Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Waiting On Wednesday #51

 Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking The Spine where you can spotlight a book you're giddy with excitement to read so other people can be giddy with excitement too :)


 
Author: Jenna Black
Release Date: July 16th 2013
Publisher: Tor Teen
Add it: Goodreads
Breathtaking new YA SF from the author of the Faeriewalker series

Sixteen-year-old Nadia Lake comes from a high-class Executive family in the Corporate States. Her marriage has been arranged with the most powerful family in her state, which means she lives a life of privilege but also of public scrutiny, followed everywhere by photographers, every detail of her private life tabloid fodder. But her future is assured, as long as she can maintain her flawless public image — no easy feat when your betrothed is a notorious playboy.

Nathan Hayes is the heir of Paxco — controller of the former state of New York, and creator of human replication technology, science that every state and every country in the world would kill to have. Though Nadia and Nate aren’t in love, they’ve grown up close, and they (and the world) are happy enough with their match.

Until Nate turns up dead, and as far as everyone knows, Nadia was the last person to see him alive.

When the new Nate wakes up in the replication tanks, he knows he must have died, but with a memory that only reaches to his last memory backup, he doesn’t know what killed him. Together, Nadia and Nate must discover what really happened without revealing the secrets that those who run their world would kill to protect.


 
Author: Melissa Keil
Release Date: February 2013
Publisher: Hardie Grant Egmont
Add it: Goodreads
A YA romantic comedy about a movie geek and the dream girl he refuses to fall in love with.

Sam Kinnison is a geek, and he's totally fine with that. He has his horror movies, his nerdy friends, World of Warcraft - and until Princess Leia turns up in his bedroom, he doesn't have to worry about girls.

Then Camilla Carter arrives on the scene. She's beautiful, friendly and completely irrelevant to his plan. Sam is determined to ignore her, except that Camilla has a plan of her own - and he seems to be a part of it!

Sam believes that everything he needs to know he can learn from the movies - but now it looks like he's been watching the wrong ones.


Replica: Anyone read Jenna Black's Faeriewalker series? I've been wanting to for a long time and now her new series is no different. Human replication? Arranged marriages? Murder mystery? Hell yes, please!

Life In Outer Space:  I have two words for you: AUSSIE CONTEMPORARY. I think it's been proven many times that Australian writers are ridiculously talented, particularly in contemporary novels. This just sounds like such a fresh, FUN, entertaining book. It had me at,  "A YA romantic comedy about a movie geek and the dream girl he refuses to fall in love with." I can't wait to meet Sam :)

 What are you waiting on this insanely melting hot Wednesday?

Monday, November 26, 2012

Guest Post: Young Adult Books that Pull on Emotional Strings

by Leanne from The Reclusive Reader

Every reader has wept during emotional scenes in books, and I mean everyone, whether you’re willing to admit it or not. Was it during THAT SCENE in Bridge to Terabithia, or Where the Red Fern Grows? Did you collapse in a heap and started sobbing hysterically during the epic finale of Harry Potter? Or did Mockingjay hit you right in the heart, in that sensitive spot you only reserve for books that resonate with you on a deeply personal level?

I personally don’t anticipate reading “tear-jerkers”, whence books make me feel all soft and mushy and weepy and sniff-ly inside. I’m sorry; I am quite aware that I may sound like a coldhearted cod, but no, get away from me, FEELS! Shoo!

In spite of all my complaining and whining though, it’s without a doubt that a couple very precious novels have affected me on an incredibly personal level and lingered for a while. Momentarily, I’ll present to you a couple of absolute treasures I highly recommend for when you’re in that really dreadful mood to stain your blanket with tears.

Before I Fall
By Lauren Oliver

Premise: What if you only had one day to live? What would you do? Who would you kiss? And how far would you go to save your own life?

Samantha Kingston has it all: looks, popularity, and the perfect boyfriend. Friday, February 12, should be just another day in her charmed life. Instead, it turns out to be her last.

The catch: Samantha still wakes up the next morning. Living the last day of her life seven times during one miraculous week, she will untangle the mystery surrounding her death--and discover the true value of everything she is in danger of losing.

On the surface, Before I Fall may seem like a trite, uninspired novel riddled with clichés, a mix of “Groundhog Day” and “Mean Girls”. Yes, this book is about unlikeable, excessively bitchy Queen Bees who inflict emotional pain on their victims, including the main protagonist, Sam Kingston.

BUT, somehow this book managed to blow my initial misgivings out of the water and displayed characters in their most organic, bare forms. The writing was wholly spectacular, evocative, thought- provoking, and sentimental without being absurdly sappy. And the ending, was just… Even now, I can barely write about it without getting all, WHY IS THE WORLD SO CRUEL WHY DID IT HAVE TO END THAT WAY whywhywhy….

Yes, I’m still sensitive about it. *whispers* don’t tell!

And I can also remember quite vividly that Lauren Oliver wrote absolutely gorgeous passages.

“Maybe you can afford to wait. Maybe for you there's a tomorrow. Maybe for you there's one thousand tomorrows, or three thousand, or ten, so much time you can bathe in it, roll around it, let it slide like coins through your fingers. So much time you can waste it. But for some of us there's only today. And the truth is, you never really know.”

“Here's another thing to remember: hope keeps you alive. Even when you're dead, it's the only thing that keeps you alive.”

“I guess that's what saying good-bye is always like--like jumping off an edge. The worst part is making the choice to do it. Once you're in the air, there's nothing you can do but let go.”

So now, if you haven’t read this book and weren’t left in a state of unstable emotions when you finished, this book is calling your name. I can hear it…

Furthermore, if you have no idea as to who I am and are quite disturbed by my strange ramblings, then you most likely don’t know that I’ve been raving about this emotional tear- jerker ever since I read it two months ago. The book I speak of is Story of a Girl, an unbelievably poignant, raw, and quietly powerful novel that spoke to me on so many different levels.


Story of a Girl
By Sara Zarr

Premise: When she is caught in the backseat of a car with her older brother's best friend--Deanna Lambert's teenage life is changed forever. Struggling to overcome the lasting repercussions and the stifling role of "school slut," she longs to escape a life defined by her past. With subtle grace, complicated wisdom and striking emotion, Story of a Girl reminds us of our human capacity for resilience, epiphany and redemption.


Deanna is that girl, you know, that girl? The slut who slept with her older brother's best friend when she was thirteen; the girl who later had to deal with the repercussions of her past mistake. Deanna is a girl who can easily be dismissed as a skank, a clingy freak with no life, as most presume in her backwards, blue collar town. What if this piece of gossip that’s circled around her school for years and has been so belittled so that people laugh off such a horrible experience as if it were a joke; what if there is more to it than people bother to care?

I loved this book, body and soul. It revealed my lesser qualities of dismissing people solely by their reputation and single mistakes that create a magnitude effect on their lives. It was thought-provoking, it was excruciatingly genuine and hopeful and potent and real. The author wrote in such a way that I felt as if my heart was being ripped into pieces, slowly and steadily, painful with every shred. When I finished reading the last page, I clutched this book tightly to my chest, while tears slowly trickled down my cheeks. Please, don’t miss out on this one, my darlings. A book to be remembered for a very long time…

And lastly, quotes that will make your heart melt:

“Forgetting isn't enough. You can paddle away from the memories and think they are gone. But they will keep floating back, again and again and again. They circle you, like sharks. Until, unless, something, someone? Can do more than just cover the wound.”

“Sometimes rescue comes to you. It just shows up, and you do nothing. Maybe you deserve it, maybe you don't. But be ready, when it comes, to decide if you will take the outstretched hand and let it pull you ashore.”

Well now, that’s it for today, ladies and gentleman! I hope you enjoyed my erratic ramblings/gushing/raving. :)

You can find Leanne on: Blog | Goodreads | Twitter
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Brodie the friendly Eidorb would like to finish by saying:

The talented writers who have been guest posting on my blog the past month or two have continually blown me away with their beautiful writing. Not that I'm surprised, because have you visited each of their blogs?! Leanne is clearly no exception; her stunning writing is a highly effective form of mind control, because now I'm desperate to read Story of A Girl; a novel I've been aware of for years but stupidly never felt inclined to pick up. I LOVE STORIES THAT SHRED MY HEART!! I wholly agree with her thoughts on Before I Fall too. I was a mess by the end of the book!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Review: Reached (Matched #3) by Ally Condie


Author: Ally Condie
Release Date: 13th November 2012
Publisher: Penguin
Thanks to Penguin Australia for the review copy!
Cassia's journey began with a momentary glitch in the otherwise perfect façade of the Society. After crossing canyons to break free, she waits, silk and paper smuggled against her skin, ready for the final chapter.

The wait is over.

Cassia has raged against those who threaten to keep away what matters most – family, love, choice. Her quiet revolution will soon explode into full-scale rebellion.

In this gripping conclusion to the bestselling Matched trilogy, Cassia, Ky and Xander return to the Society to save the one thing denied to them for so long: the power to choose.

There's always a degree of apprehension when beginning the last book in a series. I have huge expectations given it's where everything must come together: answers finally revealed, enemies defeated, beloved characters carving out their future for better or worse. I absolutely loved the beginning of the trilogy, Matched, though felt a little letdown in the sequel. Was I happy with Reached? Yes and (a little bit) no.

I will admit that I was hoping for a touch.... more. Despite the life-or-death situation in Reached, I never quite felt the suspense. I was never on edge or left worrying what would happen. The main enemy is the plague. There was a lot of searching for a cure, trial and error, and the slow pace felt drearily so at times. But I appreciate that Ally offered a sense of realism with the amount of time and research it took; there's nothing more eye-rolling than when the solution magically appears 10 pages later. Yet in saying this, I understand these books are not meant to be fast-paced roller coasters. Instead, we see whispers of evolution in each character, the exploration of change is not always in-your-face, but powerful in it's own quiet way.

In so many novels we see that one hero or heroine who becomes the face of rebellion; usually reluctant, but eventually rises to the challenge, defeats the enemy and leads their world to a brighter future. I love that we don't see this in Reached. In the end, there is no one leader, it's a collective effort where everyone plays a role, no matter how small, in saving the world. A hero is not always one who's endured the greatest losses, the most charismatic or else skilled with a sword. A hero can be a boy who's never suffered great pain, a girl who sorts data, or the young man who taught her how to write her name. 

What I love so much about this series is Ally Condie's writing. Even in times where I wasn't particularly riveted by plot, it's her writing that kept me glued to the page. Some authors can make my heart pound, reduce me to a puddle of goo or leave me utterly depressed. Ally gives me a meditative calm. When I set her books down between chapters, I don't want to get on the computer or watch tv and have a hundred things barrage my mind at once. Instead, I want to walk outside and just stare at the sky or breathe in the summer air. That's the one thing I'm going to miss the most. Her writing. An element that also plays such a central role throughout the entire series. Cassia, Ky, Xander; they're fighting for freedom in a world where expression and creation is long forgotten, where order and statistics eradicate the surprise in spontaneity and choice; a society caged by a limited spectrum of colours, never daring to mix their red, green and blue.

Until Reached, where finally, they are. And it's beautiful to witness unfold, especially in moments from Cassia's point-of-view.

"I weave the papers through the branches. A long loop. Up and down, my knees bending. My arms above my head, like the girls I saw once in a painting in a cave. There is a rhythm to this, a keeping of time.

I wonder if I am dancing."

This series is not for the adrenaline-junkie looking for a pulse-pounding read. It's not for the dystopian lover whose veins are filled by the bloodshed of the enemy. Reached may not have excited me in the way I hoped; the plot may have felt slow and the suspense never quite reaching a peak; but the beauty in every word, the inspiration behind every act, the power that lay within freewill and expression, is what makes this book so special. It's why I kept turning those pages again and again. I'm happy with how things concluded; we see one journey complete it's circle and the tentative beginnings of another. You're left to wonder, but in a good way. This is a series that teaches we all have something to offer; we all have the talent to give or create and even if we're the millionth person to write or sing about love or pain, or draw the clouds in the sky; each piece will always be different, it will be new to us, and continue on the chain of inspiration to every soul who shares in our work.

"Writing, painting, singing—it cannot stop everything. Cannot halt death in its tracks. But perhaps it can make the pause between death’s footsteps sound and look and feel beautiful, can make the space of waiting a place where you can linger without as much fear. For we are all walking each other to our deaths, and the journey there between footsteps makes up our lives."

 3.5 shiny golden apples!

You can find Reached at:

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Interview with author of THE DIVINERS - Libba Bray!


If you're not already aware, Australian blogs are currently being infected with the wit, humour and intelligence of the one and only Libba Bray. From saz101 to Novels On The Run, and now I have the immense pleasure of welcoming her here! Who is Libba Bray? Uh, only the planet's most fascinating writer, who broke the awesome-o-meter with Beauty Queens, Going Bovine and the Gemma Doyle trilogy, introducing us to the likes of Captain Bodacious (like, only the coolest hot-pirate reality show ever), MoMo B. ChaCha (an Elvis-obsessed dictator with a stuffed monkey; also loves Captain Bodacious), Shithenge and a punk-rock angel. Not to mention every other character and creation she's ever dreamed up. This woman is fifty thousand shades of entertaining, insightful insanity.

To celebrate the recent release of her amazing new novel, THE DIVINERS, the ever lovely booknerds at Allen & Unwin gave me the opportunity to interview her, where she somehow managed to work with some of my ridiculously lame questions and produce a series of truly fascinating answers! Proven fact: Libba Bray can even make idiots look awesome. I might have to invest in a pocket-sized Libba.

________________________________________________________________________________

Libba Bray Interview

With The Diviners set in the 1920's, did you do much research into this era? What's the most fascinating thing you discovered?

Libba: I did tons of research, and I have to say, I enjoyed every bit of it. (Wow, way to sound like a real nerd, Lib. I don’t get out much.) I started by doing general reading on the period, books like Terrible Honesty: Mongrel Manhattan in the 1920s by Ann Douglas, Modern Temper: American Culture and Society in the 1920s by Lynn Dumenil, and Only Yesterday: An Informal History of the 1920s by Frederick Lewis Allen. Then I moved on to more specific books such as Playing the Numbers: Gambling in Harlem between the Warsby Shane White, Stephen Garton, Dr. Stephen Robertson and Graham White; and Flapper: A Madcap Story of Sex, Style, Celebrity, and the Women Who Made America Modernby Joshua Zeitz. I made use of New York City’s many resources: the New York Public Library, the New York Historical Society, the Manhattan Transit Authority’s archives, the Museum of Chinese in America, the Paley Center for Media. I did walking tours of New York neighborhoods with two historians. And when I really needed to knuckle down, I hired a research consultant, Lisa Gold, a librarian in Seattle, who was able to get me articles and primary sources I desperately needed. Hooray for Lisa! Hooray for librarians!

I think one of my favorite small discoveries was about the widespread quackery belief that radiation was good for you. There were some crazy theories—belief that it could cure mental illness, epilepsy, and the common cold. All sorts of products touted the wonders of radiation. I came across an ad Al Jolson did for a therapeutic irradiated patch for the throat that Jolson claimed really helped his voice. (Yikes!) But my favorite was a “health drink” called Radithor which was water that contained 1% radium. A wealthy businessman named Eben Byers used to drink the stuff like soda. When he died—horribly, as I’m sure you’ve already gathered—the Wall Street Journal’s headline read: “The Radium Water Worked Fine Until His Jaw Came Off.” Fun stuff.

What are three things writing The Diviners (or writing in general) has taught you?

Libba: 1. It’s important to read and understand the lessons of history.

2. Don’t drink irradiated water.

3. Prohibition was a silly idea.

Where is the spookiest/creepiest/most haunted place you've ever visited (or would like to visit)?

Libba: Oh, wow. Great question. As a fan of haunted house stories, I’ve always wanted to visit the Winchester Mystery House in San Jose, California. http://www.winchestermysteryhouse.com/ And as someone obsessed with the movie, “Rosemary’s Baby,” I’d love to get a peek inside the Dakota apartment building where it was filmed.

(The Dakota, c. 1912. Corner of Central Park West & W. 72nd Street, New York City)

But I’d have to say that the creepiest/scariest/most haunted place I’ve ever visited is my own mind. J

Which character, from any of your books, has been the most entertaining to write?

Libba: Hmmm, now see, if I pick a favorite, all of the other characters will get their feelings hurt, and then when I come home, they will have Vaselined the toilet seat and replaced all the songs on my iPod with Pokemon versions in revenge. But I’m gonna go out on a limb and say that all of those girls in BEAUTY QUEENS were a criminal amount of fun to write.

Do you have an easier time channeling hilarious, creepy, or emotional scenes?

Libba: I’d say I probably excel at the unintentionally hilarious, which others interpret as downright creepy which then leads to a lot of emotional crying on my part.

How do you want to be remembered in 250 years time when bright, young, robotic-minds wander a museum of ancient 21st century books and stumble across one bearing your name?

Libba: As that author who was part of an international scandal involving Ryan Gosling, street mimes, and a drag queen musical featuring the songs of Burt Bacharach.

Lastly, how do you think the world is going to end?

Libba: In a bureaucratic bungle. In fact, I’ll bet that’s already happened and the world has ended, but someone forgot to send out the memo, and so we’re all still wandering around the office wondering why nobody’s made coffee.


1920s New York. A teen clairvoyant. An old evil. It has begun...

Evie O'Neill has been exiled from her boring old home town and shipped off to the bustling streets of New York City - and she is pos-i-tute-ly thrilled! New York is the city of speak-easies, rent parties, shopping and movie palaces, and soon enough Evie is running with glamorous Ziegfeld girls and rakish pickpockets. The only catch is that Evie has to live with her Uncle Will, curator of the Museum of American Folklore, Superstition, and the Occult - also known as 'The Museum of the Creepy Crawlies'.

When a rash of occult-based murders comes to light, Evie and her uncle are right in the thick of it. Even Evie's new pals - hoofers, numbers runners and activists, but all swell kids - are drawn into the investigation. And through it all, Evie has a secret: a mysterious power that could help catch the killer - if he doesn't catch her first...


Find THE DIVINERS at:
Goodreads | Booktopia | Fishpond | Bookworld


Follow Libba Bray on:
Website | Blog | Goodreads | Twitter | Facebook 

Monday, November 12, 2012

Guest Post: The How and Why of loving books



Books. That’s what it’s about, right? They’re friends, the really good ones, and perhaps we make (as Harry Potter thinks about Draco Malfoy in The Chamber of Secrets), the occasional “arch enemy” out of ones we don’t get along with so well. Books can capture something in their pages that can make you cry or laugh, and one of the best things about them is the fact that you can go back to them whenever you want.

Yet now and again you may ask yourself two questions: How being the first, and Why being the second. To add more light to these two questions, I made a chart, which applies to a novel you’re loving.


The How and Why, explained:
How does this book do all these things do me? Why does it do these things to me? How am I so connected with these characters, why do I feel as if they’re a part of me?

I’m definitely not a professional book decipher, I literally just spelt “professional” incorrectly, but I, like everyone, have ideas and I am going to share a few of them. There’s the wonderful quote -



And that’s us. We’re the readers, we live alongside many fandoms, we share our love for these characters, even if they broke our hearts into many tiny little pieces and then stamped on them for good measure.

So why do we love books so much? Why do we feel an instant connection and the blossom of love when we start reading some books and not others? Here’s what I think. It’s because you’re reading about people you aspire to, who you see a yourself in. You fall in love with the world and wish you could live in it yourself, and when you can love Katniss, Luna, Hazel Grace, Augustus, Peeta, Harry, Finnick, Annie, Four, Tris and so many other amazing characters why would you settle for anything else?

When we open a book we have the opportunity of living two lives, one between the paper and one quite different one. We can be reassured that nothing will change when we go away and we can always go back if things in this life take a turn for the fictional. We give so much to these places inside the pages. In return they promise never to leave us, no matter how what happens. These books become a part of us, of our lives and that is more than okay. It’s wonderful. It’s as it should be. Without it, what would life be?

There are OTP’s and Ships and we are at the base of all of these things. The reading community starts this and makes a bigger community, a community that grows with every page turned, a community you will always be welcomed in to, and to sum these relationships up I have two very small lines to say:

endless joy

crying constantly

And so, of course, we come to the deaths. Your favourite character, the one you’ve rooted for all along or the one you fell in love with at the same time the heroine/hero did; the one you hated all along (and I think a lot of you know who I’m talking about now) who, in the last moments of life, show the best part of themselves and turn you into a wet mess. If authors knew what we went through, would they keep it up?

Probably.

Characters fight to the death, the cast spells together, they fall in love, they push that love away, they die. You’re left speechless, not even able to enunciate how you feel, silently asking why it had to happen to that character. Why couldn’t someone else have sacrificed them self, why couldn’t the author have written in a different name.

For a time, you may be left sobbing into your hands, only able to turn the pages which you have made sure stay as dry as possibly between your tears, because you know you have to keep going on, no matter what. It comes close to breaking you, but you have to keep reading. Because it’s life. Pure and simple (though simultaneously neither of either). To read is to be alive, to stop is like taking away all the air in the world, in a dramatic and honest sense.

Now we come to part 2. The books we don’t like.

Are we prejudice against some books before we even start reading them? Why do we, on occasion, judge books by their covers and not their content, decide we wouldn’t like to read that book because of the nauseating cover, and will definitely read this one because of it’s enticing one, when the one you don’t like the look of might change your life for the better and the one you choose might change it for the worse.

Perhaps we read reviews of them and that particular person didn’t like it and so you decide not to bother reading it, maybe it has too many labels on it, it’s tagged as being the next big hit- that can get tiring, seeing “The biggest thing since Harry Potter!!!” or, “The next Hunger Games!” or what have you, sprawled over the cover. If those are books you don’t like, why would you pick it up? If those are books you love, the expectation, the expectation, an expectation that isn’t easy to quench. And perhaps sometimes luck is against us, so we put aside those books.

I just hope that if we pass up on the one that will change us for the better we still have another chance at reading it, even if that chance doesn’t come along for many years.




I can’t live without books. They’ll break me, they’ll tear my heart to shreds, and yet I wouldn’t give them up for anything in the world. I wouldn’t ever let anyone take away the thousands of other lives I live, I couldn’t let part of my being be taken from me, because books are me- without them I would never be who I am and I would be entirely someone I am not.

I saw a post on Tumblr recently that basically summed me up, and it went something like this…


So that’s what I’ll do now, to finish this off as neatly as I can, with a few books that I think will destroy you in the best possible way. Obviously we’ve got The Hunger Games, my favourite series, specifically Mockingjay, and Harry Potter, probably The Order of the Phoenix for me. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. Why we Broke Up by Daniel Handler. I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith. Black Heart Blue by Louisa Reid.

Go on, break your hearts. You know you want to.

In books we have the chance to live another life, the chance to take a step away from our everyday life and live another. And, maybe most importantly, we have the chance to find out what is important to us - we get to decide how we live and books, for me at least, influence that decision.

You can find Romi on: Blog | Goodreads | Twitter
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Thanks so much for your fantastic post, Romi! I think I nearly all of us can relate so much to her words. I especially love her paragraph with, "I can’t live without books. They’ll break me, they’ll tear my heart to shreds, and yet I wouldn’t give them up for anything in the world." This is ME. No matter how much books ruin me, it would ruin me more to give them up <3

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Owl Post #16

Inspired by The Story Siren's In My Mailbox, Owl Post allows me to excitedly share all the yummy books I get in the mail each week! Owl's are much faster and more reliable than sneaky postmen, and the common way for magical folk to send and receive letters and parcels.

Since I haven't done an Owl Post in a while, these are my books from the past couple of weeks:

This week:
The Skeleton Key by Tara Moss
Tara Moss is a name I hear quite often, but I generally associate her with adult crime fiction, a genre I don't usually indulge in. I hear this series has hints of supernatural though, so maybe I should check out the first two books?

After reading Keertana's amazing review, I have been DYING DYING DYING to read this! Did I mention: DYING?! Fortunately, I have an INCREDIBLE library. So excited to start it!

This was a surprise when I opened the package, because it's not often Australia releases books in hardcover, so it must be something special. I hadn't heard of it before, but after reading the summary and first few pages, I am really intrigued to continue! Hopefully I can get to it soon.

What have the owls delivered to you this week?

Friday, November 9, 2012

Giveaway: I Made Lattes For A Love God by Wendy Harmer

Release: November 2012 | Publisher: Allen & Unwin 
Best friends and not-so-secret Hollywood crushes. A warm, funny read for teens from comedienne, writer and popular radio personality Wendy Harmer.

Elly Pickering has a juicy secret. A secret her PR mum won't let her tell anyone because if the kids at Oldcastle High knew that mega-star Jake Blake (yes, THE Jake Blake, teen sensation and all round heart-throb) was coming to Oldcastle to film his latest movie, they might just explode with excitement.

Elly is determined to get on set and to get more than a glimpse of her Hollywood crush. But now thanks to an unfortunate incident involving a car, a red handbag and the paparazzi, it looks like Elly's lost a lot more than her opportunity to be close to Hollywood royalty. She's lost her dignity, her job and her best friend. How will she ever be able to get everything back to normal?

Thanks to the amazingly generous bookworms at Allen & Unwin, I have FIVE copies of I MADE LATTES FOR A LOVE GOD to give away to Australian readers!!

When you mention lattes and love gods in the same sentence, you immediately have my attention. Two of my favourite things (coffee and godly men) wrapped up in the greatest invention since oxygen: BOOKS.

So how do you win one of these babies? It's as simple as giving me all your personal details so I can hunt you down and stare at you from your air ducts*


*for legal reasons, I will mention here I'm totally KIDDING*
**unless you are a love god, and supernatural law generally permits stalking, so.... *suspicious drool drips from your air ducts*

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Guest Post: Maree discusses, "Why I Read YA"

 by Maree from Maree's Musings


Why I read YA

This isn’t, to me, a difficult question to answer. The answer is the same on the question of why I read at all. I read books for fun. Reading is something I genuinely enjoy, hence why I started a book blog. I assume this is the same reason most other people read and also why so many of us have a ‘did not finish’ pile alongside our ‘to-be-read’ pile. After all, why force yourself to read a book you’re not enjoying when there are so many fabulous books out there waiting for you to open them?

I’ve always been the sort of person who will give almost any book a try, however, I’ve had a soft spot for contemporaries since I opened my first Jacqueline Wilson novel when I was ten. During school I would often just look for any book which sounded interesting and hardly ever bought books because I was never completely certain I’d enjoy them. Hey, do you blame me? Books are expensive in Australia! It was not until I started my own blog that my reading tastes really started to expand and I discovered the wonderful world of young adult literature. I know, I’m a little late to the party. Now I will happily buy TONS of books based solely on the reviews of bloggers I trust and almost every book I’ve read this year has been in response to those reviews.

Previously my opinions of YA were based almost solely on Twilight and Vampire Academy. Now I’m not saying that’s necessarily a bad thing, but it did lead me to form some rather unjustified stereotypes about YA literature. And these are the stereotypes I’ve faced during my first year in uni when I tell people I love to read YA.

One of the most offensive things anyone has ever said to me was “you can’t read that, that’s a children’s book”. Their derisive tone made the statement even worse, as did the fact they had also admitted to me they never read anything for fun. Unfortunately, at the time, I actually did feel ashamed. And now I feel ashamed that anyone ever made me feel ashamed about the books I enjoy reading. It’s a vicious cycle *sigh*.

I think one of the most common misconceptions among teenagers who love to read is that there is a limit to how long you can read books for ‘young adults’. There is in fact no such thing. If you’re at university, there is no need to be pressured into reading ‘adult’ books. Unless of course you are, like me, taking a literature subject. I’m sorry, but it’s kinda important you read high brow books then. It’s ok, I don’t totally understand them either.

However, I think some of the most harmful misconceptions are those held by adult readers who view YA as nothing more than simple books for teenagers. Alright, I’ll admit, sometimes we like nothing more than to escape into a nice fluffy book, but not all YA is light and fluffy. Some of it is dark and probing, poignant and heartfelt, and, above all else, real. The emotions surrounding the issues the protagonists deal with are amplified in a way, when viewed through the lens of adolescence. This makes YA literature powerful, not only for teenagers, but for adults who are able to reflect on these issues with the added life experience which teens lack. These books are by no means ‘dumbed down’ or ‘simplistic’ in fact, most times they are quite the opposite; thought-provoking and, sometimes, life changing. Laura from Clear Eyes, Full Shelves summed it up perfectly:

I know I’m preaching to the converted, but I also want to say thank you to all the YA book bloggers who helped me discover the amazing world that is literature for young adults, not children. So, to conclude, I’d like to leave a list of all the lovely bloggers who have given me wonderful recommendations this year and who are just awesome in general (obviously Brodie is on this list, but you guys already know she’s fantastic, don’t you?)

Reynje @ Wordchasing
Maggie & Noelle @ Young Adults Anonymous
Mandee @ Vegan YA Nerds
Catie, Flannery & Tatiana @ The Readventurer
Wendy & K. @ The Midnight Garden

You can find Maree on: Blog | Goodreads | Twitter | Facebook
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Thank you so much for sharing your brilliantly wise thoughts, Maree! <3 Oh, how TRUE those thoughts are! How many of us have had that one (okay, potentially more) person in our lives who looks down on us for reading a children's book? If only more would recognise, as Maree said, that: "Some of it is dark and probing, poignant and heartfelt, and, above all else, real."

Also: I apologise to those others waiting on their guest post to go up, it's obvious that I've been terrible with blogging lately! I'm so very nearly done with assignments, so I've had time to FINISH A BOOK *cheers* which means a review next week and getting drafts posted. The other guest posts will be up very soon :)

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Books Talk #3 (plus Giveaway!): So Close To You by Rachel Carter


What's this?

Rather than question the author or their characters, why not ask the book?! Surely it knows itself better than anyone? So I provide authors with a list of potential questions (along with explanations), they choose a few to answer and then take on the personality of their book! Thanks to Mandee for the name suggestion :)
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So Close To You by Rachel Carter

 
Lydia Bentley has heard stories about the Montauk Project all her life: stories about the strange things that took place at the abandoned military base near her home and the people who've disappeared over the years. Stories about people like her own great-grandfather.

When Lydia stumbles into a portal that transports her to a dangerous and strange new reality, she discovers that all the stories she's ever heard about the Montauk Project are true, and that she's in the middle of one of the most dangerous experiments in history.

Alongside a darkly mysterious boy she is wary to trust, Lydia begins to unravel the secrets surrounding the Project. But the truths behind these secrets force her to question all her choices--and if Lydia chooses wrong, she might not save her family but destroy them . . . and herself.



I feel incredibly special today, readers. Why? Because here with me is a book who spends its days teasing conspiracy theories and travelling through time, but instead of zipping back to the 1940's and flapping pages with a cute paperback, it's offered to share some inky thoughts on my blog. So without further delay, please welcome So Close To You by Rachel Carter!

What do you look for in a reader, So Close to You?
Someone who has an open mind when it comes to conspiracy theories...and someone who likes dark, mysterious boys. Though honestly, who doesn't like dark, mysterious boys?

Does it make you uncomfortable to think readers may be caught licking your cover?
Kind of! My cover has lots of red hair and apocalyptic clouds. I can't imagine why anyone would want to lick those things.

What's your personality type?
Introspective - with a few twists. At first people think I'm really sweet, but I definitely have some dark moments...

What's your favourite song/music?
I love 1940s big band music, since I spend so much time in the past. Stuff like this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2pfCFU3Mqww. But if I have to hear any more modern, Emo-stuff (the ONLY thing my creator listened to while she wrote me), I'm going to throw myself in the trash. Or throw her in the trash. Though I doubt I can lift her.

Are you a trend-setter or do you follow the crowd?
I don't really fit into any one category, so I guess that makes me a trendsetter. I have romance, mystery, time travel, family drama, and a very twisty conspiracy theory all wrapped up inside of me. It makes me feel a little lonely on the bookshelves at times.

Your race - Books - are generally conceived from a human's mind. But if books bred like humans, who would your parents be?
It would be a three-way, inter-genre relationship between The Time Traveler's Wife, Back to the Future and The X-Files. A little scandalous, but it works!

What do you live?
Right now I live under my creator's desk, but she keeps handing me out for giveaways like this one! Soon there will be none of me left and then she'll be sorry.

Where do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
I like dancing the Jitterbug, like my character Lydia does when she goes back to the 1940s. But I have no legs, so it makes it difficult.

Your most treasured possession?
Wes' pocket watch. It's the only thing that reminds him of his past, and it comes to mean a lot to Lydia too. Just thinking about it makes me want to cry, and then I might wreck my pages, so onto the next question.

Do you believe in love at first sight?
Obviously! Wes and Lydia have a variation of it, for sure. They fall for each other quickly - for their own specific reasons - and they learn to trust each other right away. But is that necessarily a good thing? Let's just say that trust will definitely be tested over time.

Give us the scoop on your protagonist - do you enjoy her company on every page? Or do you find her intolerable?
I like Lydia! She's loyal and smart and cares a lot about the people in her life. But she's also tenacious and stubborn, which definitely gets her into trouble at times. I have a feeling she learns a lot about life in my pages - and she becomes much more cautious in my sister book, This Strange and Familiar Place.

Many of us female readers can become a little... fangirly when it comes to book boys. Are you just as smitten with Wes as Lydia is?
Yes. Wes is very broody and mysterious. Sometimes too mysterious, but it makes sense considering how he grew up. I'm excited for you all to learn more about him in future books!

If you could travel back in time and tell your younger book self something, what would it be?
More time travel? That sounds exhausting!

You can find Rachel at:
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Giveaway Time! 

Because Rachel likes to flaunt the fact that she is 50 shades of Awesome, she's offering one copy of SO CLOSE TO YOU to a lucky US reader!! I know you're just as curious as I am about the Montauk Project... not to mention unlocking the secrets of this broody, mysterious boy named Wes ;)

How do you win? EASY. 


That's IT. Extra entries for commenting, following Rachel on Twitter and adding So Close To You to Goodreads.
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If you're an author and interested in me chatting with your fabulous book, feel free to shoot me an email! You can look over some potential questions here, or answer using your own, using whatever personality you adapt for your book. Fun!
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If you're a reader and have any question suggestions that you'd be willing to let me add to this list,  you're totally awesome and I love you and you can share them here

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