Monday, April 30, 2012

[Review] Fracture by Megan Miranda

Title: Fracture {goodreads}
Authors: Megan Miranda
Publication (dd/mm/yyyy): 05/01/2012
Publisher: Bloomsbury AU/NZ
Source: For review
Precautions: Violence | Sexual Content | ?Profanity
Pages: 262
My Rating:
Amazing read
Summary:
Eleven minutes passed before Delaney Maxwell was pulled from the icy waters of a Maine lake by her best friend Decker Phillips. By then her heart had stopped beating. Her brain had stopped working. She was dead. And yet she somehow defied medical precedent to come back seemingly fine. Everyone wants Delaney to be all right, but she knows she's far from normal. Pulled by strange sensations she can't control or explain, Delaney finds herself drawn to the dying. Is her altered brain now predicting death, or causing it?

Then Delaney meets Troy Varga, who recently emerged from a coma with similar abilities. At first she's reassured to find someone who understands the strangeness of her new existence, but Delaney soon discovers that Troy's motives aren't quite what she thought. Is their gift a miracle, a freak of nature-or something much more frightening?

For fans of best-sellers like Before I Fall and If I Stay, this is a fascinating and heart-rending story about love and friendship and the fine line between life and death.
My thoughts: 

~ Final thoughts ~

Megan Miranda's debut novel amplifies the significance of knowing what it means to be not only alive, but human. This emotional and daring psychological thriller is one that will not let you go, right up until the last page. Tautly written and full of gripping tension, Fracture failed to disappoint!

Saturday, April 28, 2012

My Books in Colour (1): 3 months worth of it!!


The name and logo are still in the works, so it may change next fortnight. This will be a fortnightly post book haul feature, and is inspired by Kristi (The Story Siren) and Alea (Pop Culture Junkie). I love looking at book covers, and especially their colours, and that is where my idea came from. First, I'll show you my new books (by spine) in black & white, and then the full rainbow. Next, I'll break it down to what I've always done: Review books, books I bought, gifted, etc. 

I thought I'd take the time to explain why I'm moving away from In My Mailbox. While it was great for letting new readers visit my blog via the meme, I feel like I need to have something that sets my blog apart, even a little bit. Like I said, I love colours (I actually remember writing a mini-essay about it in an email to a teacher in high school!). This change doesn't have a direct link to the "recent" drama [1, 2, apology-clarification], though I do have my personal opinions on the matter.

This post is a bit pic-heavy.
If I stick to fortnightly though, this shouldn't be a problem in the future! :)
 
~~~~~

30th of April 2012 ~ Notes

My last IMM was 3 months ago! Now, if I were a blogger situated in the States, probability dictates I would have a boatload of books to show you guys by now. Since that's not the case, I guess you'll have to settle for looking at my 30-40 books.

This is MINUS all the e-books and e-stuff I've been downloading lately. Hooray for Kindle and Amazon free e-books, and e-novellas! And of course, Netgalley.

Black and White
Click to enlarge! Low-res image.
It's a Rainbow!
Click to enlarge!

I pledge that next fortnight's rainbow will be more hue-accurate. It's almost embarrassing how inconsistent my ordering was! It's still pretty... :P


Note: All release dates are in the format (dd/mm/yyyy), click on images to zoom in, all book links go to Goodreads.

* = Up for swap


For Review:

Thanks to...
Allen & Unwin

All of these just arrived. I've heard great things about each of these!
Just finished reading Storm. I was blown away! A review will be up... eventually!
I also recently read Good Oil, Laura Buzo's debut, and I'd easily consider it one of my new favourites; I have high expectations for Holier Than Thou! Look out for those May releases. ;)
    Bloomsbury

    I'm not entirely sure if I requested any of these. Possibly Au Revoir and Stolen Away? Regardless, all others just arrived. Send me an email if you'd like to swap for any of the books marked with an asterisk!
     
    Hachette
    LOTS of excitement here!!! I smiled massively when Pandemonium (requested) made its way to my door. Night School was a pleasant surprise, as was Bunheads - I've been wanting to read both of those! I think I requested 172 Hours on the Moon, possibly. All others just arrived. I really really want to get to reading those first four books listed!
     
    Hardie Grant Egmont

     I requested all of these, I'm pretty sure. I couldn't get into Why We Broke Up, and that's why I will be passing this on via giveaway. I love the look of all these soft covers! =D I think out of these I'll read Revived first, though it's a hard choice.

    Harlequin Teen

    All of these just arrived, but I could not be happier that they did! I've read a preview of Legacy and I think that this series will be a real treat to read. Temptation is an Amish romance book. Our publicist at Harlequin loved this, so I cannot wait to get into it. And, of course, The Immortal Rules. Guys, I'll be reading this, like, next up!
     
    Pan Macmillan


    • Fated (#1) by Alyson Noel (proof copy, 24/05/2012)
    Is this a spin-off series for her other series? I'm too lazy to look this up right now. It probably says on the ARC or something. :P

    Penguin

     Okay, other than The Catastrophic History (pitched/requested) and possibly Hallelujah, all others just arrived. I couldn't get stuck in The Catastrophic History, but that may have just been due to bad timing. I'll try again sometime in the next few weeks.


     Simon & Schuster

    • Choker by Elizabeth Woods (April 2012)
    I actually tried reading this on Netgalley when it was on there, but I had to put it down at 50 pages. This just arrived, and I'm hoping to try it again since lots of readers who have finished it seemed to like the ending and the twists.
     
    Won:

    Click to enlarge
    From Jenny @ Dreaming of Books:

    Enthralled anthology (signed by Armstrong, Marr, Stohl, and Barnes! :D), Goliath ARC (signed!) and swag (Once Every Never chapter sampler, The Hunger Games notebook and tattoo, The Gathering tattoo, Caster Chronicles bookmark, Losing Faith bookmark, Wicked Lovely series bookmark and CoFA button)

    There's a possibility some swag may be included in various giveaways in the future. Cross those fingers, Aussie readers! Thanks so, so, so much for all this - it's all so glorious!! =D


    Birthday Gifts:

    Source: we♥it
    Guys, my birthday was in February (14), and I totally didn't celebrate it here! I shall make a mental note to save up cash and make up for it next year. I'll try and get in both The Book Depository and Amazon in this! ;) Maybe even Fishpond Int'l, for Aussie titles. We shall see. Anyway, onto what I got!

    • Everybody Sees the Ants by A.S. King - guys, HOW many reviewer Stars has this book gotten? :D I love King so much!
    • Brightly Woven by Alexandra Bracken - I've heard so many people raving about this book!
    • Variant by Robison Wells - was reading this a while back but put it down for now. I think it was just not the right time for me to be reading it...
    I also got some other cool things, but nothing else book-related.

    Bought:

    Generally, I'll only buy pre-orders, and that in itself, I think, is a win. It's so exciting when you receive an email letting you know that your order is in and will be sent out shortly, and even more of a thrill when you finally get the parcel that you've been waiting on for months. Love it. Anyone else really enjoy pre-ordering?

    And...I also bought some manga. Both series mentioned below I ADORE!

    • Bunny Drop volume 2
    • Yotsuba&! volume 4

    Swapped:

    ----------------



    Q: Have you ever been convinced you weren't going to try a book, but then everyone started praising it like crazy so you gave it a shot and you ended up really liking it?

    Only asking because this happens with me every so often. Half the time I'm disappointed by hype, but other times, I find myself pleasantly surprised. I might as well mention it directly: Storm by Brigid Kemmerer. Not going to lie, I'm amazed how much more realistic it feels, compared to many other YA paranormal-type books out there. But more of that when I type up a review.





    Happy Reading! Comment with your IMM links.


    Since last IMM

    (<-- most current)

    Will be updated...
    NEVERRRRRRRRRR.

    That's because it would take forever for me to format it all.



    Tuesday, April 24, 2012

    Waiting on Wednesday (36): Where the Blooms are Buried

    "Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill @ Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

    ~~~



    Yeah, that was a terrible titular name to give for, of course, Bloomsbury. Anywho, yes. So this is my first WoW in months and therefore I've missed mentioning many books I'd been waiting on. :/ I'll try and get back into the routine of a weekly feature! IMM will still be fortnightly, at best.

    ~~~
     
    (in order of release date)


    WoW: Bloomsbury Edition



    ARC cover, subject to change
    Title: Throne of Glass {goodreads}
    Author: Sarah J. Maas
    Release Date (dd/mm/yy): August 2012
    Publisher: Bloomsbury US & AU

    Why am I waiting on this?

    OMG OMG OMG!

    This book used to be titled "Queen of Glass", back when it was at Fictionpress.com. It was a big hit over there, and I'm extremely sorry for not finding it and reading it then. I mentally kick myself sometimes. Anyway, this is like a high fantasy retelling of Cinderella, except I've heard it totally stands on its own. There are four novellas being released prior to August (the first one is FREE!), which just does not help sustain my unflinching excitement.


    Website | Blog | Twitter | Facebook | Youtube
    Watch the Throne of Glass teaser trailer (it's a must-watch)




    Title: Something Like Normal {goodreads}
    Author: Trish Doller
    Release Date (dd/mm/yy): 19/06/12 (AUS: August)
    Publisher: Bloomsbury US & AU

    Why am I waiting on this?

    I really like the sound of this one. It sounds multi-layered, deep and meaningful. There have also been some really good reviews for it so far, so I have high hopes for this one! ...Male narrative!
    Also, hello? Contemporary YA!

    Website





    Title: Breathe {goodreads}
    Author: Sarah Crossan
    Release Date (dd/mm/yy): 02/10/12
    Publisher: Greenwillow (AU) & Bloomsbury (AU)

    Why am I waiting on this?

    I say bring on the eco-related dystopians! I love the idea that oxygen is something that has to be rationed, and only the rich are provided with enough to be healthy and athletic. Also, that these three teens will be outside of this Pod with 2 days worth of oxygen, and come across all these secrets that their society kept from them.





    Title: Fire Spell {goodreads}
    Author: Laura Amy Schlitz
    Release Date (dd/mm/yy): October 2012
    Publisher: Bloomsbury AU/UK

    Why am I waiting on this?

    I couldn't really find it anywhere. Here's the synopsis though:

    It begins with a girl in London, 1860. Her family is exceptionally wealthy and she is exceptionally lonely. The closest thing to friendship Clara has experienced was a brief encounter with the two ragged children who work with the puppeteer in the park. For her birthday she asks to see them perform in the drawing room, and her father, to her surprise, allows it.

    The puppeteer, Grisini, kidnaps Clara and uses his sinister powers to imprison her body and mind in the form of a marionette to add to his theatre. His two young assistants realise what has happened, and all three children find themselves caught up in a terrible struggle for supernatural eminence between Grisini and a dying witch of extraordinary power.
    It sounds a bit young, to me, but I think there's potential for a great story here. It's marked as 12+, so by my deductive reasoning it's been classified as YA. I'd love a preview or something to see whether it's for me though.





    Thanks for visiting my WoW post. ♥

    Comment with your WoW picks and share the excitement!



    Monday, April 23, 2012

    [Giveaway] The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa

    About the book:

    Cover; Source: YA Reads
    The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa {goodreads}
    IN A FUTURE WORLD, VAMPIRES REIGN.
    HUMANS ARE BLOOD CATTLE.
    AND ONE GIRL WILL SEARCH FOR THE KEY TO SAVE HUMANITY.

    (For full synopsis and information, visit either the Blood of Eden official website or Goodreads, linked above)


    ...and the movie

    Palomar Pictures Options The Immortal Rules and Blood of Eden Series 
    by New York Times Bestselling Author Julie Kagawa

    Share your excitement and use the #theimmortalrulesmovie Twitter tag. ;)
    Also, follow @Jkagawa for updates.


    The Giveaway:

    • Aussie only (thanks to Harlequin Teen Australia!)
    • 1x winner will receive: A finished copy of The Immortal Rules
    • Giveaway will run until April 30th 2012.

    [Review] Good Oil by Laura Buzo

    Title: Good Oil {goodreads}
    Authors: Laura Buzo
    Publication (dd/mm/yyyy): 01/08/2010
    Publisher: Allen & Unwin
    Source: Bought
    Precautions: Violence | Sexual Content Profanity
    Pages: 285
    My Rating:
    Amazing read
    Summary:
    'Miss Amelia Hayes, welcome to The Land of Dreams. I am the staff trainer. I will call you grasshopper and you will call me sensei and I will give you the good oil. Right? And just so you know, I'm open to all kinds of bribery.'

    From the moment 15-year-old Amelia begins work on the checkout at Woolworths she is sunk, gone, lost...head-over-heels in love with Chris. Chris is the funny, charming, man-about-Woolies, but he's 21, and the 6-year difference in their ages may as well be 100. Chris and Amelia talk about everything from Second Wave Feminism to Great Expectations and Alien but will he ever look at her in the way she wants him to? And if he does, will it be everything she hopes?
    Coming to US in 201
    My thoughts: 

    ~ Final thoughts ~

    This book had me at "I will call you grasshopper and you will call me sensei and I will give you the good oil". What a brilliant read!

    Saturday, April 21, 2012

    So it's been a couple months...

     
    I'm not surprised, myself, considering I continuously, consciously, made the decision to hold off on blogging. Now that I'm on a 5 week break from uni, I'm really hoping to catch up on my reviews! I feel so guilty with review copies especially, since they occasionally make their way to me and yet I've been like a dry lake lately.

    Books I'm up to

    Just as an update, I'm reading Delirium (Lauren Oliver), Pretty Little Liars (Sara Shepard) - both rereads - and just started Storm (Brigid Kemmerer) last night.

    Reasons for re-reading: pre-sequel-refresher (Delirium) and because-i-feel-like-it (Pretty Little Liars)

    I've received heaps of great books since I've last IMM-ed (22/01!). Estimating at 38...which is a lot, to me. I'll be breaking it down to pub-months, and I'll do all that.....next week. Can you say lazy?

    Layout change...maybe

    I had plans to update my layout during the summer holidays back in Jan-Feb, but never got around to it. My banner is all set and it's looking SO PRETTY! I really just have to figure out whether I want to re-arrange my sidebars, accompanying background image/colour (which was the big one), ?navigation bar and just everything: colour palette, fonts, rating system . . .  which is why I've held it off for so long! I'm still using the same photo, just because to me it's like my blog's trademark image.

    Review pile

    Oh geez. I'm sure I've got AT LEAST 15 books on the back burner here. Here's a list and some brief thoughts.
    • A Million Suns (#2) by Beth Revis - Loveeeed! I was practically hugging my blankets during the last half. And of course, tissues were kept handy. Elder and Amy are also more likeable in this one, I thought.
    • Strange Angels (#1) by Lili St. Crow - It was alright. A bit too dark and goth-y when I was reading it. This will be featured as a mini-review with book #2.
    • The Fault in Our Stars by John freaking Green - I can't believe I haven't posted a review for this yet. *face palm* Seriously? I really really liked it. Didn't love it to pieces, but I cried, laughed and thought - not necessarily in that order.
    • Fracture by Megan Miranda - Ever since I put this book down I've been wanting to re-read it for winter! I simply love this book. It's mysterious, a little creepy, but just totally kept me on my toes and gave me the chills all the way through.
    • The Dead of Night (#2) by John Marsden - What can I possibly say about this book? It gets better. More character development and insight, more high-scale action and danger. Cannot wait to read #3 (which I own)!
    • The Hunger Games (#1) by Suzanne Collins - I read this a few months before everyone who isn't a reader picked it up. No words for it. All I know is I want to read CF now! I'll be reviewing the series together...
    • Virtuosity by Jessica Martinez - Sensitively explores the pressures of being a muscial prodigy - or any kind of prodigy, actually. Carmen undergoes serious development as her prize, the Guarneri, slowly slips away as she lets her competition into her heart. Swept me off my feet when I read it!
    • Wood Angel (aka. Plain Kate) by Erin Bow - Started off shaky for me, I just wasn't interested. But then something clicked and by the end I was in tears, and so overwhelmed by the enormity of the events that occur in this folkish fairytale.
    • Emerald by Karen Wallace - A bit slow, even for a historical YA (a genre I love). There was a bit of foolish romance, but overall once we get to the palace things start to speed up and things get good. I love Molly, her bear!
    • Fated by Sarah Alderson - *sigh* I just don't know. May have to reread this one before I can write up a review...
    • Where I Belong by Gwen Heasley - Eh. It kept me entertained, but it's pretty fluffy. I could totally see this as a film. I might review this back-to-back with the companion book coming later this year.
    • Born Wicked by Jessica Spotswood - It's so magical! And, and the swoony moments! I enjoyed it, though I had some gripes with it.
    • Please Ignore Vera Dietz by A.S. King - I love this author. She's so wonderfully kooky and real, and not afraid to delve into real contemporary issues, but also keeping everything fresh and compellingly readable.
    • Psych Major Syndrome by Alison Thompson - I'd wanted to read this since Nomes reviewed it on her blog. This is such an indulgent read, but OMG I loved it! Plus, it's set in collllllege (aka. uni).
    • Blood Red Road (#1) by Moira Young - Is that right? Have I really not reviewed this yet? God. I read this the exact same way I read The Hunger Games: on the edge of my seat. One page leads to another page, and before you know it you've finished a "chapter". Next book (RH), please!
    • The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin - I harness similar feelings to this book as I did to Shatter Me. The romance parts just freaking ruined the main thing for me. This was a major disappointment for me. Just could not wrap my mind around it. Plus, the ending! *smacks book against wall* HOW CAN YOU END LIKE THAT?! Still undecided if I want to read on... On a positive note, it's written quite well. If lyrical and breezy is your flavour of choice, better get in and read in Mara Dyer's voice.
    And a couple of books that I've already got scheduled. ;)

    Sydney Writer's Festival

    For the record, I'm still not 100% sure I want to go. The decision of which panel to attend is tearing me apart!!! :'(

    Option #1: Scott Westerfeld, Isobelle Carmody, Justine Larbalestier {link}
    I have only read Uglies (#1) but I am so interested in Isobelle Carmody's Obernewtyn series that I want to hear what she has to say. I wonder if they'll be selling her books there?

    Option #2: Lucy Christopher, Kirsty Eagar, Margo Lanagan {link}
    Lucy Christopher is well known for her debut Stolen. I have not read it, but I do own Flyaway... Kirsty Eagar...guh. I need to read one of her books someday! And Margo wrote Tender Morsels, which is apparently a disturbing read. I own another book by her though, so I could read that beforehand...

    I'm hoping someone who goes to the other panel will film what goes down...or at least be able to recount it. As for book signings, well...I want to buy some of Kirsty Eagar's books (or maybe one because it's so expensive!), and also books #1-#2 (omnibus) for Obernewtyn. Just saying, it sounds right up my alley... it's just that I need lots of time to read all those pages! (#7/8 is 700+ pages!) I also want to get to Westerfeld's Leviathan series (what's the "official name"?) and continue the Uglies series.

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

    I think I'll just continue with what I've got though. So, so excited to read HOLIER THAN THOU by Laura Buzo. I just finished Good Oil a few days ago and OMG it was just so good! Contemporary YA is still going strong - every single contemp I've read this year so far have been hitting the mark. *sigh*

    [Review] Fire by Kristin Cashore

    Title: Fire {goodreads}
    Authors: Kristin Cashore
    Publication (dd/mm/yyyy): (First) 24/09/2009
    Publisher: Firebird - US PB
    Source: Bought
    Precautions: Violence | Sexual Content Profanity
    Pages: 460 +extras
    My Rating:
    Amazing read
    Summary:
    SHE HAS BEEN HIDDEN AWAY.
    Now she is choosing to use her power.

    It is not a peaceful time in the Dells. Young King Nash clings to the throne, while rebel lords, in the north and south, build armies to unseat him. War is coming. The mountains and forests are filled with spies and thieves.

    This is where Fire lives, a girl whose startling appearance is impossibly irresistable and who can control the minds of everyone around her.

    Everyone . . . except Prince Brigan.
    My thoughts: 

    ~ Final thoughts ~

    Finely conceived and tautly written, Fire is a welcome companion to Graceling. As far as I'm concerned, Kristin Cashore can do no wrong! Readers who were looking for more of a political side to war in GracelingFire will find it in . This one's a keeper. I cannot wait to get my hands on Bitterblue (PB) so that I have an excuse to re-read this fine series. :) Also, get ready to fall in love with more of Kristin's characters!

    I love the Aussie cover!
    Fire, set much before the events in Graceling, was one book I was just so eager to get into. Even after setting down Graceling, there was such a longing to just continue and trap myself in the world of the Seven Kingdoms. Fire is actually set to the east of the Kingdoms, over the mountains to the Dells. I have yet to read a high fantasy novel I couldn't wrap my mind around, that I just could not get into. This one was no exception - I was captivated all the way through!

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