I received a free copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Rilakkuma - By Your Side

Firstly, I want to say that from reading some of the other reviews of this book that people seem to have been going in expecting something very different than what this book is intended to be: this is a small collection of affirmations with cute illustrations to turn to when everything seems to hard and you just want a bit of a pick me up and encouragement. This book is like a pat on the shoulder or a good hug. This book is NOT a story or a self-help guide and it is also not intended to be.

The illustrations are the shining stars of this book. They are sweet and made me feel happier all by themselves, so they are very fitting. I also love the love for food and beds which is evident in the illustrations (very relatable). I will admit to not being familiar with Rilakkuma, but I would imagine that these illustrations would be especially pleasing to those who are.

As for the affirmations themselves, some of them are insightful, but many of them are nothing special. However, I don’t really have a problem with this, because I don’t think they need to be. This book isn’t trying to shift your world view or unveil some kind of fantastic revelation, but simply to remind you of the things that are so simple and true, but so easily forgotten when we are too hard on ourselves.

However, I have docked a star and I will now address the main reason why: the formatting. I will preface this with a disclaimer that my edition was received from NetGalley, so it may not be the same as the print version, but it is likely quite similar as the book had already been published by the time I downloaded the book. This book is obviously translated from the Japanese, and the original illustrations are all done in Japanese. As such, the English translations have simply been typed underneath/next to the Japanese on the illustrations or at the bottom of the page on the pages where the affirmations are written. Additionally, the type set used and the way these English translations are incorporated are particularly clunky, resembling the kind of subtitling one might find on a YouTube video, and not a translation in a book.

I believe the publisher should have either found a way to replace the Japanese with the English (at least on the affirmations, if not on the illustrations) as is done in manga translations, or have picked a more fitting and less jarring type set, especially as the aesthetic of this book is so key to the reader’s enjoyment. This is, of course, not the author’s fault, but it is worth mentioning and keeping on mind if you are considering purchasing the English translation of this book. Maybe try and take a look inside before you buy and see if it will bother you too much.

In conclusion, if you are looking for a sweet book to remind you to go easier on yourself and to comfort you when you’re feeling down (and you’re not too put off by slightly clunky type set and formatting issues with the translations), I definitely recommend this book!

4 stacks of 3 books (4/5 rating)


I received an eARC of this book through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Nocturnal is a sweet poetry collection, with a loose narrative exploring a journey of self-discovery and growth after a heartbreak. The poems do not run into each other or form a continuous narrative, rather the book acts as a collection of poems which, by themselves, are weak, but when grouped together in thematic groups serve a much greater impact upon the reader.



I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Haphaven is a graphic novel by Norm Harper and Louie Joyce which follows the main character, Alex, as she finds herself in a world where the superstitions her father instilled in her reign supreme and she must fight corruption and learn about her family’s superstitious past, all whilst worrying about her mother’s broken back (because of course, Alex stepped on a crack and her mother’s back actually broke).


Mini Reviews Volume 2

Sometimes I have some reviews to post but they’re not quite long enough to warrant a single post, so I collate them into mini review posts like this one! This is PART 2 of this series. Enjoy 🙂

DISCLAIMER: I received free copies of both of these books in return for an honest review. All opinions are honest and my own.

The Adventures of WilhelmThe Adventures of Wilhelm: A Rat’s Tale by Maria Ritter

Young Wilhelm leaves home and travels the world. He not only discovers the value of different cultures and the importance of family and friendship, but he also overcomes obstacles with courage and cleverness. He returns home with deep respect for all creatures on this earth and a new sense of rat identity and purpose. (Goodreads.)

While I do often enjoy middle grade books, I tend to prefer middle grade books which are written in a less… simplistic fashion. By simplistic I do not mean that the writing in this book was bad because it certainly wasn’t, but the story was very obviously trying to communicate lessons through the story. And it did so by blatantly having the characters teach other characters the lessons which the author wants the reader to take from the book. This, to me, doesn’t feel like middle grade writing for 9-12 year olds, but more like older children’s fiction (5-8 years range).

I feel like books have the impact they do on people because they allow people to learn lessons more “naturally” by experiencing the emotions the book portrays. Anyone can tell you something, but only by really experiencing and understanding it can you fully believe it, which is where this story fell short.

Not only did it not have the impact it should, but the writing style left me feeling a little bit irritated and a lot like I was being either patronised or reading allowed to a younger sibling or child I was babysitting… except I was reading to myself during my lunch break at work.

That being said, if the writing style doesn’t bother you, the premise of the book is actually quite good and very thought-provoking. Although the writing style put me off enough that I could not finish the book, the actual plot of the book was fascinating and made me have some deep philosophical conversations with myself.

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As I did not finish this book, I can not give it a rating as per my rating policy.


WindswornWindsworn by Derek Alan Siddoway

When Eva discovers a young thief hiding in her woodshed with a stolen gryphon egg, the shy, timid girl is forced to leave everything she’s ever known to become Windsworn — elite warriors who ride fierce gryphons into battle…  (Goodreads.)”

Windsworn was comfortable to read. It was a good, familiar fantasy story, with some interesting world features, but generally fairly typical and familiar topics. This isn’t a bad thing, it just means the world wasn’t amazing but the book did use the familiar concepts well. It was fun and easy to read, perfect if you just want to relax for a little bit!

3 stacks of 3 books, 3/5 rating
This means I liked the book but it wasn’t anything particularly special! Check out my rating policy for more details.

So that was it!

Do you want to go and read either of these books now?

Happy reading, Keira x.