Thursday, January 31, 2013

Review: The Indigo Spell (Bloodlines #3) by Richelle Mead

Firstly, thank you to Penguin Books Australia for this NetGalley <3

The Indigo Spell (Bloodlines, #3)

Date Read: January 23 – 27 2013
Release Date: February 12th 2013
Publisher: Penguin Australia
Source: NetGalley
Genre: Paranormal
My rating: 

“In the aftermath of a forbidden moment that rocked Sydney to her core, she finds herself struggling to draw the line between her Alchemist teachings and what her heart is urging her to do. Then she meets alluring, rebellious Marcus Finch--a former Alchemist who escaped against all odds, and is now on the run. Marcus wants to teach Sydney the secrets he claims the Alchemists are hiding from her. But as he pushes her to rebel against the people who raised her, Sydney finds that breaking free is harder than she thought. There is an old and mysterious magic rooted deeply within her. And as she searches for an evil magic user targeting powerful young witches, she realizes that her only hope is to embrace her magical blood--or else she might be next.
Populated with new faces as well as familiar ones, the Bloodlines series explores all the friendship, romance, battles, and betrayals that made the #1 New York Times bestselling Vampire Academy series so addictive—this time in a part-vampire, part-human setting where the stakes are even higher and everyone’s out for blood.”


“Any life worth living is going to have risks.”

Mead has done it again. She has written another compelling book that I wasn’t able to put down. I’ll be honest, for all its hype, I was worried The Indigo Spell would be like The Golden Lily – albeit an extremely enjoyable 5 star read but lacking that something that Vampire Academy possessed. So I was extremely happy that while reading The Indigo Spell, I realised I’d stopped comparing it to Vampire Academy; I was finally able to see Sydney’s story as something of her own and not a less action-packed version of Rose’s tale. And guys…. SYDRIAN FEELS. ALLLLLLLLLLL THE FEELS.

Picking up right where The Golden Lily left off, book 3 jumps right into the action. The mystery that is Marcus Finch and his blue tattoo is finally revealed, but a greater threat than secretive Alchemists is closer than anybody thought. I think what I love about Mead’s books is that she can maintain two plot lines: the overall plot of the series, and the current book’s own conflict and issues. I was drawn into both straight away and the pace was so perfect – each plot distinct and every turn of the page full of anticipation yet I was able to keep up with what was happening. Never a dull moment seriously. The build-up to the end was well done and I honestly was so drawn into the story I didn’t even realise how far I’d progressed. It’s a pretty big/thick book but before I knew it I was 50% done, then 70% then 96% and I was like “omg I need more Sydrian!”

Sydney has always been this uptight, rule-abiding girl but let me say that she is BADASS in The Indigo Spell. We see a completely different side to her and I loved how she finally stopped being so naïve and realised that rules might not always be in line with what is ethically correct. I loved the way her character has been built over the past 3 books but her growth finally showed here. Gone is the tentative, good girl that sprouted Alchemist words like they were her personal mantra. I finally saw a girl who wasn’t afraid to stand up for what SHE believed was right, to act on those beliefs… and I loved the added fire of how she was willing to use someone to do that – it sounds horrible but seriously, while reading it feels absolutely awesome for her to step out of her comfort zone!

“They aren’t like you at all. They talk. You act.”

I absolutely loved all the characters here: Jill, Eddie, Angeline, Trey and Ms. Terwilliger make regular appearances, but we’re graced with cameos of Rose and Dimitri too (I squealed when they got a mention honestly). I really saw how Jill and Angeline had matured – Jill is wise beyond her years now and I really liked the way she perceived things while Angeline seemed a lot calmer and (slightly) responsible. While Ms Terwilliger really annoyed me for pushing Sydney in the previous books, I really valued her presence here and I realised her pushing Sydney was beneficial to all parties.

But but but GUIIISEEEE *pushes aside Sydney and all the other characters*… ADRIAN FREAKING IVASHKOV. BE STILL MY HEART. He stole my heart in his first appearance in Frostbite and every VA book after that… then his feelings started breaking my heart in Bloodlines/The Golden Lily AND NOW?! I THINK I DIED AND WENT TO HEAVEN. I had my qualms about his playboy ways and methods to handle Spirit (although understandable) in VA but ohmysweetGOODNESS he is amazing in The Indigo Spell. After what happened in The Golden Lily, Adrian only got more awesome. Dedicated, devoted, sweet, understanding, passionate and just so INTENSE he is the only one that really saw through Sydney’s façade and accepted everything about her. He knew her better than she knew herself! People ask me why I don’t have a boyfriend. Adrian Ivashkov is a big reason why. This loving man UGH I mean I understand why Sydney can’t be with him but he’s so irresistible!

“He’s the only one who never tells me to do anything”

“… You’re the same beautiful, brave, and ridiculously smart caffeinated fighter you’ve been since the day I met you.”

Which leads me to the romance. Hot dayum! Mead didn’t go into the graphic detail of adult novels because honestly she didn’t need to – the power of her words alone left scorch marks wherever Adrian touched m– ahem Sydney. Every page was filled with some reminder of Adrian’s feelings and his touch remained regardless of how brief the encounter was. So steamy, so much sexual tension I was just dying for them to jump each other.

 “The world was all heat and electricity, thick with tension that was only one spark away from exploding around us.”

The more I think about The Indigo Spell the more I love it. I cannot wait for February 12 to get my hands on the physical copy. And omg cannot wait for The Fiery Heart: Sydney AND Adrian’s POV (I sort of wish Last Sacrifice had been in Dimitri’s POV too :s).

“… If I keep loving you, maybe you’ll eventually crack and love me too.”

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Stacking the Shelves #3

Stacking the Shelves is hosted by Tynga’s Reviews and every week bloggers post about books they’ve added to their bookshelves! This includes books bought through a physical store, online store, eBooks, books borrowed from the library/a friend and gifts.

Relatively small haul this week... But one of the titles has me super excited!


Lament (Books of Faerie, #1)

Lament (Book of Faeries #1) by Maggie Stiefvater (Paranormal/Fantasy) - I absolutely love Maggie's writing (even though I STILL haven't finished Shiver yet) and faeries are something I love to read about

From NetGalley:


Hooked (Hooked #1) by Liz Fichera (Contemporary)

The Indigo Spell (Bloodlines, #3)

The Indigo Spell (Bloodlines #3) by Richelle Mead (Paranormal) - AWWWWWWWWWWW YEAH. I'M READING THIS RIGHT NOW (NEARLY FINISHED) AND IT'S AMAZING OMG. Cannot wait for you guys to read my review

A huge thanks to Harlequin Teen and Penguin (Teen) Australia for the above titles!

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Review: Where She Went (If I Stay #2) by Gayle Forman

Where She Went

Date Read: December 25 - 26 2012
Release Date: November 4th 2010
Publisher: Definitions
Source: Bought
Genre: Contemporary
My rating:  (Not enough stars)

“It's been three years since the devastating accident . . . three years since Mia walked out of Adam's life forever.
Now living on opposite coasts, Mia is Juilliard's rising star and Adam is LA tabloid fodder, thanks to his new rock star status and celebrity girlfriend. When Adam gets stuck in New York by himself, chance brings the couple together again, for one last night. As they explore the city that has become Mia's home, Adam and Mia revisit the past and open their hearts to the future-and each other.
Told from Adam's point of view in the spare, lyrical prose that defined If I Stay, Where She Went explores the devastation of grief, the promise of new hope, and the flame of rekindled romance.”


“Instead of dropping me like a one-night stand, you could’ve had the decency to break up with me instead of leaving me wondering for three years…"

I actually liked Where She Went even more than If I Stay! Gayle just has this way with words (I know, I keep saying that) that manages to bring out all these emotions in me. I thought If I Stay was a hard review to write, but Where She Went has taken me over 2 days! Ah but so worthwhile :D

Along with Mia’s absence, we see what fame has really done to Adam – despite being a famous rock star and essentially achieving his dream, Adam is a wreck. He’s paranoid, emotionally distant and music is a chore for him. Seeing him like that made my heart ache so much. And yet I couldn’t hate Mia or blame her for any of that. Anybody that’s read If I Stay will remember the fateful words Adam spoke to Mia.

“I'd make that promise a thousand times over and lose her a thousand times over to have heard her play last night or to see her in the morning sunlight. Or even without that. Just to know that she's somewhere out there. Alive.”

For me, reading Adam’s voice was more painful than Mia’s in If I Stay despite how bleak If I Stay was. As Adam and Mia spent their night in New York together, Adam’s thoughts were plagued by his memories of three years ago but especially the question of why Mia left. Each thought is filled with this pain and longing and left me wondering how a love like theirs couldn’t withstand everything. But I think that’s the amazing thing about Gayle’s stories – she doesn’t sugar coat anything; it’s reality.

“There are so many things that demand to be said. Where did you go? Do you ever think about me? You've ruined me. Are you okay? But of course, I can't say any of that.”

Following the brilliant structure of If I Stay, Gayle utilises the flashbacks to take us back to those three years Adam went without Mia, but more importantly, those two years he did spend with her. For all of Mia’s insecurities, we see Adam’s love and devotion to her. The flashbacks build up to the bittersweet present and the confusion both feel at having come together on such a (fateful?) night after so long. Music also played a big part in this book. Using lyrics at the beginning of a chapter to imply or foreshadow events isn’t uncommon. But getting those lyrics right is another thing completely. Gayle did the amazing job of writing her own lyrics based on Adam’s band and ohmygoodness were they meaningful! The way everything is layered so that when you peel them back you’re left in awe of what each layer means and how it all comes together, retaining the whole text’s integrity? Yup, this is one mind-blown reader.

I didn’t think it was possible to FEEL so much – both him and me (as the reader). I felt everything that Adam felt: his anger, his grief, his angst and his heartbreak. His actions over the past three years as a result of these emotions were definitely questionable but I could never be annoyed with anything he did. The character building was simply superb.

“And it’s like, Mia, don’t you get it? The music is the void. And you’re the reason why.”

Reading Where She Went made me believe that true love exists.
But do second chances? READ AND FIND OUT ;D

“You don’t share me. You own me.”

Friday, January 25, 2013

Feature & Follow Friday #2

The Feature & Follow hop is a weekly meme hosted by Parajunkee and Alison Can Read. The aim is for book bloggers to meet other book bloggers and garner followers :D

This week's question:

What is the last book that kept you up late into the night just to finish it?
For me it was Gayle Forman's Just One Day which I finished just 2 days ago. She is such an amazing writer and the way she layers her writing is mind-blowing. I loved the way she used Shakespeare's plays as a metaphor for identity, which was probably the book's biggest theme. Not just a love story, Just One Day was about finding one's self and what it really means to pretend - are we hiding or showing who we truly are when we take on another persona?
My review for Just One Day will be up soon!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday #2

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly blog occurrence hosted by Breaking the Spine and showcases anticipated releases.

Eeeeeep I’m over a day late posting this I’m so sorry guys (10pm in Sydney right now :/)!
I went to sleep at 8pm last night – got home at 6.30pm, had dinner at 7pm, took a shower then went straight to bed. I’d been living off 4-5h sleep Sunday – Tuesday night as work started on Monday. Yup new job! Getting back into the work life is so different haha and I barely have time to get onto the computer at home. BUT HERE I AM ;D

My WoW this week is the sequel to the much loved Shatter Me:

Unravel Me (Shatter Me, #2)

Release Date: 5th February 2013
Publisher: HarperCollins

Goodreads synopsis: “tick, tick, tick, tick, tick
it's almost
time for war.
Juliette has escaped to Omega Point. It is a place for people like her—people with gifts—and it is also the headquarters of the rebel resistance.
She's finally free from The Reestablishment, free from their plan to use her as a weapon, and free to love Adam. But Juliette will never be free from her lethal touch.
Or from Warner, who wants Juliette more than she ever thought possible.
In this exhilarating sequel to Shatter Me, Juliette has to make life-changing decisions between what she wants and what she thinks is right. Decisions that might involve choosing between her heart—and Adam's life.”

I’m so jealous of all the people that have ARCs and have read them. Apparently Warner is amazing in this. I already had a soft spot for him in Shatter Me, so who knows, maybe after Unravel Me I’ll be Team Warner :D


Unravel Me (The Juliette Chronicles, #2)

Monday, January 21, 2013

Review: If I Stay (If I Stay #1) by Gayle Forman

Date Read: December 20 - 25 2012
Release Date: January 1st 2009
Publisher: Definitions
Source: Bought
Genre: Contemporary
My rating: 

"In a single moment, everything changes. Seventeen-year-old Mia has no memory of the accident; she can only recall riding along the snow-wet Oregon road with her family. Then, in a blink, she finds herself watching as her own damaged body is taken from the wreck...

A sophisticated, layered, and heart-achingly beautiful story about the power of family and friends, the choices we all make, and the ultimate choice Mia commands"


"It's all just a matter of time, and part of me wonders why I'm delaying the inevitable."

Definitely one of the most moving books I've ever read, Gayle Forman writes a bittersweet tale about life, death and making choices. I sobbed, I laughed and I hoped beyond hope that Mia would stay.

I've been putting this review off for so long because I didn't know how to write it. Consequently, I haven't done my review for Where She Went  (the sequel) yet either because I felt like I had to review if I Stay first D: This was possibly one of the hardest reviews to write because I felt so much sadness and hope reading this and I just didn't know how to form all my emotions and thoughts in to words.

Gayle Forman really has a way with words. The voice she creates for Mia is intelligent, mature and so full of love I was hooked on the first page.

"My dad smiles and taps on his pipe… He also wears bow ties. I am never quite clear on whether all this is sartorial or sardonic."

Within the first 3 pages, Gayle has shown (not told) that Mia's family is a close one. Her ex-punker dad now turned middle-school teacher, her ex-punker mum who now works at a travel agent, her younger brother Teddy who is 8 and lives high off coffee, and 17 year old Mia herself, are all connected by their love of music. Their family is a happy one: Mia teases her adorable, hyper younger brother and her parents joke around and are extremely lenient due to their rock days.

"Dad and I guffaw at the same time. Mom makes cereal and toast. Dad's the cook in the family."

You might be thinking "ok why is Jaz telling me this? Doesn't this spoil the story? What is the point of this?" Well for those of you who haven't read this, you'd find it out in the first 2-3 pages anyway so it's no spoiler. Why am I telling you this and what's the point? The point is to (try) and establish the warmth that is Mia's family. They're not perfect, but they're honest and love each other. And this is what made If I Stay so painful. Because that one car crash tore Mia's whole family apart.

Stuck in a sort of limbo, Mia watches as  they take her ruined body from the wreck, operate on her  and watches as she fights for her own life. But the question is, should she bother fighting?

The course of the novel is a series of flashbacks. As each event occurs in the present (an operation, a visit from a family member, a visit from her friend and boyfriend), a flashback ensues. This was the most beautiful thing about the book - the way Gayle structured everything. Each present event is LINKED to a flashback. For example, when her best friend Kim comes to visit for the first time, Mia remembers how she and Kim met. Or when Teddy is brought up, she remembers the day he was born. The structure was absolute perfection. As we watch the chronological clock wind in the present, Mia has built us a picture of her entire life - family, friends, boyfriend, musical life. And the great thing? Not once was I confused about the present or the past. Everything is defined so clearly and yet it flowed so wonderfully - absolutely seamless.

"How is he [Adam] going to know that I'm actually early? That I got to Portland this morning while the snow was still melting? [About the accident]


'Have you ever heard of this Yo-Yo Made dude?' Adam asked me. It was the spring of my sophomore year, which was his junior year."

See how Gayle has made it so that while Mia worries about Adam not knowing she was in an accident, she flashes back to their first meeting? I KNOW RIGHT IT'S AMAZING AND I WAS JUST MINDBLOWN AT HOW SIMPLE YET FLUID THIS WAS!!!

The flashbacks are all so meaningful, each one a funny friendship or family moment, a nervous touch, a declaration of love.

And ah the romance! So bittersweet and full of love. My heart went out to Adam…

"Adam is crying and somewhere inside of me, I am crying too…" ohgoodness I'M CRYING TOO MIA.

But the whole point of the flashbacks? To show what Mia had, what she has lost, what she still has left and ultimately, is it worth it for her to stay?

I can't remember how many tissues I used up reading this… DON'T READ IN PUBLIC I TELL YOU!

"If you stay, I'll do whatever you want... But if you need me to go away, I'll do that, too… And that would suck, but I'd do it. I can lose you like that if I don't lose you today. I'll let you go. If you stay."

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Stacking the Shelves #2

Stacking the Shelves is hosted by Tynga’s Reviews and every week bloggers post about books they’ve added to their bookshelves! This includes books bought through a physical store, online store, eBooks, books borrowed from the library/a friend and gifts.

This week's haul is pretty damn amazing even if I do say so myself :D

Yesterday, my friends @smile_dorklin, @runswithundead and I all went to the city for a catch-up! Whewwww it was amazing, I hadn't seen @runswithundead in over 2 years (since high school graduation :P) and we did this awesome book swap. (I lent @smile_dorklin Hannah Harrington's Speechless which was in last week's StS, TFiOS, Slammed/PoR by Colleen Hoover and Pushing the Limits; @runswithdead I lent Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire, Jandy Nelson's The Sky is Everywhere, UtNS so she can finally finally read it and Everything Left Unsaid by Jessica Davidson.) We had lunch, walked around (and took pictures with this HUGE rubber duck in Sydney's Darling Harbour), and hung out at Sydney's largest bookstore, Kinokuniya, for AGES :DDDD

For the week ending 20th January...

My friend @runswithundead lent to me:

My biggest thanks and hugs to @runswithundead for lending (and giving) me this swag!

My bank account gave to me:

  • The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald (Literature) - I can't believe I haven't read this yet either. I'd previously bought a really cheap $2 copy from The Book Depository but it's horrible: chapters don't start on a new page but continue on from the last and it's so annoying!
  • Just One Day (Just One Day #1) by Gayle Forman (Contemporary/New Adult) - @runswithundead and @smile_dorklin saw me spazz when I saw this and Black City at Kino. I was like "OH MY GOD, OH MY GOD I CAN'T EVEN RIGHT NOW OMG" legit. Been waiting for Just One Day for AGES! It was torture watching everybody on Twitter do the Penguin read-a-thon. But I finally have it and I'm putting everything aside to read this :D
  • Black City (Black City #1) by Elizabeth Richards (Dystopia/Paranormal) - ohmygoodness been looking for this since before it was released! It's been 4 months since I first heard about it, watched it get released then watched as people finished it and started getting ARCs for Phoenix. This goes up my tbr pile and I'll be reading this straight after Just One Day!


Awww yeah I also came home with this baby. Due to the sheer amount of eBooks being published nowadays I realised I really needed to get an eReader... I'd been reading on the computer/phone/iPod and my eyes were starting to HURT :( now I could have gotten a Kindle which I considered (since I buy all my eBooks through Amazon Kindle), but I have an Apple account, and I wanted to utilise the apps AND watch videos! So an iPad mini was definitely for me - light enough to carry everywhere and read in bed without worry of a nosebleed if it falls on my face (it fell on my face last night) but big enough to see everything <3

Oh oh and...

Dare You To (Pushing the Limits #2) by Katie McGarry (Contemporary/New Adult) - I got this through NetGalley and I finished it this morning (: I'll be writing my review for it straight after this blog post and it'll be up closer to the release date :P

A huge thanks goes to Harlequin UK for this NetGalley

What did you guys all get this week?

Friday, January 18, 2013

Feature & Follow Friday #1

My first ever Feature & Follow Friday!

The Feature & Follow hop is a weekly meme hosted by Parajunkee and Alison Can Read. The aim is for book bloggers to meet other book bloggers and garner followers :D

This week's question:

Who is your favourite villain from a book?
[May contain some spoilers for those who haven't read Leigh Bardugo's Shadow and Bone/The Gathering Dark]
Mine's definitely the Darkling from Leigh Bardugo's Grisha Trilogy. From the beginning, I hated Mal as he never noticed Alina until she got famous. But the Darkling saw her from the very beginning. And despite him only using her for power I could sense something underlying - that beneath the cool, overpowering demeanour, he really WANTED Alina. "The problem with wanting is that it makes us weak" as he said.
Handsome, dark, brooding, damaged, broken, power-hungry, and insanely sexy the Darkling is one delicious villain.

So who's your favourite villain?

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Kate Evangelista's - The List

Kate Evangelista who will be publishing her new book Til Death through Entangled Publishing, wants YOU book bloggers!

From Kate Evangelista's blog:

"Calling all bloggers!

Calling all bloggers!

Entangled needs you! *points at you*

Be part of The List.

Here's what you need to know:

One of my awesome publicists at Entangled is compiling a list of bloggers.

Here are the requirements:

Do you have a blog? Yes

Do you love to review books? YES

Do you want access to books before they release? Chyeahhh!

If your answers to these questions is a resounding "YES" then you're the right blogger for the job.

We want you! Now's a great time to join The List."

Check out Kate's blog post HERE to add her upcoming title to Goodreads and also leave your name and URL on Kate's post to join!

Waiting on Wednesday #1

My first ever Waiting on Wednesday *CHEERS*

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly blog occurrence hosted by Breaking the Spine and showcases anticipated releases.

The book I’m eagerly anticipating this week is non-other than:

Boundless (Unearthly, #3)

Release Date: 22nd January in US/1st February in Australia
Publisher: HarperCollins

Goodreads synopsis: “The past few years have held more surprises than part-angel Clara Gardner could ever have anticipated. Yet from the dizzying highs of first love, to the agonizing low of losing someone close to her, the one thing she can no longer deny is that she was never meant to live a normal life.
Since discovering the special role she plays among the other angel-bloods, Clara has been determined to protect Tucker Avery from the evil that follows her . . . even if it means breaking both their hearts. Leaving town seems like the best option, so she’s headed back to California - and so is Christian Prescott, the irresistible boy from the vision that started her on this journey in the first place.
As Clara makes her way in a world that is frighteningly new, she discovers that the fallen angel who attacked her is watching her every move. And he’s not the only one. . . . With the battle against the Black Wings looming, Clara knows she must finally fulfil her destiny. But it won’t come without sacrifices and betrayal.
In the riveting finale of the Unearthly series, Clara must decide her fate once and for all.”

As the final installment for this trilogy unfolds, what awaits Clara and her destiny? And who will come out on victorious?

Gah I'm absolutely in love with the Aussie covers *strokes lovingly*

Also, TEAM TUCKER OR TEAM CHRISTIAN GUISE? I’m definitely Team Tucker J

What are you waiting on this week?

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Review: Hopeless by Colleen Hoover


Date Read: January 3 - 14 2013
Release Date: December 17th 2012
Publisher: Self-published
Source: Bought
Genre: Contemporary
My rating: 

"Sometimes discovering the truth can leave you more hopeless than believing the lies…

That’s what seventeen-year-old Sky realizes after she meets Dean Holder. A guy with a reputation that rivals her own and an uncanny ability to invoke feelings in her she’s never had before. He terrifies her and captivates her all in the span of just one encounter, and something about the way he makes her feel sparks buried memories from a past that she wishes could just stay buried.

Sky struggles to keep him at a distance knowing he’s nothing but trouble, but Holder insists on learning everything about her. After finally caving to his unwavering pursuit, Sky soon finds that Holder isn’t at all who he’s been claiming to be. When the secrets he’s been keeping are finally revealed, every single facet of Sky’s life will change forever."

“I want to make it better but I can’t and I feel so hopeless.”

This was so painful. My heart is still pounding right now. How can a book be so bleak, dark, haunting, heart-wrenching, raw, HOPELESS... yet so beautiful, full of love, faith and HOPE all at the same time?! I don't know how but Colleen has done it again.
One of the most amazing books I've ever read. Hopeless dealt with so many issues perfectly, never overcrowding, but relentless in filling my heart with an endless stream of emotions.
I laughed. A lot. I held my breath. A lot. And I cried. Hopelessly.
There was just so much going on and I LOVED it - never has an author dropped so many bombshells, pulled so many twists and yet managed to keep the plot not only continuing, but flow seamlessly with those bombshells and twists. I’ve read so many books that tried to deal with too many issues simultaneously and it resulted in the characters handling too much and becoming confusing. Colleen managed to give our protagonist and her love interest so many problems to deal with,  so many haunting secrets and each a past that overshadows and threatens to ruin whole lives (no I am not being dramatic – this is truth), in a perfectly relatable and understandable fashion. In the midst of so much conflict is the frail love that blossoms and blooms but could wilt at any moment. There is so much uncertainty and yet it’s filled with this gripping intensity that seized my heart.

Everything about the characters was damaged, flawed, broken and at the cusp of the pain, seemingly hopeless. Yet they hold so much strength, love, understanding and faith that there was this all-rounded hope embracing everybody. From the beginning, Sky is known to make out with boys because it makes her feel numb. At first read, this seems ridiculous and slutty but I couldn’t help but accept her for this. In Sky’s voice, Colleen has made Sky’s actions reasonable which is amazing. Then we meet Holder, who manages to make Sky’s frozen heart beat again. There is instantly a spark but as with Colleen’s novels, there’s no insta-love, but realistic attraction and development of feelings.

“I want to tell you exactly how I feel but there isn’t a single goddamned word in the entire dictionary that can describe this point between liking you and loving you, but I need that word.”
“Live. If you mix the letters up in the words like and love, you get live. You can use that word.” They live each other. I loved that. The weight and importance of that word carries through to the end of the novel and it’s only near the end that we realise what living really means.

Sky has got to be one of the strongest protagonists ever written. I’m filled with so much dread reading her – so many times did I go “oh god please no, let this not be real” as she’s had to endure so much. And she comes out so strong. Faced with betrayal of the strongest kind, nearly left with nothing she soldiered on. Never have I met a female lead so forgiving, so full of the capacity to love with a heart that should have died long ago – a heart shattered and in pieces yet still held together due to her perseverance. Her understanding, loyalty and COMPASSION are something I’m taking away from this book and taking upon myself to have. Yes her actions and feelings had THAT much of an impact on me. But she’s no saint, she hates too, and there is so much hate, fear, grief and just about every negative emotion thought of that I could associate with Sky. Some things are unforgiveable and realistically Sky doesn’t forgive but she learns to move on. All on her own.

“The things that knock you down in life are tests, forcing you to make a choice between giving in and remaining on the ground or wiping the dirt off and standing up even taller than you did before you were knocked down. I’m choosing to stand up taller. I’ll probably get knocked down a few more times before this life is through with me, but I can guarantee you I’ll never stay on the ground.”

That’s the beauty of this book and the romance – there is no co-dependence. Holder comes across as some delinquent bad boy in the blurb and I thought it would be something like Beautiful Disaster: two destructive people colliding and igniting (the fuel to one’s fire). However, each MC can stand on their own two feet because of sheer willpower and strength.

And oh Holder really seems like the perfect love interest. He has this intensity about him that I was instantly drawn to. The words he said would sound extremely lame, cliché and stupid coming out of anybody else’s mouth, but in the light of the situations, his words provided a support for all parties involved – they held a power that gripped my heart and then made it explode. Holder himself is filled with so much grief, loss and hopelessness that every time he was able to smile and make others smile, I fell in love with him a little more. He’s selflessness incarnate.

“And once again in my new world full of heartache and lies, this hopeless boy somehow finds a way to make me smile.”

This is probably the most quotable book I’ve read since The Fault in Our Stars. Colleen’s writing surpasses the poetic brilliance that was Slammed and Point of Retreat, and reaches a new high point. Why stop at the sky when you can reach for the stars beyond? Because she did just that; the witty and sarcastic words made me smile and laugh until I cried while her passionate and hurting characters made my heart shudder and shatter. Her ability to combine different forms of prose into one is amazing – we had the poetry in Slammed/PoR but here we have memories/flashbacks. Having previously read a book with a flashback to a young child I was severely disappointed with the outcome in that book, but again Colleen delivers with a beautiful, innocent and scared voice of 5 year old Sky.

“I don’t know what stargazing is, but it sounds like something I would like. I love the stars. I know my mom loved them, too, because she put them all over my room.”

I’m not finished gushing about Hopeless yet because the best is yet to come: when I finished this book, everything just came together. The way Colleen managed to connect everything, to link every event, every character throughout was like an orchestra coming together as it reaches its heart-stopping crescendo in a symphony and you’re left with this ache afterwards that there’s no more.

“The sky is always beautiful. Even when it’s dark or rainy or cloudy, it’s still beautiful to look at. It’s my favourite thing because I know if I ever get lost or lonely or scared, I just have to look up and it’ll be there no matter what...and I know it’ll always be beautiful.”

Monday, January 14, 2013

Stacking the Shelves #1

Whew this is my first ever Stacking the Shelves! I’d seen it on many blogs but never thought much of it. Thanks to Shirley at Shiirleyy’s Bookshelf for encouraging me to do this J

Stacking the Shelves is hosted by Tynga’s Reviews and every week bloggers post about books they’ve added to their bookshelves! This includes books bought through a physical store, online store, eBooks, books borrowed from the library/a friend and gifts.

I’ll be doing my Stacking the Shelves on Sundays (ignore the fact that it’s 12am Monday because I actually started writing this on Sunday LOL) as it feels like a nice end to the week by showing what new books I have! My books will pretty much all be bought from a physical store, online or eBook (mainly the former two). I used to post about new books I got in a huge blog post after I’d accumulated heaps of books but I guess it’s time to get organised!

It seems fitting that I’m doing my first Stacking the Shelves just as 2013 hit c;

For the week ending 13th January 2013, my bank account gave to me:

I probably won’t get around to a few of these for a while as my tbr pile is HUGE. If I had done Stacking the Shelves last year, it would be obvious how many books I’ve bought and still haven’t read!

Although… TtEN has already been read and reviewed; it couldn’t be helped!!!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

My 2013 Most Anticipated Releases

Ok so here I go, my first official blog post. I've been doing the YA reviewing thing on Goodreads for a while now and also posting some reviews onhere, but with the help of Saz getting word out for my blog, I'm going to do this reviewing for real. Instead of just posting what I want/all 5 star reads, it's gonna be for all the books I read! Well at least I'm going to try.

2012 was a year of amazing YA debuts and wonderful releases! In 2013, I’m looking forward to even greater debuts and releases - there are some debuts I’m really anticipating and then there’s the releases by authors who debuted in 2012, continuing their gripping series. And let’s not forget the long running series or authors who have been writing since pre-2012.

I’m going to split this post into 3 categories for 2013 releases: Debuts; Releases Continuing on from a 2012 Debut and Other Awesome Releases.

Most release dates are unconfirmed for those releases in the latter half of the year - I based it off Goodreads. Also I have no idea what's with this New Adult genre that sprung up last year but I have read a few books that fall into this genre... apparently it's contemporary YA but with more mature themes so it's aimed at older teens? Like 17+ or something due to sexual themes or whatever. I usually just group them under my Contemporary category on GR but for the sake of clarification here I'm adding in those that are NA.

Without further ado, let the 2013 book craze begin!

  • Prophecy (The Dragon King Chronicles #1) by Ellen Oh – January 2 (Fantasy)
  • Level 2 (The Memory Chronicles #1) by Lenore Appelhans –January 15 (Paranormal/Sci-fi)
  • Dualed (Dualed #1) by Elsie Chapman – February 26 (Dystopia)
  • The Nightmare Affair by Mindee Arnett – March 5 (Paranormal/Fantasy)
  • Taken (Taken #1) by Erin Bowman – April 16 (Dystopia/Sci-fi)
  • INK (The Paper Gods #1) by Amanda Sun – June 25 (Paranormal/Fantasy)
  • After Eden (Aften Eden #1) by Helen Douglas – July 4 (Sci-fi)
Woah I just realised there are no contemporaries in that list! I hope there are some really good/hyped up ones coming out that I haven’t heard about yet so I can check them out :D I also haven’t heard about any debuts for the latter half of the year :\
I actually already have Level 2 *cackles* it was released in Aus early January so my copy is sitting on my shelf ready to be read :D I've heard great things about Dualed, and Taken also some great reviews! The concept for INK sounds so good (Japanese mythology WOW) and The Nightmare Affair also has a very unique take on the paranormal genre.

Releases Continuing on from a 2012 Debut:
  • Through the Ever Night (Under the Never Sky #2) by Veronica Rossi – January 8 (Dystopia)
  • Unravel Me (Shatter Me #2) by Tahereh Mafi – February 1 (Dystopia/Sci-fi)
  • Of Triton (Of Poseidon #2) by Anna Banks – May 28 (Paranormal)
  • Dare You To (Pushing the Limits #2) by Katie McGarry – May 28 (Contemporary)
  • Siege and Storm (The Grisha Trilogy #2) by Leigh Bardugo – June 4 (Fantasy)
  • Dracomachia (Seraphina #2) by Rachel Hartman – July 9 (Fantasy)
  • A Tale of Two Centuries (My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century #2) by Rachel Harris – August 1 (Paranormal/Historical)
  • Untold (The Lynburn Legacy #2) by Sarah Rees Brennan – August 29 (Paranormal/Fantasy/Gothic)
  • Throne of Glass #2 (untitled) by Sarah J. Maas – August 27/Fall 2013 in US/Spring 2013 in Aus (Fantasy)
  • This Girl (Slammed #3) by Colleen Hoover – sometime in 2013 (Contemporary/New Adult)

Writing this blog post at the moment, I’ve actually already finished Through the Ever Night hehe :D IT WAS WONDERFUL!!! My review for it is also up (yewwww!) I’m most looking forward to Siege and Storm as The Gathering Dark (Shadow and Bone in the US) was one of my top 3 favourite books of 2012! Also cannot wait for Unravel Me, Of Triton and A Tale of Two Centuries :3 Can I just say I was extremely surprised to hear there’s a Slammed #3? O_o I mean is it going to be about Lake and Will again? HAVEN’T THEY SUFFERED ENOUGH? OH AUTHORS CAN BE SO EVIL ;____; on the other hand I would like to see Lake break through Will’s resolve at their honeymoon… AND TO SEE THEM WITH KIDS WOULD BE NICE HEHE <3

Other Releases:
  • Just One Day by Gayle Forman – January 8 (Contemporary/New Adult)
  • Boundless (Unearthly #3 ) by Cynthia Hand – January 22 (Paranormal)
  • The Indigo Spell (Bloodlines #3) by Richelle Mead – February 12 (Paranormal)
  • Never Too Far (Fallen Too Far #2) by Abbi Glines – March 12 (Contemporary/New Adult)
  • Obsession by Jennifer L. Armentrout – March (Adult: Sci-fi)
  • Apollyon (Covenant #4) by Jennifer L. Armentrout – April 9 (Paranormal/Fantasy)
  • Walking Disaster (Beautiful #2) by Jamie McGuire – April 16 (Contemporary/New Adult)
  • If I Should Die (Revenants #3) by Amy Plum – May 1 (Paranormal)
  • Gameboard of the Gods (Age of X #1) by Richelle Mead – June 4 (Adult: Dystopia)
  • Origin (Lux #4) by Jennifer L. Armentrout – July (Sci-Fi)
  • Unchained (Nephilim Rising #1) by J. Lynn (Jennifer L. Armentrout) – September 14 (Adult: Paranormal)
  • Divergent #3 (untitled) by Veronica Roth – September 26 (Dystopia)
  • Sentinel (Covenant #5) by Jennifer L. Armentrout – December 1 (Paranormal/Fantasy)

I’m so excited for Richelle Mead’s new series and JLA’s new adult paranormal series Nephilim Rising :3 And zomg THE NEXT COVENANT BOOKS!!! I’m sooooooooo hyped for Apollyon askhdjsadjaslhdasa need it so badly <3 Aiden Aiden Aiden!!!  Boundless will also be the final book in the Unearthly trilogy and IT’S COMING OUT SO SOON OMG I’M NOT PREPARED. MY FEELS AREN’T READY FOR CLARA/TUCKER OR CLARA/CHRISTIAN OR JUST ANYTHING UGH.

2013 looks like it’s going to be a great reading year J

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Review: Through the Ever Night (Under the Never Sky #2) by Veronica Rossi

Through the Ever Night (Under the Never Sky, #2)

Date Read: January 9 - 11 2013
Release Date: January 8th 2013
Publisher: Atom
Source: Bought
Genre: Dystopia
My rating: 

"Aria has struggled to build a life for herself outside Reverie. It hasn't be easy adjusting to life in the wilderness but that struggle has been worth it with Perry by her side.
But Perry has other challenges. His people are looking to him for answers. Answers about what happened to his nephew and what's happening to their world. And they don't trust the priviledged Aria, one of the enemy, in their midst.
Soon he'll be forced to chose between the tribe that looks to him for leadership and the girl that looks to him for love."


“Days were darkened by clouds and the blue cast of Aether. Nights were brightened by the same. They flowed together, the edges blurring into an endless day. An ever night.”

It’s very rare that the second book in a short series/trilogy is actually good; even rarer that it’s better than the first book. I had extremely high hopes and expectations going into Through the Ever Night because well… come on how amazing was Under the Never Sky? And then there was the hype around it. Well, TtEN exceeded ALL my expectations and was simply outstanding. I felt ALLLLLLL the emotions reading this. I felt giddy, happy, sad, raw, heartbroken, mad, nervous and just the whole emotional rollercoaster.

Let me start my saying that, again, HOW AMAZING WAS VERONICA IN COMING UP WITH THE TITLE? I mean we had “A world of nevers under a never sky” for UtNS – a phrase so simple, yet so eloquent and held such power and meaning I was blown away when I read it. Now we have “Days were darkened by clouds and the blue cast of Aether. Nights were brightened by the same. They flowed together, the edges blurring into an endless day. An ever night.” This phrase too was put together so perfectly; it was poetic and flowed and again explained the title (and story). I loved loved LOVED it. She just has a way with words. On that note, it was so obvious that Veronica’s writing had improved! I thought she was really good as a debut author in UtNS but I was just wow’d in TtEN. The way things were described were so detailed and exact I really felt it. And I think that’s the hardest thing for a dystopian – creating a world previously unseen and unimaginable.

“Funnels struck down, each one louder, closer, sending searing waves across his skin. A sudden shriek exploded in his ears; then a flash of light blinded him.” There were lots of suspenseful moments like this throughout that had me biting my lip and holding my breath.

“The way was tight, shadowed as a tunnel and crowded with people, their voices echoing off stone and stone and more stone. Gutters were strewn with filth, and a fetid scent carried to her nose.” I loved the imagery used – the “stone and stone and more stone” really gave off the echo effect.

I loved all the characters – old and new. We can see how Aria has grown into such a strong, young woman with so much fight in her. We see Perry struggling between choosing love and leadership – trying to balance the two and how his love for Aria has made him softer and more compassionate. Roar was simply amazing here. He went through so much losing Liv in UtNS but there’s so much he had to face in TtEN; I felt so many emotions reading about him and what he had to endure. I just want him to be happy ya’know? *SOBS* But despite love being a major theme, it’s hard to come by – loyalties are questioned and it seems everybody gets hurt at some point. And I loved that it wasn’t easy – it’s not some instalove-happily-ever-after.  “There was nothing more painful than hurting someone you loved.”
The whole book was a journey and a journey for each character in finding themselves. Faced with issues of sacrifice, family and belonging (I can’t believe I just wrote that but yes, belonging), nothing is easy. “She’d been seeking the comfort of a place. Of walls. A roof. A pillow to rest her head on. Now she realised that the people she loved were what gave her life shape, and comfort, and meaning.” We think home and belonging in a place means a physical place, but a lot of the time home is wherever the people we love are. I loved all their realisations and their growth <3

“… love was like the waves in the sea, gentle and good sometimes, rough and terrible at others, but that it was endless and stronger than the sky and the earth and everything in between.”

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Introducing the Flirt Squad!

I recently found out that Rachel Harris, author of My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century (her YA novel which debuted in 2012) has her own "street team" as she calls it lol. Basically we help spread the word about her book(s), have the chance to meet other YA authors and win lots of goodies in the process as she introduces new challenges.

Obviously I was berating myself over not having joined earlier as I absolutely loved MSSSC and wrote this whopping long review gushing about it because it was so awesome (honest review no jokes). So I immediately jumped onto the Flirt Squad bandwagon and have been racking up the points since!

[Copied from Rachel's site]
Flirt Squad members win awesome prizes and get special perks, like:
  • Exclusive contests and prizes just for Flirt Squad members
  • Teaser chapters and special snippets from future books, including A Tale of Two Centuries, Rearview Mirror, 2nd Type of Girl, and some super secret books you'll hear about soon!
  • Tons-o-swag
  • Your name in the Acknowledgements of Rachel's next book
  • A special note from Rachel with secret tidbits
  • A chance to become a character in a future book
  • And special mega prizes geared to each book theme
Yer see why I joined?! Also it's open internationally so it's like... have ALL the fun *pictures meme*

Members get points by spreading the word and supporting Rachel through various means, such as purchasing the book, writing (honest) reviews, blogging about the Flirt Squad (*winks*) and promoting on other forms of social media. 

The points add up and at certain point intervals members get... that's right... SWAG! From bookmarks all the way to book acknowledgements!

Sign up and read the book!

Want to hear my thoughts on the story? My review can be found here. 

Kicking off 2013 with a Mega Flirt Squad Challenge

I don't think I've ever really done New Year's resolutions because I don't really believe in them. For me, I either forget about them or I don't achieve them.

What I generally tend to say is, "this year, I want to get such and such... done" as more of a to-do list sort of thing. I've never blogged about it before (never been bothered) BUT as part of Rachel Harris' 2013 Mega #FlirtSquad (my post about what the Flirt Squad isChallenge, I'm gonna write about what I have on my to-do list this year.

Firstly, the Flirt Squad is Rachel Harris (author or My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century; as mentioned in my 2012 End of Year Book Survey, MSSSC was one of my favourite books) "street team". We (I have recently joined :D) spread the word about her books and increase the hype around release time.

For the 2013 Mega Flirt Squad Challenge, Rachel has even more swag in addition to what she usually includes with the Flirt Squad...

The challenge entails tweeting different resolutions (refer to link below to Rachel's site for these tweets) from different books that have been included in the challenge. Each tweet earns 1 point and at the end of the challenge (February 1st 2013) winners can receive the following prizes (woot prizes!):

One Grand Prize Winner wins a Super Sized ebook pack featuring:
  • My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century by Rachel Harris (the host)
  • Gravity by Melissa West
  • All The Broken Pieces by Cindi Madsen
  • Inbetween by Tara Fuller
  • Greta and the Goblin King by Chloe Jacobs
  • Pretty Amy by Lisa Burstein
  • Conjure by Lea Nolan
  • Love All by Kelly Hashway 
  • Spectral from Shannon Duffy
  • Almost and Unmaking Hunter Kennedy by Anne Eliot
  • YOUR CHOICE of any one of Nyrae Dawn's books!
  • Signed swag from The Collector: A Dante Walker Novel from Victoria Scott
  • Signed Paperback of Destiny's Fire by Trisha Wolfe 
  • AND a brilliant, hand-designed Angel Academy bracelet from Cecily White!

TWO Additional Winners Win Signed Swag from:
  • My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century
  • Spectral and Gabriel Stone and the Divinity of Valta from Shannon Duffy
  • Love All and Touch of Death from Kelly Hashway
  • Destiny's Fire from Trisha Wolfe
  • Conjure swag pack including a magnet, signed bookmark, and silicone bracelet
  • What a Boy Wants bookmarks and Charade postcards from Nyrae Dawn
Now that I've got your attention, if you want to join in the fun, click here to be taken to Rachel's page with the full details on the challenge!

SO... what are my "resolutions" (aka my to-do list) for 2013?
  1. To get into book blogging - writing proper reviews more frequently and also keeping this blog up to date; revamp the blog and make it presentable with a rating scheme!
  2. Spend less money on useless things - in 2012 I wasted so much money on things I didn't really need. So for 2013 I'm going to cut down on the kpop (only buying CDs for the artists I really support/my absolute biases) and buy books from the Book Depository more (LOL 1 book from Kino is 2 from tBD)
  3. Up my technical skills; learn as much as I can about the technical aspects of information systems especially regarding IS security during ITE2 (my 2nd Industry Training Experience aka internship)
  4. Maintain my term WAM (this might be harder but I can still try)
Despite me wanting to say my resolutions are the most similar to Cat's tweet "in 2013, I vow to be as bold as Cat, and give in to my artistic side." because MSSSC is the only book I've read out of all those books and I can understand Cat, I realised this only encompassed reso #1 and not the rest! Upon further reflection and reading through the tweets multiple times I realised the most relevant tweet for me is:

"In 2013 I vow to be as brave as Jewel and embrace what makes me unique." from Spectral and Gabriel Stone by Shannon Duffy.

I chose this because, even though I do want to give in to my artistic side so that this blog progresses, my artistic side is also what makes me unique. And while on ITE2, being artistic and non-techy is what sets me aside from the other employees. I want to be brave and think outside the box, bringing my love of design into my learning experience so I can love my ITE2 experience even more. I also need to be brave and set out of my comfort zone so that I CAN become more technical as I chose this and want to get the most out of ITE!

Wew what a post D: let's hope these get ticked off by the end of the year!

Friday, January 4, 2013

Review: The Boy Who Sneaks in my Bedroom Window by Kirsty Moseley

Date Read: December 30 2012 - January 3 2013
Release Date: April 30th 2012
Publisher: Self-published
Source: Bought
Genre: Contemporary
My rating: 

"Amber Walker and her older brother, Jake, have an abusive father. One night her brother's best friend, Liam, sees her crying and climbs through her bedroom window to comfort her. That one action sparks a love/hate relationship that spans over the next eight years.
Liam is now a confident, flirty player who has never had a girlfriend before. Amber is still emotionally scarred from the abuse she suffered at the hands of her father. Together they make an unlikely pair.

Their relationship has always been a rocky one, but what happens when Amber starts to view her brother's best friend a little differently? And how will her brother, who has always been a little overprotective, react when he finds out that the pair are growing closer? Find out in The Boy Who Sneaks In My Bedroom Window."


This is the first time I've ever given a YA book I wanted to read, a bad rating. Especially one that was so raved about, looked so promising and had me really looking forward to reading it. To say I was extremely disappointed is an understatement.

The following is going be a very ranty, ragey review...

I was having issues with this as soon as I started and 6 pages in I wanted to stop reading. 12 pages in and I wanted to hurl something at my poor laptop where I was reading it from. But friends encouraged me to continue and see how it ended and I thought "well maybe this'll get better". By the last page I was like "UGH, meh". So I thought, "ok I'm going to take a shower and try to think about all the good things in this book and give it a better rating and review". I spent the whole time in the shower trying to come up with the good and just ended up cringing. 20 minutes later and the best I can give this book is 2 stars *extremely sad face*

Having read self-published books before I know there are indie authors out there who can write really good quality and engaging stuff. This just made me want to shy away from self-published books forever Q_Q

There is something called an editor. I'm sure even a self-published author can ask a friend - or friends (much needed in this case) - to read through and pick up simple things... LIKE SPELLING MISTAKES, GRAMMATICAL AND PUNCTUATION ERRORS FML. It was like Moseley had written something straight out, not bothered reading it through herself and decided it was ready for the general public. NO JUST NO. It's impossible NOT to pick up all those mistakes proof-reading the FIRST time. The second and the third time should have reduced them even more. Having a 3rd party read this should have reduced the amount of errors exponentially. If I'm writing an essay that exceeds 1.5k words, I always read through it multiple times and then send it to other friends who don't do that subject, and ask them to proof it for me for just the general stuff. I don't think that happened with The Boy Who Sneaks in My Bedroom Window. Even reading this half-asleep at 4am in the morning I could pick up so many errors.

Let's break this down into all the issues I had:
Issue #1: Tense. There was so much switching between past tense (which is how most things are written) and present tense. Example:
"I definitely preferred it when he looked at me with the angry eyes, than when he looks at me with the soft eyes. I don’t like that at all, it made me feel uncomfortable, it always made my hands shake."
First sentence is in past tense, half of the second is in present tense and then switches back to past... wtf. "I definitely preferred it when he looked at me with eyes than when he looked at me with the soft eyes. I didn't like that at all, it made me feel uncomfortable, it always made my hands shake." Would have definitely flowed better. This tense problem caused the whole book to be really staccato; explanations wouldn't flow through because the sentence didn't seem like it had been put together properly.

Issue #2: Voice. The voice of the MC Amber was just really horrible. She talks in the same style in chapter 1 when she's 8 years old, as the rest of the book when she's 16. The first chapter wasn't a memory either. It was happening in the present and then chapter 2 skips 8 years into the future. An 8 year old does not say "He was a cute kid, with blond hair and grey eyes with brown flecks in them." when describing their brother. I would expect more immature language that's innocent and naive. But at 16, one would also expect quite sophisticated language from the first person perspective, but no.

Issue #3: Perspective. The way this was written, it didn't feel like first person. I felt more like a third person at the way things were being recounted. I wasn't Amber, I was an outsider looking in. Which brings me to...

Issue #4: Telling rather than showing. This is the biggest no-no EVERRRRRRRRRR and my pet peeve of books. I got TOLD so many times how "adorable" Liam is. "He gave me his adorable puppy dog face" - I would have liked to know what his puppy dog face was. Did his blue eyes widen? Do the edges of his eyes crinkle, does he pout? WHAT DOES IT LOOK LIKE? There were these facial expressions used that I was told rather than shown and so I couldn't really feel the emotions associated with them. I was also told Amber herself was drunk. But things didn't look blurred, what people said didn't seem funnier, I (the reader as Amber) wasn't laughing more, things didn't seem different - I've read enough books to know what being drunk feels like. I know from personal experience the effects of drinking. I was not shown anything near what I usually feel. This relates to my next issue...

Issue #5: Word choice. Extremely, extremely poor word choice. If for some reason your vocabulary is lacking because you're blanking or something then you can highlight the word, right-click it, pass your mouse over the "Synonyms" option and find similar words in Word! OR you can ask a friend "what's another word for... or how can I phrase this better?" OR THERE IS SOMETHING CALLED A THESAURUS. Fml the amount of times I was told Liam or some other was "adorable" made me want to head desk.
"That speech was so freaking adorable!" p53 - No... that speech was more "heartfelt" or "sweet" (for lack of better words). The speech bares the person's heart and Amber reacts with "freaking adorable".
"He really was adorable." p114 - Other words include "understandable" or "patient" because that would have been more fitting for the situation at p114.
"He really was just too adorable..." p168
"I really did have the most adorable boyfriend in the world." p183
"Liam was still the most adorable..." p185
And that's not even half of it.

Then there was the sheer amount of "cooing" going on...
"he cooed," p5, p24... basically it was "I cooed", "he cooed", "she cooled", " cooed" SO MANY BLOODY TIMES I WAS GONNA RIP MY HAIR OUT. 14 matches in a book that only has 253 pages. What ever happened "she whispered sultrily" or "he said so smoothly it was like warm honey" OR SOMETHING OTHER THAN A SOUND A BABY MAKES?

Oh wait there's more...

Issue #6: Writing about abuse/sexual assault. This is a touchy subject and while writing about such situations is extremely hard to get right, writing about the emotions STEMMING from said situations shouldn't be too hard. So I'm sad to say that half the time I didn't feel the fear/angst/distress/cold/emptiness/hurt/powerlessness/self-blame/questioning/loss of confidence and whatever emotions that usually comes. I was TOLD of being afraid. But yeah half the time I didn't feel it. I SOMETIMES felt the powerlessness... but not really. There was no loss of confidence, barely any emptiness and need to hide. Half the time said character was happy she really was, their popularity and general "being 16" life, wasn't a facade for the cold fear inside. Apparently it's there, and I saw it come out sometimes but I don't know, I've read other books that deal with sexual assault and they were written exceedingly better. Don't get me wrong, I didn't expect her to think about it day in and day out because it happened long ago but it's meant to be haunting. Sure she has her nightmares and fear of hugging (even from girls wtf but who am I to say) but I didn't feel it. Basically... I HAD NO FEELS. ZILCH. NADA. ZIPPO. HOW EVEN?

Issue #7: No feels. Yeah I can't get over this. This book made me feel nothing. I didn't get scared, I didn't feel sorry for the MCs. I didn't cry, my heart didn't hurt. I didn't feel raw where situations were MEANT to leave me feeling heartbroken and empty. It was a whole big "MEH".

The only reason why I'm giving this 2 stars at all is because I thought Liam is the type of guy young girls should strive for - the sweet guy next door who is supportive and responsible. That's the only thing I liked - that he was responsible. And that's how guys should be.

Some people like this... I mean it's cute I guess but don't expect a literary masterpiece. I think this is something that a Year 12 HSC student would cook up in the Belonging creative section the night before when they run out of ideas - like me. I think even I used a broader choice of words in that 40min I had to write.

Excuse me while I go stick my head through a wall to try expel this book from my thoughts. Such a shame, this is only my 2nd read of 2013 :(

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Review: The Sky Is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson

Date Read: September 25 2012 - January 1 2013
Release Date: March 1st 2010, this edition June 7th 2010
Publisher: Walker Books
Source: Bought
Genre: Contemporary
My rating: 

"Seventeen-year-old Lennie Walker, bookworm and band geek, plays second clarinet and spends her time tucked safely and happily in the shadow of her fiery older sister, Bailey. But when Bailey dies abruptly, Lennie is catapulted to center stage of her own life - and, despite her nonexistent history with boys, suddenly finds herself struggling to balance two. Toby was Bailey's boyfriend; his grief mirrors Lennie's own. Joe is the new boy in town, a transplant from Paris whose nearly magical grin is matched only by his musical talent. For Lennie, they're the sun and the moon; one boy takes her out of her sorrow, the other comforts her in it. But just like their celestial counterparts, they can't collide without the whole wide world exploding.
This remarkable debut is perfect for fans of Sarah Dessen, Deb Caletti, and Francesca Lia Block. Just as much a celebration of love as it is a portrait of loss, Lennie's struggle to sort her own melody out of the noise around her is always honest, often hilarious, and ultimately unforgettable."


"Oh god," he whispers, reaching his hand behind my neck and bringing my lips to his. "Let's let the whole fucking world explode this time"

This is what I imagine The Fault in Our Stars to have been like if it was high (on pot). The Sky is Everywhere has to have been the most unique book I have ever read. Witty, quirky, raw, emotional and every phrase was so relevant, meaningful and full of life I'm still left wondering how Jandy could put so much power into those words.

I loved absolutely EVERYTHING about this book. There is not a single fault I found with The Sky is Everywhere.

Let me start with the writing. A book's plot don't mean jack if the writing can't draw the reader in. The opening lines of the novel "Gram is worried about me. It's not just because my sister Bailey died four weeks ago, or because my mother hasn't contacted me in sixteen years, or even because suddenly all I think about is sex. She is worried about me because one of houseplants has spots." are freaking brilliant!
And then she describes her Gram as "all six feet and floral frock of her", while her uncle Big has a voice that "trumpets as if from stage or pulpit; his words carry weight, even pass the salt comes out of his mouth in a thou-shalt-Ten-Commandments kind of way".
And this only the FIRST page!

Some of my favourite lines in this book (my #1 is at the beginning of this review):
- "I look into his sorrowless eyes and a door in my heart blows open.
And when we kiss, I see that on the other side of that door is sky"
- "'This is Doug,' Marcus says just as Joe says, 'This is Fred.'
'Parents couldn't make up their mind,' the newest Fontaine offers. This one is positively deranged with glee. Gram's right, we should sell them."
"In fact, I'm going to tell Sarah we need to start a new philosophical movement: messessentialism instead of existentialism: for those revel in the essential mess that is life"
LIKE OMFG HOW AWESOME ARE JANDY'S CHOICE OF WORDS? "Positively deranged with glee" I loved that soooooooo much! And yes I think I'm a messessentialist.

The writing was just so fluid, eloquent, poetic and descriptive in a way I've never read before! The whole thing was like some epic poem that I could understand and appreciate. The symbolism of the sky was really beautiful - I could really relate because of this poem from Kingdom Hearts and this Japanese movie (Koizora ~ Love Sky), both of which talked about the sky being everywhere - the harmony of always being watched over wherever you are.

Now omg the characters were all so beautiful and perfect and flawed in a lovable way! Our main character Lennie (named after John Lennon) is grieving over the loss of her best friend and sister Bailey, leaving her damaged and falling for two different guys: her dead sister's boyfriend Toby who is as damaged and in as much pain as Lennie, and the new boy in town Joe Fontaine whose "Bat. Bat. Bat" eyelashes and beautiful smile make Lennie forget her grief. Both boys are so adorable and sweet. Toby is so heartbroken and the only one who understand is Lennie and despite her kissing him, I couldn't blame either of them. Their love and sadness over losing Bailey caused them to come together to try get over that grief. Then there's the beautiful Joe Fontaine who is like happiness incarnate with that smile of his (it seems all the Fontaines are "deranged with glee") and long as fk eyelashes. Other characters like Gram, Big and Sarah are so distinct and crazy I couldn't help but fall in love with them all!

The story itself doesn't really going anywhere, it's slow and almost languid but in a beautiful I'm-cruising-along-the-beach sort of way. It does progress and I loved the pace - the way Lennie grows and finds out about herself, what Bailey was to her, how she deals with everything and becomes the person by the end.

This is seriously a YA everybody needs to read.

"If anybody asks where we are, just tell them to look up."