Lack of Posting.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

As you may or may not have noticed there has been a lack of posts. It's the end of the school term and there have been tests, projects, work and not a whole lot of time for reading. It's a busy weekend for me, it was my birthday yesterday (ohhhhhhh) and I have lots of stuff on. Life has been a very stressful thing.

I apologise for the lack of posts. I have a two week break coming up at the end of next week, so I will be reading heaps, I have lots of reviews to write.

Thanks and please just bare with me.


In My Mailbox (6)

Sunday, March 22, 2009

In My Mailbox is the awesome weekly segment created by The Story Siren.

Going Too Far by Jenniffer Echolls.

All Meg has ever wanted is to get away. Away from high school. Away from her backwater town. Away from her parents who seem determined to keep her imprisoned in their dead-end lives. But one crazy evening involving a dare and forbidden railroad tracks, she goes way too far...and almost doesn’t make it back.
John made a choice to stay. To enforce the rules. To serve and protect. He has nothing but contempt for what he sees as childish rebellion, and he wants to teach Meg a lesson she won’t soon forget. But Meg pushes him to the limit by questioning everything he learned at the police academy. And when he pushes back, demanding to know why she won’t be tied down, they will drive each other to the edge—and over..

Vampire Academy Series by Richelle Mead. (1, 2 & 3)

St. Vladimir's Academy isn't just any boarding school—it's a hidden place where vampires are educated in the ways of magic and half-human teens train to protect them. Rose Hathaway is a Dhampir, a bodyguard for her best friend Lissa, a Moroi Vampire Princess. They've been on the run, but now they're being dragged back to St. Vladimir's—the very place where they're most in danger. . . .
Rose and Lissa become enmeshed in forbidden romance, the Academy's ruthless social scene, and unspeakable nighttime rituals. But they must be careful lest the Strigoi—the world's fiercest and most dangerous vampires—make Lissa one of them forever.

Money Run by Jack Heath.

Ashley Arthur is a teenage thief - the best there is. Nothing is so safe that she can't get to it. But when she tries to rob a billionaire of $200 million hidden somewhere in his building, she collides with an assassin who plans to kill him. Suddenly Ash is fighting for her life, and it seems that the billionaire might have a sinister agenda of his own . . .


Charlotte McConaghy Interview Part 2.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Charlotte McConaghy's debut novel, Arrival, has been a hit with Adele, Lisa and I. After thoughly enjoying the novel the Aussie YA Alliance has chosen this week to focus on Charlotte and her novel. We conducted a MEGA chat room interview last night and it's been broken into 4 parts. (Links to the other part at the bottom of the interview).

Of all the characters you created, who is your favourite?

I'm completely in love with Jane and Fern. I can't get enough of them! Fern is ultra hot the way I imagine him!

Did you base any of the characters off of people you know?

No, they are all completely imaginary. However I did name a character after my brother Liam, in the hopes that it would one day entice him into reading it.No such luck yet. You'd think having a warrior emperor named after you would get someone reading...

What can you tell us about Book 2? We need some details (we are a little fixated on what's going to happen)

Okay, I can tell you that it is very much in the works. I finished off the second draft today!!!

What's book 2 called?

I don't have a name for it yet. I'll have to mull it over for a while yet. I'm terrible with names. I find it the most difficult thing about these books because there is so much in them!

When’s book 2 being released?

I don't have a date for it yet, but hopefully before the end of the year. Sorry, guys, I'm not being very helpful am I? Haha, yeah I'll definitely stick to the one word idea.

Who do you think you are most like...out of the Strangers?

I think what I like about all of my characters, is the fact that I can create qualities in all of them that I can aspire to. I'd like to be Jane, of course, but that's just wishful thinking. lol

Want to read the rest of the interview?

Part Two: Right here.

Part Three: Look At That Book.

Part Four: Persnickety Snark.

Arrival can be purchased online here.

Review: Somebody's Crying by Maureen McCarthy.

Monday, March 16, 2009

“When Alice looks up and sees Tom staring at her, everything closes down around them and becomes very still. No one is breathing. No one else is in the room. Tom feels as if he can see right into the soul of Alice Wishart. It lies open before him, like a wide long pane of glittering glass. So beautiful and…ready to break.”

Rating: 1/5.

Publisher: Allen and Unwin.

Summary: Three years have passed since the murder of Alice's mother, but still the killer is unknown. Alice, her cousin Jonty and his friend Tom are drawn together by the mystery, but what is each of them hiding? Will their secrets bind them tighter or tear everything apart?

Review: Somebody’s Crying. It’s the novel that is everywhere at the moment. You can’t walk into any facility that sells books and not see it. That creates a lot of intrigue, it certainly did for me and I found myself disappointed.

The story is centred around the death of Lillian, close friend of Tom’s, the mother of Alice, aunty and good friend of Jonty. And how each react to the death and what happens after. It’s a story filled with a lot (a lot) of angst. Characters that are constantly changing their oh so set opinions and too much description. Lillian is made out to be a wonderful and artistic woman and is wholly admired by the three main characters and I found her bland. The plot is basically a non thing, as I can’t name more then two big events. The blurb had me ready for a good mystery filled with twists and turns. Yet, I sat there reading tentatively, set up my suspicions and none of them were right, sure the mystery was tricky, but it wasn’t great tricky it was: is that all? And left me feeling no satisfaction at all.

When you plunge into the first pages of the novel you’re taken aback by the descriptive and wonderful writing style. You’re interested, you want to know more about the lives of Johnty, Tom and Alice. You want to know who killed Lillian. Soon, the lovely descriptions become strenuous and you find yourself wondering when something will actually happen.

I will not deny that Maureen McCarthy has a freaking fantastic way of writing a novel. Her style is just amazing. Unfortunately that doesn’t bring the novel home.

I had a love hate relationship with the characters. I could get so annoyed at them, especially Alice. She seemed to be glorified by the other characters, but I found her hard to put up with. Same with the deceased Lillian. The characters that were glorified I found hard to put up with due their unattractive personalities. That made it hard for me to like Tom and Jonty due to their intense adoration of Alice and Lillian. On a positive note, they were very realistic characters and McCarthy crafted their realism very well.

The end is sweet and happy. Sometimes when I think back on it, I think that it’s too happy. Other times, I think that after all they’ve been through it’s good closure.

I’m giving this novel, one out of five. I wouldn’t recommend this novel. I expected a lot more.

In My Mailbox (5)

Sunday, March 15, 2009

In My Mailbox is the awesome weekly segment created by The Story Siren.

Just one book this week, but it's one I've been looking forward to.

Set in 1980s inner-city Sydney, The Lucky Ones follows maverick teen Tom, as he tries to make sense of life after school.The novel reveals in poignant and hilarious ways the workings of a young male mind – with all its misplaced romanticism, youthful delusions, bewilderment about girls and need for adventure.

I love the look of this one, the cover is pretty and the beginning was brilliant.

What did you get this week?

New Look!

I thought that my blog needed a make-over and look what the awesome Kelsey did! LOOK! How pretty is it? We went through I think two before we found this one. I think I stressed Kelsey out to the max, but look what we got in the end! Thank-you Kelsey!

When the new template went up, I lost all of my widgets, so I don't have my blog list anymore. If you were on my blog list could you please comment so that I can re add you?

Don't forget to check out the AYA this week. We're focusing on Arrival by Charlotte McConaghy. An absoloutely awesome novel that I recommend to all of you. There will be an interview with Charlotte up on AYA later this week, so stay tuned. Want to know more about Arrival? Check out Black Dog Books and, well the AYA this week.


Waiting On Wednesday (4)

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Waiting on Wednesday is the awesome weekly segments that allows us book lovers to drool over soon to be released books. Find out all you need to know here.

This week I chose Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson.

Lia and Cassie are best friends, wintergirls frozen in matchstick bodies, competitors in a deadly contest to see who can be the skinniest. But what comes after size zero and size double-zero? When Cassie succumbs to the demons within, Lia feels she is being haunted by her friend's restless spirit.

I've seen reviews EVERYWHERE and it makes me want to read this book SO much more. It looks so amazing. Everything about it so captivating, the cover, the title. I can't wait until I can read this one.

Teaser Tuesday (1)

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Here's my first Teaser Tuesday. The book I'm reading at the moment is Undine by Penni Russon.

This is how it works:

*Grab your current read
*Let the book fall open to a random page
*Share with us two (2) “teaser” sentences from that page, somewhere between lines 7 and 12.
*You also need to share the title of the book that you’re getting your “teaser” from … that way people can have some great book recommendations if they like the teaser you’ve given!

"It was dangerous: it was the glittering blade of a knife; it was the momentum of a single mindedness of a bullet. But it was also vivid and intoxicating."

What I love about this book is the descriptions! They give you some great imagery.

The Time Travellers Wife by Audrey Niffenegger

Monday, March 9, 2009

Rating: 4/5.

Summary: (from inside of book) Clare, a beautiful art student, and Henry, a librarian, who have known each other since Claire was six and Henry was thirty, and were married when Clare as twenty-two and Henry was thirty. Impossible but true, because Henry is one of the first people diagnosed with Chrono-Displacement: periodically his genetic clock resets and she finds himself misplaced in time, pulled into moments of emotional gravity in his life, past and future.

Review: Not a YA book, but it deserves a review all the same.

It’s a long book, but it’s worth it. The Time Travellers Wife is an epic tale of Henry and Claire’s truly heartbreaking story and how they defy the odds, even with Henry jumping through time at unexpected times only to wind up in another unexpected time. It took me a very long time to get into it and I had high hopes for an amazing story, and in a sense, I got one, in another very small one, I was disappointed. It starts off really strongly, the prologues, from both perspectives are really amazing.

For a while I couldn’t really feel Claire and Henry’s love for one another. Slowly it sunk in. Some events made it fade away, others made it stronger. I liked the way that everything was really built up and if I were to reread this novel, I would probably cry in some points because I’ll know 100% what’s going to happen and the foreshadowing and events that are clues will be very clear. There were quite a few confusing events that had no explanations but they all kept me hooked and really made this story a page turner. Some parts though, were boring.

The writing style was really blunt, there was Niffenegger didn’t hesitate to swear or use raw descriptions, especially during the sex scenes. That kind of language kept me hooked and really helped me feel a part of the story.

I love the comedic aspect that took away from the anticipated heartbreak Claire was about to face. At some points through the novel I felt like we were focusing on unimportant things.

The way that they described Henry’s condition was amazing. It added the scientific part of the novel in a really interesting and informative way that I enjoyed whole heartedly. Niffenegger made it seem believable.

It was a thought provoking story that really makes you ask: what if? As I write this review I think of scenes and it makes me want to cry.

Unlike the YA romance novels I read, this one unravelled a lot of a married life together. I liked that, though I did very much enjoy when Claire was a teenager in the story.

Seeing and knowing what was going to happen to Henry made it that much more of a page turner. You waited in anticipation for it to happen, you waited it out and then you had to experience it. There are some really intense scenes there that make your heart break.

The end was heartbreakingly wonderful. Personally it was my favourite part of the novel and has me in tears just thinking about it. I’m holding back a spoiler filled rant right now.

Four out of five. It was utterly thought provoking and magical. When I finished I had tears in my eyes and their romance is still with me now. I think that it will be the same for you.

In My Mailbox (4)

Sunday, March 8, 2009

In my Mailbox was created by The Story Siren.

Nothing came in the mail for me this week. So, to make myself feel a little bit better I bought myself:
Evernight by Claudia Gray.

Bianca wants to escape.

She's been uprooted from her small hometown and enrolled at Evernight Academy, an eerie Gothic boarding school where the students are somehow too perfect: smart, sleek, and almost predatory. Bianca knows she doesn't fit in.

Then she meets Lucas. He's not the "Evernight type" either, and he likes it that way. Lucas ignores the rules, stands up to the snobs, and warns Bianca to be careful—even when it comes to caring about him.

"I couldn't stand it if they took it out on you," he tells Bianca, "and eventually they would."

But the connection between Bianca and Lucas can't be denied. Bianca will risk anything to be with Lucas, but dark secrets are fated to tear them apart . . . and to make Bianca question everything she's ever believed.

I've been seeing, hearing, reading a fair bit about this book and couldn't resist when I came across it Thursday. I love the cover of this one as well.

What did you get this week?

Fabulous Blog Award

Friday, March 6, 2009

Adele from Persnickety Snark awarded me the Fabulous Blog award.

Here are 5 things that I am obsessed or addicted, or both to:

1. Coke. It rots your teeth very badly, I know, but I can't get enough of it.

2. BOOKS! I love to read, obviously. I love looking at books that are about to be released. I could spend hours in a bookstore.

3. Photos. I LOVE taking photos of me and friends, family, having a good time.

4. Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Most fantastic show in the whole world.

5. The computer and everything on it. I spend too much time on the computer, checking my emails, writing up reviews, writing, editing pictures (badly), blogging, posting. The list goes on and on.
Haven't been tagged yet? Well I'm tagging you!

Interview with Stefan Petrucha.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Stefan Petrucha has written a crazy amount of novels and graphic novels, and the list just keeps growing. His latest novel The Rule of Won has been widely read and loved by a large percentage of the blogosphere. Including me. (Check out my review here). Want to know more about him? Check out his website here.

What was your inspiration for The Rule of Won?

Going back to my teen years, I’ve always been fascinated by New Age ideas. More recently, I was stunned by the popularity of The Secret, especially since, far from being “secret” in any sense of the word, it seemed to be just a collection of old ideas in new packaging. But Oprah endorsed it, and it’s sales were practically propping up the publishing industry for a year or so.

What do you think of ideas like The Rule?

Positive thinking’s great. Believing in yourself, believing the world is full of possibilities can open you up in a life-changing way. On the flipside, not believing in your own potential can shut you down, make it practically impossible to accomplish anything.

So that aspect’s terrific, useful and healthy, but when you take it to an extreme, when you argue that the universe somehow has to give you whatever you ask for, that people who are starving or dying of disease do so because deep down they’re asking for it, that’s something else entirely. Aside from being irrational and utterly narcissistic, it’s dangerous. You can’t have everything. As the current economy is pointing out to peple all across the globe right now, real life is full of tough choices. Having to make those choices defines what we are.

Did you learn anything interesting while you were studying for The Rule of Won?

Aside from reading The Secret and some of the books it was based on (which go back to the 1910s), I did come across a particularly fascinating story about a panel conference in the eighties, where the idea of the Rule of Attraction was being discussed by believers and critics.

It kind of summed up some of my ideas on the subject when at one point, a gentleman held up a picture of a baby with a horrible both defect and said, “Are you telling me this child wanted to be born this way?” One of the believers coughed nervously but finally said, “Yes.” It’s stunning how far some people will go to defend irrational beliefs.

Similarly, writing the novel gave me a chance to go back and watch Mondo Kane, which is mentioned in the book. It’s a really garish, dated documentary, but it did have an interesting section on the cargo cults of the Vanuatu, a tribe that built fake airports from bamboo in the hopes of attracting cargo planes, which they believe carry gifts from the gods.

One song that you think describes or suits The Rule of Won?

Well, there’s the one I wrote, “The Rule of Won” available on iTunes and Amazon, and as a free download at my website,! Past that there’s that old song recently re-used in a children’s commercial, “Gimme that, gimme that, gimme, gimme, gimme that.” Don’t know who recorded that one. And maybe the George Harrison tune off the Beatle’s Let it Be album, I, Me, Mine.

Why do you write for YA?

They pay me! :) But seriously, I broke into writing doing comic books (aka graphic novels), so in some ways teens have always been a big part of my audience. Writing YA seemed a natural. I also write for “adult” markets, but don’t really see it as all that different, other than generally having a teen main character.

If anything, a lot of YA is actually far more inventive, engrossing and edgy than what you’ll find in the mainstream fiction sections. I’ve always been a big fan of M.T. Anderson for instance. Feed, and his more recent Octavian Nothing books are nothing short of brilliant.

Any advice for aspiring writers?

Well, some writers advise you to write what you like, and that’s good advice for being happy, but to be a professional writer, to sell something, you have to write what other people like, and that’s not always the same thing. With that in mind, my advice is to read everything you can get your hands on, even stuff you don’t like, and try to figure out how and why it works. In the end, I think it’s more about developing great taste then writing what you like. Writing is communication, and communication is only half about you, the other half is about the person/people you’re trying to communicate with.

What are you reading at the moment?

I’m very pleased to be working on a vampire thriller for the mass market that takes place across about a century. It starts in 17th century America and ends in 19th century Europe, during Napoleon’s reign. As a result, I’m reading a lot of interesting historical material, including a book from a very strange children’s series from the 1890s called Young Puritans in King Philip’s War. I’m also reading some fascinating material about the discover of the Rosetta Stone by French workers after Napoleon’s invasion of Egypt.

Fiction wise, the last story I read was a science fiction piece called Lobsters by Charles Stross I was at a Boston science fiction convention a few weeks back and it coming up on everyone’s must-read list. It did not disappoint.

What are you working on now?

For Papercutz, the edgy tween graphic novel company, I continue to script the Nancy Drew graphic novels with my wife, Sarah Kinney. I’m also penning a few stories for their Tales from the Crypt series (including a Twilight satire co-written with my daughter Maia!)

Past that, I have two mainstream adult projects I’m currently working on, the vampire thriller mentioned earlier, which I think will be my best work to date, and a non-fiction project based on a popular paranormal reality show that I’m having a great time with. The contracts for those aren’t signed yet, so I can’t say much more.

I also recently completed my third book for Walker, Split – about a teen who leads two very different lives – and so far reaction from my publishers has been terrific. I’m very excited about that one as well. It looks like a great coming year for me, writing wise. And hey, thanks for having me!

Thank-you so much for stopping by Stefan! :)


In My Mailbox (3)

Sunday, March 1, 2009

In My Mailbox is the awesome segment created by The Story Siren.

Arrival by Charlotte McConaghy.

It has been foretold. Two worlds will collide when six mortals from Earth enter Paragor through a portal.
They will face forces of terrifying darkness.
Their journey will become the stuff of legends.
It is time.

I'm really excited about this one, the prologue was so amazing.