Book Review: All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill

All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill was ground zero for the recent reading slump I was in. I came down with a severe post-good-book-hangover and I took a very long time searching for a read as good as this one. Needless to say I did not like myself while I was in that slump. I am now reading 3 novels on a timed-schedule now, so I am the fast-track to recovery. I digress (#booknerdproblems).

All Our Yesterdays is an edge of the seat (or bed) YA thriller featuring one of my favorite tropes: time travel. And Terrill’s unique and exciting approach to the genre plus a smart engaging narrative made it hard to put down.


What would you change?

Imprisoned in the heart of a secret military base, Em has nothing except the voice of the boy in the cell next door and the list of instructions she finds taped inside the drain.

Only Em can complete the final instruction. She’s tried everything to prevent the creation of a time machine that will tear the world apart. She holds the proof: a list she has never seen before, written in her own hand. Each failed attempt in the past has led her to the same terrible present—imprisoned and tortured by a sadistic man called the doctor while war rages outside.

Marina has loved her best friend, James, since they were children. A gorgeous, introverted science prodigy from one of America’s most famous families, James finally seems to be seeing Marina in a new way, too. But on one disastrous night, James’s life crumbles, and with it, Marina’s hopes for their future. Marina will protect James, no matter what. Even if it means opening her eyes to a truth so terrible that she may not survive it… at least, not as the girl she once was. Em and Marina are in a race against time that only one of them can win.

All Our Yesterdays is a wrenching, brilliantly plotted story of fierce love, unthinkable sacrifice, and the infinite implications of our every choice.

What I Liked

There was a lot to like about this book.

Firstly, the pivotal characters of Em, Marina, Finn and James were multi-layered and complex, so much as that their emotions, doubts, conflicts and hopes felt real  There is a particular focus of change, experience and growth and Em and Marina demonstrated this quite well.

Finn was an adorable character: funny, strong, tolerant and understanding. He was very easy to like, in comparison with James, Em and Marina, who were a lot more multi-faceted. That is not to say, that he was a one-dimensional character. He was just a rarity, in that he infused light in any situation.

James was more difficult to love and equally difficult to hate. I believe Ms Terrill wanted the reader to feel this because that is very much how Em, Marina and Finn feel about him.

Secondly, the world building and the science behind it felt deeply plausible, if not realistic. And I believe this is what extenuated the thrill of the read.

Thirdly, it is a wholesome read. There is romance, friendship, political intrigue, familial tension and a thought provoking focus on morality, innocence and conscience.  It appealed to the science fiction and dystopian lover in me, as well as the side of of me that enjoys a good philosophical debate. All in all, a brilliant combination of genres and tropes that Terrill expertly presented for the YA crowd.

Finally, that ending! Bittersweet and oddly perfect (after some contemplation). I do love a ending that is a beginning but seldom it is done quite as well as it was done in All Our Yesterdays.

What I Did Not Like

I initially dropped to my knees and screamed to the heavens (in my head, of course) when I learnt that there were going to be no sequels. However, after considering it from a practical perspective I believe Ms Terrill gave it an apt conclusion. Obviously, the epilogue that Ms Terrill published on Tumblr aided my thoughts on the matters.

The final chapter did confuse me because time’s sentience is something that is seldom explored in popular fiction (Doctor Who being an exception) and I have a less than rudimentary knowledge of physics (let alone theoretical physics). A little research and discussion between fellow readers of book cleared the confusion though.

Otherwise, there was nothing about All Our Yesterdays that I did not enjoy.

In conclusion, All Our Yesterdays is a widely entertaining read and powerful debut by Ms Terrill. To say I look forward to her future works with rapt anticipation is an understatement. If you enjoy romance and science-fiction (of the time travel and/or dystopian variety), All Our Yesterdays will fulfill all your expectations.



Book Review: Newt’s Emerald by Garth Nix

I have been in a bit of a reading slump lately, the risk of leaving a good book hangover untreated. And a severe one at that, because September and October saw and continues to see some fantastic releases. But there is nothing like being confined in a pressurised cabin
high above ground for a few hours to snap you out of it.

Newt’s Emerald by Garth Nix was picked up at my customary visit to the local airport bookstore (the variety and quality of stock of which have been steadily becoming better) after a trying day at work. It is a YA regency romantic-comedy with a magical twist and more importantly it was just what I needed at that point in time: a charming and easy read that put a smile on face.


Lady Truthful will inherit her family’s most valued heirloom on her eighteenth birthday. Until the Newington Emerald is stolen.

Lady Truthful, nicknamed “Newt” by her boy cousins, discovers that to her horror, the people closest to her have been framed for the theft. But Newt won’t let their reputations be damaged by rumors from a false accusation. Her plan is simple: go to London to recover the missing jewel. Despite her best intentions, a young lady travelling alone is frankly unacceptable behavior. So Newt and her aunt devise another plan…one that entails men’s clothing and a mustache.

While in disguise, Truthful encounters the handsome but shrewd major Harnett, who to her amazement volunteers to help find the missing emerald under the assumption that she is a man, Henri de Vienne. But once she and her unsuspecting ally are caught up in a dangerous adventure, Truthful realizes something else is afoot: the beating of her heart.

Truthful has far more than romantic complications to worry about. The stolen emerald is no ordinary heirloom-it is the source of the family’s luck and has the power to yield vast magic. It would be completely disastrous if it fell into the wrong hands. The fate of England depends on Truthful securing the emerald.

What I Liked

I appreciated the simple yet engaging plot and the alternate regency era was certainly fun. The world building is unremarkable at first glance but the magical element made it remarkable.

Truthful was a very easy character to like. If you like Jane Austen’s plucky heroines, you’ll love Truthful. What I loved most about her was that despite her various (and hilarious ) departures from what is expected of a lady in her era, she was a regency girl with the idiosyncracies of one.

Major Harnett was equally attractive, possessing all the qualities of an Austen hero with a little Flynn Rider-like flare. I think Nix balanced Harnett’s skeptical broodiness against the enthusiastic-adventurer very well.

Truthful and Harnett had great chemistry, both romantically and otherwise, which was much appreciated. They were a good example of the fact the relationships do not exist in a vacuum and as such their interactions with the supporting ensemble of characters were as interesting as their interactions with each other.

The supporting characters, lead by Lady Badgery and Truthful’s Newington-Lacy cousins, complimented the narrative well and made excellent comic relief.

What I Did Not Like
There was nothing seriously off putting about Newt’s Emerald, but if I am being overly critical, the charming simplicity of plot may irk some. That being said, it was succinct and entertaining, which is a hard thing to balance. The romance could have been a little more elaborate, that is, more interaction between Truthful and Harnett because whatever was there was so much fun!

In conclusion, If you are familiar with Nix’s work, Newt’s Emersld is a departure from his prior works, so if you, like me, did not particularly take to his other novels, Newt’s Emearld will surprise you. Newt’s Emerald is a fun little read of magic, mystery, mayhem and manners. It comes highly recommended, if you are looking for a light hearted read with a unique take on an established genre such as historical romance.

Film Review: The Martian


Please note the following review contains spoilers throughout. 

“I’m gonna have to science the shit out of this.”

The Martian starring Matt Damon as Astronaut Mark Watney, is a tale of survival. It contains great wit and spirit by Damon, and is a great film to watch. The film centres around Watney accidentally being left behind on a mission to Mars, presumed dead. If anything, it was lucky that Watney was the one left behind, as a Botanist he has the ability to increase his food supply, and have a real chance at surviving the harsh environment that is Mars.

It is an incredible tale, centring on Watney’s ability to keep himself sane enough to survive on a planet, alone, and deemed unsurvivable for humans. Watney goes against all odds, and totally “sciences the shit” out of Mars. However, if anything could go wrong, it most certainly would do.

Damon is an incredible actor in this film, and it is an amazing story to be witness to. In all honesty, it is amazing that someone has the emotional strength and determination to survive, and survive he does. Along with that, there are many facets of information that you learn from within the film. I found it fascinating, to see the workings of NASA and how it functions. Although the film is heavily dramatised, it was still an interesting portrayal of the inner workings of the agency.

The film effects are incredibly realistic, especially that of the tolls Watney’s body undergoes with rationing his food supply, and going over a year without a shower.

“It’s space… It doesn’t co-operate.”

The Martian is a film that evokes emotion from you. Whether it be a chuckle, or a tear you will definitely get some feels from the experiences undergone by Watney. The film is out in NZ theatres this Thursday, so have a look at the trailer below if you are interested in viewing an alternative space adventure.

Film Review: Maze Runner The Scorch Trials


This review is based on the film adaption of James Dashner’s book ‘The Scorch Trials’, and not on the book itself. The review is from the perspective of someone who has not read the book. 

Just like the first film, The Scorch Trials, is a bit of a slow starter that builds up to be filled with action, betrayal, and new discoveries.

There is a lack of character development, but the performances of the young cast is grand. The story line still has massive holes in it – in the sense you aren’t entirely sure what’s going to happen next, or what has happened (prior to the memory wipes) – which is good as it will keep you on the edge of your seat in anticipation to discover the truth and see what unfolds.

The cast is amazing, and I definitely missed Minho’s quick wit and one liners that we had in the first film, he seems to be more so a background character in this film. The landscape is great, and makes it feel otherworldly and a tad scary. It seems to reflects the vastness and uncertainty of the fate that the Gladers face.

I really enjoyed the film and can’t wait for the next / final instalment. The most driving force of engagement for me, is how great the actors are that portray the characters, along with the fact that the director, Wes Ball, does a great job of reeling you in and keeping you wanting more.

The film ends with a curious note for the viewers as to what will be in store for us (and the Gladers) in the third instalment. The Scorch Trials hit NZ cinemas today, so check out the trailer below

The Scorch Trials | Film Review

THE SCORCH TRIALS TM and © 2015 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation.  All Rights Reserved.  Not for sale or duplication.

TM and © 2015 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation.  All Rights Reserved.  Not for sale or duplication.


This The Scorch Trials review is written for those who have read James Dashner’s Maze Runner Trilogy. If you don’t mind spoilers then, by all means, read ahead: 

I must say this one felt like it ran on a lot longer than the first film, but Wes Ball does a good job of making sure there aren’t too many lulls in the movie. However by the end of it, the whole film winds up feeling like a futile race to an uncertain destination. Much like the journey had by our protagonists.

Having escaped the maze in the first film, our remaining ‘Gladers’ must face new challenges and obstacles in the open roads/deserts of a dystopian landscape where the world has been ravaged by the Scorch (climate change on crack) and most humans have been infected with an illness called the Flare where people become violent and zombie-like. Ball threw in some sudden pop ups to make sure the audience doesn’t fall asleep, there are some creepy dark room scenes in seedy abandoned living areas now occupied by zombie-like cranks.

Things happen rather differently from the book, but we reach the same point by the end of the film that we reach at the end of the book, mostly anyway. There are some things that have been omitted, probably for clarity and ease of storytelling. They’ve done away with the tattoos that tell everyone their roles as well as the continued experiments by W.C.K.D.

Teresa and the betrayal. While the little that Thomas is beginning to remember makes him feel guilty and uneasy about his former involvement with W.C.K.D, Teresa’s memories seem to inform her reasons for her betrayal at the end of the episode. Something you almost see coming, they drop a few hints in the film for those who haven’t read the books. A lot of hints, faraway stares, not meeting intense stares-

We meet Brenda, she’s a better character than I remember from the books. Physically strong, it would seem, with a sad backstory and a no nonsense attitude that’s required to survive. Jorge is well casted and written, a good father-figure to Brenda and calling everyone ‘hermano’ to avoid learning names.

There were less awkward laughs and less Minho. There needed to be more Minho. There always needs to be more Minho.

Visually it’s great, the landscape is pretty epic and a bit scary. The casting was brilliant, everyone worked well together.

I’m glad they made Janson every bit as crazy as his book counterpart.

The film comes out in NZ cinemas this Thursday, 10th of September.

Check out the trailer below:

Book Review: Pivot Point & Split Second by Kasie West

Kasie West’s Pivot Point  has been on my mind for a while being one of those books that keep reappearing on Goodreads and Amazon recommendations. I recently picked up Split Second, the conclusion to Pivot Point, pop-up book sale thinking it was the first novel. Luckily, I discovered my mistake immediately and did not spoil the book for myself. It meant I had to patiently wait for the Pivot Point to arrive from because I have developed an aversion to eBooks of late, having read consecutive paperbacks for a while. It was worth the wait, Kasie West’s fun and heart-warming duology about alternate realities was a thoroughly enjoyable read.


Pivot Point introduces us to a secret community of people, ‘the Compound’, that are living amongst us with special abilities that range from telekinesis, lie-detection, memory-manipulation, mind-reading, mass manipulation and precognition. Addie Coleman is a divergent, that is, when presented with a choice, she can search into the future and foresee the results of choosing either paths and thus armed with that information, make the correct choice in the present.

So when Addie’s parents announce that they are getting a divorce, she is encouraged to search the future in order to decide she who wants to live with—her father, who is leaving the secret paranormal compound to live among the “Norms” in Dallas, Texas  or her mother, who is staying in the life Addie has always known. Addie loves her life just as it is, so her answer should be easy. Not so much.

Her two potential futures essentially show her two different lives with two different parents, two different schools and two different boys but amidst the same mystery, a murder in the Compound investigated by her father.

With love and loss in both lives, it all comes down to which reality she’s willing to live through… and who she can’t live without.

Split Second deals with the aftermath of the choice Addie makes in Pivot Point. Addie shares the narrative with Laila this time round, who Addie entrusts with a massive task, that she struggles to complete in Split Second.

What I liked:

I was immediately weary of Pivot Point despite its intriguing premise on alternate realities/parallel lives, thinking it was yet another YA love triangle in a different packaging. However, once I cracked it open I was pleasantly surprised at Kasie’s unique treatment of the trope.

Addie is a very likable protagonist: awkward, witty, charming, smart, compassionate and refreshingly pragmatic. It was nice to read about a female lead who did not get caught up the melodrama and wallowed in teen-angst. She was very communicative and expressed her doubts and discomfort, which not only made me adore her all the more but pushed narrative forward at an even and interesting pace.

The secondary characters, Laila, Trevor, Duke and Addie’s parents were also quite well fleshed out and their different dynamics with Addie were delightful to read. I particularly enjoyed the the witty dialogue between this great ensemble of characters.  I must admit that I liked Laila a lot better in Split Second. She was a tad bit infuriating in Pivot Point but seeing things from her perspective in Split Second, definitely changed my opinion of her. Trevor was delightful in both instalments, a very understated yet lovable secondary character. Duke, for the insufferable bastard that he was, facilitated the narrative’s twists and turns well, mainly because Kasie made him quite unpredictable. Split Second introduces us to Connor, who was another great secondary character with a rich background that made Split Second as wholesomely entertaining as Pivot Point.

The respective overarching mysteries in the both books were well developed and gave the narrative structure, transforming it from a mere sci-fi high-school drama to a more widely appealing YA read.

What I did not like:

Like I said, this was a thoroughly enjoyable read and I found little to nothing of consequence that hindered my enjoyment.

In conclusion, Pivot Point and Split Second was a fun and easy read. If you a looking for a light-hearted yet a slightly nuanced and entertaining read, Kaise West does not disappoint.

Princess Hours/Goong Review – JiHoon & EunHye are Goals

Princess Hours (2006)

Hangeul: RR: Goong; lit. “Palace

I’ve been meaning to write this post for months now (since Mata first brought up me writing it), and haven’t done so due to my laziness. We’re going to be reviewing some old-school (ish) K-dramas because why not?

Now let’s get started, shall we? I’ll state it right now that this review will be hella biased, so deal with it.

Goong’s plot is pretty cliche, a forced marriage with the two main leads, the Crown Prince, Lee Shin (Ju Ji-hoon) and commoner, Shin Chae-kyung (Yoon Eun-hye). Immediately you know these two are going to end up together at the end of the show, because they’re END GAME. But just because they’ll obviously end up together, it doesn’t mean they won’t make us ship them with other people along the way or make us want to just kill the main leads, *cough cough* Lee Shin *cough*.

From the beginning of the show, Lee Shin is in love with ballerina Min Hyo-rin (Song Ji-hyo) and Shin Chae-kyung overhears him proposing to Hyo-rin, only to be rejected and now forced to enter a marriage with Chae-kyung (who he can’t really stand, and I still don’t fully get why).

Chae-kyung only agrees to help her family’s financial situation, because she’s a caring person. But does that matter to Lee Shin? Clearly not because 90% of the time, I wanted to punch him in the freaking face. Chae-kyung started to like him (duh -_-) as she spent more time with him, and he started to realise she wasn’t all that bad (HOORAY), but Hyo-rin in all her bitchy self realised she wanted Lee Shin back and weasels herself back into his life, despite having rejected him for ballet and ignoring the fact that he’s now married to someone else!?!?! And you know what else? She didn’t even care that she would be the side-chick. Like??? Freaking damn this all to hell.

Now, I didn’t have a problem with her rejecting him for ballet, because ‘YOU GO GIRL! I’m so proud that you thought about your life and career before a damn boy!’ but then she decides to drop everything(!!!! THIS MEANS HER BALLET, TOO LIKE REALLY?!) once she realises he’s not gonna sit around and hang on to her. And Lee Shin doesn’t exactly make up his mind on whether he should get back with Ballerina Bitch or be with Chae-kyung. I hella disapprove.

Chae-kyung doesn’t want to get caught up in all that, and I get that, because she only agreed to this marriage for her family and now, because of this marriage, she rarely gets to see them. Along with struggling to fit in at the palace, and liking a prick who’s giving her mixed signals along with continuously hanging with Ballerina Bitch, Chae-kyung relies a lot on her friend Lee Yul (Kim Jung-hoon) who was the original Crown Prince, before he was cast out. And yes, he’s the SLS (second lead syndrome).

Lee Yul, the person Chae-kyung should really be with, falls for her. And it’s hard not to, because if you ignore all her horrible hairstyles and outfit choices, she’s really beautiful and loving and disgustingly cute. And Chae-kyung would return his feelings, if she wasn’t falling for Lee Shin. And Lee Yul knows that, so he decides to cut in, much in the same way Ballerina Bitch does.

Really guys? Do y’all not know that this marriage was for TWO people? Y’all are so freaking extra. Bye.

This was really upsetting for me, because Lee Yul was such a great guy, y’know? But because he’s stuck wanting to be with Chae-kyung, he suddenly feels cheated out of a marriage that was originally set for him and her and tries to pry them apart. Again, I hella disapprove.

Lee Shin eventually realises how much he loves Chae-kyung, and how much he needs to stop being a prick, and how hard everything is for her. He steps in and acts more worthy for her which is something she’s been needing for a while because she was suffering due to of all of them, and the least he can do is finally be with her and love her the way she loves him.


.-. side eyes the director and writer.

I got so attached to all the characters, and all the SLS feels destroyed me because Lee Yul was the complete opposite of Lee Shin, y’know? He was kind and caring, and he matched Chae-kyung so well, but the heart wants what it wants, and Chae-kyung wanted Lee Shin. If Lee Shin wasn’t in the picture, it would’ve been Lee Yul.

And Lee Shin is a real idiot, because he would take one step forward, only to go slamming backwards into an ocean of shit because he didn’t know how to make up his mind and be good. But when he finally ditched the bitch, and stepped up, I literally cried tears of joy, because fina-freaking-lly!!!

Goong was a really enjoyable kdrama, with all the feels and gross cutesy stuff, but be prepared for the terrible outfits and hairstyles, butt-faced friends and screaming because half way through it, I was just about ready to skin somebody. Lol jk, I’m not that psycho.

Another plus, was the kissing scenes because Yoon Eun-hye really knows how to kiss and she’s goals af and her chemistry with Ju Ji-hoon was lit!! They slay me.


And on that weird note, I’m out.