These are 2 books I read one after another – a new personal favourite, I am looking forward to book 3!!!
A Promise of Fire: Book 1
Catalia “Cat” Fisa is a powerful clairvoyant known as the Kingmaker. A smart-mouthed soothsayer, she has no interest in her powers and would much rather fly under the radar but when an ambitious warlord captures her, she may not have a choice but to tap in to her power. Griffin, another character you meet, is intent on bringing peace to his newly conquered realm and when he discovers Cat’s identity, he abducts her…
An addictive read, one that I couldn’t put down!!! A Promise of Fire is a beautiful way to start a series.
The characters know how to handle themselves and I wanted to know what happens to them next. The characters had the feelings that I’ve known them for a few years and that they were friends.
Breath of Fire: Book 2 Catalia “Cat” Fisa’s story continues as she’s been on the run from her destiny ever since she could crawl but now she’s caught between the shadow of her tortured past and the threat of her world-shattering future..
As soon as I started to read Breath of Fire, I was immersed. The only put this book down once and that was to get a couple hours of sleep before I went to work. As soon as I was walking to the train station my nose was straight back into this world. I was ecstatic to be with Cat and Griffin and the other members of the Beta team, again. The relationships between all the characters have been growing. Their pasts are also coming out slowly coming to light. Magic, adventure, action, and the Greek Gods are all part of the fun.
Many thanks to Hachette Publishers for sending me a Review Copy in exchange for my honest review.
Best selling Australian Author, Tara Eglington is a dear friend of Read3r’z Re-Vu and the author of 3 amazing YA novels: How to Keep a Boy from Kissing You, How to Keep a Boy from Kissing You and My Best Friend is a Goddess.
Here, is our exclusive blog interview with Tara!!!
When did you first get inspiration to write? It’s hard to actually remember when it officially started. I was obsessed with reading when I was a kid, and I remember writing my own little ‘spin-off’ stories that were inspired by my favourite characters. I know my teachers in high school always assumed that I would do something related to writing for a career, but it was only when I was around 20 that I became obsessed with building a story around a girl who didn’t want to be kissed! I played around with the idea in my mind for around six months, before I officially declared at 21 that I was going to write a book. I then sat down at the computer every day for about 10 months, until I had a finished manuscript. That was How to Keep a Boy from Kissing You, which was published by Harper Collins Australia seven years later.
What is the title of your debut novel and what inspired you to write this book? My debut novel was “How to Keep a Boy from Kissing You”, which was followed by a sequel “How to Keep a Boy from Kissing You”. My third and most recent novel is “My Best Friend is a Goddess”. “My Best Friend is a Goddess” is the story of two best friends, Emily and Adriana, who in alternating chapters. I was inspired to write Goddess because I wanted to write about the ups and downs of female friendship, as well as touch upon some topics like envy, self-esteem, the pressure on women to be ‘pretty’, first love, and grief. It was also inspired by a painful falling out with a best friend in high school, at the end of Year 10.
Is there any particular reason you chose this genre? I love writing Young Adult books – I read a crazy amount of YA when I was a teenager, and still read this genre. It’s a fascinating period to write about because the characters are in the process of discovering who they are in terms of their identity, their passions, hopes, and goals, and are experiencing so many things for the first time. I kept a diary from ages 12-22, and I have drawn upon some of these experiences (like the lost friendship) in my novels. I love re-reading these diaries as there are so many emotionally charged entries! The diary entry in Goddess where Emily talks about how frustrated she is because she feels like she’s always being judged by her appearance – ‘I want to believe that ‘Pretty’ isn’t everything’ – was inspired by a very similar diary entry I made at 15.
What’s the name of your favourite book? “Anne of Green Gables.” I first read it at 14, and I still love it. Anne and Gilbert were one of the inspirations for the Aurora/Hayden dynamic in “How to Keep a Boy from Kissing You”. Another favourite is “I Capture the Castle” – it’s the story of a 17 year old girl, Cassandra, who lives with her artistic, eccentric family in a decaying English castle – the story is told through Cassandra’s diary entries, and it’s a coming-of-age story set in the 1930’s. There was a film a few years back, but the book is far, far superior.
What’s the first book you ever read? The first book would have been a picture book, but I can’t recall what one! I do remember reading “Heidi” at age six, and I became obsessed with it. I desperately wanted to live in a cabin in the mountains of Switzerland!!!
Where is your favourite place to read? In bed, on the weekend. When I’m not writing a new novel I really take the opportunity to indulge in reading. When I’m in writer mode, most of my weekend is spent at the computer, so I go through long periods where I don’t have time to pick up a book. When I’m on break, I start trying to make my way through the stacks of TBR’s that I’ve acquired from online buying sessions via Booktopia.
If you’re not reading or writing, what would you be doing? Cooking! Or watching a cooking program – my favourite way to relax is to watch “Master Chef” or Netflix’s “Chef’s Table.” Some of the chefs are so incredibly clever and creative – if I wasn’t an author, I would love to do something with food.
If you had the chance to have a dinner date with any fictional literary character, who would it be, where would it be and why? L M Montgomery (author of Anne of Green Gables) – she is my favourite writer, and there are so many questions I would like to ask her about her characters and her experience as a writer in another era, when being a female writer was incredibly unusual (she lived from 1874-1942). I’d love the dinner to be on Prince Edward Island, Canada, which is where Anne of Green Gables was set, as I have always dreamt of visiting!
What was the last book you read? (title/genre/author/rating out of 5 stars) The Golden Child by Wendy James (Australian author). It was a real page turner – I’d rate it 4.5 stars!
What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever received from a fan? The coolest thing I ever had a reader do was when Amanda, The Bookish Manicurist created nails that were How to Keep a Boy from Kissing You themed! They were amazing and even featured little Aurora’s! Photo Courtesy: The Bookish Manicurist
If your life was turned into a movie, who would you like to play you? Hmmmm. Tough one. I can’t think of an actress that looks similar to me….my husband suggested Blake Lively, which was unexpected and flattering, so I’ll go with that!
As an author, what was the best piece of advice you were ever given? The advice that I would pass on to anyone else who wants to write, is to have confidence in yourself. Listen to constructive feedback from those within the industry, and work on becoming a better writer, but you also have to cultivate a fierce inner determination and optimism.
The other advice I would give is that writing requires sacrifice. Generally that sacrifice is time – and unfortunately, unless you write full time, you’ll have to carve out writing time from what remains after a full working week. Sadly, this is often time that you would spend relaxing, seeing friends or family. I try to juggle what I can, but some area always suffers, it’s unavoidable. You can’t manage everything. Each novel I write is two years of work, and I do have to say ‘no’ and even though I feel guilty about it, I make sacrifices in my personal life to make deadlines, and to achieve big goals. If your family and friends love you, and value what you are trying to achieve, then they will understand. I then try to give more to these areas when I’m on break between novels.
Hmmm. Rather than a particular statement or piece of advice, I think what helped me the most was the confidence that my English teachers in high school, instilled in me. One of my English teachers was formerly an editor at quite a few of the well-known Publishing houses in the UK and Australia, and when she learned through the grapevine that I hoped to be a novelist one day, she actually approached me after class and said seriously ‘I think you can achieve that goal.’ That was huge for me. After I wrote my first novel (which was at that point, un-signed) and other people would tell me that the odds of being published were close to impossible, I always still had that quiet confidence within me that said ‘No, I will be published.’
The Top 10: This or That
Ice cream or Ice Block? Ice cream!
Library or Bookstore? That’s like choosing your favourite child! Libraries I think, because they were my saving grace growing up in a small town – a portal to a myriad of different worlds!
Vegemite or Peanut Butter? Vegemite! I wouldn’t cope without it! I feel like it’s one of those ‘cure all’s for any ailment 😉
Chicken or Beef? I’m a vegetarian actually! ;-/
Winter or Summer? Tough one. Used to be summer, but now that I ski, winter has become more of a favourite. I have to have mountains around – snow and mountains make winter magical!
Tea or Coffee? Coffee by a mile! My husband is an amateur barista, so we drink a lot of it!
Favourite Chocolate: Haighs
Favourite Colour: Burgundy!
Ultimate Holiday Destination: The Maldives! I’m obsessed…mostly because I love snorkelling and spying on fish “Under da sea, under da sea….”
When reading, I love to eat/drink:
Summer fruits – peaches, nectarines, apricots…
Famous last words: “Imagine if” – that’s the writer-brain in action!
Make sure you get a hold of Tara’s books.. they’re a lot of fun to read!!!
They are the pinnacle of contemporary YA reads!!!
Three Friends – Two Love Stories – One Convention
-FUN FUN FUN!!!-
Wow, this book was a lot of fun to read! It was so entertaining from start to finish, I virtually smashed this book in about 2 days! I love reading stories that are set at what I call “geek conventions” as I am big fan of pop culture myself so I really get wrapped up in entertaining reads like this one that follows BFFs Charlie, Taylor and Jamie who go to the SupaCon with expectations of an epic time but what they don’t expect is it will change their lives forever. I found it easy to place myself with the characters and following their journey in this book even though they switched from one character to another throughout the story. What I found unique and quite clever about this book was how the relationships between the characters were beautifully woven into the story and the strong representation of diversity within the characters. A fun, humorous story relating to strong friendships regardless of diversity and covers important themes through a positive story.
Here’s a quick Q&A with the talent behind “Queens of Geek” Jen Wilde!!
What kind of research was involved in writing Queens of Geek? A lot! I spent hours and hours researching everything from lines at conventions to character stereotypes and tropes to avoid. I watched YouTube videos and read blogs and found twitter chats about writing different characters. I read up on autism and anxiety too, because even though I am autistic and anxious, my experiences are not the only experiences of it. I listened to what other writers and readers were saying about both harmful and positive representation and applied it to my work. There’s a wealth of knowledge out there for writers and I think I must have devoured it all, and still do.
The book cover for Queens of Geek is GORGEOUS. How much of a say did you have in the final cover?Thank you! I’m obsessed with it! The designer came up with four amazing covers, and then Swoon Reads opened up voting so people could choose their favorite. This cover had my heart from the moment I saw it, so I was secretly hoping it would get the most votes, and it did!
Can you recommend a few LGBT YA novels you’re loving at the moment? Oh, it’s so hard to choose! I love Everything Leads to You, Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda, You Know Me Well, and Juliet Takes a Breath. I’ve also got When The Moon Was Ours, Tash Hearts Tolstoy, and Meg and Linus on my TBR.
Special thanks to Pan Macmillan Publishers for approaching me to be part of this Blog Tour and for sending me an Advanced Review Copy in exchange for my honest review.
The Geek Girl Series instantly transports me back to high school and all the awkwardness around social situations and life in general.
Head Over Heals is one of my favourite books in the Geek Girl series. Harriet is still as awkward as ever but it was nice to see her mature and learn to think of others (not an easy feat for 16 year olds).
Harriet is awkwardly stumbling her way through life which is very relatable. She is trying to balance family life, school friends and work drama, drama which is often a result of her social awkwardness.
Although I feel like the character Rin was a stereotype, overall I enjoyed this book and watching Harriet grow. Also, Jasper is a sweet cinnamon roll, but I feel like I might be in the minority as other fans eagerly await news of N-never mind!
Special thanks to Harper Collins Publishers for sending me a Review Copy in exchange for my honest review.
A funny and heart warming, coming of age story of a character who is in her early thirties going through a life transition and having to makelife decisions. This was a story I was able to connect to as I am in my early thirties and I was at a crossroads myself (thankfully this was only career wise for me). But it is true – when you hit a milestone age or when you are in your early thirties and life changing incidents hit, you stop and reflect on what you have done with your adult life over the last 10 years then realise it’s the dawn of a new era – time to make some decisions.. Although this was YA fiction – the author really hits the nail on the head as it has a touch of reality in it.
Girl in Between focuses on Lucy when her love life falls through, she ends up moving back with her parents which no doubt is not easy for someone who’s lived independently then moving back home with their parents. In addition – she’s stuck between dealing with a break up, chasing her dream and hearing the constant nagging from her parents about a reality check. What gets Lucy through is her out there bestie Rosie.
This book is well named!
She’s stuck between relationships, career choices and family..
What choices does Lucy have to make to have her dream and will Lucy work out what she really wants to do in life and who she wants to share it with?
A warm, upbeat and hilarious story featuring an interesting line up of characters you come to care about and like me, have giggle moments from start to finish.
BOOK CREDIT Girl in Between by Anna Daniels is published by Allen & Unwin, RRP $29.99, available now.
Captivating, Diverse, Thoughtful and Witty!
This is the YA Event of 2017!!!
The authors who contributed to this great YA anthology: Amie Kaufman, Will Kostakis, Alice Pung, Michael Pryor, Melissa Keil, Ellie Marney, Lili Wilkinson, Gabrielle Tozer, Danielle Binks and Jaclyn Moriarty.
My immediate thought after reading the anthology is that it’s possibly the most diverse anthology ever compiled. Well done Danielle Binks and the authors! This book is unmistakably Aussie, it contains captivating short stories that make your heart melt. This anthology does not shy away from real topics, it’s loads of fun to read and each story has a unique premise. Themes explored includes love, acceptance, family, politics and coming of age. This anthology covers all the glory of coming of age angst set in interesting settings like bus rides, space, Mars, time travel booths and even tunnels! I particularly enjoyed the relatable and concrete characters. You will find that some of the stories are written with the dry Aussie humour and wit, and some written with great thoughtfulness and consideration. I would love to see the stories become actual novels. This is a great read to get your hands on, it attests to why we love OZ YA novels! Each short story holds its own, with compelling writing and fantastic characters, it’s no doubt a great anthology. – NJ
This YA Anthology is a brilliant compilation of short stories written by fantastic Aussie YA authors that make you laugh, cry, cringe even ponder on some of the issues that are raised each story. To be honest, it really is difficult to choose a favourite as every story was fantastic in its own way – from the writing style, witty dialogue to even the plot or diverse themes represented. As this was an anthology, I decided to be different and not read this in chronological order. I read each story randomly and “tabbed off” each story until I finished (pictured below). I really enjoyed it as I would reward myself each night with a short story after work. It was easy to immerse myself in each one and also got closure at the end of each short story. Some stories I refused to read at night time (lol) some I could related to the character either due to personality or cultural background. This YA Anthology was such a great idea!! I really did love how unique and diverse the stories are and I highly recommend this to all YA fans. -Annie
Many thanks to Harper Collins Publishers for sending us a review copies in exchange for our honest reviews.
An intense, refreshing and intriguing account of life as Anne Boleyn
Expected publication: 18 May 2017
Anne Boleyn: A King’s Obsession takes on a new intense, sympathetic perspective on Anne Boleyn’s life. In particular, the author explored a refreshing feminist perspective where Anne was a heroine in her own right – using her powers to influence social policies of the day and using her charm and wit to gain the favour of Henry VIII. What I enjoyed most about this novel is that whilst the story is overall sympathetic to Anne Boleyn, it was told in a believable way. The author added layers to her personality by showing that Anne Boleyn was an imperfect, ambitious woman who is also fragile and insecure throughout her life as mistress and then Queen of Henry VIII. This book chronologically accounts Anne Boleyn’s life from the glamorous French Court where she served as lady in waiting, to her time in the English Court where she ensnared the lust and obsession of Henry VIII. It accounts all her struggles against Queen Katherine (Henry VIII’s first wife) and daughter Mary, the harrowing path to become the new but much hated Queen of England and ending with her well-known downfall. Overall, it’s a long but intriguing read about what life would have been like as Anne Boleyn who was portrayed as a progressive and spirited woman. A woman who had to choose between love and power, faith and desire, passion and duty. There was substantial research done by the author to make this book an authentic read. I recommend this book for historical fiction lovers!
Dragonkeeper is the first book of a series that is set to be released as a big budget feature film animation!!!!
Dragonkeeper: The Book Set in Ancient China (Han Dynasty), this story is about a slave girl who saves the life of an ageing dragon and escapes her brutal master. An adventurous read that can be enjoyed by children as young as 8 years old and even among adults such as myself, I find this to be a great family friendly read. The adventure continues as the slave girl and the dragon are pursued by a ruthless dragon hunter and they begin an epic journey across China full of magical and wondrous adventure, meanwhile carrying a mysterious stone that must be protected.
What I loved most about this book is the references to Chinese Mythology and a girl who defies her brutal master and does not accept life the way it is – she breaks down the barriers and finds strength within herself to make this perilous journey which I believe is sending a positive message to girls. Not to mention the adventure is a lot of fun!!
Dragonkeeper: The Movie The movie is being produced by Dragoia Media, Movistar+, Atresmedia Cine and China Film Animation – a member of China Film Group which is the largest and most influential state owned film company in China.
The script has been written by Ignacio Ferreras, Rosanna Checchini, Pablo Castrillo, Carole Wilkinson (author of Dragonkeeper) and Xiamping Wang.
The film will be directed by Ignacio Ferraras and co-ordinated by Zhang Bo.
Scheduled for release: late 2019/early 2020.
Many thanks to Walker Books for providing me with an Advanced Review Copy in exchange for my honest review.
In Australia, Sunday 14 May 2017 is Mother’s Day.
For a day that should be celebrated everyday, Read3r’z Re-Vu wanted to take this time to wish our beautiful mothers and all the beautiful mothers out there a wonderful day!!!
This special is a selection of recommendations for all of the mothers who love to read and the mothers who are looking for their next book to read to their children…
-featured photo of Tulip brooch handmade by Curio Boutique, a Read3r’z Re-Vu major sponsor-
An oldie but a goldie.. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen This was my introduction to the classics and the regency period in books. I love how it teaches you that first impressions are not always accurate. I am recommending this for Mother’s Day as I find there are a few (or a lot of) reasons to recommend Pride and Prejudice to the mothers who love reading and are looking for a story that can apply to different people. The characters are multi layered and have their own faults. -Meredith
The Wave in the Mind: Talks & Essays on the Writer, the Reader & the Imagination (About Writing)
by Ursula K. Le Guin
Overview: Ursula K. Le Guin explores a broad array of subjects, ranging from Tolstoy, Twain, and Tolkien to women’s shoes, beauty, and family life. With her customary wit, intelligence, and literary craftsmanship, she offers a diverse and highly engaging set of readings.
Thoughtful, profound and inspiring. I found Le Guin’s voice to be refreshing, present and ever so relevant in today’s society for authors and readers alike. Topics explored include (but not limited to): imagination, life, society, oppression, feminism, reading and writing. Le Guin’s progressive and well thought-out perspectives and critiques are insightful, honest, delightful and empowering to read. Highly recommended for those who is after an interesting, inspiring and provocative read. -NJ
Traitor to the Throne by Alwyn Hamilton This recommendation is for all the mothers who love Young Adult, Fantasy Fiction – especially stories with an Arabian Nights Inspiration!!! This is the sequel to the epic debut: Rebel of the Sands, where the story isn’t about blood or love now it’s about treason and takes place approximately 1 year after the first book. Like the debut, this sequel was amazing! And I’m not just saying that because I love Arabian nights inspired stories. From start to finish the story really kept me turning the page as there was always something happening, always some action and plot twists, especially on the very last chapter – left me gaping and yearning to know what happens next! The plot and the setting really grabbed me, I found the plot progresses really well it’s not an info dump you follow the story as it progresses, you have insight into Arabian nights stories that form as part of the main plot, insightful backstories that paint a clear picture of the current plot and I felt this time I got to know the characters better than the first book and really want to continue with their story. If you haven’t yet read Rebel of the Sands, read it so you can read Traitor to the Throne! Many thanks to Allen & Unwin Publishers for sending me a review copy in exchange for my honest review.
Her Mother’s Secret by Natasha Lester This is a story about a brave young woman who is chasing her dream in the face of society’s disapproval. Recommended to mothers who enjoy Historical Fiction, this story is set in 3 different eras: 1918 England, 1920’s and takes you through to the 1930’s. At a time of celebration, tragedy strikes and this story takes you through a woman’s struggle and strength that leaves you asking.. can you guess her mother’s secret? Beautifully and elegantly written, you can also see the work and effort that was put into this book for historical accuracy that is intertwined with the fictional plot. Beautiful read. Many thanks to Hachette Publishers for providing me with an Advanced Review Copy in exchange for my honest review.
Blackwater Moon by B. Michael Radburn Andy Walker knows tragedy is only ever a heartbeat away. When an inmate escapes from the prison farm upriver and abducts Nathan, a child Andy has vowed to protect after losing his own son years before, Andy discovers that the escapee is a dark figure from his past, the devil who changed his life and the man who introduced him to ‘The Game’
I really enjoyed this book and it really wasn’t what I was expecting. At first I was expecting the story to be similar to a domestic violence scenario where the woman is the victim but I was wrong. I really felt the emotion of the main character, Andy, to the point I cried and I even had to put the book down for a few hours but to have that sort of emotional reaction to the book just proves the author did a top job in conveying such a powerful story. The story does take you to a dark place which hits you to the core, it is heavy reading but I am a mother and I recommend this to mothers who love reading books that set your heart pounding but can handle heavy content. It really is worth the read.
Many thanks to Pantera Press who provided me with this book at the Read3r’z Re-Vu Mini Conference: 2016. Many thanks to Read3r’z Re-Vu for having me on here as a special guest reviewer.
Play by Jez Alborough This is a recommended read for young mummies who love reading to their young kiddies or babies. What can I say? This book was just TOO CUTE!!! Beautifully illustrated that tells such a cute and funny story in very few words. Play is about a little monkey who just wants to play.. play, play, play – even when Mummy says stay, he wants to play – and of course he wanders off like little kids do – so it’s an adventure to try and get home to his Mummy. The ending was adorable. Highly recommend this as a great kids picture book. Many thanks to Walker Publishers for sending me an Advanced Review Copy in exchange for my honest review.
My Mum is Fantastic by Nick Butterworth Regardless of age – this is the perfect Mother’s Day Gift!!! A picture book that is suitable to toddlers reading their first books, it’s a beautiful way that explores all the wonderful things our mothers do for us and we take for granted. My mum is fantastic is that one book that captures how great our mothers are and giving this to your mother will tell her how much you love her!!
Wonderfully illustrated and large print – very suitable for the little tikes. Many thanks to Walker Publishers for providing me with a Review Copy in exchange for my honest review.
Read3r’z Re-Vu wishes our beautiful mothers and all the beautiful mothers a wonderful and Happy Mother’s Day!!!
“You think good people can’t hate?” she asked. “You think good people don’t kill?”…”Good people do all the things bad people do, Lazlo. It’s just that when they do them, they call it justice.” – Quote from Strange the Dreamer.
Strange The Dreamer has to be one of my favourite reads this year. As I’m writing this, I don’t even know where to begin worshipping this original, wondrous fantasy/sci-fi novel. My review will not do it justice. To start off, I loved our protagonist Lazlo – he is definitely more relatable than Karou, the main character from Laini Taylor’s Daughter of Smoke and Bone series. To top it off, Lazlo is a bookworm librarian! What is there not to love about that right? The world building is impeccable and has the same gothic fairytale quality that Laini Taylor does so well, be prepared to hang on her every word about the city of Weep and detailed accounts of its past. The world building is descriptive without being gratuitous, it’s imaginative and transports you to this mythical land and dreamscape! Another element that I loved about the book is the grayness and the blurring of the lines between good and evil characters – their misgivings, their heartbreaks and redeeming moments as the story unfolds. There are so many layers to the characters, it’s just sublime. There are moments when you feel so damn sorry for the characters because of all the pain, suffering and guilt experienced by them, and at other times infuriated by how ungrateful they are or surprised by the choices they’ve made. The themes of diversity, acceptance, forgiveness, power, morality, courage, hope and love are what you can expect from this novel. The themes also go so much deeper. When you read this book, you will marvel at Laini Taylor’s ability to weave a great story, after all, great novels are all about exceptional storytelling. The mysteries of Weep also unfolds organically so you’re somewhat prepared for the twist but it somehow still surprises and leaves you bewildered after reading it. I highly recommend this imaginative, electrifying and delightful read. The story is mysterious, original and dynamic. There is, of course, a love story in the novel but it does not overwhelm or overshadow the actual story. I am now waiting eagerly for the highly anticipated book two! If there’s a book you must read this year, make it Strange The Dreamer.