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

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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

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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

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#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

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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

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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.


Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Waiting on Wednesday (53)

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

Monday, August 7, 2017

[Review] The Lines We Cross by Randa Abdel-Fattah

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Publication (dd/mm/yyyy): 18/07/2016
Publisher: Scholastic
Pages: 288
Source: Library
Genre: YA {Contemporary}


Violence | Sexual Content | Profanity

Book Tunes

My Rating
4/5
My thoughts

AU edition
I love contemporary YA fiction that unrelentingly and unabashedly shouts. Reading should first and foremost be entertaining, but it should also enrich the mind and open you up: to more perspective, more knowledge, more understanding, less ignorance. You can't read The Lines We Cross/When Michael Met Mina and not feel a little bit shaken up - it is not everyday that we read fiction targeting relevant political issues surrounding refugees. Considering the tough subject content, I was glad that this book was packed with many light and happy moments to balance it all out.

Friday, August 4, 2017

Down the TBR Hole #8

Source: 


Down the TBR Hole is a meme/feature hosted by Lia (Lost in a Story). Hopefully this will remind me to read some of these long-lost, woeful books that have been sitting untouched, forgotten on these bookshelves of mine.


Rules
  • Go to your goodreads to-read shelf.
  • Order on ascending date added.
  • Take the first 5 books
  • Read the synopses of the books
  • Decide: keep it or should it go?

* I'm not offering actively "giveaways" anymore - but if you're an Aussie resident and interested in any of the books I'm giving away, feel free to ask about them! I'm happy to give them away, just that there hasn't been that much reception in the past. Otherwise I'll be trying to sell the books through Carousell. ;)

Let's get started!

Current TBR count: 422

Thursday, August 3, 2017

[Review] Beatle Meets Destiny by Gabrielle Williams

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Publication (dd/mm/yyyy): 09/11/2009
Publisher: Penguin Australia
Pages: 291
Source: Library
Genre: YA {Contemporary}


Violence | Sexual Content | Profanity

Book Tunes

My Rating
5/5
My thoughts

I always have the hardest time talking about books that I absolutely adore. Gabrielle Williams is quickly shaping up to be one of my favourite Aussie authors at this rate, after having relishing in her latest novel, My Life as a Hashtag. I was surprised when Beatle Meets Destiny managed to far surpass any prior expectations I may have had (yes, I would pick this book over Hashtag!), and it may yet have landed on my top 5 for the year! One thing that I feel gives this book the upper hand is the timeless feel to it - even though it was written back in 2009 I felt like my reading experience of it would have been exactly the same back then: no social media stuff or technology that could date it.


Beatle Meets Destiny is a delectable conglomeration of fate and happenstance, superstition, astrology, twins, friends, love, skateboarding, stalkers, Year 12 life, and perfectly captured Melbourne-ness! I am so glad that I am reading more Aussie books so that I can stumble upon masterpieces crafted by the likes of Gabrielle Williams. If you have not read anything by her yet, seriously I implore you to rectify that post-haste!

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Waiting on Wednesday (52)

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

Monday, July 31, 2017

[Review] Love-shy by Lili Wilkinson

Publication (dd/mm/yyyy): 01/04/2012
Publisher: Allen & Unwin
Pages: 309
Source: Publisher
Genre: YA {Contemporary}


Violence | Sexual Content | Profanity

Book Tunes

My Rating
4/5
My thoughts

I am admittedly quite a shallow person and therefore tend to judge books based on their cover. I was given the impression that Love-shy would be a tweeny, very light-hearted book about romance, and to me that just didn't sound all that appealing. So I put it off. The only reason why I have finally picked it up is because there was a book event coming up which the author, Lili Wilkinson, was attending. I am honestly so glad that I did read this book because it was a fun and quick and really interesting read, and certainly not just for tweens at all.

Love-shy is part-mystery, part-romance, and a whole lot of other things in between. Penny Drummond, 16 years old, wants nothing more than to be a top-notch journalist in the future - the best of the best, re-shaping the very name and nature of journalism just like her role model and inspiration Nellie Bly. A model Year 10 student, her extra-curriculars include SRC, swim team (where she is the best swimmer), debate team (they always win because of her), writer at the school newspaper, The East Glendale Secondary College Gazette (her stories always make the front page) and First Oboist at the school orchestra. One day at the library, she discovers someone has visited a website for the Love-shy and just like that, she has her next big story.

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