Top Ten Tuesday: All About Romance

Top Ten Tuesday is an original and weekly meme created by The Broke And The Bookish

Topic:  All About Romance

Being Valentine’s Day there wouldn’t be any other Top Ten Topic. I feel at a slight disadvantage though because I haven’t read many romance books or books with romance in them that I feel worthy of the list. I’m cheating a bit by putting four from the same series because I loved them all, I am also not putting these in any particular order because that would be super hard to determine.

 

Lyra and Will – The Amber Spyglass by Philip Pullman

Seeing these two go from uncertain friends in The Subtle Knife to practically soul mates is fantastic and seeing the love for one another in The Amber Spyglass will break your heart! Lyra and Will are both so important but so young, and their naivety and their wisdom is a beautiful blend. This is an innocent romance but it so less important.

Dash and Lily – Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan

These two are just adorable, and they bring out the best in each other. Their sense of adventure and unique personalities is an ideal match and seeing them fall for one another is excellent reading. It gets even better in The 12 Days of Dash and Lily when they support one another and become even better friends and partners.

Cate and Dave – Wish List by Belinda Williams

This was a romance I loved seeing develop. So many obstacles and will they/won’t they moments. It has the attraction at first then the denial of feelings, then a selection of dramas and ups and downs that keep this scintillating. You want them to get together and while they won’t admit it, they want to get together as well.

Madeline and Paul – The Pitch by Belinda Williams

The romance in this book changed my opinion on the romance specific genre and made me start to fall in love with them. This is the perfect slow burn romance, enough to strike a spark but nothing is rushed into and Williams paces it brilliantly. There are obstacles and dramas but seeing these two together is worth it.

Scarlett and John – Modern Love by Belinda Williams

Technically this could be seen as a chase romance, being pursued and fighting that pursuit, but Williams balances it all so well that it becomes much more than that. The pursuit of Scarlett by John isn’t overbearing, it’s natural, normal, and it’s obvious that there’s affection just waiting to be uncovered.

Christa and Max – The Boyfriend Sessions by Belinda Williams

Sometimes good romances come out of nowhere and I think this is one example where romance can sneak up on you when you least suspect. A classic case of when you aren’t looking for love it finds you, Christa and Max’s romance is slow to develop because neither of them are expecting it.

Jule and Luke – Siren’s Song by Heather McCollum

Granted there is a supernatural side to this romance, but still, McCollum brings the love and affection between these two to life so well it’s wonderful to read. Jule’s and Luke’s attraction is compelling and when they have to fight against it it makes for exquisite reading.

Lily and Jack – The Wrong Girl by Zoe Foster

Naturally when one swears off men in a book the perfect guys comes along a minute later. But I loved the relationship between Lily and Jack. It starts off as dislike, moves to friendship and actually stays longer as friends than anything else. But I loved how they get on, how they both don’t know they like each other and how it’s obvious to almost everyone else.

Ellie and Lee – The Tomorrow Series by John Marsden

Seeing this romance blossom was wonderful. It was the perfect teenage relationship; it had the uncertainty, the lust, and the awkwardness. Marsden played it out so well and the confusion on Ellie’s behalf and her conflict made it very compelling about what she was going to do.

Good News, Bad News by Maggie Groff

Published: 1st March 2013 (print)/1st March 2013 (audio) Goodreads badge
Publisher:
 Pan Macmillan Australia/Bolinda Audio
Pages: 369 pages/7 dics
Narrator: Catherine Milte
Format: Audiobook
Genre: Mystery
★   ★   ★  – 3 Stars

Intrepid investigative journalist Scout Davis has given herself a holiday, but when Hermione Longfellow floats towards her in the supermarket, wanting to engage her services, she stops to listen.

Most people in Byron Bay are aware of the eccentric Anemone sisters. Always dressed in black, they rarely leave their home nestled in the hills – but Scout is sure that the drinking of chicken blood is just idle gossip. When Hermione asks Scout to track down sister Nemony’s AWOL husband, believed to have died at sea thirty years ago, but recently popped up again on the Great Barrier Reef, Scout, checking there is no eye of newt in Hermione’s shopping trolley, jumps at the chance.

Another source of intrigue falls close to home when Scout’s sister Harper despairs over her husband’s odd behaviour. And if that weren’t enough, Scout’s journalist boyfriend is finally coming home from Afghanistan. Trouble is, Scout thinks she may be falling in love with irresistible local cop Rafe – who coincidentally is also Toby’s best friend…

Catherine Milte was a much better narrator than Parker was in book one. Once you get past the vast difference – Scout becoming a very proper sounding woman with a tinge of British in her – you settle into the story and forget how she sounded originally. One of the challenges of audio books that reading doesn’t have I suppose but you get used to the narration fairly quickly.

I originally thought the case wasn’t going to be as interesting as the first one. How does one compete with a cult? But it actually was rather interesting. Scout investigates a man who was presumed dead over thirty years ago and seeks to prove he is alive and living up in Queensland. There are quirky new characters and the same familiar characters we grew fond of in book. Scout’s sister Harper adds her own drama and flair to the story once more, another reason why this was an interesting read.

There are quite a few surprises which I enjoyed. Groff drops them in all the right places to give a nice burst of unexpectedness as the story goes on. There are also many secrets to uncover; not only for the case but for her friends and family around her. The elusive and secretive GKI makes another appearance and fits a little better into the story, it feels a bit more natural that it is in there, less like it was tacked on as a side story.

One of the things I liked about this second book was that Groff doesn’t focus as much on Scout’s condition. Her diabetes takes a backseat as it should, and only is mentioned when it is actually necessary. I actually forgot she had the disease at times which was something I couldn’t do in book one. The lack of constant diabetes talk is swapped, however, with a description of what everyone is wearing. Again, whether the audio book made this stand more or if it’s just me I’m not sure, but it felt unnecessary a lot of the time or at least a tad clunky.

Scout’s relationship with Rafe continues and comes to a resolution of sorts. I can’t say I like them being together any more than I did the first time, but Groff provides a weak excuse and justification that almost works. I still think Scout is a bit selfish and feels almost guiltless about it.

Overall this series is fun and enjoyable with more things that I liked than didn’t. Scout is a great investigative journalist and her approach to her stories and her method of tracking information down is always delightful and filled with adventure.

You can purchase Good News, Bad News via the following

Print

Pan Macmillan Aus | QBD

Angus & Robertson

Audio

Booktopia | Angus & Robertson

Eve and Elly by Mike Dumbleton

Published: 16th May 2016Goodreads badge
Publisher:
 Random House Australia
Illustrator: Laura Wood
Pages: 32
Format: Paperback Picture Book
★   ★   ★   ★  – 4 Stars

Elly is Eve’s toy elephant, but he’s also her best friend. When Elly goes missing, Eve is the one who is lost.

What drew me to this book were the illustrations. I loved the cover by Laura Wood, and as I kept turning pages I loved them and the story even more. Elly the elephant comes alive in Eve’s mind, he has expressions, he mimics Eve’s movements, and Wood makes the whole thing incredibly adorable. The pictures are relatively basic but reflect the words on the page, and depending what they’re depicting have varying degrees of detail.

The blurb tells us that when Elly goes missing, it is Eve who is lost. I loved that when Elly is gone Eve’s dad doesn’t try to make her feel better per se, he understands but offers up another one of her toys as “someone who [also] needs her” and tries to make her love her other toys for the time being until Elly comes back.

It’s a sweet story about how to cope when a child loses a favourite toy. Dad has a good solution and it is one that could be easily adopted if need be because lost toys are not always recovered. Dumbleton has been creative and clever in his writing, it suits what a parent might do and say to their child who is upset over the loss of a toy but it does also come with its own troubles as mum and dad discover.

There are moments for the parents to enjoy as they read and the kids will love seeing Eve’s love for her toy and get to think about what they would do if they lost one of their favourite toys.

You can purchase Eve and Elly via the following

Book Depository | Dymocks

Booktopia | Kobo

QBD | Bookworld

Fans of the Impossible Life by Kate Scelsa

Published: 8th September 2015Goodreads badge
Publisher:
 Balzer + Bray
Pages: 360
Format: Paperback
Genre: Young Adult
★   ★   ★   ★  – 4 Stars

Mira is starting over at Saint Francis Prep. She promised her parents she would at least try to pretend that she could act like a functioning human this time, not a girl who can’t get out of bed for days on end, who only feels awake when she’s with Sebby.

Jeremy is the painfully shy art nerd at Saint Francis who’s been in self-imposed isolation after an incident that ruined his last year of school. When he sees Sebby for the first time across the school lawn, it’s as if he’s been expecting this blond, lanky boy with mischief glinting in his eye.

Sebby, Mira’s gay best friend, is a boy who seems to carry sunlight around with him. Even as life in his foster home starts to take its toll, Sebby and Mira together craft a world of magic rituals and impromptu road trips, designed to fix the broken parts of their lives.

As Jeremy finds himself drawn into Sebby and Mira’s world, he begins to understand the secrets that they hide in order to protect themselves, to keep each other safe from those who don’t understand their quest to live for the impossible.

Intense is the best word to describe this book. When I finished this it hung over me like a blanket and I looked for ages to find another book to read next that was the polar opposite to this because it was SO INTENSE.

But that isn’t to say I didn’t enjoy it.

It has you on the edge of your seat in a way, not because of the action or drama or adventure, but because you are adamant something bad is going to happen to these poor kids!

There are some strong themes and issues dealt with in this book. There’s depression, self harm, drug use, homophobia and bullying. Not to mention everything else. I loved this book but it was heavy. It was so much to handle, so much happens, so much doesn’t happen; it’s consuming.

Scelsa uses three different points of view, one per character. You can claim Jeremy is the main character because he gets the first person perspective and first introduction, and I found myself thinking the same thing, but Scelsa gives them equal weighting in her own way.

I think second person works so well for Sebby. I can’t imagine his story being told any other way.  It’s just what the reader needs to understand and see his POV.

Mira’s life is explored in third person, it suits her too and without analysing it too much, I really think Scelsa’s choices suit them remarkably well

While there is a lot of intensity and dramatics in a way, the thing I found great about this was that there was hope. Always hope. And I think that that is the best thing to be left with after a book; imperfections, not getting the solutions to everything, but left with a little bit of hope to cling to.

Scelsa captures Jeremy’s loneliness so well. You understand wholly his fear that his new friends will leave, not to mention the fear of going back to school and his uncertainty about being thrust into the world without his consent.

The writing is so well done you get inside the head of characters, even with the differen points of view, you still get inside their mind and you understand them completely and that is in part why this book is intense, you really understand these characters thoughts and feelings and intricacies of their lives. You see their fears and hopes and lives before you and you want nothing but for them to be ok.

I’ve seen this be compared to Perks of being A Wallflower and I can kind of see where they’re coming from but at the same time I think this is different from that. Similar yes, but also different. I adored Wallflower and I loved this, but to compare them does neither of them justice.

You can purchase Fans of the Impossible Life via the following

Booktopia | BookWorld

DymocksWordery

QBD | Book Depository

Fishpond | Amazon

Raw by Scott Monk

book-bite


Published
: 1st April 2005Goodreads badge
Publisher:
 Random House Australia
Pages: 352
Format: Paperback
Genre: Young Adult
★   ★  – 2 Stars

Brett Dalton is filled with hate and not afraid of a fight, but when he is sent to The Farm, his only opponent is himself. Brett Dalton is a tough guy—hardened, angry, uncaring, and always ready to use his fists. When the world hates you, you might as well hate it back. But when Brett is busted by the cops for stealing and sent to The Farm for rehab, there are no fences to keep him in and anger—and love—get in his way. Brett’s trapped in a grave new world, a world where he’s not hardened at all; he’s raw.

What disappointed me most about this book is how much I didn’t really like it. I adored Monk’s other book, Boys ‘R’ Us, and it’s a shame that didn’t happen with this one.

Brett is a hard character to like, he demands things, he never listens or learns, and you want to yell at him yourself for a lot of the book. He fights against those trying to help him, which is to be expected, but he isn’t someone you want to root for either. Just when you think he is starting to learn he goes and does something stupid again. It just makes you hate him even more.

It’s the standard story, Brett hates the world, gets into trouble a lot, gets sent to a rehab facility to straighten him out and befriends the man in charge who uses tough love and friendship to get him to change his ways. It leaves you feeling unfulfilled and while there is character development, it’s unsatisfying and a bit cheesy at times.

It wasn’t overly bad, but Brett manages to get himself in a lot of situations that are sometimes his fault and others they aren’t. It’s a typical story that was enjoyable enough but not one I would read again. It has been on my TBR list for about 15 years so at least I can say I finally crossed it off if nothing else.

You can purchase Raw via the following

Dymocks | Book Depository

BookWorld | Kobo

Booktopia | Audible

Previous Older Entries Next Newer Entries