Fox on Books

Book reviews, opinions, musings and ramblings. General bookish excitement!

Archive for the month “July, 2012”

Wake – by Amanda Hocking

Amanda Hocking is the author of the YA Trylle trilogy of Switched, Torn and Ascend. I haven’t read these but this week was given an advanced reading copy of the first book in a new series, called Wake. I read it over the weekend, and this is what I thought:

Calling Gemma a water baby doesn’t do her justice. She’s a champion swimmer who’s planning to make it to the Olympics, and when she’s not training at school she’s night swimming in the bay, under the stars. Her family and new boyfriend know how amazing Gemma is, especially in the water – but they’re not the only ones who’ve taken an interest in her aquatic affinity.

There used to be four girls. Supermodel-pretty, they’re new in town and spend most of their time down at the cove, or in the bay like Gemma. When one of the girls disappears, the three remaining girls decide Gemma would be the perfect replacement. But why? Especially when Gemma has made it clear that she wants nothing to do with the eerie trio? And why won’t they take no for an answer? Danger in the Shallow Seas:

The Forsaken – by Lisa M Stasse

YA fiction has seen a surge of dystopian novels in recent years, some before and many after the success of The Hunger Games. The Forsaken proudly tells a reader “If you love Hunger Games read this!” So, I did. Here’s what I thought:

By 2032 the world has changed. Government as we know it has failed, and Minister Harka has stepped in to lead the United Northern Alliance, or UNA, out of chaos. Crucially, this means removing from society individuals with genetic patterns that suggest a predisposition for violence or discord. At sixteen, each member of the UNA is tested. If you pass, nothing changes. But if you fail, then for the good of society you are taken away and put on an island halfway between Hawaii and Australia designated Prison Island Alpha. Or, as the Island’s unfortunate inhabitants have dubbed it, The Wheel.

Even though her parents were taken from her as rebels years ago, Alenna Shawcross knew she was a loyal, non-violent member of society, so it never occurred to her that the test might not agree, until she wakes up on the Wheel. She must adapt quickly and navigate the Island’s fragile social structures delicately if she has any hope of surviving. Before long, Alenna and her new allies on the Wheel begin to think of escape – but is that a real option? And if so, how high a cost are they willing to pay? No, Really, What Hunger Games?

Sabriel, Lirael and Abhorsen – by Garth Nix

SabrielNewYesterday, I got to meet one of my favourite authors – Garth Nix. I remember my Dad encouraging me to read Sabriel when I was around fifteen, and I think this trilogy was one of the first times I really experienced:


I read the whole series within a week or two, and it’s been one of my favourites ever since, as well as one I’ve re-read many times because I want to visit these characters, this world, again.

And this week, I not only read the trilogy again (in six days, whew) but got to meet, talk to, introduce to a crowd and generally hang out with its creator! I also got a whole lot of things signed – five of the thirteen Garth Nix books I own as well as a hand drawn picture of Mogget that one of my amazingly talented colleagues had used as part of our display – I feel very lucky today! Oh, Right, A Book Review:

Divas – by Rebecca Chance

I’m starting this review a tad off topic: you may recently have heard of a little book called Fifty Shades of Grey? I certainly have, it keeps selling out not only at our store but everywhere. It’s sold more than a million copies in Australia alone in the past 11 weeks, according to the Herald Sun.* My Mum, best friend and countless FB friends are among the thousands of women to indulge in a bit of Grey action.

We’re getting a lot of post-Shades customers coming in for similar stuff, which means there’s been discussion at work about books along similar lines, and as a bit of a chick lit fan I took the opportunity to read Divas, one of the follow-up suggestions. Here’s what I thought of Rebecca Chance’s self-proclaimed ‘bonkbuster’:

Lola’s your average spoilt little rich girl, the apple of her Daddy’s eye. And she has the black credit cards to prove it – until her Dad mysteriously falls into a coma while he’s being cared for by Carin, Lola’s evil stepmother, and Carin promptly cuts off Lola’s trust fund, leaving Lola floundering. That same day stripper-cum-mistress Evie wakes up to find Carin and her henchman in the apartment given to her by ‘Benny’, and is summarily evicted. Turns out Lola’s Daddy was also Evie’s sugar daddy – and he forgot to put the deed to the apartment in Evie’s name. Now Lola and Evie find themselves wary allies against the malevolent Carin, both fighting to regain control over their money and their lives. Who’s Screwing Who?

The Wolf and the Watchman – by Scott Johnson

I don’t often read biographies – it takes a pretty extraordinary person or life to warrant a book about it, in my opinion. In The Wolf and the Watchman, Scott Johnson examines his life with his Dad, a CIA operative working through the years of the Cold War. I read an article in the Age weekend magazine that turned out to be an excerpt from the book, and I was accidentally hooked from that alone! This is what I thought of the rest of Johnson’s story:

When he was 14, Scott’s father tells him the truth: the secret that explains why the family moved from New Delhi, to Belgrade, to Islamabad, to Williamsburg, Virginia. The reason people always looked a little sceptical when Scott said his father was a diplomat. The why behind his parents’ divorce.

Scott’s father, Keith Johnson, was a spy.

Espionage on the Home Front:

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