One of my huge sleeper hits of 2013 was The Distance Between Us by Kasie West which I reread in the weeks following my initial all-nighter read. ThisOne of my huge sleeper hits of 2013 was The Distance Between Us by Kasie West which I reread in the weeks following my initial all-nighter read. This was followed by major excitement for her 4th book and 2nd contemporary YA title, On The Fence. I was sold from the first line of the blurb: She's a tomboy. He's the boy next door… sign me up (who doesn't love a boy-next-door contemporary YA?)
You guys, I am fast becoming a huge fan of Kasie West and suspect I will soon feel the same way about her as I do about Elizabeth Scott (who is one of my fave YA authors for swoon and comfort reads -- although completely different in style they both hit the spot).
ON The Fence is my kind of reading escape: fun and swoony with the perfect combo of coming of age doubts and insecurities, fun and energetic family dynamic (with a few family secrets thrown in) and slow burn crushing complete with late night in the dark chats. Things are predictable but in that kind of way that you savour the anticipation of how things will unfold.
I love curling up with books like this. Complete happy-making escapism -- smiley teenage angst that's a perfect blend of light with just enough emotional depth to tug on your heart in the right moments. I am so sold on Kasie West and am officially insanely excited for her next title, The Fill-in Boyfriend. (May 5, 2015)...more
Completely exhilarating and brilliant and breath-taking and funny and clever and unexpected. Also: so much fun and delight and some very smiley swoonyCompletely exhilarating and brilliant and breath-taking and funny and clever and unexpected. Also: so much fun and delight and some very smiley swoony moments. Jaclyn Moriarty is amazing and The Cracks in the Kingdom is on my all time ultimate faves list.
A Corner of White was just the beginning. I loved it whole-heartedly (my fave book of 2012) and The Cracks in the Kingdom has taken my love for this series to a whole new level (is that even possible?)
The plot cracks along splendidly. Whereas A Corner of White needed more time world building, TCitK takes off from the first chapter. I couldn't put it down, and trust me, I tried. I wanted to savour it and stretch it out and linger for a while but I was compelled to keep flying through, greedy for more, desperate to see where Moriarty would take me. And Moriarty delivers. For the mid series book, it really amps everything up -- and while it sets up the third book perfectly with some new complications, it still delivers with so many satisfying climaxes and resolutions to plot threads from the 1st book and 2nd. (no spoilers here but be excited, guys! So much goodness unfolds!)
The way Moriarty wields all her threads together, she builds them and builds them into this stunning and startling climax, revelations and twists and unexpected flips. I did not see so much of it coming and the way everything unfolded was pretty much perfect. Moriarty is daring and genius. I felt exhilarated when I finished, breathless and giddy and silly and satisfied (except for wanting book three, the finale for this trilogy. stat.)
TCitK is not just a fun, compelling and original, magical book. It's so much more than that. It has Moriarty's off kilter and gorgeous, grin worthy prose, but beyond that I feel like it's all real. I care so much for this Kingdom and the World. The characters have completely won me over and I have a deep and real affection for them.
I've always loved Elliot -- " the boy who knew exactly how to make a girl feel like some kind of carbonated sugar drink was running through her veins" (p.382). And Madeleine grew on me by the end of A Corner of White so that by the time I started The Cracks in the Kingdom she was firmly one of my fave literary heroines and I love spending time with her. I also love a new character in the series "a kid named Samuel from Olde Quaint who's a walking panic attack." (p.78). He is so endearing and earnest and I laughed out loud multiple times at his try-hard ways (laughing in a nice way ;))
Here are a few highlights from the book:
The letters are fantastic, charming and vibrant and a highlight (Moriarty is the queen of epistolary) The trip to the Lake of Spells (best camping trip ever!) The mystery of the 5 missing royals (so compelling and sad and suspenseful!) The whole mystery with Elliot's dad (some really awesome revelations and conclusions!) More science (so smart and interesting!) and more magic (of the quirky and funny and awesome kind) and more Colour attacks (love all the Colour scenes) Secret security and characters with hidden agendas (love Sergio!) The turquiose rain in Jagged Edge (another fave moment, so cool). Also, more travelling throughout the Kingdom of Cello (you se so much more of the strange and beautiful and unique world and it's inhabitants)
(I actually have a lot more highlights but they all crossover into spoilery territory...)
In conclusion: The Cracks in the Kingdom is one of the best books I have ever read, and The Colours of Madeleine is my favourite series of all time. The series is original and it shines so brightly with creativity and heart and humour and is everything I could ever ask for in the most ultimate reading experience. I so hope you give this series a go, and I hope it brings you just as much joy as it does to me....more
I really enjoyed this. It felt fresh, effortlessly funny (not try-hard chick lit humour at all) and the romance had a delightfully satisfying slooooI really enjoyed this. It felt fresh, effortlessly funny (not try-hard chick lit humour at all) and the romance had a delightfully satisfying sloooow burn thing going on. I love UK chick-lit and am so happy to have found a new fave author :) Excited for her next novel!...more
My good bud Flannery told me about this book. About how funny and cute and cool it was. It's a contemporary YA so it practically preordered itself forMy good bud Flannery told me about this book. About how funny and cute and cool it was. It's a contemporary YA so it practically preordered itself for me.
I started it the day my postie left it in my mail box. I finished it that same night, well, 4am in the morning (reading into the squeaky hours of the night is one of my absolute favourite activities, but only the best* books can take me there).
The Distance Between Us is so much what I love about YA. It's smiley and fun and funny and has this ridiculously swoony slow burn romance. Seriously. It also just felt unique. Like it was just marching along happily to it's own little beat.
It has the best cool inclusions. I do not want to give everything away, but: living on top of a (creepy) doll shop! Grave-digging and cemeteries! Serenading musicians! Midnight pranks! op shopping! (or, as Americans would say: thrift stores!) Cute hot chocolate moments and a surprise plane flight. Oh! And that first kiss scene? Perfection <3
What makes a book unputdownable for me? Loving it. I just got right in the groove. I didn't want it to end. The swoon and zingy-fun-antagonistic-cute chemistry between Caymen and Xander = addictive.
I loved the characters. Also, I mostly try not to think about the author while reading (my goals is to get lost in the land of make-believe) but I couldn't help but imagine just how much fun Kasie West must have had writing this book. So many grins -- awesome one-liners, cute scenes. Lots of swoon. And the plot itself was fun with creative settings.
The ending has a twist that's a bit wild. I'm not sure it entirely works? But I could definitely work with it :) It did not detract from my enjoyment at all.
I loved this. I had such a great time reading it. You all know I love contemporary YA and am always hunting for my next perfect fix. This book delivered. One of my favourite reads this year and a new lifetime contemporary favourite <3
I enjoy Kristan Higgins books in that breezy, cruise-y, chick-lit way. The Best Man is, IMO, her best book so far. It has taken me from being a casualI enjoy Kristan Higgins books in that breezy, cruise-y, chick-lit way. The Best Man is, IMO, her best book so far. It has taken me from being a casual fan of hers to really hanging out for whatever she writes next. It even had me teary in parts, and there was real swoon. If you haven't read her yet, I'd start with this one <3...more
I love the premise and inspiration for this novel:
Two years ago Liane Moriarty stumbled upon a fascinating article about real life deathbed confessio
I love the premise and inspiration for this novel:
Two years ago Liane Moriarty stumbled upon a fascinating article about real life deathbed confessions. She learned about Christian Spurling, who confessed on his deathbed to faking a notorious photo of the Loch Ness Monster. There was a famous songwriter who was dying of cancer and wrote a letter admitting, after years of adamant denials, that she had plagiarized a lullaby melody. Then there was the hapless man who, after suffering a stroke, confessed he’d killed his neighbour thirty years earlier. The only problem was that he didn’t end up dying. After he was released from hospital he went straight to jail.
This article helped inspire Sydney-based Liane to write her latest novel, The Husband's Secret which we are publishing in April.
Cecilia Fitzpatrick, Sydney wife, mother and P&C President, discovers her husband has a secret so dark it could destroy her blissfully ordinary suburban existence. We all have secrets. But not like this… The Husband’s Secret is a stunning, complex novel guaranteed to cause debate and controversy. This book will have everyone asking, “What would I do?” (taken from Pan Macmillan's press release)
Some of the best highlights of my reading life over the last 7 years (it was in 2005 that I stumbled upon Three Wishes, an all time fave) has been snapping open a new Liane Moriarty. My love for her prose and characters and unique stories brings with it high expectations. You guys, I am SO EXCITED to be sharing my review of this book with you as there has never been a better time to get with the program. The Husband's Secret was so divinely awesome, so surprising, so deliciously funny and genuinely heartfelt that it seriously blew me away, me - a devout fan with sky-high expectations.
So you think you know what this book could be about? Think again. It is so mysterious and even after the Big Reveal (ie the reading of the letter) it's even more unexpected and surprising. Even more addictive. How does she do it? Liane has a niche on the market for intelligent women's fiction ~ utterly original, superbly creative and just so good, so good.
This book had the magic combo for me: that feeling of wanting to rush ahead and devour it all, desperately hanging out for the reveal, and also wanting to slow down and savour all it's brilliance. (confession: I decided to savour this book. 24 hours after cracking open that first chapter I was done. I couldn't stop thinking about when I had to tear myself away, and I'm still thinking about it now.)
I love so much about Liane's books. But I often find myself in a scatterbrained mess trying to articulate just how brilliant they are. Here's a few points :)
1. The storytelling! Moriarty is a master storyteller weaving together three perspectives which eventually criss-cross each other paths. It has that gorgeous touch of whimsy, coincidence and fate. It's also insanely addictive storytelling - reveals in just the right places, humour sprinkled in perfectly alongside the heartbreak the tension building and the climax exploding.
2. The humour is so delightful, it's wicked and empathetic and intelligent and smiley and it just nails it, every time.
3. The characters. They come to life in such a way that they are lovable even in their unlovable moments. I truly was invested in them. I felt their sorrow and ached alongside them <3
4. Those swoony moments. With a few deft sentences, the romance in this book just had my heart, it also left me bereft (but hopeful) at times. Which is the perfect kind of love stories, all good and bad and swoony and unpredictable.
5. The Sydney (and Melbourne) setting. Just gorgeous. So spot on, I could feel myself walking along those streets and doing the school run.
6. The more I was drawn into the book, the more I got caught up in the shades of grey. And wondering just what was the right thing to do? How was Liane going to make this whole thing turn out? The answer is: in an unexpected and unforgettable way...
I recommend this book so much. I am excited for it to be out, excited for everyone to read it. And already hanging out for my next Liane Moriarty fix. ...more
This was refreshingly addictive with a great vibe.
Mostly, I loved Devan's voice in this. She was so fun to read. This contemporary YA has moving to aThis was refreshingly addictive with a great vibe.
Mostly, I loved Devan's voice in this. She was so fun to read. This contemporary YA has moving to a new school , getting to know (or not) an estranged mum, a huge musical element (I don't even like musicals-- well, I sometimes like the stories, I just don't like the bits where the people sing, haha--, but I loved this book).
This was fun and breezy with some high emotional moments to give it some depth. Very much looking forward to Amy Spalding's next book (out later this year!) Ink is Thicker Than Water. ...more
Some fact-ish stuff: All This could end is narrated by both Nina and Spencer, in alternating POVs. There is a love story. And bank robbery's. With gunsSome fact-ish stuff: All This could end is narrated by both Nina and Spencer, in alternating POVs. There is a love story. And bank robbery's. With guns and stuff. And intriguing family secrets, and sad family secrets, and secret secrets as well. It's about families and friendships and wanting and hoping and dreaming and growing up. And everythign complicated in between.
Steph Bowe's second novel is an absolute breath of fresh air. Despite the original and delicious premise (a family of bank robbers) All This Could End is much more of a character driven than plot driven novel, . And this is where Bowe shines. Her characters are brimming with life and insecurities and intelligence and hope and just the perfect amount of truth and charm.
The other thing I loved about this book is that it is this gorgeous blend of the real and the slightly surreal. This book is so grounded in real life, yet has the whimsiest* touches of creative licence. While reading I was reminded of a post Steph Bowe wrote where she talks about her 'love of the slightly ridiculous'.
"I don't think ridiculous and genuine have to be mutually exclusive, or that literary fiction has the monopoly on affecting and brilliant stories. I think as long as there are characters the reader can empathise with, a ridiculous plotline will work (and some degree of self-awareness and irony helps)."
This quote really stood out to me when I first read the post (as a reader, I completely concur), and afterwards while reading All This Could End. All This Could End isn't all that ridiculous, at all, it's completely genuine and the characters are grounded and perfectly relate-able and achey. But. There are these perfectly delightful little anecdotes, memories and idiosyncrasies that just make the reader smile. It lifts the story and gives it this charming and fun edge.
This is the kind of book you sink into and savour the vibe and small moments. It's narration is often full of internal dialogue. Fast-paced, it is not. I found it so easy to engage with both Nina and Spencer, but at times wished there was a bit more of a tug in the plot, that little bit of something that would keep me sitting a little bit tighter, keep me a little more glued to the pages.
Most of all, this book is just full of soul with the right dash of whimsy. It's also the teensiest bit surprising, teetering on the edge of certain heartbreak, the climax and resolution and little mysteries unknown and revealing themselves at just the right moments.
It has it's own utterly unique heartbeat. It's the kind of book that, when placed in the right set of hands, turns out to be a perfect kindred spirit kind of book.
I have mentioned before how I so love Text publishing and a lot of the books they are bringing to readers. All This Could End is another gem of theirs and I would be so pleased to see this book picked up by international publishing houses. For those in Australia, this is not to be missed out on.
Oh, mate, I really loved this romantic verse novel from Sarah Tregay. It was fun and cute and swoony and just a delicious rainy-day feel good read.
FrOh, mate, I really loved this romantic verse novel from Sarah Tregay. It was fun and cute and swoony and just a delicious rainy-day feel good read.
From the cover and so many swoony and favourable reviews I expected it to be all that, but I didn't anticipate just how addictive it would be, and how much I would grin and sigh my way through it. So recommended. I read this on my kindle but am itching to buy a copy for my shelves (hopefully a paperback will be released). ...more
I love Lisa Schroeder. She is on my auto-buy list of favourite authors.I bought this without realising it is her debut non-verse (regular prose with sI love Lisa Schroeder. She is on my auto-buy list of favourite authors.I bought this without realising it is her debut non-verse (regular prose with some poems scattered throughout) book. I also saw mixed reviews before beginning. I am SO happy to say I am on the LOVE side.
What a completely heart-felt little book this is. My heart broke and I was full of hope and well wishes for our the lovely Rae. I got swept into this story and even shed a tear or two :) Also, Schroeder's prose is just gorgeous. I love her writing and her themes and the way she brought light into darkness.
Warning: I think both the blurb and the cover of this are unfortunately misleading. It's not a kissy romance book. It's also not about one typical story just dealing with abuse. ALSO the first 100 pages might begin as cliché but the plot veers right of in it's own unique and unexpected direction. I would love to see more people find this quietly awesome gem of a book....more
Have to confess, the beginning few chapters of this one were a little tedious/painful but the book got muchI really do love reading Sophie Kinsella.
Have to confess, the beginning few chapters of this one were a little tedious/painful but the book got much better as it progressed. Kinsella is the master of embarrasing/humliating her heroine, but in such a fun way. I was (surprisingly) touched by Sadie's tragic love story :'(
And, as always, Kinsella's leading men bring on the swoon. YUM. (next time, Kinsella don't wait until page 120 something to introduce the love interest! I could always use more of Ed). Also, best meet cute ever, haha. Still chuckling.
If I were the editor, I would have pared some of the superfluous scenes down (especially in the first half). However, this book is as crazy, silly and fun as her other novels and is the perfect rainy day comfort read.
I am seriously craving some more Kinsella now, can't wait for her 2012 release :)
Hands down best book I've read this year. My gosh, I loved it so x
Oh, so you can see I liked it. More than just a lot.
Every now and then a book comesHands down best book I've read this year. My gosh, I loved it so x
Oh, so you can see I liked it. More than just a lot.
Every now and then a book comes along that just is the perfect fit for me.
A book that reminds me how much I love to read.
How much I love falling in love with characters.
How much I love gorgeous and funny and whimsical and perfectly put together prose.
A book that I cannot keep away from. And when I have to leave it, I am finding any moments in my day to squeeze in a few more sentences.
Even better, this was a book where, upon finishing, I went back through for the next couple of days. Just not ready to move on from the characters and the world.
I truly, sincerely, crazily loved this book. Just thinking about it now has me smiling and sighing, remembering the good times the book and I had together.
This book is just so utterly charming.
It had it all for me. I ached (surprisingly, a lot) with genuine sadness and regret. I swooned (oh my swoon!). I laughed. I felt inspired. I loved every single thing about this book.
There's mystery elements, murder, sky-diving, manic-like shoplifting, grief, love, people behaving badly, mixed-messages, possible ghost-lingering, quirky coincidences and despair all wrapped up with humour, fun, sincerity and whole lot of heart. I loved the plot, original and true and slightly bizarre. But, more than that, I adored the characters. And when I fall in love with characters, that provides the ultimate reading experience, because for that moment, while I am with them, they are real to me. Very endearing flawed characters.
What a gorgeous, life-affirming, moving, whimsical, original debut. With one book, Nicola has bounded on to my all time fave authors list.
Things you might want to know:
Free Falling is my favourite book this year (followed closely by an Aussie YA novel which I plan to talk about next week ;))
Nicola is one of five sisters, two of whom you may be familiar with: YA author Jaclyn Moriarty, and author Liane Moriarty. I love all three of these Moriarty girls, they are SO my kind of authors <3
I plan on rereading this very soon. In fact, I feel nostalgic about it every time I think about it, haha.
Oh, so, no review-type synopsis from me. You can find them in reviews on goodreads. I much prefer to just chat (or in this case, gush) about how much I loved this book so. ...more
Reading Past Perfect was reminiscent of the time I read Psych Major Syndrome. I just didn’t want to stop reading it. Not because it’s an adrenalin-fueReading Past Perfect was reminiscent of the time I read Psych Major Syndrome. I just didn’t want to stop reading it. Not because it’s an adrenalin-fuelled, tension-filled, mind-blowing plot but because I was just having such a good time reading it that it felt like a crime to stop. So I read Past Perfect until 3am and grinned and sighed my way through it.
The first reason I fell in love with this book was because is gorgeously funny. The prose is a dream: insightful and sharp and snarky, slightly whimsical and completely relate-able. I found out after reading that Sales is a comedienne. Which absolutely makes sense as not only were there poignantly brilliant one-liners, but the whole experience is doused in a whimsical and clever humour. Gosh, I was crushing on so many sentences and sentiments and overall themes.
The premise of this book is truly awesome. Chelsea is working @ a historical colonial village, where her parents also work, and her relationship with employees there is somewhat family-like. They are close-knit and loyal and I loved them to bits (some were endearing, others intense and others provided comic relief). Amongst them is Chelsea’s (awesome) best friend &, awkwardly, her ex-boyfriend, who she just can’t seem to get over.
Chelsea’s Historical village is in a fierce all-out, teenager-y war with the teenagers who work @ a rival historical village across the road. (Think the townies and the cadets in On the Jellicoe Road). Chelsea gets kidnapped by one particularly cute boy from the enemy’s camp and even after her rescue can’t stop crushing on him even though he is completely forbidden...
I loved the escalating war between the two teen historical summer-job crews. It was clever and intense and fiery. And funny, haha.
I loved the whole setting of Chelsea working at the colonial village. So much fodder for in-jokes, random historical trivia (awesome stuff) and it’s a vivid setting I haven’t read before in YA ~ kind of like a summer camp vibe, but more funky ~ and Sailes absolutely takes advantage of it ~ using quiet irony, loads of humour and a little bit of heart. This is one of those books that so effortlessly portrays a vivid setting that you feel you were there with the characters, and bonded along. I felt like a part of the gang :) I want to go there and hang out.
I LOVED the romance in this. It was just perfect for my tastes. I swooned, I ached, I wanted more of Dan ~ their chemistry and honesty and dialogue and kisses and complications and betrayals felt so genuine. lovelovelove.
Not only was Chelsea and Dan's relationship brilliant ~ but all the characters were real. Chelsea’s best friend was funny and true and I loved her. Her parents cracked me up. Even minor characters were treated with their own unique flavour.
Flannery talks more about the history side of it~ it was genius and so relate-able and even while I was having immense fun reading this ~ it also made me think a little ~ about history and my memories, and who I am and what makes me me, etc. It had a gorgeous message without being at all didactic (rather liberating the reader to think for themselves. Without sounding cheesy ~ it felt uplifting by the end)
There’s some awesome jokes in here, a brilliant sense of camaraderie ~ it feels like Sales took her time creating this world and it’s nuances and characters (loved the ice-cream testing, the FARBS, the history the people had together).
I pretty much thought this was brilliant. Pretty much a perfect reading experience for me (loved every single minute of it) Why aren’t there more YA books like this?
Thanks to Flannery for recommending this to me (it was even better than I imagined!) and to S & S Galley Grab for the galley :) ~ I will be purchasing my own copy to squeeze onto my favourite shelf :D ...more