Wednesday, 15 August 2018

A Thousand Perfect Notes by C.G Drews: Book Review

An emotionally charged story of music, abuse and, ultimately, hope.


Beck hates his life. He hates his violent mother. He hates his home. Most of all, he hates the piano that his mother forces him to play hour after hour, day after day. He will never play as she did before illness ended her career and left her bitter and broken. But Beck is too scared to stand up to his mother, and tell her his true passion, which is composing his own music - because the least suggestion of rebellion on his part ends in violence.


When Beck meets August, a girl full of life, energy and laughter, love begins to awaken within him and he glimpses a way to escape his painful existence. But dare he reach for it?

SPOILER FREE REVIEW
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You know how contemporary novels are usually best read in Summer, or so I've come to discover? Well, this novel was probably the first I've read around Winter time that really broke free from that typical habit - the mood, the setting, and the overall feel of sad music humming beautifully in the back of your head as you imagine the soundtrack to Beck's life (that is exactly what I did BTW and the playlist will be at the bottom of this review). As sad as I am to say, this did touch on family abuse, physical and emotional - two subject of which are touchy for me personally but C.G Drews (A.K.A Paper Fury) was able to initiate it in a way that didn't have to use violence to fight back. I feel like it's hard to really say whether this book could prove a point for those suffering through similar circumstances, because then others would say that it is wrong to use books or fictional characters' lives as examples of what we must do ourselves. However, personally I do feel like Beck's ability to avoid physical conflict in the best way that he could was truly amendable and I really felt that it was exactly what the book needed to stand out against all others where only violence solves issues.

“He floods the house with music that shook the world a hundred years ago. His fingers knot over complicated patterns and his thumbs fail when he needs them most. But, the Maestro's wrath aside, he owes it to the music to find perfection.”

Beck's life is somewhat unrealistic to a lot of people - I can believe it, however, as my own life could seem pretty unrealistic to others who don't think emotional or physical abuse could really something that some parents are capable of. It's true, and very very damaging to children who grow up to be adults trying to navigate the world in their own ways, constantly being judged by others who don't understand their lingering pain. His sister, Joey, is stuck in the middle of him, his piano, and their mother who is hell bent on making Beck a prodigy, better that she ever was. August is the free-spirited girl who sees passion and love under the shield that Beck keeps up to try keep her away as having friends is just a "distraction" to his career. She slowly breaks through his walls and tempts him with strange cake and catchy alternative music that he's never had a chance to hear because of the years he's been subjected to listening to and practicing purely classical music.





Because this was such a quick read, I don't want to say too much about the storyline or the characters because there aren't too many of those either, but I'd like to state that this book resonated a lot with me personally. Being able to connect with Beck in an emotional way that transcends the barriers of a normal life reminds me of how moving fictional stories can be when they're meant to shake the core of your being. This story shows the passion of a talented soul who is controlled to become something that he is not instead of creating something new and beautiful. It is a sacrifice to safe others from stepping into harms way. It's showing that beauty and love exists in the strangest of places, and that there isn't always a selfish reason to care. If I'm going to ask anyone to read this, it's because I think it brings up important messages that people need to hear, and also because this is a reality for many kids around the world and it's time that they had their story told.

“The world is a broken mirror, each shard reflecting his terrified face.”

I have given this book a 4.75 out of 5 stars for evoking such emotions that will scar me for life but also remind me what it means to be passionate and fight for what is right. I've read books that have changed my life and made me feel all the feelings I could have felt, but never have I read a book like this that has made me feel truly moved, that has made me want to do something about fighting for people like this who need help. To raise awareness for people who suffer through depression or muteness or domestic violence, or damaging anger. A truly astounding debut from C.G. Drews (PaperFury) and I cannot wait to see what she will bring out next - I'm aching for the next instalment and her brand new project! Bring them on 2019!







Thank you Hachette NZ for the review copy

Like and follow their links here:

Official Website: hachette.co.nz


Go add A Thousand Perfect Notes to your Goodreads list HERE

Go buy it on MightyApe with 1 day delivery in New Zealand HERE
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Find it on the Hachette NZ website HERE


Sunday, 10 June 2018

LIFEL1K3 by Jay Kristoff: Book Review


On a floating junkyard beneath a radiation sky, a deadly secret lies buried in the scrap.

Eve isn’t looking for secrets—she’s too busy looking over her shoulder. The robot gladiator she’s just spent six months building has been reduced to a smoking wreck, and the only thing keeping her Grandpa from the grave was the fistful of credits she just lost to the bookies. To top it off, she’s discovered she can destroy electronics with the power of her mind, and the puritanical Brotherhood are building a coffin her size. If she’s ever had a worse day, Eve can’t remember it.

But when Eve discovers the ruins of an android boy named Ezekiel in the scrap pile she calls home, her entire world comes crashing down. With her best friend Lemon Fresh and her robotic conscience, Cricket, in tow, she and Ezekiel will trek across deserts of irradiated glass, infiltrate towering megacities and scour the graveyard of humanity’s greatest folly to save the ones Eve loves, and learn the dark secrets of her past.

Even if those secrets were better off staying buried.

SPOILER FREE REVIEW
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Can we just start with saying that I have never been much of a sci-fi fan and then come to the immediate conclusion that LIFEL1K3 is now the reason I might actually consider having metal/cybernetic body parts in the future. I have to admit that I was very weary going into this as I was worried that I might not have the attention span to keep with it or the brain power to process all the technicalities, names, and slang. And whaddayaknow? I was able to prove myself wrong, or maybe Jay is just that great of an author that his writing just has that effect. Besides all that, I have about a billion reasons why I loved this book to pieces.


"YOUR BODY IS NOT YOUR OWN"
"YOUR MIND IS NOT YOUR OWN"
"YOUR LIFE IS NOT YOUR OWN"





Eve is introduced as a seventeen-year-old tough-nut teenager with a ridiculously good looking fauxhawk and a ton of skill for building machines to fight in the WarDome where she earns credits to buy her grandpa medication. Most of her time is spent ripping up machines there or avoiding a gang amongst the scap with her best friend, Lemon Fresh, her logika pal, Cricket, and her cyborg dog called Kaiser. The setting is post-apocalyptic Kalifornya, now known as an island called Dregs. We begin to realise that there is more to Eve's past than she had anticipated when a lifelike called Ezekiel shows up almost completely trashed in the scraps and claims to know her as someone else. When the brotherhood show up at Eve's doorstep where her grandpa lives to eradicate her after somehow destroying a gladiator robot in the WarDome with her mind, Eve and Ezekiel have to quickly work together to shut them all down. Until another lifelike shows up and everything goes to hell, along with Eve's perception of who she really is.

“This is not the end of me.
This is just one more enemy.”

Not only does is described as Romeo and Juliet meets Mad Max meets X-Men meets Blade Runner, but it is somewhat of a loose retelling of another story (one I shall not name so that you might find out for yourself and be wonderfully surprised - I did not have that luxury but oh well, I thoroughly enjoyed it anyway)! Once I discovered little tidbits of information and easter eggs of the story, I began to fully immerse myself within the novel. I found some of the slang a little off-putting at first but then I got the hang of it and it started to catch on. Now what really caught me other than the flashback scenes (they were brilliant, by the way. They didn't slow the pace or bore the story at all and I kind of wanted to keep reading about Eve's past) was the artificial intelligence. Logika are basically robots that can think for themselves and feel emotions to supposedly the extent of any average human. Cricket is one example, although he is subjected to the three laws of robotics. Ezekiel and the other lifelikes, however, were not subjected to them and the whole reason for that kickstarts the whole vibe of the story and I just couldn't get enough.

"'I mean it,' he whispers. 'No matter how perfect they make us, they can't make us human. It's your flaws that make you beautiful, (Eve)'. It's the imperfections that make you perfect. Being what I am, I can't help but see them. Or love them."

One thing that I appreciated a lot was how much development Eve went through over the course of the whole novel. Without spoiling anything, I'll say that she starts off knowing who she is and what she does and who she loves as family. As time goes on and more information is revealed to her along with memories that start to resurface - this confuses Eve but she tries to clasp on to what feels real and right to her by balancing the past and the present. With some help from her bestest (best friend), Lemon, Eve is able to figure out her own thoughts on her current status. The amount of twists that this book had really got me left, right and centre but I loved it and the ending killed me but I also need so much more of this universe.

"'So you've had some bad days, no doubt,' Lemon said. 'But I figure, instead of letting your yesterdays bring you down, maybe you can concentrate on building some happier memories today. And that way you'll have them for tomorrow?'"

I'm truly grateful that I got to be a part of this promotion with Allen and Unwin New Zealand. This book has changed everything for me in the sci-fi realm and I'm dying for the next instalment (can 2019 not come any quicker?). It's one hell of a girl power statement and the love between Eve and Lemon is the best platonic friendship I'll ever come across - it is real, it has major development, and makes your heart hurt when they hit a bump in the road. I have given this book a 5 out of 5 stars because I did not dislike a single thing about it and I definitely felt immensely moved by how the story played out. It made me question a ton of things, including if I actually like the idea of artificial intelligence and how polluted the world actually is already and why aren't we doing more to prevent the world from dying? If you're a fan of any of the franchises I mentioned earlier, and just a great action packed novel in general to get yourself going after a terrible reading slump, then get on board with LIFEL1K3! You will not regret this, true cert!

Photo proof that this is a book worth checking out! Lemon is the baddest bestest!


A list of slang used in LIFEL1K3 (in my kiwi interpretation):

• True cert: For certain/Definitely/Legit
• Bestest: Best friend
• Fug/Fugazi: Fake
• Scope: Find
• Kreds: Credits/Money
• Ghost/Ghosted: Kill/Dead
• Fizzy: Good/Nice
• Abnorm: A person with unusual powers
• Recyc: Scrap yard
• Bookie: Bettor
• OOC: Out Of Commission



Thank you Allen and Unwin NZ for sending me a signed review copy!



Check out their links here:



Check out my Spotify playlist for

LIFEL1K3



Go add LIFEL1K3 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 Allen & Unwin NZ website HERE


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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.


Click the photo to check out my Instagram!





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


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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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Buy it for only 99c on Amazon Kindle!





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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!






Find more out about me at:










Snapchat: FeathersnFaith