Friday, 21 August 2015

Night Owls

Title: Night Owls
Author: Jenn Bennett
Publisher: Simon and Schuster Aus
Published: August 13th 2015
Source: Review copy via the publisher and NetGalley

Synopsis



Meeting Jack on the Owl - San Francisco's night bus - turns Beatrix's world upside down. Jack is charming, wildly attractive . . . and possibly one of San Francisco's most notorious graffiti artists. 

On midnight rides and city rooftops, Beatrix begins to see who this enigmatic boy really is. But Jack is hiding much more - and can she uncover the truth that leaves him so wounded? 

A unique and profoundly moving novel, Night Owls will linger in your memory long after the final page.


Review

I loved this and read it in a day.

Bex and Jack meet on the night bus, a place neither of them should be, and there's an instant spark.

Bex is an artist, interested in anatomical drawing. Jack is also an artist, although some would call him a vandal. He's responsible for the golden words appearing in random places across the city.

The two circle around each other for a while, before giving into their mutual attraction, but there's always the chance that Jack will be caught and jailed for felony destruction of property, and Bex is keeping her own secrets.

The romance develops at a realistic pace, and it's sweet and lovely and much healthier than many relationships depicted in YA novels. There's one particularly frank discussion about sex which I thought was absolutely wonderful. Jack makes a comment along the lines of "If we can't talk about it, how can we do it?" Sexuality in general is depicted in such a positive and natural way in the story. I was really impressed.

The book also portrays mental illness in an accurate and responsible way without resorting to stereotypes.

Likable characters, a lovely romance and healthy relationships aren't always staples in YA contemporaries, so this makes Night Owls stand out all the more.





Thursday, 20 August 2015

If You Only Knew by Kristan Higgins

Title: If You Only Knew
Author: Kristan Higgins
Publisher: Harlequin Australia - MIRA
Date of Publication: September 1st 2015
Source: Review copy courtesy of the publisher and NetGalley.

Synopsis

Letting go of her ex-husband is harder than wedding-dress designer Jenny Tate expected…especially since his new wife wants to be Jenny’s new best friend. Sensing this isn’t exactly helping her achieve closure, Jenny trades the Manhattan skyline for her hometown up the Hudson, where she’ll start her own business and bask in her sister Rachel’s picture-perfect family life…and maybe even find a little romance of her own with Leo, her downstairs neighbour, a guy who’s utterly irresistible and annoyingly distant at the same time.

 Rachel’s idyllic marriage, however, is imploding after she discovers her husband sexting with a colleague. She always thought she’d walk away in this situation, but her triplet daughters have her reconsidering her stance on adultery, much to Jenny’s surprise. Rachel points to their parents’ perfect marriage as a shining example of patience and forgiveness; but to protect her sister, Jenny may have to tarnish that memory — and their relationship — and reveal a family secret she’s been keeping since childhood. Both Rachel and Jenny will have to come to terms with the past and the present, and find a way to get what they want most of all.


Review

Jenny moves into a lovely rented property and is instantly attracted to the handsome, but cranky, super Leo. The attraction is mutual, but Leo warns her he is for recreational purposes only - no getting attached. Inevitably, Jenny does get attached, but there's a very real reason for Leo's warning. At the same time she's trying to establish her bespoke bridal wear business in this new location, and deal with the fact that her ex husband, who didn't want children, is now having a baby with his new wife. And they both want to be her best friend.

Sunday, 16 August 2015

Author Q&A - Sophie Ranald - You Can't Fall in Love With Your Ex (Can You?)

I've been lucky enough to have been an acquaintance of Sophie Ranald for the last 10 or so years. She's an incredibly clever and witty person, and that is reflected in her writing. She also has a very cute cat named Purrs.

I have reviewed her books in the past, and I'm very pleased to host this Q&A with Sophie to celebrate the release of her newest novel.

If you're a fan of contemporary women's fiction and you like your heroines to be sassy and sweary, then Sophie's books are for you.

You Can't Fall in Love With Your Ex (Can You?) is available from Amazon in the UK, US and Australia now. Find it on Goodreads.



What can you tell us about the new book?
The idea for You Can’t Fall in Love With Your Ex (Can You?) first came to me when a friend mentioned that an ex-boyfriend had sent her a friend request on Facebook. She was extremely nervous about accepting it – he was her first love and had broken her heart, and although her life was great, she worried that seeing his picture and reading about how he was living would bring back all the feelings she thought she’d put behind her. She did accept the friend request and was relieved to find that he had not only failed in many areas of his life, but had got fat and was going bald! But I thought, what might have happened if it hadn’t been that way? 

Monday, 10 August 2015

Guest post - Claire Varley - The Bit in Between



I'm honoured to share with you a guest post written by Claire Varley, author of The Bit in Between which I reviewed earlier this month. This post is part of the blog tour which is still on going. You can find the other stops in the tour listed here on Claire's website.



How did you get the news that your book had been selected from the slush pile, and what was your initial reaction?

Everything changed on June 30 2014. The financial year ended and so did my years of wandering the desert of literary frustration. (So dramatic! Such Hemingway! Let’s keep moving…) I opened the email from Haylee Nash, Pan Macmillan’s Fiction Commissioning Editor, with my face already set in a stoic mask of acceptance at what would no doubt be another rejection letter, but instead she was asking to see the full manuscript. I don’t entirely remember what I did but I expect it involved swearing, crying or checking to see if it was spam. Or, most likely, all of the above.

Everything from that point on has really just been a series of protracted cardiac episodes, played out in a ridiculous interchange between my normal life and my dream life. For instance:
  • Because the initial email conversation in which Haylee told me she wanted to pitch it to the publishing team took place during work hours, I conducted the whole thing sitting in an open plan office trying to discretely answer her emails while minimising them if anyone walked past. Department of Social Services made everyone in the community sector reapply for all the service contracts last year so I was in the middle of writing eight grant applications whilst periodically sneaking off to lock myself in the toilet and dance ecstatically while shrieking mutely like an office- bound Kate Bush. 

Thursday, 6 August 2015

Myra and the Magic Motorcycle: The Business in Bermuda by Amanda Greenslade


Title: Myra and the Magic Motorcycle: The Business in Bermuda
Author: Amanda Greensdale
Publisher: Australian eBook Publisher
Date of Publication: 20th August 2015
Source: Review copy courtesy of NetGalley


This book has been reviewed by by a special guest, 8 year old J.

Synopsis:


WHEN an eight-year-old Australian girl, named Myra, finds a shining yellow motorcycle in the shed, she doesn’t expect it to actually work. It has strange buttons on the display and something like an eyebrow on the headlight. There is a key in the ignition!

Along with her pet bird, Diver, Myra finds herself on an exciting adventure across the other side of the Earth. The magic motorcycle takes her to new places and she is able to meet some people who really need her help.

Turn the key and rev the throttle. You’re about to go on the adventure of a lifetime with Myra and the Magic Motorcycle.

Review:


Myra is a girl who came back from school, went into the garage and found this blanket over a magical motorbike. She pressed a button and it flew her across the world to another country. She has to help a family that she finds there. She helps them because the dad is in hospital and the mother can't work and look after the children at the same time.

The book was interesting because it's about a place I've never heard of before.

The pictures were easy to understand because they had good detail and were bright and colourful.

I think it's a good book for other 8 year olds.



Sunday, 2 August 2015

Review - In the Quiet by Eliza Henry Jones

Title: In the Quiet
Author: Eliza Henry Jones
Publisher: HarperCollins Australia
Date of Publication: 1st July 2015
Source: Review copy courtesy of the publisher

Synopsis:



Cate Carlton has recently died, yet she is able to linger on, watching her three young children and her husband as they come to terms with their life without her on their rural horse property. As the months pass and her children grow, they cope in different ways, drawn closer and pulled apart by their shared loss. And all Cate can do is watch on helplessly, seeing their grief, how much they miss her and how - heartbreakingly - they begin to heal. Gradually unfolding to reveal Cate's life, her marriage, and the unhappy secret she shared with one of her children, In the Quiet is compelling, simple, tender, true - heartbreaking and uplifting in equal measure.


Review: 


Cate is dead. She's not quite sure how she became that way, or where she is now, or where she is going, but for now she's able to follow the members of her family and see what is happening to them. She's also able to travel back through her memories, but she doesn't like doing this too much as it takes her away from what's happening now. Through Cate's eyes we meet her family, her husband Bass, children Jessa, Cameron and Rafferty and her sister Bea, and we see how they're coping with her loss. Or not coping, in some cases.

Saturday, 1 August 2015

Blog Tour - The Bit in Between by Claire Varley

Title: The Bit in Between
Author: Claire Varley
Publisher: Pan MacMillan
Release Date: 1st August 2015
RRP: $29.99
Source: Review copy courtesy of the publisher

I'm very happy to be part of the blog tour for The Bit in Between. Today I have a review, but be sure to come back on the 10th when I have a guest post from Claire.

You can see the rest of the stops on the campaign over on Claire Varley's blog. Please do check them out.


Synopsis:

There are seven billion people in the world. This is the story of two of them. 

After an unfortunate incident in an airport lounge involving an immovable customs officer, a full jar of sun-dried tomatoes, quite a lot of vomit, and the capricious hand of fate, Oliver meets Alison. In spite of this less than romantic start, Oliver falls in love with her. 

Immediately. 

Inexplicably. 

Irrevocably. 

With no other place to be, Alison follows Oliver to the Solomon Islands where he is planning to write his much-anticipated second novel. But as Oliver's story begins to take shape, odd things start to happen and he senses there may be more hinging on his novel than the burden of expectation. As he gets deeper into the manuscript and Alison moves further away from him, Oliver finds himself clinging to a narrative that may not end with 'happily ever after'.

Review:

Oliver is heading home to Melbourne for his grandmother's funeral. Alison has had enough of her boyfriend and is heading back to the family farm. After meeting in a Malaysian airport, they assume they will go their separate ways, but it seems fate has other plans. Oliver offers Alison a lift to the train station. She misses her train and decides not to go home and soon after is joining him on his trip to the Solomon Islands where he plans to write his second novel.