Title: The First Third (2013)
Author: Will Kostakis
Publisher: Penguin Australia
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Extent: 248 pages
Release Date: July 24, 2013
Life is made up of three parts: in the first third, you’re embarrassed by your family; in the second, you make a family of your own; and in the end, you just embarrass the family you’ve made.
That’s how Billy’s grandmother explains it, anyway. She’s given him her bucket list (cue embarrassment), and now, it’s his job to glue their family back together. No pressure or anything.
Fixing his family’s not going to be easy and Billy’s not ready for change. But as he soon discovers, the first third has to end some time. And then what?
It’s a Greek tragedy waiting to happen.
The First Third is my first novel from Will Kostakis, and boy, was it pretty damn good. This is the story of Billy Tsiolkas, the middle son in a Greek family, and his quest in completing the three items on his grandmother’s bucket list: find his single mother a husband, find his older brother a girlfriend, and ‘fix’ his sullen, uncommunicative younger brother. With the aid of his best friend and a girl he meets at the hospital, Billy seeks to accomplish what his grandmother can’t while he navigates through various life problems.
Title: Cloudwish (2015)
Author: Fiona Wood
Publisher: Pan Macmillan Australia
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Extent: 228 pages
Release Date: September 1, 2015
Vân Uoc doesn’t believe in fairies, zombies, vampires, Father Christmas – or magic wishes. She believes in keeping a low profile: real life will start when school finishes. But when she attracts the attention of Billy Gardiner, she finds herself in an unwelcome spotlight. Not even Jane Eyre can help her now.
Wishes were not a thing. They were not.
Correction. Wishes were a thing. Wishes that came true were sometimes a thing.
Wishes that came true because of magic were not a thing! Were they?
I’ve actually had Cloudwish on my TBR for about a year and forgot about it until I accidentally happened upon it on one of my weekend library runs. I took it home without much consideration, thinking that I’d just drop it if it didn’t jive with me… but then I started the book and fell into the story so hard, I just found myself loving it. The blurb and cover might package the book as a cute, sweet love story, but it is so, so much more (and better!) than that.
Title: A Conjuring of Light (2017)
Series: Shades of Magic – Book 3
Author: V. E. Schwab
Publisher: Tor Books
Extent: 624 pages
Release Date: February 21, 2017
Londons fall and kingdoms rise while darkness sweeps the Maresh Empire—and the fraught balance of magic blossoms into dangerous territory while heroes and foes struggle alike.
The direct sequel to A Gathering of Shadows, and the final book in the Shades of Magic epic fantasy series, A Conjuring of Light sees Schwab reach a thrilling culmination concerning the fate of beloved protagonists—and old enemies.
A Conjuring of Light, unsurprisingly, is probably my most anticipated release of the year. I have been completely enamoured by the characters and the magic ever since I picked up A Darker Shade of Magic last year, and the ending in A Gathering of Shadows just about killed me. While this series has some flaws, there’s just something about it that pulls me in and transports me into a whole new world when I’m reading it. It’s pure escapism.
Title: The Dream Thieves (2013)
Series: The Raven Cycle – Book 2
Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Extent: 437 pages
Release Date: September 17, 2013
Ronan Lynch has secrets. Some he keeps from others. Some he keeps from himself.
One secret: Ronan can bring things out of his dreams. And sometimes he’s not the only one who wants those things.
Ronan is one of the raven boys – a group of friends, practically brothers, searching for a dead king named Glendower, who they think is hidden somewhere in the hills by their elite private school, Aglionby Academy. The path to Glendower has long lived as an undercurrent beneath town. But now, like Ronan’s secrets, it is beginning to rise to the surface – changing everything in its wake.
You guys… I think I’m falling madly in love with this series. I mean, I’ve always known that it’s likely my kind of thing, but I never knew just how much it is my kind of thing. This review might contain spoilers for that first book, so please proceed at your own risk.
Title: After I Do (2014)
Author: Taylor Jenkins Reid
Publisher: Washington Square Press
Genre: Contemporary Fiction, Chick Lit
Extent: 353 pages
Release Date: July 1, 2014
When Lauren and Ryan’s marriage reaches the breaking point, they come up with an unconventional plan. They decide to take a year off in the hopes of finding a way to fall in love again. One year apart, and only one rule: they cannot contact each other. Aside from that, anything goes.
Lauren embarks on a journey of self-discovery, quickly finding that her friends and family have their own ideas about the meaning of marriage. These influences, as well as her own healing process and the challenges of living apart from Ryan, begin to change Lauren’s ideas about monogamy and marriage.
She starts to question: When you can have romance without loyalty and commitment without marriage, when love and lust are no longer tied together, what do you value? What are you willing to fight for?
Taylor Jenkins Reid seems to have a penchant for taking my worst nightmares and turning them into brilliant, thought-provoking stories. While I didn’t love Forever, Interrupted or One True Loves for various reasons, After I Do finally hit (most of) the right notes with me, both in premise and execution. 🙆