Wednesday, 30 March 2016

Giveaway! 5 Year Blogoversary



5 years ago today I started this little blog. I'd just read The Jane Austen Book Club for the second time, without realising it until the very end. At the time there was no Goodreads, or at least not that I was aware of, and I needed a way to keep track of my reading so I didn't read the same book twice without knowing. I did have a new baby, so my mind was a little scattered.


So what's changed over the last five years? I started out just posting brief reviews of the books I bought and read. Then I started getting eBook review copies from publishers. Entangled and Harlequin were among the first to give me access to their books. Then I started getting sent physical review copies, some without requesting them first, which still amazes me. People actually send me books, and all I have to do is read them and tell people about them. How amazing is that?

Here's a very brief look at the last 5 years.

First Post:



I hadn't heard of this series until just before I read it.

First ARC:



This has surprised me actually, because I thought I had some before this, but this is certainly the first I posted. 

Most post views:



With over 2,400 views this is by far the most viewed post on the blog. That's largely due to Robin Hobb sharing it on her facebook page.

Favourite Moments:


My favourite blogging moment was getting to meet Laini Taylor. She's the first author I met and I was completely starstruck. It was such a fun night and has made me aware of lots of bookish events.

This month I was featured on the Australian YA Bloggers website, which was pretty cool.

Being recognised by publicists, authors and other bloggers at events is amazing and always takes me by surprise.

Being asked to contribute to Reading Lark was a great privilege. Sometimes I share more reviews there than here, but it gives me an international platform to share my love of Australian books and authors.

Thank You!



It's been a great 5 years and I've thoroughly enjoyed the opportunities and experiences the blog has given me. 

I'd like to thank the publishers who have been so generous with review copies of books, the authors who've shared or thanked me for reviews and the people who've stopped by to comment on or just read reviews.

Thank you also to my fellow bloggers, those I've met, those I chat with online and those who support each other and add to a great community.

Giveaway


To celebrate 5 years of blogging I am giving away a book of your choice up to $20AU on Book Depository. This is open internationally (anywhere Book Depository ships) to anyone over 18 years of age, or 13 and over with parental permission.

The winner will be contacted by email and will need to respond within 48 hours or a second winner will be chosen.




Thursday, 24 March 2016

Frankie by Shivaun Plozza

Title: Frankie
Author: Shivaun Plozza
Publisher: Penguin Teen Australia
Date of Publication: March 23rd 2016
Source: Purchased by reviewer

Synopsis:

Frankie Vega is angry. Just ask the guy whose nose she broke. Or the cop investigating the burglary she witnessed, or her cheating ex-boyfriend or her aunt who's tired of giving second chances...When a kid shows up claiming to be Frankie's half brother, it opens the door to a past she doesn't want to remember. And when that kid goes missing, the only person willing to help is a boy with stupidly blue eyes … and secrets of his own. Frankie's search for the truth might change her life, or cost her everything.


Frankie is that wonderful creation, a difficult, troubled character who does terrible things, that you absolutely fall in love with anyway. She is in trouble at school, having used a book of Shakespeare to rearrange someone's face, and her aunt, Vinnie, is close to washing her hands of her. When Xavier appears claiming to be her half-brother she is intrigued, but also wary. She hasn't exactly had the best experience with family. But just as she's getting to know Xavier, he disappears. The cops aren't interested in helping and no one else wants to know, apart from Nate. The only problem is, Nate doesn't exactly walk on the right side of the law, and his involvement could get Frankie into even more trouble. Can she find her brother, avoid expulsion from school and avoid her aunt killing her? Probably not, but she's going to try anyway.

I absolutely adored this book. Frankie is such a flawed character, but I fell for her instantly. I loved her voice and I laughed out loud at several points in the book. But I also felt her loneliness and insecurity. She is a character desperate for love but far too scared to allow anyone to love her. She pushes everyone away for fear of being hurt.

Nate is another flawed character. An admitted burglar, he's still incredibly likeable. He goes out of his way to help Frankie, even when it means putting himself at risk.

This is such a Melbourne story, populated by believable characters and featuring local landmarks and Melbourne's famous street art. Although I don't know Collingwood as well as other inner city suburbs, I really recognised the setting of the story.

I often find first person present tense narratives difficult. There is often a tendency to slip out of the present tense, or it feels clumsy. That's totally not the case here. I didn't even register that it was present tense until well into the book. It's so well written and put together. I wasn't sure about the cover at first, but it totally makes sense in the context of the story.

This is a dark, gritty story. It's not all sunshine and roses, and it's all the better for that. It's beautiful, confronting and compelling.

I totally fell in love with Frankie and read this in one evening/morning.  Highly recommended.