The Loneliest Girl in the Universe: YA Review

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The Loneliest Girl in the Universe by Lauren James
Genre: YA Sci-Fi
Publication: 7th September 2017
Publisher: Walker Books
Source: Review copy from Walker
Thank you, you wonderful people
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Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Can you fall in love with someone you’ve never met, never even spoken to – someone who is light years away?

Romy Silvers is the only surviving crew-member of a spaceship travelling to a new planet, on a mission to establish a second home for humanity amongst the stars. Alone in space, she is the loneliest girl in the universe until she hears about a new ship which has launched from Earth – with a single passenger on board. A boy called J.

Their only communication with each other is via email – and due to the distance between them, their messages take months to transmit across space. And yet Romy finds herself falling in love.

But what does Romy really know about J? And what do the mysterious messages which have started arriving from Earth really mean?

Sometimes, there’s something worse than being alone . . .


Wow, what a page turner. The dates across the tops of the pages really push the story along and create a heavy tension. You’ll want to read this in one sitting.

Romy was born on The Infinity, a star ship despatched with the mission to create a human colony on a new planet. Romy has never ever known any other life then that onboard The Infinity and after an incident takes both her parents away from her, she is alone. Romy is further away from earth than any human has ever been, hurtling towards the unknown. The weight of a new human colony, by default, resting on her teenage shoulders. Romy has to grow up fast! to have any hope of completing her parents mission.

Poor mental health due to the toll that guilt and grief cause is a big part of three integral characters storylines and there were some beautiful scenes, like the one where Romy makes peace with her Mother (I cried). But the highlights for me were the sections of the book where Romy is fast thinking and fighting for her life. I was ripping through the pages desperate to see what happened next.

There is so much more I could talk about; Romy’s parents, ‘pen-pals’ and psychological torture, Romy’s cute-as bits of fan-fiction (kind of Rainbow Rowell Fangirl-ish – but it enhanced rather than detracted from the main story). But it’s so much more fun If you find these things out for yourself. Off you go.


Lauren’s Twitter | Website | Goodreads

The Loneliest Girl in the Universe @
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No Limits: YA Review

35298151No Limits by Ellie Marney
Genre: Contemporary
Publication: August 14th 2017
Publisher: Self-Published
Source: Review copy from Author
Thanks Ellie, you wonderful woman
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Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Boozer, brawler, ladies’ man – nineteen-year-old Harris Derwent is not a good guy.

His one attempt to play the hero – helping out his old flame, Rachel Watts – has landed him in hospital. Now injured, broke, and unemployed, he’s stuck back in the country, at his father’s mercy. Harris needs to pay off his dad’s debts, and fast. But working as a runner for a drug cartel is a dangerous path – especially if Harris agrees to narc…

Eighteen-year-old Amita Blunt is the perfect police sergeant’s daughter – practical, trustworthy, and oh-so responsible. Getting involved in Harris’s case was never part of the plan. But working at the hospital, she’s invisible – which makes her the ideal contact for a boy feeding information back to the police…

Harris and Amie’s connection is sizzling hot – but if the cartel finds out about them, things could get downright explosive. Backed into a corner, with everything at stake, it’s time for Harris and Amie to find out if love really has no limits…


Woah! What an action-packed adventure ride this book was. I loved it. It was fan-frigging-tastic!

Right from the start I was enjoying reading this book; Ellie’s writing, the characters and the prospect of romance and drama. The story reeled me in, fast, and I was happy to be hooked.

Harris’s dad is an evil arsehole. Had to be said! He has subjected Harris to emotional and physical abuse his whole life, making Harris an emotionally closed off hard arse. We meet Harris at an extreme low point. He has no self-worth and a bit of a death wish. Enter Amie.

Amie’s dad is a good man, a man of the law. And Amie has a loving extended family. After the death of her mother Amie can’t bear being separated from her remaining family. So, she plans on giving up her dreams of studying photography and visiting far off places to stay and be near them. Little help here please Harris (and Nani).

Harris and Amie are two extremely different people, but the chemistry between them is undeniable right from the start. Each helping the other heal, let go and move on to bigger and better things – oh and there is a whole lot of criminal activity, dangerous dudes and wrongs righted in between.

Meth, not even once mate! Methamphetamine, Crystal Meth, Crank, Speed, Ice, Poor Man’s Cocaine etc. whatever the hell you want to call it, it’s poisonous s**t. I really liked how Ellie went into detail with her characters drug use without glorifying it. The message of the damage it can do shines through the story, but she’s not preachy.  She shows the painful truths, the negative side effects and deadly consequences. She also bothers to show how it feels, and why they do it.

The last eight chapters were a full-on adrenalin rush. I was physically anxious, my stomach was churning as I flew through the words, racing to find out how it all ends. Totally worth it! The ending made my heart sing.

I can see myself reading this book again. I really enjoyed getting to know Harris and Amie intimately, and the rush of experiencing their world.

Harris does feature in the last book of Ellie’s Every series, but you in no way need to read it first. Do yourself a favour, go and buy No Limits and fall in love with Ellie’s story telling awesomeness .

Find Ellie and her books here: Amazon AU | Amazon US | BooktopiaAngus & Robertson Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Goodreads

Love Across the Universe: Review

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Love Across the Universe: Twelve Stories of Science Fiction Romance Set on Intergalactic Shores

Genre: Science Fiction Romance, Short Story Anthology

Publication: August 1st 2017

Publisher: Stars and Stone Books

Source: Review copy from Bewitching Book Tours – this has in no way influenced my review- THANK YOU.

Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Summer love is summer love, no matter the planet. Climb aboard your spacecraft or time machine and travel across the universe with these twelve tales of love on beaches in the future and among the stars. Includes stories by USA Today Bestselling Author Traci Douglass, Cara McKinnon, A.E. Hayes, Sheri Queen, M.T. DeSantis, L.J. Longo, K.W. Taylor, Mary Rogers, Elsa M. Carruthers, Emmerite Sundberg, Serena Jayne, and Oriana Maret.

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I really do like short story anthologies. I think they are a great way to get a taste of an author’s writing and I’ve gone onto read (and love) full length works I’ve read from authors I’ve found in short story anthologies like this one.

Love Across the Universe is a science fiction romance anthology consisting of twelve short stories of varying lengths and with leading characters of varying human status and sexual orientation. A few of the stories fell victim to the instantaneous trap, but the majority managed to build up quite enjoyable story lines.

Sexy time warning: Not all, but most of the stories contained sex scenes. None were super graphic. Just thought I’d give you a heads up 😛

My favourites were:

The Princess of sands by M.T.Desantis. This story was a super cute and adorable, as were the characters. It featured a stowaway and an arranged royal marriage. The writing and story flowed well and I would happily read a longer version where the drama and romance are teased out more. Romance: female/male.

Reprogramming by K.W. Taylor. I wanted this story to keep going! Essentially this was the story of someone trying to kill their partner to get their families money. I really enjoyed it and want a revenge sequel ASAP. Romance: female/android.

Breathless by L.J. Longo. This was a well rounded out story involving the unlikely duo of an Ex-soldier and a resort manager. The story was action packed with alien bug slaying and blooming new romance. I know that sounds like it wouldn’t work – but it totally did. Romance: male/male.

Fluid by Emmerite Sundberg. The writing and story flowed well. It featured a human shipwrecked on an uncharted planet who finds unexpected romance with a native humanoid water being. Romance: female/female.

A Dream to Build a Kiss On by Traci Douglass. The longest of all the stories in the anthology. An island paradise of extremely rare tropical plants brings together a lonely nature loving android who has the capability of thinking and feeling for itself, with a lonely and broken-hearted botanist. Both find something to desire on the island other than the plants. Romance: female/android.

As a whole I give the anthology 4/5. Overall is was a fast and fun read.

Counting to D: YA Review

18518158Counting to D by Kate Scott
Paperback, 227 pages
First published January 28th 2014 by Elliott Books
Source: Review copy from publisher
Thank You Eliott
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Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

A contemporary young adult novel about a bright dyslexic teen struggling to find her place in a literate world. Counting to D is sure to resonate with anyone who has struggled with learning disabilities, young love, or just being a teen!

The kids at Sam’s school never knew if they should make fun of her for being too smart or too dumb. That’s what it means to be dyslexic, smart, and illiterate. Sam is sick of it. So when her mom gets a job in a faraway city, Sam decides not to tell anyone about her little illiteracy problem. Without her paradox of a reputation, she falls in with a new group of highly competitive friends who call themselves the Brain Trust. When she meets Nate, her charming valedictorian lab partner, she declares her new reality perfect. But in order to keep it that way, she has to keep her learning disability a secret. The books are stacked against her and so are the lies. Sam’s got to get the grades, get the guy, and get it straight—without being able to read.

My Thoughts

 Counting to D is the uplifting tale of dyslexic teen Samantha Wilson. The story follows Sam as she moves interstate, meaning a new school and leaving behind the most important things to her in the whole world, her friends, Arden and Gabby. She makes new friends easily enough, but then battles her self-doubts as to how much of her true self she is willing to show them.

The author Kate Scott was diagnosed with Dyslexia as a young child and it shows in the depth of Sam’s character. She feels real. Her struggles feel real and her coping mechanisms are explained in detail. Sam is easily likeable and you can’t help but root for her.

While the story is rather light and fluffy it touches on a lot of extremely important topics beautifully; friendship, peer pressure, social norms, social acceptance, learning disabilities, self-worth, first times and first loves (just to name a few). It is a heart-warming, fun and fast read. I got to the end of the story and wished there was more. I would have happily kept on reading about Sam’s life.

Counting to D was Kate’s debut Novel, she has since gone on to write a second The Evolution of Emily, which set in the same high school and yes Sam is in it as a supporting character. I’m really looking forward to reading it as well.


Kate Scott: Goodreads | Twitter

Buy Links: Amazon AU | Amazon US | Bookdepository | Booktopia

Play: Picture Book Review

Play by Jez Alborough
Release Date: July 1st 2017
Publisher: Walker Books
Source: Review copy from publisher
Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Thank you Walker Books


From the award-winning creator of Hug, Tall and Yes comes another classic picture book for the very youngest children.

Using only a handful of words, Jez Alborough skillfully tells the bedtime tale of Bobo the chimp. The sun is still up and this little chimp wants to play with his jungle friends, but then the sun goes down and he’s all alone… The perfect bedtime read for every playful little monkey!


My Thoughts: Riley was very excited when I handed him PLAY and told him we had a new book to read at bedtime.

The story follows Bobo as his mother tries to get him to go to sleep. Bobo has other ideas and keeps running off to find new friends to play with, until the sun disappears and he’s alone in the dark. Bobo is rescued and returned to his mother, spending the night in her arms and then watching the sun rise again.

Riley was really engaged in this book. He was looking at the images and asking questions about the little monkey and what he was doing. The book opened up conversation on going to bed when asked, doing what mummy says, staying safe, love and even the cycle of day and night.

The images are magnificent. There is one image of Bobo sleeping in his mother’s arms that spans across two pages that is breathtakingly beautiful. Jez Alborough is such a talented artist. There are very few words and story is really told through the art.

Immediately after we finished reading, Riley requested we read it again. The next morning, he spotted the book sitting on my computer desk and asked, ‘Can we read the monkey book’. Riley has been repeatedly requesting it. We’ve both found a new favourite in PLAY. The perfect bedtime story!

You can find Jez Alborough @ his Website, Twitter,  Walker Books & Goodreads

Review: Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor

29486766The dream chooses the dreamer, not the other way around – and Lazlo Strange, war orphan and junior librarian, has always feared that his dream chose poorly. Since he was five years old he’s been obsessed with the mythic lost city of Weep, but it would take someone bolder than he to cross half the world in search of it. Then a stunning opportunity presents itself, in the person of a hero called the Godslayer and a band of legendary warriors, and he has to seize his chance to lose his dream forever.

What happened in Weep two hundred years ago to cut it off from the rest of the world? What exactly did the Godslayer slay that went by the name of god? And what is the mysterious problem he now seeks help in solving?

The answers await in Weep, but so do more mysteries – including the blue-skinned goddess who appears in Lazlo’s dreams. How did he dream her before he knew she existed? And if all the gods are dead, why does she seem so real?

In this sweeping and breathtaking new novel by National Book Award finalist Laini Taylor, author of the New York Times bestselling Daughter of Smoke & Bone trilogy, the shadow of the past is as real as the ghosts who haunt the citadel of murdered gods. Fall into a mythical world of dread and wonder, moths and nightmares, love and carnage.

Laini’s Goodreads | Website | Twitter 

 Amazon US | Amazon AU | Booktopia | Bookdepository

Thank You Hachette Australia and Netgalley for allowing me a copy to read and review.I don’t think I’ve ever been more full of wonder when reading a book then during Strange the Dreamer. I finished it over a week ago and I am still just contemplating. THAT ENDING! I wanted to cry. I wanted to break something. I needed a hug. Love, love, loved it! You’re a brilliant woman Laini Taylor and your imagination is phenomenal, but damn you, that epic cliff hanger has caused me one of the biggest book hangovers I’ve had in years.

At the start of the story we meet Lazlo, dubbed Strange the Dreamer, as a small energetic orphan boy with a vivid imagination and love of stories. We get to see him grow and find himself a safe haven with a job as a junior librarian, where his love of stories and desire to learn all he can of the lost city of Weep flourishes. Lazlo becomes a mild mannered, intelligent and kind hearted young man. A twist of fate sees Lazlo going on the adventure of a life time, taking his lifelong dream by the reins and traveling to find the answers his heart truly desires.

Straight from the start I felt a strong connection to Lazlo and Sarai (The Muse of Nightmares) and I grew to love many more characters along the way. The Characters were deeply developed, most likeable, some lovable, some scorn worthy and with one to be feared.Laini’s writing is beautiful, her world building is intricately beautiful, the underlying plot is beautiful, the whole gosh darn book right down to the cover, is beautiful. Actually beautiful really isn’t even a good enough word. This story has it all; mystery, adventure, magic, romance, forgiveness and revenge.

I was in Weep. I ran with Lazlo straight towards danger. I felt my hands pass into the Mesarthium. Strange the Dreamer is an enthralling story, cover to cover you can’t step away. I give it Five “just go and read it” Stars.

Bookish Babble: March 2017 Round Up

Posts:Read: 8Image result for Rocket Raccoon: Grounded #1 Rocket Raccoon: Grounded #1 & Rocket Raccoon: Grounded #2. Both are quick and amusing reads that follow Rocket as he gets himself in and out of trouble, tries to find a way to get off Earth, and just ends up getting himself in even more trouble. Goodreads View #1. Goodreads View #2.The Limbo TreeThe Limbo Tree by T.N. Suarez. If I had to sum the book up in one word I would say it was HAUNTING. An unreliable narrator and a reality that continues to twist and change. You think you may have figured out what is going on and then everything twists again and you’re flailing around confused right alongside the main character Sam. Goodreads View. My Review.34396859I’m Australian Too by Mem Fox. This book makes my heart sing. It celebrates Australia’s multiculturalism, promotes racial equality and shines a spotlight on refugees. All this is wrapped up as a fun and colourful sing-song story. It is truly beautiful and a must read for young children. Goodreads View. My Review.34510261Charmed #1 by Erica Schultz & M.L. Sanapo.  I enjoyed reading this as it still had the TV show feel to it. I was a little disappointed when I realised it was a reimaging and that it wasn’t a carry-on from the Zenescope comics that were season 9 and 10, carrying on the TV show season 8’s set up storylines.
Never the less I’ve pre-ordered Dynamite’s Charmed #2 and I’ll be giving their whole first story arc a go before I pass final judgement. Goodreads View.26721568The Problem with Forever by Jennifer L. Armentrout. A story about abusive foster homes, social labels and second chances. The pace was a little slow at times and yes, the romance was predictable, but sometimes we need that happily ever after and overall I enjoyed it. Goodreads View.33791316

The Cruelty by Scott Bergstrom. I really enjoyed this book. From bitchy rich girls to deadly crime rings, Gwendolyn goes up against them all. Sounds over the top but I found it to be rather captivating story. Goodreads View. My Review.29753111When Michael Met Mina by Randa Abdel-Fattah. A book with an excellent message! Mina came to Australia by boat, a refugee from Afghanistan, while Michael’s always been on Sydney’s lower north shore. I enjoyed experiencing Michael wise up to his parent’s racists ways and grow into a much more caring and well-rounded young man. Goodreads View.

New additions to my TBR: 13

Bookish Instagram:Until next time, enjoy your shelves

Review: I’m Australian Too by Mem Fox

34396859I’m Australian! How about you? Many people from many places have come across the seas, to make Australia their home. How Australian is that?

Hardcover, 32 pages
Published March 1st 2017 by Scholastic Australia.

*  *  *  *  *

Mem Fox my dear, I didn’t think it was possible to love you anymore than I did after Possum Magic and Time for Bed, but now I do!

I was so excited when I saw this beautiful book by Mem Fox and illustrated by Ronojoy Ghosh. It celebrates Australia’s multiculturalism, promotes racial equality and shines a spotlight on refugees. All this is wrapped up as a fun and colourful sing-song story to be adored and absorbed by the minds of our young children. Mem Fox you are a wonderful, wonderful woman. I will be repeatedly reading this to my boys.

I’m writing this review after just reading I’m Australian Too for the first time with my 3.5-year-old son. He was fresh out of the bath and about to get into bed, perfect mummy and son book reading time.

This book is absolutely beautiful.  On our first read through when I got to the page that starts with “Sadly, I’m a refugee – I’m not Australian yet.” My spine tingled and a wicked smile crept on my face. I was thinking: You go Mem Fox! Stick it to the haters.

By the end of the second read through I had tears in my eyes and was getting choked up trying to finish the last page. My heart is humming and I need to tell the world about this book. READ IT TO YOUR KIDS. Refugees are mentioned. Aboriginals, Italians, Greeks, Somalians – the list goes on and on – are mentioned. It is truly beautiful.

The last page ends with the line “Together now, we live in peace, beneath the Southern Star.” Oh Mem, how I wish that was so and I hope for a tomorrow when it is!I’m Australian! How about you?

Review: The Limbo Tree by T.N. Suarez

32452755An accident. A secret. The truth.

Something is wrong with Samantha McCallister. Her baby brother is dead, and she has only one memory of the accident: the canned version her parents impressed upon her. But piece by piece, Sam struggles to make sense of it.

Cast aside by her self-involved family, Sam seeks out a friendship with the next-door neighbor, Hazel, until Hazel inexplicably goes missing, leaving nothing but a note and a jar of jam.

Determined to uncover the truth about Hazel’s disappearance, Sam finds out more than she bargained for. Bizarre episodes and nightmares consume her, vicious and unstoppable.

Meanwhile, an adolescent muse moves into Hazel’s abandoned home. Sam is immediately drawn to him—discovering the beginnings of true love—when the unthinkable occurs. Sam is alienated to a world in which she no longer feels she belongs. Try as she might, Sam cannot escape these nightmares or the truth behind them—the truth that lies in the Limbo Tree.

Brilliantly crafted, shimmering with uncertainty, The Limbo Tree is as mystical as it is moving.

Links: Goodreads | Website | Twitter | Facebook

My Thoughts: This book was nothing like I expected. It was spooky and made my skin crawl a little bit at times. If I had to sum the book up in one word I would say it was HAUNTING.

The first half of the book frustrated me. It all felt very creepy and I kept expecting something bad to happen. Early on I was confused as to whether Sam (Samantha, the fourteen-year-old main character) was dropping in and out of alternate realities or if she was hallucinating. The story irritated me and yet I couldn’t stop reading. With so much confusion and many unanswered questions I had to keep reading. I felt compelled to find out the truth behind Sam’s life.

I assumed early on that the story was set in the 1980’s with all the references to Madonna headbands, The Lost Boy’s, The Go-Go’s, KISS and The Cure. Indiana Jones the Last Crusade playing at a movie theatre later in the story verified it. I was born in the late 80’s and understood all the references, but I do worry that today’s teenagers won’t.

Sam spends nearly the entirety of the book not being able to remember what happened to her baby brother, just that her parents said his death was a tragic accident. Early in the story on one page she says she misses him and then the next she calls him a little beast. I found it very confusing and rather disturbing. Later, Sam even starts to suspect her mother of murdering her baby brother! We do finally learn the truth and the detail in which T.N. Suarez goes into is heart wrenching. I was internally screaming at the characters for the whole last chapter. Once I finished reading I went in and checked on both my boys, making sure they were both sleeping safe and sound.

Sam is an unreliable narrator and even she can’t trust her own version of events. You think you may have figured out what is going on and then everything twists again and you’re flailing around confused right alongside Sam.

The truth of Sam’s life and the ending of the book are rather sad and I think will continue to frustrate and haunt me for quite some time.star.3

Bookish Babble: February 2017 Round Up

Many of the blogs I follow do monthly round up posts in varying styles. So I thought I’d give it a go.

Books I Read This Month: 6picmonkey-collageCharmed: Season 9, Volume 1, Volume 2 & Volume 3 (combined single comic Issues 1-19) 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. Goodreads View. 4/5: 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. My Review (for Volumes 1 & 2).

29991690How Not to Fall in Love, Actually by Catherine Bennetto. Life is 10% planning, 10% design and 80% totally winging it… Goodreads View. 4/5: While the story was predictable at times it still gave me the warm fuzzies. The writing was humours, flowed easily and was a joy to read. My Review.31932619Supergirl: Being Super, 1 of 4 (Supergirl: Being Super #1) by Mariko Tamaki & Joëlle Jones. Book one of four with a new Supergirl origin. Goodreads View. 3/5: Pretty much all story set up, I just started getting into it and then it was over.32933014Saga #42 by Brian K. Vaughan & Fiona Staples. “THE WAR FOR PHANG,” The Epic Conclusion! Hell is war, as Hazel and her family learn the hardest way. Goodreads View. 4/5: A rather dark and sad issue, but I loved it nevertheless.

Books I added to my TBR list this month: 21 Just slightly out of proportion with how many I managed to read, but only just LOL 😛

Bookish Instagram Posts:img_9717Blog Posts:imageI’ve still got to figure out how to get back into my reading groove. I read so much when I was on maternity leave with Riley. I’d read during his feeds and I’d read out loud to him whatever book I was reading at the time until he fell asleep. Pre-Ethan I’d get more reading done in a month, even with working full time, then I have managed all up since he was born. I’ve been so exhausted. All I’ve had the energy to do, when not carry out motherly or wifely duties, is to sit in front of the TV and zone out. Heres hoping next month is better.

Until next time, enjoy your shelves 🙂