Wednesday, February 27, 2013

[Review] Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

(#1, The Grisha)
Shadow and Bone | Siege and Storm | Ruin and Rising

Author: Leigh Bardugo
Publication (dd/mm/yyyy): 07/06/2012
Publisher: Indigo (Hachette UK)
Pages: 305
Source: For review

Violence | Sexual Content | Profanity

My Rating:
An irresistibly thrilling read!

My thoughts

In 2012, the YA book blogosphere was booming with hype and excitement around Shadow and Bone by debut author Leigh Bardugo. I had it set in my mind that I would wait for a bit before I joined the frenzy. Thankfully, Alice at Hachette had other plans for me and sent me a double ARC containing book 1 (Shadow and Bone) and book 2 (Siege and Storm, which will be released later this year). I jumped right in and was not even a little disappointed by the experience. In fact, I was mystified all the way through; I took this thing everywhere I went and sneaked in a page or two during every spare second.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday (4): Authors on my Auto-Buy List


Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted at The Broke and the Bookish.

This week has another really interesting topic that I couldn't pass up on. I have a bit more than 10 authors on my auto-buy list... I feel like I'm just repeating the same authors over again and again and again. But I love their books so much.

Top Ten Authors on my Auto-Buy List


Gayle Forman [contemp] ~ If I Stay was one of my first YA reads. I've re-read IIS and WSW twice and once, respectively. I devoured Just One Day, stopping every now and then to grab a tissue.
 
Stephanie Perkins [contemp] ~ Obviously. So I didn't buy any of her books (perks of being a reviewer, I suppose), but that doesn't mean I wouldn't rush to preorder something of hers. Her debut, Anna and the French Kiss, is lovely-sweet and has even won the hearts of many non-contemp fans.


Holly Cupala [contemp] ~ In 2010 I was really involved in her debut's (Tell Me A Secret) e-launch event. I was lucky enough to win her book and I fell in love. TMAS was the first rave review I've written. Don't Breathe A Word . . . It. Was. So. Good.

Tara Kelly [contemp - music] ~ Harmonic Feedback was slick with musical terminology, with characters flawed but relatable. A sterling debut contemp novel. Amplified was so enjoyable. The romance is adorable! Cannot wait for the companion to Amplified.

A.S. King [contemp] ~ Her writing style is unconventional, her characters well-defined and realistic. I adore King. She's one of my best examples of an auto-buy author. I barely read the synopses of her books before I hand over the money.


Ruta Sepetys [historical] ~ Between Shades of Gray broke me. Already have Out of the Easy pre-ordered. I'll be tearing into it as soon as it arrives. Heard a lot of great things already!


Veronica Roth [dystopia] ~ Divergent astonished me. It was like nothing I'd ever read and I read it in practically one sitting. I quite enjoyed Insurgent--not as much as the first, granted, but the ending has really gotten me stoked for the third book!


Beth Revis [dyst./sci] ~ Frexity frex. This series. I'm still recovering. Still need to write my review for Shades of Earth, which I've consciously been avoiding because it'll be like saying goodbye to the trilogy.


Sarah J. Maas [fantasy] ~ I really loved her novellas and Throne of Glass was just amazing. This lovely gal is a sucker for fairytales, meaning we'll be seeing fairytale-retellings from her. Which is exciting. Yay!

Kristin Cashore [fantasy] ~ I don't need to say anything. I'm still waiting on the US pb release for Bitterblue (they must match!).


Also have to mention . . .

  • Lauren Oliver (all her books have come for review so far...)
  • Zoe Marriott (loved Shadows on the Moon! But still haven't gotten her other books.)
  • Kirsten Hubbard (Wanderlove was one of my favourites of 2011. I'm antsy for her next release! Like Mandarin was also really good.)
  • Laura Buzo (Aussie author! Her stories are poignant and intricately woven together. Her debut is now out in the US: Love and Other Perishable Items.)
  • Erin Bow (Plain Kate/Wood Angel, simply unforgettable. Her second novel, Sorrow's Knot, comes out later this year!)
  • John Green (still haven't gotten all his books since TFiOS but I certainly want to, and I'll probably preorder any of his future books)

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Giveaway winners



Yay! Time to reveal the winners. :D The response for these giveaways wasn't all that great but since it was a way to thank my followers I didn't Linky it up or anything. Doesn't matter to me either way. All that matters is that two people are going to be getting some prizes!

For my Aussie publisher-sponsored (Harlequin Teen! <3) giveaway, the winner (Kim) will be receiving a set of Touch of Power AND Scent of Magic (Maria V. Snyder)! I love this series and I hope the winner does too.


The second giveaway was international and a winner's choice out of a list kind of thing. It was great looking at everyones' book choices. Just One Day was the popular choice (obviously) at 18 entries. I'm pleased that every option was chosen at least once. They're some of my favourite books and I would heavily endorse each and every one of them if prompted.

Not that Gayle Forman needs more sales, but our winner (Alexa @ Pages of Forbidden Love) also chose Forman's newest book. It is such a sweet read and I especially loved the role that Shakespeare played in the storyline. It's NA but not obnoxiously so. It's NA in the way that Where She Went was NA--a sincere attempt at realistically portraying "new adults" in all their frexed up glory.



Congrats, you two! If I don't hear anything in a week I'll choose another winner.


[Reading the Classics] Of Mice and Men // John Steinbeck

[Source: Deconstructed from 9780241952481; ©Penguin 2012]
Add to Goodreads 

Author: John Steinbeck
Publication Year: 1937
Pages: 107
Violence | Sexual Content | Profanity

Verdict: Simply unforgettable. Short but packed with atmosphere and emotion. A story about two men who fall prey to the promise of The American Dream (and many other characters). The importance of companionship is pronounced time and time again, the consequences of loneliness too high a price for instant gratification. One of Steinbeck's most famous novels, and for good reason.
My thoughts

OF MICE AND MEN is one of the few books I was required to read in high school that I actually loved and intended to revisit in the future. I will admit I had a few doubts. I worried that it wouldn't be as good as I'd remembered. I worried that I'd built it up too much in my head and that I'd just end up disappointing myself. Luckily, or maybe by my sheer force of will, I had nothing to worry about because it felt like I had just come back to something uniquely special.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

My Books in Colour (10) ~ birthday haul!


MBiC is a fortnightly (*ahem*) post book haul feature 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 the idea to feature my new arrivals by their spines in accordance to their shade comes from.

~~~~~

24th of February 2013 ~ Notes

Oh geez. I'm wait too lazy to try and colour-coordinate this haul so I'll just throw it all at you. I got some very exciting titles. I'm trying to be more eclectic in my reading, as is evident in my more recent book hauls. More on the way is a pile of classics. It's kind of strange how now that I'm out of high school and no longer have to write essays on books I'm actually just always excited about reading. Sorry guys, I'm lagging behind on my reviewing. I've just got to get back into a rhythm and I'm just not finding it right now. My birthday giveaway is on for another day. Go enter!


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...
Bloomsbury, Hachette, Pan Macmillan, Penguin and Simon & Schuster!



I've got Scarlet right up on my TBR. Been so excited for it. Just reacquainting myself with the world by reading the novella additions. I'm planning on reading The Host for March (my brick of the month). Freaks Like Us and Anthem for Jackson Dawes will be worked in sometime soon. I really like the sound of both. Hidden isn't normally... I have a hard time trusting angel books. But after reading the story of the author I just have to give it a try now. Song in the Dark is very short so I'll be trying that one soon too.


Boy, are these covers shiny! Also, the covers are already starting to curl up. That really grinds my gears. I seriously thought they were erotica, but then, it's New Adult so in my ignorant way I'm going to say, 'Well, heh, not much difference, now is there?' Ha. In actuality they deal with abuse and tough issues... meaning it will be a while before I'm up to picking these up. I'm kind of stoked about Girl Defective. Aussie author. I sampled and it seems good. And the book FEELS good. So smooth!

Edit: I woke up this morning and looked at my nightstand. I FORGOT ONE BOOK because I'm reading it now! That is Shadow and Bone/Siege & Storm by Leigh Bardugo (double proof). I'm about 100 pages into S&S. Absolutely loved S&B. :) S&S releases by Hachette (Indigo) in Australia 26/06/2013.



My birthday!!!

I asked for these books but it didn't lessen my euphoria at seeing feeling smelling them.

Pretty!

A couple of years ago I BookMooched an older copy of Matilda in the style of my other Roald Dahl books. But guys, this new hardcover was too lovely to pass up. It's clothbound, and in a nice, compact size that could easily fit in a handbag.

I read Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck for English class (gr.9?) and I just knew that I'd one day re-read it. And I already have. And it's just as I'd remembered. I honestly can't even tell you why that story has such a hold on me... maybe the same part of me that loves The Great Gatsby. Anyway, next month I'm planning on reading The Pearl next. After I get through all these I'll tackle his bigger novels (East of Eden!). Also, deckled edges!

Bought

Click to embiggen.


All bought via TheBookDepo except Do Androids..., which was acquired through AbeBooks. I'm not happy with the condition of this one. It smells. So. Bad. I can't get a refund because the seller isn't around anymore. I'll be getting this one eventually. I've read about a quarter of the poems. Tabbed some of my favourites. :P These photos aren't to scale. It's actually a really tiny book. So yeah, you can see I got a lot of "classic dystopia". Will be reading Animal Farm next month. And of course I've already read Shades of Earth. I tore into that sucker as soon as I got it. And loved it. Review to come. It's my first finished series so this review needs to be special.

And the Animal Farm/1984 edition is so lovely. I rarely indulge in hardcovers but I couldn't resist! I intend to do reviews for classics I read. Just haven't yet figured out what I'm going to do exactly.



Q: Thoughts on book buying bans?

I just watched a video on how readers who buy too many books they never end up reading (ArielBissett). Since I discovered online venues such as AllBooks4Less, Booktopia and BasementBooks (which I also visit) the amount of books I buy has shot right up. And yes, pretty much ALL of those books that I get at bargain prices I have never actually read. Actually... ashamedly I must admit I have read none of them. At all. That's pathetic. So that's on bargain books.

I'm definitely better with preorder books. Half the time I do pick the book up straight away if I'm that excited that I just had to preorder. But, phew. Guys, I have more unread books than read books in my room. A quarter of those are review books, half of which were unsolicited (to lessen my guilt). Bleh. The weight of all these unread books is crushing my spirits. And yet, I still want more.

February is usually the month I am really liberal with my book buying habits (birthday & CNY), same with November (surviving uni and exams reward). I think buying bans are good for some, but I'm weak. :|


Happy reading everybody! Comment below.
Share with me what books you got! :)

GIVEAWAY, YOU ALL EVERYBODY!

I don't own this image or these actors (Yes Man) or anything.

 Just a reminder... I've got two giveaways happening RIGHT NOW! I can't remember what day I said it ends but anyway I'm going to officially close it when I wake up on Monday. Go enter now. No hoops to jump through, just fill in the form. :)

Do it. Do it do it do it do it do it! 

It's 1 am. My brain is turning to mush. Both Aussie and International giveaways are open. Odds are pretty good for both. ;) Your loss if you miss out.

So... did you enter?

Go enter.

I think you should enter.

Yeah okay, I'm going to bed. Isn't Jim Carey a hunk? Lol. Psych!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

[Giveaway] I turned 20, let's celebrate!

Source: How I Met Your Mother; Tumblr


Hooray! Today is my birthday, though most people generally focus on that other thing that happens on this date (which gives me nothing but inconvenience... no, I don't believe in Valentine's Day). And on my birthday, today--that is, Feb 14 2013, I officially am a teenager no more. Yep. 20 years old.

And while I've been starting to gain a real interest in more books with an adult target audience, YA will always be for me. This giveaway is two-fold. =) One for Aussies and the other for everyone. Since this is a way for me to thank all my followers entry will be simple. No need for rafflecopter then. Just fill in the form with your details and hit enter! Hey, even if you're not a follower, you can enter. (I'm too lazy to check.)





Giveaway #1

2x sets of Touch of Power and Scent of Magic by Maria V. Snyder





Australian residents only.

Thanks to Emma of Morey Media who graciously offered me this opportunity to give away the first two books of this outstanding and unique fantasy trilogy.



Direct link to form

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

Giveaway #2

1x winner gets their choice of any one of the listed books (pb) below:

 

Just One Day by Gayle Forman
Don't Breathe A Word by Holly Cupala



A Brief History of Montmaray by Michelle Cooper
Daughter of Xanadu by Dori Jones Yang



Shadows on the Moon by Zoë Marriott
Plain Kate by Erin Bow



Legend by Marie Lu
Birthmarked by Caragh O'Brien

* I wanted to feature lesser known in their genre favourite books I've read.



International by The Book Depository or Fishpond.



Direct link to form



Both giveaways will end 24/02/2013 and winners will be announced shortly after.




 

Sunday, February 10, 2013

[Review] Bunheads by Sophie Flack




Author: Sophie Flack
Publication (dd/mm/yyyy): 01/03/2012
Publisher: Atom (Hachette)
Pages: 294
Source: For review


Violence | Sexual Content | Profanity


My Rating:

Honest and insightful.


My thoughts

I was only able to REALLY appreciate this book once I'd looked the author up a little bit online. Sophie Flack is a former ballerina, picking up the art from a young age--so right from the get-go you know that she really knows ballet--and was at the NYCB as a member of the corps de ballet for 9 years. After she lost her job (as a result of company layoffs), she decided to step away from dancing and pursue something new. She actually got her book deal because of an interview she'd done at the New York Times, which I think is just really cool. During her time at the company she kept a journal, which she used as a kind of mould for Bunheads. It is not an autobiography so much as it is a fictional telling that reveals many truths about the ballet world.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

When Aussie books make it to the States!

I can think of three recent instances* of Aussie authors making their debuts in the US: Jessica Shirvington (author of Embrace), Laura Buzo (author of Good Oil--titled Love and Other Perishable Items in the US) and Robyn Bavati (author of Dancing in the Dark).

Which is so freaking exciting! I've actually read and reviewed all three of these authors' debut novels. I've linked my reviews of them above. Just, yeah.

My opinion of Embrace has actually changed as time passed but I'm certainly in the minority with my current opinions on that book. I adore Good Oil and Dancing in the Dark, so I really wanted to make sure you all know that these books are written by AUSSIE AUTHORS! Which means, by default, that they are all great in their own right and that you should go and read them!


Above: Original AUS covers; Below: New US covers
 (links to Goodreads pages)

Embrace is great for fans of paranormal books, and for an angel book it does really well. What other authors don't skim is the hierarchy and nitty-gritty of the whole angels theme.

Good Oil is a story of achey unrequited crushes and how unfair that can be. It's just so true to life, so true to the process of growing up. I'm actually thinking of buying the US cover so I can own two copies of the book. I heart this book! I also love Buzo's second book, Holier Than Thou.

Dancing in the Dark is about a Jewish teenage girl who falls into the world of dance, but she has to hide it from her family. Because they're super religious. It's such a lovely read, and I think its messages are universal. I wouldn't mind re-visiting all the characters soon!


Any of them catch your attention?

Also I want to know which covers of each book you prefer. Personally, US, AUS and AUS (respectively in reference of image above). Have you read any of these? Does it actually matter to you if these books are written by Aussie authors? Like, does that up their value instantly or something? I'm dying to know what you think!


* Actually, there's also Kirsty Eagar (author of Raw Blue). Let me know if there are any other authors you can think of.

 

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

[Review] Just One Day by Gayle Forman



Just One Day | Just One Year

Author: Gayle Forman
Publication (dd/mm/yyyy): 08/01/2013
Publisher: Random House
Pages: 369
Source: Bought

Violence Sexual ContentProfanity

My Rating: 

Exciting and decadent

My thoughts

I'll be completely honest. When I first heard about Just One Day I had decided that it would not affect me nearly as much as If I Stay did. I didn't think the story would be quite as complex as it ended up being. It's not just a fluffy love story about two young adults who meet and fall in love. Although I miss Mia and Adam and everyone in Forman's previous "world", I found so many great characters in Just One Day, people who felt real and some who even resonated in me. There were characters that came off as antagonistic at first, but once Allyson peeled back the layers of her perceptions/assumptions, we find more than we'd previously thought.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

[Review] Dance of Shadows by Yelena Black


(#1, Dance of Shadows)
Dance of Shadows Untitled


Author:
Yelena Black
 
Publication (dd/mm/yyyy): 01/02/2013
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Pages: 385
Source: For review


Violence Sexual ContentProfanity


My Rating: 


My thoughts


Note: there are slight spoilers in this review. I figured them out when the elements were first presented to me, so I don't consider them outright spoilers, but if you want to go into this book knowing NOTHING, don't read on!
~~~
You do not need to be a dancer to have an interest in all things dance. I'm a fan of the likes of SYTYCD and Bunheads and I always do a double-take when I come across dancing (style doesn't matter to me). So, naturally, books that involve dance interest me greatly, and I was really excited to read Yelena Black's debut novel Dance of Shadows. I think I could have loved this book, but there were just so many things I found irritating about it that detracted from its entertainment value.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

[Review] Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes


(#1, Falling Kingdoms)
Falling Kingdoms | Rebel Spring


Author:
Morgan Rhodes (Michelle Rowen)
 
Publication (dd/mm/yyyy): 03/01/2013
Publisher: Penguin (Australia)
Pages: 412
Source: For review


Violence Sexual ContentProfanity

My Rating:
My thoughts

[Note: this is just my opinion. It seems I'm in the minority with this one, as there are lots of people raving about it but I just didn't buy into it all. If you're looking for more positive reviews, check out the links at the bottom of this post.]

When I first heard about Falling Kingdoms I was so excited. Good high-fantasy is rare in YA so I've always got my high-fantasy radar on. Although Rhodes' debut novel didn't exactly live up to my expectations it was a fast-paced, compulsive read and a solid examination of the consequences of war and greed, love and vengeance.

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