Thursday, July 31, 2014

Review: King Hall (Forever Evermore #1) by Scarlett Dawn

Firstly, thanks to Harlequin Australia for this NetGalley <3



Date Read: September 8 2013
Release Date: August 1st 2013
Publisher: Escape Publishing (Harlequin Australia)
Source: NetGalley
Genre: Paranormal
My rating: 

Synopsis:
"King Hall — where the Mysticals go to learn their craft, get their degrees, and transition into adulthood. And where four new Rulers will rise and meet their destinies. 

Lily Ruckler is adept at one thing: survival. Born a Mystical hybrid, her mere existence is forbidden, but her nightmare is only about to start. Fluke, happenstance, and a deep personal loss finds Lily deeply entrenched with those who would destroy her simply for existing — The Mystical Kings. Being named future Queen of the Shifters shoves Lily into the spotlight, making her one of the most visible Mysticals in the world. But with risk comes a certain solace — her burgeoning friendships with the other three Prodigies: a wicked Vampire, a wild-child Mage, and a playboy Elemental. Backed by their faith and trust, Lily begins to relax into her new life.

Then chaos erupts as the fragile peace between Commoners and Mysticals is broken, and suddenly Lily realises the greatest threat was never from within, and her fear takes on a new name: the revolution."

---

I’m not sure how I feel about King Hall. Finishing this I knew I definitely wanted to know what happened in the next book but whilst reading I thought this book was shaky at times. You may notice the absence of my usual quotes from this review, well the few quotes I had managed to highlight didn’t really show what I’m saying.

Set in a world where humans are known as Commoners and the supernatural are known as Mysticals, protagonist Lily Ruckler is half-vampire and half-shape shifter. Being a hybrid is absolutely against the law so she has to keep her vampire side hidden. King Hall is the school where Mysticals learn to harness their power and eventually ascend into adulthood by embracing their power.

I liked Lily. She was strong, independent and just trying to make her way through high school whilst concealing the truth about her true being. She’s quite snarky and witty and I liked how she didn’t cower to anyone – not even the Rulers, the four kings who reigned over the Mysticals. Lily never let her boyfriend Dominic be a caveman where she was concerned, even though he was training to be the next king.

From this point on my review is going to be a bit weird, not following my usual structure because it’s really hard to talk about this book in a structured manner.

Firstly, Dominic, Pearl, Jake and Ezra are the four Mysticals of their respective races that are training to be the next set of Rulers. I liked their friendship but sometimes I felt that Dawn was trying too hard to make their friendship work. It was too easy, and at times I was sceptical at how they could be so understanding of each other. There wasn’t enough time for their friendship to really develop to such a trusting point and not have conflict between the characters that would test their trust with each other. They were also too different if that’s possible. I thought Dawn tried too hard to make them all unique and stand apart from another, so much so that I just didn’t believe it.

Secondly, for Lily to be named the future Queen of the Shifters I thought an unnecessary event occurred. This started at the beginning of the book and happened a LOT towards the end. This was where the book stood on the shakiest ground for me. I just felt like it was all so pointless – these characters whom I thought were so central to the story were discarded. Why bother in the first place? There were other ways such turning points could have come about but it just had to be this method to progress the plot. Yes dark times are coming and conflict is arising but don’t just mindlessly bring in a character who seemed important just to kill them off.

It just so happened that all the Rulers seem so perfect for each other – and I knew what Dawn was doing, she was trying to set the scene so they could end up together or something. This ties in with my previous two points about the relationships that formed too quickly and the unnecessary events. Too coincidental, it just happened to end up this way or something. No darnit NO.

Dawn definitely tried to build her world to show the Mysticals, their laws and political structures. I got a good glimpse into their various powers and the differences in the races through the trainee Rulers, however I felt that her writing definitely faltered. At times she showed but I also got a whole lot of tell in pretty slabs or thought monologues. Her style was sophisticated but I think it wasn’t expressed properly to really show me what I wanted.

I am definitely confused by this book. It was enjoyable though with its various fight scenes but I think it’s a real hit or miss for people.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday #9


Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created and hosted by The Broke and the Bookish where, each week, a Top Ten list is posted based on a particular topic.

This week's: Top Ten Authors I Own the Most Books From

Unless otherwise stated I own physical copies - and this is just the main copy I read. For a lot of these (mainly JLA) I also own e-books of the physical copies too!

1. Jennifer L. Armentrout - 20
  • Cursed
  • Obsession (e-book)
  • The Gamble Brothers: Tempting the Best Man (#1) (e-book)
  • Frigid: Frigid (e-book)
  • Wait For You: Wait For You; Be with Me (e-books)
  • The Dark Elements: Bittersweet Love (#0.5); White Hot Kiss (#1) (e-books)
  • Lux: Shadows (#0.5); Obsidian; Onyx; Opal; Origin
  • Covenant: Daimon (#0.5); Half Blood; Pure; Deity; Elixir (#3.5); Apollyon; Sentinel

8 e-books; 12 physical copies

Read: all of these except for Be with Me which I'm about 10% through.

I think we can say hands down that JLA is my favourite author. Anytime a new book of hers comes out, I'm on it. I've already got Opposition pre-ordered, and I cannot wait for Stone Cold Touch. I'm deciding whether I want to continue the Gamble Brothers series and her other books she writes as J. Lynn though. I still need to get Don't Look Back I know!

2. Lemony Snicket - 13
  • A Series of Unfortunate Events: The Bad Beginning; The Reptile Room; The Wide Window; The Miserable Mill; The Austere Academy; The Ersatz Elevator; The Vile Village; The Hostile Hospital; The Carnivorous Carnival; The Slippery Slope; The Grim Grotto; The Penultimate Peril; The End
Read: all

I own all these but I can't say they're a particular favourite of mine.

3. Abbi Glines - 13
  • The Vincent Boys: The Vincent Boys (e-book); The Vincent Brothers
  • Sea Breeze: Breathe; Because of Low; While it Lasts; Just For Now; Misbehaving (#6)
  • Too Far: Fallen Too Far; Never Too Far; Forever Too Far
  • Chance: Take a Chance
  • Perfection: Twisted Perfection; Simple Perfection

1 e-book; 12 physical copies

Read: only The Vincent Boys, Breathe, Because of Low, Just for Now and Fallen Too Far. 

I don't plan on reading much else by Abbi Glines - all physical copies were from the publisher, most were unsolicited. I'll probably finish off the Too Far series but that's it. I don't plan on reading anything else in the Sea Breeze series beyond what I've already read.

4. Richelle Mead - 12
  • Vampire Academy: Vampire Academy; Frostbite; Shadow Kiss; Blood Promise; Spirit Bound; Last Sacrifice
  • Bloodlines: Bloodlines; The Golden Lily; The Indigo Spell; The Fiery Heart
  • Age of X: Gameboard of the Gods; The Immortal Crown
Read: everything except for Age of X series

I realised I actually have <100 pages left in The Fiery Heart (I don't like it) and I also have the ARC of Silver Shadows but I need to go out and buy the physical copy

5. J.K. Rowling - 10
  • Harry Potter: Philosopher's Stone; Chamber of Secrets; Prisoner of Azkaban; Goblet of Fire; Order of the Phoenix; Half Blood Prince; Deathly Hallows
  • The Tales of Beedle the Bard
  • The Casual Vacancy
  • The Cuckoo's Calling
Read: only Harry Potter and Tales of Beedle the Bard

I plan on buying Quidditch Through the Ages and Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. I don't plan on reading The Casual Vacancy but I will read The Cuckoo's Calling one day.

6. Julie Kagawa - 10
  • The Iron Fey: The Iron King; The Iron Daughter; The Iron Queen; The Iron Knight; The Iron Legends (Winter's Passage #1.5; Summer's Crossing #3.5; Iron's Prophecy #4.5)
  • Call of the Forgotten: The Lost Prince; The Iron Traitor
  • Blood of Eden: The Immortal Rules; The Eternity Cure; The Forever Son
Read: all except for Blood of Eden

LOVEEEEE Julie Kagawa. I will read anything by her. Cannot wait for Talon! I absolutely adore The Iron Fey and while I don't think Call of the Forgotten is as good, I love the cameos. I need to get around to Blood of Eden.

7. Cassandra Clare - 9
  • The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones; City of Ashes; City of Glass; City of Fallen Angels; City of Lost Souls; City of Heavenly Fire
  • The Infernal Devices: Clockwork Angel; Clockwork Prince; Clockwork Princess
Read: all

Don't like TMI. Loved TID. And I'm stopping there. Do not plan on reading TDA or TLH or TBC.

8. L.J. Smith - 9
  • The Vampire Diaries: The Awakening; The Struggle; The Fury; Dark Reunion; The Return: Nightfall
  • The Secret Circle: The Initiation; The Captive; The Power
  • Night World: Secret Vampire; Daughters of Darkness; Spellbinder; Dark Angel; The Chosen; Soul Mate; Huntress; Black Dawn; Witchlight
  • The Forbidden Game: The Hunter; The Chase; The Kill

Total: 20 books collected into 9 bind-ups - The Awakening and The Struggle; The Fury and Dark Reunion; The Initiation and the Captive Part 1; The Captive Part 2 and the Power; Night World 1-3; Night World 4-6; Night World 7-9; The Forbidden Game

Read: all except for The Forbidden Game

My gosh I've read a LOT of LJ Smith's early stuff. I really loved her pre-2000s works especially TVD, TSS and Night World!

9. Jessica Shirvington - 7
  • The Violet Eden Chapters: Embrace; Enticed; Emblaze; Endless; Empower
  • Between the Lives
  • Disruption: Disruption
Read: all

Jess is an auto-buy for me. All her books have gotten 5 stars from me except Disruption which got 4.5. Safe to say she's another fav author.

10. Maria V. Snyder - 7
  • Healer: Touch of Power; Scent of Magic; Taste of Darkness
  • Sea Glass: Storm Glass; Sea Glass; Spy Glass
  • Insider: Inside Out

Read: none LOL

I'm not a huge fan of her work. I've read the Study series and I only enjoyed the first book in that series before it all went down hill.


Sunday, July 27, 2014

Review: All the Truth That's in Me by Julie Berry

Firstly, thanks to HarperCollins Australia for this review copy <3



Date Read: September 1 - 6 2013
Release Date: October 1st 2013
Publisher: HarperCollins Australia
Source: ARC via publisher
Genre: Contemporary
My rating: 

Synopsis:
"Four years ago, Judith and her best friend disappeared from their small town of Roswell Station. Two years later, only Judith returned, permanently mutilated, reviled and ignored by her friends and family.

Unable to speak, Judith lives like a ghost in her own home, silently pouring out her thoughts to her childhood friend, Lucas. He is the boy who has owned her heart for as long as she can remember - even if he doesn′t know it.

But when Roswell Station is attacked, long-buried secrets come to light, and Judith is forced to choose - to continue living in silence, or recover her voice, even if it means changing her world, and the lives around her, forever.

Told in a voice that is achingly raw and intimate, this remarkably original novel will haunt and stay with you. It will fill you with Judith′s passion and longing, and its mysteries will keep you feverishly turning the pages until the very last one."

---

“No one calls me by my name.”

What a unique book. I don’t think I’ve ever read anything quite like it. This book just sort of popped up for me, and I was just speechless after finishing.

One of two girls that went missing four years ago, Judith is the only one that returns two years later. She’s not the same though; with her tongue cut out and her mother and the townsfolk believing her maidenhood gone, she is ignored and undesired. With nobody to talk to, she soundlessly bares her soul to the childhood crush.

“I am shocking. What was done to me was shocking. I am outside the boundaries forever, no longer decent.”

I’ll admit I was a bit freaked out at how Judith seemed like she was almost stalking Lucas. Everything she does, she refers to him; Judith just didn’t talk to him in her mind, but whilst talking to him she knew exactly what he was doing, where he was and it all seemed a little stalkerish. But what’s one to do when nobody notices you and other than menial chores, you’re essentially left to your own devices? Judith frustrated me so many times because she could tried to tell people what happened. Instead she lets them believe what they want, and her silence makes them believe the worst. I understood that she was afraid but reading her and being in her head while she did nothing for the majority of the book killed me. Her character does grow though, and as she learns to face her fear, I could see her gaining confidence and showing strength.

“I hung the posies you left me upside down in the barn rafters to dry, to preserve them forever and gaze upon them always.”

Told in second person, in an almost diary form, the book is split into four parts divided by seasons. The first half is rather vague as Judith slowly reveals the events of what happened four years ago, and piece by piece, the puzzle comes together. I was so intrigued as how two girls managed to disappear and the motive behind Judith getting her tongue cut out. As Judith progresses, trying to be recognised, most of the townsfolk are still unforgiving and ignorant, even in light of their town being threatened. Upon realising that she needs to face her past because there’s a possibility that it could save her town and her beloved Lucas, she’s challenged with the possibility that the town will never trust her again as she delves back to four years ago.

“Do I intend to keep my promise?”

The plot thickens as Judith’s fragmented snippets coalesce with the threatened town and her ability to help them, combined with the mystery of her disappearance and that of her friend four years ago. Somehow, they’re all related. One leads to another, one connects to another and the revelation was nothing like I expected.

“Like the clanging of the bell, the truth crashes in upon me.”

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Review: Landline by Rainbow Rowell

Firstly, thanks to Hachette Books Australia for this review copy <3

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Date Read: June 25 - July 2 2014
Release Date: July 3rd 2014
Publisher: Orion (Hachette Australia)
Source: Review copy via publisher
Genre: Adult contemporary
My rating: 

Synopsis:
"Georgie McCool knows her marriage is in trouble. That it’s been in trouble for a long time. She still loves her husband, Neal, and Neal still loves her, deeply — but that almost seems besides the point now.

Maybe that was always besides the point.

Two days before they’re supposed to visit Neal’s family in Omaha for Christmas, Georgie tells Neal that she can’t go. She’s a TV writer, and something’s come up on her show; she has to stay in Los Angeles. She knows that Neal will be upset with her — Neal is always a little upset with Georgie — but she doesn’t expect to him to pack up the kids and go home without her.

When her husband and the kids leave for the airport, Georgie wonders if she’s finally done it. If she’s ruined everything.

That night, Georgie discovers a way to communicate with Neal in the past. It’s not time travel, not exactly, but she feels like she’s been given an opportunity to fix her marriage before it starts...

Is that what she’s supposed to do?

Or would Georgie and Neal be better off if their marriage never happened?"

---

“Love isn’t always enough.”

Rainbow Rowell always manages to write such original stories. She takes common, everyday issues and weaves them into memorable tales that really stay with the reader. I definitely liked this more than Eleanor & Park (which wasn’t for me) but didn’t think it resonated with me as much as Fangirl (which I adored).

For those of you that don’t know, Landline is an adult book (much like Attachments which was also about communication). In the present day, it’s a week before Christmas and Georgie suddenly gets the opportunity to further her career greatly as a TV comedy writer. However, this means she has to work through Christmas and she’d promised her husband Neal she’d spend Christmas with him, their daughters and Neal’s mother all the way across the country in Omaha, Nebraska. The result is her staying in Cali while her husband takes their daughters to spend Christmas with Neal’s mum. You can say that Neal wasn’t exactly happy when he left.

Present day Georgie sort of annoyed me in the beginning – in the flashbacks to the past Rowell writes, Georgie was very active and upbeat. She was the one that pursued Neal and got things done. But as soon as Neal left with the kids, it was like Georgie fell apart. When Georgie’s mother assumes that Neal’s left her, Georgie determinedly denies this – so why does she act like it’s true when deep down she knows it’s not? Instead of her just falling apart with glazed eyes I wanted Georgie to get up and do something about it – or go about her life if Neal really didn’t leave her. What I did like about Georgie though was her freaking out about the phone thing – when she calls Neal in the past she thinks she’s going mad and it’s so relatable from that point forward.

“This was crazy. This was weird and crazy. It wasn’t real. But it was stil happening. If Georgie hung up, would it stop?”

Two secondary characters stood out for me for different reasons. Seth has been Georgie’s best friend since the beginning of college. He’s a constant in her life. And my god he ANNOYED me. He was like the fly that keeps incessantly buzzing at your ear which you can’t shake off or swat. I swear he’s the biggest cockblocker ever and half the time he knows it. I just didn’t understand why he had to be so imposing on Georgie’s life. I always felt that there was something between him and Georgie that never got resolved and it would just hang between them. Heather is Georgie’s sister, 18 years younger than her. I adored Heather. At just 18, she’s hilarious and so accepting. I loved how she was so observant and really cared about Georgie. Heather was definitely my favourite character in the book.

“I’ve been there from the beginning. Right there."

The biggest issue I had with this book (and my same issue with Eleanor & Park) is I didn’t see the emotional component behind how and why Georgie and Neal got together to begin with. Georgie admires his drawings, she’s definitely attracted to him but she’s attracted to Seth as well. From my point of view, Neal did nothing for Georgie. She was always pushing to get a response from him and he practically never responded. He was just so passive and seemed like he didn’t care. What was so great about Neal? And for Neal, what was so great about Georgie? She was always putting Seth first. Rowell also skipped over what they talked about so I had no idea what they could talk about that connected them – especially when Neal was drawing and not really responding to Georgie most of the time. I knew that with Seth, Georgie talked comedy things and TV shows but with Neal I had no clue. I got none of their personality quirks that attracted one to the other, just the physical components and then they’re saying they love each other?

Don’t get me wrong though, the romance was really sweet and true. The great thing about Rowell’s style is that her characters are so relatable. Her characters don’t have the typical tropes that many books have. Her characters are flawed in ways that are relatable – not extremely damaged, but dealing with everyday stresses. So I could see Georgie and Neal struggle with their marriage and their love (after they’d gotten together). I imagine that what Georgie and Neal are going through, is what people in real life go through. The story isn’t melodramatic, but mellow while incorporating that surreal calling-into-the-past element which added this really original flavour to what would seem like an ordinary book.

Overall, this is an enjoyable and relatable adult (non-YA) book. Rowell takes real life situations and adds a magical touch to make a really stand out story that resonates with the reader.

“From this moment onward.”

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday #8


Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created and hosted by The Broke and the Bookish where, each week, a Top Ten list is posted based on a particular topic.

This week's: Top Ten Favourite Movies or and TV Shows

I'm going to do a combination of my favourite movies AND TV shows because I'd love to share both with you (: Gonna cheat and do 10 movies and 10 TV shows :D

Top Ten Movies


This is my absolute favourite movie of all time and it's my most watched movie. Most people prefer Spirited Away (which I do love) but I'm a sucker for the romance in Howl's (plus, he's so swoony). It's such a great story and I love the slightly steampunk feel to the world. Studio Ghibli/Hayao Miyazaki can do no wrong. I still need to read the book though. If you do decide to watch this, DO NOT WATCH THE ENGLISH DUB. I don't care that Howl is voiced by Christian Bale, English dubs are horrible. Watch the original Japanese with English subs!

2. Pretty Woman 1990

Pretty Woman (1990) Poster

Favourite rom-com of all time. Richard Gere back in the day mhmm. This is a rom-com I can always turn to when I need a pick me up. It's funny, so sweet and swoony. And all that awesome shopping omg!

3. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 2011

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (2011) Poster

The best HP film. I actually watched this twice I think - midnight screening, 3D and then IMAX 3D. I loved all the HP films but I think they did this one the most perfectly. The Prince's Tale (my favourite chapter out of every single one of the books was done to the book) and The Battle of Hogwarts was epic! Honestly out of all the book to movie adaptions, Deathly Hallows was the only book that actually needed to be split into 2 films!

4. The Avengers 2012

The Avengers (2012) Poster

My favourite superhero movie :D such a great cast that played their characters so well, awesome storyline and absolutely fantastic dialogue. What more can one ask for? Avengers 2 obviously. CAN'T WAIT.

5. Center Stage 2000

Center Stage (2000) Poster

Anyone who knows me, knows I'm a sucker for dance movies. I've basically watched every dance movie out there (I think) and Center Stage (American spelling I know) still stands as my favourite. I re-watched this last week and ahhh the feels - Sascha Radetsky <3

6. Beauty and the Beast 1991

Beauty and the Beast (1991) Poster

Tale as old as time, true as it can be, barely even friends, then somebody bends, unexpectedly...
I have so many Disney favourites but Beauty and the Beast probably is my number 1 because I can relate to Belle and her love of books. I also love the way it breaks stereotypes of not falling in love based on looks, but because of personality and what's inside a person. My dream is to have the Beast's library.

7. Tangled 2010

Tangled (2010) Poster

And at last I see the light, and it's like the fog has lifted. And at last I see the light, and it's like the sky is new...
My other Disney favourite. Growing up, Mandy Moore was one of my role models and I absolutely loved her voicing Rapunzel. I See the Light is probably one of my top 3 Disney songs. I love the humour interspersed with this - Pascal, Flynn/Eugene and Maximus <3

8. Sense and Sensibility 1995

Sense and Sensibility (1995) Poster

One of the my favourite Austen novels and I thought this BBC adaption portrayed the book perfectly. That cast <3 Half of them appeared in HP (; Emma Thompson, Alan Rickman, Kate Winslet <3 Ugh Alan Rickman was so swoony in this.

9. Tomorrow Never Dies 1997

Tomorrow Never Dies (1997) Poster

Not many people know this and are surprised when they find out but I am a massive 007 fan. My dad loved James Bond so I grew up watching the films - majority of which were Sean Connery and Roger Moore. But my all time favourite will always be Pierce Brosnan as 007 - he's so handsome and swoony and those sex eyes omg. I have so many 007 favourites but I think Tomorrow Never Dies tops the list because I loved Michelle Yeoh in this too.

10. Trainspotting 1996

Trainspotting (1996) Poster

Not for the faint-hearted this one is about drugs. So uh don't watch this if you're like... I don't know. But I loved this film. It was absolute mind fk and so very real and raw.

Honorary Mentions:
Frozen 2013, Mean Girls 2004, The Parent Trap 1998 and Hero 2002

Top Ten TV Shows (including dramas and anime)


1. Charmed 1998 - 2006



This TV show was my childhood. I watched the original run from the time I was 5 up until the series ended when I was like 14 and was really devo when they took it off prime time started showing it during the middle of the day. I have the DVDs and I think this was the best TV show ever made. Do not argue with me on this. Piper, Phoebe and Paige <3 (no to Prue sorry I've always hated her). Witches, romance, drama - can you see why I love reading YA?

2. Veronica Mars 2004 - 2007



LOGAN AND VERONICA <3 I also watched the original run of this back in the day - from the very first episode! So as a Marshmallow I was ecstatic when I heard about the movie as I was always expecting a season 4 after that season 3 end (the look that passed between LoVe!!!). There has never been a boring episode with VMars. This and Sherlock are the only 2 detective shows that have really wow'd me.

3. Hana Yori Dango (花より男子) TV series 2005 - 2008



The only drama I can re-watch every year, this Japanese drama of the manga is the best ever. The Korean version, Boys Over Flowers, was terrible in my opinion and let's not even mention Meteor Garden. The cast is perfect and the story is so bittersweet at times. Fun fact: 9 years later, apparently Mao Inoue (Tsukushi Makino) and Jun Matsumoto (Tsukasa Domyouji) who played the lead female and male, ARE APPARENTLY DATING. Best news I've heard.

4. X/1999 1996
Their destiny was foreordained



Based on the manga X by CLAMP this is about the end of days as the year 2000 approaches. My favourite anime EVER. Those who are newer to anime while complain about the old-style art of this but the story is beautiful and tragic - totally worth watching if you can still find it today (I've been trying to find it for ages to re-watch but I can't find it).

5. Sword Art Online 2012



My second favourite anime series, I only watched this earlier this year. I marathoned this because it was so fantastic. In the year 2022, MMORPGs let you put on a headgear and enter the game in this whole virtual world. In the game Aincrad, the GM has prevented anybody from logging out - anybody who tries to disconnect the headgear in the real world, will fry the player's brain. If you die in game, your brain dies. The only way to get out of the game is risk your life and win the game. I LOVE the premise of this because it questions how much we value our lives and its worth. Do you play it safe by doing nothing in game but stay in town - you won't die... but you'll be hooked to an IV for god knows how long as you hope someone in game wins. Or... do you risk your life and try to beat the game so you can get out? WATCH THIS!!!

6. Pride and Prejudice 1995

Pride and Prejudice (1995) Poster

Austen's best novel <3 MR. DARCY! COLIN FIRTH AS MR. DARCY AHHHH *dies from swooning* The only adaption of Pride and Prejudice I will watch, I re-watch this a lot :D

7. Game of Thrones 2011 - 


I need to catch up on this but I started this from the beginning and was immediately hooked. From beheadings to sex scenes in a matter of seconds this goes from one extreme to another. Fantastic cast, heart butchering story yesss.

8. Sherlock 2010 - 


Benedict Cumberbatch is the perfect Sherlock Holmes. Such a good TV show I love the way Cumberbatch does the cold and detached Holmes so well. Buuuut Lara Pulver as Irene Adler just doesn't cut it. Rachel McAdams please <3

9. Gossip Girl 2007 - 2012


DON'T JUDGE ME. This will always be one of my favourite series. I loved the scandals, the fashion, AND THE ROMANCE <3 Chuck and Blair my ultimate OTP since season 1.

10. Return of the Condor Heroes (神雕侠侣) 2006



A Chinese wuxia series based on the best-selling book of the same name I really loved this drama. I never watched the 1983 version which my mum says was better, but this one had AMAZING scenery and cinematography. Like woah I've never seen such beautiful scenery - even Hero with its colours didn't compare to this. Also, Crystal Yifei is so pretty. 

Monday, July 7, 2014

Review: City of Heavenly Fire (The Mortal Instruments #6) by Cassandra Clare

Firstly, thanks to Walker Books Australia for this review copy <3



Date Read: May 30 - June 8 2014
Release Date: May 27th 2014
Publisher: Walker Books Australia
Source: Review copy via publisher
Genre: Paranormal/Fantasy
My rating: 

This review may contain spoilers for the previous 5 books but does not contain spoilers about City of Heavenly Fire

Synopsis:
"Shadowhunters and demons square off for the final showdown in the spellbinding, seductive conclusion to the #1 New York Times bestselling Mortal Instruments series.

Darkness has descended on the Shadowhunter world. Chaos and destruction overwhelm the Nephilim as Clary, Jace, Simon, and their friends band together to fight the greatest evil they have ever faced: Clary's own brother. Sebastian Morgenstern is on the move, systematically turning Shadowhunter against Shadowhunter. Bearing the Infernal Cup, he transforms Shadowhunters into creatures of nightmare, tearing apart families and lovers as the ranks of his Endarkened army swell. Nothing in this world can defeat Sebastian but if they journey to the realm of demons, they just might have a chance.

Lives will be lost, love sacrificed, and the whole world will change. Who will survive the explosive sixth and final installment of the Mortal Instruments series?"

---

Abbreviations:
TMI - The Mortal Instruments; alternatively 'too much information' which is what this series has been (and especially this book)
TID - The Infernal Devices; prequel to The Mortal Instruments, set about 130 years before.
COB - City of Bones
COA - City of Ashes
COG - City of Glass
COFA - City of Fallen Angels
COLS - City of Lost Souls
COHF - City of Heavenly Fire
Clace - Clary and Jace's ship name
Wessa - Will and Tessa's ship name (The Infernal Devices)
TDA - The Dark Artifices (next generation of Shadowhunters after TMI, set in 2012)

My Thoughts Before You Read My Review:

It’s finallllyyyyy over omg. Let’s be honest, this series went on for three books too long. Let’s also not comment on the apparent 2-3 upcoming series in the Shadowhunter world. Out of sight, out of mind. 733 pages you guys holy shit. It goes beyond novel… More like a tome. I got a lot of stares reading this on the bus to uni because it was just so massive.

This was a whole 1-1.5 stars better than City of Fallen Angels and City of Lost Souls. After COFA I thought “woah this series has fallen far”. After COLS? Absolute lost cause. See what I did there? ANYWAY I wasn’t even planning on continuing with this series but you know that itch you get to finish a series because you’ve darn well not just started it but progressed nearly all the way through? Yeah this was me. A part of me read COHF for closure… The other? BROTHER ZACHARIAH HOMG. For God knows what reason, at some point between the release of COFA and COLS I had managed to acquire the whole of The Infernal Devices. I actually went out and bought these I don’t even know why. One day, I picked up the nerve to read Clockwork Angel. And hated it. I was pushed by various people to continue so I skipped to the end of Clockwork Princess to see if it was worth reading – for me it was so I continued. I ended up loving the last 2 books in TID. Hence, because of certain characters in TID that appear in TMI, and ultimately COHF I just had to read this last book. I am glad I did. 



“If I cannot reach Heaven, I will raise Hell.”

After COG, Sebastian aka Jonathon Morgenstern aka Clary’s devil spawn brother, has completely gone off his nut in COFA/COLS and been on a rampage through the Shadowhunter world. It’s up to Clace and their gang to stop him wreaking havoc and potentially destroying everyone.

Clary, Clary, Clary. Sigh. You just never learn do you? To me, Clary has always been a Mary Sue. Stubborn, never learning, and incessantly dull. Yet somehow, she manages to get the boy, the best friend and everything eventually works out for her. Clary has annoyed me since book 1. I think by book 6, I’m so numb to her impulsive idiocy that I just didn’t notice it as much anymore – or maybe she achieved some character growth? I guess she was alright overall, she does her share of the fighting I guess but she’s just boring to me.

Unnecessary secondary characters and plot lines. Was not pleased. Did not care for Simon, Maia, Jordan and the rest of the wolves or vampires. All of these separate point of views could have been completely cut out and left on the side and COHF would still be long enough. I really didn’t see the point to these storylines and didn’t care about them at all. The series started out as Clary and Jace, Jace’s family and Clary’s family. Then focus on Simon. Hey let’s add in Sebastian! Then bring in Maia. And Jordan (when did he come in again?). And Raphael. Oh hey look there’s the Praeter Lupus (wtf?). And for the final touch let’s also introduce the next generation of Shadowhunters in the prologue of the last book and thread it throughout the story so readers will want to read TDA. I speed read through these extra character parts when they came up, not completely absorbing, just so I could move on. I mean, I guess Clare is showing us the Downworlders and how they’re important but. Just. Too much. Only secondary characters I cared for? Magnus Bane. AND BROTHER ZACHARIAH (my phone automatically capitalises his name now)! I really wanted more from the Jace/Alec parabatai relationship. I have never felt it throughout the 6 books like I did with Will/Jem – theirs was truly amazing and I felt their bond, it still resonates within me whenever it’s mentioned.

“Value your parabatai… For it is a precious bond. All love is precious. It is why we do what we do.”

Lol Clace omg. This was just a parallel of Wessa (that is a terrible ship name by the way, when I found this I was like UGH EW). Jace = Will for me. Same hot and cold personalities. Both snarky (which I did enjoy). Both with difficult family pasts, are troubled etc. There were just too many similarities between the two. But hey the romance is cute. On the rare occasion Clace manage to kiss/touch because of what happened to Jace in COLS. There was so much bloody tension and waiting it was infuriating and frustrating. You know when a book has UST and it’s lip bitingly frustrating in a good way? I WAITED TOO LONG HERE. Not in a good way. Every time, I was just like, 6 books please hurry up. However, I only JUST realised like yesterday that this WHOLE series spans 6 months. Too much crap has happened sure but still… 6 months and there’s dreams of marriage at 16/17? I know Shadowhunters get married early but woah 21st century guys.

I do like how the plot had a clear path throughout this. No more complexities, this is how it is once the twist was revealed. This is how we solve it, let’s do it. It played out nicely, and I liked how there was continuous action all the way through. From page 1 to page 733 there was always something happening, the book is constantly moving and that made it bearable. I liked the way Sebastian is developed as a villain. Sick, psychotic, but I think he just wanted to be loved and approved in that twisted way of his. There was a moment near the end where I did cry because of him! So there were definitely feels throughout this which made it enjoyable. Mainly Magnus/Alec and Brother Zachariah feels though… Still, feels!

“All my life it has scorched my veins and cut at my heart like blades, and weighed me down like lead – all my life, and I never knew it.”

I’m not going to deny that I like Clare’s writing. It’s lush, she doesn’t use words repetitively and the vocabulary is lovely. I have actually learnt some words from reading these books. I think it’s her style that managed to keep this so action-packed and the pace moving quickly, which I really appreciate. She writes snark/sarcasm really well and gives each of the main characters their own form of this – Alec, Magnus and Izzy especially. There are also some amazing phrases throughout this, which I thought applied to life in general, and some of the most heartfelt words that I’ve now written in my quote book. Can you believe who said most of these? You guessed it: BROTHER ZACHARIAH. I just love him so much. He’s so thoughtful, wise and caring. And he’s just full of so many emotions I wanna hug him omg please can I have him?

“When our hearts break, they break into shards that cannot be easily fit back together.”

“Have you ever felt that your heart contained so much that it must surely break apart?”


Despite the unnecessary length and extra storylines, I did enjoy this. Action-packed with a straight-forward plot, it ties up all the loose ends introduced in the series and brings Clace’s story to a final close.

“We are all the pieces of what we remember. We hold in ourselves the hopes and fears of those who love us. As long as there is love and memory, there is no true loss.”

Saturday, July 5, 2014

June Wrap Up & Book Haul

June was another very busy month for me. Semester 1 of uni was finishing up so I was handing in a crap tonne of assignments. In the last 2 weeks of uni alone I wrote over 10,000 words for thesis + Business Research Methods and then I had finals. I'm on break now until the end of July so YAY. I popped down to Melbourne for 5 days the week after exams to relax - I met/caught up with my gaming friends + Mel from YA Midnight Reads (she's so awesome), did heaps of shopping and went along the Great Ocean Road to see the Twelve Apostles. If you want to see more photos of my adventures, I posted some on Instagram.

The Twelve Apostles

Recap:


Book Haul



Edelweiss:

  • The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen [HarperCollins] thanks HarperCollins!


Physical Review Copies:


Thank you Simon & Schuster Aus, Allen & Unwin, Bloomsbury Aus, HarperCollins Aus and Hachette Aus for these pretties <3

Free from PTALive:



Bought:

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Review: On the Fence by Kasie West

Firstly, thanks to HarperCollins Australia for this review copy <3


Date Read: January 10 - 11 2014
Release Date: July 1st 2014
Publisher: HarperCollins Australia
Source: ARC via publisher
Genre: Contemporary
My rating: 

Synopsis:
"She's a tomboy. He's the boy next door…

Charlie Reynolds can outrun, outscore, and outwit every boy she knows. But when it comes to being a girl, Charlie doesn't know the first thing about anything. So when she starts working at a chichi boutique to pay off a speeding ticket, she finds herself in a strange new world. To cope with the stress of her new reality, Charlie takes to spending nights chatting with her neighbor Braden through the fence between their yards. As she grows to depend on their nightly Fence Chats, she realizes she's got a bigger problem than speeding tickets-she's falling for Braden. She knows what it means to go for the win, but if spilling her secret means losing him for good, the stakes just got too high.

Fun, original, and endearing, On the Fence is a romantic comedy about finding yourself and finding love where you least expect."

---

“Why did the moon make me want to spill all my secrets to Braden?”

BAM Kasie West has done it again. She is officially one of my favourite authors and I will read and buy anything by her. On the Fence was so good I finished it in 1 day. What I love about West’s contemporaries (The Distance Between Us and now On the Fence) is that while they’re great summery/fun reads, the protagonist also deals with serious issues and West handles these so well.

Our girl Charlie has grown up in an all-male household – her father raised her and her three brothers so to say she’s a bit of a tomboy is an understatement. It was quick shocking how out of touch she was not only with “being a girl” but with emotions and sensitive topics too. At one point in the beginning, they’re playing football and one of Charlie’s school friends gets a call about his grandmother dying; while everybody is giving him their condolences, Charlie just asks if they want to continue the game. But as Charlie develops relationships with new people as a result of her new job, she grows as a person. I love the way West has made this so natural and gradual – I could see Charlie have her eyes opened to another world, to have boys notice her and it was very relatable.

“I don’t know how to get over it.”

“You can only get through it.”


All the secondary characters have something to offer Charlie in terms of lessons. I liked how Amber is so accepting of Charlie and goes along with Charlie’s cluelessness. I loved the way Linda and Skye introduce Charlie to a life outside of sports and how life can be a little eccentric. Then there’s Evan who is the first guy in Charlie’s life who doesn’t see her as a tomboy, but instead as a pretty girl and this opens a whole new world for her. And finally we have Braden, the one who’s there for Charlie to talk to every night by the fence, lost in their own little world. All these great characters along with Charlie’s dad and brothers, are unique in their own way such that I wouldn’t mind if they had their own books – especially Charlie’s brothers!

“She brought something into my life that I’d never had before… I needed someone to understand me. To help me understand myself.”

West always writes such sweet romances with the cutest guys. In paranormal/fantasy/speculative fiction you have guys that are swoony and they say and do things that in a contemporary novel would be just over the top. And this has happened in quite a few contemporaries I’ve read. But Braden (and Evan) are both so real. They could be any of my (nicer) guy friends who take the time to listen to what a girl has to say. They’re by no means perfect and yet they have endearing qualities.

The romance is so cute eeeeep. There may or may not be a love triangle but it’s sweet and adorable and watching Charlie trying to unjumble all her feelings just makes me cheer for her. The romance is perfectly paced, and it progresses slowly, hesitantly and sdlkfjsldfjsdsdf I was like just WHY YOU SO CUTE CAN YOU JUST PLEASE GET TOGETHER ALL OF YOU. Yassss for reals.

“He smiled and his gaze went from my eyes, to my mouth then up to my hair.”

As Charlie and Braden’s late night talks continue, she continues to be plagued by nightmares which have a recurring theme. I loved the way this was incorporated into the plot of the book and how it relates to her inner-demons and a secret she has yet to uncover.

An absolutely refreshing read! With a relatable MC, swoony romance, many lessons to be learnt, an intriguing plot that runs deeper than you think, and all topped off with West’s fluent prose, On the Fence is a must have addition to your contemporary pile

“I don’t want this to be in our alternate reality. I want this to be in our real one.”