Monday, October 31, 2011

Audition by Stasia Ward Kehoe

When high school junior Sara wins a coveted scholarship to study ballet, she must sacrifice everything for her new life as a professional dancer-in-training. 
Living in a strange city with a host family, she's deeply lonely-until she falls into the arms of Remington, a choreographer in his early twenties. At first, she loves being Rem's muse, but as she discovers a surprising passion for writing, she begins to question whether she's chosen the right path. 
Is Rem using her, or is it the other way around? And is dancing still her dream, or does she need something more? 
This debut novel in verse is as intense and romantic as it is eloquent. (from goodreads)

What would you give up for your dream?
Dare I tell them that since I came here to dance

I have been giving pieces of my body away

To ridiculous diets,
To repeated injuries,
To Remington?

And that maybe

I think

With each bit of my body

I lose a little piece of my soul. (from Penguin Au)

Audition is Stasia Ward Kehoe's highly anticipated YA verse novel debut. 

At sixteen years, Sara leaves her friends and family, moves away on a scholarship to a prestigious dance school. Sara feels lost amongst her peers, who too often are pitched against one another competitively to form true friendship. Dancing is a constant discipline in which dancers strive for perfection with their routines and in their bodies. It is not an easy burden to bear, and you can feel the shackles and tension in the pages. 

To add to those swirling feelings of homesickness, Sara fast leaves her innocence behind. Remington is a dance instructor, gorgeous, older (in his early twenties, against her sixteen years) and Sara fast becomes entangled in the addictive pull of his attention. 

I feel him trace my body
With his eyes.
Numbs my fingertips.
Makes my face burn.
Sara becomes Rem’s muse. It is not a happy, giddy love story. There are sparks, swift, all-consuming romancing, followed by a dark underside where Rem’s previously charming enigmatic vibe is swallowed up into something much more foreboding. 

Audition is swirling and ambiguous and dark in parts. There were not many moments of comic relief, lightness or joy shining through. Alongside Sara, I felt plunged in a world full of pressure, doubt and the lonely struggle of an artist. The glimpse into the world of dance was insightful: often harsh, intense and yet with moments of beauty. My gosh, I felt weary just reading about it all (The physical effort and extreme commitment). 

Sara’s extremely driven, yet as the story unfolds, it shifts to become more of an internal struggle. Sara frustrated me in parts, seemingly unsure, unquestioning and yet in the end I felt proud of her ~ scraping out from under the pressure to find who she really is and what she really wants, and the story is ultimately triumphant. 

True to most verse novels, the prose is gorgeous in parts and extremely quotable. I think verse was a great medium to tell Sara’s story. It is most effective in that relaying of emotions and completely getting under Sara’s skin: 
It seems I am living
Almost everything
In halves.
On the flipside, the sparse wording did give me a sense of weightlessness while reading. I felt burdened by the emotions of it all, yet not at all grounded in the plot, if that makes sense? It’s such an internal exploration, barely any dialogue, and I missed the sense of feeling like I was in the story alongside Sara, I was very much in her head, but not in the story. Argh, it’s hard to describe. The setting seemed vague, some of the characters interchangeable, the story more emotive than tangible. 

I am a fan of the verse novel and have read many. Stylistically, this one drove me a bit crazy. Rather than just capitalising at the beginning of every sentence (like every other verse novel I have read), Ward Kehoe capitalised at the beginning of every line. Which meant she was capitalising random words mid-sentence. It drove me crazy and really broke that smooth rhythm and flow. It was quite jarring, even unnerving, LOL (with each capital, I kind of gave pause, as if the sentences were broken with full stops ~ after I while, I tried to tune out to those random capitals). 
I think I have disgusted him
With my childishness
Even though I am more afraid
Of being lonely
Than of losing anything
Rem could take from me.
I can see the talent in Ward Kehoe's debut, cleverly crafted and gorgeously written, yet I wish I had connected with the story more. (I felt mostly numb most of the time, even while appreciating parts of it). However, I am most interested in seeing others response to Audition, so far it has garnered much praise.

On the cover: Isn't it gorgeous and compelling? 

Audition @ Penguin Australia
Audition @ goodreads

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Hunting Lila by Sarah Alderson

17-year-old Lila has two secrets she's prepared to take to the grave. 

The first is that she can move things just by looking at them. The second is that she's been in love with her brother's best friend, Alex, since forever. Or thereabouts.

After a mugging on the streets of South London goes horribly wrong and exposes her unique ability, Lila decides to run to the only people she can trust - her brother and Alex. They live in Southern California where they work for a secret organisation called The Unit, and Lila discovers that the two of them are hunting down the men who murdered her mother five years before. And that they've found them. Trying to uncover the truth of why her mother was killed, and the real remit of The Unit, Lila becomes a pawn in a dangerous game. Struggling to keep her secrets in a world where nothing and no one is quite as they seem, Lila quickly realises that she is not alone - there are others out there just like her - people with special powers -and her mother's killer is one of them...

Hunting Lila was a little bit like watching a teen movie: a fun blend of romance and soft-thriller-action. I'm labeling it as a popcorn munchie type movie[book]: a little bit swoony, smiley, action-y and definitely addictive. It even features some twist-y turn-y plot revelations in the end, adding some unpredictability and a bit of oomph to the climax.

I actually pretty much read this all in one go. It completely suited my mood at the time. I read a fair few adult thrillers and while Hunting Lila had that thriller aspect, it felt more like a mash-up of YA contemporary romance with soft-sci-fi aspects. It felt kind of like a guilty pleasure* as it was rather light and flirty to read.

In terms of plot my crude analysis is: the first 50% focuses a lot on Lila crushing on (22 year old, brother's best friend) Alex. It was smiley and full of all kinds of YA swoon. The second 50% was where the action kicked in and things veered to the "X-men" side of things.

I really liked the older YA vibe, the military base setting, and the British narration. And, I really liked Alex ;) (okay, it was a swoon-fest)

The verdict: Expect something light, flirty and fun ~ don't take yourself too seriously with this one. Good fun, good times. I am definitely reading #2 :) (which is the final book in the series, not planned to be a trilogy)

* also: the guilty pleasure label translates well for people who struggle with technicalities, any plot holes, plausibility. I devoured this and loved it, but I am cautious in recommending as I know a certain kind of reader may find themselves... irked by certain tropes, haha. Also, very focused on the swooning. Word of caution ;)

Hunting Lila is a UK debut. 
Have you read it? Are you interested?

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Kristan Higgins: Adult Contemporary Romance

This year I have branched out in search of some smiley, breezy contemporary romance to chill out too. One name that kept popping up is the ever-so-popular Kristan Higgins. This post reviews two of her books and (briefly) mentions a third (the total I have read of her)

My first Higgins book is the road-tripping book that was most highly recommended to me:

My One and Only
Just when she thought she had life and love all figured out…

Divorce attorney Harper James can’t catch a break. Bad enough that she runs into her ex-hubby, Nick, at her sister’s destination wedding, but now, by a cruel twist of fate, she’s being forced to make a cross-country road trip with him. And her almost-fiancé back at home is not likely to be sympathetic.

Harper can’t help that Nick has come blazing back into her life in all of his frustratingly appealing, gorgeous architect glory. But in Nick’s eyes, Harper’s always been the one. If they can only get it right this time, forever might be waiting—just around the bend.

My review: Reading this book was exactly like watching a romantic comedy. 

I like reading books like this for indulgent relaxation. For some swoony/fun times. For the romantic in me (I guess, haha).

I don't expect depth. It's the kind of book that is predictable just after reading the back blurb. A guilty pleasure indulgent read.

The thing is, I am not the hugest fan of romantic comedies. As much as I want to love them, they more often than not frustrate me. Still, I continually go back searching for more (weird).

In some ways, this book delivered exactly what I wanted. In other ways, it annoyed me.

Here's what I loved: Nick. He was hot, in the way you want your leading man to be. He oozed sex-appeal, charisma and general hotness. He is a dream-man ~ caring, romantic, intelligent, genuine, often too good to be true ~ even his flaws are ones that can be romanticised to swoon-factors. He is what kept the pages turning for me. His sardonic wit, his alpha-maleness, his unreadable gazes, etc. You know the drill.

He had a great chemistry with Harper (love the name)

Here's what had the eyes rolling: Harper. She frustrated me. I get that she needed to have hang-ups to provide a character arc and to wedge some tension in her relationship with Nick ~ but it was so overdone. No subtly at all. She was overly intense in her weaknesses. Not sympathetic at all, and often I was wondering just whydid Nick love her?

Here's what grated, but was to be expected: the secondary characters. They were all caricatures. Painted loudly and over the top. Just like in those screw-ball romantic comedies (movies) where the side characters are just too much: overbearing, making ridiculous decisions, being completely unrealistic people (parodies of themselves) running around presumably for our amusement. It's just not my sense of humour.

overall: I think Higgins wrote the relationship between Nick and Harper well. She knows how to create (oodles) of sexual tension, how to steam up the bedroom, how to bring out the swoon. The rest of the drama/characters I could do without (although maybe that kind of screw-ball, ridiculously unbelievable cast of side characters is a staple of this genre? Which is why I can only handle these kinds of books in small doses...) Weirdly, I think I will go back for more of Higgins at some point, LOL. Even though I know up front I will probably only ever "3 star" her books, sometimes 3 star reads like this satisfy*.

*I sound contradictory I know. 

My second Higgins book was also recommended by a few good reading buds, to showcase a different side of Kristin Higgins. 

Too Good To Be True

Too Good To Be True had a much more relate-able heroine and, while still sexy, it relied more on embarrassing situations than sexual innuendo for it's laughs. 

The characters seemed to have more emotional depth but I missed some of the smirks I got from the (sharper) banter in my first Higgin books. 

This was a little bit tamer, IMO... despite having, erm, that cover, haha. It was still very smiley, addictive with that popcorn-movie-sleep-over-vibe.

Sorry for the fly-by mention ~ I could divert your attention to an Awesome review from YA blogging guru Steph Su while I keep moving on... :D

And then... along came Netgalley (thank you):

Until There Was You

Posey Osterhagen can't complain. She owns a successful architectural salvaging company, she's surrounded by her lovable, if off-center, family and she has a boyfriend—sort of. Still, something's missing. Something tall, brooding and criminally good-looking…something like Liam Murphy.
When Posey was sixteen, the bad boy of Bellsford, New Hampshire, broke her heart. But now he's back, sending Posey's traitorous schoolgirl heart into overdrive once again. She should be giving him a wide berth, but it seems fate has other ideas….
My Review: 
‘Until There Was You’ is Kristan Higgins latest offering (out this week!) and it’s different yet again in tone, but still has some trademark tropes (of both the genre and her previous books I’ve read). 

I love the premise, it may be cliche, but it is deliciously addictive in its anticipation. Posey’s high school crush, bad boy Liam “tall, brooding and criminally good-looking” returns to his home town, widowed with a teenage daughter in tow. Posey and Liam have some history between them, more-so from Posey’s POV who crushed on him hard and felt burned (whereas Liam is oblivious to some of the scars he caused). 

This is Higgins first book where the POV swivels between both the heroine and the hero. And I do think she works the device really well, highlighting misunderstandings, creating tension and building foreshadowing nicely. Plus it was nice to be in Liam’s head, her male POV was pure fun :) 

Liam’s suave: exuding confidence and success, ladies everywhere keen to jump the guy (LOL) but he battles demons of his own... He’s hot enough to rival any fictional hot bad boy, but secretly tender under it all (aww ;)) 

Posey is independent, klutzy, intelligent and comfortably quirky yet secretly aching for acceptance and love. Small in stature (and we are continually reminded of her equally small bosoms ;)) and quietly feisty. She is surrounded by a larger than life (adoptive) family who run a German restaurant. 

I love how Higgins molds the relationship between her leads. She gets the tension (sexual and otherwise) cracking. She banters brilliantly with dialogue. She creates an equally compelling back story ~ side note: a few chapters are set back in high school days and a fateful prom night, a touch of YA crossover, eh? I LOVED the back story. The sex scenes are tasteful (it’s more about the tension beforehand than a tedious play-by-play. Very fade to black, thank you) adding to the character interplay. It’s all good fun. 

It’s written like a romantic comedy and you could easily see the whole thing being played out on the big screen. Many awkward moments ensue between the leads, requisite misunderstandings, short-lived happiness followed by personal demons interrupting but all with a smiley HEA (and smoking hot male lead). I felt Higgins shifted focus with this books to trying to give her characters more emotoinal depth, making it more character driven (thank plot-driven), a touch womens’ fictions mixed in with her usual rom-com style. 

I did find some of the side characters and side plots tedious. I wanted to read about Liam and Posey, watch their sparks fly and see them quietly romance each other. Sometimes the story felt bogged down with external plot-lines. The family’s restaurant was fun, but many of the scenes dragged. Posey’s friends were good for a laugh, but didn’t feel overly integral to the main story arc. I was tempted to skim some side-plots to get back to the good stuff ;) 

Thanks to Harlequin and Netgalley for 'Too Good To Be True'

Overall: I am not sure which is my fave Higgins so far? It probably would have been 'My One and Only' if Harper wasn't SO annoying (seriously. Ugh.). I know I am interested in reading more of her work when I am in that guilty-pleasure, pure good-fun, smiley times mood. I recommend Kristan Higgins to fans of Susan Elizabeth Phillips :)

Do you read in this genre? (good times)
Hit me up with any recs as I am a little out of my depth ;)

(sorry this post is so long, just combining it up)

Monday, October 24, 2011

Virtuosity by Jessica Martinez

US cover // Aussie/UK Cover

Now is not the time for Carmen to fall in love. Two weeks before the most important violin competition of her career, she has bigger things to worry about—like growing out of that suffocating “child prodigy” label, and not disappointing her mother. But it isn’t just the wrong time. It’s the wrong guy. Jeremy is Carmen’s most talented rival, and according to her mother, he’s only interested in one thing: winning.

He isn’t the only one.

Carmen is so desperate to win she takes anti-anxiety drugs to control performance nerves. But what started a year ago as an easy fix is now a hungry addiction. Her mother insists now is not the time to quit, but Carmen is sick of not feeling anything on stage and even more sick of doing what she’s told.

When the darker side of the classical music industry and her mother's ambition collide, Carmen must choose between her career and her love for music. (from goodreads)

Virtuosity is a gorgeously written book. I loved the smooth flowing prose from the start but what impressed me most was the way Jessica Martinez manages to evoke atmosphere and emotion ~ and her descriptions of music and the way it made me feel are *brilliant*. So succinct, never flowery ~ just the perfect blend of ache and beauty.

Virtuosity covers about two weeks in the life of Carmen ~ leading up to winning a future-changing prestigious award as a violinist. There's the perfect amount of back-story spliced in to compliment character depth and motivations. The plot pretty much straight-up concerns music and touches on themes such as performance anxiety, high (all-consuming) parent expectations, identity, and figuring out who you are verse who you want to be.

Pacing-wise: it's a dream to read. Smooth enough to settle in, compelling enough to keep reading the next chapter and tense enough to be anxious for the climax. The stakes are insanely high (and keep climbing higher) and the conflict is emotionally ache-y (in a number of sub-plots).

The conflict with love interest (fellow musician and main rival) Jeremy (British cute-guy) is startlingly compelling and definitely a mix of swoon and doubts. He's gorgeously flawed and a smidgen enigmatic. Plus: love/hate chemistry/curiosity <3. I really loved Jeremy, hey, and not just in a swoony way (there is that) but also as a character with his own story to tell.

What I most loved about Jessica Martinez's writing is how completely she gets under her character's skins. I felt like I was living the tension and the dream alongside them. Also, her villains are complex and understandable, even in their despicable moments.

Just writing this review has reminded me of so many scenes that took my breath away. A stunning book, guys.

Also ~ LOVED the ending. It was perfect ~ I love an ending that completes a character ARC more than an ending the finalises their story.

If the blurb of this book interests you, I really cannot see you being disappointed with this book. LOVED IT
thanks galleygrab :) 

Which cover is your favourite?
(I can't pick this time, I love them both. Although, having read the book, I think the Aussie one may match the tone more?)

Sunday, October 23, 2011

When We Were Two by Robert Newton

Dan had to go,
He felt he had no choice, but leaving home was never
going to be easy . . .

Dan and his brother Eddie take off for the coast, in search of their lost mother, in search of a better life . . . but it's a long road they face and Dan must use all his wits to get them there in one piece.

When they are taken under the wings of a group of would-be soldiers marching over the mountains to join up for the Great War, Dan and Eddie's journey becomes something quite unexpected.  The experiences they share will shape their future beyond recognition.

This extraordinary rite of passage is a powerful, heart-rending story – Robert Newton at his very best.

When We Were Two is a tender and engrossing Aussie YA novel. At just under 200 pages, the pages seem to slip by, yet the journey that takes place in so few words manages to get completely under your skin. It is story of two brothers, running away, heading towards the unknown. 

I loved how I wasn't sure where the story would take me. How I was placed alongside Dan and Eddie, as if I was journeying along with them. I loved the people they met (so varied. I surprisingly found myself so swiftly attached to minor characters who popped up in the story. Such as Ah Ling, who was delightful. They time with him was hilarious, poignant and heart-breaking ~ as was true of many of the encounters). 

Newton has description and setting down to an art form. At no time did I feel bogged down with the setting (they journey from Central West New South Wales east to coastal Port Macquarie ~ which was lovely for me as I have done that same trip ~ albeit not on foot ;) ~ many times.) neither did the historical time period alienate me (opposite, it was charming and resounded strongly). Newton has a gift with creating 

I would not have assumed this novel would be my thing (topically) but this incredible story of hope, resilience and brotherhood was mesmerising. I stayed up too late two nights in a row devouring this. It was heartbreaking in parts, and then ever-so-unexpectedly-endearingly funny moments later. The dialogue was so Australian and perfect in tone, mateship and love conveyed in between the lines superbly. 

I have to say, I have not come across such a lovable, endearing character such as Eddie in such a long time. He made me smile and ache and his optimism and courage stirred something inside of me. I loved him, and the relationship between him and his brother felt all too real. I think sibling relationships in fiction are some of the most powerful relationships we can explore in terms of unconditional love despite all our flaws. 

In conclusion: this broke my heart (a real tear-jerker). It was perfectly tender and gorgeously funny. It also, weirdly, gave me a real sense of pride for the characters, the era and the general Aussieness of it. This book is a real triumph, and it's story is ageless, certain to charm and affect Aussie readers (young and old) for years to come. Oh, I loved this story so. 

When We Were Two was released at the beginning of this month and is available now

When We Were Two @ The Book Gryffin
When We Were Two @ Penguin Australia
Read the first chapter

Thanks to Penguin Australia for the review copy :)

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Without Tess by Marcella Pixley

Tess and Lizzie are sisters, sisters as close as can be, who share a secret world filled with selkies, flying horses, and a girl who can transform into a wolf  in the middle of the night. But when Lizzie is ready to grow up, Tess clings to their fantasies. As Tess sinks deeper and deeper into her delusions, she decides that she can’t live in the real world any longer and leaves Lizzie and her family forever. Now, years later, Lizzie is in high school and struggling to understand what happened to her sister. With the help of a school psychologist and Tess’s battered journal, Lizzie searches for a way to finally let Tess go. (from goodreads)

Without Tess is not at all what I expected it to be. Where I settled in for (another) YA book dealing with the loss of an older sister, it quickly became evident that I was reading a book unlike any I have read before.

The premise is simple: Lizzie’s sister Tess died (just how is withheld from the reader until nearing the climax) and, years later, Lizzie is still coming to terms with everything that happened. The story is presented with flashbacks of Tess and Lizzie’s childhood as well as present tense narration, consisting of Lizzie with the school psychologist, with her parents and with a boy (childhood friend and now classmate).

My gosh. I took a moment to settle into the story due to such a distinct and unusual writing style. The writing is imaginative and descriptions are often startling ~ it’s gorgeously written, if it were a painting, it would be bright, swirling, delicate, mesmerising, with a hint of darkness and utterly unique. Words were carefully, lovingly chosen, and not always the words you would expect, making reading sentences alone often a surprising experience, the rhythm and melody of the passages taking on a life of their own.

It was an extremely emotive experience, reading about two young girls, playing at make-believe. I adored that aspect, reminiscent of my childhood. Of course, as the story unravels, the make-believe takes on a life of it’s own for Tess, who becomes such a dynamic and unpredictable character. I mean, WOW, some of the things she did/believed blurred the line between psychosis and reality, creating a pool of tension (the tension built so well, especially knowing that Tess has died, which made certain scenes ominous even in it’s innocence).

I read this in one sitting (from midnight to 3am, in a bungalow in Bali, sleep evading me). It was a swirly and addictive experience and, at one point, I felt so caught up in the events I wasn’t at all sure I wanted to be in the story (if that makes sense). Ultimately, though, I thought it was brave and I still feel echoes of sadness just thinking about it.

It’s an extraordinary story. Much of it set in childhood, scenes and memories of young girls, making it not entirely YA in feeling. It’s also something gorgeously different. I recommend it for fans of lyrical writing, readers who like to snuggle up and shed a tear (it’s a sad one). Fans of sisterly love and mental illness (from a fresh and startling angle, a mind so overcome in a girl so young). Personally, this really worked for me. Consider me a fan, this is one story I will not forget. 

Without Tess @ goodreads
Without Tess @ Macmillan

Thanks to Macmillan and Netgalley :D

Without Tess is available now

Friday, October 21, 2011

Angel Arias by Marianne de Pierres (Night Creatures #2)

Retra – now called Naif – has escaped from Ixion, the island of ever-night. She doesn’t know if her friends on the island survived the battle between the Ripers and the rebels.
But she does know that she must return home, behind the sealed walls of Grave, to find out why the Ripers have been seen there talking to the councillors. What links the two worlds?
First she must convince Ruzalia to help her. The fierce pirate captain saves those who face terrible fates on Ixion, but that doesn’t guarantee their gratitude. Instead, she faces a revolt – and Naif is caught in the middle.
Naif will need all her courage to survive. For Lenoir, who wants to keep her safe, for her friends Suki and Rollo, if they live, for Markes, who has secrets of his own, and for the new friends she will make on this journey.
The fate of worlds depends on it.
Angel Arias starts right after where Burn Bright left off ~ and it begins with the same dynamic energy that Burn Bright burned with ;) But where Burn Bright was mysterious, the world and plot swirling around the reader, Angel Arias has a different tone. It has an urgency and plenty of action, but this time Naif (Retra) is much more sure of herself.
The plot in Angel Arias is ambitious, secrets are revealed, unveiling more mysteries which showcase extraordinary world building: the world Marianne has created is intricate yet accessible. It's a daring kind of read, and just as original in flavour as the first book in the series. The scope of the book is fantastic (from time with the pirates, and seeing more islands), and I think the plot is best explored with no idea where it is heading (no spoilers here).

Aussie author Marianne de Pierres has a talent for throwing her readers alongside her characters in such a way that you are kept on your toes: the action is blended beautifully with plot twists and developments, the reader discovers things alongside the protagonist. There is foreshadowing, creating tension and atmosphere, but not clue-ing the reader in enough to make the plot predictable. It was the opposite. I was constantly on edge, even questioning the loyalties of certain characters, friends who suddenly seem like foe and enemies who have shades of goodness shining through.

I loved the larger scope of the book and yet somehow I missed that gothick-y vibe of Ixion (I am nostalgic by nature, haha). I cannot compare reading the first book in the series to read Angel Arias. I think I was so startled in my love of Burn Bright , like the first taste of chocolate, it was addictive, startling and delectable. Angel Arias did not stun me in the same way despite still being driven by that intoxicating vibe that made it impossible to put down.

It is not the kind of book I am normally drawn to (action, worlds, secrets ~ I am more often drawn to books that are less plot-driven, more character-driven) so perhaps I did not enjoy this as much as I *should* have. I think my enjoyment is more indicative of my tastes as a reader than the quality of this book. This is a book to enthral and ignite imaginations. Despite my wishing for more depth in the characters (with personal motivations, relationships) it is obvious the author cares for her characters (yet also has no qualms about putting them in harms way).

A small teaser: I was (incredibly, delightfully) pleased when the story suddenly swivelled, giving readers a taste of Lenoir's POV! A real surprise, it widened the scope of the story, and also, Lenoir is one enigmatic guy, so it was enlightening being inside his head).
Angel Arias was released in Australia this month (and it looks outstanding on the shelves)
Thanks to Random House Australia and the ever-lovely, always-awesome Marianne for my review copy

It's been quiet around here ...

Hey :)

I am back from BALI ~ which was absolutely incredible. Such a gorgeous part of the world and the people there are just so lovely. Seriously had the best couple of weeks there ~ it's been hard settling back into life in Australia ;)

So... I have been reading (a little) and I have some reviews coming up (a lot) ~ I don't like the idea of spamming your google readers but I am going to just go for it and get some of my reviews up over the next few weeks to make up for lost time (so this post is just an FYI for an explosion of posts coming up from me).

I've missed you all (and have had a whizz through my reader but cannot possibly catch up on visiting everyone :( )

In the next few days/weeks I will be posting my thoughts on these YA books (all of which I have read):

Oh, well, that suddenly looks rather like a lot :) ~ I'll combine some reviews in single posts :) (sadly, that is not even all my reviewing backlog, haha, rather just the ones I have written (draft-ish) reviews for). There's a good mix here of books I loved, ones I liked and a couple that bombed out for me).

I have also been reading a lot of Adult Fiction and I never seem to discuss it much on here, but am wondering if people are interested in me reviewing non-YA titles (my last ten reads were adult fiction...). I am eclectic in my taste with Adult fiction: some Christian, some chick lit, some thrillers, some literary and also notable award-winning titles. Would you be interested in reviews of non-YA books from me? Let me know...

So cool to be back around again and hope you're all doing as fab as ever.