Book Review: I HOPE YOU GET THIS MESSAGE by Farah Naz Rishi (OwlCrate Book October 2019)

I Hope You Get This Message

by Farah Naz Rishi

Nikki’s Rating: 8 out of 10

Summary: As Earth is put on trial for their crimes, humans face possible extinction in just a few days. As their days are counting down, everyone begins to question what is important to them and how they would like to spend their last days. Jesse continues on with his life of crime and conning but comes to realize that love is worth more than money. Following her mother’s wishes, Cate takes off in search of her father but finds herself instead. And Adeem tracks down his sister and truly comes to realize the importance of family.

Click on the Image to Purchase the Book and Support your local Bookstore!

8 Interesting Things about I HOPE YOU GET THIS MESSAGE by Farah Naz Rishi

1. Minorities

I Hope You Get This Message focuses on 3 different characters, all from different situations, backgrounds, and areas but all 3 of them are part of a minority group. Jesse is part of the LGBTQ community. While the book does not explore whether Cate has any mental illness, she is part of that community being the caretaker of her mother who is mentally ill. And then Adeem is a Pakistani-American Muslim boy. Throughout the book there is mention of the difficulties that each of them experience due to being part of their minority such as Adeem often having people start speaking spanish to him due to his complexion.

2. Earth

Earth in I Hope You Get This Message is actually our world with a twist. It is revealed to be the location of an experiment, the experiment being us, the human race. We were created by the Almaens to test the viability of using planet Earth as a new home. I Hope You Get This Message opens with the Almaens debating whether to shut the experiment down and kill all the humans or to allow the experiment to continue and risk the humans possibly destroying planet Earth.

3. Crimes Committed

Essentially, humans are put on trial for the crimes of destruction of environmental resources, abuses of its own people, neglect of preservation and sustainability for future generations, armed attack and devastation without provocation, subjugation and slavery of free-thinking organisms, disruption of the peace, and elimination of a people’s right to self-determination. We would be found guilty without a doubt. This is a neat way for a novel to bring up our current issues of global-warming, war, waste, etc.

4. Mental Illness

Rishi touched upon so many important problems in our society and one of those is the stigma and isolation that people experience with mental illness. And it is not just those that directly experience mental illness but also their caretakers. As Rishi showed in I Hope You Get This Message, caretakers may be ashamed to share and process with others what they are dealing with and contribute to their own sense of isolation and shame, which could negatively affect their own mental health.

5. LGBTQ

Another societal problem that Rishi touched upon in I Hope You Get This Message is that of the acceptance of those within the LGBTQ community. So many who identify as LGBTQ are ostracized, bullied, threatened, harmed, and/or killed in their communities simply for being who they are. While Rishi does not go too deep into the darkness surrounding this issue, she does show how crucial it is for the family of origin to accept any family member who does identify as LGBTQ and how painful it can be if it is perceived as unacceptable.

6. Children Taking On Responsibility

Through the 3 main characters, Rishi shows the negative outcomes that may arise in children who end up having to take care of their parents while they are still children. The best example in I Hope You Get This Message is of course Cate who is seen trying to convince her mother to take her pills, explaining her mother’s bizarre behavior to neighbors, and lying to the police to cover up how ill her mother actually is. This of course causes Cate to feel guilt and shame when she isn’t at her mother’s side all the time, selfish if she wants to do something for herself separate from her mother, and overall anxiety about life and the future. Not at all healthy.

7. Connected

One of my favorite things about I Hope You Get This Message is that the 3 main characters were connected in the end. While it appeared that the only connection was going to be them crossing paths in Roswell, their connections to each other went deeper than that.

8. Hope

Thankfully each character got their own version of “happily ever after.” While it may not have been what they set out to find, it is what they needed in the end. Having the book end without showing the outcome of the Almaens decision allows the book to end positively with the reader hoping that the light remains and their world continues.


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: THE SANDCASTLE EMPIRE by Kayla Olson (OwlCrate Book June 2017)

The Sandcastle Empire

by Kayla Olson

Nikki’s Rating: 5 out of 10

Summary: Day Zero changed everything. As land started being swallowed by the sea, the poor rose up against the wealthy through a group known as the Wolves. Those that survived, now live in work camps and continue to be at the mercy of the Wolfpack. But Eden refuses to live another day as a prisoner and makes an escape. As she and three other girls sail to find Sanctuary, they come to realize that the Wolves’ claws are further reaching than they thought and that Sanctuary may not be the safehaven they hoped for.

Click on the Image to Purchase the Book and Support your local Bookstore!

5 Superb Things about THE SANDCASTLE EMPIRE by Kayla Olson

(May Contain Spoilers)

1. Our World

The world that Olson imagined is actually our world in the future. It mirrors a lot of what is currently going on and also where many of us are afraid we are headed. One of the main parallels between the novel and our current world is the top few controlling the world, and all its resources. So instead of doing the best for the majority of humanity, decisions are based on what is best for the few at the top.

2. Moving On

One of the themes seen in The Sandcastle Empire is that of moving on. While moving on does not entail forgetting loved ones that have passed on, it does involve giving yourself permission to live even though they cannot. Eden struggled with this as she began to develop feelings for Lonan since her past love was killed during the revolution. Both Eden and Lonan have obvious survivor’s guilt but were able to ultimately embrace their feelings for each other and step closer to healing.

3. Not a True Wolf

Just as there were Nazi’s during WWII that did not agree with the teachings, beliefs, goals, and plans of the Nazi party and simply went along to save themselves and/or their loved ones, Olson included a character who did much the same in the Wolfpack. Alexa never intended on hurting anyone and went along with the Wolves in order to be able to help her boyfriend Cass who was targeted by the Pack. Of course, the natural consequence of this is that others cannot read your mind and therefore don’t know what your true intentions are and then become distrustful of you. It can really backfire as Alexa found out in The Sandcastle Empire.

4. Descriptive

The Sandcastle Empire is full of vivid descriptions of the beautiful scenery that Eden comes across during her journey. No matter the horrors that Eden lives through, she is still able to recognize the awe of nature around her and enjoy it. She doesn’t take anything for granted. Olson also does an amazing job of describing Eden’s feelings to the reader in a way that is powerful and at times emotional.

5. Technology

Olson really ran with her imagination when creating the technology that is seen in The Sandcastle Empire. Better still, they seem entirely possible in the future as we come to understand physics, DNA, and the brain more. There were so many cool and terrifying things such as beetles that targeted blood, a procedure that allowed a person to be controlled remotely, and vines that trapped you and then created life-like nightmares that were personally tailored to the victim’s worst fears. Hopefully we don’t make any of these but focus rather on creating things that could save us and the planet as Eden’s father did.


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 Becoming Things about BROKEN THRONE by Victoria Aveyard

“Broken Throne”

Red Queen #4.5

by Victoria Aveyard

Nikki’s Rating: 7 out of 10

Summary: A collection of short stories from the exciting Red Queen series by Victoria Aveyard. With some of the stories taking place before and some taking place during the events of the Red Queen series, it is a must read for all fans to better understand the world’s history and characters. But most importantly, “Broken Throne” ties up loose ends and concludes the Red Queen series.

Click on the Image to Purchase the Book and Support your local Bookstore!

7 Becoming Things about BROKEN THRONE by Victoria Aveyard

(May Contain Spoilers)

1. The Red Queen Series

The Red Queen series as a whole is an enchanting and fun read and it was a pleasure to dive back into the world. “Broken Throne” explores more of the Red Queen series featuring stories from side characters, maps, information, and history from different areas of the continent, and details of the Calore line. All these extra details add more vividness and richness to the world and characters.

2. Our World

The world in the Red Queen series is actually supposed to be our world in an alternate future. A dystopian setting where the continent and people are much changed due to time, global warming, and war. While things ultimately ended up working out in the Red Queen series in the sense that humans actually survived, the series remains as a warning for the damage we are currently doing to our world.

3. LGBTQ

The difficulty and acceptance of being part of the LGBTQ community was a common theme throughout the Red Queen series and “Broken Throne” was no exception. Evangeline Samos is seen struggling with the decision to publicly come out after hiding her preference for females for years. Readers get to witness her internal turmoil knowing the disapproval and rejection she may receive from others, especially her mother. This situation really mirrors the reality that millions of individuals experience in real life as they struggle with their sexual orientation and/or gender identity.

4. Iron Heart

“Iron Heart” was one of my favorite short stories within “Broken Throne.” While Evangeline Samos was pretty villainous throughout the Red Queen series, her character changes as the story progresses and readers, as well as other characters in the novels, begin to understand why she was the way she was. Her story in “Broken Throne” continues showing the more human aspect of her as well as the ways in which she is trying to become a better person.

5. Writing

As with all the books in the Red Queen series, “Broken Throne” was well written, fast-paced, and enthralling. As a reader who generally does not like short stories, I was pleasantly surprised that each story was satisfying and enjoyable.

6. Cal & Mare

As a hopeless romantic, my absolute favorite thing about “Broken Throne” was that Mare and Cal found their way back to each other. Seriously, I thought they were going to continue being stupid and not talk about how they felt about each other. Thankfully this did not happen. Cal respected Mare’s wishes of wanting time to heal and sort her feelings out, Cal did not hold it against her or try to make her change her mind. And then when they were both ready, they were able to get their happily ever after with each other

7. The End

This reader was really disappointed with the ending in “War Storm” and feels that “Broken Throne” rectified this. Totally unsure if Aveyard always intended for the ending in “Broken Throne” or if she put it together due to outcry from fans being disappointed with the ending in “War Storm.” Regardless, “Broken Throne” gave the Red Queen series a conclusion that was gratifying, hopeful, and realistic.


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: 5 Foremost Things about FIVE DARK FATES by Kendare Blake

“Five Dark Fates”

Three Dark Crowns #4

by Kendare Blake

Nikki’s Rating: 5 out of 10

Summary: Katharine is the Queen Crowned, yet her two sisters still live and the island is not happy about it. The mist that once protected and concealed the island now raises up to gruesomely slaughter all who come into contact with it. As Queen Mirabella seeks out Queen Katharine to find a peaceful solution, Queen Arsinoe prepares for war, backing the rebellion of the Legion Queen. All the while, Queen Katharine is finding that she may have doomed the whole island as she is the Undead Queen and may not be able to control the rageful dead queens inside of her.

Click on the Image to Purchase the Book and Support your local Bookstore!

5 Foremost Things about FIVE DARK FATES by Kendare Blake

(May Contain Spoilers)

1. The Gifted

Many residents of Fennbirn are gifted with supernatural powers. There are the elementals that can manipulate the elements of earth, air, fire and water, with Queen Mirabella being the strongest one in a long time. Then there are the poisoners such as Queen Arsinoe that are able to ingest poison, withstand them, and have uncanny abilities creating them. Naturalists like Queen Katharine are able to influence plants, communicate with animals, and usually have a familiar. Then there are the oracles or seers and the warriors who are war-gifted and have exceptional fighting skills.

2. Concept

Overall, the concept for the Three Dark Crowns is pleasantly unique. A set of triplets are born each generation by the preceding queen and then those triplets must battle to the death. The remaining girl becomes the Crowned Queen and reigns until she bears the next set of triplets. Very dark and twisted.

3. LGBTQ

Blake includes a LGBTQ romance budding between Jules and Emilia. There also seems to be no uproar from other characters so in the Three Dark Crowns universe this is accepted and appears to be viewed as normal. Hopefully we can get there one day!

4. The Queens

While they have been taught and raised to not trust each other, the three queens do attempt to work together. They remember that they loved each other once and that perhaps they can be there for each other instead of against each other.

5. Conclusion

“Five Dark Fates” has an overall happy ending for such a bloody and dark tale. Queen Katharine redeems herself in many ways, even though she was never truly monstrous. The Legion Queen is crowned and the island begins to change. There is no more mist to conceal Fennbirn and the reign of the three queens is finally over. And although Billy has left back to the mainland, “Five Dark Fates” ends with Arsinoe leaving to find him.


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.