carey-blackbirdThis twisty, breathless cat-and-mouse thrill ride, told in the second person, follows a girl with amnesia in present-day Los Angeles who is being pursued by mysterious and terrifying assailants.

A girl wakes up on the train tracks, a subway car barreling down on her. With only minutes to react, she hunches down and the train speeds over her. She doesn’t remember her name, where she is, or how she got there. She has a tattoo on the inside of her right wrist of a blackbird inside a box, letters and numbers printed just below: FNV02198. There is only one thing she knows for sure: people are trying to kill her.

On the run for her life, she tries to untangle who she is and what happened to the girl she used to be. Nothing and no one are what they appear to be. But the truth is more disturbing than she ever imagined.

The Maze Runner series meets Code Name Verity, Blackbird is relentless and action-packed, filled with surprising twists. 

Kindle Edition, 256 pages

Published September 16th 2014 by HarperTeen (first published September 1st 2014)

Told in first person perspective, the reader is put right in the driver’s seat of this story. We get to “play” the main character throughout and see everything through her eyes. We wake up with no memories and under the wheels of a train. After being rescued, we find a backpack in our possession and messages that advise us to run. Following clues and intuition, we are just one step ahead of people who are hunting us, and we must survive long enough to find out why.

The writing is very fast paced, there is very little down time because the protagonist always has somethone right on her tail. There are friends and foes that reappear throughout the story, but there is very little world building or character development because of the memory loss. The whole story is happening as we live through it. Along with the clues and encounters we get some development to the storyline, but it’s mainly an in-the-moment storyline.

Set in current day Los Angeles we get to tour the city through the main character’s eyes. It is really hard to say much about the book without giving it away because you have to live through the experiences to really understand the atmosphere . It almost felt like being in a virtual reality video game.

The story really builds up the tension. We don’t know who to trust and we barely survive through a couple of scenes. I really didn’t see the main plot twist coming when it finally does. It made me really excited for the second book and the promise of more of her memories being revealed. I found Blackbird exciting and fun; a great book for if you are looking for something a bit different.



ockler_delilahBel:

Cover

Torn yellow paper dolls being held together with sticky tape, held by hands with chipped nail varnish. I feel like the symbolism is accurate for the story.

Characters

Delilah doesn’t know why her mother’s relationship with her family is so strained, and as we read on it is difficult not to fall in love with each and every character.

Favourite

Patrick, (I think we’ll probably all choose him). He’s just *sigh* so nice.

Least Favourite

Finn. Looooooooser.

Beginning

Delilah and her Mum spend the summer closing up her Grandmother’s house.

Storyline

The family secrets come to light and each character has to face their own personal demons.

Ending

Satisfying to say the least.

Thoughts

I loved this book so much.

Claire, Delilah’s Mum, begins the story with her head firmly up her butt. Sure she knew things weren’t going well, but by the end she had become someone I wouldn’t mind having a coffee with.

It’s important for us to realise our parents don’t have all the answers, and they get things wrong sometimes as well.

Themes of grief, mental illness, and self respect are wonderfully prevalent throughout.

Quote

“Claire? It’s Rachel. I’m afraid I have some bad news.”

 

ockler_mermaidsJoelene:

Cover

A paper-doll chain with one doll torn and patched with sticky-tape. It suits the nostalgic aspect of this novel and the idea of a family that has forgotten how to function.

Characters

The novel is from the perspective of Delilah Hannaford. Other major characters are her mother, her aunt Rachel, and Patrick, the guy she was friends with as kids but hasn’t seen for years. While Delilah’s grandmother, grandfather and other aunt, Stephanie, are all dead, they almost seem like characters in their own right.

Favourite

Delilah. She had her flaws, but her voice is really strong in the writing.

Least Favourite

Patrick. He wasn’t terrible, but I didn’t feel like he added anything to the story. Every time he was in it, I wanted to go back and figure out what was happening with Delilah, her mum and her aunt. He was also a little too unforgiving. When Delilah had just found out that the person she most trusted had been lying to her her whole life, it’s no wonder that she doubted him.

Beginning

Delilah has been getting in trouble a lot lately; getting caught shop-lifting, sneaking out with a boy – and her grades are dropping. When her mother gets a call saying that her grandmother has died, the last remaining Hannaford women head for Vermont to tie up loose ends.

Storyline

Leaving the past behind is more difficult than it would seem, as the Hannafords soon find. Delilah’s determined to uncover the reason for the rift that split the family eight years before. Her mother is equally determined to keep those secrets buried.

Ending

The ending here is satisfying and sweet without being cheesy.

Thoughts

I really liked this one, which is odd because it’s not a genre I’d choose. It’s well written and the characters are easy to understand though they have complex emotions.

Quote

“…if things were different between us, more like they used to be, I’d want to go…because nothing would be as important as helping my mother and aunt through this tragedy and tying up its many loose ends – the three remaining Hannaford women united and strong as an unsinkable ship.

But things aren’t different. She’s her and I’m me and surrounding us is an ocean of mess and misunderstanding…”

 

ockler_twitter2011Krista:

Cover

I think the cover with the cut out paper dolls is cute. It represents there is a crack in the chain and represents the story well with Delilah stuck in the middle.


Characters

The story focuses on Delilah, her relationship with her mother and love interest Paul.

Favourite

I would have to tie my favorites with Paul and Delilah’s aunt Rachel. They both seemed to bring the most stability to this rocky situation they find themselves in.

Least Favourite

I can’t say that any of the characters were the least favourite.

Beginning

After her grandmother’s death. Delilah, her mother and aunt all stay for the summer getting the house ready for sale. A friend from a long time ago comes to give Delilah some help and company.

Storyline

While preparing her deceased grandmother’s house for sale, Delilah and her family have to face their past head-on and confront what has come between them, one secret at a time.

Ending

I guess a part of me was really hoping for a big dramatic ending with Delilah and Paul running off into the sunset and the happily ever after. But we get a very down to earth and heart warming story of this family, finally learning how to communicate and opening new doors to their futures.

Thoughts

I don’t read realistic contemporary very often. But joining the book club was exactly for reasons like this book. Opening my eyes to something outside my usual style. This book especially spoke to me because it focused on a dysfunctional family and how they learn to communicate better with each other. Every single character in this story grew, learned from each other and in became closer to each other by doing so.

Quote

“It‘s complicated. I think when bad things happen—whether someone dies or people argue or split up—you get to a point where it‘s just too hard to go back. There‘s so much lost. So many versions of the truth. So many versions of how things might‘ve turned out differently. We all long for what could have been. For some people, it‘s just easier to move forward and try to forget.”

“Doesn’t matter how many people are in the crowd anymore, Delilah. Ten or ten thousand, I’m still only singing for one.”

Discussion Topics

Mental illness is a key theme in Fixing Delilah. While it’s good to see these issues in literature, was Ockler’s handling of it astute – or kind – considering the fates of the two characters who suffered from this affliction?

Do you think that honesty is the best policy?

 



rutkoski_winners

Winning what you want may cost you everything you love…

As a general’s daughter in a vast empire that revels in war and enslaves those it conquers, seventeen-year-old Kestrel has two choices: she can join the military or get married. But Kestrel has other intentions.

One day, she is startled to find a kindred spirit in a young slave up for auction. Arin’s eyes seem to defy everything and everyone. Following her instinct, Kestrel buys him—with unexpected consequences. It’s not long before she has to hide her growing love for Arin.

But he, too, has a secret, and Kestrel quickly learns that the price she paid for a fellow human is much higher than she ever could have imagined.

Set in a richly imagined new world, The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski is a story of deadly games where everything is at stake, and the gamble is whether you will keep your head or lose your heart.

ebook, 355 pages

Published March 4th 2014 by Farrar Straus Giroux

ISBN 0374384681 (ISBN13: 9780374384685)

While out shopping in the village, Kestrel decides to attend the slave auction and spontaneously decides to bid on one of the slaves. Kestrel is not in need of a new slave, but there is something about this boy she can’t pass up. Kestrel’s at time in her life when she must chose between joining the army or getting married, and she’s torn between the two. She cannot physically fight well and yet she’s not ready for marriage. As time passes, the slave becomes an unexpected shoulder to lean on. There is something about this boy that is not like the others.

Kestrel’s father is the general and travels a lot. When he is home, he really pressures Kestrel to make a decision. There is a rumble of discontentment among the village people and when the General has to leave for his next trip the rumblings get worse. As the tension begins to grow at home, Kestrel has to be level headed and show strength to her people.

But her friendship with Arin – the slave – becomes centre stage. The rumours grow, and he’s given more access to the mansion.

I love stories with a strong female lead. At times Kestrel shows us weakness and naivety, yet she really grows throughout this story. Even at the end, I was a little torn between which side to root for, and I kind of loved that. It really gives you a look at both sides of the story through Kestrel and Arin. Although there is some connection between the two, as they get to know each other, it’s the friendship and not the romance that takes the major role.

I am excited to see where the story goes next in The Winners Crime. I recommend this series to fantasy fans who enjoy politics, war, and the lives of those stuck in between.

 

 



Amethyst Kelly Azalea A.K.A Iggy Azalea broke through the Hip-Hop hit music scene with her platinum winning 2014 song Fancy ft Charli XCX.

Iggy 1

 

Iggy was born in June 1990 and grew up in countryside of Australia.

Before even turning 16, she moved to America to pursue her love for rap music. She is known famously for her collabs with T.I. (her

producer) Ariana Grande, Charli XCX and Rita Ora.

 

She’s probably the most hated rapper for 3 reasons.

She’s Australian, white and a woman.

She’s received hate from Snoop, Drake and others in the music scene.

In my opinion, they’re all jealous that she’s the new face of hip-hop and rap music and they’re not.

 

Iggy 2

 

Despite all her haters, her style of music has opened up many fashion collabs with brands like Forever 21, which also featured her boyfriend NBA player Nick Young.

 

Iggy 3

 

After this campaign the gorgeous blonde captured the attention of Steve Madden, a high end shoe designer. She happily accepted, and within a bit of time, she had a line of shoes with him.

 

Iggy 5        Iggy 6

 

But… anger sparked in Iggy when something happened that she wasn’t expecting.

 

Iggy 7

 

This. Photos Iggy hadn’t approved for said collab. She took to Twitter to say this.

 

Iggy 8

 

After blowing off steam for some time, she cleared things up on Instagram saying she loves Steve and the whole collab; she was just angry that photos were taken without her consent, and that everything in a collaboration should be approved by everyone before being shown to the public. I mean, she is the star of the collab. It’s her name on the shoes before it’s Steve Madden’s. Thankfully, there are some photos she was in, that were mutually approved. (None of which have crotch shots or pool toys)

 

Iggy 9    iggy 10

 

I’m a huge Azalean (fan of Iggy)! I’m so happy that Iggy, despite everything, rose to the top and continues to create such her unique style of music. A day will never come when I don’t buy her album on iTunes, because she offers something nobody has ever offered, and something nobody will ever be able to offer again. She has such a one of a kind voice when she raps, that it’s hard not to want to listen to more.

To be 100% honest, I’d love to see design her own clothing line, because  her outfits on stage are always on point! I’m sure she has a stylist but Iggy seems like the kind of gal that wouldn’t wear something she didn’t wanna. I feel like she has some say in what she wears, and even when she’s just shopping, she looks stunning.

 

iggy 11   iggy 12   iggy 13

 

I wish Iggy all the success in her future endeavours and hopefully a future clothing line!

 

Chris :)



harris_midnight crossroadWhen Manfred Bernardo decides to move, Midnight, Texas seems like an ideal location. A town so small it’s almost a case of blink and you’ll miss it, Manfred figures that it will be the perfect place to lie low while getting his Internet business on track.

Soon after he arrives he realises that he’s not the only one in town with secrets. Though his new neighbours are few, they’re not the kind to over-share and run on a policy of not asking others about their pasts.

This policy suits Manfred fine until members of a white supremacist bikie gang start showing up in town, determined to extract someone’s secrets from them. And until Bobo Winthrop’s missing girlfriend shows up dead.

Midnight Crossroad is one of those books that you ultimately wish offered a little bit more. Some aspects of it are really interesting. The setting, for instance, is full of possibility. Midnight is tiny – a place with just enough traffic from people on road-trips to make it feasible. Because of the size, the community is a close-knit one. Yet, in spite of how much the townspeople support each other, seemingly every member of the community is running from something or keeping secrets. So the people of Midnight live in the present, not pushing into their neighbour’s pasts.

Aside from having a distinctive setting and enticing mystery with a lot of other mysteries broiling under the surface, quite a few things don’t hold together in Midnight Crossroad. The murder, first and foremost. Why would anyone believe that a woman had run away when she took nothing with her and at no point gave anyone the impression that she wanted to leave – or had anywhere to go?

Also, what is the social setting of this novel? I mean, obviously it’s American, but is this a world like that in Harris’s Sookie Stackhouse series where everyone knows that supernatural beings exist – or is the paranormal deeply buried from regular people in this world? Bobo and Manfred appear in other books by Harris. It’s possible that I’d understand the setting more if I had read those novels, but getting into Midnight Crossroad without any background context is a little baffling.

Midnight Crossroad has a lot of promise. The characters – with all their secrets – are intriguing enough to draw readers back; as is the setting. Hopefully Day Shift, the second book in the series settles some of the questions that this one raised.

 

**For older readers

Midnight Crossroad – Charlaine Harris

Gollancz (May 6, 2014)

ISBN: 9780575092853


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