You’d Be Mine by Erin Hahn | Sister Review

You’d Be Mine by Erin Hahn | Sister Review

You'd Be Mine

A Brand New Sister Review
 This review is a combined effort between me and my sister. We read a book and review it by asking each other questions related to the title we are reviewing. The idea is to provide you with two different perspectives.

 This review might contain spoilers! We might discuss any part of the story (sometimes the questions we ask each other might be general, while other times they might touch upon something specific about the ending, etc). If you have not read the book and do not wish for the story to be spoiled you might want to avoid this post!

You’d Be Mine by Erin Hahn | Sister ReviewYou'd Be Mine by Erin Hahn
Published by Wednesday Books on April 2nd 2019
Genres: Love & Romance
Pages: 304
Format: Hardcover
Buy on Bol.comBuy on Book Depository

Annie Mathers is America’s sweetheart and heir to a country music legacy full of all the things her Gran warned her about. Superstar Clay Coolidge is most definitely going to end up one of those things.

But unfortunately for Clay, if he can’t convince Annie to join his summer tour, his music label is going to drop him. That’s what happens when your bad boy image turns into bad boy reality. Annie has been avoiding the spotlight after her parents’ tragic death, except on her skyrocketing YouTube channel. Clay’s label wants to land Annie, and Clay has to make it happen.

Swayed by Clay’s undeniable charm and good looks, Annie and her band agree to join the tour. From the start fans want them to be more than just tour mates, and Annie and Clay can’t help but wonder if the fans are right. But if there’s one part of fame Annie wants nothing to do with, it’s a high-profile relationship. She had a front row seat to her parents’ volatile marriage and isn’t interested in repeating history. If only she could convince her heart that Clay, with his painful past and head over heels inducing tenor, isn’t worth the risk.

 Iris asks Merel:

After about two chapters of You’d Be Mine I had a country playlist blaring through my speakers. Did you experience the same?

The book certainly got me in that mood. However, at the time I was staying with someone (YOU) who was quite intent on being the DJ. So I didn’t have it blaring from my speakers, but I did get major Hunter Hayes/Sam Hunt vibes!.  

What did you think of the romance and how it developed? 

I really liked how this was a slow burner in terms of romance. In fiction it sometimes bothers me how fast characters go from ‘I don’t want to be in a relationship with this person’ to ‘suddenly being madly in love/lust’You’d Be Mine definitely wasn’t like that. While it was quite clear where the story was going, the book mainly revolved around the story itself and the romance just seamlessly fit into this. 

Did the plot and the way it unfolded surprise you in any way? 

No, but for me that’s not necessarily a bad thing. After reading the blurb, it seemed quite clear to me where the story was headed. However, it’s not the ending that makes a book, it’s how the characters get there, how they develop throughout the story, and how the book is written. I liked the writing style of You’d Be Mine a lot!

What was your favourite character in You’d Be Mine

When it comes to the two main characters, I liked reading about Clay/Jefferson the most. It was very clear that he needed to work through some personal stuff, and wasn’t handling his past very well. I thought it was so interesting to read how he coped, spiralled out of control, and how he got it together in the end. I loved how he slowly figured out who he was, and how he wanted to to go about in the world.

Another character I liked a lot (besides Annie’s grandparents, because they were ab-so-lu-te-ly lovely) was Clay’s friend Fitz. I loved how loyal he was to Clay, and how he always tried to support him. He didn’t always do the right thing, but his character showed that blood doesn’t make a family, but love does. No matter what happened, he was always there for Clay/Jefferson and help him in whatever way he needed help.   

Merel asks Iris:

You were VERY excited about You’d Be Mine, did it live up to your expectations? 

Yes I was, and yes it did! I wanted a feel good contemporary that packed a punch, and You’d Be Mine definitely delivered. I love how it was SUCH an enjoyable read that had me playing country music non-stop, while also focussing on heavier themes, such mental health. I thoroughly enjoyed the You’d Be Mine and feel a reread coming up later this summer!

Was it easy for you to relate to the characters? Who did you like best, and what character did you want to learn more about?

Although I am in no way a good singer, nor am I an up-and-coming country star, I found it easy to relate to the characters in You’d Be Mine. This probably had to do with the fact that the fame wasn’t the most important part of the story. It was about these incredibly talented teens that were embarking on an amazing adventure, while dealing with the hardships of their respective pasts. It was a coming of age story above all else, and I think it was beautifully written.

My favourite characters were Clay and Annie (sorry, it’s a tie). They are also the characters I just wanted to know MORE about. I wanted to know more about their pasts and gobbled up all the bits and pieces of information as they were slowly revealed throughout the story.

I think every girl/woman has a rock star fantasy, how did you feel about the implementation of that aspect in this book? 

I thought it was so wonderfully done! One of my favourite things about You’d Be Mine is how it wasn’t just about ‘famous people’ and how it didn’t glorify that lifestyle at all. If anything it took the fantasy out of it by humanising the characters. It wasn’t so much a ‘rock star romance’ book to me, it was a coming of age story that was sweet and innocent and kept it very real.

This book deals with quite some heavy issues. How did you think these issues were handled? Do you think You’d Be Mine was written in a realistic way?

I think my answers to your earlier questions already somewhat answer this one. The mental health issues, as well as Clay’s drinking problem was handled very carefully in my opinion. I think You’d Be Mine does a very good job of bringing these issues to attention and carefully deals with them in a manner that I found quite realistic. I mean, these issues weren’t magically fixed by the end of the book, it’s a process, and I think that’s part of the message that makes You’d Be Mine such a good story.

  • Plot 80% 80%
  • Writing style 85% 85%
  • Characters 90% 90%
I Designed, Edited, and Produced my First Book

I Designed, Edited, and Produced my First Book

Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde

I designed, edited, and produced my first book

My Book Project

You may or may not know that I am a MSc Publishing student at Edinburgh Napier University. During our second trimester we got to do a really cool project. (Probably the coolest project I’ve ever done!) We had to produce our very own book. We were given two criteria: the author we chose had to be Scottish, and the book we picked had to be out of copyright. My choice: The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson, a Scottish classic I enjoyed reading immensely during my undergrad.

When I started this project, I knew right away I wanted to create a young adult edition of a classic title. My main reasoning behind this being that those were the books that I, as a non-native speaker, couldn’t read when I was a teenager and still learning English. I wanted to create an edition of The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde that I would have been able to read. I am so very proud of the end result, and think I achieved the goals I set for myself and then some!

Cover Illustration

Alongside editing, I started thinking about the cover. I had a rough idea of what I wanted, however, I knew my Adobe skills weren’t advanced enough to create what I was picturing in my head. I wanted a cover that showcased the contrasting personalities of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, the cover needed to be appealing to both boys and girls (and have that slighly horror-ish look to it), and above all it needed to be a YA cover.

So, I contacted my VERY talented friend: Shiralee. She’s a graphic designer from the Netherlands, and after a skype conversation and few emails she absolutely nailed it and created this beautiful cover illustration for me!

The Editorial Bits

The editorial part of this book was perhaps what I was most nervous for. Because I set my sights on creating a young adult edition of The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde there was a lot to be done. I first went through the manuscript to eliminate any grammatical and spelling errors. After that was done it was time to focus on what needed to be done to make this an edition suitable for young adults (both native and non-native speakers). The original work was full of endlessly long sentences and quite some archaic words. Both needed to dealt with, but in such a way that I stayed true to the original work.

I ended up creating shorter sentences by splitting up the ones that were too long. I made a list of all words I didn’t immediately know the meaning of (and those that I did but were too old-fashioned) and researched them by looking up the definition and finding out where they originated. The list of words was quite long,  and took time to research, but it made me realise that there were some words that I wanted to keep because they gave the work (and the time period it is set in) character.

Hence why I ended up creating a glossary in the back of the book. Readers don’t need to use it to understand the book, but it does enhance the reading experience and allowed me to keep those words I wanted to keep. For example, the word ‘Sawbones’ is in the glossary. It’s a slang term for a surgeon or doctor, and I loved it to much to just cut it out of the book. The glossary solved this problem for me.

The Internals

Once all editorial was done, I had to flow in all text, and start on the production of the book in InDesign. This was probably my favourite part. I love working with InDesign and spent A LOT of hours making sure the internals ended up as pretty as they could be. There’s endpapers, there’s chapter illustrations, I took care of those pesky widows and orphans, and I made sure there were no weirdly hyphenated words throughout the book. You can see a glimpse of those endpapers and chapter illustrations in the image on the left (or above, depending from which device you’re viewing this post). Both (again) curtesy of my insanely talented friend Shiralee!

A lot of hours went into creating this young adult edition of The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde, but it’s hours incredibly well spent, because I am SO PROUD of the final product. I’m so grateful that Edinburgh Napier University created a learning environment that allows students to experience this. It was a safe environment that allowed room for trial and error, and I feel like I understand and appreciate the time and effort that goes into creating a book even more than before.

The book is currently at Bell & Bain in Glasgow, where it is BEING PRINTED. You read it right, in a few weeks time I get to hold actual physical copies of the book I created.

And that’s a wrap! I have been sitting on this, wanting to share it with you, for what feels like forever (but was actually just a trimester…). I’d love to hear your thoughts, so do feel free to leave a comment below!

Once Upon a Book Club – April

Once Upon a Book Club – April

Once Upon a Book Club


Once upon a time, there was a group of women studying publishing in Edinburgh, Scotland. Neither of them was originally from the country, but they all had something in common: they had a fondness for romance novels. And so it happened, that when they crossed paths, it did not take long before a book club was formed.

Meet Cute by Helena Hunting

For April we read Meet Cute by Helena Hunting! For this month’s book club there was wine, a large amount macarons, and birthday celebrations (as we celebrated Justine’s birthday on the same day). All in all another VERY succesful book club. 

Be advised that this post might contain spoilers! We discuss various aspects of the book(s) and although we try to avoid spoilers, some aspects cannot be discussed without mentioning parts of what happened in the book.

Once Upon a Book Club – AprilMeet Cute by Helena Hunting
Published by Piatkus on April 9th 2019
Genres: Love & Romance
Pages: 304
Buy on Bol.comBuy on Book Depository

Talk about an embarrassing introduction. On her first day of law school, Kailyn ran - quite literally - into the actor she crushed on as a teenager, ending with him sprawled on top of her. Mortified to discover the Daxton Hughes was also a student in her class, her embarrassment over their meet-cute quickly turned into a friendship she never expected. Of course, she never saw his betrayal coming either...

Now, eight years later, Dax is in her office asking for legal advice. Despite her anger, Kailyn can't help feeling sorry for the devastated man who just became sole guardian to his thirteen-year-old sister. But when her boss gets wind of Kailyn's new celebrity client, there's even more at stake than Dax's custody issues: if she gets Dax to work at their firm, she'll be promoted to partner.

The more time Kailyn spends with Dax and his sister, the more she starts to feel like a family, and the more she realizes the chemistry they had all those years ago is as fresh as ever. But will they be able to forgive the mistakes of the past, or will one betrayal lead to another?

Justine on the plot

I didn’t expect Meet Cute to be so emotional, as the cover gives off a light rom-com vibe. It’s a flirty yet heartfelt, frenemies-turned-lovers love story.

On the first day of law school, Kailyn Flowers is knocked to the ground by Daxton Hughes, a celebrity actor that starred on Kailyn’s favourite TV show as a teenager. Her fangirl infatuation turns into an academic rivalry once she realises that he too is studying law. Their friendly competition leads to a falling out at the end of their last year and the two go their separate ways.

That is, until Dax shows up in her office years later looking for legal guidance of his own. Despite holding a grudge from their university days, she feels bad for what he’s going through and agrees to help. Kailyn becomes Dax’s shoulder to lean on, and provides some emotional stability to he and his sister Emme as they struggle with some enormous life changes.

Not only is the chemistry between Kailyn and Dax great, but I loved the relationship that develops between each of them and 13-year-old Emme. It’s sweet and funny, yet sometimes heartbreaking. Overall, I’d say Meet Cute surprised me in the best way. Helena Hunting strikes a beautiful balance between developing the romantic plot line, while still giving us the family-love dynamic.

 Caoimh on the characters

I loved the characters that Hunting created for Meet Cute. They made me laugh, smile, and cry in equal porportions. I liked glimpsing their lives, watching them grow into themselves, their careers and responsibilities in their own unique way, especially the comedy of Kailyn’s forever fan girl hidden inside her lawyer self.

One of my favourite characters would have to be Dax’s sister Emme. She added so much teenage hilarity in her own way and really added that to Dax and Kailyn’s relationship. I loved that while the story focuses on Dax and Kailyn and their love and relationship, Emme was interwoven as an integral and necessary aspect to both their lives and future decisions, in a realistic manner suited to the characters.

Lauren on the romance

The romance in Meet Cute was so great. They went from friends to enemies to friends to lovers (many ups and downs!). Their relationship progressed so naturally. Kailyn and Dax had such a connection, from the first time they met; he was a celebrity, she was a fan,  but it was never awkward between them because of that (other than the first encounter). I loved how mature their relationship was. Yes, they had some drama, but it wasn’t far fetched- Dax had a reason to be hurt, and they did get over it.

Kailyn and Dax had to be very mature about their relationship from the start because of the circumstances surrounding them, and they didn’t let their drama get in the way of what was important, because they always put Emme first. Despite this, you could still see that the couple was truly in love with each other, and they had so many sweet moments and good banter. She grounded him, and he convinced her to be more daring. Meet Cute was super cute, especially the epilogue; would recommend reading just for that adorable moment!

Iris on her favourite scene

My favourite scene from Meet Cute is without a doubt the epilogue. It was such a fun scene, flawlessly linking back to that very fist ‘fangirl’ moment at the beginning of the book. I absolutely loved that her birthday dinner turned into a cast reunion and her being swarmed and group hugged by all the cast members of her favourite tv-show when she was a teenager. I loved that extra fangirl moment, which, as I mentioned before, links back so perfectly to that first scene when she met Dax for the first time. It had me smiling from ear to ear and was the perfect scene to end the book with.

  • Plot 90% 90%
  • Romance 90% 90%
  • Characters 90% 90%
Once Upon a Book Club – March

Once Upon a Book Club – March

Once Upon a Book Club


Once upon a time, there was a group of women studying publishing in Edinburgh, Scotland. Neither of them was originally from the country, but they all had something in common: they had a fondness for romance novels. And so it happened, that when they crossed paths, it did not take long before a book club was formed.

99 Percent Mine by Sally Thorne

Apologies for the extreme delay in posting the March book club discussion. ‘Eat Train Read’ switched hosts, and unfortunately experienced some issues during the move. But we’re back! And with a brand new look!
For March we decided to read the latest release by one of our favourite romance authors: Sally Thorne. We all read (and loved) Sally Thorne’s debut The Hating Game, and were really excited to read 99 Percent Mine as this month’s book club pick.

Be advised that this post might contain spoilers! We discuss various aspects of the book(s) and although we try to avoid spoilers, some aspects cannot be discussed without mentioning parts of what happened in the book.

Once Upon a Book Club – March99 Percent Mine by Sally Thorne
Published by William Morrow Paperbacks on January 29th 2019
Genres: Love & Romance
Pages: 368
Buy on Bol.comBuy on Book Depository

Darcy Barrett has undertaken a global survey of men. She’s travelled the world, and can categorically say that no one measures up to Tom Valeska, whose only flaw is that Darcy’s twin brother Jamie saw him first and claimed him forever as his best friend. Despite Darcy’s best efforts, Tom’s off limits and loyal to her brother, 99%. That’s the problem with finding her dream man at age eight and peaking in her photography career at age twenty—ever since, she’s had to learn to settle for good enough.

When Darcy and Jamie inherit a tumble-down cottage from their grandmother, they’re left with strict instructions to bring it back to its former glory and sell the property. Darcy plans to be in an aisle seat halfway across the ocean as soon as the renovations start, but before she can cut and run, she finds a familiar face on her porch: house-flipper extraordinaire Tom’s arrived, he’s bearing power tools, and he’s single for the first time in almost a decade.

Suddenly Darcy’s considering sticking around to make sure her twin doesn’t ruin the cottage’s inherent magic with his penchant for grey and chrome. She’s definitely not staying because of her new business partner’s tight t-shirts, or that perfect face that's inspiring her to pick up her camera again. Soon sparks are flying—and it’s not the faulty wiring. It turns out one percent of Tom’s heart might not be enough for Darcy anymore. This time around, she’s switching things up. She’s going to make Tom Valeska 99 percent hers.

Caoimh on the plot

From just the blurb for 99 Percent Mine the plot had me hooked. The idea of being in love with your twin’s best friend, who was also in construction, had me swooning from page one. I loved the pace of the plot by Sally Thorne, it saw me struggle to put the book down to eat, sleep, move which I always think is a sign of a excellent book. I loved how the plot took the classic alpha male trope and flipped in on its head and instead gave that role to Darcy, who is a major badass can I just say. The only thing I wanted more of in the plot is a more drawn out ending. It felt a little rushed but the bonus epilogue did help my heart when it came to see Darcy and Tom living their blissful relationship on the road flipping houses.

 Iris on the characters

99 Percent Mine was an absolute joy to read. I was pretty pumped when I learned this book is a friends-to-lovers romance AND a second-chance-romance, two things that absolutely DELIGHT my hopelessly romantic heart. Finding out, after having read the book, that the characters have incredibly depth and develop beautifully throughout the story and you have a bestseller in my opinion. What a book!

Darcy’s monologue makes you laugh out loud. She’s intelligent and witty (not to forget that that she enjoys knocking down entitled frat boys a peg or two). She is entirely unapologetic in her ways, which is exactly what makes her such a great character.

Tom is hard-working and so very sweet! Can you just find me my own Tom? I’d be forever happy. I loved Tom and Darcy’s dynamic and the whole opposites attract thing they had going on. I just want MORE!

Lauren on the romance

The romance in 99 Percent Mine was FANTASTIC. It takes the childhood-friends-to-lovers/ brothers-best-friend tropes in an entirely new direction, and I loved it! Darcy has had a crush on Tom for forever, but when he tells her he loves her at 17 she’s just not ready to hear it. A few years go by, a few relationships, a lot of travelling, and suddenly these two are back together and fixing up her grandmother’s house. Watching these two try to navigate a relationship with so much history and so many other people involved was so entertaining. The chemistry between them: off the charts! I loved how well they went together: Tom is Mr. Perfect, and Darcy is Miss Tough Girl, and somehow they work! The banter that these two had, which can only come from years of knowing each other (and the genius mind of Sally Thorne), had me grinning at my book the entire time. And the kisses? So. Much. Chemistry. This romance had everything. My only complaint? I want more of it. Especially Tom, where can I find one?

Justine on her favourite scene

I know there are so many to choose from, and while some readers may disagree, one of my favourite scenes from 99 Percent Mine would have to be the first chapter’s opening scene.

The scene opens up with Darcy Barrett working at a bar, giving her unfiltered inner monologue on the evening unfolding, as she nears the end of her shift. There’s a definite rawness about her which comes through in her assertive, no-nonsense attitude. She enjoys breaking down ‘alpha-males’ with her deadlock stare, and has no problem knocking entitled frat boys down a couple pegs. After getting hit on by said “human Ken doll”, her response to his asking when she gets off work is: “Not for a million years.”

I loved the way this scene introduced us to Darcy’s edgy, albeit sometimes self-destructive nature. Right away, I understood that sarcasm is her default setting, and found her ferocity and sassiness oddly endearing. It definitely set the tone for what to expect from her as the story progressed. A huge applause to Queen Sally Thorne, for once again delivering us a bass-ass leading lady.

  • Plot 95% 95%
  • Romance 100% 100%
  • Characters 100% 100%
The Girl King by Mimi Yu | Sister Review

The Girl King by Mimi Yu | Sister Review

The Girl King by Mimi Yu

Sister Review
 This review is a combined effort between me and my sister. We read a book and review it by asking each other questions related to the title we are reviewing. The idea is to provide you with two different perspectives.

 This review might contain spoilers! We might discuss any part of the story (sometimes the questions we ask each other might be general, while other times they might touch upon something specific about the ending, etc). If you have not read the book and do not wish for the story to be spoiled you might want to avoid this post!

The Girl King by Mimi Yu | Sister ReviewThe Girl King by Mimi Yu
Series: The Girl King #1
Published by Bloomsbury Publishing on January 8th 2019
Genres: Fantasy & Magic
Pages: 518
Buy on Bol.comBuy on Book Depository

Two sisters become unwitting rivals in a war to claim the title of Emperor in this sweeping tale of ambition, sacrifice and betrayal for readers of Sabaa Tahir and Alwyn Hamilton.

All hail the Girl King.

Sisters Lu and Min have always understood their places as princesses of the Empire. Lu knows she is destined to become the dynasty's first female ruler, while Min is resigned to a life in her shadow. Then their father declares their male cousin Set the heir instead—a betrayal that sends the sisters down two very different paths.

Determined to reclaim her birthright, Lu goes on the run. She needs an ally—and an army—if she is to succeed. Her quest leads her to Nokhai, the last surviving wolf shapeshifter. Nok wants to keep his identity secret, but finds himself forced into an uneasy alliance with the girl whose family killed everyone he ever loved…

Alone in the volatile court, Min's hidden power awakens—a forbidden, deadly magic that could secure Set's reign…or allow Min to claim the throne herself. But there can only be one Emperor, and the sisters' greatest enemy could turn out to be each other.

 Iris asks Merel:

As pumped as I was for this book, it took me quite some time to get into the story. Did you experience the same? 

Yes, I did! I thought the book had a lot of potential, but I had quite a hard time getting into the story, so that was too bad. It also took me a lot time to get invested in the story. When I put the book down because I had something else to do, I never really felt the urge to pick up the book again.  

The Girl King has three main characters, characters that I found hard to connect with. Part of it might have to do with the fact that it’s written in third person POV. What are your thoughts on this? 

I also had a hard time connecting with the main characters. They felt distant to me, and reading about their stories made me feel rather detached. However, I don’t think it was the third person perspective, since many authors use it. Sarah J. Maas wrote her books in 3rd person POV and I most certainly did not have any trouble getting in to her books, or relating to her characters. I think for The Girl King  it had more to do with the writing style, which wasn’t bad, but it just wasn’t my cup of tea.

What did you think of the Asian elements in the story? Did any stand out to you and/or what’s your favourite element? 

I really liked the idea of it, since there are a lot of myths and legends in Asian culture/history that I’m not familiar with, so an Asian inspired fantasy sounded really interesting! I liked the elements that could be found throughout the novel, and I think it’s cool that she used those. I really liked the concept of the Kith in the story, and how there were all these different tribes. I loved finding out that the empire of the first flame used to have gifted Kith as well, namely the tiger, but that  they lost the ability somehow. I think the storyline of the Kith made the book quite interesting.  

The Girl King is another book in a (pretty long) line up of strong female heroine centred YA books. I think we can agree we both love a kickass heroine, where does this book rate in this line up? 

Oh, I suck at these questions!  For this one, I’ll be going with Lu, since I didn’t like Min very much to be honest… She annoyed me quite a lot. Lu is a badass! Not only is she good with a sword, she also has a sense of responsibility and loyalty. Moreover, I loved how she learned from her mistakes and the encounters she had. She did not blindly stick to her beliefs that her kingdom had been blameless in some of the darker, more ruthless events in the past. Once she learned the truth, she accepted it and learned to live with it, instead of denying it and insisting that the others were wrong.  

In my opinion, Lu is pretty cool. Not just a badass, but also  genuinely a good person. So, she ranks pretty high as a person! It’s just a bit harder to think of her when people ask me for some great heroines, since the book did not capture my full attention.  

I liked how impulsive actions had consequences in the story, which leads to Lu to learn from her mistakes and confront her biases. What do you think about this?  

It always feels good when you read about a character that learns from her mistakes and past, and Lu certainly learned a lot about herself during her journey. Not just Lu though, Nokhai also discovered a whole lot more about himself. I liked how they both developed throughout the story and became bigger than when they started. They learned truths about themselves, the other and the world. 

All and all this book was a bit ‘meh’ for me. Tell me what was your favourite thing about The Girl King and what was your least favourite thing? 

I know what you feel, since I pretty much felt the same. I was really excited for this release, and it felt a bit like a let-down. Which is too bad, because the concept wasn’t bad! And while answering your questions, I also realised that both Lu and Nokhai’s characters were quite well developed, yet still it wasn’t what I had hoped for.  

As I already mentioned above, I loved the concepted of the gifted Kith with it’s different tribes and how she spun this part of the story. I thought it was really interesting and original! (Which is probably why I liked reading about Nokhai most haha.)

My least favourite thing… Honestly, I really disliked how Min evolved in the story. I get that she and Lu were totally different people, and that that was the reason for their strained relationship, but I felt like Min didn’t try a lot. She acted self-absorbed, constantly felt sorry for herself and everything she had to endure, and remained ignorant of everything else. And look at the consequences of her actions… I think I had a hard time accepting that in the end, she dropped her sister ruthlessly, just so she could get what she thought she wanted. She did not think about her sister, or the rest of the world.  So yeah, I didn’t enjoy reading about Min, even though I was quite interested to read about her learning to use her powers. Even when her magic had awakened, she still let other people use her (and her powers). 

Merel asks Iris:

What did you think about the setting? 

I thought the setting was really interesting. When I first heard about this book and found out it was high-fantasy, revolved around two sisters, and Asian inspired I was instantly hooked. In fact, the setting was one of the things about The Girl King that I did really enjoy. I think the Asian setting was really cool and the magic system was really interesting.

Which storyline did you enjoy the most? Which did you like the least? 

I think this was my biggest struggle in The Girl King. There are three third-person perspectives, that of Lu, her sister Min, and Nok. I found about halfway through that I didn’t particularly love any of them. I liked Nok and thought his storyline was interesting, but he felt a bit interchangable with most YA fantasy love interests. Lu was badass, yes, but she too felt really similar to many other YA fantasy heroines. And Min… she annoyed me to no end with her endless naivete and self-pity.

All in all, I definitely enjoyed Lu and Nok’s storylines the most. Min’s story line was without a doubt my least favourite.

What did you think about character development in The Girl King? 

(I am not going to talk about Min here, sorry, but she frustrated me too much).

Similar to what you mentioned previously I really liked how Lu and Nok grew and learned from their mistakes. They discovered who they were as a person, what they stood for, and faced truths about themselves and the world they lived in. I might not have loved the characters, but I do see that they underwent change and defintely came out for the better!

What did you think about the writing style of the book? 

I don’t know. I felt disconnected from the story from the very beginning. It might have had to do with the characters, whom I didn’t really love, or the writing style. Or it might be a combination of the two. What I do know is that the writing didn’t suck me into the story and, especially in the beginning, had to force myself to keep reading.

Usually the male character is the strong and protective one. In Lu and Nokhai’s case the roles were reversed: Lu was the protective one. She was good with a sword and saved Nokhai multiple times. What’s your opinion on this? 

This was quite interesting and quite a nice contrast between the two. Nok was’t a warrior, at all. I think this had to do with the destruction and trauma in his past that left him scarred. Especially compared to Lu, he was quite unsure of all that was to come.

It’s quite an interesting contrast, really. (I hadn’t actually thought about it until you mentioned it).

I don’t tend to have a hard time getting into a new world when reading a fantasy book, as I mostly seem to fall right in. However, this time it took me longer, and I really had to make an effort. Can you relate to this? 

Unfortunately, yes… It took about a 100 pages for me to get invested into the story. If it hadn’t been a Sister Review book I might have actually put it down and stopped reading. I don’t think it had to do with the fact The Girl King is a fantasy book. As I mentioned before, I think it largely had to do with my inability to connect with the characters and the writing style.

Finally, will you read the next instalment in this series, which comes out February 2020? 

I have to think about this. I might pick it up to see if it grabs my attention and to find out whether the sequel is better than the first book. However, right now I’m not really interested in reading the sequel.

  • Plot 60% 60%
  • Setting 80% 80%
  • Writing style 50% 50%
  • Characters 40% 40%
The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson | Sister Review

The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson | Sister Review

The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson

Sister Review
 This review is a combined effort between me and my sister. We read a book and review it by asking each other questions related to the title we are reviewing. The idea is to provide you with two different perspectives.

 This review might contain spoilers! We might discuss any part of the story (sometimes the questions we ask each other might be general, while other times they might touch upon something specific about the ending, etc). If you have not read the book and do not wish for the story to be spoiled you might want to avoid this post!

The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson | Sister ReviewThe Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson
Published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers on May 3rd 2016
Genres: Contemporary
Pages: 519
Format: Hardcover
Buy on Bol.comBuy on Book Depository

Andie had it all planned out. When you are a politician’s daughter who’s pretty much raised yourself, you learn everything can be planned or spun, or both. Especially your future. Important internship? Check. Amazing friends? Check. Guys? Check (as long as we’re talking no more than three weeks).

But that was before the scandal. Before having to be in the same house with her dad. Before walking an insane number of dogs. That was before Clark and those few months that might change her whole life. Because here’s the thing—if everything’s planned out, you can never find the unexpected. And where’s the fun in that?

 Iris asks Merel:

 Of all the Morgan Matson books you’ve read so far, where does The Unexpected Everything rank? 

 Good question! My favourite book of hers is Save the Date, and Since You’ve Been Gone is my number two. To me, The Unexpected Everything and Second Chance Summer are about at the same level. With both books I had some difficulty identifying with the main character at first, which made it harder to get in to the book. Both are good stories, but I didn’t enjoy it as much as Save the Date, which I loved and made me laugh out loud a lot!

What did you think of the relationship between Andie and her father, or more specifically how it develops over time?

Andie and her dad have a very complex relationship, partly because both of them have such a hard time talking about their feelings. I don’t think it’s weird that their relationship was so strained at the beginning. They had lived different lives, pretty much all the time apart from each other, for the last five years. But both of them had played a part in that. Neither of them ever mentioned how they felt which made them drift apart and practically become strangers.

 I do get that Andie had a hard time adjusting after her father got home and started ‘being a dad’ since she had been living without him for the last five years.  I  enjoyed the fact that they started spending more time with each other throughout the book: doing it on their own terms, trying to build their relationship. In the end they got to a good place, and I did think that it was written in a realistic way: their relationship wasn’t perfect all of a sudden, they both had to put time and effort in it.

Clark has to be one of my favourite book boyfriends of all time. How do you rate Clark on the book boyfriend scale?

He was pretty amazing! I really liked the detail of him being a bestselling author himself. Oh, the rating part is difficult though… I kind of have different lists, haha. But to me, Clark reminded me of Levi from “Fangirl”, so that means he did really well!

One of my favourite things about this book is the fact that it is all about friendship. What did you think about Andie’s friendship with Palmer, Toby and Bri (you MUST mention the scavenger hunt here)?

Palmer: I think Palmer was the most evened out of the group. Out of all four she usually made the most grown-up decisions. I liked her a lot, she was a great friend and I loved how she set up a scavenger hunt and how invested she was in it. I think we can both relate to that part, haha. Therefore, I also understood her disappointment when Bri showed up empty-handed (for reasons I’m pretty sure we both guessed right then before the big secret came out…)

Toby: Toby was a great girl with a lot of insecurities. I think she had a hard time living under Bri’s shadow, but she also enjoyed it, because that way not all the attention would be on her. I think it was a good thing that she and Bri spent some time apart. This way she had time to figure out who she is and what she thinks is important in life.

Bri:  I have to admit that of all friends, Bri I remembered least about. It took me a bit of time to have it come back to me. I think that, just like Toby, Bri experienced some of the negative parts of having such a close friendship – to the point that they can’t even keep you apart. She always tried to think of Toby first, so it was a good thing for her as well that they got separated for a while. She totally handled the guy situation wrong, but I do understand how she felt. Oh! And I have to say, if you name your cat Mr. Cupcakes, you should expect an evil feline… I don’t think any feline would appreciate that name, haha.

Topher: In a way Topher wasn’t a friend, and in a way he was. He helped her a lot when her dad started doing his work, and in the end you do learn that he liked Andie more than he let on. But his personality throughout the story wasn’t one that made me like him a lot. He wasn’t a bad guy, but I wasn’t rooting for him either. Quite some times I got a bit annoyed when he was mentioned, but that had more to do with the fact that I disagreed with Andie’s decisions than with him.

Clark: I’m totally going to use this moment to gush about Clark, because they were friends first! I liked Clark.. A lot! His awkwardness and nerves made him so human. I think his character was well rounded since he also had his flaws (I mean the killing Majorie and .. part, that was harsh!),  but he also compensated for them and he had a huge heart. I totally loved the part where he found out that Andie didn’t read: “Wait, I’m sorry, but how do you not read books? Like-what do you do on planes?”  This made made me laugh, because for a fellow bookworm, this is such a relatable moment!

I don’t mind long books, but I felt like the plot was a bit all over the place, especially near the end. What did you think of the plot?

I think at the beginning the storyline was quite clear: the scandal with her dad led to Andie losing her carefully made plans, which led to her having to unexpectedly (see what I did there?) figure out something new. By starting the job as dog walker she met Clark and learned new things about herself so she could grow. I could see all the different drama’s coming from a mile away, so it’s not like they were randomly thrown together, but I do understand what you mean. It wasn’t just drama with her dad, or her friends, or with Clark. We got all three of them tangled up in each other. In a way this could resemble certain teenage moments, but it did lead to the story being all over the place.

Merel asks Iris:

When it comes to Morgan Matson’s books there are two possible scenarios for me: either I get pulled right in or the first 100-150 pages are a bit of a struggle and then I’ll enjoy it. Can you relate to this? If so, in which scenario did The Unexpected Everything fit for you?

I can 100% relate! I almost always end up loving Morgan Matson’s books, but sometimes I find it a bit hard to fully get into the story. This was the case for The Unexpected Everything. It took me a bit longer to get into the story, which is the complete opposite of my experience reading Save the Date. A little further into the story I did manage to get into it and I definitely enjoyed the book, just not as much as Save the Date.

As we know, European and American teen life can be quite different. How do you feel about this? Do you think this made it harder for us to relate to Andie?

I feel like the whole senator’s daughter ‘thing’ was a bit hard to relate to. However, that mainly because that’s just so far removed from what is known to me. Aside from that I didn’t have a whole lot of trouble relating to Andie. I could relate to how much the story revolved around friendship. It was, however, a bit hard to relate to how focused she was on making sure there was no gap on her CV. The university system is just very different in the Netherlands. I feel like we’re more focussed on just enjoying summer instead of finding an impressive job for your CV.

What did you think of the storyline? Do you think it was realistic? 

The plot felt a little bit all over the place. There was a lot going on all at once. Where the story was quite slow, the end felt VERY rushed to me. In a way, this is what made realistic as well, though. (I realise that sounds a bit ‘all over the place’ as well…) It did somehow work: The Unexpected Everything was enjoyable (even if the plot felt a bit messy to me).

What did you like most about The Unexpected Everything and what was your biggest dislike? Who was your favourite character and which character did you dislike the most?

You do realise this is four questions all disguised into one? CHEATER! I LOVED the role friendship played in the story. I love a good friendship heavy story and The Unexpected Everything definitely delivered! THAT SCAVENGER HUNT WAS EVERYTHING! My biggest dislike was probably the ending, which I won’t spoil, but felt a bit rushed. I feel like Clark is what book boyfriends are made of and he is definitely one of my favourite characters! My least favourite… Well, if you’re allowed to cheat with the amount of questions you ask, I’m allowed as well. I can’t think of anyone I truly disliked!

Morgan Matson is an amazing YA Contemporary/Coming of Age writer. Are there any authors you would recommend to dans of Morgan Matson?

YES! Jennifer Armentrout, Rainbow Rowell, Becky Albertalli, Adam Silvera, and MANY MORE. There are so many talented contemporary authors, but these are definitely some of my favourites.

  • Plot 60% 60%
  • Characters 90% 90%