Monday, 1 May 2017

Finding Nevo - Author Q&A



Finding Nevo, by Nevo Zisin is currently sitting on my TBR pile and I'm really looking forward to reading it. This is Nevo's story of discovering where they fit in, in their own words.

I've seen some great reviews already, and I'm really excited that Nevo, who is already an activist for transgender and non-binary youth, has this opportunity to become a role model to others who are questioning their own gender identities.

Here Nevo shares their answers to some questions about the book and the writing process.

Finding Nevo is out today from Black Dog Books.



What do you hope readers will take away from Finding Nevo?


I hope they will not only take away my story but also their own. I hope people will find similarities or moments they can relate to and connect it to their own narrative and what the implications of that may be. I hope fellow trans people will feel less alone, heard and seen. I hope they realize that there is a future for them and that they are strong and resilient. I hope cis people read this book and feel a responsibility to create safer spaces and a safer world at large for trans people. While also questioning ways they may uphold oppressive standards of gender binaries onto those around them. Though in general I hope this book will inspire people to create change, both within themselves and in society.

What made you write your autobiography at such a young age? 


Tuesday, 25 April 2017

It Happened on Love Street by Lia Riley


Title: It Happened on Love Street
Author: Lia Riley
Publisher: Forever
Date of Publication: April 25th 2017
Source: Review copy courtesy of the publisher

Summary:


The most romantic place she never wanted to be . . . 

Pepper Knight moved to Everland, Georgia, as step one in her plan for a successful legal career. But after this big-city gal's plans go awry, going home with her tail between her legs isn't an option. So when the town vet-and her sexy new neighbor-offers Pepper a temporary dog-walking job, she jumps at the chance. No one needs to know that man's best friend is her worst nightmare . . . or that Everland's hot animal whisperer leaves her panting.

The last thing Rhett Valentine wants is to be the center of small-town gossip. After his first love left him at the altar, he's been there, done that. These days, life is simple, just the way he likes it. But sultry southern nights get complicated once sparks fly between him and the knockout next door. When she proposes a sexy, secret fling-all the deliciousness and none of the prying neighbors-it seems too good to be true. And it is. Because Pepper's determined to leave Love Street, and when she goes, she just might take his heart with her . . . 

Review:

This fish out of water tale sees Pepper, big city lawyer (sort of) moving to the sleepy town of Everland to further her law career. A summer as a clerk for the local judge is just what she needs before returning to the big city and joining a prestigious firm. When things go wrong, she's offered a job as a dog walker by her next door neighbour, and town vet, Rhett Valentine. She needs the money, but she's terrified of dogs. Left with little choice, she starts walking the local dogs and gets to know the people who frequent the dog park, the hub of local gossip.

Thursday, 30 March 2017

The Secret Science of Magic by Melissa Keil

Title: The Secret Science of Magic
Author: Melissa Keil
Publisher: Hardie Grant Egmont
Date of Publication: April 1st 2017
Source: Review copy courtesy of the publisher


Summary:



The unsolvable problem: If Sophia is a genius, why can’t she crack the puzzle of what to do with her life?

Fact: Sophia is smart. As in, certified-child-prodigy, breezing-through-uni-subjects-even-though-she’s-only-in-year-twelve smart. This terrifies her, because geniuses have a tendency to end up as recluses and weirdos – and with her current social ineptness, she’s halfway there already. 

Truth: Joshua is good at magic tricks, ignoring most things about year twelve, and not thinking at all about life after high school. 

Fact: Sophia can’t even talk to her best friend Elsie about her anxieties, because Elsie is firmly focused on her own future – and on plans that will mean leaving Sophia behind. 

Truth: Joshua has had a secret crush on Sophia since forever, but he doesn’t have forever to act on it. 

Fact: There are some things no amount of genius can prepare you for … and the messiness of the real world is one of them.

Truth: Timing is everything. 



Review:


This is a really beautiful book and you should go read it.

Oh, you want more than that? Okay.

Sunday, 19 March 2017

Mini Reviews: Lifeblood, The Impossible Story of Olive in Love, Frostblood, A Shadow's Breath, Hunted

These books range from the sublime to the ridiculous, and as I'm feeling a little bit poorly at the moment, I'm going to do a bunch of mini reviews. Some of these deserve more, but alas, this will have to do.



Frostblood by Elly Blake is the story of Ruby, a girl who has been forced to hide her status as a Fireblood from the authorities. Her country, ruled by Frostbloods, has hunted and killed Firebloods for years. When she's captured, and then rescued by rebels, she's enlisted to help bring down the Frostblood king.

Ruby is trained by the mysterious Arcus, who she finds herself falling for, despite his harshness towards her.

Frostblood is completely predictable, but is great fun. Yes, it's a chosen one story, but I actually really like that trope. There's enough depth in the story to keep you interested, and I'm looking forward to the next instalment.

Frostblood is published by Hachette who kindly provided a copy for review.

Sunday, 12 March 2017

10 Books I Should Have Read (But Haven't).

There are a lot of books out there, and people have opinions on all of them. Some are "must read" and some pass the masses by. This is a list of books that have, so far, passed me by, despite their popularity. Some of them I'll read eventually, some of them I'm never going to bother with.




Confession time - I've never read anything by Margaret Atwood. No good reason, I just never came across them. The Handmaid's Tale is widely taught in UK schools, but I was too old to have read it at school, and it came out at a time when I wasn't reading much.

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

Nowhere Near You by Leah Thomas

Title: Nowhere Near You
Author: Leah Thomas
Publisher: Bloomsbury Australia
Date of Publication: February 9th 2017
Source: Review copy courtesy of the publisher

Summary:


Ollie and Moritz might never meet, but their friendship knows no bounds. Their letters carry on as Ollie embarks on his first road trip away from the woods--no easy feat for a boy allergic to electricity--and Moritz decides which new school would best suit an eyeless boy who prefers to be alone.

Along the way they meet other teens like them, other products of strange science who lead seemingly normal lives in ways Ollie and Moritz never imagined possible: A boy who jokes about his atypical skeleton; an aspiring actress who hides a strange deformity; a track star whose abnormal heart propels her to victory. Suddenly the future feels wide open for two former hermits. But even as Ollie and Moritz dare to enjoy life, they can't escape their past, which threatens to destroy any progress they've made. Can these boys ever find their place in a world that might never understand them?

Review:

In the first book we met Ollie and Moritz. Ollie was trapped in his cabin in the woods due to his allergy to electricity. Moritz was born without eyes, but is far from blind. The two write to each other, comparing notes on their lives and loves and hardships, and a rare and enduring friendship is formed.

This book is a true sequel, picking up after Because You'll Never Meet Me with almost no exposition - it's straight into the story. Like the first book, this is epistolary, told primarily in letters between Ollie and Moritz, but unlike the first book, there is the occasional letter from other characters mixed in.

Tuesday, 7 March 2017

The Bone Season Giveaway!



So in very exciting news, The Song Rising, book 3 in The Bone Season series by Samantha Shannon is out today!

You might remember I shared the Prelude with you a few months ago, if not, you can read it here.

Here is the very lovely cover and a teaser from the book. A review will follow soon.





And here is a very cool little gif



A new edition of The Bone Season and The Mime Order have been released with stunning new cover art to match The Song Rising and thanks to the very lovely people at Bloomsbury, I have two copies of the new look The Bone Season to give away.

Thursday, 9 February 2017

Dawn Study by Maria V Snyder

Title: Dawn Study
Author: Maria V Snyder
Publisher: Harlequin Australia
Date of Publication: January 23rd, 2017
Source: Review copy courtesy of the publisher

Summary:


New York Times bestselling author Maria V. Snyder brings her Poison Study series to its exhilarating conclusion.

Despite the odds, Yelena and Valek have forged an irrevocable bond and a family that transcends borders. Now, when their two homelands stand on the brink of war, they must fight with magic and cunning to thwart an Ixian plot to invade Sitia.

Yelena seeks to break the hold of the insidious Theobroma that destroys a person's resistance to magical persuasion. But the Cartel is determined to keep influential citizens and Sitian diplomats in thrall and Yelena at bay. With every bounty hunter after her, Yelena is forced to make a dangerous deal.

With might and magic, Valek peels back the layers of betrayal surrounding the Commander. At its rotten core lies a powerful magician and his latest discovery. The fate of all rests upon two unlikely weapons. One may turn the tide. The other could spell the end of everything.

Review:

This final part of Yelena's story has been a long time coming. Yelena and Valek are one of the most enduring couples in fantasy. Despite each being hated in the other's home country, and being kept separate for much of their relationship by their duty to their respective leaders. With her pregnancy to worry about and the loss of her powers, Yelena is perhaps at her most vulnerable. Despite this, she must convince Sitia's leaders that they are being controlled by magic, and free them of this influence so they can take back power. Valek must face the Commander one last time as his loyalty is pushed to its limits. At stake is not only the fragile peace between Sitia and Ixia, but the fate of all magicians.

Wednesday, 8 February 2017

Long Way Home by Katie McGarry

Title: Long Way Home
Author: Katie McGarry
Publisher: Harlequin Teen Australia
Date of Publication: 1st February 2017
Source: Purchased by reviewer

Summary:


Seventeen-year-old Violet has always been expected to sit back and let the boys do all the saving.

It’s the code her father, a member of the Reign of Terror motorcycle club, raised her to live by. Yet when her dad is killed carrying out Terror business, Violet knows it’s up to her to do the saving. To protect herself, and her vulnerable younger brother, she needs to cut all ties with the club—including Chevy, the boy she’s known and loved her whole life.

But when a rival club comes after Violet, exposing old secrets and making new threats, she’s forced to question what she thought she knew about her father, the Reign of Terror, and what she thinks she wants. Which means re-evaluating everything: love, family, friends . . . and forgiveness.

Caught in the crosshairs between loyalty and freedom, Violet must decide whether old friends can be trusted—and if she’s strong enough to be the one person to save them all.


Review:


Violet has had a troubled relationship with the Reign of Terror since her dad died. She broke up with Chevy when he wouldn't choose her ahead of the club, even though it broke her heart. She spent enough time around the club while growing up to see the way they treat women, as property to be protected, or as objects to be used and discarded. Violet intends to be neither. Still blaming the club for the death of her father, her strained relationship with Eli, son of the club president and her father's best friend, is a source of conflict for all concerned. Eli sees it as his job to look after Violet and her mother and brother. Violet wants nothing to do with any of them.

Wednesday, 11 January 2017

Milkbar Memories by Jane Lawson

 As well as reading fiction, I collect cookbooks. My oldest books are older than I am, and I add to my collection every chance I get. At last count I had somewhere over 70.

I'm going to review some of them on here from time to time. Here's the first.

Title: Milkbar Memories
Author: Jane Lawson
Publisher: Murdoch Books
Year of Publication: 2016
Source: Purchased by reviewer

Review:


I had a flick through this book in the book store and knew I had to buy it. It has recipes for musk sticks and marshmallow and fizzy sherbert, milkshake and drink recipes and hot food like burgers and even quiche.

Milkbars are different throughout Australia. Here in Victoria, certainly in my memory, they were corner stores that had a sweet counter, an ice cream freezer and a drinks fridge, with a few other essentials. You'd go to buy milk and the paper and come home with a bag full of lollies.

In other parts of Australia (and maybe here, before my time) they also served hot food and cold drinks.

Milkbar Memories evokes nostalgia for a time when one dollar could get you enough lollies and hot chips to feed all of your friends and make you the most popular kid in school, for the day, at least.

The photos in the book are beautiful, and the recipes are clear and easy to follow with lots of variations included.

If you grew up with milkshakes and one cent sweets and burgers from the chip shop, then you'll love this book.


Recipe trial:


I've been dying to try some of the sweet recipes in the book, but today my kids wanted potato cakes for lunch. This is something I make occasionally, but I'm always up for a new batter recipe, so I thought I'd give the one in this book a go. The recipe in the book was for the NSW style potato scallop, which requires a thicker slice of potato (like you'd find in the UK Midlands) that you precook before coating in batter. We prefer the thinner style, so I cut the potatoes to around 3mm thick on my mandolin slicer (my slicer of choice is the Tupperware Mandochef).

The batter came together really well, it was only flour, baking powder and iced soda water (we made it ourselves using a SodaStream) with a bit of salt. It provided a thin and pretty even coating that bubbled and crisped well.

I cooked them in a deep fryer with sunflower oil, for around 5 minutes per batch.

I was a bit enthusiastic with the potatoes and we ended up with far too many potato cakes, so I took them into my husband's work where they disappeared within minutes. They've requested more tomorrow, but since my kitchen now smells like a fish shop, I've said no.



Want to see more recipe book reviews? Let me know in the comments!