REVIEW – Drift Stumble Fall by M. Jonathan Lee



The monotony of daily life can often make you wonder about the possibilities of running away from it all and starting your life over. The dreams you’ve always brushed off as being unrealistic, suddenly transforming into a potential reality,  brushing amongst the generic thoughts of work, taxes, family and marriage. Most of us have been there, right?

Suddenly we see ourselves living in a forest somewhere, relying on nature to keep us alive. Or maybe you’ve always had dreams of running to LA and chasing the fantasy of becoming a star. Everyone has a dream of how their life would look if there weren’t constraints holding them back, but rarely does anyone actually give it a go.

However, for Richard Brown – a husband and parent to two children – his plot to escape has now become a reality. He plans to leave within the week.

The author, M. Jonathan Lee is a mental health awareness campaigner, and it was quite obvious to me from his writing that he knows what he’s talking about. It’s refreshing to see mental health appear in a book without being openly discussed. For those who have no experience with it, perhaps Richard and his wife Lisa were just an unsuitable pairing, and Rich was simply a coward for wanting to disappear. To me, he showed signs of anxiety and depression whereas Lisa’s issues reminded me of my struggle with OCD. I have experience with all three of these things, and they were very accurately portrayed. Maybe I’m reading too much into their behaviours but that’s what I took from the story groundwork.

Drift Stumble Fall is not a fast paced novel. It’s written about the mundane tasks, the restlessness, the theory that the grass isn’t always greener on the other side. In a lot of ways it’s actually very bleak. However, at no point did I ever want to put the book down. I NEEDED to know how his escape was going to pan out, and with every turn of the page I found myself becoming more and more involved in Richard’s life. A few tears were even shed.

Ultimately, this is one of those rare books that makes you question your entire existence. From the moment we leave the womb, society tells us to aspire to finding a great job, to marry someone you think you could put with for the next fifty years and soon after, to become a parent. But what about those of us who feel suffocated by the norm? This one’s for you.

Many thanks to Hideaway Fall and M. Jonathan Lee for providing me with an advanced copy! All thoughts are my own.


REVIEW – Love, Hate & Other Filters by Samira Ahmed



DISCLAIMER – I do my best to understand different cultures and traditions, but I may not ever be at the stage where I know everything regarding them. Please do not be offended if I get something wrong, but please do correct me and let me know so I have a better understanding for future reference. Thank you!

Love, Hate & Other Filters follows the main character, American born Maya Aziz during her last few months of high school. She must navigate her way through parental and societal pressures, Islamophobia and first love all whilst trying to stay true to herself.

I’d been highly anticipating a YA novel that’s told from the point of view of a Muslim teen. Islamophobia only seems to be getting worse and it’s a perspective that needs to be read from. Unfortunately, I don’t think it was quite as well executed as it had the potential to be. I gained a very good understanding of Indian culture throughout it’s entirety but failed to gain any knowledge regarding Muslims, which as far as I could tell was what the book had been marketed as doing.

It felt strange to me that there was never any moment during the book where Maya prays, or even mentions Allah. It’s not even like she questioned her faith at all and that was why those elements of her religion went unwritten. There was little to no evidence of Maya being a Muslim, and if it hadn’t specifically stated it, I wouldn’t have known. Now, I’m not saying there aren’t people that consider themselves Muslims but don’t practice their religion in an overt way because there obviously are but this wasn’t what was advertised on the cover, and I felt a bit misled. There was also an instance where Maya is shocked that a love interest in the novel, Kareem is drinking wine. He proclaims that ‘at least he isn’t eating pork’. Um… aren’t both equally bad? Please correct me if I’m wrong, but I’m pretty certain they’re both just not allowed, full stop.

There were also segments before each chapter following the terrorist who commits the act during the novel. As far as I’m concerned, these were pointless because it felt like they were only there to try and humanise him. Of course, he is a human being but I’m not here to feel sorry for this person, and ultimately these sections stopped the book from flowing better.

In reality, Love, Hate & Other Filters ended up being a fluffy contemporary with a small hint of grittiness thrown into the equation. However, it didn’t stop me from loving the book. I genuinely flew through this within a few hours, and I adored the characters, I’m just somewhat disappointed that it wasn’t the hard hitting novel I had expected it to be.

REVIEW – The Sacrifice Box by Martin Stewart



Back in 1982, five friends chose sacrifices to put into a mysterious box and vow to never return at night, never to visit alone and never to take their sacrifices back. Flash forward four years, the friends no longer speak and someone has broken the rules. Strange and eerie events keep happening, people are dying and the five must band together again to stop it.

Firstly, yes..there are lots of similarities between IT and The Sacrifice Box. They both follow a group of predominantly misfit kids/teens as they try to solve a horrifying mystery and it’s also set in the eighties. Stewart also takes seemingly innocent, and non-scary things and distorts them into something very unsettling.

Sep was a charming lead and I really began to care for him as the novel progressed. The other four in the main group were good characters, but unfortunately I don’t feel like they had enough of a focus, believing for once that this could have benefited from dual perspectives. There were some strong foundations for characterisation there, but it didn’t quite reach it’s full potential on that front.

Martin’s overall writing style is beautiful though. His descriptions are mesmerising and he has some of the funniest dialogue I’ve read in a YA novel for quite some time. The plot was a tad predictable and I could have done without the flashbacks, but it was a fun, spooky read. Nothing more, nothing less.

I’m a little disappointed that it didn’t live up to my personal expectations, but I know a lot of people who will enjoy this book more than I did and I can’t wait to recommend it to them!

Thank you to Netgalley, Martin Stewart and Penguin Random House for giving me a review copy!

REVIEW – Everless by Sara Holland



Without further ado, here is my long overdue review of Everless by Sara Holland! Now, I’m sure if you’re an active member in the book community, you will have heard of this by now. I think it’s safe to say that the plot (which I will get to in a second) has intrigued the minds of plenty. If you have been living under a rock, the story follows a girl named Jules, in the kingdom of Sempera – a land where time is currency. The time is extracted from blood and made into coins. It is then consumed to add that time to one’s life span. However, politics and the hierarchy play a massive part in Everless, and the rich are keeping themselves alive for years, whilst the poor are dying because their time has run out due to their blood extraction. Unfortunately, Jules and her father cannot afford their rent and she must travel to work at an estate owned by Sempera’s aristocratic family in order to preserve her fathers remaining time. But is everything quite what it seems? DUN DUN DUN!

In all honesty, I haven’t felt this strongly about a book in a long time. It wasn’t perfect by any means, but it was so easy to read, and the world building left nothing to be desired. Right from the get go, you’re thrust into this land and you know exactly the way the world works. For such a complex story line, Holland’s execution was flawless. I could probably even give you a guided tour of the Everless estate and be pretty confident about it!

As a debut especially, the characters were very well fleshed out. Jules and her father were delightful, and their relationship reminded me a lot of Belle and Maurice from Beauty & The Beast. She would occasionally pass over into the whole ‘I, and I alone, must save the world’  stereotype, but predominantly she was just trying to solve a mystery, and remained down to earth and relatable.

The supporting cast of characters were equally great. I originally thought I was going to hate Ina as I expected Holland to make her the ‘bitchy blonde’ stereotype, but she veered well away from it thankfully and ended up being lovely. The two brothers Roan and Liam reminded me heavily of the Salvatore’s from The Vampire Diaries. This wasn’t necessarily a negative, but it didn’t feel particularly original. There are also hints of a love triangle and a hate-to-love trope in there too, but these weren’t fully fledged out…yet.

Unfortunately, there was just something stopping me from giving this a full five out of five. The writing was very stereotypical of a YA fantasy, which despite the fairly original plot, was disappointing. The genre is clearly HUGE right now amongst this age group, but almost all of the releases are starting to blend into one another. There was also a very small dip in excitement towards the end of Everless. So many things were happening at once, and I think it all wrapped up too quickly, especially given how much of a slow burner the story could be at times.

Overall though, this could potentially be one of my favourite books of 2018! Perhaps lacking in originality at times, but an excellent debut nonetheless.

Thank you to Netgalley, Sara Holland and Orchard Books for giving me a review copy. I have already gone and purchased a physical copy and it’s so beautiful!




So, if you weren’t already aware, I am on the street team for the lovely Laura Steven’s book The Exact Opposite Of Okay. It’s a YA contemporary that deals with sexism, feminism, revenge porn and tackles ‘the nice guy’ stereotype. With society being what it is today, I can assure you that this will be one of the most important books you read this year and I highly suggest you pick up a copy!

ALSO if you have proof of a pre-order, you will win an exclusive bonus chapter detailing the main character Izzy’s first time and believe me, once you’ve finished the book, you’ll be struggling to wait until 2019 for the follow up, so make full use of this opportunity and PRE-ORDER. Send proof to

You have until March 7th to send an email, and don’t forget that the book itself releases on March 8th! I genuinely cannot wait to hold that finished copy in my hands!

Haven’t pre-ordered yet? GO, GO, GO! What are you waiting for?


Book Blogger Confessions Tag


This is my first ever book tag (yay!) and I was tagged by the lovely JJ over on This Dark Material , so make sure you go and check out her answers too!

Rules are simple! Answer all questions honestly, and tag five fellow book bloggers to join in with you!

Let’s go!

Which book, most recently, did you not finish?


I’m one of those readers that never DNF’s a book, even if I’m hating it. I will literally always get to the end, but sometimes I will skim read. So the last book I ended up skim reading would have to be Morrissey’s List Of The Lost. LOVE his music, DESPISED his novel.

Which book is your guilty pleasure?


The Twilight saga. Yes, Edward is controlling and creepy as hell. Yes, Jacob is the definition of a man who can’t take no for an answer. And yes, Bella was a stereotypical damsel in distress, but I love the stories. Probably more for sentimental reasons than anything else, but they will always hold a special place in my heart for being my first YA series.

Which book do you love to hate?


Dreamfall by Amy Plum. There were a lot of great reviews for this, so please do not be put off reading it! It was bursting with potential, and as someone who loves horror, it was just full of never-ending genre tropes that I couldn’t look past. My boyfriend ended up giving it a five star review, so it fuels my ‘hatred’ even more because we tease each other over contrasting opinions sometimes. I’m still hopeful for the sequel though!

Which book would you throw into the sea?


I’m going to piss off a few horror fans here, but I’d throw Stephen King’s It in the sea and hope no one ever uncovers it again. The basis of the story is insanely good, as is King’s writing (obviously!), but it’s far too long and starts veering off into nonsensical directions.

Which book have you read the most?


Lola Rose by Jacqueline Wilson. It was my favourite story when I was younger, and remains a personal favourite to this day.

Which book would you hate to receive as a present?

Any self help book. Hell, no.

Which book could you not live without?


I’m going to cheat here and say the entirety of the Harry Potter series (not including The Cursed Child!) – those books shaped who I was as a person, and I wouldn’t be me without them. I can’t even imagine not being able to read them again.

Which book made you angriest?


The Exact Opposite Of Okay by Laura Steven. However, not a negative kind of angry. What I mean is that this book fuelled so much rage against the way we as a society treat women, that I was insanely annoyed once I’d reached the end because it was SO. DAMN. ACCURATE. Such a powerful and poignant story and I highly recommend you read it!

Which book make you cry the most?


Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson. I fully admit that I expected this to be a light, fluffy contemporary before I started reading, but I genuinely don’t think I’ve cried so much over a novel. All it takes is for me to pick up my copy and re-read the last few pages to end up an emotional wreck all over again.

Which book cover do you hate the most?


I mean, I love Rick Riordan books. I love his US book covers, and I really don’t mind some of his UK ones either, but this was just awful to have on my shelf (it looked a lot worse in person, believe me!) – I may or may not have gotten rid of my copy because I hated the cover so much….don’t judge.

I’m tagging Adrianna at For the Love of Books , John at Books and Fables, Vanessa at Vanessa Phan , Annemieke at A Dance With Books and Ash at THEBOOKBAKERY17

Feel feel to do this even if you haven’t been tagged, and sorry if you’ve already been tagged to do this and I’ve just tagged you!

Disrespecting Libraries – Bookworms & Their Safe Haven.

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If you are in an area that is lucky enough to have a library, think back to the days you spent there as a child. Instead of maxing out credit cards, you were maxing out your library card. Browsing the same picture book section repeatedly every week in the hopes that they would have something that you hadn’t yet read. Making friends with other children, and often even befriending the librarians. Never getting late fees because you moved to the next stack of books so quickly, or always getting late fees because you found yourself reading the same story over and over because it was just that good.

Flash forward a few years, and you’re reading more grown up stories. Getting lost in chocolate factories, having sleepover clubs, and getting into mischief with Mary Kate and Ashley, all within the confines of that one building. Heck, maybe your parents even dropped you off for a few hours like mine occasionally did, and let me tell you, those few hours are one of the childhood memories that I remember most fondly.

Unfortunately despite my continued love of reading, libraries became somewhere I spent less and less time the more I got older. Perhaps it was due to education obligations or maybe it was even because my so called friends didn’t think it was a cool place to hang out. All I know is that I stopped going altogether.

Throughout my late teens I tried to recapture that feeling I used to have, except after my mental health took it’s toll, things started to look a bit differently to me. If there was someone else in the YA section, I’d go and pretend to look at a different genre that I wasn’t remotely interested in, in the hopes that they’d leave soon as my anxiety would be going through the roof. Or, there’d be the days that a big group of teenagers would decide to hang out in the library to mess around, despite not having a remote interest in it’s contents whatsoever. Instead of spending hours in there, I’d return my books, pick a couple of new ones out and promptly leave.

I know now that I’m not cut out for libraries. I struggle with OCD, and in all honestly because of that, reading a book that lots of people have already read, makes me feel really weird. Moving onto what this post is actually about however..the previously mentioned groups of disrespectful teenagers.


A couple of nights ago, my boyfriend and I were looking for ways to kill time before we needed to catch our bus. We walked past the library and even if I don’t use them, the appeal of seeing lots of books in one place is just too much so we headed in. Just beforehand though, a group of around six teenagers were on their way out. One had a cigarette that was ALREADY LIT hanging out of his mouth.

I didn’t think anything of it other than my anxiety telling me to quickly walk past and get into the comforting atmosphere of the library. It was almost closing time by this point so the librarians were just hanging about and talking. I was picking up on their conversation every so often but was too busy looking at all the recently added YA titles. However, when I heard them talking about the teenagers that had just walked out, I immediately started paying attention. They were shaken up, and I mean heavily shaken up. To the extent that one of them was trying to persuade her husband to come and pick her up because she was too scared to walk home.

Apparently about an hour before, the group had walked into the library like they owned the place, just being generally loud and disruptive. I know this sucks, but unfortunately at least here in the UK, libraries are often used like this. It’s horrible, but expected. What’s unexpected however is what allegedly happened next. They proceeded to antagonise the librarians, getting quite personal and even used the names on their name tags to do this. I don’t know about you, but I feel like that’s such an invasion of someone’s privacy. Use their first names all you want if you’re well acquainted/using it in a polite way, but to take someones name and be rude to them is disgraceful.

THEN to finish it off, they began to unplug all of the computer systems in the library and became disruptive to the people just browsing the aisles.

From what I heard, the librarians threatened to call the police and they left, but I believe the police were indeed called and further action was going to be taken by getting in contact with their school.


This whole thing upset me for a variety of reasons.

  1. No one should have to go through this in their work place EVER. I don’t understand what makes someone feel like it’s okay to antagonise staff, but I’ve seen this happen in other places as well.
  2. I don’t want to generalise, and often it’s probably not the case, but I know that a lot of us readers deal with mental health issues on a day to day basis. It’s a big possibility that the librarians themselves also have this issue, and if they don’t, they are going to feel anxiety whenever a group of teenagers walks through that door in future. Even if that group is perhaps full of the nicest kids you’ll ever come across.
  3. It furthers the ‘all teenagers are thugs’ stereotype even more, which is something the UK is really struggling with at the moment.
  4. Libraries are our safe haven. They’re our big, open, cosy reading nooks that everyone can enjoy. They’re meant to be peaceful, quiet and relaxed. Somewhere you can dip in and out of worlds in. Somewhere you can drop your children off and know they’re going to be safe and happy. Somewhere that you can make bookish friends if you’re feeling particularly confident. The thought of a bookworm going to a library only to get harassed is so upsetting to me. Libraries are our place, and to think that someone might struggle to go out but gathers the confidence to go to one, only to get that knocked back down by strangers is horrifying.


I don’t know what can be done about this, or if anything even can. I mean, are we going to have to start having bouncers guarding the doors into libraries? It’s ridiculous. All I know is that I have a voice, and I wanted to share this with you because I know that you’ll understand and care.

Please feel free to comment and share your thoughts.

Matilda x