Monday, December 31, 2012

The Evolution of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin...

Title- The Evolution of Mara Dyer.
Author- Michelle Hodkin.
Publish date- 2012 (US) 2013 (AU)
Publisher- Simon and Schuster.

*Review of The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer*

*Review may contain spoilers to the previous book/s in the series*


What I thought:

I was not breathing during this book- it would be slightly more usual to say something like, "During the last fifty pages" or anything slightly less than the 520ish pages of this book,  but really? I only took a breath after I finished it yesterday and then I steeled myself against any sobbing that I felt was going to reasonably happen- it didn't help that I had had a terrible heartbreak at the hands of the worst christmas special ever earlier, but I was almost finished twenty pages from the end because it was so scream-worthy. In a really tense and in the end goodish way.

I loved it.

French the Llama I loved it so much. Why is the last book not published? Because it needs to be. Seriously- you thought The Unbecoming had a cliffhanger ending... think again. Just don't pick this up until a month before the finale is published, because you will almost certainly not thank yourself.

The Evolution is a lot, and I mean a lot, more creepy than The Unbecoming, and I don't go for creepy- I'm paranoid enough as it is without having to read/watch/hear of spooky happenings that will just make me really uncomfortable, but though this definitely had be on the edge of my seat for a long time (who am I kidding, it was really the entire book) but there was only a brief period in which I got a little uncomfortable and thought of just reading the last few pages to make sure the creepiness was explained before continuing. I considered it, but I didn't do it.
It's creepy and spooky and the only book of it's kind that I would read, I have little doubt, but it's excellent and though I would not recommend it for anyone under the age of 15/16, it wasn't really that scary, more unsettling and not for long.

Take all the wonderfulness from The Unbecoming, I would say, and double it once or twice. You've got The Evolution- a new book with a new plot and some new characters and a beautiful cover.

The characters...
They grow and they change and they have such brilliant dialouge and I think Mara Dyer and I should be friends, and this is because she is so awesome.
Also, Noah and Mara and still excellent. They're sailing their own ship.

(Also, the swearing in this book was about nine times less than in The Unbecoming- I think there were only five times I read major curses, and as that was something I disliked about The Unbecoming, I'm really glad.)

I gave this about a gazillion stars but had to lower it to five.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Reached by Ally Condie.

Title- Reached.
Author- Ally Condie.
Publish date- November 2012.
Publisher- Penguin.

*Review may contain spoilers to other books in the series*
Read my review of Matched.
Read my review of Crossed.



What I thought:
Ever since I first read Matched this has been one of my favourite series'- Matched was the first YA dystopian novel I ever read and, no matter what the rest of the series held, it will always be a book that I hold very close to me.

Throughout my reading of Reached, a reading that spanned 10 days, a reading time which agonises me (I was busy!), this cover really annoyed me. I love the way the covers in the series are all linked up with Cassia breaking out of the glass ball, but I have always liked the first cover the most. But there is more than just prefrence in my annoyance for this- in the cover for Crossed, Cassia has broken through the ball with her arm at the top and her foot at the bottom, and I know it's just a small thing but where, on the cover for Reached, is that foot hole? WHERE? Because I don't see it and I've had plenty of time to look. Why couldn't there just not be a foot hole if it wasn't going to be a part of the final cover? I just can't stand it! Regardless of all that, though, I do love the dimension on the cover of Reached- the way the glass has shattered and you can tell it's been thick. I like that quite a lot.

The fact that this book is a little under the size of Matched amuses me, but it shocked me when I got my copy in the post, and I am sure it could have been a hundred, a hundred and fifty pages shorter, keeping in the size range of Crossed, if not Matched. The size also made the plot drag and become downright boring at times, which is not what I wanted or expected from a series that I was so looking forward to finishing. But, none the less, it dragged- there were newfound plot twists about 200 pages before the end and things picked up again, but before that I had already spent at least a hundred pages being bored with the story and thinking that, if they just did this it would all be sorted.

I do love the writing in these books, despite wether or not I always enjoy the plot- it's so soft and I have said since the beginning that I think it is like a poem. It's a little unreal, reading these books- they seem frail and delicate and something you have to deal with tenderly, and I love the patterns in the words. For that the books will also stick with me.

(*Possible spoilers)
The romance. THE ROMANCE. It's been a major point of this series, which was also my very first love triange series.
I didn't like it. I didn't like the 'triangle' or the way the characters delt with their love.
Now, yes- I do have prefrences to who I hope the character will fall for in these triangles, even if I personally can't stand the "team" thing. But even from the beginning, before I knew it was a love triangle (to be truthful, before I knew what a love triangle was) I haven't felt like there was much competition for Cassia's affections and I didn't predict a change in them. And I just found the neatness of the ending, the tying up of this love triangle, to be far too tidy and easy for everyone.
(*End of possible spoilers*)

Finally a quick note on the characters- for so much of this book I really found all of them frustrating, Ky least of all because I felt like he had the smallest part.
 Cassia seemed so needy and I just felt like she was acting like she needed either Ky of Xander beside her at all times to go on. She thought of them both so often when they weren't with her that I could barely stand it and didn't think that was how she had previously acted. I've always thought of her as a strong character, so this was a huge let down.

I did like the book as a ending, but not much more. The poetical style of writing, some of the ideas- little things caught my attention, but they were almost always outweighed by the negatives.

I would still, despite this whole review and my problems with Crossed (because I had a few) I would still recommend people try these... or maybe not 'these'- I would recommend Matched, but probably warn them to stop before going any further.


Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Path of Beasts by Lian Tanner...

Title- Path of Beasts.
Author- Lian Tanner.
Publish date- October 2012.
Publisher- Allen and Unwin AU, Delacorte Press US.


*May contain spoilers to those who have not read books 1 and 2 in the series.*

Link to Q&A with Lian Tanner.
Link to review of City of Lies (#2)


What I thought:
This was the perfect ending to a series that I feel as if has trapised through the first half of my youth (as in teenage years) with me, so it's definitely sad that it's over, despite my being thrilled with this finale book- I'll miss looking forward to another book in the series, though I can certainly hope for more from Lian Tanner.

The energy in this novel, especially in the last 150 pages or so, is absolutely incredible- the characters face many hardships and choices and there is constant action and heart pumping pages to read through- I did struggle to find time to sit and read for a long time while I was reading this, because of NaNo and just not being able to find time to read, but once I did I was unable to unhook myself from the story, I was so captivated.

Goldie Roth, the heroine, has an on-going struggle with the (spoiler) spirit of a ancient warrior princess that has become a part of her- the princess is all about battle and is unforgiving, completely the opposite of Goldie's character, so it's a very interesting and thought-provoking process, seeing her fighting against the princess and trying her hardest to hold true to herself- it definitely was ne of my favourite parts about the novel because it really, and not in a big glowing letters and up front way, made me, for one, really want to fight like Goldie to stay true to myself, and I will definitely take lessons from this to the next part of my life, though I do remember thinking at one point that Goldie repeated what she was saying only a few pages before in a fairly similar way.

The ending was a touch open feeling- I feel like there could have been an afterward, explaining things from a distant perspective, though it was an interesting and not at all bad way of letting the readers think and choose how things went along with time, and there were a few happy hints that I took a lot of pleasure in reading and re-reading.

I absolutely loved this novel- from the now answered questions that have been with readers since the first book, to the new characters and, in general, revelations! It's a stunning final novel and to say that I was happy with it, as an end, would be a massive understatement. I'm thrilled with it- beyond thrilled! And I would recommend it to anyone who likes fantastic novels with powerful heroines and characters who will both make your heart swell and make you shake in your chair.


Thank you to Lian Tanner for sending me this copy!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Blogspiration (8) Identity and Difference.

Blogspiration is a weekly meme hosted by GrowingUp YA & Saz101. The meme was created to help spark inspiration among bloggers, readers & writers alike. An inspirational quote/picture/video is posted weekly, on the day of the author’s choosing, so that it may inspire creativity, conversation & just a little SOMETHING.

I think it's very hard to push past the self doubt that I think everyone has, at least in some volume, and recognise that no matter what, you are you. You can aspire to hundreds of different things, ways you want to be but can't, or aren't yet, but I don't know if happiness, all encompassing and stronger than anything else- Pure Happiness- can come until you accept that you won't ever be the person you spend time wishing you were. Because you're a better person than that- you are better because you can never be as good at being anyone else as you can at being you. Which makes sense if you don't concentrait on how confusing it is.
I think Freaky Friday taught us all a thing or two about life.

Happy new week,

Friday, November 23, 2012

Some more books I'm excited to read!

I think this sounds like a really interesting book- though I'm not convinced that I'll like it it does really intrigue me, and that's enough to pick it up, right? I mean, it's a graphic novel... as in, a graphic book, and I don't mean lots of blood and gore. I mean it's pictures that tell the story, at least that's my understanding...

I generally am really interested in this for two obvious reasons-
1 being. The cover.
2 being. The synopsis.

This sounds like such a beautiful and interesting novel and I've read a decent amount of good reviews for it, so I'm definitely keeping it firmly on my to-read list.

This. This sounds stunning. I love the idea and the simplicity of the cover really captures my attention- I'm very interested in reading it.

It's a two sided love story- you can read it from the back, from one perspective, or from the front, from another perspective. It's an awesome idea and THAT COVER! HOLY MOLY.

Basically I saw Chris Colfer's BEA speech and now have him high on my list of awesome people- this sounds like an awesome book, too.

I've never read any David Levithan but I have it on good sources that this is a stunning book and I can't disagree from the cover and synopsis, so I'm in.

I love the storyline. I love the cover. I love what the cover does to my mind. Enough.

Have you heard of/read/wanttoread any of these books? Any in particular that you're dying to get your hands on?


Tuesday, November 20, 2012

What's Left of Me by Kat Zhang...

Title- What's Left of Me.
Author- Kat Zhang.
Publish date- October 2012.
Publisher- Harper Collins.
Rating- Three stars.


Thank you to Harper Collins for this review copy!

What I thought:
Beforehand about...
I've been hyped for What's Left of Me for roughly a year- it was one of the books I found about about while it was still in the editing process, and I've been gradually getting more and more and more and more excited about it. The synopsis comes out = can I have it now? The cover comes out = extreme excitement!

Authority/the bad side.
The ruling power in this novel is very interesting and definitely one of the eviler I've read- the secrets that progressively come out through the novel are really wonderful and keep the pace going, though most come out in the second half of the book.

I never really fell in love with any of the characters- Eva was certainly my favourite and I found the relationship she had with Addie interesting, if a little tiring at times with they're fighting- and I never felt completely sold on the love interest. It's not that I didn't like either of the characters involved, I did, but I didn't ever think it felt... right. Maybe I would have preferred it to happen more in the second book than in the first, but it just didn't add anything to the novel for me.

The Cover.
The cover- I love the cover, though not in the flesh quite as much as I like it when pictured above, but I still really like it. Until I was a little over a third of the way through the novel I didn't really work out the double face on the cover, yet I really liked it because it's a really thought-provoking cover, I think, though my love for it certainly rose when I figured it out.

Surely because of how excited I was for What's Left of Me, and how high my expectations were, I didn't like it nearly as much as I expected. I love love love the premise- the entire idea of a world where everyone has two souls living in one body, switching from one to another, but eventually disappearing, is incredible. MIND BLOWING. It's a seriously fantastic, stunning, extrodinary idea, and I really enjoyed how it progressed and panned out- to begin with, as in before I started the book, I thought they were two seperate souls in seperate bodies, so it was a little confusing to begin with but then I got it. Yet I never actually loved the novel- a lot of the time I found it slow and other than the double souls there wasn't anything else, for me, that really captured my attention. I felt it had a lot of potential, but I just didn't feel it play out for me and I don't see myself reading the rest of the series.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Limoncello and Linen Water review...

Title-Limoncello and Linen Water.
Author- Tessa Kiros.
Publish date- October 2012.
Publisher- Murdoch Books.


Thank you to Murdoch Books for this review copy.

What I thought:
As soon as I opened Limoncello and Linen Water, as soon as I saw the cover, I knew I had come into something truly beautiful- there is such an incredible attention to detail and everything just works together so well that it's very easy to get swept up in flicking through the pages and find yourself coming out of a kind of wonderland.

My favourite points of the book were as follows-

1. The layout.
I've read books and cookbooks that haven't been set out particularly well, they're messy and dont have enough pictures of the food and they just don't have as much of a draw as books that are layed out in a really stunning way, like this one. It was easy reading in small sections amid old photos and recpies, so you got a bit of everything but not one thing all at once, which I love.

2. The photography.
I have a tendency to fall in love with any book if it has stunning photograhy, even if I don't like anything else about the book- photographs are important to me and Limoncello and Linen Water did not disappoint; the vintage photographs alongside stories, the many pictures of drool worthy food, THE COVER, it's all just a beautiful mix.

3. The recipes.
If I were just to flick through this book I would probably easily come across about three different recipes I would be willing to brave the stormy seas of my kitchen to make- there is the Sweet Pizzas, The Pizza Fritta (FTL FRIED PIZZA), Focaccia with strawberries (see how I'm overall mentioning 2-1 sweet foods?) and so many more- I see a cookbook and I generally pick out the sweet foods, but there many foods I would cook that are for main meal, not just dessert. Did I mention- FRIED PIZZA. Fried. Pizza. And it is apparently 'surprisingly light'. WIN!

Another point- it smells great, this book; and books that smell great get extra awesomeness points.

Obviously there were things I didn't like- quite a sizable chapter was set aside for meat based foods and I'm a vegetarian, so that wasn't particularly my favourite part, but the fact that so much of the meat based recpies were in that part and only dotted about ocassionally throughout the rest of the book was great for me!

This is such a great book with so many incredibe recpies that I'm sure I'll be making soon and overall I would highly recommend it.


Sunday, November 4, 2012

Blogspiration (5) Achievement.

Blogspiration is a weekly meme hosted by GrowingUp YA & Saz101. The meme was created to help spark inspiration among bloggers, readers & writers alike. An inspirational quote/picture/video is posted weekly, on the day of the author’s choosing, so that it may inspire creativity, conversation & just a little SOMETHING.

I'm a procrastionationist, which is a word as of now. When I say to myself I will get something done, or I have to get something done, I have the nasty habbit of getting caught up with something else, probably something I still need to do, but it gets on my nerves and that's why I love NaNoWriMo. I make myself write for hours at a time, I push myself to accomplish the goals I have set and I'm incredibly proud of myself for doing it.

This year for NaNo I decided that instead of writing something brand new I would work on some projects I really wanted to finish. One is the sequel to the book I wrote last NaNo and had been slowly working on and one is something newer, a standalone that I've thought about a lot and have fairly well plotted out in my mind but haven't really worked on. I'm currently in the process of writing the sequel and here are some things that happen in the book...

There is love that is being tested.

A character who has never seen the sea.

A big scene with rocks.

And words.

Happy blogspiration- please excuse my probable absence over the following weeks.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Crewel by Gennifer Albin.

Title- Crewel.
Author- Gennifer Albin.
Publish date- 
Publisher- Allen and Unwin.

Thank you to Allen and Unwin for this review copy!

What I thought:
I hadn't been too keen to read many more dystopian books for a while when I received this copy in the post- it was an exception though, because I had heard about it and wanted to read it long before I choose to have a break from the genre, and I'm so glad that is the way things went.
Crewel isn't just another run of the mill dystopian novel like so many right now are- it is a work of art, beautiful, emotional and intense.

I found it interesting and really liked the fact that almost (?) all the names in Crewel are spelt differently from how they're spelt now, in example-
Benn instead of Ben,
Amie instead of Amy,
Lewys instead of Lewis,
And Crewel instead of Cruel (probably my least favourite of the bunch)-

all gave the feel of an alternate reality, and I really liked it.

At times I was surprised by the abrupt end of a scene, particularly emotional (and usually of the romantic type) scenes- everything would be going really smoothly, and then BAM! it's over and I was left wondering if I skipped a page or two by accident- that happened two or three times and was something I definitely didn't like.

I'm not fond of the Australian cover- I like the US one much more, though neither do I love... at times I think this one shows Adelice wonderfully, but the thing about both of them is that I think Crewel should have a cover without a person on it... I think I would like it better if it had a cover just with the colourful lines found on the US cover...

I really liked how the novel played out- it could certainly have been a single book, I'm not sure how I feel about there being two more books, and I can't really see how much more of a story there is to tell, especially over two books, but I look forward to reading book 2 and seeing!
Four stars!


Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday (4)- Top ten books to get into the Halloween spirit.

This is a pretty dismal Top Ten from me, but I hope you enjoy my top ten for books to get into the spirit of Halloween- none of them are particularly halloweeny (which is a word, I'll have you know.) but they're a little spooky and I would definitely recommend them in this spookifyed (another word- honest.) time of year. Enjoy!

1. Coraline by Neil Gaiman.
I read Coraline earlier this year and, though it is quite a terrifying novel, it is equally fantastic, with enough spook to get it to the top of my list. Trust me, you'll want the one with illustrations.

2. Horseradish- Bitter truths you can't avoid by Lemony Snicket.
Isn't it a truth universally acknowledged that around Halloween people want to read a tonne of bitter truths? Thought so.

3. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secets by J.K. Rowling.
It didn't find it's way into the movie, but those who've read the book know it's got a fantastic Halloween party, which was my favourite part of the second book; the first book also has a really great Halloween scene, that involves trolls.

4. Un Lun Dun by China Mieville.
This is such a dream-like and spooky novel that I couldn't miss it off this list. It's got creepy beings we wouldn't recognise if we saw them in front of us, a diving suit that can walk about without anyone inside it, and an umbrella army.

5. A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket.
Unfortunate events. Enough said.

6. Jane by April Linder.
A retelling of Jane Eyre, this is a really beautiful book with one or two scenes thar are fairly nerve wracking and generally creeeepppyyyy....

7. Reckless by Cornelia Funke.
This is such a beautiful novel with abeautiful as heck covers and an amazing storyline, but it's not without is scare factor- anyone met the Tailor before? He has needles and scissors on his hands instead of fingers and makes his clothes out of human.... skin

8. Beautiful Creatures by Margaret Stohl and Kami Garcia.
Though I didn't make it to book 2 in the series, this book I did really enjoy.

9. The ABC Murders by Agatha Christie.
Murder. Murder. Murder. Murder. 

10. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak.
C'mon, it's narrated by Death, surely that's enough?

Happy top ten!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Blogspiration (4) Aspiration.

Blogspiration is a weekly meme hosted by GrowingUp YA & Saz101. The meme was created to help spark inspiration among bloggers, readers & writers alike. An inspirational quote/picture/video is posted weekly, on the day of the author’s choosing, so that it may inspire creativity, conversation & just a little SOMETHING.

I'm currently on a listening spree of A series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket- it's the only series I know of that I prefer listening to, because Tim Curry is magnificent at reading it; it's like Stephen Fry with Harry Potter- it's just SO GOOD.
I find basically everything I read by Lemony Snicket to be incredibly inspiring- his use of words, his characters, his finesse with plots. It's makes me want to write notes, and I think reading/listening to the work of people you really look up to is incredibly important, because you can learn so much at the same time as enjoying their work.

Happy Sunday and have a grand week!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Top ten tuesday (3) Top ten favourite contempory YA authors.

Top Ten Favourite Contempory YA authors.

1. John Green-
So far I've only read TFiOS and Looking for Alaska, both of which I adored- now I'm waiting eagerly to read Paper Towns, Abundance, Will Grayson ect. they've all got such wonderful storylines and can fairly well be described by saying WOW.

2. James Dashner-
I am absolutely in love with his Maze Runner series, though I am yet to read the prequel or the final book (waiting, waiting) and I'm waiting to finish that before trying his 13th Reality series.

3. Lemony Snicket/Daniel Handler-
I absolutely loved Why We Broke Up when I read it earlier in the year and am currently listening to the ASoUE series on audio (funnily, I love them so much more with Tim Curry's dramatisation.) His novels are so unique, so origonal and so addictive.

4. China Mieville-
His novel Un Lun Dun is absolutely timeless; it's a novel with a surprising heroine who is brilliant and wholly inspiring, a novel about hope and fighting for what is right, with all sorts of amazing twists and turns that kept me right on the edge of all sanity as I read. It is, and always will be, one of my top books.

5. Natsumi Ando and Miyuki Kobayashi-
The creators of my first manga love series! (I'm looking for more to read, trying to find a series to get into, if you've got suggestions) Kitchen Princess was both lighthearted and serious, it delt with heartbreak and death and believing in yourself and in life, and generally it is just a really wonderful series that I both wish didn't have to end and am thrilled at the note it did. 

6. Anna Sheehan-
I won a copy of her debut novel A Long Long Sleep earlier in the year and just found it unputdownable- it's so engaging and simple yet unique, based on a very old fairytale it's like a story about a story that is incredibly wonderful and beautiful.

7. John Boyne-
I've read two of his novels and have come to the conclusion that he isn't a class-able author- you know, some authors write specifically for children or for adults or for young adults, but some authors just write and their work can't really be put into one of those genre/age group boxes. He writes in a way that is beautiful and epic and desperately moving, he can transition from writing about happiness to being lost with yourself within a novel in such a beautiful way that make him timeless.

8. Leanne Hall-
She's a fantastic author who writes a wonderous series about two incredible spirits who are absolutely different in so many fundamental ways, but are also alike- they're both a little (?) lost and in order to let themselves be themselves, they have to find each other. I just love her dreamy, thought-provoking writing.

I'm using Nine and Ten as suggestion boxes for you- if you feel like it, please tell me your favourite author+book from that author. I would love to find some more favourites!

(I was wondering if Suzanne Collins, J.K. Rowling and Diana Wynne Jones count as contempoary YA authors, they're obviously in this list if they do, but I decided I would stick with some other names as those three ladies are basically the top of all my lists!)


Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Top Ten "Older" Books I don't want to be forgotten.

Top ten tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and Bookish.

1. My Family and Other Animals by Gerald Durrell-
This is a book that really changed my life and became an immediate favourite as soon as I began reading it- by the end it was my all time favourite and, over a year later, it hasn't been swayed from that position; this is a biography of sorts, about the authors childhood growing up in Corfu, Greece, and it is an immensely funny and uplifting book.

2. The Hunger Games Series by Suzanne Collins-
The Hunger Games contains many truly amazing lessons about the way we live out lives, and I hope people don't forget them because to forget what can come from Power in the wrong hands would be a terrible, terrible thing.

3. The Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling-
I don't know what I can say about The Harry Potter books and why I don't want people to forget them other than this-
Harry Potter is a boy who grew up in awful circumstances and he rose above them and into an even more incredible young man; he and his friends are a symbol to a way of life. And no one should ever let themselves, or anyone else, forget Luna Lovegood.

4. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak-
Is definitely one of my favourit books- it's an astonishing novel that is both heartbreaking and amusing- it is a very powerful book and is the only one I've read in which death is really placed in a position of... kindness? The way he is painted is one which I like very much and vow now, before you all, to never forget.

5. I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith-
From the amazing, captivating storyline to the heroine, Cassandra, this novel is superb; it puts desire and love in hopeless and passionate perspective, the perspective of someone who watches the person she desperately loves fall for another.

6. Howls Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones-
Just a few words- Sophie, Calcifer, a Moving Castle and Howl. Howl is a big part of why this book must never go out of print. Once you know him I'm certain you'll agree.

7. The Giver by Lois Lowry-
A beautiful novel about a twisted future where the most important things have become redundant, have been taken from the lives of everybody but The Giver. Heartwrenching and stunning in every word.

8. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee-
Many things ought not be forgotten and the plight of Atticus Finch, possibly the best fictional father ever, is one of those things. And oh, is it high up on that list.

9. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen-
Do you think it would ever be wise to forget the great, and very honest, love that comes about in this book. Also it would be a very great pain for any person to not know of Fitzwiliam Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet, because they are extraordinary and oughtn't ever be forgotten.

10. Horseradish: Bitter Truths you Can't Avoid by Lemony Snicket-
Any truth for any situation can be found in this book, and most of them will brighten the readers day. The world would be a scary place without this book.

(Also- 11. Sunshine by Norma Klein-
One of the most beautiful and awfully sad stories I have ever read, made all the fiercer by the fact that it is a true story;

 and 12. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green-
An astonishing, beautiful, quote worthy sucker punch of a book about a very wonderful/crazily amazing girl and an extremely and almightily legend of a boy, besides other things.)

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Blogspiration (1) Taking Risks.

Blogspiration is a weekly meme hosted by GrowingUp YASaz101.

It's an unknown place. Taking risks is a difficult thing- it's almost as if you are standing on the edge of a cliff and you don't know what lies below you, because your eyes are covered. You could land on a trampoline and fly right back up into the air, and then, when you finally stop bouncing, you will be perfectly safe and full of adrenalin, or you could fall and not land quite so comfortably.
But I think it is worth taking risks, if you believe in the thing that you are taking a risk on.
Without taking risks so many amazing things wouldn't be a part of our lives- we almost certainly wouldn't have books, for one, but imagine how many other things we wouldn't have. Too many things. I think risks are worth it, and I hope I take more in the future.

Have a lovely week!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Coraline by Neil Gaiman 10th Anniversary Edition...

Title- Coraline. (10th Anniversary Edition.)
Author- Neil Gaiman.
Publish date- 3d September, 2012.
Publisher- Bloomsbury.



Thank you to Bloomsbury for this review copy!

What I thought:
Coraline was a book that I had heard a lot about, had known of for years, before I decided that I wanted to read it- I'm only sorry it took me so long!
I saw the film about a year before I read it, and it was a little bit of a turn off- I didn't really like it, it was strange and a little scary, especially for a childrens movie, but regardless I wanted to read the book for myself, and yes, it is a scary book, especially for a childrens book. It's unnerving. It's nightmarish. Because it's supposed to be... to me, it's the story of a girl who has to get lost to find out who she truly is, just like that magnificent quote (I forget who said it) says. And it is a scary, terrifying and magnificent story that I wish I had read when I was younger. Because, above all, above terrifying "Other mothers" and alternate universes where nothing is quite right and you have to fight to go home, it's the story about a girl who needs to be incredibly strong to resist temptation for things she has wanted desperately in her old life... and she's only a child, a child who has to make huge decisions and it is a book, that even as a 16 year old, has changed me (and will continue to) enormously.

The illustrations by Chris Riddell, whom I have been a huge fan of for years, since I read Fergus Crane and the Edge Chronicles, are both stunning, accurate and horrible- they show the terrible things that happen in the "Other world" so exquisitely and perfectly that I both look at them for minutes at a time, to catch all the intricate details, but also want to turn away from so as not to get the image of a "Other Mother" burnt into my memory- they are perfect!

I would change nothing about Coraline- it's one of the most perfect novels I have ever read and is a novel that makes me thankful, more thankful, for everything I have now.


Tuesday, September 18, 2012

The terrible thing that happened to Barnaby Brocket by John Boyne...

Title- The Terrible thing that happened to Barnaby Brocket.
Author- John Boyne.
Publish date- August 2012.
Publisher- Random House.


Thank you to Random House for this review copy!

What I thought:
I have to start this review off by saying four words that end with at least five exclaimations-


My first, and before reading this only, John Boyne book was The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas- I tried to read Noah Barleywater runs away a few years after, but I found it awkward to get into and ended up deciding not to continue with it- that fact made me a little bit worried that I wouldn't like Barnaby Brocket, but those worries were shot to pieces upon reading the first one, two, three pages. I was immediately captivated by the writing that had, many years ago, captivated me and held me as I read the story of two very different boys. This story is completely different from that one, but it is just as thrilling a read, leaves just as important a message, though in both a very different and a similar way. John Boyne is able to weave words to do his bidding in a way few authors are able to, he is able to hint at things subtly and then leave the reader to guess what the meaning of it was, and those subtlies, those touches, make this a story beyond compare.

There was not one thing I disliked about this story- the whole thing was mysterious and also a learning experiance in acceptance and being yourself, and for all that, it will forever stay with me.

The story of Barnaby Brocket is shocking and warming, his adventures across the world, meeting wonderous people, learning their stories of acceptance and trouble, the way they made their ways, is beautiful, and I saw many things that I wouldn't have seen if I had read this at a younger age, things that, if I had read this as an eleven year old and then again as a sixteen year old, I would have probably have been shocked by but then entranced by- I found the way Mr. Boyne managed to smuggle these things into his novel beautiful.

I commend anyone who writes such beautiful works of art, and know only that this will forever be a treasured posession that I will gladly share with my family so they can find the joy in this tale as I have done.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Something like normal by Trish Doller...

Title- Something Like Nomal.
Author- Trish Doller.
Publish date- August 2012.
Publisher- Bloomsbury.


Thank you to Bloomsbury for this review copy!

What I thought:
I'm not sure what was the thing that intrigued me most about this book when I heard about it mid last year- the storyline sounded interesting, not like that of anything I had ever read- that and a lot of other things, made me decide to try it out.
The thing that struck me first was 

There is quite a lot of swearing and sexual refrences, a bit too much of an overload for me in any book, so doubly so such a short one- I confess that I counted, in the space of about twenty pages/fifteen minutes of reading, how many swearwords ect. were uttered... then counted different things, it went something like this-

Eff's- 9.
Fingers (giving someone the finger)- 2.
Remarks on sex (not generally lightly put)- 3-4.

That's probably about enough for an entire book, for me, and perhaps if I had known about it earlier I mightn't have been so interested, I would have been less game. Wether that is a good thing or not I cannot say- I just really don't like swearing and untastefully crude chat.

One thing, probably the main thing, I couldn't understand was Harper- she seems like a really sweet character who's reputation was blown to pieces when she was thirteen and Travis embellished a kiss betwen the two. He ruined her teen years, and yet she lets him into her life... she nursed her hate for him for years, punches him, and the next day takes him to breakfast. Before you know it she's letting him into her life, which seemed radical... I would have imagined her to be very cautious and never want to have anything to do with him, whereas it's the opposite.

Something Like Normal just didn't have the special something that favourite books hold- it was a really interesting story, but it seemed abrupt and I think that certainly would have imporved with length, though I don't believe I would have kept reading it if it was double the size... I didn't like the choices Travis made, which I suppose is one of the things he wants to change about himself, I didn't like the way Harper reacted to things, and I didn't like how relaxed Travis would ocassionally seem about the things he was doing, some pretty drastic things.

Overall it wasn't a me read- I think higher young adult readers would like it more- the story is really interesting, especially when we learn more about what happened in Afghanistan to make him get extra leave. Very interesting and unlike anything I've ever read, but not one I would read again or recommend to anyone under the age of 16.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Survive by Alex Morel...

Title- Survive.
Author- Alex Morel.
Publish date- July 2012.
Publisher- Hardie Grant Egmont.


Thank you to Hardie Grant Egmont for this review copy!

What I thought:
I couldn't specificially pinpoint my dislike for this book on one single thing- there are many things, some big, some small, that have all congregated to make this book stand out as being one I didn't enjoy reading- I finished reading it mostly because it intrigued me... I am really very interested in the idea, the story, but the way it was written just didn't work for me. Here are the three things that got to me most about it-

1. The protagonist, Jane, is suicidal- her father killed himself on christmas eve and so did his father, and her grandmother- she never seems especially worried about this fact, she just seems... perhaps tired is the best way to describe it. She's living in rehabilatation and has tried to kill herself twice already before coming up with the plan to get on a plane, take a bunch of pills and finish the job she's never been able to do before. (The following contains spoilers- highlight to read) And yet, after Paul dies, she stops trying to kill herself, or so it seems from the epilouge. She seems to have moved on- supposedly because she realised, with him, that she needed to live... but it seemed unrealistic, that after so much trauma, she was able to stop cutting, not to overdose again...?
2. Paul. Jane doesn't like him at all when they first meet on the plane, and yet, after mere days, the two make a connection end up falling in love. It seemed like it was going to happen, but if I had just seen everyone else in the plane I was in lying dead in the snow, only to be faced with possible death myself, I wound be a little more worried about finding my way out of the wilderness than starting a relationship.
3. The staff at Jane's place of rehabilatation.  I am frankly stunned that they let her off so easily- on her way to the plane, for instance, she goes into a drug store and buys all the drugs she needs to make sure she never wakes up again, the pretense of buying christmas presents for her mother as her cover- the chemist isn't on the approved list of places, and yet she is let off the hook... no bag search, nothing. And Jane seems to think that Old Doctor has a sense of what she's going to do, I got the feeling too, and yet he does nothing. 

I was really hoping I would love Survive, and I'm sad that I didn't connect with it as I hoped, but it often seemed to me that ridiculous things happened, that the way the characters coped and did things were unrealistic, and I suppose I expected something different, I can't say for sure what.

So I did really like the idea for Survive, and I think it is definitely going to work for a lot of people- even though it's about tough subjects it wasn't, for me, a really full on read, so if that is the same for other readers, it will be a easy going read on a subject they might never have read about before.
Also, the cover- I love it.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Black Heart Blue by Lousia Reid...

Title- Black Heart Blue.
Author- Louisa Reid.
Publish date- July 2012. 
Publisher- Razorbill and Michael Joseph. (Penguin AU)


Thank you to Penguin for this review copy!

What I thought:
From the description of Black Heart Blue I knew immediately that it would be a very heavy, intense, book- I have read a few books that deal with abuse, India Dark probably being the main one, but I certainly hadn't read anything of the sort for some time, so I was mildly tentative... yet I also felt sure that I wouldn't be disappointed, which I definitely haven't felt before reading a book I know so little about from an author I've never read anything of before.

The story starts soon after Hepzinah has died, and is told from two POV's, in two time settings- Hepzibah, the beautiful twin, tells her story of being accepted into social circles at Collage, of wanting to fall in love, all from the Before point of view.
Rebecca, the disfigured, outcast twin, tells her own story from the time after the accident that took her sisters life- she tells of entering a world unlike any she ever knew and being welcomed with horrified stares and cruel words.
Both the girls stories, though at times Hepzi's seemed to be a little fickle, are beautiful and end in a crescendo that I never could have expected when I began to read- they are heartwrenching and tear inducing, written superbly and always believeably. They are honest and tragic and scary, and they are, above all, touching... touching in ways that I have neve before felt with a book.

Romi. xoxo

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Between the Lines by Jodi Picoult and Samantha van Leer...

Title- Between the Lines.
Author- Jodi Picoult and Samantha van Leer.
Publish date- July 2012.
Publisher- Allen and Unwin.

Thank you to Allen and Unwin for this review copy!

What I thought:
At first I thought this wasn't a book I would enjoy- the writing within the first pages, with the alternating POV's (more on that later) was extremely confusing and I had no idea where I was in the story or what was happening. I put it aside and didn't think of it for a while. After a week or so I picked it up again and read- this time I could read it without much trouble- I was still startled and a little bewildered by the changing point of view with each chapters, especially as the first three are quite short, but I was able to keep reading- I finished it remarkably quickly for a book of it's size and for the rate I had been getting through books, but, surprisingly, it wasn't a remarkable book, a favourite, for me.
First the problems I had with the story-

Delilah I found to be mildly annoying- she loves books and spends all her time reading, which is not something I find any problem with (it resembles me), but she didn't seem to have any real purpose and I found the things she did and, a lot of the time, the way she spoke to be distasteful.

Oliver I liked more- the role in the book that is is forced to play out is that of a afraid prince, one who has never fancied fighting. Delilah naturally assumes that that is how he is when she begins to speak to him, but he is just a boy written to be a prince who is tired of the life he lives in the book and wants to find a way to get out of it, and later, to be with Delilah. I'm not sure what one thing made me like him, maybe just the fact that I didn't dislike him made that the natural next step. I didn't like the fact that he didn't like the princess that he married in the fairytale, and yet had no qualms kissing her passionately each time the marriage scene occured in the story.. no problem with that what so ever. Yet he didn't like her. Not a friendly or a smart move.

Delilah's mother troubled me greviously- she ends up sending Delilah to a "shrink" because Delilah seemed to be spending too much time with her nose in a book, she thinks she needs a social life. Which is where her contrary persona begins. She thinks Delilah needs a social life yet she doesn't like Delilah's best friend and so that doesn't count. She wants Delilah to start living in the real world, says she's too old for fairytales, yet decides that she and Delilah should watch The Little Mermaid- WHAT? You think she is too old for fairy tales, but your comfort movie of The Little Mermaid... how does that make sense? Not to mention the fact that you don't seem to realise that your daughter is happy reading, that she enjoys reading the fairy tale. No- she is fifteen and too old to get enjoyment out of a fairytale. That mother made me shudder.

Different POV for each chapter- I mentioned this earlier and will explain now. Each charper changed the POV of the storyline- Chapter one starts with a chapter from the book that Oliver lives in, as Delilah would read it. Chapter two goes to Oliver's POV, inside the story. Then three is Delilah. It seems simple, but on opening it is was terribly mind messing. I do like the different colours for each chapter- Delilah is green, Oliver is purple, and the book is black- a unqiue idea.

Mermaids. Mermaids, mermaids, mermaids.  I will simply say that there is a perplexing sentence. Because the mermaids aren't falling head over heels for every man that walks by, because they stand for the fact that if a man treats you badly you shouldn't go running after him, getting hurt again and again, are thus titled hard-core feminists? That's just not right! Maybe it is how some feminisist feel, but it really frustrated me that it was handed so simply.

The list of things that I liked about the book is short, sadly- it frustrated me more than anything, so I don't have many things that I liked about it.
I liked the alternating font colours, and the way the fonts used weren't the norm- it made it fun and the reading even quicker.
I liked the story of a girl and a boy, one stuck in our world and one stuck in a fairy tale, who fall in love and try to be together- it was interesting and quite enjoyable if I didn't think of it as anything past that.
I liked the idea of characters in a book living lives when the book is closed- it got me thinking and it is certainly an interesting line of thought to ponder upon.
And I liked the dedication of Delilah's best friend, whom she forsakes for Oliver as she tries to free him- the fact that the friend forgave Delilah shows a friendship and dedication, a love, that isn't common- I'm not sure if it was a wise choice, I couldn't say wether I would make the same decision, but it was beautiful.

Between the Lines is a really easy read, once you pass the confusion over the alternating POV's- very quick to read and quite enjoyable, but for me definitely not a re-read. It just annoyed me and I don't think I would recommend it- it's good, as long as you don't think too deeply about the characters and their motives, but reading a story and not thinking deeply about it isn't something I want to be doing with my reading time, that's not what stories are about, for me.

Sunday, August 5, 2012


I think I've made it pretty clear that I like Dystopian novels. I love them. Capatalize that. I LOVE THEM. I don't know what it is that makes my pulse quicken and my eyes widen upon hearing/reading/finishing/anything to do with a dystopia, I think it has something to do with the fact that, in a way, I feel I am reading about our future lives- we have no idea what will happen a hundred, two hundred years from now, so there's a kind of magic about that that draws me to it... also the fact that it makes me all the more grateful for the life I'm living that isn't ruled by a Government that sends me and twenty three other teenagers into an arena to fight to the death in pennance for uprising... but lately I have found myself getting the feeling that people have forgotten how to do it right. Or at least do it in a way that I find both enjoyable and thrilling. And I feel that that is what happens when a certain genre becomes the BIG THING.
It's happened hundreds of times and will continue to happen hundred of times more- it like clothes, something becomes popular and it gets done over and over and over again until the remanints aren't really anything alike the beginning article, until it's been too overdone to appreciate. It happened with Vampires. Werewolves. Presumably Wizards. And is now happening with Distopians.
Now I'm not saying that Struck wasn't origonal, but the whole point is that I didn't feel that connection with it as I have felt with many other books in the genre, preceeded by the slow, terrifying knowledge that it, the genre, has become too popular... so many books have become half hearted attempts at creating something origonal, vying for the million dollar spot, that the ones that truly matter get lost. And I hate that.