Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Love Letter To My Literary Crush

In honour of all the other poor (and definitely more swoon worthy) literary men who will no doubt be rather neglected when Eclipse is released today/tomorrow if you're in Australia, Frankie from Frankie Writes is holding a blogfest for everyone to write to their non-Edward/Jacob literary crushes. It was so hard to choose the most crush worthy guy from all the books I've read, so I cheated and picked two =) If you want to participate or check out others who are participating, follow the link here

Dear Ariel (from the Theatre Illuminata Series by Lisa Mantchev) ,

You do know that you're meant to be a girl right? Or at least that's what most people assume Ariel from The Tempest is supposed to be. And then there's the whole mermaid thing. Don't worry though, I'd totally pick you over Nate any day- girly name or not.  You're complex and I love that. You aren't particulary good or bad, and its nice to find someone who isn't completely one or the other in YA fiction once in awhile. Your love for Bertie is magical, and it's your intensity which makes me swoon. You're almost like a sick puppy in the way that you keep coming back after Bertie keeps rejecting you in Book 2, just because you love her ridiculously. I very much hope that you two work out, but I promise to love you and your butterflies either way.

Dear Jonah (from Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta),

That one scene where you and Taylor are cuddling in bed after an awful day and she ask's you what you're thinking and you reply "That you deserve romance", will forever be imprinted in my mind as one of the sweetest moments in YA fiction (yes I realize it doesn't sound so great there but in context it was lovely). I don't watch Glee, but I know a character said something like that too, but heck you said it first!  Being built like a rugby player and quite inclined to violence, you're definitely not the kind of guy I usually go for. But you stick by Taylor through everything, despite being as broken as you are as well, and that is beautiful. You also automatically know exactly what to order her for breakfast and that says more about how much you care about someone than 3 little words ever could.


Review: On The Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta

My father took one hundred and thirty two minutes to die.
I counted.
It happened on the Jellicoe Road. The prettiest road I’d ever seen, where trees made breezy canopies like a tunnel to Shangri-La. We were going to the ocean, hundreds of kilometres away, because I wanted to see the ocean and my father said that it was about time the four of us made that journey. I remember asking, “What’s the difference between a trip and a journey?” and my father said, “Narnie, my love, when we get there, you’ll understand,” and that was the last thing he ever said.
We heard her almost straight away. In the other car, wedged into ours so deep that you couldn’t tell where one began and the other ended. She told us her name was Tate and then she squeezed through the glass and the steel and climbed over her own dead – just to be with Webb and me; to give us her hand so we could clutch it with all our might. And then a kid called Fitz came riding by on a stolen bike and saved our lives.
Someone asked us later, “Didn’t you wonder why no one came across you sooner?”
Did I wonder?
When you see your parents zipped up in black body bags on the Jellicoe Road like they’re some kind of garbage, don’t you know?
‘Wonder dies.’

When I finished reading Jellicoe Road, tears were streaming down my face and all I could do was lie in bed for the next 30 minutes, trying to calm down. An hour later, and I was still an emotional wreck. This book is beyond brilliant. It is ridiculously tragic and yet beautiful and hopeful, all in the same breath.

Jellicoe Road intertwines the story of Taylor and the territory wars between her country boarding school and the Cadets and Townies in the area, with the story of kids that lived there 20 years before. As a result of the two stories being told simultaneously, it can be a little confusing at the start. Everything is connected however and if you keep at it things will click and you won't be able to put it down- I know I said that the first thing I did was lie down and cry, but actually the first thing I did was run to the bathroom because I had been so engrossed in the story well, let's just say I forgot about anything else!

Jellicoe Road is a book that ruins every other book you try to read after it because it just blows everything else out of the water.  I can't tell you anything about the characterization, or the setting or any other technical aspects about the writing in this book because I was too swept away by Taylor, Jonah (oh, Jonah...) and Narnie's stories to notice any of that.  All I know is that Jellicoe Road was amazing. Just absolutely, wonderfully amazing.

Overall:  ♥♥♥♥
Published: First published September 2006 by Penguin Australia

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Books I loved but would never read again

Sometimes you get a book that’s just so heartbreaking, so disturbing or just so downright depressing that you never want to read again. Not because the writing is atrocious, or the story is boring and bland, because let’s face it, no book that can leave you that emotionally crippled for days can be called bad. The book was amazing, but it’s precisely because you never want to relive those awful moments that affected you so deeply that you’d never reread it again. Of course, I'm a firm believer in the happy ending and pretty emotionally frail in general (I cried while watching Pokemon once for crying out loud) so you may or may not agree with my choices.

The Pact by Jodi Picoult
I struggled incredibly to get through The Pact.  I hated all the characters and yet I felt so much sympathy towards them. The situations they were left in were awful- honestly having someone who was your best friend, lover and basically family die itself would be one of the worst things in the world, never mind being accused of and convinced that you were the one to kill them. I don’t do the story justice of course- there is so much more to it than that. It’s a crazy whirlwind of emotions all scrambled up into one very good book. I cried, I laughed and I wanted so much to throw the book across the room at times. I went days were I couldn’t bear to pick it up anymore because what was happening was just too horrible. And in the end, when I finally finished it, I was left thinking about it for days. Probably one of the most powerful, beautiful and tragic books I have ever read.

The Gargoyle by Andrew Davidson
I was drawn to this one not only because of the hype but because stories of past lives and romance have also had an appeal to me. I expected an epic love story and a happy ending. What I got was an engrossing disturbing tale of addiction, abuse and tragedy every which way. The scenes of burn debridement completely grossed me out and the MC’s sex and drug addiction surprised me completely. The tale of the couple's past life was so tragic, and the ending left me confused and emotionally unsatisfied. It was a very different book to the ones I read normally and, despite not being able to put it down after I started, given a choice again, I would probably not have picked it up at all. In the words of my sister after she finished it and handed it back to me- “Next time can you please not give me something so…haunting?”

The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan
I’ve already mentioned how depressing this book was in my review a few weeks ago, but I figured it deserved its place on the list. Unlike so many other dystopian novels, this one is just devoid of hope. There is no movement against The Sisterhood or the Consecrated like there is against the government or whatever higher, evil power like there is in most other dystopian novels. There is no great love story shining against the bleakness of the world. It’s just a miserable, miserable tale of fighting for one's existence. One in which most fail.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Review: Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins

Three years ago, Sophie Mercer discovered that she was a witch. It's gotten her into a few scrapes. Her non-gifted mother has been as supportive as possible, consulting Sophie's estranged father--an elusive European warlock--only when necessary. But when Sophie attracts too much human attention for a prom-night spell gone horribly wrong, it's her dad who decides her punishment: exile to Hex Hall, an isolated reform school for wayward Prodigium, a.k.a. witches, faeries, and shapeshifters. 
By the end of her first day among fellow freak-teens, Sophie has quite a scorecard: three powerful enemies who look like supermodels, a futile crush on a gorgeous warlock, a creepy tagalong ghost, and a new roommate who happens to be the most hated person and only vampire on campus. Worse, Sophie soon learns that a mysterious predator has been attacking students, and her only friend is the number-one suspect. 
As a series of blood-curdling mysteries starts to converge, Sophie prepares for the biggest threat of all: an ancient secret society determined to destroy all Prodigium, especially her.

Despite the rather tacky looking cover of the UK/Australian version, Hex Hall was a fun read with quite a bit more depth than what its exterior would have you believe. There isn't really anything here that hasn't been done before, but the fresh, hilarious narrating and crazy twists and turns of the story is what makes all the difference.

The story started at a good pace, but raced as it got closer and closer to the end. All the revelations caught me by a huge surprise- I never saw any of them coming! I absolutely loved the unpredictability of it all. The characters were mostly likeable too, even if somewhat cliche at times. I don't know if I was just lucky, but I have never once met girls like Elodie and her gang before- you know, the uber popular biatches that rule the school, and so whenever I see them on TV or in books I can't help but think it's all a little unbelievable. Regardless, each character did bring their own spark to the novel and made their mark.

In a lot of ways this book reminded me of Evernight. I won't tell you exactly why, but if you liked that book, chances are you'll probably like this one. The ending was such a killer though, and I cannot wait for the sequel!

Overall:  ♥♥♥♥
Published: March 2nd 2010 by Hyperion Book CH

Sunday, June 20, 2010

In My Mailbox (8)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by The Story Siren

This week I got:


The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary E. Pearson
I am not a Serial Killer by Dan Wells
Jekel Loves Hyde by Beth Fantaskey
Divine By Mistake by PC Cast
Nearly Departed by Rook Hastings

For Review:
Need by Carrie Jones (thank you Allen&Unwin!)


Stripped (ebook) by Marcia Colette (thank you Marcia and Deadline Dames!)

I've been so terribly busy with end of semester exams for the past week, but 4 more days and I am free!! I am turning more and more into a zombie as I spend another day sitting at home behind a stupid dentistry textbook. Plus my poor blog and TBR pile are both in absolute neglect at the moment- I keep glancing over at my pile of books wistfully, before having to turn back to my lecture notes on teeth. Just in case you're wondering, teeth are VERY BORING and annoyingly complicated. I can't wait until holidays hit and I can get to all these awesome books!

Have a good week everyone !

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Waiting On Wednesday (2)

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted my Jill at Breaking The Spine, which spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

Delirium by Lauren Oliver
Released : February 1st, 2011 
Before scientists found the cure, people thought love was a good thing. They didn’t understand that one love -the deliria- blooms in your blood, there is no escaping its hold. Things are different now. Scientists are able to eradicate love, and the governments demands that all citizens receive the cure upon turning eighteen. Lena Holway has always looked forward to the day when she’ll be cured. A life without love is a life without pain: safe, measured, predictable, and happy. But with ninety-five days left until her treatment, Lena does the unthinkable: She falls in love.
Honestly, I hardly ever get so excited about a new book as I am over this one! The premise is just beyond awesome, and I've entered every competition I can find to win an ARC because I want it bad! I've pretty much refused to read any of the reviews about it too(other than a quick skim to see the star rating on goodreads) for fear of any spoilers whatsoever- I want to savour every moment of this book as it is! Oh, why can't February 2011 come any sooner!

Since I couldn't find a decent cover image of Delirium, that image above is taken straight from the HarperTeen site for it. You can also find an exclusive excerpt on that page as well, so check it out!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Oh My Blog Award (aka embarrassing stories about Lara)

Thank you Melissa at Spellbound by Books for this award!

So with this Award comes a little challenge for the Bloggers receiving this-

1. Get really excited that you got the coolest award EVER! Yay! Woohoo!
2. Choose ONE of the following options of accepting the OMB award:
(a) Get really drunk and blog for 15 minutes straight, or for as long as you can focus.
(b) Write about your most embarrassing moment.
(c) Write a "Soundtrack of your childhood" post.
(d) Make your next blog a 'vlog'/video blog. Basically, you're talking to the camera about whatever.
(e) Take a picture of yourself first thing in the morning, before you do anything else (hair, make up, etc) and post it.
3. Pass the award on to at least three, but preferably more, awesome bloggers. Don't forget to tell them.
Well it was a choice between (b) and (e) because its 11:04am this morning and it's a little too early to get intoxicated for (a)- not to mention that it would be no help to my studying of the stupid cardiovascular system that I am supposed to be doing at the moment (yup I'm procrastinating)- and (c) and (d) require too much thinking for this early in the morning either (I was up all night studying argh).

And lucky for all of you my webcam refuses to work at the moment so you'll be spared an awful image of me first thing in the morning. Trust me, with next to no sleep at the moment and a killer hang over from too many red bull's (seriously, it's worse than any I've ever gotten from actually drinking! Not that I'm a big drinker or anything though) I am not a pretty sight (hello giant red mountain of a pimple that's conveniently decided to emerge on the tip of my nose).

Anyways I digress- onto (b)! The number of embarrassing stories I have are well, embarrassing! Most of these are because I am probably one of the most accident prone people around- my pain threshold is immense just because I hurt myself so often my body's gotten sick of having to take notice of every bump, scratch and bruise I manage to give myself. This little story is probably the worst thing I've done though!
While getting out of the train after school and waving goodbye to my friends (and subsequently not looking where I was going), I managed to trip over a blind lady's stick, tumble out of the train, and land flat on my face onto the platform. Now, my old high school uniform consisted of us girls wearing a long pleated skirt. As I flew out of the train, my skirt somehow got caught in the ensuing breeze or something, and as I lay there for a few seconds wondering what the heck had just happened (as you do), I was flashing my underwear for all standing at the doorway of the train to see (except for perhaps the poor blind lady, who thankfully was fine by the way). My friend's never even made fun of me for it, it was that bad!
So who are the three that get to spill their most embarrassing story/get wasted/take scary lovely photos of themselves? I pick Lale from Lale On Lit, Gaby from Oh My Books! and AJ from Collections!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Review: The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan

In Mary's world there are simple truths. The Sisterhood always knows best. The Guardians will protect and serve. The Unconsecrated will never relent. And you must always mind the fence that surrounds the village; the fence that protects the village from the Forest of Hands and Teeth. But, slowly, Mary's truths are failing her. She's learning things she never wanted to know about the Sisterhood and its secrets, and the Guardians and their power, and about the Unconsecrated and their relentlessness. When the fence is breached and her world is thrown into chaos, she must choose between her village and her future-between the one she loves and the one who loves her. And she must face the truth about the Forest of Hands and Teeth. Could there be life outside a world surrounded in so much death?
So I don't really know where to start with this one. It's the kind of book you'd only ever read once I think. Not because the actual book is awful, but because everything that happens inside it is. Unlike some other dystopian novels, this one is almost void of hope. I don't think a single truly happy thing happened in this novel- it was dark and depressing the entire way through.

That being said, the world that Carrie Ryan has created is quite amazing and The Forest of Hands and Teeth left me wanting to know more about how that reality had come to be. Her writing is also superb, detailing all the tragic events with such skill that you really do care what happens to the characters, even if you never liked them to start with.  You hold your breath just as the characters do during the suspenseful moments, and you mourn with them when tragedy hits (as it does, over and over).

This is definitely a good book, there's no doubting that (and I'll definitely be reading the sequel). Pick it up if you haven't already, just be prepared for all the tragedy.

Overall:  ♥♥♥♥
Published: March 5th 2009
Source: Library

Saturday, June 12, 2010

In My Mailbox (7)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by The Story Siren
This week I got:

The Sky Is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson
The copy I have of this book is absolutely gorgeous- it's bound kind of like a moleskin journal (with the elastic string around the front to keep it together), the text is all in blue ink and there are fully coloured pages scattered throughout which I think, after a quick skim through, are scraps/notes etc that are relevant to the story. Not sure what the book is about, but being the cover whore that I am, I had to pick it up!

Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins 
Now the cover for this one is the complete opposite of the last- it's just awful! It just looks cheap and teeny-boppery- the US version is definitely much nicer. It's a shame too because I've heard really good things about this book and I hope it doesn't put people off (it would have if I had just seen it on a whim at a bookshop).

The Vampire Diaries: The Struggle (Book 2) by L.J Smith
I read the first one and thought it was pretty good so I picked this one in hopes of filling the void that's been left in my life now that the TV show is on a break! I miss my weekly Damon/Stefan hit dearly! 

Hostage by Karen Tayleur
A random browse through the YA section of the library brought this to my attention- its about what happens after a girl is abducted for 24hrs. I don't know much else about it, except my little sister's favourite author Carole Wilkinson recommends it.


Fire by Kirsten Cashore
I've had Graceling on my TBR shelf for months now- not because I don't want to read it like crazy (because I so do!), I just haven't had time with uni being as crazy as it's been and with all the library books taking precedence. As soon as holidays hit in 2 weeks, these will be some of the first I read- they both look incredibly awesome!

The Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot
I got this at the Lifeline Bookfest, just because this was probably the first real young adult novel I ever read (I was 12!).  Oh, and just because I adored it then and I still do! My cover is the original UK one though, but I couldn't track a good quality picture of it down.

Have a great week everyone! 

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Waiting On Wednesday (1)

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted my Jill at Breaking The Spine, which spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

Hunger by  Jackie Morse Kessler
 October 18th 2010 by Harcourt Graphia
“Thou art the Black Rider. Go thee out unto the world.”

Lisabeth Lewis has a black steed, a set of scales, and a new job: she’s been appointed Famine. How will an anorexic seventeen-year-old girl from the suburbs fare as one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse?

Traveling the world on her steed gives Lisa freedom from her troubles at home: her constant battle with hunger, and her struggle to hide it from the people who care about her. But being Famine forces her to go places where hunger is a painful part of everyday life, and to face the horrifying effects of her phenomenal power. Can Lisa find a way to harness that power — and the courage to battle her own inner demons?

This sounds like such an original and engaging way to talk about such an important subject that I'm sure is all too familiar for many teenage girls. I can't wait to get my hands on it!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

In My Mailbox (6)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by The Story Siren

This week I got:

Perchance to Dream by Lisa Mantchev (review is here)
Just the one book this week- end of semester exams are here and my TBR pile is already stacks high. I don't mind much though- the awesomeness of this book makes up for the lack of others by a long shot. I tore into it as soon as it arrived Monday afternoon (after doing a crazy happy dance in the kitchen) and got reading almost straight away.  Needless to say, I loved it!

I should put myself on a reading ban, with my first exam on Saturday coming up and all, but I know I'll probably fail (the ban I mean, though my prospects for the exam don't look too good either at the moment).  Also, the Lifeline Bookfest (a MASSIVE football-stadium-sized used book sale event held here in Brisbane every 6mths to raise money for charity) is on that same day, and I'm debating as to whether to go before or after my exam which is at 11.30am. I know after would be smarter but I really want to get in there early to get the good stuff! Maybe both... =D

Have a good week everyone!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Review: Perchance To Dream by Lisa Mantchev

When Nate is kidnapped and taken prisoner by the Sea Goddess, only Bertie can free him. She and her fairy sidekicks embark on a journey aboard the Thèâtre’s caravan, using Bertie’s word magic to guide them. Along the way, they collect a sneak-thief, who has in his possession something most valuable, and meet The Mysterious Stranger, Bertie’s father—and the creator of the scrimshaw medallion. Bertie’s dreams are haunted by Nate, whose love for Bertie is keeping him alive, but in the daytime, it’s Ariel who is tantalizingly close, and the one she is falling for. Who does Bertie love the most? And will her magic be powerful enough to save her once she enters the Sea Goddess’s lair?
Perchance to Dream is just one of those novels you know you will to love by just looking at it. The stunning cover and the beautiful title just scream that it's filled with magic, love and adventure, spun together in dreamy, whimsical prose. And no, it did not disappoint.

If you're planning on reading this in short snatches of time caught between the bustle of our busy lives- don't. The amazing imagination that flows through this book is wasted if you don't let yourself go completely in it. I discovered my mistake as I tried to read late into the night after a long day (and caught in the stress of end of semester exams)- my mind just couldn't grasp all the fantastical details and I was left more confused than dazzled as I should have been. When I allowed myself a day to just immense myself into reading it (to the detriment of my study I might add), I realized what I was missing.  Trust me, this is truly a book to be savored.

Bertie is still as strong willed and lovely as ever. There are times were I admit I wish she would just back down (and be nicer to Ariel!), but then I realized that Bertie is a lot stronger in her sense of self than I am and would never let love get in the way of what she wants and needs to do. That quality is so rare in girls of young adult fiction, and it only adds to the originality and spark of this novel . And oh the love triangle! I am definitely an Ariel girl (dark and brooding always seems to get to me), but there's something to love about both him and Nate, and that makes Bertie's dilemma between the two so believable.

If you haven't read this book yet (or its predecessor Eyes Like Stars), don't delay! It is a beautiful, crazily imaginative story that will have you absolutely hooked. Or heck if that doesn't appeal to you, just get it so it can look pretty on your bookshelf (honestly that cover is the best I've ever seen!)

Overall:  ♥♥♥♥
Published: May 25th, 2010 from Feiwel and Friends
Source: Bought

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Review: Magic Under Glass by Jaclyn Dolamore

Nimira is a music-hall performer forced to dance for pennies to an audience of leering drunks. When wealthy sorcerer Hollin Parry hires her to do a special act - singing accompaniment to an exquisite piano-playing automaton, Nimira believes it is the start of a new life. In Parry's world, however, buried secrets stir. Unsettling below-stairs rumours abound about ghosts, a mad woman roaming the halls, and of Parry's involvement in a gang of ruthless sorcerers who torture fairies for sport. When Nimira discovers the spirit of a dashing young fairy gentleman is trapped inside the automaton's stiff limbs, waiting for someone to break the curse and set him free, the two fall in love. But it is a love set against a dreadful race against time to save the entire fairy realm, which is in mortal peril.

While it may take a little while to find your footing in this novel, it is definitely one that you will run through as soon as soon as you do. Set in a world that's almost the same as ours (but not quite), Magic Under Glass is a fast and engaging read.

When I first picked up this book I merely assumed it was set in historical England or somewhere similar, and it would all just be the usual historical romance affair (just with fairies). What I got instead was a whole different world where the cities had different names and sorcerers walking down the street were no big deal. At the same time, it was all still very similar to what we knew (this book was definitely not a fantasy novel) and Jaclyn Dolamore has done a great job integrating the two together. Nimira was also no fragile Victorian lady, and I enjoyed her character a lot.

The romance between Erris and Nimira is also very sweet. There's no crazy passion fueled embraces (its set in a time when everyone was prim and proper remember?) or devotions of undying love which are usually found in a lot of books of this genre. Don't worry though, there's just something between the two characters that makes their love seem just as "awww" worthy as any Bella and Edward.

The ending I admit was a little rushed and unfinished. While I know this is the first in a series of books, I think each novel itself needs to feel complete in itself, and that unfortunately hasn't happened here. The showdown with the villain too was a bit undramatic despite being  a realistic ending.

Overall, I really enjoyed Magic Under Glass and I cannot wait until the next book in the series is released! 

Overall:  ♥♥♥♥
Published: December 22nd, 2009 by Bloomsbury Publishing
Source: Library