Ask the Passengers crop

Realistic and well-portrayed angst is the feature of this feel-good story where acceptance is key. In love with another girl, Astrid struggles with honesty in a small conservative town, where eyes are everywhere and gossip rules.

I struggled with the ‘keyhole peek’ into the passengers flying above, which gave the story a disjointed feel. It seemed out of place, as though the author had the idea before and tried to mold the story around it.

3 Star

Recommended age: 14+

Title: Ask the Passengers
Author: A. S King
Publication Date:Ask the Passengers
23 October 2012
Publisher:
Little Brown and Company
Source: Borrowed
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Astrid Jones desperately wants to confide in someone, but her mother’s pushiness and her father’s lack of interest tell her they’re the last people she can trust. Instead, Astrid spends hours lying on the backyard picnic table watching airplanes fly overhead. She doesn’t know the passengers inside, but they’re the only people who won’t judge her when she asks them her most personal questions–like what it means that she’s falling in love with a girl.

As her secret relationship becomes more intense and her friends demand answers, Astrid has nowhere left to turn. She can’t share the truth with anyone except the people at thirty thousand feet, and they don’t even know she’s there. But little does Astrid know just how much even the tiniest connection will affect these strangers’ lives–and her own–for the better.   — Extract from Goodreads.com

I seem to be in a reading slump, I haven’t read a Wow! book for ages…

I WaS Here Crop 2

Admittedly I was swept up with the media hype and ARC reviews so my expectations of this book were sky high. Considering how much I loved the Just One Day series and enjoyed the If I Stay series, I really expected to fall hard for this book.

Disappointed and disillusioned… Despite the beautiful cover (I mean just look at it!), the book just did not do anything for me.

I struggled to connect with the characters and the storyline felt forced…. As through it had to follow a predetermined course and the characters weren’t allowed to develop naturally.2 Star

Recommended age: 13+

Title: I Was Here
Author: Gayle FormanI Was Here
Publication Date:
29 January 2015
Publisher:
Simon & Schuster
Source: Purchased

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Cody and Meg were inseparable.
Two peas in a pod.
Until . . . they weren’t anymore.
 
When her best friend Meg drinks a bottle of industrial-strength cleaner alone in a motel room, Cody is understandably shocked and devastated. She and Meg shared everything—so how was there no warning? But when Cody travels to Meg’s college town to pack up the belongings left behind, she discovers that there’s a lot that Meg never told her. About her old roommates, the sort of people Cody never would have met in her dead-end small town in Washington. About Ben McAllister, the boy with a guitar and a sneer, who broke Meg’s heart. And about an encrypted computer file that Cody can’t open—until she does, and suddenly everything Cody thought she knew about her best friend’s death gets thrown into question.   — Extract from Goodreads.com

Celebrating Diversity with South African Books

SA Diversity Ready

I’ve interpreted diversity a little loosely by featuring South African authors, a minority country in the publishing industry. All these books are also set in South Africa.

I hope you’re up to taking a chance by supporting our local authors…

Just a note, the only children’s book in this list is the first one, Herd Boy. Some of the others contain violence that may not be suitable for younger readers.

Herd Boy by Nikki Daly

A children’s picture book written and illustrated by Nikki Daly, a well-loved children’s author/illustrator in South Africa. His books are found in homes and schools across the country. This is his latest publication and one of my favourites. It is an inspiring read which promotes self-esteem as well as highlighting our South African spirit.
Goodreads     Amazon.com     Amazon.co.uk     Book Depository     Loot.co.za

Long Walk to Freedom by Nelson Mandela

Non-Fiction. Nelson Mandela’s autobiography. Need I say more? It is a long book, but it’s worth it, the abridged version just doesn’t do it justice. An amazing man and South Africa’s most loved leader.
Goodreads     Amazon.com     Amazon.co.uk     Book Depository     Loot.co.za

If The Cat Fits by Crystal Sharp

Non-Fiction. I loved this laugh-out-loud book which follows the life of a vet’s wife in South Africa and is full of humorous antidotes. Crystal Sharp has running conversations with her pets, something we have in common!

The physical books are already out of print, so if you can get hold of a copy of this, or one of her other books: Dog in My Footprints and In Fool Flight, you are very lucky! Fortunately for everyone else the kindle editions are available.
Goodreads     Amazon.com     Amazon.co.uk

The Elephant Whisperer: My Life with the Herd in the African Wild by Lawrence Anthony

Non-Fiction. These elephants will stay in your heart forever. Previously reviewed here.
Goodreads     Amazon.com     Amazon.co.uk     Book Depository     Loot.co.za

The Smell of Apples by Mark Behr

Fiction. Brutal in its subtlety, a sinister story which has haunted me over the years. This book has won both local and international awards. Recommended age 16+
Goodreads     Amazon.com     Amazon.co.uk     Book Depository     Loot.co.za

Cry, the Beloved Country by Alan Paton

Fiction. Alan Paton is one of our most renowned authors and this book, also adapted into a movie, has been read across the world. It is an excellent portrayal of hope, endurance and above all humanity.
Goodreads     Amazon.com     Amazon.co.uk     Book Depository     Loot.co.za

Postmortem: The Doctor Who Walked Away by Maria Phalime

Non-Fiction. A story that highlights the inadequacies in South Africa’s public health sector and the inner struggle of the individual health professionals.

I met Maria Phalime earlier this year at a conference and was struck by her humble honesty, which was evident during her address to gathering of South African school librarians.  Sharing a table at dinner that night, I experienced her friendliness and down-to-earth personality first hand. I am fortunate to own a personalised signed copy of this book!
Goodreads     Amazon.com     Amazon.co.uk     Book Depository     Loot.co.za

The Madonna of Excelsior by Zakes Mda

Fiction. Well-known author and playwright of contemporary classics,  Zakes Mda’s books and plays are studied in high schools across South Africa.
Goodreads     Amazon.com     Amazon.co.uk     Book Depository     Loot.co.za

Dear Bullet: Or a Letter to My Shooter by Sixolile Mbalo

Non-Fiction. A simply told, this personal account of a young girl who survived unspeakable violence will leave you reeling in shock at the brutality of humanity. Recommended age 16+
Goodreads     Amazon.com     Amazon.co.uk     Book Depository     Loot.co.za

Disgrace by J.M. Coetzee

Fiction. I read this very disturbing book several years ago, and it still haunts me today. Although well acclaimed, award-winning J.M. Coetzee is not one of my favourite authors, mostly because he is not afraid to display humanity with all its flaws, and I am a fan of the happily ever after. But he is undoubtedly an excellent writer and deserves his acclaim. Recommended age 16+
Goodreads     Amazon.com     Amazon.co.uk     Book Depository     Loot.co.za

A bonus: The 11th title on the list is a fantasy graphic novel

Rebirth by Daniel Browde & Josh Ryba (Illustrator)

Graphic novel. Fiction. Included for its beautiful colour illustrations and originality.
Goodreads     Amazon.com     Amazon.co.uk

toptentuesday
Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish. It’s a chance to get to know fellow bloggers. This week’s topic is ‘Ten Books That Celebrate Diversity or Diverse Characters’.

 

Dreams of Gods crop frame

This final book in my favourite trilogy did not disappoint. Once I opened to the first page I was riveted and found any excuse to immerse myself again.

The exquisite words of Laini Taylor, a detailed and unpredictable plot, with layer upon layer of depth along with complex and extraordinary characters all combine to make an exceptional story, one that I will carry with me always.

I love the friendship, quirkiness and love between Karou, Zuz and Mik. These are special characters, ones I will keep with me forever.5 Star

Recommended age: 13+

 

Title: Dreams of Gods and Monsters Dreams of Gods & Monsters
Series: Daughter of Smoke and Bone #3
Author: Laini Taylor
Publication Date: 8 April 2014
Publisher: Little, Brown Books
Source: Purchased

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What power can bruise the sky?

Two worlds are poised on the brink of a vicious war. By way of a staggering deception, Karou has taken control of the chimaera’s rebellion and is intent on steering its course away from dead-end vengeance. The future rests on her.
When the brutal angel emperor brings his army to the human world, Karou and Akiva are finally reunited–not in love, but in tentative alliance against their common enemy. It is a twisted version of their long-ago dream, and they begin to hope that it might forge a way forward for their people. And, perhaps, for themselves.
But with even bigger threats on the horizon, are Karou and Akiva strong enough to stand among the gods and monsters?
The New York Times bestselling Daughter of Smoke & Bone trilogy comes to a stunning conclusion as–from the streets of Rome to the caves of the Kirin and beyond–humans, chimaera, and seraphim strive, love, and die in an epic theater that transcends good and evil, right and wrong, friend and enemy.   — Extract from Goodreads.com

These are the last books that I bought/borrowed.
Which one should I read first?

books in possession

Crash Into You by Katie McGarry
This is the third book in the Pushing the Limits series. I loved the first two so am looking forward to this one.

What I Thought Was True by Huntley Fitzpatrick
I really liked My Life Next Door and this one is a stand alone so I won’t be pining for the sequel!

Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson
Morgan Matson writes beautifully. I loved Since You’ve Been Gone  and Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour so I have high hopes for this one.

The Beginning of Everything by Robyn Schneider
This one has had lots of positive reviews.

I’m Not Her by Janet Gurtler
I’m not sure about this one, but I love the cover.

Life by Committee by Corey Ann Haydu
I’ve been told by someone I trust that this is good – I’m holding her too that!

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
This one has had so much hype and rave reviews so I hope it lives up to expectations.

Lies I Told by Michelle Zink
This is the only eBook on my list, which may drop to the bottom of the list as I tend to read physical books first, they are a much more visual reminder to “read me!” It’s also the one I’ve heard the least about.

Open Road Summer by Emery Lord
Another book with stellar reviews. I’ve also just noticed that all ten books on my list are contemporary fiction. Guess I’m having a break from fantasy…

Say What You Will by Cammie Mcgovern
This one has been compared to Eleanor & Park, and as you know I love Rainbow Rowell’s writing. I hope I ma not going to be disappointed.

Have you read any of these?

Which one should I start with?

toptentuesday
Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish. It’s a chance to get to know fellow bloggers. This week topic is Last Ten Books That Came Into My Possession.

Fortunately, the Milk cropThis beautiful book is something to keep, to treasure. Rich, magical writing combined with gorgeous, whimsical illustrations will captivate children of all ages – including the full-grown older ones who still believe in stories!

Dare to follow the father on his outrageously fun journey to buy milk from the corner shop and you’ll be as smitten as I was.5 Star

Recommended age: 8+

Title: Fortunately, the Milk  Fortunately, the Milk
Author: Neil Gaiman
Illustrator: Skottie Young
Publication Date: 3 September 2014
(1st published 1 January 2013)
Publisher: HarperCollins
Source: Purchased

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“I bought the milk,” said my father. “I walked out of the corner shop, and heard a noise like this: t h u m m t h u m m. I looked up and saw a huge silver disc hovering in the air above Marshall Road.”

“Hullo,” I said to myself. “That’s not something you see every day. And then something odd happened.”
 — Extract from Goodreads.com

These are the hyped up books that I’ve never read…

Hyped books never read

The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson and the Olympians Series) by Rick Riordan

Started it, didn’t like it. Can’t see what everyone is making such a fuss about!

The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey

Watched the trailer which put me off. Perhaps I’ve just read too many of the same.

Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead

Started it, didn’t like it. Wanted another Twilight and it’s not.

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

Loved the idea of this story more than its execution…  didn’t get further than the first few chapters.

Gone by Michael Grant

Started it, hated it.

The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson

A friend forced upon lent me her copy of the ‘best book ever’. Nope, not so much. Too contrived.

Knife of Never Letting Go (Chaos Walking Series) by Patrick Ness

Didn’t get through the first chapter. Talking to your dog sounds cool, but it’s really not.

Gone Girl by Gillian Fylnn

I didn’t get a chance to read Gone Girl before the movie, which wasn’t that great.

Wizard of Oz and Little House on the Prairie Series

Growing up in Zimbabwe, on a diet of Enid Blyton, I wasn’t really exposed to American Fiction. I’ve thought of giving them a chance one day…

What hyped up books have you never read?
Are there any on my list that I should try again?

toptentuesday
Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish. It’s a chance to get to know fellow bloggers. This week topic is Top Ten Hyped Up Books I’ve Never Read.

NoWhere But Here crop But

Packed full of drama, this is a sizzling-hot story set in a small town dominated by a biker community. I found this very masculine world of motorbikes, comradery, loyalty and leather difficult to relate to and I wasn’t quite convinced by Oz’s POV which didn’t flow as well as Emily’s at first.

Fortunately a few chapters later, although the macho, no-girls-allowed brotherhood didn’t appeal, I settled into the story and, if not comfortable, welcome in Katie McGarry’s new world.

A great read, but not quite as good as Pushing the Limits, my favourite Katie McGarry book.4 Star

Recommended age: 14+

Title: Nowhere but HereNoWhere But Here
Series: Thunder Road #1
Author: Katie McGarry
Publication Date: 26 May 2015
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Source: Purchased

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Seventeen-year-old Emily likes her life the way it is: doting parents, good friends, good school in a safe neighbourhood. Sure, she’s curious about her biological father — the one who chose life in a motorcycle club, the Reign of Terror, over being a parent — but that doesn’t mean she wants to be a part of his world. But when a reluctant visit turns to an extended summer vacation among relatives she never knew she had, one thing becomes clear: nothing is what it seems. Not the club, not her secret-keeping father, and not Oz, a guy with suck-me-in blue eyes who can help her understand them both.
 
Oz wants one thing: to join the Reign of Terror. They’re the good guys. They protect people. They’re…family. And while Emily — the gorgeous and sheltered daughter of the club’s most respected member — is in town, he’s gonna prove it to her. So when her father asks him to keep her safe from a rival club with a score to settle, Oz knows it’s his shot at his dream. What he doesn’t count on is that Emily just might turn that dream upside down.

No one wants them to be together. But sometimes the right person is the one you least expect, and the road you fear the most is the one that leads you home.  — Extract from Goodreads.com

Blood Oath

I was really looking forward to this dark fantasy (my favourite kind!) but, although it has an imaginative plot, the story fell short in execution. I found the writing was a little repetitive and did not flow as smoothly as it could have.

In a risky move, Samantha Coville names ‘current’ stars like Taylor Lautner, who is already off the ‘hot list’. Could this date the book and put future readers off?

Did I like it? The answer is yes, but I don’t think I would pick up the sequel3 Star.

Recommended age: 13+

Title: Blood Oath Series
Series: The Secret of the Halflings #1Blood Oath cover
Author: Samantha Coville
Publication Date: 29 April 2014
Publisher: Samantha Coville
Source:Free copy from author
in exchange for honest review

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Raya Sarian has always known she was different. The water calls to her in a way that isn’t human. She has seen things that would scar anyone for life. And her father has been non-existent in her childhood.
Because he is a Siren.
A blood drinker.
A monster.
And now she must live with him in a world populated with enemies and dangerous friends. Can she survive the year?    — Extract from Goodreads.com

The fact that I received this copy of this book from the author does not influence my policy to write an honest review.

Top Ten Books So Far 2015

My Top Reads So Far This Year…

  1. Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson
  2. Dreams of Gods and Monsters by Laini Taylor
  3. Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson
  4. Some Boys by Patty Blount
  5. Don’t Look Back by Jennifer L. Armentrout
  6. Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins
  7. Fortunately the Milk by Neil Gaiman
  8. The Impossible Knife of Memory by Laurie Halse Anderson
  9. Cracked Up to Be by Courtney Summers
  10. How to Save A Life by Sara Zarr

My Goodreads Challenge this year was to read 150 books. So far I have read 93, so am doing pretty well!

Good reads Challenge

Anyone notice that Morgan Matson has claimed the 1st and 3rd spot? I discovered her books this year and love them. She’s now in the category ‘read anything written by this author‘!

I am currently reading Naomi & Ely’s No Kiss List… What should I read next?

toptentuesday
Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish. It’s a chance to get to know fellow bloggers. This week topic is Top Ten Books I’ve Read So Far In 2015