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.


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Stories are written by 12 unpublished authors from all over our wonderful country of Australia.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


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!


What’s your favourite Underdog story? xx

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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© 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 Lost Knight by Candy Atkins | Review

Disclaimer: I was sent this book in eBook format by YA Bound Book tours in exchange for an honest review. It was released on the 20th of May 2016, by Monster Publishing and is the first in a series.


Goodreads Summary:

How am I supposed to save the world when I’m not strong, not brave, not smart, and not particularly good at most things? I ran away from home the day after my thirteenth birthday when Auntie and her weird friend attacked me. Now I’m on the run with the Grim Reaper and a scary soldier. And I’m no longer on Earth. They were expecting me to be a Knight. The savior that’s supposed to stop a war and prevent the invasion to Earth. But I’m not. They grabbed the wrong girl. I just don’t know how to tell them.

The Lost Knight Volume 1 by Candy Atkins, is great for fans of Harry Potter and Magnus Chase (I also believe Percy Jackson fans will enjoy this book).

Praise For The Lost Knight.

I read an ebook copy of this book and absolutely loved it and everything about it. I was able to relate to Agatha, despite me being almost 5 years older than her, as she was.

The length of the chapters were so perfect! They were long enough to be considered chapters but short enough to make me feel like I was breezing through the book.

I had so much fun reading this book, that I gave it a ★★★★☆ (4/5 stars) on Goodreads, and I would totally recommend it to anyone who wants a fun, dramaless, fantasy novel, where you can discover new and amazing world.

Continue reading “The Lost Knight by Candy Atkins | Review”

Make It Lovely| All The Bright Places by Jennifer Niven | Review

A few weeks ago I finished All The Bright Places by Jennifer Niven.

All The Bright Places is a stand-alone novel about a girl named Violet Markey, who has lost her sister and is now living day-by-day with this intense longing for the future burning inside of her. She longs for the day when she finishes high school and goes to college in order to escape the confinements of her small town. The book also follows Theodore Finch who holds a deep fascination for death and has had many attempts at suicide, but every time he tries, something good, no matter how small gets in his way.

During this particular attempt, it is Violet who re-markey-ably gets in Finch’s way of self-termination. Finch knows that this is a good thing and wants to know more about why she got in his way of death. It isn’t until history class, where, as the result of a group project Violet and Finch begin their journey to explore Indiana’s “natural wonders”  and Violet learns to start living out her days instead of counting them down.

But as Violet’s world begins to grow and fill will love and wonder; Finch’s world begins to shrink.

This is an intense novel compared to the likes of John Green, Rainbow Rowell, Gayle Forman, Jenny Downham, and Jay Asher. It opens our minds up to mental health and how love can do crazy things.


My initial thoughts when I was reading, up until halfway through the book were;

”I do NOT like this book!”

But I kept reading it anyways because I had this voice in my head saying; “It will get better. Was it right? Damn right it was!

It got better in a suspenseful and I-want-to-throw-this-book way. From around-about the middle of the book to the end, I was gripping and turning the pages so hard and fast I was terrified. Terrified for Finch and Violet. Terrified for their future. And Terrified I was going to tear the pages out of the book. But I was also intrigued. Every place they visited I added to my list. From the very first one – the tallest hill in Indiana, to the deepest bluest lake. These places and the characters love for adventure and Niven’s artistic arrangement of words kept my hands glued to the book.

Just as Finch told his younger sister to; Jeniffer Niven made the book lovely. Because if I learnt one thing from Finch, it was that you must accept all the bad things in life as a learning curve and all the bad words are there acting as a stairway, leading up to the loveliness at the top. Don’t hate on the bad words because that’s it will makes you a bad person yourself. Love the bad words and turn them into something sweet.

“Make them Lovely.”

I don’t normally cry when I read but personal letters – especially heartfelt letters to those who have died – really crack my heart open and make the book seem so much more real to that I begin to choke and tear up as I feel a real connection with the character on a more intimate and personal level that almost feels like an invasion of privacy. Something that is so taboo it causes a great ache and pain that I will never understand. It makes me feel privileged and loved. To go out and love and not lose sight of what I have in front of me.

Although I was quite disappointed that it took around 170 pages for me to really get engaged and connect with the book; I didn’t really understand what all the hype was about that surrounded the book at its release. I do know one thing, and it is that this book came from the heart of someone who had experienced this deep and immense pain and she was willing to open her heart and share her story and pain in this book and I bless her for doing that. This will not be just another book I read, nor will it be my favourite but I will be a big eye-opener and a lesson to not waste my life in feeling sorry for myself. To not take the easy road out because of you do not take risks or venture out of your comfort zone; if you give up all you love and live in a security bubble; then you won’t truly live and your story will not be one to tell, rather one to shrug off.

I give this book ★★★☆☆ (3 stars)



Bree xx

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© Jasper+Spice 2015. All Rights Reserved. Please do not use without permission. This book review was not sponsored in any way and all opinions are entirely my own. The photo was originally posted on my Instagram @jasperandspice.