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Cyra

Cyra

The Returned - Jason Mott Imagine having your loved ones return from the dead, returned to the world exactly the way they were before they died. Imagine the joy, the confusion, the turmoil and the questions. The Returned is a unique and emotional read. It follows the experiences of the Hargrave family and the small town of Arcadia, as they try to make sense of the 'miracle' that seems to be happening all over the world.

The plot progressed rather slowly especially through the first half of the book, it picked up in pace toward the end of the book Although the the ending seemed unresolved to me. There were too many unanswered questions for my liking, I almost felt cheated.

The Returned is the type of book that will make you question yourself, and the decisions you make and it will certainly keep you thinking long after you have put it down. I definitely recommend this as a book for book clubs as there are many questions and opportunities for discussion.

104 Horses

104 Horses - Mandy Retzlaff review to come
The Mourning Hours - Paula Treick DeBoard Addictive and haunting, The Mourning Hours was very hard to put down. we follow nine year old Kirsten Hammarstrom's point of view as she experiences a peaceful childhood in rural Wisconsin until the unthinkable happens, her older brother, Johnny's, girlfriend goes missing one night and he was the last one to see her. The disappearance causes the close-knit community to turn on Johnny and his family, causing their lives to fall apart.

Experiencing this tragedy through the eyes of young Kirsten is heart-wrenching and unforgettable. We watch her struggle with the disappearance of Stacy and the outrage of the community as well as slowly watching her family fall apart while she is torn between what appears to be the truth and staying loyal to her family.

Beautifully written, The Mourning Hours captures the rural setting as well as the heartbreak and turmoil of a small town shaking to it's core. A breathtaking read, highly recommended.
The 5th Wave (The Fifth Wave, #1) - Rick Yancey This book has been given a lot of attention, both negative and positive. Where do I stand on this? Somewhere in the middle.
The 5th Wave is a post apocalyptic, alien invasion novel told from various points of view (which seems to be a lasting trend these days.) Ultimately the story is mainly about Cassie who has had everything she ever cared about taken from her by the Others, and she is on a mission to get some of it back, starting with her brother.

I love the whole sci-fi, alien invasion thing, even the smattering of romance was nice touch despite the cliches. The world building was good and the characters were well written and believable, the action was high and suspenseful, but something just didn't do it for me. I started out not being able to put it down, but as I progressed it seemed to lose steam and I was left with a feeling of 'been there done that.'
Don't get me wrong it still was a thoroughly enjoyable book that has left me wondering what will happen in the next installment, but it just seemed to be lacking something that I can't quite put my finger on

What Tears Us Apart

What Tears Us Apart - Deborah Cloyed I really enjoyed this book, it was emotional, raw and shockingly real. I was really able to picture the war torn slum and it made me realize how many things I take for granted everyday. My heart went out to the characters as I was drawn deeper into their world.
All the characters were beautifully complex, and I couldn't help but wonder if I would have reacted in the same ways as they did if I was in their positions.
The format in which this book is written took a bit of getting used to but I enjoyed the way it pieced the story together.
I would definitely recommend this book.
Saving Grace - Fiona McCallum After three years in an unhappy marriage Emily Oliphant decides to leave her husband and start over. Not an easy feat when your husband is one of the wealthiest land owners in the district, but with the help of her friend Barbara, Emily slowly begins to reclaim her independence and follows her dream.

Saving Grace is a story of new beginnings and having the strength and courage to move on when the world falls down around you. A nice light read, but the ending is left wide open for the next book in the series, making it feel unfinished.

Thanks to Harlequin Australia for the ARC.
A Ring Through Time - Felicity Pulman Alice 'Allie' Bennett Has moved to Norfolk Island with her family, where her ancestors had also lived. Finding herself an 'outsider,' Allie is determined to find out the truth about her ancestors involvement in the islands past.

A Ring Through Time is haunting tale of love, betrayal and sacrifice. It illustrates perfectly how easily the secrets of the past can be lost. Well worth reading.

Thanks to Harper Collins Australia and Netgalley for the ARC
Hooked - Liz Fichera I thought I would have a hard time getting into this book, I am definitely not sports minded and this seemed like a very sports orientated book, but I was pleasantly surprised. Even though this book has a sports theme it is the deeper themes that shine, and the handy glossary at the back help with the unfamiliar golfing terms used throughout the story.
In one respect Hooked is a classic 'follow your dreams' story, but on the other hand it also tackles some bigger issues such as racism, bullying and the socio-economic division that is sadly a big factor of our everyday lives.
I loved the characters of Fred and Ryan, it was enjoyable to watch them develop and grow as the story progressed. In their efforts to find themselves and decide what they really want they make some annoying and stupid mistakes that I am sure most readers will be able to relate to. These details really capture the essence of growing up.
Overall Hooked is a fun and enjoyable contemporary romance. I look forward to the next book in the series.

Thanks to Harlequin Australia for the ARC.
Indigo Awakening  - Jordan Dane Indigo Awakening throws you straight into the action following Lucas as he runs to escape from the Believers and his sister Rayne as she desperately tries to find him.
I really enjoyed the intriguing story line but found that the constant changing between many different points of view made it feel disjointed and hard to follow at times. Although it was interesting to see the story from the 'bad guys' side and it help build suspense.
Even though there was a large number of main characters I found them to be well written and easy to relate to, it was hard not to feel for them as their worlds were turned upside down.
A fast paced, action packed and suspenseful read, Indigo Awakening is a great young adult paranormal read and I look forward to the next one in the series.

Man Drought - Rachael Johns It is impossible not to fall in love with the characters in this book. Imogen and Gibson are so determined and passionate, making it impossible for them not to lock horns, but they are also in their own ways slightly damaged which makes it impossible not not to feel their pain.
Although Gibson's grandfather Charlie, was my favourite character. Charlie is just the right mixture of sweet and stubborn, and he really brings the story together.

Rachael's writing style paints a perfect picture of country WA, for me it brought back memories of times spent on the farms of my friends, I could really picture dusty paddocks and smell the gum trees and sheep. Man Drought reminded me that despite my suburban upbringing I am really a country girl at heart, and the love of the country really does run in my genes.

Overall Man drought is a touching and heartfelt story of love, loyalty and community spirit. Easy to read and delightful, a great holiday read.
Garden of Stones - Sophie Littlefield I knew nothing about what happened to the Japanese-Americans during WWII so this book was educating and confronting. The story starts in 1978 with a murder investigation involving Lucy, then through flashbacks we learn of Lucy harrowing past. After the death of Lucy's father, Miyako and Lucy are forced into Manzanar prison camp, this is the beginning of a series of harrowing events that test the strength of both Miyako and Lucy as they struggle to survive and protect each other in this horrendous place.

Atmospheric and haunting this book was hard to put down and even harder to forget. This book has left me lost for words.
After Moonrise - P.C. Cast, Gena Showalter After Moonrise consists of two short stories by two great authors. This combination makes After Moorise a must read for any paranormal romance fan. It would also be a great starting point for anyone new to the genre.

Possessed by P.C. Cast:

Possessed is a fast paced story, making it perfect for a quick read. Enjoyable although perhaps a little predictable, with an unusual and unique ending Possessed is easy to read. Overall a well written tale.

Haunted by Gena Showalter:

I have not read a lot of Gena Showalter, but what I have read certainly does not disappoint, and this story is no exception. Mysterious and raunchy Haunted was a delight to read and I found myself savoring every paragraph. Full of twists and intrigue, Haunted was a great read.
Alice in Zombieland (White Rabbit Chronicles) - Gena Showalter I was initially attracted to this book by the title, Alice in Zombieland, it filled me with visions of a magical world filled with wonder and excitement and creepy rotting corpses around every corner waiting to devour even the wariest of travelers. But it turned out to be not quite what I was expecting. Instead of a magical world it was an everyday one, and the zombies were not the usual run of the mill, brain eating zombies (points for creativity though.) Was I disappointed? Perhaps a little to begin with, but the small amount of disappointment and doubt soon vanished as I became eager to know what fate would deal Alice next.

Alice is strong character but is not without her flaws, and lets face it who wouldn't have flaws after having their life turned upside down in a instant. It is interesting to see how she transforms throughout the course of book.
Then there is the love interest, Cole, after all what is a Gena Showalter book without a good love interest. A typical bad boy, or is he? There is more to this boy than first meets the eye. Alice and Cole's relationship is not by any means 'normal' it develops at a good pace despite the fact that at times I found their indecisive attitudes toward each other frustrating at times.
My overall favourite character was Alice's best friend Kat. She is wacky, confident, loyal and impossible to ignore. Definitely one character that has stuck in my mind long after the book has closed.

The plot moves along at a steady pace making it easy to lose track of time and left me not wanting to put it down as I eagerly devoured each chapter. There was a distinct lack of creepiness radiating from the zombies that left me a little sad, although this makes it a perfect read for a wider audience and makes this a perfect novel for those eager to 'test the waters' of a genre that may be out of their comfort zone.

Overall I found Alice in Zombieland to be a great read and I can't wait for the sequel Through the Zombie Glass.

Thanks to Harlequin Australia for the ARC.

Dark Heart: Images Of A City

Dark Heart: Images Of A City - Travis Berketa This fast paced story brings to light the shadowy side of humanity, to which many prefer to turn a blind eye. Thought provoking and straight to the point it was a great quick read.
Throne of Glass - Sarah J. Maas I really wanted to love this book. The world building is fantastic, the plot was engaging and almost perfectly paced and most of the characters were beautifully crafted, but I was expecting a little bit more of...well, something.
My biggest issue with this book was that, Celaena was not the ice-hearted assassin that I was expecting. She may have been at one stage but she didn't seem to behave in the way that one would assume an assassin would. Perhaps she used these habits to her advantage in the past and this is what made her so good at her profession, or because of the target audience the author 'girled' it up a bit for more appeal. Despite of this, Celeana was still a likable character, strong willed and stubborn.
There was a bit of a love triangle happening and the male characters were likable and I was torn between which one I liked best. They were both charming in their own ways, although sometimes cheesy, but that just made them more believable.
My favourite character would have to be Nehemia. She was loyal, courageous and mysterious not to mention smart. I would have liked to have seen more of her in the book and hope that she will be appearing in future books.
I loved the action scenes, they were well written and flowed nicely throughout the course of the book, leaving me eagerly turning the pages to find out what happened next.
Overall, I enjoyed the book enough to keep the pages turning even though I was hoping for a little more assassin and a little less girly frivolity. A nicely paced, easy read for a young female fantasy lover or someone just getting into fantasy novels.
Erebos - Ursula Poznanski, Judith Pattinson As a gamer the concept of a game that ask you carry out tasks in the real world is rather intriguing and was essentially the first thing that grabbed me about this book.

It starts of fairly slowly as Nick attempts to get his hands on a mysterious package that is circulating through his school. When Nick manages to obtain one of these packages he discovers it is a computer game, Erebos. As Nick progresses through the game the lines between fantasy and reality begin to blur as the game asks him to perform simple but increasingly sinister tasks in the real world in order to advance in the game world.

Nick is a typical teenage boy, who falls victim to his own curiosity, peer pressure and the desire to succeed. Like most teens he is stubborn and dismisses the concerns of those who care about him with out a second thought. This makes him a charcter who is easy to relate to.

As the story progresses and things start getting more sinister it becomes slightly frustrating that the characters don't just turn the game off and walk away, but this is kind of understandable if you consider the way that someone who is addicted would behave, sometimes it really isn't that easy to just walk away. The author has portrayed the addiction to gaming very realistically.

The only real issue I had with the book is the ending seemed to be very sudden, ti just felt like it was rushed.

Overall an exciting page turner that will appeal to anyone who enjoys MMOs.