Review: Tell Us Something True by Dana Reinhardt

Tell Us Something TrueTell Us Something True by Dana Reinhardt
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

ARC kindly provided by Bloomsbury Publishing Australia in exchange for an honest review.

Review

‘Tell Us Something True’ was my first novel by Dana Reinhardt… And, unfortunately I wasn’t very into it. I couldn’t – and didn’t – connect to River and the whole story was just too…average and monotonous for me.
1. The writing was average. It was too simple and boring for me. Dana Reinhardt did a good job conveying her ideas but her words did little to nothing to intrigue me in the story. It was like one massive recount, yet also an attempt at a fictional story. I know that these types of novels aim to teach their readers some sort of moralistic message or to bring up an issue that effects everybody, but I just wasn’t into it. I got what River was going through…however I didn’t think twice about it later on.
2. The main character, River, was AGONISING to read about! He honestly was THE most clingy, immature, low self-esteemed person that I’ve had the displeasure of reading about. Every action and thought he had was about him. And ONLY him. His sadness (I will not dignify his emotions and call them grief or depression) over loosing his girlfriend, Penny, are so self-pitying and hopeless that I could start to see why Penny broke up with him in the first place. River then proceeds to lie to everyone that he comes across. He lies to get help for something he doesn’t need because it gets him attention. And when he “meets an amazing girl”, River decides that all the trouble he’s created isn’t enough. He starts manipulating people, too. River has a poor attitude. He is utterly hate-worthy. Halfway through the novel, and I wanted to chuck the book against the wall. But it’s a book. Hurting it would be sacrilege. However, shaking the book and whisper-shouting “Get a life!!!!!” isn’t.
3. ‘Tell Us Something True’ was basically a recount of the silly life of yet another stupid/ignorant/self-obsessed teenager by the name of River. A recount: That’s all it was. Oh, do I hear you ask about a plot? What plot? What is the meaning of this word?
The plot didn’t exist. I fell asleep a dozen times whilst reading this novel and I honesty cannot describe how dry and painful it was finishing it.
Would you like to know what I did when I finished reading the novel? I REWARDED myself with a tub of ice cream and are mud cake. Because I was steaming on the inside and needed something to soothe my grated reader’s soul.
4. The novel initially sold itself as coming-of-age themed. It had a cute idea/concept that promised a lot! It screamed romantic-comedy!
Alas, it didn’t deliver. Anything vaguely humorous or entertaining or joking that the author tried to incorporate just didn’t work. I didn’t laugh. I didn’t like it. I kept asking myself, “Why?”.
5. When E. Lockhart said, “I promise you’ll fall in love with River Dean…” she was lying. I REALLY didn’t like River by the end of the novel. His problems only seemed superficially resolved and in no way did I feel that he actually learned from his mistakes. E. Lockhart was, however, completely right about the following: “…he’s a faker, a stalker, a non-driver, a bad dancer, a bad friend and a co-dependent mess.” That, my fellow, dear readers, is a complete truth. Read at your own peril.
Congratulations to Dana Reinhardt on publishing her latest novel!

Rating Plan
1 star : Strongly did not like the book, writing and plot was bad. Idea of the book was against my liking.
2 star : Didn’t like it, didn’t find it interesting or gripping. Seemed to drag on to me.
3 star : An average book. Wasn’t bad or good. Everything else was well done. Original idea.
4 star : Like a 3 star but has potential to it as a series or the book grew on me as it progressed and certain scenes captured me. I Enjoyed it and read it in one sitting.
5 star : I LOVED IT! I stayed up late until 3 am. Author is a genius, characters, plot, idea, development, EVERYTHING was EXCELLENT. Nothing else can possibly be said except that its 5 STAR!

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Review: The Devil You Know by Trish Doller

The Devil You KnowThe Devil You Know by Trish Doller
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

ARC kindly provided by Bloomsbury Publishing Australia in exchange for an honest review.

Review

‘The Devil You Know’ was my first novel by Trish Doller – and one that was a disappointment to me. I felt that the novel overall wasn’t…bad or completely terrible…however it just didn’t live up to what I expected it to be. And there were a million reasons for it.
1. The whole story/idea/concept was overused and felt dry and unoriginal. It followed the archetypical storyline with nothing that popped out or set itself apart as unique. It’s now been a little while since I’ve read the novel, and as I’m writing this review, I’m REALLY struggling to remember how the story went. This just goes to show that the ‘The Devil You Know’ was as unmemorable as they get.
2. The point above leads me to how the novel made me feel after I finished reading it. A very little, teeny-tiny bit scared? Yeah. However, nothing overly more than that. And that is what frustrates me so. I didn’t even strongly dislike the novel! If I did, it would have AT LEAST given me something to write in the painstaking review.
3. The cover also didn’t sell the novel very well. It definitely carried the spooky atmosphere the novel tried to capture but it just wasn’t aesthetically PLEASING. It was mediocre. Average. Unembellished. AND THIS NOVEL NEEDED SOME EMBELISHEMENT! My head was lolling with boredom and lack of interested when my starving, reader’s eyes first set themselves upon this novel. My eyes needed something to feast on! This just made the whole reading experience a let down. Right from the beginning…
4. I couldn’t and DIDN’T engage with any of the characters. I also didn’t particularly carry any favours for ANY of them. As a reader, this was yet another let down. How in the WORLD was I supposed to keep reading this novel if I couldn’t bond with any of the characters?
5. The main female lead, Arcadia, was more stupid than…the stupidest thing you can think of. Hasn’t anybody told this girl about stranger danger? Oh, and the fact that YOU DONT GO ON A ROADTRIP WITH TWO MALE STRANGERS WHO COULD DO ANYTHING TO YOU!!! Also…YOU DONT START HAVING SEX AND A ROMANTIC RELATIONSHIP WITH SAID MALE STRANGERS!! Literally, every action that Arcadia took had me banging my head against the wall. I’m fairy sure said wall had developed cracks, fissures and then a gaping whole.
6. On the bright side, ‘The Devil You Know’ had GREAT chemistry. Like, piping hot chemistry. I really wouldn’t recommend reading this novel in warm weather or when it’s 30 degrees Celsius plus. It will really make you blush all the more pronounced.
7. The prose and writing were definitely solidly and beautifully done. I didn’t like the plot but the style and technique in which Trish Doller executed her novel was definitely an aspect which I could potentially applaud her for, had I met her in real life.
8. Would I recommend this novel? Maybe. I just think there are better novels out there that you could be reading right now. This novel is more of a back-up one where you don’t know what to read next.
Congratulations to Trish Doller on the publication of her third, thriller novel!

Rating Plan
1 star : Strongly did not like the book, writing and plot was bad. Idea of the book was against my liking.
2 star : Didn’t like it, didn’t find it interesting or gripping. Seemed to drag on to me.
3 star : An average book. Wasn’t bad or good. Everything else was well done. Original idea.
4 star : Like a 3 star but has potential to it as a series or the book grew on me as it progressed and certain scenes captured me. I Enjoyed it and read it in one sitting.
5 star : I LOVED IT! I stayed up late until 3 am. Author is a genius, characters, plot, idea, development, EVERYTHING was EXCELLENT. Nothing else can possibly be said except that its 5 STAR!

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Review: Stealing Snow (Stealing Snow, #1) by Danielle Paige

Stealing Snow (Stealing Snow, #1)Stealing Snow by Danielle Paige
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

ARC kindly provided by Bloomsbury Publishing Australia in exchange for an honest review.

Review

‘Stealing Snow’ was just SOO mediocre! It was as AVERAGE as you can possibly get in this whole entire world. Like, think of the most everyday/common/average/typical thing in your life and it will be SOO much more mediocre. It just didn’t work for me. It was like eating plain cereal for breakfast…bland.
Here are my thoughts on what made me crown this novel the Queen of Mediocre for the year:
1. The cover IS intriguing. No, I wouldn’t say it’s the most gorgeous thing I’ve ever seen this year, but it definitely has bits and pieces that pull you in and make you want to take a closer look. I felt like this was an accurate representation of what the novel/story was like. At least what the author had hoped the story would turn out to be: Intriguing, unique, beautiful and entirely original. This ARC came to me wrapped up so beautifully and with a Raffaello (yes, the confectionary) inside it. It was beautiful (and very great marketing/publicity) and I was SOO keen to read ‘Stealing Snow’…until I opened the first page…
2. The writing style was…wait, hang on. What writing style? I couldn’t see any writing style! There was absolutely NO writing style to this novel WHATSOEVER! Hang on a second, was that a beautifully written sentence I saw there? Nope. Just my tired and bored eyes deceiving me. So boring. And so bland. Just the whole thing was bland. Where was the author when she wrote this! And how come this whole novel felt like some sort of mashed up fanfiction?! Argh.
3. Character development was…oh, wait! Hang in again! What character development are we talking about again? *sigh* I swear, ‘Stealing Snow’ introduced this whole variety of characters (awesome, kickass and mentally unstable ones) who would have been INCREDIBLY fascinating to read about due to their mentally unstable qualities but the author didn’t manage to pull it off. The characters just hung there limply like old/unfinished rag dolls made to play the part of some epic story and just being unable to pull it off. Because they’re obviously prototypes. Because this novel is obviously Danielle Page’s very first completed manuscript – the one before she wrote ‘The Wicked Will Rise’.
4. There was a love quadrilateral. Or is that a love square? There were WAYYYY too many love interests for Snow to have. Like, waaaaay too many. Having one love interest is pretty swoon-worthy. Having two love interests makes the novel a stereotypical love-triangle. Having THREE love interests is just way to much. Our characters cannot be THAT attractive. I mean, how many boys is a girl got to be able to seduce? And there are just too many romantic connections created for the story to be successfully pulled off and with a decent and logical ending. Having three different love interests for Snow was also mighty confusing. As I read, I didn’t know who to favour and who to ship Snow with. I liked Bale and the childhood bond the two shared. I liked Kai because he was a very protective and manly persona. I also liked Jagger and his mysterious and dark past. THEY WERE ALL SIMPLY TOO GOOD. Consider my mind scrambled.
5. Plot holes. Way too many of them. I had a dozen questions about the way things worked. About what would happen. And where in the world did some of the stuff appear?
Congratulations to Danielle Page on the publication of the first instalment in the ‘Stealing Snow’ series. I really hope that book two will be better!

Rating Plan
1 star : Strongly did not like the book, writing and plot was bad. Idea of the book was against my liking.
2 star : Didn’t like it, didn’t find it interesting or gripping. Seemed to drag on to me.
3 star : An average book. Wasn’t bad or good. Everything else was well done. Original idea.
4 star : Like a 3 star but has potential to it as a series or the book grew on me as it progressed and certain scenes captured me. I Enjoyed it and read it in one sitting.
5 star : I LOVED IT! I stayed up late until 3 am. Author is a genius, characters, plot, idea, development, EVERYTHING was EXCELLENT. Nothing else can possibly be said except that its 5 STAR!

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Review: Concentr8 by William Sutcliffe

Concentr8Concentr8 by William Sutcliffe
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

ARC kindly provided by Bloomsbury Publishing Australia in exchange for an honest review.

Review

‘Concentr8’ IS REAL!! Oh my goodness! I was so shocked when I found out! This is a heads up to those who may start reading thinking it is a figment of the author’s imagination. (Like I did.)
I feel like this novel was one big dramatisation of every single kid out there who “suffers” from ADHD. Like, the WHOLE ENTIRE STORY was cemented in the issue of the ADHD pandemic that is sweeping the world. I didn’t like it. Frankly, ADHD IS a problem but this novel just made such a big deal out of it; a BIGGER deal than it has to be.
And what puzzled me the MOST was the rave reviews the novel received from establishments like the Gaurdian and Daily Mail. I really don’t get them.
‘Concentr8’ is a novel about five kids who are diagnosed as ADHD and are given a medication called Concentr8. Unfortunately, for them, the government banned its production due to the negative health effects it’s had on children and adolescents. However, Concentr8 was the medication that almost everyone with ADHD was on, so its ban meant that all these kids and teenagers are going wild. And the whole community goes crazy, too. (I really don’t know why. Realistically, it’s only the kids and teens who are affected. Why, all of a sudden, grown people are doing random stuff such as smashing windows, stealing stuff and breaking law? I have no idea.)
This novel also questions whether ADHD is real or not. Whether it’s just a disease made by people who want profit from this “disorder”. It explores the historical background of ADHD and the reasons why the author believes it’s all a lie. I quite liked this. I have previously heard of the reasons why ADHD may not exist and was curious to see what would come of this novel. Nothing good it seems. I didn’t really like the approach that was taken to exploring this issue.
There was one aspect of the novel that I did quite like. It was how the author put his story together. There were so many interesting perspectives. Mayors, journalists; the five kids. They all had their roles and chapters in the novel. But William Sutcliffe also explored the complexity of friendship and leadership in teens. He very clearly described how often adolescents get carried away and into trouble often because of the overpowering influence of their friends. Or, more particularly, their one, charismatic, “leader” friend.
This is definitely a thought provoking read. And very quick to finish.
Congratulations to William Sutcliffe on the publication of ‘Concentr8’!

Rating Plan
1 star : Strongly did not like the book, writing and plot was bad. Idea of the book was against my liking.
2 star : Didn’t like it, didn’t find it interesting or gripping. Seemed to drag on to me.
3 star : An average book. Wasn’t bad or good. Everything else was well done. Original idea.
4 star : Like a 3 star but has potential to it as a series or the book grew on me as it progressed and certain scenes captured me. I Enjoyed it and read it in one sitting.
5 star : I LOVED IT! I stayed up late until 3 am. Author is a genius, characters, plot, idea, development, EVERYTHING was EXCELLENT. Nothing else can possibly be said except that its 5 STAR!

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Review: Caramel Hearts by E. R. Murray

Caramel HeartsCaramel Hearts by E.R. Murray
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

ARC kindly provided by Bloomsbury Publishing Australia in exchange for an honest review.

Review

‘Caramel Hearts’ was NOT as lovely as I had hoped it would be! The whole entire novel didn’t sit well with me and the main character, Liv Bloom, was just too much for me. I felt like I was reading yet another depressing story about yet another troubled young girl who comes from a bad family and the only way she can resolve all her depressing problems is if she delves into the depressing past.
Are you depressed yet?
I was.
Seriously, the only major difference that I could figure out about this novel was that it attempted to appear happy and fool silly people like me into picking it up with the recipes it held inside. And as a lover of baking, I REALLY couldn’t help myself.
“Stacey,” I said, “Give this book a chance,” I said. “It has such high/good ratings on Goodreads!” I said, “Maybe it will be one of those HAPPY coming-of-age novels!”
No. No. No. No.
I really shouldn’t have picked up ‘Caramel Hearts’. There was absolutely nothing sweet or romantic or happy about this novel. THE COVER IS LIEING TO YOU! DO NOT FALL FOR ITS COMPLETE AND UTTER GORGEOUSNESS!
Now, don’t get me wrong: I don’t HATE this novel. It just didn’t live up to my expectations and if I reread it at a later date, I would probably enjoy it a lot more. My timing with reading this novel may have been a little off. *sighs with self-disappointment*
Now, let’s talk about Liv Bloom. She’s one hell of a girl! At first meeting, I actually was quite accepting of her and ready to understand and step into her shoes! Liv seemed like a struggling teen who knew of that bad things in her life and was ready to face them. She seemed sad but at least hopeful. She was almost “good” and I could see her changing and growing and becoming this character I would LOVE by the time the end would roll around.
Well, I didn’t. I didn’t like her at all by the end.
In fact, I was quite ready to get rid of her and dump the novel. Seriously, I was SO thankful to leave her behind. It was like the world was lifted off my shoulders! (Okay, maybe I’m exaggerating a little but I just didn’t like her as a person.)
Live Bloom had too many bad qualities in her and not enough “good” ones. She wasn’t clever or wise. She was too selfish, conceited, and a liar. She let herself get stuck in this horrible world she loved in and only at the end did she realise. Thank GOODNESS!
The writing was great but I felt like the novel progressed too slowly for me and the recipes didn’t make much sense being there. The plot wasn’t overly unique or original and I put this novel down a lot more often than I picked it up.
Congratulations to E. R. Murray on publishing her first young adult novel!

Rating Plan
1 star : Strongly did not like the book, writing and plot was bad. Idea of the book was against my liking.
2 star : Didn’t like it, didn’t find it interesting or gripping. Seemed to drag on to me.
3 star : An average book. Wasn’t bad or good. Everything else was well done. Original idea.
4 star : Like a 3 star but has potential to it as a series or the book grew on me as it progressed and certain scenes captured me. I Enjoyed it and read it in one sitting.
5 star : I LOVED IT! I stayed up late until 3 am. Author is a genius, characters, plot, idea, development, EVERYTHING was EXCELLENT. Nothing else can possibly be said except that its 5 STAR!

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Review: Burning by Danielle Rollins

BurningBurning by Danielle Rollins
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

ARC kindly provided by Bloomsbury Publishing Australia in exchange for an honest review.

Review

‘Burning’… Hmm… How to describe it? At first it seemed just like any other novel about a girl locked away in juvenile prison where things were about to get real nasty, real quick, probably scare the BEJEEBIES out of me, and leave me forever grumpy, depressed and add one more reason to my long list of why I don’t read crimes/thrillers. Yep! It was definitely not a happy start for me with this novel.
But let me tell you why it changed my mind and how I learned to love it.
The beginning was certainly unappealing. I kept picking it up, putting it down, and then leaving it to go do something else. Why? Because I was so certain I knew what to expect from the story and because it made me want to run away from it as far as possible. I was NOT in the mood for a random, demented girl who – to be very harsh/frank/a little cruel/judgemental – was stupid and idiotic enough to land herself in prison because she couldn’t control herself for whatever reasons and excuses she made which I haven’t discovered yet.
And I certainly didn’t want to hate this novel at first, but STRONGLY dislike it, I did.
After labouring through the first initial pages, the novel started to change in my eyes. I didn’t feel so far away from the main character, Angela, and I started to understand the life she led before landing herself in juvie. She transformed from yet another teenage statistic to a real, breathing person. She had a bad family: her dad left her, her mother hated her, but she had a younger brother whom she loved very much, and I could FINALLY, FINALLY connect myself to her.
There’s definitely a bit of sci-fi in this! Fire-wielding little children who grew up and were dubbed pyretics? Guys, you’re in for a treat.
I felt the conclusion was justified, but I certainly wasn’t happy with it! I wanted to know what would happen next and most importantly why the author decided to close the novel in such an abrupt way! I wasn’t happy with all the deaths and sorrow that happened. There was too much creepiness and fear for me. I was angry and raging but also grieving and sad.
So, okay… Once I calmed down a little, I realised how great this novel was…and admitted to myself that I liked it a LOT!
And that creepy little girl Jessica who made such a fearful, turmoil-filled entrance in the start? Well…you’ll have to read the novel to find out.
*laughs evilly*
Congratulations to Danielle Rollins on publishing a fantastic YA debut?!

Rating Plan
1 star : Strongly did not like the book, writing and plot was bad. Idea of the book was against my liking.
2 star : Didn’t like it, didn’t find it interesting or gripping. Seemed to drag on to me.
3 star : An average book. Wasn’t bad or good. Everything else was well done. Original idea.
4 star : Like a 3 star but has potential to it as a series or the book grew on me as it progressed and certain scenes captured me. I Enjoyed it and read it in one sitting.
5 star : I LOVED IT! I stayed up late until 3 am. Author is a genius, characters, plot, idea, development, EVERYTHING was EXCELLENT. Nothing else can possibly be said except that its 5 STAR!

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Review: Hold Me Like a Breath (Once Upon a Crime Family, #1) by Tiffany Schmidt

Hold Me Like a Breath (Once Upon a Crime Family, #1)Hold Me Like a Breath by Tiffany Schmidt
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

ARC kindly provided by Bloomsbury Publishing Australia in exchange for an honest review.

Review

‘Hold Me Like a Breath’ is a BLOODY, BLOODY, BLOODY SPECTACULAR novel! It was everything and anything that I could have hoped for and a bit more. It was an incredibly heart-wrenching read for me and I loved it to bits and pieces because of it!
Crime novels are always fun for me. As long as they are the type that:
1. Are not specifically of the crime-thriller genre.
2. And are solely YA
I know. I’m very specific that way.
‘Hold Me Like a Breath’ started off quite ordinarily. Everything that happened during the first half of the novel was something I wasn’t too surprised about. Frankly, it was just a tiny bit stereotypical and cliche. For example, Penny falls for her brother’s best friend. Surprise, surprise!
Penny is constantly cooped up and coddled by her family. She is fragile little butterfly who lives an extremely comfortable life with her loving parents who own and run an illegal organisation who helps people – or at least those who can pay for that help.
Nevertheless, I enjoyed that half. But I must admit my favourite part of the novel was the second half. There is a big plot twist in the complication which I didn’t CERTAINLY didn’t expect. There was this whole major turnabout from the first half and life for Penny got a LOT more exciting.
I felt the characters were well made but they certainly had that sort of FAIRYTALE feel to them. The series names was a dead giveaway. The whole novel actually felt like a fairy-tale of sorts with its gentle, romantic atmosphere.
There was lots of mystery in the second half which I were quite fun for me to uncover. Secrets and lies, disguises and truths. There was one character who I knew who he/she really was before the author actually revealed it. I’m still not sure whether I’m happy or disgruntled with it.
Whilst the story did feel almost fairy-tale like, it also held some important elements of truth. I loved the rush of reality I felt every now and again. It was like a breath of fresh wind. Honestly, the best way for me to describe this novel is it’s a fairy-tale retelling of Rapunzel with a dash of contemporary reality and crime acts galore.
If you’ve loved Ally Carter’s ‘Gallagher Girls’ or ‘The Heist Society’ then I would strongly recommend this novel to you!
Congratulations to Tiffany Schmidt on publishing the first novel in the ‘Once Upon a Crime Family’ series! Can’t wait to lay my greedy hands on the sequel!

Rating Plan
1 star : Strongly did not like the book, writing and plot was bad. Idea of the book was against my liking.
2 star : Didn’t like it, didn’t find it interesting or gripping. Seemed to drag on to me.
3 star : An average book. Wasn’t bad or good. Everything else was well done. Original idea.
4 star : Like a 3 star but has potential to it as a series or the book grew on me as it progressed and certain scenes captured me. I Enjoyed it and read it in one sitting.
5 star : I LOVED IT! I stayed up late until 3 am. Author is a genius, characters, plot, idea, development, EVERYTHING was EXCELLENT. Nothing else can possibly be said except that its 5 STAR!

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Review: Time Stoppers by Carrie Jones

Time StoppersTime Stoppers by Carrie Jones
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

ARC kindly provided by Bloomsbury Publishing Australia in exchange for an honest review.

Review

‘Time Stoppers’ was a novel I wasn’t sure what to expect of. I knew it was going to be a lot more “childish” in a sense because its target audience is children between nine and twelve. I didn’t expect too much of the novel; yet I knew that the writing was going to be good. This was going to be one of those novels that just CLICKED for me or one that didn’t.
Jamie and Annie were quite the pair. First, I loved their names together, so kind and good. These two were really the definition of the sweetest characters after having survived a rough childhood. Further into the novel, I realised why I felt so disconnected: As I am older, the values I had as a child had changed so the way I thought was different. I believe this was the cause of the riff. I strongly recommend this for nine to twelve year olds; they will certainly love it!
I enjoyed the introductory part of the novel, which took up about a third or fourth of the entire story, but it just didn’t hook me as much as I would have liked it to. It was too slow for me and a bit more action would have been in favour, yet for a senior-primary school novel, this was done superbly well. I definitely see myself loving this novel if I were younger as it embodied everything that I loved back then: action and a cute, puppy-love romance with a moral or lesson at the very end. I guess, as a lover of the young-adult genre I expected a lot more violence and romance; but, I knew that in order to get a good reading experience, I had to alter my expectations to suit the genre I was reading.
‘Time Stoppers’ that felt light-hearted and with an easy atmosphere and mood. It was a good novel; a kind one that teaches the young reader yet appeals to their good nature. Yet, I couldn’t for one instant find myself extremely touched by the emotions coursing through the pages. To be frank, I felt a little bit detached and unable to connect with the main characters but I appreciated the theme of hope and love that ran throughout the whole story.
The writing style was easy and sweet. If you’re looking for a novel that was written well and grammatically correct, than this one lights up in all those areas. It is extremely important for a novel to be written well, especially for an audience of children, and it just made me glad to read. There were so many good qualities to the writing! I loved it!
The plot was done well. Everything fit and there weren’t any plot holes or things that I would have changed. I felt like this story would have been given more credit if read by somebody younger than me. There just wasn’t enough…drama…in it for me. I felt bored at times and had to skim read to get to the parts that best appealed to me.
I felt like the ending could have been a lot better. Everything just got wrapped up to well and it didn’t leave much for a cliff-hanger, though the author definitely attempted one. The open end made room for a potential series and the author’s choice to write a happy ending was poor. A cliff-hanger would have encouraged her readers to continue reading. If there WERE to be more novels in the series I would be interested to see where the author would lead it, but as of now, I am not expecting too much.
I also felt like the basic idea of the story was overused and unoriginal. The fairies, and trolls and goblins weren’t anything different from the million others out there and didn’t stand out in any way. This was definitely something that lowered by opinion of the novel.
Congratulations to Carrie Jones on publishing the very first story she had ever written!

Rating Plan
1 star : Strongly did not like the book, writing and plot was bad. Idea of the book was against my liking.
2 star : Didn’t like it, didn’t find it interesting or gripping. Seemed to drag on to me.
3 star : An average book. Wasn’t bad or good. Everything else was well done. Original idea.
4 star : Like a 3 star but has potential to it as a series or the book grew on me as it progressed and certain scenes captured me. I Enjoyed it and read it in one sitting.
5 star : I LOVED IT! I stayed up late until 3 am. Author is a genius, characters, plot, idea, development, EVERYTHING was EXCELLENT. Nothing else can possibly be said except that its 5 STAR!

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Review: The Leaving by Tara Altebrando

The LeavingThe Leaving by Tara Altebrando
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

ARC kindly provided by Bloomsbury Publishing Australia in exchange for an honest review.

Review

To say that ‘The Leaving’ didn’t pique my interest is silly: after all, that’s the reason I picked it up. This was a reading copy randomly sent to me by the publisher which puzzled me at first, but then made me decide to have a go. I loved the whole idea of an abduction/kidnapping taking place and then the return of the victims, with one never coming home. I usually do not pick up young-adult novels of this genre but felt the need to read outside my usual box and try something new. So my expectations of this novel were average. I was quite prepared to give it a three star.
I must admit the beginning was quite interesting. The reader meets the five, sixteen-year-old teenagers after they have been first released by their abductor/kidnapper. You could sense the confusion and the deep, dark mystery that surrounded these kids.
What caught me was the author’s writing style. This is my first novel by Tara Altebrando, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. I loved the quiet, eerie atmosphere it had and the easy language. It pulled you in and there would be sentences which were broken and truncated to represent the flashing, short thoughts the main characters had. It was a style that effectively carried across everything the author wanted to say.
This was one of those novels where you were stuck guessing where the author would lead you the whole time. You were reading to find out what would happen next, next, next. I definitely have a love/hate relationship with these types of novels and ‘The Leaving’ was one of them. I wasn’t sure whether to enjoy the ride and let the story set its course or try to guess the ending. I couldn’t for the sake of me even predict what this would all end with. I loved it! I hated it! ARGH!
The plot was original but I couldn’t decide whether to praise its structure or dislike it. It stuck to the normal story structure – introduction, complication and resolution – but had these gentle twists and turns where you wouldn’t realise something important happened until it was brought up again.
The main characters were a puzzling set. Since Scarlett and Lucas couldn’t remember a single thing it was interesting to see how the author would show personality and character. A very interesting theme was explored to do with identity: how memories and our experiences of the world shape us and who we believe and know ourselves to be. After all, without our memories, who are we? I loved it and the thought provoking effect it had on me. As a reader, I haven’t come across too many novels like this in the YA genre.
The story told well but I felt like it was missing something epic to it. A spectacular, shocking twist would have been amazing to see as it would have really sky-rocketed the rating I would have given the novel. I was kept interested in reading the novel but only just. The progression of events was a bit slow for me and the story didn’t end up and mysterious as I thought it would. I admit that I could not think of an ending but the conclusion seemed just…too suited for the story.
‘The Leaving’ had a very gentle and surprisingly non-disturbing atmosphere in the end. I loved it for that as I usually stay away from mysteries or thrillers since they spook me so much. If you’re expecting something thought provoking and you love a bit of mystery in a modern day setting, than ‘The Leaving’ is right up your alley.
Congratulations to Tara Altebrando on publishing a novel that makes you question who you really are!

Rating Plan
1 star : Strongly did not like the book, writing and plot was bad. Idea of the book was against my liking.
2 star : Didn’t like it, didn’t find it interesting or gripping. Seemed to drag on to me.
3 star : An average book. Wasn’t bad or good. Everything else was well done. Original idea.
4 star : Like a 3 star but has potential to it as a series or the book grew on me as it progressed and certain scenes captured me. I Enjoyed it and read it in one sitting.
5 star : I LOVED IT! I stayed up late until 3 am. Author is a genius, characters, plot, idea, development, EVERYTHING was EXCELLENT. Nothing else can possibly be said except that its 5 STAR!

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Review: Whisper to Me by Nick Lake

Whisper to MeWhisper to Me by Nick Lake
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

ARC kindly provided by Bloomsbury Publishing Australia in exchange for an honest review.

Review

‘Whisper to Me’ is my first novel by the much acclaimed author of ‘In Darkness’, winner of the Michael L. Printz Award; ‘Hostage Three’, which received three starred reviews and was named a Publishers Weekly, School Library Journal and Boston Globe Best Book of the Year; and ‘There Will Be Lies’. Geez, just listing all these has made me feel so honoured to have read this novel!
First of all: The cover, peeps. The. Cover. It’s like the best EVER. I love the colours. I love the design. I love the little symbols. It just my type of cover. And, yes, I probably did judge the book by its cover.
At first I was unsure of what to expect. I knew there was going to be a deep element of sadness to this story and – me being the optimist – I still picked it up. I usually refrain from picking up novels which I believe would make me cry or become depressed, but something about the blurb made me want to have a go at it. And boy did I have a go…
Within the first few sentences I was grabbed, strung and hung at the mercy of this novel. It was just SOOO. GOOOD! The writing was literally unlike anything I have ever read. Gorgeous and poetic, it flowed like a river. And I was the helpless, drowning person caught up in its torrent as the water rushed out the sea, and finally the conclusion of the story. This was literally the definition of UNPUTDOWNABLE.
The characters were absolutely marvellous. There was such depth to them that it was impossible to remain detached from their thoughts, feelings, emotions or actions. They weren’t just words on a page, they were paintings come to life to haunt your thoughts as real-life people.
Cassie was a great protagonist. Her view of the world was so bleak, yet so very clear and sharp. She was a character you wouldn’t forget all too soon. Cassie was flawed and dangerous. She made you want to shout and then weep in sadness. She made you hope and long and laugh and sob along with her.
‘Whisper to Me’ was written in first person and when the blurb said, “Consider this the most screwed-up love letter ever.” Do. Because it is. The book itself was a hefty five-hundred and thirty pages long. So I guess this makes the novel the LONGEST, most screwed-up love letter ever. Oh and did I mention that there were no chapters? Yep. There were no chapters. I wasn’t sure whether to be extremely frustrated or angry, because this made the novel seem like one gigantic piece of text. And I had no idea how to separate some of what I learned. What can I say? I’m a “contents page” kind of girl.
The novel doesn’t launch into the story straight away. It spends at least a fifth of the novel giving you an introduction into Cassie’s world. This means that we don’t get to meet the boy whose heart she broke until later on. And we never learn his name. This was one of those peculiarities that I was extremely impressed by. The mystery continued until the very last page.
I loved the themes the author explored. And they were certainly dark. If you’re not into reading about people with mental illnesses then let me convince you to try it. First of all, the novel does explore inner demons but it doesn’t focus on that completely. It also explores the rush and impetuousness of first love, as well as all the mistakes we make along with it. It talks and teaches of forgiveness and being able to say, “I’m sorry”.
And that ending. Boy did I want to hunt down the author and shake the BEJEEBIES out of him. Gosh. No. Words.
‘Whisper to Me’ was just too good. As I was writing this review I was crying. This novel touched not just my heart, but my soul; the very essence of my being. I have no words which can accurately describe everything that I was feeling. If there is one thing that you can do for yourself, it is picking up this novel. You may struggle to get through it, but along the way you will learn something. And it will amaze you.
Congratulations to Nick Lake on publishing yet another, Printz-award-worthy novel!

Rating Plan
1 star : Strongly did not like the book, writing and plot was bad. Idea of the book was against my liking.
2 star : Didn’t like it, didn’t find it interesting or gripping. Seemed to drag on to me.
3 star : An average book. Wasn’t bad or good. Everything else was well done. Original idea.
4 star : Like a 3 star but has potential to it as a series or the book grew on me as it progressed and certain scenes captured me. I Enjoyed it and read it in one sitting.
5 star : I LOVED IT! I stayed up late until 3 am. Author is a genius, characters, plot, idea, development, EVERYTHING was EXCELLENT. Nothing else can possibly be said except that its 5 STAR!

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