31 March 2015

Top Ten Tuesday - Recent Additions to the TBR


Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Broke and The Bookish. I heart lists!

The Top Ten list for this week is Ten Books You Recently Added To Your To-Be-Read List.  I have a wishlist TBR and an owned book TBR - and the owned books I always list in my Sunday Post post, so instead, I'm going to list ten books recently added to my wishlist.


Zero Day by Jan Gangsei

Bits & Pieces (Benny Imura #5) by Jonathan Maberry

The Suffering (The Girl from the Well #2) by Rin Chupeco

Tangled Webs (Tangled Webs #1) by Lee Bross

The Uniquet by Mikaela Everett

Rebel Mechanics by Shanna Swendson

Consent by Nancy Ohlin

Touch by Claire North


Beautiful Monster by Kate McCaffrey

What books have you recently added to your TBR?  Any you are super-excited about?  Let me know!

29 March 2015

Sunday Post #2


The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Caffeinated Book Reviewer sharing news and new books for the past and coming weeks.

My Life

My first week back blogging at Aussie Zombie has been awesome - thank you to everyone that welcomed me back - it's been surprisingly easy to get back into the groove and I'm really looking forward to what's coming up!

This week was super-busy, as always, and now that the weekend is here I've got a horrible cold that just makes me want to hibernate from the world - so that is what I will do!  I had planned to do my first v-log in like a year but you really don't want to see me all snotty and gross....trust me.

New Books

Olivay by Deborah Reed
Winger by Andrew Smith
We All Looked Up by Tommy Wallach

Coming Up
As yet I have absolutely no posts scheduled for next week - totally going to fly by the seat of my pants (which is SUCH an odd saying)....so it's anyone's guess what will be here!

How was your week?  What's new in your life?

27 March 2015

Review: Don't Stand So Close by Luana Lewis

Don't Stand So Close by Luana Lewis

Published: 13 February 2014 by Bantam

Pages: 320

Genre/s: Mystery, Psychological Thriller

Source: Own library

Find It: Goodreads ~ Amazon

Synopsis

What would you do if a young girl knocked on your door and asked for your help?

If it was snowing and she was freezing cold, but you were afraid and alone?

What would you do if you let her in, but couldn't make her leave?

What if she told you terrible lies about someone you love, but the truth was even worse?

Stella has been cocooned in her home for three years. Severely agoraphobic, she knows she is safe in the stark, isolated house she shares with her husband, Max. The traumatic memories of her final case as a psychologist are that much easier to keep at a distance, too.

But the night that Blue arrives on her doorstep with her frightened eyes and sad stories, Stella's carefully controlled world begins to unravel around her.
 

My Thoughts

I’ve been going through a phase of psychological thrillers lately – they are definitely a phase kind of book for me – I’ll read half a dozen practically back-to-back and then won’t touch one again for a year.  For me they are like candy – I can eat a whole bunch and then go off them.

Don’t Stand So Close continues the tradition of a British psychological thriller with a bunch of blatantly unreliable narrators, which I tend to enjoy, but again if I read too many everyone becomes the unreliable narrator that I can see straight through – and sadly that was also the case in Don’t Stand So Close.

Stella is the main character of the story, although the perspective shifts occasionally to a few of the other key characters, Stella’s perspective also shifts back and forth in time and worked quite well as her tone differs from past to present, which is a credit to Lewis’ writing.  I didn’t find her the easiest character to connect with, partly because of my frustration with her that gradually built up over time – I’m not the most sympathetic of readers, I like my characters to be on the extreme ends of the love or hate scale.  This also started to impact on how I felt about the story – I didn’t ever really feel a sense of danger for the characters, not necessarily because of the plot but because of my ambivalence towards the characters and during a few key scenes I found it far too easy to lose momentum and concentration.

From a plot perspective, some parts were far too predictable, and other parts were definitely unexpected.   I’d pretty much guessed about 75% of the ending, but there were a few key points that took me by surprise – particularly the epilogue.

I did listen to Don’t Stand So Close on audio, narrated by Julie Barry.  The narration was in a rather plummy English accent which fit the tone of the book in some places, but didn’t really make it stand out.

Overall, Don’t Stand So Close was a good psychological thriller, but not one of my personal favourites.  It may work better for you if you haven’t been mainlining this genre like I have been!

26 March 2015

Review: Where They Found Her by Kimberly McCreight


Where They Found Her by Kimberly McCreight
Expected Publication: 14 April 2015 by Harper
Pages: 336
Genre/s: Adult, Mystery
Source: Publisher for review
Find It: Goodreads ~ Amazon

Synopsis


At the end of a long winter in well-to-do Ridgedale, New Jersey, the body of a newborn is found in the woods fringing the campus of the town's prestigious university. No one knows the identity of the baby, what ended her very short life, or how she wound up among the fallen leaves. But among the residents of Ridgedale, there is no shortage of opinions.

When freelance journalist, and recent Ridgedale transplant, Molly Anderson is unexpectedly called upon to cover the disturbing news for the Ridgedale Reader—the town's local paper—she has good reason to hesitate. A severe depression followed the loss of her own baby, and this assignment could unearth memories she has tried so hard to bury. But the history Molly uncovers is not her own. Her investigation unravels a decades-old trail of dark secrets hiding behind Ridgedale's white picket fences.

Told from the perspectives of three Ridgedale women, Kimberly McCreight's taut and profoundly moving novel unwinds the tangled truth behind the tragedy, revealing that these women have far more in common than they could have ever known. That the very worst crimes are committed against those we love. And that—sooner or later—the past catches up to all of us. 

My Thoughts

A small town, a body, a woman who is struggling to regain her feet after a traumatic event, a troubled teen and a seemingly perfect mother are the key ingredients of Where They Found Her, and have all the elements of a psychological-thriller-murder-mystery.

McCreight’s debut novel, Reconstructing Amelia, was a Goodreads Choice Nominee 2013 and was quite popular among many of my blogger friends, yet still sets unread on my bookshelf.  So when I was given the opportunity to read her second novel, Where They Found Her, I was pretty eager to find out what all the hype was about.

Where They Found Her is told through three perspectives – Molly, local reporter and recently having suffered a life-altering trauma, Sandy who is the stereotypical struggling teenager with a plethora of family issues, and Barbara, wife of the head of the local police force and candidate for mother of the year.  Whilst I enjoyed the perspective of Sandy, and didn’t have any particular issues with Molly (who, fortunately is the main narrator), I couldn’t stand Barbara – self-righteousness covering up huge insecurities isn’t the way to get me to feel empathy towards a character.

Sadly, I also guessed a large part of the mystery quite early on.  And the bits that I didn’t guess, well by the time they were revealed, I didn’t really care that much anymore and therefore their impact was greatly diminished.  And this is where reviewing mysteries is difficult, because there is a lot I want to talk about, but can’t because then I would spoilt it for the people who DON’T guess the mystery early on.

To McCreight’s credit, although I guessed the key parts of the plot far too early on, I was sucked into the story and was curious to see what happened.  It’s an easy read, something that I could see myself reading on a long-haul flight or, as did happen, whilst waiting for a badly delayed train.  In short, enough to keep my attention, but not to have me sweaty palmed and gripping the pages.

23 March 2015

Review: Outbreak by Warren Fielding


Outbreak (Great Bitten #1) by Warren Fielding


Published: 27 June 2014 by Permuted Press
Pages: 306 (paperback)
Genre/s: Horror, Zombie
Source: Own
Find It: Goodreads ~ Amazon


Synopsis

The UK is infected and Warren is going to be a hero, whether he likes it or not. Life used to be simple; a journalist addicted to his work, Warren's world has been a simple process of annoying friends, shunning family, and doing only what Warren wants. 

As a virulent plague of unknown origin spreads rapidly across the UK, all of that is about to change. The only person Warren doesn't question is himself as his natural curiosity and world-weary cynicism come to the fore in his clumsy attempts at survival. 

With the UK in chaos and the government in hiding, will Warren even be able to survive long enough to start finding the answers to the questions eating away inside him? And when he finally realises that there are people in this blighted world that he actually loves, will he be able to do what needs to be done to keep them safe before it is too late?

My Thoughts

It’s been far too long since I read a zombie novel, and when I saw an article (which I forgot to bookmark as a reference, naturally) about some recently released zombie books, Great Bitten caught my immediate attention for a couple of reasons:

1. It’s set the in UK – and as an Aussie with a British hubby, the sense of humour, slang and geography are pretty familiar to me.
2. The synopsis openly states that the main character isn’t likeable – and I love a good flawed character.

Journalist Warren isn’t a complete arsehole, but he certainly isn’t afraid to say exactly what he’s thinking, forms quick opinions on other people and when things to go to shit, he’s quick to put the needs of those closest to him first – and occasionally himself. If we are all completely honest with ourselves, and as much as we wouldn’t necessarily like to think it, this is how almost everyone would act during a zombie apocalypse.

Fielding explores some interesting ideas in Outbreak – having fast and slow zombies isn’t new, but it’s his presentation and explanation of the differences that makes Outbreak stand out. The zombies are of course scary, and the blood flows freely, but there’s also a fair amount of time spent on building tension, relationships and character building.

My only issue with Outbreak was a part of the storyline that felt a little too accelerated in terms of how quickly human society degenerated into trading favours for women. I’m not unrealistic enough to think that something like that COULDN’T happen, but it just felt like it happened too fast and was too coordinated. In saying that however, only part of the story is told, so perhaps my assumptions are incorrect.

The story moves along quite quickly, and although it doesn’t cover a large timespan, there’s enough variety to keep it interesting and it definitely sucked me in quickly and kept me glued to the pages. I’ll definitely be looking out for the sequel to this one.

22 March 2015

Sunday Post #1


The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Caffeinated Book Reviewer sharing news and new books for the past and coming weeks.

New Books

I've decided that listing every new book I received in the last 11 months would 1) not be interesting for you guys and 2) would probably make me cry, so I'm going to limit myself to just the last week which was just the one book!

Torn Away by Jennifer Brown













In Other News
I spent last week at a work conference in Belgium at a beautiful manor in the Ardennes in Belgium.  Good food, great fun with colleagues and with lots of work stuff done it was exhausting but so worthwhile.

Coming Up
I have a couple of reviews already scheduled for next week, a zombie novel and a mystery and hopefully a YA book if I can actually finish it!

What's new in your world?

21 March 2015

The Aussie Zombie is back!

Almost exactly 11 months ago I decided to join April and co-blog at My Shelf Confessions.  And we had a blast - it was amazing having a co-blogger to bounce ideas off, and April is a fabulously creative person with a real passion for blogging.

However, after some stuff happened in my private life late last year, I took a hiatus from MSC, and when I returned, I was really struggling with HOW to blog.  I'd lost the ability to write reviews, I'd lost the drive to read at the same pace I had been, and after thinking about it for several months, I think I've got it figured out.  I missed my own space.

I really want to say that April has been fabulous, and that our parting is completely amicable - it's a decision made solely by myself, for myself, and I am going to miss co-blogging with April and blogging at MSC greatly.

And so, I'm back.  I have no idea what will change 'round here, and how I will fit back into solo-blogging mode but I'm excited to be back and I hope you are too!




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