sarahHow long have you been writing for MDPWeb, why did you join the group, and what do you like about being part of it?

I have been reviewing for MDPWeb since April 2015. I am loving the opportunity to read books in a wide range of genres. Yes, I have a soft spot for contemporary YA, but as I’m learning through the diverse reading material delivered to me by MDPWeb, there are awesome books to be found in every genre and sub-genre you care to mention. What I find really cool about reviewing books is the idea that maybe I’m helping people discover books they might not otherwise pick up.

What creative piece are you working on, and what author would you liken your work to?

I am working hard to polish and refine the contemporary fiction novel I wrote last year during the Queensland Writer’s Centre Year of the Novel course (novelist Marianne de Pierres was the course’s most excellent presenter). My novel is called New Year’s Eve. The tag line is: Who says coming of age is only for teenagers? Eve Anderson has just turned 30 and this year she’s going to grow up. I’d say my book would appeal to readers of Rainbow Rowell.

 What book have you most enjoyed reviewing for MDPWeb?

Ooh, that’s a hard one. OK, I’m going to say The Prophecy of Bees. This book really took me by surprise. I did not think I was going to like it, let alone love it and I totally did. I am definitely looking forward to diving into my next suspense novel now.

cusackWhat’s your favourite thing to do in your downtime?

Read of course!

Is there somewhere else online/in bookstores we can find your work?

You can visit my blog

What’s your favourite TV series?

Not long ago my sister suggested I watch a show called Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. It is totally whack…hilarious…awesome! I think Tina Fey was one of the creators. I was so sad when I’d watched my way through the season. Seriously, if you’re looking for a laugh, check it out.

Who or what is your current crush?

Past, present, future: Lloyd Dobler (AKA John Cusack) in the truly brilliant 80s movie Say Anything. Check out my blog and you’ll understand why.



black -Darkest part of the forestCover

The white title nestled in twisting green foliage suits the novel. The font is reminiscent of old-fashioned hand-lettering and has sharp edges that give the impression of violence.


In a town twined so closely with magic, you’d hardly expect to find ordinary characters here. And happily, you don’t. The characters in Darkest Part are all unique – some of them making themselves unique because they were not born, blessed or cursed so. There’s the human and his changeling ‘brother’, the girl who hunts Fae and her brother who cannot escape what they gave him – no matter how much he tries.


I’d really want to say all of them, but I guess that Hazel stands out the most for me. A bit dull considering that it’s a point in the book that everyone loves her – but I’m no exception. She’s fierce and determined and happy to be selfish if it means finding her vocation even when she knows that her vocation is not the slightest bit nice.

Least Favourite

Probably Alderking. Not because he was evil and you were supposed to hate him, but because I didn’t really feel much of anything for him.


A horned boy sleeps in a glass coffin nestled in the woods. Through the long years, parties have pulsed around him, artists have painted him and two siblings have tried everything they could think of to free him.


Fairfold is a town buried in the heart of an enchanted forest. Its citizens have learnt to adapt to the strange and sometimes terrifying creatures they live alongside. When the horned boy wakes, Fairfold is about to get a whole lot more dangerous.


I wasn’t sure that I liked where this story was going, but wound up loving the ending.


I read this in about a day while I was visiting my aunt because I’m the kind of person who will abandon my own kin if a book is good enough. Holly Black just has this way of writing characters that you want to spend time with – and one book was not enough with these guys. This feels like a stand-alone, but I will live in hope that it will turn into a trilogy.


There’s a monster in our wood

She’ll get you if you’re not good

Drag you under leaves and sticks

Punish you for all your tricks

A nest of hair and gnawed bone

You are never, ever coming –”


black_forect blackCover

There are a couple of different covers to this book. I have an ARC (advanced review copy) Mine has the forestry against a brownie-orange backdrop, much like the ebook and the hardcover.


Holly has crafted some truly fun characters in this one.


I would have to say Hazel. The girl kicks butt and is unapologetic about keeping her people safe.

Least Favourite

Hmmm… Ainsel.


There’s a boy in the darkest part of the forest, in an enchanted sleep, held within a glass coffin.


Hazel wakes him up and the crap hits the fan.


Dude! Read it and find out.


Holly Black can be a little hit and miss for me, but this book was a bullseye. I adore stand alone books that have you chomping at the bit for more. It would be great to have a bunch of books from the same reality, but not necessarily needing to be read in any particular order.


“Maybe. Just the other day, she made Carter carry dried holly berries in the pocket of his jacket. He got mad and chucked one at me. They sting like a bitch.” ~Jack talking to Ben


Krista McKeeth_2_tnKrista:


It’s eye catching, cute yet ominous. I prefer the white background over the the orange/brown one, personal preference.


Main character, Hazel she’s a very strong character, opinionated, and unselfish. Speaks her mind and is loyal.

Ben- Hazel’s brother. Somewhat competitive and some protective. He was bestowed the magic of music talent when he was young and is very gifted.

Severin-Horned boy coffin. He is focused and determined; on a mission, but finds time to make friends and build relationships with other characters.


Severin- Because he’s different and has a great back story.

Least Favourite

Ben and Hazel’s parents. Nothing specifically regarding each, but I felt that the way they raised Hazel and Ben, and it’s contrast to how they are now, was sad.


The introduction of the world and characters. They live next to a forest that has creatures of all kinds. Hazel likes to fight with her sword and pretend she is a knight. She is very protective of her brother. We learn of her guilt regarding a kiss that went horribly wrong, and Ben’s loss of his magic of music. Also there are ominous hints regarding a bargain that Hazel made, unknown to the other characters and readers until further along in the book.


From the jacket: “Hazel lives with her brother, Ben, in the strange town of Fairfold where humans and fae exist side by side. The faeries’ seemingly harmless magic attracts tourists, but Hazel knows how dangerous they can be, and she knows how to stop them. Or she did, once.
At the centre of it all, there is a glass coffin in the woods. It rests right on the ground, and in it sleeps a boy with horns on his head and ears as pointed as knives. Hazel and Ben were both in love with him as children. The boy has slept there for generations, never waking.

“Until one day, he does…

“As the world turns upside down, Hazel tries to remember her years pretending to be a knight. But swept up in new love, shifting loyalties, and the fresh sting of betrayal, will it be enough?”


I really enjoyed the ending, things came full circle nicely, even though there was a bit of a surprise decision made. It fitted with the overall emotions of the book and made sense.


Once I finished reading the book, I sat and thought about if for a while. The characters really made the story for me and I found them admirable. The world building is imaginative and story line is exciting and full of adventure. I liked this book, and I recommend  it.


“Hazel kissed boys for all kinds of reasons — because they were cute, because she was a little drunk, because she was bored, because they let her, because it was fun, because they looked lonely, because it blotted out her fears for a while, because she wasn’t sure how many kisses she had left.”

“You and your sister are very dear to each other. To show your regard, you give each other lovely bouquets of lies.”

Hardcover, 328 pages

Published February 5th 2015 by Indigo (first published January 13th 2015)

ISBN 1780621736 (ISBN13: 9781780621739


Discussion Topics

Everyone has more than one self – though maybe not as noticeably as Hazel. Which of your selves do you not trust?

Hazel is overwhelmingly filled with thoughts of kissing. Funny side topic or distracting angst?

There are some side stories in which we learn about the townsfolk’s interactions with the creatures of the forest; which was your favourite?

Chris Glabbwoods_ShanghaiRecently, I’ve had the pleasure to review the book Shanghai Street Style by Toni Johnson-Woods and Vicki Karaminas with photography by Fung Chan.

This book was a pleasure to read as it was chocked full of interesting info on ‘The Fashion World’ in Shanghai. Shanghai is extremely fashion forward, compared to the rest of the world, and this is extremely evident in this book! Between the gorgeous photos and rich wording, this book brought me (mentally) to a city that I’ve never visited. Every page was like an amazing adventure to some magical fashion land, and I simply could not get enough!

The writing expresses the importance of making a statement. Anybody can wear khakis and a polo, but when you match that up with a pair of statement shoes you make the outfit your own. While reading and admiring the pictures, I learned about an abundance of styles, from Vintage to Contemporary and Chic to Hipster.


One thing this book really illustrated, which I feel is often overlooked in the fashion world, is the importance of accessories. The book has a playful, but informative grasp on accessories. Some of my favourite features have to be the owl hanging from a Smart phone, or the large pink and red ‘Piece Sign’ necklace that’s slightly on the verge of being tacky. Either way, I absorbed every bit of inspiration possible from these accessories and I feel like I’ll benefit immensely from the statement pieces photographed in the book.


Along with this theme of accessories, I loved the parts of the book that illustrated the works that are bags and shoes. My favourite tidbit that really exposes the use of a bag would have to be this one:

“The Shanghainese put a lot of thought in choosing the perfect bag, and that’s how it should be. Bags tell us so much about a person’s personality, about what they like to do and where they like to go. Teamed up with an outfit, bags are an essential accessory for any city slicker on the move.”

I love this piece of writing because I think it’s so true to the purpose of bags and explains the personality behind the person carrying it.


One part of the book that I thought was a quite comedic was when they were talking about how to choose a perfect shoe. Some of the reasons they gave were things like taste, brand loyalty and of course – price. This piece was just so real that it cracked me up a bit. Of course, I wouldn’t buy a shoe that I didn’t like the look of — taste. I wouldn’t buy a shoe if I didn’t know the brand, or if I knew they were unreliable or not well constructed – brand loyalty. And I wouldn’t spend anything over $200 on a pair of shoes – price. And so, I just really connected with this part of the book!


Thanks sooo much to Marianne, for hooking me up with this amazing book, and to Shanghai for the inspiration!

Chris :)

Jamieson_Day Boy CoverTrent has never steered me wrong with his books, so I rushed to get my hands on his new book, Day Boy, on the day it came out. I begged the sales guy to un-box my copy so I had the first one sold in that store. I was a just a little excited, and now I am very satisfied.

This book dances to the beat of its own drum. It comes waltzing into your life and leaves footprints on your heart.

Midfield is a small town in the middle of nowhere, reached by long rides on horseback or a mysterious journey on the Night Train. Monsters rule the town. They come out at night and feed on willing townsfolk. In return, crime is low and the Day Boys are sent to see to odd jobs once the sun rises.

Mark is the Day Boy for Dain, but not for much longer. It is his moment to decide if he’s man enough to become one of the Monsters, or if he’s monstrous enough to remain a man.

The ‘V’ word (Vampire) is never uttered, though the legend stays pure.

I love the oldy worldy feel of Midfield yet I’m pretty sure it’s set in the future. The characters pull at your heart strings, and you can’t help being sucked in to cheering for Mark.

A one of a kind story you’d be foolish to miss.

Paperback, 309 pages

Published June 24th 2015 by Text Publishing (first published 2015)

ISBN13 9781922182838




carman-dark edenFifteen-year-old Will Besting is sent by his doctor to Fort Eden, an institution meant to help patients suffering from crippling phobias. Once there, Will and six other teenagers take turns in mysterious fear chambers and confront their worst nightmares—with the help of the group facilitator, Rainsford, an enigmatic guide. When the patients emerge from the chamber, they feel emboldened by the previous night’s experiences. But each person soon discovers strange, unexplained aches and pains. . . . What is really happening to the seven teens trapped in this dark Eden? Patrick Carman’s Dark Eden is a provocative exploration of fear, betrayal, memory, and— ultimately—immortality.

Hardcover, First Edition, 336 pages Published November 1st 2011 by Katherine Tegen Books
ISBN  0062009702 (ISBN13: 9780062009708)

Characters:  We are introduced to Will through sessions with his therapist. We learn he is an introvert who spends most of his time thinking about being at home with his little brother. However, he develops an interest in the other patients and sneakily begins taking files from the therapist’s computer.

Originality:  I found this story to be very unique; the seven kids are taken to a “summer camp” which is a place for them to face their fears. The therapist tells Will that there is some connection between all of them and that this treatment facility will be the only thing that can finally cure them because the therapy sessions for this group haven’t been working.

Plot: Will soon realizes that the “summer camp” is not what he originally thought and becomes paranoid. He breaks off from the group upon arrival and hides in a basement room where he watches the other kids become “healed”, one at a time, through a camera security system. He falls for one of the other patients and wants to try to warn her about what he’s been seeing before she goes to her final “healing” session. But that means coming out of hiding.

Writing:  While I really enjoyed how the story ended (it had a great twist), it took me a while to get through this short book because of the slow pacing.  The story kept a mysterious overtone, but I couldn’t feel a connection to the main character who spent all of his time hiding in a room watching a camera and hypothesizing about what he was seeing, instead of being part of the action.

Krista’s Rating:  It’s definitely a book that I was glad that I stuck with. It’s always nice to be surprised at the end of a story, and this one sure did that!

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