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

Sunday, July 29, 2012

The Colour of Trouble by Gerry Bobsien

Title: The Colour of Trouble
Author: Gerry Bobsien

Release Date: 1st July 2012

My Rating: 3/5

Maddy can’t stop making things: art, fashion and, most of all, TROUBLE. A new art project could give her the notoriety she desires, but that’s not all she’s dealing with. Her bestie, Darcy, is acting weird and starts dating a girl he’s never mentioned before. Her mum is living and working hundreds of kilometres away, and a new mystery boy keeps popping up at the most inconvenient times ... Will the fallout from her latest project push away all the people she loves? Does Maddy really want to be this NOTORIOUS?

In A Nutshell:
A quick and enjoyable read, perfect for girls aged twelve to fifteen who like fashion, art and creativity.

My Review:
Maddy is all about extravagance, she loves all things to do with art and craft and often crosses the lines of what she sees as ‘public art’ but others see as ‘vandalism’. She isn’t content with just being good at art, she wants everyone to know about her. She wants fame and recognition, and it would seem, notoriety. Maddy is lots of fun and I love how she and Darcy are so creative and entrepreneurial and I hope they inspire readers.

Maddy’s mum has had to move away for work so she and her twin brother Jack are living with their grandparents. Even so, Maddy and her mum have a great relationship and while the family has been pulled apart by necessity, they are all quite close. I have to say, I loved Norm, their grandpa. He used to have a confectionery company and now, although retired, is always whipping stuff up for friends and family. Their grandma has some attitude too and Maddy is always admiring her style. It would seem that most of the characters have an obsession with something and all of them contribute to the story in some intriguing, quirky or extravagant way: Maddy’s art teacher The Razz, her mentor Harry who is obsessed with yellow, the studious and football-loving Jack, her gardening enthusiast mother, co-conspirators Trinny and Poppy, and the mysterious busker Max. Oh and of course there is Darcy.

Usually in a book where there is a girl/guy friendship and it is told from the girls’ perspective, it is usually the girl who has fallen for the boy. So I like how in The Colour of Trouble, it is the other way around, Darcy has fallen for Maddy, which causes friction in their friendship.

A very cool little inclusion is that Maddy ‘suffers’ from synaesthesia which means she sees colours when she hears a particular noise and she has started to be able to ‘taste’ colours when she sees a particularly vibrant colour. I found it really interesting as it was recently brought up in a random conversation at uni and I had never heard of it before. According to a bunch of websites, it occurs when particular senses mingle in the brain. For more info, I suggest you google it.

A quick and enjoyable read, perfect for ages 12-15.

Thankyou to Walker Books for this review copy.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

2012 Text Prize for Young Adult and Children’s Writing

I would like to say a massive congratulations to Perth author AJ Betts, who has won the 2012 Text Prize for Young Adult and Children's Writing, for her novel Zac and Mia!

Zac and Mia is the story of two teens who meet and form a relationship on a cancer ward, but who find life outside the hospital much more complicated.

AJ has previously written Shutter Speed and Wavelength, both published by Fremantle Press.

The Text Prize is awarded annually to the best manuscript written by an Australian or New Zealander for young adults.

Both published and unpublished writers of all ages are eligible to enter with works of fiction or non-fiction. Judged by a panel of editors from Text Publishing, the winner will receive a publishing contract with Text and a $10,000 advance against royalties.

The previous winners are:

2011: Fire in the Sea - Myke Bartlett
2010: The Bridge - Jane Higgins
2009: This Is Shyness - Leanne Hall
2008: The Billionaire’s Curse - Richard Newsome

Zac and Mia will be published August 2013

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Fated by Alyson Noel

Title: Fated
Series: Soul Seekers #1
Author: Alyson Noel

Release Date: 1st June 2012

My Rating: 4/5

Strange things are happening to Daire Santos. Crows mock her, glowing people stalk her, time stops without warning, and a beautiful boy with unearthly blue eyes haunts all her dreams. Fearing for her daughter’s sanity, Daire’s mother sends her to live with the grandmother she’s never met. A woman who recognises the visions for what they truly are—the call to her destiny as a Soul Seeker—one who can navigate the worlds between the living and dead.

There on the dusty plains of Enchantment, New Mexico, Daire sets out to harness her mystical powers. But it’s when she meets Dace, the boy from her dreams, that her whole world is shaken to its core. Now Daire is forced to discover if Dace is the one guy she's meant to be with...or if he’s allied with the enemy she's destined to destroy.

In A Nutshell:
A great read set in New Mexico and featuring a plethora of Native American legends.

My Review:
I haven’t read any books by Alyson Noel, and I hadn’t read any reviews of Fated prior to reading it which allowed me to read Fated in a completely unbiased way.

Personally I loved it. I love that it was set in New Mexico and partly Morocco as these are not common locations for teenage fiction (just like I loved Laini Tayor’s Daughter of Smoke and Bone being set in Prague). I loved that it drew upon the beliefs of the Native Americans. I love that Daire was strong and liked to do things her way but still felt unsure of herself enough to be a believable teenage girl who has never had a place to call home. Daire’s powers were an ancient birth right and they become something that provides her with a purpose and some sense of stability, something that her life has always lacked.

I’ve always enjoyed when myths and legends are intertwined into books, movies and TV shows and Fated was no different. Having actually spent some time in New Mexico I felt a little more connected to the story than I would have had it been set in a location I haven’t visited.

I became completely caught up in the story of Daire and the ancient connections that shaped the story. All the characters were well written and likeable, in particularly Xotichl and Chay. I will admit that I had trouble with some of the names, particularly those whose pronunciation I was unsure of, but that is really my ignorance more than anything else. Daire’s mother was rather irritating and it will be interesting to see what will become of their relationship in the sequel and if her mother will ever become aware of what has influenced her daughter’s life.

I really look forward to Echo, the sequel, and hope it is not too far away because unfortunately, with series, my urgency to read and my love of the story often fades. I usually forget just how much I loved the book at the time of reading and how desperate I was to get hold of the next one, the longer the space of time between them is.

I’m not a big fan of the fact Daire and Dace are supposed to be ‘fated’. I would have preferred that they found each other and that they had a connection rather than the added fact that they are fated to be together. I think the story and their potential relationship could have ‘held its own’ without this ‘destiny’ stream added. The story sounds a little cliché, as though it has been done before, but I feel that once you start reading, those thoughts will disappear, like they did for me.

Thankyou to Pan Macmillan Australia for this review copy.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Adorkable by Sarra Manning

Title: Adorkable
Author: Sarra Manning

Release Date: 24th May 2012

My Rating: 4/5

Jeane Smith is seventeen and has turned her self-styled dorkiness into an art form, a lifestyle choice and a profitable website and consultancy business. She writes a style column for a Japanese teen magazine and came number seven in The Guardian's 30 People Under 30 Who Are Changing The World. And yet, in spite of the accolades, hundreds of Internet friendships and a cool boyfriend, she feels inexplicably lonely, a situation made infinitely worse when Michael Lee, the most mass-market, popular and predictably all-rounded boy at school tells Jeane of his suspicion that Jeane's boyfriend is secretly seeing his girlfriend. Michael and Jeane have NOTHING in common - she is cool and individual; he is the golden boy in an Abercrombie & Fitch T-shirt. So why can't she stop kissing him?

In A Nutshell:
I loved Adorkable and found it to be lots of fun at the same time as trying to show readers that all that matters, is to be true to yourself.

My Review:
Adorkable’s alternating chapters tells us the story of Michael and Jeane from each of their points of view. It was really interesting because my opinion of each of them kept changing from when I saw them do something through their own eyes, and then see it counteracted through the other. This is especially so since their relationship begins as a love-hate relationship and continues that way throughout the book. I was particularly judgemental of Jeane but I slowly began to see her from not only her and Michael’s point of view, but the way I interpreted her from the comments made by Michael’s mother. I went from thinking she was self-absorbed and so full of it, to respecting her for making her life about something and for being smart and sassy, and somewhat independent, but also feeling sorry for her for growing up in such an unhappy, soul-sucking family.

For Jeane, being adorkable is who she is. If someone doesn’t like her, then that’s their problem. But, she also puts up a shield to protect herself from getting hurt and being rejected in a way similar to when she was growing up, it is a somewhat false bravado. It is ok to be different and you are certainly not alone. You just have to remember to let people in because not everyone is out to hurt you.

Adorkable is a story about being true to yourself. That no matter how geeky, dorky, fashionable, or unpopular you are, you are not alone. It’s about being who you are and not giving a damn what anyone else thinks. High school is one of the hardest places to survive mentally and sometime physically but it is important to remember that it doesn’t last forever. When you leave, you discover that there is a big, wide world out there and there are people just like you. People you want to be friends with because they have the same interests, beliefs and/or values as you and people will want to be friends with you for you. High school is just one tiny part of your life and once you leave, it does get easier being yourself.

In short, I loved Adorkable and found it to be lots of fun at the same time as trying to show readers that all that matters, is to be true to yourself.

Ages 15+ (for sexual content).

For fans of Geek Girl, The DUFF, Lola and the Boy Next Door

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Chaos by Megan Duncan

Title: Chaos
Series: Agents of Evil #2
Author: Megan Duncan

Release Date: 30th June 2012

My Rating: 4/5

Previous Book: Released #1

Is any shot at living, worth dying for?

They thought they’d be safe, but a world ruled by chaos doesn’t die easily.

When Max turned on the radio transmissions assuring safety, they came. But, it wasn’t just survivors of the demon apocalypse that crawled their way into the abandoned military base. A myriad of beastly demons unlike any they’ve ever seen, came as well. Abby, and her companions, struggle to survive as the evil around them grows. Desperate to endure, and to defend their fellow survivors, Abby and a squad of fierce fighters, take on a dangerous mission that has deadly consequences.

In A Nutshell: An excellent sequel to Released.

My Review:
In post-apocalyptic America, small groups of survivors hide amongst the ruins in an attempt to live through each day as demons destroy the world they once knew. After finally reaching the military compound, only to find it deserted, Abby, Max, Taya and Carter make it their base, welcoming newcomers as they trickle in, creating some sort of home for those who have already lived through more than anybody should have to in a lifetime.

Abby is tough and doesn’t like to show weakness, mostly because she recognises that as a leader, she needs to stay strong for those around her, otherwise the life they have tried to maintain for themselves will crumble. Like most people, though, Abby has a breaking point and she can only stay strong with the help of Max, Carter and Taya by her side. Along with newcomers Drew, Grant and Remie, the group fight to keep their new charges safe and survive the demons that have decimated their lives.

On a routine outing to scout for supplies, things go horribly wrong when the group accidentally exposes the hiding place of other survivors to a territorial group of spider demons, destroying the safe haven and injuring the group’s leader. Abby offers them safe haven and medical treatment at their compound but it quickly becomes apparent that their basic medical supplies won’t be enough to heal the wounded. Abby’s promise to do everything she can to help the injured, results in Abby and her group ignoring warnings about a potential new breed of demon and entering a deserted hospital in search of medical supplies. When you’re at war with demons, surprises are around every corner and once again, the group run into trouble that not only surpasses anything they have seen before, but proves fatal.

With death always a possibility, our characters learn to appreciate the little, simple things in life and have to wrestle with the possibility that every time they venture out of their base for supplies, someone may not return. Many characters still have their own personal demons to sort through as everyone has lost someone they loved or was important to them. No matter how much danger there is on the outside, internal demons need to be addressed before they resurface at crucial times. In the first book we saw the memories that plague Abby, Max, Carter and Taya and this time the readers are given the opportunity to get a glimpse of Drew, Grant and Remie, which provides depth and heart to their tough, warrior-like personas.

There is plenty of action and suspense with a focus on helping other survivors and doing what they can to improve their shocking living conditions. The return of a character from Released is welcome and provides some comfort for our heroes in such a chaotic time.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Blog Tour: Love Notes From Vinegar House Giveaway

You may remember I reviewed Love Notes from Vinegar House last week. Well today, as part of Karen Tayleur's blog tour, I'm giving away a copy of Love Notes, curtsey of Walker Books.

The giveaway is open internationally and entires close 19th July at midnight AWST. You must be a follower via Google Friend Connect and fill out this form. To make it a little more interesting, since we are talking ghosts in Love Notes from Vinegar House, I'm asking you to tell me what you are scared of. Personally, I'm petrified of cockroaches *shudders*

“There are some things you should know about me if we are going to be friends. Like I don’t believe in ghosts.”

Freya Jackson Kramer has done some stupid things before, but this is the first time they’ve been splashed across Facebook. When she escapes to Vinegar House for the holidays, she thinks she’s leaving her troubles behind. But Freya’s troubles are just beginning.

How will she deal with her manipulative cousin, Rumer? How can she avoid the ex-love of her life, Luke Hart? And what secrets lie in the locked attic? This is a book for readers who believe in ghosts, for readers who disbelieve, and for those who are still sitting on the fence.

Click here for my review

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

New Jaclyn Moriarty Announced

Acclaimed Australian author Jaclyn Moriarty, arguably best known for Feeling Sorry for Celia and Finding Cassie Crazy, has a new book coming out! A Corner of White, the first in the Colours of Madeleine trilogy, will be released 18th September 2012.

Described as mesmerising, extraordinary, poetic and deeply moving, A Corner of White is sure to have a spot on your TBR pile in the lead up to September.

Madeleine Tully lives in Cambridge, England, the World – a city of spires,
Isaac Newton and Auntie’s Tea Shop.

Elliot Baranski lives in Bonfire, the Farms, the Kingdom of Cello – where
seasons roam, the Butterfly Child sleeps in a glass jar, and bells warn of
attacks from dangerous Colours.

They are worlds apart – until a crack opens up between them; a corner of
white – the slim seam of a letter.

A mesmerising story of two worlds; the cracks between them, the science
that binds them and the colours that infuse them.

And if that isn't enough to pique your interest, in the words of Markus Zuzak...

‘Perfectly strange, and absolutely comical and heartfelt ... Jaclyn Moriarty is one of the most original writers we have.’

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...