Review: Starfish

Review: Starfish

I received a copy of this via in exchange for an honest review!

Rating: ★★★★★ (5/5)

Starfish follows Kiko, a growing artist, who dreams being accepted into her dream art school and finally be free of her abusive mother.

Starfish was brutal and brilliant, all in one go. Kiko’s story was tough to read but so authentic to experience. I truly loved the sections where it shows what Kiko wanted to say versus what she actually says. It was a great way of showing Kiko’s struggle and the art description at the end of each chapter were beautiful. I loved the writing and the way Akemi wrote this story, as we read about Kiko’s journey accept herself. I found myself connecting with Kiko on so many levels, Starfish was indeed an experience to read.

I will warn you, Bowman did say she wrote this for people who need to see their experiences brought to life, and, boy, she did do exactly that. It was a struggle to read this. Her mother’s behaviour is nauseating to read but felt so real.

Although the romance isn’t a massive subplot in this book, it wasn’t the most enjoyable part of it, partly because of Jamie’s ignorance. I get that he doesn’t understand (spoiler-ish, we learn from one of the reveals, that he sort of does) but there were too many moments where Kiko’s anxiety was being framed as absurd and not usual from his lines. And him submitting Kiko’s art and showing her images to others without her knowledge and permission was teeth-grindingly annoying. We get it, he loves her, but forcing her into certain things wasn’t okay for me.

Overall, Akemi has created a beautiful and emotional story about learning to love yourself when others told you it’s impossible. Read it if you can, it’s not one to be missed.

TW: sexual abuse, racism, emotional abuse, parental abuse/neglect, suicide attempt. (If you’ve read the book and feel like I’ve missed something else, please tell me!)


Review: The Astonishing Color of After

Review: The Astonishing Color of After

I received an ARC of each book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Leigh is only sixteen when her mother dies by suicide, leaving nothing but the words, “I want you to remember.” And this leads her on a journey to Taiwan in search of a bird, to meet the grandparents she never knew and hopefully learn about the life her mother never spoke about.

I can tell you it’s been a while since I finished a book and immediately started sobbing after completing it. The Astonishing Color of After was a wonderful, visually and writing-wise, novel about grief and family. There’s just so much to it. It’s a mystery with Leigh uncovering secrets her mother buried years ago through memories. But it’s also a love story as Leigh struggles with her relationship with her best friend, Axel. Her mother’s passing changes everything. And both sides of the story are equally beautiful and enthralling. But the family is the heart and strength of this story, and it indeed is so astonishing.

There’s also a magical element to this novel. Leigh experiences the past in the form of burning incense and items such as photographs, and she’s able to experience her family history from the perspectives of her family members. This allowed her to understand what she never could before and to accept the daunting choices that were made. This aspect of this was so, so gorgeous and Pan’s style made this so stunning to experience.

Overall, there are so many words to describe this novel: stunning, extraordinary, beautiful, gorgeous. The lyrical prose, Leigh’s strength and struggles as she tries to connect with a past she wishes she knew and while accepting a new future. She finds what she needed, and the ending was so satisfying. A beautifully-told story, and one that I’ll definitely remember.


tw: suicide – mentions of it through the book and also the moments just after it. Depression.(if you’ve read the book and feel like I’ve missed something out, please tell me!)

Book Review: They Both Die At The End

Book Review: They Both Die At The End

Rating: ★★★★★

Just minutes after midnight, Mateo Torrez and Rufus Emeterio receive their Death-Cast calls: they are going to die today. Despite being total strangers, they find themselves meeting each other and having one final adventure on their last day ever.

Can you believe he spoils the ending with the title and I still found myself a total wreck by the end? I have not read any single Adam Silvera book before reading this, but if they’re all as gut-wrenching and amazing as this: count me in.

The concept is so fantastic and Silvera has created such an inventive, alternate world.  It’s very character-driven as the book encompasses a whole day in the life of two teens as they go around whatever they want. Mateo’s introverted, while Rufus is more outgoing, but both use this day to truly be themselves without the fear of judgement because, hey, they’re dying today.

They visit their favourite food places, close friends and visiting Mateo’s dad in the hospital. It’s packed with moments of emotions and first experiences. The plot was very sweet and sentimental. They’re very empathetic characters which such different personalities but somehow connect and spend the day working together to have a fulfilling ‘Last Day’. At its core, it’s basically a message of carpe diem but it plays out in such an interesting way

One of my favourite parts was the inclusion of other character’s perspective. When I first saw it, I wasn’t too sure of it since most of the time, it never works. But here it did. In between the main story, we get a brief glimpse into the lives of many other characters. Even though they aren’t central to the main story, it shows how the actions of other people are connected to plot in some way.

To be honest, I don’t have many criticisms aside from the technicality of Death-cast and the one-day love story. I would ignore this if I was you guys, I’m just being technical. You’re called on your mobile that you’re doing to die that day but what if you don’t have a phone? Does some scary man knock on your door at midnight and be like ‘so ya, you’re gonna die today?’ Or maybe the universe is set up in a way that everyone has one but just doesn’t seem plausible. Also, I’m just very sceptical of one-day love stories, maybe it was all for plot’s sake, though, but I loved their story, nonetheless.

Overall, it’s easily one of my favourite books this year. It’s so great and I definitely need to bump Silvera’s books up my reading list. I would recommend this one to anyone!


tw: death of LGBTQIA+ characters, anxiety, mentions of suicide (if you’ve read the book and feel like I’ve missed something out, please tell me!)


Book Review: The Good Immigrant

Book Review: The Good Immigrant

Rating: ★★★★★

Honestly, there’s little to say about The Good Immigrant that hasn’t already been said. I’m not a huge non-fiction reader, but I can say this book was so worth reading.

It’s an interesting and fascinating collection of essays, from authors who are BAME individuals and sharing their stories of their lives and what makes someone a ‘good immigrant’, each one bringing a different aspect of their own lives. They all touch on different topics: why they/or their families move to the UK, their own culture, and the situations they had to deal with. That’s what I loved about this collection, how everyone had a completely different story to tell, each compelling and interesting as the one before it. Its contributors range from people whose families immigrated here, those who were born here, and to ones who had decided to leave.

I think the only flaw I could really point out is that most of the contributors are mainly in media/entertainment which means it excludes people from other fields of work where immigrants have greatly contributed. But, overall, this is a great collection of essays which were all thought-provoking and most importantly, honest. Highly recommended.


Book Review: The Fever Code (The Maze Runner #5)


Rating: ★★★★★

Can I just say this is so much more memorable one than The Kill Order. Here we see the actual origins of Thomas, Teresa and the other Gladers. From the very moment, they meet WICKED until the very first pages of The Maze Runner. You might think James Dashner is beating a dead horse here but, to me, this is the Maze Runner prequel I’ve wanted for so long.

The Fever Code ties up everything we didn’t know – what Thomas didn’t remember, what the other Gladers remembered, what Thomas and Teresa went through. The prologue begins with Newt scene and it is heartbreaking. (I’m not gonna lie Newt’s history is SO SAD and one of my favourite parts of this book)

And as the book went on, we return to the humour and amazing personalities of characters that we meet and lose within the first three books. We learn new secrets about the identity of well-loved ones. And, my favourite, we get to learn some of their real names. But I kinda love calling Frypan by the name Frypan so that won’t be changing any time soon.

I think the ending was a shocker. And while the majority of the book’s supposed plot twist didn’t really come as a shock to me, the ending had me changing my perspective of the entire series. I will definitely need to re-read now that we know what happened at the end.

On the UK hardback, there’s a secret code that leads you to a website ( and there you answer three questions using the decoder which gives you a short story of a very popular Gladers. Definitely do that after reading the book because the questions are huge spoilers and so is the short story.

Overall, I really enjoyed this, mainly because of the backstories we get from certain characters, and some new revelations are shocking, exciting and amazing. If you loved the Maze Runner series, you’re sure to love it. I really did.


Book Review: A Boy Made of Blocks


you can find the book at:
GoodReads Author’s website | Amazon | Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide
Rating:  ★★★★★

~ARC provided by Netgalley in exchange for an honest review~

Thirtysomething Alex is struggling. Struggling to have a close relationship with his autistic son Sam. Struggling to hold onto his failing marriage. Struggling to come to terms with a childhood tragedy. During a trial separation, Alex moves in with his best friend Dan, wondering if his family could ever come back together.

I loved this. It was so good. I don’t know how many ways I can say how amazing this was. Sad, happy, heart-warming and heart-breaking. A BOY MADE OF BLOCKS is incredibly humorous and moving. It may sound gloomy, but it’s far from it. At the beginning, you sit there wondering if Alex will ever learn but he does. He learns from his mistakes. He changes his approach in handling Sam’s tantrums and understands his son’s fears. There were so many moving scenes in this. (Tears were streaming heavily when a certain thing was destroyed but my heart was warmed when it was fixed.) There were certain moments where Alex knows he shouldn’t yell at Sam but continues to do so and that really irked me. I guess it was for the sake of the plot, but I just didn’t like it.

The incorporation of Minecraft is one of the best parts of this book. People often unfairly associate Video Games with negative things. How it’s destroying this generation of people blah blah durr hburr techonology is bad kind of thing. But A BOY MADE OF BLOCKS shows one of the many positive things about video games and games like Minecraft. Minecraft provides an environment that encourages social interaction and helps people learn to communicate within the game’s well-defined rules.

Inspired by the author’s experiences with his own son, A BOY MADE OF BLOCKS is a heartfelt story of love and family.

Kindle Edition, 400 pages
Expected publication: September 1st 2016 by Sphere