Friday, May 19, 2017

The Night That Changed Everything by Laura Tait and Jimmy Rice

Rebecca is the only girl she knows who didn't cry at the end of Titanic. Ben is the only man he knows who did. Rebecca’s untidy but Ben doesn’t mind picking up her pieces. Ben is laid back but Rebecca keeps him on his toes. They're a perfect match.

Nothing can come between them. Or so they think.

When a throwaway comment reveals a secret from the past, their love story is rewritten.

Can they recover from the night that changed everything? And how do you forgive when you can’t forget?

The Night That Changed Everything is a funny, feel-good and bittersweet story, told in alternate chapters by Laura Tait and Jimmy Rice.

This was so, so good! I loved the characters, the leads and all their crew, and the overall storyline, which felt fresh and unexpected. This book had the perfect mix of levity, humour, and heart-in-stomach moments. I was completely swept up, equal parts swooning and bereft. 

Laura Tait and Jimmy Rice are really onto something with their alternating chapters (each author writing their male/female counterpart POV). I enjoyed their combo in their previous work as well ~ they have the right blend of humour and realism without ever getting too soppy or over-the-top ridiculous. It's authors like these and Mhairi McFarlane that have ruined me for other books in this chick-litty genre. 

I have a real love for these kinds of cruisey chick-lit novels set in the UK and spend considerable time sampling so many authors in the genre. So far these two authors and Mhairi MacFarlane are my faves! They both have a cruisey addictive feel, and manage to give real depth to their characters and stories (plus plenty of humour, swoon and unpredictability).

Also! I could not put this book down. A very addictive, unpredictable and immersive reading experience. That ending! 

Waiting for news of Jimmy Rice and Laura Tait's next novel is killing me (please let it be soon!). If you're in a romantic comedy/drama kind of mood I absolutely recommend this to you! Especially if you favour spending bookish time in the UK. This was a stand-out read of 2016 for me and a new fave - so much love for this!

The Night That Changed Everything on goodreads

Also very good and completely recommended is their (2014) debut title The Best Thing That Never Happened To Me :Everyone remembers their first love. 
Holly certainly remembers Alex. But she decided ten years ago that love wasn't about mix tapes and seizing the moment - though she's not exactly sure it's about secret dates with your boss, either. 

But what if the feelings never really went away? 
Alex wants to make every moment of his new job count. It's a fresh start in a big city, and he's almost certain that moving to London has nothing to do with Holly. Almost. 

How do you know if it was meant to be... Or never meant to happen at all? 

Saturday, May 13, 2017

The Scared Lies of Minnow Bly by Stephanie Oakes

With a harrowing poetic voice, this contemporary page-turner is perfect for fans of Laurie Halse Anderson's Speak, Julie Berry's All The Truth That's in Me, and the works of Ellen Hopkins.

The Kevinian cult has taken everything from seventeen-year-old Minnow: twelve years of her life, her family, her ability to trust.

And when she rebelled, they took away her hands, too.

Now their Prophet has been murdered and their camp set aflame, and it's clear that Minnow knows something—but she's not talking. As she languishes in juvenile detention, she struggles to un-learn everything she has been taught to believe, adjusting to a life behind bars and recounting the events that led up to her incarceration. But when an FBI detective approaches her about making a deal, Minnow sees she can have the freedom she always dreamed of—if she’s willing to part with the terrible secrets of her past.

The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly is a hard-hitting and hopeful story about the dangers of blind faith—and the power of having faith in oneself. (less)

I was sold on this book when someone mentioned it was kind of in the same vein as Julie Berry’s All The Truth That’s in Me. Mate, I love that book hard. (Now, having read both, they are quite different, but both had the same unputdownable vibe with characters who are both tough and vulnerable). Plus this book has a few fave subjects I like in fiction: cults! mysteries! Fiery, tough and vulnerable characters!

I snuck a few chapters of this in between studying and then ended up abandoning all pretense of studying and reading this in nearly one-all-consuming sitting. The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly was intense and harrowing and painful, 100% compelling and, strangely, hopeful. I couldn’t look away. Not only was I engrossed in wanting to find out what happened and what was going to happen, but when reveals and twists came, it was unpredictable and the turns of the plot were really satisfying. Minnow got under my skin and into my heart and I loved watching her story unfold. I recommend this so much: for fans of good, relentlessly addictive books.

the Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly @ goodreads

So excited for Stepahnie Oakes follow up novel The Arsonist due to be released in August 2017! Three months to go :)

Saturday, May 6, 2017

April Favourites

April was a such a great reading month for me. Two weeks of school holidays meant extra reading time and I finally got my YA mojo back (after spending most of 2016 reading adult fiction titles). I saw a few of my goodreads friends reading some of my fave YA titles, which gave me reading envy and set me off on a bit of a reread binge of some old fave contemporary YA titles and it was perfectly like visiting with old friends.

April book total: 16
Books: 12 (including 4 rereads)
Audiobooks: 4

Fave read of April:

A List of Cages by Robin Roe
A List of Cages was heartcrushingly good. I knew very little about this book when I started (and I do recommend knowing little ~ so many reviews are absolutely spoilery) and I really did not expect the characters to win me other so completely.

If I were to make a word cloud of this book, included would be: hopeful, tense, devastating, brotherhood, secrets, cute, tears, powerful, smiley.

The seriousness of the subject matter is perfectly balanced with the levity of an outstanding cast of characters who were fun to hang out with and also reminded me of the life-changing power of teenagers who are awesome and stand up to make a difference. I rarely cry actual tears while reading but it was impossible to stay dry-eyed during A List of Cages.

Fave audiobook:

Highly Illogical Behaviour by John Corey Whaley
This was pretty cute and entertaining as an audiobook with dual narrators who definitely brought the story to life. I enjoyed the humour, pop culture nerdy/sci-fi references, and the underlying tension of the premise. I'm not sure I would have read this in book format, but the audio was good, light reading experience that kept me engaged.

Other recommendations:

Alex, Approximately by Jenn Bennett was an entertaining YA read that was cute and addictive with a summer boardwalk/theme park(ish) setting that felt alive and surprisingly unique (the whole cave/museum thing was great). It didn't personally get me swooning but it did keep me smiling and I think you may find a lot to love if you're looking for a new cute summer-love YA read.

Making Faces by Amy Harmon: I like the way Harmon writes and this story had a great message (that did not take over the narrative) with heartache, swooning, humour, and unexpected twists and turns. I didn't love it as much as I loved her fantasy The Bird and The Sword but it was an absorbing and worthwhile read that didn't shy away from hard topics. I liked the timeline of this book which spanned from early childhood, through high school and into early adulthood. If the premise appeals to you definitely give this a go :)

The Impostor Queen by Sarah Fine I was both captivated and intermittently frustrated with this original YA fantasy. I loved the world building and characters and the slow burn romance was also believable and satisfying, as was the unique and intriguing features of Fine's world. The only thing holding me back from listing this as a new fave were these weird pacing lulls where I would disengage with the story while waiting for things to keep moving. This complaint is more telling about me as a fantasy reader than the novel itself (I can be unfairly impatient with fantasy at times).

It Ends With Us is the first Colleen Hoover book I have read and I can see her widespread appeal. Hoover has a seamless writing style that drew me in and kept me turning the pages through the night. It was so easy to engage with her characters and get swept into the story. I knew little about this story going in and for that I am so glad (DO NOT read reviews of this one as I loved the way I was taken by surprise). This story was not what I expected> I was hoping for a kind of guilty pleasure, swoony, mindless read but this ended up being quite powerful and affecting. I would love any other Colleen Hoover recommendations as her backlist is rather intimidating and I have no idea where to start. I am not generally a fan of angsty YA/NA novels, but always a fan of absorbing books with captivating characters :)

What's the latest book you've read and loved?

:) Nomes

Monday, April 17, 2017

The Fifth Letter by Nicola Moriarty

How do you know if your friends actually like you?

Joni, Deb, Eden and Trina try to catch up once a year for some days away together. Now in their thirties, commitments have pulled them in different directions, and the closeness they once enjoyed growing up seems increasingly elusive. This year, determined to revive their intimacy, they each share a secret in an anonymous letter to be read out during the holiday. But instead of bringing them closer, the revelations seem to drive them apart. Then a fifth letter is discovered, venting long-held grudges, and it seems that one of the women is in serious danger. But who was the author? And which of them should be worried?

THE FIFTH LETTER examines the bonds of women's friendship groups, and the loyalty and honesty they demand, along with letting go of relationships that once seemed essential but are now outgrown.

A new Nicola Moriarty! I have read and loved Nicola's previous two novels. Free-Falling was charming and whimsical and Paper Chains was mysterious and emotional and both have been highlights of my reading life. I have been hanging out for Nicola's latest, even more so when Mands from The Bookish Manicurist emailed to say she was loving it and it was Nicola's best book yet. 

The Fifth letter has a captivating opener which grabbed my attention and then held it resulting in me having to stop everything I had planned for the next 24 hours until I had finished the book. It is one of those up-all-night, can't-put-it-down books, the pacing and reveals sprinkled throughout only adding to the tension and need-to-know-answers vibe. The Fifth Letter has a much stronger mystery/suspense angle than Nicola's previous novels. It definitely sucked me in (evidenced by the speed in which I tore through it) but I did miss the more character-driven aspect that I loved in her first novels. I enjoyed reading about these characters, but I didn't fall in love with them. 

I love that amongst the twists and suspense and reveals, Nicola still writes with a touch of whimsy and smiley surprise. She has a flair for sneaking in little details which play out in deliciously satisfying ways. The novel touches on some heavier topics and humour is used in all the right places to add levity and charm. 

I thought I had things figured out a few times throughout the novel, but the rabbit's hole always went deeper and I love how I thought things were headed one way and then they perfectly maneouvered somewhere else ~ somewhere better, more interesting and unexpected. It really was the mystery and reveals that kept me glued to the pages. 

The novel centres around four women who have been friends since high school and as the story unfolds there are numerous flashbacks to teenage years, making this a perfect novel for fans of both young adult and adult fiction.

The Fifth Letter is brilliantly plotted with sneaky reveals and a really fun (unexpected) climax and ending that left me smiling and content with time well spent. I am so happy Australia has fun and unique authors such as Nicola Moriarty and am (as always) looking forward to what Nicola has for readers next.

The Fifth Letter is available everywhere now :)

The Fifth Letter @ goodreads
The Fifth Letter @ HarperCollins Australia (including free excerpt)
Nicola Moriarty's website

The Fifth Letter: Australian, US and UK editions. Available everywhere now.
Many thanks to HarperCollins for my gorgeous review copy!

Saturday, April 1, 2017

March Favourites

The first half of March was a beautiful, dream-like reading month. Back to back good reads and two new fave reads! The second half was littered with DNF books (which means I did get through a lot of titles that are no longer waiting on my TBR). After too many disappointing attempts in a row, I turned to re-reading some old faves which held up on the reread (occasionally a reread doesn't hold the same magic and the book can fall flat). 

Total reads: 9 books and 4 audiobooks

Fave reads of March:

By Your Side by Kasie West 
Light, swoony and unputdownable ~ with just the right amount of character development to add some ache and depth. This is a rainy day comfort read kind of book that was perfect for my reading mood.

Bone Gap by Laura Ruby
A mesmerising blend of gorgeous writing and mysterious happenings,  this contemporary/fantasy/magical realism/genre-blending novel completely stole my heart. I was hooked after a few chapters but I did not anticipate how much the characters would endear themselves to me. Laura Ruby is a born storyteller and some parts had me feeling like I was inside a fairy tale. This book not only had achey, brilliant, shining characters to fall in love with, but it was also unpredictable and daring and wholly original while remaining full of heart. 

Fave Audiobook for March:

I really enjoyed listening to Salt to the Sea, which has four narrators to match all four teenage perspectives. The story was engaging the whole way through, effortlessly transporting me to another time and place, but it wasn't until the end that I really felt moved. I am absolutely glad I spent time with these characters and heard their stories, this is a story that will linger and that deserved to be told. 

Fave Rereads

I am such an Elizabeth Scott fangirl and I love to periodically revisit her work. Perfect You is one of my faves of hers and it always delivers. She captures teen voice so well, and Will is so dreamy! Ha! Tell Me Three Things was a fave read of 2016 and I'm still loving it <3

How was March for you? Any new fave reads?

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Hello! :)


It's Nomes :)

I've been letting inkcrush sleep for a long time. During that time I've been blogging elsewhere for my uni degree which I finally graduated from in December 2016! I was awarded with my Masters in Teacher-Librarianship and am now a qualified teacher-librarian (primary and secondary school) as well as a straight-up regualr (but awesome) librarian ~  qualified to work in any library (such as the council library, TAFE or at a uni library). Phew! My masters was a mammoth effort and I learnt so much but, underneath it all, my passion is still for literature and developing and nurturing a love of reading and learning how to create libraries that are both a haven and an inspirational space for creativity and lifelong learning (etc! Not about to get into my uni essay talk! Haha). Turns out there is more to be a librarian than just reading and talking about books all day! ;)

Some grad pics @ Southbank in Brisbane (with some of my fam)

I hope you are all going well and finding new favourite books and authors, and spending time visiting old literary friends. I have had a quiet year online (both on here and I also had a rest from social media) but I hope to be back here (and visiting you all on your internet spaces) more frequently this year chatting about my new fave books, authors, literary characters and life! I fell in love with so many books in 2016 and already I have 7 new favourite reads from 2017 alone to talk about. 

Here's three recent reads that are all new faves for me:

By Your Side by Kasie West
I just love how Kasie West writes. Her books so easy to sink into and relax with. I spent a blissful day with this book and am already hanging out for Kasie's next release (which is in July! So thankful she keeps her books coming at me!). She is on par with Elizabeth Scott for me (one of my fave relaxing and swoon-delivering YA authors) and reading By Your Side definitely got me in the mood for revisiting Kasie's older titles (like The Distance Between Us and P.S. I Like You ~ both contemporary YA faves of mine). Her books really are reading highlights in my year. They hit that sweet YA spot (something light, swoony and unputdownable ~ with just the right amount of character development to add some ache and depth). 

Strange The Dreamer by Laini Taylor is exquisite. Unique and vibrant and messy, the fantasy world vividly comes to life like no other fantasy world I have visited before (in my reading travels, haha). Laini Taylor is a born story-teller, and this story is complicated, romantic, haunting and altogether unexpected. Brilliant, imaginative and stunning ~ Strange the Dreamer was worth the wait. I'm so excited for everyone to read it!

The Pretty Delicious Cafe by Danielle Hawkins
I really, really  enjoyed this charming New Zealand read! Refreshing and very smiley. Gorgeous setting with characters who feel like family. I loved it from the first chapter (with an awesomely awkward and smiley meet cute!). This book has swoon, humour, fantastically fun dialogue, and genuine family and friend messy relationships that never derives into melodrama. Definitely on the look out for more work from Danielle Hawkins and now I have her backlist titles to catch up on!

What book have you read lately that is a new fave?

Talk soon! Nomes x

The Night That Changed Everything by Laura Tait and Jimmy Rice

Rebecca is the only girl she knows who didn't cry at the end of Titanic. Ben is the only man he knows who did. Rebecca’s untidy but ...