Why is YA like this?

I got to thinking last night.

How many real life people announce that they have a crush on someone by straight up snogging them? Genuine question.

Maybe it’s because I’ve been in the same relationship since I was 13 but I’ve always been under the impression that when you fancy someone and want to let them know you just . . . tell them. Or awkwardly give them hints. For months on end.

Who just goes straight in for that sweet lip to lip action?

(Please never let me call it sweet lip to lip action again)

Anyway, my point is that until I really thought about it my brain saw nothing wrong with people just suddenly making out. I actually only thought it was normal because I’ve read about it in literally every YA book I own. Where’s the nervous ‘I like you!’s or really terrible flirting hoping they’ll notice? What teenager has the confidence to just get down and dirty with their crush before knowing if they like them back?

It’s so perpetuated my brain that I even wrote it in my own damn book.

So please, is this something other people have come across or is it in my head? Do people really do this and I’m still stuck in my naive 13-year-old self’s beliefs? Let me know!


The TBR Book Challenge

So this is a thing. Pick the top 5 books in your Goodreads tbr list and decide to keep them or chuck them. This is hosted by Lia @ Lost in a Story but I found it on Twin Tales 🙂

18635004Sleep No More by Aprilynne Pike

Charlotte Westing has a gift. She is an Oracle and has the ability to tell the future. But it doesn’t do her much good. Instead of using their miraculous power, modern day Oracles are told to fight their visions––to refrain from interfering. And Charlotte knows the price of breaking the rules. She sees it every day in her wheelchair-bound mother and the absence of her father. But when a premonition of a classmate’s death is too strong for her to ignore, Charlotte is forced to make an impossible decision: continue following the rules or risk everything—even her sanity—to stop the serial killer who is stalking her town.


This is one of my favourite authors. But why, I hear you ask, is it at the bottom of my tbr list if it’s my favourite author? Well, I kept waiting and waiting until I could afford to buy in in paperback as opposed to e-book and then . . . just . . . never did. Now I feel too old for it, and my tastes have moved on.

Keep or Leave? Leave 😦

18599667Don’t You Forget About Me by Kate Karyus Quinn

Welcome to Gardnerville.

A place where no one gets sick. And no one ever dies.

There’s a price to pay for paradise. Every fourth year, the strange power that fuels the town exacts its payment by infecting teens with deadly urges. In a normal year in Gardnerville, teens might stop talking to their best friends. In a fourth year, they’d kill them.

Four years ago, Skylar’s sister, Piper, was locked away after leading sixteen of her classmates to a watery grave. Since then, Skylar has lived in a numb haze, struggling to forget her past and dull the pain of losing her sister. But the secrets and memories Piper left behind keep taunting Skylar—whispering that the only way to get her sister back is to stop Gardnerville’s murderous cycle once and for all.

This . . . honestly doesn’t sound as interesting as it did before. I’m still intrigued, but I’m less sure about it. I still really want to give it a chance though! I want to know how a mysterious force can infect teens to kill each other. And how our Special Snowflake™ Skylar can change the world.

Keep or Leave? Keep!

12138494Arclight by Josin L. McQuein

The Arclight is the last defense. The Fade can’t get in. Outside the Arclight’s border of high-powered beams is the Dark. And between the Light and the Dark is the Grey, a narrow, barren no-man’s-land. That’s where the rescue team finds Marina, a lone teenage girl with no memory of the horrors she faced or the family she lost. Marina is the only person who has ever survived an encounter with the Fade. She’s the first hope humanity has had in generations, but she could also be the catalyst for their final destruction. Because the Fade will stop at nothing to get her back. Marina knows it. Tobin, who’s determined to take his revenge on the Fade, knows it. Anne-Marie, who just wishes it were all over, knows it.

When one of the Fade infiltrates the Arclight and Marina recognizes it, she will begin to unlock secrets she didn’t even know she had. Who will Marina become? Who can she never be again?

I remember being so excited about this. Now I’m not so sure why. Sure, it’s got a fairly interesting premise. But I’m bored of the whole chosen one thing, and it sounds like there could be some sort of love triangle. Nothing in it is gripping me.

Keep or Leave? Leave

18490681The Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson

She flees on her wedding day.

She steals ancient documents from the Chancellor’s secret collection.

She is pursued by bounty hunters sent by her own father.

She is Princess Lia, seventeen, First Daughter of the House of Morrighan.

The Kingdom of Morrighan is steeped in tradition and the stories of a bygone world, but some traditions Lia can’t abide. Like having to marry someone she’s never met to secure a political alliance.

Fed up and ready for a new life, Lia flees to a distant village on the morning of her wedding. She settles in among the common folk, intrigued when two mysterious and handsome strangers arrive—and unaware that one is the jilted prince and the other an assassin sent to kill her. Deceptions swirl and Lia finds herself on the brink of unlocking perilous secrets—secrets that may unravel her world—even as she feels herself falling in love.

Yes. This is some Good Shit. I love princesses and arranged marriages and assassins. This is absolutely perfect. Well, except that I see a love triangle looming on the horizon. But I’ll deal with that when I come to it.

Keep or Leave? Keep, keep, keep!

18241263The Fall by Bethany Griffin

Madeline Usher is doomed.

She has spent her life fighting fate, and she thought she was succeeding. Until she woke up in a coffin.

Ushers die young. Ushers are cursed. Ushers can never leave their house, a house that haunts and is haunted, a house that almost seems to have a mind of its own. Madeline’s life—revealed through short bursts of memory—has hinged around her desperate plan to escape, to save herself and her brother. Her only chance lies in destroying the house.

In the end, can Madeline keep her own sanity and bring the house down? The Fall is a literary psychological thriller, reimagining Edgar Allan Poe’s classic The Fall of the House of Usher.

I didn’t realise this was based on The Fall of the House of Usher. Now I’ve read the blurb again (and the blurb now says it’s based on it) it’s obvious. Without knowing that, I would have lost all interest. But I’m excited to see how it might be reworked for a YA audience and be kept fresh and interesting!

Keep or Leave? Keep

Updating my Books- Cover Art and Titles

Whoops I updated my books.

New covers for The Blood Bank and its sequel In Search of Calais:

Yay! Vampires and dystopia and . . . flowers?

Aside from that, I also changed the name of my science fiction novel ‘The Inheritance.’ From henceforth, it shall be known as:

Dirt and Bones, Stars and Stones.

I’m still working on a new cover for that one though. And, you know, the book itself.


We won’t talk about that.

Gemina- Illuminae #2| Review


My Rating: 4.5 of 5 

Pages: 608

Genre: YA Science Fiction

For Fans Of: The Dead House by Dawn Kurtagich, These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman and Megan Spooner, and Across the Universe by Beth Revis.

This review contains very mild spoilers.

Gemina- twin.

And it certainly is the twin of Illuminae. Gemina is just as rich, dark, and lush. It’s scary and mind-boggling.

Gemina follows Hanna Donnelly, the daughter of the captain of Jump Station Heimdall. If you’ve read Illuminae you’ll know why that’s pretty dang important. There’s also a new love interest on the scene, Nik Malikov, a member of a crime syndicate operating out of Heimdall. And yes, he’s pretty swoonworthy.

The story picks up almost where Illuminae left off. Kady and Ezra are, thankfully, still in it. But less so. My mistake whilst reading it was trying to rush ahead to where the Hypatia met up with Heimdall. I should have been appreciating the story for what it was.

That aside, Gemina was fantastic. Complex, and witty, and still told in a collection of data and documents. I laughed out loud at times, gasped more than once, and grinned to myself on a train at the fate of a certain AI.

Reading on the train back from Gloucester- think I got some strange looks for my reactions!

What let Gemina down slightly for me was the predictability of the first half. It felt like we were simply killing words so we could get to the big reveal at the end. Plus, all that with those freaking mind-sucking worms? Called it.

I was surprised by which characters survived. Once we moved into the second half the pacing evened out and the characters, particularly Hanna and Nik, came into their own. I still cared for Kady and Ezra more, but again I think that one’s on me.

A highly enjoyable, inventive read. Perhaps lacking that sparkle and polish of Illuminae, but still a bloody brilliant book. For the second book in a series, Kristoff and Kaufman knocked this one out of the ballpark. Stunning.

Throne of Glass vs ACOTAR- Would You Rather


This would you rather was made by queen-of-lightning-and-fire on Tumblr 🙂

Would you rather …
1. Paint with Feyre or eat chocolates with Aelin

Paint with Feyre! She could teach me so much and tell me so much about the ACOTAR world. Plus, painting lasts longer than eating 🙂

2. Be mates with Rhys or mates with Rowan

Rhys. I love Rowan, but he’s not my type. Rhys is way more my thing.

3. Be mates with Feyre or mates with Aelin

Feyre! Can you tell I prefer ACOTAR, haha? Aelin would get on my nerves if I was mated to her, but I don’t think I could keep up with Feyre’s witty flirting/banter to be honest.

4. Kill Erawan or kill the King of Hybern

Kill Erawan for sure. He seems like more of a problem right now than Hybern. Like, Rhys could just kill Hybern probs. I know it’s not that easy, but I feel like the ACOTAR characters are more overpowered and have less of a struggle ahead of them than ToG.

5. Learn the King of Adarlans real name or the King of Hypern’s real name

Hybern’s real name! I hope it’s something stupid like Bob.

6. Get book recommendations by Dorian or by Aelin

Aelin! Think of all those steamy romances she’d send you 😉
7. Get Aelin out of the iron coffin or Feyre back from the Spring Court

Aelin out of the coffin. Feyre has the upper hand right now and at any moment could winnow back to the Night Court. She’s also in familiar and not particularly dangerous or hostile territory. Aelin can’t get herself out and is in a very dangerous situation.
8. Have Moriel happen or Nessian happen

Nessian! They’re so perfect together and I forget that Sarah J Maas hasn’t actually confirmed if they’re mates. I like Mor and Azriel together but tbh I’m not bothered.
9. Fly with the thirteen or fly with the Illyrian

The thirteen! Girl power!
10. Be a part of the Court of Dreams or Court of Terrasen

The Court of Dreams. I love the people there too much to not go there. And the aesthetic (stars, night, mountains, cute art shops and restaurants in Velaris) is more me than Terrasen.
11. Have the ToG tv show not be a thing or the prospective ACOTAR movie not be a thing

ACOTAR movie. The ToG tv show will be much longer and so I’ll get way more out of it. Plus, so what if there’s no ACOTAR movie? That just means there could be an ACOTAR tv show 😀
12. Get an arc of ToG6 or ACOWAR

ACOWAR. Without a doubt! I am so pumped for it and I’m sure I will cry.

That Book That I Did

It’s time I updated you on that book I was writing.

Last we spoke, I was a few hundred words from finishing it. Which I did. And then proceeded to lock it away forever, never to be seen again.

Then I started another one. I’ve not revisited The Blood Bank since it’s completion, not out of dislike or shame or fear of the amount of editing (and it’s a lot) I’ll have to do. But because I knew you were meant to take a break between finishing a book and editing it. If you don’t, you’re still to wrapped up in it or something. I stand by this. It also helps that July Camp Nanowrimo was about to start again and I didn’t want to miss it.

So I sat and brainstormed a new idea.

And I’m now 50k in, so I think it’ll get done. And it’s time to share it with you.

The temporary title is The Inheritance.


Amongst the stars, there is a prison ship. Population: 2, 555. Below them, there is a planet. Population: 0. When The Inheritance crashes, brought down by unknown forces, the planet gains six new residents.

Five prisoners. One guard.

No one else makes it out. Together, they must find a way to get off the planet. Whilst still remaining free. And alive.

And here is a very short quote. It is, in fact, the opening:

I am surrounded by 2, 345 criminals. Patrolling the corridors of the prison ship are 45 guards. 165 more are sleeping, or lounging. Drinking, fucking, living ordinary lives.

Unfortunately, I am not. I am one of the unlucky bastards in a cell.

Yes, I know I have 50, 000 more words that I could show you. But I feel confident that this little bit is at least decent and not a giant cringe fest.

Writing for this is going slow. Much slower than The Blood Bank, for which I wrote 70k in just a month (April Camp Nanowrimo.) Now I’m writing rarely, but now that it’s the Christmas holidays and I’m not having to focus on university I’m hoping to knock out another 20k. Still low for me, but a decent amount to aim for.

We’ll see how it goes. If you’ve got any tips or writing stories, let me know down below 🙂


My Top Ten Books of 2016

It’s that time of year again-

the end.

And that means it’s time to wrap up everything I’ve read into a neat little list of my favourite books of 2016. In reverse order . . .

3061379010. Dan and Phil Go Outside (DAPGO)

A personal collection of candid photos and insightful stories from Dan and Phil’s adventure ‘in the real world’

Dan Howell and Phil Lester, avoiders of human contact and direct sunlight, actually went outside. Travelling around the world on tour, they have collected hundreds of exclusive, intimate and funny photos, as well as revealing and captivating side notes, to show the behind-the-scenes story of their adventure-

Goodreads summary

Sure, sure, does this really count as a proper book? Yes, it’s a photo book, I know. But it’s funny, and super interesting to see the behind the scenes of such a huge stage show as TATINOF. Plus, I’m a fangirl and will buy anything Dan and Phil.

9. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by J.K Rowling

It was always difficult being Harry Potter and it isn’t much easier now that he is an overworked employee of the Ministry of Magic, a husband and father of three school-age children.

While Harry grapples with a past that refuses to stay where it belongs, his youngest son Albus must struggle with the weight of a family legacy he never wanted. As past and present fuse ominously, both father and son learn the uncomfortable truth: sometimes, darkness comes from unexpected places.

-Goodreads summary


It had to be on here somewhere, didn’t it? I might have only given it three stars in my original review, but regardless of weird plot holes or strange characterisation, Cursed Child was a new Harry Potter. It might not have been what I was looking for, but returning to that world and the nostalgia it brought was, well, magical.

8. Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard

Mare Barrow’s blood is red—the color of common folk—but her Silver ability, the power to control lightning, has turned her into a weapon that the royal court tries to control. As she makes her escape from Maven, the prince—the friend—who betrayed her, Mare uncovers something startling: she is not the only one of her kind.

But Mare finds herself on a deadly path, at risk of becoming exactly the kind of monster she is trying to defeat.Will she shatter under the weight of the lives that are the cost of rebellion? Or have treachery and betrayal hardened her forever?– Goodreads summary

Glass Sword is the second installment in the Red Queen series. I can’t say I gave RQ glowing praise, but Glass Sword blew me away. It was fast paced, original, and the characters had depth and meaning. It took the world of Red Queen and expanded it and made it into something very special.

7. Summer Shadows by Joss Stirling

Summer lives under a terrible shadow. It drains her, manipulates her and threatens to steal her future.

A high-stakes mission offers a temporary escape. She must use her mind-shadowing abilities to hunt down her target and find the truth.

Hal Robinson is a soldier. He does not get distracted. He wins. But what Hal wants begins to shift once he meets Summer.

They must learn to trust each other if they are going to protect the Savant community. But will their secrets allow them to find a happy ending of their own?– Goodreads summary

This is the 6th book in the Benedicts series. They’re a bit of a guilty pleasure of mine. YA paranormal (?) romances, where a bunch of angsty teens with varying psychic powers fall in love. Enemies to lovers trope in pretty much every book. Perfect for cheering me up and making me feel young and in love again. Fun, light hearted, and sweet.

6. Radio Silence by Alice Oseman

What if everything you set yourself up to be was wrong? Frances has always been a study machine with one goal, elite university.

But when Frances meets Aled, the shy genius behind her favourite podcast, she discovers a new freedom. He unlocks the door to Real Frances. Then the podcast goes viral and the fragile trust between them is broken.

Caught between who she was and who she longs to be, Frances’ dreams come crashing down. Suffocating with guilt, she knows that she has to confront her past…
– Goodreads summary

A fantastic, fantastic book. Real, emotional, and truthful, this book voices the concerns of a generation. Written by university student Alice Oseman, it speaks in language we understand. It’s also amazing for diversity and representation.

5. Nevernight by Jay Kristoff

Destined to destroy empires, Mia Covere is only ten years old when she is given her first lesson in death.

Six years later, the child raised in shadows takes her first steps towards keeping the promise she made on the day that she lost everything.

Mia must become a weapon without equal. She must prove herself against the deadliest of friends and enemies. The Red Church is no Hogwarts, but Mia is no ordinary student.

The shadows love her. And they drink her fear.- Goodreads summary

Nevernight was a surprise for me. I love Illuminae, which Jay Kristoff co-authored, but this was very different. Dark, evocative, sexy- this book was a delight. The writing style was right up my alley. Some might call it purple prose, perhaps, but I loved it. It added a brilliant sense of mystery and detachment whilst still drawing you further and further into this complex, spiraling world. Stab stab stab.

4.  The Sleeping Prince by Melinda Salisbury

Ever since her brother Lief disappeared, Errin’s life has gone from bad to worse. Not only must she care for her sick mother, she has to scrape together rent money by selling illegal herbal cures. But none of that compares to the threat of the vengeful Sleeping Prince whom the Queen just awoke from his enchanted sleep.

Errin must journey across a kingdom on the brink of war to seek another way to save her mother and herself. But what she finds shatters everything she believed about her world, and with the Sleeping Prince drawing nearer, Errin must make a heartbreaking choice. –Goodreads summary.

The Sleeping Prince was a tricky one for me. I was obsessed with The Sin Eater’s Daughter. I absolutely loved it, but I found The Sleeping Prince lacking in some way. I think I struggled with the change in POV. A new character, a new setting, but a direct continuation of the same story. However, I loved Errin as a character and really enjoyed the way everything came together in the end. I’m just hoping to see more of Twylla in the next book, as well as Errin.

3. Night Study by Maria V. Snyder

Ever since being kidnapped from the Illiais Jungle as a child, Yelena Zaltana’s has been fraught with peril. But the recent loss of her Soulfinding abilities has endangered her more than ever before. Her enemies are closing in, and neither Ixia nor Sitia are safe for her anymore. Especially since the growing discord between the two countries threatens everything Yelena holds dear.

Valek is determined to protect Yelena, but he’s quickly running out of options. The Commander suspects that his loyalties are divided, and he’s been keeping secrets from Valek that put him, Yelena and all their friends in terrible danger. – Goodreads summary

Ah, Maria V. Snyder. I love you. I’ve followed Yelena’s story right from the very start and loved her so, so much. Her story is one of my favourite stories ever, and her relationship with Valek, whilst only a small part of the series, is one of the most well written ones I’ve read. Yelena has grown so much over the series, and it’s lovely to see her as a much older character now, and to see how she’s developed but the world and the magic hasn’t changed. A stunning series of books, and Night Study doesn’t disappoint.

2. Empire of Storms by Sarah J. Maas

The long path to the throne has only just begun for Aelin Galathynius.

As the kingdoms of Erilea fracture around her, enemies must become allies if Aelin is to keep those she loves from falling to the dark forces poised to claim her world. With war looming on all horizons, the only chance for salvation lies in a desperate quest that may mark the end of everything Aelin holds dear.

Will Aelin succeed in keeping her world from splintering, or will it all come crashing down?

-Goodreads summary

Of course Empire of Storms is here. The Throne of Glass series is a hugely popular fantasy that I love dearly. Sure, it has it’s issues (particularly when it comes to representation), but it’s slowly improving. And the story itself is complex and epic and at times very harrowing and beautiful. Relationships are well represented, and nothing about either the good times or bad times of life is sugar coated. Aelin is bae, and we all need to pray for her.


1. A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas

Feyre survived Amarantha’s clutches to return to the Spring Court—but at a steep cost. Though she now has the powers of the High Fae, her heart remains human, and it can’t forget the terrible deeds she performed to save Tamlin’s people.

Nor has Feyre forgotten her bargain with Rhysand, High Lord of the feared Night Court. As Feyre navigates its dark web of politics, passion, and dazzling power, a greater evil looms—and she might be key to stopping it. But only if she can harness her harrowing gifts, heal her fractured soul, and decide how she wishes to shape her future.- Goodreads summary

Wow, what a surprise. ACOMAF is first. How could it not be? It’s my all time favourite book. How Sarah deals with trauma and abuse and recovery in this book is absolutely outstanding. I can’t praise her enough for her realistic portrayal. Not to mention her engrossing plotline, well fleshed out, witty, interesting characters, and steamy romances. Seriously, I ship everyone in this book. (Well, not everyone. Get out of here Tamlin.) But this is honestly a sublime book that deserves all the praise and recognition that it gets. Brilliant.





I’m dead| Empire of Storms Review

empire-of-thrones-ukEmpire of Storms by Sarah J. Maas

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Pages: 693

Genre: YA Fantasy

For Fans of: Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder and Nevernight by Jay Kristoff.

This review contains a lot of spoilers. Read at your own peril:


It happened. Everything happened. This book happened.

So. Let me take you back to the start. Before Empire of Storms was released, we were terrified. A character was going to be sacrificed. It was obvious, we knew it. Odds were on Aedion, Lysandra, or Rowan biting the dust. What no one anticipated was that the person Aelin was willing to sacrifice . . . was herself.

Cue the internal screaming and sobbing.

To be honest, it’s what saved the book for me. I was kind of lost with a lot of the politics and all the interfering gods. I’ve lost track of which god is looking over which character. Is there a character without a god attached to them by some sort of spiritual dog lead?

But hey, at least we’re all united in one thing- our hatred for Elena, right? I mean, to be fair to her she was trying to save the world. But still. She made some pretty bad decisions.

Back to my original point, that ending was astounding. So shocking, so heart-breaking.  Rowan arriving a few seconds too late and screaming where is my WIFE– I just can’t. It was obvious they were mates, but to hear it confirmed just as Aelin is taken away in a freaking iron box-

No. I’m wrecked. I’m no longer alive, I can only be resurrected by Throne of Glass 6. And by thinking about all the people I now ship.

Once, long ago I shipped Celaena and Chaol. But I’ve moved on- Celaena and Aelin are different people and need different things. And how could I resist Rowan?? Those two are too precious for this world and need to be protected at all costs. My heart literally broke when I learned she’d married him in secret so that when she died Terrasen could have a King. (And because she loves him let’s be real.)

But that’s not the only ship in this book. Elide and Lorcan. I didn’t expect it. I shipped Elide and Manon- and still think it’d be nice for there to be a gay main character relationship. Though I do appreciate Aedion being bi. Ignoring all of that, I love these two. Fiesty and strong, they’re a total power couple. Elide’s brains to Lorcan’s brawn (and stupidity *cough* summoning Maeve *cough.)

So where does that leave Manon? With Dorian, of course. I shipped them in QoS (even though I shipped Manon with Elide too.) But now . . . I’m not so sure. I know Dorian is a bit of a womanizer, but I feel like he cares more about having sex with her than he actually does about her. Which is fine, because that’s what she wants too. But I prefer my cute romances so I wasn’t as keen.

Oh- oh. Aedion and Lysandra. Need I go on? I will riot if they don’t get together. I’ll cry if one of them dies. I’ll cry if anyone except Errawan and Maeve die in ToG 6.

I’ll probably cry anyway.

Thanks, Sarah, for breaking, mending, and breaking my heart again.

View all my reviews