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 – β˜…β˜…β˜…/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 ofΒ Begin, End, Begin: A #LoveOzYA Anthology from HarperCollins New Zealand to review.Β 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’sΒ 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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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! πŸ™‚Β 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.Β 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.Β 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.Β 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.

11

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 meΒ 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.Β 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??

17

The lastΒ 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.

September Wrap Up.

12081616_10155989214610018_1887221893_n

This is the first time I’ve done a wrap up at the end of the month. Mostly because I read a lot of library books and have been returned before I can get a photo of all the books I’ve read during the month.

But not this time. I read a lot of my own books this month and four that were sent to me for review. I’m going to list them in the order I read them and what I rated them on Goodreads.

Not pictured are the two library books I read at the end of the month.

Throne of Glass by Sarah J Maas –Β β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…
The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen –Β β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…
Spark by Rachael Craw –Β β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…
Legend by Marie Lu –Β β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…
Green Valentine by Lili Wilkinson –Β β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…
The Blood of Olympus by Rick Riordan –Β β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…
These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner –Β β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…
The King’s Jewel by Sarena and Sasha Nanua –Β β˜…β˜…β˜…
Zeroes by Scott Westerfeld, Margo Lanagan and Deborah Biancotti –Β β˜…β˜…β˜…
Northern Lights by Philip Pullman –Β β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…
Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler and Maria Kalman –Β β˜…β˜…
The Iron Trial by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare –Β β˜…β˜…β˜…

So that’s my wrap up for September.
How did you do in September? Let me know in the comments.

– Aimee.

September Book Haul.

12087511_10155986376000018_1535369878_n

I got a total of eleven books this month. I’ve only read three of them though. So far two are on my TBR for October.

1The first book I received from Walker Books Australia to review.

I loved Spark. I don’t think I’m going to go into it because I’ve already reviewed it. You can read my review of Spark here.

I don’t know what I was expecting when I picked up Spark to read but it was no what I go.Β That’s not a bad thing, I really loved it.

I can’t wait to read Stray in October.

The next books I got were Queen of Shadows by Sarah J Mass and The Queen of the 2Tearling by Erika Johansen. I was only going to get Queen of Shadows because I didn’t know The Invasion of the Tearling was out over here but as soon as I saw it I needed it. I’d just finished rereading both Throne of Glass and The Queen of the Tearling so the stories were fresh in my mind again.

I haven’t read either of these yet. I want to reread Crown of Midnight and Heir of Fire before I start Queen of Shadows. Hopefully I can fit Crown of Midnight and The Invasion of the Tearling into my October reads.

3I received Green Valentine by Lili Wilkinson from Allen and Unwin New Zealand. I wasn’t expecting it in the mail so when it arrived I was really surprised.

I really liked Green Valentine. You can read my review here. I’d heard really good things about this book when I requested it but I was really surprised at how much I liked it and what the book is really about. It’s not just your typical boy meets girl story. But you can read my review for more of my thoughts.

Another book I received from Allen and Unwin 4New Zealand. Again, I wasn’t really expecting it but I had requested it on their site.

I’ve already read and reviewed this book so I’m not going to go into too much detail. You can read my review of Zeroes here.

I am really looking forward to the next book in the trilogy to see what else the Zeroes can get up to. Or what kind of trouble they can get into I should say. I’m not sure when the next book is out butΒ I’ll have make sure I get it as soon as it is.

5

Hachette New Zealand sent me a copy of See Me by Nicholas Sparks to review.

This book isn’t out till next month so I haven’t read it yet. I think The Longest Ride was the last Nicholas Sparks book that I read and that was almost two years ago.

I didn’t even know he had a new book till I read Hachette’s book news email. As soon as I saw it I had to request it. I’ve loved most of his books and I own all of them.

Another book sent to me from Walker Books Australia this month is the sequel to Spark by6 Rachael Craw.

I wanted to read Stray as soon as I finished Spark and now I can read it. I think I’ll read this after See Me though. I have a date to get that read and reviewed by and I don’t with this. But I’ll definitely be reading it in October.

I’m really excited to see what happens next in this trilogy. At least I think it’s a trilogy.

Plus, these covers are gorgeous!!

12083909_10155986524090018_194383902_nI went shopping last weekend and came home with these three books. I’ve wanted to read Black Ice for a while and was so happy when I found it in the clearance bins for $1.70. What a find!

I’m going to be honest, the only reason I got The Gospel of Loki is because it says Loki. No other reason. So oops. And, the cover is kind of gorgeous.

The Catalyst sounds good though. I haven’t heard anything about it so hopefully I’ll like it. The cover is really pretty too.

The last book I received this month I won in a giveaway over on My Best Friends are 12033727_10155980025460018_634329803_nBooks.

I have only read one book by Patrick Ness, The Monster Calls, and wasn’t really a fan. But this one sounds really good so I decided to enter. I didn’t expect to win a copy but I’m so happy I did. I’m not sure when I’ll get around to reading it though.

I also own a copy of More Than This, I got it earlier this year, and still haven’t read it. I was going to do a buddy read with it but it didn’t happen.

So that’s my book haul for September. I don’t expect to get this much next month. I do have two on the way but so far that’s all.

If you’ve read any of these leave me a comment with your thoughts.

Aimee.

Review: Green Valentine by Lili Wilkinson.

Title – Green Valentine
Author – Lili Wilkinson
Publication Date –Β August 1st 2015 by Allen & Unwin
ISBN –Β 9781760110277
Price – $18.99 NZD

Astrid is a straight-A student, committed to saving the world, smart and popular. She’s pretty much perfect. Hiro is the opposite. He’s rude, resentful, a rule-breaker and despite how smart he is, he doesn’t see the point of school.

When Astrid and Hiro meet, she’s dressed as a lobster so Hiro doesn’t recognise her. As they start to get closer in the break room at the shopping centre and text messages, Astrid keeps her identity a secret from him in case he decides he doesn’t like who she is under the lobster costume.

Hiro wants to breeze through life, Astrid wants to make a difference. But when it comes down to it they both believe the world needs saving from itself. Can they find enough in common to overcomeΒ all the things that come between them?

I was sent a copy of Green Valentine from Allen and Unwin New Zealand to review. I’ve never read a book by Lili Wilkinson before but I might have to see if the library has any of her other books.

From the sounds of the synopsis Green Valentine is a girl meets boy, from different 11997134_10155921463815018_3249982_nworlds, break up kind of story, but it’s so much more than that. It’s funny, enlightening and kind if empowering all at the same time.

I really liked all the superhero references through the book. I’m like Astrid, I don’t really read the graphic novels, but I love the movies and TV shows. I also liked all the facts about the environment scattered throughout Green Valentine. They’ve been written in a way that’s not shoved down your throat but not only fits in the story, I also learned a lot from Astrid’s facts.

Astrid was a little annoying at the start of the book, the way she always thought she was better than everyone else, but she’s just as flawed as the rest of us. Astrid had a huge awakening and saw the error of her ways. Hiro never pretended to be something he wasn’t but he had a lot of prejudice that he hid behind as a way out of actually getting to know people. That is, until Hiro met Astrid and they bought the best out in each other without even reaslising it.

In the end, Green Valentine isn’t about a girl and a boy falling for each other, although that’s part of it. It’s about fighting for what you believe in, coming together with all your different passions and ideas to make the world a better place instead of telling people what they’re doing is wrong and expecting them to see the world the way you do. At least, that’s what I got out of the book.

I really liked Green Valentine. If you haven’t read this yet, please find a copy. It’s worth it.

Have you read Green Valentine? Let me know what you thought of it in the comments.

– Aimee.

WWW Wednesday [September 9th 2015] β€“

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AnotherΒ WWW Wednesday that’s hosted by Taking on a World of Words.

Currently reading Β –
2I started this today. This is the second time I’ve read it.

Recently finished –
91
I’ve read The Queen of the Tearling twice now. I loved it both
times.
I finished Spark yesterday. It was sent to me by Walker Books Australia. My review will be up on here soon.

Reading next –
9781760110277
This arrived yesterday from Allen and Unwin New Zealand. I wasn’t expecting it at all but I cannot wait to see what it’s about.

So that’s WWW Wednesday for this week. Have you read any of these books? Let me know what you thought of them in the comments.
What’s your current read?

Aimee