BOOK REVIEW: The Big Rewind by Libby Cudmore (Review by Sarah McDuling)

the big rewindReview by Sarah McDuling

I really loved this book! It’s always so great to come across something different and The Big Rewind is like a breath of fresh air!

Described as Raymond Chandler meets Nick Hornby, The Big Rewind plays out like a noir detective story set in hipster Brooklyn. With wry humor and consistently clever plotting, we join Jett Bennett, aspiring music journalist, as she hunts down the person responsible for killing her neighbour. Her main clue? A mix tape posted to the murder victim.

Full of quirky characters, a generous dollop of nostalgia, a dash of romance and a lot of hilariously-cutting commentary on hipster culture – The Big Rewind is pure pleasure to read.

Don’t be fooled by the fun cover art or the short length (under 300 pages). It may look like a light-hearted romp (and it really is a lot of fun), but it’s also a very smart and deftly written murder mystery. And while it may be a quick read, it’s a very satisfying one!

Grab your copy of The Big Rewind here!


The Big Rewind

by Libby Cudmore

the big rewindRaymond Chandler meets Nick Hornby in this clever noir romp through hipster Brooklyn as a mysterious mix tape puts a young amateur sleuth on the hunt for a killer – and for the truths hidden within her own heart.

To listen to someone else’s mix tapes is a huge breach of trust. But KitKat was dead…and curiosity got the better of me.

When a mix tape destined for her friend KitKat accidentally arrives in Jett Bennett’s mailbox, she doesn’t think twice about it – even in the age of iTunes and Spotify, the hipster residents of the Barter Street district of Brooklyn are in a constant competition to see who can be the most retro … Read More

Grab your copy of The Big Rewind here!

BOOK REVIEW: My Sister Rosa by Justine Larbalestier (Review by Sarah McDuling)

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Review by Sarah McDuling

Oh boy. This book scared me silly, in the best possible way. A tightly written psychological thriller, My Sister Rosa combines compelling characterisation with an expertly paced plot and an atmosphere fraught with tension. The result is a chilling page-turner that will leave your emotions tied up in knots.

Che’s 10-year-old sister Rosa isn’t like other little girls. She doesn’t understand concepts like right and wrong, or good and bad. She is very intelligent, frighteningly manipulative and wholly lacking in empathy. She’s a psychopath.

Che’s parents are blind to Rosa’s real nature and don’t believe him when he tries to make them see the truth. And so it’s left up to Che to be his sister’s keeper. He watches over Rosa, monitoring her actions, trying his best to control her behaviour and teach her how to act normal and fit in.

But Rosa doesn’t like being controlled and when the family relocates to New York, suddenly Che realises he might not be able to prevent Rosa from hurting someone …

Grab your SIGNED copy of My Sister Rosa here!


My Sister Rosa

by Justine Larbalestier

MySisterRosa_RCcvr.inddWhat if the most terrifying person you’d ever met was your ten-year old sister? A spine-chilling psychological thriller from one of Australia’s finest YA authors.

‘I promise,’ said Rosa. ‘I won’t kill and I won’t make anyone else kill.’

I can’t see the loophole. Since the guinea pig there’s been nothing. Months now without Rosa killing as much as a mosquito. As far as I know.

Che Taylor has four items on his list: 1. He wants to spar, not just train in the boxing gym. 2. He wants a girlfriend. 3. He wants to go home. 4. He wants to keep Rosa under control … Read More

 

Grab your SIGNED copy of My Sister Rosa here!

 

BOOK REVIEW: Max by Sarah Cohen-Scali (Review by Emily Meredith)

maxReview by Emily Meredith

Max is a fascinating fictionalisation of a very real piece of World War II history.

The title character is the first child born in the Lebensborn program, a terrifying Nazi eugenics initiative to create perfect Aryan children. We are first introduced to Max before he is born, and he is already determined to be a perfect Nazi, with plans to be born on Hitler’s birthday.

Although it was a little strange to have the story narrated by a newborn, the content was so interesting that I didn’t really notice the oddity while I was immersed in the story. We follow Max from his birth until the end of the war, when he is almost seven.

Provocative and confronting, Max raised a plethora of important questions about human morality. It also highlighted the evils done to German women and children, as well as the Jewish and Polish populations, during WWII.

Grab your copy of Max here!


Max

by Sarah Cohen-Scali

maxWhen you first meet Max it’s 1936, in Bavaria, and he’s still a baby inside his blonde, blue-eyed mother. Utterly indoctrinated in the Nazi ideology, Max will address you and tell you his story until 1945—his destiny as an exceptional being, the prototype of the ‘Lebensborn’ (Fountains of Life) program, designed to produce perfect specimens of the Aryan race to regenerate the Reich. But when Max meets Lukas, a young Polish boy who resembles him but who rebels against the Nazi system, cracks starts to appear in Max’s convictions…

Max is compulsive reading. Against all your instincts to despise what Max tells you, about his childish cruelty, his attempts to eliminate any aspect of weakness … Read More

Grab your copy of Max here!

BOOK REVIEW: Yellow by Megan Jacobson (Review by Sarah McDuling)

yellowReview by Sarah McDuling

Yellow is brilliant. Really. It’s one of those books that as soon as you finish it you want to read it all over again because it’s just that good.

Set in the late ’90s, in the time of Spice Girls and Friends, Yellow is the story of a girl called Kirra who lives in a small coastal town. Her charming yet useless father has left to shack up with another woman. Her mother is drowning her sorrows in a bottle. Neither of Kirra’s parents have any idea that she is being bullied at school and to make matters worse (not to mention pretty weird) Kirra has starting having conversations with a boy who has been dead for twenty years …

Despite the nostalgic ’90s setting and the ghostly flashbacks to the ’70s, Yellow is essentially a timeless story. It’s a story very much grounded in reality, touching on issues like alcoholism, depression and bullying, and yet it’s also a story with a supernatural subplot about a dead boy haunting a telephone booth. But more than anything else, Yellow is a story about growing up, figuring out who you are and who you want to be.

Part ghost story, part murder mystery, and part coming of age, Yellow is a stunning debut from an amazing new talent. After devouring this book in a single sitting, you can bet I will be eagerly waiting to see what Megan Jacobson does next.

Grab your copy of Yellow here!


Yellow

by Megan Jacobson

yellowIf fourteen-year-old Kirra is having a mid-life crisis now then it doesn’t bode well for her life expectancy. Her so-called friends bully her, whatever semblance of a mother she had has been drowned at the bottom of a gin bottle ever since her dad left them for another woman, and now a teenage ghost is speaking to her through a broken phone booth.

Kirra and the ghost make a pact. She’ll prove who murdered him almost twenty years ago if he makes her popular, gets her parents back together, and he promises not to haunt her. Things aren’t so simple, however, and Kirra realises that people can be haunted in more ways than one.

Grab your copy of Yellow here!

 

BOOK REVIEW: Summer Skin by Kirsty Eagar (Review by Sarah McDuling)

summer skinReview by Sarah McDuling

Summer Skin really and truly blew me away. I can’t remember the last time I had a reading experience that was so wonderfully surprising! When I picked up this book I expected a cute, fluffy YA romance and instead what I got was a smart, hard-hitting and emotionally weighted love story full of incredibly rich and layered characters. At turns shockingly honest and wildly funny, with moments of such raw vulnerability that it just breaks your heart … Summer Skin does not pull any punches. This is no-holds-barred storytelling at its best!

Covering a range of topics such as gender politics, sexual desire, slut shaming and rape culture, Summer Skin has a lot of important things to say – and it says them without once preaching or lecturing. Summer Skin deals with a lot of topical issues within the framework of a very engaging love story. Well written and sharply focused, it offers readers an authentic snapshot of Australian youth culture.

Ideal for fans of Melina Marchetta, Vikki Wakefield and Maureen McCarthy.

* Please note this book is marketed at teens aged 17+ and contains some material that may be considered unsuitable for younger readers.

Grab your SIGNED copy of Summer Skin here!


Summer Skin

by Kirsty Eagar

summer skinA searingly honest and achingly funny story about love and sex amid the hotbed of university colleges by the award-winning author of Raw Blue. Jess Gordon is out for revenge. Last year the jocks from Knights College tried to shame her best friend. This year she and a hand-picked college girl gang are going to get even.

The lesson: don’t mess with Unity girls. The target: Blondie, a typical Knights stud, arrogant, cold…and smart enough to keep up with Jess.

A neo-riot grrl with a penchant for fanning the flames meets a rugby-playing sexist pig – sworn enemies or two people who happen to find each other when they’re at their most vulnerable?

Grab your SIGNED copy of Summer Skin here!

BOOK REVIEW: Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard (Review by Sarah McDuling)

glass swordReview by Sarah McDuling

Victoria Aveyard really knows how to keep readers wanting more. Last year, Red Queen shot to the top of the best sellers lists as people everywhere found themselves captivated by the story of Mare Barrow AKA The Lightning Girl.

Red Queen is a fast paced and action-packed tale set in a dystopian society with a rigid class structure, in a world full of people with superpowers. The book ended on a pretty intense cliff-hanger and luckily Glass Sword picks up right where we left off.

As the second book in the series, Glass Sword has a lot of work to do setting things up for the next book. And yet not only does it manage to match the intensity of the first book, it packs a pretty harsh emotional punch in the final act. And by that I mean not everyone survives and the ending is pretty devastating – consider yourselves warned! In fact, based on the ending (another agonizing cliff-hanger) Victoria Aveyard is clearly gearing up for a pretty spectacular third book.

A must read for fans of Alexandra Bracken, Veronica Roth and Tahereh Mafi.

Pre-Order your copy of Glass Sword here!


Glass Sword: Kneel or Bleed
Red Queen Series: Book 2

by Victoria Aveyard

glass swordIf there’s one thing Mare Barrow knows, it’s that she’s different. Mare’s blood is Red – the colour of common folk – but her Silver ability, the power to control lightning, has turned her into a weapon that the royal court tries to control. The crown calls her an impossibility, a fake, but as she makes her escape from the prince and friend who betrayed her, Mare uncovers something startling: she is not the only one of her kind.

Pursued by the Silver king, Mare sets out to find and recruit other Red-and-Silver fighters to join in the struggle against her oppressors. But Mare finds herself on a deadly path, at risk of becoming exactly the kind of monster she is trying to defeat. Will she shatter …

Pre-Order your copy of Glass Sword here!

BOOK REVIEW: Passenger by Alexandra Bracken (Review by Emily Meredith)

passengerReview by Emily Meredith

Etta Spencer is a violin prodigy preparing to make her debut in the professional music world. But her performance doesn’t go to plan, she loses focus, and then she wakes up in 1776 in the middle of a sea battle.

Etta comes from a line of families with the ability to travel through time. However, her mother ran away from this world, and neglected to tell Etta anything about this skill. With a protagonist as oblivious as the reader, Bracken helps us fall into the world of Passenger with relative ease.

What I found incredibly unique about this particular method of time travel is that there are specific doors, or passages, which always lead to a particular place. Travellers can’t just choose a time and place to get to immediately – the path they must take can become convoluted.

Guided by Nicholas, an old-fashioned gentleman with a hint of pirate, Etta must locate an object only her family line had access to, or risk the wrath of a manipulative old patriarch. Although fearing for her mother’s life, Etta still finds a tiny bit of time for romance – who can resist a rogue? Plus, it makes for some brilliant moments when Nicholas’ old-fashioned manners clash with Etta’s modern ideas.

There are plenty of fascinating characters besides the two protagonists – Rose, Etta’s mother, Alice, her violin teacher, and the conniving Sophia Ironwood, just to name a few. The world-building is also fantastic – I absolutely loved falling into this one!

A great mix between historical fiction and fantasy, Passenger is a brilliant story. My only major issue with the book is that I now have to wait for the next one…This was my first foray into Alexandra Bracken, but I will definitely be checking out her The Darkest Minds series – if the premise is even half as good as Passenger I am sure to enjoy myself immensely!

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Pre-Order your copy of Passenger here!


* eBook deal *

Grab Alexandra Bracken’s The Darkest Minds for only $2.99!
(Only until Monday January 18, 2016)

The Darkest Minds

by Alexandra Bracken

the-darkest-mindsFirst in a dystopian trilogy, where showing your true colours can get you killed.

When Ruby woke up on her tenth birthday, something about her had changed. Something frightening enough to make her parents lock her in the garage and call the police. Something that got her sent to thurmond, a government ‘rehabilitation camp’. Ruby might have survived the mysterious disease that killed most of America’s children, but she and the others had emerged with something far worse: frightening abilities they could not control.

Now sixteen, Ruby is one of the dangerous ones. When the truth comes out, Ruby barely escapes thurmond with her life. Now on the run, she is desperate to find … Read More.

Grab your eBook copy of The Darkest Minds here!

 

 

 

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