Thursday, July 26, 2012

Come See About Me by C K Kelly Martin

Twenty-year-old Leah Fischer's been in a state of collapse since the moment police arrived on her Toronto doorstep to inform her that boyfriend Bastien was killed in a car accident. After flunking out of university and cutting herself off from nearly everyone she knows, Leah's saved by Bastien's aunt who offers her a rent-free place to stay in a nearby suburban town.

Initially Leah keeps to herself, with no energy for anyone or anything else, but it's not long before her nurturing neighbours begin to become fixtures in Leah's life and a much needed part-time job forces her to interact with other members of the community. And when Leah is faced with another earth-shattering event, her perspective on life begins to shift again. Soon Leah's falling into a casual sexual relationship with Irish actor Liam Kellehan, who has troubles of his own, even as she continues to yearn for her dead boyfriend. Clearly she's not the person she thought she was—and maybe Liam isn't either.

Straight up, Martin's newest book had me itching to get my hands on it with two words: New Adult. I love YA, but with a very strong preference towards older YA and an absolute love for characters in the New Adult age. And, of course, it's written by C K Kelly Martin. 

I really truly love C K Kelly Martin. Something about her books just click with me. I first read I know It's Over after seeing Jaclyn Moriarty's blurb for it.  "This book is compelling and unswervingly honest. It takes on real complex issues with a light, deft touch. The second half broke my heart a little every page or so."So agreeing, Jaclyn. Since then, I've read all her books, loving the quiet and achey Finn in One Lonely Degree (my mini review). And falling for Mason (charming, charismatic and ache-y, 100% teen man-child) in The Lighter Side of Life and Death. (my review)

The thing that most sucks me into C K Kelly Martin is how she gets right under he character's skin, and she has done it again in Come See About Me with Leah. The prose is pitch perfect, this elegant blend of simple and straightforward with some poetic turns of phrase sprinkled throughout. Martin is a talented writer, for sure, and there's nothing like sinking into a book from the first page thinking 'this is going to be good'.

And it was good.

From the blurb, you know it's a grief book, coupled with sexy times. 

My gosh, C K Kelly Martin brings the angst and depression and sorrow and longing and utter devastation with such expertise. I really felt that. On the flip side, if there was one thing I would change about the book, would be that, although it felt 100% realistic, the first 20% where Leah was drowning, I started to feel like I was drowning, too. But, if the pacing feels a little slow at the beginning, hang in there, because it is so worth it. Just a few more chapters along, and suddenly I couldn't put the kindle down. 


My gosh.

You guys, it would be remiss of me to just get all SWOON and SEXY regarding Liam. Because he is so much more than that. I love all the shades of grey in his character and in his relationship with Leah. Liam is Irish and gorgeous and has some unique background/occupation not often seen in the YA scene making him completely intriguing. He is also complicated, messy, older. And Leah's relationship with him is complicated, messy and definitely older.

A word about the sex: It's sensual and steamy and completely hot (as in HOT). Without the bounds of being a YA book, Martin is able to explore more sexually, and the scenes are essential to the relationship and so gorgeously and evocatively done. The scenes weren't just some steamy filler, guys, they had depth and emotions and all kinds of excitement and confusion that comes with a sexual relationship in your early twenties. Caution: The sex scenes are not fade to black, and are for mature readers, not young teens (IMO). 

Where was I before I was distracted by Liam? ;)

Oh, I was glued to the pages (after making it past the little 10 - 20% slow hump). Coming to the climax and resolution, I had this sudden panic attack. So bewitched by the story, it had slipped my mind that this is a Martin Book, and her stories often have these bittersweet (read: painful) endings. The suspense in those last chapters nearly broke me. Which is a true sign of my love for the characters, my gut clenching for them. No spoilers here, but absolutely everything I felt while loving in this world was worth it and I thought the ending was perfect.

This is what I want you to know: C K Kelly Martin is truly one of the talented writers for this YA generation. She brings what feels like the truth with a heartbreaking and hopeful clarity. Come See About Me is a New Adult novel, set outside of high school, with sex scenes more explicit than regular YA stuff.  I was sucked in, swallowed up and mesmerised by this story. I read it over the course of one blissed-out ache-y day and one month on, I am still feeling the emotions of this read.

I find it hard to pick favourites, but I think Liam and Leah is my fave C K Kelly Martin couple so far x

I am definitely excited for what C K Kelly Martin has for us next. 

Buy the ebook from amazon (paperback also available)

Thank you ever so much to the author for providing my review copy

Have you read this one?
What did you think?
Do you love the new adult genre?

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Shadows by Paula Weston

It’s almost a year since Gaby Winters was in the car crash that killed her twin brother, Jude. Her body has healed in the sunshine of Pandanus Beach, but her grief is raw and constant. It doesn’t help that every night in her dreams she kills demons and other hell-spawn.

And then Rafa comes to town. Not only does he look exactly like the guy who’s been appearing in Gaby’s dreams—he claims a history with her brother that makes no sense. Gaby is forced to accept that what she thought she knew about herself and her life is only a shadow of the truth—and that the truth is more likely to be
found in the shadows of her nightmares.

Who is Rafa? Who are the Rephaim? And most importantly, who can she trust?

Fast-paced and gripping, Shadows, the first book in the Rephaim series, is a standout paranormal romance for fans of Richelle Mead and Stephenie Meyer.

Oh, so did I mention my favourite read in June was a paranormal YA book?

For this contemporary girl, I am surprised by how much I fell in love with this book. (Although it shouldn't have surprised me, as author Paula Weston has the loveliest online presence. That, coupled with the publisher being Text Publishing*, had me diving into this book the day it turned up in my mailbox).

[*Note: Text Publishing are an Australian publisher which consistently publish brilliant and unique YA books, such as Leanne Hall's This is Shyness, Vicki Wakefield's All I Ever Wanted and Tim Pegler's Five Parts Dead (to name a few)]

Things I loved about this book:

1. The New Adult vibe. Gaby is out of school. Flatting, working. Her mates and other characters are older too, in their twenties. I truly love this vibe: it's is not teenagery, but more fresh and mature. It has broad appeal to teenagers, young adult and adults alike.

2. Best. Meet-cute. Scene. Ever.
You guys, I am a fan of the meet-cute and this one involved some sexy, steamy ZING right off the bat. Me = glued to the pages. Just thinking about the meet-cute scene now has me grinning. See point 10 for more on Rafa (absolute hotness that he is)

3. For a contemp loving girl, I need character connection, and this book delivered. Gaby's voice captured me in the first chapter. She's startlingly real. Her personality is shadowed by her grief, but in perfect balance - the grief does not overwhelm her, or make her woefully grief-y as a narrator (you know what I mean). Also, she is a librarian, nicely done. <3 

4. Grief-type YA novels can seem overbearing sometimes, not so here. I think because the setting was so fresh (Australian! Beach-y! Sleepy coastal town!) and Gaby was too genuine in her ache, she was not wallowing, lamenting or draining to read about. She has a freshness and vibrancy about her in spite of her circumstances.

5. The paranormal aspect. Oh, this is SO not the average YA paranormal scene. It's set older and while the summary may have common elements, the story is not common at all. I love how the story unlayered with little mysteries, shrouded in memories and dreams, making it less about a paranormal being and more about what on earth is going on. Definitely intriguing.

6. Foo Fighters. It will make you crave them.

7. Cool elements that I cannot say for spoilers. One thing that a paranormal novel has going for it above contemporary reads, is the way authors can get creative with world-building. In particular, I loved one element that spiced things up. There are some fantastic action scenes, kick-arse mixed up with flailing and defeat. There's action and gore, genuine danger and real fear. As for the actual paranormal world, it has enough depth for you to see the research (intricate and layered world-building) but does not swamp the reader. Thanks for that :)

8. Intriguing characters. I LOVED THIS. No one is straight up, face value or playing a part. There are shades of grey all over the place and I think this is what made the characters seem real.

9. The novel was fun (always important ;)). Addictive and intelligent. Not dumbed down for readers. It's paced beautifully. It masterfully walked a fine line of mixing up internal conflict with external, past and present, while always moving the story forward.

10. Rafa. Mid-twenties. My gosh, he is complex, sexy, dangerous, genuine and non-clich├ęd. He is hard to read, enigmatic, gorgeous, and I cannot wait to get to know him more in the sequels. He's antagonistic and gruff and the dynamic between him and Gaby is brilliantly done - more understated than overbearing, which makes for a more suspenseful and genuine read.

11. The plot. I won't say much. It's not like I expected and it won't be what you are expecting, no matter what that expectation is. I think a lot of elements gave Shadows a unique vibe: the setting (Australian), the characters (older), the amnesia and mystery elements, all the shades of grey, the angel lore feels ancient and fresh.

12. So, Shadows does not fall into the genre of funny LOL's. But there were some one-liners and dashes of humour that will break out the grin, perfect tension relief.

13. It's a series, but in a non-cliffhanger-y way. It wraps up its own story, leaving readers satisfied, but ready for more of the world. Bring on Book Two!

I don't know why I am chatting about this book in a list, it just came out that way.

Most of all, I hope you can see I loved this book. I read it in one day, sneaking back to my bedroom any chance I could. Gaby's voice hooked me from the first chapter and stayed with me after the last page. I so endorse Claudia Gray's blurb: Scary, sexy and suspenseful.

This book should be right at the top of your wishlists*.

Shadows is out in Australia now

Read the first three chapters
Shadows @ Text Publishing, with links to buy for kindle, etc

Bonus: see how many times I use fresh, vibrant (or variations of) in this review. Argh, sometimes tit just happens ;)

* Definitely hoping for an international release. It deserves it.

Thanks to Paula Weston and Text Publishing for my review copy :)

Monday, July 2, 2012

(!!) Cover reveal for my most anticipated book of 2012


I have been waiting for this novel for what seems like FOREVER.


It is blurbed by Markus Zusak

'Perfectly strange, and absolutely comical and heartfelt... Jaclyn Moriarty is one of the most original writers we have.' Markus Zusak

Isn't that cover quote perfectly brilliant and EXACTLY what you would expect from a Jaclyn Moriarty novel?

On to the cover:

I love it. I like how it matches the Aussie cover of Dreaming of Amelia (even though that is a different series). It's intriguing and classy and has oodles of crossover appeal (perfect for Jaclyn, as one is never to old to delight in her stuff).

For those who don't know, Jaclyn Moriarty is my absolute favourite author. I also have this thing for her sisters, Liane Moriarty and Nicola Moriarty, who are both equally as brilliant and whimsical. Those Moriarty girls are bigger than the Bronte sisters (haha).

My favourite book of the 2012 so far is Free Falling by Nicola Moriarty (check my review). (in fact, my sister messaged me an hour ago to say she just read Free Falling this weekend in less than 24 hours and thought is was deliciously brilliant and wonderful). 

Back to Corner of White, this gorgeous novel is due for Australian release on the 18th of September 2012

More about the novel (courtesy of Pan Macmillan):
Some books defy description. Some authors make us feel as though we are discovering stories for the very first time, and seem to be choosing their words from a secret stash. 

A Corner of White (the first book in The Colours of Madeleine trilogy) is one of these books. Jaclyn Moriarty is one of these authors.

A Corner of White is a book that evokes superlatives: 
the vision is extraordinary
the writing is poetic
the characterisation deeply moving. 

Check out the blurby/jacket/synopsis:

Madeleine Tully lives in Cambridge, England, the World – a city of spires, 
Isaac Newton and Auntie’s Tea Shop. 
Elliot Baranski lives in Bonfire, the Farms, the Kingdom of Cello – where 
seasons roam, the Butterfly Child sleeps in a glass jar, and bells warn of 
attacks from dangerous Colours. 
They are worlds apart – until a crack opens up between them; a corner of 
white – the slim seam of a letter.
A mesmerising story of two worlds; the cracks between them, the science 
that binds them and the colours that infuse them. 

If any YA novel is going to blow me out my mind this year, it'll be the latest Jaclyn Moriarty xoxo

[apologies for wonky formatting. Blogger, eh? haha]