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: 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: Rebound by Aga Lesiewicz

reboundReview by Sarah McDuling

Rebound is one of those super sneaky page-turners – the kind of book where you’re certain you’re going to put it down when you get to the end of the chapter, but then something happens that makes you want to keep reading. And so you read another chapter. And another, and another…

Packed full of red-herrings, surprise plot twists and complex characters with questionable morals, this tightly written psychological thriller is a sure bet to be one of the most popular crime reads of the year, not to mention an excellent choice for book clubs.

Protagonist Anna is a dynamic and very compelling main character. Recently single and enjoying her independence, she makes an impulsive decision that leads to an encounter with a strange man… and suddenly her life is drastically and irrevocably changed.

An engrossing debut from an impressive new talent, Rebound is the perfect read for fans of Gillian Flynn, Chelsea Cain and Mary Kubica.

Learn more about Rebound here!


Rebound

by Aga Lesiewicz

reboundLife is good for Anna Wright. She’s a successful media executive working for one of the UK’s largest TV corporations. She’s got a great boyfriend, some close friends and a lovely home. She adores her dog, Wispa, and she loves to run to help her de-stress.

But Anna’s perfect life starts to crumble from the moment when, out jogging on the Heath one day, she meets a handsome stranger. She takes a route into unfamiliar territory, and then she has to face the consequences.

There’s a dark, growing creepiness as the atmosphere becomes unsettled and, as Anna’s professional life becomes increasingly pressured and poisonous, her obsession with the intriguing stranger intensifies.

Learn more about Rebound here!

BOOK REVIEW: The Poison Artist by Jonathan Moore

the-poison-artistReview by Sarah McDuling

Wow. Just … wow! Almost from the first page, The Poison Artist grabbed my attention and held it tight. I could not put this book down and honestly, there were moments so fraught with tension that I had to remind myself to keep breathing.

Unfolding like a feverish nightmare where the lines between reality and fantasy are constantly blurred, The Poison Artist is a story dealing with the dangers of obsession and the dark side of desire.

With it’s haunting prose and intensely creepy atmosphere, The Poison Artist boasts a cast of compelling characters and a fantastic plot that kept me in a state of almost frantic confusion until the mystery was solved.

Learn more about The Poison Artist here!


The Poison Artist

by Jonathan Moore

the-poison-artistDr. Caleb Maddox is a crack San Francisco toxicologist leading a ground-breaking study of the human pain threshold based on minute analysis of chemical markers. He has also just broken up with his artist girlfriend after she discovered a shocking family secret in his past.

Seeking solace, Caleb finds a dark, old-fashioned saloon called House of Shields, and is mesmerised when a beautiful woman materialises out of the shadows, dressed like a 1940s movie star. The enigmatic Emmeline shares a pouring of absinthe with him, brushes his arm and vanishes.

As he pursues her through the brooding, night-time city, desperate to see her again, he simultaneously becomes entangled in a serial murder investigation that has … Learn More.

Learn more about The Poison Artist here!

 

BOOK REVIEW: The Obernwytn Chronicles by Isobelle Carmody (Review by Sarah McDuling)

xthe-red-queen.jpg.pagespeed.ic.IO8CV4RPXNIt’s (almost) here!

At long last, it has (nearly) arrived!

All hail The Red Queen.

Like so many others, I’ve been a fan of The Obernewtyn Chronicles since I was kid. I have read and re-read these books so many times, my copies have grown battered and torn and the characters have come to feel like old friends.

But alas, all good things must come to an end! With The Red Queen, Isobelle Carmody is finishing a story that has been captivating readers for many years. And I cannot wait to see how she does it. Really, I cannot wait. If I don’t get my hands on a copy soon, there is a very distinct possibility that my head is going to explode …

I’m very much looking forward to reading this book, is what I’m saying.

In case you’re not familiar with this highly acclaimed and much beloved series, allow me to explain. The first book in The Obernewtyn Chronicles was published nearly 30 years ago. (Well … 28 years to be precise.) Since then it has been a consistent bestseller, collecting new generations of fans with each passing year. In fact, the first book has been published as a Popular Penguin title (a true sign of greatness). In editions both pink and orange – how cool is that?!

Way before Dystopian Fiction became a whole big craze, literally decades before anyone had ever heard of The Hunger Games or Divergent, Isobelle Carmody was writing about a distant future in which the world has been ravaged by a nuclear holocaust. In other words, when it comes to Dystopian YA, Isobelle Carmody did it first. And more importantly, she did it better.

This series is a beautifully written and painstakingly imagined, with the kind of detailed world-building and intricate plotting that has ensured each new book is better than the last. It also boasts the most iron-willed, big-hearted and strong-minded heroine I have ever encountered. No kidding. Elspeth Gordie is pretty much my role model in life. In times of hardship, I frequently ask myself, “What would Elspeth do?” and the answer is invariably, “Elspeth would do the most difficult, awe-inspiring and heroic thing imaginable. And she would do it alone. And she would do it without hesitation and without complaining.”

So yeah. I think it’s safe to say that The Red Queen is my favourite YA book of 2015. And I say this with the utmost confidence, despite the fact that I haven’t read it yet. Such is my unwavering faith in Isobelle Carmody.

Long live the Queen!

Grab your copy of The Red Queen here.

xthe-red-queen.jpg.pagespeed.ic.IO8CV4RPXNThe Red Queen

by Isobelle Carmody

The time has come at last for Elspeth Gordie to leave the Land on her quest to find and stop the computermachine Sentinel from unleashing the deadly Balance of Terror arsenal.

But before she can embark on her quest, she must find a lost key; and although she has long prepared for this day, nothing is as she imagined.

This is the final, dramatic volume in series of books that undoubtedly shines as one of the most fantastic, and fantastical, tapestries ever woven.

 Grab your copy of The Red Queen here.

BOOK REVIEW: Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff (review by Sarah McDuling)

illuminaeWhen I first heard about Illuminae, it was described to me as “Battlestar Galatica meets 10 Things I Hate About You”. This obviously sounded like the best idea ever to me. I figured I was probably going to adore the hell out of it. And I was right!

With a story that has been carefully constructed using a collection of emails, IM chats, descriptions of video footage, classified documents, diary entries, interview transcripts, pictures and poetry – Illuminae is a wildly imaginative, constantly surprisingly and often visually stunning reading experience.

This is creative storytelling at its best. In fact, the book reads almost like watching a movie or playing a video game … except for being way better than either of those things because it’s a BOOK!

From the combined imaginations of Amie Kaufman (The Starbound Trilogy) and Jay Kristoff (The Lotus War Trilogy) – Illuminae is the first book in a new trilogy that is best categorized as a Young-Adult-Space-Opera-slash-Romantic-Comedy-slash-Psychological-Thriller. This book shimmers with playful humour and burns bright with raw emotion. It’s exactly the kind of addictive read that will keep you up all night frantically flipping pages and mentally casting the movie adaptation in the back of your mind. (For the record, I settled on Miles Teller to play Ezra and Zoey Deutch to play Kady.)

Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

A gloriously bold, genre-mashing masterpiece, Illuminae will take you on a madcap joy-ride through space, spinning a story that involves a fleet of refugees on the run from certain death, a highly contagious zombie disease, an evil planet-destroying corporation and a possibly deranged, definitely eccentric super computer called AIDAN, (Artificial Intelligence Defense Analytics Network).

It also features a wonderful cast of endearing characters that will capture your heart (and then crush it into space dust) and an utterly adorable love/hate relationship between a wise-cracking hero and a pink-haired astro-princess with mad computer skills.

In short, Illuminae is a crazy-amazing rollercoaster ride!

Guaranteed to blow your mind, tie your heartstrings up in knots and play a frenzied game of ping-pong with your expectations – Illuminae is a must read for science fiction lovers, romance junkies and comedy fans alike.

Grab your copy of Illuminae here!

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illuminaeIlluminae

Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Kady and Ezra thought their break-up was messy until they witnessed their entire world literally falling apart. Now they’re piecing together what’s left of their lives, and their romance, and trying to survive an intergalactic war. An innovatively designed story that’s best described as Battlestar Galactica meets 10 Things I Hate About You.

The year is 2575, and two rival mega-corporations are at war over a planet that’s little more than an ice-covered speck at the edge of the universe … Read more.

Grab your copy of Illuminae here!


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