YA Book Review: Crash by Nicole Williams

Crash CropI didn’t want to like this book as much as I did. The possessive, ‘bad boy’ Jude is someone all girls should run from… screaming. I just wanted to shake Lucy every time she went back to him!

Despite this, I could not stop reading. Caught up in the story which blasted out waves of fury, passion, anger and beauty, I was left emotionally drained but still wanting more.4 Star

Recommended age: 14+

CrashTitle:  Crash
Series:   Crash – Book 1
Author: Nicole Williams       
Publication Date: 18 December 2012
Publisher: Harpercollins
Source: Purchased
Purchase this book: Amazon US, Amazon UK or Kalahari
Add to your shelf: Goodreads or Shelfari

Southpointe High is the last place Lucy wanted to wind up her senior year of school. Right up until she stumbles into Jude Ryder, a guy whose name has become its own verb, and synonymous with trouble. He’s got a rap sheet that runs longer than a senior thesis, has had his name sighed, shouted, and cursed by more women than Lucy dares to ask, and lives at the local boys home where disturbed seems to be the status quo for the residents. Lucy had a stable at best, quirky at worst, upbringing. She lives for wearing the satin down on her ballet shoes, has her sights set on Juilliard, and has been careful to keep trouble out of her life. Up until now.

Jude’s everything she needs to stay away from if she wants to separate her past from her future. Staying away, she’s about to find out, is the only thing she’s incapable of.

For Lucy Larson and Jude Ryder, love’s about to become the thing that tears them apart.            — Extract from Goodreads.com

The Places Books Have Made Me Want To Visit

Real Countries to Visit

Real Places
  1. Prague from Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

Prague has never really been on my radar as a tourist destination, probably because travelling from South Africa is expensive and there are so many places I’d like to visit, but Laini Taylor has painted such a beautiful, historical city in my mind that it’s now one of my top places to explore.

  1. Paris from Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins, Just One Day by Gayle Forman and Die for Me by Amy Plum

I have dreamt of going to France for years, but it’s always been the countryside and small villages that I wanted to see, Paris never really appealed. It is these three books in particular that have sparked a longing to be swept up in the magic of this city.

  1. Australia from In a Sunburned Country by Bill Bryson

Australia – I was almost there – while we were living in Indonesia we planned to visit Australia but life threw a curve ball and we didn’t get there. Bill Bryson is at his best in this account of his journey through Australia, his dry humour hitting the mark every time.

  1. Greece from Captain Corelli’s Mandolin by Louis de Bernières

Greece is popular for its sunny climate and beautiful beaches, but I would love to experience the rich culture portrayed by Louis de Bernières in this significant account of Greece at war.


Fictional places to visit

Fictional Places
  1. Narnia from The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis

Narnia needs no introduction…. a land I explored and retreated to often as a child and to which I return regularly, as The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe is a story I love to share with my students.

6. Hogwarts from J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter Series

Hogwarts is likely to be on everyone’s list! I wish this book had been available when I was a child, but reading them as an adult did not diminish their charm. I only wish my boarding schools were like this!

7. Lothlórien from R. R. Tolkien’s Lord of The Rings

Lothlórien… I have spent many happy hours in this beautiful, haunting Elven forest featured in the books written by one of South Africa’s ‘Hall of Fame’ authors.

8. Creepy Hollow from Rachel Morgan’s Faerie Guardian

Of all fantasy, faerie is my favourite, and of all the Fae worlds I have visited, the one I love best is Rachel Morgan’s enticing, enchanting Creepy Hollow – visit once and you’ll be back for more!

9. Mirrorworld from Reckless by Cornelia Funke

Mirrorworld is a dark and dangerous magical land – but I can’t help climbing back through the mirror for another peek….

10. Faraway Tree and the lands above from The Enchanted Wood by Enid Blyton

The Magic Faraway Tree is a destination itself, with its unique residents and fruit laden branches, but it is the ever- changing lands above that attached me to want to climb this tree again and again. A series of books I treasured as a child and still enjoy today as I share them with our students.

toptentuesdayTop 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 is the chance to share the top 10 places books have made you want to visit.

YA Book Review: Racing Savannah

Racing Savannah Crop

A ‘candyflossy’ kind of story. Sweet and fluffy, but bland and predictable. If love was so easy and difficulties so smoothly overcome, where would the angst inspired poetry and lyrics come 3 Starfrom?

Recommended age: 13+

Racing SavannahTitle:  Racing Savannah
Series: Hundred Oaks
Author: Miranda Kenneally
Publication Date: 1 January 2013
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Source: Purchased
Purchase this book: Amazon US, Amazon UK or Kalahari
Add to your shelf:
Goodreads or Shelfari

They’re from two different worlds.

He lives in the estate house, and she spends most of her time in the stables helping her father train horses. In fact, Savannah has always been much more comfortable around horses than boys. Especially boys like Jack Goodwin—cocky, popular and completely out of her league. She knows the rules: no mixing between the staff and the Goodwin family. But Jack has no such boundaries.

With her dream of becoming a horse jockey, Savannah isn’t exactly one to follow the rules either. She’s not going to let someone tell her a girl isn’t tough enough to race. Sure, it’s dangerous. Then again, so is dating Jack…   — Extract from Goodreads.com


YA Book Review: Unravel Me by Tahereh Mafi

Unravel Me Crop

It is so seldom that the sequel is even better than the first book, so I was not really expecting to be wowed by the story,  but I was totally blown away! Not only do I love this amazing book, now on my favourite’s shelf, I love the unexpected direction the story is going.

I adore Aeron Adam Aeron and can’t wait to see who finally wins Juliette over.

Oh and the cover……? Stunning!5 Star

 Recommended age: 13+

Unravel MeTitle: Unravel Me
Series: Shatter Me – Book 2         
Author: Tahereh Mafi
Publication Date: 5 February 2013
Publisher: HarperCollins
Source: Purchased
Purchase this book: Amazon US, Amazon UK or Kalahari
Add to your shelf:
Goodreads or Shelfari 

Juliette has escaped from The Reestablishment. Now she’s free from their plan to use her as a weapon, and free to love Adam.

But Juliette will never be free from her lethal touch. Or from Warner, who wants Juliette more than she ever thought possible.

Haunted by her past and terrified of her future, Juliette knows that she will have to make some life-changing choices. Choices that may involve choosing between her heart—and Adam’s life.     — Extract from Goodreads.com

The books that changed the way I saw the world

These three books are the ones that I will always keep close because of the positive influence they’ve had on my life.



Odette: The Story of a British Agent by Jerrard Tickell
Although admittedly at an impressionable age when I read her story, it was this book that sparked a life-long fascination of the Second World War and inspired considerable introspection where I questioned my courage (sadly lacking!), beliefs and how I perceived humanity.

During the Second World War, a young Frenchwoman, married to an Englishman with two young children, became a secret agent. Working in France to resist the Germans, she was betrayed, tortured & consigned to a concentration camp. ‘Odette’ tells the incredible story of an ordinary woman who proved herself to have courage & compassion.     — Extract from Goodreads.com

Amazon US, Amazon UK, Kalahari
Goodreads, Shelfari

RabbittynessRabbityness by Jo Empson
I have great respect for authors who are able to capture audiences regardless of the format of their story. To those who don’t realise the power a good children’s picture book can contain, expecting greatness to come from words alone, I challenge you to pick this beautiful book. Within it you will find greatness – the type of greatness that can comfort in times of loss.

This book found me when I needed it and I continue to carry its message.

Debut picture book about a rabbit artist who vanishes, but lives on in his work.     — Extract from Goodreads.com

Amazon UK, Amazon UK, Kalahari
Goodreads, Shelfari

Don't Lets Go To The Dogs TonightDon’t Let’s Go to the Dogs Tonight by Alexandra Fuller
Reading this story was like reading about my own life. Our childhood was so similar that I felt as though I was living it again, but this time coated with the gift of time which allowed me to see the joy that fear clouded.

As a child, growing up in a county in the grips of a civil war, my overactive imagination did me no favours and I lived in perpetual fear with my weapon of choice (no judging!), a hockey stick, at my side. It is no wonder I had no enthusiasm for playing the actual game, registering instead for beginners hockey year after year!

This is the biography of Alexandra Fuller’s childhood in Rhodesia during the beginning of the guerrilla war time. It’s funny, scary, and a remarkable glimpse of a world turned upside down. 

Alexandra Fuller remembers her African childhood with candor and sensitivity. Though it is a diary of an unruly life in an often inhospitable place, it is suffused with Fuller’s endearing ability to find laughter, even when there is little to celebrate. Fuller’s debut is unsentimental and unflinching but always captivating. In wry and sometimes hilarious prose, she stares down disaster and looks back with rage and love at the life of an extraordinary family in an extraordinary time.  — Extract from Goodreads.com

Amazon UK, Amazon UK, Kalahari
Goodreads, Shelfari

Digital Parents Blog Carnival

YA Book Review: Hop – The Upward Stride

Hop upward Stride crop

While I enjoyed this book, I wish that it had been a contemporary novel, as it was these parts of the book that I enjoyed the most. I connected immediately with the main characters, who were well developed, their dialogue was entertaining and I loved the dynamics between them.

In contrast the fantasy element of the story came across confusing and disjointed. Although the individual threads started coming together at the end,  this was too late to have an impact on the story 3 Starand I was particularly frustrated by the abrupt ending.

Recommended age: 13+

Hop cropTitle:  Hop
Series: The Upward Stride – Book 1
Author: Jared Holt & Alexander Kyle
Publication Date: 5 April 2013
Publisher: Matter of Fact Publishers
Source: Free copy from author in exchange for honest review
Purchase this book: Amazon US or Amazon UK
Add to your shelf: Goodreads or Shelfari

One year. Just one more year, and Jonathan Troy would be done with White Oak Bay and his controlling stepfather. Then one evening he blacks out and sees a woman in a bathtub. It would have been more enjoyable if the bathtub weren’t filled to the brim with blood. He also flash-freezes an entire swimming pool, which would have been a fantastic indoor skating rink. Now he’s fairly certain that he’s losing his mind.

Lana Vander knows that Jude Summerfield is in love with her. He’s boyish, charming, adorable and a little goofy, and he’s also her best friend. But her sudden attraction to Jonathan Troy, who happens to be Jude’s older brother, is not some passing craze, because Lana Vander can feel what other people feel. Literally. And what she feels from Troy is beyond her ability to make sense of.

Something connects Troy and Lana, and figuring out the insanity that is becoming a daily occurrence for them is as tricky as navigating high school, relationships and teenage life. — 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.

YA Book Review: Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe

Aristotle and Dante crop

A refreshingly honest story of life, friendship and love. Despite the list of well-deserved prestige awards won, this novel is humble and down-to-earth, featuring the journey of two realistic characters as 4 Starthey stumble through life trying to discover who they really are.

Recommended age: 14+

Title:  Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe
Aristotle and DanteAuthor: Benjamin Alire Sáenz
Publication Date: 21 February 2012
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Source: Purchased
Purchase this book: Amazon US, Amazon UK or Kalahari
Add to your shelf:
Goodreads or Shelfari

Aristotle is an angry teen with a brother in prison. Dante is a know-it-all who has an unusual way of looking at the world. When the two meet at the swimming pool, they seem to have nothing in common. But as the loners start spending time together, they discover that they share a special friendship—the kind that changes lives and lasts a lifetime. And it is through this friendship that Ari and Dante will learn the most important truths about themselves and the kind of people they want to be.     — Extract from Goodreads.com

Odd ramblings of an obsessed reader


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox

Join other followers:

%d bloggers like this: