To Best The Boys Review

My edition of this book is stunning, with grey sprayed pages and beautiful patterns inside. Another reminder of how beautiful hardbacks can be.

I relate to the story as soon as it begins, being a woman in STEM myself. It feels like The Hunger Games crossed with The Maze Runner with a splash of science.

The first half of the book is quite slow, but still really engaging. And then we hit the Labyrinth, which I expected to come earlier in the book.

The second half of the book I couldn’t put down. I was so gripped by all aspects of the plot, the Labyrinth, the disease, the characters.

Rhen, the protagonist, goes through so much that girls do even today. Not having the same opportunities. Being expected to sacrifice dreams for family. I did really enjoy that she had supportive parents.

The romance was cute but not the main focus of the story.

I think this book wraps up the story neatly but there is potential for more adventure!

Viper Review

I received a beautiful paperback copy of Viper in the March fairyloot box (a few weeks before it is released!). Always glad to read British YA authors.

The book starts off similarly to other YA fantasies. The heroine, Marianne, is a very standard protagonist of this genre. She’s overlooked, expected to be more ruthless than she is, and her Dad is a complete jerk.

And then it gets completely brutal just after 100 pages, way more than I was expecting.

The plot is full of twists and turns, the pacing is good – though not much unexpected happens. However, Bex is absolutely not afraid to kill characters, which definitely gives this book something else.

I actually think this trilogy has potential to be really good – I’m excited to see where the story goes now this part has closed.

Josh and Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating

Being introduced to Hazel is a whirlwind. She’s a bit of a disaster, and it’s great. I’m particularly jealous of all her animals (Janis Hoplin the rabbit hahaha). And Winnie the labradoodle!

Josh on the other hand is one of those people you imagine to be a rock. Dependable, calm, strong…

I love how parts of the book subtly show Hazel’s intelligence.

There was a reference to gymnastics!

I mean, parts of this book are super cliché and predictable but it’s just super enjoyable and quick to read.

And then the end. It felt really rushed and had the potential to be really intense and heartbreaking. I wish Christina gave these really difficult topics a little more attention.

Overall though, a solid book.

20 books in January

Somehow through having lots of spare time and a chain of good books I managed to start the year with 20 books in a month.

  1. The Girl in the Tower by Katherine Arden – an excellent follow up to The Bear and the Nightingale. Having now read the third book, I think The Girl in the Tower is my favourite of the trilogy.
  2. Vicious by V.E Schwab – a really gripping anti-hero story. Never thought I’d enjoy something like this as I tend to prefer really moral characters. But it was fantastic!
  3. Vengeful by V.E Schwab – Vicious was so good that I just had to follow up with the sequel. I enjoyed it just as much if not more!
  4. Owning It by Caroline Foran – a book on living with anxiety. I enjoyed the relatable parts but not sure it told me much I didn’t already know.
  5. The Penguin Lessons by Tom Michell – a memoir about a penguin! This short read was so adorable and I was gripped from start to finish.
  6. A Promise of Fire by Amanda Bouchet – I found this book really easy to get through. The plot was interesting but there were little bits like how the main character views herself that I didn’t like so much.
  7. Circe by Madeline Miller – a retelling that I never quite got into. The middle section was really enjoyable but I really couldn’t connect with the title character.
  8. The Wicked King by Holly Black – the much anticipated sequel to The Cruel Prince! It didn’t disappoint. Holly is the queen of good twists.
  9. The Girl with the Red Balloon by Katherine Locke – probably taught me more about pre-wall Berlin than I’d ever have known otherwise. Really enjoyed the story.
  10. From Twinkle with Love by Sandhya Menon – all the secondary school vibes. Sandhya is the queen of understanding and portraying teenagers. I related to When Dimple Met Rishi more but this was a solid follow up. Can’t wait for There’s Something About Sweetie!
  11. Onyx and Ivory by Mindee Arnett – another fantasy that I couldn’t put down. I loved the concept and can’t wait to read book 2.
  12. The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski – a fantasy again that I definitely couldn’t put down. I think this was the best book I read in January. I enjoyed that the heroine relied on her brains more than her physical strength.
  13. Feminists Don’t Wear Pink by Scarlett Curtis – a collection of essays on what feminism means for a variety of women. I asked for this for Christmas from Dan and loved reading a few essays a night.
  14. The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin -Probably my least favourite book of the month, but I still read it over the course of a day. Just wasn’t really my thing.
  15. How to be Champion by Sarah Millican – absolutely hilarious. The structure was a bit odd for me but I loved every chapter.
  16. Written in Red by Anne Bishop – this book started off really badly for me but then it got so good! There were so many cute bits that made me awww out loud.
  17. Likel1k3 by Jay Kristoff – Anything Jay writes I love and this book definitely solidified that. Especially loved Eve and Lemon’s friendship.
  18. If We Were Villains by M. L Rio – Wasn’t expecting to enjoy this book but it was like gossip that you know you should be interested in but want to know more. Loved the Shakespeare references, but I did guess the killer.
  19. Seeing What Others Don’t by Gary Klein – a non-fic about how we gain insights. I loved all the real-life examples given and found the ideas fascinating.
  20. The Witches of New York by Amy McKay – a book that had been sat on my kindle for months that I was wary to read. Shouldn’t have been – it was a stunning way to end January. I really loved the main characters, especially Beatrice. The whole thing was magical!

And that’s that! 20 books in 31 days. I don’t think I’ll ever have another month like it!

You can see how I get on with my reading challenge here

The Black Prism Review

This is one of the best books I’ve read this year – worthy of unputdownable.

I enjoyed the plot so much – it was fast paced and completely mind blowing at times. I didn’t see alot of it coming!

The characters are excellent. Kip is such a great lead and it’s nice to see a teenage boy character that acts the right age and shows emotions.

Gavin and Dazen were also incredible and the story surrounding these too is magnificent.

Liz and Karris are awesome female characters too – I loved how Karris getting her period was handled as I’ve had similar symptoms so it made me laugh a bit (even though it isn’t funny!). I love Liv’s story and I’m really excited to see how it develops in the later books.

The magic system is wonderful!!! So well thought out and unique. I really enjoyed learning about it and can’t wait to read more.

Honestly I’m so excited for book 2 and haven’t been this into a series for a long time!

Trondheim adventures

Guess who is back in Norway? Never thought I’d come back – especially not so soon or in Winter. But here I am!

Got here pretty early. Dropped my bag at the hotel for later. Found a cute little café to have a cuppa because it is cold! Worked out how I was gonna spend the first day of being by myself in Norway.

The first Google maps attraction I came across was the old bridge. It gives a really beautiful view of cute houses reflecting in the river. The morning sunlight was gorgeous.

I then took a short walk to the cathedral, which is waaaay more impressive than I imagined. The architecture is beautiful. Got chatting to some old people on holiday and directed them to a café with WiFi.

After I went shopping (there are two shopping malls – both with a H+M!) because I left my favourite scarf in the last hotel by accident. Oops.

But I bought a new one! And found a few boats in the harbour that looked cool.

The way the water is so still and clear just makes for beautiful photos.

Then it was lunchtime, and after wandering around for a bit I settled for a ham and cheese roll in Starbucks with a matcha latte.

I explored some bookshops – I’m always quite impressed with the number of English books. Especially English books that I’d like to read!

Chilled in the hotel for a bit before finding a restaurant. An Italian was already full at 5:30pm and TGI Fridays was only doing drinks as the kitchen was being refurbished.

I found Egon by accident and it was pretty cute. Had a nice carbonara and it wasn’t awkward being by myself.

All in all, I really like Trondheim. It’s beautiful, everywhere feels clean and fresh, and I’m glad I got the chance to spend a day here.

The Darkest Minds Review

The last book I read because a movie was coming out was Ready Player One and I really wasn’t into it.

Unfortunately, the same has happened with The Darkest Minds.

The premise is interesting, but I just found the plot really boring. Nothing much happened.

Zu was my favourite character and I especially loved the scene in Walmart with her and Ruby trying on clothes.

And I enjoyed the bits where Ruby realises she’s 16 now and tries to shave her legs for the first time and stuff.

But this book just didn’t do it for me. Besides Zu, I didn’t feel attached to any of the characters.

Perhaps the sequels are better but I’m not sure I want to try them.