Diary of a Confused Feminist – Kate Weston

51015103._SY475_15-year-old Kat wants to be a good feminist. But she also worries about not having a boyfriend, being left out by her friends, not being popular or pretty enough – does this make her a bad feminist? When all these pressures pile on and everything starts to get too much, sometimes the only way forward is to ask for help.

Diary of a Confused Feminist is a lot like a new Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging (the top teen drama series from when I was at school, to those who aren’t aware). It was a very similar witty and lovable-but-embarrassing main character, the same friendship dramas and boyfriend angst, and the same embarrassing-but-caring family dynamic. With all these key features, it’s funny and relatable, but just not as good.

The author has done a very good job of outlining the way people think about feminism vs what it’s really about, and also (I think) in dealing with issues of mental health and its perception. However, the feminism aspect in particular was very repetitive, with whole sections of Kat stressing about the same points over and over rather than the plot progressing forward.

This was a highly entertaining and cringe-worthy book, with sweet friendships and important life lessons. It’s definitely the kind of book I would recommend to teenagers, but certainly not above Louise Rennison’s Confessions of Georgia Nicolson series.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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Magic For Liars – Sarah Gailey

34594037._SY475_When Ivy Gamble is hired to investigate a suspicious death at the magic school her sister teaches at, she gets drawn in by much more than the case. The longer she spends at the academy, the more she begins to lose herself in a life she’d convinced herself she never wanted. All the while, a killer is on campus and it’s up to her to find out who it is.

Magic for Liars is a good book, but a teeny bit too “YA” for me. The detective aspect of the novel felt really unrealistic (yes, I realise this is a fantasy novel and therefore not super realistic generally, but the crime/detective element could definitely have been based more on reality). It seemed very unlikely that a real detective would have gone about the investigation the way that Ivy did, and it felt like a very “teen” mystery, despite the main character being a grown woman and the murder itself being pretty grisly.

That being said, I did find Ivy kind of juvenile (so maybe it made sense for her to carry out her investigation in the way that she did) and irritating. She was there to investigate a serious crime, but spent most of her time over-analysing her relationship with her sister, starting up a romance with a teacher at the academy (also, a potential suspect) and carrying around a massive chip on her shoulder re not having magical abilities. She was unprofessional and kind of tedious.

Other than that, I actually really enjoyed the story and the way it was written. The writing style was very easy to follow and the plot wasn’t particularly complex, but was quite gripping nonetheless.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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Are You Watching? – Vincent Ralph

49756844._SY475_*Teeny tiny spoiler alert*

Ten years ago, Jess’s mother was murdered by the Magpie Man. She was his first victim, with many more to follow and he still hasn’t been caught. Determined to get justice for her mother and catch the killer, Jess enters a YouTube reality series in an attempt to draw him out. Is he watching?

I didn’t find the premise of this book very believable. Social media and vlogging is a huge part of everyday life nowadays, so it makes sense to incorporate this into the story, but I honestly don’t know anyone who watches YouTube TV like the kind featured in this book. So, I chose to just accept and embrace this element of the story, but still came up with significant flaws to the plot. Firstly, it’s incredibly convenient that the Magpie Man was indeed watching Jess’s show, despite the fact that it wasn’t in the news or anything to begin with. And maybe it’s not all that surprising that he was, but Jess’s confidence that he would was kind of weird. Secondly (sorry, small spoiler here), the killer could have been literally anyone. He murdered women in different locations and was never caught by the police. What are the chances that he turns out to be someone Jess knows? I mean, COME ON.

Anyway, if you can get past these frankly lazy plot features, Are You Watching? is a decent murder mystery for the modern era. It’s fast-paced and thrilling, while also managing to deal quite effectively with grief and internet fame.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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The Ninth Sorceress – Bonnie Wynne

48481720._SY475_Gwyn knows nothing about her family or where she came from. So, she cannot fathom why she’s now being hunted by the goddess Beheret and tracked by wizards. Even more shocking is the discovery that she herself is a wizard. Now, in order to protect herself, she must learn how to use the magic that terrifies her and embrace a destiny she could never have imagined.

The writing style is very suited to the fantasy genre, with detailed descriptions and solid world-building.

I enjoyed the characters. Gwyn is a very strong heroine; not an automatic figurehead of a revolution or anything like that, but a scared teenager forced into a situation where she’s out of her depth but chooses to fight anyway. This is a much more believable scenario than what we’re usually given in YA fantasy novels with a female lead. The other characters were also very good. My favourites were Faolan and Lucian, who are very different but contribute a lot to Gwyn’s adventure.

I was totally immersed in this story. The plot is imaginative and intriguing, and I was particularly interested in the interlude chapters set in the ‘present’. I can’t wait for the next book.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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The Unadjusteds – Marisa Noelle

48874066._SY475_.jpgSilver Melody is an Unadjusted, in a world where 80% of the population has altered their DNA to gain special abilities and enhancements like wings, horns, strength or intelligence. Despite her parents being the creators of the pills used to deliver these genetic alterations, Silver doesn’t agree with what they’ve done and is proud of her unadjusted state. But then, when President Bear announces that all unadjusteds must take a pill, Silver flees to a hidden resistance camp, where she will play a key role in taking a stand against President Bear and his altered army.

The Unadjusteds is an action-packed story with a fast-paced plot. There is very little background information or world-building; instead, we are thrown straight into the action, with Silver fleeing the city within the first few chapters.

The pacing of this book left very little time for much character development, which was kind of a shame. There’s a significant romantic aspect (this is YA, after all) but it plays out in a slightly random love-triangle with next-to-no build up which felt a bit flat and unconvincing. I didn’t find this book particularly immersive, but at least it wasn’t boring.

Marisa Noelle has come up with a fantastic concept, exploring the problematic nature of a genetically modified humanity, and her writing style is good – very readable. I enjoyed The Unadjusteds, but I do think it could have been better.

I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

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The Sky Weaver – Kristen Ciccarelli

43905500.jpgAt the end of one world, there always lies another.

Safire, a soldier, knows her role in this world is to serve the King of Firgaard-helping to maintain the peace in her oft-troubled nation.

Eris, a deadly pirate, has no such conviction. Known as The Death Dancer for her ability to evade even the most determined of pursuers, she possesses a superhuman ability to move between worlds.

When one can roam from dimension to dimension, can one ever be home? Can love and loyalty truly exist?

Then Safire and Eris-sworn enemies-find themselves on a common mission: to find Asha, the last Namsara.

From the port city of Darmoor to the fabled faraway Sky Isles, their search and their stories become threaded ever more tightly together as they discover the uncertain fate they’re hurtling towards may just be a shared one. In this world, and the next.


The Sky Weaver is a standalone novel set in the world of The Last Namsara. It can definitely be read without having read the previous two books, but it does contain some of the same characters and I would recommend reading them for context and world-building purposes.

As can be expected from this series at this point, there are some fantastic, strong female characters. This one focuses of Safire (whom we met in Book #2) but is also told from the point-of-view of Eris, who is an equally interesting character.

One of my favourite things about this book (and the entire series) is the use of mythology. The world of the Iskari is built on fully developed mythologies and cultures, which we are given in intermittent mini-chapters in between the main story chapters. This helps to give the story a very fairy-tale feeling and really adds to the already excellent world-building, which is a really important feature of good high fantasy.

I don’t want to give anything away, but I will say that I enjoyed the romance in this book. Enemies-to-lovers is often a frustrating trope and can be difficult to pull off, but Ciccarelli did a good job of creating a dynamic and well balanced relationship between the two women, and it was lovely to read.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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Relic – Bronwyn Eley

46218744._SY475_The Shadow is the personal servant of the powerful Lord Rennard and being the Shadow means certain death, because Rennard possesses one of the rare and extremely dangerous Relics, which slowly poison everyone else in its proximity. When blacksmith Kaylan is summoned to be the new Shadow, she understands that her life is forfeit. What she doesn’t expect is to uncover a plot to overthrow the ruling powers and destroy the bloodlines in possession of the relics.

Ultimately, Relic is a strong debut with a really good fantasy story-line. However, it took too long to really get going for me and could have benefited from a bit more explanation. I loved the idea of the relics and the shadow system, but I would have liked for the whole thing to be explained in more detail, earlier on. I guess the idea was to keep an element of mystery and intrigue surrounding the relics and their true power, but this wasn’t really necessary. The plot should have been strong enough to carry itself without keeping things vague to up the intrigue.

This book also could have benefited from a faster pace. The events laid out in the blurb take almost half the book to actually play out, which made a lot of it very predictable and lacklustre.

That being said, I thought that the world-building was excellent, and the city of Edriast was easy to picture as well as being a brilliant setting. Also, because so much of the story focuses on Kaylan’s daily life, we get to see some really great character development and it was a nice touch to have a main character in a fantasy-rebellion novel who didn’t immediately leap onto the side of the rebels and inexplicably become their leader and figurehead.

I would definitely recommend Relic to fantasy fans who appreciate a strong character focus and aren’t too fussed about seeing much action.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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Reign of Mist – Helen Scheuerer

39216289.jpgIn book #2 of The Oremere Chronicles, it is all kicking off. As more people learn the truth behind the deadly mist and King Arden’s treachery, war is brewing. Scattered across continents, Bleak and her friends are forced to choose sides, forge their own alliances and prepare themselves for the battles ahead.

I adored book #1 in this series, Heart of Mist, so I was really excited to get straight on with reading book #2. It didn’t disappoint.

At the start of the book, all our main players are separated and spread out across the continents. This meant there were a few different threads to follow simultaneously. Initially, I was concerned that this would make the story too complicated (and one of my favourite things about this series has been the relationships between characters, so splitting them up was not so good), but fortunately the whole gang was reunited fairly quickly and all my concerns were dispelled.

The plot progresses much quicker in this book. There are a lot of characters to follow and a lot of politics to cover, but none of it felt rushed or lacking in detail. The pacing was pretty much spot on to keep the story moving and maintain excitement. The story really comes to life through Scheuerer’s brilliant writing, fantastic characters and strong world-building.

I haven’t enjoyed a YA fantasy series this much in so long.

I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

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Heart of Mist – Helen Scheuerer

34865933All Bleak wants is a cure for her power. The ability to hear the thoughts of others may seem like a gift, but when the only way to drown it out is through copious amounts of alcohol, it’s more of a curse. Despite never telling anyone of her abilities, Bleak is suddenly snatched from her home by the King’s Army and summoned to the capital. But the journey doesn’t quite go according to plan as Bleak is rescued by the queen of a nation if female warriors, the Valian Kindred. Saved from one form of captivity and pulled straight into another, Bleak finds herself right in the middle of a power-struggle, with a much bigger role than she ever could have anticipated.

It’s really difficult to guess which YA/New Adult Fantasy books are going to be good, and which are going to be mediocre. As a serious fantasy lover, I haven’t come across many that I thought were bad, but truly great ones are few and far between. Heart of Mist is one of them. I absolutely loved it, from cover to cover.

I pretty much loved every character. Bleak was probably my least favourite, but she’s got tough competition and, with the full cast supporting her, she’s a fantastic protagonist. I adored Fiore from the moment we meet him and thought he would be my instant favourite, but then we were introduced to the Valians and suddenly everyone was my favourite. Even Swinton really grew on me as the story progressed.

The plot is fairly slow paced, but because the characters were so fantastic and I know there’s more to come in the series, I was totally fine with the pacing. The story has a good amount of depth to it, with the main story line being backed up by a couple of mysteries which I’m really looking forward to finding out more about.

I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

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William Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Mean Girls – Ian Doescher

42060068.jpgMean Girls, in the style of Shakespeare. What’s not to love?

“On Wednesdays, we array ourselves in pink!”

I’ll admit I’m not actually familiar with Shakespeare. I know his work, I’ve seen some of the film-adaptations, but I’ve never actually read one of his plays. However, I am vaguely familiar with the general Shakespearean style, and I know Mean Girls almost word-for-word. This meant I found this book really easy to read, and I would definitely recommend it to other readers who might know the film better than they know the bard.

This book is hilarious. It is the movie, in it’s entirety, re-written into a Shakespearean play, complete with stage directions and iambic pentameter. I really, really enjoyed seeing how the most iconic lines were going to appear: “Say, is thy muffin butter’d well? Shall I find a helpful volunteer, Who would most gladly butter up thy muffin?” 

It’s really well done, with references to original Shakespeare scattered throughout, while staying completely true to the movie. The illustrations and pretty pages separating each act were a nice touch. Such a fun read – 10/10.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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