Tuesday, May 31, 2011

It's not you, it's me . . . + Daily Dose-ish (what am I up to?)



It's that time of year again!

 EXAMS, AHOY!

And since I haven't been reading all that much, I figured I'd have a sort of Daily Dose with some exam-related and studying images and that kind of junk. Sorry. Reading requires more brainpower than watching TV while thinking about studying, so . . . I've been stuck on the same books for a while now and I'm not feeling the motivation. ESPECIALLY with the dropping temperatures!

Some of these images suggest that I may be a sucky studier, and that's mostly true haha.

About my exams. Apparently I'm having mine at some football stadium? I honestly have no idea, but the idea befuddles my brain to no bounds. But enough about me . . .

Oh, and for those curious, I've gotten a couple HDs, Ds and a C for assignments and quizzes.




True dat.

More images:
Some of these have language, as most expressions of exam distress seem to be.

Exams vs. Results
Expectation vs. Reality (story of my life)
Google!
Fail
Holy Pen

To study is to . . .


Funny exam images:

Oh crazy elephant
They just don't understand me
Bonus round
Saturn not a Single Lady
Magic
Creatively Failing
Damn those page numbers
Too brief?
EH. PIC.
Hunting Rifle


ON TOP OF EXAMS . . . 

I have clinical placements the week before. Which is exciting and so scary! I love the practical side of nursing, and the system here in Australia is comparably good. So it'll be great to see and practice with real-life situations and people. I guess I'll look for some more photos.

Okay. Can't find good pictures right now. Will hopefully post another Daily Dose next week in my fit of procrastination, because that's what the internet is mostly used for. At least for me. So. Yeah. I'll be reading as much as I can during break between exams and second semester. I still can't believe it's been two months since I've been an official uni student. Any other X ('10) graduates feel the same way, or is it just me?



What are you all reading right now?

I've been getting heaps of review copies lately, so I'll leave it to you guys to decide what I'll read next. (After Winter's Shadow)

  • Black Painted Fingernails by Steven Herrick
  • Happy Birthday to Me by Brian Rowe
  • Beauty Queens by Libba Bray
  • A Pocketful of Eyes by Lili Wilkinson
  • Solid by Shelley Workinger
  • Birthmarked by Caragh O'Brien
  • Enticed by Jessica Shirvington
  • Falling Under by Gwen Hayes

I'm a bit lazy, so no links or poll. Just comment with your answer. :)


So, I suppose this is ciao for now. I'll be back in a couple weeks. I don't remember winter being so bad; I don't feel like doing anything, at all, ever! I'll just sit in front of the fireplace. That's another thing - my room is right next to a door that always needs to be slightly open, and it's the furthest from the fireplace and living room. Will be hoping for at least a couple votes for the "poll", and I'll read the winning book, and those that follow, when I get back.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

[Review] Other Words for Love by Lorraine Zago Rosenthal

Title: Other Words for Love {goodreads}
Author: Lorraine Zago Rosenthal
Publication (dd/mm/yy): 01/11/11
Publisher: Delacourte Books for Young Readers
Source: Bought
Age: 15+
Pages: 360
My Rating:

Summary:
When an unexpected inheritance enables Ari to transfer to an elite Manhattan prep school, she makes a wealthy new friend, Leigh. Leigh introduces Ari to the glamorous side of New York--and to her gorgeous cousin, Blake. Ari doesn't think she stands a chance, but amazingly, Blake asks her out. As their romance heats up, they find themselves involved in an intense, consuming relationship. Ari's family worries that she is losing touch with the important things in life, like family, hard work, and planning for the future.

When misfortune befalls Blake's family, he pulls away, and Ari's world drains of color. As she struggles to get over the breakup, Ari must finally ask herself: were their feelings true love . . . or something else?
My thoughts: 

It's hard to believe that this is Rosenthal's debut; Other Words for Love is such an inspired and empowering book that explores so much more than was advertised to me. What a bold and fresh outlook on first love that reads with a lot more realism than others in the YA genre! Fans of the contemporary genre will delight at this gem, as all of the base characteristics that make an excellent contemporary are in order here.
I didn't have much of a clue of what the story was about going in, because I tried not to read too many reviews or synopses. And thusly, I will not even attempt writing a description like I normally do in reviews. In a masterfully crafted concoction, Other Words for Love seems to baffle me to the point where I'm at a loss for words.

Ari was such a genuine character that not only could I connect and relate to her on so many levels, I was also able to understand her rationale behind her actions and sympathise with her at her low-points.

Other Words for Love is unlike all other contemporaries, in that love is portrayed as OTHER than what it normally entails in YA. It comes in so many different forms in this book, and I seriously just loved that love was not one-dimensional. The topics and issues were brought about in an intelligent and sophisticated manner, and wrapped up in a presentable and easy-to-read format that young-adults and beyond will be able to enjoy while contemplating the ramifications of what love does to people.



Because I'm lazy, this isn't a review copy, and exam season is starting, I'll just leave you with a list of more pros. Really, all you need to know is that there has been quite the hype revolving around this book, to which I say YES! to. Go on and read it for yourself!--

+ Beautiful cover and a suitable, simplistic title
+ Character development could not have been better--the people we meet at the beginning are not the same as the people we see at the end.
+ Relatability and historical standpoints. Even though this book is set 25 years~ in the past there is still a lot of relevance to teenagers and young adults today.
+ I'm not sure about other people, but I liked that there was an emphasis on safe sex and contraceptives and checkups, because so much of today's media kind of forgets that those things are important.
+ Ari is such a strong character, who undergoes enormous change and strife. Her narration is a strikingly honest one, and I loved her for it. She's just your average girl, insecure and uncertain of the future. Which is, once again, very relatable. Especially in that time period when experience and excitement was favoured (and still is). She's intelligent and makes mistakes but learns from them and understands the consequences. And it's easy to understand how mistakes can be made in the blink of an eye...
+ Solid writing. Ari's tone remains true throughout the book. It never felt strained; it was all just very believable.
+ The statue. What a strong literary symbol. I'll have to flick through again to pluck out specifics.
+ Touching up on that love in many forms: friendship and family are huge parts of this book too. Especially the strains that can occur when they mix together.


Quotes:

First Lines

"In 1985, just about everyone I knew was afraid of two things: a nuclear attack by the Russians and a gruesome death from the AIDS virus, which allegedly thrived on the mouthpieces of New York City public telephones."

I didn't note my favourite quotes--sorry!

Buy:

Live in Australia?
Fishpond* | Readings | Dymocks | Angus & Robertson | Borders | The Nile

Live elsewhere?
Amazon | The Book Depository + PB (Jan 2012)


Links:

Author Blog



I have received this review copy in return for an honest review.

Challenge: Debut '11 Challenge

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Blog Tour: Holly Schindler Interview

1. Your second novel, PLAYING HURT, is a novel that involves basketball.  Are you particularly sporty?

Uuugh—not at ALL!  I’ve always been really devoted to exercise and working out, but as far as being athletic?  No, no, no—I’m pretty klutzy.  The only person I know who can fall around corners!

2. How different was the experience of writing, publishing, and selling your second novel, compared to your first?

The fear factor was gone the second time around.  With the first book, you hit this moment, a few months before a book is released, when it becomes real, and you think, “Okay, so when this book comes out, anyone who wants can pick this thing off the shelf, sift through the contents of my brain, and then pass judgment on it?”

With A BLUE SO DARK, my debut,I found a core group of bloggers and readers who connected with my work—and when PLAYING HURT came out, they were clamoring to get their hands on the new book.  The second time around, I wasn’t afraid at all—I was absolutely elated!

3. What advice do you have for any aspiring writer out there?

Just KEEP AT IT.  Writing’s not something you master in a day.  It takes an incredible amount of time.  I had to spend seven and a half years of full-time effort before I snagged my first deal.

4. How did you come up with the title A BLUE SO DARK?

The title was acquired under the title THE OCEAN FLOOR.  My editor was really ho-hum about the title, and encouraged me to troll the manuscript in search of a phrase that would make a good title.  My mom (my first reader) and I both read the book in search of a title.  We made several lists—I shot my editor several titles from both lists.  He INSTANTLY went crazy for A BLUE SO DARK…which was a title my mom suggested first!

5. Why do you believe that contemporary novels are still so successful within the YA genre, even among all the recent paranormal hype?

As a reader, I love connecting with characters that I just GET.  Characters I could be friends with.  For me, that happens more with contemporary novels.  I have a suspicion other readers feel the same way.  Of course, I adore the adventure of a paranormal story, too…

6. Dog or cat person?

Both.  I have a dog right now, but grew up with a couple of cats that I adored…

7. Are you a plotter or a pantser?

I’m a plotter—but that doesn’t mean I’m an over-thinker.  I’ve found that the best way for me to attack a new project is to whip up a plot outline, some character sketches, and jump right in, moving too fast to second-guess anything.

8. What do you believe are the most important aspects to writing a successful novel with a story that works?

I think character is really key.  If you draw your character to be completely three-dimensional, a living, breathing, human being, you’ll know what actions would be likely for that individual.  Knowing your character will help drive your plot!

9. When and how did you know that writing was your calling, so to speak?

Shortly after birth.  It’s really not far from the truth.  I was writing stories at my child-sized rolltop desk when I was a little girl—about seven years old!

10. What are the biggest perks of being an author?

The best part is that I’m now beginning to see a lifelong dream come to fruition.  It isn’t easy, four, five, six years into the pursuit of publication, when you’re still knocking your head against the wall and the dream is really beating you up.  But to hang in there long enough to see it come true?  Makes the long wait more than worth it…

11. If you couldn’t write, what would you be doing for a living?

I’m sure I’d be a literature professor…I’d still be absolutely surrounded by books!


Thank you, Holly, for sharing your answers with us. I read her debut, A Blue So Dark a while back, and it's a real eye-opener--definitely recommend anyone read that, if just to gain perspective with schizophrenia. Her second novel Playing Hurt just released last month. I have yet to pick up a copy, but I've heard it's amazing and deep and just full of contemp-goodness!

Please follow the links to:

Holly's Website
Goodreads Page

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

[Review] The Lost Saint (#2) by Bree Despain

What did I think about The Dark Divine? Check yesterday's post. {link}

DO NOT READ IF YOU HAVEN'T READ
THE DARK DIVINE!
THERE IS NO WAY TO REVIEW A SEQUEL WITHOUT SPOILING THE FIRST BOOK/S! Unless you like being spoiled, then by all means go ahead. But don't complain to me! Now, if I spoil The Lost Saint for you, THEN you can complain. :P

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Title: The Lost Saint {goodreads}
Author: Bree Despain
Publication: 01 March 2011
Publisher: Hardie Grant Egmont
Source: Publisher for review
Age: 14+
Pages: 410

My Rating:

Summary:
A family destroyed. A love threatened. An enemy returns.

Grace Divine made the ultimate sacrifice to cure Daniel Kalbi. She was infected with the werewolf curse while trying to save him, and lost her beloved brother in the process.

Desperate to find Jude, Grace befriends Talbot, a newcomer to town. But as the two grow closer, Grace's relationship with Daniel is put in danger - in more ways than one.

Unaware of the dark path she is walking, Grace begins to give into the wolf inside of her - not realizing that an enemy has returned and a deadly trap is about to be sprung.

Bree Despain delivers sizzling romance and thrilling action in the heart-pounding sequel to the The Dark Divine.
My thoughts: 

Bree Despain ends The Dark Divine on unsteady and unresolved grounds, and luckily I did not have to wait for the next instalment because it was already on my shelves! Packed with raw energy and heart-racing danger, it was hard to peel my eyes away. The Lost Saint picks up where The Dark Divine left off and fans of the first book will not be disappointed. I sure wasn't!

In fact, The Lost Saint thrilled me right from the beginning. Readers who have had to wait a year for the sequel will easily be able to relocate themselves in the mind of Grace; Despain reintroduces all of the characters and the situations at hand in a "In the last episode of..."-kind of way.

In the first chapter we have Grace and Daniel training together. If you'll recall, Grace got bitten by Jude, Grace's brother, at the end of The Dark Divine, and Daniel is cured of the wolf curse. The relationship between the two seems stronger than ever at this point, until it suddenly begins to weaken. Daniel avoids Grace, and as the reader I took Grace's side and was hurt along with her, wondering what happened. Despain's writing style allowed me to assume Grace's perspective while also being able to take a step back and see Grace's own faults and naivety.

All of the characters in The Dark Divine (that made it to the end) reappear in The Lost Saint. Grace remains a pretty genuine character that I couldn't help liking. Although a hypocrite and naive and whiny at times, I thought that her rationale was reasonable. She grabs onto her newfound powers, deeming her overly confident and dangerous. It was easy to understand her though. Daniel, however? I felt just about as uncertain and hurt as Grace did whenever he just wouldn't tell her what he was up to. Jude (spoiler?) just lets me down big time.

Redemption is the word though, as every character gains some opportunity to reclaim my trust at the end. Except for Jude. He's just pathetic in my eyes now. Hopefully in the next book he can gain some of his dignity back. Despain's new characters are just as interesting as her old ones and I found myself wanting to know more about them. I will leave them to YOU to discover, because a lot of the fun of this new book is the mystery revolving around those characters.

[SPOILER?]
I love the relationship between Daniel and Grace. Although half of the book was kind of just a runaround between the two, I loved them when they get together at the end. What a romantic revelation. Although it had potential to be sappy and cheesy, I just soaked it all in and even now it is one of the most momentous things in this book.
[/SPOILER?]

The Lost Saint brings on a new dimension to the werewolf and other creaturely mythology, one that is REALLY well thought out. Fact: I loved and enjoyed this even more than The Dark Divine. BY THE WAY!! THIS cover ALSO bears significance to the plot! And the title! Once I'd read the book, just like with The Dark Divine, I just thought OHHHHHH!!! Hehe. And I just can't wait to read on because there are so many loose ends and I just can't wait to see them unfold!


Quotes:

First Lines

""Do what he wants, and you might survive," a harsh voice said into the boy's ear before he felt a sharp blow to the kidneys. He fell forward onto the concrete, his arms splayed out in front of him."


Buy:

Live in Australia?

Live elsewhere?
Amazon | The Book Depository

Links:

Official Site
THIRD BOOK TITLE ANNOUNCEMENT

I have received this review copy in return for an honest review.

Challenge: --

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

[Review]The Dark Divine by Bree Despain

Title: The Dark Divine {goodreads}
Author: Bree Despain
Publication: 01 September 2010
Publisher: Hardie Grant Egmont
Source: Publisher for review
Age: 14+
Pages: 360
My Rating:

Summary:
A Prodigal Son


A Dangerous Love


A Deadly Secret

Grace Divine—daughter of the local pastor—always knew something terrible happened the night Daniel Kalbi disappeared and her brother Jude came home covered in his own blood.

Now that Daniel's returned, Grace must choose between her growing attraction to him and her loyalty to her brother.

As Grace gets closer to Daniel, she learns the truth about that mysterious night and how to save the ones she loves, but it might cost her the one thing she cherishes most: her soul.
My thoughts: 

Really, not what I expected. I'm not even sure I thought I was going to like this book but I was willing to give it a try. What I found was a thrilling book that revolves itself on an unforsaken romance and an ancient, dangerous, paranormal curse. The other-creaturely phenomenon seemed to me dealt with in a unique manner. There is a strong typical paranormal romance YA-type, romance - you all know the story. But I guess in the case of The Dark Divine, these aspects weren't the only thing explored in this book.

There is a strong religious background to this book which brought on an entirely new dimension to this certain paranormal creature. I found that perhaps it had the potential to turn me away from this book, but if anything, it set itself that little bit apart from all the others I've read so far (which isn't much).

It was a bit difficult to get into at the beginning, part of which was due to my studies and all that jazz. And just being too tired at the end of the day to read more than one sub-chapter before passing out. Sure, by the end I was buzzing with excitement, and I can say that, for me, Despain is one of the first authors to have been able to get an action-y scene exactly right. It had the pacing part down so well that I never had to re-read a sentence twice, a quality that really breaks that adrenaline-rushing flow that action scenes need to thrive.

The plot seemed okay enough. Perhaps though, just a bit too typical for a paranormal. A bad boy with a troubled past comes back after strange events happen, and once again, those strange events are reoccurring. It's been done before. But entertaining nonetheless.

Thinking about characters and character development, well. As the events in The Dark Divine unfold, new and different and scary new sides of each person begin to surface. What I do like about the characters in The Dark Divine is that all of the "main characters" are those that have been in Grace's (the protagonist) life for ever. Maybe I've been reading the wrong paranormals, but this is the first time where Grace doesn't just randomly meet this guy at a pub or in detention. Grace's world has always been of safety and benevolence. She's always been the good girl, daughter of the Local Pastor. And despite all that, Grace remains naive, but not annoyingly so. As in, she would have her doubts as to the intentions of those around her, and her thoughts seemed pretty much in line with an average teenage girl.

The relationship between Grace and Daniel is perhaps an improvement on some other paranormal romances I've been exposed to. It's hard to explain much further as any way I go about it might be a bit spoiler-y. I guess I was surprised that I found myself liking the relationship.

Some complaints of mine, however, include that sometimes Grace would seem so dumb and clueless. I would have already figured out what was happening pages before she would even come to a connection between two things. Also, I really need to emphasise that it is slow at places.

The Dark Divine is an example of the quintessential paranormal YA. Fans of paranormal YA will revel in this book, as it contains all that any person looking for a paranormal might ask for. For anyone wondering, the cover? It actually has some (but not much at all) relevance in the book! The angle taken on this particular paranormal creature was simply divine.
Come back tomorrow for my "The Lost Saint" review!
(There will probably be many spoilers, so keep that in mind.)

Quotes:

First Lines

"Blood fills my mouth. Fire sears my veins. I choke back a howl. The silver knife slips--the choice is mine.
I am death or life. I am salvation or destruction.
     Angel or demon.
I am Grace.
I plunge in the knife.
This is my sacrifice--
I am the monster."


Buy:

Live in Australia?

Live elsewhere?
Amazon | The Book Depository


Links:

Official Site


I have received this review copy in return for an honest review.

Challenge: --

Monday, May 23, 2011

Book Breakups (1) + Giveaway


Book Breakups is a feature created by the lovely Lori at Pure Imagination. Books can't please everyone, and sometimes the books that I have read just haven't worked for me. Perhaps now I can have some closure and reveal to you when and why I decided to call it quits.

I'll try and host a giveaway everytime I do one of these. Sorry, they will be AUSSIE ONLY.





The Vespertine by Saundra Mitchells
(Sep/Oct 2010?, Netgalley)

Read up to p. 130. I remember I was under a lot of stress at the time, both book-wise and with life. What I was hoping out of this book was a transportation through time with unique characters, and a magical experience. I did not get that. I only understood half of what was going on, and the moment I put it down, I would forget what had just happened, to the point where I realised that I'd been wasting my time.

People who enjoyed it:
Tara, Fiction Folio {}
Skye, In the Good Books {}





Choker by Elizabeth Woods 
(January 2011?, Netgalley)

Read up to around p. 70. I'd heard so many good things about it, but I really couldn't stand this book. I didn't like the fact that the main character was "in love" with this guy whom she'd never even talked to before, and that she was such a pushover Mary Jane character. I also think, considering I was already a decent way into the book, you'd think some of the mystery would have unravelled by then, but nothing enticed me to continue on.

People who enjoyed it:
Books With Bite {}
Laura, The Zealous Reader {}






Cold Light by Jenn Ashworth
(April 2011, For review)

Read up to around p. 60. So much adult language in this book, which was really distracting. This book could have been interesting, I just really don't like that 14 year old girls are portrayed as. They smoke, have sex, shoplift and lie to their parents. I'm sure lots of people will like this, but it's just those things that forced me to break up with this book.

People who enjoyed it:





Giveaway

1 copy of Cold Light, which I received for review from Hachette. Fill out the FORM to enter. Australian residents only. Ends May 30th. This book is older YA, so 18+ entrants are strongly advised.




Sunday, May 22, 2011

[Review] Unlocked by Ryan G. Van Cleave

Title: Unlocked {goodreads}
Author: Ryan G. Van Cleave
Publication (dd/mm/yy): 01/06/11
Publisher: Bloomsbury (Walker Books)
Source: Review from publisher
Age: 14+
Pages: 160
My Rating:

Summary:
Fourteen-year old Andy is the janitor's son, and an outcast. It's rumored that formerly popular Blake, who has become a loner since his dad's death, has a gun hidden in his locker, and beautiful, unattainable Becky Ann wants to see it. In order to impress her, Andy steals the keys from his dad and opens up Blake's locker, but the gun isn't there. A friendship develops between the two loners, and Blake shares most of his secrets with Andy, including the gun. But there's one secret that worries Andy more than anything-the date circled on Blake's calendar. Does Blake have something planned? Something that Andy can prevent?
My thoughts: 

As most verse novels are, Unlocked read really quickly. While perhaps a lot of potential emotional impact could have been extended had it been written in prose, Cleave made the right choice telling this story in verse, mainly because of the issues it presents.

High school brings much of the crap that junior high did: the cliques, the bullies, the rumours. Especially for losers, like the janitor's son, like Andy. Then, a rumour provides a rare opportunity towards popularity: apparently, fellow outcast Blake has a gun in his locker. A friendship never properly defined is cast between the two of them, and what scares him most is this: what if Blake's got something planned with the gun?

I found Unlocked a great portrayal of the effects that bullying can have on those who are inflicted. The small length of the book is also a very appealing quality, but not only that. The little poems were nicely written. I enjoyed delving into the mind of this fourteen-year-old kid who doesn't know exactly where he fits in this world. The kids at school have even made up songs about his dad!

Cleave attempted to pack an enormous weight into such a small book, and while I didn't feel a strong emotional connection to the characters (a great limitation of the verse format) I did come away from it with a renewed understanding of how far bullying and rumours - NO MATTER HOW HARMLESS THE INTENTION MAY SEEM TO BE - can go. I recommend this book for young [male] teens and up.


Quotes:

First part of first poem

"August arrived
with 90o
and high school
began at last,
meaning five hundred
were funneled
in from four
different junior highs,
meaning
no one really arrived
having anything
except a sweaty
eagerness
to belong,
meaning we all
felt equally displaced."


Buy:

Live in Australia?
Fishpond* | Readings | Dymocks | Angus & Robertson | Borders | The Nile

Live elsewhere?
Amazon | The Book Depository


Links:

Official Site


I have received this review copy in return for an honest review.

Challenge: 

Saturday, May 21, 2011

In My Mailbox (33):


In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi of The Story Siren, and inspired by Alea at Pop Culture Junkie! Participants are required to tell all about what they've received in the mail--anything bookish!

~~~~~

Got some great books this week. Most of it is contemporary YA. You'd think I would be sick of the genre by now, but the good times just keep on rolling!

Continue! :D

Thursday, May 19, 2011

[Review] Small Blue Thing by S.C. Ransom

Title: Small Blue Thing
Author: S.C. Ransom
Publication (dd/mm/yy): 01/05/11
Publisher: Nosy Crow (A&U)
Source: Review from publisher
Age: 14+
Pages: 300
My Rating:

Summary:
Alex doesn't know who to believe, Callum or Catherine.

One of them truly cares for her.
One of them wants to prey on her memories.
Both of them drowned.

After her school exams, Alex finds an extraordinary bracelet set with a mysterious blue stone buried in the Thames mud. She discoveres that she can use it to communicate with the river's dead. Condemned to a half-life of misery, they must steal the happiness of the living to exist. Callum - desperate, lonely and breathtakingly good-looking - is one of them. Alex falls deeply in love.

And Callum loves her.

Doesn't he?
My thoughts: 

Small Blue Thing follows the story of 17 year old Alex who finds a curious-looking bracelet along the Thames river mud. A bracelet that holds supernatural powers that changes her life in the blink of an eye. Her love life turned upside down, she finds herself falling for someone who others can't see. But this guy is just one of many, well, whatever he is. And then, she's not so sure if she can truly trust him, because something just doesn't add up . . .

Debut novelist Ransom has come up with a fresh unique concept, an unlikely new contender in the paranormal genre. I love that this book explored some sort of a paranormal new dimension, which interconnected the banal, normal human world, and a spiritually energised world where only those with, er, special circumstances, roam. Small Blue Thing is set in the UK (my geography is crap so I've already forgotten where exactly), as mentioning The Thames river would suggest.

The characters in this book felt, well, lacking. I didn't connect with any of the characters. In fact, many of them frustrated or annoyed me. Most of them felt juvenile. Considering their age range is 17-19, I don't know, they could have been 14 for the decisions they made. There is some insight into the older teen world, such as drinking, partying and driving (but then again, some young teens ...). Alex comes off quite mature at the beginning, but then she just kept on making these unforgivable mistakes, and her lines of thought all just seemed too naive for someone who should've had SOME experience. Such as with guys. And don't even get me started with Rob (the guy she'd had a crush on and finally hooked up with after school exams). I mean, yeah, Alex is no Bella. She has some inner-strength, but most of it was fuelled by her unrealistic love for C.

The relationship between Alex and her love interest (C) will satisfy fans of the Twilight series, or just people who believe or enjoy that insta-love thing. Because hell, after a WEEK, these two were already smitten and ready to jump off trains for each other (you know, if the guy could jump off trains). I personally didn't like the romance, which is why I gave this book the rating I gave it. However, I have to give props to Ransom for not including a love triangle. At least, not yet. I don't want to draw comparisons, but I believe Ransom is going to include something in the next installment, I can feel it. But for now, at least there isnt' one.

The writing. About 3/5 of the way through I felt that a lot of the passages were just empty words, repeating itself over and over. To the point that I started skimming. Especially when Alex kept saying that she loved C, and I felt like going on a slapspree. The dialogue got cheesy after a while (just emphasising what I said). Descriptions, as well, didn't seem as polished as they could have.

I'm still interested in continuing this series, really. It's just that a lot of the book seemed unpolished. I wish I could've connected with at least one of the characters, but I don't feel like I know any of them that well, as Ransom seemed to skimp on those details, and instead focused on setting descriptions and 'roundabout', nauseating conversations between Alex and Callum.

However, despite ALL OF THAT, I don't think I regret reading this book. I'm still not sure whether I'm going to take time out to continue the series. But definitely, I recommend this to fans of the paranormal YA genre. Those who love Twilight will find a lot to like, and people who have read Manifest will have an idea of what this book involves.

Quotes:

First Lines

"The swan was thrashing about at the edge of the water, its huge wings beating the gravel and scattering the other birds. We watched in horror as it twisted and turned, making loud, ominous hissing sounds."


Favourite Quotes

"You do look really lovely tonight,” he murmured. “You should fall in the river more often."

(pg. 12, Rob)

Buy:

Live in Australia?

Live elsewhere?
Amazon | The Book Depository


Links:

Official Site
Goodreads Page


I have received this review copy in return for an honest review.

Challenge: Debut '11 Challenge

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The Dreamspeaker: "Prepare to do battle...!" + Giveaway Info

free books free ebooks ebook book for Kindle and Kindles fantasy adventure story

Prepare to do battle with the Greatest Fighting Team of Teenage Girls Ever Assembled!


"I really enjoyed The Dreamspeaker"-- The Neverending Shelf


"The descriptions are so vivid you start to believe you're in the book"-- Read to Read GA


"I really liked this book!" -- Outnumbered 3-1




Jessica and her friends set sail aboard their tall ship!


One day, Jessica and her friends visit the Lakeshore Historical Society to take the Tall Ship Tour. After they get separated from the tour group, Jessica discovers a gem-encrusted Lantern and a magically locked jewelry box below decks in the ship's hold. A voice from inside the Lantern tells Jessica she is in great danger because they have discovered priceless stolen artifacts sought by ruthless and evil sorcerers known as Cryptics.


Minutes later, the vessel's lights flicker to life and the sails fill even though there isn't the slightest breeze. The great ship sails across the lake carrying Jessica and all of her friends through an astral portal to an unfamiliar land called Aventar.



Talitha Hayashi helps Jessica read a mysterious map!


There, they meet the shadowy arcanist Reina, who tells them they must train at once to become Ajan Warriors. Unless they succeed, the treasures will be lost, and the last hopes of a betrayed people will fade forever.


These are the Adventures of Jessica Hoshi! Her Magical and Mysterious quest to discover the ancient and magnificent legend of the LadyStar begins as she encounters the powerful message of The Dreamspeaker!


LadyStar: The Dreamspeaker is only 99 cents for a limited time!  Ordering is secure, fast and easy!  Instant delivery for Kindle, PC, Mac, Android, iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad and Blackberry!  You don't need a Kindle to enjoy this book!


You can read ten illustrated chapters for free on LadyStar: The Ajan Champions Free Adventure Stories!

free books free ebooks ebook book for Kindle and Kindles fantasy adventure story






















 Giveaway Info:

Upon request by the publisher, the giveaway will be posted two weeks from now. (31/05/11)
Three Kindle copies are up for grabs!

Although following my blog isn't required for the giveaway, it'll ensure that you'll be back for when the giveaway is posted.

I am not sure whether this is Kindle exclusive. I will have to check back on that one.


Saturday, May 14, 2011

In My Mailbox (32)


In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi of The Story Siren, and inspired by Alea at Pop Culture Junkie! Participants are required to tell all about what they've received in the mail--anything bookish!

~~~~~

I completely forgot about my book buying ban. Spent my first $30 this month on something that isn't uni related (or survivng-at-uni related :P). Pre-orders, so they'll arrive in the coming weeks/months. Boooooks! They're too pretty to resist.

At least I don't spend my money on other things, like clothes. Ha.

Continue! :D

Friday, May 13, 2011

Blogger Meltdown






Well, I'm sure if you were even online yesterday you would've known about the huge Blogger mishap. What was supposed to be a 1 hour maintenance session ended in, well, a much longer session. Let's hope that all has been restored to normalcy.


 


 During the Meltdown (which I shall call it) I did post something! Here's a link in case you missed it hehe. :D






I was just re-watching the Dark Days Summer Tour video trailer on Youtube, and I fall in love with that song everytime I hear it. If I can get iTunes to actually install on my computer I might actually be able to purchase it for only $0.99. (It was actually $1+ for me)







Thursday, May 12, 2011

[Review] Glass Houses (#1) by Rachel Caine

Title: Glass Houses (Morganville Vampires, #1)
Author: Rachel Caine
Publication: 04/01/2011 (AUS)
Publisher: Penguin Australia
Source: Review copy from publisher
Age: 14+
RRP: $16.95
Pages: 370
My Rating:

Summary:
Welcome to Morganville. Just don`t stay out after dark.

Morganville is a small town filled with unusual characters - when the sun goes down, the bad come out. In Morganville, there is an evil that lurks in the darkest shadows - one that will spill out into the bright light of day.

For Claire Danvers, high school was hell, but college may be murder. It was bad enough that she got on the wrong side of Monica, the meanest of the school's mean girls, but now she's got three new roommates, who all have secrets of their own. And the biggest secret of all isn't really a secret, except from Claire: Morganville is run by vampires and they are hungry for fresh blood . . .
My thoughts: 

Glass Houses is the first of the highly-acclaimed Morganville Vampires series by Rachel Caine. I was not expecting to enjoy this book like I did. Paranormal YA and I normally don’t mix very well, but I’m actually quite impressed. Not only did I finish this book in just 3 days (a big achievement for me), but I was lost in the world enclosed in this book, wherever I read it, it was so easy to continue from where I left off, making it an extremely easy to read book.

I really enjoyed the world building. A town run by vampires, where being out at night is just asking to be a snack; where people ignore others so as not to stir trouble; where no one is safe unless they have pleaded for Protection by the authorities.

The four main characters: Claire, Eve, Shane and Michael. Love their tight-knit quasi-family relationship dynamics, as well as their own individual personalities, issues and histories. Most of the time, moments remained without cheese.

THE VAMPIRES WERE NOT HOT! Or at least, in my eyes. Nor were they sparkly. There is a hierarchy produced because of the vampires, and they founded the town Morganville, but I just like that it's not just about them. Or something. I can't describe it. Anyway, I think there’s something to be said that the fact that this is a vampire book and series does not affect my opinions and feelings about continuing the series. Because, really, I hope to in the future!

The one thing I found a tad annoying, was that I got the feeling that Rachel Caine was trying too hard to create a third person POV while incorporating a teen voice. Maybe it's just me?

An amazing start to the Morganville Vampires series, and I hope to read more of it in the future. This new cover is shiny where the light blue is, and seems to me a sound portrayal of what to expect of this book.

Quotes:

First Lines

"On the day Claire became a member of the Glass House, somebody stole her laundry."


Favourite Quotes

"'Wow. Jeez, nice black eye. Who hit you?'
'Nobody.' Claire said it instantly, without even thinking why, although she knew in her bones that Goth Eve was in no way bestest friends with preppy Monica. 'I had an accident.'
'Yeah,' Eve agreed softly. 'I used to have those kinds of accidents, falling into fists and stuff. Like I said, I'm a klutz . . . '"

(p. 33)

"'Run first,' Shane said. 'Mourn later.'
It was the perfect motto for Morganville."

(p. 255)

Buy:

Live in Australia?

Live elsewhere?
Amazon | The Book Depository


Links:

Official Site
Goodreads Page


I have received this review copy in return for an honest review.

Challenge: 2011 Debut Challenge (Australia)
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