Underdog Edited by Tobias Madden | Spoiler-Free Book Review

Heyo Bookaholics!

Absolutely Stunning!

Hands down the best anthology I have had the pleasure of reading. I wanted so badly to read a continuation of all of these stories, and I hope so so much, to hear more from these twelve wonderful authors.

Blurb:

Short tales from the Australian writers of tomorrow.

#LoveOzYA celebrates the best of new Australian writing for teenage readers. It has grown from a humble hashtag into a movement, reflecting the important role young-adult fiction plays in shaping our current generation of readers. This anthology collects, for the first time, some of the tremendous work from the #LoveOzYA community.

Featuring a foreword by award-winning Australian novelist Fleur Ferris (Risk, Wreck, Black and Found), Underdog celebrates the diverse, dynamic and ever-changing nature of our nation's culture. From queer teen romance to dystopian comedy, from hard-hitting realism to gritty allegory, this brilliant, engrossing and inspiring collection of short stories will resonate with any teen reader, proving, yet again, why there is just so much to love about #LoveOzYA.

Stories are written by 12 unpublished authors from all over our wonderful country of Australia. You can find my post on the Underdog Book Launch in the link or by searching it on my blog.

REVIEW!

Since this anthology wasn’t centred around a specific theme other than the prompt “your Australia,” which is really really vague, I will briefly review a few stories and talk about the feel of the novel overall. I also want to point out that I will be choosing stories that hit me hard and that I felt the deep urge to read more from. I loved every story I read in this anthology and cherished those few pages I got to spend with each character, knowing it’s probably the last.

Meet and Greet by Michael Earp – This is the cutest meet-cute story that I have ever had the pleasure of reading! It is every book lover’s dream to have a situation where they find love or at least a cute human at a book event. Finding someone who cherishes the same passion that you do is a beautiful passionate connection that ignites something in the heart.

Chemical Expression by Jes Layton – I find it hard to believe that in this day and age of new and wonderful contemporary fiction in the 21st century, that I have yet to read a story with a gender queer main character. To be honest, maybe I’ve been looking in the wrong location but I am so so glad that Jes has been given the chance to shine and put her wonderful human beans out there in the world! You can read my interview with Jes Layton on my blog by clicking this link.

The Bees by Stacey Malacari – These haunting few pages tells us the story of what would happen if we keep ignoring global warming, denying its existence and leading to an earth-shattering event. The results would be catastrophic.

Living Rose by Kaneana May – The last story, and the one I most connected with. I saw so many aspects of myself in the character of Rose. I try to be a carefree woman in a busy world full of expectations. Where there are so many things going on – uni, work, assignments, etc – but people rarely take time to live!

I want to read more of these stories, and if I cannot, then I want more from all of these authors!! So I hope that in the future I see their names on novels displayed on the shelves of book stores like Dymocks, and I get the opportunity to attend their launches and celebrate with them.

Imma go now and fangirl over Lucifer and Chloe as I re-watch the series in time for season four to be on out on Netflix in May!

★ Rating ★

I rated this book a ★★★★★ (5/5 stars) for obvious reasons. It’s beautifully written; it’s Australian; it’s modern; and best of all, it has given new and upcoming writers their chance to shine. This book allowed people to be able to put the label published author on their resume, and opened doors for all 12 of these wonderful people to continue gifting their talent to the world!

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What’s your favourite Underdog story? xx

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With Love Bree xx

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Otherworld by Jason Segal and Kirsten Miller | Spoiler Free Book Review

Heyo Bookaholics!

The Game But Not As You Know It!

Disclaimer: A big thank you to Bloomsbury publishing who sent me the ARC, and the finished copy upon release.

 

Otherworld has sat on my shelf for two years; it’s about time it was read and reviewed! Despite it being a middle-grade novel, I really enjoyed the story. It was a different concept to others that I’ve read, despite my constant comparison of it to the Mortality Doctrine Series and Warcross.


Blurb: 

The company says Otherworld is amazing — like nothing you’ve ever seen before. They say it’s addictive — that you’ll want to stay forever. They promise Otherworld will make all your dreams come true.

Simon thought Otherworld was a game. Turns out he knew nothing. Otherworld is the next phase of reality. It’s everything you’ve ever wanted.

And it’s about to change humanity forever.

Welcome to the Otherworld. No one could have seen it coming.

You all know I won’t get through this review without mentioning the parallels between Harry Potter. It’s a new middle-grade novel. Many clichés were included, but also many twists on the clichés. So I won’t directly reference Harry Potter, but y’all know that when I discuss the clichés and tropes I’m thinking of the famous series.

REVIEW!

I thought this book was average. So in my opinion, to best review it, I will be ‘comparing’ it against a book of similar genre and content as I cannot compare it against the likes of Warcross (not middle-grade) or Harry Potter (too highly rated). The only book/ series that I can think of that is the most similar to this novel is The Mortality Doctrine Series by James Dashner. I loved those books, finding the concept original and compelling. That series is the only middle-grade gamer novel I have read before and therefore sets the standards in my rating of this one.

Overall:

Right off the bat, we start off with a rich kid whose parents are lawyers and he thinks he can get away with anything because of it. He acts up and thinks it’s okay because his family is protected by whatever life his Grandfather’s had to lead. He has a love interest who is a smart girl – smarter than himself, though not in portrayed in a way that makes him look stupid – and a hacker ‘friend’ who owes him a few favours.

As much as I’ve been giving the “golden trio” trope a bit of a hammering, none of the aforementioned characters is in the “golden trio”, they’re totally different people. Totally irrelevant as per the actual story and their adventure took up the majority of the novel.

In my opinion, this book is really a set up for the next one but creates no anticipation or interest to read the next one, aside from actually wanting to know about the other characters, of whom are integral, though shared little page-time in the novel.

The Main Adventure (which could’ve been told in fewer pages):

Despite all of my complaining above, this section of the novel was enjoyable. I really enjoyed how the characters actively make allegations of the Chosen One trope and denyed it in the same sentence. My first thought was that this was probably done in an attempt to not have the trope in the novel. I’m glad it was funny and that the trope was most certainly avoided aside from the mentions.

There were also some positives, like the fact that the entire ‘Main Adventure’ had two settings – one in Otherworld and the other in the real world – and that one of the most over-powered characters, in terms of knowledge (because that’s the only power that matters in these situations) is a girl with a disability! Honestly, Simon would be dead without her.

Themes such as abusive parents and fatal accidents were prevalent but not expanded on, especially not in a way that teaches a middle-grade audience about anything beneficial. I feel that where themes such as obvious domestic abuse are present, the writer should be teaching the reader something in regards to this situation and showing the impact the situation has on a character, not just having it there for a plot twist!

I don’t have much else to say about this novel. It was a quick, fun read but I wouldn’t be recommending it to the next person I see but I enjoyed it, and I will be picking up the sequel out of curiosity.

★ Rating ★

I rated this book a ★★★☆☆ (3/5 stars) because it had elements of generic middle-grade fiction – i.e. this is not a unique book – but has an interesting storyline that differs from the usual magic and fantasy elements of a middle-grade novel. It made the three-star category as there was a lot of poking fun at the ‘Chosen One’ trope, which was heavily shunned upon, with supporting evidence.

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What were your thoughts on the conclusion of this series? xxx

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With Love Bree xx

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Percy Jackson and The Last Olympian by Rick Riordan | Spoilery Book Review

Heyo Bookaholics!

The Last One!

Everything comes to an end. Some endings are far more realistic than others.


Blurb: 

All year the half-bloods have been preparing for battle against the Titans, knowing the odds of victory are grim. Kronos's army is stronger than ever, and with every god and half-blood he recruits, the evil Titan's power only grows. While the Olympians struggle to contain the rampaging monster Typhon, Kronos begins his advance on New York City, where Mount Olympus stands virtually unguarded. Now it's up to Percy Jackson and an army of young demigods to stop the Lord of Time.

In this momentous final book in the New York Times best-selling Percy Jackson and the Olympians series, the long-awaited prophecy surrounding Percy's sixteenth birthday unfolds. And as the battle for Western civilization rages on the streets of Manhattan, Percy faces a terrifying suspicion that he may be fighting against his own fate.

Let’s see if I can get through this review without mentioning the very obvious parallels between Harry Potter. Like the end scene and all the realistic casualties… On with the review!

REVIEW!

I actually enjoyed this book. From start to end I really thought it had depth and even though it was the children that were destined to save the day while the Olympians were distracted and away, Riordan didn’t dismiss them.

I cannot hate this series and I’m really not sure anyone can. Along with Harry Potter, it has set the precedent for Middle-Grade novels universally.

It is very family orientated in a sense that the parents although absent and albeit sometimes not Percy’s own, are always always included in the storyline and, even if not a part of the plot or in a committed relationship, they play a crucial part in their child’s lives. It is obvious that it is the parents that shape the person that the demigod has become.

The best example of this is when Percy and Nico try to understand why Luke is the way he is and what lead him to allow Kronos to inhabit his body. They immediately make their way to Luke’s mother’s house without a second thought, showing an obvious connection between Luke’s behaviour, the state of his mother and the absence of his father.

I really liked how the characters didn’t like or agree with each other. This caused conflict which kept me on the damn edge of my seat. Of course, I’m talking about Nico here! My sweet little dark muffin. I think I’ve fallen into his dark trap of being all protective over him. How can you not?!

Somehow Riordan created so much mystery around Nico, yet so much intrigue and interest in his character; making him young yet powerful but also weak yet cunning. It shows from all of the flashes Percy receives into Nico’s actions, but also in the way Percy underestimates Nico’s well-thought-out plan that may have had some ulterior motives, but in all was cunning and worked perfectly.

The best part about the fight was the attention paid to who was present. If a character was mentioned, they were significant and came back into the picture, and Riordan didn’t dismiss any of the campers either. I find books that include a whole school/ community of people to paint the picture yet only focus on the main trio that saves the day. This book was unlike that, where countless times Percy checked on the location of each of his campmates, asking about them and actively going to protect them. This just highlighted his growth and leadership skills. Even at the end, everyone was given a mention. Tributes were paid to every camper who fought, and those who died, even those of whom were never claimed by their God parent (not to be confused with Godparent) were given the recognition they deserved.

Every element from the previous four books; and every learning that was given to the demigods, was brought back in this final book. For Annabeth used her computer gift from Daedalus and was able to make a monumental (see what I did there) contribution to the future of the Gods, and also the camp.

Once again, the incorporation of the myths was perfect and not at all like a re-telling, but very obvious easter-eggs you had to find in a book about Percy Jackson and his quests. I enjoyed the story from start to end, and I wasn’t mad about the character redemption at the end. Yes, I am very salty that Snape got a redemption arc in canon but not Draco.

I made it this far without a Harry Potter comparison, so be proud! There will be no middle-grade novel with a trio, that is safe from the Harry Potter comparison.

★ Rating ★

I rated this book a ★★★★★ (5/5 stars) because, well not only is it an epic finale, but it shows the importance of making decisions in life and the character development of Percy into a teenager!

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What were your thoughts on the conclusion of this series? xxx

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With Love Bree xx

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Watch Us Rise by Renée Watson and Ellen Hagan | Spoiler Free Book Review

Heyo Bookaholics!

Keep on Empowering Women in Literature!

Disclaimer: This book was kindly sent to me from Bloomsbury Publishing and was released on the 12th of February 2019.

For the people who want to read about women empowering women in a story where the women not only talk about their experiences but do something to change the fate the world has dealt them.



Blurb: 

Jasmine and Chelsea are sick of the way women are treated even at their progressive NYC high school, so they decide to start a Women's Rights Club. They post everything online—poems, essays, videos of Chelsea performing her poetry, and Jasmine's response to the racial macroaggressions she experiences—and soon they go viral. But with such positive support, the club is also targeted by online trolls. When things escalate, the principal shuts the club down. Jasmine and Chelsea will risk everything for their voices—and those of other young women—to be heard.

I usually chat some more here but no more comments! I loved this book and I want to get to reviewing this wonderful novel, with thanks to Bloomsbury.

REVIEW!

The book starts off with the biggest bombshell ever! Jasmine’s main source of love and motivation in her world is dying but she must keep on living. When Jasmine is bullied by both students and teachers, at a school that is supposed to put their utmost care and attention into the art of social justice, she realises that there may be some flaws in the system. Along with her best friend and partner in crime, Chelsea, who has also faced prejudice for being a woman and wanting her voice heard; the two of them make it their mission to not stop until their voices are heard. Until something is done about the way women are treated in their society, starting with the school.

The message that this book is sending to young teens is amazing. Awareness is placed of the impact people of colour are having/ have had in the world and the teens are encouraged to use their passions to stand up for what they believe in! This is what the Summer challenge was all about. Jasmine’s group of friends combine each of their own unique talents to create the perfect campaign for women’s rights.

The Cast: Jasmine the writer and actress; Chelsea the Poet; Nadine the stylist and part-time D.J.; and Isaac the artist.

There were things mentioned in this novel, everyday influences on women pointed out and dissected of things that even I remained blissfully unaware of. I had become so used to seeing these things in magazines, advertisements, television shows, on the side of buildings, trains and trams; I was blinded. Not even realising that these messages are there, but still taking them in makes me almost think of degrading mass media advertisements as subliminal messages to suppress us women; weaken us to something lesser. Keep us compliant and in our place. Watson and Hagan opened my eyes to these messages.

The only thing that I found off about the novel was the school that the girls attended and how it almost felt too fake like it was a school exaggerated to love social justice more than life for the sake of the story. I say this because my high school is very into social justice and helping out the community, but they don’t force it upon students (except for one day of every year). I personally couldn’t imagine a school where after school activities are mandatory when they will obviously impede on homework time. Which, let’s face it, is the main focus of many schools.

The hardest thing about this review is doing it spoiler free. There are so many things that I learnt from this book, but it spoils half the story and I can’t have that happen! Although on the other hand, doing this review spoiler free leaves the review shorter and more appealing to read.

The best thing I learnt about racism from this book is the various stereotypes that are placed on black women in movie roles. These are all defined in the book, but as I was reading through the list, I now look a little differently on the women of colour in the book, ‘The Secret Life of Bees’ by Sue Monk Kid. I think a little more on how much of their characters were shaped by society’s view of women back when the novel was written, and if they would be any different now?

“I resolve!”

The “I resolve” statements had to have been my favourite take away from the novel. It is a method of reflecting and goal setting, that I can realistically use to better myself in my daily life. For instance, instead of saying “my new year’s resolution is…” you say “I resolve to…” It’s more personal and is almost like a promise to yourself.

An example of my own would be; “I RESOLVE TO LOVE MYSELF.”

From the poems in this book, I have been inspired to revisit my old poems and start writing more of them. They all stem from my heart. A pained one works well, but a heart that is experiencing an abundance of strong emotions produces the best poems. That’s where Jasmine and Chelsea’s writings came from.

Women banding together, standing up for each other and guiding the next generation of activists to do what they wish they could. Even the ones that seemed too cool for school took part, knowing that this is their fight too.

We have made it to the most bittersweet of endings. But it never really ends, does it? Renée Watson and Ellen Hagan started off a wonderful discussion in hopes that their story is shared, and inspire actions to be taken to end the story they started telling. I hope one day Jasmine and Chelsea can be written into a world where they are not judged for their body size, type or gender. Where their opinions will be heard, and they can speak up, stand up and rise up!

This story will continue until we let it. Until we create equality for women; and until young boys are taught how to treat their female counterparts with respect. Until the older men of society learn that there is more than one gender on this planet. Watch Us Rise will be a story that never ends! Girls will continue to stage rallies and walk-outs. We will continue to share our stories and speak up, speak out, make our voices heard. Until our bodies stop being a selling point for products and companies cease to put us down to bring them up, we will rally and we will continue to rise!

★ Rating ★

I rated this book a ★★★★★ (5/5 stars) because it dealt with real-world issues and showed their impact on children as young as fourteen, and how these high schoolers can take some real-world action, instead of just creating a discussion. If these girls can do it, then so can us adults.

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xxx

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City of Saints and Theives by Natalie C. Anderson | Non-Spoilery Review

Heyo Bookaholics!

I have never been more excited to write a non-spoilery review more than this one! I received this novel at the Bloomsbury Bloggers event in a goody bag over a year ago and I just recently decided to read it.


Street-thief Tina breaks in to the luxurious house where her mother was killed to steal from Mr. Greyhill and nail him for her mother’s murder. She is caught red-handed.

Saved by Mr. Greyhill’s gorgeous son, Michael, the pair set in motion a cascade of dangerous events that lead them deeper into the mystery, and reveal dark and shocking secrets from Tina’s past.

Tina and her mother fled the Congo years ago as refugees, trading the uncertain danger of their besieged village for a new, safer life in the bustling Kenyan metropolis. The corruption and politics of the Congo, and the gangster world of Sangui City, are behind Tina’s mother’s downfall. Is Tina tough enough to find the truth and bring the killer to justice?

This was the second last book on my TBR for July and though I could’ve finished by July 31, I didn’t and it ate into my August reading time, though was so worth it and here’s why!

Review

I really don’t know where to start with this review; the only note I have is to “talk about representation and stuff”; and really that is the main reason why I adored this book so. I really felt the divide between the classes and races of people in Tina’s world. The struggle for survival on either side and how some of these groups overlapped and worked together to survived though double-crossed each other with thoughts only of their own.

The fun part about the novel was Tina’s rules for being a thief and how upon second look, can be applied to normal life and not just that of a thief as Tina is, though it wasn’t long before she had to abandon her rules of being a thief and rely on pure instinct alone.

This novel changed from a book about a gang of rag-tag teens trying to topple an empire and make some cash, to a murder mystery novel with two teens trying to uncover the death of one’s mother. Old friends join sides, truths are uncovered and the brutality of the Milita in and around Congo and their alliance with the rich moguls in Sangui is honest and real, something I enjoy hearing about in books; especially those targeted to middle graders.

The difference between Tina and the people she met was often expressed in how their skin differed from hers, this usually translating to mean that the lighter skinned folk were richer and more privileged; usually, this allowed the reader to understand the setting and how there were power shifts and even sense the possibility of danger.

There is a big difference between guessing the killer and losing interest in the book, and guessing the killer but maintaining interest in the novel. This book achieved the latter brilliantly because although I had spotted the twist from the first mention of the killer, the path in which the novel descended to come to that conclusion was far more captivating than the major detail. The finer details and the relationships that were formed from once broken bods between broken people really made reading the novel worth my time, regardless of the distractions that caused me to take weeks to read it. I always came back begging to be let into Tina’s mind, into her web of love, lies and deception; the plans she so methodically set out often interrupted by the truths that were uncovered.

Though we see through her eyes, her loneliness and isolation; we think that she is not alone, though in her heart – something that isn’t conveyed through worlds – she feels as if she is; and that hurt me more than anything. How a young refugee orphan on the streets of Sangui felt that she could trust no one, could call no one her friend.

★ Rating ★

I chose to give this book ★★★★☆ (4/5 stars) because of the wonderfully engaging plotline, character development, and the educational message between its pages. It filled me with energy everytime I turned the page, waiting for another mystery beyond. I want to read more by this author and more on young people of colour who return or reside within their motherland, facing the conflicts that the suppressors inflict upon their people.

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What are your favourite books that have people of colour in their motherland?

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Thank You, With Love Bree xx

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To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before Screening and Review!

Heyo Bookaholics!

MOVIE NIGHT!

Ever since the announcement of this movie, I’ve been super excited to see this fluffy, cute feel-good contemporary book to movie adaptation! I personally haven’t read the books but I wanted to go into the movie not really having any expectations for the characters or the outcome of the movie.

3:00pm – Tracy and I leave for the City.

The day started off fun. Tracy (I’ve mentioned her many times, no need for introductions), and I left for the city after making ourselves look pretty as heck with make-up, and you bet we took tonnes of photos of each other! On Tracy’s request, we went straight to MPalza – a Korean beauty store – and fell for all the cute and practical beauty items, buying more goods to hide in my bathroom.

We met up with Caite in the city and decided to get some food before heading off to the venue. The crazy bipolar Melbourne weather not on our side for today, the icy winds mixed with the pouring rain did nothing to dampen our mood tho; even as we reached the bay.

6:00pm

We were early to the venue and spent some time looking at the view and taking some lovely photos. I vlogged a fair amount of this part as we were quite confused as to 1. where the entrance was, and 2. why the doors opened at 6:20; meaning we had to wait outside in the cold. Though no sooner had we began complaining, more people started showing up and the conversation and laughter warmed us until the doors opened.

6:20pm

The venue was set up so nicely! The girls from The YA Room had set out cupcakes and little tubs of decorations for them like pearls and sprinkles of all shapes and colours. They had popcorn and beautiful signs and EVERYTHING was pink I was in heaven! They really captured the aesthetic of the novel.

 

THE MOVIE!

Like I said above, I went into this movie unsure of what to expect. In complete honesty, I went into this only knowing that it is a fluffy lovey contemporary with an American Asian lead; and I got so so so much more fluff and love than what I was expecting. All the awkward moments didn’t even give me second-hand awkward feels either which I loved because that means I wasn’t holding my breath and I was purely enjoying the film.

I don’t want to spoil anything from the novel or the movie, but I think it’s safe to say that the family dynamics between the sisters was my favourite part, second to all the fluffy and controversial romance that was occurring not only in Laura Jean’s own bubble but outside it too.

Sometimes we do feel invisible and like our own problems are in our own personal bubble. I related to Laura Jean on that part and how she didn’t realise how important she is until all her secrets were released. She was known and seen by many more people than she thought. She was more important to many others that she thought, and I believe that that is an important point to take away from the movie; that there are people who see you and know you, and sometimes it means taking risks to know this.


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I’d love to hear your thought on the TATBILB movie, and if you haven’t seen it before, comment your thoughts on what you expect to see in the movie xx

Is there any chance you’d love to see a Korean beauty haul either here or on my YouTube channel?

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A Monster Calls By Patrick Ness | An Unconventional (No Spoiler) Review…

Heyo Bookaholics!

Everyone can relate to this book in one way or another.

It has taken me years to get my hands on this book and I am so happy to have finally bought it and read it. I didn’t think I’d love it as much as I actually did, as I didn’t really know what to expect other than the wonders of Patrick Ness’ writing.

This is the first book on my July TBR as mentioned in my July TBR Video (which you can watch by clicking on the link).

A Monster Calls book cover.jpgBlurb:

An unflinching, darkly funny, and deeply moving story of a boy, his seriously ill mother, and an unexpected monstrous visitor.

At seven minutes past midnight, thirteen-year-old Conor wakes to find a monster outside his bedroom window. But it isn't the monster Conor's been expecting - he's been expecting the one from his nightmare, the nightmare he's had nearly every night since his mother started her treatments. The monster in his backyard is different. It's ancient. And wild. And it wants something from Conor. Something terrible and dangerous. It wants the truth.

From the final idea of award-winning author Siobhan Dowd - whose premature death from cancer prevented her from writing it herself - Patrick Ness has spun a haunting and darkly funny novel of mischief, loss, and monsters both real and imagined.

Unconventional Review!

I’m not going to do a proper critical and or gushy review on this book. It just feels far too personal a journey, that no amount of words can explain just how brilliant and touching it was unless you experience it for yourself.

I think everyone will in one way or another relate to Conor in this novel whether they realise it or not, as he experiences things and has thoughts that the average person will think and experience.

IMG_4377.JPG

A Monster Calls is a book that is intended as a tribute but also as a life lesson to the readers through Conor. The book will tell you the real message behind its pages regardless if you want to hear it or not, and I believe that everyone can benefit from the words both spoken and unspoken.

I didn’t know what to expect going into this book (just the way I like it), and I was so curious as to why everyone was crying over it, and not even 10 pages into the book I realised why it was so damn heartbreaking.

There are elements that make up this small read, and these things all have negative impacts or negative results in Conor’s life that essentially leave him with a life lesson at the end on it, regardless of him being told so or not.

I really enjoyed the way that this book taught me something without really meaning to, and for that, I fell deeper in love with it as the sadness alone would not have allowed me to like it.

★ Rating ★

I rated A Monster Calls ★★★★★ (5/5 stars) because of how raw the events and emotions are in this book; and the intense way in which it grabbed at my heart and slowly tore it apart page by page, then all at once at the very end.

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What were your thoughts on A Monster Calls?

Do you think I should’ve done an actual review instead?

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Save The Date by Morgan Matson | READING TOUR Non-Spoiler Review!

This book was sent to me from Simon & Schuster in exchange for an honest review and participation in the reading tour for the July 1st Australia release of this novel. Also a big thank you to AusYABloggers!

Heyo Bookaholics!

It’s Another Reading Tour!

I was so excited when I was contacted by Simon and Schuster to participate in this Reading Tour as I have NEVER ever read a book written by Morgan Matson, despite it being my goal to do so sometime this year! I’ve heard her books are amazing, and this one certainly did not disappoint!

Save the Date book cover

Charlie Grant tries to keep her life as normal as possible. Hanging out with her best friend, pining for Jesse Foster – who she’s loved since she was twelve – and generally flying under the radar as much as she can. But sometimes normal is just another word for stuck, and this weekend that’s all going to change. Not only will everyone be back home for her sister’s wedding, but she’s also juggling:

– a rented dog that just won’t stop howling
– an unexpectedly hot wedding-coordinator’s nephew
– her favourite brother bringing home his HORRIBLE new girlfriend
– fear that her parents’ marriage is falling apart – and the return to town of the boy she’s loved practically all her life…

Over the course of four days Charlie will learn there’s so much more to each member of her family than she imagined, even herself, and that maybe letting go of the things she’s been holding on tightest to can help her find what really keeps them together.

The above cover is the UK/ AUS one, which is the one I received, though doesn’t relate to the story as well as the US cover does.

REVIEW!

1:18am 23rd of June 2018

If you asked me to describe a perfect book I give you this one and tell you to never put it down, keep it within reach at all times, and whoever you feel like no one is there for you remember to turn back to the people who raised you.

The value of family was the main theme of this novel and the heartwarming way in which Morgan Matson splotched the family dynamics and change from the view of the youngest sibling is something I will only be able to experience through a story. it was so perfectly done that in no way was I able to guess what would occur at the plot points, and much like the Grant’s family’s crazy lives, this book just kept popping up crazy plot twists that melded perfectly and we’re sad, shocking and funny in succession.

We felt the suspense of family drama and the hilarity of family jokes. I wanted to cry, then laugh and run and hug my parents and sister and thank them for always being there for me in my very own functionally dysfunctional family.

This wonderful heartwarming novel teaches us how to love and treasure our family – the ones who raised us and whom we formed deep bonds with – but also how this family can change and shift in many ways but still be the same as before; especially if there are changes that must be dealt with.

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Present Day

Since I’m going spoiler free on this review, above is the first of three comics featured in the novel, I’ll only be posting two because they were so cute and honestly, they really don’t spoil anything.

There were so so many elements and story arcs in this novel that once I identified this, I was quite concerned it was going to flop somewhere, or there’d be a plot hole that I wouldn’t like; but WOW. All the story arcs flowed nicely and wove around each other like a beautiful French braid.

The story opens with Charlie, our main character, just a young girl with a major crush and a mother who draws her family in the newspaper for a living. Then there’s the missing brother and the upcoming wedding; which all seems perfect until…

Save The Date, as its name would suggest revolves around the upcoming wedding but disaster strikes, the whole family has to make the new arrangements work as well as being able to wrangle feuding family members, wedding crashers and lots of horrible news.

Charlie takes the hardest hit in this novel when she realises that her crush is a literal crush and learns the hard way that some love is purely visual, and the emotional kind was right in front of her the whole time.

All the characters in this novel were pure and real and each of them played their own part in the story, each with their own emotional journey and hurdle to overcome. These people could honestly be your brother, sister, neighbour; they just felt too real.

★ Rating ★

If you read this book you will be able to see why I rated this a ★ (5/5 stars). I don’t think I need to say any more about this.

I wanted the review to be more about my feelings towards the book and Charlie rather than an in-depth analysis of the characters and plot; as both were so extensive and I may need to make a video to discuss those aspects.

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The Author: Morgan Matson

Morgan Matson_hr

Oh My Gosh *gasps*

How pretty is this photo!!! I want my future author photo to be taken like this! You heard it here first my friends

Morgan Matson is a New York Times bestselling author. She received her MFA in writing for children from the New School and was named a Publishers Weekly Flying Start author for her first book, Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour, which was also recognized as an ALA Top Ten Best Book for Young Adults. Her second book, Second Chance Summer, won the California State Book Award. She lives in Los Angeles.

Twitter: https://twitter.com/morgan_m

Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/morgamat

Website: http://www.MorganMatson.com

Read On!

If your interested in other people’s views and opinions on this books, or some fun Save The Date related posts/ videos/ fun stuff; follow the below link to be taken to the tour schedule which includes a list of all participants and the links to their uploads!

http://www.simonandschuster.com.au/c/SavetheDateReadingTourReading Tour Banner.jpg

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Have you read Save The Date? What were your thoughts and have you read any other Morgan Matson’s books?

I’d love to hear your thoughts! Please do tell me if you’ve read and/ or reviewed this book down in the comments and I’ll try read/ watch your reviews xx

Leave your opinions in the comments or alternatively on my social media channels!
Instagram // Goodreads // Twitter // YouTube

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Thank You, With Love Bree xx

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© Jasper+Spice 2018. All Rights Reserved. Please do not use without my permission. This post was not sponsored, all photos and graphics are of my own creation.

 

The Wren Hunt by Mary Watson | Non-Spoiler Review

This novel was sent to me by Bloomsbury Publishing Australia two months prior to it’s UK release on February 8th 2018, in exchange for an honest review. I am very grateful to have been chosen to review this book.

Heyo Bookaholics!!

I honestly do not know what to say in this review, other than I loved this book so so much though it wasn’t perfect, it was engaging, captivating, and oddly haunting.

The Wren Hunt Book Cover.jpg

Goodreads Summary:

Every Christmas, Wren is chased through the woods near her isolated village by her family’s enemies—the Judges—and there’s nothing that she can do to stop it. Once her people, the Augurs, controlled a powerful magic. But now that power lies with the Judges, who are set on destroying her kind for good.

In a desperate bid to save her family, Wren takes a dangerous undercover assignment—as an intern to an influential Judge named Cassa Harkness. Cassa has spent her life researching a transformative spell, which could bring the war between the factions to its absolute end. Caught in a web of deceit, Wren must decide whether or not to gamble on the spell and seal the Augurs’ fate.

Continue reading “The Wren Hunt by Mary Watson | Non-Spoiler Review”

Storm and Grace by Kathryn Heyman | Non-Spoiler Review

This 360 page novel was sent to me by Allen & Unwin prior to it’s release on February 1st 2017, in exchange for an honest review. I am very grateful to have been chosen to review this book.

Heyo Bookaholics!

Last Monday, I did not post a review, but today I am posting one of my most controversial and opinionated reviews yet.

I have many mixed emotions about this book with many stronger ones developing within the last 30 pages of this novel, where it really started to pick up and provide a certain sense of enlightenment as to where the story had been leading.

Storm and Grace Book COver.jpg

Goodreads Summary:

Their love knows no limits – but the further you go, the more dangers there are. Love becomes obsession and lust becomes control. A riveting thriller in the tradition of Girl on the Train andBefore I Go to Sleep.

… fear swam beneath her, baring its teeth, telling her lies …

World-famous freediver Storm Hisray hits Grace Cain like a bolt from the blue. Instantly smitten, she abandons her life in the city to follow him to his idyllic Pacific island. There he teaches Grace the ways of the deep, and she learns to sink to unimaginable depths on one single breath. As their world narrows to the two of them, she learns, too, the exquisite pleasures of her body – but also that Storm hides as many secrets as the sea.

As he pushes Grace further and further beyond her limits – both in and out of the water – her resistance grows, but so does Storm’s need to control her. With a secret of her own to protect, Grace starts to realise that she is in deeper and more dangerous water than she has ever imagined possible.

Brilliant, mesmerising, incendiary and haunting, Storm and Grace explores the dazzling thrill of the deep, and the terrors that lie in its shadows.

Continue reading “Storm and Grace by Kathryn Heyman | Non-Spoiler Review”