Monday, December 27, 2010

January 2011 Potter-Thon @ Pure Imagination

Potter-Thon

What a fantastic way to start the new year! Pure Imagination is hosting the Potter-Thon during January 2011, and I've just signed up!

My plan is to re-read all seven Harry Potter books throughout January...it's been a while since I've done so, and a perfect idea before the release of the final *sob* Harry Potter movie some months later!

My reviews (will be updated as I go!):

Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

If you're interested in joining the fun, sign up here!

2011 Debut Author Challenge

I've decided to take part in The Story Siren's 2011 Debut Author Challenge! It looks like a lot of fun! The challenge? To read a minimum of 12 debut Young Adult/Middle Grade novels between January 1 2011 and December 31 2011.

I don't have a complete list as of yet of which novels I plan to read, but will update this space as I make decisions!

My reviews (updated as I read):

1. Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
If you'd like to take part in The Story Siren's 2011 Debut Author Challenge, be sure to sign up here!

Trying again...

Yep, so my plans didn't really work out. But this blog is a major part of my New Year's Resolutions, so here I go again...hopefully with better results. *fingers crossed*

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

My TESSA GRATTON IS AWESOME drawing!


I'm not quite an artist, but the point is obvious - TESSA GRATTON IS SERIOUSLY AWESOME!

Visit her at tessagratton.com!

Tessa Gratton is AWESOME!



Visit her at tessagratton.com!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Trailer: Linger by Maggie Stiefvater

The is the trailer for Linger that Maggie Stiefvater has made. Truly a piece of art. It is so pretty and I've forgotten how many times I have watched it. I absolutely cannot wait to read the book!

Check it out and fall in love!



Be sure to click on over to Maggie's blog and read all about the epic amount of work and love that went in to making this! This lady is one of my favourites...she's kind of magical, you know? Music, writing, art...and funny to boot!

Review: By the Time You Read This, I'll Be Dead by Julie Anne Peters


23 DAYS AND COUNTING

Dear

- Mother
- Father
- Other

There was nothing you could to stop me because:

- I'd already made up my mind
- I have been suffering my whole life
- you were too slow to notice

I offed myself because:

- my life sucks
- the world sucks
- you suck

Good-bye,
Daelyn

Daelyn has tried to commit suicide a few times, and failed. But she wants to die, and this time she's determined to see it through. She finds a website for 'completers' called Through The Light, and through it she reveals the bullying she has endured practically all of her life. Now she has a date she is determined to die by, and she knows how she's going to do it. All she has to do is get through these last days. Then she meets Santana, a boy who sits with her every afternoon while she waits for her parents to pick her up after school. No matter how she tries to ignore him or make him go away, Santana does not give up. Daelyn doesn't want to form any new relationships however, so is it too late?

I'm still trying to come up with the right words for this book. It is heart-breaking and amazingly well done. I read this in one sitting, and it has stayed with me long after the final page was turned. I couldn't sleep the night I read it because it was playing so much on my mind. Part of me wishes I'd been able to put it down every once in a while, just to catch my breath, but I simply couldn't - I ignored the whole world, I was so lost in this.

I felt for Daelyn, I truly did, but it never felt like it was enough. Knowing her the way Peters reveals her through the story, I felt ineffectual, like her parents. I couldn't relate to her, really, and so in all honesty, she terrified me. She was so sure and accepting, even though sometimes it was a front. Still, I had hope. I loved Santana, he is such a charater - certainly I could not ignore him as long as Daelyn was able! I had an inkling of his story, but I still wasn't prepared. Their relationship is what kept the pages turning for me more than my need to know how it would end. They were so connected, and yet so different.

Peters threw some heavy punches with this book, more than once to the gut. The truth behind Daelyn's suicide attempts left me gasping...that someone could not only want to, but actually be able to do the things she did to herself. The suicide information at the end of the book brings home just how real it is, and it is that that stayed with me after I'd finished reading...as I hope it does for everyone who has read or will read By The Time You Read This, I'll Be Dead.

Rating:

I found the cover beautiful when I first saw it. I suppose I still do, but it means a lot more once you've read the book.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Review: Magic Under Glass by Jaclyn Dolamore


Nimira's life takes an unexpected turn when she's hired by the mysterious Mr Hollin Parry to accompany an exquisite piano-playing automaton. But Nimira's happiness is short-lived. She soon discovers that the spirit of a handsome young fairy gentleman is trapped inside the machine's stiff limbs. As they gradually fall in love, they become enmeshed in a plot to save the fairy realm from a ruthless gang of sorcerers - a battle that risks their very lives.

I was deperate to read this book! A couple of months ago I put an order through the Book Depository for a whopping huge amount of books, and this was one of the first I just had to read when it arrived. It's been a while now, and I still think fondly of it.

I had read mixed reviews, and of course there was the cover fiasco (and quite rightly!!), so I was unsure going in, but it just sounded so beautiful - and it was! I was pulled in from the first page, and didn't stop until I'd finished. This is the kind of book that leaves me sighing. Gorgeous descriptions, wonderful characters, a romantic love story. I feel like sighing again!

Nimira is a strong character, and I liked that she never gave up. Her world was turned upside down, but still she fights. I felt for her, especially as she faced making a choice about her feelings. I truly liked Hollis, he had such innocence about him, so of course her choice was hard. And Erris, the fairy trapped in the automaton. I adored him from the start, it's true. Jaclyn Dolamore really brought him to life, even when he could only talk through the piano keys!

The story is well paced, and I was desperate to put it all together. The scenes between Erris and Nimira are heartfelt and made me feel like a schoolgirl with her first crush! I never felt like it was too quick, but just right. And the scene, finally, in the garden. Oh, here comes another sigh! Certainly there were some light moments, but where there's light there is dark, and it was so well done there were times I was biting my lip in anticipation and worry! The magic throughout the novel sometimes had me wanting to take cover it felt so real!

I've said it before, but it's the characters that make a story for me, and Dolamore has them. Linza, Nimira's maid, is loyal and funny, and both Smolling and Rashten annoyed and creeped me out, equally. Smolling is a true villain, the man gave me goosebumps. And finally, Annalie - she is wild, and I so look forward to more of her!

I look forward to more all round! I can only begin to imagine the journey Nimira is on, and I can't wait for the next part. Magic Under Glass is a beautiful and breathless read, truly enjoyable.

Rating:

I know there was a real stir over the covers of this book, and I see why. They're certainly not a true representation of Nimira. I have yet to see the new cover, but this is the one I have, and it is still very pretty. I'm a little taken with it!

Long time...

It's been a long time since I've posted...and truly, it's been a long couple of months. But I'm back, and I'm determined to make this all I want it to be. Here's hoping.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Steph Bowe's Will Grayson Will Grayson Giveaway


Win a copy of John Green and David Levithan's Will Grayson, Will Grayson over at Steph Bowe's Hey! Teenager of the Year

The contest is open internationally and closes February 28th.

I've heard great things about this book, it is most definitely on my must read list!!

One cold night, in a most unlikely corner of Chicago, two teens—both named Will Grayson—are about to cross paths. As their worlds collide and intertwine, the Will Graysons find their lives going in new and unexpected directions, building toward romantic turns-of-heart and the epic production of history’s most fabulous high school musical.

Friday, February 19, 2010

The GIANT LINGER Giveaway!

Linger Cover LargeIn Maggie Stiefvater's Shiver, Grace and Sam found each other.  Now, in Linger, they must fight to be together. For Grace, this means defying her parents and keeping a very dangerous secret about her own well-being. For Sam, this means grappling with his werewolf past . . . and figuring out a way to survive into the future. Add into the mix a new wolf named Cole, whose own past has the potential to destroy the whole pack.  And Isabelle, who already lost her brother to the wolves . . . and is nonetheless drawn to Cole.

At turns harrowing and euphoric, Linger is a spellbinding love story that explores both sides of love -- the light and the dark, the warm and the cold -- in a way you will never forget.


Comes out in stores everywhere July 20th. Pre-order here.

Enter to win an advanced review copies of LINGER, Sisters Red, The Dead-Tossed Waves, and The Replacement on Maggie's blog

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Dark Faerie Tales Valentine's Day Book Massacre Giveaway

Dark Faerie Tales is holding a fantastic giveaway! All you have to do is answer the following question:

Who are your top 3 romantic couples or what's your favourite love story, and why?

You can win the chance to pick some books from an amazing list. There's The Iron King, Bleeding Violet, The Secret Year, The Dark Divine, Incarceron, and so, so much more! Don't miss out!

Check out the Valentine's Day Book Massacre Giveaway now!

The giveaway is open to EVERYONE, and closes Sunday 21st February 11.59pm EST USA time.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Review: Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead


"Lissa Dragomir is a Moroi princess: a mortal vampire with an unbreakable bond to the earth's magic. She must be protected at all times from Strigoi; the fiercest and most dangerous vampires - the ones who never die.

The powerful blend of human and vampire blood that flows through Rose Hathaway, Lissa's best friend, makes her a Dhampir. Rose is dedicated to a dangerous life of protecting Lissa from the Strigoi, who are hell-bent on making her one of them.

After two years of illicit freedom, Rose and Lissa are caught and dragged back to St. Vladimir's Academy, hidden in the deep forests of Montana. Rose will continue her Dhampir education. Lissa will go back to being Queen of the elite Moroi social scene. And both girls will resume breaking Academy hearts.

Fear made Lissa and Rose run away from St. Vladimir's - inside the Academy's iron gates, their world is even more fraught with danger. Here, the cutthroat ranks of the Moroi perform unspeakable rituals, and their secretive nature and love of the night creates an enigmatic world full of social complexities. Rose and Lissa must navigate through this dangerous world, confront the temptation of forbidden romance, and never once let their guard down, lest the Strigoi make Lissa one of them forever..."

Confession time: I am a Twilight fan. But not like anything you imagine when you read that. I've read the series once and have no plans to again. I enjoy the movies. I have a t-shirt. I attended a con. That's about as far as it goes nowadays. I'm a little over it all. Vampire books are the thing at the moment, and I do like them. But I freely admit that it's taken me forever to get to Vampire Academy for that reason. Which I realise is somewhat hypocritical of me, considering I don't like "it reminds me of Twilight" comparisons, as if Twilight was the first of it's kind and any sort of paranormal slightly forbidden desperately in love romances now stem from it alone (For me, only the sparkle seems truly new! ;-) But anyway, I digress. So, I've put off reading Vampire Academy but some teen girls from my library have kept telling me that I'd like it, so finally I gave it a go. And I am glad I did.

I enjoyed this book. It's not a favourite, but I found it an easy read, and I like Mead's characters. Rose is kick ass and loyal, walking a dangerous path with such dedication, but still very much a seventeen year old, that I can't help but like her. Sometimes she was a little too seventeen year old for me - I found it frustrating here and there, but then I think I'm just getting on in age, as it were! Lissa wasn't everything I was expecting, but I truly like her - and Christian! I hope I see more of him in the rest of the books! I like Lissa's vulnerabilities, they contrast well with Rose, especially in terms of their roles in their world. I adore their friendship and bond. It is an element I very much look forward to reading more of. And Dimitri. Yes, Dimitri. Those "God" descriptions are very fitting, and I'm so cut that I can't be a Dhampir training with him as my mentor. Oh, life. Rose and Dimitri sizzle and it is so much fun to read! I may like a couple, but I don't always really feel it - I am so feeling Rose and Dimitri. Sadly, I vaguely remember one of the same girls from work telling me a little too much, so I think I'm spoiled, which I just know is going to annoy me.

I am a little disappointed with the overall plot of the book. Unfortunately, I predicted early on who the 'bad guy' was. I also feel let down in regards to the back cover description, as above. I find it misleading. I wonder if it's saying more about the series as a whole, rather than just this installment? I don't want to spoil the story, so I can't go into much detail to explain it. But if you've read the book, maybe you understand? I think it certainly gives you the expectation of a much darker world than Vampire Academy provides.

I am fascinated by the Strigoi, and I have a feeling there is so much more to the story there. This book didn't really get into them as much as I would've liked. Me thinks all is not what it seems. I'm desperate for more, so I have just begun reading Frostbite, the second book in the series. I'm eager to delve into it but every time I pick it up I've been interrupted, so I'm obviously going to have to lock myself away with it!

Rating:

As for the cover, I'm not really feeling it. I see Angelina Jolie! I know there are new covers now though, but I haven't had a good look.

Tinkering...

So as the subject says, I've been tinkering, only a little, with my blog. I have a rating system, with cute little owls! I don't really know why I've decided to go with owls, except that they're cute. I was thinking little cartoon hobbits as a rating system, but just couldn't find the right picture. So owls it is!

Now to actually start reviewing and updating more regularly. I promise it's not that I'm slack (which I certainly can be!), but so far 2010 has just been crazy hectic. I'm acting manager at my library this year, and it's like I've not stepped into another role but taken on an extra role. I am enjoying it, however, and I'm determined to maintain the extra hours so I can keep teen activities and our anime club, etc, running. But add in study and my own personal pursuits (I will never ever ever give up reading!), it's somewhat exhausting. I do so look forward to really getting this blog up and running though. I've taken to carrying around a note book that I jot notes about the books I've been reading in when I have a spare minute...it also has owls. Which is so obviously a sign. I will get there, I know it!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Review: Fallen by Lauren Kate


"Some angels are destined to fall.

Instant. Intense. Weirdly familiar...The moment Luce looks at Daniel she knows she has never felt like this before. Except she can't shake the feeling that she has...and with him - a boy she doesn't remember ever setting eyes on.

Will her attempt to find out why enlighten her - or destroy her?"

Luce has seen the shadows all her life, but they've always just been there, hovering...until they attack a boy from her class. Or did they? Luce has no memory of the events that killed Trevor, but as the only person there at the time she's the only suspect. So she's sent to Sword & Cross, a reform school. A place she meets interesting people, and where strange things are occuring.

I could not stop reading Fallen...I stayed up reading it in bed until past 1am to finish it. I did like it...but I just don't know if I can properly articulate why...

Usually it's the characters that grab me, but Fallen had no stand outs for me. Yes, I found Arianne somewhat amusing, and both Daniel and Cam intrigued me, to a point, but Luce had no lasting effect on me. I don't love her or hate her, she just is. I feel this way about all of Kate's characters - that they're not fully developed yet; to me they're still just a little one dimensional. Which of course could just be the fact that it's book one of a series...

Much of the beginning of the book is the same...Luce questioning her sanity, Daniel's motives, Cam's motives, her wavering between the two of them, etc, and it really isn't until towards the end that some major action occurs. This is part of the problem, because it seems a little forced - same, same, same and then BAM revelation (a couple of revelations, actually) then BAM the end. Like the characters, I don't think it developed as much as it possibly could have. Parts of it, especially Daniel and Luce, also just felt a little too easy - which I find is sometimes the case with paranormal romances, that because there's that supernatural element, that's enough explanation and it can just be. Or maybe it's just that it's love! Whatever the reason, I was left wanting more. Unfortunately, the wanting isn't quite the good kind where I need the next books...it's more that I feel let down.

The one great thing Fallen has going for it is that I honestly couldn't predict what was coming, and the twists threw me. I think this is why I simply could. not. put. it. down. I was desperate to find out the answers. What are the shadows? What part do Luce's fellow Sword & Cross residents ultimately play? Who is the good guy - Daniel or Cam? Who is the bad guy?! I certainly got some answers - some of which, as I've said, I really truly did not see coming! - but there are still more that I'm waiting for. It is this that will have me reading the second book in the series when it is released, but I know that it's really going to have to have something to keep me reading the rest of the series. I guess I'll just have to wait and see!

Overall, I did like Lauren Kate's Fallen, but it left me feeling a little put out. I give it 3 out of 5, for the suspense being just enough to keep me turning the pages.

The cover, however, I give 5 out of 5. I fell in love with this cover instantly, it is stunning!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Review - Everything Beautiful by Simmone Howell


I believe in Chloe and chocolate.
I believe the best part is always before.
I believe that most girls are shifty and most guys are dumb.
I believe the more you spill, the less you are.
I don't believe in life after death or diuretics or happy endings.
I don't believe anything good can come of this.

"Riley Rose doesn't want to be at Spirit Ranch Holiday Camp. Riley wants to be partying with her best friend Chloe. She has a plan to get away from the jumpsuit-wearing counsellors, the feel-good mantras, do-gooder campers and the monotonous schedule of team-building exercises and outdoor activities.

But Spirit Ranch is not what it appears. Secrets abound - a missing shroud, an abandoned house, a boy called Bird. And why the hell doesn't anyone want to talk about the accident that landed the mysterious Dylan in a wheelchair last year?"

I truly enjoyed reading this book, and once I'd started, I couldn't stop until I'd finished it. Howell's writing is gorgeous and just flows. Her descriptions drew me so into the book that I forgot any other world but the one she invoked. I could see the camp, the bush, the cottage, the lake, as if I were another character in her book. It was stunning, and kept me turning the pages to experience more.

It is the characters, however, that make this book. As the title states, Everything Beautiful is a love story about the broken and the broken-hearted, and each character is not what they first appear. So many of them hide a part of themselves, and the joy of the book is discovering their truths. I have always especially enjoyed books where the characters incite real emotion from me, where I become seriously invested in them. Everything Beautiful is such a book.

There are characters I love - from Sarita, the shy Indian girl contolled by her dull parents and so desperate to shine; to quirky siblings Olive and Bird, whom I want to hug as much as Riley always does. From Neville, a councellor with a secret who has my respect for still being sure of himself; to Fleur, who starts out as just another snooty bitch but is as broken as the rest of them.

Then there are some that made me so mad I am inclined to say I hate them...though that may be too strong a word. Less than like them? Craig, the beautiful heartthrob who unfortunately doesn't have the heart to match; and Richard and Ethan - oh, how I wanted to reach in and slap these narrowminded two. It's a great author who can create such diverse characters that I become invested even in those I don't necessarily like.

It is Riley and Dylan however, and their relationship, that makes Everything Beautiful a novel I'm glad to have read. After losing her mother to cancer and her father marrying new age Norma not long after, Riley has lost hope and faith in the world around her. She is a broken girl acting anything but, and it is literally heartbreaking being center stage to her bravado while knowing the whole time how much she hurts. Bit by bit Riley lets herself show as she develops relationships with those at Spirit Ranch, and they'll change her life forever - especially her relationship with Dylan, the mysterious boy in a wheelchair she bonds with as they both try to remain uninvolved. Riley is determined to fix Dylan, but they mend each other, and it makes my heart swell just thinking about it!

Personally, Dylan is my favourite character. I felt drawn to him the most, and in a wheelchair myself (though not from any terrible accident) I laughed out loud at the truth of his "Wheelchair 101". Yes, people are either starers or avoiders; and the chair is an extension of the body - I honestly feel it when someone touches my wheelchair. Most people don't realise or understand that, and finding it so plainly in Howell's novel won me over to no end.

I finished Everything Beautiful with a huge smile on my face, full of hope and faith. Howell has written a thoroughly enjoyable, gorgeously written novel. It is my first time reading her, and I look forward to reading her other novel Notes from the Teenage Underground.

PS. How much do you love the cover? Beautiful!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Hello!

I've had this blog for about a month now, making it pretty, humming and harring. I've been wanting to start a book review blog of my own for a while, ever since I got back into YA and started regularly checking out other blogs. This is something I think I can do...and will enjoy doing. But I've been putting it off...and all because I'm shy and nervous. Silliest reason ever, I know. I can talk life stories to complete strangers face to face, but online I go mute. I guess it probably makes sense to some. But oh well! Here I am!

I've just officially enrolled in a Masters of Children's Literature course, and while it and my full time library work are going to keep me pretty busy, I think (I hope!) this blog will not only provide me some entertainment (an outlet, if you will) but will also keep me organised. I have a knack for procrastination...as the month to finally make my first post indicates, I'm sure! I've made some New Year's Resolutions regarding this blog, my work, and my study, and I think working towards the blog will keep me on task. Maybe. Hopefully. I guess we'll see!