Book Review – Dear Banjo – Sasha Wasley

DB 1000 wideOh my god, this book! I fell hard for this one!

I read well into the early hours of the morning and as soon as I woke up, ignored all the work I had to do and powered through to the end.

Let’s start with the setting. The landscapes were completely mesmerising. I hate the heat and yet I found myself yearning to be amongst the red dust and Kimberley canyons. I’ve never set foot on a farm but this book made me feel like I’d lived there my whole life.

This entire story revolves around the concept of humane and sustainable farming and that’s a subject that should be talked about more often. It’s sad that most people have no idea how our food reaches our plate and this book shows us the first steps into a better future in a way that’s interesting and never forceful.

The characters, oh the characters! Banjo’s drive and dedication was inspiring throughout the whole story. When it comes to love she’s flawed but that only made her feel more real to me and her awareness of those faults made it impossible to hold it against her.

And Tom is the ultimate nice guy, who always does the right thing and never loses his cool and yet rather than that making him dull he’s even more lovable.

I’d give this book more than 5 stars if that was an option!

The Same Deep Water by Lisa Swallow – Book Review

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The Same Deep Water by Lisa Swallow

Synopsis:

Phe wants to die.
Guy’s time is running out.
Two lists stand between them and the end of their lives.

Nineteen-year-old Phe moves to the opposite side of Australia to begin a career in a world she fights against being part of. Since the tragedy that stole her family when she was a child, she’s battled the push and pull between life and death.

On the edge of making the decision to end her life, Phe meets Guy.

Guy has too much money, a bucket list to complete and not much time.

He persuades Phe to write her own list and they pledge to be travelling companions through the life they both have left by completing their bucket lists together. Learning how to live in the moment and step outside of life’s constraints, Guy and Phe become closer.

Until Phe discovers the truth about what’s killing Guy and how he’s betraying them both.

My Review:

I was so excited about the concept of this book—two people completing their bucket lists together. It’s something I haven’t come across before.

I read the blurb, and it’s no great secret this book also deals with some pretty heavy subject material, but the issues the characters face are so nicely handled that it’s never too much to bear. I was instantly swept into their story, finding myself filled with emotion at the thought of how this book was going to end. I thought I knew exactly where the plot was going but not everything is as it seems. Towards the end I realised there was so much more to the story than what meets the eye. I won’t say any more at the risk of revealing spoilers but I thought this was a wonderfully thought provoking novel about the power of love.

Buy Links

Amazon.com

Amazon.co.uk

Amazon.com.au

Book Review: MEDUSA by Tony Talbot

Medusa-Resize

Lissa Two is a thief of the ocean cities, struggling to make enough money to clear her debts and take care of her traumatised sister, scratching a meagre living as best she can. So she has enough worries without her life getting more complicated…but when a boy named Hattan literally falls from the sky, she can’t just let him drown. It’s a decision she comes to regret, a decision that will change not only her life, but the lives of everyone she loves. If they survive..

It was the cover of this book that initially drew me in. The blurb is short and enticing but it doesn’t reveal much. There was really no way to know what to expect from Medusa without reading it.

I don’t want to give away too much of the storyline, because I think that mysterious allure really works in its favour. But I will say it follows the story of Lissa Two, a young woman struggling to keep her sister safe in a post-apocalyptic world fraught with danger.

Lissa is brave, resourceful and willing to fight for what she believes in. She’s a really strong character, and while she’s completely in control of surroundings, there is also an element of vulnerability to her. She keeps you on side at all times, and when the challenges hit, you definitely go along for the ride.

This story has everything a good book deserves. The storyline is original, the pacing works really well, and there are also lots of subplots to keep you engaged as you follow the characters. There are some unexpected twists and turns, betrayal, redemption and just a tiny hint of romance.

There is plenty of action but it’s well balanced by the detail of the characters, and the depth of the world they live in. I certainly have to give extra points to Tony for such a richly imagined setting. It stands to reason that in a time so far removed from our own, everything would be different, and he didn’t spare any of the finer points. There is added technology, different illnesses, even the language has evolved. It can be really tricky to do, but he took on the challenge and made it work.

If I was going to make any complaints about this book, it would be that the terminology was a little overwhelming at first. But given the difficulty in using alternative language, I don’t think there is any way to avoid it. Although initially a little confusing, it doesn’t take long before everything fits into place. And I think the book wouldn’t be the same without it, because it does, after all, make the world complete.

Finally the writing style suits the mood of the book just right. The words flow really well, and it makes for easy reading. At the same time, I feel there is a dark undertone to Tony’s writing, a sense of creepiness, that isn’t thrown in your face but subtly weaved into the background. It helps build tension and leaves you with a feeling of something sinister on the way. Which is perfect for the post-apocalyptic genre.

Overall, an enjoyable read that I would definitely recommend to sci-fi fans. 5/5 Stars!

 

Buy Link:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Medusa-Tony-Talbot-ebook/dp/B00IJCSNUA/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1392922734&sr=8-2&keywords=tony+talbot+medusa

Soul Ties – Book Review

Soul Ties CoverSoul Ties By Lisa Swallow

Published by Limitless Publishing 2013

On an English university campus Ava is hunting Keir. She needs his Nephilim soul to trade for her freedom.

 But Ava didn’t expect to find terrible secrets about the fate of the souls she takes. Or fall in love.

Soul-hunter Ava has retrieved hundreds of souls from demons but has never been assigned the dangerous mission for a Nephilim soul. When she arrives on campus and meets Keir, she discovers he has secrets more valuable than his Nephilim soul—secrets she could trade for the life she wants. She also meets Dahlia, the human girl with an inexplicable hold over Keir, and secrets of her own.

When she uncovers the true fate of the souls she takes back to her superiors, and what Keir is doing to try and prevent it, Ava’s world is turned upside down.

Forced into battle where the lines between good and evil are blurred, Ava is faced with the choice between saving herself by betraying those around her, or helping Keir and risking her life.

Ava’s ultimate choice: retrieve Keir’s soul and live, or join his battle and risk going to Hell.

 

This book was given to me as a gift, in the interest of paying it forward I decided to write a review about how much I loved it!

I was really excited about reading this book after hearing great things. It’s right up my alley with a paranormal plot and kick-ass heroine right in the centre. I have to say it didn’t disappoint! For me the most important part of any story is the characters, and Ava drew me in right from the first page. While she possesses some mean fighting skills and an attitude I wish I had, she also has a hidden vulnerability that makes us like her—despite some of her mean dialogue.

I found her intriguing as a character on her own but the way she interacted with Keir and Dahlia often made me laugh out loud. All the characters in this book are well developed, they are very different from each other and the author did a great job of keeping their voices distinct.

While I think love is important in a story I hate when it overwhelms the storyline, and although there is a strong romance in this book it never reached the point of overbearing for me. There is great chemistry between Ava and Keir, it never felt forced and it became a crucial part of the story rather than just being put in there for the sake of it.

Finally, the plot was well planned out, from the beginning it brought up enough questions to keep you wanting more and gradually revealed secrets as the book went on. At no point did I find it predictable and it leads nicely into the sequel Torn Souls, which will be published later this year.

Overall I gave this book 5/5.

 

 

Am I A Book Snob?

the restorer

I have to admit I have been somewhat spoilt in the world of books. Since I was a child my sister, Sarah, assessed my tastes and preferences for storytelling. Unlike most people I never had to sift through piles of books, studying blurbs and flicking through the pages, reading numerous duds on the hunt for my next favourite novel. I was pretty lucky, she read the duds for me and every book she handed to me was perfectly matched to my needs. My own personal book shopper. I have to take a moment to say a giant THANK YOU to her, her influence in those early days has played a huge part in the life I now live.

Now I’m all grown up, I’m out there on my own—just like everyone else—scanning the libraries, looking for the next story to keep me reading past midnight. Goodreads has been a great tool, if you love books I would strongly encourage you to join. It is basically an online book club but you can choose how much you want to participate. If you want a more personal experience you can add friends and join reading groups, if that doesn’t take your fancy you can just use it to check out ratings and read reviews. Goodreads has directed me to a lot of great books and when my personal book shopper made a recommendation that also rated highly on Goodreads I thought I couldn’t go too far wrong.

The Restorer by Amanda Stevens has been on my reading pile for a long time. I finally downloaded it on my Kindle and to my horror it said, ‘Thank you for purchasing Mills and Boon.’ I had never read a Mills and Boon book before and I didn’t plan to start now. In protest I downloaded another book and proceeded to tell everyone how I was tricked into buying Mills and Boon. Then someone said to me, ‘You know what, you’re being a book snob. What if it’s really good?’

So I’m 80% through The Restorer and I have to say it’s the best book I’ve read in a long time! Before you laugh at me you must know, there hasn’t been any romance thus far. Mills and Boon you shock me! I did a bit of research trying to figure out exactly how this book came to be published by M & B but so far I haven’t found any answers. Maybe they’ve decided to branch out and publish in different genres or perhaps they’ve realised a lot of people want more than a cheesy romance, they want a compelling plot.

If you don’t like ghost stories The Restorer probably isn’t for you. It’s about a graveyard restorer who can see ghosts and I have to say it’s pretty creepy. For me that’s perfect, I enjoy getting scared in books and the vividly described hauntings in this story are absolutely spine tingling. I found myself tucked under the blanket with the light left on all night. To me that’s a good sign, the author reached me, she freaked me out—her writing skills and intriguing plot far exceeded my expectations of a M & B novel.

It turns out I was a book snob—so you should never judge a book by its publisher.

For All The Non-Readers, This One Is For You

Cover of "Haunted : A Novel of Stories"

Cover of Haunted : A Novel of Stories

 

I would like to preface this blog by saying it is not for the faint-hearted  it contains a story with explicit content, it’s horrifying, hilarious and stomach-churning—read it at your own risk!

 

 

 

Sometimes I get caught up in the excitement of a book and can’t help telling absolutely everyone I meet to read it. I have friends who refuse to read and yet I still tell them the plot line, sometimes giving more detail than they’re interested in hearing. Usually they listen politely but I can see they’re really thinking they can’t imagine anything worse than reading it. Some people just don’t get the appeal, I’ve blogged about this before but it’s something that continues to bother me so for all those non-readers, this one is for you.

 

The most frequent thing I hear is that movies provide a much better source of entertainment because you can see them. I think a lot of people don’t realise how much you can see in your mind when you’re reading, it can be as vivid as any movie, if you disagree I have a challenge for you. Keep reading, if at the end of this blog you can honestly tell me you didn’t see every scene of the coming story then I will never hassle you about reading again! The fact is I know no one will.

 

Before we go any further I want to make sure you are all sufficiently warned, the story I’m about to direct you to cannot be unread so before you get started there’s something you should know.

 

This is a short story called Guts, it’s published in a book called Haunted by Chuck Palahniuk. When the author went on tour to promote the book release, Guts is the story he chose to read. In total 73 people fainted when they heard it. When I found out about that I saw it as a personal challenge. So I read it. Despite the warning of the lovely gentleman who put me onto this book and the detailed account of what happened at the readings I figured it couldn’t be as bad as everyone had made out. Wrong. Seriously, it’s pretty bad. I didn’t faint but I was alone in my room where I could take breaks when it became too much, I don’t know how I would have fared in a warm and crowded room. If you think you can handle it, or your morbid curiosity is too engaged to go back, click the link below and read the story for yourself.

 

http://chuckpalahniuk.net/features/shorts/guts

 

Now I dare you to tell me books aren’t as vivid as movies.