drive the book and keep you interested. She doesn’t forget them among the plot and main character drama, they still continue to play a large part. I love that.


P L O T

I found the plot for Renegades to be incredibly complex. Not in the way that it was difficult to understand, more so that I found it so mind-blowingly intricate and I felt as if there were so many clues in the text for what is to come if you’re keeping an eye out for them. Truly, this plot is incredible. It’s been a while since I’ve been invested in a plot as much as this one. Hell, it’s been a while since I even gave a book five stars. But, Renegades deserves it.

Nova and Adrian are on different sides. Nova is an Anarchist, has been since she was six. Adrian is a Renegade, has been since he was born to his superhero mother. They both believe their side is, ultimately, the right one. But, how can the villains be right when they’re villains? Doesn’t matter that the people meant to protect the city are slightly shady, the Anarchists are the enemy and should be seen as such.

I really loved the development of this story, completely. From the romance between Nova and Adrian to the overall set up for the plot. Like, to get into the writing style for a second, Marissa Meyer has one of the best writing styles I’ve ever read and that is really highlighted in this book. Especially through her dialogue. Hell, her dialogue has to be my favourite part of this book. I truly adored how it all connected and made me physically laugh aloud, a rare thing for me while reading.


C H A R A C T E R S

There are many characters throughout this story that play large roles, on both the Anarchist and Renegade sides. For this section, I’ll only briefly talk about our two main characters and my thoughts and feelings on them as our leads.

#N O V A 

Nova is the girl who has had everything go wrong in her life. She has nothing but the few members of the Anarchist left. No one but them even knows about her. I mean, the world knows her alias, Nightmare, but apart from that nothingThat doesn’t stop her, though. Nova is one of the most kickass women in YA fiction, I’m calling it now. She was so incredibly badass and willing to physically kick ass that I was proud to be supporting her.

Our main character Nova has an incredible amount of snark as well. She was always there with a comment that could get in her trouble, a comment she was willing to say even if it would get her in trouble. She’s also smart, resourceful and a villain. But, is she?This is a question Nova struggles with throughout Renegades and I absolutely loved it. Not that she was struggling, but the way Marissa Meyer wrote this internal struggle she faced. I feel as if it was incredibly well done.

I really hope in the sequels that we get to see more of Nova’s power (the ability to put people to sleep with skin to skin contact, leaving them vulnerable). We got some small snippets throughout Renegades but I really would like a larger focus on it.

#A D R I A N 

Heres the thing with Adrian, I hated him at first. It was nothing against him but I have a thing against guys named Adrian. It’s a long, personal story that isn’t meant for my blog so I’ll skip it. However, I may have just fallen in love with the Adrian that features Renegades.

Adrian is honestly a sweetheart. He has grown up a Renegade, with his late mother being one of the original six. His adopted fathers are also part of the original six, having been best friends with his mother. All he’s known is that he wants to know who killed his mother. How does a hero that can fly die falling off a building? It’s not logical. No, seriously, it really isn’t logical, like what the heck? Anyway, Adrian is a Renegade to the bone and willing to do absolutely everything to be a hero like his mother and fathers.

I was super intrigued by his ability, the power to draw things and they come to life. I would love for him to draw me some of the dinosaurs he drew throughout this particular book. I just freaking love dinosaurs. It was interesting to see how he used his power too. I’ll leave that there, just so you can feel a bit surprised when you read this book (seriously, read this book, you know where the buy links are on this post!).

He was truly just a sweetheart, the way he cared for Nova and his team was quite beautiful.


O V E R A L L

Overall, someone needs to put book two in my hands now. The ending has left me with major grabby hands and honest embarrassment for my desperation for the sequel. Truly, this book was a masterpiece. I can’t fault it on one single thing.


Happy reading everyone!

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More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera | Review

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Rating: ★★★☆☆

Trigger warnings: suicide, homophobia, depression, cheating, ableism

Release Date: June 2nd, 2015

Pages: 304

Publisher: SoHo Teen

Goodreads Review: here

Goodreads blurb:

Adam Silvera’s extraordinary debut confronts race, class, and sexuality during one charged near-future summer in the Bronx.

Part Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, part Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe, Adam Silvera’s extraordinary debut confronts race, class, and sexuality during one charged near-future summer in the Bronx.

The Leteo Institute’s revolutionary memory-relief procedure seems too good to be true to Aaron Soto – miracle cure-alls don’t tend to pop up in the Bronx projects. But Aaron can’t forget how he’s grown up poor or how his friends aren’t always there for him. Like after his father committed suicide in their one bedroom apartment. Aaron has the support of his patient girlfriend, if not necessarily his distant brother and overworked mother, but it’s not enough.

Then Thomas shows up. He has a sweet movie-watching setup on his roof, and he doesn’t mind Aaron’s obsession with a popular fantasy series. There are nicknames, inside jokes. Most importantly, Thomas doesn’t mind talking about Aaron’s past. But Aaron’s newfound happiness isn’t welcome on his block. Since he’s can’t stay away from Thomas or suddenly stop being gay, Aaron must turn to Leteo to straighten himself out, even if it means forgetting who he is.


R A M B L E

If you know me, you know I love Adam Silvera. As a person, his books, everything about him. I’ve never met the man, but I religiously follow his tweets and Instagram stories. His books have torn me about and put me back together. I had yet to read the debut though. They Both Die At The End and History Is All You Left Me were two of the books I have cried the most in. They were so beautifully woven. However, More Happy Than Not fell short on me. I didn’t cry, once. Maybe I’m used to Adam’s more heartbreaking books but this book just fell a tad short. I totally get why people do cry, because I sure was upset but not a single tear dropped.

If you’ve been following me for a while you’ll also know I rarely read blurbs. I don’t know why. I like to be completely shocked when I go into a book, I guess. My guess of what More Happy Than Not would be was in no way accurate. I don’t know why I was expecting something maybe similar to The Fault In Our Stars but much more heartbreaking. I really don’t know where that idea came from, honestly. I assume you have actually read the blurb from Goodreads I’ve included in my review and can determine how much of an idiot I am for yourself (spoiler, the answer is a big one).

This book also contained themes I wasn’t too excited by, especially the cheating. The relationships in Adam’s books tend to be messy, but the ones in More Happy Than Not felt extra messy. This definitely had the feeling of a debut novel. I think if this had been the first Adam Silvera book I’d read I wouldn’t have continued with his work either.


P L O T

The plot was…interesting. It was a contemporary universe featuring diverse characters but had a science fiction addition. This is through the memory wiping service that allows individuals to get a fresh start when something traumatic has happened. For the case of one character, his twin brother is killed because of something he did. Not something that is easy to get over. The characters are given a fresh start but everyone around them remembers. They all have to be cautious about what they say because these memories can return with the right triggers.

Aaron is our main character. He goes on a long journey throughout More Happy Than Not. I really can’t say too much because it is too easy to give away spoilers and I really do try to keep my reviews spoiler free if I can.

I did enjoy the big twist. Enjoy is the wrong word, but it shocked me and kept me interested in what I was reading. But, this definitely wasn’t the best book. It was definitely a bit sloppy and I really struggled to get over the cheating aspect and some of the characters behaviours towards Aaron.


C H A R A C T E R S

#A A R O N

I really can’t say much here, because again spoilers, I will say Aaron was not my favourite character. Adam Silvera did well to create a complex and layered character, but I’m not sure it really meshed well with this particular narrative. At least for me, he didn’t.


O V E R A L L

Overall, I still love Adam Silvera and will read everything he publishes. I wasn’t expecting the best book ever from More Happy Than Not, just something a little different than what was given.


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.