Source: Finished Review Copy

Life, Amongst Other Things: Girl in Between by Anna Daniels

Posted May 13, 2017 by Hannah in Adult, Reviews / 2 Comments

Life, Amongst Other Things: Girl in Between by Anna DanielsGirl in Between by Anna Daniels
Published by Allen & Unwin on 1st May 2017
Pages: 320
Format: Paperback
Source: Publisher, Finished Review Copy
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Lucy Crighton has just moved in with some gregarious housemates called Brian and Denise . . . who are her parents. She's also the proud mother of Glenda, her beloved 10-year-old . . . kelpie. And she has absolutely no interest in the dashing son of her parents' new next-door neighbour . . . well, maybe just a little.

When you're the girl in between relationships, careers and cities, you sometimes have to face some uncomfortable truths . . . like your Mum's obsession with Cher, your father's unsolicited advice, and the fact there's probably more cash on the floor of your parents' car than in your own bank account.

Thank goodness Lucy's crazy but wonderful best friend, Rosie, is around to cushion reality, with wild nights at the local Whipcrack hotel, escapades in Japanese mud baths, and double dating under the Christmas lights in London.

But will Lucy work out what she really wants to do in life and who she wants to share it with?

Girl in Between is a warm, upbeat and often hilarious story about life at the crossroads. Featuring an endearing and irrepressible cast of characters, it will have you chuckling from start to finish.

There’s something wonderful about connecting with a character and her story, and for me, that’s what Girl in Between was –  a novel of my own heart.

Lucy has just moved back home to her parent’s house in Rockhampton, one failed relationship and a career in journalism behind her. She’s at a crossroads in her life, and figuring out the next step is proving a lot harder than it looks. Throw in romance, friendships and family, Lucy is caught, almost quite literally, as new chapters of her life begin and end – she is the ‘girl in between.’

The Girl in Between was filled with great Aussie humour and witty charm. Lucy’s a country girl at heart, though having spent years in the big city developing her career in TV journalism. A failed attempted at following her ex boyfriend back to Queensland lands her at home with her Mum & Dad, two hilarious characters in their own right. Lucy’s unsure about her next move, or where her path is leading – something that resonates with any twenty or thirty something yet to find their place in the world. With that uncertainty brings a lot of different choices and highlight’s Lucy’s indecisive nature, as well as that worry about whether or not she’s choosing the right path. connected really well with Lucy; she’s the type of person I’d be friends with in real life. We also share the same fears and worries and a lot of her story resonated with me on a personal level.

The supporting cast as well are fantastic – as mentioned, Lucy’s parents are a barrel of laughs as they navigate retirement. I love how supportive of Lucy they are as well, but still encouraging her to find her feet. Lucy’s best friend, Rosie, was a character and bounded off Lucy beautifully. Then there’s the romance – it wasn’t over done, but rather subtle, and I loved that it didn’t eclipse Lucy’s self discovery. Oscar of course, was a dish, and I also enjoyed that the romance wasn’t straight forward, but they were still able to find their way back to each other.

From country Queensland to the bustle of London, Girl in Between was a charmingly funny novel about finding your place in the world – no matter how long it takes you to get there.

Girl in Between is published by Allen & Unwin and is now available from all good bookstores (support your local!) for RRP$29.99

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Five Reasons to Fall in Love: New York Nights by C.J. Duggan

Posted February 4, 2017 by Hannah in New Adult, Reviews / 0 Comments

Five Reasons to Fall in Love: New York Nights by C.J. DugganNew York Nights Series: Heart of the City #2
by C.J. Duggan
Published by Hachette Australia on 1st February 2017
Format: Paperback
Source: Publisher, Finished Review Copy
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Sarah Williams is a spirited, independent Aussie who has always dreamed of New York City. So when a job opportunity arises to become an au pair for a successful businessman in the heart of Manhattan, Sarah jumps at the chance to follow her dream.

What she didn't bet on was a beautiful newborn and a distant, abrasive man whose eyes hold a million anguished secrets. Determined to care for his daughter and face the challenges of the impossible Ben Worthington, Sarah was always prepared to follow her heart; she just wasn't prepared to lose it to a complicated man like Ben.

It’s not that hard to fall in love with a C.J. Duggan book. They’re always so perfect for any situation – perfect for a long, warm summer’s night with a glass of wine. Perfect for snuggling on a cold winter’s night – with a glass of wine. Perfect for, well, any occasion really. With a C.J. Duggan book, you know what you are getting – romance, adventure and that good fuzzy feeling at the end of it all.

As for New York Nights? Well, it’s definitely one of my favourites, that’s for sure. Okay, okay, I’m purely judging on my “Duggan Boys,” and Ben is Top 3, that’s for sure (what are the other two? Dean and Sean of course, and not necessarily in that order!), but New York Nights has many other qualities that we can discuss too. So if you’re looking for five reasons to pick this little gem up, here we go!

  1. New York, New York! What a Wonderful Town!

New York is one of my favourite cities in the world, and provides the most gorgeous & lush backdrop to Sarah’s story. We see the city through her eyes –  a first timer, fresh off the plane Aussie and it’s exciting to see her experience it for the first time. New York City is beautiful, and there’s a certain magic to it. Of course, it doesn’t help that the book is mainly set in the Village areas near Washington Park – I’d totally die to have a zipcode there!

      2. What’s Lacking in Plot is Made Up for in Characters

Look, not every book needs to have oodles of plot. And as with a lot of contemporary romances, there’s more of a focus here on the main characters themselves, and not necessarily the plot. With New York Nights, what you see is what you get, and what I love about C.J. is she doesn’t beat around the bush – simply, Sarah is an expat au pair for a broody, hardly-ever-present, single Dad with a newborn. While not exactly enthralling stuff for some, what C.J. does is give us characters that make something of it and turn the narrative into a gorgeous story. Sarah is compassionate, a little naive and stubborn. Which clashes perfectly with an equally stubborn Ben who is finding it hard to transition from workaholic into parent. The secondary characters are stars themselves, and you are left wanting just a little bit more so that you can spend time with them all.

        3. Small Town Aussie Girl, Big City Dreams

I can’t help it, I love it. People who seize their independency and seek the world beyond their sphere are my type of people. Don’t get me wrong, if this is not you, then that’s fine as well. But I see so much of myself in a character like Sarah, one who takes the opportunities that come their way with no bars hold and put aside their fears to grab on to it and make something of themselves. With every uncertainty, we saw Sarah’s sense of humour shine through, and her ability to take on any challenge made me so proud.

       4. Warm Fuzzies Galore

Have I said anything about the warm fuzzies this book gives you yet? Probably, but here it is again. New York Nights is full of cute little moments that have you squeeing and sighing all book long.

      5. Did I Mention Ben Worthington Yet?

HA. Of course I have. Maybe ten or fifteen times, but listen up, I’m going to tell you again. WHY ARE ARCHITECTS JUST SO DAMN ATTRACTIVE? There’s a running joke with my friends that “I’m going to find myself an architect.” Sadly, thus far in life they’ve all been in books. It must be because they’re creative and good at math. But man alive, Ben Worthington was swoon material to the max. He was that broody Alpha male without the over the top you get in a lot of romances. He was kind, he was caring, and why does a baby make guys 1456478% more attractive? I loved how Ben’s relationship with little Grace was adorable and sweet and swoon.

Basically? If you need a pick me up, C.J’s got you covered. I can’t wait to read the other Heart of the City books – Paris Lights is out now, and London Bound is due in March and there you have it, a trio of wonderful reads that will leave you lusting for more.

(legit an accurate representation of me after reading this book)

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Queen of Destroying My Feelings: Queen of Shadows by Sarah J Maas

Posted March 30, 2016 by Hannah in Reviews, Young Adult / 0 Comments

Queen of Destroying My Feelings: Queen of Shadows by Sarah J MaasQueen of Shadows Series: Throne of Glass #5
by Sarah J. Maas
Published by Bloomsbury ANZ on 1st September 2015
Pages: 645
Format: Paperback
Source: Publisher, Finished Review Copy
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Everyone Celaena Sardothien loves has been taken from her. But she's at last returned to the empire—for vengeance, to rescue her once-glorious kingdom, and to confront the shadows of her past . . .

She will fight for her cousin, a warrior prepared to die just to see her again. She will fight for her friend, a young man trapped in an unspeakable prison. And she will fight for her people, enslaved to a brutal king and awaiting their lost queen's triumphant return.

Celaena’s epic journey has captured the hearts and imaginations of millions across the globe. This fourth volume will hold readers rapt as Celaena’s story builds to a passionate, agonizing crescendo that might just shatter her world.

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Let me begin by saying that attempting to review this book is just plain insane. Even now, six months later, I’m not done with Queen of Shadows and the way it makes me feel. To review and have that review give this book justice is just plain crazy, and so much has already been said that I feel I’m just adding noise to the crowd. But because Bloomsbury Publishing ANZ are amazing, wonderful people, I’m going to attempt to. I don’t my review does any justice to the level of thought running through my brain right now, so if you’d like to discuss what I’ve said (and I’m sure there’s lots I haven’t said, you are more than welcome to talk to me – which means, please do, because I’m at a total loss!)

Now for the obligatory warning: this will more than likely, at some point, contain spoilers from previous novels. If you don’t want to be spoiled, run away! Leave now! At the end of my review, there’ll be a spoilers for sections about some pretty heavy thoughts I have on certain things that happen in Queen of Shadows. It’ll be a lot of rambling, but I’m still unable to process thought coherently.

There is no doubt that Sarah J Maas has earned herself the title of Queen of YA Fantasy. If there isn’t a title, then I’ll dump the crown on her head myself. Or steal it from someone. You guys, if there was a Writer’s Got Talent show, Maas would win it, hands down. The thing I love about Sarah is that she has this amazing way with words that I can’t even begin to describe. It’s purely magic. Her words jump off the page, and I’m so usually immersed that I forget everything. Like being in a library and not to yell out in public at certain events.

“She was fire, and light, and ash, and embers. She was Aelin Fireheart, and she bowed for no one and nothing, save the crown that was hers by blood and survival and triumph.”

Sarah J Maas is also the only person who can make me like third person, multiple point of view storylines. In Heir of Fire, this bothered me a lot, but in Queen of Shadows, I loved it. I loved reading all the different point of views and anticipating how they were going to intertwine with each other.

Which brings me to the secondary characters. You guys, if Queen of Shadows can be anything, it’s awesomely badass. The female characters absolutely MADE this book. There was so much other stuff going on that was breaking my heart so much, but with Manon, Elide and Lysandra being absolutely buttkick awesome, I was able to piece myself back together (sort of). Let’s talk Manon. Her character annoyed me in Heir of Fire, but that changed in Queen of Shadows. She was so awesome! Have you ever heard Tom Hiddleston talk about villains and Loki? It’s exactly how I feel about Manon. Of course now that I want the quote, I can’t find it. Even Kaltain, who I had forgotten even existed, makes an appearance and turns Queen of Shadows into a Beyonce song.

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Aelin, no longer going by Celaena, is still someone I’m trying to figure out. In parts of the novel, I loved her, but she’s not the same person she was in the other books. Of course, that’s to be expected, but at the same time, I don’t think the change was for the better. Sure, she was sharp and cunning, but her vengeance also made her vindictive and unlikeable. Aside from the female characters, the way she treats people (okay let’s face it, the way she treats Chaol, Dorian and Aedion) was completely awful. In some ways I lost a lot of respect for the girl she’s become, and I’m hoping that the next two books can change that.

Now all I can say is this: bring it, Maas. This isn’t endgame, not by a long shot. I’m on to you. The inconsistency throughout this book just doesn’t add up to me, and I’m not satisfied. And if you are about to embark on the journey that is this book, be prepared, because the feels factory is working over time.

Did you hear me say spoilers? If you want hear my darkest, rambling thoughts about a few things, mainly the elephant in the room, just click on the view spoiler button.

View Spoiler »

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