Review: The Southern Bookclub’s Guide To Slaying Vampires by Grady Hendrix


Fried Green Tomatoes and Steel Magnolias meet Dracula in this Southern-flavored supernatural thriller set in the ’90s about a women’s book club that must protect its suburban community from a mysterious and handsome stranger who turns out to be a blood-sucking fiend.

Patricia Campbell had always planned for a big life, but after giving up her career as a nurse to marry an ambitious doctor and become a mother, Patricia’s life has never felt smaller. The days are long, her kids are ungrateful, her husband is distant, and her to-do list is never really done. The one thing she has to look forward to is her book club, a group of Charleston mothers united only by their love for true-crime and suspenseful fiction. In these meetings, they’re more likely to discuss the FBI’s recent siege of Waco as much as the ups and downs of marriage and motherhood.

But when an artistic and sensitive stranger moves into the neighborhood, the book club’s meetings turn into speculation about the newcomer. Patricia is initially attracted to him, but when some local children go missing, she starts to suspect the newcomer is involved. She begins her own investigation, assuming that he’s a Jeffrey Dahmer or Ted Bundy. What she uncovers is far more terrifying, and soon she–and her book club–are the only people standing between the monster they’ve invited into their homes and their unsuspecting community.


It has been so long since I’ve done this but I just read the most wonderfully unassuming book ever and I just NEED to share it with you all.

So a few days ago, I was aimlessly scrolling through my library’s catalogue when I stumbled across The Southern Bookclub’s Guide To Slaying Vampires. I had never heard of this book or its author but the title looked interesting so I picked it up. I didn’t even read the blurb or reviews or anything.

I expected a chummy little chick-flick style novel about Southern mothers in a bookclub together navigating life and kids and husbands. Goodness was I wrong.

So I was maybe 20% into the audiobook when I decided to look it up on Goodreads and was surprised to see that it was actually a pretty popular and well-liked novel. I was also surprised to learn that this wasn’t a chummy little chick-flick style novel.

So let’s break this book down.

The Writing Style Was Incredible

I’m going to start this review by saying that the book got me from the get go.

The first few  paragraphs alone were interesting, funny and alluring. I loved how Hendrix was able to weave humour into Patricia’s almost dead-pan voice. She was relatable and said the most special things even when her life was in mortal danger.

I found myself laughing at even the most serious of moments just because her thoughts were really just so matter-of-fact and resigned but with so much relatable truth in it. Like who would be thinking about cleaning curtains when she’s off to save a disappeared child?

It Is Not What You Expect

Remember how I said I was expecting a chummy little chick-flick style novel? Yup. I was really wrong about that.

I suppose if you read the blurb, many things won’t come as a surprise. But I was completely unaware that this was also a thriller novel with a splash of horror in it (you really wouldn’t guess from the title, I’m just saying). So imagine my surprise when a cosy bookclub novel turns up with flesh eating rats and dead bodies.

I was so impressed.

It Was Very Well Balanced

I don’t usually like horror or thriller novels. In fact, I read The Other Mrs recently and it was a really crap book but I did get scared. I couldn’t read it at night.

But this book was different. It was very well balanced with humour, scary bits, family bits and girl power love.

It was really good in that it kept to the mom vibe while also keeping readers engaged.

It Was Only A Little Bit Tacky

A lot of supernatural books that also aren’t supernatural books end up feeling a bit tacky and fake. Like the supernatural characters end up being not believable.

I thought this portrayal of vampires was pretty good. I could see the influences from The Vampire Diaries and maybe Twilight too (though the author tried to pass it off as the ever intellectual Dracula) for sure. But it was a good one.

Of course there were many questions that were unanswered. Like how he managed to be in two places at once and what exactly he did to the kids (none of them fell sick the way Patricia did). But okay. I could give him a pass with this because the rest of the story made up for the slightly weak portrayal of a supernatural creature.

It Grated On My Nerves Sometimes

As much as I liked this book, one thing I couldn’t stand was how the women were treated in the novel by their husbands. I get that this was set in the 90s and that these were traditional, Southern women who were homemakers and were expected to cater to their husbands and kids. But really some of the things that happened were disgusting.

I particularly hated how often the phrase “You’re a housewife. You do nothing all day.” was thrown around.  I find that so insulting. Particularly because Patricia was trained as a nurse and was extremely qualified yet her husband really belittled her in front of his friends, her friends and even their kids.

I don’t know, the book had a misogynistic undertone that I just didn’t like. At first, I was ready to excuse it because maybe the author was just trying to bring to light how terrible this treatment of women was/is. But then I found out that Hendrix is a man and then it didn’t seem so great.

I get a woman talking about it but something about a man using a book as a platform to mistreat women, even if they are characters, didn’t sit right with me.

The books we read should reaffirm the ways we have grown in our treatment of women. Not reinforce this idea that women are stupid or that they have to listen to their husbands and bear hurtful treatment because it is her ‘place’ or because of the time period. It wasn’t even set that long ago, please.


This was an easy five stars for me and easily one of my favourite books of 2020 so far. And I’ve read a lot of really great books this year so this is saying something.

I flew through this so quickly, it had my attention from start to finish, it was believable and not super tacky and it was just such a fun read.

I don’t know why this book isn’t gaining more prominence but I hope people discover it because it is a gem for sure.



Review: The Inexplicable Logic Of My Life by Benjamin Alire Sáenz


The first day of senior year:

Everything is about to change. Until this moment, Sal has always been certain of his place with his adoptive gay father and their loving Mexican-American family. But now his own history unexpectedly haunts him, and life-altering events force him and his best friend, Samantha, to confront issues of faith, loss, and grief.

Suddenly Sal is throwing punches, questioning everything, and discovering that he no longer knows who he really is—but if Sal’s not who he thought he was, who is he?


Published: 7th March 2017

Okay I really didn’t expect to have to do this but I’m doing it.

I read ‘Aristotle and Dante Discover The Secrets of The Universe‘ maybe a year or two ago and while I wasn’t utterly blown away by it, I did enjoy it. So when I received this ARC, I had high expectations. However, it didn’t entirely deliver. Here’s why:


Very real

The book was very real. The problems faced were realistic and the way the characters handed their issues was real as well.

This was obviously pretty great considering how very few books nowadays have that element of true realism in them. Like I could imagine them stepping out of the pages and living an actual life.

It did make me cry

Despite all the flaws of this book that I will outline in a bit, it did make me cry which is not always easy to do. There were parts that I teared up at and of course, the ending really killed me.

Actually, the ending was the only part of the book that was really interesting. It was heartwarming and I actually think it was only the last 100 pages or so that earned it one more star.


Too real

I am so fussy aren’t I? Yes, while it was good that it was real, it was also too real for me. I read a book because I want some sort of escape. I don’t read a book to see real life just plastered on a couple of pages.

Everything was real but felt stilted when you put it on a page. Like yes, this is the way a normal dad would react to situation A, but when you write about it, it just looks pretentious. Do you get my drift?

Too long

The book was way too long. Absolutely too long. At 452 pages, this book could have been halved and would have still delivered the intended message and impact. Actually there was no impact anyway.

Nothing happened

I feel like there was no climax at all in the book. It was just one big long line of normal. The whole book is about life and living but did I really get into a book to read about normal people living their dead ass boring normal lives?

Where was the action? Where was the big exciting event? It was so boring!

I mean, the blurb lines up this fantastic read about discovering yourself but the reality of the novel is that nothing happens at all.

Unrealistically perfect

The dad and the kids were just too perfect. Like no one is that perfect. How did the dad not have one single blow up? Or like, how did he not react badly to something at least once?

The writing style

Now, the absolute worst thing a writer could do. Repetitive and stilted writing. Sentences were jarring and everything was just said over and over. This adds on to my point about it being too long by the way.


Overall, it was a book that kept me reading till the end but I’ll be honest, I only really kept reading because I had to review it.

It was way too real and long. The characters just felt too much like a real, well-adjusted human and I couldn’t take it.

There was zero action. It was just a flat line of boring with zero storyline (especially for a book that stands at 452 pages jeez).

In fact, the only redeeming quality was that it was heartwarming and that it made me cry.

This is certainly not a book that I would recommend.

*An advanced copy was provided to me to read and review. However, all opinions are my own*



Review: When Dimple Met Rishi By Sandhya Menon


A laugh-out-loud, heartfelt YA romantic comedy, told in alternating perspectives, about two Indian-American teens whose parents have arranged for them to be married.

Dimple Shah has it all figured out. With graduation behind her, she’s more than ready for a break from her family, from Mamma’s inexplicable obsession with her finding the “Ideal Indian Husband.” Ugh. Dimple knows they must respect her principles on some level, though. If they truly believed she needed a husband right now, they wouldn’t have paid for her to attend a summer program for aspiring web developers…right?

Rishi Patel is a hopeless romantic. So when his parents tell him that his future wife will be attending the same summer program as him—wherein he’ll have to woo her—he’s totally on board. Because as silly as it sounds to most people in his life, Rishi wants to be arranged, believes in the power of tradition, stability, and being a part of something much bigger than himself.

The Shahs and Patels didn’t mean to start turning the wheels on this “suggested arrangement” so early in their children’s lives, but when they noticed them both gravitate toward the same summer program, they figured, Why not?

Dimple and Rishi may think they have each other figured out. But when opposites clash, love works hard to prove itself in the most unexpected ways.


Published: 30th May 2017


Hello guys! Yes, I know. I’m actually blogging for the first time in over a month. I’ve missed this so much but I’ve just finished the most adorable ARC and I had to rave about it before it was published. So here it goes. Be patient with me. I might be a bit rusty.

When Dimple Met Rishi is quite possibly the most adorable thing you will read all year. It is clichéd but oh so adorably cute. It took me a while to read (because of work) but I’m actually glad that I dragged it out for a bit because I got to really appreciate it.


It was so cute

I can’t say this enough. This book read like every romantic comedy ever. It had all the elements. However there was just something that made you feel like it was very down-to-earth. Usually romcoms have this element of ‘this will never happen in real life’. But this one just felt perfect.

I was swooning throughout the book with everything that Rishi was doing for Dimple. I mean come on! Where do you even find someone like that??

It felt realistic

The book certainly felt realistic mainly because of how drawn out everything was. There was no insta-love so everything felt very organic and natural. The progression was just slow enough to feel real but fast enough that one would not easily lose interest.

I particularly like how the storyline was fleshed out. So it wasn’t just a story about the two of them but rather it was an entire story. Even the supporting characters had storylines and that really added to the whole realism factor.

There was so much cultural pride in it

I have not read enough Indian-American books to be able to make a general statement of any sorts but I did feel like the author really let her culture, heritage and language shine through this novel.

The book is peppered with Hindi quotes and sentences and the best part is that not everything is translated. So you sometimes have to just glean the meaning from the other paragraphs, But it just felt like such a brave thing to do.

Obviously the book is meant for an American audience but she bravely and unapologetically let her own words sit in the paragraphs and that is honestly such a beautiful thing.

To be honest, I’m tempted to learn Hindi now.

It tackled a controversial practice

This book is about arranged marriages. That part is quite clear. But what I liked about this was the way it was handled.

In a number of Indian books that I have read, arranged marriages have been treated with a mostly negative tone. And yes. For a lot of people arranged marriages are a terrible thing. Girls are sold to their husbands for the price of a fat dowry. Girls get raped and abused by their new families. Arranged marriages are not always good.

That said, I felt like this book took cultural norms like arranged marriages and a girl’s place in an Indian household and turned it into something that was actually fun and interesting.

Dimple was so headstrong despite coming from such a traditional family and Rishi was so dedicated to his parents and their wishes. It just made for a very lovely combination. Getting to see two very different worlds come together like that.

There was this aspect of fun and wit in the whole thing that you rarely see. I really enjoyed that.



Okay this is honestly the tiniest problem and it actually isn’t even a problem. The book was clichéd as in this has literally been done so many times.  But at the same time, it was so adorably cute that it didn’t even matter anyway.

Though I did think that ending was a bit cringe. But only slightly.

So there you go! My gushy review of When Dimple Met Rishi. I’m sorry it was very quick. I’m literally scrambling for time here. It’s been so hard to blog with my job (which I’ll tell you guys all about in about three weeks).

Regardless, I would like to take the time to thank you all for sticking by me even as I vanished without a word. I’d also like to thank you for 200 followers which I hit last week. You guys are the best and I look forward to coming back full time with a proper life update.




Review: Other Breakable Things by Kelley York and Rowan Altwood



According to Japanese legend, folding a thousand paper cranes will grant you healing.

Evelyn Abel will fold two thousand if it will bring Luc back to her.

Luc Argent has always been intimately acquainted with death. After a car crash got him a second chance at life—via someone else’s transplanted heart—he tried to embrace it. He truly did. But he always knew death could be right around the corner again.

And now it is.

Sick of hospitals and tired of transplants, Luc is ready to let his failing heart give out, ready to give up. A road trip to Oregon—where death with dignity is legal—is his answer. But along for the ride is his best friend, Evelyn.

And she’s not giving up so easily.

A thousand miles, a handful of roadside attractions, and one life-altering kiss later, Evelyn’s fallen, and Luc’s heart is full. But is it enough to save him? Evelyn’s betting her heart, her life, that it can be.

Right down to the thousandth paper crane.


Published: April 4 2017

This was such a cute read and I really enjoyed most of it. It’s just that there were a couple of major bits that made it lose points with me.


It was cute

This was a very cute road trip romance that I really enjoy simply because of how simple and easy it was.

The relationship between Luc and Evelyn was just adorable and mushy. The whole trip just  such a lovely journey that I felt really privileged to be on. It was an adventure that’s for sure.

The illness was fleshed out well

I also liked how Luc’s illness was properly brought out in the book. So he wasn’t suddenly superman on this road trip but he had his ups and downs just like if he were to be at home.

Evelyn was a great character

Evelyn was such a lovely human being. Her mildness just reminded me a lot of myself and I really liked her. She was so sweet as compared to Luc who I actually didn’t really like personality-wise for most of the book.

It handled a tough subject well

This book is basically about euthanasia and the right to die. Topics that are still widely discussed and debated. I think this book took the topic and just spun it in a way that was very easy to understand


The lack of backstory

I actually think their love story was really natural but I think what was missing was the backstory and how they became friends. We start out the book with Evelyn returning home after some time away. So she and Luc have been friends for ages but we only come in somewhere around the middle.

I guess that’s what made me feel like there was just something not so right. I think the whole move would have been more impactful if we could actually understand just how close they were before the story begins.

I think that’s why I’m still not sure if it was really insta-love or not. I mean it progressed naturally but we jump in and they already kind of have feelings for each other so it was a little strange.

It was unrealistic

At it’s base, I think there were a lot of things that were just a tad unrealistic. For one, how is it possible that Luc kept his illness a secret from Evelyn for that long? They grew up together and you’re telling me that Luc was that selfless even as a child? No way.

Evelyn was also rather daft for not figuring it out. I mean she suspected but why did she never ask. Seems uncharacteristic of the basic human instinct of being curious.

It was infuriating

Every single time Luc got the chance to tell Evelyn about his illness and then didn’t, I DIED.

*An advanced copy of this book was provided to me to read and review. However, all opinions are my own*

Purchase Links:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Kobo | | | Entangled Publishing



Review: The State Of Grace by Rachael Lucas


Sometimes I feel like everyone else was handed a copy of the rules for life and mine got lost.

Grace has Asperger’s and her own way of looking at the world. She’s got a horse and a best friend who understand her, and that’s pretty much all she needs. But when Grace kisses Gabe and things start to change at home, the world doesn’t make much sense to her any more.

Suddenly everything threatens to fall apart, and it’s up to Grace to fix it on her own.

Whip-smart, hilarious and unapologetically honest, The State of Grace by Rachael Lucas is a heart-warming story of one girl trying to work out where she fits in, and whether she even wants to.


Published: 6th April 2017

This book was just so perfect and cute and relatable. I loved it!

It was so honest

What really made this book special for me was the fact that Grace was just so relatable and honest. You might think that it would be hard to relate to an autistic girl but I found myself completely relating and understanding many of the things that Grace was going through.

Maybe it’s because of my years spent as the least popular person in any given situation but I really felt Grace’s pain and her desire to just fit in for once in her life. I really liked that.

I think a lot of her bits where she was just trying to fit in really struck a chord with me just because that was my life.

The book helped me understand Autism

Autism is one of the many diseases that I don’t completely understand. And honestly, unless you have it, you’ll never understand completely.

But I think this book put Autism at a level where most people could understand it. It made it easier for me to relate to the struggles of an autistic person and while everyone is different and Autism is different in each person it affects, it still helps to know of some coping methods so if you’re ever in a situation, you can try to help or at least attempt to do the right thing for that person in their time of need.


Okay first of all, I didn’t like what a big cliche the whole thing was. The most popular boy at school falls for the least popular girl. I mean come on! Really?

It was so typical! Not to mention that somehow, no matter what Grace pulled, Gabe was just always bouncing back to her. Like it just seemed a bit unrealistic.

Gabe gave off a very ‘too cool for school’ kind of vibe and anyone who’s anyone will very easily be able to tell you that Gabe is not the definition of a 16-year-old cool kid. He’s weird. He’s a John Green character. Ew.

Plus I think the story could have done without the love story altogether. If they were just friends that would be cool. I mean a lot of the times, the love story seemed to fall away because everything else with Eve and Anna and Leah was just so much more important. The love story parts sometimes just felt like an afterthought which I found to be quite uncomfortable.

The happy ending

I hate happy endings.

There I said it.

I am not five. Why does everything have to have a perfect ending with flowers and a white picket fence? Real life does not happen that way. You don’t just pull a stunt and then have people just forget about it. At least not when you’re 16.

It was unrealistic and I hated the ending.

So there you go. It was a short review because honestly there isn’t much to talk about. In the grand scheme of things, it was a good book but there were parts of it that just could have been so much better.

It was a very relatable book that’s for sure and anyone hoping to learn more about Autism should read this book to supplement proper researched writing. But some bits were just too forced and the reader could totally feel it.

It’s a quick and light read though so if you need something like that in your life (like I do because my new job is exhausting) then give it a shot.

*An advanced copy was provided to me to read and review by Pansing. All opinions expressed are my own*



Review: Close Your Eyes by Nicci Cloke


Southfield High School is oh so normal, with its good teachers, its bad, and its cliques. But despite the cliques, there’s a particular group of friends who have known each other forever and know that they can rely on each other for anything.

There’s the twins: Aisha, rebellious, kind, and just a tiny bit worried about what the hell she’s going to do once this year is over, and Vis, smart, quiet and observant. Then there’s Remy, the loudmouth, and Gemma, who’s more interested in college boys and getting into the crap club in town. And then there’s Elise: the pretty one.

But at the start of Year 11, when the group befriend the new boy, Elijah, things start to change. The group find themselves not as close as they used to be.

Until one Tuesday, when the students are trapped inside the school building. And one of them has a gun.

Close Your Eyes is the story of a school shooting which, through interviews, messages and questionable actions, asks: Who is truly responsible?


Published: 23rd February 2017

Before I start this review, I would like to invite you to watch the following video if you have not.


This novel felt like the expanded version of this video. Where you’re so busy paying attention to the main character that you forget to look around. Okay I’ll stop before I give away too much.

This is a spoiler-free, plot-loving space!


The unique way the story was told

The story was told through the use of interview transcript, forum and text messages and then bits of narrative. It was honestly very interesting and I really liked it. It broke the monotony and it just made it a lot more fun to read.

It also helped the reader to see things from different perspectives  which was cool.

The plot twist

About in the middle of the book, there is an epic plot twist and then the other half of the book is spent explaining how that twist makes sense. Honestly guys, the plot twist alone is the main reason why you should read this book. It was epic. It really was. You will completely not see it coming.

The well-developed characters

In the book, we have a group of friends and different points of view but what I liked about the book was that they were all equally well-developed. They were all very well rounded characters and each of them were important to the story and were treated as such.

I think a lot of books tend to sometimes neglect certain supporting characters but in this book, everyone was given almost equal treatment which is why the plot twist was so much more satisfying.

The characters were also all flawed. What I liked was that they were so human that even though they tried to do good, they sometimes slipped and they sometimes hurt each other. It was like I could totally imagine them as real human beings in the real world which I liked a lot.


It was draggy

One of the biggest, and really the only, problem that I had with the book was the fact that I felt like a large part of it was really dragged out especially in the first half of the book.

I found it very hard to get hooked onto the storyline and I found myself putting it down many times in favour of another book. It was only when it hit the middle mark that things started to pick up and then all of a sudden the pace just switched and everything happened so fast and then it was over just like that.

Consistency is what I like people!


Overall, I really enjoyed this novel. I personally have always enjoyed books about school shootings because it gives you this inside look at what would eventually drive a person to doing something so heinous, so this book for me, was incredible.

In fact, I’ve read and watched a couple of school shooting things in the past like This Is Where It Ends and I’ve watched We Need To Talk About Kevin (the best school shooting movie you will ever watch I swear) and I have to say that this was the most unique and the most notable.

It was really fantastic and everyone needs to read this. And yes, I know I say that about loads of the books that I read but I’m dead serious okay.

Trust me.

*An advanced copy of this book was provided to me to read and review by Pansing. However, all opinions are my own*



Review: A List of Cages by Robin Roe


When Adam Blake lands the best elective ever in his senior year, serving as an aide to the school psychologist, he thinks he’s got it made. Sure, it means a lot of sitting around, which isn’t easy for a guy with ADHD, but he can’t complain, since he gets to spend the period texting all his friends. Then the doctor asks him to track down the troubled freshman who keeps dodging her, and Adam discovers that the boy is Julian—the foster brother he hasn’t seen in five years.

Adam is ecstatic to be reunited. At first, Julian seems like the boy he once knew. He’s still kindhearted. He still writes stories and loves picture books meant for little kids. But as they spend more time together, Adam realizes that Julian is keeping secrets, like where he hides during the middle of the day, and what’s really going on inside his house. Adam is determined to help him, but his involvement could cost both boys their lives…


Published: 10th January 2017

I took an abnormally long time to finish this book because I kept putting it down for something else. That’s not to say that the book wasn’t good. Just that it wasn’t entirely gripping and at times it felt like it had been all done before.


Extremely heartwarming

The book in itself was very heartwarming. I loved the whole big brother  looking out for a boy that they used to foster thing. It was very sweet and I loved that.

The plot twist

I liked the twist at the end. While I think in a lot of ways, it was very expected, it also had that element of surprise when you realise that what actually happened didn’t really happen.

I’m trying to be vague so I don’t spoil anything but I think I’m doing a bad job at it.

Okay moving on.

It was relatable

The entire book was very relatable especially to me because I have ADHD. I really enjoyed reading a book from that perspective. It actually gave me a lot of Fish In A Tree vibes.And you guys know I loved Fish in A Tree.

I really related to a lot of the struggles that Julian went through including all his feelings of inadequacy and like he was always a third wheel. I think honestly anyone could probably relate to Julian in many ways.



My only problem with this book was the fact that it was really unrealistic. At times, certain things about Adam just didn’t seem real. I mean yes, there are good people in this world. But a boy as popular as Adam, taking such an interest in a boy that essentially got placed in his home and who his mother is obsessed with, was just strange. I would have expected at least some jealousy on Adam’s part. Or at least some slip up or some flaw.

I didn’t expect wholehearted devotion to Julian which is what we got.

Overall this was a very heartwarming book that was unfortunately rather unremarkable. The writing was good. The storyline was strong. But this story has been overdone.

*An advanced copy was provided to me to read and review. However, all opinions are my own.*



Review: These Foolish Things by Yeo Wen Wei


A wife returns home as a stowaway spirit in an umbrella to find that her husband has remarried…


Published: 2015

Okay this is my first time reviewing a local book as well as a chapbook so bear with me as I try to not give away any spoilers.

This chapbook follows a woman who has died as she travels as a ghost back home and to her husband.

It was a very quick read (obviously) but it was so powerful and amazing. I really loved the poetic language that was used.

In particular, I loved the plot twists. It’s like you believe you are going in one, very predicable direction. But somehow, even in a story that is only a handful of pages long, there still manages to be a handful of plot twists.

I also liked how much of Singapore was injected into the story without it being overbearing. There were just subtle things that were very uniquely Singaporean that really made the story special.

Chapbooks like these are normally given away for very cheap or sometimes even free at book sales so if you do see one this #BuySingLit weekend, make sure you grab it.

This is just one of a larger collection of stories. The full novel is entitled These Foolish Things & Other Stories.

Before I go though, I just want to remind you guys that #BuySingLit kicks off tomorrow so don’t forget to check out all the cool events. In fact, there’s going to be a poetry reading on one of the trains in our country tomorrow and I’m most likely going with a friend and I can’t wait.

I hope to see some of you there!

*A copy of this book was given to me to read by the NBDC. However, all opinions are my own*



Review: The Aquaria Chronicles by Melanie Dixon


In the near future, Aqua Marsden, a med school dropout with a fascination for marine biology, is learning how to exist in a city devastated by the effects of bleed—a deadly blue organic substance that suffocates and kills everyone in its reach. When a bad outbreak of the bleed causes Aqua to lose contact with everyone, she must hunt for safety with her new friend, Mark. Out of options, they must discover how to breathe toxic air and find Aquaria, a large marine research facility hidden under the city that could hold the key to humanity’s survival. Aqua may have given up saving humanity through medicine, but perhaps she can discover the cure for bleed and save Aquaria.



The Plot

I liked the story idea. I think it was quite fresh and interesting. I liked how zombies were brought in even though they were seemingly not related to the bleed at all. I thought it was good. I also really liked the plot twist at the end. It turned a seemingly dull and boring book into something that was worth it in the end.

The Setting

Much effort went into describing the surroundings and I enjoyed getting to picture this gorgeous underground aquarium home. It really was spectacular in my mind and I really liked that.


The Odd Plot Distribution

Quite honestly did not know how to title this section.

Okay anyway, I felt like the book was just very lopsided. So obviously the main idea behind the book is the blue bleed and the zombie apocalypse right? But most of the book is just them hanging out in the aquarium home and eating and cleaning fish tanks and it was like the outside world just stopped existing. There was no action at all. Rather it was just like they ate, they worked, they slept, they fell in love. Like what.

I’m sorry but that kind of ‘I did this then I did that’ style of writing was terrible. In fact, End Blyton’s boarding school stories had more action then this.

Very little attention was given to the real problem at hand which was the zombies basically and I just couldn’t understand why. I mean it was a good plot until it turned into a giant sleepover with like four people because God forbid you try to develop any other characters.

Which brings me to my next point.

The Lack Of Supporting Characters

Why were there no other characters?! Literally there was an huge research facility that was supposedly full of people but you hardly heard of them? How did Aqua and Mark not make other friends besides Derek and Joyce?

You would get random mentions of the fact that there might be other people in the facility but besides that, I went through the novel believing that there were like 10 people in the whole place.

The Dialogue

One of the things that I just couldn’t stand in this novel was the way that the characters talked. Let me give you an example of an exchange between Aqua and her best friend Heather.

“Am I ever. At least I don’t have to worry about this year, as I switched my application to marine biology without her knowledge.”

I mean who on earth talks like that in real life to their best friend? Or anyone for that matter?

“Aqua! I heard strange noises. Are you okay?”
“Yes, while you were perambulating away, I was being attacked by a zombie!”

Who on earth, after using a hammer to nearly kill a man, uses the word ‘perambulating’??? Not to mention that Aqua wasn’t in the slightest shaken up about the fact that she killed the guy. Anyone would have been so panicked but no. Aqua is totally calm. So calm in fact that she can use the word ‘perambulating’.

“Well, I’ll teach you, but right now our safety is of paramount importance.”

This was said as they were having bleed rain down on them and they were panicking and trying to get into a room. Who uses the word ‘paramount’ when they are in a panic?

“Aqua? What is it?” Derek asked me with great tenderness. He sat on the edge of my bed.
“My Mum is dead!”
“Oh no! What happened?” he asked.”

It was just very formal, stilted and sounded a lot like how I used to write dialogue when I was doing my primary school English essays.

The Ignorance

Okay so I hate to do this but I got really annoyed at how ignorant the characters were.

“I felt momentarily guilty for not asking about whether the physically challenged were welcome here, but obviously they were, as Joyce grabbed one of Mark’s bags to help him out.”

This was an actual quote from the book. I mean obviously the physically challenged are welcome in the bunk that will save them from the bleed! Are they not human?

“I hadn’t even considered that a disabled person would still be able to swim”

I just felt like there were so many instances in the book where the characters would say something and it would sound so horrible and like they were putting down people which I hated.

“I finished two years ago, in the gifted programme.”

“You mean the retards”

“It appeared that prejudice was alive and well, even in someone disabled. Did it matter if I was a retard? They had a name for everything nowadays. I might have suffered a bit of ADHD when I was younger, but I was doing better now.”

At one point in the book, Aqua tells Mark that she was in the gifted programme in high school. Mark instantly responds by calling her a retard. The book went on to elaborate that by calling her a retard, he meant that just because she had a learning disability, she was a retard.

I have a learning disability. I grew up getting treated differently during exams in school yet I graduated with a single digit ‘O’ Level score. Are you calling me a retard? Are you seriously going to sit there and call me a retard?

Honestly why include a disabled character and a character with a learning disability if you have such an agenda against them and you’re going to spend the whole book hating on them?

I mean some of the things were just mean. Like when Aqua had to share a room with Mark and Joyce told her that she was going to find a room with wheelchair access and that it would have to be on the ground floor. Instead of being grateful, that little twerp gets annoyed that Mark’s every need needs to be thought through and that she isn’t getting a good view from her room.

I’m not even joking. Ugh.

The Dreaded Insta-Love

Honestly, this was worst then insta-love. This wasn’t just insta-love. This was insta-love on steroids!

She meets Mark and instantly she assumes that he is in love with her (he is of course because every guy you meet is instantly infatuated with you. That’s so realistic). Then she meets Derek and she assumes the same thing. Then of course there’s so much premature jealousy coming from Mark towards Derek. UGH. I cringed through every exchange between them.

To put things into perspective for you, Derek takes Aqua out for lunch after about three days of knowing her and instantly they are flirting and he tells her that he wants to snuggle with her. The very next day they go out for lunch again and he kisses her without warning and asks her to be his girlfriend. And she says yes. Gosh I wanted to punch them both.

I have a friend who had a boy ask her to be his girlfriend after like one date and seriously, that is a major major major red flag. It is not cute. It is not endearing. It is creepy af and no sensible girl will ever say yes in real life.


I don’t know. There was so much potential in this book but the execution was just so poor. I really wanted to like this but I was cringing through majority of it and rolling my eyes at the other bits.

The book needs work. That much is obvious. I mean there are so many thing that just outright don’t make sense and the book clearly needs to be fact checked.

I mean this was said by Aqua during a fire drill.

“But then my stomach contracted. What about all the sea creatures? The whales, the dolphins, the fish? What about the electric eels? Was there any plan of evacuation for them? Or would they just all burn?”

She was worried that the fish would burn. Oh gosh.You think a fish could burn? Really? With all that water you worry about the fish burning?

“If there’s really a fire, what happens to the sea creatures?” I asked Stephen.

He pondered. “I don’t think there has ever been a plan. I think most of the tanks are water and air tight. Hopefully we could get a fire under control in time to save them.”

“Well, when this is over, we will have to have a chat with Stephen. These animals are important, and we can’t lose even one of them. Their lives are as valuable as ours,” I said to him.”

Bless her heart that girl is truly stupid.

So yes. It was a good plot but lacked a lot of the very basic things that make a book a book like sense and proper direction and buildup.




Review: We Come Apart by Sarah Crossan and Brian Conaghan


Authors Brian Conaghan and Sarah Crossan have joined forces to tell the story of Nicu and Jess, two troubled teens whose paths cross in the unlikeliest of places.

Nicu has emigrated from Romania and is struggling to find his place in his new home. Meanwhile, Jess’s home life is overshadowed by violence. When Nicu and Jess meet, what starts out as friendship grows into romance as the two bond over their painful pasts and hopeful futures. But will they be able to save each other, let alone themselves?

For fans of Una LaMarche’s Like No Other, this illuminating story told in dual points of view through vibrant verse will stay with readers long after they’ve turned the last page.


Publishing: 9 February 2017

I need to confess that I started this book angry at Sarah and Brian for how badly they portrayed Nicu. Now I am not generally someone that speaks out about racism. I mean I do tend to feel that people tend to go overboard with the whole ‘omg white authors can’t write about racism because they’ve never experienced it’ crap but there are some things that I do frown upon.

In this book in particular, I didn’t like that Nicu’s parts were all written so badly and disjointed that it almost felt like they were poking fun at him and trying to portray him as illiterate. Like ‘hey! Look at that foreigner. He can’t speak english! Let’s mock him and laugh at him and his cultures. Let’s make sure everyone knows he’s dumb.”

So yes, I did start out being angry in the beginning. And then the story started to unfold and I finally say what the authors were trying to get at and I guess it started to make more sense.


This book follows Jess and Nicu. Two teenagers who are going through enormous struggles. Jess is from an abusive home and Nicu has just moved from Romania and is struggling with speaking English, racism and the fact that his parents are just waiting to earn enough money to get him married off to a girl in Romania.

In the midst of all this pain and difficulty, Jess and Nicu meet each other in community service. What starts out as two people unwilling to connect with each other very quickly develops into a friendship and then a relationship.

Told entirely in verse, the authors weave a heartbreaking story about finding your home within someone else and how true love isn’t always the happy ending that everyone expects.



Jess was a girl that came from an abusive home. She was damaged and she was trying to deal with her home life as well as her life outside it.

Jess was honestly someone that I didn’t really like from the beginning to the end. She was quite bitchy and racist towards Nicu even after they became friends and then lovers. Not to mention that she thought ridiculously highly of herself considering that she and Nicu were at the exact same place in community service. I mean seriously.

But I think what kept me hating Jess was the fact that she refused to stand up to the people that bullied Nicu. Instead, she often joined in or just remained silent. Like no. I cant stand that.


I think I liked Nicu a lot largely because he could not speak English fluently. So you just automatically felt  more protective towards him. Especially when Jess is saying terrible things to him.

He was a very innocent kid but you could tell that there was this buried hardness in him that was developed from staying quiet about the horrible way that he was being treated in school and how his parents treated him like a piece of meat at home.

It’s something I think a lot of people can really relate to. I know I certainly did.


I really enjoyed this book. It was a very quick but impactful read.

I personally loved how it wasn’t your typical romance with the happy ending. Rather the ending proved that love does not mean that you end up dancing off into the sunset with your lover. Something that I think is sorely lacking in most young adult contemporary books these days.

The characters, while unlikeable, were well-developed even in this short book. It was just a read that was painful and it made me cry and we all know that any book that makes me cry is a good book in my books (wow that was a mouthful).

The way the book was written (in verse) was also really excellent and enjoyable.

Overall, something that I totally think you should read.

*An advanced copy was provided to me to read and review by Pansing. However, all opinions are my own*