Book Review: Finding Cassie Crazy by Jaclyn Moriarty

Finding Cassie Crazy (Ashbury/Brookfield, #2)

Title: Finding Cassie Crazy (Ashbury /Brookfield #2)
Author: Jaclyn Moriarty
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Realistic Fiction, Epistolary
Publisher: Pan Macmillan Australia
Publication Date: November 2003
Pages: 383
Rating: 4 stars

Synopsis (from goodreads):
Told entirely through letters, diary entries, emails, and other writing, Moriarty’s novel introduces us to Emily, Lydia, and Cassie — all students at Ashbury High — who begin writing to their Brookfield High counterparts through the schools’ organized pen pal project. Readers learn quickly that each girl has her own writing style and that at two of the Brookfield boys (Seb and Charlie) seem to be smitten with Lydia and Emily. The only trouble is Cassie’s pen pal, Matthew, a shady character who first sends her short, threatening letters and then becomes strangely sweet toward her. Nobody can figure out why Cassie keeps writing to him, but after she has a crushing meet-up with Matthew, Cassie discovers — with the help of her friends and the Brookfield guys — that he hasn’t been honest about his identity. All could be ended there, but when Charlie helps take revenge and Brookfield High gets mysteriously vandalized, the group comes together to deliver justice and save the endangered pen pal project.

This book is also published under the title: The Year of Secret Assignments

My Review:

Mr Botherit is at it again with his attempt to join Ashbury and Brookfield through a pen pal project. Trying to engage his year ten class with the Joy of the Envelope, Finding Cassie Crazy is an epistolary novel featuring best friends Lydia, Cassie and Emily. Diary entries, letters and the odd noticeboard announcement tell the story of Lydia’s secret agent adventures, Emily’s dating coach advice and how Cassie is keeping it all together after losing her father to cancer a year ago.

What I liked most about Finding Cassie Crazy was how different and distinct the characters were through their writing. Emily is the girl with stars in her eyes and has a unique gift of making up words. As as self-appointed girl guru, she’s not shy in giving pen pal Charlie advice on dating. Lydia is both creative and sarcastic. She plans on becoming a writer and comes up with brilliant secret assignments for the girls – and Brookfield pen pal Seb – to complete. Poor Cassie gets stuck with Matthew as her writing buddy – but she perseveres and doesn’t let threats or creepy love letters dissuade her from writing back. Moriarty interwove the stories fantastically and there was never a doubt as to which one of her characters was writing at any time throughout the novel. The guest appearances of Elizabeth and Christina from Feeling Sorry for Celia was a bonus!

As unique as the girls are from each other – there’s also a definite strength in their friendship. They are their own people and yet, when it matters most, they’re there for each other. Whether it be breaking into a teacher’s car, painting over hideous orange walls or getting revenge and justice for one of their own – despite their difference they share a deep bond.

After reading (and loving) Feeling Sorry for Celia, I was thrilled to have enjoyed Finding Cassie Crazy just as much. Moriarty’s style is so much fun to read and I loved the mixture of fun, romance, mystery and friendship that was combined to make up the plot.  

Purchase the novel from:

Amazon || Book Depository

Blog Tour (with review): A Beautiful Fate by Cat Mann

BlogTour_BF

Title: A Beautiful FateA Beautiful Fate Cover

Author: Cat Mann

Genre: New Adult Paranormal Romance

Pages: 312

Rating: 3 stars

Book Description (goodreads):

Obsessive and driven by nightmares, Ava Baio is uprooted from her Chicago home after the untimely and tragic death of her loving mother. Taken across country by her antagonistic grandmother and placed as a boarding student at a school in Dana Point, California, Ava struggles with isolation and the loss of her mother and her grandfather. Faced with having left her beloved brownstone behind and attending a new school, surrounded by new faces and unfamiliar scenery, she finds herself sorting through unfamiliar and uncharted feelings with a strange and beautiful boy, Ari – a modern day Adonis. After an unconventional start to their relationship, Ava becomes intensely absorbed by her love for Ari, and with his help and the help of his family, she discovers who she really is – a Fate descended from Atropos. She learns that the Greek mythology she grew up reading is not comprised of myth after all.

Ava faces constant challenges both in her relationship with Ari and with the fact that she is being hunted by six threatening and ruthless men who want nothing more than for her to die so that they can live forever. She has no choice but to stand up for those she has come to love. In doing so, she becomes something she hates, a killer.

A true page-turner, A Beautiful Fate is Part one of The Beautiful Fate Series. The novel is full of suspense, romance and the allure of ancient Greece. Ava and Ari will leave the reader hoping the story will never end.

 

Review:

Ava Baio feels all alone. Her mother dies and as a result she’s transplanted from Chicago to a boarding school in California. Her only living relative is a grandmother who seems to want nothing to do with her and her best friend is half way across the country. Plagued with nightmares about creepy hallways and ominous scissors, Ava has no relief against the torment. Until she meets Ari – an Adonis who seems like he stepped out of a Greek Myth – and it’s only though him and his family that Ava learns about the father she never knew, her place in the universe and the mythological threat that wants nothing more than to see her dead…

There’s a lot I liked about this book. The setting in the picturesque Dana Point, California, as well as whole idea of Greek fates controlling destiny. The cover of this book is rather appropriate and I found myself liking the cover more the more I read Ava’s story.

I found the character of Ava to be inconsistent in her behaviour. Her relationship with Ari was frustrating with the way she would run hot and cold. She would be furious with him for ignoring her then let him in her to comfort her in the dark of night. And then she would be proud that he was making strides in his attempt to publicly acknowledge their relationship and then because he didn’t smile at her, she’s storm off in a huff only to let him in to her dorm room at 2am again that same night. I also didn’t like how she treated her grandmother. Yes – we find out that Mrs Baio isn’t the lovely warm fuzzies grandmother that Ava wants but I thought that Ava used and abused the older woman. She takes the free clothes, brand new car and all the trimmings that go along with being related to a fashion designer but then Ava would turn around and be incredibly rude to her.

Ari’s one of those characters who are just a little too good to be true – as is his family. Practically perfect in everywhere from their house to the way they’d interact with each other and how accepting they were of Ava. That said – they did add a lot to the whole feeling of the novel. I liked the way that Ava was when she was with them.

Plot wise – this book is full of suspense and action. At times it felt a little too quick but I enjoyed how it played out. Cat Mann sure is cruel to Ava with all that she puts her heroine through! That said, there is a lot more romance than action in this book and as I wasn’t too fond of the main character, I think I would have preferred more plot and less about Ava and Ari’s blossoming relationship.

I’ll be keeping an eye out for book 2 because the cliffhanger has me on edge wondering just what is going to happen next.

 

Thanks to the author for the review copy.

 

 

Teaser

Ari and I lay interwoven together in bed. I felt his hand run down the length of my back. I blinked my eyes open. It was only two in the morning.

“When is doing something you know is wrong the right thing to do?” he asked.

Snuggling deeper into his chest, I thought about his question. I knew what was worrying Ari. Could I do it, could I kill?

Everyone comes from somewhere. Some of us come from good and others from bad. The best part about life is that we have the ability to rise above the situation we find ourselves in; we are dealt certain cards, yes, but we don’t have to cheat to win. My father made the wrong choice; Andy made the right one. I hoped I would make the right ones, too. We were at war, a silent war that would not be reported on the news or told in any history books. The first battle was with ourselves as we decided how to deal with our internal conflicts on a day-to-day basis. Should I choose what’s right or should I choose what’s wrong?

Unfortunately, the line between right and wrong isn’t always cut and dried. The Kakos came from bad, the lowest of the low, and decided to try to go lower. They are direct descendants of Hades. Their blood is not watered down or tainted. They are literal spawns of Satan. They possess no soul and therefore feel no grief or regret for their actions. The Kakos’ ultimate goal is to live forever on earth. They escaped from hell eons ago, tracked down and tricked a descendant of a Fate, who agreed to allot them more time.

They followed this pattern for centuries until finally, the idea came to them that if there were no Fates, there would be no more cutting of their threads, and they would be free to live on earth forever. They then set out to kill every descendant from Clotho, Atropos and Lachesis they could find until they got to my father, the last known Fate on earth. He had made a covenant with the Kakos and then had broken his promise. As a result, the Kakos had declared war on every last Greek descendant. The Greeks could side with the Kakos or they could die.

I was the only weapon the Greeks had, but what do I know about war? I’m a seventeen-year-old girl. I have not yet discerned the path my life will take…and I am supposed to go up against the devil’s brood? If I fail, I die. Eventually the Kakos will come for Andy, Aggie and Ari and everyone I love. Andy will have to choose whether to side with the enemy and spare his family’s life, or accept death. In my heart, I knew Andy would never back down and that his family would die a horrible death because of his decision.

If I hunted the Kakos down, then I would have blood on my hands. I would be a murderer, a sinner, and a criminal. I decided to refuse to murder anyone in cold blood. I saw myself as good and I did not want to tarnish my soul.

Ari had asked me how a person knows when the wrong thing to do is right. And I answered: “If I must do wrong to save someone I love, it is right. I will not murder anyone, Ari…but I will kill to save you.” I will protect my people, but I will not go out in search of blood.

Quotes

Ava: “I hate death — it’s so permanent and so unfair.” “Je t’aime aussi.”

Ari : ““I love the girl that’s in my bed.” “Your skin is soft and I can’t seem to keep my hands off it.”

About The Author

Catmann

Cat Mann has lived her entire life in central Illinois, but her interests and passions span the planet. She loves skiing, French music and working with the written language.
A self-proclaimed hermit, she is happiest at home reading, writing and scouring the far corners of the internet for new musical artists — artists she skillfully weaves into her tales of the offspring of ancient Greece. She is happily married to her amazing and awe-inspiring best friend, Derek Mann, and together they have created two beautiful daughters.
A Beautiful Fate is Cat’s first novel in The Beautiful Fate Series. The second installment of The Beautiful Fate Series, A Broken Fate, will be available August 26, 2013. Visit Cat on Facebook and keep up with Cat on her blog.

Blog || Facebook || Goodreads || Purchase on Amazon || Purchase on Barnes and Noble

Book Review: The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson

The Sky Is Everywhere

Title: The Sky Is Everywhere
Author: Jandy Nelson
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Realistic Fiction, Grief
Publisher: Dial Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: March 2010
Pages: 288
Rating: 5 stars

Synopsis (from goodreads):
Seventeen-year-old Lennie Walker, bookworm and band geek, plays second clarinet and spends her time tucked safely and happily in the shadow of her fiery older sister, Bailey. But when Bailey dies abruptly, Lennie is catapulted to center stage of her own life – and, despite her nonexistent history with boys, suddenly finds herself struggling to balance two. Toby was Bailey’s boyfriend; his grief mirrors Lennie’s own. Joe is the new boy in town, a transplant from Paris whose nearly magical grin is matched only by his musical talent. For Lennie, they’re the sun and the moon; one boy takes her out of her sorrow, the other comforts her in it. But just like their celestial counterparts, they can’t collide without the whole wide world exploding.

My Review:

Gram is worried about me. It’s not just because my sister Bailey died four weeks ago, or because my mother hasn’t contacted me in sixteen years, or even because suddenly all I can think about is sec. She is worried about me because one of her house-plants has spots.

Those are the first lines from this book. I think I fell in love with Lennie Walker on the first page. She’s grieving and confused but manages to keep a slightly sardonic tone throughout it all. Her sister – and best friend – Bailey dies without any warning and Lennie is left to try to move on without her. Her grandmother is slightly eccentric and her uncle perpetually stoned but somehow they are all trying to muddle though. When it seems like no one knows what she’s feeling, Lennie finds a kindred spirit in Toby – her sister’s boyfriend – and she knows it’s wrong but he understands what she’s feeling in a way that no one else seems to. If that wasn’t confusing enough, Lennie meets Joe, musical genius Joe… If ever Lennie needed her big sister it was now…

This book is beautiful. The writing and feeling that Jandy Nelson manages to infuse her words with is amazing to read. Lennie is a typical teenage girl who has somewhat extraordinary circumstances. Her mother dumped her sister and her on their grandmother’s doorstep when Lennie was a year old, her uncle, Big, is in love with falling in love and had been married – and divorced – numerous times. And her gram is a garden guru who goes around and prunes other people’s plants but refuses to let anyone touch her own. These are characters that I enjoyed reading about. They’re vibrant and three-dimensional in their imperfection. And that’s how I view Lennie too. She’s heartbroken and makes mistakes. Her behaviour regarding her romantic life may be somewhat unconventional and I can see why other readers may have a problem with it but to me, Lennie’s actions are what I would expect of someone who is human and hurting. Not always logical but what I admire about Lennie is that she does take responsibility for what she’s done.

One of my favourite things about this book was the character of Joe Fontaine. He’s so enthusiastic and in the moment that it’s hard not to fall a little in love with him. He wears his heart on his sleeve and his happiness is palpable – as is his heartbreak. Nelson describes his smile as if the way it makes Lennie feel like it’s a physical sunbeam. It’s kind of incredible. He contrasts nicely against Bailey’s boyfriend, Toby – who is slightly damaged but well-meaning.

Another highlight of this book for me was the little notes and poems that Lennie writes. She leaves her mark wherever she goes leaving little notes and thoughts on leaves, flyers – anything she can get her hands and a pen on. I thought it was a beautiful way for her to be able to have a conversation with her sister when talking was no longer option. The is one that Lennie writes about grief being a house that really made me feel for Lennie. Her guerrilla poetry was a great way to give Lennie’s relationship with Bailey a voice without Bailey saying a word.

This book is definitely one I recommend for fans of heartfelt and touching young adult literature. It’s moving and beautiful with character that made me laugh and broke my heart. I loved reading it and it makes my list of top five YA books I’ve ever read. Five stars!

Thanks to The Reading Room for the review copy

Purchase the novel from:

Amazon || Book Depository


Top Ten Tuesday: Books Set in a Boarding School

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 their bloggers over at The Broke and the Bookish will answer. Everyone is welcome to join.

The topic for this week is: Top Ten Books With “X” Setting

And considering how much I love books set in Boarding Schools then it seems like a great idea that I compile a list of ten of my favourite books/series set in boarding schools.

Harry Potter by JK Rowling – As they grew up, so did I. And I admit it – I was jealous of their lack of adult supervision. But it’s probably a good thing that I wasn’t at Hogwarts!

Vampire Academy  AND Bloodlines by Richelle Mead – It’s probably cheating counting both these series, but I love them both.They are both set at private Vampire boarding schools and feature some brilliant characters.

Mythos Academy by Jennifer Estep – Super awesome descendants of mythological warriors fighting evil and having one amazing gourmet cafeteria!

The Gallagher Girls by Ally Carter – If I couldn’t be magical or undead,,, I’d want to be a spy.

Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (Harry Potter, #1) Vampire Academy (Vampire Academy, #1) Bloodlines (Bloodlines, #1) Touch of Frost (Mythos Academy, #1) I'd Tell You I Love You, But Then I'd Have to Kill You (Gallagher Girls, #1)

My Ex From Hell by Tellulah Darling – Trying to keep in school whilst battling evil gods…. sounds like a blast 😛

The Power of One by Bryce Courtenay – This book is fairly dear to my heart. It was one of the first “adult” (and by that I mean, not a children’s book but rather one meant for older readers) books I ever read. And it sort of destroyed me. I love this book and it’s one that I think everyone should read.

The St Clare series by Enid Blyton – Pat and Isabel were two of my constant companions growing up. This is one of the first books that I remember staying up late – with a torch – and reading and rereading.

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins – Fun school for American teens in Paris. Who could want anything more?

A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett – Cause it’s a lovely story.

 

My Ex From Hell (The Blooming Goddess Trilogy, #1) The Power Of One The Twins at St. Clare's (St. Clare's, #1) Anna and the French Kiss (Anna and the French Kiss, #1) A Little Princess

Most of these are paranormal in natures but I threw in a few oldies but goodies too. I would love to hear what books you’ve read set in boarding schools that you loved. And please – link me to your top ten, I can’t wait to see what settings other people picked for this week’s TTT!

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A to Z Survey

I love taking surveys. But I can’t remember the last time I actually took one . So when I stumbled upon one created by Jamie at The Perpetual Page-Turner, I just had to take it.

AtoZsurvey

Author you’ve read the most books from:

Most read authors

It seems that according to goodreads, Meg Cabot is my most read author BY FAR! I know that I often forget to put I books I read on goodreads but overall I think that’s fairly accurate (although I do know that I’ve read three more Kresley Cole books that goodreads thinks 😛 )

Best Sequel Ever:

Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor. It’s brilliant! I adored Daughter of Smoke and Bone, but the sequel more than lived up to it. It’s great. I highly recommend it.

Currently Reading:

I’m the kind of person who normally has half a dozen books going at the same time. These are the ones I’m reading at the moment:

  • The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon (Creepy in a way that just makes me want to read more!)
  • The Inevitability of Stars by Kathryn R. Lyster (New Adult novel set in Sydney and Byron Bay!)
  • Every Breath by Ellie Marney (A must for YA Sherlock Holmes fans)
  • Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein (I’ve heard so much about this book that when I saw it at the library last week I HAD TO HAVE IT!)

Drink of Choice While Reading:

Tea. I’m a huge fan of English Breakfast tea at ALL TIMES OF THE DAY. But also like coca-cola and fanta when I’m feeling like soft drink.

Ereader or Physical Book?

My kindle goes everywhere with me. It’s fantastic. But I just can’t help but love physical books. I often buy the physical copy when I’ve enjoyed an e-ARC. They’re so much easier to push onto people and look brilliant decorating my shelves.

Fictional Character You Probably Would Have Actually Dated In High School:

Joe from The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson. Okay… so I wouldn’t have because I was oh-so socially awkward and would have probably blushed lobster red if he ever even looked at me. But I adore Joe. He’s a bit of a dork and yet owns it so it comes across as super cool.

Glad You Gave This Book A Chance:

Touch of Power by Maria V. Snyder. I enjoyed this one so much more than I ever could have imagined.

Also – Cinder by Marissa Meyer. I’m not into Sci-fi futuristic cyborg fairytales – but this one…. blew me away with the originality whilst at the same time being true to the original story.

Hidden Gem Book:

A Corner of White by Jaclyn Moriarty. A crack in the fabric of the world lets two people from completely different universes to communicate and become friends. It’s great. I love the power of colour.

Important Moment in your Reading Life:

Being read to by my parents and older brothers. Books have always been a part of my life. Before long I ended up reading to them but I know I never would have been as interested if my parents never read to me and then watching my brother being so crazy into books himself.

Just Finished:

Finding Cassie Crazy by Jaclyn Moriarty AND A Hunger Like No Other by Kresley Cole.

Kinds of Books You Won’t Read:

I read pretty much everything. I don’t think there’s any genre I won’t at least try once.

Longest Book You’ve Read:

A Suitable Boy by Vikram Seth at 1504 pages. This book is LONG and it felt it. I didn’t enjoy it all that much but I did manage to finish it.

Major book hangover because of:

What is a book hangover?

book hangover

Hmm… thanks Urban Dictionary. I don’t think this is something I experience all that much. I think the last time I really suffered was with Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Because that book killed me. It was the first series that I’d followed for years and I was emotionally attached.

Number of Bookcases You Own:

One really big one that also holds the TV in my living room. I also have a number of boxes full of books. And then I have two large bookcases full of my books at my parents house. I really need to get some more shelves.

One Book You Have Read Multiple Times:

I don’t tend to re-read very much. But when I was younger I read Goodnight Mister Tom by Michelle Magorian a thousand times. I’ve also read The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy a bunch of times (I wanted to buy a pet fish and name it Zaphod)

Preferred Place To Read:

On the couch or in my bed. I can read anywhere at any time.

Quote that inspires you/gives you all the feels from a book you’ve read:

I’m not a quotey person (and apparently quotey isn’t a word…). I admire words and phrases but for the most part – I don’t remember quotes from books I’ve read.

But one from the last book I read that I adored:

“The Sky is Everywhere, it begins at your feet” from The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson

Reading Regret:

That I didn’t read the Mortal Instruments when I’d first heard of them. I kept putting them off. I’ve still only read the first one in the series and I wish that I had read more before so many spoilers made their way to me.

Series You Started And Need To Finish(all books are out in series):

Delirium by Lauren Oliver is the first one that comes to mind.

Three of your All-Time Favorite Books:

Persuasion by Jane Austen, The Princess Bride by William Goldman, The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

Unapologetic Fangirl For:

Richelle Mead.

Very Excited For This Release More Than All The Others:

Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins (September 17). I have the date circled in my calendar and everything! Also, The Fiery Heart by Richelle Mead (November 19!)

Worst Bookish Habit:

Mashing books. I’m oh-so careful making sure nothing bad happens to their pages… but in the deep dark depths of my bag.. they get mashed. I pull them out and they have mangled covers and creased pages… it’s rather sad.

X Marks The Spot: Start at the top left of your shelf and pick the 27th book:

The Book of Summers by Emylia Hall (I bought it a few months ago. As of yet it’s still unread)

Your latest book purchase:

Lord of Misrule by Rachel Caine (Morganville Vampires #5). I have read a few of this series and am trying to get a good collection going. This one was on special at K-Mart for $1 so it was an instant buy

ZZZ-snatcher book (last book that kept you up WAY late):

Divergent by Veronica Roth – definitely a cereal for breakfast kind of read. The type of book where you don’t want to stop for anything – not even food. Or sleep.

 

And now for something completely different…

Book Review: Ink by Amanda Sun

Ink (Paper Gods, #1)

Title: Ink (Paper Gods #1)
Author: Amanda Sun
Genre: Paranormal, Mythology, Urban Fantasy, Japan
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Publication Date: July 2013
Pages: 326
Rating: 3 stars

Synopsis (from goodreads):
On the heels of a family tragedy, the last thing Katie Greene wants to do is move halfway across the world. Stuck with her aunt in Shizuoka, Japan, Katie feels lost. Alone. She doesn’t know the language, she can barely hold a pair of chopsticks, and she can’t seem to get the hang of taking her shoes off whenever she enters a building.

Then there’s gorgeous but aloof Tomohiro, star of the school’s kendo team. How did he really get the scar on his arm? Katie isn’t prepared for the answer. But when she sees the things he draws start moving, there’s no denying the truth: Tomo has a connection to the ancient gods of Japan, and being near Katie is causing his abilities to spiral out of control. If the wrong people notice, they’ll both be targets.

Katie never wanted to move to Japan—now she may not make it out of the country alive.

My Review:

Japan is the last place on Earth that Katie Green wants to be. But after he mother dies and her grandfather is too sick to look after her, Katie is shipped off to go live with her aunt in Shizuoko. Struggling to cope with the language and culture change, Katie muddles along in the hope that her grandfather will get better and she can flee Japan and live in Canada. And then she sees the ink. Yuu Tomohiro, the school’s badboy and kendo legend, the guy who cruelly breaks up with his girlfriend and pretends to be someone he isn’t fascinates Katie. And there’s his drawings. The calligraphy that’s so lifelike, Katie would almost swear that it moves…

I’ve never read a book which incorporates Japanese Mythology like Amanda Sun did in Ink. The concept of the power of the pen – or the ink – is something new on the paranormal scene. The Kami are dangerous with their medium being writing – something people take for granted – and yet the spirit in the ink is powerful and non-discriminating. I did think that this book had a very strong start but sort of faded as things developed. I was immediately drawn in at the start but towards the end I wasn’t as captivated.

I loved the way Japanese culture was portrayed in Ink, The way the language and the customs were interspersed throughout the novel was great to read. I wasn’t surprised to learn that Amanda Sun had spent quite a lot of time in Japan. As someone who has never been to that part of the world, it felt authentic and real.

As for the characters – I found Katie to be slightly frustrating. Her behaviour was inconsistent and I thought she was slightly illogical. Her selfish nature took me out of the story at times and I much preferred the easy-going nature of her friends Tamaka and Yuki. Yuu Tomohiro was one of those characters that’s mysterious and gorgeous and as a result one I wanted to read more of. I liked his arrogant exterior but the more we got to know him, the more we got to see he had layers and interesting complexities.

This is a great novel with a unique type of paranormal element. The characters are interesting however I liked the supporting cast more than I did the main character. I’m excited to see where Amanda Sun takes her characters in the next book of the Paper Gods series.

Thanks to Harlequin Teen Australia and NetGalley review copy.

Purchase the novel from:

Amazon || Book Depository 

Literary-ly Inspired: Slam Poetry and SLAMMED!

I’m not usually a poetry person. And after an incident with TS Eliot nearly had me failing year twelve English – poetry isn’t something I like to indulge in.

So why did I spend a gorgeous Saturday afternoon in a classroom off a library full of slam poets? Because I was literary-ly inspired by the book Slammed by Colleen Hoover.

Literary-ly Inspired is a new feature on my blog.

Have you ever read something in a book and wanted to try something new because of it? Either it’s going some place or cooking something. Even taking a class because a book aroused your curiosity. That happens to me all the time! And I thought it was about time that I stopped saying how cool it would be to broaden my horizons and just started doing it! It doesn’t have to be something big. And – like my post today – it doesn’t have to be all that connected to a book. It just has to be something that is different from your regular everyday life that you would not have done had you not been inspired by something literary.

How Slammed by Colleen Hoover inspired me to attend a Queensland Poetry Slam Heat


Slammed (Slammed, #1)

Earlier this year I read Slammed by Colleen Hoover (you can read my review here) and I loved it. But more than that – I was intrigued by the Slam Poetry element. Such passion, such feeling. So despite my reservations regarding poetry, I got online and investigated. I found that there is a reasonably active slam poetry scene in my state with workshops and many of the heats for the state competition being free! Click here to check out the Australian Poetry Slam website.

Home

So last Saturday I decided that it was time to try and immerse myself in the world that is slam poetry.

What is Slam Poetry?

To put it simply – Slam Poetry is the art of competitive poetry. The only rule is there are no rules… you know. Except for the rules.

For the slam heat I watched every participant would get two minutes to get up front and put on their performance. And audience participation is encouraged. Five judges were selected at random from the audience of non-participating spectators and got to have their very own Slam names  – my personal favourite was Vespatina. Although Birdy, Pythagoras and the Bubonic Plague were brilliant names too. Each participant performing gives a score between negative infinity and ten with the top and bottom scores being omitted. Oh and my favourite rule – each first time slammer gets three hugs.

After the very enthusiastic Benedict started things off and someone was selected to be “the sacrifice” the slam was up and running.

And to tell you the truth – it wasn’t what I was expecting. To be entirely honest – and I admit that yes, I was relying on stereotypes – I was expecting the modern-day equivalent to beatniks – the hipster. But I couldn’t have been more wrong. The nineteen slammers came from all walks of life. There were grandmothers and grandfathers. Bush poets and people who had never written a poem before. Poets who walked the stage and those who delivered their performance from a fixed microphone. One poet even started singing. Some performances were serious, others romantic. A few about cancer and one about the gods. There’s so much variety!

There is no right or wrong way to slam.

The Verdict?

 

Before going, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. I couldn’t quite perceive the whole idea that whilst everyone was being scored that points were not all that important.

But I think I get it now. Slamming isn’t about winning – the two that won the heat and are going through to the next round both seemed rather surprised and a little taken aback. It’s about wanting a place to express yourself. To challenge yourself into stepping outside your comfort zone and doing something you wouldn’t ordinarily do.

After things got started – there was a certain vibe in the air. We may have not been in a dark atmospheric bar like surroundings like Lake and Will – but there was a lot of energy in the air and it was impossible not to get swept up in the excitement. I found myself really getting into it all. It was a lot of fun and I didn’t expect that.

I’m so glad that I went. Will I go again? It’s a highly likely possibility. Will I perform? I think that’s still fairly unlikely but not an outright no. I’m incredibly shy in situations like that and I’m not sure writing poetry is something I’m quite up to but I think I get the whole idea and feeling that Colleen Hoover wrote about in Slammed. 

Book Review: If I Stay by Gayle Forman

If I Stay

Title: If I Stay (If I Stay #1)
Author: Gayle Forman
Genre: Realistic Fiction, contemporary, Young Adult
Publisher: Doubleday
Publication Date: April 2009
Pages: 272
Rating: 4 stars

Synopsis (from goodreads):
Just listen, Adam says with a voice that sounds like shrapnel. I open my eyes wide now. I sit up as much as I can. And I listen. Stay, he says.

Everybody has to make choices. Some might break you. For seventeen-year-old Mia, surrounded by a wonderful family, friends and a gorgeous boyfriend decisions might seem tough, but they’re all about a future full of music and love, a future that’s brimming with hope.

But life can change in an instant.

A cold February morning …a snowy road …and suddenly all of Mia’s choices are gone. Except one. As alone as she’ll ever be, Mia must make the most difficult choice of all.

Gripping, heart-rending and ultimately life-affirming, If I Stay will make you appreciate all that you have, all that you’ve lost – and all that might be.

My Review:

After a car accident leaves Mia in a coma, she starts to think about what life holds for her. Her parents are gone and some of the choices she has to make seem to be just too hard to even think about considering. But as the machines keep her body alive, her spirit walks the halls of the hospital seeing the people she loves and reminiscing about days gone past. With college looming and having decide between the love she has for music and the boy who holds her heart, Mia needs to decide. If she goes she can be with her family… but if she stays? Well that remains a mystery.

This is one of those devastating stories about loss and love. And I adored the way love was portrayed in this novel. Not necessarily the love between main character Mia and her boyfriend Adam but the love between families. Mia’s parents were shown though flashbacks to be supportive and generous in the way they felt about each other and their children. Their passion for music and life was infectious. Despite these characters not being present in the present tense, reading their interactions through Mia’s memories were one of my favourite parts of the book. Like wise the love shown between friends – like Kim and Willow.

I found it hard to engage with Mia – but considering she was disconnected from the world I’m not surprised that I was disconnected from her. Even though her flashbacks I found her to be a little standoffish and lacking the vibrant energy in which she describes her family and friends as having. That said, her narration does deliver a well-rounded and full picture into her life and her music. Her relationship with music and love was beautifully written and I thought it was a very interesting way to look at the world.

This is a beautifully written novel about love and life. It kind of snuck up on me. I didn’t think I was into this story but I started to tear up during one of the scenes (it was the one when Gramps came in to talk to Mia) and I had to reach for the tissues. I’ve heard such great things about Gayle Forman’s books and I’m so glad that I decided to read one. I will definitely be on the look out to read more from this fantastic YA author.

Purchase the novel from:

Amazon || Book Depository


Cover Reveal: Nearly Mended by Devon Ashley

Hi guys! After reviewing Nearly Broken by Devon Ashley last week (and learning all about Kolache!) I’m beyond delighted to be taking part in the cover reveal for Nearly Mended – a sequel which is dual point of view! Below is a look at the cover as well as comments from Devon about it and be sure to check out the bottom of the post for a rafflecopter tour wide giveaway.

 

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I’m in COVER LOVE right now! I’ve once again got Megan and Nick on the cover, but this time you get the chance to stare into those stunning eyes that just scream Don’t f*ck with me. However, that is not Nick on the back. That is the unconscionable Zander Malone, who thanks to the authorities, has his blond locks rockin’ a darker hairdo to help stay off the radar a bit. Of course he’ll be making an appearance in Nearly Mended, but for how long and whether or not he’ll obtain any pleasure while there, I won’t say! But he has definitely got some wicked things planned this time around.

Oh…and did I mention it’s dual point-of-view this time? Both Megan and Nick will be gracing us with their thoughts and opinions in Nearly Mended. I’ve dabbled with the idea of getting into Zander’s sick head a time or two, but in all honesty, I’m still against it, forcing us as readers to learn only what he wants us to know.

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To view full size image of cover, click here.

Title: Nearly Mended (Nearly #2)
Author: Devon Ashley
Genre: New Adult Romantic Suspense / Dark Realistic Fiction (Recommended for 17+ for mature and disturbing situations, language and sexual content.)
Expected Publication: Winter 2013 (hopefully December)

Synopsis (goodreads):

He’ll pay for what he’s done to her…for what he’s done to me.

Megan Whitaker desperately wants to forget what’s happened over the past two years – the haunting images and sensations still plaguing her thoughts and dreams – but she can’t. Because he’s still out there. Zander Malone. I’ll find you and bring you back to me. She wants to believe she’s safe with Nick in their secluded new home, but it doesn’t keep her from looking over her shoulder, jumping over unexpected sounds, carrying a concealed weapon or even preparing for the worst. He’s coming for her, but this time, she won’t let him get the jump on her, nor will she go quietly into the night.

Nickolas Ellis has seen a change in his long, lost love. Battered emotionally and physically, Megan has turned her fear into anger, spending her days at self-defense classes and researching things that’ll never allow her to let go of the past. And he feels guilty even asking her to, because he knows that heathen will return, it’s only a matter of time. And when he does, Nick will do anything to protect her, even the unthinkable, risking everything he’s fought so hard to get back.

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Haven’t read Nearly Broken yet? Now’s your chance to pick up a copy on sale for just $1.99! If you’d like to be entered for the $20 Gift Card from Amazon or the Book Depository, just enter using the rafflecopter below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Wish Had Sequels/Spinoffs

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 their bloggers over at The Broke and the Bookish will answer. Everyone is welcome to join.

The topic for this week is: Top Ten Books I Wish Had Sequels 

After thinking about this for a while, I realized that for most standalone books – I love how they finished. Adding another book would just dilute whatever I thought was so great to begin with. There were a few that I’d love to have a sequel (and I’ll list them here) but for the most part – how awesome would spin offs be? There are so many fantastic secondary characters that I’d love to get to know more about.

Sequels:

The Host by Stephenie Meyer – Ever since this book was first released there was talk about two more books – the Seeker and the Soul. Whilst I think that The Host was a perfect stand alone book… I sort of want to see what happens next. Does true love prevail? (my thoughts… probably). Will Ian get confused considering the body switching (Probably not. But I would like to see him and Jared get into a fight again). Will Wanda find some sort of non-violent passive way to save the world? (probably. And there will be some kind of non-aggressive stand off where everyone wins…). Yay!

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen – I know there have been many books about Elizabeth and Darcy written by other people putting their own slant on what happens next. And I’ve read a few and even liked many of them. But how fantastic would it be to read it from Ms. Austen’s own hand. I want to know what she thought married life between these two rather headstrong people would have been like.

Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman – I just finished reading this book and… I don’t ant to leave this world just yet! I’ll wait patiently for a sequel… ok. Maybe not so patiently…

The Princess Bride by William Goldman – Bring on Buttercup’s Baby!

Looking for Alibrandi by Melina Marchetta – I’d love a chance to see what Josie’s life was like now.

The Host (The Host, #1) Pride and Prejudice Neverwhere The Princess Bride Looking for Alibrandi

Spin Offs:

Sarah Dessen – I love her books and for the most part I like how everything ends at the conclusion of one of her novels. But HOW AWESOME! would a compilation of novellas be. With just a tiny snapshot of what’s happening to my favourite characters.

Harry Potter – Who would I want to see a spin off in this series? It’s so hard to pick. Dumbledore as a youngster, the Marauders, The Next Generation? So many untold stories that I would love to get to witness as a reader

The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger – I enjoyed this book. It was slightly bizarre and oh-so heartbreaking. And I wanted to know more. I want to know if Alba (is it just me or does her name remind everyone of Jessica Alba?) manages to have a happy life.

Georgina Kincaid series by Richelle Mead – I love this adult paranormal romance series. I think it’d be fantastic to get to read more about this world of demons and angels. Maybe a story featuring Hugh as a main character, or what Roman’s life is now. Or go back and experience life though Jerome’s eyes. So many choices…

The Heiresses by Allison Rushby – My favourite character in this novel was Aunt Hestia. How fantastic would a story about her and how she became the woman she turned out to be.

The Moon and More Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (Harry Potter, #1) The Time Traveler's Wife Succubus Blues (Georgina Kincaid, #1) The Heiresses

That’s my top ten. Now – I know that a lot of them probably wouldn’t be as good with extra instalments. But a girl can live in hope 😀 Hope you’ve all had a great week and I can’t wait to see what sequels you wish had been written!

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