Top Ten Tuesday: Bookish Confessions

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish.

Each week they will post a new Top Ten list that one of our bloggers over at The Broke and the Bookish will answer. Everyone is welcome to join.

This week’s topic is: Top Ten Bookish Confessions

Everyone has at least one bookish confession (and in my case I have six). Join us in spilling our deepest held secrets around one of our most beloved pastimes. Everyone has a bookish confession. What’s yours? If you have one feel free to share it, if not feel free to commiserate with ours -Julia

 

So here are some of mine… and I have a few.

1. I judge books on their covers… and judge people on their bookshelves.

It’s at the stage where I’ll buy a book just if it looks pretty. I try not to go the other way and give books a chance if they sound interesting even if the cover doesn’t appeal to me in the slightest. I also get really annoyed when a book’s story doesn’t match the cover. It frustrates me so much that I’ll judge the book more harshly than I would have done if it was consistent.

And I admit that when I see what some people have as their favourite book… I do tend to judge them on it. It’s horrible and I shouldn’t. Sorry Twilight fans.

2. I can’t stand audio books. It’s the accents. In my head, no matter where characters are supposed to be from, every character ever written has an Aussie accent. It’s just how they are. So when I’m listening to audio books and my beloved characters sound completely different than I imagined… it just doesn’t work for me.

3. I think there are more books on my desk, the floor, my bedside tables and any other flat surface in my room than are actually on the bookshelves. This is due to desperately needing more shelving and because… I really need to be more organized.

4. I try to read the book of something before I go and see the movie. But if I have already seen the movie it’s rare that I get around to reading the book.

5. I used to need someone to go book shopping with me just so I didn’t go overboard and spend all my money or spend hours and hours just browsing.

6. I often dislike books that other people like. I think it’s just because they get my expectations up impossibly high and then end up not loving the book as much as I’d hoped…

7. I don’t usually like to re-read. I find that I have so many books that I’m yet to read and really want to get around to enjoying that I don’t really like spending time rereading ones I’ve already read rather than experiencing something new.

8. Most of the time when I borrow books from the library I end up returning them before I’ve even opened up the front cover… I think it’s a case of my eyes being bigger than my stomach…

9. I fused to force my older brother to read books that I’ve hated just because I know he’ll dislike them too and then I’ll have someone to complain about them with.

10. I have a huge problem remembering character’s names… especially the ones that have bizarre spellings. So most of the time I pop a post-it in the front cover with the character’s names and three or four word description of who is who. I would blame this on the fact that I’m normally reading a dozen books at once but really I just have a terrible memory.

Book Review: Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

Title: Throne of Glass (Throne of Glass #1)
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Genre: Fantasy, Magic, Adventure 
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Publication Date: August 2012 (I received this book as a digital ARC from NetGalley)
Pages: 432
Rating: 5 stars

Synopsis (from goodreads):
Meet Celaena Sardothien.
Beautiful. Deadly. Destined for greatness.

In the dark, filthy salt mines of Endovier, an eighteen-year-old girl is serving a life sentence. She is a trained assassin, the best of her kind, but she made a fatal mistake: she got caught.

Young Captain Westfall offers her a deal: her freedom in return for one huge sacrifice. Celaena must represent the prince in a to-the-death tournament—fighting the most gifted thieves and assassins in the land. Live or die, Celaena will be free. Win or lose, she is about to discover her true destiny. But will her assassin’s heart be melted?

My Review:

Every now and then I come across a novel that takes me forever to read. Not because I’m not enjoying it but rather the opposite – it’s because I’m having so much fun that I try to draw the story out as long as I possibly can. This book took me two weeks to read… which is an extraordinary time for me to read a book… I’m usually finished in one or two days.

Throne of Glass is the story of Celaena Sardothien – a notorious young assassin who has spent the last year slaving away in the saltmines of Endovier. But a year in a slave labour camp has done nothing to quell Celaena’s somewhat arrogant and cheeky attitude.

Celaena has been trained in the lethal arts since she was a young girl found by the  Assassin King and she’s proud of all she’s accomplished. Not just anyone manages to be the Adarlan’s Assassin – the best in all the land – at seventeen.

When Crown Prince Dorian Havillard comes to the salt mines with a proposition for her, Celaena accepts his offer to represent him in a contest his father is holding – to find a Champion – and earn her wealth and freedom in four years.

But all is not well in Rifthold’s Glass Castle. Fellow competitors are turning up dead and the ladies of the court are nearly as vicious as assassins.

I was surprised by just how much I liked Celaena. She comes across as slightly arrogant but the more I read the more I realized that she had reason to be cocky. She’s achieved more in her years – not even to mention that she’s spent an entire year in a slave labour camp mining salt – than people do in entire lifetimes. And it’s true that whilst her life isn’t exactly ethical – she managed to kill 24 people in an attempt to escape from Endovier – she’s a force to be reckoned with.

I think the most surprising thing was that Celaena wasn’t just the hardened criminal that she seems at first glance. She’s there for her friends and stands up for poor defenceless animals. There’s a lot more to Celaena that I imagined.

This story is exciting. Assassin contest complete with many tasks and a duel to find the winner at the end. Add in a yuletime ball and gorgeous ball gowns… there was enough in this book to keep me interested from the first page to the last.

The love triangle in this novel was fantastic- and I’m not someone who usually likes when there’s more than one love interest. It’s one of those where there’s no clear leader and I like the mystery. Prince Dorian and Captain Chaol Westfall – best friends and romantic rivals are so different and yet best friends. They’re strong characters and I really enjoyed their interactions with Celaena and with each other.

I’ll definitely be reading the next book in this series. There’s a lot that’s left a mystery with so many questions regarding Celaena’s history and so many more about the magical world that still exists within Adarlan. I can’t wait till the next book is released.

Amazon / Book Depository 


Harlequin Australia Launches New Initiative, Harlequin Escape!

Harlequin Australia Opens its Digital Doors
Harlequin Australia, the leading publisher of romance and reading entertainment has announced the launch of its very own digital‐first imprint, Harlequin Escape. Harlequinescape.com is now open to new manuscript submissions!

Authors – it’s your time to shine!
Do you have a burning idea that keeps you up at night?
A cross‐genre experiment looking for a home?
A rule‐breaking character lurking in your pages?

Now is the time to submit, as Harlequin Escape jumps head first into the innovation and freedom of digital publishing!

Harlequin Escape is an exciting new initiative to take Australian authors to a global audience. The call for open manuscript submissions will enable Harlequin Australia to expand its local author programme and unearth new Australian writing talent.

“For many, the traditional publishing model can be daunting and difficult to navigate. By creating a website where authors can openly and easily submit their work online, we believe we are opening up the publishing opportunity to many more potential new authors,” Managing Director of Harlequin Enterprises, Michelle Laforest, explained.

The signing up of Australian authors is an extension of Harlequin’s successful publishing programme. As experts in Romance for over 104 years, Harlequin can now leverage their experience in the world of digital publishing. Harlequin Escape will help discover new Australian talent and allow greater speed in delivering eBooks to market.

It’s an exciting time for publishing and with this initiative Harlequin will continue to lead the way in providing readers with new and interesting stories.

Visit http://harlequinescape.com for more information and submission guidelines.

I think this is a fantastic new initiative for any aspiring authors out there. For more information check out the submission guidelines or the FAQ (at the bottom of the About Me page).

Book Review: Rapture by Lauren Kate

Title: Rapture (Fallen #4)
Author: Lauren Kate
Genre: Paranormal Romance, Angels, 
Publisher: Delacorte Press for Young Readers (an imprint of Random House)
Publication Date: June 2012
Pages: 448
Rating: 3.5 stars

Synopsis (from goodreads):
The sky is dark with wings . . . .

Like sand in an hourglass, time is running out for Luce and Daniel. To stop Lucifer from erasing the past they must find the place where the angels fell to earth. Dark forces are after them, and Daniel doesn’t know if he can do this—live only to lose Luce again and again.

Yet together they will face an epic battle that will end with lifeless bodies . . . and angel dust. Great sacrifices are made. Hearts are destroyed. And suddenly Luce knows what must happen.

For she was meant to be with someone other than Daniel. The curse they’ve borne has always and only been about her—and the love she cast aside. The choice she makes now will be the only one that truly matters.

In the fight for Luce, who will win?

The astonishing conclusion to the FALLEN series. Heaven can’t wait any longer.

My Review:

Rapture is the fourth and final instalment for the Fallen series by Lauren Kate and one that I’ve been anticipating since finishing Passion. As with all the books in this series – the cover is gorgeous! Luce has just returned from her time-travelling tour of her past lives and now only has nine days to prevent the fall and cause all those years, all those past lives with Daniel, to be written.

In order to stop Lucifer (otherwise known as Bill the Gargoyle) and his announcer to finish falling and rewriting time, Luce, Daniel and the rest of the fallen angel gang have to find three artefacts that when brought together will somehow show the destination of the Fall and help them prevent it from re-happening.

There were times when I loved reading this book and other times when I wanted to throw the book across the room. It’s definitely one of those books where you have to be in a certain mood to appreciate all that’s happening. The romance was sweet – at times too sweet. I felt like I was going to get a sugar high that was bordering on a toothache. Luce and Daniel are an adorable and loving couple that are lovely and romantic but at the same time sometimes I felt like it was over the top and just too cute and too much for me to take.

The plot sometimes felt a little confusing as to why each of the characters did the things that they did – They have only a few days to save the world and yet instead of thinking things out and approaching things logically they rush in and do things that end up with them being in dangerous life-threatening situations that miraculously end up going okay for the main characters. There were many things that were a little too coincidental and/or convenient happening a lot of the time.

I think these fallen angels could have benefitted from a google search or two when trying to track down the artefacts – instead they rely on a book written by one of them a few hundred of years ago. Then they take the most vulnerable and fragile member of the group – who also is the most important and valuable person in the entire series – and put her in dangerous situations without taking proper precautions… The whole thing just felt a little unbelievable and frustrated me with how unprepared everyone was.

I did, however, love the ending. This is what the entire series had been building up to and despite some things getting on my nerves, I adored how everything came to a head in this novel. Overall this is a beautiful story of true love and angels. I’d love to read a spin-off series if the author ever decides to write one about Cam’s story.

If you enjoyed the previous stories in the series then I definitely recommend Rapture. At times it was a little hard going but I felt like it was worthwhile in the end. It’s a fantastic way to leave Daniel and Luce and they definitely deserve the ending that they get.

Purchase the novel from:

Amazon / Book Depository 


Book Review: Spark by Brigid Kemmerer

Title: Spark (Elementals #2)
Author: Brigid Kemmerer
Genre: Paranormal Romance, Contemporary, Magic
Publisher: Kensington (I received an ARC from NetGalley)
Publication Date: August 2012 (Allen & Unwin are publishing Spark in Australia in October 2012)
Pages: 432
Rating: 4.5 stars

Synopsis (from goodreads):
Gabriel Merrick plays with fire. Literally.

Sometimes he can even control it. And sometimes he can’t. Like the fire that killed his parents.

Gabriel has always had his brothers to rely on, especially his twin, Nick. But when an arsonist starts wreaking havoc on their town, all the signs point to Gabriel. Only he’s not doing it.

More than Gabriel’s pride is at stake — this could cost him his family, maybe his life. And no one seems to hear him. Except a shy sophomore named Layne, a brainiac who dresses in turtlenecks and jeans and keeps him totally off balance. Layne understands family problems, and she understands secrets. She has a few of her own.

Gabriel can’t let her guess about his brothers, about his abilities, about the danger that’s right at his heels. But there are some risks he can’t help taking.

The fuse is lit…

My Review:

I was excited to read Spark. Gabriel captivated my attention in Storm with his intensity and troubled bad boy vibe. He’s gone though a lot in his life – from having to always be on the look out for people trying to persecute his and his family for being elementals to feeling immense guilt for the way his parents died and not protecting his brothers. Gabriel is one great big ball of teenage angst with one outlet for his rage. Fire. And plus, look how gorgeous the Allen and Unwin cover is!

The element speaks to him. From the vibrations of electrical cables in the walls to the power he can draw from the sun. The energy calls to him and wants him to fully immerse himself in its flames. When Gabriel’s maths teacher finds out that Gabriel can’t manage to do a single equation and his identical twin brother, Nick, impersonates Gabriel on test days, Gabriel goes from getting A’s to failing. That is unless he can manage to get a passing grade on the next test.

Gabriel needs to get himself a tutor and finds on in the form of bookishly shy Layne who for the majority of the time tries to keep to herself just so no one finds out her secret. But Gabriel has secrets of his own and when the town has a string of arson attacks, not even Gabriel’s brothers believe in his innocence .

It makes perfect sense to me that the hot-headed Merrick brother is the one that controls (or is it controlled by?) the element of fire. I was a little worried that Gabriel would be so angsty that I’d be turned off but somehow his attitudes and views just made me like him even more… and want to give the boy a hug. Layne was a character that I started off really disliking. I know not all character can (or should) be strong independent women but on first impressions I was not a fan. And now that I’ve finished reading the book I realize that why she may not be a character that I liked she was perfect for Gabriel. I think he needs a calming influence in his life and by the end I appreciated how she balanced him out.

One of my favourite parts of this novel was the relationships between the brothers.  I like how they interact with each other. Things are complicated and messy but beneath everything you can tell just how much they care for each other. The new romantic relationships that the other brothers are embarking on are great to read too. I’d love to know more about Michael’s relationship but I’m wondering if it would be more suited to a novella.

I can not wait to read the next novel in the series, Spirit. 

Purchase the novel from:

Amazon / Book Depository 


Book Review: Rebels By Accident by Patricia Dunn

Title: Rebels By Accident
Author: Patricia Dunn
Genre: Realistic Fiction, contemporary, romance
Publisher: Alikai Press (I received and eARC from NetGalley)
Publication Date: August 2012 
Pages: 290
Rating: 3.5 stars

Synopsis (from goodreads):
Take Cover.

The storm is coming!A Troubled Teen Sent to Cairo Finds Revolution is Everywhere, Including in Ourselves

When my first party ends in jail, I think things can’t possibly get worse. But then my parents send me to my grandmother in Cairo, and I’m sure my life is over. My sittu is Darth Vader’s evil sister, and I’m sure the only sites I’ll get to see in Egypt are the rooms in her apartment.

Turns out she’s not so bad. We ride camels by the pyramids and ice skate at a mall.

As Sittu says, “Sometimes a moment can change your life.” But it can change the life of a country too. When a girl named Asmaa calls the people of Egypt to protest, I find myself in the middle of a revolution, running from tear gas and guns.

Oh yeah, and I meet the cutest guy I’ve ever seen. Fall in love for the first time. And have my first kiss.

My Review:

Mariam, an American teenager born to Egyptian parents, doesn’t feel like she fits in. The kids at school liken her family to terrorists despite the fact that Mariam doesn’t speak a word of Arabic and can remember ever visiting her parent’s homeland.

After sneaking out to go to a party and ending up locked up at the local police station, Mariam’s overprotective parents decide to send her to live with her grandmother, Sittu, in Egypt for a while. Mariam’s terrified of the stories her father has told her of his mother but at least she’ll have her best friend, Deanna – resident Egyptophile , to accompany her. But from the moment they touch down at the airport the two girls can sense that Egypt is very close to an uprising.

Thrust into a world of the unknown and amidst a political revolution, Mariam comes to grips with who she is – as a person, as an American and as a proud Egyptian woman.

I enjoyed getting to see Mariam grow from the timid teenager to a stronger and more mature young woman who knows who she is and starts to understand her place in the world.

From the time Mariam and Deanna arrive in Egypt to the time they leave it’s only five days. Five days… and most of them are spent in a hospital just waiting. And in that time they girls managed to fall in love for the first time, witness first hand an incredibly violent and devastating political demonstration, and develop a deep and strong relationship with Sittu – the grandmother that neither of them knew before boarding the plane in New York.

But it’s only as I reached the end of the book and it was stated that everything happened in less than a week that I realized what a short time their stay in Egypt really was. The author managed to write their story in such a way that it felt like no time had passed and at the same time like months had gone by.

Sittu was a standout character for me. She was a bizarre combination of old, wise grandmother combined with a strong woman who embraced change – both political and technological. I loved that she was in touch with social media like Facebook and Twitter. My own grandmother refuses to have the internet in her house.

I couldn’t quite understand why Mariam’s parents who were rather protective decided to send the two girls to a country who was on the verge of a political revolution… It really confounds me especially because of Mariam’s dad’s history but I understand it was necessary for them to do so in order for the rest of the novel to happen.

This book was an interesting read about a young woman’s coming to terms with her own identity set against Egypt’s revolution. There were a few too many coincidences at times but a thoroughly enjoyable read.

 

 

Purchase the novel from:

Amazon / Book Depository 


Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Book Romances That Would Last in the Real World

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish.

Each week they will post a new Top Ten list that one of our bloggers over at The Broke and the Bookish will answer. Everyone is welcome to join.

This week’s topic is: Top Ten Book Romances That You Think Would Make It In The Real World 

1. Love in the face of War

Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger from the Harry Potter series by JK Rowling

I have also adored this couple and even without the epilogue I believed that Ron and Hermione would be together for ever. They started out as friends but then even as the world fell apart around them they got closer and fell in love. They’re also practical people who I think would have a blast in the muggle world. Ron – channelling his father – could start the world’s biggest electrical plug collection and Hermione would become a world-famous neurosurgeon who ran a charity to help mistreated animals in her spare time. But no matter what their occupations there would be love.

Also:
– Peeta and Katniss from The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
– Tris and Four from Divergent by Veronica Roth

2. Troo Luv can overcome anything… even giants, swordsmen, evil princes and genius wizards

Westley and Buttercup from The Princess Bride by William Goldman

This is my favourite book and considering I’m a fairly die-hard romance fan it’s probably no surprise they Westley and Buttercup appear on this list. I think what I admire most about this couple is the fact that they both see each other for who they truly are. Westley is under no illusions about who Buttercup is – he’s almost insulting at times with regard to his thoughts concerning her intellect – but I like that he loves her for her and will battle pirates, giant mice and even death so they can be together. I’d love to think that even without all the drama that these two would be able to make it in the real world.

3. Not even death can stop their love…

Suze and Jess from the Mediator series by Meg Cabot

When I was in high school the Mediator series (then published under the penname of Jenny Carroll) was my favourite series. I would often procrastinate and avoid doing homework in favour of immersing myself in the story of Suze – a teenage girl who can talk to ghosts – and Jesse – the ghost who’s haunting Suze’s Californian bedroom. They were a great mix of Suze’s modern-day attitude and Jesse’s old-fashioned charm. I loved how the series ended and I have no doubt that they’d still be together – kicking some ghost arse together.

4. Sparks makes the chemistry sparkle…

Allie and Noah from The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks

I think the fact that The Notebook is based on the true story of Nicholas Sparks’ parents-in-law proves that this is one story that did go the distance in the real world.

I also think that the same could be said for pretty much any of the characters in Sparks’ novels… you know, if no one tragically dies as seems to commonly happen in said novels…

5. Already seen the other at their worst…

Howl and Sophie from Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones

Howl is an impossibly vain wizard and Sophie, after being turned into an old woman by a wicked witch, is rather crotchety and sees no reason not to complain whenever she feels like it. They’ve seen each other at their worst and somehow they manage to have a happily ever after together. Although Sophie is soft-spoken and agreeable before the spell, I’d like to think that if she ever came across Howl that she’d be able to honestly tell him what she thought of him and that eventually they’d be able to work things out.

6. Name calling and broken slates = together forever

Gilbert Blythe and Anne Shirley from the Anne of Green Gables series by Lucy Maud Montgomery

It was a feud that went on for years after Gilbert called the red-headed Anne, “Carrots”. She reacted by breaking her slate over his head… Any good heroine does need to have a nemesis. And as things often seem to go – at least in fiction – it takes a life threatening disease to bring these two together properly. I just hope that if these two ever had a chance in the real world that it wouldn’t take typhoid fever to get a happily ever after…

7. I’m not going to write you a love song… what about a love letter?

Anne Elliot and Captain Wentworth from Persuasion by Jane Austen

The thing I remember most about this book is the Letter – and this is a letter than definitely deserves the capital L. I like to think that after the novel ends that Anne and Captain Wentworth will be together… and I think they’d be able to make it in the real world…

I can listen no longer in silence. I must speak to you by such means as are within my reach. You pierce my soul. I am half agony, half hope. Tell me not that I am too late, that such precious feelings are gone for ever. I offer myself to you again with a heart even more your own than when you almost broke it, eight years and a half ago. Dare not say that man forgets sooner than woman, that his love has an earlier death. I have loved none but you. Unjust I may have been, weak and resentful I have been, but never inconstant. You alone have brought me to Bath. For you alone, I think and plan. Have you not seen this? Can you fail to have understood my wishes? I had not waited even these ten days, could I have read your feelings, as I think you must have penetrated mine. I can hardly write. I am every instant hearing something which overpowers me. You sink your voice, but I can distinguish the tones of that voice when they would be lost on others. Too good, too excellent creature! You do us justice, indeed. You do believe that there is true attachment and constancy among men. Believe it to be most fervent, most undeviating, in

F. W.

8. Made for each other… because no one else should have to have them…

Heathcliff and Catherine from Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte

Okay… so maybe this one is a little mean but I truly believe that no one else deserves to spend a lifetime with either of these characters… Heathcliff and Catherine were the first fictional characters I ever read about that I HATED with such a passion. A few years after I first read them I had to study them for class and I realized that as horrible and hideous as they were as people, they were fantastic characters who truly are made for each other. The way they treat other people – like pawns in their epic love story – is kind of abominable but at the same time I can’t help but admire their passion for each other. They belong together for I feel like no one else should ever have to be saddled with either one but I also believe that had they gotten the chance to be together – they’d be together forever… if only so they could make the other one miserable…

Also:
– Bella Swan and Edward Cullen from the Twilight Series by Stephenie Meyer
– Ana Steele and Christian Grey from 50 Shades of Grey series by E.L. James

9. If you want it to be good girl, get yourself a bad boy… (and yes… that was a Backstreet Boys lyric)

Rob Wilkins and Jess Mastriani from the 1800-where-R-U series by Meg Cabot

Whilst Rob and Jess are thrown together when she needs a ride to help a missing child that only she is able to locate due to her lightning-strike-abilities, I think that Rob and Jess make a great couple. He’s a bad boy from the wrong side of the tracks and a police record to prove it. She’s a good (well… semi-good) girl who helps out in her parents restaurants and finds missing children in her spare time… all supernatural abilities aside, these two would definitely be together… after all, Jess was somewhat interested by Rob and his bike even before lightening struck.

Also:
– Echo Emerson and Noah Hutchins from Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry

10. The Classics

Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy from Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

Jane Eyre and Mr Rochester from Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

Emma Woodhouse and Mr Knightley from Emma by Jane Austen

Marianne Dashwood and Captain Brandon from Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen

I’d like to think that even after their books ended that their stories would go on with each of these couples being happy forever… They all suit each other so very well and they managed to get their happy ending.

Okay… so I think I may have cheated and picked a few more than 10… but I had too much fun thinking of couples that I think would last in the real world…