When a Book Just Wows You

This month I was luck to be transported to my happy place two books that really “wowed” me. You know the type; the books you just can’t put down until they’re finished. Then, when you reach the end, you’re sad because there’s nothing left to read. There are the books I want to share with you.

Many thing in my life this month have not gone to plan this month. So it isn’t surprising this was not the review I was going to write for September, but it is the review that was clamouring to be written. This month I was lucky to be transported to my happy place two books that really “wowed” me. You know the type; the books you just can’t put down until they’re finished. Then, when you reach the end, you’re sad because there’s nothing left to read. These are the books I want to share with you.

The Midnight Library by Matt Haig

I reviewed on of Matt Haig’s books last month. I really enjoy his quirky story lines. even so, I did not expect to be so blown away by The Midnight Library.

The blurb starts off , “Between Life and Death There is a Library”, and went on to tell of Nora Seed who is stuck in that moment between life and death where she had the opportunity to live her life if she had made different decisions at different points in time. I was hooked. I brought it, and I couldn’t put it down.

Nora is disappointed in herself and always believed she could have lived a better life, been a better person, if only she had made the most of the opportunities she had squandered. In the Midnight Library she is able to see the lives she has missed out on.

It’s funny, because Nora is not the most likeable person as a main character in a book, to be honest she comes across as a bit of a loser, and that is because that is how she portrays herself. Her lonely life is one where she is isolated and focuses on the regrets she has for not taking chances.

I started off feeling sorry for her, but as I lived through her other lives where she took different paths, I understand her more, and began rooting for her—hoping she would find a life where she was truely happy.

This is a great piece of story writing, growing from a really interesting concept, but what I loved about this book (apart from my inability to put it down), was all the thinking I did after I had finished. It had me mulling over how little we realise the impact we have on the lives of those around us, and also how often we interpret our relationships with others from our own perspective, especially when we are depressed.

Although this is not truely a Teen/YA book, it is one I believe many older teens would benefit from reading, as it might actually help them understand what some of their friends are dealing with. And I defiantly recommend it for parents, just because it is a great read.

Buy A Midnight Library from Amazon

Aurora Burning (The Aurora Cycle 2) by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

So I finished The Midnight Library and moved on to the next book in my kindle, Aurora Burning. This is the second book in the series, I reviewed an Amie Kaufman co-write some time ago, and I have read more of her books in the meantime, including Aurora Rising, the first book in the Aurora Cycle. I loved the book but didn’t get round to reviewing it, and I am not going to make the same mistake with Aurora Burning.

I have been waiting patiently for the second book in the series to come out. The only problem was, in the meantime I had forgotten how much I loved the characters, and how fast paced the actions is, and how you get caught up in the story then you find it is three am on a school night and its only three hours until you have to get up. I curse you Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff.

By far my favourite character in this book is the super brain Zila. She is slowly coming our of her shell and learning to have a sense of humour. Still, Finn’s sarcasm and surprising heroism is quite cool. Then again, super-sexy Scarlett shows there is more to her than meets the eye, and her brother Tyler—if I was a boy I would want to be him, the all round hero. Though, if I think about it, Aurora now has super-powers, and a super-cool boyfriend who adores her in Kal. And Kal, the war machine is a super-being, who wouldn’t want to be him? So many great characters, and every time the chapter changes to a new point of view I want to be that one.

In Aurora Rising a crew of military misfits rescue a girl lost in space, thence across a scary hive mind wanting to take over the galaxy. In this book they are trying to find the weapon Aurora, the girl they rescued, has been told she must use to to save the universe. In the mean time, Kal’s family life starts to get in the way and places them all in peril.

This book is almost non-stop action, but still manages to expand on the characters backstories, and take us through a political minefield that is not as straightforward as it seems. When I finally did finish the book, I was unable to sleep, wanting to know what happens next, and imagining all sorts of scenarios.

I have it now, I want to be Amie Kaufman or Jay Kristoff. I mean who doesn’t want to be a writer who produces mesmerising books? Scfi fans will really enjoy this offering, but so will those who like a little romance, or action adventure books. So many people will like this book it is probably a waste of time my writing a review as you’re probably all read it, and like me are waiting with baited breath for the next book in the series.

Buy Aurora Burning from Amazon

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Available Until 16 October
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Lost in Snow and Space

Having missed some reviews last month I have two YA books to make up for it – a fantasy set in snow and a sci-fi offering set in space.

Stealing Snow by Danielle Paige

Although this book started off a little slow and I did think about putting it down, I am so pleased I did not. I persevered and found around the middle I did not want to put it down.

Danielle Paige’s character Snow starts out in a mental institution and is not an immediately likeable, but right from the beginning you get the sense that there is something a little off  in her world.

With the help of a figure from her dreams she manages to escape the hospital and ends up in a different dimension –  a world full of magic, one that her mother rescued her from as child when she realised Snow was part of a prophecy.

The world Snow is brought to is well constructed, and full of interesting characters. The plot actually has twists and turns that I could not see, and the climax also ended is worth over-coming those initial slow chapters for.

This book would be great for strong readers 14+ who like fantasy adventure with a little bit of star-crossed lovers thrown in.

Unearthed by Amie Kaufman and Megan Spooner

Jules Addison and Amelia Radcliffe find themselves on the far-away planet of Gaia with very similar objectives; one to save his father and the other to save her sister. In spite of this, their methods are very different. Jules wants to prove that the undying who brought humans to their planet might actually be dangerous, as his father predicted. Amelia wants to scavenge scrap to make enough money to buy her sister free from slavery.

Amie Kaufman and Megan Spooner have again teamed up to write a great science fiction novel written from two different perspectives, developing two protagonists that easy to identify with, and bring you along on their great adventures.The plot is well developed and interesting, the version of earth and the planet the two find themselves on are well imagined, and there is enough science stuff for the avid science fiction reader – but not so much that others will not enjoy this adventure story.

I have to admit that I could guess much of the plot, but I did not mind because the strength of this book is how the characters interact and develop as the story moves along. Even though I could guess most of what would happen next, the end came as a complete surprise, and has me wanting to read the second book in the series, which fortunately for me is already out and on my Christmas list.

This book will definitely appeal to sci-fi fans, but it might also interest fans of dystopian and fantasy and even those who like a good romance. Although targets at the young adult market, good readers from 12 upwards would be able to read this if they do not mind a little death.

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Ice Wolves by Amie Kaufman – A Big Hit!

Ice Wolves – Elementals #1 by Amie Kaufman

(By Sam S Aged 11)

I showed Sam this book I was going to read for review, and he was immediately taken in by the cover. He read the back, and that was it, I knew who was going to review Amie Kaufman’s first book in her first solo series.


Ice wolves is a fantasy novel set in a mystical land where you can be one of two elementals who are sworn enemies. The ice wolves, the protectors of common folk, or the evil scorch dragons hiding in the mountains and snatching up children from their homes and setting fire to the houses. But are they what the seem? Anders is a twelve year old orphan living on the streets with his sister Rayna but when they both turn into different elemental forms, Anders an ice wolf and Rayna a scorch dragon, their world is plunged into one of chaos as the Ice Wolves prepare for war against the Scorch Dragons. But first they have to find them.

My favourite character is Anders because in his heart he is doing the right thing, but almost everyone else says he’s doing the wrong thing. His best friend and sister believe him so he pushes on!

I recommend this book for ages 9-12 because this is not too hard to read, but has larger words an more complex sentences and for an early reader this is the equivalent to reading a dictionary because of  the complexity of the words. I applaud the writer as this book is a work of art in the fantasy/ adventure genre. IT IS AMAZING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Great read! (:-). 


I think Sam will be hanging out for the next book in the series.


Buy Ice Wolves from Booktopia
Buy Ice Wolves from The Book Depository



The Starbound Trilogy – Beyond These Broken Stars

The Starbound Trilogy by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner


Some time ago I read and reviewed These Broken Stars. I really enjoyed the experience and always meant to read the rest of the series. I then got distracted reading all the other books I had to review and reading the other books in a series was pushed into the background. Then I had an idea – why not follow up on all the books I enjoyed reading that were a part of a series, and see if the series lived up to it’s initial promise? I am starting this exercise with the Starbound Trilogy.

I guess I have already given away that I enjoyed these books as I have included all three in the review. What you won’t know is that I enjoyed them so much I read the last two back to back. In These Shattered Stars we found Lilac and Tarver stranded after a spaceship crash. Their story of love and survival was the main story the first book. We also discovered that Lilac’s father was running experiments with beings from hyper-space.

The second book, This Shattered World, is another love story on another planet, where Jubilee is a soldier and Flynn a member of a local resistance. Their relationship struggles as they try to understand what is happening on planet they both live on. Jubilee is so concerned she calls in her former commander – Tarver  Merendsen – to help.

Their Fractured Light sees Gideon and Sofia investigating what has been going on La-Roux industries, and they stumble upon the existence of hyper-space beings being manipulated by Lilac’s father. They plan to foil his plot only to find that there are others working to the same end.

This series is very clever. On the surface these are classic love stories, but running through the books are some of life’s big questions. If a people are not like us are they then less than human and able to be treated as animals? And is it ok to sacrifice a few to improve the life of the greater population? These heavy themes are lightly and interestingly handled in these stories.

I also enjoyed the symmetry of these novels. Each of the stories are told alternating chapters by the main characters, who are all interesting and well rounded and have their own story to tell. All of the six main characters are interlinked and have continuing roles in the larger story. Each story is also viewed by a hyper-space being, which gives another dimension to our understanding of each of the characters and why they are important to the story as a whole.

All in all the series lived up to the promise of the first book, in fact I would say each book added to the whole making a truly memorable experience. If you have just finished your exams and are looking for some summer reading, I would recommend this series for a summer sloth-out.

Get These Broken Stars from Amazon

Get This Shattered World from Amazon

Get Their Fractured Lights from Amazon