Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday (30)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly bookish meme hosted by Jill of Breaking the Spine! It spotlights soon to be released books that can't come quick enough!

My pick this one is definitely a title I can't wait for...

Kissing Shakespeare by Pamela Mingle!

Miranda has Shakespeare in her blood: she hopes one day to become a Shakespearean actor like her famous parents. At least, she does until her disastrous performance in her school’s staging of The Taming of the Shrew. Humiliated, Miranda skips the opening-night party. All she wants to do is hide.

Fellow cast member, Stephen Langford, has other plans for Miranda. When he steps out of the backstage shadows and asks if she’d like to meet Shakespeare, Miranda thinks he’s a total nutcase. But before she can object, Stephen whisks her back to 16th century England—the world Stephen’s really from. He wants Miranda to use her acting talents and modern-day charms on the young Will Shakespeare. Without her help, Stephen claims, the world will lose its greatest playwright.

Miranda isn’t convinced she’s the girl for the job. Why would Shakespeare care about her? And just who is this infuriating time traveler, Stephen Langford? Reluctantly, she agrees to help, knowing that it’s her only chance of getting back to the present and her “real” life. What Miranda doesn’t bargain for is finding true love…with no acting required.
(summary from Goodreads)

It's the cover that first caught my eye, then the title, and finally the summary. I do love the look and sounds of this one, so I'm counting down the days!

Pamela Mingle's Kissing Shakespeare will be published 14 August 2012.

What are you waiting on?

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Teaser Tuesday! (26)

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) "teaser" sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (Make sure that what you share doesn't give away too much! You don't want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teaser!


The Gathering Storm by Robin Bridges

"'May I enlighten you, Your Imperial Highness?' I hissed, hoping no one could overhear us. 'The princess Alix and I are witches from hell. We have come to collect the souls of both you and your brother to give to the devil himself.' The sad thing was that it didn't sound quite as ridiculous as I had intended." Location 1008, Kindle edition.

I've been waiting to read this one, and so far I'm intrigued. I'm looking forward to finding out how it all turns out!

What are you reading at the moment?

Monday, November 28, 2011

Review: Prom and Prejudice by Elizabeth Eulberg

After winter break, the girls at the very prestigious Longbourn Academy become obsessed with the prom. Lizzie Bennet, who attends Longbourn on a scholarship, isn’t interested in designer dresses and expensive shoes, but her best friend, Jane, might be — especially now that Charles Bingley is back from a semester in London.

Lizzie is happy about her friend’s burgeoning romance but less than impressed by Charles’s friend, Will Darcy, who’s snobby and pretentious. Darcy doesn’t seem to like Lizzie either, but she assumes it’s because her family doesn’t have money. Clearly, Will Darcy is a pompous jerk — so why does Lizzie find herself drawn to him anyway?

Will Lizzie’s pride and Will’s prejudice keep them apart? Or are they a prom couple in the making? Whatever the result, Elizabeth Eulberg, author of The Lonely Hearts Club, has concocted a very funny, completely stylish delight for any season — prom or otherwise. (summary from Goodreads)

Prom & Prejudice is a fun read that is sure to please fans of both the original and contemporary romance!

A scholarship student at the prestigious school for girls, Longbourn, Elizabeth "Lizzie" Bennet is no stranger to prejudice. Deemed lacking by all but her roommate, Jane, and fellow scholarship student, Charlotte, Lizzie has endured months of pranks and hostility from her fellow students. When Lizzie meets the stoic Will Darcy and overhears his somewhat disparaging comment regarding scholarship students she assumes he's no different from those who torment her. Even when Darcy seems to make attempts to get to know her Lizzie shuts him down, distrusting him as one of "them". As prom draws near and relationships are formed and broken around her, Lizzie will have to learn a hard lesson about prejudice...especially her own.

Eulberg's version of Jane Austen's classic is a quick and fun read full of the characters and relationships we've come to know and love, but in a contemporary high school setting. For anyone who is familiar with either the original book or multiple movie versions, Prom & Prejudice holds no surprises, though this doesn't have any negative effect on the story. Actually, I found myself eager for certain moments and characters, even reacting immediately to their stories - like glaring at the introduction of Wickham, or Wick as he's know here, and rolling my eyes at the perfect first appearance of Collins. I know these characters and situations, and it was entertaining getting to know them all over again here. It's somewhat like coming home - I knew what to expect and it was comforting to relearn everything and view it in just a slightly different light.

I enjoyed most of all the little ways that Eulberg has made Prom & Prejudice her own. Like Jane being Lizzie's friend and roommate rather than sister, while Lydia remains Jane's sister, and Lizzie being extremely talented at playing the piano. Personally that last touch had me grinning, and I thought it fantastic how Eulberg used it as a major plot point between Lizzie and Darcy. Ah, Lizzie and Darcy. They were pretty much spot on and as always I was desperate for that inevitable moment when they get their act together...you can't help but be after that kind of build up! It's their relations that make the story, as always, and Eulberg is true to Lizzie's spirit and Darcy's heartfelt but bumbling attempts at courtship. Many giggles and sighs were cued, just as I like them!

Overall, Eulberg's Prom & Prejudice was a pleasure to read, a light and wonderful rewrite of the classic. I'm sold on Eulberg and look forward to reading more of her books!

Rating:

Publisher: Point
Published date: 1 January 2011
Pages: 288
Format: Kindle edition

Challenges: 2011 YA Contemporary Challenge;

Friday, November 25, 2011

Follow Me Friday! (17)


Follow Me Friday
is hosted by Parajunkee over at Parajunkee's View and Alison of Alison Can Read. This is a chance to get to know fellow book bloggers as well as follow their blogs. If you'd like to join in the fun, create your own Follow Me Friday post, then visit this week's Follow Friday posts (here and here) and sign the linky. Don't forget to also follow this week's featured bloggers!

Question: It's Thanksgiving Day in the U.S. so we want to know what you are Thankful for - blogging related of course! Who has helped you out along the way? What books are you thankful for reading?

I'm thankful for bloggers who post helpful advice regularly, like Parajunkee and The Story Siren. Anything I need to learn, I know I can browse their blogs and find the answer! I'm also thankful for Lisa of Read Me Bookmark Me Love Me, who is just so nice and answers questions I have.

As for books I'm thankful to have read, there's plenty. There's all time favourites like Harry Potter, The Day After Forever by Erin Skiffington, and The Hunger Games...one's that stay with me forever. There's also favourites of this year, like Ultraviolet by R.J. Anderson, Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins, Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake, Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor, Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi...I think I could go on!

Who and what are you thankful for?

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Review: Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

Juliette hasn't touched anyone in exactly 264 days.

The last time she did, it was an accident, but The Reestablishment locked her up for murder. No one knows why Juliette's touch is fatal. As long as she doesn't hurt anyone else, no one really cares. The world is too busy crumbling to pieces to pay attention to a 17-year-old girl. Diseases are destroying the population, food is hard to find, birds don't fly a
nymore, and the clouds are the wrong color.

The Reestablishment said their way was the only way to fix things, so they threw Juliette in a cell. Now so many people are dead that the survivors are whispering war-- and The Reestablishment has changed its mind. Maybe Juliette is more than a tortured soul stuffed into a poisonous body. Maybe she's exactly what they need right now.

Juliette has to make a choice: Be a weapon. Or be a warrior.

In this electrifying debut, Tahereh Mafi presents a world as riveting as The Hunger Games and a superhero story as thrilling as The X-Men. Full of pulse-pounding romance, intoxicating villainy, and high-stakes choices, Shatter Me is a fresh and original dystopian novel—with a paranormal twist—that will leave readers anxiously awaiting its sequel. (summary from Goodreads)


Shatter Me is a mind-blowing read. For Mafi's writing alone I'd recommend this book...though there's definitely more to it!

Juliette's touch kills. After a tragic accident, her parents and the new upcoming government, The Reestablishment, lock her away. After complete isolation for 264 days, she gets a new roommate. Adam Kent. A boy she's watched and loved from afar for years before her imprisonment. The one boy she wishes she could touch. But Adam is not what he seems. A soldier for The Reestablishment, he works for Warner, leader of one of the government's armies, who covets Juliette and her power. He wants her by his side. But why? And what is Adam's role in all of it? Almost free in a world she barely recognises, Juliette has no idea what to believe or who to trust.

I have never read anything like Shatter Me. Sure, a broken world, a controlling government, characters with special powers...these elements are familiar, but Mafi's writing style is just so unique that it hands down gives Shatter Me a distinct originality. I can not get over Mafi's writing. It is just so sublime, and completely made the book a quick favourite for me. Sometimes I marvel at how authors are able to say so much with so little, and there are cases of that here. Most obvious is the use of the strikethrough text to highlight what Juliette is thinking but unable to voice. At first it was a little offputting, but in actuality it is something so simple yet completely effective. I loved how it clearly established Juliette's development through the book too, in that there's a lot of it to begin with but so little towards the end as Juliette comes into herself. But what leaves me more in awe is Mafi's descriptions and how sometimes the littlest and simplest thing was made poetic. Shatter Me is filled with these descriptions that are breathtaking and that honestly left me speechless. I just have to give an example of my favourite.

"Heat rushes up my neck and I fall off a ladder holding a paintbrush dipped in red." p. 225

Descriptions like these often had me pausing to reread the same sentence over and over again, both marvelling and savouring Mafi's prose. I will go so far as to say that Mafi's writing is a work of art, with how wonderfully and wholly it stirred my imagination. Seriously, I could gush all day.

With such a standout writing style I'm not shocked that reactions and connections to characters and plot were practically instantaneous. As the story is told from the point of view of Juliette, and as in love as I am with the writing, it's no surprise that I feel pretty strongly for her. While I can't even begin to imagine surviving what Juliette has and does, her vulnerability and strength screamed to me. I also adored Adam, which is no wonder I suppose. Dashing and loyal heroes always win me over, and Adam is definitely a such a hero. At first I will admit to some distrust, but his relationships, not with just Juliette, but James and Kenji, cemented my like of him. Shatter Me offered some intriguing hints about Adam, so I'm interested to see where Mafi will take his story. Another character to be mentiond is, of course, Warner. Here is where my opinion may differ from some. Sure, he's good looking, a little charming, and despite being the villian I've read a lot of comments about how some simply can't help but love him. Me? Can't stand the guy. I find him so creepy he sends chills down my spine! In saying that, kudos to Mafi for creating this fantastic character because he really stands out. While I may not have much love for him, exactly, I'm thrilled he's a villian worth hoping for the demise of...and I so am!

Mafi's portrayal of Juliette's world is definitely a bleak one, expected of it's dystopian genre. Though maybe not entirely unique, I still find this element a compelling one and enjoyed Mafi's take on it. There's plenty of questions left unanswered about this new world and it's history. We learn as Juliette does, and I get the feeling that even the characters that seem to know the truth still have something to learn. Of course, I could simply be reading into it too far...though I don't doubt Mafi has some shocks to deliver in future books, in any case. I can't wait.

Shatter Me is a must read. It's really that simple. A quick and astonishing read, you'll spiral through it and come out in need of the second book.

Rating:

Publisher: Harper (US) / Allen & Unwin (Aust)
Published date: November 2011
Pages: 338

Challenges: 2011 Debut Author Challenge;

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday (29)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly bookish meme hosted by Jill of Breaking the Spine! It spotlights soon to be released books that can't come quick enough!

A fun contemporary YA this week...

Melissa Jensen's The Fine Art of Truth or Dare!

Pretty in Pink meets Anna and the French Kiss in this charming romantic comedy

Ella is nearly invisible at the Willing School, and that's just fine by her. She's got her friends - the fabulous Frankie and their sweet cohort Sadie. She's got her art - and her idol, the unappreciated 19th-century painter Edward Willing. Still, it's hard being a nobody and having a crush on the biggest somebody in the school: Alex Bainbridge. Especially when he is your French tutor, and lessons have started becoming, well, certainly more interesting than French ever has been before. But can the invisible girl actually end up with a happily ever after with the golden boy, when no one even knows they're dating? And is Ella going to dare to be that girl? (summary from Goodreads)

Pretty in Pink meets Anna? Charming romantic comedy? SOLD! Without a doubt, one for me! Come on, February!

The Fine Art of Truth or Dare by Melissa Jensen is expected to be published 16 February 2012.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Top Ten Tuesday! (4)

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme started over at The Broke and the Bookish. Each week they have a specific topic for a top ten list. Link up, visit some new blogs and add to your ever growing TBR list. This week's topic is:

Top Ten Authors I Want At My Dinner Party
Seeing as we don't celebrate Thanksgiving here in Australia, I'm going with a standard dinner party! Not that it makes much of a difference, really!

1. J.K. Rowling - Of course! Author of my favourite series, Ms. Rowling is a must! There's just so much more to the Harry Potter world stuck in her brain...I'd love the chance to pick it!

2. Maggie Stiefvater - Maggie is hilarious and writes so beautifully! Plus she's musically gifted! She'd definitely be the life of the party!

3. Nicholas Sparks - Another of my all time favourites, it wouldn't be the same without him!

4. John Marsden - My favourite author throughout high school, he wrote the much loved Tomorrow, When the War Began series. His books were pretty much the only YA I read for a while.

5. Suzanne Collins - The Hunger Games is just so huge and awesome, I'd love the chance to chat with her.

6. Stephanie Perkins - I think I want to be this woman! Too put it plainly, she's just really, really cool.

7. Sarah Dessen - Her books also got me back into YA - especially contemp YA - a few years ago. I love them all...and she's just so nice! I'd love any chance to meet her.

8. Tahereh Mafi - I only just read Shatter Me...and wow! Anyone who can write like that has to be at my imaginary dinner party! I'm curious to hear her talk...which isn't weird at all.

9. Jane Austen - Pretty much because she's Jane. Austen.

10. Joss Whedon - Maybe he doesn't quite meet the 'author' tag...but no imaginary dinner party would be complete without this man. I could never actually talk to him because I'd be absolutely intimidated by his sheer genius...but what I wouldn't give to try!

11. William Shakespeare - I know, I'm going over the set number, but come on! He has to be on this list...and I couldn't bring myself to cut any others!

Actually, I think I could go on, but those there are my absolute must haves! Who would you invite?

Teaser Tuesday! (25)

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) "teaser" sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (Make sure that what you share doesn't give away too much! You don't want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teaser!


Every Other Day by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

"The sound of the hellhound's growl, like a chain saw tearing through rusted metal, was the only warning I got before it leapt for my jugular. A human would have ducked. I leapt for its jugular." Location 64, Kindle ed.

I've only just started this book and, well, I'm hooked. It certainly has an intriguing set up!

What book is your teaser from?

Sunday, November 20, 2011

In My Mailbox! (26)

In My Mailbox is hosted by Kristi of The Story Siren.

The horror!! Another week of absolutely nothing! I'm so sad. My fingers are crossed for a better book week this week!!

I'm sad, just like Sam.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

2012 TBR Pile Reading Challenge

Another challenge I'm signing up for is...

Challenge guidelines:
  1. This challenge will run from Jan 1, 2012 - Dec 31, 2012.
  2. As we would like to see quality reviews linked up to our monthly wrap-ups, only bloggers can enter. Sorry about that!
  3. Any genre, length or format of book counts, as long as it is a book that's been sitting on your shelf for some time now. Only books released in 2011 and earlier! NO ARCs and 2012 fresh-off-the-press releases allowed!
  4. You can list your books in advance or just put them in a wrap-up post. If you list them, feel free to change them as the mood takes you.
  5. When you sign up in the linky, put the direct link to your post about joining the 2012 TBR PILE Reading Challenge (You need to include the info + host list + challenge button. You can also grab the button code and add it to your sidebar!)
  6. You can move up levels, but no moving down.
  7. Sign-ups will be open until Dec 15, 2012, so feel free to join at any time throughout the year.
  8. At the end of each month one of the hosts will post a wrap-up. Every wrap-up will have it's unique theme, a mini-challenge, a giveaway and place for you to link up your reviews from this month. For each review you link up, you will get one entry in a drawing of one book of choice from Book Depository. It's open to INTERNATIONALS. For participating in the mini-challenge you will get +1 entry.
  9. If you miss a wrap-up post + giveaway, you can link up your reviews next month. Do not, however, try to link up one review twice - we will be checking ;)
  10. December is a wrap-up for the whole year. All the book reviews you linked up January-November + the ones you'll link up in December will be entered into a HUGE giveaway - 12 books, 12 winners, INTERNATIONAL.
  11. You don't have to follow all the hosts to join the challenge, but you do have to follow all of us to be entered in giveaways!
Levels:

1-10 - A Firm Handshake
11-20 - A Friendly Hug
21-30 - A Sweet Kiss
31-40 - Love At First Sight
41-50 - Married With Children

Hosts:

Evie from Bookish
Nicole from All I Ever Read
Bonnie from Hands and Home
Donna from Book Passion For Life
Caitlin from WatchYA Reading
Rie from Mission To Read
Vicky from Books, Biscuits & Tea
Christa from Hooked On Books
Jenna from Fans Of Fiction
Angel from Mermaids Vision


This is definitely a challenge for me, as I have a huge amount of books I can read for it! I'd love to take on the Married with Children level, but I'll be realistic - for now! - and aim for the A Sweet Kiss level.

I can't even contemplate what books I might read yet, but I'll update here as I decide and as I read next year!

If you're interested in also taking part in this challenge, be sure to visit the link up top and sign up!

2012 Debut Author Challenge

It's that time of year! Time to sign up for next year's reading challenges that is! The first one I'm signing up for is of course...



CHALLENGE OBJECTIVE:

  • To read & review a minimum of twelve young adult or middle grade debut novels between the dates of January 1, 2012 - January 31, 2013.*
*The 2013 extension is so that December Debuts can be read and count toward the challenge.

RULES & GUIDELINES:
  • You must have a Blog to post your reviews or be a member of Goodreads.
  • Your blog must be written in English.
  • Deadline to join is May 31, 2012.
BOOK GUIDELINES:
  • Must be a young adult or middle grade title.
  • Must be the author’s YA or MG debut, released in 2012.
  • If an author has a previous novel published for adults or children, they can still qualify for the challenge.
  • If an author has a previous YA or MG title, they do not qualify for the challenge.


The list of debut titles I hope to read are as follows:

1. Incarnate by Jodi Meadows
2. Everneath by Brodi Ashton
3. Fracture by Megan Miranda
4. Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi
5. Born Wicked by Jessica Spotswood
6. Slide by Jill Hathaway
7. The Other Life by Susanne Winnacker

I will update as I read next year...and as I check out the enormous lists of debut's to be released!

If you're interested to sign up for this challenge, be sure to visit the link above for all of the details!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Follow Me Friday! (16)


Follow Me Friday
is hosted by Parajunkee over at Parajunkee's View and Alison of Alison Can Read. This is a chance to get to know fellow book bloggers as well as follow their blogs. If you'd like to join in the fun, create your own Follow Me Friday post, then visit this week's Follow Friday posts (here and here) and sign the linky. Don't forget to also follow this week's featured bloggers!

Question: Letter to Santa: Tell Santa what books you want for Christmas!

Dearest Santa,

It's been a while since I've written you a letter. I hope you've been doing great! I bet you're real busy about now getting ready for Christmas! I don't want to take up too much of your time. I'm writing to let you know that I think I've been a good girl this year. There's been some major ups and some major downs, and I've made it through them all smiling! It would absolutely make my year though if you could please deliver the following books to my stocking on Christmas Day.

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin
The Near Witch by Victoria Schwab
The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson
The Faerie Ring by Kiki Hamilton
Legend by Marie Lu
The Future of Us by Jay Asher and Carolyn Macker

My wishlist is somewhat huge, Santa, but those there top it...that I can think of! My wishlist currently resides under a mound of school work I'm too afraid to topple!

Also, if you're in the mood for performing a Christmas Miracle, I'd sure appreciate an extremely early copy of Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins...though I understand if that's asking too much. A girl has to try, right?

Thank you and Merry Christmas, Santa. Good luck delivering all those presents on Christmas Eve!

Yours,

Baggins. xoxo

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Review: Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

Around the world, black handprints are appearing on doorways, scorched there by winged strangers who have crept through a slit in the sky.

In a dark and dusty shop, a devil's supply of human teeth grown dangerously low.

And in the tangled lanes of Prague, a young art student is about to be caught up in a brutal o
therwordly war.

Meet Karou. She fills her sketchbooks with monsters that may or may not be real; she's prone to disappearing on mysterious "errands"; she speaks many languages--not all of them human; and her bright blue hair actually grows out of her head that color. Who is she? That is the question that haunts her, and she's about to find out.


When one of the strangers--beautiful, haunted Akiva--fixes his fire-colored eyes on her in an alley in Marrakesh, the result is blood and starlight, secrets unveiled, and a star-crossed love whose roots drink deep of a violent past. But will Karou live to regret learning the truth about herself? (summary from Goodreads)

You will get lost in the magic of Laini Taylor's world and never want to leave! Just the above summary alone offers a luscious glimpse. This one's definitely in the running for my favourite book of 2011.

Karou seems like your average seventeen year old art student. She spends time with her best friend, tries to avoid her cheating ex-boyfriend, draws amazing pictures of magical creatures - Issa, half-snake/half woman; Brimstone, part-man/part-ram/part-reptile - and runs errands as part of her job. However, Karou is anything but average. The creatures she draws are very real, known as Chimaera, and even raised her. And her job? To travel all over the world through magical doors collecting teeth for Brimstone's dwindling supply. Karou lives between two worlds, that of ours and that of Elsewhere, yet she has no idea how she came to live with the chimaera or what lies beyond the doors to Elsewhere. Nor does she realise that she is caught in the middle of a centuries old battle between the chimaera and the angels. When she comes face to face with one such angel, Akiva, who tries to kill her, Karou begins to learn things that leave her with more questions than answers. There's no denying that Karou and Akiva are drawn to one another for reasons they can't begin to grasp. He may have the answers she so desperately wants, and she may be the salvation he so desperately needs, but are they ready to face the truth?

I don't even know how to begin writing this review without either gushing or giving away too much. I'd heard nothing but awesome things about this book, so when it was released I grabbed it on the day, no second thoughts. The publishers had even adorned it with a sticker stating that if I didn't love it, I could get my money back. I admit, I did wonder. There's always the fear that my expectations will be too high and I won't enjoy it as much as everyone else has. Well, I needn't have worried - and I certainly won't be getting my money back! Daughter of Smoke and Bone is a phenomenal read that had me so hooked I started yelling when I realised it was going to end before I was anywhere near ready! It is, quite simply, perfect. A mix of magic, mystery, and romance, with a setting and atmosphere that comes to life, and characters you can't help but want more of.

I adored Karou. She had real spirit, and I spun through a multitude of emotions reading her journey. I enjoyed her humour; I shared her frustration and desperation at not having clear answers; I felt her affection for Zuzana and her chimaera family; and most certainly the intensity of her feelings for the somewhat broken Akiva. The relationship between Karou and Akiva is from the very first a clash, and if it were possible, the sparks between them would have set the pages on fire. The smoulder between the two is breathtaking, alighting with an explosion before simmering to a slow burn as they got comfortable with each other. I truly loved their story - especially how all of my favourite characters interconnected, like Zuzana, Brimstone, Razgut, and Akiva's siblings - and it's without a doubt one of the things I'm most looking forward to in future books.

Daughter of Smoke and Bone is an immersive read. I was no longer simply reading a book in my room but living in Prague, visiting Morocco, getting to know Elsewhere. I feel like I've spent an afternoon enjoying goulash at Poison Kitchen, and as if I've strolled through the Jemaa el-Fna of Marrakesh trying to take it all in. There's such history to Elsewhere, and between the chimaera and the angels, that is so reflective of our own histories, you can't help but feel a connection to Taylor's characters. I also loved the beginnings of each part of the story, which had simple sentences that hinted at what had been and what was to come. Every time I reached that break, I'd take a deep breath and savour it...like I was preparing myself. Daughter of Smoke and Bone has stayed with me ages after I closed on that final page, as I keep thinking about Karou and Akiva, Karou's chimaera family members, and the angels, wondering what their fates will be in upcoming books. I got so lost in their lives and stories that I feel like I've left a part of myself behind. I can't wait to reacquaint myself with everything this series is and will be as it continues.

Laini Taylor's Daughter of Smoke and Bone is everything I hoped it would be and more. It's magical and enchanting, and it's about time you lost yourself in her words, if you haven't already!

Rating:

Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Published date: 29 September 2011
Pages: 418

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday (28)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly bookish meme hosted by Jill of Breaking the Spine! It spotlights soon to be released books that can't come quick enough!

This week I'm looking forward to...

Courtship & Curses by Marissa Doyle!

Two years ago, illness left Lady Sophie Rosier unable to walk except with a cane…and also killed both her mother and her magical powers. Now it’s 1815 and time for her first London season, and a girl who once loved to dance is forced to watch while others waltz on strong, untwisted legs and flirt with boys who don't even seem to see her.

On the night of her first party Sophie’s father is nearly crushed by a falling statue, and only she knows that a magic spell was behind the “accident”. When other members of government suffer similar magical attacks, Sophie and her new best friend Parthenope decide to investigate. It’s not an easy task when she can’t rely on her slowly-returning magic to help—or keep her thoughts off Parthenope’s handsome cousin, the Earl of Woodbridge…except that the safety of England may very well be at stake.

In the glittering ballrooms of Regency London and Brussels on the eve of the Battle of Waterloo you’ll meet a sketchy fortune hunter, a magic-sensing parakeet, a long-lost love, a plant-obsessed aunt, and the Duke of Wellington…and a courageous young girl trying to find her balance in a difficult world. (summary from Goodreads)


Having just finished Y.S. Lee's third book in her series, The Agency, I couldn't help but be drawn to this one. It's also the third in a series, and I'm a little disappointed that I've missed the first two...though I'll be rectifying that now! I really love the sounds of this one, not just for it's historical, romance, magical, and mystery elements, but also because of the disability of it's main character. I for one am interested to read what Doyle does with that!

Courtship & Curses by Marissa Doyle is due for release 7 August 2012.

What are you looking forward to reading?

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Top Ten Tuesday! (3)

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme started over at The Broke and the Bookish. Each week they have a specific topic for a top ten list. Link up, visit some new blogs and add to your ever growing TBR list. This week's topic is:

Top Ten Books Gathering Dust on my Shelf

This list could go into the hundreds, I'm so sad to say. There's just never enough time and always another book!

1. City of Bone by Cassandra Clare - I still haven't read this series, despite owning them all. I don't even know why...I guess I'm just worried my expectations will be too high?

2. Imaginary Girls by Nova Ren Suma - I received this as part of a book gift exchange, and I so desperately wanted to read it. I think it's just that there's always another book, you know?

3. Graceling by Kristin Cashore - Pretty much the same as Imaginary Girls. Whyyyyy haven't I read it yet?!

4. Paranormalcy by Kiersten White - It kills me that I still haven't read this, even after I got desperate to do so all over again when Supernaturally was released! I need more time, yes I do.

5. Blood Promise by Richelle Mead - So. I have a bit of a strained relationship with the Vampire Academy series. I was seriously spoilt about everything. And I mean, everything. While I still went on to read the first three books, and enjoy them, it's taken me forever. I mean months between every book. But it's been a lot longer since I've picked this one up. I do want to finish the series though...one of these days.

6. The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff - Like others listed here, I couldn't wait to read this book. Then it came out in Australia with a cover I didn't love, so I ordered it online and eagerly awaited it's arrival...only to have it sit on my shelf since. Urgh. I can feel it glaring at me...

7. Chime by Franny Billingsley - I still love the sounds of this one! I need to lock myself in my room and just read forever!

8. Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld - I bought this so long ago, just getting into the idea of Steampunk, but alas, it's still gathering dust.

9. The Host by Stephenie Meyer - I've heard pretty good things about this one, and I've owned it for ages. But I think I got overloaded on everything Twilight and this one's paid the price. I must read it soon though, as I hear they're about to film to movie version.

10. Rampant by Diana Peterfreund - Killer. Unicorns. That's just awesome...but still it's remained on my shelves.

Do you suffer the same sort of problem? Are there books on your shelves you want to read but just haven't gotten around to yet, for whatever reason?

Teaser Tuesday! (24)

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) "teaser" sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (Make sure that what you share doesn't give away too much! You don't want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teaser!


Ashes by Ilsa J. Bick

"'Oh. Well, I know Hellsing,' said Tom. 'You would,' said Ellie. 'They all use guns. Except for Alucard. He likes guns and rips people's heads off.' 'What can I say? My kind of guy.'" p. 186

Yay for anime/manga talk! I really must watch Hellsing one of these days...

What teaser are you sharing today?

The Hunger Games Movie News: Official The Hunger Games Trailer

It's here! The official The Hunger Games movie trailer! And the fans went wild last night when it was released, so much so that they - or well, we, seeing as I joined in the fun! - crashed it's iTunes site! I know I got very frustrated as I could not get it to load for a while because of high traffic! But finally I got to see it...and of course, I love it. It is, in a word, PERFECT! It's everything I wanted it to be and I'm so happy!

I'm sure you've seen it by now, but here it is!


I tried not to blink so as not to miss anything...and then rewatched it over and over again! I love that they've shown the emotion of the reaping and the relationship between Katniss and Prim; I love the focus on Katniss, Gale & Peeta; I love that there's a glimpse of every single character we're excited to see - Haymitch, Rue, Cato, President Snow, Cinna, Effie, Caesar Flickerman, Seneca Crane; I love the tension of the training, the spectacle of the Capitol, and the countdown to the actual Games had me biting my lip. Just wow, wow, wow! I truly think it's perfect! Enough to please fans of the books and entice newcomers! A resounding YAY all round!

What do you think? What was your reaction?

Monday, November 14, 2011

Winners: 100 Followers Giveaway

I'm very late in announcing the winners of my 100 Followers Giveaway, and I apologise! I've had some hiccups with my blog posting...as you may have realised what with the bombardment of posts from the last two weeks that have just published! I don't even have a clue but I'm glad it seems to be sorted now! So, onto some winners, selected thanks to random.org!!

The first winner, of $50 worth of books from The Book Depository, is Kelly S. of Dandelion Dreams! Congrats, Kelly!

The second winner, of $30 worth of books, is Colleen from Les Livres! Congrats, Colleen!

And finally, the third winner, of $20 worth of books, is Tiffy! Congrats, Tiffy!

I have contacted each winner via email, and they have 48 hours to respond. So please check your email, ladies! And congratulations once again!

If you didn't win, better luck next time! I'm sure I'll have another giveaway for you soon!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

In My Mailbox! (25)

In My Mailbox is hosted by Kristi of The Story Siren.

Oh, it's a sad, sad, sad mailbox this week. I have nothing new! I've been reading so much that I didn't even realise until I came to write this post...my mailbox is empty. Boo hoo!!

I hope you've faired better than me! What did you get in your mailbox this week?

Friday, November 11, 2011

Follow Me Friday! (15)


Follow Me Friday
is hosted by Parajunkee over at Parajunkee's View and Alison of Alison Can Read. This is a chance to get to know fellow book bloggers as well as follow their blogs. If you'd like to join in the fun, create your own Follow Me Friday post, then visit this week's Follow Friday posts (here and here) and sign the linky. Don't forget to also follow this week's featured bloggers!

Question: In light of 11.11.11 and Veteran's Day tell us about your favorite solider and how he or she is saving the world. Fictional or real life.

I don't actually know any soldiers in real life, though my thoughts are definitely with each and every one.

As for a fictional soldier, having recently finished Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi, I have to say Adam Kent. Now there's a soldier! Strong, stoic, loyal...and utterly gorgeous! He's yet to save his world, but I don't doubt he'll be instrumental in doing so when the time comes, both through his own skills and through his relationship with Juliette. I can't wait to read more about it!

Do you have a favourite soldier?

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Review: You Are My Only by Beth Kephart

Emmy Rane is married at nineteen, a mother by twenty. Trapped in a life with a husband she no longer loves, Baby is her only joy. Then one sunny day in September, Emmy takes a few fateful steps away from her baby and returns to find her missing. All that is left behind is a yellow sock.

Fourteen years later, So
phie, a homeschooled, reclusive teenage girl is forced to move frequently and abruptly from place to place, perpetually running from what her mother calls the "No Good." One afternoon, Sophie breaks the rules, ventures out, and meets Joey and his two aunts. It is this loving family that gives Sophie the courage to look into her past. What she discovers changes her world forever. . . .

The riveting stories of Emmy and Sophie - alternating narratives of loss, imprisonme
nt, and freedom regained - escalate with breathless suspense toward an unforgettable climax. (summary from Goodreads)

You Are My Only is quite a quick read, but one full of emotion. It's a book you won't forget anytime soon.

It tells the story of Emmy, a young mother who's child is stolen from her backyard during the mere moments she leaves Baby alone while she collects a blanket from inside, and Sophie, a teenager who has spent her life running from town to town with her mother and living each day locked inside their home in order to avoid the No Good. Emmy's story begins as she takes just those 13 stairs up and then back down, only to find Baby gone, and continues through the weeks she is unable to deal with the loss. Sophie's story begins when she ventures outside to get to know the boy next door and his two lovely Aunts, and in doing so finds herself brave enough to discover truths hidden from her all her life. These truths have far reaching impacts and will change everything Sophie thought she knew and believed.

Kephart has written You Are My Only through the alternating points of view of Emmy and Sophie. This worked really well, building the tension with each swap between the two as devastating events are revealed. The pace really flowed so that I found myself reading the book in just one sitting, desperate to figure out answers to the questions you can't help but ask. Kephart made sure to save those much needed answers to the very end, however, and I enjoyed much of the suspense as I wondered just what kind of truth would be uncovered. Certainly you begin with an inkling of what's happened, but as I read I began to think it might not be everything that it seems after all, and so my heart sped up on multiple occasions as it all came together.

I felt for both Sophie and Emmy, and I loved pretty much all of the supporting characters, especially Joey and his two Aunts. Miss Helen and Miss Cloris's kindness was so lovely to read and I definitely wish that I could've gotten to know more about them. You Are My Only never felt bogged down, and I think that's because Kephart gave us just enough about these characters to understand their place and their motivations, without getting lost in any unnecessary - even if wanted - detail. The focus remains on Sophie and Emmy, and each touched me in their own way. At first I was more eager to read Sophie's parts, as it seemed obvious that the answers I wanted would come through her. Sophie's want to believe in her mother and be her best for her warred with her need to know a truth she felt deep down had been kept from her, and it's a battle you can't help but respond to. Still, Emmy's point of view is equally heartbreaking and frustrating, as she fails to find Baby and suffers an emotional breakdown. By the end of the book I found both point of views to be compelling and emotional. Then there's the ending, which I'm sure will effect anyone who reads it. While I loved it, I can't help but wish there had been just that little more, especially in terms of Emmy's life, but also about Joey and his Aunts. I do feel like I have some questions unanswered, though I'm the first to admit it's about details that are not wholly necessary to the hope imbued in the ending as it stands.

You Are My Only is a thoroughly beautiful and heartwrenching read that will appeal to both adults and teenagers alike, and leave it's mark on all. It's truly best summed up by Miss Cloris's philosophy, that tragedy and blessing sometimes occur at the same time through the same thing.

Rating:

Publisher: EgmontUSA
Published date: 25 October 2011
Pages: 256

Many thanks to EgmontUSA and NetGalley.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday (27)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly bookish meme hosted by Jill of Breaking the Spine! It spotlights soon to be released books that can't come quick enough!

I've mentioned this one before in my Dystopia WoW edition a few weeks back, but now there's a gorgeous cover and full summary! So I'm waiting on...

For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreund!

Generations ago, a genetic experiment gone wrong—the Reduction—decimated humanity, giving rise to a Luddite nobility who outlawed most technology. Eighteen-year-old Luddite Elliot North has always known her place in this caste system. Four years ago Elliot refused to run away with her childhood sweetheart, the servant Kai, choosing duty to her family’s estate over love. But now the world has changed: a new class of Post-Reductionists is jumpstarting the wheel of progress and threatening Luddite control; Elliot’s estate is floundering; and she’s forced to rent land to the mysterious Cloud Fleet, a group of shipbuilders that includes renowned explorer Captain Malakai Wentforth—an almost unrecognizable Kai. And while Elliott wonders if this could be their second chance, Kai seems determined to show Elliot exactly what she gave up when she abandoned him. But Elliot soon discovers her childhood friend carries a secret—-one that could change the society in which they live…or bring it to its knees. And again, she’s faced with a choice: cling to what she’s been raised to believe, or cast her lot with the only boy she’s ever loved, even if she has lost him forever. Inspired by Jane Austen’s PERSUASION, FOR DARKNESS SHOWS THE STARS is a breathtaking romance about opening your mind to the future and your heart to the one person you know can break it. (summary from Goodreads)

Doesn't this sound amazing? And that cover, it's gorgeous! I love that it's inspired by Persuasion, is dystopian, and stand-alone! Definitely can't wait for this one!

Diana Peterfreund's For Darkness Shows the Stars is expected to be published 12 June 2012.

That's not too long to wait...right? What are you waiting on?

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Teaser Tuesday! (23)

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) "teaser" sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (Make sure that what you share doesn't give away too much! You don't want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teaser!


The Traitor and the Tunnel (The Agency #3) by Y.S. Lee

"Shock was an effective anesthetic, but it couldn't last indefinitely. As Mary reentered the palace grounds, she felt a strange churning in her stomach that had nothing to do with her long-ago dinner." p. 240

I love this series so, so much! I can't stop reading, it's so good. And I have such high hopes for the ending...but we won't get into that. I can go on and on!

What are you reading this week?

Monday, November 7, 2011

Fun Stuff: Supanova Pop Culture Expo

Over the weekend, through Friday to Sunday, I attended the Supanova Pop Culture Expo here in Brisbane. I had a blast! I love seeing all of the cosplayers, spending too much money on all the cool goodies, attending some of the panels, and best of all, meeting some seriously awesome supa-stars! Check out who I was lucky enough to meet!

Evanna Lynch, aka Luna Lovegood from the Harry Potter series

Billy Boyd, aka Pippin from the Lord of the Rings trilogy

Colin Morgan, aka Merlin from BBCs Merlin (my favourite of the weekend, hence two photos!)

Val Kilmer ('nuff said, right?)

Christopher Lloyd (legend!)

Julie Benz, aka Darla from Buffy the Vampire Slayer & Angel, and Rita from Dexter

I also met Georgina Leonidas, who plays Katie Bell in Harry Potter, but unfortunately I couldn't make her photo op times. Which was a shame, because she was the sweetest. When I got her autograph there was no one else in line, so we chatted for a bit about Harry Potter, Quidditch, Pottermore, how awesome it was to be able to meet Christopher Lloyd, and how cute Colin Morgan is!!

I had a fantastic weekend! Billy Boyd is hilarious, Colin Morgan is so nice and insightful, I couldn't get over how soft spoken Evanna Lynch actually is, Julie Benz is beyond beautiful, and I was so, so starstruck meeting Val Kilmer and Christopher Lloyd!

How did you guys enjoy your weekend? Are there any stars you'd love to meet? Have you ever attended any Cons like this?