Tag Archives: #youngadult

Review: The Silent Invasion by James Bradley

The Silent Invasion (The Change #1) by James Bradley

The Earth is dying.

Plants, animals and humans are being infected by spores from space and becoming part of a vast alien intelligence.

When 16-year-old Callie discovers her little sister Gracie is Changing, she flees with Gracie to the Zone to escape termination by the ruthless officers of quarantine.

What Callie finds in the Zone will alter her forever and send her on a journey to the stars, and beyond.

The first book in an heart-stopping trilogy from award-winning author James Bradley.

My Blurb

There aren’t many post-apocalyptic / dystopian novels set in Australia. I can think of 2 others besides this one and only this one is YA. That is one of the main reason I was interested in this book.

We were told that people disappear. They disappear because they’re sick and will have to be quarantined. Callie’s dad ‘disappeared’ a long time ago but now her little sister, Gracie, seems to be falling sick. Gracie is basically the only family Callie has left and she wasn’t going to let Gracie go just like that despite what everyone says and so began her journey to find sanctuary for them both.

Callie is one amazing character. She was so strong and courageous yet very gentle with Gracie. The landscape was frightening as people are losing hopes and yet, there are still pockets of humanity. I’m still conflicted about the love interest though despite liking Matt and enjoying the romance, I think this story can stand on its own. I think Callie can stand on her own. The ending was tense but I’m surprised that I wasn’t actually surprised with that last word…

Despite being un-surprised, I’d love to get onto the next book as The Silent Invasion was quite an adventure and I’d like some closure too! In the meantime, if you know & liked any other post-apocalyptic / dystopian set in Australia, I’d love to hear from you!

Thanks to Pan Macmillan Australia for copy of book in exchange of honest review

About the author

James Bradley was born in 1967. He is the author of three novels, Wrack, The Deep Field and his most recent, The Resurrectionist; a book of poetry, Paper Nautilus; and the editor of Blur, a collection of stories by young Australian writers. He is a well-respected critic and regularly reviews for the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age. He lives in Sydney with his partner, novelist Mardi McConnochie.

Find her on: goodreads  |  website |  twitter  

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Blog Tour: If Birds Fly Back by Carlie Sorosiak

If Birds Fly Back by Carlie Sorosiak

A sun-drenched and irresistible love story from a stunning new talent in YA, perfect for fans of Morgan Matson, John Green, and Rainbow Rowell.

“A uniquely dazzling love story – sunshine flows through every electric page, and into your heart.” Harriet Reuter Hapgood, author of The Square Root of Summer

Linny has been living life in black and white since her sister Grace ran away, and she’s scared that Grace might never come back.

When Linny witnesses the return to Miami of a cult movie star long presumed dead, she is certain it’s a sign. Surely Álvaro Herrera, of all people, can tell her why people come back – and how to bring her sister home?

Sebastian has come to Miami seeking his father, a man whose name he’s only just learned. An aspiring astrophysicist, he can tell Linny how many galaxies there are, how much plutonium weighs and how likely she is to be struck by a meteorite. But none of the theories he knows are enough to answer his own questions about why his father abandoned him, and why it left him in pieces.

As Sebastian and Linny converge around the mystery of Álvaro’s disappearance – and return – their planets start to collide. Linny’s life is about to become technicolor, but finding the answers to her questions might mean losing everything that matters.

My Blurb

I just knew this was going to be a beautiful book. In fact, it was just so so cute! Yes, it speaks of grief and the characters struggling with missing pieces in their lives but it’s also a story of finding oneself, of life after grief and the possibility of happiness. And just look at that cover! I don’t think I need to say anymore to convince to read this, do I?

I love that this book is told from 2 perspectives, Linny’s & Sebastian’s, in that we all get to see what’s in their minds and therefore, how their minds work. They were both consumed with their own issues yet that first & subsequent sparks as they meet jolted them to life a bit at a time. Each chapters are imbued with their personalities; Linny’s are full of colours, notes of missing persons (why wasn’t there one on Agatha Christie?!), and her film manuscript drafts whilst Sebastian’s are full of scientific facts or Sebastian’s fact of life in scientific speak.

If Birds Fly Back was so easy to read and I fell in love with the characters from the beginning. It’s very cute & very sweet with a good dose of humour despite the deep sadness the characters were feeling. I’m pegging this as a pick-me-up sort of read… need one now? I highly recommend this book as your comfort read!

Thanks to Pan Macmillan Australia for copy of book in exchange of honest review

About the author

Carlie Sorosiak grew up in North Carolina and holds two master’s degrees: one in English from Oxford University and another in Creative Writing and Publishing from City University, London. Her life goals include travelling to all seven continents and fostering many polydactyl cats. She currently splits her time between the US and the UK, hoping to gain an accent like Madonna’s.

Find her on: goodreads  |  website  | pinterest  |  twitter  | youtube  |  instagram

 

Review: Traveler by L.E. DeLano

Traveler (Traveler #1) by L.E. DeLano
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

From the description, this book has everything I love in it:

Pirates ✓

Alternate worlds ✓

Delectable Book Boyfriend ✓✓✓

Said Delectable Book Boyfriend Comes to Life ✓✓✓✓✓

Totally sold on this book from the get-go!

It’s not a new theory that each time we make a choice, there is a split in reality as another version of us make a different choice and therefore, there are billions, gazillions, un-numbered alternate worlds out there. There are many books written about these too but probably not many of them are as fantastical as these worlds in Traveler. There is a post-apocalyptic world where the situation is so desperate that people are hunting people. There is a world full of everything shiny and sparkly with Glitter Mousse (yum!). There is a steampunk world with corsets and pirates! These are just my favourites out of the numerous alternate universes we were introduced in this book.

I like Jessa with her rather ordinary world turned upside down or is it rather right way up? Like any ordinary teenager, Jessa has her own share of troubles but they were nothing to what’s coming her way. She is being hunted down in every alternate worlds though this time, Finn has come, determined to save this Jessa. We rarely see the other Jessas though as Finn puts it, Jessa is always Jessa whichever world she’s in. We do see however different versions of Jessa’s friends & loved ones including Finn and I must admit to like the pirate Finn more than any other!

Traveler is a fun read; not only do you get dozens of different worlds in the one book but the most important spin was that book boyfriend coming to life (can you just imagine?! btw, who would you pick?!). I was a tad disappointed that Pirate Finn didn’t make that much of an appearance but *coughs* that ending… I absolutely can NOT wait for book 2!

Thanks to Pan MacMillan Australia for copy of book in exchange of honest review

View all my reviews

Blog Tour: A Quiet Kind of Thunder by Sara Barnard

About the book

a-quiet-kind-of-thunder

A Quiet Kind of Thunder by Sara Barnard

Steffi doesn’t talk, but she has so much to say.
Rhys can’t hear, but he can listen.
Their love isn’t a lightning strike, it’s the rumbling roll of thunder.

Steffi has been a selective mute for most of her life – she’s been silent for so long that she feels completely invisible. But Rhys, the new boy at school, sees her. He’s deaf, and her knowledge of basic sign language means that she’s assigned to look after him. To Rhys, it doesn’t matter that Steffi doesn’t talk, and as they find ways to communicate, Steffi finds that she does have a voice, and that she’s falling in love with the one person who makes her feel brave enough to use it.

From the bestselling author of Beautiful Broken Things comes a love story about the times when a whisper is as good as a shout.

My Blurb

A Quiet Kind of Thunder is a beautiful read. Mind you, there were stacks of romance in here though I think you can kind of tell by the number of hearts on the cover 😉 There were times that I found the romance crossed the corny cheesy line but I made the allowance for “First Love”. They really weren’t that bad; just a teeny weeny bit more than I liked so you may love it.

At the beginning, however, Steffi was facing first day back at school without her best friend. She’s 16 so she’s in sixth form; which term I actually had to look up as I’m not familiar with the British education system (thanks, Google!) and it’s like years 12 & 13. She may know all the students there but it’s a big day for her. She is determined that she will speak this year. She needs to prove to herself and her parents that she’s capable of ‘normality’ so they will let her go to university. Minutes later, she met a boy who cannot hear, Rhys, and he’s rather cute…

There is only one perspective, Steffi’s, and we get to hear everything she’s saying in her head. She’s getting help and she’s working very hard to overcome that which limit her. I love that we get to hear these things; she may not be able to speak but it doesn’t mean that her head is empty! I can’t tell how accurate the things she’s thought of in relation to other people who are in the same boat as Steffi but it felt just as how they could’ve thought (feel free to correct me) and in some ways were really enlightening. Meeting Rhys with a different type of limitation helps her in a way as they found support in each other; tackling the world which place those limitations on them and along the way, found her confidence and identity.

I have truly enjoyed this book. It was a fun, educational, heart-warming, and totally encouraging book to read. It really inspires you to reach for your dreams despite what the world tells you; only you can decide your limits.

Thanks to Pan Macmillan Australia for copy of book in exchange of honest review

Quick Q&A

  1. What kind of research was involved in writing A Quiet Kind of Thunder?

A lot! I learned some (very basic) sign language and read as much as I could on deaf culture and community. I also watched videos on YouTube, including those from/about people in deaf/hearing relationships. For selective mutism, I did a lot of general research into things like diagnosis and treatment, and read the materials that were aimed at teachers and parents to get an idea of how they would deal with a child in that situation.

  1. Is there an interesting story/incident that you came across during your research that you could share with us?

Everything I learned about deaf culture and BSL was fascinating, and I really loved watching BSL music videos online – they absolutely blew my mind.

  1. What is it that drives you to write contemporary YA and of such confronting truths?

For me, those are the kinds of books I most love and that I take the most from. I love books that are honest about people, relationships and the world, and so I suppose it makes sense that I would also try to do this in my own writing. Writing is also a great cathartic way to explore issues and problems that goes beyond just talking or thinking about them, so there’s probably an element of that, too.

About the author

sara-barnardSara lives in Brighton and does all her best writing on trains. She loves books, book people and book things. She has been writing ever since she was too small to reach the “on” switch on the family Amstrad computer. She gets her love of words from her dad, who made sure she always had books to read and introduced her to the wonders of secondhand book shops at a young age.

Sara is trying to visit every country in Europe, and has managed to reach 13 with her best friend. She has also lived in Canada and worked in India.

Sara is inspired by what-ifs and people. She thinks sad books are good for the soul and happy books lift the heart. She hopes to write lots of books that do both. BEAUTIFUL BROKEN THINGS is her first book and a dream come true.

Find Sara on: goodreads  |  tumblr  |  twitter  | instagram

 

First Chapter, First Paragraph: The Incredible Adventures of Cinnamon Girl by Melissa Keil

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Every Tuesday Diane at Bibliophile by the Sea hosts First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Introsto share the first paragraph sometimes two, of a book that she’s reading or planning to read soon.

The house is a single-storey, chipped white weatherboard, and stand on the edge of a dusty road. It’s set on stilts, unusual for around here, with a rickety staircase leading to the doors. French windows open onto a verandah, dappled by eucalypts and crammed with tables. In my sketchpad, I’ve always managed to make the house look adorable, in an Oklahoma! meets Smallville sort of way. In reality? It kinda looks like it should be harbouring survivalists hoarding Spam and toilet paper and stuff.

But it’s beautiful. And it’s my favourite place in the universe.

cinnamon-girlThe Incredible Adventures of Cinnamon Girl by Melissa Keil

Alba loves her life just as it is. She loves living behind the bakery, and waking up in a cloud of sugar and cinnamon. She loves drawing comics and watching bad TV with her friends.

The only problem is she’s overlooked a few teeny details:

Like, the guy she thought long gone has unexpectedly reappeared.
And the boy who has been her best friend since forever has suddenly gone off the rails.
And even her latest comic-book creation is misbehaving.

Also, the world might be ending – which is proving to be awkward.

As Doomsday enthusiasts flock to idyllic Eden Valley, Alba’s life is thrown into chaos. Whatever happens next, it’s the end of the world as she knows it. But when it comes to figuring out her heart, Armageddon might turn out to be the least of her problems.

Based on this intro, would you read more or pass on this book?

I saw this cover. I read the title. And I’m in luuurveee… Needless to say, I’ve very high expectations! I hope this going to be a fabulous read. Please note, however, the target audience is 12-15 y.o.

 

Review: Firstlife

firstlifeFirstlife by Gena Showalter
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Source: Uncorrected proof courtesy of publisher

Firstlife’s fascinating premise is what drew me to pick this up. What if there is a second chance to life? You have your ‘firstlife’ on earth to make an informed decision for which realms you’d choose in the next life; when you “died”, then you’d live in your chosen realm before you officially die. We only have one chance in life which makes your actions all the more precious but what if you have another chance, what would you do?

This novel opens with two sets of email correspondences which were really quite confusing! You really have to pay attention to the from/to section to figure it all out. Their somewhat vague contents were interesting though you wonder how these subordinates could be that disrespectful to their superiors… that I could not understand. The perspective then shifted, by chapter 1, to our main girl character, Tenley “Ten” Lockwood. My first impression of her was favourable: here’s a strong female teenager being imprisoned in a facility due to resisting her parents’ decision for her next life. She was really quite impressive.

But then… her indecisiveness really truly surely killed any affection I had for her. After 1/3 of the way, I was close to shaking her to Just Do It! I felt like she had no excuse for her indecision. That she was indecisive because she chose to be indecisive. And for her to do at the end what she did… well! I felt the 480 pages I read just to reach that was completely wasted… Also, I find that YA “feels” was missing; I felt barely a tingle 😦

Fate is an excuse, a way to remove blame and therefore guilt for poor decision making. Free choice decides the outcome of your life, not fate.

I must admit, however, that this book will probably be good for discussions; philosophically, morally, and religiously. There were some really good quotes I like in this book and they were scattered generously but it still wasn’t quite enough to keep my interest… At this point in time, I’m not even sure I’d consider the next book. I’ve rated 2-stars because these quotes would’ve made good conversations.

Thanks to Harlequin Teen Australia for copy of uncorrected proof in exchange of honest review

View all my reviews

Push Me, Pull Me by Vanessa Garden ~ Excerpt + Giveaway

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PMPM

Push Me, Pull Me by Vanessa Garden
Published by: Limitless Publishing
Publication date: August 25th 2015
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult

Since Ruby Milton’s mother committed suicide, she’s forgotten what it’s like to be seventeen.

Saddled with taking care of her toddler brother and alcoholic father, Ruby has no time for fun. She also can’t shake the growing resentment she feels for her mother’s decision, which left her unable to grieve without anger and regret.

Then she meets blue-eyed musician Byron Black, who challenges everything she believes.

Byron refuses to let anyone control his life—or his death. When he left the city behind, he was in search of somewhere where nobody knew his secret. What he didn’t expect was to meet a beautiful redhead whose views conflict so completely with his own. But as their romance deepens, he begins to doubt his choices and decides to return to the city…for one last chance.

When Byron disappears, Ruby will stop at nothing to track him down.

Upon finding Byron, Ruby discovers his devastating secret, and a battle of wills begins. Byron doesn’t want her to know this part of him. He has to deal with it by himself, even though the idea of losing her tears him apart.

Will they be able to see each other through the darkness?

Or should they save their hearts and just let go?

Buy: Amazon  |  B&N  |  booktopia

VanessaA bookseller and Young Adult author, Vanessa loves nothing more than immersing herself in the exciting world of books. When she is not gushing about her favourite reads with customers, or mentally casting actors to play the characters in her books, Vanessa enjoys hanging out with those she loves most.

goodreads  |  blog  |  twitter  |  facebook  |  instagram

Excerpt

“Are you in a lot of pain?” It was a stupid question. My eyes travelled to the front of his shirt.

He pulled back a little, as if to protect his wound from my intrusive gaze.

“I’m fine, Ruby,” he said, but kept his eyes trained on the ceiling, his expression unreadable.

“How long have you had this one for?” I reached out and gently traced my trembling finger along the thin silvery line on his face and neck, moving from his jaw down to his collarbone.

Byron closed his eyes and exhaled raggedly. “A long time. Don’t look at it,” he rasped. “It’s ugly.”

I swallowed thickly and gazed at the fine structure of his face, at the thick lashes resting against his cheekbones and the sensual swell of his lips. “Nothing about you could ever be ugly.”

At my words, Byron opened his eyes and fixed them on me. He gently tugged my arm and waist, rolling me on top of him. He breathed hard from the exertion.

I blushed from being so close to his face and sat up, straddling him, my thighs on either side of his waist.

“You’re so beautiful, Ruby,” Byron whispered, his hands finding my hips.

I shifted slightly, conscious of the growing hardness I could feel beneath me.

Outside, the sky was darkening, but there was just enough light coming in through the window for me to see the look on Byron’s face. I’d never been looked at like this before.

“Come here,” he whispered, sliding his hands from my hips up my lower back, gently pressing me down.

I bent and hovered over him, careful not to apply any pressure to his chest, but Byron wrapped an arm around my waist and slid a hand behind my neck and gently pressed me down so that I could feel every inch of his firm body beneath me. The sensation made my pulse quicken and my heart stutter. A flush, hotter than the recent weather, burned through my veins and heated my body.

Against my neck, Byron’s breath came faster.

Our lips came together, soft and chaste at first, but as soon as our tongues touched the kiss grew deeper and harder. Byron’s hands slid up my back to tangle in my hair while I ran my hand through his.

He moaned softly and suddenly the kiss kicked up a gear. Our hands crossed paths and we entwined our fingers together, briefly, before moving on to touch each other’s bodies, wherever our hands could reach. Every inch of Byron felt hard, whereas, beneath his careful touch, he made me feel soft like I was something delicate and precious. It was exquisite.

I couldn’t get enough of him. I wanted to somehow meld us into one person.

I drew him tight against me and he groaned against my mouth, the sound sending a jolt of excitement to my lower belly, that is, until he stiffened beneath me and pushed me off.

I hadn’t pleasured him, I’d hurt him.

“Are you okay?” I knelt beside him, horrified at what I’d done, my hands hovering over his chest.

Byron remained on his back, his chest rising and falling in short, sharp rasps, his jaw tense, his hands twisting at my bed cover.

“I’m so sorry. Is it bad? What should I do?”

“It’s okay. Don’t be sorry,” he whispered hoarsely, looking away. “It’s not your fault, Ruby. It’s me.”

“I’m the one who crushed you,” I said softly.

He sighed and steadied his breath.

“No. I mean, I shouldn’t be here, doing this…starting something with you…” he met my eyes, “…something that can never really go anywhere.” He exhaled, it sounded harsh and angry. “Remember, I’m leaving soon, Ruby.”

I tied my hair up with the band I kept around my wrist and tried to keep my face neutral so that he couldn’t see how I really felt about him leaving. We’d only just gotten to know each other. I liked the guy. I didn’t want him to leave.

“Is this to do with your music? Because you want to tour? Or because of this…this thing with your parents?”

Byron smiled down at the bedcover, but it was a bittersweet smile. “I wish this was about something as simple as music.”

“Are you in a lot of pain?” It was a stupid question. My eyes travelled to the front of his shirt.

He pulled back a little, as if to protect his wound from my intrusive gaze.

“I’m fine, Ruby,” he said, but kept his eyes trained on the ceiling, his expression unreadable.

“How long have you had this one for?” I reached out and gently traced my trembling finger along the thin silvery line on his face and neck, moving from his jaw down to his collarbone.

Byron closed his eyes and exhaled raggedly. “A long time. Don’t look at it,” he rasped. “It’s ugly.”

I swallowed thickly and gazed at the fine structure of his face, at the thick lashes resting against his cheekbones and the sensual swell of his lips. “Nothing about you could ever be ugly.”

At my words, Byron opened his eyes and fixed them on me. He gently tugged my arm and waist, rolling me on top of him. He breathed hard from the exertion.

I blushed from being so close to his face and sat up, straddling him, my thighs on either side of his waist.

“You’re so beautiful, Ruby,” Byron whispered, his hands finding my hips.

I shifted slightly, conscious of the growing hardness I could feel beneath me.

Outside, the sky was darkening, but there was just enough light coming in through the window for me to see the look on Byron’s face. I’d never been looked at like this before.

“Come here,” he whispered, sliding his hands from my hips up my lower back, gently pressing me down.

I bent and hovered over him, careful not to apply any pressure to his chest, but Byron wrapped an arm around my waist and slid a hand behind my neck and gently pressed me down so that I could feel every inch of his firm body beneath me. The sensation made my pulse quicken and my heart stutter. A flush, hotter than the recent weather, burned through my veins and heated my body.

Against my neck, Byron’s breath came faster.

Our lips came together, soft and chaste at first, but as soon as our tongues touched the kiss grew deeper and harder. Byron’s hands slid up my back to tangle in my hair while I ran my hand through his.

He moaned softly and suddenly the kiss kicked up a gear. Our hands crossed paths and we entwined our fingers together, briefly, before moving on to touch each other’s bodies, wherever our hands could reach. Every inch of Byron felt hard, whereas, beneath his careful touch, he made me feel soft like I was something delicate and precious. It was exquisite.

I couldn’t get enough of him. I wanted to somehow meld us into one person.

I drew him tight against me and he groaned against my mouth, the sound sending a jolt of excitement to my lower belly, that is, until he stiffened beneath me and pushed me off.

I hadn’t pleasured him, I’d hurt him.

“Are you okay?” I knelt beside him, horrified at what I’d done, my hands hovering over his chest.

Byron remained on his back, his chest rising and falling in short, sharp rasps, his jaw tense, his hands twisting at my bed cover.

“I’m so sorry. Is it bad? What should I do?”

“It’s okay. Don’t be sorry,” he whispered hoarsely, looking away. “It’s not your fault, Ruby. It’s me.”

“I’m the one who crushed you,” I said softly.

He sighed and steadied his breath.

“No. I mean, I shouldn’t be here, doing this…starting something with you…” he met my eyes, “…something that can never really go anywhere.” He exhaled, it sounded harsh and angry. “Remember, I’m leaving soon, Ruby.”

I tied my hair up with the band I kept around my wrist and tried to keep my face neutral so that he couldn’t see how I really felt about him leaving. We’d only just gotten to know each other. I liked the guy. I didn’t want him to leave.

“Is this to do with your music? Because you want to tour? Or because of this…this thing with your parents?”

Byron smiled down at the bedcover, but it was a bittersweet smile. “I wish this was about something as simple as music.”

PushMePullMeGiveaway

Click on image (left) to enter the giveaway (INTL) of:

  • Push Me, Pull Me coffee mug filled with heart shaped chocolate and a $10 Amazon gift card.

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