Touching the Surface Crop

As my head broke the surface it all became clear. I had died… again.

What happens when we die…?

Original and unpredictable, this is a beautifully written novel of love, forgiveness and coming to terms with who we really are. The story was revealed slowly, layer by layer and I was kept captivated throughout and seduced by the depth of the characters.

I particularly loved the story word of the Obmil and the idea that our souls undergo emotional growth along their journey to the afterlife.4 Star

 

Recommended age: 13+

Title: Touching the SurfaceTouching the Surface
Author: Kimberly Sabatini
Publication Date: 30 October 2012
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Source:
Giveaway win on author’s website during The YA Scavenger hunt
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When Elliot finds herself dead for the third time, she knows she must have messed up, big-time. She doesn’t remember how she landed in the afterlife again, but she knows this is her last chance to get things right. Elliot just wants to move on, but first she will be forced to face her past and delve into the painful memories she’d rather keep buried. Memories of people she’s hurt, people she’s betrayed and people she’s killed. 

As she pieces together the secrets and mistakes of her past, Elliot must find a way to earn the forgiveness of the person she’s hurt most, and reveal the truth about herself to the two boys she loves, even if it means losing them both forever.    — 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.

Touching the Surface Win

Counting by 7s crop

A beautifully written book about a character who will be impossible to forget.  

Poignant, offbeat, but always heartfelt,  this story gives us a reason to celebrate:

1.      The quirkiness of being different.
2.      The chance meeting that could change your life.
3.      Friends who accept you for you.
4.      Second chances.
5.      The ability in all of us to make a difference.
6.      Safety in numbers.
7.      Life itself.

4 Star

Recommended age: 11+

Title: Counting by 7s
Author: Holly Goldberg Sloan
Publication Date: 16 September 2014
(1st published 1 January 2013)
Publisher: Puffin BooksCounting by 7s
Source: Purchased
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Willow Chance is a twelve-year-old genius, obsessed with nature and diagnosing medical conditions, who finds it comforting to count by 7s. It has never been easy for her to connect with anyone other than her adoptive parents, but that hasn’t kept her from leading a quietly happy life… until now.

Suddenly Willow’s world is tragically changed when her parents both die in a car crash, leaving her alone in a baffling world. The triumph of this book is that it is not a tragedy. This extraordinarily odd, but extraordinarily endearing, girl manages to push through her grief. Her journey to find a fascinatingly diverse and fully believable surrogate family is a joy and a revelation to read.    — Extract from Goodreads.com

Impossible Knife of Memory 1 Crop

A knife ripped through the veil between now and then and I fell in…

This is a book not to be missed. It is both beautiful and terrible at the same time. Deeply emotional with fear and real, raw hurt. Where anger rages and hurt bubbles between the pages.

Fire boils in the desert – coloured sky, breathing poison down his lover’s throat and eating her children…

Frantic, melancholic, important, wise, real, sad, pathetic, brave, aching, daunting. These are thoughts that came to me while reading this story where the past is brought to the future, events which can never be erased, that have no place in the civilian world where they clash with expectations and petty every-day drama.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder or PTSD is a term often battered blithely around by the uninformed, by those who have no way of knowing the intensity and ugly truth. This book successfully cracks open a door to reveal a slither of reality, of humanity.

Recommended age: 14+4 Star

 

Title: The Impossible Knife of MemoryThe Impossible Knife of Memory
Author: Laurie Halse Anderson
Publication Date: 7 January 2014
Publisher: Viking Books
Source: Purchased
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For the past five years, Hayley Kincain and her father, Andy, have been on the road, never staying long in one place as he struggles to escape the demons that have tortured him since his return from Iraq. Now they are back in the town where he grew up so Hayley can attend school. Perhaps, for the first time, Hayley can have a normal life, put aside her own painful memories, even have a relationship with Finn, the hot guy who obviously likes her but is hiding secrets of his own.   — Extract from Goodreads.com

 

 

Framed Dreaded cliffhanger

I hate cliff-hangers. No, I don’t expect every book to round off with everything explained, but it’s those cliff-hangers that leave you hanging, the ones where the plot doesn’t make sense, you know there’s reasons for this but you have to wait for the sequel to find out.

These cliff-hangers come across as a cheap marketing ploy. Obviously designed to entice the reader go right out and buy the next book – it actually does the opposite for me. Especially when the sequel is scheduled to be published in a years’ time… By the time the sequel is available I have forgotten why I cared!

Many people reread the first books just before the next book is published… but with so many great books out there still to read who has time to reread a book just to remember why you cared? If I reread a book it’s because I it was so special that I need to savour the experience. These books are very rare.

When I want to read the next book in the series it’s never because I have to know what happens to the characters which were left abruptly, but because I love the author’s writing style and crave more of the characters who got so under my skin that I need to reconnect with them.

Does anyone else feel this way?

2015 Discussion Challenge 2

The 2015 Discussion Challenge is hosted by Fiction Addiction & It Starts at Midnight #LetsDiscuss2015

Confession – I love book blurbs… Just before I start a book I read the blurb. Again. Every time. It’s like a ritual, a savouring of the moment, anticipation… Reading a great book for the first time is special. Significant. You can’t repeat the feeling and you never know which book is going to one of those books, the ones you’ll keep close to your heart.

Blurb. It is such a peculiar sounding word. Ranked as one of my favourite words along with absurd, goggles and squelch, it always makes me smile when I say it out loud.

These are some of my favourite quotes taken from book blurbs. These quotes alone would be enough to make me know I have to read the book.

So what do you think? Are you a blurb lover? Do any of these quotes catch your eye?

Blood Red blurb small

 

Deep in the snowy forest, the great bear that is Russia wakes from a long sleep and marches to St Petersburg to claim its birth right.

Blood Red Snow White by Marcus Sedgwick

Touching the Surface blurb small

 

When Elliot finds herself dead for the third time, she knows she must have messed up, big-time.

 Touching the Surface by Kimberly Sabatini

Blurb small Daughter of Smoke and Bone


Once upon a time an angel and a devil fell in love. It did not end well. 

Around the world, black hand-prints are appearing on doorways, scorched there by winged strangers who have crept through a slit in the sky. In a dark and dusty shop, a devil’s supply of human teeth grows dangerously low.

Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

Miseducation Blurb small

 

When Cameron Post’s parents die suddenly in a car crash her shocking first thought is relief. Relief that they’ll never know that, hours earlier, she had been kissing a girl.

The Miseducation of Cameron Post by Emily M. Danforth

Blurb small My Heart and other Black Holes


I’m getting higher and higher and I feel the swing set creak.
“Be careful,” he says.
“Why?” I’m not thinking about being careful. I’m thinking about one last push, of letting go, of flying, and of falling.
“You aren’t allowed to die without me,” he whispers.

My Heart and Other Black Holes by Jasmine Warga

Another Little Piece Blurb Small


A Reckless wish
taken from the darkest desires of the heart…
A bloody razor
engraved with the names of girls who turned to dust…
An endless cycle
that feeds off loneliness and craves destruction…

Another Little Piece by Kate Karyus Quinn

blurb small Ultraviolet


Once upon a time there was a girl who was special.
This is not her story.
Unless you count the part where I killed her.

  Ultraviolet  by R.J. Anderson

Blurb small Cruel Beauty

She was trained for seventeen years
To kill him
raised by her world
To despise him
willing to trade her own life
To destroy them
But what she never expected was that he would
Change her forever

Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge

Treachery blurb small

 

The trees swallowed her brother whole, and Jenny was there to see it.

Years later, when she returns to the woods to finally say good-bye, she finds herself lured into a world of strange and dangerous creatures.

The Treachery of Beautiful Things by Ruth Frances Long

All out yesturdays blurb small


Imprisoned in the heart of a secret military base, Em has nothing except the voice of the boy in the cell next door and the list of instructions she finds taped inside the drain.

 All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill

Top Ten Tuesday reduced

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 theme is: Top Ten Inspiring Quotes from Books.

Since We've Been Gone 1 Crop

The list arrived after Sloane had been gone two weeks.

This book embraced me like a hug until I was swamped, immersed in warmth and friendship. Feeling simultaneously blown away and totally absorbed, I flew through the book, devouring chunks until I reluctantly had to work or sleep.

Rich, vibrant characters and scattered humour kept the story alive, while astutely placed flashbacks emphasised the changes the protagonist undergoes.

People weren’t under any obligation to admit their shoe size, where they?

5 Star
Recommended age: 13+


Title: 
Since You’ve Been GoneSince We've Been Gone
Author: Morgan Matson
Publication Date: 6 May 2014
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Source: Purchased
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The Pre-Sloane Emily didn’t go to parties, she barely talked to guys, she didn’t do anything crazy. Enter Sloane, social tornado and the best kind of best friend—the one who yanks you out of your shell. 

But right before what should have been an epic summer, Sloane just… disappears. No note. No calls. No texts. No Sloane. There’s just a random to-do list. On it, thirteen Sloane-selected-definitely-bizarre-tasks that Emily would never try… unless they could lead back to her best friend.

Apple Picking at Night? Okay, easy enough.

Dance until Dawn? Sure. Why not?

Kiss a Stranger? Wait… what?

Getting through Sloane’s list would mean a lot of firsts. But Emily has this whole unexpected summer ahead of her, and the help of Frank Porter (totally unexpected) to check things off. Who knows what she’ll find?

Go Skinny Dipping? Um…                  — Extract from Goodreads.com

Elysium cropped

Elysium is a fast-paced dystopian novel with a sci-fi feel. Excellent character development, and adequate story-world building, but unfortunately lacks  originality.

Overall a dependable read, but I would be reluctant to pick up the sequel.

Recommended age: 13+3 Star

Title: Elysium
Series: Elysium #1
Author: Georgia Cline
Publication Date: March 6th 2014Elysium
Publisher: Smashwords
Source: Free copy from author in exchange for honest review
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What you do when your blood can save another? Only, a few pints aren’t enough. Years ago, a demonic strain of the Black Death gripped the continents in terror. Nothing could stop it. It was renamed Red in its early stages. Red for blood. 

That’s what it all comes down to: blood. In Eliza Morgan lives the cure–but there’s a price. It takes all of it. Eliza discovered that as she watched her mother die, when a small amount fell from an open cut onto her mother’s blackened skin. The effect was only momentary. 

Nine years later, men in black suits come to her house, throw a bag over her head, and toss her in the back of a van. When Eliza wakes, there’s nothing but concrete and prison bars. Her secret is out, and before long she might die for it. There is, however, a rumor–a rumor of an elusive haven. No one finds it–it finds them. 

And for whatever reason, it wants very badly to find Eliza.     — 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.

I have to admit I love reading discussion posts – as long as they are short and to the point.

Although I often think of ideas to write about I lack the follow through, so in an attempt to give myself a push in the right direction I have  joined the 2015 Discussion Challenge as a ‘dabbler’.

Yes I know it is already April… but luckily they accept that not everyone is on time!

2015 Discussion Challenge 2

The 2015 Discussion Challenge is hosted by Fiction Addiction & It Starts at Midnight

 

Just back from a quick visit to Franchoek in the Western Cape to be at the wedding of my beautiful niece. I was so privileged to spend time with family from all corners of the world, all brought together for a celebration of love.

Wedding Collage

My happy meter is full of love, hugs and memories to last until I see them all again. Special times spent with special people always goes by too fast!

We Were Liars crop

This deceptively simple story will linger with you long after you’ve finished.  The emotion, although real, honest and raw, is dealt with from afar which cushions the impact and dissipates the potential ‘whack’’ of the unpredictable twist when it hits you. Only for the impact to hit later, after you’ve finished, when you least expect it…

E. Lockhart cleverly brings in the social injustices of the time in a subtle way which allows it to mellow and mature in the mind.4 Star

Recommended age: 13 +

Title: We Were LiarsWe Were Liars
Author: E. Lockhart
Publication Date: 13 May 2014
Publisher:  Delacorte Press
Source: Library|
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A beautiful and distinguished family.
A private island.
A brilliant, damaged girl; a passionate, political boy.
A group of four friends—the Liars—whose friendship turns destructive.
A revolution. An accident. A secret.
Lies upon lies.
True love.
The truth.
— Extract from Goodreads.com