Top Ten Tuesday: New to Me Authors I Read in 2013

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 New to Me Authors I Read in 2013

There are so many fantastic authors that I “discovered” this year. Here is a list of only ten of them.

Cristin Terrill – I adored All Our Yesterdays. It’s an amazing novel about one of my least favourite concepts: time travel. I loved the characters and the writing and definitely consider this to be one of my favourite new authors of this year.

Ambelin Kwaymillina – Last week I read her first two novels: The Interrogation of Ashala Wolf and The Disappearance of Ember Crow. They’re brilliant dystopian novels about people with special powers and a government who is trying to capture them. If you’ve not read either of Ambelin’s novels before – I urge you to try them out. The Tribe is one of my favourite YA dystopian series that I’ve read so far.

Ellie Marney – Earlier this year I read Every Breath. It’s a murder mystery set in Melbourne and I loved it. The first in a series, I can’t wait to read the next instalments and see what Rachel and Mycroft get up to next!

Colleen Hoover – I read Slammed and thought it was lovely. That’s even despite having one of my least favourite types of romance in it (I can’t stand student/teacher relationships in case you were wondering). It lead me to attending my first (and so far only) poetry slam and this is definitely an author I intend to read more of.

Tara EglingtonHow to Keep a Boy From Kissing You was such an adorable read. There are times when you don’t want to read anything too heavy or life threatening and a cute contemporary story about a girl and her first kiss is exactly what you want. That’s what this book was for me. I’m currently reading the second book in the Aurora Skye series and it’s just as enjoyable as the first book.

All Our Yesterdays The Disappearance of Ember Crow (The Tribe #2) Every Breath  

AJ Betts -Her book, Zac and Mia, was a great realistic look at teenagers dealing with cancer. I liked her style and enjoyed the journey she took her characters on and me as a reader.

Tammara Webber – Easy is still one of my favourite New Adult reads. Real and sincere with characters I enjoyed and a NA plot that was more than just sex. I definitely want to read more from her.

Liz Fichera – As someone who is not the most athletic, I never thought I’d like Hooked as much as I did. But it’s such a great book that deals with racism, sexism and has some sweet and amazing characters. I loved Fred and am eagerly awaiting Sam and Riley’s story!

Gayle Forman – I read If I Stay and thought it was beautiful. The writing is really heartbreaking and heartwarming both at the same time. I haven’t quite mustered the courage to read the second book but it’s definitely one on my epic to-read list.

Samantha Shannon – I still can’t believe that the Bone Season was written by a nineteen year old. The writing is sophisticated and this is an incredibly well researched novel. The first in a seven book series, this series promises to be an incredibly journey.

Zac and Mia Easy  If I Stay The Bone Season

 

Here is my list for this week. I’d love to hear from you – what ere you favourite new to you authors this year? Any from my list that you liked as much as I did? Any you think I need to read? Feel free to leave a comment. 🙂

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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.

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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: Slammed by Colleen Hoover

Title: Slammed (Slammed #1)
Author: Colleen Hoover
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Realistic Fiction, New Adult
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication Date: October 2012
Pages: 384
Rating: 5 stars

Synopsis (from goodreads):
Layken’s father died suddenly, leaving her to gather every ounce of strength to be a pillar for her family, in order to prevent their world from falling apart. Now her life is taking another unexpected turn…
Layken’s mother gets a job which leads to an unwanted move across country. However, a new home means new neighbours… and Layken’s new neighbour is the very attractive Will Cooper.
Will has an intriguing passion for slam poetry, and a matching passion for life. The two feel an irresistible attraction but are rocked to the core when a shocking revelation brings their romance to a screeching halt.
Layken and Will must find a way to fight the forces that threaten to tear them apart… or learn to live without each other.

My Review:

Lake Cohen never expected to be starting senior in a new state. But she never expected her father to suddenly die from a heart attack. And she certainly never expected to fall for the boy next door after just three days. But from the first moment she met Will, there was chemistry. That is until she finds out that the boy who made moving from Texas to Michigan bearable is actually her new poetry teacher.

I didn’t know what to expect from Slammed and I was pleasantly surprised. I loved the characters and the plot. Lake is eighteen but she acts with the maturity of someone much older. She’s responsible and caring and best of all – she realises that romance isn’t the most important thing in life. Her relationship with Will is beautiful to watch as it develops and stumbles though the obstacles life provides.

The supporting characters in this book are amazing to read too. There are 9 year olds who actually act their age, teens who are not single-minded obsessed with romance and parents who make mistakes but are willing to admit their flaws. I think one of the strengths in this book is the way both Will and Lake are rounded. There is so much more to both of them than just their relationship with each other. The bond they each have with their little brothers is fantastic.

Each chapter is prefaced with some lyrics by the Avett Brothers – a band I’d not heard previously but has since bought two of their albums from iTunes. The way Hoover integrated the music and lyrics into the story was brilliant. They bring the poetry aspect into the novel perfectly.

This book was one of the best that I’ve read this year. It was beautiful and heartbreaking with characters that I cared about – I wanted to know what was going to happen next and how it would affect these people who I grew more and more attached to as the story went on. I can absolutely recommend it for anyone who loves emotional but realistic love stories where the romance is strong but not the entire story.

Purchase the novel from:

Amazon / Book Depository