Spoiler Free Review: Ruined by Amy Tintera



Emelina Flores has nothing. Her home in Ruina has been ravaged by war. She lacks the powers of her fellow Ruined. Worst of all, she witnessed her parents’ brutal murders and watched helplessly as her sister, Olivia, was kidnapped.

But because Em has nothing, she has nothing to lose. Driven by a blind desire for revenge, Em sets off on a dangerous journey to the enemy kingdom of Lera. Somewhere within Lera’s borders, Em hopes to find Olivia. But in order to find her, Em must infiltrate the royal family.

In a brilliant, elaborate plan of deception and murder, Em marries Prince Casimir, next in line to take Lera’s throne. If anyone in Lera discovers Em is not Casimir’s true betrothed, Em will be executed on the spot. But it’s the only way to salvage Em’s kingdom and what is left of her family.

Em is determined to succeed, but the closer she gets to the prince, the more she questions her mission. Em’s rage-filled heart begins to soften. But with her life—and her family—on the line, love could be Em’s deadliest mistake.

I’ve been meaning to pick this book up for so long, and thanks to Harper Collins who kindly sent us a copy, I have been able to do so! And yes I am very late to the party on this one but so, so happy I finally picked this up!

As the synopsis above states, this story follows Em who has taken the place of Prince Casimir’s betrothed, tricking the family and marrying the heir to the Lera throne so that she can take them down and avenge her parents. As this storyline alone will suggest, stakes are pretty high and the story has you on the edge of your seat wondering if Em will be discovered, and if so, what will happen to her. I’ll be honest here and say that if you have read a lot of YA set in warring, magical kingdoms then this plot will not be the most unique and refreshing, however it is very entertaining and if you are a fan of feuds, magic, tragedy and romance you will really enjoy this.

One of the main things I liked about this book is the world building. The kingdoms all have their own personality and relationships to each other and to magic and I found this really intriguing. It was done in a really clear and concise way so that you knew the traits and beliefs of each kingdom but weren’t left confused and overwhelmed by the details. Also I love the Ruined and can’t wait to read the sequel to get more information on their magic and (hopefully) meet more characters from there- more Ruined please!

I was pleasantly surprised by the characters in this book and so happy to report that none of them got on my nerves! A very rare occurrence indeed! Em did have the potential to annoy as she does fit into the typical YA ‘tough girl’ trope, but she didn’t! I liked her loyalty and her baddassery (that’s a word right?), but also liked to see her human side, yes people, sometimes badass female characters are human and can’t help be attracted to nice, good-looking men! And let’s face it Cas was a nice guy, and I like nice guys- so yay for Cas. My favourite character, though, had to be Aren. Just read it if you haven’t guys, so we can talk about Aren, he’s a cool guy.

The one part I did not like was around the 300 page mark which was pretty much a chapter devoted to the romance. I did not like that chapter. If you love romance though, you will probably like this and it does give you a little respite from the politics and violence, but honestly I just didn’t like how the romance was executed here, it felt rushed and a little unrealistic, but maybe that’s just my sceptical self. Also the below quote:

And he’d taken his shirt off and slung it over his shoulder. Em found herself staring at one particular drop of water making a journey from the base of his throat down the center of his chest. She watched as it rolled down, sliding across his skin and disappearing into the ridges of his abdominals. She had never wanted to be a drop of water so badly.

Yeah, no. This is not for me.

All in all I really enjoyed this book and cannot wait to pick up the next one. If you guys haven’t read this yet but have thought about it, I recommend you do! It’s a quick, entertaining read and I’m pretty sure the third book comes out this year, so good timing!

A minor caution to younger readers that this book does include a fair amount of graphic violence.

Until next time book friends,

Star x


Spoiler Free Review: Food Illusions: Vol 1 by Chef Ben Churchill

Hey Guys! It’s been a while since we have posted anything – unfortunately life has been hectic at the moment due to Star moving house and Fleur being ill. However, when we saw this review request by @chefbenchurchill and with Star’s brand new kitchen we couldn’t say no! This cookbook takes cooking to a whole new level and has brought many laughs to the kitchen. Here is a summary of what you can expect:

“Food Illusions vol. 1 is the highly anticipated debut book from Chef Ben Churchill, the “food illusionist” including some of his most famous recipes in full! You may be familiar with his work from facebook or instagram (www.facebook.com/thefoodillusionist) where he makes stunning desserts that trick the mind, his food illusions. Here he explains the processes, methods and techniques behind some of his most famous dishes such as the carrot shaped carrot cake 2.0 and the chocolate throne. Read his ethos, his thoughts and discover his way of working as he teaches you how to begin your journey into food illusion desserts. Suitable for both the amateur and professional cook, with easy to follow recipes and methods, you’ll be creating stunning desserts in no time.”

We have tried a few of these recipes and boy are we bad at baking! Although the steps are simple and easy to understand and the pictures are helimg_9878pful (and may I add – stunning!) we just don’t have the natural gift of cooking, or the time – as some of the recipes require hours of preparation. However, with Star’s new kitchen we look forward to trying more recipes and practising these awesome meals. Our personal favourites are ‘the chocolate Throne’ (perfect for Game of Thrones fans!) and ‘Gingerbread Igloo’, not only do they look absolutely breath taking, they are so tasty!!!

As many of you know from our Instagram feed, we definitelyimg_9883.jpg have a sweet tooth (and yes I know I am much worse than Star lol) so we are super excited to try the Coffee and Walnut cake, though we may have to get our other sister to make it as she is much better at baking. (Our last attempt resulted in disaster). Finally, ‘The Chocolate Brownie Tree’ definitely has our name on it – this will be the one that we are dedicated to get right in the future!

So if you want to bring some fun to your kitchen and make some edible art, this is the cookbook for you. These enjoyable recipes will change the way you view your cooking and renew your love of baking. I know that we will definitely be having fun spending our snow days making these cosy treats! We highly recommend you pick up this book if you feel like challenging yourself in the kitchen! Click the link below to see more!


Thanks for reading guys! Hope you enjoyed our culinary challenge and don’t forget to let us know your thoughts in the comments below!


Spoiler Free Review: Burning Glass by Kathryn Purdie



Rating 3/5 Stars


Sonya was born with the rare gift to feel what those around her feel—both physically and emotionally—a gift she’s kept hidden from the empire for seventeen long years. After a reckless mistake wipes out all the other girls with similar abilities, Sonya is hauled off to the palace and forced to serve the emperor as his sovereign Auraseer. Tasked with sensing the intentions of would-be assassins, Sonya is under constant pressure to protect the emperor. But Sonya’s power is untamed and reckless, and she can’t always decipher when other people’s impulses end and her own begin. In a palace full of warring emotions and looming darkness, Sonya fears that the biggest danger to the empire may be herself. As she struggles to wrangle her abilities, Sonya seeks refuge in her tenuous alliances with the charming-yet-volatile Emperor Valko and his idealistic younger brother, Anton, the crown prince. But when threats of revolution pit the two brothers against each other, Sonya must choose which brother to trust—and which to betray.


If you love fantasy, kingdoms, political intrigue, love triangles and angsty romance, let me say this again for emphasis ANGSTY ROMANCE, then this is the book for you!

I went into this book fairly blind and I didn’t have many expectations, so when I started reading and the story began as it did, I was both pleased and surprised. There was so much action and tragedy for the beginning of a story – if any of you reading this have read it- guys what was that fire?! Didn’t see that coming at all. I really enjoyed the first 30% and the magic aspect was really unique and interesting… but honestly my main criticism is that this book took close to 500 pages to do what it could have done (in my opinion) in 300. I felt like the same scenario was being played out over and over, which brings me to the two brothers.

If you do not like love triangles be warned 90% of this book pretty much revolves around a love triangle between Sonya and the emperor Valko and his brother Anton. I’ll admit that at first it is intriguing and there are a few twists and turns in there, but it doesn’t take long before you get tired of the same ‘will she/ wont she’ and the same scenario plays out over and over. Let’s just say it is fairly obvious how Sonya’s relationships with the two royals were going to end.

There were some side characters that I enjoyed throughout however they were just sprinkled into the plot. Also I was waiting for a huge crescendo at the end of the book, the ‘ooo its all kicked off!’ moment… but it was a little bit of a damp squip. Again I think it focused too much on the be all and end all love triangle when in reality there were far bigger issues at play. I just wish we had a bigger focus on the world building, politics and plot.

All in all it was a decent fantasy read with some great moments and some roll eye moments. Although it may seem that I’m being a little negative in this review I am glad I read this book and I know there will be people out there who love it. Like I’ve already mentioned, if you like romance and love triangles then you need this book.

Huge thanks to Harper Teen UK for sending us a copy!

Until next time book friends,

Star x

Our Most Anticipated Reads of 2018

Star’s Picks (careful of very mild spoilers- most of these are sequels!):


  • Reaper at the Gates By Sabaa Tahir (Expected release date 12 June)

Because ELIAS…my sweet cinnamon roll

  • Legendary by Stephanie Garber (Expected release date 29 May)

I loved Caraval, it was such a fun quick read and I can’t wait to see what the sequel holds- Tella and Legend perspective? YES PLEASE

  • My Plain Jane by Cynthia Hand, Jodi Meadows and Brody Ashton (Expected release date 26 June)

My Lady Jane was such a funny book that I couldn’t wait to see what this trio came up with next, and when they announced it would be about Jane Eyre, one of my favourite classics of all time, let’s just say I was excited- GIMME NOW.

  • To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Cristo (Expected release date 6 March)

I know what your thinking- finally a book that isn’t a companion or sequel! Honestly this sounds so intriguing to me. A retelling of The Little Mermaid which is a standalone- yes yes yes.

  • Winter Glass by Lexa Hillyer (Expected release date 10 April)

Sorry guys… back to the sequels again. Although I enjoyed Spindle Fire last year, it didn’t quite fulfil my expectations, but I have high hopes it will pick up with this one! This series is a Sleeping Beauty retelling about two sisters, and with how Spindle Fire ended I am so excited to find out what happens next. I feel like I’ve been waiting years for this!


Fleur’s picks (careful of very mild spoilers- most of these are sequels!):


Sightwitch by Susan Dennard (Expected release date 23 January)

I cannot wait to see the (kind of) prequel to Truthwitch! And from Ryber’s POV! Weve heard that there are some major plot twists and easter eggs for Bloodwitch – I am so excited!

  • Wires and Nerve Vol 2: Gone Rogue by Marissa Meyer (Expected release date 30 January)

We can’t get enough of the Lunar Chronicles universe and we are so sad this will be the last one (that we know of). What I love most about this mini spinoff is the fact we get closure after the series, and we can see our favourite characters being domestic and living ordinary lives. I also adore the Graphic novel format of this story and can’t wait to see how Iko saves the day!

  • Reign the Earth by A C Gaughen (Expected release date 30 January)

I don’t know a lot about this book but when reading the synopsis I am super excited to try it! I love all YA books about people with the ability to manipulate elements, and this take on it sounds very intriguing! If any of you are interested I’ll put a link below for the synopsis.


  • Ace of Shades by Amanda Foody (Expected release date 10 April)

Again don’t know too much about this book but it sounds so intriguing and unique. I’ve heard it being described as ‘House of the rising sun meets Six of Crows’ – I must read it now! Ill put a link below again, if you want to check it out!


  • Throne of Glass Book 7 by Sarah J Maas (Expected release date Fall 2018)

The highly anticipated conclusion to the series, and I NEED to know what happens!! I don’t think anything else needs to be said but if you haven’t read this series yet – what are you doing? Read it know!! (It is the last one of the series right? If I’m wrong let me know in the comments below!)

Our Top Five Cosy Books to Read this Winter!


Five Cosiest Winter Reads...

We don’t know about you guys, but we love to feel cosy and warm in the winter season, especially when it’s cold and snowy outside. In these times we find reading a good book enhances the cosy atmosphere and makes for a perfect evening.  So put the kettle on and snuggle up, here are our top five cosiest reads for winter:


  1. Hunted by Megan Spooner.

“She moves like beauty, she whispers to us of wind and forest—and she tells us stories, such stories that we wake in the night, dreaming dreams of a lifelong past. She reminds us of what we used to be. She reminds us of what we could be.” ― Meagan Spooner, Hunted

This Novel by Meagan Spooner is a charming retelling of Beauty and the Beast, and one of our favourite renditions! Its set in Russia and follows the original fairy-tale more than the modern retellings. If you love atmospheric folklore and wintery Russian landscapes then this is a must!


  1. Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones

“She was the sun and he was the earth waking from a thaw.” ― S. Jae-Jones, WintersongWintersong

Anyone a fan of the David Bowie movie ‘Labyrinth’? Because this is a retelling of the Goblin King, and boy do I love that storyline!! This story has a beautiful blend of music, magic and dark romance. This is a world where you will lose yourself and not want to leave! Don’t forget to pick this up, it’s a must read this winter!


3. Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow by Jessica Day George

“And the prince who had once been a bear pulled close the girl who had once had no name, and kissed her.”Jessica Day George, Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow

Guys… this book was such a surprise- I absolutely loved it! If you like Scandinavian folklore then this is the book for you! Although the language is simple and the plot line nothing to rave about, I couldn’t help but fall in love with this story. It was so magical and read like an old fashioned fairy-tale. five out five- GO READ THIS NOW.


2.  Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater

“Books are more real when you read them outside.” ― Maggie Stiefvater, Shiver

Is this possibly the best series I have ever read? Yes. This trilogy has the perfect balance of sweet romance and magical folk lore. If you enjoy YA supernatural romance – more specifically werewolves, you are going to love this! Whilst this Stiefvater story is slower and more wordy than her other works, it fits with the atmosphere and world building and most importantly the character development. It’s a perfect cosy read for winter! Five Stars!!


 1. Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

“And there’s nothing wrong with being a lizard either. Unless you were born to be a hawk.” ― Leigh Bardugo, Shadow and BoneGrisha Trilogy

Words can’t even begin to describe how amazing this book is! The world building, the wintery Russian vibes… absolute perfection! Leigh Bardugo has a real talent for writing in depth characters and mysterious villains. The beauty of this book blew me away and I never wanted it to end, thank goodness there are two more in the series! Definitely recommend guys! Five stars!!!!!


So there you have it guys! We hope it’s been helpful and you’ve enjoyed our five recommendations for winter. It was hard to limit ourselves to just five books, as there are so many we wanted to choose, but we felt these books definitely stood out. If you have any  recommendations please comment below and let us know! Thanks for reading! Stay Cosy!