As I Am by AnnaLisa Grant

As I Am by AnnaLisa Grant

As I Am by AnnaLisa Grant

‘As I Am’ explored many important themes including self-esteem and bullying. But, I felt the author was so focused on these themes that she forgot to allow the story to flow resulting in stereotypical characters flopping around in an unoriginal, predictable storyline that lacked realism – who really forgives/changes their personalities so conveniently?

Long boring descriptions (often including clothes and make-up) and over-explained circumstances left me skim reading at times, desperately hoping that it would improve.2 Star

Recommended age: 14+

Title: As I Am
Author: Annalisa GrantAs I Am by AnnaLisa Grant
Published: 20 March 2016
Publisher: CreateSpace
Source: ARC

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“You’re not invisible. You’re invaluable.”

When Kinley Carmichael looks in the mirror, she doesn’t see her blonde-haired, blue-eyed, size 4 twin sister. She sees her dark-haired, brown-eyed, size 12 self. 

Kinley and her twin sister Addison are excited to start their second summer as counselors at The Camp at Lake Hollis. All Kinley wants is to earn enough money to meet up with her mother so they travel the world as professional photographers. All Addison wants is to work on her tan, seduce a boy, and build her fashion budget. And while Kinley and Addison couldn’t be more opposite, nothing has ever stopped them from being the best of friends. 

It’s an especially great summer for Kinley as the official camp photographer and Notre Dame Quarterback Cal Harper showing interest in her. But when poet Miller Conrad arrives and rejects Addison’s advances, showing more interest in Kinley, true colors will shine and the sisters’ bond will be tested. — Abstract from

The fact that I received a free advanced copy of this book does not influence my policy to write an honest review.

For the Love of Reading

For The Love Of Reading

For the Love of Reading . . .

Any bookworm will have a list of the things they love most about reading. Fanatic Avid readers who take the love of reading to the next level (to consume their identity and (if they are lucky) become their bread and butter) will easily jabber on for hours testing the patience of anyone but a fellow book lover soulmate.

The Escape

I have always fallen head first into story worlds which I find far easier to navigate than real life. I recall three-day-long annual treks to my grandparents’ home near the beach where despite the distractions amazing views I spent every day on the road wrapped up in a book (or six). Packing for holidays meant trying to fit in enough books to ensure I was never without another world to escape to. Painfully shy, the books played the additional role of protecting me from unwelcome conversations.

The Covers

Shallow? Maybe. But I’m the first to admit that the cover determines which books I add to my reading list. I know it’s subjective and that there are many great books with unfortunate covers that I have probably missed, but I have judged the book long before I’ve seen the title, the author or possible content. Unless bribed strongly encouraged books are immediately assigned a category somewhere between hell yes and never.

The Ritual

Before eBooks ruined my life made themselves so useful, I followed a personal a bookish ritual every time I started a new book. Every new (to me) book was held like a precious gem while I admired its cover, contemplated the thickness of the spine, stroked the crisp pages, breathed in the new book smell of ink and paper and read the blurb. The anticipation of the treasure within heightened by the wait.

First Lines

Sometimes, if you’re lucky you’ll find a book that you know is going to be great from the very first few lines. The joy of finding such a treasure where the author seems to be talking directly to you is exceptionally rare. Living between Southern Africa and South East Asia the opportunities to attend bookish events are few and far between. This is probably fortunate for authors with whom I have felt such connection as they’d probably run wailing to the hills in response to my enthusiastic ambushing barely contained fandom.


If you have never wasted spent time amongst the books lining the shelves of a library or bookstore (virtual or physical) then you’ve never experienced the bittersweet joy of possibilities. You know you’ll never live long enough to read all the books you want to and you have no idea how to choose which will be next but you find yourself greedily drooling in the anticipation of devouring as many as you can!


My heart sings every time I see someone lost in a book. Wanting to find out what they are reading and wallow in the pleasure of discussing books with other bookish people, I have a hard time stopping myself from intruding. If you catch me staring, please put me out of my misery and initiate a bookish conversation!


Sometimes, if you’re very lucky you’ll come across a character that will jump out of the pages and into your heart. You’ll know straight away that carrying them with you will forever change how you see the world. For me these characters are rare and so precious I am reluctant to share in case you tell me they meant nothing to you… Don’t read on unless you can agree or keep silent! Park, Verity, Lily, Cath, Zuzana

Fantasy Story Worlds

The pleasure that 3comes immersing yourself into a well-constructed story world where life is far from reality but makes perfect sense within the world itself is something that is exceptionally difficult to put into words. These are worlds that you can easily lose time in. Think Narnia or Middle-Earth.


I love when I discover within the story the reason a particular title is chosen and of course without titles we wouldn’t have fun constructing book spine poetry.

I know I am not alone in smothering myself with printed pages, what are your bookish pleasures?

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Ugly by Margaret McHeyzer

Ugly crop

Ugly by Margaret McHeyzer

Ugly was a tough read. Domestic abuse is a difficult subject, difficult to face, difficult to stand up to, difficult to write about. But that wasn’t only why I struggled with the book.

If the purpose of the story was to give victims the courage to get help, then it is everything it needs to be. Including the addition of contact numbers at the end.

But as a story, it didn’t quite deliver. With one-dimensional characters and long drawn out chapters, this was a book I couldn’t wait to finish. It was written devoid of emotion, almost like a documentary and I couldn’t quite reach Lily. I felt detached from the story as though I was hearing it 3rd hand. Sensitive to other people’s emotions I cry over books and movies all the time but with Ugly I just didn’t feel it.

It was only at the end, where skimming through the author’s acknowledgments that I realised it was based on true story. I am not sure if I would have felt differently if I had known that at the beginning, but it does put the events into perspective and make me more aware that maybe it could be a lifeline to someone one day.2 Star

Recommended age: 16+

Title: Ugly
Author: Margaret McHeyzer Ugly
Publication Date:
36 October 2015
Publisher: Margaret McHeyzer
Source: ARC
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If I were dead, I wouldn’t be able to see.
If I were dead, I wouldn’t be able to feel.
If I were dead, he’d never raise his hand to me again.
If I were dead, his words wouldn’t cut as deep as they do.
If I were dead, I’d be beautiful and I wouldn’t be so…ugly.
I’m not dead…but I wish I was.

— abstract from

The fact that I received a free advanced copy of this book does not influence my policy to write an honest review.

The Masterpiecers by Olivia Wildenstein

The Masterpiecers crop

The Masterpiecers by Olivia Wildenstein


I so wanted to love this book. The idea behind it is brilliant and I loved the original reality show and that the main characters (identical twins) are such unreliable narrators. They kept me guessing throughout the story.

As both characters are restricted by the boundaries of their unique environments, the supporting characters had a very big role to play. This is possibly where the essence of the book was lost. With no voice and little insight into their lives, the supporting characters were missing something, their characters shallow.

The story started off well, but about halfway through I started to feel it weaken. The plot had so many missing pieces and loose ends and not all had been revealed by the end.  I kept waiting for a twist or something to give clarity to the storyline.

There is a sequel planned so here’s hoping clarity is still to come.3 Star

Recommended age: 13+


Title: The MasterpiecersThe Masterpiecers x
Series: Masterful
Author: Olivia Wildenstein 
Publication Date: 15 April 2016
Source: ARC

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Nineteen-year-old Ivy Redd’s talent with a needle and thread has earned her a spot on a coveted reality TV art competition set in New York’s Metropolitan Museum. The prize: a significant amount of money and instant acceptance into the Masterpiecers, the school that ensures new artists fame and fortune. Her talent has also thrust her and her twin sister, Aster, into the spotlight. 

Not that Aster needed help with becoming a media favorite. She managed that on her own by running over a wanted mobster. She told the police it was self-defense, because she couldn’t tell them the truth—the truth would make her sister look bad.

Locked in an Indiana jail to await her trial, Aster watches Ivy on the small TV hanging in the dayroom. It’s the highlight of her day, until she finds out what her sister truly thinks of her. Then, observing her sister becomes a punishment far crueler than imprisonment.  — abstract from

The fact that I received a free advanced copy of this book does not influence my policy to write an honest review.

Always Stick to the Book

always stick to the book

Always Stick to the Book. I have just been to see Allegiant, the final book-to-movie of Veronica Roth’s Divergent series…

They (insert here: Evil scheming movie makers) have changed the story. I know right? Just no.

Always Stick to the Book

The ending is completely different…  Okay so I wasn’t in love with the original ending and yes I spent hours crying and days in hibernation after finishing the book. But it was real. The author said so. So I say so. The end.

Before Allegiant, I thought that Jodi Picoult’s My Sister’s Keeper book-to-movie was the worst interpretation ever. My Sister’s Keeper was heart-wrenching, shocking, amazing…. The movie was just sweet. Sweet. That was all they could do when they had amazing to work with?

Some directors choose to focus on certain aspects, more than the book did. More violence, more action, more romance. Think The Hunger Games or The Maze Runner. I get that. They want to increase the audience and getting the story out is better than nothing. But they still stick to the original story.

The book is always better. But sometimes the movie can be good, even brilliant.

Just don’t change the story. EVER

More things I wish authors (and publishers) knew

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