The Book Thief

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Rating: 5 Crickets

Title: The Book Thief
Author: Markus Zusak
Illustrator: Trudy White – of one of many versions of the cover
Cover Photography: Colin Anderson/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images
Publisher: “this is a Borzoi Book published by Alfred A. Knopf”
Published: September 1st, 2005

Blurb
It is 1939. Nazi Germany. The country is holding its breath. Death has never been busier, and will become busier still.

By her brother’s graveside, Liesel meminger finds her life changed when she picks up a single object, partially hidden in the snow. It is ‘The Grave Digger’s Handbook’, left there by accident, and it is her first act of book thievery. So begins a love affair with books and words, as Liesel, with the help of her accordion-playing foster father, learns to read. Soon she is stealing books from Nazi book-burnings, the mayor’s wife’s library, wherever there are books to be found.
But these are dangerous times. When liesel’s foster family hides a Jewish man in their basement, Liesel’s world is both opened up and closed down.

In superbly crafted writing that burns with intensity, award winning author Markus Zusak has given us one of the most enduring stories of our time.

The Book Thief is a well known book, and one I had heard mentioned on several occasions growing up. Being an avid reader people kept recommending that I read it. However, despite my love of reading, when I saw the size of the book I kept putting it off. When the movie came out I watched it, and so at last I knew what the hype was about. I was determined to read the book one day, but again, I kept putting it off. Until I made a new friend, and as it turned out this was their favourite book, and so they lent it to me, insisting I read it. So I finally did. I knew I would enjoy the book, but damn, was it a good book. I loved it!! I really did enjoy it more than I thought I would.

I loved the structure of the book, with the little side stories that the narrator would tell and the notes to give more information. It kept the book entertaining, and it helped to break up what could have easily been a big bulk of text. This also made the size of the book less daunting because it wasn’t just page after page of solid text. It was also exciting as well when you could see the bold text of the ‘side note’ coming up, wondering what information it would hold.

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Love Letters To The Dead

*Picture coming soon

Rating: 3 Crickets

Title: Love Letters To The Dead
Author: Ava Dellaira
Illustrator: Unknown
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Published: April 1, 2014
Blurb
It begins as an assignment for English class: Write a letter to a dead person.

Laurel chooses Kurt Cobain because her sister, May, loved him. And he died young, just like May did. Soon, Laurel has a notebook full of letters to the dead – to people like Janis Joplin, Heath Ledger, Amelia Earhart and Amy Winehouse – though she never gives a single one of them to her teacher. She writes about starting high school, navigating the choppy waters of new friendships, learning to live with her splintering family, falling in love with the first home,  and, most important, trying to grieve for May. But how do you mourn someone you haven’t forgiven?

It’s not until Laurel has has written the truth about what happened to herself that she can finally accept what happened to May. And only when Laurel has begun to see her sister as the person she was – lovely and amazing and deeply flawed – can she truly start to discover her own path.

‘Love Letters to the Dead’ – that sentence in itself is quite interesting and it really intrigued me. When it was the title of a book, I simply had to pick it up and read it.

The concept of writing letters to the dead was also entertaining. I am a big fan of writing letters to people, and it’s sad that it seems to be a dying art. I wasn’t expecting this story to be written purely in a series of letters, but due to it being done that way it gave the story a unique style. The letters that Laurel writes are to famous people who have died, which I found quite interesting because I’ve never been good with knowing famous people – so I learnt about people I had never heard of before, and got excited when she wrote to someone I did know. Learning a bit of backstory of the people she was writing to was also really cool, though I did find it amusing, and a lil weird, that she was telling the person their own life story.

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Passenger

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Rating: 3.5 Crickets

Title: Passenger
Author: Alexandra Bracken
Illustrator: Unknown
Publisher: Hyperion
Published: January 2016

Blurb
In one devastating night, violin prodigy Etta Spencer loses everything she knows and loves. Thrust into an unfamiliar world by a stranger with a dangerous agenda, Etta is certain of only one thing: she has traveled not just miles but years from home. And she’s inherited a legacy she knows nothing about from a family whose existence she’s never heard of. Until now.

Nicholas Carter is content with his life at sea, free from the Ironwoods-a powerful family in the colonies-and the servitude he’s known at their hands. But with the arrival of an unusual passenger on his ship comes the insistent pull of the past that he can’t escape and the family that won’t let him go so easily. Now the Ironwoods are searching for a stolen object of untold value, one they believe only Etta, Nicholas’ passenger, can find. In order to protect her, he must ensure she brings it back to them – whether she wants to or not.

Together, Etta and Nicholas embark on a perilous journey across centuries and continents, piecing together clues left behind by the traveler who will do anything to keep the object out of the Ironwoods’ grasp. But as they get closer to the truth of their search, and the deadly game the Ironwoods are playing, treacherous forces threaten to separate Etta not only from Nicholas but from her path home . . . forever

Passenger first caught my eye as I was scrolling along book accounts on Instagram and the photo appeared before me. I loved everything about the cover! The whole ‘boat in a bottle’ idea, tied in with the city vs boat reflection along with the fancy writing… it’s simply wonderful. Finding out that it was a book about time travel (which is something I haven’t read a lot of) I was sold! Passenger quickly made it’s way to the top of my TBR pile and I made sure to keep my eye out for it. Unfortunately I still don’t possess my own copy, but I did find it in the library (hence why the book looks a lil’ battered…)

I had mixed feelings about this book while reading it. On the one hand I loved it and was enjoying the journey that it was taking me on. On the other hand, there were times in which I found the writing a bit simple? I’m not really sure how to explain it. While this did cause me to be a tad bored at times, overall it remained a book that I’m eager to place on my shelf, and one that I definitely recommend reading.

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Lost In A Book

18216377_1890337994542183_370373799_oRating: 3 Crickets

Title: Lost In A Book
Author: Jennifer Donnelly
Illustrator: Unknown
Publisher: Paper Rocket

Published: 31st January, 2017

Blurb
Hidden in the Beast’s library, Belle is about to discover a mysterious book and visit a glittering new world. But everything is not as it seems, when the time comes, will Belle be able to find her way back home? Or will the story take hold of her – and never let her go?

I was so excited when I discovered this book – I had seen several people posting pictures of their own copy and talking about it, so when I actually came across it in store I simply had to buy it. When I was little my favourite Disney Princess story was actually Sleeping Beauty, but as I grew up Beauty & The Beast slowly came up to possess that top spot.

I love the title, Lost In A Book, it was certainly one of the things things that drew me in and this was before I fully realised it was tied in with Beauty & The Beast. I was definitely looking forward to reading more about Belle’s time in the castle, especially when the library was involved (who wouldn’t want to visit that library???).

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Life Blood

 

17836745_1878086579100658_1926258175_oRating: 5 Crickets

*this is the 2nd book in a series, as a result there will be spoilers to the first book*

Title: Lifeblood
Author: Gena Showalter
Illustrator: Unknown
Publisher: Harlequin TEEN
Published: 28 February 2017

Blurb
“My Firstlife is over, but my Everlife is only now beginning.”

With her last living breath, Tenley ‘Ten’ Lockwood made her choice and picked her realm in the Everlife. Now, as the war between Troika and Myriad rages, she must face the consequences.

Because Ten possesses a rare supernatural ability to absorb and share light, the Powers That Be have the highest expectations for her future – and the enemy wants her neutralised. Fighting to save her Secondlife, she must learn about her realm from the ground up while launching her first mission: convincing a select group of humans to join her side before they die.No pressure, right?

But Ten’s competition is Killian, the boy she can’t forget – the one who gave up everything for her happiness. He has only one shot at redemption: beating Ten at a game she’s never even played. As their throw-downs heat up, so do their undeniable feelings, and soon, Ten will have to make another choice: Love… or victory.

This is the second book in the Everlife series by Gena Showalter and words cannot even describe how I feel about this series. I had high hopes going into Lifeblood, and all I can say is I was not disappointed! In fact, it probably exceeded my expectations! I’ve come across a lot of the ‘middle book syndrome’ type stuff recently, where the second book in a series just kinda slumps, but just like with Firstlife, I was completely hooked from the beginning right through to the end.

There were times while reading this book where the situation could have gone one of a few ways, some of which I felt were predictable and a bit overdone but the most likely to happen. However! There weren’t any of the cliche moments, and I was not disappointed by how the events unfolded.

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Ice Like Fire

17623002_1874327186143264_831216141_oRating: 3 Crickets

Title: Ice Like Fire
Author: Sara Raasch
Illustrator: Erin Fitzsimmons and Jeff Huang
Publisher: Balzer + Bray – an imprint of HarperCollins
Published: 13th October 2015

Blurb
It’s been three months since the Winterians were freed and Spring’s king, Angra, disappeared – thanks largely to the help of Cordell.

Meira just wants her people to be safe. When Cordellan debt forces the Winterians to dig their mines for payment, they unearth something powerful and possibly dangerous; Primoria’s lost chasm of magic. The last time the world has access to so much magic, it spawned the Decay. So when the king of Cordell orders Meira and Theron on a mission to discover the chasm’s secrets, Meira plans to use the trip to garner support to keep the chasm shut and Winter safe – even if it means clashing with Theron. But can she do so without endangering the people she loves.

Mather just wants to be free. The horrors inflicted on the Winterians hang fresh and raw in Jannuari – leaving Winter vulnerable to Cordell’s growing oppression. So when Meira leaves to search for allies, Mather decides to take Winter’s security into his own hands. Can he rebuild his broken kingdom and protect his people from new threats?

As the web of power and deception is woven tighter, Theron fights for magic, Mather fights for freedom – and Meira starts to wonder if she should be fighting not just for Winter but for the world.

It seems like only yesterday, yet a whole lifetime away, when I was putting up the review for Snow Like Ashes. Now I’m doing the sequel, and hopefully won’t be too long before I’m doing the third, Frost Like Night.

I was excited going into this book. I enjoyed the first book to the series and I had high hopes for this book. And while I did enjoy reading it, it was also a bit of a let down.

I easily got into the first few chapters – I liked how the story started off with Meira fighting snowmen in a clearing, to me the scene just felt right and it was a good reminder of the characters personalities.

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Strungballs

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Rating: 2.5 Crickets

Title: Strungballs
Author: Mike Russell
Illustrator: Mike Russell
Publisher: Strange Books
Published: 31st October, 2016

Blurb
Strungballs is an extraordinary novella from Strange Books author Mike Russell. What are Strungballs? Ten-year-old Sydney is about to find out… but first he must have a cube of his flesh removed. Sydney will transgress everything he was taught to believe in when he embarks upon a journey that will reveal the astonishing secrets hidden by the red balls on white strings known only as… Strungballs.

Inspiring, liberating, otherworldly, magical, surreal, bizarre, funny, disturbing, unique… all of these words have been used to describe the stories of Mike Russell.

Remember: Once a Strungball is inserted it must never be removed.


This is my first official ‘book for review’ that I have done, which is kinda exciting! I received a PDF version of this book in exchange for an honest review.

I must admit that while I was excited to have been asked to do a review for this novella, I was a little skeptical at first. Okay, maybe a bit more than a little. Strungballs was a weird title and the cover reminded me a little of covers I’ve seen on weird kids books. However, I read a couple of brief reviews and all I saw were good things about this book, so I had hope for it. I also read the sample on Amazon, and while it is written in a style of writing I don’t normally like, I did want to keep reading to find out what happened next.

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Jasper Jones

17521811_1872103199698996_1443448645_oRating: 3.5 Crickets

Title: Jasper Jones
Author: Craig Silvey
Cover Design: Lisa White
Cover Photography: Getty Images
Publisher: Allen & Unwin
Published: 2009 (edition in photo 2010)

Blurb
Late on a hot summer night at the tail-end of 1965, Charlie Bucktin, a precocious and bookish boy of thirteen, is startled by an urgent knock on the window of his sleepout. His visitor is Jasper Jones, an outcast in the mining town of Corrigan. Rebellious, mixed-race and solitary, Jasper is a distant figure of danger and intrigue for Charlie. So when Jasper begs for his help, Charlie steals into the night by his side, terrified but desperate to impress. Jasper takes him through town to his secret glade in the bush, and it’s here that Charlie bears witness to Jasper’s horrible discovery.

Carrying the secret like a brick in his belly, Charlie is harried by a suspicious town tightening in fear. In the simmering summer where everything changes, he locks horns with his tempestuous mother, falls nervously in love, and battles to keep a lid on his zealous best friend, Jeffrey Lu. And in vainly attempting to restore the parts that have been shaken loose, Charlie learns to discern the truth from the myth, and why white lies creep like a curse; why the truth of things is so hard to know, and even harder to hold in his heart.

I found Jasper Jones to be quite an interesting read. This book wasn’t one that I had picked up myself to read, but given to me by my father after he invited me to see the movie and I said I wished to read the book first. I had previously heard whispers about Jasper Jones, in English classes and the such, and it intrigued me, but I was never really sure what the story was actually about.

The first chapter really drew me in, there was no slow beginning, no leading up to what was going to happen, it just starts right in the action. Unfortunately for me, when I started to read this book it was quite late at night, and the first chapter was 52 pages long, so I had to leave it mid scene because I couldn’t keep my eyes open.

This was an annoying little feature of the book, in my opinion. Only because, personally, if I have to stop somewhere I prefer it to be at the end of a chapter, not in the middle of one, but more often than not, due to the long chapters, I was having to stop at random pages. But, it’s not the end of the world, and luckily there were those little dots that are sometimes between paragraphs and so I would stop at one of those instead.

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Firstlife

17091344_1862429623999687_373166351_oRating: 5 Crickets

Title: Firstlife
Author: Gena Showalter
Illustrator: Unknown
Publisher: Harlequin TEEN
Published: 22nd February 2016

Blurb
I’ve been told history is written by survivors. But I know that isn’t always true. My name is Tenley Lockwood, and very soon, I’ll be dead.

Tenley ‘Ten’ Lockwood is an average seventeen-year-old girl… who has spent the past thirteen months locked inside the Prynne Asylum. The reason? Not her obsession with numbers, but her refusal to let her parents choose where she’ll live – after she dies.

There is an eternal truth most of the world has come to accept: Firstlife is merely a dress rehearsal and real life begins after death.

In the Everlife, there are two realms in power: Troika and Myriad, long-time enemies and deadly rivals. Both will do anything to recruit Ten including sending their top Laborers to lure her to their side. Soon, Ten finds herself on the run, caught in a tug-of-war between realms that will do anything to win the right to her soul. Who can she trust? And What if the realm she’s drawn to isn’t where the boy she’s falling for lives? She just has to stay alive long enough to make a decision…

One Choice. Two Realms. No Second Chance.


What can I say. This book is one of the first in a while that grabbed me right from the start. Where as a lot of books I’ve read recently have enticed me with their cover and blurb, it took pushing through a few chapters before I really got into it. But Firstlife had me hooked from first time I laid eyes on it, till the moment I read the last word on the last page, and even after that actually.

The book starts with a conversation, is a format like emails, between Archer (Troika laborer) and his General, and Killian (Myriad laborer) and his Superior. It is highly entertaining and definitely grabbed my attention. It is also a clever way in which to introduce the characters, both the ones talking and the ones mentioned. These type of conversations happen every now and again between chapters, and I think it is a nice breather between the huge chunks of text, to have these small and informative pieces.

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Replica

Rating: 3.5 Crickets

Title: Replica
Author: Lauren Oliver
Illustrator: unknown
Publisher: Hodder & Stroughton (UK), Harper Collins (US)
Published: 6th October, 2016

Blurb

17091111_1861173597458623_654629990_oLyra’s Story
The Haven Institute is a building tucked away on a private island off the coast of Florida that from a distance looks serene and even beautiful. But up close the locked doors, military guards, and biohazard suits tell a different story. In truth, Haven is a clandestine research facility where thousands of replicas, or human models, are born, raised, and observed. When a surprise attack is launched on Have, two of its young experimental subjects – Lyra, aka number 24, and the boy known only as 72 – manage to escape.

Encountering a world they never knew existed outside their secluded upbringing they meet Gemma and as they try to understand Haven’s purpose together, they uncover some earth-shattering secrets that will change the lives of both girls forever…17016351_1861173600791956_977375944_o

Gemma’s Story
Gemma has been in and out of hospitals for as long as she can remember. A lonely teen, her life is circumscribed by home, school, and her best friend, April. But after she is nearly abducted by a stranger claiming to know her, Gemma starts to investigate her family’s past and discovers her father’s mysterious connection to the secretive Haven Institute.

Hungry for answers, she decides to leave the sanctuary of her home to travel Florida, only to stumble upon two replicas amidst the frenzy outside Haven’s walls, and a completely new set of questions…

While the stories of Gemma and Lyra mirror each other, each contains breathtaking revelations critically important to the other story.

Hello Cricketeers! (bare with me, I’m new at this and thought I might try out a little name – yes or no?)

I was first introduced to Replica while watching one of EpicReads Book Hauls (I think that was it anyway, I’m sorry if I got this wrong). I was a little book crazy – more than usual anyway – and I was writing down every interesting book I could get my hands on (I formed quite a long list as well…). The first thing to catch my attention about this book was the fact that there were two stories in the one book! I thought it was really cool that you read the story from one character’s point of view, and then flip it over and read another’s point of view.

However, as exciting and intriguing as this is (and I still think it’s an awesome idea!), to me it was also a bit of a downfall. I started the book from Lyra’s POV and I got really into it, and when I finished her side of the story I was excited to start Gemma’s POV and find out more details about what was going on. But it was almost like the story came to a stand still; instead of the story continuing, it was rewinded and started again with a clean slate. And yes, I did understand that that was the concept of it before I started reading, but personally, I didn’t like the effect that it ended up having. I had all this information from reading Lyra’s story, and it took a while before that information was added to from Gemma’s story – to me, there was too much a lull.

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