Ramble & Review: Charmed by Various

As a treat for myself on my Thirtieth Birthday I took the half-an-hour journey into Newcastle to a fancy café / bagel shop for breakfast, then to the only old school comic book store still around (Graphic Action Comics: 572 Hunter St, Newcastle West NSW 2302). The next closest shop would be in Sydney, a two-and-a-half-hour trip. Obviously, I can buy them online, but that is beside the point! If you want to walk into a shop and buy comics and you live in the Hunter, Lake Mac or Newcastle’s surrounding suburbs you must take the journey to Newcastle. I call it a journey as they’ve stopped the train running, so you either must fight for a spot on an overcrowded bus or drive in and do laps until you find a car park. I drove. I hate buses. I’ll do trains no worries, but not buses.

While browsing (this took well over an hour much to my husband’s disdain) I saw an ad for a Charmed Comic re-boot coming in march. I found this amusing as I was in the middle of rewatching the entire TV series, so I pre-ordered it. I sat down and watched the entire TV series when I first got the collection back in 2008 and being stuck on the couch feeding Ethan at all hours seemed like a good enough reason for a rewatch.

Once I got home I started googling the comic series, as before that fateful trip to town I hadn’t realised there had ever been one. Oops and I call myself a Charmed Fan, shame on me. I found it available in collected volumes on amazon (kindle) and promptly began reading.

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Charmed: Season 9, Volume 1 (Charmed Comic Series collects issues 0-5) by Paul Ruditis, Constance M. Burge

Charmed Season 9 picks up where the TV show left off With the source of all evil defeated, The Charmed Ones, three witches destined to be the most powerful force for good our world has ever known, have embraced a new life. One of new family, friends, and a future without the constant battle between good and evil… or so they think.

Paperback, 176 pages. Published February 15th 2011 by Zenescope.

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Charmed: Season 9, Volume 2 (Charmed Comic Series collects issues 6-12) by Paul Ruditis, Constance M. Burge, Raven Gregory, Dave Hoover

The girls are back in town! Season 9 of Charmed continues in the pages of this graphic novel from Zenescope. Follow along everyone’s favorite trio of witches as Paige, Phoebe, and Piper continue their adventures from the hit TV series.

Paperback, 184 pages. Published September 20th 2011 by Zenescope.

My Thoughts: Zenescope has managed to move the girls to the comic medium quite well. Reading the comics I felt like I was still watching the show. The comic’s time line has moved forward slightly from the 8th TV season. I loved seeing Chris and Wyatt (Piper’s boys) a little bit older and seeing the other two sisters with children also. The family dynamic is still strong, with Granddad Victor on babysitting duties as the hubbies jump in to help in the dramatic last battle of Season 9 volume 2. The hubbies may be joining the battles some of the time now, but it’s still very much a magical woman in charge vibe. A must for fans of the show.

At the end of issue twelve we are left with a Prue size cliff-hanger thanks to a conversation between Patty and Cole – which forced me to go and buy volume 3 and realise I’m probably going to want to read all the Zenescope comics before I read my pre-ordered Dynamite first issue. DAMN IT!

For those who don’t know: The Charmed TV show spanned Eight Seasons and aired from 1998 -2006. It focused on three sister witches kicking bad guy ass and finding love. It was all about girl power, sisterhood, doing what is right and staying true to one’s self. Heaps of action was had; the demon killing kind and men wrangling kind, with plenty of eye candy for both the male and female viewers. The Charmed Comic series by Zenescope print run lasted from 2010 to 2016. Season 9 as they called it came out as 24 issues between June 2010 and November 2012 and Season 10 came out as 20 issues between October 2014 and September 2016. Dynamite now owns the rights to CHARMED and will be releasing its first Comic on the 8th March 2017.

Charmed #1 by [Schultz, Erica]

Dynamite is proud to present a brand-new Charmed story by writer Erica Schultz (Swords of Sorrow: Black Sparrow & Lady Zorro, Revenge) and artist Maria Sanapo (Grimm, DC Comics Bombshells) that will CHARM returning fans and new alike! Based on the popular WB television series that ran from 1998 to 2006. CHARMED, like “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”, had a cult following due to its supernatural fantasy storylines and strong female characters. Our debut series follows the characters played by Alyssa Milano, Holly Marie Combs, and Rose McGowan as they balance adult life with a new demon threat.

CHARMED #1: A dark force has set its sights on the art world of San Francisco and the only ones who can stop it are Phoebe, Paige, and Piper! Balancing work, witchcraft, and a life is never easy, and the Charmed Ones are stretched too thin. Meanwhile, a demon in the Underworld rallies the troops with a plan to take out the Charmed Ones forever.

Mini Reviews: Guardians and Good Neighbors

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Guardians of the Galaxy (2008-2010) #1 by Andy Lanning, Dan Abnett (Author’s), Clint Langley, Paul Pelletier, Rick Magyar (Illustrator’s)

Back-to-back Annihilation wars have weakened the boundaries of our universe. In the face of terror, who stands to defend a desperate universe? Star-Lord and his squad of butt-kickers — the modern day Guardians of the Galaxy! Goodreads View.

MY THOUGHTS: I enjoyed the 2014 movie based on the 2008 Guardians of the Galaxy comic book reboot so much that after watching it I had intended on going and getting my hands the comics. And I did! It just took me two years.

So 2008’s issue #1. The comic has the same humour I enjoyed from the movie! Some of characters look rather different in print to the way they are portrayed in the movie, but the imagery was easily readable and I had gotten to know who was who by the end. The story was entertaining and fast paced, with a teaser thrown in near the end that hints at a long term underlying plot. I will definitely be continuing with the series. 4/5-stars.

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Kith (The Good Neighbors #2) by Holly Black (Author), Ted Naifeh (Illustrator)

From the amazing imagination of bestselling author Holly Black, a mysterious and wonderful teen graphic novel masterpiece.

Rue Silver’s life is not what it appears to be. Her mother is a faerie, and has been taken back to the faerie realm. As Rue goes to bring her back, she must travel deep into an inhuman world. At the same time, the faerie realm is venturing into our world too, and taking its toll on those Rue loves. When her grandfather’s plans threaten Rue’s city, she realizes that she’s the only one who can stop him. But is Rue a human or a faerie? Where does she fit? How does she know the difference between love and enchantment? Goodreads View.

MY THOUGHTS: ME: Browsing the graphic novel/comic section of my local library “Holly Black I know that name”. Picks up book “Mmm a Holly Black graphic novel, that could be interesting”. Turns book over and reads the blurb “Yeah I’m gunna borrow it, sounds interesting enough”. Gets home and looks more closely at the cover “Ah f*** it says Book Two”. – I read it anyways. Obviously, as this is a review post.

Plot wise the whole 2nd in series thing wasn’t an issue. There was a page of straight text at the front that briefly summarised what had previously happened and the second book’s plot was quite easier to follow. I found the art work quite off putting. It was black and white only, which wasn’t the problem. Unfortunately It was quite dark and unreadable at times. Everyone, humans and fairies alike, all looked so similar it was a difficult at times to keep track of who was who. I’m not sorry I read it as it didn’t take long and was mildly entertaining, but the artwork brought down my enjoyment. 2/5-stars.

Review: Mer by Joelle Sellner

33825562After the death of her beloved mother, Aryn’s father has moved her family to a new town hoping for a fresh start. At first things seem to be going well—Aryn is making friends and has even caught the eye of one of the hottest guys in school. But there are dark forces moving under the surface that Aryn cannot see; and her new crush may not be … human.

Twilight meets the legend of Atlantis in this gripping graphic novel from writer Joelle Sellner and artist Abby Boeh.

Expected publication: April 19th 2017 by Diamond Book Distributors. GOODREADS.

My Review is based on an uncorrected proof via Netgalley – Thank you Joelle Sellner and Diamond Book Distributors for the ARC.

My Thoughts mk3

I decided to read this comic because the synopsis caught my attention. I found the art work to be bright, colourful, clear and visually quite pleasant. Putting aside the cringe worthy insta-love between the two main characters I enjoyed reading this comic. I found the villain amusing and her demise was entertaining.

I think girls between 11-13 would eat this comic up. What tween doesn’t want a sexy teenage Mer-person to instantly fall in love with them and offer them a new magical home and the chance to be a Mer. 11-year-old me would have loved the idea of running away and becoming a mermaid! Hell, 30-year-old me still thinks It might be kind of fantastic.

We follow Aryn as she navigates a new school, new friends, new love and gets herself caught in the villain’s clutches, then back out again, with help.

Aryn bugged me early on in the story and I can’t decide whether I felt she was immature or unhinged. I felt quite detached from the story as she was going berserk at strangers in the school hall and at her father. Actually, her treatment of her father grated on me, but that’s the adult and parent in me. I don’t think the intended audience would feel this way and the younger teens would be siding with her.

Under the cheesy romance and friendship drama there was a deeper story with Aryn realising she loves and needs her family – so that was nice. The comic is only 66 pages long, so all in all it was a light and quick read.

2.5 Stars. It was a bit better than just OKAY, but just too cringey for me to be able to say I liked it as a whole. This one for the young teens only.

Review: Right To Silence by Lily Luchesi

fullsizerender32987656Right To Silence (Paranormal Detectives #4) by Lily Luchesi

The truth can be deadly.
In the first of this two-part novel, we learn the history of hunters Brighton Sands and Mark Evans in their two lifetimes, culminating in their final battle with the insane vampire they have been hunting for centuries.
In the second part, with Angelica Cross still on the run, multiple vampiric murders lead to the kidnapping of a famous vamp. Detective Danny Mancini must drag a mortal into the bowels of Hell in order to rescue her.
But why does Leander Price want her so badly, and what does she have to do with an ancient vampire prophecy?fullsizerender-1

* * * * My Thoughts * * * *

In the first half of this book we learn more about the past-life and present-life history between Brighton and Mark. I quite enjoyed reading how the two originally met and how their souls found each other a second time. Chapter seven was a highlight for me. I really enjoyed the Brighton & “brother” reunion.

The second half of the book picks up where Life Sentence finished. We catch back up with Danny and the PID, see an ancient vampiric prophecy come to light and lose way too many supporting characters. Danny and Angelica spend a lot of the pages questioning each other and themselves, but that all seems to be settled by the end and the book finishes with the characters closer than ever.

Time Jumps: While some readers might find the time jumps in the story rather abrupt, I’m extremely impatient so the approach suited me and I found they really pushed the pace of the story along.

Loose Ends: I can’t help but thinking what’s to stop Leander from being resurrected, but that is just the pessimist in me.

Cliff-hanger: New unknown male villain introduced right at the end – seriously on the last page!

Mature Audiences Only: Right To Silence is a fast paced paranormal-horror-action-romance where everybody swears like sailors and gets slaughtered. But even amid all the violence and revenge seeking, the power of love, loyalty and friendship shine through.

In my reviews of the previous books I’ve said that I felt they could standalone. With this fourth installment I think you need to read the previous books or the depth of the character’s connections and references made to past events will be lost on you.

FOUR “I really liked it” STARS.

* * * * Author Links * * * *

Website | Amazon | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads

Review: Fallen & Story Shorts by Lauren Kate

6487308What if the person you were meant to be with could never be yours?

17-year-old Lucinda falls in love with a gorgeous, intelligent boy, Daniel, at her new school, the grim, foreboding Sword & Cross . . . only to find out that Daniel is a fallen angel, and that they have spent lifetimes finding and losing one another as good & evil forces plot to keep them apart.

Get ready to fall . . .

My Thoughts: Fallen Angels masquerading as teenagers oh my. 

Reading from Luce’s POV I struggled to connect with any of the characters or buy into her and Daniel’s love connection.

While I quite enjoyed that last few chapters, which were more action packed, I nearly gave up at the half way mark of this book. I read the story shorts at that point and it gave me an inside into Daniel’s side of the story, which led me to bother to read the rest of the book. Nothing really happens until later in the book when Luce, with the help of her new friend Penn, start to piece together who/what Daniel really is. Seriously so much nothing. The synopsis pretty much tells you everything that is going to happen in this book, other than an age old good Vs evil war flaring up again at the end.

Daniel’s First Sighting (Fallen Shorts 0.1) by Lauren Kate Four ‘I really liked it Stars (GOODREADS). In this short we get to see Daniel and Luce’s meeting for the first time (in Luce’s current life time) through Daniel’s eyes. It was actually quite amusing and It made me warm to Daniel.

Daniel in L.A. (Fallen Shorts 0.4) by Lauren Kate Three ‘I liked it’ Stars (GOODREADS). In this short we get to see what Daniel was doing with himself before he ended up at Sword & Cross.

Daniel and Gabbe’s Fight (Fallen Shorts 0.6) by Lauren Kate Three ‘I liked it’ Stars (GOODREADS). In this short we get to find out what was really being said in the conversation between Gabbe and Daniel that Luce partly over heard in the dorm room hallway.

Fallen (Fallen #1) by Lauren Kate Two ‘It was okay’ Stars (GOODREADS). I just didn’t connect with this story and that saddens me ’cause forbidden love is my thang’.

I enjoyed the shorts more then the actual Fallen novel. I think that maybe if Fallen had been told in duel POV with Daniel or maybe if it had just been Daniel telling it, it could have been a real winner for me. I went hunting for spoilers and read a bunch of reviews on the other books to find out how the rest of the series plays out and i’m satisfied with that. I’m not sorry I read Fallen, but I do not intend to read the rest of the series.

Mini Reviews: The Duff & Lucy’s Chance

25076514The DUFF: Designated Ugly Fat Friend by Kody Keplinger

Seventeen-year-old Bianca Piper is cynical and loyal, and she doesn’t think she’s the prettiest of her friends by a long shot. She’s also way too smart to fall for the charms of man-slut and slimy school hottie Wesley Rush. In fact, Bianca hates him. And when he nicknames her “the Duff,” she throws her Coke in his face.

But things aren’t so great at home right now, and Bianca is desperate for a distraction. She ends up kissing Wesley. Worse, she likes it. Eager for escape, Bianca throws herself into a closeted enemies-with-benefits relationship with him.

Until it all goes horribly awry. It turns out Wesley isn’t such a bad listener, and his life is pretty screwed up, too. Suddenly Bianca realizes with absolute horror that she’s falling for the guy she thought she hated more than anyone. GOODREADS.

My Thoughts:  This book impressed me. I was expecting the overused and abused trope of the ugly nobody gets the hot jerk etc. And OK it was there, but there were some truly beautiful girl power, love thy self, don’t judge others moments in this book.
The main character of Bianca was easily likable as were her two besties. Experiencing them navigate boys, high school hierarchy and family drama was actually quite entertaining and heart warming.
Keplinger’s writing flowed smoothly and I can actually see myself re-reading this book again if i’m ever in need of a quick fun feel good pick me up. I gave it FOUR what a pleasant surprise STARS.

Also: I watched the movie adaptation straight after the finishing the book, in which they changed so much the story was barely recognizable. Sadly I felt that they left out all the girl power friendship moments that actually made the book worthwhile! 😦

21969488Lucy’s Chance (Red Rock Ranch #1) by Brittney Joy

Sixteen year old Lucy Rose is spending her first summer away from home and she has two things on her mind: an abandoned, violent horse and a blue-eyed cowboy. Only neither is hers. Lucy has never attracted much attention from boys, but she can’t seem to ignore her blue-eyed co-worker, Casey Parker. A true cowboy, Lucy is fascinated by his gentle way with the horses at Red Rock Ranch. However, she is very aware that Taylor Johnson, rodeo queen extraordinaire, already has her spurs in him. And, there’s no crossing Taylor. . . . Not until a mysterious horse appears on the ranch and pushes Lucy and Casey together. The two are willing to do anything to save the black gelding that doesn’t want a thing to do with them or the human race. But, every step forward with the broken animal makes Lucy fall harder – for him and for Casey. GOODREADS.
 
My Thoughts: An enjoyable read filled with wonderful horsey goodness 🙂 Perfect for any young horse lover. The writing was sweet and easy to read. The story had a nice balance of action riding scenes, a young girl out to prove herself, developing young love and an adorable horse getting a second chance at a better life. I gave it FOUR warm and fuzzy STARS.

Review: A Toaster on Mars by Darrell Pitt

28237538For fans of Douglas Adams and Terry Pratchett comes a hilarious new space and time adventure.

Teenagers on skateboards jumped off walkways, dropped a dozen floors and activated rockets to safely land walkways below.
Blake took a deep breath, inhaling something that smelt like a cross between burnt plastic and toffee apple.
Neo City, Blake thought. Home, sweet home.

NEO City, 2509.
After a series of operational bungles, as well as
the accidental death of his partner, special agent Blake Carter’s career at the Planetary Bureau of Investigation is in trouble.
To make matters worse, he’s just been assigned a new partner—and the beautiful and brilliant Nicki Steel happens to be a cyborg.
When universe-famous criminal Bartholomew Badde steals a weapon capable of destroying whole planets at a time, Blake and Nicki must work together to recover it—an investigation that takes them to all corners of the weird and wonderful galaxy.
But things get serious when Badde kidnaps Blake’s teenage daughter, Lisa. Can Blake prove he’s still a first-rate agent—not to mention father—and save Lisa in time?

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Thank You Netgalley, Darrell Pitt and Text Publishing for allowing me a copy to read and review.

My Thoughts: So straight up the synopsis has offered up some high expectation for this book to meet and as an Adam’s fan I was like “Bring it on Pitt”. While I did grow to kinda like the lead character Blake Carter, he was in no way the adorable Arthur Dent – but that’s ok because he wasn’t supposed to be.

We follow Blake Carter a middle-aged agent with the Planetary Bureau of Investigation as he gets kicked off his current long running case, assigned a Cyborg as a new partner and having to deal with his ex-wife after their daughter is kidnapped. And of course, *spoiler alert* getting the bad guy – with a lot of help from the Cyborg, the ex-wife, some Elvis’s and an odd pirate-like space captain.

The “Zeeb Says” sections throughout the story while humorous at times and very ‘Hitchhikers’ in the style of narration, which I should have loved, I found a nuisance. I’d just be getting into the rhythm of the story and they’d distract me from it. Why was this so? I really don’t know! Did they feel like a poor Adam’s imitations? No that wasn’t it. Was it just because I was trying to hurry and finish the book because it wasn’t floating my boat and they were slowing me down? Yeah, I think that was more it.

I thought this book was going to be right up my ally; sci-fi with silly humour etc. But no, while I liked the book and can see its merits, unfortunately we didn’t click. I had to force myself to stay focused and read on. This book is listed as Middle Grade, so I’m not the target audience. But I can’t quite get my head around this book’s listing.

I’m trying to figure out who on earth would be the right audience for this book, because it is by no means a bad story. I think it’s a good story despite my personal enjoyment issues. If it was a Friday night telemovie I could totally see my father chuckling while watching it on the couch with a beer in his hand as he’s sprawled out with only his green and gold footy shorts on unwinding after another week of working hard in the Aussie heat.

I would say it’s definitely not for Teens, those self-absorbed self-torturing darlings wouldn’t give two hoots about this middle-aged law enforcement officer from the future. I’m thinking 8/12-year-olds who have a love of sci-fi for sci-fi sake and don’t care too much about who the hero is if there is lots of action and adventure – yeah, it’d suit them. MAYBE even a “daggy dad” type who wants to switch off his brain after a long day at work and read something that’s simple and amusing – I totally thought I fell into this category, but apparently not.

I do intend to check out Pitt’s The Firebird Mystery and Diary of a Teenage Superhero and see how I go with them, because I think Pitt’s a good writer, just that this book wasn’t for me. THREE ‘I Liked It’ STARS.

Mini Reviews: a Summer Anthology + My Lady Jane + Fangirl

28817799Summer Days & Summer Nights: Twelve Love Stories by Stephanie Perkins, Leigh Bardugo, Francesca Lia Block, Libba Bray, Cassandra Clare, Brandy Colbert, Tim Federle, Lev GrossmanNina LaCour, Veronica Roth, Jon Skovron, Jennifer E. Smith

Maybe it’s the long, lazy days, or maybe it’s the heat making everyone a little bit crazy. Whatever the reason, summer is the perfect time for love to bloom. Summer Days & Summer Nights: Twelve Love Stories, written by twelve bestselling young adult writers and edited by the international bestselling author Stephanie Perkins, will have you dreaming of sunset strolls by the lake. So set out your beach chair and grab your sunglasses. You have twelve reasons this summer to soak up the sun and fall in love. Goodreads View. 
My Thoughts: Of course I found some stories more enjoyable than others, but that is to be expected in an anthology. Over all this book has a good mix of contemporary and paranormal stories, with a pleasantly diverse range of characters.
I would have to say that my favorite story was A Thousand Ways This Could All Go Wrong by Jennifer E. Smith and on it’s merit (and that fact that I didn’t dislike any of the stories) that I’m giving the anthology a FIVE STAR rating as a whole – yes it was that frigging adorable (and also the majority of the stories ranked high with me).

Head, Scales, Tongue, Tail by Leigh Bardugo – 4/5 Stars. The End of Love by Nina LaCour – 4/5 Stars. Last Stand at the Cinegore by Libba Bray – 2/5 Stars. Sick Pleasure for A and U by Francesca Lia Block – 2/5 Stars. In Ninety Minutes, Turn North by Stephanie Perkins – 4/5 Stars. Souvenirs by Tim Federle – 3/5 Stars. Inertia by Veronica Roth – 5/5 Stars. Love is the Last Resort by Jon Skovron – 3/5 Stars. Good Luck and Farewell by Brandy Colbert – 5/5 Stars. Brand New Attraction by Cassandra Clare – 3/5 Stars. A Thousand Ways This Could All Go Wrong by Jennifer E. Smith – 5/5 Stars. The Map of Tiny Perfect Things by Lev Grossman – 3/5 Stars.

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My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton and Jodi Meadows

The comical, fantastical, romantical, (not) entirely true story of Lady Jane Grey. In My Lady Jane, coauthors Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows have created a one-of-a-kind fantasy in the tradition of The Princess Bride, featuring a reluctant king, an even more reluctant queen, a noble steed, and only a passing resemblance to actual history—because sometimes history needs a little help.

At sixteen, Lady Jane Grey is about to be married off to a stranger and caught up in a conspiracy to rob her cousin, King Edward, of his throne. But those trifling problems aren’t for Jane to worry about. Jane is about to become the Queen of England. Goodreads View. 

My Thoughts: This was a super fun romp, rewriting a much more enjoyable life story for some rather famous historic figures e.g. Edward VI of England and Lady Jane Grey. I’ve watched documentaries on Henry VIII of England, Edwards father, so I knew who he was, but I actually had to look up Lady Jane Grey. And yes I much prefer the life Hand, Ashton and Meadows have written for her.
I loved the whole the “Verities” verses “Edians” thing, filling the void for the ever present religious drama that’s always in the background of historic stories. Having the Edians (shapeshifters) added a comic element to this romantic romp that really made the story shine for me. FOUR I really liked it STARS.

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Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

A coming-of-age tale of fan fiction, family and first love.

Cath is a Simon Snow fan.

Okay, the whole world is a Simon Snow fan…

But for Cath, being a fan is her life—and she’s really good at it. She and her twin sister, Wren, ensconced themselves in the Simon Snow series when they were just kids; it’s what got them through their mother leaving.

Reading. Rereading. Hanging out in Simon Snow forums, writing Simon Snow fan fiction, dressing up like the characters for every movie premiere.

Cath’s sister has mostly grown away from fandom, but Cath can’t let go. She doesn’t want to.

Now that they’re going to college, Wren has told Cath she doesn’t want to be roommates. Cath is on her own, completely outside of her comfort zone. She’s got a surly roommate with a charming, always-around boyfriend, a fiction-writing professor who thinks fan fiction is the end of the civilized world, a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words… And she can’t stop worrying about her dad, who’s loving and fragile and has never really been alone.

For Cath, the question is: Can she do this?

Can she make it without Wren holding her hand? Is she ready to start living her own life? Writing her own stories?

And does she even want to move on if it means leaving Simon Snow behind? Goodreads View.

My Thoughts: Oh how cute this was! Falling in love with Levi was a lovely distraction 😛 I was absorbed by Cath’s world and got to take a break from my life for a day. Reading this was like getting a soul warming hug. FOUR I really liked it STARS. Nawww book hugs!

Review: Immortal Writers by Jill Bowers

30423330Young up-and-coming author Liz McKinnen has no idea that her life is about to change forever when she comes home from her first book tour. When she’s kidnapped and told by her captors that she has to kill her fantasy book’s antagonist, she thinks that she’s fallen into the hands of crazy, dangerous fans… until her antagonist sends a real, fire-breathing dragon after her. Liz is quickly initiated into the Immortal Writers, a group of authors from throughout time whose words have given them eternal life, and whose prose is so powerful that it’s brought stories over from the Imagination Field into the Reality Field. As Liz meets authors such as William Shakespeare, JRR Tolkien, Edgar Allan Poe, and Jane Austen, she has to learn how to control magic, fight dragons, and face her own troubled past before her power-hungry villain takes over the world. Will she survive the ultimate battle against the dragon lord whom she created?

Ebook, 296 pages. Expected publication: November 5th 2016 by Blue Moon Publishers
Thank You Netgalley and Blue Moon Publishers for allowing me a copy to read and review.

immortal-writers My Thoughts: The plot for this story is awesome. Writers who become immortal because of the power of their words. Sounds awesome, right?

As this is labelled as a young adult fantasy I was expecting a light-hearted humorous fantastical romp with William Shakespeare and Jane Austin riding off into the sunset on unicorns. Ok well not actually Shakespeare and Austen, but you catch my drift.

The story started strong and I was super excited, but as I got further into the book that excitement started to dwindle.

I found the lead character Liz’s serious and tortured back story detracted from what could have been a ridiculous light-hearted simple and fun read. And I mean ridiculous in a good way! Because the story was never going to be believable with Shakespeare, Tolkien, Austen, Plath, Hemingway, Twain, Poe and Wells hanging about a castle that’s being attacked by dragons in modern day America.

I found myself rolling my eyes at the romance. I mean it was so frigging cheesy at some points I could have used it to make a grilled sandwich. Yet Liz had this dark and abusive back story, which would be perfect for a modern contemporary, but was sending up red flags and contradicting everything in my mind. Liz the writer and Curtis the hero of her story get all loved up. She hooks up with her fictional creation. This isn’t sane or healthy. Hence why I think the story needed to stay light and funny so that it could pull it off. But that dark and abusive back story! Why Jill Bowers, why?

I don’t think the issue’s I had with this story would affect a younger audience, say 13-15. I think it would go over their heads and they would just see a young woman coming to terms with her past, standing up for herself and winning the battle over her inner and outer demons, while picking up a dragon battling hottie/spunk/fine-male-specimen along the way – which is what I think Bowers was going for.

All things considered the story ended quite strong with an action packed final showdown with the bad guy.

Conclusion: There were parts of the story I enjoyed but over all I’m feeling disappointed. As for a star rating, hmm somewhere between Two and Three stars.

Review: Clancy of the Undertow by Christopher Currie

26802671We’re sitting there with matching milkshakes, Sasha and me, and somehow, things aren’t going like I always thought they would. We’re face to face under 24-hour fluorescents with the thoroughly unromantic buzz of aircon in our ears and endless flabby wedges of seated trucker’s arsecrack as our only visual stimulus.

In a dead-end town like Barwen a girl has only got to be a little different to feel like a freak. And Clancy, a typical sixteen-year-old misfit with a moderately dysfunctional family, a genuine interest in Nature Club and a major crush on the local hot girl, is packing a capital F.

As the summer begins, Clancy’s dad is involved in a road smash that kills two local teenagers. While the family is dealing with the reaction of a hostile town, Clancy meets someone who could possibly—at last—become a friend. Not only that, the unattainable Sasha starts to show what may be a romantic interest.

In short, this is the summer when Clancy has to figure out who the hell she is.

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fullsizerenderMy Thoughts: Where do I start with Clancy? The only negative thing I can say about this book is that it ended! I would have happily kept on reading and reading.

I loved following Clancy discover who she is and how she fits into the world. I loved the supporting characters of Nancy, Reeves and Angus. Actually all the characters, I saw bits of people I know in all of them. It was a believable and beautiful coming of age while coming out story.

I love that Clancy’s dad named her after Banjo Paterson’s Clancy of the Overflow. Banjo’s Clancy is one of my all-time favourite characters and I quite often find myself quoting lines of the poem in my head, like while writing this review – In my wild erratic fancy visions come to me of Clancy, Gone a-droving ‘down the Cooper’ where the Western drovers go – Banjo’s 1889 Drover and Christopher Currie’s 2015 lovable self-loathing teen have nothing in common, other than my eternal love and a semi-unusual name.

I highly commend Mr Currie for managing to capture the pure hell and internal conflict of being a teen. The abusive conversations Clancy has with herself were so familiar – as in I had them with myself repeatedly when I was Clancy’s age. I don’t think there is anyone that hasn’t at some stage felt about themselves the way Clancy feels. She is relate-able, even if you don’t identify as homosexual or even admit to ever having desires for the same sex, we’ve all been teens AND being a teenager sucks. Teenage-suck-ism transcends generational and racial gaps. I think Clancy of the Undertow will go down in history as a teen classic along with the time capsule likes of Puberty Blues and The Outsiders.

FIVE another brilliant #LoveOzYA story STARS.
Five Stars