Absolutely Mindblowing // REVIEW: Lifel1k3 (Lifelike #1) by Jay Kristoff

Title: Lifel1k3 (Lifelike #1)
Author: Jay Kristoff
Publication Date: July 26th 2018
Publisher: Harper Voyager
Part of a Series?: Yes, Book 1/2 of the Lifelike Duology
I Got A Copy Through: HarperCollins India (THANK YOU!)
Buy Links: Amazon IN || Barnes and Noble || Wordery || Foyles || Waterstones || WHSmith || Books A Million || Chapters Indigo || Google Books
Blurb Description: It's just another day on the Scrap: lose the last of your credits at the WarDome, dodge the gangs and religious fanatics, discover you can destroy electronics with your mind, stumble upon the deadliest robot ever built...
When Eve finds the ruins of an android boy named Ezekiel in the scrap pile she calls home, her entire world comes crashing down. With her best friend and her robotic sidekick in tow, she and Ezekiel will trek across deserts of irradiated glass, battle cyborg assassins, and scour abandoned megacities to save the ones she loves...and learn the dark secrets of her past.
There’s this certain fear you feel, going into a book by Jay Kristoff, because he has this undeniable talent to make you FALL FOR and truly GET INVESTED in the lives of the characters on his pages, and then in just a SNAP, kills them off, leaving you reeling and heartbroken.

Of course, books that break me are also my favourite kind of books to read, so here we are. I finished reading this book MORE THAN A WEEK AGO and I’m only now sitting down to write my review because WHAT EVEN WAS THAT BOOK AND WILL SOMEONE PLEASE HAND ME THE NEXT ONE, THANKS.


1.       THE CHARACTERS, ALL THREE CATEGORIES OF ROBOT INCLUDED: I mean, HOLY CRAP. I loved Evie and Ezekiel and Lemon Fresh and Kasier and Cricket and JUST ABOUT EVERYONE ELSE. EVEN THE BAD GUYS. Well, maybe not the bounty hunter, but I DID love all the Lifelikes. I also loved the PURE SASS that each and every one of them had, especially Evie, calling Ezekiel ‘Brain trauma’ and each time they got into a bad situation, which was the whole book, really, how they would STILL BE SASSING EACH OTHER OUT WHILE KILLING BAD GUYS. 

2.       THE PLOT TWISTS: I mean, someone hold me, because there were plot twists inside plot twists and essentially, everything we learnt turns out to be a LIE and I honestly cannot wait to see what Lifelike 2 is all about because the plotting in this book was ALL OUT GENIUS and I never saw THREE QUARTERS OF IT COMING. *Still reels from all the shock*

3.       THE COVER: The more I read in the book, the more I realised the significance of the (UK) cover to it all. It’s just SUCH A GORGEOUS COVER AND I CANNOT STOP STARING.

4.       Ezekiel: I love LOVE this Lifelike in particular. I love the way he fight, his power, his determination and his loyalty. It was just such a pleasure, getting to know him and also unravel all his lies as the book went on. I LOVE THE MORALLY GREY NATURE OF ESSENTIALLY EVERY CHARACTER IN THIS BOOK. They’re all so messed up, and it felt so real and human and I loved it.

5.       MACHINE VS HUMAN: I loved the debate this book strung, through the Lifelikes, about how ‘human’ machines are. It was such a heart wrenching thing that I honestly didn’t expect. It made me see this book (and AIDAN, from Illuminae, TBH) in a completely different light.

WOULD I RECOMMEND THIS BOOK? Without a doubt. Lifelike was a crazy, brilliant marvel of a book that has twists within its biggest plot twists, robots that seem human, kraken, bounty hunters, girls with the power to bring down machines with their minds and flying houses. It honestly doesn’t get better than this post-apocalyptic MASTERPIECE and I will NEVER STOP RECOMMENDING IT.

Jay Kristoff
Jay Kristoff is the #1 international, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of THE NEVERNIGHT CHRONICLE, THE ILLUMINAE FILES, LIFELIKE and THE LOTUS WAR. He is the winner of five Aurealis Awards, an ABIA, has over half a million books in print and is published in over thirty five countries, most of which he has never visited. He is as surprised about all of this as you are. He is 6’7 and has approximately 12,000 days to live. 

He does not believe in happy endings.

Which book of his is your favourite?
Have you read Lifelike? What do YOU think of it?

BLOG TOUR: Two Dark Reigns by Kendare Blake - Review & Giveaway

Hello, and WELCOME to my stop on the Two Dark Reigns Blog Tour! I've been an ardent follower of the Three Dark Crowns series since the first book released and I was SO honoured when I got picked to be on this blog tour, hosted by Jean Book Nerd. 

Title: Two Dark Reigns (Three Dark Crowns #3)
Author: Kendare Blake
Publication Date: September 4th 2018
Publisher: HarperTeen
Part of a Series?: Yes, Book 3/4 of the Three Dark Crowns Series
I Got A Copy Through: JeanBookNerd (THANK YOU!)
Blurb Description: #1 New York Times bestselling author Kendare Blake returns with the highly anticipated third book in the Three Dark Crowns series!
Katharine sits on the throne, Mirabella and Arsinoe are in hiding, and an unexpected renegade is about to wage a war of her own. The crown has been won, but these queens are far from done.
“Tragic, devastating, horrifying, enthralling.” ―Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
★ “Blake’s already pitch-dark tale shades even darker. Exquisitely restrained prose, deliberate pacing, paying off in a tumultuous climax that piles one shocking twist upon another. Achingly gorgeous and gruesomely fascinating.” ―Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“This sequel to Three Dark Crowns loses none of that book’s momentum, powering toward a conclusion that leaves several doors open. With wonderfully drawn characters and a lethal, unpredictable plot, this follow-up will leave readers breathless as the queens’ fates unfold.” ―ALA Booklist

I always find it hard, going back into the Three Dark Crowns world. There have always been so many main characters and secondary characters and they keep growing with each book and well, I’M ONLY HUMAN, OKAY?

What I mean to say is that it’s hard to remember all the character and all of their interconnecting stories without forgetting a few details with a year or so in between installments and well, it took me a while to really get into the book.

Related imageMY THOUGHTS:

1.       Two Dark Reigns is probably my FAVOURITE book in the series so far. While it started off with very fast chapters that kept me from connecting with all of the characters who landed up in so many different places at the end of Book 2, it ended in this COMPLETELY UNPREDICTABLE way and I absolutely loved it.

2.       I quite liked the way all three queens – and Jules – grew in this book. I had slight issues with One Dark Throne in that I didn’t feel like anyone was REALLY in danger, and that the characters were going back and forth on the same tangents. I especially loved Katharine, who came into her role as queen and Arsinoe, who finally found her sense of duty and country (or island, in this case.)

3.       I really liked that what happened to Katharine was properly explained in this book. I didn’t understand it for all of book two, but I’m quite glad that it was better explained now. I loved Pietyr and Katharine’s relationship as well. It’s kind of adorable.

4.       I loved how the Island and the queens of the past played such a big role in Two Dark Reigns. I loved the visions Arsinoe had of Illian, the Blue Queen and Daphne and IT WAS ALL JUST SO INTRIGUING AND I LOVED IT.

Image result for two dark reigns kendare blake
5.       I quite liked Billy in this book, with his unwavering loyalty. He always seemed fickle to me in the previous two instalments and I didn’t think much of him until Two Dark Reigns. I love that we got to see the ‘human’ world in this book with all of its ‘rules’ and I love that Arsinoe rebelled against the convention of what it meant to be ‘proper’ here.

6.       I started off this series with Jules being my favourite character, that I thought deserved to be queen, but I LOVE THAT ALL THE CHARACTERS HAVE GROWN SO MUCH AND NOW I DON’T KNOW WHO WILL SIT ON THE THRONE AT THE END OF THE DAY? I’m loving the intrigue, though!

Would I recommend this series? OF COURSE! YA Fantasy is my favourite genre and this series has really managed to surprise me, Two Dark Reigns in particular. 

Kendare Blake is the author of several novels and short stories, most of which you can find information about via the links above. Her work is sort of dark, always violent, and features passages describing food from when she writes while hungry. She was born in July (for those of you doing book reports) in Seoul, South Korea, but doesn’t speak a lick of Korean, as she was packed off at a very early age to her adoptive parents in the United States. That might be just an excuse, though, as she is pretty bad at learning foreign languages. She enjoys the work of Milan Kundera, Caitlin R Kiernan, Bret Easton Ellis, Richard Linklater, and the late, great Michael Jackson, I mean, come on, he gave us Thriller.

She lives and writes in Kent, Washington, with her husband, their cat son Tyrion Cattister, red Doberman dog son Obi-Dog Kenobi, rottie mix dog daughter Agent Scully, and naked sphynx cat son Armpit McGee.

--Giveaway is open to International. | Must be 13+ to Enter

2 Winners will receive a Copy of I Winner will receive a Copy of TWO DARK REIGNS by Kendare Blake.
- 1 Winner will receive a $25.00 Amazon/PayPal Gift Card.

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A Brilliantly Plotted Thriller // REVIEW: Small Spaces by Sarah Epstein

Title: Small Spaces
Author: Sarah Epstein
Publication Date: April 1st 2018
Publisher: Walker Books
Part of a Series?: No, A Standalone
I Got A Copy Through: Penguin India
Buy Links: Amazon IN || Wordery || Foyles || Waterstones || WHSmith
Blurb Description: We don’t pick and choose what to be afraid of. Our fears pick us.
Tash Carmody has been traumatised since childhood, when she witnessed her gruesome imaginary friend Sparrow lure young Mallory Fisher away from a carnival. At the time nobody believed Tash, and she has since come to accept that Sparrow wasn’t real. Now fifteen and mute, Mallory’s never spoken about the week she went missing. 
As disturbing memories resurface, Tash starts to see Sparrow again. And she realises Mallory is the key to unlocking the truth about a dark secret connecting them. Does Sparrow exist after all? Or is Tash more dangerous to others than she thinks?
I’m not the BIGGEST fan of thrillers. I mean, I like them ENOUGH but they’re not necessarily the first genre I would pick off the shelf to buy in a bookstore, if you know what I mean.

I guess I’m just either really good at predicting thriller novels, or they somehow manage to not be the ‘most shocking book of the year’ they promise to be, and I’m left disappointed either way.

Once in a while, however, this rare thriller novel comes along that BLOWS MY MIND. The last thriller I loved was I Let You Go by Claire Makintosh, which I read all the way back in May (which is saying something) and then I picked up Small Spaces, Sarah Epstein’s debut novel.


- HOLY WOW YOU GUYS. I don’t think I’ve EVER been this addicted to a thriller novel before. It felt real, and the fear and the WHAT IS GOING ON element was beautifully created. The plot was very intriguing, but not superfluous and most of all, the characters were all well developed.

- I really liked the main character, Natasha. I loved her determination to prove herself and make her I LOVED her relationship with her baby brother – it was the most adorable thing ever. She was brave and I truly appreciated her willing to go back and keep facing her fears.
way out of home.
- I like the way the story was told in Small Spaces. With a ‘Then’ and ‘Now’ format, through Natasha’s narration, news clippings and interviews with her psychiatrist over the years, as she grew up. It all made the questions of ‘What really happened to Mallory Fisher?’ and ‘What had happened to Natasha all those summers ago?’ so much more interesting.

- The one thing I couldn’t like about this book was Natasha’s mother. She REALLY ANNOYED me to no extent in never believing, trusting or even being kind to her daughter. She actually told her “I can’t keep putting up with your lies. I’m tired” without ever having giving her the benefit of the doubt.

- I quite liked Morgan Fisher, Mallory’s brother. He was cute and trustworthy, and I would ABSOLUTELY LOVE TO READ ANOTHER BOOK WITH BOTH TASH AND MORGAN.

- Once again, and I HAVE to mention this, but the INTRIGUE and the actual THRILL of the book was so well done.

Would I recommend this book? HECK YES. Even if you’re not a fan of thriller books like me, Small Spaces was a GREAT read in the genre. PICK IT UP! 4 stars. 
Sarah   Epstein
Sarah Epstein's debut YA novel, SMALL SPACES, is out now. 

When she’s not busy drafting novels, you can find Sarah designing, illustrating, crafting, and occasionally sleeping in Melbourne, Australia, where she lives with her husband, two sons, and a pooch called Luna. 

What are some of your absolute favourite thriller novels?
I'm always looking for great ones!

ARC Review: Are We All Lemmings and Snowflakes? by Holly Bourne

Title: Are We All Lemmings and Snowflakes?
Author: Holly Bourne
Publication Date: August 9th 2018
Publisher: Usborne Publishing Ltd
Part of a Series?: No, A Standalone
I Got A Copy Through: Usborne (THANK YOU!)
Buy Links: Amazon || Wordery || Foyles || Waterstones || WHSmith || Google Books
Blurb Description: Welcome to Camp Reset, a summer camp with a difference. A place offering a shot at “normality” for Olive, a girl on the edge, and for the new friends she never expected to make – who each have their own reasons for being there. Luckily Olive has a plan to solve all their problems. But how do you fix the world when you can’t fix yourself?
A raw and compelling exploration of mental health, friendship and the power of compassion from the acclaimed Holly Bourne.
“In order to think you’re crazy, I’d have to understand what sanity actually meant.”

Holly Bourne’s books are these brilliant, feel good books, that manage to make a point and drive it home, all while being accepting and understanding. It finds the fine line between entertainment and real; it really explains and breaks barriers when it comes to mental health, and even though I’m currently at the end of my teens, her books are one I’ll probably reading for years to come.

I didn’t know what to expect, going into Are We All Lemmings and Snowflakes. I loved her previous YA book that dealt with mental health, Am I Normal Yet? And I HOPED that this one would be as good with all my heart.


1.       I REALLY LOVED THE ACCEPTANCE AND THE INCLUSION THAT THIS BOOK MADE ABUNDANTLY CLEAR. I love that everybody with different mental health illnesses accepted each other, and were all working towards getting better. I loved Camp Reset and the fact that there were alpacas present. I also loved that Holly Bourne put to like different kinds of mental health illnesses that people have, and showed us that each individual person learns to accept it and get better differently. IT’S HONESTLY SO HARD TO DESCRIBE, BUT IT WAS ALL VERY WELL DONE.

2.       Holly Bourne’s writing was stunning, and easy to read. She is telling a story but makes it, and her characters, feel so lifelike. I was so invested in the story that I found it very hard to put the book down and read the 400+ page monster in two days.
3.       Lewis, another Camp Reset resident, was AN ABSOLUTE SNOWFLAKE (All reference to the title intended) and I fell in love with him. I loved his enthusiasm, naivety, genuineness, but most of all, his adorable belief that Math could save the world. I was obsessed a few years ago with a show called Numbers that used algorithms and other complicated math to solve crimes and I LOVED THIS SO MUCH.

4.       If I had to pick my favourite thing about the book, it’s would be how the story led up to the #KindnessIsContagious revelation and ALSO, the implication and implementation of it all. I think it’s SO IMPORTANT to be kind, and it’s very easy to just skip past that in the hectic nature of our everyday lives. This book made me want to challenge myself to do at least one kind act a day and well, it honestly became a must-read for me.

5.       I don’t know how I feel about Olive, till date. I liked her and I also didn’t like her. She was the one confusing part of this book, but I suppose she was meant to be. I did like that she didn’t let labels define her at all, but other than that, she’s very confusing to me.

WOULD I RECOMMEND THIS BOOK? Definitely. Are We All Lemmings and Snowflakes? is a BRILLIANT READ, that makes you sit down and think about WHAT WE CAN DO to help people in general and it was such a satisfying book to read. 4 stars. 
Holly BourneHolly started her writing career as a news journalist, where she was nominated for Best Print Journalist of the Year. She then spent six years working as an editor, a relationship advisor, and general ‘agony aunt’ for a youth charity – helping young people with their relationships and mental health. 

Inspired by what she saw, she started writing teen fiction, including the best-selling, award-winning ‘Spinster Club’ series which helps educate teenagers about feminism. When she turned thirty, Holly wrote her first adult novel, 'How Do You Like Me Now?', examining the intensified pressures on women once they hit that landmark.

Alongside her writing, Holly has a keen interest in women’s rights and is an advocate for reducing the stigma of mental health problems. She’s helped create online apps that teach young people about sexual consent, works with Women’s Aid to spread awareness of abusive relationships, and runs Rethink’s mental health book club.
What are some of your favourite books that deal with mental health?
Have you read any Holly Bourne books? What do you think of them?
I'd love to hear from you!