The Future of Us by Jay Asher

The Future of Us crop
I have read several mediocre books just recently and this is one of them. I was expecting more from Jay Asher & Carolyn Mackler whose previous books I have enjoyed.

While I think the idea to use Facebook was quite clever, the whole seeing into the future has been done so many times before and this story did not contain enough originality to give it an edge.

Disappointing character development, where are the characters that we can engage with? I know I was supposed to be rooting for Emma and Jay to get together, but in all honestly I couldn’t care either way.3 Star

Recommended age 12+

The Future of Us
Author:  Jay Asher & Carolyn Mackler
Publication Date: 5 January 2012The Future of Us by Jay Asher
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Source: Purchased

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It’s 1996 and very few high school students have ever used the internet. Facebook will not be invented until several years in the future. Emma just got a computer and an America Online CD. She and her best friend Josh power it up and log on – and discover themselves on Facebook in 2011. Everybody wonders what they’ll be like fifteen years in the future. Josh and Emma are about to find out.  Extract from

Breathe by Sarah Crossan

Breathe crop
A mediocre read, especially disappointing because dystopian fiction has been one of my favourite genres (and I fell in love with this beautiful cover) – Does this mean that I am over dystopia? I hope not.

I did like the use of the future oxygen deprived world, a world with enough realism to be believable. It was the characters that were poorly developed. I need to emotionally connect with characters to care about them, one way or another, and I didn’t feel much for them at all. Right now I have no plans to read the sequel.3 Star

Recommended age 12+

Author: Sarah Crossan
Publication Date: 11 October 2012Breathe by Sarah Crossan
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Source: Purchased

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The world is dead.
The survivors live under the protection of Breathe, the corporation that found a way to manufacture oxygen-rich air.

Alina has been stealing for a long time.  If she’s careful, it’ll be easy. 

Quinn should be worried about Alina and a bit afraid for himself, too, but even though this is dangerous, it’s also the most interesting thing to happen to him in ages. 

Bea wants to tell him that none of this is fair; they’d planned a trip together, the two of them, and she’d hoped he’d discover her out here, not another girl.

As they walk into the Outlands with two days’ worth of oxygen in their tanks, everything they believe will be shattered. Will they be able to make it back? Will they want to?  Extract from

Top 10 Things on My Bookish Bucket List

Top 10 Things on My Bookish Bucket List

(Not necessarily in order of preference)

1.I found my first geocache a few weeks ago, geocaching is my new hobby inspired by the amazing YA book North of Beautiful by Justina Chen, and would love the opportunity to travel so I can discover more. I wish I knew about geocaching when we lived overseas.

North of Beautiful by Justina Chen Headley


I would love see South Africa through Bill Bryson’s eyes. I love his humour and have collected all his travel books. I hope that he can be persuaded to write a book about my country one day.


sunburned country


3.I would like to meet author Alexandra Fuller who wrote the memoir Don’t Let’s Go to the Dogs Tonight. Her story of her childhood in Rhodesia during the war was so close to my own childhood that I feel as though I already know her. A beautiful book that made me so nostalgic.

Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight by Alexandra Fuller

4.I have always wanted to join in the mythosphere treasure hunt game in my favourite children’s book The Game by Diana Wynne Jones. I would love a chance to retrieve a golden apple!


‘The Game’ by Diana Wynne Jones

5.I would love to see my favourite South African YA fantasy book The Faerie Guardian by Rachel Morgan be made into a movie.


Faerie Guardian

6.I am in awe of illustrators. I wish I had the artistic talent to illustrate children’s picture books.


big hungry bear

7.I know this sounds naive, but I would like to find a way to rid the world of illegal drugs. As a parent it is the one thing that concerns me the most. If you haven’t read Crank by Ellen Hopkins, based on a true story, try it. It is a very powerful story.



8.I wish I could have attended Hogwarts as a student. I went to boarding school, and it was nothing like that!


Harry Potter


I have always been fascinated by Occupied France during the Second World War and have devoured books set in these times. I would love to spend time in France discovering all the villages I have read about.

Thinhs we did for love


Few people know this… last year I was challenged to write a children’s picture book for a charity which I did, maybe I will be brave enough to share it here one day :-), but I also wrote another  story and it is my ‘secret’ wish to see it illustrated and published one day…

What’s on your bookish bucket list?

This post is also linked to 50 Bookish Things You Must Do Before You Die  created by Love at First Book



Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish.

This week’s task is to list the 10 book related things I would like to do.

Resistance by Craig Simpson

Resistance by Craig Simpson

Resistance crop

Tyranny, courage, betrayal and espionage feature heavily in this action-packed adventure set in Occupied Norway during the Second World War. Fourteen-year-old Marek and his brother join forces with the Resistance and stage acts of sabotage and rescue while battling the harsh sub-arctic conditions. Great read for boys – but also popular with girls in our school library.4 Star

Recommended age 12+

Author: Craig Simpson
Publication Date: 1 February 2007Resistance by Craig Simpson
Publisher: Transworld Publishers
Source: Purchased

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Norway, September 1943. For brothers Marek and Olaf, a hunting trip offers a brief chance to get away from the German occupying forces. But returning home they witness the horror of their father’s arrest by the Gestapo and the start of a brutal regime under the evil Lieutenant Wold. — Extract from

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

The Fault in Our Stars crop

Every once in a while, if you are lucky, you come across a book that changes your life. This book is one of them. Alternating between laughter and tears I read devoured this book. There is no way I can give it the review it deserves, so I am going to rely on my experiences with terminal illness – I trained as a nurse and midwife and have spent many years in hospitals and other such institutions where dying is exposed in all its undignified ugliness.

Dealing with teenagers dying is a tough subject to write about, not only is it a subject most of us either can’t or won’t face but it is difficult to keep the characters real and natural – our true fallible human personalities are only amplified by difficult times. John Green has not only created strong, believable characters whose circumstances ring true, but has interwoven the story with humour, hope and emotion. A must read.

My only concern is that the uninspiring cover will put off many potential readers.5 Star

Recommended age 13+

The Fault in Our Stars
Author: John Green
Publication Date: 10 January 2012The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
Publisher: Dutton Books
Source: Purchased
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Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel’s story is about to be completely rewritten. – Extract from

The movie version of this book is due for release on 6 June 2014.

The Elephant Whisperer by Lawrence Anthony

The Elephant Whisperer by Lawrence Anthony

The Elephant Whisperer crop

The Elephant Whisperer is a book close to my heart. Although I did not have the privilege of meeting Lawrence Anthony, whose courage and respect for nature is legendary, his game reserve is just a couple of hours drive away from my home.

The elephants, the heroes of this story, show remarkable intelligence, resilience and loyalty. They prove, yet again, that man is arrogant to believe he is superior to animals. Respect.

The Elephant Whisperer is one of those books that will remain in your heart forever.5 Star

The Elephant Whisperer
Lawrence Anthony
Co-Author: Graham Spence
Publication Date: 7 May 2010The Elephant Whisperer
First Published:  1 January 2009
Publisher: Pan Publishing
Source: Purchased

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When South African conservationist Lawrence Anthony was asked to accept a herd of ‘rogue’ elephants on his reserve at Thula Thula, his commonsense told him to refuse. But he was the herd’s last chance of survival – notorious escape artists, they would all be killed if Lawrence wouldn’t take them. He agreed, but before arrangements for the move could be completed the animals broke out again and the matriarch and her baby were shot. The remaining elephants were traumatised and very angry. As soon as they arrived at Thula Thula they started planning their escape…

As Lawrence battled to create a bond with the elephants and save them from execution, he came to realise that they had a lot to teach him about love, loyalty and freedom.
— Extract from


This article (link below), published this week in our local paper, tells of the elephants annual pilgrimage to Lawrence Anthony’s home to pay their respects on the anniversary of his untimely death two years ago.

Read article here:  Elephants commemorate late conservation hero


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My Top 10 YA Dystopian Books

 My Top 10 YA Dystopian Books


Heart 1

Slated by Teri Terry 


Kyla’s memory has been erased,Slated
her personality wiped blank,
 her memories lost for ever.

She’s been Slated.

The government claims she was a terrorist and that they are giving her a second chance – as long as she plays by their rules. But echoes of the past whisper in Kyla’s mind. Someone is lying to her, and nothing is as it seems. Who can she trust in her search for the truth? -Extract from

This is one of my favourite reads, definitely deserves the Number 1 slot.

Heart 2Divergent  by Veronica Roth


DivergentIn Beatrice Prior’s dystopian Chicago world, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue–Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is–she can’t have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself. -Extract from

Another  favourite  – reviewed here 


Heart 3
Acid  by Emma Pass 


Acid by Emma PassThe year is 2113. In Jenna Strong’s world, ACID—the most brutal controlling police force in history—rule supreme. No throwaway comment or whispered dissent goes unnoticed—or unpunished. And it was ACID agents who locked Jenna away for life, for a horrendous crime she struggles to remember. But Jenna’s violent prison time has taught her how to survive by any means necessary. -Extract from

Gripping read – don’t miss this one!


Heart 4
Birthmarked by Caragh M. O’Brien 


Birthmarked by Caragh M. O'BrienIn the future, in a world baked dry by the harsh sun, there are those who live inside the walled Enclave and those, like sixteen-year-old Gaia Stone, who live outside. Following in her mother’s footsteps Gaia has become a midwife, delivering babies in the world outside the wall and handing a quota over to be “advanced” into the privileged society of the Enclave. Gaia has always believed this is her duty, until the night her mother and father are arrested by the very people they so loyally serve. Now Gaia is forced to question everything she has been taught, but her choice is simple: enter the world of the Enclave to rescue her parents, or die trying. -Extract from

Beautiful story with great character development.


Heart 5
1984 by George Orwell 


1984 by George Orwell1984 presents a startling and haunting vision of the world, so powerful that it is completely convincing from start to finish. No one can deny the power of this novel, its hold on the imaginations of multiple generations of readers, or the resiliency of its admonitions. A legacy that seems only to grow with the passage of time. -Extract from

An older book, and my first dystopian read, back when I was still at school. This is a powerful story – the original ‘Big Brother’.


heart 6
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins


The Hunger Games by Suzanne CollinsWinning will make you famous.
Losing means certain death.

In a dark vision of the near future, a terrifying reality TV show is taking place. Twelve boys and twelve girls are forced to appear in a live event called the Hunger Games. There is only one rule: kill or be killed.

When sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen steps forward to take her sister’s place in the games, she sees it as a death sentence. But Katniss has been close to death before. For her, survival is second nature. -Extract from

Original and frightening, this book is a must read.


heart 7

The Maze Runner  by James Dashner 


The Maze Runner by James DashnerWhen Thomas wakes up in the lift, the only thing he can remember is his first name. He has no recollection of his parents, his home, or how he got where he is. His memory is blank.

But he’s not alone. When the lift’s doors open, Thomas finds himself surrounded by kids who welcome him to the glade, a large expense enclosed by stone walls.

Just like Thomas, the Gladers don’t know why or how they got to the Glade. All they know is that every morning, for as long as anyone can remember, the stone doors to the maze that surrounds them have opened. Every night, for just as long, they’ve closed tight. Every thirty days a new boy is delivered n the lift. And no one wants to be stuck in the Maze after dark. -Extract from

A gripping, original plot with a sci-fi feel.


heart 8

Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi 


ShatterJuliette hasn’t touched anyone in exactly 264 days.
The last time she did, it was an accident, but The Reestablishment locked her up for murder.

No one knows why Juliette’s touch is fatal. As long as she doesn’t hurt anyone else, no one really cares. The world is too busy crumbling to pieces to pay attention to a 17-year-old girl. Diseases are destroying the population, food is hard to find, birds don’t fly anymore, and the clouds are the wrong color.  Extract from

I loved Juliette, the strong and edgy main character. Hearing her thoughts along with her spoken words gave the story an edge as well as unexpected humour!


heart 9

Delirium by Lauren Oliver 


Delirium by Lauren OliverNinety-five days, and then I’ll be safe. I wonder whether the procedure will hurt. I want to get it over with. It’s hard to be patient. It’s hard not to be afraid while I’m still uncured, though so far the deliria hasn’t touched me yet. Still, I worry. They say that in the old days, love drove people to madness. The deadliest of all deadly things: It kills you both when you have it and when you don’t. Extract from

Love a disease? Maybe it does make us crazy sometimes!




  Uheart 10nwind  by Neal Shusterman 



Connor, Risa, and Lev are running for their lives.
The Second Civil War was fought over reproductive rights. The chilling resolution: Life is inviolable from the moment of conception until age thirteen. Between the ages of thirteen and eighteen, however, parents can have their child “unwound,” whereby all of the child’s organs are transplanted into different donors, so life doesn’t technically end. Connor is too difficult for his parents to control. Risa, a ward of the state is not enough to be kept alive. And Lev is a tithe, a child conceived and raised to be unwound. Together, they may have a chance to escape and to survive. 
Extract from

This story had a chilling tinge, I felt as though it was skating too close to reality –  this world is possible which makes it all the more frightening.

Now you know my top 10 dystopian stories…
What are yours?


toptentuesdayTop Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish. It is a chance to share and get to know fellow bloggers.

This week the task is to list your top 10 books within a genre of your choice, I have chosen YA dystopian books.

Dragon’s Curse by H.L. Burke: YA Book Review

For some reason I want to describe this book as charming, which it is, but this is not a word I normally use as it conjures up an image of an old lady commenting on the child, hasty scrubbed up and ushered forward to meet Great Aunt Maud! That aside, the book tells an underlying story of longing and hope in between the more dominant emotions of revenge, loyalty, betrayal and love.

Although the story line was, at times, predictable and parts felt a little too rough, as though written in haste, I found myself drawn into the story and wanting to know the outcome. The dragon’s character was my favourite and the most believable, while the other characters felt underdeveloped which contributed to the roughness of the story.

I have mixed feelings about this book, despite the shortfalls I felt emotionally connected to the characters which made it difficult to review and rate. I look forward to finding out what happens in the next book. 3 Star

Recommended age: 12+

Dragon’s Curse 
Series: The Dragon and the Scholar # 1
by  H. L. Burke
Publication Date: 2 January 2014Dragon curse
Publisher: H. L. Burke
Source: Free copy from author in exchange for honest review

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On her first assignment out of the Academy, young healer and scholar, Shannon Macaulay is summoned to the struggling kingdom of Regone to see to the wounds of a young but crippled king. When the unwanted attentions of an aggressive knight and the sudden appearance of a hated dragon turn her world upside down, she decides to take matters into her own hands even if doing so proves dangerous.

Finding herself strangely drawn to the company of the dragon, Gnaw, Shannon must force herself out of her safe world of books and botany to come to the aid of her unexpected ally in a strange kingdom, cursed by a fateful encounter with a dragon and the loss of a beloved prince. Can she learn to put aside her fears, and perhaps sacrifice her deepest desires, to help a friend and restore a family? –Extract from

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

Splat the Cat by Rob Scotton: Children’s Picture Book Review

Splat the Cat crop

A cute, funny picture book that children everywhere will love.

Rob Scotton is extremely talented. The story will make you laugh out loud, but it is his bright illustrations that will captivate you. I particularly love how he has portrayed Splat and the other cat’s fur – I can imagine my fingers sinking into the soft fluff!

Splat starts off nervous about starting school for the first time but along the way he  finds out how much fun school can be and learns that he is Amazing!

A very good story to read to children starting school for the first time.5 Star

Recommended age – 3-6 years

Series: Splat the Cat
Author: Rob Scotton
Illustrator: Rob ScottonSplat the Cat by Rob Scotton
Publication Date:  1 July 2008
Publisher: HarperCollins
Source: Purchased
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It’s Splat’s first day of school and he’s worried. What if he doesn’t make any new friends?Just in case, Splat decides to bring along his pet mouse, Seymour, and hides him in his lunchbox.

The teacher, Mrs. Wimpydimple, introduces Splat to the class and he soon starts learning all his important cat lessons. But when Seymour escapes and the cats do what cats do (they chase mice!), Splat’s worried again. Maybe now he’ll lose all his friends, old and new!

Just in time, wise Mrs. Wimpydimple takes charge and teaches everyone an important new lesson. Maybe Cat School is going to be okay after all! – Extract from


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