This Raging MORPHEUS... wait, what?

This Raging Light
Written by Estelle Laure
Contemporary, Romance
Published January 12th 2016
320 Pages
Thank you to Hachette Australia
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How is it that you suddenly notice a person? How is it that one day Digby was my best friend's admittedly cute twin brother, and then the next he stole air, gave jitters, twisted my insides up?

Lucille has bigger problems than falling for her best friend's unavailable brother. Her mom has gone, leaving her to look after her sister, Wren. With bills mounting up and appearances to keep, Lucille is holding it together, just.

A stunning debut to devour in one sitting, Laure captures completely the agony and ecstasy of first love.

Kelly's Thoughts

This Raging Light follows the story of Lucille, who's mother left she and younger sister Wren for an emotional reprieve and neither daughter has heard from their mother since. The bills are mounting and Lucille only being seventeen, needs to put her life on hold and become a parent at such a tender age, or risk losing the only family she now has. I felt for Lucille, shouldered with more responsibility than any child at her age should bear, their mother hadn't been the same since their father walked out after breaking down, resentful that his family relied upon him and had ruined his carefree life. Lucille knows she can't ask for help and risk intervention from the authorities, especially with Wren believing their mother will eventually return.

The only person Lucille can rely on is former next door neighbour and best friend Eden and by extension her twin, the unavailable Digby who Lucille had secretly fallen for years ago. Eden was a strange character, I liked her for the most part but through Lucille's storyline, painted her in a not so favourable light. She's a ballet dancer and in the midst of one of the most important auditions of her life but seems more focused on being a thinner version of herself, smoking rather than promoting a healthy body image. Lucille seemingly expecting her friend to answer her every beck and call. Of course Eden wants nothing more than to help her best friend in her time of need, but I feel Lucille took advantage of her generosity and when Eden was unavailable, then the duty seemed to fall to Digby.

Lucille is in love with Digby, having grown up together as children. But Digby is in a long term relationship and even with Eden warning her friend not to become involved, she ignores Eden and pursues him. Digby is nothing short of an asshole, he not only continues to encourage Lucille's feelings but also reciprocates, barely mentioning his long term girlfriend who seems to be conveniently absent while he becomes Lucille's chauffeur. Deception aside, I couldn't invest in their connection. Having known one another for years, he chooses when Lucille is at her lowest point to confess he has feelings for her? Nothing a swift kick to the testicles won't fix. If your mother walks out making you an instant parent, the last thing you'd be thinking about is wrapping yourself around anyone, never mind this asshole.

There is no doubt that Lucille is struggling with her new found parenthood, I loved her determination to take the financial reins of their situation and ensure that Wren would be able to remain in her own home with a sense of normality, even when their predicament was anything but. But I found aspects of Lucille's personality infuriating. Her deception, but also that she was incredibly irresponsible at times with leaving Wren in the middle of the night after often falling asleep distraught just to meet Eden. To talk. Honestly, I wouldn't ask this girl to take care of a house plant while I was in the next room.

Wren was absolutely gorgeous. Obsessed with the Food Network, she was such a lovely character and I would have loved to have seen the storyline as told through her thoughts.

While I did enjoy it, the storyline, was far too busy. A father that was institutionalised, a missing mother, a complicated romance, the mystery surrounding a good samaritan that was helping Lucille out in her time of need and an accident that really wasn't necessary. It was a little too much and created excess drama which I felt stunted character growth.

The Final Verdict

This Raging Light was a light and quick read, even given the seriousness of the storyline. Although I couldn't connect with Lucille or the romance between she and Digby, Wren was the shining light in an otherwise morally murky storyline. Much more suited for the younger teen audience, I did enjoy glimpses of Estelle Laure's often lyrical and fearless style of writing. Sometimes less really is more, but with an incredibly open ended final page, I am looking forward to seeing what happens to Lucille and Wren. But hopefully Digby will go missing and never to be heard of again.

Contains spoilers for Splintered, Unhinged and Ensnared

Untamed Splintered Book 3.5
Written by A. G. Howard
Retelling, Fantasy, Romance
Published January 1st 2016
240 Pages
Thank you to Thames and Hudson Australia
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Alyssa Gardner went down the rabbit hole and took control of her destiny. She survived the battle for Wonderland and the battle for her heart. In this collection of three novellas, join Alyssa and her family as they look back at their memories of Wonderland.

In Six Impossible Things, Alyssa recalls the most precious moments of her life after Ensnared, and the role magic plays in preserving the happiness of those she loves. Alyssa’s mother reminisces about her own time in Wonderland and rescuing the man who would become her husband in The Boy in the Web. And Morpheus delves into Jeb’s memories of the events of Splintered in The Moth in the Mirror, available in print for the first time.

This collection expands upon Ensnared's epilogue, and includes some deleted scenes to provide a 'director’s cut' glimpse into the past and futures of our favorite Splintered characters.

Kelly's Thoughts

I absolutely adored A. G. Howard's Splintered series, an Alice in Wonderland retelling where Alyssa finds herself in the role of a new and edgier version of Alice Liddell, who is also incidentally her grandmother. Imagine a Wonderland where the White Rabbit is rabid skin and bones, where Queens reign and battle for supremacy while children are taken, and only Alyssa can regenerate the dying landscape and take her rightful place as Queen.

Untamed is a companion novel featuring three stories to transport readers back into A. G. Howard's reimagined world. The Boy in the Web is Alyssa's mothers story, sharing how she met her husband and Alyssa's father, her mental health and being placed within an asylum and protecting her only daughter. She's now enjoying life again, but fears for Alyssa's well being and the wicked that Wonderland can create. The Moth in the Mirror follows the rivalry of Jeb and Morpheus, as each battle for Alyssa's affections. Told in alternating points of view, the two alpha males bond over past memories and Jeb's muse to resurrect Morpheus' dying Wonderland.

But by far the most engaging story is Six Impossible Things, the story readers have been waiting for. It tells the story of Alyssa's eternity and it was nothing short of lovely to revisit the dark and magical landscape... And Morpheus. It's the finale I wish had been explored for Ensnared, the Queen taking her rightful place beside Morpheus and together, ruling over Wonderland. The two still share a familiarity, with Morpheus having prepared Alyssa for her rightful reign within her dreams while her waking hours were devoted to Jeb and the life they had shared with one another. As Alyssa recalls a long life of love and contentment, we learn more about what happened after the final page of Ensnared was turned, her family, her life and the moments that defined her as a devoted daughter, friend, wife and as a mother herself. It was poignant and emotional, but I loved each moment she shared with readers. 

The Final Verdict

MORPHEUS. Like previous installments, yet again the world building is vivid and delicious and although I couldn't connect to Alyssa's mother and her story, I appreciated how each character within the series felt complete. There are a few unexpected surprises woven throughout, which only added to my anticipation of what I was waiting for... Morpheus and his own happy ending.

Kelly is a part time crime fighter, a dairy connoisseur and possibly the best dancer the world has ever seen. She's also combining a few reviews into one post, to clear her backlog of reviews in draft.


We Are the Ants by Shaun David Hutchinson

We Are the Ants
Written by Shaun David Hutchinson
Young Adult, LGBT, Science Fiction
Published January 19th 2016 by Simon Pulse
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There are a few things Henry Denton knows, and a few things he doesn’t.

Henry knows that his mom is struggling to keep the family together, and coping by chain-smoking cigarettes. He knows that his older brother is a college dropout with a pregnant girlfriend. He knows that he is slowly losing his grandmother to Alzheimer’s. And he knows that his boyfriend committed suicide last year.

What Henry doesn’t know is why the aliens chose to abduct him when he was thirteen, and he doesn’t know why they continue to steal him from his bed and take him aboard their ship. He doesn’t know why the world is going to end or why the aliens have offered him the opportunity to avert the impending disaster by pressing a big red button.

But they have. And they’ve only given him 144 days to make up his mind.

The question is whether Henry thinks the world is worth saving. That is, until he meets Diego Vega, an artist with a secret past who forces Henry to question his beliefs, his place in the universe, and whether any of it really matters. But before Henry can save the world, he’s got to figure out how to save himself, and the aliens haven’t given him a button for that.
Henry has 144 days to prevent the end of the world. When he is abducted by aliens, Henry is told he has a choice. He can either press the button and save all of humanity, or let the world be destroyed (how he doesn't know, but he comes up with some pretty creative ideas). Henry chooses to wait, to see if the world is worth saving. He has until January 29th, 2016 to make up his mind - however, Henry will soon find that his choice is not all that easy. Life has never been easy for Henry Denton. Throughout high school he has been bullied, beat down and walked on by his peers. Not only that, but he's still struggling to comprehend why his boyfriend took his own life.

Throughout the throng of 144 days, Henry must discover if his own unhappiness makes life worthless. He must battle depression and the underlying blame he puts on himself for the death of his boyfriend and for his dad leaving his family when he was just a child. But more importantly, Henry must discover if there is anything worth living for or if the world is just damned. His journey leads down many avenues from loss, to gain to friendship and to love.

Kynndra's Thoughts

I'm baffled by this story. I can't fully get a handle on if I really enjoyed this book or if I wanted to enjoy it so bad I've convinced myself I did. I was rather excited when I read the synopsis because I'm all for aliens and self discovery. I was super happy when I picked my copy of it up because it was at the top of my TBR. But I'm not sure if my expectations were too high, or if maybe it was way different than what I expected? This was a close four star read for me most definitely so in no way was it bad - it was just so unique, but in a way that makes me feel lost in my thoughts.

Let me start by saying that the tone and the voice of this book was so palpable. Henry is one of the most distinct characters I've read, he's humorous but in a dark and pessimistic way. It was sad at some points for sure, but I also found myself laughing at how real he was. I realized while reading that many of my thoughts were similar to Henry's. Frequently I do ask myself, is the world worth saving? Have we as a human race fucked up so bad that maybe we'd all be better off letting the planet be destroyed? I'm not someone who would instantly hit that big red button to save the world from annihilation. I'm just not, I wish I was but I'm really not. It was interesting to see what these 144 days would reveal to Henry - and maybe even to myself.

"'There's an amazing world out there for you to discover, Henry Denton, but you have to be willing to discover yourself first.'

The bell rang, saving me, and we all rose like Pavlovian dogs, eager to run to our next classes. Except Diego. He was still sitting, like he was waiting for me to say something, but I didn't know what. Finally I said, 'What if I don't give a shit about the world?'

Diego gathered our trash and frowned. 'I'd say that's pretty fucking sad.'


'Because the world is so beautiful.'"

That being said, I'm not entirely sure how I feel about the other characters. Marcus especially. He was a shitty person, but I couldn't help but pity him. Audrey didn't affect me in a huge way (I'm not sure if she was supposed to) but she was good to Henry so I was alright with her. Diego was another one that made me uneasy - I was worried that a love interest would be the reason to save the world. I absolutely did not want that because it's so cliche. Albeit, Diego was a mysterious and quirky character that I became fond of after a period of time. Henry was definitely my favorite though, he was an extremely entertaining character alongside Charlie and Nana.

The plot. The aliens. Shaun constructed such a weird but compelling tale. You can tell he poured a lot of heart and soul into this one. He took the time to understand the emotions of a teenager - of a person. I think that's what I loved most about We Are the Ants. It's so human, it's so undeniably real that I had to take a step back while I was reading. I loved the message that Shaun screamed throughout his clever, sharp and witty writing. I truly took something personal out of this story.

I did however find that I might have missed some hidden plot. This is no fault to the author, as I've never been all that perceptive. I got the vibes that the author was alluding to something else going on. But it just went way over my head. If someone could fill me in, please message me on Twitter because wow I'm slow and pretty sure I missed the memo on something.

in conclusion

We Are the Ants was a raw and heart wrenching portrayal of surviving the hardships of this world. It faces multiple issues ranging from bullying, abandonment, suicide, and mental illness. Shaun Hutchinson writes from the POV of a teenager and hits the nail right on the head. I loved Henry and I adored the message I got out of his story. I closed the book confident that if given the choice that I would save the world no matter the quality of my own life because there is always something worth living for. I absolutely recommend it, despite the fact that I'm still not 100% on how I feel.

Kynndra is going to work on her resume and prepare for the upcoming months where she will hopefully be moving back to Canada!


Netgalley Reviews...

How Many Letters Are In Goodbye?
Written by Yvonne Cassidy
Contemporary, New York, LGBTQI
Expected Publication March 2016
456 Pages
Thank you to Flux via Netgalley
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Seventeen year old Rhea Farrell carries the scars of a childhood accident in which she lost her arm. But she also carries scars that aren't so visible, the loss of a mother she hardly remembers, the impact of her father's drinking, and her confusion and pain around accepting her sexuality.

When Rhea runs away, she turns to the person she always wished she could confide in, her mother. And just like she used to do as a little girl, Rhea starts to write her letters, to tell her things she can't tell anyone else, to share her fears, to ask for help. Rhea's journey on the streets of New York brings her deeper into her mother's past, where she uncovers buried family secrets. And as she finds out more about the woman her mother truly was, Rhea also discovers just what kind of woman she wants to be.
Rhea lives her life on the streets of New York, relying on her only friend in Sergei selling his body for enough to help the unlikely pair survive another night. Rhea once lived a quiet life back in Ireland after her mother drowned and left her in the care of her father until a tragic accident claimed his life. With her only known living relative in Aunt Ruth having swept the now seventeen year old away to the United States, Rhea dreams of the bright lights of New York and following in her mother's footsteps. But being part of a family again isn't what Rhea expected or wants. At odds with her aunts partner and daughter, Rhea has no other choice but to leave the toxic environment and forge her own path into the world.

In a series of letters to her deceased mother while living on the streets, Rhea begins to connect with the woman she barely remembers, waiting for a freedom her mother so desperately tried to find.

Kelly's Thoughts

How Many Letters Are In Goodbye was an emotional and poignant read, so why did I feel so disconnected? Rhea was a formidable character, her past experiences have left her with a genuine likability but it felt as though the length of the storyline allowed her story to lose impact. It begins with Rhea in New York, having fled her aunts new house in Florida where the two moved in with her aunts boyfriend and his teenage daughter, the popular and sullen Laurie. Herein lies my issue. I don't often speak of characters with such disdain but Laurie's character made me livid or perhaps it's how she was portrayed. Although Rhea is gay, Laurie is unsure of her sexuality and wants to explore. I still believe Laurie could have been used as a tool for teens to relate to that feeling of finding your sexual identity, but it felt as though it was sinister and manipulative sadly. Had the concept been explored in positive light rather than just a secretive fling, my attitude towards How Many Letters In Goodbye may have been significantly different.

Yvonne Cassidy should be applauded for broaching what are generally confronting points of discussion. Abuse, neglect, abandonment, homelessness and prostitution. The loss of Rhea's arm at a young age felt as though it had very little impact. She was able, but was discriminated against by others especially when seeking employment. Her friendship with Sergei felt like little more than convenience, another body on the street who could provide her with a sense of safety and normalcy from what seemed to be out of obligation.

The storyline begins in the year 1999 and takes place over a few months. I'm assuming that may have been the period of Yvonne Cassidy's teen years as there doesn't seem to be any other explanation as to why, only that perhaps she felt it was more authentic. I did enjoy Rhea's recovery and that to heal she understood the need for professional help when dealing with her loss and the secrets she uncovers surrounding her mothers death, rather than the quick fix solutions so many young adult titles generally offer the reader. The most appealing aspect of How Many Letters Are In Goodbye is that is was messy. The moments of reflection and solitude, then and engaging and almost frantic page turner that unveils Rhea's story slowly.

The Final Verdict

But it was too long and the brutal nature of the storyline lost impact with me. Rhea's life on the streets seemed to rehash the same descriptive nature of being homeless, bloating the storyline and lacking that emotional connection sadly. It held promise, but unfortunately the length and lack of connection with it's characters made for a long and often rambling read.

Thicker Than Water
Written by Brigid Kemmerer
Paranormal, Mystery, Romance
Published December 29th 2015
432 Pages
Thank you to Kensington Publishing via Netgalley
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Thomas Bellweather hasn’t been in town long. Just long enough for his newlywed mother to be murdered, and for his new stepdad’s cop colleagues to decide Thomas is the primary suspect.

Not that there’s any evidence. But before Thomas got to Garretts Mill there had just been one other murder in twenty years.

The only person who believes him is Charlotte Rooker, little sister to three cops and, with her soft hands and sweet curves, straight up dangerous to Thomas. Her friend was the other murder victim. And she’d like a couple answers. Answers that could get them both killed, and reveal a truth Thomas would die to keep hidden.
It's just Thomas and his stepfather Stan now, after his mother's brutal murder in which Thomas is the prime suspect. Having moved to a new town and leaving his friends behind, eighteen year old Thomas should have been settling into his new home with his new family, but instead the entire town of Garretts Mill see the outsider as guilty until proven innocent after finding his mother slain in her bed. Thomas only wants to grieve for his mother but Charlotte approaches the sullen teen at his mother's funeral, their attraction is undeniable and they're not the only ones who have noticed.

Charlotte is the only daughter of a local police officer, with three older brothers also following in their fathers footsteps. They already believe that Thomas is guilty of killing his mother but without enough evidence, they are willing to settle for harassment and making Thomas' meager existence a nightmare. Even with the threat of prison, Thomas can't seem to stay away from the youngest Rooker sibling... And it seems that Charlotte may be the only person to believe his innocence. 

Through a series of rendezvous and secret meetings, together Thomas and Charlotte need to clear his name but when Charlotte is attacked, all signs point to Thomas and the Rooker Boys will stop at nothing to see him behind bars.

Kelly's Thoughts

Thicker Than Water wasn't at all what I had expected. Intense, sultry and enjoyable for the most part. From the first few pages I gathered it was little more than a typical young adult contemporary but of course well written and engaging. Sweet, small town girl falls for the new bad boy in town, he's the town pariah and she wants to rescue his soul. They fall in love, he changes his ways and they live happily ever after. Thicker Than Water isn't that book. It's a complex contemporary blended with a paranormal romance that felt darker than another teen read, Although certain aspects left me a little underwhelmed, I enjoyed it.

Thomas isn't a bad boy but he's the only suspect in a murder investigation after his mother is found slain in her bed. Having been married to the quiet and awkward Stan only a week prior, Thomas and his new stepfather are both at odds without the woman who was both their common link. While Stan isn't sure how to relate to a teenage boy, he's patient and kind which is more than Thomas and his attitude deserve at the moment. The relationship between Thomas and Charlotte was incredibly intense and both clearly attracted to the other but not willing to act on those feelings. Due to her overbearing family, Thomas felt that Charlotte couldn't be trusted and luring him into a confession on behalf of her brothers while Charlotte continued to second guess Thomas and whether or not he killed his own mother.

Although I did enjoy the romance somewhat, their connection didn't feel genuine beyond their physical attraction. I found Charlotte's character unremarkable and bland, her feelings towards Thomas felt more as though he was little more than a stage of her teen rebellion. She was determined to seek out Thomas at every opportunity, knowing her older siblings had threatened Thomas, Charlotte is still willing to endanger his life. The paranormal twist did explain the reasoning behind why Charlotte was drawn to Thomas, it was introduced far too late within the storyline to try to reconnect to the characters.

The paranormal element was surprising and felt almost like a quick fix to wrap up the storyline sadly. It flowed wonderfully as a contemporary and despite not being able to connect to the characters, the reveal left me feeling annoyed and frustrated.

The Final Verdict

Although enjoyable, Thicker Than Water felt as though something was missing. It lacked an emotional connection and the paranormal elements were awkward and felt more like an afterthought than part of the storyline. Readers desperately need a sequel to understand the paranormal aspect of Thomas' life and not a bizarre solution to wrap up the storyline. It was wonderfully written but would have preferred a contemporary, rather than the strange paranormal it ended up being.

Stop, Collaborate and listen
Kelly is back with a brand new invention.
She's not really, she just enjoys quoting Vanilla Ice lyrics. Word.


The Foxhole Court by Nora Sakavic

Cover Redesign by me.

The Foxhole Court
All for the Game: Book One
Written by Nora Sakavic
Young Adult, Sports, LGBT
Published January 15th 2013 by Smashwords Edition
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Neil Josten is the newest addition to the Palmetto State University Exy team. He's short, he's fast, he's got a ton of potential—and he's the runaway son of the murderous crime lord known as The Butcher.
Signing a contract with the PSU Foxes is the last thing a guy like Neil should do. The team is high profile and he doesn't need sports crews broadcasting pictures of his face around the nation. His lies will hold up only so long under this kind of scrutiny and the truth will get him killed.
But Neil's not the only one with secrets on the team. One of Neil's new teammates is a friend from his old life, and Neil can't walk away from him a second time. Neil has survived the last eight years by running. Maybe he's finally found someone and something worth fighting for.
Neil Josten has lived his entire life on the run from his father. A father who would not hesitate to kill Neil if he is were to be found. Neil finds himself in the small town of Millport with a population of nine hundred. It is there that the coach from Palmetto State University finds him and offers him a spot on the team. PSU boasts one of the most aggressive Exy (a fictional sport) teams in America - the Foxes. It is no secret that to qualify, one must have had a difficult life.
After much consideration, Neil agrees to join the team - understanding the consequences of his face being flashed on plasma screens all over the nation making him a viable find for his father. However, Neil is not alone in his fight for survival. The Foxes consist of ten kids that are damaged and broken in their own way. The entire team has everything to gain, yet nothing to lose which makes them dangerous opponents both on and off the court.

Kynndra's Thoughts

I won't do this book justice. I know I won't. I can't even wrap myself around my thoughts at the moment. I'm stumbling through the woods trying to find my way out. I'm quickly discovering that this will be a series that will hold onto my soul forever. One of those books where you go nothing can get better than this book. I mean that with every bit of me. My only complaint is that the original cover is ugly, I had to make my own because I knew with one glance at the other one people would think it was a cheap story based on the lazy cover (shh we all care about the cover a little bit).
This book kept me awake. I finished it at nearly 3:30 AM and I couldn't sleep until 5:40 AM simply because I was worried for the characters as if they were real people. I had to hold off reading the second right at that moment because I knew if I started I probably wouldn't have stopped. I think when people hear a book consists of sports, we wrinkle our noses (unless sports are your thing). In my case, I hate sports so that was my initial reaction when I read the synopsis. But I was wrong, and 100% ignorant. I'm happy I pulled myself out of my shallowness and read this book.
Also the Exy (sports) scenes are actually bad ass and I was always into them.
I know I say a lot of the books I read are my favorites. That's because I'm open to enjoying just about everything as long as it entertains me. But this was different. The Foxhole Court gnawed a gaping wound into my feelings, it left me shattered. These characters, all ten of them broke my damn heart. They're on the team for a reason, horrible and gut wrenching reasons. But they are still strong. They are fighters, especially our MC's (Neil, Kevin and Andrew). This book consisted of the richest cast of characters I've ever read. Each was so different and had different personalities and voices.

"People want to pretend people like us don't exist, you know? Everyone hopes we're someone else's problem to solve. They don't understand, so they don't know where to start. They feel overwhelmed and give up before they've taken the first step."

The plot was brilliant. Despite the book heavily focusing on Exy, the plot was always up in your face. Neil puts himself in a vulnerable position, after eight years of running he has finally crept out of the shadows. His dad is a psychopath, and he knows one day he'll come for him. Not only that, but some of his teammates are rabid and viscious in their ways. Some will make Neil earn his place on the court, some will make him wish he never accepted the position. Either way, Neil must go through hell and back throughout the book. It made for a fantastic thrill ride that always had me nervous and pleading for the safety of Neil. Plus, there's a few plot twists that put me through the ringer.
The writing is a bit unpolished, but I think that's what added a special effect to it. There are no pretty words to nurture the nasty world the Foxes were birthed in. Nora Sakavic made sure to emphasize that she has no problem hurting a character. Nothing is predictable, nobody is safe. The Foxes have been fighting tooth and nail since birth. They'll fight to survive no matter the end result.
I probably won't review the next two, but since I've read them I'll tell you right now: This series is fucking amazing. It's so dear to me that I can't begin to tell you all how much the story and the characters meant to me. I don't care what I read after, nothing will beat this series.

in conclusion

Give this book a chance. You don't even have to spend your money on it, its free on Amazon and Smashwords. The sequels are only a dollar each. It's everything: broken boys and girls, bruises and blood, tears and sweat. The characters are loveable in so many ways, despite their flaws they are unhateable. The plot is terrifying yet exciting. The writing is raw and focused on telling a twisted and soul sucking story. There's nothing quite like this. I plead for everyone to read it and suffer with me.

Kynndra is going to go curl up on the heater and watch some X-Files while wallowing away about the end of this book.


Breathtaking... Swallow The Air

Swallow The Air
Written by Tara June Winch
Contemporary, Cultural, Diversity
10th Anniversary Edition Published January 1st 2016
216 Pages
Thank you to UQP
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When May’s mother dies suddenly, she and her brother Billy are taken in by Aunty. However, their loss leaves them both searching for their place in a world that doesn’t seem to want them. While Billy takes his own destructive path, May sets out to find her father and her Aboriginal identity.
Her journey leads her from the Australian east coast to the far north, but it is the people she meets, not the destinations, that teach her what it is to belong.

Swallow the Air is an unforgettable story of living in a torn world and finding the thread to help sew it back together.
Aboriginal girl May Gibson's mother tragically took her own life, leaving May and older brother Billy behind. The two now find themselves living with their Aunt, a woman dependent on alcohol and abused by her boyfriend until Billy defends the woman who took the two orphaned children into her home. Billy walked out, while May stayed behind to pick up what little hope remained.

We didn't talk about Mum or our Dad's or all the booze and shit around us, we knew the world in the same way that we knew each other, in the quietness than we shared.

May wants to feel a sense of family once more, her journey taking her back to her ancestral community where her mother once shared her stories. Along her path to family, May encounters others that will shape her, her experiences driving her further into the wide, red land.

Kelly's Thoughts

Swallow The Air is absolutely breathtaking. An emotional journey of Australia and it's indigenous community through the eyes of a young girl touched by sadness. Never have I felt so moved by any work of fiction. May was a character representative of aspects of our broken country, where Aboriginal communities are left behind while white society moves forward. Her struggle made my heart ache with grief, losing her mother at such a tender age and trying to find that sense of family once more.

The prose is lyrical, yet incredibly haunting. The vividness of May's journey from the mining Town of Wollongong to the far north of Australia truly is a love letter to outback Australia. She sees beauty in the land we take for granted while her vision without a doubt creating wanderlust in readers. Equally exposed to abuse as she is to the kindness strangers, May's spirit shines. She's determined and intelligent, but hasn't been given an opportunity for an education or carefree life that most children are now afforded, so seeks out the family she never knew to learn about herself and her heritage.

Even beyond the storyline, the writing is immaculate. A mixture of lyricism and stark rawness rarely seen in young adult fiction.

Daylight blanching our dreamings, the gritty air fuming back to our noses, engines starting back in our listening, and we remember what we're all really seeing. Beach lines of gutters, trunks of layered windows, metal wings fleeing the sky, and dinner on the stove. We don't mind, because anytime we can leave in our minds.

One of the realities May also faces is how Indigenous Australians can be treated by our police, authorities and our communities. May's life isn't a stereotype, she's a young woman that society as a whole has neglected, representing our traditional land owners that have been overlooked. May's journey to search for her white father makes for an incredibly emotional read, finding herself, finding who she is and rising above the issues that plague her community and forging her own path.

The Final Verdict

Swallow The Air is a must read, in particular for fellow Australians who love fictional stories that are true to life. May's story is heartbreaking, poignant and joyful and I loved each and every moment of her journey. It's a love letter to our wide, red land despite our issues and differences. Tara June Winch is a phenomenal author who places the reader on the road to self discovery along with May, where you will share the sadness and hope of this remarkable young lady.

Kelly loved Swallow The Air and urges you all to buy a copy. Or ten. If you need more diversity within your young adult, a quiet lyricism and a storyline that will stay with you long after the final page is turned, buy it.


Adaption by Malinda Lo

Adaption: Book One
Written by Malinda Lo
Young Adult, Science Fiction, LGBT
Published September 18th 2012 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
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Reese can’t remember anything from the time between the accident and the day she woke up almost a month later. She only knows one thing: She’s different now.

Across North America, flocks of birds hurl themselves into airplanes, causing at least a dozen to crash. Thousands of people die. Fearing terrorism, the United States government grounds all flights, and millions of travelers are stranded.

Reese and her debate team partner and longtime crush David are in Arizona when it happens. Everyone knows the world will never be the same. On their drive home to San Francisco, along a stretch of empty highway at night in the middle of Nevada, a bird flies into their headlights. The car flips over. When they wake up in a military hospital, the doctor won’t tell them what happened, where they are—or how they’ve been miraculously healed.

Things become even stranger when Reese returns home. San Francisco feels like a different place with police enforcing curfew, hazmat teams collecting dead birds, and a strange presence that seems to be following her. When Reese unexpectedly collides with the beautiful Amber Gray, her search for the truth is forced in an entirely new direction—and threatens to expose a vast global conspiracy that the government has worked for decades to keep secret.
Reese and David are at nationals for debate, far from their humble abode in San Francisco. The day after their competition in Arizona, is the day that all things go to hell. Planes all across North America are being brought down by mass flocks of birds. Hours before Reese and David are to board their own flight, the President bans all airplanes from taking off. Conspiracies of terrorists and government involvement spreads like wildfire, causing riots to bloom across the States. Now the two, alongside their debate coach, are stranded in Arizona. Before complete hysteria hits, the three grab a rental car to drive back home to San Francisco.

However, things do not go as planned. On the way they are in an accident which causes serious injury. A military team brings them to a base called Plato. Reese and David don't wake from their coma for twenty-seven days. When they wake, they begin to realize that a lot more went on during their coma than they are led to believe. Stranger occurrences begin to happen once the duo returns back home to San Francisco. Both David and Reece must discover what the doctors at Plato did to them, while also combating other issues such as self discovery, friendship and romance.

Kynndra's Thoughts

Adaptation began really strong. I was completely drawn into the story when I first picked it up. When the birds began to take down the planes - I was hooked. And then, as the story progressed into Reese and David attempting to get to the bottom of their month long coma, I was also invested in the story. It was raw, it was disturbing and I quite honestly am a sucker for conspiracy theories. I've always been fascinated about the possibility of something more. I have no doubt in my mind that all governments have their dirty little secrets. That they do things we all may never know about. So this aspect held onto my attention for awhile - until our MC's got back to San Francisco.

When Reece get's back home she runs into a girl named Amber. From there, the two begin to form a relationship of some kind. This leads Reece down a path of self discovery. I really enjoyed the fact that for once a YA dystopian(ish) book doesn't rely on having that hunky, hot kickass male alongside our female. Don't get me wrong, I'm always lining up to discover more book boyfriends but in this case it just would not have worked I don't think. That being said, the middle of the book was a HUGE drag to me. I was so lulled while reading that I even contemplated continuing.

But I was already 200 and some pages in so I went forth, I stuck through it. Perseverance and all that good stuff. Unfortunately, I found that I didn't really like any of the characters. I didn't hate them, but I found that they were plain. Their voices didn't leave an impression on me, and if one of them were to die I probably wouldn't bat an eye. Although, a secondary character by the name of Julian might have a little spark of intrigue for me. I wish he would have been more prevalent, at least for entertainment purposes. Oh well, I suppose. Maybe in the second book.

Another frustrating thing is that I was hoping that the world/setting would have been in more disarray. But the only thing really noticeable was the culling of Canadian geese and having a curfew set at 9PM. I was expecting the end of the world and big booms and explosions. Although, there were moments of excitement near the end, but that was brief and rushed. Overall it was a disappointment.

in conclusion

Adaption had a strong and compelling plot. I kept on with the book for the sole factor that I needed to know what was going on with Reece and David - what the doctors at the military base had done to them when they were injured. I also wanted to see what the government was hiding, and what caused the plane crashes all over North America. While the plot was interesting enough, I wouldn't really say it was worth the 386 pages. It wasn't an entire waste of time, but I also could have lived without it. That being said, some may think differently. I'm still on the fence about reading book two, I doubt I will as it has nearly 500 pages and I wasn't impressed with the first book.

Kynndra is currently scrolling through tumblr and admiring all the pretty edits. Also she's reading and dying over an episode of Teen Wolf.


Ohh, she's trouble alright... The best kind of trouble

Check out my review for Trust Me, I'm Lying

Trust Me, I'm Trouble Trust Me Book Two
Written By Mary Elizabeth Summer
Mystery, Crime
Published December 1st 2015
368 Pages
Thank you to Random House Australia
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Staying out of trouble isn't possible for Julep Dupree. She has managed not to get kicked out of her private school, even though everyone knows she's responsible for taking down a human trafficking mob boss, and getting St. Agatha's golden boy Tyler killed in the process. Running cons holds her guilty conscience at bay, but unfortunately, someone wants Julep to pay for her mistakes... With her life.

Against her better judgment, Julep takes a shady case that requires her to infiltrate a secretive organization that her long gone mother and the enigmatic blue fairy may be connected to. Her best friend, Sam, isn't around to stop her, and Dani, her one true confidante, happens to be a nineteen year old mob enforcer whose moral compass is as questionable as Julep's. But there's not much time to worry about right and wrong, or to save your falling heart, when there's a contract on your head.

Murders, heists, secrets and lies, hit men and hidden identities... If Julep doesn't watch her back, it's her funeral. No lie.
Julep now finds herself living with her foster parents, while running her own detective agency. After the ordeal of the human trafficking ring, Julep still lives in the shadow of Tyler's memory while carrying the guilt of his death on her slight shoulders. Along with Murphy and their new associate Lily, Julep's latest case is to infiltrate The New World Initiative, founded by a fellow grifter and suspected of links to fraud and embezzlement. Never having felt more alone since Sam left, Julep finds herself leaning on Dani, the Ukrainian enforcer who was once contracted to take her life. But Petrov's imprisonment doesn't mean that Julep's life isn't in danger as a contract is taken out on the black market. Not only to end Julep's life, but to make her suffer as a consequence.

Just when J. D Investigations is struggling to find evidence against The New World Initiative, a brazen murder will reveal a link between her latest case, the institute and the infamous Blue Fairy, a link to Julep's missing mother. But as her life hangs in the balance, fighting her feelings for a girl that sees her as nothing more a child who needs protecting and finding her mother becoming her main priority, something has to give. Julep hopes that this time, she won't lose anyone else that she loves.

Kelly's Thoughts

I absolutely love this series, It's sassy, clever and incredibly entertaining. Our young heroine in sixteen year old Julep is a grifter, or con artist if you will. After her mother left her and her father behind, she followed in her father's footsteps, running schemes through her private school and fleecing wealthy teens of their spare change. In Trust Me, I'm Lying, Julep was involved in finding clues her father had left her, stumbling into a Ukrainian organised crime ring that was trafficking young girls. She's now known as the patron saint of lost girls, a title that doesn't sit well with the teen grifter. What makes this series so incredibly engaging is Julep. She's confronting, sassy and multi layered despite her calm and collected facade. What sets Julep apart from other lesser protagonists is that she isn't pretentious or vain, and certainly couldn't care less about how she's perceived by her peers.

The romance was heart achingly beautiful and unexpected. Julep feels so deeply but in a rare moment of vulnerability is afraid to take a chance. It added such a likability to her character and also allowed her to bond with her new foster mother, Mike's wife Angela. As the story unravels, Julep goes undercover to infiltrate what seems to be a cult organisation, linked not only to the famed Blue Fairy, but also to her mother who had abandoned her. Unlike the first installment, I found Trust Me, I'm Trouble to be far less predictable and really enjoyed the strong focus on Julep's personal life. I feel readers can now begin to understand why she attempts to remain emotionally detached from those around her. Julep has faced abandonment, the death of Tyler, losing Sam, the incarceration of her father and all while her life had been in jeopardy, not once but twice. Fans of Ally Carter will adore this series.

The Final Verdict

Sassy, intense and wonderfully written, The Trust Me series is an engaging and entertaining blend of contemporary, mystery and adventure with a surprising and bittersweet romantic storyline. Readers will enjoy Julep's character development from ruthless grifter to a girl who now isn't afraid to let others past her emotional walls. With an ending that broke my heart, I can't wait to see what's in store for Julep... Hopefully the happy ending this sassy, snarky teen deserves.

Kelly is a part time crime fighter, a dairy connoisseur and possibly the best dancer the world has ever seen.


Captive Prince by C.S. Pacat

Trigger Warning: this book contains mentions/depictions of sexual violence.

Captive Prince
Captive Prince: Book One
Written by C.S. Pacat
Fantasy, Adult, LGBT
Published April 7th 2015 by Viking: Penguin (org Feb 4th 2012)
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Damen is a warrior hero to his people, and the rightful heir to the throne of Akielos, but when his half brother seizes power, Damen is captured, stripped of his identity, and sent to serve the prince of an enemy nation as a pleasure slave.

Beautiful, manipulative and deadly, his new master Prince Laurent epitomises the worst of the decadent court at Vere. But in the lethal web of Veretian politics, nothing is as it seems, and when Damen is caught up in a dangerous play for the throne, he must form an alliance with Laurent to survive and save his country.

For Damen, there is just one rule: he must never reveal his true identity. Because the one man Damen needs is the one man who has more reason to hate him than anyone else . . .

Damen, prince of Akielos is betrayed by his brother Kastor. Kastor in a act of treason fakes the death of his brother in order to gain the crown - he does this by sending Damen to Vere, enemy territory as a gift to the prince. Upon the arrival to the strange country, Damen learns that nobody is aware of his identity. He's also made aware that in Vere he no longer holds the rank of a prince - but the rank of a prince's slave. Damen must act the part of a slave if he ever hopes to escape and take back his rightful place as Akielos's king. Along the way, Damen makes many enemies - other slaves who would do anything to be in his position as a pleasure slave to the young Veretian prince, Laurent.

Through the stretch of the story, Damen will find that his only chance of escaping is to join an alliance with Laurent. Laurent has his own issues; within ten months he is due to become King of Vere. All relies on proving himself to his uncle, the Regent. The two men discover that just maybe they both need each other to survive this political game of cat and mouse. Unbeknownst to Laurent, his slave is the very same man that killed his eldest brother.

Kynndra's Thoughts

After a few of my friends suggested on tumblr that I should read Captive Prince, I finally caved. First and foremost, I want to get the elephant out of the room. This book has some depictions of rape/sexual violence and physical punishments (floggings). This is a book marketed for adults, or mature young adults. If you're bothered or sensitive towards such subject matter I would not go forth and pick this book up. The book is set in a country that has a strong emphasis on pleasure slaves and frolicking with one another. Although, it's important for me to remark that these acts are viewed as barbaric by our MC, Damen. With that being said, if you're able to surpass such events, then I think you'll discover this book is very good and has a unique way of being told. I promise it is well worth reading.

Captive Prince is extremely character driven. While it's told in only one POV, we see a wide berth given to multiple other characters. If you know me, you know I need a book with a strong cast of characters - Pacat absolutely nailed the characters she created. Damen (25) and Laurent (20) are two very interesting characters. Out of the two, Laurent was absolutely my favorite. Don't get me wrong - he is a vile snake, but there is so much depth to him that I wonder if he ever ends. The two of them evolve greatly from start to end. Something I love seeing and reading.

"A golden prince was easy to love if you did not have to watch him picking wings off flies."

As it is a character based story, the plot does not take center stage. It's still there, lurking in the background but the main focus is the interactions and happenings between the two princes. Honestly, even though the story was a little slow due to there not being a whole lot of action it was forgiven. The reader knows that something is going to happen. Will Damen escape? Will Laurent discover that Damen is the man responsible for the death of his brother? Will there be war between both countries? It's all up in the air, all very unpredictable. It keeps you on your toes.

Pacat has set up book one as a direction for the potential romance that could happen between Damen and Laurent. There wasn't much for romance per say (at least not yet) but you can definitely see little sparks here and there. AND LET ME TELL YOU PEOPLE, I SHIP IT TO THE MOON AND BACK. Near the end they had moments where I was hardcore fangirling because it was such a slow burn, but a good burn. Plus Laurent's occasional quips either break my heart or make me smirk.

Pacat's writing was also beautiful and engrossing. It has a simple yet complete feel to it that was not only easy to read but had me completely immersed in the story being told. Dare I say, that Captive Prince pushes the boundaries that could have easily been done poorly; however, Pacat is an amazing weaver of words and did an exemplary job. This is probably my new favorite series to date without a doubt. Amazing in all aspects.

In Conclusion

If you want a different and entertaining adult fantasy then this is a good place to start. Aside from the depictions of rape and violence, this book was phenomenal and had me itching to read more every night. Pacat's writing style is also quite desirable. It was descriptive and curt where it needed be. She fleshed out her characters and was never afraid to take a risk. I see so much potential for this series, and I cannot wait to begin book two. Such a great way to begin my 2016 year in reading.

Kynndra is currently eating some delightful goldfish crackers and trying to figure out what she wants to do with her life.


Clancy of the Undertow

Clancy of the Undertow
Written by Christopher Currie
LGBTQI, Coming of Age
Published November 16th 2015
288 Pages
Thanks to Text Publishing
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We’re sitting there with matching milkshakes, Sasha and me, and somehow, things aren’t going like I always thought they would. We’re face to face under 24 hour fluorescents with the thoroughly unromantic buzz of aircon in our ears and endless flabby wedges of seated trucker’s arsecrack as our only visual stimulus.

In a dead end town like Barwen a girl has only got to be a little different to feel like a freak. And Clancy, a typical sixteen year old misfit with a moderately dysfunctional family, a genuine interest in Nature Club and a major crush on the local hot girl, is packing a capital F.

As the summer begins, Clancy’s dad is involved in a road smash that kills two local teenagers. While the family is dealing with the reaction of a hostile town, Clancy meets someone who could possibly, at last, become a friend. Not only that, the unattainable Sasha starts to show what may be a romantic interest.

In short, this is the summer when Clancy has to figure out who the hell she is.
Clancy is a small town girl who longs for escape, to free herself of stereotypes and live, not just survive. When Clancy's father is witness to a fatal accident involving two of the golden children of Barwen, suddenly the entire town turn against them. The police are investigating the accident, the Underhill's are drifting further apart and the sixteen year old is struggling with her own life, interested in Sasha who's the girlfriend of the local hot head who is making Clancy miserable. A lifeline comes in the form of new girl Nancy who has joined the teen Nature Club that is Clancy's only means of escape and the two form a tentative and rocky friendship, both navigating the waters of finding their first friend.

With her position at the local beauty counter under jeopardy due to her fathers assumed guilt, Clancy now finds herself with time on her hands. She's been roped into older brother Angus' latest harebrained scheme, finding an allusive big cat that supposedly roams the local area. Until Sasha takes an interest. 

Blinded by her devotion to a girl she barely knows but from afar, Clancy is willing to be the person Sasha needs her to be. Normal. With her family barely holding together and the prospect of her father being charged, her turbulent friendship with Nancy and the endless abuse and vandalism, it's all too much for Clancy. Something has to give. 

Kelly's Thoughts

Clancy is a remarkable young woman, the voice of the Australian teen who never quite feels as though she fits into our world. She's strong, sassy but also scared of her town finding out that she's gay, especially her judgmental peers who already see her as an anomaly. Her father works for the local council where his backache has left him with the mundane position of directing traffic through roadworks. Until one night when two local teens run off the road in a fatal accident and Clancy's father is guilty before charged. I absolutely loved the Underhill family. They felt incredibly realistic and a real representation of our family unit. They love one another but live their own lives quite independent of one another, their mother trying to maintain a sense of normalcy while the accident is being investigated.

Clancy isn't struggling with her sexuality, she's aware that she is in fact gay but feels as though she'll be judged and tormented by her peers. And sadly, it's probably a real representation of what can occur in small towns where gossip reins free. Older brother Angus was a lovable idiot. University drop out, layabout and looking at ways of making money by exploring conspiracies and tall stories. Their dynamic added a lighthearted element through banter and teasing one another the way only siblings can. As Clancy's father pulled away from his family, it seemed that Clancy's character could see the same isolation in her father that she also experiences. Listening to the Cricket in their shed and bonding over melted ice cream, their relationship was truly lovely. Seeing her father reconnect with his teen daughter in the face of adversity was beautifully poignant.

The barely there romance was more of an idolised crush. Sasha's character was little more than the token attractive girl, but only made interesting due to Clancy's feelings for her, to which she seemed to exploit to suit her own interests. I appreciated that it wasn't a dramatic of love and that the author bravely had woven a romance that was flawed, awkward and made readers connect with Clancy on an even deeper level. It was emotional and Christopher Currie should be applauded for exploring not only diverse relationships, but the heartbreak of potentially unrequited love when so many other authors prefer happier endings.

The most startling aspect is how Clancy's voice was captured. It felt as though the reader was thrown into Clancy's world of what could be seen as bogan culture and small town prejudice. For those who are unaware of what a bogan is, it's a uniquely Australian term which is described as an uncouth or unsophisticated person, regarded as being of low social status.

The Final Verdict

Christopher Currie has captured the spirit of an Australian teen struggling to find her feet within judgmental, small town prejudice. Anyone having grown up in Australia will see themselves within Clancy's plight. She's relatable, likable and an incredible young woman who lends her voice to the underdog of our nation. Or in Aussie slang... She's fucking unreal mate.

Kelly is a part time crime fighter, a dairy connoisseur and possibly the best dancer the world has ever seen.


Wolf by Wolf by Ryan Graudin

Wolf by Wolf
Wolf by Wolf: Book One
Written by Ryan Graudin
Young Adult, Historical Fiction, Fantasy
Published November 5th 2015 by Orion Children's Books
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The year is 1956, and the Axis powers of the Third Reich and Imperial Japan rule the world. To commemorate their Great Victory over Britain and Russia, Hitler and Emperor Hirohito host the Axis Tour: an annual motorcycle race across their conjoined continents. The victor is awarded an audience with the highly reclusive Adolf Hitler at the Victor's ball.

Yael, who escaped from a death camp, has one goal: Win the race and kill Hitler. A survivor of painful human experimentation, Yael has the power to skinshift and must complete her mission by impersonating last year's only female victor, Adele Wolfe. This deception becomes more difficult when Felix, Adele twin's brother, and Luka, her former love interest, enter the race and watch Yael's every move. But as Yael begins to get closer to the other competitors, can she bring herself to be as ruthless as she needs to be to avoid discovery and complete her mission?
Yael is a young girl whose fearful journey begins in 1944. Alongside thousands of others, Yael is taken to one of Hitler's death camps. When Yael arrives with her mother, she is chosen to be a subject for a series of experiments that eventually lead to her having the ability to skinshift. Yael hides her ability from the Doctors, hides their success. In turn she waits, and with the help of her friends she is able to escape the concentration camp. From there, Yael is taken in to join the Resistance

Twelve years later, Yael is no longer a six year old terrified girl. She is eighteen, and ready to do her part for the world - for the Resistance. She is to assume the identity of Adele Wolfe, a prime example of the Aryan breed - and last years winner of the 1955 Axis Tour. She is to compete once more, with the sole purpose of winning and taking out Hitler when she reaches the end. Yael must convince all around her that she is Adele Wolfe, while riding 20,780 kilometers beginning in Germany and ending in Tokyo while fighting off twenty other competitors who want nothing more than to see her crash and burn. Everything is at stake, and Yael will do anything to cross the line first.

Kynndra's Thoughts

I was a huge fan of The Walled City when I read it last year - so I was quick to eye Wolf by Wolf up. Let me just tell you all that Wolf by Wolf exceeded The Walled City by a milestone. Ryan Graudin has outdone herself with this one. I had little to no idea what to expect when I picked this book up. I don't normally read historical fiction, so it was a new experience. But more importantly, I've never read something that was so different than what I've read before. I never sighed, or said "Oh jeez, it's like reading ~this~ book but with a few changes here and there." Not even once. Do you know how rare that is? Very. It was heartwrenchingly brilliant, and powerful.

Yael is a character who broke my heart. She has suffered and bled so much throughout her short life. I felt my soul crushed at the idea of a little girl - or any human for that matter, being in such a position. Yael is also one of the strongest characters I've come across. I think because Hitler's reign of terror wasn't all that long ago, makes that bit of the story truly hit home. Because such horrendous experiments did happen to the men, women and children within the death camps. Men, women and children were subjected to starvation and gas chambers. People fell under the tyranny of Adolf Hitler, some believed in his ideals which is nothing short of terrifying.

"Illegal smoke curled from their lips like dozens of phantom tongues. White-not black like the billows of Yael's childhood. The ones that poured, day and night, out of tall smokestacks. When Yael was very little, she'd thought a monster lived inside those sooty brick walls. (She knew the truth now. Saw the photos and endless lists of the dead. Rows and rows of numbers like the ones her wolves hid. There was a monster, but it didn't live inside the death camp's crematorium. Its den was much finer-a Chancellery full of stolen art, and doors with iron locks.)"

The plot was incredibly unique. I found that it had such a different appeal that I can't seem to properly voice. It honestly takes a creative mind to be able to construct such a vivacious tale for such a dark time in our history. I can still recall my history lessons in the eighth grade when my teacher showed us images (which were extremely graphic) of the horrific results causes by the concentration camps. Even the mere idea of what if Hitler hadn't died in 1945 makes my skin crawl. That the death toll, which was already gruesome, could have been triple what it was makes me sick. But Graudin took the idea with full force and warped it into something that reminded me to be thankful that I live where I do, in a time that I do.

I could not predict anything. I panicked a whole lot while reading this because wow, these kids are viscious. Everyone is fighting to accomplish something. Whether it's to bring pride to their country or to kill Hitler, nobody is messing around. It's against the rules to cause harm to another rider, but as long as nobody sees it's wrote off as an accident, which racers use to their advantage. This factor combined with the idea of Yael having to convince her twin brother (Felix), and past lover (Luka) that she is who she pretends to be, made for a heart attack and a half while reading.

What I must add is that every single one of the riders was fascinating. Graudin made it so that all her characters are ones you want to know more about. I genuinely hope we get to see some of them again in the sequel. Or even in novellas. I won't give anything away, but I see some HUGE potential there. I'll be sorely disappointed if a few of them aren't more fleshed out. I need the second book now, I don't know how I'll last without knowing what happens next.

In Conclusion

Wolf by Wolf was achingly beautiful, and crushing. Ryan Graudin writes with such elegant and vivid prose, building up a terrible and treacherous tale. This is not only one of my 2015 favorites - but also a lifetime favorite. After reading this, I am encouraged to try out other books inside its genre. I can't tell you all enough how enthralling Yael's mission was, and how heart stopping the plot that followed was. Also, bring tissues and comfort food while reading, you've been warned. I'm not easily tear jerked, but a certain scene near the last quarter of the book obliterated my soul.

Kynndra is currently planning for stuff in 2016 and dying of a back ache due to her terrible posture.


Departure... Brace Yourself For Impact

Written by A. G Riddle
Adult, Time Travel, Apocalyptic
Published October 2015
400 Pages
Thank you to Harper Voyager
Harper Lane has problems. In a few hours, she'll have to make a decision that will change her life forever. But when her flight from New York to London crash-lands in the English countryside, she discovers that she's made of tougher stuff than she ever imagined.

As Harper and the survivors of Flight 305 struggle to stay alive in the aftermath of the crash, they soon realize that this world is very different from the one they left. Their lives are connected, and some believe they've been brought here for a reason.

In addition to Harper, several other passengers seem to hold clues about why Flight 305 crashed. There's...

Nick Stone, an American on his way to a meeting with The Gibraltar Project, an international group dedicated to building a dam across the Strait of Gibraltar and draining the Mediterranean.

Sabrina Schröder, a German scientist who has unknowingly sealed the fate of half the flight's passengers.

Yul Tan, a Chinese-American computer scientist who has just made the breakthrough of a lifetime: a quantum internet capable of transmitting more data, farther, faster than ever thought possible. His invention, however, does much more than he ever dreamed possible.

With time running out to save the survivors of Flight 305, Harper and Nick race to unravel the conspiracy that crashed their plane. As they put the pieces together, they discover that their decisions have already doomed one world and will soon determine the future of ours.
Harper sits with her head between her knees and braces for impact, departing from JFK airport and bound for London, flight 305 is about to plummet to Earth. After turbulence and an explosion, half of the plane is missing and descending fast into the English countryside, with the tail of the plane now resting on the bottom of the lake. The quiet and usually reserved Nick takes charge of the situation, planning a rescue attempt for the remaining survivors. The band of strangers are working together to tend to the injured and awaiting a rescue from the English authorities... But a rescue will never arrive.

Kelly's Thoughts

A mixture of an apocalyptic science fiction, it was engaging, enthralling and breathtaking. It follows dual narratives in Harper and Nick. Both young, vibrant but with Nick being less inclined to share the personal aspects of his life prior to boarding. Harper is a young, aspiring author who is contemplating the direction her career is taking. Their attraction is undeniable, and along with Sabrina who is now posing as a medic for injured victims, Grayson who is little more than a drunken wealthy heir and Yul who refuses to be separated from his laptop, the group of unlikely heroes will need to ensure the safety of the group.

It's a woven story of intrigue and survival, wrapped up in an incredible science fiction storyline. Readers are thrown into the storyline just moments before the flight plummets from the sky, where Nick takes charge and finds himself sitting next to Harper, preparing her to brace for impact. Two strangers, brought together through unfortunate circumstance. Or was it.

Trying to rally survivors on the ground, it soon becomes apparent that the world they now set to explore is foreign to their own when a rescue attempt fails to arrive. I loved the dynamic between Harper and Nick. Nick was secretive, but Harper didn't pry nor did she allow herself to fall for a stranger or depend upon him. She was independent, tough and although Nick seemed to be in control of the camp of survivors, I loved her quiet determination to see herself as more than just another survivor but a woman who would rescue herself.

Without giving away the true nature of the storyline, the concept was bizarre but incredibly engrossing. I loved how each of the five main characters' lives entwined, although it seems only Sabrina and Yul may have had a former partnership before boarding when Harper catches them both in heated, whispered debates. Reminiscent of the television series Lost, Departure is more than just a fight for survival. The science fiction element has created an intricate and stunning storyline that will have readers enthralled until the final page is turned. My only complaint is that the ending felt unresolved somewhat.

The final Verdict

A. G Riddle has crafted an engaging and enthralling read that will leave readers riveted until the final page. A stunning mix of intrigue and wonderment by a natural born storyteller. An incredible read that needs a sequel desperately. I need more. Just brilliant.

Kelly is celebrating three years of blogging and contemplating dying her hair blue. I'm going to morph into Karou, which should please Kristy


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