Reviews & Ramblings, Uncategorized

Review & Ramblings: The Boy Who Steals Houses by C.G. Drews

I have been waiting for this book to be released ever since I saw that the lovely C. G. Drews had written another title! You see, her first book A Thousand Perfect Notes, is a masterpiece that will destroy you, you HAVE to read it!

The Boy Who Steals Houses struck a chord with me as it has a character who has Austism. This is near and dear to my heart because I work with children with Autism, so to see it being represented by one of m favourite authors is so, so exciting.

I was scrolling through NetGalley and saw this title and requested it in about two seconds. I knew I needed to apply for it, even if my chances were slim. But you know what? I GOT IT! I then posted an incredibly …ahem… interesting video on my Instagram story and the rest is history! I am so excited to be able to read this book! And even more excited to be able to read it before its release!

Okay, even more exciting, I got bookmail from Hachette and guess what!? It was a finished copy of this book! I am dead! Actually dead! This book is so pretty and big and real! I am so excited to add it to my collection!

As always, here is the disclaimer letting you know that this review post does include SPOILERS, so if you haven’t read this book, I highly recommend clicking HERE and reading my spoiler free revire on GoodReads.

Let’s get the pages turning!

 

40170373._UY630_SR1200,630_

The Boy Who Steals Houses by C. G. Drews

5/5 Star Read!

Publishes on April 4th 2019 by Orchard Books

Book Depository

GoodReads

 

I’m not crying, you’re crying! Wow I am only 9% in and I can’t stop the tears. Avery is such a perfect representation of what it is like to live with Autism. I feel so connected to him after only a few pages and want the best for this little man. Sam, is also such a sensitive soul, who only wants a life for his brother and a home for himself. This book is going to wreck me, I can tell.

Oh wow, their dad is a complete arsehole! What the heck, who takes a child with Austism’s special toy away? The one thing that calms them? Any parent of a child with autism should know this… in theory. And then the worst thing that could happen, happens. The father hits the son, the son with autism. Avery. He hits Avery. While Sam watches from the car, tied in by his seatbelt, unable to help. What a traumatic thing, for each of them to live through. Each of them experiencing the same Trauma from different aspects. My heart is bleeding, this book is killing me.

So amazingly written, when I read ‘And he hits him’ tears ran from my eyes and my heart rate sped to a mile a minute. The way C. G. Drews creates her characters and scenes is incredible. The amount of emotion she creates in a single sentence is amazing.

Oh wow, the Delaineys are such a perfect family! I love how they are so welcoming to anyone who enters their house, that they don’t even question who Sam is. Yes, I can see how that can be kind of dangerous, but for Sam, it was a godsend. He wants so desperately to be a part of the family, to have a family like the Delaineys. To have a dad who cares enough about them to give them holiday jobs, to put food on the table and to feed strange kids that appear at his house.

Poor Sammy, he thinks he has blown it with Moxie, but I think she was just angry, I don’t think he has blown it at all. He saved her baby brother, it was just a shock to see him hiding in her dead mothers study… well I think her mum died, no one speaks of her and so far we have only heard about medical bills… but that is neither here nor there. I think Moxie will come around, if only Sam will man up and go back around there, tell the truth and say he needs help.

Avery, wow Avery, what are you doing!? This is the side of adulthood Autism that really scares me. He is so trusting that he is vulnerable. He just wants to please, to be praised for his hard and delicate work. To have people who appreciate his smarts and abilities. To have a pretty girl interested in him. But he is going to have a huge fall, she is stopping him from stimming, she is introducing him to stealing on a much bigger level, to alcohol, to sex. All things that typically, people with Autism struggle with, all things that are gateways to bigger and worse things. I just want Avery to be happy and to live a functional adult life, but I think to do that, he needs Sam.

I am about halfway through this book and my heart is breaking for Sam, not just because he is homeless and has no one in his corner, but because now, he has even lost his brother. Avery is scared of him, scared of Sam and his fists.

Finally, Sam manned up and went and apologised to Moxie. Wow that girl is deep. She is getting called ‘mama’ by her three-year-old brother because she is basically his sole carer. Which is even more heart breaking when you remember that she is only fifteen. That is the bit that hits me the hardest. Both Moxie and Sam are only fifteen and already they are going through so much, so many aspects of life that they shouldn’t have had to deal with yet. They really are the perfect companions and Moxie’s family is the perfect fit for Sam and for Avery. I just hope that there is a happy ending in there somewhere for all of them.

Wow, okay wow. Sammy Lou has some serious demons in his closet, but he knew that already, that’s why he was running. But he found the perfect family, the family who picked him up when he had no where, the family who treated him like he was theirs and who took Avery in with no questions asked. He found his place in the world.

This book ended on such a cliff-hanger! Not in the typical sense, but in the, so much is happening, and then it just ends…. There are so many unanswered questions, so many more tears to fall and so many things I need to know. I need to know more about Avery, about if he stays with the DeLaineys, takes the job with the dad DeLainey, what happens to him when Sam goes to prison. There is so much I NEED to know! I desperately need a second book!

As always this book is amazingly written, it will pull strings you didn’t even know you had. It is moving and emotionally charged and if you don’t tear up at least once, you are a heartless piece of cardboard (okay not really, some people don’t cry.)

I think what made it so much more amazing for me, on a personal level, is that I can so relate to Avery’s character. I work with children with Autism, every day. It is what I am passionate about, helping these incredibly amazing people to be able to function in the world when they become adults. To help them learn in the ways that suits them, in the less upsetting and confronting ways possible. I see so much perfect real-world aspects to Avery that it breaks my heart. He is such a gentle character, a perfect representation of what typical ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) looks like. I love that Drews has written this character, there are so many misconceptions of people with ASD and I am hoping that this book helps to alleviate some of those misconceptions.

Sam, don’t even get me started on the depth of this character…. Wowzers. This boy has seen too much for his fifteen years. He is functioning amazingly, all things considered. But I think what draws me to him, is his protective nature, his need to look after Avery, not only because he is his brother and he needs help, but because it is all he knows. Avery was all Sam ever had in his world, his one constant. He needs Avery just as much as Avery needs him. Two broken boys, both in their own special ways.

In wrapping up, you can already tell that this book was such a highlight of my 2019. I loved this book on a soul-deep level and I will be screaming it from the rooftops until I am red in the face. This is a book that everyone needs to read. It may be targeted towards Young Adult readers, but it is something that everyone will enjoy, something that everyone can relate to. Incredibly well written, a writing style that flows so fluidly that you won’t even notice the pages turning and a story that will pull at strings, you didn’t even know you had. A MUST read for 2019!

As always, thank you so much for reading!

Please comment below if you have read this book and what you thought!

 

Julie!

 

Uncategorized

Top 5 Austalian Authors

This is a list that I could have made go on for ever, but we all know that, that would be horrible to read, so I made it a list of 5! I wanted to write this list purely so I could get some more Aussie Authors out there. I, as a reader, have often struggled with finding books written by an Australian Author, not just because the book industry is flooded with authors from everywhere else, but a long time ago, the books written by Aussies, just had a completely different feel, and the pacing was slower. I guess that reflects our over-all personalities though. But lately I have discovered a whole treasure trove of fantastic Australian Authors, from a wide range of genres. Some I have found recently, others I have been reading for years!  So, without further ado and in no particular order, let’s begin!

#1 – Matthew Reilly,

Do I even need to go on? This man has written some of the best, most action-packed fiction, ever. The Scarecrow series being one of my favourites! He writes with such passion and energy, it is hard to not get swept away by his writing. I was first shown the world of Matthew Reilly by my aunty, she has every book he has ever written and kept telling me about him I foolishly assumed that it was romance or something that I wasn’t interested in at the time (I was 16ish). But eventually I let her force Ice Station on me, and I was hooked. Since then I have slowly been collecting his works in Hard Cover. My latest obsession is the Seven Deadly Wonders series. I love how Reilly combines illustration and text, how he takes you on an adventure that could be highly possible, in each book.

 

#2 Scot Gardner

This man is a little less well known, yet his works are incredibly relevant and raw. Scot writes novels such as White Ute Dreaming and Gravity. Both of which are purely Australian and look as different aspects facing teenagers in the Australian culture. He writes with a rawness that pulls at your heart strings and creates a relationship with the characters within the first page. Scot Writes Young Adult Contemporary Fiction, fiction that will make you feel and instantly be able to relate to the characters or know someone who has gone through what Gardiner’s characters are going through.

I discovered Gardner in high-school and it was the prefect time to find him. His writing is so honest and filled with the knowledge of what it is to be Australian, what it is to live somewhere isolated and not have as many social outlets or channels for progression and growth as those who live in suburban areas. His books are often quite short, around 250 pages, but their content is quite in your face and hits the mark early in the book. Definitely an author you need to try!

 

#3 Jenna Guillaume

I have only just stumbled across Jenna, through her debut novel that was sent to me by MacMillan Australia for reviewing. Her debut novel, What I Like About Me is a coming of age novel about finding yourself and your place in the world. Accepting who you are and learning to love that person. It is an uplifting tale of growing up in Australia, with such typical Aussie characters. Jenna has a way of creating settings and characters that feel incredibly real, that make you feel as though you have been there too. And seeing how it is set in Australia, you probably have!

 

#4 Rachael Treasure

Can you call yourself an Aussie if you haven’t read at least one of Rachael Treasure’s novels? Rachael is near and dear to my heart, as she is a fellow Tasmanian. I have been reading her novels since I was 16 and I lost myself in them. She has written Jillaroo, The Stockman, The Rouseabout, The Farmers Wife and many more, including her own spin on Fifty Shades of Grey called Fifty Bales of Hay. Rachael is an incredible writer who encompasses the true Aussie spirit within her writing, not leaving of the ‘hard stuff’ out of her writing. Her novels are more aimed towards adults, as some of the content may be a little much for the YA audience.

 

#5 Lynette Noni

I couldn’t really get into her first series, The Mendoran Series, however, Whisper, was speaking my language. I feel as though Lynette has a way with words that throw you into the deep end, keep you thinking and then slowly reveal the secrets that she has been keeping. I also love the way she is able to show you exactly what she wants you to see, she doesn’t telly you that the sky is blue, she describes the day, the feelings of the characters and lets you make your own mind up about the colour of the sky.

 

I know there are quite a few that I have missed from this list, but these were the first five, that jumped into my mind when I sat down to write this post. If you haven’t checked out these authors, you seriously need to. Their writing is incredible! If you have any other Aussie Authors that you think I need to pay some reading visits to, please comment below and let me know!

 

Thanks for reading!

Julie

 

 

Uncategorized

February Wrap-Up

Hi lovelies,

 

I apologise for my lack of content lately, I have had a lot going on in my professional life lately, which has been making me feel unable to indulge in reading and writing like I usually do. However, I made some time to talk you you all about my February books! So without further adieu, here is my February Wrap-Up!

This month, this incredibly short month! I read 5 books! In no particular order:

Boy On a Wire by Jon Doust – 2/5 stars – This book wasn’t really for me, it started out strong and then fell flat towards the middle. I found it hard to keep track of what was happening throughout.

The House of Second Chances by Esther Campion – 3/5 Stars. – I was sent a copy of this book from the lovely people at Hachette Publishing. It isn’t my usual type of book, but I was greatful for the change of pace and for the slower style.

The Secret Runners of New York by Matthew Reilly – 5/5 Stars. – I was sent an Advance Reading Copy of this book by MacMillan. I was so, so shocked to receive a copy of this one, and so greatful! I am a huge Matther Reilly fan and this book was no exception! Wonderfully written and action packed! The perfect entry level Reilly novel!

Hidden Bodies by Caroline Kepnes. – 3/5 Stars. – This book was a bit of a let down. I wanted to read it becasue it is the sequel to YOU and I absolutely adored YOU. I wanted more dark and twisty Joe Goldberg, but instead I got, slightly creepy Joe…

When The Light Went Out by Bridget Morrissey – 4/5 Stars.  – I was given a review copy of this book from NetGalley, and I stumbled across it on my Kindle and thought, ooh sounds interesting… and it was! The writing style is so easy to read. It definitely had some Pretty Little Liars and Broken Things (Lauren Oliver) vibes, but a good read all the same!

 

Soo that is my February wrap-up! I was so excited when I realised that I had read five books! I thought my number would have been much less due to my busy life and the fact that the month is so short!

Have you read any of the books on my list? If so, what did you think?

 

Thanks for reading!

Julie

Uncategorized

February TBR

I always find writing a monthly TBR a little daunting. I know what I want to get through, but I usually only knock one or two titles off of the list. But I set it anyway, just as a guide, and to make me remember what needs to be read and what I wanted to read at the beginning of the month.

So Here we go!

Fated by Teri Terry

The Secret Runners of New York by Matthew Reilly

Boy On A Wire by Jon Doust

What I Like About Me by Jenna Guillaume

The House of Second Chances by Esther Campion

King Of The Seven Lakes by A.B. Endacott

 

5 of these books were sent to me by publishers for publicity and reviews or I requested them. So naturally I am so so soooo excited to read them! I am part of a blog tour for The House of Second Chances, and my review will be up early March! I am also trying to read more Australian Authors, so in this list, there are 5 of them! Exciting!

Thanks for reading!

Are any of these books on your TBR?

 

 

Uncategorized

January Wrap-Up

How is it February? Where did January go! I swear I say that every month, but it is never a false statement, it always takes me by surprise, especially now that it being February means that I have to go back to work next week! I am not ready for that at all! But what I am ready to do, is share my January Wrap-Up with you all! This month I read 6 books! I think I read 2 off of my January TBR which can be found HERE if you are interested!

Lets get started! Books are listed in order of reading, not in order of how much I liked them or anything like that.

download28129

 

Freshmen by Tom Ellen and Lucy Ivison

Published June 12th 2018 by Delacorte Press

Book Depository

GoodReads

3/5 Stars

 

This book jumped out at me, from the library shelves. It was just what I was looking for. A bit of light-hearted fluff. The book itself is well written and laugh out loud funny.
The characters didn’t really have much of a progression, they didn’t grow as people or learn any lessons. Up until the ending. You go Phoebe!

All in all, well written, funny and current. Perfect if you are looking for something light, with a sarcastic edge. But don’t go looking to this book for any real substance, it is purely something light hearted and easy to read.

download28329

 

Within These Walls by Robyn Bavati

Published April 1st 2016 by Scholastic Australia

Book Depository

GoodReads

3/5 Stars

 

I picked this book up at the library, on a whim.
I have always been drawn to books that have the WWII content matter. I can’t tell you why, other than I tend to find them, even in the biggest stacks of books.

This book is well written and easy to read, which is fantastic considering its target audience is middle-school aged children. And although it talks about dead bodies and starvation and people being executed, I think it is a pretty tame interpretation of the time.

I also feel that up until the last few chapters, there is a disconnect between the characters and what is happening around them. Maybe they had to be objective and ignore the horrors to be able to live, but it just felt stiff and emotionless.

I did enjoy the plot, how it went from life as normal, to living in fear of Germans, to the invasion, to the Ghettos, to the Ghettos being boarded up and then the Russian invasion and saving.
The way it travels through each aspect is fantastic.

I knew it was a younger reader book before I borrowed it, but I still found it a little monotonous to read and a little beige for me. Hence the low star rating. However, I think it is a great way to show younger readers what The Holocaust was like for children their age. In a safe and not so confronting way.

download (4)

 

Calm The F**k Down by Sarah Knight

Published December 31st 2018 by Quercus

Book Depository

GoodReads

5/5 Stars

 

I was so kindly sent a finished copy of this book, by Hachette Australia. I requested it from them because, not only does it combine dealing with anxiety and stress, something that we all can relate to, but it also sounds hilarious, which, according to me, is also what you need when reading a book about anxiety and how to deal with it.
Firstly, I was a little weary about reading and reviewing a self-help book. But honesty time here, I have suffered from my fair share of stress and anxiety, last year alone, I had eight weeks off of work because of it. So I think I am one of those people who, this book fell into their lap for a reason. So off I go…
This book starts off by asking you three questions, three questions that you have to be honest about before you can continue, and like me, I am sure so many people answered Yes to all of them. It is hard hitting this book, it makes you realise that you aren’t alone. That just because you are going though your own patch of anxious misery, there are people who are going through a similar thing, with some of the same thoughts as you. It is both confronting and comforting.
Everything Is A Tarantula – this chapter speaks to me on a deep, deeeeep level. Not only because I am particularly adverse to spiders. But Knight has so perfectly summed up the feeling of how anxiety builds. When you first see the spider you go into good ole, flight or fright, then the heart rate speeds up, sweat sets in and finally the inner monologue begins. I love this comparison, and when, in my life, my tarantulas pop up, I’ll know how to deal with them better.
I am loving this book, I didn’t expect to, but I am, it is giving me so many more coping mechanisms than I expected and it is keeping it light-hearted. The last thing I want, as a stress headed anxiety sufferer, is a heavy, scientific word loaded, text book. So this book is perfect. I can’t say it enough, It is such a good read.
I also love that this book has an index, got a particular problem? Look it up and read about it. Address your problem and deal with it. This book covers everything, from going over embarrassing conversations in your head until you have blown them up, out of proportion to acting out what you are going to say to people, while you are in the shower… knowing full well, you would never be as brave as you are in your personal pantomime.
I also love the Choose Your Own Adventure section in the back of the book. It gives you senarios and you choose which emotion you feel and it tells you which chapters to read, to overcome that anxiety, sadness, stress, anger or whatever other feeling you may be experiencing. I think this is a great way to assess just what emotion you are feeling, as sometimes, this is the hardest part, identifying how exactly you are feeling and why.

This book is a fantastic read, read it in its entirety, or read chapters as you need them, it is perfectly designed for both choices. It is easy to read, easy to understand and it is fun. It doesn’t make you feel like an idiot for reading a self-help book, it makes you feel light-hearted and gives you so many ideas and things to try, when you are having a hard day. I think that this is a book that everyone should have on their bookshelf, even if you only pick it up a handful of times throughout your year, that is enough. I guarantee it will help you each time you pick it up and flip through is sweary and helpful pages.

s-l600

 

You by Caroline Kepnes

Published September 30th 2014 by Atria/Emily Bestler Books

Book Depository

GoodReads

4/5 Stars

 

I picked up this book purely because I sw it on Netflix and knew I had to read the book before I watched the adaptation. And wow, am I glad that I did. What a read!

I really enjoyed this book, it has a completely unique way of telling the story, which I love. It is raw and gritty and crazy. It makes you see the world from how a serial killer/stalker sees the world. It lets us in, lets us see how Joe justifies his actions, his stalking, his collecting. And that in it’s own way is so psychologically thrilling, let alone the addition of the plot.

I loved Joe’s character, crazy I know, but there was something intriguing and almost romantisized about him, I wanted him to be happy, to get the love and happy ending that he was after. Carolone Kepnes has written the perfect anti-hero. We know he is the bad guy, a murderer, a stalker, but we want him to be happy. It is such a strange feeling. I think I was more in Joe’s corner, because I didn’t like Beck from the get go, I found her manipulative, easily lead, shallow and extremely vain. But I think her chacter needed to have personality traits that people wouldn’t like, so that Joe would be seen. And he is definitely seen!

Well written and engaging from the first page, this book has been a thrill to read.

My full, spoiler filled review can be found HERE… But only if you have already read the book!

What the Woods Keep_F-REV2

 

What The Woods Keep by Katya De Becerra

Published September 18th 2018 by Imprint Macmillan

Book Depository

GoodReads

3/5 Stars

 

 

Well, honestly, I am a little dissappointed.
This book was so easy to read, it has a fantastic premise, a wonderfully spooky feel and all the makings for a creepy, current YA novel. But the entire book felt like it was building up to something… and then nothing really happened.. Yes, I will give it credit, that the last few chapters were more intense than the rest of the book, but I just felt the build up was bigger than the big reveal, so to speak.
As I mentioned before, it is well written, the characters are well rounded, even if the whole way through the book I was highly suspicious of Dell, because who is that cool and calm with being thrown into a supernatural war? I also found the love interest to be suspicious too. The writing style was fantastic, scenes flowed well, there was no choppy-ness to the transitions.

It just wasn’t for me unfortunately. The best part of it was buddy reading it with the lovely Rose (Seventyeight.Sundays).

For my full, spoiler filled review click HERE. If this is one of your favourite books, probably don’t click the link…

39863269

 

Only A Breath Apart by Katie McGarry

Published January 22nd 2019 by Tor Teen

Book Depository

GoodReads

4/5 Stars

 

I was granted an e-copy of this novel from NetGalley and the Author in exchange for an honest review.

Sooo I may have devoured this book in one day. I didn’t plan to, but it is just so easy to read!
McGarry has an incredible writing style, it flows with ease and even with the intense subjects that this book deals with, it is still free-flowing, not forced and easy to read. It definitly doesn’t feel like a chore.

I love the magical intentions throught this book. The connection that Jesse has with the land, the way that Glory can keep Jesse and his family connected through her psychic abilites. And the way that Scarlett intwines with both Jesse and Glory within the realms of their individual magical connections with land and spirit.

I feel as though this book was a much darker novel from McGarry than usual, and I think it is important to say that if you have your own demons surrounding familial and/or spousal abuse, physical and psychological, then this book isn’t one for you. Scarlett has an incredibly controlling father, who doesn’t have limits when it comes to enforcing his control and rule. It is incredibly intense and at times it is hard to read. So be prepared for that.

I loved this book up until the last 10%. Something happens and I can’t say much about it without spoiling it (if you want to know how I feel about it and what happens, pop to my spoiler filled review which can be found HERE), so all I am going to say is that something happens that I don’t think needed to happen. It didn’t really take the book anywhere, other than giving Jesse a little more farming experience. Which is important to the storyline, but I feel that it could have been done in a different way?
So after that situation, the sweet ending, for me, wasn’t as sweet and as final as it could have been.

I did enjoy this book, the semi-ending did force my enjoyment down, hence only 4 stars. But all in all it was a fantastic read, it was so refreshing to read about a couple who each have their own demons. There was no kight in shining armour. They saved eachother.

 

39024318

 

Outside by Sarah Ann Juckes

Published January 3rd 2019 by Penguin Random House Children’s UK

Book Depository

GoodReads

3/5 Stars

 

 

 

I won this book in a Giveaway from Penguin Random House and from the author, thank you so much!

I found this book to be something so completely different from what I have read before. I struggled with the language style, the cadence of it also, but the writing style was fantastic, keeping me on track and keeping the pages turning. I also loved the shorter chapters. They were just long enough to give you what you wanted, but short enough to not overwhelm you.

Being overwhelmed happens easily within this book. You can tell from the first few pages that something isn’t quite right and your mind just keeps spinning to work out what it is.

I also found that this book didn’t really take off until the last fourty pages. Once MILD SPOILER ALERT Ele escaped from the Inside, nothing really happened until the final few chapters. It felt empty and hollow. But Maybe that was the point, to show us how differently Ele would see the world.

This book is well written and engaging, it does take a little while for anything of interest to start, and is incredibly strange, until you get used to the theme and the language use. I did enjoy it and I am so greatful for the chance to have won it. My Full spoiler filled review can be found HERE

images

So that brings my January Wrap-Up to an end. Obviously there were some clear winners this month, and I also got through a lot of the ARC’s and Galleys sent to me, which I am super excited about!

Usually I would do a post about books that let me down, but this month, it was really only What The Woods Keep, that made that list, if you follow the link above to my Review and Ramblings post, you will learn why.

Thank you all for reading, did you read one of these books? What did you think?

Julie