YA Book Review : Dust

Dust crop 2

Beautiful, seductive writing combined with whirlwind twists that kept me spellbound throughout the book. I was swept further and further in to the story, all the while seamlessly flipping back and forth in time, until the past catches up with the present and we begin to understand where true loyalties and destinies lie.

I adore the three main characters – the princess, assassin and thief – they are so well-developed that they bring to the table their own personal layered history which enhances the believability of the story.

War, greed, death, pride, seduction, betrayal and treason intertwine with powerful magic, courage, destiny, loyalty and love which ultimately provides the reader with a gripping adventure, complex characters and a fantasy world you are going to want to visit time and time again.5 Star

Recommended age: 13+

Dust by Sarah DaltryTitle: Dust
Author: Sarah Daltry
Publication Date: 7 November 2014
Publisher: Little Bird Publishing
Source: ARC – Free advance copy in exchange for honest review
Purchase this book: Amazon US, Amazon UK
Add to your shelf:
Goodreads or Shelfari

Who makes YOUR choices?

“I was once the type of person who was impressed by starlight; the type of person who would dance beneath glass ceilings and let the world swim in its loveliness. The sky reminds me of the parties we used to throw – parties like the one last night. The memories bring back the trill of harps and endless ripples of satisfied laughter. Now, though, when I try to recall what I felt, all I hear is screaming.”

In a world ravaged by war and oppressive forces of evil, a princess must fight to claim her bloodright and save her people.

When the princess, Alondra, falls for the beautiful, blue eyes of a hooded stranger, it awakens in her a taste for freedom and an escape from her duty.

But her parents have other plans; they have a kingdom to protect and Alondra must marry to ensure the peace between nations. Only what happens when your parents choose a cold-hearted assassin as your betrothed? 

As lies, illusions, and long hidden vendettas surface, the princess has to confront a very secret history. One that makes her realize that she not only risks losing her liberty, but also everything she has known and loved.     — 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: The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight

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This feel-good story swept me away from my normal routine and I ended up reading it in one day!

What could have been just another love story, this book surprised me with its depth, interspersed with witty dialogue, and unexpected insight into family dynamics.

Predictable (in a good way) and just what I needed to remind me of the importance of family and possibilities of happily-ever-afters.3 Star

Recommended age: 13+

The Statistical Probability of Love at First SightTitle:  The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight
Author: Jennifer E. Smith
Publication Date: 1 January 2012 (1st published 1 Jan 2011)
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Source: Purchased
Purchase this book: Amazon US, Amazon UK or Kalahari
Add to your shelf: Goodreads or Shelfari

Who would have guessed that four minutes could change everything?

Today should be one of the worst days of seventeen-year-old Hadley Sullivan’s life. Having missed her flight, she’s stuck at JFK airport and late to her father’s second wedding, which is taking place in London and involves a soon-to-be stepmother Hadley’s never even met. Then she meets the perfect boy in the airport’s cramped waiting area. His name is Oliver, he’s British, and he’s sitting in her row.

A long night on the plane passes in the blink of an eye, and Hadley and Oliver lose track of each other in the airport chaos upon arrival. Can fate intervene to bring them together once more?

Quirks of timing play out in this romantic and cinematic novel about family connections, second chances, and first loves. Set over a twenty-four-hour-period, Hadley and Oliver’s story will make you believe that true love finds you when you’re least expecting it.
— Extract from Goodreads.com

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

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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

Odd ramblings of an obsessed reader

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