Reviews & Ramblings

Review & Ramblings: The French Photographer by Natasha Lester

I was lucky enough to be contacted by Hachette, to read, review and be a part of the blog tour, for this books’ release! I am so grateful for the opportunity to work with Hachette and to read fantastic Australian authors!

This review and ramblings post is a little different to my usual posts, there will be absolutely NO spoilers! Shocking, I know!

Let’s get started!

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The French Photographer by Natasha Lester

Publishing on  March 26th 2019 by Hachette Australia

4/5 Stars!

GoodReads

Book Depository

 

 

 

Immediately, I love the writing style, the almost lyrical way Lester describes the environment which her characters are in. It flows and really allows the reader to picture it in their mind.

Lester has creatively and beautifully captured what I must have been like to be a war correspondent, a war time photographer, not to mention, being a female one. Depicted perfectly is the way that women in this time were treated, not with admiration, but contempt, sexualisation, and the overwhelming belief that they weren’t capable of doing the job. Out Protagonist Jess, soon showed, not only us as readers, but also the men in this tale, what it means to be passionate about what you are doing, to be compassionate towards other humans on the other side of the world, no matter the horrors that you may see and experience.

This book is set in two eras, in 2005 and 1942, it is amazing to see the connections made between the times, between the women and between the photographs that become so important in the ‘modern’ era. It felt so real, the way that photographs can connect so many people, in the way that the horrors captured were actual people, fighting for their lives.

The more I read, the more I wanted to see these areas that Jess travelled to, to visualise the places she was visiting. Google was my friend! I am a huge history buff anyway, so many of these places are familiar to me, but being able to look at a visual while reading this book, added to the overall emotion of the book.

D’Arcy Hallworth, our 2005 protagonist, is a curator, someone who looks in at history on a daily basis, someone who knows the significance of a well taken photograph taken at a horrific moment in history. D’Arcy is strong, intellegent and unafraid to express her knowledge, whit and prowesse. She is inspirational and knows exactly what she is talking about when it comes to photography.

This book knows no bounds when it comes to strong, brave and independent women. It shows that if you are truly passionate about something, you do you. You hang on to that passion, that fire, because one day it may mean more to someone else than it did to you. It may give someone else hope, or shine a light on something terrible. The women in this book are incredible. In the face of adversity, they carry on, heads held high, doing what they love. Making a difference.

Lee Miller, the inspiration behind the characters in this book is such an interesting person from History. When I started this book, I had no idea that the characters were influenced by a real person. The author notes in the back of this book were what alerted me to Lee’s prowess. If you are into history and especially the female element during war time, I highly recommend you jump onto your search engine and have a look at Lee Miller.

This book is something that I wouldn’t usually pick up, but when I was contacted, I jumped at the chance to read something that is outside of my comfort zone. I found it to be both uplifting and incredibly confronting, but it really struck a chord with me, with the realness presented when we saw Jess come home from the war front. How it took her time to readjust to life in a safe zone. We hear it about soldiers, about men who battled and came home and couldn’t find their feet in a world where they didn’t need to be on alert all the time. But to see it from a woman who was over there, showing the world what was actually happening, is heart breaking. The way she is constantly expecting to see people covered in blood or riddled with abrasions, and when she doesn’t she thinks she is dreaming, or in some kind of trance. I can’t imagine what that would be like.

Incredibly moving, emotionally loaded and a novel that will leave you thinking, long after you have turned the final page. This is definitely something that you should read!

 

Thanks for reading!

Julie

Uncategorized

January TBR

Welcome to 2019! I am finding that as I get older, years tend to go much quicker. Which makes me feel as though there isn’t enough reading time. EVER.

I am currently on holidays from work, and although that sounds like it will be filled with book reading, reviewing and blogging, you’re wrong my friend. I signed up for an online professional development course, which I am loving, but it is feeling a little like work. So I decided that this would be the perfect brain break!

I am strapped for time, for this post so my reasonings aren’t as long as usual. But I still wanted to share my goals for January!

This month, I’d like to read 5 books, starting with:

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Fire And Blood by George R R Martin

Yes, I am a Song of Ice and Fire girl, I’ve read all of the books so this one, as much as I am excited and NEEED to read it, is also a bit of a kick in the guts. I say this because Old Mate George can write a whole history of the Targaryen’s but he can’t finish Winds of Winter!?

 

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What The Woods Keep by Katya Da Becerra

I loved the look of this book, and it was on my December TBR, but it just didn’t get read. So It is back this month, so hopefully I can get to it!

 

 

 

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Calm The F**k Down by Sarah Knight

I requested this beauty from Hachette and they kindle sent it to me! I am so excited to read it, it is about controlling anxiety, hitting it head on. But the thing I like the most about it, is that it is written in a way that anyone can understand. It has hand written styled pages and pages with dot points. It doesn’t read as a self-help book, which makes it so much more appealing.

 

 

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King of the Seven Lakes by A. B. Endacott

I have read the first book in this amazing series by Alice, and I NEEED to finish it! Her writing style is so easy to read, and I need to know what happens for Gidyon and Ellen-ai next!

 

 

 

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The Ruthless Land by A.B. Endacott

This is the third book in the series by the lovely A. B. Endacott and like I said above, I need to finish them! I want to get back into this incredibly complex world!

 

 

 

I also want to tackle as many of my NetGalley ARCS as possible. I have fallen back into the old habits of requesting and not reading immediately when they are accepted. I even wrote a blog post on how to keep on top of your NetGalley ARCS, yet here I am, falling into bad habits! The Post is HERE if you want to have a look see!

As always,

Thanks for reading!

Julie

 

Uncategorized

My Top 10 Favourite Reads of 2018

Before I start, I want to say this list isn’t a list of books that were published this year, although some may have been. This is a list of books that I have read this year and love. My 5 star rated reads! This was a hard list to write, some were easy, anen’t so easy and I found it hard to reduce it down to just 10. So I didn’t… This is actually my top 14 favourite reads of 2018!

So, in no particular order, lets begin!

 

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The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw

Published  March 6th 2018 by Simon Pulse

Book Depository

Link to my GoodReads review is HERE

Synopsis: Welcome to the cursed town of Sparrow…

Where, two centuries ago, three sisters were sentenced to death for witchery. Stones were tied to their ankles and they were drowned in the deep waters surrounding the town.

Now, for a brief time each summer, the sisters return, stealing the bodies of three weak-hearted girls so that they may seek their revenge, luring boys into the harbor and pulling them under.
Like many locals, seventeen-year-old Penny Talbot has accepted the fate of the town. But this year, on the eve of the sisters’ return, a boy named Bo Carter arrives; unaware of the danger he has just stumbled into.
Mistrust and lies spread quickly through the salty, rain-soaked streets. The townspeople turn against one another. Penny and Bo suspect each other of hiding secrets. And death comes swiftly to those who cannot resist the call of the sisters.
But only Penny sees what others cannot. And she will be forced to choose: save Bo, or save herself.

Thoughts: I absolutely adored this book, my only gripe is that it is too short! I would love another book solely about the Swan Sisters or about how Penny ends up after the whole event. This book is such a nod to folklore and witchcraft that we often associate with little towns such as Sparrow. But it is also a fantastic tale on its own, even without the magical element. But I am so glad that, that element is woven into the tale. The protagonist is so strong, she lives practically on her own, ever since her father vanished, her mother turned into a shell of who she used to be. Penny is the care taker of the lighthouse on Lumiere Island, and once a year, the Swan Sisters come out to play in the Town of Sparrow.

 

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The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert

Published January 30th 2018 by Flatiron Books

Book Depository

Link to my GoodReads review is HERE

Synopsis: Seventeen-year-old Alice and her mother have spent most of Alice’s life on the road, always a step ahead of the uncanny bad luck biting at their heels. But when Alice’s grandmother, the reclusive author of a cult-classic book of pitch-dark fairy tales, dies alone on her estate, the Hazel Wood, Alice learns how bad her luck can really get: her mother is stolen away―by a figure who claims to come from the Hinterland, the cruel supernatural world where her grandmother’s stories are set. Alice’s only lead is the message her mother left behind: “Stay away from the Hazel Wood.”
Alice has long steered clear of her grandmother’s cultish fans. But now she has no choice but to ally with classmate Ellery Finch, a Hinterland superfan who may have his own reasons for wanting to help her. To retrieve her mother, Alice must venture first to the Hazel Wood, then into the world where her grandmother’s tales began―and where she might find out how her own story went so wrong

Thoughts: This book blew my mind. Yes, there are a lot of mixed reviews about it, but for me it was a show stopper. There hasn’t been anything like it before, and there won’t be again. Melissa Albert has taken a whole new turn into fairy tales, and it is  terrifying. Throughout this book, I was constantly looking over my shoulder, worried that The Hinterland was spying on me simply for reading the book! It is intense and you can never work out what is real and what isn’t. I love the overall premise of this book too. That Fairy Tales are only alive, as long as someone is telling them. That telling them is giving them power to stay alive in our minds and hearts. And even in The Halfway Wood.

 

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The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater

Published October 18th 2011 by Scholastic Press

Book Depository

Link to my GoodReads review is HERE

Synopsis: It happens at the start of every November: the Scorpio Races. Riders attempt to keep hold of their water horses long enough to make it to the finish line. Some riders live. Others die.
At age nineteen, Sean Kendrick is the returning champion. He is a young man of few words, and if he has any fears, he keeps them buried deep, where no one else can see them.
Puck Connolly is different. She never meant to ride in the Scorpio Races. But fate hasn’t given her much of a chance. So she enters the competition — the first girl ever to do so. She is in no way prepared for what is going to happen.

Thoughts: I have only recently read this book, but I have no idea why it took me so long. This has definitely made it up there into my favourite books of all time. I think it is because it combines a few of my favourite things. Horses, folklore, magic and a strong female lead. Not to mention Maggie Stiefvater’s fantastic writing style and ability to create something so real. This book will take you  on a journey to a place that you will both want to go to and run away from. It is captivating from the first page and filled with so much interwoven magic that you won’t even realise it is fiction. This book is so much more than a horse race on a tiny island, it is about trusting yourself, the power of family and the power of love. If you want to see my spoiler filled review and ramblings blog post click HERE

 

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Lord of Shadows by Cassandra Clare

Published May 23rd 2017 by Margaret K. McElderry Books

Book Depository

Link to my GoodReads review is HERE

Synopsis: Would you trade your soul mate for your soul?

A Shadowhunter’s life is bound by duty. Constrained by honor. The word of a Shadowhunter is a solemn pledge, and no vow is more sacred than the vow that binds parabatai, warrior partners—sworn to fight together, die together, but never to fall in love.
Emma Carstairs has learned that the love she shares with her parabatai, Julian Blackthorn, isn’t just forbidden—it could destroy them both. She knows she should run from Julian. But how can she when the Blackthorns are threatened by enemies on all sides?
Their only hope is the Black Volume of the Dead, a spell book of terrible power. Everyone wants it. Only the Blackthorns can find it. Spurred on by a dark bargain with the Seelie Queen, Emma; her best friend, Cristina; and Mark and Julian Blackthorn journey into the Courts of Faerie, where glittering revels hide bloody danger and no promise can be trusted. Meanwhile, rising tension between Shadowhunters and Downworlders has produced the Cohort, an extremist group of Shadowhunters dedicated to registering Downworlders and “unsuitable” Nephilim. They’ll do anything in their power to expose Julian’s secrets and take the Los Angeles Institute for their own.
When Downworlders turn against the Clave, a new threat rises in the form of the Lord of Shadows—the Unseelie King, who sends his greatest warriors to slaughter those with Blackthorn blood and seize the Black Volume. As dangers close in, Julian devises a risky scheme that depends on the cooperation of an unpredictable enemy. But success may come with a price he and Emma cannot even imagine, one that will bring with it a reckoning of blood that could have repercussions for everyone and everything they hold dear.

Thoughts: I read this bad boy early in the year, so my mind is a little fuzzy on the finer details, however I do remember nearly dying from sadness at the end. Once again, Cassandra Clare has written a masterpiece from the Shadowhunter world and with Queen of Air and Darkness being released NOW, I am not ready for the world to end. Julian Blackthorn and Emma Cartstairs are my favourite Shadowhunters (Unpopular opinion I know), and I am so scared to see what will come of their love, of their family and of themselves, as we continue the series.

 

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The Slated Series by Teri Terry

Published May 3rd 2012 by Orchard Books

Book Depository

Link to my GoodReads reviews for SLATED

Synopsis for Slated: Kyla’s memory has been erased, her personality wiped blank,
her memories lost for ever.

She’s been Slated.
The government claims she was a terrorist and that they are giving her a second chance – as long as she plays by their rules. But echoes of the past whisper in Kyla’s mind. Someone is lying to her, and nothing is as it seems. Who can she trust in her search for the truth?

Thoughts: This series was a refreshing dip in the pool of young adult, dystopian fiction. Slating is where children under the age of 17 who have committed crimes or are socially unpleasant, have their minds completely wiped, they then are placed in a new home, where they re-learn what is acceptable and what they must do within society, a fresh slate, so to speak. Only, like with so many technological advancements, some things aren’t what they seem.

Teri Terry has created a masterpiece with this series, it does slow down in the middle, but it picks back up again in the final book. Well written and easy to read, you will want to devour these books in one sitting!

 

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Your One and Only by Adrianne Finlay

Published  February 6th 2018 by HMH Books for Young Readers

Book Depository

Link to my GoodReads review is HERE

Synopsis: Jack is a walking fossil. The only human among a sea of clones. It’s been hundreds of years since humanity died off in the slow plague, leaving the clones behind to carry on human existence. Over time they’ve perfected their genes, moving further away from the imperfections of humanity. But if they really are perfect, why did they create Jack?
While Jack longs for acceptance, Althea-310 struggles with the feeling that she’s different from her sisters. Her fascination with Jack doesn’t help. As Althea and Jack’s connection grows stronger, so does the threat to their lives. What will happen if they do the unthinkable and fall in love?

Thoughts: I received this book in the Booked For The Weekend book subscription box. I am an enjoyer of Sci-Fi, but I don’t seek it out, so when this book arrived, I was a little dubious. At the time, it wasn’t released in Australia, so it felt like a sneak peek, that I was getting an exclusive invite to, so naturally I picked it up as soon as I could. I was not disappointed! This book takes us on a journey of clones, science, love and living on another self-sustaining planet. Where there are up to 12 clones of one person, and all people are cloned to look like the founders of the colony. It is a shorter work, but fantastic to dive into and not come up until the final word is read.

 

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Queendom of the Seven Lakes – A. B. Endacott

Published November 15th 2017 by A B Endacott

Amazon

Link to my GoodReads review is HERE

Synopsis: There are always those who are willing to pay for someone else’s death. Having grown up amongst the Family of Assassins, Elen-ai knows well the prices people are willing to pay to see their enemies fall quickly, quietly, and discreetly. When she is asked to preserve life rather than take it, she is surprised. Upon hearing that her charge is the Queen’s only child Gidyon, who is secretly being groomed to succeed his mother, she is horrified. To ensure political stability, no man has ever sat on the throne of the Queendom of the Seven Lakes. Yet one does not easily refuse a Queen, and so reluctantly, Elen-ai accepts the contract.
Her fears only deepen upon meeting the sixteen-year-old Prince Gidyon, who treats her as no better than a petty murderer. However, following an attack on his life, Elen-ai is forced to admit that the danger of leaving this boy-prince alone may be even worse than leaving him to his own devices. Elen-ai reluctantly accompanies Gidyon across the country to identify those within the seven most powerful families who are responsible for the attempt on the Prince’s life.
Somewhere in their travels from the calm waters of Lake Tak to the looming cliffs above Lake Bertak, the two form an unlikely yet profound friendship, and Elen-ai begins to see that Gidyon has the makings of a great ruler within him. As they meet with the families of power, it becomes increasingly clear that secrets and power games run far deeper throughout the Queendom of the Seven Lakes than either of them ever suspected

Thoughts: I was sent a e-copy of this fantastic book by the author, the Lovely A.B Endacott, in exchange for an honest review and the chance to create some merchandise for it, from my company Bookish Intoxication (Link here if you are interested). This book takes us on a journey around the Seven Kingdoms with the charming Gidyon and strong and quite hilarious assassin, Ellen-ai. If you are into sagas then this one is for you! Set in what feels like medieval times, with queens and kings, assassins and murder. A fantastic debut novel and first book in a wonderful series!

 

download (3)A Thousand Perfect Notes C.G Drews

Published June 7th 2018 by Orchard Books

Book Depository

Link to my GoodReads review is HERE

Synopsis: An emotionally charged story of music, abuse and, ultimately, hope.
Beck hates his life. He hates his violent mother. He hates his home. Most of all, he hates the piano that his mother forces him to play hour after hour, day after day. He will never play as she did before illness ended her career and left her bitter and broken. But Beck is too scared to stand up to his mother, and tell her his true passion, which is composing his own music – because the least suggestion of rebellion on his part ends in violence.
When Beck meets August, a girl full of life, energy and laughter, love begins to awaken within him and he glimpses a way to escape his painful existence. But dare he reach for it

Thoughts: Just let me cry for a minute while I reminisce on this masterpiece. This book left me in tears on more than one occasion. Incredibly well written, this debut novel was a show stopper!  This book devours you, heart and soul, you only want the best for Beck and want what he wants. You don’t devour it, it devours you. The lovely C.G Drews has another book in the works, set to release in 2019. Find it HERE.

 

9781471406560.jpgThe Red Ribbon by Lucy Adlington

Published September 21st 2017 by Hot Key Books

Book Depository

Link to my GoodReads review is HERE

Synopsis: Rose, Ella, Marta and Carla. In another life we might have all been friends together. But this was Birchwood.
As fourteen-year-old Ella begins her first day at work she steps into a world of silks, seams, scissors, pins, hems and trimmings. She is a dressmaker, but this is no ordinary sewing workshop. Hers are no ordinary clients. Ella has joined the seamstresses of Birkenau-Auschwitz.
Every dress she makes could be the difference between life and death. And this place is all about survival.
Ella seeks refuge from this reality, and from haunting memories, in her work and in the world of fashion and fabrics. She is faced with painful decisions about how far she is prepared to go to survive.
Is her love of clothes and creativity nothing more than collaboration with her captors, or is it a means of staying alive?
Will she fight for herself alone, or will she trust the importance of an ever-deepening friendship with Rose?
One thing weaves through the colours of couture gowns and camp mud – a red ribbon, given to Ella as a symbol of hope.

Thoughts: This book isn’t my usual genre choice, but I do love history. This book follows the story of an inspiring young woman in a concentration camp in Nazi Germany. A single red ribbon is all she has to keep her sane, to keep her alive. She becomes a dress maker in the camp workshop, gains the ears of the soldiers and finally is released from the camp and her dreams become reality. She becomes a seamstress in the real world, with her friend and potential partner by her side. It is a confronting book, but to uplifting to see the passion and strength in these women, considering the setting that they are a part of.

 

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Warcross by Marie Lu

Published September 12th 2017 by G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers

Book Depository

Link to my GoodReads review is HERE

Synopsis: For the millions who log in every day, Warcross isn’t just a game—it’s a way of life. The obsession started ten years ago and its fan base now spans the globe, some eager to escape from reality and others hoping to make a profit. Struggling to make ends meet, teenage hacker Emika Chen works as a bounty hunter, tracking down players who bet on the game illegally. But the bounty hunting world is a competitive one, and survival has not been easy. Needing to make some quick cash, Emika takes a risk and hacks into the opening game of the international Warcross Championships—only to accidentally glitch herself into the action and become an overnight sensation.
Convinced she’s going to be arrested, Emika is shocked when instead she gets a call from the game’s creator, the elusive young billionaire Hideo Tanaka, with an irresistible offer. He needs a spy on the inside of this year’s tournament in order to uncover a security problem . . . and he wants Emika for the job. With no time to lose, Emika’s whisked off to Tokyo and thrust into a world of fame and fortune that she’s only dreamed of. But soon her investigation uncovers a sinister plot, with major consequences for the entire Warcross empire

Thoughts: This book is so forward when it comes to technology. This is what blew my mind, more so than the story line. The way that technology has grown and made its impact on society, how there are interfaces that make the real world technological so that you can get more out of life, is incredible. What is even more incredible is that I can see something similar becoming part of our society in the future. Emika is a fantastic character, she is deep and smart and brave. She is courageous and isn’t afraid to be who she is. I want to write more on the subject, but I can’t without spoilers!

 

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Cold Summer by Gwen Cole

Published May 2nd 2017 by Sky Pony Press

Book Depository

Link to my GoodReads review is HERE

Synopsis: Today, he’s a high school dropout with no future.
Tomorrow, he’s a soldier in World War II.

Kale Jackson has spent years trying to control his time-traveling ability but hasn’t had much luck. One day he lives in 1945, fighting in the war as a sharpshooter and helplessly watching soldiers—friends—die. Then the next day, he’s back in the present, where WWII has bled into his modern life in the form of PTSD, straining his relationship with his father and the few friends he has left. Every day it becomes harder to hide his battle wounds, both physical and mental, from the past.
When the ex-girl-next-door, Harper, moves back to town, thoughts of what could be if only he had a normal life begin to haunt him. Harper reminds him of the person he was before the PTSD, which helps anchor him to the present. With practice, maybe Kale could remain in the present permanently and never step foot on a battlefield again. Maybe he can have the normal life he craves.
But then Harper finds Kale’s name in a historical article—and he’s listed as a casualty of the war. Kale knows now that he must learn to control his time-traveling ability to save himself and his chance at a life with Harper. Otherwise, he’ll be killed in a time where he doesn’t belong by a bullet that was never meant for him

Thoughts: Gwen Cole is a mastermind. This book is so different to the YA books currently available. This book contains time travel, love, family and finding yourself. It is so incredibly written you won’t be able to put it down. The relationships in this book are so complex and deal with issues that aren’t usually written about due to their being thought of as common place. I read this book in one sitting, and then read it again the next day.

 

Nyxia & Nyxia Unleashed by Scott Reintgen

Published September 12th 2017 by Crown Books for Young Readers

Book Depository

Link to my GoodReads review is HERE

Synopsis: Emmett Atwater isn’t just leaving Detroit; he’s leaving Earth. Why the Babel Corporation recruited him is a mystery, but the number of zeroes on their contract has him boarding their lightship and hoping to return to Earth with enough money to take care of his family.

Forever.

Before long, Emmett discovers that he is one of ten recruits, all of whom have troubled pasts and are a long way from home. Now each recruit must earn the right to travel down to the planet of Eden – a planet that Babel has kept hidden – where they will mine a substance called Nyxia that has quietly become the most valuable material in the universe. But Babel’s ship is full of secrets. And Emmett will face the ultimate choice: win the fortune at any cost, or find a way to fight that won’t forever compromise what it means to be human.

Thoughts: These are the first two books in a trilogy or triad ad Reintgen calls it. It is set in space, teenagers are selected to become the first team to live on a new planet, to get rich doing it, or die trying. These books are so well written, they keep you on your toes and draw you in to each of the individual stories of the characters. I love the way a whole new planet is described, how Reintgen has written it, makes it seem so plausible for there to be other habitable planets in our solar system. But these books also have an incredibly dark element, physical and mental conditioning, trauma and training follow these teens in their travels to Eden.

 

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More Than We Can Tell by Brigid Kemmerer

Published March 6th 2018 by Bloomsbury Children’s

Book Depository

Link to my GoodReads review is HERE

Synopsis: Rev Fletcher is battling the demons of his past. But with loving adoptive parents by his side, he’s managed to keep them at bay…until he gets a letter from his abusive father and the trauma of his childhood comes hurtling back. Emma Blue spends her time perfecting the computer game she built from scratch, rather than facing her parents’ crumbling marriage. She can solve any problem with the right code, but when an online troll’s harassment escalates, she’s truly afraid.
When Rev and Emma meet, they both long to lift the burden of their secrets and bond instantly over their shared turmoil. But when their situations turn dangerous, their trust in each other will be tested in ways they never expected. This must-read story will once  again have readers falling for Brigid Kemmerer’s emotional storytelling.

Thoughts: I have only just read this book in December, and it only just had time to make this list! What an incredible book! It is part of a standalone series, that follow the lives of the same characters, just from separate points of view. This one is about Rev. And what an amazing young man he is! I spent this book crying, laughing and feeling the heart-wrenching pains of not knowing who you are and what your purpose is. Of feeling rejected by everyone you care about. Of wanting the best for someone who won’t give you the chance to help. In this book we meet Emma, she is strong and super intelligent, she is a gamer and game creator. What makes this story line different is that it shows what the real-world hides for female gamers and game creators. That they are constantly bullied, threatened and sexually abused. This book does have a lot of content that should be trigger warnings, that being said, it is a fantastic book and everyone should read it!

 

That wraps up my Top 10 Reads of 2018… even if there were 14 books on the list! I want to see your top 10 reads! tag bookishintoxicationwrites in your post so I can find it!

Are any of your top 10 reads on my list? Comment below! Lets chat!

Thanks for reading!

Julie

 

 

Reviews & Ramblings

Review and Ramblings – Genine Fraud by e. lockhart

I have had this book on my shelf for longer than I would care to admit, so when I saw it on the shelf at the library, I had to have it, and read it… Yes I am one of those people who like to keep my books perfect and not looking like they have been read, so the library is my best friend. Anyway, as usual, this review and ramblings will be totally spoiler filled, so look away now if you haven’t read this book. My non-spoiler filled GoodReads review can be found HERE.

Also this is a TRIGGER WARNING, this book  and hence this review contains mentions of murder, shootings, suicide through multiple ways. If any of these things are triggers for you, then this review and ramblings is probably something I would give a miss xx

Also before I begin, a little note. I write these Reviews and Ramblings as I am reading. They are like a diary of notes I take as I am reading the novel. If something happens, I write my reactions, thoughts, ideas and personal opinions. I love this aspect of reviewing a book and I find it makes them more honest. The reviews, I post on GoodReads, I condense from these ramblings. Lets begin!

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Genuine Fraud by e. lockhart

Published September 5th 2017 by Delacorte Press

4/5 Stars

 

 

 

 

Well, once again Lockhart has created something with such a relaxed writing style. It Is easy to read, even though it feels like the story isn’t going anywhere. I am feeling like I am being told snippets of Jule’s life, but none of them match up, so to speak? I am 60 pages in, well past my cut off for intrigue, and I am interested to see what happens, but It is feeling like nothing is happening and we are stuck in a pattern of reliving the past.

 

I’m not sure about Jule, I can’t tell if she is truthful or if she is an unreliable narrator. Her life seems rather enchanted for someone who was raised with nothing. I have this dreadful feeling that she was the one who murdered Imogen too, for her money, so she could seek revenge for her own parents lives.

 

Woah, this book has gone from zero to one hundred in like 40 pages. I knew Jule was crazy, but I didn’t realise she was a murderer! But she is so incredibly smart too! She knew exactly how to trap Brooke, how to get her to go hiking, how to kill her, push her over the edge and then leave her car, dispose of the evidence. She didn’t even look back, she killed her then forgot about it, until Paolo mentioned that they had found her body. I am almost positive, now that she killed Imogen, to assume her identity. But who is Jule anyway? She keeps mentioning how there is no record of her, no fingerprints in the system. She changes her identity and hair colour and bank accounts regularly. Who is this girl!? I am halfway through now and I need to know more. A tiny part of me feels like I am being played? Like maybe we have an unreliable narrator here, spinning tales?

 

This book is psychologically thrilling! The whole way through I am in a state of constant confusion, trying to piece together Jule’s chapters, to work out what is real and what is fake. I’m not going to lie I have had several WTF moments, where I have had to re-read a chapter several times, to make sense of it. I’m loving the pacing, the writing style and the shorter sub-chapters. It keeps the story flowing, the characters active and the mind completely confused.

The backwards orientation of the plot is slightly off putting, but I think that may be the point? Like I am so used to reading a book and having the character progress and learn things and grow, but we are seeing Jule, regress into a murdering, identity stealing, psycho.  I am finding, I am going back the start of a chapter and checking the month and year, then flicking back to the start of the book to see where I am up to, in relation to the beginning of the book. It is getting progressively creepier as we regress into Jule’s past. And it is a recent past, I think that is what makes it so creepy. It starts off as not too creepy, but you can tell something is off, and now it is just all out crazy town.  I am devouring this book, I am sure I’ll finish it one sitting, it is the kid of read, that is kind of like a car crash, the whole you know something is horrible and feels wrong, but you can’t look away? Yeah well that is me with this book. I know it is creepy and that something horrible is coming, more horrible than what I have already discovered, but I can’t stop reading. I need to know what happens next!

I knew it! I effing knew it! She killed Imogen! Page 173! Imogen called her on her stores that made no sense, on her dressing like her, admiring her, and Jule couldn’t take it and wacked her over the head with an oar! I knew it! But some tiny part of me wants to know more about Jule, about her past, why, other than seeing her parents dead on the street, is she they way she is? Clinging to any kind of human interaction like it is air, and then turning into a murderer when things start to go south. What happened to her to make her that way? But seriously, I wrote this paragraph to gloat. I knew it! It may have taken me the first 100 pages to nut it out. But yay! Julie -1 Genuine Fraud – 0!

 

Well there is one lie down Jule! Your parents weren’t brutally murdered in front of you! Your mum died of an illness and your father couldn’t live without her so he slit his wrists in the bath. I just realised that I sound quite callous, this is not my intention, but I literally have 30 pages left in this book and any small truth reveal is a victory at this point. I feel like we are slowly learning about Jule and what makes her tick. As well as why she lies, but woah I was not expecting her stalker-ish love of Imogen, I thought maybe their friendship naturally happened and it grew into something more, but not that Jule stalked Imogen and placed herself in front of her, hoping that Imogen would take an interest.

We are also learning about Imogen, how she has the need to surround herself with people, and that these people have to be alternated every few weeks. She needs to be the centre of the earth, be with people that value her, that need her. She wants to be wanted and needs to be needed. Until she doesn’t. In this way, she is using people. Taking all of the love and energy that they have to give, then casting them aside for a new source of this love and adoration.

Woah hello page 233-34! I was so wrong about Jule! She didn’t stalk Imogen. Imogen’s parents, her sweet, over caring, super loving parents hired her to go and see if she was okay. To look for her and let them know that she was alright… Their hearts were in the right place but honestly, they gave her thousands of dollars in gift cards, flights to get to the Vineyard and basically told her to make their daughter trust her and report back to them. This story is wrong on so many levels! Little did they know that they were sending a girl with murderous tendencies after their daughter!

 

Well the last few pages are getting mighty dull. This conversation with a pimp who wants to employ here feels like forced backstory, it is all coming out at once. However I don’t know how much of it is truth after all of the lies I’ve been told by Jule… It feels like fluff that we need to be told to fill plot gaps. I do appreciate it, but I didn’t think there needed to be a focus on her accents, yes I picked up through the story that she changes her accents, but for there to be a whole chapter about the way she learned them and how many she can do, seems a little over kill.  I get that it lead up to her running away to New York and ultimately meeting Imogen’s mother while working a catering job, but it felt like a lot of back-fill in one tiny chapter.

Ooh finally a time jump back to the present day! I’ve been waiting for this! WHAAAAAAT!!?? No! The detective is investigating the disappearance of Jule’s! She thinks that Jule’s is Imogen for reals! This book man. I am dead. I sooo expected this to go a different way! I thought Jule’s was about to be arrested for all of those bloody murders she had committed! No WAY! Woah this is some crazy shit! Now Imogen, who is really Jule, is getting investigated for faking her own death and then murdering Jule and stealing her identity… what the heck is happeniiinnngggggg!

What a cold hearted bitch! She just dropped her identity, got rid of everything that tied her to Imogen and now is moving on to someone else, to live her life in a different place, as someone else. After the whole book being about Jule and Imogen and it wasn’t even about them at all, Imogen was just a way for Jule to make some money, an identity to assume until its perks ran out!?

I love e. lockharts writing style and her ability to create characters that are incredibly deep and rich with emotion and a rawness that you don’t often see in YA fiction. I did enjoy the ride this book took me on. I was constantly on the edge of my seat and second guessing every conversation, every action and every thought that these characters were having. This book is psychologically thrilling and really makes you think about what is actually going on.

These characters – Imogen and Jule – are so complex in themselves, that the settings they are in around the world and the other people in their lives hardly matter. They are incredible characters. There is so much you can read into each of them and this is what makes this book such a good and confusing read. The ending blew my mind! Honestly, who would have expected that plot twist! I had Jule all wrong! I had her pegged as a stalker, as a needy, I’ll kill you if you don’t love me kind of stalker. I was soooo wrong. She is tough, she doesn’t need anyone and she is more than capable of being on her own. She uses people until she has no need for them, then leaves, taking their identity, their accent and their money with her. She is such a strong character!

This book was different from a lot of the current YA fiction books I have been reading lately. There was hardly any romance involved from the Protagonist’s point of view, which was so refreshing. I love that this book didn’t need a love interest to keep the ball rolling. I also feel the way it was set out, reverse chronologically gave it an edge. Yes it confused me to begin with, but after reading the whole thing it made total sense! This is one I definitely will be keeping on my shelves to read again, when I next need me some phycological thrilling!

Have you read this book? What did you think?

Julie

 

 

Uncategorized

You Wanna Know What Grinds My Gears??

Welcome to the You Wanna Know What Grinds My Gears – Bookstagram edition.

Be warned, this post contains mild coarse language, all the ranting, and some opinions that you may not agree with. If you disagree or agree with any of my views, comment below! Lets chat!

Ready to dive in about what grinds my gears about Bookstagram? I’m ready to share!

 

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You wanna know what grinds my gears? Advanced Reader Copies, physical ones. Now don’t take that the wrong way, I am so, so, soo grateful for each and every one I receive (I have literally gotten 1… ever. From a giveaway), I love the purpose they serve and the chance to read something prior to its publication. But what annoys me about them is that Bookstagrammers tend to think that they aren’t good enough, have enough followers, don’t have good enough photos, that they aren’t a real part of the Bookstagram community etc. if they aren’t being sent ARC’s. Well lemme tell you a thing right now. That my friends is a load of steaming hot bullshit. You are enough, your photos are amazing, your opinions are amazing and if you have 1 follower that is incredible. It means there is another person who is into what you are, and when there is 1 there are always more.

Also, you wanna know what makes you a part of the Bookstagram community? YOU!! You and your love of reading, your love of characters, plots, scenes, authors and sharing your views with other like-minded people. What you have or don’t have has absolutely nothing to do with your worth and value. Don’t let not receiving ARC’s get you down. It doesn’t define you!

You wanna know what else grinds my gears? Being upset or feeling left out because you don’t have much bookish merch. Again lovelies, bookstagram isn’t about how many different Book Depository book marks you have, it is about the love of reading. Yes everyone tends to use book marks, candles, prints, pop Funkos etc as props, but you don’t need fifty-thousand of them to be a part of the community! Do you read? Yes. Then welcome aboard! If you have one scarf that you love, make it your background? One candle you can’t get enough of, use it in every photo. Use what you have access to, be proud of your photos, you don’t need the newest everything to feel great about your place on Bookstagram. If you love it, we will too (not necessarily true about books, but if you are confident and love your photos, we will too!).

Which leads me on to feeling shitty about yourself because you aren’t in a financial position to go out and buy all of the new release books, the book subscription boxes or the merch. Buying books is bloody expensive, you shouldn’t feel bad because you can’t afford to have a library full of every YA book released in 2017/18! And your local Library is a magical thing. The best thing about the library is they let you take books home, for free! and if you hate them, you just take them back and never think about them again, there is no regret from buying books, hating them then having to look at them on your shelf. Libraries are my life, I’d be lost without it!

There is no where on Bookstagram that says “You must only read books that you own”, I would definitely be broke by now if that was the case. You know what I like to do? request new releases from the library, take them out, read them, decide if its love or hate, then purchase the ones I need to own. A little try-before-you-buy action. But the best part about ordering them in through the library, is that hundreds of other readers in your community will also be able to have access to books that they usually wouldn’t have access to! Libraries are literally the best things ever.. AAaaand I am off track…

Too much importance is placed on physical items. Yes it is awesome to treat yourself to new books, merch and the like, but does your worth or value come from the things that you own? Or does it come from who you are and the way you interact with the world.

You don’t need to OWN books and merchandise to be a book lover, a reader or a bookstagrammer, all you truly need is YOU and your love for reading.

 

Wow I feel better for getting that off of my chest! A little reminder about how awesome YOU are is never a bad thing.

YOU are valued

YOU are important

YOU do matter.

Thanks for reading folks!

Julie