Book Bingo 2017

BingoIt’s time again for another Book Bingo! Having gotten so close to finishing last year I’m looking forward to maybe completing the card this year, but even getting a line or two would be a great achievement.

I have chosen a range of categories this year, reusing some of the ones I didn’t complete last year, as well as the standard favourites. I am trying to diversify my reading this year so instead of just reading from another country or with a character of a difference sexual preference, I am adding in an author of a different ethnicity and expanding my previous LGBQT category to read more from each of the different voices. I’ve also switched up my genres and formats so it should be an interesting selection I find. I am aiming to provide updates on progress at the end of each month, and when I review a book for the bingo I will include the icon again too.

Are you going to participate in a Book Bingo this year? As in previous years you are more than welcome to borrow my card for your own Book Bingo, just remember to link to my page and attribute me properly.

Happy reading!

book-bingo-card

 

 

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Book Bingo 2016: The End of the Journey (With a Win!)

BingoAs 2016 comes to an end, so too does my 2016 Book Bingo challenge. Given the hectic nature of the past few months, I did admittedly entirely forget about doing this so there are no updates or anything which I’m a bit sad about. The good news is that looking at my read pile I realised I covered a lot of ground in the past few months. I may not have been able to finish my card, but I managed to secure a bingo so I’m taking that as a win. I’m sure the point it to get a line anyway, not fill your card. So I’m pretty stoked, and looking at all the red on my chart I did well considering I thought it fell off the wagon a few months ago. My full list of books read is below, some of them managed to get a review, others didn’t, but I’ve linked in those that had and included their Goodreads link. I may still write reviews for some of these but this is where we stand at the moment. I loved doing this again, I haven’t made up next year’s yet but I have a bunch of new ideas and categories to cover so I’m looking forward to creating it. Did you do any book bingos this year? It definitely helps you read things you may not typically pick up and I’ve discovered some amazing books this way.

bingo-card-2-in-use-line

Was a GiftElianne by Judy Nunn

Child Main CharacterYellow by Megan Jacobson – REVIEW

Set in AustraliaDead, Actually by Kaz Delaney – REVIEW

A Fairytale RetellingThe Princess Companion by Melanie Cellier – REVIEW

Author You’ve Never ReadTime and Time Again by Ben Elton

More Than 50 Years OldMy Brilliant Career by Miles Franklin

That ‘Every One’ Has ReadThe Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Second Hand BookThe Dressmaker by Rosalie Ham

On TBR List for More Than a YearJasper Jones by Craig Silvey

Free ChoiceHeart and Brain Comic Collection by Nick Seluk

LGBTQIA CharacterThe Sidekicks by Will Kostakis

Recommended by a FriendDarkest Place by Jaye Ford

Chosen for the CoverThe Memory Book by Lara Avery – REVIEW

Self PublishedThe Crow Box by Nikki Rae – REVIEW

Involves Greek MythologyAntigoddess by Kendre Blake

Turned into a MovieMe Before You by Jojo Moyes

Reimagining a ClassicHamlet by John Marsden – REVIEW

 

Book Bingo: The Road So Far

Bingo It a few months into my 2016 Book Bingo and I’m long overdue for a check-in. As May begins I’ve read 7 books and no Bingo as of yet. I haven’t been actively trying to fill it in for a few months but I’m going to try again as I catch up on my reading this month. There are a few I’m looking forward to filling in like Reimagining a Classic, or finding one from an author with my initials, and as always I’m adding the Book Bingo icon to my review posts so you can see which books have been included in between updates.

Bingo card 2 in use

A Fairytale Retelling

The Princess Companion: A Retelling of The Princess and the Pea (The Four Kingdoms, # 1)The Princess Companion by Melanie Cellier

I was really excited to read this story, it’s a retelling of The Princess and the Pea fairytale by Hans Christian Andersen, and what drew me to it was that this delightful story rarely gets the attention other fairytales do and I was excited to see what Cellier’s retelling would be. It was a remarkable story, and one she managed to expand into a full-length novel considering it is one of the shortest fairytales I know of. It is still The Princess and the Pea story we all recognise, but told in a way that it becomes a whole new story on its own. There’s still so much of a fairytale in this story: woodcutter’s daughter, godmothers, princes, and kingdoms, but Cellier manages to create something more intricate and complex than the original tale. It is sweet, creative, and incredibly clever.

Set in Australia

Dead, ActuallyDead, Actually by Kaz Delaney

I’ve had Kaz’s books sitting on my shelf for way too long before I finally got a chance to read them but I’m so glad I finally made the time. This YA story has a side of paranormal but still keeps the everyday contemporary feel as well. There is so much to love about this book: the characters, the mystery, the fabulous writing that sends your heart and mind crazy with anticipation and suspense. I loved everything about this book from start to finish, it’s enthralling, it’s messy and complicated, but that is what makes it exhilarating to read.

LGBTQIA Character

The SidekicksThe Sidekicks by Will Kostakis

I read this in part because I was going to Penguin Teen’s YASquad and wanted to read the author’s attending but I like to think I’d have picked up this story anyway. There is so much to love about this story, the boys themselves in particular. The story is told in three parts, with each of the three boys telling their story. This is a LGBTQIA book because of Ryan, a guy who isn’t yet brave enough to come out and who struggles not only with his friend’s death, but trying to work out who he is now that he’s gone. Seeing him come to terms with himself and the struggle he faces is touching and heartbreaking at the same time.

Author You’ve Never Read

The Midnight Watch: A Novel of the Titanic and the CalifornianThe Midnight Watch by David Dyer

When I first learnt about this book I was so excited to read it. This is the story of The Californian, the ship famous for being near the Titanic when she sank and not coming to her rescue. It is a brilliant read that takes a lot of its narrative and dialogue from official records. This is Dyer’s debut novel and it is filled with emotion and history and all things to make you angry and frustrated and heartbroken. If you love the story of Titanic and reading incredibly real historical fiction then this is a wonderful read.

On TBR For More Than A Year

Jasper JonesJasper Jones by Craig Silvey

I can’t believe how long this book has been out before I got to read it. I had it on my TBR when it was released in 2010 I think it was. I’m glad I read it though because it’s a great story, it’s clear why this won so many awards. This is a historical coming of age story set in 1960s Australia. It’s a compelling story about a totally different time and the innocence, prejudices, and hidden secrets of a small town.

Recommended By A Friend

Darkest PlaceDarkest Place by Jaye Ford

I have been wanting to read something of Jaye Ford’s for a while and this was a great chance to start. The recommendation came with so much praise for this story and the emotions that were experienced whilst reading I was looking forward to having the same reaction. It was certainly as intense and suspenseful as promised. The story is about a woman who is trying to start her life over after a horrible accident but she learns that her new place isn’t the new start she was after. She is convinced there is someone sneaking into her apartment but no one believes her and there’s no evidence to support her claims. As you read you want to believe her but start to doubt yourself and wonder whether she is overly paranoid or is actually right all along.

Self Published

The Crow Box (Shadow & Ink Series, #1)The Crow Box by Nikki Rae

As a longtime lover of Nikki Rae I jumped at her new story. Rae has always self-published, all the way back with her Sunshine Series and The Donor novella. The Crow Box is the start of her new series and is filled with all the things I love about Rae; her stories are dark, intense, with twists and surprises and a little paranormal element that makes it a thrilling read. Reading Rae is a clear example of why self published people shouldn’t be judged or thought less of, there can be some incredible stories out there if you give them a go.

 

Dead, Actually by Kaz Delaney

Published: 1st January 2014Goodreads badge
Publisher:
 Allen & Unwin
Pages: 312
Format: Paperback
Genre: Young Adult/Paranormal Romance
★   ★   ★   ★   ★  – 5 Stars

dead-actuallyWillow’s having a bad week. A dead body, a funeral and now she’s being haunted by the star of it all, the dead queen of Ruth Throsby High herself, JoJo Grayson.
Being dead hasn’t made JoJo any nicer. She’s still venomous and vacuous and, unfortunately, determined to stick around unless Willow finds out what happened.
But the mystery keeps multiplying. There’s a missing phone. An anonymous blackmailer. Dirty secrets that won’t stay buried. And the blame is being cleverly pointed right at Willow.
The only good thing? The gorgeous Seth Pentecost. He’s got his own agenda but it looks like he’s going to help Willow out. Could solving this death be what it takes to finally bring him into her life?

There is so much to love about this book: the characters, the mystery, the fabulous writing that sends your heart and mind crazy with anticipation and suspense. I loved everything about this book from start to finish, it’s enthralling, it’s messy and complicated, but that is what makes it exhilarating to read.

The way Kaz has played out this story and these events, and in such a short space of time, is marvellous. Her writing captures the chaos in Willow’s mind, the conflict and the passion, the fear and self-doubt. Everything comes across beautifully on the page and makes this story come alive.

There’s a hundred different things happening all at once, all linked together, crushing Willow’s brain and sending her in every which direction and the chaos and mystery of it all is wonderful. Kaz pulls you along with a mystery and a quest for answers but there’s also other things happening and Kaz links these seemingly unconnected things together so wonderfully that it works on so many levels, interconnected snippets and separate things woven together to create Willow’s life and story. It’s divine.

Having everything happening in a short period of time makes everything more intense, but Kaz never makes it feel rushed or too soon. The strange and compelling nature of the events and the multiple angles covered brings the intensity to a point where Willow’s stress and overwhelmed feeling leap off the page and brings you into the story so you understand her frustrations, fears, and victories.

The romance element is natural and not once feels cheesy or fake. Willow’s crush on Seth is adorable, Seth himself is wonderful so you also fall in love with him, and Kaz beautifully misses out on the making the “crush on best friend’s brother” feel clichéd. Her exploration of Willow’s feelings, mixing it into the paranormal events and life drama, brings out the realism, such as Willow’s romantic feelings cropping up unexpectedly, her desire to control her reactions and emotion’s play down her feelings for fear of ruining what she has. That is what makes it feel so real, so believable, Willow’s feelings don’t come from nowhere, nor do they take away from who she is as a person, everything about her is mixed together into this dramatic and captivating novel.

Despite the paranormal element, everything about this feels so genuine, so much like the every day, and it’s made even better by JoJo being both ghost like and as she was alive. There is so much drama going on without the paranormal but the paranormal is the heart of it, both the main essence and an almost background feature.

I loved this book so much I gave it five stars before I had even finished. The narrative Kaz has constructed is clever, creative, and so incredibly intriguing. From start to finish she brings you into Willow’s world with curiosity and captivating characters and she holds onto your attention until the very last page. As the final chapters play out your heart pounds, your excitement grows, and you still have no idea where the story is going and what is going to happen. Kaz keeps you guessing and on the edge of your seat until the end, even after the whodunit has been solved.

You can purchase Dead, Actually via the following

Dymocks | Kindle

Booktopia | iTunes

Publisher

Book Bingo BookAusAWW16

The Princess Companion by Melanie Cellier

Published: 2nd January 2016Goodreads badge
Publisher:
 Luminant Publications
Pages: 244
Format: ebook
Genre: Young Adult/Fantasy/Fairy Tale
★   ★   ★   ★   ★  – 5 Stars

One dark and stormy night, lost and alone, Alyssa finds herself knocking on the door of a castle. 

After a lifetime spent in the deep forest, Alyssa has no idea what to expect on the other side. 

What she finds is two unruly young princesses and one very handsome prince. When Alyssa accepts the job of Princess Companion she knows her life will change. What she doesn’t know is that the royal family is about to be swept up in unexpected danger and intrigue and that she just might be the only thing standing between her kingdom and destruction. 

This retelling of the classic fairy tale, The Princess and the Pea, reimagines the risks and rewards that come when one royal family goes searching for a true princess. 

Danger and romance await a woodcutter’s daughter in a royal palace.

Note: I was provided with a copy of this book from the author for review.

Fairy tale retellings are some of my favourite books and fairy tales themselves are one of my favourite genres. I love everything about them, their universality, their ability to become any story possible while still being recognised at a level as being a fairy tale, and I love that there are one hundred ways to tell the exact same story and have it come out one hundred different ways.

Cellier’s story is exactly this. It is The Princess and the Pea story we all recognise, but told in a way that it becomes a whole new story on its own. There is still so much of a fairytale in this story: woodcutter’s daughter, godmothers, princes and kingdoms, but Cellier manages to create something more intricate and complex than the original tale. It is sweet, creative, incredibly clever, and even sneaks in another fairy tale reference and shows us what happens at the end of a happily ever after.

The writing feels really honest. Cellier easily could have fallen into the trap of having misunderstandings resulting in the stereotypical drama caused by miscommunication, but she doesn’t. Alyssa is upfront and honest about mistakes and even though it doesn’t always work it, she is never is dishonest or deceptive.

The narration stays with Alyssa for the majority of the book which is a wonderful move as we get to see the palace life and her experience through her eyes and thoughts. You really can’t ask for a better character than Alyssa. She is honest and intelligent, filled with wisdom but also delightfully innocent at the same time. Where readers can see the affection between Max and Alyssa, she always comes to the wrong conclusion. It’s so sweet, and it is a nice change than having her pine for a prince she can’t have.

Alyssa’s role as a Princess Companion brings about all sorts of adventure and danger, and seeing her develop and change, along with all the other characters, is quite rewarding. When the romance emerges it is beautifully told; Cellier doesn’t spring it on us, she weaves it through, misdirection and ignorance throughout. I can’t go on enough about how well this is written.

The original Princess and the Pea fairy tale is not an overly popular retelling compared to Cinderella or Beauty and the Beast, but Cellier has expanded on this incredibly short fairy tale phenomenally, giving depth and fullness to every character and creating a solid and emotionally stable story all within the beginning and end of the traditional fairy tale.

Reading this novel gives you the warm fuzzy feeling that a well-told story produces, and this simple fairy tale has been filled with so much, so many details and complexities, tiny moments that add so much meaning but seem so innocent. It’s fantastic. Cellier truly has written an enchanting, enthralling, and brilliant novel that still feels like you are reading a classic fairy tale.

You can purchase The Princess Companion via the following

Amazon

Amazon Aust

Book Bingo BookFT

AWW16

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