Book Review: If I Was Your Girl

Rating: ★★★★

“I’m not brave,” I said, smiling despite myself. “Bravery implies I had a choice. I’m just me, you know?”

Amanda is the new girl in school and she’s trying to keep a big secret. Amanda is transgender and moves to Tennessee in hopes of keeping her head down and getting through high school. Soon she makes friends and meets Grant.

If I Was Your Girl was such a charming read. I really enjoyed it. The plot, characters and hilarious sense of humour just made this a really great book. I really loved how the narrative jumps between real-time events and Amanda’s childhood. It added great suspense and was equally heart-breaking. (don’t want to spoil but my heart broke at the diary scene)

I’m not a huge romance reader, which is why I put this book off for so long, and while their romance came across generic, I found it so sweet. Maybe my cynical self needed some adorable picnic dates and cute film dates. They were so lovable and dorky together that I didn’t care it cheesy. I also may or may not had become a mushy mess on the train when I read the Halloween scenes. (Spoiler: Grant goes as Boba Fett and Amanda dresses herself as Leia. IT’S SO CUTE I DIED)

What I really enjoyed was the happy ending. In our media, TV, films and novels, there are so many characters who are LGBT+ and are constantly killed off for shock factor. I know it seems like a spoiler but I do see this book advertised like this, Amanda gets a happy ending, despite everything that happens, Amanda’s happy and alive.

Overall, I admired this book. The biggest issue I could think of was pacing in certain scenes but I definitely recommend this to anyone and add this to your TBR if you haven’t! (Also, I loved the separate author’s note Russo adds at the end: one for her cis readers and one for her trans readers.)

I should note while it’s wonderful that anyone reads my reviews at all, but I should remind you if you don’t know: this is a story about a trans girl written by a trans woman and I am a cis reader. This obviously means my perspective is limited and I will point you all towards reviews written by trans writers. (edit: i thought I bookmarked them but it appears I didn’t so once I find them I’ll link them up)


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Book Review: Girl Out of Water

Rating: ★★★★☆

In Girl Out of Water, Anise Sawyer finds her final summer before college interrupted when her aunt is in a devastating car accident, which forces her and her dad to make their way to Nebraska to take care of her cousins. Stuck in the triply landlocked state, with three restless cousins, Anise discovers the local skate park and also the charming, one-armed, Lincoln, where she swaps her surfboard for a skateboard.

As someone who isn’t a big YA contemporary reader, I really enjoyed Girl Out of Water. I don’t really know how to describe it. But it was quite peaceful, in comparison, to the other books I’ve been reading. What we have is a heart-warming coming of age novel. Anise thinks she has it all sorted out, but when everything slowly falls apart, she has to take a step back. The more time she spends away from Santa Cruz, away from the sea and her friends, the more she starts to worry that she will become like her mother, who disappears for months on end. Girl Out of Water is Anise realising that, essentially, change has to come and that she doesn’t have to forget the friends she loves and the memories she has in order to make new ones. So the plot isn’t overly dramatic, but it is well-developed. Silverman’s characters were witty, hilarious and diverse. The punchy dialogue and style of writing really reminds me of Nicola Yoon’s Everything, Everything

Girl Out of Water is a story of first love, relationships, loss and change. I have no doubt that this will top the bestseller lists once it’s released. Its decent plot and cast of fun characters makes me excited to see what else Laura Silverman will publish in the future.


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Book Review: On the Other Side

Rating: ★★★☆☆

In my review of All I Know Now, I mentioned that I was hopeful that Carrie’s fictional debut would be much better than her first book. But I think I preferred All I Know Now to On the Other Side. As a debut, it’s a decent read, but, overall, it was tedious and quite dull.

What I liked the best was the concept of the novel. On the Other Side follows the life of Evie Snow, going on a journey in the afterlife to revisit her past moments in life in order to get rid of her personal baggage and allow her entrance into her own personal Heaven. She must confront three secrets which she had kept and the book is split into three sections for each secret. But that’s where any positivity from me stops.While the whole book wasn’t terrible, there were so many moments and parts that I didn’t like so, looking back on it as I write this, what I didn’t like is a considerable amount of the book.

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Book Review: Throne of Glass (Throne of Glass #1) 

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Rating: ★★★☆☆

Celaena Sardothien, previously Assassin of Adarlan, is retrieved from a prison camp by Captain Chaol Westfall, to represent Crown Prince Dorian in a tournament devised by his father  to find a Royal Champion. If she succeeds, Celaena will be the king’s personal assassin for 4 years before being pardoned and freed. But there is something evil lurking in the kingdom, that Celaena must destroy…

Throne of Glass has a lot going for it. I quite enjoyed it, at the first. It was action-packed and mysterious. The world the Maas has created was what got my most attention. There’s so much magic that’s trapped and potential is what’s really holding my interest. It will be interesting to see how Celaena, Dorian and Chaol navigate this world. Despite being caught into, what seems like, an unfortunate love triangle. But I have to admit, this one has my attention, mainly because I wasn’t sure who Celaena would go for. Both men were on an equal footing and there was no annoying “oh you can obviously tell who she’ll pick in the end,” at the very beginning. But it wasn’t enough to change my opinion on Love Triangles. It was nice to see her interact with anyone, mainly because she’s so snarky and funny. (If I was stuck in a mine for a year, I would definitely eat all the chocolate cake I could possibly find) Nehemia was a favourite of mine. She starts off quite mysterious and her devotion was so understanding. You can feel her rage when her people are at stake and she can’t do anything about it.

On the flip side, it also has a few tropes that I usually make me want to yawn. And the lack of focus on the actual tests that Celaena has to go through was disappointing. That’s probably my own fault because that was where I wanted the story the to focus on while the love triangle tends to butt in one too many times for me.


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Book Review: We Awaken

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Rating: ★★★★☆

We Awaken is a very quiet story compared to the very dramatic book description. Since her father died in a car accident and her brother in a coma from the same accident, Victoria Dinham lives only for dance and is holding on to being accepted into the Manhattan Dance Conservatory. Until one night, in her dreams, she counters a girl who holds a message from her brother. Higher stakes and a fuller plot would’ve definitely given this five stars.

We Awaken is sweet and happy. And that’s what I loved about it. Lynn creates this romance that is so cute and adorable between Victoria and Ashlinn. We Awaken is a mix of fantasy and magic in the real world. While I thought the beginning was a bit off once I hit the halfway mark, I was hooked and rooting for Victoria for the rest of the way. It’s much more character-driven so I can tell some people may be disappointed with the lack of explanation of the magic in this but the journey of these two girls is so magical and amazing. They help each other in so many ways. Ashlinn helps Victoria understand her sexuality, who later comes out as Asexual. The representation the book gives which allows younger readers to understand more about it within the comforts of a book makes this book even more important. Victoria learns that nobody but her can decide who she is, and she doesn’t need to explain her choices to anyone.

We Awaken is the kind of book that you easily read in one sitting. And in that one sitting, you read a novel that is dreamlike and enjoyable.


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Book Review:Poisonous Touch (Secrets of the Eternal Rose #2) by Fiona Paul

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you can find the book at:
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Author’s website

my review:
Rating: ★★☆☆☆

*Copy given to me by Paper Lantern Lit in return for a honest review*

In the sequel to Venomous Kiss, Cass finds herself on a dangerous journey to Florence after her fiancée, Lucas, is arrested on suspicion of heresy. The city of Florence is haunted by rumours of vampires and, on a daily basis, people are executed. Cass reunites with Falco and, together, they attempt to find the truth behind Lucas’s arrest by looking into the Order of the Eternal Rose and its eerie leader who happens to be Falco’s benefactor.

One word? Disappointed.
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Book Review: Venomous Kiss (Secrets of the Eternal Rose #1) by Fiona Paul

15835213you can find the book at:
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Amazon
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Author’s website

my review:
Rating: ★★★☆☆

Set in Renaissance Venice, Venomous Kiss is a world of secret meetups in graveyards, courtesans, and hidden societies. When Cass finds out that her friend’s dead body was stolen, she’s pushed into this whole new world, alongside a young painter, in search of the truth.

I was really excited read this book. I mean, a murder mystery set in Venice with masquerade balls and hidden secrets. Everything about this books screamed amazing at the first look. But the premise is much better than its execution. The dialogue and pacing was enough to not drop this book. The depiction of Venice was what I liked the most. A city that appears gorgeous but underneath it all, there is plenty of squalor buried deep within. But everything else was simply boring, in my opinion.

So what went wrong?

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Book Review: The Fire Sermon by Francesca Haig

9780007563081you can find the book at:

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my review:

Rating:  ★★★★☆

In a post-apocalyptic world, the human race was on the brink of extinction and those who survived promised not to make the mistakes of the past. But the effects of such changes lingers on, thousands of years after the Blast.

In the After, post-blast time, there are no single children, only twins. One Alpha and one Omega. One boy and one girl. One perfect while the other is flawed. Usually, the Omegas are easily identifiable, missing limbs, sights etc etc, and when spotted they are thrown out of their society while their Alpha counterpart takes his or hers place in society.  Despite the difference, the twins are linked – one can’t be alive without the other also breathing. Certain Alphas, worried for their own well being, have their Omegas taken from their own societies and trapped for their own protection.

However, with Cass and Zach, the difference between them is much less distinct. Neither have any sort of impairment. Technically, they’re flawless. But Cass has a secret, and Zach knows the secret. A secret that could destroy them.

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Book Review: How I Found You by Gabriella Lepore

you can find the book at:

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my review:

Rating: ★★★☆☆

Sixteen-year-old Rose comes to the sleepy village of Millwood to spend her summer holiday with her aunt and uncle while her parents work in Africa. For Rose, she’s expecting the same quiet summer as she always so it’s surprise when two brothers suddenly showed up and make themselves comfortable in her family home, and no questions asked from her other family members.

I’ve heard good things about Lepore so I read this book with good thoughts, and I certainly wasn’t disappointed yet there were a couple of flaws. I really enjoyed her new take on witches and the plot was a great combination of intense moments, an evil prophecy, and a continuous threat of a supernatural being that looms over the character.

However, there were also some scenes that confused me. The character of Caicus felt messy at some points, he sort of alternated from being shady and a nice guy rather than going through the process of being more open to others – although I did find it cute how he really did enjoy being with Rose’s family in the end. Also, the great reveal when Rose realises they’re witches I felt happened a bit too early. I feel like more could have happened to add the mystery of the two brothers.

Overall, I’m sort of in the middle with this book. On one hand, I really enjoyed the characterisation of Rose and the witty conversations between Caicus and Oscar. However, I just didn’t connect with the story, especially when it came to the history of witches, and towards the end it felt really rushed. Despite this, I did enjoy the book enough to know I’ll be reading more Lepore’s books!

Format: Kindle, 269 pages
Published October 17th 2015 by Oftomes Publishing (first published July 16th 2012) ASIN: B016TD0AJ2

Book Review: Firsts by Laurie Elizabeth Flynn

you can find the book at:

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goodreads summary:

Seventeen-year-old Mercedes Ayres has an open-door policy when it comes to her bedroom, but only if the guy fulfills a specific criteria: he has to be a virgin. Mercedes lets the boys get their awkward, fumbling first times over with, and all she asks in return is that they give their girlfriends the perfect first time- the kind Mercedes never had herself.

Keeping what goes on in her bedroom a secret has been easy- so far. Her absentee mother isn’t home nearly enough to know about Mercedes’ extracurricular activities, and her uber-religious best friend, Angela, won’t even say the word “sex” until she gets married. But Mercedes doesn’t bank on Angela’s boyfriend finding out about her services and wanting a turn- or on Zach, who likes her for who she is instead of what she can do in bed.

When Mercedes’ perfect system falls apart, she has to find a way to salvage her reputation and figure out where her heart really belongs in the process. Funny, smart, and true-to-life, FIRSTS is a one-of-a-kind young adult novel about growing up.

my review:

Rating: ★★★☆☆

~ARC provided by Netgalley in exchange for an honest review~
I’ll start with what I did like so it’s not lost in whatever comes next. The style of writing made it easy to read, it’s light and fluffy, and serious when it needs to be. Mercedes was an interesting main character, I didn’t like her, but it was nice to read a YA contemporary that’s quite different. Firsts make a lot of promises and the potential was so obvious.

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