Libba Bray’s latest release The Diviners is a darkly, seductive supernatural thriller set in the roaring 1920’s that is pos-i-tute-ly delectable!
From the cryptic opening chapter The Diviners is utterly mesmerising. Though I wasn’t thrilled with how she ended her Gemma Doyle Trilogy, I am a without a doubt a Libba Bray fan. Libba is unendingly talented in creating richly descriptive stories and she outdoes herself with The Diviners! From the very first page, Bray’s 1920’s world is fierce; rich and addictive. With her potent, flowing writing, Libba Bray drags you kicking and screaming into her novel. And I mean into it.
Throughout this entire book the captivating world was so vivid that I felt as though I was a part of it. I could see and feel the glitz and glamour. I could hear the sounds of Down Town New York; the hussle and bussle and life that was the 1920s. I could hear the crooning voices floating from the radio. I could envision the numbers runners working away for Papa Charles, the flappers and dames dancing the night away at Hotsy Totsy or one of the other theatres or speakeasies that dotted the town. The authentic dialogue and language swept me up into another time. The atmosphere was incredible; flowing and bleeding into every page and I found myself unable to do anything else but soak up every moment of it!
I must point out that The Diviners is in no way a short read. Heading towards the 600 page mark, one could be forgiven for expecting this book to be written with a lot of fluff and unnecessary pages, but this is never the case. Libba Bray expertly crafts a perfectly paced and moving plotline, told in third person, which whisks you into the story. Her ability to mix harsh themes such as murder and mayhem with the undeniable truths of the time (racism, corruption, prohibition) is outstanding and Bray weaves glitz, glamour and flair with, friendship and danger just the lightest hint of romance. Cults and rituals war with the care-free aspect of the time and are at perfect odds with one another; adding another layer or dread and excitement to the setting.
The murder mystery within The Diviners is written perfectly as far as I am concerned! I was pleasantly surprised that Bray doesn’t skirt around the gory details or let her murder mystery get lost amongst all the romance and flair of the era, as I’ve seen in the past. Rather Naughty John and his naughty activities are front and centre, driving the novel and giving me all kinds of creeps. There isn’t a lot of mystery surrounding who the killer is for the reader, but Libba Bray still manages to keep the suspense of the novel raging on and you don’t loose interest as the protagonists get closer and closer to discovering the truths for themselves. Honestly, I felt chills and goosebumps as I read this book. The anticipation and expectation was too much at times and I was always on edge---I loved it!
Throughout the course of the book our main heroine is Evie O’Neill, a small town girl who is shipped off to live with her Uncle Will, the curator of Museum of American Folklore, Superstition and the Occult (Also knows as the Museum of Creepy Crawlies) in New York City after Evie’s ability to discover information off people by merely touching an item they own gets her into trouble. Honestly, I had quite mixed feelings about Evie for the majority of the novel if truths be told.
In a time where prohibition rages, Evie is boisterous, loud and snarky; easily off putting and over the top, but while there were moments when she irked me, her charm is pos-i-tute-ly redeeming. There’s something so full of life about Evie that just fits in with this novel perfectly. With so many heavy themes explored throughout The Diviners, this book needed a heroine like her; someone so carefree and witty that shed some light on the darkness. Evie may get caught up in herself quite often; in parties and shopping; in living, but when it really counts, Evie rallies. There’s a softness to her and vulnerability when you look closely that mixes with her wit and flair to create someone that has all the potential to grow into a really thrilling heroine!
The characters within this story are the cats meow! If I didn’t already adore this book, the characters would steel my heart alone! While the goings on of Naughty John are our main focus in this instalment, we are also introduced to a whole cast of characters that make 1920’s New York their home. There’s Memphis, an attractive black numbers runner and poet who used to be able to heal people with the touch of his hand; Jericho, a handsome young man who helps out Evie’s uncle Will at his museum who is more machine than man; Theta, a stunning young dancer with big dreams and even bigger secrets; Henry, Theta’s BFF and piano player with secrets of his own; Sam Lloyd, pickpocket and small time thief who can make himself invisible to people at will and of course our main protagonist is Evie, a clairvoyant go-getter with bigger dreams than the small town in Ohio that she’s from and who’s out to make a name for herself. And that’s not all! There’s Mabel, Evie’s shy, quite friend who’s pining after another; Evie’s Uncle Will with his dark secrets possibly surrounding many of the characters; Mephis’s brother Isaiah, with gifts of his own and many, many more!
What I found interesting is that even as the case of Naughty John is going on, it’s impossible to miss that it’s part of a bigger picture; that there is more going on that just this one killer. Bray’s layered, three dimension characters slowly intermingle with one another and with their different back stories and their noticeably similar gifts, it’s obvious that they’re all a part of a bigger plan within the series. There is ancient magic and long since lost abilities rising up once more and I’m so very excited to see where Libba Bray intends to take this series. Really, the possibilities are endless.
Complete with murder mystery, adventure and hints of romance; the mysterious paranormal secrets of this book blend with all the flair, flavour and fire of the 20’s to create a thrilling opener in what promises to be an incredible series by author Libba Bray. Ladies and gentlemen, this book is the bees knees! ...more
**spoiler alert** *Firstly, thank-you to Allen & Unwin Australia for sending me an ARC of this*
Tahereh Mafi’s debut novel is one that will thrill**spoiler alert** *Firstly, thank-you to Allen & Unwin Australia for sending me an ARC of this*
Tahereh Mafi’s debut novel is one that will thrill readers, pulling them into a world and journey that just gets better with the turn of each page! Shatter Me’s riveting tale and incredible heroine will have you on the edge of your seat; eager for more and desperate for it to never end! Personally, I’m only just beginning to get into dystopian novels. They seem to be the craze lately and going into this book I’d heard so much about it and yet I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. I was so excited to get and ARC from Allen and Irwin. The premise sounded so good, but I wondered if it could live up to that.....and boy did it ever! This book blew me away. Simple as that.
The writing and the story itself caught me from the very first page and as I continued to read, Juliette and her journey and all the other characters cemented this book as one of the best I’ve read for a long, long time. The writing itself is different from a lot of books out there and yet it fits the book so beautifully. You can really feel Juliette’s fear and confusion and uncertainly with each word and it comes straight through the pages. You’re completely in her head and know her every feeling and emotion. Shatter Me is well written and descriptive; painting a perfect picture of the world and institute Juliette lives in. The book has a wonderful pace; each moment flows so well to the next and even when it seemed slow at times, there were plenty of things happening to keep you interested. It’s well thought out and I never once felt bored. In fact the whole time I was reading I didn’t want to put the book down!
Juliette was incredible, simply incredible. She has to be one of the most tormented, somewhat broken characters I’ve read about in YA for a long time and yet she’s oh, so strong. She’s been through so much and is in an impossible situation. She hates herself and what she is and what she has no control over, but there’s such a strong inner strength to her. She’s afraid of what she might accidently do and what she doesn’t want to happen. Even when she was betrayed and it seemed like things couldn’t get any worse, she never gave up or gave in, nor did she stop fighting or go against her morals. Even though she herself was treated so inhumanly, Juliette never one wavered in her own kindness and managed to keep hold of herself even when she was faced with cruelty and pain. Her goodness shone through more than anything and this coupled with her bravery in the face of danger made her a joy to read about. She has such a great heart and I love this gal!
I thought Adam was a really great character too. He’s such a well crafted male lead. He has it all; he’s good looking, tough, brave, sensitive, funny, sexy....and totally in love with Juliette. He’s the perfect package and was great to read about. It’s so wonderful to read about a guy with such a good heart himself. He cares about Juliette so deeply and is willing to do so much for her; including risk his own life to help her. What girl doesn’t want a guy like that?!? Oh, and he and is little brother....so freakin’ adorable. Boy, he could make me swoon at times and he and Juliette together were so electric. While I could see some people thinking that the relationship between Juliette and Adam moves fast, it really doesn’t. The history they share and the pasts they both have create such a great foundation for what is essentially an incredible relationship. With everything they’re both been through, and are going through with their changing world and changing lives, they find something in each other that is so sweet. How they feel about each other is so strong and they’ve got such chemistry together. The scenes between them held so much spark and when they kissed or touched it was so hot and sensual.
Every one of the characters in this book was excellent in my eyes. With such a strong plotline, this book needed an equally strong cast of characters to make it great and Ms. Mafi has done exactly that. Juliette and Adam of course are standouts, but Kenji, James, Warner, even the few characters we met at the end all give the book colour and depth. Even the “villain” was someone who intrigued me, even if I disliked him. The characters are so well developed even so early on in the trilogy and I’m excited about the prospect of getting to see them grow and change even more in future books. The ending of the book was really fitting if you ask me. This chapter of the series has come to an end and the next one is beginning. We learn so much about the world in this novel and what else is out there and the ending leaves me wanting....no, demanding, more.
Shatter Me is a tantalizing blend of the X-men and Hunger Games, with a bit of The Day After Tomorrow thrown in. This book is sure to be a hit with dystopian fans and readers alike, and with two more books promised in the series, I for one cannot wait to read the rest of Juliette’s journey! ...more
**spoiler alert** **Firstly, I'd like to thank Allen & Unwin Australia for provding me with a copy of this to read and review!**
Drink Slay Love is**spoiler alert** **Firstly, I'd like to thank Allen & Unwin Australia for provding me with a copy of this to read and review!**
Drink Slay Love is an impossibly quirky story that will have you smiling and grinning over Pearls antics as she navigates her new world and feelings!
Sticking to a very traditional sense of vampires with an extremely fun twist, author Sarah Beth Durst entices you with Pearl’s tale. Durst’s writing style fits in with the story well and there’s a sense of sophistication to her writing, one that translates well with the centuries old vampires she writes about that litter Pearl’s family. I literally laughed out loud over some of the things Durst wrote into the story. Some of the lines she writes are so cheesy that they’re actually brilliant and I found it hard to keep a smile off my face on many occasions as I read.
Pearl is such a fantastic character to read about. She’s so complex and complicated and really makes the story what it is. Initially when I first began this book I worried over whether I would like Pearl or not. In the beginning of the story she comes across as somewhat mean and uncaring towards humans, which essentially she is, but she also has such a fun side to her that I enjoyed reading about. Her sarcastic attitude and quick tongue make for some interesting reading and her dislike for humans in the beginning of the book make her an intriguing character to follow. One of the things I found I liked best about Pearl is that she’s far from perfect. Described in the premise as “mostly evil”, this is very true of Pearl. Pearl is a vampire, through and through, and she makes no excuses for it. She sees humans as snacks and doesn’t care much for them.
As a vampire, she is self-centred and involved, but she changes. As the book progresses, it’s wonderful watching the growth Pearl undertakes as a result of her run in with Mr. Sparkly and Pointy, the unicorn that ultimately sets in motion the changes in Pearl. Seeing her befriend some of the humans, including Evan and Bethany, it’s nice seeing her develop a conscience. While she’ll never be exactly sweet and innocent, Pearly definitely becomes a better person, err vampire, and it shows in the choices she makes and actions she chooses later on in the story. She’s still remarkably flawed, but she wants to be better and that means so much.
With a quirky plotline and hilarious one-liners, there's a vast array of characters that add read colour to this book. I admit I was lost with all the Aunts, Uncles, and Cousins Pearl has, but they and all the unique humans she befriends add so much flair to the story. Evan and Bethany excel as well as the oh, so funny “vampire slayers” Zeke and Matt. Add in a few “popular types” and some athletes, and Durst manages to step outside these stereotypes and bring all these characters together with one common goal.
Full of twists, turns and hilarious situations, Drink Slay Love is a quirky read, with a plotline you’ll love and become immersed with. This is the perfect book to sit back and relax with; laughing and smiling over Pearl and her fabulous take on her worlds, both old and new. This is one book you won’t regret picking up!
**spoiler alert** **Thank-you to Allen and Unwin Australia for providing me with a copy of this to read and review**
Storm, the first book in Brigid Ke**spoiler alert** **Thank-you to Allen and Unwin Australia for providing me with a copy of this to read and review**
Storm, the first book in Brigid Kemmerer’s new Elemental series and her debut novel is enchanting and riveting, full of action and romance and with more delicious guys than you’ll know what to do with!
Kemmerer’s writing flows effortlessly and the incredible tale she weaves blends together enough humour, romance and adventure to more than keep you eagerly turning every page; addicted and unable to put the book down. Kemmerer proves to be a talented debut novelest and is incredibly able to slip into the heads of her boys! Told in duel perspective it’s easy to get lost in the mind of either our heroine Becca or Chris, the youngest Merrick brother that will steal your heart. It was wonderful how Brigid Kemmerer manages to create such a fun, intriguing story and also manage to combine it with a real authentic edge and realness to the story. There were some aspects that really got to me, but the way in which the characters react just reinforces how well this story is written; with the depth and emotions blending with the actions of a real young person.
With an incredibly well set out backstory involving the intriguing world of the Elementals; people I’m so eager to learn more about as the series progresses; Kemmerer has aligned a vast array of characters already so well written, but undoubtedly flawed. Now, we all know how many hot hunks there are out there that litter the YA genre, stealing our hearts and making us swoon, but there’s always room for more. Right? But how about this time we get a family of sexy, swoon-worthy male leads? Brothers to be exact. Girls, I give you…..the Merrick brothers!
In Storm, Brigid introduces us to Chris, Michael, Nick and Gabriel, four brothers with a twisted past and powers they can’t always control. These boys are hot. H.O.T! Even in this first novel, it’s clear how different they all are and the struggles they’ve faced and are facing, but as Kemmerer gives you glimpses into them the hints shown and the fierce family loyalty that mixes with pain and anguish is enough to make you want to give them all a hug. And perhaps a kiss. Or two. These brothers add so much to the series already and with each book set to feature a different alluring brother these boys are set to take the YA genre by storm!
However with all this male testosterone, let’s not forget our leading lady Becca. Becca is a truly engaging female lead, and as you read Storm it’s very easy to emphasise with her. Becca has had a lot of trouble in the past involving boys. Harsh rumours and even harsher dealings with them have left her with a reputation and a lot of issues. I thoroughly loved how Kemmerer has written Becca’s character. She was so authentic to, I believe, a lot of teenage girls out there. Which some don’t deal with this level of problems, many a tarnished by lies and other thoughts and I thought it was great to see the author portray a leading lady this way. Of course she’s made her own share of mistakes and bad choices but throughout the novel Becca is strong willed while still being human and always manages to stand up for those around her.
And it wouldn’t be right to speak about the Merrick brothers without speaking of the other boy in this book Hunter. Hunter was a really interesting character to me. With four brothers already, all full of so much personality, we’re not lacking in male leads so I felt Hunter add an interesting dynamic to the story. I did like him, even as his past still remains much of a mystery.
Brigid Kemmerer yet again proves how well she writes about authentic teenagers with the “love triangle” involving Becca, Chris and Hunter. It’s there, but it isn’t. Becca is drawn to both guys and this is portrayed in a very believable way. Two gorgeous guys, each mysterious who make you feel great and yet you think about them at different times and different reasons. There’s chemistry between Becca and both guys but in the end it’s obvious who her thought\s always stray to and to whom her loyalties lie.
With a sharp, engaging plot and with quick, witty dialogue Storm catches you with its action from the very first chapter. As the story progresses it’s almost impossible to not be drawn into the story and with revelations and discovery’s catching out the characters in the end you’ll be begging for the next book before you even finish this one! ...more
Spirit marks the third installment in Brigid Kemmerer's sensational Elementals series and is a sizzling and emotionally driven story that finally delves into the heart and head of Hunter Garrity in this thrilling and at time unsuspecting story!
I have to say....Brigid Kemmerer is a genius! Seriously. I'm honestly coming to believe that this woman is incapable of writing a bad word, let alone a book. Her stories are just that good; full of danger, angst and emotion and all woven together with supernatural elements, romance and friendship!
Spirit was a eagerly awaited story for me. Ever since the first book Storm I've adored the Merrick brothers, but I have to say, Hunter's always been an enigma within the series for me--I've never really known who he is or what his motives are--and in Spirit that's all finally laid bare as we finally get to read Hunter's story.
And what a story it was! Brigid Kemmerer writes Hunter's tale in that talented way that is her signature with so much emotion and rawness within. Stripping Hunter right back and allowing us readers to really glimpse his pain and internal turmoil, Kemmerer really had me heartbroken at times for Hunter in a way I was not expecting or prepared for. Having read this book I can now see that Hunter Garrity is so much more than he appeared and I love him all the more.
That being said, there is so much fun and excitement to be found in this book, with plenty of friendship and romance taking center stage at times too. In Spirit, the relationship between Hunter and the Merricks is finally explored and Hunter must decide where he stands with them. I adored what Kemmerer does with these boys--trust is a big issue, but so is friendship and comradeship; with the littlest acts of friendship and kindness meaning so much.
As Hunter's love interest in Spirit, Kate Sullivan was not someone I was prepared for in this book. Kate was a complete and utter surprise at times and as her and Hunter's relationship blossomed, and we came to understand her, I really found myself liking her. So in saying this, Brigid Kemmerer broke my heart regarding Kate at the end of this book and I abundantly feel Hunter's pain. I can't wrap my heart around how they ended and feel torn apart by the shocking conclusion to the story Kemmerer revealed.
Told in dual POV, Spirit is a well written, well paced and action packed ride. There's humour, romance and friendship all woven into it's pages with emotion left, right and center. Many of the characters are faced with difficult decisions like never before, especially Hunter, and Kemmerer manages to include many surprises; both good and bad. There's love, laughter and pain in this wonderfully well written novel and after turning the final page, I'm very excited to see what happens in the next book!
Spark is the sizzling follow up to Brigid Kemmerer’s debut novel Storm and does not disappoint with its electric romance and exciting action!
After the brilliance that was the first book, I was so excited to have the chance to dive back into this series. The first book was amazing, and in my eyes this one was equally so---for the same reasons and more! Brigid Kemmerer delights one again with her world of Elementals with the high stakes action blending together with high school drama and a tangle of emotion.
My goodness is Brigid a talented writer! She blew us all away in Storm, and she once again shows us she’s not lacking in her humour and expert writing in Spark. Weaving together a novel full of action, romance and passion, the fabulous dialogue and humour found in Spark balance a perfectly planned story of the paranormal and with issues facing teens today. I think one of the most interesting things about this series is that Brigid looks at the whole picture. Her characters are largely flawed but with each book Kemmerer explores the why behind this. And there’s always a reason. Not shying away in any sense, Kemmerer looks at harsh issues like bullying and the effects it has on its victims. There’s so much emotion and raw vulnerability found in each book.
As tension continues to skyrocket for the Merrick brothers, the stakes are higher than ever as they embark on the next stage of the journey Brigid Kemmerer has them on. Kicking off right where Storm, left off Spark features Gabriel Merrick, the hot head of the family who often acts before he thinks. One of the best things about Gabriel’s characterisation is that he really is his element. Brigid Kemmerer writes Gabriel so that he truly personifies his element. He encompasses everything fire is; he’s passionate, explosive, fiery, volatile but he’s also so much more. So, SO much more. If you thought you knew Gabriel Merrick in Storm, I’ve got news for you....you don’t!
I was actually quite surprised to discover how much Gabriel struggles with his element, more so than any of his brothers. There’s a fire in him, both literally and metaphorically, that he can’t always control and this guarantees him a lot of trouble throughout the course of Spark. Gabriel struggles an awful lot with guilt over his parent’s deaths and finds himself not good enough over many aspects of his life. One again, this surprised me about Gabriel. In the previous book he appeared so cocky, and sure of himself, however throughout the course of this book we discover how much of a facade this is and glimpse the true pain and anguish he hides. Pain and aguish Gabriel so masterfully manages to hide from this loved ones with sarcasm and bad behaviour.
With a series of arson attacks in town making his brothers question if he’s behind them and his twin Nick following in Chris’s footsteps and finding romance of his own, Gabriel feels more alone than ever. And then along comes Layne Forrest; brainy, shy, quite happy to fly under the radar and the last person Gabriel expects to connect with, but he does......
Layne Forrest isn’t like other girls. With a painful history and a parentless home life, Layne is scarred both inside and out. She’s happy to hide behind her clothes and her books, but when Gabriel Merrick needs her help Layne’s acts without thinking, soon realizing that he isn’t the heartless jock she thought him to be. Layne was a wonderful character to follow in Spark and she certainly wasn’t the shy, quiet person she appeared on the outside; rather a strong, independent young woman who stood up for, and took care of, her younger brother Simon. Once more Kemmerer writes Layne beautifully, with her vulnerabilities perfectly emphasisable and understandable; her insecurities something that as a reader you can understand and feel.
Amazingly Gabriel and Layne were a perfect match! Considering their histories and the fires that played a part, these two connected beautifully. I think it was terribly smart of Brigid to write in their histories and give them something truly substantial to connect over. Here are two individuals who couldn’t appear any different on the outside; a jock and a brainiac, and yet who share such similar insecurities and pains that the bond that develops between them burns so bright it’s undeniable. Their romance develops steadily over time, and is both endearing and electric. These two are too perfect for words!
Despite the amazing idea of Elementals that Kemmerer has thought up, the main driving point that makes series so special is the four brothers it focuses on and the bond they share. They have such a complicated history and their relationships are turbulent at times, but Michael, Gabriel, Nick and Chris share such a great family dynamic throughout both books. Their brotherly relationship is one I’ve loved from the very beginning and it was wonderfully to see Brigid explore it in such a real way with brothers bonding and struggling too. I loved seeing Michael and Gabriel share so many sweet moments in this book and though he may not be a Merrick brother by blood, the friendship that Gabriel struck up with Hunter during Spark also tugged on my heartstrings.
Both mystery and romance feature heavily in this book as Kemmerer races her characters through danger after danger that will leave you breathless with it’s intensity and wondering just what on earth is going to happen next!
Written by mother and daughter duo Jodi Picoult and Samantha Van Leer, Between the Lines is a fresh, utterly magical novel that explores what really happens when a book is closed in a fun, romantic tale that is sure to captivate from start to finish!
This is one of those rare books that simply takes your breath away with its uniqueness. A story that’s beautiful in its simplicity yet stunning in its rich, unique storyline, Between the Lines is like nothing I’ve read before. It’s a wonderful example of sheer imagination, with its fun, engaging storyline and vivid characters. Honestly, who ever thought about what happens when the story is finished or put down? I know I certainly hadn’t before now, but Jodi Picoult and her talented daughter Samantha Van Leer sure have, blessing us with this unique novel that’s literally magic.
Told in duel perspectives between main characters Delilah and Oliver, and featuring chapters of the actual “story” within the story, this book was simply a joy to read. I picked it up planning on reading only a few chapters, but quickly found myself engrossed and unable to put it down. Really, it’s just a catching storyline—a fictional character who no longer wants to be a part of the story—and you can’t help but want to know what happens. Will Oliver become a part of Delilah’s world or will he forever be stuck within the book, forced to relive the same story over and over again?
With perfect, flowing writing and littered with beautiful pictures and graphics, Between the Lines held my attention from start to finish as Delilah and Oliver fought to get our reluctant prince out of the book and into the real world. I must say I found the stunning pictures that accompanied the story to be a wonderful touch. Not only were they beautiful to look at, but they added a new layer to the story as they illustrated the scenes unfolding before your eyes.
I must admit I had Toy Story flash backs as we saw the characters within Between the Lines interact and live on when no one was reading the story. I adored how different Picoult and Van Leer made them. They really were nothing like the characters they “acted” as in the “story”, rather they had unique, interesting personalities that really were nothing like the characters they personified during the fictional story they were all a part of.
Oliver and Delilah shone as our main characters—two very different people; one a flesh and blood teenage girl and the other a fictional book character that yearned for more, and yet they connected so well. Seeing them interact and stumble their way into getting Oliver out of the book and into Delilah’s world was just purely wonderful and held so many moments that made me smile.
From start to finish, Between the Lines was just a fantastic book to read. Whether you’re a fairytale fan or are just a reader looking for something a little bit different and yet allows you to use your imagination, this is the book for you! Easily pulling you into this exciting, captivating fairytale featuring a modern twist, Between the Lines is one book that won’t disappoint! ...more
When We Wake is a fantastic edition to the Australian/New Zealand fiction world with Karen Healey's latest novel exploring deep hard-hitting issues and what it means to be human in this futuristic tale that will thoroughly entertain!
I was quite impressed with this book! Admittedly, I expected big things after reading the description, and while it wasn't exactly what I was expecting, what I discovered was an unexpected surprise. It's been a while since I've read a story set in right here in Australia and Healey's futuristic story of a world surprisingly not that different than the one we live in now was a breath of fresh air.
Author Karen Healy very cleverly explored the hard hitting issues of religion, racial discrimination, gender change, same sex relationships and more in this book. Set in futuristic Australia where so much has changed and yet nothing has changed, Healy steps outside the box as she introduces us to various characters of different backgrounds and personalities. It was really nice to see so much multiculturalism within When We Wake. There were characters of different physical physiques, backgrounds and cultures front and center in this story and with so many similar tales out there it was refreshing to read something that were so very different.
Our main character within When We Wake is Tegan Oglietti, a girl from the 21st century who wakes to find that not only did she die on one of the very best days of her life, but it's a hundred years later and everything she loves and everyone she knows is gone. My goodness did I really like Tegan as a character! Healy has written her so perfectly. Waking up to find her world entirely changed, the struggles and issues Tegan faces are so very plausible. You really feel for this girl as she attempts to adjust and make the best out of this world she lives in. The things she goes through are very plausible considering the situation and I think that this was a genius decision on Healy's part; to write the story, and Tegan, like that.
Tegan shares a sweet, blossoming romance with Abdi, a migrant to Australia and a "thirdie", an outcast who is severely impacted by the migrant policies that are in place during this time. She also forms a strong friendship with fellow army brat and Muslim journalist Bethari as well as a touching friendship with her guardian Marie. These characters are layered and not typical and their relationships with Tegan prove to be a great edition to the story.
When We Wake is nicely paced with an entertaining and interesting storyline which kept my attention from start to finish. With this chapter of Tegan's journey coming to a close, I find myself very eager to see what will happen next. Will she manage to rescue her captured friends? Will she be able to convince the public about the Ark Project and has Tegan and Abdi seen the last of the Inheritors of the Earth? Looking forward to what Karen Healy does with this series next! ...more
Reboot, Amy Tinera's debut novel is an addictive dystopian read that will captivate you with it's fast paced plot, delicious action and perfect romance and will have you eagerly flipping pages, completely lost in the story!
I have to say I was very impressed with Reboot. Very, very impressed. Not only did it meet all the expectations I had going into the book, it by far exceeded them! I'll definitely be adding this book to my favorite dystopian reads of all time--up with the likes of The Hunger Games and Divergent! Reboot is just that good!
In Reboot, debut author Amy Tinera introduces us to a world where young people often become infected with a disease that causes them to die and then "re-boot" some time later, waking up altered and with new abilities they didn't have before. Enhanced speed, healing abilities and the changing of their emotions makes them very different than they were before. Not every person is guaranteed to re-boot after death, nor is it something that is looked forward to.
In a world so devastated by disease and poverty, the Reboots, as they are known, are segregated and locked up, trained to be soldiers by the government and medical facilities that run the US and the state of Texas where this book takes place. This is a really harsh and sad society and it's impossible not to become lost in the hardened world that it is. The normal humans that inhabit it as very easily living their lives as normal, but the way that Amy Tinera details this world, I couldn't help but get chills over the prospect of living like this.
With flawless writing, Amy Tintera introduces us to some very awesome characters in Reboot. There's a great dynamic to be read about with the training that takes place throughout Reboot as well as a very interesting state of mind the Reboots have. Considering that the longer you stay dead, the more altered you are when you finally wake, I really enjoyed seeing the two different types of Reboots-the Over Sixties and Under Sixties. Those over were more callous and stronger, while those Under were softer, more human. This was really clever on Tintera's part as an author--I can without a doubt say this was something I had never seen before and I loved that!
Speaking of characters, Wren Connelly was just plain out amazing! Honestly, I love this girl. Amy Tintera has done a fantastic job creating a main character like Wren. As a 178, Wren is the deadliest Reboot ever, having been dead the longest. Considering the longer dead the stronger the Reboot, logic states that Wren should be the strongest and the fastest and the one with the least emotions and in that she is.....but she also isn't. Tintera gives Wren real personality in this book. In essence, she's everything she's expected to be as a Reboot--unemotional, controlled, a killing machine, but all it takes is one lower numbered Reboot to spark something in Wren that allows her to suddenly feel emotions she hadn't felt in a long time and quite possibly has never before. This happens and suddenly you can't help but love Wren even more as she begins to care and actually experience the small things in life that matter like friendship and humor. And this is what Wren experiences when she meets Callum, 22. This is what makes her want to change and fight for something more.
As far as I'm concerned, Callum was just perfect in my eyes! It was so refreshing to find a character like him in this book. I adored the fact that Amy Tintera didn't go for the typical, in control, alpha male lead we're so used to seeing, in Reboot. Instead, Callum was a softer kind of character, a gentler one. He was the inexperienced one, the weak one, the one not sure if he could be a killer and yet he was still such a powerful character none-the-less. His quiet strength and his never ending smile and good nature in the midst of it all was such a read thing to read about--it really enhanced some great parts of the book.
I could never speak about Reboot and not mention the fantastic relationship that develops between Wren and Callum. From trainer and trainee, to friend and friend to something so much more, these two had such a great dynamic. They really brought out the best in each other and I think Tintera balanced out both of their personalities through each other. Considering they had great chemistry and trusted one another, their romance was really sweet and I was addicted to it from the very moment they met; knowing something had to happen there at some point.
With so many fantastic and exciting moments during Reboot, I really have no idea where Amy Tintera plans to take the series next. Featuring a not quite cliffhanger ending that has me eager for the next book regardless and desperate for more of these characters, I highly recommend adding Reboot to your TBR pile--this is a brilliant addition to the dystopian genre! ...more
As the sequel and conclusion to Amy Tintera's sensational debut novel Reboot, Rebel is as thrilling and as exciting as it's predecessor, and will catch you from the opening chapter with it's gripping storyline and electrifying romance!
Personally I adored Reboot and I was so thrilled to find I loved Rebel just as much, if not more! Amy Tintera once more writes a novel that is not only superbly written, but whose storyline is as captivating as it's characters! Tintera changes the way we witness the novel by writing Rebel different from her first. Unlike Reboot which was told entirely through Wren's eyes, Rebel now switches back and forth between Wren and Callum's POV's, something that truly heightens the reading experience; allowing us to see though both our most prominent characters eyes.
Picking up almost exactly where the first book ended, Rebel continues to follow Wren and Callum now that they've escaped the HARC facilities with the Austin Reboot's and sees them venturing out to start a new life on the Reboot Reservation. What they discover isn't what they except; with those leading the Reboot Reservation having dark plans for the human and Reboot population.
Rebel truly was a very thrilling novel. Tintera manages to keep it extremely fast paced, while introducing new characters and new dangers. The plotline is different than the first, with Wren, Callum and the other Reboots really trying to find their place in the world and a way they can live that works with minimal disruption to those around them. Both Wren and Callum are forced to face some hard truths in order to protect those they care about and lead.
As our heroine, I was very impressed with Wren in this novel. She's still the strong, powerful and kick-ass heroine that I loved in the first novel, but throughout the course of the two books she's also come a long way and really grown as an individual. Rebel really highlights the changes in Wren, and personally I enjoyed seeing her display more vulnerabilities. Tintera has penned a very strong main character in Wren, but has also built her up over time.
In Rebel, Wren makes different choices than she would have made in Reboot and this sees her become a happier person. That's not to say everything hasn't been hard, because it has. Tintera puts Wren, and really all her characters through a lot, emotionally and physically, but in the end Wren manages to overcome them to find a place of happiness and contentment she's never known.
Rebel sees a lot of development with our main characters, and not just with Wren. Callum has equally been developing. At his base, Callum is a very good, kind person and he's always seen the world in such a light way. As a twenty-two, he's managed to hold onto a lot more of his humanity than other Reboots and because of this he's struggled to see the same as most Reboots do. And yet in Rebel, Tintera forces Callum to really open his eyes and this sees him take on some of the responsibility that Wren has previously shouldered and he has taken for granted.
Personally I loved that Callum never really loses his zest for life in Rebel, but he also grows a great deal. When unforeseen events see Callum taking on a leadership role he wouldn't normally have, Callum actually manages to thrive. Callum opens his eyes to the humans in this book, and although he's still as caring and attentive as he's always been, Callum also comes to accept what he is and his differences like he hasn't before. He's still the light to Wren's darker nature, but he's also strong on his own.
Throughout Rebel the Reboots and humans struggle to work together, something that makes things endlessly difficult for our characters, but in the end I was thrilled with the comfortable place they found together. As the conclusion to a two-part series, Amy Tintera wraps Rebel up very nicely. I felt a sense of closure for the characters at the end and yet Rebel left things very hopeful for the future.
Fast-paced and delicously thrilling, this series blends strong and likable characters with giddy romance and forward moving action. Rebel is an exhilerating but perfect ending to a brilliant series, and although I'm sad to see it end, Amy Tintera couldn't have concluded it an better as far as I'm concerned! ...more
The Last Girl really was an unexpected read for me. To begin with, there’s always something thrilling about reading good Australian fiction, and when an author utilizes the society in which they live this reflects so well on the book. Michael Adams has done that with The Last Girl. Here Michael Adams explores a concept none yet have with his exploration into our constant need to connect with one another via social media and or through texting. Adam’s different take on a dystopian world was something completely unique and different; he threw his society into a world where ones thoughts were completely bare. There were no secrets and hiding was impossible.
In a masterful manner Adams allows his story to unfold though the eyes of Danby; a teenage girl caught up in an explosion of thoughts when the worlds every thought suddenly becomes bare. The Last Girl was well written. Adams writes everyone’s thoughts in a kind of crazy haze—one thought from one person burs into another from someone else and then someone else and so on. To begin with this was confusing as the reader but as the story progressed I found I appreciated this—it felt authentic; I was experiencing things more like the heroine.
The setting of The Last Girl was another winner for me. Obviously, the book is set in Australia, but The Last Girl actually takes place in the back streets of Sydeny and the surrounding suburbs. This made the book was so incredibly real for me at times. Adams sets the book literally where I've lived my whole life; making reference to places like Bankstown and Penrith. I could jump on a train and be in Bankstown in half an hour...Penrith--my cousins live there, so growing up I spent every other weekend there.
Adam's dystopian world is harsh and raw and brutal. There's plenty of death, pain and tragedy. There's more death than life and Adams doesn't shy away from the harsh truths that one associates with this kind social destruction. Choices have to be made and decisions are tough; there's no saving everyone and surprisingly, I found I appreciated this brutality. It fit well with the story.
Danby was likable as a character but I found I was more absorbed in the overall story than with her per-se. I think her relationship with her family, including her brother Evan, and then Nathan was perfect within the story. Jack with a shocking twist as a young man who has immense power in this difficult situation but who's essentially the villain.
Featuring plenty of shocks, twists and harsh devastation, I look forward to reading the next book! ...more
Every Breath is a deliciously mysterious thriller set in the haunting streets of Melbourne, and is brimming with excitement, intrigue and sizzling chemistry; featuring two passionate and daring teens on a fast paced adventure as they go on the hunt for a cold blooded killer!
I have to say, I found myself pleasantly surprised by Every Breath. I'm still new to the contemporary genre and haven't read a lot of Australian fiction, besides the ones I read in high school, so I was a little bit hesitant when beginning Every Breath. I quickly found myself immersed in this urban tale and happily became involved and invested in Rachel and Mycroft's adventure.
Every Breath was well told and fast paced. It's a real who-done-it kind of story from the opening chapter, and as teen sleuths Mycroft and Rachel put the pieces together, author Ellie Marney does a fantastic job with the mystery and details. Told against a Melbourne backdrop, Every Breath stays true to many typical Aussie sayings and attitudes, featuring a real authentic Aussie feel that only an Australian author could write. Even though there are some aspects of the story that seemed far fetched there were also many times where everything felt very real and plausible, and this is one of the things that drove the story for me--those believable aspects blended in with the scenarios the teens found themselves in as well as the interactions and relationships they shared. Rachel and Mycroft proved to be really enjoyable to follow.
Rachel really is a typical Aussie teen, and name aside, it was easy to emphasize with her. She's just a normal girl with a kind nature, brave soul and feisty attitude at times. Mycroft on the other hand was a diamond in the tough; a tough bad boy genius whose street smarts and whose unexpected easy to talk to nature proved to be unexpected.
I found Mycroft to be very driven and passionate and it's this passion that pours over to Rachel and gives her something to fight for in this whole new city world she's still trying to find her feet it. The tension and chemistry between Mycroft and Rachel is written brilliantly on Ellie Marney's part, with the intricate banter and dialogue between them a highlight of the story. These two have fabulous chemistry as friends and partners in crime that spills over into the more intimate parts of their relationship.
With a high stakes and nail biting ending, Every Breath has me quite excited for it's sequel, Every Word. Ellie Marney's debut into the YA world is smart, exciting and electric.....I'm looking forward to see what this duo get up to next!
Sean Williams’s debut novel Jump is a thrilling sci-fi read that will take readers on a unexpected journey from beginning to end!
Jump: Twinmaker was a really unexpected read for me. Despite featuring a promising sci-fi based storyline I still wasn’t completely sure what I would discover within its pages. Admittedly at times the intricate storyline and complexity of the science behind the d-mats and exactly what they do became too much for me, especially in the beginning. It took me a long time to find my place within this story but in the end I admittedly did get caught up in the high-stakes thrill of the plotline and characters for the majority of the book.
Jump starts off slowly; introducing us to our main character and a society where every thing is literally up in the "Air". In a world where everyone is online and connected; everyone knows where everyone is and the ability to ‘jump" via d-mat from one place to another in a matter of seconds allows opportunities like never before.
Debut novelist Sean Williams’s world is evidently well thought out and well rounded. He’s obviously thought long and hard about its workings and throughout Jump explores its ramifications; the pros and cons though two different base groups….those that use d-mat and function with it and the "Stainers", those who abstain from using d-mat and instead live a very normal life.
I really liked the individuals we met throughout Jump. Our protagonist Clair is quite easy to follow and despite a few choice decisions she makes in the beginning of the story, I couldn’t help but really vye for her. She’s faced with some real startling discoveries about her would and must quickly adapt if she wants to survive. Williams writes her well, as well as the other characters that feature throughout the story.
Jump showcases plenty of action and adventure as well as the perfect blend of romance and friendship. As the reader, you’ll be following along, trying to determine who is friend or foe as betrayals and unexpected plot developments force the heroine to make some brave, and tough, choices.
Sporting a shocking and crazy thrilling ending, Jump: Twinmaker is a perfect story for fans of Glow by Amy Kathleen Ryan and Across the Universe by Beth Revis, and will have you very excited for the next instalment in what looks to be a very promising trilogy.
Man Made Boy by Jon Skovron, is an enigmatic re-imagining of the story that is Frankenstein’s monster and explores romance, friendship and what it truly means to be human in this unique twist on a classic!
Man Made Boy is a fun, imaginative read and I have to say, quite unlike anything I’ve ever read before. Detailing the life and adventures of Boy, the son of Frankenstein and Frankenstein’s Bride, Jon Skovron takes readers on a cross country adventure over the course of months that sees our main character make friends, enemies and a whole lot of decisions that force him to face himself.
Skovron’s writing is nice and detailed, telling Boy’s story well. I will be honest, there is a section in the book, around the middle, where I felt it slumped a little and the story seemed to lag. It was around this point where I found myself disinterested and at times highly frustrated by some of the supporting characters and the decisions they made. That being said, after this brief lag, the story did pick up and continue on nicely.
Featuring a male leading character, there’s no doubt in my mind that Man Made Boy would really appeal to the male population as it has a very "male" feel to it at times, with Boy’s way of thinking that of a typical teenage boy. Yet I think as a reader the blend of adventure and excitement with all the colourful characters from popular stories, (Frankenstein, Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, Medusa etc) showcased in Man Made Boy would win just about anyone.
Boy is quite likable and easy to follow as the protagonist. He takes chances and makes mistakes and really learns a lot throughout the story. There’s an undeniable level of pain to him at times, and it’s quite clear that he is haunted by what he is. Boy’s insecurities and childlike response to the world as he experiences different things for the first time is quite endearing.
Throughout the story Man Made Boy, Skovron introduces us a bunch of unique and unusual individuals with quirky personalities and histories that colour the story. Each adds something different to Boy’s journey, sometimes helping him, sometimes hindering him. I liked seeing so many different people/creatures. There was a wide variety and this certainly made for some interesting reading.
If you’re looking for something light and funny, but also has a softer side with entertaining characters and a decent plot, then Man Made Boy is it.
Intense and lyrical, These Broken Stars by authors Amie Kaufman and Megan Spooner is a thrilling and at times haunting sci-fi read that will take readers on an uncertain adventure that weaves together mystery, romance and unexpected discoveries!
I have to say, personally, I was quite blown away by These Broken Stars. Maybe it’s because it’s been a while since I’ve read a good YA science fiction novel but These Broken Stars actually surpassed all my expectations! Heading into this novel, I hadn’t read anything by either Amie Kaufman or Megan Spooner before. I’d heard mixed reviews about the book but I was still optimistic. That being said, in my eyes, I feel like these ladies did a terrific job with the story.
Told in the dual POV’s of Lilac LaRoux, a rich, social flower who happens to be the daughter of the richest man in the galaxy and Tarver Medenson, a poor farm boy who discovered unexpected fame for his heroic actions at war, These Broken Stars is beautifully well written and deliciously told. With the benefit of seeing events unfold through the eyes of both characters, Kaufman and Spooner recount a dangerous journey of survival and loss in the middle of nowhere when our main characters are the only survivors of a spaceship crash on a deserted plant that shockingly that holds more secrets then either of them could expect.
I have to say, I’m a big fan of novels where characters are pitted against the elements and must rely on themselves, each other and the world around them to survive. There’s something so alluring about seeing individual’s stripped back and bare, and I think it’s times like that when you really see how much strength people have or not.
In These Broken Stars, Lilac and Tarver must learn to rely on one another and trust each other after they’re thrust together due to horrible circumstances. Though they couldn’t be more different, and are practically from different worlds socially, Lilac and Tarver’s only hope really are each other and as the story progresses, we see the two of them go from reluctant allies to friends and then eventually something more.
As Lilac and Tarver are not only our main characters but are basically stranded on a planet by themselves, as a reader, we spend a lot of time in their company. After the initial introduction to their society that we get in the beginning of the book, the majority of the story is spent simply in the minds of Tarver and Lilac.
Personally, I quite liked Lilac and Tarver! Lilac, starts out stubborn but somewhat spoiled and guarded, however as the story progresses we come to understand the reason behind this. As Lilac struggles to survive in this foreign place with Tarver, her fierce determination to learn is admirable. She changes quite a lot and grows as a person—and who doesn’t love that! Tarver on the other hand is capable, brave and collected; he’s come from nothing and knows how to survive in hard, harsh conditions. There’s no doubt he and Lilac would have perished long ago, if not for his survival skills.
In These Broken Stars, Lilac and Tarver don’t get off to the best start and as they journey across lands unknown to them, skimping and skimming to survive, they fight, bicker and push each other. And yet there’s a quiet sliver of chemistry that burns between these two. As they slowly begin to get to know each other; learning the others strengths, weaknesses and what they bring to the table together, Lilac and Tarver form an unlikely friendship in the face of all hopelessness that slowly blossoms into something more. I enjoyed the relationship between Lilac and Tarver and never felt as though the authors were pushing their romance down my throat. Rather it was a nice undercurrent and tone to a story that focused a lot on survival and the mysterious unknown.
A beautiful love story, mysterious entities and unexpected plot developments, These Broken Stars may not be the most fast paced novel out there but instead tells a well told tale of survival, love and one’s inner strength in the first book in the new Starbound Trilogy by authors Amie Kaufman and Megan Spooner. With loveable characters, a haunting setting and an ending sure to leave you wanting more, These Broken Stars will thrill fans of Under the Never Sky and Across the Universe!
This Shattered World is the companion novel to These Broken Stars and is the second novel in Aime Kaufman and Meagan Spooner’s Starbound Trilogy and is another beautifully written and detailed story of romance, danger and the powers of love and truth set amongst a futuristic backdrop.
Having been deeply impressed with this first novel in this trilogy, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that This Shattered World was a wonderful follow up. Authors Aime Kaufman and Meagan Spooner introduce readers to two new characters and explores a new aspect of their world.
Told through the eyes of Captain Jubilee "Lee" Chase, a solider and Flynn Cormac, a rebel and resistance fighter who live on the planet of Avalon, This Shattered World sees the two collide when a chance encounter results in Flynn taking Jubilee captive before they discover that something sinister is at foot on their planet and the war that has raged between their two sides for decades may not be a clean cut as either believes it to be….
Even though I fell in love with Lilac and Tarver during the first book and was sorry to see our time with them come to an end, I was very satisfied with Jubilee and Flynn as our new main characters in this installment. Jubilee is a very strong young woman and although she is a solider; well trained, alert and methodical, she also has a heart---although there are those who would dispute this. Flynn on the other hand is softer and wants only peace. He’s willing to fight for what he wants, even if he has to make hard choices along the way.
I liked the growth I saw in both Jubilee and Flynn during the story. Jubilee learns to feel again and comes to care about something real, while Flynn has his eyes opened to the world around him. I liked that the authors drew two people from opposing sides together and gave them a common want and goal. They found themselves against the world and it was very interesting seeing their reactions when they only had each other to rely on.
Throughout the novel there is an underlying tone of romance to the story. As Jubilee and Flynn get to know each other and an alliance and friendship blossoms, they bond and the mutual attraction they feel develops into something very sweet. They’re very much attracted to each other and they have a simple chemistry that has you as the reader eager to see them in situations where they’re acting on what they feel, but I felt like I appreciated the softness to their romance. It wasn’t in your face or too much, but rather a nice undertone to an action packed story.
As the second novel in a trilogy featuring a different couple and storyline, This Shattered World was very well told. We’re treated to Tarver Merendsen making an appearance in the story for a little while and even Lilac has a brief cameo that just prove how adorable they are as a couple.
Deliciously told and wonderfully written, This Shattered World is a worthy sequel to its predecessor and leaves me raring for the third and final book in the trilogy! ...more
Ink and Bone is the latest release by best-selling author Rachel Caine and introduces audiences to a unique and carefully detailed world that is unlike anything I’ve really seen.
Imagine a world where the Great Library of Alexandra was never destroyed. Where knowledge is everything and those who control the Great Library have almost complete control over society. Books are highly valued but strictly controlled, and though freely accessible, anyone caught with private books face the harshest of punishments. For Jess Brightwell, this world is a reality. And as the son of a black-market book smuggler, he knows the dangers that come from owning books better than anyone. Yet in a world on the brink of war, Jess finds himself being sent to the Library to vie for a converted position as a scholar and soon discovers that the Library holds more than vast knowledge; it also holds dangerous secrets that those in power will kill to protect……
In all honesty, Ink and Bone is a difficult book for me to review. Though I found it incredibly detailed, well thought out and clearly very complex, I also struggled heavily with it at times; especially in the beginning. Ink and Bone starts out very slow, but slowly begins to pick up about halfway through. I never found myself completely sucked into the story, but I did plod along and mostly enjoyed the book.
Rachel Caine has created a very unique world within Ink and Bone. Set in an alternate world of 2025, the world within the story is a mix of ancient and futuristic times. Featuring an aura that brings to mind Ancient Egypt and Victorian London on occasion, Ink and Bone takes readers through many different locations. Vividly described, after the initial difficulty I had, I did enjoy learning about this unique world Caine has created.
I’ll be the first to admit, I don’t think I fully comprehend everything Rachel Caine has introduced within Ink and Bone but I understood enough to read the book without too much trouble. The world of the Library is very detailed and complex. There is a range of different positions, terms and devices unlike anything I’ve seen before that give Ink and Bone a real edge. I think you need to persevere with this novel and concentrate to understand; especially in the beginning. However Caine does increase the pace as time goes on.
Maybe I’m coming along as too harsh, because despite the misgivings I had, there were times when I found myself very involved with Ink and Bone. Caine does a solid job writing through the eyes of main character Jess. His voice reads well and I actually really liked him as a character and individual. Those Jess meets during his time at the Library were really intriguing. Those vying for a place as a scholar really appealed to me and even Wolfe (who remind me as Professor Snape if I’m being honest!) began to win me over. Personally I think the characters were the real saving grace for me as I began to struggle with this novel.
Ink and Bone races towards an unexpected, but exciting ending, that actually has me wanting to read more. For all it's faults Ink and Bone steadily progresses to become a novel worth reading and I do look forward to seeing what will happen to Jess and those he knows next!
I Made Lattes for a Love God by Wendy Harmer is a novel that in my opinion is best suited to the younger teenage girl who enjoys gossip, friendship and a whole lot of drama.
I Made Lattes for a Love God sees readers meet Eleanor "Elly" Pickering, a fifteen year old girl who discovers herself in the centre of a media frenzy when her mother lands a job looking after the promotional aspect of a Hollywood movie starring a popular "it" boy and they decide to shoot the film at Elly’s high school. Throw in a bunch of secrets and some paparazzi mayhem and Elly soon finds herself in the deep end without a paddle…..
Wendy Harmer is a well-known Australian comedian. I feel like I’ve grown up seeing her face on tv or hearing her voice on radio, so the chance to read a story by a home-grown talent was really exciting. But in all honesty, I Made Lattes for a Love God probably wasn’t the book for me. I persevered because I can be a stubborn thing and I felt as a review novel I had to finish it, but I didn’t enjoy the story all too much. Was I Made Lattes for a Love God a bad book? Not necessarily, no. It just wasn’t for me. If I’d read it maybe eight or so years ago I may have appreciated it a bit more, but for me at this point in my life, I really struggled.
Heading into I Made Lattes for a Love God I had no idea there was a previous novel called I Lost My Mobile At the Mall featuring Elly. When I realised about three chapters in, I was concerned, but found this didn’t really effect my ability to read and understand what was going on. If anything, I Made Lattes for a Love God is more a companion novel than a strict sequel.
Personally I found the main character Elly to be incredibly difficult to like. I’m not trying to toot my own horn or anything, but I was always mature for my age and as such can’t imagine acting the way Elly acts in this novel. She was immature and childish, and although there was growth in her, it wasn’t enough to redeem her in my eyes.
When a main character is difficult to like, it can really effect the rest of the novel and this was the case for me and I Made Lattes for a Love God. After a new chapters I found myself growing tired of Elly’s friendship and relationship dramas. Everything felt overly dramatic and unnecessary. From interactions with her sister to her reactions to her best friend’s involvement in the movie---I really struggled. Elly seemed vapid and childish and just not someone I enjoyed following.
For me the saving characters were Rosie and Tyler, both of whom I liked but felt we didn’t see enough of. Overall I Made Lattes for a Love God was just a hard book for me to get through and not something I would be quick to recommend.
Brigid Kemmerer continues her riveting Elementals series with Secret, the emotionally driven and shockingly exciting fourth instalment that explores Merrick brother Nick like never before and finally allows readers into some unexpected secrets!
In all honesty, the last book in this series wasn't my favourite. Don't get me wrong, Spirit was a wonderful read, but it seemed to be missing that extra something the first two books had in my opinion. In saying that, I was nervous heading into Secret. Though I've mostly liked her, Quinn has had her moments where I've struggled to connect with her and as the quiet, calm and disconcerning brother, Nick has sometimes faded into the background. I was worried Secret wouldn't live up to the first two books....but boy was I wrong! I think Secret is quite possibly my favourite book yet!
Prior to reading Secret, I had the chance to read Breathless, an Elemental novella which features both Nick and Quinn but is set before the events of Secret thanks to the Australian edition of Secret that included it as a bonus feature. At around 50 pages long, Breathless allows readers to learn Nick's secret for this first time, something I appreciated, as in all honesty I hadn't quite put two and two together during the previous books. Breathless sets the story up nicely, with the transition into Secret an easy one, thanks to what we have learned during it.
I have to say, I adore how Brigid Kemmerer has written this book. I mean, I've loved all her books; they're all expertly told, with perfect writing and attention to detail, but Secret seems so much more emotional and confronting at times than some of the previous books. Brigid Kemmerer has created a fantastic supernatural series with this series, but I think her ability to explore deeper issues, real, moving issues at times is what makes this series so much more special.
Nick Merrick is an air elemental. He's popular, attractive and he's always there for his family when they need it. He's smart, kind and reliable. He's got a loving family, a great girlfriend and it genuinely seems like he has it all. Only Nick is hiding a secret; one that he fears will tear his life apart. Nick Merrick is gay.
I've mentioned it before, but I'll say it again. I was really surprised to find out Nick was actually gay in this book. In terms of characterisation, even though he is a nice guy, Nick has always just faded into the background for me. And with so many personable characters in this series, it would have been so easy for Kemmerer to leave him there, lost amongst the more dominant personalities. Instead, Brigid Kemmerer gave Nick substance. She gave him character. She made him real. And I can't give her enough props for that!
As Secret unfolds and Brigid Kemmerer details Nick's uncertainty and his insecurity, I have to admit..... I fell so deeply in love with Nick Merrick I almost have no words. Watching him struggle with himself over what he wanted and what he felt was just heartbreaking, and so very emotional. Nick's anguish over what he is and his fear of coming out to his brothers just bleeds through the pages and Kemmerer does a fantastic job utilising that within the story. I was hastily turning pages and reading because I needed to know that Nick's story would turn out alright. I needed him to find peace with himself and those around him. I needed it.
Throughout the story, one of the big focus's is Nick's relationship with Adam, the first boys he's ever been so attracted to that it forced him to confront what he felt. I was so pleased with Adam and Nick's relationship. Brigid Kemmerer writes it so well; with Nick uncertain, unsure and giddy and excited. It was the start of first love, and boy and girl, or boy and boy....it couldn't have been written better. It was simple and complicated and endearingly sweet. Nick and Adam just fit. And I loved that!
Told in dual POV, both through Nick and Quinn's eyes, Secret spends as much time following Quinn as it does Nick. Quinn Brisco is Nick's girlfriend turned "girlfriend" and happens to surprise me a lot in this book. I have always liked Quinn, although there have been a few moments in the last couple of books where I've questioned some of her actions and decisions. Having read Secret I think I finally understand. Brigid Kemmerer continues to do what she is good at with Quinn; writing unexpectedly layered characters with flaws, issues and real problems. Exploring Quinn's home life we discover the abusive environment she lives in and suddenly her actions take on a new meaning.
Quinn struggles to let people in. She keeps secrets about her life and what's really happening and it's actually quite sad. Especially with the realisation that it's quite life like. That being said, in the story, Quinn finds an unexpected saviour in the form or Tyler Morgan. Yep. Remember him? The arrogant and cruel Elemental who has tormented the Merrick brothers for years? Well, in Secret, Tyler becomes Quinn's white knight in many ways and unexpectedly turns out to have a heart. Though there are many fences to mend between he and the Merrick brothers, Brigid Kemmerer adds another layer and dynamic to the story introducing Tyler as someone who has made bad choices and mistakes, but who actually has a kinder side. One he reveals to Quinn.
Mixed in amongst the emotional developments experienced by both Nick and Quinn in Secret is the ongoing storyline of the Guides that continue to hunt the Merrick brothers and Hunter. As secrets come to light, alliances change and truths are faced, all in the lead up to the third and final book, Sacrifice.
Brigid Kemmerer has introduced her readers to a family plagued by tragedy, but bound by their love and devotion to one another; hooking us all with each subsequent story and reeling us in each time. As the series draws to a close, I have no doubt the final book is sure to be an explosive conclusion! ...more
The Last Shot is the second book in Michael Adams Last Trilogy and details the next phase in heroine Danby’s journey as she continues to battle to survive in the harsh new world formed after The Snap where no one is what they seems and enemies masquerade as friends.
This series is really entertaining to read. Michael Adam’s writing is solid and he depicts a powerful dystopian world in turmoil. It’s wonderful to find authentic Australian fiction set in our own backyard and featuring genuinely believable and real characters. Fans of John Marsden will appreciate what Adams has done with this story and the authenticity he has put into his story, set in Sydney’s west.
Personally I’m impressed with how this story is evolving and Adam’s ability to keep me on my toes. Our heroine Danby, for all her good intensions is struggling; struggling to maintain her integrity and some semblance of herself in this harsh and raw world she now finds herself in as she fights for her survival, and of those she loves.
I really liked Michael Adam’s ability to keep me questioning things in this book. As Danby goes through the motions of surviving, she also has to question who she can trust and who the enemy really is. After the shocking ending of the first book, The Last Shot starts up with Danby strongly under the impression that Jack is a murderer and the enemy, but throughout the novel there are a number of different events that has her questioning her own paranoia. It was odd seeing things fall into place and appearing to be different than you initially thought; you really began to question things as Danby does.
New and different characters are introduced in this book, as well as ones returning from The Last Girl, both that help and hinder Danby. Friends and allies turn on our heroine as she finds herself on a desperate race to escape her enemy alongside a select group of trusted friends.
Plenty of twists and turns entertain, with it obvious that Michael Adams still has a lot in store for the next book. A shocking, and unexpected ending will leave readers eagerly awaiting the third and final book, The Last Place! ...more
While We Run is the sequel to Karen Healy’s When We Wake and is a fast paced and action packed follow up that sees Healy continue to evolve the storyline and push the series forward.
The first book in this series, When We Wake was a really enjoyable read for me. Set in a futuristic and almost apocalyptic Australia, this series follows Tegan Oglietti, a teenage girl who died, was cryogenically frozen and then brought back to life in 2027, as well as Abdi Taalib, a Djibouti citizen on scholarship to Australia whose world is turned upside when he meets Tegan. Together these two uncover a shocking government conspiracy that sees them on the run and fighting for their very lives.
While We Run was a very fast paced follow up to When We Wake. Healy introduces the next stage in her storyline, with While We Run a very different tale than its predecessor. Whilst When We Wake introduced us to the characters and their circumstances and this futuristic Australian world, centering around Tegan’s adjustment to this new world she finds herself in, When While Run instead focuses heavily on the political events and the impact secrets kept by the government have had on their people.
Unlike the first book which was told through Tegan’s eyes, While We Run is detailed from Abi’s POV and sees Hearly explore a very intriguing concept within While We Run. Featuring an Australia that has closed off its borders to refugees; Healy explores this contemporary topic with a subject matter that is very much a focal point in our world today. Healy makes you think; about morality and mortality with the government in this series exploring different options including cryogenics and immigration to distant planets in an effort to solve the overpopulation and lack of resources problems they seem to be incurring.
Our characters lives have changed drastically in While We Run, and as the reader being inside Abdi is a big change of pace from the first book. While Tegan was brash and led with her emotions, Abdi is practical and thinks with this head rather than his heart. Careful and calculated, Abdi has been shaped and moulded by his mother to be the perfect little future political candidate of his home land of Djibouti. Although he is known as a “thirdie” Abdi is actually quite cultured and pampered, and his intelligence and charm have gone a long way to help him during his time in Australia. Until he and Tegan found themselves in the clutches of the Australia government, paraded around and forced to sell The Ark Project as everyone’s best solution that is.
Thanks to the extreme torture at the hands of his handler Diane, both physically and mentally, Abdi is now a very different person and truly struggles at times. It was refreshing being inside Abdi’s head but it also really made me think as his “selfish” desire to just get home to his family warred with those around him who really just wanted to continue fighting as part of the Save Tegan Program. Just what is selfish? Right and wrong seem to blur as lives are put on the line and the lives of some appear more important than the lives of the others.
Healy does a good job in keeping this book moving forward. A lot happens and the action was very detailed, gritty and at times even gory. All the characters we’ve come to love from the first book are back with Tegan and Abdi joined by Bethani, Joph, Sergent Washington and Dr Carmen on their dangerous journey to bring government conspiracies to light with as many casualties as possible.
Karen Healy ends this chapter of the series well, and based on what we’ve seen so far, though I have no idea where the story will go next, I just know it will be as explosive as the first two books. Action packed with startling revelations and just the perfect touch of romance, When We Wake is a great read!
Set is Australia 1932, Razorhurst by Justine Larbalestier is a story of ghosts, crime and murder, where almost everyone is on somebody else’s payroll and survival in the rough and tumble world of mob bosses, deception and danger often means making tough choices. Incomparable to anything else in the literacy genre, Razorhurst is a brutal novel that will take you to another time and place!
To be honest, I wasn’t sure what to expect with heading into Razorhurst. Though she is a well-known literacy name, Razorhurst is my first novel by Justine Larbalestier. However I was quite impressed by what I found within its pages. Unique and different, Razorhurst isn’t like anything I’ve read previously and Larbalestier managed to get everything spot on for me; from her writing style, dialogue and setting to create an authentic feeling story. I very much felt like I was a part of 1932 Surrey Hills and have to commend her for making me care about her different and complex characters.
Razorhurst follows a varying cast of characters and is told in the present, whilst also exploring past events from time to time. It is told predominantly through the eyes of Kelpie, a street urchin and Dymphna, a working girl whose lives intersect and see them thrown together when Dymphna’s current boyfriend is murdered and Kelpie walks in just after she has found the body, forcing the two of them together as they both don’t want to be tied to the murder.
Though we follow other characters from time to time, which allows for a well-rounded story I might add, Kelpie and Dymphna are the two individuals we follow the most as they try to stay ahead of the cops, mob bosses and various individuals after them. Personally I liked that they were both so different and yet came together nicely when they needed to. Surprisingly both the same age, Kelpie and Dymphna both share the ability to see ghosts, weaving in a supernatural element to the story, although this is not too overbearing and instead compliments the rest of the storyline well.
Razorhurst is a rough story by nature, but is actually a really nice tale about friendship and the power of wanting to better oneself. It’s really hard not to feel for both Kelpie and Dymphna who want to get out to their respective lives. Though they’re in very different positions, you cannot help but want to protect and care for Kelpie who has been on her own for most of her life, save for a few helpful and loving ghosts, and Dymphna who has to do with her body what no young woman of her age should have to do. Dymphna is older beyond her years, whilst Kelpie seems so much younger than she is due to malnutrition and lack of education.
It’s quite lovely seeing the two of them come together and that despite all she’s been through in her own life, Dymphna wants nothing more than to take care of Kelpie. Larbalestier will make you really think about her characters, from our main two leading ladies to the hard men of the Hills who are Glory’s stand over men to the lowly hardworking folk like Neal Darcy, working to provide for his ma and siblings. It’s great to see the different aspects of the world Larbalestier has created and helps make you really appreciate what she has done with Razorhurst.
Fast, hitting and endlessly surprising, Razorhurst is a unique and unparalleled tale that is sure to impress with its fresh and different storyline. ...more