Posts Categorized: 4 star books

The Calling: review

The Calling: review

The Callingby Kelley Armstrong I have a feeling that some people are going to hate Kelley Armstrong’s The Calling. It’s almost impossible that she didn’t think this was going to piss a few people off. This is a book you can’t take at face value. Because at face value, this is a slow progressing plot, the romance is largely missing (though not entirely, it’s just not with the same guy – shock horror), and as we get more answers about Maya, her friends and the bad guys, we also get more questions. This is an adventure book. It’s a prolonged action scene. It’s like a cross between the Blair Witch Project, Mantracker and Survivorman. There’s a lot of hiding, running, fighting, all that jazz. It started to become frustrating because if you’re someone who looks for plot development, then this might be a bit of a challenge. If you’re someone… Read more »

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Night Beach: review

Night Beach: review

Night Beach by Kirsty Eagar “But there the night is close, and there Darkness is cold and strange and bare; And the secret deeps are whisperless; ..and music is The exquisite knocking of the blood…”   The Fish, Rupert Brooke (1911) Night Beach is an intense, evocative novel that explores the shadowy recesses and dark corners of the mind that birth, feed and foster art and obsession. It’s an unsettling story, delving into unchartered spaces of the consciousness, a story that balances precariously between the real and the unreal. Eagar takes those shades between light and darkness, between solid and intangible, and distils from it a novel that beautifully crystalises the mercurial nature of creativity, and the mental torment of fixation. As with her debut Raw Blue, Eagar’s writing is at once both familiar and striking. She writes about Australian surf culture and life with the apparent ease of experience,… Read more »

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Masque of the Red Death: review

Masque of the Red Death: review

Masque of the Red Death by Bethany Griffin Ah, steampunk libertines! Who’d have thought they’d be so appealing? Books that are heavily influenced by classic stories are always tricky, particularly when it’s as ambitious an undertaking as a story inspired by the Edgar Allan Poe classic. I loved the lavish setting and moodiness of the original story, so I had my doubts that anything could come close to capturing its crazy vibe. But somehow Bethany Griffin has managed to create a very similarly dark, extravagant feeling in her gothic adaptation, which is a surprisingly compelling read. Seventeen-year-old Araby Worth lives in a world devastated by plague. Haunted by the death of her twin brother Finn, she and her friend April spend their nights attending opulent club parties, trying to lose themselves in pleasure so they can forget the what’s going on around them. In this atmosphere of dissipation and discontent,… Read more »

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review: Partials

review: Partials

Partialsby Dan Wells It seems as though YA Science Fiction is experiencing a bit of a resurgence lately. Like many other readers, I’m a little tired of the barely-dystopian trend, so it’s great to see a very firmly science-oriented book like Partialscome along. Airborne viruses + survivalist action drama + human interest story is a great combination, and one I think most fans of post-apocalyptic thrillers will enjoy. In the year 2076, 11 years after an airborne viral outbreak, the average newborn lives just 56 hours. 16-year-old Kira Walker, a young medic interning at a hospital, thinks that the key to human survival lies in studying Partials, a group of rogue cyborgs described as “unthinking, unfeeling human killers.” Since Partials released the virus to begin with, surely they have the answers to a cure–whether it’s through their genetic makeup or through their knowledge. When her friend Madison gets pregnant, Kira… Read more »

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The Survival Kit: review

The Survival Kit: review

The Survival Kit by Donna Freitas Bracing yourself for an impact that never arrives is a strange sensation. When it becomes clear that the anticipated pain is not going to make an appearance, there’s a moment of confusion before the tensed muscles release, before the flinch fades, before the shielding hands come down. A suspended second where the expectation and the reality don’t quite connect, and you have to reassess what’s going on. As I read The Survival Kit, I think I had been unconsciously readying myself for an emotional kick in the solar plexus, only to reach the epilogue without any such violent impact. If anything, as I put the book down, I felt the distinct empty space where I had expected the strong emotional response to be. And I can’t help but think that this does a disservice to the book, and the things I actually did feel… Read more »

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Bittersweet: review

Bittersweet: review

Bittersweetby Sarah Ockler If you’re about to start reading this: put everything down. Step away from the book, find yourself a good cupcake first, and then come back. Because if you don’t, you’re going to spend a couple of hours in a frenzy of longing over the incredible desserts whipped up in this book and you may end up gnawing off your own arm. Dark chocolate with red peppermint mascarpone icing, edged with chocolate and crushed candy canes Miniature banana cupcakes smeared with a thin layer of honey vanilla icing Vanilla cupcakes topped with whipped peanut butter cream cheese icing, milk chocolate chips, crushed pretzels, and a drizzle of warm caramel. *Drool.* What was I saying? Oh, the book! Hudson Avery is a master baker at the age of seventeen. She’s stuck in a dead-end job in her mom’s diner, trying to help the family make ends meet after her… Read more »

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Between Shades of Gray: review

Between Shades of Gray: review

Between Shades of Grayby Ruta Sepetys What else is there to say but echo the sentiment everyone else is expressing for Between Shades of Gray? If you’ve been listening in on all the hype that surrounded this book prior to release, you’d know it focuses on the plight of innocent Lithuanians, Latvians and Estonians affected by the Stalin regime during World War II. And if you had been just as denied any knowledge of their struggles, you would have thought, huh? I think it’s a shame that not a sliver of their past is studied in schools (for that is where we go for a thing called History Class), but curriculum is so skewed and selected that young people miss out on very important issues. I remember reading in high school, when on the subject of Stalin, that he took over the countries in the Baltic region…a mention, no more… Read more »

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