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
Add to Goodreads
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 🙂

Review: How Not to Fall in Love, Actually by Catherine Bennetto

29991690Life is 10% planning, 10% design and 80% totally winging it…

A hilarious debut for all fans of Mhairi McFarlane and Lisa Owens.

General Adult Fiction
Published: 01 Feb 2017
* * *

Emma has a job in television which is distinctly less glamourous and exciting than it sounds. She’s managed to claw her way up the ranks from Tea-Maker and Rubbish-Collector to 2nd Assistant Director (heavy on the ‘assistant’. Even heavier on the ‘2nd’).

So when she finds she’s accidentally very pregnant and at the same time accidentally very sacked (well, less accidentally: she did tell her boss to stick his job up his bum), she knows things are going to have to change.

Luckily she’s also accidentally the heir to a lovely cottage in Wimbledon, with a crazy Rottweiler-owning octogenarian as a neighbour and a rather sexy boy as an accidental tenant. But this baby is coming whether she likes it or not, and she needs to become the sort of person who can look after herself let alone another human being – and quickly.

Hilarious and heart-warming, How Not to Fall in Love, Actually will make you laugh, make you cry, and will reassure you that perhaps your life is not that bad, actually…

What people are saying about How Not to Fall in Love, Actually

‘It’s fresh, young and very exciting. A fuzzy, warm and sparkly story by a very talented author. I can’t wait to see what else Catherine Bennetto has in store for us’ Simona’s Corner of Dreams

‘A phenomenal cast of characters and some real laugh out loud moments. Brilliant!’ Heidi Swain, author of The Cherry Tree Cafe and Mince Pies and Mistletoe at the Christmas Market

‘More bubbly than a big glass of champers and just as fun. How Not To Fall In Love, Actually is bright, breezy, and the perfect way to beat back the winter blues‘ Georgia Clark, author of The Regulars

* * *

MY THOUGHTS: 

*I received a copy in exchange for an honest review*

We follow Emma as an accidental pregnancy makes her stop and take stock of her life, which up to that point had only consisted of a shitty job, a shitty apartment and a shitty boyfriend.

At the start we met 27-year-old Emma just before she finds out she is pregnant. The story covers the months that she is pregnant, with the book ending just hours after the baby is born.

It took me the first half of the book to really get into the story, but I think that’s more because of the fact I was only squishing in a few pages here and there. I managed to get enough sit down time to finish the second half of the book in one day and found myself really enjoying it.

The leading Lady: Emma did at times come off as self-absorbed and whining. But she was pregnant and being pregnant is hard even with a loving and supportive partner and here she was trying to go it alone, so she is forgiven. Emma matures in the second half of the book and I ended up really liking her and wanting her to have a happily ever after. *spoiler alert: she gets her happily ever after*.

The impregnator/ex-boyfriend aka Ned: By the end of the first chapter I already disliked Ned, he came off as a lazy good for nothing leach. But chapter six proved him to be an absolute asshole with him draining Emma’s bank account before her overly trusting pregnant ass even thinks to remove his access.

The supporting cast: The book had some rather amusing background cast members; Emma’s infuriating and over the top mother, the nosey old couple next door and green thumbed Joe were standouts for me.

While the story was predictable at times it still gave me the warm fuzzies.Image result for warm and fuzzy memeThe writing was humours, flowed easily and was a joy to read. I will be keeping an eye out for Catherine Bennetto works in the future. star.4

Mini Reviews: Riley’s Favourite books right now

I asked Riley to pick his favourite books – Riley is my Three nearly Four-year-old son, who’s favourite activities include asking WHY, making the house look like a tornado has ripped through it, going for walks to the park and reading picture books with anyone that is willing  He rummaged around and handed me > > >riley-books-collage

Possum Magic by Mem Fox & Julie Vivas: Oh Mem Fox, everything you touch turns to gold. I doubt there is many a Aussie kid who doesn’t know of Hush and Grandma Poss! Riley and I pretty much read this one every night. The tale of the two possums who go on an adventure around Australia eating people food to try and cure Hush’s invisibility. Gorgeous artwork. Delightful and easy to read out loud.

The Very Cranky Bear by Nick Bland: This is the tale of a grumpy bear and the group of animals that try to cheer him up. Ultimately the bear is just grumpy because it’s tired – I can relate to that! The book has bright pleasing artwork, with simple sing-song like sentences. Delightful and easy to read out loud.

Time For Bed by Mem Fox & Jane Dyer: Riley and I read this book every night as our last book. Our final Goodnight book. The words flow beautifully and we always end up singing it rather than just reading it. It is rhythmic poetry featuring all different animals saying goodnight to each other. Beautiful artwork. Delightful and easy to read out loud.

Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star by Anna Jones. Essentially this book is just the nursery rhyme with illustrations and three pin wheels at the top that you can spin. Riley would be happy just to sing the song and uses the book as an excuse to do so.

Finding Nemo & Dory Storybook Treasury by Disney Pixar: The images are big and bright, with eight separate stories based off of the two movies. Riley loves this damn noisy book. It is such a pain when you’re trying to keep the story flowing to keep having to stop to find the corresponding sound effect button! The stories are easy to read ‘IF’ you leave out pressing the corresponding buttons. I cheat half the time and ignore most of the buttons. Meh!

Where is the Green Sheep by Mem Fox & Judy Horacek: Every page has a different illustration of a different kind of sheep, with every few pages the question being asked ‘where is the green sheep?’ The green sheep appears on that last page and is finally found. Riley has a green sheep plush toy that came with the book, so sometimes before we sit down and read the book I’ll hide it (somewhere easy) and then get him to find it. Simple sentences, cute artwork and is easy to read out loud.

Five Tank Engine Tales by Britt Allcroft: This book consists of five separate Thomas the Tank Engine adventures. The stories in the book are episodes I can remember watching with Riley on TV and thus are based on the original Railway Series by The Reverend W Awdry. The stories are quite easy to read out loud with big bold pictures and very few words per page. Riley does actually have quite a few of the original books, but they are more wordy with smaller pictures.

While Riley was super excited to get his books out and “help” Mummy take photos of them, Ethan couldn’t have cared less and chose to sleep.img_9615

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.