Sunday 29 December 2013

Australian Women Writers Challenge 2014

So I have decided to sign up or the Australian Women Writers Challenge 2014. Admittedly I am not very good when it comes to challenges but I told myself that in 2014 I would join some and try my best to complete them so here I am signing up for my first challenge of 2014.
Here is some information about the challenge (for more info please go here.)

What is it?

The 2014 Australian Women Writers Challenge was set up to help overcome gender bias in the reviewing of books by Australian women. The challenge encourages avid readers and book bloggers, male and female, Australian and non-Australian, to read and review books by Australian women throughout the year. You don’t have to be a writer to sign up. You can choose to read and review, or read only.

Choose your level:

Stella: read 4 – if reviewing, review at least 3
Miles: read 6 – if reviewing, review at least 4
Franklin: read 10 – if reviewing, review at least 6
Create your own challenge: nominate your own goal

I am choosing Miles, which I think will be a level that will be achievable for me.
If you would like to join in the fun you can sign up here.

Friday 27 December 2013

Captivate by Vanessa Garden

Title: Captivate
Author: Vanessa Garden
ISBN: 9781743566114
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Publish Date: January 2014


In a glittering underwater world, nothing is as it seems...

For the past twelve months since her parents’ death, seventeen-year-old Miranda Sun has harboured a dark secret — a secret that has strained the close relationship she once shared with her older sister, Lauren. In an effort to repair this broken bond, Miranda’s grandparents whisk the siblings away on a secluded beach holiday. Except before Miranda gets a chance to confess her life-changing secret, she’s dragged underwater by a mysterious stranger while taking a midnight swim.

Awakening days later, Miranda discovers that she’s being held captive in a glittering underwater city by an arrogant young man named Marko...the King of this underwater civilisation.

Nineteen-year-old Marko intends to marry Miranda in order to keep his crown from falling into the sinister clutches of his half-brother, Damir. There’s only one problem. Miranda is desperate to return home to right things with her sister and she wants nothing to do with Marko. Trying to secure her freedom, Miranda quickly forms an alliance with Robbie — Marko’s personal guard. However, she soon discovers that even underwater, people are hiding dangerous secrets...

My Thoughts:

Captivate is a wondrous tale that is reminiscent of a childhood fairytale, a beautiful girl, a handsome prince (or in this case, a king) a kingdom in need of saving and plenty of secrets to keep you guessing.
 The concept of an underwater city is one that I adore and Garden's carefully crafted world and descriptive writing transports the reader to a glistening hidden paradise.
The characters are well written, with strong and complex  personalities, making them easy to connect with. All of the main characters evolve nicely throughout the story
The only part of Captivate that I had a problem with was the romance between Marko and Miranda, it felt rushed. I think it needed a bit more time to develop.
Captivate, as it's name implies, is a captivating read that is beautifully written. I look forward to reading the next book in the series.

Thanks to Harlequin Teen Australia for the ARC.

Friday 20 December 2013

Pawn by Aimee Carter

Title: Pawn
Author: Aimee Carter
ISBN: 9781743564974
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Publish Date: December 2013



For Kitty Doe, it seems like an easy choice. She can either spend her life as a III in misery, looked down upon by the higher ranks and forced to leave the people she loves, or she can become a VII and join the most powerful family in the country.

If she says yes, Kitty will be Masked—surgically transformed into Lila Hart, the Prime Minister's niece, who died under mysterious circumstances. As a member of the Hart family, she will be famous. She will be adored. And for the first time, she will matter.

There's only one catch. She must also stop the rebellion that Lila secretly fostered, the same one that got her killed …and one Kitty believes in. Faced with threats, conspiracies and a life that's not her own, she must decide which path to choose—and learn how to become more than a pawn in a twisted game she's only beginning to understand.

My Thoughts:

I did not really know what to expect when I started reading Pawn, I have not any of Aimee's other books so I was not familiar with her writing style, but I have read my fair share of dystopians. As far as dystopians go Pawn does not shine out as being completely original. Does this make it bad? No, after all corrupt governments and underground rebellious groups are one of many things that make dystopians what they are.

I found the main character, Kitty, to be tolerable, at best, she is strong, smart and brave but I did not find her to be a very believable character. She makes some horrendous decisions that anyone (especially someone of only seventeen) would take a long time time and think very seriously about. . On the other hand, the secondary characters, especially the 'villains' were great. They were well written and their motives were not just black and white, but included lovely shades of grey.

Aimee's writing style is not overly complex with rapid pacing, making Pawn an easy and relatively quick read, even for a fairly slow reader like myself. I really enjoyed how, as the title implies, the story plays out much like a game of chess.

Overall, while Pawn was not an outstanding read it was enjoyable and I am interested to find out what happens next.

Thanks to Harlequin Teen Australia for the ARC.

Tuesday 10 December 2013

Right As Rain by Tricia Stringer

Title: Right As Rain
Author: Tricia Stringer
ISBN: 9781743564653
Publisher: Harlequin Mira
Publish Date: December 2013


Mackenna Birch thinks she's met the man of her dreams while on holiday in New Zealand. Adam Walker is funny, kind and loving but he walks out on her, or so she thinks...

Hiding from a broken heart, Mackenna returns to the family farm in Australia. Then, out of the blue Adam returns. He’s made the trip Down Under to visit his sick grandfather and to track down Mackenna.

When he turns up on her doorstep to profess his love and find out why she ran out on him, Mackenna finds herself questioning his love for her...

My Thoughts:

I really seem to have jumped on the Australian rural romance bandwagon, although perhaps a lot later than most, and as they say, 'better late than never!' I am yet to find a rural romance that has disappointed me and I am happy to say Tricia Stringer's 'Right as Rain' has kept this streak running.
There seems to be a talent among the Australian rural romance authors of capturing the essence of country Australia and transporting into written form and Tricia Stringer is no exception. The Birch family's sheep farm, 'Woolly Swap' is portrayed beautifully, you can almost picture the sheep grazing in the paddocks and feel the anticipation of waiting for the rain. I loved the 'Gatehouse.' The whole paddock to table situation and being able to sample produce in the place where it is grown is seriously a winner. I know vineyards have been doing it or decades, but meat, vegetables and even fruits, what a great idea. Seriously if these places exist (and maybe they do and I have just been living under a rock!) someone please let me know!
Don't be fooled by the wonderful setting though, the best part of this novel is the dynamics between the characters. The tension between Mackenna and her family as they try to decide the fate of the family farm, the close bond between Mackenna and her childhood friend Hugh and the friction created by the unexpected appearance of the man who broke Mackenna's heart, Adam, make 'Right As Rain' a great read.
'Right As Rain' is a story of love, family and having the strength to stand up for yourself and your dreams. A fantastic read, perfect for a lazy summer afternoon.

Thanks to Harlequin Australia for the ARC.

Sunday 1 December 2013

What I Read - September, October & November 2013

It's been a while since I have done a 'What I Read.' I have been increasingly busy lately with Christmas on the way making work busier, and the warmer months has made me want to venture outside more to take care of my garden and going walking. So here is a rundown of what I have read in the past three months.

by Carly Drake
(ARC thanks to Harlequin Australia and Netgalley)

by George R.R. Martin

by Andrew Pyper

by Gena Showalter

by Patrick Ness

by Michael Adams

Friday 15 November 2013

The Last Girl by Michael Adams

Title: The Last Girl
Author: Michael Adams
ISBN: 9781743316368
Publisher: Allen & Unwin
Publish Date: October 2013


The end of the world happened quickly. The sun still shone, there was no explosion - just a tsunami-sized wave of human thought drowning the world in telepathic noise as everyone's inner-most secrets became audible. Everyone's thoughts, that is, except sixteen-year-old Danby.

Everyone looked like bad actors in a poorly dubbed movie. Their expressions didn't match their emotions and their lips didn't sync with what they were saying. But they were all so loud.


When The Snap sweeps the globe, everyone can instantly hear everything that everyone else is thinking. As secrets and lies are laid bare, suburbs and cities explode into insanity and violence. What might have been an evolutionary leap instead initiates the apocalypse.

Sixteen-year-old Danby Armstrong's telepathy works very differently. She can tune into other people but they can't tune into her. With only this slender defence, Danby must protect her little brother and reach the safety of her mother's mountain retreat. But it's 100 kilometres away and the highways are blocked by thousands of cars and surrounded by millions of people coming apart at the psychic seams.

Danby's escape is made even more dangerous by another cataclysm that threatens humanity's extinction. And her ability to survive this new world will be tested by a charismatic young man whose power to save lives may be worse than death itself.

My Thoughts:

The Last Girl is a unique apocalyptic novel, no zombes, no aliens, this apocalypse comes from sudden, involuntary telepathy. Imagine the chaos from being able to hear everyone's thoughts, the consequences would be catastrophic. Michael Adams has captured this chaos wonderfully in this page turning debut.
The Last Girl was really a breath of fresh air to the apocalyptic/dystopian genre which at the moment seems to be filled with zombies and insane governments. It is brutal and honest full of difficult choices and uncovers the gritty side of human nature and self preservation.
I love that the story is set in Australia, it is the first Australian apocalyptic novel I have come across and I can't wait to see more.
Danby and Nathan are great characters, they are strong willed, smart and compassionate. Jack is a very powerful character and I couldn't help but feel he was a little 'too good to be true' right from the beginning. I am really looking forward to finding out how the relationship between all three characters evolves in the next book.
Overall The Last Girl is a well paced novel, with plenty of twists and lots of action. I am eagerly awaiting The Last Shot, I can't wait to see what happens next!

Friday 8 November 2013

All The Truth That's In Me by Julie Berry

Title: All The Truth That's In Me
Author: Julie Berry
ISBN: 9780732298067
Publisher: Harper Collins
Published: October 2013


Four years ago, Judith and her best friend disappeared from their small town of Roswell Station. Two years ago, only Judith returned, permanently mutilated, reviled and ignored by those who were once her friends and family. Unable to speak, Judith lives like a ghost in her own home, silently pouring out her thoughts to the boy who’s owned her heart as long as she can remember—even if he doesn’t know it—her childhood friend, Lucas. But when Roswell Station is attacked, long-buried secrets come to light, and Judith is forced to choose: continue to live in silence, or recover her voice, even if it means changing her world, and the lives around her, forever.

My Thoughts:

All the Truth That's in Me captivated me from the very beginning. Written in second person, it reads almost like diary entries or letters, instantly giving it a more intimate feeling, almost as if you have stumbled upon a secret.
The writing is beautiful and captivating, perfectly capturing the strength of Judith's character despite the horrors and heartbreak she has endured. Empathizing with Judith is easy as her voice is so emotionally raw and transports you to her side as she reveals piece by piece puzzle of her past.
The jumps between past and present can be a little confusing at times but are very easy to get used to and are a vital tool in uncovering the mystery.
All the Truth That's in Me was a fantastic read. A haunting mystery that was very difficult to put down. Highly recommended.

Friday 18 October 2013

Words Once Spoken by Carly Drake

Title: Words Once Spoken
Author: Carly Drake
ISBN: 9780857990822
Publisher: Harlequin Australia
Publish Date: October 2013


Evelyn might not love the confines of her village life, but she takes her small freedoms where she can get them. But everything changes when her parents decide it’s time for her to wed. Suddenly she loses her tunic and breeches, her bow, her horse, and gains rigid gowns, restrictive manners, and carriage rides.

The best way to escape is through her dreams, but as they become more and more real, Evelyn begins to worry that she is losing her grasp on reality. It is only when she makes two new friends that the truth is revealed: she is destined for far, far more than even she could imagine.

My Thoughts:

The stunning cover of this book captured me immediately and the synopsis offered a wonderful adventure. I was so excited starting this book and fell in love with Evelyn in the first few chapters. She is a strong-willed and resourceful main character who knows exactly what she wants. But as much as I enjoyed these first few chapters I soon began to find myself frustrated and confused.

The pacing of the story is fast, so fast in fact that it rushes through the last half of the story at lightning speed leaving me wondering what exactly was going on. With some of the crucial moments rushed through, I found myself less invested in the story and losing track of who was who and even what they were supposed to be doing, to the point where I found myself having to go back and re-read parts, making it a rather frustrating read.
It seemed to settle down a little towards the end, only to reveal a plot twist that left the ending unresolved.

Overall Words Once Spoken had a solid base and so much potential, but the rushed pacing and short length left it lacking.

Thanks to Harlequin Australia and Netgalley for the ARC.

Friday 11 October 2013

Outback Dreams by Rachael Johns

Title: Outback Dreams
Author: Rachael Johns
ISBN: 9781743564608
Publisher: Harlequin Mira
Published: October 2013


Faith and Monty are both looking for love...but they’re looking in the wrong direction.

Faith Forrester is at a crossroads. Single, thirty and living on a farm in a small Western Australian town, she’s sick of being treated like a kitchen slave by her brother and father. Ten years ago, her mother died of breast cancer, and Faith has been treading water ever since. She wants to get her hands dirty on the family farm. She wants to prove to herself that she’s done something worthwhile with her life. And she wants to find a man...

For as long as he can remember, Daniel ‘Monty’ Montgomery has been Faith’s best friend. When he was ten, his parents sold the family property and moved to Perth, and ever since, Monty’s dreamed of having his own farm. So for the last ten years, he’s been back on the land, working odd jobs and saving every dollar to put toward his dream. Now he finally has the deposit. But there’s still something missing...

So when Faith embarks on a mission to raise money for a charity close to her heart, and Monty’s dream property comes on the market, things seem like they are falling into place for them both. Until a drunken night out ends with them sleeping together. Suddenly, the best friends are faced with a new load of challenges...

Monty and Faith are both ready to find a life partner and settle down, but have they both been looking in all the wrong places?

My Thoughts:

After years of playing 'housekeeper' for her father and brother, Faith is eager to do something 'more' with her life. Prompted by a school reunion, she sets out to raise money for a charity close to her heart and hopefully find the man of her dreams.
Faith's best friend, Monty desperately wants a farm of his own and after years of working hard and saving he now has the deposit. It isn't long before he finds his dream property, now all he needs is someone to share it with.

Once again Rachael Johns has delivered us with a fantastic portrait of rural Australia. Rachael captured my heart with Man Drought (I really must get a hold of Jilted), and she continues to impress with Outback Dreams.
The gorgeous descriptions transport the reader to the peaceful surroundings of a coastal country town and the wonderful characters make it feel like home. Despite their flaws it is impossible not to love the colourful bunch that Rachael has created.

The story progresses at a steady but relaxed pace keeping the pages turning and despite the somewhat predictable ending there were many unforeseen bumps along the road for Faith and Monty.
Outback Dreams was a fun and relaxed read about love family and acceptance. Outback Dreams is the perfect book to lose yourself in for a few hours. I can't wait to read the next one in the series.

Saturday 5 October 2013

The Demonologist by Andrew Pyper

Title: The Demonologist
Author: Andrew Pyper
ISBN: 9781409122586
Publisher: Orion
Publish Date: April 2013


Professor David Ullman is among the world's leading authorities on demonic literature. Not that he's a believer. He sees what he teaches as a branch of the imagination and nothing more. So when offered a luxury trip to Venice to consult on a 'phenomenon', he accepts, taking his 11-year-old daughter Tess with him.

Amidst the decadent splendour of the city, David makes his way to the address he's been asked to visit. What he witnesses in the tiny attic room shakes him to the core: a man restrained in a chair, clearly insane. But what David hears the man say is worse. The voice of his father, dead for 30 years, repeating the last words he ever spoke to his son. Words that have left scars - and a mystery - behind.

Terrified, David is determined to leave with Tess as quickly as possible. But he can't shake the feeling that something is following him. And then, before his eyes on the roof of their hotel, Tess disappears. But before she falls into the Grand Canal's waters, she utters a plea: Find me.

My Thoughts:

The Demonologist is a book that jumped out at me, but I ummed and ahhed over reading it as I am not heavily into scary books, so after much deliberation I caved and bought it. Unfortunately (or perhaps that should be fortunately) it was not the 'I can't sleep with the lights off' fear inducing read that I was expecting. In saying that though it did have a high creepiness level.
I think the biggest downfall to this novel for me was that I did not feel emotionally invested with the characters. I really didn't find myself caring enough about them which made it very easy to distance myself from the story and the 'horrors' that they faced.
The plot was intriguing and mysterious but as much as I wanted to find out what was going to happen it certainly wasn't a book that I could not put down, therefore it took me a lot longer to finish it than I had expected.
The Demonologist is a creepy tale of mystery and demons that endeavors to make you change the way you see the world and the battle between good and evil. But it is certainly not a spine-chilling read.

Sunday 8 September 2013

One Hundred and Four Horses by Amanda Retzlaff

Title: One Hundred and Four Horses
Author: Amanda Retzlaff
ISBN: 9780007498741
Publisher: Harper Collins Australia
Publish Date: September 2013


“A letter is handed to you. In broken English, it tells you that you must now vacate your farm; that this is no longer your home, for it now belongs to the crowd on your doorstep. Then the drums begin to beat.”

On an early summer morning in 2000, Mandy Retzlaff, was awakened by the knock she’d been dreading. Her closest, most beloved neighbours had come to tell her that the escalating violence surrounding them in northern Zimbabwe had finally landed on her doorstep. Surveying the damage of her friends’ farm, where outbuildings and beloved pets had fallen victim to the angry hands of a mob of Robert Mugabe’s war veterans, Mandy knew at once that her friends were lucky to have survived where others hadn’t, but also that her life, and that of her family, had changed forever. Her friend had only one parting request as she fled Zimbabwe for the safety of New Zealand. “We need your help.” She stopped. “It’s our horses. Something has got to be done about our horses.”

It was in this moment, the one where she felt more vulnerable than she ever had, that Mandy, along with her husband Pat, made the decision not to shrink into fear, but to reach out and help. And so they rescued a group of 104 horses from the violence of the home invasions, and in one case, quite literally from the jaws of lions. Each horse has a different personality and story: Grey, the silver gelding: the leader; Brutus, the untamed colt; Princess, the temperamental mare. Over the following months, as they moved across the Zimbabwean countryside, seeking ever more remote enclaves of safety for a herd of horses, it became clear that it was not just the family who were rescuing the horses, but the horses who were rescuing the family.

My Thoughts:

One Hundred and Four Horses is an intimate and personal glimpse into a country at war.

I can not even begin to imagine the trials and heartbreak this family had to endure. We tend to take for granted the 'basics', a roof over our heads and food on our tables, and to have that taken from you, to be forced to leave everything you had worked so hard for would be shattering. But despite the anger and fear the Retzlaff family found the courage and hope to fight, not only to save themselves and their own horses but also many others despite all odds.

This book was not an 'easy' read. The horrors that Mandy, her family, friends, and horses were subject and witnesses to defy words. But the courage, hope, and unbreakable bond between the family, their horses and the land is wondrous and inspiring.

Thanks to Harper Collins Australia and Netgalley for the ARC.

Tuesday 3 September 2013

What I read July/August 2013

The last two months have been a blur and I know that the rest of the year is going to be just as crazy, if not even more crazy. I will be working more in the foreseeable future as one of my coworkers is moving on to explore the next stage in her life. I wish her all the best and will miss her terribly but I am also so excited for her! With the increased work load I may not be able to update my blog as often as I would like but I will endeavor to do my best and apologize in advance for any delays.
So without further ado here is what I read over the last two months.

by Neil Gaiman

by Ree Soesbee

by Richard Beasley
(ARC borrowed from work, thanks to Hachette Australia)

by Jason Mott
(ARC thanks to Harlequin Australia)

by Julie Berry
(ARC borrowed from work, thanks to Harper Collins Australia )
review coming soon

by Rachael Johns
(ARC borrowed from work, thanks to Harlequin Australia)
review coming soon

I would love to see what everyone else has been reading last month, so please feel free to share in the comments or leave a link!

Saturday 31 August 2013

The Returned by Jason Mott

Title: The Returned
Author: Jason Mott
ISBN: 9781743560525
Publisher: Harlequin Mira
Published: September 2013


Harold and Lucille Hargrave's lives have been both joyful and sorrowful in the decades since their only son, Jacob, died tragically at his eighth birthday party in 1966. In their old age they've settled comfortably into life without him, their wounds tempered through the grace of time ... Until one day Jacob mysteriously appears on their doorstep—flesh and blood, their sweet, precocious child, still eight years old.

All over the world people's loved ones are returning from beyond. No one knows how or why this is happening, whether it's a miracle or a sign of the end. Not even Harold and Lucille can agree on whether the boy is real or a wondrous imitation, but one thing they know for sure: he's their son. As chaos erupts around the globe, the newly reunited Hargrave family finds itself at the center of a community on the brink of collapse, forced to navigate a mysterious new reality and a conflict that threatens to unravel the very meaning of what it is to be human.

My Thoughts:

Imagine having your loved ones return from the dead, returned to the world exactly the way they were before they died. Imagine the joy, the confusion, the turmoil and the questions. The Returned is a unique and emotional read. It follows the experiences of the Hargrave family and the small town of Arcadia, as they try to make sense of the 'miracle' that seems to be happening all over the world.

The plot progressed rather slowly especially through the first half of the book, it picked up in pace toward the end of the book Although the the ending seemed unresolved to me. There were too many unanswered questions for my liking, I almost felt cheated.

The Returned is the type of book that will make you question yourself, and the decisions you make and it will certainly keep you thinking long after you have put it down. I definitely recommend this as a book for book clubs as there are many questions and opportunities for discussion.

Thanks to Harlequin Australia for the ARC.

Saturday 24 August 2013

Quick Bookish Survey

Kelly at The Broke and the Bookish posted this little survey and I thought I would join in the fun!

1. The book I'm currently reading:

All The Truth That's In Me by Julie Berry.

The joys of working as a book seller is that my boss lets me borrow the ARC's that she is sent, which is how I got my hands on this one... Thanks Harper Collins Australia. So far I am loving it, but it is not due for release until October. I will be posting a review of this one in October.

2. The last book I finished:

As soon as I heard about this book I knew I had to read it. Thanks to Harlequin Australia for the ARC. 

3. The next book I want to read: 

Outback Dreams by Rachael Johns

I really enjoyed Man Drought by Rachael Johns so when an ARC of Outback Dreams turned up at work I had to borrow it. I am really excited for this one!

4. The last book I bought:

Splintered by A.G. Howard

I picked this one up yesterday. It sounds really interesting and the cover... just look at all the pretty colours!

5. The last book I was given:
I honestly can't remember the last book I was given. I think everyone must think I have too many books so they don't give them to me anymore!

Saturday 6 July 2013

The Mourning Hours by Paula Treick DeBoard

Title: The Mourning Hours
Author: Paula Treick DeBoard
ISBN: 9781743560457
Publisher: Harlequin MIRA
Publish Date: July 2013


Kirsten Hammarstrom hasn't been home to her tiny corner of rural Wisconsin in years-not since the mysterious disappearance of a local teenage girl rocked the town and shattered her family. Kirsten was just nine years old when Stacy Lemke went missing, and the last person to see her alive was her boyfriend, Johnny-the high school wrestling star and Kirsten's older brother. No one knows what to believe-not even those closest to Johnny-but the event unhinges the quiet farming community and pins Kirsten's family beneath the crushing weight of suspicion.

Now, years later, a new tragedy forces Kirsten and her siblings to return home, where they must confront the devastating event that shifted the trajectory of their lives.

My Thoughts:

Addictive and haunting, The Mourning Hours was very hard to put down. we follow nine year old Kirsten Hammarstrom's point of view as she experiences a peaceful childhood in rural Wisconsin until the unthinkable happens, her older brother, Johnny's, girlfriend goes missing one night and he was the last one to see her. The disappearance causes the close-knit community to turn on Johnny and his family, causing their lives to fall apart.

Experiencing this tragedy through the eyes of young Kirsten is heart-wrenching and unforgettable. We watch her struggle with the disappearance of Stacy and the outrage of the community as well as slowly watching her family fall apart while she is torn between what appears to be the truth and staying loyal to her family.

Beautifully written, The Mourning Hours captures the rural setting as well as the heartbreak and turmoil of a small town shaken to it's core. A breathtaking read, highly recommended.

Thanks to Harlequin Australia for the ARC.

Sunday 30 June 2013

What I Read... June 2013

I can't believe it is the end of June already, the year seems to be flying by. Unfortunately I didn't get a chance to spend too much time reading this month. Without further ado, here is what  read:

by Rick Yancey

by Paula Treick DeBoard
(ARC Thanks to Harlequin Australia)

By Amanda Retzlaff
(ARC Thanks to Harper Collins Australia and Netgalley)

Monday 17 June 2013

The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey

Title: The 5th Wave
Author: Rick Yancey
ISBN: 9780141345833
Publish Date: May 2013


After the 1st wave, only darkness remains. After the 2nd, only the lucky escape. And after the 3rd, only the unlucky survive. After the 4th wave, only one rule applies: trust no one. Now, it's the dawn of the 5th wave. On a lonely stretch of highway, Cassie runs from Them. The beings who only look human, who roam the countryside killing anyone they see. Who have scattered Earth's last survivors. To stay alone is to stay alive, until Cassie meets Evan Walker. Beguiling and mysterious, Evan may be her only hope for rescuing her brother and even saving herself. Now she must choose: between trust and despair, between defiance and surrender, between life and death. To give up or to get up. Cassie Sullivan gets up.

My Thoughts:

This book has been given a lot of attention, both negative and positive. Where do I stand on this? Somewhere in the middle.
The 5th Wave is a post apocalyptic, alien invasion novel told from various points of view (which seems to be a lasting trend these days.) Ultimately the story is mainly about Cassie who has had everything she ever cared about taken from her by the Others, and she is on a mission to get some of it back, starting with her brother.

I love the whole sci-fi, alien invasion thing, even the smattering of romance was nice touch despite the cliches. The world building was good and the characters were well written and believable, the action was high and suspenseful, but something just didn't do it for me. I started out not being able to put it down, but as I progressed it seemed to lose steam and I was left with a feeling of 'been there done that.'
Don't get me wrong it still was a thoroughly enjoyable book that has left me wondering what will happen in the next installment, but it just seemed to be lacking something that I can't quite put my finger on.

Saturday 18 May 2013

Diamond Spirit by Karen Wood

Title: Diamond Spirit
Author: Karen Wood
ISBN: 9781742373157
Publisher: Allen and Unwin
Published: 2011


Jess's beloved pony has a terrible accident and thinks her best friend Shara had something to do with it. So she feels that she has lost not just one best friend, but two. New friends and new horses come into her life along with the chance to complete in the Longwood campdraft. And does Walkabout help to heal her broken heart?

My Thoughts:

This book has been on my radar ever since it was released and to be perfectly honest I have taken a long time considering whether or not to read it. As most of my readers may have realised I will read a wide range of books and I enjoy reading not only adult and young adult but books aimed at children as well. Being a horse lover and someone who has previously owned and cared for horses, I love reading books about horses. What I have come across in my many years of reading horsey fiction is that a lot of it tends to be the same thing, usually something along the lines of, girl starts riding at new fancy stable/riding school, makes new friends and enemies, enters some form of competition/show and insert resulting conflicts here. Now while I find nothing wrong with this kind of story after a while it does become a bit stale. This book is none of these things!

 I was pleasantly surprised when I started reading Diamond Spirit that although some of the situations are very much the same it comes across in a more down to earth and realistic setting. It really did feel like a dusty, horse smelling breath of fresh air. Diamond Spirit captures the realities of horse ownership and life in country Australia. Strong characters, plenty of drama and a hint of romance really make this book stand out.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book and would definitely recommend it to young horse loving teens.

Monday 13 May 2013

What I Read

Today is my last day of holidays. After two luscious weeks of relaxing I have to go back to work tomorrow. I did manage to sneak in some extra reading time in between the many hours of doing not very much and here is what I read.

by Beth Revis

by Karen Wood

by Isobelle Carmody

by Caroline B Cooney

by John Flanagan

by Joan Lindsay

Being a generally slow reader this many books in a two week period is an amazing feat for me, even if they were all easy to read. I may post reviews of some of these titles, but not all of them as these were really just read for my own pleasure and I was not intending to review any of them. They were all great books to sit back and relax with over my holidays.
What did you enjoy reading over your holidays? 

Saturday 27 April 2013

What Tears Us Apart by Deborah Cloyed

Title: What Tears Us Apart
Author: Deborah Cloyed
ISBN: 9781460898291
Publisher: Harlequin Mira
Publish Date: April 2013


The real world. That's what Leda desperately seeks when she flees her life of privilege to travel to Kenya. She finds it at a boys'orphanage in the slums of Nairobi. What she doesn't expect is to fall for Ita, the charismatic and thoughtful man who gave up his dreams to offer children a haven in the midst of turmoil.

Their love should be enough for one another-it embodies the soul-deep connection both have always craved. But it is threatened by Ita's troubled childhood friend, Chege, a gang leader with whom he shares a complex history. As political unrest reaches a boiling point and the slum erupts in violence, Leda is attacked…and forced to put her trust in Chege, the one person who otherwise inspires anything but.

In the aftermath of Leda's rescue, disturbing secrets are exposed, and Leda, Ita and Chege are each left grappling with their own regret and confusion. Their worlds upturned, they must now face the reality that sometimes the most treacherous threat is not the world outside, but the demons within.

My Thoughts:

I really enjoyed this book, it was emotional, raw and shockingly real. I was really able to picture the war torn slum and it made me realize how many things I take for granted everyday. My heart went out to the characters as I was drawn deeper into their world. 
All the characters were beautifully complex, and I couldn't help but wonder if I would have reacted in the same ways as they did if I was in their positions. 
The format in which this book is written took a bit of getting used to but I enjoyed the way it pieced the story together.
I would definitely recommend this book.

Sunday 14 April 2013

Roll With It by Nick Place

Title: Roll With It
Author: Nick Place
ISBN: 9781742704333
Publisher: Hardie Grant Books
Publish Date: March 2013


Career cop Detective Senior Sergeant Tony ‘Rocket’ Laver is a policeman with issues. Sure, he may have been returning fire, but the fact remains that Laver is the sixth Victorian policeman to shoot a suspect in four months, and that’s all the politicians need to get involved. While the circus of an inquiry begins, Laver is moved from Major Crime to the Mobile Public Interaction Squad ... aka the mountain bike police. Bitter, struggling to cope with the fatal shooting – not to mention his flailing relationship, Rocket is now wearing lycra and getting a sore butt on his bike seat.
Laver’s friends and bosses in the force tell him to keep his head down until the storm blows over, but that doesn’t factor in Stig and the Wild Man, two genuine bad guys Laver encounters on Smith Street,Collingwood. In innercity and outer-suburban Melbourne, major crime is in the air. Lives might be in danger but nobody will listen to a cop on the outer.

My Thoughts:

Roll With It is not your typical crime novel. It took me a little while to get into this one, but once it started to pick up speed it rolled along at a nice pace. It was a refreshing read with a light smattering of humour and a wonderful mixture of colourful characters.
I recommend this book to someone looking for a light-hearted, fun, crime novel

Saturday 30 March 2013

Mini Reviews

Due to lack of time this month I am going to be posting a couple of mini reviews.

A Ring Through Time by Felicity Pulman.
(ISBN: 9780732294885)

Alice 'Allie' Bennett Has moved to Norfolk Island with her family, where her ancestors had also lived. Finding herself an 'outsider,' Allie is determined to find out the truth about her ancestors involvement in the islands past.

A Ring Through Time is haunting tale of love, betrayal and sacrifice. It illustrates perfectly how easily the secrets of the past can be lost. Well worth reading.

Thanks to Harper Collins Australia and Netgalley for the ARC.

 Saving Grace by Fiona McCallum
(ISBN: 9781430898284)

After three years in an unhappy marriage Emily Oliphant decides to leave her husband and start over. Not an easy feat when your husband is one of the wealthiest land owners in the district, but with the help of her friend Barbara, Emily slowly begins to reclaim her independence and follows her dream.

Saving Grace is a story of new beginnings and having the strength and courage to move on when the world falls down around you. A nice light read, but the ending is left wide open for the next book in the series, making it feel unfinished.

                                    Thanks to Harlequin Australia for the ARC.

Saturday 2 February 2013

Hooked by Liz Fichera

Title:  Hooked
Author:  Liz Fichera
ISBN:  9781743562451
Publisher:  Harlequin Teen
Publish Date: February 2013


When Native American Fredericka ‘Fred’ Oday is invited to become the only girl on the school’s golf team, she can’t say no. This is an opportunity to shine, win a scholarship and go to university, something no one in her family has done.
But Fred’s presence on the team isn’t exactly welcome — especially not to rich golden boy Ryan Berenger, whose best friend was kicked off the team to make a spot for Fred.
But there’s no denying that things are happening between the girl with the killer swing and the boy with the killer smile...

My Thoughts:

I thought I would have a hard time getting into this book, I am definitely not sports minded and this seemed like a very sports orientated book, but I was pleasantly surprised. Even though this book has a sports theme it is the deeper themes that shine, and the handy glossary at the back help with the unfamiliar golfing terms used throughout the story.
In one respect Hooked is a classic 'follow your dreams' story, but on the other hand it also tackles some bigger issues such as racism, bullying and the socio-economic division that is sadly a big factor of our everyday lives.
I loved the characters of Fred and Ryan, it was enjoyable to watch them develop and grow as the story progressed. In their efforts to find themselves and decide what they really want they make some annoying and stupid mistakes that I am sure most readers will be able to relate to. These details really capture the essence of growing up.
Overall Hooked is a fun and enjoyable contemporary romance. I look forward to the next book in the series.

Thanks to Harlequin Australia for the ARC.

Saturday 12 January 2013

Indigo Awakening by Jordan Dane

Title:  Indigo Awakening
Author: Jordan Dane
ISBN: 9781743562413
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Publish Date: January 2013


Voices told Lucas Darby to run. Voices no one else can hear. He's warned his sister not to look for him, but Rayne refuses to let her troubled brother vanish. On her desperate search, she meets Gabriel Stewart, a runaway with mysterious powers and far too many secrets. Rayne can't explain her crazy need to trust the strange yet compelling boy — even though he scares her.

They discover Lucas is running from the Believers, a fanatical church secretly hunting psychic kids — gifted 'Indigo' teens feared to be the next evolution of mankind. Now Rayne's only hope is Gabe, who is haunted by an awakening power — a force darker than either of them imagine. A force that could doom them all.

My Thoughts:

Indigo Awakening throws you straight into the action following Lucas as he runs to escape from the Believers and his sister Rayne as she desperately tries to find him.

I really enjoyed the intriguing story line but found that the constant changing between many different points of view made it feel disjointed and hard to follow at times. Although it was interesting to see the story from the 'bad guys' side and it help build suspense.

Even though there was a large number of main characters I found them to be well written and easy to relate to, it was hard not to feel for them as their worlds were turned upside down.

A fast paced, action packed and suspenseful read, Indigo Awakening is a great young adult paranormal read and I look forward to the next one in the series.

Thanks to Harlequin Australia for the ARC.

Saturday 5 January 2013

Man Drought by Rachael Johns

Title:          Man Drought
Author:      Rachael Johns
ISBN:        981743560167
Publisher:  Harlequin Mira
Publish Date:  January 2013


Imogen Bates moved to the small rural town of Gibson’s Find to start a new life for herself after the death of her husband. Tired of being haunted by the painful memories of her old life, Imogen set her last remaining hopes on the little town and, in particular, pouring her heart and savings into restoring The Majestic Hotel to its former glory. But while the female-starved town might be glad to see a young woman move in, not everyone is happy about Imogen’s arrival.

Sheep and crop farmer Gibson Black once dreamed of having the kind of family his grandfather reminisces about, but he’s learnt not to dream anymore. Living in the mostly male town suits Gibson down to the ground...and he won’t have anyone — least of all a hot redhead from the city — change a thing.

Imogen has never been one to back down from a challenge, especially when it concerns her last chance at happiness. She’s determined to rebuild the pub and create a future for the little town. But can she create a future for Gibson and herself, too?

My Thoughts:

Man Drought is the first rural romance book I have ever read and honestly, I am a convert.
Imogen buys an old hotel in a small country town, Gibson's Find, after the death of her husband, desperate to find a new start. She becomes passionate about restoring the hotel to it's former glory and breathing new life into the tiny community.
Gibson's Find like many other small country communities is mostly populated by men, and after a difficult marriage  that is exactly how Gibson likes it. But the other members of the community find Imogen's arrival refreshing and are more than happy to go out of their way to make her feel welcome and much to Gibson's frustration, he can't keep this redheaded beauty out of his thoughts.

It is impossible not to fall in love with the characters in this book. Imogen and Gibson are so determined and passionate, making it impossible for them not to lock horns, but they are also in their own ways slightly damaged which makes it impossible not not to feel their pain.
Although Gibson's grandfather Charlie, was my favourite character. Charlie is just the right mixture of sweet and stubborn, and he really brings the story together.

Rachael's writing style paints a perfect picture of country WA, for me it brought back memories of times spent on the farms of my friends, I could really picture dusty paddocks and smell the gum trees and sheep. Man Drought reminded me that despite my suburban upbringing I am really a country girl at heart, and the love of the country really does run in my genes.

Overall Man drought is a touching and heartfelt story of love, loyalty and community spirit. Easy to read and delightful, a great holiday read.

Thanks to Harlequin Australia for the ARC

Tuesday 1 January 2013

Happy New Year

Hi Everyone!

Just a quick note to wish you all the best for the New Year. I hope it is filled with loads of lovely books!
Last year I did not quite reach my goal of reading 40 books so I am choosing a more conservative goal this year of a mere 25.
I hope you all had better luck with your reading challenges than I did!