Every once in awhile you come upon a gem of a book that will leave a mark upon your bookworm heart, regardless of the somewhat bleak cover. Orphan TraEvery once in awhile you come upon a gem of a book that will leave a mark upon your bookworm heart, regardless of the somewhat bleak cover. Orphan Train is neither a fairy tale nor a tragedy but rather a story of survival of the darkness that life can throw your way.
A series of unfortunate events in her young life come to a head when a very badly thought out action leads Molly Ayer to choose between juvie or 50 hours of community service... Seems life has hit an all time low for this smart talking, angst ridden, OCD 17 year old Native American Goth.
Clean out an old lady's attic, a pretty straightforward task right? But the prim Vivian Daly is not at all what she seems and as each box is opened Molly uncovers a hidden past, buried secrets and perhaps a kindred soul. Suddenly a community service project evolves into something much more, with the potential to change the life of more than just one woman.
This book surprised me on many different emotional levels and I found it easy to read, devouring it in one day. Orphan Train is truly a hidden treasure, a great bookclub suggestion with interesting historical facts to discuss and a reading group guide enclosed at the back of the book.
If you are a fan of Posie Graeme-Evan's The Dressmaker or The Linnet Bird by Linda Holeman and therefore not afraid of gritty historical fiction with heart, pick up Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline. You will not be disappointed.
Please Note: I received this copy from Bookworld (now Angus & Robertson Bookworld) in exchange for an honest review. ...more
I have never read a book that so thorough in drawing back the curtain on all the glitz and glamour of being one of the popular kids in highJust WOW.
I have never read a book that so thorough in drawing back the curtain on all the glitz and glamour of being one of the popular kids in high school. If you think this is just another Gossip Girl you are very, VERY, mistaken.
For a girl who seems to have it all, the hot boyfriend, the right friends, the right clothes and the assertive attitude, Liz Emerson realizes she is a cataclysm of bad luck to everyone she meets, friends and foes alike. Sick of the lies, the depression, the loneliness and the affect she has on others, Liz is determined to end it all and stop the vicious cycle.
An interesting, engrossing read that begins at its climax, it swings between flashbacks and present time to explain how it all came to a head. As much as the story is about Liz, it is also about her friends, family and the people whose lives she changed for better or worse, sometimes both. I had come to know all of the main and supporting characters so well they became unmasked before my very eyes.
As much as I really, REALLY, wanted to hate Liz for all the nasty things she did and the lives she ruined, surprisingly, I could not bring myself to I was able to connect with Zhangs characters in way I wasn't able to in other young adult books; their secrets, heartbreaks and tragedies are so real and relatable to youth today as they were when I was in high school.
Amy Zhang strips the high school caste system bare, until all we see is the bare bones and hidden secrets of those we thought we knew well and those we didn't. Falling into Place really makes you re-evaluate what it means to be a friend, a parent or how you treat people you barely know or just met.
A beautiful and powerfully emotive book. Buy it, read it and realize that in your deepest despair you are not alone.
Please Note: I received this copy from Bookworld (now Angus & Robertson Bookworld) in exchange for an honest review....more
What an intense, fun ride Sugar Skulls is. Though I am previously familiar with the literary concept of a young adults utopia where your main goal inWhat an intense, fun ride Sugar Skulls is. Though I am previously familiar with the literary concept of a young adults utopia where your main goal in life is just to party and have fun (The Uglies Series by Scott Westerfeld and Night Creatures Trilogy by Marianne de Pierres), this has a fresh spin to it which I quite enjoyed.
In this dystopian world where regular energy sources are depleting, people are searching for a new sustainable energy. Cyrene is a unique pioneer city which is harnessing the energy created through one's pleasure, both on a physical and emotional level, via thrum-collectors and a grid that keeps track of it's citizens. (Big Brother is totally watching you... right now... just kidding... Or am I?)
Enter stage left is Vee, our scrappy, no bull, punk-rockette leading lady; the Corporate's songbird whose voice has an amazing siren-like power over the masses. Along with her two friends, Sasha of the hot-pink punk style and retro-goth with Victorian flair Jax, they make a band called Sugar Skulls whose fan base is ever growing. In a city where it's power if you can heighten the citizens excitement and adoration, Vee and her friends are pretty close to being a gods, or so it seems.
Beneath the shiny surface of Cyrene there are hidden dangers and with the appearance of Micah, an untraceable ghost to Cyrene's grid, the dark secrets in Vee's forgotten past come to the surface threatening to swallow her whole and take all she loves with her. Does she have the strength to overcome her demons, both in her past and her present, in order to save her future?
This tale is a power ballad of dark and light, glitter and ruin, love and hate. Vee is both tough and fragile, her vulnerabilities making her human and relatable. I would have loved to have read more about her band mates and seen more interactions between them all as their relationship did seem a little disjointed but I guess there can only be so many pages right?
The plot was interesting and seeing the story unfold from the viewpoints of both Vee and Micah made it a fascinating read. The story was relatively fast paced and the climax though exciting, was a little bit underwhelming but didn't detract from the overall tale. The story can stand alone but perhaps, just maybe, there is an opening for a sequel? I just didn't get my fill of Cyrene and the Sugar Skulls.
Overall I devoured this story of song, grit and glitter in one sitting; it was an enjoyable read, the cover is amazing and I am seriously considering getting a hardcopy for my bookshelf.
Please Note: I received this copy from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review....more
And with those few words I am once again immersed in the aromas and surrounded by the characters that made me fall"It came on the wind of Ramadan..."
And with those few words I am once again immersed in the aromas and surrounded by the characters that made me fall in love with Joanne's creative storytelling.
Vianne Rocher and her two daughters are drawn back to Lansquenet at the behest of a letter from a much loved yet dearly departed friend from the past. Once she arrives Vianne realises the quaint little town she left behind 8 years ago has changed but not in the way she had hoped...
Things are not as they seem in Lansquenet... Veiled secrets have ignited prejudice in an already tense atmosphere and misunderstandings have caused strife among neighbours. Can Vianne and her chocolates heal the rifts between Lansquenet and Les Marauds? Or will tragedy hit before the truth can be revealed?
The book confronts many issues faced by women of different cultures whose beliefs and customs are not readily accepted in today's mainstream idea of a normal society. Some of the more shocking situations in the story are handled delicately by Joanne Harris and treated with respect which seems fitting for this tale.
When you have spent your whole life living outside society's expectations and have moved from place to place, following where the wind takes you, can you ever truly call one place home? With the plot's many twists and turns the climax will end up surprising you and maybe make you re-assess how you look at the world.
A bitter-sweet tale you will end up craving like your favourite piece of dark chocolate, Peaches for Monsieur le Curé will draw you in until the last page. ...more
I don't know how many of you are out there but raise your hand if you most beloved toy when you were little was a soft toy tiger *raises hand*. Yep, hI don't know how many of you are out there but raise your hand if you most beloved toy when you were little was a soft toy tiger *raises hand*. Yep, his name is Rajah and he was my beloved golden brown tiger soft toy who was as big as I was when I first got him when I was 8.I took him everywhere & slept with him at night. I still have him now, lying across the foot of my bed. If you like tigers as much as I do and wished you had a tiger companion just like Jasmine in Aladdin you will no doubt enjoy this book.
Anyway, back to Tiger's Curse, this story is well & truly EPIC. So much happens in this book I really couldn't get into it all without ruining the story for you, which I seriously do not want to do. If I had to condense it to maybe one sentence: Beauty & 2 x Beasts (long forgotten Indian princes/Tigers)go on a quest to search for magical treasures mentioned in myths that will help them break an ancient curse that dooms the princes to their tiger forms for all but 24 minutes of the day, every single day...
Summary: We find 17 year old Kelsey Hayes in Oregon/America looking for a summer job to fill in the time/earn some money before she heads off to college only to end up as an assistant at a circus... There she feels drawn to the gorgeous yet lonely white tiger Dhiren a.k.a Ren and strikes an odd friendship with the strange animal who seems to have also taking a liking to her as well.
As her period of employment comes to a close she is offered the once in a lifetime, all expenses paid opportunity to escort Ren to a tiger sanctuary in India. There Kelsey finds not all is what it seems with her furry friend and learns of the Tigers' Curse. Kelsey, though a little frazzled by her companion's transformation, vows to help the strange (Cough*Totally HOT*Cough) prince Ren earn his freedom. Oh, did I forget to mention that Ren has an equally handsome younger brother called Kishan? Yes, he of the white coat & cobalt blues eyes has a rascally sibling with the black coat & golden eyes. My OH My, what is a girl to do?
I love the beauty & the beast spin on ancient Indian myth & legend, as well as interesting facts about Indian culture, not to mention the lovely Indian words of endearment you can pick up just by reading the story. It really is a treasure of a book.
The only downside is how much of an idiot Kelsey becomes towards the end with her self sacrificing attitude. Think Edward in New Moon. I felt like slapping her. I finished the book & said to myself "Kelsey, you Bl**dy Idiot!!" in true Aussie style.
Didn't stop me for picking up the second book and delving right back. H*ll no!!! If you like action, adventure, mythology & tigers you cannot miss this book. Are you Team Ren or Team Kishan?
Yet again Holly Black spins new tales that just suck me right in. Just one of those reasons why she's one of my favorite authors. Usually not a fan ofYet again Holly Black spins new tales that just suck me right in. Just one of those reasons why she's one of my favorite authors. Usually not a fan of short stories, so I was surprised when I found myself enjoying this treasure of a book. If you are a fan of Holly Black you cannot miss reading this....more