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

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Awesome Aussie Books

Happy Australia Day!

In honour of all things Aussie today, I thought I would share some of my favourite books by Australian authors. This is only a very small list but they are all wonderful and if you haven't read them yet, click on the image to read my review.


Do you have a favourite Aussie author or novel?

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

The Tales Compendium Turns Three!

Today marks three years since I started The Tales Compendium. Can you believe it? I can't. It started as a way to keep track of all the reviews I wrote for my job in a book store but it very quickly turned into something so much more. I was amazed to discover a whole blogosphere of like-minded people and the blogging community is wonderful. I have made so many friends and discovered some fabulous authors.

Highlights from the last three years include:
(click the image to take you to the post)

Interviewing Rachel Caine for Penguin at an event here in Perth.


Meeting one of my all-time favourite authors David Levithan at the Perth Writers Festival

Starting Perth YA Fans Unite and organising an event with Melina Marchetta


Meeting some of the amazing Perth authors at the annual A Night With Our Stars


Meeting Maggie Stiefvater and Sarah Alderson


Doing work experience in Sydney at Walker Books for two weeks


Watching the blogging and young adult community come together in support of YA Saves

And of course discovering some truly amazing books...




Thanks for sticking around over the last three years. To show my appreciation, please enter my giveaway to win one of the 12 books above (under AU$15 and subject to availability). Entries close 6th February and The Book Depository must ship to your country. You must be a follower to enter.


Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Survive by Alex Morel

Title: Survive
Author: Alex Morel

Release Date: 31st July 2012

My Rating: 5/5

Jane is running away from everything. From the facility she’s been living in, from her pain, from her guilt, from life. She boards a plane to Montclair, New Jersey, though her destination isn’t important – she doesn’t plan to be alive when the plane lands.

Jane has devised the perfect suicide. She’ll fall asleep on the plane and never wake up. But as she’s reaching for her pills in the tiny bathroom, the plane hits turbulence and everything goes black.

Jane wakes amid the charred wreckage of a plane crash on a snowy mountaintop, and discovers just one other survivor – a boy named Paul. Lost in a perilous, icy landscape, with little food and water, their chance of survival seems small. But as the pair unite against the vast wilderness, Jane discovers a reason to fight for her life.

In a Nutshell:
This is a story about survival and hope. It’s about conquering your fears, perseverance and pushing yourself beyond what you think is possible, even when every aspect of your body is telling you that it’s impossible.

My Review:
This is a story about survival and hope. It’s about conquering your fears, perseverance and pushing yourself beyond what you think is possible, even when every aspect of your body is telling you that it’s impossible.

After a plane crashes in snowy isolated mountains, a suicidal Jane is left dumbfounded as to why she survived when others did not. But with the delicate rescue of the only other survivor, Paul, and the possibility of hyperthermia, she has little time to consider letting the elements take her away. Under Paul’s instructions, together they seek higher ground and shelter while desperately trying to figure out how to survive until rescuers reach them. Jane doubts herself and her capabilities, yet with a bit of tough love from Paul, her survival mode and instincts kick in. Even when your own life seems pointless, if someone else’s survival depends on you, there really is no choice in the matter. Jane very quickly see’s things from a new perspective and fights to keep the cold from devouring her and Paul. 

Survive was a gripping, emotional, fast paced read that I powered through in one sitting. I loved the relationship that formed between Jane and Paul and I was desperate to find out how their story, and fight for survival in the harsh, snow covered mountains, would be resolved.

There was also some cool little survival tips included. As someone who has never been in the snow, but who plans to be this time next year, I now know not to eat snow (obviously I hope to never be in this kind of situation in the first place)!

I also can’t help but compare it to another novel I read recently This is Not a Test in which another suicidal teenage girl is randomly stopped from carrying out her plan and is ‘forced’ to work with people fighting to survive. Both follow the same principle but I found Survive so much more enjoyable and gripping. I’m not sure why but I think possibly because it was more realistic; fighting the elements of Mother Nature rather than zombie’s. Survive also felt like it had more heart. 

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Hooked by Liz Fichera

Title: Hooked
Author: Liz Fichera

Release Date: 1st February 2013

My Rating: 3/5

When Native American Fredericka ‘Fred’ Oday is invited to become the only girl on the school’s golf team, she can’t say no. This is an opportunity to shine, win a scholarship and go to university, something no one in her family has done.

But Fred’s presence on the team isn’t exactly welcome — especially not to rich golden boy Ryan Berenger, whose best friend was kicked off the team to make a spot for Fred.

But there’s no denying that things are happening between the girl with the killer swing and the boy with the killer smile...

In A Nutshell:
Hooked is a nice story about overcoming adversity and finding, and rediscovering, people who care about you and just want you to be happy and get the most out of life.

My Review:
Set in Arizona and incorporating some Native American culture, Hooked tells the story of Fred and Ryan, who are from opposite sides of the cultural, social and financial fence, and what happens when they actually take the time to get to know one another.

The story is told from each of their perspectives which works really well because it allows people to see how easily things can be misinterpreted when people don’t communicate. If the story had only been told from Fred’s perspective, it wouldn’t have been quite as effective.

Ryan’s friends don’t like Fred, not only because she took the place of their friend on the school golf team, but also because she is Native American, and they do their best to make her feel uncomfortable and out of place. It is incredibly frustrating to ‘see’ how close-minded and mean people can be as well as how far they will go when they are blinded by hate or jealousy.

After spending forced time together, and then a little bit of their own time, Ryan and Fred realise they actually like each other. But they both doubt how the other one feels, even after spending a perfect day together, and at the tiniest hurdle, they let things disintegrate without asking any questions. I hate that neither of them trusts what they experienced and that they just give up so easily.

It takes a really long time for Ryan to stand up and do something about the way Fred is treated, not just by his friends, but also the way he treats her because he is too afraid to break away from his peers, even when he knows what they are doing is wrong. Eventually things get completely out of hand and Ryan finally stands-up and does what is right, garnering respect from unlikely places.

There are life lessons to take away after finishing Hooked. Communicate. No one is ever going to know what you think or want unless you tell them, there are too many ways that things can be misconstrued, especially if there is a third party involved that you don’t trust. Also, be the bigger person. Don’t follow friends blindly just because they are your ‘friends’. Do the right thing.

US Cover
All in all, I really enjoyed Hooked. I liked the Native American culture, the different themes addressed, and how Ryan and Fred’s lives slowly became better. It’s just a nice story about overcoming adversity and finding, and rediscovering, people who care about you and just want you to be happy and get the most out of life.

As a side note, I’m not sure about the Australian/UK cover, or the title. I don’t think either really has much to do with the story. The US cover is slightly better, but, as they say we shouldn’t judge a book by its cover. 

Thankyou to Harlequin Teen and Netgalley for this review copy.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

New Reading Challenges Hosted by Me

Every year I say I am going to read certain books and every year I still don't get around to reading them. So, this year, I decided to create my own challenges, The Classics Reading Challenge and The Bucket List Reading Challenge. I know there are similar challenges out in the blogosphere but none of them really do what I want them to and I'm not a big fan of rules as I find them too restricting (obviously since that is what rules are!).

The Rules (or lack of)...
My challenges are simple. The books must be read between 1st January 2013 and 31st December 2013. You can set your own goal because these are personal challenges. You don't have to select your books beforehand but I would recommend at least picking half of them to start.

The Classics Reading Challenge
This is for books such as To Kill A Mockingbird or 1984, the so-called classics that apparently 'everyone should read'. I'm not too strict about when the book is published or whether or not it counts as a classic, you can use your own judgement. I am ashamed to say that the only classic I have ever read is To Kill A Mockingbird, but I do really want to give some others a go. So I am aiming to read six classics this year: Brave New World by Aldous Huxley, 1984 by George Orwell, Catch-22 by Joseph Heller, Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger, Lord of the Flies by William Golding and I'll leave the 6th as a wild card for now.

The Bucket List Reading Challenge. 
There are so many books that I want to read but just never have enough time to fit in with all the new releases. It gets to the point where even the new releases end up being over a year old before I get to some of them. This challenge is to help me work through my TBR pile of over 250 books. There is no way I can read that many with everything else that goes on in my life, plus the new releases, but I am going to make a concerted effort this year to read at least 15 of them. Like I said before, there aren't really any rules except I'm going to say they can't be released in 2013. You can choose them now or as you go, but, you need to choose them all by 30th June 2013. My list consists of books such as Amy and Roger's Epic Detour by Morgan Matson, The Perks of Being A Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky, An Abundance of Katherines by John Green, Hold Still by Nina LaCour and All I Ever Wanted by Vikki Wakefield.
The Tales Compendium
The Tales Compendium

If you would like to sign up for either of the challenges, add your details to the widgets below. Everyone who signs up and completes the challenge will go into the draw to win AU$15 at The Book Depository which will be drawn at the end of the year.

P.S. You don't have to add a link to every review you do of the books. Just enter your blog URL once below :)

2013 Bucket List Reading Challenge
2013 Classics Reading Challenge 
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