Monday, August 31, 2015

Book Review #590 - Low Red Moon (Low Red Moon #1) by Ivy Devlin


My Rating: 4/5

Source: Bought 

Buy:  Publisher | The Book Depository | Booktopia


The only thing Avery Hood can remember about the night her parents died is that she saw silver--deadly silver, moving inhumanly fast. As much as she wants to remember who killed them, she can't, and there's nothing left to do but try to piece her life back together. Then Avery meets the new boy in school--Ben, mysterious and beautiful, with whom she feels a connection like nothing she's ever experienced. When Ben reveals he's a werewolf, Avery still trusts him--at first. Then she sees that sometimes his eyes flash inhuman silver. And she learns that she's not the only one who can't remember the night her parents died.Part murder mystery, part grief narrative, and part heart-stopping, headlong romance, Low Red Moon is a must-read for teen paranormal fans. As breathless as Twilight and as spooky as Shiver, this is a book to be devoured in one sitting--by an acclaimed YA author making her paranormal debut under the pseudonym Ivy Devlin.

This book had a very enchanting feel to it which was evident from the very beginning. 

I loved the setting of the woods as its presence was always felt and it almost doubled as a character itself. You could definitely feel the love and respect Avery and her parents had for the area and their want to preserve and save it won me over. 

The werewolf/paranormal aspect was kind of disappointing as it didn't impact or influence the story at all. Without this element, the book could have been written exactly the same as a contemporary novel. 

The mystery element was the major plot in this book and this is what I enjoyed the most. 

The romance was okay, although nothing special or memorable. 

I am looking forward to reading the sequel Moonrise to see if werewolves have an overall meaning to the story. 

If you are interested in buying this book, both The Book Depository and Booktopia have it largely discounted. 

Friday, August 28, 2015

Book Review #589 - Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck


My Rating: 5/5

Source: Bought 

Buy: The Book Depository


While the powerlessness of the laboring class is a recurring theme in Steinbeck’s work of the late 1930s, he narrowed his focus when composing Of Mice and Men (1937), creating an intimate portrait of two men facing a world marked by petty tyranny, misunderstanding, jealousy, and callousness. But though the scope is narrow, the theme is universal: a friendship and shared dream that make an individual’s existence meaningful.

This was my first Steinbeck novel and I read it as part of my 1001 Books challenge where I try and read at least one book from there a month. 

I went into this book thinking that I would not like it as I am not usually the biggest fan of classics. 

This book was only 100 or so pages long but it felt much longer (and not in a negative way). The characters and setting were very vividly portrayed and the backdrop of the depression era really added to the realism.

I loved the relationship between Lennie and George. George was very protective of Lennie whilst Lennie was ferociously loyal towards George. 

I hadn't been spoiled of the ending so I was very surprised and shocked by the final couple of plot twists. 

The very last plot twists was one of the most shocking ones I have ever encountered and there is no doubt it will remain memorable. 

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Book Review #588 - Legacy of Kings (Blood of Gods and Royals #1) by Eleanor Herman


My Rating: 4/5

Source: Harlequin Australia

Buy: Publisher or Dymocks


Imagine a time when the gods turn a blind eye to the agony of men, when the last of the hellions roam the plains and evil stirs beyond the edges of the map. A time when cities burn, and in their ashes, empires rise.

Alexander, Macedonia’s sixteen-year-old heir, is on the brink of discovering his fated role in conquering the known world but finds himself drawn to newcomer Katerina, who must navigate the dark secrets of court life while hiding her own mission: kill the Queen. But Kat’s first love, Jacob, will go to unthinkable lengths to win her, even if it means competing for her heart with Hephaestion, a murderer sheltered by the prince. And far across the sea, Zofia, a Persian princess and Alexander’s unmet fiancĂ©e, wants to alter her destiny by seeking the famed and deadly Spirit Eaters.

Weaving fantasy with the salacious and fascinating details of real history, New York Times bestselling author Eleanor Herman reimagines the greatest emperor the world has ever known: Alexander the Great, in the first book of the Blood of Gods and Royals series.

This book has been commonly referred to as 'Game of Thrones for young adults'. I think that description is spot on although I found this book much easier to follow than the other. 

At first I was a little hesitant when I discovered how many narrators there were (there were at least 5) but I found that when they all had very distinct voices and the story settled very quickly making it almost impossible to get confused. 

I partially predicted the major plot twist and thought that it was fairly transparent. 

The romance in this book was lacking which I was pleased about as romance tends to overshadow other aspects. 

I really enjoyed both the historical and mythological elements this book contained and I cannot wait to see how this develops further. 

Zo (the least used narrator) reminded me of Daenerys from the A Song of Ice and Fire series in that she is separated by distance from the other characters. Her portion of the story had no real conclusion to it as not much time was spent with her. 

Kat and Alex dominated the most attention and for that reason they were the most developed characters. 

I would like to hear more from the lesser used narrators Zo and Jacob in the next book. 

Overall, I loved how neatly the historical elements blended in with the epic action scenes.  

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Book Review #587 - The Draftees: How Five Boys Made it to the AFL Draft by Emma Quayle


My Rating: 4/5

Buy: Booktopia

Meet Jake Lever, Peter Wright, Isaac Heeney, Tom Lamb and Clem Smith. In 2015, they played their first game. In years to come, they could become stars. But first they had to be drafted to a club.

Every year, hundreds of boys are put through their paces at AFL draft camps, training sessions, under-18 competitions and school footy matches. They all hope they will end the year signed to an AFL team. Meanwhile, clubs are making brutal calls on which young players will take them up the ladder. Too many bad recruiting decisions could set them back years. 

Emma Quayle, senior football writer for The Age and an expert on talent identification, tracks these five boys through 2014 – the year they nominate for the AFL's national draft. We meet their coaches and families. We ride the bumps and share the triumphs. With exclusive behind-the-scenes access to recruiters at St Kilda Football Club as they decide on their 2014 draft picks, Emma sheds light on what it takes to become an AFL footballer.

For Jake, Pete, Isaac, Tom and Clem, hearing their name called out on draft day is just the beginning of their football story. But it takes a lot to get to that start line.

Football (of the Australian variety) and reading are my two favourite things in the world (and in that order) so a book about football was ideal for me. 

The book alternates between the St Kilda Football Club's recruiters and the five young promising footballers who are preparing to hopefully be drafted to an AFL team. 

The book does pay the most attention to St Kilda but there is plenty there for fans of all clubs. Through the insight we get with the Saints we get a pretty good analysis of all the players nominating for the 2014 draft. 

I liked that the player stories were spread out through the book and were never that long as it prevented me from getting bored. 

As someone who watches the AFL draft each year (since it started being telecast anyway) I really enjoyed reading about the process of it all, especially from multiple perspectives. 

Although I thought the players chosen were all interesting, especially since they all had completely different journeys I really would have liked this guy to have been included: 

Lachie Weller wins the award for most glamorous candid pic in sport. Ever.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Book Review #586 - To the Nines (Stephanie Plum #9) by Janet Evanovich


My Rating: 3.5/5

Source: Bought

Buy: The Book Depository


Stephanie Plum's got rent to pay, people shooting at her, and psychos wanting her dead every day of the week (much to the dismay of her mother, her family, the men in her life, the guy who slices meat at the deli...oh, the list goes on). An ordinary person would cave under the pressure.

But hey, she's from Jersey.

Stephanie Plum may not be the best bounty hunter in beautiful downtown Trenton, but she's pretty darn good at turning bad situations her way...and she always gets her man. In To The Nines, her cousin Vinnie (who's also her boss) has posted bail on Samuel Singh, an immigrant who becomes an illegal alien by violating his Visa and extending his stay in the United States. When the elusive Mr. Singh goes missing, Stephanie is on the case. But what she uncovers is far more sinister than anyone imagines and leads to a group of killers who give new meaning to the word "hunter..."

In a race against time that takes her from the Jersey Turnpike to the Vegas strip, Stephanie Plum is on the chase of her life.

It has been a while since I last read a Stephanie Plum book and I really enjoyed being back in her universe. 

This book fell a little flat for me. I still enjoyed it but I didn't feel like it added anything to the entire series. 

The love triangle is starting to annoy me - and I still (like Stephanie) can't make up my mind between the two guys. 

The added family drama was definitely humerous but I would have liked more of Grandma Mazur. 

Overall, this is just another great book in what is becoming one of my favourite adult series, I just hope I don't leave it this long again to read the next book.  

Book Review #584 (Part 2 of 2) - Contact (The Phoenix Files #2) by Chris Morphew


My Rating: 4.5/5

Buy: Booktopia

As soon as Luke touches down in Phoenix, he knows that something's not right. 

The brand-new town is supposed to be a paradise, but it's not long before the cracks begin to show: malfunctioning phone lines, restrictions on car use, and a private security detail instead of a police force. 

Then Luke, Peter and Jordan uncover the true reason for the town's existence - a secret that means Phoenix is suddenly both the safest and most dangerous place on Earth. 

Someone in Phoenix is plotting to wipe out the human race. 


This book takes place right where the first one leaves off which would be good continuity if you read them back to back (which I didn't). 

Like with Arrival, this book was extremely fast paced and action driven. There is always something happening which keeps you on the edge of your seat. 

This book is told from Peter's perspective (whereas Arrival was told from Luke's). I found this distracting at first as I had to keep reminding myself of that fact. In that regard, their voices were rather similar. 

There were some answers to a lot of the mystery aspects in the story, however they mostly only ended up in asking more important questions. 

Overall, I am really enjoying this series as not only is it engaging and fast paced it is also extremely fun to read. 

Monday, August 24, 2015

Book Review #585 - Beautiful Oblivion (Maddox Brothers #1) by Jamie McGuire


My Rating: 3.5/5

Source: Bought

Buy: The Book Depository


The Beautiful Disaster and Walking Disaster phenomenon continues in the first heart-pounding new adult romance in The Maddox Brothers series.

Fiercely independent Camille "Cami" Camlin gladly moved on from her childhood before it was over. She has held down a job since before she could drive, and moved into her own apartment after her freshman year of college. Now tending bar at The Red Door, Cami doesn’t have time for much else besides work and classes, until a trip to see her boyfriend is cancelled, leaving her with a first weekend off in almost a year.

Trenton Maddox was the king of Eastern State University, dating co-eds before he even graduated high school. His friends wanted to be him, and women wanted to tame him, but after a tragic accident turned his world upside down, Trenton leaves campus to come to grips with the crushing guilt. 

Eighteen months later, Trenton is living at home with his widower father, and works full-time at a local tattoo parlor to help with the bills. Just when he thinks his life is returning to normal, he notices Cami sitting alone at a table at The Red. 

As the baby sister of four rowdy brothers, Cami believes she’ll have no problem keeping her new friendship with Trenton Maddox strictly platonic. But when a Maddox boy falls in love, he loves forever—even if she is the only reason their already broken family could fall apart.

This is the first book in a new series by Jamie McGuire although it is a companion to Beautiful Disaster and Walking Disaster. 

As this book is set over the time period as BD and WD the characters Abby and Travis make constant appearances throughout which was really fascinating. 

When I was reading from Travis and Abby's perspective, their relationship was a roller coaster but it didn't feel anywhere near as crazy as it did from a third person perspective. 

I read this book throughout the night and was very sleep deprived when I finished it. I am going to use my sleep deprived state as an excuse as to why I didn't see the end coming as I am usually right onto these surprises however this time I was blindsided. 

Trenton seemed a lot more toned down than Travis. He is obviously older and more mature but he also had nowhere near as many issues or anger than Travis did. 

Friday, August 21, 2015

Book Review #584 (Part 1 of 2) - Arrival (The Phoenix Files #1) by Chris Morphew


My Rating: 4.5/5

Buy: Booktopia

As soon as Luke touches down in Phoenix, he knows that something's not right. 

The brand-new town is supposed to be a paradise, but it's not long before the cracks begin to show: malfunctioning phone lines, restrictions on car use, and a private security detail instead of a police force. 

Then Luke, Peter and Jordan uncover the true reason for the town's existence - a secret that means Phoenix is suddenly both the safest and most dangerous place on Earth. 

Someone in Phoenix is plotting to wipe out the human race. 


This book is a bind-up of the first two books in the Phoenix Files series. As I read them at different times I will post my reviews separately. 

This book was incredibly easy to read as it was action packed, fast paced and there was ALWAYS something happening and was highly adventurous. 

The mystery element wasn't as strong as it could have been, simply because there was no time to ponder potential possibilities as the book moved too fast. 

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Book Review #583 - The Adventures of Robin Hood by Roger Lancelyn Green


My Rating: 3/5

Source: Bought

Buy: Booktopia


The classic story of social justice and outrageous cunning. Robin Hood, champion of the poor and oppressed, stands against the cruel power of Prince John and the brutal Sheriff of Nottingham. Taking refuge in the vast Sherwood Forest with his band of men, he remains determined to outwit his enemies.

My knowledge of Robin Hood prior to reading this book was quite limited. I knew that he was an outlaw that lived in the forest, stole from the rich and gave to the poor and that was it. 

To be honest, there is not much more to know than that. The book is told in multiple small fable like stories that are actually quite repetitive. 

I really loved the history element to it especially given that it involved some Plantagenets as I am a descendant of them. 

It also made the story feel more real as it is set in a real location amongst the backdrop of real antagonists during a real conflict. 

Overall, given how repetitive the small individual stories were I don't think perhaps I should have read the book cover to cover instead read a few short stories at a time. 

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Book Review #582 - Wind in the Wires (Woody Creek #4) by Joy Dettman


My Rating: 4/5

Source: Pan MacMillan Australia

Buy: Booktopia


The wind is whispering in Woody Creek... Change is in the air
It's 1958 and Woody Creek is being dragged – kicking and screaming – into the swinging sixties. 

Jenny's daughters, Cara and Georgie, are now young women. They have inherited their mother's hands, but that is where their similarity ends. Raised separately, they have never met. A mistake from Cara's teenage years looms over her future, but she believes emphatically in the white wedding and happily ever after myth. Georgie has seen enough of marriage and motherhood. She plans to live her life as her grandmother did, independent of a man. 

But life for the Morrison girls has never been easy, and once the sisters are in each other's lives, long-buried secrets are bound to be unearthed, the dramatic consequences of which no-one could have predicted...

I absolutely loved the first two books in this series and as I thought that the third one dropped away a bit I was looking forward to how I would perceive this one. 

As someone who predominantly reads young adult literature, I enjoyed the young narrators of Georgie and Cara. 

As characters, I loved Georgie and apart from Jenny is probably my favourite character in the entire series. Although I had mixed feelings about Cara I could understand why she was the way she was. 

Cara was born and raised in the city and raised by older parents which is why she came across as rather snobbish and uptight. I did however enjoy her quest for identity and acceptance. 

The past and present combine to bring secrets to light that Jenny had hoped to keep hidden. For the most part the 'secret' was kind of underwhelming and I am still unsure even after a week after finishing the book whether I am okay with the ending or not. 

Margot was as annoying as ever and I am interested to see where her character goes as she is becoming very much like Amber (who ended up in a mental institution). 

I found this to be more of a bridging book as some of the storylines and characters are merging and is setting it all up well for the final two books. 

Overall, this is fast becoming my favourite adult fiction series and also my favourite Aussie series and I highly recommend them. 

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Book Review #581 - The End (A Series of Unfortunate Events #13) by Lemony Snicket


My Rating: 3.5/5

Source: Bought

Buy: The Book Depository 


Dear Reader,
You are presumably looking at the back of this book, or the end of THE END. The end of THE END is the best place to begin THE END, because if you read THE END from the beginning of the beginning of THE END to the end of the end of THE END, you will arrive at the end of the end of your rope.
This book is the last in A Series of Unfortunate Events, and even if you braved the previous twelve volumes, you probably can't stand such unpleasantries as a fearsome storm, a suspicious beverage, a herd of wild sheep, an enormous bird cage, and a truly haunting secret about the Baudelaire parents.
It has been my solemn occupation to complete the history of the Baudelaire orphans, and at last I am finished. You likely have some other occupation, so if I were you I would drop this book at once, so THE END does not finish you.
With all due respect,
Lemony Snicket
This is the thirteenth and final book in the A Series of Unfortunate Events series and one of my favourite books in the series as well. 
Finally some questions were answered in this book but the ending created even more questions. 
The unique writing style wasn't as witty in this installment and the plot was weaker than the previous ones but I overall enjoyed this book a lot more than the previous ones. 
The new characters were all intriguing and I thought it was about time someone other than the orphans saw Olaf as the villain that he is - and he got locked in a cage for it. 
I wasn't a big fan of the ending as it didn't wrap things up neat enough. There was a sudden and weird romance and just as a whole it was rather disappointing. 

Monday, August 17, 2015

Book Review #580 - The Little Book of Australia's Big Things Illustrated by Alice Oehr and Written by Samone Bos

I received this book for review from Hardie Grant Egmont Australia

I asked for this book because I thought it would be a cool project to do with my nephew. Even though he was a little young to do the cutting out overall we had a good time. 

This is what the book looks like: 

For those who don't know what these 'big things' are they are basically giant sculpture like objects throughout Australia and are popular tourist attractions for road trippers. Below are the pictures of my finished products: (I don't usually do craft stuff so I am quite happy how these came out)

The Big Banana: 

The Big Merino: 

The Big Ned Kelly: 

The Big Koala:

The Big Pineapple: 

The Big Penguin: 

and for those interested this is what the real Big Penguin in Penguin, Tasmania looks like (I only just went there in February): 

The Big Golden Guitar: 

The Big Galah: 

The Big Trout: 

The Big Lobster: 

And here they all together with the fold-out panoramic scene: 

Overall, this was a fun and clever idea and my nephew and I really enjoyed doing it. I was a little disappointed that none of the big things from my home state (Western Australia) were included but wasn't surprised as we don't have very many. 

Friday, August 14, 2015

Book Review #579 - Fearsome Dreamer (Fearsome Dreamer #1) by Laure Eve


My Rating: 3.5.5

Source: The Five Mile Press

Buy: The Book Depository


There is a world where gods you’ve never heard of have wound themselves into hearts, and choice has led its history down a different path.

This is a world where France made a small, downtrodden island called England part of its vast and bloated empire.

There are people here who can cross a thousand miles with their minds. There are rarer people still who can move between continents in the blink of an eye.

These people are dangerous.

And wanted. Desperately wanted.

Apprentice hedgewitch Vela Rue knows that she is destined for more. She knows being whisked off from a dull country life to a city full of mystery and intrigue is meant to be. She knows she has something her government wants, a talent so rare and precious and new that they will do anything to train her in it.

But she doesn’t know that she is being lied to. She doesn’t know that the man teaching her about her talent is becoming obsessed by her, and considered by some to be the most dangerous man alive ...

This book is told via dual narration between the two main protagonists Rue and White. I liked this but would have preferred it being first or second person rather than third. 

I did not like Rue at all. I found her arrogant and rather cold whilst I really enjoyed White as a character. 

The plot took a while to develop (particularly from Rue's perspective) and I found the book rather hard to read at times. 

I felt like nothing really major happened in this book and that it was predominantly written to set up the sequel. 

I would like to know more about the worlds created and also about the talent as for a 350 plus paged book it didn't contain much depth.