Book Review – Possessed

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Title: Possessed

Author: Niki Valentine

Synopsis: Who do you trust when you can no longer trust your own mind?

Emma’s life has always been a struggle, and now she’s been accepted at a prestigious music school, she is determined to excel. But when the impossibly chic twins, confident Sophie and quieter Matilde, come crashing into her life – surrounding her with champagne and parties – they demand Emma’s full attention.

Then shy Matilde commits suicide and shockingly, her identical twin Sophie flourishes. Now odd things are happening to Emma: blackouts, waking up in strange places, bizarre dreams. Something, or someone, is consuming Emma’s mind. Terrified, Emma begins to doubt everything and everyone around her, especially the beautiful Sophie…

Rating: 5 stars

Review: Reading this book feels like falling down the rabbit hole into insanity. That’s really the only way I can describe it accurately.

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Emma’s dreams seem to be coming true – she’s at a prestigious music school, she’s made two great friends almost immediately – but things aren’t quite as they seem, especially the weird dynamic between Matilde and Sophie. When Matilde dies, that’s when Sophie seems to go off the end, and Emma starts blacking out at weird moments. Is it just stress, or is there something paranormal haunting her?

I was throroughly shaken by the book, and how it ended – and that doesn’t happen often. Now, don’t get me wrong, I LOVE psychological thrillers, that leave me questioning my own sanity, and I did love this one as well, but it unnerved me so much I could even feel Emma’s terror through the page. It was seriously intense, to say the very least.

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The character of Sophie was so well written though –  she’s this manipulation queen, who can control everyone around her, and she knows it.

Sophie was her animated self, holding court about some of the professors….. Now she was spinning a story around Margie, turning her into a witch who ate children, playing up to the shrieks of laughter she was getting from the girls around her.

Her entirely too unhealthy relationship with Matilde was one of this things which freaked me out the most, I think, over the course of the novel, even though it was insanely well woven into the plot.

She thought about the twins. Sophie, who now had a boyfriend, and Matilde, who did not. They hadn’t rowed about it. Matilde had simply stepped aside.

I found Emma to be a little annoying though – I mean, if you’re really this disturbed, then freaking leave! Also, isn’t there other teachers at this school you could have told? Get a grip, woman.

Overall though, this was a fantastic psychological thriller. On the cover, it compares this book to the movie ‘Black Swan’, and even though I’ve never seen this movie before, I really want to see it now, just to see if it really is like this.

If you like psychological thriller novels, and aren’t afraid of a good scare, this is a book you should read. Get it online, or at a book shop, or at the local library – just read it!

Here are a few of my favourite psycho quotes from the book (just to show you a little bit of how truly messed up it is):

“Oh you don’t want me to smash up your mirror.” She cocked her head. “That’s a shame.” She smiled, a fake cracked smile like a broken doll. “I’m going to do it anyway.

She looked drunk on the blood, as if she needed more.

She realised that the girl was cruel, nasty; whatever her reasons, she was truly foul in the things she did.

“You know you’ll do it. You always do what I tell you, in the end, Tilly.” Her voice was cold.

Book Review – The Wheel Mages

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Title: The Wheel Mages (Changing Tides #1) (Kindle book)

Author: Aimee Davis

Synopsis: Alena Kozlov is one of the last of a dying kind. As the first water mage to be inducted into the Sanctum in over fifty years, she has the opportunity to help the old order destroy a band of rebel mages who threaten the principles the Sanctum is founded upon.

Blinded by loyalty to the Sanctum and love for her master, Alena and three other mages set out to investigate the rebels, but the more she discovers, the less she understands.

Confronted with hard truths about the Sanctum she once believed in and the corruption she sees within it, Alena must make one of the most difficult decisions of her life: follow the path she’s trained for or leave the Sanctum behind.

Whatever the answer, she knows one thing for sure—the old Sanctum saying is true: It is a rocky road she must travel.

Rating: 5 stars

Review: I got this book straight from the author herself, and oh wow, I have so many feelings about it. I’m still reeling from what happened. Oh I know! Lets express my feelings in gifs!

When I started it:

 

 

Halfway Through Reading It:

 

When I finished it:

 

 

Okay, so lets begin actually putting these feelings into words.

When we first meet the main character – Alena – she’s finishing her mage training with her mentor Nikolai, and on her way to the mage headquarters, otherwise known as the Sanctum. When they get there, we meet another mentor-student pair; Catalina, and her sullen student Felipe. From there, everything snowballs out of control.

 

This book is just the perfect mix of all my favourite fantasy novels – the relationship between Alena and Nikolai reminds me of Maerad and Cadvan from Alison Croggon’s Pellinor series, and the constant twists and turns is very similar to Sarah J. Maas’ Throne of Glass series. Is it hard to tell I have a particular taste in books?

 

These mages were the magical world’s equivalent of royalty.

 

32d8b457cc5ce97cf92529b3389c7c6cThe whole way through though, I was flipping back and forth between what guy I wanted Alena to end up with – why did you have to make it so hard? Making me choose between the charismatic Felipe, and the absolutely darling Nikolai? Evil. Pure evil.

 

His pleading eyes shattered the fragile walls I’d tried to construct around my feelings for him.

I glanced at Nikolai again, at his high cheekbones, kind green eyes, messy brown hair, and broad muscular body.

 

The world building was exquisite, and the characters’ developments were written so well, that I just want to go back and read it all over again. The best thing though, is that everyone makes questionable decisions, and nobody’s either pure good or pure evil. Everyone has darkness in them, in real life and in this, and I appreciate that.

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Another important aspect I loved about this is that Aimee Davis effortlessly weaved in the existence of same-sex relationships into the story. That was especially nice to read about, since a lot of other fantasy books sidestep the subject with a few exceptions. It wasn’t made a big deal about, but it also wasn’t swept under the rug either. Props for that.

 

He’d said his father had sent Isabelle away because she liked girls.

 

“I wouldn’t expect your master to speak ill of the Sanctum, but there are unwritten rules. One of those rules is that they don’t train mages with my… proclivities.

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Overall, this is an incredible book, and I’m so thankful to the author for emailing me and bringing my attention to this magical world. I’m definitely going to be looking forward to reading more of her stuff when it’s published. If you like high fantasy, and magic, and men who are equally as attractive and sweet as each other, this is something you just have to read.

 

Book Review – Empire of Storms (ToG #5)

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Title: Empire of Storms (ToG #5)

Author: Sarah J Maas
Synopsis: The long path to the throne has only just begun for Aelin Galathynius. Loyalties have been broken and bought, friends have been lost and gained, and those who possess magic find themselves at odds with those who don’t.
As the kingdoms of Erilea fracture around her, enemies must become allies if Aelin is to keep those she loves from falling to the dark forces poised to claim her world. With war looming on all horizons, the only chance for salvation lies in a desperate quest that may mark the end of everything Aelin holds dear.
Aelin’s journey from assassin to queen has entranced millions across the globe, and this fifth installment will leave fans breathless. Will Aelin succeed in keeping her world from splintering, or will it all come crashing down?
Rating: 5 stars
Review:  Nearly a month after it came out, I’ve finally read and finished this, and oh my gods, by the end of it, I was left hanging from the metaphorical cliff by my fingernails. That’s how suspenseful and thrilling the whole experience was for me.
Me before reading this:
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Me halfway through:
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Me after finishing:
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Following on from the end of ‘Queen of Shadows’, Aelin and her friends are en route to reclaim Terrasen, but of course, nothing is that easy – especially when you’re the returning lost-lost queen of a whole kingdom. Along the way they face multiple problems like misogynistic lords, bitch queens, and cryptic spirits who only appear to give some puzzling clue and then vanish again.

“You’ll find, Rolfe, that one does not deal with Celaena Sardothien. One survives her.’

I absolutely love the dynamics between the whole group – Aelin and Rowan, Aedion and Rowan, Aelin and Lysandra, Lysandra and Aedion….honestly, the list goes on and on. Right from the start, I was hooked on the heat of Aelin’s relationship with Rowan (I mean, those sex scenes? Hot as fuck.) and I grew to become very, very invested in the relationship between Aedion and Lysandra. Also, I wasn’t expecting to ship Manon and Dorian quite as much as I do. Ugh, so many ships!!
Speaking of Aedion, I couldn’t be more thrilled that we now have some major LGBTQ representation in the main cast – especially when it’s along the lines of bisexuality. I NEED more openly bisexual characters in the books I read, and in a way that it isn’t such a big deal.

“I’ve been with just as many people. Women, men…. I’ve seen and tried it all. I find pleasure in both, depending on my mood and the person. Attraction is attraction.”

 

And then we had a hell of a lot of Lorcan and Elide – another ship that I wasn’t expecting to love so much. They actually remind me a lot of Aelin and Rowan, with the antagonism and the underlying attraction to each other. Elide is such a layered character – she seems weak and helpless, but when she had to be, she rises to the occasion, and lets loose this whole other side of her.
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But by far, the best part of the whole book was Rowaelin. I mean, read some of these passages I pulled from the book, and tell me you’re not totally in love with this ship as well:
Strong hands slid over her waist, tugging her into his warmth, as Rowan’s lips grazed her neck, right under her ear.
“Rowan and Aelin have a tendency to say one thing and mean something else entirely.”
They would burn the entire world to ashes with it. He was hers and she was his, and they had found each other across centuries of bloodshed and loss.
Rowan didn’t know whether to be amused, thrilled, or slightly terrified that he’d been blessed with a queen and lover who had so little care for public decency.
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Christ, they’re hot. I don’t know whether I want to sleep with Rowan, or sleep with Aelin…..ooh, maybe both? That’s a book nerd fantasy that’s worth a good daydream.
Sarah J Maas has truly earned her place in my top three favourite authors – no matter what she produces, it’s always good. She creates these beautifully intricate fantasy worlds, and you can’t help but be sucked in by the characters and the relationships. Hell, even the villains are captivating!
I’m not going to give away any spoilers (well, no BIG spoilers), but I will say that by the end of this book, you’ll be sobbing like a baby, but also melting at the romance in it, and possibly also screaming at the book because of stupid, evil Maeve. This book has all of that and so much more, and I might actually go back and re-read it over again, purely because that’s how intense the whole book was for me. Bravo!
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Book Review – Queen of Shadows

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Title: Queen of Shadows (TOG #4)

Author: Sarah J Maas

Synopsis: The queen has returned.

Everyone Celaena Sardothien loves has been taken from her. But she’s at last returned to the empire—for vengeance, to rescue her once-glorious kingdom, and to confront the shadows of her past…

She has embraced her identity as Aelin Galathynius, Queen of Terrasen. But before she can reclaim her throne, she must fight.

She will fight for her cousin, a warrior prepared to die for her. She will fight for her friend, a young man trapped in an unspeakable prison. And she will fight for her people, enslaved to a brutal king and awaiting their lost queen’s triumphant return.

Rating: 5 stars
Review: This review is so, so late, but I did finish this before ‘Empire of Storms’ came out, don’t worry. I still have to even read ‘Empire of Storms’ but at least now I’m mostly caught up, so there’s no chance of spoilers yet. Yay.
I have so many feelings about this book, which I will express in gif form:
Me before reading:
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Me during the book:
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Me after finishing:
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Now, where to start…..? Oh, I know!
I especially love the significance of names in this series – Celaena, Aelin, ‘queen’, ‘assassin.’ All these names are a part of her, yet each name on its own holds a different weight. As Celaena, she’s broken inside and defensive, even against herself. As Aelin, she owns who she is, and she wields her magic with ease. There’s so much of a difference between the Celaena who arrived at Mistward in ‘Heir of Fire’ and the Aelin in this book.
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Also, I enjoy how layered all the characters are – nobody is truly evil to the core. Lysandra comes across as this stuck-up snob, but in the end, she shows that she truly has a heart and that she is willing to do things for good. Even Kaltain redeems herself a little at the end.
Then we have the lusciousness that is Rowan “I’m-Too-Sexy” Whitethorn. This was basically my reaction when he appeared out of nowhere:
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On a whole other level though, Manon Blackbeak is now my fictional girlfriend. She is vicious, yet with a little heart underneath all that armour. I’m drawn to her, and if she were real, I would be terrified yet turned on. Sorry, TMI. Anyway, back to the review.
As always, Sarah J Maas has not disappointed – once again, I’m drawn further into this world, caught up with Aelin’s story, and invested in all these complicated, layered characters.
Here are some quotes that I especially liked in this particular book:
No flicker of amusement, no hint of fear. The woman could give Rowan a run for his money for sheer iciness.
One breath – another. She was the heir of fire. She was fire, and light, and ash, and embers. She was Aelin Fireheart, and she bowed for no one and nothing, save the crown that was hers by blood.
Aedion ruffled her hair and stretched his long legs out before him. “Ten years, and that’s the treatment I get from my beloved cousin.” She elbowed him in the ribs.
 
“You’d think five centuries would give you enough time to come up with something more creative.”
 
“Come a little closer, and I’ll show you just what five centuries can do.”
Rowan shook his head. “I don’t know whether to throttle you or clap you on the back.”
 
“I think there’s a long line of people who feel the same way.”
“Honestly, I wouldn’t mind seeing you three gutted and hanging from the chandeliers by your insides, but I think it would ruin these very beautiful carpets that I’m now the owner of.”
If you enjoy high fantasy, with powerful female protagonists, or even if you’re just looking for the complete antithesis of Bella Swan, then this is a must-read. Read the other books first though – or you’ll be very confused, and also you’ll be spoiling yourself. Although, why would you be reading this review if you hadn’t read the previous three books first? Huh. I’m babbling, so lets just wrap this up before I devolve into a tangent on something very random and completely unconnected to this review.
If you have read this already, recommend this series to all your friends. Everyone will love this, and just think how good you’ll feel about getting your mates hooked on such an amazing and healthy (?) thing.
Happy reading!

Book Review – Ruby Red (Precious Stone #1)

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Title: Ruby Red (Precious Stone Trilogy #1)

Author: Kerstin Gier

Synopsis: Gwyneth Shepherd’s sophisticated, beautiful cousin Charlotte has been prepared her entire life for traveling through time. But unexpectedly, it is Gwyneth, who in the middle of class takes a sudden spin to a different era!

Gwyneth must now unearth the mystery of why her mother would lie about her birth date to ward off suspicion about her ability, brush up on her history, and work with Gideon–the time traveler from a similarly gifted family that passes the gene through its male line, and whose presence becomes, in time, less insufferable and more essential. Together, Gwyneth and Gideon journey through time to discover who, in the 18th century and in contemporary London, they can trust.

Rating: 5 stars

Review: Time travel? Victorian times? HELL YEAH!

Me before reading this:

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Me halfway through:

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Me after finishing it:

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This is the first book on my reading list for the #ReadThemAllThon, and it’s the Pewter city choice, which means I have earned my Boulder Badge! Whoop!

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This book is the first in the Precious Stone trilogy, and it focuses on Gwyneth Shepherd, who finds herself thrust headfirst into a world of time travel, creepy counts, and arrogant time-travellers. The main idea behind it is that there’s only twelve time-travellers with a particular gene that allows them to hop through history, and their blood can power a device called the chronograph.

I absolutely loved almost everything about this book – I read it in just over a day – and I am so eager to post this review and get onto reading the second one in the series.

Actually, I think it’d just make sense to make a list of reasons why you should read this amazing book:

1. It’s about a female time traveller. That’s rare enough as it is. Just think about how many male time travellers there are in the world.

2. Gideon De Villier. He’s the character I love to hate, but also hate to love.

3. It’s fast-paced – one minute you’re with Gwyneth at The Temple, and the next, you’re caught up in a Victorian-era fight in Hyde Park.

4. There’s amazing world-building – it takes the time to explain exactly what this world is and how it works. Even with the secrets, it’s still set up nicely.

5. The villains are written so beautifully that I have mixed feelings about them – a combination of fear and fascination.

There are more reasons, but a lot of them are along the lines of:

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If  you liked reading ‘The Infernal Devices’ trilogy by Cassandra Clare, or anything to do with time travel, you’ll love this series. I was initially recommended this by Sasha (A Book Utopia) through one of her recommendation videos, and I’ve loved it, so go read if this is something you think you’d like. Also, it’s a movie! Just saying.

Happy reading!!

Book Review – Origin (Lux #4)

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Title: Origin (Lux #4)

Author: Jennifer Armentrout

Synopsis: Daemon will do anything to get Katy back.

After the successful but disastrous raid on Mount Weather, he’s facing the impossible. Katy is gone. Taken. Everything becomes about finding her. Taking out anyone who stands in his way? Done. Burning down the whole world to save her? Gladly. Exposing his alien race to the world? With pleasure.

All Katy can do is survive.

Surrounded by enemies, the only way she can come out of this is to adapt. After all, there are sides of Daedalus that don’t seem entirely crazy, but the group’s goals are frightening and the truths they speak even more disturbing. Who are the real bad guys? Daedalus? Mankind? Or the Luxen?

Together, they can face anything.

But the most dangerous foe has been there all along, and when the truths are exposed and the lies come crumbling down, which side will Daemon and Katy be standing on?

And will they even be together?

Rating: 5 stars

Review: I literally devoured this one in a day, and I’m so hyped up on Luxens and hybrids that I can’t pick up another book until I finish this series and then get over the following hangover.

This book actually reminded me a lot of ‘Shatter Me’ by Tahereh Mafi – the clinical-like institution, the psychotic leader, the ridiculously dangerous ‘tests’ – it’s very reminiscent of ‘Shatter Me’ in my opinion. That’s not a bad thing though, because I loved reading that book just as much as I loved this one.

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However, I am screaming about the fact that I can’t be sad over who dies in this one, because that would be spoilers, and that would make me kind of a douche canoe if I divulged spoilers. Ugh. Being a book blogger is hard!

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Also there’s some other things about this book that I would love to squeal and fangirl over, but that would also be spoilers, and spoilers suck, so I’m keeping mum. If you want to find out what these big surprises are – one of which I saw coming for ages! – then read the book yourself and find out for yourself.

(Quick note – Blake totally deserved what he got. No sympathy there.)

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Anyway, let’s talk about Daemon’s attitude towards Katy. There’s so much character development from Obsidian to now!! At the start of the series, he was very much for keeping her at arms length, but now he lets her fight with them and he’s proud (and even turned on) when she shows her tough side. He doesn’t suppress her, or her strength, even though he wants her safe. That’s a relationship that I admire.

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“She attacked several members of my team.”

A smile spread across my face. That’s my girl.

When she swung on him, pride swelled in me. That was my Kitten, claws and all.

Go Katy!

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Also, this book had alternating points of view, which was a nice change. This time we get to see things from Daemon’s point of view as well as Katy’s – alien/human, guy/girl.

The whole book was one huge thrill ride from start to finish, and I just couldn’t put it down. That’s the mark of a great author – when you’re reading something and you just can’t tear yourself away from it. I devoured this book like it was the last one on earth (God forbid!) and I laughed, I cried, and I celebrated. For the whole time, I genuinely felt like I was a part of this amazing world.

In case this review so far doesn’t have you rushing to your nearest bookshop to pick up a copy of this book, here’s some quotes to get you excited.

Then it struck me. A strangled laugh escaped. “Area 51?”

It was like being in a real, albeit messed-up, version of The Hunger Games. The Hunger Games for alien hybrids.

My spidey senses were telling me this thing was rigged with onyx.

“If I had a Mogwai, I’d totally feed it after midnight. That mohawk gremlin was a badass.”

Jesus H. Mary mother of Christ in crutches, came Daemon’s voice.

“What? Is Daedalus moonlighting as Match.com for Luxen and Hybrids?”

Nancy was so thrilled, I thought she was going to kiss me – and I thought I was actually going to have to hit a chick.

Why in the world did humans think aliens looked like a whacked-out Gumby?

This wasn’t a romantic getaway at the Ritz, unless running for your lives counted as foreplay.

I rate this one a full five stars because there was nothing I didn’t love about ‘Origin.’ If you like the paranormal, and live for intense fictional romances, this is the book series for you.

Happy reading!

Book Review – Isla And The Happily Ever After

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Title: Isla And The Happily Ever After

Author: Stephanie Perkins

Synopsis: Love ignites in the City That Never Sleeps, but can it last?

Hopeless romantic Isla has had a crush on introspective cartoonist Josh since their first year at the School of America in Paris. And after a chance encounter in Manhattan over the summer, romance might be closer than Isla imagined. But as they begin their senior year back in France, Isla and Josh are forced to confront the challenges every young couple must face, including family drama, uncertainty about their college futures, and the very real possibility of being apart.

Featuring cameos from fan-favorites Anna, Étienne, Lola, and Cricket, this sweet and sexy story of true love—set against the stunning backdrops of New York City, Paris, and Barcelona—is a swoonworthy conclusion to Stephanie Perkins’s beloved series.

Rating: 5 Stars

Review: Why did I wait so long to read this?! It’s amazing! I have so many feelings about this book, but I’m going to try and put them into words (and a few gifs).

We first met Isla briefly in ‘Anna And The French Kiss’ and we know Josh – St Clair’s best friend – from the first book as well, but in this book we get to know Josh and Isla a lot more. Isla has been nuts about Josh for years, and he likes her too, but there’s always some obstacle in their path to happiness.

Oh my god, there were so many obstacles! Romeo and Juliet just had their parents to worry about -Isla and Josh have family drama on top of their own messed up schedules, and their separate friend groups, and new school rules on top of that, as well as Isla’s own insecurity. It’s a wonder they ever find their happily ever after.

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I absolutely love Stephanie Perkins’ fluffy writing – it’s just the thing you need when you’ve been stuck into some pretty serious literature or even just having a bad day. It’s the perfect antidote to life.

There’s cameos from past favourites like Anna, Etienne, and even Lola and Cricket, but we also meet new characters like Kurt – Isla’s best friend. Oh my god, Kurt is incredible! It’s very rare that you see a character with Aspergers in a YA book, but Kurt was written exquisitely.

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Josh knows that Kurt has high-functioning autism. Everyone here knows. When a stranger misinterprets Kurt’s behaviour as rudeness and reacts poorly, I can usually forgive them. But when someone who knows him doesn’t even want to try to understand him? No. I can’t forgive that.

“Yeah. What the DSM used to call Aspergers, and what they now call high-functioning autism. It’s the same thing. But it’s not a problem, it’s not like it’s something that needs to be cured. His brain just works a little differently from ours. That’s all.”

Ugh, so good! Everything about this book is so good! Well, except Isla’s sister Hattie. Hattie is a brat.

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I think my favourite part of the whole book is at the end when everyone’s together at Point Zéro – if you’ve read the book, you’ll know why this is my favourite. Everyone’s together and happy and it’s just such a pleasant atmosphere.

I’m actually very sad that this series is over, because you know, you only read a book for the first time once. On the other hand, I’m a sucker for fluffy romance, so I’ll probably read this book again soon.

Here are some of my favourite quotes from the book, chosen especially for this review;

If only I could say, “Listen, I like you, and you like me, so let’s go find a secluded park and touch each other.”

“It must be difficult to remember when your brain is smaller than your penis. Which, rumour has it, isn’t that big in the first place.”

“My fiancee and I are headed out for a celebratory dessert. I’d ask you all to join us, but I don’t want you there.”

Five star book! Go read it if you haven’t already, because it really is amazing. The whole series is a cute, fluffy breath of fresh air that I consider to be the antidote to life.