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Stories are written by 12 unpublished authors from all over our wonderful country of Australia.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

Leave your opinions in the comments or alternatively on my social media channels!
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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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With Love Bree xx

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What Momma Left Me by Renée Watson | Spoiler Free Book Review

Heyo Bookaholics!

An oldie but a goodie!

Many thanks to the wonderful staff at Bloomsbury Publishing for sending me this novel for review. It was released in America on the 8th of January (my birthday!).

 

Was first published by Bloomsbury USA in February of 2012, and has been re-released this year

Blurb:

Rediscover Newbery Honor- and Coretta Scott King Author Award-winner Renée Watson's heart-rending debut, about one girl's journey to reconnect to joy.

Serenity is good at keeping secrets, and she's got a whole lifetime's worth of them. Her mother is dead, her father is gone, and starting life over at her grandparents' house is strange. Luckily, certain things seem to hold promise: a new friend who makes her feel connected, and a boy who makes her feel seen. But when her brother starts making poor choices, her friend is keeping her own dangerous secret, and her grandparents put all of their trust in a faith that Serenity isn't sure she understands, it is the power of love that will repair her heart and keep her sure of just who she is.

Renée Watson's stunning writing shines in this powerful and ultimately uplifting novel.

I loved how I was fully immersed in the story and how Watson just drew me in with her words. Though I did enjoy the book, the ending let me down and upon reflection, I discovered a few flaws with the novel. 

REVIEW!

This is the first book I’ve read by Renee Watson, and despite the harsh review I will give this book, I am eager to read further books by her in the future as I believe in on judging an author’s entire archive of books off of one work.

I will keep this short as it was quite a small novel and a quick one to fly through, despite all of the improper English in the speech of the characters that tripped me up and the constant use of “daddy” instead of “dad” or “father” that tripped me up constantly (sorry for being gen z).

The main thing that ticked me off about this novel was the fact that it was dealing with a girl of about 13-14 years of age who had lost both her mother and father and was now dealing with immense grief, but the story didn’t feel like it was focused on the grief, rather all the things that were happening in Serenity’s daily life. It made it worse that all of the actions that occurred weren’t a cause or had any direct relation to the death/ grief, but kind of ignored it except for when needing to bring up drama and old secrets for the sake of it. The storyline, that I felt wasn’t truly established, didn’t revolve around the central theme of Serenity’s mother’s death and the dangerous cause of it, rather just left the subject untouched altogether.

From the way Serenity spoke, using childish words like “daddy” and describing everything in a very simplistic and naïve way, it made her seem younger than the 13-14-year-old she was being portrayed as. Maybe it was because she was raised as a very conservative Christian and had little freedom or exposure to anything or just a manner in which she was raised, but I felt as if her speech and her actions – pinning after a boy who was described like someone much older – were very contradictory of each other, and I wasn’t sure of how to perceive her.

Despite this, I did feel okay with the other characters, although the things they did made me question their ages and parental guidance. I found that their journeys were a little more interesting than Serenity’s at times. Usually, when other characters lives entwine with the protagonists, their stories usually end too, wind up and come to a close with the protagonist; but it seemed as if there were too many unfinished stories & undiscovered happiness left out in the open. With Jay and his bag of clothes; and Maria and her grieving. If people are placed in the path of the protagonist with their own lives on display, they have to have an ending too. An explanation or reaction to certain events that would’ve been nice to see from other’s points of views too. The end was very much a let down for me and not at all conclusive or memorable, even for the protagonist.

Otherwise, I grew to enjoy and become comfortable with the voice it was written in, although the incorrect “me & Danny” was annoying as it is supposed to be “Danny & I” and really threw me off and ruined the flow of the story. I told myself that was just character and identified her as a resident of Portland and maybe that’s how they speak (improper English) in the area. I am making no judgements, though it did make the writing feel jerky and uncomfortable to read.

★ Rating ★

I rated this novel a ★★★☆☆ (3/5 stars) as there were a few elements missing for me. It was definitely not a five-star novel, but it could’ve been a four star if the story was more developed and didn’t leave so many holes with the other characters that were involved in the story.

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What are your thoughts on Renée Watson’s writings? I’ve only read this one so I cannot say much, but I will be reading another to have a more informed opinion. xxx

Leave your opinions in the comments or alternatively on my social media channels!
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Operation Sin: Agent Carter by Immonen and Ellis | Comic Book Review

Heyo Bookaholics!

My first Marvel appearance!

So I don’t usually buy comic books, because they retail for approximately $25 at the least for a volume of Saga, and at least $30-$40 for Marvel branded comics. I will only pick them up when they are at a cheap or highly discounted price, much like this one here. I recently purchased Operation Sin: Agent Carter, and Wolverine and Jubilee stand-alone comics at The Book Grocer for $6.66666666… each *insert insanely shocked face here*

Blurb
 
Tying into the explosive events of ORIGINAL SIN , see an untold story from the origins of the Marvel Universe! After an alien energy source is discovered in Russia in the early 1950s, it's up to Peggy Carter and Howard Stark to find out what happened. But a newly risen terrorist group going by the name Hydra also happens to be on the hunt for their own nefarious purposes! It's only when a mysterious operative going by the name of Woodrow McCord enters the picture to aid Peggy and Howard that they realize just how far some people are willing to go to keep the Earth safe!

Operation S.I.N.: Agent Carter TPB is a tie-in to ABC's hit TV show, Marvel's Agent Carter!

COLLECTING: Operation S.I.N. 1-5, Captain America and the First Thirteen 1

I have done a review for a comic book before titled Flight Volume 1, it was a strange read and honestly, I didn’t like it that much. This time, I am reviewing a Marvel comic, one I know that I am bound to enjoy, and enjoy it I did.

This is the tie-in to the amazing 2015 Netflix series Agent Carter starring Hayley Atwell which was devastatingly cancelled after just one season and one hall of a cliffhanger. Yes, I am still very mad about this. Peggy Carter would not stand for this kind of treatment!

On with the review…

Review

I’m not very experienced in reviewing comics. I’ll be focusing on the storyline and commenting on the drawings, but there is no educated critique behind my review of the images, only fangirlly gushing.

There were a couple of things I enjoyed most about this story and Peggy herself. One of those is the typical Marvel thing of making every storyline about Aliens, with this one being no different as Peggy Carter and Howard Stark follow a mysterious lead for… Honestly, I don’t even know what lead them to their end predicament, but I assume as always it was Howard Stark chasing some unknown technology. Typical Howard.

I loved Peggy’s loyalty to Howard and her willingness to go along with his crazy endeavours, and in her own way act as his bodyguard and most importantly a biased and loyal best friend. I also really appreciated how the storyline addressed how people underestimate Peggy because she is a woman, and how she uses this at most times to her advantage.

She does some crazy things when people leave her behind on babysitting duties because people – other than Howard who knows never to give Peggy an order as she won’t obey it (common knowledge) – think that she will not be useful in battle; when she really is.

I like how the comics – although a tie-in from the television series – kept the original image of a blonde Peggy, unlike the brown-haired Hayley Atwell (which I do like much better). I think the blond Peggy really made more sense with the time frame (the 1940s) and location (Ameria) that the comic is set in.

I don’t want to talk about the bonus story. I did not like how they portrayed Captain America and Peggy’s relationship, because it is portrayed so much better in The First Avenger movie (which I have seen a thousand times and I will watch a thousand times more!).

Overall, Stark and Peggy are my OTP Best Friends and no one can beat that!

★ Rating ★

I rated this comic ★★★★☆ (4/5 stars). I liked it but it isn’t anywhere near the quality of Saga, Wicked and The Divine, Jack Faction’s Hawkeye, and Black Widow.

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Do you read comics?? If so, which ones? I don’t read many comics (mainly because they’re expensive and the libraries don’t really stock them) xxx

Leave your opinions in the comments or alternatively on my social media channels!
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Fierce Fragile Hearts by Sarah Barnard | Spoiler Free Book Review

Heyo Bookaholics!

New Year, Same Books, New TBR!

Disclaimer: This book was sent to me by Pan Macmillan Australia and #OzYABloggers as a review copy for a blog tour.

 

I’m back! This isn’t part of our usual scheduled programming but I promised to deliver you a review for Fierce Fragile Hearts by Sara Barnard today. This book made me laugh, cry, and contemplate life in different ways.

ABOUT THE BOOK:

Fierce Fragile Hearts is the stunning companion novel to Sara Barnard's YA bestseller Beautiful Broken Things. It is about leaving the past behind, the friends who form your future, and learning to find love, in all its forms.

Two years after a downward spiral took her as low as you can possibly go, Suzanne is starting again. Again. She's back in Brighton, the only place she felt she belonged, back with her best friends Caddy and Rosie. But they're about to leave for university. When your friends have been your light in the darkness, what happens when you're the one left behind?

Piggy-backing off of yesterday’s post where shared with you an interview I had with Sara Barnard, the author of the novel I will be reviewing today. I was lucky enough to receive this novel from Pan Macmillan Australia as a part of a blog tour for the release of the novel which came out today!

You can find more about the blog tour via this link on the Pan Macmillan Australia website.

THE REVIEW!

I’d give this book every star in the world if I could. The raw emotion packed into this novel hit my heart in a place that mad it feel things that deep down I didn’t want to and open up old wounds that I wanted to stay closed but it also healed everything in the process. Sara Barnard knows how to write a knockout, crying in bed at midnight novel that both tears the reader apart and puts them back together again while teaching them something valuable about love, life and relationships of both the toxic and precious kind.

A small PSA here about Suzanne the protagonist and how she speaks of herself. If you don’t know what you’re going into when you start this book, I will warn you that her self talk is negative and may be relatable to some readers. I found that I related to some ways in which she spoke about herself and found it very confronting in the fact that it was such a raw and real way, that I never knew it was possible for someone to put those words that are spoken in one’s mind on to paper for another to read. It wasn’t all in her words but in her actions. As someone who is stuck in their own head, you become so self-absorbed with your own self-hate and false reality that it becomes truth and it’s not until someone forcefully expresses their concern things begin to change. Slowly; and not without many many relapses and mistakes. I love how in the end, Suzie learnt ways in which to get out of her own head and better herself.

I loved being able to see all sides of the friendship (even if it was all in Suzie’s point-of-view) it worked especially well since it was so realistic. Suzie’s friends had stood by her through everything, even those times when she ignored them entirely. The fallouts and recovery of the friendship created so much tension and was enjoyable to read, as opposed to being boring and one-sided like other books I’ve read. The friends weren’t cut from Suzie’s story and this conflict actually helped her grow and be ready for when things did fall back in to place.

Her character development happened through an unexpected friendship by allowing her to be selfless and caring for someone other than herself. This gave her purpose and taught her to care for herself by caring for another. She grew and learnt over the course of the novel yet she had relapsed into bad habits but this only made her stronger and more determined to make a conscious effort to better herself. At times, if she wasn’t holding on for herself, she did it for others. For love, family, and friends that love her and she came to accept and understand their love. I love the moral of learning through relapsing because recovery isn’t always going to be easy.

Finding an unlikely friend took her to unexpected places and allowed her to meet new people, put herself into unexpected situations which in turn lead her to find her purpose in life. This ended the novel on the happiest note. Nothing cheesy, she didn’t magically get better or not relapse ever again. No, she is imperfect but working towards getting better and that’s what makes her perfect.

FYI I cried so so much and that just made me love he novel even more!

★ RATING! ★

I rate this novel a massive 5/5 stars ★★★★★! I want to read the first book in the series Beautiful Broken Things and I hope it breaks my heart as much as this one did!

THE INTERVIEW!

You can read my interview with the author Sara Barnard by clicking on the image below or on this link!

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Pick up FFH tomorrow and let me know your thoughts as soon as you finish!

Do you enjoy these kinds of posts?? xxx

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With Love Bree xx

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Percy Jackson and The Battle of The Labyrinth by Rick Riordan | Spoilery Book Review (4/5)

Heyo Bookaholics!

My Favourite Myth, but Better…

Four of five done!

Apologies for the late post, I’ve been in rural India for the past 8 days. It’s amazing here, so picturesque and calming! I’ve added some photos to the bottom of this post if you’d like to have a look at rural India and Mumbai.

I wanted this review up last Monday but due to me not having pre-written this and the fact that I totally overestimated the amount of free time we’d have here I wasn’t able to get any writing in at all. Today has been the only time I am sane enough to write something coherent. So here goes…


Blurb:

Percy Jackson isn't expecting freshman orientation to be any fun. But when a mysterious mortal acquaintance appears at his potential new school, followed by demon cheerleaders, things quickly move from bad to worse.

In this fourth installment of the blockbuster series, time is running out as war between the Olympians and the evil Titan lord Kronos draws near. Even the safe haven of Camp Half-Blood grows more vulnerable by the minute as Kronos's army prepares to invade its once impenetrable borders. To stop the invasion, Percy and his demigod friends must set out on a quest through the Labyrinth - a sprawling underground world with stunning surprises at every turn.

REVIEW!

Two words: Character Development.

This book contained one of my favourite myths in the Greek Mythos. Dedalus’ Labyrinth is probably the most fascinating story. Even the story of Dedalus himself is quite interesting, especially with the Iccurus incident on him.

In the novel, Dedalus is hailed as both a Saint and Sinner. Hated and loved by people on both sides of the fight, with Riordan giving him redemption in the form of a character in this book. Annabeth, a lover of architecture – a fact which never made it into the films – admires the man for his talent on building the maze, though caught between what to think of his sins. We can certainly say that Dedalus isn’t a good man, but the redemption arc that Riordan gave him, where he helps Percy and friends in the final battle was a very nice take on the historical figure.

Let’s give a little thought to the maze. It is something of a ‘dark art’, it changes and morphs all the time and like Olympus the entrances and exists change every few generations making it hard to find and harder to escape. In the maze, we are greeted with some friends of whom two I want to make note of:

  • The Hundred Handed One is a mythological character I have never heard of before. They’re described to the reader as a creature older than Cyclops’ with great power and strength (probably something to do with all the hands but idk). I really like how we meet a defeated one, and see through Tyson’s eyes how disappointed he is that his childhood hero isn’t what he thought he was, and how Percy feels helpless in his ability to make his baby bother happy. Although there is a crazy character development of about half a book in which the Hundred-Handed-One assists in the final battle.
  •  The Sphynx. Okay so maybe not everyone knows this but in the original story of the Sphynx, whoever gets her riddle wrong will be eaten and whoever gets it right will cause her to ignite in flames. Let’s just say I was happy that Riordan kept that violent ending out of the novel. Annabeth is admired for her bravery, knowledge and now fearlessness by her friends after standing up to the Sphynx when it chooses to do the riddles that were not to custom.

I want to go into more detail in a video review or you’ll be here all day reading my essay about how each aspect of this novel was expertly written and constructed perfectly to develop our main characters and introduce the myths in a non-violent and educational way.

Riordan always manages to keep the novels about his little group of heroes while placing them in a world already established with such a deep cult following and sometimes untranslatable history. Making it so their world is just another hurdle the heroes have to overcome in their daily life with new and scary monsters, Gods and other enemies coming their way.

We see Percy grow especially in his understanding of what the world is coming to and how he has chosen to put himself before other and in the way of danger to protect those who are weaker and more vulnerable to corruption than he is (i.e. his choice to take on the title of ‘Chosen One’ instead of Nico, as if that is even a choice he can make). We see his selfless, loving and harsh side in this novel subsequently contributing to him growing up and becoming a teenager and less of a young child.

★ Rating ★

Overall, without really giving any spoilers that are just me picking apart the book, I enjoyed this read thoroughly rating it novel, a ★★★★☆ (4/5 stars).

Thank you so much for reading!

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What is your favourite Greek Myth??

Leave your opinions in the comments or alternatively on my social media channels!
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With Love Bree xx

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Percy Jackson and The Titan’s Curse by Rick Riordan | Spoilery Book Review (3/5)

Heyo Bookaholics!

The Journey Continues…

I’m finally ahead on the readings for my book review schedule! I read this novel two weeks ago, let’s see how much I can recall when writing this book review because there is not a soul that believes I write these in advance as soon as I finish the novel – unless I finish said novel the minute before I have to post the review.


Blurb:

When Percy Jackson receives an urgent distress call from his friend Grover, he immediately prepares for battle. He knows he'll need his powerful demigod allies at his side; his trusty bronze sword, Riptide; and . . . a ride from his mom.

The demigods race to the rescue to find that Grover has made an important discovery: two powerful half-bloods, whose parentage is unknown. But that's not all that awaits them. The Titan lord Kronos has set up a devious trap, and the young heroes have just fallen prey.

Hilarious and action-packed, this third adventure in the series finds Percy faced with his most dangerous challenge yet--the chilling prophecy of the Titan's curse.

REVIEW!

The start of this book confused the heckles out of me. It was like those opening scenes to a movie/ episode where you don’t know what the hell is going on so you continue watching in hopes that all will be explained. This was pretty much the same, and I actually enjoyed that. It was a fun change to the usual “Hi I’m Percy and this is my life so far, etc. etc.”

We also have a new heroine along for the ride this Summer. Thalia, whose name I’d never heard of before this series is the Daughter of Zeus who’s spirit was trapped in a tree to prevent her from dying when she was 12. At the end of book two, we see the Golden Fleece revive her and start the feud between herself and Percy in a competition for the leader role.

This book is my favourite because of the people we meet. Gods make an appearance with their flashy 21st Century technology, as well as titans, other Demi-Gods and people who just won’t stay dead.

The plot of this book took us ever closer to the final battle, with the demi-gods facing their former camp mate Luke once again. We see our heroes make decisions that could destroy everything and some new faces that may change the course of the story forever.

I’d heard of Nico before but Bianca was a new name. These two half-bloods are found by Percy’s friend Grover when he went undercover at a new school, their parentage unknown. When the heroes arrive to check it out, something isn’t right. In short, the Headmaster turns into a creepy monster and a few things happen:

  1. We are introduced to the huntress Goddess Artemis and her all-female hunter group. They take in Bianca, Nico’s sister who joins their hunt immediately after being asked. It is as if she had some tragic backstory that leads her to want a group of friends like a family.
  2. The creepy monster/ Headmaster dude kidnaps Annabeth and well we meet Appollo, Artemis’ brother who rides a ‘Sun Chariot’ that can change into literally any car.

I loved meeting these two Gods and seeing how Riordan gave them very distinct personalities with one – Appollo – embracing the Western world, and Artemis sticking to the old ways. Also when the monster kidnapped Annabeth, Percy lost it!! He would stop at nothing to go after her and because I know that that they end up together, this is really where we see Percy really showing his feelings for his best friend, despite her still being in love with Luke.

I’m going to time skip ahead to when they’re on the quest to find Artemis (and Annabeth) and uh well even though we just met her, Bianca shows severe love for others, choosing to sacrifice herself to let everyone live and continue the quest. And though it may seem that Bianca’s story ends there, it doesn’t but that’s like serious foreshadowing here.

We then meet Atlas. If you don’t know, Atlas is a Titan God who has to hold up the sky for all eternity and bear the weight of the sky. In the stories, he took a small reprieve from it by Heracles who later tricked him into taking back the burden. This is what happens in the battle scene although it is Annabeth and Artemis who bear the weight of the sky and Percy who takes it then tricks the Titan into taking it back. I loved this because the story of Atlas is an interesting one.

I’m doing a lot of time skipping as there is so much to talk about with this book, so many things went on that I just cannot talk about them all.

In short, they achieved their quest, brought Annabeth and Artemis back and faced the council of the Gods again. In this, we lose one of our heroes, Thalia, the daughter of Zeus who was brought back to life by the power of the golden fleece. She is asked my Artemis to join her hunt and be immortal forever. She accepts this as she tells her friends that she will not be able to control herself against Kronos’ power. I believe it was a brave thing that she did, understanding her weakness and in a life or death situation for the Western world, chose to sacrifice her freedom for the safety of others.

Percy has courage and fierce loyalty and will choose to give anyone a chance. As is in the case of Nico, when Percy finds out his parentage after the boy summons the forces of the underworld to save Percy from a skeleton army. I could almost see Percy’s face change from that of shock to relief to recognition, knowing that Nico is the son of Hades.

Then he had to deal him the bad news about his sister and how he’d failed to keep her safe. Let’s say Nico didn’t take it so well and the poor boy must’ve been going through so much confusion and now loss, he ran away. Percy choosing not to tell anyone but his friends about his discovery as to not incriminate Nico, ensuring his safety in the process.

★ Rating ★

I rated this novel, a ★★★★☆ (4/5 stars). In comparison to the first two books, there is evidence of age increase in the writing and the maturity of the characters but the reading level of the book remains the same. I would say that this is my favourite out of the three due to the major conflict between the cast and how everyone reacts to plot twists that occur. I found that this novel has messages that teach kids to be kind to others and not hold grudges as you will not know what you have until it’s gone.

Thank you so much for reading!

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Bets on me making it to the end of the series by the 30th of November?

Not to jinx myself but I’m a little hopeful…

Leave your opinions in the comments or alternatively on my social media channels!
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With Love Bree xx

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