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Menagerie Series by Tui T. Sutherland & Kari Sutherland – Spoiler Free Review

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Okay, so I will be reviewing the whole Menagerie series together. I have already reviewed The Menagerie, the first book but this will just be an overview of all the books together. You can find my review of the Menagerie HERE!

Title: The Menagerie 
Author: 
Tui T. Sutherland & Kari Sutherland
Series Name: 
Menagerie
Genre: 
Middle-Grade Fantasy
Publication Date: March 12th, 2013
Pages: 288 (Hardback)
Publishers: HarperCollins
Rating:
5 star

Goodreads Synopsis

Logan Wilde is accidentally drawn into the mysterious, dangerous world of the Menagerie when he discovers a griffin hiding under his bed . . . and it leads him straight to the weirdest girl in seventh grade, Zoe Kahn.

Zoe is panicking. Her family has been guarding the Menagerie for centuries. If they don’t get the cubs back fast, the whole place will be shut down. To save the griffins’ lives, she’s willing to break all the rules, even if it means letting an outsider like Logan help. But the real mystery remains: Is someone trying to sabotage the Menagerie?

Who let the griffins out…and why?

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Title: Dragon on Trial
Author: 
Tui T. Sutherland & Kari Sutherland
Series Name: 
Menagerie
Genre: 
Middle-Grade Fantasy
Publication Date: March 11th, 2014
Pages: 304 (Hardback)
Publishers: HarperCollins
Rating:
5 star

Goodreads Synopsis

The mysteries and adventure are back and bigger than ever in the second book in the Menagerie trilogy! With the magic of Brandon Mull’s Fablehaven and the charm and humor of Carl Hiaasen, The Menagerie #2: Dragon on Trial is perfect for young readers who love myths, fairy tales, and magical creatures.

Someone or something has murdered the goose who laid the golden eggs, and the evidence points to a dragon named Scratch. But this mystery won’t be that easy to solve. . . . Zoe and Logan are back on the case in another exciting fantasy adventure from authors—and sisters—Tui T. Sutherland (Wings of Fire) and Kari Sutherland.

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Title: Krakens and Lies
Author: 
Tui T. Sutherland & Kari Sutherland
Series Name: 
Menagerie
Genre: 
Middle-Grade Fantasy
Publication Date: March 10th, 2015
Pages: 272 (Hardback)
Publishers: HarperCollins
Rating:
5 star

Goodreads Synopsis

The Menagerie trilogy comes to a fantastic conclusion in Krakens and Lies, the third magical and mysterious adventure from Tui Sutherland (New York Times bestselling author of the Wings of Fire series) and Kari Sutherland. Young readers who love mythological creatures and series like Fablehaven, the Spiderwick Chronicles, and Spirit Animals won’t want to miss the Menagerie.

Someone has been sabotaging the Menagerie, and Logan and Zoe are on the case. But their troubles only get worse when the basilisk escapes its enclosure and the merpeople go on strike—leaving the kraken to its own devices. The race is on to solve the mystery and save the Menagerie in this riveting, action-packed finale!

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Goodreads Synopsis (1)

I love the covers of these books. They are so colourful and fun as most Middle Grade covers are. Each cover also represents each book really well and gives you an idea of the type of creatures and things that will be dealt with in each book.

Goodreads Synopsis (2)

I really enjoyed the writing. It was so easy and fun to read. The books are really quick to read too which was good and bad. Good because they go by quickly but bad because I want more!! I love the friendships in this book so much and also the families. We have some awesome family dynamics in this book which I love! It is so rare to see awesome families in books. There is a very strong friendship/family theme to these books as well as caring for creatures and helping people/animals that can’t help themselves. These were all great messages/themes and made the book extremely enjoyable.

Goodreads Synopsis (3)

The plot is so fun! There is always something going on in these books. There are tonnes of twists and turns to keep you engaged in the story. For the most part, I didn’t find these books too predictable. There were a couple times I guessed but it was usually just before the truth was revealed anyway. It didn’t affect the enjoyability of the books at all though. As all three books involve a mystery it is fun trying to guess what is going on.

Goodreads Synopsis (4)

There is a tonne of characters in these books and I love all of them except the ‘bad guys’ obviously, but I can also see how well done those bad guys were done. For my opinions on Zoe, Logan & Blue have a look at my review for The Menagerie. As for the other characters I enjoyed most of them, as there are so many I will just do a sentence or two for each. Just be warned some of these characters kinda give away spoilers for the series as there is a tonne of mystery around some of these characters. I won’t talk about any of the bad guys though as that will completely spoil the books.

Marco was such an amusing character, I loved his humour and his obsession with Keiko.
Keiko is exactly how you would expect a proud mythical creature that can turn human to act. It still really funny watching her react to people.
Jasmin was bitchy at the start, but I get it, she was still angry and confused and reacted accordingly. But in the end, she was fun and just took everything in her stride.
Elsie we see very little of but I enjoyed her a lot. She is Aussie for one thing!
Matthew, I was suspicious of at the start but he was also an interesting character and was always there for his family and the animals.
Ruby was just a stuck up, up herself, delusional character.
Mr. & Mrs. Kahn, Zoe’s parents, are awesome, you already know I love the family in these books. Mrs. Kahn is fun, determined and very loving. Mr. Kahn was just as cool and loving.
Mr. Wilde, Logan’s Dad was a cool addition to the story. He loved his son, but his main focus was on finding his wife who disappeared. He was loving, caring and a little obsessed.
Abigal is a kinda badass mythical creature tracker, which is awesome!
Miss Sameera is funny and a little crazy at times. She is really amusing though and I enjoyed her in the end.
Melissa is always serious and proper and it’s so funny when shit doesn’t go correctly and she starts worrying and getting new paperwork ready to fix the problem.

I also LOVE all the magical creatures. So many of them have really amusing and fun personalities which just added so much to the story!

Goodreads Synopsis (5)

These books are amazing! They are so fun and adventurous. The books are so quick and easy to read. The world is amazing and the characters are superb. The friendships and family relationships are the best! I really wish there was more to this series! I want to see everyday life with all the characters looking after the menagerie creatures!

Copy of Goodreads Synopsis

You can buy the series at the links below!

The Menagerie:
Book Depository

Dragon on Trial:
Book Depository

Krakens and Lies:
Book Depository

Copy of Goodreads Synopsis

HAVE YOU READ THIS BOOK? WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON IT?!

IF YOU ARE GOING TO SHARE SPOILERS IN THE COMMENTS THEN PLEASE WARN IT SO OTHERS DON’T GET SPOILED!

Lizaxx1

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Wayward Children Series Audiobook Review & Beneath the Sugar Sky by Seanan McGuire – Mini Spoiler Free Review

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Okay, so this post will be a little all over the place. First I just want to do an overall review of the audiobooks for Every Heart a Doorway, Down Among the Sticks and Bones & Beneath the Sugar Sky.

All three books were narrated by different people. Every Heart a Doorway is narrated by Cynthia Hopkins,  Down Among the Sticks and Bones is narrated by the author, Seanan McGuire & Beneath the Sugar sky is narrated by Michelle Dockrey.
So because of that I can’t really do an overall opinion of all of them as they were all slightly different.

My least favourite was actually Down Among the Sticks and Bones narrated by the author. I personally didn’t love her voices for some of the characters, mostly the Doctor. She used this creepy husky whisper and it was very off-putting. This was a reread for me and I enjoyed the Doctor when reading the physical book, but with that voice it just made him feel like the creep. Down Among the sticks and Bones is also my least favourite out of the series so far and the narration didn’t help with that.

Now onto a more positive note. I really enjoyed the narration for Every Heart a Doorway, especially the narration for Kade, his voice just sounded like what it was meant to. He has a thick accent and when reading in my head I just didn’t give him that, but with the narration it was great.  I honestly think the audiobook helped me like him a lot more than I did when I first read the book too. My first opinion was he was kinda boring, but now I quite enjoy him. Overall Cynthia’s narration was really good and matched well with the narrator of the last book, whereas Seanan McGuire’s narration really stood out as not as good as the others.

Next onto an even more positive note. I loved the last book! I will talk more about why in my mini spoiler free review below but I really enjoyed the narration. Michelle Dockery did a great job! Her voices were really good!

I highly recommend the audiobooks of this series, even if I didn’t love book 2. The other two make up for it and maybe you won’t have an issue with Seanan’s narration as much as I did.

Copy of Goodreads Synopsis

Now onto the spoiler free review of Beneath the Sugar Sky!! I’m not doing a full review as it will start to get spoilery to the other books discussing certain characters. Especially when some of the Wayward Children’s series are in the past and some in the future, so everything adds up and you just need to read it all!

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Title: Beneath the Sugar Sky
Author: 
Seanan McGuire
Series Name: 
Wayward Children
Genre: 
YA Fantasy
Publication Date: Jan 9th, 2018
Pages: 174 (Hardback)
Publishers: Tor
Rating:
5 star

Goodreads Synopsis

Beneath the Sugar Sky returns to Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children. At this magical boarding school, children who have experienced fantasy adventures are reintroduced to the “real” world.

Sumi died years before her prophesied daughter Rini could be born. Rini was born anyway, and now she’s trying to bring her mother back from a world without magic.

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You can find my review for Every Heart a Doorway HERE & Down Among the Sticks and Bones HERE!

If you can’t tell by my rating, this is my favourite out of the series so far! This one was just so fun and adventurous! I also really enjoyed seeing 2 new worlds that we haven’t explored before! I also loved that we got to see some of the characters that I love. I enjoyed Every Heart a Doorway because of the school and the idea of the doors and the magical and amazing worlds they lead to. Even though we did see that in Down Among the Sticks and Bones it left me underwhelmed as the world wasn’t actually explained or explored. So I didn’t get what I wanted. In this one, however, we got to explore 2 new worlds that we did get to learn a bit about, one more than the other, but it was still really interesting and fun. Especially learning about Sumi’s candy land world! Reminds me of Wreck it Ralph to be honest, but it was so fun.

This book just has everything! Awesome character, amazing worlds and unique ideas. It made me both laugh and tear up at different points!

I really enjoyed this book and I can’t wait to continue the series! I hope the next one is just as adventurous as this one was! I haven’t read a synopsis but by how this one ended I have a fair guess of who it will be about! I hope I’m right!

Copy of Goodreads Synopsis

You can purchase Beneath the Sugar Sky at the links below!

Book Depository
Hardback

Booktopia
Hardback

Amazon (Aus)
eBook   //    Hardback

If you’re Aussie you can also get the first three books in the series on audiobook as part of a Scribd membership! Scribd is awesome! You pay around $13 (AUD) a month and get unlimited access to all the eBooks and audiobooks on their app! It is available in other parts of the world too, however, I don’t know if the Wayward Children’s books are available as there are different books available to different countries.

Copy of Goodreads Synopsis

HAVE YOU READ THIS BOOK? WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON IT?!

IF YOU ARE GOING TO SHARE SPOILERS IN THE COMMENTS THEN PLEASE WARN IT SO OTHERS DON’T GET SPOILED!

Lizaxx1

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The Menagerie by Tui T. Sutherland & Kari Sutherland – Spoiler Free Review

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Title: The Menagerie 
Author: 
Tui T. Sutherland & Kari Sutherland
Series Name: 
Menagerie
Genre: 
Middle-Grade Fantasy
Publication Date: March 12th, 2013
Pages: 288 (Hardback)
Publishers: HarperCollins
Rating:
5 star

Goodreads Synopsis

Logan Wilde is accidentally drawn into the mysterious, dangerous world of the Menagerie when he discovers a griffin hiding under his bed . . . and it leads him straight to the weirdest girl in seventh grade, Zoe Kahn.

Zoe is panicking. Her family has been guarding the Menagerie for centuries. If they don’t get the cubs back fast, the whole place will be shut down. To save the griffins’ lives, she’s willing to break all the rules, even if it means letting an outsider like Logan help. But the real mystery remains: Is someone trying to sabotage the Menagerie?

Who let the griffins out…and why?

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Goodreads Synopsis (1)

I love this cover and that is what dragged me in when I first saw it on Scribd. Middle-Grade covers are always so colourful, bright and fun and that is exactly what I see in this cover, except maybe bright, it’s a bit dark really. But still really nice.

Goodreads Synopsis (2)

I absolutely loved the writing of this book. It was a really easy and quick read but also super engaging. This book kept me hooked from the first page. There was also so many enjoyable aspects written into this book.
The friendship was so good even though Logan only just got to know the two other main characters they bonded quickly and became a strong and beautiful friendship.
There was some diversity in this one too, the main being the MC Logan is black, so that was an awesome addition.
I also really enjoyed the little hints at books like Harry Potter and movies like Pirate of the Caribean. It just made it that little more fun. Especially when we have a baby Griffin cub that loves Harry Potter books and wants to be an author.

Goodreads Synopsis (3)

The plot was so fun and action-packed. As I said I was hooked the entire time! This is one of those books that you could call a feel-good read but it was also a little mysterious and magical too.
This one also ended on an extreme cliffhanger and I took 10 minutes debating whether to continue the series straight away and I decided I am going to!

Goodreads Synopsis (4)

The characters were soo good! We follow two main characters in multi-POV.

The first main character is Logan. Logan is a really interesting and amusing character. I loved his joking and messing around. I also loved how he interacted with the Griffins, it was just so amusing. He is also such an awesome friend, even though they only just became friends really.

The next main character is Zoe. She is an anxious but fun character. Of course, you would be anxious if baby Griffins escaped and are running around town eating all the cheeseburgers and stealing Harry Potter books. She is also dedicated and loyal to her friends, family and the Menagerie.

Our other main character is Blue who is the third part of this friendship. We don’t get to read from his POV, so he isn’t really a MC but I consider him part of the main group. Blue is a very interesting character, I won’t explain as it is part of the mystery of the book but I guess you could say he is diverse haha. You’ll get it if you read the book! I really enjoyed him and loved his friendship with Zoe and how he accepted Logan quickly and helped him out.

One thing I want to talk about is Zoe’s family! I hate the absent/dead parent trope and I wrote a discussion about this and also talked about it in my No Disclaimer Book Tag. But for once one or our MCs had awesome, fun and loving parents. Logan does get this trope slightly though. His mum left them but he and his father are fairly close. His father does come under that category of unrealistic though. He just accepts that Logan suddenly has a new friend and stays there two nights in a row without even questioning who this friend is, who his friend’s parents are or anything like that. If I had texted mum and told her I was staying at a random friends house I would have been bombarded with questions before she even considered it.

Goodreads Synopsis (5)

I really enjoyed this book! It was just so fun and adventurous! I recommend it to anyone who wants a quick, fun and action-packed read that is light and easy but full of mythical creatures and great characters. I can’t wait to dive into book 2, Dragon on Trial, and finally get to meet the dragons in the Menagerie!

Copy of Goodreads Synopsis

You can purchase this book from the below links!

Book Depository
Paperback

Booktopia
Paperback

Amazon (Aus)
eBook   //   Paperback   //   Hardcover

Copy of Goodreads Synopsis

HAVE YOU READ THIS BOOK? WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON IT?!

IF YOU ARE GOING TO SHARE SPOILERS IN THE COMMENTS THEN PLEASE WARN IT SO OTHERS DON’T GET SPOILED!

Lizaxx1

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Ace of Shades by Amanda Foody – Spoiler Free Review

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Title: Ace of Shades
Author: 
Amanda Foody
Series Name: The Shadow Game
Genre: 
YA Fantasy
Publication Date: April 23rd, 2018
Pages: 408 (Hardcover)
Publishers: Harlequin Teen Aus
Rating:
5 star

Goodreads Synopsis

Welcome to the City of Sin, where casino families reign, gangs infest the streets…
and secrets hide in every shadow.

Enne Salta was raised as a proper young lady, and no lady would willingly visit New Reynes, the so-called City of Sin. But when her mother goes missing, Enne must leave her finishing school—and her reputation—behind to follow her mother’s trail to the city where no one survives uncorrupted.

Frightened and alone, her only lead is a name: Levi Glaisyer. Unfortunately, Levi is not the gentleman she expected—he’s a street lord and a con man. Levi is also only one payment away from cleaning up a rapidly unraveling investment scam, so he doesn’t have time to investigate a woman leading a dangerous double life. Enne’s offer of compensation, however, could be the solution to all his problems.

Their search for clues leads them through glamorous casinos, illicit cabarets and into the clutches of a ruthless mafia donna. As Enne unearths an impossible secret about her past, Levi’s enemies catch up to them, ensnaring him in a vicious execution game where the players always lose. To save him, Enne will need to surrender herself to the city…

And she’ll need to play.

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Goodreads Synopsis (1)

This cover is great! It is eye catching and perfectly represents this book! I love the addition of the shadow taking the form of the city in the background and the card suits right at the back. I also loved the little quotes on the back and front of the book. Before I started the book it made me really interested in the book!

“Take a card and stake your soul. Survival is your only goal. Surrender to the vice within. Bet your life – hope you win.”

Goodreads Synopsis (2)

Amanda Foody’s writing is absolutely superb! After reading Amanda Foody’s debut, Daughter of the Burning City, she was straight away on my auto-buy list! The world building in this book is amazing. It is such a vivid and unique world. Some of the ideas that came to life in this book were just so interesting! I’m so keen to see how this world will expand even more in book 2 & 3. I honestly feel like, given the chance, Amanda Foody could create a world as vivid and in-depth as the worlds in Harry Potter, LOTR and other similar books. I’m so glad we got a trilogy from her this time where she can expand her world so much more (don’t get me wrong, her stand-alone debut was still amazing and the world was so detailed as well).

The book is written in multi-POV, following Enne & Levi. The multi-POV was awesome. It was really easy to differentiate between the two POVs, which is one of my main issues with a lot of multi-POV books. But in this one, the two characters showed different personalities within their perspectives and it was really easy to tell whose POV I was reading from, even without reading the name.
Her characters are also really well done! She has left a little to still be discovered in the next book, which I also enjoy.  The characters are well rounded and complex and it was awesome seeing them develop throughout the book.

As someone that is not a romance fan, I didn’t mind this one. Even though the whole book took place in 10 days, it didn’t feel like insta love. For the most part, it was just attraction, tension and genuine care, so that is the main reason why I don’t see it as instalove. Either way, she does write the tension really well!

I also loved how she wrote the diversity in this book! There was no questioning, it was just completely normal to be a person of colour, LGBTQIAP+, etc. There were a couple LGBTQIAP+ characters that popped up throughout the book which was great!

Goodreads Synopsis (3)

The plot was really addicting complex and kept me hooked for the whole book. There are so many aspects of the plot in this book and every one of them was really well done. There were tonnes of twists and turns to keep it interesting the whole time. There is also a mystery that keeps you guessing all the time.

Goodreads Synopsis (4)

Enne is the first main character that we are introduced to and she was an awesome character. She developed amazingly throughout the book, but we also see the struggle within herself as she develops and changes away from how she thought she was meant to be or how she planned to be. She is a realistic character, she doesn’t have these unbelievable skills, bravery or anything along those lines. She has insecurities, fears, and she makes mistakes but that doesn’t stop her, she learns from her mistakes and overcomes her fears, she is brave when she has to, to save herself or others, and I just found her a joy to read from.

Next, we have Levi, who is the other MC we follow. He is made out to be dark, dangerous and devilish and he plays those rolls when he has to. However, we see him open up as he comes to trust Enne and he is so much more than just a street lord. He is such a warm and amazing character. He is always trying to help out rather than actually start trouble, whether that be saving himself, trying to look after the Irons, trying to save a friend or helping out Enne. He is such a caring person and I love him for it. He is one of those people that you could always rely on if you were friends with him.

There are a couple side characters that we meet that were also really interesting. First, we have Jac. His friendship with Levi is amazing. He is always there when Levi needs him and he trusts him completely, but he also questions Levi if he thinks Levi is doing the wrong thing and calls him out on stuff. Which is how a real friendship should be. Jac also has a dark past but he and Levi will always have each other’s backs. He also learns to trust and open up to Enne as Levi begins to trust her more.
Next, is slightly a spoiler I guess, it isn’t a full-on spoiler but this character isn’t how they first are shown, so if you want to know nothing then maybe skip this paragraph. I’m talking about Lola. At first, she does not get along with our other characters but she develops over time and becomes an awesome side character. She is another one with a dark past and is just trying to survive and help the people she cares about. Her friendship with Enne is quite amusing throughout most of the book but she turned out to be a reliable friend in the end.

Well, those are the main characters I want to talk about as the others had a smaller roll. Most were still well developed for a character that didn’t get a tonne of page time, but they are still smaller rolls. All the characters were so well done though!

Goodreads Synopsis (5)

I love this book so much! The world is amazing and unique and the characters are complex and well rounded. The book rounded off amazingly to lead up to the sequel. The epilogue is a direct lead up to the events in book 2 and its mystery makes me so keen for book 2 to come out!!

“She had entered New Reynes as delicate as glass. She had even shattered. But as it turned out, beneath the dust and shards, something stronger lay within her, a substance less easily broken.”

Copy of Goodreads Synopsis

*I read a finished copy that I had already pre-ordered before requesting the eARC. I did plan on reading the eARC before release but I just didn’t have time and the physical copy arrived before I had a chance to read it*

I was provided with an eGalley of this book in exchange for an honest review. Thank you very much to Harlequin Teen Australia NetGalley for this opportunity.

You can purchase this book at any of the below links!
Some of the links are to the alternate cover which I will put a pic of below and I will put a (*) next to the ones that have the alternate cover.

Harlequin Website
Paperback   //   eBook

Book Depository
Hardback   //   Paperback*

QBD
Paperback

Booktopia
Paperback   //   Hardback   //   Paperback* – Pre-order

Amazon (Aus)
eBooks   //   Hardback   //   Paperback   //   Audible

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Copy of Goodreads Synopsis

HAVE YOU READ THIS BOOK? WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON IT?!

IF YOU ARE GOING TO SHARE SPOILERS IN THE COMMENTS THEN PLEASE WARN IT SO OTHERS DON’T GET SPOILED!

Also, my blog has had a makeover! Let me know what you think?!

Lizaxx1

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Hero at the Fall by Alwyn Hamilton – Spoiler Free Review

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Title: Hero at the Fall
Author: 
Alwyn Hamilton
Series Name: Rebel of the Sands
Genre: 
YA Fantasy
Publication Date: Feb 1st, 2018
Pages: 506 (Paperback)
Publishers: Faber & Faber
Rating:
5 star

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Once, in the desert country of Miraji, there was a Sultan without an heir.

The heir had been killed by his own brother, the treacherous Rebel Prince, who was consumed by jealousy and sought the throne for himself.

Or so it was said by some. There were others who said that the Rebel Prince was not a traitor but a hero…

In the final battle for the throne, Amani must fight for everything she believes in, but with the rebellion in pieces, and the Sultan’s armies advancing across the desert plains, who will lead, who will triumph, who will live and who will die?

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You can find my spoiler free review of Rebel of the Sands HERE! Don’t judge it too hard, it was my first ever review. You can also find the review for Traitor to the Throne HERE!

Warning there may be spoilers for Rebel of the Sands & Traitor to the Throne but there will be no spoilers for Hero at the Fall!

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I adore these books! They are absolutely gorgeous, especially the physical copies. The photos just don’t do it justice! I also love the image in the middle of the cover. They always show something within the story which I love!

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I absolutely love the writing in these books! They are action packed, unpredictable & amazing! I also really enjoyed the additions of the short stories/tales in this one. That just added a little extra to the book that was really well done. I also really enjoy the POV in this book. It is all told by Amani, however, some of the book was told in the first person POV and other parts were third person POV, this was mostly when the tales were being told, but also right out at the end when it was tale and reality coming together.

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As I said the book was action packed! Which made for a plot with tonnes of twists and turns. It kept me on the edge the entire time and I absolutely loved it! As this is the end of the trilogy there were no cliffhangers like in the other books that left me needing to read the next book straight away! Even though the end of the book was heartbreaking to some degree I absolutely wouldn’t have had it any other way. It was a very satisfying ending for the most part.

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Amani is one of my favourite female characters ever! She is a badass sharpshooter with awesome powers. She is quick thinking and determined. She is also loving and caring and would do anything for the people that she considered family. She was real though too. She struggled with what was right and wrong. Always trying to do right but still being tempted by what her heart wanted rather than what she knew she had to do.
Jin was another awesome character! He was strong, but didn’t want power or to be in the middle of everything. He just wanted to help however he can.
Shazad is another favourite! Her friendship with Amani is amazing! She is also just a badass character alone too. She is strong, an amazing fighter and extremely tactical! She always has a plan and can think up a plan on the spot when needed!
Izz & Maz are sarcastic an awesome characters. I love that we finally got to see some more of them in this book! They were always there when the other characters needed them.
I also liked Sam a lot more in this book than I did in Traitor to the Throne. He is funny and sarcastic which was a good break from all the seriousness. He was also strong and even though he was technically from the enemy side, he still helped the people he cared for the most.

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I love everything about this series! The writing is amazing and I loved the new tales in this one! The plot was so well done. The characters are also amazing. I loved basically all of them. Even the bad guys are done so well! I still hate them but I can appreciate how well they were written! This is one of my favourite series I have ever read! I can’t wait to see what Alwyn Hamilton does next! We already have an ‘Untitled YA Fantasy’ planned according to Goodreads and I can’t wait!

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HAVE YOU READ THIS BOOK? WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON IT?!

IF YOU ARE GOING TO SHARE SPOILERS IN THE COMMENTS THEN PLEASE WARN IT SO OTHERS DON’T GET SPOILED!

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Our Dark Duet by Victoria Schwab – Spoiler Free Review

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Title: Our Dark Duet
Author: 
Victoria Schwab
Series: Monsters of Verity
Genre: 
YA Fantasy
Publication Date: June 13th, 2017
Pages: 510 (Paperback)
Publishers: Greenwillow Books
Rating:

5 star

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THE WORLD IS BREAKING. AND SO ARE THEY.

KATE HARKER isn’t afraid of monsters. She hunts them. And she’s good at it.

AUGUST FLYNN once yearned to be human. He has a part to play. And he will play it, no matter the cost.

THE WAR HAS BEGUN.

THE MONSTERS ARE WINNING.

Kate will have to return to Verity. August will have to let her back in. And a new monster is waiting—one that feeds on chaos and brings out its victims’ inner demons.

Which will be harder to conquer: the monsters they face, or the monsters within?

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You can find my spoiler free review of This Savage Song HERE!

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I really like the cover of this book! They are so simple but represent the books so well. I also love the colour of this one too. The font is also really cool and probably my favourite book cover font!

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Everything I said in my review for This Savage Song still stands when it comes to the writing. The writing is amazing! I love how Schwab described and built this world! Her writing grips you and you just don’t want to put the book down! The way she develops characters is really good too.

Also, very little romance in this one which I really enjoyed.

Again, I am still complaining that there is no map!! Especially because we explore another city in this book as well as Verity.

Lastly, I wish we had a bit more info on the Chaos Eater. It just kinda poped up and we never found out any info on it or what happened to it in the end.

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The plot was action packed and gripping. This book is a tad darker than This Savage Song and it was really well done.

And that ending! Did you have to do that to me?!

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This Savage Song was written in split POV between Kate & August but Our Dark duet also introduces another POV as well. I won’t say who as it is as I don’t want to spoil a rather large plot twist that happens between the end of This Savage Song and the start of Our Dark Duet. But it was really interesting seeing the world from that person’s POV and seeing what the other side is up to.

Kate is an amazing character. I liked her a lot more in this book than in This Savage Song as I felt like she became herself in this book rather than trying to impress her father all the time like in This Savage Song.
She was strong and didn’t bend to what everyone else wanted of her. She fought to get rid of the monsters while struggling the whole time with her only monsters (well not entirely her own 😉)

August I didn’t love as much in this book. In This Savage Song he fought to be what he wanted to be and Kate tried to be exactly as her father would want. But in Our Dark Duet I feel like the rolls changed. August was just doing what was expected of him and Kate was doing whatever she pleased. They just kinda swapped over. August annoyed me a little when Kate returned and I totally agree with all her complaints when they were first reunited!

Soro I did not like that much. He was brutal and wouldn’t listen to anyone but himself unless he was given a direct order by someone higher ranking than him. He just needs to chill out!

That’s all I will talk about for the characters as the fact that a couple survided is a plot twist and I don’t want to ruin it for everyone!

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I love Schwabs writing! It is descriptive and beautiful. The world is so amazing and I loved exploring a bit more of that world in this book. The plot was really good too, even if it was heartbreaking at the end. The characters are really well done eve if August as a character kinda annoyed me for a bit there. I can’t wait to pick up something else from V.E./Victoria Schwab as this Duology was the first I picked up on hers except her short story in Because You Love To Hate Me.



HAVE YOU READ THIS BOOK? WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON IT?!

IF YOU ARE GOING TO SHARE SPOILERS IN THE COMMENTS THEN PLEASE WARN IT SO OTHERS DON’T GET SPOILED!

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One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus – Mini Spoiler Free Review

Title: One of Us is Lying
Author: 
Karen M. McManus
Genre: YA Mystery Thriller
Publication Date: May 30th, 2017
Pages: 358 (Paperback)
Publishers: Delacorte Press
Rating:

Goodreads Synopsis

The Breakfast Club meets Pretty Little LiarsOne of Us Is Lying is the story of what happens when five strangers walk into detention and only four walk out alive. Everyone is a suspect, and everyone has something to hide.
Pay close attention and you might solve this.
On Monday afternoon, five students at Bayview High walk into detention.
Bronwyn, the brain, is Yale-bound and never breaks a rule.
Addy, the beauty, is the picture-perfect homecoming princess.
Nate, the criminal, is already on probation for dealing.
Cooper, the athlete, is the all-star baseball pitcher.
And Simon, the outcast, is the creator of Bayview High’s notorious gossip app.
Only, Simon never makes it out of that classroom. Before the end of detention Simon’s dead. And according to investigators, his death wasn’t an accident. On Monday, he died. But on Tuesday, he d planned to post juicy reveals about all four of his high-profile classmates, which makes all four of them suspects in his murder. Or are they the perfect patsies for a killer who s still on the loose?
Everyone has secrets, right? What really matters is how far you would go to protect them. From the Hardcover edition.

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So this is just going to be a short spoiler free review. I 100% think this is a book that you just need to jump into and figure out on your own, so that is why I this is just a mini review.

As for the writing, it was so well written. The entire time you were left guessing with absolutely no clues as to who is the real bad guy until the Bayview Four start doing their own investigating and start bringing up clues. This book hooked me so much, it was so suspenseful when it came to finding out who killed Simon! I didn’t want to put it down.

The plot is really good too! Not predictable at all! When you start suspecting one person there is something that pops up that changes your mind. The whole time you are just shuffling around in your mind who it could be. Very well done mystery book! And also, that bloody ending!!!!

Overall, I loved it! It was so well written and I never wanted to put it down! It was suspenseful and mysterious and just an amazing debut from Karen M. McManus and I can’t wait to see what she does next!!


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Before She Ignites by Jodi Meadows

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Title: Before She Ignites
Author: 
Jodi Meadows
Series: Fallen Isles Trilogy
Genre: YA Fantasy
Publication Date: Sept 12th, 2017
Pages: 496 (Hardcover)
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Rating:
5 star

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Before

Mira Minkoba is the Hopebearer. Since the day she was born, she’s been told she’s special. Important. Perfect. She’s known across the Fallen Isles not just for her beauty, but for the peace treaty named after her, an agreement which united the seven islands against their enemies on the mainland.

But Mira never felt perfect. She counts compulsively. She struggles with crippling anxiety. And she’s far too interested in dragons for a girl of her station.

After

Then Mira discovers an explosive secret that challenges everything she and the treaty stand for. Betrayed by the very people she spent her life serving, Mira is sentenced to the Pit—the deadliest prison in the Fallen Isles. There, a cruel guard would do anything to discover the secret she would die to protect.

No longer beholden to those who betrayed her, Mira must learn to survive on her own and unearth the dark truths about the Fallen Isles—and herself—before her very world begins to collapse.

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Before we get into this review! As some of you know I run the facebook group The YA Book Nerds and Before She Ignites is our October BOTM! So if you have read this or plan to in October and want to join in on the discussion that starts on the 29th of October then go and join the page!



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I still don’t like covers with people on them but you can’t deny that this book is gorgeous. I love the colours of the cover and how dark it feels. I also love the back cover! The forest/woods with the dragon’s tail is so simple but represents the book really well.

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This is my first Jodi Meadows book and I have heard pretty good things about her writing and I was not disappointed. For a 500 page book this was fairly quick. There were parts in the middle that was a bit slow but they were building the characters personalities and also the characters’ friendships, so they were needed and worth it.

I also really enjoyed the swap of past and future in the 2/3 or so of the book. It was good to have a break from those slower parts and it was also good to see what happened to Mira rather than just hearing it her thoughts and convos.

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So even though the basis of this plot is fairly basic, it was done really well that it didn’t feel like ‘just another …….. book’. The whole book felt like it was building to a certain event and then there was something that happened about 3/4 of the way in that threw a spanner in the works and I no longer knew what to expect. I liked that this book had those unpredictable bits, however, there were some parts that were predictable too.

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Mira was an enjoyable character. Even though she was kinda the ‘chosen one’ trope she felt a lot more realistic than most. She struggled most of the time to figure out what was wrong and right and what she should do. Also, the anxiety played a pretty big part of her life while in the pit which made her feel more real too. Even with all the struggles, she was still a strong character and I really enjoyed her.

Ilina & Hristo were also enjoyable characters. We mostly see them in the chapters that show the past. Hristo is loyal and caring & Ilina is passionate and strong. They would both do anything for what is right and their best friend.

Gerel was a pain, but the kind of enjoyable pains that you can’t help but like despite yourself. She was stubborn but smart and but also loyal to what she believes in and the promises she has made to the Fallen Isles. Aaru I still don’t know how I feel really. He is shy and quiet but also kind and interesting.

Altan is a pathetic person. He is one of those cruel characters that you aren’t meant to like. Even though he knew why Mira was in prison and knew it was a load of bull he still acting like she was no better than a murderer. It was pathetic considering he wanted the information she held.

Elbena, was also cruel. Again acting like Mira was at fault when it was actually her and her people that were doing the wrong thing. And delibertly allowing  a certain thing to happen just so she could turn the situation to fit her needs! In that moment, if I was there I would have strangled her. So much outright curelty.

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I loved this book! It is an amazing start to a new fantasy series! The writing is amazing and I loved he use of chapters from the past and future. The main character is great and so are her friends! The plot is really well done and the world is amazing! I can’t wait for book 2 to be released! The only thing this book is missing is a map! This would be the perfect book to have a map in!



HAVE YOU READ THIS BOOK? WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON IT?!
IF YOU ARE GOING TO SHARE SPOILERS IN THE COMMENTS THEN PLEASE WARN IT SO OTHERS DON’T GET SPOILED!
And please join our discussion if you have read this book! I can’t wait to discuss this book!

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Simon Vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli – Spoiler Free Review

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Title: Simon Vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda
Author: 
Becky Albertalli
Genre: YA Diverse Contemporary
Publication Date: April 7th, 2015
Pages: 320 (Hardcover)
Publishers: Balzer & Bray
Rating:
5 Star

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Sixteen-year-old and not-so-openly gay Simon Spier prefers to save his drama for the school musical. But when an email falls into the wrong hands, his secret is at risk of being thrust into the spotlight. Now Simon is actually being blackmailed: if he doesn’t play wingman for class clown Martin, his sexual identity will become everyone’s business. Worse, the privacy of Blue, the pen name of the boy he’s been emailing, will be compromised.

With some messy dynamics emerging in his once tight-knit group of friends, and his email correspondence with Blue growing more flirtatious every day, Simon’s junior year has suddenly gotten all kinds of complicated. Now, change-averse Simon has to find a way to step out of his comfort zone before he’s pushed out—without alienating his friends, compromising himself, or fumbling a shot at happiness with the most confusing, adorable guy he’s never met.

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You can find my spoiler free review of The Upside of Unrequited HERE!

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I honestly don’t like this cover, like at all. I like the cover of The Upside of Unrequited a bit more but still didn’t love it. The Simon cover just kinda looks cheap and basic and I just don’t like it.

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My opinion of Becky Albertalli’s writing is the same in this book as it was for The Upside of Unrequited! These books drag you in and you just get so invested in the lives of the characters in this book. I feel as invested in these characters in 300 pages as I would usually feel in the last book in a trilogy! These books are also really quick reads! Each I read easily in a day!

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I really enjoy that in Albertalli’s books there is the main plot, but also side plots going on, but they also feel like they are main plots too! I love that these books also deal with major topics but bring it into an awesome, funny and cute book! I just love everything about these books!

I’m not going to lie though, this book was a little predictable and I guessed who Blue was like half way through and was right.

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Again a pretty diverse range of characters! We had Gay, Lesbians, Bisexuals, Jews & Dark characters (I don’t believe it was actually stated what nationality Bran actually is, so I don’t want to make a guess). We also had people from divorced families, which I respect as being from a divorced family myself.

I really like Simon and being in his head for this story was hilarious. Just the way he thinks was so funny and a great perspective to read from! I feel like I can kinda relate to him too, but for the life of me, I don’t know how really as I haven’t been through any of these things myself!

There are a lot of characters I want to talk about, so I’m going to try and keep it to one or two paragraphs. And they are in no particular order of how much we see them in the book, I’m just writing it as I think of people.

Martin was an ass, I don’t care what happens throughout the rest of the book, I still don’t like him. He seemed genuinely upset at the end there though, so maybe he at least understands his mistake, even if it doens’t take back what he did.
I enjoyed Abby a lot, she was the cool best friend that you could do silly things with and there was never really an issue.
Nick, I was really excited to see as he was the one mentioned in The Upside of Unrequited that was with Simon at a certain thing, so when we meet him I was excited as! But also he is a cool character and I enjoy that nothing will get in the way for his love of both music and video games haha.
Leah was a little grumpy and annoying some times, but there was a reasoning behind it, but she was one of those characters that you just wanted to help feel better because even if she didn’t see ‘the thing’ coming, the rest of us totally knew how it would play out.
Garret, we don’t see too much of, he is just kinda in the back ground a lot of the time. Same with Bran, but I still thought Bran was the quiet and cute type.
I really liked their theatre teacher, she was awesome and passionate!
I also really liked Simon’s Sister Alice, she was understanding and caring, even though she wasn’t around. I also liked Simon’s Younger Sister Nora too, I don’t know how old she was but she seemed pretty mature for a younger sister and I liked that she was understanding as well. She was also caring enough to show Simon a certain thing rather than just ignore it and let him figure it out.

Those are all the ones I can think of right now, but I know there are more. But that is all I think!

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I really loved this book and from now on Becky Albertalli is an auto buy author. Even though I’m not a romance reader, I have a soft spot for LGBT+ romances. I think one of my main isues with romances in books as they are always so damn typical and over done! And it’s nearly always the same type of romance with similar characters. So for that reason, I don’t mind LGBT+ romances as they are usually more unique and also, being a bisexual myself, I like seeing these diverse characters!

Anyway, I love these books! They are fun, hilarious and cute books with amazingly diverse characters and great plots! I highly recommend them both!



HAVE YOU READ THIS BOOK? WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON IT?!
IF YOU ARE GOING TO SHARE SPOILERS IN THE COMMENTS THEN PLEASE WARN IT SO OTHERS DON’T GET SPOILED!

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The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli – Spoiler Free Review

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Title: The Upside of Unrequited
Author: 
Becky Albertalli
Genre: YA Fantasy
Publication Date: April 11th, 2017
Pages: 336 (Paperback)
Publishers: PUFFIN
Rating:
5 Star

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Seventeen-year-old Molly Peskin-Suso knows all about unrequited love-she’s lived through it twenty-six times. She crushes hard and crushes often, but always in secret. Because no matter how many times her twin sister, Cassie, tells her to woman up, Molly can’t stomach the idea of rejection. So she’s careful. Fat girls always have to be careful.

Then a cute new girl enters Cassie’s orbit, and for the first time ever, Molly’s cynical twin is a lovesick mess. Meanwhile, Molly’s totally not dying of loneliness-except for the part where she is.
Luckily, Cassie’s new girlfriend comes with a cute hipster-boy sidekick. Will is funny, flirtatious, and just might be perfect crush material. Maybe more than crush material. And if Molly can win him over, she’ll get her first kiss and she’ll get her twin back.

There’s only one problem: Molly’s coworker, Reid. He’s an awkward Tolkien superfan, and there’s absolutely no way Molly could fall for him. Right?

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So this is my first book by Becky Albertalli and now I realise what all the hype was about! The writing was amazing! It flowed well and even though this book isn’t action packed it always felt fast paced and I read this book so quickly! I think it was a total of about 3 hours last night before I was falling asleep and about 4 hours today I read the book in. The book hooked you and dragged you in! It was very hard to put it down!

I also really enjoyed that the story continued after the main romance part with the main character was over. The ending was probably my favourite part of this book!

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I really enjoyed the plot of this book and also that the main plot wasn’t the only thing going on. There were other kind of plots going on in the background too which were really enjoyable as well.

I’m not a romance reader but this book was actually adorable. Like I said above I think the last bit was my favourite part and I was literally silently had tears running down my face in the last couple chapters (Happy tears).

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I absolutely loved the hugely diverse cast of characters that were in this book.
First off we had a main female character, Molly, that suffered from anxiety and was . A lesbian twin sister, Cassie, (I think she was lesbian, it wasn’t strictly stated). We had a bisexual, Nadine and a lesbian, Patty (I think, again wasn’t strictly said) mothers of the twins and they also have a little brother. And did I mention that the kids were born through Artificial Insemination, one mother having the twins and the other having their little brother? Then there was also Cassie’s girlfriend who is pansexual. There was a gay couple that popped up at the end too. I think that is all, but there might have been more that I can’t recall while writing this.

I really enjoyed Molly as a character and I found her fairly relatable. I don’t suffer from anxiety myself but some of the thoughts she had throughout the book were definitely things that had gone through my head when I was younger. It was a little frustrating at times being her head because you just felt like shaking her and telling her to just do it! But I have never suffered from anxiety and I have also been a very loud and out there person and have never fully given a crap what people thought of me. But I fully understood that how I was thinking was not how anxiety works and I think reading this book made me a bit more aware of what it would be like to have anxiety.

Cassie was a little petty and annoying at times but fairly enjoyable. I liked the idea of her trying to help Molly get her first boyfriend but it did annoy me that she never actually asked if the person she wanted Molly to be with was actually the person Molly wanted to be with and in that case she was a little selfish.

Okay, Will did kinda annoy me. This next bit is going to be a little spoilery, so skip to the next paragraph if you don’t want spoilers. So he did lead Molly on. The casual talking and flirting were fine but what annoyed me was when he deliberately came and sat with Molly when she was sitting with Reid and then interrupted them when they were whispering together. Then also deliberately sleeping right up against her for no real reason… I don’t like people that lead others on and I didn’t like him after this part of the book. The rest he could have gotten away with being a casual flirt but not that night.

I really enjoyed Reid as a character. He was fun and quirky and I liked him since he met Molly and was wearing a Middle-Earth shirt! I’m in! I also liked that he was funny and knew that there was a time and a place for certain discussions. There is nothing worse than having an off conversation with someone and having to work the rest of your shift with them, so I liked that he knew his timing. I also liked that he seemed like someone you can easily start randomly talking to and end up friends and wouldn’t be weirded out by it. I like people like that.

I liked how understanding Olivia was and she also knew when something was up with Molly and she needed to get out.
Abby was a good character too, she was always there for Molly even though they were however far away from each other. Molly would only need to call her and she would be there. And can someone tell me in the comments if Abby’s best friend Simon is the Simon from Simon vs. the Homo sapiens Agenda (I haven’t read it so don’t spoil me please) I’m just curious?
I enjoyed Mina and how considerate she was most of the time. She tried to stay out of the family drama and if she was present she either pretended not to be listening or asked if they wanted her to leave. She knew that Cassie and Molly were important to each other and she tried not to get in the way of that.

Patty & Nadine were great parents! Firstly I love that we have parents in a YA book who are an actual part of the story as it’s rare but I also loved that their story was in this as well. The ending that I loved had a lot to do with them. They were fun Mums and would do anything for their children. Even if it was just going for a drive in the middle of the night because they knew one of the girls needed a distraction and to clear their head. They were always there for the girls but also the girls couldn’t get away with anything as they would definitely find out! I also love how openly breastfeeding was talked about in this book as most books just say something along the lines of ‘ baby was feeding’ but in this book, the author just went for it and I thought that was great!

And I think that is all the major characters, there were a few other characters that were present but not present enough to get an actual feel for them though!

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Overall I really enjoyed this book! It was a quick and easy read and I love that it was based right around the time that Marriage equality was legalised all over America! I couldn’t help but get excited in this book! Especially seen as it hasn’t been legalised in Australia yet but there is a lot of talk about it at the moment! I loved the diverse characters and the plot was really good too! This is definitely a cute but amazing book!



HAVE YOU READ THIS BOOK? WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON IT?!
IF YOU ARE GOING TO SHARE SPOILERS IN THE COMMENTS THEN PLEASE WARN IT SO OTHERS DON’T GET SPOILED!

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