A Small Madness Review

A Small Madness by Dianne Touchell

A Small Madness

Publication date: January 28th 2015

Publisher: Allen & Unwin

Number of pages: 240

Series: N/A

Genre: YA Realistic Fiction

Source: Received in exchange for review (thank you so much Allen & Unwin!!). This is my honest opinion.


Goodreads synopsis:

Rose didn’t tell anyone about it. She wondered if it showed. She looked at herself in the mirror and turned this way and then that way. She stood as close to the mirror as she could, leaning over the bathroom basin, looking into her own eyes until they disappeared behind the fog of her breath. Looking for something. Some evidence that she was different now. Something had shifted inside her, a gear being ratcheted over a clunky cog, gaining torque, starting her up. But it didn’t show. How could all of these feelings not show? She was a woman now but it didn’t show and she couldn’t tell anyone.

A devastating, compelling novel that will get everyone talking, from the author of Creepy and Maud.



My head hurts so badly right now. It’s expected since it was ONLY TWISTED TO EPIC PROPORTIONS.

There just aren’t words for what this book made me go through. Thank goodness for that, actually.

A Small Madness tells the story of a girl named Rose. I will warn you, that if you are really uncomfortable with the topic of teen pregnancy or particularly, sex, in books then I’m telling you now that you will not be comfortable with this book. This is a raw, gritty portrayal of teen pregnancy and the author doesn’t gloss over anything.

But that’s one of the reasons why this book really touched me.

We see how the way that the main character, Rose, is forced to deal with her pregnancy and how it transforms her. The things she does. I can’t even. It’s so heartbreaking and really does bring up themes that really aren’t dealt with enough in YA.

There are many reasons which drew me to this book. The initial being the both the topic and the writing style. I’ve never read anything before on teen pregnancy and I was pretty curious. Also, from the synopsis I could tell I would like the writing style (I love books written with that kind of detached but yet very intimate and descriptive style). I also love reading books by Aussie authors and the cover is stunning. And totally suits the tone and mood of the book. And this is weird, but it actually feels really nice.

So when I completely (unexpectedly) got this in the mail for review I completely freaked. And I may have ditched the book I was reading in favour of A Small Madness. I know. Terrible. I had just really, really looking forward to reading this ever since I first heard about this, ok? So I sat down and read, starting it late on a school night (with not much time left after homework before I actually had to go to bed) and finishing it within half an hour the next morning. I was just so, so into the story and needed to know what was going to happen.

I also read with my mouth gaping open for a short while. True story.

I just had this feeling of complete and total dread as to what was going to happen (which was thanks to the author’s brilliant writing) and knew that I wasn’t going to be completely with it until I knew what was going to happen to the characters.

Although I was not a fan of the ending. It was a little too open for my liking. I just think that while open endings can work, in realistic fiction it is particularly important to wrap-up the story and preferably provide closure.

If all Dianne Touchell’s books are like this, then I really need to look into reading them.

4/5 comets
Meteor shower. A great show.

Add A Small Madness to Goodreads


Goodreads author bio:

Dianne TouchellDianne Touchell is a middle child who feared Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy — and any other stranger who threatened to break into the house at night.

She has worked, amongst other things, as a nightclub singer, a fish and chip shop counter girl (not with Pauline Hanson) and a bookseller. Dianne would rather talk to her dog than answer the phone.

February 2015 Wrap-up!


The rules:

•Post a sticker – whether it be mine or your own (provided it has Counting the Stars on it).
•Either a) leave a link to your post in the comments below or b) tell me your answers in the comments – either is fine!
•Try to post titles under at least a few of the categories below.

Sigh. This was my first month back at school and it has been HECTIC. It’s definitely, definitely a step up from last year. I do homework from 4-10pm everyday (without actually having proper study time) and if my eyes aren’t too try and tired by 10pm then I read for a bit. Ok, I’m done complaining.

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…Nothing. But I’ve got something ready to buy…






  • The Duff by Kody KeplingerThe DUFF: Designated Ugly Fat Friend
  • Frostfire by Amanda HockingFrostfire (Kanin Chronicles, #1)

For review:

I was so excited when they came. Thank you so much Allen & Unwin!!

  • A Small Madness by Dianne TouchellA Small Madness
  • Soulprint by Megan MirandaSoulprint


  • Starlet’s Web by Carla J. HannaStarlet's Web (The Starlet, #1)
  • A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia GrayA Thousand Pieces of You (Firebird, #1)
  • Quintspinner by Dianne GreenlayQuintspinner (Quintspinner series)
  • The ‘Naturals by Robin ParrishThe 'Naturals: Awakening [Episodes 1-4 -- Season 1] (Young Adult Serial)
  • Heartbeat by Elizabeth ScottHeartbeat
  • Heist Society by Ally Carter (reread)Heist Society (Heist Society, #1)
  • The Duff by Kody KeplingerThe DUFF: Designated Ugly Fat Friend
  • A Small Madness by Dianne TouchellA Small Madness


  • Switched by Amanda Hocking (reread)Switched (Trylle Trilogy, #1)
  • Torn by Amanda Hocking (reread)Torn (Trylle, #2)
  • Ascend by Amanda Hocking (reread)Ascend (Trylle Trilogy, #3)
  • Frostfire by Amanda HockingFrostfire (Kanin Chronicles, #1)
  • Soulprint by Megan MirandaSoulprint

Currently reading:

  • Fangirl by Rainbow RowellFangirl

Review: All The Bright Places

All The Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

All the Bright Places

Publication date: January 6th 2015

Publisher: Knopf

Number of pages: 400

Series: N/A

Genre: YA Contemporary

Source: Purchased. This is my honest opinion.


Goodreads synopsis:

Theodore Finch is fascinated by death, and he constantly thinks of ways he might kill himself. But each time, something good, no matter how small, stops him.

Violet Markey lives for the future, counting the days until graduation, when she can escape her Indiana town and her aching grief in the wake of her sister’s recent death.

When Finch and Violet meet on the ledge of the bell tower at school, it’s unclear who saves whom. And when they pair up on a project to discover the ‘natural wonders’ of their state, both Finch and Violet make more important discoveries: It’s only with Violet that Finch can be himself – a weird, funny, live-out-loud guy who’s not such a freak after all. And it’s only with Finch that Violet can forget to count away the days and start living them. But as Violet’s world grows, Finch’s begins to shrink.







It’s been days now and I still have no idea what to write. I’m sorry, ok?

But this is the point where I give you some sort of garble as to what I think I think of it. Reader beware. This is your one and only warning.

The truth is that I am disappointed in this book. I expected quite a bit more than what I got because THE HYPE. It’s ridiculous. So I did something I never do and bought the book the day it was released. And read it not long after I got it.

However, unfortunately I had some problems with it.

Perhaps the biggest one was that I felt the pacing of the book was way, way too slow. I can’t deal with slow pacing in books. I get disconnected and bored. As I did with All the Bright Places. I think a lot of stuff to do with the homework project Violet and Finch did maybe could have been cut.

The other thing was that while I loved Finch right away, I didn’t really connect with Violet from the start. Although, as her relationship with Finch blossomed, I found myself becoming more accustomed to her. I liked the way she kind of grew as a person and the way this was done gradually. Which of course the slow pacing allowed to happen. Ok, so it’s good for something.

While I wasn’t as emotionally invested as others, as I was a little detached from the story, there were a couple of those moments where you can just feel your stomach drop. Out of your feet. While I didn’t cry at all during the book I still had this very sick feeling that something was going to happen. Which I won’t share of course.

All in all, I felt like the issues dealt with in the book were handled with expertise. The characters were so realistic and the author has done a fantastic job with her book.

I really would recommend this book. I think all teens should read it – while in countries like Australia the cheerleader/jock/band geek kind of stereotyping isn’t as prevalent as it is in America, stereotyping still exists and really can wreck a person’s life.

Even days and days later the story has stuck with me and I expect it to stick with me for a long time yet.

And of course I’m looking forward to the movie.

4/5 comets
Meteor shower. A great show.

Add All The Bright Places to Goodreads


Goodreads author bio:

Jennifer NivenBy the time I was ten, I had already written numerous songs, a poem for Parker Stevenson (“If there were a Miss America for men, You would surely win”), two autobiographies (All About Me and My Life in Indiana: I Will Never Be Happy Again), a Christmas story, several picture books (which I illustrated myself) featuring the Doodle Bugs from Outer Space, a play about Laura Ingalls Wilder’s sister entitled Blindness Strikes Mary, a series of prison mysteries, a collection of short stories featuring me as the main character (an internationally famous rock star detective), and a partially finished novel about Vietnam. I was also an excellent speller from a very early age.

In 2000, I started writing full-time, and I haven’t stopped… I’ve written eight books (two of those are forthcoming), and when I’m not working on the ninth, I’m contributing to my web magazine, Germ (www.germmagazine.com), thinking up new books, and dabbling in TV. I am always writing.

Counting the Stars 80#


The rules:

•Post a sticker – whether it be mine or your own (provided it has Counting the Stars on it).
•Either a) leave a link to your post in the comments below or b) tell me your answers in the comments – either is fine!
•Try to post titles under at least a few of the categories below.

I’m really sorry that some of these books will be repeated from my last wrap-up! But I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m going to start doing these monthly, from now.


Well, I had the entire month of January off from school! And with some money I received for Christmas, I went and bought a couple of books.


  • Falling into Place by Amy Zhang
  • Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins
  • Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins
  • All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

Downloaded free as part of the ‘first in a series free’ deal on iBooks:

They were also all free on Kindle (thankfully that usually happens because I don’t read on my phone)!

  • Jump by Sean WilliamsJump (Twinmaker, #1)
  • The Intern by Gabrielle TozerThe Intern (The Intern, #1)
  • Every Breath by Ellie MarneyEvery Breath (Every #1)
  • Strange Angels by Lili St. CrowStrange Angels (Strange Angels, #1)
  • Zom-B by Darren ShanZom-B (Zom-B, #1)
  • The Selection by Kiera Cass (I already own physically and have read but…)The Selection (The Selection, #1)
  • Evermore by Alyson NoelEvermore (The Immortals, #1)
  • Mercy by Rebecca LimMercy (Mercy, #1)


  • Heir of Fire by Sarah J. MaasHeir of Fire (Throne of Glass, #3)

This was a Kindle daily deal and my mum offered to buy it for me. Thanks again Mum if you’re reading this 🙂


  • Fangirl by Rainbow RowellFangirl

EEEEEP. Thanks again, Nara!!


  • The Ring and the Crown by Melissa de la CruzThe Ring and the Crown (The Ring and the Crown, #1)
  • A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia GrayA Thousand Pieces of You (Firebird, #1)

For review: 

  • Buzz Books 2015: Young Adult Spring
  • The ‘Naturals by Aaron Patterson, Melody Carlson, Robin Parrish and K. C. Neal
  • Manga Classics: Les Miserables Softcover by Victor Hugo (originally), adapted by Crystal Silvermoon and English script by Stacy King


  • I Was Here by Gayle FormanI Was Here
  • City of Bones by Cassandra Clare (reread)City of Bones (The Mortal Instruments, #1)
  • City of Ashes by Cassandra Clare (reread)City of Ashes (The Mortal Instruments, #2)
  • City of Glass by Cassandra Clare (reread)City of Glass (The Mortal Instruments, #3)
  • Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare (reread)Clockwork Angel (The Infernal Devices, #1)
  • City of Fallen Angels by Cassandra Clare (reread)City of Fallen Angels (The Mortal Instruments, #4)
  • Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare (reread)Clockwork Prince (The Infernal Devices, #2)
  • The Winner’s Crime by Marie RutkoskiThe Winner's Crime (The Winner's Trilogy, #2)
  • City of Lost Souls by Cassandra Clare (reread)City of Lost Souls (The Mortal Instruments, #5)
  • Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare (reread)Clockwork Princess (The Infernal Devices, #3)
  • City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra ClareCity of Heavenly Fire (The Mortal Instruments, #6)
  • The Bane Chronicles by Cassandra ClareThe Bane Chronicles (The Bane Chronicles)
  • All the Bright Places by Jennifer NivenAll the Bright Places
  • The Ring and the Crown by Melissa de la CruzThe Ring and the Crown (The Ring and the Crown, #1)
  • Buzz Books 2015: Young Adult Spring

To be read:

Unfortunately tomorrow I go back to school. Meaning less reading time.

But for the rest of the year I will be participating in the YA Australian Bloggers & Readers challenges where you read certain books based on certain categories.

If you want to sign up yourself (and trust me, you want to), click HERE

  • A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia GrayA Thousand Pieces of You (Firebird, #1)
  • Starlet’s Web by Carla J. HannaStarlet's Web (The Starlet, #1)
  • The Last Time We Say Goodbye by Cynthia Hand (if I can find a copy)The Last Time We Say Goodbye
  • The Principles of Love by Emily FranklinThe Principles of Love (The Principles of Love, #1)

What books did you read/get this last month? Feel free to leave me a link to your post or tell me in the comments!

My love affair with Les Mis

My love affair with Les Miserables…

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I like to think of it as a long-term-but-probably-eternal-marriage but apparently you’re not supposed to marry books.

Oh society. How I disapprove of thee.

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Ok, I was joking there, but settle in kiddiewinkles, I will explain to you of how I came to love Les Miserables by Victor Hugo…


A girl browses a theatre website. She scrolls down, only a little, and sees an advertising for the show, Les Miserables, which would be performed soon, around the time of her birthday. She’d always been desperate to see it and the wise girl saw the perfect opportunity to. She flutters her impeccably long lashes at her mother, who was doomed to give in, and she agrees to take the girl to the show for her birthday present.

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The girl goes to the show and falls completely, totally and utterly in love with it. Before anyone can say ‘uh oh she’s going to go insane, is there an asylum near here?’ the girl has already sourced a copy of the album and has listened to it over and over again, knowing most of the lyrics by the end of the next day.

By the end of the next week she has also selected favourite performers from numerous shows passed. So much so that when the most recent movie adaption was released in 2012, she noticed a cameo from one of the most well-known performers. She was rather fond of the movie and of course owns the DVD.

Les Misérables Movie Poster (source)

Then the next year, the girl sees the book going for fairly cheap in her local ‘everything’ kind of store. Obviously it’s destiny, so the girl buys it. Then it sits for a bit on her shelf, scaring the girl a little with it’s 1232 pages, until the month of January 2014, when the girl does the math. If she was to read 100 pages per month this year, come December, she can have finished it.

And that’s just what she did! Surprising herself she stuck to reading the book every month, no more or less than a hundred pages, and finished it. She loved it to bits, deeming it as possibly the best book she’s ever read. She writes up some of her favourite quotes and sticks them on her wall. She really does love it.

By the time the theatre production rolls around again in 2015, she’s already begged to go and see it as part of her Christmas present. And her poor mother obliges to seeing it yet again (she had already seen it before said girl was born, to). Then it occurs to the girl when she’s watching it that not only does she know all the songs, but 3 hours worth of dialogue as well. She was internally correcting the actors sometimes.


And that was that!

If you haven’t read Les Mis, I strongly recommend that you do. I have numerous bookmarks placed, but even then it’s only of my favourite, favourite pages. Otherwise every page would be bookmarked. If you opened to a random page you could probably find something amazingly well-written on it.

It really is a brilliant book. I’ll have to post a review maybe.

Thanks for sticking with this post if you did! Many congratulations and much internet-transferred imaginary cake if you did. I would be very impressed. I know that this is something a bit different to usual, hopefully it’s not too terrible.

But seriously you have to read it.

A Very Frightening Bookish Thought

Close your eyes…take a deep breath in….and breathe out. Take another deep breath in, hold, and breathe out. Now, imagine this terrifying scenario:

It is 3:00am in the morning, the most evilest of times. Usually you in the land of the cannot-possibly-be-woken but tonight, your eyes are cracked open.

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Why? Because you are reading one of the best books of your life.

Little-women-laurie (source)

Your body lies exhausted after that time you spent hyperventilating when your favourite character NEARLY DIED (don’t even try to deny it), and let’s face it, you are in no emotional condition to keep reading, but you do. You turn the final page and CLIFFHANGER.


You know how you thought you were emotionally scarred before? Now  you’re emotionally scarred. You flip a couple more pages until you come to the sneak peek of the next book. The cliffhanger is eating you up (I’ve heard they get hungry) and the emotional torment becomes just too much for you. You reach to turn the page…

Or do you?

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And that brings us to what the post is really about:

Do you read the sneak peeks at the end of books?

I personally…don’t. Especially if the book before had had at least some minor sort of cliffhanger. What would be the point in reading ahead? Either you’d torture yourself even more, or you might even end up feeling deflated. Plus that would 100% defeat the point of having the cliffhanger in the first place.

The other thing is that I feel like if I read the sneak peek and then went about the sequel (whether it had already been released, or was about to be), I don’t think I’d really want to reread what I already had. Sure you could jump to where the sample had cut off, but this is me so the clever route isn’t taken. Plus you may have forgotten a minor detail that occurred in the preview.

It wouldn’t be a problem if the book wasn’t going to be released for ages. Because if other readers are anything like me then they would have completely forgotten what they had read in the sample anyway.

But of course sneak peeks could be a really good thing – they can get you really excited for the next book. They also can leave you with more questions to do with what’s going to happen, or IT could even end on a cliffhanger. So many possibilities.

Do you read the sneak peeks for books coming out? Or like me do you fend them of with a red-hot pitchfork? 

2015 New Releases Reading Challenge


I’m super excited to be announcing that I will be hosting the 2015 New Release Reading Challenge!

Tom and Jerry  (source)

I first discovered the necessity for this reading challenge back when I began choosing my most anticipated reads of this year. I realised that I was really struggling to narrow it down (especially compared with last year) and that if I didn’t put some of the titles on my list, I would probably forget about them and never read them again. Those poor books would have to miss out on being read by my wonderful eyes.

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But joking aside, that made me feel kind of sad, so I decided that 2015 is going to be the year of new releases! So I devised a spreadsheet of books and release dates (books I was interested in only) and decided that I was going to make it into a challenge thing on the blog so that I would feel more obliged to do it. Then I thought (like an actual thought, I wondered what they felt like – kind of sticky actually) that maybe other people may want to join in as well!

The rules:

  • Please post the sticker above (or (a better) one you’ve made) and link back to me. That way other people can join in!
  • There will be a monthly link-up to show your progress if there are more than five participants other than myself.
  • All books counted must be read and published in 2015.
  • No novellas unless they are over 100 pages.
  • You must have fun. Like, or else.

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  • <5 books – at least you tried.
  • 5-10 books – not bad at all. You may stand proudly.
  • 11-15 books – you can be known as the ‘experienced’ one.
  • 16-20 – let me bow down and kiss your feet.
  • >20 – just face it, you’re inhuman.

Currently, I’m aiming for at least 20 new releases. Will I lower my goal? Perhaps. But optimism is key, people. If there was no optimism, how would function? We would drown in a pool of no hope. I’ve heard it is uncomfortable.

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Considering it is the 8th of January today, I haven’t done too badly. I have read a total of:*drumroll* one book! And that was…I Was Here by Gayle Forman (see previous post). It was pretty good, perhaps not quite meeting my ridiculously high expectations, but pretty good.

I Was Here

Some more January releases I’m excited for:

  • Vendetta by Catherine Doyle (Jan 1st)Vendetta (Blood for Blood, #1)
  • Frostfire by Amanda Hocking (Jan 6th)Frostfire (Kanin Chronicles, #1)
  • All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven (Jan 6th)All the Bright Places
  • The Conspiracy of Us by Maggie Hall (Jan 13th)The Conspiracy of Us
  • Love, Lucy by April Lindner (Jan 27th)Love, Lucy

WAIT. On the topic of All the Bright Places, I have to say how ridiculously excited I am for it. I ordered my copy the day it came out (although I meant to before – it must have been published earlier than the 6th elsewhere because I could have bought it without pre-ordering). I completely blame my fellow bloggers on that account.

Anyway, I hope you decide to join me in my battle to read all the books. Well, most of them.

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If you would like to join, just drop me a comment to sign-up!


I Was Here

I Was Here by Gayle Forman

I Was Here

Publication date: Febuary 1st 2015 (AUS), January 27th 2015 US

Publisher: Simon & Schuster Australia

Number of pages: 270

Series: N/A

Genre: YA Contemporary/Realistic Fiction

Source: Received in exchange for review. This is my honest opinion.


Goodreads synopsis:

From the bestselling author of If I Stay – this summer’s YA blockbuster film.

This characteristically powerful novel follows eighteen-year-old Cody Reynolds in the months following her best friend’s shocking suicide.
As Cody numbly searches for answers as to why Meg took her own life, she begins a journey of self-discovery which takes her to a terrifying precipice, and forces her to question not only her relationship with the Meg she thought she knew, but her own understanding of life, love, death and forgiveness.

A phenomenally moving story, I Was Here explores the sadly all-too-familiar issue of suicide and self-harm, addressing it with it sensitivity, genuity and honesty.



Think you have a heart of stone and that a book can not move you? Then I challenge you to read I Was Here.

In her beautiful but devastating way, Forman illustrates for us the tragic tale of the friendship Cody and her friend Meg, which ends the wrong way. Just prior to the story beginning, Meg commits suicide in a motel room, leaving a tip for the maid and an email for her parents and Cody. Shattered by her friend’s sudden death, Meg goes on a journey, meeting new friends and surprises which ultimately teach us that we can never be entirely sure of what happens behind the tightly-locked doors of our friends’ minds.

The amount of times that this book wrenched my heart is crazy. Forman isn’t afraid to confront the nitty-gritty of teen issues, and which as a teen myself, it’s something that I’m more than grateful for. It’s honest and well-written, bringing to light certain things that I hadn’t even considered as a factor towards teen suicide. By that, I mean that didn’t even know they existed. I feel that if I go into anymore detail than that, I may slightly spoil some of the book, so I’m going to leave it there.

I thought that the way that Gayle Forman chose to write Cody as was very interesting. I don’t really feel like I come across many characters like Cody, and to be honest I’m kind of happy about that. Probably the main problem I had with the book was that I disliked Cody. I didn’t find her very relatable because she was so different from me personality-wise. Not to mention that I found myself getting very irritated at the way she would interact with and react to certain people. I understand that she was grieving but I don’t think that therefore she had a free pass to be so rude. Plus her decison-making skills were severely lacking. But no more than that because we get into spoiler territory. Oh yeah, and I feel like Cody is extremely judgemental.

My only other problem was that I felt the book moved a little bit too slowly. I never got bored as such, I just felt like it need a boost in speed sometimes.

WIth those two things aside, I really enjoyed the book. I eagerly received it on December 30th after being super excited to read it for days. Really, I basically skipped outside to the letterbox and did not stop internally screaming for a long time. But instead of diving into it straight away, I thought that no I would wait for January 1st 2015. That way I knew my first book of the year would be a great one. Luckily I was right. In fact, I Was Here was also on My Most Anticipated Reads of 2015 blog post, after loving If I Stay (also by Gayle Forman, in case you’ve been living under a rock) earlier on in 2014. Seriously, I hadn’t been that excited to read a book in a long time.

When I predicted the romance before reading the book (but come on, you can always predict the romance), I was a little bit concerned. I didn’t know if I could grow to like, or ‘ship’ if you will, a relationship between the guy and Cody going by the blurb. But I was very pleasantly surprised. I ended up loving the guy and wishing there could have been more than him. He’s nowhere near Adam (If I Stay) level, but let’s be honest – who is?

And speaking of lovable characters, I totally adored Meg’s little brother. He was easily one of my (if not my) favourite characters. All of the characters in the book were very realistic and flawed. I felt like I knew them.

I felt like I got a lot out of this book in terms of themes. I liked the way they were incorporated into the story and handled in general by the author. Once again, I can’t really go into this too much in the way I want to without giving things away.

Because of all the darker themes, I don’t know how I’d feel about recommending this book to younger teens of like 12 or 13. Especially with some of the things it deals with. However, they are important issues, so I really don’t know what to say in that regards, plus it’s their and/or their parent’s decision to make.

I would definitely recommend this book to fans of Gayle Forman’s previous works and particularly to fellow fans of realistic fiction. Just make sure you’re not looking for a light-hearted read or you will be getting the complete opposite.

4/5 comets
Meteor shower. A great show. 

Add to Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23362128-i-was-here 

(Thank you so much to Simon & Schuster Australia for the review copy)


Goodreads author bio (or part of which rather):

Gayle FormanGayle Forman is an award-winning author and journalist whose articles have appeared in such publications as Jane, Seventeen, Glamour, Elle, and The New York Times Magazine, to name just a few. She lives in New York City with her husband and daughter.

Review: Thousand Words

Thousand Words by Jennifer Brown

Thousand Words

Publication date: May 21st 2013

Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Number of pages: 284

Series: N/A

Genre: YA Contemporary/Realistic Fiction

Source: Borrowed. This is my honest opinion.


Goodreads synopsis:

Ashleigh’s boyfriend, Kaleb, is about to leave for college, and Ashleigh is worried that he’ll forget about her while he’s away. So at a legendary end-of-summer pool party, Ashleigh’s friends suggest she text him a picture of herself — sans swimsuit — to take with him. Before she can talk herself out of it, Ashleigh strides off to the bathroom, snaps a photo in the full-length mirror, and hits “send.”

But when Kaleb and Ashleigh go through a bad breakup, Kaleb takes revenge by forwarding the text to his baseball team. Soon the photo has gone viral, attracting the attention of the school board, the local police, and the media. As her friends and family try to distance themselves from the scandal, Ashleigh feels completely alone — until she meets Mack while serving her court-ordered community service. Not only does Mack offer a fresh chance at friendship, but he’s the one person in town who received the text of Ashleigh’s photo — and didn’t look.

Acclaimed author Jennifer Brown brings readers a gripping novel about honesty and betrayal, redemption and friendship, attraction and integrity, as Ashleigh finds that while a picture may be worth a thousand words . . . it doesn’t always tell the whole story.





A picture’s worth a thousand words. But they don’t tell the whole story.” – pg 260
Meet my favourite quote in the book = it sums up the story so well and it’s so true. The quote is what was written on Ashleigh’s community service project.

Jennifer Brown is one of my all-time favourite authors. Realistic fiction is one of my guilty pleasures (weird, eh?) and she just pulls it off so well. The other books I’ve read by her include her debut, The Hate List, and her most recent book, Torn Away. Both of which I loved and think about so often. Her books always impact me so much and stick around in my mind.

While Thousand Words is not my favourite book by her, it isn’t to say that I didn’t love it. Because I did. I loved it. Trust me. I read this in less than half a day, I just couldn’t – and didn’t want – to stop reading.

I love the way that all of Jennifer Brown’s books don’t just show the “issue” of the book happening, but very importantly, the consequences. They offer perspective of the people affected and that is something that we don’t really get from sources like the news. They aren’t shy in terms of what they tell you. And while the morals aren’t exactly intricately woven into the text, they’re definitely there, and that’s one of the things that I really love. It’s one of the key factors in the impact the book has. Another thing I love, but which is kind materialistic, is that all her books match. It’s nice.

Like the ending. It was just what I wanted – satisfying and so right for the book. And follow that up with the quirky acknowledgements as well as an author’s note and interview and you pretty much have a recipe for success. I actually enjoyed reading the acknowledgements, they kept with the theme of the book and was done really well. The author’s note and interview was really interesting and worth reading.

One of my issues with Thousand Words was the romance. While I liked both the characters involved (Ashleigh and Mack) I wasn’t particularly impressed. I didn’t really feel any chemistry between them, just that Mack was the most decent guy in the whole book. But I loved the way he stood up for what was right.

My other big issue was with Ashleigh herself. I get that one of the themes in the novel was teenage mistakes and the repercussions but Ashleigh kind of made a little too many for my tastes. The other thing that annoyed me was the way she dealt with certain things, which really can come under mistakes. She just kind of dug her hole deeper and deeper.

I would definitely recommend Thousand Words to fans of realistic fiction. I would recommend all of Jennifer Brown’s books to fans of realistic fiction, actually. They’re so great. I can’t wait for her next book, which hopefully I won’t have to wait too long for.

4/5 comets
Meteor shower – a great show!

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Author bio:

Jennifer BrownTwo-time winner of the Erma Bombeck Global Humor Award (2005 & 2006), Jennifer’s weekly humor column appeared in The Kansas City Star for over four years, until she gave it up to be a full-time young adult novelist.

Jennifer’s debut novel, HATE LIST (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 2009) received three starred reviews and was selected as an ALA Best Book for Young Adults, a VOYA “Perfect Ten,” and a School Library Journal Best Book of the Year. HATE LIST also won the Michigan Library Association’s Thumbs Up! Award, the Louisiana Teen Readers Choice award, the 2012 Oklahoma Sequoyah Book Award, was an honorable mention for the 2011 Arkansas Teen Book Award, is a YALSA 2012 Popular Paperback, received spots on the Texas Library Association’s Taysha’s high school reading list as well as the Missouri Library Association’s Missouri Gateway Awards list, and has been chosen to represent the state of Missouri in the 2012 National Book Festival in Washington, DC. Jennifer’s second novel, BITTER END, (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 2011) received starred reviews from Publishers Weekly and VOYA and is listed on the YALSA 2012 Best Fiction for Young Adults list and is a 2012 Taysha’s high school reading list pick as well.

Jennifer writes and lives in the Kansas City, Missouri area, with her husband and three children.

Review: Fire and Flood

Fire and Flood by Victoria Scott

Fire & Flood (Fire & Flood, #1)

Publication date: February 25th 2014

Publisher: Scholastic Press

Number of pages: 305

Series: Fire & Flood (1#)

Genre: YA Dystopian

Source: Borrowed. This is my honest opinion.


Goodreads synopsis:

Time is slipping away….

Tella Holloway is losing it. Her brother is sick, and when a dozen doctors can’t determine what’s wrong, her parents decide to move to Montana for the fresh air. She’s lost her friends, her parents are driving her crazy, her brother is dying—and she’s helpless to change anything.

Until she receives mysterious instructions on how to become a Contender in the Brimstone Bleed. It’s an epic race across jungle, desert, ocean, and mountain that could win her the prize she desperately desires: the Cure for her brother’s illness. But all the Contenders are after the Cure for people they love, and there’s no guarantee that Tella (or any of them) will survive the race.

The jungle is terrifying, the clock is ticking, and Tella knows she can’t trust the allies she makes. And one big question emerges: Why have so many fallen sick in the first place?

Victoria Scott’s breathtaking novel grabs readers by the throat and doesn’t let go.



My thoughts are kind of confuzzled about this book. The best I can do is try and make sense of them, read on at your own risk.

So I had heard some pretty fantastic things about Fire and Flood. I’m thinking a fair few of you who may be reading this review will know of some of the comparisons that have been made. I have seen a few along the lines of: “Hunger Games meets The Amazing Race meets Pokemon!”. I’ve NEVER seen a Hunger Games comparison before, so that totally intrigued me (the sarcasm drips from my voice). But really, what got me was the Pokemon comparison. How cool is that?!

The Pokemon sort of thing was probably my favourite part of the book. I am an animal lover, so that kind of hit home, and I love the Pokemonish aspect of animals with powers. But in Fire and Flood they’re called Pandoras. That name just sounds/looks mystical, especially when I italicise it.

I got along with the main character, Tella, just fine. Really, just fine. Not well, not badly, fine. I did a fashion inspired post on her, actually. And as for the romance, that was kind of mediocre. Barely there, but still there.

The second half of the book was where it really picked up for me. You see, I wasn’t really feeling the main character’s “voice” and I stopped caring about that when all the major action kicked in.

Fire and Flood wasn’t quite as good as I had expected but it still deserves a four style rating. I’m looking forward to and am curious about the rest of the series. In fact, I would very much like a sequel.

I would actually recommend Fire and Flood to a middle grade audience as well. I think it’s appropriate and the main character’s voice is reminiscent of a middle grade book to me. But that ian’t to say those who are YA only/mostly centred (like me) won’t like it. I think it’s just one of those ones that may be a cross-over.

4/5 comets
Meteor shower. A great show.

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Goodreads author bio:

Victoria ScottVictoria Scott is a teen fiction writer represented by Sara Crowe. She’s the author of the FIRE & FLOOD series published by Scholastic, and the DANTE WALKER trilogy published by Entangled Teen. Her books have been bought and translated in eleven foreign markets including the UK, Turkey, China, Poland, Germany, Australia, Israel, Taiwan, Brazil, New Zealand, and the Netherlands.

Victoria lives in Dallas with her husband and hearts cotton candy something fierce.