Thursday, 23 February 2012

It's like my birthday's come early...

Anyone around these parts will know I'm a Marissa Meyer fan girl. Cinder is a-maz-ing! So imagine my surprise when I stumbled upon this link to an AWESOME little prequel of my most beloved book. I almost wet myself with excitement!

Link for Glitches:

Now, if you haven't read Cinder that's totally cool because it doesn't give anything away. But I warn you - if you read this, you will love Peony. Complete and utter love.

I read this. It broke my heart. Poor, poor Garan. Poor, poor Peony SPOILER - looking into the future like that and she doesn't even realise it.

It even made me feel sorry for Adri and I thought THAT would be impossible!

AND LASTLY, second most awesomest of the night is this interview with Marissa Meyer (yes, I squeed a little), over at Read Me, Bookmark Me, Love Me.

 You guys should seriously check this shiz out.

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Blogspiration (2) Always Believe

Blogspiration is a Brand Spankin' New weekly meme hosted by both GrowingUp YA and Saz101. The meme was created to help spark inspiration among bloggers, readers and writers alike. An inspirational quote/picture/video is posted weekly, on the day of the author's choosing, so that it may inspire creativity, conversation and just a little SOMETHING.
Check out these gal's awesomeness:

This week's blogspiration is a little something I like to remind myself of when I'm feeling real down in the dumps:

And damn it, when I read the awesomeness that is this quote, I always try and do. Creating something - ANYTHING - makes me real happy inside.

How about you? 

Thursday, 16 February 2012

Sha-tter Me. Easy as 1, 2, 3...

Book Review for Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

"You can't touch me," 
I whisper. 
I'm lying, 
is what I don't tell him. 
He can touch me, 
is what I'll never tell him. 
Please touch me,
is what I want to tell him.
But things happen when people touch me. 
Strange things.
Bad things.
Dead things.

Nathan Bransford first introduced Tahereh Mafi to my little word. He picked her up as a debut novelist and told the world of her glory. This amazing book. This supremely talented author. Even though Nathan moved on from agent-ing, Tahereh found another, and Shatter Me found the world.
I’ve heard about this book so many, many, many times. I’ve seen the cover and hated it wondered if I could read a book like that.
Honestly, I didn’t think I could get past the supermodel/runway-type cover that just screams LOOK AT ME; I’M A YOUNG ADULT IN A PRETTY DRESS. Blah. No thanks. But I did. 1, 2, 49 chapters and my mind
Good Lord.

At Face Value: I think I’ve said enough. This cover has nothing to do with anything and its lameness is only beaten by Vampire Academy. ALL SIX BOOKS. If Nathan Bransford hadn’t been all over this book, well, the cover would had been a MASSIVE deal breaker for me. (Blog pic is courtesy of Sweden FYI :P).

Immediate Reaction: I put the book down. The ending was final. I was okay. I could go on. That is not a good thing.

High Five: Gah! From the first page I was so sure I’d get my high five. That makes it even harder for me to do this. FOUR! Shatter Me only gets a FOUR, okay? Now stop judging so I can crawl back under that dystopian rock I’ve been clinging to.

Favourite Quote: So. Many. I know I say that a lot but Tahereh’s writing is. Just. Just. WOAH! So I’m giving you two.

“ Hope in this world bleeds out of the barrel of a gun. ”

She is a walking weapon in this society, is what the teachers said. We’ve never seen anything like it, is what the doctors said. She should be removed from your home, is what the police officers said.
No problem at all, is what my parents said. I was 14 years old when they finally got rid of me. When they stood back and watched as I was dragged away for a murder I didn’t know I could commit. ”

The first thing that anyone who opens Shatter Me would notice is the prose. Mafi has such a unique style it’s mind blowing. There is no way her writing could get mixed up with that of another YA author because I HAVE NEVER read anything like it, you guys. After the first chapter or so I was in love with Mafi’s writing. I cannot possibly convince you enough that she is one talented woman. I remember thinking at one point that the writing would exhaust me by the time the book finished, but it didn’t. It. Just. Didn’t.

From the very first page you can tell there is something seriously up in Juliette’s head. The way Shatter Me has been written makes it almost read like Juliette is writing everything that happens to her down. But it goes deeper than that. Juliette’s true thoughts and feelings are the things she strikes out. She lies to herself completely. She hides in her head. She is so crazy-afraid of herself that she won’t open up. Fear of herself drives her every emotion. YOU GUYS, Juliette is DEEP, okay? And then there’s her obsession with numbers which adds another layer to everything Juliette does. This character trait could have so easily been a gimmick but Mafi is better than that. Way, way, better. So talented so talented, this woman is just so talented.

And then along came Adam. Gorgeous, tough, and COMPLETELY AND UTTERLY SWOONWORTHLY! This is how to write a deep love interest for a young adult novel. So don’t say you haven’t been warned. Adam is tough, he kicks arse, and he brings out a strength and confidence in Juliette that really lights up the page. Add in Mafi’s AWESOME writing skillz and I was sold from the moment they were thrown in the cell together.

Other characters of note are James, Adam’s massively adorable little brother. WARNER, my new fav. psychopath! Seriously, this dude is even more messed in the head than Mara Dyer. And that’s saying something. Gah! Warner! I love him I love him I love him I hate him. And finally, there’s Kenji. This character literally leaps from the page and demands attention in his own right. Kenji is so amazingly well developed and I WANT HIM AS A PET!

To add to this stellar cast, the awesome writing, and fabulous main characters, are some scenes that ignited my blood. There was a whole heap of heavy petting, some intense convos on feelings and shiz, and a whole heap of screwed up situations that Juliette is forced into by my new love Warner.

SO WHY DIDN’T THIS BOOK GET A HIGH FIVE? ARE YOU REALLY THE CRAZY PSYCOPATH? I hear you guys ask. Umm… no. At least, not when I last checked…

The nitty gritty of the matter is that Shatter Me didn’t blow my mind. The writing did. Juliette’s mental state and vulnerability did. But the things that happened, the scenes that should have had me on the end of my seat didn’t. They kept my attention. They made me want more. But I didn’t feel that kind of desperate NEED to tear through the remaining pages because the end of the book was tame. It ended nicely. This book could stand-alone. Basically, the ending pattered off into the ambiguity of fairytale land.

THAT SAID, Unravel Me IS going to get a five. I can feel it in the air. The ending of this book may have been tame but to me, it kind of feels like the calm before the storm. Juliette has been given a reprieve before shit seriously goes flying. And my God, will I be there when it does. Release day. I literally

354 days remaining. 354 days until I get to experience Tahereh Mafi’s writing again. 

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

I'm gonna send my lovin' to you!

For Friday the thirteenth, I shared a little something from Corvette that I hoped was on the darker side. So, in honour of Valentine’s Day (and my official 'one month' mark), I’d like to share a little love from Jenna. Out of context of course, but hopefully you’ll enjoy :)

The hand that wasn’t propping him up reached out and stroked my face. My eyes fluttered closed at his touch as tingles flowed through me and it was then I realised I’d gone too far. I had to pull away, to get out of there, but I couldn’t. He shifted closer.
“To think you’re possibly the most beautiful girl I’ve ever seen…”
My last chance. My last chance to do something, say something. My mouth opened feebly but no words came out.
His hand covered the whole side of my face as he shifted to hover above me. I saw the green in his blue eyes right before he closed them.
Then he kissed me.
    ~Christian and Jenna, Chapter eleven, Illusion of a Majesty

Feel free to leave thoughts – all are appreciated. I’ve grown a tough skin so I can handle pretty much anything.
Except, maybe, zombies.
Don’t send a horde of those after me, okay?

Monday, 13 February 2012

Blogspiration (1): Brought to you by the Brothers Grimm

Blogspiration is a Brand Spankin' New weekly meme hosted by both GrowingUp YA and Saz101. The meme was created to help spark inspiration among bloggers, readers and writers alike. An inspirational quote/picture/video is posted weekly, on the day of the author's choosing, so that it may inspire creativity, conversation and just a little SOMETHING.
Check out these gal's awesomeness:
Let me first off start by saying I friggen love this idea. So much. I wish I'd had it myself but I didn't so aw well, I'll just join in with these two lovely ladies.
My little note of inspiration is brought to you by the brothers Grimm. As they are a favourite, and as I have taken to rereading a fairytale a night, I thought I'd share a quote with you that stuck true to me. It's the last line from Hansel and Gretel.
"My tale is done, see the mouse run, whoever catches it, may make himself a big fur cap out of it."
Now what in the heckers does that mean, right? I mean, these guys were apparently crazy but this line sounds like something Adrian Ivashkov might spout. Just trust me when I say this quote inspires me. Why? Because these wonderfully wonderful brothers knew that rewards only come with a whole lot of effort. And it's that message they're trying to convey. Hansel and Gretel had to fight their way back to their family and when they got there, they were richer than ever. Now the Grimm-y boys weren't saying hard work would make you rich. But they were saying it would be worth it. So next time you're about to *headdesk*, give up, or yank out your hair extensions, remember the brothers Grimm weren't bald.
And they wrote 201 fairytales that are still read today. Clearly these guys were on to something.   

Sunday, 12 February 2012

somebody, please help me! i think ma-mara's gone cra-zay...

book review for the unbecoming of mara dyer by michelle hodkins

mara dyer doesn't think life can get any stranger than waking up in hospital with no memory of how she got there.
 it can.

she believes there must be more to the accident she can't remember that killed her friends and left her mysteriously unharmed.
 there is.

she doesn't believe that after everything she's been through, she can fall in love.
 she's wrong.    

*taken from inside the cover jacket. 

Mara Dyer. Man I was dying to get my hands on this book. I’m not sure if it was all the things I had heard about it, or the massively split opinions, but it was one I couldn't wait to read. Every review I read made it clear that you would finish reading the book and either love the shiz out of it, or want to burn the entire thing. I kinda wanted to know which of these two camps I fit into and, of course, I wanted to see (for once) what the fuss was all about.

Would I clutch this book to me and never let it go? Would I swoon like crazy over Noah? Would I fling it across the room with frustration at the characters’ complete and utter stereotypical behaviour? Would I be sucked into the novel and have to fight blood-dripping monsters to get back out again? (Yeah, the answer to that one is no, BTDUBS).

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer
by Michelle Hodkins didn’t come with a back blurb. It did come with quotes from some pretty awesome authors about the book’s awesomeness. The first one being Veronica Roth. As soon as I read that I plunged right on in.

my review:

At face value: Can’t help but notice the whole ‘floating in the water thing’ is becoming a trend in young adult novels lately… Even so, this is beautifully done.

Immediate reaction: Brain numb. Punch in the face. What the heck just happened?

High Five: Until I was about ¾ of the way through, this book was so in for a high five. Then the last ¼ happened. So I give it a four.

Favourite Quote: So many good ones. But I chose this mostly because the others gave too much away and also because this happens within the first 35 pages! Hodkins doesn’t waste time!

"The girl in the mirror smiled. But she wasn’t me.
It was Claire. Her red hair spilled over my shoulder where my brown hair should have been. Then her reflection bent, sinister in the glass. The room tilted, pitching me to the side. I bit my tongue, then braced my hands on the counter. When I looked up at the mirror, it was once again my face that stared back."

Now, straight up, this book blew my fricken mind. And at the end of chapter twelve, that book was so close to my nose I had an ink stain for a week. I couldn’t put it down. I read it through dinner, I read it in the shower, and while my boy was off at work, I read it until I finished at one in the morning. It made me anxious, gave me butterflies, and at parts, scared the shit out of me – not shiz, shit. I loved every twist and turn. I loved every hallucination. I loved that at one point I realised I had no clue what was real and what wasn’t. The book made me second-guess everything Mara told me and it was UNBE-FRIGGEN-LIEVABLE!

Mara was a strong, well-developed character. She is also crazy. Hodkins writes the insanity so well you can see it in your mind, and blurs the edges of Mara’s reality so much that the things she sees become as real to her as breathing. Claire and Jude haunt her waking hours and the guilt and remorse she feels for Rachel really yanks at your heartstrings. There are also some really beautifully written passages like the Ouija board part in the beginning that is linked to again at the end. The ‘intense’ parts she ‘imagines’ (I’m trying to keep it brief here, kids) with Mabel’s owner and Ms Morales. And pretty much every part where Mara goes from the ‘real world’ into ‘crazy-town’ are so seamless you barely notice them happening.

Now let’s talk a little about Noah. I’ve heard the term ‘panty-dropping’ and ‘swoon-worthy’ applied to this playful Brit. And I get it, he’s a hotty. He’s sarcastic, and rich, and is drawn to Mara for reasons unknown. The reality is though, he brought the book down. He also told Mara, and I Quote:

" I narrowed my eyes at him. "You're evil."
In response, Noah smiled, and he raised his finger to gently tap the tip of my nose.
"And you're mine," he said, then he walked away. "

I mean, ICK! That is not hot. It's not romantic. And after the bitch drops that bomb he turns his back and ditches her.
I’m well aware there will be a bunch of YA readers bashing on my blog-o-sphere with pitchforks and other e-weapons designed solely to cause me a heck load of pain but… he seriously detracted from the 'real' plot. There was some good ol’ playful banter between the two. There was fun and cuteness and… well that’s more or less it. One scene, ONE, in the whole novel stuck with me. And that was because something really awful and horrific ‘seems’ to happen (pg. 377, hardcover edition, if you'd like to know). And then we moved on…
The parts with Noah totally took away from the parts between Mara and, well, Mara. Oh, and her brothers. They were cute.

Noah is also the reason this book only got a four. Granted, I was still willing to give it a five with Noah included but then the MAJOR SCENE happened. It was too easy. Whilst reading it, I was sucked in. A ‘certain’ character acts WAY suspiciously and I SO wanted them to be the villain. But they weren’t. And as soon as I realised they weren’t, the whole MAJOR SCENE seemed pointless.

Mara’s mum was also a massive pain in the tooshy, as was her awkward, unsympathetic dad. There were some pretty flat characters at Mara’s school that did some mean (?whatevs) stuff to her and the only friend of hers I actually gave a damn about, Jamie, is ejected so suddenly from the book I got whiplash watching him go. And then he’s never mentioned again – what? I get that Hodkins wanted to clear the way for the awesomeness that is Noah but… yeah. Not feeling it. Also, the whole supernatural thing that’s kind of thrown in at the end – WHERE THE HECKIN’ HELL DID THAT COME FROM?!

Okay, so I know it sounds like I’m ranting but that’s only because I was SERIOUSLY READY TO MARRY THIS BOOK AND RUN AWAY FOREVERZ and then the end happened. It was like eating the sweetest block of chocolate in the world and finding a hair in it. No, it was actually more like playing Russian Roulette and ACTUALLY SHOOTING YOURSELF IN THE FACE. Like adopting a totally gorgeous puppy and having said puppy EAT YOU. The point I’m getting at here; it was not pleasant.

Then there’s the letter in the front of the book. I get what it means, it’s written well and snatches your attention, but I’m still not really sure what it has to do with anything, or even where it’s supposed to fit in to this whole story…

Despite the above, I seriously recommend you read this book. I know it’s one I’ll reread again soon, now that I know what to expect. I know it’s one that will stay with me for a while and as soon as that sequel comes out, I’ll have it clutched in my pincers and I’m sure I’ll devour it just as quickly. Mara Dyer really is something that you don’t come across very often. And I love, that as a debut novelist, Michelle Hodkins took that chance.

Saturday, 11 February 2012

Holy Macarolli, Batman. The Mafi is giving away the Booki...

Tahereh Mafi is giving away books. FREE books.

Like, omiGOD these are some seriously AWESOME, FREE books.

Go check it out. Right meow. This is no '25 words or less' shiz.
Also, check out her book, Shatter Me. I will be so very, very soon, except I'm STILL waiting on Amazon to ship it to me. Any... Day... Now...

But JUST so I can convince you guys:

Juliette hasn't touched anyone in exactly 264 days.

The last time she did, it was an accident, but The Reestablishment locked her up for murder. No one knows why Juliette's touch is fatal. As long as she doesn't hurt anyone else, no one really cares. The world is too busy crumbling to pieces to pay attention to a 17-year-old girl. Diseases are destroying the population, food is hard to find, birds don't fly anymore, and the clouds are the wrong color.

The Reestablishment said their way was the only way to fix things, so they threw Juliette in a cell. Now so many people are dead that the survivors are whispering war-- and The Reestablishment has changed its mind. Maybe Juliette is more than a tortured soul stuffed into a poisonous body. Maybe she's exactly what they need right now.

Juliette has to make a choice:
Be a weapon. Or be a warrior.

In this electrifying debut, Tahereh Mafi presents a world as riveting as The Hunger Games and a superhero story as thrilling as The X-Men. Full of pulse-pounding romance, intoxicating villainy, and high-stakes choices, Shatter Me is a fresh and original dystopian novel with a paranormal twist that will leave readers anxiously awaiting its sequel.

Duh, duh, DUH!

Follow this link to watch the book trailer or cheat and read the first chapter :P

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

I'm-a, I'm-a, Deviant

Book review for Divergent

One choice decides your friends, defines your beliefs and determines your loyalties... forever.

When sixteen-year-old Tris makes her choice, she cannot foresee how drastically her life will change. Or that the perfect society in which she lives is about to unfold into a dystopian world of electrifying decisions, stunning consequences, heartbreaking betrayals and unexpected romance. 

One Choice can transform you.

To be honest, I saw this book non-stop on shelves a few months back but it never piqued my interest. The blurb was kind of vague, the cover was overly dystopian, which I love now, but really wasn’t into back then.
Then I started to read on quite a few blogs about a book with five factions, a hero called Tris and a schmexy teacher dude called Four and you couldn’t keep me away from the shops for long enough.
Too bad when I finally went to buy it, the book was nowhere to be found.
Well, Amazon delivered last week after a fortnight of waiting and then… Veronica Roth happened. And ho-ly cow. I’m so glad I read those blogs.

My Review: 

At face value: The Dauntless symbol on the front is pretty cool however the city across the bottom and two people in the corner screamed MG for me.

Immediate Reaction: I can wait for the next one only because it comes out this year. Until then, bring on more dystopians.

High Five: Had to give it a four. No thumb. Everything just measures up to Cinder now.

Favourite Quote:
“Four! Three!”
What did Tobias tell me? Selflessness and bravery aren’t that different.
I release the trigger of my gun and drop it. Before I can lose my nerve, I turn and press my forehead to the barrel of the gun behind me.
Shoot me instead.
I hear a click, and a bang.

Divergent is so obviously, OTT, dystopic. There is no way Roth had a problem trying to place it in a genre. The characters, whilst maintaining the strength of most dystopic characters, are what really drives this story. Tris, coming from Abnegation, keeps her morals and even though she is tough to the maximus, she still feels human emotions and knows the difference between right and wrong. I heart her for that.

Now, because the blurb gives practically nothing to go on, I’ll do my own little recap of the book. Tris, or Beatrice (blah!) as she’s originally known, has been born into Abnegation, one of the five factions of Chicago. The other four are Dauntless, Amity, Erudite and Candor. These all stand for different personality traits. Everyone at the age of sixteen takes a test, the test tells them where they fit best and then, they get to choose anyway. SPOILER. (Like you didn’t already know it was coming) Tris chooses Dauntless. These guys are the badass fighting league of the factions who have very little-to-no people skills in my opinion. There is a lot of power and greed in this faction and more than one person ends up getting a boo-boo. MOVING ON, in comes Four, or should I say, Phaw, to distract me with his ‘I’m so badass, I’m really good’ type of thing that he does. And then, like all dystopians, we jump ahead a little and there’s fighting and rebellion and what-not. Sound good? Mmk, moving on.

Roth has developed this futuristic view of Chicago so deeply it’s hard to believe it doesn’t exist already. The five factions are so completely devoid of any human deviance from the norm that you pretty much start to doubt these people are humans at all. The belief systems are established early on, but the way each faction holds its citizens to these beliefs so completely, feels forced. I’m glad Roth brought in the factionless because otherwise, I may not have been able to get past the idea that with only five factions, there really should be more Divergents. 
THAT SAID, the end comes along and I’m proved right. So there.

The characters I’d like to give a little mention to are Christina, who I really liked in the beginning and then not-so-much at the end, Al, poor, poor Al. Will, who was all kinds of cute. And Eric. This guy was like a five year old playing grown up. Dang he was annoying, and played his part perfectly. As for what happened between Tris and Will, holy moly I wanted to TEAR THAT DAMN PAGE OUT AND PRETEND IT NEVER HAPPENED. Ahem.

 I loved (and at the same time hated) the parts with Peter. To me, he was the one I really felt sorry for. What he did to Edward was just… And then what he did to Al and Tris… That is one screwed up character. And man, did he make things interesting! I loved that Four was a deep character and not just someone dancing about on the sidelines. I loved the part where he threw knives and Tris’s head. I loved when they climbed the Ferris wheel together. But mostly, I loved the two parts in the simulation room. They were AWESOME!

 Now, the nitty gritty stuff that stopped this book from getting a high five really weren’t that big of a deal. Firstly, the OMIGOD moment that was supposed to happen with her brother (I don’t even remember that kid’s name) really wasn’t very shocking. I think I saw it coming in the second chapter and was positive by the third.
 A few times there were scared people mentioned and I still have no idea what that was about. And the part with TRIS and WILL that I cannot mention and am still pretending DIDN’T HAPPEN, also made me not like this book, although I appreciate that Roth went there.
 Mostly though, it was the ‘climax’ so to speak. Whilst reading it, I enjoyed it. But it didn’t get my heart rate going. It didn’t make me never want to put the book down again. I guess, in a sense, I didn’t feel the danger. And that’s a big problem for me. Looking back on it, it seemed too easy. What happens with Four could have been taken into the realms of so damn disturbing but it was like Roth just wanted to get to that last chapter. Don’t get me wrong, I still enjoyed reading it, but it really had the potential to be that much more.

 Still, this book got a Four off me. I loved it, I loved the concept and I especially loved Tris. There are plenty of people out there that have given it a five but for me, a five is a massively high honour, and I refuse to give it out until I find a book I deem perfect. Divergent was close. Bring on Insurgent!