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

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

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 

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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.

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

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: 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

Review: Weregirl by C. D. Bell

30090014Eager to escape the small town of Tether, Michigan, once home to 90s corporate polluter Dutch Chemical, high school junior Nessa Kurland is focused on winning a college scholarship for cross-country running. Motivated to improve her times, she fits running into her busy schedule between school, helping out at home, and a weekend job at a vet’s office. One night she is out on a stealth training run when she comes across a trapped wolf. Trusting her animal skills from working for the vet, Nessa tries to free the animal but is bitten badly instead. The first clue that something has changed is her freakishly quick recovery. A wound that should take weeks to heal is gone in days. Other changes, both powerful and frightening, begin to emerge. She can hear conversations a quarter of a mile away and smell the cold weather coming. Finally, one day, she is transformed into a full werewolf. In this state, she begins to see and understand things about Tether that powerful people want to keep hidden. What is a Nobel laureate doing working one day per week in a small-town medical clinic? Is the interest from some top college track scouts genuine or a ruse to get her off the scent? Managing her power drastically alters the course of her daily life. The question is what will Nessa do with the secrets she learns, and what will others do once they realize what she knows? Now Nessa must navigate the social, romantic, and academic challenges of junior year while coming face to face with true human darkness, all while she tries to make peace with her new, wild nature.

Weregirl by C.D. Bell is a contemporary YA thriller filled with humor, romance, adventure, and a real-world relevant storyline. This fall’s must-read, set for release on November 1, 2016, Weregirl is a breathtakingly fun, not-to-be-missed addition to one of today’s most exciting literary genres – crafted by a truly feminist team of authors who passionately believe that teen girls deserve a better teen girl protagonist.

Created by a talented group of six female writers and inspired by the working tradition of television team writing, C. D. Bell is a Chooseco author pseudonym developed with teen author Cathleen Davitt Bell, who has written I Remember You, among other novels for young adults.

Expected publication: November 1st 2016 by Chooseco. TEEN ages 12+.

Book Links = Website | Facebook | Instagram | Goodreads

img_7448 My Thoughts: Firstly, thank You NetGalley and Chooseco for allowing me a review copy to read.

“All stories are about wolves. All worth repeating, that is. Anything else is sentimental drivel.” – Margaret Atwood, The Blind Assassin. This was the quote at the start of the copy I read. Now I might not totally agree Wolves are the only thing worth writing about, but I do love stories about wolves and I liked this quote.

The Basics: The story follows Nessa as she struggles and strives to reach her dreams of earning a college scholarship through hard work and dedication. Nessa’s world is turned upside down by a run in with two wolves in her local woods and some revelations about her towns so called saviours, a malevolent corporation by the name of Paravida.

The Good: The supportive friendship between Nessa and Bree and the way the two girls interacted kept the book feeling warm and inviting even as some rather nasty goings on within the town setting were being discovered. Nessa & Bree were both easily likable characters. Actually other than the Paravida employees all the other characters were likable, so the good / bad set up was simple, but strong.

I liked the way it felt being with Nessa in wolf form and I enjoyed the way this book did the whole ”werewolf thing”. The wolf pack Nessa enters into is beautiful and they were easy to connect with. Their mission was more about keeping balance in the natural world then any kind of solo personal agenda. I would even have to list Paravida’s genetically modified ”bad” wolves as a positive because their plight at the end of the book is what I think will get people to read the second book, wanting to find out what becomes of them.

The Bad: I really enjoyed the first 80% of this book and was thinking it was going to be a solid Four Star read, but the last 20% felt wrong somehow and kind of lost me. I’ve spent the last week trying to rationalise why I felt this way.

There is a werewolf “The Grey Wolf” and as the reader you have suspicions very early on as to who he is, but it felt like Nessa never had a big ”oh my god the grey wolf is” moment. I think the story needed her to have it. Nessa is supposed to be this strong, smart and capable young woman and I felt It made Nessa look stupid that she doesn’t figure it out sooner. I feel like if it had happened after her first trek into the Paravida’s compound it would have made the two characters’ connection stronger and the ending more solid. I didn’t need her to confront the Grey Wolf on his human identity, but just to have her identify him.

Conclusion: I would have liked to have found out more about all the wolves and I will be interested to see what becomes of the Paravida pack in the next book. All in all, I’m happy I read this book, it was well worth it and over all I did enjoy it. I want to rate this at 3.8 stars, that’s how I’m feeling.

Review: The First Third by Will Kostakis

17185857Life is made up of three parts: in the first third, you’re embarrassed by your family; in the second, you make a family of your own; and in the end, you just embarrass the family you’ve made.

That’s how Billy’s grandmother explains it, anyway. She’s given him her bucket list (cue embarrassment), and now, it’s his job to glue their family back together.

No pressure or anything.

Fixing his family’s not going to be easy and Billy’s not ready for change. But as he soon discovers, the first third has to end some time. And then what?

It’s a Greek tragedy waiting to happen.

* * * * My Thoughts * * * *

I read The Sidekicks and loved it. I’ve now read The First Third and loved it. I must get my hands on more! You, Mr Will Kostakis are brilliant and I love your humorous and heartwarming style.

In The First Third we follow 17 year-old Bill as he navigates first love and the monumental task his ill Grandmother has given him to put his broken family back together. With the help of Bill’s best friend Lucas and a pretty girl named Hayley, Bill manages to make some major progress with his family and help some other people out along the way. The ending leaves you with tears in your eyes, a warm fuzzy feeling in your heart and hope for the future.

Bill is a total sweetheart and reading along with his interactions with his friends, family and especially his Yiayia is a treat for the soul.

As with The Sidekicks the story flows beautifully, the characters are engaging and feel real. There is no denying that Mr Kostakis has the ability to tell a meaningful and captivating story. I am looking forward to reading more by him in the future.

Five Stars

Kostakis Links: Goodreads | Twitter | Website | Facebook

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Review: Raelia (The Medoran Chronicles #2) by Lynette Noni

Review: Risuko by David Kudler

Can One Girl Win A War?