Review: Defy Me

Review: Defy Me

Rating: ★★★☆☆ (3/5)

This review is not spoiler-free

Juliette thought she had everything under control until she didn’t. And now she’s alone with no one but herself as she’s forced to rediscover the world around. A lifetime of lies unravels before her and Juliette has no choice but to remember the past she had long forgotten. Narrated by Juliette and other familiar faces, the fifth instalment brings to light information that continues to shake the very foundation of the world they thought they knew.

A lot of people love this, and a lot of people hate this. As a reader who despised the original trilogy, my expectations for these new books were extremely low, but I was fairly impressed by Restore Me and I could say the same things for Defy Me: entertaining yet at the same time, so, so disappointed.

In term of story, there’s not much to unpack. Juliette discovers the truth behind her family, her parents and sister, and it is heartbreaking. Hearing about her sister and the truth behind her past was a standout moment, especially in a powerful scene between the sisters at the end. On the other end, we follow Warner and Kenji as they scramble to pick the movement back up after Juliette’s sudden disappearance. Memories of certain characters are restored and suddenly, they all don’t know what’s happening. I really enjoyed Restore Me, but Defy Me felt like it’s filler counterpart.

In my (poorly written) series review, I named Kenji the series saver. But I don’t know if he truly gave this story the pick up it sorely needed. I really enjoyed his chapters despite my overall feelings. He was always so hilarious and relatable, and often the only person who made any sense in the series. That Juliette and Kenji reunion was enough to save the book for me. I found it weird that Mafi decided to pair him up with Nazeera. In Restore Me, it was so cringey and embarrassing, especially when Mafi basically pulls an almost insta love on the readers with them. But I really did enjoy their overall dynamic in Defy Me. Do I love it or do I hate it? I don’t even know. I’ll withhold final judgements until Imagine Me.

I feel really bad that I could not, for the life of me, remember anything significant about the Omega Point group. Tahereh Mafi withholding Brendan and Winston from getting together made no sense. I legit forgot about Castle for most of this book. I am glad he got his family back. I feel like Adam was a completely new character. It’s like Tahereh really didn’t need him in this book, and kept him being an ass in the background.

I have to say Tahereh writes this series in such an addicting way, that’s only in this series alone. In all her other works I’ve read was good, but none really had that pacing that the Shatter Me series has that whether you love it or hate it, you find yourself speeding through. I feel like this whole series is just one big adrenaline rush. But note, this book is like 80% rambly flashbacks and a lot was missing. Especially when Juliette was locked away, there was a huge potential to develop those scenes further, but we lose a lot of valuable information. The dialogue was so melodramatic. And I wasn’t a huge fan of that. To be honest, this book could’ve been shortened, and split back into Restore Me and added onto Imagine Me. Everything was stretching a little thin for me in this book.

I have to say this: I didn’t get the engagement scene. I knew it was coming up and it just didn’t feel right. And don’t get me started at that sex scene. I’m all for making more sex-positive YA books but I’m pulling out that iconic Pokemon line, “There’s a time and place for everything, but not now.” Was this an attempt at fanservice because I was lost for words at how lost I was when I was reading it.

Overall, I don’t know even know what to expect for this series and how it will actually end. I felt bad for Tahereh at first because adding three new books to a beloved YA series that had ended ages ago was a bold move on her part. But I feel like, in that time, the actual fans of this series have consolidated their own thoughts and ideas of what happens next and the past two books so far have thrown a lot of them off. I personally enjoyed the general direction this series has taken after Restore Me but I feel like Tahereh’s decision to write three more Shatter Me books has polarised her own reader community a lot. I would say if you loved the series, then go ahead continue the series, but if you were never a fan of the originals, then stay away, this won’t do any good for you.


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Monthly Rewind: September 2019

Monthly Rewind: September 2019

B O O K S

During the month of September, I read 5 books.

I Wish You All The Best

I Wish You All The Best is quiet but satisfying. A story about a nonbinary teen by a nonbinary author; this is a story that celebrates life amidst terrifying circumstances and is a shining example of what future contemporary YA literature has to offer.  “

The Ten Thousand Doors of January

“I adored the Ten Thousand Doors of January. A charming and magical adventure about a girl who persevers in the face of resistance. A story I didn’t know I needed, but I will appreciate for a long time.”

Piecing Me Together

“Piecing Me Together is a standout novel about a teen’s journey of awareness and self-empowerment through art. Readers will find Jade’s story thoughtful as she navigates the world as a Black girl. The microaggressions she faces in her everyday life is powerfully nuanced and incredibly realistic.”

The Surface Breaks

The Surface Breaks is an interesting retelling of The Little Mermaid O’Neill has used the original tale brilliantly and adding her own flair and originality. I especially loved the added backstory to their mother. If you’re looking for a fairy tale with a touch of darkness and empowerment, this one is definitely for you.”

Defy Me (Shatter Me #5)

Juliette’s short tenure as the supreme commander of North America has been an utter disaster. When the children of the other world leaders show up on her doorstep, she wants nothing more than to turn to Warner for support and guidance. But he shatters her heart when he reveals that he’s been keeping secrets about her family and her identity from her—secrets that change everything. A full review to come!

M U S I C

Dumb Litty | Devil | Feel Special | Truth Hurts | Please Remember | 3 Nights | Hold On Forever

P O S T S

A feature section to highlight my favourite posts from my fellow bloggers that were posted this month. 

  • My Take on The Year’s Most Popular YA Debuts So Far – I really like the idea of reacting to popular books. I was considering doing this but I’ve only read like five of them this year. 😂
  • 6 Ways to Use Pinterest to Drive Traffic to your Book Blog – I’m really bad at using other sites to bring traffic to my blog, but I was interested to see how Pinterest could be used to help your blog!
  • FIVE TIPS ON HOW TO READ EVEN WHEN YOU’RE IN HELL (AKA WHEN YOU’RE BUSY)
  • AUGVOCACY2019 (EXTENDED): #OWNVOICES BOOKS & CROSS-CULTURAL IMMERSION
  • This one’s all the way from July, but I completely forgot to share it here. A while ago, Saajid (From Books Are my Social Life) reached out if I wanted to partake in a booktube video, and I strangely said yes! I don’t have time to do booktube which is something I’ve wanted to do for a long time, so I jumped at the chance when this offer came around. Check it out here for mine and a whole lot of other cool people’s recommendations of books with Muslim characters! Also, I apologise for my lack of energy, I had just submitted my final piece of essay for second year of uni when I filmed my part. I used one of the computer rooms at like 8am film because I didn’t feel comfortable filming at home, and I’d then have to explain what I was doing to my family 😂😂

That’s it for this month! Tell me what went on in YOUR life this month! What sort of things was important for you this month? New obsessions? New TV shows? Or book? Any new song recs (I’m always open to new music!)? Best books you read this month?

Auto-buy Authors

Auto-buy Authors

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature once hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, but has now moved to That Artsy Reader Girl! Each week, a new topic is put into place and bloggers share their top ten (or your own amount) accordingly.

I’m not a big on having an “auto-buy author”, since a lot of the time, I end up not liking other books by the same author. Which is why this list is only eight because I had to think for a long and hard time on which authors would I consider immediately buying a new or perhaps one that I missed book.

  • Rachel Caine
    I basically grew up with the Morganville Vampires and The Great Library series is one of my all-time favourite YA series. Of course, Rachel will forever be an auto-buy. I prefer her YA stuff but I have purchased her adult fiction, I just haven’t got round to reading them yet.
  • S.K. Ali
    Saints & Misfits and Love From A to Z are some of my favourite Muslim YA novels.
  • Madeline Miller
    When you’ve written something as iconic as The Song of Achilles, you deserve to be everyone’s auto-buy author. 😂
  • Tahereh Mafi
    I’m not a huge fan of the Shatter Me series but everything she’s written outside of it has me hooked!
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Monthly Rewind: January 2019

Monthly Rewind: January 2019

I’m not even sure how.. but I managed to read 11 books this month!

B O O K S 

All The Lonely People by David Owen
Everyone tells Kat that her online personality – confident, funny, opinionated – isn’t her true self. Kat knows otherwise. The internet is her only way to cope with a bad day, chat with friends who get all her references, make someone laugh. But when she becomes the target of an alt-right trolling campaign, she feels she has no option but to Escape, Delete, Disappear.

Queer, There and Everywhere by Sarah Prager
Queer author and activist Sarah Prager delves deep into the lives of 23 people who fought, created, and loved on their own terms. From high-profile figures like Abraham Lincoln and Eleanor Roosevelt to the trailblazing gender-ambiguous Queen of Sweden and a bisexual blues singer who didn’t make it into your history books, these astonishing true stories uncover a rich queer heritage that encompasses every culture, in every era.

Furthermore by Tahereh Mafi
Twelve-year-old Alice Alexis Queensmeadow has only three things in the world that matter: Mother, who wouldn’t miss her; triplet brothers, who never knew her; and Father, who always loved her. The day Father disappears from Ferenwood he takes nothing but a ruler with him, so some said he’d gone to measure the sea. Others said the sky. The moon. Maybe he’d learned to fly and had forgotten how to come back down. But it’s been almost six years since then, and Alice is determined to find him. She loves her father even more than she loves adventure, and she’s about to embark on one to find the other. No matter the cost.

Continue reading “Monthly Rewind: January 2019”

Review: Furthermore

Review: Furthermore

Rating: ★★★★☆ (4/5)

In Ferenwood, colour is everything, but Alice Queensmeadows is devoid of it all. And that makes her different, outcasted, even in her own family. Three years after her father’s disappearance, the only person who believed in her, Alice joins a journey into the perils of Furthermore to find him.

Alice hides in her colourful clothes and bangles. And with her upcoming Surrender, the ceremony in which the younger generation of Ferenwood are given a role based on their magical abilities. Alice’s Surrender goes wrong which leads her to join Oliver through the world of Furthermore.

Alice has no choice but to team up with a past friend, Oliver, who is given the job to find her father. And he needs her help. Oliver takes her to Furthermore, a rule changing world, where one mistake will have you lost forever. Oliver is a gifted and strict while Alex is reckless and free-spirited. They begin at odds, but their friendship is forged quite quickly as they face fast-paced adversity. The way they bounce off each other was rather exciting. Their friendship was adorable, and I really enjoyed their development.

This is a fantastic Middle-grade read! I wish something like this existed when I was ten and discovering fantasy. While I fumbled with the world-building at first, the visuals are rather captivating. This book deserves its own graphic novel. The current cover is enough to justify it. It’s very adventurous, with its twisted logic, and Alice’s inner journey of self-love and friendship is fantastic.

Like I said, the world building was a bit confusing, to begin with, it makes more sense in the end, but I would’ve appreciated more clarity in the beginning. But the setting is so unique and thrilling. The eccentricity of all it all was somewhat entertaining. Mixed with its oddity of background characters, there is a lot to love in this book. I’m slightly disappointed in myself that kept putting this book off because I was not a massive fan of Tahereh’s Shatter Me series. I had learnt that quite a lot of other people shared this sentiment which I can now say, give Furthermore a shot, even if you didn’t like Shatter Me.

Overall, Furthermore is impressive. A story of loss and recovery, one of Tahereh’s more unique novels which show Alice and Oliver negotiate the harsh landscape of Furthermore and discover more about themselves. It’s fun, vibrant and imaginative! A definitely recommended read, especially for younger readers.


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Best books I’ve read in 2018!

Best books I’ve read in 2018!

Today’s post is a recap for some of the books I had enjoyed this year. My top 18 reads of 2018!

I managed to read 102 books this year, and I’m very impressed with myself. I was ridiculously busy with university and work, this year, I was really worried that I wouldn’t be able to complete the challenge I set for myself. I usually set my goal around 50 because it’s more attainable for me, and since last year, I had a really bad reading year, I wanted to do better.

I guess I did do better this year since I managed to read more, but I didn’t read differently this year. I want to read more than just Young Adult novels and I want to try going into Adult fiction and other areas of books that I otherwise wouldn’t have touched. But I was set back a lot by university which meant I just ended up reading what I requested on NetGalley or my backlist. But I do want to branch out for 2019 and read more differently and diversely.

So, without further ado, my top 18 reads of 2018! (In no particular order!)

  1. The Weight of Our Sky by Hanna Alkaf

A music-loving teen with OCD does everything she can to find her way back to her mother during the historic race riots in 1969 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, in this heart-pounding literary debut.

All I can say for now is: Emotional and stunning. I’m part of the blog tour for this in February so catch my review and playlist for this book then!

  • A Very Large Expanse of Sea by Tahereh Mafi

It’s 2002, a year after 9/11. It’s an extremely turbulent time politically, but especially so for someone like Shirin, a sixteen-year-old Muslim girl who’s tired of being stereotyped.

I know I said I didn’t have an exactly number one favourite this year, but Expanse is the one that hit the highest. I wasn’t exactly impressed by the Shatter Me series, at least, not until the latest release, but Expanse blew me away. For years, I hadn’t touched anything Tahereh Mafi wrote because I didn’t like Shatter Me when it first came out. But this book changed everything. I adore Tahereh on social media, but now I’m a huge fan of her work. | my review

  • Sadie by Courtney Summers

A missing girl on a journey of revenge. A Serial―like podcast following the clues she’s left behind.

This book was pure greatness. It was so much fun to read, especially the audiobook, since it plays out like a podcast as well. Part mystery, part drama. All round pretty good read. | my review

  • Vicious by V.E. Schwab

Victor and Eli started out as college roommates—brilliant, arrogant, lonely boys who recognized the same sharpness and ambition in each other. In their senior year, a shared research interest in adrenaline, near-death experiences, and seemingly supernatural events reveals an intriguing possibility

Schwab has been on my to-read list for years. Even before I started this blog, and I finally managed to find time to read at least one of her books this year and I’m glad it was Vicious. It was such a surprise to read and so much fun. I never wanted to not stop reading a book as much as this one. | my review

Continue reading “Best books I’ve read in 2018!”