Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Waiting on Gilded Cage by Vic James

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 just heard about...

Gilded Cage by Vic James

Publisher: Pan Macmillan
Publication Date: 26 January 2017
Pre-Order: Amazon | The Book Depository

For readers of Victoria Aveyard and George RR Martin comes a darkly fantastical debut set in a modern England where magically gifted aristocrats rule and commoners are doomed to serve.


Our world belongs to the Equals aristocrats with magical gifts and all commoners must serve them for ten years. But behind the gates of England's grandest estate lies a power that could break the world.

A girl thirsts for love and knowledge.

Abi is a servant to England's most powerful family, but her spirit is free. So when she falls for one of their noble-born sons, Abi faces a terrible choice. Uncovering the family s secrets might win her liberty but will her heart pay the price?

A boy dreams of revolution.

Abi's brother, Luke, is enslaved in a brutal factory town. Far from his family and cruelly oppressed, he makes friends whose ideals could cost him everything. Now Luke has discovered there may be a power even greater than magic: revolution.

And an aristocrat will remake the world with his dark gifts.

He is a shadow in the glittering world of the Equals, with mysterious powers no one else understands. But will he liberate or destroy?
(summary from Goodreads)

I just saw this one on Goodreads and it's got a number of rave reviews that have me intrigued now. I find these books can be pretty hit or miss for me, but I'm always interested to give them a go. Look forward to checking this one out.

What book has you intrigued?

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Ten Books Set in Boarding Schools

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:

Ten Books Set in Boarding Schools

A pretty simple back to school freebie top ten. When I was a kid I always liked the idea of boarding school - especially in another country - so I enjoy reading books set in boarding schools or academies. Are there any books with such a setting you'd add to the list?

What is your back to school themed top ten list this week?

Review: The Book of Pearl by Timothee de Fombelle

Title: The Book of Pearl
Author: Timothee de Fombelle
Publisher: Walker Books
Publication Date: 2 June 2016
Buy: Amazon | The Book Depository | Dymocks Australia

A compelling story of a first love that defines a lifetime; perfect for fans of David Levithan, told with the intricate and beautiful writing style of bestselling author Timothee de Fombelle.

Joshua Pearl is from a world that our own no longer believes in - a world of fairytale. He knows that his great love is waiting for him in that distant place, but he is trapped in our time. As his memories begin to fade, he discovers strange objects, tiny fragments of a story from a long time ago.

Can Joshua remember the past and believe in his own story before his love is lost for ever?
(summary from Goodreads)

The Book of Pearl is an imaginative, slightly offbeat story with roots in fairy tales.

I've got to say, The Book of Pearl starts off really confusing. Within chapters de Fombelle switches point of views, worlds and time periods multiple times, and does so without any set up - no headings or dates, for example, to orientate. Add to this nameless characters as well and it's hard to follow along with what exactly is happening. The thing is, The Book of Pearl follows this same pattern throughout the entirety of the novel, but as I read and gathered details - like names and which characters they belonged too! - it wasn't long before the story started to flow nice and easy, and I was able to put the pieces together and see the big picture. Perseverance is key to The Book of Pearl, and for me it paid off. The author has crafted a book that is quite magical, something very mired in fairy tale. I liked the idea of stories, fairy tales we know well, as being true events of alternate worlds. de Fomelle has imagined a dark fantasy world, one of mythical creatures, royal families, and vicious villains. Though it takes a while for the pace to settle, for the back and forth to become clear and meaningful, I did really enjoy de Fombelle's telling the story of this world alongside the setting of France during World War II. It's a mix of historical and fantasy that worked well. Once everything clicked into place, The Book of Pearl had a whimsy and romance to it that I appreciated. de Fombelle writes as if it's all true, that his book is a testament to these adventures, and that added to the magic.

It's interesting, I'm not really sure how much to share in this review. There's much I want to write about but would need to explain in detail, and I feel like maybe I shouldn't share too much. The Book of Pearl is a bit of a puzzle and I think part of its charm is reading it and figuring it out for yourself. So what I will say of de Fombelle's characters is that they really suit the story. They're quite the puzzle too, as their identities are not clear for the first part of the book. What is clear early on is that we have a fairy who has lost her true love; a betrayed Prince banished to our world; a boy of our world unknowingly caught up in their story; and a dark genie and evil king bent on revenge and destruction. Quite the cast right there. Honestly, even that information takes some piecing together, but it's what becomes obvious the quickest. I do think The Book of Pearl is ultimately worth the effort and confusion. It's a fairy tale, really, one of magic and love. It's the story of a pair of doomed star crossed lovers cursed to be apart, their fight to get home and to be together again. de Fombelle tells their story across nearly one lifetime and asks simply that we believe. Doing so brings the story together and it's quite lovely.

Though somewhat convoluted, The Book of Pearl is a fanciful story with heart. 


Monday, August 29, 2016

Bout of Books Read-a-Thon: Sunday Update and Wrap Up

Bout of Books

Well, that's it. The week sped by and another Bout of Books Read-a-Thon is complete! I didn't reach the goal of 5 books I'd set for myself, but it turned out to be a very busy week, so I'm really happy with the reading I did get done.

Number of Books Read Yesterday:

90% of 1 - I completed The Reader, yay!

Total Number of Books Read:

3 and some! Almost made it to 3.5

Books Read:

Unbreakable Stories: Lucas by Jocelynn Drake & Rinda Elliott
Shatter by Jocelynn Drake & Rinda Elliot
The Passage by Justin Cronin - 30%
The Reader by Tracy Chee

I'm very glad I at least got The Reader completed! I had hoped to get some more of The Passage read yesterday, but it wasn't to be. Seriously, that book is a monster! Wish me luck - I have one more week to complete the last half!

How many books did you get read during the read-a-thon? Did you meet your goal? I'll definitely be signing up for the next Bout of Books again. Can't wait!

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Bout of Books Read-a-Thon: Saturday Update

Bout of Books

The read-a-thon is almost over already. And I've most definitely not reached my goal. However considering how busy this week turned out to be, I'm happy with what I did get read!

Number of Books Read Yesterday:


Total Number of Books Read So Far:

Almost 2.5

Books Read So Far:

Unbreakable Stories: Lucas by Jocelynn Drake & Rinda Elliott
Shatter by Jocelynn Drake & Rinda Elliot
The Passage by Justin Cronin - 30%
The Reader by Tracy Chee - 10%

Hopefully today I'll finally get a good lot of reading done, as one last Bout of Books hurrah!

Was Saturday a good day for your read-a-thon?

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Stacking the Shelves (105)

Stacking the Shelves is hosted by Tynga's Reviews. Share all of the bookish goodies you got during the week!


Assassin's Heart by Sarah Ahiers

That's it this week! I've heard some good things about this book. Have you read it or do you want to read it?

What books are new to you this week?

Bout of Books Read-a-Thon: Friday Update

Bout of Books

Day 5 proved to be a non-reading day for my Bout of Books Read-a-Thon. I spent the day shopping for party supplies and the evening planning my family's trip to Japan next year. Time flew by! I'd hoped to get a little reading done before bed as I usually do, but unfortunately I was too tired and had a headache. I didn't even make it through one page before my eyes were drooping.

Number of Book Read Yesterday:

0. So sad!

Total Number of Books Read So Far:

Still 2 and a 1/4.

Books Read So Far:

Unbreakable Stories: Lucas by Jocelynn Drake & Rinda Elliott
Shatter by Jocelynn Drake & Rinda Elliot
The Passage by Justin Cronin - 20%
The Reader by Tracy Chee - 5%

Today I'm really hoping to do nothing but read! Fingers crossed!

How much reading did you complete for Bout of Books on Friday?

Bout of Books Read-a-Thon Challenge: Book in a Song

Bout of Books

The Day 5 challenge for the Bout of Books Read-a-Thon is hosted by Janey Canuck. I aimed to complete it last night but relating books and music isn't easy for me. It's not something I do. Which is kind of funny, considering music usually inspires me to dream up my own stories. I wracked my brain for ages, and finally came up with something this morning!

Anyways, first, the rules of the Book in a Song challenge:

Simply tell Janey Canuck what connections you have between a book and some music. Anything goes, really. Some suggestions to get you thinking:
  • Rename your book with a song
  • Give a lyric that sums up the plot of your book
  • A song or album that is forever associated with a particular books in your mind
Post your song connection anywhere you are talking about Bout of Books and post the link to Janey Canuck.

My book and music connection is Open Road Summer by Emery Lord and Taylor Swift. There's a character in this book, Lilah Montgomery, who is a county superstar, and the whole time I was reading I was picturing Taylor Swift. Because of that I started listening to Swift's music while reading Open Road Summer. I think Swift's earlier albums, Fearless and Speak Now, remind me of Lilah the most, though Red fits the book too.

And there you have it, my Book in a Song challenge completed! And just in time!

Friday, August 26, 2016

Feature & Follow Friday: Top Five Book Boyfriends

Feature & Follow Friday is hosted by Rachel over at Parajunkee's View and Alison of Alison Can Read. This is a chance to get to know fellow book bloggers and have them meet you. Be sure to pop over and meet this week's featured blogger! Also, don't forget to pop back over in a couple of days to vote for next week's featured blogger.

Top 5 favourite book boyfriends?

Ronan from The Raven Cycle - I wasn't such a fan of Ronan during the first book but then we got his pov in the second, and there was no turning back.
Scorpius Malfoy from Harry Potter & the Cursed Child - He's way too young for me, but meh. Nothing stands in the way of fictional love, right? Scorpius is too adorable to not be on this list.
Sebastian Faraday from Ultraviolet - His name alone is enough. You probably need to read the book to get that though!
Gabriel from the Half Bad trilogy - This is when I should just insert a GIF of sobbing and flailing.
James Easton from The Agency - I've always quite liked the Victorian Era thanks to the romances I grew up reading, and James is an example of why.

Huh. It's quite a mix, that list. Do you like any of these characters? Which characters would make your list?

Bout of Books Read-a-Thon: Thursday Update

Bout of Books

I'm late, I'm late, for a very important update! Well, not much of an update really, but still one I completely forgot to post this morning. Yesterday did not go to plan either and again I got very little reading done. Boo.

Number of Books Read Yesterday:

Only about 5% again. So sad.

Total Number of Books Read So Far:

2 and a 1/4.

Books Read So Far:

Unbreakable Stories: Lucas by Jocelynn Drake & Rinda Elliott
Shatter by Jocelynn Drake & Rinda Elliot
The Passage by Justin Cronin - 20%
The Reader by Tracy Chee - 5%

Spoiler alert: Tomorrow's update won't be great either. Double boo.

What about you, are you getting lots read this Bout of Books read-a-thon? Meeting your reading goal?

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Bout of Books Read-a-Thon Challenge: Titles in the Tabloids

Bout of Books

Day 4 of the Bout of Books read-a-thon is drawing to a close and we have a challenge! Thanks to our host, The Book Junkie.

It's fun and simple:

Think about the book you're reading or one you've read for the read-a-thon and create a tabloid type heading about it. Feel free to be as sarcastic as you like!

So here goes. My tabloid for Justin Cronin's The Passage, which I'm currently reading.


About as creative and sarcastic as I can get it. There's a heap in this book to use as a tabloid heading but none quite as snappy.

What tabloid heading would you create for your current read?

Review: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by J.K. Rowling, John Tiffany and Jack Thorne

Title: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
Authors: J.K. Rowling, John Tiffany and Jack Thorne
Series: Harry Potter, #8
Publisher: Little, Brown
Publication Date: 31 July 2016
Buy: Amazon | The Book Depository | Dymocks Australia

Based on an original new story by J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne and John Tiffany, a new play by Jack Thorne, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is the eighth story in the Harry Potter series and the first official Harry Potter story to be presented on stage. The play will receive its world premiere in London’s West End on July 30, 2016.

It was always difficult being Harry Potter and it isn’t much easier now that he is an overworked employee of the Ministry of Magic, a husband and father of three school-age children.

While Harry grapples with a past that refuses to stay where it belongs, his youngest son Albus must struggle with the weight of a family legacy he never wanted. As past and present fuse ominously, both father and son learn the uncomfortable truth: sometimes, darkness comes from unexpected places.
(summary from Goodreads)

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is nothing like what I expected and so much more than I ever could have imagined.

I loved this script. 100% completely adored it, to the point I've found myself getting defensive of negative remarks. But hey, you can't please everyone. Me though, I am very, very pleased. The Cursed Child felt like coming home again. Everything I cherish about Harry Potter and this marvelous wizarding world Rowling has created is right here again. She may not have written the words herself, but Rowling's heart is still in this story. As an obsessed Harry Potter fan (aren't we all?!) I was of course beyond excited to read any new Harry Potter story, but I admit, the fact that it was a script and focused more on Albus had me a tiny bit leery. Not in any major way, just not full of hope or expectation for particular things. I was preparing myself for anything, I guess - and yet, as it turns out, not so prepared after all. Writing this review isn't easy as what I want to do is gush and pretty much relive the story blow by blow - but I'm determined to keep the secrets, at least for now. Someday I might write another essay length review that will cover absolutely every detail. But in the meantime -

The script format didn't bother me. I got so into the story I was barely aware of how it was a script from very early on. Of course a novel is awesome, especially in this situation where I can't help wanting more and more. But honestly, I'm happy this story was a script. It's snappy and enthralling, and after seven books and eight movies I don't need pages of descriptive text - I know this world. The stage directions are more than enough to help me picture the story and even fired my imagination enough to try and picture how it would play out on stage. And by this time enough photos of the play had been released to help too. Fair warning - reading The Cursed Child will make you want to pool every last cent you have into getting to London to see this play. I'd say that's the only downside to the script for me - I so badly want to see it performed and I'm all the more depressed now that I can't. I so hope it comes to Australia someday. And soon.

The thing that both surprised me and had me truly loving The Cursed Child is the emotion I felt. I had figured that maybe a script would mean the emotional impact was lessened. Yeah, no. I was a wreck after finishing this because I didn't know how to feel. It's a return to and another end to Harry Potter and it's bittersweet. But the story blew me away. I was so shocked by the plot. The Cursed Child has so much new stuff but the way it's reliant on the old, on the stories of the previous seven books, is unexpected and just wonderful. The Cursed Child is an emotional rollercoaster. It's really only a 2 to 3 hour read but it took me a few hours more because I kept having to take breathers and calm down. Yeah, I'm not kidding. I've always been a mess when it comes to Harry Potter, and The Cursed Child is no different. I was excited and scared, not wanting to read it too fast. Then I got really angry and had to have a rant. I got so immersed and worried that I was physically antsy and then - THEN. Cue bawling my eyes out. Rowling, Tiffany and Thorne did the one thing that shattered my heart in the most beautiful way and left me sobbing so much I couldn't read. Bless my mother, I tell you. She put up with me ranting, raving, flailing, crying, screaming, laughing - it wasn't so pretty. Mostly she laughed at me, but she still listened and it was so great to have that outlet. Might I recommend buddy reading The Cursed Child? The rest of The Cursed Child went much the same way - the highs of joy, laughter and love, the lows of anger, heartbreak and despair. Man, what Harry had to face. There's a twist that kind of threw me. It had to grow on me but I really ended up appreciating it. Sure, it's cliche, and for some maybe even borders on ridiculous, but for me it worked and forever changed my view of some things. I'm kind of wishing Rowling had switched to the point of view of her villains now and then. The Cursed Child is still very much Harry's story. It felt like such a nice ending. Tiny little threads, some I'd never ever thought to question, were tied up. The Cursed Child is about the how it could have beens, and ultimately, it reveals that this is how it's meant to be and I couldn't agree more. 

I don't know which characters to discuss first! I'm going to have to fight to not gush here. Not everyone agrees, but I'm so very happy with how Rowling, Tiffany and Thorne portrayed both the new characters and our old favourites. The Cursed Child is mostly narrated from the point of views of Albus, Scorpius and Harry, so let's start there. I freely admit it took me a little bit of time to really love Albus. He kind of infuriated me. I felt for his situation but still wanted to shake some sense into him. Kind of like how I felt about Harry throughout The Order of the Phoenix. He's led by his anger. Albus's relationship with Harry is tense and grows even more so as the story continues. I found it very genuine. Being a child of Harry Potter wouldn't be easy, but to be one that isn't exactly like his father? It's tough. Rowling, Tiffany and Thorne delved into the prejudices of the wizarding world here; they show that much more needs to change than just the relationships between parents and children. Unlike Albus, Scorpius was instant love at first sight for me. I love him so much! I want to coo over him always because he is just freaking adorable! His friendship with Albus is probably one of my most favourite things about The Cursed Child. They're such contrasts; sons of such well known figures and facing preconceived expectations of the type of person they should be, but each shoulder it differently. Their friendship is a great strength, a lesson, and I liked that. It stands with the other great friendships of the Harry Potter series - Harry, Ron and Hermione; Fred and George; James, Sirius and Remus. Oh dear, I may get teary again. The friendship of our Trio still shines throughout The Cursed Child. They're older, fulfilling different roles, and yes, they're not exactly the same as they were in the original series, but really, at heart they're the same characters we grew to love. Harry feels the weight of every victory and every loss, he still fights like it's all his responsibility. Hermione is still the smartest and most capable ever, leading as always, in her way. Ron is lame jokes and loyalty, still standing by those he loves, always ready to support them and have their backs. Together they make mistakes, learn from them, and get on with it. Ginny is still the quietly strong woman she grew up to be. I like how she stands back and lets Harry get to where he needs to be, but is ready to offer a fierce talking to if he doesn't. Much like Scorpius, Draco is another favourite of mine. He always has been. I felt for Draco throughout the novels and thought there was more to him, and I adore that The Cursed Child proves it. Draco, his relationships with his son and with the Trio, are a great portrayal of how much stays the same and how much changes. Other surprising characters are central to The Cursed Child, while some favourites are mentioned only in passing, and sadly, other favourites not mentioned at all. I'm not mentioning names, because as I said, keep the secrets, but I can't help but wish there was a little more reference to some beloved characters. This isn't a detriment to The Cursed Child however. It just is. Even if I'd gotten those mentions, I'd still want more, let's face it.

I will always want more Harry Potter. The Cursed Child is a swift read, full of surprise and excitement, a whirlwind of emotional uproar, and fits just right into the Harry Potter world. 


Bout of Books Read-a-Thon: Wednesday Update

Bout of Books

Another day gone and only a little bit of reading done again. Yesterday I got caught up in planning - a birthday party and a trip, woo!

I continued reading The Passage last night and I've started to finally feel like I'm making headway. Only took me getting half way through it. Still not sure how I feel about this book though.

Number of Books Read Yesterday:

About 15% of one

Total Number of Books Read So Far:

2 and a little more than a bit!

Books Read So Far:

Unbreakable Stories: Lucas by Jocelynn Drake & Rinda Elliott
Shatter by Jocelynn Drake & Rinda Elliot
The Passage by Justin Cronin - 20%

I still have a few things to do before I can get to reading today, but I'm hoping I can get The Reader read. Aiming high!

How's your Bout of Books read-a-thon going?

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Waiting on Nowhere Near You by Leah Thomas

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'm going to love...

Nowhere Near You by Leah Thomas

Publisher: Bloomsbury Children's
Publication Date: 7 February 2017
Pre-Order: Amazon | The Book Depository

Following up her acclaimed debut, Because You'll Never Meet Me, Leah Thomas continues the stories of Ollie and Moritz in another heart-warming story of unique friendship.

Ollie and Moritz might never meet, but their friendship knows no bounds. Their letters carry on as Ollie embarks on his first road trip away from the woods--no easy feat for a boy allergic to electricity--and Moritz decides which new school would best suit an eyeless boy who prefers to be alone.

Along the way they meet other teens like them, other products of strange science who lead seemingly normal lives in ways Ollie and Moritz never imagined possible: A boy who jokes about his atypical skeleton; an aspiring actress who hides a strange deformity; a track star whose abnormal heart propels her to victory. Suddenly the future feels wide open for two former hermits. But even as Ollie and Moritz dare to enjoy life, they can't escape their past, which threatens to destroy any progress they've made. Can these boys ever find their place in a world that might never understand them?
(summary from Goodreads)

Oh, yes, I'll definitely love this one. I did the first book, Because You'll Never Meet Me, and I have missed Ollie and Moritz. I can't wait to read what's new with these two.

Have you read Because You'll Never Meet Me? What book has you eagerly awaiting its release?

Bout of Books Read-a-Thon: Tuesday Update

Bout of Books

Not much reading done yesterday, I'm afraid. Instead I was watching! I went to the movies and caught up on some television shows. Tsk!

Number of Books Read Yesterday:

Just a few chapters. About 5% according to Kindle.

Total Number of Books Read So Far:

2 and a bit.

Books Read So Far:

Unbreakable Stories: Lucas by Jocelynn Drake & Rinda Elliott
Shatter by Jocelynn Drake & Rinda Elliot
The Passage by Justin Cronin - 5%

It's a slog to get through The Passage. Last night I read 4 or 5 chapters and it took me longer than it usually would - at least, that's what it feels like. It's not that I find the book boring, it's certainly interesting, just it's definitely a slower pace. I have two weeks to get it finished and I still have about 65% to get through. It's taken me a week just to get through 35%, so I can do it. Think I'll need to make sure I read it for an hour or two each day!

How did your reading go yesterday? Are you on track to meet your Bout of Book goals?

Bout of Books Read-a-Thon Challenge: Mix and Match

Bout of Books

I completely forgot about this challenge last night, but better late than never, right? It's a Mix and Match, thanks to The Nickster, and hosted at Bout of Books.

Here's what you have to do:

"Pick out 10-15 books from your shelf, from your local library, or from a local bookstore. They can be any genre, any language, and any length. In each book, flip to a random page and pick the 1st word (articles such as "the", "and", "an", "or", etc. don't count as the 1st word). Use all these 1st words to try to create an actual sentence. If the books are in different languages, feel free to translate them to all one language or leave them as they are! Also, you can add in some articles, such as "the", "and", "an", "or", etc., if you want to make the sentence flow better."

Very creative! So here's the books I picked, plus a couple of eBooks not pictured, for a total of 15, and below is the sentence I created. The underlined words are the ones selected from the books. 

"Hi," the mysterious masked English Captain smiled. "Why sleep now? Much to hear, things to gather. Christmas is beginning."

Bit of a weird one, but I liked that it made a sentence at least! Wonder what kind of book this would be in?

If you completed the challenge, please share your sentence with me! 

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Ten Books That Have Been on My Shelf (or TBR) Since Before I Started Blogging

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:

Ten Books That Have Been on My Shelf (or TBR) Since Before I Started Blogging

What a scary topic. Pretty sure I could do this list a few times over, eek!

Most of these are from before I first started blogging in 2011, before I had a break and then started blogging AGAIN. How depressing. All is definitely lost when it comes to my TBR!

What books have been sitting on your shelves unread from your pre-blogging days? Have you read any of the above? Do you recommend I get moving and read a particular one right now?