Sunday, 14 August 2016

Book Review: Black by Fleur Ferris

Black
Author: Fleur Ferris
Publisher: Random House Australia
Pages: 276 pages
RRP: $19.99

Ebony Marshall is in her finally year of high school. Five months, two weeks and four days... She can't wait to leave the town where she's known only as 'Black'. Because of her name, of course. But for another reason, too.

Everyone says Black Marshall is cursed.

Three if her best friends have died in tragic accidents. After Oscar, the whispers started. Now she's used to being on her own. It's easier that way.

But when her date for the formal ends up in intensive care, something in quite little Daimsfield starts to stir. Old secrets are revealed and terrifying new dangers emerge.

If only Black could put all the pieces together, she could work out who her real enemies are. Should she run for her life, or stay and fight?

My review
Thoughts on the book: Black tells the story of a girl called Black Marshell who lives in a little town called, Dainsfield where a lot of the townspeople believe that she is cursed. When Black was younger she lost three of her close friends in tragic accidents and the main thing they had in common was their friendship with Black. Since the last 'accident' Black has been keeping mainly to herself. She has a few select friends but prefers to keep to herself, keeping her head down so she can graduate school and get out of town. When a new boy arrives and asks Black to the prom as a dare, she decides that she will give in and go. They have a perfect night or so it would seem. Suddenly her date is lying uncouncious in the middle of the road after a kiss from Black. Now the rumours are running around ten fold and suddenly Black finds herself in danger as the towns cult comes after her. Will she get away or will the cult capture her so she can't do anymore harm to anyone?

Wow just WOW. This book might just be my top pick for 2016 and the year is barely half way through. I absolutely devoured Black and read it from cover to cover in the shortest time possible and treasured every minute of it. The writing was just amazing and had me looking forward to the story from the get go. I fell in love with the small town setting and all of its inhabitants, well maybe except for the known members of The Whisperers (Pure Apostles). I especially loved the guts and determination of Black. I don't know how she would have put up with all those people judging her and making her feel like dirt. I can totally understand why she chose to keep to herself. Another thing I loved was the sneaky subtle love triangle. I won't say who between, although you may guess, but I really like how the relationships are resolved at the end of the book. It was very peaceful and I don't tend to find that happening in too many stories.

I really can't recommend this book enough. From its highly captivating storyline, to its subtle love triangle, to its resilient main character, this book literally has something for everyone whether you like the YA genre or not. And as I previously stated is at the moment my top pick of 2016. So everyone drop what they are doing and rush out and buy a copy of Black, you won't regret it.

Rating: without a doubt 5/5

Book Review: Up in Flames by Abbi Glines

Up in Flames
Author: Abbi Glines
Publisher: Simon and Schuster Australia
Pages: 246 pages
RRP: $19.99
Spoiled, selfish, rich girl, troublemaker... Rosemary Beach's bad girl, Nan Dillon, has been called every vile name under the hot summer sun. Admittedly, some of her reputation is deserved, but Nan is far from happy. So when Major asks her out, she jumps at the chance to date the gorgeous charmer. Though she doesn't know much about the sweet-talking Texan, and it's clear he doesn't want to be exclusive, dating him beats hanging out with vapid socialites or being home alone.

But when Major burns her once too often with his playboy ways, Nan takes off for an impromptu wild weekend in Vegas. There, she meets Gannon, a darkly subduction and oh-so-dangerous businessman who knows exactly how to handle her. Now Major is asking for a second chance and with Gannon haunting her dreams, Nan has to decide who to her her heart to. But what she doesn't realise is that these players are involved in a much bigger game- and they're already two moves ahead of her.

My review
Thoughts on the book: WOW, Abbi Glines sure know how to change your mind about a villain doesn't she. Nan has been nearly everyone's most hated character in the Rosemary Beach series and possibly the whole bookworld ever since she picked on poor innocent fan favourite Blaire and the many others that followed. She has dated many of the other characters, with one of her main squeezes Grant even leaving her for her own sister. Even after meeting her real father, the dad she always wanted can barely stand her and her mother has barely been in the picture her whole life. The only person who seemed to like Nan was her half brother Rush and I feel that's only because he feels sorry for her because he knows how she was brought up. Nan has been written as a mean, selfish spoil brat in the previous books in the series but in Up in Flames we really get to know her and she is actually remarkably strong and is even attempting to change her ways. 

There were a few things that I didn't really like. There didn't seem to be as much back story with Nan as we normally get with our other characters that we are introduced to wether we know them or not. I feel like we did get a good insight into Nan but I felt there was more to be told. I also felt that the synopsis for the book focused a lot on Major when I felt the book was a lot more about Gannon then Major. Yes Major did play a kind of big part in the book, but I felt Gannon's was more and that the only reason we got more about Major was because we knew him. I also felt that what we find out in the end would have been a bit better to know before the end. It's hard to kind of explain this without giving it away but I wanted to know why they were looking at Nan.

Now to the things that I really liked. Where to start. I loved that Nan was attempting to make amends for her previous behaviour. In a perfect world we would have loved for Rosemary Beach to be one big happy family but in saying that it would have been quite boring. So I'm glad that people were starting to be a bit more accepting of Nan and that they could see she was making an effort. I also loved Nan's relationship with Nate. Just from this little bit we know Nan is capable of being fun and can love someone. They have such a special bond. I also loved being inside Nan's head and seeing what really goes on in there. She is such a strong person and we really get to see exactly how much she just wants to be accepted by everyone and fit in.

I thoroughly enjoyed Up in Flames and truly believe that it was a fantastic end to the series however I can't believe that this series is over. I have been with it from the start and have loved every emotional roller coaster ride that I have been on. I have fallen in love with basically each and every character and can't believe I have to say goodbye to them. But I am always able to read them again and again and I can't wait to be able to introduce the series to my daughter when she is much older. 

Favourite quote/part: 
I loved this because it explains Nan perfectly.
The absence of Nan's mother throughout this episode spoke volumes that I hoped the other saw- those who weren't ready to forgive Nan for her past sins. Villains were created, not born. That was something I'd come to know as a fact. I'd witnessed it over and over.
Although Nan wasn't ever a real villain, she was a deeply damaged and hurt female, and was there anything more dangerous? I doubted it.

Rating: 5/5

Thursday, 28 July 2016

Blog Tour: When Michael met Mina by Randa Abel-Fattah




When Michael Met Mina
Author: Randa Abdel-Fattah
Publisher: Pan MacMillan
Pages: 350 pages
R.R.P:m$18.99
A boy.
A girl.
Two families.
One great divide.

When Michael meets Mina, they are at a rally for refugees, standing on opposite sides.
Mina fled Afghanistan with her mother via a refugee camp, a leaky boat and a detention centre.
Michael's parents have founded a new political party called Aussie Values.
They want to stop the boats.
Mina wants to stop the hate.

My review
Thoughts on the book: I was so excited when I recieved an email from Pan MacMillian asking me if I would like to partake in the blog tour for one of their new books being released this year. This book was When Michael Met Mina and the only thing I really new about it was the synopsis that was given, as I had never read anything by this author previously and hadn't heard too much about the book. But I knew once I read what it was about that I was going to accept and that I would love the book and I certainly wasn't wrong.

When Michael met Mina tells the story of two very different teenagers. First there is Michael who lives at home with his mum, dad and younger brother, Nathan, goes to a nice private school, is very set in his ways and basically has never had a care in the world. Then there is Mina, who lived in war torn Afghanistan, lost her father and baby brother, travelled by boat to Australia to escape the war and has had to work very hard to be where she is today. Both have lived very different lives and when they meet sparks fly.

Right from the opening lines I knew I was going to love When Michael met Mina, which is told in alternating POV of both Mina and Michael. I mean how can you not when this is the opening
     I know two things for a fact.
     My parents are good people.
     And ever since I can remember, they've been angry about almost everything.
Right from that opening we get an insight into how Michael is. He follows the opinions of his parents, who founded the group Aussie Values. Aussie Values basically is a group that wants to stop boat people coming into Australia and taking over everything and not accepting the Australian way of life or our traditions. Michael has attended meetings and gone to rally's with the members of the group but it isn't until he meets Mina that she challenges everything he knows and actually makes him think about what his views are on certain topics. It also makes him think about how hard some people work for things while others are given everything and even who he chooses to have in his life. Both Michael and Mina posses qualities that almost everyone can identify with in some way and I for one found them both to be fantastic characters and some of my favourite ones for this year.

When Michael met Mina is a fantastically written YA novel about friendship, young love and will have you questioning how you think and feel about certain topics that are being discussed in Australia. You will fall in love with the not only the characters but the writing too. A fantastic novel, well done to the author Randa Abdel-Fattah. I can't wait to read more from you.

Thank you Pan Macmillan for letting me be apart of this blog tour and be sure to check out everyone else's blog tour stops on the way.


Rating: 5/5







Saturday, 23 July 2016

Book Review: Game Theory by Barry Jonsberg

Game Theory
Author: Barry Johnsberg
Publisher: Allen and Unwin
Published: 25th May 2016
Pages: 320 pages
R.R.P: $19.99
Game Theory has brought me to this point and I must follow where it leads. Even though this is not a game.

Jamie's is a sixteen-year-old maths whiz. Summerlee, his older sister, is in the grip of a wild phase. Tensions at home run high. When Summerlee wins a 7.5 million-dollar lottery, she cuts all ties with her family. But money can cause trouble- big trouble. And when Jamie's younger sister Pheobe is kidnapped for a ransom, the family faces a crisis almost too painful to bear.

Jamie thinks he can use game theory- the strategy of predicting an opponent's actions- to get Phoebe back. But can he outfox the kidnapper? Or is he putting his own and his sister's life at risk?

My review
Though on the book: Game Theory, I suppose of you knew what Game Theory was you would know what this book was going to be about and why the author chose to name the book so. Unfortunately I had never heard of Game Theory before receiving this for review so didn't really know what I was in for besides how Game Theory is explained on the back cover:
Game Theory- the strategy of predicting an opponent's actions
Maybe is was because I didn't really know what it was all about (and much to your dismay I'm sure, still don't) that it took me until a couple of chapters into Part 1 before I really starting getting into the story and enjoying what was happening. But once I did I had to keep on reading as I wanted to know who the kidnapper was and why they did it, whether it was because of the money, for revenge or some other exciting reason. 

The main character Jamie is very easy to love. You can see yourself being friends with him because he is just so awkward but is also your very smart geek, who loves his maths and little sister very much (not the older one as much though) and tells it like it is basically in the story. He leads a very ordinary life until his older sister turns 18. Suddenly, thanks to his winning numbers that he gave her but of course she denies this, she wins the lottery and his whole life changes. Once Summerlee recieved the money she basically goes off the rails and basically disowns her family. That is until one day while out picking up a few things with Jamie, their younger sister Phoebe is mysteriously taken from the local supermarket while going to the deli section to get four salmon fillets. Jamie feels the guilt of it all because Phoebe was in his charge, even though they normally go to the supermarket together and he goes and gets one thing and Phoebe gets another. So Jamie decided that he is going to take matters into his own hands and deal with the kidnapper himself. He tells the police only parts of the information he recieves and devises his own plan to bring Phoebe back.

I loved how Jamie thought methodically about everything. In his eyes everyone could be the kidnapper, his teacher, his best friend, his own family, the little old lady down the road,no one is safe in his eyes and this is why I believe I never picked the kidnapper. I thought for ages that it was a certain person (I don't want to give it away) because of certain "clues" I thought I was being given but I was completely wrong. The author has done an amazing job of hiding who the kidnapper is. I will say though that I felt the ending, when the kidnapper is revealed, to be a bit rushed. We get this great big amazing middle part where we are being told every detail in great detail and then the ending, when we find out who it is, is 39 pages long. I would have liked s bit more background information as to why he chose to do it now and not later and would have liked to have a bit more of an ending than the way, I felt, it suddenly stopped.

Rating: 4/5









Book Review: V for Violet by Alison Rattle

V for Violet
Author: Alison Rattle
Publisher: Hot Key Books
R.R.P: $16.99
Pages: 283 pages

London, 1961

Britain is entering the swinging sixties. The world is changing- but not for sixteen-year-old a violet. She's stuck in her mum and dad's fish and chip shop, where she can only dream of a more exciting life.

When she meets Beau, a dangerously sexy Rocker, Violet's life is suddenly more interesting. But then her long-lost brother comes home, and local girls start going missing- and are found murdered.

Violet suspects she knows who the killer is. And when her best friend disappears too, she knows she must act. But can she trust herself, and her heart, to make the right decision and uncover the truth?

My review
Thoughts on the book: I read the synopsis for this book and decided that it sounded interesting so I put a request in for it. Luckily at the time I didn't really think to much about who the book was by. You see early last year I recieved a review copy of a book by Alison Rattle called The Beloved and could not get into it at all. I tried for months but could barely get past 50 pages in. It wasn't until I recieved the book and turned it over that I saw the books she had previously written on the back and low and behold there it was. I sat there thinking aww no I've requested a book that I'm not going to be able to read, but decided to brave it anyway and yep you guessed it I ended up loving it. 

V for Violet tells the story of a young sixteen year old  Londener Violet who has lead a very boring, plain life. She has basically had the same routine her whole life, worn the same clothes and had the same best friend, but suddenly everything is changing before her eyes: herbest friend, Jackie gets a job and makes new friends and starts to leave Violet behind, 'dead' brother miraculously comes back to life and enters her life for the very first time and a hot motorcycle guy takes an interest in her. Oh but let's not forget the mystery surrounding the murders of young girls that is suddenly taking place.  Violet's life is going to change immensely in such a short amount of time when her best friend Jackie is found murdered and Violet suspects that it is her newly retuned brother who has done it. 

V for Violet is a fantastic mix of young love, mystery sleuthing that would make Nancy Drew proud, death, life and almost all things that young teenage girls deal with all rolled into one. You get a real feel for what life was like for people who lived in London in 1961, way before televisions were in every house, mobile phones were everywhere and you could simply go to the Internet for any answers you may need. It was the time of pay phones, doing The Twist at dances and looking at Encyclopaedias for answers to your homework. It nearly makes me want to go and live in the 60's for a day. If you want to know what a French Letter is in the 1960's and not know who the murderer is until they are revealed (I had know idea) I suggest you pick up V for Violet and give it a read.

Rating: 4/5




Tuesday, 19 July 2016

Lost Girls by Merrie Destefano cover reveal



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About the Book:

Book Title: Lost Girls

Author: Merrie Destefano

Release Date: January 3, 2017

Genre: YA Psychological Thriller

Yesterday, Rachel went to sleep listening to Taylor Swift, curled up in her grammy’s quilt, worrying about geometry. Today, she woke up in a ditch, bloodied, bruised, and missing a year of her life.

She doesn’t recognize the person she’s become: she’s popular. She wears nothing but black.

Black to cover the blood.

And she can fight.

Tell no one. 

She’s not the only girl to go missing within the last year…but she’s the only girl to come back. She desperately wants to unravel what happened to her, to try and recover the rest of the Lost Girls.

But the more she discovers, the more her memories return. And as much as her new life scares her, it calls to her. Seductively. The good girl gone bad, sex, drugs, and raves, and something darker…something she still craves—the rush of the fight, the thrill of the win—something she can’t resist, that might still get her killed…

The only rule is: There are no rules.


Goodreads Book Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/29939399-lost-girls

Amazon Buy Link: https://www.amazon.com/Lost-Girls-Merrie-Destefano-ebook/dp/B01GNZ9GH8/

Barnes & Noble Buy Link: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/lost-girls-merrie-destefano/1123683530?ean=9781633756069

iBooks Buy Link: 

Kobo Buy Link: https://kids.kobobooks.com/en-us/ebook/lost-girls-27

Amazon.co.ukhttps://www.amazon.co.uk/Lost-Girls-Merrie-Destefano-ebook/dp/B01GNZ9GH8

Amazon.cahttps://www.amazon.ca/Lost-Girls-Merrie-Destefano-ebook/dp/B01GNZ9GH8/
The Giveaway:
$25 Amazon Gift Card

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About the Author:
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Born in the Midwest, former magazine editor Merrie Destefano currently lives in Southern California with her husband, two German shepherds, a Siamese cat, and the occasional wandering possum. Her favorite hobbies are reading speculative fiction and watching old Star Trek episodes, and her incurable addiction is writing. She loves to camp in the mountains, walk on the beach, watch old movies, and listen to alternative music—although rarely all at the same time. http://www.merriedestefano.com/

Author Website: http://www.merriedestefano.com/

Author Group Blog: http://supernaturalunderground.blogspot.ca/

Author Twitter: https://twitter.com/MerrieDestefano

Author Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/merrie.destefano

Author Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/816280.Merrie_Destefano

Newsletter: http://www.merriedestefano.com/ (Sign up under the Newsletter tab.)




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Sunday, 10 July 2016

Book Review: Before We Were Strangers by Renee Carlino

Before We Were Strangers
Author:  Renee Carlino
Publisher: Atria Books
Pages: 308 pages
R.R.P: $15
A missed connection. A second chance at love.
To the Green-eyed Lovebird:

We met fifteen years ago, almost to the day, when I moved my stuff into the NYU dorm room next to yours at Senior House.

You called us fast friends. I like to think it was more.

We lived on nothing but the excitement of finding ourselves through music (you were obsessed with Jeff Buckely), photography (I couldn't stop taking pictures of you), hanging out in Wahington Square Park, and all the weird things we did to make money. I learned more about myself that year than any other.

Yet, somehow, it all fell apart. We lost touch the summer after graduation when I went to South America to work for National Geographic. When I came back, you were gone. A part of me still wonders if I pushed you too hard after the wedding...

I didn't see you again until a month ago. It was a Wednesday. You were rocking back on your heels, balancing on that thick yellow line that runs along the subway platform, waiting for the F train. I didn't know it was you until it was too late, and then you were gone. Again. You said my name; I saw it on your lips. I tried to will the train to stop, just so I could say hello.

After seeing you, all of the youthful feelings and memories came flooding back to me and now I've spent the better part of a month wondering what you life is like. I might be totally out of my mind, but would you like to get a drink with me and catch up on the last decade and a half?

M


My Review
Thoughts on the book:  I was lucky enough to be given an ARC copy of Before We Were Strangers from Simon and Schuster. I hadn't requested it and at the time had not heard too much about the author, Rene Carlino, or the book for that matter. The cover didn't really give to much away and didn't really draw me in too much (sorry but I found it a little boring), but upon turning the book over and reading the blurb I couldn't wait to get into it and read it right then and there. I mean come on who wouldn't be drawn in after reading a letter like that.

Before We Were Strangers is the ultimate love story of all time. It is told in both the past and the present by the two main characters, Matt and Grace. I felt that this was brilliant as we not only get two different views on how everything panned out but we also get a male and female voice so it isn't really one gender sided and will also appeal to a more wider audience as I believe Matt to be a bit of a manly man and a lot of men could properly identify with him. It tells the story of Matt and Grace who met at NYU and had a whirlwind relationship, that everyone secretly dreams about, before everything suddenly falls apart. Next thing we know 15 years have passed and both Matt and Grace have lived their lives seperate you and without any contact from the other. But of course with all great first loves they both still secretly harbour strong feelings for each other. Suddenly after a chance encounter they find that they have to deal with these feelings again and decide if they other is really their soul mate and if they are prepared to let certain things from the past stay in the past or come between them again.

This is a book for everyone who has ever believed in true love and finding your happily ever after with the bumps along the way. I can't wait to read more by Renee if they are all as good as this.

Quote:
“And in that moment, you realize how little control you have over your own destiny. From the time you’re born, you have no control; you can’t choose your parents, and, unless you’re suicidal, you can’t choose your death. The only thing you can do is choose the person you love, be kind to others, and make your brutally short stint on earth as pleasant as possible.
Rating: 5/5