Failure to Communicate by Kaia Sønderby, a review (Xandri Corelel #1)

Failure to Communicate by Kaia Sønderby is an indie published sci-fi novel that was recommended to me a few times and was bought for me by the wonderful Veronica. I just had to give it a go and I’m so glad I did!

This indie published Science Fiction is such a fun read. We follow Xandri, an autistic woman in a universe where humans selectively altered genetics to remove neurodivergencies, meaning that she is just as, if not more, misunderstood to neurotypical people as today. She works as a Xeno-Liason, communication between her crew and any new species they discover and her methods are unique.

I really adored learning more about the characters as we progressed throughout this book. They really develop, both individually and also as a cohesive group. The different cultures that were present on the various planets that they visited were also fascinating. I have to admit as well that I adored the ship, and that was what solidified the Murderbot-esque feelings I got from this book. If you liked one I definitely think you’ll like the other!

I was recommended this book by two autistic reviewers, Bekka and Veronica, and they’ve stated that they love the representation in here. It’s not something I can speak on, but as someone who isn’t autistic I can say that it’s a fantastic delve into the internal workings of someone’s thoughts. And knowing that my friends say the rep is good? It just added an extra level.

On CAWPILE I rated this: Characters: 9. Atmosphere: 9, Writing: 8, Plot: 8, Intrigue: 8, Logic: 8 and Enjoyment: 8 giving an average of 8.29 and a 4.5* rating.

Highlight here for trigger warnings: ableism (intolerance of autism & neurodivergence), bullying, childhood (sexual) abuse, disordered eating, genocide (mentioned), gore, gun violence (mentioned), violence.

I’m so glad that I was pushed to pick up this book because I enjoyed it so much! I will definitely be picking up the sequel to this, and I’ll probably try out anything else written by Kaia Sønderby because I just enjoyed this book so much!

Have you got any books with good autism rep that you recommend? Have you picked up this book or anything else by this author? Let me know!

An Unkindness of Ghosts – a review

In this Sci-Fi novel we follow Aster. She’s considered “odd-mannered, obsessive, [and] withdrawn” by the others on the ship, who call her an ogre and a freak, but there’s no truth to their claims. She wishes there was. Aster is just Aster. She lives in the slums of the HSS Matilsda, a ship organised like the antebellum South, where dark-skinned passengers like Aster are considered to be less than human. Aster, when retracing her deceased mother’s footsteps, learns that there may be a way off of this ship and a method of escape, if she’s willing to fight for it.


I absolutely adored this book. Wholly and completely. I adore Rivers Solomon’s writing and the way they approach complex topics. This is a very heavy book, so if you’re someone who needs trigger warnings please do check them out below.

This book really explores the collective trauma that can be held within a community, as well as racism, sexism, gender identity, ableism, and more. As I said, it discusses a lot. I loved the way Solomon distinguished the different areas of the ship by how they spoke and how they acted, adding a layer of realism to the work.

Also the fact that the upper decks (light skinned, in power) have a homogenous method of speech and societal norms, no matter which deck, versus the distinct differences between the lower decks, deck to deck.

On top of the impressive discussions, this is just a very well written sci-fi book. The discussions are woven into the narrative so they don’t feel clunky or forced. Instead we are simply following Aster as she learns about the ship, she learns the science behind issues they’re having, she learns more about healing people, about people, and about herself. And the ending of this book? Totally not what I expected, left me wanting more!!!

On CAWPILE I gave this book:

Characters: 10

Atmosphere: 9

Writing: 9

Plot: 8

Intrigue: 9

Logic: 9

Enjoyment: 10

For an overall rating of 9.14 which is of course a 5 star read!!

Highlight here for trigger warnings: ableism, abortion, blood, child abuse (sexual, implied), chronic illness, confinement, death (children and adult), gun violence, grief, homophobia, lynching, medical content and trauma, mental illness, misogyny, paedophilia, panic attacks/disorders, physical abuse, police brutality, racism, rape, religious bigotry, self harm, sexual assault (mentioned), slavery, suicide (mentioned), torture, violence

Once again please do check out the trigger warnings if you possibly need them as this is a really heavy book, but if you’re able to read through it I think it’s worth the read.

Scarlet by Marissa Meyer, book 2 in the Lunar Chronicles | A Review

In the second book of the Lunar Chronicles we are introduced to Scarlet, her grandmother has went missing and nobody seems to be taking it seriously. Even the police have blown her off. When she encounters Wolf, who claims to have knowledge about her grandmother’s whereabouts, she has to trust this suspicious man. We also still get to follow Cinder, continuing on from where she left off at the end of her own book.

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3/5 stars

I had been worried, before I’d checked, that we wouldn’t get to carry on reading from Cinder’s point of view. I had really enjoyed her story and was pleased to find out I’d get to read from her again. There are a lot of different points of view throughout this book, and I imagine that is only going to get more intense as the series progresses and more characters are introduced so if you don’t like reading from multiple viewpoints this might not be the series for you.

I love the extra world building that we get in this novel, as it was a little lacklustre in Cinder. We are at two opposite ends of the world as we begin the book, as well as having the Moon come into play, so this allowed Meyer to naturally build a lot more upon what we had shown to us already without info dumping. I also like the extra little bits of character building that develop for all those we already met in book one.

The new characters that were introduced were a lot of fun, I love the platonic and romantic chemistry between so many of them and how they have to work to gain each other’s trust and respect. So often in YA that is skimmed over. I’m really looking forward to seeing how they all interact with each other in the future books, as well as what the new characters I’m assuming will appear will add to the narrative.

I do have to say that the writing was lacking in points. There was one sentence in particular which used the phrase “very special glass” that had me shocked that it made it into the final edit and the published book. At points, with writing like this, the book does feel kind of trashy. Now this doesn’t mean that I’m not enjoying the book, but the writing isn’t the best and that can draw me out of the story at points. It’s not going to stop me from reading the rest of the books but it’s definitely something that I want to mention.

I’ll definitely have to pick up Cress at some point and I’m really looking forward to learning more about this world, the characters in it, and seeing the plot resolve itself finally in book 4! I just hope the writing improves a little bit!

An unexpectedly touching read

My mum gifted me this a few years ago, for Christmas, it is one of a set of three which came in a box. I never delved into them and when my best friend picked my tbr she of course picked one of them! We both love Doctor Who and Matt Smith is her favourite doctor.


Like the title says, I didn’t expect to be so touched by this book. I expected a silly little novel about a caper that the Doctor and his companions had and that was that. Instead I got an in depth story twisting and turning in time as the Doctor fights to save a man from himself. I ended up a little teary-eyed when I was nearing the end of this book sat in the library!

If you’ve ever thought about picking up any of these Doctor Who books I definitely recommend giving them a shot, this was a lot more enjoyable than I had thought and I’m looking forward to reading more from my little box set.

I’ve finally read it!

It took me long enough to buy it (eventually I got it with a Waterstones gift card my beautiful flatmate gave me for my 22nd) and then it took me a long while to actually read it. But I’ve read it! And I loved it! I can see why so many people enjoy it, I love the unique art style and layout of a novel and I also was incredibly invested in the characters.

The world is well developed, it’s set in our future and is based on three ships trying to escape from another and save the thousands of civilians on board as the other ship wants to destroy them. We follow two main characters, a teenage boy and girl who just before boarding these ships broke up with each other. And now they need to work together.

The character development is done beautifully, with so many events having a massive impact on their ever-shrinking world. I also loved the artwork within, which really fits with the theme, and the unique formatting is also done incredibly well, although there was one section that I read in the wrong order cause I didn’t realise!!

If you’re into sci-fi and like YA books I think this one is great! It’s definitely a YA work though, I wasn’t sure until I sent a pic of some pages to my bf (who really doesn’t like YA books) and he declined to borrow my copy based on that. But if you like YA, either all the time or sometimes, I definitely think you should give this beauty a shot!

This Mortal Coil by Emily Suvada

Okay so I did this backwards, I actually reviewed This Cruel Design (book 2) first. So if you’re interested then that review is available here! I reviewed that one first as I had received an ARC copy from the publishers and wanted to put up my review to coincide with the books release. This is also the first time I’ve been able to slot my review in, despite me finishing this book on the 8th October… so let’s get into the actual review!

Of course, I LOVED this book!!! It was absolutely amazing and I was completely engrossed from start to end. I adored our main character Cat and enjoyed slowly learning more about her background and also learning through her about how the world is and what has happened between now and the future in which this book is set.

The sci-fi, coding and tech side was so developed and clearly Emily had researched it well or previously had a good knowledge as it was in so much detail and was so interesting to learn about. It would be pretty cool if it was real! (Let me ignore the real world implications for a bit, okay?).

The ending of this book absolutely murdered me, as in lying on the kitchen floor making weird noises as my (at the time new) flatmate looked on in confusion. She’s not a reader. Yet. But it killed me and I cannot believe I hadn’t read this sooner. If you like any sort of dystopian, sci-fi, techy reads then definitely give this one a go! I will be reading absolutely everything Emily Suvada publishes in the future thanks to these two beauties ♥♥♥

Airhead Series Review

I was holding onto this series for a loooong time. I bought them in Summer 2013 (I think?) at a Scholastic bookstore I visited in NYC, and didn’t read them until 2018. That’s 5 long years of not reading those books, and then I read all three of them in one year!

I had been putting it off as they’re contemporary books, “girly”, and to be perfectly honest… I got them cause they were by an author I recognised, were signed, and my mum said she’d pay for them! Bad I know, I know. I was young! (16 in fact! I’m 22 now and yet that holiday feels like only a year or two ago!)

However, I finally got around to reading Airhead as I had randomly taken it to uni (probably because I realised that I needed to read it!) and ended up surprising myself and enjoying it a lot, giving it 4 stars. In fact, I gave all three books in this trilogy 4 stars across the board. They never quite hit the 5-star mark, but for a genre I avoided for a good 8 years that’s a damn good result.

We follow a teenage girl (Em Watts) who is nerdy and unassuming in looks, after an incident, and due to some stuff (isn’t is fun trying to avoid spoilers!) she wakes up in the body of a supermodel. Like seriously. And this book doesn’t just go for the cliche of going and doing loads of “cool” things (although of course that does happen a little), but it also brings up the identity crisis that would happen if this was to occur in real life. It makes it feel much more real with the panic of losing your family, your life, your lifestyle and those you love, whilst having to pretend to be someone you’re not.

The trilogy is a great length to follow a decent proportion of Emmerson’s life within this new body, and Meg Cabot managed to lay out the plot twists and action points really well throughout the series so that each book is engaging and interesting. The only complaint I would have about this series is that the sci-fi twist isn’t more prominent, but that’s purely from my reading preference and it’s actually a great contemporary read. There is a romance that progresses throughout the books, and I feel like the speed of that is done well also. It’s definitely not rushed and feels like it’s pretty natural.

All in all, this was a sweet, interesting and well-done trilogy which has great sciencey features along with an interesting psychological look at how someone would cope with this scenario. It is also a contemporary read, 100%, but maybe this would be a good one to give a go if you’re normally not into the genre? Meg Cabot tackled the subject very well and I personally found it super engaging. It’s made me more open to reading contemporaries in the future, so maybe I’ll have even more books for my tbr!

Have you read the series? What did you think? Let me know in the comments!


This Cruel Design to break your heart!

I was lucky enough to win an ARC (advanced reader copy) of this book in a Twitter giveaway, and I was so excited! I hadn’t actually read This Mortal Coil at this point (book #1 in the series) but it was something I’d had my eye on and this gave me the push to bump it up my TBR (to be read) list. Once I had read Mortal Coil I was hooked and had to use a lot of self control to not just dive straight in to Cruel Design! But personally I will mix the plot of series’ together if I read them back to back so I gave myself some time, and then dove in.

From this point on I will be vaguely outlining the plot of The Cruel Design (which is book #2) so there will be some spoilers for book #1. Don’t read ahead if you don’t want to be spoiled! You’ve been warned!

So we continue to follow our protagonist Cat after what they thought was code to stop the Hydra virus has been released, and the extra code hidden within has been given to every human on the planet. The code that Lachlan can use to control and reprogram humanity. They’re in a race against Cartaxus, the corporation that has their own adgenda and will do anything to reach it, whether that is working with or against Catarina, Cole and Leoben.

The virus is continuing to evolve pass the vaccine and they have to head to Entropia, the base of all extreme hackers and coders, to find the woman who runs it, and who used to work on the code with Cartaxus until she escaped, Regina. But more comes to light than the three were expecting, and everything that Cat knew might turn out to be a lie.

So if that plot summary doesn’t sound good to you then…. well I guess this book isn’t for you. But if it does, oh my genehacking coders, you need to pick it up! This book had me reading well past when I wanted to go to sleep. I used to do this a lot as a child and thought that I had just “grown-up” and that is why I’m not kept up by books anymore. Apparently, I was wrong! I was up until 3am finishing this bad boy, and if you follow me on Instagram (@autumnofpellinor) you’ll have seen my stories when I finally finished the book. Emily killed me in the absolute best way! I was heartbroken, shocked, confused, angry, and I needed more! I can’t believe I’m going to have to wait so long for part three of this series, but I’m also super excited that there is going to be a book three! For some reason, I had assumed it was a duology and was expecting it to wrap up in this book!

If this is a genre/topic you enjoy then this book will be unputdownable and absolutely amazing! I did have one or two little gripes, but that’s just me being a pedantic pain in the arse (and probably just feeling angry at all the amazing plot twists and turns!) and Emily Suvada has absolutely nothing to worry about because this book was pretty much perfect!

This book is set to come out on the 30th October/1st November (Goodreads says Oct, my ARC copy says Nov so keep an eye out on both dates) and I 100% recommend picking this beauty up! The cover artist(s) did an amazing job on the cover and the book itself will blow you away, and if you haven’t read book #1 yet then get on it! It killed me so much that I was lying on the floor of my flat kitchen (and my poor flatmate who had only known me 3 weeks got to see a BookWorm disintegrating through shock, anger and love – she’s recovered now don’t worry) and couldn’t do anything. I can’t wait to read the short story which goes along with this series, and also absolutely anything else that Emily comes out with in the future! She is now one of my auto-read authors!! (I finished this book 3 days ago and I’m still in “aaaaggghhh” mode, which should also be an indicator for how much I loved this!)

Have you read This Mortal Coil or Thie Cruel Design? What did you think? Are you going to pick them up? Comment below! I need someone to nerd out with about this series!

The Girl with all the Gifts – a review

I had seen this book floating around for a few years and really wanted to read it, so when I decided I was going to take a break from the Thursday Next audiobooks (by Jasper Fforde), I elected to get this on audiobook and give it a go. I am so glad that I did because I absolutely loved it! 4 out of 5*!!!

We follow Melanie, a young girl who is strapped to a chair each morning and wheeled into a classroom to learn along with many other children also strapped into chairs. Her favourite teacher is Miss Justineau, and she waits excitedly for every lesson with her, not caring about the other teachers on rotation. I don’t want to say too much more, as this is pretty much all I knew going into it and I absolutely loved finding out everything as and when it happened. Things change massively as this book progresses, Melanie really matures and I loved listening to all the different characters and their points of view, as there are chapters from all the different characters. Learning about this world and what has happened to it is incredibly engrossing and I can’t wait to delve into the second book in the series, which if I’m remembering correctly is not a direct sequel but just set in the same dystopian world.

If this is a book which has piqued your interest I really recommend picking it up, I was engrossed despite reading it over a month span via audiobook and absolutely loved the world. I’m really looking forward to reading The Boy on the Bridge eventually, although I don’t currently know whether I’ll listen to it or read a physical copy.

Hit Squad

This is book #6 in the Medusa Squad series, and stupidly I didn’t re-read any of the other 5 books in the series before starting this book so I was a little lost for a while. I couldn’t get my hands on this book for a surprisingly long time so I am a little behind on this series too. But I quickly fell back into the story and really enjoyed this book.

We follow our squad, plus one or two extra tagalongs, as they attempt to stop the production and usage of Medusix. This is a drug which simulates the gene mutation they have and can cause the development of powers in those who take it. We switch character viewpoints throughout the book and this is really used to the plot’s advantage as we are left with cliffhangers and mystery whilst the book is still ongoing. With different characters not knowing what is happening to others within the group and this affecting the whole plot.

I was fully engrossed in this book and am upset that this is the final book in the series! (although McKenzie has left the ending open so there is a chance that it could be continued… but it’s been like 5 years so maybe not 😦 ) I was so stressed, tense and freaking out for the end portion of the book! Non-bookworms may think that is a bad thing but trust me, that just means the book has you in its grasp and is 100% doing its job. I really recommend this YA Sci-Fi read to those of all ages. Definitely a fun, fast-paced piece of literature that leaves you wanting more!