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Friday, September 30, 2011

2010 WA Premier's Book Award Winners

The 2010 West Australian Premier's Book Award winners were announced tonight at the State Library of WA.

The joint winners of the YOUNG ADULT category were:
Anonymity Jones by James Roy AND Happy as Larry by Scot Gardner

The other nominees were:
The FitzOsbornes in Exile: The Montmaray Journals 2 by Michelle Cooper
The Midnight Zoo by Sonya Hartnett
This Is Shyness by Leanne Hall
Wavelength by A.J. Betts

The winner in the CHILDREN'S category was:
Toppling by Sally Murphy/Illustrator Rhian Nest James

The other nominees were:
Henry Hoey Hobson by Christine Bongers
Mirror by Jeanne Baker
Sarindi's Dragon Kite by Janine M. Fraser/Illustrator Elise Hurst
The Red Wind by Isobelle Carmody
The Three Loves Of Persimmon by Cassandra Golds

To view the winners in the adult categories, click here.

Congratulations to the winners and all the nominees.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The Power of Six by Pittacus Lore

Title: The Power of Six
Series: The Lorien Legacies #2
Author: Pittacus Lore

Release Date: 23rd August 2011

My Rating: 5/5

I've seen him on the news. Followed the stories about what happened in Ohio. John Smith, out there, on the run. To the world, he's a mystery. But to me . . . he's one of us.

Nine of us came here, but sometimes I wonder if time has changed us—if we all still believe in our mission. How can I know? There are six of us left. We're hiding, blending in, avoiding contact with one another . . . but our Legacies are developing, and soon we'll be equipped to fight. Is John Number Four, and is his appearance the sign I've been waiting for? And what about Number Five and Six? Could one of them be the raven-haired girl with the stormy eyes from my dreams? The girl with powers that are beyond anything I could ever imagine? The girl who may be strong enough to bring the six of us together?

They caught Number One in Malaysia.
Number Two in England.
And Number Three in Kenya.
They tried to catch Number Four in Ohio—and failed.

I am Number Seven. One of six still alive.
And I'm ready to fight.

In A Nutshell:
An excellent sequel to I Am Number Four with plenty of action and suspense. The Power of Six is even better than its predecessor!

My Review:
The Power of Six is edgy, action packed and suspenseful, a fantastic follow-up to I Am Number Four.

When I first started it I was a little disappointed because it begins from the perspective of Number Seven and I assumed that the whole story would be from Seven’s perspective. There is nothing wrong with that except I really wanted to see Four’s story continued. Thankfully the chapters alternate between Four and Seven so we get to stay on Four’s journey but also meet a new member of the Garde.

John/Four’s story picks up after he, Sam and Six fled Paradise, hiding themselves from not only the Mogadorians but also everyone else in America. We follow them as they regroup, heal and start training, with Four mourning Henri and avoiding opening his chest. Four also struggles with his increasing attraction to Six and what it means concerning his feelings for Sarah, and his disloyalty to Sam who also has a major crush on Six.

We are introduced to Number Seven who has been hiding out in a convent in Spain, for the last eleven years, with her Cepan, who has lost all will to be part of what they came for, taking a place with the Sisters. Seven’s anxiety increases as her legacies progress and her fear that the Mogadorians are watching her, something that she finds to be true. She is constantly looking for any news about the rest of the Garde and her hope that her Cepan will ‘wake up’ and get back to their mission.

Throughout the book, two more Garde are located, chests are lost and found, massive battles are fought with heartache, betrayal, joy and pain. And there is a revelation concerning Sam’s father that changes the direction that Sam, Six and Four are heading in.

I’m blown away by the awesomeness of the Gardes abilities and I can only imagine how insanely cool it will be when all the Garde come together in book three or four to fight the Mogadorians.

There were many times while I was reading The Power of Six that it became so tense that I kept jumping ahead on the page to see what was coming. I had to stop myself and keep reading properly!

Thankyou to Penguin Australia for this review copy.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

All These Things I've Done by Gabrielle Zevin

Title: All These Things I've Done
Series: Birthright #1
Author: Gabrielle Levin

Release Date: 6th September 2011

My Rating: 5/5

In 2083, chocolate and coffee are illegal, paper is hard to find, water is carefully rationed, and New York City is rife with crime and poverty. And yet, for Anya Balanchine, the sixteen-year-old daughter of the city's most notorious (and dead) crime boss, life is fairly routine. It consists of going to school, taking care of her siblings and her dying grandmother, trying to avoid falling in love with the new assistant D.A.'s son, and avoiding her loser ex-boyfriend. That is until her ex is accidentally poisoned by the chocolate her family manufactures and the police think she's to blame. Suddenly, Anya finds herself thrust unwillingly into the spotlight--at school, in the news, and most importantly, within her mafia family.

In A Nutshell:
The first in a new dystopian trilogy, All These Things I’ve Done is intriguing and suspenseful with plenty of surprising plot changes. It is set in a society that doesn’t take much of your imagination to believe our world could become like Anya’s. Can’t wait for book two!

My Review:
I totally loved Gabrielle Zevin’s latest novel, All These Things I’ve Done, a dystopian story set in New York, 2083.

All These Things I’ve Done is suspenseful and intriguing and I was constantly surprised by the direction the story took and what was thrown Anya’s way. She is strong, independent, resilient and loyal. She is extremely family orientated, looking after her grandmother, brother and sister, and keeping the peace with her extended family who now run the family business. There is a lot of responsibility sitting on her shoulders and she doesn’t trust a lot of people, keeping things close to her chest.

I think the fact that chocolate, coffee and paper are all illegal, isn’t so hard to believe. Unlike other dystopian stories where we can’t actually imagine life turning out in that way, this situation hits home more than others because it seems more likely and the reader can relate more to the idea, and therefore the story.

I am absolutely giddy with excitement to hear this book is going to be part of a trilogy as I would love to be sucked back into Anya’s world, especially with the potential directions the story could take after the ending of All The Things I’ve Done.

Thankyou to Pan Macmillan Australia for this review copy.

Second Opinions
Words on Paper
Irresistible Reads

Monday, September 19, 2011

Blood Song by Rhiannon Hart

Title: Blood Song
Series: Lharmell #1
Author: Rhiannon Hart

Release Date: 1st September 2011

My Rating: 5/5

When her sister becomes betrothed to a prince in a northern nation, Zeraphina’s only consolations are that her loyal animal companions are by her side – and that her burning hunger to travel north is finally being sated.

Already her black hair and pale eyes mark her out as different, but now Zeraphina must be even more careful to keep her secret safe. Craving blood is not considered normal behaviour for anyone, let alone a princess. So when the king’s advisor, Rodden, seems to know more about her condition than she does, Zeraphina is determined to find out more.

Zeraphina must be willing to sacrifice everything if she’s to uncover the truth – but what if the truth is beyond her worst nightmares?

In A Nutshell:
Blood Song is the story of a feisty heroine with loyal animals, an infuriating but intriguing boy, a mysterious land and frightful creatures. It has action, adventure, tension and mystery, with a little bit of romance on the side. Utterly captivating!

My Review:
Blood Song, by debut Australian author Rhiannon Hart, is a captivating fantasy novel about a young girl, fighting with who she is and what she is destined to become.

A princess by birth, Zeraphina is more interested in archery and her beloved animals than finding a suitor. She also as a secret; she is constantly battling an inner turmoil of an unknown hunger and searching for an explanation as to why she is so different to her mother and sister.

When she travels north for her sister’s wedding to a wealthy and powerful prince, Zeraphina experiences an unexplainable pull further north to the mysterious Lharmell, a place no one really knows anything about, or if they do, they refuse to talk about it. When she meets the king’s advisor, Rodden, who is in charge of protecting the city's borders from the inhabitants of Lharmell, he appears to know what she is, but refuses to tell her anything. He is infuriating but immensely intriguing and draws Zeraphina in, despite her efforts to remain at a distance.

Zeraphina is naturally inquisitive and feisty, and she finds a sparring partner in Rodden, not to mention a connection unlike any other. The chemistry between the two is filled with both admiration and disgust, neither admitting their true feelings in light of the negative impressions they seem to have made. There is always that sizzling tension that is ignored and a masked ball scene between the two is particularly intoxicating. Hart certainly knows how to raise the level of anticipation!

There were a number of times I was taken by surprise (in a good way) at the direction the story took and found many scenes to be action packed, engaging and suspenseful. Although Rodden originally got on my nerves at his refusal to tell Zeraphina anything, I quickly grew to love him and there weren’t any characters in the story that I disliked. I particularly loved Zeraphina’s animal companions, Leap and Griffin, and their unique abilities of communication. Ultimately I love the world Rhiannon Hart has created and the mythology and medieval aspects woven into it. I am really looking forward to book two. Too bad it won’t be released until 2012!

Thankyou to Random House Australia for this review copy.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Cover Love: Insurgent by Veronica Roth

Woo hoo! The cover for Insurgent, the sequel to Divergent, has been revealed!

Align Center
Doesn't it look awesome?! And it looks great next to Divergent...

Unfortunately Insurgent wont be published until May 2012. If you haven't read Divergent yet, go out and grab a copy, it is absolutely FANTASTIC!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Premier Award Winners QLD and VIC

Book awards are being announced left right and centre lately. Already this year we have had the NSW Premier Award, the Prime Minister's Award, the APA Book Design Awards and just recently the Premier Awards for Victoria and Queensland.

We still have the WA Premier Awards to be announced on September 30th and The Inky Awards on October 25th.

Queensland Premier Awards

Young Adult Book Award Winner
Being Here by Barry Jonsberg

The other short-listed titles:
Graffiti Moon by Cath Crowley
The Golden Day by Ursula Dubosarsky
Big River, Little Fish by Belinda Jeffrey
To Die For by Mark Svendsen

To view the full list of winners click here.

Victorian Premier Awards

Prize for Writing for Young Adults
The Three Loves of Persimmon by Cassandra Golds

The other short-listed titles:
The Life of a Teenage Body-Snatcher by Doug MacLeod
Graffiti Moon by Cath Crowley

To view the full list of winners click here.

Congratulations to the winners and everyone nominated!

Stay tuned for the winners of the Inky's and the WA Premier Awards.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Maggie Stiefvater Giveaway!

As you may have read a week or so ago, I was fortunate enough to go and see the fabulous Maggie Stiefvater speak. I got my books signed and a photo with Maggie. I know a lot of people weren't able to attend the event so I got some extra stuff signed and am now giving it away!

1st Prize - a signed paperback copy of Shiver
2 x Runners-up - each will get a Forever badge and a signed bookmark

You must be a follower via Google Friend Connect to enter.
Sorry but this is only open to Australian residents.
Entries close 30th September 2011.

To enter, please leave a comment below saying which author you would love to meet if they were to come to Australia (this is not a trick question and does not have to be Maggie!).
Please also leave your name and email address.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Hunger by Jackie Morse Kessler

Title: Hunger
Series: Riders of the Apocalypse #1
Author: Jackie Morse Kessler

Release Date:
18th October 2010 (US) No Australian Date

My Rating:

Lisabeth Lewis has a black steed, a set of scales, and a new job: she’s been appointed Famine. How will an anorexic seventeen-year-old girl from the suburbs fare as one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse?

Travelling the world on her steed gives Lisa freedom from her troubles at home: her constant battle with hunger, and her struggle to hide it from the people who care about her. But being Famine forces her to go places where hunger is a painful part of everyday life, and to face the horrifying effects of her phenomenal power. Can Lisa find a way to harness that power — and the courage to battle her own inner demons?

In A Nutshell: Hunger is a unique way of looking at teenage eating disorders, as Lisa is given the task of inflicting her unhealthy obsession on others. It is an up-close view into the sad world of a sufferer as Lisa battles with her self control and with those around her, until she ultimately has the realisation that she needs help.

My Review: When Lisa accidentally accepts the job as Famine, one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, her view on food slowly changes as she sees food, and eating disorders, from a new perspective. At only 175 pages, Hunger is a relatively quick read that can sometimes be graphic, but let’s face it, eating disorders are ugly.

Hunger looks at all the effects of having an eating disorder, both the physical and the emotional, as Lisa struggles with her 'thin voice', and the feelings of betrayal from her boyfriend, childhood friend and her father, as they try to help her realise she has a problem. We see the way in which Lisa’s eating disorder began and how her new friendship with Tammy has influenced her illness.
Through Lisa’s eyes we see how she reasons away her side effects with excuses, all the while the reader knows the real reason her face looks gaunt and her skin sallow, why her hair is falling out and why she is always cold. We witness her internal battle as she fights to keep ‘control’.

As she takes on the role as Famine, we see her initial feelings towards those who stuff their faces with food to her reaction at seeing those in third world countries completely devastated by famine and the other bringers of the apocalypse (pestilence, war and death). We see the point where Lisa realises what lack of food does to a person, to a town. We witness her joy at being able to help others and see the emotional strength inside her grow. We see Lisa fall down again when she thinks everything is ok but then her ‘thin voice’ creeps back into her psyche, and the turning point when she finally asks for help.

While Hunger deals with the increasingly common issue of eating disorders, Rage, it's sequel, looks at self-harm and the third book Loss, due for release in 2012, covers bullying. They are all heavy issues, but ones that a lot of people, adults and teenagers alike, refuse to talk about. And we all know that silence is not the way to handle such important issues.

Jackie Morse Kessler was one of the authors attacked in the Wall Street Journal Article, Darkness Too Visible, back in June. Rage was mentioned in the article saying that stories like these 'normalise' the issue and even promote it. I can tell you right now, what a load of &*$%. Reading Hunger, it does not glorify eating disorders, and while I haven't read Rage yet (I am off to buy it now), I would be willing to bet that it tackles self-harm in the same way. I would definitely recommend this book not only to teenagers, but also to those who do not understand what their friend, daughter, son, etc, is going through. Jackie Morse Kessler had an eating disorder. She writes from experience. Her efforts in helping fellow sufferers should be recognised and applauded, not insulted.

Other YA Books Looking at Eating Disorders
Just Listen
Beautiful Monster

Friday, September 9, 2011

Perth YA Fans Unite

Introducing a brand new campaign called 'Perth YA Fans Unite'!

Are you a West Australian YA fan? Are you sick of hearing about all the amazing authors that come to Australia, but who don't come and visit their fans over here in Perth?

Well I hope you just answered yes because so am I! Because of this, myself and a bunch of other Perth bloggers have created a website and petition to encourage more authors to make the trip over to WA. We have just as many YA fans over here in the west as over east and we plan to show it!

Head over to our Perth YA Fans Unite website where you can sign the petition, find our button for use on your website, LIKE our Facebook page, check out upcoming YA events here in the west and join our street team. You don't have to be a blogger to be part of this, anyone can sign the petition and help spread the word!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Days Like This by Alison Stewart

Title: Days Like This
Author: Alison Stewart

Release Date: 1st August 2011

My Rating: 3/5

She has to escape.
But who else is out there?
And can anyone survive days like this?

I want to go back to the days when life made sense. The days before our parents became strange; before the warming ate away at all the living things in the world; before The Committee and their Blacktroopers. Before the Wall.

Lily is a prisoner in her own home. Forced to stay inside by The Committee and guarded by their increasingly distant parents, Lily and her brother Daniel are beginning to ask why. Then, when Daniel disappears just before his seventeenth birthday, Lily knows she is next.

In A Nutshell:
Stewart has cleverly woven together the hot topic of global warming with the escalating obsession of looking young and beautiful forever. A fast paced novel for dystopian fans.

My Review:
Days Like This is an exciting dystopian novel set in a futuristic Sydney. The world has changed as the effects of global warming have drastically altered the planet. The days are filled with blistering heat and water is in short supply. Rules and regulations are set by The Committee and enforced by the brutal Blacktroopers (I kept envisioning them as Stormtroopers!) who have built a wall (think the Berlin Wall) separating the affluent areas around the water and their inhabitants from those further inland. Children and teenagers are not allowed outside and have no interaction other than with their immediate family.

For Lily and her twin brother Daniel, the isolation has become increasingly difficult to cope with, especially since they remember the days before everything changed. No one will answer their questions and they virtually have no idea why their lives have changed so dramatically over the years. The love their parents once had for them seems to have mysteriously diminished and what on earth is meant by ‘harvesting’, a world mistakenly mentioned one day which peaks the twin’s interest. From what Lily and Daniel can figure out, it has something to do with why their parents are acting so strangly and why they are looking so much younger these days.

When I think about the characters, I like Lily and her strong desire to discover the truth, no matter the danger she ends up putting herself in with her impulsive decisions. I like Daniel’s willpower, Ingie’s strength and Kieran’s leadership and intuitiveness.

The novel is a standalone and jumps forward six months at the end. I felt the story ended too abruptly and I think the epilogue is probably why. While I know most people would be happy to know they don’t have to wait around for a sequel, I think a large part of the story is lost because of this. I want the story of how they got to where they are six months later, because given the situation they are put in, it couldn’t have all been smooth sailing! I'm also not a fan of the final pages concerning Lily, but maybe that's just me.

With echoes of the many other dystopian novels released over the past year, Days Like This makes its own mark with the exploration of global warming and the worlds growing desire to look young and beautiful.

Thankyou to Penguin Australia for this review copy.

Second Opinions
Words on Paper
Irresistible Reads
ALPHA Reader

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Maggie Stiefvater Event in Perth!

On Thursday night I was very lucky to listen to the wonderful Maggie Stiefvater speak here in Perth at the A.H. Bracks Library in Melville. The library organised a great set up with food, drinks and freebies and even though Maggie got stuck in the terrible rush-hour traffic, we had the squealing excitement of teenage girls to keep us entertained while we waited.

Despite the traffic and inconvenient rain, Maggie arrived bouncy and excited to be there. She was funny and animated as she talked about wolves, plant people, Eric Bana, evil faeries, Cole St. Clair and bathtubs. She talked about growing up writing books about dogs driving race cars and a story from the perspective of a flag. We heard stories about her tour through Eastern Europe with a Hungarian wolf man and traditional Bulgarian bagpipes as well as how authors should never make April Fools' jokes about their books!

If you missed the talk, never fear! Marissa over at Novels on the Run recorded the whole thing and will be posting it in parts over the next week.

Thankyou to Maggie for being such a happy and entertaining speaker and to Get Reading who brought her over to Perth. Stay tuned for signed Maggie stuff coming up in a give-away later this week!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Reviews to Come and the Inky Shortlist!

As some of you have probably noticed, I've been a bit quiet on the reviewing front lately. For this I apologise. General life stuff and the fact that I have started studying again has meant I have had less time for blogging but I hope to fix this situation very soon.

I have some fantastic reviews coming up for The Power of Six, Bloodlines, Daughter of Smoke and Bone, Blood Red Road, Hunting Lila, Blood Song, Forever, Days Like This and All These Things I've Done.

In other news, the 2011 Inky Awards announced their short-list today. If you are between the ages of 12 and 20, you can now vote for your favourite book! Voting closes at midnight on October 14th and the winners announced October 25th. Head over to the Inside A Dog website to vote.

THE GOLD INKY (for an Australian YA book)

Graffiti Moon by Cath Crowley
This Is Shyness by Leanne Hall
Silvermay by James Moloney
Black Painted Fingernails by Steven Herrick
All I Ever Wanted by Vikki Wakefield

The SILVER INKY (for an international YA book)

Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn & David Levithan
No and Me by Delphine de Vigan
Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare
The Agency: The Body at the Tower by Y.S. Lee
Where She Went by Gayle Forman

I unfortunately can't vote as I'm over 20, but if I could I would vote for Graffiti Moon or Black Painted Fingernails for the Gold, and Dash and Lily or Where She Went for the Silver.

Congratulations to all the short-listed authors and goodluck!

Thanks for sticking with me lovely followers!
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