Thursday, June 30, 2011

Faves of 2011...So Far (3) The Scenes and The Random

Today is the final day of this very cool book awards/survey thingy that is hosted by Nomes over at inkcrush.

Check out day one (The Books) at inkcrush and the links to other bloggers taking part and day two (The Characters and Bonus 5 Covers) and day three (The Scenes and The Random) with links...

Read my day one and day two picks.

The books must be ones we have read this year.


Today's lists are about The Scenes and The Random!
(all links lead to my reviews)


THE SCENES

best first chapter
Saving June, Five Flavors of Dumb, Where She Went. You must all be so sick of me raving about these three over the last three posts :D

best climax
I think a lot of books could probably fill this category but I'm going to go with Die For Me this time.

best ending
Where She Went. Perfect <3

best plot twist/revelation (no spoilers!)
Between, so did not see the turn the story took!! And OMG, The Warlock, last page(!). I was expecting something but not that!

scariest/most disturbing scene
I really didn't like the scenes featuring Brand in Burn Bright and I also thought Lenoir with the blood was gross.

steamiest scene (or sweetest/sexiest kiss award)
My current vote goes to Jake and Harper from Saving June, specifically the scene when The Doors are playing...

best swoon-worthy moment
Oh gosh there are so many! The one that really sticks in my mind is when Jake sings 'Tears in Heaven' to Harper as she falls asleep in Saving June. I remember this one the most for two reasons: I wrote it down so I could remember how much I swooned and also because it's one of the more recently read books for me. There are lots of other swoon-worthy moments in Just Listen, Where She Went, Anna and the French Kiss, The Big Crunch and A Little Wanting Song.

biggest nail-biting moment
Hmm I'm not sure. Most likely something from Divergent but I think I need to re-read it.

most hilarious scene
Oh gosh I'm not sure! So many books have laugh-out-loud scenes but I have a terrible memory. I look forward to seeing what everyone else comes up with.

most heart-breaking/tear-jerker moment
This one is easy for me. Early on in The Demon Trapper's Daughter I practically bawled my eyes out. I won't say why because I don't want to spoil anything for anyone but I'm pretty sure I cried for like, 30 pages. And I find this funny because it's not supposed to be a sad book but anyway...

I also found one scene in particular from Between that I thought was written extremely well and I totally welled up. Again, I don't want to say what it is because it's kinda crucial to the storyline but if you have read it then you most likely know what I am talking about (hint: memories). And another one is in Five Flavors of Dumb and a scene between Finn and Piper when Finn talks about why he learned sign language. I get a lump in my throat everytime I read the quote (see review).

THE RANDOM

fave first sentence
"The first time Wes saw June, he thought she was kind of funny-looking."...and the following two sentences make it even better..."She had these thick lips, a wide mouth, greenish-blue eyes that were a little too far apart, and her hair - a dark blond color - looked still wet from her morning shower. Wes thought she looked like a sea creature pretending to be human." From The Big LinkCrunch.

fave book title
Black Painted Fingernails. With a shout-out to 90 Packets of Instant Noodles and also You Against Me (even though I didn't really like the book)

fave reading experience (ie: created a great reading memory)
Nic, Nomes and I all read Saving June at the same time so it was awesome to be able to chat about what was going on, especially since we all LOVED it. Special mention to Where She Went and Die For Me because, having recently been to New York and Paris, I was able to really picture the settings even more so than usual.

book with the best food in it (made me so crazy-envious-hungry)
LOL I don't have one for this but I'm guessing Nomes and Nic will put Peanut Butter... ;)

most embarrassing book cover (feeling sheepish in public)
I don’t really have one for this but I suppose Hex because it is bubble-gum pink and doesn’t look like a book a 24-year-old should/would be reading.

can’t believe you waited this long to read the book (!)
A Little Wanting Song (also published under Chasing Charlie Duskin). This was first published in Australia in 2005! I don't know why I had never heard of it, especially since I have worked in a bookstore since 2005, but after totally loving Graffiti Moon, I finally read it.

*********

I found these categories the hardest out of the three days because they rely on you remembering scenes and when you have read as many books as I have over the last six months, it can be really hard, regardless if you really liked them or not! Lesson of the day, make more notes when writing reviews!

Thankyou to Nomes for coming up with this great idea. I've totally loved reading what everyone picked and my TBR has even more titles on it *sigh*

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Burn Bright by Marianne de Pierres

Title: Burn Bright
Author: Marianne de Pierres

Release Date: 1st March 2011

My Rating: 4/5

Blurb:
Retra doesn’t want to go to Ixion, the island of ever-night, ever-youth and never-sleep. Retra is a Seal – sealed minds, sealed community. She doesn’t crave parties and pleasure, experience and freedom. But her brother Joel left for Ixion two years ago, and Retra is determined to find him.

Braving the intense pain of her obedience strip to escape the only home she’s ever known, Retra finds herself drawn deeper into the intoxicating world of Ixion. Come to me, whispers a voice in her head. Who are the Ripers, the mysterious guardians of Ixion? What are the Night Creatures Retra can see in the shadows? And what happens to those who grow too old for Ixion?

Retra will find that Ixion has its pleasures, but its secrets are deadly.

Listen well, baby bats. Burn bright, but do not stray from the paths. Remember, when you live in a place of darkness you also live with creatures of the dark.

In A Nutshell:
While searching for her brother in an unfamiliar and uncomfortable place, Retra discovers there is more to the party island of Ixion, than meets the eye. A unique sci-fi/dystopian world for ages 15+ due to mature content.

My Review:
When I first heard of
Burn Bright, I hadn’t planned on reading it, thinking it didn’t really sound like my kind of book. But, I read a raving review of it over at inkcrush so I thought maybe I would give it a go. I still wasn't 100% sure it was my thing by the time I was about a third of the way in (mainly due to certain scenes) but it was an intriguing world and I was interested in finding out how the story would continue to unfold, so I continued and soon after became completely hooked. I'm so glad I decided to read outside my comfort zone and I mean really, has Nomes ever been wrong about a book before?!

Ixion is a unique place, made for those who make the journey there and want to experience pleasure, decadence, indulgence and gratification, a far cry from the strict places Retra and others have come from. It is a place where your waking hours are spent in nightclubs and having a good time while unseen ‘Uthers’ cook, clean and provide you with clothes at the churches where you go to sleep before you burn out. But underneath the fun image it portrays, there is a darker, creepier underbelly to the fun-filled island, where dangerous creatures lurk beyond the light of the paths.

Imagine a place where there are no Elders. No rules. No punishment. Only music and laughter and freedom. That's Ixion, Ret. That's me.

Retra is an interesting character and one I grew to like. She is mistaken for a weakling but she has actually already battled the odds before she has even made it to Ixion. She faces incredible pain and shows tremendous courage. After arriving on Ixion, she tries to hide the fact that she is different, that she doesn’t come to Ixion seeking fun and good times. What we discover throughout the book is that yes, she may be different in her reason for being on Ixion, but she is also different in other ways; she stands up for others, her courage and bravery outweigh the restrictions she still carries from her upbringing, and she begins to sticks to her own morels, not those of the Elder’s on Grave (Retra’s home), and not those of the Ripers who guard Ixion. Because of this, she sees what has been hiding beneath the surface of Ixion; the Ripers are keeping secrets too, and all is not fun and games.

I had mixed opinions on the other characters of Burn Bright. I instantly liked Retra’s new friend Suki, and Rollo and Krista-belle quickly grew on me. They stick by each other and care what happens to one another while still having fun. On the other side of things, I really didn’t feel a connection with Markes or Joel. I didn’t find them particularly endearing which is unfortunate because I am pretty sure I am supposed to like them. And I am still undecided about Lenoir, the Riper in charge. I found him a bit creepy and I’m not sure what to make of the connection he has with Retra. Let’s hope more will be revealed about him in Angel Arias.

I think the main problem I had with the story was that I was uncomfortable reading the parts where the abuse at the hands of Brand, a Riper, appeared. It irked me. While not overly descriptive, it was implied all the same. However, even though I didn’t like it, it was relevant to the storyline, and the actions and motivations of Retra. Brand really gets off on the pain she inflicts and I find it interesting that a villain with such a persona is female, it’s uncommon. Her character is very well written and somewhat unsettling.

In reference to Marianne de Pierres’s writing style, I think Nomes said it best in her review:

She doesn't patronise her readers with an overabundance of explanations or bore us with oodles of backstory: she just throws us into the story along with Retra. Not everything instantly makes sense or is explained away and I think this is a strength ~ it truly made me feel as if I was submerged 100% into the story along with Retra.

Excerpt from Nomes’ review of Burn Bright. Read more of her fantastic review at her blog inkcrush.

I’m really looking forward to
Angel Arias which will be released in Australia in November. And how awesome do the covers look next to each other?! I’m interested to see where the story will go and to find out why Modai reacted the way he did when he heard of Leyste’s death. Burn Bright is intriguing to say the least. Recommended for ages 15+





Check out the Burn Bright website for some very cool extras such as info on the clubs, churches, gangs and creatures. Plus, you can download the song used in the book trailer and find bookmarks and wallpapers.

Find Burn Bright on Goodreads

Second Opinions

inkcrush
The Midnight Garden
Cotton Candy Reviews

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Graffiti Moon US Edition Cover Revealed!

The cover for the US edition of Graffiti Moon has just been revealed!

So, everyone in the US who has been patiently (or not so) waiting for this awesome Aussie book to be released in February 2012, say hello to the stunning cover...!


Personally, I love the US cover. While I do like the Australian cover, it took quite a while to grow on me, whereas I instantly took a liking to the US cover.

Apparently there are a few changed to the content in the US edition so I am totally going to buy it as well to add to my collection :)

How pumped is everyone for this book???!!!
(who me? :P)



Read my review of Graffiti Moon
Read my interview with Cath Crowley

Pre-order Graffiti Moon via Amazon

Slide Cover Reveal

Today, Harper Collins revealed the cover of Jill Hathaway's debut novel Slide, due for release March 2012. I am personally very excited about this. I first heard about the book earlier this year and fell in love with the premise.


Vee Bell is certain of one irrefutable truth—her sister’s friend Sophie didn’t kill herself. She was murdered.

Vee knows this because she was there. Everyone believes Vee is narcoleptic, but she doesn’t actually fall asleep during these episodes: When she passes out, she slides into somebody else’s mind and experiences the world through that person’s eyes. She’s slid into her sister as she cheated on a math test, into a teacher sneaking a drink before class. She learned the worst about a supposed “friend” when she slid into her during a school dance. But nothing could have prepared Vee for what happens one October night when she slides into the mind of someone holding a bloody knife, standing over Sophie’s slashed body.

Vee desperately wishes she could share her secret, but who would believe her? It sounds so crazy that she can’t bring herself to tell her best friend, Rollins, let alone the police. Even if she could confide in Rollins, he has been acting off lately, more distant, especially now that she’s been spending more time with Zane.

Enmeshed in a terrifying web of secrets, lies, and danger and with no one to turn to, Vee must find a way to unmask the killer before he or she strikes again.

*********

What do you think? Is anyone else pumped for this release? It sounds like it has a bit of everything in it :)

Jill Hathaway's website, blog, facebook and twitter
Slide
on Goodreads

Monday, June 27, 2011

Faves of 2011...So Far (2) The Characters

As you may have noticed on Friday, the wonderful Nomes over at inkcrush has created this very cool book awards/survey thingy covering a bunch of different categories in which we post our picks during the last week of June. The books must be ones we have read this year.

On Friday we all posted our picks for THE BOOKS with twenty categories. See my post here and click here for Nomes' post and the linky-thing to view everyone else's.


Today, all the categories are about THE CHARACTERS and also a BONUS question about COVERS!
(all links lead to my reviews)

Also, as you have probably noticed, I am hopeless at picking just one book/person/etc for each category so you will have to put up with my multiple mentions :)

best female POV
Harper from Saving June, Piper from Five Flavors of Dumb and Kate from Die For Me.

best male POV
Without a doubt Adam from Where She Went but a special mention must go to Joel from 90 Packets of instant Noodles

best couple
*sigh* so many! Anna and Etienne from Anna and the French Kiss, Adam and Mia from Where She Went, Owen and Annabelle from Just Listen, June and Wes from The Big Crunch, Harper and Jake from Saving June. I really can't pick just one!

who i so want to be best friends with
I totally want to hang out with Anna and her friends from Anna and the French Kiss. And I would love to be BFF's with Harper and Laney from Saving June although it might not be a very long-lasting friendship since I am totally in love with Jake ;)

who i fell completely in love with (new literary crush)
Oh god! Owen from Just Listen, Jake from Saving June, Adam from Where She Went, Dave from A Little Wanting Song and Etienne from Anna and the French Kiss. There was never going to be just one answer for this question, that's just mean! And did you notice that almost all of them are musically minded?!

worst (best) villain
Definitely Brand from Burn Bright but I'll give runners up to Oliver, Amelie and Myrnin from Morganville Vampires because you can never really be sure if they are good or bad!

best character twist (who you loved then hated or vice versa)
I had no idea which way the characters of Hex would go. Was Ryder good and Lucian bad or the other way around? Or a combination of both? I kept changing my mind right up to the very end.

best kick-arse female
Oh this totally goes to Riley from The Demon Trapper's Daughter but I will give special mentions to Eve from the Morganville Vampires series and Lucy from Vampires Drool, Zombies Rule!

best kick-arse male
Hmmm this one took me a little while to come up with but in the end I went for Four from Divergent and Shane from Morganville Vampires. I have a feeling there is someone else who really fits this category to a tee but I am totally drawing a blank...

broke your heart the most
All the characters from Crash Into Me, Destiny from The Miles Between and Aaron from The Dead I Know. All their stories are so tragic!

best/worst character names
I'm honestly drawing a blank on worst names and even the best names are hard for me to pick. Names are not really things I take note of and remember. I really like Harper Scott from Saving June. It just sounds so cool and I love that she was named after Harper Lee. And Owen from Just Listen. I don't know if it's because I love Owen in the book or if it's because I once had a massively huge crush on a guy called Owen. Which ever it is, I love the name Owen haha.

BONUS: 5 fave covers (from books i have read)



Black Painted Fingernails, Die For Me, Where She Went, Five Flavors of Dumb and The Demon Trapper's Daughter.

Check back on Thursday for the final categories, THE SCENES and THE RANDOM

Sunday, June 26, 2011

The Taste of Apple Giveaway

Recently I read and reviewed The Taste of Apple by James Laidler. It was my first verse novel and while I'm not 100% the format is for me, I did really enjoy the story and the themes addressed in the book.

I have decided to hold a giveaway so that one lucky person can win a copy of the book and the accompanying CD.


To enter, fill out the form below. This is an international giveaway and you must be a follower to enter. Entires close 17th July 2011.


Friday, June 24, 2011

Faves of 2011...So Far (1) The Books

The wonderful Nomes over at inkcrush has created this very cool book awards/survey thingy covering a bunch of different categories in which we post our picks during the last week of June. The books must be ones we have read this year.


To view Nomes's original post with the 'rules' and all the categories, click here.

Today's categories are all about The Books!
(all links lead to my reviews)


favourite book read so far in 2011
I currently have five favourites, although one is a re-read (and the only book I've re-read this year)*: Where She Went, Saving June, Just Listen*, Five Flavors of Dumb and Die For Me

most powerful book
I think I will have to pick Five Flavors of Dumb here but I'll give an honourable mention to Where She Went.


brilliantly funny
Outspoken - hilarious, obnoxious and witty

best ache-y, heart-breaking, tear-jerker read
This is a toughy because alot of books effect me but in different ways and for different reasons. I'm going to go for Where She Went, Between, Saving June and Five Flavors of Dumb.

most beautiful story
Saving June and The Big Crunch. Just love. Go read the review.

delicious rainy day comfort read
Morganville Vampires series - it's like a soap opera! and Just Listen - one of my all-time faves I love to revisit

adrenalin-fuelled, unputdownable award
This goes to Divergent without
a doubt.

the beautiful prose award

A Little Wanting Song and Saving June - see reviews for quotes. Just stunning.

most atmospheric and vivid setting
Die For Me and Where She Went - *sigh* Paris and New York. So cliché but they are my two favourite cities. So magical.

i-so-want-to-go-there award
This category could be understood in a few different ways. I pick Anna and the French Kiss because I wish I was part of their friendship group, was living in Paris, and had St. Clair to hang with all day. A Little Wanting Song because I love Dave, and Saving June because I want to be sitting in the fourth car seat with Jake (yum), Harper and Laney. Oh and Where She Went so I can give Adam a hug.

most original and imaginative
Five Flavors of Dumb - um, a deaf girl managing a band??? And honourable m
ention to Genesis, Die For Me and Burn Bright.

best under-appreciated, hidden gem book
90 Packets Of Instant Noodles and The Big Crunch - subtle but real and tender

i-had-no-idea-i-would-love this-so award
The Demon Trapper's Daughter - I knew nothing about this. Thought it sounded kinda cool but was put off my the Aussie cover
. Also, Burn Bright - I've just finished it and despite the brilliant and glowing review from Nomes, I still wasn't sure I would like it. I wasn't even sure when I was half way through it. But by the end...(!)

most haunting story
Love is the Higher Law - it gave me shivers.


outside my comfort zone but gosh how i loved it
I don't really read a lot outside my comfort zone (at least when I do, I don't really like them) but Genesis was quite a challenge for me. I wouldn't say I loved it though. But it was intriguing.

series that i’m loving
Old series - The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel, Morganville Vampires, If I Stay. Or new series - Die For Me, Divergent, The Demon Trapper's Daughter
, Burn Bright

most memorable voice award
Definitely Piper from Five Flavors of Dumb with honourable mentions to Adam from Where She Went and Kate from Die For Me

completely awesome premise award
Five Flavors of Dumb, Black Painted Fingernails and Savi
ng June - music and roadtrips. Enough said. Plus Where She Went because I so wanted a sequel to If I Stay AND it's from Adam's POV!

would make the best movie
Hmm Divergent and Saving June. And I think Five Flavors of Dumb would very interesting to see how they would do it.


want to re-read already
Anna and the French Kiss - I miss the characters, Saving June - just finished i
t and I already want to read it again, Just Listen - have already re-read about 3 or 4 times!


Remember to check back in on Monday for The Characters and The Covers!


Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The Taste of Apple by James Laidler

Title: The Taste of Apple
Author: James Laidler
Music: Don Stewart

Release Date:
1st November 2010

My Rating: 3/5

Blurb:
Pedro Jones is lost. Abandoned by his father and forced into commission housing with his Filipino immigrant mother, the future seems bleak.

But when Pedro meets the 'mad' street busker, Johnny Lazzaro, and gets involved with the East Timor freedom movement, life takes an unexpected detour through the uncharted back-blocks of the human heart.

The Taste of Apple is the winner of the IP Picks Award for Best First Book 2010.

In A Nutshell:
The Taste of Apple is a verse novel set in Australia during the late nineties and comes with an accompanying CD featuring music and lyrics relating to the book. It is a story about finding out who you are, the issues of racism, government accountability and responsibility, and highlights the plight of the East Timorese trying to seek asylum after the Dili Massacre of 1991.

My Review:
Set in Australia mostly during the late nineties, The Taste of Apple is a book about finding out who you are, discovering the simplest life-lessons from unexpected people, the issues of racism, government accountability and responsibility, and looks at rising to a challenge no matter what kind of hurdles are thrown your way. It also highlights the plight of the East Timorese trying to seek asylum after the Dili Massacre of 1991.

The book, told entirely in verse, is set apart by six chapters, each chronicling different stages of our main character Pedro’s life, from age ten to eighteen.

For me though
life was closer
to a tattered old garment
on the verge of unraveling.
There was no “golden thread”;
just frayed edges,
and poorly stitched up seams.

Pedro is struggling, living in a low socio-economic area where he faces daily racism and bullying as well as the added pressure of not fitting in at school. After his father walks out on him and his mother, they move into a council flat. Here Pedro meets local busker and activist Johnny Lazzaro, who is a couple of years older than him. The two form a friendship as Johnny takes him under his wing, educating him about the plight of the East Timorese and life in general. They also spend hours upon hours busking, creating memories and trying to forget the troubles of their lives.

Through the information Pedro gains from his time spent with Johnny, and Paddy, Lisa and Sister McKenzie who are also seeking to educate people about the hardships faced by the people of East Timor, Pedro’s world opens up, and he becomes more world-weary and knowledgeable. By request of his mother, he also befriends five-year-old Evie and old Mr Santiago, who live in the building. Pedro and Johnny help them in the new community garden project behind their 22-story council flat, giving both Pedro and Johnny another avenue to direct their energy.

The garden hose
held by a five-year-old’s hands
can be a dangerous weapon;
capable
of spraying
more than water,
but laughter and mayhem in every direction

All these little things help give Pedro purpose and his depressing situation slowly builds into something more positive.

And that’s when it comes to me
from the spent ashes of my anger
like a phoenix rising

An audio CD also accompanies the book with music written by Don Stewart and words/lyrics by James Laidler. It is a mixture of spoken word and song that are substituted for parts of the story or that add to what is already on the page (eg: When Johnny plays a song on his guitar, you can listen to that song on the CD. Or, when Pedro writes a poem you can listen to a reading of that poem with accompanying music). While I don’t believe having the CD is essential to the story, it does add depth and provides a richer experience. I was particularly taken with track 7 titled Johnny’s Song and also really enjoyed Season’s Apart, God Bless the Grass and Richmond Town.

Fireworks
spangle the sky.
Explosions
glitter-weep
then die,
while I
stand 22 storeys high
thinking of nothing
but Johnny tonight.

This was my first verse novel and while I’m still not totally convinced it is a format that I enjoy, I did breeze through the book and was able to appreciate the story that was being told and the benefits of said format. As you can see from the quotes I have provided, the descriptive language used was captivating. I also believe this would be a good text for high school students to study, with plenty of issues up for discussion.

“Better you eat the apple, Pedro
than the apple eat at you.”

The Taste of Apple can be purchased from the IP website.

James Laidler's website.
The Taste of Apple on goodreads.

Second Opinions
Words on Paper
bean there, read that


Tuesday, June 21, 2011

2010 WA Premier's Book Awards Shortlist Announced

The short-list for the 2010 Western Australian Premier's Awards was announced today here in Perth. They call them the 2010 lists because the books were all published throughout 2010, even though the awards are not announced until three-quarters of the way through 2011. There are six categories but as usual, I'm only going to focus on the children's and young adult nominees.

The YOUNG ADULT nominees are:

Anonymity Jones by James Roy
Happy as Larry by Scot Gardner
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

I've only read Wavelength by A.J. Betts but I have read Scot Gardner's most recent release, The Dead I Know and really enjoyed it so it might be time to pick up Happy as Larry. I've also heard good things about The Midnight Zoo from Nomes at inkcrush and also This is Shyness from Nic at Irresistible Reads AND Nomes again at inkcrush. I really must find myself a copy of This is Shyness because it sounds amazing. Unfortunately I don't really know much about the other two books. Has anyone read them?



In the CHILDREN'S category:

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
Toppling by Sally Murphy/Illustrator Rhian Nest James

I've only read one of these since I usually stick with YA but I made an exception for Toppling. It's a really heart-warming story and you can find my review on Goodreads. I've also had a flick through Mirror by Jeanne Baker and if you have ever seen any of her work, then you will know what to expect. Mirror is a very special book.



To see the adult nominations click here.

A MASSIVE congratulations to all the nominees, especially A.J. Betts because I loved her book and I've met her a couple of times :D

For the first time ever, the Australian public will be able to vote online in the brand new People's Choice Award from July 25 until September 2nd 2011.

The winners in all categories and the People's Choice Award will be announced in September. Stay tuned.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Michael Scott Giveaway

This month, The Warlock by Michael Scott was released. It is the 5th book in his The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel series and I am a huge fan.

To celebrate, I have decided to giveaway four of the books in the series. Yes four!

*For those of you who haven't read the series, I'm giving away one copy of the first book.

*For those who have read the first and are looking to read the next in the series, I'm giving away books two AND three together.


*And for those of you who are itching to get your hand on the fifth book, I'm giving one of those away too.


To enter, please fill out the form below. The giveaway is open internationally until the 17th of July 2011. Once the winners have been chosen, I will email them and they have 72 hours to respond before they forfeit their prize and I draw a new winner.

About the series:
The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel is an urban fantasy series set in present day time but relies heavily on some of history and mythology's best known heroes and villains, from Joan of Arc, Mars - God of War and of course Nicholas Flamel (best known to the children of today from the first Harry Potter book), to Medusa and William Shakespeare.

In the five books that have been released, we have discovered that Sophie and Josh Newman, two ordinary fifteen-year-olds from San Francisco, are actually the twins of legend, prophecised to save or destroy the world. As Nicholas and Perenelle Flamel take them from America, to France, England and various shadow-realms searching for those who can awaken the twins and train them in the four elements, they are also in a race against time to stop Doctor John Dee, magician, necromancer and all-round bad guy from using the stolen Codex to bring destruction to the world.


All books are paperbacks in the trade size and have the following covers:



Please note that these are not brand new copies. They have been read by myself but are in excellent condition. I love the series so much I decided to buy them all in hardcover!




Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Saving June by Hannah Harrington

Title: Saving June
Author: Hannah Harrington

Release Date: 1st May 2011 (Aust). 22nd November 2011 (US)

My Rating: 5/5

Blurb:
‘If she’d waited less than two weeks, she’d be June who died in June. But I guess my sister didn’t consider that.’

Harper Scott’s older sister has always been the perfect one - so when June takes her own life a week before her high school graduation, sixteen-year-old Harper is devastated. Everyone’s sorry, but no one can explain why.

When her divorcing parents decide to split her sister’s ashes into his-and-her urns, Harper takes matters into her own hands. She’ll steal the ashes and drive cross-country with her best friend, Laney, to the one place June always dreamed of going - California.

Enter Jake Tolan. He’s a boy with a bad attitude, a classic-rock obsession and nothing in common with Harper’s sister. But Jake had a connection with June, and when he insists on joining them, Harper’s just desperate enough to let him. With his alternately charming and infuriating demeanour and his belief that music can see you through anything, he might be exactly what she needs.

Except June wasn’t the only one hiding something. Jake’s keeping a secret that has the power to turn Harper’s life upside down - again.

In A Nutshell:
Saving June pretty much had me before I even opened the book. And once I started it, I was in love. As many of you know, I love road trip books. I also love books about music. And swoon-worthy guys and imperfect girls and crazy adventures. And polaroid photographs.... Hannah Harrington somehow managed to grab all my favourite things and put them in her debut novel.

Saving June will pull at your heart strings, make you laugh, cry, swoon and blush. It’s tender and breath taking, filled with love, loss, grief, uncertainty and forgiveness.

My Review: (longest review EVER. Sorry!)
Um, wow...

Saving June pretty much had me before I even opened the book. And once I started it, I was in love. As many of you know, I love road trip books. I also love books about music. And swoon-worthy guys and imperfect girls and crazy adventures. And polaroid photographs.... Hannah Harrington somehow managed to grab all my favourite things and put them in her debut novel.

Our three main characters, Harper, Laney and Jake are all quite distinct personalities and while they initially end up on the road trip by way of necessity and blackmail, the three of them survive and learn a few lessons in life.

Harper is easy to relate to, even if a bit clichéd. She's the younger sister who has never felt good enough, always living in her older sister's shadow. But what happens when said older sister is gone? And gone without an explanation? She can’t just slip into the role of the good, helpful daughter, she has her own grief to contend with. Everyone grieves in their own way and Harper's way is to pay homage to June's dreams, not to pretend like it was 'God's divine plan' and all pain will pass.

“As soon as I learned, early on in life, that I could never live up to June, I’d made it a point to be her polar opposite“…. “But I wasn’t interested in being like June, and I definitely didn’t want to live in June’s shadow. Even if mine was less impressive, at least it was my own.”

I love the friendship between Harper and Laney, both have quite distinct personalities but each complements the other. Laney takes everything in her stride, always knows what to say and has a sense of adventure. She has a penchant for vintage clothing, over-sharing and a fascination with movie stars who died young. Harper, however, is the kind of girl who won’t do something she doesn’t want to. She won’t take s*** from anyone and will stick up for what she believes in. She likes hoodies and black nail polish and isn't good with emotion. They are each other’s buffers and will always be there for the other.

Jake is annoying, sweet, opinionated, considerate, music obsessed and totally swoon-worthy. He may present the bad-boy image but he’s not all that he seems and I totally wish he would make ME a 'mixed CD'. The banter between he and Harper is so delicious and I love how he slowly manages to break down her tough exterior.

“At first my stomach twists, and I feel vaguely ashamed, or guilty, or something, for noticing that. But then I think –so what. So what if he’s hot, sometimes. Like every time I look at him. Besides, annoying he may be, but he’s had his shining White Knight Moment, what with the whole saving-me-and-my-best-friend-from-a-brawl-and-probable-jail-time thing. Even if I’m no damsel in distress and he’s miles away from Prince Charming, such displays of gallantry, combined with his not-bad-okay-actually-pretty good looks, make my strange lusty feelings completely justified. Practically obligatory, even.”

As Harper, Jake and Laney get closer to their final destination, they come across a few unexpected events along the way. They end up in the thick of a protest rally in Chicago, get sweaty in a punk mosh-pit, risk rattlesnakes while camping, chill out in a blues lounge in St. Louis, realise that refrigerators can make interesting art, discover Harper can throw a mean right-hook, get sexy with The Doors all while emotions are running high and personal secrets and insecurities come to light.

As I have mentioned, Jake is hugely music obsessed and it is a constant theme throughout the book. From bands such as The Rolling Stones and the Beatles to Jimi Hendrix, Hole, Ani DiFranco, Eric Clapton, The Kinks, The Doors, John Coltrane, Johnny Cash, The Beach Boys, ABBA and Bob Dylan, plus many, many more, classic rock and jazz are covered. All through the book I was thinking I would try and make a playlist of all the songs talked about and then to my delight, at the end of the book were three playlists. Happy, happy, joy, joy!

“And that’s what good music does. It speaks to you. It changes you.”

If you are a peanut butter fan, you probably won’t be able to eat it again without thinking of Jake and blushing. And I don’t think I’ll be able to listen to ‘Tears in Heaven’ by Eric Clapton without swooning at the thought of page 219. And ‘Touch Me’ by The Doors without thinking of pages 298-304. And OMG the song at the end!!!

Saving June will pull at your heart strings, make you laugh, cry, swoon and blush. It’s tender and breath taking, filled with love, loss, grief, uncertainty and forgiveness. I constantly felt that I was sitting in the fourth car seat, next to Laney and totally wanted to jump in and add my own music commentary to Jake’s.

For fans of The Sky is Everywhere and Where She Went.

More Hannah Harrington? Yes please!

Second Opinions
inkcrush
Irresistible Reads

Also, Nic at Irresistible Reads has done a "My Book Boyfriend" post on Jake. Check it out for some yummy quotes and Jake inspired pics :)
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