Book Review: 7 Pleasant Things about PERFECT by Cecelia Ahern

“Perfect: A Novel”

Flawed #2

by Cecelia Ahern

Nikki’s Rating: 7 out of 10

Summary:  Deemed the most flawed person in the world, Celestine is now on the run from the Guild. As she comes to find that the others who witnessed Judge Crevan’s unsanctioned additional brand on her body have disappeared, Celestine comes to realize that the whole system may be corrupted and flawed. Now Celestine will stop at nothing to discredit Judge Crevan and bring the Guild down once and for all.

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7 Pleasant Things about PERFECT by Cecelia Ahern

(May Contain Spoilers)

1. Celestine’s Grandfather

Celestine’s Grandfather is the absolute coolest! Not only does he protect Celestine but he also solely hires flawed individuals for his workers in order to provide them with jobs and a place where they would be more accepted. Overall just a good man, I love the description Celestine gives him:

“He sees the beauty in everything, or perhaps it’s more that he thinks things that are unconventional and out of place are more beautiful than anything else.”

p. 4

2. The Lawyer

Raphael Angelo may be the first fictional lawyer that I’ve ever enjoyed. Eccentric but in an overall endearing way with his house of faux decor to look like humans had been used instead of animals since he doesn’t “believe in the murder of animals for food, fashion, or interior design” and his obsession with movies. Raphael is immensely intelligent and seems to want to help Celestine for the fact that it is the right thing to do. And I love that he embraces his uniqueness:

“’When you’re a teenager, what makes you different can be the worst thing in the world. The older you get, the more you realize that it’s your weapon, your armor, your strength. Your gift.’”

p. 150

3. Justice

“For someone to win, somebody else must lose. For that person to have won they must have lost something in the first place. The irony of justice is that the feelings that precede it and those which fruit from it are never fair and balanced. Not even justice itself is perfect.”

p. 328

And while this quote is absolutely true, I could not help to find glee in the humiliation and downfall of Mary May. I hated that woman more than Judge Craven and I was so happy to see her brought so low. I swear the woman had no redeeming qualities! Just a miserable human being.

4. Redemption

Between the two books for the Flawed series, Art made quite a few bad decisions. The first major one being not backing up Celestine on the bus in the first place but this decision could be understood as self-preservation; Art didn’t want to get in trouble and possibly deemed as flawed. However, his decision to actually join the Guild and become a Whistleblower was a huge betrayal. Thankfully, at the end of “Perfect” Art redeems himself by trying to save Celestine and actually taking a bullet for her. He has shown that he is a better man than his father by far.

5. Celestine and Carrick

While Celestine and Art have history and Art took a bullet for her, I’m happy Celestine ended up with Carrick in the end. Carrick and Celestine have endured so much together and were constantly backing each other as equals. For all the suffering and trauma they went through, I’m happy that they got their happily ever after together.

6. Mistakes

The ultimate lesson to take away from the Flawed series is that we make mistakes and we should not judge or condemn each other for them. This message is so important because in our current society we seem to be terrified of making mistakes. As Celestine says:

“‘Mistakes are nothing to be ashamed of. Mistakes teach us to take responsibility. They teach us what works and what doesn’t. We learn what we would do differently the next time, how we will be different, better, and wiser in the future. We are not just walking mistakes, we are human.’”

p. 258

7. Overall

“Perfect” had an overall satisfying conclusion with the Guild coming to an end, Mary May and Judge Craven being humiliated and disgraced, Art’s redemption and Carrick and Celestine coming back together in the end. The Flawed series as a whole really causes the reader to question the whole concept and need for perfection while also examining how we treat marginalized people. Overall a positive message and gratifying conclusion.


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: 6 Fantastic Things about FLAWED by Cecelia Ahern (OwlCrate Book April 2016)

“Flawed”

Flawed #1

by Cecelia Ahern

Nikki’s Rating: 6 out of 10

Summary: Known as a model student, daughter, sister, and girlfriend, Celestine has always been fine with the status quo and never questioned her society. But when she helps an old man, the Guild arrests her. Celestine is facing imprisonment or worst of all, being found flawed and branded. Her whole life could be changed irrevocably from one mistake.

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6 Fantastic Things about FLAWED by Cecelia Ahern (OwlCrate Book April 2016)

(May Contain Spoilers)

1. Perfection

The society in Flawed is one that is based on perfection. Perfection not just in looks but also in behavior. Every decision made could be scrutinized and lead to being branded flawed. Once branded, you carry the brand for the rest of your life and live with more rules and restrictions than normal citizens. While this is a fictional society, it bears a lot of resemblance to our society especially with the preoccupation with being perfect in looks.

2. Marginalized People

Ahern really captures how we treat marginalized people. Treating them as less than human, purposefully avoiding them whenever possible. And then of course, turning a blind eye to any suffering or injustices that they endure.

“And why have I never thought of these things before? Because I never cared, that’s why… I have never spoken to one before. It’s not that we are not allowed to, it’s just that I wouldn’t know what to say. I step around them when they’re near me, I avoid their eye contact. I suppose I act like they don’t exist.”

p. 38-39

3. The Right Thing

The reason for Celestine’s arrest and the whole fiasco was because Celestine helped a man who was flawed. But ultimately it was the right thing to do and I love her character for doing this and then continuing to be brave and not lying about what happened in order to save herself. And while there were others who could have backed up Celestine, no one did. Not even her sister or boyfriend. And Ahern reminds us that for many, it comes down to self-preservation, which is understandable.

“I’ve learned that people aren’t cruel. Most people aren’t anyway… but people are strong on self-preservation. And if something doesn’t directly affect them, they don’t get involved.”

p. 234

4. Carrick and Celestine

Carrick and Celestine develop a bond that only happens between people who endure hardship together. Like soldiers on the battlefield, this bond to each other is one that cannot be wholly described or replicated because it is forged in an experience that cannot be duplicated. All I know is that I hope Carrick and Celestine find their way back to each other.

5. Flawed

Overall, “Flawed” has the message that we are not perfect and to expect any different would be to expect us to not be human. We will make mistakes, we shouldn’t have to pay for them our whole lives, and we shouldn’t condemn others for their mistakes. As Ahern so eloquently wrote in her “Acknowledgments”:

“If there’s one message that I hope this book portrays, it’s this: None of us are perfect. Let us not pretend that we are. Let us not be afraid that we’re not. Let us not label others and pretend we are not the same. Let us all know that to be human is to be flawed, and let us learn from every mistake made so we don’t make them again.”

p. 324

6. Perfect

As Celestine is on the run from the Guild and desperately trying to find Carrick, her story continues in “Perfect”.


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: 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.

Be Authentic. Be Unique. Be You.

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.

July 2021 Book Reviews

Click on an Image below to be check out the Book Review!

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.

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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.

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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.


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