My Dream Author Panel (If Only Dreams Really Did Come True...)

Dream Author Panel
*Thanks to the amazing team of Eventbrite for this great blog post idea! * 

After being inspired by the Eventbrite team to consider my dream author panel, I was pretty excited. Living in South Africa, you don't get the opportunity to readily attend awesome YA author panels so, getting the chance to put together a not-to-be-missed panel of my favorite authors sounded like the perfect chance for my imagination to run wild! 

 I love the idea of attending an author panel (as I shamefully admit that I have yet to actually experience one myself) and because I find myself, unintentionally on a YA contemporary book binge of late, I couldn't think of a more satisfying panel than one that contained the currently most buzzed about contemporary authors.  Therefore, my dream team Young Adult author panel would have to consist of Jennifer Niven, Jay Asher, John Green and Rainbow Rowell.

Image from Jennifer Niven
Jennifer Niven  
Author of All The Bright Places (and my mostly recently finished read, Holding Up The Universe), I feel that as a contemporary young adult author, Niven writes stories revolving around teens struggling with very identifiable troubles, fears and anxieties. I think she would be an excellent author to add to a panel with other writers that strive to create characters and stories that not only bring awareness to teen issues, but present inspirational endings, giving their target readers hope and reassurance that they aren’t alone.

Jay Asher  
With the upcoming release of the Nexflix series for 13 Reasons Why, I thought the Jay Asher was an obvious choice author to add to my YA contemporary panel. While I have a major catch up session ahead of me in order to be ready to binge watch the series, I have read The Future of Us which I thoroughly enjoyed. The prevalent teen issues that play out in the haunting story of Hannah and her teen suicide, provide great insight into a sad fact of reality that families deal with on a daily basis. I think having Asher on my panel would help raise awareness, and open up the floor to discussions about how teen fiction can reach young people who may feel they have nowhere else they can turn to in their darkest moments.

Image from Gage Skidmore

John Green  
Ah where do I even start to sum up the literary genius that is John Green? Young Adult writer of our time, panel extraordinaire and emotional magician, how could anyone have a contemporary panel and not include Green. My heart ached after The Fault in Our Stars, I wept after Looking for Alaska, and I giggled at the sweet moments in Paper Towns. He is the author of our time and friend to all in the blogesphere, and fandom worlds. It would be a dream come true to watch Green on any panel discussion, and I must-have for my dream team.

Rainbow Rowell  
Rounding off my panel has to be the sweetheart of the YA contemporary world, Rainbow Rowell. I read and loved Eleanor & Park, for its take on first time young romance, and Fangirl for how it's totally relatable to all lovers of a fandom. After having authors that touch on the tougher subject matters in the teen fiction worlds, I felt my panel needed some lightening up, and that’s exactly what Rowell will do. Having her on the panel would bring that little sparkle and glitter, the kind that young love can sprinkle on any of us.

That's it – my dream Young Adult author panel, now if only this could actually happen!  If you're interested in planning or hosting your own panel discussion, or event check out how Eventbrite could make it so much easier for you. Register here and get planning, or search for some exciting events that are taking place in and around your city today.

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Ordering My First Book Case Box!

Three Dark CrownsSA's first book subscription box! 

I’ve just ordered my first Book Case box, and I can't wait to share it with you all! Since discovering that South Africa has it's very own month book subscription service, I've been itching to give it a try.  Seeing all the amazing #thebookcase Instagram posts has only confirmed that I needed to get my hands on next month's box ASAP (especially as Caraval was the featured title in the February box).  So where to begin to describe this box of awesome book goodies....well at the beginning of course!

What is The Book Case? 
The Book CaseThe Book Case is a monthly subscription service which offers a box filled with bookish goodies and a highly-anticipated read, centered around a different theme each month.  Included in your box you'll find: a new release book, as well as a collection of interesting book related gifts, many of which are exclusively made for The Book Case (and occasionally, even made by the book nerds of The Book Case themselves).  This means you'll not be able to purchase some of the items anywhere else.   Based in South Africa, The Book Case works closely with some amazing South African businesses (local is lekker after all!), as well as some from around the world. 

How did it start? 
Started in July 2016, these magical book boxes are a labour of love inspired by the joy of gifting, not only books but a collection of bookish items that spark joy in the hearts of all bookworms.  It has it's beginnings in the humble surroundings of family gift-giving, a collection of items boxed beautifully and seemingly intertwined through with a central theme.  Expanding on this is how The Book Case came to be what it is today.

How do I get one? 
Well it's super easy, as I had the pleasure of finding out this week!  Each box costs R450.00, including shipping, which I find super reasonable considering all the fantastic items that are included – over and above a new release title.  All you need to do is sign up at the, select your book box and then head over to the checkout.  All cases make their way to your doorstep between the 25th and 30th of every month (shipping dates are subject to the South African release date for the chosen book of the month).  Once your box arrives, be sure to share it across social platforms with the hastag, #thebookcase.

So what's in the month's box? 
This month the theme is all, "Heart Breakingly Human" (attention any John Green, Rainbow Rowell, and Jennifer Niven fans, as this one could be right up your bookshelf, by the sounds of things!).
Here's what you can look forward to:

"In this month’s case, we will be featuring a compelling, thought-provoking, gut-wrenching novel that will be remembered as a classic of our time. An ultimate prayer for change, it will touch the depths of your soul and remain with you for a lifetime.  Everyone should read this book. The story is necessary. The story is important. It demands the widest possible readership.  Your March book case will also include a few bookish goodies that will inspire you! Because it’s all about inspiration this month!"

So bookaholics what are you waiting for?! To get your hands on an epic book box head over to The Book Case and place your orders now. You'll find The Book Case on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.  If you any additional questions, head over to their FAQ or reach out to them here.  I look forward to sharing my box with all at the end of the month!

Happy reading!

**If you're a bookish business and are interested in a feature, click on the Contact Me tab and let me know via email**

Review: Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake

Three Dark CrownsThree Dark Crowns
by Kendare Blake
Publication Date: September 2016
Publisher: Pan Macmillan
Format: Paperback (ARC copy)
Rating: 2/5
Buy the Book: Amazon|Book Depository|Exclusive Books (SA)
Three sisters. One crown. A fight to the death.

In every generation on the island of Fennbirn, a set of triplets is born: three queens, all equal heirs to the crown and each possessor of a coveted magic. Mirabella is a fierce elemental, able to spark hungry flames or vicious storms at the snap of her fingers.  Katharine is a poisoner, one who can ingest the deadliest poisons without so much as a stomachache.  Arsinoe, a naturalist, is said to have the ability to bloom the reddest rose and control the fiercest of lions.  But becoming the Queen Crowned isn't solely a matter of royal birth. Each sister has to fight for it.  And it's not just a game of win or lose . . . it's life or death.  The night the sisters turn sixteen, the battle begins.  The last queen standing gets the crown.

I've put off writing this review for almost as long as it took me to finish the book. In saying that this was a slow read is a massive understatement. It rather recalls that famous Devil Wears Prada quote - it moved at a glacial pace. This wasn't a fun read, it wasn't an epic story. What it was is a great premise to what could be an amazing series.

Three Dark Crowns follows three very separate storylines for triplet sisters, one of whom is destined to reign over the land. The main problem I encounter with this is that the plot lines are so devoid of connectivity, you often forget that they're related (the story as well as the sisters). The Queens each possess a supernatural power that they spend most of the book attempting to hone. The calmative point sees them battle it out in a display of skill, which ultimately they'll use in planning their demise, leaving the surviving Queen ruler. In my opinion, this book could've done with a major cut of most of the first half - in facts in might've been better off as a prequel novella.

Ultimately I have higher hopes for the next book seeing as the story is well set up for a great sequel. Perhaps I'm holding some slight resentment for the fact that this ended up setting me back in my reading challenge, but to say I'm excited for the follow up would be a lie. I'll tentatively give book two a chance, similar to that of a dodgy Tinder date, complete with a duck and run strategy.

View all my reviews on Goodreads

Review: The Memory Book by Lara Avery

The Girl on the TrainThe Memory Book
by Lara Avery
Publication Date: July 2016
Publisher: Poppy/Hachette Book Group
Format: Kindle
Rating: 3/5
Buy the Book: Amazon|Book Depository|Exclusive Books (SA)
Sammie was always a girl with a plan: graduate at the top of her class and get out of her small town as soon as humanly possible. Nothing will stand in her way--not even a rare genetic disorder the doctors say will slowly start to steal her memories and then her health. What she needs is a new plan. So the Memory Book is born: Sammie's notes to her future self, a document of moments great and small. It's where she'll record every perfect detail of her first date with longtime crush, Stuart--a brilliant young writer who is home for the summer. And where she'll admit how much she's missed her childhood best friend, Cooper, and even take some of the blame for the fight that ended their friendship. 
Through a mix of heartfelt journal entries, mementos, and guest posts from friends and family, readers will fall in love with Sammie, a brave and remarkable girl who learns to live and love life fully, even though it's not the life she planned.

This book is a great example of the effects that The Fault in Our Stars has had on the YA genre. There have always been books out there that edged on the precipice of teenage romance, destined to reach untimely ends due to death, illness or other natural disasters, long before Hazel and Augustus graced us with their literary presence. Since John Green's runaway success the interest in 'sick' teen books has increased, and The Memory book can be seen as one of the many attempting to satisfy a demand for a short lived love story in literature.

 This doesn't mean that it's not achieving just that. I enjoyed the writing style – reading Samantha's firsthand account of slipping into the dark recesses of dementia, and following her stages of anger, denial, sadness and finally acceptance of her disease, as the world she fought to build inevitably falls apart. Samantha's sharp wit and attitude lightened the heavy subject matter, as well as made for a very relatable and endearing character. What I didn't enjoy was the ending (but I'm not going to spoil that for you).

Overall it was a relatively quick and easy read, leaving you with just the right amount of empathy towards the characters. A good break from the sappy contemporary love story's that are flooding the young adult genre, yet not straying too far from the oddly appealing 'depro' books that seem to tug at the teenage heartstrings.

View all my reviews on Goodreads

Review: The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

The Girl on the TrainThe Girl on the Train
by Paula Hawkins
Publication Date: January 2015
Publisher: Penguin Random House
Format: ebook
Rating: 4/5
Buy the Book: Amazon|Book Depository|Exclusive Books (SA)
Rachel takes the same commuter train every morning. Every day she rattles down the track, flashes past a stretch of cozy suburban homes, and stops at the signal that allows her to daily watch the same couple breakfasting on their deck. She’s even started to feel like she knows them. “Jess and Jason,” she calls them. Their life—as she sees it—is perfect. Not unlike the life she recently lost. And then she sees something shocking. It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but it’s enough. Now everything’s changed. Unable to keep it to herself, Rachel offers what she knows to the police, and becomes inextricably entwined in what happens next, as well as in the lives of everyone involved. Has she done more harm than good? 

A compulsively readable, emotionally immersive, Hitchcockian thriller that draws comparisons to Gone Girl, The Silent Wife, or Before I Go to Sleep, this is an electrifying debut embraced by readers across markets and categories.

I am not a particular lover of crime fiction and, when in a bookstore, the YA section will always be my first stop. But in an attempt to broaden my reading horizons I have slowly been branching out into the fiction section, tentatively dripping my toes in the world of 'big people' books. My first attempt at crime fiction was, surprisingly, Gone Girl (before the movie I am proud to day), and I loved it. So The Girl on the Train was the next mountain for me to climb, and I happy to say it was a pleasant experience.

The comparisons between The Girl on the Train and Gone Girl were what intrigued me most about this book, and they were the main driving factor for me to read The Girl on the Train. After reading it I didn't really understand why it was compared to  Gone Girl because I found them quite different. Whereas Gone Girl was very dark and intense at times, The Girl on the Train was slightly more reserved in its thrill factor. I wasn't as drawn into the story as I was with Gone Girl but I was still driven by the need to know 'who dun it.' 

I found The Girl on the Train a good crime read, even though I have limited experience with this genre. The characters struggles were very relate-able and the internal turmoil they each faced added good dimension to the storyline. The 'shocker' ending I felt wasn't such a shocker after all but it in no way lessened my enjoyment of this book.

Overall The Girl on the Train is a solid entry into the crime/psychological thriller genre and has succeeded in keeping me interested in this style of writing. I will be on the lookout for future works by the author, and if you have any recommendations for good thrillers please leave them in the comments. I would love to check them out.

The Legacy by Melissa Delport: Blog Tour & Review

 photo Cover-TheLegacy_zpsc28ab647.jpgThe Legacy
by Melissa Delport
Publication Date: July 2013
Publisher: Tracey MacDonald Publishers
Format: ebook
Rating: 5/5
Buy the Book: Amazon|Exclusive Books
One man obsessed with power. One woman prepared to sacrifice everything to stop him. One war that changed the world.  Eric Dane has segregated the wealth and resources that remain, giving a select few the highest chance of survival and leaving the rest to starve! World War 3 lasted twelve days and almost eradicated the human species. Growing up in post nuclear America, Rebecca Davis remained blissfully ignorant of the despotic leadership that had seized what was previously the most powerful nation in the world. When the truth is revealed and Rebecca discovers that everything she has been taught is a lie, she is determined to fight for the life that she has not been allowed to live. In order to do this, Rebecca has to cross the boundary fences and venture out of the safety of the New United States, into the barren wastelands. It is there that she finds allies she never dreamed existed. In Rebecca, the Resistance has finally found the ultimate weapon. “You were given this life Rebecca, because you alone are strong enough to live it.” An action-packed, adrenalin inducing thrill ride that will have you riveted until long after you have turned the last page. Goodreads

About The Author:
 photo Photo-MelissaDelportLR_zps76ac78b7.jpg
Wife and mother of 3, Melissa Delport is the author of The Legacy Trilogy and the stand-alone self-published e.books Rainfall and The TravelerShe graduated from the University of South Africa with a Bachelor’s Degree in English in 2000. At the age of twenty-four Melissa started a logistics company (Transmax) from the spare room of her flat and built it up to two fully operational depots in Durban and Johannesburg. Now, 10 years later, she has sold her business in order to write full time. Melissa lives with her husband and three children in Hillcrest, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. The Legacy (Book 1 of The Legacy Trilogy) and The Legion (Book 2) are available now and the final book, The Legend, will be released early 2015. An avid reader herself, Melissa finally decided to stop ‘watching from the sidelines’ and to do what is her passion.

The Legacy Trilogy Playlist:

I am a big lover of music – I always have been, and remember the very first tapes my mom bought me when I turned 11 – The Best of Dolly Parton & Kenny G! Personally, I think she underestimated my desire to own my own music and thought it was simply a childish whim, so she bought music she could listen to when I moved on to my next obsession. That didn't happen – in fact, in the absence of anything better, I stretched those tapes from playing them so much that they were no use to anyone within a few short months.

Everybody knows that music inspires emotion, and a movie’s soundtrack is almost as important as its casting. I have my own ideas as to what music would go well with certain scenes in The Legacy, but as I do not want to disclose any “spoilers” I will simply list my Movie Soundtrack, in no particular order.

See if you can guess what song matches which scene:

Imagine Dragons - Radioactive
Florence & The Machine - Never Let Me Go
Depeche Mode - Precious
Madonna - Die Another Day
Jason Walker - Down
Plumb - Cut
Taylor Swift Feat Gary Lightbody - The Last Time
Linkin Park - Burn it Down
Damien Rice - 9 crimes
Creed - My Sacrifice
Ben Howard - Oats in the Water
Sam Smith - Stay With Me

 photo My review 2_zpsblyfie06.png
Dystopian books are by far one of my guilty pleasures in reading and, having read The Hungers Games, Divergent, The Chemical Garden trilogy (just to name a few), I thought that I had  pretty much exhausted most of the decent series that are out there. That was until I read The Legacy and fell in love with the dystopian genre all over again. 

The Legacy just reminded me what a good dystopian story is all about and I found myself unable to put it down. It has the headstrong, kick butt female lead, Rebbecca, that leaves you utterly in awe of her sheer awesomeness, the super creepy but dangerously seductive villain in Mr Eric Dane, and the guys everyone is bound to fall in love with, Aidan and Reed. The story is heart pounding, action packed and full of substance which makes a fantstic change to some of the fluffy stories around nowadays. 

The writing style of The Legacy, I found really enjoyable. The characters are well developed, each fighting internal battles along with the external ones they are all facing. The world building was second to none, always on point and never leaving me confused as to what was happening where (as can sometimes happen with futuristic stories).  I thought the pacing was great and that there was just the right balance between romance and action.

There's nothing I can really fault about The Legacy and a book like that doesn't come around all too often. The plot twists keep me on the edge of my seat and I'm really looking forward to next book in the trilogy, The Legion. 

Amazon Wish List

Hello fellow book lovers!

Thank you so much for stopping my blog. This is just a quick post I want to share with you about my newly created Amazon Wish List. There are so many fantastic books that either just released or about to be released and sometimes it can be really hard to keep up with what I'm dying to get my hands on first. Now my Amazon Wish List helps me keep track of what I really need to buy. Feel free to check it out and I hope it will help you spot some great reads that maybe slipped under your radar. It is also a great way to see what books I love to read and who my favourite authors are. You'll find the link in the top right corner under the 'Follow Me...' tab or you can just click this little button right here:
Amazon Wish List
Thanks again bookworms for all your beautiful comments and the wonderful support you provide that keeps me blogging away. Keep your eyes out for some exciting new developments as well. 
As always...Happy Reading! xxx