Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda // A Brilliant Coming-of-Age Story

I’m late to the bandwagon on this one. This book is being made into a movie while I was still fumbling around with the first 20 pages. Nevertheless, Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli is quirky, down-to-earth and I found myself smiling the whole time I was reading it. My cheeks hurt, yo. I’m warm and fuzzy from Simon and Blue, and my face is hurting and it is beautiful. This book is a-freaking-dorable and it is a must-read for all YA fans.

Here is why I fell in love with this adorable book.

Simon is sooooo lovable.

What is brilliant about Simon is while he had moments of teen angst, they weren’t bogged down or too intense. In fact, he is a light and jovial character who loves hugs, bad jokes and Harry Potter. Like Albertalli’s newer novel, the protagonist is realistic and lovable. He’s also an overthinker and so relatable. Plus he loves Oreos (and who doesn’t love Oreos?)

Epic friendships everywhere!

Simon has a real tight-knit group of friends: the ones from his childhood Nick and Leah, as well as a new bubbly addition, Abby. They have their moments of tension and arguments, but not every friendship is smooth sailing. The book also showcases these platonic friendships and yes, girls and guys can be friends without having romantic feelings for each other. Simon is supportive of his friends, and loves them for who they are.

I also liked Simon’s siblings, Alice and Nora, and how close they are as siblings. The fact there were healthy and loving relationships in his home life with his parents and siblings added a dynamic to the story that was heartwarming (and a family that watches reality TV together stays together).

The coming-of-age elements were excellent.

Here we have a protagonist who is gay and not portrayed as flamboyant or any other stereotype. He is portrayed as he is: a funny, lowkey popular kid with great friends and an online romance slowly blooming. I liked how we get to know Simon as himself, not who he sexually prefers. The commentary about identity, diversity and sexuality were well said and suited the story, and it added a maturity to Simon (and Blue) that I felt like it needed.

I died over how cute the romance was.

I totally understand online friendships. One of my best friends is from America and while we didn’t reveal our identities for a while, we’re going on nearly 8 (or 9?) years of friendship without having met IRL. So when Simon was in the midst of emailing a cute wordsmith who goes to his school but won’t reveal his identity, yo, I get it. It did annoy me a couple of times when things were tense over their identities, but despite that I loved the email format of the relationship and Blue’s grammatical prowess. The flirting is killer cute and the way Simon and Blue slowly opened up to each other was just beautiful.

Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda is filled with great helpings of humour, realistic and wonderful characters, a powerful love for Oreos and understanding what it is like to be yourself.

Rating

 

the literary casanova flowerthe literary casanova flowerthe literary casanova flowerthe literary casanova flowerthe literary casanova flower

 

What are your thoughts?

Have you read Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda? Do you have a healthy obsession with Oreos? Have you read books with a gay protagonist and found it realistic? Leave a comment down below with your thoughts.

 

19547856Sixteen-year-old and not-so-openly gay Simon Spier prefers to save his drama for the school musical. But when an email falls into the wrong hands, his secret is at risk of being thrust into the spotlight. Now Simon is actually being blackmailed: if he doesn’t play wingman for class clown Martin, his sexual identity will become everyone’s business. Worse, the privacy of Blue, the pen name of the boy he’s been emailing, will be compromised.

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

{Goodreads}

The Hundredth Queen // Magic, Mystery and Mythology

The Hundredth Queen by Emily R. King weaves together magic, suspense, mythology, and romance. At the heart of this story is Kalinda, an 18-year-old orphan who is prone to fevers and doesn’t see herself doing anything other than entering the Sisterhood with her best friend, Jaya. However, her serene life is disrupted by the Claiming and she is now set to be the Rajah’s hundredth rani. Thing is, she has to fight for her place among ninety nine other wives, and maybe find out secrets about her past.

The premise of The Hundredth Queen captivated me. Who doesn’t want to read about a strong heroine and her rise to power as she drives the fall of a powerful kingdom? That’s a fantasy lover’s dream. However, while the book was strong in some aspects such as magic and mythology, there were weaker points that I had gripes with such as plot, character development and world-building. It was all rather predictable and a bit lackluster.

Here’s what I have to say about The Hundredth Queen.

King’s writing is captivating, but sometimes it felt like it was too much.

This is just a personal preference, but the amount of descriptions were overwhelming. I also found some areas lacked descriptions – it’s all a matter of balance. I also felt some areas we were spoon-fed what we needed to know in order to move on with the plot whereas things could have been left to the imagination and for the reader to piece together. Despite this, King’s writing is lovely and I enjoyed her writing style. I also enjoyed the use of mythology and magic throughout the novel; it added an edge and a sense of mystery in regards to the politics and dynamics of magic and the court. However, I did find the mythology to be convoluted, especially in regards to the bhuta and the sacred text.

The character development wasn’t as authentic as it could have been.

Our protagonist, Kalinda is weak, suffers from fevers and has no experience with men at all. she is repeatedly described as terrible in combat and unremarkable – yet, what perplexed me was she is suddenly able to defeat one of her strongest opponents during the Claiming, and is described as “beautiful”.  The jumps between her character development were confusing, and while she grows rather quickly into a fierce warrior and woman, I found the supporting characters like Jaya and the Rajah to be a bit two-dimensional. I liked the friendship between Jaya and Kalinda, it wasn’t developed enough for me to grow attached.

I also found Kalinda to be rather plain, but her personality improved when in the company of Deven. Their instalove was predictable and felt a little sudden because of a lack of tension and development, but it was rather cute. Overall, the characters weren’t too impressive and that’s what felt a little off with me: there wasn’t enough tension between the characters and dimension.

Also, the world in which the novel is set does not venture further than the journey from the Sisterhood to the palace, and that’s where the reader resides for majority of the novel. There was a lot of potential for world-building not just through lore and textbook history, but through conversations and exploration. I would have liked more details on neighbouring nations and some history on how the Rajah became so powerful.

The concept of the rank tournament was intriguing yet I didn’t see the point?

It honestly felt like the tournament encouraged girl-on-girl hate rather than sisterhood no matter how hard Kalinda tried. I did like how King explained Kalinda’s disapproval of the system, but because of her negative attitude towards it I didn’t enjoy reading any sections to do with the tournament. It made me uncomfortable and the reasoning behind it all is to rise up in rank – it felt superficial and pointless.

Overall, The Hundredth Queen had the potential to shine and stand out as a unique YA fantasy romance, yet it fell into a rut of predictable plot points and underdeveloped characters. While it was enjoyable to a certain degree (the use of magic was definitely fascinating), the gripes I had with it dampened my enthusiasm.

 

Rating

.5/5

 

Disclaimer: I received this copy from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

E3 2017: Assassin’s Creed Origins Takes Us to Ancient Egypt

At an Ubisoft event during E3 2017, Assassin’s Creed Origins was unveiled. This latest instalment in the series will take players to ancient Egypt during the Ptolemaic dynasty and follow the story of a man named Bayek, the last Medjay who is basically the local protector of his community. It will also develop the story of how the Brotherhood was formed. One of the most prominent aspects of this instalment is the different direction Ubisoft is taking with game play and combat style, with a focus on action-RPG elements.

Combat has significantly changed to suit an action RPG style. Source.

This game honestly gives me Prince of Persia vibes. You can scale the walls of pyramids, explore the tombs of pharaohs, sail down the Nile, and unveil the mysteries of the gods. As Bayek you command a hawk, Senu, that can fly ahead and identify areas of interest or scout for danger. The richness of the game’s environment is a brilliant re-imagining of ancient Egypt: everything from merchant stalls, wild animals and Egyptian lore to the make and style of weapons and clothing styles.

After being able to give the game a go, Gamespot reports there is a skill tree that separates into three combat categories: rogue, archer and warrior. As a part of the RPG gameplay, these skills blend together so it is customisable to your own style of assassinating your targets. In regards to combat, the game has taken a different design approach to combat that is reminiscent of The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim and Fallout. Because the game offers the ability to customise skills and weapons, it should mold into the player’s combat style.

The scenery is breathtaking in 4K. Source.
The scenery is breathtaking in 4K. Source.

Ubisoft have also announced the pre-order for collector’s editions of Origins. With only 999 available worldwide, the Dawn of the Creed Legendary Collector’s Edition comes with Assassin’s Creed Origins Gold Edition, the season pass, a Digital Deluxe Pack, an additional mission, a 73cm statue of Bayek and Senu, the world’s map, art cards, a collector’s case, a replica of Senu’s skull amulet, a Steelbook, the game’s art book, four large lithographs, and the official soundtrack. Oh, and it’s $800 USD (roughly $1249.50 AUD). There are other collector’s editions available for far more affordable prices, but if you’re a major fan this one might be for you.

Assassin’s Creed Origins will be available October 27 and will feature 4K gameplay on the new Xbox One X.

You can watch the game’s trailer below.

Originally published at Chattr. 

Queens of Geek // Three Friends, Two Love Stories, One Convention

This book is for the fandom queens, the regular geeks, the people who think they’re a little weird. It’s for everyone, because everyone needs to read this.

Queens of Geek by Jen Wilde is like walking into a pop culture convention and feeling like you’re home. It’s like taking a plunge into the deep end of your worst fears and resurfacing with a smile because it turned out better than you thought it would. That’s how I imagine meeting your idols and being surrounded by your nerdy loves would be like when you’re not accustomed to being around people.

Queens of Geek is set at SupaCon and follows the journey of a trio of friends who have flown from Australia to be there: Taylor (who is a massive Queen Firestone fan, struggles with anxiety and is autistic), Charlie (a bisexual Chinese-Australian vlogger with rockin’ pink hair) and Jaime, the moral support who is just as huge a geek as the others. Did I mention that this is an Australian book with an Australian author with Australian characters? YO, THIS IS GREAT!

Let’s get into some of the things I adored about this book.

 

There are pop culture references EVERYWHERE!

The amount of references had me geeking out in my own bedroom. There were references to Back to the Future, Lord of the Rings, Marvel, Supernatural, you name it. (THEY MENTIONED DESTIEL LIKE, I CAN’T!) They even see Felicia Day and I lowkey screamed. I also loved the use of social media throughout the book because I find that YA lacks the appropriate use of it (I haven’t read a YA book where the protagonist uses Twitter as a bargaining tool in a race).

The characters are simply fantastic.

It is dual-narrated by Taylor and Charlie and their voices are so distinct and brilliant, you can’t help but fall in love with them. While it would have been super cute to have a chapter from Jaime’s perspective, I liked how it was with just the two girls. Jaime is adorable and precious and I loved every moment he was in. I loved the representation and diversity we get from this book, especially with autism, which was amazing to see.

It emphasises the importance of friendships between girls.

It’s been a long time since I’d read a book where two girls are able to have a good friendship without the negative stereotypes of tearing each other down or being mean/popular. I liked how Charlie was the ‘popular’ one in regards to her YouTube following and acting, but Taylor was popular on Tumblr and Twitter. Despite their differences in popularity, they were both focused on their friendship, always checking in on each other. It reminded me a lot of my high school friends and the support we gave each other – it was great to see that reiterated in a book.

The slow burn romance, yo. I can’t.

The relationship between Taylor and Jaime is super sweet and shows how the little things are what mean the most. Jaime is understanding of Taylor’s anxiety and autism. He knows how to react and help when she suddenly feels too tight in her body. In turn, Taylor knows how to make Jaime smile and it brought a warmth to my chest when I was reading their parts of the book.

I also adored Charlie and Alyssa’s relationship (the two of them secretly fangirled over each other, I mean, how is that not true love?) While it came across as instalove, I didn’t mind it in the slightest because it was really cute.

The moments of fangirling and important discussions were not only brilliant but educational.

Is it possible to fangirl over fangirling? Because that’s what I did. The aspects of SupaCon were so cool and I loved how involved the characters were with the convention. It led to the book addressing issues of sexism in acting, bi-phobia and bisexuality, as well as body positivity and mental health. It was brilliant to see these in a YA book and while some of the discussions came across as a bit ‘preachy’, I didn’t mind it too much. Some parts of the book felt a little underdeveloped and it’s easy to see when the narration goes from the story to emphasising the message it is trying to convey. Despite this, it’s an enjoyable read!

I honestly like the discussions about anxiety the most, because as someone who suffers from it, the inclusion of it was fantastic.

“That’s what we do. We walk a tightrope every day. Getting out the door is a tightrope. Going grocery shopping is a tightrope. Socializing is a tightrope. Things that most people consider to be normal, daily parts of life are the very things we fear and struggle with the most, and yet here we are, moving forward anyway. That’s not weak.”

Overall, this a warm and light-hearted YA book with lots of geeking out and fandoms galore.

It’s too adorable for words so just read it. You won’t regret it.

Rating

the literary casanova flowerthe literary casanova flowerthe literary casanova flowerthe literary casanova flower.5/5

What are your thoughts on Queens of Geek? Have you ever been to a convention? Let me know in the comments!

 

When BFFs Charlie, Taylor and Jamie go to SupaCon, they know it’s going to be a blast. What they don’t expect is for it to change their lives forever.

28245707Charlie likes to stand out. SupaCon is her chance to show fans she’s over her public breakup with co-star, Reese Ryan. When Alyssa Huntington arrives as a surprise guest, it seems Charlie’s long-time crush on her isn’t as one-sided as she thought.

While Charlie dodges questions about her personal life, Taylor starts asking questions about her own.


Taylor likes to blend in. Her brain is wired differently, making her fear change. And there’s one thing in her life she knows will never change: her friendship with Jamie—no matter how much she may secretly want it to. But when she hears about the Queen Firestone SupaFan Contest, she starts to rethink her rules on playing it safe.

Goodreads

 

 

One of Us is Lying // An addictive YA mystery thriller

Mystery thrillers are always a brilliant read, especially when you’ve been hooked on contemporaries for a while. It was good to shake it up a bit, and I found One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus to be a gripping read from start to finish. It will bring you to the edge of your seat and keep you hanging there for more than 300 pages, suspense and mystery growing to a crescendo. It is an addictive and delectable book, perfect for YA.

One of Us is Lying commences with five characters going to detention at Bayview High:

  1. Bronwyn, a smart, rule abiding student.
  2. Addy, a picture-perfect beauty queen with the perfect boyfriend.
  3. Nate, a slacker with a criminal record on probation for drug dealing.
  4. Cooper, a popular baseball pitcher looking to score a place in the top 5 colleges.
  5. Simon, the creator of Bayview’s ‘About That’ gossip app.

However, Simon dies before the end of detention and his death is ruled as murder. The remaining four later learn he was planning on spilling their secrets on the gossip app and suddenly everyone has a reason to get rid of Simon. Is one of them lying or is there an actual murderer on the loose?

Sounds damn brilliant, right?

The characters are dimensional and relatable.

Despite the fact they initially embody the tropes we all know and love in YA high school drama, these characters were brilliantly written. The tropes slowly fall apart as they are fleshed out with their own backstories and reasons for doing the things they did. Their personalities and differences were easily contrasted but as a reluctant team now bound by the death of their classmate, it was so interesting to watch their journeys of self-reflection as the investigation grew hot on their heels. They acted like teenagers feeling the pressure of the adult world and the judgement of others, and the way they responded was entertaining to read. I liked their mistakes, their upbeat moments and the struggles they all faced to keep their secrets buried. My personal favourites were Nate and Addy. Overall, these characters were wholesome and fantastic to read about.

The plot and suspense building was excellent.

I honestly love a good mystery thriller. I loved the way the book was written with subtle hints dropped here and there about what each of the characters were hiding. The constant questioning and trying to solve the mystery was addictive. While some sections were not as detailed or engaging, it didn’t detract from my enjoyment of the book. I also liked how the book was split into the four perspectives, adding to that element of mystery and suspense as readers. I did guess a couple of the plot twists and the ending, but I liked how it wasn’t a typical YA ending with couples everywhere and happy days. It was realistic and genuine, something we’re seeing more of in YA.

I did have one issue: the first is the representation of mental illness. Without spoiling, I find that the way the book handled the tough topics was great and mental illness has been prevalent in YA, but some readers may be divided in regards to what occurs with one of the characters and their mental health. It is a delicate issue and one that will have various reactions. I personally thought because it was YA, there may not have been a place to go into more detail behind it, but it would have been good to see it.

Overall, this is a great and fun read for anyone keen on something with a good YA mystery.

Rating

 

the literary casanova flowerthe literary casanova flowerthe literary casanova flower.5 out of 5.

What are your thoughts?

Have you read One of Us is Lying? Let me know in the comments what you thought of the book!

Disclaimer: Netgalley gave me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

May 2017 Wrap Up aka The Month I Didn’t Read

Who would have thought 31 days could go by so quickly? It only feels like a few days ago when the nip in the air started and the leaves slowly wilted into the warm colours of autumn. It also only feel like yesterday when I told myself I’d read 7 books in May. Or was that April? I can barely keep count.

Out of all the books I told myself I’d read, I read a total of 4 books. I READ 4 BOOKS! What is happening to me? Have I lost my mojo? Has uni sucked the life out of my reading?

giphy3

Before I panic, let’s jump right into the 4 books I did read this May, which were a blessing to read.

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo: 5/5

giphy5

This has to be one of the best books I’ve read in 2017. Not only was it based in a universe I’ve grown to love, but it’s an intense heist story featuring six characters I want to hug forever. I loved the steampunk vibes and the diversity of characters as well.  Every page was fantastic and I can’t wait to read Crooked Kingdom. My full review for Six of Crows is here.

When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon: 4.5/5

giphy

This book as a-freaking-dorable. Dimple and Rishi are Indian-Americans who both attend Insomnia Con and are subtly set up by their parents in an arranged marriage. The results are hilarious and we’re taken on a swoonworthy romance that had me laughing and crying. It’s a treasure of a book. My full review is here.

Heart of Mist by Helen Scheuerer: 5/5

giphy7

I was blessed enough to be asked by Helen to read an ARC of her debut novel and I am so glad I did. It is amazing! I am a sucker for fantasy and I feel like I’ve found a new favourite. Heart of Mist is a brilliant YA fantasy featuring multiple character perspectives that take you on a journey across the world. Weaving magic, politics and mystery like a master of her craft, Heart of Mist is a standout debut novel. I can’t wait for the second book!

The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli: 5/5

giphy8

This book made my heart hurt with joy. This is one of the cutest contemporary YA novels I’ve read so far. Extremely diverse and geeky, it accurately represents what it’s like to be seventeen and afraid of the world, but also the excitement in growing up and being confident. The romantic elements were so cute and I loved the emphasis on family. My full review is here.

And that’s it for May! My TBR for June is currently consists of:

  • The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson
  • The Secret Science of Magic by Melissa Keil
  • Queens of Geek by Jen Wilde

I do have some more I want to read for Pride Month, but I don’t quite have them yet. Stay tuned on my bookstagram @vintage.book.queen.

What books did you read in May?

Let me know in the comments below!

 

When Dimple Met Rishi // An adorably geeky YA romance

This has to be one of the most adorable books I’ve read this year.

When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon feels like sipping sweet iced tea while stretched out in the sun. It is an energetic and lighthearted YA romance as well as an exploration of culture, young adulthood, and identity with warmth and sincerity. Featuring the dual perspectives of two Indian-American teenagers and infused with Hindi culture, Menon portrays exactly what it is like to be a young adult on the edge of the future with questions about your dreams and aspirations. With Insomnia Con as the backdrop of this tale, a competitive summer tech program on app development in San Francisco, when the worlds of Dimple and Rishi collide, the result is nothing short of beautiful.

So let’s get into what I loved about this book.

Read More »

a short diary excerpt #1

something short and personal

{spilled tea, fairy floss sunsets, a long steady drive, the swell of the radio sweeping me off my seat • i have a cloud over my head but a gentle hand running through my hair; a trembling kiss presses behind my ear as my breath catches and my stomach sinks • he makes me sway in the wind like a willow tree, holds my heart with fingertips so kind i’m afraid i’ll drop to my knees as the air suddenly becomes too thick • there’s a humming in the air and i follow its vibrations down a crooked path until his voice calls me back – all the way back home}

Six Things About Six of Crows

I have to admit I am a sucker for epic fantasy, especially anything that involves assassins, thieves and characters dark enough to perforate my soul. And here I am, writing this review while holding my mauled heart and saying, “God damn, that was brilliant.”

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo is a quite simply a heist story. Six young criminals are hired to break into the world’s most secure prison and extract a prisoner for a larger than large sum of money. It’s dark, dangerous and filled with plots and schemes that might go wrong. It’s  a well written steampunk fantasy heist tale and I don’t know what took me so long to read it.

So here are six things about Six of Crows – spoiler free!

IMG_3604

The world itself is incredible.

Set in the same universe as the Grisha trilogy (you don’t have to read that series in order to read this one as they are totally separate), the novel explores the gritty Barrel and the lavish Ice Court, slowly forming Ketterdam as we dive into the various cultures Bardugo has created from the Shu to the Suli. It’s not lacklustre by any means; there’s knives, guns, magic, technology mashed together into something that is so attractive. It’s rich with culture and has an grimy vibe as we travel with this crew of misfits.

The characters are extraordinary and dimensional af.

“No mourners. No funerals. Among them, it passed for ‘good luck.”

The 400 page novel balances six characters, all with their own backstories and reasons for being a part of the heist. These characters, the Dregs, have left a hole in my heart because of just how incredible they are. They’re diverse, broken and mismatched and I love the balance they created with each other.

  • Kaz: The ringleader of the Dregs, a cold and calculating mastermind who is so tragically lovable. He’s covers his bets, is mysterious to even his own crew and is capable of incapacitating a person with a cane. Because you know, he has a limp and doesn’t let anyone take advance of him.
  • Inej: She’s the spider, the Wraith, a deadly acrobat who knows everything. She’s fierce in a quiet kind of way and ambitious.
    I also ship her really really hard with Kaz because yolo.
  • Nina: Oh my lord, this woman is my spirit animal. She’s a Grisha, loves food and is sassy af. She’s loyal to a fault, doesn’t like to be in debt to anyone and capable of making men drop to their knees (and not just because of her good looks).
    I would alternatively be shipping Inej with Nina because their relationship is so damn cute.
  • Matthias: He’s kind of like a brick wall with feelings. He’s basically helping these crows break into a place that is sacred to his culture and he’s not liking it. He’s extremely stubborn and doesn’t like to show said feelings. It’s hilarious.
  • Jesper: The comic relief, the dork who loves guns and has a slight gambling addiction.
  • Wylan: This precious baby is adorable as he tries to prove himself to the Dregs. He’s defiant, clever and sometimes forgotten because he hasn’t quite conformed to the crooked personas of his fellow crew members.

“Kaz leaned back. “What’s the easiest way to steal a man’s wallet?”
“Knife to the throat?” asked Inej.
“Gun to the back?” said Jesper.
“Poison in his cup?” suggested Nina.
“You’re all horrible,” said Matthias.”

The use of multiple perspectives allowed for a deeper and more mysterious plot.

Because we’re seeing things from six POVs, not everything will be interpreted the same. Different scenes had one or two characters telling the part and it was brilliant to see how the Big Job has unfolded for the six of them. It also allowed for their backstories to ease into the plot without much introduction; and while it was sometimes too much information at once, I loved that we got to see what made these characters so hard and despicable. While I would have liked more of Kaz’s perspective, but the novel had to balance them all and it worked well.

“The heart is an arrow. It demands aim to land true.”

IMG_2526

The heist itself is incredible and humourous.

I haven’t read a good heist book in a long time, especially one that involved magic. I liked living vicariously through these characters who could pull off such incredible feats and still hold a conversation while sassing each other. The plans and schemes formulated in order to succeed had my eyes glued to the page. I wanted to know everything. How can someone (Kaz, my child) be so clever to come up with such a complex plan and improvise when things go wrong? Ugh, I loved the manipulation, the cons, the gradual world-building as we follow the crew through the Ice Court. It’s a damn thrill.

“I’m a business man,” he’d told her. “No more, no less.”
“You’re a thief, Kaz.”
“Isn’t that what I just said?”

Bardugo’s writing is just so good, I could eat it.

It’s no lie – I enjoyed this series so much more than the Grisha trilogy. There is a depth to her writing that lacked in the her previous work. She’s clever with her words, quick with descriptions that paint a lasting image and has penned some impressive feats by these characters. There’s a richness to her words that I found exciting. The dialogue is also A+.

The book itself is the definition of epic fantasy.

I mean, it’s a heist book set in a Russian-inspired fantasy universe where a crew of thieves and assassins who are all sassy af are about to pull off their biggest stunt for a large enough sum to risk their lives. Why haven’t you read this already?

Rating

 

the literary casanova flowerthe literary casanova flowerthe literary casanova flowerthe literary casanova flowerthe literary casanova flower

Let’s chat!

Have you read Six of Crows? Do you like heist books? Who was your favourite character? Leave me a comment down below and we can discuss!

 

 

 

The Upside of Unrequited // Lots of diversity and a squishy romance

I finished this book at 2am on Tuesday morning with a warm heart and a wet face. I thought about whether it was a good idea to have read this on a night when I had university at 9am.

Turns out I didn’t really care. I have no regrets. The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli was absolutely brilliant.

Let’s talk about Molly Peskin-Suso.

Our main character is Molly, a chubby 17-year-old with a fraternal twin and two mums. She’s never had a boyfriend, never been kissed and has had a long ass list of crushes (26, I should add). When her twin, Cassie, falls in love, Molly finds herself in a situation where her other half is slowly orbiting around someone else and she is feeling alone. As any good sister would, Cassie is determined to hook Molly up with her girlfriend’s best friend, Will; but Molly’s new job at a Pinterest perfect store has her thinking about her geeky coworker, Reid. Molly’s inward struggle between following her sister’s guidance and what she’s feeling in her chest is a painfully accurate representation of relationships, rejection and being seventeen.

The coming-of-age elements within this novel are so realistic.

I liked the way Becky explains Molly’s thought process behind the crushes, capturing the fleeting yet exciting feeling perfectly. I also loved how Molly’s weight didn’t define her story (because why should it?), but it was brought up in fleeting moments when Molly’s insecurity was strong. It resonated with me so much, taking me back to a time in high school when I was worried about not being kissed and my body. Did people not like my body? Was I wrong to like mine? A lot of old memories bubbled up as Molly’s character developed into a more confident and thoughtful individual. Her story was so relatable – from needing to feel rejected, to being confident in your own skin, to feeling confused while everyone is moving on without her. I also liked the representation of anxiety in Molly, especially in regards to medication. There was never a moment when Molly was made to feel inferior because of her condition.

IMG_3559

The diversity is absolutely lovely.

The representation in this is amazing. There are so many queer and POCs and explanations on various sexualities, rounding the story into something unique and lovely. I loved Molly’s two mums, how her relationship with them was positive and open, the unconventional family dynamics that totally worked, and the bonds between the family members (including cousins and aunts). The relationships within the novel are realistic, hilarious and beautiful, especially Molly and Cassie’s sisterhood as it explores the bittersweet process of growing apart and losing that sibling closeness. I also loved the fact Molly is Jewish (because since when have I read a book with a Jewish protagonist?).

The writing is brilliant!

I adore the dialogue between the characters. It is so realistic and relatable. I also couldn’t take my eyes off the page. I devoured this book so easily because of the excellent writing.

The romances are so sweet and cute, I couldn’t handle it.

Cassie and Mina: Too cute that I was blushing. I loved how easily they complemented each other.

Molly and Reid: Um, they bond over cookie dough and Cadbury Mini Eggs. How is that not true love? I also liked their honesty with each other, and the subtle drops of adorable geeky things.

Nadine and Patty: Molly and Cassie’s mums have such a brilliant relationship. I loved their compassion, honesty and love for compound swear words.

Overall Thoughts

This is the cutest contemporary YA novel I’ve read so far. Extremely diverse and geeky, it accurately represents what it’s like to be seventeen and afraid of the world, but also the excitement in growing up and being confident. The romantic elements were so cute and I loved the emphasis on family.

Rating: 5/5!

the literary casanova flowerthe literary casanova flowerthe literary casanova flowerthe literary casanova flowerthe literary casanova flower