Tuesday, 15 May 2018

Catch Me When You Fall by Eileen Merriman: Book Review


Discovering happiness amid uncertainty and finding a love that transcends the boundary between life and death.

Seventeen year old Alex Byrd is about to have the worst day of her life, and the best. A routine blood test that will reveal her leukaemia has returned, but she also meets Jamie Orange.

Both teenagers have big dreams, but also big obstacles to overcome.

SPOILER FREE REVIEW
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I have never been as moved by a novel as I have with this teenage romance caught between the struggles of reality. Catch Me When You Fall follows the story of a sixteen-year-old girl called Alex Byrd who lives in Christchurch with her parents and younger sister. After a brief doctors appointment where she bonds over a mutually loved book with a boy of her age, Jamie Orange, she soon finds out that her leukaemia has returned and she may not survive this time around. Throughout the course of the novel, Alex finds solace in her newfound love and passion for the arts with Jamie and comes to realise that Jamie has many issues of his own, despite him appearing angelic in appearance with a personality that continues to sway her deeply as a typical first love does.

Some people believe in love at first sight, and some don't.
I believe in love in four days.
I believe in falling.


The title Catch Me When You Fall seems to imply the act of falling in love and expecting another to return the feeling in full. I definitely felt that this novel lived up to the expectation that came with this statement; its storyline has captured teenage love with absolute precision and also managed to convey the same message with the idea of succumbing to the sicknesses they suffer from.

Since I have not personally suffered with a sickness as dire as cancer, reading about a girl who has gone through it not once but three times, has been an experience that I will never forget. Both Alex and Jamie kick off their bonding session over a book called 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami. This love for books grows into a connection over music they relate to which seems to give the book more life and beauty as the reader can search up the song and listen to it during the scene that is playing out. I found myself rooting for Alex to survive, despite the terrifying odds, and relating more-or-less to Jamie with his bipolar disorder, as it is one of the two major categories of manic depression.

A photo I posted to my Instagram account. Click on the photo to see more


Merriman has done an extraordinary job of creating a realistic world of love and suffering, where two teenagers connect and clash over trivial matters which overall brings them closer together over the course of the novel. Basing their story in Christchurch, New Zealand helped me related to Alex as a young teenager going through her first relationship and learning to juggle her personal life with someone else who is going through a different kind of sickness. In Alex’s mind it is harder for her to understand why Jamie claims to struggle so much with his mental illness when she feels she is closer to the brink of possible death.

I said, 'I wish this moment could be forever.''We are forever.' Jamie raised his head, and kissed me on the lips. 'Neither alive nor dead.'

Merriman has created a perfectly realistic and relatable story that many New Zealand teenagers, and possibly others overseas, can feel emotionally moved by Alex and Jamie’s relationship going through the ringer and back. Much of the factual content had been researched by the author’s connections and written with some of her own knowledge as a nurse. Her writing is beautifully simplistic along with the use of the Norwegian language through Jamie’s family, which adds diversity that Eileen has been known for from her debut novel, Pieces of You.


A photo I posted to my Instagram account. Click on the photo to see more


I would recommend this to anyone above the age of thirteen that has experienced the trials of a first love, and anyone who is just looking to find something that can re-invent it perfectly in a 300-page novel. It has been one of the most eye-opening stories I’ve come across throughout my time as an avid reader and I am positive that this will open the doorway for many more writers who feel like they have powerful stories of their own to tell. I've given this novel a 4.5 stars out of 5!


What are some of your favourite novels that deal with life-threatening illnesses or mental health issues? Are there any other New Zealand based novels that you can recommend? Let me know in the comments below!



Check out my Spotify playlist for

Catch Me When You Fall

* A few of these songs are actually mentioned in the book, others I have curated for the playlist on my own accord. I hope you enjoy it!




Thank you Penguin Random House NZ for the review copy!
Like and follow their links here:

Official Website: http://penguin.co.nz/



Go add Catch Me When You Fall to your Goodreads list HERE


Go buy it on MightyApe with 1 day delivery in New Zealand HERE

Buy it on Book Depository with free shipping world wide HERE

Find it on the Penguin Random House NZ website HERE

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Friday, 2 February 2018

The Thunderbolt Pony by Stacy Gregg: Book Review


A dramatic and emotional story about one girl’s determination to stand by her beloved animals – and her refusal to give up, even in the face of impossible odds.

When a devastating earthquake hits Evie’s hometown of Parnassus on New Zealand’s South Island, she and the rest of the town are forced to evacuate. Evie’s injured mum is one of the first to be rescued by helicopter and Evie will be next. But when realises that she will be forced to leave her beloved pony, Gus, her dog, Jock, and her cat Moxy behind, she is determined to find another way. Before the rescue helicopter returns, Evie flees with Gus, Jock and Moxy in a race against time across difficult terrain to reach the port of Kaikoura, where she has heard that people will be evacuated by ship in three days’ time. Surely there will be space for her, Gus, Jock and Moxy there?


But the journey is harder than Evie could ever have imagined, and with aftershocks constantly shaking, Evie will have to draw on all her bravery, strength, and resilience to bring her and her animals to safety . . . and hope that they reach the boat in time.

SPOILER FREE REVIEW
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*Trigger warning for OCD*


As always I am overwhelmed with love and happiness after reading a Stacy Gregg novel. Not only did this book succeed in retelling such a devastating tragedy that befell the residents of Kaikoura, but it follows a twelve-year-old girl called Evie who takes a courageous and heart-warming journey with her dapple-grey pony, Gus, her dog, Jock, and her cat, Moxy. As well as choosing to traverse across the cracked terrain that the earthquake has created, Evie has to make some tough decisions when it comes to managing her OCD and none of it will be easy - mentally or physically.





For someone who never really knew too much about OCD, it has come as quite a shock to learn that I have more than a few of the same habits as Evie and actually have struggled with times where I broke down in a sobbing mess because I couldn't handle how dirty and untidy the house was. I always do things in twos or fours, but mostly eights because it's double four so it's more even. I had a habit as a child where I couldn't stop looking at the ground and making even steps on the pavement or I would take a million years to order my things in certain ways. These days I'd like to say that I don't suffer as much as I used to but I've found that things like ordering things when I'm stressed, wiping down the bench a million times for silly reasons or no reasons at all, or literally having a panic attack because the floor was so dirty at one point and we had no vacuum cleaner or broom to fix it. Basically what I'm saying is that if I hadn't of read this book, I wouldn't have realised that some of those things that I suffer with aren't exactly normal because my brain likes to make up stupid reasons to justify my repetitive or unusual behaviour. I'm not trying to say that I'm giving myself any reason to have OCD, I know it might look that way, but I'm grateful because now I understand why I'm so strange sometimes but I also know that it can be helped and changed. All I'm ever trying to do in life is improve my knowledge of things and improve myself as a person so this has really been somewhat of a great learning experience.

This middle-grade novel has it's light-hearted and encouraging moments where friendship between a girl and her pony or other pets mean absolutely everything, to the point where she will travel across dangerous terrain just to make sure that she can take her horse to safety aboard the HMS Canterbury. The reality of the Kaikoura earthquake is much fiercer and intimidating than what many might have thought if they had not have suffered through it. This was the case for me, being an Aucklander who was born in Christchurch but never had to suffer through a quake in my life because I moved by the age of one to the North Island. It is truly eye opening to read such a heart breaking tale where lives were actually lost and many people injured, animals left behind and houses destroyed. These tragedies are a common case with cities that sit on the fault line down the country but a lot of us in Auckland might shrug it off after a while because the news has stopped updating about it, yet families from the Christchurch quake are still without homes and money to this day. It makes me want to do something for both cities when I can finally earn some money that I can give.

'The Thunderbolt Pony' along with Stacy Gregg's last two novels, 'The Diamond Horse' and 'The Girl Who Rode The Wind'.


I recommend this novel to anyone who loves cute pony genre stories with a touch of reality that can open your eyes and teach you something new. I will say that this book needs a trigger warning for those who have OCD because I found myself becoming more aware of my habits and harder to kick them, but I'm monitoring it better now and letting my family know what I struggle with so that I'm not easily set off or I don't make the wrong impression. Other than that, I've given 'The Thunderbolt Pony' a 5 out of 5 star rating because it truly was one moving tale. This would also be perfect for parents to get for their children so they can learn more about the earthquakes in the South Island and have a lovely story to enjoy where pets are more than friends, they're also family.


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Thank you HarperCollins New Zealand for the review copy of The Thunderbolt Pony! Go check out their links here:



Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Harpercollinsnz

Website: http://www.harpercollins.co.nz/



Add The Thunderbolt Pony to your Goodreads list HERE


Buy it on MightyApe with 1 day delivery in New Zealand HERE

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Find it on the HarperCollins NZ website HERE




I published my very first short story, "Crimson Exchange"!

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Saturday, 6 January 2018

The Language Of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo: Book Review



Love speaks in flowers. Truth requires thorns.

Travel to a world of dark bargains struck by moonlight, of haunted towns and hungry woods, of talking beasts and gingerbread golems, where a young mermaid's voice can summon deadly storms and where a river might do a lovestruck boy's bidding but only for a terrible price.

Inspired by myth, fairy tale, and folklore, #1 New York Times–bestselling author Leigh Bardugo has crafted a deliciously atmospheric collection of short stories filled with betrayals, revenge, sacrifice, and love.

Perfect for new readers and dedicated fans, these tales will transport you to lands both familiar and strange—to a fully realized world of dangerous magic that millions have visited through the novels of the Grishaverse.

This collection of six stories includes three brand-new tales, all of them lavishly illustrated with art that changes with each turn of the page, culminating in six stunning full-spread illustrations as rich in detail as the stories themselves.

SPOILER FREE REVIEW
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To be perfectly candid with you all, I have never read a single book or short story or tweet by Leigh Bardugo. Going into this compilation of folktales from the Grishaverse that she so carefully constructed with blood, sweat, and deals with demons (most likely), I was afraid that I would not harbour enough knowledge to give an all round accurate review. Thankfully I found that it was something which anyone could read as if it were just another lot of mysterious stories to scare children at night. And my, oh my... I have been blown away at what Leigh has produced in order to completely reconstruct the way we see our fairytales, myths, and legends.

Each of these six stories appear like any other classic: starting off with mysteriously interesting characters in fairly typical settings and situations. The twist in every single one brought about wonder and joy because of how well Leigh was able to take the clichés of our fairytales and transform them into something more powerful than pretty girls with happily ever afters and villains who never got their backstory told. And if it couldn't get any better, the whole collection is quotable like any of your favourite classics. The symbolism and metaphors I came across completely invigorated me with a passion to try and improve my writing to become as beautifully elegant as Leigh.

Some of my favourite quotes:


“You see, some people are born with a piece of night inside, and that hollow place can never be filled - not with all the good food or sunshine in the world. That emptiness cannot be banished, and so some days we wake with the feeling of the wind blowing through, and we must simply endure it as the boy did.”


“We were not made to please princes.”


“This goes to show you that sometimes the unseen is not to be feared and that those meant to love us most are not always ones who do.”


“There is no pain like the pain of transformation.”

“Magic doesn’t require beauty,’ she said. 'Easy magic is pretty. Great magic asks that you trouble the waters. It requires a disruption, something new.”


“I tried to reason with them, but people do not always hear the words of a beast.”


“There are better things than princes.”

I have given this book a 5 out of 5 stars for it's ingenuity and ability to transform much loved fairytales into modern masterpieces that will continue to shape the way we see literature in our day and age. I cannot recommend this book anymore than I can say, "Buy it and read it to your children!" I kind of hope that Leigh decides to write more stories for this collection because I'd love to see a Snow Queen or Sleeping Beauty retelling. Plus the book is absolutely stunning to look at and the material makes it feel like a century old magical tome full of witchy spells and incantations. What's not to love? I have been needing a reason to buy her Shadow and Bone trilogy and Six Of Crows duology so now I guess I have one!





Thank you Hachette NZ for the review copy!

Like and follow their links here:

Official Website: hachette.co.nz



Go add The Language of Thorns to your Goodreads list HERE

Go buy it on MightyApe with 1 day delivery in New Zealand HERE
Buy it on Book Depository with free shipping world wide HERE
Find it on the Hachette NZ website HERE




I published my very first short story, "Crimson Exchange"!

Add it to your Goodreads HERE

Buy it for only 99c on Amazon Kindle!






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Snapchat: FeathersnFaith

Wednesday, 25 October 2017

Warcross by Marie Lu: Book Review


For the millions who log in every day, Warcross isn’t just a game—it’s a way of life. The obsession started ten years ago and its fan base now spans the globe, some eager to escape from reality and others hoping to make a profit. Struggling to make ends meet, teenage hacker Emika Chen works as a bounty hunter, tracking down players who bet on the game illegally. But the bounty hunting world is a competitive one, and survival has not been easy. Needing to make some quick cash, Emika takes a risk and hacks into the opening game of the international Warcross Championships—only to accidentally glitch herself into the action and become an overnight sensation.



Convinced she’s going to be arrested, Emika is shocked when instead she gets a call from the game’s creator, the elusive young billionaire Hideo Tanaka, with an irresistible offer. He needs a spy on the inside of this year’s tournament in order to uncover a security problem . . . and he wants Emika for the job. With no time to lose, Emika’s whisked off to Tokyo and thrust into a world of fame and fortune that she’s only dreamed of. But soon her investigation uncovers a sinister plot, with major consequences for the entire Warcross empire.

SPOILER FREE REVIEW
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I immediately fell in love with this book from the moment I realised three things:

  1. It has the same concept of using virtual reality gaming as the anime, Sword Art Online, and I ironically started to binge watch the series the same week that I started Warcross.
  2. Emika is Chinese/American and Hideo is Japanese/British - we need more of this diversity! (And books set in Japan because UGH I LOVE JAPAN!)
  3. She is a bounty hunter and hacker who knows her way around Warcross because Hideo Tanaka inspired her to find the greatness in life after her father passed away.


Emika Chen is the new female lead that everyone should aspire to be like. She is a badass teenager who can hack into Warcross like you would simply log in to Facebook, she goes on bounty hunts for extra cash (though her success rate isn't the best), and she sports rainbow coloured hair with creative tattoos and rides an electric skateboard around the streets of New York.

The whole idea of the story is that Emika manages to spot a super rare power-up in the Warcross championship game and decides to try and grab it without anyone noticing so that she might be able to sell it and pay her landlord back the money she and her roommate, Keira, owe him. Instead of being super stealthy, she accidentally glitches herself into the game and soon after that ends up being hired by Hideo Tanaka himself to try and stop the hacker, Zero, from trying to ultimately take down the technology that is a world wide phenomenon.

I have to say one thing before I continue: BUT SERIOUSLY PEOPLE CAN USE THE WARCROSS GLASSES (and later on the contacts) FOR EVERYDAY USE AND HAVE VIRTUAL DRAGONS AND TIGERS AS PETS! LIKE HONESTLY - WHAT I WOULD GIVE TO HAVE A VIRTUAL PET LIKE PINA FROM SWORD ART ONLINE! 


The futuristic world of Warcross is super cool and every page just grips you until you find yourself half way through in under a few hours of reading. Emika is the type of girl that knows how to stand up for others when they are being bullied and go to all lengths to save the people she cares about. She doesn't just go with the flow or let people control her - I wish I was as strong of a person as her! I also wish I had her hair and tattoos but those can come later (now I'm currently deciding whether I should cosplay Emika next year at Armageddon).

Somehow I didn't end up forfeiting the review - I just had to do my best to let the world know of my new obsession!


The reason I decided I wanted to read this book wasn't because it was hyped up all over the bookish community, it was because it was one of the two choices that I could read for The Booklanders meeting that we have here in Auckland, New Zealand, which is run by Lauren who is over at Bookworm Boutique on Instagram. But HOLY CHICKEN LEGS, I enjoyed this novel so much that I literally almost self-combusted like a thousand times. The plot twists and the build ups and the romance and the friendships; I can not express fully how much this book has truly made me feel excited for future gaming, let alone future technology which could allow us to walk our pet dragons to the park and feel super awesome. A girl can dream, but she can't live forever so hurry up, Besthesda! Work your powerful magic and save the world with NerveLink technology!



Basically there is no other novel like this that I can think of and if there are any other Sword Art Online fans out there that need something to satisfy them until season 3 comes out, then READ THIS BOOK BECAUSE YOU WILL DIE IF YOU DON'T! So I gave this book a 5 out of 5 stars because it is nothing less. I'm telling you that this is the one sci-fi book that has made me feel excited for the future and that is really saying something!



What are you excited for in this book? Have you watched Sword Art Online? And if you have read Warcross, who was your favourite character and why? Let me know in the comments below!




Check out my Spotify playlist for






Thank you Penguin Random House NZ for the review copy!

Like and follow their links here:

Official Website: http://penguin.co.nz/


Go add Warcross to your Goodreads list HERE


Go buy it on MightyApe with 1 day delivery in New Zealand HERE

Buy it on Book Depository with free shipping world wide HERE

Find it on the Penguin Random House NZ website HERE




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Wednesday, 18 October 2017

My Very First WWW Wednesday! - August 30th 2017

This meme is hosted by Sam over at Taking on a World of Words. I found out about it through my friend Aimee from My Life In Books and felt like I wanted to try it out, especially since my previous, current, and future reads are literally so awesome this month!



The questions are:

1. What are you currently reading?
2. What did you recently finish reading?
3. What do you think you’ll read next?



What are you currently reading?




I literally had no idea that Warcross by Marie Lu was going to be as thrilling of a read as I had anticipated from all the hype prior to its release. However, this is quite a unique and very strange situation for me - especially considering the fact that the same week I received and started to read it, I was taking my first dive (no pun intended) into the world of Sword Art Online; an epically fantastic and highly addictive Japanese anime series about a world where a couple thousand gamers who try out a new virtual reality game called 'Sword Art Online' on their NerveGears who become trapped within the full-dive system and the only way to escape the game is to clear all 100 levels. Ugh, HELLO? This is basically screaming Warcross! Or sort of the other way around, considering the fact that the book was just released and SAO has been around for a few years now.

But before I begin to write an 1000 word essay on how much I love the idea of full-dive VRMMORPG gaming (SUPER obsessed atm btw!), I will just state that this is probably the only sci-fi YA that I've read and completely fell in love with from the minute I realised exactly what Marie Lu was getting at with the plot and world building (sorry, Divergent!). If I'm gonna scream about anything right now, I'm only going to say... WATCH SWORD ART ONLINE AND READ WARCROSS BEFORE I SELF COMBUST OR CRUMBLE AWAY LIKE DESTROYED DATA!


Check out my Spotify playlist for

 


Check out the book trailer:






What did you recently finish reading?




I had received A Semi-Definitive List Of Worst Nightmares by Krystal Sutherland from Penguin Random House NZ and finished it about a week and a half ago. Even so, my heart still throbs from how many feels I got. I've stated many times to many people that this book deserves to be called a 'Modern Classic'.

It was literally the most captivating and heart-warming contemporary novel I have ever read (I know I said this about every other contemporary but I cannot stress this enough). Think Cardcaptors where Sakura dresses up in super cool costumes and her friend, Madison, films while Sakura goes and defeats the monsters that belong in their Clow cards. This is basically, kinda, the embodiment of this book. But the difference is that the main character is a girl named Esther Solar, who believes her family is cursed with phobias, and a guy named Jonah, who robs her of many personal items by tricking her and then after reading through her semi-definitive list of worst nightmares decides that he wants to help her face them one by one until she reaches number 50; her worst fear ever.

If you're keen on finding out more about what I thought of it, I posted a review which you can read: A Semi-Definitive List Of Worst Nightmares by Krystal Sutherland: Book Review





What do you think you’ll read next?




I recently received The Language Of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo which is a mysteriously fascinating novel of fairytales that are based in the Grishaverse (I haven't read any of Leigh's books but I'm assuming it's part of the Six of Crows series). Two things reeled me in about this book: One, it looked ABSOLUTELY GORGEOUS! I loved how dark and mysterious the cover looked along with the thorns and the title. Two, I am OBSESSED with the idea of myths, legends, folklore, fairytales, lore, etc! Anything that is either an ancient tale that has been told since the beginning of time or something that has been created in the modern day to replicate that exact magical effect, I am all over it. I think this might be a good time to start checking out Leigh's other books too, since I may or may not need them to understand some of the tales that Leigh has in The Language of Thorns.

Oh, and if you haven't seen the cover in a physical copy before, you totally should! It feels like actual material and it just can't get any more magically beautiful! I feel so much more like a badass sorceress holding her book of shadows when it is in my hands!... Oh, too much daydreaming? Sorry!




🌟 I'm excited to know what you guys are reading right now! Have you got any awesome books lined up in your TBR? And have you got any interesting thoughts on any of the books I mentioned today? Leave me a comment below - I'd love to hear your thoughts! 🌟



Please consider donating a small tip so that I may be able to continue doing what I love! I am currently studying but I would love to be a stay-at-home mum and make a living through my blogging and BookTubing - I will do the best I can to provide top quality content that is interesting and worthy of your subscription ❤




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