Wednesday, October 18, 2017

[Review + Giveaway] Untidy Towns by Kate O'Donnell

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Publication: 02/10/2017
Publisher: UQP
Pages: 312
Source: Publisher for review
Genre: YA {Contemporary}

Violence | Sexual Content | Profanity

Book Tunes
My Rating
3/5 stars
My thoughts

Well that took way longer than expected. To be fair, I've been doing lots of tidying and assessments for my post-graduate certificate so I haven't been prioritising reading as much lately. But. This book was S.L.O.W. I was expecting some grand adventure or scheme, something, ANYTHING to happen, but it never really came and I can't help but feel a wee bit disappointed by it all.

Thank you, thank you, thank you to UQP and Sally for kindly sending me a copy of this book for review! Included with the book was a postcard - with a lovely message from Sally and a great quote from the book - and the book was WRAPPED UP IN NEWSPAPER! Not just any newspaper, it's made to look like an old newspaper from Emyvale, a small town in Victoria, Australia in which this book is set. My excitement levels were through-the-roof crazy high. I adored that cover SO much, it is gorgeous. The problem is that there aren't really that many bike adventures as I was expecting. Darn it, book cover deception! (Like that's ever happened before... *eye roll*)


Wednesday, October 4, 2017

[Review] Take Three Girls by Cath Crowley, Simmone Howell and Fiona Wood ♥

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Publication29/08/2017
Publisher: Pan Macmillan
Pages: 439
Source: Bought
Genre: YA {Contemporary}

Violence | Sexual Content | Profanity

My Rating
5/5 stars
My thoughts

Note: Sorry for the short review! I really don't have much to say, even though I loved it to bits. :) Read it for yourself!

I don't think I've had a 5 star read in a while, but this one deserved it without a doubt. Take Three Girls is brutally honest, bold and navigates a plethora of extremely important and relevant issues that teenagers face today: online (and offline) bullying, peer pressure, struggling families, toxic friends, love and heartbreak, sexuality ... just to name a few. This book was absolutely everything I could have asked for! I was just so hooked! My fragile little Feminist inner self was jumping up and down with glee by the end of it. :)

Take Three Girls is written in the perspectives of three girls at a prestigious all-girls private school in Melbourne: Clem, the sporty twin, the swimming prodigy; Kate, the quiet and studious cellist with hidden dreams; and Ady, the 'It' girl, who might not have it all together as she would have others believe. I adored them so much! And I love the randomness of their coming together and eventual friendship!

Wellness class came about as a way to combat the level of bullying that occurs in private schools, particularly the toxic PSST website which is a disturbing hot spot of misogyny and hate posts. I'll admit that when I read the PSST posts that were sprinkled throughout the book, I felt angry and frustrated. Why do some people have to be so mean? I'm glad that these posts were included though - cruel as they were, they helped to really drive home the troubling nature of online bullying, the anonymity of it all. I was waving my arms in anticipation when the girls pledged to take PSST down - they may only be words, but words (and rumours) can be the most harmful.

I loved that the authors did not hold back. At all. Like, even a little bit. There was a bit of everything in it. Now, I'm starting to get to that age where I stay away from books that have a heavy focus on high school life, but this book was just brilliant, I don't even know what to say!

Quotes

Favourites:
"'I would like, very much, to kiss you,' I say, imitating Oliver's formal tone.
Oliver is, as always, really good at what he sets his mind to. Later, I will remember this as my first real kiss, with someone I respect, like, need. I will remember Bowie playing in the background as Oliver's hands find their way. I will remember falling asleep, records spinning. (283)
"When I told Ady ... she didn't say, 'I told you so.' She just hugged me and told me about this thing the Japanese do: if they break a pot or a cup they don't try to make it perfect, instead they fill the cracks with gold-dusted lacquer. She said, 'They believe when something's suffered damage and has a history it becomes more beautiful. Like, it is more beautiful for being broken. Maybe all our heartbreaks will be like that and when we're old we'll look crazed with experience. In both senses of the word.' (327)
"How do you know if a boy likes you?
Maybe because they act interested in you. Or they ask you questions and when you answer they actually listen. Because they smile at you shyly and duck their head and there's no edge in their voice. Ben's looking at me like he's just given something of himself away. He pulls the oars back and we move with a sudden surge. I close my eyes for a few seconds and feel the trees, the sky, the clouds - all of it gently waving us back to the bank. (337)

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AUSTRALIA: A&R | Booktopia | Boomerang Books


INTERNATIONAL: x




I have received this review copy in return for an honest review.




Wednesday, September 27, 2017

[Review] They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera

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Publication (dd/mm/yyyy)07/09/2017
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Pages: 304
Source: Netgalley
Genre: YA {Contemporary | GLBT}

Violence | Sexual Content | Profanity


My Rating
4/5 stars
My thoughts

US Cover
With a title like They Both Die at the End, are you surprised to hear that they both die at the end? Me neither. That's not a spoiler, it's an irrevocable fact, a truth irreversible and unchangeable, predetermined by fate or destiny or maybe it's just some cruel psychic with a gargantuan crystal ball, doling out doomed lists of people who will meet their end within 24 hours of that dreaded phone call from a member of Death-Cast. And that's basically all you should need to know about this book, going in: they are going to die. Somehow, it doesn't make their deaths any less upsetting, I suppose, in the same way that it doesn't make a palliative patient's death any less than it was. Knowing doesn't exactly translate to acceptance of the inevitable.


Sunday, September 24, 2017

[Review] Shoebox Funeral: Stories from Wolf Creek by Elizabeth Voltz

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Publication27/06/2017
Publisher: Animal Media Group
Pages: 265
Source: Publisher for review
Genre: Non-fiction / memoir

Violence | Sexual Content | Profanity

Book Tunes

My Rating
5/5
My thoughts

Shoebox Funeral is a carefully crafted compendium filled with precious memories and anecdotes of a childhood spent on a farm. The experiences of Elizabeth Voltz and her ten siblings and parents are shared with delicate eloquence, making this memoir an absolute gem. I loved reading about the myriad many animals that lived on the farm over the years; while their deaths brought about much distress, it was heartwarming to know how well-loved they had been, and the resounding influence that they had on Elizabeth's upbringing is inspiring. 


Thursday, September 21, 2017

[Review] Flying Through Clouds by Michelle Morgan

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Publication02/04/2017
Publisher: Self-published
Pages: 246
Source: Author for review
Genre: Middle Grade

Violence | Sexual Content | Profanity

My Rating
3/5
My thoughts

Firstly, I should express my gratitude to Michelle Morgan for graciously sending me a copy of Flying Through Clouds for review. I was initially drawn in by the cover, historical aspects, male POV and the fact that it is Aussie YA. Sadly, however, it never fully clicked with me and it was only my sense of obligation that had me see this through to the end. Despite my saying that, I do think that with the right demographic, this book could be a winner; it certainly did have lovely moments.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

[Review] Alex, Approximately by Jenn Bennett

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Publication01/04/2017
Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK
Pages: 388
Source: Library
Genre: YA {Contemporary}

Violence | Sexual Content | Profanity

Book Tunes

My Rating
2.5/5
My thoughts

Sometimes, talking about a book that you just read is simply the best thing ever, leaving you with a smile on your face and sighing constantly, relishing and reliving the epic reading adventure you had just breathed in. Unfortunately, sometimes it's more like getting a filling at the dentist. 

Alex, Approximately had so much going for it: wicked California vibes (awesome setting - tick!), cutesy summer hate-to-love romance with smarmy surfer guy, classic film fanaticism, good fashion and meeting an online friend for the first time. I liked the concept of it, and I was so ready to read a fluffy contemporary that would give me all the fuzzy feelings. But I could not stop comparing this book to Fifty Shades of Grey, just with like 90% less sex, and like yeah, it's good to see YA books that address sexuality since it is a big part of growing up, but on the other hand, it was kind of like, ew, gross, TMI.


Wednesday, September 13, 2017

[Review] The Agony of Bun O'Keefe by Heather Smith

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Publication (dd/mm/yyyy)05/09/2017
Publisher: Razorbill Canada
Pages: 224
Source: Netgalley
Genre: YA {Contemporary | Historical}

Violence | Sexual Content | Profanity

Book Tunes

My Rating
5/5
My thoughts

Warning: suicide, sexual abuse, parental abuse/neglect, swearing, fighting, racism, prostitution and homophobia. 

You know that euphoric, lovely feeling you get deep inside when you meet someone incredibly special, and you know that you will do anything to keep them in your life because life has suddenly been split into two, before and after? Meet Bun O'Keefe. If I could choose to bring a literary character to life so that we could be BFFs, she would be one of the top contenders - she's smart, witty, quirky, sweet and loving (to a fault), forgiving, adorable and incredibly, endearingly weird.

Bun has been brought up in one of the absolute worst environments ever, and it shows in her behaviour. She was just 5 years old when her father left, ever since then it's just been her and her obese mother who likes loves lives to shop (see: obsessive hoarder). Living in a dirty, dusty and cluttered home, random knick-knacks and junk form piles alongside the walls. When her mum tells her to "Go on! Get out!", she steps outside and soon finds "Busker Boy" on the street, who takes her in and out of the cold. He brings her home, where she meets many interesting twenty-somethings, and so begins a heartwarming slice-of-life story about finding where you truly belong in the world.

Sunday, September 3, 2017

[Review] The Dream Walker by Victoria Carless

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Publication27/06/2017
Publisher: Hachette Australia
Pages: 265
Source: Library/Bought
Genre: YA {Contemporary}

Violence | Sexual Content | Profanity

#LoveOzYA

Book Tunes

My Rating
4/5
My thoughts

The Dream Walker was dreamy, atmospheric and wholly engrossing. Carless' lilting prose wrapped me up and pulled me under; I became helplessly attached to the story and its characters, as if in a spell, or a dream. While the depiction of small-town Queensland life, writing style and all its quirks were pitch-perfect I felt emotionally disconnected from Lucy's struggles, disappointments and familial tragedies. Overall, The Dream Walker was a mesmerising and beautifully written story about the complicated nature of family, dreams and friendship.


Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Waiting on Wednesday (56)

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly meme, hosted by Jill @ Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

[Review] The Whole Stupid Way We Are by N. Griffin

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Publication (dd/mm/yyyy)04/02/2014
Publisher: Atheneum Books
Pages: 368
Source: Library
Genre: YA {Contemporary}

Violence | Sexual Content | Profanity

Book Tunes

My Rating
2/5

My thoughts

Oh dear. I had to force myself to finish reading this one, and I only wanted to push through so that I could dust off my hands and start on something that might be more palatable. Since this one was borrowed from the library, and not a book that I feel I need to do justice by my review, I'm just going to rant and talk about it informally.

The Whole Stupid Way We Are follows two teenagers, Dinah and Skint. They have been friends for as long as anyone can remember, and they are inseparable. There's a barely-there plot, focusing more on the day-to-day lives and happenings of the two and some other characters. Determined to help the needy, they plot and scheme ways to help help help. Meanwhile, Skint's family is crumbling apart: Mr Gilbert, Skint's dad's dementia is getting worse and worse.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Waiting on Wednesday (55)

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly meme, hosted by Jill @ Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Top Ten Tuesday: Required Reading for High School


Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted at The Broke and the Bookish. Every week a new topic is chosen, and I love answering questions so I'm going to try and post regularly. :)


Monday, August 21, 2017

[Review] Ballad for a Mad Girl by Vikki Wakefield

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Publication: 29/05/2017
Publisher: Text Publishing
Pages: 368
Source: Library
Genre: YA {Contemporary}

Violence | Sexual Content | Profanity

Book Tunes

#LoveOzYA

My Rating
3/5
My thoughts

I read Vikki Wakefield's debut novel and really enjoyed it, and found myself connecting with the characters and story, it was lovely. This one? Not quite as much. In fact, I'm still so confused as to what actually happened that I fear my review will just be a completely incomprehensible mess. 

Ballad for a Mad Girl involves grief, death, fear, prank wars and rivalry between schools in a small Aussie town, a dog that won't go upstairs, pizza, friendship amongst misfits, and the voices and visions that may be all in Grace's head. Is she losing her mind or is there really a ghost, come with messages and secrets that can help solve a 20-year-old unsolved murder mystery?

Friday, August 18, 2017

[Review] Juniper Lemon's Happiness Index by Julie Israel

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Publication30/05/2017
Publisher: Penguin
Pages: 308
Source: Giveaway
Genre: YA {Contemporary}

Violence | Sexual Content | Profanity

Book Tunes

My Rating
3.5/5

My thoughts

US Cover
Juniper Lemon's Happiness Index came highly anticipated for me. I love books that explore the grieving process after someone has lost a loved one. I also saw the US cover appear everywhere around release day, which only boosted my excitement for it. I'm still not all that fond of the US cover, and while the UK cover gives nothing away I prefer it for the pretty colour palette used. :) This book is just gorgeous! Now enjoy my ramblings, because my feelings for this one are a tad mixed.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Waiting on Wednesday (54)

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly meme, hosted by Jill @ Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Top Ten Tuesday: Book Recommendations for the Verse Novel-Averse


Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted at The Broke and the Bookish. Every week a new topic is chosen, and I love answering questions so I'm going to try and post regularly. :)


Monday, August 14, 2017

[Review] Laurinda by Alice Pung

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Publication (dd/mm/yyyy)22/10/2014
Publisher: Black Inc. Books
Pages: 352
Source: Library
Genre: YA {Contemporary}

Violence | Sexual Content | Profanity

#LoveOzYA

Book Tunes

My Rating
4/5

My thoughts

I understand now. I understand why Laurinda is so well-known in Aussie YA, why it has been mentioned time and again as one of the most prolific high school novels. After having read Alice Pung's short story In A Heartbeat in the #LoveOzYA anthology Begin, End, Begin, and revelling in the unique format in which it was written, I knew with absolute certainty that it was finally time for me to read this book. And I enjoyed liked it, but it was a bit tough at times to stomach.

Laurinda follows Lucy Lam, who has earned a scholarship to prestigious Laurinda, an elite private girl's high school in Melbourne, and all the struggles that come with adapting to a new school. Not only does she struggle with keeping on top of the more demanding workload - she is also subject and witness to bullying at the hands of the Cabinet, a powerful trio of girls who run the school.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

[Review] The Crowns of Croswald by D.E. Night

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Publication21/07/2017
Publisher: Stories Untold
Pages: 310 (ARC)
Source: For review

Violence | Sexual Content | Profanity

Book Tunes

My Rating
3.5/5

My thoughts

I want to preface this by expressing deep gratitude to D.E. Night for kindly sending me a physical ARC, in a special box of Croswald-related goodies, all the way across the ocean for me to read and review. The experience was positively lovely, but I must admit that The Crowns of Croswald did have me scratching my head in confusion at times.

The Crowns of Croswald follows 16-year-old scaldrony maid, Ivy Lovely, who resides at the Plum Castle by the Slurry fields, her only friend a dwarf. After an unfortunate accident at the kitchen she is thrown out of the castle and stripped of her position, left to wander the fields aimlessly with only a rejected scaldron (dragon) as company . . . until she is discovered: she harnesses great magic within her and has been invited to study at the prestigious boarding school for Royals and Sqwinches--The Halls of Ivy! Swept away from the only 'home' she has ever known, she learns more and more about magic, the world of Croswald, why strange things seem to happen to her, and most importantly who she really is.


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