Definitions of Indefinable Things by Whitney Taylor

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Definitions of Indefinable Things by Whitney Taylor

“How does anyone know they are depressed? You feel equally alive and dead and have no idea how that’s even possible. And everything around you doesn’t seem so full anymore. And you can’t tell if the world is empty or you are…”

Definitions of Indefinable Things is one of those rare books where I totally lost myself in the feels. It’s honest. Witty. Moody and raw, sometimes to the point of pain. But real in the best possible way.

“Snake?” That was the most obscenely ambitious nickname I’d ever heard.

Beautiful writing combined with head-spinning twists, this story is so real it could be true. Gritty, complicated characters whose depression is realistically portrayed.

He was staring at me with a weirdly attractive grin on his face, and I felt like telling him to screw off.

I felt everything. Hope, melancholy, joy and sorrow. Sad to the point where I feel the characters life is being leeched. But at the same time, I felt happy, grounded, satisfied.

There was only one conclusion to reach, one answer to a question so incomprehensible that it made my blood go warm in anger.5 Star

 

Recommended age: 13+

Title: Definitions of Indefinable ThingsDefinitions of Indefinable Things
Author: Whitney Taylor
Publication Date: 4 April 2017
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Source: Review copy

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This heartbreaking, humorous novel is about three teens whose lives intersect in ways they never expected.

Reggie Mason is all too familiar with “the Three Stages of Depression.” She believes she’s unlocked the secret to keeping herself safe: Nobody can hurt you if you never let them in.

Reggie encounters an unexpected challenge to her misanthropy: a Twizzler-chomping, indie film-making narcissist named Snake. Snake’s presence, while reassuring, is not exactly stable—especially since his ex-girlfriend is seven months pregnant. As Reggie falls for Snake, she must decide whether it’s time to rewrite the rules that have defined her.   — Abstract from Goodreads.com

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

Disclaimer: The quotes appear in my advanced review copy and may not appear in the final version.

Book Bloggers – Who Reads Your Posts?

Who Reads Your Posts

Book Bloggers – Who Reads Your Posts?

Who Reads Your Posts? After almost three years of blogging I’ve noticed a disturbing thing – the majority of people who read (and interact with) my blog are fellow book bloggers. I often feel like I’m recommending ice to polar bears, instead of a book to potential readers.

Just like a review from a book blogger promotes a book, a share on social media recommends a blogger.

I know many authors prefer not to read reviews of their own books, but just like a review from a book blogger promotes a book, a share on social media recommends a blogger. It would mean so much to us if authors (and publishers) shared positive reviews to their followers. Not only of their own books but reviews of their fellow authors too.

Getting comments and shares of my posts mean the world to me.

I’m not blogging for an income, in fact despite affiliate links on my sidebar and on review posts I have made a sum total of 5 cents (not that I don’t wish for more – I dream of the day my earnings allow me to buy a new book to review). And please don’t think I am ungrateful for ARC’s – I would have little to review without them and I work hard to keep my stats up to improve my chance of approval for these advanced copies. But getting comments and shares of my posts? That means the world to me.

One click to share a good review with your fans will make a book blogger’s day.

So, please authors and publishers think of your colleagues in the industry next time you go online. One click to share a good review with your fans will make a book blogger’s day.

Heartless by Marissa Meyer

Heartless

Heartless by Marissa Meyer

Oh, Heartless is clever, very very clever. So clever in fact, it manages to be both unique and heart-stoppingly familiar at the same time.

And I assure you the Hatter throws the maddest tea parties this side of the Looking Glass.

Dare to delve headfirst into your childhood memories? To come out with a different view of Wonderland? You’ll find a land as rich as double cream and characters you didn’t know you needed in your life.

… and she saw that he was smiling, and his smile was heart-thumpingly open, honest, beautiful. His lavender eyes sparkled as they found her…

It’s whimsical, swoony, fun and fanciful. And there’s cake. It’s full of cake. And Jokers. And Hatters.

Catherine’s mouth ran dry. A crack was burrowing through her chest, threatening to break her open.

I gobbled this book, dreaming of the characters. Trying to savour the flavours but instead gulping it almost all at once – like an unexpected treat that could be snatched away at any moment.

There was a moment of suspension around them. She could feel his heart beating near to hers, and his breath in her hair.

What do I want next? What am I desperate for?… Jest. I would love to hear Jest’s narration. A whole story from his POV. Here’s hoping Marissa Meyer hears my plea!

“Sometimes your heart is the only thing worth listening to.”5 Star

Recommended age: 12 +

Title: Heartless 
Author: Marissa Meyer
Publication Date: 8 November 2016heartless
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Source: Review copy

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Catherine may be one of the most desired girls in Wonderland, and a favorite of the yet-unmarried King of Hearts, but her interests lie elsewhere. A talented baker, all she wants is to open a shop with her best friend and supply the Kingdom of Hearts with delectable pastries and confections. But according to her mother, such a goal is unthinkable for the young woman who could be the next Queen.

At a royal ball where Cath is expected to receive the king’s marriage proposal, she meets Jest, the handsome and mysterious court joker. For the first time, she feels the pull of true attraction. At the risk of offending the King and infuriating her parents, she and Jest enter into an intense, secret courtship.

Cath is determined to define her own destiny and fall in love on her terms. But in a land thriving with magic, madness, and monsters, fate has other plans    — Abstract from Goodreads.com

Thanks to Pan Macmillan South Africa for the review copy.
The fact that I received a free advanced copy of this book does not influence my policy to write an honest review.

Disclaimer:
The quotes appear in my advanced review copy and may not appear in the final version.

The Summer Before Forever by Melissa Chambers

The Summer Before Forever

The Summer Before Forever by Melissa Chambers

I want to be the music that lights her up like this. . .

This is a beautiful, character-driven love story with a love triangle – but don’t hold that against it, this book is good! I gripped my e-reader glaring at anyone who dared to interrupt… Yup, you guessed it I devoured the entire book in a day!

I loved the unique, edgy characters, but the real plus is the inclusion, and positive portrayal, of a learning difficulty.

I want to kiss this girl more than I’ve ever wanted anything in my life… more than I want to play football, more than I want to freaking breathe. 

Fans of Kasie West and Sarah Dessen will love this book!About those stars

Recommended age:13+

Title: The Summer Before Forever
Series: Before Forever #1The Summer Before Forever
Author: Melissa Chambers
Published: 22 August 2016
Publisher: Entangled TEEN
Source: Review copy

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Chloe Stone’s life is a hot mess. Determined to stop being so freaking skittish, she packs up her quasi-famous best friend and heads to Florida. The goal? Complete the summer bucket list to end all bucket lists. The problem? Her hot soon-to-be stepbrother, Landon Jacobs.

Landon’s mom will throttle him if he even looks at his future stepsister the wrong way. Problem is, Chloe is everything he didn’t know he wanted, and that’s…inconvenient. Watching her tear it up on a karaoke stage, stand up to his asshole friend, and rock her first string bikini destroys his sanity.

But there’s more than their future family on the line. Landon is hiding something—something he knows will change how she feels about him—and she’s hiding something from him, too. And when the secrets come out, there’s a good chance neither will look at the other the same way again… — Abstract from Goodreads.com

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

Flawed by Cecelia Ahern

Flawed by Cecelia Ahern Flawed by Cecelia Ahern

Thank you to Jonathon Ball Publishers South Africa for the review copy of Flawed by Cecelia Ahern. It seems as though this book has had a lot of media hype and that I am one of the last to read it. Partly because South Africa is one of the last countries to get new releases, and because I have been moving home I’ve been out of my usual ‘reading mania’.

What I loved:

The positive view of dyslexia and the inclusion of a dyslexia character (although applied to a supporting character I would love to see more dyslexic protagonists).

Juniper is dyslexic. She sees this as another failure, another trait that has let her down, but I can see it makes her view things in a different way. I’m a problem solver. I read signs, the proof of what I see in front of me, and come to a conclusion. Juniper is cleverer than that. She reads people. I don’t know how she does it, but she watches and listens and arrives at conclusions I could never imagine, and usually she’s right. I look at things straight on; her perspective seems to curve around things, wind and twist, turn things upside down to reach the answer…

What I didn’t love:

The ‘tired’ unoriginal dystopia theme which reads much like all the other dystopian books and Celestine’s abrupt change of conscience on the bus was unconvincing.

Recommended age: 12+3 Star

Title: Flawed
Series: Flawed #1
Author: Cecelia Ahern
Publication Date: 6 October 2016flawed
Publisher: HarperCollins
Source: Review copy
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Celestine North lives a perfect life. She’s a model daughter and sister, she’s well-liked by her classmates and teachers, and she’s dating the impossibly charming Art Crevan.

But then Celestine encounters a situation in which she makes an instinctive decision. She breaks a rule and now faces life-changing repercussions. She could be imprisoned. She could be branded. She could be found FLAWED…   — Abstract from Goodreads.com

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

What Should I Read Next? TBR Poll October ’16

What Should I Read Next

This is my October TBR

What Should I Read Next?

Spring has sprung in the southern hemisphere and my new hometown is stunning with new leaves and bright colours exploding -even in my own garden. It is not long before I return to my second home in Indonesia where, just north of the equator, the seasons are impossible to distinguish.

Before I go I must read fast. I have a pile of physical books to read and I need to read as many as possible before I go (airline luggage restrictions should not apply to book bloggers!). Some are ARC’s, some purchased recently and some I have had for a while but didn’t make it into my suitcase last time. What if I never get to them? The horror! Save me from myself…

What Should I Read Next

Please vote below

So friends, please help me stop procrastinating and making matters (read: my TBR) worse by browsing for new books. Here are ten books I must read.Which one should I start with and which ones (can vote up to 5) should I not miss under any circumstances?

[yop_poll id=”3″]                  [yop_poll id=”4″]

Top Ten Tuesday

 

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish.

Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake

Three Dark Crowns

Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake

How she poisoned her sisters so slyly and quietly that it took them days to die. How when it was over they looked so peaceful that had it not been for the froth on their lips, you would have thought they had died in their sleep…

Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake is brilliant. Sinister, grabby, wicked and sly. It’s the best kind of dark, dark fantasy.

She motions to the priestesses, and they draw their knives. “Take her head and her arms. Cut the heart separate from the body. And throw it all into…

With the combination of superb characters and the rich storyline which flows like thick treacle, oozing with venom,  this is a book I will not forget. So very dark.

The ocean’s layers, its currents, and cold and churning sand move as she commands. It is not easy, but the water obeys…

It’s chock full of treason, murder, dark magic and unexpected twists, the bendy type of twists that turn the reader inside out.

She will set them both on fire…

I am fascinated by all the different covers and for the first time ever I actually don’t have a preference! The covers above are quite popular, but my ARC from Pan MacMillan below is new to me. 5 Star

 

Recommended age: 13+

Title: Three Dark Crowns
Series: Three Dark Crowns #1three-dark-crowns-arc
Author: Kendare Blake
Publication Date:
20 September  2016 
Publisher: HarperTeen/Pan Macmillan
Source: Review copy
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Every generation on the island of Fennbirn, a set of triplets is born: three queens, all equal heirs to the crown and each possessor of a coveted magic. Mirabella is a fierce elemental, able to spark hungry flames or vicious storms at the snap of her fingers. Katharine is a poisoner, one who can ingest the deadliest poisons without so much as a stomachache. Arsinoe, a naturalist, is said to have the ability to bloom the reddest rose and control the fiercest of lions.

But becoming the Queen Crowned isn’t solely a matter of royal birth. Each sister has to fight for it. And it’s not just a game of win or lose…it’s life or death. The night the sisters turn sixteen, the battle begins. The last queen standing gets the crown.

If only it was that simple. Katharine is unable to tolerate the weakest poison, and Arsinoe, no matter how hard she tries, can’t make even a weed grow. The two queens have been shamefully faking their powers, taking care to keep each other, the island, and their powerful sister Mirabella none the wiser. But with alliances being formed, betrayals taking shape, and ruthless revenge haunting the queens’ every move, one thing is certain: the last queen standing might not be the strongest…but she may be the darkest. — Abstract from Goodreads.com

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

Disclaimer: The quotes appear in my advanced review copy and may not appear in the final version.

Songs to Lift the Bad Day Blues

Songs to Lift the Bad Day Blues

I love listening to music and can often be found singing off-key with earphones in (sadly, my kids have the evidence and are not afraid to use it!).

But on a bad day, one of those days when everything goes haywire, I have a short playlist of songs that I listen to on repeat until I feel like I can face the world again. I never get tired of these songs and listening to them always makes my world feel right again.

My tried-and-tested list of songs to make your day shine.

The Parlotones – Push Me To The Floor

One Direction – Perfect

Fun.: We Are Young ft. Janelle Monáe

Snow Patrol – Chasing Cars

OneRepublic – Something I Need

Robbie Williams, Pet Shop Boys – She’s Madonna

Suzanne Vega – The Queen And The Soldier

Stars Fall Down- The Parlotones

Dire Straits – Sultans Of Swing

Imagine Dragons – I Bet My Life

Top Ten Tuesday

 

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish.

Love These Top Ten Crime Books

Top Ten Crime

I haven’t participated in a top ten for a while. Moving house took longer than expected. But I am back and with ten of my favourite crime books. Not necessarily mystery stories, but all these books feature an element of criminal activity that dominates the storyline.

 

Heist Society by Ally Carter
Heist Society

What would you do if all your family vacations were planned around the next heist?
Like all Ally Carter stories, Heist Society is fun and addictive.

 


Grass by Cathy MacPhail

Grass

 

 

A hard-hitting story of a witness to gang crime.

Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson

Speak
I love Laurie Halse Anderson’s books and Speak is my favourite. Subtly written and frighteningly realistic.


Don’t Look Back by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Don’t Look Back

A beautifully written, unpredictable and scary thriller.

Tricks by Ellen Hopkins

Tricks
If you’ve never read Ellen Hopkins’s books this may not be the best one to start with. She does not shy from the truth and these books are all too horrifyingly, raw and edgy. Only the brave go forth and steel yourself – it is gritty and unflinchingly true.
Having said that, they are also not to be missed. Her stories flow almost effortlessly through verse and you won’t want to put them down.

Pointe by Brandy Colbert

pointe

Despite the warm and soothing writing, this book packs a powerful punch.

The blurb and hype surrounding the story try to prepare the reader, but I am still reeling in shock…

 


All the Missing Girls by Megan Miranda

All the Missing Girls
A very, very cleverly written murder mystery. Original, unpredictable and brilliant!


A Time to Kill by John Grisham

A Time to Kill

Published after he became a best-seller, this is John Grisham’s first novel and by far the best he’s written.

 


The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

The Kite Runner
Another book that packs a powerful punch. I loved this beautiful wistful story of regret, longing, friendship and war.

 

 

 

Newes from the Dead by Mary Hooper

Newes from the Dead
Set in 1650, this is a true story of a young girl who was falsely accused of a crime and sentenced to death. Told in alternating POV’s that allow us to see the present while understanding the events that lead up to… (nope! no spoilers here!)

Top Ten Tuesday

 
 

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish.

Are Adult books threatened by YA?

Are Adult books threatened by YA?

This is not a post about whether adults should be reading YA, but rather a look into why YA dominates the current market.Is YA eclipsing Adult books?

Are Adult books threatened by YA?

The short answer is yes. A glimpse at my TBR (to-be-read) shelf on Goodreads confirms that. And I don’t think I am alone. If that doesn’t convince you a quick search online will show you that currently, YA books top the sales statistics and although this could be argued that they not purchasing for themselves, the majority of buyers are adults.

Categories and buzzwords

Before YA became a category (It’s not a genre!), a buzzword and sometimes sadly a condescending sneer, we read what we wanted to. Admittedly books aimed at the YA market a few decades ago were few and far between, think The Catcher in the Rye, To Kill a Mockingbird and Go Ask Alice, but these were enjoyed by all, alongside adult novels. 

The publishing industry has exploded in the last few years and there are more books published in a year that could be read in any lifetime. It’s all too terrifying to think of the great books we’re not going to have time to read.

Books are now extensively categorised and marketed in different niches. I am known for blurring the lines so it’s no secret I don’t like this. I have never pretended to be pretentious and only read top quality literature. This doesn’t mean I don’t, I just don’t read these exclusively because I believe we should read what makes us happy (yes even sad books can make our souls happy!).

With more than ten years experience in school libraries, I have been exposed to a wide range of books targeted for different age groups. During this time I started making a point of reading more YA to be able to book talk and recommend books to teenagers who according to our statistics were reading less than any other students. Now? Even though I am not currently working in a school 90% of the books I read are YA

Why do I read YA?

So why am I reading YA? Because I am addicted want to. When I am reading for pleasure I want to read what I like.

I believe the appeal of YA books comes down to the following:
Fast-paced, emotional, intense, exciting, the feels, realistic, relatable, dramatic, risky

In comparison adult books often seem slow, boring, tedious, monotonous, tired. Even highly anticipated books built up with media hype, such as the recent The Girl in the Train fall flat when put against the furiously expanding YA category.

Disclaimer: Obviously my opinion on adult books is a generalisation and not all YA is good, but there are many excellent YA reads which can be found on Goodreads or better yet from the recommendations made by honest bloggers & reviewers.
The blogs I recommend can be found on the drop-down menu under ‘About Me’ in the menu above. 

So here’s the question…  Is YA eclipsing Adult books?

Can Adult books keep up? Should we be worried?

Perhaps the key is in marketing?

I am hoping rather than squashing down those adult’s who, like me, happily read YA in public there can be a spark of change coming from the book industry themselves. Perhaps the key is in marketing?

The pre-publishing hype for YA is phenomenal, and in my opinion, it surpasses any other category. When, as a book blogger, I request an advance copy (ARC) of a YA title I already know a great deal about it. Book bloggers are always tuned to the new-book-radar. Listening to the quiet murmurings that a debut has reached the publishers or an established author is working on a new book. I anticipate the cover reveal, debate its aesthetics with fellow bloggers. I have read quotes, advanced reviews and seen book trailers. But when I browse the forthcoming adult titles I am frequently confronted by titles and covers I have never heard of…

Let me know what you think.

Further reading for those interested in the YA debate:
CNN:  A brief history of young adult literature
The New York Times: When Authors Take Risks, That’s Not Kid Stuff
New York Public Library: How did YA Become YA?
School Library Journal YA: A Category for the Masses. But What About Teens?
The New York Times: The Great Y.A. Debate of 2014
The Slate Book Review: Against YA
The English Journal: Young Adult Literature: The Problem With YA Literature
The Guardian: Why are so many adults reading YA and teen fiction?

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