Book Review: The Guinevere Deception by Kiersten White

Title: The Guinevere Deception

Author: Kiersten White

Rating: 4/5 stars

Publisher: Delacorte Press

Goodreads Synopsis:

There was nothing in the world as magical and terrifying as a girl.

Princess Guinevere has come to Camelot to wed a stranger: the charismatic King Arthur. With magic clawing at the kingdom’s borders, the great wizard Merlin conjured a solution–send in Guinevere to be Arthur’s wife . . . and his protector from those who want to see the young king’s idyllic city fail. The catch? Guinevere’s real name–and her true identity–is a secret. She is a changeling, a girl who has given up everything to protect Camelot.

To keep Arthur safe, Guinevere must navigate a court in which the old–including Arthur’s own family–demand things continue as they have been, and the new–those drawn by the dream of Camelot–fight for a better way to live. And always, in the green hearts of forests and the black depths of lakes, magic lies in wait to reclaim the land. Arthur’s knights believe they are strong enough to face any threat, but Guinevere knows it will take more than swords to keep Camelot free.

Deadly jousts, duplicitous knights, and forbidden romances are nothing compared to the greatest threat of all: the girl with the long black hair, riding on horseback through the dark woods toward Arthur. Because when your whole existence is a lie, how can you trust even yourself?


I was super keen to follow Guinevere’s story in this retelling. Guinevere was never really given much of a story in BBC’s Merlin series, so knowing that we were getting a main character who is both a changeling with magic AND a protector/knight, I was excited! Guinevere is young and confused about her life, but she has a goal in mind that she is absolutely determined to achieve, even though she knows little about Arthur (her stranger-of-a-husband-and-king), his kingdom, and even herself. It is a story filled with magic and politics. There is also a tiny spark of romance that (thankfully) does not overshadow the main points of the plot. This made the objective of the plot stand out so much more on its own, which on one hand is great, but on the other it made any character development in the story suffer quite a bit.

While the side characters were great and had depth, I found Guinevere a little boring. I was also not too convinced about her relationship with the people around her. Maybe it’s because we focus so little on her back story and the root of her upbringing that it makes the reader a little hard to relate to her in the first place. Then again, there was a lot that had to be unpacked. The lack of connection between the reader and Guinevere can be a little off-putting at the beginning, which was also why the story is a little slow paced to start with. But it was an enjoyable book nonetheless. I did not expect to like it this much! I’m glad I took my time and savored the story. The first half of the book was pretty slow (which is understandable because lost of world building elements were being established then), but after that the story really picked up and so much starts to happen. I loved the political intrigue and the structure of the whole novel. Being a Merlin fan makes the story personally easy to read too, and I thought the author’s take on the Arthurian legend was very interesting! It wasn’t anything too ‘epic’, but it’s still a page-turner!

I’m so excited for the sequel. That ending left me wanting MORE! If epic fantasy isn’t really your thing (but you like a fantasy story with a good amount of romance and political intrigue), The Guinevere Deception is a great ‘light’ Fantasy read!

Thank you so much Penguin Books Australia for sending a copy over in exchange for an honest review!


My Year In Reading (not all the books yet all of the books)

Since we’re approaching the end of the year, I thought I’d reflect on what my year in reading has looked like so far! This year has been the busiest year for me (in terms of university and work-related stuff), what with balancing being a full-time university student, having a part-time job and finding the time to update my blog and Instagram. I also receive a lot of questions on my reading habits, so maybe this will clear things up a little bit, for you guys 🙂

I’ll start by saying that I’ve been reading less and less each year. Maybe it’s a time management thing, but I won’t lie – reading hasn’t been the same for me ever since I’ve started to take on more books from publishers and author. I will forever be grateful for the opportunity to receive FREE books from around the world AND have a platform where I can voice all my thoughts and reviews. However, it can get a little overwhelming, especially when I get too excited and say yes to all the bookish campaigns and promotions. :/

I guess we are all aware of the popular recommendation that readers who are busy are suggested to make time to read before bed, but I often find myself getting super drowsy the moment I reach my bed, and I just cannot muster up the strength to get past 10+ pages of a book. Reading while commuting is great too, but I’m finding it really hard to focus on my book (while on the bus) because of how crowded and loud it can get. Ebooks are definitely an option too, but most of the books I want to read I already own in physical form (which is honestly a dumb excuse, but I much prefer reading physical books over ebooks, even when I’m on a tight schedule). Audiobooks are also a bit of a problem for me because on one hand, they are an amazing commute alternative, but they put me in such a sleepy mood 😦 There just seems to be no way for me to get any reading done with my packed schedule! Hence why I am sooo behind on my Goodreads reading schedule (10 books behind, to be exact).

I have participated in the Goodreads challenge for a good five years now, and I was able to read way more books in 2016 and 2017 than I have set on for myself for the Goodreads challenge.

here’s a fun when where i set 80 books for the year and reached 60, and I was SO bummed out xD

Seeing my past reading challenges has made me beat myself up for not reading as much as I have in the past. It’s just a little sad to see how little I’m reading due to my inability to manage my time better, and university and work may not really be an excuse (lots of people can still make time to read tons of books even with a busy lifestyle)! On the bright side though, I haven’t felt any pressure to read at all this year, which makes any spare time I get so worthwhile, because whenever I do have time to read, I actually want to read. Granted I read way less by waiting until I have some (pretty much non-existent) free time on my hands, each book I read ends up being an amazing one, and it’s all because I make sure I only read when I feel like it. So there’s a little silver lining here! Despite reading so little due to my busy schedule, I am very much enjoying the fact that I am not forcing myself to read ALLLL the books this year. Instead, I am taking my time to read the books I actually want to read!

So far this year I’ve only managed to read 15 books (out of my goal of 30 books), all of which I’ve enjoyed and given at least a 3 star rating. On top of that, 8 of the books has become a favorite of mine! I’ve never felt more content with the books I’ve read, so I guess I can say that I am somewhat grateful for my busy schedule :’)

This year, I’ve not fallen into a reading slump, read books that I genuinely want to read, and immensely enjoyed more than half of them, so the verdict is: I am very pleased with my progress and this mindset that I have learned to adapt (that is, not to force myself to read all. the. time, even if it’s my job to as a book reviewer/blogger/content creator). The beauty in reading is to remember that your books are not going anywhere, so take your time to read each one of them! My number one tip is to never make reading a chore. Treat books as an escape and you will get one 🙂 We’re reaching the end of the year, so I hope you all take things slow, read and enjoy all the amazing books that you’ve been meaning to read!

xx Cath

Book Review: Permanent Record by Mary H. K. Choi

Title: Permanent Record

Author: Mary H. K. Choi

Rating: 4/5 stars

Release date: 

November 7th 2019 by Atom (first published 3rd September 2019)

Publisher: Atom

Goodreads Synopsis:

After a year of college, Pablo is working at his local twenty-four-hour deli, selling overpriced snacks to brownstone yuppies. He’s dodging calls from the student loan office and he has no idea what his next move is.

Leanna Smart’s life so far has been nothing but success. Age eight: Disney Mouseketeer; Age fifteen: first #1 single on the US pop chart; Age seventeen, *tenth* #1 single; and now, at Age nineteen…life is a queasy blur of private planes, weird hotel rooms, and strangers asking for selfies on the street.

When Leanna and Pab randomly meet at 4:00 a.m. in the middle of a snowstorm in Brooklyn, they both know they can’t be together forever. So, they keep things on the down-low and off Instagram for as long as they can. But it takes about three seconds before the world finds out…


Wow, reading this book felt like such a blur to me. Everything happened so quickly and spontaneously that you don’t even have the time to properly wrap your head around things. The plot is a little over the place, which reflects the MC’s life in lots of ways, but was hard for me to decipher if there was even any plot to start with. That being said, this novel definitely has more of a slice of life story and is more character driven.

I did have quite a few problems with the book, namely with the main character and his love interest. I had trouble relating to the love interest and the MC can get so aggravating at times . Maybe the problem with the love interest is that we don’t get to see things from her POV at all, which is totally fine, but that made it look like she was just a plot device, which is a little sad because hearing her side of things could have been so much more interesting. She has so much depth as a character, but we did not get to explore any of that at all, which is a shame.

Nonetheless, the emotions that were portrayed by Pab were so realistic and relatable it hurts 😥 The story and narrative feels so painfully real – I can understand the struggles that Pablo go through because the way the author puts his thoughts into words just really hits. The tone of his voice does not sound curated, and the book reads a lot like a personal diary/journal (not exactly in writing, but in authenticity), which really makes you connect with Pablo.

I love that this book reminds us that crazy good things, bad things, and weird things happen in our lives in totally unexpected ways, and that we either have to live with it, fight it, be grateful for it or learn from it. The arc of the story packs a punch, and the family dynamic hits so hard, I felt the need to ring up my parents upon finishing the book. I have so much love for the slice of life elements in this novel. I cannot wait to read more of Mary H. K. Choi’s work!

Thank you so much Hachette Australia for sending over a free copy in exchange for an honest review!

If you’re interested in buying Permanent Record by Mary H. K. Choi, you can click here to shop the book at Book Depository. I receive a small commission if you use the link! 🙂

Book Review: Great Goddesses by Nikita Gill

Title: Great Goddesses

Author: Nikita Gill

Rating: 3/5 stars

Release date: September 5th 2019

Publisher: Ebury Press

Goodreads Synopsis:

Empowering life lessons from myths and monsters.

Wonder at Medusa’s potent venom, Circe’s fierce sorcery and Athena rising up over Olympus, as Nikita Gill majestically explores the untold stories of the life bringers, warriors, creators, survivors and destroyers that shook the world – the great Greek Goddesses.

Vividly re-imagined and beautifully illustrated, step into an ancient world transformed by modern feminist magic.

‘I watch Girl become Goddess
and the metamorphosis is more
magnificent than anything
I have ever known.’


I loved Gill’s “Your Soul Is A River”, so when I got the chance to review her latest work, I was ecstatic!

Great Goddesses is centred around Feminism, womanhood, and the strength within all females that reflect the lives of each goddess mentioned in each poem. The book is absolutely beautiful in so many ways, with its words and messages, though I was not too blown away by it because I could not quite connect with the story and the goddesses mentioned. Perhaps it was due to my lack of Greek Mythology knowledge that created this strained connection? It didn’t matter too much to me though – I could still enjoy the stories. However, one thing I could not get used to was the fact that the book did not completely read like a poetry novel. There were several verses that were grouped together to sort of mimic a short story (or an anecdote, if you will). This had a huge effect on my reading experience, and I personally felt that they dragged on so much and made it difficult to read.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with longer-than-usual poetry verses. It was just personally a little hard for me to keep up with the length, given the sort of enigmatic writing (if that makes sense?!). I thought the words the author used were beautiful and fitting, but the flow of her tone and words felt very unconventional as you would only expect this equivocal type of writing in short verses.

This is just a personal opinion of mine. I don’t tend to reach our for poetry novels, so this could just be something that I’m not used to. I am a major fan of Gill’s gentle, yet thoughtful writing, but the short-story-esque parts of the book were just a chore to get through.. nonetheless, I appreciated the intricacy of how the lives of each Greek Goddess were explored to reflect the likes of humanity, roles of women in society, and the concept of change. It was a very interesting approach that delivered very powerful messages. Despite some problems I had with the structure of the book, I enjoyed a good handful of the poems in the book. If you are a fan of Greek Mythology with a feminist twist, this is the book for you!

A massive thank you to Penguin Australia for providing me with a free copy in exchange for an honest review!

if you’re interested in buying Great Goddesses by Nikita Gill, you can click here to shop the book at Book Depository. I receive a small commission if you use the link! 🙂

Book Review: The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern


Title: The Starless Sea

Author: Erin Morgenstern

Rating: 4.5/5 stars

Release date: November 5th 2019

Publisher: Harvill Secker


When Zachary Rawlins stumbles across a strange book hidden in his university library it leads him on a quest unlike any other. Its pages entrance him with their tales of lovelorn prisoners, lost cities and nameless acolytes, but they also contain something impossible: a recollection from his own childhood.

Determined to solve the puzzle of the book, Zachary follows the clues he finds on the cover – a bee, a key and a sword. They guide him to a masquerade ball, to a dangerous secret club, and finally through a magical doorway created by the fierce and mysterious Mirabel. This door leads to a subterranean labyrinth filled with stories, hidden far beneath the surface of the earth.

When the labyrinth is threatened, Zachary must race with Mirabel, and Dorian, a handsome barefoot man with shifting alliances, through its twisting tunnels and crowded ballrooms, searching for the end of his story.

You are invited to join Zachary on the starless sea: the home of storytellers, story-lovers and those who will protect our stories at all costs.


I don’t really know where to start, but I can say that my thoughts are still swimming from the whimsicality and pure magic that is The Starless Sea. This weird feeling of nostalgia will not leave me, but I cannot place a finger on what it is that triggers it. Maybe a film I’ve seen long ago? A distant memory? A dream? Perhaps all three?

Reading this book is like entering a dream. Just like the main character, you are constantly discovering, constantly learning, constantly trying to decipher what is real and what is not. Morgenstern is giving her readers first-class seats on this extravagant journey that she has so carefully crafted, spoon-feeding us with words of loss and love. Granted the wistful writing and slow pacing of the book might not be everyone’s cup of tea, I thought both conventions were done very well  and thus went hand in hand to create an exceptional story-telling tone.

There are many different factors that play a part in this book, namely time and space. There were talks of fables and myths, romantic tales from the past, secret oddities, love, fate. It is a story filled with stories, each unique to one’s own. It feels like you’re reading multiple books at once. You enter all these different worlds and meet so many different characters, all for a short amount of time. It’s magical and nonsensical and wonderful and so so beautiful. The best part is that the main character is reading all these stories along with you, and he actually has thoughts on them too (very meta, but so cool!). It felt so surreal to know that the MC said the exact same things about one of the stories in the book that I wrote my thoughts on! The inception feels unreal (or perhaps Morgenstern is just a genius […most probably the latter..]).

One thing I would like to mention is that there is a very different, yet familiar style of writing that you would expect from the author who created the intricate masterpiece that is The Night Circus. Perhaps it is the modern POV of a college boy that creates this distinction, but so many other aspects of the novel has reminded me so much of why I fell in love with Morgenstern’s writing and and story-telling in the first place. It’s unique and beautiful all by itself, but you can still feel the essence of The Night Circus when you read The Starless Sea. It’s… just beautiful. I’m still at a whirlwind-like state after finishing the novel, which is why I will leave my rating as 4.5/5 stars. However, it strays close to 5 stars just because it was an absolutely brilliant novel that I’ve loved dog-earing and annotating. There are so many phrases in the book that I just felt in awe of. The whole world, the writing, the characters.. just.. impeccable. Please, pick this novel up if you haven’t thought of doing so already! ❤

Thank you SO much Penguin Australia for sending me a copy of the novel in exchange for an honest review!

If you’re interested in buying The Starless Sea, you can click here to shop the book at Book Depository. I receive a small commission if you use the link! 🙂

Book Review: The Fountains of Silence by Ruta Sepetys


Title:  The Fountains of Silence

Author: Ruta Sepetys

Rating: 4.5/5 stars

Release date: First published on October 1st 2019

Publisher: Penguin Books

Goodreads Synopsis:

Daniel Matheson, the son of an oil tycoon, hopes to connect with the country of his mother’s birth through the lens of his camera. Photography -and fate – introduce him to Ana, a hotel maid, whose family is suffering under the fascist dictatorship of General Franco.

Daniel and Ana’s lives and hearts collide as they unite to uncover the hidden darkness within the city – a darkness that could engulf them all . . .


Let me just start by saying that this is my first Ruta Sepetys novel, and surely won’t be my last! The Fountains of Silence is a Historical Fiction novel set in Spain during the Franco dictatorship (which I have never heard of until I read this!). I love that there is a sort of rawness to the writing, which gives the characters so much flesh and essence. Every word flows so naturally together, which allows you to fly through the novel very quickly. I was initially anticipating the type of ‘rich’ prose (similar to the kind of writing style you would normally find in Zafón’s novels), but instead we get this very unfiltered, sort of bared down writing that I think makes an even larger impact on the readers. The bareness of Ruta Sepetys’ descriptions and narration perfectly depicts the state of Spain when they were ruled under Franco. The author is not afraid to put the spotlight on certain heavy topics and brutal outcomes of the era, which I so admire. There seems to be a significant meta concept where one of the main characters in the novel (who is a photographer) in a way mirrors Sepetys’ writing because of his role in the story, and I think that is very cleverly and effectively done! That being said, the ‘rich’ prose that I was anticipating was instead replaced by my craving for more of Sepetys’ raw tone of voice and writing!

I also loved the romance! It was done SO well, AND it did not overshadow nor glorify this significant period of time in history. The author unravels the romance so subtlely, and she was able to fit the romance in the story as if it’s the perfect match to a puzzle! I craved every second of it, and it actually has some significance to the Franco dictatorship, meaning the romance actually played a huge part in driving the whole story forward. Amazing! Ugh, don’t you just love when everything in a story complements one another so well? I am obsessed with Sepetys’ effortless storytelling. The only reason why this did not get 5 stars is because the ending left me wanting MORE! This book is already 400+ pages long, but I wish it was longer!

What an experience it was to read such an enticing story. I will now only hold on to the fact that I still have Between Shades of Gray (by the same author) waiting for me on my TBR list to patch up this very attached reader heart of mine.

So so dark but beautiful. I highly, highly recommend picking this novel up!

Thank you so much Penguin Books Australia for sending over a free copy!

if you’re interested in buying The Fountains of Silence, you can click here to shop the book at Book Depository. I receive a small commission if you use the link! 🙂

The Angel’s Game by Carlos Ruiz Zafón: A peek into my annotations!

Hi everyone! I’m coming to you today with a little ‘book review’ of The Angel’s Game – book #2 in the Cemetery of Forgotten Books series! This review will be much different to my other book reviews because i will be doing something a little different with it.. I will be writing out exactly what I wrote on each of the post-it notes that I used throughout the book! Granted it isn’t going to be your traditional book review, I wanted to put up a little disclaimer that this post has nothing to do with the whole book in general, rather just certain aspects of the novel. So please don’t take this review too seriously. I do not want to give off the wrong kind of impression for this book. Do take what I have to say with a grain of salt!

I also wanted to mention that I never actually intended to write a blog post on my thoughts of this book in the first place, but I still wanted to give this book the praise that I think it deserves! So without further ado, let’s get started!

Page 214, post-it #1

okay, mini review time. wow, this writing. everything sounds like a dream. so cleverly written. all the dialogue has the perfect narrative essence and enough “realness” to it. it’s just so effortless, like everything is coming out so naturally. it feels like you’re having a real conversation with real, highlight intelligent people. it’s hard to believe that this is just the translated version of the novel. i’ve had people telling me that the original is an absolute masterpiece!

Page 238, post-it #2

how this man has the brains to write something so deep and intricate and profound baffles me. it’s weird how you don’t really know (or understand) which direction the plot is heading, but you just savor the story anyway, because the writing is [just that good] and so captivating! there’s so much mystery going on, and all these new characters appearing left and right… so much to

Page 239, post-it #3 (continuation)

discover, and more surprises that just keeps coming. honestly, no matter how random the plot-turns are, the story [itself] is just so addicting. the dialogues are my favorite. goodness! i can underline every single conversation the protagonist has with the characters. i just cannot decipher the writing talent of this author. truly impeccable.

Page 375, post-it #4

“[the novel’s] faith in the power of fiction is endearing and addictive”. i love this blurb so much. it’s sooo true. these two pages pretty much depict that blurb. i don’t even care if the book lacks direction. i’m re-invested in the book each time i pick it up. maybe it’s more than just the atmospheric writing and setting. there’s just so much flesh in each of the characters, so much heart and tears and laughter. so much love and compassion. ❤

And that was the last post-it! I hope everything made sense and wasn’t too messy! Again, this is a book review not meant for anyone to take away anything from – but I will say that I highly enjoyed it overall and that I recommend picking this series up (but start with The Shadow of The Wind first!).

I don’t think I will ever be ready to write out a full review of this book. There are just some books out there that are just better left savored and read. So this will have to be it for now. 🙂

Let me know if this is something you guys enjoy – I am happy to do more in the future!

if you’re interested in buying The Angel’s Game (or any of the books in the Cemetery of Forgotten Books series), you can click here to shop the book at Book Depository. I receive a small commission if you use the link! 🙂

Book Review: Aurora Rising by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

30075662._SY475_ (1).jpg

Title: Aurora Rising

Author: Jay Kristoff, Amie Kaufman

Rating: 4/5 stars

Release date: 

Publisher: Allen & Unwin

Goodreads Synopsis:


This book was an unexpected wild ride. Considering I loved the duo’s first Illuminae Files novel, I was still not very hopeful about Aurora Rising. It’s a Sci-Fi novel after all, and I am not one to reach out for the genre very much (at all, actually). But boy did I have fun reading this! 

I live for banters and sarcastic brawls. One of my favorite narratives has to be one that sounds witty and clever, and this book was just brimming with characters who portrayed this sort of voice. The “Squad” trope was done so beautifully. The concept of an unlikely group of people with their own quirks, flaws, and strengths bonding together is just so wholesome. It reminds me a lot of Pitch Perfect for some reason. You grow to love every one of the members. Each character has something to offer to the table that gives them their own essence and keeps the story flowing. Their friendship is just so pure and wholesome! ❤ 

Personally, the reason why this story is such a big win for me is because the trope was enhanced even more by the duo’s effortless writing. Judging from the smooth flow of the narrative (with all its sassy and action-packed glory), it seems like the authors had fun writing the story. It’s got a complex world-building aspect, but the story reads quick, easy and fun! Honestly, anything with good humour, feisty females, and a whole lot of sass is always a winner in my book Besides the spunky tone of the narrative, the duo prove to be quite the storytellers. I can visualise the world that they are trying to create so perfectly.

Personally, it’s a charming book that will entertain you and makes sure you get attached to each character. It doesn’t have a lot of depth to it yet, but I”m sure the sequel will seal up those holes. I had so much fun reading this book. I highly recommend it (even if you’re not a fan of Sci-Fi) if you’re in the mood for something entertaining and quick! 

Thank you Allen & Unwin for the free copy!

if you’re interested in buying Aurora Rising, you can click here to shop the book at Book Depository – i receive a small commission if you use the link! 🙂 

My Top 5 Winter Reading Recommendations!

It’s been stormy and rainy lately here in Perth, and the chilly mornings have been putting me in a huge reading mood (even more than my usual cravings for long books)! Today I am bringing you 5 of not only some of my all time favorite books, but also books that are perfect for binging during long nights and cool, cozy days!

1) The Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo


Goodreads Synopsis:

Love speaks in flowers. Truth requires thorns.

Travel to a world of dark bargains struck by moonlight, of haunted towns and hungry woods, of talking beasts and gingerbread golems, where a young mermaid’s voice can summon deadly storms and where a river might do a lovestruck boy’s bidding but only for a terrible price.

Inspired by myth, fairy tale, and folklore, #1 New York Times–bestselling author Leigh Bardugo has crafted a deliciously atmospheric collection of short stories filled with betrayals, revenge, sacrifice, and love.

Perfect for new readers and dedicated fans, these tales will transport you to lands both familiar and strange—to a fully realized world of dangerous magic that millions have visited through the novels of the Grishaverse.


No doubt the queen of dark Grisha magic herself ❤ The Language of Thorns is jam-packed with enchanting fairytale-esque short stories. There are even some retellings in the book, such as a rendition of The Nutcracker and a Little Mermaid fairytale twist. Every one of her short stories are so deliciously dark and magical – perfect for gloomy nights under warm lights ❤ I have a review of each short story here if you’re interested to know more about my thoughts on the book! 🙂

2) The Shadow of The Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón


Goodreads Synopsis:

It is 1945 and Barcelona is enduring the long aftermath of civil war when Daniel Sempere’s bookseller father decides his son is old enough to visit the secret Cemetery of Forgotten Books. There Daniel must ‘adopt’ a single book, promising to care for it and keep it alive always. His choice falls on The Shadows of the Wind.

Bewitched, he embarks on an epic quest to find the truth about Julian Carax, the book’s mysterious author. Soon Daniel is consumed by strange discoveries about love and obsession, art and life, and how they become entangled within the shadow world of books.


One of my more recent reads! The Shadow of The Wind is a gem. It’s one of the most atmospheric books I have ever read, and it’s perfect for late night reading sessions. It’s long and enigmatic, which is perfect since the story takes place in dreamy Barcelona, where the rustic themes seem to fit perfectly with talks of secondhand bookstores, a mysterious author, a slow-burn romance, and tragedy. I have a more in-depth review of this incredible novel here. I highly recommend this book if you have the time to savor your reads and take your time reading. The Shadow of The Wind is not a book to be missed!

3) The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry 


Goodreads Synopsis:

We are not quite novels.

We are not quite short stories.

In the end, we are collected works.

A. J. Fikry’s life is not at all what he expected it to be. His wife has died; his bookstore is experiencing the worst sales in its history; and now his prized possession, a rare collection of Poe poems, has been stolen. Slowly but surely, he is isolating himself from all the people of Alice Island—from Chief Lambiase, the well-intentioned police officer who’s always felt kindly toward him; from Ismay, his sister-in-law, who is hell-bent on saving A.J. from his dreary self; from Amelia, the lovely and idealistic (if eccentric) Knightley Press sales rep who persists in taking the ferry to Alice Island, refusing to be deterred by A.J.’s bad attitude. Even the books in his store have stopped holding pleasure for him. These days, he can only see them as a sign of a world that is changing too rapidly.

And then a mysterious package appears at the bookstore. It’s a small package, though large in weight—an unexpected arrival that gives A.J. the opportunity to make his life over, the ability to see everything anew. It doesn’t take long for the locals to notice the change overcoming A.J., for the determined sales rep Amelia to see her curmudgeonly client in a new light, for the wisdom of all those books to become again the lifeblood of A.J.’s world. Or for everything to twist again into a version of his life that he didn’t see coming


Here’s another recommendation for readers who are a fan of bibliophilic themes in novels! It’s short, sweet, but packs a punch. One of my favorite things about this book was that there was a strong family dynamic figure in the book, and honestly all the literary references were spot on (and was a win for me all by themselves)! It’s a book about real people handling real life events. The rawness is just so incredibly palpable (which is right up my alley), you feel it! Again, my review is here if you’d like to read more about my thoughts! 🙂

4) The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern


Goodreads Synopsis:

The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements. It is called Le Cirque des Rêves, and it is only open at night.

But behind the scenes, a fierce competition is underway: a duel between two young magicians, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood expressly for this purpose by their mercurial instructors. Unbeknownst to them, this is a game in which only one can be left standing, and the circus is but the stage for a remarkable battle of imagination and will. Despite themselves, however, Celia and Marco tumble headfirst into love – a deep, magical love that makes the lights flicker and the room grow warm whenever they so much as brush hands.

True love or not, the game must play out, and the fates of everyone involved, from the cast of extraordinary circus per­formers to the patrons, hang in the balance, suspended as precariously as the daring acrobats overhead.


Ah, The Night Circus makes an appearance yet again. What can I say? I’m completely obsessed with this novel. What better winter read than one that takes place in a charismatic, spellbinding night circus in a story that takes place in Victorian London and has elements of forbidden love and written in poetic prose? The Night Circus is undoubtedly the perfect atmospheric book to curl in bed with at night. You can envision yourself surrounded by striped tents, the smell of cinnamon things and chocolate covered popcorn wafting through the air, dreaming of cups of cocoa in striped cups topped with clouds of whipped cream and chocolate mice. The Night Circus, if anything, is a book not to be missed! My full review of this book can be found here.

5) A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara


Goodreads Synopsis:

When four classmates from a small Massachusetts college move to New York to make their way, they’re broke, adrift, and buoyed only by their friendship and ambition. There is kind, handsome Willem, an aspiring actor; JB, a quick-witted, sometimes cruel Brooklyn-born painter seeking entry to the art world; Malcolm, a frustrated architect at a prominent firm; and withdrawn, brilliant, enigmatic Jude, who serves as their center of gravity. Over the decades, their relationships deepen and darken, tinged by addiction, success, and pride. Yet their greatest challenge, each comes to realize, is Jude himself, by midlife a terrifyingly talented litigator yet an increasingly broken man, his mind and body scarred by an unspeakable childhood, and haunted by what he fears is a degree of trauma that he’ll not only be unable to overcome—but that will define his life forever.


This last recommendation stands out for its angst and length (a whopping 700+ pages!). This heart-wrenching novel will keep you up at night, longing to keep the characters of the book company. Perhaps some might keep those pages turning, but I think savoring it is a good idea too! You really take in the emotions of each character. You will be there rooting for them when they are at their happiest, wanting to shake them vigorously when they get reckless, and ache when they are at their lowest. Prepare a big mug of tea/coffee (and perhaps a box of tissues) – it’s going to be a long night with this book.

What do you guys think of this list? Have you gotten the chance to read any of these books? I’d love to know your thoughts on any of the books! If you have any favorite Winter reads you’d like to recommend, please do share them below!

if you’re interested in buying any of these books, you can click here to shop the book at Book Depository – i receive a small commission if you use the link! 🙂 

Cath xx

Book Review: Wicked Fox by Kat Cho


Title: Wicked Fox

Author: Kat Cho

Rating: 3.5/5 stars

Release date: 25th June 2019

Publisher: G. P. Putnam’s Sons

Goodreads Synopsis: 

Eighteen-year-old Gu Miyoung has a secret–she’s a gumiho, a nine-tailed fox who must devour the energy of men in order to survive. Because so few believe in the old tales anymore, and with so many evil men no one will miss, the modern city of Seoul is the perfect place to hide and hunt.

But after feeding one full moon, Miyoung crosses paths with Jihoon, a human boy, being attacked by a goblin deep in the forest. Against her better judgment, she violates the rules of survival to rescue the boy, losing her fox bead–her gumiho soul–in the process.

Jihoon knows Miyoung is more than just a beautiful girl–he saw her nine tails the night she saved his life. His grandmother used to tell him stories of the gumiho, of their power and the danger they pose to humans. He’s drawn to her anyway.

With murderous forces lurking in the background, Miyoung and Jihoon develop a tenuous friendship that blossoms into something more. But when a young shaman tries to reunite Miyoung with her bead, the consequences are disastrous . . . forcing Miyoung to choose between her immortal life and Jihoon’s.


What a rollercoaster of emotions this book was! So many unexpected twists and turns. I really enjoyed the complex exploration of seeing the world in more than just black and white. There are so many layering shades of grey that the author peels through slowly, which may seem as if plot is dragged little bit, but it creates the buildup necessary to unravel things at the end.

I’m not sure what it is about the book (I just cannot quite place a finger on it), but something about the character arcs in the novel stood out to me. Maybe it was because I had this strong sense of unfamiliarity about the protagonists at the end of the story, as opposed to the connection I felt with them early on in the novel.

By the end of the book, it felt as if I was reading the stories of two complete strangers. Perhaps it was the perpetual plot turns that led to this jarring change in attitudes of the main characters. The story did take on multiple shifts and turns, which may have had a strong influence on the characters’ personality as their attitudes shift to adapt to these changes.

Despite the connection I had with the protagonists, I did initially have mixed emotions about their personality. They are young adults trying to make sense of the situations that they are placed in, which makes for incredibly stubborn, strong-willed and studious characters. In short, they are infuriating! Immature, wild, carefree, you name it. Jihoon’s halmeoni (grandmother) is everything you can ask for in a contemporary family figure. The way she handles people (and especially her own grandson) is always something you look forward to reading about, which is rare because positive family figures are almost never present in contemporary/fantasy novels. Apart from the MC’s flaws, I really did like that both characters have this edge and fire fuelling about them. Truly, I think their attitudes were the engines of the plot.

Personally, I was not the biggest fan of the writing. It’s a little cliché, which makes the romance theme a little unconvincing for me. The blend of old Korean tales with modern contemporary is incredible, and I applaud the author for being able to combine two contrasting genres so effortlessly, but the romance just seemed so out of place, and ultimately, unnecessary. Everything else was spot on, though. Family dynamic and friendship were huge themes that played a big role in the novel, which I appreciated and personally loved! The Korean heritage of the author is obvious too, which, again, is very much appreciated! I enjoyed learning more about the food, language and mannerisms of Korean culture.

Overall it was a solid YA Contemporary/Fantasy novel. The sequel will definitely be on my radar, and I cannot wait for its release!

Thank you to Penguin Teen Australia for sending me an ARC in exchange for an honest review!

if you’re interested in buying Wicked Fox, you can click here to shop the book at Book Depository – i receive a small commission if you use the link! 🙂 

Book Review: The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry


Title: The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry

Author: Gabrielle Zevin

Rating: 4.5/5 stars

Publisher: Abacus

Goodreads Synopsis:

A. J. Fikry’s life is not at all what he expected it to be. His wife has died; his bookstore is experiencing the worst sales in its history; and now his prized possession, a rare collection of Poe poems, has been stolen. Slowly but surely, he is isolating himself from all the people of Alice Island—from Chief Lambiase, the well-intentioned police officer who’s always felt kindly toward him; from Ismay, his sister-in-law, who is hell-bent on saving A.J. from his dreary self; from Amelia, the lovely and idealistic (if eccentric) Knightley Press sales rep who persists in taking the ferry to Alice Island, refusing to be deterred by A.J.’s bad attitude. Even the books in his store have stopped holding pleasure for him. These days, he can only see them as a sign of a world that is changing too rapidly.

And then a mysterious package appears at the bookstore. It’s a small package, though large in weight—an unexpected arrival that gives A.J. the opportunity to make his life over, the ability to see everything anew. It doesn’t take long for the locals to notice the change overcoming A.J., for the determined sales rep Amelia to see her curmudgeonly client in a new light, for the wisdom of all those books to become again the lifeblood of A.J.’s world. Or for everything to twist again into a version of his life that he didn’t see coming.


This book has my heart! It is another one of those books a reader who loves books and reading, except this reader is also a bookshop keeper! It’s so lovely and heartwarming. The book also has the best kind of dry humor – one that isn’t too awkward or out of place. It’s so well done, especially with the inclusion of a young child in the context of so many adult scenarios. It’s hilarious and witty, and the relaxed tone of the narrative makes the story so much funnier. There are even some dark moments sprinkled throughout the story. I guess you wouldn’t expect dark and dry humor in a book that narrates the life of a book seller. But it works! It actually works SO well. I have to give my kudos to the author and her ability to create such an authentic and original perspective and tone of voice, and for putting together such unlikely themes that go so well together.

The characters are all so special in their own way. Each one has their own unique intellectuality that gets their respective spotlight in the novel. Maya is without a doubt my favorite character! She is a toddler with the mentality that I strive to have as a 19 year old.

The bibliophile themes and aspects were what hit me the most. Naturally, the mention of ARCs and rare collectors edition classics make my heart swell. Most of the time the story goes on a tangent in unpredictable ways, but I guess that’s supposed to mirror the spontaneity and impulsive tendencies of life. And I love it! I love a good book that explores a character in all their true glory. You’re just watching them as they handle whatever bullsh*t life throws at them. It’s like watching an unedited vlog of someone’s life. It’s beautiful and real, and also very entertaining!

The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry is definitely worth the read, not only for its literary themes, but because of how raw and heartfelt the story is. It’s a tiiiny book – a little less than 250 pages. But it certainly packs a punch.

Here are my final thoughts on the book (literally what I wrote down on the book the moment I finished the last page):

“So much is explored in less than 300 pages. How is it possible to feel sad and angry, yet happy and giddy at the same time? My heart is so full. Books about books and characters with a passion for literature is always something to amazing to read about, and I think it’s because these authors are able to use the right words for the emotions that us readers are unable to express properly. I can only attest to all the “yes! ❤ ” and ” I love this so much!!” and “OMG” annotations scattered throughout the book to prove how much I absolutely loved and enjoyed it.”

if you’re interested in buying The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry, you can click here to shop the book at Book Depository – i receive a small commission if you use the link! 🙂 

Book Review: The Shadow of The Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón


Title: The Shadow of The Wind

Author: Carlos Ruiz Zafón

Rating: 5/5 stars

Publisher: Text Publishing

Goodreads Synopsis:

Barcelona, 1945 – just after the war, a great world city lies in shadow, nursing its wounds, and a boy named Daniel awakes on his eleventh birthday to find that he can no longer remember his mother’s face. To console his only child, Daniel’s widowed father, an antiquarian book dealer, initiates him into the secret of the Cemetery of Forgotten Books, a library tended by Barcelona’s guild of rare-book dealers as a repository for books forgotten by the world, waiting for someone who will care about them again. Daniel’s father coaxes him to choose a volume from the spiraling labyrinth of shelves, one that, it is said, will have a special meaning for him. And Daniel so loves the novel he selects, The Shadow of the Wind by one Julian Carax, that he sets out to find the rest of Carax’s work. To his shock, he discovers that someone has been systematically destroying every copy of every book this author has written. In fact, he may have the last one in existence. Before Daniel knows it his seemingly innocent quest has opened a door into one of Barcelona’s darkest secrets, an epic story of murder, magic, madness and doomed love. And before long he realizes that if he doesn’t find out the truth about Julian Carax, he and those closest to him will suffer horribly.

As with all astounding novels, The Shadow of the Wind sends the mind groping for comparisons—The Crimson Petal and the White? The novels of Arturo Pérez-Reverte? Of Victor Hugo? Love in the Time of Cholera?—but in the end, as with all astounding novels, no comparison can suffice. As one leading Spanish reviewer wrote, “The originality of Ruiz Zafón’s voice is bombproof and displays a diabolical talent. The Shadow of the Wind announces a phenomenon in Spanish literature.” An uncannily absorbing historical mystery, a heart-piercing romance, and a moving homage to the mystical power of books, The Shadow of the Wind is a triumph of the storyteller’s art.


if you don’t already know what my book reviewing procedure looks like, here’s a little sneak peak:


Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

five post-it notes. five! 😮 i usually reference them to write my reviews, but at this point i’ve pretty much written out my whole review on these sticky notes. i just had so much to say while reading it. gosh i never wanted it to end. i was only less than 20 pages into the book and i was swooning already. the writing is absolutely brilliant! so atmospheric and beautiful. it’s a literary dream. it’s like i was inside the mind of a reader, but not just any kind of reader – one who is a lover of words and appreciates the beauty of a book inside and out. the fluidity of the story flows like liquid gold – so full of raw emotions and invaluable choices of words that you just want to savor every word, every paragraph, every page!

the story is so wholesome too. i love books that emphasize on the good of people, young children and their wits, their passion, how they perceive the world, pure friendship. it’s the little things in books, guys! sword fights and magic aren’t the only things that can keep a story going! each character has so much essence. you feel everyone’s pain and emotions because you get enough of everyone’s story. the book focuses on daniel, but you get to follow every other character’s journey along with his. every plot turn is done so well – so subtle and unforgiving. i am obsessed with fermín! he is such a treasure. he has the biggest heart and the most attractive wit.

i always admire authors who can make me laugh and my heart swell. surely an author who writes romantically and can still capture hearts with their humor is hard to come by. the writing is definitely the highlight of this book. the story is a gem that i selfishly hope no one finds out about :’) (i’m only half kidding. everyone needs to read this book!!!). i hope anyone who gives this novel a read feels just as much, and resonates and lives in these worlds just as fully as i do – if not more.

here is something that i got from reading the book: the shadow of the wind is a book about people. this book shows that people need people. that people change. there are good people out there, misunderstood ones, those that are scarred for life. there are people who got lucky, found love, people who just wants to be themselves, and people who just wants to survive. people are just… that. humans. humans with different goals and beliefs and ambitions – all formed and morphed through the childhood they had and the people they surround themselves with. people also make choices and mistakes in the process, all of which falls on the beholder (but should always be acknowledged from two opposing sides at all times). this might sound a little dramatic, but i felt like a changed person after finishing the novel. on my instagram, i wrote out a caption for a dedicated the shadow of the wind post after finishing the book (which should summarise and conclude this review). i wrote: “i feel terribly disoriented after reading the last hundred pages. kind of like waking up from a long nap you didn’t intend to take. perhaps the best books leave you a little disgruntled – wanting more – one way or another. i was lost in a trance. when i closed the book, i was still trying hard to gather my emotions and thoughts together. it felt like the story was executed in a fair pace. not leaving any details behind, no rushing. but the memory or reading the words from those pages dissipated the moment i closed the book. everything became a blur to me. it was painful to read the book. it was scary and sad. so painful and real. all your emotions scrunched up into this undecipherable ball. i am at loss of words (ironically, after reading the ingenious work of a talented author). i am just so in awe of the novel. it was everything.” 

if you’re interested in buying The Shadow of The Wind, you can click here to shop the book at Book Depository – i receive a small commission if you use the link! 🙂