Book Review: 8 Impressive Things about IMAGINE ME by Tahereh Mafi

“Imagine Me”

Shatter Me #6

by Tahereh Mafi

Nikki’s Rating: 8 out of 10

Summary: Ella Sommers and Juliette Ferrars are wiped from her mind and forgotten. In her place, a powerful soldier to The Reestablishment awakens and is fully loyal to Anderson. Juliette knows nothing of Warner, Kenji, or her life with Omega Point. But Warner will never give up on her. He is willing to take on his father and the other supreme commanders, the world itself if that’s what it takes. Warner will bring Juliette back, or die trying.

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8 Impressive Things about IMAGINE ME by Tahereh Mafi

(May Contain Spoilers)

1. Pacing

As with all the books in the Shatter Me series, “Imagine Me” had fantastic pacing. There was plenty of action and suspense that kept me apprehensive and engaged. I had a hard time putting the book down because I absolutely NEEDED to know what was going to happen next. “Imagine Me” also included opportunities for characters to grow and for readers to get to know them better.

2. Kenji

Kenji of course is a beloved character and “Imagine Me” really allowed him and Warner to bond in a way that they never had before. With their shared goal of wanting to save Juliette, regardless of the danger, they were able to find common ground and actually get to know one another without the interference of Juliette trying to force them together. It was essential for Warner to have another person in his life who cared about him beyond just Juliette.

3. Children of Monsters

One of the things that I really enjoyed about the Shatter Me series is that the children of the supreme commanders weren’t monstrous like their horrible parents. On the contrary, they were all victims of their parents in many ways. And they chose to be something different, regardless of what their parents wanted, which is never an easy feat.

4. Cycle of Abuse

While I could not truly give a shit about what Anderson had to endure in his life, the tiny glimpse we see of his upbringing clearly paints the picture of the cycle of abuse. His mother abused him, he abused his children, and his children definitely ended up with some issues. While none of this excuses any bad behavior, it shows how damaging even one abusive person is. Thankfully Adam and Warner were able to consciously decide they didn’t want to be like their father but they both have some serious emotional scars from the abuse they suffered.

5. Death All Around

Juliette ripping her mother’s heart out of her chest was so fucking satisfying, that woman was an absolute crazy bitch! And thankfully she wasn’t the only one to die. All the supreme commanders were dead by the end of “Imagine Me.” While they each deserved a much more slow, humiliating, and agonizing death for what they did to the world, I’m just happy that they are gone.

6. Warner and Juliette

Warner’s devotion and love for Juliette knows no bounds! Their shared history of falling in love over and over. Being there for each other when no one else in the world was. Showing kindness, compassion, understanding, and acceptance when their own parents were too cruel to. Juliette and Warner truly have an unbreakable bond that is absolutely heart wrenchingly beautiful!

7. Emmaline

Emmaline is finally at peace. Used and abused by her parents and in constant turmoil, Emmaline needed death to escape the agony of her life. And while it was sad that death was her only respite, she got to leave in the hands of her sister, loved, cherished, and taken out on her own terms. Bittersweet.

8. Happy Ending

I could cry from the happily ever after Juliette finally got with Warner in the end. I was extremely worried that he would lose his life in his quest to bring her back. These two characters have been through so much, I don’t think I could have handled them not being together at the end of the Shatter Me series. So I cannot express my gratitude to Mafi that she ended “Imagine Me” on a positive note with Warner and Juliette getting married and Juliette holding a puppy for the first time in her life with no fear of hurting it or those around her.


As always, thank you for reading. I would love to hear from you so feel free to contact me or comment below. If you would like to support this blog and/or my paintings please become my patron.

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Book Review: 7 Dynamic Things about DEFY ME by Tahereh Mafi

“Defy Me”

Shatter Me #5

by Tahereh Mafi

Nikki’s Rating: 7 out of 10

Summary: Juliette’s time as supreme commander of North America comes to a screeching halt. As she awakens in a place that is hauntingly familiar and yet forgotten, she comes to know the devastating reality of her past and how evil The Reestablishment truly is. Without Juliette and Warner, Kenji and the rest of the Omega Point gang are forced to trust the children of the other supreme commanders and hope they can get to Juliette and Warner before it’s too late.

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7 Dynamic Things about DEFY ME by Tahereh Mafi

(May Contain Spoilers)

1. The Past

I about lost it when I read about Warner and Juliette’s past! Over and over again they gravitated towards each other. Like finding your soulmate in every reincarnation, no matter how many times their memories were wiped, Warner and Juliette always developed a strong attachment. They were meant for each other and it’s so beautiful.

2. Kenji

Kenji is probably one of the best supporting characters in a book series, ever! The ridiculousness that comes out of his mouth makes him hilarious but his overall loyalty, kindness, and bravery make him an outstanding character. “Defy Me” includes chapters from his point of view which I loved but more importantly, another character sees the worth in him romantically and he finally has a girlfriend of sorts. The man deserves some happiness and romance.

3. The Reestablishment

Just when I thought The Reestablishment couldn’t get more sinister, Mafi had to introduce the twisted parents of Juliette. Ugh, they suck so much! Regardless, the twist that the desolate, destroyed world is actually a worldwide illusion was pretty clever. And of course, as Emma is dying, The Reestablishment plans to use Juliette’s powers to destroy the world for real.

4. Emma

Being Juliette’s long lost sister, it makes total sense that Emma is immensely powerful and just as rebellious. And although her life has been nothing but tragic and painful, I’m glad that she is still a good person regardless of the trauma she has been through. I was happy that she could distinguish who her enemies were and that she did not punish Juliette out of jealousy for having an actual life. Emma realized that Juliette is her salvation and working together they can take down The Reestablishment.

5. Anderson

While I am no way really happy that this terrible man is alive, I am impressed. The fucker has a healing factor now and is therefore really incredibly hard to kill. I suggest beheading and hope Warner or Adam get the honor of killing him for good!

6. Celebrations

“Defy Me” had some serious heartwarming moments, one being the celebration of Warner’s birthday. Having the whole gang come together to make better birthday memories for Warner and to show him that he was included and that he was cared about and loved was beyond heartwarming. Another beautiful moment was obviously the engagement of Juliette and Warner. And I’m so glad Warner didn’t listen to Kenji for once! While many girls would enjoy a man making a huge show when they propose, I couldn’t imagine Juliette wanting that or needing it, which totally makes sense to me. My own husband, who I’ve been happily married to for almost 5 years, asked me out of the blue one day at home. No ring, no extravagant dinner, no public displays, just asked me to marry him and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

7. Imagine Me

Juliette and Warner’s story continues in Book 6 of the Shatter Me series, “Imagine Me” and I’m hoping it will end with a happily ever after wedding ceremony. Is it bad that I’m really concerned that one of them is going to heartbreakingly die in order to save the other? Like this is a legitimate concern. So apprehensive to read “Imagine Me” but I must satisfy my curiosity!


As always, thank you for reading. I would love to hear from you so feel free to contact me or comment below. If you would like to support this blog and/or my paintings please become my patron.

Be Authentic. Be Unique. Be You.

Book Review: 8 Stellar Things about SOUL OF STARS by Ashley Poston

“Soul of Stars”

Heart of Iron #2

by Ashley Poston

Nikki’s Rating: 8 out of 10

Summary: On the run from the Emperor and the HIVE, Ana, the true Empress Ananke Armorov, is desperately searching the galaxy for a way to save Di and the other Metals who have been HIVE’d. With the aid of the colorful Captain Siege and her misfit crew, Ana gets closer to her destiny to save the universe from the Great Dark, D’thverek. But in order to defeat the Great Dark, she will have to sacrifice the robot she fell in love with.

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8 Stellar Things about SOUL OF STARS by Ashley Poston

(May Contain Spoilers)

1. Map

I was so excited that “Soul of Stars” included a map of the planets involved in the Heart of Iron world. While this did not make or break my understanding of the universe (I read “Heart of Iron” no problem which did not include a map), I am a visual person and I enjoy being able to visibly see where everything is relative to each other. Plus, it just makes the world more believable and the map is pretty.

2. LGBTQ

“Soul of Stars” includes multiple LGBTQ couples! There is Captain Siege and her wife Talle, Robb and Jax, and then Lenda and Viera are an item at the end. What I absolutely love is that LGBTQ relationships were a norm in the Heart of Iron universe, there were never any comments or derogatory remarks about characters being with same gender partners.

3. Jax

While I had a mini heart attack because Jax basically died, getting his light sucked out of him, his near death experience actually brought him lots of joy. He can touch people now without risk of seeing their stars or having his light drained! Which means, he and Robb can fully be together both emotionally and physically. Both of them deserve to be happy.

4. Background

Finally! Finally we get to have Di’s background story and it was wonderful. I liked that when Dimitri was human, he was Nicholii’s friend and that once he was a Metal, they developed a friendship once again not realizing that they knew each other before. And while he made the mistake of making a deal with Mellifare, he obviously didn’t know who she truly was and in the face of death, most of us would sell our souls for the chance to live.

5. Writing

Ashley Poston’s writing throughout “Soul of Stars” was great. The story moved at a fast pace without me being bored or feeling like the story was being bogged down by too much description or dialogue. Characters were likable and the overall storyline was interesting, especially the relationship between Ana and Di. But most importantly, while “Soul of Stars” was an emotional rollercoaster, there was plenty of humor and light-hearted banter to provide comic relief.

6. Robot Love

Falling in love with a robot brings up so many questions. It brings up the argument of whether an AI is truly “alive”. Does it experience emotions and feelings? Does it possess a soul? Can you love something that is soulless? Can you love something that is not organic but rather “made”? If you are in love with it, can it return your feelings, is it capable of love? So many questions and absolutely no fucking answers because Poston had a solution. The Metals each housed a soul, a soul that came from a human who “died” from the plague. Fucking genius!

7. The Dilemma

Apparently “Soul of Stars” is full of philosophical dilemmas and hard questions. Ana’s dilemma is to kill the HIVE and save the universe and billions of beings while allowing all the HIVE’d Metals to die. It is the age old ethical situation of allowing the sacrifice of a few to save many. And of course to make the whole debacle more difficult, Ana would be sacrificing the being she loved the most. Thankfully Ana thought the whole situation was bullshit and was determined to destroy the Great Dark without sacrificing the Metals.

8. Bittersweet

Overall the ending of “Soul of Stars” and the Heart of Iron duology was bittersweet. While the main characters survive and Ana and Di end up staying together, Di’s memory core is malfunctioning. Ironic as this was the problem with his old body and how everything started in “Hearts of Iron” but as we know from that, he will not survive without his memory core and there is no way to fix it. So while Ana and Di are together, their time is sadly limited.


As always, thank you for reading. I would love to hear from you so feel free to contact me or comment below. If you would like to support this blog and/or my paintings please become my patron.

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Book Review: HEART OF IRON by Ashley Poston (OwlCrate Book March 2018)

“Heart of Iron”

Heart of Iron #1

by Ashley Poston

Nikki’s Rating: 8 out of 10

Summary: As a pirate on the notorious spaceship, the Dossier, Ana is no stranger to perilous situations and danger. And when her best friend and Metal begins to malfunction, she is willing to jump in headfirst and risk everything to save him. But as they hunt across space for the part he needs, they stumble onto a secret that shatters everything that they know about their world and each other. Now Di has been HIVE’d, absorbed into the super AI built to keep Metals in line, and is commanded to find and terminate Ana.

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8 Honorable Things about HEART OF IRON by Ashley Poston (OwlCrate Book March 2018)

(May Contain Spoilers)

1. Anastasia

It appears that “Heart of Iron” may have been inspired by the fairy-tale story of Anastasia Romanova aka the 1997 cartoon movie Anastasia. I say fairy-tale because in reality Anastasia Romanova was assassinated with her family in 1918 but due to not finding her body and/or not being able to confirm thru DNA, there were rumors that Anastasia survived. In “Heart of Iron,” Ana, who doesn’t remember her life before the Dossier, turns out to be Princess Ananke Armorov. Her family was killed all on the same night and it was believed that she died as well but she in fact escaped. Also in “Heart of Iron,” the shady-ass bad guy is named Rasputin, Ana’s father’s name was name Nicholii, and there is a spaceship called the Tsarina. So yeah, “Heart of Iron” is a retelling of Anastasia in space, which is totally cool in my book! Anastasia is one of my favorite movies.

2. Space

Space! While I would never want to actually go to space in real life, I do enjoy movies and books that take place in space. There are so many options for different worlds, cultures, and species when working within a space setting versus just a world. “Heart of Iron” takes place in space, specifically on and between various planets within the same solar system and although all characters are human, one major character is from a people that originate from a whole other galaxy.

3. Love

Love can be hard to define and quantify, as many of our emotions are. Would an AI ever be able to understand these emotions or even experience them? Could a human develop feelings for an AI, even love them? Would the AI be able to reciprocate those feelings? These are just some of the questions that will come up while you are reading “Heart of Iron” because Ana is very much in love with her Metal and best friend, Di. While I’m not sure how it would translate in real life, in this fictional world I absolutely loved Di and Ana’s relationship! Their ability to work with each other and balance each other, along with their continuous banter made them a very enjoyable couple.

4. LGBTQ

“Heart of Iron” featured one LGBTQ relationship as well as a budding romance between two main characters. Captain Siege of the Dossier is married to Talle, a woman, and together they raised Ana. Sparks fly between main characters Jax and Robb as soon as they meet and hopefully will end with them being together. Although Jax can’t seem to touch another living being… It’s like Rogue and Gambit in X-men, so tragic!

5. Di

Di is my favorite character in “Heart of Iron” and there are many reasons for this. First is his dedication to Ana, being her bodyguard, partner in crime, best friend, or her caretaker depending on needs. Next his banter to himself and other characters was amusing af. And finally, that he was able to overcome the HIVE and not actually kill Ana. He’s still in there somewhere and I can’t wait for Ana to bring him back!

6. Ana

For being a princess, Ana is definitely not stereotypical. She is impulsive, loud, outspoken, combative, and rough around the edges. I like her a lot! Ana puts those she loves above herself and tries her hardest to solve all her problems on her own to avoid putting others in danger(which usually leads to more problems but at least she tries). She is also extremely inquisitive, which I totally relate to.

7. Writing

Overall, “Heart of Iron” was a blast to read! The story was intriguing with the mysteries surrounding the Metals, the HIVE, the death of the royal family, and Ana’s backstory. All the characters were likeable and relatable. And Poston kept things fast-paced, continuously moving the story along, while pulling on your heartstrings as characters endured heartbreak and setbacks.

8. Soul of Stars

Thankfully Ana and Di’s story continues in Ashley Poston’s Heart of Iron series, “Soul of Stars”, which is the second and final book in the series.


As always, thank you for reading. I would love to hear from you so feel free to contact me or comment below. If you would like to support this blog and/or my paintings please become my patron.

Be Authentic. Be Unique. Be You.

Book Review: 7 Cool Things about THE CURSED SEA by Lauren DeStefano

“The Cursed Sea”

The Glass Spare #2

by Lauren DeStefano

Nikki’s Rating: 7 out of 10

Summary: As Wil deals with the fallout of killing her beloved brother, she is now on the run from two kingdoms. As the Northern and Southern kingdoms are at war, both are hunting Wil for their own reasons. The Southern Isles see Wil’s curse, to turn anything living into gems with a simple touch, as something to be exploited and used to kill and amass wealth. And in Arrod, her death is ordered by her own brother, Baren, who is haunted by death and seems to have cursed his whole kingdom. Wil teams up with her supposed enemy, Loom, the exiled prince of the Southern Isles,  as they fight to win back both their kingdoms before everything they love is destroyed.

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7 Cool Things about THE CURSED SEA by Lauren DeStefano

(May Contain Spoilers)

1. The World

The world created by Lauren DeStefano for The Glass Spare duology was an interesting combination of fantasy and technology. The world includes elements of the modern with electricity, machinery, and guns but also includes castles, alchemy, magic, and curses. It was a nice blend that ended up working together and didn’t appear disjointed.

2. LGBTQ

Lauren DeStefano included a LGBTQ relationship between the characters Espel and her guard Masalee. While I loved this dynamic simply for inclusiveness and reducing stigma, it really helped show the depth of Espel’s character and how much she kept hidden from the world. Through the love that she and Masalee share, it is revealed that Espel is not the monster she appears to be but rather is putting on an act to protect that which she cherishes most.in “The Glass Spare” but we learn that he committed a crime and was therefore cursed. Wil was born with her curse and the great mystery is why.

3. Mending Relationships

“The Cursed Sea” had a theme of mending relationships throughout. This theme is seen between Espel and Loom, Wil and Baren, and even Loom and Wil. When the characters take the time to try to understand where the other person is coming from, they are able to empathize and make compromises. They learn to trust and work towards mending the relationship or at least reach an understanding that causes a truce between them.

4. The Curse

Wil’s curse was the source of mystery throughout “The Glass Spare” and thankfully “The Cursed Sea” helps to explain why Wil was cursed from birth and it was not what I was expecting! There were so many twists and turns relating to the curse that even when I thought I figured everything out, there was another revelation. Ultimately, Wil’s grandmother and grandfather were terrible people.

5. Sibling Rivalry

Sibling rivalry was another theme seen in The Glass Spare duology. First shown between Espel and Loom, it is revealed that they grew up pitted against each other and while they believed that the other truly hated them, neither of them would kill the other when it came down to it. It is through this act of not killing the other that they realize that there is a love between them regardless of their upbringing. Sadly, the sibling rivalry between Wil and Baren doesn’t end as well but it is revealed that while Baren did have an overwhelming irrational hatred of Wil, she and her brothers also fostered this hatred by excluding him from their friendship. This allows Wil to comprehend that it wasn’t all Baren, that she contributed to this rivalry as well and that regardless, he still didn’t take her life.

6. Love

Always the sucker for love stories, I really enjoyed the experience of Loom and Wil falling in love and then actually embracing it. As they went from being angry, possibly even out right hating each other, to a truce, to then accepting their feelings for one another was a delightful journey to be part of. Most importantly, they respected each other’s boundaries, were willing to allow the other to make their own decisions, and were willing to accept whatever choices were made.

7. The Ending

Happily The Glass Spare duology had an overall positive ending. While not all dreams and aspirations were reached, each character got what they deserved in the end. Most exciting was the reunion between Loom and Wil, hoping they lived happily ever after together.


As always, thank you for reading. I would love to hear from you so feel free to contact me or comment below. If you would like to support this blog and/or my paintings please become my patron.

Be Authentic. Be Unique. Be You.

July 2021 Book Reviews

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Book Review: THE GLASS SPARE by Lauren DeStefano (OwlCrate Book November 2017)

“The Glass Spare”

The Glass Spare #1

by Lauren DeStefano

Nikki’s Rating: 7 out of 10

Summary: Wanting nothing more to explore the world and wander, like the life her mother once led, Wil dreams of freedom but as a spare heir, she doubts the king will ever give her a mission beyond their kingdom. Then tragedy strikes as she develops a power to turn whatever living thing she touches into gems. Forced to flee her kingdom, Wil must now navigate the world while trying to find a way to break her curse.

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7 Great Things about THE GLASS SPARE by Lauren DeStefano

(May Contain Spoilers)

1. Midas Touch

Lauren DeStefano’s “The Glass Spare” appears to be inspired by the Greek myth of King Midas who turned everything he touched into gold. In “The Glass Spare,” the main character Wil is cursed, turning anything living into a gem upon touching it. Obviously this kills whatever she touches and sadly only takes a few seconds to be devastating. While a curse to her, many others see her as a viable asset for unlimited riches.

2. Curse

The main differences between King Midas in the Greek myth and Wil’s character in “The Glass Spare” is that King Midas wishes for his powers while Wil is cursed with it. Loom is another character who is also cursed in “The Glass Spare” but we learn that he committed a crime and was therefore cursed. Wil was born with her curse and the great mystery is why.

3. Siblings

Wil and her two brothers, Owen and Gerdie, are absolutely heartwarming together. All three of them confide in one another and look out for each other in a way that I wish all siblings could. Sadly though, their other brother does not share their bond and actually appears to have a deep hatred for all of them, especially Wil. Regardless, DeStefano portrays loving sibling relationships in “The Glass Spare” that are based on trust, respect, love, gratitude, and healthy boundaries. Serious sibling goals.

4. Tragedy

Sadly, Wil’s curse causes the death of a beloved brother and it was heartbreaking. Wil struggled with blame and survivor’s guilt, both being understandable for how things went down. Interesting though is that through that event, she comes to realize that her father loves her more than she believed. He does not even attempt to kill her but rather banishes her because he does not have it in him to kill his daughter. Of course, the whole situation could have been avoided if he hadn’t ordered Wil on a dangerous mission to begin with.

5. Characters

“The Glass Spare” is rich with different characters, each with unique backgrounds, goals, and personalities. You have an exiled prince who is cursed and willing to sacrifice his life for those he loves. Then there is Zay, his wife, who is a powerful warrior, fierce mother, and loyal friend. Gerdie, Wil’s brother, who doesn’t allow his physical limitations to define him and is a genius, especially with alchemy. Even the bad characters are interesting as we try to figure out their end game for Wil.

6. Ruling

Both Loom and Wil show incredible responsibility and understanding of what it actually means to rule a kingdom. They both realize that when kingdoms go to war, it is the people that suffer the most. It’s not about the money spent from the treasury or the land or goods that may be obtained from winning, it is the people who pay the price on both sides and nothing materialistic is equivalent to a life. Loom and Wil love their kingdoms and only want what is best for the greater good. They both learned empathy through suffering and would make better rulers than their parents.

7. The Cursed Sea

The story of Wil and Loom continues and concludes in The Glass Spare book 2: “The Cursed Sea.”


As always, thank you for reading. I would love to hear from you so feel free to contact me or comment below. If you would like to support this blog and/or my paintings please become my patron.

Be Authentic. Be Unique. Be You.