Review: Begin, End, Begin: A #LoveOzYA Anthology by Danielle Binks.

Title – Begin, End, Begin: A LoveOzYA Anthology
Authors – Amie Kaufman, Melissa Keil, Will Kostakis, Ellie Marney, Jaclyn Moriarty, Michael Pryor, Alice Pung, Gabrielle Tozer, Lili Wilkinson & Danielle Binks
How I Got It – From the publisher
Pages – 336 pages
Publication Date – April 24th 2017 by HarperCollins Australia
ISBN – 9781460752319
My Rating – ★★★/5

“The YA event of the year. Bestsellers. Award-winners. Superstars. This anthology has them all.

With brilliantly entertaining short stories from beloved young adult authors Amie Kaufman, Melissa Keil, Will Kostakis, Ellie Marney, Jaclyn Moriarty, Michael Pryor, Alice Pung, Gabrielle Tozer, Lili Wilkinson and Danielle Binks, this all-new collection will show the world exactly how much there is to love about Aussie YA.”

I received a copy of Begin, End, Begin: A #LoveOzYA Anthology from HarperCollins New Zealand to review. 3

There are a lot of authors who have written stories for this book that I’ve never read before I picked up this book. So I was excited to get a copy of this so that I could read more Australian authors. I had read books by Amie Kaufman, Lili Wilkinson and Melissa Keil.

I don’t review or read a lot of books with short stories because I don’t find them the easiest books to review. Especially when they have more than one author. There’s a reason I only gave this book three stars and I’ll get to that later in my review. I’m not going to talk about every short story but I will talk about the ones that stood out for me.

I loved Amie Kaufman’s One Small Step, which is the first shot story in the book. This is the first story I’ve read where Kaufman wasn’t co-authored by Meagan Spooner or Jay Kristoff. And I am so happy that I loved her writing when it’s just her. This was sci-fi story with some romance as well. I don’t want to say too much about the story but it had an interracial (I hope that’s the right word?) love interest and a lesbian main character. And it was my favourite story out of all of them. I wish it was longer actually.

I also liked First Casualty by Michael Pryor. This was another sci-fi story and it had aliens too who were rescued by the two characters in the story and then really mistreated because they were different and other. If I remember correctly. I’ll admit, it’s been a while since I read this.

I did like one or two more stories but those are the only two that still stand out and I can remember most of the storyline. Looking back at the table of contents now there are two more that I remember clearly and the rest have completely slipped my mid. But that always happens to me with short stories. I find I don’t have enough time to connect to the story or characters before it’s all over. Which is why I can’t give this more than three stars – I only liked two or three stories out of how many? Ten. Wow that’s bad.

I have seen a few reviews on Goodreads mentioning that they were excited to read some of the stories in this book because they knew the characters. That may be another reason I didn’t connect with those stories – they’d mostly been told in other books that I’ve never heard of. But there’s only one way to find out and that by looking up the books.

But I did like reading more Australian authors and I think this is a great way to sample their work without having to read a whole book. I do wish there was something like this for New Zealand YA authors too because I can only think of one off the top of my head.

*Thank you HarperCollins New Zealand for sending me a copy to review*

– Aimee.

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July Wrap Up.

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I’m going to be doing things a little differently with my wrap up this month. I normally add my TBR for the next month after I’ve given a list of what I read but as it’s still July I haven’t gotten much of a TBR yet, except for my ARC August TBR. So I’ll just mention that at the end for anyone who hasn’t read my ARC August TBR post.

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I read 10 books in July, two of them were re-reads. I had a bit of a reading slump and just couldn’t get out of it. Anyway, onto the ratings.

The Glittering Court by Richelle Mead – ★★★/5
Begin, End, Begin – A #LoveOzYA Anthology by Danielle Binks – ★★★/5
Illuminae by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff (re-read) – ★★★★★/5
Gemina by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff (re-read) – ★★★★★/5
When Dimple met Rishi by Sandhya Menon – ★★★/5
The Huntress: Sea by Sarah Driver – ★★★/5
Juniper Lemon’s Happiness Index by Julie Israel – ★★★★/5
The Moonlight Dreamers by Siobhan Curham – ★★★★/5
Countless by Karen Gregory – ★★★★/5
The Leaving by Tara Altebrando – ★★★/5

Obviously I love Illuminae and Gemina and they were still good the second time. I also really enjoyed Juniper Lemon’s Happiness Index, The Moonlight Dreamers and Countless. The rest were just okay. I loved some of the stories in the LoveOzYA Anthology but most of them were just okay so I couldn’t give that more than three stars.

So, now for my ARC August TBR. I have made a post about this so if you’ve already read that then you can skip this part.

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These are the five books I plan on reading for ARC August. Well they were when I made the TBR post. But I found another ARC that I should have already read by now that I’m going to read as well. That’s The Student by Iain Ryan. It’s set in Australia.

If you want to read the full ARC August TBR post then click the link 🙂

I’ll be posting my full August TBR soon. When I’ve figured out what else I want to read.

What books did you read in July?

Aimee.

WWW Wednesday [July 12th 2017] –

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This meme is hosted by Sam over at Taking on a World of Words. All you have to do is answer the following three questions in a post and then put a link to that post in the Comments over at Taking on a World of Words.

The questions are:
1. What are you currently reading?
2. What did you recently finish reading?
3. What do you think you’ll read next?

Currently Reading –
12I started When Dimple met Rishi yesterday and so far it’s okay.. This is not the kind of book I normally read, all the relationship stuff is not my thing and I can already tell how this will end despite what Dimple said from the beginning of the book.

I wanted to read this because I’ve never read a book with Indian characters and the culture being a main part of the story and I am enjoying that part. I just don’t think this is my sort of book. But I’m still going to finish it.

Recently Finished –
DEQBQX-VYAAjLQPI took a break over the weekend from review books, which I haven’t done in a while, and re-read two books I’ve been meaning to pick up again for months. I did push them back because the last book in the trilogy was pushed back until March next year (boo!) but I just couldn’t wait any longer. I blame Amie’s story in the LoveOzYA Anthology book. It was set in space and I was just like, no. I need Illuminae and Gemina now.

I can read both Illuminae and Gemina in one day. Each. Not both in one day. Which is why I just read them over the weekend. They are just so addictive and I never want to put them down when I’m reading them. DEK7JnfUMAA1lU6

If you haven’t read these books then I cannot recommend them more. When I first read Illuminae I didn’t know if I’d like it at all. I don’t think I’d read a sci-fi book before this but it was just so, so good!!

I cannot wait for Obsidio to come out next year. Even though I don’t want this trilogy to end I still want to know how it will end and what’s next for Kady, Ezra, Hanna, Nik, Ella and even AIDEN. I also want to know who’s behind the security videos because they’re funny. Anyway, if you haven’t picked up Illuminae or Gemina then you really should!DEBAkx7UwAAfS33

I also read Begin, End, Begin – A LoveOzYA Anthology. I always find these kinds of books hard to review (I think I said this in my last WWW Wednesday post?) because I never like all the stories in the book.

I’m just going to review this as best I can. I will not be reviewing every story though because that will take forever and I just can’t be bothered to be honest. I might mention the ones I really liked though. If I can remember what ones I liked….

Reading Next – 5
I think it’s about time I read this. I can’t even remember when I requested it because the book was sent to the wrong address and my old neighbour gave it to me. He said he’d had it a couple of weeks so I think this is a bit overdue.. 

All I remember about this is pirates and someone going missing. So I guess I’ll find out more when I pick it up.

What have you read recently?

– Aimee.

WWW Wednesday [July 5th 2017] –

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This meme is hosted by Sam over at Taking on a World of Words. All you have to do is answer the following three questions in a post and then put a link to that post in the Comments over at Taking on a World of Words.

The questions are:
1. What are you currently reading?
2. What did you recently finish reading?
3. What do you think you’ll read next?

Currently Reading –  3
I started Begin, End, Begin: A #LoveOzYA Anthology this morning. I’ve only read one story but I liked it.

I find these kinds of books really hard to rate because I very rarely, if ever, like every short story. So I don’t know how I’m going to do the review yet.. I guess I’ll figure it out when I’ve read it. But I can already see I’ll be too lazy to review every story. I don’t have time for that.

Anyway, I’ve read books by three of the authors who wrote short stories for this book I think. So I’m looking forward to see what the other writers are like.

Recently Finished –
7I finished The Glittering Court yesterday and I enjoyed it more than I thought I would. I have read most of Richelle’s book (not the Vampire Academy anniversary edition or whatever it is) and I did like her Bloodlines series.

So this book follows a Countess (I think that was her title?) as she takes her maid’s identity and runs away to join the Glittering Court and then off to a new life in Adoria. There are some twists along the way but I’m not going to say much here. I’ll be doing a review of this soon so I’ll talk about it more in that. I will say that I did like it and I’m looking forward to reading Midnight Jewel soon.

I also read Beyond the Wall this week. This is set in the Roman Empire and follows Cassia

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as she flees from her master, Cassia is a slave, and runs to the north, where apparently people are living free.

I liked this more than I thought I would. I haven’t read anything set in the Roman Empire before I don’t think and I don’t really know what I was expecting but I did like it.

I’ll also be reviewing this eventually. I am behind with my reviews again but I haven’t been able to write any recently. I write them by hand and then type them up on the computer. I know, it’s ridiculous but that’s the way I’ve always done it.

Reading Next –
After reading Amie Kaufman’s short story in Begin, End, Begin I really want to read Illuminae… But I have so many review books to read too. Not that Illuminae actually takes long to read. I’ll have to see what happens when I finish my current read.

What have you read recently?

– Aimee.

May Book Haul.

 

Watercolor flower wreath background for beautiful designI’m going to be posting the books I bought and received to review in May. I think I only bought one book in May and I’ve read it before but it was pretty and I couldn’t resist. But I don’t have a photo of it yet so I can’t show it in this haul…

Anyway, onto the book haul! 🙂 1

The first book I received in May was sent to m from HarperCollins New Zealand. I’ve heard really good things about Dear Ijeawele and I was surprised that it’s under 70 pages.

I haven’t read this yet and I have no excuses because it’s such a small book that I should have been able to fit it into May but I just didn’t pick it up. Hopefully I’ll get to it sometime in June because I really want to read it. I haven’t read a lot of books about feminism.. Or any really now that I think about it. So it’s about time I do something about that.

2I also received a copy of The Cows from HarperCollins New Zealand. This is on my June TBR.

I don’t know much about this and I kind of want to keep it that way. I do know it follows the lives of three different women. I’m not sure if they know each other or not. But this sounds like a really good book and I know a few people who have read and loved it so I’m excited to read it.

The Cows will actually be my next read. I’ll probably be starting it tomorrow after I finish my current read. Which I’m hoping to finish today. 3

The next three books I also received from HarperCollins New Zealand to review.

I haven’t read a lot of LoveOzYA books and I’ve only read books by three of the authors who wrote short stories for this collaboration. I’ve read books by Amie Kaufman, Lili Wilkinson and Melissa Keil. But I’m looking forward to reading all the stories in this book. I think I put this on my TBR for June so hopefully I can pick this up soon. I’ve seen some good things about this but I haven’t looked into it because I don’t want to read any spoilers.

4I was intrigued by The Lucky One when I read the synopsis in April but now I cannot remember what it’s about. April was a loooong time ago and synopsis never stick in my head.

So, clearly I haven’t read this or I’d be able to talk about it. I haven’t put this on my TBR because I have so many books I want to read and I don’t want to pressure myself because that’s when I get into reading slumps. And I’ve already had too many of them this year thank you very much book gods.

If I have the time I’ll try to squeeze it in though. 5

The last book I received from HarperCollins New Zealand was Red Sister.

I haven’t read this but I do remember what it’s about because it reminds me of Nevernight. This is about female assassins. And they’re Nuns too I think. So I have to read it because it sounds badass.

I really want to read this in June but it’s kind of big and I have a full TBR right now. I’ll just have to see how the month goes. I’ve been reading about 10 books a month so maybe.. Maybe not though.

The next two books I received from Bloomsbury Australia to review. I think Royce Rolls 6is about a reality show following the Rolls family but Royce wants out? Kind of reminds me of Keeping Up with the Kardashians which is probably why I remember what it’s about.

I don’t know when I’ll get around to reading this. It sounds okay. I mean I watch KUWTK so I’ll probably actually enjoy this. It’s just I have so many books to read already. But I’m not complaining. It means I’ll never need to join the library anytime soon. I’ve heard my local one is rubbish anyway. I really hope not though. I like going to libraries.

The second book I received was Letters to the Lost. I actually read this last month and I really enjoyed it. I don’t read a lot of contemporaries but I’ve enjoyed the ones I’ve read 7recently so maybe I should start reading them more often. They’re a nice break from all the fantasy books.

Anyway, this book follows Juliet and Declan as they write letters to each other. But they don’t know they’re writing to the other person, when they start its anonymous. But then something that happened in both their lives could tear them apart before they get a chance to be together.

It sounds really cheesy but it wasn’t for me. I liked this and the only other book I’ve read by Brigid too, Thicker Than Water.

I did a book swap with someone on Twitter last month. I got rid of an ARC that was just 8sitting on my shelf and I have a finished copy of and got Roseblood. I’ve never read anything by A.G. Howard or about The Phantom of the Opera but I thought this sounded like something I’d like and I love the cover.

I’m not sure if I should read the original story or not before I read Roseblood. I never have before when I read retellings so I’ll just read it.

I’m not in any hurry to read this because I wasn’t sent it to review. So it’s just sitting on my TBR shelf for now. It can go with my small collection of ARCs when I’ve read it. 9

Bonnier Publishing Australia sent me a copy of Ida to review.

I can’t remember what this is about now but when I was offered a copy to review I thought it sounded like something I’d enjoy.

I’ve put Ida on my June TBR. It’s not a very long book so hopefully I can read it quickly. This is a LoveOzYA book so that’s two on my June TBR. I need to find some good NZ YA books as well!!

The next two books were sent to me by Allen and Unwin New Zealand. The first book, 10The Girl from Everywhere is about time travelling pirates. I think. I love books about time travel and who doesn’t like pirates? Sounds like an awesome combination to me.

There was something about a girls boyfriend being kidnapped and trapped in time somewhere by her father or something like that.

But I think this sound amazing and I can’t wait to read it. I’ve seen a different cover of this book and I have to say I prefer this one. I don’t think thee sequel has a cover like this though so that sucks.

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The other book I received from Allen and Unwin New Zealand was Defy the Stars.

I recently finished the last book in The Firebird Trilogy by Claudia Gray and wanted to read more of her work so this was great timing.

I’m not too sure if I’ll like this or not. It sounds a bit weird to me but I’m willing to give it a chance. I know there’s a romance or something going on in this but I think there’s a twist to it. Something about artificial intelligence. I think. Don’t quote me on that because I could be way of the mark. But that’s why it sounds weird to me.

I received the next two books from Penguin Random House New Zealand to review. I’m a12ctually reading One of Us is Lying at the moment. I think I’ll be finished with this later today because I need to know what the hell is going on.

This has reminded me a lot of Gossip Girl and I can see why people are saying its like The Breakfast Club too. But I didn’t like that movie. I prefer this to be honest,

Like I said, I’m sure I’ll finish this today. But if you loved Gossip Girl or Pretty Little Liars (because it’s got that kind of vibe too, although there are no texts) then I definitely recommend getting a copy of this.

The second book I received from Penguin Random House New Zealand was Pieces of 13You. It also came with an awesome box full of things I assume relate to the story.

I haven’t read a lot of New Zealand YA books so I’m excited to read this. I think this is another contemporary but I’m not really sure what it’s about. I guess I’ll find out when I read it.

I really want to squeeze this onto my June TBR because it came out June 1st so fingers crossed I can.

I did share what’s in the box on my Snapchat when I first got it. The chocolate has gone but everything else is still in there.

The next four books were sent to me from Hachette New Zealand to review. The first is 14Contagion which is the first book in a new series by Teri Terry. I’ve read a few of Teri’s books so I was looking forward to reading this and it did not let me down.

I read this last week I think. It was the first book I read in June anyway I know that much.

This follows Shay and Kai as they look for Kai’s sister Callie. Callie went missing a year ago and Shay remembers seeing her. Their search takes them across the country to the heart of a new, incurable, virus.

I really enjoyed this but I’ll be talking about this more when I post my review. 15

I finally have the last book in the Waterfire Saga and I cannot wait to see how this series ends.

I’m not going to say anything about Sea Spell because it is the last book in the series and spoilers but I will say that the first three books were really good and I could not put them down.

I think it says on the first book that it’s like the Percy Jackson series with mermaids and I have to agree. It’s not Percy but it has some badass mermaids!

I also received Flame in the Mist and I am really looking forward to this. I don’t think I have to say what this book is about because it’s been everywhere for months. But I have 16heard that it’s a Mulan retelling set in feudal Japan. I’ve never seen Mulan so I’m not really sure what it’s about other than some badass woman saving her country.

Anyway, I’m not sure if any of that is correct but I’m just going to move on. I’ve been sitting on this computer too long and my back is killing me. I need to finish this post soon.

So, Flame in the Mist is on my June TBR and I’m hoping to read it soon because it sounds really good. Should I watch Mulan first though??

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The last book I received Hachette New Zealand was Since We Fell. And yes, you’re right, I can’t remember what this is about either. But I think it’s a psychological thriller and I love those kinds of books so I’m looking forward to reading this.

I didn’t put this on my TBR because it was already so I might just put this on my July TBR. Maybe. I don’t know yet.

Omg I forgot how long these posts take me to type up….

I received another four books from Bloomsbury Australia. I wasn’t expecting these at all. 18I’ve already read The Possible and really enjoyed it. I have The Names they Gave Us on my June TBR.

But I don’t know when I’ll get to the other two yet. They both sound really good and I will read them but I’m just not sure when. I think these are all out this month some time. But I’m not sure when, the media releases just said June.

I think I’ll read Countless first though. It grabbed my attention more than Stargazers for Beginners did.

The last book I received in May was from Walker Books Australia. I think this is about the19 Roman Empire and I haven’t read a lot about that time so I’m looking forward to reading this.

I think I put this on my June TBR so I will be reading it at some point this month. If I stick to it this time.

Anyway, that’s my book haul for May. My back is killing me so I’m done. I can’t sit here anymore.

What books did you get in May?

– Aimee.

May Wrap Up & June TBR.

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It’s that time of the month again when I do my wrap up of what I read last month and my TBR. I didn’t really stick to my May TBR so it’s probably good I’m not sharing it. Hopefully I’ll do better this month.

May Wrap Up

The End of Oz by Danielle Paige – ★★★/5
Finding Nevo by Nevo Zisin – ★★★★★/5
Resurrection Bay by Emma Viskic – ★★★★/5
Silver Stars by Michael Grant – ★★★★/5
The Dark Prophecy by Rick Riordan – ★★★★/5
Perfect by Cecelia Ahern – ★★★★/5
The Possible by Tara Altebrando – ★★★★/5
Release by Patrick Ness – ★★★/5
A Million Worlds with You by Claudia Gray – ★★★★/5
Fatal Crossing by Lone Theils – ★★★/5
Letters to the Lost by Brigid Kemmerer – ★★★★/5

I didn’t do too badly in May. I managed to read 11 books. I think my favourite was Finding Nevo.

June TBR

I tried to keep my June TBR small because I didn’t really stick to my TBR last month. I’ve already read Contagion and I’m currently reading One of Us is Lying, which reminding me a lot of Gossip Girl. I think my next read will be The Cows.

What’s on your June TBR? How many books did you read in May? Leave me a comment and let me know.

– Aimee.