Review: I Kill The Mockingbird by Paul Acampora

9781250068088I Kill the Mockingbird by Paul Acampora is a gloriously witty and murderous book and I can’t love it enough! It’s a book about books (bookception!) and how can an avid bookworm not love and adore that?! If you geek out over books and authors — this was built specifically for you.

Obviously it’s about the infamous To Kill a Mockingbird. Four friends decide they want EVERYONE to read To Kill a Mockingbird over summer. So, ingeniously, they decide to “ban” it. If you make something hard to get then everyone wants it. Reverse psychology! Always works. The kids don’t steal the books…they just hide them in the bookstores and then set up social media accounts to create panic that To Kill a Mockingbird is being shot down. And suddenly — BOOM — everyone wants to read it. Genius.

The kids are on the brink of highschool, but not quite there yet, so this book could totally suit a Middle Grade audience. The characters have pretty mature voices, though, so make way for loads of sarcasm and witty banter.

But let’s talk about these grand characters! Did I mention witty banter? WITTY! BANTER! ALERT! There’s a threesome of buddies: Lucy (the quiet, gangly narrator), Elena (the tough spunky one) and Michael (who loves baseball). I never felt like the characters were leaping off the page with development, unfortunately. But then, the book is only 200-pages. That’s NOT a lot of time. So I loved the characters for who they were, even if it didn’t get deep.

Michael is a bit of a To Kill A Mockingbird hater, but after I calmed my righteous indignation, I did appreciate how he broke stereotypes by loving baseball AND books. Lucy (the narrator) was so adorable the way she fretted over her parents and tried to get her cancer-recovering mum to eat salad. And Elena?! Bring out the fireworks! She was a popsicle of feisty attitude. She’s the one who makes bookshop displays using Halloween bloody axes as props. (They were “killing” the Mockingbird, okay?!)

Elena pulls the ax out of the bag, holds it above her head, and shouts, “I KILL THE MOCKINGBIRD!”
Michael shakes his head. “I am seriously worried about you.”

Basically this book is my new best friend. I devoured it in a blink (because it’s really rather tiny) and I snortled out loud several times. And the literary references were golden too. (They named old, classic authors, but also new ones like Neil Gaiman!) I also loved the emphasis on friendship and the summery vibe and I loved how this trio of friends were so passionate about books. Yay for books! I love books, so books about books are automatically win for me.

“But in the book,” I say, “the mockingbird is supposed to be a symbol of innocence. That’s why it’s a sin to kill one.”
“Who says it’s a symbol of innocence?” asks Mort.
“Teachers,” I tell him. “Book reviewers, critics –”
“Wikipedia,” Elena calls from behind the window display.

[PURCHASE HERE]

Review: The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly by Stephanie Oakes

9780803740709Well, just WOW. I did not expect to be terrified absolutely witless while reading this. BUT I WAS. This book is wonderful and addictive and…frightening.  If you need me, I shall be the one rocking in the corner giving random pterodactyl screeches from the trauma. True story.

The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly by Stephanie Oakes is about cults, juvie, a handless girl, and learning to think for yourself. I love anyone or anything that promotes thinking for yourself. So this book automatically climbed to epic proportions for me.

Also it’s a retelling of The Girl Without Hands by the Brothers Grimm! Now. I am a nerd and, because I didn’t know the original fairy tale very well, I researched and wow, just wow. There are SO many references to the original! It’s really quite clever. The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly did tiny things like referencing a pear orchard, to adding an “angel” (well, that’s someone’s name), to WHO does the cutting of Minnow’s hands. BUT! The book also stands completely on it’s own if you don’t know the original tale.

Basically Minnow Bly escapes her cult after her hands are cut off and then ends up kicking someone half to death and is sent to Juvie. We meet her roommate, Angel, who is sassy and incredible and so well written. Minnow learns how to read and sheds her naivety. There is so much character development a9781460750780nd change — and not just for Minnow but for the secondary characters too! There’s emphasis on family (good and negative) on consequences and actions, on murder vs revenge vs self-defence. It critiques the justice system. It asks really hard questions (like can self-defence be an okay reason for murder?) and it explores friendship between unlikely people. It melted my heart several hundred times.  I was in awe of Minnow and I adored her. She’d been through psychological and physical torture (HER HANDS GOT CUT OFF OMG) and yet she could still stand and fight at the end?!? She still had hopes and dreams and wanted things.

Also it’s quite creepy and bloody and gory. The cult has a TON of horrific punishments. After the first 100-pages I was very creeped out….aaaand I couldn’t stop reading.

It did have a lagging, slow spot about 3/4 in though, but mostly the action was go! go! go! It’s written with a “thriller” vibe, so you know the end result (Minnow is in jail, handless) but WHY and what happened with the cult? And who burned things? AND WHO IS DEAD? And who’s the killer?! And you just keep flipping pages to find out!

But basically this was a solidly fabulous debut! It was a glorious retelling, yet a fabulous story on it’s own. It was freaky and terrifying and addictive. This author has shot onto my I-will-read-anything-she-writes list.

 

[PURCHASE HERE]

5 YA Books You Can Read In A Day

Reading an entire book in a day is basically living the dream. And while I’m quite the reading hooligan and often read a book a day, I particularly like books that I can whip through in a few hours. (I don’t know about you, but gargantuan books terrify me. Holding a 600-page weapon in your hands? Um, pass.)

So I have constructed a rather delectable list of Young Adult books you can get through easily in a day!

-~-

F18163646ALLING INTO PLACE by Amy Zhang

PURCHASE ~ Page count: 304

What’s it about? Basically a contemporary where a mysterious narrator details the life of Liz and how she ends up in a potentially-fatal car accident. It’s about repercussions and friendship. And the WHO of the narrator is downright unique and fabulous. But shush now, I will spill no spoilers.

Yes, 300-pages doesn’t seem like nothing. But! It explores a really outstanding writing style. The chapters are crispy and the sentence are short and bitey. Which makes a book super easy to gobble in half a heartbeat.

 

9781471404566PAPERWEIGHT by Meg Haston

PURCHASE ~ Page count: 304

What’s it about? Beware. This’ll probably break your heart. It’s about eating disorders and a treatment centre and a sad secret. It’s told in back-flashes and features origami. (I am an origami nerd so THIS book is glorious.)

Again, it’s 300 pages, but it’s super easy to get sucked in. It tackles such dark and tough subjects though, so possibly snuggle down to devour this one with a packet of tissues or perhaps recruit a small kitten to cuddle while you read.

 

9780385741262WE WERE LIARS by E. Lockhart

PURCHASE ~ Page count: 227

What’s it about? This is one of those mind-twistery books. We have an unreliable narrator talking about her summer when Something Mysterious and Bad (?!) Happened and OH MY GOSH THE REVEAL IS INCREDIBLE. It’s so hard to talk about without giving spoilers so all you need to know is this: READ IT.

It’s so quick to get through because it’s partially written in verse. The chapter are tiny and the writing is really sparse, so you’re never wading through boggy details.

9781925240160ADRIFT by Paul Griffin

PURCHASE ~ Page count: 240

What’s it about? Talk about a wet roller-coaster thriller! It’s about 5 teens who get trapped in a boat in the middle of the ocean and TERROR ENSUES. It’s a real psychological thriller. (I mean, how long would you last with no food, minimum water, and no hope of rescue?? Hmm??) And seriously it is un-put-down-able.

This one has a teeny page count, and it has a real pull to keep reading because WHAT HAPPENS NEXT??! You get very concerned these kids are going to bludgeon each other with oars and feed someone to the sharks.

9781250062987SECOND STAR by Alyssa B. Sheinmel

PURCHASE ~ Page count: 272

What’s it about? It’s a Peter Pan retelling! If…Peter was a surfer and Wendy’s brothers had run away from home, and Hook was a drug dealer. You know. Normal stuff like that. IT IS INCREDIBLE. It’s the favourite childhood classic reinvented and modernised, and totally tugs at heart strings.

It’s more of a summery, lazy book, so the pace doesn’t rocket along. But at less than 300-pages, you’re half finished in a blink! And it’s bittersweet. And clever. It’s super fascinating to see how the author incorporates elements of the original tale into a modern setting. OH THE CLEVERNESS OF THIS AUTHOR. (Yes, that was a JM Barrie quote reimagined. Appreciate this.)

Feel free to share any books-you-could-read-in-a-day suggestions in the comments and I hope you enjoyed my list!

Review: Talon by Julie Kagawa

9781743566619I am so dragonishly pleased with Talon by Julie Kagawa. It was just so excitingly good! I do love me some dragons, though. I absolutely adore them, so I had a feeling this book would be “my thing”. It isn’t flooded with dragonishness (that is a word, don’t doubt me now), but it has loveable characters and sparky humour and an exciting plot of questionable loyalties and betrayal and lies.

Huzzah!

The basic gist of the story is: Ember and her twin, Dante, are dragon hatchlings who are doing a stint of “assimilation” into humankind. They’ll act like average teens on a summer break and basically learn to blend. But they’re dragon shapeshifters. And they like shiny things. And also smoothies. And the Big Bad Organisation that controls all the dragons is called “Talon” and is DUBIOUS. Oh and Dante and Ember are being hunted. Fun times.

So let’s talk about the characters, shall we?!

  • Ember: is really spunky and awesome. Refreshing! She has a razor sharp tongue and is reckless. I totally loved her relationship with her twin. Plus she was all “grin and bear it” when life was sucky, and then “live it up” when it was time to party. I just liked her a lot, okay?! Although her name was nearly a touch too cliche?? I mean, her name is Ember. EMBER. And she’s a dragon! Ah-huh.
  • Dante: is Ember’s twin brother and mildly adorable. He’s the Follow-The-Rules dude, but he’s still a sweetie. Although, it did sadden me that Ember and Dante seemed to be growing apart…but I still love their relationship.
  • Garrett: I was not expecting to like Garrett. He’s a military boy, member of Saint George, who…erm…like to kill dragons. He never has fun. And he’s supposed to be hunting Ember so OF COURSE HE FALLS MADLY IN LOVE WITH HER. He can’t figure out if she’s a dragon or not though, so it’s painful watching him double-guessing himself all the time. I totally shipped him and Ember.
  • Riley: Oh dear. This is where my extraordinary love falls apart a little. I really couldn’t care less about Riley, the rogue dragon. He was boring compared to the others, and I felt his relationship with Ember was rushed. It develops into a bit of an awkward triangle. I wish I’d known what Riley’s purpose is though…he is a rogue, fighting against Talon. BUT WHY.

Watching the dragonlings fit into human society was hilarious and endearing. The twins learn to mingle (hehe) and they shop and drink smoothies which they surprisingly become addicted to. The book is like a paranormal-action-adventure mashed up with a summery-chick-flick. And between walking on the beach, there’s guns and training and murder. (Mwahhahha.) Ember and Dante don’t spend much time being dragons though.

I also 100% appreciate that the dudes hunting the dragons were of the Order of St. George. Like the story of George and the Dragon! SO CLEVER. I see what you did there, Julie Kagawa!

This is definitely a series I foresee myself getting addicted to. From the forbidden love to the training, to the siblings, to the surfing (!!), to the pop culture references, to my feels getting tangled in a knot at everyone’s existential crises — I AM HOOKED. I was absolutely dying for book 2, Rogue, and (I’ve read it now) it was beyond perfect. So BE THEE AWARE. Talon ends in a cliffhanger! So you will need Rogue ASAP.

I’m so glad I read this incredible and scaly story. I basically need more.

[PURCHASE]

YA Standalones You Need In Your Life

While it feels like every YA book that comes out these days is part of a series…it’s not true! There ARE standalones out there! Series have fabulous perks of course, but sometimes it’s nice to eat a book and know it is a complete story. Beginning + middle = THE END GOODBYE AND DONE.

So I am here with an entirely fabulous list of Young Adult standalones you really ought to try. The best of the best, I tell you.

-~-

9780316213073THE DARKEST PART OF THE FOREST [purchase]

If you’re looking for malicious creepy faeries, changelings, epic siblings and sword fights all set in a modern world with an uber creepy forest in the background? THIS IS YOUR BOOK. I’m such a wild fan of creepy so all the love to this one. 9781408853818 (1)

THERE WILL BE LIES [purchase]

This is a contemporary/thriller about a deaf girl who is on the run with her mother. But who is her mother? A famous criminal? Why are they running? It’s not fast paced but it’s very mysterious and SO MANY QUESTIONS.

BRUISER [purchase]9780061134104

This is nearly a contemporary. I say “nearly” because it’s about high school and first-love and mini golf aaaaand…it also happens to have this guy named Brewster who can absorb the pain of those he loves. So punch his best-friend? The punch ends up on Brewster. It’s an incredible story about friendship and, erm, bruises. Obviously. 9780060530921

THE GRAVEYARD BOOK [purchase]

Of course I need to wiggle a little bit of Neil Gaiman this list because he is the master. I absolutely adore this book because ghosts! And graveyards! And sneaky characters who do sneaky things! It’s kind of middle-grade, but Bod grows as the story goes. (I’m an epic poet. Appreciate that.)

ONLY EVER YOURS [purchase]9781848664159

This is a dystopian that is NOT a trilogy!! I mean, that’s cause to party by itself right?! (Noooo offence to the dystopic trilogies, it’s just: there are so many.) This one is about feminism and will probably knock you down with it’s thought-provoking message. 9780803734968Also likely to reduce you to a sobbing mess.

I’LL GIVE YOU THE SUN [purchase]

…it pretty much left me speechless. It’s so arty! The words on the very page are art. WOW. Just WOW. This one is about sibling (rivalry) and growing up and stabbing people with paint brushes. That sort of fun stuff. It’s the writing that’s absolutely vivid and unique.

THE LAST TIME WE SAY GOODBYE [purchase]9780732299002

And while we’re listing contemporaries, how about a super sad one? This one is about suicide and siblings (!! love me some sibling books !!) and getting closure. And the main character is also into maths! MATHS! I never read about that, so it’s totally awesome.

ADRIFT [purchase]9781925240160

Oh this one is a thriller and a half! It’s about 5 teens stuck in a boat in the middle of the sea and BAD STUFF GOES DOWN. Only 3 teens come out at the end. Exciting? Exciting. Also it explores the more psychological side of being trapped/dying/starving. Total recommend, but I WARN YOU: you’ll probably read it in one-sitting. So stock up on popcorn and fishy snacks.

 

YA Fairy Tale Retellings: Where Do You Start?

YA is basically built on wild crazes that burn bright for a year or so — and than melt into a puddle. It used to be vampires, then hello dystopian, how we love you. And now? Fairy tale retellings! I find retellings particularly addictive because they rekindle childhood obsessions. And who can really grow out of Cinderella or Little Red Riding Hood?! AM I RIGHT? (I am right.)

But where do you start? There are so many retellings out there now! SO I AM HERE TO HELP. I have made a list to help you navigate the magical world of retellings.

 

CINDERELLA

9780312641894 9780330426060 9780006755487

  • CINDER: NYT bestseller and part of a quartet, starring a cyborg and a sassy robot. MUST READ.
  • SIX IMPOSSIBLE THINGS: This is a contemporary! Also gender-swapped, if you wish to see Cinderella as an awkward teenage boy. (You totally do.)
  • ELLA ENCHANTED: Medieval fantasy where the main character is cursed to do everything she’s told? Go read this now. (Also, this was around before the retelling trend! It’s hipster.)

BEAUTY AND THE BEAST

9780061998669 9780062224743 9780399171611

  • BEASTLY: In a contemporary setting, a teenage boy gets his comeuppance for being a regular jerk. The romance is creepy in this book but…hey. The original tale is kind of creepy if you think about it.
  • CRUEL BEAUTY: How about the old classic tale with a spoonful of Greek Mythology? YES PLEASE AND THANK YOU.
  • THE WRATH AND THE DAWN: Technically it’s an Arabian night retelling, buuuut…it has the famous beast/monster AND many mentions of roses. Also it’s downright brilliant.

 

ALICE IN WONDERLAND

9781419704284 9781743565087 9781782396543

  • SPLINTERED: This one is like Tim Burton’s 2010 “Alice in Wonderland” movie — absolutely creeptastic and addictive.
  • ALICE IN ZOMBIELAND: Alice + zombies = a book you don’t want to miss.
  • LOOKING GLASS HOUSE: This is written by the great-granddaughter of the Alice who inspired the original tale. How cool is that?! It’s basically a prequel.

 

LITTLE RED RIDING HOOD

9780062224767 9781250007216 9781444900606

  • CRIMSON BOUND: I haven’t read this one yet, but it’s by the same author of Cruel Beauty (which I adored) so I’ve no doubts it’s spectacular. And just look at that cover! SO BEAUTIFUL.
  • SCARLET: This is the sequel to Cinder (mentioned above) and my favourite book in the series. Sci-fi! Human wolves! And Scarlet is French!
  • SISTERS RED: So forget about Little Red Riding Hood being an innocent sweetie…this one is about sisters who hunt and kill werewolves. They’re awesome.

 

LITTLE MERMAID

9780061255656 9781481401272 9781444915556

  • SEPTEMBER GIRLS: This one is about mysterious blonde girls and beaches and secrets.
  • THE SUMMER OF CHASING MERMAIDS: I haven’t read this one yet but everyone I know swears by it’s brilliance. It features a mute girl!
  • FATHOMLESS: Another epic retelling from the Fairy Tale Queen, Jackson Pearce, and while this is actually a sequel, from the two other Pearce books I’ve read, I think you can tackle it on its own.

 

SNOW QUEEN

9780763648442 9781471403361 9781444921373

  • STORK: Apparently inspired by Hans Christian Anderson’s original tale, and Norse folklore.
  • OPHELIA AND THE MARVELLOUS BOY: This is written by an Australian! It’s more middle-grade, but the story is still kind of creepy and entirely winning. It’s set in a museum, and, um, there is a magical marvellous boy involved.
  • COLD SPELL: This is the finale of Jackson Pearce’s quartet and it looks shiveringly delicious.

 

PETER PAN

9781250062987 9781408330449 9781417734429

  • SECOND STAR: This is a modernised Peter Pan story with SURFING. Surfing is awesome.
  • TIGER LILY: So whimsical and magical…set in a fantasy world and narrated by Tinkerbell.
  • PETER AND THE STARCATCHERS: I haven’t read this one yet, but it apparently is about pirates and adventures and evil kings, so what more could you want?

 

-~-

These are a mere morsel to get you started! The publishing world is literally ripe with retellings. I only hope they start exploring ballets and classic literature and more history-turned-fantasy novels too. WE CAN HOPE.

Review: Four – A Divergent Collection by Veronica Roth

9780007584642The saddest thing in the world is when an excellent trilogy concludes. So HUZZAH for those brilliant authors who write extra stories for us hungry fans. Veronica Roth’s Divergent trilogy is mind-blowingly famous. And have you snabbled her short stories about Four, yet? Because you need to.

Four: A Divergent Collection was just perfection. I couldn’t be any more happy with this little skydive back into the Divergent world. There’s a collection of four (duh) short stories and the whole book comes to around 300-pages. It’s like a little snack. I’m nearly disappointed that some stories were so so short. But that’s just me in denial that the series is now officially over.

So let’s break it down and talk about EACH story, shall we?

** WARNING: May contain spoilers for the first book, Divergent, BUT NOT for Insurgent or Allegiant!**

9780007550142
STORY #1: THE TRANSFER
I loved this one the most! It really showed Four when he was just little Tobias…basically a kicked puppy. OH HE WAS SO LITTLE AND SCARED. He longed for a better life but just was just absolutely resigned to being beaten by Marcus. This story was the most powerful. My only critique is…exactly HOW did Marcus make everyone basically forget he had a son? I mean, Four would’ve had to go to school…and it said people just ignored him. But seriously? No one took an interest in him??? Even Tris, curious little Tris, never knew much about him and definitely didn’t recognise his face when Divergent kicks off. So weird.

STORY #2: THE INITIATE
This is when Tobias turns into Four. It’s awesome. I love getting to know a younger Shauna and Zeke too. Back in the good ol’ days when the training made sense and wasn’t run by Eric. Okay, though, I have to admit, Eric wasn’t scary an intimidating enough. I thought he’d have more of a rivalry going with Four, but Eric is basically in the background.

STORY #3: THE SON
Four has an angry dark side. He’s getting all tall and strong now. Bashing people up. Being a big meanie. Training to be a leader. It definitely fleshes out his character and we see so much from his point-of-view. This one is fills in some backstory about Jeanine Matthews, the Erudite Leader.

STORY #4: THE TRAITOR
This one is actually WHEN Divergent’s happening. It includes a lot of scenes we already know from Tris’ POV. I have to admit this is my least favourite. I’ve already read it! I was just seeing it from Four’s moody persepctive. I love Four, don’t get me wrong, but his thoughts didn’t seem radically different to Tris’ in Divergent, so the double-up made me squint occasionally. I do feel like I understand Four’s feelings for Tris better. He was crushing on her soooo early and she never knew it. Adorable. And also we get a sneak peek into Four’s dating life, pre-Tris. His date with a Dauntless girl lasted 5 minutes and I laughed and laughed and laughed. POOR DEAR.

All in all? This is incredible and a must-read for any Veronica Roth fans. It’s best read AFTER Divergent, but you could read it before Insurgent and Allegiant if you wished it. I wanted to give it 4-stars because…well, HIS NAME IS FOUR. But it needs 5-stars, without a doubt. I hope Veronica Roth keeps writing!

[PURCHASE HERE]

Review: Only Ever Yours by Louise O’Neill

9781784294007You know those books that make you sit back and go, “Um, woah” and then are super hard to talk about because they’ve messed with your brain so much? WELL. Only Ever Yours by Louise O’Neill definitely fits in that category. It’s the kind of book that makes you think. It took me ages to formulate thoughts. WHAT DO I THINK ABOUT THIS BOOK? Is it a masterpiece or a terror? Or both?

Both. Both, for sure.

It’s set in a futuristic world were women are treated as…objects. They exist for men’s pleasure. They are nothing. An insult is, “Don’t be academic.” It’s the most sickening society I’ve ever read and I found it quite tough to read about. It’s narrated by a school of 16-year-old girls where their entire LIFE’s PURPOSE is to make a man happy at some point. To be chosen and married and used. They’ll only have sons because women are “made” in this society. And if there’s a glitch? They just terminate the girl. LET ME JUST SCREAM. I hated the society with a fiery passion — but that doesn’t mean it’s a bad book. Contrary. It set up the world-building so thoroughly I was totally invested in the story and couldn’t put it down. But it’s pretty much not for the faint of heart. And if you, like me, are really passionate about feminism, then it’ll rile you badly.

It also prodded today’s society’s view of things. Like the definition of beauty and how people treat those with mental illnesses. It exaggerated them. But the nugget of realism drove the book home hard.
9781848664159
These girls must be “perfect”. They can’t be fat. They constantly chant how evil and horrible “fat girls” are. It’s sickening. It basically just shredded me…the way they had bulimia and anorexia and how this impacted their psychological health too. The girls don’t even have capitals for their names. Because they’re not worth it. Omg.

The writing is utterly addictive. I think the entire book was a tad too long. Like it made a point — YES FOR SURE — but sometimes it felt like it was just repeating the same horror story again and again and again and…nunngh. I get twitchy when a book’s pacing is off.
It doesn’t have a conclusive ending. The moment I closed the book, I wanted to how, “BUT WHAT WAS THE POINT???” It does have a point — it’s a story with a point but no conclusion. I did struggle with that, but at the same time, I think it made the book stick in my head longer because I couldn’t stop mulling over it’s themes. This was a good but sickening book. I felt uncomfortable the entire time. It is 100% depressing. It is 1000% well-written and thought provoking and feels stabbing and….basically you need to read it.

If you are tired of the average YA “dystopian trends” — try this. It is unique and psychological and intense and woah.

“She’s beautiful, but it’s a faded beauty now, as if she’s been washed too many times.”

[PURCHASE HERE]

Why You Should Be Reading YA Author, Derek Landy’s, Books

If you haven’t read any books by YA author, Derek Landy, then you’re missing out. He’s written a whole conglomeration of books centred around a living skeleton (it’s awesome, trust me) and now his latest book Demon Road is releasing in August. Which is exciting. Are you excited? I AM EXCITED.

But in case you’re staring at this blog post and mumbling, “But who the heck is Derek Landy?” then I have an epic list of reasons you need to acquaint yourself with his writing. ASAP.

9780007241620

REASONS YOU SHOULD BE READING DEREK LANDY’S BOOKS

1. He’s the inventor of Skulduggery Pleasant. Skulduggery is a sassy skeleton detective, bent on saving the world from evil magic. He stars in a 9-book series, which brings me to…

2. Derek Landy writes A LOT. You know that awkward moment when you find a newly beloved author and run about the streets shrieking their greatness? And then you find they only wrote one book, omg, no no no?! Derek Landy will NOT let you down like that. Along with the 9-book Skulduggery Pleasant collection, there is a hoard of novellas (some over 200 pgs as well, so they’re basically books in themselves)  and also his new American-set series to look forward to.

3. Did I mention he’s Irish? WELL. HE’S IRISH. Magical, dark fantasy, set in Ireland is just plain terrific.

4. His humour is perfectly dry and witty. Sarcastic wit is my favourite. Skulduggery and his apprentice, Stephanie Edgley, have an almost Sherlock/Watson relationship. They banter. They look out for each other. Their quips are the kind you’ll want to frame on your wall.

“I’m not going to just stand by and do nothing,” she said through gritted teeth.
“You can, as I said, cheer my name, if you want.” ~ Death Bringer, book 6

5. Derek Landy is awesome in interviews. In this interview he answers the question of “where do you get your ideas from” with “from my brain”.

6. Derek Landy is ridiculous funny on twitter. You know how some authors just tweet links and news about their books? Well, Derek Landy tweets about his writing process and, just so you know, authors who’ve published copious books still find themselves staring at blank screens.

7. His newest book, Demon Road, has an epic first sentence. He just released it on his blog.

“Twelve hours before Amber Lamont’s parents tried to kill her, she was sitting between them in the principal’s office, her hands in her lap, stifling all the things she wanted to say.”

97800081412338. Demon Road is about a road trip. Which seems kind of obvious given the title, I know I know. But how many books have you read where the main character is forced on a road trip because demons, killer cars, vampires, and undead serial killers are chasing her?

9. The names of his characters are THE BEST. You will find very few Sue and Bobs, here. The characters in Skulduggery Pleasant (I mean, that name alone is awesome!) sport names like: China Sorrows, Tanith Low, Valkyrie Cain, Nefarian Serpine, and Kenspeckle Grouse.

10. Derek Landy’s books are always full of action and adventure. I’ve only read 6 of the Skulduggery Pleasant books so far (hey! I’m working on this!) but there’s always an epic mix of magic and danger and wit. No lagging plots. No boring monologues. His writing is golden. Seriously, how does he do this?

 

Look out for Demon Road‘s August 27th release!

Review: Every Breath by Ellie Marney

9781743316429I absolutely loved and adored Every Breath by Ellie Marney. I DID! I put off reading it for a few stupid reasons and yes I am ashamed. But I was nervous to try it because:

  • I totally adore Sherlock Holmes and I didn’t want to read a bad retelling,
  • The cover is not pretty. I’m shallow, but HEY. At least I’m honest.
  • The title does nothing for me. It doesn’t even hint that the book is a crime/thriller/mystery.

But I should never have hesitated because Every Breath was pure PERFECTION. Plus it’s by an Australian author. What is not to love?!

 
It was a perfect YA Sherlock Holmes adaption. Mostly because it was really realistic. It wasn’t about two kids who go snooping for crimes like a revamped Nancy Drew. These two Aussie teens kind of trip into the murder of a homeless guy that they knew and they can’t let it go until it’s SOLVED. Plus they defer and reference the actual Sherlock Holmes, which I adored because it wasn’t a “take over”, it was more honorary. These two kids just happened to be named James Mycroft and  Rachel Watts. Mycroft is a forensic genius and Rachel has a knack for medicine. I loved the gender bending of John Watson/Rachel Watts, too!

And it’s so so very Australian. Which just fills me with immense joy. I felt like dancing around the house singing, “It speaks my language!” (You can tell I read a lot of American books, can’t you?) They use “arvo” and “bikkie” and “cuppa”. They call Rachel “Rache” for short (such an Aussie thing toEvery Breath do) and sarcasm and “she’ll be right mate” attitudes come easier than cuddly emotion. I just love how Australian it is, okay?!

The characters (and development) are probably just the. best. ever. It’s narrated in first person by Rachel, who is epic. She’s a bit of an open book, and gets smothered in disbelief and righteousness and rules. But at the end of the day, she’s a ripper of a friend. Since her family just  moved from the country to the city, she’s dealing with a lot of “I don’t fit in” and homesickness, which was uber relatable.

Then there was the adorable, eccentric Mycroft. He’s not as narcissistic as the original Sherlock, which was actually refreshing. He claims to be a social moron, BUT, he makes friends with just about anyone and everyone. Literally every second person he’s like, “Oh, hallo, Bob, how’s the wife and kids” and it always stumps Rachel how he just KNOWS everyone. Mycroft has a tragic past and he forgets to eat, and he notices everything, and he has scars, and he pretends his life is fine, but he huuurts. The tortured little darling hurts. omg. Plus he and Rachel have one of the most fantastic friendships of EVER. It was refreshing to read about a friendship so strong as theirs too, although it hinted that it might move off platonic in later books.

The only things I didn’t like?

  • The book starts with this confusing after-the-school-yard-brawl scene. It was confusing and jarring. I like books to start with action, BUT STILL. To this day, I’m not even exactly sure what that first chapter was about.
  • I still don’t know HOW Rachel and Mycroft met. Did the book not say? Did I miss it? Was it brushed over because it didn’t matter? I’m curious and hope this, too, gets explained in later books!

But otherwise? I’m a billion percent in love with this book. I need the rest of the trilogy ASAP. I loved the mystery, I loved the deductions, I loved how it was all so realistic and very Australian, and I loved the character exuberant amounts.

[PURCHASE HERE]

Review: All Fall Down (Embassy Row #1) by Ally Carter

9781408334379I am quite pleased with Ally Carter‘s latest book All Fall Down. I had high expectations since her NYT bestselling series, Gallagher Girls, is such an excellently hilarious series, but All Fall Down definitely stands on it’s own! It features Grace, snarky and bitter, and granddaughter of a powerful ambassador. Oh and she’s looking for her mother’s killer.

I admit! I was dubious at the beginning! The first 100-pages didn’t grab me and I was trembling in my fuzzy socks that the book would plummet into an untouchable basket. THEN IT WOWED ME.

Unlike Gallagher Girls, this new series is not about spies or espionage. It’s set in a made up country (like Genova from The Princess Diaries!) where there’s an entire street of embassy houses. So Israel, Brazil, Russia, USA, etc. are all door-to-door. Technically when you visit a house, you’re “in Russia”. Grace pretty  much has PTSD after witnessing her mother’s death. She’s convinced her mother was murdered by a scarred man. Basically she spends the entire book getting into raucous trouble, making bad decisions, snarking left-right-and-centre, and chasing after an elusive killer that no one (but her) believes is guilty.

Grace was a very dynamic character. But kind of hard to swallow at times because she was such a brat. The rudeness did make my eyeball twitch once or twice.
24830401
And the secondary characters?! Let us take a moment to hug their wonderfulness:

  • Noah: who is half Israeli and half Brazilian…He elects himself Grace’s Best Friend. It’s adorable. HE’S HILARIOUS.
  • Alexei: He’s Russian and was Grace’s older brother’s friend in the past (phewf that’s not complicated). He enters the book as Grace’s overbearing surrogate brother and he was kind of awful and domineering.
  • Megan: She’s like a computer genius.
  • Rosie: She’s a really smart 12 year old who knows everything, apparently, and is like a ninja when she sneaks after people.

The writing was fast and light and easy to read.  The tone could’ve been middle-grade even, if the characters had been 12+. (They acted that way…ahem.) But instead they’re 16 and dubiously immature at times. STILL. This is definitely a book younger teens will enjoy. Literally no swearing or heavy romance.

I did have a few quibbles. Not too many, though.

  • Grace is pretty rude and dismissive.
  • None of the female characters seemed as fleshed out or interesting as the boys.
  • Repetition. Eh, there was just a lot of repeating dialogue (like every third sentence is “ARE YOU OKAY, GRACE?” when obviously she’s not, or Grace saying “I’M NOT CRAZY” when maybe she is, just a little).

I enjoyed All Fall Down. The plot wasn’t fast-paced, but it was engaging and the cliffhanger was torture. I ADORE shocking endings and I sat there with my mouth impersonating a cod-fish. I have a lot of questions and I’m desperately hopeful the sequel will answer them.

“The obvious,” Noah goes on, a little out of breath, “being that he is probably some super secret assassin or something. And I’m not as tough as I look.”
“That’s OK,” I tell him. “I’m way tougher than you look.”

 

[PURCHASE ALL FALL DOWN HERE]

The Best of Australian YA

I’m an avid chewer of books but, surprisingly, I don’t read a lot of literature from my own country. Oh horror! Gasp with me! It’s an abominable shame. The reason for this is, a) I read mostly YA, b) most famous YA books are by American authors, and c) it seems much easier to get one’s clammy paws on American books than Australian ones.

But I do love some good local literature. So if, like me, you are always hungry to find more Aussie authors — I’ve got you covered.

-~-

Bowe_GirlSavesBoy81. STEPH BOWE16111373

Steph Bowe is rather an authorly hero of mine, considering she published two (!) books while still a teen. Plus they’re heartwarmingly fantastic reads. While I loved Girl Saves Boy, I’m particularly fond of All This Could End because it features a family of bank robbers. The family that robs together, stays together. How wonderful.

 

Life in Outer Space

2. MELISSA KEIL19403811

I absolutely fell in love with Melissa Keil’s works after I swallowed Life in Outer Space. Awkward teenager who dreams of being a writer?! SIGN ME UP. I didn’t think things could get better until I met The Incredible Adventures of Cinnamon Girl. On the verge of leaving high school? Life collapsing? The apocolypse coming? So many delicious cupcakes? This book shot up to my favourites shelf in a matter of seconds.

Disruption
3. JESSICA SHIRVINGTON 9781492601777

Although she’s a prolific writer of wonderful sounding books, I’ve only read Disruption and Corruption so far. I admit! I was dubious of the premises (everyone has technology that allows them to find true love easily? Bah) but it’s so much more than a love story. It has fighting, adventure, espionage, martial arts, guns, and a really greasy burrito.

 

97819218889534. DIANNEE TOUCHELLA Small Madness | FRONT COVER (10 September 2014)

Even though A Small Madness is only a few months old (published in just February, 2015) it’s entirely sad and beautifully written. It’s a gritty, realistic look at teenage pregnancy with heartbreaking outcomes. I haven’t read Creepy and Maud yet, but with a title like that, it’s on my to-do list.

 

97819221472575. A.J. BETTS9431702

And we can’t forget the tear-jerker of Zac and Mia. I hesitate to pitch it as the “Australian The Fault in Our Stars!” but…it kind of is. The characters may be a little more bitter in this one, but still entirely managed to win my heart with their struggles with cancer. You won’t find any prettiness here, though, I WARN YOU. Only sadness, swollen faces, ice cream, and sheep. I haven’t read Wavelengths yet, mostly because I didn’t know it existed until now. SO! I will read it one day!

97807022501946. CLAIRE ZORN9780702249761

I only discovered Zorn’s books this year — and proceeded to eat two in rapid succession. The Protected is a heartbreaking contemporary about a girl coming to terms with the death of her older sister — but the HOWS and WHYS are mysterious and I kept flipping pages long into the night to get answers. The Sky So Heavy is an apocalyptic story. Mostly snow and unwashed bodies. I’d easily call it “The Next Tomorrow When The War Began”. (Dare I say it’s better?!) You need both these books in your life, ASAP.

 

[All links take you to find more information and prices of these fantastic books! Click! Click, I say!]

Review: When You Leave by Monica Ropal

22928890Okay, wow, this book took me by surprise. It did look delicious, of course (I’m notorious for picking up books based on extreme cover love) and the promise of muuuurder (I’m normal, I swear) added an extra hook. But the first 30% was so much teen angst, cheating relationships, lying, and general meanness all round that I was about to throw up my hands and run away. I’m SO glad I didn’t. When You Leave by Monica Ropal developed into a mind whirling whodunnit mystery.

I’m definitely a fan of murder mysteries. And this book’s ending is EXTRAORDINARY.

It’s narrated by Cass. She’s a snarky skater and goes to a private school where she doesn’t really “belong”. She’s built walls to stop herself being hurt because her BFF, Mattie, nearly died of throat cancer when they were kids. She still has her tight-knit group of skater friends, but is an absolute snob to the rich kids at her school. Cass was pretty unlikeable, but she’s supposed to be that way. This is a story of her growing. I really liked the end result and her character development was well written.

SO. MURDER? Someone kills a kid, Cooper, at Cass’ school. BUT WHO DID IT?! I couldn’t figure it out! I suspected EVERYONE. One of Cass’ skater friends is the police’s suspect, but what if it was one of Cooper’s jock friends? WHAT IF IT WAS MATTIE?!! I loved Mattie. He was a sweetie, and also mute, but as he and Cass grew apart through the stress in the story…I worried about him being a suspect too. I literally couldn’t put the book down after 60%!

There is romance, since Cooper (pre-death; there are no zombies in this book unfortunately) and Cass were a secret couple. But it really isn’t the focus, which is refreshing in YA since everything usually seems so romance focused. Mattie and Cass have an awesome friendship that was purely platonic. I found it quite refreshing!

I have  a few negatives, mainly that:

  • The beginning was a bit sleepy. Still intriguing though! Just make sure you push past that to get to the scary, juicy parts.
  • I worried about Mattie, who is mute, having zero forms of communication!! (This isn’t really a negative on the storytelling, though.) The book says he speaks solely through his “eyes”, but how is that logical? Let me snort. No one can go through life communicating JUST like that, yet, even in his final years of high school he didn’t appear to be learning sign language. So I questioned the realism, but that’s really only a tiny issue.

I definitely enjoyed this one! The mystery was so well done and literally EVERYONE was a liar at some point and it was so so suspicious. I loved Cass by the end and totally recommend this to fans of contemporaries and mysteries and lovers of books like We Were Liars.

“I’m afraid…that when the next person leaves with a piece of my heart..there won’t be anything left.” ~ When You Leave

 

[PURCHASE WHEN YOU LEAVE]

Review: Me And Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews

12700353I’m the kind of bookworm that subscribes to “READ THE BOOK FIRST” when it comes to movie adaptions. Do I love movie adaptions? Oh definitely yes. But the original is first priority. So I had to read Me And Earl, and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews before the movie hit cinemas (which, actually, was just yesterday).

The thing you most need to know is: THIS BOOK IS EPICALLY HILARIOUSI couldn’t stop laughing. This is the close-your-eyes-because-you’re-giggling-so-hard kind of read. Although the humour does nosedive into crude jokes very often, so do be aware of that.

From watching the trailer though, I have a feeling it’s going to deviate from the storyline a lot. Which is hilarious and ironic because Me and Earl and the Dying Girl is about a kid who makes horrific homemade films in the back yard. AND, there’s this golden quote in the book:

When you convert a good book to a film, stupid things happen.

Let’s just laugh, shall we? And sincerely hope the movie does the book justice! (The author did the screenplay, which is comforting!) You can check out the trailer here.

 

 

REASONS THIS BOOK IS SIMPLY AWESOME.

  •  Like I said: HILARIOUS. I’m just so amazed that I was snickering so much. Greg is really self-deprecating, but brutally honest. He has the funniest way of summing things up and he has such an odd little brain.
  • It breaks the 4th wall spectacularly. A lot of books do this these days…just popping out of narration to talk directly to the reader. But this? This does it perfectly. The entire book is filled with quips and jokes and instructions directly to the reader. It’s like a diary, with lists and bullet points and scripts. Greg is also so mortally ashamed of his stupidity at times he makes a lot of comments like this:

If after reading this book you come to my home and brutally murder me, I do not blame you.

Let me laugh, Greg. You’re adorable.

  • Also, yes, Greg is incredibly realistic. And relatable! He’s the most average of averagest guys. He describes himself as “chubby” and totally lets his mouth get away on him. He’s not stupid, but he doesn’t particularly apply himself in school. He doesn’t have friends, but he’s friendly to everyone. He appears to have Anxiety. I say “appears” because the book doesn’t delve into the topic (I feel like it’s brushed over as “just being a teen”) but his reactions to a lot of circumstances actually make me think he has anxiety. But I digress! I loved Greg for his realism even though he often acts like an idiot. But come now. He is a teenage boy.
  • It’s about cancer, but it’s not. It’s about GREG. So, yes it’s a “cancer book”, but I wouldn’t say it’s an average one. (Definitely not comparable to The Fault In Our Stars.) Greg says right up front that it’s not an inspiring book about “finding peace through trials”. He spoke truth. This is the story of a boy’s senior year in high school, about friendship and growing up and moving on and facing difficult truths.

-~-

There were a few things I’m not the world’s biggest fan of. Like the fact that Rachel, the “Dying Girl” part of the title, didn’t have a very vibrant personality. Also Greg’s apathy bothered me, but that could be his coping mechanism. The humour does also get sexist sometimes, which I do not stand for!

But ultimately? I had a great time reading this! It’s definitely one I recommend (come now! You need to read it before the movie comes out!) for any age. You don’t need to be a teen to be cracking up over this. The voice is just so good and the whole thing is wonderfully quotable. I couldn’t put it down!

 

[PURCHASE HERE]

Around The World With YA Books

One of my favourite things about reading is that you can literally see the world…and yet not move from your comfy reading nook. Well, okay, it doesn’t replace the “real thing”, but if one doesn’t have the ability to jet over the world trying Hungarian Goulash and Sushi, then reading books is a good replacement.

 

If you’re suppressing a secret wanderlust, like me, and want to read books that’ll take you to different countries? BE CALM. I have a list of books for you.

** Note: I won’t list every country here! Because that’d be mildly ridiculous. So some countries I’ll go into more detail, and others just have a brief overview. **

-~-

FRANCE

  

  • ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS: Boarding school in Paris? YES PLEASE. I totally love this one! [PURCHASE]
  • JUST ONE DAY: A gallivant around Europe after high school ends. [PURCHASE]
  • DIE FOR ME: This is apparently about death and Paris. [PURCHASE]

UNITED KINGDOM

  9781408853061 9781447222521

  • HEIST SOCIETY: They totally traipse all over Europe in this one, but the main heist is in London. [PURCHASE]
  • MISS PEREGRINE’S HOME FOR PECULIAR CHILDREN: Grab your raincoat, we’re heading to Wales. [PURCHASE]
  • APPLE AND RAIN: Features wet and foggy London. Also copious amounts of hot chips. [PURCHASE]
  • BEFORE THE FIRE: I’m not this book’s biggest fan, but it’s set in 2011 about the London fire and riots. [PURCHASE]

 

IRELAND

  

  • SKULDUGGERY PLEASANT: One of the best urban fantasy series ever, also Irish. I mean, what is not to love? [PURCHASE]
  • SHIVER THE WHOLE NIGHT THROUGH: It’s a mildly lousy story, but at least it’s set in Ireland and all the names are gorgeous and unpronounceable. [PURCHASE]
  • CARRIER OF THE MARK: An American moves to Ireland. I assume she gets caught up in blue smoke. [PURCHASE]

 

CZECH REPUBLIC

 9781444722659

  • AS WHITE AS SNOW: This is only a whippet of a teeny tiny book, but it’s set in summer in Prague. Apparently it’s hot there. [PURCHASE]
  • DAUGHTER OF SMOKE AND BONE: And for a little variety, this is winter in Prague. Apparently it’s freaking freezing. [PURCHASE]

 

ITALY

    

  • WISH YOU WERE ITALIAN: I haven’t read this one but I get a strong vibe it is, in fact, Italian. [PURCHASE]
  • FLIRTING IN ITALIAN: Apparently scooters are popular in Italy? [PURCHASE]
  • ARE WE THERE YET: The famous author, David Leviathan, takes us on a brotherly Italian roadtrip. [PURCHASE]
  • LOVE LUCY: Omg, what is it with the moped/scooters?!! Anyway. American teen, holidaying in Italy, you know the drill. [PURCHASE]

 

SPAIN

 

  • NOBODY’S GIRL: I think her father is French, but she ends up in Spain because WHY NOT? [PURCHASE]
  • SMALL DAMAGES: I believe she got shipped off to Spain after getting pregnant. It’s also possible that oranges feature as a healthy snack. [PURCHASE]

 

GERMANY

  22929574

  • ROSE UNDER FIRE: This is one of the most feels-destroying books in the history of the universe. Set in WWII in a Nazi concentration camp. [PURCHASE]
  • I AM DAVID: I love this book! (The movie is also wonderful.) And he runs around all over Europe, so I don’t even know, peoples. I’ll stick him in Germany but I think it’s Denmark or Poland? [PURCHASE]
  • BECAUSE YOU’LL NEVER MEET ME: This is a book about letters from two boys, o ne in America and one in Germany! [PRE-ORDER]

 

RUSSIA

  9780064470278 

  • SEKRET: I haven’t read this one, but it promises spies and Communist Russia. [PURCHASE]
  • EGG AND SPOON: Tsarist Russia, with a sprinkling of witches and talking cats. [PURCHASE]
  • THE ENDLESS STEPPE: It’s set in Siberia, in WWII. It’s awesome. [PURCHASE]
  • ANGEL ON THE SQUARE: Set in the early 1900s, where the main character is a friend of Princess Anastasia, until, you know, SHE TRAGICALLY DIES. Not a spoiler: This is history we’re talking about! [PURCHASE]

 

AUSTRALIA

  9781742839660

  • EVERY BREATH: This has all the Australian slang of the ‘burbs, peoples. Also it’s perfect. [PURCHASE]
  •  STOLEN: Desert life? We gotcha covered. [PURCHASE]
  • THIRST: Two foster kids? Alone in the Aussie desert? Living off bush tucker and skewering lizards? What could possibly go wrong? [PURCHASE]

 

MIDDLE EAST

  22466277

  • THE TYRANT’S DAUGHTER: I believe it’s partially set in an “unidentified” Middle Eastern country. Or else I have a sucky memory. Either is possible. [PURCHASE]
  • BROKEN BRIDGE: This book is amazing and also set in Israel and gives a bit insight to culture. [PURCHASE]
  • THE ALEX CROW: This book is partially set in the middle east and then merges into America. [PURCHASE]

 

ASIA

9780141304878 9781402292187 9780440407591

  • CHINESE CINDERELLA: This is a heartbreaking memoir of what it was like to be an unwanted daughter in China. Totally will puncture your feels. [PURCHASE]
  • THE GIRL FROM THE WELL: While it starts off in America, they merge into Japan and ghosts eat them. Well KIND OF. It’s excellent and creepy, though. [PURCHASE]
  • THE YEAR OF IMPOSSIBLE GOODBYES: This is a heartbreaking historical-fiction set in Korea. Be prepared for tears. [PURCHASE]

 

AFRICA

9781405271363 9780007263509

  • BLACK DOVE WHITE RAVEN: Bestselling author, Elizabeth Wein, can basically do no wrong. [PURCHASE]
  • JOURNEY TO JO’BURG: A pretty heart moving (and teeny tiny) book set in South Africa. Totally appropriate for younger audiences too. [PURCHASE]

 

Have fun travelling, bookworms!

 

Review: Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson

10429092I am absolutely in love with Girl Of Fire And Thorns by Rae Carson. I’ve been gnawing at fantasies like a fiend lately and finally found this one which is a) unique, and b) feministic, and c) incredibly adorable and charming and heart warming. WELL. Apart from the moments when my heart was breaking. This author does NOT spare her characters.

It’s an incredible rich fantasy world, which was gorgeous to experience. My single complaint was that it was a bit hard to keep up with the multitude of countries and who-was-at-war-with-who. Seriously, the world is BIG. And I think it was Italian-inspired?! Whatever it was it wasn’t Britain so that twist was refreshing too.

But we have to talk about characters. Basically the protagonist: Elisa. If nothing else, read this book for the incredibleness that is Elisa. Her character development is marvellous. I’m reeling! I am! She starts as an unconfident child and develops into this clever queen. She also has an eating disorder, which you don’t often come across in epic-fantasy. Her struggles were so relatable and sensitively written. I really admired Elisa. She definitely goes down as one of the BEST characters I’ve ever read.

Other Characters Include:

  • Alejandro: Totally a weak sap head. I mean, who marries a girl and then proceeds to pretend you didn’t?!! WHAT IS WRONG WITH HIM.
  • Xemina: Freaky, but awesome. She killed a dude with a hairpin. Also a bodyguard/nurse.
  • Cosme: She was a pleasant surprise! I thought she was just going to be a snooty maid, but noooo she turned out incredibly multi-layered. I was rooting for Cosme!
  • Rosario: He’s the little 6-year-old prince and an absolute brat but yet adorable.
  • Hector: OH HECTOR. He didn’t have a massive role, but I think he would’ve been a good match with Elisa.
  • Humberto: He was a hesitant love interest, but more importantly part of the rebel army.

Basically I LOVED the incredible writing of these characters. (Although their names? Um, confusing much?!)

The writing? 9780575099159It’s wonderful. Maybe it’s on the wordy side and the beginning isn’t fast  (actually, the whole book isn’t astronomically fast), but Elisa has such a winning voice.

I was a little puzzled about Elisa’s “godstone”, though. It’s this magical stone in her stomach, put there by the gods. And while it made her uber special, it didn’t actually do much (it got hot and cold depending on when trouble was hear, but that’s about it) and I wished more about the godstone had been revealed. Maybe that comes in later books?

And whatever you do, MAKE SURE YOU READ THE AUTHOR’S NOTE! Oh wow. It’s definitely one of the highlights of the novel for me. It was about sexism in the workplace and what inspired the author to delve into eating disorders in her epic fantasy. She talked about her fears that her intentions with Elisa’s weight gain/loss could be misconstrued. It was a really honest and open note and I’m pretty sure this author has a heart of gold. Also, I’m very passionate about feminism and I loved that this book tackled it head on. Elisa learnt about confidence and self-image AND fought a war and got married off against her will and was immersed in a world of magic — the combination was poignant and fresh.

This is a book where I definitely need the sequel. ASAP.

 

PURCHASE THE BOOK HERE

Review: Paper Towns by John Green

paper-towns-john-greenWith the infamous John Green’s Paper Towns movie releasing so soon (July 16th! So close! Cue ecstatic excitement!), how about we take a small peek at the book?! I read The Fault in Our Stars first and fell completely in love with the way John Green mashes humour and angst together. Relatable? I think yes. And, pfft, you don’t even need to be a teen to enjoy his Young Adult books.

One of my favourite things about John Green’s books is how he always write about intelligent characters. One of my gargantuan pet peeves is when characters call each other “shallow”. Especially in highschool books. If the book is by the POV of the “nerd” or “freak” or whatnot, they always refer to the bullies and Queen Bee’s as “shallow”. PEOPLE ARE NEVER SHALLOW. No one has one defining characteristic! No one has a complete void in their skull!  ALL people are all complex humanoids with wants and wishes and secrets. Everyone in Paper Towns was refreshingly dimensional and that’s what I loved about it most of all. Let’s crush some stereotypes!

I did cast a slightly suspicious eye on Margo and Quentin, however. Don’t get me wrong, I loved their quirks and weirdness and eccentricities…buuut, I felt like I’d read them before. They felt like reprints of Alaska and Miles in Looking for Alaska. The recycling had my eyeball twitching just a little. But if this is your first John Green feast then that won’t worry you at all. Apart from this, though, as characters, Margo and Quentin (well, Q is how he’s known) were amazingly written! They felt so fantastically real, you know? Sure they get to run around having adventures and thinking huge thoughts and having mini existential crises, but they also have to get their homework done, and communicate (loose interpretation of the word) with their parents, and also hang around and chill. They do normal teen stuff. But don’t worry! It’s not boring, not even for a second, because it’s written so quirkily and interestingly.

PaperTowns2009_6AYes, I’m basically just raving about it’s goodness. And Paper Towns totally deserves it! I don’t think it’s Green’s strongest novel (what with the character recycling) but it’s about mysteries and discovering who you are. That is an incredible message and never loses it’s poignancy. Margo has disappeared and Q (with his unrequited crush on her) is off to solve this mystery on a roadtrip in a mini van with an unlikely gaggle of teens and a whole lot of snacks. They might hit a cow or two along the way. What’s an adventure without nearly dying, right? And the result is so not what you think it’ll be (which I find thrilling! Bring on finale surprises!). I couldn’t put it down! People kept calling me to do menial things like socialise and cook dinner, which was super frustrating. I just wanted to know where Margo was. Everyone leave me alone.

The universe is never sugar-coated in John Green’s books. You don’t get rainbow cake and pretzels. A massive relief, I say. I don’t want fluff! I want substance! Paper Towns definitely kept my attention and I’m super excited to see how it transfers to the screen. Also, by this point, I’m pretty sure John Green needs to be on your auto-buy list. Can he do no wrong with his incredible books?!

 

PURCHASE PAPER TOWNS HERE