Synopsis: In Allison Sekemoto’s world, there is one one rule left: Blood Calls to blood.
Cast out of Eden and separated from the boy she dared to love, Allie will follow the call of blood to save her creator, Kanin, from the psychotic vampire, Sarren. But when the trail leads to Allie’s birthplace in New Covington, what she finds there will the change the world forever – and possibly end human and vampire existence.
There’s a new plague on the rise, a strain of the Red Lung virus that wiped out most of humanity generations ago – deadly to humans and vampires alike. The only hope for a cure lies in the secrets Kanin carries. If Allie can get to him in time…
Review: Julie Kagawa is one of my favourite authors with good reason. She knows how to tell a story in a way that is distinctly hers, and she knows how to leave you hanging at the end of a book.
The Eternity Cure is the sequel to The Immortal Rules and the second book in the Blood of Eden series. We are reunited with Allie Sekemoto who is now a vampire. She has been seperated from Zeke where she left him in Eden, and is now on the hunt for her master Kanin who has been taken and is being tortured by Sarren. She needs to find him before it’s too late.
My only complaint with this book was that similarly to The Immortal Rules, both books have a lot of pages. The Eternity Cure was 428 pages long, and I felt at times in the middle that this book dragged, which took me ages to get through because unfortunately it coincided (or perhaps was the cause) with a reading slump and I was going through. I know as a fan of Julie Kagawa’s work that her books tend to be on the longer side, but I felt like she could have maybe some parts could have been more to the point.
THAT being said, it was my only complaint, because the rest of this book was rather special. We had the return of some loved AND hated characters… I won’t be giving away spoilers, but I am talking about the return of some characters, so look away if you don’t want to know!
Firstly, Jackal is back. Jackal was such a good villain in the first book, and when he comes into this one initially, I was fearful for Allie – but turns out they both have the same goal in mind and they’re willing to put aside their differences to work together to find Kanin. We saw a different side to Jackal in this book, and in many ways, he reminded me of Puck from Kagawa’s Iron Fey series with his quick wit and sarcasm.
ZEKE is back!! OMG WTH… last we saw of him was in Eden. Turns out, he left Eden in search for Allie because he couldn’t handle being without her. There’s some hostility at first because he sees Allie with Jackal who killed Zeke’s father in the first book… understandably so! But we move past that, and I really enjoyed the progression between Allie and Zeke. There’s a real tenderness between them, but Allie is also trying to fight against her emotions for a great part of it.
Stick you dirty traitor!! All I have to say about him as that I really really dislike his character. He lacked integrity and I really wanted him to die. Harsh? haha
The story itself was really intense in the second half, and it became really fast paced after a slow start and middle. I really got into it, and the battle scenes were awesome! The last few pages had me absolutely shocked… and in true Julie Kagawa style, I am left with the cliffhanger! That is so unfair!!
Highly recommend this series. If you hate vampire books (I traditionally don’t love them), please give this one a try. It’s unconvenional in a really great way!
Quotes: “I don’t believe in fate,” he said carefully, “but… I do believe everything happens for a reason. That there is some plan, some meaning to this darkness we live in.”
“When I was Allie the Fringer, I used to collect books like this, from anywhere I could find them. Of Course, in the Fringe, owning them was highly illegal. The vampire lords didn’t want their cattle to be able to read—it might put ideas in our heads if they knew what life was like before. But one of my greatest secrets was that I could read. My mom had taught me when she was still alive, and I’d clung to that accomplishment fiercely. It was the one thing the vampires couldn’t take from me.”
“There are no good choices, Allison,” Kanin offered in a quiet voice. “There are only those you can live with, and those you can work to change.”
Synopsis: Knowing the outcome doesn’t always make a choice easier . . .
Addison Coleman’s life is one big “What if?” As a Searcher, whenever Addie is faced with a choice, she can look into the future and see both outcomes. It’s the ultimate insurance plan against disaster. Or so she thought. When Addie’s parents ambush her with the news of their divorce, she has to pick who she wants to live with—her father, who is leaving the paranormal compound to live among the “Norms,” or her mother, who is staying in the life Addie has always known. Addie loves her life just as it is, so her answer should be easy. One Search six weeks into the future proves it’s not.
In one potential future, Addie is adjusting to life outside the Compound as the new girl in a Norm high school where she meets Trevor, a cute, sensitive artist who understands her. In the other path, Addie is being pursued by the hottest guy in school—but she never wanted to be a quarterback’s girlfriend. When Addie’s father is asked to consult on a murder in the Compound, she’s unwittingly drawn into a dangerous game that threatens everything she holds dear. With love and loss in both lives, it all comes down to which reality she’s willing to live through . . . and who she can’t live without.
Review: I knew only very little about this book before going into it, but based on the hype, I knew I was in for something special, and I was definitely not disappointed. Pivot Point is special… it’s unlike other books I have read and it’s complex. It’s fun, but it’s also quite deep at times.
Pivot Poiint tells the story of Addie who lives in a community of people who all have different mental abilities of sorts. Addie’s is the ability to see her futures based on decisions she makes. She can see two outcomes to each decision and can let this guide her into not making mistakes with her life. Her best friend Laila has the ability to erase memories. Her mother has the power of persuasion and her father can detect lies amongst truth. This community is kept completely secret from the outside world, but when Addie’s parents announce they are getting divorced, Addie needs to make a life altering decision. Does she stay with her mum in the para community or does she follow her father outside the community where the ‘normals’ live.
In order to help Addie make this decision, she searches 6 months into her possible two futures based on each decision. Both futures involve two different boys and two completely different lives. The decision isn’t made easy though because potentially, lives are at risk based on what she decides.
I can’t express in words just how much I really adored the structure of this book! Each chapter alternated between Addie’s future in the para community and in the world of the normals. And whilst this had the potential to get messy and confusing switching chapter to chapter, Kasie West did a stellar job of making sure that the pace and flow of the book was at a similar place at each point in time, even referencing some cross overs between both worlds at certain points. It’s very clear that the structure itself was well thought through, and in my opinion, it’s a major part of what makes this book as great as it was.
Another reason I loved this story so much was because we think at the start that the book is going to go in one direction and then it completely changes. If I may quote the book itself, “Sometimes perfection reveals the lie, …, not the truth”. And this was so true with the love triangle. To start with, I wasn’t too skeptical of Duke’s actions. Complete jock perhaps, but I thought he was harmless and charming albeit a little corny at times. And Thomas, I wasn’t sure exactly where he was coming from. And then half way though, and I am completely in love with Thomas and everything he stands for, and I am completely cynical of all of Duke’s actions… someone can be too perfect, it’s true. It was a nice turn of events and well played out.
I actually didn’t realise this book was the first of a series, and personally I felt it could have been wrapped up in the first book. But I do like where it has finished because there’s potential to really expand on the current story as it stands right now. I just hope the next book is as good as this one was!
Quotes: “When I read, I feel emotion all on my own. Emotion no living person is making me feel.”
“Just promise me something. If this is a Search and you don’t pick me, don’t pick this path, for whatever reason, promise me you won’t Erase me.”
“Our relationship feels different. Like someone has taken my favorite sweater and thrown it in the dryer and it doesn’t fit right anymore. I want to pull and tug on it until it feels comfortable again.”
Synopsis: Time is running out for Rhine in this conclusion to the New York Times bestselling Chemical Garden Trilogy.
With the clock ticking until the virus takes its toll, Rhine is desperate for answers. After enduring Vaughn’s worst, Rhine finds an unlikely ally in his brother, an eccentric inventor named Reed. She takes refuge in his dilapidated house, though the people she left behind refuse to stay in the past. While Gabriel haunts Rhine’s memories, Cecily is determined to be at Rhine’s side, even if Linden’s feelings are still caught between them.
Meanwhile, Rowan’s growing involvement in an underground resistance compels Rhine to reach him before he does something that cannot be undone. But what she discovers along the way has alarming implications for her future—and about the past her parents never had the chance to explain.
In this breathtaking conclusion to Lauren DeStefano’s Chemical Garden trilogy, everything Rhine knows to be true will be irrevocably shattered.
Review: Sever is the book where my adventures with The Chemical Garden series all comes to an end, and honestly kudos to Lauren DeStefano for tying up those loose ends in Sever, because it ended in the only way I could have imagined it ending. Perfect.
Lauren DeStefano is a beautiful writer. She has a way of taking any subject and crafting words in a way that you just want to stop to take notice of the paragraphs and sentences she writes. I usually am not one to be so taken in by things like that (I am more of a “get to the heart of the story” type of chick”), but I appreciate good writing when I see it.
I was a little torn with Linden and Rhine in this book. As per the cover, Rhine has her wedding ring off, and based on Fever it’s no secret she wants out of this marriage. They really do have this love/hate thing going on sometimes, and sometimes they act so sweet and tender towards each other that I can’t help but actually really like Linden, as messed up as the whole forced marriage situation really is.
The whole premise of this story from Rhine’s perspective is all about getting as far away from Vaughn as she possibly can and to track down her twin brother Rowan. And along the way we encounter no less than three major twists that turn this story on it’s head and leaves you going OMG. OMG. OMG.
So much happened in Sever, and I’ve given a lot of thought as to how exactly I am meant to review this book without giving any of those spoilers away, because there are multiple huge twists and I feel going in blind is the only way to really feel the effects of the story.
If you haven’t read Wither or Fever, please give them a chance. It’s a fantastic series, very layered and entertaining. I challenge anyone to say they found this series boring!
“We’ll squeeze every second that we can from our lives, because we’re young, and we have plenty of years to grow. We’ll grow until we’re braver. We’ll grow until our bones ache and our skin wrinkles and our hair goes white, and until our hearts decide, at last, that it’s time to stop.”
“We figure out what death means when we’re born, practically, and we live our whole lives in some kind of weird denial about it.”
“There’s a limit to how much living can be done in a life without freedom.”
“When we’re alive, life consumes us. But when we die, all of the color and the motion is gone so quickly, it’s as though it can no longer stand to be wasted on us.”
Synopsis: The fates of Cinder and Scarlet collide as a Lunar threat spreads across the Earth…
Cinder, the cyborg mechanic, returns in the second thrilling installment of the bestselling Lunar Chronicles. She’s trying to break out of prison—even though if she succeeds, she’ll be the Commonwealth’s most wanted fugitive.
Halfway around the world, Scarlet Benoit’s grandmother is missing. It turns out there are many things Scarlet doesn’t know about her grandmother or the grave danger she has lived in her whole life. When Scarlet encounters Wolf, a street fighter who may have information as to her grandmother’s whereabouts, she is loath to trust this stranger, but is inexplicably drawn to him, and he to her. As Scarlet and Wolf unravel one mystery, they encounter another when they meet Cinder. Now, all of them must stay one step ahead of the vicious Lunar Queen Levana, who will do anything for the handsome Prince Kai to become her husband, her king, her prisoner.
Review: Scarlet offered me so much more than I originally thought it was going to. I wasn’t sure how it was going to play out, since it’s based on the fairy tale of Little Red Riding Hood (In the same way Cinder was based on Cinderella), but we got more than we bargained for as Cinder makes a comeback in this novel also.
It was so good being reunited with old faces with Cinder and Prince Kai and finding out what the continuation of her story was, and then meeting new characters like Scarlet, Wolf, Grandmere and Thorne
The two girls stories are told in alternating chapters, where Scarlet and Cinder have their own thing going on until their stories converge. I really thought the way this was written was quite clever. To be truthful, I have no idea how she did it. I know I read and experienced this merging of two classic fairytale characters, but I am still in shock and awe at how seamlessly and naturally this was done. Big applause to YOU Marissa Meyer, you genius you! Oh and to then give these fairytales a classic sci-fi/dystopian edge to them on top of the amazing spin you’d put on the books. Incredible.
Scarlet and Wolf. Holy crap. Such a love/hate thing going on there. Classic example of loving the bad boy that you’re not meant to have! I frigging loved this relationship to bits. I enjoyed the progression relationship wise with ALL the characters actually, because Cinder is still pining over Prince Kai, but then there’s this weird flirty sarcastic relationship happening with Thorne. I am wondering if there’s more to the story in Cress (coming out next year) and maybe Thorne meets his match someplace else?
So I am pretty excited (like you can’t tell) about the next two books. As mentioned, Cress is coming out next year and the interwebz is telling me that this will be based on Rapunzel. Goodreads tells me that this book will feature Cinder and Rapunzel and will take place in the Sahara Desert! And then in 2015 (woah), Winter is coming out. This book will feature Cinder and Snow White and will take place on the moon. OMG
Bring it on. This is a fantastic sci-fi series that anyone with a soft spot for a fairytale will love. I highly recommend it – these first two books have been a knockout.
“I knew they would kill me when they found out, but…” He struggled for words, releasing a sharp breath. “I think I realized that I would rather die because I betrayed them, than live because I betrayed you.”
“But you’re the only one, Scarlet. You’ll always be the only one.”
“A relieved grin filled up Thorne’s face. “We’re having another moment, aren’t we?”
“If by a moment, you mean me not wanting to strangle you for the first time since we met, then I guess we are.”
Synopsis: A deeply affecting coming-of-age story, Looking for Alaska traces the journey of Miles Halter, a misfit Florida teenager who leaves the safety of home for a boarding school in Alabama and a chance to explore the “Great Perhaps.” Debut novelist and NPR commentator Green perfectly captures the intensity of feeling and despair that defines adolescence in this hip, shocking, and emotionally charged work of fiction.
Miles has a quirky interest in famous people’s last words, especially François Rabelais’s final statement, “I go to seek a Great Perhaps.” Determined not to wait for death to begin a similar quest, Miles convinces his parents to let him leave home. Once settled at Culver Creek Preparatory School, he befriends a couple of equally gifted outcasts: his roommate Chip―commonly known as the Colonel—who has a predilection for memorizing long, alphabetical lists for fun; and the beautiful and unpredictable Alaska, whom Miles comes to adore.
The kids grow closer as they make their way through a school year filled with contraband, tests, pranks, breakups, and revelations about family and life. But as the story hurtles toward its shattering climax, chapter headings like “forty-six days before” and “the last day” portend a tragic event―one that will change Miles forever and lead him to new conclusions about the value of his cherished “Great Perhaps.”
Review: I didn’t really have much idea about what Looking For Alaska was all about before I started reading it. I knew that it has a massive fan base (Which goes along with John Green territory really), but no idea about the story itself. I highly recommend going into this book blind like I did, because I feel it amplified my emotions. I was caught off guard and went on an emotional rollercoaster with this one.
How does John Green do this? He is able to tap into the mind of an everyday ordinary teenage boy and describe the day to day goings on in such a way, that even though it’s an ordinary life, feels extraordinary when you take it in. The characters are written with such realism that it’s hard to forget you’re reading a work of fiction. I mean, drinking Strawberry Hill, smoking in the bathroom with the shower on to hide the fumes, mixing your liquer in milk, a suit case that transforms into your coffee table, confidence issues, experiencing your first blow job. This is a coming of age story at it’s rawest.
But it’s also more than that. Because it’s about relationships as well. It’s about making friends despite your differences, it’s about falling in love (and also maybe a bit about falling in lust). It doesn’t pretend that all friendships are smooth. The charatcers are complex and three dimensional and layered. Alaska herself is friendly one moment, and the next she is angry and doesn’t want to talk. And then she goes to being flirty and playful, and the next in tears. The characters are presented on paper as they would if they were real people, because that’s what we are – complex creatures. I feel like John Green has a beautiful way of highlighting this through his writing.
In particular I really appreciated the self-depreciating way that Miles is about himself. We often are told of how perfect our YA boys are, yet one of the very first things Miles talks about himself is to say that he has no friends, is not popular, and is far too skinny. He carries these insecurities with him throughout the book, and it’s clear that Alaska and Lara both don’t share the same sentiments as they mention how hot they find him, but our protagonist has his hang ups about himself.
This is the second John Green book I’ve read (I also read The Fault In Our Stars) and both books were absolutely wonderful and evoked strong emotions in their own ways. Any praise John Green gets is so well deserved. I am definitely planning on reading his other books after this experience.
“When adults say, “Teenagers think they are invincible” with that sly, stupid smile on their faces, they don’t know how right they are. We need never be hopeless, because we can never be irreparably broken. We think that we are invincible because we are. We cannot be born, and we cannot die. Like all energy, we can only change shapes and sizes and manifestations. They forget that when they get old. They get scared of losing and failing. But that part of us greater than the sum of our parts cannot begin and cannot end, and so it cannot fail.”
“Thomas Edison’s last words were ‘It’s very beautiful over there’. I don’t know where there is, but I believe it’s somewhere, and I hope it’s beautiful.”
“I wanted so badly to lie down next to her on the couch, to wrap my arms around her and sleep. Not fuck, like in those movies. Not even have sex. Just sleep together in the most innocent sense of the phrase. But I lacked the courage and she had a boyfriend and I was gawky and she was gorgeous and I was hopelessly boring and she was endlessly fascinating. So I walked back to my room and collapsed on the bottom bunk, thinking that if people were rain, I was drizzle and she was hurricane.”
Synopsis: The city of Ludlow is gripped by the hottest July on record. The asphalt is melting, the birds are dying, petty crime is on the rise, and someone in Hannah Wagnor’s peaceful suburban community is killing girls.
For Hannah, the summer is a complicated one. Her best friend Lillian died six months ago, and Hannah just wants her life to go back to normal. But how can things be normal when Lillian’s ghost is haunting her bedroom, pushing her to investigate the mysterious string of murders? Hannah’s just trying to understand why her friend self-destructed, and where she fits now that Lillian isn’t there to save her a place among the social elite. And she must stop thinking about Finny Boone, the big, enigmatic delinquent whose main hobbies seem to include petty larceny and surprising acts of kindness.
With the entire city in a panic, Hannah soon finds herself drawn into a world of ghost girls and horrifying secrets. She realises that only by confronting the Valentine Killer will she be able move on with her life – and it’s up to her to put together the pieces before he strikes again.
Review: This is the first book of Brenna Yovanoff’s that I have read, but I am most definitely keen to read some of her other books now that I know what her work is like. It was one of those books that I barely knew anything about before I went into it (I’ve been kinda doing that a lot lately by my own admission).. and in this case it worked exceptionally well.
Dark, not afraid to cross genres and most of all strong from start to end, I really enjoyed Paper Valentine. Part paranormal fiction, part murder mystery and part contemporary, this was a beautifully unique blend of genres that hadn’t crossed my mind before.
Hannah has been seeing the ghost of her best friend Lillian for 6 months now. Lillian passed away from anorexia and she follows Hannah just about everywhere. Then the murders start happening in Ludlow. Teenage girls are being killed brutally with small toys being sprinkled around their dead bodies. Hannah is appalled but also morbidly curious about finding out who is behind the murders. And of course, there’s Finny. The object of Hannah’s fantasies. Finny is the bad boy at school, and Hannah can’t help but become drawn to him despite her best attempts not too.
Firstly, I loved the relationship between Hannah and Finny. Going from acquaintances to awkward friendship to their first kiss. Finny is the ultimate example of being misunderstood. Yes, he’s done some bad things before. But he’s also had a really bad life and suffered through some pretty shitty things from the sounds of it before living with his Aunt, whom it’s clear he adores. Maybe it’s me.. I am a sucker for a bad boy, but in this case I think Finny has been judged too soon!
Lillian…. sigh. I didn’t like her character at all. But I learnt to look past her (cause she’s a ghost… get it?! *crickets*) mostly because whilst she is present a lot of the time, it’s background noise a lot of it. I got why she was in this book, I made the connection when I finished this read and could see why she was included, but at the same time, I feel like this book could have very well have been written without her character included and it would have still been as good. I didn’t feel she offered THAT much to the story, except to go into detail about what happened to her – which I feel could have been told by Hannah without Lillian actually being a character in the novel. It didn’t annoy me THAT much. It was the only thing that made me go meh in this book.
The plot was absolutely original and suspenseful. I admittedly didn’t see the twist coming (because I have always been absolutely terrible at these types of guessing games my whole life – I know this will never change, and I accept this about myself) and as soon as it happened I was like OMG I saw that coming all along (I didn’t). I really enjoyed the ending. I thought it was a perfect end to a really entertaining book.
Definitely pick up a copy of this one guys – even if you borrow it from your library like I did. I really enjoyed this!
Synopsis: An epidemic of apocalyptic proportions has swept the globe, causing the dead to rise and feed on the living. In a matter of months, society has crumbled: There is no government, no grocery stores, no mail delivery, no cable TV. Rick Grimes finds himself one of the few survivors in this terrifying future. A couple months ago he was a small town cop who had never fired a shot and only ever saw one dead body. Separated from his family, he must now sort through all the death and confusion to try and find his wife and son. In a world ruled by the dead, we are forced to finally begin living.
Review: I truly feel that even if you don’t enjoy reading comics (or even if you have never read a comic before), you would still love The Walking Dead.
The introduction, written by the author Robert Kirkman tells us that this is the most emotional story he has had to write, with good reason. This might be a series about zombies, yes. But it’s about so much more than that. It’s about people and their relationships. It’s about surviving the worst imaginable elements and trying to protect your loved ones at any cost. And it’s a story of death and loss also. It’s as real and emotional as any fiction book out there with the added benefit of illustrations.
We’re introduced in the beginning to police officer Rick Grimes who was shot and ends up in hospital. Rick has been in a coma for three months and when he wakes up, the hospital is absolutely deserted. He ventures out into the streets, and sees… humans, that aren’t quite human. Without really understanding what has happened, Rick at least understands that something seriously is not right. He runs into some assistance from Morgan and his son Duane who find Rick in the street and explain to him that what he is seeing are “walkers”. Zombies. Rick’s son and wife are missing, and he soon decides he is going to head into the city by all means to see if he can be reunited with his family at a refuge.
Yeah, there’s a whole lot of carnage that ensues. Many zombies, many heads explode. Many of you will be happy to know this comic is in black and white. lol And if the TV show is too gruesome for you, then I highly recommend checking out the comic, since it was easy to digest!
What sets The Walking Dead apart from every other zombie comic on earth is the feels. This book is filled with emotion, and you become emotionally invested in each one of the characters, so when something happens to them or their lives are at risk, you’re right there with them hoping for the best.
I loved this so much, that I’ve gone out and ordered the whole Walking Dead Omnibus Vol 1 from The Book Depository ($50!) which contains this volume, plus more (it’s a whopping 1088 pages), and I intend on ordering the second volume of the Omninus also to complete my collection at some point.
This is my first graphic novel/comic review. I’m interested in feedback from you – my readers! I normally review only YA novels, but comics are a big part of my life also, and I am keen to add a review every now and then of a comic that has grabbed my interest. I think this will add a new dimension to Book Nerd Reviews. The YA novels are here to stay – these are my passion. But I am interested in adding diversity also!
A broken-down camper hidden deep in a national forest is the only home fifteen year-old Carey can remember. The trees keep guard over her threadbare existence, with the one bright spot being Carey’s younger sister, Jenessa, who depends on Carey for her very survival. All they have is each other, as their mentally ill mother comes and goes with greater frequency. Until that one fateful day their mother disappears for good, and two strangers arrive. Suddenly, the girls are taken from the woods and thrust into a bright and perplexing new world of high school, clothes and boys.
Now, Carey must face the truth of why her mother abducted her ten years ago, while haunted by a past that won’t let her go… a dark past that hides many a secret, including the reason Jenessa hasn’t spoken a word in over a year. Carey knows she must keep her sister close, and her secrets even closer, or risk watching her new life come crashing down.
Review: If You Find me is the story of Carey and her younger sister Jenessa who are taken away from their father at a young age by their meth addicted mother where they hide away in a makeshift home, deep in the hundred acre woods. There, over many years these two girls are subjected to a life that is unimaginable. They live on beans, their mother is often missing for weeks at a time scoring drugs and getting money any way she can, even if that means her daughters are sexually assaulted for money. This time, their mother has been missing for 5 weeks – the longest the girls have ever gone without their mother.
A social worker and the girls father find them after their mother says she can no longer look after them. Carey’s father takes both the girls in to try and provide them with a better life. But these girls have been through so much trauma – (most of which their dad has no idea about) that it’s going to be a long road ahead for them to get better.
Ugh this book tore my heart out, broke it, and then placed it back into my chest all in little bits and pieces. It was such an emotional book, and it’s effects stayed with me for a long while after I finished reading it. You know when you get that lump in your throat when you’re reading it? Right around page 244 I was right there – tears welling up in my eyes. It was a hard topic to have to read about in such detail, but my goodness – it was so well written and such an amazing story.
The difference between this book and other contemporary YA of a similar nature is that with others I am taken on the journey and I enjoy the narrative and plot but I know it’s fiction. This book – it felt real. It felt like the auto-biography of someone that had actually experienced this – it was that powerful.
This book does contain scenes that are quite disturbing in nature, so if you’re someone that is sensitive to things like that, this may not be the book for you. That being said, the story is an important one, and I felt the ending was perfect. I would HIGHLY recommend this book.
Synopsis: In 1918, the world seems on the verge of apocalypse. Americans roam the streets in gauze masks to ward off the deadly Spanish influenza, and the government ships young men to the front lines of a brutal war, creating an atmosphere of fear and confusion. Sixteen-year-old Mary Shelley Black watches as desperate mourners flock to séances and spirit photographers for comfort, but she herself has never believed in ghosts. During her bleakest moment, however, she’s forced to rethink her entire way of looking at life and death, for her first love—a boy who died in battle—returns in spirit form. But what does he want from her?
Featuring haunting archival early-twentieth-century photographs, this is a tense, romantic story set in a past that is eerily like our own time.
What is not to love about this book?! 1918 America. Spanish influenza outbreak. War. Seances and spiritual photography. There were so many parts to this story, yet it was all interwoven so beautifully and completely that it worked really well.
1918 in the US at this time was a very dreary time. Young boys are being sent off to war, many of them won’t return, or return just a shell of their former selves. People are dying by the minute from influenza. For Mary Shelley Black and her Aunt, they spend their time bathing in onions, eating onions, putting salt in their noses just to try and avoid flu germs from touching them. They start seeing their neighbours die of the flu and start feeling the panic of the flu coming closer and closer to them.
Mary Shelley is hard to keep still however, as she feels unsettled when her love Stephen dies at war, and his ghost starts visiting her. He cannot rest, he is suffering in the afterlife and only Mary Shelley can help him. Breaking the rules, Mary Shelley risks her own life (in more ways than one) in order to help Stephen move on.
I loved the grimy gothic feel this book has. It is dark and the reality that Mary Shelley is living is scary in itself. The characters are rich and real, and you feel you know who you can and can’t trust when everything gets shifted beneath you and you’re hit with the “twist”.
Underneath the creepy facade however is a really touching story of love knowing no bounds. At first I was skeptical of how this was going to play out, but I have to say, having those sweet touches between Mary and Stephen scattered throughout the pages helped to make this book as enjoyable as it was!
Overall, I adored this book, I love how different it was to any other YA novel I’ve read, and the real 1920′s style photos added in between these pages added to the creepiness of the entire story. I am highly recommending this book to everyone – my only tip is to not read this one in the dark! ;)
Release Date: Originally in 1979 but republished for the TV tie in on August 15th 2012 Published By: Random House Australia Pages: 144 Goodreads: Add it to your reading list
Rating: 4 out of 5
Synopsis: ”By day, we were at school learning logarithms, but by night—in the back of cars, under the bowling alley, on Cronulla Beach, or, if you were lucky, in a bed while someone’s parents were out—you paid off your friendship ring.”
For Deb and Sue, life is about surfies, panel vans, straight-leg Levis, nicking off from school, getting wasted and fitting in.
But why should guys have all the fun?
Puberty Blues is raw, humorous and honest: a compelling account of teenagers navigating the chaos of life. It is one of the great coming-of-age stories in Australia, and it remains as relevant now as when it was first written over three decades ago.
I was a big fan of the Puberty Blues TV show that was shown on Channel 10 last year. I absolutely loved this story, set in the 70′s of Debbie and Sue and all the trouble they got up to. Ultimately it’s a coming of age story, and even though it was written in 1979, it’s still every bit as relevant today as it was back then.
For Debbie and Sue, they’re two 13 year olds who are just trying to get in with the popular kids, who are surfies. They hang out at the beach, the girls watch their boyfriends surf all day. And by night, they are experimenting. With cigarettes, with drugs and alcohol, and with sex. This certainly isn’t a fluffy story about all the perks of being a teenager. It’s gritty, it has a strong element of truth to it, and it highlights the danger of what can happen when you fall in with the wrong crowd.
For me, the only thing preventing me from giving it 5 stars is simply some of the dialogue. Whilst I truly enjoyed this as an Aussie myself, I couldn’t help but wonder how (or even if) it would translate to a wider audience, especially internationally. Let me for a moment, become a translator and I will demonstrate *ahem*:
Rooly = Really
Slackass molls = Skanks
Perf = Perfect
K’niver = Can I have a….
Unrool = Unreal (ie awesome)
Go around wif = To be someone’s boyfriend/girlfriend
Titted off = To make out with someone
Point made? Yep. And look, after watching the TV show version of this, I really liked the clever way they incorporated a lot of this into the show, and perhaps after watching it, I even found it easier to read this type of dialogue because I could visualise it all playing out in my mind. But conscious of a bigger crowd as I said. People might get it – they might not.
Disclaimer = Aussies actually don’t talk like this. Maybe in the 70′s. But not now. Just FYI in case you thought we were an even stranger bunch. :P
What is a pretty short book (you can read this in one sitting), it ends up getting quite heavy with themes of sex, abortion and drugs (including heroin use). I am no prude, but again, an FYI to those thinking of reading this.
A really enjoyable Aussie classic. I have been wanting to read this for many years, and I am glad I finally took the time to do it. I’d highly recommend this to Aussies, but not sure about internationally (you tell me… if you live outside Australia and you’ve read this, did you like it?).
Synopsis: When Camille was six years old, she was discovered alone in the snow by Enrico Vultusino, godfather of the Seven—the powerful Families that rule magic-ridden New Haven. Papa Vultusino adopted the mute, scarred child, naming her after his dead wife and raising her in luxury on Haven Hill alongside his own son, Nico.
Now Cami is turning sixteen. She’s no longer mute, though she keeps her faded scars hidden under her school uniform, and though she opens up only to her two best friends, Ruby and Ellie, and to Nico, who has become more than a brother to her. But even though Cami is a pampered Vultusino heiress, she knows that she is not really Family. Unlike them, she is a mortal with a past that lies buried in trauma. And it’s not until she meets the mysterious Tor, who reveals scars of his own, that Cami begins to uncover the secrets of her birth…to find out where she comes from and why her past is threatening her now.
New York Times bestselling author Lili St. Crow thrilled legions of fans with her dark paranormal series Strange Angels. Now she has crafted an evocative update of Snow White, set in a vividly imagined world and populated by unforgettable new characters.
Unfortunately this was one I didn’t finish (DNF). It wasn’t for a lack of an interesting storyline, because I was into it. But for me, it was a matter of trying to accomplish too many things at once and overwhelming and confusing your reader (ie. Me).
I’m uncertain as to whether this would have made more sense to me if I’d have just pushed on, but I got to page 117 of 304, so at least a third of the way through and still was extremely confused at all the terminology being thrown around without explanation. To me, if I am that far through a book, I at least want some of it to make sense. If I am reading a book and am feeling frustrated because I simply just don’t get it, it’s not worth pushing through in my humble opinion.
I put out a calling to my Goodreads and Twitter followers at page 85 saying “Not sure if I am really feeling this book. There’s SO much going on, and I cannot keep up with Twists, Family, The Waste, Borrowing, Potential…. I am LOST! To those who have finished this, does it get better? Wondering if I should push on and let it fall into place or leave it as DNF.” After I posted this, I thought to myself that I’d try and push through it. 30 pages later and I can’t do it.
I can see the direction the book is headed in, and I think overall this could have been a brilliant story if there wasn’t this much happening – or at least an earlier, clearer explanation of what the above means rather than leaving it to guesswork. I had to understand what some of those things meant from a review someone did of this book – and THEN it started to make sense. That’s not the job of a reader, to have to go out and find out what definitions mean from someone else’s review. That is for the author to explain, and I just didn’t get it.
That being said, the above are simply my thoughts. Others have reviewed this book and given it 5 out of 5 stars and some really great reviews, so just because this one isn’t for me, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t give this one a go yourself!
Synopsis: Reminiscent of the Elizabeth Smart case, Pretty Girl-13 is a disturbing and powerful psychological mystery about a girl who must piece together the story of her kidnapping and captivity.
Angie Chapman was thirteen years old when she ventured into the woods alone on a Girl Scouts camping trip. Now she’s returned home…only to find that it’s three years later and she’s sixteen-or at least that’s what everyone tells her.
What happened to the past three years of her life?
Angie doesn’t know.
But there are people who do — people who could tell Angie every detail of her forgotten time, if only they weren’t locked inside her mind. With a tremendous amount of courage, Angie embarks on a journey to discover the fragments of her personality, otherwise known as her “alters.” As she unearths more and more about her past, she discovers a terrifying secret and must decide: When you remember things you wish you could forget, do you destroy the parts of yourself that are responsible?
Liz Coley’s alarming and fascinating psychological mystery is a disturbing – and ultimately empowering page-turner about accepting our whole selves, and the healing power of courage, hope, and love.
I didn’t know too much about Pretty Girl-13 before I read it, and it took me some time to wrap my brain around the writing which starts off being told in a third-person narrative, and then switches later on to being first-person. However, I got used to it, and once I stopped over-thinking it, I really enjoyed the storyline itself.
I found some of the twists that become uncovered to be quite disturbing.. but the story itself IS quite disturbing in nature anyways. The story is about Angie, a 16 year old girl who has come home suddenly after being missing for 3 years. She has no recollection of being away for that long… she feels like she was only missing for 2 days and in her mind still feels 13.
After going to a psychologist, Angie is diagnosed with Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) also sometimes referred to as multiple personality disorder. There are at least 4 other personalities with Angie that she has created to help bury the layers of trauma she suffered in the last 3 years.
Slowly with counselling, Angie is confronted with shocking truth after shocking truth about her life, and tries to piece her life back together.
As a former psych university student, I loved this book as I am fascinated with DID. But I think this book would appeal to many people in general because of the dark gritty aspects of it, as well as that element of reality about it. In many ways it’s reminiscent of the Elizabeth Short kidnapping story and as humans we’re naturally curious to know more about these types of stories.
I really felt for Angie and by the end of the book, I had a lot of respect for the way she handled the situation she becomes faced with. I actually felt quite emotional towards some of the personalities she had created. I wanted to hug Tattletale and protect Girl Scout.
It’s unusual to come across a YA book with this type of subject (The last one I read with similar themes was Living Dead Girl by Elizabeth Scott), and it’s morbidly fascinating. If you’re easily creeped out or disturbed, this may not be the book for you, but otherwise I will definitely be recommending this book! Fantastic solid read!
Synopsis: Sixteen-year-old Kyra, a highly-skilled potions master, is the only one who knows her kingdom is on the verge of destruction—which means she’s the only one who can save it. Faced with no other choice, Kyra decides to do what she does best: poison the kingdom’s future ruler, who also happens to be her former best friend.
But, for the first time ever, her poisoned dart . . . misses.
Now a fugitive instead of a hero, Kyra is caught in a game of hide-and-seek with the king’s army and her potioner ex-boyfriend, Hal. At least she’s not alone. She’s armed with her vital potions, a too-cute pig, and Fred, the charming adventurer she can’t stop thinking about. Kyra is determined to get herself a second chance (at murder), but will she be able to find and defeat the princess before Hal and the army find her?
Kyra is not your typical murderer, and she’s certainly no damsel-in-distress—she’s the lovable and quick-witted hero of this romantic novel that has all the right ingredients to make teen girls swoon.
Review: Poison was nothing short of an action packed adventure from top to bottom – I really enjoyed this! It has a real fairy tale style charm about it that reeled you in and kept your attention piqued the whole time.
Kyra is a poison specialist and also happens to be the princess’ best friend. Although she did just try to kill the princess in order to save the kingdom… and now the princess is on the run and Krya is after her.
A plot filled with twists and turns – some I saw coming and some that caught me blind sighted – I really appreciated how well structured the plot was as well as the pacing. Everything happened for a reason and all fell into place at the end.
I was really saddened to learn that the author Bridget Zinn passed away in 2011. I found this out after I finished Poison, and by that time I already loved the book (and wanted to know if there would be another book… where I sadly learnt what had happened). She was such a brilliant author!
I really loved the persistence and loyalty of Fred. No matter how smarmy Kyra is and tries to escape him, he comes back for more and I love how this was played out.
I always enjoy a really good villain, and this book had it all. Heroes, villains, a cute little pig called Rosie, princesses, princes, queens and kings not to mention witches, potioners, gypsies, trolls and more! I went in with no knowledge of what the book was about and I just let it unfold around me… it was wonderful.
Synopsis: A catastrophic plan crash leaves one survivor: a girl with no memory.
Who is she?
Where does she come from?
Nobody knows and no one comes forward to claim her.
Haunted by a looming threat she can’t remember and plagued by abilities she doesn’t understand, she struggles to recall who she is. But every clue leads to more questions. And she’s running out of time to answer them.
Her only hope is a boy who claims they were once in love.
Alone and on the run, who should she trust? And what if she discovers that she is safer with a past that stays unremembered?
Review: This was a really quick and easy read for me, which was aided by the fact that the plot itself is so action packed, so you just keep on reading “one more page” in order to see what happens next.
I enjoyed going on a journey with Violet. As a reader, you know about as much as Violet knows – which turns out to be nothing really. And with each page you learn a little bit more about her, as she is learning also. I felt like I was experiencing this with her as opposed to being an outsider with the information looking in. I loved the way Jessica Brody approached the plot and the style she wrote this in.
There were aspects of the story I liked very much and others I felt myself questioning. As a whole, the plot was good, but had some holes in it and could have been a lot stronger. I feel people will still really enjoy the book itself like I did though. It just could have been better.
Whilst I enjoyed the plot and the characters themselves, part of me wished for just something a little bit more. The characters I felt whilst were great on the surface lacked the kind of depth that I need to connect to them on an emotional level. So even though I wanted Zen to help Violet remember, I wasn’t invested in them as a couple.
That being said I feel the direction that this story is heading to exciting. The second book has so much potential and could be much better than this one now that the foundation has been laid. I still hold high hopes!
“Forgetting who you are is so much more complicated than simply forgetting your name. It’s also forgetting your dreams. Your aspirations. What makes you happy. What you pray you’ll never have to live without. It’s meeting yourself for the first time, and not being sure of your first impression.”
“The memories that really matter don’t live in the mind.”
Synopsis: The last thing Tegan remembers is the crack as the gun went off, intense pain, and everything fading to black. One hundred years later, she wakes up. A fast-paced near-future romance.
Sixteen-year-old Tegan is just like every other girl living in 2027 – she’s happiest when playing the guitar, she’s falling in love for the first time, and she’s joining her friends to protest the wrongs of the world: environmental collapse, social discrimination, and political injustice.
But on what should have been the best day of Tegan’s life, she dies – and wakes up a hundred years in the future, locked in a government facility with no idea what happened.
Tegan is the first person to be cryonically frozen and successfully revived, which makes her an instant celebrity – though all she wants is to rebuild some semblance of a normal life … including spending as much time as possible with musically gifted Abdi, even if he does seem to hate the sight of her. But the future isn’t all she hoped it would be, and when appalling secrets come to light, Tegan must make a choice: Does she keep her head down and survive, or fight for a better future.
Review: Finally a sci fi book based SO close to where I live! How exciting!!! When We Wake is based in Melbourne in the future, which I thought was fascinating.
Tegan attends a protest with her best friend Alex and her boyfriend Dalmar on the steps of Parliament where the Prime Minister is attending. A sniper tries to take out the PM, but accidentally hits Tegan killing her. Until she wakes up 100 years later from being cryogenically frozen.
Confused and in grief for her former life, Tegan is thrown into her new surroundings, instantly becomes infamous – both a celebrity and a target for hate groups at the same time. Her only source of sanity are the people she meets at her new school. Bethari, Joph and Abdi – who she originally thinks is Dalmar, he looks just like him.
Tegan uncovers a top secret Government operation that relates to her – yet no one has answers for her. With the help of her friends, she digs deeper – and then has to immediately go on the run.
I found Tegan to be really likable – she’s just your average teenage Australian girl. When she first woke up and found out what year it was and what had happened, you really felt for her – mourning the deaths of her boyfriend, best friend and family, that she felt she had just seen earlier that morning – ripped from her.
The storyline itself was completely original and enaging. I know I mentioned it earlier, but yay for Australian sci-fi! I loved this, and I found it heaps more relatable being a locally based book instead of some of the overseas based ones where you need to use your imagination even more. Having been to a lot of these places myself I could see it all happening like a movie in my mind, and I loved this!
Fantastically written, it was a nice quick read – I’ll definitely be looking to get my hands on the next book when it’s out! Book trailer is below – my only gripe with the trailer is the girl has an American accent – which so goes against everything in this book, being an Australian title. But alas, the rest of it was really good!
“No matter how much money he’d been offered or how many glittering stars had requested duets, he hadn’t sung for them.
But he’d sung for me.”