The Flatshare Review

While dealing with hard truths and the struggling reality young people face as they first venture into the world The Flatshare is real and emotional at times yet offers a comforting, cheery and overall uplifting read centring around a unique premise.

Desperate to get away from her toxic ex boyfriend Justin and facing London’s discouraging housing situation, Tiffy Moore accepts an unusual living situation: a Flatshare with palliative care nurse Leon. Leon works nights and spends weekends with his girlfriend Kate meaning the flat is his prospective roommates at all times except 8-6 during weekdays. As Tiffy’s bubbly personality and unfortunate taste in blankets slowly start to encroach into Leon’s small flat he begins to wonder if he really thought this offer through. Slowly, the two begin to share note written jokes and left over dinners as they realise that you can’t remain a complete stranger to you flatmate forever.

The setting was perfect for this novel. As a young graduate, fresh from university and working in London I couldn’t relate more to the subtle humour and added gripes about the capital the novel presented. From business men on scooters to basically working for free in the creative industries to the struggle it is for Londoners to find a place to live the novel encapsulates everything any young twenty year old feels after university when moving or working in the capital. The setting is relatable, realistic, unique and refreshing to see as London was brought to life under O’Leary’s creative hand.

Tiffys character presented a snarky, emotive and humorous monologue that was the backbone of the Flatshare. Riddled with sarcasm and self discovery her chapters present the complex character of a young woman slowly realising she is an abuse victim, the pressures she feels as she suddenly finds herself single and the positive steps she takes like going into therapy, ever guided by her supportive friends. As her character develops throughout the novel the story arc is heartwarming and empowering, this young protagonist perfectly encompassing the realities and struggles of being a young woman in the current day in an honest, light hearted and entertaining manor.

Leon I found harder to connect with. In both his notes, narration and his life he is more guarded than Tiffy, the reader is shown little of his past besides the odd comment about his childhood with Richie and his mum, he rarely shares with the reader his feelings. His curt decisive monologue was almost jarring compared with Tiffy’s bubbly and personalised chapters. Although his chapters were less entraining they do progress the plot and his character does slowly become more outgoing as his relationship with Tiffy develops, the humour he slowly begins to demonstrate in his notes and the epilogue a testament to this.

The pacing of the novel was well done. The novel covers nearly a year in our young protagonists lives, separated into months, however the reader never feels rushed between scenes, only guided by the calendar. The timing was crucial to the novel and what made Tiffy and Leon such a good couple: the slow burn romance and time and space they give one another as they navigate their previous relationships. Furthermore the stretch the novel takes on time means the reader can truly see these protagonists developing, it is clear that Tiffy is not healed instantly from her toxic relationship with Justin and shows the reader that time does eventually heal all wounds. The care and attention the author takes to restore her young protagonist and the strength Tiffy learns to show is an encouragement to the reader as Tiffy rediscovers and falls in love with herself again.

The plot of the Flatshare centres on more than just Tiffy and Leon’s romance. Leon’s brother being in prison, a hunt for a dying man’s lost love and Tiffy launching a new book called ‘Crochet your Way’ are all central to the events of the novel. The reader receives a rounded view of Tiffy and Leon’s existence as we are introduced to their work places, social scenes and, of course, the flat they are sharing. The novel does well to show the reader a year in their lives as our protagonist grow together their character arcs and development central to the plot.

The writing style was wholly dependent on the narrator. Tiffys chapters are light and bubbly, full of her personality, worries and sarcasm. These were my favourite chapters. Meanwhile Leon’s tone felt clipped as he briefly describes what he is doing without personal pronouns and minimal embellishments. This made him a more difficult protagonist to connect with. The note passing between the two, including funny cartoons and left over tiffin, really brought the novel to life, the silly quirks and little comments adding to the humorous tone O’Leary writes in.

Having read the novel on audiobook I recommend this as a way of digesting Flatshare, however Tiffy and Leon’s characters were narrated by two separate people and it was difficult to relate Tiffy in Leon’s chapters to Tiffy herself and vice versa as the voices were different. Nevertheless the audiobook still wraps the readers attention but I’d say doesn’t add anything to the experience.

The Flatshare will have readers laughing, cheering and glaring as they witness a year in Tiffy and Leon lives. From blossoming love to an unwanted proposal broadcasts across YouTube the Flatshare encompasses everything from the bizarre to the mundane, O’Leary always throwing a good level of sarcasm and charisma on top of any situation. I recommend it to any young adults at the cusps of their careers, espcially if you work in London, as you’ll get a good dose of feels and a hearty round of relatability.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

You can find more of my reviews here and also over on my goodreads.

A Darker Shade of Magic Review

Completeness is, weirdly enough, a mathematical word. It’s talking about logic, a theory is complete when it can always be derived. And as a mathematician all I can say is I like my blog how I like my logic: complete. So here is a dusty old review for a book I read in 2017 publishing before it’s sequels review.

A Darker Shade of Magic follows Kell, a man with magic powers and an ever changing coat who has the rare ability to travel between worlds. He lives in London and the world’s he visits all portray a slightly different version: his own, Red London, is glistening and full of magic. White London is starved of magic and dying, while Grey London is our own London just set slightly in the past. But what happens when White London attempts a hostile takeover in a desperate attempt for survival?

I’m not going to die,” she said. “Not till I’ve seen it.”
“Seen what?”

Her smile widened. “Everything

As my first step into adult fantasy I was a bit nervous picking up this many paged tiny print novel, back in January 2017. In hindsight, my worries were all pointless- A Darker Shade of Magic was a brilliant read.

Adult fantasy is not that big a leap from YA fantasy. The main characters are a little older, but the whole thing feels very similar- creative plots, spunky heroins, and easily accessible. This book is doesn’t take itself too seriously, there’s still humour and an engaging plot which I was slightly worried it would lack. It’s very readable and digestible, I’d say it’s a good bridge between fantasy YA and adult fantasy (not that I’ve read much of the later).

VE Schwab has the power to make time slow down with her writing. The events of the novel take place over a mere two days yet are so exciting and enthralling that I didn’t feel the plot was dragged out at all. So much happens in such a short time: epic fights, characters fears and flaws, and even a classic ball scene in a mere two days. This novel is remarkable.

“I’d rather die on an adventure than live standing still”

This quote sums up Lila perfectly. She’s a girl who tags along with Kell, desperate to leave her mundane life in Grey London and longing for something new. Also she dreams of being a pirate- definitely my kind of heroine. What I liked most was how Lila reacts to the masquerade ball in this novel. Similar to the classic trope she gets all dressed up, a tailor specially making her outfit and picking out her mask. But unlike other novels she doesn’t wear some massive, flowing, princess dress. Because that’s just not Lila. She gets some proper boots, a nice suit, a scary mask: practical attire for the night ahead. It’s so true to her character and so unexpected, one of my favourite book ball scenes.

Kell’s character is more serious and determined. Confined to his job he has one small act of rebellion: smuggling trinkets between worlds that later lead to dire consequences. It’s nice to watch how Lila and Kell’s characters grow together and how they come to care for each other as the unlikely partnership forms.

Rhy laughed silently. “I apologize for anything I might have done. I was not myself.”

“I apologize for shooting you in the leg,” said Lila. “I was myself entirely.”

The final character I particularly enjoyed was Rhy, Kell’s brother and the crown prince. His charming exterior hides his fear for lacking magic, making him a complex and funny character to read who instantly comes alive on the page. The brotherly relationship between Kell and Rhy is sweet and adds more tenderness to an otherwise sharp novel.

Overall I’d recommend this novel to any fantasy fan. It is slightly more gory than younger YA is, but is very accessibly written for older readers who haven’t read much adult.


Rating: 5 out of 5.

Hero at the Fall Review

Hero at the Fall has undoubtedly been my most anticipated read of 2018. So anticipated that I put reading the book off until now.

That may seem strange but here’s the thing: what if it had been a disappointment? I’d heard mixed reviews and this series has been one of my favourites over the last few years, I wasn’t quite ready to be disappointed when it was first released over summer, and I definitely wasn’t ready to say goodbye to Amani and her rebellion.

However my worries for it being a disappointment were totally fruitless in the end, because I loved this stunning conclusion to an incredible series. Amani and friends left with a bang, in a cloud of gun smoke and dessert dust which couldn’t have been more perfect.

We would be stories long after we were gone. Imperfect, inaccurate stories. Stories that could never even come close to reality

The story itself opens with the rebellion at it’s worse: moral is low as a valuable rebel demendji has just been executed, most of the important players have been captured and the Sultan is at his most powerful, with an army of unstoppable clay men at his side. It seems Amani stands no chance when she steps up to lead what is left of the rebels.

While the first novel showed us Amani’s bravery, and the second demonstrated her loyalty, this novel tests her determination. With the tides turning against the rebellion and every decision she makes seeming to be the wrong one, it proves difficult for them to hope to find their leader, and even harder for her to find him alive. To make matters worse she can’t forget the rebellion’s overall aim, which is to remove the Sultan from power, another seemingly impossible task.

“We were like faded pictures in a book that had lost a lot of its gilt” -Amani

The writer has chosen to develop an unusual plethora of characters in this novel. We don’t see the struggle that Shazard or the Rebel Prince go through, instead we watch Amani, Sam, Jin and Hala learn how to lead the rebellion, testing their loyalty and friendship to ultimately prove they can win alone. Because the novel is centred on so few characters their development is clearly marked and the reader can understand their aims and personal struggles better. The loyalty they show, the sacrifices they make and characters they become make it even harder when the reader is faced with their losses.

The characters lives and deaths are sometimes narrated in ‘aside’ chapters in a story tale fashion. These chapters, dipicting how these characters’ stories are later told throughout Maraji, further add to the reader’s perception of the characters and gives the novel a story telling vibe. More of this world’s folk lore is interwoven in the plot of the novel also compared to the others in the series, adding an unusual element. I’ve read reviews that have found these chapters detracting from the novel but I, personally, found them powerful. Depicting a character’s death in this way made it even more shocking and the short snippets of stories provided a fresh style that I haven’t read before.

“But even if the desert forgot a thousand and one of our stories, it was enough that they would tell of us at all.”

I have two small gripes with an otherwise fantastic novel. My first would be the typos. I am not normally a reader who picks up on typos but I found the book riddled with them and wondered, in places, if the writing could have been neatened up. I don’t know if this is true, but the novel read like it had been written in a rush. The elegant phrases I had come to enjoy in Alwyn Hamilton’s writing became sparse in this novel and the descriptions more clunky in places than necessary. This wasn’t a massive issue because the plot was still good and character’s felt fleshed out, but their was an element of finesse this novel lacked that felt prominent in its predecessors.

My second would be Leyla. She seemed like a strong character bent on survival at the end of Traitor to the Throne, but she became weaker as the plot went on, reduced to traipsing behind the rebellion while whining until finally falling on seduction for her survival. Perhaps because she was an engineer, I felt she could have been a strong female character (because, after all, strong female characters don’t always have to be good) but instead felt like she was the embodiment of the stereotypes this novel has done so well at fighting. I felt her putting up more of a fight, verbally if nothing else, wouldn’t have removed anything from the plot but would have made me endlessly happier.

However, these are minor details and overall I enjoyed the novel a lot. In an attempt to end my review on a good point I’ll finally touch on Jin and Amani’s relationship. In my review for Traitor to the Throne I said I found them annoying but in this novel I think this was redeemed. I thought it was refreshing in YA to read about a relationship after the girl has snagged the unbelievably handsome prince. It wasn’t pushed to the side like other novels I’ve read, they were still struggling to make it work and it was nice to have the odd detail dotted in that this was a worry for them. It wasn’t too prominent in the novel and didn’t take anything away from the plot but I liked the fact that their personal lives was a consideration and their overall worries about making it work out felt very normal.

But he wondered if a boy from the sea and a girl from the desert could ever survive together. He feared that she might burn him alive or that he might drown her. Until finally he stopped fighting it and set himself on fire for her.

Overall I’d give this novel 4 stars, but very close to five and recommend the series to anyone. I think it will be a firm favourite with me for quite a while.


Let’s Compare Notes

Have you read this novel or any in the series? Is it on your tbr? What do you think of my review? Would love to hear your opinion in the comments section!

Review: Caravel by Stefanie …

With the recent release of Legendary, the sequel, I thought I’d jump on the bandwagon and polish of Caravel- a novel that screams the enchantment of The Night Circus but is stuffed with more action, adventure and even more plot twists.

This circus-esque novel follows two sisters in their attempts to flee from their abusive father by entering a dangerous yet enchanting game- Caravel, a travelling circus where the main attraction is watching half the audience attempt to solve clues to win a prize. This years prize: a wish.

He’d heard every person gets one impossible wish—just one—if the person wants something more than anything, and they can find a bit of magic to help them along.

But when older sister Scarlett enters this mystical game, in the hope of winning the wish and escaping her abusive father, she soon finds the price for playing is higher than she realises and the game more deceptive than she thought.

Caravel is a light and easy to read YA fantasy that hooked me in from page one. With rumours and half truths flying left right and centre, all covered by the dazzle of Caravel, the book is well paced, intriguing and well written. I particularly enjoyed following our guarded main character, Scarlett, as she attempts to make sense of the game that has swallowed her plans and sent her future spiralling out of her grasp.

Every person has the power to change their fate if they are brave enough to fight for what they desire more than anything”

The descriptions in Caravel are sparse and delicate, one of my few critisms I have of this novel. Each chapter is dotted with intricate detail, as I’d expected, from describing the buttons and bows that adorn Scarlett’s dresses to the strong perfumes of a potion stand. The writer included a lot of finer details to embellish the plotline.

But I was struggling to picture Caravel in all it’s glory. For a girl who has dreamed of visiting the game all her life, Scarlett does very little adventuring of her own. The reader doesn’t get elaborate descriptions of the circus or how others are playing, Scarlett only tries foods when she must and only explores what is required by the plot. The book felt a little short, it could have easily been bulked out with a few more descriptions of the glamouress Caravel and the unimaginable sights that were too often mentioned but not shown without detracting too much from the plot.

However, this is a minor detail. And although the lack of description of Caravel itself annoyed me a bit it does keep the plot quick and fast paced- a feat I know many readers would enjoy. It is gripping and what descriptions there are are certainly not lacking.

Every touch created colors she had never seen. Colors as soft as velvet and as sharp as sparks that turned into stars.

Caravel’s plot is as straight forward as the game the novel is named for. As Scarlett second guesses each and every half truth she is told so does the reader, and the confusing mixture of clues our protagonist receives are somewhat difficult to follow and even harder to spot. But with the insistence that Caravel is “only a game” and Scarlett’s tentative nature of second guessing each action or motive the twists and turns embellish a story that is clearly better explained than guessed.

“It’s better this way, sister. There’s more to life than staying safe…”

The sisterly bond between Tella and Scarlett was refreshing in YA. More often do characters act out of romantic love or spite in this genre and it was nice that this novel touched on a new motive. Although we do see Scarlett’s motherly nature towards Tella, a relationship similar to that of Katniss’s and Prim’s, we also see that they are friends and catch glimpses of their childhood where they played games and heard stories together. This adds a soft edge to Scarlett’s otherwise seemingly reserved and nervous character.

I would recommend Caravel to anyone looking for a short, fun read. It’s quick, enchanting, and like the circus, it’s over too quickly.

⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ /5

Let’s Compare Notes

Have you read Caravel? Do you agree with me? Have you ever read The Night Circus, or anything similar? Would love to hear from you in the comments section!

Review: Throne of Glass by Sarah J Maas

Ok, you’re all going to hate me for this but… deep breath.. I was disappointed by this novel. Yes, I know it’s big, and other bloggers have practically screamed at their keypads for me to read it but maybe the hype was just too much, maybe I had to many expectations? For whatever reason, I didn’t find it that good.

For those who don’t know, the Throne of Glass series has been infamous. It has been ranted and raved about for months, bloggers and readers alike are absolutely gushing over it. In fact, I’ve heard the author has become so popular that she no longer signs books at her appearances. But for me, it was just a bit meh.

The story follows Caelena, an infamous, ruthless and most importantly captured assassin. Sentenced to a death camp, she is offered one last chance for freedom: win a competition and become the king’s champion. If she looses she dies, if she wins she does the dirty work for the man who sentenced her to death in the first place.

But as the stakes become higher in the competition it becomes clear that the less scrupulous competitors will do anything to win, which quickly begs the question: how can a player be less scrupulous than an assassin?

We all bear scars,… Mine just happen to be more visible than most” – Caelena

The novel provides a unique twist on our standard fantasy setting: tyrannical king, strong teenaged girl as the lead, and attractive and sought after love interest. Sought after by everyone but our doe eyed MC, of course, who is beautiful and modest and provides a challenge to our prince by showing no interest in him what so ever. Yawn. But the unique twist is that Caelena is bent on destroying her tyrannical leader from the start, kindling isn’t required to spark the rebellion in her and I was disappointed this was not utilised more in the plot.

I like a novel that packs a punch. Challenges a way of thinking. A novel full of twists and turns, one where the characters struggle through their problems and stumble out the other side as life long friends, learning from their hardships and overcoming long-standing weaknesses. One that leaves me reeling and desperate for more. This was not that sort of novel.

The lack of character development annoyed me. The assassin went from from a cold hearted killer to compassionate within the first chapter. The captain of the guards remains suspicious of her even when they become friends and even the prince, who claims he’s changed so much, continues to be only interested in one thing. It was disappointing to follow these characters through such an ordeal and form friendships that didn’t seem to effect their characters at all. I didn’t feel the novel challenged the characters in a way they hadn’t been before and found each character, particular Dorian, disappointing when they were given the opportunity to show they’d changed since the novel began.

Still, the image haunted his dreams throughout the night: a lovely girl gazing at the stars, and the stars who gazed back.” – Dorian

Ironically enough the character I enjoyed most was Lady Kaitlin. She was a driven and her chapters were entertaining to read, her personality shining through the page. And her character definitely developed throughout the novel, albeit in a sinister way. Maybe I’m just a fan of the villians but I really did find her character to be entertaining to read.

A highlight of this novel was Caelena and Nehemia’s friendship. It was sweet how they built each other up and helped each other, showing a loyal and lasting friendship. Nehemia’s character was another delight to the novel. She was cunning and strong and, although her actions were often unclear, her motives were always obvious.

Names are not important. It’s what lies inside of you that matters.“- Nehemia

Pacing is an aspect this novel does well. I found there to never be a dull moment and enjoyed the action interspersed with plot development. It’s a quick and easy read from this aspect, and very light hearted. The plot was good and the element of mystery kept me guessing, which was fun.

Other than the authors over use of the exclamation mark (seriously, give it a re-read, you’ll never be able to unsee them) the writing style was good. Efficient in places but descriptive in others and very easy to read, with some very poetic moments dotted in. If you’re looking for some quotes for your wall, this novel has some great ones.

Libraries were full of ideas—perhaps the most dangerous and powerful of all weapons

Overall, I would say Throne of Glass is a good novel and an entertaining read but wasn’t very impactful. I wasn’t drawn into the plot, characters or storyline in such a way that I worried about their troubles or particularly cared for their successes. However if your not looking for something too heavy I would suggest this as a good fantasy novel.


Lets Compare Notes

Have you read Throne of Glass? Do you agree with my opinions? Have you read any of the sequels and, if so, would you recommend them? Would love to hear from you in the comments!

Children of Blood and Bone Review

I really thought I couldn’t possibly love another novel where a small group of plucky, determined subjects rebel against their tyrannical ruler in an attempt to save their citizens, and yet here we are. What can I say, I’m weak when magical rebellions are involved.

A little slow at the start (but hey this is YA fantasy and I’m not going to begrudge the author for a little bit of world building, given how complex the characters and situations were) the action in this book was just perfect. We had calmer moments of our three amigos trying to work out magical scrolls, plot dangerous routes and create stiff banter and just as I start to think oh this is nice, what a fun little trip to the jungle they fend off whole armies, collapse bridges and somehow manage to have a sea battle in the dessert. Oh, and the sea battle? One of my favourite parts.

What really made this novel were the characters because their intentions and quirks were so cleverly interwoven throughout the novel. I wasn’t a massive fan of Zelie’s the king killed my mother and I hold every non-diviner personally responsible thing, especially when it meant relentlessly belittling the girl who gave up her noble life to save the diviners. But hey, at least it made for some great character development. Because I was all for Zelie and Amari’s loyalty and friendship by the end of this novel. And since everyone and their dog was hooking up couldn’t Zelie and Amari be a thing? They’re both so cute together!

Then there’s Amari, the sweet and brave princess who gains the confidence she needs to fight her father. My absolute favourite character, watching her become strong enough to fight beside her friends was one of the real highlights this novel presents.

“Perhaps I made a mistake.

Maybe a lionaire lives in me after all.” – Amari

Her brother, Inan, was another kettle of fish altogether. I really understood him in the beginning of the novel. Bent on doing his father’s will, terrified of failing and thinking he’s a monster- his complexities made total sense. But his character development was too quick, he fell from his rage fuelled perch too quickly and I honestly had no idea where his loyalties were by the end, despite having narrated a third of the book. Although unbelievable this wasn’t necessarily bad. His twists and turns, although I didn’t fully understand them, did give the novel the pace it needed

The final protagonist in this novel is Tzain, Zelie’s brother. He’s caring, sweet and horrendously responsible. I don’t really understand how he and Zelie had lived such similar lives and faced similar hardships when she is this rage fuelled ball of unpredictability and he was her opposite, but again this only embellished the plot. His story was about learning to fight the status quo, but of all the characters in this novel he changed the least. I wasn’t too fussed by this lack of progression given he wasn’t a narrator and, honestly, I couldn’t deal with all four of the main characters changing- I’d struggle to keep up.

Lastly, I will doff my hat to the writing style Tomi Adeymi presents us with. Her world of sticky jungle heat, dry, parched desserts and raw, hopeful characters was just enchanting. She included just the lightest touch of description to embellish the novel and each characters narration and personality shone through each section.

“My insides lurch as a cannonball rips through the deck of another boat. Injured cries hit my ears like shattered glass. The stench of blood stains the air, bringing Zelie’s old words to mind. The day we came to Ibeji, she tasted death.”

I mean how is that writing not amazing??? Then there was the complexities she explored that most YA authors gloss over– the hesitation Amari and Zelie have about killing people, even enemy soldiers and sailors, the fact that bad people do exist even on your own side and the way one size most definitely doesn’t fit all. There a clear grey area in this novel when it comes to right and wrong: even the tyrannical king’s motivations were explored- you can’t get much more balanced than that.

This novel presents us with four daring protagonists, a seriously scary ruler and moral complexities that will leave you reeling. My advice? Flick on the footie in the background, grab a cup of tea and settle in for a long read because these five hundred pages will have you from the get go.

My rating: ⭐ ⭐

Review: The Exact Opposite of Okay

“you think it’s justified because you believe you have a right to have sex with me, a right to my love, but just… stop. We’re done. Our friendship is done. Which is totally fine, because it turns out it was never enough for you anyway.” – The Exact Opposite of Okay by Laura Steven


With help from her wit and loyal drama teacher, Izzy O’Neil is soon step out of education and into the real world, aiming for a future in comedy. But when her nudes are leaked across the internet, people care less about her jokes and more about her social life. As the world judges and belittles her life choices she soon learns that 2018 is not nearly as progressive as society would have Izzy believe.


I had really high hopes for this novel. My friend of similar reading taste adored it to no end, it was all over Twitter and I had recommendations left, right and centre to read it. But when push came to shove I was faced with cringy humour, a long drawn out plot and a main character I struggled to relate to. But I still loved it.

Probably this novels biggest issue was pacing. It was so slow. A third of the book is just narrating Izzy’s life- we follow her through several mundane days at school before anything actually happens. I got to hear about her friends, her childhood, her struggling to find a job- all great for world building, but does it have to take up so many pages? I wasn’t sure if it was filler, since the novel is quite short, or if the author was trying to make Izzy as relatable as possible, but I didn’t feel the build up needed to be so long.


The second snag of disappointment was the book’s humour. I did find the novel humorous, but I wouldn’t say it was subtle. The main character was an aspiring comedian and, as per, thought she was much funnier than she actual was, which made the novel awkward to read. I like jokes in books, I just find it a bit weird when the characters find themselves funnier than I do. Everyone was deeming Izzy the next Charlie Chaplin, full of confidence and charming any boy she met and I just wasn’t buying it. I didn’t think Izzy was a realistic heroine and realism would have really embellished the point this novel is trying to make.

And, finally, there’s the line that annoyed me to no end. About seven pages in there’s the line shown below and, while everyone is praising this novel for it’s humour, I’m gritting my teeth and trying to pretend this novel is still somewhat progressive:

As a feminist I feel immediately guilty because everyone is trying to encourage girls into STEM subjects now, but to be honest I’m not dedicated enough to the Vagenda to force myself to become a computer programmer.

As a female computer programmer, and no it’s not because I’m ‘dedicated to the vagenda’, I’m just a little offended that ‘cool’ characters in media are still belittling women’s interest in STEM. Izzy goes on to make a few, not very funny quips about mathematics and the whole thing just made me annoyed. Can we stop calling girls weird for liking maths? Because that is not a good message for young women reading this novel! Could Izzy have not just said she wasn’t interest in the subject, like I do when I’m talking about history or English?

Ok, I’m now feeling quite bad for slating a not all bad novel. It might not have been my type of writing and I did have a few qualms with it’s pace but the message this book makes is so important. Izzy’s whole situation was not unfamiliar to me, and I don’t mean the leaked nudes. Some guys generally do feel entitled to a woman’s affections. I don’t want to go too much into it since I’m keeping this review spoiler free, but this novel does make a really good point. Hence the quote at the top of this review. I’ve experienced this problem before and have, since reading this novel, spoken to friends who have too- I soon realised the situation is not uncommon. It’s an important point and something every young woman should be wary of.

The second highlight of this novel was the absolute loyalty Ajita’s showed Izzy. They had a classic, 2018, ‘banterous’ friendship: where taking the mick is showing love but Ajita definitely showed that she was sticking by Izzy to the end.


Overall, I enjoyed this novel. It was a little over hyped for me, but, despite it’s shortcomings, I would recommend it to any young womanIt’s humorous and I did think the point it made was important even if it was a little slow at making it. If you’re reading the first half and finding your attention waning I would really suggest sticking it out. Honestly, the point the book makes was worth it for me.

⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ Humorous with a likable, if not unrealistic protagonist. It makes an important point but it a little slow at making it.


The Mortal Instruments and Percy Jackson are both series I really enjoyed for their humour, if you’re looking for funny books. The Hate U Give is on a similar vein of having a message but still being a very entertaining YA novel. There are similar feminist books out there, but I haven’t read enough of them to personally recommend!


Have you read The Exact Opposite of Okay? What did you think of the protagonist, Izzy? Have you read any similar, feminist books?

Review: Traitor to the Throne by Alwyn Hamilton

“I thought of Shazard. My sister in arms. We had recognised something in each other the first time we met and we were tied. By more than blood.” – Traitor to the Throne by Alwyn Hamilton


Amani finds herself captured and sold to the Sultan she is rebelling against for her Djinni powers. Trapped behind enemy ranks, Ahmed is presented with the perfect spy for discovering why the Sultan is collecting Demdji, providing she can keep her motives hidden and her temper in check. With little help from her fellow rebels, Amani undertakes the most dangerous mission yet: convincing the Sultan she’s loyal. While uncovering the truth behind the Sultan’s plot and staying alive in the palace, Amani soon learns just how much her rebellion has underestimated their tyrannous ruler.


In case you read Rebel of the Sands donkeys years ago and have no idea who’s rebelling against which sand, I’ll fill you in. Amani is our gun slinging protagonist who lives in the mythical dessert country of Miraji. Miraji is overrun with magic fearing invaders and poverty, thanks to it’s tyrannical Sultan. Amani makes a bid for freedom with shockingly handsome love interest Jin, heading to the countries capital in the hope of a new life.

She doesn’t get very far before she discovers she’s everything her country hates: a Demdji, the daughter of a magical being. With some persuasion from Jin and a little hatred for her Sultan, she joins the Sultan’s rebellious son to try and free her country. The book ends with Amani unleashing her newly discovered Demdji power on the Sultan’s army and earning herself a high rank in the rebellion.


 The Writing Style- As I’ve said with Rebel of the Sands, Traitor to the Throne is insanely well written. The writing is as captivating as ever and story rolled off the page like truth to a Demdji (hehe, see what I did there?). It’s just brilliant. How Alwyn Hamilton can make most of a 500 page book about politics and meetings so entertaining I will never understand.

❤ Shazard and Amani’s Relationship– One of my favourite things in this novel was to see how close the members of the rebellion have become. Amani and Shazard’s relationship was one of my favourites, they have such a supportive and understanding friendship which is entirely mutual- unlike Tamid and Amani, where Amani was basically using him while he planned their future marriage.

❤ Sam- Sam’s backstory, cleverly depicted as a folk tale, explains how he lives of the stupidity and carelessness of the rich as he impersonates a popular legend. I loved his character and his character development, finally becoming a loyal rebellion member and even showing selfless bravery in the closing scenes of the novel.

❤ The plot twist- This book has so many hidden corners that I rarely knew where to look. I guessed a few of the things going on, but I was completely taken aback by most of the twists that happen (although I’m very gullible so you might want to judge this one for yourself).


😥 Amani and Jin- I have one gripe in this novel and that was Amani and Jin’s relationship. Jin doesn’t seem to really know Amani’s character all that well and misjudges her loyalty to Ahmed quite a lot- thinking she’d throw the rebellion away over a petty feud at one point. Amani could have really done with him in this novel and he just disappoints.


Overall, I loved this novel. It was gripping, exciting and despite being quite thick I raced through it. Although I’m not a big Jin fan he didn’t get much page time and the novel mostly focusses on Amani’s espionage attempts, which were great.

⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ Brilliant sequel to Rebel of the Sands, very engaging and definitely doesn’t disappoint!


The Hunger Games (if you haven’t read it) is very similar to this novel, being equally well written and hosting lots of rebellion. If you’re looking for a more magical fix then I’d recommend A Darker Shade of Magic, which is also fast pace and filled with magical monarchies.


Have you read Traitor to the Throne or Rebel of the Sands? Did you find Jin annoying in either book, or is that just me?


Traitor to the Throne is a sequel.

Read my review for the first in the series: Rebel of the Sands!

Why I think Negative Reviews Are Important

I recently saw a post about negative reviews and why the reviewer doesn’t give them. How it might lead to an awkward interaction with said author further down the line. A reviewer commented that they wouldn’t review anything they DNFd. On the whole negative review thing I have a couple of opinons:

Negative Reviews Shouldn’t be taken Personally

I’d argue that we need to stop taking negative reviews so… negatively? They shouldn’t be a personal attack of the author or they’re writing. They’re not school play ground stuff, they should focus on the book and why it didn’t work for that reviewer. They can offer up constructive criticism and should dampen the blow a bit with the odd positive thought because even if it’s just the cover or a character’s name there will have been a reason you picked up that book.

A book can’t please everyone. We’re all different and unique and even the most popular authors won’t make everyone happy. So if you’re a reviewer and in the niche situation where you stumble over an author at an event and they ask if you liked their book, just say it wasn’t for you.

I’m not saying seek out the author or tag them in your negative reviews, they don’t need your opinion. But the prospect of them asking your opinions shouldn’t put you off reviewing, just do it in the right way.

Negative Reviews Stop Readers getting into Slumps

We all know it only takes one tiring book to slow down our reading progress. To grind our interest to a halt, to switch us from grabbing our book at every opportunity to somewhat putting it off….

I can’t speak for everyone but the blogs I read religiously have bloggers who read similar things to me. Sometimes I’ll even see what they thought of a book I’ve already read to see if they’re opinion can be trusted for me personally.

Everyone is different, of course, even the most similar of readers will have the odd different opinions. But if a blogger I follow didn’t enjoy a book I probably wouldn’t. Therefore, by giving a negative review, a blogger is saying this book isn’t right for their following, not that this book is rubbish.

Reviewing books you DNFd

This is a tough one. On one hand telling your followers you didn’t enjoy a book is important but how can you judge a book when you didn’t finish it? It might redeem itself.

I’d say this all depends on the reviewer. It depends on how far you get through it and what things you didn’t like about it- are they even redeemable? It’s a personal line to draw on a book by book basis. However I like it when a reviewer points out they never finished the book. Just as a reference.

So there you have it. My thoughts on negative reviews. Obviously this is just my opinon, I’m not going to judge if you feel differently but would love to hear your opinions! I’m sure we all run our negative reviews differently, so what about you?