Guest Review and Giveaway: Tomorrow, When the War Began by John Marsden

Welcome to my first Guest Review! Today I have Tash Leary, staff member of Jabberjays.net  (a Hunger Games fan site), reviewing Tomorrow, When the War Began by John Marsden, which we will be giving away an ebook copy of!

Tash holds a Bachelor’s Degrees in Business (Marketing) and Computing and currently works in communications and media. She has been involved in fansites since 2002 and was the owner of the hugely popular Kath and Kim (Australian version) fansite Foxymorons.net (since disbanded after the show’s run ended), which regularly received more visitors than the show’s official website. Aside from The Hunger Games her fandom interests include Game of Thrones, Divergent and anything gaming-related.

Tomorrow, When the War Began (Tomorrow, #1)

REVIEW

A literary legend in Australia, Tomorrow When the War Began (TWTWB) is the first book in a series of 7 (10 if you include the follow-on trilogy ‘The Ellie Chronicles’). First published in 1993, the series has received critical acclaim worldwide and is included in the curriculum of schools across the country. It continues to enthrall new generations of readers and is currently having resurgence in popularity due to comparisons with new-age young adult fiction such as ‘The Hunger Games’ and ‘Divergent’.

TWTWB follows the story of Ellie Linton, a rural Australian teenager from the fictional town of Wirrawee. Keen to spend some time away from the restrictions of adults, Ellie organises a camping trip to ‘Hell’, a remote area set into a local mountain range, with her best friend Corrie. Together they put together a group of friends to make the trip with them: Homer, Ellie’s best mate, next door neighbour and general troublemaker; Kevin, farm boy and Corrie’s boyfriend; Robyn, who is religious, sporty and ultra-competitive; Fiona (Fi), the intelligent, social ‘townie’; and Lee, the quiet, talented musician who intrigues Ellie.

After enjoying the adventure of a lifetime it’s time to return to civilisation however, the teen’s world is soon turned upside down when they return to find homes abandoned and livestock dead. This leads to the terrifying discovery that the country has been invaded, and after a suspense-filled trek into Wirrawee the group resolves to fight the invasion forces (who are never given a nationality). From here on the book becomes a rollercoaster ride, with loads of tension and emotionally charged moments as you constantly wonder how long the group can survive against the odds.

TWTWB certainly doesn’t skimp on the action, with plenty of firefights, explosions and even a wild car chase through the streets of Wirrawee. The group consistently comes up with ingenious and highly improvised ideas and methods to take the fight to the soldiers, including setting a lawn mower on fire, as they establish a hideout at ‘Hell’. They’re far from gung-ho though, and the book explores the choices involved with the conflict, particularly when it comes to killing.

The books strongest point though is its narration of the story. Ellie explains early in the book that she has been nominated to write down a record of their actions and lives, which is a neat touch by the author John Marsden as it peaks your interest from the get-go. Ellie’s narration really makes you feel as if you are another member of their guerrilla group and keeps the story grounded in terms of her experiences as she narrates growing up with all the usual teenage dramas (particularly relationships!) amidst the backdrop of war. The story is littered with her humour and sarcasm, giving it a real personality and ensuring each character is relatable. For instance after one dangerous excursion Ellie takes the time to make a joke about being responsible for the wheelies left on the golf course!

As the beginning of a seven-part series, TWTWB does a great job of investing the reader in the characters as well as setting up an intriguing journey for them. Marsden likes to put the reader on the edge of their seat and with plenty of action and drama it’s easy to keep turning the pages to find out what will happen next. If you’ve been searching for a new YA ‘fix’ then TWTWB will be right up your alley.

GIVEAWAY TIME!

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Guest Post: Author Sherry Soule’s Dream Cast for Lost in Starlight

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Today author, Sherry Soule has some exciting news to share with us! She will be publishing a brand new Upper YA / Sci-Fi romance series: the “Starlight Saga” with scorching-hot character chemistry, exciting suspense, and epic romance on June 26, 2014. (You can read my review Here!)

To help promote this interstellar love story, “LOST IN STARLIGHT,” Sherry is doing this guest post to share the news with fellow booklovers.

So without further ado here are Sherry’s top actor picks…

Lucy-Hale_Pretty_Little_Liars

For my tough heroine, Sloane Masterson, I think this lovely and brilliant actress:  Lucy Hale (just imagine her with purple hair!) would be perfect.

Tough talking, girl reporter, Sloane is not your typical heroine. She’s a feisty, disarming, and a fiercely independent seventeen-year-old. But she’s not flawlessly beautiful, or super thin, or extremely intelligent like some YA protagonists. Sloane has very real and relatable body issues and insecurities like most teen girls do. She favors the dark-side in clothes and music, loves to watch scary movies, and likes hanging out in graveyards. She uses her wits to cover her emotional scars, and if you can break through her tough exterior, you’ll have a fearless, loyal friend for life.

Matt Lanter - actor

For the part of the stoic and brooding, Hayden Lancaster, I think this dynamic actor would be great, Matt Lanter.

At first glance, it seems that eighteen-year-old Haydenhas a detached, unemotional exterior, but what lies beneath is a kindhearted individual that will go out of their way to help a friend.

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For Sloane’s best friend, Viola Saks, this remarkable actress would be fantastic: Camilla Belle.

Outgoing and feisty, Viola’sa fun-loving spiritgirl, who loves to read. Never lacking in optimism, Viola is frequently seen as a crusader for the rights of others and a defender of lost causes. Popularity makes no difference to her as long as she believes in the cause.

Ed Westwick

For Devin Greenspan, Editor of the school paper, I like this gifted actor best: Ed Westwick.

Devin has had a crush on Sloane for years and never gave the hope of one day hooking up with her. But when Hayden becomes her best friend, he feels threatened by the newcomer.

Paul-Wesley- The Vampire Diaries

Only one actor comes to mind that could portray Hayden’s younger brother, Zach Lancaster, and it is actor, Paul Wesley.

Zach and his brother grew up in a close-knit family where outside friends are discouraged. So when Hayden becomes good friends with Sloane, Zach tries to sabotage the friendship and strongly opposes the relationship.

Erica Hubbard Daniel Andrew Sharman

For Sloane’s good friends, Tanisha and Raymond, I like both of these talented actors: Erica Hubbard and Daniel Andrew Sharman:

Tanisha and Raymond are loyal friends that hang in Sloan’s crew. Tanisha dresses sort of Goth, and she’s really into Wicca and alternative bands. Raymond is more punk rock, and plays the role of the tortured musician to perfection.

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Please mark your calendars to buy your copy of LOST IN STARLIGHT on June 26th 2014!

Read the first five chapters for free on wattpad: http://www.wattpad.com/story/14214838-lost-in-starlight-syfy-romance

VOLUME ONE: Starlight Saga

High school reporter Sloane Masterson knows she has one helluva story when she witnesses hottie Hayden Lancaster bending forks with his mind.

Like any good journalist, Sloane sets out to uncover the truth, even if it includes a little stalking. When the superhuman feats start to pile up and the undeniable heat rises between them, Hayden has no choice but to reveal his secret: he’s an alien hybrid.

They’re as different as night and day—she’s a curvy, purple-haired, horror junkie and he’s a smoking hot, antisocial, brainiac—yet the intense fascination between them refuses to go away. Even at Hayden’s insistence that dating each other is “off limits” and crazy dangerous, their fiery attraction threatens to go supernova.

Now Sloane’s dealing with creepy government agents, über snobby extraterrestrials, and a psycho alien ex-girlfriend out for revenge. After a crash course on the rules of interstellar dating, Sloane must decide if their star-crossed romance is worth risking her own life….

Places you can cyberstalk Sherry Soule:

Official Blog: http://www.sherrysoule.blogspot.com/

Twitter @SherrySoule: http://twitter.com/SherrySoule

Please add LOST IN STARLIGHT to your TBR on goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/20707942-lost-to-starlight

The awesome book cover was designed by the talented, Kristen Thompson-Oh of KCT Designs at www.kctdesigns.com

Eager to read the first five chapters on your Kindle? FREE every Friday from Amazon: http://amzn.to/1hdo6Oh