Dec 30, 2014 - Top 10 Tuesdays    No Comments

Top 10 Tuesday: Top 10 Goals for 2015

  1. Read 60 books
  2. Participate in Handmade Swap
  3. Make preserves from handpicked fruit
  4. Read Lord of the Rings
  5. Keep my commonplace book up to date
  6. Reduce my TBR pile from 79 to <50
  7. Attend Supanova Melbourne
  8. Make a list of 10 “good things” each week
  9. Review 2+ books per week
  10. Complete one crochet project each month
Dec 28, 2014 - Book Reviews    No Comments

Book Review: FATAL PUZZLE by Catherine Shepherd

It took me a long time to write this review, not because I didn’t enjoy the book, but because I found it difficult to get my thoughts in order.

Fatal Puzzle is actually two intertwined stories – one half is set in 1495, where women are being murdered and mutilated to complete a puzzle, and the other takes us to the present day, where there appears to be someone copying the medieval murderer.

I really enjoyed both stories, they were engaging and entertaining from start to finish, and there wasn’t a lot of mucking around with unnecessary side plots – the book isn’t even 200 pages long.

I did find the writing style a bit jarring. It reminded me very much of a young adult novel, which is definitely not a bad thing. I did find it quite jarring in some sections though, where victims and scenes were described in quite graphic detail.

I also would have enjoyed both stories fleshed out into their own individual pieces, as they were both very interesting separately, but the length of the book means that everything is shorter by necessity.

That said, this appears to be book 1 in a series, and I’m very interested in seeing what Catherine Shepherd does next.

Purchase: Book Depository | Booktopia
(Available from 1st January 2015)

I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Dec 23, 2014 - Top 10 Tuesdays    No Comments

Top 10 Tuesday: Top Ten Books I Wouldn’t Mind Santa Bringing This Year

Presented in no particular order, and entirely made up of books I didn’t get around to purchasing this year.

  1. Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo
  2. Geek Girls Unite by Leslie Simon
  3. Nocturnes by John Connolly
  4. The Slow Regard of Silent Things by Patrick Rothfuss
  5. The Collected Works of AJ Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin
  6. Running the Books by Avi Steinberg
  7. Fool’s Assassin by Robin Hobb
  8. The Lascar’s Dagger by Glenda Larke
  9. The Traitor Queen by Trudi Canavan
  10. Thief’s Magic by Trudi Canavan
Dec 21, 2014 - Book Reviews    No Comments

Book Review: THE GREAT ZOO OF CHINA by Matthew Reilly

I’ve been a fan of Matthew Reilly’s work for quite some time, ever since a friend introduced me to Ice Station. One of my favourite things is the speed the story moves at, and how unbelievably-believable everything is.

The Great Zoo of China is no exception – it’s an action packed beast, and I loved the contents of the zoo. Having a female protagonist was simply fantastic, and my patchy memory tells me it’s the first time he’s done this – but I certainly hope it won’t be the last.

I’m quite a fan of how he continually works in fantastic elements in a way that’s completely believable and it’s a testament to the time and effort he spends on researching each of his books.

While this isn’t one of my favourites of his, it’s definitely just as high quality as the rest of his work, and absolutely worth a read.

Purchase: Book Depository | Booktopia

Dec 18, 2014 - Book Reviews    No Comments

Book Review: THE FELL SWORD by Miles Cameron

The Fell Sword picks up where The Red Knight finishes, with the Captain leading his men on to their next job. It was just as good a read as The Red Knight – where The Red Knight was non-stop drama and action, The Fell Sword has a bit more character development and world building.

I really liked being able to see more of what was happening in other places, especially in the Wild, and being able to see another kingdom described really enhanced the world building – it stopped being a place mentioned in passing and became a real thing. Having a wider range of characters telling their parts was great for me – there were quite a few new faces to get to know and I’m quite fond of most of them.

There was also a lot of time spent laying the foundations for the next book – the Fell Sword of the title barely rates a mention in this book, and I’m quite looking forward to seeing how it all pans out, especially in relation to Duchess Ghause’s role, and newcomer Morgan. I still love how magic, religion and “reality” are mixed in this series, and how it’s all being used in a war setting. It’s perhaps one of the best uses of magic that I’ve seen in quite some time.

If you enjoyed The Red Knight, and don’t mind taking a slower trip through this book, you’re going to really enjoy it. If you haven’t read either yet, grab The Red Knight and settle in for a long and wonderful ride.

Purchase: Book Depository | Amazon

Dec 14, 2014 - Book Reviews    No Comments

Book Review: THE BREWER’S TALE by Karen Brooks

What a book. I often find with historical fiction that it’s either a poorly disguised romance novel set however long ago, an unrealistic rendition of the era or a bad ass depiction of life in that era. The Brewer’s Tale is absolutely the latter.

When Anneke Sheldrake is forced to find a way to support her family after her father is lost at sea, she turns to the business by which her mother’s family once prospered: brewing ale.

This book is set in an era when women were property of their men-folk, so a young unmarried woman setting up her own business, and doing incredibly well at it, is enough to turn everything on its ear. Karen Brooks has done a fantastic job of creating a strong, beautifully balanced female character that manages to do everything she needs to, overcome every obstacle, without leaving the bounds of what one could realistically expect to be achieved in that era.

Anneke Sheldrake is a wonderful character – she’s far from perfect, but that’s what makes her so appealing. The struggles she faces are as understandable now as they would have been then, even if the actual situations vary slightly. I can’t remember the last time there was a good ducking in the river, for example, but the bias and prejudice leading up to that is just as alive today.

I also appreciated the way the romance was woven through the book – I’m not a huge fan of romance novels, or ones that rely on romance too heavily to move everything forward, but this had the perfect balance the entire way through.

I heartily recommend this book to anyone with even a passing interest in history, and enjoys adventure, mystery, and a damn good story.

Purchase: Booktopia | Amazon

I received a copy of this book from Goodread’s First Reads.

Dec 7, 2014 - Book Reviews    No Comments

Book Review: LIFE IN OUTER SPACE by Melissa Keil

Life in Outer Space by Melissa Keil

This book. I’m not even sure where to start.

Life in Outer Space isn’t just a young adult novel about the Geeky Guy that falls in love with the Cool Girl. It’s about friendship and navigating high school and growing up and relationships and it’s all packaged in a very funny, very brilliant book.

I found the whole thing really relatable, even though I’m not a teenage boy. A lot of the things Sam is dealing with – being the “uncool” kid, working out how boy-girl relationships work (as friends and more), parents being weird around each other – is just so believable from beginning to end. We’ve all been there, we’ve all wondered if we’re ever going to be one of the popular people, or if our parents are slowly losing the plot.

On top of all that, Sam isn’t just a geek, he’s a believable geek. The whole book is peppered with movie/book/gaming quotes and references, and none of it feels forced or thrown in to earn points.

We don’t get to see much of Sam’s friends outside of his perceptions of them, but we do still get a great picture of who they are and how they’re reacting to everything going on.

There was nothing that I don’t love about this book, apart from the fact that it can’t go on forever. As with Cinnamon Girl, it’s a perfect snapshot of common situations faced by everyone, whether they’re currently in high school or reminiscing about their own awkward teenage years.

Purchase: Booktopia | Amazon