HAPPY NEW YEAR!  I’m sorry for the delayed wishes for the new year (and I mean both Jan 1st New Year and Chinese New Year 🙂 ).  It’s been a long time since I’ve posted, and as the owner of this blog I’m absolutely horrified with myself!  I miss this blog almost everyday, the feeling of thinking up materials for posting, and then posting them.

Hopefully soon, I’ll be back to my usual posting.

Until then, Words That Flow Like Water is on a semi hiatus.  I’ll post from time to time, but it seems I don’t have enough inspiration and my life has become a bit cluttered.

I will update you all as soon as I can and get back soon :).  For now, though, if you want to follow what I’m doing or reading you can find me here:

Wordsthatflowlikewater @ Instagram

Nina {ᴡᴏʀᴅs ᴀɴᴅ ᴡᴀᴛᴇʀ} on Goodreads

I’m so sorry! I’ll be back soon!


In the Eye of the Storm. Storm and Silence #2. Robert Thier.


In the Eye of the Storm by Robert Thier

My rating: 4.5 stars

Many thanks to the author for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.


Released August 3rd!


4.5 stars (Is it possible to make these numbers bigger?!?!)

Initial thoughts

I really wish I wrote this as soon as I finished it.
But I was on a train….
With not enough to time to write out a frenzied review….. -_________-

(Originally written in July 2016)


You know, I had my ups and down with this book. Initially I was really excited to receive the ARC from the author, since I found myself loving Storm & Silence for all the reasons I listed in my review. But with In the Eye of the Storm, it was a little different. I came at it full force, with lots and lots of expectations and also, ideas I of what I didn’t want, and yet…this…surprised me more than anything.

Like S&S, I finished this quicker than I expected.

What I love about Thier’s books so far is that they’re ALL fast paced. Every chapter has a climax (of sorts) that leaves you hanging for the next chapter. And when you pass the 50% mark, the rest is free fall. Meaning. Just hang on tight and go for the ride.

And like with S&S there’s everything from steamy kisses to being shot at to who knows what’ll happen next!

Oh yes, and did I mention the fake marriage? The Captain Lilly keeps running into? The poor Old Lady whose holiday was cut short because of Lilly’s lies? A conversation between Rick and Dick?? Oh and Mr Ambrose?

PROS – yes, the things YOU’LL DEFINITELY want to read

1) Mr Ambrose! He is my favourite character (but only because Karim didn’t get so much page time this time….) in this sequel. He was an ass a lot of the time to Lilly, but then Lilly was also being a bit of a stubborn donkey. Mr Ambrose was always relatively reasonable, and I think, despite the fact that we don’t know much about his history yet (a thing I am dying to know more of), he is still very well rounded as a character with evident likes and dislikes. Even better crafted all round than Lilly who is the main protagonist. I mean really…what kind of man would walk through a sandstorm just because it’ll waste time to camp? But it’s the fact that he’s a logical city man, that he makes his decision, which realistically, makes alot of sense. Even more so since Mr Ambrose gives orders, and takes his own advice……..including….

      He gave me a look. One of those looks. ‘Do you know the size of an average grain of sand?’
‘No,’ I had to admit.
‘It is between 0.0024803 and 0.08 inches. Now, think carefully for a moment. Do you think I am going to let myself be stopped by something smaller than the tenth of an inch?’
‘Um… no.’
‘Indeed, no.’ (Kindle Locations 5484-5489).

2) The always obedient Lilly Linton and her feminist mindset :D. I love it when she goes all out feminist, specially during the second half. Lilly’s not a girl to be left behind, nor is she is a damsel in distress! For the first half of the book though, I wanted to shake her – specially when she’s pretending to be Mr Ambrose’s wife (it was so nice to see her in a dress again!) – because she was acting so……STUBBORN. There were a lot of things she did which she could have done without well, making Mr Ambrose look like he did. But at the same time, she was just sticking to who she is!

3) Every conversation between Lilly Linton and Mr Ambrose. There wasn’t a moment where I wasn’t thinking not to laugh. Both of them have a really good dynamic with each other. As stubborn as a donkey, and yet logical and willing to compromise! Such as…a conversation about appropriate husbandly names for Rikkard Ambrose:

      I thought about it for a moment, rolling the name around my tongue. Then, suddenly, an idea came to me, and a grin spread over my face. ‘I’m sure there are other abbreviations for your lovely name. How about “Dick”?’
He gave me a glare that sent shivers down my back. But my smile only widened. Inside, I was rolling on the floor with laughter, gasping for air. Ha! Payback time!
‘It’s “Rick”, Miss Linton! No discussion!’
‘Just as you say,… Dick.’
His glare cooled another dozen degrees. ‘I’m your employer, Miss Linton! You are obligated to follow my orders!’
In return for his ferocious glare, I gave him back a cheerful smile. ‘Apparently, you’re not my employer. You’re my husband now, Dick. Haven’t you heard?’
(Kindle Locations 2858-2864).

4) THE ACTION – while the beginning contains less action, this book is filled with it. From beginning to end. There is every single moment in it worth waiting for. But my favourite part, is the end ;).

5) The little old deaf lady! While in the end the joke got a tad bit old, she was a cracker. Poor woman, being tied into Lilly’s work by accident!! And strangely, I was waiting for the moment where she says ‘I’m sorry to hear that’ and actually has all of her hearing! But then, it didn’t happen, and yet, she was still a fun character :D.

6) The setting. To some degree, it’s pretty vivid. Thier has expected social customs down to a pat, so it makes it clearly to visualise without great detail in the description of the world. So in a way, this makes his plain but humorous style of writing really engaging and quick to read. The worldbuilding is built into the conversations, into the scenes of action, and through the characters interactions with each other!

7) This sequel actually reminds me of the kind of series where in each book the characters encounter a new problem that they have to solve while still remaining their somewhat ambiguous yet high in chemistry relationship!

8) THE ENDING IS NOT FAIR. I was expecting, expecting some kind of IDK and then it ended, with Lilly returning to work, and………..where is my Mr Ambrose and Lilly Linton moment?!?! Or SOMETHING. ANYTHING.

CONS – yes, no book is free of cons!

1) The plot felt a bit scattered and a bit weak, at the same time, it was simple, with one motivation in hand. HOWEVER, because there was only one motivation, the ending thus, seemed a bit abrupt, which left me mourning :(((( and wondering what might happen to Lilly and Mr Ambrose next!

2) VERY romance focussed for the first half. I actually really liked the development of Mr Ambrose and Lilly’s relationship in S&S but In the Eye of the Storm, their relationship takes another level while still remaining in the same position.

3) LILLY LINTON WHAT ARE YOU DOING HALF THE TIME?! Especially the first half. Even though I understand everything you do, I still have to con you! Because sometimes I wanted to shake you so badly. It wouldn’t kill you to behave for at least one or two of your acting scenes with Mr Ambrose, would it?! But then, actually, with the way you’re written, it also makes more sense, since later on, the scene where you’re obedient is actually a little bit more touching!

4) Lilly finds excuses wayyyyy too easily to escape from her home. It makes me wonder sometimes if it’s in the 1920s instead of earlier, considering how chaperoning was more serious and her aunt really doesn’t seem to care much at all ^^”. Then again, Lilly’s family isn’t excessively rich….but well! Logically, it does all work out, I kind of look forward to the moment when her lies/secrets are exposed!


(Yes, lovelies, I’m awfully aware that I am not writing an essay lol.)
A lovely sequel to S&S. I loved it for the action, for the fast paced, and also for most of the Mr Ambrose and Lilly moments. Goes well with a plain cup of tea i.e. a boring day. Robert Thier is also very humourous in his writing, so there’s not really a chapter where you’re wondering if you’re going to be bored (if you followed my statuses, and wondered what I was referring to around the 50% mark, I was mostly complaining about the romance part, since it was getting a tad tedious but then the WALL exploded and BULLETS were flying and MR AMBROSE was rescuing a DEAF OLD LADY and Lilly at the same time, even though moments before they were kissing like mad – er Lilly and Mr Ambrose, not Mr Ambrose and the Old Lady lol.) If Thier writes another book, I will definitely be reading it. Oh Yes, because the ending of this one is UNSATISFACTORY. GIVE ME MORE MR AMBROSE.

And on a final note there was a lovely surprise at the end of this book with additional chapters from Mr Ambrose’s POV which I LOVED. It was sooooo nice to read from his POV. I actually would love to see chapters from his pov. Mr Ambrose has such an interesting mind after :P.

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Shadow Study. Maria V. Snyder.

Shadow Study
by Maria V. Snyder

My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

(This review was actually done last year and chronicles my reading experience!)

F I R S T  I M P R E S S I O N S

Omg so it’s true, there are three more books! Well, I can’t say that I’m not excited, because I am, and because I really love the original three, but will they live up to my expectations? Yelena and Valek are my favouritest couple ever! I guess I’m excited?? But expectations…are hard to live up to sometimes.

update–16th Nov 2015 at 00:15am
loveeedddd this! missed this world so much!! Yelena, Valek, ari, Janco, everyone and everything!

more detailed review later!

– 11am 16th Nov 2015

So technically it’s 4.5 stars but in this case, the rating doesn’t really matter because as a long time fan of this series, I loved this installment a lot! And my expectations weren’t disappointed (mainly because I really was soooo in the mood to read this).

Welcome back Yelena and Valek, and all the crew of the Study series. This time though, rather than simply being told from Yelena’s perspective, the story is alternated between Yelena, Valek and Janco. This was a nice change, and while I usually have reservations about one character being told in first person, and the others in third, Snyder blended it in pretty nicely. In many ways, Shadow Study is more Valek’s story than Yelena’s, as we learn so much about him than we ever had in previous books.

It never ceases to amaze me how easily I can slip into the Study series’ world. Comprised two countries: Ixia and Sitia, one North, the other South, one organised like a military with a Commander as its head, the other more relaxed and functioning with a Council and full support for the existence of magicians. Snyder doesn’t bog down the writing with long and winded, detailed and sometime painfully irritating descriptions of the world. Yet, somehow, it’s so very easy to imagine her worlds. Her details are brief yet somehow, oddly vivid. In a way, it helps that the original trilogy was written in first person, because it does, I feel, help the reader become immersed into the world a lot easier. Plus, Snyder had a nice way of providing info without the usual infodumping (in the lessons Yelena had with Valek way back in Poison Study).

This book is set across both lands. Which is great, though still, predominantly in Sitia, I was happy to see more of Ixia, since I missed seeing it in Magic Study and Fire Study.

Yelena, Valek, Janco, Ari, the Commander, the Master Magicians are all back! Along with more familiar faces! Good guys and bad guys alike!

The only difference though, is that it’s been eight years since the events of Poison Study. And it was both odd and normal to see Yelena as a 27 year old woman. It was a little strange, mainly because she didn’t sound any different or act any different to the original trilogy, yet, she is definitely older. Though, still, sometimes as immature as before (specially when she’s around her brother Leif). I liked that she was familiar, it made it all the more easier to re-engage with this series.

Valek. Oh Valek! I learnt so much about you this time. It was really nice to see your life before Yelena, and I like also, seeing your development, after all, we never really got to get to know you before not like this. Still, I really wonder how you’ll deal with all the problems you’re facing, and are coming at you next! And not to mention the cliffie at the end of this book.

Janco–I totally didn’t expect to read from his perspective, but that was interesting! But unlike Valek’s part, Janco’s is written like Yelena’s in the sense that it was action orientated rather than character building. Though, told from third pov perspective. As one of my favourite characters always simply because he has such a big mouth and is unable to ever sit still, it was nice seeing how he thought, and his attitudes to people.

Ari, more of a support than main, poor guy he didn’t get his own personal pov, but that’s alright! The little snippets of him and Janco were, like always, absolutely hilarious. They really make a great pair, and are one of my favourite comedy relief characters, such a good broship.

Other supporting characters: Opal and Devlen return, they were great to see! Opal is so mature and nice, I’d forgotten that. Devlen is still growing on me. Leif was the best! I mean someone really needs to figure out how to plug his stomach up. The Master Magicians, helpful but had a really small role. And the Commander. Oh, the Commander, what are you planning?

This was actually quite straightforward, and a little predictable, but it has that classic Snyder flavour of twists and turns, and sudden surprises. All the study books have a focus on mystery, so I’m not surprised that the majority of this book was also focussed on a problem that’s affecting both Ixia and Sitia.

Valek’s job, while he has always cherished it, since meeting Yelena, has thought about retiring. And while he’s always been challenged, there hasn’t been a challenger quite like this one. So while he’s worried about Yelena, he must also figure out the challenger, the Commander, and figure out what’s going on behind the smuggling operation.

Yelena’s magic is suddenly blocked, why? She doesn’t know, but for the book, she’s vulnerable. This plot development early on actually gave me the chance to see a side of Yelena I hadn’t seen before. It’s funny because the last time she had no magic was back in Poison Study, and for her to revisit that feeling, it’s such a scary thing for her. Yet she remains strong, even though for the most of this book, she feels lost. So while she’s trying to figure out what secret is lurking behind the recent breakout of a notorious prisoner, and trying to figure out what happened to her powers, she’s vulnerable to anything.

Very easy to read. Colloquial and not dense at all. Descriptive without being overly so! And Snyder has a nice way of leaving each chapter ending with a hook to make you keep reading! It’s also high fantasy. Definitely YA even though the main characters are beyond YA ages, however the writing and storyline is very YA. Complex enough for the genre, but not as complex and in depth like an adult novel.

Really enjoyed this installment–my opinion ladies and gents is unfortunately very biased based on the fact that I’ve loved this series for ages! If I was’t so biased, I might have rated this lower, maybe 4 stars, maybe 3.8 because although there was a lot going on, and although Snyder does a brilliant job with switching povs, there felt like something missing. But it was only such a slight small thing (I don’t know what it is), that I guess it doesn’t matter to me!

It’s a great YA high fantasy splashed with mystery. It has one of my favourite OTPs too. And it’s got a nice mix of serious characters and humorous ones so it doesn’t feel so heavy.

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Top 5 Favourite Book Covers

Another totally random post!  I love the Top 5 theme, but as for the topics, I suppose I’m still figuring out whether I want to stay Books Only, or branch out to other favourites – so we’ll see!

Today’s topic is favourite book covers – this is so hard!!  I don’t even know where to start, but I suppose this top 5 will be my favourite standout book covers ever (and I think I’ll avoid repeating any covers noted in the other top 5 post for now!)

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Undoubtedly one of my absolute favourite book covers is A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Gray.  I also love the other covers in the series – they’re just as gorgeous.  I actually bought this book based on the cover, and also based on Sam’s (over at A History of Books) recommendation.  I’m really looking forward to reading this when I get round to it, which will probably be around the time when the third and final book comes out.  What I love about this cover is the blend of colours.  I really love the colour scheme here.  I love the watercolour texture – particular the way it makes the images of the two cities (the bottom more than the top) look as if they’ve been painted.  And I really love the simplicity of the font.

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Omg, yes.  The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski is beautiful.  It truly is a very beautiful cover.  And I love it a WHOLE lot more than the new covers -> HERE.  I am a bit biased though because I read the books with the original (above) covers.  And when I think of Kestrel, I see a girl like the one in the cover.  The new covers ARE truly pretty and I think they’re awesome BUT I don’t think it represents the story.  In fact, I feel like they misrepresents the Winner’s Trilogy.  Kestrel is kickass, but it’s with her mind.  She just isn’t like the girl on the new covers.  The new covers make her look like an assassin, but the old ones give a sense of gentle distress, of silent conflict, and of a world of power and politics – the dress seems to represent to me a world of fashion, polite society.  I absolutely cannot wait until I read The Winner’s Kiss! 

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Alienated by Melissa Landers is a cover that really attracted me.  I think what I like about it most is the composition.  Then the sky in the centre, and then lastly the position of the people.  I think the name of this book also captures my attention. And there’s a sense of alienation between both the people on the cover.  This was a cover that made me really want to buy it, and I have plenty of plans to do so soon!

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4. 18284908

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Undeniably one of my favourite covers for the dress.  Look at that dress!  I love they way it just billows about, green amongst the sea of stars.  It’s really pretty!  I really love the blue of the starry sky.  The cover too really matches the story even though most of the story is actually situated on a deserted planet.  What I loved most about this story was the way both Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner approached the possibility of life beyond Earth.  And not just your usual humanoid life, but something that well, gave me a bit of the creeps.  The cover though, doesn’t quite translate that part into it, but on the whole symbolises the need that both the main characters had and needed from each other.

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And lastly, for now, is this beautiful cover.  I bought this book in part because of the cover, and on the other part, because of the story.  I’ve heard only good things about this story!  And it’s like a scientific approach to reincarnation.  From the premise on Goodreads, I also get the sense  of All Our Yesterdays (time travel).  I can really see the whole time after time thing in the cover, and I’m really excited to read this.  I think whoever designed it was and is a genius.

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And those are my top five favourites!  What about you?  What are some of your all time favourite book covers?

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Oh and to wrap up – some honourable mentions!

  • Wither (The Chemical Garden, #1) by Lauren DeStefano Fever (The Chemical Garden, #2) by Lauren DeStefano Sever (The Chemical Garden, #3) by Lauren DeStefano – The Chemical Garden Trilogy by Lauren DeStefano
  • The Selection (The Selection, #1) by Kiera Cass The Elite (The Selection, #2) by Kiera Cass The One (The Selection, #3) by Kiera Cass The Heir (The Selection, #4) by Kiera Cass The Selection Stories The Prince & The Guard (The Selection, #0.5, 2.5) by Kiera Cass The Crown (The Selection, #5) by Kiera Cass – The Selection Series by Kiera Cass (though I dislike the Crown cover, because the dress looks way too big! The colour is nice though)
  • Matched (Matched, #1) by Ally Condie Crossed (Matched, #2) by Ally Condie Reached (Matched, #3) by Ally Condie – Matched Trilogy by Ally Condie
  • Eon (Eon, #1) by Alison Goodman Eona The Last Dragoneye (Eon, #2) by Alison Goodman – Eon Duology by Allison Goodman
  • Throne of Glass (Throne of Glass, #1) by Sarah J. Maas Crown of Midnight (Throne of Glass, #2) by Sarah J. Maas Heir of Fire (Throne of Glass, #3) by Sarah J. Maas Queen of Shadows (Throne of Glass, #4) by Sarah J. Maas – Throne of Glass series by Sarah J Maas
  • Incarnate (Newsoul, #1) by Jodi Meadows Asunder (Newsoul, #2) by Jodi Meadows Infinite (Newsoul, #3) by Jodi Meadows – Newsoul Trilogy by Jodi Meadows
  • The Orphan Queen (The Orphan Queen, #1) by Jodi Meadows The Mirror King (The Orphan Queen, #2) by Jodi Meadows – Orphan Queen duology by Jodi Meadows
  • And more!

Fairest. Marissa Meyer.


by Marissa Meyer

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


I am so conflicted by Fairest. I loved diving back into this world, even if it was just a small snippet. And I liked seeing Levana’s story. But truly, this was just a novella.

(Er….warning, some spoilers ahead! But only a little – I think I’m a bit vague, but if you don’t like spoilers, avoid this altogether!)

In truth, I would have loved to see this story in more depth with even more detail. But at the same time, I liked this story the way it is.

This was Levana before we see her in Cinder, Scarlet, Cress, and Winter.

My very first impression when I finished the 220 page novella was that….that’s it?! No more?!

I won’t say that my first impression was that I loved it. Because I didn’t. I didn’t like that several years had passed (around a decade or so) in the space of 220 pages. It was too much of a skim than something more. And I think, if what I read in Fairest was any indication, then Levana probably could have had a full novel to herself. In some ways, I felt like comparing her to Darth Vader lol, only more of a ….sociopath.

Of late, I really love my villain stories. And I really want well crafted villain. All through the Main Lunar Chronicles series, I had my doubts about Levana, because she seemed so…two-dimensional. And yet, she also had the hints of a deeper backstory, of the why she became the opposition.

Fairest is Levana’s backstory. It’s the lead up to what made her tick. Truthfully, I would have loved to see this story woven into the main series. But it’s nice she got her own book.

What I love about this novella and this villain story, is of course, the making. The making of villain, to me, is more important than anything. And in fact they should probably be even more emphatic than the protagonist. Everyone knows the protag is going to be the good guy, the morally straight compass, the one who wants to save everyone (or at least, inadvertently saves everyone), whereas the villain and the antihero are usually doomed to lose.

Which is why I was excited to read Fairest. (And now, am seriously considering rereading Winter soon – maybe even rereading the whole series again.)


[1] Story: Meyer weaves the story of Levana’s history from when she was a child to early adult hood thereabouts. The only major climax is Levana’s realisation that her husband doesn’t love her, and that her own thoughts had become so twisted to believe that she deserved everything she had. What I did love about the story was seeing how Levana meander into the depths of well…evilness. I don’t like using the word evil. Twisted is better. Yes. This story tells the tale of how Levana became so twisted. And it isn’t pleasant. Levana begins as an innocent, naive, somewhat neglected little girl living in the shadow of her older sister. However, she slowly descends into a twisted reality after what her sister did to her – tricking her into burning herself. the scars that mar her, haunt Levana, eating away at her confidence in herself until by the end of the novella, it becomes abundantly clear that Levana is too far gone. She has already convinced herself that she deserves it all, and that she would do anything to get it. Most importantly, Fairest highlights the people in her life that influenced the person she became.

[2] Character: Levana – I would like to say that she is a pitiful creature, but I can’t really bring myself to believe it. I feel for her. But I think the biggest impression that was left with me when I finished this novella was the hopeless feeling that this was a woman too far gone. Her mental state, and of course, Meyer’s brilliant writing, left me feeling haunted. Perhaps even frightened of this woman that Levana became. And I think, this was something that didn’t really translate in the main Lunar Chronicles (there, she seemed less fleshed out, and more shallow). But here, I saw it vividly. How unhealthy her thoughts became after what her sister did to her. And then afterwards, just because she took a kind gesture too deeply, events unfolded into a twisted reality for Levana. Twisted to everyone but herself. To Levana who only wanted to be loved, found what she couldn’t have, and rather than leaving as it was, she took it. Made the man her husband. Even though this man…didn’t love her at all, and though he resisted, Levana made him. I think, for the majority of this story, I was frustrated with Evret for the way things unfolded. He made several errors – some which he could not be blamed for, but ultimately to which lead to the events after.

As I’m writing this, I can still remember the way Levana acted, and it’s kind of frightening. A girl with immense glamour abilities who can manipulate the way you think, who is scarred by her past, physically and psychologically, always lonely, undoubtedly might mistake his actions. It’s kind of scary. Especially when Evret was just being nice. He didn’t know how psychologically messed up Levana was. And Levana, to ease any guilt she felt about what she did and was doing told herself excuses that eventually she believed. The same way her sister had excused what had happened to her.

So I guess I need to hand it to Meyer for doing this with Levana.

[3] Romance: It’s not really romance, but to Levana it is! To everyone else, it’s clear that Evret doesn’t love her the way she thinks she loves him. It’s kind of sad really. I actually really did somewhat feel sorry for Levana, well after I got over the twisted nature of her thoughts, and worked my way through the feeling of I-need-to-get-out-of-this-poisonous-mind. But in many ways, I wish Evret had done something earlier. Except, how could he do that when Levana is the way she is? And this was the problem. I think I really liked Evret, but in the end, he was like the guy with all the bad luck in some horror film who managed to make it through the movie while dealing with the crazy one.

Other T H I N G S

This doesn’t have to be read before Winter, but you could and it might enlighten you a little.

I would DEFINITELY have loved to read a novel sized version of Levana’s story and did felt like the novella didn’t fully do enough justice to the story. Like with Star Wars: Lost Stars, the way this story was told and the feeling I got, just made me feel like it was just a ‘filler’ and not really a story in its own right. And in many way it is a filler, but still, this is Levana’s story.

Is it just me, or did it feel like there was something perhaps…missing? Maybe the thing I feel that’s missing might be related to the above paragraph, but still, there is something that just nags at me!


An interesting insight to the mind of Levana. Can’t wait to read Stars Above.

P.s. Apologies for any typos present!

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Top 5 Favourite Book Series.

Totally random post (and I have no idea what day I’m scheduling this for!), but I felt like sharing 5 of my favourite book series.  Since I’m only going for 5, they’re probably all going to be YA.  But I do have some favourite adult books and of other genres!

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  1. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (Harry Potter, #1) by J.K. Rowling Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Harry Potter, #2) by J.K. Rowling Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Harry Potter, #3) by J.K. Rowling Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Harry Potter, #4) by J.K. Rowling Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Harry Potter, #5) by J.K. Rowling Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (Harry Potter, #6) by J.K. Rowling Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Harry Potter, #7) by J.K. Rowling

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Harry Potter! Of course, I LOVE this series. It takes an undebateable top spot on this list simply because this was the first series I ever read and loved to bits. Even though when I first came in contact with this series, I was around 7 or 8?  I had it read to me, because I was at a point where I couldn’t read it for myself yet. But by the time Prisoner of Azkaban came out, I was reading the books on my own, over and over again.  So of course, this series takes the number one spot on my top five favourite series.  How can it not?  😛

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2.  A Great and Terrible Beauty (Gemma Doyle, #1) by Libba Bray Rebel Angels (Gemma Doyle, #2) by Libba Bray The Sweet Far Thing (Gemma Doyle, #3) by Libba Bray

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Next on the list would have to be the Gemma Doyle Trilogy. This is on here because it was the first YA series I read during highschool. I’d love to say I read books every single day since I first encountered HP but truthfully, I stopped for a while for a variety of reasons. And because I stopped, I wanted to get back into the swing of things. And doing that, I started with standalones like Just Listen (Sarah Dessen), The Truth about Forever (Sarah Dessen) and Thirteen Reasons Why (Jay Asher). But the Gemma Doyle Trilogy was my first series. And I LOVED it for the historical setting. LOVED it for its gothic story. LOVED the ending even though it was somewhat heartshattering.  But it was also the first time I had ever encountered a story that did not end in happy ever after (if you’ve read this series, then you’ll understand what I mean!)

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3. Poison Study (Study, #1) by Maria V. Snyder Magic Study (Study, #2) by Maria V. Snyder Fire Study (Study, #3) by Maria V. Snyder Shadow Study (Soulfinders, #1) by Maria V. Snyder Night Study (Study, #5) by Maria V. Snyder Dawn Study (Soulfinders, #3) by Maria V. Snyder

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Next would have to be the Study Series. This holds a special place in my heart for being so awesome.  I think what I loved about this series was that Yelena is the main character.  Despite her hard history, she is able to stand on her feet and keep trying.  Although she falls in love, their romance is not the sole focus of the whole story.  I love how it’s there, and yet, doesn’t take over the whole show!  Not to mention that this was perhaps one of the first series where I decided to read it again right after I had just finished it.  How did I come across it?  I think I was looking for stories that involved assassins – in particular female, since I really was in the mood.  This wasn’t it, but it came up in the search, and I figured I’d give it a try.  It was also one of the first few books in which I actually did not mind the larger age gap between the main protagonist and her love interest.

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4. Cinder (The Lunar Chronicles, #1) by Marissa Meyer Scarlet (The Lunar Chronicles, #2) by Marissa Meyer Cress (The Lunar Chronicles, #3) by Marissa Meyer Fairest (The Lunar Chronicles, #3.5) by Marissa Meyer Winter (The Lunar Chronicles, #4) by Marissa Meyer Stars Above (The Lunar Chronicles) by Marissa Meyer

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Even though I’ve only read this series recently, it definitely deserves a place on my list of favourite series for simply being amazing.  I think it’s one of the most creative retellings I’ve ever come across in a long time.   l love the mesh of science fiction, fairy tales, and imperfect characters.  The romances are also very adorable.  But what holds this series together, is the well planned out plot.  Some of it was very predictable, but there was enough emotion to keep the roller coaster going.  I had to consume each book as quick as possible, and I think, asides from the other books on this list, this is something I haven’t done for a long time (or so it feels like!)

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5. Obernewtyn (The Obernewtyn Chronicles, #1) by Isobelle Carmody The Farseekers (The Obernewtyn Chronicles, #2) by Isobelle Carmody Ashling (The Obernewtyn Chronicles, #3) by Isobelle Carmody The Keeping Place (The Obernewtyn Chronicles, #4) by Isobelle Carmody The Stone Key (The Obernewtyn Chronicles, #5) by Isobelle Carmody The Sending (The Obernewtyn Chronicles, #6) by Isobelle Carmody The Red Queen (The Obernewtyn Chronicles, #7) by Isobelle Carmody

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I include the Obernewtyn series here as well because I feel I need to add at least one Australian author on my list.  And there aren’t many Australian authors with series I wanted to list that I’ve finished.  But Obernewtyn, though I started it late, is definitely a long time favourite of mine.  I forgive the somewhat slow ending because I love, love love what Carmody does with her story here.  Not only is it a great story that features heavy themes about Being Kind to Animals and whatnot, Carmody does something really special with the language.  As a linguist, I don’t see this kind of creativity very often.  Most other authors who’ve written books set in the future and are considered YA don’t really give much attention to the language. But language, people! is tied with our existence, and it does not truly remain the same.  It evolves!  It would definitely look different in the near and distant future.  Carmody knows language.  It’s beautiful.  I think this was probably one of the reasons why I was really attracted to her story (that and all my favourite characters!)  She even gives the animals a really believable language system too!  And this is why I also love the Obernewtyn series (not just the story!), it’s because of her approach to the language.

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And those are my top five favourites!  What about you?  What are some of your all time favourite book series?

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Oh and to wrap up – some honourable mentions!

Star Wars: The Lost Stars. Claudia Gray.


Lost Stars by Claudia Gray

My rating:


So actually I finished this on Saturday (a week ago), but I just didn’t have to time remove it from my status lol. (It also took so much longer to read because well, just been so ridiculously busy 😦 )

I am a MASSIVE fan of Star Wars – I love all the films to pieces, and have been in a totally Star wars mad phase since the most recent movie came out. Reading this took me back to this world. I really love this world. So much, yet, I am not exactly versed in the universe, which is why I totally want to read more of the expanded universe.

Lost Stars though was really interesting in the sense that, I was expecting – well, I don’t know what I was expecting, but I was expecting something like the movies, only this wasn’t like that. Not really. And truthfully, I don’t know how I feel about it. I know I’m not overwhelmed but it, but I’m also not underwhelmed.

lost stars
W H A T   I   T H O U G H T

This was the main focal point of the whole story. The romance between two Imperial officers (in a manner of speaking, their statuses change throughout the story). A romance that defies any loyalty to any side of the war. It was cute, sweet, and very strong, I’ll give it that. So that’s the pro. The con, is that it overtook most of the plot. The events that took place didn’t matter as much. It was how Thane and Ciena overcame any obstacle that got in the way – in particular, their changing alliances, their loyalty to their causes, and also to each other – and still managed to love each other.

The Story & Time Period
Set a little before Star Wars Episode 4, all the way through those first three movies, through to a short period after Episode 6. Firstly, I really loved seeing those original movies, being told from a different perspective. Thane and Ciena both, since they were young, admired and dreamed of piloting the biggest ships in the galaxy by being part of the Imperial military. And so the story follows their journey, follows Ciena’s supreme oath to the Empire, and Thane’s somewhat fluctuating alliances. They age throughout the book. So the pro here is, that I really enjoyed seeing it from the Imperial side. The con is, there were too many events. There didn’t seem to be any focus in the story except the romance to give the book much focus. So I didn’t really enjoy it as much. I really wanted more of the action.

But I will say, I really liked the way Gray worked in the themes of loyalty, allegiance, politics, idealism – and in particular, I love the ending, you can really see the lead up to Star Wars Episode 7.

The Action
Plenty of it happening! But strangely, is it just me or did it feel like it dragged a little? Each major scene – like the destruction of the first Death Star, the Battle of Yavin, and the destruction of the second Death Star – was great! Plenty of things happening, and yet…it was as though extreme excitement was never achieved? There were other significant events, like when both Ciena and Thane were tested for their loyalty to each other, and to the Empire. Those were great. I like that it wasn’t just a story of the original three movies, retold. Ciena and Thane have their own stories outside of those movies. I just wished that there was less focus on the romance. I will say though, that my favourite, absolute favourite scene in the whole book was at the end, involving Ciena and a Star Destroyer – that was GREAT, I love how her character really shines in that moment, up until it’s a little spoilt by the arrival of Thane (but actually, that was also mostly okay with me too).

The Characters
Ciena and Thane were both pretty well fleshed out. Though I think a first person pov would have been better for this story, because the third person shift didn’t really do their feelings much justice. At the same time, it wasn’t really a story killer. I really love how Gray emphasised on Ciena’s loyalty. I feel the conflict that swirls inside of Ciena as she questions the Empire – though her doubts aren’t as pronounced as Thane’s. We do catch and hear glimpses of old favourites – Princess Leia, Han Solo, Luke Skywalker, and Orlando (Was it Orlando, I’ve blanked on his name) Calrissian – so that was fun! But there are only a handful of other characters that stand out. Most of them die.

This was interesting. Loved diving into the world again. Loved seeing it from another pov. Gawd, now I’m craving Star Wars again, even though this wasn’t exactly the most interesting expanded novel story I’ve read. But it was alright! I think I do really like Ciena and Thane even though I think the whole story felt like it took a bit too long (then again, I took so long reading it because I have been so busy!!)

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Blog Tour: Storm and Silence by Robert Thier

24035804Title: Storm and Silence

Author: Robert Thier

Publication Date: March 19th 2016

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Freedom – that is what Lilly Linton wants most in life. Not marriage, not a brood of squalling brats, and certainly not love, thank you very much!
But freedom is a rare commodity in 19th-century London, where girls are expected to spend their lives sitting at home, fully occupied with looking pretty. Lilly is at her wits’ end – until a chance encounter with a dark, dangerous and powerful stranger changes her life forever…Enter the world of Mr Rikkard Ambrose, where the only rule is: Knowledge is power is time is money!




Storm and Silence.  Robert Thier


An unpolished version of this book is posted on Wattpad. You can check that out before making up your mind about purchasing the book, but know that the published version has extra material that you want to read. Trust me. 😉

Make sure to check out the other posts in this blog tour!

Name Date Blog Link
Jinan 19th of March LINK
Henz 20th of March LINK
Aira 21st of March LINK
Raven 22nd of March LINK
Nina 23rd of March LINK
Eti 24th of March LINK

About Robert Thier


Robert Thier is a German Historian and writer of Historical Fiction. His particular mix of history, romance and adventure, always with a good deal of humor thrown in, has gained him a diverse readership ranging from teenagers to retired grandmothers. For the way he manages to make history come alive, as if he himself had lived as a medieval knight, his fans all over the world have given him the nickname “Sir Rob”.

For him, Robert says, becoming a writer has followed naturally from his interest in history. “In Germany,” he says, “we use the same word for story and history. And I’ve always loved the one as much as the other. Becoming a storyteller, a writer, is what I’ve always wanted.”

Besides writing and researching in dusty old archives, on the lookout for a mystery to put into his next story, Robert enjoys classical music and long walks in the country. The helmet you see on the picture he does not wear because he is a cycling enthusiast, but to protect his literary skull in which a bone has been missing from birth. Robert lives in the south of Germany in a small village between the three Emperor’s Mountains.

Night Circus. Erin Morgenstern.


by Erin Morgenstern

MY RATING: 3 | 3.5 | 3.8. Depending on how I want to look at this story. (And this time, I’m writing three mini reviews based on how I felt, and why I would have rated it 3, 3.5, or 3.8. Since depending on the kind of reader or the shoes I decide to put on, I could have found this book mediocre, or I could have really loved it.)

Buddy read with Woolfie! for the Quarterly Book Club!

In all honesty, I am so utterly conflicted about how I feel about this book! It took me longer to read, simply because I had to put it down for a moment, and read something else. Of course, when I went to read something else, I kind of understand now the difference between this book and others. And also, what separated other more exciting books with this one.

What I do love across all my conflicted rating choices is the ‘circus’. I love the Circus in this story, and to me, it was the highlight of the story.

What I absolutely hated across all three ratings is the very fact that the alternating POVs sucked. I didn’t like it at all. Morgenstern definitely doesn’t write it well enough, nor in a way in which I could appreciate it fully.

I rated this book 3 stars on one level simply because asides from one factor, this book loses its appeal. You get dragged into this 400 something paged book with promises of a dual between two really promising ‘illusionists’ who battle it out in a circus venue. It’s a very promising start, and I must say The Prestige flickered through my mind initially. Of course, thankfully I don’t remember much about the Prestige, but one thing’s for sure, The Night Circus does not read anything like the Prestige. It’s a very disappointing comparison. Asides from a similar sounding premise, The Night Circus and The Prestige are nothing alike! At this rating I can safely say this book is very boring. It coasts for one, does not have enough highs and lows. And You are distanced from the characters, giving you very little space to actually care about them. It also doesn’t help that the style is third person and it’s written with alternating point of views. I honestly ended the story without caring much for Celia or Marco or Bailey. Didn’t really care about any of them!

The Promise of an epic contest, is actually very mild. There’s no intensity to the challenge placed on Celia and Marco. The game itself is merely enchanting etc…the details of which you won’t find out until the last 100 pages. Although it’s the most promoted part of the book, it pretty much plays the smallest role in the book. Which is a shame. I wanted someone to epically fail! (Well I won’t tell you what happens at the end, but if you’re after a plot orientated story, this isn’t it. If you’re after a epic battle, this isn’t it either.)

 Remember how I said there was a factor that stood out the most? Well, if I am a reader who is simply after beautiful writing, then this was the book that I wanted. When I say beautiful, I don’t mean loquaciously elegant, utterly stuffed and dense with metaphoric meaning – that’s writing that can and may not always be beautiful if the meaning is obscured by the overuse of language at its finest – I mean that the writing is simple yet wonderfully adorning the pages of my book with some whimsical beauty. It reminds me a little of Lauren Oliver’s (Delirium, Before I Fall) writing (of course with the different styles). Even though I felt close to nothing for the non-existent-yet-supposed-to-be-there romance between Celia and Marco, I found something sparkly and enticing in the writing style. I would definitely read another piece of writing from Erin Morgenstern just for the writing!

But of course, under this writing, my feelings about other aspects of the book don’t stray far from my 3 star rating. I still can’t tell myself that there was chemistry between Celia and Marco. I still feel the duel/battle/challenge between Celia and Marco was over promoted or at the very least wasn’t described accurately enough. The emotions just weren’t really there in the book. And I really, really, really, hated the alternating POVs. Normally I’m alright with it. But this time, I just couldn’t handle it. It infuriated me, irritated me, and seriously, I had an urge to stab the book simply because it was so jarring and choppy and didn’t really help the flow of the story at all. SURE, I loved some parts of the alternating POVs, but most of the time, I found the pov switch happened at the worst possible moments.

 This isn’t the most perfect book in the world. Yet, I can see why it’s loved. I can also understand why others have given it positive 4 or 5 ratings. This book has the potential! If I looked at this with a critical literary eye, I would say, in a way, it’s an intriguing piece of ingenuity. What this book is, is not a love story, or a romance, or an epic, or an antihero story, or a magician story. What it is, is a book about a circus, about the people in the circus, about how it became to be. It is a magical thing, full of mystery, and like the way the story is written, it is filled with many tents, not half of them possibly discovered all at once, but instead must be discovered one by one when the time is right for each one.

This is how the Night Circus unfolded.

Morgenstern weaves her story, one chapter at a time. She does not aim to shock or startle her reader with a hook at the end of each chapter. Instead, she just weaves her story, and I’m reminded of Dickens, a little, or Wuthering Heights, those old classics that are always so dense and leave me holding on somehow for weeks simply because I want to finish it. But of course, the writing of the Night Circus is simpler. The tale this book holds is something precious, and shouldn’t be read as a romance or action filled novel.

It should be read as a history of the circus, or something similar. Because that’s how it unfolds, and to me, I found that the main character in the whole book is the circus itself. In a way, there was a flavour of One Hundred Years of Solitude – not in the magical realism sense, or that Morgenstern had the same way with words as Marquez has, or that the fates of the characters are even remotely similar. What they have similar is this winding tale that lasts for a few decades. Time is and isn’t of the essence in this book, so the flow of time in the story is jumpy, choppy, and a pain to deal with.

In my other ratings, I complained a little about the style. The choppiness, etc. Well, under this rating, I can say that the style isn’t entirely worthless. A little spoiler. By the end of the book you learn that the story is actually a recount by Wdget (who he is, you’ll find out if you go read the book!). Thus, it makes sense that there’s a distance placed between him and the other characters of the story since he hasn’t been around long enough to know all the history (which also knows at the same because of his abilities). Still. For someone who was so intimately knowledgeable about characters in the book, it is a little unbelievable that there isn’t as much connection between the reader and the characters.

In saying that, even at the 3.8 rating, there are cons I can’t run away from.
– The story is a coasty. (But then, this can be a pro too if you’re after a beautiful story about life.)
– Half the flipping time, I kept getting caught up by the introduction of one character, then the sudden use of ‘he’ or ‘she’ ONLY to find that it wasn’t referring to the character I’d just been introduced too.
– Choppy alternating POVs.

Late 1800s, early 1900s. Originally set in London, but moves from city to city. The Circus is also the main setting too.

Look. This book is pretty relative. You’ll either love it. Or hate it. I liked it. But had my problems with it. The ABOVE is a very sketchy right-this-moment reflection of how I feel after finishing. BUT actually, I’m still not sure how I REALLY feel about this. I like it. But I don’t love everything about it. If anything of the above appeals to you, relates to you, interests you, then give this a go?

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Here Come The Habibs – My Thoughts.

OKAY here’s the cracker.  YES.  Take the damn cracker and sit down.  (Okay so you don’t really have to sit down and read this, but I’d love you to. Because I’m so nice, and I gave you a cracker.)

Now that the cracker is out of the way.  (If you don’t like crackers, I have cookies.)  I’m sorry guys for disappearing again!  I got a little bit busy (still busy, got a personal deadline coming up) but I wanted to spend some time to write this post, in all hopes that it comes out sounding somewhat rational.  I did after all begin writing this in the spur of the moment.

Here’s what I want to talk about.  HERE COME THE HABIBS.  A new Australian sitcom featuring a Lebanese-Australian family who’ve one the lottery – 22 million – and moved into an upper class typically ‘white’ suburb.  It runs for 30 minutes every Tuesday night at 8:30pm.  If someone hadn’t switched the channel to Channel 9, I wouldn’t have bothered watching it – but this is only because I didn’t know what to think about the show – but someone did, and yes, I spent last Tuesday night and last night sitting for 30 minutes and watching this new multicultural sitcom on Channel 9.


Controversial?  Hell yes.

Take a look:

Now why is this controversial?  In Australia, we call ourselves multicultural, and indeed, on tv, you will have a multicultural character every so often.  On SBS, pretty much all the time, it’s the channel for multiculturalism, that’s why it was created in the first place, and why if you want your cultural fix, flick over to that channel.  Now, if we look at Australian commercial TV however – by all means, I’m not an expert, but I have spent copious amounts of time searching for interesting shows on TV, and without Foxtel or the like, it’s usually very hard, because everything is nearly always so typically white – no offense, as much as I love that stuff, it’s tiring and boring to watch all the time, and so here I am, deciding to write up my own opinion based on everything I keep hearing, and since NO ONE has yet written a detailed blog post as to why or why not one should watch HERE COME THE HABIBS, I figured I might as well.  I’m tired of reading summaries of the show and questioning pieces on the net by media outlets that REALLY don’t say anything at all about the show and FAIL to give it justice.

So here it is.  Your Blogger Nina, writer of Words That Flow Like Water, a ridiculously long name for a blog that I should probably think about changing sometime in the future, will now tell you my thoughts about the first two episodes of HERE COME THE HABIBS.

Let me set the scene.

Last Tuesday night, like always, I sit down in front of the TV pull my laptop onto my little lap desk, and fire it up.  I plug in my usb and flex my fingers ready to continue working on my writing project.  It’s night time after all, personal writing time.  Unfortunately, I’m one of those nutty writers who have the tv on in the background – but hey, why not? I live in a working middle class estate an hour away from the city, it gets quite eerie at night, and a little too quiet for my liking.  If it weren’t for the train passing by the back of my house every half hour or so, I would have moved a long time ago.  I’m not a rural girl. I like the city.

And there I was already to work – well semiwork – all that was left to do was find something decent for background noise.  Since I had no control over the remote for once, I just had to cross my fingers and pray that something good would pop up in the flick-a-channel marathon.

Final button press – Channel 9, running overtime (like always), with Here Come the Habibs scheduled on next.  At first, I’m conflicted.  I distinctly remember when the promo was blaring in my face every day, every hour since 2015, and I distinctly remember dismissing it, with the single thought – crap, they’re going to eff it up real bad, there’s no way I’m going to watch this s***.  Yep.  That’s how I thought.  I mean, why not?  It’s a multicultural show on a commercial channel?  When was the last time that happened?  Don’t make me laugh!  Oh yes, I can be quite harsh, and certainly, I was quite so during the lead up to the show, but the only difference is, as the time came closer for its premiere (it was vaguely in the back of my mind somewhere), I never said I wouldn’t watch it.  Sure, I might have disliked the thought of it for months before, dismissed it harshly, and didn’t think much of it thinking it was just a horrible joke gone wrong, but I like giving people the benefit of the doubt.  And with THE FAMILY LAW on SBS fully receiving my utmost attention (when I manage to catch it, but hey, I’ve read the book and currently using it as a source of data for my research), my head was already spinning towards thinking, maybe it might not be so bad.

But of course, since I’m a busy person, and TV schedules don’t really interest me all too often, I forgot about when HERE COME THE HABIBS was supposed to be premiering.  It was just a coincidence that it and I were in the right place at the right time.

Just so you know what kind of a person I am – if you haven’t read my suggestive reads posts that is – I’m the kind of person who’ll think of the pros and cons and will probably like something if it has merits worth praising.  I also, like to make up my own mind about something, I may also try and push my opinion on you, but hey! You don’t have to take it, since really, it’s just my opinion.  So, from here on out, I’ll be briefly summarising the episode plots, then I’ll go through the pros and cons of the show, and then, well, it’s up to you if you want to go watch the show. 

Episode One:  Essentially the Lebanese-Australian, Fou Fou, brings his family to their new home, a mansion in Vaucluse.  Pretty much a rich white upper class suburb.  They meet the neighbours – the O’Neills – and it’s clear right from the get-go that Oliva O’Neill doesn’t like them.  But this dislike probably stems more from her desire to get the house back – something to do with her family and family history and how her house and Fou Fou’s used to be connected.  (I will definitely comment on the O’Neill’s later.)  Fou Fou arrives in a little wooden dinghy –‘boat people’ imagery inspired here – he steps out and he kneels on the sandy forefront, bobs down and kisses it.  He’s then in the fountain playing, to some extent, with the water, pretending to be a human sprinkler, while his family enter the house.  The kids aren’t happy with the decisions being made for them, but they don’t mind checking out how big the house is.  Fou Fou meets the neighbour, who is well affronted by the sudden ‘invasion’.   They also have a little disagreement about a fence, so Fou Fou moves it for her, so that he can access the boat ramp.  Elias (youngest son of Fou Fou who is in his first year of uni) stacks it when he’s on his way back from buying food, and he meets the neighbours daughter.  Throughout the episode, Miriam meets the neighbour as well, offering baklava, and Olivia later organises a welcome party for Madison.  Olivia also spies Fou Fou looking a bit shifty, crossing the lawn with a suitcase that accidentally opens to reveal stacks of money.  Meanwhile, Layla goes to visit a friend/boyfriend, and her older Toufic finds out, so Toufic and Elias go to well, beat the guy up (friend of Toufic’s or something), in the process they get Madison to drive them to Bankstown.  There, they hang out a bit, showing Madison where they used to live, and well, Layla finds the guy she wanted to me, scratches his car as payback, before they all head back home where the party is in full swing.  Fou Fou’s family have a typical kebab bbq, while their neighbours are having a fancy bbq welcome party.  Olivia has found out that Fou Fou got his money from the lottery, and that no one in his family except his wife knows.  At some point of course, embers from the O’Neill’s bbq spark a fire on the newly varnished (a peace offering by Olivia’s husband – the varnishing) wooden dinghy of Fou Fou’s, and it bursts into flames…the episode ends with Olivia vowing to get rid of them.


Episode Two:  The secret is out.  Thanks to Olivia who tipped off the press, Fou Fou has to explain everything to his kids.  Layla is ecstatic while Toufic is a bit disappointed.  But that isn’t all.  It’s the rest of the family and friends that matter.  Phones start ringing, and Layla is on the phone to the radio.  Fou Fou organises for Elias to take the suitcase filled with money to the bank, away from the house before the relos sniff it out.  Elias once again recruits Madison to help him out.  On the way to the bank, they stop so that she can go to see someone about a tattoo while Elias is left in the car.  His brothers sneak up and fake rob him with masks and all, but they’re caught by the police, and have to explain everything.  Madison comes back, the whole problem is sorted but then she’s arrested for unpaid parking fines.  She works her way out of that one, and then they find out the case of money has been stolen.  Meanwhile, Miriam, wants to join the club – Olivia’s club – and after meeting the Commodore, Olivia’s friend sponsors her in.  Unfortunately, Olivia makes mischief and tricks Miriam into fishing off the pier for the mascot (Miriam didn’t know).  Elias returns and tells his dad what happens – turns out Mustapha  (sidekick uncle?) had been following them as a precaution because of Elias’ older brothers.  While his kids had been away, Fou Fou had been meeting with all the relos to find out what they want (outrageous and expensive of course), and recruits Olivia’s husband to help him out (with the silent threat to sue for putting Fou Fou into the paper).  For Miriam, it turns out the Commodore was happy that the mascot had been caught, cooked, and served, and welcomed her and her family to the club, to Olivia’s horror.  And it turns out Olivia’s husband had also nominated all of Fou Fou’s relos to the club too…paid for by Fou Fou.


And Now…what to think?

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  • I love that this is a multicultural cast.  Not just one character is a non-white person, but a family.  Since this is a story about Lebanese-Australians.  Granted it’s only restricted to either Lebanese-Australian or white-caucasian-anglo-saxon.   But that’s the most multicultural I’ve seen on commercial TV for a long time.  THIS IS MY NUMBER ONE PRO.  WE don’t have enough of this kind of sitcom on Australian commercial TV that’s not sourced from overseas.  It’s local as well, which is a big bonus.  SBS is multicultural too, and The Family Law is another current show at the moment that is comparable.  And I do actually like the Family Law better because the script and production is done so much better, but I can’t just dismiss HERE COME THE HABIBS. 


  • Commercial TV. To  my friends and family, they know how much I abhor watching soap operas, comedies, and dramas on Australian commercial TV that’s specifically sourced locally.  I know.  As an Australian, I’m such a terrible one.  But hey!  I’m an ABC.  And you know what?  I’m REALLY sick and tired of the same old plotlines, same old white cast, same old boring repetitive stories.  This is why I didn’t watch Packed to the Rafters.  This is why I dislike Winners & Losers.  Good luck to anyone who watches and loves those shows, but you can count on me to not watch it – I just don’t get what’s so “Australian” about those stories when, when I look at myself in the mirror, I’m just not like that.  My family is mixed, and though there’s no way I would ever say that I’m not Australian, I do sometimes wonder, or at least, feel my mind straining against the stereotypical labels of what it means to be Australian.  Commercial TV has not been a good indicator of ‘what Australian is’.  Sure, shows set a few decades back, include a non-white character, however, it’s never more than one or two, it’s never a whole big fat family.  Everyone has their own bone to pick – the need for more diversity and representation in body types, gender diversity, LGBTQ diversity, etc., but for me, it’s multiculturalism.  Especially on the commercial channels – yes, I am not including SBS because SBS is made to be multicultural.   SO YES, this is a big pro for the show!


  • This is a controversial point.  And I don’t fully agree with it, because the source of humour is the main source of controversy.  But firstly, the style of humour we see in HERE COME THE HABIBS is a self-deprecating, making jokes of ourselves for laughs kind of humour.  It’s in many ways what I think and feel is typical Australian humour.  At the beginning, I didn’t want to laugh AT ALL.  Because I was worried about the jokes.  But – sigh – I ended up laughing partway through.  So, to some degree this show is funny, particularly for the caricature image it creatures of the Lebanese-australians, and also of the upper class snob next door.


  • Discourses of race and class can be read from this show. What I like about this show is that it really hones on these discourses, and gives you something to think about.  It’s another reason why this show is so controversial.  Since the jokes can be considered incredibly racist.  But in my opinion, I don’t think they’re supposed to be like that at all.  They’re just jokes.


  • HERE COME THE HABIBS so far as they (producers, creators, directors, scriptwriters) don’t mess it up big time with some bullshit storyline, is much better than the other crap (yes, I’m sorry, but I disliked it, found it offensive, and hated it to pieces) such as Fat Pizza and Housos absolutely rubbish. At least HERE COME THE HABIBS doesn’t make me throw up every five minutes in disgust.  HERE COME THE HABIBS so far, is pretty family friendly.  There’s no vulgar sexual or drug references at all, and THIS guys, is a DEFINITE pro.  We don’t need those other negative influences on the young audience.  I don’t know why they put it on at 8:30pm, but I swear, I hope it’s not because we’re going to get some nasty surprise later on.


  • AS a linguist, I’ve VERY curious in how they’re portraying accent.  Will it be fully Australian (within the broad-general-rp continuum) or would they give the Lebanese-Australians their own flair (which from my experience they do have their own flavour) — this though, I’m still observing.


  • Omg, yes, I will include this as a pro – but I am shipping Elias and Madison. It’s a bit of a strange pro, but they’re pretty cool together.  I don’t know if I want to see them together, or just see them as friends for a long time, but I think they’re pretty cute to watch haha.

Cons copy

  • Oh yes, there are cons! And this one has plenty of them!  The first major con I want to point out is the production and scripting – mostly, it’s fine, but seriously, it could be so much better.  Perhaps the only reason why it’s like this is because this is just the beginning of the show.  But I would love to see stronger relationships being built between the characters.  Then again I can also understand why this isn’t a strong element, since this is a light sitcom in its initial stages.


  • Hate to say this, but which genius thought it would be a good idea to tag Kyle Sandilands opinion of the show at the end of the promo videos? Sure he says it’s funny, but um….since when was his opinion trustworthy?  I still remember when he was on Australian Idol and had a thing for complimenting a singer’s looks over their vocal talents.   Not to mention he’s white and somewhat typically Australian.  Wouldn’t it have been a good idea to tag on opinion tweets from other people?  I didn’t even recognise the names of the other people either, which is why I didn’t trust what they said.  Why should I trust what these people say?  I don’t even know them, or care about them.  Keep it multicultural!


  • Gawdbloodyblimey, there are so many stereotypes in this series.  So long as the series doesn’t overdo it, it could still work.  But HERE COME THE HABIBS walks a fine line between what’s okay, and what’s terrible.


  • Bad jokes. Oh yes.  The jokes border on really bad.  Since they’re jokes orientated at a particular set of discourses, not everyone will accept them.  Like in the most recent episode (2), when the Habibs’ family and friends are admitted to the sailing club, they arrive in boats, reminiscent of the image of refugees arriving by boat, hence why Olivia cries out ‘boat people!’  Funny, but can be read as insensitive to a critical issue at the same time.


What I'm expecting copy

Look, in the future for this show, I’m expecting a lot.  I want more.  I want more cultural situations.  More Habib family moments.  What is lacking in this show is strong relational ties.  Everything at the moment is sitting on a 5 rating. It’s good, but not great.  It’s fun, but not funny.  It’s different, but bordering on absolute rubbish.  Where the Family Law really hits it off strongly with strong themes and great relationships between Ben and the other characters, HERE COME THE HABIBS doesn’t quite have that yet.  HERE COME THE HABIBS is like it’s still within that creative process, one that’s not yet finished.  Needs a bit more tweaking for perfection.

In saying that though, I should probably say that The Family Law is really different in terms of production and humour, and production.  The Family Law is bit more well rounded.  But HERE COME THE HABIBS shouldn’t be crossed off the list yet.  I think it has plenty of promise.   And comparatively quite decent compared to Fat Pizza  and Housos.  Yes, I will keep bringing those up, even though I know a couple of the actors and creators from there are also a part of HERE COME THE HABIBS, but I can’t help it, the former two just ruined my appetite for anything remotely ethnically related Australian-produced.  But maybe, just maybe, I’m regaining my faith with HERE COME THE HABIBS.  If it’s cultivated and nurtured well, HERE COME THE HABIBS might actually make it as a memorable Australian TV show.

Btw, for other countries, this might not seem unusual, but yes, I feel in Australia, we just don’t get enough of these kinds of TV shows and multicultural casts.

Have I missed anything?

Have you watched Here Come the Habibs, what do you think?

What about opinions on multicultural sitcoms?  Or simply, diverse sitcoms?

Where’s The Key Alice? Work in Progress!

Today, I want to talk about my latest photomanipulation.  This post, of course, comes later than the creation I uploaded on DeviantART, simply because I haven’t had the time to write it up.  Life, as always, has been busy.  But lately, it’s been so much busier because asides from researching, I’ve been writing.  Oh yes.  I’ve been writing, and it’s taking such an immense amount of my concentration, I can’t even think beyond my day life (researching), and for the moment, night life (writing project: Golden Phoenix).  But sometime over the last month, I’d managed to find the time to do this:

Where's the Key Alice by N-arteest

My second greatest feat since I returned back to doing what a hobby artist does in her spare time: create, is Where’s the Key Alice?  

Creating something big, wonderful, and beautiful, takes a painstaking amount of time out of one’s day.  While I won’t say that what I make is beautiful, but I do feel extremely proud of my accomplishments.  Until, of course the next one, which makes the previous one seem like it needs a lot of work! Haha.

Every time I come back to creating something new, I find myself improved over time.  This is probably very normal, and is, like with most things, writing, reading, singing, dancing, probably influenced by the changes that have occurred in our lives, that gives us a new perspective on the world.  For me, I just got a little bit older, and hopefully, a little bit wiser.  Every day, though, I still fear the thought of losing yesterday (like the poem I wrote: Voices of Yesterday), of having my world become clear and focussed, rather than that beautiful rosy tint. I don’t, obviously, want to go back to being a child.  I like growing up.  But I don’t want to lose the endless daydreams of childhood, or the boundless abundance of hope that filled them.

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Time is such a precious commodity. I know I spend a lot of time thinking, I’m wasting time sitting here!  Eating is a waste of time!  Why am I wasting my time right now?  Every moment counts.

But some days.  We just need to sit back.  Relax.  It might be hard.  But there is a whole world in front of you.  And just maybe something will inspire you.  If you push yourself to the limit, you will go mad!  Or become so overstressed by the problems that are attacking you from left to right.  I would say get organised!  But maybe what you need is a little disorganisation?  Something to break up the chock-a-block routine you have going, and to completely disrupt your system until it’s in complete smithereens, and all you can do is think…I’ve had.  I’m going to take that damn break.  And maybe, like Forest Gump, you might want to run back and forth across the country, think things through, until sudden you stop, and realise.  That’s it.  I don’t need to think anymore.

Working on Where’s the Key Alice? became my spontaneous inspirational-drop-everything-else break.  Sure I had my research up in the day and I was researching and thinking and reading.  But I also had a jpg of my project up so I could stare at it and analyse what could be eliminated and what could be added.  At some points, I put it away and turned to my research, and found myself thinking…oh…now I didn’t think about that before.  And at night, I spent most of my time piecing and unpiecing, editing, and blending my gigantic mess, all the while, my writing project is open in the background, to glance at every so often, but with no pressure for me to really think about it.  Since there was no need.  Writing comes when it comes.  You don’t force it.  Otherwise you might want to get a pair of scissors and stab the screen for its corniness, or lameness.

So I focussed, with no real solid idea in mind, except that I was inspired while randomly looking for garden pics.  I came across this picture with a fairy girl hunched over a book, and beside her was a great sleeping dragon of some sort.  Overall the composition was very simple.  But I liked this idea of a secret garden.  A second scene to the first Which Way Alice which I really didn’t plan to make a sequel of.

Which Way Alice by N-arteest

Unfortunately, the hair on the two ‘Alices’ look different, because I was trying a different technique.  The feel between them is different too.  However, if I were to ever make it into a series (depending on whether I’m inspired or not), there’d definitely be an explanation! But now that they’re both done and next to each other, I feel like the second one, is the first scene, and the first is the second!

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And now, for the works in progress!  I think I should counted how many layers I used, but in the end, I lost track.  I do know there is at least 100!

So.  Part 1: The Background.  The background in my works is usually just piecing stock photos together, blending it into a much bigger scenery, one that’ll match my imagination.  Unlike with Which Way Alice? I didn’t change my design after I began it.  Right from the beginning, I was pretty set on my idea.  The question was, how do I do it?  when it comes to photomanipulation, the best thing is to have good stock.   It doesn’t have to have the best lighting, or even the best angle, so long as it fits your idea and you can manipulate it realistically.  Lighting you can edit later.


Above, is the first part, and which I called ‘background’ when I was layering my image.  Since I use many pictures to create a bigger picture, many little elements blended to be one, there are alot of layers.  Coupled with the fact that I use clipped layers for each one to adjust the Colour Balance, it can get a little messy.  So I divide my picture into sections. For Where’s the Key Alice, I went from left to right, and grouped the sections according to an approximate third of the pic.  At the moment, there’s only the colour change applied.  2

The next part of the background, was the middle ground and I wanted waterfalls. I’ve always wanted to manipulate a photo to have an amazing waterfall!  But as you can see, I’m getting there!  Colour Balance again.  You want to have a nice even colour scheme overall.  Mine was aiming for a vivia entrancing, luxurious green for the flora, and a mysterious magical blue-green for the waterfall.


And of course, a stone mini castle there at the edge of the waterfall.  I wanted to add as many pathways as possible too, since to me, mostly, I love pathways.  I love lots of meandering paths, and misleading doors, that bring up the questions of which way?  4

The Foreground.  Above, we have the last part of the picture.  Originally, I’d enlarged the floating island so that it was at the very forefront of the picture, however, since I wanted to show it floating, I had to shrink it.  Which may have been for the better, but I feel, here, I might have erred, since you can’t see the writing on the lamp post as clearly.  And most of that is important.  Important to the floating island, is the doorway seemingly to another world. This, I definitely, absolutely wanted to add, because the calm of the scenery inside the archway was to contrast against the beauty outside.

5Lighting!  And adding in all the details.  Like the lights, the glow of the lamps.  The faeries.  I brightened up the image using the burn and dodge tool, adding in shadows in some places, and then dodging others to be brighter.


Stone angels were inserted for their significance.  Just like the other image (Which way Alice) there are exactly 3.  Death is also present.

And now, below, for the Close Ups! The first is of the left side of the picture, by the crystal fountain.  I did blend in sun rays, because I wanted the light shining through, blindingly and brilliantly.  Here as you can see, in the light of the crystal fountain, the shadow of death is waiting along the path.  Just another obstacle along the way.  I still think I probably overdid it with the crystal fountain, and also think I tried something too early too soon.  But hey, when you’re constantly honing your skills, it’s all about the trial and error!  The faeries are all different sizes though,I deliberately did like that because well, they’re magical beings, no need to be rational there!

8 (Close up)7 (close up)

Sorry, my WIP kind of went astray and I didn’t talk about the techniques I used as much, but I’ve never really been very good at describing them.  After all, I’ve only just learnt half of the techniques I used for Where’s the Key Alice and Which Way Alice recently myself!  Plus, my method is really very simple, and learnt from tutorials online.  But if you want to know more, let me know!  I will try and whip one up!  Since I know, sometimes tutorials aren’t all that useful, because they’re bam, bam, bam, and unless you’re trialling and errorring, you don’t really know what they’re talking about.

Main Tools of Use:

  • Photoshop (I use C2 since that was the one version of photoshop I first fell in love with!  But I do want to upgrade to the latest since the newer update has a tool I really want to use!)
  • DeviantART stocks and resources (absolutely fabulous)
  • My brain (yes, I did use this, and though it’s obvious, I figure I’d add it in ;P)

I had a lot of fun making this.  And it’s now my laptop wallpaper.  It’s a completed thing, but my skills, like always, are a work in progress.  Everything in life is a work in progress. Nothing is ever truly finished!  When you put your mind to it, you can create something amazing that you didn’t think you could, and when you get older, you can look back and think, wow, I can’t believe I did that then, look what I can do now?  For me, that’s how I hope I’ll see the things I did this year, last year, back when I was 15, in 20 or 30 years time.

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**NOTE: All stocks used for “Where’s The Key Alice” are listed on DeviantART (Another link for you: HERE.  And wow.  I’m amazed.  It’s taken me a few hours to write this all up, and WordPress has autosaved it for me 84 times!  I don’t know why, but I find it quite impressive!

Storm and Silence. Robert Thier.


Storm and Silence by Robert Thier

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Category: YA Historical Fiction

Thank you to the author for providing a copy in exchange for an honest review.

This was a hit on wattpad, and now, it’s being published as an ebook on the 19th of March!

Quick Review. 4.5 Stars

Gawdbloodyhell, if you love cold but secretly sweet though not bipolar male love interests, pick this up! If you love a female protagonist who’s kickass all the way through even in the toughest of moments (though she acts even when scared) and won’t let a man tell her she can’t do anything. Then pick this up! If you love Historical Romance, a female character who’s a feminist, suffragette (but not extremely hardcore feminist/suffragette, but rather, values the principles of feminism and acts on it), then YES you got it! If you’re a bit of a fan of gender bendering, humorous interactions between female protagonist and love interest, you got it. And most importantly, if you like action, this has plenty of it!

Highlights of the book (quick and briefly)

– Miss Lilly Linton and Mr Ambrose. They kept me up until the early hours of Saturday morning because I just wanted so much more of them!
– Pure/clean romance (but there is kissing! Actually quite a lot of kissing at one questionable moment, but it doesn’t go any further than that.)

If you want to know more, keep reading below (because although my quick review is gushing over it, there were several things that nagged at me. BUT definitely not enough for me to rate this down tooo much.)


Initial Thoughts Before Reading

I want to point out that, although I was intrigued by the premise. (Although even the premise is very brief and says little). And that cover! You know, I love a beautiful cover, and this one, is just, well, so very intriguing and simple! Though, it did make me frown. Why? Because the 19th century, in particularly the beginning of, is one of my favourite time periods ever. Storm and Silence is set about 20 years later than the Regency, located in the Victorian Era – another era I do love reading about, because hell yes, Queen! on the throne – and the cover just looks like a guy in a suit. Then again, because you can’t see the back of, and I’m not expert on clothes unless I’m looking at the actual thing, my head debated for a bit, before settling down on, OKAY it still passes as being somewhat accurate! And since my brain clearly agreed on that, we moved onto the next thing. Intrigued by premise and cover, I did in fact check out some of the previous reviews, reviews given by people who loved the book on Wattpad.


I won’t lie. Those reviews made me so gawdawfully suspicious. Everyone loved it! PRAISES FOR ALL. LOVE. LOVE. LOVE. THREE CHEERS.

Ugh. I hate books that have too many praises, and though I love reading people’s reviews (both positive and negative), sometimes it’s just so hard for me to believe them! (Hence why I go out and read the book for myself. Though usually, the higher the praise a book gets, the longer it takes for me to read it. But sometimes, I might just jump right in.)

And so YES. I started this book with all intentions of hating it. THAT and also, I started it because I’d already finished the book in my bag on my morning trip to uni, and had ABSOLUTELY NOTHING TO READ on my way home. And when one has absolutely nothing to read they’ll read anything.

It was really good that my first impression was low. Because if it was high, then I might have found it harder to like.

Or maybe, this book really is just that likeable :P? Because I know, by the end of the book, I was crying for more. Craving, dying, wanting. So glad Thier is an author on Wattpad, and that I have Wattpad, and I can follow and read the sequel!

First Impressions Comparison

– I was reminded of A Spy in the House – the Agency series with the whole mystery angle.
– I was also reminded a little of A School for Unusual Girls, with the whole smart girl thing. Though Lilly is smart in her own little way.
– And Newt’s Emerald, for the gender bending, cross dressing! And also, the mystery aspect again, and the desperate need to recover something.
– Andddd A Matter of Magic, again, for a bit of the crossdressing, but also, the older, more authoritative figure, and the younger, assistant relationship (but mind, the age difference is around 5-ish/6-ish years).
– AND it has all the intense chemistry of any good slow burn romance book.
– OH I had like a Pride & Prejudice feel here, only less classic! Rather simply the values that each character has reminds me of P+P. But other than it’s nothing like the classic!


The premise is a bit short in details about the plot. But yes, it does highlight one important aspect of the book. Lilly Linton wants freedom. And in a time when women’s rights are somewhat oppressed, Lilly and her small band of friends take part in small protests for women’s rights. Since this is set in the late 1830s of the Victorian Era, and before any serious suffrage movements take place. At the very beginning of the book, we see Lilly dressed up as a guy heading towards the polling booth. On the way, she helps out a gentleman businessman, who then offers her a job. If it weren’t for her tiny mistake at the polling booths, well, her potential new Employer, according to his card, Mr Ambrose, wouldn’t have found out she was a girl.

Even so, she turns up at his office as he had requested, and even though she’s dressed as a woman, she makes her way to meet him (to the surprise of everyone in the office). Of course, Mr Ambrose, a man of his time, and averse to the idea of a woman working, yet true and honourable to his word as a businessman, he allows Lilly to accept the job, on the condition that she dresses as a man – just like she had been when they first met.

But Mr Ambrose, thinking he knew better, didn’t expect her to return as such, finds himself a crossdressing female as his private secretary.

Throughout the whole book, Lilly fights him constantly about her right to work, and since she does her job impeccably, Mr Ambrose, true to his word as a businessman, cannot make her go. So, in turn, he does everything he can to get rid of her.

In the process, an important file goes missing, and Lilly finds herself unable to keep out of Mr Ambrose’s business, proving herself to be very resourceful and useful in the process, which of course, makes it harder and harder for Mr Ambrose to get rid of her. A lot of this plot focusses on this file and leads to the major cliffhanger at the end.

Action is a significant portion of the novel, and so is the romance between Lilly and Mr Ambrose. Though, mind you, it’s slow burn (my favourite type!) yet with plenty of chemistry and humorous encounters. This book, while categorized as historical romance, does not simply focus on these two people. Lilly does have her own problems, and must deal with it, in a dress, and with a fan, and must also be at work on time.

Some parts of this story lag a bit, specially when Lilly comes across her younger sister and her secret assignation with her lover. These scenes to me, felt a bit like a parody, like a caricature of forbidden loves, but at the same time, no less sweet. Admittedly, I just kept rolling my eyes at their interactions, mostly because the conversations were so silly! Bordering on satirical (which is also something I think this whole book does about that time period, but here’s why I also compare it to Heyer, since she wrote serious but humorous romances so the characters fall in love and yet do it humourously along the way). My favourite parts of this subplot however, was the ball scene towards the end.


Lilly Linton, one of six daughters who are left with their aunt when her parents died. She’s nineteen, and couldn’t care less about balls, dances, and chauvinistic males. She’s more interested in wearing pants, fighting for rights as a woman, and a way out of her Aunt’s good gracious, to lift the burden, but also, so that she doesn’t ever have to marry anyone!What I love about her. She has a really interesting personality. Lots of humorous thoughts in her head, and doesn’t know how to really be a girl either. Even though in the company of men, she’s pretty feminine, except when she’s in full guy mode and allowed to swear up a storm and act like a guy. She’s clever, and resourceful, and refuses to give up her principles. She’s not invincible though. She doesn’t mind pushing her aunt to her limits, but so long as she plays towards her aunt’s desires (for her to go out and throw herself at gentleman to get married to), then she can be as free as a bird (well sort of free). When she’s in a dangerous situation, she gets scared and angry, but knows how to keep her head and follow orders (well not orders that tell her to stay away, but orders during the most intense moments). ON THE DOWNSIDE, Lilly’s stubbornness and inability to stay away from danger, throwing herself into tough situations might be dislikeable to some. However, I liked her enough because her character was justified and when she made a decision she stuck with it and acted as brave as possible, and not at all like a stupid-damsel-in-distress.

Mr Ambrose. His interactions with Lilly are the highlight of this book! I LOVE him. Well, rather, what I love, is how he was created. Indeed, he is somewhat your romantic love interest, the broody kind I mean. BUT BETTER. Broody typical love interests are always like, well, cavemen, broody and somewhat depressing. Mr Ambrose, is a sensible, logical, non-joking male, who knows how to use sarcasm (or rather he tells truths in a sarcastic way), likes to order people around, a miser who loves threatening Lilly by telling her that all the expenses are coming out of her wage, dresses well but plainly, is considered the richest man in all of England, has a somewhat shady background everyone is always speculating on, and though he acts like he only cares about Lilly because he needs a well working secretary, he does actually care about her, even though he never explicitly shows it because he’s always putting work first. You’ll understand what I mean when you read it! And work, as a man in his line of business, gets dangerous. Usually when it gets dangerous, he sends Lilly home, but she always manages to end up right at his side in the midst of danger, simply because she’s not the kind who takes well to be being ordered away simply because ‘she’s a girl’. Mr Ambrose though, usually after trying his best to send her away, allows her to stay. He does, respect her enough to let her stay, simply because he knows she won’t go away anyway.

Supporting characters mention: KARIM. YES. This guy who is Mr Ambrose bodyguard. HE IS AWESOME. Every time he pops up, he’s nearly the comic relief, even when Lilly and Mr Ambrose are at each other’s next in the most humourous way as possible without downgrading the importance of their arguments. I give Karim a special mention, because he plays an important throughout the book as Mr Ambrose’s bodyguard and trusted person. He does, after all, give Lilly the nickname that Mr Ambrose calls her rarely when he’s in a good mood. AND He’s terrified of Lilly simply because she’s a firecracker female!


1830s England, about the time when Victoria is crowned Queen, and the industrial revolution is blooming. My knowledge of this era is scattered, though I knew enough to be pleased with the accuracies. (Except I frowned a bit in confusion about the women suffrage movement, but after some research, I realized that the details in the book were still pretty accurate, since the proper movement didn’t begin until around the 1870s for the UK, but before that, there were smaller, little protests from the middle to upper class. And the notes that Thier added helped sort out the confusion in my head.)


Witty. It has it’s personal flair – Robert Thier flair. And by god. I can’t believe it. He can actually write from a female perspective EXCELLENTLY. Generally I don’t like genders writing for the opposite gender mainly because the guys come out extra whiny, or not convincingly enough male. And the females become overly obsessed with shoes and dresses and all, mainly over over exaggerated female stereotypes. However, Thier doesn’t do that. He gives Lilly’s principles, values, morals, habits, likes and dislikes, and writes a very convincing female tomboy without sounding like a man writing a female. Loved it. (And while Lilly freaks out over her feelings for Mr Ambrose, she usually has her head on straight and focussed on the task.)

Also, written in first person, and definitely all through the book a very characteristic YA style. More colloquial than historical in terms of language BUT there is enough era sensitive language used for the book to feel like it is set during the time it is supposed to!

He doesn’t waste too much time on description, but thankfully there is enough detail to give a full picture.
But the best part, is that he interweaves plenty of wittiness to love, and I find it absolutely humorous. Although the review copy I received had a few spelling errors and (of which will probably be filtered out before it’s actually published), I found the writing style likeable. There’s a cliffhanger at the end of nearly every chapter (hence why I ended up staying up to the ridiculous hour of 4am simply because I wanted to finish this AND STILL COULDN’T; if I wasn’t so rational, I would have kept going until 9am and forgoed sleep, but unfortunately, my eyes were just inadequately falling asleep on me!)

OH BUT WARNING. As much as I love scenes where the guy shoves a girl up against a wall (whether to intimidate, make a point, or just be a brute – I usually don’t really like the last option), this does happen a little too often in Storm & Silence, and while it’s not annoying (okay maybe a little) since it is a pretty intense scene each time, even though it’s absolutely pure each time! it does become a little bit repetitive. I think I counted 4 scenes? But well, like I said, the scenes are intense, and so much sparkly, steamy, clean & pure chemistry sparking between Lilly and Mr Ambrose, and it’s usually when they’re arguing! (And also another warning, depending on how you like your historicals, this one borders a bit onto the types where there’s more physical touching (for now I can only think of the Her Fair Assassin trilogy by Robin LaFevers and The Luxe series by Anna Godbersen as examples of such and less of the distant intense chemistry of Heyer’s historical romances.)


I really enjoyed this. I did. Reading it, I was somewhat reminded of Georgette Heyer’s regencies (yes I know, I say this often, but if you follow my reviews, then y’all know well enough how much I love her books, and how they’re like my ultimate historicals) with outrageous scenarios (well in Heyer’s novels, this doesn’t always happen but still), a headstrong, somewhat feisty female protagonist, and a swoony busy love interest. (Still, Silence and Storm cannot really be compared to Heyer, because Heyer is a gem from another century, and her uniqueness makes her Queen Overlord of Historical Regency Romances. But what Thier has in common is his ability to thread his own flair and style into his story.) Either I was really craving a romance like this at this moment, and this just came by a the right time, or this book really is as good as its ratings, whichever, I think this is a pretty good book and I would definitely suggest it!

You know after finishing the review, I feel like I didn’t put in enough cons….but there were some, it’s just that my enjoyment overrode any negative feelings I might have had about the cons! I suppose if I were to pick some cons, it would be that although Silence and Storm felt like a whole and complete novel, sometimes I felt like it could be revisited and edited a bit more, and yet…while I wouldn’t say it’s perfect, it sure as hell is an interesting story (the highlight, the slowly blooming romance of Lilly and Mr Ambrose).

So if anything above catches your eye, give this book a chance. I can’t guarantee you’ll love it, but I sure as did. So maybe you won’t like, but hopefully you will since I do and don’t know how I read through this YA historical romance all at once and wanted more. Sometimes I think, wow there was a lot of silliness happening but then my brain morphs and justifies the scenes with the seriousness of the situation!

P.s. have I mentioned somewhere, this is one of the first ebooks I don’t have a problem with reading on the kindle phone app? I usually don’t like ebooks because I always feel like I’m reading some kind of draft, but well, this time, it didn’t feel like that at all! (except for the typos of course.)

View all my reviews

The Lunar Chronicles. Marissa Meyer.


Yes.  Yes I am.  I am suggesting this whole series as is, rather than writing up four separate reviews (I do have four reviews on my GR acct — >  Nina (Words and Water) ) because this WHOLE series has had me up in angst knots for the past couple of weeks.  If I hadn’t been purposefully dragging out each reading session just so that it wouldn’t have ended so soon, I would have gobbled up each book immediately, one per day.

First Off.  This series is amazing.  It fully deserves its 5 Stars.  But my rating will be 4.8 Stars.  

Thank you Sam! for recommending me this series.  Seriously, you hit the nail on the head!  

Check out Sam’s blog, over at A History of Books!

W H A T  I  L O V E D:

What I love about this series is that it’s pretty original!  Granted it was really hard for me to move onto a new series since right before this, I was on a Star Wars high, and I still kind of am! So I ended up drawing a lot of parallels between Star Wars and the Lunar Chronicles, which, is by no means a bad thing.  For while they are similar, they are so very different, and two very different series!  Here’s a quick list of what to love about this series in case it’s too much of a pain to read through his whole page 😛 –

  1. The Action – heck yes, plenty of things happening!
  2. The Romance – there are romances!  And the good thing is, is that it doesn’t take over the plot, nor are the main problems at hand forgotten either.  There’s a good balance of both.  Not instalove.  Plenty of development.  And SURPRISE though we satisfactory endings at each book, it’s not perfect – their relationships spill over and continue to develop in the next installment
  3. Political tension – on a basic but well developed YA level.  So it’s acceptable and I found little fault with it.
  4. Tension in general – because it deals with cyborgs, shells, Lunars, there’s a lot of tension and discrimination going on, so your characters do suffer and be strong!
  5. Diverse characters – in personality, and also character!
  6. If you love Star Wars, and looking for a similar YA story to go with hat craze, then pick this up.  Yes.  Pick it up  now!

T H E  P L O T

The whole series is centred on avoiding an alliance with Queen Levana and Luna.  It involves a lost Princess whom Cinder, Scarlet, Cress, and Winter (the titular characters) all assist at one point or another along with their love interests, into regaining the throne of Luna. There is a servant girl (of sorts), a lost princess, a farm girl, a wolf thing, a hacker rapunzel, a scoundrel (of sorts), a Prince, a guard, crazy doctor, bioelectricity, a horrid Stepmother, a bitchy older stepsister, and a nicer younger stepsister. In addition, Meyer throws us cyborgs, a plague, aliens from the moon (well sort of aliens), an Evil Queen, the most adorable little android that certainly belongs on my list of favourite fictional androids (R2D2 is no. 1 and BB-8 is no.2), and a futuristic world.

Each installment of the series is a re-envisioning of a classic fairytale set in this futuristic world.  As you may have guessed except for winter, these tales are: Cinderella, Red Riding Hood, Rapunzel, and Snow White.  But this retelling is nothing like the original fairy tales.

Each story is carefully interwoven with only elements of the original fairy tales, into the greater plot regarding a princess, a throne, and a conflict between Earth and the Moon.  There is also biowarfare threatening to kill all Earthens, and an Evil Queen who happens to have the antidote in exchange for being an Empress on Earth.

Classic revolutionary story.  Classic villain story.  Classic fantasy story!  And also, probably classic hero story too.

I think that Marissa Meyer is perhaps one of my favourite YA Fantasy (Sci-fi) novelists right now.  Since she did a brilliant job with the Lunar Chronicles, that, right about now, I’m having a hard time finding anything else to match it.  

“Imagine there was a cure, but finding it would cost you everything. It would completely ruin your life. What would you do?”

– Cinder


The main protagonist in Cinder is of course, Cinder. Now, I feel like whoever wrote her, gave her the personality of a Cancer. She has the most ridiculous mood swings. One moment she’s upset, the next she’s raging on someone’s arse, the next, she’s all demure and saying no to the Prince. In truth, I wasn’t all too happy or satisfied with Cinder’s personality, and didn’t like her very much to begin with (NOW while reading Scarlet, I seem to really like her personality!) But she did grow on me. And the ending of Cinder cemented her personality in my head a bit more, gave the girl a little bit more ground for her swinging moods. And I guess it was that one epic ‘Noooooo’ scene at the end of Cinder that really swung her back to my list of okay-maybe-I-do-like-this-character list. And no, I’m not going to tell you what ‘Noooooo’ is referring to. Go read it yourself and be wowed by it. Since truly, that scene has made it to my list of Top Favourite Epic Moments in YA Fantasy Fiction. As a Cyborg, with a metal leg and hand, Cinder is a very pitiful character in the story, like I usually think Cinderella is (though Cinderella is usually more cheerful, good and kind about cleaning and working, whereas Cinder is simply humble, but not afraid to rebel against her stepmum), but as things unravel, and she meets Kai, Cinder grows. Now I didn’t really like Cinder much in the first book, but she grew on me for the others, and I liked her a lot more.  There’s a reason why I didn’t like her, but that’s explained in the book, which makes her more relatable in the others!

“I don’t know. I don’t actually remember anything from before the surgery.”

His eyebrows rose, his blue eyes sucking in all the light of the room. “The cybernetic opetation?”

“No, the sex change.”

The doctor’s smile faltered.

“I’m joking.”

– Cinder

Prince Kaito is the love interest. Setting aside all else, let’s gush over Prince Kai for the moment. As a young prince, he’s the best. I LOVE HIM as a love interest. He’s cute, and he’s nice. He’s the kind of cool guy combination without the asshole part. Or the broody part (he does brood a bit, but he isn’t the typically brooder, since he is a prince and his father is dying). Kai is the nice kind of love interest. He takes an interest in Cinder, and is polite to her. But the thing is, he doesn’t know she’s a cyborg. Kai really develops in Winter, but it was a bit of a struggle to watch him deal with politics during Scarlet and Cress.

“…but I’m trying to be inconspicuous.”
Cinder considered telling him it wasn’t working but thought better of it. The lack of a throng of screaming girls surrounding her booth was probably evidence that it was working better than she suspected. Instead of looking like a royal heartthrob, he just looked crazy.

– Cinder

Scarlet — I actually really liked Scarlet. She’s pretty out there like Cinder, action first then think later, but unlike Cinder who’s more prone to blaming herself, Scarlet is a little firecracker. She’s definitely true to the stereotypical red head, all hot and fiery, and not afraid at all. Yet, she is also very grounded in the fact that there are some events beyond her abilities and she should be scared. And so there are a few screamy moments, but never once, not once does Scarlet really let it get to her. She bites back even when she’s scared, but she never does anything stupid. When she knows she’s helpless against her enemy, she holds back and waits-ish.

“She sighed, annoyed at her restlessness. “So,” she said, disrupting Wolf in another backward glance.
“Who would win in a fight—you or a pack of wolves?”
He frowned at her, all seriousness. “Depends,” he said, slowly, like he was trying to figure out her motive for asking. “How big is the pack?”
“I don’t know, what’s normal? Six?”
“I could win against six,” he said. “Any more than that and it could be a close call.”
Scarlet smirked. “You’re not in danger of low self-esteem, at least.”
“What do you mean?”
“Nothing at all.” She kicked a stone from their path. “How about you and … a lion?”
“A cat? Don’t insult me.”
She laughed, the sound sharp and surprising. “How about a bear?”
“Why, do you see one out there?”
“Not yet, but I want to be prepared in case I have to rescue you.”
The smile she’d been waiting for warmed his face, a glint of white teeth flashing. “I’m not sure. I’ve never had to fight a bear before.”

 – Scarlet

Omg Wolf. You know I knew he was shifty from the start. Isn’t the Wolf always shifty? But man, when the twist came out, it definitely was not what I expected. If I expected one thing about his character, that wasn’t it. And I was shocked! Wolf has replaced Kai on my list of awesome male characters in the Lunar Chronicles. But really, I think after reading Cress, my list is going to change again. I suppose it can’t be helped, not with the way Meyer works her romances, her plot, and her characters! Wolf throughout the remaining books becomes very protective of Scarlet, and just when I thought he would be under the Thaumaturges’ control again, he actually surprised me!

“Don’t come any closer!” Scarlet yelled. The chicken clucked and dawdled away. “I will shoot, you know.”
“I know.” A flicker of kindness passed over him and he pointed at his temple. “You’ll want to aim for the head. That usually makes for a fatal shot. Or, if you’re feeling shaky, the torso. It’s a larger target.”
“Your head looks pretty big from here.”

– Scarlet

Cress is an absolute darling. What I love about her, and all the other character’s in Meyer’s book is that she is both a weak and strong character. She has clearly defined weaknesses and strengths. Just like Cinder. Just like Scarlet. It might seem very narrow, but I think I like this kind of characterisation better than what other books sometimes do–which is create a female protagonist is so mary sue it makes me want to punch them. None of the heroines of the Lunar Chronicles are like that though, and it’s WONDERFUL. Cress is, as I said, an absolute darling. Trapped in a satellite, a pawn of the Queen, via the Thaumaturge Sybil Mira, for seven years, she has been their secret hacker, programmer, eyes in the sky, gifted with knowing everything there is to know about everyone and everything, except being properly Lunar. Since she is, after all, a Shell. Cress is not like Cinder who is determined to do something, and rather spontaneous, or like Scarlet who’s a little firecracker, as hot as her hair, and more than ready to spit in the face of adversity even if it hurts, than to give in if she can help it. Cress is a softy. She’s shy and a scaredy cat. She also, has a wild imagination. It’s this Imagination of hers that gets her through the toughest of moments. And also, makes her mistake some things.

“Do you think it was destiny that brought us together?”
He squinted and, after a thoughtful moment, shook his head. “No. I’m pretty sure it was Cinder.” 

– Cress

Thorne. Oh Thorne. We meet Thorne in Scarlet and he’s isn’t really the world’s most enthusiastic companion when travelling with Cinder, but he’s moderately helpful.  But of course, we don’t see much of him until Cress.  He’s a much more complex character than he seems, and he’s not like the angst or broody kind either, which thankfully is perfect. He’s actually a really good guy. Arrogant, but not bad over all. Charming, hell yes. Sarcastic, absolutely. Loved him. Love him with Cress, even though the end of the book doesn’t really give us a full resolution on Cress and Thorne, but I liked that! Since they just kind of met after all, and it doesn’t matter that they’ve passed through the whole book together, what I loved is that Cress has just the perfect amount of sweetness to balance Thorne’s arrogant, charming, sarcastic ways. It just makes me go awww.

“It’s beautiful out there.”
A hesitation, before, “Could you be more specific?”
“The sky is gorgeous, intense blue color.” She pressed her fingers to the glass and traced the wavy hills on the horizon.
“Oh, good. You’ve really narrowed it down for me.”
“I’m sorry, it’s just…” She tried to stamp down the rush of emotion. “I think we’re in a desert.”
“Cactuses and tumbleweeds?”
“No just a lot of sand. It’s kind of orangish-gold, with hints of pink, and I can see tiny clouds of it floating above the ground, like…like smoke.”
“Piles up in lots of hills?”
“Yes, exactly! And it’s beautiful.”
Thorne snorted. “If this is how you feel about a desert, I can’t wait until you see your first real tree. Your mind will explode.”

– Cress

Winter.  Oh my, Winter.  First, I loveeee that she has dark skin and beautiful.  I love that she’s a little nuts from Lunar sickness.  She is, in her own somewhat twisted way, adorable.  Her sickness from the lack of bioelectric manipulation, is the kind that gives her hallucinations and sends her mind faraway.  She mutters a lot and says a lot of random things that of course make her look crazy.  But at the centre of her heart, Winter is a sweet girl who is also quite intelligent and more than happy to help her long lost cousin and others.

“They are going to laugh at you and mock you and then they are going to—”
“Eat me.Yes. I understand.”
“You don’t seem to be grasping the meaning behind the words. This isn’t a metaphor. I’m talking about huge teeth and digestive systems.”
“Fat and bones and marrow and meat,” Winter sang. “We only wanted a snack to eat.”
Scarlet grunted. “You can be so disturbing.”

– Winter

Jacin is a bit of jerk in Cress but he grew on me in Winter.  Seeing him interact with Winter, it was really endearing.  He really cares about her, and would do anything to protect her, and also, members of his family.  He is the huntsman by the way, that you often see in the Snow White story, and Levana is her stepmother. But he doesn’t really top my list, and I wish I got more of an insight into his character.  Between the action and the romance and the revolution, there wasn’t much time for developing Jacin.

Jacin said nothing else. Neither did she. After the first ring was completed, she leaned her head against his thigh, making herself more comfortable as she picked out a sunburst orange. Overhead, Jacin sighed, and she felt the faintest brush of fingertips against her hair. A hint, a suggestion of togetherness, before he became a statue once more.

– Winter

And I must give an honourable mention to Iko! Who is part of the main cast, and is an android! My favourite supporting character is Iko! An android with some faulty personality. If R2D2 could talk, I bet he’d be like that haha. But again, they’re incomparable, and I did love Iko so much. She’s sarcastic and very human for an android, which makes her such a wonderful addition to the cast.

“My point is that I am going to figure this out, like I always do. First, we’re going to find a way to get into Artemisia. We’re going to find Cress and rescue Cinder and Wolf. We’re going to overthrow Levana, and by the stars above, we are going to make Cinder a queen so she can pay us a lot of money from her royal coffers and we can all retire very rich and very alive, got it?”

Winter started to clap. “Brilliant speech. Such gumption and bravado.”

“And yet strangely lacking in any sort of actual strategy,” said Scarlet.

“Oh, good, I’m glad you noticed that too,” said Iko. “I was worried my processor might be glitching.”

And Lastly, Queen Levana of Luna is the Antagonist of the whole series, and she is quite cruel!!  However, in the main series, I feel like she was very 2D, and could have done with a bit more developing. BUT!! I haven’t read the novellas, or the short story–in particular Fairest yet, so I can’t comment!!

Other supporting characters:  Torin is a great advisor to Kai, Dr Erland was a bit nutty but good and true in the end, Thaumaturge Sybil so glad she got what she deserved, and there are so many other great and wonderful side characters!  I can’t list them all, but read this series and you’ll surely agree!


Set in New Beijing, a futuristic city that’s the centre of the Eastern Commonwealth, developed after World War 4 (or something like that). You get the point. It’s a sci-fi futuristic story. There are cyborgs people living on the Moon which is referred to as Luna, and the inhabitants, Lunars who possessed bio-electric manipulation abilities.

Some things that bug me about the setting, is a) the lack of description on what the characters look like and also the development of human evolution. Four world wars, how many years have really passed before the fourth war (I know there has been 126 years after the fourth war or so), and what do the Earthens look like? Blended races? See for me, Kai had a distinct Asian look (hooray Asians!) but Cinder was more blurred (I would love it more if she was Asian-looking) since her ancestry is not as clear cut either. That’s the first thing. B) I am a linguist, someone who studies language, and I hate it so, so, so, so, so, so, so, much that the language aspect has been glossed over!!! Why? Tell me why? YES Meyer includes the kinship terms that are common and necessary in Chinese when referring to one another, but that’s it. It’s very simple. TOO SIMPLE. And I want to rage about it! But I won’t. Because after all, I’ve only ever found ONE futuristic/post-apocalyptic/sci-fi series that really develops the linguistic side of things in a believable way.

I do feel that the labelling of the political divisions bugs me a lot. I still can’t get the term ‘Eastern Commonwealth’ through my head. I mean logically it’s correct, but it just doesn’t sound right. I mean, really, Commonwealth is obviously commonly associated with the British Empire. And Britain and things like China/other Asian countries don’t really mesh well in my head. Then again, has Meyer mentioned who is part of the Eastern Commonwealth? I’d love to know.

Anyway, enough of me picking at the world a bit more—I’m sorry, I can’t help it, it reminds me so much of the world of the Selection which I didn’t really like at all, and at least the world of the Lunar Chronicles is a little bit better.  Other than those three points, I do find that I like the set up of the series a lot. There’s something very unique about it. And Meyer did a good job developing it. Sticking us in a world where cyborgs are considered worse than the worst human criminals, and everyone is terrified of Lunars, and there’s a plague killing everyone too.


Good. I like her writing. It doesn’t overly delve into emotion, but there is enough to make you feel for each character. She has written in 3rd person, and the story alternates among a number of perspectives. I like her style, simply because she makes the whole story very exciting!  But I think her dialogues should be praised. I love reading those!  So sarcastic and witty.  And really highlight the various personalities of the characters.


I picked up Scarlet straight after Cinder. I think if you’re the kind of reader who likes action, fantasy, bit of romance, and enough plot twists to keep you going, pick this up. Like now. If you like characters with really intense emotions and determination, then pick this up. Immediately! If you like worlds of not too complicated sci-fi. You got it. You know the drill. Pick this up. I picked this up because it was recommended. While I didn’t love some things, there was enough of this book, enough justification in the ending to make me want to pick up the next.

Scarlet ended up with such a big bang, even bigger than the first book, and I was blown away. So blown away I didn’t hesitate to pick up Cress, which when I was reading it, I wondered if the sun in Aus was causing me to melt, or if it was the book lol.

By the way, if you didn’t really like Throne of Glass as a High Fantasy YA series, then don’t give up yet! Try the Lunar Chronicles. This, actually, might be one of a few which I would actually recommend and suggest as a science fiction, high fantasy YA read. It just has all the elements(only at a YA level) of an adult equivalent. Action, a bit of romance, intense epic plot about an evil queen and the girl who will defeat her.

M Y  R E V I E W S  O N  G O O D R E A D S








The Red Queen. Isobelle Carmody.


The Red Queen by Isobelle Carmody

My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Read: 23 Dec 2015

How to begin this review/Suggestive Read? In truth, this is one of the hardest ones I’ll probably ever write, simply because this is one of the longest series I’ve ever waited end on end to read.

And yes, my rating is biased on the fact that I’ve loved this series for so long and now it’s over! If I didn’t the rating might have dropped to 3-4stars for length and odd-ish pacing.

This will probably be a sketchy review of the whole series, and an indepth-ish review of this book. I remember reading the first book thinking that it’s okay. I remember the mystery etc., and thinking, I’d like to see where this will go. When I started reading the second than third sequels, I started really falling in love with the story. Isobelle Carmody does many things with her series. She brings forward so many truths about life we should always be more wary of. Things like being kind to animals, being kind to each other, the dangers of humanity, and my favourite part–yes I know, it must seem really weird, but when I think about all the other dystopia, scifi novels, and futuristic stories set in a distant future, I think, there isn’t really many books that matches Obernewtyn when it comes to a convincing way of portraying language in a distant future. AND I LOVE THIS. Do you know why I love this? Because as a linguist, it gives me chills to see it done well. What Carmody does, is not like what other authors do, just changing a little this, or saying that the characters are speaking ‘another’ language, or have characters simply imply that there are ‘differences’ between their language and that of the past. The characters in the Obernewtyn series really uses, speaks and thinks in a wholly evolved English language. They use words that are pronounced exactly the same, yet are written differently enough that you know you’re not in the same world.

Speaking of the world.

The Obernewtyn Series is amazing. The World Building is fantabulous. Isobelle Carmody does a wonderful job in building her world. There’s various territories, the Tainted Lands from the Great White aka Great Cataclysm, etc. Because this series is set in a distant future, it feels more like a fantasy than scifi. But it’s a pretty well developed fantasy. It has the flavour of a historical fantasy, with horses being the main mode of transport, and of near (but not really) primitive means of survival, yet there is a very comfortable mix of digital technology. I really loved the smooth transition between the world that the story exists in and to the old technology of the past (which would in fact be the kind of technology we have today). I never once felt like it was out of place.

Now, since it seems like I’m writing this Suggestive Read backwards, let’s get to the Characters.

For me, it’s really hard to review my opinion on every single character in this book. Simply because the Red Queen features all the characters from previous stories, and for several pages, it took me awhile remember all the faces. Admittedly, I wish I had reread all the books before getting to this one, but with the limited time, and the hateful waiting for the books at the library, I forgoed it.(I would own all the books, but I started reading it with loaned books, and maybe, in the near future, I’ll by the boxset 🙂 ). But it didn’t take me long to remember, I mean with 1100 pages to read, there was bound to be a nice portion devoted to linking this sequel back to the events of the previous installments. And Carmody did, though it was a slight info dump, it wasn’t such a pain to read, nor did she do it all completely in one shot. With characters, it was a little harder. I had a good memory of most, and the more I read, the more I remembered, though of specific events involving characters, that was different. But I DEFINITELY remembered the emotions tied to each character. Specially characters like Dameon, Rushton, Dragon, Matthew, Swallow, Miryum, Maruman, and Gahltha, etc. It was great seeing them all again, and watching them develop. Especially since the whole series covers a period of around 5 years.

Elspeth is the main character though and her story is the most important. How to stop the weaponmachines from destroying the world a second time and causing a more devastating great white? That’s Elspeth’s mission. And throughout this book, we see her make choices that are sometimes cold because of her quest. Yet they always tear her apart. She always stayed true to her calling, even though in previous books, she had faltered.

Dragon, another favourite character of mine, grew a lot in this book too. She changed when she regained what was hers, but she really does become what she is supposed to be. I loved her.

And as for the other characters, it was great to read them all over again. Dameon’s crushing feelings, the ones he had to hide for so long, they were so sweetly and tenderly expressed, and as expected of an unrequited love, Dameon steps aside. I felt so sorry for him, yet by the end of the book, it is clear that he and Elspeth will always remain friends.

As for a character I wanted to see more of! RUSHTON. I was so disappointed that we didn’t get to see more of him!! He, unfortunately, only appears towards the end of the book, within the last fifty pages as a proper character, rather than just being a part of Elspeth’s dreams.

Things I want to mention

…since I can’t talk about the plot without spoiling the rest of the other books. The book is MASSIVE and it was a pain to read everything, since it took a while. I wish it was smaller, but without the size that it is, it probably wouldn’t have been able to convey everything it should and did. Carmody put so much in this book and she paced it well. The easy pace meant I didn’t feel like it was rushed or that events were being forced on me because it had to happen before the next thing could. It felt easy and tame. I still wish it was smaller though!

It was also a bit slow sometimes, if one didn’t have the patience for reading such a big book. My favourite parts were the parts when Elspeth actually did something.


I find that this is probably one of the best Sci-fi fantasy stories set in a distant future written by an Australian author, yet first written back in like idk the eightiess??? in a long time. And I don’t think there are many Australian authors that can beat this anytime soon. I think this series is AMAZING and deserves to be read from book 1 to book 7. And no review can do it any justice at all. Not even this one. I can’t even begin to put how I felt once this series finished–let’s just say, I was so torn! But happy with the ending!

ALSO I wanted to compare this to a few things. Reading this now again after reading The Darkest Minds, I’m reminded of how similar they are a little. Mainly in terms of paranormality and also, that both series have particular categories of paranormal abilities. But both series are very different.

I also had another comparison in mind, but momentarily forgotten. Will add a little later. A lot of popular YA sci fi novels these days had elements that are already present in the Obernewtyn Series, which, has been around for sooooo long.

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Guys, guys, guyyyysssss, I have some news for you!  I have INSTAGRAM.  Amazing, isn’t it?  Lol.  Well, truthfully, I’ve never really considered getting an Instagram, mainly because I heard someone say in some media, onscreen, mini conference/discussion thing that it’s better than Facebook.  Better because it’s not that invasive. I’m not sure if I agree with that.  Sure, Facebook is like the World’s Largest Archive of Living People (let’s not go into the details about this right now, since I’m sure there are more than humans using profiles on facebook…even if the one controlling the profile behind the screen is human lol), it’s a social network that allows you to put all the details about yourself out there.  Well, you don’t have to do that!  I for one have a very private facebook account that only has the names of friends I know, and not randoms.  And after that little discussion on channel 10?  (Or maybe it was 9) The first thought in my head was, but Instagram is….pictures.  You’re taking pictures of yourself….or of other things….isn’t that a bit invasive too???  But I also knew that the lady was probably right, since Facebook is a profile system social network, but Instagram doesn’t really use that.  You can write whatever you like about yourself and hide all the important private details.

So, I have come a long way.  And even though I’m using a variety of other social media, I spontaneously made an Instagram.  Im still trying to figure out the little things, linking, authorising, etc, it’s very confusing and makes me feel like an old person.  Even though, an old person is probably more adept than I am right now, and there aren’t even that many things to get confused over!!  Thankfully, the app is easy 😀

Here is the link:


Follow me!  And I’ll follow you!  Hopefully I’ll actually have something interesting to instagram lol.

Mortal Heart. Robin Lafevers.

20522640Mortal Heart
by Robin LaFevers

My rating: 4.5 stars

Finally finished this!! Wanted to finish earlier but didn’t have much time! (Back on Dec 6th 2015)

Buddy Read with Samantha for the Quarterly Book Club.

Initial thoughts for the night I finished it 

Really enjoyed it though I still love Dark Triumph the best. This one was almost more supernatural/paranormal than the others. There was a lot more unravelling of myths and true stories. There wasn’t much I didn’t like, but it lost half a star for being more paranormal/supernatural than I was hoping for and there was a lot of running around when Annith was supposed to be going somewhere but didn’t get there for ages. This was mostly because each step was a little bit more mystery about the gods, another piece of their stories. But I wasn’t disappointed at all, Annith turned out to be a tougher goody two shoes than she had been previously portrayed. I thought I wouldn’t like her, but actually, loved her!

More thorough review later!

M Y   R E C O M M E N D A T I O N

What I loved

— Annith and Balthazaar. I loved them together, and I loved them as individual characters. I don’t know if I would say that LaFevers has upped her game come the romance to this trilogy, but I did really fly through the whole book, half waiting for these two to really give in to each other. Although I did really enjoy reading their story, if I didn’t love it so much, didn’t fly through this book so quickly, didn’t appreciate how easily it read, I might have picked on a number of things related to their relationship. I mean Annith, for such a saintly girl did make the jump on Balthazaar a lot quicker than I expected. But I guess that’s part of why I liked Annith. She was bold and daring, and not half as saintly as Ismae and Sybella portrayed her in the previous books. At the same time though, she was very devoted to Mortmain. Her love for him was very bright.

Balthazaar as a love interest was great. I loved him. He has some great scenes hehe. I.e.

“Have you ever seen Mortmain?”
His scowl deepens, and I cannot help but wonder what fault he finds with this question. “Yes. I have seen Him, but He is the god of Death, not some knight to be swooned over.”

I thought he was the perfect love interest for Annith, even though I don’t overly love the other aspect of him. He’s your dark, broody, handsome, but dangerous kind of love interest. And while usually these guys are swoony and unrealistic, with Balthazaar, he was more human and real than I expected (though what I expected, I don’t even know!)

— The mythology. I do love what LaFevers does here with the Gods. It was interesting, and fun to read. I liked the narration and unravelling of the myth surrounding the gods depicted in this book. I liked it. Then again, I’ve always loved stories where a major part of the narration is the story of a legend, or a myth, which, as the novel goes on, is retold a number of times until the ‘true’ story is revealed. Do you know how much I love that kind of plot device? A LOT.

We also get to see more of the other convents/worshippers in this book than the other books.

— Quick read. Despite the size of this book, it was DEFINITELY a quick read. I flew through it. Loved the writing style enough that it practically screamed at me to read on until my eyes bleed with exhaustion. Unfortunately I had to read this in installments because I was busy. But man, I wanted to gobble it up.

— Learning about Annith’s connection to Arduinna was actually not that unpleasant to me. I think I was expecting it once I got used to the other elements of this novel. Learning her history in the convent and more about the Abbess was fascinating too.

The Not So Great Parts, but of course By No Means Hinders The Enjoyability (probably)

— Supernaturality and paranormality. This book was A LOT more supernatural than the other book. The introduction of the hellequin, at first, I thought were not supernatural because well, the previous installments were minimal on the supernatural aspects, but actually, they were pretty supernatural. Not to mention a lot of other godly intervention taking place. It wasn’t so bad, but if it wasn’t because I really enjoyed Dark Triumph and was definitely flying through Mortal Heart, I might have disliked it more. The thing is, Mortal Heart is the odd one out in the trilogy being more supernatural. Whereas Grave Mercy and Dark Triumph had minimal elements of supernaturality in terms of the gifts that the daughter of Mortmain received, Mortal Heart exceeds that by miles. And since I wasn’t expecting it, I was a bit surprised!

— Less Politics and History. Related to the previous point. Annith’s personal story is a bit more stronger than the political historical plot.

— The Ending. The ending fell a little flat for me (hence the lost of one star), even if I still really enjoyed the book. It fell flat because of the way LaFevers decided to deal with the Duchesses fate. I know I definitely wasn’t a fan of that ending. I felt like it was a bit of a cop out even though it was written excitingly, it just felt like LaFevers wanted a method that would work with the real history? (Yes I did go and wiki this a little lol.) I’ll give LaFevers points for being creative, but I was just not a fan of it. Now, the other part of the ending, related to the Abbess, I liked that! I thought that was fun and satisfying to read!


I probably have a lot more to say but I can’t think of it right now! I do know though that I want to read it again. And again, just for the fun of it, and seeing Annith and Balthazaar get together. But I would read Dark Triumph for the intensity of the plot on all fronts. I would suggest this as a great book with strong female characters, historical fiction fans, and a quick read!


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So this is a little early, but I want to say HAPPY NEW YEAR to everyone who follows my blog, who has come past my blog and liked a post, who are friends of mine, and to everyone!

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With the new year almost upon me again, I’ve been looking back over my blog.  This year, I’ve noticed I haven’t been around much, and for that, I’m sorry!  If you follow my blog, then you know I love being around!  This blog is my baby. Just like my laptop, anything I write, and the book club I host with Sam!


And Now Some Quotes!  

For the New Year, I will be keeping these quotes in mind, for this year has turned out so much harder than I expected, for a variety of reasons.

From Alfred Tennyson….. 

Smiles from the threshold of the year to come,
Whispering ‘it will be happier’…”

From Oprah Winfrey…

“Cheers to a new year and another chance for us to get it right.”

From Edith Lovejoy Pierce…

“We will open the book. Its pages are blank. We are going to put words on them ourselves. The book is called Opportunity and its first chapter is New Year’s Day.”

And One From Me:

Never Give Up.  

Every year is hard.  The new year is the one time of the year when you can give yourself that resolution to either chug along, or change something.  I can’t say it’ll be successful, I’m not a motivator.  I’m just a girl going about life.  And this past year, hasn’t been the best.  But there’s no point thinking that next year will be worse.  I’m going to think positive, and believe, really believe, deep down inside of me, where my optimism meter is at its lowest already, and I’m going to drag it out.  I’m going to believe with all I have left, that next year will be better.  Because tomorrow will be the first day of the new year, the doorway to change.  If change is what we want.  Me:  I need a bit more courage, a bit more confidence, and plenty of determination.

Growing up.  Getting older.  No matter how old you are.  Gets harder every year.  But I always want to remember the Voices of Yesterday.

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This year, I wrote a post about my New Years Resolutions.  Not surprisingly, I didn’t manage to completely stick with my resolutions!  Let’s dissect my resolutions from last year:

[1] I will read at least 3 debut novels this year (having failed to do so in the previous years, I’m adamant about it this year).  This will probably be one of my personal reading challenges for The Quarterly Book Club.

I did it!  Omg, I’m surprised with myself!  I’ve read a total of 108 books this year, but I didn’t know how many debut novels I read.  But, checking over my challenge shelf in QBC over on Goodreads, I have indeed read 3 2015 debut novels.  I read Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon, The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman, and Playlist for the Dead by Michelle Falkoff.  All of them were very interesting, entertaining, and great debut novels!

[2] I’m going to read at least 3 classics (I think I only read one last year).  This one too.

This one, I absolutely and utterly failed.  I honestly am ashamed of myself for not spending at least five days reading a great classic!  I can’t believe it!  I didn’t read one single classic this year! Granted, I did start Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers.  But that itself is not finished.  Which brings me to–

[3] I’m going to read Lord of the Rings (I read the first line of the Two Towers earlier after seeing the Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies and realised, I might actually really want to read it – for those who read the Grinch Book Tag it’s a book that’s been on my shelf for years).  And this one as well!

-______- I failed.  Epically.  However, I am still reading it, and about halfway through!

[4] I plan to post stories this year.  I have a story I’ve been working on, and to face my fear of sharing lengthier works, I’m going to definitely post it this time.

I did this!  A bit, but waned towards the second half of the year.  However, this I still intend to continue, since The Curse Mark still has a few more chapters before it reaches the part where I stopped writing (putting it on hiatus).

[5] Even if postgrad takes my time, I do not plan to go on such a long hiatus in 2015 like I did in 2014, I missed this blog too much.

I started my postgrad about six months ago now, and for the past year, according to my stats–and thankfully I have my annual report to look at!  This year I posted 130 times.  Whereas in 2014, I posted only 102 times.  So better!  And also, I was only more consistently this year compared to last year.  In 2014, I disappeared for 3 months.  But this year, I didn’t disappear for more than three weeks or so!

I think, for 2015 New Years resolutions, I did a good job.  What are my resolutions for Next Year?  Truthfully I haven’t decided yet, but I will within the next week! What are some of your New Years Resolutions? 

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And that’s it!  I leave you with:

And I still like Lea Michele’s rendition of Auld Lang Syne.

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Oh!  And of course, again, HAPPY NEW YEAR!  Goodbye 2015!  I hope you all have a great one, and that your new year’s eve shall be full of fun, celebration and champagne!

Signing off for the rest of today and year,

Your Always Here, Waterblogging wordy blogger,


Pledge. Thesis Diaries part 6?

So.  Another ‘p’ word for you.  Just now, I was thinking about commitment.  More specifically about commitment to big projects, making goals for oneself, etc.  Even love can be a goal to commit to.  For me, though, I’ve found that this year I’ve had too many things to commit to, yet because all of them are self-orientated tasks, it’s easier for me to give up on some.  Like my tarot card project over on DA.  While I haven’t given up on it, I’ve temporarily put it aside, leaving it half finished, and leaving me feeling disappointed in myself.  My writing project: the Curse Mark, is also on hiatus, only because I find myself unable to continue where I’d stopped.  I think my issue there though is that there were too many plots going on in my head and I didn’t think to draw out a picture to make it clearer.  I’ve started countless projects this year–some I have indeed completed and to which I felt much better doing so after, and others, of course, are still unfinished.


  • Major Arcana of the Tarot Card Project
  • Digital Manips of the Western Zodiac
  • And Which Way Alice (I consider it a small term goal that required a lot of effort)
  • Series Ender Challenge for the Quarterly Book Club
  • Series Starters Challenge for the Quarterly Book Club
  • Standalone Challenge for the Quarterly Book Club
  • TBR Challenge for the Quarterly Book Club
  • Colours Challenge for the Quarterly Book Club
  • Contemporary Challenge for the Quarterly Book Club


  • Minor Arcana of the Tarot Project
  • My steampunk Airballons Digital Manip (still have to upload it)
  • 2 requested/for fun wallpaper ideas for digital manips that I haven’t had the energy or inspiration to do yet
  • The Curse Mark Project
  • A number of short stories
  • A number of poems
  • ABC Challenge for the Quarterly Book Club
  • Classics Challenge for the Quarterly Book Club
  • 2015 Debut Challenge for the Quarterly Book Club
  • Mythology Challenge for the Quarterly Book Club
  • Graphics novel Challenge for the Quarterly Book Club
  • Months Challenge for the Quarterly Book Club

Long Term Goals

  • PhD thesis
  • Writing Project: Golden Phoenix

Of everything, I feel like I did accomplish a few things this year, but at the same time, I don’t feel all round accomplished.  I had things I committed to, but didn’t and couldn’t complete (though for the reading, I still have a month to go!  But still, I know I overcommitted.  But how can you help it?  There are so many things you want to do and just can’t say no to.


My point is this.  Your thesis, as I’m already thinking about how it’d be like, and if I was to give it a metaphor, it’d be like a Marriage or a Relationship.  It’s a commitment.  It’s not something small or temporary like all the little commitments I’ve listed above.  You’re going to be in this relationship with your thesis for three years (full timers, longer for part timers).  You’re going to definitely hate it at one point.  Love it at other times.  Hopefully you’ll love it more than you hate it.  I’ve already talked about needing to have passion.  Well you need a lot of it.  You wouldn’t get into a relationship halfheartedly would you?  Or maybe you would, but you’d have to have some reason for doing so, right?  I decided to undertake my PhD because I want to teach at Uni.  I want to lecture on a topic I really love, and teaching in primary or high school just doesn’t really appeal to me.  There are other reasons why.  For one, my topic that I’ve chosen is something really close to my heart.  Hopefully, it’s not so close that I won’t be able to dissect it.  But it’ll be close enough that regardless of the arguments we’ll have together, the reluctance on my part to pull  my weight, and the ability of my thesis’ part to be less of a puzzle and more straightforward, I won’t stop moving forward.  I’m only 4 months in.  It hasn’t felt very long, yet my first milestone is coming up.


And sometimes, I’m afraid of the commitment.  If my goals listed above is anything to go by, I am both capable of being committed, yet liable to give up if overcommitted.  But I won’t break my pledge.  My pledge that I will see this all the way through even if all that’s left of me is a sack of bones.  Well hopefully there’ll still be flesh.  I’m hoping it’ll be flesh and a number of accomplishments I can be proud of (even though right now, my heart is already palpitating in fear of what I might not end up achieving.  I have so many goals lined up for the next three years, it’s like the lists above multiplied by three.)  If you’re like me, just a little bit of an overachiever, aiming too much for too many things, then maybe it’s time for us to stop.  Take a break.  Think.  Not give up, but just relax a bit!


In order to make this marriage work, I’ll need to plan better.   I can’t always study.  But I can’t always slack either.  I can’t make a big list of goals and expect to complete them without a clear plan.  I want to treat this relationship properly and give it all the attention it deserves after all.


That’s just it though.  How am I going to plan a writing schedule I can keep?  I don’t know.  It’ll be hard to plan three years ahead, but if I have a rough idea of what will happen when, I think I’ll be more reassured.  At the same time, it’s best if I don’t give myself a really tight schedule, because then stress will be cranked to the max and I will be exhausted.  I’ll also want to enjoy myself, attend conferences, work, have a social life. So, I have to figure it out and think carefully about my schedule.  But dayummmm it’s daunting!


And knowing myself, I know my reading and writing schedule will look a little crazy (the deadlines will be a little close and a little impossible but that’s why I make leeway time for myself so that I know I have this much more time to perfect it), but hey, I know I’ll be motivated by the pressure to at least turn out a rough, albeit terrible draft, and then take a break for a bit, because I’ll feel happier that I did something.   And something, is better than nothing!


P.s.  Sometimes I why I write these particular posts about my phd journey. But I suppose in my long winded messy way, I’m trying to express what I want to accomplish and do and advise on while on this journey as I’m going a long, but sometimes, I think I should just take my own advice lol!  Rather than spouting it out all on you guys!

These Broken Stars. Amie Kaufman & Megan Spooner

These Broken Stars (Starbound, #1)

These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

4.5/idk it’s good enough to be 5 stars yet I don’t know why I’m holding back!

Really enjoyed this, eyes glued to the pages at that dangerous level of engagement (do not touch or I’ll explode kind of intensity).

I can’t even explain how I feel right now but this book is a little bit more than just a romance. It’s not even really a romance! nor love focussed yet THAT plays such a big role and the fact that there’s just two of them. Really….I think I just need to read next book and the last book to really really understand how deep this trilogy will go.

Shucks I can’t explain this right now–but I TOTALLY get what Sam’s review over at A History of Books refers to now! and I get it. I totally agree with her.

Okay a more coherent examination later. But note: while in the beginning I was reading this out of curiosity and as a recommended book, and expected more love/romance, but by the end, I was in this for the meaning. I was in this for the mystery. I wasn’t in it for Lilac and Tarver only anymore (I think if I was, I’d have rated it lower), I was in this for the ending. (Well near the ending part).


From the above you can see that I ended this book really enjoying it. Hard not to when the climax of the whole novel had me in chills and goosebumps. It was creepy yet it wasn’t so creepy that it would keep you up with nightmares. Rather, it was creepy because of the implications. I mean, sure this book is sci-fi fantasy. It’s not real. But it doesn’t mean it can’t be real in the future. Scientists are always wondering and searching the world for the existence of life other than Earth after all.


So this book begins with a scene and disaster parallel to that of the titanic. Lilac LaRoux is the daughter of the richest man in the universe and she’s on the Icarus, one of her father’s biggest luxury spaceliners, for her birthday. Tarver Merendson is a decorated war hero,a guest on the Icarus. There’s a little of instalove here, but trust me, it’s not really instalove. Anyway, so he meets her for the first time, and unaware of her identity, he shows an interest in her. Just like she shows him (though she knows exactly who he is). But it doesn’t take long before she draws a line between them, and makes it clear that he was just a game.

And then disaster strikes. The Icarus is yanked out of hyperspace, and plummets into the nearest planet–Lilac and Tarver just manage to escape in their escape pod which neither had wanted to share if survival hadn’t been at the forefront of their minds.

They are the only ones to survive. And yet they hope for rescue. So together they travel across the terrain of the terraformed planet towards the wreckage of the Icarus in hopes of being rescued. After all, the spaceliner of such a big company as LaRoux Industries carrying the daughter of it’s head, would be looked for after all right?

The plot is slow going, with very little plot. It reminds me of Blood Red Road, where the beginning of the story is focussed on the main character in search of something. There’s a very small cast of people, and it’s simply a narrative of their travels, their fears, and their discoveries. Lilac and Tarver, after their encounter on the Icarus dislike each other immensely during the first half of their trek across this unknown terraformed world. Well, they don’t really dislike each other, but rather, they dislike the hierarchy that separates them. For Tarver, he just wants to be rescued and off this planet, same as Lilac, so they stick together.

As the journey proceeds, Lilac is the first to be affected by the strange things on the planet. There are whispers, and things that mysteriously appear. As they get closer to their goal, the mystery deepens as they constantly question the existence of this planet…


I figured I’d give this its separate section since the premise of my edition heavily implies romance. I quote:

These Broken Stars is a timeless love story about hope and survival in the face of unthinkable odds.

There is a love story. But it’s not hot and heavy, nor is it fast and dramatic. It’s slow and accumulating, building over the time that Lilac and Tarver spent together. It’s not my favourite kind of love story because it focusses so much on tthe love story. I love slow burning love stories but I don’t like books that only focus on love stories (too muvh romance and not enough action sometimes!). And this book, like I mentioned earlier, is focussed on the development of their relationship as they traverse the plains of the terraformed planet, and yet isn’t so overdone that I had to roll my eyes and put it down. What I appreciated was the way Amie Kaufman and Megan Spooner develop both Tarver and Lilac. They also develop the relationship between the two characters, giving them more than just an ‘instalove’ story.

But even though there’s a strong love story, I feel like These Broken Stars has actually got a stronger mystery plot. It’s a survival story too.


Lilac LaRoux is a spoiled rich brat. But I figured she probably wasn’t as spoiled as she seemed. (Kind of classic YA.) She was interesting. I liked her character in the sense that I didn’t find her annoying. I like that she grows through the book. That she’s not above helping out and taking on some of the workload. I should point out though, that in the beginning, Lilac is somewhat pretty insufferable! She seems so spoilt! But she’s not really as spoilt as she seems…

Tarver Merendson is awesome. Well as awesome as a guy gets in YA. I mean he’s clever, reliable, actually capable of doing things rather than just brooding and being grumpy. But he’s a little skeptical–which, I think is a good thing since it gives him that additional dimension. I also feel this book was more his story, since his chapters seemed a lot more substantial than Lilac’s!


Futuristic world. Sci-fi. Some Terraformed planet.


Very nice. Very easy to read. Wasn’t overly descriptive, so sometimes I had to stop and reread again to see what I’d missed. But otherwise I did like the writing. This book is also sci-fi, though it’s not really a heavy sci-fi. It does deal with things you’d see common to the genre, but I don’t feel (at the moment) that it’s too much sci-fi. Meaning, even if you don’t like sci-fi, you might like this if you like fantasy. There aren’t any mind-boggling terms to work your way around, no foreign scientific hardcore jargon to burn those cogs in your head.

Also, this book is written in first person pov.


I really wished I’d bought This Shattered World the last time I went to the store. I’d have started reading that now! But well. This book….this book….well if any of the above appeal to you, then give this book a go? That’s what I’d suggest! ALSO, I have to say, I LOVE that Amie Kaufman is Australian. As an Australian myself, that makes me go gaga over wanting to read this. And wonder why I hadn’t done it earlier!

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My Life Next Door. Huntley Fitzpatrick.


My Life Next Door
by Huntley Fitzpatrick
My rating: 3.7 Stars!

I read this for a buddy read with Rinji for the Quarterly Book Club.

I did really enjoy reading this, don’t judge me by how long it took me to read because I was also busy with academic work and other books.

However, unfortunately, this book had to compete with Looking for Alibrandi by Melina Marchetta. It’s one of my favourite books of all time. While Marchetta’s other contemporaries are considered better, Looking for Alibrandi is a classic for a lifetime, and upon rereading it, I really, really, really enjoyed it. AS for My Life Next Door, I think it’s a good book–

——> Oh gosh, I sound like one of those old grannies who say ‘she’s a nice girl’ or ‘he’s a nice boy’ but really means, ‘that person is just not for you!’

I’m rating My Life Next Door 3.7 stars because it was in fact a really good book that by the end of it had me smiling, and appreciating the story that Fitzpatrick wove, despite the fact that it was grossly overshadowed by Melina Marchetta’s book.

The Pros

– Samantha. She has a very relatable voice, and her kind of character is one that I can really understand–she’s someone who has never really spoken up before because she wanted to help her mum and suffers under the pressure of Family Obligations. And I never once found her annoying. She has a well defined character with depth to the way she acts.

– Jase. Are dream boy next door. Ideal YA love interest. Since I have little to say about him, because he was almost perfect–training hard every day, works for the family, considering college if he can get in on scholarship, all round, the perfect kind of guy to see in a YA contemporary novel. I liked him. But, in some ways, I feel like he doesn’t have an extremely deep character, but yet is still well developed, if that makes sense?

– The family dynamics. I liked seeing the contrast between Samantha’s family and Jase’s. The reasons behind them, and how they developed.

– Supporting characters. Tim was the best! I loved him as a character the most and I would love to read about him. I mean, really, that guy was awesome. In a way, he kind of outshone Jase (not that I want him to be with Samantha, but in character development terms, he did outshine the boy). Nan. I can’t believe Nan, and actually that was something I was kind of displeased with! (More in cons.)

– And wow. There really aren’t that many pros.

– Oh wait. Sam and Jase’s relationship. I liked it. It was cute. It began pretty quickly, and progressed at a reasonably interesting pace. I like how Fitzpatrick dealt with Sam and Jase’s relationship. And I guess their relationship is one of the highlights of book. I should probably say…it’s the main highlight, bviously, because it’s a romance…

The Cons

– Clay is an atrocious, ambitious asshole who I still felt sorry for. I didn’t like him at all but knew from the beginning that he was no good (and the only con is that he’s an ass, but the pro about him is that he ended up helping Sam’s mum out, so this should also be a pro lol.)

– Jase could sometimes come across as boring…only because he seemed a little too perfect sometimes. Perfect in the sense that he is the dreamy kind of good love interest in YA contemporary novels. He doesn’t have many problems, though he does have family ones and also the fact that he’s a total family guy….(but this isn’t necessarily a bad thing! I think, once again, the love interest in Looking for Alibrandi overshadowed my appreciation of Jase)

– NAN. THE F**K happened there? That TOTALLY sucked. I mean, I completely understood all the reasons why, and so on, but it just felt like a loose tie that wasn’t really tied up at the end–I wasn’t really satisfied with how they ended up. The only good part was that because of Nan, Tim looked better. But still. Nan and Sam were the weakest part in the whole book–> A Big Angry Dissatisfied Frown Here.


I did finish this with smiles and liked it all round. I would DEFINITELY go and read the companion/sequel to this because I DEFINITELY want to see more of Tim. The guy is so messed up, I want to know about him. But yeah, the sad part is that I read this while reading Looking for Alibrandi, and Looking for Alibrandi just has a deeper message, a stronger plot, and greater themes for me to relate to than My Life Next Door. That’s all. I do suggest My Life Next Door however, as a Suggestive Read, it kind of reads like Sarah Dessen (yes and no), and it’s definitely the light and fluffy kind of thing that if I had more time, I’d have read it faster!

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