Book Review #93: Scythe (Arc of a Scythe #1) by Neal Shusterman


“My greatest wish for humanity is not for peace or comfort or joy. It is that we all still die a little inside every time we witness the death of another. For only the pain of empathy will keep us human. There’s no version of God that can help us if we ever lose that.”

Title: Scythe
Series: Arc of a Scythe #1
Author: Neal Shusterman
Narrator: Greg Tremblay
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Dystopia, Fantasy
Format: Audiobook, Unabridged
Date Published: March 14, 2017
Publisher: Audible
Goodreads Rating: 4.33
Personal Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆ / 5


Thou shalt kill.

In a world with no hunger, no disease, no war, no misery,

Humanity has conquered all those things and has even conquered death. Now scythes are the only ones who can end life—and they are commanded to do so, in order to keep the size of the population under control.

Citra and Rowan are chosen to apprentice to a scythe—a role that neither wants. These teens must master the “art” of taking life, knowing that the consequence of failure could mean losing their own.

The Scythe Commandments:

1. Thou shalt kill.
2. Thou shalt kill with no bias, bigotry, or malice aforethought.
3. Thou shalt grant an annum of immunity to the beloved of those who accept your coming, and to anyone else you deem worthy.
4. Thou shalt kill the beloved of those who resist.
5. Thou shalt serve humanity for the full span of thy days, and thy family shall have immunity as recompense for as long as you live.
6. Thou shalt lead an exemplary life in word and deed, and keep a journal of each and every day.
7. Thou shalt kill no scythe beyond thyself.
8. Thou shalt claim no earthly possessions, save thy robes, ring, and journal.
9. Thou shalt have neither spouse nor spawn.
10. Thou shalt be beholden to no laws beyond these.


Citra Terranova– a young lady who is a scythe apprentice / organised / studious / fierce / family-oriented
Rowan Damisch– a young bloke who is Citra’s contender / happy-go-lucky / troubled
Honourable Scythe Faraday– Citra and Rowan’s mentor / serious / disciplined / wise


Woooow! Honestly, I did not expect this story to be that captivating! I’ve read positive reviews from Goodreads about it. To tell you the truth, I assumed it was just an overhyped book (given the number of times that I’ve seen it on my Bookstagram feed) plus the fact that fantasy novels these days are just the same EVERY FREAKING TIME so I did not bother getting my hopes too high. Nevertheless, I was so happy that I purchased the audiobook copy via Audible, no regrets at all. This is something fresh and unique so basically it’s worth the penny. I gave it a five-star rating because it was highly entertaining, full of shocking surprises, and undoubtedly unique and promising! The author was able to impress me in so many levels and I am so looking forward to grabbing a copy of the next book (which I’ve already purchased on Audible as well). The world building was well-done and I could not ask for more. I was satisfied and everything that I needed to know was given to me in an impeccable manner. The back story is also enough for me to understand as to why the gleanings (killings/murders/executions) need to be enforced to the immortals. The characters also spiced up my reading experience because of the way they made me laugh, smirk, rolled my eyes, and frown. All the turnout of events and mind-boggling twists gave me goosebumps. Frankly, during the first couple of chapters, I was feeling skeptic because I was already predicting the development of a love-hate relationship which I reckoned would just eventually turn into a happy ever after thing. I may have a reason to assume the worst of the characters but still, they managed to astonish me with their forbidden feelings and the urge to be better than the other. Citra and Rowan are scythe apprentices who happen to be contenders because only one of them will be given a chance to become a full-pledged SCYTHE (a Scythe is someone who has the power to glean or kill an immortal given that sufficient factors are evident in order to control the population). It was interesting because both of them tried to resist the offer and they are both firm with their principles that this kind of profession is not humane. As the story develops, I discovered that I was enjoying it and I can’t seem to stop myself from listening to it. Did I mention that the narrator also has a very masculine voice? No? Oh well, he does and it made everything perfect. I was just disappointed with how things ended up for my ship. It was sad and a total let down but I couldn’t also think of a better conclusion. In fact, I admired the author for making that one hell of an ending. It was bittersweet and my heart was shattered into tiny pieces. I can feel the character’s burden all throughout and I wish there was a better future for them. However, I was happy because the person that I was rooting for to be an honourable scythe was exactlty the appointed one and that person deserves it more than anybody else. Lastly, the narrative writing also suits me best, I hate it when the writing style being used is the descriptive manner because it is like spoon feeding me with everything on the table. Overall, I am one contended reader here and I am pretty sure that this novel will make it to my top 10 books of 2018. I highly recommend this to people who are into fantasy or science fiction books. I’m very sure that you’ll enjoy it as much as I did.


1. World Building. As I mentioned above, I could not ask for more. Everything fell into place and I was able to contemplate and comprehend as to why things are happening and why the hell these characters are doing this and that.
2. Fresh Concept. I don’t know about most of you but for me the story is fresh and that’s the main reason why I enjoyed it a lot and why I gave it a perfect rating. It’s not every day that I get the chance to read and immerse myself in a new world with badass characters.
3. Bittersweet Ending. Oh! Not again. I can’t go into details regarding this point because it means I have to spoil everything. Sorry!


1. Unanswered questions. There are plenty and I can’t enumerate all of them. What happened to their families? What happened to their mentors? Where is Rowan? What will happen to Citra next? And so on and so forth.
2. Sunken ship. My one true pair almost made it. They almost made it, wtf. And I was left hanging and mourning because it could have been a happy ever after you people are so mean!
3. Methods of Killing. I was having mixed feelings with this because some gleanings are decent and provided me with good arguments but some killings and executions are just so absurd and some scythes are also total assholes and jerks. It just shows that no matter how perfect the world of immortals may seem, misuse of power is still inevitable.


There is no such thing as perfect life. These people were already living a perfect life with no diseases and death. There is also no government and shit to tell them what they should or should not do. Despite all the things that they have, they are still craving and wanting more (be younger, and etc.). It applies to our real world, no matter how much people earn or posses, they will still fight and ask for more. So instead of wanting a perfect life, why can’t we just make our everyday lives and all the moments in it perfect for us and our loved ones?


“My greatest wish for humanity is not for peace or comfort or joy. It is that we all still die a little inside every time we witness the death of another. For only the pain of empathy will keep us human. There’s no version of God that can help us if we ever lose that.”

“I think all young women are cursed with a streak of unrelenting foolishness, and all young men are cursed with a streak of absolute stupidity.”

“The greatest achievement of the human race was not conquering death. It was ending government.”

“Without the threat of suffering, we cannot experience true joy.”

“Hope in the shadow of fear is the world’s most powerful motivator.”

Setting: ☆☆☆☆☆/5
Characters: ☆☆☆☆☆/5
Plot: ☆☆☆☆☆/5
Lessons: ☆☆☆☆☆/5
Cover: ☆☆☆☆☆/5
Overall Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆/5



Book Review #92: Stalking Jack the Ripper (Stalking Jack the Ripper #1) by Kerri Maniscalco


“Science never abandoned me the way religion had that night.”

Title: Stalking Jack the Ripper
Series: Stalking Jack the Ripper #1
Author: Kerri Maniscalco
Genre: Historical Fiction, Young Adult, Mystery
Format: Digital Copy
Pages: 320
Date Published: September 20, 2016
Publishing House: Jimmy Patterson
Goodreads Rating: 4.01
Personal Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆ / 5


Seventeen-year-old Audrey Rose Wadsworth was born a lord’s daughter, with a life of wealth and privilege, stretched out before her. But between the social teas and silk dress fittings, she leads a forbidden secret life.

Against her stern father’s wishes and society’s expectations, Audrey often slips away to her uncle’s laboratory to study the gruesome practice of forensic medicine. When her work on a string of savagely killed corpses drags Audrey into the investigation of a serial murderer, her search for answers brings her close to her own sheltered world.

The story’s shocking twists and turns, augmented with real, sinister period photos, will make this dazzling debut from author Kerri Maniscalco impossible to forget.

My Personal Thoughts

Stalking Jack the Ripper is Kerri Maniscalco’s debut novel about the popular serial killer in the district of London in 1888, Jack the Ripper. I must admit that the author impressed me in so many aspects! Wow! Just wow! When I was drafting and outlining this review, I couldn’t think of a negative thing to say because damn it was so good! Beautifully written and it definitely stimulated most of my senses. If crime/thriller/mystery authors would always come up with a story like this, it might bring back my love for this genre. A few years ago, I was so obsessed with these type of stories but as I’ve read novels with the same plot and twist and flow, I got no choice but to be disappointed and switch to fantasy novels. This is so refreshing and entertaining! All the characters are easy to like and understand. All the gripping and intense scenes were magnificently executed. I adore each and every chapter and I could not ask for more!


Audrey Rose Wadsworth – a 17 y/o young lady who’s wealthy and smart but loves forensic medicine which isn’t ladylike during those years
Thomas Cresswell – young bloke who loves forensic medicine as much as Audrey Rose
Nathaniel Wadsworth– Audrey’s older brother
Lord Edmund Wadsworth – Audrey and Nathaniel’s troubled father
Dr. Jonathan – Audrey’s uncle and mentor whose passion is forensic medicine
Jack the Ripper/Leather Apron – the villain

Aspects that I like most about the story:

  • Medical Terms. Because being a registered nurse made me understand all the terms involved in the story. And I must warn you, it’s overflowing with these words so if you are not a fan of consulting a dictionary or Google while reading, then this novel is not for you. In my case, this is definitely my cup of tea. Incorporating medical terms stimulated my senses and made me understand the murders more.
  • Fast Pace. The story is definitely progressed in a fast manner. You can finish the book in a day or two given all the gripping and mind-blowing events. I love how the author made everything easy and you’ll never ever put the book down. The turnout of events is just perfect, not too fast to the point that you won’t understand the messages and scenarios.
  • Setting and Era. This is an old-school setting and I was amazed by how the surroundings and the settings were described. The author did a great job. I’m not a fan of the old era but everything became convenient because of the way she gave justice to every detail.
  • Unpredictability. I suspected three to four people to be Jack the Ripper and all my guesses were wrong! That’s how unpredictable the story is and it’s the exact same reason why I liked it. Just imagine knowing the killer right from the start? It will make the reader bored and the reading experience not thrilling.
  • Feminism and Equality. Audrey Rose inspired me a lot. How she values gender equality and how she showed the male species that being a woman and having a uterus doesn’t ma a lady incapable. She pushed through with her passion and did not bother on what the society would think of her.

Things that I am not happy about the story:

  • Too gruesome to imagine scenes that almost made me puke. Don’t get me wrong, the author showed her readers how the popular ripper did his murders ages ago but everything was described in an intricate manner and if you’re weak, this isn’t for you; as for me, I can stomach the mind-boggling murder scenes and shit.
  • Too few illustrations. I was hoping for more drawings and photos especially with hard to picture out things or apparatus. Hopefully, with the succeeding books, the author might somehow include additional illustrations to make the story more entertaining.
  • Choice of Words. This is not a downside of the story, it’s just that some of the words are too deep and hard to understand. Maybe because it was set in the late 1800s so the words incorporated are classic and highly intellectual. I have to check the dictionary once in a while just to be sure that I understood them.


  • Having the capability to bear a child doesn’t make us, women, less productive and competent in the society.
  • Even those people that we love the most can surprise us in some ways that we can never imagine.
  • Curiosity will help a person grow and learn.


“Roses have petals and thorns, my dark flower. You needn’t believe something weak because it appears delicate. Show the world your bravery.”

“Arrogance usually y hides something below the surface.”

“It seemed it’d take a little more time for some girls to free themselves from chains society placed upon them.”

“I despised remaining silent under awful judgments.”

“Monsters were supposed to be scary and ugly. They weren’t supposed to hide behind friendly smiles and well-trimmed hair.”

Setting: ☆☆☆☆☆/5
Characters: ☆☆☆☆☆/5
Plot: ☆☆☆☆☆/5
Lessons: ☆☆☆☆☆/5
Cover: ☆☆☆☆☆/5
Overall Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆/5



Book Review #91: The Last Namsara (Iskari #1) by Kristen Ciccarelli (Review Copy sent by Hachette Australia)


“Some stories are too dangerous to be told.”


Title: The Last Namsara
Series: Iskari #1
Author: Kristen Ciccarelli
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult
Format: Trade Paperback
Pages: 421
Date Published: October 03, 2017
Publishing House: Harper Teen
Goodreads Rating: 4.21
Personal Rating: 5 / 5



DESTROYER. DEATH BRINGER. DRAGON-SLAYER. I am more weapon than a girl. Asha is a dragon-slayer. Reviled by the very people she’s sworn to protect, she kills to atone for the terrible deed she committed as a child.

One that almost destroyed her city, and left her with a terrible scar.

She wears her scar with pride, but to others, her skin tells a story of devastation, of fiery deaths, of Asha’s irredeemable wickedness.

Only the death of Kozu, the first dragon, will bring Asha true redemption and unite her father’s fractured kingdom. But no one battles Kozu and lives, so to defeat him she will have to do some very wicked things…


My Personal Thoughts

The Last Namsara is one hell of a fantasy book! I am so glad that I picked this one up for my first read for 2018 because I was not disappointed! Fantasy books have always been my cup of tea. I love how these worlds can take me to places that I’ve only dreamed of and give me a rollercoaster ride. They stimulate my imagination and help me develop my creativity. This book is about dragons, royalties, and feminism. I admire how the author incorporated all these elements in order to come up with a masterpiece worth reading. This is the first fantasy novel that I’ve read that involves dragons. Of course I know Game of Thrones but I haven’t had the chance to read the series yet so basically, this novel initiated me to the dragon world. The author made these creatures look dangerous and wicked but I was astounded with how she surprised me with all the twist and turn out of events. Honestly, I haven’t seen all those jaw-dropping scenarios coming. It’s one of the main reasons why I gave this a five-star rating, with the number of books that I’ve already read so far, young adult fantasy novels are becoming more and more similar and it’s so hard for authors nowadays to please their readers with something fresh and new.



The Dragon King
Asha – the dragon slayer, daughter of the dragon king, Iskari
Dax – heir to the throne, son of the dragon king and brother to Asha
Jarek – commandant of the king, Asha’s soon to be husband
Roa – a scrublander female, love interest of Dax
Torwin – male slave of Jarek, Skral
Safire – Asha and Dax’ female cousin
Kozu – the first dragon


There are three things that I like most about the story:

  • Asha, the dragon-slayer. Who wouldn’t admire a badass female character who slays dragons despite being a member of the royal family? I’m not sure with you guys but I crave for female characters who know how to save themselves and who doesn’t need anyone to look after them. I am not a feminist to the highest level but I embrace woman empowerment and gender equality. I believe that Asha’s character is a representation of womanhood today: brave, bold, and independent.
  • The writing style is perfect for readers like me. I enjoyed the pacing; I was able to comprehend everything without missing any important information or event. It is fast-paced which makes it easier to read and finish in a day or two. Without being too descriptive, I was still able to visualize every scene.
  • Twists. All are mind-boggling and surprising! I am happy with all the turn out of events and I couldn’t think of a better way to end the story so I think that the author did a spectacular job. The protagonists got what they deserve and the same goes for antagonists as well.


However, there are also three things that I don’t really appreciate much:

  • The slave and royalty kind of love story is a cliche’ which I think and I’m very much sure that almost everyone will agree. I am so sick of stories where the other character is rich, and beautiful, and famous and the love interest is deprived and oppressed. I want something new, something that I haven’t read before.
  • The traditional wedding arrangements. It’s 2018, I despise the idea and the fact that these arrangements still exist on books. I am not a fan of characters getting married just for the sake of money, power, and having no choice at all. I truly believe that men and women should always be free to decide and choose who to settle with. With Asha and Jarek’s case, it is horrible and awful but with Dax and Roa, it is an intelligent decision but there’s no love as a foundation of the union so both arrangements suck.
  • How the antagonist was defeated was too easy. Seriously? Yes, I’ve been wanting to behead those morons but I was expecting for much more action-packed scenes. I was happy that it ended that way but I was a bit disappointed that it ended so easy peasy for them. Maybe I will look forward to more on the next books of this series.



  • Loyalty is everything.
  • Never ever underestimate someone because of their status in the society because you never know if those people were really the ones who would do and give up everything for you.
  • Just because something is a tradition and an old belief doesn’t mean that it’s true and legit.


Favourite quotes in the story:

“No one needs to ask for a woman’s opinion. It’s expected that she gives it freely.”

Number one rule for dragon hunting: “Always know where the dragon’s tail is.”

“Force isn’t the only way to strike a blow.”

“Naming a thing endears you to it.”

“Asha wore her scar like a CROWN.”


Setting: ☆☆☆/5
Characters: ☆☆☆☆☆/5
Plot: ☆☆☆☆☆/5
Lessons: ☆☆☆☆☆/5
Cover: ☆☆☆☆☆/5
Overall Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆/5


Thank you, Hachette Australia Books, for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest and fair review.



Book Review #90: Without Merit by Colleen Hoover (Audiobook)


“Why are kids drawn into fragile things?”

Title: Without Merit
Author: Colleen Hoover
Genre: Romance, Contemporary, Young Adult
Format: Audiobook
Date Published: October 03, 2017
Publishing House: Simon Schuster Audio
Goodreads Rating: 3.98
Personal Rating: 3 / 5


“Not every mistake deserves a consequence. Sometimes the only thing it deserves is forgiveness.”

The Voss family is anything but normal. They live in a repurposed church, newly baptized Dollar Voss. The once cancer-stricken mother lives in the basement, the father is married to the mother’s former nurse, the little half-brother isn’t allowed to do or eat anything fun, and the eldest siblings are irritatingly perfect. Then, there’s Merit.

Merit Voss collects trophies she hasn’t earned and secrets her family forces her to keep. While browsing the local antique shop for her next trophy, she finds Sagan. His wit and unapologetic idealism disarm and spark renewed life into her—until she discovers that he’s completely unavailable. Merit retreats deeper into herself, watching her family from the sidelines when she learns a secret that no trophy in the world can fix.

Fed up with the lies, Merit decides to shatter the happy family illusion that she’s never been a part of before leaving them behind for good. When her escape plan fails, Merit is forced to deal with the staggering consequences of telling the truth and losing the one boy she loves. [Goodreads]

My Personal Thoughts

Whew! Colleen Hoover is undeniably one of my favourite contemporary writers and I’ve loved almost all her books. This is the only book of Hoover that I’ve rated 3 out of 5. It is full of life lessons and I love the fact that depression, family, first loves, and forgiveness were all tackled in the story. It was beautifully written, as always. It’s not the author or the book that made me decide to give it an average rating compared to the five stars that I’ve given to all her previous books; maybe it was my expectation, I think it was too high. I was a bit disappointed because this one is far different from all of her books; it did not surprise me nor even made me excited for the ending. I admit that sensitive matters were discussed and given justification but I find the story boring, plain, and odd. It is not mind blowing like most of her stories; I was hoping that there’s more and I guess I was dumbfounded in the end because that was it. The setting is entertaining; I actually find it weird that Merit’s family lives in a former church that was converted into a house. It is unique and somewhat interesting and it made me want to unravel the secrets that the family’s been hiding. The characters are twisted and I fell in love with each every one of them even though they are all fucked up. The main character is Merit, she is a 17 y/o girl who happens to be left out. She thinks that her family is a wreck and that the secrets that she knows about all the family members are suffocating her existence. It was a journey how she underwent all the shit and still managed to survive. Honor is Merit’s twin sister; she is the more beautiful one, the friendly one, the sweet one, the better one, and everybody loves her. Utah is their elder brother, overachiever but was struggling to find his own identity in a world that is full of judgemental people. Sagan is the only character that I like in the story. He is a book friend material and his character is easy to fall in love with. There are still other members of the Voss family but I just find these four characters to be the most relevant ones. The plot twist is not that jaw-dropping and surprising but I still managed to enjoy the story. Depression was discussed and dissected and I do enjoy books that are about mental health so that’s a plus factor. I admire how the author executed this sensitive topic in a well-explained manner. It was a simple overview but it is enough for the readers to understand the extent of this condition. I am impressed how signs and symptoms were enumerated and how to seek help when one is ready to admit that there is a problem. I even like the way Utah’s case was explained. How LGBT friendly this book is and how it wants us to be open-minded about sexuality. These things are sensitive and phenomenal and Colleen is just so brave to write something about these topics just the same way that she wrote something about violence against women and children before. There is nothing personal with regards to the rating that I’ve given this book, it’s just that it is lacking in so many aspects and it did not meet my expectations. Overall, it is still highly recommended for every reader especially those who are looking for a self-help book. The beauty of having a family and how important it is to be thankful and forgiving are the most amazing things that happened in this masterpiece. It is also important to not just look at things based on our own perspective because we don’t really know how other people feel or sees things. Being considerate and unselfish is not so common these days anymore and it saddens me personally. I hope you enjoyed reading my thoughts and of course I’ll always be excited about future books that Collen will be writing.

Setting: ☆☆☆/5
Characters: ☆☆☆☆☆/5
Plot: ☆☆☆/5
Lessons: ☆☆☆☆☆/5
Cover: ☆☆☆☆☆/5
Overall Rating: ☆☆☆/5



Book Review #89: A Court of Wings and Ruin (A Court of Thorns and Roses #3) by Sarah J. Maas


“Remember that you are a WOLF. And you cannot be caged.”

Title: A Court of Wings and Ruin
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Series: A Court of Thorns and Roses
Pages: 705
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Format: Hardback
Date Published: May 02, 2017
Publishing House: Bloomsbury Children’s Books
Goodreads Rating: 4.53
Personal Rating: 5 / 5


Feyre has returned to the Spring Court, determined to gather information on Tamlin’s maneuverings and the invading king threatening to bring Prythian to its knees. But to do so she must play a deadly game of deceit – and one slip may spell doom not only for Feyre but for her world as well.

As war bears down upon them all, Feyre must decide who to trust amongst the dazzling and lethal High Lords – and hunt for allies in unexpected places.

In this thrilling third book in the #1 New York Times bestselling series from Sarah J. Maas, the earth will be painted red as mighty armies grapple for power over the one thing that could destroy them all.

My Personal Thoughts

Wow! Just wow! I can’t even! I’m still trying to recover from the awesomeness and the jaw-dropping effect of this book! Holy, holy, holy! It is not bad for a finale but I was hoping for MORE. When I started to read this trilogy about two years ago, I already fell in love with Feyre Archeron, because why not? She symbolises feminism, bravery, and passion! She is the perfect example of someone who followed her heart and wasn’t even afraid or ashamed of what other people will say or think about her. Right from the very first book (A Court of Thorns and Roses), Feyre already had my respect and admiration! Her character is so inspiring and empowering. I, as a woman, loved how she took matters into her own hands and did not bother considering other people’s perception of her. Her unconditional love for her family is the ultimate reason why this trilogy is a success. And of course the fact that she ended up with her one true “MATE”. It is brain racking how things turned and twisted since the first book, how first loves and stuff like that can still change and teach us lessons that we may carry as we go on with our lives. Hers and Rhysand’s is the perfectly imperfect love story. I am so in love with their pair. Before I was rooting for Tamlin but Rhys is just too perfect for Feyre and they complement each other. They accepted each other’s flaws and weaknesses and they embraced each other strengths. It is so heart-warming how they truly adored each other. I just think that the book contains too many sensual scenes and it is not suitable for young adult readers. That is just my opinion because this book is under the Young Adult Fantasy category so I think the sex scenes may be too much. But I do like the fact that it is LGBT friendly. The action scenes deserve to be commended because OMG who would have thought that the characters that defeated the King of Hybern were most of the time unnoticed. I also enjoyed the OTPs (one true pair) here especially Cassian and Nesta! Nesta transformed from being a stone-cold bitch to someone who actually has a heart. Perfect! I was just hoping for something between Elain and Lucien but the book already ended. There are still too many things that I wanted to happen but it felt like there’s no place for them anymore. I hope that the book that will be published next year which I think is a novella would include some points that were missed in this third and final installment. As always, SJM’s writing style never ceases to mesmerise me! I was in a slump because the book is overwhelming considering the fact that my copy has 705 pages. It took me a while but I finally made it. It was so damn worth it. I love Feyre’s narration but it could have been better if it was an alternating point of view between her and Rhysand. In addition to this, I was impressed with how things ended up between Feyre and Tamlin and how they’ve dealt with their situation as grown and mature adults. Feyre may have been Tamlin’s the one that got away but I still hope that in the next book happiness will still find its way towards him. After all, he was my first love in this series. I can’t ignore Rhys’ feelings and devotion towards his mate. He is just the best book husband ever. This book is magnificent; and the way that friendship, love, and family were the main focus of this masterpiece makes it my best read for 2017! I will surely miss the characters and all the crap and shit that they went through. Kudos for ending a trilogy in an amazing and entertaining way! Highly recommended, as ALWAYS!

Setting: ☆☆☆☆☆/5
Characters: ☆☆☆☆☆/5
Plot: ☆☆☆☆☆/5
Lessons: ☆☆☆☆☆/5
Cover: ☆☆☆☆☆/5
Overall Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆/5



Book Review #87: Mirror Mirror by Cara Delevingne & Rowan Coleman (Review Copy from Hachette Australia)


Title: Mirror Mirror
Author: Cara Delevingne, Rowan Coleman
Pages: 368
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, LGBT
Format: Trade Paperback
Date Published: October 03, 2017
Publishing House: Hachette Australia
Goodreads Rating: 3.75
Personal Rating: 5 / 5

Friend. Lover. Victim. Betrayer. When you look in the mirror, what do you see?


Sixteen-year-old friends Red, Leo, Naiomi, and Rose are like anyone their age: figuring out who they are and trying to navigate the minefield of school and relationships. Life isn’t perfect, but they’re united by their love of music and excited about what the future holds for their band.

That is until Nai dies in tragic circumstances, leaving behind only one word. ‘Sorry’.
What awful truth was she hiding? What dark secret was lurking behind her seemingly sunny persona? And how did Red, the self-styled protector of the group, fail to spot the warning signs?

While Rose turns to wild partying and Leo is shrouded by dark moods, Red sets out to uncover the truth and finds out what – or perhaps who – was responsible for Naomi’s death.

It’s a journey that will cause Red’s world to crumble, exposing the dark and dangerous truth behind the fragile surface of their existence. Nothing will ever be the same again because once a mirror is shattered, it can’t be fixed. [Goodreads]

My Personal Thoughts

Cara Delevingne surprised me with her debut novel because she covered plenty of common issues in our society today especially those involving the young people. The transition phase from being a young adult to a full-grown person is one of the most crucial stages in a person’s life. It is somewhat tricky and tempting. It is very challenging and undeniably hard to deal with. I personally experienced some of these issues that were included in the story and I also struggled a lot. The setting perfectly matches the story because it took place in a classic high school set up where different students with the different type of personalities go to. Some of them are rich, others are poor, and there are those who belong to the middle-class group. It is a school with issues, secrets, and an image to portray. Previous students have gone missing, attempted suicide, or even went psycho. I like how things were described in the story. The characters are all easy to relate to because, at some point in our lives, we all underwent the same scenarios and circumstances when we were young. Red, Rose, Leo, and Naomi are friends and band mates and they have different issues and battles in life. Red is the narrator (I just find the first-person point of view convenient) in the story and I love how this person tricked me. I actually did not see that one coming! Rose is the star; she is beautiful, famous, and everyone loves to be with her or be her. Despite all of these, she has secrets that no one else knows but Red. Leo is the typical boy next door kind of guy, and obviously, every girl is head over heels about him. He is scary because of the image that he has been putting up all along but deep inside, Leo is a kind-hearted boy who’s afraid of his own brother (who happens to be a troubled person) and the skeletons in his closet. And Naomi… everything revolved around her because she went missing and after quite some time people found her almost dead body in a river without a hint as to who did that horrible thing to her. All her friends were determined to unravel the real story behind her disappearance and figure out all the clues that are suddenly appearing every day. The twist is amazing. I did not expect that one coming! Although with the antagonist, I already predicted that one right from the start! I always have this power to guess even from the first few chapters as to who is the real villain in a story. But still, I enjoyed the experience of finding out for myself and playing detective with the gang. The story has a lot of lessons for its readers. I admire the author for coming up with a masterpiece that will show how young adults struggle with their lives because it is really damn hard when you are transitioning from being the one who’s been looking after to someone who needs to stand on his own and fight his everyday battles. There are three points that I find interesting here: 1) the story is LGBT friendly. I like how Cara executed this very well. I felt the struggle of this particular character, I cried and laughed with this person and I understood how hard it was to be in this person’s situation. I salute this character for being brave and not easily intimidated. 2) The importance of loyalty and friendship. I’ve lost plenty of so-called friends along the way. I’ve met a lot of people who showed me kindness and I must admit that I enjoyed their company so much that I even considered them to be my “friends”, but… people change. People’s priorities and likes also develop and we may admit it or not but people tend to mature and move on. Once in our lives, those people made us feel complete and happy. I still respect them but I don’t really have the energy to save a relationship wherein the other party is not willing to reconnect or compromise. So yes, I envy the characters friendship because their bond was able to withstand all the storms and hardships that came along their way. 3) The value of family. This is the most important lesson that I was able to contemplate here in the story. No matter how fucked up we are. No matter what shit we said or did. No matter how hard-headed and prideful we are, our family will always be there to love us and support us. Because at the end of the day, our family is our only rock! Just like how the saying goes, BLOOD IS THICKER THAN WATER, and I’ve personally proven this repetitively in my 29 years of existence.

Thank you so much, Hachette Australia, for sending me Cara Delevingne’s newly released debut novel in exchange for promotion and review. I love it and I highly recommend it not just to young readers but for readers of all ages who also have a number of questions in life. You are not alone.

Thank you for reading my review.

Setting: ☆☆☆/5
Characters: ☆☆☆☆☆/5
Plot: ☆☆☆☆/5
Lessons: ☆☆☆☆☆/5
Cover: ☆☆☆☆☆/5
Overall Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆/5



Book Review #85: Countless by Karen Gregory (Review Copy from Bloomsbury Publishing Australia)


Title: Countless
Author: Karen Gregory
Pages: 384
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Mental Health
Format: Paperback
Date Published: May 04, 2017
Publishing House: Bloomsbury Publishing
Goodreads Rating: 4.08
Personal Rating: 4 / 5

“The things that matter the most can’t be counted anyway.”


‘Is there anything that’s concerning you?’ Felicity says. ‘College, home, boyfriends?’ Though she’s more or less smiling at this last one.

I don’t smile. Instead, I feel my face go hot. Silence stretches as wide as an ocean.
When I look up, Felicity has this expression on her face like she’s just seen, Elvis. Slowly, she leans forward and in a gentle voice I’ve never heard her use before she says, ‘Have you done a pregnancy test?’

When Hedda discovers she is pregnant, she doesn’t believe she could ever look after a baby. The numbers just don’t add up. She is young, and still in the grip of an eating disorder that controls every aspect of how she goes about her daily life. She’s even given her eating disorder a name – Nia. But as the days tick by, Hedda comes to a decision: she and Nia will call a truce, just until the baby is born. 17 weeks, 119 days, 357 meals. She can do it if she takes it one day at a time …

Heartbreaking and hopeful by turns, Karen Gregory’s debut novel is a story of love, heartache and human resilience. And how the things that matter most can’t be counted. Perfect for fans of Lisa Williamson, Non Pratt, and Sarah Crossan. [Goodreads]

My Personal Thoughts

Bulimia is a serious eating disorder that occurs chiefly in females, is characterized by compulsive overeating usually followed by self-induced vomiting or laxative or diuretic abuse, and is often accompanied by guilt and depression — called also bulimia nervosa. [Merriam-Webster Dictionary]

Anorexia Nervosa is
a serious disorder in eating behavior primarily of young women in their teens and early twenties that is characterized especially by a pathological fear of weight gain leading to faulty eating patterns, malnutrition, and usually excessive weight loss. [Merriam-Webster Dictionary]

Whew! This review is something new to me. I’ve always heard and studied about eating disorders especially in UNI and way back in my college years in the Philippines. I’ve also watched lots of movies about them considering the fact that I am so in love with the human behaviour and I’m obsessed with topics and stuff about them, most especially mental health disorders. It reflects how people’s judgment and attitude affects other people’s view of life. This a very inspiring and brave novel which discussed the sensitive issue about young girls with anorexia nervosa or bulimia, all the why’s, how’s, and what-ifs of their case and every bits and piece of how some girls fully recover and how some totally fell apart. It also showed the different struggles that a teenage mom goes through which in some way I can almost relate to. I love each and every part of this book and I will not lie. It touched my heart and soul in parts that I have always been ashamed to discuss. I felt the hardships, despair, and hidden fears that the main character went through and I’ll be frank and honest that during the first two parts of the book I’ve been so disappointed and frustrated about her character. Hedda is a 17-year-old lady with long-standing problem of anorexia. She’s been in and out of facilities and hospitals and her whole family almost lost hope about her situation. She was hopeless already that’s why I couldn’t bear the idea of finishing the novel during those times. But later on, I admired her courage and strength to overcome everything that was thorn her way. Motherhood definitely changed her perspectives in life. Yes, maybe not right away but her child, Rose, became her beacon of light and hope. I have always admired young moms like me. This isn’t being a narcissist or something but having a huge responsibility as being a MOM at a very young age is not a joke. It is something big and scary and intimidating but everything is worth it when you finally see the smile on your child’s face for the very first time. It’s as if all the non-stop shaming and judging that other people gave you did not matter anymore. I gave birth at the age of 21 and every person alive in our neighbourhood especially our relatives have been so judgemental about me stating that I won’t achieve anything in life anymore. I don’t blame them, I was always an achiever and everything fell apart when I got married at an early age. I just despise the idea that people can be so judgmental when in fact it’s them who needs to look in front of the mirror in the first place. It is water under the bridge though, because what they’ve said before does not matter anymore, those hurtful and offensive words do not define who I am today. Moving back to the story, this book is very inspiring and I highly recommend it to readers from young adult to new adult genre lovers. It is simple but the author was able to give full justification and the message that she wants to impart to her readers is clear and on point. I admire the author for coming up with a novel that will inspire young girls or even matured ones to live life the way they want it but with limitations as well. This is undeniably well-written and I love everything in between. Thank you, Bloomsbury, for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest and fair review. This, however, does not change my opinion. After I’ve read the word “countless” in the story, everything made sense. It wasn’t really about the disease per se but how a mother’s love could change every damn thing in the world. I am a proud momma of two wonderful and smart kids.

Setting: ☆☆☆☆/5
Characters: ☆☆☆☆/5
Plot: ☆☆☆/5
Lessons: ☆☆☆☆☆/5
Cover: ☆☆☆/5
Overall Rating: ☆☆☆☆/5