REVIEW: Sapphire (Bratva Jewels Book One) by JA Low

Published: 30th July 2017

Publisher: Hachette Australia

Pages: 256

Format: Ebook (ARC courtesy of the publisher for review)

RRP: $5.99

4/5 Stars 

An unconventional love is tested to its limits in this completely immersive dark ménage suspense, for fans of JL Perry and Pepper Winters.

Mateo is used to being in the spotlight, he craves it in everything he does . . . except when it comes to his love life – that is firmly in the closet.

Tomas shuns the spotlight, the one he was born into, he wants nothing to do with it or his high-flying family who now reject him for his choices in love.

But Tomas’ and Mateo’s carefully constructed lives are turned inside out when they discover a beautiful, battered woman on their doorstep. The woman with the sapphire eyes has no memory of who she is or how she got there. Can they help her remember before the men who are after her find her first?

The first standalone book in the BRATVA JEWELS series from the author of the DIRTY TEXAS books, JA Low

I’ve previously read J A Low’s The Dirty Texas series (rock-star romance) and really enjoyed her books, but nothing could have prepared me for Sapphire. Sapphire is the kind of book that you fly through because you are so gripped by the world and characters that you simply can’t put it down. It’s the kind of book that asks the reader to go in open minded and is confronting as all hell, but it’s a story that needs to be told, and one that will leave the reader feeling rewarded, charmed and with a different outlook on life. In short,  Sapphire is amazing and I’ve never read anything quite like it.

Sapphire is the first book in what is currently a duology (Diamond is set to release October 29 2017). Although it’s a lot darker than J A Low’s Dirty Texas Series, Sapphire is easy to read and the kind of book you find yourself racing towards the end of only to want to start reading it again almost immediately.

Sapphire is very much a darker romance than J A Low’s previous Dirty Texas Series. While the romance is still just as hot – possibly even more steamier and sexier in this book – the narrative itself deals with the dark underbelly of sex trafficking and the women who find themselves trapped in the industry after being kidnapped. It deals with the Russian Mafia, kidnapping and manipulation of and by sex workers, but it does so by putting a human face and emotion to a very ugly side of humanity. While these aspects of the story are confronting and very much in your face, J A Low, has expertly navigated a complicated story and brought her trademark warmth, heart and whit that we’ve seen and loved in the Dirty Texas Series previously to the page once again.

Sapphire is also a Male-Male-Female (MMF) romance. It’s the first MMF book I’ve read to date and I absolutely loved it, but for some this unconventional romance might push boundaries a little too far. I really enjoyed the way we were introduced to Tomas and Mateo and the way their relationship was not only established but it felt real, so much so that when Zoe was introduced to the story and later their relationship it felt fluent and natural. The resulting narrative is then not only engaging as we get to see how a relationship consisting of three main players in navigated firstly in the home, and secondly by those in the know (Eg. family members), but it also makes for one hell of a sexy romance that leaves little to the imagination.

J A Low has done an amazing job bringing the characters to life in this book. While the main players – Tomas, Mateo, Zoe and our resident  Mafia villains Nikolai and Dimitri – are louder and larger than life, the secondary characters of Gracie and Zoe’s Mum are equally hilarious and engaging and add some light comic relief and casualness to the story that helps break up some of the more darker aspects.

I really enjoyed the romantic suspense elements of this book, and I honestly had no idea where the story was going to go whilst reading. J A Low has created an expertly paced and succinct novel that is sure to leave readers content for the time being, but equally wanting more and more – I know I can’t wait to read Diamond, the follow up novel that releases October 29!

All in all I highly recommend Sapphire for anyone who likes their romance with an edge, or is thinking about trying some of the darker romances on the market. In fact Sapphire would make a great introduction to the broader genre as it balances the darker elements with just the right comedic relief and warmth we know J A Low excels at. What’s more the story is fresh and invigorating and it reads effortlessly – I know I was hooked within only a few pages!-  I’m really excited to see what is next for J A Low.

To purchase your own copy of Sapphire, visit the following online retailers:

AMAZON (US) | Booktopia | Google Play | Ibooks (AUS) | KOBO

To learn more about J A Low, visit the following social media sites:

   Facebook | Twitter | Instagram |

 

 

REVIEW: Corpselight by Angela Slatter (Book 2 in the Verity Fassbinder Series)

Published: 11th July 2017

Publisher: Jo Fletcher/Hachette Australia

Pages: 376

Format: Paperback courtesy of the publisher

RRP: $32.99

5/5 Stars

‘Simply put: Slatter can write! Beautifully, stylishly, accurately. She forces us to recognise the monsters that are ourselves’ – Jack Dann, award-winning author.

Sequel to VIGIL, this fast-paced urban fantasy is perfect for fans of Harry Dresden and Kinsey Malhone.

Life in Brisbane is never simple for those who walk between the worlds.

Verity’s all about protecting her city, but right now that’s mostly running surveillance and handling the less exciting cases for the Weyrd Council – after all, it’s hard to chase the bad guys through the streets of Brisbane when you’re really, really pregnant.

An insurance investigation sounds pretty harmless, even if it is for ‘Unusual Happenstance’. That’s not usually a clause Normals use – it covers all-purpose hauntings, angry genii loci, ectoplasmic home invasion, demonic possession, that sort of thing – but Susan Beckett’s claimed three times in three months. Her house keeps getting inundated with mud, but she’s still insisting she doesn’t need or want help . . . until the dry-land drownings begin.

V’s first lead takes her to Chinatown, where she is confronted by kitsune assassins. But when she suddenly goes into labour, it’s clear the fox spirits are not going to be helpful . . .

Corpselight is the sequel to Vigil and the second book in the Verity Fassbinder series by award-winning author Angela Slatter.

Verity Fassbinder is back in Corpselight and ready to protect the ones she loves not matter the cost.

I came away from Vigil (book one in the Verity Fassbinder series) feeling content but a little bit disappointed that the book didn’t punch me emotional as I expected it to. Well I can say full heartedly that not only did Angela Slatter comes back with a kick arse book to match her hard as nails heroine Verity Fassbinder, but she completely delivered on the emotional  smack down and the fast paced action thriller style writing that we all know and love her for.

Corpselight is a fast paced, fantasy based, action adventure crime thriller that is sure to leave you on the edge of your seats. Once again it’s mythology based, dark and twisted and features all our favourites from the the first book (Vigil) and some soon to be new favourites!

This is a book I could not put down. I started it one lazy Sunday morning and did not stop reading until I’d finished the book that night. It was that captivating and mesmerising that I couldn’t help but throw myself into the world of Briseyland (Slatter’s re-imagined Brisbane) and all the craziness that goes on there.

I’m not going to rehash the plot in this review, as I truly believe this a book that is best experienced. What I will say however was that this book…. it was everything. The characters felt like family and oh-so real that I simply wanted to cover them up in cotton wool and protect them from everything that went on. I was internally screaming at some of the decisions made and their emotional journeys moved me. I was literally on the edge of my seat reading hoping like hell they would get their happy-ever-after that they oh-so-deserved.

For those who had read my review of Vigil, you’d know that while I really enjoyed that book I felt like the characters were inaccessible on an emotional level. While I laughed at their larger-than-life attitudes and humour, I didn’t connect with them the way I wished I had. Well, I can tell you, I 100 % connected with the characters in this book. Verity is still a hard task master who knows when and how to get a job done no matter the consequence and yet this time around she was also vulnerable and more human. She opened up to the reader and I defy anyone not to sympathise with her with the shit storm that is thrown her way time and time again in Corpselight.

Unlike Vigil, Corpselight centres around Verity and those near and dear to her. The crimes deeply impact her band of merry misfits and as such the book is so much more powerful and punchy because of the direct connection. There is no where for Verity to hide on the page, no armour for her show pony behind. The world she inhibits is laid bare before her and the consequences are astronomical. Because of all of this I felt Verity was much more clear as a character. She is more vulnerable and has so much more depth, which in turn makes her both more human and not, all at once. I loved it.

David plays a more pivotal role in this narrative as well. While I wasn’t impressed with the one-dimensional love interest in book one, David truly redeems himself in book two. I’m no longer as suspicious of his motives, and I’m impressed with how David turned into a truly unexpected sidekick who constantly surprises. With Bella and Verity’s past romantic history and all the illusions of what they meant to each other in Vigil, I was desperate for those two to end up together again. But after seeing what Slatter had in stall for David and Verity in Corpselight and the shit storm they had to survive, I’m equally happy with the current outcome and terrified for the third book in the series.

We get lot’s more of Zvezdomir ‘Bela’ Tepes and Ziggi, as well as the Norn Sisters, all of who play a pivotal role in Verity’s life and the narrative so far.

Once again Corpselight is very Aussie in tone and character. That’s not to deter international readers, as the story is still very universal and easily accessible; but until I read this series I didn’t quite realise how much I missed, and lacked for that matter, a sense of Australia  in my fantasy. This series is truly one of a kind.

All in all I can not fault this book at all. For the entire 400 pages I was totally and utterly glued to the pages and mesmerised for the story. Slatter’s writing is not only flawless, but it packed one hell of an emotional punch this time that I physically broke out in Goosebumps as I raced my way to the books conclusion. I can not wait to see what happens next in the third instalment of the Verity Fassbinder series.

 

 

To purchase a copy of Vigil, visit the following online retailers:

Print – Hachette Australia | QBD | Angus & Robertson’s Bookworld | Booktopia | Dymocks

Ebook – Amazon AUS | Google Play | Ibooks AUS | KoboBooktopia

 

 

To learn more about Angela Slatter, visit the following social media pages:

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Hachette Australia | Goodreads |

 

REVIEW: My Brother Tom by Michelle Worthington and Illustrated Ann-Marie Finn

Published: 1st March 2017

Publisher: Wombat Books

Pages: 32

Format: Soft-cover Picture book (Purchased)

RRP: $14.99

5/5 Stars

My Brother Tom is a story for older siblings of premature babies, to help them make sense of what is happening at a difficult time. Royalties from the sale of this book will be donated to Life’s Little Treasures Foundation in the name of Tom Worthington Walker.

 

My Brother Tom is an astoundingly beautiful and heart moving picture book by Aussie Author Michelle Worthington and illustrator Ann-Marie Finn.

I stumbled across My Brother Tom in the bookshop at the most recent CYA (Children Young Adult) conference in Brisbane earlier this year. I picked the book up without reading the blurb and was instantly moved to tears by the story and the illustrations and simply HAD to buy the book. For what Michelle Worthington and Ann-Marie Finn have created here is not just a picture book about premature babies, but an emotional journey and experience through a child’s eyes. My Brother Tom is an emotional and visceral experience that is sure to tug at heart strings as the narrative is not only heartbreaking, but heart-warming as we witness a story that seeks to explain and reassure a child and their family at large about the many complications surrounding premature birth.

My Brother Tom seeks to explain in a child’s own words what is happening all around them when a younger sibling is born prematurely. Thus the stories targeted audience is older siblings of premature babies, but the books appeal and audience is in fact a lot more wider and far reaching than simply that.

On a personal note, I’m not an older sibling of a premature baby. As the eldest of four girls, I’ve never witnessed this happen to someone else. But I am constantly reminded by my family at large at the fear that being born premature creates. You see, I was born prematurely myself and this book allowed me to see first hand the overwhelming experience my parents talk about. It enabled me to understand and experience the fear and uncertainty in what felt like an honest and raw way, and it put into perspective just how earth shattering the whole long experience must have felt like for them.

Michelle Worthington is an award winning author who speaks openly and honestly about life’s biggest and sometimes more unexpected challenges in this book. Her story is simply in delivery but packs one hell of a strong emotional punch. I particularly love that she chose to tell this story through the eyes of an older sibling and to explore how it would feel to witness your younger brother living in hospital and fighting for his life each day. It’s clear from the story, and the information in the back of the book that this story means the world to Michelle Worthington as all royalties are donated to Life’s Little Treasure’s Foundation in honour of her son, Tome Worthington Walker.

Ann-Marie Finn’s illustrations capture the heart and soul of Michelle Worthington’s narrative in My Brother Tom. Blue and darker colours dominate the majority of the book (until the happier resolution where yellow and lighter colours take over the pages) and I was really moved by the positioning of the characters and Finn’s illustrations. The cover illustration (pictured above) is also the opening page illustration and the only image in the entire book where either parent’s face is facing the reader. This distance, and the emotion conveyed through their body posture and language  allows for the sibling to take the story on as their own, but also allows for greater freedom and vulnerability of the story as a whole. Every single image of each double page spread is simply astoundingly beautiful in its own right, but when combined with Michelle Worthington’s story, it becomes something more vulnerable and honest. Something so tangible and perfectly imperfect.

My Brother Tom is an ideal starting point for anyone who has wondered what it really feels like to have a child/sibling born premature, and it’s a great discussion starter for what is often regaled as a hushed conversation that we don’t speak about in public.

My Brother Tom is a story with a hole lot of heart. It’s honest and real, and the families vulnerability really shines through on the page. It’s both heart breaking and heart warming at the same time, and is a book that left me astounded yet again by the power of picture books. It’s a picture book that transcends the realm of picture books, and it has universal appeal that will speak to readers of all ages, family backgrounds and structures regardless of whether they have or know of any babies born prematurely.

You can purchase a copy of My Brother Tom via the following online retailers:

Booktopia | Bookdepository | Amazon US | Wombat Books | Ebay |

 

To learn more about Michelle Worthington, visit the following social media sites:

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads | PINTEREST | Youtube |

to learn more about ann-marie finn, visit the following social media sites:

website | Wombat Books Australia | Facebook |

 

 

 

 

REVIEW: Brothers From A Different Mother by Phillip Gwynne and Illustrated by Marjorie Crosby-Fairall

Published: 3rd April 2017

Publisher: Penguin Viking/ Penguin Random House Australia

Pages: 32

Format: Hardcover Picture book (courtesy of the Publisher)

RRP: $19.99

4/5 Stars

Tapir lives in the jungle.
Pig lives in the village.
But when they meet at the waterhole,
they discover they are the same in so many ways.
They might even be brothers from a different mother.

From a master storyteller comes this heartfelt story of friendship…and seeing past our differences.

Brothers From A Different Mother by Phillip Gwynne and illustrated by Marjorie Crosby-Fairall is a stunning and poignant book that I wish everybody knew about. In a world full of fear and hate, it’s a shining light daring children not to dismiss someone based on their differences, but rather to celebrate and explore those differences.

Brothers From A Different Mother is the age old story of how two individuals from very different treks of life meet and become life long friends. When Tapir and Pig first meet they are confronted by each other’s differences, but drawn in by their similar physical attributes and common interests. Before long the pair are the best of friends, but their parents and the community around them fears their differences and seeks to split apart the pair. What follows is a story about the strength of a friendship that defies stereotypes and bulling. In a world full of Cow and Monkey’s (the book’s detractors), Brothers From A Different Mother asks the reader to choose to be like Tapir and Pig; to see beyond what everyone else sees, while illustrating the role that perception and acceptance can play in your life and your friendships.

Phillip Gwynne has crafted a very poignant and engaging narrative that seeks to inform and explain to young children about accepting one’s differences and celebrating diversity. The text is simple and easy to understand, making it an ideal story to start open discussions at both school and in the home.

When a author and his story are combined with the right illustrator, magic happens, and that is exactly what Marjorie Crosby-Fairall’s illustrations have brought to this book. As powerful and poignant as Gwynne’s narrative is, it’s the illustrations that bring this story to life. Each double page spread is a whirl of colour, excitement (and at times sorrow), and there is so much detail in each and every picture. It’s Crosby-Fairall’s illustrations that highlight the fine line between the two leads similarities and differences, and just how special their friendship is. The images are highly emotive and simply stunning; I personally couldn’t believe how life like the animals looked.

Brothers From A Different Mother is a fantastic contemporary text to explain to kids about diversity, differences and acceptance. Given the current political climate with race/colour/religious divide, Brothers From A Different Mother is not only a beautiful text to behold, but it’s a powerful and educational piece that seeks to inform and breed understanding. All in all, there needs to be more books like Brothers From A Different Mother out there.

 

To purchase a copy of Brothers From A Different Mother, visit the following online retailers:

Angus & Robertson’s Bookworld | Booktopia | Dymocks | Penguin Books Australia | OBD

To learn more about Phillip Gwynne, visit the following social media sites:

Goodreads | penguin Books Australia |

To learn more about Marjorie Crosby-Fairall, visit the following social media sites:

Marjorie’s WebsiteFacebook | Goodreads | Instagram | Penguin Books Australia |

 

 

REVIEW: When It’s Real by Erin Watt

Published: 1st June 2017

Publisher:  Harlequin HQ Australia

Pages: 416

Format:: Ebook courtesy of the publisher and Netgalley

RRP: $19.99 (AUD)

5/5 Stars

Vaughn Bennett lands it all when she agrees to become a pop star’s fake girlfriend in this smart, utterly addictive novel from No. 1 New York Times bestselling author duo Erin Watt.

Under ordinary circumstances, Oakley Ford and Vaughn Bennett would never even cross paths.

There’s nothing ordinary about Oakley. This bad-boy pop star’s got Grammy awards, millions of fangirls and a reputation as a restless, too-charming troublemaker. But with his home life disintegrating, his music well suddenly running dry and the tabloids having a field day over his outrageous exploits, Oakley needs to show the world he’s settling down — and who better to help him than seventeen-year-old Vaughn, a part-time waitress trying to help her family get by? The very definition of ordinary.

Posing as his girlfriend, Vaughn will overhaul Oakley’s image from troublemaker to serious artist. In return for enough money to put her brothers through college, she can endure outlandish Hollywood parties and carefully orchestrated Twitter exchanges. She’ll fool the paparazzi and the groupies. She might even start fooling herself a little.

Because when ordinary rules no longer apply, there’s no telling what your heart will do…

I absolutely adored When It’s Real. It’s the kind of book that you pick up one afternoon on a whim, and before you know it, three hours have passed and you’ve finished the book!

Vaughn Bennett is one of the best heroines I’ve read in a while. Trying to hold her life together after the death of her parents some years before, Vaughn is the kind of girl that puts her family’s needs above her own. When cornered by Diamond Management to appear as music sensation Oakley Ford’s fake PR girlfriend for the year, she is torn by the idea. Disgusted by the prospect of being paid to be a girlfriend – no matter how fake – but knowing her family is in desperate need of the money, she puts her own feelings aside. But will it bring her happiness in the end? Or will this one decision cause her a life time of pain?

One of the things I most liked about Vaughn was the fact that she knew her own mind. Here was a girl being forced into a situation that she didn’t particularly like, but knowing it was for the better of her family. She is also witty and sarcastic and a hold-no-bares kind of girl who will tell you as it is and I found this openness and honesty so refreshing.

I loved Oakley. Brought up in front of the media’s ever watchful eye, Okaley Ford just wants to play music and leave all the crap for someone else to deal with. He doesn’t want to be famous, he just wants to play. But when the headlines start preventing him from moving his career forward like he wants to, Oakley is convinced by his management to play the game and reform his image publicly to get what he wants most. What none of them expected to find however was Vaughn, the perfect girl-next-door-everyday-girl to reclaim Oakley’s good boy image, and so much more than meets the eye.

When the book opens, there’s no hiding Oakley is a bit of a jerk. He has a massive chip on his shoulder thanks to privacy invasions and expectations and well… he is used to getting everything his own way as long as he throws enough money at it. So when he meets Vaughn and she doesn’t fall at his feet like he predicts, Oakley starts to take notice and it’s from here out that we get a glimpse into who the real Oakley is and what he does and doesn’t like.

When It’s Real is a slow burn romance and it’s oh-so-good. I loved being able to watch Oakley and Vaughn navigate social situations neither expected to find themselves in and to witness them breaking down the walls each other has built around them. The pair interact over social media – for their fans, management and the media – and things start to turn from being so obviously fake and forced to something so genuine and real that most of us can only hope to find.

Lastly, When It’s Real is ultimately a Cinderella-esque story. it’s super cute, honest and raw at times, while maintaining subtle digs at social perceptions and expectations and the unrealistic nature of relationships online. It’s a book I read in one sitting and would re-read in a heartbeat.

I’ve read a number of books that are so similar to this one in concept, yet none have come close to pulling off what Erin Watt did with When It’s Real. The story itself doesn’t feel forced, the characters seemed relaxed (relaxed as you can when forced into situations neither of you agree with) and the relationships are organic. I loved the slow burn build up between Oakley and Vaughn who initially couldn’t stand each other and it made their tender moments oh so much more real and believable. I loved it and highly recommend it.

To purchase a copy of When It’s Real, visit the following online retailers:

Harlequin | Amazon AUS | Amazon us | Angus & Robertson’s Bookworld | Bookdepository | BooktopiaDymocks | Google Play | | Kobo |   The Nile | Worderly

To learn more about Erin Watt, visit the following social media pages:

Author Website | Goodreads | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

 

REVIEW: The Game Player By BJ Harvey

Published: 23rd March 2016

Publisher: Self- Published

Pages: 211

Format: Ebook (Free on Amazon)

RRP: $3.99 – but currently FREE on AMAZON!

4/5 Stars

From the USA Today bestselling author of the Bliss series comes a new spin off series featuring your favorite Bliss series characters who are yet to meet their match.

Matt Taylor’s motto:
“I’m the king of the cut ‘n’ run. I wine them, dine them, then slide inside them, making sure I get up, get dressed and get out before they can even utter the words “second date.”

Mia Roberts’ motto:
“I’m queen of the chase. I meet them, greet them, date them and leave them. A social butterfly, I’m happily single and happy to stay that way.”

The players have been found.

The challenge has been set.

Whatever happens, they’ll soon find out that playing the game can get you played in the best possible way.

Game Player is the first book in the Bliss series by New Zealand author BJ Harvey. It’s a super fast rollicking read that left me smiling from ear to ear and wondering why it took me so long to pick up a BJ Harvey book in the first place!

Game Player is not a sports romance book like I first thought, but rather a fast paced romance between a self confessed man-whore and the girl who got under his skin. The characters are sassy and command attention through their lightening tongues and their soul baring honesty. What I think I loved best about them perhaps was that while the characters did bare their souls, and their incredible strength through out the duration of the novel, neither character permitted themselves to fall victim to stereotypes and they challenged every preconceived notion I might have had going into the book.

Matt Taylor is an Alpha male  with a capital ‘A’.  He is also a man well known by his peers – and let’s face it, perfect strangers – as the ultimate play boy. For years he has no trouble picking up women, using them and moving on. As easy as that …. but when it comes to Mia Roberts, he finds his game lacking it’s usual appeal. Matt was a lot of things in this book, but he was so refreshingly honest and direct that I loved his character almost instantly. He was the type of character who was brave enough to stand out for his differences and I found him not only charming, but compelling as a the hero and lead. It was refreshing to see this type of character not represented as a snarky-but-hot-asshole.

Mia Roberts is one hell of a heroine. Forget your damsel-in-distresses, and lacklustre heroines who take whatever shit the alpha male, or any male for that matter, might dish up to them. Mia is smart, sassy and has a mouth on her that will have you laughing out loud. She takes no shit from anyone, and while she isn’t a player like some, she isn’t looking to settle down any time soon. So why does Matt get under her skin so much? I loved Mia’s character so much. While she didn’t have life all figured out like some, she was willing to try things outside of her comfort zone when allowed to do so on her own time. She was passionate and fiery and fiercely loyally and proud. While there were some scenes that made me cringe at her choice of words, her viper tongue and the way she dealt with situations when she felt she had no control (particular a few of those towards the end of the book), I respected her for her differences.

There wasn’t a lot I didn’t love about this book, in fact I thought for sure it was going to be a 5-star book. But on reflecting the narrative while I sat down to write this review, a little voice nagged at the back of my mind about the pacing of the story. Like I said at the beginning, this book is fast. Like super fast. While the characters have known each other for more than two years, the events happen in the space of a matter of months and some times the characters timeline was hard to comprehend and even at odds with what they were saying. The story also seemed to jump around a bit, like it was missing a couple of scenes that possibility needed to be slotted in at certain points. Then again, maybe that was just me reading it and wanting more. More of the characters, more of the story. More of everything.

As a whole I really enjoyed this book and can’t wait to get stuck in the rest of the series. The characters were uniquely original and familiar all at once, the setting and plot fiery and fierce and all in all it was a super hot romance that I was sad to see finish (when the story ended naturally ended not because of how it finished!).

To learn more about BJ Harvey, visit the following social media sites:

BJ Harvey’s website | Goodreads | Facebook | Twitter | Tumblr

To purchase a copy of Game Player visit the following online retailers:

Amazon AUS | Amazon CA | Amazon uk | Amazon Us | BArnes & Noble | Ibooks | Kobo 

 

 

 

 

REVIEW: Letters To The Lost by Brigid Kemmerer

Published: 6th April 2017

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Pages: 393

Format: Paperback

RRP: $16.99

4/5 Stars

Juliet Young has always written letters to her mother, a world-traveling photojournalist. Even after her mother’s death, she leaves letters at her grave. It’s the only way Juliet can cope.

Declan Murphy isn’t the sort of guy you want to cross. In the midst of his court-ordered community service at the local cemetery, he’s trying to escape the demons of his past.

When Declan reads a haunting letter left beside a grave, he can’t resist writing back. Soon, he’s opening up to a perfect stranger, and their connection is immediate. But neither of them knows that they’re not actually strangers. When real life at school interferes with their secret life of letters, Juliet and Declan discover truths that might tear them apart. This emotional, compulsively-readable romance will sweep everyone off their feet.

Letters To The Lost is the story of Juliet Young and Declan Murph, two troubled teens devastated by the loss close family members. Unknown to each other, the pair become entwined in an intense and often fiery and thought-provoking letter exchange after a particularly disastrous introduction through private letters left at a graveyard. What follows is an incredibly raw and honest narrative that will pull at your heart strings and leave you wanting more.

I can honestly say that Letters To The Lost is the kind of book that haunts you. In a good way, I promise! The characters and their predicament had me so conflicted while reading the book that I often would find myself contemplating them countless times throughout the day. Even now, some weeks after having read the book, I find myself thinking about them and what they went through.

Initially I was intrigued by the blurb of the book and the letters involved in telling the story. I did worry however about how successful the letter component would be within the story, as I’ve read countless books that attempted something so ambitious as this narrative, and failed miserably. Thankfully Letters To The Lost is not one of those books. Kemmerer has proven herself time and time again with this narrative in terms of the complexity of the plot, the raw emotional drive and upheaval of both the characters and the readers emotions and the pure beauty of her writing and seamless joining of the letters within the narrative.

I don’t want to ruin this books powerful emotional punch by saying too much about the narrative itself, but what I will say is that this book is about so much more than letters and grief. It’s about the importance we place of family and friends, the respect we give them and the roles they play in our lives. It’s about finding your place in the not-so-sparkly-adult-world and learning who you are with and without all of that (your friends and family). It’s a book that explores raw emotions that will both tear you apart and lift you up, all while securing you to the edge of your seat as you race towards the books climax.

Without giving too much away,Letters To The Lost is the kind of book that will have you revaluing your own life choices and how you would react should you be in any one of these characters. It’s a book that will challenge you in some regards, but will ultimately reward you with its honesty and heart warming moments that are sprinkled throughout the narrative.

I’m not ashamed to admit that my experiences with this book were violent. I cried, i laughed, I screamed, kicked and even through the book across the room and left it there for a couple of days. But the characters and Kemmerer’s words were never far from my mind, nor my emotions, and if that’s not the sign of a bloody brilliant read and out of this world writing, I don’t know what is.

If you are looking for a quick, happy-go-lucky read than perhaps this isn’t the book for you right now. But if you are looking for a more mature Young Adult novel dealing with real and heavy issues, then I highly recommend you pick this one up. Kemmerer’s writing is superb and her story is beautifully balanced with gut-wrenching scenes of devastation and sorrow and heart-warming moments of hope, love and friendship.

 

To purchase a copy of Letters to The Lost, visit the following online retailers:

Bloomsbury Australia | Allen & Unwin | Booktopia | Book Depository | Angus & Robertson’s Bookworld | Amazon US | Barnes & Noble |

To learn more about Brigid Kemmer, visit the following social media pages:

Brigid Kemmerer’s Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Amazon US |