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

Monday, January 31, 2011

Attention Perth Bloggers!

This is shout out to any other YA bloggers in Perth who might be interested in attending an event in March.

(click the image for a larger version)

I was wondering if anyone might want to meet up and go to this with me?

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Five Flavors of Dumb by Antony John

Title: Five Flavors of Dumb
Author: Antony John

Release Date: 1st November 2010 (US Only)

My Rating: 5/5

Eighteen-year-old Piper has got herself into a mess. Because of her big mouth, she has one month to get a paying gig for her high school's hottest new rock band, Dumb. In Piper's mind, the band couldn't have a more perfect name. Just look at the members: one egomaniacal pretty boy, one silent rocker, one talent-less piece of eye-candy, one angry girl, and one nerd-boy drummer - five discordant personalities who, when put together, seem ready to self-destruct at any moment. Getting them an actual gig seems impossible. Add to that the fact that Piper doesn't know if their music is good or not, because, well, she's deaf.

But Piper is determined to get the band a gig to show her classmates that being deaf doesn't mean she's invisible. And as she gets to know the five flavors of Dumb, some hidden talents, secret crushes, and crazy rock music emerge. She doesn't need to hear the music to sell it, but Piper wants the chance to feel the music too. Does she have what it takes to manage Dumb
and discover her own inner rock star?

My Review:
I apologise in advance for the length of this review. There was just so much to comment on! Five Flavors of Dumb is brilliant. I can't fault it. I fell for it before I even started reading chapter one when I found lyrics from one of my favourite Oasis songs at the front.

"Please don't put your life in the hands
Of a rock 'n' roll band
Who'll throw it all away "
Don't Look Back in Anger" - Oasis
The love certainly didn't stop there, every few paragraphs I had to stop reading so I could write down a quote I liked. After the first few chapters, I decided I was disrupting the narrative flow, and so stopped writing them down. While I can't write them all down, the beginning of chapter two is a hilarious paragraph on the high school social structure.
I felt very connected to Piper throughout the book. I went through so many different emotions. I laughed, I cried, and I certainly felt Piper's frustration and anger. I felt so proud of her when she let loose in the heat of the moment and told her family how she felt after keeping it bottled inside for so long. And what she accomplishes when she actually stops being a wall-flower is awesome. As she discovers strengths she never knew she had as her self esteem soars, Piper emerges from her shell, stands up for herself and those around her, and learns how to play dirty in the big bad world of band managers.

"Suck-i-ness [suhk-ee-nis] - noun
Realising you're completely alone...even in a crowd"
One of my favourite characters is Finn, Piper's 14-year-old brother who sits quietly in the background trying to hold their dysfunctional family together. He is such a sweetie and one of his lines put a major lump in my throat. Obviously it needs to be read in the context to get the full meaning behind it but here is a little taste...

"I've done everything I can. Other kids learned Spanish or French, but not me. I'm fluent in American Sign Language, and I did it for you. Not for Oma and Poppy. I did it so that I could talk to you, because you're my sister."
Along with her feelings of loneliness (being the only deaf family member and student isn't easy), the psychological pain Piper feels from her parents is probably the most crushing; they often ignore her opinions, dismiss her needs and make light of her aspirations. I could feel the hurt and it made me cry.

Piper and her father have a difficult relationship and Piper believes this is due to how mortified he is by her deafness. Looking at it from Piper's point of view, he never even bothered to learn how to sign, her preferred way of communication. For me this was the most heart-breaking part of the whole story. Throughout the book though, we come to see a better side of her father as Piper and Finn discover things about him they never knew and Piper begins to rebuild the relationship she once had with her father (before she lost her hearing at age six).

A very quick comment on the members of Dumb...a great collection of random personalities that definitely add to the flavour of Dumb. But as always, appearances can be deceiving.

"Josh Cooke on vocals, his mouth moving preternaturally fast and hips gyrating as if a gerbil had gained unauthorised access to his crotch"
Antony John has created a unique story about music, family, standing up for yourself and proving to those who doubt you, that you can do anything you set your mind to. Also, major shout out to Kristen Smith who designed an absolutely stunning cover, one of the best I have ever seen and what made me pick up the book in the first place.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Perth Writers Festival 2011

Well it's that time of the year again! Yesterday, the program for the Perth Writers Festival, an off-shoot of the Perth International Arts Festival, was announced. While personally I'm a little disappointed with the line up, there are a few good YA authors involved.

For those of you who are not familiar with this event, the PWF runs over the long weekend at the beginning of March and features a selection of authors across the board participating in readings, talks, workshops and a family day.

While there are authors from all different writing genres, since I am a YA blog, I'm only going to talk about the YA authors who will be attending. If you are interested in seeing the whole program or for more information, click here (all links lead to the relevant pages on the PWF website).

The shining light for me at the festival is Melina Marchetta! For those living under a rock, Melina is the amazing author of Looking for Alibrandi, Saving Francesca and the most recent The Piper's Son, amongst others. She will be taking part in three events over the weekend. The first will be a Writing Fiction Workshop on Saturday. Then on Sunday morning she will be taking part in a discussion with authors Sophie Gee and Toni Jordan about the distinction between popular and literary fiction and then in the early afternoon, she will discuss writing for teenagers with New Zealand YA author Bernard Beckett.

Unfortunately, Melina Marchetta and Bernard Beckett's talk happens to be on at the same time as a discussion with Margo Lanagan and Stephen Dedman about the anthology Zombies vs. Unicorns in which Lanagan contributes a short story. The question is, which is better, zombies or unicorns? And what side are you on? Margo from Team Unicorn and zombie advocate Stephen, discuss the good and evil sides of fantasy writing.

There are many other YA authors participating in talks and all are doing multiple events. The easiest way to find out who and what they are doing is to visit the festival website and get yourself an electronic version of the program. Along with Marchetta, Beckett and Lanagan, other children's and YA authors include Brain Falkner, Sandy Fussell, Cristy Burne, Ursula Dubosarsky, Anthony Eaton, Wendy Orr, Will Elliot and Lev Grossman.

You may even find some adult authors of interest including Jeff Lindsay, author of the Dexter series, Annie Proulx, Leah Giarratano, Joanne Harris and Tim Flannery.

Unfortunately (well not unfortunately but you know...) I will be working at the festival this year so I'm not sure if I will be able to make it to any of the talks I am interested in but fingers crossed! Maybe I could get my lunch break to coincide....

Here are the nitty-gritty details...

When: Friday 4th to Monday 7th March 2011
Where: The University of Western Australia
Cost: Free- $62.50
Signing: The festival bookshop, partially run by yours truly, will be where authors will be signing their books immediately after their events.
Festival Website: http://perthfestival.com.au/events/pwf/

Thursday, January 27, 2011

A Little Wanting Song by Cath Crowley

Title: A Little Wanting Song (also published under Chasing Charlie Duskin)
Author: Cath Crowley

Release Date: 1st April 2005

My Rating: 5/5

Charlie Duskin loves music, and she knows she’s good at it. But she only sings when she’s alone, on the moonlit porch or in the back room at Old Gus’s Secondhand Record Store. Charlie’s mom and grandmother have both died, and this summer she’s visiting her grandpa in the country, surrounded by ghosts and serving burgers to the local kids at the milk bar. She’s got her iPod, her guitar, and all her recording equipment, but she wants more: A friend. A dad who notices her. The chance to show Dave Robbie that she’s not entirely unspectacular.
Rose Butler lives next door to Charlie’s grandfather and spends her days watching cars pass on the freeway and hanging out with her troublemaker boyfriend. She loves Luke, but can’t wait to leave their small country town. And she’s figured out a way: She’s won a scholarship to a science school in the city, and now she has to convince her parents to let her go. This is where Charlie comes in. Charlie, who lives in the city, and whom Rose has ignored for years. Charlie, who just might be Rose’s ticket out.
My Review:

What can I say except WOW. I was completely absorbed from the first page (well actually the quotes on the back got me first) and read it in one sitting. Cath Crowleys' words flow so well, they are like a warm blanket wrapped around you in the middle of winter. They are comfort. This is a funny, beautifully written novel that will leave you desperate for anything else this fantastic author has written.

"There was this beat under my skin, a little disco weaving through me. That's how it is when I'm alone and playing the guitar, but that's never how it is in a crowd."

Rose and Charlie are both wonderful, real characters. They have hopes, fears and big hearts but their personalities are very different. Rose is trying not to suffocate in the small town she has grown up in and she will do anything to escape. Half the time she is rebelling, the other half she is the perfect student.

Charlie is a quiet, music-loving girl who is yet to come out of her shell. All she needs is a little confidence and friends who won't laugh at and ignore her. Her father no longer notices her and is a shadow of his former self. She talks to both her mother and grandmother in her head, taking advice from those she knows loved her. She spends her time writing songs and playing her guitar for no one but herself, scared of the rejection that she is sure will follow. As an added bonus for us readers, Crowley includes the lyrics that Charlie writes throughout the book.

Charlie and Rose's friendship develops slowly but is one where each girl realises the other is not how they always perceived them and they find they have someone they can really talk to.

Charlie's relationship with Dave should also be mentioned. For years, both watched the other from afar. Dave is caring and loyal and he never shared the same views towards Charlie that Rose and Luke had. This summer, they actually make small, embarrassed efforts towards asking the other out and they really are so sweet together. It's really cute
watching them dance around each other until one of them actually finds some courage.

Go and find this book. Now.

Graffiti Moon
is Cath Crowley's latest release and you can read my review here. It, of course, rocks. :)

Monday, January 24, 2011

Everything Beautiful by Simmone Howell

Title: Everything Beautiful
Author: Simmone Howell

Release Date: 1st November 2008

My Rating: 2/5

I believe in Chloe and chocolate.
I believe the best part is always before.
I believe that most girls are shifty and most guys are dumb.
I believe the more you spill, the less you are.
I don't believe in life after death or diuretics or happy endings.
I don't believe anything good can come from this.

Riley Rose doesn't want to be at Spirit Ranch Holiday Camp. Riley wants to be partying with her best friend Chloe at the beautiful Ben Sebatini's house. She has a plan to get away from the jumpsuit-wearing counsellors, the feel-good mantras, do-gooder campers and the monotonous schedule of team-building exercises and outdoor activities.

But is everything at the Spirit Ranch as it appears? What secrets are waiting for discovery in the abandoned Fraser house? And why doesn't anyone want to talk about the accident that landed the mysterious Dylan in a wheelchair last year?

My Review:
I had been wanting to read this for such a long time and I had heard so many wonderful things about it but I was kind of disappointed, it just didn't grab me like I thought it would. I can't quite put my finger on why though.

Riley is a pretty miserable girl who hides behind false bravado and seeks 'companionship' wherever she can find it. Due to the death of her mother and her father's new way of living - and girlfriend- Riley finds herself best buds with Chloe, a total wild child and Riley is her new protégé. Finding comfort in food, boys, bitterness, bitchiness and an I-don't-give-a-shit attitude, Riley is on her way to self destruction.

Forced into attending Spirit Ranch for a week (cliché filled and enough to drive me crazy) Riley decides to stir up as much trouble as she can. But, despite all her own pain, there is a good person hiding inside and she still manages to help others around her, the camp outcasts Olive and Bird, self-pitying Dylan and sheltered Sarita. The question is, as Riley's days at camp slowly come to a close, has she learnt anything? And have those around her managed to help her find what she has been searching for?

This is a relatively good read with a message of self-esteem and kindness between the pages but overall, for me, it just didn't live up to the hype.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

One-Year Blogoversary!

Today is my one year Blogoversary!

Thankyou so much to everyone who takes the time to read and comment. It means so much to me. First things first, the winners, thanks to random.org, of my blogoversary giveaways are...

Prize Pack #1
Nomes from inkcrush

Prize Pack #2Monique from FantasyvsReality

Prize Pack #3Rabiah from Confessions of a Readaholic

Prize Pack #4 Braiden from YA Concoction

Congratulations to the winners and thankyou to everyone who entered!
The winners have been contacted by email.

Now for something fun. Or maybe it's just fun for me to make up these lists... either way, here is where I like to play "Get to know the blogger"

Some random things you probably don't know about me...

(and probably don't need to know)

~I love books, music, live gigs, travel and photography

~My favourite colour is green

~I love board games and winter

~My favourite authors are Cath Crowley, John Green, David Levithan and John Marsden

~I love Disney movies

~I hate peas, capsicum and coriander

~I have way too many literary crushes. These include, but are not limited to...

St. Clair from Anna and the French Kiss

Nick from Nick and Nora's Infinite Playlist

Dave from A Little Wanting Song

Owen from Just Listen

Patrick from Fixing Delilah

Sam from Shiver

Jacob from North Of Beautiful

Love to all my followers xxx

Friday, January 21, 2011

Last Chance!

My one-year blogoversary give-away closes tomorrow night (that's the 22nd) so now is your last chance to enter any of the four give-aways.

Prize Pack #1: Unreleased fiction (Australian postal addresses only)
Prize Pack #2: Historical fiction (Australia only)
Prize Pack #3: Australian-author fiction (International)
Prize Pack #4: Supernatural fiction (Australia only)

Remember all you have to do is become a follower and leave a comment with your name and email address under the prize-pack post. It's that easy!

Winners will be announced on the 23rd.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Crash Into Me by Albert Borris

Title: Crash Into Me
Author: Albert Borris

Release Date: 1st July 2009
(Not currently available in Australia)

My Rating: 3/5


Owen, Frank, Audrey, and Jin-Ae have one thing in common: they all want to die. When they meet online after each attempts suicide and fails, the four teens make a deadly pact: they will escape together on a summer road trip to visit the sites of celebrity suicides...and at their final destination, they will all end their lives.

As they drive cross-country, bonding over their dark impulses, sharing their deepest secrets and desires, living it up, hooking up, and becoming true friends, each must decide whether life is worth living--or if there's no turning back.

My Review:
Albert Borris has done a fine job addressing such a tough and delicate subject. Crash Into Me, in my opinion, is a story about making a connection. It is about four teenagers with a heart-breaking outlook on life who decide to go on an obscure road trip, with the aim to commit suicide at the end. All is not as it seems though and not everything goes according to plan. Our characters have no self-worth, barely any hope and absolutely zero self esteem. Can they stave off drinking, hiding behind suicide facts or shielding themselves with false bravado long enough to find the acceptance they crave?

"Real self worth comes from mastery, from getting good at something. It doesn't matter what. Then you don't have to worry about empty compliments. You don't worry about what other people think. You have self respect."

Owen is extremely insightful and knowledgeable about random facts, and like our other characters, Frank, Audrey and Jin-Ae, he is sad, depressed and lonely. We connect far more to Owen throughout the road trip (I spent most of the time wanting to wrap him in a massive hug), due to the story being told from his POV, and because of this, we only really discover which path he will choose. Most of the ending is predictable and I felt it was finished too quickly. It is hopeful, but the fate of some of the characters remains uncertain. Despite this, it is still a very well written book and it stayed with me long after I finished it.

The story of their road trip is broken up by snippets from the chat room where they all first met. This helps provide a back story and explains how they came to be taking such a random road trip in the first place. The other little extras are the lists that they compile while on the road (some are serious, others, silly). For example 'Top Ten Places to Visit that Aren't Graves' (Area 51, Roswell and the Icelandic Phallological Museum both make the list) and the 'Top Ten Reasons to Live' (Gay bingo and pink socks).

Despite it's morbid subject matter, Crash Into Me still has funny moments and witty banter between the pages as our characters face emotions they didn't know they had and discover what it is they really want for themselves.

Will they find what they are looking for in the most unlikely of places?

Monday, January 17, 2011

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

Title: Anna and the French Kiss
Author: Stephanie Perkins

Release Date: 4th January 2011

My Rating: 4/5

Anna is looking forward to her senior year in Atlanta, where she has a great job, a loyal best friend, and a crush on the verge of becoming more. So she's less than thrilled about being shipped off to boarding school in Paris - until she meets Etienne St. Clair. Smart, charming, beautiful, Etienne has it all...including a serious girlfriend.

But in the City of Light, wishes have a way of coming true. Will a year of romantic near-misses end with their long-awaited French kiss?

My Review:

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this and read it all in one sitting.

Setting the story in Paris was such a brilliant idea. Paris is one of those cities that draws you in and just reading the pages made me feel like I was back in Paris (and made me remember all the things I love about that city; I am so going back again soon).

Anna's new friends are the kind of people you would want to hang out with. There were so many moments that made me want to smile, whether it was between Anna and St. Clair or others in their group. I loved their friendly, teasing banter but also the fact that the characters all have other things going on in their lives besides just worrying about if the person they are crushing on likes them back. I like that they make mistakes, that they have heart. There is a depth to Anna and the French Kiss that not alot of YA romance novels have.

Anna is an awesome protagonist who is very easy to relate to; she's very real. She's kind of neurotic, she's funny and she's always trying to do the right thing. St.Clair is absolutely crush-worthy but of course he's human and makes plenty of mistakes. He is charming and sensitive and has alot of his own issues to deal with. Both characters can be so frustrating when they are together, you can feel the romantic tension between them and the awkward moments when you just want them to hurry up and admit how much they like each other. God that tension! There are sweet moments, tear-jerking moments and times when you just wish you could trade places with Anna

Simply put, you will fall in love with this book.

Thankyou to Penguin Books for this review copy.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins

Title: Hex Hall
Series: Hex Hall Book 1
Author: Rachel Hawkins

Release Date: 1st June 2010

My Rating: 4/5

When sixteen-year-old Sophie Mercer discovers she's a witch, she imagines life will be full of magic, fun and ...well ...broomsticks! But her first attempt at a love spell goes disastrously wrong and, as punishment, Sophie is shipped off to Hecate 'Hex' Hall, a reform school for witches, shapeshifters and faeries.

By the end of her first day among her fellow freak-teens, Sophie has quite a scorecard: three powerful enemies who look like supermodels, a futile crush on a gorgeous warlock, a creepy tag-along ghost, and a new roommate who happens to be the most hated person on campus and the only vampire.

Worse, Sophie soon learns that a mysterious predator has been attacking students and her only friend is the number-one suspect...

My Review:
Hex Hall is a fun, easy read, perfect for lying on the beach with or snuggling in front of the fire with (depending on what part of the world you are in!). It follows a pretty standard formula for teen paranormal books but has a relatively believable storyline that doesn't involve a brand new witch somehow saving the whole world with only one semester of magic behind her.

The story doesn't focus so much on the ins and outs of Sophie's classes but more on the people she goes to school with, the different social cliques (especially between species), and the on-going mysteries surrounding the attacks and also Sophie's father. There are some great characters and I am especially fond of Jenna, I think she is such a strong character and am really looking forward to seeing what she and Sophie get up to in the sequel.

Demonglass, the sequel to Hex Hall, will be released in America in March and Australia in May 2011.

As a side note, I find both covers a bit strange. First off, there are no cats in the book, so why is one featured on both covers? The pond in the first is a bit random, as are the three girls on the other cover, who do not resemble any of the characters and are such a generalisation of Hex Hall students. But this could be a whole other rant...

Friday, January 14, 2011

Bloodlines Release Date Announced!

I have some big news for you today! It has been confirmed that Richelle Mead's Vampire Academy spin-off series Bloodlines will be released 23rd August 2011.

No cover has been released yet but word in the blogosphere is that Sydney Sage and Jill Mastrano will be main characters.

Click here for the Bloodlines official website.

For those of you who have no idea what I am talking about, this is what Richelle had to say about Bloodlines late last year...

"Last Sacrifice will be the last book about Rose, but it'll be followed by a spin-off series still set in the Vampire Academy world. Side characters we know from the current series will now be our main characters, and there'll be a whole new storyline (not the last one told from a different perspective). So far, there is no exact release date, but you can expect it near late summer/early fall of 2011.

At the moment, I'm not allowed to reveal the title, premise, or full cast of characters. I can tell you that it'll be written in third person, so we'll get a number of characters' perspectives. One of them will be Sydney. The others are a secret for now. Also, expect a cameo from Rose.:) "

Taken from Richelle Mead's official website.

Stay tuned for more info :)

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Blogoversary Giveaway #4 - Final Prize Pack

On January 23rd, it will be my one-year blogoversary and to celebrate I am hosting a massive giveaway! Over the past few days I have announced a new prize pack each day. Today is my final giveaway. All you need to do to enter is become a follower, if not one already, and leave your name and email address in the comment section under the post. Spreading the word is not required but appreciated :)

There are three Australian-only giveaways and one international prize pack. Entries close on the 22nd of January and all will be drawn on the 23rd.

Today's featured giveaway is a new release supernatural pack and open only to those of you with an Australian postal address.

The Evil Within by Nancy Holder
The Dead by Charlie Higson
Jealousy by Lili St. Crow

Remember, you can still enter all giveaways up until 22nd January.
Prize Pack #1
Prize Pack #2
Prize Pack #3

The winners will be contacted 23rd January

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Love is the Higher Law by David Levithan

Title: Love is the Higher Law
Author: David Levithan

Release Date: 1st November 2010 (Australia)

My Rating: 3/5

First there is a Before, and then there is an After. . . .

The lives of three teens—Claire, Jasper, and Peter—are altered forever on September 11, 2001. Claire, a high school junior, has to get to her younger brother in his classroom. Jasper, a college sophomore from Brooklyn, wakes to his parents’ frantic calls from Korea, wondering if he’s okay. Peter, a classmate of Claire’s, has to make his way back to school as everything happens around him.

Here are three teens whose intertwining lives are reshaped by this catastrophic event. As each gets to know the other, their moments become wound around each other’s in a way that leads to new understandings, new friendships, and new levels of awareness for the world around them and the people close by.

My Review:
Love is the Higher Law is a story about three teenager from New York City who were not directly affected by September 11th but whose lives were forever changed.

As many of you know, I have recently returned from visiting New York. While I was there, I visited the 9/11 Tribute Centre which was extremely moving and I was affected way more than I thought I would be. Reading the beginning of the book, which describes the morning of 9/11 from the perspective of our three teenagers, I actually had some trouble getting through the pages, due to the emotional content, and wasn't sure if I would be able to finish reading. Luckily for me, the actual event and description of 9/11 is only at the very beginning of the book. The rest of the story follows Claire, Jasper and Peter and how they react in the months following the aftermath of the attacks.

Claire, Jasper and Peter become stuck in their post 9/11 world, trying to find their place and find meaning in their now changed lives; Jasper trying to feel something and his frustration and anger over not being allowed to help by donating blood, Claire rallying to help, not just 9/11 charities, but all groups, wanting to do something, anything. Claire is a very interesting character, very deep and thoughtful. While feeling completely lost, she marvels at how everyone has come together to help each other (she makes a profound 'speech' on pages 105-106 that I really like). I identified most with her character and found her actions touching, especially the time she spends at Union Square.

In the week after 9/11, New York City becomes something it hasn't been since the days before the steamship: isolated. Even after the bridges and tunnels and airports open again, most of the people who are using them are making a return voyage. The tourists disappear. Bands do not show up. Concerts are cancelled left and right. Museums are empty. New York is filled with... New Yorkers.
(Peter, page 81)

Towards the end of the book it became alot more philosophical, each of the characters talking about how they feel and their new views on the world. While I like this aspect, I would have enjoyed a bit more character interaction between our three protagonists, rather than mostly hearing their thoughts. By the end, we are at a point where it is a year and a half after the attacks. We see how Claire, Jasper and Peter have changed as people. We've watched as they struggled to comprehend what has happened, and the conflicting emotions related to moving on. When is it ok to laugh? To carry on with life?

You may be wondering why I picked a book to read about 9/11 when the sadness was once again quite raw to me (having visited the tribute centre). I actually wasn't so much thinking about what I was about to read, but more whose writing I was about to read. My current quest is to read everything David Levithan has written. He is awesome.

Blogoversary Giveaway #3

On January 23rd, it will be my one-year blogoversary and to celebrate I am hosting a massive giveaway! Over four days, I will be posting a new prize pack each day. All you need to do to enter is become a follower, if not one already, and leave your name and email address in the comment section under the post. Spreading the word is not required but appreciated :)

There will be three Australian-only giveaways and one international prize pack. Entries close on the 22nd of January and all will be drawn on the 23rd.

Today's featured giveaway is an Australian author fiction pack and is open internationally.

Scout by Nicole Pluss
The Three Loves of Persimmon by Cassandra Golds
A Girl Like Me by Penny Matthews

You can still enter giveaways #1 and #2

Check back tomorrow for the final prize pack

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Blogoversary Giveaway #2

On January 23rd, it will be my one-year blogoversary and to celebrate I am hosting a massive giveaway! Over the next couple of days I am posting a new prize pack each day. All you need to do to enter is become a follower, if not one already, and leave your name and email address in the comment section under the post. Spreading the word is not required but appreciated :)

There will be three Australian-only giveaways and one international prize pack. Entries close on the 22nd of January and all will be drawn on the 23rd.

Today's featured giveaway is a historical fiction pack and open only to those of you with an Australian postal address.

The Other Countess by Eve Edwards
Bright Young Things by Anna Godbersen
Anastasia's Secret by Susanne Dunlap

You can still enter yesterday's giveaway here

Visit tomorrow for my international giveaway!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Blogoversary Giveaway!

On January 23rd, it will be my one-year blogoversary and to celebrate I am hosting a massive giveaway! Over the next few days I will be posting a new giveaway each day. All you need to do is become a follower, if not one already, and leave your name and email address in the comment section under the post.

There will be three Australian-only giveaways and one international prize pack. Entries close on the 22nd of January and all will be drawn on the 23rd.

Today's featured giveaway is something special only for those of you with an Australian postal address as neither book is released in Australia yet.

Fixing Delilah by Sarah Ockler will be released in May and The Mockingbirds by Daisy Whitney will be released June 2011.

Tune in tomorrow for the next prize pack!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Beautiful Darkness by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl

Title: Beautiful Darkness
Series: Caster Chronicles Book 2

Authors: Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl

Release Date: 12th October 2010

My Rating: 3/5

One night in the rain, Ethan Wate opened his eyes and fell in love with Lena Duchannes. His life would never be the same.

Lena is a Caster and her family is locked in a supernatural civil war. On her sixteenth birthday, Lena made a terrifying choice, which now haunts her day and night.

As her seventeenth birthday approaches, Lena and Ethan face even greater danger. A Caster and a Mortal can never truly be together. Every kiss is a curse. Ethan's next heartbeat could be his last. It is their curse now...

My Review:
While I didn't enjoy this as much as Beautiful Creatures, I did ultimately like the way the story finished. It differs quite a bit from the way the first instalment flowed. From the very beginning, Lena is caught in a downward spiral of depression which I found frustrating, and also rather weak. While I understand why she is like this, I lean towards wanting female characters to be strong and independent so I was a bit disappointed in her. I didn't really want to read about how the love-sick boy tries desperately to save the girl who doesn't want to be saved. It was a bit whiny and this annoys me because I loved Ethan's character in book one.

In Beautiful Darkness, we are introduced to quite a few new characters, all of which I am fond of apart from the irritating and arrogant John Breed, although I believe this is how I am supposed to feel towards him. And revisiting characters from Creatures? I really like the way Riley's path takes a turn down the unexpected. We also travel into the Caster world, more so than in Beautiful Creatures, which is something I haven't decided if I like or not. While I do like the hocus-pocus aspect of things, other dimensions are sometimes just a bit too sci-fi for me, for some reason I find other realms less believable than someone having magical abilities (but this opens up a whole other discussion best left for another time).

All in all, by the end of Beautiful Darkness I was happy with how it panned out and am intrigued with what this writing duo will bring us in the as-yet untitled third instalment.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

2011 Young Adult Reading Challenge

I have decided this year that I am going to take part in a couple of challenges. One of them, the 2011 Young Adult Reading Challenge, is being hosted by Jamie over at For The Love Of YA.

The rules are as follows...

1. Anyone can join. You don't need a blog to participate. Create a post about the challenge and link your challenge post up here. Non-bloggers, visit Jamie's post for more info.

2. There are four levels:
The Mini YA Reading Challenge – Read 12 Young Adult novels.
The Fun Size YA Reading Challenge – Read 20 Young Adult novels.
The Jumbo YA Reading Challenge – Read 40 Young Adult novels.
The Mega YA Reading Challenge – Read 50+ Young Adult novels.

3. Audio, eBooks, paper, re-reads all count.

4. No need to list your books in advance. You may select books as you go. Even if you list them now, you can change the list if needed.

5. The Challenge starts on January 1, 2011 and goes until December 31, 2011.

I'm going to be attempting the Mega Challenge.
To view my current challenge status, click here.
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