Ramblings of a Young Aussie Writer

A writer lost in her own imagination

3.5* Book Review – Iniquity by Amy A Bartol (The Premonition Series) — June 26, 2016

3.5* Book Review – Iniquity by Amy A Bartol (The Premonition Series)

Iniquity – The Premonition Series (Book 5)

Amy A Bartol

3.5 Star Review

I’ve finally finished the series that I thought would never end. I feel like it has dragged on for way too long. It just felt like overkill. I understand that as a writer, sometimes you love writing about those characters and that world so much you never want it to end but there needs to be a conclusion. It might be a bit of a spoiler but there were loose ends at the end of the book. Clearly, Amy Bartol has left a few things open just in case she wants to add a sixth book. *Groan*

Positives The cover is just beautiful – lets take a moment to appreciate that. I really enjoy Amy Bartol’s style of writing, probably most of the reason I persevered with this series (and of because of Reed). The basic storyline was great but I’ve heard that she doesn’t always plan her storyline when starting and I think that showed. I love Reed. How can you not? The ending certainly does him justice. Russell is really well developed and I wished he had had a bigger role in this book. I actually ended up liking Brennus which is no easy feat as I’ve wanted him to die from book one. You were shown very different sides to quite a few characters in this book. I did end up crying at the end of the book but that’s not too uncommon. Evie was well, Evie. There were quite a few moments where she certainly didn’t try that hard to deter some of her many admirers.

NegativesHow many admirers can one person have? Like seriously? I swear the count got up to seven. Yes you read correctly. Evie had a minimum of seven males obsessing over her. There was a lot of build up to a climax that just didn’t live up to it. A few pages and the spectacular climax scene was basically over. It was certainly a letdown. Especially considering this is the final book, the final fight scene. Buns, Brownie and Zee seemed like awkward add-ons in this book which was a shame. A lot of things that needed to be finished properly were just skimmed over. I enjoy finishing a book and still thinking about it days/weeks later but with this one I mostly just keep thinking of things that still confuse me. Whether they were unexplained or left too open, I’m not sure.

Overall I did enjoy this book and was glad it was the final one in the series. Would I recommend it to someone? Maybe. The series as a whole, I loved but it was really long-winded, that was its downfall for me (and of course the fact that there were more than a few handfuls of past, present and future lovers). The best bit – Reed. Now let’s take a moment to once again swoon over Reed. Ahhhh Reed, you gorgeous, perfect angel.

*All my reviews are on Goodreads too*

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Haze by Paula Weston #2 in Rephaim Series 4 Star Review — June 29, 2015

Haze by Paula Weston #2 in Rephaim Series 4 Star Review

Haze – The Rephaim Book 2

Paula Weston

4 Star Review

As soon as I finished the first book Shadows, I absolutely had to start Haze straight away.

PositivesI loved the first book in the series Shadows and my high expectations of Haze were delightfully warranted. Gaby was more confident and stronger in this book. Thankfully she still held her attitude which makes her a more interesting protagonist. Rafa’s bipolar moods were a bit hard to keep up with but it makes him who he is. In some ways you can understand his conflicting emotions and the reasoning behind them although we won’t truly understand it until we find out what happened between the two before Gaby lost her memory. The storyline had some very real scenes that bring you back from the fantasy world and grounds the story. I often found myself awkwardly smiling or laughing from the witty remarks of Rafa and Gaby which means reading this book whilst in the company of others may incur some strange looks.

NegativesThe cover of a book is always a huge part as to why you would select it in a sea of millions of other books. Even though I really liked the cover of Shadows this cover was not great. I understand they wanted to follow a pattern with the covers but to me it looked like a trashy guy in track pants and no top with a sword on his back. It was too badly photoshopped on to be believable. Not a great way to entice readers but the shadowy wings, similar to the first cover, improve it. As much as I enjoyed this book, I found that there were a few scenes that weren’t explained enough and it made some parts hard to understand. There are also a few concepts that are difficult to comprehend but you get the general gist of it all. The real reason that I gave it only 4 stars though, is that I felt the plot was lacking a bit. The build-up was great and I was completely lost in the story but then it didn’t seem to end well. It was as though I was missing the end chapters. It’s great to end in a cliff-hanger but I think the storyline didn’t set up for such an extreme cliff-hanger to ended with.

Overall I’m very excited to read book three – Shimmer after finishing Haze. I’m very thankful I started reading the series now that three out of the four books are published. The ending of Haze would making waiting for Shimmer to be released, unbearable but luckily I’ll be starting Shimmer as soon as I finish this review. If you want to read a fantasy series with a difference then definitely try Shadows and of course you’ll be devouring Haze and Shimmer before you know what you’re doing.

BLURB –

“But what if we can’t find Jude?” 
He leans closer. His breath is warm on my ear. “We will.”
“How can you be so sure?” I want to believe him so badly, but this is Rafa. The guy who’s all action and no plan. His smile is tired, knowing. An echo of a shared past I don’t remember. 
“Because I’m not smart enough to give up, and you don’t know how to.” 

Gaby Winters’ nightmares have stopped but she still can’t remember her old life. Still can’t quite believe she is one of the Rephaim—the wingless half-angels who can shift from place to place, country to country, in the blink of an eye. That she was once the Rephaim’s best fighter. That demons exist. That Rafa has stayed. 

But most of all, she can’t quite believe that her twin brother, Jude, might be alive. 

And Gaby can’t explain the hesitancy that sidetracks the search for him, infuriates Rafa, and sends them, again, into the darkest danger.

Twilight – Stephenie Meyer 5 Star Book Review — March 29, 2015

Twilight – Stephenie Meyer 5 Star Book Review

Twilight

Stephenie Meyer

5 Star Review

Finally I got around to reading Twilight (I know I’m only years late). Although a lot of people joke about both the books and movies, I personally found that it was well deserving of the fame it has gotten.

Positives I was shocked that I actually adored this book. The movies have certainly not done the books justice (although that is the case for most book – film conversions). Edward was a fantastic character and had a real sense of humour which the movie seemed to exclude. Stephenie’s writing style was enrapturing and really got you lost in her words.

NegativesAt one part in the book the timeline seemed to be off but apart from that I really didn’t find any other notable faults.

Overall The movies were great but the books are fantastic so if you’ve seen the movies then you definitely NEED to read the books. I would recommended these books to anyone. 5 Star Writing!

twilightcover

Glimmerglass – Jenna Black 3.5 Star Review —

Glimmerglass – Jenna Black 3.5 Star Review

Glimmerglass (Faeriewalker #1)

Jenna Black

3.5 Star Review

I picked this book up because it rated well on Goodreads and the blurb looked interesting. It didn’t quite live up to that rating for me, unfortunately.

Glimmerglass - Jenna Black Cover

Positives I believe first impressions count and the cover of this book was certainly beautiful and intriguing. The storyline started off well and it was easy to empathise with Dana as she battled through teenage life with the extra burden of her mother constantly being drunk. I liked Dana’s character although I felt the reader wasn’t given enough of a description of appearance. She seemed like a responsible teenager whose motives were mostly plausible which made for a nice change from many other protagonists. Ethan was also a cool character and his sister Kimber was freshly honest. The story certainly had potential and I did enjoy reading it but the ending was its biggest downfall.

NegativesThere were a lot of things that weren’t explained and I felt it was assumed that the reader understood many concepts without any explanation at all. With a few of the characters, their motives didn’t quite fit or were hard to grasp. The ending was fairly rushed and anticlimactic. For all the build-up, I honestly expected more.

Overall The book was a nice length and had hardly any unnecessary scenes. I did enjoy reading about most of the main characters and the storyline had potential. Unfortunately it didn’t quite eventuate into anything fantastic but for a quick read it was entertaining. I gave this book 3.5 stars as I enjoyed it but it didn’t really impress me and certainly didn’t have any kind of impact on me. When I finish a book, I want to be left feeling like ‘wow’ but it wasn’t the case with this book. I’m considering reading the second book to see if Jenna Black has harnessed that potential and turned it into a great second book.

BLURB – (From Goodreads)

It’s all she’s ever wanted to be, but it couldn’t be further from her grasp…

Dana Hathaway doesn’t know it yet, but she’s in big trouble. When her alcoholic mom shows up at her voice recital drunk, again, Dana decides she’s had enough and runs away to find her mysterious father in Avalon: the only place on Earth where the regular, everyday world and the captivating, magical world of Faerie intersect. But from the moment Dana sets foot in Avalon, everything goes wrong, for it turns out she isn’t just an ordinary teenage girl, she’s a Faeriewalker, a rare individual who can travel between both worlds, and the only person who can bring magic into the human world and technology into Faerie.

Dana finds herself tangled up in a cutthroat game of Fae politics. Someone’s trying to kill her, and everyone seems to want something from her, from her new-found friends and family to Ethan, the hot Fae guy Dana figures she’ll never have a chance with… until she does. Caught between two worlds, Dana isn’t sure where she’ll ever fit in and who can be trusted, not to mention if her world will ever be normal again.

Addicted To Reading — March 1, 2015

Addicted To Reading

I swear that people know when I stay up till the early hours of the morning reading because all of a sudden everyone needs me. If I went to bed at 8pm like a good girl I bet no-one would need me for days. Ughh, I’m so tired but I REGRET NOTHING haha. Now to go on autopilot until I can sleep again or read, most probably I’ll just read rather than sleep because heaven forbid I sleep when I haven’t finished my book yet!

Stayed up Reading

Many years after the hype I’ve actually decided to read the Twilight Saga and now I’m addicted. Totally worth the lack of sleep!

The Raven Boys – Maggie Stiefvater 3.5 Star Review — February 2, 2015

The Raven Boys – Maggie Stiefvater 3.5 Star Review

The Raven Boys

Maggie Stiefvater

3.5 Star Review

The Raven Boys Maggie Stiefvater

This book had some great reviews which was the main reason I picked it up. Not at all what I had expected and didn’t really meet my high expectations of it.

PositivesThe first thing that stuck out for me was Maggie Stiefvater’s writing style. I couldn’t believe it had gone through the editing process and had still come out like that. It was strange, disjointed, awkwardly put together yet I ended up enjoying it. The storyline was complicated and rather confusing. She has gone against the traditional male protagonist/lover and that made it interesting. Adam and Gansey both fit into that role but somehow didn’t. It seems to be a trend in the books I’ve read lately that rags to riches or the poor girl unexpectedly falls for the rich male, is a big drawcard. I must admit I do enjoy that sometimes. Of all the character’s Gansey was definitely my favourite, although I suspect that that’s what Maggie Stiefvater wanted.

NegativesI really felt stupid and confused during many scenes in this book. Was I not intelligent enough to understand the strange idea of Ley lines or Glendower? It took a long time to explain both things but I was still left scratching my head. I understand that in a series each book needs to end with a cliff-hanger but I feel like I don’t have any idea where she wanted to point the readers toward at the end. There was ample action and excitement but then the ending seemed to be squashed into a few short chapters. I felt cheated by the ending when the beginning held the promise of an interesting conundrum for Blue but it ended without any kind of hint of an answer. For a book that contained many, MANY unnecessary sentences and descriptions it just sort of flat lined at the end.

Overall For this book I’ll round up to a 4 stars out of 5 (probably because I just loved Gansey). The characters were great, I ended up enjoying the strange writing style and am actually interested to see where this story goes. Instead of gaining answers throughout the book though, it just snowballed into an endless amount of confusing questions. I’m hoping that book two (Dream Thieves) will accentuate the best parts of book one.

BLURB “There are only two reasons a non-seer would see a spirit on St. Mark’s Eve,” Neeve said. “Either you’re his true love . . . or you killed him.”

It is freezing in the churchyard, even before the dead arrive.

Every year, Blue Sargent stands next to her clairvoyant mother as the soon-to-be dead walk past. Blue herself never sees them—not until this year, when a boy emerges from the dark and speaks directly to her.

His name is Gansey, and Blue soon discovers that he is a rich student at Aglionby, the local private school. Blue has a policy of staying away from Aglionby boys. Known as Raven Boys, they can only mean trouble.

But Blue is drawn to Gansey, in a way she can’t entirely explain. He has it all—family money, good looks, devoted friends—but he’s looking for much more than that. He is on a quest that has encompassed three other Raven Boys: Adam, the scholarship student who resents all the privilege around him; Ronan, the fierce soul who ranges from anger to despair; and Noah, the taciturn watcher of the four, who notices many things but says very little.

For as long as she can remember, Blue has been warned that she will cause her true love to die. She never thought this would be a problem. But now, as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys, she’s not so sure anymore.

From Maggie Stiefvater, the bestselling and acclaimed author of the Shiver trilogy and The Scorpio Races, comes a spellbinding new series where the inevitability of death and the nature of love lead us to a place we’ve never been before

The One by Kiera Cass — January 30, 2015

The One by Kiera Cass

The One

Kiera Cass

The One Kiera Cass COver

5 Star Review

This book is just wow! Interrupting your reading of this book by ‘living your life’ is not an option. It’s one of those books that you clear your schedule, curl up and read it until you finish it. You’ll thank me for the warning once you’ve finished it.

PositivesThankfully this book was as fantastic as the first book if not better. From the action (which I felt the first two books were lacking a bit in that area) to the emotional turmoil and of course the love, this book was a perfect ending to the story. I enjoyed the action scenes and was on the edge of my seat so to speak most of the way through. The change of scenery for a large part of it was good to shake things up. There was a lot of sadness in this book and as with most endings there were deaths but the ending made it all worth the sadness. There were a lot of great unexpected twists and turns added in. This book brought out the best in all of the characters.

NegativesThroughout the series Americas brother Kota was briefly mentioned but unfortunately he didn’t seem well developed and his part in the story was flimsy. America’s indecisiveness and hesitation was irritating but not as bad as the second book. I was forced to stop reading about 20 pages from the end (silly life getting in the way of reading) and I was very annoyed. I couldn’t believe that Kiera Cass had written it like that. How could she? I was ready to throw my poor ipad in frustration and wanted to refuse to finish it but it ate away at me. I needed to know what those last 20 pages said. As soon as I could, I finished the book. I must’ve stopped reading at the worst possible time. Literally the next page it started to get better again and went on to end fantastically.

OverallI just loved this book. The annoying parts were few and far between. The ending is wow. I won’t give anything away but this is one series that everyone should read. 5 out of 5 Stars!

BLURBThe time has come for one winner to be crowned.

When she was chosen to compete in the Selection, America never dreamed she would find herself anywhere close to the crown—or to Prince Maxon’s heart. But as the end of the competition approaches, and the threats outside the palace walls grow more vicious, America realizes just how much she stands to lose—and how hard she’ll have to fight for the future she wants. 

Writing a Relatable Character — March 27, 2014

Writing a Relatable Character

Whenever I write I write with the aim to create all my characters with some aspect of relatability. It doesn’t matter how major nor minor they are, I think it’s paramount for a writer to make their characters believable. It’s our duty to our readers. To write in a weak, unbelievable character into a piece of work is an insult to your loyal readers. I feel like it is insulting their intelligence. I’ve read many things with character that are ‘groan worthy’ and it ruins the mood of the book. No matter how good a piece of writing is, if there is an unbelievable character in it you’re going to be dragged back to reality with the realisation that this is only after all just a book. What a let down….. 

I have come to a shocking realisation this morning, I’m a female creating male characters and oh my gosh I think I’ve created feminine, unrealistic male characters. I’m lucky to have a very romantic husband but he is not the type to try and stay clean or neat – ever! The main male protagonists in my manuscripts (that thankfully are still in the editing process) are too romantic, good looking, clean and neat, emotional and over all too perfect. Every female wants the perfect male and by creating that kind of protagonist I feel that we are reminding our readers that this piece of writing is just fiction and guys like that don’t exist. I’m scared now that my male characters would fit nicely into a Mills & Boon book. I have nothing against Mills & Boon books but they are notoriously known for having these unbelievable, overly emotional male characters. These are the characters that give the current male population an unfairly high standard that they almost always cannot reach. 

To all those lovely ladies who enjoy a good fantasy with the perfect male in it who ‘sweeps the girl off of her feet’ please remember that back here in real life like every other human being you must take the good with the bad. Love your partner for their amazing traits, traits that make you laugh and smile and don’t dwell on the things that may irritate or annoy you. To concentrate on the negatives in anything in life will always lead to hurt and disaster.

Back to my feminine characters. Maybe all manuscripts with the ‘perfect male’ in them should be read by a male to ensure that you haven’t created something so unrealistic your readers actually cringe whilst reading. I’ll try and give an example and I apologise if my writing isn’t at a high standard.

She stood there staring at him, the tears welling in her eyes as her heart was breaking. She needed him to love her, accept her for who she was. A tear spilled over slowly making its down her cheek. He stepped forward closing the gap between them, raised his hand and with the softest touch caught her tear and wiped it away. His hand slowly wrapped around her own and guided it up, placing it over where his heart is.

“My heart will always only beat for you my darling. I could never live without your love. I’ve spent my whole life searching for you, for this love.” His hand proceeded to caress her face and he stared deep into her eyes.

“You’re the most perfect creature I’ve ever seen and every time I see you, your beauty takes my breathe away.” He enfolded her in his strong muscular arms chasing away all of her fears.

Ok so that was even hard for me to write as I just wanted to say to the male character to ‘man up’ so to speak. I personally got a bit annoyed at how he acted more how a woman would want than how a man would actually act. Don’t get me wrong there may be times where writing like this makes sense or is appropriate but not in my writing that’s for sure. 

To write a relatable character in my experience is to combine the fantasy man (as above) with the experiences you have lived through. Those moments when you needed someone to say something that would make it all better but even though they try the words aren’t as perfect as you had imagined. Most males don’t always have the exact words you need to hear but nevertheless they try and usual try hard. Their love shouldn’t be measured by the words they say. When I cry my husband just pulls me into a hug, there’s none of this wiping away my tears stuff haha yet a hug always helps make it all better. 

Always remember the emotional moments in your life when writing about such things. It will help you and the readers relate to the characters and situation. Life and those in it aren’t always perfect – so why make all your characters and scenes perfect? 

 

 

Archipelago by Mati Raine Review 5 stars! — March 18, 2014

Archipelago by Mati Raine Review 5 stars!

I was lucky enough to read Archipelago by Mati Raine as a beta reader and I have to say that I absolutely loved it! This book is definitely a 5 star book and I would recommended it to every age group. The cover is beautiful and intriguing which is always a great start.

It starts with a female protagonist – Lily who develops wings and because of that she has lived an extremely sheltered life. Lily seemed to be a bit of a weak character in the sense that she was scared of everything but you have to remind yourself with an up bringing such as the one she has had, wouldn’t you be? Throughout the book Lily transforms into a great strong character who you really love and are rooting for. My favourite character though would have to be one of the twins – Wyvr (love the spelling too). He and his twin are Australian and being an Aussie myself well, it’s always great to find that in a book. The love life of Lily is as difficult and confusing as any teenage girl’s. I won’t spoil is but when Lily gets her heart broken it’s devastating but very relatable. I won’t lie this book brought me to tears a few times. To me when a book can have that kind of effect on me it means that it’s so well written and draws me in so much that I care enough about the well being of the characters enough to be moved emotionally.

With all the action in this book I think it is definitely one of those books that a reader would benefit more from if they read it more than once. It’s something that I plan on doing before the second book is released. I’m desperately hoping that I don’t have to wait too long to get my hands on the second book. I was left badly wanting to find out which boy Lily ends up getting with and needing to know what happens next. I can hardly fault this book and I think it is the kind of book that should go far.

This is currently my favourite book and I assume it will only be surpassed by the next book (no pressure of anything Mati haha).

I will be buying a print version (wish it was hardback as it’s such a lovely looking book) so I can always have a copy on my book shelf. It’s cheap enough that you really can’t go wrong with it. 

Congratulations Mati on such a wonderful piece of writing and thank you for letting me be your beta reader, I was honoured.

Archipelago cover