Tag Archives: Melissa Keil

Begin, End, Begin edited by Danielle Binks

Overview
Image result for begin, end, begin book cover

Title: Begin, End, Begin
Author: Danielle Binks, Amie Kaufman, Will Kostakis, Alice Pung, Michael Pryor, Melissa Keil, Ellie Marney, Lili Wilkinson, Gabrielle Tozer & Jaclyn Moriarty
In: Begin, End, Begin (Danielle Binks)
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Australian authors, Contemporary, Short story collections, Young adult
Dates read: 30th June – 26th November 2020
Pace: Slow
Format: Anthology
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Year: 2017
5th sentence, 74th page: I couldn’t imagine what they’d think of Diamond Rose Fashions.

Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide

Synopsis

Bestsellers. Award-winners. Superstars. This anthology has them all.

With brilliantly entertaining short stories from beloved young adult authors Amie Kaufman, Melissa Keil, Will Kostakis, Ellie Marney, Jaclyn Moriarty, Michael Pryor, Alice Pung, Gabrielle Tozer, Lili Wilkinson and Danielle Binks, this all-new collection will show the world eactly how much there is to love about Aussie YA.

Thoughts

This is a fantastic collection, one that I wish was around when I was finishing high school. It’s all about those moments on the cusp of adulthood when the world is stretched before you and you’re suddenly responsible for yourself. It’s kind of a huge, pivotal point in someone’s life, so a collection on this was completely fantastic. And although I’m not exactly that young anymore, this was still a great journey that reminded me of the decisions we make in life.

I love that #LoveOzYA has come up with a collection of Aussie YA authors. This, and Kindred have introduced me to so many new and wonderful authors to fill my shelves with. Something that I’m always looking for. And the fact that they’re homegrown and often write about the areas that I’m more familiar with? It’s very, very much appreciated. I hope that they come out with a new collection soon!

I didn’t know any of the authors in this collection, other than Melissa Keil when I bought it. Now I have a handful of amazing new Australian authors to add to my wish list. Some that will challenge me, some to enthral, and some just to leave a giant smile on my face.

<- Competition Entry #349One Small Step… –>

Image source: Harper Collins Australia

Sundays by Melissa Keil

Overview
Image result for begin, end, begin book cover

Title: Sundays
Author: Melissa Keil
In: Begin, End, Begin (Danielle Binks)
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Contemporary, Contemporary romanceYoung adult
Dates read: 5th November 2020
Pace: Fast
Format: Short story
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Year: 2017
5th sentence, 74th page: Lou holds out a bottle of Limonata, the top popped.

Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide

Synopsis

Sundays are a day of leisure. But, on this fateful night and morning, they are also a day of change. One that heralds the beginning of new things, and the end of the old.

Thoughts

I absolutely adore Melissa Keil, in fact, she’s the reason that I bought the Begin, End, Begin collection – I knew that she had a story in there somewhere and I knew that it was one that I thoroughly enjoy. This short story just drove home how important that was and just why I love this author so damn much. Now I just have to wait for her to publish some more stories…

This story completely matches the idea of Begin, End, Begin. It’s about beginnings and endings, and how just one night can mean the change in everything. I remember finishing high school myself, and how terrifying that precipice of change and adulthood is. I don’t think that I had just one night that did this for me, but I had a whole heap of moments that I can still remember with terrifying clarity that were about the ending of the old, and the beginning of the new. Most of them from this point in my life…

Gabe is a great narrator for this story. She’s not the mainstream teenager that you would expect, and so I probably related to her way more than I otherwise would have. That, and Lou, the rock for her throughout this realisation of change… I absolutely adored both of these characters. I want more of them! Just like I want more of all of Keil’s characters… I’m not slightly obsessed at all…

<- First CasualtyMissing Persons ->

Image source: Harper Collins Australia

The Incredible Adventures of Cinnamon Girl by Melissa Keil

Overview
Image result for the incredible adventures of cinnamon girl book cover

Title: The Incredible Adventures of Cinnamon Girl
Author: Melissa Keil
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Contemporary, Contemporary romance, Young adult
Dates read: 9th August – 30th September 2019
Pace: Medium
Format: Novel
Publisher: Hardie Grant Egmont
Year: 2014
5th sentence, 74th page: How symbolic.

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Synopsis

Alba loves her life just as it is. She loves living behind the bakery, and waking up in a cloud of sugar and cinnamon. She loves drawing comics and watching bad TV with her friends.

The only problem is she’s overlooked a few teeny details:

Like, the guy she thought long gone has unexpectedly reappeared.
And the boy who has been her best friend since forever has suddenly gone off the rails.
And even her latest comic-book creation is misbehaving.

Also, the world might be ending – which is proving to be awkward.

As Doomsday enthusiasts flock to idyllic Eden Valley, Alba’s life is thrown into chaos. Whatever happens next, it’s the end of the world as she knows it. But when it comes to figuring out her heart, Armageddon might turn out to be the least of her problems.

Thoughts

This was my last unread Melissa Keil book on my shelf. And I tried to stretch out reading it as much as possible… I just love her writing way too much. And my plan to stretch things out worked reasonably well… for the first quarter, but then I got sucked in (as always) and ripped through it. After all, these are the sweetest, most heart-warming books I’ve read in a long time. The fact that they’re set in Australia just helps to make it that much better.

I’m from a rural area of Australia, not as small and secluded as the Eden Valley in this story, but many of the idiosyncrasies of small town Australia life are incredibly familiar in this tale. Especially when it’s partnered with the idea of the end of the world, the gullibility of the masses and the power of social media. The setting itself worked as another character, one that was slightly insane and seriously intense.

Melissa Keil’s books are always a great coming of age story. One which, whilst it features a romance, is more about realising who and what we are. So far all three have taken place around the end of high school – a moment in our lives when we’re not sure who and what we want to become. Since being in that position, I’ve had many “standing on the edge of a cliff” moments, but finishing high school was the first of these. The shorter time frame of this story and the way in which it explores making future decisions reminded me of all those moments in which I wasn’t sure about what my future decisions should be… the ending of this tale helps to give you a sense of happiness (in that Alba and her friends have taken their first steps into the adult world), but it also is open enough that you feel like their lives are just beginning.

I found the love story in this incredibly sweet. I didn’t quite guess which boy would end up with Alba until much later in this book. Because it felt more about their friendship and their love and respect for one another. This is the perfect friends to lovers story. It’s a great reminder that some of the best relationships are built on a solid foundation of friendship and respect. This is the book that you should read if you want to feel at peace with the world and finish with a huge smile on your face.

 <- The Secret Science of Magic ReviewLife in Outer Space Review ->
Image source: Goodreads

Life in Outer Space by Melissa Keil

Overview
Image result for life in outer space book cover

Title: Life in Outer Space
Author: Melissa Keil
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Contemporary, Contemporary romance, Easy reading, Young adult
Dates read: 14th – 15th July 2019
Pace: Medium
Format: Novel
Publisher: Hardie Grant Egmont
Year: 2013
5th sentence, 74th page: I unpack my bag and stack my books in order of size.

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Synopsis

Sam Kinnison is a greek, and he’s totally fine with that. He has his horror movies, his nerdy friends, World of Warcraft – and until Princess Leia truns up in his bedroom, he doesn’t have to worry about girls.

Then Sam meets Camilla. She’s beautiful, friendly and completely irrelevant to his life. Sam is determined to ignore her, except that Camilla has a life of her own – and she’s decided that he’s going to be part of it.

Sam believes that everything he needs to know he can learn from the movies… but now it looks like he’s been watching the wrong ones.

Thoughts

I have been hanging out for this book to arrive in the post. And then it did. When I had about 1,000 things to do… so it took me an extra week to open it and sink my teeth into it. But then I did. And I was deliriously grateful for the awesomeness that I am beginning to associate with Melissa Keil. It kind of helped that I was down sick when I finally got to read this, so the feel good, sweet storyline made me feel a heck of a lot better. And actually made me smile… which I hadn’t really been doing on account of you know… sick.

Most of the books I read feature a strong, independent woman. Which this one does. But they also tend to be written either from their point of view, or something very close to it. There are very few books that I have read in recent years which are written from the point of view of the boy. And now I’m kind of wondering why this is missing so much from my shelves and reading. I absolutely loved the change of pace and the different POV. Not only was it a nice change, but it worked brilliantly well, and I can’t imagine it being so engaging having been written from Camilla’s viewpoint.

Although I tend to watch a lot of TV, I’m not what I would consider a movie buff by any shape of the imagination. Yet, the movie quotes and references that were peppered throughout this story still worked really well. They were obscure enough that it wasn’t repetitive and frustrating, but also obvious enough that I picked up on many of the aspects and things that they were talking about. The fact that Sam is so obsessed with horror also made me pick up a horror book not long after finishing this, simply because I felt intrigued by the genre.

Boy meets girl and falls madly in love stories, especially in YA can feel incredibly contrived. As an adult, I know that there are very few people who met someone when they were fifteen and stayed with them forever. And the few who did had to work at it. It’s not that roses and rainbows feeling that a lot of books and TV shows like to emphasise. This story isn’t like that, it’s realistic. Yes, it’s still got a love at first sight feel. And the entire book you want to smack them both over the head because your pretty sure they’re meant to be together forever. BUT. Most of the story and relationship is about creating a friendship. About supporting one another through tough times and truly getting to know one another. To me, that is what makes this such a great romance. It’s a love built on friendship and trust, one that is so cute and supportive. ❤

 <- The Incredible Adventures of Cinnamon Girl ReviewThe Secret Science of Magic Review ->
Image source: Goodreads

The Secret Science of Magic by Melissa Keil

Overview
Image result for the secret science of magic book cover

Title: The Secret Science of Magic
Author: Melissa Keil
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Contemporary, Contemporary romance, Easy reading
Dates read: 27th June 2019
Pace: Medium
Format: Novel
Publisher: Hardie Grant Egmont
Year: 2017
5th sentence, 74th page: Joseph gives me what I think is a sympathetic smile.

Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide
Synopsis

Sophia

She’s smart, like genius-calculator-brain smart. But there are some things no amount of genius can prepare you for, and the messiness of real life is one of them. When everything she knows is falling apart, how can she crack the puzzle of what to do with her life?

Joshua

He spends his time honing magic tricks and planning how to win Sophia’s heart. But when your best trick is making schoolwork disappear, how do you possibly romance a genius?

Thoughts

Holy crap. I have been in a bit of a reading slump lately (relying mostly on short stories, rather than novels to keep me slightly interested). And then I picked up this book. Which was quite possibly a mistake, because now I have a brand new author to obsess over. It is the first book in a long time that I struggled to put down. And read cover to cover. It’s also the first book in months that I stayed up way past my bedtime to read a book because I JUST COULDN’T PUT IT DOWN.

Although I often become emotionally invested in the characters that I meet in the pages of a book, I don’t often literally shed a tear. Let alone lie in bed with tears streaming down my face. There was just this one moment in this book that almost felt like a punch to the solar plexus, and it made me weep. This was surrounded by moments of smiling and laughter, so overall the mood of this book was incredibly cheerful, even though I had a moment of tears.

Everyone thinks that they’re a bit of a misfit in high school, which is why I can see how this story would speak to the masses. I’m sure even the popular kids kind of feel a bit uncomfortable, especially at the very ending of high school when they’re about to spread their wings. I assume, I had friends, but I was more like Sophia than any other high school character I’ve ever read about. It was also amazing to have a dynamic like Joshua in the story. In school he is quiet and reserved, but he has a fun filled, happy and thriving social life out of school that reminds you we can all find the place where we fit best… it just took me a few years out of high school to realise that personally.

I may not be quite genius-level smart, but I do understand all of the pressures that Sophia experiences throughout this book. There seems to be this idea that because you are smart, you should know what you want to do with your future. Have everything planned out and a goal in mind. For me, that has never been the case. I’ve never really had a future plan or goals. I just have a huge sense of curiosity and a drive to learn more, although sometimes I want to know more about how to interact a little better with others.

 <- Life in Outer Space ReviewThe Incredible Adventures of Cinnamon Girl Review ->
Image source: Melissa Keil