My reading has been so sporadic - I think I finished the books reviewed below within the space of a week in the middle of July, but then I got back into my critique group and stopped reading for ages. At any rate, some reviews are better than no reviews, right? So here they are, Eleni Hale's debut Stone Girl (released the day before #ttwcu so I feel a certain sense of camaraderie with Eleni), Erin Gough's follow-up Amelia Westlake and Shivaun Plozza's Tin Heart.
Can you believe my book baby has been out in the world for two whole months now? I'm loving reading people's reviews and comments, and even more so knowing that people have picked it up based on someone's recommendation. Thank you so much, everyone! And so I can pay it forward, here are my honest thoughts on the books I've read since I last posted.
I've been reading (a little), but slack on the reviewing as I've been distracted trying to promote my own book. So here's a bit of a catch-up post and some thoughts on three YA titles I've read recently. Cath Crowley's Words in Deep Blue, Tara Altebrando's The Leaving and Kurt Dinan's Don't Get Caught.
So my book baby is out in the world! It's all a little surreal; I'm continuing my everyday life here with a demanding toddler and laundry to do and trying to write another book, but every now and again I'm reminded that right now total strangers might be reading something I wrote. I've got a launch party happening this Saturday (Sydney people! Come along!) and a few other events lined up, so I'm gradually settling in to the idea that yes, I am a published author now.
There's 2 more stops to go before it wraps up - nicely timed with the launch on Saturday. But if you've been inspired to buy a copy, leave a review on Goodreads, tweet me, tag me in your instagram pics, comment below, recommend to a friend... it all counts! I love the support and am eternally grateful to you, my readers.
That's complEment, not compliment... I claim no endorsement by these authors!
Time is flying by, and in just three short weeks The Things We Can't Undo goes out into the big wide world. Want a copy sooner than that, or just want your book free? Befriend me on facebook, follow on twitter or instagram, and keep an eye out for another giveaway. This week I thought I'd share a few other book recommendations of titles that include similar themes, styles or voices. I do have reviews of each of these elsewhere on the blog, but today I'm looking at them specifically in terms of what similarities our books share.
Seven books to read while you wait for mine! (in no particular order)
Honestly, I don't know if I can be impartial when reviewing this, but I'm going to try. I first read an earlier version of this book when Laura Creedle and I were paired in an online beta reading group and she gave feedback on a novel of mine that remains unpublished. I feel it's important to mention, I fell in love with Lily's voice even then, back before I knew Laura and had the benefit of her wisdom in an ongoing basis. But years later, I've re-read a published copy of The Love Letters of Abelard and Lily and I find it better than ever.
Two YA novels with lots of marketing and high expectations. Two contemporary stories set in high schools. Two pretty decent reads, but disappointing in different ways. Here are my reviews of One of Us Is Lying and My Life As a Hashtag.
I haven't stopped reading (although there was a short break when I moved house), but it seems I stopped reviewing when I began posting the interview series. Sorry about that! Here's two short ones from recent reads that have stuck with me.
Two new 5 sentence reviews! The Sky Is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson After her older sister's death, Lennie finds herself in a love triangle with a talented musician and the only boy who truly seems to understand her grief. I really enjoyed the characters in this book, with all of them carrying complexities and motivations and flaws - all except Rachel, who annoyed me because there didn't seem to be any depth to her or reason for her and Lennie to hate each other. Grief and the guilt that comes with it was very effectively portrayed and I felt Lennie's emotions along with her. Plot-wise, things moved a little slow for my liking and although the drive behind Lennie's mistakes was explained, there was one I didn't find convincing enough. The family relationships that are bubbling in the background for most of the book are an understated gem, and this is what tipped it into 4 star territory for me.
Esme's Wish by Elizabeth Foster* 15-year-old Esme's search for her mother leads her to another world - one with magic, dragons, the best friends she's had and the greatest danger she'll face. This book has a literary bent and there are detailed, evocative descriptions that I'm able to recognise even if I can't fully appreciate them**. In places the language and vocabulary seemed very difficult for lower YA (which is the age this book is pitched at), although I am conflicted about that because I think there's value in extending young readers. There were times that I felt the ideas and events were summarised (and instances where they were unnecessarily repeated in summary), rather than experiencing them in Esme's head, but as action increased this became less of a concern, and for a debut I think the author has promise. The character arc was satisfying and I really appreciate that the friendships between Esme, Lillian and Daniel were free from unnecessary romantic tensions.
*NB: I was given an advance copy of this in exchange for an honest review. While I didn't know the author beforehand, I will be having a conversation with her in the coming weeks as part of my interview series - stay tuned! **I have aphantasia, so physical descriptions of people and places are the aspect of literature that has little effect on me. But I wouldn't have been successful in studying, writing or teaching if I didn't know good description when I see it!