My cat has photobombed this review…

Alice Pung
Black Inc. Books
Published November 2014

Thank you to the publisher for
providing this book in exchange 
for an honest review. This did not
alter my review in any way.

I’ve had some trouble writing this review. I just really loved this book, and that makes them so much harder to review. I will try but chances are I won’t even be coherent…

Laurinda is the funny and insightful story of Lucy Lam, who is given a scholarship place at the exclusive Laurinda Ladies College. This is no ordinary school. Academics is not enough – the young ladies of Laurinda must be passionate, proud and representative of their school. Embodying all of these qualities – and more – is a trio of girls known as the Cabinet, more powerful than the other students and even some of their teachers. Lucy observes the Cabinet and their ways, and as they take her under their wing, Lucy’s identity and integrity is at stake as she struggles through the new world of privilege and wealth.

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Nona and Me

Nice day, nice grass…

Clare Atkins
Black Inc Books
Published 24th September 2014

Thank you to Goodreads and Black Inc
Books for providing this book in 
exchange for an honest review. This
did not influence my review in any way.

In this deeply moving novel about family, community and friendship in Arnhem Land, comes the story of Rosie and Nona. Sisters, or yapas, they grew up side by side, white Australian and Aboriginal, until Nona and her family move away from their community following the death of her father. Now Nona is back and Rosie, who has neglected the Aboriginal way of life since Nona has been gone, must now balance her love for country and family with her new life in town with her friends and new boyfriend. A political decision polarizes the wider community and the time comes when Rosie has to choose between her oldest friend and her first love, between the two worlds that she inhabits.

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Sandy Feet

Nikki Buick
University of Queensland Press
Published 24th September 2014
 Thank you to University of Queensland Press
 for providing me with this book in exchange for 
an honest review. This did not influence
 my review in any way.

Hunter James is on the roadtrip from hell. His mother has dragged him out of his school in Brisbane, away from his friends, his Xbox and Facebook, up the Queensland coast with his ten-year-old sister who has Down syndrome, his new stepfather ‘Step’ and the new baby. Still dealing with the fall out of his parents’ divorce and emotionally recovering from an accident that changed his family, Hunter could not think of anything worse. His mum likes to pretend they’re such a happy family but Hunter knows better. After a while he realises it’s not all bad – he parties with backpackers on the beach, gets up close with some wild animals and meets a girl who might actually understand him – but eventually he will have to face the reality of why his mum decided to undertake this journey in the first place.

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Champions: at fire’s end

Author: Charlotte Jain
Publisher: CreateSpace
Star Rating: 2.75 – 3/5
Date Read: September 3rd to 7th, 2014
Read Count: 1
Thank you to the author for providing this book in exchange for an honest review. This did not influence my review in any way.

First things first, the cover pictured above is a draft cover and has since been updated. Being a draft copy of an indie author, I slugged through quite a bit of poor spelling and grammar to get to what lay underneath. This is to be expected and I can only assume that since there is a finished copy, all those little things will be cleared up. I tried hard not to dwell on it too much but I’m a bit of a stickler for things like that!

So what’s it about? Champions: at fire’s end is the first book in a series following 17 year old best friends April and Kyle who live in the fictional town of Caria. They go to their local high school, Kyle swims on the swim team, they seem like average teenagers. But they’re not. They have been chosen to settle the score for two immortal factions who had been at war for eternity. Bestowed with control over fire and water, April and Kyle must seek out the remaining two champions for the ultimate battle. And the immortals are getting restless. The fight is on.

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Lyrebird Hill

Lyrebird Hill
 Author: Anna Romer
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Star Rating: 4/5
Date Read: August 24th to 25th, 2014
Read Count: 1
Thank you to Simon & Schuster for providing this book in exchange for an honest review. This did not influence my review in any way.

Anna Romer has written an intriguing story of family secrets, lies and tragedy that takes place at Lyrebird Hill, a three thousand acre property that has been in Ruby’s family since her great-grandmother’s time. After discovering her boyfriend is a cheating prick and also finding out her sister’s death on that same property eighteen years ago may not have been the accident she always thought it was, Ruby returns to Lyrebird Hill seeking answers she had locked away in a vault in her head after suffering amnesia from a head injury that same day her sister died. As her memory returns, she also uncovers family secrets from the diary and letters of a relative from the late 1800s that show that violence, tragedy and death are no strangers to their family. Ruby must search her memory and herself to face the truth of her sister’s death.

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The Summer of Kicks

the summer of kicks

Author: Dave Hackett
Publisher: University of Queensland Press
Star Rating: 4/5
Date Read: August 10th to 11th, 2014
Read Count: 1
Thank you to University of Queensland Press for providing me with this book in exchange for an honest review. This did not influence my review in any way.

The Summer of Kicks is perfect if you are looking for a fun, light read and a rare glimpse inside the mind of a teenage boy. Starrphyre Jones, despite his extraordinary name, is just an ordinary 16 year old with a crush on Candace McAllistar, like all the other guys at his school. As summer approaches, he decides this is when he’s finally going to do something about it. And to make this happen, he talks his talentless, somewhat nerdy friends into starting a band. What he doesn’t bargain for is somehow getting a job at a record store while trying to recruit a guitarist, meeting a girl who is not as beautiful as Candace but who actually notices him, and dealing with his new roommate, his sister’s boyfriend Warren the Tool. The Summer of Kicks is an entertaining read that simultaneously made me groan and made me grin.

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The Sky So Heavy

The Sky So Heavy

Author: Claire Zorn
Publisher: University of Queensland Press
Star Rating: 5/5
Date Read: August 18th, 2014
Read Count: 1
 Thank you to University of Queensland Press for providing a copy of this book. This did not influence my review in any way.

Claire Zorn has just become a must-buy author for me. First The Protected, and now The Sky So Heavy, colour me impressed! The Sky So Heavy is an apocalyptic novel set in the Blue Mountains. Not post-apocalyptic – it is happening as we read! Our hero is Fin – seventeen years old, just your average teenage guy, bluffing his way through class and through interactions with Lucy, who leaves him weak at the knees. There is talk of nuclear testing that day when he’s at school, but he never expects to find himself in the middle of a nuclear winter. Suddenly, there’s no power, no water and only limited supplies of food. With his dad unable to get home and his mum unreachable at her Government job in the city, it’s up to Fin to look out for younger brother Max and try to find a way to get them through this, together with Lucy and the unpopular Arnold Wong who Fin had never spoken to other than in jeers before now. Four kids, alone, and just trying to survive. Continue reading