‘THE DREAM WALKER’ by Victoria Carless

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The weight of a secret can drag you under . . .

Sixteen-year-old Lucy Hart has been counting the days till she can get the hell out of Digger’s Landing – a small Queensland fishing hamlet home to fifteen families, a posse of mongrel dogs, and Parkers Corner Store (no apostrophe and nowhere near a corner).

But just like the tides, Lucy’s luck is on the turn, and as graduation nears her escape plans begin to falter; her best friend, Polly, is dropping out of school to help pay the bills, and Tom has been shipped off to boarding school, away from the flotsam of this place. And then there’s Lucy’s nightlife, which is filled with dreams that just don’t seem to belong to her at all . . .

When the fish stop biting, like they did when her mum was still around, Lucy realises she isn’t the only one with a secret.

Thanks to Hachette Australia for sending me a copy of THE DREAM WALKER to review!

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I don’t really know how I feel about this novel. The blurb is really vague so I didn’t know what to expect. Originally, I thought it was a mystery novel with contemporary features, but after reading it I think it’s actually more magical realism, but I’m still not sure. It was one of those books that I finished in a day not because I couldn’t put it down, but because I just wanted to finish it and I didn’t want to dwell on it for too long.

I thought it was going to be touching and poignant with a deep meaning. But I didn’t really feel any of that. I’m not even too sure I understood the story. Lucy is a “dream walker” so she can walk in to other people’s dreams, but not everyone’s (I think). Her mum is dead and her dad is a bit scary, she has a friend (Polly) and there’s a guy (Tom) and there’s also a small town (just like every other Australian mystery novel). I couldn’t connect to any of these features of the novel. I had no attachment to Lucy or the story.

I don’t really know if it should even be considered as YA. It read more like an adult fiction or lit fiction. The writing style was very detailed and “literary” which I actually enjoyed. It might be what I liked the most about the novel. At times, the writing was even beautiful and captivating and it made up for the lack of connection I had to the characters and the story.

It’s not that I hated this book or that I wouldn’t recommend it. Personally, I just didn’t enjoy it and it wasn’t what I thought it was going to be. I think it had the potential to be beautiful story, but it just didn’t do it for me.

If you’ve read THE DREAM WALKER, let me know in the comments below. Usually when I feel this way (when I’m not really sure what to write) about a novel that I have to review, I read other people’s reviews, but there aren’t many on Goodreads. I would love to hear some other people’s thoughts on the novel.

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young adult thrillers – ft. ‘THE POSSIBLE’ by Tara Altebrando

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What if…no one knows the truth about you?

It’s been thirteen years since Kaylee’s infamous birth mother, Crystal, received a life sentence for killing Kaylee’s little brother in a fit of rage. Once the center of a cult-following for her apparent telekinetic powers, nowadays nobody’s heard of Crystal. Until now, when a reporter shows up at Kaylee’s house and turns her life upside down, offering Kaylee the chance to be part of a high-profile podcast investigating claims that Crystal truly did have supernatural mind powers. But these questions lead to disturbing answers as Kaylee is forced to examine her own increasingly strange life, and make sense of certain dark and troubling coincidences…

Unusual and gripping, The Possible will twist the reader round and round as it hurtles towards a sensational climax. For lovers of We Were Liars, Patrick Ness and Derren Brown.

Thanks to Bloomsbury Australia for sending me a copy of THE POSSIBLE for review.

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I read Tara Altebrando’s THE LEAVING last year when it was first released, and although I found the idea of it really interesting and it had a lot of potential, I ended up being unsatisfied with the ending. So I picked up THE POSSIBLE with not very high expectations yet still hopeful that I would like it. And I did like it. But I was left with the same feeling I was left with after reading her last book. It just didn’t thrill me in the way that a thriller usually would. Or should.

I was intrigued by the idea and concept of the story. There’s a bit of mystery, a bit of romance, and of course talk about telekinetic powers. I got some Carrie and Matilda vibes and both texts were referenced throughout. I  also found Kaylee a likable character and I actually enjoyed reading her story. She had her issues and she went on a journey of discovering more about her, her mother, and her past. Her story was interesting for most of the way, I wasn’t bored or anything, but I wasn’t thrilled by it either.

I wasn’t too sure about the romance in the book and found it a bit necessary. Like, it could have not been there at all and it wouldn’t have made a difference. And who was the romance with? Because I actually liked the guy she had a crush on more than the best friend that she got with. However, neither of those characters were really developed and we didn’t get much of an insight into them.

*SPOILER PARAGRAPH*
Like I said before, I loved the idea of Kaylee going on this journey to discover if she was telekinetic and inherited it from her mother, or if it was all a hoax. So I was disappointed after I read the whole book to discover that there were no powers and it was all a lie (I think that’s what happened because I got a bit confused in the end). I finished it and I was just like; Wait, really? So I just read this whole book to discover that it was all a load of bull?! Anyway…

Comment below if you’ve read THE POSSIBLE or THE LEAVING and let me know your thoughts.

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So what I thought I would do is recommend a bunch of YA thrillers that I did love and that did thrill me. I’ve read a lot of well known adult thrillers, so I’m going to leave them out of this list (but Carrie and Gone Girl are probably my favourite!).

Black Ice – Becca Fitzpatrick

Britt Pheiffer has trained to backpack the Teton Range, but she isn’t prepared when her ex-boyfriend, who still haunts her every thought, wants to join her. Before Britt can explore her feelings for Calvin, an unexpected blizzard forces her to seek shelter in a remote cabin, accepting the hospitality of its two very handsome occupants—but these men are fugitives, and they take her hostage.

Black Ice

Inherit Midnight – Kate Kae Myers

Seventeen-year-old Avery VanDemere’s ridiculously wealthy grandmother has decided to leave the family fortune to the relative who proves him or herself worthiest–by solving puzzles and riddles on a whirlwind race around the globe.

Inherit Midnight

The Devil You Know – Trish Doller

Eighteen-year-old Arcadia wants adventure. Living in a tiny Florida town with her dad and four-year-old brother, Cadie spends most of her time working, going to school, and taking care of her family. So when she meets two handsome cousins at a campfire party, she finally has a chance for fun. But what starts out as a fun, sexy journey quickly becomes dangerous when she discovers that one of them is not at all who he claims to be.

The Devil You Know

Twenty Questions For Gloria – Martyn Bedford

Gloria is tired of her ordinary life. She barely recognizes the free-spirited girl she used to be. So when a mysterious boy bent on breaking the rules strolls into her classroom, Gloria is ready to fall under his spell. Uman is everything Gloria wishes to be. He can whisk her away from the life she loathes and show her a more daring, more exciting one. But Uman in not all he seems and by the time she learns the truth about him, she is a long way from home and everyone wants to know, Where’s Gloria?

Twenty Questions for Gloria

Close Your Eyes – Nicci Cloke

Southfield High School is oh so normal, with its good teachers, its bad, and its cliques. But despite the cliques, there’s a particular group of friends who have known each other forever and know that they can rely on each other for anything. But at the start of Year 11, when the group befriend the new boy, Elijah, things start to change. The group find themselves not as close as they used to be. Until one Tuesday, when the students are trapped inside the school building. And one of them has a gun.

Close Your Eyes

FAMOUS BOY MEETS NORMAL GIRL – ft. ‘When It’s Real’ by Erin Watt

 

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From #1 New York Times bestselling author duo Erin Watt comes the addictive contemporary tale of a teen rock star in need of an image makeover and the teen girl hired to be his fake girlfriend.

Meet Oakley Ford-teen celebrity, renowned pop star, child of famous movie stars, hottie with millions of fangirls… and restless troublemaker. On the surface he has it all, but with his home life disintegrating, his music well suddenly running dry, and the tabloids having a field day over his outrageous exploits, Oakley’s team decides it’s time for an intervention. The result: an image overhaul, complete with a fake girlfriend meant to show the world he’s settled down.

Enter seventeen-year-old Vaughn Bennett-devoted sister, part-time waitress, the definition of “normal.” Under ordinary circumstances she’d never have taken this gig, but with her family strapped for cash, she doesn’t have much of a choice. And for the money Oakley’s team is paying her, she figures she can put up with outlandish Hollywood parties and a team of publicists watching her every move. So what if she thinks Oakley’s a shallow, self-centered jerk? It’s not like they’re going to fall for each other in real life…right?

Thanks to Harlequin Teen for sending me a copy of WHEN IT’S REAL for review.

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I thought this book sounded fun after reading the blurb; “Normal” girl gets hired to play the girlfriend of a famous rock star. Every teenage girls dream, right? I’ve read a few books that follow this trope before, and I’ve always enjoyed them, so I really thought I was going to enjoy WHEN IT’S REAL. It wasn’t that I didn’t like it. I guess it just didn’t reach my expectations, or perhaps my reading tastes have changed since I’ve read books like this one.

It was a good book. There was drama, romance, complex characters and the authors did a great job developing the characters and bringing the story to life. I finished the book in a day; it looks long but I seemed to read it quicker than I thought, and I think that’s because it is an easy read. If you’re looking for a light read about teen romance with a little bit of scandal, then I highly recommend picking up WHEN IT’S REAL.

Like I said, I didn’t not like the book. It’s not a bad book. I just couldn’t connect to the story or the characters which fell a bit flat for me. It felt juvenile to me, and quite cringey at moments, especially when Oak kept calling her “baby” and referring to her as “my girl” (BLAH). Speaking of Oak, I didn’t really like him, especially in the beginning. Vaughn was likable, but Oak kind of pee’d me off. The story line was predictable and nothing new or different to other books that I’ve read like this. And like I said before, if you like light and easy or fluffy romance reads, then you would probably like this about the book. However, I was grateful for the closed ending that didn’t leave us on a cliffhanger.

Speaking of books with the Famous Boy Meets Normal Girl trope, here are a few others that I’ve read and enjoyed;

  • Girl Online – Zoe Sugg
  • Songs About a Girl – Chris Russel
  • This Beats Perfect – Rebecca Denton
  • Geekerella – Ashley Poston
  • Cinder – Marissa Meyer
  • The Selection – Kiera Cass

Let me know if you can think of any more!

Have you read WHEN IT’S REAL or Erin Watt’s other books? Let me know in the comment section below what you thought about it. Also let me know if this trope appeals to you or not?

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‘RELEASE’ by Patrick Ness

 

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Inspired by Mrs Dalloway and Judy Blume’s Forever, Release is one day in the life of Adam Thorn, 17. It’s a big day. Things go wrong. It’s intense, and all the while, weirdness approaches…

Adam Thorn is having what will turn out to be the most unsettling, difficult day of his life, with relationships fracturing, a harrowing incident at work, and a showdown between this gay teen and his preacher father that changes everything. It’s a day of confrontation, running, sex, love, heartbreak, and maybe, just maybe, hope. He won’t come out of it unchanged. And all the while, lurking at the edges of the story, something extraordinary and unsettling is on a collision course.

Thanks so much to Walker Books for sending me a copy of RELEASE for review!

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I read both The Rest of Us Just Live Here and A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness last year, and I enjoyed both of them so I was highly anticipating his new release. The blurb mentions Mrs Dalloway which I was a bit weary about because (if I’m being honest) I did not like that book. I had to study it for uni last semester and I did everything I could to avoid doing any kind of assessment on it (successfully might I add). I just didn’t get it and I got bored with it. So I was a bit hesitant going into this book, but I kept an open mind and didn’t let that get in the way.

There definitely was similarities between Mrs Dalloway and Release. Despite both of them being set over the course of a day, their narratives and the way that the stories are told are similar. Despite being told in the third person, the readers get Adam’s conscious train of thought throughout the novel. There’s little dialogue, mainly description, and a lot of the time it goes on a bit of a tangent. To be honest, this is one of the things that I didn’t like about Mrs Dalloway, but it didn’t really bother me in Release. I didn’t lose focus and my mind didn’t go wondering because I was bored of the constant chunks of description. It actually kept the story interesting.

But there is so much more to the story than its narrative. The author note at the beginning states that this is an important and personal story to Patrick, and that was evident. Everything felt so real and raw and it added a nice touch to the story. There were so many aspects that panned out Adam’s day. There’s two boys that he loves, his religious family that always look down on him, his boss at work being an a$$, his best friend leaving the country, and probably more that I forgot. There was so much to grasp but it wasn’t overwhelming or confusing.

A list of things that I loved about Release;

  • I fell in love with (most) of the characters and the story despite it only being set over the course of a day
  • I also managed to finish reading it in a day
  • Adam is such a likable character that is going through a lot of crap but is still so precious
  • It has themes of religion but not really the good side of it. Adam’s parents try to love him in spite of being gay and it is one of the struggles that he faces throughout this dreadful day
  • Angela (Adam’s best friend) is THE BEST!
  • It focuses on friendships and how they can be just as much your family than your DNA
  • Complex teenagers just like in the real world
  • It is distressing and heartbreaking (I don’t know about you, but that’s a good thing for me when reading a book)

The part of the book that I didn’t really understand were the chapters that took place in between Adam’s chapters. There was a girl that was killed in the beginning and then she comes back as a ghost (I think) and then there’s a Queen and a faun (I think) and all this other stuff that I didn’t really get. I guess it was magical realism which I usually struggle to understand, so I pretty much just skimmed over those chapters. It was very metaphorical and vague and I’m sure a lot of people would appreciate that. I don’t really understand what it had to do with Adam’s story. This is a good thing (because it didn’t change my thoughts on Adam’s story and therefore it didn’t ruin the book for me) but it’s a bad thing because maybe if I did understand the connection, then I would’ve understood it a bit better. In saying this, it didn’t make me think or feel any less for the story that I read.

Overall, I really enjoyed Release and it was the perfect heartbreaking and emotional, yet important and touching story that I needed. I highly recommend picking it up if you like these kinds of stories, and if you’ve read and enjoyed Patrick’s other books.

Comment below if you’ve read Release and let me know what you think.

P.S. I got invited by Walker Books to go and see an advance media screening of A Monster Calls in a couple weeks. And I cannot wait!

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JULY 2017 BOOK HAUL

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MY SMALLEST BOOK HAUL EVER!

KEY: * review books

* Tell it to the Moon - Siobhan Curham

To make a dream come true, tell it to the moon! Tell It to the Moon continues the story of Moonlight Dreamers Amber, Maali, Sky and Rose, who are not like everyone else and don’t want to be: becoming friends gives them the courage to be themselves. After failing to find her surrogate mother, Amber is left unsure of who she is and what she wants to do; Maali’s spiritual faith is tested when her father becomes ill; Sky, previously home-schooled, struggles to adapt to the pressures of the school system; and after having found the courage to come out, Rose begins to pursue her dream of becoming a patissier. Once again the four girls band together to help one another overcome their individual challenges and fulfill their dreams in this fabulous and heart-warming celebration of friendship.

Tell it to the Moon

Tiny Pretty Things - Sona Charaipotra & Dhonielle Clayton

Gigi, Bette, and June, three top students at an exclusive Manhattan ballet school, have seen their fair share of drama. Free-spirited new girl Gigi just wants to dance—but the very act might kill her. Privileged New Yorker Bette’s desire to escape the shadow of her ballet-star sister brings out a dangerous edge in her. And perfectionist June needs to land a lead role this year or her controlling mother will put an end to her dancing dreams forever.

Tiny Pretty Things

A Tragic Kind of Wonderful - Eric Lindstorm

For sixteen-year-old Mel Hannigan, bipolar disorder makes life unpredictable. Her latest struggle is balancing her growing feelings in a new relationship with her instinct to keep everyone at arm’s length. And when a former friend confronts Mel with the truth about the way their relationship ended, deeply buried secrets threaten to come out and upend her shaky equilibrium. As the walls of Mel’s compartmentalized world crumble, she fears the worst–that her friends will abandon her if they learn the truth about what she’s been hiding. Can Mel bring herself to risk everything to find out?

A Tragic Kind of Wonderful

The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath

When Esther Greenwood wins an internship on a New York fashion magazine in 1953, she is elated, believing she will finally realise her dream to become a writer. But in between the cocktail parties and piles of manuscripts, Esther’s life begins to slide out of control. She finds herself spiralling into depression and eventually a suicide attempt, as she grapples with difficult relationships and a society which refuses to take women’s aspirations seriously.

The Bell Jar

* The True Colour of Forever - Carrie Firestone

After high school senior Sadie helps a baby in distress, she becomes an internet sensation and is introduced to other ‘hometown heroes’. Despite all their differences, the five teens hatch passionate plans to secretly right local wrongs. But when they breach the boundaries of their world, they discover that there might be truth in the saying ‘no good deed goes unpunished’.

The True Colour of Forever

The Tempest - William Shakespeare

The Tempest is one of Shakespeare’s most popular plays, both in the classroom and in the theatre, and this revision brings the Arden Third series edition right up-to-date. A completely new section of the introduction discusses new thinking about Shakespeare’s sources for the play and examines his treatment of colonial themes, as well as covering key productions since this edition was first published in 1999. Most importantly it looks at Julie Taymor’s ground-breaking 2010 film starring Helen Mirren as “Prospera”

The Tempest

* Take Three Girls - Cath Crowley, Simmone Howell & Fiona Wood

Kate, a quiet boarder, making some risky choices to pursue the experimental music she loves. Clem, shrugging off her old swim-team persona, exploring her first sexual relationship, and trying to keep her annoying twin, Iris, at arm’s length. Ady, grappling with a chaotic family, and wondering who her real friends are; she’s not the confident A-lister she appears to be. When St Hilda’s establishes a Year 10 Wellness Program in response to the era of cyber-bullying, the three girls are thrown together and an unlikely friendship is sparked. One thing they have in common: each is targeted by PSST, a site devoted to gossip and slander that must have a source within St Hilda’s.

Take Three Girls

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JULY 2017 WRAP UP ft. The Biannual Bibliothon wrap up

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So July was an unusually great reading month. I just felt like reading all the time, so I set a goal to read a book every day except for Saturdays (which is when I work). I ended up reading 23 books (because there were a few other days where I was busy) but every book I read I finished in a day! I also read lots of review books this month (12) and they are scheduled to go up over the next couple months. And I managed to fit in a few rereads.

Here’s what I read in July;

 

My Name is Victoria - Lucy Worsley

This was a great introduction to Victorian history and the reign of Queen Victoria before she was Queen. I liked this book, however, I feel like I would’ve enjoyed it a lot more if I was younger (13-15 years old).
3.4 Stars
Review: August 1

My Name is Victoria

Release - Patrick Ness

I really really really enjoyed a majority of this book. The story of Adam’s hectic day put me through a whole range of emotions and Patrick Ness’ writing style is really unique and something that I always enjoy reading. I didn’t understand the ghost/magical realism chapters though.
4 Stars
Review: August 11

Release

When It's Real - Erin Watt

This was an okay book. I didn’t hate it. I didn’t love it. It just fell a bit flat for me. I have a whole blog post coming soon about the Famous Boy Meets Normal Girl trope so I’ll have more thoughts on this book in that post.
3 Stars
Review: August 15

When It's Real

The Build-Up Season - Megan Jacobson

This book is incredible. It covers a wide range or serious and important topics, and it’s written beautifully. The main character is complex and relatable and goes through a lot, but it was amazing to see her development. I also got to do an interview with the author!
5 Stars
Review & Interview: https://alwaysandforeverreading.wordpress.com/2017/07/25/author-interview-megan-jacobson/

The Build-up Season

The Dream Walker - Victoria Carless

The synopsis for this book was really intriguing to me and I couldn’t wait to pick it up, but I just couldn’t get into it. I was confused and a bit bored so I ended up skim reading the rest of it. More thoughts in my review.
2.5 Stars
Review: August 22

The Dream Walker

Exchange of Heart - Darren Groth

This was another book that sounded really interesting, but I just couldn’t get into it. I was really confused. More thoughts in my review.
2.5 Stars
Review: August 25

Exchange of Heart

Love Letters to the Dead - Ava Dellaira

I read this book in March this year and loved it. It’s my favourite book of the year so far and one of my favourite books ever. Since I read a couple of books that I didn’t like, I wanted to pick my mood up by reading a book again that I know I love. So I read it again. And it was just as beautiful the second time around.
5 Stars

Love Letters to the Dead

If There's No Tomorrow - Jennifer L. Armentrout

I did not expect to love this book as much as I did. But I did. I loved it! It’s a 400 page book and I finished it within a four hour time span because I struggled to put it down. I laughed, cried, and fell in love with the characters and the story and the friendships and the romance. EEEEK I just loved this book so much!
5 Stars
Review: September 1

If There's No Tomorrow

When Dimple Met Rishi - Sandhya Manon

Almost everyone is talking about this book lately, so I thought I’d pick it up and see what the fuss is all about. I liked it, I just think I had such high expectations for it (and also because I’ve read quite a few amazing books this month) which meant that I didn’t love it as much as I thought I would. It’s still an adorable romance though!
4 Stars

When Dimple Met Rishi

The Possible - Tara Altebrando

I didn’t have high expectations for this book because I read Tara’s other book last year which fell a bit flat. I liked how the book focused on telekinesis and found this aspect really interesting, but the book didn’t really do anything for me. More thoughts in my review.
3 Stars
Review: August 18

The Possible

Tiny Pretty Things - Sona Charaipotra & Dhonielle Clayton

Eeeek! I loved this book so much. I love dance, I love dance movies, and now I love dance books. There’s a lot of bitchiness going around the school but it really only depicts what a lot of dance companies are really like. Also, Bette is my favourite. I know she’s the meanest and evilest out of all of them, and I’m probably not supposed to love her, but I do. I NEED the second book NOW but they don’t have it in stock anywhere in my city!
5 Stars

Tiny Pretty Things

The Fault in our Stars - John Green

I’ve read this book a gazillion billion times (translation: way too many) and it used to be my favourite book (hence why I own a gazillion billion copies). But I don’t think I’ve read the book in a couple years so I thought I’d pick it up again. I read it in a few hours and tabbed some of my favourite quotes, lines and scenes. And then I rewatched the movie and fell asleep crying…
5 (gazillion billion) Stars

The Fault in Our Stars

History is All You Left Me - Adam Silvera

This was such a cute and adorable and emotional and beautiful story. Everyone raves on about Adam’s books and I decided to finally pick one up, and I’m so glad I did. Now to read his other two!
4 Stars

History is All You Left Me

Tell it to the Moon - Siobhan Curham

I read the first book, THE MOONLIGHT DREAMERS, last year and this was a great follow up. It focuses on the friendships of four teenage girls who are all going through their own things. Although I didn’t enjoy this one as my as the last one, I still really enjoyed it.
3.7 Stars
Review: August 29

Tell it to the Moon

The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath

I studied Sylvia Plath’s poems in high school and finally picked up her only novel. This was emotional, touching and reminded me a lot of GIRL INTERRUPTED which I’ve only seen the movie of (shame on me). I enjoyed it and it made me want to pick up her poetry again.
4 Stars

The Bell Jar

A Tragic Kind of Wonderful - Eric Lindstrom

Despite being a bit slow at the beginning, I absolutely loved this book. It was emotional and tragic yet there was so much light at the end of the story. The last 100 or so pages definitely made up for the slow beginning. There’s mental health rep including bipolar disorder and grief, and it was described and written beautifully. Plus all the characters were amazing!
5 Stars

A Tragic Kind of Wonderful

The Sky is Everywhere - Jandy Nelson

This is a reread for me. I read it the first time in year 10 and I’ve read it a few times since then. It’s such a beautiful story about first love and loss that makes me shed a tear every time. I want to read it again right now!!!
5 Stars

The Sky Is Everywhere

 

BIANNUAL BIBLIOTHON WRAP UP

Finding Nevo - Nevo Zisin

Read an LGBTQUI+ book.
This books was really informative and educated me a lot on queer identities and sexualities. Nevo has a beautiful voice and their story is one that I highly recommend. More thoughts in my review soon.
5 Stars
Review: September 15

Finding Nevo

My Lovely Frankie - Judith Clarke

Read from the hosts favourite genre: Emma: diverse books
This was a beautiful and reflective story about about life in the seminary during the ’50’s. Although it isn’t everyone’s cup of tea and the story line fell a bit flat, I still enjoyed reading about the development of the main character, Tom.
3.5 Stars
Review: September 19

My Lovely Frankie

One Italian Summer - Keris Stainton

Read a book you’ve seen somewhere other than booktube.
This is an adorable summer romance if you’re looking for a light contemporary read with a bit of emotion. Although it didn’t quite provoke the emotions for me that I thought it would, I still liked the story.
3.5 Stars
Review: September 22

One Italian Summer

The Diary of a Young Girl - Anne Frank

Read a book that has been or still is banned.
Although I know the story (along with everyone else) and I’ve seen the movie a few times, I’ve never actually read Anne’s diary before. Unfortunately, I didn’t enjoy it as much as I thought it would. However, it is still an educational read and it did make me emotional and give me goosebumps just thinking about what these families had to go through.
4 Stars

The Diary of a Young Girl

The Wrong Girl - Zoe Foster Blake

Read and watch a book to move/TV adaptation. (I watched season 1 when it came out and season 2 is being released soon… so I kind of cheated on this one).
Unfortunately, I didn’t love this as much as I thought I would. I loved season 1 of the TV show and cannot wait to see what season 2 hold, but the book was kind of boring. It’s not completely the books fault because I’m not as big a fan of chic lit as I used to be, so really it’s just my personal taste in genre.
3 Stars

The Wrong Girl

Under the Same Sky - Mojgad Shamsalipoor & Milad Jafari with James Knight

Throwback challenge: read a book from the genre you’ve read the least of this year. (Non-fiction/autobiography).
This was such an eye opening and powerful book as it took me on the journey of two asylum seekers. Both Mojgan and Milad have big stories to tell and it was emotional to read what they went through. Unfortunately their future is still undecided and I hope that stories like theirs will make people aware of the issue.
5 Stars

Under the Same Sky

Thanks for reading! Comment below you’re favourite read from July!

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‘MY NAME IS VICTORIA’ by Lucy Worsley

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‘You are my sister now,’ Victoria said, quietly and solemnly. ‘Never forget it. I love you like a sister, and you are my only friend in all the world.’ Miss V. Conroy is good at keeping secrets. She likes to sit as quiet as a mouse, neat and discreet. But when her father sends her to Kensington Palace to become the companion to Princess Victoria, Miss V soon finds that she can no longer remain in the shadows. Miss V’s father has devised a strict set of rules for the young princess, which he calls the Kensington System. It governs her behaviour and keeps her locked away from the world. He says it is for the princess’s safety, but Victoria herself is convinced that it is to keep her lonely, and unhappy. Torn between loyalty to her father and her growing friendship with the wilful and passionate Victoria, Miss V has a decision to make: to continue in silence, or to speak out. By turns thrilling, dramatic and touching, this is the story of Queen Victoria’s childhood as you’ve never heard it before.

Thanks to Bloomsbury for sending me a copy of MY NAME IS VICTORIA for review.

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I am a fan of historical fiction novels and recently I have become interested in Victorian Britain history after studying a Literature in Victorian Britain course last semester in uni. I didn’t have high expectations going in to this book because the blurb was quite vague, but I was still interested in how it was going to pan out.

This book is a great introduction to Queen Victoria and this time period. The character’s are young throughout the course of the novel, however, their life experiences definitely make them appear more mature. In saying this, I think the novel is directed toward a younger audience. If I was younger, say 12-15, I probably would’ve enjoyed this a lot more. I read a review saying, “adult me would give this a 3.5 but I think it’s a brilliant introduction to historical fiction and if I was younger I would give it a 4”.

But MY NAME IS VICTORIA focuses on so much more than the history. It is a tale of friendship between two girls who have lived completely different lives. Miss V and Princess Victoria are thrown together, and what we think is going to be a disaster ends up being the start of a beautiful friendship. The two characters go through a lot of ups and downs throughout the story and it was interesting to see how differently they both handled the situations.

Another aspect that I loves is that it is written by historian – Lucy Worsley. It is obvious that Lucy is passionate about what she was writing and has a lot of knowledge in the genre. The unique touch that she added to Queen Victoria’s story only made it more authentic and intriguing. I actually finished the book in one day (two sittings) because it was a page turner.

Comment below if you’ve read MY NAME IS VICTORIA and your thoughts on it. Also let me know what your favourite historical time period is to read about!

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Journal #3 flip through

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So I did one of these for my first and second journals. Since I stopped my YouTube channel where I used to do full flip through’s, I thought I would share some of my favourite pages from my recently finished journals.

Comment below if you keep a journal and where you draw your inspiration from. I like watching other peoples journal flip through’s :).

 

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‘WRECK’ – Fleur Ferris

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Tamara Bennett is going to be the first journalist to strictly report only good news. Finished with high school, Tamara is ready to say goodbye to her sleepy little town and part-time job at the local paper. O-weeks awaits, which means parties, cute boys and settling into student res with her best friend Relle. Things take an unexpected turn, however, when she arrives home to find her house ransacked and her life in danger. What is this mysterious note? And why does it mean so much to one of Australia’s most powerful media moguls? Caught between a bitter rivalry and dangerous family secret, who can Tamara trust? Or should she trust herself?

Thanks to Random House for sending me a copy of WRECK to review!

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Our main character, Tamara, is just about to start university and she has the goal of becoming a journalist who only wants to report good news. That is, until she comes home one day to a ransacked house and a man who wants to kill her. Everything has turned upside down for Tamara, and it pretty much stays this way for the entirety of the book. However, she never fails to kick butt! Tamara is a likable character, but she’s also flawed, honest and brave, and her determination only yields the story. It was interesting reading the story of the present tense from Tamara’s perspective; she’s young, inexperienced and has her whole life ahead of her, but she’s been thrown into the deep end of this massive crime. She could’ve screamed and run, but she stuck her guns and proved herself right. (To be honest, I probably would’ve ran!).

Alternating between Tamara’s chapters on the current events, we have William’s perspective on the crime that occurred five years ago. William was also a really interesting character to read from and the events that occur in both character’s stories are intense and dramatic, yet are still able to unravel in a thrilling way throughout the whole novel. What I love most about the two perspectives is that the two are noticeably distinguishable. Both characters have their own voice and stories to tell which really made the book intriguing as a whole.

I love YA mystery and thrillers, but I haven’t read one in so long. I’ve also never read one of Fleur’s books before, but after reading WRECK I really want to pick her other books up. What I loved most is that it was so fast paced, yet still thrilling and suspenseful. I read it over two days, but I honestly could’ve read it in one sitting. It is a short and quick book, but still a lot happened in those 300 pages. I was on my toes the whole time, waiting to see what was going to happen next, and I couldn’t stop flipping the pages. So much thrill!!

So if you’re a fan of YA mystery/thriller books and are looking for more to pick up, then I recommend WRECK. Just be warned, you will spend the next few hours only reading this books because you will want (and need) to find out how the story unfolds!

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‘THE BUILD-UP SEASON’ review + Q&A with Megan Jacobson

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In anticipation for the upcoming release of ‘The Build-Up Season’ (July 31st) Megan Jacobson is going on a blog tour to promote this heartbreaking yet hopeful novel. Today, she has stopped off at my blog to answer a few questions. Also, check out my review of the book at the end, and yes, it is one of my favourite reads so far this year!

 

I just wanted to start off by saying that I LOVED The Build-Up Season and it’s a story that will stick with me for a long time! Also, thank you so much for taking the time to answer these questions.
(Thank you, dear human!)

1. The Build-Up Season is such an intense, emotional and thought provoking story. How did you come up with the idea and did you draw inspiration from anything?Again, thank you. I work in TV news production at the ABC and I’ve been really hyper-aware of the issue of domestic violence since covering the Rosie Batty story. It deeply affected me. Then a few years later we did a story about how women between the ages of 18 and 23 are twice as likely to experience DV than older women. This surprised me, as most of the abuse narrative we hear involve older women.

When I was in my early 20s I dated a guy who I now consider abusive, but I didn’t identify the relationship as unhealthy at the time because I hadn’t had enough experience to know what a healthy relationship should look like, or what my boundaries were. I was raised on the narrative that if a guy is controlling or jealous, then it just means he really loves you (hello Edward Cullen!) When my boyfriend pushed me to the ground or didn’t like me hanging with my friends or punched a wall, I didn’t classify it as abuse, because Hollywood told me that abusive relationships were black eyes and broken bones – and most of the time my boyfriend was actually pretty nice, and after he ‘lost his temper’ he seemed genuinely remorseful. It wasn’t as black and white as the Hollywood ‘monster myth’ with the woman staying because they feared for their lives. I loved him.

It shocked me, discovering just how many of my friends also experienced similar abuse in their early relationships. These are strong, confident, smart women. We didn’t see ourselves in the cowering, quiet archetypes we’d seen abuse victims depicted as in movies, so we didn’t see our own relationships as abusive. This is why I wanted to make Ily strong and feisty – to show how it can happen to anyone. I wanted to show Troy as the extreme end-point to violent behavior, but mostly I wanted to show the early signs, so that young women can identify what to look out for, and to identify what is and isn’t healthy in a relationship. I wanted to show the insidious way abuse ‘builds up’.

2. What was your writing process for The Build-Up Season? Was it different or similar to when you wrote Yellow?

The Build-Up Season was slightly easier, just because by then I’d already written one book, so in those moments I was despairing whether I could ever finish it, I had the confidence to keep going, because I knew I’d done it before.

With both books I had a few key characters in my head, and I wanted to discover the stories they fit into. I always start with the characters coming to me, then I have to follow them to see where they want to take me. Kirra was a quiet girl in a shadow who wanted me to follow her, Ily grabbed me with both hands, sticking her tongue out at me and not letting go as she dragged me along with her.

With both books I sat with the characters for ages, coaxing them to them talk to me, until I knew their stories. Then I’d start plotting the key scenes on index cards, and jotting sentences and imagery down on pages and pages of notes. Only once all of this has been done do I then start to actually write, and generally I write pretty quickly after the long marinating process.

So Iliad popped up in my consciousness and I actually wanted to write a completely different story with a different character, but she wouldn’t go away, so I had to abandon that original story to listen to her. I knew she had this fierce, defiant, vulnerable energy, and I knew her mum was a hippy, and I knew her name was ‘Iliad’, but I didn’t know why she would be called that. Sure, her mum was a hippy so would give her an unconventional name, but Eve is more likely to call a kid ‘Saffron’ or ‘Amethyst’ or something. It really confused me, but I knew in my bones that THAT was the character’s name. So I decided to explore it. I bought the book, Homer’s ‘The Iliad’ and read it, and it’s a story of the Trojan war, so it really fit this girl, who had this palpable sort of anger and fighting within her, but it still didn’t explain why her hippy mum would call her baby that.

Then I read the introduction to The Iliad, which gives context on the book. I learnt that ‘Ilium’ was the ancient Greek city of Troy, and that ‘Iliad’ means ‘in relation to Troy’. That was my ‘Ah ha!’ moment. I wondered, why would a child be called ‘in relation to Troy’? Who is Troy? And what kind of man would insist his child be named after him? That’s what began the story.

3. After reading The Build-Up Season I definitely want to pick up Yellow soon. Do you have a favourite?

DON’T MAKE ME CHOOSE BETWEEN MY BABIES this isn’t Sophie’s Choice.

4. When did you start writing novels? Is it something that you’ve always wanted to do? What drew you to write young adult fiction?

Yellow is actually the first novel I’ve ever tried to write, there are no discarded manuscripts in my top drawer, but I’ve always wanted to be a novelist. I’d written short stories and poems ever since I learnt to spell, and then my first job after graduating was as a script assistant, then script storyliner, for a TV soap. That taught me so much about character, story and structure, and the importance of editing. My short stories were always about teenagers, but I strangely didn’t realise I was writing Young Adult. Those were just the ages of the characters who came to me. I was fascinated by that age, where people are finding themselves and discovering their own truths for the first time. Later I got work at the ABC teen drama ‘Dance Academy’ and it was better than any adult show I had ever written for. It was such a brilliant experience and it reminded me of how much I loved writing for that age group.

(okay, I just read this answer and OMG ‘Dance Academy’ is one of my favourite TV shows of all time! Okay, continue with the Q&A).

5. Do you read YA too? What are some of your favourite books?

Of course! My very favourite is ‘The Bell Jar’ by Sylvia Plath, which is both a literary classic and I’d say young adult, or at least new adult. Same with ‘Catcher in the Rye’. Cath Crowley’s ‘Graffitti Moon’ is pure poetry, as is anything written by Laini Taylor. Markus Zusak’s ‘The Book Thief’ always makes me howl, even though every time I read it I know what’s coming. A sucker-punch is still a sucker-punch. Melina Marchetta’s ‘Looking for Alibrandi’ was the first Oz YA I ever read, and it’s been a favourite since. It was wonderful to see my own world depicted in print, and I quickly sought out and devoured Nick Earls’ ’48 Shades of Brown’ soon after. Sophie Hardcastle is a brilliant new talent who’s going to be a favourite for years to come. Kirsty Eager’s ‘Summer Skin’ is a masterpiece. Gah, there are so many more I want to list! In short, yes. Yes I do read YA, especially Australian YA.

(Um, I think we’re the same person!)

6. Ily is both a complex and relatable character who experiences a lot prior to and throughout the course of the novel. Is it important for you to write characters with a lot of depth and who a wide range of people can relate to?

Absolutely, I want to explore the emotional truths of every character I write. Ily might be angry and defensive, but it was the only way she could possibly be, with her background. I wrote it from instinct, but afterwards, to ensure I’d been sensitive to the topic, and to ensure I’d portrayed her accurately, I researched the impact of violent homes on children. It was uncanny, how all the traits listed in my research were present in Ily – the poor grades, the acting out, the withdrawal from friends, the finding herself in an abusive relationship. By making it first person, I wanted to show why she was acting in this way, and for the audience to understand her actions. I wanted to show that even though her words could come across as uncaring, she did care, deeply, and she shows this with her actions. She’s always trying to protect those around her, even though she tries to act like she doesn’t give a damn. We realise that her thorny words are just the protective shell she’s built around herself. I also have Indigenous nieces, nephews and great nephews, and they rarely get to see themselves in our stories. I wanted to create a character in Max which accurately portrays the Indigenous families I know, their humour, their strong sense of family, their connection to the land and their pride in their culture.

7. The Build-Up Season is set in Darwin and Ily visits a lot of sites throughout the story. Is there any specific reason you set the story in Darwin? Did including these sites help bring the story to life?

I always need to have a connection to the landscapes of all my stories. I feel such a pull towards the outdoors, and so the landscapes become almost characters in themselves. I spent my childhood in Darwin, and my sister and my nieces, nephews and great nephews still live, and the harsh beauty of the top end tugs at my soul. I wanted the weather to be a metaphor for the book, the relationship starts in the Dry Season, when it’s all endless sunny, blue-sky days, then as The Build-Up Season begins, so does the build up of bad behaviour. The air starts to tighten with humidity and it becomes more and more oppressive, and then the heat grips you like nothing else. This story couldn’t have been set in any other place.

Thank you so much again for taking the time to answer my questions!

You’re welcome, thanks for having me!

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And now for my review which ended up being a lot more detailed than anticipated because I had so many thoughts when I finished reading it a few weeks ago!

Illiad is a fierce and complex character who has experienced a lot in her seventeen years of life. I didn’t expect Illy’s path to go the way it went, after seeing the way her father treated her mother for so many years. But it was definitely a learning curve for Illy and me as a reader. It really showed how people can go through highs and lows despite appearing as strong and together. It was tough to read what she was going through and her thoughts, but I think it’s an integral story.

Domestic violence and violent relationships is a main topic in this book, and I was grateful to see this spoken about in a YA book. It is a massive issues that I’m sure a lot of people face, but it isn’t often that we get to read about it or educate ourselves on the issue and importance of respectful relationships. It was tough to read at times, and quite confronting, but I am so glad that Megan spoke about the topic in such a raw and authentic way. It was emotional, I had goosebumps and came close to tears, but it was real.

I had my doubts about Jared from the beginning. Eventually, I realised the importance that his character has to the story and the lesson in Illy’s life, it made me appreciate the story so much more. Max is the opposite to Jared and brings a lot of light to the story throughout, however, Illy doesn’t notice this. She’s blinded by Jared; and I think this is something that a lot of people can relate to.

Megan’s writing style is simple and casual, which made the book easy to read. I finished it in a couple hours not only because it’s short, but I couldn’t stop reading it. I also love reading books set in Australia (YAY for #LOVEOZYA) and even though I’ve never been to Darwin, it was so cool to learn more about it.

Overall, this is an incredible story about a troubled teen who doesn’t want to follow in her mother’s footsteps, but is finding it harder than imaginable. I went on a roller coaster of emotions, but those are always my favourite stories! I highly recommend picking up THE BUILD-UP SEASON. This is up there with my favourite books of 2017 so far.

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