Monthly Archives: Mar 2015

Book of the Month #3: March 2015

Book of the Month is a meme where I list all of the books that I have read this month and nominate my favorite.

March Reads (In Order):

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The Moment Collector by Jodi Lynn Anderson

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Water So Deep by Nichole Giles

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City of Fae by Pippa DaCosta

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Hidden Deep by Amy Patrick

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The Lost Herondale by Cassandra Clare and Robin Wasserman

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Insurgent by Veronica Roth

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The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski

March’s Book of the Month is….

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*drum roll please*

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The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski! I have just finished reading this and it is absolutely fantastic! Be sure to check out my review and keep an eye out for my thoughts on the second book, The Winner’s Crime.

What are your thoughts? Have you read any of the books that I did this month? Do you have a different preference? Why/Why not? Do you agree with me? How many books have you read this month? Do you have any recommendations for me? Please leave your answers in the comments below.

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The Winner’s Curse (The Winner’s Trilogy #1)

Read on 31st May, 2015

Author: Marie Rutkoski

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5 Stars

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Winning what you want may cost you everything you love… 

As a general’s daughter in a vast empire that revels in war and enslaves those it conquers, seventeen-year-old Kestrel has two choices: she can join the military or get married. But Kestrel has other intentions.

One day, she is startled to find a kindred spirit in a young slave up for auction. Arin’s eyes seem to defy everything and everyone. Following her instinct, Kestrel buys him—with unexpected consequences. It’s not long before she has to hide her growing love for Arin.

But he, too, has a secret, and Kestrel quickly learns that the price she paid for a fellow human is much higher than she ever could have imagined.

Set in a richly imagined new world, The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski is a story of deadly games where everything is at stake, and the gamble is whether you will keep your head or lose your heart.

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I can’t even right now. I just – no.

The Winner’s Curse has quickly risen to the top of my favourites list – right up there with Dragonfly by Julia Golding, Throne of Glass by Sarah J Maas, the Tortallian series (plural) by Tamora Pierce, and others. The main characters are brilliant (I mean that both in a descriptive and literal way – they are both wicked smart), the world building fantastic and the plot line all that I could have hoped for and more.

Fantasy, romance, intrigue, friendship, betrayal, high society, rebellion, revolution, torn loyalties… “The Winner’s Curse” is beyond epic.

Strange as it was, there was only one character that I hated, and it is not the obvious one. To keep this spoiler-free, let’s just say that I actually started out liking the person in question, but that quickly turned to loathing as his true character came out. Not only is he unwise and disrespectful, but he is a sexist pig with seemingly no regard for human life. When misfortune befell him I laughed – and felt no remorse whatsoever. I do, however, admit to loving to hate him – but that’s hardly the same thing.

Aside from the story itself, The Winner’s Curse has an absolutely spectacular cover and interior – it’s so pretty!! And in paperback! *squeal* (The picture really doesn’t do it justice.) While I was reading Insurgent, I couldn’t help but spend quite a lot of time devoted to staring at the cover and flicking through the pages, sighing at how pretty it is. Unfortunately, I cannot do this to my copy of Winner’s Crime as it is an eBook (courtesy of NetGallery) and hence will most likely eventually cave in and buy a hardcopy version…

There is so much more that can be said about this amazing work of fiction, but I have decided to keep it short as I am already suffering from withdrawal… I shudder to think what I shall be like at the end of Winner’s Crime upon facing the reality that I will have to wait another year to read the final book (and, let’s face it, probably a  cliffhanger worse than this one).

If you loved The Winner’s Curse, read The Winner’s Crime and are now suffering from withdrawal symptoms, I highly recommend checking out Dragonfly by Julia Golding. It is a high fantasy standalone and is one of my all time favourite novels – I have probably read it about seven times already.

Insurgent (Divergent #2)

Finished 29th March, 2015

Author: Veronica Roth

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4 Stars

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One choice can transform you – or it can destroy you. Tris Prior’s initiation day should have been marked by victorious celebrations with her chosen faction; instead it ended with unspeakable horrors. Now unrest surges in the factions around her as conflict between their ideologies grows.

In times of war sides must be chosen and secrets will emerge. Tris has already paid a terrible price for survival and is wracked by haunting grief and guilt. But radical new discoveries and shifting relationships mean that she must fully embrace her Divergence – even though she stands to lose everything…

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“Insurgent… Noun. A person who acts in opposition to the established authority, who is not necessarily regarded as belligerent.”

Insurgent is a very well put together, easy, intriguing read. I found the world really easy to slip back into and, as this is my second time reading it, I picked up on several things that have only now come to light as I have read Allegiant. On that note, the foreshadowing just about killed me. And I am not just talking about the end of Insurgent – no, it is clear as day that Veronica Roth had the ending of the trilogy planned out long before she actually started writing it. Throughout the whole book there is definitive clues to that end, which seriously messed with my emotions.

“‘My dear girl,'” she says. ‘I am his family. I am permanent. You are only temporary.'”

Do you see? Do you? Do you? Seriously, it was quite destressing…

Veronica’s characters are complicated, layered and realistic. There is always more to someone than meets the eye – you can never know all that there is to know about them. This is a really important message to broadcast and Veronica does this beautifully.
Uriah is amusing, sassy, sarcastic, fun and a brilliant character to read about. He is a great friend – especially to Tris – and has brought her out of a slump several times.

“‘A representative?’ Zeke says. ‘She’s not going herself?’
‘Yeah, and stand out in the open where a bunch of angry people with guns can take aim?’ Uriah smirks a little. ‘I’d like to see her try. No, really, I would.'”

Marline is sweet and slightly naive. She didn’t really leave much of am impression on me aside from the vague imprint of her bubbly personality. However, I have not read Divergent in over a year, so that may factor into my opinion.

Lynn, Shauna and Zeke were all brilliant characters as well. They, Marlene and Zeke express what it’s like to be truly Dauntless – they are fun, loud, hilarious and free.

“By the time the fight dies down, my clothes are more paint-coloured than black. I decide to keep the shirt to remind me why I chose Dauntless in the first place: not because they are perfect, but because they are alive. Because they are free.”

Both Tris and Tobias simultaneously made me love them and grow extremely frustrated. However, the main thing to take away about their characters is that they fought for what they believed in and remained strong despite the odds. They are by no means perfect, but neither are we. I loved them as a couple and feel that they compliment each other so well – especially after seeing from Tobias’ point of view in Four.

“‘Sleep,’ he says. ‘I’ll fight the bad dreams off if they come get you.’
‘With what?’
‘My bare hands, obviously.'”

Upon first reading the trilogy, I remember really disliking Christina. Now, I actually really like her character. She’s sassy, reliable and loyal. Christina was Tris’ first real friend, and their relationship really expresses that.

“‘Fine.’ [Christina] sighs. ‘I would take out the blush, but I’m pretty sure it’s not the right colour for you.”
‘Shocking, considering we’re so similar in skin tone.'”

The Erudite were just as brilliant, hilarious and awesome as I remembered. By this, I am referring to Cara, Fernando and the rest of the crew – the non-brainwashed members who display the true values of the faction. As an Erudite myself, I couldn’t be more proud to have these amazing people representing my faction and showing that not all members are corrupt.

“My father taught me to see the Erudite a particular way. He never taught me that they made no judgments about what people believed, but designed things for them within the confines of their beliefs. He never told me that they could be funny, or that they could critique their own faction from the inside… He never told me that an Erudite could offer to help me even after I killed her brother.”

For whatever reason, I kept picturing Fernando as a twelve year old… I have no idea why, because he’s actually sixteen (he was in Caleb’s initiate class).

“‘Nando?’ I say to him. ‘I thought the Erudite didn’t like nicknames?’
‘When a pretty girl calls you by a nickname,’ he says, ‘it is only logical to respond to it.'”

Yep, still twelve. (Sorry Nando!)

Johanna was another amazing characters who supported the true values of her faction – for Amity was not always about avoiding existing conflict to preserve peace. Below is a quote from the original Amity Faction Manifesto, which was later removed (as seen in World of Divergent).

Involvement
One Friend says to Another: ‘Friend, today I fought with my enemy.’
The Other Friend says: ‘Why did you fight with your enemy?’
‘Because they were about to hurt you.’
‘Friend, why did you defend me?’
‘Because I love you.’
‘Then I am grateful.'”

Veronica has subtly woven  some serious themes into her writing, making it all the more believable. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), homosexuality, abuse, prejudice, forgiveness and beauty that runs deeper than surface appearances are all examples of this.

“Colour fills her cheeks, and I think it again: that Johanna Reyes might still be beautiful. Except now I think that she isn’t just beautiful in spite of the scar, she’s somehow beautiful with it, like Lynn with buzzed hair, like Tobias with the memories of his father’s cruelty that he wears like armor, like my mother in her plain grey clothing.”

Insurgent was a fun read and while the trilogy is a YA series, it great for all ages, whether you don’t read much or read way too much (though, arguably, that is impossible). I am really looking forward to watching the movie and seeing how well it has been adapted.

Other Notable Quotes:

“‘Thank God,’ he  says, pressing his forehead to the door. ‘I was beginning to think it would never wear off and I would have to leave you here to…smell flowers, or whatever you wanted to do while you were on that stuff.'”

“There is a part of me that wants to be lost, that struggles to join my parents and Will so that I don’t have to ache for them anymore. A part of me that wants to see whatever comes next.”

“Sometimes I feel like I am collecting the lessons each faction has to teach me, and storing them in my mind like a guidebook for moving through the world. There is always something to learn, and that is important to understand.”

“I laugh, mirthless, a mad laugh. I savor the scowl on her face, the hate in her eyes. She was like a machine; she was cold and emotionless, bound by logic alone. And I broke her.
I broke her.” (In reference to Jeannine.)

“Telling me the time is a small act of betrayal – and therefore an ordinary act of bravery. It is maybe the first time I’ve seen Peter be truly Dauntless.”

“Every part of my body chants it in unison. Live, live, live. I thought that in order to give my life in exchange for Will’s, in exchange for my parents’, that I needed to die, but I was wrong; I need to live my life in the light of their deaths. I need to live.”

“Every part of his posture suggests ease… I have never seen him look so comfortable without a gun. I didn’t think it was possible.”

“‘Woah there, Tobias,’ says the man to my left. ‘Weren’t you raised a Stiff? I thought the most you people did was…graze hands or something.’
‘Then how do you explain all the Abnegation children?’ Tobias raises his eyebrows.
‘They’re brought into being by the sheer force of will,’ the woman on the arm of the chair interjects. ‘Didn’t you know that, Tobias?'” (This is by far my favourite)

Book Tag Thurdays

By mere coincidence, the last two posts on this blog (which are book tags) happen to have both been posted on Thursdays.

I saw this cute picture and was wondering if I should turn this into a weekly meme. I have now found out that was made by lifeofafemalebibliophile and (I believe) so was this meme.

So, would any of you be interested in a Book Tag Thursday meme? I have a few to start off, but I would love to hear any book tag suggestions and general thoughts from you guys!

Reading Habits Tag

Hello! This is my second book tag and the first one that I was actually tagged in (thank you tattooedpages!) This tag was created by TheBookJazz and has been floating around BookTube for a while. I am a huge believer that more people should participate in book tags and challenges in the Blogosphere so without further ado, here it is:

#1. Do you have a certain place at home for reading?

Yes, I rarely read at home in places other than my bed. (I love it!!)

#2. Bookmark or random piece of paper?

A bookmark! My local bookstore (QBD) have these AMAZING bookmarks for $3 each. Although I have an array of other bookmarks, I always find myself using these.

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I also have another one which I can’t seem to find but has a really cute picture of a tiger with the text “Is it Friday yet?” It’s so adorable! I love them all but I have to say that the first two are my favorites.

#3. Can you just stop reading or do you have to stop after a chapter/a certain amount of pages?

So long as I finish the paragraph, I’m not too fussed. Recently I’ve been reading a lot in 5-10 minute time slots, stealing a few chapters here and there when I finish a task early or such. When I’m at home, I like to read until the end of the chapter but I don’t mind too much.
#4. Do you eat or drink while reading?

Haha, no. One of the reasons I watch BookTube/vlogbrothers/CrashCourse so much is because I can’t read while eating.

#5. Multitasking: Music or TV while reading?

Again, no. I love immersing myself in books and I find it really hard to do that while there is noise in the background – another reason why I love reading in my room so much. However, I sometime try to read during the ad breaks when I’m watching TV (this usually fails).

#6. One book at a time or several at once?

Several at once. While I enjoy reading one book at a time, it usually does not happen often.

#7. Reading at home or everywhere?

I prefer to read at home, but I try to bring a book with me most places I go.

#8. Reading out loud or silently in your head?

Silently in my head. I feel awkward reading aloud and my first instinct is always to read it in my head.

#9. Do you read ahead or even skip pages?

Admittedly, I used to (4-5 years ago) have a huge problem with this. I am so glad that I am over it…

#10. Breaking the spine or keeping it like new?

I honestly don’t really know what it means to “break the spine”… I love having my books look new, but reading them is even better. So if my spine “breaks”, so long as it doesn’t threaten the integrity of the pages (i.e. make them fall out) I guess I’m fine with it.

#11. Do you write in your books?

Other than my school books, no. And by school books I do not mean text books. Seriously, I highlight excessively and everything… Sometimes at least. But I always write in school novels, be it in greylead, pen or highlighter.

#12. Who do you tag?

I don’t really know anyone in the Blogosphere who does book tags and I would like to see that change so I tag all of you lovely people!

If you decide to do this tag or have completed books tags before leave the link(s) below and I’ll be sure to check them out.

Book Scavenger Hunt Tag

Hello! I saw this tag on jessethereader and felt compelled to follow along – so I decided to make a blog post about it. This is an older tag that went around the BookTube community (for those of you who don’t know, that’s those people who post videos about books on YouTube) just under a year ago and I’m not entirely sure who started/created it. This is (I think) my first time participating in a tag so let me know your thoughts on it.

#1: Find an author’s name or a book title with the letter Z in it.

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Falling into Place by Amy Zhang.

#2: Find a classic.

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The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien. Yes, I realise that it is the movie cover, but it was cheap and besides, Martin Freeman.

#3: Find a book with a key on it.

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I have two choices for this one: my French edition of Incarceron by Catherine Fisher (it is actually my only edition) & Sarah Dessen’s Lock and Key, which actually came with a pretty necklace of a key that, if you look carefully, you can see pictured in the photo.

#4: Find the oldest book on your bookshelf.

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The book on my shelf that I have had the longest would have to be my bind-up of Deltora Quest which I bought (actually, I’m pretty sure my Mum bought it for me) and read about six years ago. Deltora Quest was actually what really got me into reading in the first place – so not only is it the oldest book on my book shelf, but I would argue that it is one of the most influential books on there too.

#5: Find a book with a girl on the cover of it.

Well, considering that I have 95 books that fit that description (yes, I counted them) it’s not as if I am short of options.

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However, for the sake of the challenge I have chosen Dragonfly by Julia Golding to be my representative. Dragonfly is not a very well-known novel, but it is one of my all-time favorite books – I have probably read it at least 6 times – at least. I definitely think that it has a little bit in it for everyone.

#6: Find a book with an animal on the cover.

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Another amazing book, Wild Magic by Tamora Pierce is my pick for this category.

#7: Find a with a male protagonist.

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The Ruins of Gorlan by John Flanagan. This copy is actually signed, which is pretty awesome.

#8: Find a book with only words on it.

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The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

#9: Find a book with illustrations inside it.

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Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Ultimate Guide by Disney Hyperion. Also known as the ugliest book on my shelf. Persephone is pretty though…

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#9: Find a book with gold lettering on it.

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Legend by Marie Lu. The lettering is gold – I promise!

#11: Find a diary true or fictional.

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A Rose for the ANZAC Boys is not a diary, but is made up largely of letters, which are crucial to the story. Anyway, I’m counting it.

#12: Find a book written by an author with a common last name, like Smith.

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Rhiannon of the Spring by Allen Frewin Jones – Jones is a common last name.

Side note: the cover has essentially nothing to do with the book. The dress? Yeah, so not pre medieval times. And it’s not only the first book – it’s all of them. I very much doubt that the cover artist had any idea of what the quartet is about.

#13: Find a book that has something close up in it.

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The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen.

#14: Find a book on your shelf that takes place in the earliest time period.

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Wolf Brother by Michelle Paver. This book takes place thousands of years ago – not hundreds, thousands.

#15: Find a hardcover book without a dust jacket.

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I don’t own many hardcover novels, but those that I do all have their dust jackets intact. However, Secrets of Deltora and Tales of Deltora by Emily Rodda and Marc McBride are companion books to the afore mentioned Deltora Quest series and, although they did not come with dust jackets, are still hardbacks so I’m counting them.

#16: Find a book with a teal/turquoise cover.

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You can’t really see it in the photo, but Of Poseidon by Anna Banks does in fact have a teal/turquoise cover. This is actually an ex-library book.

#17: Find a book with stars on it.

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This took me quite a while but I eventually found my answer in The Faerie Path, also by (Allen) Frewin Jones.

#18: Find a non YA book on your shelf.

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Despite having a selection of children and middle grade books on my shelves (though they largely consist of YA), I felt the need to return to the classics with Breakfast at Tiffany’s by Truman Capote.

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So that was the Bookshelf Scavenger Hunt tag! Did you enjoy it? I know I had fun. How do you think I went? Do you know any of the books that I listed? If so, what do you think of them? Do you watch BookTube? I would love to hear your thoughts!

Although this is a reasonably old tag, I definitely encourage you to try it! I would love it of you did.

Also, do you have any interest in a tour of my bookshelves? Please let me know of you do and I’ll be sure to publish one shortly.

The Lost Herondale (Tales From the Shadowhunter Academy #2) + An Excerpt from Lady Midnight (The Dark Artifices #1)

Read on 18th March, 2015

Authors: Cassandra Clare & Robin Wasserman

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4 Stars

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Simon learns the worst crime a Shadowhunter can commit: desertion of their comrades.

In the early nineteenth century, Tobias Herondale abandoned his fellow Shadowhunters in the heat of battle and left them to die. His life was forfeit, but Tobias never returned, and the Clave claimed his wife’s life in exchange for Tobias’s.

Simon and his fellow students are shocked to learn of this brutality, especially when it is revealed the woman was pregnant. But what if the child survived…could there be a lost Herondale line out in the world today?

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Like every Cassandra Clare book, I absolutely adored The Lost Herondale. It was fun to read; we saw old friends, the story was interesting and the character development was great. Most of all, I loved hearing from Simon again – his humor and nerdiness are particularly of note.

“Fortunately, the tall, dark-haired man who strode into the classroom looked unlikely to have any interest in Simon or his bod.”

Despite this, I was slightly disappointed that we did not hear more about the lost Herondale. Admittedly, there was not much else that could have been added given the limited length of the installment but I felt rather let down, especially considering the title and synopsis are centered around this Herondale. Hopefully Four’s *cough* sorry, Tobias‘ descendants will feature in the coming installments, but somehow I don’t believe that they will be. (Sorry, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity.)

My two favorite scenes of The Lost Herondale would have to be the one where Catrina details the (full) story of Tobias Herondale and the concluding scene.

Lady Midnight Excerpt

You have no idea how excited I was when I saw those three words on the contents page – I couldn’t even. (Side note: Why do fangirls always travel in odd numbers? Because they can’t even.)

Julian and Emma are so adorable together! I ship it so much… When Emma was recalling the memories of Julian and her? I may or may not have squealed and gushed and awwed. You know, maybe.

12 months. We have to wait twelve months for TDA – the thought rather depresses me… But in the meantime we get Simon, so that’s something I suppose. (Just kidding Simon, I love you!)