Book Review: Learning to Swear in America

Learning to Swear in America

Learning To Swear In America – Katie Kennedy – Bloomsbury USA Children’s – Published 5 July 2016

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Synopsis

An asteroid is hurtling toward Earth. A big, bad one. Yuri, a physicist prodigy from Russia, has been called to NASA as they calculate a plan to avoid disaster. He knows how to stop the asteroid: his research in antimatter will probably win him a Nobel prize–if there’s ever another Nobel prize awarded. But Yuri’s 17, and having a hard time making older, stodgy physicists listen to him. Then he meets Dovie, who lives like a normal teenager, oblivious to the impending doom. Being with her, on the adventures she plans when he’s not at NASA, Yuri catches a glimpse of what it means to save the world and save a life worth living.

My thoughts

Learning to Swear In America is a humorous story of friendship, loneliness, missed childhoods and individuality. An asteroid hurtling towards Earth at 71km a second has a way of making you reevaluate your life. And Katie Kennedy has a way of writing that sucked me into this story. I was laughing numerous times throughout this book – even her author note and acknowledgements at the end of the book were enjoyable to read. Humour is so important in this touching story.

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New Book Releases July 2016

New Book Releases for July 2016

Looking for some new books to add to your to-be-read list this month? July 2016 has a number of exciting books due for release. Here are the ones I’ve got my eye on. Click on the covers for full reviews.

Adult Fiction

Clear To LiftClear To Lift  – Anne A Wilson – Forge Books – Published 12 July 2016

Set amongst the beautiful Sierra Nevada landscape, Clear To Lift is a compelling story of adventure, love, family and self-discovery. The tension, both romantic and life-and-death-danger, leaps off the page, drawing you into this epic story. It is unforgettable, addictive and just so much fun! Very, very highly recommended, this book is my top pick for July 2016. 

Adult fiction: Adventure, contemporary.


Young Adult Fiction

Defending TaylorDefending Taylor – Miranda Kenneally – Sourcebooks Fire – Published 5 July 2016

Taylor has sworn off boys after taking the fall for her boyfriend. But she never could have predicted just how big the fallout was going to be. Expelled from school, dumped from her soccer team, and the reason her father has dropped in polls during the key time in his political campaign, Taylor is ordered back home where she is to start a new school and hide out until the bad press dies down. But the other girls on Taylor’s new soccer team don’t seem to want her there and bumping into her older brother’s best friend only adds more complications to her already complicated life.

Young adult fiction: Contemporary.


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Book Review: Twisted

Twisted

Twisted – Hannah Jayne – Sourcebooks Fire – Published 5 July 2016

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Synopsis

When her father is accused of being a serial killer, Bex becomes the ultimate bait in this game of cat and mouse

Bex is ready to start a new life in foster care. There, she won’t be known as a serial killer’s daughter. Though her father was never tried for the murders attributed to “The Wife Collector,” he disappeared after questioning. And Bex struggles with the guilt that she provided the circumstantial evidence that convicted him in the public’s perception—and drove him to abandon her.

But when a body turns up in her new hometown, all signs point to the Wife Collector. Bex’s old life isn’t ready to let her go. The police want to use Bex to lure in her father. But is she baiting a serial killer or endangering an innocent man?

My thoughts

Twisted is a novel full of suspense and is downright creepy, but the plot and characters did not live up to the expectations I had for this book.

Bex has a lot to contend with. She has just moved to a new town after the death of the grandmother who raised her for the past ten years. A new town, new school, new home, new foster parents. With this new start she is trying to finally burry the old Beth Anne, daughter of an alleged serial killer. But keeping the secret of who she really is has her on edge. Does someone know? Will they find out? And then there are the odd phone calls and the notes and gifts being left for her. When she and her new friends find the body of fellow school girl Darla, Bex is scared that her father is back. But she’s not even sure he is the notorious Wife Collector serial killer…

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Book Review: Defending Taylor

Defending Taylor

Defending Taylor – Miranda Kenneally – Hundred Oaks – Sourcebooks Fire – Published 5 July 2016

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Synopsis

Captain of the soccer team, president of the Debate Club, contender for valedictorian: Taylor’s always pushed herself to be perfect. After all, that’s what is expected of a senator’s daughter. But one impulsive decision—one lie to cover for her boyfriend—and Taylor’s kicked out of private school. Everything she’s worked so hard for is gone, and now she’s starting over at Hundred Oaks High.

Soccer has always been Taylor’s escape from the pressures of school and family, but it’s hard to fit in and play on a team that used to be her rival. The only person who seems to understand all that she’s going through is her older brother’s best friend, Ezra. Taylor’s had a crush on him for as long as she can remember. But it’s hard to trust after having been betrayed. Will Taylor repeat her past mistakes or can she score a fresh start?

My thoughts

Taylor has a new mantra – no more boys. Well, that’s not going to work for a contemporary young adult romance, now is it… Equal parts coming of age, self discovery and family relationships, and with a heavy dose of romance, Defending Taylor continues Miranda Kenneally’s Hundred Oaks series.

Taylor has sworn off boys after taking the fall for her boyfriend. But she never could have predicted just how big the fallout was going to be. Expelled from school, dumped from her soccer team, and the reason her father has dropped in polls during the key time in his political campaign, Taylor is ordered back home where she is to start a new school and hide out until the bad press dies down. But the other girls on Taylor’s new soccer team don’t seem to want her there and bumping into her older brother’s best friend only adds more complications to her already complicated life.

Does giving up boys count if it’s a guy you fell for years ago? You can hardly blame Taylor for falling again for Ezra, he with the wicked smile, green eyes and construction worker’s muscles. And the whole brother’s best friend thing usually brings a complication that I enjoy in romances. But their relationship wasn’t all that complicated, really. Once Taylor and Ezra reconnect and straighten out the past miscommunications, their relationship develops quickly.       Continue reading

Book Review: They Danced On

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They Danced On – Carre Armstrong Gardner – Tyndale – Published 1 July 2016

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Synopsis

Nothing is more important to Jane Darling than her family. She’s dedicated her life to raising her children, and they all appear to be doing well. She can finally relax and enjoy life. But when her husband becomes seriously ill, Jane finds herself taking on the most difficult role of her life.

Laura Darling moved away to escape the expectations of her family. Ever since she went through rehab, they watch her like a hawk. Now she has a good job, new friends, and no one to criticize her or comment on everything she’s doing. But when everything begins to unravel, Laura’s heart turns toward home.

Follow the Darling family through triumph and tragedy as they struggle with an uncertain future. 

My thoughts

They Danced On is a beautiful book, heartfelt and moving. It encompasses every facet of a busy, flawed and loving family. There is romance, weddings, first kisses and even proposals. There are serious illnesses and diseases, both ALS and alcoholism. There are calls from the school principal, family secrets, and wrestling with faith.

This book takes place six months after the end of the previous book in the Darling Family series. It covers a long period of time and, judging from the epilogue, it will be the last book in the series.

Leander has ALS and a large part of the book focuses on Leander and Jane, as they both deal with the changes in their lives and settling scores with the past. We also get glimpses of the rest of the Darling family. Sephy and Justice are about to get married, Laura is still struggling with her alcohol consumption and is not in contact with her family, David is settling into married life, Amy is biding her time until she can pursue a future with Mitch, and Ivy and Nick are still getting the hang of raising three rambunctious kids, with DeShaun about to graduate high school and start cullinary school. Alternating chapters from various characters give readers an insight into the whole family’s continuing stories.    Continue reading

Book Review: Clear To Lift

Clear To Lift

Clear To Lift – Anne A. Wilson – Forge Books – Published 12 July 2016

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Synopsis

Navy helicopter pilot Lt. Alison Malone has been assigned to a search and rescue team based at Naval Air Station Fallon, Nevada, near the rugged peaks of the Sierra Nevada, and far from her former elite H-60 squadron. A rule follower by nature, Alison is exasperated and outraged every time she flies with her mission commander, “Boomer” Marks, for whom military procedures are merely a suggestion. Alison is desperate to be transferred out of the boonies, where careers stagnate, and back to her life and fiancé in San Diego.

Alison’s defenses start to slip when she meets mountain guide Will Cavanaugh during a particularly dicey mission. Will introduces her to a wild, beautiful world of adventure that she has never known before. Stranded on a mountain during a sudden dangerous blizzard, Alison questions every truth she thought she knew about herself. When Will braves the storm to save her life, she must confront the fact that she has been living a lie. But is it too late to change course?

My thoughts

Set amongst the beautiful Sierra Nevada landscape, Clear To Lift is a compelling story of adventure, love, family and self-discovery. The tension, both romantic and life-and-death-danger, leaps off the page, drawing you into this epic story. It is unforgettable, addictive and just so much fun! With vibrant characters, a strong and relatable heroine, blizzards, storms, unexploded bombs, a gorgeous Labrador search and rescue dog, doughnuts and a very ruggedly handsome mountain guide, this book has everything I needed to make it unputdownable. I loved it.

I’ve got to say I was a little worried that Clear To Lift wouldn’t live up to the very high expectations that reading Hover, Anne A. Wilson’s first book, created. I shouldn’t have worried. Clear To Lift met all those expectations and more. I was biting my nails after the danger-laden first chapter and couldn’t wipe the grin off my face after the second. I love the world that Wilson creates. The team banter and comradery, the tension during a mission, and the times they let off steam is all so real you feel like you are strapped into the H-1 helicopter right along with the crew.    Continue reading