Release by Patrick Ness

A book of one day in the life of Adam Thorn, aged 17 and it’s a big day… Things go wrong, it’s intense, and all the while, weirdness approaches..

Annie and Bert team up for a “Release” read along!!!

I thoroughly enjoyed the read along I did with my friend, Bert.. a unique story in the sense that there were 2 storylines, one that follows Adam who is struggling to be true to himself due to his family’s beliefs and the other of a ghost – yet I’m not quite sure of the connection between the two, my theory is it’s somehow a metaphor for Adam’s inner struggle.. I found the book to be very conversational which contributed to how quick I read this book. There are parts of this story that make you laugh and cringe at the same time. I felt mixed emotions for the characters – you know it’s a good book when you have that sort of emotional reaction!!!
-Annie

I am oh so happy to have read this book! I read A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness and really didn’t like it, I just didn’t get the appeal of it. After having read that I thought that Mr. Ness and his books had no place in my life, this book however, was beautiful. Adam Thorn is one of the most interesting male characters I’ve read in a long time, usually I find books with a male lead character to be tiresome as I like reading books with females as the centre but Adam was really quite charming… Oh and Linus was completely GORGE with his “dancer butt.” The parts dealing with the ghost really confused me, while they are beautifully written I found them to be a little too vague, I don’t really know how they connect to the story of Adam. For me the book has redeemed Patrick Ness as a storyteller, I just might try some of his other books now. A great story, beautifully told that is reminiscent of some of the great 80s teen movies. Shout out to my friend Annie for giving me the reading copy and suggesting we do a read-a-long… Fun fun fun!!!
-Bert

Special thanks to Walker Books Publishers for sending us an Advanced Review Copy in exchange for our Honest Reviews.

Living on Hope Street by Demet Divaroren

A raw, confronting yet important story all Aussies should read…

Living on Hope Street is one confronting story that covers very intense issues that include alcohol fuelled domestic violence and hot topics like immigration and refugees and the hope that stems from breaking down barriers and stereotypes when people unite during challenging times.

We all love someone. We all fear something. Sometimes they live right next door – or even closer..

This story is written from various perspectives of different cultures and ages and each voice is distinguished. Kane will do everything he can to save his mother and little brother Sam from the violence of his father. Kane’s neighbour, Mrs Aslan will protect the boys no matter what – even though her own family is in pieces. Down the road, Ada wants a family she can count on, while she faces new questions about herself. Mr Bailey is afraid of the refugees next door and Gugulethu is just trying to make a life away from terror. This is a diverse neighhourhood where everyone comes from different cultures and different walks of live yet find peace, they need to discover what unites them.

Even with different characters, it was very easy to follow the story, it was quite the page turner.

I found this to be an important story that needed to be told because of the themes covered in this book. It was such a great insight into suburban life today even makes you realize everyone is fighting their own battle in some way. It’s very well written and I would recommend this to fans of Contemporary YA books.

Many thanks to Allen & Unwin Publishers for sending me an Advanced Review Copy in exchange for my honest review. Due for release: June 2017

-Annie

Queens of Geek by Jen Wilde BLOG TOUR

TIME TO GET YOUR GEEK ON!!!

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.
-Annie

Begin. End. Begin: A #LoveOzYA Anthology edited by Danielle Binks

Captivating, Diverse, Thoughtful and Witty!
This is the YA Event of 2017!!!

           Instagram: read3rz_revu

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

   this is how I ‘tabbed off’ each story

Many thanks to Harper Collins Publishers for sending us a review copies in exchange for our honest reviews.

#LoveOzYA

Night Shift by Debi Gliori (picture book)

An insight into depression that words often struggle to reach

A groundbreaking picture book on depression with stunning illustrations that both Annie and Meredith read together and highly recommend this as one of the most important picture books of the year.

“I have used dragons to represent depression. This is partly because of their legendary ability to turn a once fertile realm into a blackened, smoking ruin and partly because popular mythology shows them as monstrous opponents with a tendency to pick fights with smaller creatures. I’m not particularly brave or resourceful, and after so many years battling my beasts, I have to admit to a certain weariness, but I will arm-wrestle dragons for eternity if it means that I can help anyone going through a similar struggle.”
– Debi Gliori (author of Night Shift)

This is an amazing picture book that depicts the author’s struggle with depression. The author found this picture book was the best way to communicate her condition with others when she felt it difficult to explain in words – with the clever use of dragons that is used as a metaphor because of their common profile in other stories where they tend to be quite monstrous and pick fights with smaller creatures. I admire the author of this book as she doesn’t let depression eat away at her, she acknowledges her condition but puts it into beautiful illustrations and strives to manage it as well as bring understanding to others. I believe this is an important book and recommend it to readers of all ages.
-Annie

A very good take on explaining depression that I have never seen before. Throughout ‘Night Shift’, it shows that there is more then one way to beat depression but sometimes it doesn’t fully disappear which comes across beautifully. The depression is represented as dragons because dragons are always there, either by leaning on your shoulder, head or flying behind you at a distance. I thought this was quite creative. I also found it helpful in understanding depression a little bit more.
-Meredith

Many thanks to Allen & Unwin Publishers for an Advanced Review Copy in exchange for our honest review.

We Come Apart by Sarah Crossnan and Brian Conaghan

high impact – high emotion – intense – 5 star read
Due for Release: March 2017

Award winning authors Brian Conaghan and Sarah Crossan join forces to tell the high impact story of Nicu and Jess, two troubled teens whose paths cross in the unlikeliest of places.

I found this to be an intense, fast paced read that had me gaping in the end. I call this, the British Eleanor and Park…

A fantastic book, executed so cleverly with a dual perspective that has both voices of both characters so well defined and distinctively heard. Nicu is fresh from Romania and with limited English, he’s struggling to navigate life in a new home, is facing family pressures of an arranged marriage and faces unfathomable racism in his new school. Meanwhile Jess – born and raised in London is friends with the wrong people, already holds a criminal record and is dealing with a broken family.

Both Nicu and Jess meet during a reparation scheme when both of them are caught stealing at different times and form such an unlikely alliance. The story explores socio-economic issues and racism that exists among youth today. It also cleverly demonstrates how behaviours that label kids as juvenile delinquents indicate underlying currents that trigger this sort of behaviour which normally starts at home. The friendship that is formed between both Nicu and Jess is so beautiful – they draw strength from each other to hopefully become better people.

Initially, I thought this was a book of poetry due to the way it’s written however it’s almost like reading someone’s journal. I could see this being turned into a short film – it’s that good!

Special thanks to Bloomsbury Publishers for sending me an Advance Review Copy in exchange for my honest review. This book is due for release: March 2017.

-Annie

Fire Boy by Sami Shah

“And verily, We created mankind from sounding clay of altered smooth mud and the jinn We created from smokeless fire.” (Quran, Surah 15, Ayats 26-27)

-One of my 2016 favourites!!! Rating: 5 Stars-

This was a really engaging and fantastic read!!! Yes this is urban fantasy – yes the story is a work of fiction – however, it accurately references Islamic beliefs and terms throughout the story which worked really well with the plot and it intrigued a lot of my non-Muslim friends into asking more questions about Islam and wanting to learn more, it bridged some gaps from a different angle.

This epic Urban Fantasy follows the story of Wahid whose birth and ability to see jinn (creatures made of smokeless fire) remains a mystery. He’s growing up in Karachi, Pakistan and he’s a typical geek boy – really into Dungeons and Dragons, comics and games. In an ill-timed, fatal car accident, Wahid witnesses a jinn stealing his friend’s soul and he vows to get her back. Wahid is wrongfully accused of causing the accident and is on the run having to source help from the most darkest of all spirits – the Devil himself.

Some scenes were rather violent and freaky however, the story line was captivating and the dialogue was quite witty and clever. It is very well written, action packed – and suspenseful. For those who don’t take well with jinn or the supernatural, I strongly advise reading during daylight hours. Due to the themes and level of violence in the story, it is not suitable to readers under 15 years of age. I highly recommend this story for urban/fantasy fiction fans as it is very different to what you may have read before.

Please remember, this story is a work of fiction with reference to Islamic beliefs. For further reading and understanding on the Islamic beliefs that are referenced in the book, please refer to Islamic books, the Quran or Hadith. 

I am really looking forward to the sequel!!!
-Annie