Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton

rebelTITLE: Rebel of the Sands

AUTHOR: Alwyn Hamilton

RELEASED: March 8, 2016 by Viking Books for Young Readers

GENRE: YA Fantasy

“In this desert I could never seem to escape being seen as powerless, so long as I wasn’t a man.”

MY THOUGHTS: I…wasn’t as impressed with this as I expected to be, sadly. I expected a fast paced, magical, shoot-em-up type novel after the first scene of Amani attending a pistol pit, but most of it felt like a lot more filler and not much happening. The adventures were mostly fun, but it seemed to drag on a little in the first 200 or so pages. Some of the scenes were a little disjointed, and, as much as I loved Jin, the chemistry just didn’t seem to click between them. Even if their arguments and banter were hilarious.

“If I wanted to. If I wanted to be part of this story, this rebellion. Truth be told, it was more than a want.”

Now, when it finally did pick up, I was completely swept away. We find this entire other group of beings that are striving to do what’s best for their country, even while being prosecuted for being different. They’re such idealists, with a few realists mixed in for good measure. Some of the characters are super annoying (the commander), but are necessary to building this world. There needs to be something to struggle against, and not all antagonists are likeable. However, I wasn’t hugely thrilled at him losing, either. Kinda awkward!

“I wasn’t that girl anymore, the one who left people.”

The best part of the whole book was Amani’s internal journey. She really becomes a strong, independent, woman who becomes part of something bigger than herself. Her story is actually really interesting. There’s a different vibe about her (obviously, MC’s are always different), but it always seemed more than just having foreigner heritage. When we find out the real reason she never belonged in Dustwalk (her hometown), I was pretty shocked! That was my favourite twist to the novel. All in all, I’ll be reading the next instalment and hoping the series improves.

BLURB: The New York Times bestselling novel by the Goodreads Choice Awards Best Debut Author of 2016, published in 15 countries!

Mortals rule the desert nation of Miraji, but mythical beasts still roam the wild and remote areas, and rumor has it that somewhere, djinn still perform their magic. For humans, it’s an unforgiving place, especially if you’re poor, orphaned, or female. Amani Al’Hiza is all three. She’s a gifted gunslinger with perfect aim, but she can’t shoot her way out of Dustwalk, the back-country town where she’s destined to wind up wed or dead.

Then she meets Jin, a rakish foreigner, in a shooting contest, and sees him as the perfect escape route. But though she’s spent years dreaming of leaving Dustwalk, she never imagined she’d gallop away on mythical horse—or that it would take a foreign fugitive to show her the heart of the desert she thought she knew.

This startlingly original Middle-East-meets-Wild-West fantasy reveals what happens when a dream deferred explodes—in the fires of rebellion, of romantic passion, and the all-consuming inferno of a girl finally embracing her power.


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Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell


TITLE: Fangirl

AUTHOR: Rainbow Rowell

RELEASED: September 10, 2013 by St. Martin’s Press

GENRE: YA Fiction

“Underneath this veneer of slightly crazy and socially inept, I’m a complete disaster”

MY THOUGHTS: What a cute, lighthearted, yet poignant story about love, life, and muddling through the hard times. To sum it up, I absolutely loved Cath and her world. She warms my little book nerd heart and reminds me of myself during my freshman year of college. Cath is struggling to acquaint herself with her new, upturned life when Wren decides she needs to be different – by leaving her twin behind. That made me really sad, but, without it, Cath wouldn’t have developed into the girl she becomes. Cath is, understandably, bereft and a little pissed off, but mostly sad that Wren doesn’t want to embark on their college journey together.

“‘You’re never alone,’ Wren said, sighing again. ‘That’s the whole fucking point of having a twin sister.'”

Cath is just so damn relatable. She is too heavily involved in the internet world that she can’t see what’s happening in her own life until it’s right on top of her. She writes fanfic on an internet forum which keeps her busy and feeling like she has loads of people depending on her, but her time spent doing that takes away from her time available to do other things such as make friends and find the dining hall. Although, that’s mostly down to her social anxiety. Enter roommate Reagan, who forces her out of her comfort zone, and Levi, who gets all the heart-eyes!

“I’m fucking done with encouragement.”

I felt these two had the biggest effect on her development. They were massively great people for her! Reagan is a bitchy, older student who wanted nothing to do with another roommate and got Cath for her trouble. She definitely isn’t cuddly by any means, but totally has more aspects to her than the one she initially shows to the world. Her prickliness is pretty endearing. Levi is such a wonderful guy! Totally my favourite, by far. He goes above and beyond for everyone he meets and is nearly always wearing a smile. I love him. He’s the perfect gentleman, down to earth, and hilariously funny. I loved how he called her Cather start to finish. He’s uncompromising in his personality, which was super refreshing.

“You don’t get to be a mother if you show up after the kids are already grown up.”

This was a totally cute read, but still dealt with some heavy topics. Cath’s parents are separated, yet her mother tries to come back into Cath + Wren’s lives. Cath is beyond upset and unwilling to allow this. I get that. Having a mother myself who I am unlikely to have back in my life in the near future, I get why she was so upset. You don’t get to walk away when times get hard and then come back in whenever you think it might be easier. As a parent, it’s all or nothing – you don’t get to pick and choose the bits you like. Also, Wren deals with some addiction, and mental illness is brought into the story by both Cath’s anxiety and their dads bipolar disorder. I love the way the author deals with each topic seriously while still injecting some humour to lighten it up. I will absolutely be looking into more Rainbow Rowell novels in the future!


BLURB: From the author of the New York Times bestseller Eleanor & Park. A coming-of-age tale of fan fiction, family and first love.

Cath is a Simon Snow fan.

Okay, the whole world is a Simon Snow fan…

But for Cath, being a fan is her life—and she’s really good at it. She and her twin sister, Wren, ensconced themselves in the Simon Snow series when they were just kids; it’s what got them through their mother leaving. Reading. Rereading. Hanging out in Simon Snow forums, writing Simon Snow fan fiction, dressing up like the characters for every movie premiere.

Cath’s sister has mostly grown away from fandom, but Cath can’t let go. She doesn’t want to.

Now that they’re going to college, Wren has told Cath she doesn’t want to be roommates. Cath is on her own, completely outside of her comfort zone. She’s got a surly roommate with a charming, always-around boyfriend, a fiction-writing professor who thinks fan fiction is the end of the civilized world, a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words… And she can’t stop worrying about her dad, who’s loving and fragile and has never really been alone.

For Cath, the question is: Can she do this? Can she make it without Wren holding her hand? Is she ready to start living her own life? Writing her own stories?

And does she even want to move on if it means leaving Simon Snow behind?


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Céad Míle Fáilte – Welcome

Hello everyone! Welcome to my new blog!

Ok, well not exactly new, but it’s a new page, anyway.. I recently relocated here from my blogger in order to streamline my posts and reviews. Plus, I just really like the look of WordPress blogs. Some of my favourite bloggers are on WP, so I took the plunge!

If you’re here, you’ve probably realised by now that I love books. I love reading more than near anything else in life, and thoroughly enjoy spreading my love of books with everyone I meet. So, I decided awhile ago to start blogging about it to meet new friends to talk books – I mean, can you really ever have enough bookish friends? I hope you all have a great time here with me as I review books I’ve previously loved and most books I read in future.

Another thing you’ll probably notice is the variation in spellings. I drift between US and UK word spellings simply because I’m an American expat in Ireland. My software often tells me words are misspelled when I use the US version, but I did many years of schooling in the states, so some things will slip through!

A bit about me: I’m an avid reader. My mom says I started reading around 3 years old and just never stopped. I honestly don’t remember ever not being able to read. I was the kid who read at recess and brought a book everywhere I went. I can often be found in a comfy spot with a book and a cup of caffeination – ordinarily coffee. Yes, I’m a bit of a coffee addict…so sue me. Coffee is my friend. It keeps me going!

I’m a dog training assistant, as well. I love it! I completed an internship with a puppy school near me recently, and they just never let me go. I help teach classes once a week, am a grooming assistant 2-3 days a week, AND pet sit a couple times a week. Currently on a housesit for a wonderful couple who own a collie cross girl who is so smart and such a good girl! Will miss her when we go back home… My ultimate goal is to become a canine behaviourist, so that’s what I’m working toward. In the meantime, I love the teaching experience.

I read mainly YA Fantasy, but also love Contemporary Romance, New Adult, and Historical Fiction. Honestly, I’m pretty open to reading anything if the blurb draws me in or people are shouting its praises. My current favourites are Sky in the Deep by Adrienne Young and Bring Me Back by I loved those so much!

Anyway, I’m running off to rugby, so I’ll see you all here again soon! Feel free to leave questions in the comment section! xx