Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday (38)

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's pick is...

Gilt by Katherine Longshore!

In the Tudor age, ambition, power and charismatic allure are essential and Catherine Howard has plenty of all three. Not to mention her loyal best friend, Kitty Tylney, to help cover her tracks. Kitty, the abandoned youngest daughter of minor aristocracy, owes everything to Cat – where she is, what she is, even who she is. Friend, flirt, and self-proclaimed Queen of Misrule, Cat reigns supreme in a loyal court of girls under the none-too-watchful eye of the Dowager Duchess of Norfolk.

When Cat worms her way into the heart of Henry VIII and becomes Queen of England, Kitty is thrown into the intoxicating Tudor Court. It’s a world of glittering jewels and elegant costumes, of gossip and deception. As the Queen’s right-hand-woman, Kitty goes from the girl nobody noticed to being caught between two men – the object of her affection and the object of her desire.

But the atmosphere of the court turns from dazzling to deadly, and Kitty is forced to learn the difference between trust and loyalty, love and lust, secrets and treason. And to accept the consequences when some lessons are learned too late. (summary from Goodreads)

You know, I don't think I've actually ever read anything set in the Tudor with this one I'm planning to change that! I learnt about Gilt thanks to the YAmazing Race that The Apocalypsies ran last week. When I read that summary it was like a hissed YES ran through joke! So definitely adding it to my TBR list!

Katherine Longshore's Gilt is set to be released 15 May 2012.

What title are you looking forward to this week?

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Teaser Tuesday! (34)

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!

Welcome, Caller, This is Chloe by Shelley Coriell

"I waited. This line begged for a dramatic pause. 'At least it's better than the Dodge Duster you jacked last month.'" p. 9

A little out of context, I know. Let me just say, it's in response to her Grandmother 'borrowing' another car. I adore Chloe and I especially adore her Grams. This is a lovely & hilarious book all round!!

What teaser have you shared this week?

Please note: the above teaser is from an ARC and so may change.

The Hunger Games Movie News: Capitol Couture Goes Live!

I really think Lionsgate and Co are outdoing themselves when it comes to the promotion of The Hunger Games movie, and I love every bit of it! I'm so pumped for this movie, yet I still have just under 2 months to wait!

The latest? Capitol Couture!

Here you'll find everything you need to know about the lastest fashions of the Capitol! Issue #1 includes Effie Trinket's amazing style! Check out the sneak peek:

Even better, they've released a look at Effie in action, and behind her you can see Katniss, Peeta & Haymitch!


For that alone I love it! What do you think?

Be sure to pop over and check out Capitol Couture for tips on nail art and the latest styles in shoes and clothing!

Monday, January 23, 2012

The Hunger Games Movie News: New photo and poster released!

It's been a few days since both of these items were released, but in case you missed the news, a new still from The Hunger Games movie and the final poster were released this last week.

The still is of Katniss and Peeta about to be set alight by Cinna before the ceremony! YES! YES! YES! One scene I am dying to see - we only caught a very small glimpse of it during the trailer, so I cannot wait! How brilliant do you think it will be?

And lastly, the final poster featuring Katniss! It's perfect. The world will be watching!

I know I sure will, on the very day it's released! How about you?

Sunday, January 22, 2012

In My Mailbox! (34)

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

I have a blue theme going on this week!


Wonderstuck by Brian Selznick
Immortal by Gillian Shields
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green (signed)
The Book of Blood and Shadow by Robin Wasserman


Slide by Jill Hathaway - with thanks to HarperCollins Australia

Another great lot...though also more breaking of my resolution to buy less! I think I'm just going to have to declare that one a fail!!

What bookish things arrived in your mailbox this week?

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Follow Me Friday! (25) - On a Saturday!

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!

Q: What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever done to get your hands on any particular book?

I don't think I've done anything crazy...which saddens me now, as that's so boring!! Um...the most I've done is wait in line for a couple of hours for the release of the Harry Potter books. Oh, wait! Does flying to another city, just so I could buy Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince the day it was released, count? I just remembered that I did this! I lived in a small rural town then, with no options were to fly across state (about a 2 hour flight), or order it online and wait a few weeks for it to be delivered. When I consider 2 nights accommodation + airfares, that book ended up costing a lot...but it was so worth it, and honestly, I'd do it again! that crazy?!

How about you? Done anything crazy for a book?


Apologies for the late posting of this - and the influx of this week's other posts! I had begun drafting them earlier in the week, and then Life it does...and it wasn't until yesterday I was able to get on to my blog...only to find I couldn't log in for some mysterious reason! But it's all sorted now, and better late than never, right?!

Have a great weekend!!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Review: Don't Let Me Go by J.H. Trumble

Some people spend their whole lives looking for the right partner. Nate Schaper found his in high school. In the eight months since their cautious flirting became a real, honest, tell-the-parents relationship, Nate and Adam have been inseparable. Even when local kids take their homophobia to brutal levels, Nate is undaunted. He and Adam are rock solid. Two parts of a whole. Yin and yang.

But when Adam graduates and takes an Off-Broadway job in New York—at Nate’s insistence—that certainty begins to flicker. Nate starts a blog to vent his frustrations and becomes the center of a school controversy, drawing ire and support in equal amounts. But it is the attention of a new boy who is looking for more than guidance that forces him to confront who and what he really wants.

J.H. Trumble’s debut, DON’T LET ME GO, is a witty, beautifully written novel that is both a s
weet story of love and long-distance relationships, and a timely discourse about bullying, bigotry, and hate in high schools. (summary from Goodreads)

Don't Let Me Go is a truly fantastic book! Trumble's characters and situations are chock-a-block full of real emotion and will surely captivate readers!

Nate and Adam believe they have found that one true love in each other. In the 8 months they've been together, they've faced not only the thrills of falling in love for the first time, but coming out to their family, friends, and classmates. They've even survived a brutal homophobic attack and the consequent court trial. There's nothing that can come between them. When Adam has the opportunity to star in an Off-Broadway performance in New York and will be gone for months at a time, Nate encourages him to follow his dreams. While Adam has been Nate's best support since the attack, he can't allow himself to stand in the way of Adam's chance. After everything, surely they can survive a long distance relationship, right? But as the phone calls and Skype chats become fewer and farther apart, and Adam's new roommate becomes a more prominent fixture in his new life, Nate begins to doubt the strength of their relationship. Determined to be out and proud, Nate starts a blog and t-shirt wearing campaign as a stance against homophobia, and when it catches on, he's surprised by both the support and protest it garners. Despite the support of Adam's best friend, Julie, and his new friend, Danial, Nate still feels somewhat lost without Adam. When his blog brings to him the attention of a younger student, Luke, who is in the closet and looking for guidance, Nate is only too willing to help. He wants nothing more than to provide an easier coming out to Luke than what he had. As their relationship develops beyond friendship and support, Nate will have to decide what it is he really wants - and who. Is his relationship with Adam truly over? And if not, what does that mean for Luke?

I was expecting great things from Don't Let Me Go from the few reviews I'd read, and I must say that I was most certainly not disappointed. In fact, I loved this book even more than I'd originally expected! Don't Let Me Go is a much more complex and emotional book than I'd anticipated. Covering topics from sexuality, coming out, homophobia, abuse, first love, friendship, long-distance relationships, and being true to yourself, Trumble weaves a story so real her characters could be people you know, and situations so raw and honest you can't help but feel some sort of connection. More than once I found myself overwhelmed with feelings - anger at the homophobia; heartbreak over Nate's pain and vulnerability; admiration for the support and loyalty so many of Nate's loved ones exhibited. The whole story is a rollercoaster of emotion, and I don't doubt that many readers, like myself, will rise and fall as they go along for the ride.

Trumble's characters mostly carry the story for me. Told through Nate's point of view, and switching between the past and the present, piece by piece these characters come to life and stitch themselves to your heart. From Nate, who is so fierce and yet so vulnerable, to Adam who seems to be the strong one but is in fact just as in need. Their relationship has not been easy and it says a lot how much it already has survived, but I found my stomach in knots multiple times throughout the book as I wondered how they'd end up. Oh, miscommunication, how you break my heart and frustrate me all at once! It is hard at times to connect with Adam as much as Nate, as we are only getting to know him through Nate's eyes, but despite this I found that Trumble has allowed for some impartiality - so much so that I was seriously pissed towards the end of the book, wanting to smack Nate around for his actions! I'm glad I had the Kindle edition, otherwise this book may have found itself flying across the room!! I loved that the epilogue was set 10 years later, as after everything that happened it was just spot on perfect and what I needed to leave this story both satisfied and settled. Everything happens for a reason!

Danial was easily my favorite character throughout Don't Let Me Go. His humour provided the much needed lightness to an otherwise deep narrative, and his endless support of and to Nate lifted my spirits - he is my wish for the world, that more people can be as understanding and as accepting as he is. I must admit that his storyline threw me, as did Luke's. The thing is, from originally reading the summary, I began the book completely expecting Danial to be the new guy looking for more from Nate - so imagine my surprise that no, not only is Danial straight and simply a new friend, but Luke is actually that guy! I hope no one reading this considers that a spoiler - I wish I'd known, to be honest. I didn't connect with Luke the way I might have had I known otherwise. Sure, he's adorable and in such a terrible situation, but his naïveté sometimes rubbed me the wrong way. As did Nate's when it came to him. Despite this, I understand and appreciate Trumble's motivations behind their relationship. It's funny how much I was ready for Danial to be that guy instead, even though his being Nate's best friend was even more perfect and lovely. I did enjoy instead his developing attraction to Julie - which I like more for her than him, in that Julie's unrequited love for Nate tore my insides up it was so awkward. Every one of Trumble's characters are perfectly imperfect - or imperfectly perfect - and the story was all the more compelling for it, as they'll grab and keep a hold of you always.

On top of this, Trumble ensures readers think as they read. I couldn't help but contemplate Nate's actions - on the one hand I fully support his fight, from his shirts (some of which I want!), to his blog, to his being out and refusing to back down. But on the other hand, I wondered at the danger he put himself in, much like his mother. Despite everything, questioning whether it's worth it did cross my mind - and in the end, my answer is a resounding YES! Especially after learning the truth about the horrific event Nate endured and it's corresponding court case - I couldn't be more disgusted or angered. So much of Nate's story is a reality for a lot of gay teens, and Trumble has excelled at creating not only a wonderful and hopeful story, but a poignant social commentary.

J.H. Trumble's Don't Let Me Go is an all encompassing, emotional, inspiring, unforgettable read. It is, simply, a must read.


Publisher: Kensington Books
Published date: 27 December 2011
Pages: 353
Format: Kindle edition

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday (37)

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've chosen...

Monument 14 by Emmy Laybourne!

Fourteen kids. One superstore. A million things that go wrong.

A huge store isn’t the worst place to be stranded. There’s food and water, bedding and books. But what if it’s not safe to leave? Emmy Laybourne had us from the get-go with her utterly fresh and fast-paced debut.

Six high school kids (some popular, some not), two eighth graders (one a tech genius), and six little kids are trapped together in a chain superstore. Together they build a refuge for themselves inside, while outside, a series of escalating disasters, beginning with a monster hailstorm and ending with a chemical weapon spill, seems to be tearing the world—as they know it—apart. (summary from Goodreads)

This one sounds awesome, one that should have me on the edge of my seat! I can't wait!

Emmy Laybourne's Monument 14 is expected to be published 5 June 2012.

What are you waiting on?

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Teaser Tuesday! (33)

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 Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith

"...'how did you two meet?'
They exchange a quick glance.
'Believe it or not,' Oliver says, 'it was in an airport.'
'How wonderful!' she exclaims, looking positively delighted. 'And how did it happen?'
'Well,' he begins, sitting up a bit taller, 'I was being quite gallant, actually, and offered to help with her suitcase. And then we started talking, and one thing led to another...'
Hadley grins. 'And he's been carrying my suitcase ever since.'
'It's what any tru gentleman would do,' Oliver says with exaggerated modesty.
'Especially the gallant ones.'
The old woman seems pleased by this..." Location 652, Kindle edition.

A lot more than 2 sentences, but I love how only after hours they play off each other so easily. So, so cute. I started this one really late - or early, I guess - when I couldn't sleep and had to force myself to stop in order to actually try and get some sleep! Loving it!

What are you reading?

Sunday, January 15, 2012

In My Mailbox (33)

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

A few from NetGalley and the Kindle Store this week!


The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith
Something Witchy This Way Comes by Veronica Blade


The Peculiars by Maureen Doyle McQuerry
Welcome, Caller, This is Chloe by Shelley Coriell
The Nightmare Garden by Caitlin Kittredge

Any awesome bookish things in your mailbox this week?

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Review: The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick

Orphan Hugo Cabret lives in a wall. His secret home is etched out in the crevices of a busy Paris train station. Part-time clock keeper, part-time thief, he leads a life of quiet routine until he gets involved with an eccentric, bookish young girl and an angry old man who runs a toy booth in the station. The Invention of Hugo Cabret unfolds its cryptic, magical story in a format that blends elements of picture book, novel, graphic novel, and film. Caldecott Honor-winning author-illustrator Brian Selznick has fashioned an intricate puzzle story that binds the reader like a mesmerist's spell. (summary from Goodreads)

Selznick's book is one of wonder and mystery, incorporating the written word, photography and illustration to create a heartwarming story.

The Invention of Hugo Cabret tells the story of Hugo, the son of a clockmaker who has been recently orphaned. Taken in by his Uncle, the clock keeper for a Paris train station, Hugo learns to be his apprentice. But when his Uncle disappears, Hugo has no one to turn to. Terrified of being discovered by the Station Inspector and taken to an orphanage, Hugo resides within the walls of the train station and works as the clock keeper in his Uncle's place, stealing food as necessary. On his person at all times is one of his father's notebooks that details the inner workings of a strange automaton his father found within the museum and had been working on before his death. Having found the remains of the automaton amongst the ashes of the burned museum, and believing it a last connection to his father, Hugo wishes to fix it. To do so, he steals toys for parts from the old toy shop owner, Georges. When Hugo is caught, his life becomes tangled with that of Georges and his goddaughter, Isabelle. Isabelle is determined to discover Hugo's secrets, and Georges seems to know more about the automaton than he says. What secrets does the automaton conceal? Together, Hugo and Isabelle are about to find out.

Right from the get go I was awed by The Invention of Hugo Cabret - the face looking out from the spine, the crisp black and white pages, the detailed illustrations - this was a book I was immediately intrigued by and determined to savour. I've read books with illustrations before, but never quite like this - outside graphic novels - where the illustrations aren't an accompaniment to the words but tell the story themselves. What a story it is too! One of tragedy, mystery, friendship, grief, strength, and imagination. It is, in a word, beautiful, and I left it feeling - well, to be honest, warm and gooey! I left it smiling and happy. It wasn't quite what I expected - in a way, it was a much simpler story than I anticipated, having begun to build up the intrigue for myself through my wondering about a few 'what ifs' - but that's okay, because it worked out for the best and in the end I loved it.

I'm very much endeared to Hugo, who has such a tragic and heartbreaking tale but is resilient and strong no matter what. I absolutely adore that his story started out with such a different purpose but along the way became so entangled with Georges and Isabelle's lives. What becomes of it is an inexplicably lovely meeting of like minded characters, pieces of the same, as it were. All three lost and searching, and that the automaton, such a mysterious object for much of the story, is at the center of their finding not only each other but peace is truly touching. I can't help but to feel that the automaton was the message Hugo wanted it to be all along, and that touch of destiny is what makes the book for me. This might not make much sense now, but it will if you read the book, which I hope you do.

The Invention of Hugo Cabret is a marvellous and imaginative book that will awe and touch every reader. It's pieces of dreams caught within words and illustrations! Certainly it was destined to be a movie too, and so I look forward to seeing it brought to life on the big screen soon.


Publisher: Scholastic
Published date: 1 March 2007
Pages: 533

Friday, January 13, 2012

Follow Me Friday! (24)

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!

Q: Many readers/bloggers are also big music fans. Tell us about a few of your favorite bands/singers that we should listen to in 2012.

That's such a true statement. I wonder why it is? I do love music, and most times when I'm reading I do have music on in the background. I listen to a lot of Katy Perry, Adam Lambert, Pink, Glee, Christina Perri, Lady Antebellum, Adele, Bruno Mars, Kate name some! Sometimes I fall in love with songs - like "I'll Be" by Edwin McCain, "If I Die Young" by The Band Perry, and "Blue" by Dave Lichens - but have yet to listen to any other songs by the same bands/singers! I have to get on that, actually. I'm also a big fan of Steve Carlson and Christian Kane! I adore their voices!

What are some of your favourite bands/singers that you think I should have a listen to?

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Busting the Newbie Blues: New Blogger Questionnaire

I'm a little late to this, but over at Small Review the event Busting the Newbie Blues is being held! As part of it, new and old bloggers are asked to answer some questions so others can get to know their blogs. I decided to answer the New Bloggers questionnaire, so here it is!

When did you start your blog?

I actually first created my blog sometime early 2010, but with my work and studies at the time I…well, to put it bluntly, I sucked. It wasn’t until about March last year that I really started blogging regularly, though there have still been some stops and starts throughout the year as life became a little too hectic. That’s why though it’s been almost a year I still consider myself a new blogger - I’m still learning and trying to get it as right as it can be for me.

Why did you start your blog?

I’ve always loved reading, and I’m always happy to gush about what I’ve read. But there aren’t a lot of people in my life who read the same books I do! I’d been following certain book blogs for a long while though, and so finally decided to give it a go myself. Originally I had wanted it to be some fun outside my work and studies, and I even at one stage thought I might use it to stay organised…I really don’t know what I was thinking! Now I simply blog because I enjoy it!

What has been the biggest challenge you’ve faced so far?

Much like my biggest challenge in everything I do, it’s being organised and planning ahead! I wish I had posts scheduled weeks in advance, especially reviews. Some of my stops and starts are simply not making the time to get reviews and posts written! I very willingly admit that I am a highly skilled procrastinator. It’s something I’ve tried and failed to overcome, many times.

Sometimes I get in review writing slumps too, where I second guess everything I write and really struggle to get my thoughts out. I keep feeling like I’m writing the same stuff over and over again, you know? So then I fall behind on being organised again! I really wish I could read a book and then write a review…sometimes to get out of a slump I’ll read another book, and then I’ll end up with a backlog of reviews to be written and posted. Even now it’s like that! It’s a bit of a vicious cycle.

What do you find most discouraging about being a new blogger?

I don’t know if I find anything absolutely discouraging, exactly. Well, at first I was a bit disheartened by how little followers I had, but that’s changing these days the more I keep at it. I’ve read a lot of blog posts by other bloggers about not letting it get to you – to just keep getting out there, writing reviews, participating in memes, and so on – and that’s helped. Little by little the more I post and comment, etc, the more I feel like I’m not doing it for nothing – or not nothing, but that I’m not alone? If that makes sense.

Now that I think about it, the lack of comments on my reviews can sometimes be discouraging. I get a lot of comments on the memes I join, but it’s not the same for my reviews. I suppose because I’m not adding them to any linkys, like with the memes?

What do you find most encouraging?

How willing the blogging community is to help – not even just me personally, but by posting about problems they’ve faced, advice they’ve found helpful, and what not, for everyone to read and learn from. Most times I find I don’t even have to ask, because someone already has and the answer is out there. I might not even have to go looking for it because this support is always being offered within the blogging community and so I’m always seeing it!

I also find comments encouraging. Knowing that people are reading – and interacting with, in a way – what I write always helps! Though it happens rarely, when it does it’s always a big boost!! That, plus author comments - they leave me both awed and terrified!! I’ve had a couple post a comment on my blog or reply to/retweet my review links on Twitter, and it blows me away to think they’ve read what I’ve had to say about their work.

What do you like best about the blogs you read? Have you tried to replicate this in your blog?

Reviews and design are a big factor here for me. When I first started I was conscious of how long reviews were, how they were set out, etc. Same with what a blog looks like, what is featured in the sidebars, and so on. I feel that my blog is very basic, and I’m pretty okay with that…though I have begun to think about a redesign. I’m not sure I’m that confident with the html skills, etc, to get it looking like some of the blogs out there though! But then I also realise my blog really needs to be me and mine, and so I don’t want to replicate too much anyways.

What do you dislike about blogs you’ve read? Do you try to avoid this?

I guess sometimes I see blogs that have too much going on, like too many widgets and whatnot in their sidebars, and that’s something I want to avoid. Sometimes it just takes too long to load a page because of it, or it makes searching for something harder.

I also try to avoid spelling mistakes, etc, throughout my reviews. When I read reviews with the same, it always pulls me up. I know it happens - we're only human after all - but I almost learn my reviews by heart I re-read them & nitpick at them so many times!! I'm not sure if that's such a good idea though, I may be simply putting too much pressure on myself!

Any advice for other new bloggers?

Really only the same advice I mentioned earlier - get out there and give it a go! Join Twitter to share your review links, etc; visit other blogs and leave comments; join in memes; take part in reading challenges. Just get you and your blog out there!

Any questions you'd like to ask newbie or established bloggers?

Yeah, I have a few in relation to the challenges I face. Like, how do you stay organised with your TBR piles and posting reviews? How do you fight the review writing blues, if you ever suffer from it? Any tips for getting people to comment on your reviews?

Is there anything you’d like to tell us about your blog? Feel free to link a few of your favorite posts or posts you wish had more comments.

I don’t really have anything to say about my blog. I would really appreciate some constructive criticism, however! Is there anything I should change about my blog, for example? I’d also love it if you’d read a few of my reviews and let me know if you think there’s anything I should change about them – are they too long? Is there variety? Anything at all! All advice would be much appreciated! Here are some links to some recent reviews:

Matched by Ally Condie
The Gathering Storm by Robin Bridges
The Traitor and the Tunnel by Y.S. Lee

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

Thanks for taking the time to stop by to read this and check out my blog!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday (36)

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 choice this week is...

It's Our Prom (So Deal With It) by Julie Anne Peters!

When Azure's principal gives her the chance to turn the school's traditional (and boring) senior prom into an event that will appeal to everyone, not just the jocks and cheerleaders, she jumps at the opportunity. Soon Azure manages to convince her best friends, Luke and Radhika, to join the prom committee as well.

Facing heavy opposition and admittedly clueless about prom logistics, the three friends are nonetheless determined to succeed -- if Luke's and Azure's secret crushes on Radhika don't push the committee members, and their friendships, to the breaking point first.

Told in two voices and filled with comical missed connections, It's Our Prom (So Deal With It) explores the ups and downs of planning an alternative prom -- while dealing with an unrequited crush on your best friend -- and shines with National Book Award finalist Julie Anne Peters's unmistakable wit and insight. (summary from Goodreads)

I've read a couple of other titles by Peters and really enjoyed them. She creates very real and emotional characters and situations that really hit me. This one sounds like it might be the same with a little fun thrown in!

It's Our Prom (So Deal With It) by Julie Anne Peters is to be released 24 April 2012.

What book are you looking forward to this week?

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Teaser Tuesday! (32)

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!

Witch Eyes by Scott Tracey

"Normally, the auras I saw around people were pretty boring. Anger, envy, apathy. The things I saw around Trey were new, however. They were like golden embers, occasionally catching fire and sparkling before the flame died out." p. 32

Witch Eyes is showing a lot of promise - 30 something pages in and my mind's ticking! Looking forward to the rest!

What teaser have you shared?

Monday, January 9, 2012

Review: Matched by Ally Condie

Cassia has always trusted the Society to make the right choices for her: what to read, what to watch, what to believe. So when Xander's face appears on-screen at her Matching ceremony, Cassia knows with complete certainty that he is her ideal mate... until she sees Ky Markham's face flash for an instant before the screen fades to black.

The Society tells her it's a glitch, a rare malfunction, and that she should focus on the happy life she's destined to lead with Xander. But Cassia can't stop thinking about Ky, and as they slowly fall in love, Cassia begins to doubt the Society's infallibility and is faced with an impossible choice: between Xander and Ky, between the only life she's known and a path that no one else has dared to follow. (summary from Goodreads)

Matched offers some fascinating prospects, that while not quite everything I hoped for, have the potential for more as the series continues.

Cassia lives in the perfect world - at least, that's what the Society tells them. Along with what to eat, what to learn, what to read, what to listen to, when to play,
where to work, whom to marry...when to die. The Society's rules are the be all end all of Cassia's world, and she's glad for it. She's about to be Matched, an event Cassia has dreamed of. When Xander's face appears as her perfect match, Cassia thinks all her dreams have come true - after all, he's her lifelong best friend, no one else could be more perfect...right? When another face appears to Cassia, she's shocked and confused. She knows the face well, for Ky has grown up right there alongside Cassia and Xander, but always just on the outside. Ky is an Aberration - marked as such for an Infraction his father caused against the Society. Cassia is told to ignore Ky, that his face appearing is no more than a malfunction. But Cassia can't help but to wonder...and when her Grandfather pushes her to question everything she's known and provides inspiration through poems the Society long ago ruled invaluable, Cassia tests the boundaries. The more she gets to know Ky the more she questions the Society...and her Matching with Xander. But the Society is always watching and Cassia and her family face dire consequences if it is deemed they have commited an Infraction.

Matched was a mixed read for me. I loved the cover at first sight - still do - and was so eager to read it. In some ways it met my expectations, and in others, not so much. Condie created a thought-provoking world that I enjoyed getting to know - well, as much as we could. There's definitely a lot of questions still left unanswered at the end of Matched...I might even go so far as to say all of them! In terms of the Society, Condie has ensured readers and characters alike remain in the dark! It really got to me how the Society worked - the rigid routines, the pills, the Matching ceremony, the censorship. I couldn't help but wonder at the possibilities and what ifs. What if this could happen? What if giving up so much
meant saving the world and/or humanity? What if we had to choose just 100 pieces of art and literature to save as part of our history? Still, while I understood that maybe it had good intentions - at least at first - that much control can never be for the greater good. Certainly throughout the book Condie supplies some interesting hints to the truth of it's creation and motivations - just enough to keep you wanting to read on for answers.

It must be said though that that was almost not enough of an enticement. The pace of Matched is quite slow, and despite wanting those answers, there were times it bordered on frustratingly slow. Sometimes I'd have to put it down and take a break for fear of reaching that point where I couldn't get past the wanting and not receiving. I couldn't help but feel like it was going over and over the same while I was waiting for some huge...something. Almost like the excitement and action was right there within reach but I just couldn't grasp it. I am interested to continue reading this series though - indeed, Crossed is on my shelf w
aiting for me - and I hope it supplies some of that 'more' that Matched only just lacked. After all, towards the end this book did pick up a little, with some surprising revelations that alluded to even more questions and intrigue.

From reading the Goodreads summary above it's clear that the relationships between Cassia, Ky, and Xander are a major focus of Matched. I am definitely one to most enjoy the romance aspects of a book too! Like with the story as a whole however, I also have mixed feelings about that here. For the most part, I liked Cassia. At first I was hesitant by how quickly she began to question the Society and it's rules - after spending her whole life pretty much brainwashed, a few words from her Grandfather and a couple of 'illegal' poems didn't seem like enough for a full 180...but then I kind of liked it. That is the point of so much of literature, right? To effect a person and their perceptions? Plus Condie adds to this with Cassia's ability to sort through and piece together what is at first unclear. I enjoyed Cassia's eventual growth and have high hopes that she becomes a fierce contender!

Now for that question...Ky or Xander? Honestly, this one was easy for me, right from the beginning. Ky. I expected more from Xander, truth be told, as I'd like the long time best friend to have a fighting chance, but instead he fell kind of flat for me. Sure, him and Cassia had some cutesy moments, but there was no spark. Though I was very surprised by a certain twist in terms of Xander that helped me to gain more of an interest in him. Condie promises some intriguing prospects for him, that's for sure. Initially though, Ky rea
lly only stood out because of the ways Xander didn't. It did still take me time to warm up to him too. Cassia and his romance almost crossed into insta-love territory for me, but I did find their letter writing lessons and Ky's notes endearing. Where they go from here should prove thrilling!

Overall, Matched is an entertaining and thought-provoking read, though it does plod along at times. Many aspects of the story however hold the promise of more, and so I'm interested to see if Crossed delivers!


Publisher: Penguin
Published date: 2 December 2010
Pages: 366
Series: Matched, Book 1

Note: This review is very, very in, I forgot to write it months ago. Oh, to be better organised.

Fun Stuff: Harry Potter Window Decoration

One of my besties, Dave, celebrated her birthday over the weekend, and I wanted to show you guys one of the gifts I gave her - a Harry Potter themed window decoration!

I made it!!! Though I can't help but nitpick a little, I'm very proud of it. Plus, Dave really loved it, I'm happy to report! She actually took the above picture for me - I adore her photography!

I got the idea thanks to an I Heart Monster post about DIY bookish gift ideas, which had a link to making the origami star. It's made out of pages from The Philospher's Stone and The Prisoner of Azkaban, which I found at a second hand bookstore...I still had to close my eyes as I began tearing pages out though!! I'm so pleased with how the star turned out - I'm not quite good enough at origami to purposefully have certain words showing, but you can see 'Hermione Granger', 'Petunia', 'Cupboard Under the Stairs', 'cauldron', and I know on the other side there's 'Mr H. Potter', 'Snape', and 'Griphook', for example. From there I added the beads - Gryffindor colours, of course! - and a Snitch, which I got from Etsy (an idea I got because Dave bought me a Snitch necklace for my birthday!). The stone in the middle of the star was a lucky find - it's red with gold through it, so matched the Gryffindor theme, but I've also dubbed it the Philosopher's Stone! Oh, how I love Harry Potter!

All in all, this only took me a few hours to make - over a few days, though, as I collected bits and pieces - and it became a perfect gift! I'm thinking I might have to make more...

What do you think? Are there any bookish type gifts you love or have made?

Sunday, January 8, 2012

In My Mailbox (32)

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

So...I totally broke one of my New Year's resolutions already, about not buying so many books!!


The Way We Fall by Megan Crewe
The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick
Hallowed by Cynthia Hand
Drink Slay Love by Sarah Beth Durst
Switched by Amanda Hocking
Melody Burning by Whitley Strieber
Touch of Power by Maria V. Snyder
Soulless by Gail Carriger
Cinder by Marissa Meyer

What bookish things did you get this week?

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Review: The Gathering Storm by Robin Bridges

St. Petersburg, Russia, 1888. As she attends a whirl of glittering balls, royal debutante Katerina Alexandrovna, Duchess of Oldenburg, tries to hide a dark secret: she can raise the dead. No one knows. Not her family. Not the girls at her finishing school. Not the tsar or anyone in her aristocratic circle. Katerina considers her talent a curse, not a gift. But when she uses her special skill to protect a member of the Imperial Family, she finds herself caught in a web of intrigue.

An evil presence is growing within Europe's royal bloodlines—and those aligned with the darkness threaten to topple the tsar. Suddenly Katerina's strength as a necromancer attracts attention from unwelcome sources . . . including two young men—George Alexandrovich, the tsar's standoffish middle son, who needs Katerina's help to safeguard Russia, even if he's repelled by her secret, and the dashing Prince Danilo, heir to the throne of Montenegro, to whom Katerina feels inexplicably drawn.

The time has come for Katerina to embrace her power, but which side will she choose—and to whom will she give her heart? (summary from Goodreads)

Bridges' The Gathering Storm is a fascinating if not completely attention-grabbing start to a series immersed in the supernatural, magic, and the traditions of historical Russian royalty.

At a very young age Katerina learns that she has the power to raise the dead, even unintentionally, and spends her life hiding it from everyone she knows, terrified of being branded evil. To save the tsarevitch Nicholas Alexandrovich from a spell however, Katerina uses her ability and her power is recognised by not only George, younger brother of the tsarevitch, but by the Montenegrin princesses, who had tried to bespell Nicholas. Overnight Katerina finds herself in the middle of an ages-old power struggle between dark and light courts and supernatural creatures. She knows she should be wary of the Montenegrin's, but can't help but be drawn to their brother Prince Danilo. Yet Danilo hides a dark secret and Katerina must face that many wish to use her power for evil...including possibly Danilo and his family. While her necromancy is frightening, does it make Katerina a monster? George certainly seems to think so...doesn't he? The time has come for Katerina to face her magic, but as a powerful enemy returns to get revenge on the Imperial family, who can she trust?

On first reading about The Gathering Storm, I knew this was one book I had to read. A combination of paranormal and historical is certainly right up my alley, and I was especially intrigued by the fact that Russia and it's royalty were at the centre of it. Unfortunately I wasn't as blown away by this book as I'd first figured I would be. While much of it's plot had the potential to do be gripping, it remained just a little short. Still, overall I found The Gathering Storm to be a likeable read, with what I considered it's good points mostly outweighing the somewhat more disappointing aspects.

One of the more difficult points was that there are a lot of characters in this book, some central to the story and some not so much. With similar names and family connections, it did at times become a little tedious trying to keep them separate as I found myself pulling back from the story in order to reacquaint myself with which character was who. The thing is though, this isn't something I wish to hold against the book as a whole because it is historically accurate, and Bridges does supply an introduction to Russian names and how they work at the beginning. It just may be something one will have to push past however, as I finally found myself able to do, in order to just go with the story.

Another issue for me was actually the pace of the story. There's so much to The Gathering Storm - supernatural creatures, magic, dark court vs light with the Tzar and Imperial families caught in the middle, ancient grudges, the struggle for women's rights...really, a lot. Yet so much of the story is focused on balls and proper manners that right when I felt like some sort of action might was circumvented by propriety. In this way, Katerina frustrated me, because though she wants to become a doctor in a man's world, and actually is quite powerful - even though she's grown up scared of it - she really doesn't seem to have much of a fighting spirit. There were so many times I wanted to yell at her to wake up and pay attention, times when I wanted her to do something more than just worry and talk. I do understand that her character is a representative of the times, but I don't know. I simply wanted more. I felt like there was build up upon build up with many moments of almost action and intrigue that then fizzled before the big bang! In this way I also found the final parts of the story anticlimactic, in that Katerina, having been so afraid of her powers for so much of the book, all of a sudden uses them in a big way...and, well, I missed the development of her finally becoming ready for that, gaining that fighting spirit. I couldn't help feeling like something was missing.

While this is in some ways unrelated, I must admit to being seriously peeved that there was no real beat down of Prince Danilo's sisters. Seriously, I could not stand these girls - kudos to Bridges for creating such really annoying and yet creepy antagonists - and I was so hooked on the idea of seeing them fall. I'll be reading the next book in the series with high hopes that those - well, I want to say 'bitches' - get what's coming to them!!

Now while some of plots fell just that little short of completely wowing me as I'd hoped, the idea behind them was great. I feel like maybe Bridges can go further with these elements in future books now that so much of the introductions are done with. It's certainly my hope that the more gritty points of this book can become more centered as the story continues. Plus, despite the muddling through so many characters and back and forth between fast paced events and slower meanderings, Bridges knows how to keep readers guessing as to the intent of many of her characters - here you should definitely be wary of who you trust, and I liked how that kept me on my toes, as it were! There's also hints to certain secrets that I believe will play much bigger roles in future books, and I look forward to the consequences of those!

Earlier I said the good outweighed the disappointing, and while that is because I did enjoy some of the elements mentioned earlier despite my issues, the 'good' also mostly comes in the form of Prince George and the tension between Katerina and him. Right from the start George is a bit the surly, broody type who knows just how to get under Katerina's skin, and that really jumped off the page. Like Katerina herself, I buoyed between wanting to slap him or kiss him! As grippingly frustrating as they were in all of their miscommunication and obliviousness, I thoroughly enjoyed their growing relationship and at the end it was it that stuck with me - especially their final moments together! It's certainly not going to be an easy relationship and should make for quite an entertaining read throughout the rest of the series!

The Gathering Storm does have it's highs and lows, but for the most part I found it a good read. It won't be for everyone, but I'm still interested to see where Bridges takes Katerina next.


Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Published date: 10 January 2012
Pages: 400
Format: e-Galley
Series: The Katerina Trilogy, Book 1

Many thanks to Random House Children's Books and NetGalley!

Challenges: 2012 Debut Author Challenge;

Friday, January 6, 2012

Follow Me Friday! (23)

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!

Q: Go count the number of unread books sitting on your shelf. How many?

Oh dear. What a question. I can't even begin to answer this...I might possibly be counting forever! Plus, there's boxes still in the NT full of even more unread books. In all seriousness, I'd be too disheartened if I actually counted them...let me tell you, it's a lot. A LOT! Definitely in the hundreds. Hundreds and hundreds! Which is why I'm aiming for some high reading goals this year! I'm going to make a chunk in that number no matter what! Woo!

How many unread books do you think you have?

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Review: Mortal Engines by Philip Reeve

It was a dark, blustery afternoon in spring, and the city of London was chasing a small mining town across the dried-out bed of the old North Sea ...

The great traction city London is on the move again. It has been lying low, skulking in the hills to avoid the bigger, faster, hungrier cities loose in the Great Hunting Ground. But now, as its great mountain of metal lumbers along in hot pursuit of its quarry, the sinister plans it has harbored for years can finally start to unfold behind its soaring walls ...

Thaddeus Va
lentine, London's Head Historian and most famous archaeologist, and his daughter, Katherine, are down in The Gut when the young assassin with the black scarf strikes. Only the quick intervention of Tom, a lowly third-class apprentice, prevents Valentine from being stabbed in the heart. Madly racing after the fleeing girl, Tom suddenly glimpses her hideous face: scarred from forehead to jaw, nose a smashed stump, a single eye glaring back at him. "Look at what your Valentine did to me!" she screams. "Ask him! Ask him what he did to Hester Shaw!" And with that she jumps down the waste chute to her death. Minutes later Tom finds himself tumbling down the same chute and stranded in the Out-Country, a sea of mud scored by the huge caterpillar tracks of cities like the one now steaming off over the horizon.

In a stunning literary debut, Philip Reeve has created an unforgettable adventure story set in a dark and utterly original world fueled by Municipal Darwinism -- and betrayal.
(summary from Goodreads)

Mortal Engines is a thought provoking and wild ride full of imaginative settings and characters!

In this world, cities move. Vast levels of metal and machinery, built upon traction wheels, survival means being bigger and faster. It's a city eat city world - literally. Here, cities chase each other as their occupants cheer, and if your city is caught...well, it's 'eaten' for spare parts and engine fodder. If you survive, you'll be put to work in the conquering city. London, one such hulking traction city, is home to orphan and lowly third class apprentice, Tom. When Tom thwarts the attempted assassination of London's adventurer and hero, Thaddeus Valentine, he soon finds himself turfed from his city and at the mercy of Valentine's would-be assassin, the horribly disfigured Hester Shaw - something she claims Valentine is responsible for, as well as the murder of her parents - relying on her knowledge of th
e Out-Country to survive. Tom is sure that Hester's claims of Valentine's villainy can't be true...can they? As the pair work together to make their way back to London - and attempt to avoid the killing machine on a mission to destroy Hester - they become embroiled in a plot much larger than they could have imagined. Meanwhile, Valentine's daughter, Katherine, having discovered a little about this Hester Shaw, begins her own investigation within London and uncovers a ghastly truth. With help from an unlikely source, Katherine is determined to get to the bottom of the hidden workings of London and how exactly her father is involved. Tom, Hester, and Katherine's paths are set to collide in unexpected ways.

I read Mortal Engines as part of my studies, and I'm glad it was assigned as I may not have ever discovered it otherwise. Narrated through alternating points of view, Mortal Engines is a gripping adventure that opened my imagination to another world. At first it did take me a while to fully grasp the concepts of Mortal Engines - the
traction cities; how suburbs were levelled on top of one another; the history of such cities; etc - but soon enough I found myself invested in the characters and the non-stop action in a way that had me hooked until the end. Reeve's words paint a unique picture so that I was not only desperate to keep reading, but even after I'd stopped his world played on mind. I just couldn't help envisioning the traction cities and their multitude of levels and residents.

What really grabbed me were Reeve's characters
and the ways they so obviously grew and changed as the story played out. It really worked for the better that the story is mostly told from Tom and Katherine's points of view, as like readers they are the characters initially most in the dark. I liked Tom immediately - he's such an enthusiastic young character that you can't help but to connect with him. For someone who has pretty much no experience in anything, he really learns to hold his own - sometimes by pure luck! - and I enjoyed his adventures. Hester is definitely another favourite. She's so determined to get revenge and is so used to people's revulsion at her scarred and ruined face that she's built up some intense walls - yet in actuality she's not as hard as she makes out she is. I truly loved the moments her softer and more vulnerable side showed through, especially in relation to the oblivious Tom! Their completely overlooked but obvious burgeoning relationship had me grinning many times and is my number one reason for looking forward to continuing the series.

It took me a little longer to warm up to Katherine, because as sheltered as she is early in the story - being raised in the upper tiers as a lady and the daughter of Valentine - she comes across very naive and unintentionally snobbish. In the end however, I had to admire her determination to uncover the truth, no matter the possible cost of discovering some awfully terrible truths about her father. I was most surprised by Katherine's storyline too, being completely unprepared for the twists Reeve's threw at me. It certainly left me gaping! In contrast to Katherine and Tom's narratives there are also chapters int
ersperced throughout the book from the point of view of Shrike - a humanoid killing machine sent to destroy Hester. At first they seem cold and calculated - as such a machine is meant to be - but it was really interesting to discover the history Hester and Shrike shared, and his true motivations for destroying Hester. I'll tell you what, in my opinion, Reeve certainly knew how to keep you guessing!

While a fun and imaginative adventure, Mortal Engines also has a serious tone to it, touching on issues of the environment, power, and in some ways, what it means to be yourself. As is the way with so many dystopian books, Reeve's world has been ruined by humans and their traction cities, to the point that actual greenery is not something
Tom is acquainted with. I also really liked the correlations between so many of the characters and the environments they inhabited, raising many questions about nature versus culture. There are definitely moments throughout Mortal Engines that Reeve ensures you actually sit back and think, and it's for this reason that this book has had more of an impact on me, that it will be one I remember for a long while.

Philip Reeve's Mortal Engines is a fast-paced and fantastic story, with such original and memorable concepts and characters. It has a lot going on - much more than I mentioned here - so can be pretty full on at times. I look forward to continuing the series!


Publishers: Scholastic
Published date: 16 November 2001
Pages: 293
Series: The Hungry City Chronicles, Book 1

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday (35)

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!

So, this week's pick is a bit of an interesting one...

The Sweetest Spell by Suzanne Selfors!

A lyrical and romantic reimaging of The Ugly Duckling for teens.

Emmeline Thistle has always had a mysterious bond with cows, beginning on the night of her birth, when the local bovines saved the infant cast aside to die in the forest. But Emmeline was unaware that this bond has also given her a magical ability to transform milk into chocolate, a very valuable gift in a kingdom where chocolate is more rare and more precious than gold or jewels. Then one day Owen Oak, a dairyman’s son, teaches Emmeline to churn milk into butter – and instead she creates a delicious chocolate confection that immediately makes her a target for every greedy, power-hungry person in the kingdom of Anglund. Only Owen loves Emmeline for who she truly is, not her magical skill. But is his love enough to save her from the danger all around her?
(summary from Goodreads)

So, okay, that first line piqued my interest, but I must admit that the rest of the summary had me laughing and raising my eyebrows. It's certainly a different spin! Sometimes fairy tale retellings can be hit or miss for me, and while this one does have me a little cautious...
I'm at least eager to give it a go!

Suzanne Selfors' The Sweetest Spell is expected to be published 21 August 2012.

What do you think of this one? What are you waiting on?

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday! (6)

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 I'm Excited to Read in 2012
It took me a while to decide these ten, as there are so many books I'm looking forward to reading this year! Those that have yet to release covers have author photos instead...just to keep it consistent, really.

1. Untitled Daughter of Smoke and Bone #2 by Laini Taylor - The...that...jeez, the ending of the first book. How can I not want this book, and now!

2. Girl of Nightmares by Kendare Blake - I adored Anna Dressed in Blood, and with the way it ended, I'm counting the days until this one is released!

3. Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins - With the amount of love I have for Anna and the French Kiss & Lola and the Boy Next Door, it's no surprise this one makes the list!

4. The Blood Keeper by Tessa Gratton - Blood Magic made my list of Best Books of 2011 for good reason, and I can't wait to see where Tessa takes us next!

5. For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreund - A dystopian Persuasion...enough said!

6. Incarnate by Jodi Meadows - My wait for this one is almost over and I'm so excited! Oh, yeah...I totally have that song stuck in my head now...

7. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green - I'm sure I'm not ready for this one emotionally, but my copy should be winging it's way to me next week!

8. The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith - My fingers are twitching for this one...and again, not much longer to wait thankfully!

9. Gone, Gone, Gone by Hannah Moskowitz - Another one sure to knock me emotionally...and I can't wait!

10. Dreamless by Josephine Angelini - I really enjoyed Starcrossed and am very eager to learn what happens Josie just keeps dropping hints that entice me further!

So that's it...except for how there are so many more! 2012 is set to be a great year for books! What titles are you most excited for?