Review: The Last Time We Say Goodbye by Cynthia Hand

Saturday, 28 February 2015

The Last Time We Say Goodbye by Cynthia Hand
Released: 1st February 2015
Published by: HarperCollins
Genre: YA Contemporary
Source: Publisher
Pages: 400
My Rating: 4 of 5 stars
Goodreads | Bookworld | Book Depository
The last time Lex was happy, it was before. When she had a family that was whole. A boyfriend she loved. Friends who didn't look at her like she might break down at any moment. Now she's just the girl whose brother killed himself. And it feels like that's all she'll ever be. As Lex starts to put her life back together, she tries to block out what happened the night Tyler died.

But there's a secret she hasn't told anyone-a text Tyler sent, that could have changed everything. Lex's brother is gone. But Lex is about to discover that a ghost doesn't have to be real to keep you from moving on. From New York Times bestselling author Cynthia Hand, The Last Time We Say Goodbye is a gorgeous and heart-wrenching story of love, loss, and letting go.
Thank you to HarperCollins Australia for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review 

There's no doubt that The Last Time We Say Goodbye is a sad book, though I'm sure you wouldn't go into it thinking any differently. This is a story packed with raw emotions that draws you in with its confronting honesty and repercussions of a tragedy on a family which was already broken. It seems there is an increasing trend for YA novels covering teen suicide and its impact on the loved ones left behind. It is creating a growing awareness of the issue, and through covering it via this form it becomes something which we can all sympathise with; and hopefully try to solve.

They don't understand yet. That they are all waiting for that one phone call that will change everything. That every one of them will feel like me eventually. Because someone they love will die. It's one of life's cruel certainties.

I hadn't read anything by Cynthia Hand before delving into The Last Time We Say Goodbye, but I'm now really interested in seeing more of her writing style, because in this book it really does 'speak to you' as a reader. It's not the sort of in-your-face lyrical prose, but instead being told of Lexi's experience of losing her brother is something that feels real. Honestly, this book was heartbreaking from the start, and learning of the lengths her brother went to and the darkness he fell into to make his final decision was confronting. 

The space where Ty used to be, they've closed it in. Which makes a freaking grief hole open up in my chest. I wait for it to pass, but it doesn't, not for what feels like much longer than the normal thirty seconds. As usual I start to feel like there's something physically wrong with my body - I can't breathe, my heart is beating too fast, I can't breathe, I can't breathe.

Lex is quite a complex character in herself, who is forced to not only help herself through the grief, but her mother too. When she begins to 'see' her brother around the house and have awful dreams about him dying in so many situations, it really is evident just how much this has affected her. By writing journal entries about the 'last time' she did things with her brother, we get to see even more of the two of them, her conflicting emotions and the inevitable guilt that somehow she was responsible for not pulling him back from the edge. 

I feel like I've disappeared already, the Lex that I was before, and some people have definitely noticed I'm gone. But then I'm noticing I'm missing doesn't mean I get to come back.

Lex also has some of her own issues outside of dealing with her brother's death in those horrific circumstances. Her math ability is what could get her into MIT, her ex-ish boyfriend Steven seems to still have feelings for her, and all the while there is that gaping hole of sadness because this event has changed her, it seems irrevocably. However, this book is also one about healing, which was good to see. It demonstrates that even in the face of an immense loss there is hope. There is still a life to live for those who have that opportunity. The fact that the author had inspiration for this book from a personal experience makes it all the more poignant, and the last diary entry in the story is what really broke me.

It never fails to amaze me, in these moments, that the numbers explain something tangible and true about life. The numbers make sense of things. They make order of a disordered world.


With a book like this, it can be hard for a reviewer to put thoughts and emotions to words. I hope I've been able to do this for you, but honestly all I have left to say is that this book is heartbreaking, though there is light at the end of the tunnel. If you liked All The Bright Places or I Was Here, then The Last Time We Say Goodbye could appeal to you with that same emotional impact.

Waiting on Wednesday: Mind Games

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine where the participants tell their readers about an upcoming release they are waiting to read. This week I've picked Mind Games by Teri Terry.

Luna is a no-hoper with a secret: in a world of illusion, she can see what is real. But can she see the truth before it is too late?

Luna has always been able to exist in virtual and real worlds at the same time, a secret she is warned to keep.

She hides her ability by being a Refuser: excluded by choice from the virtual spheres others inhabit.

But when she is singled out for testing, she can’t hide any longer. The safest thing to do would be to fail, to go back to a dead-end life, no future.

But Luna is starting to hope for something better, and hope is a dangerous thing...

I loved the Slated series by Teri Terry so I can't wait to see what she has in store with this book!

Releasing 5th March 2015

Genie's Weekly News (23)

Sunday, 22 February 2015

Hi everyone and welcome to my weekly blog feature to recap the week with bookish news and what to expect coming up! So without further ado...

*Reading Right Now*


I have tissues at the ready.

*Previous Posts*

*Recommendation of the Week*


I really enjoyed this psychological thriller - it had some complex relationships, and Lauren Oliver's writing style won me over. Review to come in March closer to its release!

*From The Interwebs*


Thank you to Penguin Teen Australia, Hardie Grant Egmont and Ginger Scott for these books to review!
  • Kissing In America by Margo Rabb - I love contemporary road-trip novels so I'm looking forward to this one! 
  • Wild Reckless by Ginger Scott - I am a huge fan of all of Ginger Scott's books so far, and this one is what I'm hoping will be another amazing hit.
  • Lifespan of Starlight by Thalia Kalkipsakis - YAY for more YA time-travel novels - It's like ever since I mentioned I wanted to see more of these, they keep popping up! This is from a debut author and the first in a trilogy, so I'm excited for it.

*Other News*

On a totally unrelated and non-bookish note, this happened:

Enough from me - what about you? Anything interesting on your book radar?

Review: Mr. Kiss and Tell (Veronica Mars #2)

Saturday, 21 February 2015

Mr. Kiss and Tell by Rob Thomas and Jennifer Graham
Series: Veronica Mars #2
Released: 28th January 2014
Genre: Mystery/Crime 
Source: Publisher
Pages: 336
My Rating: 3.5 of 5 stars
Goodreads | Bookworld | Book Depository
In the second book in the New York Times bestselling mystery series, Veronica Mars is back with a case that will expose the hidden workings of one of Neptune’s most murderous locations.

The Neptune Grand has always been the seaside town’s ritziest hotel, despite the shady dealings and high-profile scandals that seem to follow its elite guests. When a woman claims that she was brutally assaulted in one of its rooms and left for dead by a staff member, the owners know that they have a potential powder keg on their hands. They turn to Veronica to disprove—or prove—the woman's story. The case is a complicated mix of hard facts, mysterious occurrences, and uncooperative witnesses.

The hotel refuses to turn over its reservation list and the victim won’t divulge who she was meeting that night. Add in the facts that the attack happened months ago, the victim’s memory is fuzzy, and there are holes in the hotel’s surveillance system, and Veronica has a convoluted mess on her hands. As she works to fill in the missing pieces, it becomes clear that someone is lying—but who? And why?
Thank you to Allen and Unwin for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review

Mr Kiss and Tell follows on from its predecessor in the series, and while many of the characters are familiar, this time around the mystery has really picked up in full force. Private investigator Veronica Mars has a new case dealing with an alleged rape at the Neptune Grand, but with political corruption, unreliable witnesses and other personal issues coming to light, getting justice would not be easy.

The plotline and concept itself in this book was successful in providing a continuation from The Thousand Dollar Tan Line and a glimpse into the lives of those characters now. Of course, this new challenge for Veronica was one that she faced with her same determined attitude, even in the face of an elusive but nonetheless dangerous attacker. With crime novels its inevitable that the build up to the reveal and final 'closing the book' on the cases will be slow, and there were some parts where I felt that. However, by about the three-quarter mark I could tell that things were getting quite complex with the cases of mistaken identity and tracking of the assaulter causing some tension to mount.

What I did really appreciate in this story was seeing more of Logan and Veronica's relationship. The two definitely have a special bond, but under the strain of his job in the military it's not always easy to maintain that. I'd definitely be looking forward to seeing more from the pair in the third book since they do make a good couple!


This is another well thought-out mystery novel that works really well with the previous book -blending old characters with a fresh storyline. Bring on book three!

Waiting on Wednesday: The Creeping

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine where the participants tell their readers about an upcoming release they are waiting to read. This week I've picked The Creeping by Alexandra Sirowy.

Twelve years ago Stella and Jeanie vanished while picking strawberries. Stella returned minutes later, with no memory of what happened. Jeanie was never seen or heard from again.

Now Stella is seventeen, and she's over it. She's the lucky one who survived, and sure, the case is still cloaked in mystery—and it's her small town's ugly legacy—but Stella is focused on the coming summer. She's got a great best friend, a hookup with an irresistibly crooked smile, and two months of beach days stretching out before her.

Then along comes a corpse, a little girl who washes up in an ancient cemetery after a mudslide, and who has red hair just like Jeanie did. Suddenly memories of that haunting day begin to return, and when Stella discovers that other red-headed girls have gone missing as well, she begins to suspect that something sinister is at work. And before the summer ends, Stella will learn the hard way that if you hunt for monsters, you will find them.

This definitely seems like a book to read with the lights on - but count me intrigued!

Releasing 18th August 2015

Top Ten Tuesday: Bookish Problems

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by bloggers at The Broke and the BookishThis week I'm sharing with you some bookish problems that we all can encounter....


This is a constant problem. Can I borrow Hermione's time turner please?

2. Not enough space for all your books.

When the bookshelves are full it's time to get creative with book storage.

3. An ereader dying on you right in the middle of that pivotal chapter

This has happened to me a few times, and it's the reason why I still believe it's paper FTW.

4. Lending a book to someone and it does not come back in the same condition

Please take care of my babies okay?

5. Having high expectations for a book and you end up not liking it

This can happen for those really 'hyped up' books and although the majority may love it, you might not and feel like a black sheep.



Someone (I can't remember who) ruined Allegiant for me and so I still haven't found the motivation to read it.

7. When your favourite character dies and you have to take time to grieve

If you find me sobbing with a book in my hands, this is why.

8. Not being able to put your fangirling into words and write a coherent review.

Sometimes all you want to say is 'just read it!'

9. Trying to get over a book hangover/book slump

Finding that next big thing in your bookish life can be hard.

10. Coming across people who don't understand the magic of books

I touched on this is a previous discussion post - more people need to experience the amazing thing that is reading a good book!

What are some of your bookish problems?

Genie's Weekly News (22)

Sunday, 15 February 2015

Hi everyone and welcome to my weekly blog feature to recap the week with bookish news and what to expect coming up! So without further ado...

*Reading Right Now*


I'm continuing on with the Veronica Mars trend from last week!

*Previous Posts*

*Quote of the Week*

This basically sums up my life right now.

*From The Interwebs*


Thanks to Allen and Unwin, Pan Macmillan and Hachette for the copies!
  • Every Move by Ellie Marney - Now that I have all three in the series, it's time for a binge-read (and I've heard all the good things so I'm excited!)
  • Before the Fire by Sarah Butler - This was a surprise in the mail and I'm looking forward to it - what a striking cover!
  • Vanishing Girls by Lauren Oliver - I love a good psychological thriller so I'm hoping this is a good one.
*Other News*

I feel like I haven't been interacting so much on here and visiting all you other bloggers on the interwebs recently since study-mode has kicked in and half-yearly's are in the not too distant future! Finding time to read has been a bit difficult lately, but in between the mountains of notes to organise and a speech to write, I've at least gotten in a few pages here and there.

How has your week been? Any amazing books you've read lately?

Review: The Thousand Dollar Tan Line (Veronica Mars #1)

Friday, 13 February 2015

The Thousand Dollar Tan Line by Rob Thomas and Jennifer Graham
Series: Veronica Mars #1
Released: 1st November 2014
Genre: YA Mystery
Source: Publisher
Pages: 324
My Rating: 3.5 of 5 stars
Goodreads | Bookworld | Book Depository
Ten years after graduating from high school in Neptune, California, Veronica Mars is back in the land of sun, sand, crime, and corruption.

She's traded in her law degree for her old private investigating license, struggling to keep Mars Investigations afloat on the scant cash earned by catching cheating spouses until she can score her first big case.  Now it's spring break, and college students descend on Neptune, transforming the beaches and boardwalks into a frenzied, week-long rave.

When a girl disappears from a party, Veronica is called in to investigate. But this is no simple missing person's case; the house the girl vanished from belongs to a man with serious criminal ties, and soon Veronica is plunged into a dangerous underworld of drugs and organized crime. And when a major break in the investigation has a shocking connection to Veronica's past, the case hits closer to home than she ever imagined.

Thank you to Allen and Unwin for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review

The Thousand Tollar Tan Line is a novel which contains quite a fascinating mystery which pulled me in from the start, though in places left me wanting a little more. As a person who hasn't yet watched what I've heard is the fantastic Veronica Mars on screen, I have no way to compare how this novel stacks up. However, though this wasn't my favourite read of late, I can still say that it did have its good points and I'll definitely be watching the show and movie in the near future.

What I did really enjoy about this was Veronica's character and getting to know her well. I love her quirks and mannerisms, her sarcasm at times and overall charisma. She's a private investigator who wants to know the truth and will do what she can to seek justice. I don't usually read a lot of books with the crime-solving/'whodunnit' mystery, and so The Thousand Dollar Tan Line was a welcome change. The nature of the story itself dealing with the two missing girls and organised crime combined with the seedy cartel themes at times made for an interesting read overall, though at some points there were some definitely lags in the plot which did make my attention wane.

However, what the authors have done here is among the red herrings and tangents, provided some twists and turns which I didn't see coming - and I love it when that happens. To be honest, I'm not one who usually sees the big reveal coming anyway, but the way the plot panned out definitely went in a way that wasn't expected and exciting in a sense. Aside from solving the crime, it was also good to see a balance with some family dynamics coming into play with Veronica's father Keith and her mother who also had a secondary role. It's nice to have some sub-plots to break up the story and give a different focus to make a well-rounded book.


In essence, though it's probably not my favourite mystery in the world, I can still say with confidence that I enjoyed this book, and I'm looking forward to sharing my thoughts on Mr Kiss and Tell soon!

Waiting on Wednesday: Vanishing Girls

Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine where the participants tell their readers about an upcoming release they are waiting to read. This week I've picked Vanishing Girls by Lauren Oliver. *Book cover gif created by Epic Reads

New York Times bestselling author Lauren Oliver delivers a gripping story about two sisters inexorably altered by a terrible accident.

Dara and Nick used to be inseparable, but that was before the accident that left Dara's beautiful face scarred and the two sisters totally estranged. When Dara vanishes on her birthday, Nick thinks Dara is just playing around. But another girl, nine-year-old Madeline Snow, has vanished, too, and Nick becomes increasingly convinced that the two disappearances are linked.

Now Nick has to find her sister, before it's too late. In this edgy and compelling novel, Lauren Oliver creates a world of intrigue, loss, and suspicion as two sisters search to find themselves, and each other.

"Alarming and uplifting, a rare psychological thriller that has a kind heart at its center. Read it with all the lights on." --E. Lockhart, author of We Were Liars

I love a psychological thriller that works and I have an ARC of this, so hopefully this one wows me when I get to reading it!

Releasing 10th March 2015

Review: Eat The Sky, Drink The Ocean

Monday, 9 February 2015

Eat The Sky, Drink The Ocean edited by Kirsty Murray, Payal Dhar and Anita Roy
Released: 1st January 2015
Published by: Allen and Unwin
Genre: YA Science Fiction/Speculative Fiction/Anthology
Source: Publisher
Pages: 240
My Rating:4.5 of 5 stars
Goodreads | Bookworld | Book Depository
Be transported into dystopian cities and other-worldly societies. Be amazed and beguiled by a nursery story with a reverse twist, a futuristic take on TV cooking shows, a playscript with tentacles - and more, much more. Plunge in and enjoy!

A collection of sci-fi and fantasy writing, including six graphic stories, showcasing twenty stellar writers and artists from India and Australia: Isobelle Carmody, Kate Constable, Penni Russon, Margo Lanagan, Mandy Ord, to mention only a few.
Thank you to Allen and Unwin for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review 

Eat the Sky, Drink the Ocean holds a collection of stories just as captivating as its title. Compiled by a variety of authors from Australia and India, it is something that had a charm and allure from the very first pages. The graphic sections were just as fascinating to read into as the words on the page, and I can honestly say that each and every section was brilliantly done.

The book in itself is an inspiration, and challenging the role of young women in society. There were often subverted versions of the stereotypical patriarchal set-up in different situations, which was altogether fascinating. What's interesting about having short stories in an anthology like this is that even on their own they are so powerful. I could sense each author's different style coming through as I went along experiencing all the worlds they had created. That being said, within the plots themselves; the collaborations were seamless and it's wonderful to see such talented female writers pair up to bring their ideas together and weave something so special. While I wished that the graphic stories had been illustrated in colour in some places, I nonetheless found them engrossing, with a surreal edge.

Another lovely addition were perspectives from the authors themselves at the back of the book about how they felt about collaborating with each other. It's obviously a different experience from working solo, and it was interesting to read about how their original concepts were moulded into the finished product.


Phenomenally original, innovative and inspiring, Eat the Sky, Drink the Ocean was just as spectacular as I hoped it would be. It has brought speculative fiction into a whole new light, where the words, concepts and illustrations converge in a beautiful work which I'd recommend to everybody.

Genie's Weekly News (21)

Sunday, 8 February 2015

Hi everyone and welcome to my weekly blog feature to recap the week with bookish news and what to expect coming up! So without further ado...

*Reading Right Now*


I'll be going on a Veronica Mars spree reading this one then Mr. Kiss and Tell - look out for reviews coming soon!

*Previous Posts*

*Recommendation of the Week*


This anthology seriously deserves ALL THE STARS. It really showcased speculative fiction at its best in both written and graphic form. Watch out for my review coming tomorrow!

*From The Interwebs*


  • A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas - I am SO EXCITED TO READ THIS!!! That is all.
  • Havoc by Jane Higgins - I haven't read the first book in this series, but I'm still interested to see if it makes a good dystopian. 
*Other News*

It was nice to take a break from studying by going out for dinner at a Teppanyaki restaurant for my friend's birthday. Who knew having food being thrown at you would be so much fun!? Anyway, schools back on and in full swing, and I'm inundated with work to do already, so things might be a bit quieter on the blog for a while.

How has your week been?

Review: The Here and Now by Ann Brashares

Thursday, 5 February 2015

23352730The Here and Now by Ann Brashares
Released: 1st January 2015
Published by: Hachette 
Genre: YA Science Fiction/Time Travel
Source: Publisher
Pages: 303
My Rating: 3.5 of 5 stars
Goodreads | Bookworld | Book Depository
An unforgettable epic romantic thriller about a girl from the future who might be able to save the world . . . if she lets go of the one thing she’s found to hold on to.

 Follow the rules. Remember what happened. Never fall in love. This is the story of seventeen-year-old Prenna James, who immigrated to New York when she was twelve. Except Prenna didn’t come from a different country. She came from a different time—a future where a mosquito-borne illness has mutated into a pandemic, killing millions and leaving the world in ruins. Prenna and the others who escaped to the present day must follow a strict set of rules: never reveal where they’re from, never interfere with history, and never, ever be intimate with anyone outside their community.

Prenna does as she’s told, believing she can help prevent the plague that will one day ravage the earth. But everything changes when Prenna falls for Ethan Jarves.

From Ann Brashares, the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series, The Here and Now is thrilling, exhilarating, haunting, and heartbreaking—and a must-read novel of the year. .
Thank you to Hachette Australia for sending me a copy of this book via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review 

I hadn't read anything by Ann Brashares since her renowned Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series, so I was curious to see how this very different genre of novel would stack up. I found The Here And Now to be quite an enjoyable read overall, though I did have a few minor qualms with it. Despite that, if you're looking for a novel which deals with the implications that coming from a different time can have, then you're sure to give this one a tick. 

We follow our scripts like actors in a very large, very long production. And even with no audience, none of us gives a hint that it isn't real.

Prenna had previously been the girl who went along with what the community dictated regarding the laws of time travel and playing her part in possibly altering the future. When she meets Ethan, perhaps somewhat predictably her mindset changes and she becomes rebellious against the regime she had been brought up in. What I did like about the overall concept of the novel was how Brashares set it up in the worldbuilding aspect. Including the '12 rules' which outlined what was expected of the travelers gave an authentic touch, and it was good to see some character development from Prenn as the mystery element of the story unfolded. 

What did take a little away from my enjoyment was the romance that developed. Ethan didn't really seem like a character with much depth, although he was of course good-looking. His cheeky antics at times didn't really make him appealing, and I just wish that I could have found more of a realistic 'romantic' in this 'romantic thriller'. That being said, the ending of the novel did in part make up for the discrepancies in the plot and slow pacing at times, and it was nice to have a proper conclusion that gave some satisfaction.


This is the second novel about time travel that I've read in quite a short time, and although there wasn't much focus on the science, the ethical and philosophical questions which arose did make me think. If you're already an Ann Brashares fan and want to check out her newest work in a different style, then I'd recommend giving The Here and Now a try.

Cover Reveal: Wild Reckless by Ginger Scott

Wednesday, 4 February 2015

When I found out that Ginger Scott was releasing another book, I was excited! This time she's written a mature-YA contemporary called Wild Reckless. Here's the cover reveal hosted by Wordsmith Publicity so that you can all finally see what this looks like, and check out the little excerpt too.

Kensington Worth had a vision for her senior year. It involved her best friends, her posh private school in downtown Chicago and time alone with her piano until her audition was perfected, a guaranteed ticket into the best music programs in the world. Instead, a nightmare took over. It didn’t happen all at once, but her life unraveled quickly—a tiny thread that evil somehow kept pulling until everything precious was taken from her. She was suddenly living miles away from her old life, trapped in an existence she didn’t choose—one determined to destroy her from the inside, leaving only hate and anger behind. 

It didn’t help that her neighbor, the one whose eyes held danger, was enjoying every second of her fall. Owen Harper was trouble, his heart wild and his past the kind that’s spoken about in whispers. And somehow, his path was always intertwined with Kensington’s, every interaction crushing her, ruining her hope for any future better than her now. Sometimes, though, what everyone warns is trouble, is exactly what the heart needs. Owen Harper was consumed with darkness, and it held onto his soul for years. When Kensington looked at him, she saw a boy who’d gotten good at taking others down when they threatened his carefully balanced life. 

But the more she looked, the more she saw other things too—good things…things to admire. Things…to love. Things that made her want to be reckless. And those things…they were the scariest of all.

Ginger Scott has been on my auto-read list right from her very first novel Waiting On The Sidelines. As always, I can't wait to see what she's created in this one!


      I know I shouldn’t, but I turn around anyway, and I give Owen my full, undivided attention. His friends have already left, and he’s slowly walking backwards, showing me his middle finger and smiling with that faint half-grin I’ve seen far too often over the last three days.

     I don’t know what makes me do it. In fact, I don’t know why I am the way I am with Owen. I’ve been careful and timid and obedient my entire life, my only mission to please everyone—please my father, Chen, my mother, my friends, my teachers. Please, please, please, please, please. That’s all I do. And all it’s done for me is land me in Woodstock, away from my friends and the senior year I was expecting to have. I’m not pleasing Owen Harper, too. So I stand with my tray and raise my arm slowly by my side, my eyes zeroed in on his until I’m pointing at him. I close one eye and cock my head slightly to the right, like I’m making sure I have him in my sights—and then I pull the trigger.

     “Jesus H Christ, Kensi! What’s wrong with you?” Willow asks. She pulls my arm back down, but I keep my eyes on Owen, staring into his gray-blue eyes—eyes that look like a wolf’s. “What are you doing?”

      “I’m starting a war, Willow,” I say, my heart speeding up and my breath growing more ragged as reality catches up with me.

      I’m starting a war with a guy who doesn’t lose; a guy who doesn’t play by the rules.

A guy who scares me, and who knows where I sleep at night.

Releasing 17th March 2015