Review | All The Ways To Here: A Super Cute f/f Romance about Family

All The Ways to Here is the second book by Emily O’Beirne I read and it’s the second book in this contemporary series about Finn and Willa. I loved the first one and now again, I loved the second.

This review can contain spoilers for the first book, but I’ll try to avoid them as much as possible. If you’d like to read my review on Future Leaders of Nowhere, check out my review here.

Continue reading “Review | All The Ways To Here: A Super Cute f/f Romance about Family”

Review Starfish: relatable and perfect

Starfish by Akemi Dawn Bowman has a cover that makes you want to go out and buy it immediately, but please just wait a few minutes because after this review you’ll want to read it even more 🙂



Kiko Himura has always had a hard time saying exactly what she’s thinking. With a mother who makes her feel unremarkable and a half-Japanese heritage she doesn’t quite understand, Kiko prefers to keep her head down, certain that once she makes it into her dream art school, Prism, her real life will begin.

But then Kiko doesn’t get into Prism, at the same time her abusive uncle moves back in with her family. So when she receives an invitation from her childhood friend to leave her small town and tour art schools on the west coast, Kiko jumps at the opportunity in spite of the anxieties and fears that attempt to hold her back. And now that she is finally free to be her own person outside the constricting walls of her home life, Kiko learns life-changing truths about herself, her past, and how to be brave.


This is a story about friendship, about family, about love and about choosing for yourself. It’s a wonderful book and basically incorporated everything I look for in a book. I love books about friends and families. I love books that are set in the last year of high school, before life really starts and you need to decide your future.

Kiko is such a relatable character. She has social anxiety and is extremely socially awkward. Her relationship with her family is distant. Her mother is pretty much the most annoying person ever (my words, not hers, but I’m pretty sure she’d agree). She’s tortured by childhood trauma. Her escape is art, she draws and paints and when she doesn’t get accepted to the art school she has always dreamed of going her life suddenly got another turn.

I loved reading from Kiko’s perspective. I found an endless number of situations I recognized myself in, from the way her relationship with her brothers is distant, to how socially awkward she is in conversations. She often doesn’t say what she wants to say and I really liked the way that was described in the book. I also loved the way in which her art was incorporated in the book. At the end of almost every chapter, there is a short description of something she draws/paints.

“I don’t know the right words to say to sound cool, because “being cool” does not fall within my skill set.”

Kiko is half-Japanese (or half-white depending on how you see it) and I found it incredibly interesting to read about how it is to grow up as mixed-race. Kiko wasn’t raised with Japanese culture but throughout the story, she learns more about her roots. I think the book really captured this really well, the author is also mixed-race and her experiences really shine through in the book.

“Fixing me isn’t like fixing a loose screw or a little bit of rust. I’m like a giant mess of problems, all linked together and tracing back to my childhood. Back to when things got so complicated.”

I want to mention the love story, even though it is not a major part of the story. It was really cute, and I found the way Kiko dealt with it very realistic. I loved that she didn’t just let herself “be saved” by someone else, she wanted to be able to stand on her own two feet. I loved that the message wasn’t that you need love to fix yourself. I feel that is often the case in similar coming-of-age contemporaries dealing with issues like is. I’m a huge advocate of the idea that you don’t need a boy to save you. (who run the world?)

“I don’t want to need anymore. I want to stand on my own two feet. I want to control of my own life and my own emotions. I don’t want to be a branch in someone else’s life anymore — I want to be the tree on my own.”


I am giving this book 5 stars because it was all I hoped this book would give me. I loved Kiko and Jamie basically everything. I literally can’t think of anything that might have made this book even better (well maybe except having Kiko’s actual art in the book but that’s not a possibility I think). It was emotional, funny, relatable, and the writing style was wonderful.  I will definitely recommend this book if you like contemporaries!

I would like to thank Akemi for providing me with a copy of this wonderful book!

Starfish by Akemi Dawn Bowman will come out in September of 2017.

Discussion: Reasons to write: Fantasy vs. Contemporary

So far I have attempted to write a contemporary novel and I am currently working on a fantasy novel. It is very different from my contemporary story and so far I am loving it. For this discussion, I wanted to discuss some of the differences and pros and cons of writing these two genres and compare them.

Continue reading “Discussion: Reasons to write: Fantasy vs. Contemporary”

Review: The Color Project: Adorable and Heartbreaking

This book is so cute it’ll make you smile all the way through (well, almost, the time you don’t spend smiling, you spend crying).

General rating: ★★★★☆
Diversity rating: ☆ (There were some POC characters but not major)

The Color Project by Sierra Abrams22892448

Bernice Aurora Wescott has one thing she doesn’t want anyone to know: her name. That is, until Bee meets Levi, the local golden boy who runs a charity organization called The Color Project.

Levi is not at all shy about attempting to guess Bee’s real name; his persistence is one of the many reasons why Bee falls for him. But while Levi is everything she never knew she needed, giving up her name would feel like a stamp on forever. And that terrifies her.

When unexpected news of an illness in the family drains Bee’s summer of everything bright, she is pushed to the breaking point. Losing herself in The Color Project—a world of weddings, funerals, cancer patients, and hopeful families that the charity funds—is no longer enough. Bee must hold up the weight of her family, but to do that, she needs Levi. She’ll have to give up her name and let him in completely or lose the best thing that’s ever happened to her.

This book is about Bee and her family and about Levi, the boy she falls in love with. The idea of Bee not wanting to tell anyone her name is fun in the beginning, but through the book her stubbornness is starting to get back on her. But beside that, Bee is the absolutely sweetest. She loves her family, is caring, and wants to do something good in the world. She is really relatable and funny and I would love her as a friend. (& also I need her family).

The love interest Levi is honestly the best book boyfriend I’ve ever read about. Though it took me a few chapters to get to really see how cute they were/would be together, but after that, I was sold 100%. They are the cutest couple together and they will make you swoon and gush all the time.

“The world spins, and I feel pain everywhere, and I die a little bit inside with every tear I shed, so that I’m left feeling like a husk, empty, ruined, devoured.”

I don’t really want to say what happens in the story, because then I would spoil you, but I do want to tell you that it is such a great story and it all flows just really well. I don’t know, it just works so well together, and it’s not just about happy things, it is about struggles and it feels real. It is sad and beautiful, but also really happy and fun. It’s just such a joy to read this book, that during the entire book I did not for a moment felt bored. I think that if I had the time, I could have read this book all day.

I adored the writing style of this book, it was different from other books I’ve ever read. It was written from the perspective of Bee, but there were little (often funny) comments written between brackets. I also loved the interaction between the characters, especially the sisters, and the text messages.

“Make her stop,” she says, practically weeping.
“I wish I could. Only stabbing her will do the trick.”
“No, that will make her wail louder.” Millie moans again.
“Then there’s nothing left but to bury her in the backyard,” I tease.
This earns a laugh. “Think Mama and Daddy will miss her?”

Another thing that I thought was a great addition to the book were the songs as titles of the chapters. Though, after a few chapters, I didn’t feel like taking breaks to listen to every song before/while reading the chapter (because that would mean, I had put the book away), I really loved the idea and execution. (I actually wanted to do the same with my WIP, but didn’t do it in the end).

I am giving this book 4.5 stars, because I had the best time reading it. It made me feel so happy and sad and wonderful, that when I finished, all I could do is be all happy and gushy. I just wanted more!! If you want to read a great romance book about family, I will definitely recommend you this book, because I bet that you will love it.


Review: None Of The Above: Questions Gender Norms, while being Fun and Enjoyable.

In this YA contemporary, I. W. Gregorio makes you think about gender norms and what it means to not fit in those. It’s an engaging read, with a strong message.

What if everything you knew about yourself changed in an instant?22896551

When Kristin Lattimer is voted homecoming queen, it seems like another piece of her ideal life has fallen into place. She’s a champion hurdler with a full scholarship to college and she’s madly in love with her boyfriend. In fact, she’s decided that she’s ready to take things to the next level with him.

But Kristin’s first time isn’t the perfect moment she’s planned—something is very wrong. A visit to the doctor reveals the truth: Kristin is intersex, which means that though she outwardly looks like a girl, she has male chromosomes, not to mention boy “parts.”

Dealing with her body is difficult enough, but when her diagnosis is leaked to the whole school, Kristin’s entire identity is thrown into question. As her world unravels, can she come to terms with her new self?

Kristin’s life is normal but when she finds out she is intersex her entire vision of the world, and of herself, shifts. And just when she thinks it cannot get any worse, the entire school finds out she’s a hermaphrodite. Kristin’s relationship ends and her best friend, who had told her boyfriend, is no longer her best friend. Her life changes from daily running and school, to doctor’s visits, hiding in her bedroom and avoiding the world.

I never like it when a couple is already together at the start of a book, because then I’m completely uninvested in the relationship and all the drama that happens next is not that interesting. So Kristin having broken up with her boyfriend is not something I really cared for, however, luckily this was only a small part of the story.

Everything changed,” I insisted. “Even though I kept on telling Sam and Vee and all the others that I was the same, everything was different.”

Dr. LaForte shook her head. “The world around you may have shifted, seen you in a different light. But the Mona Lisa is a masterpiece whether it’s in a pitch-black room, under a strobe light, or in the sun.”

What this story is mainly about is that Kristin, who is (no longer) male or female, has to figure out how this influences the image of herself. Intersex means that you have both XY and XX genes, mixed hormones and sometimes female and/or/nor male sex organs, which would make you something in between the standard male and female genders. For Kristin this means, though she is not officially a female, can she still identify as one? What does it mean to be female?

Not only does she has to deal with herself, she also has to deal with the world and their opinion of her. A lot of people see her as some kind of transgender (which is in their eyes perceived as bad), and call her names, whisper behind her back and she is even kicked off her running team.

“Do you ever just wish that you could find the guy who coined the phrase ‘Sticks and stones can break my bones, but words will never hurt me’ and smash his face in?”

I would have loved this book even more if there wasn’t this focus on romance. Near the end, I felt like the idea that you need a boy to make you feel like a woman, was slightly too present, which decrease the strength of the novel and the message it’s trying to give. It felt like a really simple solution, to give Kristin a love interest, so she would believe in herself again, or something like that. I get it can be important for her, but for me, it felt like a simple story trick to give it a pretty ending.

I am giving this book 4 stars because it’s one of those contemporaries that is just so important for this world. It’s not like anything I’ve ever read, and knowing more about intersex has brought me so much to think about. I hugely enjoyed this book, even though I didn’t like the focus on romance, it was really interesting and opened me up to a whole new topic I’ve never thought about. I will definitely recommend this book to everybody, yeah, basically everybody, unless you hate contemporary maybe.


Review | Future Leaders of Nowhere: A+ Characters & LGBT romance

General rating: ★★★★
Diversity rating: ★★ (lgbt+: lesbian, bi; POC: indian)

Future Leaders of Nowhere is a novel by Emily O’Beirne. It is a YA, contemporary, LGBT, super cute story which is a lot of fun to read. The book is divided into three parts, the first part is written from the perspective of Finn, the second is written from the perspective of Willa and the final part alternating between them.

33849121Future Leaders of Nowhere by Emily O’Beirne

“Finn’s solid. Not in body, but in being. She’s gravity and kindness and all those good things that anchor.”

“Willa’s confusing. Sometimes she’s this sweet, sensitive soul. Other times she’s like a flaming arrow you hope isn’t coming for you.”

Finn and Willa have been picked as team leaders in the future leader camp game. The usually confident Finn doesn’t know what’s throwing her more, the fact she’s leading a team of highly unenthusiastic overachievers or coming up against fierce, competitive Willa. And Willa doesn’t know which is harder, leaving her responsibilities behind to pursue her goals or opening up to someone.

Soon they both realise that the hardest thing of all is balancing their clashing ideals with their unexpected connection. And finding a way to win, of course.

I loved the characters in this book and their development throughout the entire story. Willa and Finn are both very different people and at the same times in many ways the same. They are very intelligent girls with a drive for success. They are complex and very realistic, you just want to get to know them in real life, and it kind of feels like you already do by the time you finish the book.

Both of them get chosen to be a team leader at the Camp for Future Leaders where they both partake in. Both get chosen for different reasons but the result is the same, an entire group of people is counting on them to lead them to the best path possible. During the story, you get to know the characters on a very personal level, you get a look into their heads and how they see the world. The characters go through difficult situations and learn a lot from their experiences, and from each other.

“Have you only liked guys?”
“No. I like people.”
“So do I.” Willa grins. “They just happen to be girls.”

The romance is absolutely swoon-worthy, it’s just too sweet. It made me read for hours into the night and I just didn’t want to put it down. Willa is a lesbian and Finn is bi, and it felt like the most natural thing in the world, it didn’t feel forced in any way and I just don’t know what else to say, it’s just wonderful.

Because that’s the trouble with being smart. You can only fool yourself for so long.

As you might have noticed, the best part of this book was definitely the characters. It is quite hard to write a review when there’s just nothing to complain, it was just really good. I am giving this book 4 stars, but I don’t really know why I’m not giving it 5. It was cute, sweet, realistic, wonderful and definitely a book you want to read. I recommend this book if you like LGBT+ books, sweet romance and/or contemporary.

Optimists Die First Review

General rating: ★★★★
Diversity rating: ★★★ (contains: POC, LGBT+, disability; please correct me if I am wrong because it could be that I forgot/misremembered)

When I saw this title, I just knew I needed to read this, and I don’t even know why. I am an optimist, so dying first wouldn’t have been the best thing, but I’m glad I did pick it up!30335388

Optimists Die First by Susin Nielsen

Beware: Life ahead.

Sixteen-year-old Petula de Wilde is anything but wild. A former crafting fiend with a happy life, Petula shut herself off from the world after a family tragedy. She sees danger in all the ordinary things, like crossing the street, a bug bite, or a germy handshake. She knows: life is out to get you.

The worst part of her week is her comically lame mandatory art therapy class with a small group of fellow misfits. Then a new boy, Jacob, appears at school and in her therapy group. He seems so normal and confident, though he has a prosthetic arm; and soon he teams up with Petula on a hilarious project, gradually inspiring her to let go of some of her fears. But as the two grow closer, a hidden truth behind why he’s in the group could derail them, unless Petula takes a huge risk. . .

Optimists Die First is about Petula (I keep forgetting that name), who is a hard-core pessimist, in every situation she sees danger. She suffers from anxiety since her little sister died tragically. Petula blames herself for her death and now makes it her absolute priority to stay alive, because she is the only child her parents have left. But in her trying to stay alive, she forgets to actually live. Her live consists of school and YART sessions, which are group therapy meetings in which they do arts and crafts. Petula has been a crafter since she was young but now hates the meetings.

One day a new boy comes in school and he has to be his project partner and also is in the YART sessions. His coming shakes up the entire group, which normally never talked outside meetings. Jacob (I can’t seem to remember any names from this book..) has been in a car accident and lost part of his arm and two of his friends. Now he has a bionic arm and a broken mind.

I loved the characters and how real they felt, they weren’t perfect, they had flaws and that made it only more realistic. My favourite character was Petula, her negativity ruled her behaviour and her fear was felt grounded. There was a lot of character development which I loved! Jacob was also a very grey character (neither good nor bad), which is always very interesting to read about. The characters felt so realistic and relatable, which is a huge plus!

“Optimists believe things will always work out for the best. Optimists live in a rainbow-coloured, sugar-coated land of denial.

Optimists miss warning signs.”

There were some other smaller things that I loved about the book. I loved the filmmaking aspect of this book, I don’t know why, I just really liked it. I also loved the cats! Even reading the dedication: “To all the other crazy cat people. You know who you are.” really made my inner cat lover laugh.

I did not see the plot twist coming, which is not usually the case. Most of the time you can already see where the story is heading before it is actually heading there. I can’t say what happens but I really liked the way it was resolved and how everything came together in the end.

I give this book 4 stars because of the characters, the heavy but interesting topics and of course the cats 🙂 I would recommend this book to anyone who loves Nicola Yoon’s books and contemporary books with a heavier undertone.

** I received this book via NetGalley and the publisher, but my opinions are all my own**

The book will come out February 27th 2017.