Ok, people. Hands up who totally loves The Illuminae Files?
<Earth shudders on its axis as billions of hands are raised>
It’s no secret I really dig this series. I love the way it’s written. I love the way you have to work to read it. I love the way it makes you question good and bad and ethics and whether we all should have a murderous AI watching our backs.
I jumped at the opportunity to read ‘Obsidio’ by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff as soon as it turned up shiny (literally) bright and new at my library.
I was not disappointed 🙂
Questions are answered. Body counts are added to. There are laughs. There is panic.
There is AIDAN…
Right. So, what are a few aspects I loved?
- That dash of you-can-do-this-too
- The distinct VOICES
I loved this spooky, quirky, thoughtful book! ‘Carousel’ by Brendan Ritchie has been on my TBR list for simply ages (please don’t ask me how long my very-long-list is!) so I jumped at the opportunity to grab it from my library.
Firstly, because it’s set in my closest too-enormous shopping centre, one of my least favourite places to be. Imagine being stuck in there <comical grimace>. I was intrigued how the book would play out.
Secondly, and most superly importantly, I wanted to read it because of a dream I used to have when I was a kid. All. The. Time. I was the only one locked up in a shop after hours. And it used to start out as such an awesome dream, with me finding all the lollies. Until it would always, without fail, turn spooky. Something else would be in there with me.
Cue the ‘Carousel’ toilet gnomes, people. When I read about them, I came to the realisation I might never ever shop at Carousel again… 🙂 Seriously, if I could choose ANYTHING to try and make huge empty toilet blocks less scary, it would not be garden gnomes with their little faces watching out of the shadows… <shudder> Continue reading
I didn’t hear the characteristic rattle of the loose roof iron above the kitchen, heralding a change in the wind. Hot easterly turning to a south-westerly that on a normal day would promise a drop in temperature. My brain didn’t register the growing smell of smoke, creeping up like an intruder.
The shrill clamour of the smoke alarm finally halted my study halfway through working out the molar weight of an unknown substance in question 34a. Fear buzzed as chemistry fled my brain. I made it halfway to silence the alarm before the power went out, plunging me into a dark that was simply too dark for the time of day it was. Continue reading
If I eat enough ice-cream the brain freeze might zap the memories of what I just did. It’s worth a solid try, anyway.
‘It could be worse,’ Hoz says.
I level a Grade-A Death Glare at him. ‘How, exactly?’
His mouth opens and closes goldfish-style, then he collapses back against the wall. ‘You’re right, you’re screwed.’
I hand him the cookies and cream. He immediately scores a monster cookie chunk. Just my luck. We eat in silence until our spoons scrape the bottom of the tub.
It hasn’t worked. I still remember.
Hoz points his spoon at me. ‘At least you didn’t try to kiss him.’
I have to smile. ‘There is that.’
The #scbwiwestchallenge encourages us SCBWI West Aussies to #createeveryday. The prompt for this piece was ‘comfort food’.
Check out Instagram to see other creations of awesome!
This was an unexpectedly extra-super-dooperly beautiful book. ‘The Stars at Oktober Bend‘ by Glenda Millard had been recommended to me, so I was prepared to thoroughly enjoy reading it.
I was even prepared to cry. Quite a lot.
What I wasn’t prepared for was the depth, the intensity of the characters, and the extent to which this book covers new and interesting perspectives.
I read the blurb and expected a love story with extras. It’s way more than that. The back calls it:
A beautiful, heartfelt novel about transcending past troubles and learning to live with trust and hope.
And it absolutely is. Like the ocean is water, or chocolate is yum.
3 things that were super-dooper
- Diverse backgrounds and issues
- Great use of POV
- Poetry you really do want to leave around the place so people read it.
Hello beautiful cover. I think I’ll read you…
It started with the gorgeous cover, but this is a clever and crisp novel that followed through on expectations. ‘These Broken Stars’ by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner was a fab accompaniment to a great holiday.
And it only got better on my second read, because it was so crafty I didn’t notice some of the cool things the authors were weaving into it until I started analysing.
‘These Broken Stars’ is the first in the successful The Starbound Trilogy. We have society girl, Lilac, and low-born army hero Tarver. Sparks fly, their spaceship fails to, and they find themselves stranded together on a planet with too many mysteries.
I loved the clues and suspense, and the gentle beauty that came from two people hiking and learning about themselves as they went. I also love hiking, but I don’t think that’s a prerequisite to enjoying this fab book.
So, what was great about it?
Let’s do some deconstruction… and beware the occasional (read: frequent) blatant spoiler… Here are three areas I’m going to focus on for this novel.
- Multiple plot themes = ongoing interest
- Characters and POV (I know, I sound like a broken record…)
- Subtle introduction of ideas so you don’t even notice you’re noticing them
When I finished reading this book, I hugged it. Arms. Book. Chest. Smile.
‘Take Three Girls’ by Cath Crowley, Simmone Howell and Fiona Wood is a raw and sometimes confronting book that is also funny, heartfelt and inspiring.
The friendship is fab, the character arcs super, the characters themselves so realistic. I ache for them, I cheer for them, I worry for them.
The book is chock-full of positive ways for teens (especially girls) to learn to feel good about who they are, but without that terrible feeling you’re getting a super-side-serve of preaching with your fiction. It’s simply a beautifully masterful, exciting and enlightening book.
I find I don’t want to dissect ‘Take Three Girls’ like I normally would.
No. I want to hug it.
I think it’s because I’m now a teacher, and I’ve seen both ends of these character arcs, and that’s why this book hit me so deep. I’ve seen the terrible sadness and missed opportunity of kids who can only deal with hate by hating on others. A dreadful spiral.
Reviewing this top-notch read has been a long time coming. And when I say long, I mean years.
I first heard about ‘Risk’ by Fleur Ferris before it was published. Here in West Oz, SCBWI have an annual event where we basically invite a few publishers over and then maroon them on a small island with us for several days.
Back in 2015 the publisher was from Random House. And she was talking up this book. If we wanted our YA to be published, she told us, this book was our benchmark.
The tantalising first chapter on the web hauled me in, but the book wasn’t out at the time. And somehow it just stayed on my TBR…
My library recently bought a brand-spanking shiny new copy that jumped out and grabbed me as I wandered past the shelf. And approximately seven hours after checking it out, I was reviewing it.
Because this brilliant book dragged me in and held me.
It frightened me.
It made me cry.
And it made me consider internet restrictions for the teenager my daughter will become in less than a decade. May it be a very long eight years.
So, what was so great about it?
- The balance between fear and reaction
- The background knowledge of the author
- The characters
Phew! First semester is over, so it’s back to the (fun) books for me! I couldn’t resist reaching for a novel I’ve been aching to read since it first came out – ‘Valentine’ by Jodi McAlister.
Great cover (don’t you think??!), great premise. Four kids, all born on Valentine’s Day… but which one is the changeling? Add a dash of love-hate romance and you have the perfect recipe for YA enjoyment.
This book does truckloads of stuff right. The characters and location feel so real. The start is amazing. All those midnight animals creeping around keep building the suspense.
And whoa… because if there aren’t at least two Valentines who can trace their lineage back to a bit of fairy magic, then I’m not a madcap children’s writer. Unfortunately, I have to wait for the next book to find out if I’m right. Continue reading
This has been on my TBR since before it was even published… and it did not disappoint! A clever melding of belief and reality, loss and discovery, fantasy and contemporary, it lured me in and held me. It’s been a while since I’ve read magic realism, and I sank back into it like a comfy couch.
‘The Shark Caller’ by Dianne Wolfer is a Young Adult novel that can easily suit Middle-grade readers as well. As in, no sex, drugs, angst or other decidedly YA-only markers.
‘The Shark Caller’ has a funky set-up that I loved, interspersing main character Izzy’s narrative with the POV of a shark (mako). The latter is beautifully set out on the page, not so much chapters as poetry and art. In fact, the whole book is beautiful.
It has a suite of diverse characters, and interweaves Tok Pisin with English so you get immersed in the setting of Papua New Guinea.
It’s fresh, it’s different.
I’m a fan. Continue reading