Book Reviews

The Wardrobe GirlThe Wardrobe Girl – 8/10

When Tess Appleby flees England, in a bid to escape a relationship disaster, she ends up slumming it as a wardrobe assistant in Pretty Beach – Australia’s iconic soap opera. Safe in Sydney, she thought her only troubles were going to be dealing with her frustrating sister and melodramatic mother.

Then Sean, the show’s serial-cheater and boyfriend to Bree, Pretty Beach’s lead actress, turns his eye on her, and she finds herself the hottest property in the newspaper’s gossip column. A veteran of messy public break-ups that was not the sort of attention she was after.

Her attempts to gain anonymity both on and off the set of Pretty Beach fail when Jake, her ex-fiancé, shows up as the new director and adds both her sister and mother to the cast.

Into all of this mix an old flame of her mother’s, the antics of the cast and crew, Bree’s continuous attempts to slander her, the realisation that she still loves Jake, and her own innate ability to sabotage herself, and Tess becomes one hot mess.

The Wardrobe Girl offers a fascinating insight into the behind-the-scene workings of a soap opera. It made me laugh, and it made me cry, and with its witty dialogue and quirky characters it had me glued to its pages for the entirety of the story.

One of the things I particularly liked about this tale was its deviation from the typical underlying storyline in which the girl cannot be happy without a man. Instead of our heroine falling immediately into the hero’s arms, she realises what a disaster she is and removes herself from the situation, seeking help in solving the issue really at heart – herself. Finally she is able to realise that although she can be herself, be by herself, her life will be better with the man that she loves.

‘He was my North Star. The steady, shining light that guided me and helped me navigate through life. I could do it without him, I knew that, but it would be a darker, murkier voyage.’

I give The Wardrobe Girl four stars and look forward to reading more about Tess Appleby.


Alicein Zombieland – 9/10

I love YA fiction and I love horror, so I was quite excited when a friend recommended this book to me. Let me tell you, I was not disappointed. This is a rip-roaring tale about a teenager, who discovers that the monsters her father always raved about were real.

Gena Showalter is the type of writer who grabs your attention from page one and then does not let you leave until you are done. Witty dialogue, continuous action and suspense, compelling storyline and tear-your-heart-into-shreds romance.

I could not put this books down. And I mean that literally. I read for entire 4 hour flight, then for the 2 hour transit home, and then sat in the back of a cab, ignoring the poor driver, as I finished the last few pages. And then I couldn't stop thinking about it.

I recently devoured the sequel, Through the Zombie Glass, and was delighted to find it just as engaging a read. I will be hunting down all of Gena's work and looking forwards to many more sleepless nights.

41yySdHDbTL._AA160_Under Fire – 8/10

I bought this book because the San Francisco Book Review raved

about it, and I wasn’t disappointed. Rachel Amphlett is a woman writing in a male-dominated genre, and she’s doing it with style and aplomb.
Impeccably researched, this fast-paced action thriller drags you relentlessly through the pages, as Dan Taylor, our hero, works to thwart the work of terrorists trying to take out England’s Natural Gas Supply during one of the coldest winters on record.
Helping him is the beautiful, ass-kicking Antonia Almasi, daughter of the Qatari Sheik whose Gas Facility is under threat. Together they race against the clock and around the globe as they try to foil the sinister plan already in motion.
And of course there’s a twist – which I didn’t in any way, shape or form see coming. But I’m not saying any more about that, you’re going to have to buy it and read it to find out.
This is a gritty, gripping, thriller with plenty of action and even a wee bit of romance thrown into the plot. Even though it is the second in a series, it works well as a stand-alone novel.
I don’t recommend ‘Under Fire’ if you need to get to bed early or you have a dinner engagement you can’t get out of, but if you’re after a mesmerising read with plenty of adrenaline rushes thrown in, then this is the book for you.


Click: An Online Love Story – 7/10

This is abook written entirely through a series of emails between four very different best friends, follows our protagonist, Renee, as she braves the world of internet dating, plunging deep into their murky waters

.When I started reading this book I was concerned about two main things. Firstly, would the format of the emails detract from the flow of the book, and secondly would I become tired of reading the series of emails, learning about things after the event rather than being transported into the story and watching it unravel before my eyes?

I’m happy to report that neither of these things were a problem for me. Once I learned to skim over the email headings the book flowed effortlessly, and the different prospective that the emails lent the story was a constant source of amusement for me. The emails were skilfully woven together, the interplay between the four friends often hilarious, and the glimpses we got of their lives addictive. I read it from beginning to end, unable to put it down.

There was an added bonus of the email format that I hadn’t expected. There was no chance for the story to sag as each email was succinct and moved the story along. Rather than having to go on each date with Renee you instead got the highlights portrayed in all their glory. Add to this her three very different friends: Mark, an uptight, anal control freak, Shelley, a sexually proficient extrovert and Ashley, a prude with low self-esteem, and you have the makings of a fast, funny story.

Another thing I enjoyed about reading Click was that Lisa’s writing was pretty much flawless. Either her knowledge of the English language far outweighs my own (highly possible) or she has an extremely good editor. I suspect it is the former.

I gave Click seven our of ten for its original format idea, amusing story and well developed characters.

Can Renee really find true love or will she be stuck on the dating merry-go-round for ever? Will Mark ever get past his anal retentive behavior and chose a dating website to place his profile on? Will Ashley ever leave the jerk she’s seeing? And is it really possible for Shelley to run out of men to shag in Los Angeles?  The answers are all there. All you need to do is Click Here to find out.

I received a complimentary copy of Click: An Online Love Story in exchange for an honest review.

Fashion VictimFashion Victim – 6/10

Smart talking Paige Tourneur has moved on from the adrenaline pumping days of crime writing…. or so she thought. When this month's front page feature turns into a murder victim Paige finds herself back on the beat, and she's quickly remembering why she gave it up.

She may have snagged herself the perfect boyfriend in Ryan Tujague, but she's been keeping secrets, and when she receives and anonymous email she fears those secrets are coming back for her.

Can she solve the mystery before the magazine deadline or will her memories unravel her first?

This book is fun, fast and witty, with Paige's well developed character jumping off the page. Set in New Orleans after Katrina it gave me some insight into how the city had suffered in the months after the disastrous hurricane, when the rest of the world had forgotten about it. The social differences where also very well documented within the pages of this book, which made for interesting reading.

I was a little disappointed with the ending of the book. It seemed rushed with impossible timings, and there was an information overload after the killer's where found which had me confused – but perhaps that was just me being dim witted.

I will, however, be keeping an eye out for the next book in The Missing Husband Series. It will be interesting to see how Paige handles her not so glorious past when it intrudes on her shiny present.

I received a complimentary copy of this book as part of a CLP Blog tour.


Hollowland – 8/10

I'm not really into Zombie movies, (although I must admit to once having found a Nordic Zombie movie in which long dead German SAS soldiers were the zombies, to be quite entertaining), so I wasn't sure if I was going to enjoy this book or not. I went to bed at 10.30 last night, started reading and all of a sudden it was 1am, on a school night too. And no I hadn't fallen asleep – I was so engrossed in the tale of Remy traveling across the country looking for her brother Max that I totally lost track of time. Rather than turn the light out I decided to man up and finish the book.
Tonight it's round 2 – bring on Hollowmen.
I enjoyed this book immensely. I particularly liked the kick ass character of Remy, but all the characters where believable. I won't say anything else about the story line, cause I don't want to ruin it for you, but if you like tough characters, if gore and pus does not faze you and the if thought of someone ripping a zombie's leg off to use it as a weapon does not turn your stomach than this book is for you.


White Gold – 8/10

Although I did enjoy the Dan Brown books this genre is not my normal choice of read. I was pleasantly surprised then when I got into White Gold. The Author manages to skillfully weave truth with fiction to construct a believable environmental conspiratorial theory. She leads us on a chase from England to Australia via Singapore back to England during which we see the characters, Sarah and Dan, trying to unravel the reason for Sarah's ex husband's untimely and violent death. An impressive amount of research had gone into making this book as interesting and as believable as it is.


The Hunted – 7/10

I love this genre, so it was with great pleasure that I dove head first into this book. My enthusiasm was quickly rewarded with the skilfully woven tale of Elena, a rebellious 16 year old and born vampire. The author has successfully taken a very well worn genre and given it a refreshing new twist. I eagerly await the release of The Damned – the next book in the series.

Pickin' To51Uyt1CPn7L._AA160_matoes – 7/10

Winner of the 2012 Shirley You Jest LOL Award.

I must admit, I bought this book hoping it would be awful. You see Pickin Tomatoes is up against my book in the finals of the Shirley You Jest Book Awards. Within the first few pages I was sorely disappointed. Not only was this book not awful – it was really, really good. The words flowed across the pages – funny and witty, the story dragged me into its soul – captivating and touching, and the protaganist, Maggy Malone, touched my heart making me laugh and even cry.
A beautiful tale of a woman struggling to move on from a manipulative relationship, Pickin Tomatoes will keep you entertained and turning the pages wanting more.
The book is well structured and edited, and ticks all the right boxes. J.W.Bull is clearly a talented authoress with a big future in front of her. I can't wait to read her next novel – Musical Chairs.

319-pSBFeBL._AA160_The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner  9/10

Last night I finally bought The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner. (Why, oh why didn't I get it for free when Stephenie first released it?) Now my review may be a little biased, I am a HUGE twilight fan. Sadly having reread the whole series again in the last couple of weeks – I can't get enough of them. So it was with great pleasure that I lay in bed and consumed Bree Tanner's story.
I love the way this book allowed us to view Eclipse from a different angle by getting into the heads of the new born vampires. And poor Bree – even though I knew how badly it all ended for her I couldn't help but hope that she and Diego made a different choice this time. (Run Bree run, I was shrieking in my head.)But alas, it was indeed a short second life.
Now I'm left hoping that Stephenie may take mercy on us and write another book from the twilight era – but this time I'd like to hear more about Fred. If you don't know what I'm talking about, then you'd better read this book.