Review: Danielle Paige – Stealing Snow

Stealing Snow
Danielle Paige

Snow has been institutionalised ever since she tried to walk a friend through a mirror. On a serious cocktail of drugs, it’s not clear what is fantasy and what is truth. When she’s broken out of the Institute by a handsome trickster to rescue her hot lover, life is going to be more magical than she imagined.

30309128I feel like I didn’t get a really good grip on Snow’s character. But then you consider that she has been locked up and completely drugged for the last 10+ years and you can’t be surprised. She felt quite cold to me, and never seemed to warm up. I’ll be looking for more character development in the second novel of this.

The back of the novel promises me that ‘her choices of the heart will change everything’. What we actually see though is her ?three? love interests all wanting to kiss her or for her to kiss them. What’s so big about a kiss? Seriously guys. Just chill. Snow, kiss them all. Deal with the consequences. This is life.

Dude! How could that happen? It was a twist I wasn’t expecting at all. And I still don’t know why or how it happened. Something for the next novel! The plot circled around, and gave nutty things the ability to happen. I think maybe it could have been overwhelming.

I’m going to give it 3 stars. I think it just didn’t give me enough of an impression to feel polarised by it.

3star

Bloomsbury | October 2016 | AU $16.99 | Paperback

Sharing is Caring 🙂Tweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestShare on TumblrShare on LinkedInShare on FacebookShare on Google+Share on StumbleUponShare on Reddit

Review: Kerry Drewery – Cell 7

Cell 7
Kerry Drewery

Martha has killed a famous celebrity – or at least she said she did. Now waiting her fate in an increasingly smaller set of cells, her last days on earth are not only numbered, but also watched 24/7 by the public. That public will decide whether she is guilty or innocent by voting. The only problem is that the system is rigged for those who have money to have the potential to make more votes.

29864658Martha has lost a lot of important people, and I can see why she does the things she does. But she came across as a selfish, shallow character that I simply couldn’t like very much. And considering that I was supposed to get attached so I would be worried when she was close to dying, well, I wasn’t.

It’s unclear how the different people come on board with the ideas that Martha and her offsider are working on to change the world. Not enough clarity around a lot of issues actually, which was really frustrating.

I’m sorry. Even if this is a new thriller series, I couldn’t give points for the ending. It felt like no progress had been made at all, particularly with the authorities showing some really clear blind eyes (if there is such a thing). I read the novel, and the pacing was fine, but the plot was transparent and I couldn’t care about the characters. 3 stars from me.

3star

Allen & Unwin | 28th September 2016 | AU $19.99 | Paperback

Sharing is Caring 🙂Tweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestShare on TumblrShare on LinkedInShare on FacebookShare on Google+Share on StumbleUponShare on Reddit

Review: Mark Tedeschi – Kidnapped

Kidnapped
Mark Tedeschi

This novel covers Australia’s first and only kidnapping to date – Graeme Thorne was kidnapped for ransom because of his parents winning the Opera House Lottery. Unfortunately his kidnapper, Stephen Bradley killed him by accident and the ransom could never be paid. Fortunately, Bradley was eventually caught and sentenced to life for this crime.

kidnapped-the-crime-that-shocked-the-nation-9781925456349_lgSo you might think I have given away the whole novel with my opening paragraph – but in fact, you know all of that information almost from just reading the blurb and reading the first chapter. That alone would have killed the novel for me.

I picked this novel up from someone else’s TBR pile from publishers, because I was getting into crime and was excited to get my hands on some more Australian fiction. I should have known better perhaps. I so wanted to like it though!

This crime was one of the first to be solved using modern forensic techniques, and that alone should have made it more exciting for me. I like to know the science behind things, such as in Blood Secrets. Instead, I’m sorry. I found this novel utterly boring.
I finished it only by skimming the last couple of chapter in despair of something truly exciting happening.

I’ve giving this novel 2 stars. Maybe another person who really REALLY loves true crime fiction will love it, but for me, the outcome was known too quickly and there was no sense of suspense to keep me reading.

2star

Simon & Schuster | December 2015 | $32.99 | Paperback

Sharing is Caring 🙂Tweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestShare on TumblrShare on LinkedInShare on FacebookShare on Google+Share on StumbleUponShare on Reddit

Interview with Juliet Marillier

juliet-marillier-author-imageAn Interview with Juliet Marillier

Your newest Blackthorn and Grim novel is fantastic – I read it rapturously for an afternoon. I know that you tend towards trilogies, is this due to publisher requests or your own preferences?

I’m glad you enjoyed Den of Wolves! Re trilogies, it’s usually my own choice to write in that form and it can be for different reasons. With the Sevenwaters Trilogy, I felt I needed three generations of the family to deal fully with the impact of the traumatic events in the first book. Publisher pressure led to three more Sevenwaters books being written quite a bit later, but they don’t form a trilogy, they are linked stand-alone novels. The epic stories in both the Bridei Chronicles and the Shadowfell series also seemed to need three books to be complete. So it’s mostly my own preference – I choose what feels like the best way to tell a particular story. Trilogies are pretty common in fantasy fiction, and publishers often expect them. I’d originally thought of a longer series for Blackthorn & Grim, but to my surprise the story ended up feeling quite complete in three books.

Everyone has a ‘first novel’, even if many of them are a rough draft relegated to the bottom and back of your desk drawer (or your external harddrive!). Have you been able to reshape yours, or have you abandoned it for good?den-of-wolves-cover-image

I have a few hidden away, some written in longhand. There are three romance novels stashed in a drawer somewhere – I got encouraging rejection letters for those. And there’s an early fantasy novel that nobody got to see. I suspect it’s pretty clunky. Definitely abandoned for good! I also have a great collection of stuff I wrote (and illustrated) as a child, including a tale of rampaging killer robots and one about scientists finding prehistoric life in the fiords of New Zealand.

I have heard of writers that could only write in one place – then that cafe closed down and they could no longer write… Where do you find yourself writing most often, and on what medium (pen/paper or digital)? Has the place you write changed over the many years of your writing? I understand that you live in a home that is more than 100 years old!

My house was built in 1904, and is part of the ‘poppy trail’ in the historic Perth suburb of Guildford – two Anzac soldiers lived here during World War 1. I love that historical connection and I often think of those two young men and what faced them in the trenches. They both got home safely!

I write most often on the kitchen table, even though I have a perfectly good study. That’s because the kitchen/living room of the house is where my five dogs hang out, and we all tend to congregate together. Also, good heating and lighting and ease of making tea. Like Blackthorn and Grim, I enjoy my brew. I write almost exclusively on my laptop these days, plus a tablet for travelling. I used to write everything longhand, then word process and edit at the same time. That got much too slow. I learned to touch type when I worked in the taxation office, probably the best thing to come from that experience! I’ve moved house a couple of times since I started writing seriously, but the workplace has often been a kitchen table.

You’ve said that you travel to countries where you are going to set your next novel to get reference material you would otherwise miss out on. Where is the most interesting place you have been, and did you work any of the local personalities into the resulting novel?

I have been to some fascinating places. Most interesting? A tie between an off-the-beaten-track trip to Transylvania (for Wildwood Dancing) and a trip the Faroe Islands (for Foxmask.) Transylvania was really beautiful and I discovered all kinds of quirky historical details because the guide was prepared to take me to places where tourists don’t go. The Faroes are so dramatic, everything larger than life – towering cliffs, thundering waterfalls and so on. And puffins!

I don’t work real people into the novels, it’s more a case of blending characteristics from various people I’ve observed to create someone new.

You’ve worked as a music teacher. I love the way Grim uses telling tales to calm others in your newest novel – do you think any of your future characters might use music instead?

Considering my background in music it is perhaps surprising I haven’t included more musicians in my stories, or had them do what you suggest. I think there are one or two harp-playing characters but that’s about it. Certainly it’s something I could do in the future. Storytelling and music are very much tied together in history.

What formal training, if any, do you have in writing? Do you think the education you have had has influenced you write?

I have a university degree in English and foreign languages, and an honours degree in music. That’s on top of a very sound school education, back in the days when we studied classic novels and Shakespeare in high school and learned grammar in primary school. All of that taught me how language worked and how to use it capably. Being an avid reader from a very early age was really significant in shaping me later as a writer. My love of music, singing in particular, and of traditional stories was instrumental in my developing a particular writing style, for instance, I often tend to put things in threes. I’ve never undertaken formal training in creative writing. I can’t say whether doing that would have made me a better or worse writer. Just a different one, I guess.

I walk past bookshops and am drawn in by the smell of the books – ebooks simply don’t have the same attraction for me. Does this happen to you, and do you have a favourite bookshop? Or perhaps you are an e-reader fan… where do you source most of your material from?

I do have an e-reader, which I use when travelling, but I very much prefer print books. Anything I know I’ll want to re-read, I try to get in print. I’ve found it really sad that so many local bookshops are going out of business. This happened with our Dymocks branch in Midland, where the staff had done a great job and had really supported my books over the years. It was horrible to see the sudden closure. Favourite bookshop: Stefen’s Books in Perth, a specialist speculative fiction and crime bookseller. That’s where my Perth book launches are held. The staff are really knowledgeable and go that extra mile to find exactly what customers are looking for, often before the customer really knows what that is!

Answering interview questions can often take a long time, and I know you have done many over the years! Tell me, are you ever tempted to recycle your answers from one to the next?

I try not to, as it would feel a bit disrespectful. Inevitably there will be some overlap, though. The more interesting the question, the more interesting the answer is likely to be. I’ve enjoyed answering your questions!

Sharing is Caring 🙂Tweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestShare on TumblrShare on LinkedInShare on FacebookShare on Google+Share on StumbleUponShare on Reddit

Review: Jane Abbott – Elegy

Elegy
Jane Abbott

Cait and Michael have been bound together for an age – yet until this point in time they have just been step sister and brother. After Michael breaks a boy’s arm without even touching him, the family gets into deeper trouble, both in love and in life.

elegy_500-220x340This novel was awful. It was well written and everything, and the dialogue was believable, yet the plot left a lot to be desired. It was repetitive, and didn’t seem to go anywhere. I didn’t feel for any of the characters and the whole lot felt staged.

I could tell that they would die. I’m not going to specify who, but trust me, you’ll see it coming. And then, despite this being the earliest time Michael has come into his power, there is nothing new that happens. To me, the fact that they put other people at risk because of their love is really selfish – if they’re going to do it again and again anyway!

There’s no plot resolution and I was left feeling empty. I had hoped for a fantastic ending that would rescue the novel for me, but it didn’t happen. I didn’t get why Hope was so fantastic a name, or how that soul got there (given the timing and all). Sigh. I’m giving it 2 stars. I’m thinking that I would probably enjoy Abbott’s other novel as her writing style is not what broke this novel.

2starPenguin Random House | 29 August 2016 | AU $19.99 | Paperback

Sharing is Caring 🙂Tweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestShare on TumblrShare on LinkedInShare on FacebookShare on Google+Share on StumbleUponShare on Reddit

Review: Sue Durrant – Little Bits of Sky

Little Bits of Sky
Sue Durrant

Ira, short for Miracle, is a care kid, as is her brother. For years, they trade between homes until they come to an orphanage where the gardener is the nicest person there! But everyone deserves a happy ending…

25901616

What am I missing? Seriously. Goodreads is full of positive reviews for this novel, going so far as to call it a ‘Modern Classic’. I was left underwhelmed by this novel. I’m not sure what I missed that should have made it a brilliant novel. I guess I didn’t get attached to Ira in any way, and Zac wasn’t any better.

There are other orphanage novels that are more interesting than this one. For that matter, there are plenty of children’s novels that are more interesting than this one. There just wasn’t anything super special. I’d choose Bridge to Terabithia for a similar level of reading – and hard truths.

I waver between giving this novel 2 to 3 stars. It’s not badly written, I finished reading it, yet I was left feeling like I had wasted that hour and a half of my life.

2star

Nosy Crow | 22 June 2016 | AU $14.99 | Paperback

Sharing is Caring 🙂Tweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestShare on TumblrShare on LinkedInShare on FacebookShare on Google+Share on StumbleUponShare on Reddit

Review: Peadar Ó Guilín – The Call

The Call
Peadar Ó Guilín

It’s bad luck for Nessa that she has twisted legs from Polio. It’s even worse when she finds out on her birthday that she is going to be faced with The Call at some point – dragged into the dark world of the Faery Folk that were banished from Ireland years ago. There, she must survive a day without the Folk finding and torturing her. The odds aren’t good, 1 in 10 returns. And with people in the ‘real world’ also trying to kill her, Nessa has even less chance of surviving.

31565971Who doesn’t love an underdog? Nessa is going to fight for what she has, and pretend she doesn’t care about everything else. Her legs aren’t going to stop her, when her mind is sharp. Her mind ends up being the thing that can save her. Other reviewers have picked on her being a character trope, but I didn’t have an issue with that. I appreciated that Nessa couldn’t see her own faults until it was to late – she couldn’t be too self-sacrificing after all.

The gruesome testimonies alluded to in the novel are backed up by the changing perspectives on the novel. Normally it would irritate me, but the majority of the time, the character then died so they didn’t have to bother me again! And the only person I might have wanted to hear from more than once? Well, he gets a second chance to an extent.

I can’t wait for the second novel of this to happen. I want to know what on earth will go on next! Or perhaps, under earth! The ending leaves it nice and open, and yet satisfying at the same time. I’m not sure I love it enough to reread it, but it was really good and I would advise going out to buy yourself a copy ASAP.

In fact, I am lucky enough to own TWO copies of this novel – one just came in the mail today from Scholastic (the final cover) and an early copy from David Fickling Books. I’m not really sure who to thank, but it was super good! I can’t wait to share it with other people. 4 stars from me.

4star

Scholastic | 1 September 2016 | AU $19.99 | Paperback

Sharing is Caring 🙂Tweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestShare on TumblrShare on LinkedInShare on FacebookShare on Google+Share on StumbleUponShare on Reddit

Review: Josephine Angelini – Witch’s Pyre

Witch’s Pyre
If You Fail, You Burn
Josephine Angelini

Lily Proctor has mastered world-jumping and is finally whole – in body at least. Dumped by the Hive outside a new city, Lily and her mechanics must once again cope with deadly threats from Woven – just in a different way than they ever have before.

29605078

I confess that I wasn’t that keen on the ‘star-crossed lovers’ theme going on between Rowan and Lily. It seemed painfully obvious to me that everyone, since they can’t lie mind-to-mind, will make a mess of things if they don’t actually use their words! I think Lily says something to this effect near the end of the novel about being able to communicate and not have so many differences that aren’t really differences.

I enjoyed this novel. The pacing was good, I didn’t know what was going to happen, and even though I thought Lily was pretty whiney, it was good to get the perspective of the other characters.

I did not see where this novel was going to go at all. Crazy! You don’t realise until half-way through the novel (nor does Lily or Lillian) what has been going on in the whole world. I’m amazed by how the rest of the world exists.

How about that ending huh? Mmm, yes. Very satisfying. Even if it seems to me like Lily could just keep picking more and more mechanics… Where will the world go from here? Will everyone live forever? Will everyone unexpectedly die? Will everyone travel everywhere? I’m giving it 4 stars for ending where it did, and leaving the ending just perfectly for the future.

4star

Macmillan Children’s Books | 30 August 2016 | AU $19.99 | Paperback

Sharing is Caring 🙂Tweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestShare on TumblrShare on LinkedInShare on FacebookShare on Google+Share on StumbleUponShare on Reddit

Review: Dianne Wolfer – The Shark Caller

The Shark Caller
Dianne Wolfer

Izzy’s brother has been killed in a diving accident, and she’s returning to Papau New Guinea to spread his ashes to the sea. She’s always been drawn to sharks in a deeply visceral way – now she must brave the deeps in order to preserve her family’s old ways of life.

30346739This novel reminded me of another that I read a while ago, but never got around to reviewing (very naughty of me). It seemed to be aimed at younger readers, with just enough danger to excite them. Apart from the initial rather traumatic way that Izzy thinks of her brother’s death, it’s not too scary. I can’t think of the ideal audience though, apart from children and early teens who love reading. There are other novels which stand out for me a lot more strongly.

The ‘Papau New Guinea’ language was completely lost on me, perhaps as is normal for me. It’s not something that I’m going to use any other time, and honestly it just interrupted the flow of the novel. I had to stop, work out what they were saying, and then keep reading. Or worse, I just skipped over the words and kept going.

I’m giving this novel 3 stars. It simply didn’t call to me enough with any of it. The sense of inevitability basically covered the whole plot line, as as far as I was concerned, it was completely transparent and unexciting, albeit well written.

3star

Penguin Random House | 1 August 2016 | AU $17.99 | Paperback

Sharing is Caring 🙂Tweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestShare on TumblrShare on LinkedInShare on FacebookShare on Google+Share on StumbleUponShare on Reddit

Interview with Charlotte Reagan

image1An Interview with Charlotte Reagan, author of Just Juliet

Everyone has a ‘first novel’, even if many of them are a rough draft relegated to the bottom and back of your desk drawer (or your external harddrive!). Have you been able to reshape yours, or have you abandoned it for good?

My ‘first novel’ was kind of a science fiction fantasy I guess? I started writing it when I was about ten and to this day I’m really proud of the characters and backgrounds that came out of it! I’m actually still working on it, I can’t seem to leave it alone! (Interesting fact, if you work with a set of characters for eleven or so years, you end up with some serious development!) The overall plot needs some work – turns out my ten year old mind hadn’t quite perfected that – but one day I think I’ll finish it! (Or, at least, I hope so!)

30373401Some authors are able to pump out a novel a year and still be filled with inspiration. Is this the case for you, or do you like to let an idea percolate for a couple of years in order to get a beautiful novel?

I’m definitely not short on inspiration haha, but I don’t like to write more than one book at a time. I don’t know how people do that! It’s amazing, honestly, but not for me. I kind of have to stay in one head space to write. I feel like that’s the best way for me to really know my characters.

I have heard of writers that could only write in one place – then that cafe closed down and they could no longer write! Where do you find yourself writing most often, and on what medium (pen/paper or digital)?

Luckily, I’m pretty versatile. I can write anywhere and on anything. I’ve jotted down paragraphs on napkins before! Most often, however, I write in bed with my laptop and my cat. But I really loved writing in coffee shops, parks, and bars back when I lived in the city.

Before going on to hire an editor, most authors use beta-readers. How do you recruit your beta-readers, and choose an editor? Are you lucky enough to have loving family members who can read and comment on your novel?

I actually didn’t use beta-readers, and I was lucky enough that my agent picked an awesome editor for me! I have a really hard time letting people I actually know read my work, but once my mother finally convinced me, she was an amazing sounding board. Lot’s of her advice went into the final product.

I walk past bookshops and am drawn in by the smell of the books – ebooks simply don’t have the same attraction for me. Does this happen to you, and do you have a favourite bookshop? Or perhaps you are an e-reader fan… where do you source most of your material from?

Oh I love traditional books. Barnes and Noble’s is my absolute favorite place to be – books and coffee? Can a room smell any better than that! (I actually even have an ‘old books’ candle, that’s how obsessed I am). Ebooks are cool, and I appreciate their accessibility, but I will forever be a ‘real’ book type of girl.

I used to find myself buying books in only one genre (fantasy) before I started writing this blog. What is your favourite genre, and do you have a favourite author who sticks in your mind?

Picking favorite authors is weird to me because I never know if I like the author or the story. However, I will say that J.K Rowling probably wins all awards. I am a huge Potterhead and in fact hated reading before someone put Harry Potter in front of me. Then I couldn’t seem to get enough, and before long that passion turned into writing.

In middle school I read just about anything R. L Stine that I could get my hands on, which was quite a lot because our school library was well stalked. Then as a teenager I fell in love with vampire books and latched onto authors like Richelle Mead and Rachel Caine. Quite recently I’ve become a little obsessed with Nora Sakavic

I’m not sure if I have a favorite genre, but I probably read fantasy the most.

Social media is a big thing, much to my disgust! I never have enough time myself to do what I feel is a good job. What’s your opinion?

Social media is huge! I never realized what a big part of promoting it was until I was doing it! I manage my own profiles, and Facebook is probably my favorite platform. I have the largest number of followers there and I already knew how to work it! I spend so much time on it! I definitely don’t mind doing it, but man is it time consuming!

Answering interview questions can often take a long time! Tell me, are you ever tempted to recycle your answers from one to the next?

I get tempted if the questions are similar, if only because there’s only so many ways I can word the same answer! But I try my best to make each interview unique!

Sharing is Caring 🙂Tweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestShare on TumblrShare on LinkedInShare on FacebookShare on Google+Share on StumbleUponShare on Reddit