Friday, 9 October 2015

Hot Scandi crime you'll love

Image result for salla simukka snow white trilogy

Snow White Trilogy - Salla Simukka
As Red as Blood (Bk1) As White as Snow (Bk2) As Black as Ebony (Bk3)
Final instalment available from September 2015

I can honestly say that I absolutely adored this entire series, Lumikki as a protagonist is smart, strong, unique and sensual. She's the kind of girl you want to be best friends with even if it brings you a world of trouble because you know that whatever you faced, you could handle it with her by your side (God, girl crush much? sorry). The series has been expertly translated from its original Finnish and is set in Tampere, Finland with book 2 making a summer sojourn to Prague. Honestly its the kind of book that will have you researching the poetry she reads because its just so dark and beautiful or listening to the music she loves just to get a sense of her mood. Salla's sophisticated and emotive writing shines through beautifully, you can’t help being swept away... 

Over the three novels Lumikki faces three separate dangers making each book a conclusive story in itself while throughout the series there is an undercurrent of her own troubled formative years and an investigation into her shadowy past. Add to that a killer love story with a twist and you have a moody scandi crime trilogy that will have your heart racing as you burn through the pages, the only downside? they are all so small! Avid readers will have this series dusted off in a day!

Trust me, this one is worth trying and great news! I have just spied that book 1 is currently on super special at Booktopia, check it out:


Monday, 17 August 2015

The genre-mongrel I came to love

Skin Deep - Gary Kemble
Available - July 2015

A brilliant journalistic political thriller with a supernatural twist.

What do tattoos, politicians, ex SAS soldiers and Dreadnot bikies have in common?... Quite a lot, it turns out and the way the pieces of this puzzle are put together are certainly unconventional yet balanced with a suspense that keeps you guessing!

Harry Hendrick is a man without a mission, falling through life like a re-occurring dream, no ambitions or even semi-defined goals. While my initial emotional response was "come on Harry, you're better than this" perhaps what follows just goes to show that just being happy with your lot is a much safer way to exist!

In my humble opinion its the authenticity with which newcomer Gary Kemble writes that makes this book so unputtdownable (yes its a word). Harry as a character is believable and Gary describes Brisbane so perfectly that you can clearly hold it in your mind, you are there - immersed in the story, time and place so that when the weird starts to happen its still relateable and you find yourself swept up in the impossibility of it all. 

This is Australian writing at its best, its familiar,engaging and clever with just a tiny hint of Bogan.  

Tuesday, 11 August 2015

Trouble with a capitol D

Trouble is a Friend of Mine - Stephanie Tromly
Available - August 2015

Digby is the best worst best friend you ever had - the kind of guy that jumps from a burning building (that he no doubt set alight) falls two flights and lands feet first without a scratch or even slightly tousled hair. 

Zoe is the new girl in town - she's not putting in a whole bunch of effort to be in the 'in crowd' and doesn't exactly have a que of people lining up to be her new bestie, in fact there isn't much of anything going on for her...until Digby decides to insert himself into her life and unleash his special brand of chaos. Zoe, bless her heart tries to avoid his shenanigans as long as she can but lets be honest, what else did she really have going on anyway?

This is a fast paced joy ride with razor sharp wit and characters that you could even give a dam about. It's absolutely perfect for the "I just read Paper Towns, followed by John Green's entire backlog and now my life is over cause where am I going to find anything like that again?" sect. Trust me, you might just like it... 

Thursday, 15 January 2015

The Promise of an Open Door

The Door that Led to Where - Sally Gardner
Available - January 2015

"When the present offers no hope for the future, the answers may lie in the past"

This comment from publisher Hot Key Books for me, pretty much sums up the feel of this remarkable book. Sally is known for breaking all the rules when it comes to adhering to genre and this offering is no exception! If pushed I would describe it as contemporary YA fiction with a hint of mystery, a dash of Sherlock Holmesesq crime solving and a significant quota of Time Travel - intrigued? Great!

AJ is our leading man who after not exactly excelling in his GCSEs (HSC or ATAR equivalent here) is staring down the barrel of unemployment and all the unpleasantness life in the lower reaches of London society has to offer. His two best mates are faring even worse, getting mixed up in gang politics, dodgy drug deals and just generally being on the wrong side of the law but when AJ is offered a job as a junior clerk with an esteemed law firm it's not only his employment status that changes, the ripples of this one opportunity are extremely far reaching and not at all what you would expect. 

What I loved most about this novel was the assumption placed upon the reader that conversational tone in YA doesn't need to be dumped down. It also really made me examine today's society and the emphasis it places on the results of inconsequential exams to the future success of an individual…when did being a useful and practical person cease to be enough? Why must everything a person is and could be capable of, weighed and measured within the confines of a system that clearly doesn't work for everyone?

Travel outside the box and through the Door that Led to Where!

Monday, 12 January 2015

Go on a backyard roller coaster ride…

All the Bright Places - Jennifer Niven
Available - Jan 2015

"The world breaks everyone, and afterward, many are strong at the broken places". 
- Ernest Hemingway

This story does indeed take you to many bright and wondrous places, though from its sordid beginnings where our two main characters meet at the top of a bell tower its hard to imagine…both Theodore Finch and Violet Markey have climbed over the rail and dangle precariously for two very different reasons. After the death of her sister Violet is tired of the pain but quirky Finch is able to bring her back to herself,  little by little the pain becomes less as her feelings for Finch become more but as she ascends not even her feelings for him can halt Finch's downward spiral - as he fights to stay 'awake' and stay with her the fascinating person that he is and the marvellous and troubling way his mind works is revealed, giving both Violet and the reader a rare and precious view behind the stigma of mental illness into the relentless beast of depression. 

I don't know if anyone else has noticed but I feel that the 'issues' surrounding mental illness, depression and suicide are getting a lot of air time lately. Wether it be due to a raise in the detection or awareness of its prevalence these stories are happening - they are real and taking place in our world and community. So while yes, this story deals with some fairly hectic issues it is brave, bold and told so beautifully - crafted by such delicate hands and with obvious care that I couldn't help but fall in love with it and its bright characters. 

At the end of the day if this story can provide just a little more understanding and compassion, or create a conversation where previously there was skepticism and mistrust then it certainly has a place in society and an important one at that. You will laugh, you will cry and you will love All the Bright Places. 

Friday, 31 October 2014

The Legacy has Begun!

Legacy of the Claw - C.R.Grey
Available - November 2014

I rarely liken books to the wonder and benchmark that is Harry Potter but that’s the only way I can describe the delightful tingle I got while reading this series debut. 

With certain similarities in the beautifully detailed world, strong friendships, a mysterious prophecy and boarding school excitement it defiantly feels familiar but still with plenty of unique qualities - an almost steampunk feel, a lost King and at the core of the story is the Animas bond between Man and animal ‘Kin’which has been beautifully designed and well explained. There is a great balance between the extraordinary powers that people posses to bond with their familiars and the practical balance of nature that gives the story a credibility that will have everyone wanting their own Animas bond (if only a thing really were so).

Bailey isn't your average 13 yr old as he has an absence of Animas, adopted when he was only an infant he shares neither his Mum's Animae Horse or his Dad's Animae Hare and not only does he feel completely isolated but has also been labelled a freak in his home town, a situation he cant see improving with his move to the prestigious Fairmount Academy but things are about to get very interesting for young Bailey and his new found friends.

The story is engrossing, fast paced and well realised. I really think this could be the start of something very special so grab a copy today and tell me if I'm right!