Review: Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater

blue-lily-lily-blue

Publisher: Scholastic
Release date: October 21, 2014
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 391
Goodreads || Book Depository

Blue Lily, Lily Blue is the third instalment of The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater. This review doesn’t contain any spoilers for the first two books, The Raven Boys and The Dream Thieves, but you should probably read those reviews first.

Blue Lily, Lily Blue Synopsis

There is danger in dreaming. But there is even more danger in waking up.

Blue Sargent has found things. For the first time in her life, she has friends she can trust, a group to which she can belong. The Raven Boys have taken her in as one of their own. Their problems have become hers, and her problems have become theirs.

The trick with found things though, is how easily they can be lost.

Friends can betray.
Mothers can disappear.
Visions can mislead.
Certainties can unravel.

MY THOUGHTS

5 stars

Blue Lily, Lily Blue is my favourite of The Raven Cycle so far. It was well-paced and the story was captivating. I enjoyed the characters even more in this book (and I didn’t think that was possible).

This third instalment is much faster in pace than the two previous books. It’s still quite slow, but compared to the first two books, this one almost moves at a regular pace. It had more of a sense of urgency, which made the book even more mysterious and eerie for me. This book was also more magical and paranormal than the previous books, adding to the mysterious atmosphere and tone of the book.

While The Raven Cycle and The Dream Thieves provided more questions than answers, Blue Lily, Lily Blue started answering some of these questions. Pieces of the puzzle started to come together and the story developed much faster as a result. The whole book just made more sense and allowed me to start theorising and speculating, which I wasn’t able to do for the first two books because I was so confused. It was the first book in the series so far that had a plot that was almost as captivating as the characters. Almost.

This series remains a character-driven series for me. Each of the characters underwent even further development, which I didn’t think was possible because Maggie Stiefvater’s characterisation has been perfect already. The characters became even more multifaceted and I just fell in love with them further. Each character has skills to bring to the table and they’re all essential to the story. Certain characters that I didn’t love in the first two books definitely became more likeable in this third book and I was firmly behind them and on their side.

Blue was perfectly aware that it was possible to have a friendship that wasn’t all-encompassing, that wasn’t blinding, deafening, maddening, quickening. It was just now that she’d had this kind, she didn’t want the other.

The relationships between the characters were the most noteworthy aspect of Blue Lily, Lily Blue for me. Blue and the Raven Boys care so deeply about one another that my heart was just squeezing inside my chest the whole time. I absolutely loved every Gansey and Blue scene and I will ship Blansey until the end of time. But I also absolutely enjoyed everybody’s worry and love for Gansey and OMG MY HEART.

I absolutely cannot wait for The Raven King to be released in April! The ending of Blue Lily, Lily Blue had me on the edge of my seat and I need to know what happens next!

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Most Anticipated Releases for the First Half of 2016

top-ten-anticipated-first-half-2016-releases

Welcome to another Top Ten Tuesday post. This is a weekly feature hosted by the group over at The Broke and the Bookish and this week I am featuring 10 of my most anticipated releases for the first half of 2016. I did a list of my most anticipated 2016 debut novels a couple weeks ago so I didn’t include any of them in this list. Click on the link to see what I included in that list!

I could have also included Truthwitch by Susan Dennard and Passenger by Alexandra Bracken on this list (those are out on January 5) but I’ve already pre-ordered those and the release date is so soon that I thought I’d look a little bit further into the future.

So here are ten of my most anticipated releases between February and June of 2016. Their Goodreads pages are linked.

1. Stars Above – Marissa Meyer

This is a collection of short stories featuring the world and the characters from The Lunar Chronicles. I believe this contains 9 short stories, 4 that have been previously released as ebooks and 5 never-before-seen stories. The Lunar Chronicles is my favourite series so I cannot wait to read more. Plus we’ve been promised the wedding of the century?

2. A Gathering of Shadows – V.E. Schwab

I really, really loved A Darker Shade of Magic so I’m highly anticipating this sequel! I read a little bit of an excerpt and I can tell that it’s going to be amazing!

3. Lady Midnight – Cassandra Clare

Ever since I finished bingeing The Infernal Devices and The Mortal Instruments, I’ve been looking forward to Cassie’s next release. I really love the Shadowhunter Chronicles and Cassie’s writing so Lady Midnight cannot come soon enough! I’m more excited for her next trilogy, The Last Hours (Book 1 out in 2017), than I am for Lady Midnight but I’ll take anything at this point.

4. This is Where the World Ends – Amy Zhang

Contemporary is my favourite genre and I particularly enjoy ones that will give me all the feels and make me ugly-cry until I cannot function the next day. And this one promises all of those things.

5. The Raven King – Maggie Stiefvater

I marathoned the first three books of The Raven Cycle just last week and I cannot wait for The Raven King to be released! Not only is the cover absolutely gorgeous, but I have a feeling that The Raven King will be the best one of the series yet! It’s going to be so epic and I want to know if Gansey will actually die! (That is not a spoiler).

6. A Court of Mist and Fury – Sarah J. Maas

I enjoyed A Court of Thorns and Roses so much when I read it back in July so I’m really looking forward to the sequel. It’s going to be partly a Hades and Persephone retelling, which has me super intrigued! I just really want to know what’s going to go down in the Night Court! (I am Team Tamlin btw)

7. The Rose and the Dagger – Renee Ahdieh

This is another sequel that I’m highly anticipating. The first book in this duology, The Wrath and the Dawn, was so great and we got left at such a heartstopping spot that I need to know what happens!

8. The Unexpected Everything – Morgan Matson

This is one of my most highly anticipated contemporaries. I’ve still only read Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson but I enjoyed the coming-of-age story and the character development in that book so much that I need to read more of her writing.

9. You Know Me Well – David Levithan & Nina LaCour

I actually don’t know too much about this book but everything I’ve read by David Levithan has been amazing (review of Every Day) and he’s one of my favourite contemporary authors. This book promises to be an wonderfully diverse LGBTQ+ book so I need to have this in my possession!

10. Summer Days & Summer Nights – Stephanie Perkins

I thoroughly enjoyed Stephanie Perkins’ first short story collection, My True Love Gave To Me, when I read it last year so I’m super excited to pick up her next collection. This collection is written by a whole new group of contemporary and fantasy authors and I cannot wait to see what summery stories are in store for us.


Please share your most anticipated releases for the first half of 2016! I love adding new books to my watchlist and pre-ordering them so let me know!

Review: The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater

the-dream-thieves

Publisher: Scholastic
Release date: September 17, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 439
Goodreads || Book Depository

The Dream Thieves is the second book in Maggie Stiefvater’s, The Raven Cycle. This review doesn’t contain any spoilers for the first book, The Raven Boys, so feel free to stay if you want to know if the series is worth pursuing.

THE DREAM THIEVES SYNOPSIS

If you could steal things from dreams, what would you take?

Ronan Lynch has secrets. Some he keeps from others. Some he keeps from himself.

One secret: Ronan can bring things out of his dreams.

And sometimes he’s not the only one who wants those things.

Ronan is one of the raven boys—a group of friends, practically brothers, searching for a dead king named Glendower, who they think is hidden somewhere in the hills by their elite private school, Aglionby Academy. The path to Glendower has long lived as an undercurrent beneath town. But now, like Ronan’s secrets, it is beginning to rise to the surface—changing everything in its wake.

MY THOUGHTS

45 stars

The Dream Thieves picks up a few weeks after the events in The Raven Boys but it doesn’t exactly pick up where the first book left off. After finishing The Raven Boys, I was a little bit confused about some of the things that had happened and the consequences of those things happening. I was hoping that The Dream Thieves would give me some clarification or explain what had gone down in The Raven Boys. However, this book went into a completely different direction and the questions I had at the end of the first book were left unanswered. Which is completely fine… but I just felt like there were more and more unanswered questions and puzzles to solve and very few answers being given.

To me, the plot of The Dream Thieves felt largely unrelated to what happened in the previous book. At times, it almost felt like a filler book before we moved on to bigger things in the next two books. In this novel, we follow Ronan, the impulsive brawler of the group. We find out at the very end of The Raven Boys that Ronan is able to take things out of his dreams (this is not a spoiler since this is never explored in the first book) and in this book, we explore his story and the whole process of the dreaming further. Of course, Ronan’s dream thievery is linked to the greater story of the ley lines and the search for the lost Welsh king, Glendower, but for a huge section of the book, it felt almost like a separate and unrelated story. Having said that, I really enjoyed getting to know Ronan a little bit more because we didn’t get much of his back story in Book 1 and he was the enigmatic and closed off one of the group. I found his background and his family’s story to be really unexpected and interesting, and I thoroughly enjoyed everything we learnt about him.

I enjoyed the plot of this second book a little bit more than the first one. It was magical, fascinating and very strange at times and I couldn’t help but be drawn into Ronan’s story and want to read more. There were some plot points that genuinely surprised me. I did, however, find the climax of the book to be slightly lacking. It wasn’t as exciting and intense as I had hoped it would be but I still really liked it and can’t complain about it too much.

The pace of this book is very slow, probably even slower than The Raven Boys. It took a very long time for the book to get started and I wasn’t really engaged until after the 150 page mark. The story and the characters were still intriguing enough that I finished the novel in two sittings and I never felt bored even though there wasn’t very much happening. Obviously, I wish that the book could have been a little bit more fast-paced but the writing and the pace really enhanced the atmosphere of the book and I didn’t mind it too much after I got past the slow patch at the beginning.

The characters were still the stand out aspect of this series so far. They really filled in the large gaps in the book where there wasn’t much going on. My favourite characters are still Blue and Gansey. Their characters were the easiest for me to relate to and they felt the most normal to me. They’re so full of love for their family and friends and I just want to hug them. I also enjoyed Ronan’s character a lot more in this book. He’s still a little bit difficult to connect with since he’s such a closed off and distant person but getting to know his background and his cool dream thieving abilities really helped me relate to him a little bit more. The character that took a nose dive in terms of likability was Adam. I liked him quite a bit for most of The Raven Boys, but he became very annoying in this one. He acted like he was entitled to things just because he’s had a tough time and he wasn’t able to see things from the others’ perspectives. His need to be better than other people was infuriating and I just wanted him to work with the team!

“Being the Magician isn’t about being powerful when you have things and useless when you don’t,” Persephone said. “The Magician sees what is out there and find connections. The Magician can make anything magical.”

Yes, Adam. Take note. We are also introduced to a few new characters in this sequel. We have Mr Gray, a hit man who’s searching for something called the Graywaren. He does some atrocious things but his character was so complex, layered and unexpected that I really ended up loving his addition to the book. I think what Maggie Stiefvater does so well is really spending the time to develop her characters and make them multi-faceted. She plays around with stereotypes and tropes and I really love her characters.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book and Maggie Stiefvater’s writing and characters. I didn’t think the plot of this novel made any developments to the series and it almost felt like a side story with some links to the overall story arc of The Raven Cycle. However, I still really liked the book and I’m predicting that the events that take place in all these books will probably have some impact on what happens in the finale.

Book Fangirling Award

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I just noticed that I’ve been accruing a lot of nominations for the Book Fangirling Award and thought I should respond before it gets out of hand! I was nominated by Ashley @ Socially Awkward Bookworm, Anette @ Anette Reads, Cristina @ My Tiny Obsessions, Marie @ Drizzle and Hurricane Books, and Brittaney @ Brittaney Reads. Thanks for the nomination 🙂

RULES

blogawardbutton

  • Create a post to accept your award.
  • Add the blog button award into your post and put it on the side of your blog as a widget. Visit fangirling for the award button.
  • Answer the questions I have below.
  • Nominate between 5-10 book bloggers who you think also deserve this award.
  • Come up with your own 5 questions for your nominees.

ASHLEY’S QUESTIONS:

1. What book did everyone like but you hated?

dumplin Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy

Let me just say that I didn’t hate this book. I still enjoyed it and gave it 3.5 stars. But I didn’t love it as much as everybody else seemed to. The message didn’t really come across to me and I had a hard time figuring out the point of the book. Also, the book is marketed as a larger girl enters a beauty pageant, but there was hardly any pageant in the book. I was pretty let down by it and thought it was underwhelming.

2. Book/s that put you in a ridiculous reading slump.

swaya-study-in-charlotteI don’t really get into reading slumps that often, but I did have a slumpy week earlier this month.

I had so many problems with Sway by Kat Spears and was just angry every time I thought about it. I picked up A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro to get me back into reading since I love all things Sherlock Holmes, but ended up being a little bit underwhelmed by it.

3. Name a book/s you wish more people knew about.

Here are some Australian YA books I love (click image for reviews)

the-flywheel   love-and-other-perishable-items   feeling-sorry-for-celia   a-corner-of-white   the-cracks-in-the-kingdom

4. Name a book/s you wish they’d turn into a movie.

cinder   scarlet   cress   winter

5. Favourite booktuber/s?

Max from WellDoneBooks, Christine from polandbananasbooks, Regan from Peruse Project, Sam from Thoughts on Tomes, Kat from Katytastic, etc.


ANETTE’S QUESTIONS:

1. What’s the first book you remember being really obsessed with?

harry-potter-and-the-philosophers-stone   blinky-bill   adventures-of-the-wishing-chair   The_Magic_Faraway_Tree

2. Who’s your book OTP?

I have too many to mention but my OTP of the year is Simon and Baz from Carry On by Rainbow Rowell.

3. Do you read/write fanfiction? If so, what kind?

Reading Harry Potter fanfiction is one of my all-time favourite guilty pleasures. I’m a hardcore Draco and Hermione shipper.

4. What kind of merch do you own? (Include pictures if you want!)

I’m too lazy to take pictures but I have a pretty big collection of fandom tote bags and pop vinyl figurines. I also have some fandom jewellery. Oh and magnetic bookmarks of the Six of Crows and The Infernal Devices characters.

5. Now for the most important question. What’s your Hogwarts house?

HUFFLEPUFF!


CRISTINA’S QUESTIONS:

1. Book series or standalones? Why?

Omg what a tough question. My favourite genre is contemporary and most contemporary novels are standalones… but I do really enjoy marathoning series too. I think I’m going to have to say standalones because I don’t like waiting for sequels to come out.

2. Did you watch anime/cartoons when you were younger? Which ones?

The first anime I remember watching was Ai to Yuki no Pig Girl Tonde Burin. I think I watched this when I was about 4 or 5 years old, except I watched a dubbed version since I was too young to read subtitles. It was about this high school girl who turned into a superhero pig. I watched a lot of anime during high school and my favourite to this day is Rurouni Kenshin.

In terms of western cartoons, my favourite is The Simpsons. Those first few seasons are so nostalgic!

3. Tell me a music that reminds you of your childhood/early teens.

I most highly associate the Backstreet Boys and Nsync with my childhood. Never Gone by the Backstreet Boys was the first album I bought by myself and it’s still my favourite of theirs.

4. Favourite movie growing up?

Home Alone!

5. Where do you live? Tell us something about your city (that us tourists can’t read in the books).

Haha, I don’t even know what to say. I live in the suburbs of Sydney, Australia… but right now I can’t even think of a single thing about Sydney. It’s a super expensive city to live in so don’t move here?

LOL kidding. Um… I guess I can  tell you about my suburb? I’ve lived in the same suburb my whole life and it’s now super Asian. It’s where they all congregate. We used to have Target, McDonalds, KFC, etc. but now it’s all Asian restaurants and supermarkets. So if you ever want Korean food, come to me. Fun fact: the first granny smith apples were found in my suburb and we have a Granny Smith Festival every year in October.


MARIE’S QUESTIONS:

1. If you had to recommend one book to get someone into reading, which book would it be?

I would probably choose a middle grade series or a fun and light contemporary that’s quick to read.

the-lightning-thief   fangirl   simonvs   harry-potter-illustrated-edition-cover

2. What was your favourite book as a child?

The_Magic_Faraway_Tree   adventures-of-the-wishing-chair   matilda   harry-potter-and-the-philosophers-stone

3. Which book wouldn’t you like to see as a movie, EVER?

all-the-light-we-cannot-seeAll the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

I’ve thought about this so many times and I don’t want to see this book adapted EVER. It’s my favourite book of all time and I don’t want them to ruin it. Having said that, I really love historical films so I’d probably really enjoy seeing it in movie format. But I don’t think they’ll be able to do it justice. The beautiful and metaphorical writing is half its charm and no amount of fantastic cinematography will be able to make up for it.

4. Which book adaptation did you love? Even more than the book itself, or not?

My favourite book to movie adaptation is probably The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. Everything about the movie was top notch. I’m not sure if I liked it more than the book but it was just as good.

5. If you were to read only books from one single author for the rest of your life… who would be the lucky winner?

Oh my gosh. I don’t even know. My first thought was Huntley Fitzpatrick because all of her books have been 4.5-5 star reads for me. But I think I’ll go with Cassandra Clare since she puts out so many books!


BRITTANEY’S QUESTIONS:

1. Who is your favourite villain?

Queen Levana from The Lunar Chronicles is probably my favourite villain. She’s so complex and hard to read.

2. Least favourite book read in 2015?

These were the books I gave the lowest ratings to this year. But my least favourite was probably Sway.

sway   a-little-something-different   fans-of-the-impossible-life   99-days

3. Paperback or hardcover?

This is not even a questions. Hardcover. I am devastated that Australian publishers never release books in hardcover.

4. Are your bookshelves organised or a total mess?

My shelves are organised but there are also piles and piles of books stacked in front of my beautifully organised books since I am now out of shelf space.

5. If you could read any book again for the first time, which book would it be?

all-the-light-we-cannot-see


MY QUESTIONS:

1. What is the best movie you have seen in the past 12 months? (I need recs!)

2. Who is your favourite superhero?

3. What is your least read genre, and do you want to read more from this genre?

4. What is your favourite adult fiction novel?

5. What do you think was the most overhyped book of 2015?

nominees:


Byeeeee. Let me know your responses to my questions down below, if you wish 😀

Review: The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

the-raven-boys

Publisher: Scholastic
Release date: September 18, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 416
Goodreads || Book Depository

“There are only two reasons a non-seer would see a spirit on St. Mark’s Eve,” Neeve said. “Either you’re his true love . . . or you killed him.”

It is freezing in the churchyard, even before the dead arrive.

Every year, Blue Sargent stands next to her clairvoyant mother as the soon-to-be dead walk past. Blue herself never sees them—not until this year, when a boy emerges from the dark and speaks directly to her.

His name is Gansey, and Blue soon discovers that he is a rich student at Aglionby, the local private school. Blue has a policy of staying away from Aglionby boys. Known as Raven Boys, they can only mean trouble.

But Blue is drawn to Gansey, in a way she can’t entirely explain. He has it all—family money, good looks, devoted friends—but he’s looking for much more than that. He is on a quest that has encompassed three other Raven Boys: Adam, the scholarship student who resents all the privilege around him; Ronan, the fierce soul who ranges from anger to despair; and Noah, the taciturn watcher of the four, who notices many things but says very little.

For as long as she can remember, Blue has been warned that she will cause her true love to die. She never thought this would be a problem. But now, as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys, she’s not so sure anymore.

MY THOUGHTS

45 stars

The Raven Boys is the first book in Maggie Stiefvater’s paranormal series, The Raven Cycle. I’ve previously read the Shiver trilogy, which I really liked, and I think The Raven Boys, as a first book, was just as good, if not better. It was creepy and atmospheric, with lots of interesting and unique characters.

The Raven Boys, for me, was very much a character-driven book. It has a whole cast of very intriguing characters that draw you in and make you want to know more. Our main protagonist, Blue, comes from a family of psychics but she’s the only one who doesn’t have psychic abilities. Instead, she’s almost like a battery that enhances the spiritual energy around her and makes it louder. She becomes involved with a group of Raven boys from a nearby private high school, who are involved in a search for magical ley lines and a lost Welsh King.

The leader of the Raven boys is a boy called Gansey, who I found to be the most interesting of all the characters. He’s a very genuine character who everybody else seems to see as a little pretentious. But he’s definitely not your typical rich and perfect male protagonist. His character is complex and misunderstood and I loved him so much because of it. Adam is the scholarship student from an abusive family. He doesn’t quite fit in with the others and is always aware of his poor background. I really liked his character from the start but he started to get on my nerves as I progressed through the book. He became very resentful of others for what they had and his jealous nature started to come through, which annoyed me a lot. There’s also a weird love triangle involving Adam, and I really did not like it… We also have Ronan, who’s hiding some secrets and is a little bit rough around the edges, and Noah, the mysterious and quiet friend who comes and goes and isn’t always around.

There are a whole host of other characters, including all the psychics that Blue lives with. I found some of the side characters to be very creepy and I was suspicious of them all the time. They gave me this uncomfortable feeling that I couldn’t shake and some of their actions left me feeling pretty creeped out. The mysterious and magical tone of the book also added to the slight creepiness of the book. It was so atmospheric and dark that it did make me feel uncomfortable a lot of the time. I didn’t find the world and the setting to be particularly scary but the writing and the atmosphere of the story left me a little bit anxious. There are also ghosts in this book, and I have pretty low tolerance for ghosts.

While I really liked the plot, there wasn’t very much going on in this book. It’s very slow-paced at the beginning and the action doesn’t pick up until the second half of the book. I found the magic and the ley lines to be very hard to follow at the beginning and I felt confused until later in the book. We’re not given very many explanations, so I had to just accept what was happening and go with the flow. The last 50-100 pages of the book were more fast-paced and there was a lot more happening. However, by the time I reached the end of the book, I still didn’t feel like I completely understood what had happened. Some characters made choices and did things that I didn’t understand (and I didn’t know what the consequences of those action would be either). I just still felt confused after finishing the book, but I can forgive that since it’s the first book in a series.

The writing was beautiful and I didn’t find it hard to get into. I think having read Maggie Stiefvater’s Shiver trilogy, I was already familiar with her unique writing style so I didn’t need a lot of time to adjust. At the beginning, the writing also reminded me of the writing in A Little Life. It was very descriptive with little dialogue, and it really set the tone and atmosphere of the book. I also enjoyed the multiple perspectives that we got and I liked being able to see through each characters’ eyes. Like I mentioned, the pace of the book was a little bit uneven, with it being very slow at the beginning and fast at the end. But even though the book was mostly slow-paced, it wasn’t slow for me to read. I flew through the book really quickly because it was so engaging.

Even though this book left me feeling a little bit unsatisfied because of all the unanswered questions, I still really enjoyed the characters and the story. The confusion that I feel makes me even more excited to jump straight into The Dream Thieves.

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Books I Wouldn’t Mind Santa Leaving Under My Tree This Year

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by the team over at The Broke and the Bookish. This week I am featuring books that I wouldn’t mind receiving for Christmas. Basically these are ten books that are on my Book Depository wishlist and are the next ten books that I’ll probably order. The intention of this post isn’t to get any of you to buy me these books, so please don’t send them to me (especially because I plan to buy these in the near future anyway)!

These aren’t really in any particular order but the ones near the top of the list are ones that I’m most interested in buying and reading at the moment. I have included Book Depository links, in case you want to buy them too!


1. The Complete Sherlock Holmes – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

I’ve wanted to own a complete Sherlock Holmes collection for a really long time. I own some of the free Sherlock Holmes ebooks that I can get for free on iBooks but I want to own a physical copy of the complete collection. I’m thinking of getting this for myself for Christmas this year. Hopefully bookstores will have Boxing Day sales and I can snap this up at a discounted price!

2. The Thing About Jellyfish – Ali Benjamin

This book sounds like it’s right up my alley and the cover is beautiful! It’s also a finalist for the National Book Award so I have high hopes. I have my eyes on the hardback and it will be mine soon! (I had this in my Book Depository basket last week but had to remove it because I already had 10 other books in that basket).

3. The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August – Claire North

I’ve only heard amazing things about this one. It sounds like a suspenseful and intriguing sci-fi novel and I’m super interested in the whole idea of reincarnation. This was another book I had in my Book Depository basket recently but I’m hoping to have this in my hands soon.

4. Bone Gap – Laura Ruby

This is a book that I’ve been hearing about non-stop since it was released! I’ve wanted to buy it so many times but never got around to it. It’s actually not available in Australia yet (as far as I know), which is why I keep forgetting about it and still don’t own it yet.

5. Blue is the Warmest Color – Julie Maroh

I’m going to try to get into some more graphic novels soon and this is one that I’ve heard amazing things about. It promises to be emotional and heartbreaking and I love those types of books. The movie adaptation has had rave reviews too so I know this is one that I need to have!

6. Uprooted – Naomi Novik

Everybody seems to love this book! It’s one of Jeann’s (Happy Indulgence) favourite books so I need to read it! She might revoke my co-blogger status otherwise 😀 Also, I really like this cover and having it in hardback would make my day.

7. The Chimes – Anna Smaill

This novel was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize this year and I’ve wanted to read it ever since the longlist was released. Sadly, The Chimes has been super difficult to find in Australian bookstores and it’s also a little pricey online. Even though this is marketed as an adult book, it was originally intended for a YA audience, so this would be a great one to read if you’re looking to get into reading some Man Bookers.

8. Nimona – Noelle Stevenson

Another graphic novel that I really want to read! There has been a lot of hype surrounding this one, which makes it sound really promising.

9. I’ll Meet You There – Heather Demetrios

This is a novel that I’ve been seeing around the blogosphere constantly for the last two weeks. I’ve seen it on multiple favourites lists and Lois @ My Midnight Musing won’t stop recommending this to me. It sounds like a great contemporary and I can’t wait to read it.

10. A Darker Shade of Magic – V.E. Schwab

This is a book that I already own and have read (review here). But I have the UK paperback edition and I really want to own the US hardcover, which is super expensive. It’s probably not too high on my list of priorities at the moment, but one day when it’s discounted, it will be mine!


Are any of these books on your wishlist too? Which ones do you recommend I buy immediately?

Review: Feeling Sorry for Celia by Jaclyn Moriarty

Feeling Sorry for Celia CVR_SI.indd

Publisher: Pan Macmillan Australia
Release date: 2000
Format: Paperback
Pages: 262
Goodreads || Book Depository || Booktopia

Dear Ms Clarry,

It is with great pleasure that we invite you to join our Society.

We have just found out about your holiday. It is so impressive! You had four assignments, an English essay and a chapter of Maths to do. And you didn’t do a single piece of homework!

Fabulous!

Also we have a feeling that you have a History test today. And you’re trying to study now? On the bus? With the Brookfield boys climbing onto each other’s shoulders to get to the emergency roof exit? And with Celia about to get on the bus at any moment? And you think that’s going to make a difference!!!

That’s really very amusing, Elizabeth. We like you for it.

You’re perfect for our Society and we’re very excited about having you join.

Yours sincerely,

The Manager
Society of People who are Definitely Going to Fail High School (and Most Probably Life as Well!)

MY THOUGHTS

4 stars

Dear Reader,

Feeling Sorry for Celia is somewhat of a classic in Australia (Jeann @ Happy Indulgence told me that she had to read it for school). I kind of wish I had read it for school because I would have totally loved this as a teen! It’s completely relatable to not only Australians but everybody around the world!

Despite what the title suggests, this book is not about Celia. This novel follows the life of Elizabeth Clarry, a 15 year old high school student from Sydney. Her mother is a bit flighty and neglectful, her father who left her mother before Elizabeth was born has now moved back to Sydney from Toronto, and her best and only friend, Celia, has gone missing. Her high school starts a pen pal system with a nearby school and Elizabeth develops a new friendship with her pen pal, Christina.

Feeling Sorry for Celia is very much a slice-of-life kind of novel, written entirely in epistolary form. It not only includes letters between Elizabeth and Christina, but also little notes between Liz and her mother and terrifyingly mean letters from random associations like the Society of People who are Definitely Going to Fail High School, COLD HARD TRUTH ASSOCIATION, Housewives of the World United, The Society of High School Runners Who Aren’t Very Good at Long Distance Running but Would be if they Just Trained, The Association of Teenagers, etc. These letters from the random societies are most likely just random thoughts in Elizabeth’s head but they were incredibly insightful and funny to read. I really enjoyed that this book was written in epistolary form because it allowed us to get to know Elizabeth’s personality and to enjoy her humour. It felt intimate and I was completely drawn into her life and all the chaos around her, despite the book being more of a slice-of-life, everyday kind of story.

I thought the characters in this book were quirky and interesting, but they never came across as too quirky. While some of the characters behaved in drastic and unusual ways, the format of the book made everything seem lighthearted and just right. The book had a great balance of humour, solemnity, heartbreak and optimism, which made it just a pleasure to read. I never felt the chaos or the burden of all of Elizabeth’s problems and it was just a joy to be able to see into Elizabeth’s life and follow her as she discovers different aspects of herself. I thought it was a wonderful coming-of-age story that most young adults will be able to relate to or connect with. It’s a story about friendship and what it means to be a friend, but it’s also a story about how to be your best self even when faced with problems that you don’t want anything to do with. It has the beautiful writing that I’ve come to associate with Jaclyn Moriarty, after having read A Corner of White and The Cracks in the Kingdom a couple weeks ago.

If you’re looking for a funny book with a cast of very funny characters, I’d highly recommend this one. It was a very quick read because of the epistolary format and it’s impossible not to love Elizabeth, her mother and Elizabeth’s secret admirer who is sorrybutnotsorry about remaining anonymous.

Kind regards,

The Society of This Review is Really Short and Unstructured but it’s Currently Really Hot in Sydney and I Have Lost the Ability to Think and Write but You Should Read This Book or Any Book by Jaclyn Moriarty.

Christmas Book Tags: Dashing Through the Snow & ‘Tis the Season

Hello. I’ve been tagged recently to do some holiday-themed tags so I’ve decided to combine them into one post since some of the questions are quite similar. So without further ado…

dashing-through-the-snow-tag

I was tagged by Ashley @ Socially Awkward Bookworm, Jesse @ Books at Dawn, Lois @ My Midnight Musing and Summer @ Xingsings to do the Dashing Through the Snow Tag. Thank you for tagging me! (Their posts are linked so check out their responses). This tag was created by Astra @ A Stranger’s Guide to Novels.

Name a book you’d like to see under your Christmas tree.

bn-sherlock    sherlock-collection

I am a huge fan of anything Sherlock Holmes and I’ve been eyeing the complete collections for a while. I’m planning to buy one of these for myself for Christmas but I need help deciding which edition I want!!

These are the two editions that I’ve seen in my bookstore. The one of the left is a Barnes and Noble edition. I’m pretty sure it’s leather and has gold painted pages (because it’s from the Barnes and Noble classics collection, there are also matching editions of other classics). The edition on the right comes with a hardcase but it’s shrink wrapped in my bookstore so I have no idea what it looks like on the inside. However, I know that Little Book Owl on Youtube has this edition and she seems to really like it.

Thoughts? Let me know in the comments which one you’d go for? They’re both $50 AUD, so price differences is not a factor.

A book you’ll be reading during the Christmas season?

I don’t really have any books that I read every Christmas, so I’ll list a few books that I’m planning to read in the next few days.

a-tangle-of-gold harry-potter-illustrated-edition-coverI received an ARC of A Tangle of Gold in the mail today so I’ll probably be reading that one next week. It’s the last book in The Colours of Madeleine trilogy by Jaclyn Moriarty. I have reviewed The Corner of White (Book 1) and The Cracks in the Kingdom (Book 2) on Happy Indulgence. And I still haven’t read the illustrated Harry Potter yet so I’m hoping to read it before the year is over!

Favourite Christmas movie?

200_s

Home Alone will forever be my favourite Christmas movie (and probably favourite movie in general). I also love Home Alone 2, but I have the fondest memories of Home Alone.

Do you like snow?

Theoretically, yes. But practically, no. Just earlier today, I was explaining to my J-Squad buddies, Jesse @ Books at Dawn and Joey @ Thoughts and Afterthoughts, that we don’t get snow in Australia (unless you’re in the Snowy Mountains region… or Tasmania). So basically when I went to North America during the Christmas break in 2012, I spent my whole week in Canada not looking at anything except the ground so that I wouldn’t slip or step into a huge pile of snow. TEACH ME YOUR WAYS! Though I do have to admit that it was really nice when it first started snowing in New York, on our way into Canada.

Basically, short answer: I maybe like snow.

Name a character you would like to spend Christmas day with.

William Herondale.

To give or to receive?

I much prefer to give than to receive. I’m trying not to own too many things so receiving gifts just adds to the number of possessions I have. On the other hand, giving means that I can still buy things and spend money, but I don’t add to my belongings. I also really like gift wrapping, so I love to give presents to everyone all the time.

What fictional place would you like to spend Christmas at?

carry-on I feel like the classic answer to this is the Harry Potter world and I totally agree…

But after reading Carry On, I’d love to spend Christmas at Baz’s house! I’d probably be really unwelcome though because Simon will most likely be spending his Christmas at Baz’s house… but I’d still go anyway because I need more SnowBaz in my life! Basically, I’ll be the voyeuristic, unwanted guest but I don’t even care.

Fondest Christmas memory?

Oh man… I don’t even know. I’m just going to go with my most recent Christmas memory… which was like 4 days ago. I had an impromptu Christmas party with the other PhD students in my research lab. I brought gifts and cronuts and we had a really nice 2 hour chat.

12362974_10153775698855960_8818634293139099613_o

Can you say “Christmas tree” ten times fast in a row (while pronouncing them correctly)?

Yes. Are there people who can’t?


 

tis-the-season-book-tag

I was tagged by Aimal @ Bookshelves & Paperbacks and Summer @ Xingsings to do the ‘Tis the Season Book Tag. Thanks guys!

1. Do you have a favourite winter read?

As mentioned above, I don’t really have a book that I read every year and I haven’t really read any Christmas-themed books this year. But last year I did read My True Love Gave to Me, a short story collection edited by Stephanie Perkins, and Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan.

2. Find a book with blue on the cover!

Blue is one of my favourite colours so I actually have a lot of blue books. I’m just drawn to them in the book store. Here are some of my favourite blue covers:

theflywheel   paperweight   nightowls   thecoldestgirlincoldtown

3. Find a book you’d use as a star on a Christmas tree!

all-the-light-we-cannot-seeAnd here it is. You thought I could get through a tag without mentioning this book but nope, here it is. My favourite book of all time: All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr.

Not only is the cover beautiful (and blue), but the content is beautiful and amazing and all the good things in the world. It deserves to be the star at the top of my non-existent Christmas tree! Also, the cover is kind of shimmery, so it would work super well.

4. Pick one fictional place that would be perfect for a winter vacation!

snow-like-ashes ice-like-fireI would probably choose to the Winter kingdom in Primoria from the Snow Like Ashes trilogy. I mean, what could be more perfect for a winter vacation?

Just to clarify, I’d choose Winter after all the rebuilding has taken place and the oppression is gone. So I wouldn’t choose the Winter from the books, but an ideal Kingdom of Winter.

5. Pick one fictional character you’d take with you on your winter vacation!

William Herondale. Always.

6. Name one book on your wish list this year!

See first question in the Dashing Through the Snow Tag above.

7. Favourite holiday drink, treat and movie?

My favourite holiday drink is the Christmas Cookie frappucino (yes frappucino, since it’s always unbearably hot during the Christmas period) from Starbucks. Sadly, they decided not to bring it back this year… so I have no favourite holiday drink anymore. My favourite holiday treat… I don’t think I have one… but I’ll just choose Tim Tams. I eat them all year round but I especially like them during this time of year. And my favourite Christmas movie is Home Alone, as mentioned above.

8. Who do you tag?

I will be tagging 7 of my newest followers and 7 of my regular tag buddies (ignore me if you’ve already done these tags/aren’t interested):

Merry Christmas!!

Series Review: Percy Jackson and the Olympians by Rick Riordan

percy-jackson-and-the-olympians

Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Format: Paperback boxset
Goodreads (The Lightning Thief) || Book Depository (boxset)

sYNOPSIS FOR THE LIGHTNING THIEF

Percy Jackson is about to be kicked out of boarding school… again. And that’s the least of his troubles. Lately, mythological monsters and the gods of Mount Olympus seem to be walking straight out of the pages of Percy’s Greek mythology textbook and into his life. And worse, he’s angered a few of them. Zeus’s master lightning bolt has been stolen, and Percy is the prime suspect.

Now Percy and his friends have just ten days to find and return Zeus’s stolen property and bring peace to a warring Mount Olympus. But to succeed in his quest, Percy will have to do more than catch the true thief: he must come to terms with the father who abandoned him; solve the riddle of the Oracle, which warns him of betrayal by a friend; and unravel a treachery more powerful than the gods themselves.

MY THOUGHTS ON THE SERIES

45 stars

I still cannot believe that I haven’t read Percy Jackson and the Olympians until now. What was I doing with my life?! Percy Jackson and the Olympians is a middle-grade fantasy series that revolves around Greek mythology. I have a review of the first book, The Lightning Thief, if you’d like to read my in-depth thoughts about that first novel.

The series follows our hero, Percy Jackson, who is a half-blood. He is half-mortal and half-god, the son of Poseidon. He discovers his parentage at the beginning of The Lightning Thief and joins Camp Half-Blood, a summer camp and sanctuary for other demi-gods like Percy who are constantly being hunted by monsters. However, Percy’s life is about to get more and more hectic because big changes are going on in the world. There is a powerful force who is trying to overthrow the gods and take over Mount Olympus and Percy and the other half-bloods must try their hardest to stop them before his world collapses and disappears.

These books were so much fun to read! They were packed full of action and I just flew through each book in about a day. They were extremely well-paced and easy to read and I could have read 10 more of those books (and I probably will since I’ve already ordered The Heroes of Olympus series). I felt like I was a part of Percy’s crew, going along with him on his adventures, and that’s probably why these books were so enjoyable for me. I was completely immersed in the action and was so affected by everything that happened, and Rick Riordan definitely made me feel all the feels. I wasn’t expecting to cry for the enemy but I totally did. What I also really enjoyed and need to mention were the chapter titles! They were super funny to read and I think my looking forward to seeing what the next chapter title was really motivated me to keep reading.

This series also incorporates a lot of Greek mythology (I mean, it is a series about Greek gods and demi-gods). I learnt a lot about mythological creatures and gods in this series and it made me want to go out and discover more about these myths. This series featured not only the major gods, but also a lot of the minor gods, heroes and monsters too. I can definitely see why this series has been a hit not only with pre-teens but also adults too. Everything was accurate (as far as I can tell from my not-very-extensive Google searches) and I really liked the educational aspect of it, but I also appreciated the little twists that Rick Riordan put in as well.

I really, really loved Percy as a protagonist and I enjoyed reading from his point of view. He was such a funny and sassy character and I loved his voice. He never failed to make me laugh and his observations about the world were incredibly funny all the time. I wasn’t expecting to relate to him as much as I did, but Percy is like my best friend right now! I loved being able to see him grow and find different aspects to his abilities. But in addition to Percy, I also loved nearly all of the characters that we got to meet in this series! I really enjoyed Annabeth, Grover and Tyson as Percy’s sidekicks. They were so funny and adorable and I just wanted to hug all of them. I also really liked all of the gods and how Rick Riordan gave them personalities to match the myths surrounding them. But I think my favourite characters were Chiron’s party ponies. They made me laugh out loud so many times!! They were so unexpected and hilarious! I also discovered my new favourite war cry in this series, “PEANUT BUTTER”.

I did have a couple of small issues with the books though. I felt that The Titan’s Curse (Book 3) and The Battle of the Labyrinth (Book 4) took me a little while to get into. It took some time for the book to really get started. I felt like we weren’t really making any progress during the first 100 pages of The Titan’s Curse and it just lagged and made me want to put down the book. However, each book does come home strongly, so it pays off to persevere! Also, each book is so quick and easy to read that it’s worth just sticking with it.

My other small issue with the series was that each book is set during the summer and we don’t really get to see what happens to Percy and friends during the year. It felt kind of strange that this ongoing war ceased to exist during the school year and only recommenced at the beginning of summer. I know there are small developments that we don’t really get to see, but I thought it was a bit strange. It also broke the flow of the series for me a little bit, and because I marathoned these books in a week, it was quite noticeable to me.

Despite some small shortcomings, I thoroughly enjoyed Percy Jackson and the Olympians and I now have a newfound appreciation for Greek mythology. I can’t wait to dive into The Heroes of Olympus series soon! I’ve also ordered Percy Jackson’s Greek Gods and Percy Jackson’s Greek Heroes so I’m going to learn a lot about Greek mythology in the next few weeks!

RATINGS FOR EACH BOOK

The Lightning Thief                  45 stars

The Sea of Monsters                 5 stars

The Titan’s Curse                       4 stars

The Battle of the Labyrinth    4 stars

The Last Olympian                    5 stars

Cover Reveal: The Bureau of Time by Brett Michael Orr

cover-reveal-the-bureau-of-time

Oh my gosh. I’ve been waiting for this moment for what feels like forever but the time has come!! I’ve been following writer and fellow blogger, Brett Michael Orr on Twitter for a while now and I’ve always seen updates about his writing and his debut novel, The Bureau of Time. Ever since I heard about it for the first time, I’ve wanted to get my hands on it and I guess I’ve been super good this year because Santa decided to bring this to me early (or maybe it’s Brett who’s been super good and I’m just reaping all the benefits)!!

THE BUREAU OF TIME is the debut YA SF/thriller novel from Brett Michael Orr, available now on Amazon around the world, and coming soon to other major digital reading platforms, including Kindle, Kobo, iBookstore, and more. Stay up-to-date with The Bureau of Time by following @BrettMichaelOrr on Twitter! Join the conversation using the hashtag #TheBureauOfTime

Amazon US || Amazon AU || Amazon UK || Amazon CA

The Bureau of Time Blurb

You can not change fate.

Cassandra Wright is a Timewalker – a teenager with a genetic mutation that allows her to manipulate the flow of time. But her inexplicable powers have made her a target for Adjusters – monstrous assassins from a parallel universe.

Saved from almost certain death, Cassie is pulled into a secret agency sworn to defend our timeline against these threats: the Bureau of Temporal Integrity, Monitoring, and Execution. Cassie’s life soon becomes entwined with Shaun Briars – a reckless Timewalker with an alluring smile and dark suspicions about the Bureau itself.

When Cassie and Shaun cross into the parallel universe, they discover a world in the grips of nuclear winter, with a new war threatening to spill over into our universe. With time running out, they must learn the true history of Timewalkers, confront the unforgivable crimes of their future selves, and defy their own fate to save two worlds.

 

…And without further ado, let’s reveal the absolutely beautiful cover!!!

bureau-of-time-cover-halfsize

cannot wait to read The Bureau of Time and I’m so happy that Brett’s debut novel is now available for everybody to pick up! I’ll be waiting just a little bit longer since I read on iBooks 😦 but I know I’m going to devour this when I finally get my hands on it! Please go support the absolutely wonderful, awesome and insanely talented Brett Michael Orr by getting a copy of The Bureau of Time because it sounds seriously cool!