Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday (6): Favourite Books in 2013


Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted at The Broke and the Bookish.

Top Ten Books Read of 2013
    • Beth Revis - Shades of Earth
      • Best series ender of 2013
    • Betty Smith - A Tree Grows in Brooklyn
      • Favourite classic
    • Leigh Bardugo - Shadow and Bone
      • Favourite fantasy
    • Ruta Sepetys - Out of the Easy
      • Favourite historical fiction
    • Suzanne Collins - Catching Fire
      • Best instalment in a series
    • Rick Yancey - The 5th Wave
      • Favourite dystopian/Most surprising
    • Truman Capote - Breakfast at Tiffany's
      • Favourite New Yorker
    • Sarah J. Maas - Crown of Midnight
      • Best couple
    • Markus Zusak - The Book Thief
      • Most intense read
    • Huntley Fitzpatrick - My Life Next Door
      • Favourite contemporary fiction/gave me the warmest fuzzies

      Honourable mentions: Kristen-Paige Madonia - Fingerprints of You, Emily Gale - Steal My Sunshine, Gayle Forman - Just One Day, Allyse Near - Fairytales for Wilde Girls and Sophie Flack - Bunheads

      Source:
       

      End of 2013 + Reading goals!

      Source:

      Well I don't know about all of you, but 2013 has been a crazy ride for me. Which is partially the reason why my blogging has been few and far between, especially in the second half of the year (I think).

      Things of note: I'm finished with uni! I got my green Ps in Feb (only 1 year and 2 months until I can get my full driver's licence!)! I tried new things, took a few more chances. I promise to lead a life with no regrets, so I won't say I regret anything I did in 2013 - rather, there were a few missed opportunities but that's far too personal to get into now.

      I aim to read... 80 books in 2014. I hope to catch up with my book reviews (I still have many books I haven't posted reviews for) and post more!


      Reading challenges 2014

      These are my reading challenges for 2014. Any titles listed are just suggestions for me...


      Victiorian Reading Challenge

      Goal: To read 2 books written in, or about, the Victorian era
      1. Oscar Wilde - The Picture of Dorian Gray
      2. Robert Louis Stevenson - The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde
      3. Elizabeth Gaskell - Cranford OR Wives and Daughters
      4. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle - A Study in Scarlet
      5. Lewis Carroll - Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
      Chunkster Challenge


      Goal: To read 10 books that are 450+ pages.
      1. Maggie Stiefvater - The Scorpio Races (482 pp)
      2. Robin LaFevers - Grave Mercy (484 pp)
      3. Cinda Williams Chima - The Demon King (506 pp)
      4. Rachel Hartman - Seraphina (512 pp)
      5. Laini Taylor - Days of Blood and Starlight (#2) (517 pp)
      6. Leo Tolstoy - Anna Karenina (963 pp)
      7. Michael Grant - Gone (558 pp)
      8. Shannon Messenger - The Keeper of the Lost Cities (512 pp)
      9. Colin Meloy - Wildwood (541 pp)
      10. Michelle Cooper - The Fitzosbornes at War (512 pp)
      11. Alexandra Bracken - The Darkest Minds (528 pp)
      12. Marissa Meyer - Cress (#3) (560 pp)
      13. Patrick Ness - More Than This (478 pp)
      14. Maria V. Snyder - Taste of Darkness (464 pp) 
      15. Jennifer Donnelly - Revolution (496)
      TBR Pile Reading Challenge


      Goal: To read 11+ (a friendly hug) books that have been sitting on my shelf for some time.
      1. Lewis Carroll - Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
      2. Melina Marchetta - On the Jellicoe Road
      3. Nina LaCour - Hold Still 
      4. Jennifer Donnelly - Revolution
      5. More to be added... 
      Netgalley Reading Challenge

      2014netgalleychallenge


      Goal: To read 6-10 (medium) books off of Netgalley!


      Monday, December 30, 2013

      [Reading the Classics] Animal Farm by George Orwell

      [Rearranged from cover © Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 2003]
       Add to Goodreads 

      Author: George Orwell
      Publication Year: 1945
      Pages: 84 (my edition)

      Violence | Sexual ContentProfanity
      My thoughts

      "Four legs good, two legs bad"

      I have decided that I love stories that utilise anthropomorphism to convey its ideas and themes. George Orwell builds an allegorical story based on the Russian Revolution: The Farm's ownership is overrun by its livestock (Battle of the Cowshed), and the pigs are the thinkers, the leaders, while all other animals do the labour and are quite content to do so under the new ruling.
      "All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others."

      Sunday, November 24, 2013

      [Review] My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick

      Publication (dd/mm/yyyy): 14/06/2012
      Publisher: Speak (Penguin)
      Pages: 394
      Source: Purchased
      Genre: YA (14+) - Contemporary

      Violence | Sexual ContentProfanity


      Book Tunes
      ♪ (to come)

      My Rating: 
      Engrossing!

      My thoughts

      I read rave reviews, saw the ratings, loved the soft tones of the cover. This book was completely hyped up for me, and so my expectations were through the roof. It is a pleasure most divine when these expectations are met.

      So this book is mainly marketed as a romance book. And it is. But it is so, so much more than that.

      Sunday, November 3, 2013

      [Review] Fingerprints of You by Kristen-Paige Madonia

      Publication (dd/mm/yyyy): 07/09/2012
      Publisher: Simon & Schuster
      Pages: 250
      Source: Purchased
      Genre: YA (14+) - Contemporary

      Violence | Sexual ContentProfanity


      Book Tunes
      Sarah Jaffe - Clementine

      My Rating: 
      Evocative & achingly beautiful

      My thoughts

      Fingerprints of You is Madonia’s debut novel, but for all the nail-hitting strong points this story has to offer you would hardly be able to tell. I just feel all kinds of love for this book and the characters inside of it right now and for eternity. Madonia beautifully encapsulates what it really means to be home, and what family can truly be.

      Lemon has always had Stella, her mum, for better or worse. Every move into a new town/city meant a fresh start, a new boy toy for Stella to sink her nails into. Lemon has always wondered what her father was like, and why he and Stella didn't try and make it work. When Lemon falls pregnant after an encounter with the local tattoo artist Johnny Drinko, she and her best friend Emmy plan a trip... all the way across the continent. From a small town in West Virginia all the way to San Francisco, California. But Lemon has an ulterior motive for the trip. That’s where her father lives. Before the baby is born, she just has to know if she’s going to be okay, raising the kid on her own without a father. She has to lay the blame somewhere: Stella, or her dad.

      Thursday, October 3, 2013

      [Guest Post + Giveway] S.M. Bjarnson, author of Tangled Tears

      Hey fellow bookworms!

      It's been a long while since my last post. I have a whole lot of review-writing to catch up on! Times are busy with uni (final year -> headache!), work and personal issues... But enough about that. A lovely new author, S.M. Bjarnson, contacted me about her new YA book. The premise sounds promising; even though I have not read it yet I am excited to have an electronic copy to read in the future.

      Here's what she had to say about growing up and overcoming challenges in life...

      Thursday, August 1, 2013

      Fairytales for Wilde Girls ~ Giveaway winner!

       


      While this giveaway didn't accumulate many entrants I'm still glad that I did it. Here's hoping that the winner will fall in love with this book, as I have done so.

      The winner is:
      Emma from Sydney!

      Once again, check out my Fairytales for Wilde Girls review and maybe even add it to your Goodreads?

      I absolutely adore the cover for this book (and the illustrations inside!) and so I asked everyone to say what their initial thoughts on the book were based on the cover alone. The general opinion was that the cover indicated something dark and fairytale-ish. Seems about right!


      Tuesday, July 23, 2013

      Review Bites (#2): Beastly, The Night Circus and more

      Image credit:

      I don't write reviews for every single book I read, at least not here on the blog, but that's just because I don't have enough to say for some of them. Review Bites is here to remedy that.

      The books which I will be reviewing are mostly books I haven't received for review but have been sitting in my to-review pile. I still feel like I have to talk about them. So while these reviews are much, much shorter than my regular ones, I feel satisfied in knowing that my own words have been said about them.

      Reviewed in this post:
      - Beastly by Alex Flinn [swap]
      - The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern [gifted]
      - Someday, Someday, Maybe by Lauren Graham [Netgalley]
      - Emerald by Karen Wallace [for review]

      Saturday, July 20, 2013

      [Review] Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo

      {goodreads}
      (#2, The Grisha)
      Shadow and Bone | Siege and Storm | Ruin and Rising

      Publication (dd/mm/yyyy): 26/06/2013
      Publisher: Hachette (Indigo)
      Pages: 400 (311 in this ARC)
      Source: Publisher
      Genre: YA (14+) - Fantasy

      Violence | Sexual ContentProfanity


      Book Tunes
      ♪ x

      My Rating: 
      Ambitious and surprising

      My thoughts

      I doubt I will ever master the art of reviewing sequels but I'll try my best. Let me preface by saying there will be spoilers for anyone who has not read the first book, also it has been months since I read Siege and Storm so this review is relatively short and possibly lacking in accuracy.

      Friday, July 12, 2013

      Top Ten Tu...Saturday (5): Books that scare me


      Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted at The Broke and the Bookish.

      It's not even Tuesday...and this is actually last week's topic, but I really really wanted to take part in this, add in my little list and send it off to the world. Ten is barely anything, but here's the top most freakishly long or ambitious or old or over-hyped or all the above titles that equate to my feeling the intimidated feelings. Mostly classics--big surprise there, am I right?


      Top Ten Most Intimidating Books

      • Margaret Mitchell - Gone with the Wind
        • It's such a highly-revered American classic, plus it's massive!
      • George R.R. Martin - A Game of Thrones
        • Length, hype, epic.
      • Thomas Hardy - Tess of the D'Urbervilles
        • I had to read this for high school and only made it half-way. It was such a chore but now that I don't have to write an essay or overanalyse it I want to try it again (because people seem to like Hardy) but... memories.
      • Victor Hugo - Les Misérables
        •  It's lengthy, it's "intellectual", or at least highly descriptive and political and about the French Revolution of which I have a very limited knowledge base.
      • Leo Tolstoy - Anna Karenina
        • Again, length. And I just want so badly to love it, but there are so many characters and I worry that it's going to lose me within the first 50 pages!
      • Any Stephen King novel
        • Surprisingly there are some titles of his that have gained my interest. 11/22/63, The Stand, Under the Dome... Ultimately I worry that I won't connect with his writing the way that lots of people seem to do.
      • Vladimir Nabokov - Lolita
        • The subject content intimidates me quite a bit. But it also scares me just so fascinated I have become towards this title. Like, I really want to read this.
      • Emily Brontë - Wuthering Heights
        • It's like a forbidden star-crossed love gone wrong, right? I'm scared to read any Bronte to be honest, but this one...this one.
      • Any Charles Dickens other than A Christmas Carol
        • Loved A Christmas Carol. But Dickens is so horridly verbose... I want to read all of his novels eventually but I can't deny how intimidating the task is!
      • J.R.R. Tolkien - The Lord of the Rings series + The Hobbit
        •  Well, I fell asleep in the first ten minutes of the first movie (I know, it's sacrilege), so there's that. I won a box set a while back, I just have to muster the gusto to pick them up.

      And because I'm incredibly lazy (and it's quite late as I type this) I won't leave Goodreads links. Because you all know these titles. You have to be illiterate to not know them, right? (Or at least not a reader, and then I would have to pose the question What are you doing here? Get yo' gluteus outta here!)


      Hoo boy. I'm going to have nightmares tonight... the books are going to attack me!


      Thursday, July 11, 2013

      [Reading the Classics] Mrs Dalloway by Virginia Woolf

      [Arranged from Vintage Classics ©Random House, 2004]

      Author: Virginia Woolf
      Publication Year: 1925
      Pages: 208

      Violence | Sexual ContentProfanity
        
      Verdict: A poetic stream-of-consciousness narrative that follows the mundane day in a life of a middle-aged woman, Mrs Dalloway, as she prepares for her party. This party far from ordinary--a certain old flame from her past will be in attendance. Woolf portrays middle-class society in a sobering fashion; and yet, oddly, there is an uplifting quality that gives tribute to the preciousness of life.
      My thoughts

      [Source: Gilmore Girls + Tumblr]

      Mrs Dalloway is kind of a British The Great Gatsby in the perspective of a middle-aged Daisy who meets up with Gatsby again, for the first time since war-time. With even more language than The Great Gatsby, more angled perception (by varied points of view) and the perspective of post-war depression to boot. The general feeling I was left with by the end mirrored that of Gatsby--this is a very serious novel, a dense piece of literature that speaks volumes, that unsettled me to my core.

      Sunday, July 7, 2013

      [Review + Giveaway] Fairytales for Wilde Girls by Allyse Near

      Publication (dd/mm/yyyy): 03/06/2013
      Publisher: Random House Australia
      Pages: 432
      Source: Publisher (thanks!) & Bought
      Genre: YA (14+) - Fantasy

      Book Tunes
      Lenka - Trouble is a Friend

      Violence | Sexual ContentProfanity

      My Rating: 
      Enchanting! <3

      My thoughts

      Fairytales for Wilde Girls is described as a "deliciously dark bubblegum-gothic fairytale". In just one word I’d say that this book is, quite simply, magic.

      Allyse Near’s debut novel follows the somewhat twisted and macabre everyday life of peculiar Isola Wilde. She converses with brother-princes that no one else can see; and death seems to follow her. She and her estranged father and manic-depressive mother live on the outskirts of society, right by Vivien’s Wood, where they have quite the reputation. New neighbours move in across the street who will each move Isola in their own way—but none more-so than “Edgar Allen Poe”, an unconventionally charming guy who is instantly taken by Isola’s unusual behaviour and wild locks. Isola’s newest haunt will not leave her alone, and the Woods are dying. She will have to trust her new friend, and rely on the loyalty of her seven brother-princes, if she wishes to have any hope of helping the ghost to move on.

      My Books (14): Haulin' time!


      MBiC is a fortnightly (*ahem*) book haul feature inspired by Kristi (The Story Siren) and Alea (Pop Culture Junkie). I love looking at book covers, and especially their colours, and that is where the idea to feature my new arrivals by their spines in accordance to their shade comes from. [Edit: I have stopped coordinating my hauls to the colour of book spines, at least for now.]

      ~~~~~

      7th of July 2013 ~ Notes

      Another two months since my last book haul. As always, I'm extremely excited about a lot of these. Once again I bought a lot of books. In my defence, they were really cheap. Also got some review copies, so let's get into it!


      Note: All release dates are in the format (dd/mm/yyyy); click on images to zoom in; all book links go to Goodreads.

      * = Up for swap

      For Review

      Thanks to...
      Bloomsbury, Hachette, Pan Macmillan, Penguin and Levi Stack!


      Everything but The Silent Deal was a surprise for me. I haven't really heard too much about any of these titles, but Stung sounds promising. The First Third is written by an Aussie author. I'm currently reading Game On, which obviously has something to do with tennis. It's actually more about the social side of being in a prestigious academy but it's good fun so far--just what I needed. I do want to read Raven Flight and Dance of the Red Death eventually, but I do not have the first books right now so...

      Bought

      Titles will be listed left to right, top to bottom.
        Adult fiction (left)
        Young Adult fiction (middle)
        Modern Classics (right)

        I only preordered one thing--The Lucky Ones. I cannot wait to finally wrap up the Bright Young Things series (it was one of the very first historical fiction I'd ever read)! I acquired these books through various places online: Booktopia, AbeBooks, AllBooks4Less (sadly their online shop has been discontinued) and BrotherhoodBooks. Definitely check them out, especially if you're an Aussie resident.

        Gah! I've been wanting to read some of these for ages: The Help, Guitar Highway Rose, Finnikin of the Rock... My most surprising find was A Want So Wicked, which is a fairly new release, HARDCOVER, for $5. Unheard of in Australia.



        Q: Who are your favourite Booktubers?

        To be completely honest I haven't checked up on book blogs in AGES. I've never adjusted to the moving away from Google Reader thing, and while I have got Feedly it just doesn't work the same. For one, there's no search function...

        Anyway, some of my faves...
        • thereadables - Eloquent and succint, and her videos are just so professional.
        • BookedwithacapitalD - Unique and funny-awkward. Awesome chickie!
        • ArielBissett - Her videos and ideas are simply amazing.
        • jessethereader - What an interesting and memorable Booktuber. Love his videos!
        • LittleBookOwl - Aussie! :D
        • nerdintranslation - She is the ultimate collector of beautiful books. <3
        • theheavyblanks - This guy is extremely thoughtful and just lovely.
        • ChapterChicks - Funnily enough I rarely agree with their views but they're so entertaining!
        • WordsofaReader - Probably my absolute favourite Booktuber. Aussie. Lovely. I love her book tastes and I cannot tell you how many times I have picked up her recommendations.


        Happy reading~
        Share with me your own book hauls! :)

        Sunday, May 26, 2013

        [Review] The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey

        Click on image for Goodreads
        (#1, The 5th Wave)
        The 5th Wave | #2 | #3

        Publication (dd/mm/yyyy): 07/05/2013
        Publisher: Penguin Australia
        Pages: 457
        Source: Publisher (thanks Tina!)

        Book Tunes
        Snow Patrol - Falling Empires

        Violence | Sexual ContentProfanity

        My Rating: 
        Full of tension and heart.


        My thoughts

        This book wasn't even on my radar until Nomes reviewed it. And Wendy. So of course it was then that I requested the book on Netgalley. Just when I was about to prepare myself to start reading it I received a physical copy for review in the mail. How’s that for timing?

        I’m going along with the hype train: this book is GOOD.

        Tuesday, May 14, 2013

        [Review] Scarlet by Marissa Meyer

        Click on image for Goodreads.
        (#2, Lunar Chronicles)
        Cinder | Scarlet | Cress | Winter
         
        Publication (dd/mm/yyyy): 17/01/2013
        Publisher: Penguin (Puffin)
        Pages: 450
        Source: Publisher (thanks, Tina!)

        Book Tunes
        Exploring & Travelling Theme from LOST
        Icon for Hire - Fight

        Violence | Sexual ContentProfanity

        My Rating: 
        A satisfying sequel.

        My thoughts

        Scarlet is the second book in the scifi-fantasy Lunar Chronicles quartet by emerging author Marissa Meyer. This book follows both Cinder and Scarlet as their perilous adventures eventually lead them to finding and helping each other. Queen Levana’s army is growing ever stronger and the fate of Earth rests with a group of misfits—an estranged Lunar princess; a prison-break captain; a red-headed teenage girl, whose best friend might just be her gun; and finally, Wolf.

        Sunday, May 12, 2013

        MBIC (13): Show and tell!


        MBiC is a fortnightly (*ahem*) book haul feature inspired by Kristi (The Story Siren) and Alea (Pop Culture Junkie). I love looking at book covers, and especially their colours, and that is where the idea to feature my new arrivals by their spines in accordance to their shade comes from.

        ~~~~~

        12th of May 2013 ~ Notes

        Happy Mother's Day! <3
        All you mums in the world do so much for your families.
        We love you, we appreciate you--even if we don't express it often enough!

        I said in my last book haul a few weeks ago that I had more to show. And I'm finally finished with class for this semester so I had time to gather up all my new books to show for you all. :)

        I'm so excited to read all of these books! Any particular ones you want me to bump up the TBR?


        Note: All release dates are in the format (dd/mm/yyyy); click on images to zoom in; all book links go to Goodreads.

        * = Up for swap

        For Review

        Thanks to...
        Bloomsbury & Hachette!

        Neither of these titles were on my radar prior to receiving a review copy but I'm so glad I was sent these. They both sound great! If You Find Me sounds like a good winter read, so I've pushed that to my June reading list. :) I'm going to try and read The Disgrace of Kitty Grey this month, but no promises!

        Bought


        There has been an endless stream of praise surrounding Code Name Verity. Been anticipating this new paperback release. The presentation is just lovely. And Burning For Revenge, the fifth book in the Tomorrow series by John Marsden. Which I'll definitely be reading soon.

        Click image to enlarge.
        Classics or older books. Already read the first book in the Oz series and I loved it. I'm really curious about Bounjour Tristesse and The Fountain Overflows--both coming of age stories. The first is French (obviously), the other British. A lot of these were bought through AllBooks4Less ($5!) and Booktopia (free shipping deals). And they're all gorgeous!



        Q: Have you ever reread your favourite childhood books now that you're older? How was it?

        Happy reading!
        Share your own book hauls with me. :)

        Sunday, May 5, 2013

        [Review] Steal My Sunshine by Emily Gale -- Aussie

        Click on image for Goodreads page
        Publication (dd/mm/yyyy): 01/05/2013
        Publisher: Random House (Woolshed Press)
        Pages: 330
        Source: Publisher (thanks Dot!)

        Book Tunes
        Missy Higgins - Where I Stood
        Meg & Dia - Just One of Those Things 

        Violence Sexual ContentProfanity

        My Rating: 
        Lovely, affecting and true.

        My thoughts

        You’ll never know dear, how much I love you
        Please don’t take my sunshine away…

        Steal My Sunshine is Aussie author Emily Gale’s debut contemporary YA novel. It is a mixed bag of good – good writing, good voice, good characters, good message, good feel, good Aussie-ness. I had one problem with it, which I’ll go over later, but my connection to the characters was so strong that my overall experience was still super positive.

        Steal My Sunshine follows the emotional journey of Hannah as her family begins to fall apart in more ways than one. When her dad, with whom she is closest, walks out on the family without warning, Hannah’s mum goes into reclusion while Hannah’s brother (Sam) tries to pick up the pieces. Meanwhile, Hannah’s crush on her best friend’s (Chloe) brother, Ethan, grows into something that may stir up trouble in the long run. There are also family secrets that begin with Essie, Hannah and Sam’s boisterous grandmother, that may be the key to making things right again.

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