Saturday, 28 November 2015

LOBSTERS by Tom Ellen & Lucy Ivison


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My rating: 5 of 5 stars

My daughter borrowed this for me the other day and because I have SO MANY OTHER BOOKS to read, I wasn't planning on reading this yet. Then I picked it up yesterday morning, and finished it today.

So. There you go.

Hannah and Sam go to different schools and have different friends. Yet they meet by accident in her friend's bathroom during a party. Where she was supposed to be losing her virginity to someone else. She doesn't, and the ease they felt towards each other never fades from their minds.

Now, no matter how 'fit' anyone else they meet happens to be, they just want each other. And keep meeting up. Then disaster happens. And they lose touch. Before meeting again...

This turned out to be a very funny, yet super awkward love story between two very frustrating teens who could've saved themselves a hell of a lot of trouble if they'd just been honest and said what was really on their minds.

Yet for that exact reason this raw and very honest story, of what happens when young people face the pressures of finishing school and waiting for the results that could change their lives, was perfect. Finishing high school is such a high-pressure time filled with so many mixed emotions: glad to be done, nervous about results, keen to party, and being uncertain about the future.

This book captures all of that and so much more. There was only one character I couldn't stand--Stella. The bitchy best friend who constantly, yet slyly keeps the smarter, prettier friend down. Couldn't stand her. I knew people like her in school, and I didn't like them either.

Anyway. I really enjoyed this book. Turned out to be a lot of fun! :)

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

THE CREEPING by Alexandra Sirowy


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My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I love creepy books, so when I heard about this one I reserved it at the library. As soon as I started, I was hooked.

Stella is seventeen years old, and although she's popular and seems to be like every other teenager in the town of Savage, she isn't. Eleven years ago she was apparently taken into the woods with her friend. While Stella came back, Jeanie didn't.

No one knows what really happened. Not even Stella because she doesn't remember anything about that day. But during the creepy celebration that marks the anniversary--which is really just an excuse for teenagers to party--the body of another little girl is found.

Now Stella is convinced that she has to remember what happened in order to figure out not only what really happened to her friend, but also this new victim.

And so begins the classic tale of whether true evil can come in the form of man or monster... and the truth is truly disturbing.

I really enjoyed this story. Stella's life was marked by a creepy incident when she was very young. She then becomes best friends with Zoey. That means becoming part of the bitchy mean girls group, but Stella isn't really like that. She's just easily led by Zoey, who turns out to be a very annoying character put in her place by circumstance.

I also liked her connection with Sam. The childhood friend she abandoned for Zoey. He's actually the one who ends up helping her the most.

Although I really enjoyed this book and the creepy atmosphere was constant throughout--because Savage is a super creepy town--I felt that the last 20 pages or so could have been cut down into a 5-page epilogue. Or something like that.

In the end, I didn't find it that scary. It turned out to be more of a great YA thriller!

Monday, 16 November 2015

DRINK, SLAY, LOVE by Sarah Beth Durst


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My rating: 5 of 5 stars

OMG. This book is SO AWESOME. I loved this story so much that 5 stars doesn't seem to be enough. :)

Pearl is a young vampire who enjoys her vampiric life. A lot. She has a beautiful boyfriend called Jadrien, and is very loyal to her Family. However, the night a unicorn stakes her, everything she was starts to change. She can walk in daylight, she has a reflection, and starts appreciating all the wonders that come with daytime.

Her Family also see this as an awesome opportunity and send her off to high school. Here, she's to (somehow) round up enough humans to be offered as food to the king when he visits for the Fealty Ceremony. Sounds easy enough, except she soon starts seeing humans as friends. And the way her Family is--even if it was exactly how she used to be--doesn't appeal to her anymore.

So what's a daywalking, reflection-casting, super fabulous vampire with a conscience to do? Well, you'll have to read the book to find out. And you won't regret it!

At first glance, this book seems to be all about poking fun at the vampire genre, but it ends up being so much more. It's clever and interesting. It's filled with awesome characters. I especially liked Pearl and really enjoyed her journey from vampire snob to someone who cares about others.

The story is intriguing, the worldbuilding excellent, and the last half is intense! It's also super cute--just like the cover--and fantastic! And most importantly, it was SO MUCH FUN.

I seriously enjoyed the hell out of this book!

Friday, 13 November 2015

ILLUMINAE by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff


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My rating: 4 of 5 stars

After hearing so many good things about this book, I borrowed it from the library. At first glance this looks like an intimidatingly long book, but once you get started you start to realise that it might not take as long as you first thought to read it.

This isn't an average YA book. It's not a conventional SciFi tale. And it's certainly not an average love story. It's SO MUCH more.

Told via interviews, reports, messages, communications, an unstable AI, and amazing artwork, the story of what happens after a mining colony planet is attacked by a corporation unfolds through the eyes of two strong and intelligent teenagers who broke up the day their world collapsed around them.

I read most of this book in one sitting last night, and finished it this morning. While I really enjoyed it for its uniqueness, the ongoing tension and I was invested in Kady & Ezra, there was something (not sure what, though) about this story that kept me at a distance from the other characters. But I did start to emphasise with AIDAN.

Still, it truly is an amazing book! I especially liked the twists and turns at the end.

Wednesday, 11 November 2015

MADAME TUSSAUD'S APPRENTICE by Kathleen Benner Duble

Madame Tussaud’s Apprentice
A sweeping story of danger, intrigue and young love, set against one of the most dramatic moments in history.

Célie Rousseau is a talented young artist who, along with her partner Algernon, resorts to petty thieving on the streets of Paris to survive. It is 1789: rumours of rebellion against the monarchy are starting to spread in the capital, and the two of them get involved in the idealistic revolutionary fervour. But when she is caught stealing from the brother of the King himself, Célie is saved only thanks to her drawing skills and the intercession of Marie Tussaud, the famous waxworks artist and a favourite at the French court, who decides to employ her.

Suddenly Célie finds herself whisked away from the tumult of Paris to the safety and opulence of Versailles. This raises a difficult moral dilemma for the young lady who had until recently dreamt of overthrowing the very people who now treat her with kindness: should she compromise her ideals and risk losing Algernon – whom she loves – or should she stay true to the cause of the poor and the revolution?


When I received this book from Bloomsbury, I didn't know anything about it. After reading the blurb, I wasn't sure if I would actually enjoy it. I haven't read many books about the French Revolution, and I'm really fussy about historical stories. But I do know who Madame Tussaud is, and the thought of her having an apprentice intrigued me.

So I decided to give it a go... and I'm glad I did.

Célie and Algernon are teenage orphans who live on the streets of Paris and survive the only way they know how--by stealing from the rich. After she lost her family, she nearly died on her way to Paris but was saved by Algernon. Not only does she owe him her life, but she's secretly in love with him.

The young girl also has a peculiar talent. She can remember every single detail she sees in front of her, and is then able to draw the scene. It's her artistic talent that gets her out of trouble after she is caught stealing.

When Manon Tussaud takes her into her care as her apprentice, she finds herself living in a comfortable home with nice, caring people who also teach her the trade of waxworks. Now she has shelter, food and a place to belong. The only thing missing is Algernon. She misses him, but he's caught up in his own cause.

Célie has always wanted equality in France, but after spending some time living in Versailles she realises that the royal family might actually be as much prisoners in their life of privilege as the poor people are in their misery. Nothing is black and white, but once she helps incite the revolution there's no going back. And as they say, heads will roll...

Wow. This book wasn't at all what I expected. In a good way.

I found myself swept up in Célie's story instantly, and couldn't wait to see where it would lead. I also really liked most of the characters. Actually, the only one I didn't like was Algernon. He was just so determined to change the world that he ends up being blinded by ambition, and often comes across as a callous user. Sometimes, when good people with good intentions attempt to shift the power away from oppressors, they become just as bad.

Madame Tussaud's Apprentice is a wonderful--yet sometimes quite bloody--coming-of-age story about a young girl trying to find her way in a miserable and dangerous city. It's also a story about finding hope after everything she cared about is taken from her, and realising that family isn't always blood. I also think that the French Revolution provided an intriguing and very violent backdrop for this timeless tale. Because this might be a historical story, but the hardship of the poor and the drama of love will never change.

I'm really glad I read this. And as soon as I finished it, I realised just how fitting the red cover is.

Here's the trailer:


Madame Tussaud’s Apprentice, November 2015, ISBN 99781846883811, Alma Books

Friday, 6 November 2015

THE CASE OF THE LITTLE BLOODY SLIPPER by Carlie St. George


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My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Today I finished proofreading one of my upcoming books and wanted to reward myself with an interesting short read. And this story definitely turned out to be a treat.

I mean, check this out:

It was half past eleven when I saw her. She was standing at the top of the staircase, with restless fingers and defiant eyes, wrapped in blue silk that clung to her hips.

How can you not be intrigued by this? :)

Jimmy Prince is a PI who lives in Spindle City and has a teenage assistant. When he meets an alluring woman called Ella at the Prince family gala, and then finds her bloody glass slipper, he gets caught up in a mystery that is bound to get him into deep trouble. Which seems to be something he's really good at.

Absolutely loved this story! It's such a clever noir mystery set in a city full of fairy tale characters. But they're not what you're used to. This is a place full of strong, murderous women and intriguing people. Not to mention the story! And the writing! Loved everything about it.

Can't wait to read more.

BTW, you can read it for free HERE!

Sunday, 1 November 2015

DAUGHTERS UNTO DEVILS by Amy Lukavics


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My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I love creepy stories, especially when they deal with demons, so when I found out about this one I couldn't wait to check it out. Luckily, my local library had a copy so I borrowed it on Friday and decided to get stuck into it during Halloween.

Amanda Verner lives with her family in a cramped cabin in the mountains. After a hellish winter where they were all trapped inside for a long time and her mother developed a serious fever while pregnant and gave birth to a sick child, Amanda also had a mental breakdown.

Now she considers herself a sinner, and behaves in a way that is sure to lead to trouble. Especially since she gets involved with a boy and winds up pregnant. She doesn't tell her parents, and the boy rejects her. So when her father uproots the family and takes them to the prairie for a better life with more space, she thinks it might help.

As soon as they arrive they find the cabin looks great from the outside, but inside is a different story. The floor is ruined, the walls covered in blood, but their father fixes and cleans everything. They even meet a young boy and his doctor father. Everything seems to be better here, but only on the surface because Amanda is hearing phantom baby cries, knocking on the window, and starts to feel things.

It doesn't take long to realise why these cabins are abandoned...

I loved this book! The setting is written in such a vivid way that I felt like I was transported back in time. The creepiness is always there, like a threatening undercurrent that slowly rises to the surface. And I really liked Amanda. She did a lot of things that only added to her troubles and continually kept secrets, but it was mostly because she was thinking about how it would affect her family.

This story was unsettling, and spooky. It hooked me in right away. It's just what I expect--and enjoy--from a good horror story. Loved it heaps!

 
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