Review: The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

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The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness
Released: 27th August 2015
Published by: Walker Books
Genre: YA Contemporary/Paranormal
Source: Publisher
Pages: 282
My Rating: 4 of 5 stars
What if you aren’t the Chosen One? The one who’s supposed to fight the zombies, or the soul-eating ghosts, or whatever the heck this new thing is, with the blue lights and the death? What if you’re like Mikey? Who just wants to graduate and go to prom and maybe finally work up the courage to ask Henna out before someone goes and blows up the high school. Again.

Because sometimes there are problems bigger than this week’s end of the world, and sometimes you just have to find the extraordinary in your ordinary life. Even if your best friend is worshipped by mountain lions.

Award-winning writer Patrick Ness’s bold and irreverent novel powerfully reminds us that there are many different types of remarkable.
Thank you to Walker Books Australia  for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review

The idea of 'the chosen one' is one that permeates YA and seems to follow a similar pattern: certain seemingly average teenager is suddenly in the midst of some sort of crisis or revolution which they must find the solution to. What Patrick Ness has artfully done in The Rest of Us Just Live Here is turn this common trope on its head. Dealing with the struggles of ordinary adolescent life in a world where the extraordinary lies on the outskirts of  normal existence, this is a story that is subtly told and more engrossing than I first thought it to be. 

What's the point of lying about anything? We could keep being too afraid to say we don't know stuff and then the future will come and eat us anyway and we'll regret not doing all those things we wished we did. You know?

Mikey isn't trying to be a hero, and instead of having the responsibility of trying to save the world, he's just trying to focus on getting through high school and manage his OCD. That's not to say that he isn't special. In a society where the times of zombies and vampires have been more than just tropes in fiction, Mikey and his friends have more challenges than your typical teen today. There are weird creatures about and things happening in the city which simply can't be explained. I really found it fascinating to see how the author blended both elements of a contemporary and a touch of the paranormal, all while making everything seem almost normal.

We share our craziness, our neuroses, our little bit of screwed-up-ness that comes from our family. We share it. And it feels like love. 

Whenever I've picked up a Patrick Ness novel, I've learnt to expect something surreal - a reality that is in many ways similar to our own and yet at the same time utterly different. With a hint at the supernatural and creative prose, this ended up being a truly unique read. At first I have to admit I wasn't totally convinced I would enjoy this one, but the more I read and got to know what was happening on the sidelines from the main plot I became inadvertently hooked. This is a story in a story, an inception-like creation that divulges only a small part of the real action at the beginning of each chapter. The 'indie kids' are the characters who we don't get to know in great detail, and yet their tribulations are so central to the plot. This really is a reversal of what you would expect from a traditional novel, and I applaud it for its unflinching divergence from the trend. 

Not everyone has to be the Chosen One. Not everyone has to be the guy who saves the world. Most people just have to live their lives the best they can, doing the things that are great for them, having great friends, trying to make their lives better, loving people properly. All the while knowing the world makes no sense but trying to find a way to be happy anyway. 
FINAL THOUGHTS

In all, The Rest of Us Just Lives Here will definitely appeal to existing Ness fans who are used to his unique way of storytelling, and could undoubtedly win him some new fans as well. It's a novel which teaches us that no, you don't have to be the 'chosen one', but that doesn't ever mean you're insignificant because everybody has their purpose.

The #holidaycramathon - Reading ALL THE BOOKS!

Monday, 23 November 2015


A little while ago author Jessica L. Brooks came up with the idea to have a readathon where you can set goals to get through a whole heap of books on your TBR in time for the holidays! Here is her original post so you can see what it's all about. I'm sure there are many of us bookworms (almost all most likely) who have that 'so many books, so little time' dilemma, so this is a fantastic way to make things happen. I'm going to be participating and hope to get through these books:


These Shallow Graves by Jennifer Donnely
Magnus Chase and the Sword of Summer by Rick Riordan
Hush by Donna Jo Napoli
Illuminae by Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman
A Thousand Nights by E.K. Johnston
Extraordinary Means by Robyn Schneider
The Assassin's Blade by Sarah J. Maas
November 9 by Colleen Hoover

Eight books may be a little ambitious given that I haven't read nearly as much as I would have wanted to in the past couple of weeks (because working in a bookstore doesn't mean you get to sit around and read books all day), but hopefully with this goal I'll be more motivated to work towards it. 

Will you be participating in any readathons over the holidays, or if you've done them before have you achieved your goal?

Genie's Weekly News (46)

Sunday, 22 November 2015


Well it certainly has been more than a week since my last weekly news update, but I'm finally back with another one. I haven't gotten back into blogging as quickly as I would have liked firstly due to adjusting to my new post-HSC working/life in general schedule and also because my old laptop went kaput. I'm looking for a new replacement, though in the meantime I have to use the shared one which means I can't post as often as I'd like. That aside, I'm looking forward to blog-hopping more again (oh how I miss seeing all your fabulous new posts!) and writing more of my own.

*Reading Right Now*

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Basically - loving it so far!
*Recommendation of the Week*

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What can I say? This sequel was just as awesome as the first book, and full of even more twists!

*From The Interwebs*

*Haul*

Thank you to HarperCollins, Holly and Elspeth for these!
My two most anticipated reads from this haul are definitely arc's of Passenger and Lady Helen and the Dark Days Club! I've loved what Alexandra Bracken has written so far and this new novel of hers has a promising premise! As for the other, I love historical fiction, and this one is by an Australian author as well. Said to be "Buffy x Pride and Prejudice" I can't wait to see how it turns out!

*Recent Events*

Friday night was BTCYA held by the lovely people at HarperCollins Australia! Tim and Amanda did another wonderful job at hosting, and I can definitely say that next year will be filled with some really exciting releases in the YA world! From fantasy to historical, heartbreaking contemporaries and thrilling stories - there will be awesome novels coming from every direction. I'm going to a Sarah J. Maas event this week (!!!) so that is definitely something to look forward to.

*New Facebook Page*

I've just made a facebook page for Genie In A Book where you can catch up on my latest posts and other bookish news from me. You can check it out here!


What's the last amazing book you read?




{Blog Tour} The Next Together by Lauren James: Review & Author Interview

Monday, 9 November 2015

23266378The Next Together by Lauren James
Series: The Next Together #2
Released: 3rd September 2015
Published by: Walker Books Australia
Genre: YA Science Fiction/Time 
Source: Publisher
Pages: 356
My Rating: 4 of 5 stars
Goodreads | QBD | Booktopia
How many times can you lose the person you love? Katherine and Matthew are destined to be born again and again, century after century. Each time, their presence changes history for the better, and each time, they fall hopelessly in love, only to be tragically separated.

Spanning the Crimean War, the Siege of Carlisle and the near-future of 2019 and 2039 they find themselves sacrificing their lives to save the world. But why do they keep coming back? What else must they achieve before they can be left to live and love in peace? Maybe the next together will be different...

A powerful and epic debut novel for teenagers about time-travel, fate and the timelessness of first love. The Next Together is told through a mixture of regular prose, diary entries, letters, "original" historical documents, news reports and internet articles.
Thank you to Walker Books Australia for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review

Nothing is more romantic than a great love which spans the ages - and that's just what The Next Together delivers. In this YA novel which encapsulates a range of genres and styles, Lauren James has created something which is equally entertaining and suspenseful. Through creatively weaving different time periods and settings with Kate and Matt as the common denominator throughout, this story is one that stands out as not just a romance, but something that is so much more. 


If you're like me and love both sci-fi/time travel and historical fiction, combined with a romantic element executed well, then The Next Together will work for you. While the futuristic settings of 2019 and 2039 are not too different from our own, the historical settings of 1745 during the Siege of Carlisle and 1856 in the Crimean War added  whole new levels of drama and complexities to their relationship. It was interesting to see how the social norms of the times had an impact on the dynamic of their bond, be it forbidden love or a passionate affair because life could end at any moment. I loved getting to know these different versions of Kate and Matt that were similar to their future selves and still had their own unique nuances which fit with the times. While these historical setting weren't described in as rich a detail as you would find in a historical fiction novel specifically, it was relatively easy to visualise the settings which the author was trying to convey.

Unique formatting is becoming more prevalent in recent YA releases, and I'm so glad to see it in this book. There are excerpts from emails, maps, computer coding and letters all woven throughout the story, to make it seem more real. It does add that added level of personalisation and authenticity to a text which is at its heart fictional, and kept me attentive as well. I think it's these little additions which can make a reading experience all the more special because it does stand out from say, other romance or time travel novels I may have come across. 

FINAL THOUGHTS

The Next Together is a romantic read which also deals with some of the 'wibbly wobbly timey whimey' stuff which is unique to Matt and Kate's relationship. There is definitely room for a sequel, and so I can't wait for The Last Beginning!


Author QnA with Lauren James!

What was your main inspiration for this book?

It was inspired by time travel romances like Outlander and The Time Traveler’s Wife. I really wanted to write a book which combine my love for Jane Austen with my equal enjoyment of Doctor Who. I started writing by making a huge list of all the things I love reading most, and tried to combine them all into one storyline. It was quite challenging, but very satisfying!

The concept of Nature versus Nurture – seeing how someone with unchanging personality traits can change just because of their upbringing – has always interested me. I was drawn to the idea of reincarnation because I thought it would be a really interesting plot device to use to explore this kind of characterisation, as I could write about the same people in different lives.

Fanfiction AUs were also a big inspiration for the multiple timelines of The Next Together – I love reading about my favourite characters in different situations, and seeing how the same core relationships play out in a variety of ways because of their environment. I wanted to explore that in a novel.

I love how there were so many settings and times throughout history explored in this book. What sort of research did you do to make this book believable and the different settings pop?

In hindsight, choosing a storyline with multiple historical time periods might have been a bad idea for my first ever novel, which was hard enough to write without the research!

I was a student when I started writing as a hobby, so I didn’t want to spend any money on history textbooks. I actually chose the timelines in the book based on which I could research for free, mainly using my university library and primary sources available to access on Google Books. It seemed to work out quite well!

If there was anything I couldn’t find out through research (even when I caved and bought textbooks, after I realised I wanted to make the story into a proper novel!) I used my imagination, and a bit of dramatic licence.

This isn't just a romance and encapsulates a few different genres which is really interesting. However what do you think makes people fall in love with a good romance story? 

I think when the characters feel real, and you can really feel the connection between them, people will be hooked. If there’s an interesting, unique pairing, I’ll follow them through any storyline imaginable just to spend more time with them. A good romance is some that’s hard to pinpoint, but you know if when you read it.

The extra notes, letters, maps and other files interspersed within the writing made for some intriguing additions to the story - how did they end up becoming part of the book?

I wanted to keep an element of continuity throughout the book, so that the book felt like it all tied together, rather than being a collection of stories about separate people. The documents and letters were my way of doing that.
I designed crude versions of the maps and notes in Microsoft Word (originally just as a way to procrastinate from writing!). Then the Walker designer Jack Noel took all my notes and made them into professional graphics. He did an excellent job, and I absolutely adore the finished book. There are so many little details, like the timelines across the tops of the pages which match up with the time period in the chapter. It’s so rewarding to read!

What was your biggest challenge in writing 'The Next Together'?

The historical research! The book includes two storylines set in the past, one in 1745 and one in 1854. I was very na├»ve when I started writing, and definitely didn’t know what I was getting myself into. I was a very frequent visitor of Wikipedia. I spent a lot of time reading old books and diaries and making endless notes. It was definitely worth it though – I hope it adds more realism to the time periods.

The various plot threads and time periods were also a little complicated to keep track of, I admit! Especially during editing, when I struggled to remember which plotlines I had written, which I had removed from an earlier draft, or had yet to write! As the plot involves time travel elements, this made is especially confusing, both for myself and my editor. I had to make a lot of posters keeping track of plots.

Do you have any advice for other aspiring authors out there? 

Find out what makes your writing unique and own it. Be completely shameless about it in your query letter. If you love the zombie cats in your novel, make sure they are front and centre in your query. You need to find an agent who loves your book as much as you do, and spending months crafting the perfectly written query letter isn’t going to do that – but maybe persuading them to read the book with the promise of zombie cats might.

Can you give us any little hints about what to expect in the next book?

The Last Beginning continues the story of Kate and Matt, as well as introducing some new characters, Clove and Ella. I’m not sure what I can share about it yet, except to say that it’s just as timey wimey and romantic as the first book, although this time it has a LGBT romance. I like to think of the series as Jane Austen meets Doctor Who, and that is even more appropriate for the sequel than for The Next Together.



Monday, November 9, Genie in a Book
Tuesday, November 10, Dymocks Bookmarked
Wednesday, November 11, Nicole Has Read
Thursday, November 12, Cassie the Weird
Friday, November 13, Imaginary Misadventure
Saturday, November 14, The Book Addict

twitter.com/Lauren_E_Jameslauren-e-james.tumblr.comlaurenejames.wordpress.com

Tiwi Girls Book Launch Recap!

Saturday, 7 November 2015

When I was invited to attend a launch at Hachette Australia for a book produced in one week I was definitely curious and excited to see just what it was all about. The Indigenous Literary Foundation and Hachette have worked with a group of nine girls from the Tiwi Islands to publish the special book which is "Nginingawila Ngirramini: Our Story".




I had a flick through the book itself while at the event, and it is a beautiful portrayal of the experiences of these girls, their cultural background, school life, sacred places and aspirations for the future. From front to back and everything inside, it's amazing to think that all of it has been produced in such a short period of time. With mentors working with them on the project such as renowned authors Anita Heiss and Pamela Freeman and the dedicated Hachette team, it's clear that this project has been a resounding success!



Managing director Louise Sherwin-Stark spoke about her involvement with the girls and how they all can achieve their goals for the future; whether it is to become a police officer, ranger, PE teacher - anything is possible. What was really wonderful to see was the presentation which the girls gave on the day, providing us in the audience with a glimpse into what life is like at Tiwi College, their traditional beliefs and some of the important things they've learnt so far.




It's always fun to meet some fellow bookworms in person at the launch, and this time I met Rebecca and Alison who run The YA Chronicles, and Emily from Emily The Book Addict. It was lovely to have a QnA with some of the girls to find out more about what they like to read, and they got to know a little about us and what we do as bloggers. Plus, finding fellow Harry Potter fans is always a plus!



In all, I am so grateful for the opportunity to attend this special event, and am sure that this book will be a big hit! 

"Nginingawila Ngirramini: Our Story" will be available in early 2016. 

Top Ten Tuesday: Debut Authors Who Have Me Looking Forward To Their Sophomore Novels

Tuesday, 3 November 2015



Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by bloggers at The Broke and the Bookish. This week I'll be talking about the debut authors whose second books I can't wait to read!


1. Sarah Ayoub

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I really loved Hate Is Such A Strong Word, and so I was so excited to find out that The Yearbook Committee will be released next year! As a side note, that cover looks pretty awesome, I'm liking the vintage vibes.

2. Victoria Aveyard


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Not everyone loved Red Queen, though personally I did end up enjoying it. That cliffhanger at the end makes reading the second book a must!

3. Amy Ewing


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Another debut author, another dystopian series - I own The White Rose and can't wait to start it!

4. Kathryn Barker

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This debut is one of my top reads of 2015 - seriously powerful and definitely in possession of some wow factor. I am so curious to see what Kathryn Barker will come up with next!
5. Fleur Ferris


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There have been a few outstanding #LoveOzYA titles this year, and Risk is one of them. Chilling and yet so worth a read, this book has impressed me and so I can't wait to check out the next book from this author which will be released in July 2016!

6. Sandy Hall

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For those cute, sweet romances, Sandy Hall nails it. I have Signs Point to Yes so will be checking it out soon! 

7. Maria Dahvana Headley

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Magonia is a book that is as weird as it is wonderful. As the first book in a series, I am intrigued to see where on earth (or in the skies) the rest of the story will go. 

8. Thalia Kalkipsakis


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Lifespan of Starlight tackled time travel in an Australian landscape, and from an angle which I haven't read before. Technically she's not exactly a debut author, but this is her debut series so I've put it on this list.

9. Stephanie Oakes


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This book was another big hit for me, since it was so intense and thought provoking. As a debut it shines, and so I am eagerly awaiting the release of The Arsonist, a YA mystery novel by Stephanie Oakes coming out in 2016 .

10. Amy Zhang



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Falling Into Place left me with SO MANY EMOTIONS, and I'm getting the feeling that This is Where the World Ends will be just as heartbreaking.

What debut authors have you anticipating their second novel? 

Review: Wicked Restless by Ginger Scott

Monday, 2 November 2015

You can see my review for Wild Restless and my author interview with Ginger Scott here

26124170Wild Reckless by Ginger Scott
Series: Harper Boys #2
Released: 17th March 2015
Genre: NA Contemporary
Source: Author
Pages: 306
My Rating: 4.5 of 5 stars
Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes and Noble
Andrew Harper grew up in a house marked by tragedy. His older brother Owen did his best to shelter him, but you can only be protected from life’s pain for so long.
Eventually, you end up just feeling numb…and isolated. 

Loneliness was the one constant in Andrew’s life. Until one girl, met by chance in a high school hallway, changed everything. Emma Burke was a mystery and all that was beautiful in this world, the only air Andrew ever wanted to breathe. She took the lonely away, and filled it with hope and color, and Andrew would do anything to keep her safe, happy and whole.

 But sometimes, what feels good and right is what ends up hurting us the most. And when Andrew and Emma are faced with an impossible decision, Andrew is tested to see just how far he’s willing to go for the girl who owns his heart. Cuts are deep. Scars are left behind. And revenge beckons. When Andrew finally gets his chance, in college, five years after his first love broke him completely, he finds out old feelings don’t really disappear just because you say you hate someone.

The more he tries to avenge all that he believes he lost, the more he uncovers the real story of what happened years before.

 Love is wicked. But a restless heart is never satisfied beating on its own. Can Andrew and Emma make it right before it's too late, or will the ties that bind them now destroy their only chance at a future?
Thank you to the author and Wordsworth Publicity for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review


Ginger Scott's talent as an author has shone through yet again in this NA contemporary novel, built on the foundations set by Wild Reckless. While it's not essential that you've read that first, it definitely gives you an idea of how the characters have transformed and two brothers support each other when times are tough. In Wicked Reckless there is a romance which takes the stereotypes and yet turns them into something altogether unique, by weaving raw characters undergoing challenges which attempt to define them.This is a story that will evoke a whole range of emotions in you from start to finish. 

There's an emptiness and fullness that settles over us at the same time - a feeling of hope and hopelessness. We wade in it, breathe in it together, and I want to run back to him, to tell him the rest of my story, to climb back into his car and let him drive us away.

Andrew and Emma - two people who are similar in some ways and still so different in others. Whilst it may seem that the 'smart bad boy' is back again in YA, Ginger Scott has managed to create a flawed character who has so much more to him. Andrew isn't necessarily likable at the start, and there's a frustration about some of his actions that you can't help but feel. However, what makes this book something I enjoyed reading was seeing a real transformation from two teenagers in lust (which the author portrayed as not necessarily in love), to two adults navigating the troubles life has thrown at them. The alternating POV's also allowed a glimpse into Emma's world, one which you don't quite grasp the intricacies of until an important aspect of her character is revealed (read it and find out!). Let's just say that matters of the heart are altogether complicated, and in more ways than one...

Nothing about the way he's looking at me feels threatening or possessive; it's adoring...Adored is exactly how I always wanted to feel, and I haven't felt it since he left my life five years ago.

Another thing which I loved about this book was how realistic the relationships seemed. There is a clear difference shown in different situations about what makes a positive relationship and what makes a negative one, alongside the importance of trust and honesty. Aside from the romantic side of things though is the brotherly connection between Andrew and Owen, who we got to know in the first book. It's uplifting to see how they still shared a camaraderie between them and the banter added some humour where it was needed. It just goes to show how important family is through highs and lows, and how they can help make a person who they are.

Andrew Harper was a gift, a friend when I was scared and alone, a savior when I almost lost everything, and the love of my life that I got lucky enough to find a second time.

FINAL THOUGHTS

Wicked Restless is a NA romance which takes readers on a whirlwind journey with two characters who overcome challenges within themselves, and together. If you're a fan of this genre, then you'll definitely love getting to know the Harper Boys!


Ginger Scott is an Amazon-bestselling author of six young and new adult romances, including Waiting on the Sidelines, Going Long, Blindness, How We Deal With Gravity, This Is Falling and You and Everything After. A sucker for a good romance, Ginger’s other passion is sports, and she often blends the two in her stories. (She’s also a sucker for a hot quarterback, catcher, pitcher, point guard…the list goes on.) Ginger has been writing and editing for newspapers, magazines and blogs for more than 15 years. She has told the stories of Olympians, politicians, actors, scientists, cowboys, criminals and towns.

For more on her and her work, visit her website at http://www.littlemisswrite.com. When she's not writing, the odds are high that she's somewhere near a baseball diamond, either watching her son field pop flies like Bryce Harper or cheering on her favorite baseball team, the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Ginger lives in Arizona and is married to her college sweetheart whom she met at ASU (fork 'em, Devils).