Saturday 8 December 2012

Garden of Stones by Sophie Littlefield

Title: Garden of Stones
Author: Sophie Littlefield
ISBN: 9781743560136
Publisher: Harlequin MIRA
Publish Date: January 2013


In the dark days of war, a mother makes the ultimate sacrifice. Lucy Takeda is just fourteen years old, living in Los Angeles, when the bombs rain down on Pearl Harbor. Within weeks, she and her mother, Miyako, are ripped from their home, rounded up-along with thousands of other innocent Japanese-Americans-and taken to the Manzanar prison camp.

Buffeted by blistering heat and choking dust, Lucy and Miyako must endure the harsh living conditions of the camp. Corruption and abuse creep into every corner of Manzanar, eventually ensnaring beautiful, vulnerable Miyako. Ruined and unwilling to surrender her daughter to the same fate, Miyako soon breaks. Her final act of desperation will stay with Lucy forever...and spur her to sins of her own.

My Thoughts:

I knew nothing about what happened to the Japanese-Americans during WWII so this book was educating and confronting. The story starts in 1978 with a murder investigation involving Lucy, then through flashbacks we learn of Lucy harrowing past. After the death of Lucy's father, Miyako and Lucy are forced into Manzanar prison camp, this is the beginning of a series of harrowing events that test the strength of both Miyako and Lucy as they struggle to survive and protect each other in this horrendous place.

 Atmospheric and haunting this book was hard to put down and even harder to forget. This book has left me lost for words.

Thanks to Harlequin Australia for the ARC.

Sunday 4 November 2012

After Moonrise by P.C. Cast and Gena Showalter

Title:               After Moonrise
Author:           P.C. Cast & Gena Showalter
ISBN:             9781921796432
Publisher:       Harlequin Mira
Publish Date: November 2012


Includes the stories Possessed and Haunted

Possessed by P.C. Cast

Being a psychic detective who can channel only negative emotions makes Kent Raef good at catching murderers, but bad at maintaining relationships. Then Lauren Wilcox arrives with a most intriguing case: her twin sister has been murdered and is communing with Lauren's spirit - and sharing her body. Raef's the only one who can track the killer and free the spirit. But soon he begins to wonder just which twin he wants to save...and why...

Haunted by Gena Showalter

Artist Aurora Harper is convinced she's witnessed a crime - a murder so brutal she's repressed the memories, only to paint the scene by the light of the moon. Now she needs her new neighbour, Detective Levi Reid, to help her track down the victim - and the killer. Levi's dealing with his own memory issues, but one thing he knows for sure: Harper is meant to be his, and nothing can take her away from him - not in this life...nor in death…

My Thoughts:
After Moonrise consists of two short stories by two great authors. This combination makes After Moorise a must read for any paranormal romance fan. It would also be a great starting point for anyone new to the genre.

Possessed by P.C. Cast:

Possessed is a fast paced story, making it perfect for a quick read. Enjoyable although perhaps a little predictable, with an unusual and unique ending Possessed is easy to read. Overall a well written tale.

Haunted by Gena Showalter:

I have not read a lot of Gena Showalter, but what I have read certainly does not disappoint, and this story is no exception. Mysterious and raunchy Haunted was a delight to read and I found myself savoring every paragraph. Full of twists and intrigue, Haunted was a great read.   

Friday 28 September 2012

Alice in Zombieland by Gena Showalter

Title:                Alice in Zombieland
Author:            Gena Showalter
ISBN:              9781921796609
Publisher:        Harlequin Teen
Publish Date:  October 2012


She won’t rest until she’s sent every walking corpse back to its grave. Forever.

Had anyone told Alice Bell that her entire life would change course between one heartbeat and the next, she would have laughed. From blissful to tragic, innocent to ruined? Please. But that’s all it took. One heartbeat. A blink, a breath, a second, and everything she knew and loved was gone.

Her father was right. The monsters are real….

To avenge her family, Ali must learn to fight the undead. To survive, she must learn to trust the baddest of the bad boys, Cole Holland. But Cole has secrets of his own, and if Ali isn’t careful, those secrets might just prove to be more dangerous than the zombies….

I wish I could go back and do a thousand things differently.
I'd tell my sister no.
I'd never beg my mother to talk to my dad.
I'd zip my lips and swallow those hateful words.
Or, barring all of that, I'd hug my sister, my mom and my dad one last time.
I'd tell them I love them.
I wish... Yeah, I wish

My Thoughts:

I was initially attracted to this book by the title, Alice in Zombieland, it filled me with visions of a magical world filled with wonder and excitement and creepy rotting corpses around every corner waiting  to devour even the wariest of travelers. But it turned out to be not quite what I was expecting. Instead of a magical world it was an everyday one, and the zombies were not the usual run of the mill, brain eating zombies (points for creativity though.) Was I disappointed? Perhaps a little to begin with, but the small amount of disappointment and doubt soon vanished as I became eager to know what fate would deal Alice next.

Alice is strong character but is not without her flaws, and lets face it who wouldn't have flaws after having their life turned upside down in a instant. It is interesting to see how she transforms throughout the course of book.
Then there is the love interest, Cole, after all what is a Gena Showalter book without a good love interest. A typical bad boy, or is he? There is more to this boy than first meets the eye. Alice and Cole's relationship is not by any means 'normal' it develops at a good pace despite the fact that at times I found their indecisive attitudes toward each other frustrating at times.
My overall favourite character was Alice's best friend Kat. She is wacky, confident, loyal and impossible to ignore. Definitely one character that has stuck in my mind long after the book has closed.

The plot moves along at a steady pace making it easy to lose track of time and left me not wanting to put it down as I eagerly devoured each chapter. There was a distinct lack of creepiness radiating from the zombies that left me a little sad, although this makes it a perfect read for a wider audience and makes this a perfect novel for those eager to 'test the waters' of a genre that may be out of their comfort zone.

Overall I found Alice in Zombieland to be a great read and I can't wait for the sequel Through the Zombie Glass.

Thanks to Harlequin Australia for the ARC.

Saturday 15 September 2012

January First by Michael Schofield

Title:          January First
Author:      Michael Schofield
ISBN:        9781742739380
Publisher:  Hardie Grant Books
Published: September 2012


January First is the extraordinary story of a father's fight to save his child from an extremely severe case of mental illness in the face of overwhelming adversity.

At six years old, Michael Schofield's daughter, January, was diagnosed with one of the most severe cases of child-onset schizophrenia that doctors had ever seen. In January's case, she is hallucinating 95 percent of the time that she is awake. Potent psychiatric drugs that would level most adults barely faze her. January, "Jani" to her family, has literally hundreds of imaginary friends. They go by names like 400-the-Cat, 100 Degrees, and 24 Hours and live on an island called "Calalini," which she describes as existing "on the border of my world and your world." Some of these friends are good, and some of them, such as 400, are very bad. They tell her to jump off buildings, attack her brother, and scream at strangers.

In the middle of these never-ending delusions, hallucinations, and paroxysms of rage are Jani's parents, who have gone to the ends of the earth to keep both of their children alive and unharmed. They live in separate one-bedroom apartments in order to keep her little brother, Bohdi, safe from his big sister--and wage a daily war against a social system that has all but completely failed them. January First is the story of the daily struggles and challenges they face as they do everything they can to help their daughter while trying to keep their family together.

My Thoughts:

I don't read a lot of memoirs but this one grabbed my attention right from the beginning. It is a raw and emotional read as you are placed in the middle of the lives of an extraordinary family who struggle daily with reality of mental illness. This book is not an easy read, there is no 'sugar coating' on the challenges that the family faces as they struggle to find help for their daughter and keep their family together while the illness tries to tear them apart.
An honest and heart wrenching view into the world of mental illness and how it affects not only the sufferer but also the family, January First is a book that will make you think twice before judging the family with the screaming child on the street and count your blessings. This book kept me up late into the night and lost for words.

Sunday 9 September 2012

Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

Title:           Throne of Glass
Author:       Sarah j. Maas
ISBN:         9781408832332
Publisher:   Bloomsbury
Published:   August 2012


Meet Celaena Sardothien.
Beautiful. Deadly. Destined for greatness.

In the dark, filthy salt mines of Endovier, an eighteen-year-old girl is serving a life sentence. She is a trained assassin, the best of her kind, but she made a fatal mistake: she got caught.

Young Captain Westfall offers her a deal: her freedom in return for one huge sacrifice. Celaena must represent the prince in a to-the-death tournament—fighting the most gifted thieves and assassins in the land. Live or die, Celaena will be free. Win or lose, she is about to discover her true destiny. But will her assassin’s heart be melted?

My Thoughts:

I really wanted to love this book. The world building is fantastic, the plot was engaging and almost perfectly paced and most of the characters were beautifully crafted, but I was expecting a little bit more of...well, something.
My biggest issue with this book was that, Celaena was not the ice-hearted assassin that I was expecting. She may have been at one stage but she didn't seem to behave in the way that one would assume an assassin would. Perhaps she used these habits to her advantage in the past and this is what made her so good at her profession, or because of the target audience the author 'girled' it up a bit for more appeal. Despite of this, Celeana was still a likable character, strong willed and stubborn.
There was a bit of a love triangle happening and the male characters were likable and I was torn between which one I liked best. They were both charming in their own ways, although sometimes cheesy, but that just made them more believable.
My favourite character would have to be Nehemia. She was loyal, courageous and mysterious not to mention smart. I would have liked to have seen more of her in the book and hope that she will be appearing in future books.
I loved the action scenes, they were well written and flowed nicely throughout the course of the book, leaving me eagerly turning the pages to find out what happened next.
Overall, I enjoyed the book enough to keep the pages turning even though I was hoping for a little more assassin and a little less girly frivolity. A nicely paced, easy read for a young female fantasy lover or someone just getting into fantasy novels.

Sunday 2 September 2012

Goodbye Lullaby by Jan Murray

Title:         Goodbye Lullaby

Author:      Jan Murray

ISBN:        9781921795671 

Publisher:  Harlequin Australia

Published:  September 2012


In September 1971, 181 numbered marbles roll around in a barrel while Australia holds its breath. The last number drawn will shatter two women's lives, and bring them together again…

Sixteen-year-old Caroline ‘Miki' Patrick confides to her best friend — the outspoken, smart-mouthed Jude — that she's pregnant. Miki's parents place her in the iron embrace of St Anthony's, a home for wayward girls, with the scheming Sister Angela pressuring her to give up her baby. But Jude convinces Miki they can raise the child, and together they make a pact and take to the road.

But the teenagers are ill-prepared for the hardships they face, and after one particularly difficult night, fate separates them. Alone, poor and scared for her baby's welfare, Miki ultimately surrenders Dominic to the home.

Two decades later, Miki is a dangerous woman, and she's on the run. A vocal anti-war activist who assists draft dodgers, Miki is hiding from the Federal Police and never stays in one place very long. That is, until Dominic's birthday is drawn in the conscription lottery and Jude steps back into her life.

Now Miki and Jude will stop at nothing to be reunited with him…

My Thoughts:

A story of love, friendship and forgiveness, Goodbye Lullaby is a moving read that tells the story of a young unmarried mother, Miki, her illegitimate son, Dominic and her best friend, Jude, as they struggle to survive in the 1950s. Fate tears this unusual trio apart only to reunite the two women 20 years later when Dominic's birthday is drawn in the conscription lottery. Now they are determined to find 'their' son before they risk never seeing him again.

 It took a while for me to get into this book, it felt a little disjointed to begin with as the chapters jump between the two periods and I have a bad habit of not reading chapter titles or anything that resembles chapter titles, but after realizing this was the case I soon became comfortable with the format and began to get sucked into the lives of Miki and Jude.

I admired the courage and determination of the two young women as they faced the struggle of raising a child in a time that had no sympathy for young single mothers.

 Jan Murray transports us to very emotional part of Australia's history as she tells not only the fate of young single mothers but also touches on the stolen generation of indigenous children, a story which most are unwilling to discuss. Well done Jan!

Although not a high action book the pace is steady enough to keep the pages turning and the story lingers in my mind after I have closed the book. I can see this one being picked up by book clubs as it has great discussion potential.

Thanks to Harlequin Australia for the ARC.

Saturday 25 August 2012

Harlequin Escape

Harlequin Australia has just launched their own digital-first imprint, Harlequin Escape.
Harlequin Escape allows authors to submit their manuscripts online and possibly get them published as ebooks instead of using the traditional publishing model.
So if you write any form of romance check out their website Harlequin Escape as they are currently accepting submissions.

Sunday 5 August 2012

Sunday Shout Out #1

I have decided to participate in Sunday Shout Out, a weekly meme hosted by Carrie from In the Hammock.
What is Sunday Shout Out?
Here is a description of Sunday Shout Out from In the Hammock...
'...a place where I can give a special shout out to those publishers and authors who have sent me books over the week, as well as those bloggers who have hosted contests that I've won! I'll also be giving shout outs to any other cool books, blogs or bookish news that I've spotted during the week.
I know a lot of times people don't have time to read reviews, so this is a way for readers to stop by and see a lot of books and news at a glance, and that way the publishers and authors can get even more publicity for their books!
I would also LOVE to see what books YOU would like to give a shout out to! Did you receive and review books this week? Win any contests? Maybe you spotted a new indie book at your local bookstore that you wanted to raise awareness about.'
If you would like to join in, please go to Carrie's post at In the Hammock and link your Sunday Shout Out in the comments, and don't forget to link back to her post!

Here are the books I received this week:

For Review

Goodbye Lullaby
Jan Murray
Thanks to Harlequin Australia

Alice in Zombieland 
Gena Showalter
Thanks to Harlequin Australia


Voodoo Maggie's Adorable Amigurumi
Erin Clark

Friday 3 August 2012

A Rather Long Absence

I apologise for the long absence and lack of new posts. Things have been rather hectic and stressful over the last few months due to the recent loss of my boss's husband. I am now in the process of getting back into some sort of a routine and look forward to getting back on track with my blog.
Thank you for your patience.

Sunday 25 March 2012

Erebos by Ursula Poznanski

Title:               Erebos
Author:           Ursula Poznanski
ISBN:              9781742379531
Publisher:       Allen & Unwin
Published:      2012
Age Group:    Young Adult


  When 16-year-old Nick receives a package containing the mysterious computer game Erebos, he wonders if it will explain the behavior of his classmates, who have been secretive lately. Players of the game must obey strict rules: always play alone, never talk about the game, and never tell anyone your nickname.

Curious, Nick joins the game and quickly becomes addicted. But Erebos knows a lot about the players and begins to manipulate their lives. When it sends Nick on a deadly assignment, he refuses and is banished from the game.

Now unable to play, Nick turns to a friend for help in finding out who controls the game. The two set off on a dangerous mission in which the border between reality and the virtual world begins to blur.

My Thoughts:

As a gamer the concept of a game that ask you carry out tasks in the real world is rather intriguing and was essentially the first thing that grabbed me about this book. 
It starts of fairly slowly as Nick attempts to get his hands on a mysterious package that is circulating through his school. When Nick manages to obtain one of these packages he discovers it is a computer game, Erebos. As Nick progresses through the game the lines between fantasy and reality begin to blur as the game asks him to perform simple but increasingly sinister tasks in the real world in order to advance in the game world.
Nick is a typical teenage boy, who falls victim to his own curiosity, peer pressure and the desire to succeed. Like most teens he is stubborn and dismisses the concerns of those who care about him with out a second thought. This makes him a charcter who is easy to relate to. 
As the story progresses and things start getting more sinister it becomes slightly frustrating that the characters don't just turn the game off and walk away, but this is kind of understandable if you consider the way that someone who is addicted would behave, sometimes it really isn't that easy to just walk away. The author has portrayed the addiction to gaming very realistically.
The only real issue I had with the book is the ending seemed to be very sudden, it just felt like it was rushed.
Overall an exciting page turner that will appeal to anyone who enjoys MMOs.

Friday 2 March 2012

The Horses Didn't Come Home by Pamela Rushby

Title:                The Horses Didn't Come Home
Author:           Pamela Rushby
ISBN:              9780732293543
Publisher:       Harper Collins Australia
Published:      March 2012


 The last great cavalry charge in history took place at Beersheba in the Sinai Desert in 1917. It was Australian soldiers and horses that took part in, and won, this amazing, unexpected, unorthodox victory. The men proudly claimed it was their great-hearted horses that won the day. But in the end, the horses didn't come home...

My Thoughts:

An inspiring story of courage and loyalty, The Horses Didn't Come Home, perfectly illustrates the remarkable bond between the Australian Light Horse soldiers and their mounts, while not forgetting the hope and heartbreak of the families that they left behind. 
Pamela Rushby has transformed the harsh reality of war into a heart moving tale that can be enjoyed by readers of all ages. 
This is a fantastic story that should be on every schools reading list. 

ARC provided by Harper Collins Australia via NetGalley. 

Friday 17 February 2012

The Way We Fall by Megan Crewe

Title:               The Way We Fall
Author:           Megan Crewe
ISBN:              9781742668253
Publisher:       Pier 9
Published:      January 2012
Age Group:    Young Adult


When a deadly virus begins to sweep through sixteen-year-old Kaelyn’s community, the government quarantines her island—no one can leave, and no one can come back.
Those still healthy must fight for dwindling supplies, or lose all chance of survival. As everything familiar comes crashing down, Kaelyn joins forces with a former rival and discovers a new love in the midst of heartbreak. When the virus starts to rob her of friends and family, she clings to the belief that there must be a way to save the people she holds dearest.
Because how will she go on if there isn't?

My Thoughts:

I was expecting a lot more when I picked up this book. Don't get me wrong it was an enjoyable read but it was slow. The journal style format of it, while interesting, did not allow for enough character development to make me really care about them. I was also expecting a lot more raw emotion from a journal style book, but it seemed very calm and controlled for what would be such an emotional event.
It did pick up a in the middle of the book but the ending was very abrupt and left a lot of loose ends. I understand this is the first book in a series but it seemed as though nothing was actually resolved in the end of this book which was very frustrating.
Will I read the next book in the series? Probably, but I won't be rushing out to buy it on release day.

Thursday 26 January 2012

Bustin' The Newbie Blues

Busting the Newbie Blues is an event hosted by Small Review. The even runs throughout January, so I am a little late jumping on the bandwagon, but better late than never. To find out more check out Small Review .

My Questionnaire:

1. When did you start your blog? 

19th June 2011. I kind of jumped in feet first with no planning or any idea what I was going to do.

2. Why did you start your blog?

I began blogging to keep a track of what I had read and my thoughts about what I was reading, I have a terrible habit of forgetting what I have read so it seemed like a great way to keep track and possibly share my thoughts with others.

3. What is the biggest challenge you have face so far?

Getting followers. I am not up to speed with the whole networking side of things and I do find this to be the most challenging part.

4. What do you find most discouraging about being a new blogger?

Getting my ideas and thoughts into a post. I am not the best at translating ideas and thoughts on to paper but it is something I am determined to improve and as they say practice makes perfect!

5. What do you find most encouraging?

Comments, tweets, my little group of followers and the dupport from my family and friends it is all greatly appreciated and keeps me sane. I also find looking at other blogs to be encouraging and inspiring, there are just so many great blogs out there and if they can do it so can I!

6. What do you like best about the blogs you read?

I love difference in each blog I read. The unique voices and varied content.

7. What do you dislike about blogs you've read?

I really dislike background music on blogs (or any website for that matter). Also having to enter a code to post a comment.

8. Advice for other new bloggers.

Make sure you are blogging for yourself not because you think your followers or anyone else expects you to. Above all else have fun!

9. Questions for newbie or established bloggers.

What is the best way to find out information about upcoming releases?
How did you first approach publishers to request ARC's?

Friday 20 January 2012

Tempest by Julie Cross

Title:               Tempest
Author:           Julie Cross
ISBN:              9781447206453
Publisher:       Macmillan Childrens Books
Published:      January 2012
Age Group:    Young Adult


 The year is 2009. Nineteen-year-old Jackson Meyer is a normal guy… he’s in college, has a girlfriend… and he can travel back through time. But it’s not like the movies – nothing changes in the present after his jumps, there’s no space-time continuum issues or broken flux capacitors – it’s just harmless fun.

That is… until the day strangers burst in on Jackson and his girlfriend, Holly, and during a struggle with Jackson, Holly is fatally shot. In his panic, Jackson jumps back two years to 2007, but this is not like his previous time jumps. Now he’s stuck in 2007 and can’t get back to the future.

Desperate to somehow return to 2009 to save Holly but unable to return to his rightful year, Jackson settles into 2007 and learns what he can about his abilities.

But it’s not long before the people who shot Holly in 2009 come looking for Jackson in the past, and these “Enemies of Time” will stop at nothing to recruit this powerful young time-traveler. Recruit… or kill him.

Piecing together the clues about his father, the Enemies of Time, and himself, Jackson must decide how far he’s willing to go to save Holly… and possibly the entire world.

My Thoughts:

I really wanted to love this book and I am certain there are a lot of people out there that will love it.

It took me longer than I would have liked to finish this book. I picked it up because I loved the concept behind the book, but I ultimately found the way it was written to be confusing and at time frustrating, this may have something to do with my bad habit of never reading chapter titles. 
The action starts very early into the book, which isn't a bad thing, but I felt it lacked the initial 'getting to know you' stage and as a result I found it difficult to relate to or care about the characters.
Despite all that there were some action fuelled scenes that were well placed and managed to keep me turning the pages long enough to finish the book.

Will I read the sequel? Maybe. I am interested to find out more about the mysterious red-headed little girl. 

Saturday 14 January 2012

Fracture by Megan Miranda

Title:               Fracture
Author:           Megan Miranda
ISBN:              9780802723093
Publisher:       Bloomsbury Publishing
Published:      January 2012
Age Group:    Young Adult


 Eleven minutes passed before Delaney Maxwell was pulled from the icy waters of a Maine lake by her best friend Decker Phillips. By then her heart had stopped beating. Her brain had stopped working. She was dead. And yet she somehow defied medical precedent to come back seemingly fine - despite the scans that showed significant brain damage. Everyone wants Delaney to be all right, but she knows she's far from normal. Pulled by strange sensations she can't control or explain, Delaney finds herself drawn to the dying. Is her altered brain now predicting death, or causing it?

Then Delaney meets Troy Varga, who recently emerged from a coma with similar abilities. At first she's reassured to find someone who understands the strangeness of her new existence, but Delaney soon discovers that Troy's motives aren't quite what she thought. Is their gift a miracle, a freak of nature-or something much more frightening?

My Thoughts:

I found the concept behind this book to be a refreshing change and an intriguing idea. The atmospheric writing style really drew me into this book and although I found the characters a bit hard to relate to, the confusion and emotion surrounding such an experience was realistic and well written.
My favourite character would have to be Troy. I really enjoyed slowly discovering that he was not just a typical 'bad boy' type but in fact was extremely creepy even though he seemed to think he was doing the right thing.
I found the relationship between Delaney and Decker particularly frustrating and was repeatedly wishing that they would just stop lying to each other and get their act together.
The ending was satisfying but felt a little rushed. Overall it was enjoyable and refreshing to read a paranormal novel without any paranormal creatures.

ARC provided by NetGalley.

Sunday 1 January 2012

A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

Title:                A Monster Calls
Author:           Patrick Ness, orignal idea from Siobhan Dowd
Illustrator:      Jim Kay
ISBN:              9781406311525
Publisher:       Candlewick Press
Published:      September 2011

The monster showed up just after midnight. As they do. But it isn’t the monster Conor’s been expecting. He’s been expecting the one from his nightmare, the nightmare he’s had nearly every night since his mother started her treatments, the one with the darkness and the wind and the screaming. . . .
This monster, though, is something different. Something ancient, something wild. And it wants the most dangerous thing of all from Conor.
It wants the truth.
Patrick Ness spins a tale from the final story idea of Siobhan Dowd, whose premature death from cancer prevented her from writing it herself.

My Thoughts:

This book was nothing like I thought it would be. It was better! I recomend everyone read this book at least once.
Intense, bold and strong. Beautiful, honest and unique. This book is both heartwarming and heartwrenching.
Each page is an emotion packed glimpse into the nature of the grieving human soul. Haunting illusrations spread throughout the pages, increase the atmospheric intensity of Ness's profound story telling.
Words cannot describe the impact that this book has had on me. This is a book that devours the reader and leaves a lasting impression and perhaps a better understanding of the emotional processes surrounding grief and loss, hope and unconditional love. This book illustrates a small portion of what it means to be human.
What will you do when a montser calls?