Monday, 26 September 2016

Feeding the Beast ~ New Reads For Your TBR

TBR piles are monsters.

How do I know? Mine is over 2, 500 books long, with a voracious appetite that cannot be satisfied! I understand the anxiety and frustration that comes with knowing that:

(A) Each month comes with another 38967854 new book releases
(B) For every book you tick off your TBR there are 20 to fill its place
(C) My local Dymocks is less than 10 minutes away from my house

All of these things mean that I will most likely never reach the end of my TBR.

But...regardless of that fact...I keep finding more books to add it it! And sometimes I get around to reading them and love them so much that I just have to recommend them to you guys. And today I have four 4+ star books for you to discover and to let your TBR devour. So I apologise in advance from the bottom of my heart for feeding your TBRs!

A big thank you to Allen & Unwin, Walker Books Australia, and Krystal Sutherland for the opportunity to read these books (and to tick them off my TBR!).

Pick #1: Paper and Fire

TitlePaper and Fire (The Great Library #2)
Author: Rachel Caine
Publication dateJuly 5th 2016 
Publisher: Allison & Busby
Australian RRP: $16,99 (AUD)

SynopsisIn Ink and Bone, New York Times bestselling author Rachel Caine introduced a world where knowledge is power, and power corrupts absolutely. Now, she continues the story of those who dare to defy the Great Library—and rewrite history…

With an iron fist, The Great Library controls the knowledge of the world, ruthlessly stamping out all rebellion, forbidding the personal ownership of books in the name of the greater good.

Jess Brightwell has survived his introduction to the sinister, seductive world of the Library, but serving in its army is nothing like he envisioned. His life and the lives of those he cares for have been altered forever. His best friend is lost, and Morgan, the girl he loves, is locked away in the Iron Tower and doomed to a life apart.

Embarking on a mission to save one of their own, Jess and his band of allies make one wrong move and suddenly find themselves hunted by the Library’s deadly automata and forced to flee Alexandria, all the way to London.

But Jess’s home isn’t safe anymore. The Welsh army is coming, London is burning, and soon, Jess must choose between his friends, his family, or the Library willing to sacrifice anything and anyone in the search for ultimate control…

Add to your Goodreads shelf today!


Returning to Rachel Caine's world of rewritten history is an adventure.

Being a major fan of Rachel Caine's writing (shout out to the awesome Morganville Vampires series!), I was of course looking forward to the next stretch of The Great Library journey.

A quick spoiler-free rundown for those who haven't discovered this series.

The Great Library series combines my two loves - YA and history. Rachel Caine rewrites history, creating a dangerous world where the Great Library of Alexandria has survived the test of time.

The series' protagonist Jess Brightwell discovers that those who control the Great Library believe that knowledge is more valuable than any human life...leading to secrets, rivalries, and many literary twists and turns in the series' first book Ink and Bone.

After Ink and Bone I was all to eager to read Paper and Fire.

And it was well worth the wait. Paper and Fire takes on the same world and characters, but with some key changes. And it is these key changes that make the book such a joy to read.

The most obvious change was to do with the characters. Having been through so much in Ink and Bone, the team are separated from one another - allowing readers to see different facets of their character and to experience their evolution as characters. Jess especially explores new depths in character as he carries his burden of guilt on top of the grief he's always dealing with.

Paper and Fire would make an awesome standalone.

If it were written as a standalone I think Paper and Fire would be my fave standalone of the year! The multifaceted characters, the world-building, the plot intricacies - all of it makes for a winner of a book. wasn't a standalone. It was a sequel to a book that swept me off my feet! And sequels unfortunately carry the heavy burden of reader expectations.

My expectations for Paper and Fire were so, so high that I think the reason this review is only 4 out of 5 stars is because I was expecting it to top Ink and Bone (but like is that even possible?! That book was so good). The plot was just as detailed and addictive as Ink and Bone's. It just wasn't as perfectly paced and didn't sweep me off my feet like Ink and Bone had done.

So why should you add this to your TBR?

If you haven't discovered the series

Because you need this series in your life! Whether you're a history nerd or not, this series is utterly magical and so much fun to read.

If you've read Ink and Bone

Because you need to find out what happens next! Plus you can't just up and abandon the amazing cast of characters this series has developed. You should read the sequel so as to discover their fates and their roles in this great adventure.

'I say, let us throw the bones and see what fortune brings us. Knowledge is power, so they say. If so, then we have more than any king.'

Pick #2: Shield

TitleShield (Spark #3)
Author: Rachael Craw
Publication date: September 1st 2016
Publisher: Walker Books Australia
Australian RRP: $19.99 (AUD)

SynopsisThe thrilling, action-packed conclusion to the Spark trilogy.

Evie is out of options. She must comply with the Affinity Project - obey their rules, play their deadly games, give up Jamie. And her losses keep growing.

When she decides to help a small group of Shields trying to affect change, Evie finds herself in the firing line. Counsellor Knox is intent on revealing her secrets and shackling her to the Affinity Project for life. To protect her family, Evie must betray those closest to her.

The odds of success – let alone survival – are slim.

The final thrilling conclusion to the Spark series.

Add to your Goodreads bookshelf today!


Sci-fi and dystopia are hard genres to master.

They're hard to capture in their full essence. Sure, many authors have written great works that carry a sliver of the genres' full forms. But many lack a unique spark (see what I did there?!).

Rachael Craw's Spark series has that spark.

It makes me so happy! Because it's one of those series that utilises unique elements and doesn't feel the need to adhere to basic genre structures in order to deliver an unforgettable tale. And I love when authors like Rachael Craw showcase their writing - and their world/characters/plot - without sacrificing imagination and inventiveness.

For those who haven't discovered this series yet, here's a quick spoiler-free rundown.

The series' protagonist Evie is an ordinary seventeen year old one day, grieving for her mother - the next, she’s a Shield, the result of a decades-old experiment gone wrong. Bound by DNA to defend her best friend from an unknown killer, she knows a fight to the death is coming.

Shield is the third and final book in the series.

Those who know me will know that as much as I love reading more of a good author's work...I do not like starting sequels/prequels/or follow up books in a series.

Why? Because my poor bookworm heart can't take heartbreak!!!

And there's bound to be plenty of times when an author will heap on some cry-your-eyes-out moments in sequels. Also sometimes the next book(s) in the series doesn't reach the same heights as the first book which can leave readers feeling disappointed from the get-go. As for me...I just need my poor characters to be happy

But Shield delivered. Shield had me hanging on to every word from the first chapter and made the risk of heartbreak 110% worth it. To be totally cliche...Shield had me at hello! (You know who else had me at hello? JAMIE *cue the swooning*.)

So why should you add this to your TBR?

If you haven't discovered the series

Because you need JAMIE OMG YOU NEED JAMIE! a really good sci-fi/dystopia series in your life! And this is one of my personal faves.

If you've read Spark/Stray

Because you need to experience the immense satisfaction that comes with reaching the series' epic finale. Shield is an evolved version of Spark and Stray - less info-dumps, less waiting for plot points to reveal themselves. Shield is all about tying up the plot ends and showing off the series' developed characters.

'Stay with me. The words fill my head but I can't tell if it's Jamie who said it or me, whether it's in my mind or my earphones, more powerful than a plea, a prayer, or incantation. Stay with me.'

Pick #3: Our Chemical Hearts

TitleOur Chemical Hearts
Author: Krystal Sutherland
Publication date: September 2016
Publisher: Penguin Books Australia
Australian RRP: $19.99 (AUD)

SynopsisJohn Green meets Rainbow Rowell in this irresistible story of first love, broken hearts, and the golden seams that put them back together again.

Henry Page has never been in love. He fancies himself a hopeless romantic, but the slo-mo, heart palpitating, can't-eat-can't-sleep kind of love that he's been hoping for just hasn't been in the cards for him—at least not yet. Instead, he's been happy to focus on his grades, on getting into a semi-decent college and finally becoming editor of his school newspaper. Then Grace Town walks into his first period class on the third Tuesday of senior year and he knows everything's about to change.

Grace isn't who Henry pictured as his dream girl—she walks with a cane, wears oversized boys' clothes, and rarely seems to shower. But when Grace and Henry are both chosen to edit the school paper, he quickly finds himself falling for her. It's obvious there's something broken about Grace, but it seems to make her even more beautiful to Henry, and he wants nothing more than to help her put the pieces back together again. And yet, this isn't your average story of boy meets girl. Krystal Sutherland's brilliant debut is equal parts wit and heartbreak, a potent reminder of the bittersweet bliss that is first love.

Add to your Goodreads bookshelf today!


I never really listen to book comparisons.

Sure a book can pitch itself as 'a cross between The Hunger Games, Little Women, and the deleted scenes from The Last Airbender', etc. but that doesn't necessarily make me want to read it. Although if there was a book that was a cross between those three I would LOVE to see what that would look like lol!

I mean, why would I want to read a book that's like a book I've already read? Unless I'm being very, very lazy, I like to read books that are unique and that stun me with their author's creativity from page 1.

So when I read the blurb for Our Chemical Hearts and saw the line 'John Green meets Rainbow Rowell'...I didn't know what to expect. I wasn't sure if the book would live up to the hype (or to its simply stunning book cover!). But it most certainly did!

How do I even begin to describe Our Chemical Hearts?

First off, I get the John Green comparison - but I think it doesn't give the lovely Krystal Sutherland enough credit. Both authors have similar writing styles, that integrate raw emotion with quirky details and intriguing characters. But Krystal's style is unique and a joy to read in its own right.

Our Chemical Hearts has a different feel that is hard to put into words. I think the best way to describe it is...more accessible. John Green is a boss (don't get me wrong!) but his novels tend to be a little too elevated for the common teenage mortal's mind to wrap around sometimes. They're a balance between the real world and intellectual musings.

Our Chemical Hearts focuses on the real, the raw, and the human.

It's all about the messy things that make us who we are, and I found that honest writing style refreshing. If we're going to make book comparisons, I'd say that Grace and Henry's romance in this book is a cross between the romance in Louise Rozett's Confessions series and the one in John Green's Paper Towns. It's all about how sometimes you fall in love with the idea of someone, rather than the person themselves.

So why should you add this to your TBR?

Because sometimes we just need a 'catharsis' kind of book. One that connects with us emotionally, draws us in and turns us inside out...before leaving us with a bittersweet peacefulness and something to think about long after we've read the final page.

'So she was grieving and broken and it would almost definitely end in one or both of us getting destroyed. But some things were worth fighting for, right?'

Pick #4: The Last Beginning

TitleThe Last Beginning (The Next Together #2)
AuthorLauren James
Publication date: October 2016 (TBR)
Publisher: Walker Books Australia
Australian RRP: $16.99 (AUD)

SynopsisThe epic conclusion to Lauren James' debut The Next Together about love, destiny and time travel.

Sixteen years ago, after a scandal that rocked the world, teenagers Katherine and Matthew vanished without a trace. Now Clove Sutcliffe is determined to find her long lost relatives. But where do you start looking for a couple who seem to have been reincarnated at every key moment in history? Who were Kate and Matt? Why were they born again and again? And who is the mysterious Ella, who keeps appearing at every turn in Clove's investigation?

For Clove, there is a mystery to solve in the past and a love to find in the future. 

Add to your Goodreads bookshelf today!


Let's just take a moment to appreciate some art.

The word 'masterpieces' certainly applies to the two awe-inspiring covers in The Next Together series. I cannot stop staring/gawking/fangirling - every single detail is perfectly placed so as to create a total feast for the eyes!

(Don't they look amazing side by side?! The perfect addition to any bookshelf.)

A quick spoiler-free catch up for those who are new to the series.

Katherine and Matthew are destined to be born again and again, century after century. In the first book The Next Together we discover that each time they're born, their presence changes history for the better, and each time, they fall hopelessly in love, only to be tragically separated.

The Last Beginning is unique and utterly wonderful.

When I was piecing together this review, I didn't know what to discuss about The Last Beginning. I wanted to be as spoiler-free as possible...and I didn't want to spend 2-3 paragraphs rattling on about writing style, emotions, and character depth (like I normally do in 98% of my reviews because I am a english student at heart lol!).

So I thought I'd take the time to talk about the book's LGBT protagonist.

You can read more about why the author chose to feature a LGBT protagonist here, but I just wanted to mention how wonderfully Lauren James took on the task of creating a LGBT protagonist. She did it for such heartwarming reasons - and I don't know if there's a 'right way' to write a LGBT protagonist but she forged a path that I'm sure will shine brightly in the world of YA.

To quote, Lauren James 'wanted this character to have a sexuality, but (she) wanted the story to have nothing to do with that. (She) wanted her to have other character traits, adventures,  and a happy ending with a nice girl.'

And she achieved that sense of normality. She created a mainstream book for mainstream readers, that proves that love and acceptance are all we need. That it shouldn't matter what sexuality a character has, they can be just as popular with readers as heterosexual protagonists.

I know Lauren James isn't the only author who has taken on the challenge of opening YA up to the LGBT community, but I wanted to acknowledge her here and applaud her efforts, her book, and inner fire.

So why should you add this to your TBR?

Whether you've read the series or not

Because (1) it has time travel, (2) it incorporates history, and (3) it has a brilliant main protagonist who will definitely find a place in your bookworm heart!

Also be sure to check out the author's own review which includes links to a range of awesome extras, including playlists and more!

'She was flung like a doll into the blinding white light, heat and darkness flashing across her vision. Wind pushed her in every direction, but she felt like she wasn't moving at all.
The wind stopped.
The lights stopped.
There was silence.'

Which of these books are you gonna feed to your TBR? What book would you recommend I let mine devour?!

Let me know in the comments below. 

Although I was provided with a review copy by the author and/or publisher, all opinions expressed in the this post are purely my own. To find out more, please visit my disclaimer page.

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