Monday, March 30, 2015

The Boy Who Lost Fairyland by Catherynne M. Valente.

Title- The Boy Who Lost Fairyland. (Fairyland # 4.)
Author- Catherynne M. Valente.
Publish date- March 25th, 2015.
Publisher- Constable and Robinson.
RRP- $19.99 (AUD)

*This review may contain (it does, kind of) spoilers for the other books in the Fairyland series*
Read my review for books 1, 2 and 3 by clicking the numbers!


Review time...

(A Brief) Synopsis:
We’re back in Fairyland. What more could anyone want to know?

Thank you to Allen and Unwin for this review copy!
Image Source: Allen and Unwin.

What I thought:
I have a longstanding love (what the heck, adoration) for the beautiful, glorious, delightful Fairyland books by Catherynne M. Valente, and I have a slightly less longstanding way of reviewing the books. One word.



1. Rediscovering and returning to Fairyland. We start the story there, in a gorgeous parallel to the first chapter of the first book (oh, I literally squeed, it was so fantastic), but we don’t stay there long, finding ourselves stranded in the world of Chicago- but we go back! We do! And it felt like going home.

2. A certain stuffed wombat called Blunderbuss. She was a shining star of the story in her own right, and how I adored her. Protective, fierce and just what you would imagine a troll boy would be in partnership with, she was terrific.

3. The words of Catherynne M. Valente. They have held me fast since the very first and they are so humorous, exquisitely captured and presented in gorgeous, moving, striking and heartbreaking ways. I keep getting so passionately emotional over these incredible books!

4. The return of a few dear friends. We don’t see Ell and Saturday much in the second book, as I commented on in my review of it, and this book wasn’t even focused on September! We have a new character who has a story to tell, and my, it was a striking change. But be sure September and co. are not lost.

5. The ending. Not quite as emotionally and heart wrenching as the end of the third book, but this still managed to pack a severe punch and I was “oh my!”ing and grinning, excited and in love.

Didn’t Adore:

1.5. September is a character I cherish, so of course I feel a twinge of distraughtness at her not continuing to be the sole focus, though I’m also invested in Hawthorn’s story, now.

And that’s all. Very simple, completely excellent, exquisite and brilliance in book form.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Nightbird by Alice Hoffman.

Title- Nightbird.
Author- Alice Hoffman.
Publish date- March, 2015.
Publisher- Simon and Schuster.
RRP- $16.99 (AUD)

Review time...

(A Brief) Synopsis:
There's a certain magic that abounds in the town of Sidwell, from the pink apples that grow there and nowhere else, to the monster that the townspeople claim live in the forests. The monster, they say, that is becoming dangerous and needs to be captured.

Thank you to Simon and Schuster for this review copy!
Image Source: Simon and Schuster.

What I thought:

Nightbird was a middle grade read I could’ve read as a younger person, when I was eight or nine, and it would have engaged me and amazed me and I would always have looked on it fondly. It would have been one of those favourite childhood reads that you pass on and treasure the memory of, and I hope for at least one child who reads it they find that book. But I also think that if it had been one of those favourite childhood books, it would also have been one I’d read again, older, and feel disappointed by. It has magic and wonder and so much potential, Nightbird, but I feel like it kept it simple, too simple for me to really get into and feel like I could be there, or for me to cherish; it’s a wonderful story and premise and idea, and I think it would be an excellent book to give with the intention of helping a middle grade reader enjoy reading and feel impassioned by stories, but as a reader personally I would have liked to see the magic embellished and heightened, the beauty of the forest and the town of Sidwell strengthened, the chapters more full of detail and less the quick passing of time and few happenings that they were.

I’m not sure how I felt about the characters, on the whole. I did feel for Twig and the way of life her mother had forced her into, didn’t get the mother’s reasoning as being practical or likely, was a bit frustrated by the way Twig thought Julia, the girl who moves in next door and who is very sweet, wouldn’t want to be her friend anymore because she had got other friends at school now (she shared her mother’s shaky reasoning, here), and my eyebrow quirked at the whole dynamic of the romance between two other characters, which was very much made of insta-live and thou must take the high moral standing because thou knowest best.
It was a book of big things that were taken on my young characters who didn’t always seem to have that means of background proof they thought they did. Throw caution to the wind! We can do it, kind of thing. These were characters who seemed to think they knew best, despite a lack of evidence to that case, those elements you sometimes find in books you grew up loving and later become a touch suspicious of.
Yet I did enjoy it. For the magic. (Though I wish there’d been more!)

Rating: Hmm...
I wish it had had more magicality and more reasonable characters, but this was a neat, enjoyable, good basis for further reading.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Hold Me Closer by David Levithan...

Title- Hold Me Closer- The Tiny Cooper Story.
Author- David Levithan.
Publish date- March 25th, 2015.
Publisher- Text Publishing.
RRP- $19.99 (AUD)

Review time...

(A Brief) Synopsis:
It is Tiny Cooper's time, and he is going to tell his story, and he's going to tell is via musical, written by and starring himself.

Thank you to Text Publishing for this review copy!
Image Source: Text Publishing.

What I thought:

A YA novel that is written as if it were a musical? Stage directions, ideas for actors, dance sequences, songs and all? Well I am in.

I enjoyed my reading of Hold Me Closer, despite not having read Will Grayson, Will Grayson, from where the character of Tiny originates, though I wouldn’t say it was all I hoped it would be.
It was possibly more amusing and less wonderful.
Tiny Cooper’s story didn’t really speak to me, but the little bits in between songs and acts, where he writes these sections of backgrounds history and the aforementioned stage directions, those were the spots I felt his character in a way that was raw- a character who was the one starring in the show, but also a more emotional, real character- and I really felt impressed by the way I learnt about Tiny the character in those sections. They felt like more important- and beautiful, emotion and writing wise- revelations than anything I got in the musical, and that was really well done.

Now this would be a completely hilarious and wonderful musical if it were to be performed; I feel like I got half the experience, reading the script, as it were, and can practically feel how brilliant it would be live, all those (occasionally powerhouse) musical numbers, the brilliant mention in the beginning that anyone who would object to the musical would’ve left by the first song, and the appearance of the ghost of Oscar Wilde, who sings his very own song; really it was odd and ingenuous and would be a really good, stereotype smashing musical for high schools and collages to perform.
I’d go see it.
It mightn’t have been a brilliant book. It might’ve lacked depth and I may have wanted it to give me more, but to see Hold Me Closer actually performed is something I will hold out for, because I believe it is certainly worth holding out for.

Rating: Hmm... sometimes better and sometimes not.
I had a certain amount of trouble reading the back cover (so. very. glitzy.) and it was not an excellent read, but it had more than one moment of brilliance to it, this clever, amusing book, and I enjoyed it most of the time.

Monday, March 23, 2015

A Feature of Pictures (and books!) No. 9

I welcome you back to this (possibly forgotten) feature! Today I have a book that was a beautiful almost disappointment and one that was a beautiful work of I WANT THAT ON MY WALL NOW PLEASE THANK YOU. And also a book o beards. Who'd have thought it, I ask you? Happy times!

Title: Nature's Day.
Author: Kay Maguire.
Illustrator: Danielle Kroll.
Publisher: Quarto UK.
Publish Date: February 25th, 2015.
RRP: $29.99 (AUD)

I admit that at first I did struggle to find something, apart from those gorgeous illustrations, that I could gladly sink into with Nature’s Day, because whilst no doubt interesting, the numerous facts and tidbits bored me, felt disengaging and a tad monotonous, but somehow (don’t ask me, I don’t know) I did, all of a sudden, and I enjoyed it. Not hugely, not exuberantly, and it isn’t, I feel, a book that is wholly accessible to me, but I would give it with verve to a new, wonderous reader (possibly I won’t be passing on my copy as a certain animal decided to chew a spot of the spine to mush) who was excited by the facts and happenings of the passing seasons- though note that some facts will be irrelevant to those in Australia and other countries where some of the animals don’t live.
It is, however, a gorgeous book, and I enjoyed seeing different landscapes (it goes through places like the farm, orchard, pond, street and forest in a seasonal cycle) as the year moved. Particularly the forest, as I have more than a soft spot for those.

Thank you to Allen and Unwin for this review copy!
Image Source: Allen and Unwin.

Title: A River.
Author (and illustrator): Marc Martin.
Publisher: Penguin Random House.
Publish Date: March 25th, 2015.
RRP: $24.99 (AUD)

I checked out Marc Martin’s tumblr (yes here is a link do not thank me), when I considered requesting a review copy of this, and when I saw how beautiful, detailed and, honestly, “I would have that on my wall” the art was I didn’t hesitate a moment longer.
This was incredible.
I have a thing for picture books. It’s a fact. It is THE fact. They are very tiny stories that can appeal o all ages, have art through them, and teach valuable lessons amidst an engaging story that lasts very few pages. And A River?
Best Picture Book of 2015. It is only March, yes, but I truly believe this is going to remain in the top three, at least.
The story, for one, is simple and delightful. Imaginative, dreamy and soaring, it tells the tale of a girl following the river she can see from her apartment window. It goes through the city, past hills and farms… all drawn so carefully and so detailed. Which takes me to the art. Arguably the thing I love the most about picture books, and this… oh my. This is quite close to the art I see in my dreams and imagination. It’s detailed and wonderful and I feel like I could live in it, with no help at all.

Thank you to Penguin Australia for this review copy!
Image Source: Penguin Australia.

Title: Book-O-Beards.
Author: Lemke and Lentz.
Publisher: Hardie Grant Egmont.
Publish Date: March 2015.
RRP: $14.95 (AUD)

Oh oh oh. This!

And that’s the end of the review! Good day to you!

Alright. Well. Well! This, I say, is a wonderful idea for a series of board books. Wearable books- and this one about beards! I admit, I think mustaches have a little more  …  to them (thank you Magnum and Poirot for ingraining this into my mind), but how fun is this! Only one of the pictures doesn’t include a mustache, actually, so this is practically perfect (I don’t love the pirate, but oh well).
The beards/staches are colourful, amusing, diverse and offer tremendous amusement that does not end with children. Technically I’m more of an adult, but this is a book I WILL use. Oh yes. And there was racial diversity in the characters whose beards you’ll be wearing, which I had looked for and was very glad to see.
Basically, this is terrific. Off to beard!

Thank you to Hardie Grant Egmont for this review copy!
Image Source: Hardie Grant Egmont.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Bookish Identity Tag?!

What is this magic? Another tag. Yes. Yes. And another yes because three is apparently the magical number. That and seven. Nine, too? Sidetracked. Let's just go and pretend that didn't happen, right? Right-oh.

I wasn't tagged for this post (I saw it on Paper Fury, so thanks to Cait for doing it and making me see it) and I won't tag anyone, but do it if you'd like to! 

Which dystopian/fantastical world would you want to live in?
That would be the world of Ink from the Inkworld trilogy (it's always in the name, right?). It's a world that was told in a book but kept going on after the book finished, though some characters are still bound by the fates set by the story! Strange, fantastical, completely magical and brilliant. Not necessarily safe, but glorious.

Who would your partner be?
I vote for Celaena. Protection, snarky friendship, a huge dog (I love big dogs, and I'm pretty hers is some sort of wolfhound so *swoon*), a love of books. She could teach me some fighting skills, too.

Which house would you be in? (From HP)
Ravenclaw is the house I have been sorted into on more than one occasion- each occasion, actually. And I'm very happy with that. I think it's definitely me.

Which faction would you be in? (From Divergent)
That would be Dauntless. Am I dauntless? CERTAINLY NOT. But that's what I'd choose. I'm also Divergent, when I take tests, and I feel like that is correct. A mixture between factions, though I'd choose Dauntless, I think.

What would your daemon be? (From His Dark Materials)
A Snow Leopard! Ideally it would be one that would never solidify into one single thing. Changing between a bird of some sort (a swallow or something big enough to carry me) and a snow leopard.

So fun but so short! Give me links if you've done this or do it! It's veerrry fun. 

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Mini Review (12)


Sue Saliba’s Alaska was one of the first review books I ever received; I have fond memories with the time I spent with it, and it’s possibly because of this and some other factors that I tried so hard to keep reading For the Forest of a Bird when I knew it wasn’t working for me. I dearly wanted to be able to at least finish it, but unfortunately that didn’t work out and I ended up reading… nearly half, before deciding to stop.

Nella is the protagonist of FtFoaB; she is fifteen and lives with her controlling, moody older brother and her mentally ill mother, after her father left the family. She goes to a creek in her town and awaits the return of the swallows, and just when she finally decides to tell her father, to show him the magic of her secret, like she’s planned to for years, there is an accident and Nella’s perspective changes over the course of all that happens.
I wasn’t sure of Nella. I liked her passion, but I felt mostly worried and concerned for her- living with a mother whose mental stability seemed dangerously fragile and a brother who seemed to have an aura of “dark” about him, she had so much going on and a lot of hope, but I felt as if her hope made her practically delusional at times, and she also seemed rather childish; I struggled with her voice and the direction it took the story.

I adore the cover, though, and was tremendously excited to see it- it’s such a lovely array of colour, texture and type.

Thank you to Penguin for this review copy!
Image Source: Penguin.

Thank you to Murdoch Books and Allen and Unwin for this review copy!
Image Source: Allen and Unwin.

Oh. Simply oh. Italics and all. This was, truly, quite lovely. The colours are vibrant and the art feels like I've stepped into one of those lovely picture books from the 60s and 70s, with shapes made from block colours, all put together to create a distinct shape or thing. This was fun, too, all about teaching first readers to count and read and name things (people, seasons, numbers, animals) and I can tell that this will be such a fantastic book for teaching, being captivating in it's design- brilliant for teaching how enjoyable learning is and can be.
I thought it was great! I loved the use of colour, the style of the art, the distinctness of it all; it is a book I like now and one I would have liked even more as a child. Also, it shows you 100 things, and it's startling how few that seems to be!

Monday, March 16, 2015

A tag of Heroines.

Because, and I mean this quite literally, what could be better?
I love to celebrate the achievements of women, so a tag that highlights heroines? Well, my dears, I was sold two decades ago on that.

I wasn't tagged for this Heroine tag. That doesn't matter. I saw it in all it's glorious beauty on Paper Fury and that was enough to have me here.

1. Which heroine would you trade places with?
I'll ignore the fact that this means they would not exist. Lets change this to- which heroine would you want to stand beside forever and ever, shall we? Good. Right.

Luna Lovegood.

2. Which heroine would you push off a cliff and hope that there are some jagged rocks at the bottom?
Now cruelty has no place here, thank you very much.

3. Heroine you couldn’t care less about? They’re so bland that they don’t even trigger the hate in you?
Well the questions aren't as positive as I remembered. OH NO. For reads this year, my least favourite heroine would be Margo, from Paper Towns, though. I felt very little for her, it has to be said.


4. Heroine you thought you wouldn’t like and ending up liking and vice versa?

Didn't think I would: All of the characters from Beauty Queens. Because truly they are AMAZING.

Thought I would: Hello again Miss Margo.

5. Side heroine who is much more interesting than main heroine?
I can't remember who it was... Ah ha! Mary Lou. She was bril.

6. Which heroine would you want as your friend?
Celaena Sardothian and Lyra Belacqua. Luna Lovegood and Kasta. And Kami Glass, of course.

7. Which heroine do you wish would just CHOOSE (between the guys [or girls] in her little love triangle)?That would be Kami Glass.


8. Bad girl heroine?
Eh... probably Celaena. But I don't believe in labels, for the most part. This is bad as in bad-ass.

9. “Good girl” heroine?
Labels labels labels. Maybe Meggie from Inkheart, though, because she did try. Most of the time.

10. Your favorite heroine of them all? (If you can’t choose, pick your top 3.)
In no order: Celaena, Luna and Lyra.

Want to do it, too? Then do it. And leave a link so I can ooh and aah.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

The Last Leaves Falling by Sarah Benwell...

Title- The Last Leaves Falling.
Author- Sarah Benwell.
Publish date- 2nd February, 2015.
Publisher- Random House.
RRP- $19.99 (AUD)

Review time...

(A Brief) Synopsis:
Sora has ALS and he feels his world shrinking, with each day and each movement he struggles to do on his own. His mind is full of thoughts and fears and questions, and no one can answer them, it seems. And answers are what he needs the most.

Thank you to Random House Australia for this review copy!
Image Source: Random House.

What I thought:
The Last Leaves Falling was for me a beautiful book, though I don't think I realised this until it no longer was; it is a story that is gloriously sweet yet terribly bitter, strained and heartfelt and powerful, and tough I only moderately enjoyed it to begin with, I realised how much I had enjoyed it only when it  was much too late.
The novel tells the story of Sora, a teenager who has Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or Louie Gehrig disease, and the frinds he finds, the thoughts and fears he has, and the adventures he is part of as it progresses. The pain felt by Sora felt real, his anguish and frustrations and pain, all so palpable and true, and Sarah Benwell crafted a story that, though a huge element of it was this teenage boy's pained struggle, is striking in the way it so often exudes happiness. Scenes with icecream made me smile and outing to giant karp pools made me feel glad, with such a feeling of "spend your time in a way you will remember gladly" coming from the whole thing.
Inevitably this is not going to be a book that was overwhelmingly happy- it's about a boy who is dying, painfully and with visible progression- but it had gladness to it. Promise and happiness.

I try to remember the things that made me like it: the sweet friendship Sora finds, the subtle romance, the thoughts and questions that the characters had thsat, some, seeped into me, and the wonderful, distinct setting of the book- Japan- that opened my eyes and swept me up, but in the end it is... difficult. Because I found the ending totally... unforgivable? I don't quite know. I certainly didn't agree with it, hardly even understood it, and... maybe I am not one who should speak about such things, not knowing the true pain and struggle of someone facing this disease, but this is a novel. And I am angry. I am mad at Sora. At all of it. The things that happened in the last pages were alienated from the characters I had read about for 330 pages, so void of... what I thought I knew of them.

So only too late did I see how much I'd been enjoying this. And... I don't know if I can get back to that.

Rating: Ooh very good-oh nooo-this is the worst possible time for an explosion.
So good, for 3/4, but the end just... was not for me. It left me without all that I had felt for the book, and I'm really quite angry, now.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Etiquette and Espionage by Gail Carriger...

Title- Etiquette & Espionage (Finishing School #1)
Author- Gail Carriger.
Publish date- 2013
Publisher- Little, Brown.


Review time...

(A Brief) Synopsis:
A training school for young ladies to learn etiquette is the last place Sophronia wants to be sent, but when she arrives, unwillingly, she finds the school happens to be... unusual, to say the least, and not all of their subjects are quite as predictable as she might have imagined.

What I thought:
I will briefly defend my honour.
I have decided that it isn’t actually My own fault, if I don’t end up reading a book for 4-5 months (over a year in some dire, current cases) because, very simply, I am a reader. And also a reviewer.
Us reviewers are, I think, avid readers as a whole already,  but having books to review, while being glorious and thrilling and really incredibly lovely, does rather make things stack up.
I wouldn’t change it. I might make myself a faster reader, but maybe I wouldn’t.
Even right now, when I am putting every book that isn’t part of a series (Catherynne M. Valente and Sarah J. Maas are exempt from this clause) through a two month wait list (it is usually shorter, but: I’ve been away!) before adding it to my tbr officially, things are still stacking up. So it took me longer than I would have liked to get to Etiquette and Espionage, but oh, I did enjoy it.
Set, for the most part, on a flying dirigible/balloon that functions as a school for young ladies to learn the fine arts of etiquette and killing, poisoning and fighting, the story features an array of characters who are intriguing and enjoyable to spend time with, if too few get the descriptive backgrounds they deserve. Sophronia, the protagonist, is, in a word, brilliant. She goes through some interesting character development as the story goes along, and while one might wonder if she lost a few of her more adventurous qualities as she was refined, I’d say she just learnt to channel them more carefully.

I’m very excited by the prospect of a novel wherein young girls are taught the fine art of weaponry at the same time as manners, so this was, really, fairly well a dead set winner for me. Add the fact that this is set in the mid 1800s in a steampunk past, that includes dubious notions of werewolf reform and vampires as teachers (done very well, all in all, though I’m not sure we’re actually going to get to the “reform” part), a nearby school for boys who, I may add, are training to become evil geniuses, and a general sense of adventure just seeping off the protagonist, and I am there.

I would have liked to see a little more of the lessons, as they were very briefly mentioned and enjoyable when they were, but I shall hold out for more all round next book.

Rating: Excellent.
A story that is wonderfully imaginative, comedic and written with whole passages of one liners, banter and, basically, joy, this is a most promising series starter.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Mini Review (11)

Paper Towns- John Green.
Paper Towns was, I believe, the one John Green book I really wanted to read, after I read TFiOS (so this puts me back to when that first came out) and yet, though I got the box set of his work last March, I only now have read this book I felt so sure would be a definite favourite. And, guess what? It wasn't a favourite. I'm not sure I even thought it was all that good. Full of incredibly beautiful, marvellous quotes, yes, but the story had very little else that appealed to me; Quentin was, I felt, a flimsy protagonist and his infatuation for Margo, the girl next door, was really a little odd. He was just completely in love with her, and there was really very little about her, that I could see, to make him see her as this goddess, brilliant, otherworldly type human. She, too, was just as flimsy and controlled by expectations as he, and so the love and admiration felt pretty odd... flat.
I'm glad to have (finally) read it, but didn't find the Favourite Green novel that I was certain I would. I found a bunch of great quotes, though!

Daughter of Smoke and Bone- Laini Taylor.
I can safely classify Daughter of Smoke and Bone alongside The Book Thief, and this is why: it is a book I got out from the library, read very little of and decided hastily was not for me. Somehow I decided to try it again, though my initial reaction hadn't been positive when I had given it a brief go, but the beautiful reviews I read and the love from reviewers for this series turned me back, and I ended up with my own copy. And WHAT A BOOK.
Goodness. It is a blindingly brilliant, gorgeously written book and an epic tale told so, so well. I was fascinated with all of it, completely smitten from start to finish- the end struck me a little glum, but I hope things progress in a more positive way in books 2 and 3. Which I will be reading. Soon.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Books I couldn't get through in my break #2.

A feature about the (review) books I couldn't get through in my break from the computer.


A Small Madness- Dianne Touchell.
Copy published and provided by Allen and Unwin. Thank you!

I'm not really sure how far I got through A Small Madness, though I skimmed most of it after that point, where I felt it was not going to be a comfortable or beneficial read for me if I continued. It is about a really troubling issue and I felt a daunting and a fear and great discomfort through the writing, even in the early pages. One thing I think should have been amended in the finished copy is a little more information before the reader gets in, about what the book is actually about, because the back reveals very little and when I found out the real focus of the story I was completely taken aback. I felt it needed some warning, at least.

Image Credit: Allen and Unwin.

Image Credit: Hot Key Books.

Iremonger Book 1, Heap House- Edward Carey.
Copy published and provided by Hot Key Books. Thank you!
I struggled on and off with Heap House for a long time, marking my way through the early chapters before moving away, returning only to move away once more. I so looked forward to this unusual tale, but just couldn't get into the language or story, and from skipping ahead afterwards I realise it's unlikely that would have changed the more I read. The way the story is set out, with character illustrations at the beginning of each new chapter, is something I like and the total uniqueness of the plot, so wildly different from anything else I've ever heard of, but sadly I just could not find anything in it that pulled me in and managed to hold me.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Eat the Sky, Drink the Ocean by Various Authors...

Title- Eat the Sky, Drink the Ocean.
Author- Various.
Publish date- January 28, 2015.
Publisher- Allen and Unwin.
RRP- $16.99 AUD.

Review time...

(A Brief) Synopsis:
A collection of short stories, told via word and illustration, from authors across Australia and India, that celebrate and focus on women and girls and the stories they have to tell.

Thank you to Allen and Unwin for this review copy!
Image Credit: Allen and Unwin.

What I thought:
This is a really diverse, unique collection of stories about women and girls; it was a really unusual read, with some of the stories really touching me, some throughly engaging me, some leaving lingering thoughts and questions, and some being a bit creepy for my tastes. From 20 contributors comes a range of stories from Australian and Insian writers and artists, and I do truly feel like it was a special honor to be exposed to the work within. I'm going to spotlight the stories that were the most standout in my reading; they are a mixture of graphic stories (meaning graphic-novel esq.) and written, and cover a wide range of themes. All of them touched me in their own way as I read.

-Swallow the Moon, by Kate Constable and Priya Kuriyar.

I enjoyed my reading of this, but not until the end did I see the full-scale picture, and that turned it from an interesting-if-perplexing tale into something much more important and wonderful. The story has a faintly strange rhythm, but I enjoyed it and thought it was really well done; the way the word and the art work together is very nice.
It's a story about celebrating the future and coming of age of women by remembering the past.

-Cooking Time, by Anita Roy.
I liked the idea of this, most of all- the way it was written wasn't all that gripping for me, but the plot certainly was. This is a story about a future in which people don't eat actual food anymore, in a world where a reality TV show takes contestants back in time to cook with the available ingredients of the day. I think this is such a terrific idea. It really captured my imagination.

-Cast out, by Sarhita Arni.
I really loved this! For sure it would be one of my favouites, the story of a girl who gets cast out to sea for having magic, to be taken by the storms, only to be rescued by women who have likewise been cast out of their homes. It was imaginative and well done; I could've read a whole novel of this one.

-Cat Calls, by Margo Langan.
This was really quite fantastic, in a dark-ish way. A group of school friends turn the daily verbal abuse they have experienced onto their attackers. It was incredibly profound, though a part of me felt uneasy, strangely, as I read it. Possibly because I knew how real an issue cat calls and verbal torment are to people every day, and the teaming up of friends was an interesting way to combat it.

-Memory Lace, by Payal Shar.
This was another favourite, for it's uniqueness and the fact it just kept me thinking and guessing and wondering. More difficult to describe the story, here, but it's about two people, one a slave and one the "owner", and the lace that gives power over the people in this world.

-Back Stage Pass, by Nicki Greenberg.
This was, for sure, the most lighthearted of the lot, an amusing graphic-story about an interview with an actress, an unhappy one at that, and the character she plays: Ophelia from Hamlet. About separating one from their roles, this was splendid and most enjoyable.

-The Runners, by Isobel Carmody and Prabha Mallya.
One of my two absolute favourites, I just love the art of this story; the writing half is a little perplexing at times, as it is set in a different world/time and the rules that apply, the ways of life, are all quite different, but the art just swept me up completely. It was incredibly nice and told the story so well. I would frame that art, for sure.

-The Wednesday Room, by Kuzhali Manickavel and Lily Mae Martin.
My other favourite, this one is simply incredibly unusual and neat and I really, really like the art. About a girl who sees different beings and is writing a paper, with the help of one of them, to get herself Standardized, which will stop her from seeing the beings. It was interesting and nice and I really liked it.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

The Retribution of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin...

Title- The Retribution of Mara Dyer (Mara Dyer #3)
Author- Michelle Hodkin.
Publish date- November 2014.
Publisher- Simon and Schuster.
RRP- $16.99.

*Okay, it contains spoilers for the other two books. Let that be said*
My review of books 1 and 2!

Review time...

(A Brief) Synopsis:
Mara Dyer has to face it all, now, and don't for a moment think that "all" doesn't include herself. Mara, the girl with the powers and anger, is out for revenge. She is hurt and she is angry and she won't let anyone off easily.

Thank you to Simon and Schuster for this review copy!
Image Credit: Simon and Schuster.

What I thought:
I opened The Retribution, the final book in the Mara Dyer trilogy, a book I have been anxious for for over a year, and I was in. That's how easy it is and has always been for me with these books. But then something strange happened. The level of creepy went up from general Mara Dyer to atrually making me physically uncomfortable/disgusted, and the story wasn't actually all that fantastic. This could have something to do with the lack of Noah, since I'm pretty sure he and Mara make the books for me, so without him it wasn't nearly so enjoyable or wonderful, and I also realised that, after reading a little over 50 pages on the first day and having a night terror, I would have to get through it right quick. What proceeded on day two is, I believe, something I've never done before. 420 pages in a single day. I did finish it, though, and luckily only had the one bad dream, but... well,  I dondered if I'd get through it at all. The violence was stepped up 5 levels from what I remembered, and it wasn't something that I enjoyed at all, was happy reading or anything. I felt like it was wildly different from what I'd taken to in the first two books. 
I liked Mara Less. I understood her less. I followed the story to the darkness and the corners of her with less joy and enthusiasm. She channged in more ways than the characters themselves realised, and my gosh, there was a lot of killing (mostly brutal) for a YA book.

I can read the book very quickly, the same was with the other two, I think, but I never really liked where the story was going, even if at times I enjoyed it (way to make sense, Romi), but the end was good. The end made it partly worthwhile, and although I am skeptical at the ease with which things were tidied up and other things panned out (the whole book was an unexpected and slightly bizarre twist), and I didn't think it sat all that securely, I quite liked the last little bit, for what it was worth.

Rating: Whatever comes between Poor and Oh nooo...
Scary and surprising and, literally, nightmarish, the essence of Mara Dyer was lost to me until the very end, where it came back in an odd, confusing rush. Truly Mara and Noah make the book. One without the other is just not the same.

Monday, March 2, 2015


It had been more than a year, I believe, since I last hosted a competition, and March for me is the month of celebrations, so lets have a giveaway, shall we?

To celebrate my birthday, I'm going to be giving away a box of books (inspired by this giveaway on Diva Booknerd)! I'm not sure, at present, how many books there are going to be. So it's going to be a surprise (for all of us)- a box of at least 7 books that are doubles, an ARC and some review copies. All are in good contition, though I did make the mistake of trying to remove a sticker from the back of one with teatree oil... not a good move, everyone. DO NOT DO THAT. It has... less colour than it did. BUT IT'S STILL PRETTY.

So, before we get to the true details of how to win this prize, shall we diverge? Briefly?
Birthdays. All I will say is this: I am getting older. It is daunting. But that is how it goes. Also, second friday the 13th birthday in my memory! (My last was, I kid you not, on my thirteenth birthday. I mean, lucky or what?! Now just see if you can work out how old this age-old dragon is.)

RIGHT! Onto the details!

The Prize:
A box of at least 7 books. Some are new. Some are sequels. One's an ARC. x2MG. x1 Adult. The rest are our good old YA.

Who can enter?
As long as you're 15+ and from Australia, you can enter!

When can we enter?
Aah... now? Oh. It's going to go until 

Romi! How do we enter!?
By following the mystical instructions of the adorable rafflecoptor, of course. And remember: READ THE TERMS AND CONDITIONS.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Luck be with you, and happy days! xx

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle.

Title- A Wrinkle in Time.
Author- Madeleine L'Engle.
Publish date- 1962, 2007.
Publisher- Square Fish.

Review time...

(A Brief) Synopsis:
The story of an adventure through space and time, with companions in the form of three children, three celestial spirits and characters who are charming and unique and, it must be said, not always nice.

What I thought:
Oh, how I sing the praises of this book. I read the graphic novel first and adored it every moment, and bought a copy of the novel, a beautiful edition, with no hesitation that the novel would prove to be anything but as brilliant. This, I must say, is unusual for me. But a stroke of luck.
The novel was, from the very start, like stepping back into a story you know you adore. I could say 20 pages in that it was one of my all time favourite novels, and that stands for the graphic novel and original, alike and unique in their standing.
Madeleine L'Engle writes a story that is true and full of beauty alongside harsh realities; in Meg I find a companion and a fictional representation of myself, in the Mrs. Ws friends, in Aunt Beast a creature of great caring and compassion who I treasure.
I love this story intently. For what it is. For what it does. Gives. For who I meet in it's pages and the joy I get from each word. It is, in a novel, pure joy.

Rating: Big Explosion, MIND BLOWN.
One of the best stories I have ever, could ever read. Pure magic.