book review

Salvation: Lost | Peter F. Hamilton

 

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Synopsis:

Fight together – or die alone . . .

In the twenty-third century, humanity is enjoying a comparative utopia. Yet life on Earth is about to change, forever. Feriton Kane’s investigative team has discovered the worst threat ever to face mankind – and we’ve almost no time to fight back. The supposedly benign Olyix plan to harvest humanity, in order to carry us to their god at the end of the universe. And as their agents conclude schemes down on earth, vast warships converge above to gather this cargo.

Some factions push for humanity to flee, to live in hiding amongst the stars – although only a chosen few would make it out in time. But others refuse to break before the storm. As disaster looms, animosities must be set aside to focus on just one goal: wiping this enemy from the face of creation. Even if it means preparing for a future this generation will never see.

Review:

As I said previously, Salvation, book one in the Salvation Sequence started a little slow for me, but Salvation: Lost got right into the action and continuing the story which was what I was looking for this time around.

Not a lot changed compared to this one and the last, many of the same characters, with a few new faces which brings a breath of fresh air to the book, and which I enjoyed.

Hamilton again created such amazing world building with his descriptive and detailed writing and action packed adventures.

Hamilton has a way of leaving you right on the edge of your seat, turning the page and realising you have reached the end, and immediately wanting to know what’s next.

And what’s next? I’ll guess we will have to wait and see in Book 3, The Saints of Salvation.

 

Thank you to the team at Pan Macmillan Australia for sending me a copy of Salvation:Lost to review.

Book info:

  • ISBN: 9781447281368
  • Format: Trade Paperback
  • Pub Date: 29/10/2019
  • Category: Fiction & related items / Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)
    Fiction & related items / Space opera
    Fiction & related items / Science fiction
  • Imprint: Macmillan
  • Pages: 896
  • Price: $32.99
book review

Permanent Record | Mary H.K. Choi

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After a year of college, Pablo is working at his local twenty-four-hour deli, selling overpriced snacks to brownstone yuppies. He’s dodging calls from the student loan office and he has no idea what his next move is.

Leanna Smart’s life so far has been nothing but success. Age eight: Disney Mouseketeer; Age fifteen: first #1 single on the US pop chart; Age seventeen, *tenth* #1 single; and now, at Age nineteen…life is a queasy blur of private planes, weird hotel rooms, and strangers asking for selfies on the street.

When Leanna and Pab randomly meet at 4:00 a.m. in the middle of a snowstorm in Brooklyn, they both know they can’t be together forever. So, they keep things on the down-low and off Instagram for as long as they can. But it takes about three seconds before the world finds out…

Review:

After reading Mary H.K. Choi’s novel Emergency Contact, as soon as i saw that she was releasing Permanent Record, i knew it was something i wanted to read.

Permanent record follows the story of Pablo, a school drop out working at a corner store/bodega. In walks childhood star Leanna Smart, they meet, and life as Pablo knows it, changes.

I thought that we would see more of a dual POV, but Permanent Record is mainly told from Pablo’s POV, which i didn’t mind, but i would have liked something more from Leanna’s POV.

Both Pablo and Leanna have struggled, each in their own way, whether it was because of their cultural backgrounds, jobs, social status and i suppose wanting to belong somewhere.

I feel that they both bonded over the struggles they have both been through, and were able to find love and happiness with each other, and were also able to be completely themselves, which i’ll admit, i’m a sucker for that type of love!

Choi certainly didn’t disappoint with this one and i’ll definitely be reading what she creates next!

I’ve given Permanent Record 4/5 stars.

Thank you to Hachette/Date a book for sending me a copy of Permanent Record for review,

Book info

Publisher: Hachette Australia

Format type: Paperback

Release date: October 29th 2019

ISBN: 9780349003450

RRP: $18.99AUD

 

Until next time,

Happy reading!

Lizz xx

book review

Salvation | Peter F. Hamilton

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Synopsis:

Know your enemy – or be defeated

AD 2204
An alien shipwreck is discovered on a planet at the very limits of human expansion – so Security Director Feriton Kayne selects a team to investigate. The ship’s sinister cargo not only raises bewildering questions, but could also foreshadow humanity’s extinction. It will be up to the team to bring back answers, and the consequences of this voyage will change everything.

Back on Earth, we can now make deserts bloom and extend lifespans indefinitely, so humanity seems invulnerable. We therefore welcomed the Olyix to Earth when they contacted us. They needed fuel for their pilgrimage across the galaxy – and in exchange they helped us advance our technology. But were the Olyix a blessing or a curse?

THE FAR FUTURE
Many lightyears from Earth, Dellian and his clan of genetically-engineered soldiers are raised with one goal. They must confront and destroy their ancient adversary. The enemy caused mankind to flee across the galaxy and they hunt us still. If they aren’t stopped, we will be wiped out – and we’re running out of time.

 

Review:

When I started Salvation, I figured there was either something wrong with me or the book itself. It took me a while to get into a groove with reading it, it may have been that I was in a slump, or the fact that I am someone who doesn’t usually read a whole lot of sci-fi, and has only just started to dabble in the genre, Salvation started a little slow for me.

However with that being said, the more I read, the more I can see why Peter F. Hamilton has “Britain’s number one science fiction writer” on the top of his book.

Let me say, there is a lot going on in this book. By a lot I mean the book is quite lengthy, which I’m not mad about, there were some chapters in there that were quite long, but I can see that Hamilton has a way with words and likes to build his stories with a lot of information, descriptions and action.

Salvation follows two storylines, one in the “present” which in itself is set in our future (e.g. 2204) and the past. The present storyline allows us to see the way the past story line makes for the current day, the reason why they are still there and how all of the characters are important through out the story, especially in the present.

The multitude of characters left me a little confused in the beginning, there is a fair few, but the longer I read on the more it made sense and how they all integrate together somehow.

After a slow start, Salvation is full of twists, mysteries and the out of this world unknown, and the ending leaves you wanting the “what next”, and I can’t wait to dive into the next book in this series Salvation: Lost.

 

A huge thank you as always to the wonderful team at Pan Macmillan Australia for sending me a copy of Salvation, along with Salvation: Lost, the next book in this series which I will be reviewing soon!

 

Until next time, happy reading!

 

Lizz xx

book review

Imaginary Friend | Stephen Chbosky

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Synopsis:

Imagine….

Leaving your house in the middle of the night. Knowing your mother is doing her best, but she’s just as scared as you.

Imagine….

Starting a new school, making friends. Seeing how happy it makes your mother. Hearing a voice, calling out to you.

Imagine….

Following the signs, into the woods. Going missing for six days. Remembering nothing about what happened.

Imagine….

Coming back a totally different person. Thinking you’re going crazy – or being the only one who knows what’s coming.

Imagine….

Something that will change everything…And having to save everyone you love.

 

Review:

In a completely different direction to Chbosky’s first and up until yesterday, only novel, The Perks Of Being A Wallflower, Imaginary Friend will lead you straight into the horror of Mission Street Woods, which will leave you only reading in daylight and triple checking the locks on your doors.

“Don’t leave the street. They can’t get you if you don’t leave the street.”

 

Fifty years ago, 6 year old David Olsen entered the Mission Street Woods, and never returned home. Now, fifty years later, 7 year old Christopher and his mum Kate, have moved to a new town, ready to start over, and history begins to repeat itself.

A lot of detail went into this 700+ page story, some a little repetitive at times, but the descriptiveness and the writing style pulled it together well enough that it didn’t bother me that much.

An absolutely thrilling and creepy read, if you enjoy the work of Stephen King, or paranormal, thrilling reads and if you are looking for a spooky horrifying book for October, this would be one of those.

Imaginary Friend is out now.

 

Thank you to Hachette Australia for sending me a copy for review.

Happy reading!

Lizz xx

book review

Rules For Vanishing | Kate Alice Marshall

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Synopsis:

Once a year, the path appears in the forest and Lucy Gallows beckons. Who is brave enough to find her–and who won’t make it out of the woods?

It’s been exactly one year since Sara’s sister, Becca, disappeared, and high school life has far from settled back to normal. With her sister gone, Sara doesn’t know whether her former friends no longer like her…or are scared of her, and the days of eating alone at lunch have started to blend together. When a mysterious text message invites Sara and her estranged friends to “play the game” and find local ghost legend Lucy Gallows, Sara is sure this is the only way to find Becca–before she’s lost forever. And even though she’s hardly spoken with them for a year, Sara finds herself deep in the darkness of the forest, her friends–and their cameras–following her down the path. Together, they will have to draw on all of their strengths to survive. The road is rarely forgiving, and no one will be the same on the other side.

Review:

Do you want to know where Lucy went?

 

Follow the road.

 

I followed the road from beginning to end in a day with this and honestly, it was such a creepy, thrilling and amazing read.

We follow Sara as she follows the road to help find her sister Becca, who disappeared, along with the urban legend story that is Lucy Gallows.

Through interviews, evidence and playbacks we find out what happens when they follow the road, and the horror that lies within.

 

For some one who doesn’t mind a bit of thriller/horror reads I really enjoyed this, but if you aren’t such a fan maybe read it during the day.

I don’t know what it was with this book, but I just never wanted to stop reading. The writing itself and the way that the book was set up, kept you wanting more while slowly putting everything together.

 

Now,THE ENDING. I know I’m not the only one but why?! I was flipping the next page thinking there had to be something else. I hope there is a sequel or something, cause I just need to know what happened next.

Overall, a thrilling creepy read which I think would be perfect to add to anyone TBR pile this October and spooky season, and remember, two by two, and never leave the road.

A huge thank you to Georgie at Walker Books Aus for sending me a copy!!

Rules for Vanishing is released tomorrow, October 1st!

 

Until next time,

 

Happy reading!

 

Lizz xx

book review

Wearing Paper Dresses | Anne Brinsden

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Synopsis:

You can talk about living in the Mallee. And you can talk about a Mallee tree. And you can talk about the Mallee itself: a land and a place full of red sand and short stubby trees. Silent skies. The undulating scorch of summer plains. Quiet, on the surface of things. 

But Elise wasn’t from the Mallee, and she knew nothing of its ways. 

Discover the world of a small homestead perched on the sunburnt farmland of northern Victoria. Meet Elise, whose urbane 1950s glamour is rudely transplanted to the pragmatic red soil of the Mallee when her husband returns to work the family farm. But you cannot uproot a plant and expect it to thrive. And so it is with Elise. Her meringues don’t impress the shearers, the locals scoff at her Paris fashions, her husband works all day in the back paddock, and the drought kills everything but the geraniums she despises.

As their mother withdraws more and more into herself, her spirited, tearaway daughters, Marjorie and Ruby, wild as weeds, are left to raise themselves as best they can. Until tragedy strikes, and Marjorie flees to the city determined to leave her family behind. And there she stays, leading a very different life, until the boy she loves draws her back to the land she can’t forget…

Review:

When trying to think of words to some up Wearing Paper Dresses, I think of just two. One being wow, the other being beautiful.

Set in the Australian Outback in Victoria in the 1950’s, Elise, a city girl, along with her country husband and two children return to his home of Mallee. You see Elise trying to fight the stigma of a country town, and the stigma of what a housewife should be in the 1950’s.

Marjorie and Ruby are free spirited and run wild, while struggling to understand and come to terms with their mother’s untreated mental illness, while also just wanting to be kids, growing up and finding out who they really are.

The writing was so beautifully crafted, there were so many parts through out that I could picture myself out in the country, sitting on a bench at night by the fire, I could feel the heat of a hot summers day and humid nights, and the sweet smell of much needed rain, and having not only the people as characters, but the house, Mallee itself, the trees and the red dirt really pulled it together.

From how mental illness wasn’t really heard of, taken seriously or treated properly back then, grumpy grandpas to young love, and showing that when times are tough, people rally and come together and help each other, whether they have a little or a lot which shows that Australian fight and spirit we love so much, Wearing Paper Dresses was a beautifully written and crafted story, one I recommend everybody should read.

Thank you to the amazing team at Pan Macmillan Aus for sending me a copy of Wearing Paper Dresses for review.

ISBN: 978-1-76078-485-0

Imprint: Pan Macmillan Australia

Format: Paperback

Publication: 24thSeptember 2019-09-24

RRP: $32.99AUD

book review

Heartstream | Tom Pollock

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Synopsis:

I just wanted to see you. Before the end. A taut psychological thriller about obsession, fame and betrayal, for fans of Black Mirror. Cat is in love. Always the sensible one, she can’t believe that she’s actually dating, not to mention dating a star. But the fandom can’t know. They would eat her alive. And first at the buffet would definitely be her best friend, Evie. Amy uses Heartstream, a social media app that allows others to feel your emotions. She broadcasted every moment of her mother’s degenerative illness, and her grief following her death. It’s the realest, rawest reality TV imaginable. But on the day of Amy’s mother’s funeral, Amy finds a strange woman in her kitchen. She’s rigged herself and the house with explosives – and she’s been waiting to talk to Amy for a long time. Who is she? A crazed fan? What does she want? Amy and Cat are about to discover how far true obsession can go.

Review:

I discovered Heartstream through bookstagram. There was a fair bit of hype that I noticed, and with that I found it a book that I needed to read.

Sometimes when a book has hype surrounding it, it might not be as good as you thought, but thank the book gods, I was hooked and read it in a few hours – yes, you read that right.

Heartstream is an app that allows people to feel exactly how you feel, by connecting stick pads to the back of your head. I found this just really weird but that’s also what hooked me in.

We firstly follow Amy, a popular heartstream user and broadcaster, who shares her feelings through the app at her mothers funeral, and suddenly a mass amount of followers show up and its just this huge weird kind of thing, and once she arrives home she has this super fan in her kitchen and things just get even more creepy

We then switch to Cat, a teenage girl who’s secretly dating this superstar boy band member while being a member of their fandom, giving you a look at how hardcore and fandoms in general can be and the effects of social media.

We go back and forth between both Amy and Cat, a past/future, present/present, until we get to the part where you need to hold onto your hats ladies and gentlemen – because let me just say, the plot twist in this had me like “oh!” and a possible expletive followed

The only negative I have and I say that very lightly is that I wish the ending had more closure, I felt that it ended suddenly and there was no what happens next. However, since I haven’t read anything from Tom Pollock before, if that is how he usually leaves things then well played sir!

Overall a thrilling and addictive read which will leave you on the edge of your seat until the end.

4/5 stars !

*A huge thank you to Walker Books Aus for sending me a copy of Heartstream to review.

 

book review

Laura the Explorer | Sarah Begg

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Synopsis:

She’s starting life again… with new friends and plenty of men.

Divorced from her high-school sweetheart at twenty-seven, Laura Baker finds herself single for the first time in her adult life, her now-gay ex-husband the only man she’s ever slept with.

Looking for a fresh start, Laura moves into an apartment on Sydney’s Northern Beaches where her two new eclectic roommates convince her that she needs to get herself out there and start dating (and sleeping with) as many men as possible.

But as Laura’s fun new lifestyle kicks off, her work ethic begins to slip. Her mum won’t stop pestering her about her biological clock and trying to set her up with Eric from the pub. And to make things even worse, the volleyball-playing guy with the sky-blue eyes and rippling muscles that Laura has become infatuated with is hiding a secret that could shatter her world.

Amidst all the change in her life, Laura is forced to confront one crucial question: does she even know who she is anymore or how to be happy?

 

Review:

One of the things I love about reading, is going in blind, not really knowing anything about the book before reading it. Laura The Explorer surprised me! It was such a fun, light hearted and hilarious read.

I loved Laura, being 27 and going through a divorce, learning how to start over and experience life in a way that many of us, experience without a second thought.

Ben and Kalina are such a huge part of this story as a whole, even though they are more surrounding characters, they really helped make the book shine.

Some parts of the book were just straight up hilarious and had me laughing out loud, especially the night of and night after stories 😉

For a debut novel, Sarah really knocked it out of the park and I can’t wait to read more of her work in the future.

*A very big thank you to the author, Sarah Begg, for reaching out and providing me a copy of her book!

Until next time, happy reading!

Lizz xx

book review

The Surprising Power Of A Good Dumpling | Wai Chim

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Synopsis:

Anna Chiu has her hands pretty full looking after her brother and sister and helping out at her dad’s restaurant, all while her mum stays in bed. Dad’s new delivery boy, Rory, is a welcome distraction and even though she knows that things aren’t right at home, she’s starting to feel like she could just be a normal teen.

But when Mum finally gets out of bed, things go from bad to worse. And as Mum’s condition worsens, Anna and her family question everything they understand about themselves and each other.

Review:

This hit me from the very beginning. Just, BAM! And I was hooked. I know that there are a few books floating around these days focusing more on mental illness, and kudos for that! But something I hadn’t seen was one based around Asian culture, and I loved it.

Anna does what I guess most of the oldest children in families do, they look out for the others. You see throughout just how much she loves and protects her brother and sister, all the while trying to keep up with school, figure out what was wrong with her mum, and wanting to help her dad.

You also see in a way of what other’s may say or feel towards people of an Asian culture, in reference to thinking they are all the same, and in a way how it makes them feel.

Obviously while Anna’s mum is struggling with mental illness, Chim has written it so wonderfully well, how some people turn a blind eye, they don’t understand, they think there is an easy fix, or they just judge, and the heartbreaking way it can pull a family apart, but also bring them closer together.

Anna and Rory’s relationship is just adorable from start to finish and I ship it.

I just want to talk about the little things I loved too, not only with the story but the whole book in general. The cover got me, if I seen this on a shelf in a book store I would definitely gravitate towards it, the little note in the front from Chim about Jyutping Romanisation system as a way of representing Anna’s use of her Chinese tongue. Did I understand it? No, but theres the English translation anyway, and I love that it made the book more authentic! And the little spacer pages with the pictures of the teapots, fans, lanterns, bowls of dumplings and noodles again paying homage to the culture.

The Surprising Power Of A Good Dumpling is a wonferully written book about culture, family, mental illness and coming together when it’s needed to most, and love.

*Thank you to the team at Allen and Unwin for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for a review.

Book details:

Publication: 05/08/19

Publisher: Allen & Unwin Children’s

Format: Paperback

ISBN: 9781760631581

RRP: $19.99 AUD

book review

Ghosts Of The Past | Tony Park

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Ghosts of the past | Tony Park

 Africa, 1906: A young Australian adventurer is condemned to death.

Sydney, the present: journalist Nick Eatwell has just lost his job, but his day is brightened when a fellow reporter, South African Susan Vidler, comes into his life looking for help with a story.

Susan is chasing information about Nick’s great-great uncle, Cyril Blake, who fought in the Anglo-Boer War and later joined the struggle for independence across the border in the German colony of South West Africa, now Namibia.

A long-lost manuscript proves Nick’s forebear was a somewhat reluctant hero. Soldier, deserter, cattle rustler and freedom fighter, Blake was helping the lost cause before the Kaiser’s forces ordered his assassination.

In Germany, historian Anja Berghoff is researching the origins of the famed desert horses of Namibia. She’s also interested in Blake and an Irish-German firebrand and spy, Claire Martin, with whom Cyril had an affair.

Nick and Anja head to Africa on the trail of a legend, but someone else is delving into the past, looking for clues to the secret location of a missing horde of gold that’s worth killing for.

Spanning two centuries, Ghosts of the Past is based on a true story

 Review:

Ghosts of the past is based on a true story of a 24 year old Australian who fought in the Anglo-Boer War in South Africa, and during the Herero and Nama wars in German South West Africa.

While Ghosts of the past is based on a true story, and has some fictiicious points through out, overall it was a interesting and insightful read into a war that, to be honest, I never knew had ever happened nor existed.

Ghosts of the pasts goes through such in depth detail of the war, soldiers, what I believe is one of the first of many concentration camps and I think a main focal point of the story, the desert horses of Namibia.

We see how gold and greed can change anybody, and that people show strength and resilliance in the most heroic and heartfelt ways.

In between the throwback chapters of the war, we also have current time chapters where a decendant of the main character in this story, Cyril Blake, has become interested in chasing up his own family history after being contacted by a journalist who is wanting to write a story.

As you go back and forth between the past and present, you learn about these men and women from the past, and how they fought and tried to survive during the war, and how and old wives tale so to speak (lost treasure anyone?) and peoples greed can lead to unimaginable things

 Tony’s descriptive writing style and slow burning action paced storyline keeps you turning the pages wanting more, and thinking about it once its done, leave me completely enthralled from start to finish.

 A huge thank you as always to the team at Pan Macmillan Australia for sending me a copy!

Book details

Publication 23/07/19

Imprint: Macmillan Australia

RRP: $32.99 AUD

Format: Trade Paperback

ISBN: 978-1-76078-211-5