The Astrid Notes by Taryn Bashford

A compelling contemporary YA in the vein of Sarah Dessen and Brigid Kemmerer about finding your true voice in a world of love, loss and lies. Astrid Bell is a dutiful daughter and classically trained singer who yearns to write pop songs and overcome her stage fright when she uncovers a shocking family secret. Jacob Skalicky might be a trust fund kid and talented performer, but after he loses everything, he refuses to sing again.
More than just a love story, Taryn Bashford weaves a narrative that provides a fascinating glimpse into the exclusive world of the professional teen, exploring themes and issues that gifted young adults face when dealing with the demands of pressure.

Having read “The Harper Effect”, Taryn’s debut novel, I have to say I liked this one better than the first. Not to say I didn’t enjoy the first book, it’s just that in this one I can see growth with the author and her writing. The storyline was interesting as it relates to a teenager who is subject to extremely high expectations on account of her mother’s musical talent. A story that rings true to many. However the way it was written was quite easy to follow and I found the connection between Astrid and Jacob beautiful and the underlying message of courage to be who you want to be in life. The characters were written pretty well and the storyline was engaging. It has a little bit of everything and of course like most if not all YA novels, there is the romance that can either make you snort in derision or laugh.

Overall an enjoyable book and recommended to YA readers from the ages of 14 years and up. Additionally recommended to those who love music as a theme to the YA novel.

Special thanks to Pan Macmillan Publishers Australia for sending me a review copy of this book.
-Annie

Michael Jackson: All the Songs – The Story Behind Every Song, Every Video, Every Dance Move by Richard Lecocq and François Allard

The complete, definitive study of Michael Jackson’s artistic legacy.

This is the only book that tells the story behind every single song that the King of Pop ever released – from his formative years with the Jackson Five to his incredible and much-loved output as a solo artist. Over 200 songs, videos and revolutionary dance moves are analysed, uncovering the fascinating stories around their creation and allowing fans the chance to truly understand the artistry behind them.

When this piece of memorabilia turned up on my door step, it was the first time book mail ever reduced me to tears… As a life long fan of Michael Jackson, this book is simply amazing and I agree this is the ultimate encyclopedia for the fans whom now have the opportunity to read the backstory behind every song he ever produced starting from his days as a boy in Steeltown Records to when he and the Jackson 5 hit it big in Mowtown through to his very successful solo career before his untimely death in 2009.. It is so incredibly comprehensive and detailed, just when I thought I knew it all, I learnt something new.  Michael Jackson was indeed one amazing artist taken from us too soon, you really have a piece of him with you in this book. I love and cherish this so much – it’s never leaving the house!!

Special thanks and much love to Hachette Publishers for sending me this beautiful gem for review!!!

Love you always and forever, Michael Jackson…
-Annie

Footloose: Bonus CD! “Footloose” performed by Kenny Loggins, illustrated by Tim Bowers

A funky 5 stars!!!

“Everybody’s gotta cut loose.. Footloose!!”

This would have to be one of the funkiest picture books I’ve ever read!!!
Who remembers “Footloose” by Kenny Loggins in the 80’s?? Well on October 26, the kids corner of bookstores will be hit with this amazing picture book where the No.1 hit Footloose has been re-written for children!!

Beautifully illustrated by Tim Bowers, this visual feast of a story is set in a zoo where animals wait for all the visitors to go home so they can then.. cut loose.. footloose!!! It’s such a fun read as it comes with a bonus cd, what I like to call a “Footloose” revival!! Singer Kenny Loggins re-sings “Footloose” and readers can read/sing along as the lyrics tell the story throughout the picture book.. You meet some awesome characters like Louise – the rocking chimp.. DJ Elephant and Milo the Wombat.. Don’t think I’ve ever danced along while reading a book before.. Such a great picture book suitable younger readers and fun for the whole family..

Many thanks to Allen & Unwin Publishers for sending me an Advance Review Copy in exchange for my honest review
-Annie