Month: October 2016

The Books We Read & The Things We Love: Words In Deep Blue by Cath Crowley

Posted October 31, 2016 by Hannah in Reviews, Young Adult / 0 Comments

The Books We Read & The Things We Love: Words In Deep Blue by Cath CrowleyWords in Deep Blue by Cath Crowley
Published by Pan Macmillan Australia on 30th August 2016
Pages: 352
Format: Paperback
Source: Bought
BoffinsDymocksBooktopiaPublisher
Goodreads

This is a love story.
It's the story of Howling Books, where readers write letters to strangers, to lovers, to poets.
It's the story of Henry Jones and Rachel Sweetie. They were best friends once, before Rachel moved to the sea.
Now, she's back, working at the bookstore, grieving for her brother Cal and looking for the future in the books people love, and the words they leave behind.

There aren’t enough words in the English dictionary to accurate describe how wonderful this novel is, but I’m going to try my best. Because this is a book where words can’t do it justice – you have to read it to experience its beauty. Cath Crowley shows just how much of a natural storyteller she is by really getting to the heart of every book lover and explaining why literature and words are so important, so revered.

Words in Deep Blue is, at heart, many things. It’s a love story. It’s about family, and relationships between friends. It’s about not necessarily letting go of the past and moving on, but accepting it and conquering life when road blocks pop up. And it is so, so much more than that. The central point of Words is Howling Books, the secondhand bookstore Henry’s family owns. The plot itself is simple and short – in a time when books are considered to be a dying art form (ha!), Henry’s family must decide whether to keep or selling the secondhand bookshop that is an integral part of their lives – and the lives of so many others.

From here we have our two main characters, Henry and Rachel, who were best friends once, until time and distance drew them apart. When Rachel moves back to the city, a different person than she was before, her life is entwined with Henry’s once again, and it’s from here we have this beautiful story.

Cath Crowley’s writing is positively magical in this book, and if you’re a person who loves words and books and poetry and just literature in general, than this is one for you. And what really made me love this book even more is that I’m not a poetry person – in fact, I abhor most poetry (it’s been the bane of my existence this semester). But there’s one poem I love, and I’ve loved for years, and it’s probably the only one I’ll ever love, and I’ve never been able to explain exactly why I love it – until Words in Deep Blue came along. You see, that poem is The Love Song of Alfred J Prufrock by TS Eliot, and it features heavily in Words, as Henry’s favourite (great choice, Henry). And it’s Henry’s explanation to Rachel that makes me realise why I love this poem so much:

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And in talking about Cath’s amazing way with words, it shines through her characters. Rachel is very easy to fall in love with – her past is sadly tragic, and we all love a jilted heroine trying to be stronger than the people who sought to tear her down. I loved seeing her take back control of her life, to find meaning and passion past her brother. And Henry, God it was so easy to hate him at times, but even then one of the great things about this novel was not just Rachel finding herself, but Henry too. And Henry opening his eyes to the world and past his own little sphere.

I know this book isn’t out in the States until next year, when you get an amazingly pretty hardcover of your own, but if you get the chance to read Words in Deep Blue, I implore you to pick it up and savour it. Enjoy the magic and power of words – because you won’t regret it. At all. do-you-need-to-understand-it-to-love-it-you-think-its-beautiful-thats-enough-1

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Oh The Thrills, They’re Multiplying: Ten Thrillers on my TBR

Posted October 25, 2016 by Hannah in Features, Top Ten Tuesdays / 9 Comments

top ten tuesdays

It’s the spooky time of year! Happy Halloween to those that celebrate it. To the rest of us…Happy Chocolate Binging Season? I know I will – uni is a mere week away from finishing, and I’m in need of some serious relaxation (three months of it, to be exact). In honour of the spooky season and today’s Top Ten Tuesday, I thought I’d share some of the books I have on my TBR. I love psychological thrillers, books that get my mind spinning. It’s a recent discovery, so of course I’ve been piling my Goodreads TBR with them, but here are ten that I’m looking forward to.

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All The Missing Girls by Megan Miranda // I LOVE Megan’s other works, so I am very excited to dive into this one when semester ends.

The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware // Woman witnesses someone going overboard on a cruise yet everyone is accounted for…this is what I want, why is this what I want? My mind, I swear.

The Vanishing Year by Kate Moretti // Generally I roll my eyes at books that are rich people centric (yeah, I’m looking at you, We Were Liars), but this one sounds really exciting and I’m a sucker for mysterious pasts.

The Chemist by Stephenie Meyer // I’m actually really looking forward to reading Meyer’s *first* adult novel (we’ll see, The Host was supposed to be an adult novel but look how that turned out). The premise is something that is right up my alley, for sure.

The Girl On The Train by Paula Hawkins // Okay, so everyone’s talking about it, and generally I’m not one of these people to read something for the sake of popularity, but the trailer for the movie keeps playing every time I open Youtube, and each time I watch it the more I want to see it (I love Emily Blunt too). And of course I have to read the book before I see the movie, that’s just how these things are done.

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The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin // I’ve read the first two books (I think), but I can’t for the life of me remember anything that happens, but I’d really love to conclude reading the series, so I dive back into a world where Noah Shaw exists is definitely on the cards!

Of Scars and Stardust by Andrea Hannah // I’ve heard some mixed reviews about this book, from trusted bloggers, which makes me all that more curious. I love (I think?) family centric thrillers, and I think there’s not enough in YA, so woo! Well keen.

The Deviants by CJ Skuse // Sleepy English village, ruined friendships…and that tag line! When you set out for revenge, dig two graves. Why am I not reading this book yesterday??

I Am Her Revenge by Meredith Moore // Another book that has mixed reviews…so we’ll see. Curiosity, after all.

Velvet Undercover by Teri Brown // World War One! Female spies! Forbidden attraction!

what-are-your-favourite-books-to-recommend-let-me-know-in-the-comments-below

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Ten Character Names To Name My Cat (If I Had One)

Posted October 18, 2016 by Hannah in Features, Top Ten Tuesdays / 5 Comments

top ten tuesdays

I’m pretty sure I’m only doing this Top Ten Tuesday because it gives me an excuse to post cat gifs on a book blog, but hey, it’s my book blog, so I can post whatever I want, right? Also, the title of this post is slightly misleading, because I in fact do have a cat, and his name is Noodles the Second and he is everything.

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Excuse my very sunburnt face, it was summer and I cannot go outside unless I want to look like a cooked lobster. Internet, meet Noodles the Second, a terminally grumpy three legged ball of fluff that I absolutely love. He is our family cat, which means he resides in Western Australia, whereas I am on the other side of the country and only see him on Skype dates and the rare holidays. I would love to adopt a kitten, however it’s not feasible in my current rental, but I’m waiting for the day when I can have another little ball of fluff to call my own, and trust me, I have been workshopping names (so far, non book character names include Mufasa or Sparta. I’ll let you figure it out). Here are ten book character names  I would call my cat.

Chaol Westfall (Throne of Glass) – I’d think a lot of people would think I’ve named my cat Kale, to which ugh you uncultured swines go introduce yourself to the most wonderful man you’ll ever meet. But yeah I’m totally doing this. A little Chaol. Eeeep.

Kestrel (The Winner’s Curse) – She’d be a quiet but feisty little thing for sure.

Jellicoe (On The Jellicoe Road) – okay, so this isn’t a character, but I think Jellicoe would be a really cool name for my ‘Jellicle’ cat (see what I did there?!)

Etienne St. Clair (Anna and the French Kiss) – I see a pattern forming here…’St. Clair’ for short (because let’s face it, my French is terrible and I cannot pronounce Etienne). This little kitty would have a bundle of swag and would charm the pants off even a non-cat lover.

Tucker (Unearthly) – OMG COULD YOU EVEN IMAGINE

Adrian Ivashkov (Bloodlines) – DON’T YOU DARE EVEN – WHAT DID WE SAY ABOUT CLIMBING ON THE CURTAINS ADRIAN NO is pretty much what life with Kitty Adrian would be like.

Darcy/Fitz (Pride and Prejudice) – He’d be the cat that would hate you instantly but then two minutes later be curled up in your lap being totally adorbs and giving you cuddles. Also Darcy or Fitz?!?! Help me choose!!

Dorian (Throne of Glass) – because who am I to split up best friends?! Where Dorian goes, Chaol goes, right? RIGHT?

Mungojerrie or Rumpleteazer (Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats) – okay so this is basically a two for one deal but I really can’t choose who because I love all the cats from Cats so I’ll be a cat lady and have allllll the cats, but until then this cheeky duo will suffice. They’ll be a notorious pair of acrobats, that’s for sure.

Cat (Breakfast at Tiffany’s) – I have wanted to name my cat Cat ever since I first saw Breakfast at Tiffany’s as a child. In fact, when we were petitioning names for Noodles the Second, Cat was the name I championed. That didn’t work so well, sadly. One day, one day.

So there you have it! Ten fictional characters I’d name my cat after. What would you choose? Let me know in the comments, or feel free to leave me your suggestions!!

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October New Releases Giveaway Hop!

Posted October 14, 2016 by Hannah in Giveaways / 45 Comments

HELLO OCTOBER!

Apart from being the spooky month, October is also my birthday month (yay!) which I share with the fabulous Claire at YA Madness (no seriously, we share the same birth date and everything, it’s awesome!). Sadly, that’s the only exciting thing in my life at the moment, because university finishes at the end of the month (I’ve only got 1 exam this semester!), so all you’ll be seeing from me is Top Ten posts and about three reviews…but don’t worry, November should lead me getting into more exciting stuff as I plan to read like a million books over uni break, and I’m going to be Best. Blogger. Ever. Or so I wish.

ANYWAY. On to more important stuff. Like the giveaway! Because it’s my birthday, I’m going to give TWO lucky ducks to choose an October New Release EACH! That’s right, there will be TWO (2) winners who will get to choose ONE (1) October New Release each to the value of AUD$30. And as long as The Book Depository ships to you, anyone can enter! Not sure if that’s you? Check here. Both winners will have 48 hours from me contacting them to say hello, or another winner/s will be chosen.

A big congrats to last month’s winner, Ashfa, who chose Empire of Storms as her book! Such a good choice.

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And don’t forget to check out the other blogs on the hop to double your chances!

And as always…

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Ten Books I’ve Read Because of Recommendations

Posted October 11, 2016 by Hannah in Features, Top Ten Tuesdays / 6 Comments

top ten tuesdays

Today’s Top Ten Tuesday is short and sweet, and all about books that have been recommended to be by one person or another. Most books I find I’ve generally sourced myself (thanks Goodreads!), but I’ll always listen when people tell me about books they’ve loved. If you’re recommending a book, you’re essentially giving it the highest praise, because word of mouth is so important for books. It’s the reason books succeed or fail. You’re telling someone they should spend money on a book, and most of these are personal favourites of some of the most awesome people I know!!

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Pivot Point by Kasie West // Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson // Storm by Brigid Kemmerer // Hunting Lila by Sarah Alderson // Throne of Glass by Sarah J Maas // Words in Deep Blue by Cath Crowley // The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stefivater // Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins // On The Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta // Something Strange and Deadly by Susan Dennard

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Empire of Conflicted Emotions & Feelings

Posted October 3, 2016 by Hannah in Reviews, Young Adult / 1 Comment

Empire of Conflicted Emotions & FeelingsEmpire of Storms Series: Throne of Glass #6
by Sarah J. Maas
Published by Bloomsbury ANZ on 6th September 2016
Pages: 693
Format: Paperback
Source: Bought
BoffinsDymocksBooktopiaPublisher
Goodreads

The long path to the throne has only just begun for Aelin Galathynius. Loyalties have been broken and bought, friends have been lost and gained, and those who possess magic find themselves at odds with those who don't.

As the kingdoms of Erilea fracture around her, enemies must become allies if Aelin is to keep those she loves from falling to the dark forces poised to claim her world. With war looming on all horizons, the only chance for salvation lies in a desperate quest that may mark the end of everything Aelin holds dear.

Aelin's journey from assassin to queen has entranced millions across the globe, and this fifth installment will leave fans breathless. Will Aelin succeed in keeping her world from splintering, or will it all come crashing down?

Reading Empire of Storms was hard. Really hard. In so many ways I love this behemoth of a series and what it has become. If someone had have told me five years ago that Throne of Glass would have extended well beyond princes and kings and assassins, I wouldn’t have believed them. But this whole entire series has just transcended into something so much more than the first book; something that’s equal parts a story of epic proportions and equal parts frustrating.

Please note: this review alludes to spoilers, but don’t actually mention them. If you’re not comfortable with that, because you’ve not read this series (WHAT?!) then maybe don’t continue. If you want to read my spoilery, incoherent thoughts, then click on the spoiler link down the end of my Goodreads review.

What I Liked
The Secondary CharactersEven though there are a multitude of characters in EoS, I much preferred them to Aelin and Rowan. But I feel like since Heir of Fire, the secondary (if you count anyone who isn’t Aelin secondary) characters are the brightest stars of this novel, even though the major secondary characters have a way of getting shoved off to the side (cough). While at times it does seem like the cast list is a bit too high, like I did in Queen of Shadows, I enjoyed seeing Erilea from the perspective of other people. Like Manon – oh my gosh, that woman is so freaking badass. Her entire history is laid bare, and I loved seeing her arc grow from the monster she was in Heir of Fire to who she is now. Seeing the vulnerable side of Lysandra change to a strong woman who was growing into her shifting ability, Elide grow a personality around Lorcan (who I totally ship even though I wish I didn’t). Every single character comes into their own in this book and it’s worth reading just for them alone.

Aelin Is Still Badass Crazy in a Good Way and We Get to See That Old Celaena Charm (Yay!) – I’m still getting used to ‘Aelin’, and I still don’t like her as much as Celaena, I think a lot of her vulnerabilities came through more and her days of taking shit are long gone. However in saying that, I think her transition from Celaena to Aelin was still too quickly done, and to forcefully deny a part of who you were is one of her downfalls. Celaena is a part of Aelin no matter what, and we get that through her cunning plans, and the more Aelin pushes that part of her life away, the more I don’t like the character she is becoming. She needs to be all-accepting of every part of her, and her life as Celaena shaped a huge part of who her person was and still is. Life could have easily have just swung a different way for her, Elena or no.

Girls, Who Run The World – Take a backseat boys, because we don’t need you. I loved how Lysandra and Aelin teamed up, how Elide grew her spine, and of course Manon not taking shit from even her Matron for the love of her Thirteen. I know a lot of people argue about the “feminist” part of these novels, but for me, at the end of the day, these girls are women of their own making, and (most of the time) no man shall stop them.

The World Building – Erilea is amazing. Maas has been able to weave such a rich tapestry of world history and geography that I don’t think rivals anyone (except maybe Tamora Pierce). When I read about where everyone is, the page comes alive. The imagery for the hot Stone Marshes, the Caribbean-esque jungles of Skull’s Bay…I feel like I’m immersed in this world that it’s easy to forget I’m not on Planet Earth. I just wish we got to see more than places we’ve already heard about.

The Insane Plot Twists (Well, Most of Them) – Yes, THAT ending. Except for the fact that there are so many inconsistencies behind the whole ending, I just love the way Maas creates a twist that will always leave me with my mouth hanging open.

(Most of the Time) I Love Sarah’s Writing – Maybe it’s because I’m in fierce study mode, but Empire of Storms was so poetic at times. That alliteration (roaring river rushed), the way she was able to entangle sentences…it’s one of the things I’ve always loved about this series, and that ties into the world building as well.

What I Didn’t Like
Too Much Romance – Okay, I get it. The world’s in chaos and you don’t know what the next minute will bring. But honestly, the fact that everyone needs to be paired up as if being in a romantic relationship is the be all and end all is getting a little old, really fast. What I, as a single woman, want to see is one, just one, character who at least doesn’t need to have a guy/girl in their life to make them worthy of something. Even romance was hinted at the end with some of the minor characters. Why can’t we be strong enough without someone by our side romantically? Why can’t things ever be platonic? And that’s one of the biggest issues I have with Maas and her books. Right from Throne of Glass.

The Relationship Between Aelin and Rowan – Ever since Heir of Fire, their relationship has always felt forced and strained romantically. They just don’t suit each other, and through the course of 2 and a half books, the reader is constantly having to be told about their “feelings” rather than the emotions coming naturally like it did with Sam, Chaol and even Dorian. Then there’s the whole blood oath thing, which shits me off to no end. If you want to understand more of why I will never, ever ship this couple, check out my spoilers.

Absence Makes the Heart Grow Angrier – Yes, I’m referring to that spoiler. I’ll talk more about that later. But I’m not happy about it. After reading the short that is in the special WH Smith’s edition, I’m even more mad about the whole thing.

So Many Plot Holes, I’m Surprised They Didn’t End up in China – Having completely binged the series, it seems really clear (at least to me) that there’s a division in how the plot was supposed to go from The Assassin’s Blade to Crown of Midnight. My biggest problem was that it feels like a different series, with different characters, and changes halfway through. That’s even after taking into consideration that these characters are older, that they are maturing, Life changes. But that’s not what I’m talking about. There are inconsistencies all the way through Elena’s story, and the Maeve arc just seems so…pointless considering there’s now only one book to go.

Was I Reading a Throne of Glass novel or A Court of Thorns & Roses Novel? -I don’t think even SJM knew at times. There was so much rehashing of ACOMAF language, dialogue and ideas (“A court of dreamers?” Come on! Give us a break, we readers aren’t stupid.) that it sometimes was hard to distinguish the two. Maas is too caught up in this Fae fantasy (excuse the pun), and it really showed in Empire of Storms. The lines were too blurred, and I think that’s why a lot of the inconsistencies were noticeable, because the story became too much about Fae and wasn’t as well rounded as it had been before.

A part of me can understand my feelings about this book, and looking about on the series. Empire of Storms certainly showed how incredibly massive the world of Erilea and beyond is, and I’m sure it has surpassed the scope of all our imaginations. However the inconsistent nature of terribly done subplots (read: Rowaelin) in order to fulfil a certain narrative are what truly stop Empire of Storms from being what could have been such a fantastic read.

Regardless of all that, Empire of Storms is one hell of an emotional roller coaster that never seems to end, full of twists and turns that will leave you speechless and desperately wishing it was next year already – but don’t wish too hard, because I’m not sure we’ll be able to cope with the end of this series.

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