April 27, 2014

Right Now

What am I doing at the moment?
  • I have just started (well, actually a few months ago) my first year of university. I am studying law and history, which makes for a huge reading load! I am loving every minute of it, and don't even mind wading through the 86 page documents that are bound to accompany any and all areas of law - even for beginners. Which explains, but does not excuse, my absence. I'm working on that. As you can see.
  • I saw Divergent and loved it! It was better than I had imagined, and I didn't feel let down by the actors, direction of the film, or creation of the world. All the right details were present, yet I didn't find that they were catering too much for fans of the books - which can sometimes be a big problem. I definitely suggest that you go see it. But of course, read the book first!
  • After reading the amazing Graceling by Kristin Cashore, I raced out to the bookstore and bought the companion novel, Bitterblue. I have to steal myself away from it, lest I would spend the whole day absorbed in the pages. You absolutely must read all of Cashore's books - starting with Graceling. Now. Go. Read. Tell me what you think. 
  • I think that I should start a book club. What do you think of that? Would you be interested in reading a book a month and then talking about it? It could be done across platforms, or just on one, via email, or comments on posts? Please let me know via twitter, email, or commenting on this post if you are in the slightest interested!
  • I must now get back to reading the Australian Guide to Legal Citation. Mid Semester test on Wednesday, and two assignments due on Thursday. Fun times! 
Talk Later, 

March 14, 2014

BOOK OF THE MONTH: Throne of Glass by Sarah J Maas

My favourite book of this month is definitely Throne of Glass by Sarah J Maas, and, by extension, the sequel, Crown of Midnight. While I read the first book last year, I recently got back into the swing of it when I read the sequel (which I recently finished- Amazing!!!).
Even though it is technically a series ( there are only two published, I hope there will be many more), it qualifies for book of the month as they are my favourite novels of the moment!

You might like this series if you have enjoyed novels by Maria V. Snyder, Kristin Cashore, and Cayla Kluver. I can't wait to read the third book, which comes out in September, but for those who are interested, here is a little teaser for the first book:

When magic has gone from the world, and a vicious king rules from his throne of glass, an assassin comes to the castle. She does not come to kill, but to win her freedom. If she can defeat twenty-three killers, thieves, and warriors in a competition to find the greatest assassin in the land, she will become the King’s Champion and be released from prison.

Her name is Celaena Sardothien.

The Crown Prince will provoke her. The Captain of the Guard will protect her.

And a princess from a foreign land will become the one thing Celaena never thought she’d have again: a friend.

But something evil dwells in the castle–and it’s there to kill. When her competitors start dying, horribly, one by one, Celaena’s fight for freedom becomes a fight for survival–and a desperate quest to root out the source of evil before it destroys her world.

I have to say that I don't particularly like the cover; I am not a fan of digitised people, therefore I was not really lured in by the cover. But don't judge this book by it's cover, it's out of this world, and there is so much more to it than what is said on the blurb. Trust me. 

Cover of the Week: Beautiful de la Cruz covers

The cover of one of Melissa de la Cruz's recent books, The Ring and the Crown, caught my eye with its vibrant colours and stunning visuals. Then, upon further investigation, I found that quite a few of her novels have awesome covers.

What do you think?

Snaps to Hyperion Books, who published the stunning covers for her Witches of East End series.
The colour palettes for these books are great, and wonderfully vibrant. I also love the use of flowers in all of the covers, so beautiful! I must get copies of these books!

So, worthy of cover(s) of the week? I think so! But what about you; have you seen any magnificent covers worthy of mention lately? Let me know in the comments section below.

February 14, 2014

YALSA Quick Picks

Picture via tumblr

Be sure to check out YALSA's list of 2014 Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers.
Here are some of my choices, what do you think? 

Enclave by Ann Aguirre
The Naturals by Jenniger Lynn Barnes
The Testing by Joelle Charbonneau
Eat, Brains, Love by Jeff Hart
Sick by Tom Leveen
Mind Games by Kiersten White
Reboot by Amy Tintera
The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey
Proxy by Alex London

REVIEW: Reboot by Amy Tintera

I tore voraciously through Reboot, the debut novel of Amy Tintera, and would highly recommend it to fans of dystopian fiction, sci-fi, or even if you are just looking for something different.

Five years ago, Wren Connolly was shot three times in the chest. After 178 minutes she came back as a Reboot: stronger, faster, able to heal, and less emotional. The longer Reboots are dead, the less human they are when they return. Wren 178 is the deadliest Reboot in the Republic of Texas. Now seventeen years old, she serves as a soldier for HARC (Human Advancement and Repopulation Corporation).

Wren’s favorite part of the job is training new Reboots, but her latest newbie is the worst she’s ever seen. As a 22, Callum Reyes is practically human. His reflexes are too slow, he’s always asking questions, and his ever-present smile is freaking her out. 

Yet there’s something about him she can’t ignore. When Callum refuses to follow an order, Wren is given one last chance to get him in line—or she’ll have to eliminate him. Wren has never disobeyed before and knows if she does, she’ll be eliminated, too. But she has also never felt as alive as she does around Callum.
The perfect soldier is done taking orders.

Reboot works on a zombie-like premise; a virus causes you to come back to 'life'- less human, and more robotic,  than before - if you have contracted it before you die. I appreciated this concept, as I have not come across a zombie-robot-mercenary premise before, and this was executed very well. 

As is expected from any novel, there were expected characters, and plot structures, i.e. the way the romance progressed, and the perfect soldier starting to question their orders. However, this did not make Reboot predictable or uninteresting. Tintera has managed to make them fresh and interesting, in a way that immediately captures, and keeps your interest, as well as being exciting, and amusing. 

On the topic of the romance between Callum and Wren, to avoid spoilers I will keep it short. I didn't think that it was the most prevalent part of the novel. While the unconventional romance does function as the love interest portion of the novel, I also liked that it facilitated Wren's rediscovery of her humanity. It made it more believable, rather than this mindless soldier suddenly questioning the system for no apparent reason. 

The world that Tintera has created piqued my interest, and I am keen to learn more about the characters,  HARC, and the Republic of Texas in the next novel, Rebel, which comes out May 13. 

February 07, 2014

Vampire Academy Trailer

I had a serious fangirl moment yesterday. Upon the realisation that I hadn't seen the new trailers for the upcoming adaption of Richelle Mead's Vampire Academy novels, I immediately headed to Youtube.

When I saw the first trailers in the early stages of the movie production, I was a little unsure of my opinion as I thought that they seemed a bit disconnected, especially for people who have not read the books.

However, I have found that the new trailers explain it quite well, and I think that they make it more accessible to people who aren't fans of the book.

Well, all in all, I am excited about the upcoming film, although Dimitri Belikov is does not look how I expected. I don't know what I expected though.

I admit, I was tickled by the "look alive" comment from the gym teacher! I think that this series, both in writing, and from what I can gather, the film too, both have a sense of humour, making the whole affair a bit seriocomic. 

There are so many YA novels becoming movies at the moment, it's nuts! I will write more about them in the upcoming week. 

What do you think? 

February 05, 2014

REVIEW: Legacy by Cayla Kluver

The Debut book of author Cayla Kluver, Legacy is a richly drawn medieval fantasy, which you will like if you enjoyed books such as Poison Study by Maria V Snyder, or Graceling by Kristin Cashore. 

In her seventeenth year, Princess Alera of Hytanica faces one duty: to marry the man who will be king. But her father's choice of suitor fills her with despair. When the palace guard captures an intruder -- a boy her age with steel-blue eyes, hailing from her kingdom's greatest enemy -- Alera is alarmed…and intrigued. But she could not have guessed that their clandestine meetings would unveil the dark legacy shadowing both their lands.

In this mystical world of court conspiracies and blood magic, loyalties will be tested. Courage won't be enough. And as the battle begins for everything Alera holds dear, love may be the downfall of a kingdom.

The first thing that struck me about Legacy was the great cover (pictured above). I absolutely love it, and think that it does justice to the mood of the book. The introduction also intrigued me as to what was going to happen, with a strong opening sequence and mood that is inviting, and compelling. 

This review will take a different course than that of my average review, as I believe it to be necessary. I have read many reviews of Legacy, many positive, but also many which raise a few aspects of the novel that were commonly seen as disagreeable. I generally found that these aspects (protagonist, pace, plot [accidental alliteration!]) were what I loved about it so much, and this has not changed after finishing it, neither has it altered upon reflection.

The plot of Legacy was definitely something that struck me as different to many novels, as the action seems to be more of a backdrop for a social dissection of sorts, rather than the 'main event'. I must stress that this doesn't mean that the story was uneventful, much the opposite in fact. Due to the first person point of view however, there was much analysis of characters' actions and motivations, as well as a general commentary on the action taking place. For me it seemed that Kluver had created a world, let the characters play, and then stepped back and given a commentary of what was happening  from the point of view of someone who holds the beliefs, values, and attitudes (although sometimes different to the dominant) of the society which had been created. 

I MUST address the protagonist, Princess Alera of Hytanica, the narrator of this novel. While I have read many reviews in which people were frustrated by her recurrent lack of inaction, and seeming weakness, I have to disagree for the most part. I loved the character Alera, and found her a very agreeable protagonist who I did come to love. On the other hand, I was sometimes irked by Alera's lack of action. However, it is worthy to note,  that upon the assumption that this is a medieval fantasy [which I did get the impression it was], and considering the social structure of the patriarchal Hytanica, in this situation, women did not really have an active role in decision making - especially in politics. This is hard to comprehend from my point of view, given the modern franchises that I possesses, but nevertheless, I did not find that this tainted the novel in any way for me, as I found it true to itself.

The pace of the novel is reflected in the size of the novel. Being a 496 page paperback novel, Legacy was definitely a large read. The main 'action' itself could have filled a novel half the size, but it was the little, ritual things that the reader has insight into, that makes it a slower pace. It has the same amount of action as any other novel, but it was the space in between that was full of commentary from Alera's part that made it more spaced out. Also, the action did not move as fast when it happened because of the rich descriptive style of the prose. Personally, I thoroughly enjoyed this aspect of the novel, as I felt that it changed the story from a typical romance/ medieval fantasy story of warring kingdoms to something altogether more enjoyable. 

At the beginning of this review, I likened Legacy to Graceling, and Poison Study; the likeness being in the female protagonist and narrator, fantasy world, and a similar mood. While Graceling and Poison Study show many similarities in their headstrong protagonists and fantasy plot, I chose to add Legacy to this list because I feel that it portrays the same essence as the other novels. I had the same feeling while reading all three, and I truly believe that if you are a 14+ female, then you would enjoy this novel, as well as the others mentioned. 

Let me know what you think of the review, the book, and if there are any other books that are similar. 
I'd love to hear from you!

February 01, 2014

Pulp! The Classics

I just bought a copy of Tess of the D'Urbervilles… not a very tame edition keep in mind! I love it! 
It's like Thomas Hardy x Mills and Boon

Aren't these editions by Pulp! The Classics absolutely fabulous?!?

The words are just as funny as the covers…

Plus, I swear that Ryan Gosling is on the Dorian Grey cover - which I pretty much think is confirmed by the Hey Girl. Oh, if you haven't heard, find out here. And then I went to Pulp! The Classics' shop and read this comment from the cover designer:

Illustrator David Mann comments on this cover:
This cover features a genuine attempt to make an accurate likeness of currently favoured Adonis / prince of the screens – Ryan Gosling, a specific choice of my handlers at Pulp! The Classics.

You can see more here if you're interested. I know that I am.

January 29, 2014

Mark it nuncle...

So, I got a bit sidetracked. Let me explain.


P.S. I plan to finish King Lear, and post about it on the 31st - just in time to keep my promise about January! And announce February's play (which I plan to be more vigilant about)  - which if you have read the comments on the first post *spoilers* - will be announced. Fair warning, it's Twelfth Night. Enjoy!

January 20, 2014

2014 with William Shakespeare

Image components from Penguin's 1967-1987 edition of A Midsummer Night's Dream, Edited by Stanley Wells. For More information on the source of the images and (most of) the text, see the "2014: Shakespeare" page.
I love a bit of Shakespeare.

Reading the plays, watching the plays, watching an adaption, reading an adaption, watching a film performance - anything!

The beauty of Shakespeare (for me) is the timelessness. Whether you set the Taming of the Shrew in 1593 when it was first performed, or in the 1999 adaption into 10 Things I Hate About You, the stories stay the same through their universal themes.

That's why I have decided to make 2014 Shakespeare's year.
Every month I am going to read and talk about 1 of his plays. I will also probably be watching various adaptions of the play, and, if applicable, might read a re-do of the selected play.

For this month (January 2014) I have selected:

King Lear

I look forward to hearing from everyone, and discussing King Lear throughout the month.

Any suggestions for discussion topics? Let me know in the comments!

January 08, 2014

Yet to be reviewed…

I have a lot of work ahead of me. Freedom has gotten to me, I feel a bit like Napoleon Dynamite...

Which means that I have not been writing down my thoughts on books that I have read. Which means that I am going to be very busy over the next few weeks as I review eight books. Whoops. Now I feel like Pedro in this picture. Hmph.

Anyway, the point is that I feel as if I should take up writing in the margins so that I don't forget what I want to say about a book. Which can be a problem sometimes, leaving me staring into the distance like a dead fish, with a major squint on, trying to figure out the specifics of what I thought.

This guy's got marginalia down pat!!!
The eight books that I have yet to review are the following - just to tease you... and maybe incite you to read one - you really should, they're all good!


Graceling by Kristin Cashore: An awesome high fantasy with a strong heroine and a plot that incorporates adventure, and romance, not leaving you behind for a moment.

Reboot by Amy Tintera: a very interesting twist on the zombie concept with a dash of robo-cop tossed in.

Legacy by Cayla Kluver: Richly drawn characters (like velvet) set in a medieval time, where the heir to the throne is unsure if their enemy is really her enemy. Please, just read it, as it is awesome.

This Is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer E. Smith: a cute chick-lit novel that has a great atmosphere to it, and makes you feel light, giddy, and fluffy, with a bit of substance on the side.

The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon: AMAZING!!! An extremely complex, fantasy dystopian novel with congenial characters, and a tantalising promise of 7 books and a movie.

The Wild Girl by Kate Forsyth: A dark historical fiction novel that takes you behind the (fictitious, I think) story of the collection of the Grimm Fairytales, and the life of the 'Wild' girl who inspired them.

(Not Pictured)

The Originals by Cat Patrick: definitely original, an intriguing addition to Cat Patrick's trick of writing stand alone novels that tease you with an awesome concept, great characters, and then leave you after one book (unfortunately so, as I do enjoy them!).

The Rook by Daniel O'Malley“The body you are wearing used to be mine.” This line sets the tone for the whole novel - brilliant opening line. Need I say any more?

January 03, 2014

Books I need to finish.

I am always reading at least three books at a time. Which is great when accommodating a change in taste due to a change in mood or weather!  However, this does mean that I often leave books unfinished, if, and when I really get into another book.

So, this month I am going to make it my personal reading mission to finish some books that I have lying around.

To start, I have chosen to finish:

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
Well, we all know what this one is about; especially with the upcoming movie!


Socrates: A Man for Our Times by Paul Johnson
I started reading this one because I love the cover, and I was studying the Peloponnesian War at the time - how fitting! 
Be sure to check out the cover too - I love it! 

A brilliant portrait of the Greek philosopher who personified philosophy Socrates was undeniably one of the greatest thinkers of all time, yet he wrote nothing.

Throughout his life, and indeed until his very last moment alive, Socrates fully embodied his philosophy in thought and deed. It is through the story of his life that we can fully grasp his powerful actions and ideas.

In his highly acclaimed style, historian Paul Johnson masterfully disentangles centuries of scarce sources to offer a riveting account of a homely but charismatic middle-class man living in Athens in the fifth century BC, and how what this man thought still shapes the way we decide how to act, and how we fathom the notion of body and soul. Johnson provides a compelling picture of the city and people Socrates reciprocally delighted in, as well as many enlightening and intimate analyses of specific aspects of his personality. Enchantingly portraying "the sheer power of Socrates's mind, and its unique combination of steel, subtlety, and frivolity," Paul Johnson captures the vast and intriguing life of a man who did nothing less than supply the basic apparatus of the human mind.

 A great starting point I think! Let me know what you are reading for the New Year! 

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