Review: Solitaire – Alice Oseman

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Release Date: July 31st 2014
Published By: Harper Collins Children’s Books
Pages: 400
Goodreads: Add it to your reading list
Purchase: Click here to purchase

Rating: 4 out of 5

Synopsis: In case you’re wondering, this is not a love story.

My name is Tori Spring. I like to sleep and I like to blog. Last year – before all that stuff with Charlie and before I had to face the harsh realities of A-Levels and university applications and the fact that one day I really will have to start talking to people – I had friends. Things were very different, I guess, but that’s all over now.

Now there’s Solitaire. And Michael Holden.

I don’t know what Solitaire are trying to do, and I don’t care about Michael Holden.

I really don’t.

This incredible debut novel by outstanding young author Alice Oseman is perfect for fans of John Green, Rainbow Rowell and all unflinchingly honest writers.

Review: As Tori’s school comes under attack of internet pranksters (otherwise known as Solitaire) and the pranks start becoming more and more dangerous, Tori can no longer sit and watch life go by.

Tori is a very interesting character. She is socially awkward, and she feels most comfortable being herself via blogging. She hates reading, but yet she studies English Lit. She has friends, but doesn’t really seem to like them (with the exception of maybe one). And even though Michael Holden will not leave her alone, Tori is not interested in guys. She is opinionated, sarcastic and serious, abrupt and sassy. And she is the embodiment of cynicism – actually throughout the book the book you have to wonder if her cynicism is hiding something more. I loved her general honesty, and she has some interesting outlooks on particular things – I especially loved her views on Pride and Prejudice!

Tori doesn’t really like to look outside of herself, and the only time she seems to do this willingly is when it comes to her brother Charlie. As the book progresses you get to learn more about Charlie’s struggles, and Tori’s love for him shines through (even though at times it is blinded). But you also get glimpses of proof that Tori cares about more than she likes to admit, but yet, she cares less than she likes to admit as well. She is an extremely complicated character, and I found being in her head fascinating. Although at times I felt she was a little too quick to just go along with whatever she was told because she found it too much to deal with something or think about something herself, I still found her overall character interesting.

Michael is also a great character. He is also pretty much the exact opposite of Tori. Happy and carefree. Confident and persistent. Perceptive and entertaining. But things are not always as they seem – he is a rather complex character underneath his cheerful disposition.

But, this is not a love story! Although Tori and Michael clearly develop a bond, this is a story about Tori growing, learning about herself, and facing up to things that she has tried to deny for some time. I found the development of the friendship between Tori and Michael to be realistic, and I really enjoyed the complexity of their growing relationship, and of both of these characters.

The pop-culture references throughout this book will have you laughing out loud. You will get to enjoy conversations about sexual tension in Harry Potter, debates about fanfics, snarky comments about Twilight and the normality of Facebook stalking, And yes, this book does contain swearing.

Solitaire is an amazing contemporary – a raw and candid look at teenage life, friendships and struggles. Dark, emotional, confronting, emotional, funny and honest. Solitiare is a perfect portrayal of a teenager who finds it hard to face her own reality and of a girl who is finally finding herself.

Solitaire can be a deadly game. But can Tori work out which card will be played next, before it is too late?



“I don’t ever remember not being serious. As far as I am concerned, I came out of the womb sprouting cynicism and wishing for rain”

“Apparantly, no one believes that it is possible to have an original interest”

“Please keep your fantasies between yourself and your blog”

“But one day it’ll end. It always ends”


Tagged! The Seven Deadly Bookish Sins

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Thank you Kayla at The Thousand Lives for tagging me! Thankfully she decided to tag me in this one, and not her previous “My Most Owned Authors on My Auto-Buy List”, because we all know who would be on that list ;)
So, here we go, seven of my bookish sins.



What is your most inexpensive book?

I got both Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell and The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black for £2, as I had voucher to use at Waterstones after someone handed me a nearly full loyalty card.



What author do you have a love/hate relationship with?

Laini Taylor? She didn’t give me absolutely everything I wanted in Dreams of Gods and Monsters… but, there is no hate there, I just live in hope that one day she will return to this world and give me everything I wanted :)

But I do have a love/hate relationship with Cassandra Clare. I love the world she has built, and the her ability to tie her series’ together in intricate ways, but I often find myself disappointed with the books (mainly storyline issues).



What book have you devoured over and over with no shame?

Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor. I know that you are all shocked by this confession!. This is my go to book whenever I want to get lost in a world. Or when I just want to visit Prague again. Or Brimstone. Or Zuz. Or when I just want to enjoy fantastic writing. Basically, I don’t really need a reason at all, I will happily pick it up at any time!



What book have you neglected due to laziness?

Oh, so many! Game of Thrones, Vampire Academy, The Lunar Chronicles, Something Strange and Deadly, Delirium, Graceling Realm. The list is really endless. So many books, so little time.



What book do you talk about in order to sound like an intellectual reader?

I make it a rule to never sound intellectual. I love books, and that is all there is to say :)



What attributes do you find attractive in male or female characters?

Sarcastic. I am really drawn to sarcastic characters. But other than that, I like characters that are honest, funny, genuine and intelligent.

When it comes to the boys, I like them mysterious – the dark and sexy type. When it comes to the girls, it’s more about what I don’t like – whiney, damsel in distress types, and I really dislike the dependant type… you know, the ones that can’t do their own shoelaces without a guys approval.



What book would you most like to receive as a gift?

Oh, there are so many. Anything on my wishlist would be great. But, other than that, I would have to go with the obvious answer of any special edition of any Laini Taylor book (but so far, I have managed to get hold of everything – I think).


And now for the tagging!

I’m going to go world-wide, with my choices being spread across the globe. So, I tag Cait @ Notebook Sisters, Rinn @ Rinn Reads, and Dre @ Sporadic Reads World. Tell us your sins ladies :)



Release Date: April 15 2014
Published By: Simon & Schuster
Pages: 288
Goodreads: Add it to your reading list
Purchase: Click here to purchase

Rating: 5 out of 5

Synopsis: To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before is the story of Lara Jean, who has never openly admitted her crushes, but instead wrote each boy a letter about how she felt, sealed it, and hit it in a box under her bed. But one day Lara Jean discovers that somehow her secret box of letters has been mailed, causing all her crushes from her past to confront her about the letters: her first kiss, the boy from summer camp, even her sister’s ex-boyfriend, Josh. As she learns to deal with her past loves face to face, Lara Jean discovers that something good may come out of these letters after all.

Review: This book, guys. This book. I kinda love it. I’m not saying it’s up there in my top reads of 2014, but I kind of am. I’ll warn you now: This review might be a little gushworthy.

So. Lara Jean is the middle sister of three. Her older sister, Margot, is about to leave for university in Scotland (which is way cool, but that’s not the point here). Because of this, it’s Lara Jean’s turn to take on all the responsibility. She has no time for crushes. So, to get rid of her feelings, she decides to write letters. To all of those she’s liked before. What she never anticipated was them being sent out. Now, Lara Jean has to deal with the consequences.

Can I just start by saying how clever the plot was? Like, that sounds dumb, but it’s such a simple idea, that it should have been done before. But it hasn’t. It’s something that never even occurred to me.

Also, the cover? It’s gorgeous. It pleases my eyes so much. The title on my edition looks like it’s actually been written on in Sharpie. It’s aesthetically very nice, and I think that it really suits the tone of the novel. Also, A+ for diversity on covers.

I loved the characters. Lara Jean was a wonderful main protagonist. This was really her story. While I liked her in the beginning, I felt that her relationship with Margot was borderline blind idolisation. I loved watching her develop into her own person, who made her own decisions, and figured out her own life.

I liked Peter. I think we saw a lot of development in his character as well. While he could’ve remained this stock-standard jock persona, we really got to see a broader side to him. Even to a certain extent, I think Margot and Kitty (her little sister) really got some growth.

The writing was well-done, and I really liked it. Jenny Han did a great job at capturing Lara Jean’s voice.

She also did a great job at creating the atmosphere of high school. Obviously, I don’t know if this is a true representation of high school in America, but gossip and rumours is kind of a universal thing. I liked that Han showed how things like that affect a person.

I’m probably overselling this at least a little bit. Because, I know there are some problems with it. Primarily, the pacing was a little on the slow side. It took a while for the inciting incident to occur, and throughout the entire novel, not a lot actually happened. But it worked for me. I was ok with it. However, if you are a reader who wants things to happen, and to happen quickly, you might not enjoy it as much.

I however, genuinely enjoyed it all. It really had the capacity to be a bit superficial but Jenny Han really pulled it off in an authentic way. It was the exact book I needed at the time. A warm, not-too-hard-to-think-about sort of book.


“Love is scary: it changes; it can go away. That’s the part of the risk. I don’t want to be scared anymore.”

“Life doesn’t have to be so planned. Just roll with it and let it happen.”

“I didn’t fall for you, you tripped me!”

“Do you think there’s a different? Between belonging with and belonging to?”

“I wonder what it’s like to have that much power over a boy. I don’t think I’d want it; it’s a lot of responsibility to hold a person’s heart in your hands.”

Bookshelf Bliss #11

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Another week of drool-worthy bookshelves, bookcases and libraries! We hope you enjoy these amazing (and some very colourful) displays of books!

Review: Masquerade – Kylie Fornasier

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Release Date: July 23rd 2014
Published By: Penguin Australia
Pages: 304
Goodreads: Add it to your reading list
Purchase: Click here to purchase

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Synopsis: It’s the Carnevale of 1750 and Venice’s ballrooms, theatres, palazzos and squares are filled with delicious gossip, devilish fun and dangerous games. In this glittering masked world, everyone has a secret…

Set in an age of decadence made famous by Casanova, Masquerade uncovers the secrets of seven teens, from the highest aristocrat to the lowest servant – their dreams, desires, loves, loyalties … and betrayals.

All the world’s a stage. Let the show begin.

Review: The world is a stage, filled with many acts – acts of love, loyalty, betrayal and deception. And Masquerade has it all, plus more.

Masquerade eloquently, and expertly, follows the lives of seven teenagers during the Carnevale of Venice in 1750-1751. Orelia is an orphan who has arrived in Venice to learn about her mother’s past. Veronica and Angelique are the daughters of an aristocrat, one sister likes to learn secrets, while the other is desperate to love. Anna is a servant with a dream far from her reach, but a secret much closer. Claudia has a wish of her own but is deterred by a tenacious mother. Bastian, is the son of the Doge, but has dreams far different to than those of his father. And Marco, the jovial brother and friend, who sometimes places the wrong bet.

The story starts when Orelia, newly orphaned, arrives in Venice to find a relative who does not know she exists, and to find out more about her mother’s history, and why she left Venice. But while Orelia finds the sanctuary she seeks in a city that seems to sing to her, she also finds that this city is a stage, and she is a player in an elaborate act. Orelia must keep her secret, but as the story develops, we find that she is not the only one hiding behind a mask.

1750’s Venice comes alive in Masquerade. Kylie Fornasier does not just describe this truly beautiful setting – she creates it for you. The descriptions of everything from Venice’s canals and piazzas, to the beautifully created masks, to the equally elaborate and uncomfortable clothing and costumes, every single detail in Masquerade was rich and filled with such clarity that you cannot help but be transported into this amazing world. I just adored the little details that were included, the weather, the pigeons, and the smell… all the things that are much a part of Venice as the Piazza San Marco.

Along with amazing visualisations, Masquerade is filled with wonderful details about life in Venice in this time period. Although a few liberties were taken, the politics, social standings, prejudices and superstitions in this period are perfectly reflected within this story, and the characters are all the richer for it.

Masquerade is a five-act play, and I adored the fact that that each act was introduced with a William Shakespeare quote. I enjoyed the pace of the plot, how secrets were unearthed, and how the lives of these very different, but yet equally trapped, teenagers intertwine. I actually enjoyed this book so much, that when I came across something that would normally drive me to distraction, I (uncharacteristically) could move straight past it and continue to be lost in this world. I also loved the fact that there is just the right amount of Italian spoken throughout the storyline. Most of the Italian throughout the book are words that you may already know, but if you get stuck, there is a helpful glossary in the back of the book to help you with the terms, titles, names and things you are not familiar with.

I thoroughly enjoyed everything about Masquerade. I was sucked into the world from the very foggy beginning, right until the dramatic final act. Masquerade is a brilliant YA historical fiction book, by an amazingly talented Aussie author. I truly hope there is a sequel, as there is so much left to explore in this amazing world and I would love to find myself back in 1750’s Venice.

Games and gossip, power and players, dreams and deception, secrets and sacrifice. Masquerade is a story about people hiding behind masks. And how to “find yourself in the city of masks”.



Kylie Fornasier has created a Pinterest board to bring the book alive for readers. This is an amazing collection of everything from key settings, buildings and bridges, to gondolas, to costumes, to food, to artwork. Visit the ‘Masquerade, a young adult novel’ Pinterest board here.


W..W..W.. Wednesdays

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It’s Wednesday which means it’s time to tell you what we have been up to for the past week! W..W..W.. Wednesdays is a weekly meme bought to you by MizB from Should Be Reading.


What are you currently reading?

Kristy - Being a school night, I am currently not reading anything.

Melissa - I’ve currently started reading Fables Volume 2: Animal Farm which has been such a good series!


What did you recently finish reading?

Kristy - I listened to Siege and Storm (The Grisha, #2) by Leigh Bardugo.. And I read Masquerade by Kylie Fornasier.

Melissa – I finished reading  Batman Volume 4: Zero Year Secret CityFables Volume 1: Legends in Exile and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Volume 1: Change is ConstantBig week of reading for me! Some reviews coming shortly.


What do you think you’ll read next?

Kristy - I will be listening to Ruin and Rising (The Grisha, #3) by Leigh Bardugo. And, as for reading, I am not quite sure.

Melissa - Possibly Batgirl: Year One or maybe Gotham Central Volume 1.


What is everyone out there reading at the moment, and more importantly is it a good read? Share your links below!

Release Date: June 3rd 2014
Published By: Bloomsbury
Pages: 384
Goodreads: Add it to your reading list
Purchase: Click here to purchase

Rating: 1 out of 5

Synopsis: Catherine Hunter is the daughter of a senior government official on the island of Anglya. She’s one of the privileged – she has luxurious clothes, plenty to eat, and is protected from the Collections which have ravaged families throughout the land. But Catherine longs to escape the confines of her life, before her dad can marry her off to a government brat and trap her forever.

So Catherine becomes Cat, pretends to be a kid escaping the Collections, and stows away on the skyship Stormdancer. As they leave Anglya behind and brave the storms that fill the skies around the islands of Tellus, Cat’s world becomes more turbulent than she could ever have imagined, and dangerous secrets unravel her old life once and for all

Review: I want to start off with a big round of applause for the author. She’s my age! She’s my age and has already published a book! She makes my achievements feel thoroughly inferior!

Now, getting onto the actual review.

Catherine Hunter has lived a very sheltered life in the aristocratic sector of Anglya. She has been privy to luxury, and not being apart of the country’s Collections. However, she is not happy. This is not the life she wants to lead. So, she runs away and becomes ‘Cat,’ a street rat. Stowing away on the Stormdancer, her adventures begin.

So. This book. I’m not really a fan. While I loved the whole ‘steampunk pirates’ premise, I found myself deeply unimpressed by this story. This is not going to be a happy review, I’m afraid.

My first big issue is with the writing. Something about it rubbed me the wrong way. Initially, I thought it was the constant use of passive voice. It can be quite grating. Then, I realised. Saxon’s voice is very young. There were things that needed further refining (i.e. the characters would find something out, and instead of brushing over the regurgitation of information to other characters, the readers would have to read it again), and I think the author’s tone itself is very much better suited for a younger audience.

In regards to plot, I found that everything was quite rushed. Because of it, there was a severe lack of development in most elements of the story.

The characters. Eh. There wasn’t a whole lot of development in any of them. This includes Cat/Catherine. She frustrated me to no end. Beyond the whole ‘I’m-just-as-capable-as-a-boy’ thing (more on that later), we don’t get a good understanding on who she is as a person. I loathed Fox. Could not stand him. I’m alllllll for a brooding love interest, if done properly. He wasn’t done properly. We get a very minor glimpse into why he is the way he is, but I’d still throw his sexist ass to the curb. Sorry, is that inappropriate?

The relationships jumped. Like, one second everyone was just meeting Cat, and the next? It was all la-di-da family times. While it’s clear that the crew developed a bond quickly, it’s unfortunate because us, as readers, don’t get to witness it. It’s at this point (rather than the reiterating of info) that Saxon glosses over things. Because of this, it makes the story quite stunted, and abrupt.

Likewise, the (unsurprising) blossoming romance between Cat and Fox was very stilted. There was little chemistry between the two (in my opinion), and like with the crew, the relationship jumped. I know there’s the old wives tale that if a boy makes fun of you, he likes you. Spoiler alert: just because people say boys should do that, doesn’t mean boys should do it. Don’t send that sort of message to readers.

I found the dialogue really stiff. Especially so in Cat’s case. I understand that the world of Anglya has a little bit of a historical basis, but that really needed working on.

Speaking of which, the world. While the author got the bare basics, very little specifics were explained. I’m talking why the rich hate the poor so much, what the storms are, etc. Hopefully, these would be elaborated on in the coming sequels.

On a more specific level, some things just didn’t make sense. Why does the crew go ahead with Cat’s plan when they barely know her? Ugh. *Frustration*

I have one more thing. Then, I’m done. Pinky promise. The messages the author pushes. No, wait. I don’t have a real issue with what she pushes, it’s how she pushes it. One being that Cat was a strong heroine. On literally every other page, Cat says something along the lines of ‘I’m just as capable as a boy.’ Especially, when she’s around Fox. As a feminist, I already agree with that sentiment. Girls are as capable as boys! You just don’t need to shove it down my throat at every opportunity. Instead of saying it, Saxon could have just as easily shown it. Through action. Readers are intelligent. They don’t need to be told things over and over again – we’ll pick up on it just fine by ourselves.

Also the whole ‘must-hate-the-government’ thing. I’d be cool with it, if I knew more about the world. While things (especially towards the end) become very graphic and disgusting, I would’ve liked a reason to hate the government at the beginning. For reasons other than Cat hating she has to be married to an idiot.

Wow. Ok. Review over. I really wasn’t a fan of this book. Unsurprisingly, one star.

Thank you to Bloomsbury Publishing and NetGalley for providing me with this e-ARC.

Bookshelf Bliss #10

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Hi everyone. Here are some more amazing bookshelves to create a feeling of awe and jealousy :)

Stacking the Shelves #85

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Hi everyone! This week’s Stacking the Shelves is what Melissa and I have added to our bookshelves in past week :) Stacking the Shelves is bought to you by Tynga from Tynga’s Reviews. Stacking The Shelves is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!


In Mel’s mailbox:

Sinner (The Wolves of Mercy Falls #3.5) – Maggie Stiefvater

Thanks to Scholastic Australia for this copy. Such a beautiful cover!

Sinner follows Cole St. Clair, a pivotal character from the #1 New York Times bestselling Shiver Trilogy. Everybody thinks they know Cole’s story. Stardom. Addiction. Downfall. Disappearance. But only a few people know Cole’s darkest secret — his ability to shift into a wolf. One of these people is Isabel. At one point, they may have even loved each other. But that feels like a lifetime ago. Now Cole is back. Back in the spotlight. Back in the danger zone. Back in Isabel’s life. Can this sinner be saved?




In Kristy’s mailbox:

Me Since You – Laura Wiess

One of my purchases during the online book sales :) I have read this book via ebook, but I enjoyed it so much I had to have a physical copy.

Laura Wiess captures the visceral emotion of a girl’s journey from innocence to devastating loss and, ultimately, to a strange and unexpected kind of understanding–in this beautiful and painfully honest new novel.

Are there any answers when someone you love makes a tragic choice?

Before and After. That’s how Rowan Areno sees her life now. Before: she was a normal sixteen-year-old–a little too sheltered by her police officer father and her mother. After: everything she once believed has been destroyed in the wake of a shattering tragedy, and every day is there to be survived.

If she had known, on that Friday in March when she cut school, that a random stranger’s shocking crime would have traumatic consequences, she never would have left campus. If the crime video never went viral, maybe she could have saved her mother, grandmother–and herself–from the endless replay of heartache and grief.

Finding a soul mate in Eli, a witness to the crime who is haunted by losses of his own, Rowan begins to see there is no simple, straightforward path to healing wounded hearts. Can she learn to trust, hope, and believe in happiness again?.


Anna and the French Kiss (Anna and the French Kiss #1) – Stephanie Perkins

Another purchase during the sales. I needed to get the new covers :)

Anna has everything figured out – she was about to start senior year with her best friend, she had a great weekend job, and her huge work crush looked as if it might finally be going somewhere… Until her dad decides to send her 4383 miles away to Paris. On her own.

But despite not speaking a word of French, Anna finds herself making new friends, including Etienne, the smart, beautiful boy from the floor above. But he’s taken – and Anna might be too. Will a year of romantic near-missed end with the French kiss she’s been waiting for?


Lola and the Boy Next Door (Anna and the French Kiss #2) – Stephanie Perkins

And naturally I needed to get the matching cover for this one as well.

Lola Nolan is a budding costume designer, and for her, the more outrageous, sparkly, and fun the outfit, the better. And everything is pretty perfect in her life (right down to her hot rocker boyfriend) until the Bell twins, Calliope and Cricket, return to the negihborhood. When Cricket, a gifted inventor, steps out from his twin sister’s shadow and back into Lola’s life, she must finally reconcile a lifetime of feelings for the boy next door.


Dorothy Must Die (Dorothy Must Die, #1) – Danielle Paige

I won this book, thanks to to HarperCollins YA ‘moving desks giveaway’.

I didn’t ask for any of this. I didn’t ask to be some kind of hero.

But when your whole life gets swept up by a tornado—taking you with it—you have no choice but to go along, you know?

Sure, I’ve read the books. I’ve seen the movies. I know the song about the rainbow and the happy little blue birds. But I never expected Oz to look like this. To be a place where Good Witches can’t be trusted, Wicked Witches may just be the good guys, and winged monkeys can be executed for acts of rebellion. There’s still the yellow brick road, though—but even that’s crumbling.

What happened? Dorothy.

They say she found a way to come back to Oz. They say she seized power and the power went to her head. And now no one is safe.

My name is Amy Gumm—and I’m the other girl from Kansas.

I’ve been recruited by the Revolutionary Order of the Wicked.

I’ve been trained to fight.

And I have a mission.



That is all from us this week, what did you receive in your mailboxes? Let us know – leave your links in the comments section below!



Comic Crossover #4

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Hi everyone! Welcome to another Comic Crossover.

What is Comic Crossover you ask?
Comic Crossover is where we take a YA book and compare it to a comic book up close. Comics sometimes get a bad wrap, and so this feature is designed to shine a light on some amazing comic reads.

Sometimes you may not see straight away why I have matched up books and comics the way I have, but rest assured that there is always method to my madness! Sometimes it’s because of the characters alone, the storyline, the genre or another feature about the YA book that I have found that draws parallel to a comic.

For those of you who are new to comics, the titles that I select to talk about are always comics that you can pick straight up off the shelf without knowing anything prior about them and enjoy. So if comics have made you feel overwhelmed or uncomfortable in the past, you don’t need to feel that way about the comics that feature in Comic Crossover.

In all cases, I have read both the YA books and the comics, so if you have any questions you can comment on this post!

This weeks Comic Crossover:
If you enjoyed Just One Day by Gayle Forman, then you might enjoy Superman/Wonder Woman Volume 1: Power Couple

YA Book Breakdown: Awwww this is one of my favourite YA books. Allyson and Willem’s relationship moved me so much, even though it was as the title suggests Just One Day. There was so much depth to the characters and sweet, tender moments between the two of them. This book stayed with me long after I finished it.

Comic Book Breakdown: The tale of a romance that will shake the stars themselves. These two super-beings love each other, but not everyone shares their joy. Some fear it, some test it-and some will try to kill for it. I reviewed this book recently and gushed about how much I love Superman and Wonder Woman as a couple!

Why the comparison? For the romance. And if I am cheeky, there’s a tiny London overlap between the two as well. But mostly the romance. These two stories are worlds apart in terms of plot. But there’s some really sweet moments in them both, and even though in Superman/Wonder Woman they’re superheroes, they love each other just like any other couple. There is aspects of vulnerability in both of these books and real raw moments that we can all relate to. I really love them both.

Want to grab yourself a copy? Right here (pre-order for September 23rd now) or check with your local library.


Today Book Nerd Reviews is very excited to help reveal the cover for Sarah Alderson’s upcoming YA thriller, Conspiracy Girl. And not only that, we also have an exclusive excerpt for you!

So here it is… the cover for Conspiracy Girl!

Synopsis: Everybody knows about the Cooper Killings – the Bel Air home invasion that rocked the nation.
There was only one survivor – a sixteen year-old girl.
And though the killers were caught they walked free.

Now eighteen, Nic Preston – the girl who survived – is trying hard to rebuild her life. She’s security conscious to the point of paranoia and her only friend is a French Mastiff bulldog, but she’s making progress. She’s started college in New York and has even begun dating.

But then one night her apartment is broken into and the life Nic’s worked so hard to create is shattered in an instant. 

Finn Carter – hacker, rule breaker, player – is the last person Nic ever wants to see again. He’s the reason her mother’s killers walked free from court. But as the people hunting her close in, Nic has to accept that her best and possibly only chance of staying alive is by keeping close to Finn and learning to trust the person she’s sworn to hate.

Fleeing across a snowbound New England, frantically trying to uncover the motive behind the murders, Nic and Finn come to realize the conspiracy is bigger than they could ever have suspected. But the closer they get to the truth and the closer they get to each other, the greater the danger becomes.

To survive she has to stay close to him.
To keep her safe he has to keep his distance.

Release Date: February 19th 2015
Published By: Simon & Schuster
Goodreads: Add it to your reading list
Purchase: Click here to pre-order


Thoughts: I love it. I love the bright colours. I love the looks of distrust but intrigue. I love the simplicity of this cover – but don’t let that fool you, if you have read Sarah Alderson’s other books, you will know that they are filled with mystery and longing, tension and humour. I cannot wait for this book, as I have no doubt it will be both entertaining and enthralling.

Enough about my thoughts, I know you are very excited to read the exclusive excerpt. So…. enjoy!

Exclusive Excerpt:

 I turn just in time to see a foot and the barrel of a gun appear. I’m on my feet instantly, sprinting towards the en-suite bathroom.

There’s a savage yell behind me and I’m thrown forwards. My chin strikes the floor, jarring my whole spine, knocking the wind out of me. Strong hands grab me around the waist and I’m hauled like a sack of coal over onto my back and suddenly I’m staring up into the black-masked face above me. Blue eyes like pin pricks in the darkness. Pupils dilated. Unmistakable excitement glimmering in them. Foul breath. Acid fear in the pit of my stomach. Lungs burning. A searing pain in my neck. I register all these things in the space of a single heartbeat.

He reaches for me. His hands grab my waist and he tries to drag me to my feet.

And suddenly I’m alive, fighting just like Taylor did, kicking and screaming. My leg bends reflexively and by chance my knee connects with his groin. He lets out a cry and drops me. My foot lashes out and slams into the side of his head. He collapses to the ground groaning, his knees drawn up to his chest.

I don’t stop to think. I stagger to my knees. His hand snags around my ankle. I stomp down. Hear a crack. Tumble forwards. Towards the bathroom. Swing myself around the door. Throw myself against it. Ram the bolt home. Sink to my knees.


What do you think of the cover of Conspiracy Girl?  Let us know in the comments below!

Release Date: July 3rd 2014 (UK/Aus), March 4th 2014
Published By: Bloomsbury Childrens Books (UK/Aus), Farrar, Straus and Giroux (US)
Pages: 368
Goodreads: Add it to your reading list
Purchase: Click here to purchase

Rating: 5 out of 5

Synopsis: Winning what you want may cost you everything you love.

As a general’s daughter in a vast empire that revels in war and enslaves those it conquers, seventeen-year-old Kestrel has two choices: she can join the military or get married. But Kestrel has other intentions. One day, she is startled to find a kindred spirit in a young slave up for auction. 

Arin’s eyes seem to defy everything and everyone. Following her instinct, Kestrel buys him—with unexpected consequences. It’s not long before she has to hide her growing love for Arin. But he, too, has a secret, and Kestrel quickly learns that the price she paid for a fellow human is much higher than she ever could have imagined. 

Set in a richly imagined new world, The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski is a story of deadly games where everything is at stake, and the gamble is whether you will keep your head or lose your heart.

Review: Okay, so I know you have heard a lot about this book, I certainly did. And generally a book that has lots of raving reviews makes me nervous – it results in high expectations, and high expectations are often not met. But, The Winner’s Curse does not disappoint!!!

In an empire built on the war, destruction and slavery, Kestrel lives the privileged life of a General’s daughter. However, her life is not without restraints, she has to choose a life in the military or get married. She no plan to do either, in fact she is quite happy with just living her life for now. But her life is changed forever when in an auction house she comes across a slave who has nothing but defiance in his eyes, and a suggestion of musical talent. Did Kestrel just find herself with the winner’s curse?

This is one amazing book. I just loved the world which is filled with history, strategy, mystery, political agendas and society rules. The writing in The Winner’s Curse is beautiful. Concise, engaging, suspenseful and wonderfully done. The writing is descriptive without lengthy explanations, poignant without being “flowery”.

The characters are rich. In a world filled with oppression and rules, I found that the characters all bring their own unique power to the story. Kestrel is smart, strategic, and kind. She knows her strengths and weaknesses, she has a sassy side, and she will not allow people intimidate her. She is bold, she is brave and she stands up for those she loves. Arin is intelligent, calculating, determined and he is deceptive. He is complex and he is a fighter. He is resilient and he is motivated. The Winner’s Curse is told in third person, mainly focusing on Kestrel, but you do get glimpses of Arin’s point of view, and I found this really helped in understanding Arin a little more. Kestrel and Arin live in very different worlds with very different sufferings, but both have their own restraints and suffering. Neither have control over their own lives, and have their own heartaches. And as these two amazing characters embed themselves in each other’s lives, they may just find that the price of gambling can be much higher than they ever expected – hearts can be broken and lives can be lost.

And guess what, there is no insta-love! Kestrel and Arin took a while to warm up to each other, and I really enjoyed watching their relationship go from distrust and distain to something far more than either of them expected. They were both in a rather unique situation, and although they both initially (and instinctively) don’t trust each other to begin with, they are both curious about each other. It is also an unsual beginging, with Kestrel insisting that Arin be honest with her – something that is not expected, nor allowed, of a slave. From this grows a steady but subtle bond, and as they get to know each other, we get to know them as well. We get to embark on this slowly and beautifully built relationship, and fall in love just as slowly as they do.

This book will bring ALL THE FEELS! Your heart will ache for Kestrel and Arin. You will swoon over those brief, but tender moments between them. But it is amazing how much romance that wasn’t in this book. This story was filled with yearning, desire and emotion – and beautifully so, but there was not a lot of actual romance. But, that was the most beautiful thing about it. Kestrel and Arin know that a Valoriann and a Herrani could never be, and they even try to deny that they want it to be possible. This forbidden romance is filled with heartache, denial and desire, and it was slowly but masterfully written.

As Kestrel and Arin become closer, the plot builds and layers are exposed. The book ends on an unexpended twist that is an amazing gateway into the next instalment in this series. Deceit, lies, betrayal, slavery, high-society, strategy, secrets and forbidden love – The Winner’s Curse has it all! There is little wonder as to why there is so much hype around this remarkable book – you will not be disappointed!



“Isn’t that what stories do, make real things fake, and fake things real?”

“It was a true smile, which let her know that all the others he had given her were not”

“Nothing in dreams can hurt you”

“You might not think of me as your friend,’… ‘but I think of you as mine”

“Happiness depends on being free, and freedom depends on being courageous”

“Cold without, color within. This was how it had been”

“Your promises are worth nothing”


W..W..W.. Wednesdays

0 COMMENTS • This post is filed under: W.W.W. Wednesdays Meme

It’s Wednesday which means it’s time to tell you what we have been up to for the past week! Well actually, this covers the last two weeks, but same rules apply :) W..W..W.. Wednesdays is a weekly meme bought to you by MizB from Should Be Reading.


What are you currently reading?

Melissa - I’ve currently started reading Batman Volume 4: Zero Year Secret City which I havent had the chance to quite finish yet. I also started reading a series called Fables which I am loving, and I have just about finished Fables Volume 1: Legends in Exile

Kristy - I am currently listening to Siege and Storm (The Grisha, #2) by Leigh Bardugo.


What did you recently finish reading?

Melissa – I only read a few single issues of comics this week. Namely Grayson #1 and Batgirl #33.

Kristy - I read We Were Liars by E. Lockhart. Review and blog tour will be coming in August.


What do you think you’ll read next?

Melissa - Possibly Batgirl: Year One or maybe Gotham Central Volume 1.

Kristy - Next up is Masquerade by Kylie Fornasier.


What is everyone out there reading at the moment, and more importantly is it a good read? Share your links below!

Bookshelf Bliss #9

2 COMMENTS • This post is filed under: Bookshelf Bliss

Another week for some pictures of some lovely, luxurious home and retail libraries. These can be used as inspiration for own bookshelves, or to drool over,  or to be envious – or all of the above! Enjoy

Stacking the Shelves #84

8 COMMENTS • This post is filed under: stackingshelves

Hi everyone! This week’s Stacking the Shelves is what Melissa and I have added to our bookshelves over the past two weeks :) Stacking the Shelves is bought to you by Tynga from Tynga’s Reviews. Stacking The Shelves is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!


In Mel’s mailbox:

Batgirl #33 – Gail Simone

I’m a little sad because Gail Simone is an incredible writer and my favourite writer of Batgirl. I just found out yesterday that as of issue #35 she won’t be writing Batgirl anymore, and there will be new writers taking over. The new Batgirl actually does look awesome, but very different and I am excited to see how it turns out. But I am also sad to see it’s almost the end of Gail’s Batgirl run. I bought issue #33 yesterday. Bittersweet!

The deadline for all criminals to leave the area is fast approaching, and anyone left will be killed on sight! Knightfall lays down the law – but Batgirl has a plan of her own!



We Were Liars - E. Lockhart

Thank you Allen & Unwin for a copy of this book! I am SO excited to read it.

A beautiful and distinguished family. A private island.
A brilliant, damaged girl; a passionate, political boy.
A group of four friends – the Liars – whose friendship turns destructive.
A revolution. An accident. A secret.
Lies upon lies.
True love.
The truth.
We Were Liars is a modern, sophisticated suspense that will leave you reeling.
Read it.
And if anyone asks you how it ends,  just LIE.


Grayson #1 – Tim Seeley

I am a big fan of Dick Grayson. You might better know him as the original Robin (as in Batman and Robin). He got a little older and turned into a new superhero called Nightwing, breaking away from Batman. In Grayson, we see a new side to him where he is a secret agent. This is the very first issue in this new series and I read it the other day. Looking forward to seeing where this goes! There’s a bit of eye candy in this issue too! 

Dick Grayson: former sidekick, former super hero, former dead man, and now, agent of Spyral. Nightwing is no more. Now, there is only Grayson.



In Kristy’s mailbox:

We Were Liars - E. Lockhart

Thank you Allen & Unwin for a copy of this book! I am SO excited to read it.

A beautiful and distinguished family. A private island.
A brilliant, damaged girl; a passionate, political boy.
A group of four friends – the Liars – whose friendship turns destructive.
A revolution. An accident. A secret.
Lies upon lies.
True love.
The truth.
We Were Liars is a modern, sophisticated suspense that will leave you reeling.
Read it.
And if anyone asks you how it ends,  just LIE.


Masquerade – Kylie Fornasier

I received this from PenguinTeen Australia – thank you!

It’s the Carnevale of 1750 and Venice’s ballrooms, theatres, palazzos and squares are filled with delicious gossip, devilish fun and dangerous games. In this glittering masked world, everyone has a secret…

Set in an age of decadence made famous by Casanova, Masquerade uncovers the secrets of seven teens, from the highest aristocrat to the lowest servant – their dreams, desires, loves, loyalties … and betrayals.

All the world’s a stage. Let the show begin.


Catching Fire: The Official Illustrated Movie Companion – Kate Egan

A purchase from one of the online book sales :)

Catching Fire, the New York Times bestseller by Suzanne Collins, is now a major motion picture — and this is your guide to all of the movie’s excitement, both in front of the camera and behind it.

Go behind the scenes of the making of Catching Fire with exclusive materials, including back-stage photos and interviews. From the screenwriting process to the casting decisions, from the fantastic new sets and gorgeous costumes to the actors’ performances and the director’s vision, this is the definitive companion to the second Hunger Games film.


Illusions of Fate – Kiersten White

I got this eARC thanks to HarperTeen (via Edelweiss)

“I did my best to keep you from crossing paths with this world. And I shall do my best to protect you now that you have.”

Jessamin has been an outcast since she moved from her island home of Melei to the dreary country of Albion. Everything changes when she meets Finn, a gorgeous, enigmatic young lord who introduces her to the secret world of Albion’s nobility, a world that has everything Jessamin doesn’t—power, money, status…and magic. But Finn has secrets of his own, dangerous secrets that the vicious Lord Downpike will do anything to possess. Unless Jessamin, armed only with her wits and her determination, can stop him.

Kiersten White captured readers’ hearts with her New York Times bestselling Paranormalcy trilogy and its effortless mix of magic and real-world teenage humor. She returns to that winning combination of wit, charm, and enchantment in Illusions of Fate, a sparkling and romantic new novel perfect for fans of Cassandra Clare, The Madman’s Daughter, and Libba Bray.



That is all from us this week, what did you receive in your mailboxes? Let us know – leave your links in the comments section below!



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