***The Tales Compendium blog is currently on hiatus. However you can still following along via the Instagram feed!***

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Just A Quickie...

I just thought I would make a very quick post about my visit to the Strand bookshop and my quest for a signed copy of Dash & Lily's Book of Dares. As we know, I wasn't able to make it to the launch and signing, nor am I able to make it to any of the other events with David Levithan and Rachel Cohn. What I did manage to do was discover the treasure trove of YA books at the Strand bookshop in NYC. Here I managed to pick up a copy (signed the night before) of Dash & Lily plus another book of Levithan's, Love Is The High Law that he also signed last night.

Look at all the books! This is less than a quarter of the YA books in the store.

I then spent quite a while trying to decide which books I would buy off my two-page list I brought with me from home (I think most of you know I am travelling around the US at the moment). The books in America are so cheap. A hardcover book only costs about $8.50. At home this would cost closer to $30! In the end I decided on only six titles for now, but I plan to buy more at my next US city stop. I will probably just end up sending a box home.

So today I bought...

Dash & Lily's Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan
Sing Me To Sleep by Angela Morrison
Born To Rock by Gordon Korman
The Miles Between by Mary E. Pearson
Because I Am Furniture by Thalia Chaltas
Love Is A Higher Law by David Levithan

Plus some really cute Strand merchandise...

For anyone interested in visiting this awesome bookstore in NYC, you can find it at Broadway and 12th Street in Manhattan.

Book reviews to come!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Exciting News For A Fellow Blogger

Some of you may remember the post I did a while back introducing you to writer and fellow blogger Kate Evangelista. You may recall that Kate has been searching for an agent. I'm very excited for Kate, because, yes, she has found herself one! Yay!

Congratulations Kate! I look forward to having your books on my shelf :)

To visit Kate's blog and to read all about her exciting news, click here.

To view my original post click here.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Wavelength by A.J. Betts

Title: Wavelength
Author: AJ Betts

Release Date: 2nd August 2010

My Rating: 4/5

Oliver’s world has shrunk. It’s all about Year 12 finals. It’s about that magic 80% average he needs to get into uni, get his dream job and get cashed up. If only he can find a quiet place to study – away from the chaos and mess of living with two small kids and his Mum’s booming muffin business.
A study break in a small coastal town seems just the ticket. But Sunny Haven Recreation and Leisure Centre is like some weird parallel universe. He arrives cashless, bookless, phoneless and fuming in the back of his Dad’s clapped out Cortina only to find his new study space is home to an array of elderly citizens.
They’ve each got their own opinions on Oliver’s life plans and he “doesn’t wanna hear it!” But gradually, with their help, Oliver’s universe expands.
My Review:
I was really interested in reading this book because it is set in Perth (where I live) and Busselton (where I have holidayed). In other words, I am familiar with the scenery which is rare as not alot of books are set in Perth so a big shout out to local author AJ Betts! I briefly met Betts once when she came into the book store I was working in. This was before Wavelength had been released which is a pity because now that I have read it, I would have loved to have had the opportunity to tell her how much I enjoyed it!

The topic of Wavelength is something we can all identify with, our final exams, our TEE. For those of you not familiar with the Australian school system, the mark we get on this determines if we can get into the university course we want. Oliver's frustration is all too easy to identify with and I can remember back to when myself and my friends took our TEE exams and the stress we felt we were under to get great scores. If I remember correctly from our little chat, Betts is a high school teacher so she would be very familiar with Oliver's position, having witnessed it many times over. I also think that showing Oliver's home life reaches out to other teens because he is constantly having to take on other responsibilities due to his mum's job. This helps show that teenager's can have other things in life to worry about besides school. Being a teenager can sometimes be a very lonely time, and, one of the fantastic things about alot of young adult fiction, is that it helps teens understand they are not alone.

For those of you who have read the book, I personally can relate most to the character of Emma. While our circumstances were different, we both ended up going down the same path. I really admire the overall message in the book (well it's what came through the strongest to me anyway) and that's DO SOMETHING YOU LOVE. SOMETHING YOU HAVE A PASSION FOR. I could go on and on about this but it will probably get a little too personal and bore you all to tears so I shall stay on track shall I?

The character development was great and the teasing and banter between Oliver and Emma was really well done. I thought it was important to have Emma's character and her gradual feelings towards the exams revealed because, while Oliver does represent a large portion of year 12 students, not everyone views the exams as the be-all, end-all (because they're not) and I think this is a very important point to keep in mind. That said, this is not an anti-TEE review/book, more a reminder to do what makes you happy.

As a side note, I loved the scene where Oliver is learning how to make coffee for the first time. Very well written!

Sometimes I felt the language was a little off, that some of the words used would not be used by a 17-year-old boy, but ultimately this was a very enjoyable story that I would recommend and that I hope goes into high school libraries.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

A Major Case of Bad Luck

I would like to share with you what I see as complete and utter bad luck that I have stumbled over. As most of you know, I am currently traveling around the US and at the moment I am in New York. One of the things I wanted to do while here was go to a book signing of an author I like. There was no one in particular but I knew there would have to be at least one that I would want to attend, especially since it is extremely rare for me to find one in Perth (where I live).

As it happens I was looking through this weeks Time Out magazine and came across the launch of David Levithan and Rachel Cohn's new book next Thursday. Dash and Lily's Book of Dares is one of my most anticipated releases of the year. I started hyper-ventilating until I discovered that it is on the same day that I have booked to go to Niagara Falls (and i had only just booked the flights the previous night!). Desperately I tried to find out how much it would cost me to change my return flight to an earlier time. This proved too expensive, especially since I would have to change my friends flight also. If it was just me I would have said, "screw the money" and booked another flight, but I can't expect her to throw her money away as I would.

My next step was to find out if there were going to be any other signings in Manhattan or Brooklyn before I leave. Unfortunately, there are quite a few, but none that I can make it to due to other events that I can't cancel. I am so so so so so gutted. Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist, one of Levithan and Cohn's collaborations, is one of my all time favourite books and I have recently read Levithan's collaboration with John Green, Will Grayson Will Grayson, and it was so brilliant. My next step is to find out if the book shop will get a copy signed for me as we do that in Australia, but I'm not holding my breath.

For those of you who are interested in attending, you can find their tour schedule on Rachel Cohn's website.

Dash & Lily's Book of Dares
by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan

Release Date: 26th October 2010

“I’ve left some clues for you. If you want them, turn the page. If you don’t, put the book back on the shelf, please.”

So begins the latest whirlwind romance from the New York Times bestselling authors of Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist. Lily has left a red notebook full of challenges on a favorite bookstore shelf, waiting for just the right guy to come along and accept its dares. But is Dash that right guy? Or are Dash and Lily only destined to trade dares, dreams, and desires in the notebook they pass back and forth at locations across New York? Could their in-person selves possibly connect as well as their notebook versions? Or will they be a comic mismatch of disastrous proportions?

Friday, October 15, 2010

Waiting For You by Susane Colasanti

Title: Waiting For You
Author: Susane Colasanti

Release Date: 11th August 2010

My Rating: 2/5

At the beginning of her sophomore year, Marisa is ready for a fresh start, and hopefully her first real boyfriend. Could it be popular dreamy Derek? Or geeky Nash, who just might have a crush on her? Then there's the underground, anonymous DJ, whose podcasts are the hottest thing at school and who seems to totally understand Marisa. But she doesn't know who he is...or does she?

My Review:
I have mixed opinions about this book. My initial thoughts were that I didn't like the style of writing. There is a lot of teen-speak such as the number of times 'like' is said and how all the verbs are annoyingly repetitive.

For example:
"What?" Stirling goes.
"I'm just saying,"Andrea goes.
Sterling's like, "Could it be any hotter?"

It's as bad as saying he said or she said after every sentence. Keep in mind these are not all in the same paragraph, although they are from the same page, but they are a small example of the language I found irritating. I'm not sure if this is because I'm Australian or because I am no longer a teen but either way it was annoying. The story itself was predictable. I was able to pick the ending within the first few pages.

What I did like was that our main character Marisa suffers from anxiety and depression. I don't think these are subjects that get discussed a lot in YA literature, especially anxiety. Marisa has her highs and lows and we as the reader get to experience these with her. We also see how she pulls herself out of her slumps and how those around her effect her moods.

Other issues Marisa has to deal with include her parents' surprise separation, her best friends' online boyfriend who may be a creepy old man, an old friendship rekindled and a new relationship with her crush. Marisa's journey comes full circle when she learns to live in the now and stop waiting.

A recurring theme is the age-old don't judge someone before you get to know them. You never know what may be happening in their life or why they act the way they do. This is universal and such an important message.

By the end, I felt the language had changed a bit, or maybe I just wasn't noticing it anymore, but it was easier for me to read without getting annoyed. The story finished just how I predicted it would but somehow that was ok with me because Marisa grew as a person and there were lots of important messages that got addressed. This is very much a teen read and I do not think it will be enjoyed by those who have finished high school.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Six Impossible Things by Fiona Wood

Title: Six Impossible Things
Author: Fiona Wood

Release Date: 1st August 2010

My Rating: 4/5

Fourteen-year old nerd-boy Dan Cereill is not quite coping with a reversal of family fortune, moving house, new school hell, a mother with a failing wedding cake business, a just-out gay dad, and an impossible crush on the girl next door. His life is a mess, but for now, he's narrowed it down to just six impossible things...

My Review:
I have had a really hard time trying to review this book. I loved it and I was pretty sure I would as I had read so many fantastic reviews of it. But my mind is in holiday mode and words are not working for me right now so here is the jist of what I think...

Six things I loved about it:

*It was very funny with plenty of irony and sarcasm
*All the characters were developed fantastically and there was someone for everyone to identify with
* Dan's situation is common in real-life but not common in the YA literary world so it felt like a breath of fresh air and something teens would be able to relate to
*The story is age-appropriate. Dan is fourteen, and the events and milestones are that of a fourteen-year-old
*Dan Cereill is an anagram of Cinderella
*The book is full of cliches but it JUST DOESN'T MATTER

The ending is predictable but in a good way and I would definitely read this again, maybe not straight away, but definitely again.
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